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The Alternative Augustan Age$
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Josiah Osgood, Kit Morrell, and Kathryn Welch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190901400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190901400.001.0001

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C. Asinius Pollio and the Politics of Cosmopolitanism

C. Asinius Pollio and the Politics of Cosmopolitanism

(p.96) 7 C. Asinius Pollio and the Politics of Cosmopolitanism
The Alternative Augustan Age

Joel Allen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the activities of Gaius Asinius Pollio in building a cosmopolitan, intellectual community in Rome in the course of the late 40s and 30s BCE. Pollio’s reimagination of the Atrium Libertatis as a museum and center of research and performance served to elide cultural and imperial concerns. The institution effectively forged a network of high-profile scholars and students from the Hellenistic East, with Pollio as their patron. These included the reactionary historian Timagenes of Alexandria and the heirs of kingdoms in Judaea and North Africa. Such endeavors were inherently political in nature and constituted an ambitious assertion of primacy at a time when no forerunning princeps yet existed—a phenomenon reflected in Vergil’s evocation of Pollio in the Fourth Eclogue.

Keywords:   Gaius Asinius Pollio, Atrium Libertatis, cosmopolitanism, patronage, library, Timagenes of Alexandria

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