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The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought$
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Mirko Canevaro and Benjamin Gray

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748472.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Getting Over Athens

Getting Over Athens

Re-Writing Hellenicity in the Early Roman History of Dionysius of Halicarnassus

(p.209) 10 Getting Over Athens
The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought

Nicolas Wiater

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the ambivalent image of Classical Athens in Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ Roman Antiquities. This image reflects a deep-seated ambiguity of Dionysius’ Classicist ideology: on the one hand, there is no question for Dionysius that Athenocentric Hellenicity failed, and that the Roman empire has superseded Athens’ role once and for all as the political and cultural centre of the oikoumene. On the other, Dionysius accepted Rome’s supremacy as legitimate partly because he believed (and wanted his readers to believe) her to be the legitimate heir of Classical Athens and Classical Athenian civic ideology. As a result, Dionysius develops a new model of Hellenicity for Roman Greeks loyal to the new political and cultural centre of Rome. This new model of Greek identity incorporates and builds on Classical Athenian ideals, institutions, and culture, but also supersedes them.

Keywords:   Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Athens, Sparta, Rome, reception, Atticism

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