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Valorizing the Barbarians

Enemy Speeches in Roman Historiography

By Eric Adler

Publication Year: 2011

Comparing and contrasting speeches attributed to barbarian leaders by ancient Roman historians, this book offers a systematic examination of the ways in which those historians valorized foreigners and presented criticisms of their own society.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Ashley and Peter Larkin Series in Greek and Roman Culture


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Title Page

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book began its life as a doctoral dissertation in classical studies at Duke University. Accordingly, I would like to thank my dissertation committee: Mary T. Boatwright, Kent Rigsby, Diskin Clay, Grant Parker, and George Houston. I am particularly indebted to Mary Boatwright, who served as my ...

Author’s Note

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pp. xi-xi

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pp. 1-14

It is no secret that scholarly views of Roman imperialism and colonialism have altered considerably in the past few decades. In a recent article appearing in the journal Helios, Stephen H. Rutledge refers to Tacitus’ Agricola as “an abettor in the colonial process.”1 According to Rutledge, this work— despite ...

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Part I: Mithridates and the East

The Roman politician–turned-historian Sallust hailed from Sabine country; Jerome informs us that he was born in the town of Amiternum.1 Pompeius Trogus, the author of a forty-four-book world history and a natural scientist during the age of Augustus, was from Gallia Narbonensis.2 Unlike the Italian ...

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1. "A Deep-Seated Lust for Empire and Riches": Sallust's Epistula Mithridatis

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pp. 17-35

The EM purports to be a letter from Mithridates VI Eupator, the king of Pontus, addressed to Phraates III Theos, the twelfth Parthian king of the Arsacid line.1 It requests Parthian aid against Lucullus and his troops, most likely shortly after the Battle of Tigranocerta in 69 B.c.2 The EM presents a ...

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2. "Their Whole Population Has the Spirit of Wolves": Pompeius Trogus' Speech of Mithridates

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pp. 37-58

Although it is difficult to imagine many modern scholars shedding tears over the loss of Pompeius Trogus’ forty-four-book world history, the Historiae Philippicae, we would obviously be able to say much more about Trogus’ view of the Roman world if this work survived from antiquity. With this history ...

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Part II: Hannibal and Carthage

Of all the ancient historians of Rome, Livy, by virtue of being heir to the Roman annalistic tradition, is among the most likely to be accused by modern scholars of introducing patriotic and even jingoistic sentiments that distort his work.1 As a result, many scholars focus on his orations—which were the ...

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3. "He Considered It to Be in No Way Worthy to Contemplate the Hope of Living Defeated": Polybius' Speeches of Hannibal

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pp. 61-81

Before we examine Polybius’ speeches prior to the battles of Ticinus and Zama, we must quickly discuss the matter of these addresses’ potential historicity. After all, if one can demonstrate that Polybius was recording the actual sentiments of Hannibal in these orations, they would tell us very little about ...

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4. "Nothing at All Has Been Left to Us, Except That Which We Defend with Arms": Livy's Hannibal

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pp. 83-116

Livy, like his fellow Roman annalists, supposedly maintains a consistently pro-Roman outlook in his history, at least in the portions that survive from antiquity.1 After all, the annalists, beginning ca. 200 B.c. with the work of Q. Fabius Pictor, aimed to champion Rome’s arrival on the Mediterranean ...

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Part III: Boudica and Britain

Scholars have often viewed the numerous speeches Tacitus put in the mouths of Rome’s enemies—for instance, those of Calgacus (Ag. 30–32), Civilis (Hist 4.14.2–4, 17.2–6), Arminius (Ann. 1.59), Boiocalus (Ann 13.55–56), and Boudica1 (Ann 14.35)—as a collective example of his merits as a historian.2 ...

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5. "Men Might Live and Be Slaves": Tacitus' Speech of Boudica

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pp. 119-139

In either a.d. 60 or 61, Boudica, the widow of Prasutagus, the recently deceased client king of the Celtic Iceni tribe, led an unsuccessful revolt against Rome.1 We possess only three narratives of this rebellion, two by the same author.1 Tacitus presents an extremely terse account of the revolt in Agricola ...

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6. "Slaves to a Bad Lyre-Player": Cassius Dio's Speech of Boudica

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pp. 141-161

Though the crafting of orations was clearly one of Cassius Dio’s major preoccupations in his history, comparatively little attention has been paid to most of them. As we mentioned above,1 modern scholars have proved unlikely to conclude that Dio’s speeches are concerned with much more than ostentatious ...

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7. Conclusions

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pp. 163-175

The close scrutiny of oratorical and epistolary compositions that we have undertaken in the previous chapters suggests a number of conclusions about the work and thought of the six Roman historians who were the focus of our examinations. Before turning to them, however, we ...

Appendix: Texts and Translations of the Speeches Examined at Length

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pp. 177-209


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pp. 211-245

Works Cited

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pp. 247-263


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pp. 265-269

E-ISBN-13: 9780292729919
E-ISBN-10: 029272991X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292726284
Print-ISBN-10: 0292726287

Page Count: 283
Illustrations: none
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Ashley and Peter Larkin Series in Greek and Roman Culture
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OCLC Number: 741747783
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Valorizing the Barbarians

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Rome -- History -- Empire, 30 B.C.-284 A.D. -- Historiography.
  • Imperialism -- Historiography
  • Enemies -- Rome -- Provinces -- Historiography.
  • Roman provinces -- Historiography.
  • Speeches, addresses, etc., Latin -- History and criticism.
  • Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus, ca. 132-63 B.C.
  • Hannibal, 247-182 B.C.
  • Boadicea, Queen, d. 62.
  • Rome -- Foreign public opinion.
  • Rome -- Intellectual life.
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