Rome, the Greek World, and the East
Volume 3: The Greek World, the Jews, and the East
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
Fergus Millar, Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford emeritus, is one of the most influential ancient historians of the twentieth century. Since the publication of A Study of Cassius Dio by Oxford University Press in 1964, Millar has published ten books, including two monumental studies, The Emperor in the Roman World (Duckworth, 1977) and The Roman Near East, 31 B.C....
The Greek World, the Jews, and the East is the third and last volume in the series of Fergus Millar’s collected essays, Rome, the Greek World, and the East. It stands to The Roman Near East, 31 B.C. - A.D. 3371 as the second volume in the series stands to The Emperor in the Roman World, A.D. 3372 and, to a lesser extent, as the...
Part I. The Hellenistic World and Rome
1. The Problem of Hellenistic Syria
The first book of Maccabees in its opening paragraph reflects an important aspect of the impact of Hellenistic rule in Syria, the prevalence of conflict, war, and instability. It does also, however, illustrate something quite different, the possibility of a communal historical consciousness and a national culture which might provide a framework...
2. The Phoenician Cities: A Case-Study of Hellenisation
When Alexander was civilising Asia, Homer was commonly read, and the children of the Persians, of the Susianians and of the Gedrosians learned to chant the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. And although Socrates, when tried on a charge of introducing foreign deities,lost his cause to the informers who infested Athens, yet through Alex-...
3. Hellenistic History in a Near Eastern Perspective:The Book of Daniel
As with so many aspects of Hellenistic history, it is best to begin with the words of Polybius: ‘‘I shall bring the whole narrative of events to a conclusion, narrating finally the expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes against Egypt, the war with Perseus and the abolition of the Macedonian monarchy.’’ Polybius is here developing his ‘‘second introduction,’’ in the first few chapters of book 3, in which
4. The Background to the Maccabean Revolution: Reflections on Martin Hengel’s ‘‘Judaism and Hellenism’’
The truism that important events are understood best when considered at some distance in time may serve as an excuse for surveying only so belatedly the vast contribution to Jewish and Hellenistic history made by Hengel’s major work, first published in German in 1969, revised and enlarged in 1973, and issued in an English...
5. Polybius between Greece and Rome
I would like to begin with some much-quoted words of Polybius himself(1, 1, 5). ‘‘For who is so worthless or so idle as not to wish to find out by what steps and overcome by what sort of political structure almost all parts of the inhabited world have, in the space of hardly fifty-three years, fallen under the domination of the Romans, a thing which is not found ever to...
6. The Greek City in the Roman Period
This paper will concentrate on the imperial period, the first three centuries A.D. .,when ‘‘the Greek city’’ is more visible to us than at any other time. For it is from this period that the vast majority of the surviving remains of Greek cities date; it was in these centuries, except for the last few decades, that the largest number of Greek cities struck coins; and, above all, it was in this period that the...
Part II. Rome and the East
7. Reflections on the Trials of Jesus
If anything at all is certain about the earthly life of Jesus, it is that he was a Jew who expressed original and disturbing conceptions of what Judaism ought to mean, and was executed on the orders of a Roman praefect us who had little or no conception of what Judaism meant. The varied and contradictory acounts which the Gospels provide of how Jesus came to suﬀer crucifixion...
8. The Roman Coloniae of the Near East: A Study of Cultural Relations
...‘‘The history of Roman colonisation is the history of the Roman state’’: so Ernst Kornemann, in his standard article on Roman coloniae.1 The following survey of the coloniae which the emperors created between the late first century B.C.. and the middle of the third century A.D.. in the Fertile Crescent—or, on a diﬀerent definition, in those provinces of the Roman Empire...
9. Latin in the Epigraphy of the Roman Near East
In approaching the complex problems of the role of Latin in the epigraphyof the Roman Near East, it seems appropriate to begin with by far the mostfamous of all Roman inscriptions, thetituluson the Cross. It is, of course, nottypical of what we normally refer to as ‘‘inscriptions,’’ since it was written—presumably painted—on a non-permanent material, wood, and was thereby...
10. Paul of Samosata, Zenobia, and Aurelian: The Church, Local Culture,and Political Allegiance in Third-Century Syria
What we call the ‘‘eastern frontier’’ of the Roman Empire was a thing of shadows, which reflected the diplomatic convenience of a given moment, and dictated the positioning of some soldiers and customs oﬃcials, but hardly aﬀected the attitudes or the movements of the people on either side.1 Nothing more than the raids of desert nomads,2 for instance, hindered the endless...
11. Caravan Cities: The Roman Near East and Long-DistanceTrade by Land
My title, ‘‘Caravan Cities,’’ is intended to recall the evocative book by Rostovtzeﬀ, published in 1932.1 In it he gave a vivid sketch of some of the wonderful remains to be seen then—and to be seen even better now—in the huge area of the Near East ruled by Rome: Petra and Gerasa ( Jerash) in Jordan; Palmyra in the desert and Dura-Europos on the Euphrates, both in Syria. To say...
12. Looking East from the Classical World: Colonialism, Culture, and Trade from Alexander the Great to Shapur I
The emperor Trajan’s arrival at the head of the Persian Gulf in A. D. 16 he only visit there by a Roman army in the course of the wars against the Parthian and Sassanid empires which continued sporadically for centuries.The occasion gave rise to a well-known and illuminating anecdote, told by Cassius Dio in his Roman History As it happens, both the author and his His-...
Part III. Jews and Others
13. Porphyry: Ethnicity, Language, and Alien Wisdom
Porphyry was born in about 232, the year when Plotinus started to study philosophy at Alexandria. His parents were well-to-do Syrians, and he spent most of his boyhood, so far as we know, in the busy Phoenician city of Tyre. Even if he did not travel he had ample opportunity there to make the far from superficial...
14. Hagar, Ishmael, Josephus, and the Origins of Islam
To me, it is impossible to look back on the life and work of Menahem Stern without seeing him along with two other great scholars: Elias Bickerman and Arnaldo Momigliano. In one way this is a false, or at least a foreshortened, perspective. For these latter two, born in 1903 and 1908 respectively, were both children of the relatively secure period before the First World...
15. Ethnic Identity in the Roman Near East, A.D. 325–450: Language, Religion, and Culture
For a historian who approaches the social, cultural, and religious history of the Near Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire in the period between Constantine and Mahomet, it does not take long to become painfully awareof having had few predecessors, or of the reasons why this might be so. For the evidence—literary, epigraphic, and archaeological—is immense, and in...
16. Dura-Europos under Parthian Rule
No excuse is needed for returning again to the extraordinary series of discoveries made at DuraEuropos in the 1920s and 1920s. Whatever reservations we may have as regards the presuppositions of those who undertook these investigations, about their methods and procedures, and about the still incomplete publication of their results, the work done there still represents...
17. The Jews of the Graeco-Roman Diaspora between Paganism and Christianity, A.D.312–438
In the year 383 in Catania in Sicily a Jew named Aurelius Samohil bought a tomb in which to lay the remains of himself and his wife, and recorded the fact for posterity in an inscription in Latin, with an introductory line in Hebrew, while adorning the stone with two incised representations of menorahs. The text, written in a rough approximation to Latin, runs as follows:...
18. Christian Emperors, Christian Church, and the Jews of the Diaspora in the Greek East, A.D. 379–450
From now on, I beg you, let these (troubles) cease for good, through yourself and your wisdom and your everyday toils and efforts, which are ever for the good of the churches, and for which let God establish you on your behalf as the champion of the Church for a long and peaceful period. Thus, being able for a moment to catch our breath after these unexpected evils...
Author’s Epilogue: Re-drawing the Map?
An epilogue must by its nature involve looking back, and this one duly doesso: first to the generous labours of Hannah Cotton and Guy Rogers; then, briefly, to the evolution of my own work since I began a doctoral thesis on Cassius Dio under Sir Ronald Syme in 1958; and finally, and at much great length, to the ancient world itself, and to the various shapes which the writ-...
Page Count: 552
Illustrations: 4 illus., 3 maps
Publication Year: 2006
Series Title: Studies in the History of Greece and Rome
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