Empire of Honour: The Art of Government in the Roman World

Paperback | September 25, 2003

byJ. E. Lendon

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J. E. Lendon offers a new interpretation of how the Roman empire worked in the first four centuries AD. A despotism rooted in force and fear enjoyed widespread support among the ruling classes of the provinces on the basis of an aristocratic culture of honour shared by rulers and ruled. Thecompetitive Roman and Greek aristocrats of the empire conceived of their relative standing in terms of public esteem or honour, and conceived of their cities - towards which they felt a warm patriotism - as entities locked in a parallel struggle for primacy in honour over rivals. Emperors andprovincial governors exploited these rivalries to gain the indispensable co-operation of local magnates by granting honours to individuals and their cities. Since rulers strove for honour as well, their subjects manipulated them with honours in their turn. Honour - whose workings are also traced inthe Roman army - served as a way of talking and thinking about Roman government: it was both a species of power, and a way - connived in by rulers and ruled - of concealing the terrible realities of imperial rule.

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J. E. Lendon offers a new interpretation of how the Roman empire worked in the first four centuries AD. A despotism rooted in force and fear enjoyed widespread support among the ruling classes of the provinces on the basis of an aristocratic culture of honour shared by rulers and ruled. Thecompetitive Roman and Greek aristocrats of the...

J. E. Lendon is at University of Virginia.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:332 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.75 inPublished:September 25, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199247633

ISBN - 13:9780199247639

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`Review from previous edition [It is] a delight to read and opens up for exploration subtle aspects of the exercise of power in the Roman empire that may turn out to have been no less important than the deployment of vast armies and hefty volumes of jurisprudence.'The Classical Journal