Greek Provincial Aristocrats and the Roman Empire Essay

Greek Provincial Aristocrats and the Roman Empire
A discussion on how leading Greek senators came to be socially and culturally included in the Roman Empire.
# 66176 | 2,041 words | 9 sources | APA | 2004 | GB
Published on May 31, 2006 in History (Greek and Roman)

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This paper discusses how an important social group in Rome, the Greek leading senators, came to be incorporated into the Roman Empire, focusing on issues such as citizenship. It concentrates on the second and third centuries, but argues that this process took place over an extended period. The paper also looks at how Greek culture was absorbed into the Roman Empire and the problems this raised for the traditional Roman ruling elite.

From the Paper:

"The issue of Greek absorption into the governing classes of the Roman Empire encompasses an extended chronological period, as different rulers contributed to the development of Greek assimilation in very distinct ways. By the 400's, the composition of the senate and governing classes had changed beyond all recognition, both in the extent to which it absorbed provincials and the nature of admission to the senate. However, at different points in the second and third centuries, hardly any Greek provincials, east or west, were included in senatorial composition. This reflects a sporadic trend in official policy, although there was no discernible difference in numbers between absorption from the east, and that from the west. What made the Greek east unique was in the effect that assimilation of provincials had on the senate, on the relationships between Greek and Roman culture, and on redefining Greek and Roman identity. There is a considerable variance of opinion as to the extent to which there was a Greco - Roman culture, or whether the two were quite distinct and could not be reconciled. This debate was also relevant to contemporary Greeks in positions of power , as well as Romans who disliked the situation. 'Greeks in the Roman governing class, however - that would evoke horror and incredulity from Cicero, and from many others in a long sequel.'# Others saw the importance and prominence of the novi homines, so it is clear that there was a variety of contemporary opinion. However, the extent to which absorption happened was comparatively great in periods under Trajan and Hadrian, and the effect it had was to ultimately aid in the undermining of the Roman Senate, to the point that by the 400s there was even a second senate at Constantinople. "

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