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Views of Rome: A Greek Reader
  • Adam Serfass
Who were the ancient Romans?  Views of Rome presents 35 annotated selections from authors writing in Greek that address this question, one that is germane to broader issues within the field of Classics and beyond, such as identity and imperialism.  The answers of these authors are legion: they characterize the Romans as barbarians, fellow Hellenes, civilizers, rubes, sybarites, money-grubbers, divine agents, Satan’s spawn, peacemakers, warmongers, persecutors, traditionalists, innovators, copycats, bureaucrats, technocrats, syncretists, multiculturalists.  In short, the authors’ viewpoints are far from monolithic; they are diverse.  This book makes these authors, who bridge the worlds of Greece and Rome, accessible to advanced undergraduate and graduate-level students of ancient Greek, in many cases for the first time. 
The book assembles passages of paramount importance for understanding Roman civilization yet mostly unavailable in student-friendly editions: for example, Dionysius of Halicarnassus on the founding of Rome; Polybius on the city’s tripartite government and the state funerals of its great leaders; Plutarch on philhellenic Flamininus and antihellenic Cato the Elder; Cassius Dio on the accession of the first emperor, Augustus; Eusebius on the emperor Constantine’s endorsement of Christianity; Procopius on Rome’s deliverance from destruction on the cusp of the Middle Ages.  Authors who may be less familiar but nonetheless offer valuable perspectives are also included, figures such as Phlegon of Tralles, Philo of Alexandria, and the emperor Julian.  With more than a dozen selections related to polytheism, Judaism, and Christianity, including multiple passages from Josephus and the New Testament, students of ancient religion should also discover much of interest.
Each selection in the volume is preceded by an introduction that provides key information about the author, elucidates the immediate context within the work from which the passage is excerpted, and offers up-to-date suggestions for further reading that may serve as springboards for further inquiry.  Following each passage are notes that unravel knotty matters of vocabulary and grammar; the notes regularly refer to sections of Smyth’s Greek grammar and entries in Liddell, Scott, and Jones’ unabridged Greek lexicon and other major dictionaries so that students may refresh their grammatical knowledge and deepen their vocabulary.   
Publication Date
University of Oklahoma Press
Citation Information
Adam Serfass. Views of Rome: A Greek Reader. Norman(2018)
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