Romans and Aliens by John Percy Vyvian Dacre Balsdon

By John Percy Vyvian Dacre Balsdon

Excellent in first-class jacket.[x], 310pp.

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196). 51). (vi) By the end of the second century BG Greek was a first language in Roman education - schooling began with Homer - and it was in Greek, not Latin, that the young pupil started his declamation. Greek teachers were utterly self-confident, as little impressed by Roman attainment in fields like rhetoric, in which they were confident of theif^ own mastery, as by the powerful majesty of the leading figures of the new imperial Roman world. 71 The conqueror had to learn the language of the conquered, a language whose use was far more widespread than his own, and he learnt it very quickly and very well.

But still there was the Greek-barbarian smudge - and this friendly Greeks did their best to remove. Dionysius of Halicarnassus asserted, and tried to prove, that in their origins the Romans themselves were Greeks. 3 Aelius Aristides declared that the Greek/barbarian dichotomy was outmoded, that it had been revised and modernised into a Roman/non-Roman dichotomy. 4 Or perhaps the division should be a division into three: Romans, Greeks, barbarians. 5 Or go back to Eratosthenes and divide humanity into 'goodies' and 'baddies', with the Romans on the right side of the divide and some bad Greeks on the wrong side.

Bread was brought in from a shop, wine from the wood. ' And there is Horace's extremely displeasing account of Nasidienus' dinner: good food, a bad cook, bad waiting and a vulgarly ostentatious host. But the most disagreeable feature of the dinner lay in the ill-manners of the two guests, umbrae, who were brought by Maecenas who, perhaps, to judge from this and from his unpleasant dig at Agrippa's undistinguished origins at a recitation described by the elder Seneca, whatever you may think about his dress, was not a particularly pleasant man.

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