Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Arts
Rome, administration, government, cultural practice
This paper is a study of Romanization in the Greek-speaking eastern provinces. Broadly defined, the term is the incorporation of Roman cultural traditions into an already existing culture. This phenomenon will be examined through three main avenues: the imperial cult and its promotion, methods of communication between Roman administrators and Greek subjects, and finally the intellectual and literary evidence that links Greek and Roman thought. These cases provide varied evidence of Greek accommodation and resistance to Roman cultural practice. The first chapter explores the religious institutions adopted in the Greek East beginning with the Roman conquest of Greece in the second century B.C. Because the Roman attitudes toward Greek cultural change were very lenient compared to other conquered provinces, these religious institutions were largely adopted by the direct action of Greek subjects. By adopting and participating in Roman religious practice, like that of the imperial cult, many Greeks sought to enhance their standing within the empire. The second chapter analyzes the diverse means of communication between the Roman administration and the Greek provinces. These methods of discourse are varied, and by their sheer consistency, helped to reshape Greek identity within a Roman context. The presence of governmental documents, local archives as well as imperial imagery and construction projects all helped to structure provincial inside a Roman framework. As such, this framework is enhanced by the desire of Greek cities to compete with one another for imperial status. This notion of inter-Greek competition forms an important theme of this thesis. The ability of culturally Greek cities to flagrantly display their adoration for Rome is representative of a broader Graeco-Roman identity that developed throughout the Greek East. The third chapter provides literary evidence for this forming identity. The Second Sophistic is a literary movement of the first three centuries C.E. Its Greek writers present the shared Roman and Greek identity in their works and are excellent examples of the shifting Historiographical record during this time. Even while celebrating the military glories of both Rome and Greece, the sophists place a high value on Greek intellectual culture. Through their literature the authors’ pride in being both politically Roman as well as culturally Greek is apparent. The exploration of these historical and cultural themes presents valuable insight into both Greek and Roman cultures and identities. By understanding the relationship of provincial Greece to imperial Rome a development of cultural exchange seems to trump any notion of Romanization. Both peoples acknowledged the failings of their own culture while acclaiming the virtues of the other. Such cultural discourse is important to understand in any imperial structure and can have cultural applications that still apply.
Kehl, Andrew John, "Romanization in the Greek East : religious, historical and literary identity" (2009). Honors Theses. 1329.