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Roman Perspectives On Greek Diplomacy

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Chapter Summary

Greek and Roman diplomatic conflicts should not be seen as all purely of one type or the other: either genuine misunderstandings or cynical exploitations of cultural differences. By the time of the Rhodian debacle in I68, the Greek world had a long history of the diplomacy of compromise and of third party intervention in disputes. The author suggests that the one Roman concept that most significantly clashed with Greek attitudes towards the diplomacy of compromise was that of the ius fetiale and iustum bellum. According to Livy, both Prusias of Bithynia and the Rhodians attempted to engage the Romans in third party diplomacy to settle the 3rd Macedonian War. Both Greeks and Romans believed in concepts of justice as applied to war and diplomacy. They employed sincerity and cynicism in their diplomatic dealings. The Romans and their gods were always the only real arbiters of their own behaviour.

Keywords: Greek diplomacy; ius fetiale ; iustum bellum; Livy; Macedonian War; Rhodian debacle; Roman diplomatic conflicts; third party diplomacy



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