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The Encomium On Rome As A Response To Polybius’ Doubts About The Roman Empire

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Chapter Summary

Among the ?posterity? who took on the task of delivering this judgement on the Roman Empire we can obviously count the Mysian rhetor Aelius Aristides. Some 300 years after Polybius, probably in 144AD under Antoninus Pius, he pronounced in Rome his encomium To Rome, most definitely determining that the city and its empire were worthy of ?praise? not ?blame?. Aristides, like Polybius, intends to judge the Empire by reference in part to the relations between rulers and ruled and by the benefit it may provide to both; he says so explicitly. The sections of To Rome dealing with the comparison with the Greek world show, however, how Aristides, while recalling Polybius, sanctions the superiority of Rome over the Greeks and draws on motifs that belonged to Roman imperial ideology.

Keywords: Aelius Aristides; encomium To Rome; Greek political theory; Polybius doubts; Roman empire; Roman imperial ideology



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