Mass and Elite in the Greek and Roman Worlds: From Sparta to Late Antiquity

1st Edition

Richard Evans

Routledge
Published February 16, 2017
Reference - 216 Pages - 1 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781472462077 - CAT# Y256863

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Summary

This volume has its origin in the 14th University of South Africa Classics Colloquium in which the topic and title of the event were inspired by Josiah Ober’s seminal work Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989). Indeed the influence this work has had on later research in all aspects of the Greek and Roman world is reflected by the diversity of the papers collected here, which take their cue and starting point from the argument that, in Ober’s words (1989, 338): ‘Rhetorical communication between masses and elites... was a primary means by which the strategic ends of social stability and political order were achieved.’ However, the contributors to the volume have also sought to build further on such conclusions and to offer new perceptions about a spread of issues affecting mass and elite interaction in a far wider number of locations around the ancient Mediterranean over a much longer chronological span. Thus the conclusions here suggest that once the concept of mass and elite was established in the minds of Greeks and later Romans it became a universal component of political life and from there was easily transferred to economic activity or religion. In casting the net beyond the confines of Athens (although the city is also represented here) to – amongst others – Syracuse, the cities of Asia Minor, Pompeii and Rome, and to literary and philosophical discourse, in each instance that interplay between the wider body of the community and the hierarchically privileged can be shown to have governed and directed the thoughts and actions of the participants.

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