Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization
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In this classic study of cultural confrontation Professor Momigliano examines the Greeks' attitude toward the contemporary civilizations of the Romans, Celts, Jews, and Persians. Analyzing cultural and intellectual interaction from the fourth through the first centuries B.C., Momigliano argues that in the Hellenistic period the Greeks, Romans, and Jews enjoyed an exclusive special relationship that guaranteed their lasting dominance of Western civilization.
was firmly convinced that the Roman constitution was open to analysis in Greek terms. He did not claim to be absolutely original in his cyclical theory of constitutional changes. But even if he was more original than he himself claims, he was only producing one of many variations on a Greek scheme. Furthermore, he had an acute sense of deviation from the norm in any society. He praised Scipio Aemilianus' generosity to his relatives by remarking: 'Such conduct would naturally be admired anywhere,
case is something very different: the support which their political constitution and generally speaking their customs and habits gave them in their drive towards world-rule. This does not exclude negative judgements on Roman individuals who showed themselves inferior to normal standards of prudence or wisdom: even Claudius Marcellus is blamed for his lack of prudence (10.32.7-12). But the Romans are never questioned on their basic policy. 28 Polybius and Postdonius It is evident that Polybius
of their religious and scientific notions from the Egyptians that even those 'that are called followers of Orpheus and of Bacchus are in truth followers of the Egyptians and of Pythagoras' (2.81). There was therefore no dramatic change in the Greek evaluation of Egypt during the Hellenistic period, though the rise of Hermes Trismegistus as a god of knowledge was new. (2) Native Egyptian culture declined during The Greeks and their neighbours the Hellenistic period because it was under the
Peter). The emendation of 'argute loqui' into 'agriculturam' proposed by a distinguished Celtic scholar must be the least argute emendation of any text (G. Dottin, Melanges L. Havet (1909), 119). The Celts loomed large in Cato's Origines. He tried to achieve clarity on places and names. He found a branch of the dangerous Cenomani among the Volcae not far from Marseilles. He was probably the first to include the Gauls in a history of Italy, though Fabius Pictor who fought against them in 225 B.C.
(Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 2 ed., p. 308). In Egypt native and Persian kings attracted not only Greek and Carian but also Jewish mercenaries. The origins of the military colony of Elephantine are unknown, but the author of the letter which goes under the name of Aristeas must have found somewhere the piece of information that Jewish soldiers helped Psammetichus in his campaign against the king of the Ethiopians (13). The Psammetichus in question is Psammetichus II who had the support of Greeks,