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Senatorial Audiences and the Limits of Political Patience

Thursday Lecture Series, Exhaustion

dateApril 16, 2015 timeThursday, 12:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
Fresco by Cesare Maccari depicting Roman senator Cicero denouncing the conspirator Catiline in the Roman Senate

The Greek historian Polybius notes the flood of all things Greek into the city of Rome in the wake of the Roman victory at Pydna in 168 B.C.E. (Polyb. 31.24.6-7; Plut. Aem. 6.4-5, 33.3). The Roman senatorial class exhibited signs in the period between 200 and 150 B.C.E. of being overwhelmed by a Greek cultural onslaught, as we may surmise from the periodic expulsion of Greek intellectuals from the city. One way in which direct contacts with the Greek world accelerated during this time was in the increasing frequency of Greek diplomatic embassies to the Roman Senate. Building on the theme of this colloquium series, Champion shall argue that ennui and exhaustion in hosting such embassies provide an essential backdrop against which to view an increasingly sharp Roman response to Greek political problems, resulting in the so-called Achaean War and the destruction of Corinth in 146 B.C.E.