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Romanization in the Time of Augustus Paperback – March 25, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"'Fans of Ramsay MacMullen's prolific output will find in this latest volume all the ingredients of his previous successes... This small book with its large theme is important enough to merit both attention and critical evaluation; and whether it inspires imitation or provokes a creative resistance, the scholarly community is lucky to have it.' Greg Woolf, Journal of Roman Archaeology 'MacMullen's study succeeds admirably. He has taken a huge body of complex material and produced attractive answers to important questions. His documentation is transparent and exemplary, allowing readers to follow him and check his conclusions at every turn... Readers interested in the origins of their cultural patrimony will be well served by this book.' Geoffrey Bakewell, Theological Studies"

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During the lifetime of Augustus (from 63 b.c. to a.d. 14), Roman civilization spread at a remarkable rate throughout the ancient world, influencing such areas as art and architecture, religion, law, local speech, city design, clothing, and leisure and family activities. In his newest book, Ramsay MacMullen investigates why the adoption of Roman ways was so prevalent during this period.Drawing largely on archaeological sources, MacMullen discovers that during this period more than half a million Roman veterans were resettled in colonies overseas, and an additional hundred or more urban centers in the provinces took on normal Italian-Roman town constitutions. Great sums of expendable wealth came into the hands of ambitious Roman and local notables, some of which was spent in establishing and advertising Roman ways. MacMullen argues that acculturation of the ancient world was due not to cultural imperialism on the part of the conquerors but to eagerness of imitation among the conquered, and that the Romans were able to respond with surprisingly effective techniques of mass production and standardization. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300137532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300137538
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,127,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By on September 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ramsay MacMullen's recent book is a copiously documented work which aside from contemporary sources, uses scholarly literature in German, French, Italian and Spanish. It examines the "Romanization" of the Empire in the age of Augustus and it concentrates on the East, Africa, Spain and Gaul. The evidence of romanization is largely architectural and so we read accounts of the diffusion of surveys, structures, the use of marble, coliseums, baths, and food markets. We hear about the use of gladiator games, the spread of roman frescos, clothes and sculpture as well as the spread of Roman wine instead of continental beer. We learn about bridge building and road building, and the spread of viniculture. We learn that the Romans introduced the domestic cat to Gaul. There is an amusing passage about the cult of the Emperor. People know that August was named after the first Emperor. But in Cyprus, all twelve months were named after the Emperor and his family, and Egypt went so far as not only to celebrate September 23, his birthday, but also the 23rd of every month.
But what if you are not interested in the diffusion of Roman architecture? Then this book is probably not going to be as interesting or helpful. MacMullen himself admits that though he can show the spread of viniculture, he can tell us little about the social context, such as whether it was based on slavery. The evidence, by necessity, is overwhelmingly architectural, so what the overwhelming majority of the population thought about these changes isn't clear. MacMullen emphasizes that these changes were not the result of an oppressive Roman ideology but were accepted by the local elites because they found the new houses, new baths and new frescoes, useful and attractive. There is probably some truth to this.
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