Greek Texts and Latin Translation

Alan Cameron

in The Last Pagans of Rome

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199747276
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866212 | DOI:
Greek Texts and Latin Translation

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The question asked in this chapter is not just whether aristocrats like Praetextatus, Symmachus, and Flavian “knew” Greek, but how much and what sort of Greek they knew. Did they have an easy firsthand familiarity with the Greek literary classics? It argues that there is simply no basis for the assumption that Praetextatus, Flavian, and Symmachus were well-informed and devoted students of Porphyry, where they found an intellectual underpinning for their pagan convictions. Given their social preeminence in Rome and the traditional priesthoods this brought them, inevitably they were in some sense leaders of what passed for a pagan party in late 4th-century Rome. But there is no reason to believe that they were in any sense its intellectual leaders.

Keywords: Greek; Roman aristocrats; Praetextatus; Symmachus; Flavian

Chapter.  21651 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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