Tradition and Power in the Roman Empire

Proceedings of the Fifteenth Workshop of The International Network Impact of Empire (Nijmegen, 18-20 May 2022)


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This volume focuses on the interface between tradition and the shifting configuration of power structures in the Roman Empire. By examining various time periods and locales, its contributions show the Empire as a world filed with a wide variety of cultural, political, social, and religious traditions. These traditions were constantly played upon in the processes of negotiation and (re)definition that made the empire into a superstructure whose coherence was embedded in its diversity.
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Dr. Sven Betjes is lecturer and researcher of Ancient History at Radboud University Nijmegen. He has published articles on ideological expressions of Roman emperors, and takes a particular interest in numismatics and ancient roads.
Prof.dr. Olivier Hekster is Professor of Ancient History at Radboud University Nijmegen and chair of the Impact of Empire network. He has published widely on the role of ideology in ancient Rome, with a particular focus on Roman emperorship.
Dr. Erika Manders is Assistant Professor of Ancient History at Radboud University Nijmegen. She has published a monograph and articles on political culture and religion in the Roman Empire, with particular interest in coins and religious policies of Roman emperors.
Contributors are: Stéphane Benoist, Sven Betjes, Lukas De Blois, Francesco Bono, Christer Bruun, Livia Capponi, Margherita Carucci, Juan Manuel Cortés Copete, Elsemieke Daalder, Sergio España-Chamorro, Amber Gartrell, Florian Groll, Nikolas Hächler, Johannes Hahn, Fernando Lozano, Erika Manders, Giorgos Mitropoulos, Elena Muñiz Grijalvo, Toni Ñaco del Hoyo, Elena Torregaray Pagola.

List of Figures and Maps

Notes on Contributors

Sven Betjes and Erika Manders

Part 1: Tradition in the Formation of the Augustan Empire

1 A Divine Right to Rule? The Gods as Legitimators of Power
Amber Gartrell

2 Closing a Highway to Heaven
Discontinuities in the Divinisation of Human Beings in Roman Times
Fernando Lozano and Elena Muñiz Grijalvo

3 Women’s Mediation and Peace Diplomacy
Augustan Women through the Looking Glass
Elena Torregaray Pagola and Toni Ñaco Del Hoyo

4 Republican Traditions, Imperial Innovations
The Representation of the Military Prowess of Augustus’ Family
Florian Groll

5 Augustus and Traditional Structures in Egypt
Grand Policies or Ad Hoc Measures?
Livia Capponi

6 Between Tradition and Innovation
Place Names and the Geography of Power in Late Republican and Early Imperial Hispania
Sergio España-Chamorro

7 Paving the Route of Hercules
The Via Augusta and the Via Iulia Augusta and the Appropriation of Road-Bound Traditions in the Augustan Age
Sven Betjes

Part 2: Tradition and Power in the First and Second Century CE

8 Municipal Elections in the Roman West during the Principate
The Strength of Tradition
Christer Bruun

9 Plotina and the (Re)Invention of the Tradition of Womanhood
Margherita Carucci

10 Hadrian: Imperator Nomothetes – Ancient Laws for the Empire
Juan Manuel Cortés-Copete

11 Between Tradition and Change
The Imitatio Principis in the Imperial East
Giorgios Mitropoulos

Part 3: Tradition and Power in the Third and Fourth Century CE

12 Tradition and Innovation in the Rescript Practice of the Emperor Caracalla
Elsemieke Daalder

13 The Emperor Gallienus and the Senators
Tradition, Change, and Perception
Lukas de Blois

14 The Role of Tradition for the Negotiation and Legitimization of Imperial Rule in the Gallic and Palmyrene Empires
Nikolas Hächler

15 Stylites on Pillars versus Sanctuaries on Summits
The Conquest of Traditional Cult Sites by Christian Ascetics in Northern Syria
Johannes Hahn

Part 4: The longue durée of Tradition and Power in Roman Discourse

16 Mos maiorum and res novae
How Roman Politics Have Conceived Tradition, Transformation, and Innovation, from the Second Century BCE to the Fourth Century CE
Stéphane Benoist

17 Justinian, the Senate and the Consuls
A Rhetorical Memory of the Old Constitution
Francesco Bono

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