The Politics of Munificence in the Roman Empire: Citizens, by Arjan Zuiderhoek

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By Arjan Zuiderhoek

Within the first centuries advert, the jap Roman provinces skilled a proliferation of elite public generosity unequalled of their earlier or later background. during this research, Arjan Zuiderhoek makes an attempt to reply to the query why this could were so. concentrating on Roman Asia Minor, he argues that the surge in elite public giving used to be now not as a result of the susceptible financial and fiscal place of the provincial towns, as has usually been maintained, yet by means of social and political advancements and tensions in the Greek towns created by means of their integration into the Roman imperial process. As disparities of wealth and gear inside imperial polis society endured to widen, the trade of presents for honours among elite and non-elite electorate proved a good political mechanism for deflecting social tensions clear of open conflicts in the direction of communal celebrations of shared citizenship and the legitimation of energy within the towns.

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Before we enter into a discussion of the historical implications of this pattern, however (for which see Chapters 4, 5 and 6), we first have to face one fundamental methodological objection. Benefactions were recorded on inscriptions. And inscriptions, as we have all come to know, were the products of cultural choice. In other words, they were objects of fashion. The question therefore arises: does the chronological pattern we see in Figs. 3 represent the rise and fall of civic euergetism, or have we merely constructed a chronology of epigraphic fashion?

The size and nature of gifts 27 for an average provincial town, our estimate will do. How large a surplus would our community of 25,000 people have produced annually? If a year’s subsistence for one individual cost HS 115, and if, as Keith Hopkins has suggested,6 Gross Product in the Roman world was the equivalent of twice subsistence, then 25,000 people would have produced an annual surplus of about HS 3 million. What proportion of this surplus would have been taken up by elite income? 7 Maximum elite income would of course have been the equivalent of our surplus of HS 3 million.

67 Balland (1981) no. 67 PAS iii 426 IGR iii 739 Balland (1981) no. 67 IGR iii 739 Balland (1981) no. 67 Balland (1981) no. 67 TAM ii 550–1 Jahresh. xxviii (1933) Beibl. 100 IGR iii 739 IGR iii 739 IGR iii 739 IGR iii 833 SEG xxxviii (1988) 1462 IGR iii 351 Lanck. ii no. Ph. xi (1937) 334ff. IGR iii 704 BCH xxviii (1904) 30 IGR iii 739 IGR iii 739 Balland (1981) no. 69 IGR iii 639 FE iii 66 IGR iii 407 IK 48 no. 38 IGR iii 833 ´ An. 549f. Robert, Et. KP iii 87 AM xx (1895) 344ff. 25 26 The Politics of Munificence in the Roman Empire Iason of Cyaneae, and the Anonymous Benefactor from the Letoon near Xanthos.

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