Monday, October 4, 2010

PACE: Project on Ancient Cultural Engagement

PACE: Project on Ancient Cultural Engagement
The purpose of this project is to provide an online resource, focused but open-ended, for reflection on issues of cultural identity and interaction in the Greco-Roman world. We have chosen to ground such a resource in substantial texts by authors who conspicuously embodied the set of problems we are examining. To begin with, we have chosen Polybius (ca. 203 - 120 BCE) and Flavius Josephus (37 - 100+ CE). Although they flourished more than two centuries apart -- the span that separates us from, say, Napoleon or Immanuel Kant -- their lives and the histories they wrote have much in common. Both men, leading members of their local aristocracies, spent many years in Rome and became well acquainted with leading figures of their day. Both had to deal with the problem of the ongoing identity of their home cities in the context of Roman hegemony: the role and value of the native 'constitutions' or laws, traditions, and the established elite bodies. Our plan is to open up the historical compositions by Polybius and Josephus for new kinds of intensive study, by providing tools that function best on the web -- for specialist scholars, students, and the informed public. Over time, we expect to add new authors from the Hellenistic-Roman world (perhaps Diodorus, Dionysius, some Plutarch and Lucian), but we have much to do with Polybius and Josephus before we may turn to new authors. Since each author's literary corpus opens windows into many aspects of Greek, Roman, and Near-Eastern politics, culture, literature, rhetoric, philosophy, archaeology, and so forth, tracing out such links will take us far into those worlds without the need to add numerous texts...

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