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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In turning to the vexed relationship between Latin and Greek literature, this article analyses a series of famous passages about Rome's debt to Greece, and calls on readers to be more critical and less accepting of the claims made by elite writers. Latin arguments about cultural indebtedness need to be contextualized in socio-historical terms. What are the stakes in sketching out a literary and cultural ‘reconciliation’ between Greeks and Romans when Greeks are subjects of Rome's empire? Does competition between Romans and the Italic peoples serve as an incentive for the aggressive and hegemonic promotion, by Romans, of a hybrid Graeco-Roman culture? The discussion holds that critics need to be more sensitive to the many different kinds of appropriation by Romans of Greek culture and to appreciate the importance of distinctions within Roman Hellenisms.

Keywords: Rome, Greece, cultural indebtedness, Roman Hellenisms, Latin literature

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