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date: 21 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the practicalities of empire and colonialism as these affected the conditions of cultural production under Roman rule and adumbrates contours of enquiry within several such domains. It commences with general remarks on the fit between ancient empire as a political form and the regular features of early modern and modern experience that gave rise to contemporary postcolonial theory. Subsequent sections explore the metropolitan desire for knowledge pursuant to governance; the responses that this desire generated in colonial contexts, in both conduct and self-understanding; and the lingering power of imperial knowledge in ancient and modern scholarship. The essay closes by enquiring into nature of elite cultural production under Rome, asking how imperial were the empire’s elites and how metropolitan were their tastes.

Keywords: colonialism, imperialism, postcolonial theory, empire, Rome, Rabbinic Judaism

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