Cosmopolis : Imagining Community in Late Classical Athens and the Early Roman Empire

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This is a book about the ways in which various intellectuals in the post-classical Mediterranean imagined the human community as a unified, homogenous whole composed of a diversity of parts. More specifically, it explores how authors of the second century CE adopted and adapted a particular ethnic and cultural discourse that had been elaborated by late fifth- and fourth-century BCE Athenian intellectuals. At the center of this book is a series of contests over the meaning of lineage and descent and the extent to which the political community is or ought to be coterminous with what we might call a biologically homogenous collectivity. The study suggests that early imperial intellectuals found in late classical and early Hellenistic thought a way of accommodating the claims of both ethnicity and culture in a single discourse of communal identity. The idea of the unity of humankind evolved in the fifth and fourth centuries as a response to and an engine for the creation of a rapidly shrinking and inshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 165.1 x 236.22 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199772681
  • 9780199772681

Review quote

This complex and stimulating book breathes life into old questions and sheds new light on deceptively familiar texts. Felix Racine, The Classical Reviewshow more

About Daniel S. Richter

Daniel S. Richter is Assistant Professor of Classics, University of Southern more

Table of contents

Introduction ; Chapter One Nature, Culture, and the Boundaries of the Human Community ; Chapter Two After Ethnicity: Zeno as Citizen ; Chapter Three The Rhetoric of Unity ; Chapter Four "A Pure World of Signs": Language and Empire ; Chapter Five The Origins of Human Wisdom ; Chapter Six The Unity of the Divine ; Conclusion ; Bibliographyshow more