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This book examines hostage-taking in ancient Rome, which was a standard practice of international diplomacy. Hundreds of foreign hostages, typically adolescents, were detained as the empire grew in the Republic and early Principate. As prominent figures at the center of diplomacy and as 'exotic' representatives of the outside world, they drew considerable attention in Roman literature and other artistic media. Our sources discuss hostages in terms of the geopolitics that motivated their detention, as well as in accordance with other comparable structures of power. Hostages, thus, could be located in a social hierarchy, a family network, in a cultural continuum, or in a sexual role. In these schemes, an individual Roman, or Rome in general, becomes not just a conqueror, but also a patron, father, teacher, or generically male. By focusing on the characterizations of hostages in Roman culture, we glean Roman attitudes toward ethnicity and imperial power.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521861830
ISBN-10: 0521861837
Format: Hardback
(228mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Pages: 316
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 8-May-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Joel Allen

Joel Allen is assistant professor of history at Queens College of the City University of New York. He has been a Mellon Fellow at the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Books By Author Joel Allen

Hostages and Hostage-Taking in the Roman Empire by Joel Allen

Hostages and Hostage-Taking in the Roman Empire

Paperback, December 2010
$65.66