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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(228mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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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.