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Research Article

Μηδὲν (ὑπ)εναντίον πράττειν: A Slogan of Pro-Roman Diplomacy after Pydna?

Alberto Gandini    Università degli Studi di Pavia    



This paper takes as its starting point an analysis of three inscriptions dating from the second quarter of the 2nd century BC, related to matters of international politics within the micro-Asiatic Hellenistic world: the treaty of alliance between Pharnakes I and the polis of Chersonesos (IOSPE I2 nr. 402), the treaty of alliance among Plarasa-Aphrodisias, Kibyra and Tabai (Milner 2007), and the (possible) foundation act of the Kibyratic Tetrapolis (I.Kibyra I nr. 2). What is most interesting about these major political agreements is that all the contracting parties make a common commitment not to undertake anything contrary to the Roman decrees or interests; in addition to this, they set it as a condition for the validity of the acts and express it by using much the same wordings. These texts are not addressed to a Roman audience; notwithstanding, they betray a common need to display an undisputed loyalty to the Roman cause. Accordingly, there is a strong case for supposing the action or the presence of the Roman Senate behind them. Indeed, it is telling a comparison to some Roman inscriptions dated to the 2nd century BC, whereby similar phraseologies figure in the words of the Romans themselves. Such coincidences demonstrate the sharing of a highly codified language by different political actors and can be related to the stress put by the ancient narratives (notably, the Histories by Polybius) on the necessity to obey Roman orders in the aftermath of the Third Macedonian War. Thus, we can recover an element of the script of the philo-Roman diplomacy in a specific historical and geopolitical context; it reflects the manner the Romans looked at their own imperium after Pydna, when a radical shift took place in the power relationships within the Hellenistic world.

Keywords: Rome. Hellenistic world. Diplomatic script. Third Macedonian War. Polybius.

Language: it

Submitted: July 11, 2019
Accepted: Sept. 23, 2019
Published: Dec. 23, 2019

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/Axon/2532-6848/2019/02/014

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