From the heights of empire to the depths of Roman subjugation, Athens' fortunes seemed to be on a downward spiral after Alexander the Great's effective takeover in 323 BC. Yet even though foreign policy and foreign domination was effectively taken out of her hands, Greece's greatest polis never lost autonomy in internal affairs. Culturally, intellectually and socially, Athens retained a leading role throughout the Hellenistic period; in this book, Habicht documents both the struggles and the continuing vitality of one of the most important cities in Western civilization.
In the World of the Second Sophistic, education, paideia, was a crucial factor in the discourse of power. Knowledge in the fields of medicine, history, philosophy, and poetry joined with rhetorical brilliance and a presentable manner became the outward appearance of the elite of the Eastern Roman Empire. This outward appearance guaranteed a high social status as well as political and economical power for the individual and major advantages for their hometowns in interpolis competition. Since paideia was related particularly to Classical Greek antiquity, it was, at the same time, fundamental to the new self-confidence of the Greek East. This book presents, for the first time, studies from a broad range of disciplines on various fields of life and on different media, in which this ideology became manifest. These contributions show that the Sophists and their texts were only the most prominent exponents of a system of thoughts and values structuring the life of the elite in general.
Intriguing information on mythological origin of specific foods, treatment of dinner guests, dishes prepared by the Greeks, Romans, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Jews — from pigeon and peacock to wild boar and elephant. 38 black-and-white illustrations.