Download date: Berkeley and London:University of California Press, Berkeley and London: University of California Press, Arthur Eckstein here offers a new and provocative look at ancient imperialism and warfare. Whatis novel is his sustained application of arguments from political science to an understanding ofancient interstate relations. For E. He argues that in interstate anarchy all states are warlike and bellicose; that is aconsequence of the system. In this, therefore, Rome is no different from any other ancient state sothese characteristics cannot be invoked, as they so often are, to explain Roman success.
What isunique about Rome is its capacity to assimilate others. Modern scholars, he argues, fail tounderstand Roman imperialism because they focus on factors internal to Roman society and noton the system of which Rome was a part. Much of the book is devoted to showing that the ancient Mediterranean was indeed ananarchic system, where violence and war were endemic, and that Roman behaviour, far frombeing exceptional, was the norm. Chs 3 and 4 explore interstate relations in Classical Greece andthe Hellenistic Age and seek to demonstrate that aggressive, militarized, self-interested, and oftenbrutal competition governed relations between states.
There is some danger of circularity here;the prime evidence in support of a realist approach is supplied for Classical Greece byThucydides, acknowledged by E. It isnoticeable that realist analysis is less to the fore in ch. In conclusion, he argues that it was the virtual collapse of thePtolemaic kingdom in the late third century cf.
Soviet Union? Eckstein, Rome Enters the Greek East The realist position presents an inherently bleak vision of international relations and its verybleakness may lead it to underestimate or even to overlook international co-operation. This canbe more pronounced when looking at antiquity as the application of modern political science canhave the effect of encouraging us to judge antiquity in relation to the present.
They did not havewhat we have, no wonder they had problems.
It might, however, be more productive to see the ancients as having a different way ofdoing things and then try to make sense of how they did it or indeed how they failed to. TheGreeks, for example, may have lacked all these modern institutions but they did perceivethemselves to be Greek whatever that might be and this entailed, however loosely, sharedpractices and values in interstate relations, such as common religious customs, panhellenicfestivals, foreign arbitration, and the inviolability of ambassadors.
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Axial Age, Classical Antiquity – Tauromachy
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Mediterranean anarchy, interstate war, and the rise of Rome
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THE EMPIRE'S MUSE: ROMAN INTERPRETATIONS OF THE AMAZONS THROUGH LITERATURE AND ART
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