The Provincial At Rome
and Rome and the Balkans 80BC-AD14
By Ronald Syme Edited by Anthony Birley
Subjects: Classical Studies and Ancient History
This volume offers a new insight into the development of a great historian, as well as giving an exciting and immensely readable new approach to late Republican and early Imperial Roman history. Drafted in 1934-35, but laid aside in favour of The Roman Revolution (1939), The Provincial at Rome was to have been Ronald Syme's first book. It is a brilliantly written study of the enlargement of the Roman élite in the early empire, an analysis, in thirteen chapters, of the Emperor Claudius' enrolment of 'Gallic chieftains' into the Senate in AD 48. The edition also includes five unpublished papers dealing with Rome's conquest of the Balkans, a region Syme knew intimately.
Contents: The Provincial at Rome: introduction; the evidence; admission to the Senate; Provincial senators before Augustus; Provincial senators before AD 48; prejudice against Provincials; the virtues of Provincials; Roman and Provincial in Spain and Narbonensis; "Italicus es an provincialis?"; Gallia Comata; Claudius' speech in Tacitus; the "Oratio Claudii Caaesaris"; "new light on Tiberius and Gaius"; additional notes - Spanish senators before AD 48, senators from Gallia Narbonensis before AD 48, eastern senators before AD 48. Rome and the Balkans: Macedonia and Dardnia, 80-30 BC; Proconsuls of Macedonia, 80-50 BC; the status of Illyricum, 80-60 BC; Caesar's designs on Dacia and Parthia; the early history of Moesia.
"The editor . . . Deserves congratulations not simply for making these interesting works available but also for partly rectifying the incomplete state of the footnotes left behind by the author."
"Antony Birley and his Dusseldorf team have done a fine job in editing and presenting Syme's manuscript - clearly a considerable responsibility . . . This is a fascinating book, and can be highly recommended - it deserves attention as an historiographical gem, of enormous interest and importance in helping us understand Syme's development to become one of the greatest modern authorities on imperial Rome."
(Bryn Mawr, Classical Review, June 14 2000)
"This is terrific. Syme wrote The Provincial at Rome when he was 31, with all the bravura of a brilliant young scholar confident of his powers and enjoying the opportunity to display them. Anthony Birley has done an excellent and appropriate editing job."
(Professor T.P. Wiseman, University of Exeter)
“Retrieval, reconstruction and publication of work long ago discarded by deceased scholars can be a matter for regret when better consigned to oblivion. Not so here. Many will enjoy the clear and taut arguments unencumbered by a mass of redundant annotation. Syme had a matchless talent for illuminating the nuances of Roman high society through close attention to origins, marriage, relationships and the working of patronage. Here it is deployed to illustrate the advance of new men under the Julio-Claudians, a theme to which he returned later more than once but perhaps never with the verve and brilliance of this inaugural essay.”
(JACT Bulletin, Vol. 29, Summer 2001)
Sir Ronald Syme was regarded long before his death in 1989 as the twentieth-century's pre-eminent historian of ancient Rome. He was Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, 1929-49; Professor of Classical Philology, Istanbul, 1942-45; Camden Professor of Ancient History and Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, 1949-70; Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, 1970-1989. Anthony Birley is Professor of Ancient History in the University of Dusseldorf and was previously Professor of Ancient History in the University of Manchester. He is the author of many books on Rome and editor of Syme's Roman Papers III-VII and Anatolica.