Antioch as a Centre of Hellenic Culture, as Observed by by A.F. Norman

By A.F. Norman

Focusing at the first and final years of Libanius’ Antiochene occupation (AD 354–388), this quantity illustrates his nice variety of his rhetorical talents, whereas whilst illuminating the intrigues of urban politics and collage existence. The shorter speeches provide extraordinary insights into difficulties of sharply modern relevance – teachers’ pay, scholar indiscipline and rioting, threats from the rival Latin curriculum, accusations incompetence, in addition to daily information of educational lifestyles.

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62) Upon ¢nding out their origin and the reasons for their journey, he marvelled attheir desire to meet him in preference toremaining unnoticed as he passed on his way; he behaved not as though he had the right to demand thanks of them for occupying his land, but as though he himself owed them thanks for dwelling in it. The evidence is in the fact that he gave them presents and allowed them to depart as if they were his benefactors. (63) So let any who will, talk of the ferocity and madness of Cambyses,25 for it will appear more than ever clear that our ancestors lived with the help and under the protection of the gods.

Or. 67, 245. H. For Libanius these deities favour Antioch not only by their products but by their presence in the temples erected in their honour. 478¡. ‘Golden’ Demeter, ibid. 500. 12 ORATION 11 see in one and the same place, trees growing and corn beneath them. In fact, though it shows these crops separately, it produces them all together, for their part of our domain is rich in barley and in wine, and partakes in everything. 12 Any de¢ciency in the plain is often advantageous to the uplands; conversely, any harm which a¡ects the upland areas may not appear on the plains.

The evidence of archaeology, for instance, con¢rms him in his statements about the general topography of the city, the water supply, even such details as the fact that the front doors of houses abut on the main street. From the slightly later date of the Yakto mosaic comes con¢rmation that the baths or shops and stalls, and their wares, were everywhere such as he describes them. In fact, as regards the veracity of some of his statements, it seems that sometimes it is forgotten that his audience were in a position to know the facts as well as he did.

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