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Literary and Artistic Patronage in Ancient Rome

Literary and Artistic Patronage in Ancient Rome
May 1982
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208 pages | 6 x 9 |

Virgil, Horace, Catullus, Propertius—these are just a few of the poets whose work we would be without today were it not for the wealthy and powerful patrons upon whose support the Roman cultural establishment so greatly depended. Who were these patrons? What benefits did they give, to whom, and why? What effect did the support of such men as Maecenas and Pompey have on the lives and work of those who looked to them for aid?

These questions and others are addressed in this volume, which explores all the important aspects of patronage—a topic crucial to the study of literature and art from Homer to the present day. The subject is approached from various vantage points: literary, artistic, historical. The essayists reach conclusions that dispel the many misconceptions about Roman patronage derived from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century models in England and Europe.

An understanding of the workings of patronage is indispensable in helping us see how the Roman cultural establishment functioned in the four centuries of its flourishing and also in helping us read and enjoy specific poems and works of art. A book for all concerned with classical literature, art, and social history, Literary and Artistic Patronage in Ancient Rome not only deepens our understanding of the ancient world but also suggests important avenues for future exploration.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Historical Approach
    • Phases in Political Patronage of Literature in Rome (Gordon Williams)
    • Pete nobiles amicos: Poets and Patrons in Late Republican Rome (T. P. Wiseman)
    • Positions for Poets in Early Imperial Rome (Peter White)
    • Literature and Society in the Later Roman Empire (Barry Baldwin)
  • Literary and Artistic Approach
    • The Poetics of Patronage in the Late First Century B.C. (James E. G. Zetzel)
    • Propertius 3.9: Maecenas as Eques, Dux, Fautor (Barbara K. Gold)
    • The Creation of Characters in the Aeneid (Jasper Griffin)
    • Patrons, Painters, and Patterns: The Anonymity of Romano-Campanian Painting and the Transition from the Second to the Third Style (Eleanor Winsor Leach)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Abbreviations
  • Bibliography

Barbara K. Gold is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College.


“... easily the best work now available on this topic, and likely to remain so for a long time. This book will be revolutionary and permanent in its influence.”
W. R. Johnson


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