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By Susan E. Alcock

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17 Thereaft er , from th e reign of Au gu stu s to th e Herulian in vasion of AD 267, Acha ia was a recip ient of th e pax R omana, expe rienc ing th e ben efits of long- term peaceful coex istence, both internally and with its provin cial neighbor s. Th e form er days of Greek indep end en ce had never kn own such a prolon ged spell of peace, but it was an enforced blessing. The magnitud e of th e tr an sformation resulting in th e crea tion of Th e problem of Roman Greece 3 Boun d a ries of th e p ro vin ces of Acha ia , M a ced on ia a nd Epi ru s Graecia capta Ach aia sho uld not be under estimat ed: for th e first tim e, all of th e a utonomo us, or largely a u tono mo us, Greek political units wer e form all y a nd for cibl y brought together under an extern a l pow er.

Set in Southern Euboea, th e city nearest to th eir sma ll but happy holding (pro b ably Karysto s) is described in sha rp ly negati ve terms, with two-thirds of its territory said to be a bandoned through neglect and underpopulation. As on e of ver y few apparently realistic a nc ien t treatments of rustic life, the speech ha s often been held to provide a valuable glimpse of city-coun try relationships under the empire. The oration's m ain th em e, however, celebra tes the wa y in whi ch vir tue is a t home with poverty (penia); coun try livin g in an id eal comm unity is lauded , and luxury denounced .

A reviva l of Greek culture coupled wit h a Iascination with th e past, resulting in a co nscious a rcha ism in lit erature a nd rh etori c, wer e cha racteristics of th e movement kno wn as th e Seco nd Sophistic, whi ch m arked Greek intellectu a l life in th e second a nd ea rly thi rd cen turies A D . In part , th is 16 Th e problem of Roman Greece 4 Sesiert ius of H ad ria n (ca . AD 135) . Restitutori Achaiae S. C. A person ificat ion of th e provi nce of Ach aia is raised from the gro und by the empero r.

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