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Title: Diplomatic procedures at Rome in the second century B.C
Author: Piddock, Graham
ISNI:       0000 0001 3490 1761
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1979
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The diplomatic season was a development of the period after 189 which was unparallelled led but explicable in the context to Rome's new hegemony. It reflects the constitutional role ascribed to the consuls by Polybius, which could only be fulfilled early in the consular year; but there was sufficient flexibility to allow numerous exceptions. It belongs to an annual cycle, artificial in diplomacy but which suited Rome's administrative requirements. Embassies approached a senior magistrate who allocated a senatorial audience and public hospitality. The magistrates thus had power over the order and timing of audiences which could be manipulated for purposes of etiquette or expediency. Abuse of this power and the scope for corruption were limited by the Lex Gabinia, probably of Ciceronian date. Only limited hospitality was provided. The official audience is ignored in some evidence which concentrates on pre-audience unofficial activity which became standard procedure. The motlf of bribery is often associated with this. Because of their influence over senatorial decisions the consulares figured prominently in such activity, but privately connected patroni and hospites played an important part and were thus cultivated by states and dynasts. Senators could interrupt and question ambassadors but this did not facilitate negotiation. The character of the audience as a simple exchange of statements was determined by certain "democratic" features of ancient diplomacy: openness, which suited Rome's purposes and made possible "collective audiences" (these helped the organisation of diplomatic activity and underlined the senate's arbitral role); and restricted ambassadorial competence which was hardly modified in the new conditions. Interpretation of ambassadorial speeches was required for dignity rather than intelligibility. The impression created at an audience might influence the senate; but Polybius often overstates the importance of ambassadors' speeches, since other factors influencing the senate's decisions (unofficial activity and the dependence on senatorial experts) could render the audience proceedings irrelevant.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Diplomacy ; History ; Foreign relations ; Rome