By Tessa Rajak, Sarah Pearce, James Aitken, Jennifer Dines
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Additional resources for Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers (Hellenistic Culture and Society vol. 50)
In order, however, to give a background against which the idiosyncracies of the various writers can be assessed, it seems necessary to desert the strict canons of historical truth, and attempt imaginatively to reconstruct an “ideal” or “typical” treatise On Kingship. Some of the evidence on which such a reconstruction might be based falls within the Hellenistic period, but most of it does not: for the closest approaches to what might be thought to be typical treatises On Kingship are such works as Isocrates Ad Nicoclem, the ﬁrst and third orations of Dio of Prusa, Plutarch’s On the Different Constitutions, To an Uneducated Ruler, and That Philosophers Ought Especially to Consort with Men in Power, and Musonius Rufus’s fragment on the topic that the king ought to be a philosopher.
While at times aristocrats may refrain, or be excluded, from exercising political power, Reuter is surely correct to suggest that the possession of power of some kind—maybe social, economic, or military rather than or in addition to political—is intrinsic to what we mean by aristocracy, as the etymology of the word suggests. Although titular rights may reside with the monarch (as under a feudal system), and monarchs may also intervene in the system to enhance the wealth of some favored individuals or families, or to destroy others, the power and wealth of an aristocracy in general must be basically held and transmitted independently of the monarchy.
The ﬁrst was by Aristotle himself, “on kingship in one book”: this was probably the work also listed as “sumbouleutikos to Alexander,” which may well have been known to Cicero, but it is clearly not identical with the work addressed to Alexander that survives in Arabic translation,15 and that caused enormous excitement when it was ﬁrst published in 1891, the same year as the discovery of the AthenaiOn Politeia: that work, I was able to demonstrate, is a (goodquality) forgery of the Roman imperial period.
Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers (Hellenistic Culture and Society vol. 50) by Tessa Rajak, Sarah Pearce, James Aitken, Jennifer Dines