Tales of Philip II under the Roman Empire: aspects of monarchy and leadership in the Anecdotes, Apophthegmata, and Exempla of Philip II

Welch, Michael Thomas James (2016). Tales of Philip II under the Roman Empire: aspects of monarchy and leadership in the Anecdotes, Apophthegmata, and Exempla of Philip II PhD Thesis, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.378

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Author Welch, Michael Thomas James
Thesis Title Tales of Philip II under the Roman Empire: aspects of monarchy and leadership in the Anecdotes, Apophthegmata, and Exempla of Philip II
Formatted title
Tales of Philip II under the Roman Empire: aspects of monarchy and leadership in the Anecdotes, Apophthegmata, and Exempla of Philip II
School, Centre or Institute School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.378
Publication date 2016-06-20
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Caillan Davenport
Amelia Brown
Total pages 270
Language eng
Subjects 21 History and Archaeology
Formatted abstract
This thesis examines the role anecdotes, apophthegmata, and exempla play in the historiography of the Macedonian king Philip II in the Roman world - from the first century BCE to the fourth century CE. Most of the material examined comes from moral treatises, collections of tales and sayings, and military works by Greek and Latin authors such as Plutarch, Valerius Maximus, Aelian, Polyaenus, Frontinus, and Stobaeus (supplemented with pertinent material from other authors). This approach will show that while many of the tales surely originate from the earlier Greek world and Hellenistic times, the use and manipulation of the majority of them and the presentation of Philip are the product of a world living under Roman political and cultural domination.

This thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter one defines and discusses anecdotal material in the ancient world. Chapter two examines two emblematic ancient authors (Plutarch and Valerius Maximus) as case studies to demonstrate in detail the type of analysis required by all the authors of this study. Following this, the thesis then divides the material of our authors into four main areas of interest, particularly concerning Philip as a king and statesman. Therefore, chapter three examines Philip and justice. Chapter four looks at Philip and tales of criticism and self-control. Chapter five studies Philip and tales of friendship and politics. The final chapter examines material mostly of a military nature (though not exclusively), and concerns Philip as a warrior and general. All these studies show in the end that the tales of Philip II speak to a wider perspective than their internal details would at first suggest. Instead they are an important part of the Roman world’s evolving dialogue on politics, power, war and society.

This thesis argues that one notable role of this material was to present Philip didactically as a largely positive exemplar during the Roman Empire, particularly in terms of monarchy, statesmanship and generalship. Though negative tales also do exist, these seem to have their roots in the more hostile traditions that followed closely the works of authors such as Demosthenes and Theopompus and are less popular. All these tales allowed for an engagement with Philip’s legacy on a broad social spectrum. However, this connection occurred particularly within elite circles. Here the dissemination of Philippic tales through rhetorical handbooks, education, speeches, collections of sayings and tales, panegyric, and military handbooks gave rise to a wealth of flexible and recognizable images of Philip as a model and paradigm for a class of Roman and Greek politicians and intellectuals who faced the realities of autocratic government. However, Philip’s tales were also heavy in social and civic symbolism and values which could be applied to any and all individuals. Therefore, the themes, virtues and morals of Philip’s diverse reception provided an image and exemplar which easily traversed age and social class. In conclusion, this thesis emphasises a practice by which Philip and his image were appropriated and manipulated to become important touchstones for social, civic, and governmental values during the constant political and cultural evolutions taking place in the Roman world as it moved from republic to entrenched empire.
Keyword Philip II
Macedonian History
Greek and Roman History
Anecdotes
Reception Studies

Document type: Thesis
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Created: Fri, 10 Jun 2016, 17:18:17 EST by Mr Michael Welch on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)