Original Research

Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the origin of patronage

S.J. Joubert
Verbum et Ecclesia | Skrif en Kerk: Vol 21, No 3 | a641 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v21i3.641 | © 2000 S.J. Joubert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 August 2000 | Published: 11 August 2000

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Influenced by the ever growing idealisation of patronage during the time of emperor Augustus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus in his Antiquitates Romanae traces the historical roots of this system back to Romulus, the founder of Rome. However, his picture of ancient patronage, of the "good old days" when harmony existed between rich patrons and their clients and between Rome and its allies and conquered territories, is anachronistic. But in spite of the historical inaccuracy of Dionisius' picture of the origin of patronage, as well as of the functioning of this system during the first century Be, it presents us with valuable insights into the ideological manipulation of this institution by those close to the vestibules of power in the Roman world.


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