"Eager to be Roman" is an important investigation into the ways in which the population of Pontus et Bithynia, a Greek province in the northwestern part of Asia Minor (on the southern shore of the Black Sea), engaged culturally with the Roman Empire. Scholars have long presented Greek provincials as highly attached to their Hellenic background and less affected by Rome's influence than Spaniards, Gauls or Britons. More recent studies have acknowledged that some elements of Roman culture and civic life found their way into Greek communities and that members of the Greek elite obtained Roman citizen rights and posts in the imperial administration, though for purely pragmatic reasons. Drawing on a detailed investigation of literary works and epigraphic evidence, Jesper Madsen demonstrates that Greek intellectuals and members of the local elite in this province were in fact keen to identify themselves as Roman, and that imperial connections and Roman culture were prestigious in the eyes of their Greek readers and fellow-citizens.
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