Rome’s Decemviral Commission to Greece: Fact, Fiction or Otherwise?

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Abstract: A number of sources from the late Roman Republic and early Principate report that, in the 5th century B.C., when the Decemvirate sought to reform the laws, a commission was dispatched from Rome to Athens in order to study their traditions and report back to the Decemvirs in order to aid them in these efforts. Apart from accounts in the likes of Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and, rather later, Sextus Pomponius, no contemporary evidence exists to confirm or deny such assertions. Most modern scholars consider this an invented tradition, albeit telling of the desire on the part of Romans to connect with Classical Greek culture. But was it in fact fiction or could there be some merit to these claims? This paper will explore the evidence and the historiographical reception of these matters in order to obtain a new interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages9
JournalAthens Journal of History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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