Friday, June 29, 2012


François Hinard, Rome, la dernière République: recueil d'articles. Scripta antiqua, 32. Pessac: Ausonius Éditions, 2011. Pp. 529. ISBN 9782356130426. €25.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Richard Westall, Pontificia Università Gregoriana (

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

Did the Romans distinguish between fresh water and sea water? Was the libertus Chrysogonus in fact as important as Cicero seeks to represent him? Were Vibius Pansa the tribune of the plebs in 51 BC and Vibius Pansa the ill-starred consul of 43 BC one and the same person? Was T. Statilius Taurus merely a cipher in Augustan Rome? These are just a sampling of the questions that Hinard poses in characteristic fashion and with a sharp eye for paradox in the pieces that have been assembled within this anthology. Mercilessly demolishing misconstructions of the past created by his predecessors, ancient and modern, Hinard time and time again provides close philological readings of the sources that are instructive even when the reader must disagree with the results on methodological grounds.

Published over the period 1975-2007, this anthology of forty articles by Hinard has been arranged thematically in four parts, each of which has in turn been divided into two or three sections. Part I (pp. 19-162) deals with the figure of Sulla and the proscriptions. Part II (pp. 163-330) is concerned more generally with the themes of civil war and revolution in the late Republic. Part III (pp. 331-425) engages with the political significance of the topography of Rome in the Republic and early Principate. Part IV (pp. 427-486) deals with the preservation of social order in ancient Rome, focussing upon the topics of funerals and military oaths. Written over more than three decades, these pieces reveal a progression in Hinard's thought and an ever more critical assessment of the literary sources upon which the ancient historian is primarily reliant when seeking to compose a narrative of l'histoire événementielle. So, for example, Hinard in the end came to have a highly negative view of the historical value of Appian's description of Sulla's dictatorship (p. 71), abandoning the traditional, acritical stance that he had himself espoused in his 1985 biography (v. infr.). Similarly, in discussing the building activity documented for Rome during the 40s-20s BC, Hinard takes a refreshingly critical view of the historical banalization effected by Suetonius in his biography of Augustus (p. 407). Life is complicated, and historians have the duty of explaining without falsifying through over-simplification ("gommer" is the memorable metaphor deployed by Hinard on more than one occasion). The organization of Hinard's publications in this anthology allows readers to follow Hinard as he grappled with problems and elaborated with greater confidence ever more nuanced solutions over the course of his career. The resulting "dialogue" focussing upon details is accordingly particularly useful for anyone wishing to have more than a passing acquaintance with the last century of Roman Republic.

For incisive philological observation and methodological coherence, Hinard's work offers an example that might be disseminated with considerable profit beyond the French-speaking world. It is striking to see how often Hinard wrote to good effect and early upon a topic that was only subsequently covered in an English-language publication. For instance, his critique of the work of B. A. Marshall on the question of the identity of the person who killed M. Marius Gratidianus appeared before that of E. Rawson, C. Damon, and A. Dyck, and makes for far more compelling reading (pp. 143-146).1 Similarly, highlighting the virtues of a small textbook compiled by E. Gabba, Hinard identified the problem and significance of mutinies in the Roman army of the Republic over a decade prior to the seminal publication of S. G. Chrissanthos (pp. 455-459).2 Unfortunately, neither of these articles by Hinard appears within the bibliography of English-language publications, and this is the rule rather than the exception.3 Literary critics and ancient historians alike might consult with advantage items such as Hinard's article dedicated to the young Horace (pp. 225-231) or the piece examining the status of praecones in ancient Roman society (pp. 431- 444).4 In like fashion, textual critics may find something of use, if not of comfort, in Hinard's frequent notices regarding modern editions and the dubious principles that inform their creation (e.g. pp. 175, 469). Nor will archaeologists find that their field has been overlooked, as can be seen from the trenchant and damning remarks made concerning the identification of Temple A of the Largo Argentina in Rome (pp. 375-387) and discussion of the rebuilding of the temple of Apollo by C. Sosius (pp. 393-400). Invariably Hinard's name appears in English- and German-language bibliographies only in conjunction with the proscriptions, but the forty papers gathered in this volume demonstrate a wide-ranging and penetrating vision of the late Republic that merits further attention.5 Even where Hinard fails to convince, his discussion proves stimulating and draws attention to materials that are often neglected. In short, the volume is perfectly suited for use within a seminar on the late Republic and early Principate for advanced undergraduates or graduate students.

It is to be regretted that Hinard did not have the opportunity to produce a revised version of his now classic biography of Sulla, which appeared in 1985. In undertaking to write about Sulla within a traditional, narrative form of historiography, he came to a greater appreciation of the various problems that exist and possible solutions. Many of the pieces published within this anthology (overlapping with Svllana varia published in 2008, but going further) reveal further thought upon the subject, with considerable clarification of the image of Sulla and his achievement. For instance, whereas Hinard settled in the biography for the affirmation that Sulla resigned the dictatorship at some unknown moment prior to the end of 81 BC6, he subsequently went on to a more rigorous consideration of Sulla's consular power and the aims of the dictatorship and arrived at the conclusion that this office had been laid aside on 1 June 81 BC (p. 70). This marks an advance upon the revisionist thesis that had been advanced by E. Badian (1970/1976). As is so often the case in ancient history, irrefutable proof is not to be had, but the various pieces of evidence strongly point to the conclusion adopted by Hinard. It is therefore most welcome to see that forty (nearly all) of Hinard's journal publications have been united in one place for ease of consultation. Frequently difficult to find, they are essential reading for anyone wishing to work upon the figure of Sulla and the late Republic in general. Numerous invaluable observations are buried within Hinard's scholarly oeuvre.

Overall, the quality of production of this collection is quite high and may serve as a model for others to imitate. However, there are various instances of poor proof-reading, most notably within the sole piece published in Italian: "triumirato" (p. 51), "que" (p. 52) rather than "che", and "si tratto" (p. 55) rather than "si tratta". When authors publish in a language other than their own, the risks increase for all concerned, and it is perplexing to see that these mistakes carry over from the original publication. Of course, the French is itself not immune to these slips, e.g. "aboder" (p. 455). Other instances, readily visible, include items such as the intriguing Book XII of Tacitus' Historiae (p. 260 n. 49, 518 [where it is faithfully reported within the index]) and capitalization of the word spiritus as though it were a part of the name of Cn. Cornelius Dolabella (p. 191 n. 79). More distressing, on the other hand, are items such as the fact that in the index of personal names the praetor Cn. Cornelius Dolabella (81 BC) is mistaken for the homonymous consul who gave his name to that same year (p. 525). This occurs notwithstanding Hinard's clear statement as to the identity of the individual being attacked by Cicero (p. 191). Mistakes of this sort are comprehensible, in view of the circumstances in which this collection was created, but are rather unfortunate in view of the high standards of prosopography to which Hinard accustomed his colleagues and readers. Fortunately, they are the exception rather than the rule.

Colleagues and former students are to be congratulated for this useful presentation anew of Hinard's most significant academic papers. Overall this anthology has been attractively published, and it looks like the sort of volume that one dreams about leaving behind as a testament of erudition and scholarly engagement.

Table of Contents

Estelle Bertrand, Avant-propos : p. 11
Jean-Michel Roddaz, Préface : p. 13
Bibliographie des travaux de F. Hinard : p. 15

Partie I - Autour de Sylla : mythe et histoire
La dictature de Sylla : un réexamen
La naissance du mythe de Sylla : p. 23
De la dictature à la tyrannie. Réflexions sur la dictature de Sylla : p. 39
La dittatura costituente di Silla : p. 49
Dion Cassius et l'abdication de Sylla : p. 57
La dictature de Sylla : une magistrature inconstitutionnelle? : p. 63
La première proscription et son héritage
La proscription de 82 et les Italiens: p. 75
La male mort. Exécution et statut du corps au moment de la première proscription : p. 85
Sur les liberi proscriptorum. Approches prosopographique et historique d'un problème politique : p. 99
Solidarités familiales et ruptures à l'époque des guerres civiles et de la proscription : p. 117
Consécration et confiscation des biens dans la Rome républicaine : p. 131
Histoires de proscrits
Mais qui donc a tué Gratidianus ? : p. 143
Cicéron et Norbanus : p. 147
Philologie, prosopographie et histoire : à propos de Lucius Fabius Hispaniensis : p. 151
Vibius Pansa ou Caetronius? : p. 159

Partie II - Entre République et Principat, histoire d'une révolution
Guerres civiles et crise politique
Marius, Sylla et l'Afrique : p. 167
La déposition du consul de 88, Q. Pompeius Rufus, et la première prise de Rome par les armes p. 175
Le Pro Quinctio : un discours politique? : p. 179
L. Cornelius Chrysogonus et la portée politique du pro Roscio Amerino : p. 203
Paternus inimicus : sur une expression de Cicéron : p. 207
M. Terentius Varro Lucullus fils du consul de 73 a.C. : p. 221
Les partis pris politiques du jeune Horace : p. 225
La militarisation de l'Afrique sous la République : p. 233
Réflexions sur une révolution
Histoire romaine et révolution : p. 243
Pax romana. Naissance et signification : p. 251
Appien et la logique interne de la crise : p. 263
Dion Cassius et les institutions de la République romaine : p. 273
La terreur comme mode de gouvernement (au cours des guerres civiles du Ier siècle a.C.) : p. 293
Genèse et légitimation d'une institution nouvelle. La tribunicia potestas d'Auguste : p. 309

Partie III - La Ville de Rome, espace du politique
Le politique, dans le cadre de la Ville
Spectacle des exécutions et espace urbain : p. 335
Rome dans Rome. La Ville définie par les procédures administratives et les pratiques sociales : p. 347
L'élargissement du pomerium. L'Italie et l'espace urbain de Rome : p. 365
Lectures urbaines des conflits
À Rome, pendant la guerre de Sicile (264-241 a.C.) : p. 375
Sur une autre forme de l'opposition entre uirtus et fortuna : p. 389
C. Sosius et le temple d'Apollon : p. 393
Entre République et Principat. Pouvoir et urbanité : p. 401

Partie IV - Le maintien de l'ordre : fondements et difficultés
Le traitement de la mort
Remarques sur les praecones et le praeconium dans la Rome de la fin de la République : p. 431
La « Loi de Pouzzoles » et les pompes funèbres : p. 445
La discipline du soldat
Les révoltes militaires dans l'armée romaine républicaine : p. 455
Aulu-Gelle et les serments militaires : p. 461
Sacramentum : p. 473

Bibliographie générale : p. 487
Index des sources : p. 503
Index des noms de personnes : p. 523


1.   B. A. Marshall, "Catilina and the Execution of M. Marius Gratidianus," CQ 35 (1985) 124-133; contra E. Rawson, "Sallust on the Eighties?" CQ 37 (1987) 175-177, C. Damon, "Com. Pet. 10," HSCP 95 (1993) 282 n. 5, and A. Dyck, A Commentary on Cicero, De Officiis (Ann Arbor 1996) 599.
2.   E. Gabba, Le rivolte militari romane dal IV secolo a.C. ad Augusto (Firenze 1975); S. G. Chrissanthos, "Caesar and the Mutiny of 47 B.C.," JRS 91 (2001) 63-75.
3.   Thus, except for the book on the proscriptions, nothing in the CAH, nor in the DNP for that matter.
4.   Most curiously a piece making the same criticisms of the 1965 work of Saumagne appeared in the very same year: E. Lo Cascio, "Praeconum e dissignatio nella Tabula Heracleensis," Helikon 15-16 (1975-1976) 351-371, esp. 355-356.
5.   F. Hinard, Les Proscriptions de la Rome républicaine, CEFR 83 (Roma 1985).
6.   F. Hinard, Sylla (Paris 1985) 259.

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