Following his successful Aetolian campaign in 187 BC, a certain M. Fulvius Nobilior celebrated a triumph for his victory over Ambracia, vowing to build the Aedes Herculis Musarum or ‘Temple of Hercules of the Muses’ from the spoils that he had won. Construction on the temple began immediately, and after a second infusion of capital, the building was completed several years later, perhaps in 184 BC. To accompany statues of the muses and other magnificent works of art that he had captured in Ambracia and imported to Rome in order to adorn his temple, he commissioned a calendrical fasti to be inscribed on its wall. The temple’s calendar, which contained etymologies for each of the Roman months, along with its statues and overall appearance have been thought by scholars to have subsequently inspired Ennius, who very soon after composed the Annales, not only the first Roman epic, but also a historical account of the Second Punic War. Rome was now not only engaging with Greek culture, but also appropriating its imports – especially its arts and intellectual interests – for uniquely Roman purposes.
(Questions to Consider) Please discuss this episode in a short reflection paper – approximately two (2) pages – that considers the historical context of these events alongside the following questions:
How do the actions of M. Fulvius Nobilior reflect a pattern of Roman interaction with other peoples throughout Italy and across the Mediterranean during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC?
What do the actions of M. Fulvius Nobilior suggest about the relationship between Romans – especially elite Romans – and Greece?
How do actions like those of M. Fulvius Nobilior contribute to the growing tension between Rome, its municipia, and its wider network of allies?
Other requirements of the paper are as follows:
• Your grade on this short reflection paper will be based upon your ability to consider and discuss this historical case study in a critical and scholarly manner.
• You should present your ideas as clearly as possible and with as much specific detail as necessary to support your discussion. • You may not use any outside sources or materials beyond the assigned readings.
• You should engage closely with the evidence and interpretations found in both your textbook — A Brief History of the Romans — and your assigned primary source readings — e.g. the “Senate Decree concerning Festivals of Dionysus”, Sallust’s War with Jugurtha, Livy’s From the Founding of the City — in your discussion, treating them not only as evidence, but also documentary support for your argument. • Wherever necessary, you should document your engagement with the textbook and your primary source materials by means of parenthetical citations.
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