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Riot in AlexandriaTradition and Group Dynamics in Late Antique Pagan and Christian Communities$
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Edward Watts

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262072

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262072.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 07 July 2022

Personal Legacy and Scholastic Identity

Personal Legacy and Scholastic Identity

Chapter:
(p.28) (p.29) 2 Personal Legacy and Scholastic Identity
Source:
Riot in Alexandria
Author(s):

Edward J. Watts

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520262072.003.0002

This chapter discusses the importance of historical traditions within a range of ancient intellectual environments. Beginning with Plato's Academy in the fourth century bc and ending with the schools of Iamblichus and Chrysanthius three-quarters of a millennium later, it shows how the leadership of ancient schools used their own personal histories as well as those of their predecessors to advertise the unique and positive aspects of the teaching circles they headed. While these narratives helped to develop the public profile of an institution, they also played the more important role of cementing student allegiances to the school. In many cases, teachers first exposed students to illustrative personal anecdotes about their intellectual ancestors in intimate private conversations. This tied institutional history to the unique teacher–student personal bond that, in theory at least, lent a familial air to a scholastic life. Because students were both personally and emotionally invested in these stories, they worked doubly hard to defend the integrity of their own school's traditions while, at times, attacking the credibility of those associated with rival schools.

Keywords:   Plato, Iamblichus, Chrysanthius, leadership, ancient schools, scholastic life, students, teachers, personal histories, allegiances

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