2013-2014 ACADEMIC YEAR
Variations on Myth: Different Perceptions of Charis in Euripides’ Children of Heracles and in Lysias’ Funeral Oration
ABSTRACT: The paper will address the issue of the variants of one mythical story in different traditions. I shall concentrate on one case study from the story of the Children of Heracles as treated by Euripides and Lysias. In Euripides’ Children of Heracles, Iolaus reminds the Athenian king Demophon of how Heracles rescued his father Theseus from the underworld, appealing to the value of charis in order to persuade him to succour the children of the hero against Eurystheus (215-222). On the other hand, Lysias in his Funeral Oration stresses how the Athenians did not receive any favour from Heracles, implying that they decided to defend his children entirely out of goodwill and love for justice (2.11-16). One possible explanation for such an opposite use of the concept of charis might be found in the disappearance of Theseus from the horizon of the epitaphios logos, in accordance with the traditional view expressed by Nicole Loraux. I, on the other hand, will challenge this interpretation in order to prove that the explanation lies in the different rhetorical purpose of Lysias’ Funeral Oration: Lysias’ aim was to stress the Athenians’ role as selfless champions of justice.
Stylometric analysis of Aristotelean texts with a view to determining authorship of the Mechanica
ABSTRACT: An ongoing problem in Classical scholarship is determining the authorship of texts where either the attributed author is disputed or the authorship of the text is unknown. The application of stylometric analysis to these texts may provide some insight into this particular problem. This paper will give a brief overview of the field, before discussing in depth a series of techniques (n-gram generation, cosine similarity measures, and multidimensional scaling) that have been used in a study of the authorship of the pseudo-Aristotelean Mechanica, the conclusions of which will also be discussed.
κερκίδος φωνή: Memory, Materiality, and Cognitive Embodiment in Odyssey 19
ABSTRACT: This paper attempts a closer look at the psychological aspects of Odyssey 19.215-260, but particularly through the lens of the cognitive sciences. It will endeavour to demonstrate how cognitivist approaches to ancient poetry can enrich our understanding of the material, especially in the way that the narrator constructs a ‘phenomenology of experience’ for his audience; that is, a reconstruction of the psychological workings of his characters that specifically and explicitly draws upon the physical experiences of the body, via conceptual metaphor, simile, metonymy, and nonverbal behaviour. In particular, this paper will show how we can ‘read’, through the physical medium of garments and textiles, Odysseus’ attempt to engage with Penelope psychologically by exploiting her memories, emotions, and like-mindedness with her husband.
Augustan gardens as a Utopias and heterotopias
ABSTRACT: In her article on the utopics of the ideal Roman villa, Annette Giesecke states that “the garden has from time immemorial been a part of utopia and the creation of utopian spaces”. Indeed, this statement appears particularly apt when we think about the use of horti and their accompanying ideology in Augustan Rome in light of Ruth Levitas’ description of utopia as ‘a repository for desire’. The use of Golden Age discourse and the accompanying desire to reconnect Rome with its ‘natural’ past led to the creation of a specifically Augustan pastoral utopian dream which sought to produce a vision of the world that predated the criminality of the civil war and create rus in urbe on an imperially-sponsored scale. This new sacral-idyllic language can be seen throughout Augustan culture: the creation of new public urban horti, the abundance of ‘natural’ motifs throughout the city, and the prevalence of the figure of the utopian, idealised herdsman throughout landscape painting and literature all hark back to the prosperity and fertility of a bygone era.
There are, however, problems with this neat approach. For Foucault, utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces that have no physical place in the world but, rather, present the world’s society in a perfected form or society turned upside down. Of course, this image may be true of many Third Style landscape paintings of the Augustan period, and yet when we consider both the physical creation of rus in urbe, together with the descriptions of traditional rusticity and the Golden Age in Augustan literature, what becomes apparent is that the idea of utopia has now been turned on its head. The desire to reconnect with nature may certainly have been utopian, but the creation of the Augustan sacral-idyllic landscape and language takes the notion of utopia and places it within a set of structures that is recognisably contemporary and attainable; imperially-sponsored horti have made rus in urbe a physical reality, and Virgil’s ‘idealized’ herdsman in the Eclogues are themselves trapped within the political realities of the time – there is nothing ‘unreal’ about such a vision. Furthermore, utopias demand stability and eventual stagnation, and yet Horace’s notion of Rome as “ever new yet changeless” demands both stability but also, most importantly, transformation. Augustus’ specific mobilisation of Golden Age narratives did not just promote a simple ‘return’ to the Golden Age, but the use of Golden Age discourse to propel Rome forward on to a course of imperial expansion.
Thus, rather than continue to try and view the Augustan integration of nature as part of some grand utopian notion, I would argue that it is more beneficial for us to consider this ideology in terms of Foucault’s “heterotopic” discourse. In this paper, therefore, I will highlight how the six principles of heterotopias can be directly related to the creation of the new Augustan sacral-idyllic vision for Rome in order to shed new light on Roman garden spatial discourse.
 Giesecke, A. (2001): 13.
 Levitas, R. (1990): 199.
 Horace, Carm. Saec. 10.
 See Foucault and Miskowiec (1986), “Of Other Spaces” in Diacritics, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Spring 1986), pp. 22-27.
Roman freedwomen in Italy: the epigraphic evidence
ABSTRACT: In the Roman world, manumission was the only way slaves had to be freed and start a new life. This practice was quite common, as contemporary laws and literary sources prove. Life after slavery must not have been so easy for freedmen, though, as they always carried the macula servitutis. It was even harder for freedwomen, who had the double flaw of being ex-slaves and also women. However, despite this unfortunate state, Roman libertae left a very large number of inscriptions, in which we can read a lot of useful information for our attempt to reconstruct their lives.
By analysing these texts, we can shed light on some specific topics, such as the professions freedwomen practiced, their religious beliefs and the identity of their patrons. A very interesting aspect is related to their marriages: sometimes, the choice of a specific partner was not only driven by personal feelings, but it was also encouraged by the social environment in which the freedwoman lived.
This paper is going to outline a general portrait of Roman freedwomen, underling both the common aspects, that can be found anywhere in Italy, but also the geographical and social differences, which contribute to a more complex definition of Roman libertae.
Mercenaries or Allies? A re-evaluation of the military role played by the Galatians during the Hellenistic period.
ABSTRACT: In the eyes of the Greeks and Romans, the Gauls who settled in central Anatolia were, above all else, warriors. This perception dominates in the primary sources and has understandably created a military-first approach to how we view the Galatians. The military relationship between the Greeks and the Galatians provides a window through which we can better explore and understand their place in the Hellenistic world. Modern scholarship has traditionally viewed the Galatians as mercenaries, and thus, as apolitical players in the political landscape of the Hellenistic world. This is however both highly misleading and unfaithful to the primary sources. I will ague that the Galatians had far more political and military agency than they have previously been credited. Assuming the Galatians primarily played the role of mercenaries detracts from scholars’ ability to view them as a dynamic and political force and instead, assigns to them the place of an inconsequential power. Rather than presenting the Galatians as mercenaries, the primary sources may instead portray them as allies when fighting alongside the Hellenistic kings. Furthermore if we accept that the Galatians were primarily allies, then they must have wielded far more political power in Asia Minor than has previously been believed and had the diplomatic ability and will to navigate the complexities of Hellenistic diplomacy. This paper will also investigate how and why this view arose, and the effect it has had on modern scholarship.
Religious Identity in Gallia Belgica from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD
ABSTRACT: This paper will present an overview of my research on sanctuaries and votive offerings in Gallia Belgica, which examines persistence and transformation in religious identity and the nature of the cult communities at various sites. While Romanization theories have been largely abandoned, scholars still argue that the Romans significantly transformed religious identity in the provinces. I believe that at the local level and trending regionally, cult communities maintained significant aspects of their pre-conquest identities immediately after conquest and for some centuries beyond. The data I examine includes temples and other sanctuary structures, the organization and use of temenos space, and votive dedications of military equipment, personal items, coins, and miniatures.
Polybius and the Achaean League
ABSTRACT: This paper will focus on the relationship between Polybius and the Achaean League by examining his view of the League throughout his narrative. After a short introduction on this Achaean League and its relations to Polybius, I will try to argue two things.
Firstly, I will show what exactly Polybius? view of the Achaean League was and why, at first glance, there seems to be so much difference between his account of the League in the beginning and at the end of his work. I hope to argue that underneath this obvious negative evolution, Polybius still had the respect for the federal constitution in which he grew up, even though he was disappointed at both politicians and people of the Achaean League, as their actions not only resulted in his exile to Rome, but in the eventual decline and destruction of the League as well.
Secondly, I want to see if this negative outlook could be linked to the theory of political constitution developed by te historian in his sixth book.
Naval Hoplites: The Social Status of Athenian Epibatai
ABSTRACT: This paper will explore the social background of Classical Athenian epibatai, dedicated naval infantry who served on triremes. It will be argued that the common view, viz. that epibatai were usually recruited from Athens? lowest property class, the thetes, and had a commensurate social standing, needs to be adjusted, as it rests almost entirely on two sentences in Thucydides (6.43 and 8.24), and ignores other evidence that in fact suggests that epibatai were drawn not from the thetes, but from the upper three tiers of Athenian society: the zeugitai, hippeis, and pentakosiomedimnoi.
To illustrate this, we will begin with a brief outline of naval warfare in general, highlighting the continued importance of naval infantry, and then look at several passages that confirm the prestige associated with service as an epibates. A short concluding section will then relate our findings to the wider debates about hoplite warfare, especially regarding a hoplite?s ability to fight as a soloist.
(Joint session with Archaeology seminar series)
Roman marble ash monuments and grave altars: typology, provenance and context.
Roles of slaves and freedmen in the lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis: a grammatical approach?
ABSTRACT: The *lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis* is most commonly associated with the freeborn elite of the Roman Empire. Ancient literary sources that reference adultery, such as the works of Tacitus or Suetonius, rarely included slaves or freedmen within their depictions of these illicit affairs. If they did include them, these servile or freed members of the *familia* did not usually appear in positions of power or influence, Narcissus, of course, being a famous exception. However, a closer examination of the legal evidence, specifically Dig 48.5 from Justinian?s Digest, reveals that the jurists not only included slaves and freedmen within their legal commentary but that these non-elite members of the *familia* occupied a variety of roles within adulterous relationships. My paper will argue that slaves and freedmen occupied positions in regard to an adulterous relationship analogous to the subject or object in a sentence, hence the ?grammatical approach? of the title. ?Subjects? included slaves or freedmen who were the adulterers in question or, more generally, were the main drivers of the action of a particular extract from the Digest. ?Objects? were those individuals who did not provide the impetus behind a relationship, such as those who served as evidence or witnesses for the misdeeds of their owners or patrons. I will also examine the implications of slaves and freedmen occupying more than one of these roles. Using the text of Dig 48.5 as the primary source evidence, I will explore the idea that slaves and freedmen, not only were considered by the jurists to have the potential and capacity to be involved in adulterous relationships, were just as affected by the adultery legislation as other members of the *familia*.
Redressing Medea and her peplos: Argonautica 4.1661-1662
ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on one of Medea's gestures in the Talos episode of Apollonius' Argonautica (4.1635-1688). After claiming she alone can defeat the bronze creature Talos, she makes her way to the stern of the ship and "lifts the folds of her purple robe over both cheeks" (ἡ δὲ πτύχα πορφυρέοιο / προσχομένη πέπλοιο παρειάων ἑκάτερθεν, 4.1661-1662). This gesture is the focus of my paper.
The gesture presents many problems for interpreters. The martial context of the scene is undermined by erotic and marital allusions. Particularly confusing within these allusions is the appearance of a peplos instead of a kalyptre in a scene which evokes notions of veiling, and moreover the use of porphyreos to describe this peplos, an adjective rarely (but always significantly) used in the Argonautica.
By looking at the gesture itself, the peplos and its use throughout the Argonautica, and the use of porphyreos I aim to show that these elements can tell us a great deal about the development of Medea's character and the tone in which the episode should be read.
‘He suddenly became Alexander’: Caracalla, Alexander the Great and the historicity of the ‘Macedonian Phalanx.
ABSTRACT: The practice of evoking the memory and image of Alexander the Great became a powerful tool of kingship almost immediately after the monarch’s death in 323 BC. From the diadochoion wards, many rulers sought to associate themselves with Alexander or even assume his identity. The potency of the Alexandrian image was no less significant during the Roman imperial period, with emperors from Nero to Julian seeking to forge parallels between themselves and the king. Caracalla is renowned as one of the most obsessive exponents of this image. The ancient authors accuse him of a variety of increasingly peculiar attempts to depict himself as the new Alexander, from dressing like his idol to claiming that his body had become the conduit for the soul of the king, so that Alexander might live once more through the figure of the emperor.
Of the many accusations directed at Caracalla, his levying of a military phalangite unit inspired by Alexander’s army remains one of the most intriguing. Whilst it is tempting to dismiss the account of this formation as hyperbole or fiction on the part of the ancient writers, it is possible to re-interpret this Caracallan initiative.
This paper will discuss the more general details of Caracalla’s apparent Alexander-mania before examining the phalangite regiment within the broader context of Caracalla’s reign and preparations for his intended Parthian war. It will argue that the ‘Macedonian Phalanx’ might better be seen as a forerunner to the well attested military reforms of later emperors; an attempt by Caracalla to adapt the Roman army to the threat posed on the eastern frontier by the forces of the Parthian Empire prior to beginning his ill-fated campaign.
Ancient and modern ideals of agricultural slavery: Comparing the food ration of Cato the Elder and James Henry Hammond
ABSTRACT: The last forty years have featured the emergence of a significant and growing concern with the economics of American slavery - this can be potentially described as a renaissance within the field. Likewise, understanding Roman slavery, in particular, the economics of this peculiar institution continues to be a widely debated topic.
Until recently (within the past 20 years) the general scholarly consensus was that Roman agricultural slaves did not portray much of an image of being well-fed, or benefitting from a well balanced diet. In this paper I plan to compare, in particular, the food ration issued to the slaves of Cato the Elder and James Henry Hammond.
Using agricultural manuals from both societies, Cato’s De agricultura and Hammond’s antebellum Plantation Manual, I propose to offer a comparative analysis of the foodstuffs that would have been consumed by their slaves. Further, I will argue that Hammond’s manual helps us understand better the dietary standards established for ancient Roman slaves - and that the image of rural slaves being fed little else, aside from grain and wine, is indeed a misconception.
Cancelled owing to University strikes
Alexandre Charles Johnston
Hope, Desire and Striving in Pindar and the Lyric Tradition
ABSTRACT: Greek literature abounds with representations of hope and desire: lyric poets and tragedians, in particular, offer many insights on their power to seize and influence the human mind. Pindar’s poetry is no exception: the victory odes, in particular, constantly associate hope and desire with perceptions of human achievement, athletic success and heroic exploit.
In this paper, I wish to explore some of the ways in which Pindar portrays the mental act of looking into the future in pursuit of an object of desire, such as victory and prosperity, and most crucially, at the normative aspect of his pronouncements on this subject: as we shall see, the value of such acts varies according to the poet or speaker’s evaluation of a situation using ethical, religious, and poetic criteria. In order to achieve this aim, I shall look in detail at several examples, especially the Eleventh Nemean ode, against the wider background of Pindaric and early Greek thought.
I shall argue that hope and desire are at the core of Pindar’s poetry and thought, and that although the Pindaric representation of these emotions is in many ways indebted to the world-view of Greek lyric and couched in similar terms, it represents a strong departure from such views, especially in its religious and psychological aspects.
Hugh Gray and set design of 'Quo Vadis'
(aka Indiana Jen and the Raiders of the Lost Archives)
ABSTRACT: Hugh Gray was an Oxford historian who was hired as a consultant for Quo Vadis (1951). He produced four volumes of notes for the producers and design team. However, the fate of these texts was not known. Maria Wyke displays this confusion, acknowledging that it is not known if they were donated, in a publicity stunt, to the University of Rome or UCLA. It transpires the four volumes ended up at neither, but were filed away with the numerous script drafts of Quo Vadis at the MGM library, to end up at the Margaret Herrick library of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences; they were donated nowhere.
But was Gray?s research used in the film? Hired initially by John Huston, the first director, it has been argued by Jon Solomon, Alastair Blanshard and Kim Shahabudin that Gray?s research was discarded by the final director, Mervyn LeRoy; ?Most of Gray?s fact-filled notebooks went unread, for MGM had a film to shoot, not a lecture to give.? However, this was not the case. The pre-production was far advanced by the time LeRoy took the helm. By comparing the sources and suggestions cited by Gray, for the first time in the field of classical reception, with the final cut of Quo Vadis, it is clear to see that Gray was a major influence on the final aesthetics of the film. There is a clear correlation between his suggestions and what ended up on screen.
This paper will use the example of two sets, the Throne Room and the Banqueting Hall of Nero?s Palace, to show how Gray?s notes were utilised by the production team in the set design, prop construction and overall mise-en-scčne of the film.
Theodosius I's dynastic takeover
ABSTRACT: The Emperor Theodosius was the junior partner in the Roman Empire to two successive child Emperors from the previous Valentinianic dynasty, Gratian and Valentinian II, and his relationship with them was always uneasy. His assertion of his autonomy can be seen in the imperial panegyrics delivered to him by Themistius when Gratian was senior Augustus: Orations 14, 15 and 16. Theodosius made a clear break from Gratian's authority when he made his own son, Arcadius, Augustus in 383. At the same time he also made his wife, Aelia Flaccilla, Augusta. This was the first attribution of this title to a living imperial woman since Constantine I's mother, Helena, and wife, Fausta, in the 320s. The promotion of Aelia Flaccilla in coinage and statuary can be seen as a promotion of Theodosius' own dynastic designs. To be considered alongside this image is the absence of evidence for Theodosius' second wife, Galla, the sister of Valentinian II. Theodosius' relationship with Valentinian II when the latter was senior Augustus was even frostier than that with Gratian. In this paper I will look at how Theodosius' imperial partnership with Gratian and then Valentinian II as senior Emperors was reflected by the evidence, and absence of evidence, for his first and second wives.