Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018.08.12

Rachel Opitz, Marcello Mogetta, Nicola Terrenato, A Mid-Republican House from Gabii. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016 (online 2018). ISBN 9780472999002. $150.00. Online resource. DOI: 10.3998/mpub.9231782.

Reviewed by Marco Giglio, Università degli Studi di Napoli L'Orientale (mgiglio@unior.it)

Version at BMCR home site

Il volume a cura di Rachel Opitz, Marcello Mogetta, e Nicola Terrenato, con contributi di Tyler Duane Johnson, Antonio F. Ferrandes, Laura Banducci, Francesca Alhaique, Laura Motta, Shannon Ness, Jason Farr, Samantha Lash, and Matthew Naglak, è un interessante esperimento di edizione digitale; sino a settembre 2018 è garantita la consultazione del testo e di tutto l'apparato ad esso associato in modo gratuito, mentre sarà a pagamento dopo questa data.

La pubblicazione digitale consente una facile navigazione all'interno del testo grazie all'uso di tag preimpostati ed un campo di ricerca, che facilitano l'accesso alle risorse aggiuntive messe a disposizione del lettore: database (composto da 4231 records, suddivisi in unità stratigrafiche, reperti speciali e reperti funzionali ad una datazione spot dello strato), 3d model e media (costituiti da 117 oggetti, suddivisi in immagini e tabelle, presenti all'interno del testo).

La parte principale del volume è costituita dal testo strutturato in quattro principali sezioni (Introduction, The story of the house, More ed infine Details), a cui segue una breve sezione definita Apologia, la bibliografia ed i ringraziamenti.

Il volume è dedicato ad uno degli edifici indagati nell'ambito del Gabii Project dell'University of Michigan, iniziato nel 2007, con indagini stratigrafiche a partire dal 2009. Il progetto dell'University of Michigan è durato dal 2007 al 2015, con un'estesa indagine della fascia centrale della città. L'edizione dell'edificio è il primo tassello di un più ampio progetto di pubblicazione delle ricerche sul sito di Gabii ed interessa una casa di età medio-repubblicana, inglobata, nelle fasi successive, in un edificio pubblico e, quindi, trasformata, dopo l'abbandono, in una discarica.

Il progetto di interpretazione dei dati si basa sul concetto di raggruppamento delle evidenze per attività, individuando gruppi di attività sulla base di azioni di costruzione, rinnovamento, gestione delle acque, abitazione, trasformazione, scarichi durante la frequentazione dell'area ed abbandono definitivo. Una rapida illustrazione dei concetti alla base della definizione delle singole attività è fornita dagli autori; permane una difficoltà nel comprendere differenze di attribuzione tra attività che potrebbero essere tra di loro assimilabili o di non chiara funzione. Per superare barriere troppo nette si adotta un sistema di attribuzione delle attività flessibile, tale da consentire la stessa azione a due distinte attività: in tal modo il concetto di attività si riduce ad una semplice parola chiave a cui riferire singole azioni per una più semplice ed immediata associazione e gestione dei dati.

La pubblicazione è strutturata in maniera tale che si possa passare, attraverso l'uso anche di un modello 3d dello scavo, tra diversi livelli di approfondimento, sino a giungere, in linea teorica, all'analisi dei singoli dati che hanno consentito agli autori di scrivere le sintesi, che costituiscono il livello 1.

La prima parte del lavoro è dedicata ad una sintetica illustrazione del sito di Gabii, anche attraverso le fonti storiche ed alla storia della ricerca archeologica nel sito, su cui ha a lungo operato un team spagnolo. Un'interessante parte del volume è dedicata alla descrizione dei metodi di indagine, dalla gestione informatizzata dell'ingente mole di dati stratigrafici, ai dati spaziali, archeobotanici, zooarcheologici, fino all'analisi dei reperti. In particolare, un paragrafo è dedicato al sistema di definizione della datazione di uno strato, che è stato oggetto di riflessioni e rifiniture nel corso delle indagini, basate anche sulla differente quantità dei reperti rinvenuti in ogni singola fase edilizia.

La seconda – e più consistente – sezione è dedicata alla descrizione delle fasi edilizie individuate, senza tralasciare le evidenze più antiche su cui si è impiantata l'abitazione. Un paragrafo è dedicato alle relazioni tra l'architettura domestica di Gabii ed altri centri, contemporanei, dell'Italia centrale, senza tuttavia tralasciare agganci cronologici con la realtà pompeiana. Un secondo paragrafo di sintesi è dedicato ai reperti significativi, a cui segue un paragrafo di conclusioni.

La terza parte della pubblicazione è dedicata all'illustrazione degli elementi che hanno consentito la stesura delle due precedenti parti, definiti details (unità stratigrafiche significative, materiali costruttivi, reperti archeobotanici, reperti faunistici, ceramica, reperti speciali, small finds e monete). Anche in questo caso utilissimo appare il sistema dei tags, che consentono al lettore di visualizzare dati testuali e media relativi ad ogni singola unità stratigrafica citata nel testo.

All'interno di questa parte un capitolo è dedicato ai resti faunistici, illustrati sia attraverso tabelle e grafici strutturate sulla base delle fasi individuate sia con una riflessione di sintesi sulle attestazioni delle differenti specie all'interno del contesto indagato. A questa parte segue, con analogo sistema, l'edizione della ceramica e dei reperti significativi, nonché delle monete che sono state rinvenute all'interno dello scavo.

L'edizione dei reperti ceramici – a cui sono dedicate numerose pagine del volume – è effettuata solo attraverso una sintesi delle attestazioni in ogni fase, accompagnata da tabelle riepilogative per classe e/o grafici; solo in alcuni casi sono pubblicate tavole con disegni ricostruttivi dei principali tipi attestati. Nell'intero volume, a fronte di ca. 14000 reperti trattati, vengono presentati i disegni di soli 40 oggetti racchiusi in 6 tavole. Purtroppo, non risulta d'aiuto il database, che, pur presentando una scheda per tutti i reperti funzionali ad una datazione spot, non è completato dal disegno – o dalla foto – del reperto stesso. Tale enorme mole dei dati, quindi, non è realmente fruibile per il lettore, che, di fatto, non può approfondire completamente l'analisi dei contesti presentati nella sintesi e, soprattutto, utilizzare la banca dati – basata su dati stratigrafici – per comparanda con altri contesti, così come è stato effettuato dagli autori del volume. Per quanto riguarda infine l'edizione dei reperti appare carente il repertorio bibliografico di riferimento per le singole classi; a titolo di esempio il volume di riferimento per le ceramiche comuni è quello di Bertoldi (Ceramiche comuni dal suburbio di Roma, Roma 2011), mentre non si utilizzano i lavori della Olcese (Le ceramiche comuni a Roma e in area romana (III secolo a.C.-I-II secolo d.C.). Produzione, circolazione, tecnologia, Mantova 2003 o Ceramiche da contesti repubblicani del territorio di Ostia, Roma 2016). Analogamente per le ceramiche megaresi non è citato il lavoro della Puppo (Le coppe megaresi in Italia, Roma 1995) e – tralasciando le produzioni vesuviane – per le ceramiche a vernice rossa interna i lavori di Maria Cristina Leotta sulle produzioni tiberine. Infine, sempre per fare esempi sparsi, non sono presenti riferimenti ai lavori della Olcese (Le anfore greco italiche di Ischia: archeologia e archeometria. Artigianato ed economia nel Golfo di Napoli, Roma 2010) e della Pugliese (Anfore greco-italiche neapolitane (IV-III secolo a.C.), Roma 2014) sulle produzioni di anfore greco-italiche di area neapolitana, pur riconoscendone alcuni reperti, utilizzati per un'individuazione della datazione della fase.

Uno degli aspetti più innovativi del volume è il tentativo di rendere fruibile l'intera documentazione che ha consentito la stesura del testo in digitale; tale sistema, come detto prima, dovrebbe fornire al lettore tutti gli strumenti non solo per analizzare i dati, ma per verificarne l'uso fatto. Tuttavia la documentazione a corredo, almeno per i reperti ceramici, appare non esaustiva, cosa che rende meno funzionale il prodotto. Altro aspetto poco chiaro è la differenza tra l'edizione attualmente ad accesso gratuito – oggetto di questa recensione – e quella disponibile a pagamento, al momento alternativa alla prima, ma unica disponibile a partire da giugno 2018.

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2018.08.11

Marquis Berrey, Hellenistic Science at Court. Science, technology and medicine in ancient cultures, 5. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. 274. ISBN 9783110539776. €99.95.

Reviewed by Max Leventhal, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge (ml649@cam.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

Scholarly advances in rescuing Hellenistic culture from narratives of decline have often focused on Hellenistic literature and art, explaining form and content in terms of social and political contexts. Marquis Berrey offers in this monograph instead a reconsideration of modern ways of thinking about Hellenistic science. His central questions are: "What was the relationship between science and monarchy in the third century BCE in the Hellenistic world? And why does it matter?" (p. 1). This book thus looks not to poets such as Callimachus, Apollonius and Theocritus, but the works – both material and textual – of scientists such as Archimedes, Eratosthenes and Andreas of Carystus.

In the Introduction, Berrey presents the methodological frameworks he will adopt in the book. The first and most important is the concept of the court. Drawing on research into the political structure(s) of the Early-modern court and its influence on state formation and cultural production, Berrey proposes that one way to unlock the dynamics of scientific output in the Hellenistic period is to pay close attention to the operations of the Hellenistic courts. Berrey's second methodological consideration is to reflect on the type of history of science he is writing. He raises the issue of 'presentism' in writing the history of science: the extent to which this writing is influenced by modern conceptions of what science entails. Broadly speaking, he responds to these concerns by proposing to read Hellenistic scientific developments as historically contingent, as events which did not necessarily have to be the case. He also proposes, instead of focusing on how social conditions allow for the epistemic closure of scientific debate to think in terms of emergence. By epistemic closure, he means the idea that because scientific observations describe 'the facts' there is no case for disagreement. By emergence, he means "a historical conceptual holism which for historical actors marks the temporal moment a new belief about already-existing objects came into being" (p. 22). The way to respond fully to these concerns, Berrey concludes, is to provide a 'thick description' of the court society at which the science was developed, and in so doing to allow for a clear view of the authors' and works' historical contingency and the emergent ideas and objects which historical actors assembled into new scientific machines and operations.

The first and second chapters, then, provide that thick description of Hellenistic court society. In Chapter One, Berrey counts 141 courtiers from the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes (246 B.C.E) to the end of the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator (205/4 B.C.E.), and 17 doubtful and excluded cases. He divides the figures into nine groups: 'the king and his family', 'the philoi or friends of the king', 'bureaucrats, military officials, judiciary, minor functionaries', 'priests', 'flatterers, entertainers, lovers', 'poets', 'prose authors: antiquarians, geographers, historians', 'prose authors: philosophers, grammarians', and 'scientists'. He provides for each figure, or group of figures, a short biography and explains their position within the court, and often comments on the limits of what can be known about them. This prosopography of the Ptolemaic court during the defined period is a useful resource which I expect will be consulted often.

In the second chapter, Berrey outlines his interpretation of the court's function within elite society, how its interactions are governed by a form of gift-exchange, and the possible spaces in which these interactions occurred. He first proposes that both courtiers and the king presented a persona to the court; the former had to represent themselves as a friend of the king ready to give honest advice and to be cultured and loyal, while the king ought to be fair, magnanimous, and beneficent. The two parties are held together by a discourse of friendship, in which both sides had to negotiate the fine line between honest criticism and conspicuous flattery. Ideally, "both king and courtier were great-souled and friends-of- honour whose mutual intimacy fostered honour and glory" (p. 109). The site at which this social negotiation takes place is the symposium; it is here that courtiers (seriously or jocularly) vie for the king's attention and favour. It is also here where cultural products are offered to the king in the guise of gifts of friendship, such as poems or treatises. The Hellenistic scientific works and scientific objects which will be the subject of the subsequent chapters should be contextualised as items of gift-exchange, offered by scientists as courtiers, who expected favours in return.

In the third chapter, Berrey turns to the scientific writings themselves. He identifies themes that make sense within the court context, and within the entertainment context presupposed by the symposium. He brings a wide range of Hellenistic scientific texts together and shows how they revel in the ideas of belatedness and praise, the dynamic between text and image or diagram, and the construction of the scientists' expertise and persona as courtiers.

Chapter Four extends this argument on a more detailed level, by looking at Eratosthenes' letter on the doubling of the cube and the instrument it describes, and at Andreas of Carystus' machine for resetting dislocated joints. In both cases, he aims to show "that these technological products of cross-disciplinary scientific investigation gained social currency first through their entertainment value as court science." (p.163) That is, his aim is to show that the works were produced to entertain the court elite and that such objects were performance pieces intended to elicit wonder and to chime with the aesthetics of the courtly milieu.

The fifth chapter looks at two further Hellenistic scientific developments: Herophilus' measurement of the pulse, and Archimedes' Method and its use of mechanical argumentation in computing the volume of a given solid. Berrey's intention with these two further case studies is to consider how Hellenistic science is produced beyond the parameters of the Ptolemaic kings Euergetes and Philopator. Herophilus was active earlier during the reigns of Ptolemy I Soter and II Philadelphus while Archimedes was active in Syracuse from the second half of the third century. In the case of Herophilus, Berrey shows how he both drew from the musical theory of Aristoxenus in calculating the rhythm of the pulse and used a water clock which combined Greek and Egyptian aspects of time measurement. In the case of Archimedes, he offers a close reading of the text and reveals how he appropriates a mechanical discourse in imagining how solids can be weighed by being sliced into smaller units and balanced on a scale-beam.

In the Epilogue, Berrey looks to the wider import of his research and proposes that it takes the first steps towards a history of scientific interdisciplinarity, since the Hellenistic court "was the original interdisciplinary space" (p. 227). He makes a strong case for disciplines still being in a process of formation in the Hellenistic period and for there being wholesale borrowings across the sciences. Although he is relatively quiet about the fact, this is shown most clearly in Chapter Five, which exposes brilliantly how music theory and medicine, and mechanics and mathematics interact. Berrey concludes the book by looking forward to the future history of scientific interdisciplinarity and argues that we will need to look beyond traditional institutions and evidence, to the likes of Callimachus' aetiological poetry, in order to understand how scientific disciplines interact with each other, and with other epistemic frameworks such as magic or religion.

In addition to the court prosopography of Chapter One, the central value of this book is its close reading and contextualisation of scientific works and texts. Berrey succeeds in using the historical and political contexts as a lever with which to pry open the texts or devices and expose their workings. Particularly innovative, to my mind, are his readings of the performative nature of Andreas of Carystus' machine for resetting joints and the combination of Greek and Egyptian material culture which produce Herophilus' water clock for measuring pulses.

Two points should be borne in mind, which arise from my sincere appreciation of Berrey's innovative work. First is the issue of periodisation with respect to both the material and to the development of Berrey's thesis. Berrey defines his period of interest as the reigns of Ptolemy III Euergetes and IV Philopator, yet at a number of points he strays outside this remit. In discussing court dynamics in Chapter Two the key texts are Isocrates' To Nicocles, the pseudepigraphic Letter to Aristeas, and Diodorus Siculus. The kind of light which these texts can throw onto the politics of the Ptolemaic court is different in each case. A bit more openness about the date and historical context, not to mention genre, of their production would have been useful; a Classical period speech and a late-second century pseudepigraphic Jewish text do not disclose historical events or normative expectations regarding kings for the same purposes. Some of the texts that Berrey discusses, moreover, do not come from the time period he defined, e.g. Biton's Constructions of War-Machines and Artillery (likely the 130s BCE) and Apollonius of Citium's Treatise on Hippocrates' On Joints (active in the 70s BCE). In the case of Chapter Five, he makes a virtue of exploring beyond the reigns of Euergetes and Philopator, yet it is not clear what was unique about that period other than it being a pragmatic way to limit one's research project. Since Berrey did not give a prosopography for the courts of Ptolemy I Soter and II Philadelphus for Herophilus, and of Gelon II of Syracuse for Archimedes, it is difficult to know whether the claim that the dynamics of court science exist outside of Euergetes' and Philopator's reigns should surprise us or not. Berrey builds up such a compelling picture of Hellenistic court science both within and outside his chronological parameters, I was left wondering why the distinction was made so firm in the first place: this book addresses court science throughout the Hellenistic period.

Second is the issue of the social space of Hellenistic court life. Berrey is by no means the only scholar to conceptualise court life as intimately related to royal symposia, but this thinking seems to stem from a naïve approach to the evidence and raises more questions than it answers. The large proportion of passages are drawn from the Deipnosophists and the Letter to Aristeas. With the former, there is the issue of Athenaeus' bias in selecting his sources which are often anecdotal and with the latter, that of historical veracity: would 72 Jewish elders really have been allowed to advance their own theory of kingship for Ptolemy unimpeded? A more sceptical approach would have helped Berrey nuance his highly plausible reconstruction. By using such evidence, moreover, Berrey argues that 'textual works written or performed for court society followed the practices of the symposium' (p.115). This may be the case for the anecdotes of titbit recitations described by Athenaeus, but a military manual by Biton or a treatise by Archimedes show no sign of a sympotic context or a suitability for it. As a social space, the symposium has perhaps naturally been used to conceptualise the workings of gift-exchange at court, but it should not be thought the only or central space where it actually occurred. Indeed, Berrey shows that these texts enact gift-exchange without a concern for sympotic politics.

These two minor quibbles aside, Berrey has produced a work which will be essential reading for those interested in the political and intellectual currents in Hellenistic literature. Indeed, something which is highly revealing, but which Berrey downplays, is the position of poetry at court. He draws on research into Hellenistic poetry in explaining the aesthetics of scientific texts, i.e. their sense of belatedness or their cross-disciplinary nature. Yet his research shows that such aesthetics are in no way unique to poetry; his conclusions ultimately mean we will have to reconfigure our ideas about what drives the various cultural, political and intellectual trends of the Hellenistic court.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

2018.08.10

Sergio Audano, Tacito. Agricola. Testo latino a fronte. Classici greci e latini. Santarcangelo di Romagna: Rusconi Libri, 2017. Pp. cxvi, 151. ISBN 9788818031980. €11,00 (pb).

Reviewed by Bram L. H. ten Berge, Hope College (tenberge@hope.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

The purpose of this appealing new Italian translation of the Agricola, according to the series editor (v), is to reach lay readers, especially younger ones, in order to give them access to ancient literature and connect it with their own world. To facilitate this access, the volume, like the Loeb series, offers the Latin text with facing translation. The production of a new translation is justified on the ground that each generation reads literary texts from its unique perspective, and indeed Sergio Audano succeeds, in intriguing ways, in connecting Tacitean themes to important concerns in both the early modern and modern periods.

Audano offers an extraordinarily rich introduction (vii-xciv) that, aside from covering the usual material in introductions to the Agricola, engages with enduring questions raised by the text (e.g. about the nature of imperialism/colonialism) and with its reception in Renaissance Italy and beyond. Given the length of the introduction, several parts of which could function as stand-alone essays, I review its different sections in turn.

Audano starts with Tacitus' impact on early modern and modern political thought (vii-ix). Comments on the historian's influence on Macchiavelli and Guicciardini and on 17th-18th century political thought (due in part to his extraordinary style) are followed by remarks on his use after World War II and during the political movements in Italy in the late 1960s as a means of analyzing the political system "from the inside." My one reservation about this section is that readers may get the impression that Tacitus was a popular author ever since antiquity. This was not so. Unlike Livy, Vergil, and others, he was a relative latecomer.

Next follows an overview of Tacitus' vita (x-xvi), which lays out the evidence for his life and career, his relationship with his friend Pliny the Younger and the new government of Nerva and Trajan, as well as the tense atmosphere in post- Domitianic Rome that forms the immediate backdrop to the Agricola.

In the following section (L'Agricola tra letteratura e ideologia: xvi-xxx), Audano turns to the text, laying out its generic complexity and flexibility, its structure, and the authors with whom Tacitus engages most conspicuously (Cato the Elder, Sallust, Cicero, Caesar). One example of the text's generic richness is the ethnographic section (uncommon in biographies) of Britain, which enunciates Tacitus' interest in ethnography, forms the background to Agricola's career on the island, and justifies its occupation. Audano shows how Tacitus, while endorsing the Roman imperial mission, ruthlessly exposes its ugly realities (especially in the famous 21st chapter and the pre-battle speech of the Caledonian chief Calgacus), revealing that what was hailed as enlightenment and progress in reality amounts to a loss of identity and, ultimately, to enslavement. Audano is particularly good at describing the psychological impact of imperialism/colonialism on the conquered. He continues by noting that the dialectic between slavery and freedom – both in the provinces (Calgacus/non-Roman tribes vs. Agricola/Roman Empire) and in Rome (Agricola/Senate vs. Domitian/Emperor) – unifies the text and recurs in the Histories and Annals, which take up various themes and concerns set out in the Agricola. Finally, Audano elaborates on the broader purpose of the text, which is not merely to commemorate Agricola's life and career but to offer a moral and ethical exemplum for contemporary Romans, one of a type of conduct, rooted in virtus and modus, that stands in close connection to the values advertised by the new government. The publication of the Agricola, after the supposed silence enforced by Domitian, also represents a renewal of memoria.

In the next section (Lo smascheramento dell'imperialismo: il discorso di Calgaco: xxx-xl), Audano zooms in on Calgacus' denunciation of Roman imperialism, which, he notes, transcends its immediate context and is applicable, mutatis mutandis, to other areas and time-periods. Audano rightly characterizes Tacitus' attitude towards imperialism as complex: Tacitus is a clear proponent of expansionism as it is carried out by his father-in-law but simultaneously exposes its questionable methods and ethical underpinnings. Hence, to call him a "mouthpiece" ("portavoce", xxxii) of the Roman ideology of moral and ethical superiority vis-à-vis non-Roman peoples (also in light of what we learn in the contemporary Germania) might be to oversimplify his vision. Nonetheless, the basic distinction between the stronger and civilized Romans and the weaker and uncivilized 'barbarians' is a firm one in Tacitus, and Audano nicely connects the broad imperial vision expressed in the Agricola with that of Thucydides in the Melian Debate and with Vergil's famous maxim at Aen. 6.851-853. He duly notes that the figure of Calgacus (and his arguments) recalls Cicero's Carneades, Caesar's Critognatus, and Sallust's Jugurtha and Mithridates. Yet, as Audano points out, Calgacus is different, too, being depicted as a capable and eloquent chief who possesses quintessentially 'Roman' characteristics and whose cause inspires sympathy. This achieves two things: defeating a noble enemy elevates Agricola's gloria, and Calgacus can function as a striking mouthpiece for Tacitus, not to denounce imperialism per se but to draw attention to its realities and underlying motivations. Calgacus' speech is paired with Agricola's, which offers further clues about expansionism and the vision of Roman vs. non-Roman identity driving it.

In the following part (Agricola da uomo a exemplum, xl-lxviii), Audano expands on the way Tacitus transforms Agricola into an exemplum. Here he is particularly excellent, showing how Tacitus (in the epilogue) transforms the more religious and Stoic visions of the afterlife in Cicero and Seneca the Younger, respectively, into a distinctly 'secular' vision, in which Agricola 'survives' as an exemplum through people's contemplatio virtutum, i.e. their constant reflection on his virtus, facta, and mores. Tacitus advocates this as a more efficient means than literature alone or the use of imagines in preserving a person's memoria. Audano highlights intriguing intertextual links with Cicero's Brutus, De oratore, and the fragmentary consolatio for Tullia, as well as with Seneca's Consolatio ad Marciam, particularly regarding the topos of premature death (mors immatura), which, in Agricola's case, is transformed into a mors opportuna. Just as the death of Cicero's Crassus kept him from witnessing the Social and civil wars, so Agricola was spared Domitian's 'reign of terror'. In addition to the way that people should grieve for Agricola, Audano offers interesting observations on how Agricola himself deals with grief, i.e. by relying on his family and his characteristic modus to remain level-headed at all times (in contrast with Tiberius after his son Drusus's death, one of several connections to which Audano draws our attention). The final portions (Momenti della fortuna dell' Agricola: dal Rinascimento a Napoleone, lxviii-xciv) cover the text's reception in the Renaissance and early modern period. These, for me, were the most captivating sections, describing the use of the text by Napoleonic generals as a source of encouragement at the Battle of Trafalgar (Nelson, as we know, was more successful than Calgacus); by Francesco Guicciardini, the pioneer of "Tacitism" in Italy, both to reflect on how to live under autocratic governments and in his autobiography, where he models his father-in-law Alamanno Salviati on Agricola; and by Traiano Boccalini, who, among other things, used the Agricola in his Ragguagli di Parnaso to expose the oppressions of Habsburg Spain, staging the fictional re-emergence, in his own time, of Calgacus, whose speech against the Romans is overheard by some Spanish soldiers and interpreted as being directed against Spain instead.

Audano's introduction, then, does much more than merely set the stage for the translation. The footnotes include annotated bibliographical references, which is helpful for the intended audience. One unfortunate aspect of the introduction is that any Latin text quoted (with one exception on pages liv-lv) is left untranslated, which is puzzling given the volume's stated purpose.

The remainder of the volume contains the Latin text with facing translation followed by endnotes. I have no comments on the Latin text, except that in a few cases Audano does not justify his emendations (viz. in preferring iterati over tanti at Agr. 13.3 and in not retaining ingeniis at Agr. 16.1). The translation is appealing and accessible, remaining faithful to the Latin but not rendering it so literally as to make it incomprehensible for a lay reader. 1 I only found a few issues of concern.2 The notes accompanying the translation are extensive and, despite some omissions, excellent throughout.3 As this is a translation and not a textbook, grammar and syntax (with the exception of rhetorical features) are omitted in favor of historical observations, essential background information, intertextual links, and relevant modern comparisons.4 At times, the notes replicate what we were told in the introduction (but without referring back to the relevant pages), and in some places the omission of well-known Anglophone scholarship is noticeable. While this may be explained by the envisioned audience (over half of the bibliography is Italian, only a quarter Anglophone), enough Anglophone scholarship is cited in the introduction that omissions in the commentary caught at least this reader's attention.5 These minor points aside, the notes are superb, and in every case the reader is rewarded for flipping back to consult them.

There are several typos that are quite serious.6 Otherwise, the volume is well produced and its large font makes for a comfortable read. The book is affordable, which is important given its targeted audience. Audano succeeds wonderfully in making the Agricola and its broader historical significance accessible to a wide Italian audience, and I expect it will be enjoyed by many. Given the many insightful observations it offers, it also will be useful for non-Italian graduate students and scholars with Italian at their command, to be used alongside the new standard commentary of Woodman-Kraus.



Notes:


1.   A good example (among many): "talora anche tra gli sconfitti c'erano episodi di coraggio disperato" for et aliquando etiam victis ira virtusque (Agr. 37.3).
2.   At Agr. 2.1, Audano does not translate capitale fuisse. At 15.4, sibi patriam coniuges parentes, illis avaritiam et luxuriam causas belli esse is translated as "per loro il motive della guerra erano la patria, le compagne, i genitori, per noi romani l'avidità e i nostri capricci." The sentence is part of an indirect discourse representing the thoughts of Boudicca and her fellow rebels ("they said that for themselves…, for the Romans…"), which is disturbed by translating "noi" and "nostri." At 30.1, translating magnus mihi animus as "desidero" is misleading: the point is not that Calgacus, upon reviewing all aspects of the upcoming battle, "desires" or "hopes" that it will bring freedom to all of Britain but that he "is very confident" this will be the case. At 41.4, Audano takes amore et fide as denoting the affection and loyalty of Domitian's freedmen towards Agricola. However, the contrast here is between two groups of Domitian's freedmen, the first egging on the emperor out of affection for him, the second (the worse group) out of malice towards Agricola (as Woodman-Kraus show).
3.   At Agr. 6, Audano notes that Agricola's fellow tribune in 66 was the defiant Arulenus Rusticus (n. 35) but he does not add (n. 36) that his fellow praetor in 67 was the future emperor Nerva, who, unlike Agricola, helped eliminate fellow Romans after the Pisonian Conspiracy (crucial in explaining Agricola's tenor et silentium). In n. 70, Audano suggests that Suetonius Paulinus completed the conquest of Mona, but this (as he notes elsewhere) was accomplished by Agricola in 78 (Agr. 18.3).
4.   E.g. when using Bush-era slogans during the American invasion of Iraq to comment on Rome's imperialistic practices (pp. 118-119) or when likening Tacitus' critical tone in Agr. 45 to that of Hannah Arendt (p. 149).
5.   A few examples (among others): D. Sailor. 2004. "Becoming Tacitus: Significance and Inconsequentiality in the Prologue of Agricola," ClAnt 23.1: 139-177. H. Haynes. 2006. "Survival and Memory in the Agricola," Arethusa 39.2: 149-170. T. Whitmarsh. 2006. "This In Between Book: Language, Politics and Genre in the Agricola," in B. McGing and J. Mossman (eds.), The Limits of Ancient Biography (Swansea), 305-333.
6.   In the notes to Agr. 3.1, Audano writes that he follows Woodman-Kraus in printing et, quamquam but in the Latin text the comma has been omitted. At 3.2, after venimus there is no punctuation (regrettable since the correct punctuation here is debated). At 4.3, incensum has been omitted after matris. At 22.1, for formdine read formidine. In the translation, footnotes 70 and 92 have been omitted, while at 13.2 the English word "leaders" is printed.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

2018.08.09

Despoina Ariantzi (ed.), Coming of Age in Byzantium: Adolescence and Society. Millennium studies, 69. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018. Pp. x, 320. ISBN 9783110576467. €109,95.

Reviewed by Grace Stafford, Wolfson College, University of Oxford (grace.stafford@wolfson.ox.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents
[Authors and titles listed at the end of the review.]

This edited volume arises from a symposium entitled "Coming of Age – Adolescence and Society in Medieval Byzantium," held in Vienna in February 2014. This event was related to a larger research project based at the University of Vienna: "Coming of Age, Leaving the Nest: Models of Adolescence in Byzantium (6th – 11th centuries)." The contributions in the book cover a wider chronological scope, spanning the fourth to fifteenth centuries. The aim of the project was to recognize and explore adolescence in Byzantine society as a phase of life that was distinct both from childhood and from adulthood and to more accurately define it in various genres of literature. More specifically, there was a focus on the transitional period from adolescence to adulthood. While the project itself was literary in focus, the book is intentionally interdisciplinary, with contributions that incorporate psychology, sociology, anthropology, and art history. The volume comprises thirteen articles in English and German and the entire book is available online as part of De Gruyter's open access content.

The chapters are not grouped together into thematic sections and they are very diverse in topic and approach. For this reason, I will comment briefly on each contribution individually. The book opens with an introduction by the editor Despoina Ariantzi, who provides a concise and accessible overview of the goals of the book and the individual contributions. Her introduction outlines some of the book's main themes: the role of law in defining adolescence and adulthood, gender differences, and the importance of hagiography as a genre that frequently deals with issues of youth. She identifies three main motives for an adolescent to leave the family home: pursuing a career, getting married, or entering the religious life. This introduction is excellent for the general reader, but presents two minor frustrations. Firstly, she does not engage with the material evidence other than in the summary of contributions. This is a shame, as two of the articles deal explicitly with artistic sources. Secondly, despite the explicit recognition of gender as an important feature of adolescent experience, her hypothetical young person is often gendered as male.

The introduction is followed by a discussion by Béatrice Caseau of the flexibility of thresholds for adulthood in Byzantine society. She uses legal sources to show that the age of majority (25 years) could be circumvented in certain situations. Caseau focuses on three laws from the fourth century, sixth century, and eighth century, to argue that between the early Roman empire and the eighth century the "threshold for adult behavior and responsible decisions had been lowered by ten years" (p. 22); i.e., from age 25 to age 15. Caseau's article is concise and direct, and she recognizes the impact of gender and class.

Legal sources are also examined in Günter Prinzing's lengthy article, which comes with its own catalogue of the cases that he discusses in the article, providing concise information for each one such as its date, region, a brief synopsis of the case and its outcome, and the sources for it. While initially this seems excessive, the article is a mine of useful information presented in an accessible format. Prinzing offers an overview of the cases presented in the catalogue. These are often harrowing reminders of the dangers faced by minors, frequently at the hands of their own family. A recurring figure is the young girl married before the legal age. One poignant case concerned an under-age bride apparently taken into her bridegroom's house on the condition that intercourse would be delayed until she was of age. This did not happen and she was so badly assaulted that it left her with permanent physical damage. The marriage was dissolved and the father-in-law was ordered to pay back the dowry and premarital gifts (pp. 47-48). Prinzing identifies that most cases concerning adolescents involved marriage and family problems, inheritance, property, or issues concerned with careers and discipline. He also notes the particularly precarious position of orphans, who often appear engaged in legal struggles with step-parents or relatives.

In the next chapter, Alice-Mary Talbot examines the life of young monastics. Evidence from typika and hagiographical texts are used to illustrate the fact that this was an intentionally testing period for a young postulant. Evidence for educational facilities are relatively limited and novices were often expected to undertake a large amount of menial work. Caring for the elderly and performing hard manual labour were important services that young monastics could provide although they also risked abuse at the hands of superiors to whom they owed obedience. Talbot notes that beatings and ridicule were relatively common experiences that could, in some extreme cases, result in death.

Adolescence in late Byzantine society is the subject of the chapter by Tonia Kiousopoulou, in which she notes the greater potential for 'typical' adolescent experiences that existed in urban environments in comparison to rural areas. Sadly, this contribution is let down by an apparent lack of editorial assistance, rendering the argument difficult to follow. An opportunity here has been missed for what has the potential to be an interesting exploration of adolescence from the perspective of saints' lives from this period.

The first of the contributions to incorporate psychology or psychoanalysis, Petra Melichar's article analyses decisions made by young women from the perspective of developmental psychology. The article begins with the presupposition that "behavioral patterns accompanying each stage of human development remain constant throughout history" (p. 105). Melichar then uses accounts concerning figures such as Mary of Egypt to discuss parent-child conflict, struggles against authority, and the importance of stable family life.

Despoina Ariantzi's article is concerned with how groups of male adolescents bonded together and formed peer groups, including groups formed through physical activities such as hunting, leisure activities such as drinking and gambling, and finally violent street gangs. While the first two groups were largely only open to elite young men, her analysis of urban gangs highlights an interesting way in which poorer youths could come together, form connections, and have some kind of socio-political agency. As she recognizes, however, even this opportunity was not open to adolescents from poor, rural communities, who may have therefore made the transition to adulthood quicker than more affluent youths and those living in cities.

Visual evidence for adolescence is assessed by both Leslie Brubaker and Cecily Hennessy, who in several cases utilize the same examples to make their arguments (e.g., images of Mary in the Kokkinobaphos manuscripts). Brubaker uses images of saints, aristocrats and imperial figures to argue that although Byzantine artists could certainly distinguish among infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, most of the time adolescents of both sexes were not important enough as characters to be depicted with differentiated physical characteristics. Only adult men received any significant variety in their appearance, as they were the only social group with the importance to demand such a representation. Hennessy, by contrast, focuses on imagery based on apocryphal sources and identifies "subtle gradations" (p. 202) in the depictions of adolescents in their development from girl to woman or boy to man.

Catia Galatariotou moves in an entirely different direction, providing a survey of the literature from social anthropology that focuses on rites of passage and of psychoanalytical work on child development. Byzantine evidence is incorporated at the end, in which Galatariotou uses examples from twelfth-century novels of violent passions and the desire to hunt to throw light on male adolescence.

The psychological theme is continued by Ulrike Sirsch, who discusses various theories of child development from Freud onwards, culminating in the recent concept of 'Emerging Adulthood' developed by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett.

The following contribution, by Thomas Pratsch, tackles adolescents who sought healing through incubation. He begins by discussing the healing of a young woman by Saint Febronia and the story of a young man who sought a treatment from Saint Artemios after he had given himself a hernia trying to win a bet. As the author himself notes, it is difficult to identify cases where the supplicant was definitely an adolescent. As a result, much of the article is a general discussion of the practice of incubation.

The final article in the volume is by Hans-Werner Goetz, who provides an interesting parallel to the Byzantine material by looking at adolescence in texts from the West, dating from the fifth to the twelfth centuries. His conclusions are broadly similar to those that can be drawn from the Byzantine sources: adolescence was a time of flux, when the character of an individual was formed. Adolescents could exhibit bad behavior, but in general required patience and were often forgiven any indiscretions because of their youth.

In general, the volume suffers from a lack of organization. In particular, grouping together the articles that take their inspiration from anthropology and psychology and perhaps prefacing them with a more thorough justification for their inclusion in the volume would have been welcome. While the intention to approach the subject from an interdisciplinary perspective should be applauded, such a wide scope in the end turns out to be too ambitious. Where theories from anthropology and psychology are used alongside Byzantine sources (for example, in Melichar's chapter), they seem underdeveloped, and when they are explored in more detail (for example, by Galatariotou and Sirsch), they do not feel entirely relevant to the book. Overall, I remain unconvinced that theories developed in the context of modern (and often Western) societies can be universally applied to pre-modern societies. A disappointing issue with the volume is the lack of editorial control. While concerns with Kiousopoulou's article have already been noted, there is also a spelling error in the title of Sirsch's article, which is repeated in the Table of Contents ("Erwachsenenalteraus" should read "Erwachsenenalter aus").

Despite these criticisms, this volume provides an important and accessible discussion of a concept that has remained largely neglected in the social history of the Byzantine world. These articles will no doubt stimulate further research into Byzantine adolescence and form an excellent resource both for those specifically interested in childhood and adolescence as well as in Byzantine society more broadly. The chronological range and variety of evidence considered means there will be contributions of relevance to a very broad spectrum of people. Notably, this volume offers a glimpse into the lives of groups that we rarely see represented in scholarship: gangs of youths roaming the streets, orphans fighting their extended families for control of their inheritance, and young monastics being bullied and beaten by their superiors.

Authors and Titles

Introduction: Approaches to Byzantine Adolescence (6th – 11th centuries) – Despoina Ariantzi
Too Young to Be Accountable: Is 15 Years Old a Threshold in Byzantium? – Béatrice Caseau
Adoleszenten in der kirchlichen Rechtsprechung der Byzantiner im Zeitraum 13.-15. Jahrhundert – Günter Prinzing
The Adolescent Monastic in Middle and Late Byzantium – Alice-Mary Talbot
Adolescence in the Late Byzantine Society (14th – 15th centuries) – Tonia Kiousopoulou
Adolescent Behavior in Byzantine Sources? Some Observations on Young Byzantine Women Pursuing their Goals – Petra Melichar
Soziale Identitätsbildung im Jugendalter in Byzanz – Despoina Ariantzi
Images of Byzantine Adolescents – Leslie Brubaker
Representations and Roles of Adolescence with a focus on Apocryphal Imagery – Cecily Hennessy
The Byzantine Adolescent: Real or Imaginary? – Catia Galatariotou
Erwachsenwerden oder Erwachsensein? Ausgewählte Aspekte zu Jugend, „Emerging Adulthood" und jungem Erwachsenenalter aus Sicht der Entwicklungspyschologie (corrected) – Ulrike Sirsch
Jugendliche und Heilung – Thomas Pratsch
Adolescentia in abendländischen Quellen des frühen Mittelalters zwischen Kindheit und Erwachsensein? Ein begriffsgeschichtlicher Zugang – Hans-Werner Goetz
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2018.08.08

S. J. Heyworth, James Morwood, A Commentary on Vergil, Aeneid 3. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii, 327. ISBN 9780198727828. $50.00 (pb).

Reviewed by James Taylor, Harvard University (jamestaylor@fas.harvard.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

As a book that once required defending against being the 'dullest' portion of Virgil's epic, Aeneid 3 has enjoyed something of a reversal in its fortunes of late.1 The newfound enthusiasm for the third book is demonstrated by the fact that Heyworth and Morwood's commentary is the third such volume in recent years, following those of Horsfall and Perkell. 2 The ideal audience of this commentary lies between those of its two most immediate predecessors. Though Heyworth and Morwood offer translations of particularly tortuous sentences or clarify the precise use of an ablative, those students requiring more comprehensive guidance concerning syntax and grammar will be best served by Perkell. At the other end of the spectrum, Horsfall will be the natural choice for those conducting research into Virgil or needing extensive bibliography on a particular issue in Aeneid 3. The most immediate audience for Heyworth and Morwood is advanced students, who are able to read Latin competently and confidently but may be encountering Virgil for the first time, as they transition from commentaries focused more exclusively on issues of translation to ones dealing more extensively with interpretative questions, such as the "Green and Yellow" series. That being said, more advanced readers will find many useful insights within the commentary, not least its panoply of intertexts. An additional advantage for any reader is the commentary's eminent portability. For those wishing to (re)read Aeneid 3 with a companion that can travel easily and whose notes will illustrate most points of interest without disturbing the momentum of their own reading, this commentary will be an obvious choice and a welcome alternative to that of Williams, whose utility as a guide to Virgilian scholarship has inevitably been diminished by the passage of more than fifty years.3

The commentary is preceded by an introduction comprising eight sections: "Vergil's poetic career, life and times", "The Aeneid: a synopsis", "Intertexts and influences", "Style", "Contexts and themes", "Metre, scansion, and versification", "Text and transmission", and "Glossary". The introductory material assumes very little knowledge on the part of the reader and is perfectly designed for any student's first encounter with Virgil or advanced scholarship. The glossary in particular will equip students with critical tools and vocabulary not only for reading the text before them, but for reading further scholarship that takes such knowledge for granted. It is typical of the commentators' thoughtfulness that under the glossary entry for ἀπὸ κοινοῦ a pronunciation guide is included for students without Greek ("apo coenu", p. 54). Four maps following the introduction will similarly help students navigate the book's dense geographical details. Though those already familiar with Virgil may find themselves skipping over the more panoptic sections, for the most part the introductory material is well integrated into the commentary as a whole. For example, the detailed reading of Arethusa's appearance in metapoetic terms (ad 692–6, p. 261–2) is complemented by the introduction providing students with a larger sense of the Virgilian career (p. 1–10), while the exploration of exile and displacement through the figure of Meliboeus (p. 6–7) prepares the reader for the herdsman's subsequent cameos (ad 140–2, p. 123; ad 156–60, p. 128; ad 325–9, p. 169).

Since the text has been newly established by consulting critical editions, a list of emendations adopted is given in the textual introduction (p. 53), each of which receives concise and clear discussion and justification ad loc. Of the four emendations that remain after one has excluded those already adopted by Mynors or Conte, I found the replacement of rudentem with tridentem (561) and the deletion of 702 persuasive, but thought the substitution of limite for litore (419) had too flat an effect and the rejection of secundos for sacerdos (460) depended in part on too literal an understanding of the line and the Sibyl's powers. In addition to these interventions, the text has been re-punctuated several times with excellent discussion ad loc. and somewhat mixed results. For instance, though the flow of Virgil's Latin is improved by the removal of any strong stop after ventisque vocatis (253), the decision to divide lines 247–9 into two sentences robs the opening to Celaeno's indignant speech of its momentum. A similarly choppy effect is achieved by inserting a full-stop in line 10, which produces more digestible sense units but diminishes the opening's grandeur.

The third section of the introduction, "Intertexts and influences", brings onto the stage the commentary's favorite critical tool and does the necessary work of contextualizing the many authors mentioned throughout. The centrality of intertextuality is reinforced by the "Appendix of Major Intertexts" that follows the commentary and contains twenty passages, lettered A–T, from poets as diverse as Homer, Apollonius, Euripides, Pindar, Callimachus, Lucretius, Virgil himself and Ovid. Many of these intertexts contain not one but several passages: A, for example, actually comprises four excerpts from Odyssey 9. The provision of English translations for each passage, as is the case for almost all Latin and Greek within the commentary, ensures that there is no expectation for readers to know Greek as well as Latin and that students will not feel overwhelmed by finding the equivalent of another book of the Aeneid to translate at the back of their commentary. The convenience of gathering these passages together for students who are not yet habituated to hunting down a slew of cf.'s is obvious. Those disappointed that the appendix consists so uniformly of the usual suspects, a gallery of canonical poets, can be reassured that the main text of the commentary refers to a much larger cast of authors in prose and verse, ranging from predictable appearances, such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus (e.g. ad 10–12, p. 88; ad 356–462, p. 176; ad 388–93, p. 187), to those lying off the beaten track of Virgilian allusion, such as Crinagoras (ad 124–7, p. 120) or Xenophon (ad 523–4, p. 215–6: Italiam. Italiam …/Italiam = θάλαττα, θάλαττα, Anabasis 4.7.24).

The danger of this focus on intertextuality is, of course, that of slipping into a dull catalogue of parallels, but this threat is mostly avoided. Instead, the invocation of intra- and intertexts frequently contributes to nuanced readings that capture the vitality of Virgil's characters. These often elucidate small, easily missed details, as when Anchises' short but noticeable pause (haud multa moratus, 610) in responding to Achaemenides is read as a sign that he is mulling over his decision in light of Priam's deception by Sinon and as a correction of Alcinous' unreasonable pause following Odysseus' supplication in the Odyssey (ad 610–12, p. 241). A similar example of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail is Andromache's failure to acknowledge the son born to her as a result of her rape by Pyrrhus beyond a brief mention of labor (seruitio enixae, 327); the emotional force of that omission is effectively brought out by the comparison to Euripides' Andromache, who protects, and places all her hopes in, that same child (ad 325–9, p. 170).

That sensitivity to character can also be discerned in the persistent reminders that Aeneas is tailoring the story to his audience: the emphasis placed on the role of greed in Polydorus' tragedy is seen as a direct appeal to Dido, whose husband Sychaeus was killed for his fortune (ad 56–7, p. 100–1); the introduction of Palinurus into the epic with ipse signals his expertise to those with no pre-existing knowledge of him, i.e. the Carthaginians and first-time readers (ad 201–4, p. 137); even Aeneas' attribution of his arrival on Carthage's shores to the agency of an unspecified deus is interpreted as a piece of flattery directed towards Dido (ad 714–5, p. 268). Such readings could have been extended: in the case of hoste vacare domum sedesque astare relictas (123) we are told that this tautology communicates Aeneas' surprise (ad 121–3, p. 119). More likely it is a point worth repeating that the Trojans found Crete empty and did not engage in any aggression against an existing population, because Aeneas is seeking to assuage any doubts that Dido and the Carthaginians may have about the Trojans as colonial or piratical aggressors. The more sinister implications of such rhetoric fit well with the observation that the encounter with the Harpies provides "an alternative glimpse of the Trojans as an aggressive invading force" (ad 219–24, p. 143), since this isolated aggression comes against monsters with whom the Carthaginians are unlikely to identify.

Naturally, in any commentary there are points with which a reader disagrees or which leave them wanting more, but there were a handful of notes whose methodology gave me pause. Though an attitude of skepticism is initially adopted towards the biographical tradition (p. 1–2, less skeptical at p. 51), the description of the Sibyl's prophecies as carmina leads to an extensive comparison between the prophetess and Virgil that includes references to the Donatan life and Macrobius as evidence for Virgil's disorderly manner of composition and for the disappointment of those who wished to read or hear his poem (ad 445–7, p. 198). How far either Heyworth and Morwood would endorse these snippets as facts about the historical Virgil is unclear, as their final parallel, that of the Sortes Vergilianae, is so obviously grounded in Virgil's reception. On the following page, however, discussion of the Sibyl's lack of concern with rearranging her disrupted leaves prompts the comment that "it is tempting to see this as a depiction of despair from an author who had found his own carmina in disorder, whether physical or metaphorical" (ad 448–52, p. 199). It seems that the despair here is the reader's rather than the Sibyl's own, since she is explicitly free from bothering herself with the issue (nec… curat, 451). Whether Virgil felt such anxieties or not is impossible to deduce from his poetry, but this reading has more than a whiff of the modern academic's disordered office projected onto the poet. Unlike the Sibyl, Virgil probably had slaves or freedmen to hunt down the library of books to which he alludes and keep his notes in order. Even in biographical fictions of the wonder-poet, Virgil has a freedman called Eros to jot down ex tempore completions of half-lines (VSD 34). A similar attempt to redeem some portion of the biographical tradition seems to lurk behind a later note claiming that Andromache would have reminded Virgil's contemporaries of Octavia's grief for Marcellus (ad 300–5, p. 163). In each case one could have expected a more consistent attitude to the evidentiary value of the biographical tradition and a clearer distinction between Virgil qua historical person and Virgil as construct of his readers.

A handful of notes are, however, rather minor qualms to have with such an informative and well edited commentary. Typographical errors are extremely rare and those that I did find produced no confusion as to a sentence's meaning ('suprising', p. 119; 'pleaure', p. 196). Though English translations are usually provided immediately after block quotations of Latin or Greek in the same font size but without an indent, there is the odd inconsistency, e.g. where a translation is confined to a footnote (p. 2) or presented in brackets before the block quotation (ad 73–7, p. 107). On the whole the commentary will serve its intended audience extremely well, as well as providing much food for thought to more advanced readers. As someone who learned a great deal from Morwood's books as an undergraduate, it is a pleasure for me to recommend his final book for use with future generations of students.



Notes:


1.   This now infamous description of Book 3 originates in one such defense offered by A.W. Allen (1951) "The Dullest Book of the Aeneid", CJ 47.3: 119–23.
2.   N. Horsfall (2006) Virgil, Aeneid 3. A Commentary. Brill: Leiden; C.G. Perkell (2010) Vergil. Aeneid Book 3. Focus Publishing: Newburyport, MA. Reviewed in BMCR 2007.08.47 and BMCR 2010.11.23 respectively.
3.   R.D. Williams (1962) P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Tertius. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

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2018.08.07

Sarah Hitch, Ian Rutherford (ed.), Animal Sacrifice in the Ancient Greek World. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Pp. ix, 340. ISBN 9780521191036. $99.00.

Reviewed by María Flores Rivas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (rivas9224@gmail.com)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview
[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

The study of ritual sacrifice goes back to 19th century anthropological theories, which were embedded in a set of more general theories about civilization. 1 Ever since, scholarship on this matter has developed into distinct currents and disciplines. Those focusing on ancient Greek sacrifice (and related issues) formulated a series of hypotheses that served as a starting point for more recent examinations of the topic. Some of these hypotheses are currently still in force, but in recent decades a more open and multidisciplinary approach has been undertaken, specifically with regards to animal sacrifice.2 The present book, edited by S. Hitch and I. Rutherford, is an outstanding example of this innovative approach.

Animal Sacrifice in the Ancient Greek World consists of twelve contributions, organized into four parts: Victims, Procedure, Representation and Margins. The articles that deal with Victims not only discuss which animals were sacrificed on the altar, usually in the form of thysia, but also the activities performed in such a place, as well as the origin, the use and the consumption of animal meat. Archaeological evidence, specifically bones, has shed some new light on the subject. The link between animal sacrifice and the food system is studied in detail in the contributions by G. Ekroth, J. Larson, and A. Villing through analysis and interpretation of bones deposits. G. Ekroth's work exchanges the traditional theoretical view about sacrifice for a practical one. In opposition to the prevailing opinion which maintains the impossibility of Greeks consuming non-sacrificial meat, she explores a new possibility, i.e. the combination of sacred with secular offerings (such as meat from hunting).3 Her main sources are the particular zooarchaeological remains of the sanctuaries of Poseidon in Isthmia and the Kommos in Crete. Continuing with this approach, J. Larson's chapter focuses on the deer, where she emphasizes the large amount of deer bones found in Greek sanctuaries in contrast with the scant evidence for the sacrifice of deer. Important questions arise from her analysis: Is it useful to distinguish between animals sacrificed in sanctuaries and the game carried there apart from the ritual? Do the circumstances in which the animal is killed prevail over the alimentary system? J. Larson tries to answer these questions by suggesting that there was an ecological alimentary system, of which deer were a part, based on the system already established by hunter-gatherers in the Mesolithic period. This way J. Larson offers a different point of view to the W. Burkert's theory.4 Finally, A. Villing closes the Victims part dealing with a controversial topic, bird sacrifice. Through the analysis of three specific cases, he describes the continuous evolution of bird sacrifice linked to the socioeconomic evolution of ancient Greece. All these contributions clearly highlight that the study of animal bones continues to yield important results thanks, on the one hand, to new discoveries of bone material and, on the other, to their systematic examination in recent years. Zooarchaelogical evidence has now become a critical resource to contrast or support literary and epigraphic testimonies.

The second part of the book, Procedure, contains chapters on the sacrificial process and the place of sacrifice within religious rituals and the polis. S. Georgoudi's contribution brings out one of the book's main purposes, namely, to expose the all too common inaccuracy in the use of the term 'sacrifice' in current scholarship. To this end, S. Georgoudi analyses animal sacrifices that receive the label of 'purificatory sacrifice'. She emphasises that purification and sacrifice generally differ, despite these acts are usually performed in the same context, and she warns of the dangers of classifying such complex and varied rituals in a binary way. The terminology used in the ancient sources (such as the interaction between verbs kathairô and thuô) provides important support for her thesis. The chapters by F. Naiden and J.-M. Carbon deserve equal attention. Naiden's study tries to demonstrate, through a systematic study of the evidence, that sacrificial regulations enjoyed autonomy from the Athenian regulations. In addition, he reconfirms that Greeks did not universally accept the Hesiodic aetiology of sacrifice. For his part, J.-M. Carbon provides an in-depth study of the division of the animal's body parts between the divine and the human spheres, after the sacrificial slaughter. No such study has appeared since F. Puttkammer, Quomodo Graeci carnes victimarum distribuerint, Königsberg 1912, so his systematic analysis of the subject is welcome and overdue.

The third part of the book concentrates on Greek representations of sacrificial rituals in literature and visual art, concretely, in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, votive reliefs, and Aeschylus' tragedy Seven against Thebes. This section demonstrates how previous scholarship can be used profitably to answer questions regarding animal sacrifice. O. Thomas suggests that the plot of the Hymn to Hermes provides an aition for the local topography and heraldic customs.5 His conclusions lead him to consider this hymn as a precursor of the cult to the twelve Olympic Gods, supporting the hypothesis formulated by W. Burkert in 1984 , who proposed that Olympia is the place where this Homeric hymn was first performed.6 A. Klöckner studies the sacrificial animal reliefs, which are usually framed within the context of processions or altars. She takes a new perspective when she considers these votive reliefs as a cultural form and a restricted representation of the ritual practice.7 Finally, R. Seaford analyses how features of animal sacrifice prior to battle are combined with features of an oath sacrifice within the plot of Aeschylus' tragedy. Moreover, he studies the oath sacrifice performed in Aristophanes' Lysistrata, whose basis, according to him, is found in Seven against Thebes.

Finally, the section entitled Margins is an appropriate conclusion to the monograph as a whole: its contributions look at contact situations between Greek and non-Greek societies. The chronology of this section ranges from first part of the second millennium BCE (Hittite Empire) to the end of Greco-Roman paganism (Julian the Apostate). The contributions of this section of the monograph emphasize comparative analysis, an indispensable tool of research, so as to clarify many aspects of animal sacrifice as a phenomenon essential to any culture. A. Mouton identifies differences and parallels between the sacrifices performed in the Hittite world and those that took place in archaic Greece. I. Rutherford, for his part, studies Greek testimonies about animal sacrifice in Egypt, from the 5th century BCE until Roman period. Finally, S. Knipe treats the religious policies of Julian the Apostate, specifically his inclination for animal sacrifice.

Overall, Animal Sacrifice in the Ancient Greek World represents significant progress in the study of animal sacrifice, not only regarding its theoretical underpinning, but also in reference to its practical execution. This volume shows the multifaceted nature of animal sacrifice, which has led to confused definitions in recent scholarship. It tries to set limits to the definition of sacrifice with respect to other ritualistic actions while, at the same time, asking whether these limits are always useful. In addition to this main question, there are other issues that recur throughout the book: the link between animal sacrifice and the distribution of meat within the framework of alimentary and socioeconomic systems; the importance of combining and contrasting a wide variety of sources (literary and archaeological) and applying current scholarship on the topic to the ancient sources; the question of what authorities can be assigned a ritual practice (a topic about which contributions differ); as well as the substantial impact of studying the practice of sacrifice beyond the borders of the Greek world on the Greek sacrifice study itself.

The volume does not treat Greek animal sacrifice as a monolithic practice but is aware of the existence of an "important poikilia of Greek sacrificial and 'purificatory practices'", as S. Georgoudi asserts in her chapter (p. 108). Thus, theories of earlier scholars are subject to revision and sometimes refuted, while alternative hypotheses are proposed, which are more flexible and aware that new evidence (such as zooarchaeological one) may overturn their validity.

All these qualities make Animal Sacrifice in the Ancient Greek World an exciting volume that offers many novel perspectives on animal sacrifice.

Table of Contents

Sarah Hitch, Fred Naiden and Ian Rutherford. "Introduction". 1-12.
Gunnel Ekroth. "Bare Bones: Zooarchaeology and Greek Sacrifice". 15-47.
Jennifer Larson. "Venison for Artemis? The Problem of Deer Sacrifice". 48-62.
Alexandra Villing. "Don't Kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg? Some Thoughts on Bird Sacrifices in Ancient Greece". 63-102.
Stella Georgoudi. "Reflections on Sacrifice and Purification in the Greek World". 105-135.
Fred Naiden. ""Polis Religion" and Sacrificial Regulation". 136-150.
Jan-Mathieu Carbon. "Meaty Perks: Epichoric and Topological Trends". 151-178.
Oliver Thomas. "Sacrifice and the Homeric Hymn to Hermes". 181-199.
Anja Klöckner. "Visualising Veneration: Images of Animal Sacrifice on Greek Votive Reliefs". 200-222.
Richard Seaford. "Sacrifice in Drama: The Flow of liquids". 223-236.
Alice Mouton. "Animal Sacrifice in Hittite Anatolia". 239-252.
Ian Rutherford. "The Reception of Egyptian Animal sacrifice in Greek Writers: Ethnic Stereotyping or Transcultural Discourse?". 253-266.
Sergio Knipe. "A Quiet Slaughter? Julian and the Etiquette of Public Sacrifice". 267-283.
Bibliography. 284-326.
Index locorum. 327-333.
General Index. 334-340.


Notes:


1.   Probably the best-known 19th century studies on the subject are E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, London 1871; W. Robertson Smith, The Religion of the Semites, London 1889; J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, London 1890; H. Hubert – M. Mauss, "Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sacrifice", in L'Année Sociologique 1899, pp. 29-138.
2.   To be highlighted are the studies of K. Meuli, "Griechische Opferbräuche", in O. Gigon (ed.), Phyllobolia für P. Von der Mühl, Basel 1946, pp. 185-288; W. Burkert, Homo Necans, Berlin 1972; M. Detienne – J. P. Vernant, La Cuisine du sacrifice en pays grec, Paris 1979.
3.   J. P. Vernant, "At Man's Table: Hesiod's Foundation Myth of Sacrifice", in M. Detienne – J. P. Vernant (eds.), The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, Chicago and London 1989, pp. 25 and 38; J. L. Durand, "Ritual as Instrumentality", in M. Detienne – J. P. Vernant (eds.), The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, Chicago and London 1989; W. Burkert, Greek Religion, Cambridge, Mass. 1985, p. 55; M. H. Jameson, "Sacrifice and Animal Husbandry in Classical Greece", in C. R. Whittaker (ed.), Pastoral Economies in Classical Antiquity, Cambridge 1988, pp. 87-88; J. Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens, London 1997, pp. 15-16.
4.   W. Burkert, Homo Necans: The Anthopology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, Berkeley 1983, p. 16 [Orig. pub. In German, 1972].
5.   W. Burkert, "Sacrificio-sacrilegio: il 'trickster' fondatore", in StudStor 25 1984; C. Kahn, Hermès passe, ou les ambigüités de la communication, Paris 1978; J. S. Clay, The Politics of Olympus: Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns, Princeton 1989, pp. 116-127.
6.   ib. W. Burkert, 1984, pp. 835-845.
7.   In contrast to the study of F. T. van Straten, Hiera Kala, Leiden, New York, Cologne 1995, which is still regarded authoritative in this field.

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2018.08.06

Julien Zurbach, Les hommes, la terre et la dette en Grèce, c. 1400-c. 500 a.C. (2 vols.). Scripta antiqua, 95. Bordeaux: Ausonius Éditions, 2017. Pp. 850. ISBN 9782356131799. €45.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Emily Mackil and Dimitri Nakassis, University of California, Berkeley; University of Colorado, Boulder (emackil@berkeley.edu; dimitri.nakassis@colorado.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

Julien Zurbach's long and detailed book originates in two straightforward premises. The first is that access to and control over land was, throughout Greek antiquity, a major determinant of social relations, and therefore deserves more sustained attention than it has received in the last four decades. The second is that the disciplinary bifurcation between prehistorians and historians has created a misleading impression that the Bronze Age and Archaic Greek worlds were wholly distinct places. Thus he situates his project, a synthesis of the economic and social history of agricultural labor and access to land in the Greek world, broadly conceived, from the fourteenth to the end of the sixth century BCE.

Part One reviews and analyzes the Mycenaean textual evidence for landholding over five chapters. Chapter 1 provides a review of texts relating to land, as an introduction for the general reader. Chapter 2 examines rural structures, attempts to determine whether there was private property in the Mycenaean world, and examines the distribution of landholdings. The relationship between the palace and land is probed in Chapter 3, including the thorny question of whether Mycenaean palaces controlled large agricultural estates and the complex relationship between the palace and the lands of rural communities (dāmoi). Chapter 4 deals with land and religious institutions: the Pylian texts are full of landholding religious officials of various statuses, including perhaps slaves (if Mycenaean do-e-ro always has the same meaning as δοῦλος, as Zurbach believes it does). The status of Mycenaean rural communities is examined in Chapter 5, which considers the role of the dāmos and the officials who constitute it. A brief conclusion summarizes the main features of the system as Zurbach understands it: the palace does not seem to exploit directly any large agricultural estates but rather acquires agricultural goods through taxation and by mobilizing production from the land holdings of rural communities, whereas the temple is essentially an outgrowth of the palace. For Zurbach, the regional elite likely controlled the finances of the dāmoi and were connected to palatial systems; the individuals designated as "slaves of the god" (te-o-jo do-e-ro/do-e-ra) were, Zurbach thinks, members of the peasantry who were enslaved because of debts to the temple.

Zurbach's discussion of the Mycenaean evidence is extremely dense and detailed, and will be tough sledding even for Linear B specialists. Zurbach is a careful reader of the documents and makes a number of new and useful observations, although this section is not without problems. Most concerning are bibliographic lapses, even in key arguments. For instance, Zurbach (89, 162- 3) suggests that the Pylos tablet Eb 472 indicates that land could be transmitted, because he reads the phrase wo-jo *34- to, following Perpillou 1984, as hwoio phratros, "of his brother," but none of the recent work on the unassigned signs (of which *34 is one) suggests that this reading is even remotely possible. Ever since Chadwick's 1992 discussion the standard reading has been hwoio aitos, "of his own share".1 Other key discussions largely ignore scholarship since 2001, especially but not exclusively work in English. The total absence of any discussion of Paul Halstead's work since 1999, and the robust debate it sparked about the extent and nature of the palatial economy and the palace's relationship to other institutions, is particularly regrettable.2

Part Two addresses what we know of the disposition of land and its exploitation from the Homeric poems. Zurbach surveys references in both Iliad and Odyssey to kleros and temenos, the two types of land most frequently attested in the poems. These passages point to the use of kleros for the small holding of an independent landowner (e.g., Il. 5.486, 15.661), whereas temenos is taken to designate "une parcelle de statut particulier, que le damos ou les gerontes qui le représentent donnent à un héros qui s'est distingué ou à un roi au titre de sa fonction" (232). The third part, "les cités archaïques et la terre," comprises a chapter on Hesiod and Askra, eight regional chapters offering surveys of issues related to land and labor from Asia Minor to Italy and "l'Extrême-Occident" (Massalia and its emporia), and a lengthy summary chapter that attempts to draw the threads together. The regional chapters, subdivided by individual communities, may prove useful to those interested in land-related evidence in a particular place, but offer little that is new. The fourth part, consisting of a single chapter, returns to the question of whether land rights, the distribution of land, and control over labor changed dramatically from the Bronze to the Iron Age.

The diachronic survey of landholding, labor, and debt from the Bronze Age through the Archaic period has more potential. The picture that emerges is one of both continuity and change. The nuclear family is portrayed as the primary landowner, agricultural producer, and consumer throughout this period. Private property existed in the Bronze Age and became more widespread through the early Archaic period; in no period or context, including new settlements (contra David Asheri), were the plots of land belonging to individuals equal in size or quality. People were enslaved for debt throughout: in the Bronze Age to an institutionalized "temple" (although this is far from certain), and in the Archaic period to private lenders (though Zurbach seems not to make the important distinction between debt slavery and debt servitude).

Changes in land regimes over this long period, and their relationship to both political and social developments, are more complex. Although Zurbach insists upon the existence of private property in the Bronze Age, he recognizes that the collapse of the palaces both intensified and extensified property ownership, as lands monitored by palatial authorities became untethered from any larger institutional system. Whereas in the later Bronze Age he sees some community land prerogatives in the hands of the dāmos (187–198), by the Archaic period instead communities, in the form of poleis, were offering entitlements to their citizens, whether in the form of guaranteed labor performed by enslaved populations or the import of price-controlled grain (766). He argues that public or common land was created as a new institution when "the community" claimed land for itself that had not been claimed by any private individuals. Although this makes some sense of eschatiai, it cannot account for the very deliberate demarcation of land for public uses in the center of a polis. Archaeology tells us that this is more haphazard in "old world" poleis than in apoikic ones (e.g., Metapontum), but it is nevertheless deliberate (Azoria being a particularly clear example). What is more, the assertion that "the community" stakes a claim over this land obfuscates the question of agency and envisages a more communitarian environment than is likely to have existed; inter-elite competition, social power, and the military needs of the emergent state are very likely to have played a role. Private land ownership, on the other hand, became more unequal over time as a function of alienation, the division of estates by inheritance, indebtedness, and the enslavement of entire groups.

Zurbach ultimately adheres to a traditional narrative about the economy of the Greek world in the Iron Age and Archaic period that is now widely rejected. He argues from the fact that pottery in the Early Iron Age was handmade rather than wheelmade that this was a "peasant economy" in which domestic production took precedence over specialized production, taking no notice of studies of Protogeometric pottery that suggest these vessels were "products of specialized workshops which often display skill and expertise."3 He offers a "minimalist" assessment of the role of trade in the Archaic period (718–723, 767) that flows from relative neglect of archaeological evidence in favor of literary sources that privilege elite perspectives and biases.

The book also suffers from several methodological shortcomings. Long-dismissed theories are extensively aired, usually only to be dismissed again (e.g., the debate about the alienability of land, which he traces from Niebuhr to Marx to Finley), whereas recent developments are too often neglected; we have cited a few particularly egregious examples above. There is also a tendency to neglect Anglophone scholarship in favor of Francophone. We also note an unduly trusting approach to the sources upon which Zurbach relies. From the fragmentary and highly specific Linear B tablets to Hesiod to late sources about archaic lawgivers, he seems to suppose that what we have in the texts is indeed representative of what there was, so as not to countenance the possibility that what we don't have could change the picture significantly.

Finally, Zurbach refrains throughout from serious engagement with archaeology, which is crucially important for our understanding of the period covered by the book. This neglect manifests itself both empirically and theoretically. The former is evident in errors of fact (e.g., Building T at Tiryns is wrongly dated to LH IIIC middle [756]) and interpretation. The latter is evident in Zurbach's repeated criticism of post-processual archaeology (16-19, 771-74), the exemplar of which is, bizarrely, Ian Morris. Zurbach decries Morris' approach, in which "[l]es individus et leurs pratiques créent une société sans structures" (772), but the pages of Morris cited make no such claim; Morris rather argues that the archaeological record is not the passive product of everyday life and that human practices cannot be entirely reduced to the operation of hard socioeconomic structures.

Zurbach's book will prove useful to those with a specialist interest in land and labor in the early Greek world, who will wish to consult it for points of detail and will need also to be aware of his arguments about private property in the Bronze Age and persistent land inequality in the Archaic period. But it is precisely these specialists—prehistorians and historians alike—who will be most troubled by the inaccuracies, omissions, and fruitless returns to old debates. It is not a book for the general reader, or for the faint of heart.



Notes:


1.   See recently J.L. Melena, "Filling gaps in the Mycenaean Linear B additional syllabary: The case of the syllabogram *34," in Agalma: ofrenda desde la Filología clásica a la Manuel García Teijeiro, ed. A.M. Fernandez (Valladolid 2014), 207-226. J.L. Peripillou, "Les syllabogrames *34 et *35," SMEA 25 (1984) 221-236; J. Chadwick, "Pylos Va 15," in Mykenaïka. Actes du IXe Colloque international sur les textes mycéniens et égéens, ed. J.-P. Olivier (Paris 1992) 167-172. Neither Chadwick 1992 nor Melena 2014 (or indeed any of Melena's work on the values of unidentified signs) is cited by Zurbach.
2.   Especially noteworthy is the omission of P. Halstead, Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean (Oxford 2014), but also earlier articles such as P. Halstead, "Mycenaean Wheat, Flax and Sheep: Palatial Intervention in Farming and its Implications for Rural Society," in Economy and Politics in the Mycenaean Palace States, ed. S. Voutsaki and J.T. Killen (Cambridge 2001) 38-50.
3.   I.S. Lemos, The Protogeometric Aegean: The archaeology of the late eleventh and tenth centuries B.C. (Oxford 2002) 97.

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2018.08.05

Camille Geisz, A Study of the Narrator in Nonnus of Panopolis' Dionysiaca: Storytelling in Late Antique Epic. Amsterdam studies in classical philology, 25. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2017. Pp. ix, 282. ISBN 9789004355330. $127.00.

Reviewed by Emma Greensmith, Colgate University; University of Cambridge (egreensmith@colgate.edu; eg357@cam.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

Few poets in antiquity are more self-consciously programmatic (or programmatically self-conscious) than Nonnus of Panopolis. His Dionysiaca is a feat of Homeric megalomania, its forty-eight books matching the Iliad and Odyssey combined, which flaunts from the outset a bendy, protean poetics to guide its hero through erotic, exuberant adventures. His twenty-one-book Paraphrase of John's Gospel displaces koine Greek for the most elaborate, literary language of all, revelling in the challenge of turning epic diction to Johannine Christology and vice versa. It therefore seems fitting that amidst the boom in scholarly interest in the poet over the past three decades,1 there now comes a monograph centrally dedicated to the subject of Nonnus' poetic voice.

Geisz states the aims of her study as, firstly, to 'explore the storytelling techniques employed in the Dionysiaca' and, secondly, to 'examine how this narratorial voice contributes to, or draws upon, the aesthetics of the late antique period' (4). The introduction briefly establishes the project's goals and assumptions and provides a summary of its four parts. It begins with an overview of the state of play of Nonnian scholarship—questions concerning the poet's contrasting subject matter, religious context, and varying reception over time. It then lays out the chosen methodology for the investigation: perhaps unsurprisingly, given its topic, it makes use of narratology. Geisz focuses on de Jong, who first applied narratological theory to Greek literature, and notes that this work has not yet ventured into Late Antiquity, which provides the justification for the current undertaking. This swift outline, however, fails to cite the major theoretical predecessors on which de Jong's work is based (Bakhtin, Bal and Genette do not receive explicit discussion until much later 2) and says nothing about the conceptual divisions between, for example, narrator and author on which such readings are centred. Most crucially, it does not discuss the strengths and indeed potential weaknesses of narratology as an interpretative model, nor make the case for its particular applicability to Nonnus. As we shall see, these are questions which remain pressing. Part 1 considers 'The Narrator-Author's Engagement with his Predecessors and with the Tradition of Epic Storytelling', via the establishment of an epic persona in the opening proem (Chapter 1), the programmatic techniques of the second proem in Book 25 (Chapter 2) and wider recourse to the Muses in seven other passages of the poem (Chapter 3). Geisz neatly isolates some of the principal features of innovation in Nonnus' portrayal of invocation and inspiration, situating his choices not only against Homeric precedent but also Hesiodic, Pindaric and, particularly, Alexandrian approaches. For example, Nonnus is argued to follow Alexandrian poets in employing the Muses as a literary device associated with epic, rather than a genuine source of 'religious' inspiration (however problematic this divide is to determine). In a move of considerable originality, he also imbues them with specific descriptive characteristics (Κορυβαντίδες, 13.46, μαχήμονες, 21.73, Λιβανηίδες, 41.11 and Ὁμηρίδες, 32.184) so as to make them most relevant to the stories that follow each invocation. However, for a section dedicated to poetic motivation, the discussion of the first proem is rather limited. Nonnus' main poetological force is reserved, in Geisz' judgement, for the second proem, which is 'the truly programmatic one' (18). Yet the opening proem also brims with self-consciousness, naming Homer (1.38, a daring move in epic which recurs conspicuously in the second proem, as Geisz discusses), and instantiating key symbols of Dionysiac poetics: Proteus as a figure for the poem's shifting self-conception, and terms such as νόθος (1.31), μιμηλός (1.29) and, crucially, ποικίλος (1.15), which receive little or no comment here.

Part 2: 'A Narrator Scholar with an Innovative Approach to Storytelling' analyses in two chapters the narratorial interventions in the Dionysiaca, interventions which occur far more frequently here than they do in other epics. Chapter 4 dissects where and how the narrator comments on the chosen version of the myth he is telling, identifying the focus on variants, choices and sources as evidence of his Callimachean persona as a learned and self-reflective storyteller. Chapter 5 examines the narrator's opinion of his own narrative and intervention into the story at moments less obviously programmatic than the proem, through self-anchoring in space and time, evaluative adjectives (νήπιος, 2.449, κοῦφος, e.g. 33.206, and, most frequently, δειλός), verbs in the first person (on two occasions, both [οὐ] μέμφομαι: 5.395 and 401) and, most extensively, in the syncrisis between Dionysus and Perseus, Minos and Heracles in Book 25. Whilst Geisz convincingly presents a narrator strongly invested in asserting his own personality, her analysis prompts the question, which is not addressed, of why this assertion is so partial and so fragmented: why, for instance, Nonnus would use νήπιος only once, when the term is such a frequent, obvious marker of narrative judgement in Homer and Quintus of Smyrna; or why intense moments of narratorial presence are avoided in general throughout the poem, and concentrated only in Book 25.

Part 3: 'A Narrator-Storyteller in Dialogue with his Audience' investigates direct addresses to the audience (Chapter 6)—which, it is shown, tend to focus on sight, colour and sound—indirect addresses in the form of metalepsis, gnomai and counterfactuals (Chapter 7) and comparisons and similes (Chapter 8). What emerges from this section is how Nonnus takes devices generally considered by scholars to be particularly prevalent in Late Antique epic and, surprisingly, tones them down. There are for instance only 45 gnomai in the Dionysiaca and 260 similes— a considerable backwards step in comparison to Quintus and Oppian, not only in number but also in proportion. Nonnus does however increase the variety of settings to which these devices are applied: in the case of gnomai as well as the common epic topics of fate and the human condition, he includes a number of statements about love and the importance of sight as an incentive for it. Again, however, Geisz does not directly tackle the implications of this interesting pattern: what does it mean that the poet of the Dionysiaca, so often associated with hyperbole and excess, in this respect defines himself against his predecessors by reticence, even reserve?

The fourth and final part considers how the Nonnian narrator turns himself into a character in his own epic: first through apostrophes (Chapter 9) and then, most strikingly, by casting himself as a Bacchic reveller, enlisting Proteus both as a companion and an 'alter ego' (Chapter 10). This final step returns, via ring composition with Chapter 1, to discussion of the first proem. This section is one of the most successful in the study, precisely because it offers more evaluation of the narrative manoeuvres it describes. For example, apostrophes in the poem, unlike in Homer and Apollonius, are almost always addressed to the main character Dionysus (or, on two occasions—Actaeon at 5.316-25 and Persephone at 6.155-9—to characters serving as early foils for him). Nonnus, Geisz argues, innovatively uses the device to encourage the narratee to 'share not only in his compassion for Dionysus, but also in his admiration, and even amusement' (245). We are therefore offered insight into an ironic, facetious narrator, who proposes the radical idea that one is allowed to laugh at epic, even at Dionysus. It is regrettable however that the crucial programmatic figure of Proteus (and with him, the notion of ποικιλία) receives full attention only at this very late stage: as noted above, his absence from the initial reading of the first proem was striking.

Overall, there is much to commend in this study. It is clearly expressed, carefully organised and well presented. It contains some incisive close readings of the poem and compares it with an impressive range of literature; archaic, Hellenistic and imperial. However, in the scope and impact of its conclusions, a number of issues must be raised. The first, more minor, relates to content. Whilst Geisz includes a useful glossary of narratological terms, the general index and index locorum are extremely brief: there is for instance no entry on ekphrasis, despite the four continuous pages dedicated to the topic (146-9). The generally broad range of literary interlocutors is marred by one notable omission: there is virtually no discussion of the Paraphrase, aside from a note in the conclusion that there might now usefully be undertaken a 'similar study' of that text in the future. This relentlessly bifurcated approach to Nonnus is unhelpful: until his two works are considered together, the Janus character of his poetics will continue to elude us.3 Given the central questions of this book, and how it engages with a number of other non-narrative Greek epics (such as Dionysius Periegetes and the Oppians) it could well have taken steps towards achieving this dialogue.

The last and largest limitation concerns conception. As I have sought to convey in my comments on the chapters, Geisz does not sufficiently address the wider context or consequence of the narrative choices that she demonstrates: whether, or why, Nonnus is exceptional in his assertion of a personality and transgression of the epic tradition, and what shifts in Late Antique literary culture could be motivating this salience or change. Her analysis is strong on parallels and penchants, but much weaker on paradigms. Further consideration could have been given, for example, to the religious connotations of an increased recourse to the self (interacting with, for instance, Shorrock's influential work on the Christian dynamics in Nonnus' Dionysiac poetics 4), ideas about the form and structure of knowledge in Late Antiquity,5 or—particularly relevant to her discussions of sight and 'Nonnus' visual poetry'(182)—developments in Late Antique art and visuality.6 In other words, the study successfully achieves its first stated aim—to explore the storytelling techniques of the Dionysiaca—but, through a lack of sustained dialogue with Late Antique aesthetics, it does not fulfil its second.

Geisz concludes by asserting that narratology is 'indeed a valuable tool for the study of the Dionysiaca' (264). Yet one of the principal criticisms of the narratological method is that it is very good at explaining what poetic composers do, but often less successful at exploring why. Given the particular poet under question, and, as Shorrock memorably puts it, his 'disturbing and exhilarating refusal' to dictate position and determine meaning narratology alone may not in fact be sufficient to capture these protean ambitions.7



Notes:


1.   Since the completion of the Budé edition of the Dionysiaca (1976-2006, 19 volumes), there have emerged many new publications: monographs (R. Shorrock The Myth of Paganism: Nonnus, Dionysus and the World of Late Antiquity. [London: Bloomsbury 2011], which follows his earlier The Challenge of Epic: Allusive Engagement in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus. [Leiden: Brill 2001]; H. Frangoulis Du roman à l'épopée: influence du roman grec sur les Dionysiaques de Nonnos de Panopolis. [Besançon: Presses Universitaires de Franche-Comté 2014]; N. Kröll Die Jugend des Dionysos: Die Ampelos-Episode in den Dionysiaka des Nonnos von Panopolis. [Berlin: De Gruyter 2016], B. Verhelst Direct Speech in Nonnus' Dionysiaca. [Leiden: Brill 2016]), edited volumes (K. Spanoudakis Nonnus of Panopolis in Context: Poetry and Cultural Milieu in Late Antiquity. [Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter 2014]; H. Bannert and N. Kröll Nonnus of Panopolis in Context II: Poetry, Religion, and Society [Leiden: Brill 2017] and most recently D. Accorinti Brill's Companion to Nonnus of Panopolis [Leiden; Boston: Brill 2016]) and editions and commentaries on, thus far, eight books of the Paraphrase.
2.   e.g. Genette at 88, Bal at 19 n1 and 65.
3.   On this 'Janus character', see the introductory essay by D. Accorinti in Brill's Companion to Nonnus of Panopolis (Leiden; Boston: Brill 2016), 9-53 esp. 37-9.
4.   Shorrock 2011.
5.   As explored in e.g. T. Whitmarsh and J. König ed. Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007).
6.   Geisz briefly references scholarship undertaken on the Dionysiaca and Late Antique art, e.g. at 257-8. Such models could have informed her study more consistently.
7.   Shorrock 2011, 78.

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