Friday, January 30, 2015


Zeev Weiss, Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine. Revealing antiquity, 21. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2014. Pp. xii, 361. ISBN 9780674048317. $49.95.

Reviewed by Hazel Dodge, Trinity College Dublin (

Version at BMCR home site


The study of games and spectacles in the Roman world has been the subject of a number of excellent publications in the last two decades. These range from works focussed on a particular type of spectacle (in particular the perennially fascinating gladiatorial combat, such as Dunkle's book on gladiators), to more general treatments, such as Jacobelli's on Pompeii.1 These entertainments were a fundamental part of Roman culture from the early Republic to the 6th century CE, but their popularity manifested itself in different ways across the Roman Empire, a phenomenon difficult to address in a publication with more general coverage.

Zeev Weiss's Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine therefore is a welcome addition to the current scholarship on the subject. It discusses the range of public entertainment that flourished in Palestine from the first century BCE to the sixth century CE, as well as the venues in which they occurred. It draws on a wealth of original archaeological and textual evidence, particularly the Jewish rabbinic and Talmudic sources so that the spectacles staged in Roman Palestine can be assessed against their specific regional and multicultural background. The material of several of the chapters has been published before in article form, but this has been up-dated, for the most part, to include the most recent evidence and scholarship.

In his introduction Weiss sets out the scope and raison-d'être of his study. He states that his approach is different from that of many other scholars in that he discusses all the building types in the region designated for public spectacles along with the range of performances and competitions that they accommodated. This is indeed a major step in the right direction. Buildings and the spectacles they hosted are discussed separately, but so much can be learned about one from a study of the other. The geographical area covered is Palestine in the Roman period, effectively the area of the modern state of Israel, with reference to the cities of the Decapolis (thus extending to the southernmost part of modern Syria and the western part of central Jordan) for comparison and contextualisation. A map is provided (Figure 2.1, incidentally the only map in the volume), but it is very unclear This makes for a rather artificial, even anachronistic, set of physical boundaries that creates problems for some of Weiss' more general observations and conclusions about spectacles and spectacle buildings. He does try to set what occurs in Palestine against the evidence for the eastern Mediterranean more generally, but this is not pursued in a very systematic way. The provision, design and nature of the venues themselves in particular cannot be discussed in relative regional isolation from the rest of the eastern provinces. Although, to be sure, there were spatial differences (as elsewhere, not only in the wider region, but also across the Roman world), the population of Palestine, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, seems to have embraced entertainments in much the same way as elsewhere in the Roman East. The educated elites, responsible for much of the documentary evidence, were similarly critical of the spectacles and the spectators in both Palestine and the wider Roman East.

The volume has a clear structure. It is divided into six chapters following the introduction. Chapter 1 explores the introduction of spectacles into Palestine under Herod in the context of his relations with Rome. This was a significant time for the region, politically and socially. Weiss's approach combines an examination of the range of performances with a discussion of the physical structures provided by Herod, particularly at Caesarea, Jericho and Jerusalem, but also at Samaria-Sebaste and Herodium. Weiss provides a very useful discussion of the political and cultural context of these key developments along with the important archaeological evidence that has resulted from recent archaeological discoveries at these sites. Chapter 2 discusses the physical and cultural context of the construction of the venues associated with games and spectacles. It enumerates the theatres, hippodromes (circuses) and amphitheatres constructed within the cities of the region. Not surprisingly, much of the architectural provision took place in centres with more direct Roman agency, such as Caesarea, Gerasa and Scythopolis, rather than specific Jewish centres such as Jerusalem and Sepphoris. Theatres are most numerous, an observation which can be made of the Roman world generally, not just the Roman East, and they seem to follow similar design models. The provision of other buildings, such as the amphitheatre and circus, is indicative of a closer engagement with Roman culture by the urban elites.

In Chapter 3, Weiss explores the entertainments themselves. He begins with a discussion of theatrical displays before moving on to athletic competitions and chariot races in the circus. He then concludes with spectacles associated with the amphitheatre. Weiss observes a definite regional character to the activities on offer, although in fact a broadening of the discussion would have found strong similarities in this respect with other parts of the eastern Mediterranean world at this time. Some attention is given to how these spectacles were actually accommodated physically in the different venues, but the discussion, with the exception of the situation at Caesarea with its "hippo-stadium," tends to rely on the traditional modern attribution of entertainments: drama, mimes, etc., in the theatre; chariot racing in the circus; gladiators in the amphitheatre, etc.

Chapter 4 discusses the finances behind the construction of the venues as well as the provision of the displays in each locale. In Chapter 5, Weiss focuses on the relationship between Jewish society and Roman entertainment in Late Antiquity. He provides an in-depth discussion of the Jewish literary sources and the light they shed on rabbinic attitudes towards Roman public entertainment.

Chapter 6 provides a concluding assessment of the final phase of entertainment and performance in Palestine in Late Antiquity. At this time Jewish and Christian attitudes towards the spectacles and those involved in them ran in parallel, at least according to the literary texts, although the buildings tell a story of adaptation and remodeling, a process that may actually have started earlier.

Overall, this is an extremely well-researched and valuable study of the subject, but there are two major issues of concern. The geographical scope of the volume is understandable and indeed some limits were necessary to ensure it did not become too unwieldy. However, such Roman entertainments, their venues and context cannot properly be understood without the broader context of the eastern Mediterranean being taken into account. The provision of amphitheatres in particular needs to be discussed in the context of adaptation of other entertainment buildings (such as theatres, stadia and circuses) for use in the staging of munera. This phenomenon is now well-known and still much discussed in studies of the Roman East. Weiss acknowledges the problem of the accessibility, for non-Hebrew specialists, of many of the written sources that are specific to the region; although full references are given, much of this material is still very difficult to access.

The second issue relates to the physical description of the venues themselves. It is generally accepted that each building type can be defined in very distinct architectural terms with apparently clearly defined functions; the theatre for drama, the stadium for athletics, and the circus for chariot and horse racing. These Roman period building classes (theatre, amphitheatre, circus, stadium) therefore have a recognisable and definable form, and a primary function that is defined and acknowledged in modern scholarship. A particular challenge for the study of entertainment structures in the Eastern Provinces is the employment of specific terminology that attempts to describe both the architectural design and the performances that the structures accommodated. It is known from the excellent Caesarea excavations that Herod built the long structure with a curved end that is connected to his palace and runs parallel with the shore. Following Josephus, it may be inferred that this structure was used for a variety of quite different entertainments that Herod staged in 11 BCE (AJ 16.136-138; BJ 1.415). Its architectural form is that of a circus, admittedly a little short compared to the Circus Maximus (290m vs 600m), but in fact longer that the circus at Gerasa (the shortest so far recorded at 244m). Although Weiss makes the important point that many of the venues were used for a range of spectacles (something demonstrable across the Roman world in fact), he uses the term "hippo-stadium", referring more to the displays that the building accommodated. This term was first coined in the 1990s2 in an attempt to clarify the nature of the Caesarea and similar structures, but its very inexactitude is more of a hindrance than a help.

Weiss' text is not well supported by the illustrations. The quality of the one map has already been mentioned. The black and white photographs are often very grainy, and the inclusion of more plans to accompany them would have been useful, particularly as some of these sites are only published in more specialist bibliography that is not easily accessible, at least for now. The publisher's house style of not providing an end-bibliography, but including all the bibliographical material in the references (which, it should be observed, are very full and immensely useful) means that it can be frustratingly difficult to find the full details of a particular work.

This is an immensely useful volume that gives access to important Hebrew sources and publications. In some respects, the book has limitations in geographical scope and perception. There are frequent general references back to the situation in Rome. While these are often valuable, notably in relation to Herod's activities, recent studies of Roman imperial culture stress diversity of regional development as opposed to core-periphery models. Despite being critical of the approaches of other scholars, Weiss still falls into similar traps of traditional architectural simplification and cultural categorisation. Nevertheless, Weiss must be congratulated for this very important study, which represents a significant contribution to the study of spectacles and entertainments in the Roman world.


1.   L. Jacobelli, Gladiators at Pompeii, trans. M. Becker, Los Angeles 2003; R. Dunkle, Gladiators. Violence and Spectacle in Ancient Rome, Harlow 2008.
2.   J. Humphrey, "Amphitheatrical Hippo-Stadia", in A. Raban and K. G. Holum (ed.), Caesarea Maritima : a retrospective after two millennia, Leiden 1996, 121-129.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015


Koen De Temmerman, Crafting Characters: Heroes and Heroines in the Ancient Greek Novel. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. xxi, 395. ISBN 9780199686148. $150.00.

Reviewed by William M. Owens, Ohio University (

Version at BMCR home site


Koen De Temmerman's Crafting Characters provides the first comprehensive study of the characterization of the protagonists and the techniques of characterization in the five surviving Greek novels. The author's reading of these novels significantly advances our understanding of characterization in the genre. Characterization is a complex theme. Human character—the product of both nature and culture and a phenomenon that may be viewed from the perspectives of intellect, morality, and psychology—is itself complex. The study of literary characterization is even more complicated, in that it also involves questions that concern the nature of literary representation. An ancient literary genre adds a final layer of complexity, because, as De Temmerman notes, modern concepts of character do not easily map on to the way character was conceived by ancient authors.

De Temmerman notes appropriate comparisons with characterization in ancient epic, drama, and biography, but this is not a book that compares characterization across genres at length. De Temmerman describes characterization in the novels as both a mimetic and a semantic process. The protagonists are fictional analogues of human beings. At the same time, they are not real people, but rather exist in the context of the text, depending on and interacting with other literary elements. Thus De Temmerman emphasizes that characterization in the novels is a rhetorical product, both value-laden and ambiguous. This premise—which is also a conclusion—aligns with the author's methodology and the structure of the book. A detailed introduction considers ancient and modern notions of character, the nature of the literary representation of character, particularly in narration, and techniques of ethopoeia, the means by which character was constructed in ancient rhetorical theory. In the chapters that follow, De Temmerman examines each novel in a close reading that draws on modern narratology and ancient rhetorical theory: Chariton's Callirhoe, Xenophon of Ephesus's Ephesiaca, Achilles Tatius's Leucippe and Clitophon, Longus's Daphnis and Chloe, and Heliodorus's Aethiopica. This order reflects the present consensus for the chronology of the novels. A helpful summary concludes the book.

In his readings De Temmerman emphasizes how characterization emerges from the process of narration itself. As we read the text we assemble the associations and attributes of a given character into an integrated whole. The novels' authors themselves inform their protagonists' characters through both direct and indirect means. Direct characterization tended to associate the protagonists with moral and cultural qualities such as eugeneia, sōphrosynē, and paideia. But in De Temmerman's careful readings, more important than the direct assertion of character were the indirect methods which implied character through metaphor and metonymy, through shifting focalization, and within intra- and intertextual associations. These indirect methods lie at the heart of the rhetorical character of characterization. In addition, indirect characterization destabilizes the certainties of direct characterization. Through his Ethiopian heroine Chariclea, Heliodorus calls into question the quality of eugeneia, normatively conceived as a variety of Greek nobility. In Chariton, focalization through Chaereas raises questions about Callirhoe's sōphrosynē. Longus questions the ways in which paideia makes a difference, or does not, in the character of Daphnis. When all is said and done, character remains elusive and indeterminate.

De Temmerman articulates his readings with reference to three principal axes: character as type or individual; character as idealized or realistic; finally, character as static or dynamic, whether a protagonist remains the same or evolves over the course of the novel. A focus on overt characterization tends to favor the first end of each axis. The characters in the Greek novels, especially the protagonists, have been viewed as static and idealized literary stereotypes. Rohde's view of the novels' protagonists as seelenlose Gestalten, while extreme, has retained its influence. Through his careful close reading of the indirect means of characterization, De Temmerman makes a sustained and persuasive case for the other end of each axis. There are exceptions. The author accepts the paradoxical consensus view that Longus's novel, an Erziehungsroman that represents Daphnis' and Chloe's psychological states as they undergo their education in social mores and erōs, does not depict these protagonists as particular individuals but rather as types: the male and female versions of elites endowed with innate nobility and simple rusticity. And it is difficult to see how Clitophon, that most self-centered of narrators, has changed at the end of his story. But in general De Temmerman's readings leave us with protagonists who have been individualized, who seem endowed with psychological realism, and who change over the course of the narrative. Crafting Characters thus offers an important revision of our understanding of characterization in the novels.

The readings themselves are theoretically rich, densely argued, and meticulously researched. The bibliography, which approaches a thousand items, reflects De Temmerman's extensive reading in character theory, narratology, ancient rhetorical theory, and previous scholarship in the novels. Because characterization is enmeshed with the other constituent elements of narration, such as plot, time, and action, these readings do more than analyze characterization. They are proper readings in their own right. However, no one reader is likely to agree with the author on every point. For example, De Temmerman thematizes the dynamic aspect of characterization across several novels as a process involving a protagonist's increasing self-control and control of others, often through rhetorical ability. The explanation applies to many protagonists, but not all. In Chariton's novel, De Temmerman sees Callirhoe as the victim of Plangon, the serva callida who manipulates her into marriage with her master Dionysius. Later, in a parallel episode, through skillful rhetorical manipulation, Chariton's heroine asserts her control over Artaxates, the eunuch who tries to seduce her for the Great King. But the text can also support a reading in which the ever astute Callirhoe sees through Plangon's manipulation. She agrees to marry Dionysius, not as a naïve victim of manipulation, but as a cool-headed heroine who understands the necessity she faced as a slave. Other readers may disagree with the author on how far to press a given intertextual reference. For example, De Temmerman notes (pp. 93–4) how, late in Callirhoe, when Chaereas is finally establishing his aretē in the battle at Tyre, Chariton aligns the hero with Homer's Diomedes. Following the author, the alignment with Diomedes, who rashly attacked Aphrodite in battle, would evoke Chaereas's earlier rashness, when he assaulted Callirhoe, who was herself compared to Aphrodite. The association may be tenuous. Chaereas's courageous audacity in battle may be rather different from his impetuous attack on Callirhoe. However, such disagreements do not arise from some flaw in the author's method or approach; rather they are points for further discussion and debate.

A contribution of particular importance involves the association that De Temmerman draws out between characterization and the character of the narrative. The author interprets the characterization of Habrocomes and Anthia, the protagonists of Ephesiaca, in the context of Xenophon's simple or aphelic style. Ancient rhetorical theory regarding apheleia indicated a style of discourse in which the speaker would seldom render direct judgment but was, rather, neutral and distant. Thus, Xenophon constructs the character of his protagonists principally through indirect means, through judgments focalized in the protagonists themselves or in other characters and through metonymic references that allow the reader to infer the protagonists' characters from their words, thoughts, and deeds. Thus Xenophon's simplicity is neither a reflection of his lack of craft nor a by-product of clumsy epitomization (a matter on which De Temmerman is neutral). Rather, this apheleia is a contrived simplicity rooted in the tradition of rhetorical apheleia and essential to Xenophon's approach to characterization. The author sees an even closer association between rhetorical style and character in Daphnis and Chloe, where Longus's aphelic style mirrors the rustic simplicity of the protagonists themselves.

In Leucippe and Clitophon, except for a brief framing episode at the start of the novel, Clitophon himself relates the story in first-person or homodiegetic narration. Thus, the narrative itself, a focalized reflection of Clitophon's thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and judgments of himself and others, may be considered "one long example of ethopoeia" (p. 153) informing a self-portrait that is both intentional and unintentional. There is no touchstone to assess the truthfulness of Clitophon's account; in addition, Achilles Tatius regularly undermines confidence in his protagonist's reliability through the dissonance between what he could know and what he purports to know, between his characterization of himself and what the events he narrates suggest.1 From this dissonance De Temmerman traces ambiguities in Clitophon's level of sexual experience, his relative interest in sex versus love, and his claims to sōphrosynē. An important aspect of Clitophon's unintended self-characterization is his use of maxims. De Temmerman notes how these maxims, elaborated according to rhetorical practice, depict the protagonist as a pepaideumenos. Clitophon uses the maxims as heuristic devices, a form of bookish knowledge, to explain events he does not really understand, events involving, in particular, women, slaves and barbarians.

De Temmerman suggests that this bookish knowledge may serve as the basis of Clitophon's characterization of Leucippe. For all that he loves her, for much of the novel the hero has relatively little to say about the heroine apart from commenting on her physical beauty. This changes when the lovers are finally reunited at Ephesus, at which point Clitophon increasingly depicts Leucippe as a typical novel heroine. In particular, De Temmerman notes in the Ephesian episode a significant intertextual alignment between Leucippe and Chariton's Callirhoe. De Temmerman's suggests here that the book behind Clitophon's bookishness is the genre of the novel itself. The protagonist's knowledge of the romance genre compensates for what he does not really understand—in this case, his own beloved. The point is well taken. Characterization in Leucippe and Clitophon is deeply embedded in the hermeneutics of fictionalization, narratorial authority, and narratorial (un)reliability.

In the case of Heliodorus's Aethiopica, De Temmerman argues that indeterminacy of characterization has been written into the DNA of the narrative itself. The novel starts with an enigmatic in medias res ecphrasis of the protagonists on the beach near an outlet of the Nile. A Chinese box of embedded flashbacks narrates what came before. These flashbacks elaborate, revise, and often deconstruct what the reader thinks he or she knows about Chariclea and Theagenes. Heliodorus cultivates this ambiguity in finer detail through complex intra- and intertextualities and the rhetorical techniques that De Temmerman has described in the other novels: metaphor, metonymy, speech, and strategic focalization.

The principal focus of De Temmerman's discussion concerns Chariclea, for whom the novel is a reversal of the traditional nostos. Chariclea's journey takes her from the heart of the Greek world in Delphi to the periphery of Ethiopia. 2 From Heliodorus's complex structure, De Temmerman draws out a nuanced and complex portrait of the heroine as a dynamic character. Her essential nature is molded and altered by Calasiris, the Egyptian priest who finds Chariclea in Delphi and starts her on her journey home. As she internalizes Calasiris's teaching and realizes her identity, Chariclea herself molds her character in a consciously adopted process of change. She defends her sōphrosynē by enacting her nobility in dramatic performance and rhetorical display. Characterization is now not only a product of rhetoric, but rhetoric itself. De Temmerman notes a final Heliodoran irony. In Meroë at last and at the height of her rhetorical powers, Chariclea is unable to convince her father Hydaspes of her identity. The nostos in which the heroine realizes her true self runs aground in a place where rhetoric, the means by which she has up to that point defined herself, is utterly ineffective. Hydaspes is convinced she is his daughter not by words but by an image, the heroine's likeness to a picture of Andromeda.

In Crafting Characters Koen De Temmerman presents five meticulously researched, carefully argued, and important readings of the surviving Greek novels that significantly advance our understanding of characterization in the genre.


1.   Cf. John Morgan (2004). "Achilles Tatius," in I. J. F. de Jong, R. Nünlist, and A. Bowie (eds.), Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature. Leiden: Brill, 493–506.
2.   On Chariclea's nostos, Tim Whitmarsh (1998). "The Birth of a Prodigy: Heliodorus and the Genealogy of Hellenism," in R. Hunter (ed.), Studies in Heliodorus. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 93–124.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Carol C. Mattusch, Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014. Pp. 168. ISBN 9781606063262. $30.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Norbert Franken, Berlin (

Version at BMCR home site

Das hier zu besprechende Buch stammt aus der Feder einer renommierten Kennerin antiker Bronzenstatuen. Auf der Grundlage ihrer profunden Kenntnis der antiken Quellen wie auch der überlieferten Denkmäler gibt sie in sechs Kapiteln einen gut lesbaren Überblick über die reiche Vielfalt antiker, vornehmlich griechischer und römischer Bronzen.

Nach einer längeren Einführung widmet sich Kapitel 1 „The Allure of Bronze" zunächst den naturwissenschaftlichen Grundlagen und besonderen Eigenschaften der Kupferlegierungen und ihrer Bestandteile, spricht über die vor allem literarisch bekannten Produktionszentren in Korinth, Delos und Aegina, die Farbigkeit, die Korrosion und Restaurierung antiker Bronzen und über das Wachsausschmelzverfahren. Weiter behandelt Mattusch die ikonographische Vielfalt von Portraitstatuen, Büsten, Hermen usw. bevor sie die Lararien als üblichen Aufstellungsort römischer Bronzestatuetten und das literarisch bezeugte Interesse finanziell besser gestellter Römer an griechischen Kunstwerken erwähnt.

Kapitel 2 „Techniques" gibt einen Abriss der griechischen Bronzeproduktion seit geometrischer und archaischer Zeit, behandelt die frühgriechische Plastik aus getriebenen Blechen, wie die Figuren aus dem Apollontempel von Dreros (Kreta), und schließt daran Bemerkungen zu der vor allem für Waffen, wie Helme, Schilde und Beinschienen, verwendete Treibtechnik an. Danach geht es um geometrische Dreifüße, orientalisierende Greifenkessel und Monumente wie den delphischen Platäerdreifuß auf der Schlangensäule (heute in Istanbul), um sich daran anschließend Kandelabern, Dreifüßen, Spiegeln, Gefäßen und Statuetten archaischer bis römischer Zeit zuzuwenden, wobei auch frühe Beispiele serieller Fertigung, stilistische Eigenheiten etruskischer Bronzen und kleinformatige Kopien nach großplastischen Meisterwerken angesprochen werden. Danach widmet sich Mattusch den Arbeitsschritten des Bronzegusses vom Modell bis zur Kaltarbeit und betont den technischen Informationswert von Fragmenten. Weiter spricht sie über die Einlagen der Augen und andersfarbiger Metalle sowie über die übliche Versockelung mittels Bleiverguss.

Im folgenden Kapitel „Bronzes in Text and Image" beleuchtet die Autorin den Zeugniswert von Vasenbildern und Schriftquellen für die antiken Bronzen. Sie beginnt mit den mythischen Erzählungen über den Schmiedegott Hephaistos (lat. Vulcan) bevor sie betont, dass alles was wir heute über die antike Bronzetechnik wissen auf der modernen Interpretation antiker Texte und Bildzeugnisse sowie der Analyse von Produktionsabfällen und den oft nur bruchstückhaft erhaltenen Bronzewerken selbst beruht. Ausgehend von der Beobachtung, dass viele Quellen Ungenauigkeiten und ein verbreitetes Desinteresse gegenüber dem Metallhandwerk verraten, geht sie näher auf die für dieses Thema besonders ergiebigen Schriftsteller Plinius den Älteren und Pausanias ein. Das 34. Buch der um die Mitte des 1. Jhs. n. Chr. entstandenen Naturalis historia des Plinius fand vor allem wegen der darin überlieferten Namen griechischer Künstler und ihrer Werke Beachtung, während bekanntlich die im 2. Jh. n. Chr. von Pausanias verfasste ‚Beschreibung Griechenlands' für den ursprünglichen Kontext der heute größtenteils verlorenen Bildwerke von unschätzbarem Wert ist.

Das Kapitel schließt mit der Beschreibung einer berühmten attisch-rotfigurigen Schale in der Berliner Antikensammlung, der Namensvase des Erzgießereimalers. Vermeintlich stilistische Unterschiede zwischen den zwei dort gerade gefertigten Bronzestatuen nimmt die Autorin als Anlass zu grundsätzlichen Zweifeln an der Möglichkeit der Datierung antiker Plastik anhand von Stilmerkmalen.

In Kapitel 4 „Athens" unternimmt die Autorin einen mit Schriftzeugnissen und Anekdoten angereicherten Spaziergang durch Athen; sie folgt dem Panathenäenweg über die Agora, erwähnt das durch amerikanische Archäologen ausgegrabene Viertel der Bronzehandwerker, wo neben vielen anderen Gegenständen des täglichen Bedarfs nachweislich noch im 6. Jh. n. Chr. auch Großbronzen gegossen wurden. Ferner erläutert sie die Quellenlage zu zwei der berühmtesten Bronzestatuen in Athen, der Tyrannenmördergruppe auf der Agora und der ehemals rund neun Meter hohen Athena auf der Akropolis. Ausführlich interpretiert sie Lukians Parodie Der tragische Jupiter in der es um die strittige Sitzordnung in einer fiktiven Versammlung von Götterbildern geht. Zeus betraut Hermes mit der Aufgabe, allen Götterstatuen nach den Kriterien des verwendeten Materials und der künstlerischen Gestaltung einen angemessenen Platz zuzuweisen. Die Pointe von Lukians Erzählung liegt darin, dass es am Ende gar nicht auf die Künstler ankommt, sondern allein der materielle Wert der Statuen zählt.

Von zentraler Bedeutung ist das fünfte Kapitel „Artists, the Art Market, and Rome". Hier gibt die Autorin zunächst eine Zusammenfassung der Überlieferung zu Leben und Werk des schon im Altertum hoch geschätzten Bronzegießers Lysippos von Sikyon. Sie weist sicherlich zu Recht darauf hin, dass Lysipp die für ihn überlieferte Zahl von 1500 Statuen nur durch die mehrfache Verwendung von Hilfsnegativen (master molds) erreichen konnte. Die Statuen des Daochosmonuments in Delphi sieht sie als Werke Lysipps bzw. seiner Werkstatt. Dann spricht sie über den für seine Marmorarbeiten berühmten Bildhauer Praxiteles, für den auch einzelne Bronzewerke überliefert sind. An der Echtheit der erst vor wenigen Jahren bekannt gewordenen Bronzestatue eines ‚Apollon Sauroktonos' in Cleveland hat der Rez. auf der Grundlage der bekannten Fotos allerdings erhebliche Zweifel.

Anschließend beschreibt Mattusch den im 2. Jh. v. Chr. einsetzenden Ausverkauf griechischer Kunst an einen römischen Kundenkreis, beginnend mit den Kriegszügen von Aemilius Paullus, Mummius und Sulla, über den weithin bekannten Frevel des Verres in Sizilien bis hin zu einem sich ausweitenden Kunstmarkt und einem auf Bestellung arbeitenden und sich so schließlich mehr und mehr nach Italien verlagernden Kopistenwesen. Mit der kolossalen Marmorkopie des Herakles Farnese und der Bronzeherme des Doryphoros (beide in Neapel) zeigt sie zwei durch ihre Künstlersignaturen verschiedenen athenischen Kopisten zuweisbare Bildwerke.

Im Folgenden streift die Autorin kurz den viel zitierten Briefwechsel zwischen Cicero und seinem Kunstagenten Atticus, um dann auf den großartigsten aller Kunsttransportfunde, das Wrack von Mahdia, zu sprechen zu kommen. Aus dem Fund interessiert sie besonders die von Boethos signierte Herme, zu der es im Getty Museum eine leicht veränderte Wiederholung gibt, die – nach Meinung des Rez. wahrscheinlich zu Unrecht – als eine moderne Fälschung verdächtigt wurde. Von einzelnen beim Schiffstransport über Bord gegangenen und daher ohne einen Fundkontext schwieriger einzuordnenden Funden bleibt auch der bekannte Getty-Athlet, eine jugendliche Siegerstatue des späten 4. oder frühen 3. Jhs. v. Chr., nicht unerwähnt. Ein Überblick über literarisch erwähnte Bronzestatuen in Rom schließt das Kapitel ab.

Im Kapitel 6 „Ancient Bronzes Today" schlägt Mattusch den Bogen in die Gegenwart. Anhand der vor wenigen Jahren vor der kroatischen Küste gefundenen Athletenstatue in Zagreb zeigt sie wie neue Funde unser Wissen erweitern. Dabei schließt sie sich den Archäologen an, die den durch eine größere Zahl von zum Teil verkleinerten Wiederholungen in Bronze und Marmor bezeugten Typus für den literarisch überlieferten ‚Apoxyomenos' des Lysippos halten. Die Fragwürdigkeit überlieferter Vorstellungen von ‚Original' und ‚Replik' verfolgt die Autorin anhand einiger Werke von Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917), behandelt kurz die in der Getty Villa in Malibu aufgestellten Nachgüsse der Fonderia Chiurazzi nach Werken aus der Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum und erläutert anhand einer Anekdote aus dem Leben J. Paul Gettys ihre Überzeugung, dass schon in der Antike jeder Auftraggeber Material und Größe seines Bildnisses selbst bestimmte. Mattusch endet mit einem spätantiken Fundkomplex von über 100 Fragmenten hellenistischer bis kaiserzeitlicher Bronzestatuen, die 1992 im Meer vor Brindisi entdeckt wurden und sich heute im dortigen Archäologischen Museum befinden. Ohne Einschränkung zustimmen will der Rez. dem Fazit der Autorin, wenn sie (S. 160) schreibt: „... if we look carefully at what we actually have in hand, the bronzes themselves provide evidence that leads us to ask new questions about ancient bronzes and to broaden the scope of our studies."

Am Ende ist der Verfasserin für ihre umfassende und flüssig geschriebene Darstellung zur antiken Bronzekunst sehr zu danken. Weniger als wissenschaftliches Fachbuch denn als leicht verständliche Einführung für Studienanfänger und allgemein interessierte Leser geschrieben, bietet „Enduring Bronze" vereinzelt auch dem Spezialisten neue Informationen und weniger bekannte Schriftquellen. Von allen abgebildeten Bronzen, die ganz überwiegend im J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu aufbewahrt werden, war dem Rez. nur eine Minervabüste (Abb. 8) unbekannt. Entgegen der Interpretationen der Verf. handelt es sich bei der 15,8 cm hohen Bronze aber nicht um eine Fulcrumbüste, sondern um den figürlichen Phaleraschmuck vom Zaumzeug einer wenigstens lebensgroßen Reiterstatue.1 Auch wenn die rechte Hand und der linke Unterarm verloren gegangen sind, lässt sich anhand von Vergleichsbeispielen zeigen, dass sich Minerva einst mit der linken Hand einen Rundschild vor die Brust hielt. Dies erklärt auch, warum das Schuppenmuster der Ägis nur an der linken Schulter und über der rechten Brust wiedergegeben ist. In den vom Schild verdeckten Bereichen der Ägis verzichtete der Künstler dagegen auf die Angabe des Schuppenmusters. Das von Mattusch wohl zu Unrecht als Folge einer zu starken Reinigung gedeutete Schadensbild mit einer nur in den Vertiefungen erhaltenen Patina und deutlichem Abrieb an den erhabenen Stellen ist typisch für Flussfunde. Auch der halb abgerissene Kopf könnte für eine Bergung durch einen Kiesbagger sprechen.

Ein knappes Literaturverzeichnis, ein umfangreicherer Index und ein Abbildungsnachweis schließen das Buch ab.


1.   Vgl. N. Franken, Zu Bildschmuck und Attributen antiker Bronzestatuen, in: Akten der 14. Internationalen Tagung über antike Bronzen, Köln 21. 9.–24. 9. 1999, Kölner Jahrbuch 33, 2000, 222 – 225.

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Cristina Viano, Carlo Natali, Marco Zingano (ed.), Aitia I. Les quatre causes d'Aristote: origines et interprétations. Aristote, traductions et études. Leuven; Paris; Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2013. Pp. 260. ISBN 9782758401919. €65.00.

Reviewed by Gweltaz Guyomarc'h, Université Lyon 3 (

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On connaît le mot de Diogène Laërce qui qualifie Aristote d'« étiologissime » (αἰτιολογικώτατος, V, 32). Si la proposition du doxographe n'est pas dénuée de malice (le Stagirite serait allé jusqu'à « donner les causes des moindres des choses »), elle confirme la réputation qu'a eue Aristote dès l'Antiquité en ce domaine. C'est ce dossier que reprend à nouveaux frais l'ouvrage édité par C. Viano, C. Natali et M. Zingano, suite à un colloque international, tenu en 2010 à Paris.

L'ouvrage entend « faire la lumière […] sur la doctrine aristotélicienne des quatre causes » (p. 6), en élargissant le débat à la fois à son amont et à son aval. L'ensemble du volume ne saurait certes prétendre à l'exhaustivité (on aurait pu attendre une contribution autonome sur le couple cause formelle / cause matérielle dans le corpus aristotélicien). Mais, d'une part, il couvre les principales applications de la causalité aristotélicienne, de la logique à la métaphysique en passant par l'éthique et la biologie ; d'autre part, il donne à lire des articles dont certains sont manifestement destinés à devenir des classiques sur la question.

Quoique chaque chapitre fraie sa voie propre, nombreux sont naturellement ceux à se retrouver sur la question de l'unité et de la nature des quatre causes. C'est un problème de comprendre ce qu'Aristote veut dire quand il énonce que « les causes se disent en quatre sens » et qu'il y a quatre « modes » de la cause.1 Si l'on a seulement affaire à des sens, il est alors légitime de se demander s'il existe un sens unitaire du terme et si les quatre sens entretiennent avec lui un rapport synonymique de type genre-espèce. Si en revanche on entend par là quatre sortes de mécanismes causaux, encore faut-il parvenir à comprendre pourquoi Aristote peut rabattre certaines causalités les unes sur les autres. Ces interrogations montrent à quel point, dans le cas d'Aristote, pose problème la distinction, établie par M. Frede dans un article célèbre auquel se réfèrent plusieurs contributions, entre les aitiai comme explications ou comme entités, comme items propositionnels ou non-propositionnels.2 Cet ouvrage réunit en ce sens plusieurs argumentations solides en faveur d'une lecture réaliste de la causalité aristotélicienne.

Les deux premières contributions, de C. Darbo-Peschanski et de C. Natali, mettent en lumière la théorie aristotélicienne à partir de son contexte. C. Darbo-Peschanski diagnostique une « rupture épistémologique » (p. 34) entre le corpus hippocratique (plus précisément les traités De la génération , De la nature de l'enfant et Maladies IV) et Aristote (plus précisément Génération des animaux). Elle montre ainsi comment les deux corpus dessinent deux « configurations notionnelles » (p. 15) de la causalité en biologie, en particulier dans leur rapport au signe.

L'article magistral de C. Natali se donne pour objet le vocabulaire de la causalité chez Platon et Aristote. Mais plus qu'une enquête lexicale, l'article parvient à ressaisir en 31 pages l'essentiel de la controverse platonico-aristotélicienne et à déployer une thèse forte, dont la discussion outrepasserait les limites du présent compte-rendu. Selon l'auteur, les usages platoniciens de aitia ou aition demeurent souvent proches des sens courants des termes. Lorsqu'ils prennent un sens plus technique et sont définis par Platon, C. Natali insiste sur le lien avec l'idée de production, de cause efficiente aristotélicienne, tandis que les passages où les termes signifient « explication » seraient en fait métaphoriques. Chez Aristote en revanche, les termes prennent un sens généralement technique, et l'absence de justification de ces emplois, contrairement à ce qu'avait soutenu Vlastos,3 ne tient pas à ce qu'ils relèveraient du vocabulaire courant, mais à ce qu'ils devaient déjà être utilisés dans les débats entre académiciens. Les quatre causes d'Aristote se comprennent alors comme une déconstruction de la causalité platonicienne, en distinguant davantage les fonctions motrice et paradigmatique de la matière, et comme une synthèse des fonctions formelle (Platonisme) et matérielle (Présocratiques). La doctrine aristotélicienne n'est donc pas qu'un système d'explications, mais déploie une conception réaliste de la causalité comme dépendance entre la cause et l'effet, sans se restreindre à la seule production. L'article fournit ainsi une contribution centrale et des arguments extrêmement convaincants dans le débat initié par l'article cité de M. Frede.

J. Barnes analyse avec allant le rôle de la causalité dans l'épistémologie des Seconds Analytiques, dont il sonde la cohérence et la vérité. L'auteur soutient, de façon tout à fait contre-intuitive et donc hautement stimulante, que, prise à la lettre, la théorie aristotélicienne se condamne en fait à rendre impossible tout savoir par la preuve ou la démonstration. Même en acceptant la thèse selon laquelle toute preuve repose in fine sur des prémisses premières indémontrables, la démonstration de la conclusion d'un syllogisme ouvrirait toujours potentiellement à un nombre trop grand de preuves des prémisses correspondant à chaque cause expliquant la conclusion. Mais, ce faisant, l'auteur identifie de façon concluante les thèses centrales de la conception aristotélicienne, c'est-à-dire aussi bien ses « fautes fondamentales » (p. 89). Toutefois, le fait, comme le soutient l'auteur, qu'Aristote puisse admettre un savoir sans preuve, qu'il puisse admettre que toute preuve ne soit pas nécessairement syllogistique, ou qu'à côté des preuves du pourquoi il y ait aussi des preuves du fait, tout cela ne nous semble pas logiquement interdire la possibilité même d'une science, mais, au contraire, l'enrichir.

J.-B. Gourinat s'attache à la cause couramment appelée efficiente. Il rappelle à juste titre que l'expression ποιητικὸν αἴτιον ne se lit pas en ce sens chez Aristote et entend montrer, contre une certaine tradition, que l'efficience ou la production n'est qu'un aspect possible de cette cause, plus rigoureusement conçue comme celle de l'« origine d'où part le mouvement » (Met. A, 3, 983a30, par exemple). La réduction de cette cause à l'efficience reposerait sur un privilège indument accordé au modèle technique, rompant l'équilibre aristotélicien entre modèle artisanal et modèle de la motricité naturelle. Ces analyses emportent l'adhésion, en particulier dans la démonstration de la complexité de la causalité motrice dans la génération animale. On pourrait cependant regretter que la tradition servant ici de repoussoir ait été concentrée dans le nom d'Alexandre d'Aphrodise, et dans un passage que l'Exégète lui-même devait considérer comme une simplification scolaire, ne rendant pas justice à la complexité de sa théorie de la causalité.

L'exposé de D. Charles prend en charge la causalité finale et soutient une lecture forte de celle-ci en la concentrant dans deux critères : il y a cause finale lorsque l'effet est un bien profitable à l'agent ; la fin ne cause pas seulement l'occurrence de certains traits, mais détermine l'occurrence de l'effet dans certains conditions, en particulier spatio-temporelles.4 L'auteur entreprend dès lors de passer au crible les cas couramment compris comme des cas de causalité téléologique, pour montrer que celle-ci ne s'applique en réalité que dans le champ des vivants. L'extension de la cause finale qui est généralement lue par exemple en Métaphysique Λ, ne doit dès lors s'entendre que comme la mise en œuvre d'un eikos logos à la façon du Timée. Si cette dernière conséquence soulève des objections, il demeure que la charge de la preuve incombe désormais à ceux qui voudraient soutenir une lecture plus littérale de ces passages et requiert donc une révision des deux critères proposés par D. Charles.

Les contributions de F. G. Masi et M. Zingano ouvrent la discussion à des domaines moins attendus mais qui éclairent comme latéralement la doctrine des quatre causes. F. G. Masi reprend le problème de la cause accidentelle à partir de Métaphysique E, et soutient de façon probante que l'accident est l'effet de deux causes, matérielle et motrice, mais en rompant tout lien de causalité formelle entre le moteur et son effet. M. Zingano propose quant à lui une lecture « libertaire » ou libertarienne de l'éthique aristotélicienne, fondée en dernière instance sur la possession humaine d'un intellect impassible.

L'article de M. Bonelli répond en quelque sorte à la contribution de J.-B. Gourinat à propos d'Alexandre. En ouvrant au reste du corpus alexandrinien, l'auteur montre que le point sur lequel l'Exégète tend à s'écarter d'Aristote est sa tendance à attribuer une fonction motrice à la cause formelle en général (voire à la cause finale), question qui a été discutée en détail par J.-B. Gourinat, chez Aristote, dans le cas de la génération animale. L'auteur confirme ainsi une hypothèse qui avait été déjà avancée par C. Natali en 2003.5 Or cette généralisation de la motricité de la forme signe à notre sens un tournant dans la conception de la cause formelle, et sera reprise, par exemple, par Philopon ; on pourrait regretter en ce sens que la contribution ne développe pas davantage le détail et les aboutissants de cette thèse.

L'ouvrage se donne aussi pour objectif de souligner l'intérêt de la théorie aristotélicienne pour « la discussion contemporaine » (p. 10) et, de ce point de vue, la promesse est incontestablement tenue. C. Natali, à la fin de son article, rapproche Aristote des tenants contemporains de la cause comme « cluster concept » et montre comment le traitement aristotélicien surmonte la distinction entre les conceptions de la cause comme dépendance et celles de la cause comme production, en intégrant cette dernière dans un ensemble plus vaste. A. Marmodoro, dans le dernier chapitre de l'ouvrage, présente elle aussi de très solides arguments en faveur d'une lecture réaliste de la causalité aristotélicienne comme dépendance (et non comme arsenal explicatif). Elle réinscrit ainsi Aristote dans une ontologie des pouvoirs causaux et détermine le rapport entre la cause et son effet, non comme une relation, mais comme une interaction sans « colle », par simple contact, entre des puissances actives et passives. La conception aristotélicienne des quatre causes s'affiche dès lors – peut-être paradoxalement – comme une théorie particulièrement économique et fait preuve d'une remarquable pertinence pour la métaphysique contemporaine.

En vertu de ces nouvelles perspectives, en vertu de la teneur générale des textes qu'il réunit, l'ouvrage est donc d'importance. Mais l'on doit déplorer, pour terminer, qu'un volume de cette qualité scientifique, dans une collection dont la réputation n'est plus à faire, souffre d'autant de coquilles (jusqu'à des mots manquants), d'erreurs récurrentes de ponctuation, d'inexactitudes dans les références bibliographiques, voire de manifestes maladresses de traduction.


1.   Par exemple : An.Po. II, 11, 94a21 sq. ; Phys. II, 3, 195a15-16 ; II, 7, 198a22 ; III, 7, 207b34-5 ; GA I, 1, 715a4 sq. ; Met. A, 3, 983a26-7 ; Δ, 2, 1113b16-17.
2.   M. Frede, « The Original notion of cause » dans J. Barnes, M. F. Burnyeat, M. Schofield (eds.), Doubt and Dogmatism: Studies in Hellenistic Epistemology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 217-49.
3.   G. Vlastos, « Reasons and causes in the Phaedo », Philosophical Review 78 (1969), pp. 291-325.
4.   Contre l'idée courante selon laquelle les penseurs antiques ne disposeraient pas d'une notion d'effet, voir la contribution de C. Natali, p. 65, n. 71.
5.   C. Natali, « Cause formale e cause motrice in Alessandro di Afrodisia » dans G. Movia (ed.), Alessandro di Afrodisia e la « Metafisica » di Aristotele (Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2003), pp. 153-66.

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Page duBois, A Million and One Gods: The Persistence of Polytheism. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2014. Pp. 199. ISBN 9780674728837. $29.95.

Reviewed by Anna Collar, Aarhus University (

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Page duBois sets out not to defend polytheism, but to recognise the difficulty that modern scholarship has with discussing it in a sensible way, so biased is the field towards monotheism. The book rests on the premise, unstated in much Western scholarship on religion, as well as in monotheist religions and popular culture, that polytheism is somehow a primitive aspect of religious behaviour and belief, and that monotheism represents an ethically and philosophically superior development out of such primitive beginnings. DuBois introduces the book by exploring etymologies of the words used to describe religion – God, religion, deity – and highlights the legacy of monotheism in the English definitions, for example, the idea that worship involves love of the deity; in polytheist worship, reverence of a deity can be as inspired by respect or fear or other emotions, and does not require love. Her concern throughout the book is to bring out the roles that polytheism continues to play in Western life, although at a subaltern level, and to show the reader what can be learned from them.

It is from this starting point that she explores, in chapter 1, the prejudices against polytheism as manifest in modern secular states, popular culture and scholarship – even as complicit with racism in some instances. What follows is a whistle-stop tour through Western philosophical and religious writings from the Enlightenment onwards, demonstrating the 'threat' that polytheism has posed to Western cultures, highlighting how the term polytheism has been invented by monotheists, and also the way that polytheist beliefs have been distanced – both in time and space, as with the Greeks and Romans, but also through 'othering' – so-called 'primitive' peoples have been gendered as effeminate or weak in their beliefs, all of which has enabled the easy justification of colonialism and imperialism. The discussion has a strong continental and post-structuralist approach, and essentially explores different manifestations of the generally held Western notion of a progressive religious trajectory, which equates the monotheism of (Protestant) Christianity with the ultimate goods of the modern world: civilisation and reason; and polytheist religions with inferiority, as well as with the natural world. The chapter is illuminating and forthright, though feels at times a little piecemeal: it is subdivided into 13 sub-sections, one of which features quantities of text repeated verbatim from online forums – part of the 'soup of popular culture' (38).

She is naturally on firmer ground in chapter 2, 'Greeks, Romans and Their Many Gods', which looks briefly at the polytheism of Sappho, the figure of Dionysos and the polytheism of Rome – all through literary lenses; though true to the form established in chapter 1, she breaks beyond simply considering polytheism in antiquity and also includes discussion of the presence of "Athens" in the twenty-first century – including contemporary pagan polytheism called Hellenismos, novels, video games and so on. Democracy is the most treasured of Western political ideals, a proud connection to the world of ancient Athens, and yet, she argues, Greco-Roman polytheism, with which democracy was tightly bound, is consigned to children's picture books. DuBois attempts to untidy our often sanitized view of the Greek gods, dispelling ideas of 'one' god of war, and emphasizing the way the world was full 'of divine energies and forces, not coherent, not directed from a center' (59).

In chapter 3, 'The Polytheism of Monotheism', duBois sets out to show how polytheism is, in fact, present in much of monotheist thought and belief, both in the beginnings of monotheist faith, and today. 'All of the so-called monotheisms, historically and in the present, to some degree or other teem with supernatural beings-not just their one god, but other gods, male and female, angels, saints, jinns, and demons' (88). Beginning with the religion of ancient Israel, duBois notes that in many narratives, the diversity of religious forms in ancient Israel are excised: here, relying explicitly on the work of scholars of the Hebrew Bible, she translates their scholarship into an accessible account of the palimpsest of different conceptions of deity as seen in the Pentateuch, and how ancient Israel's gods and goddesses are still present as vestiges, haunting the text of the Bible. Although generally reliant on up to date scholarship, she nevertheless includes, without references, outdated views such as 'Sigmund Freud believed that the brief period of imposed monotheism of Akhenaten led eventually to the monotheism of ancient Israel, transferred at the time of Israelite enslavement to the Egyptian Pharaoh' (94). She then moves on to explore the persistence of polytheism in Christianity, through the figure of Satan, demons, the Trinity, the Virgin Mary and the saints. For example, although Satan is dismissed as a 'demon', he is nevertheless present as an object of belieffor many, if not worship. The final section of the chapter offers a very brief look at polytheism in Islam, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, all heavily reliant on the work of other scholars. The discussion throughout the chapter is broad ranging in topic and takes in a wealth of different primary sources, and offers a valiant attempt to work through these complicated texts and their various interpretations. However, this wide angle means equally that the discussion is fairly cursory (the section on the Trinity and the various theological debates of late Antiquity is a particular example).

The final chapter of the book, 'The Politics of Polytheism', looks at the relationships between polytheism, monotheism, conflict and political systems through the ages. She draws out interesting cross-cultural links between the imposition of absolute monotheism and the consolidation of monarchic power, but the main body of the chapter explores the theme of polytheism as resistance – including that of the survival of indigenous beliefs in Mexican Catholicism, or vestiges of Yoruba religion carried with West African slaves to Haiti, the Caribbean and the Americas, and Hinduism. For this reader, it was these case studies that are the most interesting in the book – partly because they fall outside my field of expertise, but also because they reveal a world of modern religious syncretism and synthesis, of persistence of beliefs, and the true glorious untidiness and complexities of polytheisms.

Where the book deals with the Classical and pre-Classical Mediterranean world, it is firmly rooted in literary analysis and traditions, and perhaps could be improved with more recourse to material sources of evidence, but the main aim of the book is not to discuss the polytheism of Greece and Rome. Far from it: the book spans global space and ranges in chronology from ancient Israel to the modern period. It is relatively short and has its eye on the lay-reader, so discussion is necessarily too brief at times, and it is light on references. However, duBois should be praised for her brave and lively attempt to write about polytheism more broadly, for in doing so, she brings to the fore many elements of scholarship's underlying biases, as well as those of our contemporary world more generally. And it is a useful book for scholars of the Classical world too, for as she herself admits, 'the ancient Greeks look different to me now, as does my appreciation of human invention and ingenuity, loyalty to traditions and powers of improvisation and innovation' (15).

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Carlos Varias García (ed.), Actas del Simposio Internacional: 55 Años de Micenología (1952-2007). Faventia Supplementa, 1. Bellaterra: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Servei de Publicacions, 2012. Pp. 257. ISBN 0210-7570. (pb).

Reviewed by Rachele Pierini, Università di Bologna (

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Table of Contents
Full Text

This volume represents the proceedings of the colloquium held in Bellaterra (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) on April 12-13, 2007. In the Preface, the editor, Varias García, highlights that «la idea de conmemorar con una reunión científica de alto nivel los 55 años del nacimiento de esta nueva disciplina […], nació de la necesidad de actualizar y dar a conocer los aspectos cardinales de la civilización micénica a un público culto, pero no necesariamente especialista, en el ámbito español» (p. 6). In line with this purpose, it contains important and up-to-date contributions to the wide topic of the Mycenaean tablets and their interpretation, ranging from epigraphy to lexica, and ending with anthroponymic data. The book is composed of ten essays, following the four thematic sections of the symposium: palaeography (Jean-Pierre Olivier) and lexicography (Francisco Aura Jorro, Rosa-Araceli Santiago Álvarez); economy (Massimo Perna) and linguistics (José Luis García Ramón, Eugenio R. Luján); texts from Pylos (John T. Killen) and Thebes (Alberto Bernabé), and texts from others archives (Jörg Weilhartner, Carlos Varias García). Each of the essays deserves reviewing, and some are very innovative. In particular, the chapters on religion, geopolitical interpretation of the kingdom, and the diachronic development of Mycenaean Greek language are especially interesting. Each of these casts new light on its particular subject and paves new and important pathways for future research.

In the first paper, "Las escrituras egeas: 'jeroglífica' cretense, lineal A, lineal B, chiprominoicas y escrituras silábicas chipriotas del I milenio antes de nuestra era", Olivier reviews the palaeography of these writing systems. He focuses his attention on the Cypriot syllabary, an area of study that has become less prominent after a promising beginning.

Anyone who has ever worked with Linear B has considerable cause to be grateful to Aura Jorro, the author of the second essay, for his Diccionario micénico, an excellent and essential lexical tool, with a second edition forthcoming. In his contribution here, "La nueva edición del DMic en el marco de la lexicografía micénica", he outlines his lexicographic project. After a foreword on questions related to the editions of Mycenaean texts (from tablets, nodules, and vessels), Aura Jorro focuses on previous Mycenaean lexica, including etymological and alphabetical Greek dictionaries. In particular, he highlights Morpurgo's Mycenaeae Graecitatis Lexicon, which he considers a predecessor to his DMic. Regarding the new edition of DMic (the indexes are already available online), he points out how it will include syllabograms that will function logographically (e.g. acrophonies, like the sign A used as abbreviation for a<-ka-na-jo>, and not with the syllabic value a-).

In "Hospitalidad y extranjería en el mundo micénico", Santiago Álvarez shows how data from Linear B tablets can be used to discern fluid contacts and well-established trade relations among elites, as well as cultural exchanges and movements of people both inside and outside Mycenaean kingdoms. From this process, she shows how the Mycenaean administrations had already acquired clear mechanisms for social and professional integration of foreign people living in Mycenaean territory.

The fourth paper, "La fiscalità micenea: nuove ipotesi e vecchi documenti" (pp. 91-105) presents an overview of the major questions about Mycenaean taxation. Perna hones in on Pylian series Ma and Mn. He specifically mentions Ma 90, highlighting that numbers of exemptions do not follow the proportions given in the first line. Consequently, it is not possible to predict any number of exemptions either in single tablets or in total amounts. Furthermore, he supposes that Mn 1407 records delivered commodities from a whole district. On this basis, he proposes a process that scribal H2 (Hand 2) followed: after H2 had received a document about a whole district (such as Mn 1407), he would record data in Ma tablets which, Perna concludes, were progressively and continuously updated. Going beyond these initial sets, Perna also looks at TH Uq 343, and suggests that merchandise was probably obtained in Boeotia in a similar way to the process in Pylos.

After devoting several years to onomastics, García Ramón presents some conclusions in the fifth essay of this volume, "Anthroponymica Mycenaea 7: los nombres con primer elemento e-ri° (: Ἐρι°) y a-ri° (: Ἀρι°)". He asserts that lexicographical sources point to interpreting e-ri- as mega. Furthermore, his study of the e-ri-compounds leads him to conclude that they have the same structure (a substantive in the second position of the words) and function (possessive) in Mycenaean as in alphabetical Greek. In fact, regarding the exegesis of a-ri-, he affirms that on the basis both of Mycenaean a-ri-we-we /Ari-werwēs/ and of the Homeric form μέγα κῶας, «equivalente de */Eri-werwēs/ no atestiguado» (p. 124), it is possible to suppose that the confusion between e-ri° and a-ri° had already happened in the Mycenaean period.

One of the features of Greek language is the lack of gender motion (the specific morpheme that marks the feminine gender) in composite thematic adjectives, which could be either a characteristic inherited from Indo-European or an isolated innovation. In the sixth paper, "La moción de género en los adjetivos temáticos en micénico", Luján conducts a deep and exhaustive analysis on several different types of composite adjectives, and of simple adjectives without feminine gender. He observes the diachronic evolution of each adjective and makes a comparison between Mycenaean and alphabetical Greek data. In light of this meticulous examination, he comes to the very convincing conclusion that data from Linear B tablets presents no gender motion, with the exception of verbal adjectives in -tos and with some innovations related to suffix -id-. From the diachronic point of view, he highlights that the lack of gender motion in simple adjectives, especially those with an -ios suffix, is a post Mycenaean development.

The purpose of Killen's paper, "The two provinces of Pylos revisited", «is to ask the question: what rôle did each of these provinces play in the overall economy of the Pylian state?». To answer this, the author – with his usual acuteness and straightforwardness – considers areas in which the HP (Hither Province) and FP (Further Province) have the same figure (levies and distributions), as well as fields in which data are the same but importance differs (Cn, Ma, Na, Ng and records), and other fields with significant differences (measurement of land, some details about crops and animals, distribution of bronzesmiths, textile and domestic workers, levies on the Ac tablets, 'desservants de sanctuaire' and workers on other records). He also analyzes information about coastguards and rowers, and in-store goods. Bringing all this data together, he paints a picture of HP as the centre of gravity in the kingdom, and of FP as an additional source of tributes. Building on archaeological studies that situate FP in an area with extensive perennial marshes during the Bronze Age, and the interpretation of e-re-e-u as trade-name or title, Killen presents the clever hypothesis that it corresponds to heleus (a derivative of helos) and mean 'official in charge of marshland'.

In the eighth essay, Bernabé contributes to the interpretation of the new Theban tablets, a biting debate in 2007. In addition to the indisputable scientific quality of his work, the author's balanced approach is remarkable in "Posibles menciones religiosas en las tablillas de Tebas". Bernabé dives into the analysis of all the terms previously interpreted as theonymic, or divine epithets, from both a linguistic and a contextual point of view. He convincingly argues that the Fq tablets allow a religious interpretation of their contents, but that si-to, a-pu-wa, ka-wi-jo and ka-ra-wi- jo are not divine names. Among the new hypotheses he presents, the most persuasive is that o-po-re-i can be an epithet that refers to a female deity of the mountain. In addition to the fact that this is a well-attested class of a god in the Oriental world, this inference coincides is supported by a parallel text, mentioned by the author, found on a gold tablet from Thessaly.

"Religious offerings in the Linear B tablets: an attempt at their classification and some thoughts about their possible purpose" is the ninth essay and a brilliant piece of work by Weilhartner. On the one hand, he discusses evidence for the ritual use of libations, votive offerings (of unguents, textiles, metal vessels), first fruits, and sphagia. On the other hand he argues that human use was forbidden regarding all these items. The sections about libations and sphagia are especially interesting due to the quality of his analyses. Furthermore, he provides parallel examples for both from written, iconographical and archaeological sources. His hypothesis that Cnossian sets Fp(1), Gg(1) and Gg(3) record offerings made in the form of libations, and not for human benefit, is argued mainly on the basis of the special features of these texts (e.g. they come from the Clay Chest [A] and the Gallery of Jewel Fresco [G1], both of which contain tablets recording religious offerings), as well as on the nature of the commodities (e.g. deities and sanctuaries being the recipients of offering and the modest amounts of the recorded liquids). As for sphagia 'slaughter sacrifice', he adds evidence from PY Cn 3, Un 6.1-4, and KN C 394. For example, because of the use of sa as a phonetic abbreviation for the term sa-pa-ka-te- ri-ja in this last Cnossian tablet, Weilhartner infers that this word «may have served as terminus technicus for the description of an animal dedicated to a divinity in which human use is forbidden» (p. 231). Moreover, he supposes that this type of ritual may have been more important than has been previously considered, since the main religious center close to the palace of Pylos is called pa-ki-ja-na.

Varias García's deep knowledge of Mycenae emerges clearly from his paper, the last one in the book, "Micenas y la Argólide: los textos micénicos en su contexto". In order to cast new light on the broad debate about the nature of documents from Mycenae – i.e. whether they were written for private or for palatial purposes – he first explains why the matter arises (whereas Cnossian, Pylian and Theban tablets come from palatial archives, tablets from Mycenae were found out of the citadel, in four buildings called House of Shields, House of the Oil Merchant, House of the Sphinxes and West House), then he sets out a richly detailed summary of the present state of research on the subject. Following this summary, he presents new observations, the most interesting of which are on the tablets from West House: since wine was a high-value product at that time and, for this reason, consumed only on special occasions, its presence in Ue 611, 652, and 663 excludes the Ue set from being a record of daily rations. Instead, he suggests that it probably is a list of distinguished provisions for a meal. The exhaustive analysis on tablets from Mycenae as a whole brings Varias García to conclude that the palatial control included a great part of the activity of Mycenaean kingdom at that time. Moreover, he argues that the political structure in which Mycenae and Argolis were involved was different from the one known in Pylos and Messenia, and implies «una estructura política suprapalacial» (p. 254).

From a mere editorial point of view, it would have been helpful to have indexes to better search through the material and find connecting points, and to homogenize both types of bibliographic quotations (some papers have a final bibliography, in others the full references are only in the footnotes) and references to the tablets (they should either be bold or not). Putting these concerns aside, some of the papers display a very high quality of work. For this reason, any scholar interested in Mycenaean Greek will benefit from the reading this book.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Davide Faoro, Praefectus, procurator, praeses: genesi delle cariche presidiali equestri dell'Alto Impero Romano. SUSMA - Studi udinesi sul mondo antico, 8. Firenze; Milano: Le Monnier Università; Mondadori Education, 2011. Pp. x, 426. ISBN 9788800740647. €29.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Florian Matei-Popescu, Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archaeology, Bucharest (

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Table of Contents

The book under review here emerged from a doctoral thesis defended at the Udine University in 2006. Its aim is to describe the first appearance and further development of the system of the equestrian governors in the Early Roman Empire. The chronological limits are the emergence of the prefecture of Egypt and Severus Alexander's death, which marks the beginning of the turbulent period of the military anarchy that brought many changes to the Roman provincial organization.

The book is divided into two parts: the first (chapters 1-4) discusses the different equestrian provincial governors: the praefecti of Egypt and Sardinia and the praefecti of the different military districts and the so called "praesidial" procuratores, the equestrian governors of some provinces; in the second part (chapter 5) Faoro presents prosopographic lists of the main equestrian provinces (Alpes – Atrectianae, Cottiae and Maritimae –, Raetia, Noricum, Dacia Porolissensis, Dacia Inferior, Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Tingitana). At the end a bibliography and an index of members of the equestrian order are added.

In the first part, chapters are dedicated to Egypt and Sardinia, the first provinces governed by the members of the ordo equester. A subchapter deals with the province of Corsica, also ruled by equestrian governors.

The first and the most important position is that of praefectus Aegypti. Faoro offers a very useful overview of the discussions regarding the place of Egypt among the Roman provinces. He rejects the theories that took into consideration a private possession of the divi filius, between 30-27 BC, and of the emperor Augustus thereafter. Although the former Egyptian kingdom was made a province in special circumstances at the end of the Civil War between Octavianus and Marcus Antonius, the province of Egypt was listed by Cassius Dio among the provinces given to Augustus in 27 BC, without any specification (53, 12, 7).1 Nevertheless, its unique character is shown by the fact that it was the very first provincia Caesaris, even before the arrangements of January 27 BC. But Egypt did not become a model, but merely the exception among the imperial provinces, illustrating the transition period from the Republic to the Principate, when the divi filius sought a legal solution to keep the province for himself. For the rest of the Principate this province continued to be unique, as, for example, the only province where the legionary forces were commanded by the equestrians (who enjoyed an imperium ad similitudinem proconsulis, p. 27-29) and not by the senators.

A discussion is merited here of the special case of Q. Marcius Fronto Publicius Severus, on whom Hadrian bestowed only the title of praefectus Aegypti, when he made him governor of Dacia Superior in AD 118/119, where a legion was settled (SHA, Vita Hadriani, 7, 3: "… Hadrianus … Romam venit Dacia Turboni credita, titulo Aegyptiacae praefecturae, quo plus auctoritate haberet, ornato …").2

In January 27 BC, the province Sardinia et Corsica was left to the Senate. This changed in 6 AD, when they were divided into two separate entities, a province (Sardinia) and a district (Corsica), under a praefectus ("praefectura distrettuale"), but subordinate to the prefect of Sardinia. Corsica became a separate province only during Nero's reign, under a procurator (p. 80). For Sardinia the abundant evidence shows that the title of praefectus was preserved even after Claudius' reign, when the equestrian governors started to be labelled as procuratores. The official name was, until the Severan period, procurator Augusti (et) praefectus provinciae Sardiniae. The first is the title given from Claudius' time onwards to the equestrian governors, with the exception of the praefectus Aegypti, while the second was the official title of the governor of Sardinia (p. 69-70).

District prefectures were to be found in different corners of the Empire throughout the first century AD. They were situated mainly in the still hostile frontier areas, having an evident military character, like the Alpine regions, the Danubian sector, Hispania, Syria, the Mediterranean islands, Africa, Egypt (the entire list of the epigraphically attested prefectures is to be found in a table at p. 90-101 and 107). The occupants were mostly of lower rank, such as former military tribunes, primipili or even centurions of the legions, equestrian officers on their second or third militiae, thus at the very beginning of their official careers. The prefectures were not independent units; they were part of the larger provinces in the area (e. g. Iudaea was part of Syria and praefectura Moesiae et Treballiae part of Moesia – here it should be mentioned that C. Baebius Atticus, p. 279-281, no. 1, was prefect of the praefectura after he was primus pilus and not at the same time). Faoro draws our attention to the differences between the types of prefectures in the Western part and Eastern part of the Empire. While in the West, the prefectures encompassed mostly the new acquired lands and native civitates or the recently pacified areas (e.g., the Alpine regions, NW Hispania), in the East the prefectures appeared when the former client kingdoms were annexed by the Romans. Their territories were not simply added to the provinces, and the status could change, some of these prefectures being only temporary solutions (Iudaea and Commagene were given back to new dynasts). Needless to say, the system of the district prefectures, attested almost exclusively in the first century AD (an exception was the prefecture of Mt. Berenice, in the Egyptian Eastern desert) was only the first step towards the total integration of these areas into the Roman Empire.

Starting with Claudius all the equestrian governors were named procuratores Augusti. This change could be connected with the foundations of an important number of new provinces, all governed by procurators of the equestrian rank: Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Tingitana, Raetia, Noricum, the three Alpine provinces and Thracia (which was also a former client kingdom, p. 221-222; it is not at all clear that the decision to make a province there had anything to do with the death of the king Rhoemetalces III, or was rather part of Claudius' new policy). The number of the equestrian province rose from two in AD 37 (Egypt and Sardinia, both governed by prefects) to eleven in AD 68, which proves that Claudius had decided to make new equestrian provinces (p. 156). In the time of Augustus, the procurators had only financial duties in the sphere of fiscus Caesaris and patrimonium Caesaris. The new assignments from Claudius onwards were the public reflection of the consolidation of the Principate (p. 157-160).

Subchapters are dedicated to the legal powers of the procurators, which were regulated by the mandata issued by the Princeps (p. 165-183 – a special discussion is devoted to the ius gladii of the procurators as epigraphically attested, p. 172-176); and to the title of pro legato attached to some of procurators in specific conditions (p. 183-195).

The exact meaning of title pro legato, attached to the procurators, is still controversial, but it has generally been explained as the right conceded to a procurator to command legionary forces, or the right to command and conduct military expeditions beyond the limits of his province (p. 184). Faoro tries to challenge these widespread views. He emphasizes that the title appeared in the time of Augustus after the model of the legatus Augusti, not to describe a specific function, but as a military supplement to another commission (tribunus militum (et) pro legato, praefectus fabrum (et) pro legato or praefectus (et) pro legato). He concludes that from the time of Claudius, all the procurators had the title of pro legato, which seems to have been the full title of a procurator during the Principate, i. e. procurator Augusti pro legato (p. 194-195). The paucity of attestations speaks nevertheless strongly against Faoro's conclusions, despite his claim that it would have been superfluous to have the entire title rendered on the inscriptions. T. Flavius Priscus Gallonius Fronto Q. Marcius Turbo' career (procurator pro legato provinciae Mauretaniae Caesariensis and, above all, pro legato et praefectus provinciae Daciae inferioris) proves that the title was somehow connected with the military operations (p. 301-304. Faoro dismisses the evidence saying that the title is a simple engraving error on the inscription, p. 303). 4 In my opinion, the question remains open; the title must have meant something, and was not merely an "accurata formulazione della titolatora" or a "puntualizzazione della natura della carica" (p. 195).

The last chapter is a very useful prosopography, with commentary, of the equestrian governors of the three Alpine provinces, Raetia,3 Dacia Inferior, Dacia Porolissensis,5 Sardinia, Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana. The prosopographies are preceded by short institutional histories of the provinces. Short presentations are also dedicated to Thracia (Q. Vettidius Bassus is now also attested by a military diploma from AD 88;6 Ti. Claudius Sacerdos Iulianus was quite probably his successor), Epirus, Pontus and Hispania superior, in an introductory note, but only mentioning the attested procurators (p. 221-225). Only one observation: since many of the future equestrian governors began their careers as equestrian officers of the auxiliary units, one might have expected a better knowledge of their history and deployment.7

In this book, Faoro tries to provide a better understanding of the institution of the equestrian governors in the Roman Empire. He succeeds in presenting an convincing picture overall, although some of details remain open to question, due to the elliptic character of our epigraphic sources (e. g. the title of pro legato). He should also be praised for not simply accepting long established ideas; he has analysed once again all the available sources on a question, proposing sometime very different conclusions. One of the achievements of this book is the lists of the attested equestrian governors, which will be a good starting point of different future studies.


1.   See also Dietmar Kienast, Augustus. Prinzeps und Monarch, Darmstadt, 2009 (the fourth edition), p. 86-87.
2.   For his career see Ioan Piso, Fasti provinciae Daciae II. Die ritterliche Amtsträger, Bonn, 2013 (Antiquitas. Reihe 1. Abhandlungen zur alten Geschichte, Band 60), p. 67-109, with the special discussion on the passage at p. 93-99.
3.   See also Davide Faoro, Neues zu den ritterlichen Fasten der Statthalter Raetiens, Bayerische Vorgeschichtsblätter 73, 2008, p. 1-25.
4.   For an extensive discussion on his career see Piso (above n. 2), p. 151-159, no. 86.
5.   For Dacia Porolissensis and Dacia inferior one should now also consult Piso (above n. 2), p. 111-172, with more details on the procurators' careers. To the lists compiled by Faoro and Piso there is a new addition, Clodius Gallus (known until now only as Clo[- - -], RMD II 128), the attested governor of Dacia Porolissensis in 142, Werner Eck, Andreas Pangerl, Zwei neue Diplome für die Truppen von Dacia Superior und Dacia Porolissensis, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 191, 2014, p. 271-276.
6.   Werner Eck, Andreas Pangerl, Zwei Diplome für die Truppen der Provinz Thracia, darunter das früheste unter Kaiser Domitian, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 188, 2014, p. 250-253, no. 1.
7.   For the Danubian provinces the excessive use of the old book published by Walter Wagner, Die Dislokation der römischen Auxiliarformationen in den Provinzen Noricum, Pannonien, Moesien und Dakien von Augustus bis Gallienus, Berlin, 1938, is the cause of many shortcomings, too many to mention here.

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M. A. Harder, R. F. Regtuit, G. C. Wakker (ed.), Hellenistic Poetry in Context. Hellenistica Groningana, 20. Leuven, Paris, Walpole MA: Peeters, 2014. Pp. x, 349. ISBN 9789042929852. €64.00.

Reviewed by Robert Lamberton, Washington University in St. Louis (

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Table of Contents

This volume represents the proceedings of the tenth biennial Workshop on Hellenistic Poetry at the University of Groningen, held in 2010. As Annette Harder explains in her brief preface, the theme of this workshop, intended to counter the widespread notion of Hellenistic poetry as l'art pour l'art, encouraged participants to "investigate the ways in which Hellenistic poetry, in spite of its special and learned character or rather because the poets were exploiting it, played a part in its social and cultural context" (vi).

The authors of the thirteen papers inevitably vary in their adherence to this theme as well as in their notions of "context" (an issue that often arises in conferences organized along these lines), but the concept is a timely and fruitful one, and the volume contains some genuine advances. Roughly half of the papers set out to situate some aspect of Hellenistic poetry in the context of its original audience—either the social world or the ideology of that audience (or of that of the poetry's royal sponsors). This, broadly speaking, seems to have been the intention of the organizers of the workshop, and so we may start with these (taking them by groups and roughly in order of presentation, which is alphabetical by author).

Stefano Caneva in "Courtly love, stars, and power. The Queen in 3rd-century royal couples, through poetry and epigraphic texts" (25-58) examines the depiction of the royal couple by several poets (Apollonius, Theocritus). Association with Aphrodite proves to smooth the way to cultic honors for Berenice I and later for other (living) Hellenistic queens, but it is the theme of requited love that prevails in the depiction of queens, especially toward the end of the third century, when relative calm and "the search for dynastic stability gave queens, especially in Egypt, an increasingly more powerful role...." (48). Keyne Cheshire ("Callimachus' Hymn 5 and an Alexandrian audience" (59-84) takes a different tack, concentrating on "how an Alexandrian population, composed primarily of first and second generation Greek immigrants from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, might have received" such a poem (61). The author demands that some well-established preconceptions about the poem and the audience's presumed sympathies be abandoned, but the approach is a promising one and the results worthy of consideration. Andreas Fountoulakis' "The poet and the prophetess: Lycophron's Alexandra in context" (103-124) takes on the familiar question of placing that poem in a specific historic context within the Hellenistic world. Through a lucid review of some familiar givens about the poem, as well as some fresh observations, he argues that its "form and content are to a large extent dependent on the ideological demands of the early Hellenistic world and its Alexandrian political and cultural milieu" (104). At this point, one might have hoped for some reconciliation (or at least a cross reference) to André R. Looijenga's view, argued briefly below (236-237), that the poem's "most likely provenance [is] the Attalid royal court of Pergamon in the first decades of the second century BC." If the Alexandra seems doomed to continue wandering in search of its historical context, Looijenga's essay "The spear and the ideology of kingship in Hellenistic poetry" (217-246), along with Rolf Strootman's "The dawning of a golden age: images of peace and abundance in Alexandrian court poetry in relation to Ptolemaic imperial ideology" (323-339) each contribute to our understanding of the symbolism of power among the Hellenistic kings and "their" poets. Two more papers deal with poetry in search of its historical context in the Hellenistic world. Dee L. Clayman's tightly argued "Historical contexts for two Aitia from Book III: "Acontius and Cydippe" (frr. 67-75 Pf.) and "Phrygius and Pieria" (frr. 80-83 Pf.)" (85-102) looks at those stories and their probable roles within Callimachus' poem. While bound closely to the larger theme of the search for context in Hellenistic poetry, this constitutes a small but important contribution to the ongoing project of reconstructing the organization of Callimachus' Aitia. Jackie Murray's "Anchored in time: The date in Apollonius' Argonautica" (247-284) applies the descriptions of celestial phenomena in the epic to the unresolved question of its date. The indications of the stars (and planets) support her position that "the skyscape of the Argonautica mirrors that above Alexandria in the year of [Ptolemy III's] jubilee" and therefore the epic "must have participated in or at least responded to Ptolemy III's construction of his reign as a new era" (270).

Another group of essays deals with epigraphic poetry, and here the issue is the relationship of epigrams to the context or contexts in which they reach us. Peter Bing's learned and fascinating contribution, "Inscribed epigrams in and out of sequence," (1-24) is concerned with the epigrams of the well-known Daochos dedication in Delphi. The epigrams of this group originate with a single inscription, fragments of which have been found at Pharsalus, which celebrated Hagias as hometown hero — he was a περιοδονίκης, having won victories in all the major Panhellenic games (5). This epigram, with appropriate modifications, found its way (along with a copy of the Lysippan statue set up in Pharsalus) to the monument at Delphi depicting Hagias among the other relatives of Daochos. There it is adapted and "becomes the point of reference for a larger epigram-cycle," (14) which leads the reader/viewer through the illustrious family of Daochos, with repeated references back to the Hagias inscription. This becomes a wonderfully concrete model for the evolution of epigram into cycle and ultimately of the way in which "Hellenistic poets...similarly endeavored to structure their audience's reading" (21). Comparanda demonstrate that the story does not end here: "willful and intractable" readers, including later poets, interact with this process and may decisively change our perceptions of the transmitted poems and groups. Valentina Garulli's "Stones as books: the layout of Hellenistic inscribed poems" (125-170) and Regina Höschele's "Honestus' Heliconian Flowers: Epigrammatic Offerings to the Muses at Thespiai" (171-194) deal with similar issues of the interaction of sets of epigrams on stone and the relationship of such sets to literary collections.

The three remaining essays represent three diverse notions of the contextualization of Hellenistic poetry. The one closest to the social/political core concept discussed above is Jan Kwapisz' "Kraters, Myrtle and Hellenistic Poetry" (195-216). Kwapisz takes the symposium as context and examines the archaeological and textual evidence for significant changes in that institution in the Hellenistic period. The evidence points to "a change in the basic mechanism of the symposium" in the period, implying that "improvisation...was by no means the standard procedure of poetic composition" as it had been in archaic and classical symposia (212). The "performance context" not only for skolia but for recitation of other sorts of poetry as well is "unattested in the Hellenistic period" (208). Ingo Schaaf ("Trick and trade? The Eretrian 'Hymn to the Idaean Dactyls' (IG XII, 9. 259)" [303-322]) revisits that inscription, used prominently by Sandra Blakely1 in her discussion of the origins of metallurgy. The reconsideration of the epigraphic issues involved is certainly timely and interesting, but the advances seem, finally, to be few. Amanda Regan's "'In such a Night': Hellenistic Magic in the Argonautica" (285-302) sets out to put Apollonius' Medea in the specific context of Hellenistic magic by establishing that she can be seen to manifest "the four distinct aspects of the Hellenistic magician" (285). But what exactly establishes this pattern of "the four different facets of a Hellenistic witch" (300)? The author does not tell us clearly just where the defining paradigm comes from, and therefore what authority it has and what is to be gained by looking for it.

The collection as a whole is surely a symposiac feast (or perhaps a generous post-prandial carafe) of scholarship and a welcome addition to the distinguished series it joins. Collectively, the publications of the Workshops on Hellenistic Poetry have become one of the most important vehicles for new and innovative work in this active and productive field within the study of the ancient world. We are all deeply in the debt both of the editors and organizers and of the University of Groningen for bringing them to us.


1.   Blakely, Sandra, Myth, Ritual, and Metallurgy in Ancient Greece and Recent Africa Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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Robert Garland, Wandering Greeks: The Ancient Greek Diaspora from the Age of Homer to the Death of Alexander the Great. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. Pp. xxi, 319. ISBN 9780691161051. $35.00.

Reviewed by Denise Demetriou, Michigan State University (

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In the mid-sixth century BCE the Phocaeans made an unprecedented decision. Overnight, they "launched their fifty-oared ships, loaded their children and women and all their movable goods, all the statues from the temples … and set sail …" (Hdt. 1.164) in order to escape an impending Persian attack. The Phocaeans wandered for many years, eventually dispersing in settlements throughout the Mediterranean, some of which they had established previously – Alalia on Corsica, Massalia in France, Emporion in Spain, Elea in South Italy, even back in Phocaea in Asia Minor. What were the experiences of the Phocaeans, uprooted from their polis and settled both in familiar and unfamiliar territories? What were the consequences of their relocations for the history of both the Phocaeans and the Greek world more broadly? How were they regarded by their contemporaries? More generally, what was life like for deracinated Greeks?

Robert Garland's latest book studies all "wandering" Greeks – the itinerant travelers, settlers, asylum-seekers, fugitives, deportees, evacuees, and economic migrants. As is typical of Garland's work, his new book captures the often-neglected, quotidian experience of the ancient Greeks and does so in a highly accessible manner. Wandering Greeks collects for the first time the historical evidence on Greeks who were dispersed, relocated, removed, or even repatriated, forcibly or by choice, from ca. 800–323 BCE. As such, it brings to light Greek attitudes towards all those who moved permanently from one part of the Greek world to another and exposes how precarious their lives were before and during the move. Moreover, as Garland shows, migrants remained vulnerable even after relocation or repatriation. The book's overall argument is that displacements of individuals, which led to increasing diversity within the Greek world, were central to the survival and viability of Greek societies (p. 14 and 197).

Wandering Greeks is a broad survey that will appeal to the wider public, but as a thorough study rich in evidence it will also appeal to scholars of the ancient world. The latter group might miss the more detailed references that footnotes or endnotes provide, which Garland replaces with select parenthetical citations and, at the end of the book, short bibliographic surveys covering the topics discussed in each chapter. These are not exhaustive, but they do offer the most up-to-date and relevant references. All ancient passages appear translated into English, and a glossary defines the few Greek words transliterated in the text. The book also includes six appendices: one on the terminology of diaspora; four catalogues (on Athenian cleruchies and colonies, groups of deportees, individual exiles, and communities enslaved); and one with a chronology of important events. Several maps and many images of coins from Greek city-states whose demographics or population changed significantly illustrate the discussion. These aids will be useful to all of Garland's readers but are aimed especially at those outside the field.

The first two chapters establish the framework within which Garland works, the limitations of the sources, and the centrality and import of wandering in Greek history. Starting from some observations regarding modern or contemporary debates on immigration, the book draws a parallel between the modern and ancient psychological experience of people on the move. Garland generalizes about the equivalence of modern and ancient thoughts and emotions and at times speculates about the personal suffering of wanderers (e.g., pp. 81–82 imagine deportees watching helplessly as others fell by the wayside from exhaustion). Garland's capacity for empathy is what allows him to write elegantly and with passion. Nonetheless, one should be wary of analogies between modern and ancient emotions – how humans experience emotions is contingent upon the categories, values, and judgments of a particular culture, and the quality of emotions, and our conception of them today probably differs markedly from that of the ancient Greeks.

Despite these analogies between antiquity and modernity, Garland's treatment of the evidence is perceptive. And, the evidence on this subject is not easy to come by: it takes Garland's keen eye to find the tidbits and references to individuals' and communities' perceptions of displaced persons, typically relegated to the marginalia of history. While most of the book concentrates on historical texts, Chapter 2 surveys Greek attitudes towards wandering as seen in non-historical texts (poetry, philosophy, oratory, etc.). It immediately becomes evident that views towards relocated individuals appear commonly in most literary genres. This short exposition, then, establishes Garland's topic as a legitimate subject to study. It also serves to introduce the reader to the Greek terminology (and its lack of specificity) that describes different kinds of migrants, a topic further developed in the first appendix.

The next eight chapters tackle different categories of wanderers, namely (and in order), settlers, "portable poleis" (whole political communities that were uprooted and transplanted), deportees, evacuees, asylum-seekers, fugitives, economic migrants, and itinerants (intellectuals, physicians, mercenaries, seers, etc.). A final chapter deals with the issue of repatriation. This arrangement results in some overlap. For example, fugitives, discussed in Chapter 8 (see more on this chapter below), include runaway slaves – who were often asylum-seekers, the subject of Chapter 7. It is difficult to see how this could have been avoided, and, indeed, there are fewer repetitions than one might have expected. One gets the sense that these are different pieces of a puzzle that are gradually put together to form an overall image of the Greek diaspora in all its rich diversity.

Each chapter begins with a definition of the particular kind of displacement under discussion. Then follows some information on its causes or logistics, which often includes a description of the experiences of the wanderers. The remaining space is devoted to historical examples that lead to a deeper understanding of the displacement at hand.

By way of illustration, Chapter 4, on the portable polis, first describes the various occasions when a whole polis could be uprooted, as for example in case of war or through a synoecism. Then comes a section on relocation in early Greek history, followed by specific examples, a selection of which I will mention here. One of the more interesting cases is that of the Athenian fleet in 411, which while stationed at Samos, revolted as a group from oligarchic Athens and claimed that it represented the polis of Athens rather than the oligarchs in government. An expected yet informative example is that of the Phocaeans, who in the 540s moved their polis when threatened by the expanding Persian empire. Some of the other instances Garland mentions are the synoecism of Olynthus in 433/2, that of Halicarnassus in 377–367, and the resettlement of various cities in Sicily in the 400s by the tyrant Dionysius I. All these examples are chosen well and open up the discussion to broader issues. Their geographic and chronological range is important because it demonstrates concretely that mass migrations were not limited to the Aegean circle and that they were common throughout the span of Greek history. Further, the case of the Athenian fleet elevates the level of discussion from factual to ideological. The story of the Phocaeans, too, is particularly instructive because Herodotus provides not only the details of their long and arduous journey, but he also gives a rare glimpse of the toll this took on them when he mentions that they had a pitiful longing for their city and their ancestral customs (Hdt. 165; p. 62). Through these specific examples, Garland is able to tap into the variety of encounters and experiences available to transplanted Greeks and their poleis.

Likewise, Chapter 8, on fugitives, follows a similar pattern. The examples in this chapter, mostly Athenian, focus on laws that prescribe exile as punishment for a crime (e.g., homicide) or preemptive action to prevent stasis (e.g. ostracism); cases of high-profile exiled individuals, usually politicians (e.g. Themistocles, Alcibiades); and instances of runaway slaves. Here, again, both the variety of examples and the breadth of the evidence introduced to illuminate them are impressive. In the particular case of slaves, Garland adduces papyri from Ptolemaic Egypt that provide guidelines for rewards given to those who capture runaway slaves, literary texts (e.g. Lysias, Plutarch, ps.-Xenophon) that discuss how slaves could hide or where they could find asylum, and inscriptions that regulate provisions given to slaves in places of refuge (pp. 145–149). In this way, the harsh reality of life in exile for all levels of social strata from the elite to the subjugated is vividly described.

Wandering Greeks successfully accomplishes two goals: on the one hand, it elucidates the vagaries of individuals' existence as members of a diaspora; on the other hand, it demonstrates how relocated Greeks were received in different communities. In service of the first goal, the book describes the chance nature of encounters that radically changed the course of individuals' lives in foreign lands, the dangers and risks wanderers faced, and the choices or hardships that led them and their communities to relocate either by force or willingly. In service of the second, it shows how poleis tried to negotiate and regulate the presence of migrants in their midst either with laws or in practice. It is this give and take that lead Garland to conclude that "the brilliance of Greek civilization" (p. 199) was a result of the movements of Greeks crisscrossing the Mediterranean. This presumes that there is something inherently positive about Greek culture, but what this might be remains undefined in the book. Be that as it may, while Garland is effective in showing that the Greek world was the sum of interactions among displaced individuals, groups, and the communities that received them, the ways in which each of these entities and polities changed because of these interactions is not something discussed in detail or woven together into an overall narrative. A more analytical approach would have been necessary to achieve this. It would also require that Garland consider what role non-Greeks played in this process and how non-Greeks viewed the Greek wanderer.

In bringing together the varied evidence on this topic, Wandering Greeks makes a valuable contribution to the recent and significant trend in scholarship that emphasizes mobility and connectivity in the ancient Mediterranean. Anyone interested in these issues, as well as notions of identity, belonging, and citizenship in the Greek world, would undoubtedly benefit from reading this book.

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