Friday, December 7, 2018


Zoe Stamatopoulou, Hesiod and Classical Greek Poetry: Reception and Transformation in the Fifth Century BCE. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Pp. x, 270. ISBN 9781107162990. $99.99.

Reviewed by Oliver Passmore, University of Law (

Version at BMCR home site


Stamatopoulou's book is the latest intervention on a topic that has enjoyed considerable scholarly attention in the past decade: the reception of Hesiod and his poems in antiquity. Other recent studies have considered Plato's engagement with Hesiod, later retellings of Hesiod's Myth of the Races, and the reception of the Works and Days, to which we can add Koning's encyclopaedic volume.1 Stamatopoulou supplements this collection by examining the reception of the Hesiodic poems in fifth-century BC lyric and drama, an area neglected in previous works. It is a rich study, encompassing an impressive range of texts and genres, which the author proves equally adept at handling. The book is based on close readings of a number of key texts against the Hesiodic corpus, a fruitful approach that will make the study of interest to scholars and accessible to students. It is meticulously researched, extensively footnoted and lucidly written.

My overall assessment of the book is that it is a learned, solid piece of scholarship offering a number of insightful readings of fifth-century poetry's engagement with Hesiod. The author also deserves credit for the thoroughness of her research and the ambitiousness of the book's scope. My main criticism relates to the coherence of the book as a whole. Those looking for an argument unifying the study will be disappointed; the chapters serve more as episodic treatments of particular aspects of engagement with Hesiodic poetry by Classical poets. This in itself is not a flawed approach, and those interested in specific texts treated by Stamatopoulou will learn much from her detailed discussions. However, I was often left wondering how it all fit together, with the result being that the bigger questions — How does this change our understanding of Hesiod's place in fifth-century literary culture? What are the stakes for Hesiod's own poems and for his Classical interlocutors? — are only indirectly answered. All that said, Stamatopoulou should be congratulated for the impressive achievement of learning represented by this book.

The monograph is divided into roughly two halves, the first of which examines the poetry of Pindar and Bacchylides, with the second turning to drama. From here it is organised into chapters addressing lyric poetics in Hesiod, Pindar and Bacchylides (Ch. 1), lyric poetry's use of Hesiod's mythical narratives (Ch. 2), lyric's use of his gnomic or didactic material (Ch. 3), Hesiodic narratives in Tragedy (Ch. 4), and the appropriation of Hesiodic material by Old Comedy (Ch. 5).

The introduction serves to demonstrate the authoritative status of Hesiod and the wide circulation of his poems within the fifth century BC, as a basis for the intense engagement of lyric and drama with them. The author begins by defining the Hesiodic corpus for the purposes of her study. She rightly distinguishes debates about the existence of an historical figure Hesiod from the question of what, for fifth-century audiences, would have constituted his oeuvre. The various poems that were either attributed to Hesiod already in antiquity or whose Hesiodic authorship has been assumed in modern scholarship, including slightly more obscure poems like the Astronomia, are first introduced and discussed. She claims as a working assumption that a fairly circumscribed group of poems were in circulation under the name of Hesiod at a Panhellenic level already by the fifth century BC. These would have included at least the core repertoire of the Theogony, Works and Days, the Shield of Heracles, the Catalogue of Women and the Megalai Ehoiai. While some variation within these poems at an early stage can be assumed due to the oral nature of their transmission and performance, the canon became more stable in the fifth century.

Chapter 1 considers the relationship between Hesiodic and lyric poetics. Two connected areas are explored here: firstly, the way in which Hesiod's own claims to poetic truth and authority, particularly in the Theogony, potentially influence Pindar's and Bacchylides' poetic positioning; and, secondly and more extensively, the way in which these lyric poets appropriate Hesiodic poetry and invoke the person of Hesiod more directly as a way of establishing their own lyric voices. The latter is treated through discussions of Bacchylides' Ode 5, where the poet famously recalls the words of the 'Boeotian man Hesiod', as well as Ode 3 and Pindar's Paean 7b. I was most convinced by the analysis of the first of these passages, which involved a subtle reading of Bacchylides' allusion to both Theogony 81–103 and Works and Days 1–8.

Chapter 2 focuses on lyric's use of Hesiod's mythical narratives. Rather than providing an exhaustive account of places where lyric engages with Hesiodic myth, the chapter is built on a number of case studies, all of them taken from Pindar. Here and elsewhere, the author does not fully explain her near-exclusive focus on Pindar (and Bacchylides) as exponents of lyric, at the expense of other lyric authors and texts. The first case study is the description of Typhoeus in Pythian 1, where engagement with the Theogony, as is noted (p. 53), has been underappreciated. The main argument here is that Pindar combines reference to Hesiod's Panhellenic version with details tailored to his Sicilian audience, which itself supports (the addressee) Hieron's political purposes. The next sections examine two female figures, Coronis and Cyrene, who feature in Pythians 3 and 9 respectively. The attempt to read P3.24–37 against Hesiod fr.71/60 was intriguing, but to my mind the evidence is pushed slightly further than the texts allow, while the conclusion (p. 76) that Apollo's wrath towards Coronis is due to his fear that Asclepius will become a bastard needs further support. The chapter concludes by examining Ixion's progeny in Pythian 2, where it is argued that Pindar's perverted genealogical description must be understood against the model provided by Hesiod in the Catalogue and the ME. Here and in the preceding two sections, the author does a good job of teasing out information from fragmentary Hesiodic material, but her conclusions can remain only provisional.

Chapter 3 explores the use of Hesiod's didactic poetry by Pindar. Through a study of Isthmian 6 and Pythian 6, it considers how Pindar appropriates Hesiodic precepts and applies them within his specific laudatory contexts. Beyond these two odes, however, it argues that lyric rarely if ever invokes Hesiod's didactic authority directly. The discussion of I. 6 I found especially stimulating; it considers Pindar's reference to Lampon's use of a Hesiodic gnome — identified by the author as WD 412 — in v. 66–7, and to a more oblique reference to the same apothegm by Bacchylides in Ode 13.190–2. As the author points out, this raises important questions about the detachability and use of discrete Hesiodic statements in different contexts, an issue explored extensively by Canevaro in her recent book.2 A more tentative example of Pindar's inclusion of Hesiodic didactic material comes in P. 6, where it is argued that vv. 23–7 paraphrase precepts from the Chironos Hypothekai, based on a reference to this work in the scholia. Both discussions demonstrate great sensitivity in their treatment of the complex poetic embedding of Hesiod by Pindar, and the interesting dialogue of didactic voices it produces. I would, however, dispute the conclusion that these examples obscure Hesiodic didactic authority (p. 118) in favour of something more subtle. The chapter concludes by arguing that examples of the explicit invocation of Hesiod's didactic poetry should be treated differently from those instances where gnomai are introduced without attribution and/or clear verbal echoes of Hesiod. While the content of the latter may overlap with Hesiodic wisdom, they would probably have been understood as expressing conventional ideas not associated with a specific author or authority. The author supports her case once more by reference to the scholia, which regularly quote passages of Hesiod (typically the WD) in order to explicate gnomai found in Pindar without seeking to trace their source back to Hesiod. This seems a sound conclusion as far as the interpretation of Pindar by the scholiasts goes, but it raises further, more profound, questions about the nature of quotation and allusion in archaic Greek poetry that merit a more extensive treatment, as well as more robust engagement with recent bibliography on this subject.

Chapter 4 is the first of two long chapters exploring engagement with Hesiod by the dramatists, beginning with tragedy. Its main case studies are Aeschylus' Prometheus plays and Euripides' Ion. After briefly surveying the evidence for the composition and performance of the Aeschylean tetralogy of which Prometheus Bound and Prometheus Lyomenos are believed to have been a part, the chapter considers how they use Hesiod's poems as a foil for their own more complex presentation of Zeus's rule, especially in Prometheus Bound. While Zeus's two main mouthpieces in the play, Kratos and Hermes, adopt a distinctly 'Hesiodic' view of Prometheus's crimes, presenting Prometheus as a rebellious transgressor and Zeus as a beneficent ruler, Prometheus on the other hand proceeds to revise Hesiod's account, particularly in explaining the purpose of his theft of fire and his role in Zeus's rise to power. This section is very successful in showing how Prometheus Bound probes Hesiod's largely unproblematic presentation of the succession myth in order to explore issues of power, intelligence and violence, and I found it extremely illuminating. This discussion is supported by a more tentative but to my mind convincing section arguing that Io's role in the play needs to be understood as a further aspect of its critique of the Hesiodic world view, this time as presented in the Catalogue of Women. Two further brief sections argue, firstly, that Prometheus's release in Prometheus Lyomenos may reflect a tradition, attested in one version of the Works and Days, of Zeus eventually being reconciled to the Titans; and secondly that, based on the fragmentary and second-hand evidence we have, the Aeschylean satyr-play Prometheus Pyrkaeus may engage specifically with the account of Prometheus and Epimetheus contained in the Works and Days. The chapter concludes with a less strong section on Euripides' Ion, arguing that it also critiques genealogical poetry like that of Hesiod by giving expression to Creousa's female voice.

The final chapter turns to Old Comedy. This is an eclectic chapter, which considers multiple aspects of the reception of Hesiod in (mainly) Aristophanes, including the depiction of Hesiod himself as a comic character: speculatively in Cratinus' Archilochoi, as a way of reminding the audience of Homer's unsuccessful contest with Hesiod vis-à-vis the play's present depiction of a poetic competition between the former and Archilochus, and more concretely in Teleclides' Hesiodoi. The bulk of the chapter focusses on the engagement of Birds' with Hesiodic narratives, arguing that the playwright inscribes his play within the Hesiodic tradition while at the same time offers a bold rewriting of his predecessor's cosmic vision. One specific claim here is that the Titanomachy/Hesiod succession myth provides a crucial paradigm for understanding themes in Birds that are separate from the play's long-appreciated engagement with the Gigantomachy. The author pursues this line of argument persuasively and with skill.

To sum up: Stamatopoulou offers a rich and wide-ranging study of the reception of Hesiod's poems and persona in fifth-century Greek poetry. Notwithstanding the broad and specific criticisms set out above, the book will be essential reading for scholars engaged in this growing area of enquiry, as well as for students of Hesiod's poems and Classical Greek poetry more discretely.

I spotted one typo (p. 175, 'Yet I suggest that there may <be> a more compelling factor…'). Otherwise, CUP has once again demonstrated very high editorial standards.


1.   Boys-Stones, G. R. and Haubold, J., eds., Plato and Hesiod (Oxford, 2010). Noordon, H. van, Playing Hesiod. The 'Myth of the Races' in Classical Antiquity (Cambridge, 2015). Hunter, R., Hesiodic Voices: Studies in the Ancient Reception of Hesiod's Works and Days (Cambridge, 2014). Koning, H. H., Hesiod: The Other Poet. Ancient Reception of a Cultural Icon (Leiden, 2010).
2.   Canevaro, L. G., Hesiod's Works and Days: How to Teach Self-Sufficiency (Oxford, 2015).

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Lucia Cecchet, Anna Busetto (ed.), Citizens in the Graeco-Roman World: Aspects of Citizenship from the Archaic Period to AD 212. Mnemosyne Supplements, 407. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2017. Pp. xi, 341. ISBN 9789004346680. $133.00.

Reviewed by Andrea Raggi, Università di Pisa (

Version at BMCR home site

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

Publications on grants and rights of citizenship in the classical world, on integration of foreigners, as well as on comparison between ancient and modern practices, in parallel to growing issues in modern times concerning inclusion of minorities in civic bodies and migration, have increased substantially over the past decades,1 often in order to argue that ancient societies were more inclined to receive outsiders than many modern-day ones.2 Along these lines, the editors of the volume under review state in the Preface that the original idea of the book was prompted by a conference held in Urbino, Italy, on 10-11 April 2014,3 where the purpose was to investigate these issues, all very relevant to the world in which we live. As a matter of fact, the volume provides readers with an insight into the origin, expansion and transformation in time and space of citizen bodies in the Greek and Roman world, starting from the Archaic period to the major change effected by the emperor Caracalla in 212 AD; nonetheless, as it is clearly stated by the sub-title, it investigates Aspects of Citizenship in the ancient world, and has not the scope to cover all the questions on the issue.

The Introduction by Lucia Cecchet is a valuable overview of the subject matter (variety of civic organisations in the Greek world, the 'imperial' expansion of Roman citizenship, differences between the Greek and Roman worlds)4 and of the questions which to a certain extent still remain open (the origin of the citizen bodies, the extent of participation in political life, the relations between citizens and non-citizens, the working principles of multiple citizenship), and ends with a useful summary of the essays assembled in the volume.

The book is divided into three parts. The first and second section are more consistent in terms of an analysis of the issues under discussion, while the third section is an extension which the editors perhaps should have omitted, since it contains two papers not properly relevant to classical studies: firstly an essay by Valerio Rocco Lozano on Hegel's conception of the Roman citizenship, whereas actually the author presents the sources on Roman history used by the German philosopher and the influence exerted by the institutions of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire on Hegel's political vision; then a discussion on the idea of cosmopolitanism from its origins to present time by Anna Busetto, where the pages dedicated to the ancient world are indeed very few and too broad in their analysis (pp. 303-305).5

The other two essays of this section might have found a more appropriate location respectively in the first and in the second sections. Jakub Filonik traces the metaphorical expressions that refer to citizenship in Lycurgus' speech Against Leocrates, delivered in the trial for treason brought against an Athenian private citizen who had cowardly left the city after the battle of Chaeronea: the prosecutor and renowned politician argues that being a citizen is equivalent to being in war, to owning part of the city, to protecting it and being protected by it, and therefore citizenship is a duty, a debt and a prize for merit. The author brilliantly explains the sophisticated use of these conceptual metaphors in the speech; however the highlighted concepts on the right of citizenship are mostly commonplaces. Filippo Carlà-Uhink deals with the issue of the 'double fatherland' (rightly designated as 'surely not dual citizenship', p. 271) in Cicero' political writings: he discusses the influence of Stoic cosmopolitanism on the idea of civitas Romana presented by Cicero and applied only to the Italians enfranchised (therefore, not an official and authoritative notion); the author concludes that Italy was still central as a political argument after the Social war, since there was a strong need to reformulate the criteria for defining a Roman- Italic identity that could be based, according to Cicero, only on a pan-Italic elite originating from a similar cultural background and now to be integrated in the Roman civic body.6

The first section includes four contributions which focus on citizenship and civic bodies in the poleis, and in general in the Greek world, from the Archaic to the Roman period. Maurizio Giangiulio opens the section by surveying the modern debate on the origin of citizenship in Archaic Greece and correctly points out that this debate is based on a strong Athenocentrism which affects the research results; he concludes that it makes no sense to look for an origin point for the concept of 'citizenship', and that the Archaic period produced many different models of citizenship.7 Three poleis (Athens, Cyrene and Camarina) located in different parts of the Greek world are taken by Lucia Cecchet as key-studies in order to outline the reforms of civic subunits in the late Archaic and early Classical periods: the scope of these reforms was similar, namely the solution of political crises and the integration of foreigners in the citizen body, and always entailed the establishment of subunits, even if the mode of their creation and composition was different.

The Greek federal states in the Hellenistic period are the focus of Chiara Lasagni's essay, moving from considerations on the terminology (συμπολιτεία 'was not provided with technical-juridical content', p. 84)8 and methodology (theoretical models formulated by modern scholars should be abandoned, so that an 'ideal type' of federal state does not exist) in the first part, and then proposing new readings (not all of them convincing…) in a number of third century inscriptions concerning the praxis of citizenship in federal states. In contrast to the previous essays, the last one by Andreea Ştefan is rather disappointing in the treatment of its theme. Throughout the article, there is a general mix-up of the right of Roman citizenship and the different Greek politeiai, and this generates unsubstantiated sentences such as 'citizenship … could also help ordinary people from abroad to … find work' (p. 123), 'the total suppression of an important characteristic of citizenship, be it Roman or Greek, that of exclusivity, completed by the second century AD' and 'the granting of Roman citizenship, conferred more easily than citizenship in a Greek polis' (both at p. 126).

Also the second section presents four essays, moving from the Republic to the constitutio Antoniniana. Elena Isayev uses Plautus' comedies as sources on the change of perception of foreigners at Rome, examining different Latin keywords indicating outsiders, locals (i.e. citizens and inhabitants) and slaves, and concluding that these plays attest a fluid period in which Italy was becoming more cosmopolitan.9 For many years Donato Fasolini has been collecting epigraphic evidence for a new database on Roman Imperial Tribal Ascription (R.I.T.A., not yet available online), and in his paper aims to offer information on the tribal ascription of children; however, the conclusions, in themselves not outstanding, are already present in previous essays published by the same author.10

Two papers find their appropriate places one after another in this section. Valerio Marotta's complex and certainly competent juridical demonstration, already present in his previous studies, deals with the issue of the access to the civitas Romana for the inhabitants of the Egyptian chōra or the nomoi, using as main source papyri (especially P. Giessen 40, I), the letters of Pliny the Younger and the Tabula Banasitana; although Egyptians were prohibited from directly obtaining the right of the Roman citizenship, there were cases in which they could access it even before 212 AD.11 Starting from some remarks on P. Giessen 40 as well, Arnaud Besson surveys the ways in which it was possible to become a Roman citizen (by birth, by enfranchisement or by an individual or collective grant) and the exclusive advantages and rights in private and public domain that the bestowal of the civitas Romana brought on the recipient. He stresses the fact that in the decades before the constitutio Antoniniana 12 the right of Roman citizenship was highly regulated and not easy to achieve (contrast the statement by Andreea Ştefan cited above), and therefore still represented an enviable and privileged status reserved for a restricted elite group.

The volume is well edited, and minor flaws are present (e.g.: Hijf instead of Nijf at pp. 123 and 127; authors in the bibliography not in alphabetic order at p. 129; some index entries give references that do not overlap), albeit the 'General Index' is organised in an odd way: some personal names are rightly listed under their nomina, but others are placed under their praenomina (e.g. Gaius Iulius Antiochus…) or cognomina (Milo), others are omitted (e.g. Aulus Licinius, p. 277).

In general, this miscellaneous volume offers good reflections on important features of civic entities and the right of citizenship in the Greek and Roman world; as already noted, the worth of the essays in the book is diverse, for some are more stimulating than others, but hopefully they will be a starting point for more debate about these issues. However, the book's major weaknesses appear to be very little interaction among the authors on some basic concepts during the conference held at Urbino or afterwards (see note 3), and that the volume brings together a number of studies already published or that would have been published shortly thereafter by the authors, a feature that without doubt undermines the value of the publication.

Authors and Titles

Preface, by Lucia Cecchet and Anna Busetto, pp. vii-viii
Introduction. Greek and Roman Citizenship: State of Research and Open Questions, by Lucia Cecchet, pp. 1-30
Part 1: Defining the Citizen Body in the Greek Poleis
1 Looking for Citizenship in Archaic Greece. Methodological and Historical Problems, by Maurizio Giangiulio, pp. 33-49
2 Re-shaping and Re-founding Citizen Bodies: The Case of Athens, Cyrene and Camarina, by Lucia Cecchet, pp. 50-77
3 Politeia in Greek Federal States, by Chiara Lasagni, pp. 78-109
4 The Case of Multiple Citizenship Holders in the Graeco-Roman East, by Andreea Ştefan, pp. 110-131
Part 2: Citizens and Non-citizens in the Roman World
5 Citizens among Outsiders in Plautus's Roman Cosmopolis. A Moment of Change, by Elena Isayev, pp. 135-155
6 Were Children Second-Class Citizens in Roman Society? Information Technology Resources for a New Vision of an Ancient Issue, by Donato Fasolini, pp. 156-171
7 Egyptians and Citizenship from the First Century AD to the Constitutio Antoniniana, by Valerio Marotta, pp. 172-198
8 Fifty Years before the Antonine Constitution: Access to Roman Citizenship and Exclusive Rights, by Arnaud Besson, pp. 199-220
Part 3: Ancient Citizenship in the Philosophical and Political Reflection
9 Metaphorical Appeals to Civic Ethos in Lycurgus' Against Leocrates, by Jakub Filonik, pp. 223-258
10 Alteram loci patriam, alteram iuris: "Double Fatherlands" and the Role of Italy in Cicero's Political Discourse, by Filippo Carlà-Uhink, pp. 259-282
11 Ancient and Modern Sources of Hegel's Conception of the Roman Citizenship, by Valerio Rocco Lozano, pp. 283-301
12 The Idea of Cosmopolitanism from Its Origins to the 21st Century, by Anna Busetto, pp. 302-317


1.   See e.g. Clifford Ando (ed.), Citizenship and Empire in Europe, 200-1900. The Antonine Constitution after 1800 Years, (Stuttgart 2016) (BMCR 2017.01.17).
2.   Altay Coşkun, Raphael Lutz (ed.), Fremd und rechtlos? Zugehörigkeitsrechte Fremder von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Ein Handbuch, (Köln 2014) (BMCR 2016.04.15).
3.   Politês and Civis. It is worth noting that many of the papers included in the volume were not delivered at the conference, and the same is true for the contrary.
4.   Although secondary literature is not always adequately considered: for instance, on Lycia (p. 8, note 29) see Christina Kokkinia, Opramoas' Citizenships: The Lycian politeuomenos- formula, in Anna Heller, Anne Valérie Pont (ed.), Patrie d'origine et patries électives: les citoyennetés multiples dans le monde grec d'époque romaine, (Bordeaux 2012), pp. 327 ff.; on the spread of Roman citizenship in the second cent. BC (p. 11) see Michel Humbert, Le status civitatis. Identité et identification du civis Romanus, in Alessandro Corbino, Michel Humbert, Giovanni Negri (ed.), Homo, caput, persona: la costruzione giuridica dell'identità nell'esperienza romana dall'epoca di Plauto a Ulpiano, (Pavia 2010), pp. 139 ff.
5.   On the term κοσμοπολίτης see more thoroughly Tamara Chin in Myles Lavan, Richard Payne, John Weisweiler (ed.), Cosmopolitanism and Empire: Universal Rulers, Local Elites, and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean, (New York 2016), part. pp. 134-147 (BMCR 2017.09.50).
6.   Filippo Carlà-Uhink's vision on the history of mid-late Roman Republic is presented in his recent and brilliant volume The 'Birth' of Italy. The Institutionalization of Italy as a Region, 3rd-1st Century BCE, (Berlin 2017).
7.   See now Alain Duplouy, Roger W. Brock (ed.), Defining citizenship in archaic Greece, (Oxford; New York 2018), particularly the essay by Josine Blok, Retracing Steps: Finding Ways into Archaic Greek Citizenship.
8.   See already Chiara Lasagni, La definizione di 'stato federale' nel mondo greco, Dike, 12/13 (2009/2010), pp. 219-270, and now the comprehensive study of Jacek Rzepka, Greek federal terminology, (Oxford 2017).
9.   See now chap. 6 on Plautus in Isayev's book Migration, Mobility and Place in Ancient Italy, (Cambridge 2017) (BMCR 2018.07.39).
10.   Donato Fasolini in Javier Andreu, David Espinosa, Simone Pastor (ed.), Mors omnibus instat, (Madrid 2011), pp. 113-141, and in Gerion, 32 (2014), pp. 225-236.
11.   The only warning I have on this essay is on occasional infelicities of English translation (e.g.: 'date' for 'data' at p. 186, note 60; 'letters'? at p. 161, note 61 and p. 192, note 84; 'as will be show below' at p. 187, note 69, and so forth).
12.   On which see now Alex Imrie, The Antonine Constitution: an edict for the Caracallan empire, (Leiden; Boston 2018).

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Hasan Malay, Georg Petzl, New religious texts from Lydia. Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse, 497; Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris, 28. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2017. Pp. 236; Map. ISBN 9783700180487. €85,00.

Reviewed by Gil Renberg, University of Nebraska - Lincoln (

Version at BMCR home site

Despite the seemingly narrow focus suggested by its title, this corpus of 213 inscriptions will be of interest not only to epigraphers and those who work on religion in Greco-Roman Asia Minor, but also to Greek philologists, scholars of ancient art, and ancient historians. This is in part due to the nature of the material collected in this book, and in part to the valuable commentaries provided by Hasan Malay and Georg Petzl, two of the foremost experts on the inscriptions of Lydia, who together have more than seventy years of experience in this area. The volume that they have produced is unusual in that it is a regional corpus, but only includes inscriptions in some way related to religious practices: as such, it serves as a supplement to the most important corpora devoted to the Greek and Latin inscriptions of Lydia, Peter Herrmann's Tituli Asiae Minoris volumes,1 as well as some shorter corpora subsequently produced by Herrmann and Malay,2 Malay individually,3 and Petzl individually.4 A corpus devoted solely to religious inscriptions is possible – and reasonable – for Lydia because of the extraordinary richness of the epigraphical materials that continue to be found there, the range and depth of which can be best seen in María-Paz de Hoz's 1999 study of religion in Hellenistic and Roman Lydia, which features a catalog of approximately 800 cultic texts.5 Such range and richness are certainly on display in New Religious Texts from Lydia (henceforth NRTL), which features close to 190 dedicatory inscriptions for roughly fifty different divinities. Many of these texts are inscribed on a stele that also bears a relief, usually of a god or worshiper (though some are anatomical). Adding to the work's value, Malay and Petzl have made the unconventional decision to include three appendices devoted to seventy-five anepigraphic finds from three sanctuaries, mostly sculptural and architectural fragments. (As is true of most of the inscribed objects in the volume, the portable uninscribed objects are now in the Manisa Museum.)

NRTL is arranged geographically, with each chapter devoted to a different city, rural sanctuary, or general area. Each entry presents the information that is standard for epigraphical corpora: find spot (or else what is known of point of origin), type of object, dimensions and letter heights, date, current location, and, where necessary, a brief description of any relief or decorations. Following this the text itself is presented, along with textual commentary, translation, and, for many entries, a discussion of some aspect of the document's meaning and significance that typically puts it in the broader context of the religion and history of Lydia. For every entry, even the least informative fragments, there is also a usually excellent black and white photo, helpfully presented on the same page rather than on a plate at the back. The textual commentaries often delve into orthographical variants and unusual uses of specific words, and thus have significance for philologists: indeed, this volume, like so many other epigraphical publications, serves as a reminder of how important it is for our dictionary-writers to be keeping up with discoveries made on stone (and papyrus). Similarly, the analyses that are included in many of the entries, along with discussions of several sites at which one or more of the inscriptions originated, are full of information regarding ancient Lydia, especially the gods worshiped there and the manner of their worship. NRTL also features several topographical photos identifying the locations of rural sanctuaries, and a folded map of the relevant ancient sites inserted into the back cover. The only regrettable omission is that among the seven indexes there is no index locorum, something that all epigraphical corpora should include in order to help users find discussions or citations of previously published texts in the commentaries.

This work's greatest value is that it makes available to scholars 205 new epigraphical texts, as well as a small number of inscriptions that are not new, but rather rediscovered and included in the corpus because of the opportunity to improve previous readings or provide photos for the first time (Nos. 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 130, 168, 169). In addition to the roughly 190 dedicatory inscriptions, these texts break down into the following categories: seven that were honorific in nature (Nos. 2, 15, 115, 189, 195, 206, 207, and possibly 176, mostly for priests), seven Christian texts (Nos. 7, 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, 210), six pertaining to the Imperial Cult (Nos. 163, 194, 195, 197, 200, 201), four using the rare term ἐκλυτρόομαι to record some form of ransom paid to one or more gods (Nos. 61, 78-80), two records pertaining to cultic administration (No. 4, a financial record from the mysteries of Artemis, and No. 199, a record of vineyards and other land being consecrated to Zeus Keraunios), two oracular texts (Nos. 3 and 13, the former a 25-line collection of oracles from Didymaean Apollo and the latter a previously known oracle from Clarian Apollo6), a 20-line cultic regulation (or "lex sacra") (No. 1), a hymn fragment (No. 90), a boundary stone (No. 21, from a cult site of Artemis), a funerary altar recording that two members of a family were believed to have undergone apotheosis upon their deaths (No. 17), and a rather unusual document recording that a town had paid money to appease a god for an undisclosed reason that may have been plague- related (No. 186). Of these non-dedicatory texts, the new oracular text and lex sacra are of particular interest, since the former first presents an oracle warning a city that it must propitiate multiple divinities to alleviate unspecified suffering, and below it one or more other oracles that have been rendered even more cryptic by damage to the stone, while the latter enumerates both the types of pollution (exposure to death, consumption of garlic, murder or manslaughter, intercourse) that would keep one from entering a goddess's sanctuary and how someone (other than a murderer) might be purified, with hetairai held to higher standards and alone facing potential physical punishment for a violation. Other inscriptions of note are a badly damaged altar or base that appears to have been honoring a prophētēs according to the command of a "holy angel" (No. 176), and a stele recording that its deceased leader had been honored by an "association of Good Seasons" (ἡ συνβίωσις ἡ τῶν Καλοκαίρων), an odd name which the editors persuasively argue shows local farmers naming their symbiosis for the seasons that would bring the good weather essential to their livelihoods (No. 189).

In part due to their sheer number, however, it is the dedications that represent the most significant addition to the study of ancient religion. This group is comprised, for the most part, of altars, steles and statue bases, though there is also a marble krater (No. 23). The gods receiving these dedications are representative of the region: a small number of Olympian gods, but many different indigenous gods (some, e.g. Apollo Kisaualouddenos, bearing Olympian names). NRTL is of particular importance for the study of the already well-documented cults of the mother goddess Ana(e)itis and Meis/Men, since the two largest groups of inscriptions in the volume are from the sanctuary of Artemis Ana(e)itis and Meis Tiamou near Maionia (Nos. 24-106) and the sanctuary of Meis Artemidorou Axiottenos near Kollyda (Nos. 123-157), which in both cases are accompanied by a number of anepigraphic finds.7 While most of the dedicatory inscriptions feature fairly ordinary language and circumstances, including the sole Latin text (No. 9), a few stand out. For example, a dedication to Meis Axiottenos quotes a worshiper's vow (purportedly verbatim) instead of merely alluding to it by means of the standard votive formula κατ' εὐχήν, a great rarity (No. 130). Another dedication, for Meter Aneitis and Meis Tiamou at their Maionian sanctuary, is unusually emotive, thanking them "because they brought me from hopelessness to hopefulness and did that to me together with my wife and children" (ὅτι με ἐξ ἀνελπίστων ἤγαγον | εἰς ἐλπίδας καὶ ἐπόησάν μ<ε μετὰ> | γυναικὸς οὕτως κα<ὶ τ>έκνων) (No. 39). In contrast, a broken dedication from the same sanctuary concerned the well-being of a mule, not a person or persons (No. 84).

The motivations for most of the dedications presented in NRTL were fairly typical of those in any sanctuary in the Greek East, but in addition to such standard dedicatory inscriptions the volume contributes up to around twenty more examples to the body of "confession" texts (Nos. 77, 116, 119, 120, 123, 131, 159, 160, 178, 188 are clearly identifiable as such), a fascinating Anatolian phenomenon already known from roughly 150 inscribed steles.8 In contrast to ordinary dedicatory inscriptions, especially those simply recording the fulfillment of a vow, these inscriptions both advertise a divinity's power and warn others either explicitly or implicitly against committing a religious transgression, which is accomplished by recounting how a worshiper had suffered an ailment that was believed to be linked to an offense against the god or goddess, and which only had disappeared after proper amends had been made – leading to a record being publicly displayed at that divinity's sanctuary. The amount of detail provided regarding the nature of the episode being confessed would vary, with the more interesting examples featuring short narratives. This is certainly true of some of the new confession inscriptions in NRTL: a man who swore falsely by Meis Axiottenos loses his son and daughter-in-law and must appease the god's divine wrath (No. 116); a woman who has been punished with an eye affliction for a reason now lost recovers after promising to post a confession inscription and, when she fails to do so in a timely manner, is again punished, before ultimately setting up the stele that has partly survived (No. 131); another woman suffers an eye ailment inflicted by Meter Larmene for having bathed "on the twentieth day," which the editors speculate may be a reference to menstrual impurity, but she is restored to health by the goddess and erects a stele with which to "testify to the manifestations of her power" (No. 159); yet another woman who had disobeyed a demand from the Theoi Tazenoi sees her daughter fall ill, until she rectifies the situation and subsequently erects the stele (No. 178); and, a man who evidently had been healed by Meter Andirene but failed to dedicate the promised relief of a foot after being divinely punished ends up dedicating a stele featuring two feet (essentially, the promised anatomical image and 100% interest on it as a penalty) (No. 188). This last one is the most significant of the new confession inscriptions, since it is the first such text to have been composed as an epigram, here five elegiac couplets.

Overall, NRTL is a noteworthy publication due to the contents of the texts, so many of which are unique or unusual in some manner, but their value is enhanced by the work of Malay and Petzl, whose numerous learned discussions of particular Greek terms, Lydian cults, local topography, and other topics both demonstrate the significance of these documents and illuminate various aspects of Lydian history.


1.   P. Herrmann, Tituli Asiae Minoris V, Tituli Lydiae linguis graeca et latina conscripti, fasc. 1: Regio septentrionalis ad orientem vergens (Vienna, 1981); id., Tituli Asiae Minoris V, Tituli Lydiae, fasc. 2: Regio septentrionalis ad occidentem vergens (Vienna, 1989).
2.   P. Herrmann & H. Malay, New Documents from Lydia (DenkschrWien 340, Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris 24; Vienna, 2007).
3.   H. Malay, Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the Manisa Museum (DenkschrWien 237, ETAM 19; Vienna, 1994); id., Researches in Lydia, Mysia and Aiolis (DenkschrWien 279, ETAM 23; Vienna, 1999).
4.   G. Petzl, Tituli Asiae Minoris V, Tituli Lydiae, fasc. 3: Philadelpheia et Ager Philadelphenus (Vienna, 2007).
5.   M.-P. de Hoz, Die lydischen Kulte im Lichte der griechischen Inschriften (Asia Minor Studien 36; Bonn, 1999).
6.   Merkelbach/Stauber, Steinepigramme I, No. 04/01/01.
7.   Appendix I, Nos. 1-37 and II, Nos. 1-16.
8.   Collected in G. Petzl, Die Beichtinschriften Westkleinasiens (special issue, Epigraphica Anatolica 22; Bonn, 1994), with newer texts in later corpora and Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Claire Taylor, Poverty, Wealth, and Well-Being: Experiencing 'Penia' in Democratic Athens. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. viii, 309. ISBN 9780198786931. $105.00.

Reviewed by Gabriella Vanotti, Università del Piemonte Orientale​ (

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This book by Claire Taylor, which follows on a large series of articles the author has written in recent years on similar subjects,1 focuses on the study of poverty and wealth in Athens in the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, in particular in the years between 420 and 320.

The work, opening with Preface, Contents, List of Figures, List of Tables, List of Abbreviations, consists of seven chapters, divided in turn into various sections and sub-sections, followed by two short appendices, dealing with Testing the Models of Ober and Kron and Measuring Poverty. It is also rounded off with a comprehensive Bibliography, an Index Locorum and the general Index.

The first chapter, "Poverty and Penia: Approaching the Lives of the Poor in the Ancient World", which constitutes the introduction to the volume, opens with the examination of the stelae by the cobbler Dionysius, dedicated to the hero Kallistephanos. This document provides an accurate idea of the relativity of the concept of poverty, since the artisan, who had to work for living, might be considered poor according to the parameters of classical Athens; however, the elegance of the stele and the content of the text inscribed might cause one to consider withdrawing him from that category and instead classifying him as well-off. The case of Dionysius the cobbler allows Taylor to lay the basis of the themes that underlie the whole volume: poverty is a broader concept; poverty must therefore not be examined solely as an economic condition in terms of wealth possessed or of lack of material resources by an individual, but should rather be considered a dynamic, multi-dimensional phenomenon that is destined to change over time, and which is defined by a series of factors and social inter-relations, interlinked with the idea of well-being. The author, relying on the theories of Amartya Sen, examines poverty in relationship to well-being and underlines the abilities that a person displays in exploiting the resources at his disposal to improve his welfare; therefore his capacity of social inclusion or exclusion becomes fundamental.

In the second chapter, "Poverty and Poverty Discourses", the literary sources of a historical, philosophical, theatrical and legal nature are discussed, which address what the Athenians wrote and thought about poverty, usually presented as a dichotomous condition with wealth. In the section Poverty, Leisure and Work, the author points out the difference between the condition of the poor person and the ptochos, who is delineated as an outsider or social outcast, as opposed to the poor person who can implement strategies to foster their social integration. Ptocheia, therefore, should be intended not so much as a form of serious poverty, but rather in terms of social exclusion. In the subsequent paragraphs, Taylor comes to the conclusion that examination of literary tradition, though fundamental to an understanding of how poverty was perceived within certain circles, offers little help in defining what poverty was for anyone who lived it: the sources are often influenced by elitist perspective and construct a view of poverty at odds with lived experience. Poverty was repeatedly morally charged: to be poor was to be bad.

Chapter 3, "Poverty and the Distribution of Income and Wealth", attempts to measure how widespread poverty was in Athens; the sources from ancient literature tend to reflect the image of a poor city, but more recent research2 appear to disprove this reading: wealth between the 8th and 4th centuries was growing and the Athenians, as a whole, lived above subsistence level. To focus better on this question, the writer devotes a section to The Rich, that is those who performed the liturgies and the eisphorai, and who were to be considered an élite, comprising 4-5% of male citizens and corresponding to 1% of the whole population. This group of rich citizens was not fixed, but destined to change over time: few trierarchs managed to bear the burden of the liturgies within the family group for more than two or three generations. As the writer comments, it proves even more complex to establish the number of poor Athenians, especially considering the fact that the standard of living of the population must have been quite high. It is also rather complicated to measure the poverty of women, children, metics and slaves, who constituted about 80% of the population, for whom the information we have is decidedly scarce. Nevertheless, the writer does not neglect taking into consideration or reflecting on data deriving from the models formulated by Ober and Kron, respectively focusing on the examination of amounts of income (meaning revenue used for daily needs) and wealth (meaning assets accrued through financial investments or also from inheritance), which reveal relative equality in the distribution of income and wealth for a large part of the population, who enjoyed a standard of living above subsistence level. In order to provide a better context to the phenomenon of poverty, Taylor makes use of the Gini index (which provides a simple measure of inequality within a given population), even though the application of the Gini coefficient runs the risk of oversimplifying a multidimensional and complex reality. In conclusion, the use of models such as those of Ober and of Kron, or of coefficients such as that of Gini, provides simple measurements of the distribution of wealth, but does not give information regarding changes in income and wealth taking place over time, and even less on how poverty was experienced. To clarify her thought, Taylor introduces a case study on the situation that arose during the years of the Peloponnesian War and its immediate aftermath, when deep economic transformations occurred: sudden increases in wealth as a result of the high rates of mortality in battle or because of the plague, with the concentration of inheritances. But there were also cases of impoverishment due to the costs of the war, to the depreciation of property, and to a fall in commercial activities, especially maritime affairs. In Taylor's opinion, the demographic decline that occurred during the Peloponnesian War also led to a qualitative change in society, for example, in the ratios of men/women, citizens/non-citizens, young/old, rich/poor. These changes, although they initially led to a reduction in the economic inequalities between rich and poor during the years of the war and post-war, later gave rise, during the second half of the 4th century, to new, more pronounced forms of inequality between rich and poor. The above leads the writer once again to stress the importance of considering poverty and inequality as subject to changes over time. This subject is dealt with in the following Chapters 4 and 5.

Chapter 4, called "Experiencing Penia: The Dynamics of Poverty," therefore studies the changes over time of the experiences of poverty and their differences in terms of duration, depth and of differential experiences with special reference to gender-related aspects. The two sections, Poverty Experiences: Gendered Poverty and Experiencing Poverty in Gendered Terms, are especially interesting and allow the writer to study how women lived and responded to their economic needs and their social exclusion, dwelling in particular on the role played by wet-nursing and midwifery, to which two extensive sub-sections are devoted. Finally, in the section The Dynamics of Poverty: Discourses of Social Worth and Lived Experience, Taylor comes to the conclusion that the categories of rich and poor were anything but unchangeable, rather dynamic and multidimensional.

Chapter 5, called "Experiencing Penia: The Reproduction of Poverty and the Consolidation of Wealth" examines the factors that enabled the reproduction of poverty and the consolidation of wealth in democratic Athens. In particular, the writer highlights that Athenian institutions sought to encourage political equality between citizens and provided for a redistribution of wealth through taxation, the system of the liturgies, and political pay. She observes, however, that these forms of distribution were not so much aimed at the solution of the problems of poverty as at the fostering of civic union and identity. So, the function of political pay and other forms of civic distributions was compensatory rather than redistributive. The material and economic benefit produced by these payments was enjoyed only by male citizens. The "other" social categories, such as women, children or slaves, benefited indirectly within the household, but they were left to the care of the male component, who worked officially for the city. The writer examines also the role of the local structures, primarily the demes, in responding to the needs of their members, through activities such as sacrifices and care of the sanctuaries or activities of renting property. Taylor assumes that local institutions and social networks (like voluntary association, structures of credit, provision of sacrifices, and provision of food) help to improve the conditions or the economic opportunities of some, while they worsen those of others, without having any real impact on poverty. The provision of political pay, resources, or assistance provided with voluntary associations and social networks allowed a broad range of citizens to live above subsistence but reproduced the poverty of those outside those groups.

In Chapter 6, "Appearing without Shame Well Being, Capabilities, and Standards of Living," Taylor's attention turns to the level of well-being achieved by the poor in the Athenian society and their standard of living. On the basis of epigraphic documentation, strategies are examined which were employed by the poor to claim a place in Athenian society. The author points out the fundamental difference between the concepts of subsistence and respectability and indicates possible areas for analysis that may help define the level of well-being and of quality of life of the poor: for example, apart from the standard of nutrition and the quality of the housing, funerary practices and dedicatory practices. Lastly, examining the roles of affiliation, social connectivity and relationship, the writer concludes with good reason that these non-material aspects of living standards help to highlight the strategies and the resources used by the poor to obtain a place in society.

The last chapter, called Poverty, Inequality, and Well Being in Fourth-Century Athens sums up the main issues of the book, emphasising the complexity of discussing penia in Athens.

To conclude, this is a complex book, which needs to be read carefully. It has the merit of taking a broader, multidimensional approach to the concept of poverty and wealth, providing a critical opinion on being poor in Athens in the 5th and 6th centuries BCE. Furthermore, it suggests an approach to the documentation that makes it possible to rethink the literary sources from a different point of view (the non-elite), and so acquire new ideas for reflection. The bibliography is far reaching and up to date; the publication is accurate and tidy. ​


1.   C. Taylor, "Social Dynamics in Fourth Century Athens: Poverty and Standards of Living", in C. Tiersch (ed.), Athenische Demokratie im 4 Jh.: zwischen Modernisierung und Tradition, (Stuttgart) 237-253. C. Taylor, K. Vlassopoulos (eds.), Communities and Networks in the Ancient Greek World, (Oxford 2015).
2.   J. Ober, "Wealthy Hellas", TAPhA 140, 241-286; G. Kron, "The Distribution of Wealth in Athens in Comparative Perspective", ZPE 179, 2011, 129-138; Id., "Comparative Evidence and the Reconstruction of the Ancient Economy: Greco-Roman Housing and the Level and Distribution of Wealth and Income", in F. De Callatay (ed.), Quantifying the Greco-Roman Economy and Beyond, (Bari 2014), 123-146; E. Galbois S. Rougier-Blanc (eds.), La pauvreté en Grèce ancienne: Formes, représentations, enjeux, (Bordeaux 2014). A. Bresson, The Making of the Ancient Greek Economy: Institutions, Markets, and Growth in the City-States, (Oxford; Princeton 2016). ​

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Martin T. Dinter, Charles Guérin​, Marcos Martinho (ed.), Reading Roman Declamation - Calpurnius Flaccus. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 348​. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. 183. ISBN 9783110401240. €109,95.

Reviewed by Luciano Traversa, Università degli Studi della Repubblica di San Marino​ (

Version at BMCR home site

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

Reading Roman Declamation—Calpurnius Flaccus si colloca in una serie in tre volumi dedicata ai corpora declamatori latini, il primo uscito nel 2016 sulle declamationes pseudo-quintilianee e il terzo nel 2018 su Seneca Padre.

Il volume in oggetto raccoglie gli atti di un convegno su Calpurnio Flacco tenutosi presso la Maison de la Recherche dell'Université Paris-Sorbonne, con il patrocinio dell'Institut Universitaire de France, nel Febbraio del 2014. È la prima miscellanea sui 53 brevi excerpta di declamazioni attribuiti a una figura ancora oscura e dalla discussa datazione, 1 confluita in un'antologia di dieci oratori minori (Corpus decem rhetorum minorum).

La riscoperta di Calpurnio Flacco è evidentemente favorita dal rinnovato interesse per le declamationes: una nuova generazione di studiosi, che si sta rivelando piuttosto prolifica negli ultimi anni, discute sulle molteplici possibilità di interpretare questi scritti, aprendosi ad approcci metodologici diversificati ma complementari e, dunque, interdisciplinari. I topoi delle declamazioni sollevano problemi di natura testuale, ma rivelano anche squarci di mentalità, consuetudini sociali e connessioni con il diritto, rendendo così necessari il coinvolgimento e l'interazione tra svariate competenze scientifiche.

È ormai un dato acquisito che il genere declamatorio, nella sua duplice declinazione greca2 e latina, si muove al confine tra esercitazione retorica e invenzione fittizia; una linea di ricerca sempre più condivisa3—e che risulta dominante in questo volume—intende valorizzarne la dimensione letteraria, fondata sull'uso consapevole di tecniche e convenzioni ben precise.

Nell'introduzione Martin T. Dinter e Charles Guérin offrono un quadro puntuale della storia degli studi segnalando i contributi più recenti.4 Sono richiamati anche i preziosi commenti editi negli ultimi anni, dal lavoro di Lennart Håkanson sul primo libro delle Controversiae di Seneca Padre, pubblicato postumo con la curatela di Francesco Citti, Biagio Santorelli e Antonio Stramaglia (Berlin-Boston: De Gruyter, 2016), alla serie delle Declamazioni maggiori—ancora in fieri—di Antonio Stramaglia, edita dall'Università di Cassino, che presto sarà seguita da un'edizione Loeb in collaborazione con Michael Winterbottom e Biagio Santorelli; quest'ultimo è al lavoro anche sulla traduzione italiana, con commento, delle Declamazioni minori coordinata da Lucia Pasetti.

Rispetto a una tradizione così ricca di indagini e approfondimenti su Seneca e lo pseudo-Quintiliano, gli studi su Calpurnio Flacco hanno presentato per lungo tempo un'anomalia: al di là dell'eccellente edizione Teubner del 1978, a cura di Håkanson,5 e dei commenti isolati di Lewis A. Sussman (Leiden: Brill, 1994) e Paul Aizpurua (Paris: Gallimard, 2005), nessun gruppo di ricerca si era mai concentrato sull'autore. I curatori del volume si sono proposti di colmare tale lacuna ben riuscendo nell'impresa di valorizzare un corpus declamatorio, il cui dato distintivo è dato dalla collocazione cronologica in coda ai più corposi precursori.

Così la figura di Calpurnio Flacco assume, innanzitutto, i caratteri dell'epitomatore, dato che la voluta frammentarietà della sua opera—il cui abbreviatore si identifica con l'autore—e la centralità che conferisce alle sententiae sintetizzano i tratti costitutivi di un intero genere.

Eppure il volume in oggetto si spinge oltre e lancia una sfida dichiaratamente provocatoria: la letteratura di Calpurnio Flacco si situerebbe ad un tale stadio di avanzamento rispetto alla precedente, da cui pure non può prescindere, da meritare la definizione di "Declamazione 2.0". Occorre una certa prudenza quando si adoperano categorie moderne nella ricezione dell'antico, sebbene questo approccio estetico-antropologico stia dominando negli studi sul tardoantico, dalla sua invenzione da parte dello storico dell'arte Alois Riegl (è del 1901 il famoso saggio sulla Spätrömische Kunst- Industrie per una prima rivalutazione del basso-impero) alla più recente "esplosione di tardoantico" nel solco di The World of Late Antiquity di Peter Brown;6 alla luce di queste suggestioni si può motivare l'insidioso interrogativo, aperto nell'introduzione, su Calpurnio Flacco come autore postmoderno. Laddove il filosofo contemporaneo Jean-François Lyotard identificava le grandi novità narrative della modernità con la conoscenza assoluta e un'emancipazione universale e ne dettava il superamento con l'avanzata della tecnologia e del capitalismo, Dinter e Guérin ritengono che Calpurnio Flacco abbia oltrepassato i confini del genere declamatorio, integrando la sua grande narrativa con delle piccole narrative, pronte a mettere in discussione leggi e valori che sorreggevano i modelli della tradizione.

Tale prospettiva guida anche il poderoso contributo di Jonathan E. Mannering in apertura del volume; da una parte l'autore tenta un'analisi complessiva del corpus e dall'altra raggruppa declamazioni, pur distanziate in esso, in base a filoni tematici o tecniche retoriche comuni, così da ribadire la presenza di legami letterari sottesi nell'opera. Appaiono utili i riferimenti alla seconda controversia, in cui il dibattito sulla nascita di un neonato nero apre una duplice riflessione sul diritto di natura e sul ruolo del caso nell'esperienza umana (locus communis declamatorio), e alla terza, la sola ambientata in un periodo specifico della storia romana quale la guerra di Mario contro i Cimbri e i Teutoni (113-101 a. C.). Sulla terza controversia si concentra il capitolo di Catherine Schneider, con una puntuale disamina tra retorica e diritto del noto episodio del miles Marianus: il giovane Caio Plozio era reo di aver assassinato il suo tribuno Caio Luiso, nipote dello stesso Mario, che aveva tentato di violentarlo. Dopo un inevitabile confronto con la III Declamazione maggiore pseudo-quintilianea, che affronta lo stesso tema,7 e con altrettanti riferimenti in Cicerone, Quintiliano, Valerio Massimo e Plutarco, l'autrice indaga i temi della morale sessuale e della trasgressione che si intravedono tra le pieghe degli estratti: a tal fine si sofferma sul lessico della pudicitia che ricorre nella declamazione, attraverso l'exemplum ancestrale dello stupro di Lucrezia e un confronto con la degradazione civica dell'infamia; ampiamente discussa è anche la sanzione dell'impudicitia di natura sessuale sotto il principato di Adriano (Dig. 48. 8.1.4 Marcianus 14 inst.), a cui si aggiunge un'ulteriore riflessione di carattere giuridico sul tema della legittima difesa (con riferimenti al Codice penale tuttora vigente in Francia). Nella ricostruzione declamatoria dell'episodio è rinvenuto un tratto di deformazione retorica analogo a scritti come il De bello Gallico o la Germania di Tacito: il mito del buon barbaro (in questo caso rappresentato dal Cimbro) risulterebbe contrapposto—in chiave satirica o moralizzatrice—alla degenerazione morale dei Romani. Una così puntuale indagine intertestuale traccia la permanenza e la vitalità nei secoli della tradizione retorica, dato il perpetuarsi delle argomentazioni declamatorie sino a un'antilogia di Lorenzo Patarol della prima metà del XVIII secolo.

Si possono così trarre importanti elementi per un approccio storico—non sempre praticato e invece altrettanto auspicabile —alla pratica declamatoria, aperto alle sue implicazioni socio-culturali: in questo orizzonte si inserisce il contributo di Alfredo Casamento sul carattere del vir fortis, soprattutto nella dimensione conflittuale tra padre e figlio o tra fratelli (la famiglia è un tipico leitmotiv delle declamazioni).

Ulteriori opportunità dell'intertestualità, nello studio delle declamazioni, si evincono dal contributo di Lydia Spielberg che traccia diversi parallelismi tra Seneca Padre e Calpurnio Flacco; i tentativi di aemulatio e la libera circolazione di sententiae negli ambienti declamatori si affiancano, tuttavia, a un continuo e dinamico riadattamento dei modelli per assecondare il cambiamento dei gusti e dei tempi. L'autrice denuncia un problema del tutto condivisibile, ovvero la difficoltà di distinguere una netta citazione letteraria da un bagaglio di topoi trasmessi oralmente e che appartenevano a una tradizione popolare, a cui si aggiunge l'altrettanto labile confine nel mondo antico tra citazione e plagio, definito brillantemente "the dark side of intertextuality" (pertanto si sofferma a sua volta sul Miles Marianus). Così Spielberg definisce efficacamente il corpus di Calpurnio Flacco come il prodotto di una "community continua e diacronica di declamatori attivi" (50).

L'interesse per le relazioni tra testi si riscontra anche nell'originale capitolo curato da Andrea Balbo. Dopo aver già precedentemente indagato il lessico di Calpurnio Flacco per individuarne eventuali elementi datanti,8 in questo caso si occupa di paremiografia partendo dal problematico rapporto tra proverbi e sententiae nelle declamationes. Balbo identifica le sententiae con quelle tirate moraleggianti e filosoficamente fondate che si riscontrano in autori come Lucano e considera il loro riuso nelle declamazioni una peculiarità del background culturale e scolastico a cui appartengono. Attribuisce, invece, ai proverbi—sinora individuati in maniera esigua o erronea nei corpora declamatori, una duplice finalità persuasiva e stilistica: essi sono finalizzati a rafforzare un'argomentazione, ad aumentare il pathos o a creare una pausa tra due punti diversi della declamazione. Nel caso di Calpurnio Flacco Balbo trova più opportuno parlare di materiale paremiografico che si contraddistingue per

"la brevità della formulazione, spesso resa più efficace mediante accorgimenti retorici e fonici; la riconosciuta tradizionalità e condivisibilità del contenuto; la funzione didascalica, etica, morale, in altri termini di 'ammaestramento / giudizio' sociale e umano del messaggio, significato chiaro, autonomia dal tema della declamazione, facilità di memorizzazione" (p. 118; cfr. E. Lelli 2006, I proverbi greci. Le raccolte di Zenobio e Diogeniano (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino), p. 11).

Pertanto Balbo ha voluto apportare delle rettifiche alla nota edizione Teubner dei proverbi latini pubblicata nel 1890 da August Otto, Die Sprichwörter und sprichwörtlichen Redensarten der Römer, aggiungendo ai soli nove casi attestati in Calpurnio Flacco altre occorrenze sinora trascurate (riemerse proprio dal confronto con altri testi).

In conclusione la lettura di Reading Roman Declamation: Calpurnius Flaccus apre uno squarcio variegato e ricco di elementi innovativi su una fonte rimasta a lungo appannata. L'approccio degli autori risulta contagioso e coinvolgente per la vivacità dei giudizi e della scrittura, che restituisce questioni complesse e filologicamente fondate con una capacità di sintesi e una linearità espressiva del tutto apprezzabili. Altrettanto riuscita è l'impresa di abbracciare il fenomeno declamatorio da più punti di vista, anche se una prospettiva filologico-letteraria risulta prevalere sulle altre. La sola struttura del volume risulta penalizzante per la successione non sempre coerente dei singoli capitoli: su temi fondanti si ritorna più volte a distanza di diverse pagine mentre i contributi-chiave di Santorelli e Winterbottom, rispettivamente sui problemi di datazione e sulla storia editoriale del corpus, sono posti in coda all'opera nonostante discutano di problemi preliminari.

Per queste ragioni, nel recensire il volume, non si è riusciti a seguire l'ordine dei singoli capitoli, rinvenendo a tratti nel suo impianto lo stile postmoderno, diretto e pindarico insieme, di Calpurnio Flacco.

Table of Contents

Martin T. Dinter and Charles Guérin, Introduction: Calpurnius –a postmodern author? 1
Jonathan E. Mannering, Declamation 2.0—Reading Calpurnius 'whole' 9
Lydia Spielberg, Non contenti exemplis saeculi vestri: Intertextuality and the declamatory tradition in Calpurnius Flaccus 45
Catherine Schneider, (Re)lire la déclamation romaine: le soldat de Marius par Calpurnius Flaccus 77
Alfredo Casamento, Colorem timere peius quam sanguinem. Paintings, family strife and heroism 97
Andrea Balbo, Problems of paremiography in Calpurnius Flaccus 113
Biagio Santorelli, Metrical and accentual clausulae as evidence for the date and origin of Calpurnius Flaccus 129
Michael Winterbottom, The editors of Calpurnius Flaccus 143
Bibliography 161
Subject Index 175
Index locorum 177


1.   Biagio Santorelli, nell'analisi delle clausulae metriche condotta in un capitolo di questo volume, ipotizza una datazione alla seconda metà del secondo secolo d.C., ritenendo che Calpurnio Flacco sia stato influenzato dalle pratiche scolastiche delle province africane.
2.   Per un confronto con le declamazioni greche resta imprescindibile la lettura del volume di Donald Russell, Greek Declamations, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983, a cui si deve la fortunata definizione di Sofistopoli per indicare l'immagine di città ideale che appare sullo sfondo delle scuole di retorica e dunque delle declamazioni.
3.   La rilettura delle declamazioni in un'ottica prevalentemente letteraria si ripropone in Martin T. Dinter, Charles Guérin e Marcos Martinho (a c. di), Reading Roman Declamation: The Declamations Ascribed to Quintilian, Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2016.
4.   Per citarne alcuni: Eugenio Amato, Francesco Citti e Bart Huelsenbeck (a c. di), Law and Ethics in Greek and Roman Declamation, Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2015 (BCMR 2016.07.30); Rémy Poignault e Catherine Schneider (a c. di), Fabrique de la déclamation antique. Controverses et suasories, Lyon: Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2016; Alfredo Casamento, Danielle van Mal-Maeder, Lucia Pasetti (a c. di), Le declamazioni minori dello Pseudo-Quintiliano. Discorsi immaginari tra letteratura e diritto, Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2016 (BCMR 2018.03.47); Mario Lentano, La declamazione a Roma: breve profilo di un genere minore, Palermo: Palumbo, 2017.
5.   In un capitolo di questo volume la storia di tutti gli editori di Calpurnio Flacco, a partire da Pierre Pithou vissuto nel XVI secolo, è ripercorsa da Michael Winterbottom.
6.   Cf. Andrea Giardina, "Esplosione di tardoantico" Studi storici 40 (1999): 157-180, per una ricostruzione del dibattito sul tardoantico con distacco critico.
7.   Cf. Graziana Brescia, Il miles alla sbarra. [Quintiliano], Declamazioni maggiori, III, Bari: Edipuglia, 2004.
8.   Vd. Andrea Balbo, "Ri-leggere un lettore. Riflessioni lessicali su Calpurnio Flacco", in Rémy Poignault e Catherine Schneider (a c. di), Fabrique de la déclamation antique. Controverses et suasories, Lyon: Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2016, 49-65.

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