Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014.10.61

Gabriel Nocchi Macedo, L'Alceste de Barcelone (P.Monts. Roca inv. 158-161). Édition, traduction et analyse contextuelle d'un poème latin conservé sur papyrus. Papyrologica Leodiensia, 3. Liège: Presses Universitaires de Liège, 2014. Pp. 214. ISBN 9782875620415. €30.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Hubert Zehnacker, Université Paris-Sorbonne (anne.zehnacker@wanadoo.fr)

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

L'Alcestis Barcinonensis est un poème d'un peu plus de 120 hexamètres dactyliques, conservé, avec d'autres textes grecs et latins, sur un ensemble de feuillets de papyrus qui se trouvent actuellement à la Fundacio Sant Lluc Evangelista à Barcelone. Le texte est écrit sur quatre petits feuillets en scriptio continua qui font partie d'un ensemble plus vaste, sans respect de la colométrie, et avec de nombreuses fautes. Il est un témoin rare de la présence de la langue et de la culture latines en Egypte au IVe siècle de notre ère. Après une courte présentation générale, G. Nocchi Macedo s'attache d'abord à identifier la provenance et l'origine du papyrus : pour la copie du livre, on a songé au monastère de St Pacôme, ou à un atelier de Panopolis, ou à un lieu près de Nag Hammadi ; pour sa mise sur le marché international, on a essayé de questionner des intermédiaires égyptiens, sans grand succès. La fondation Bodmer, pour ne nommer qu'elle, n'est pas étrangère à certains épisodes de ce qui ressemble à un vrai roman policier. Après une courte description codicologique, l'auteur présente les textes et le dessin contenus dans le codex : 1) Cicéron, Catilinaires, I (extraits) et II (en entier) ; 2) un Psalmus Responsorius, poème chrétien qui met en scène les vies de Marie et du Christ ; 3) un dessin à sujet mythologique ; 4) un ensemble de textes grecs qui sont des prières chrétiennes à usage liturgique ; 5) l'Alceste : 6) un texte latin qui met en scène des épisodes fictifs de la vie de l'empereur Hadrien ; 7) et enfin une liste de 2368 mots grecs.

Le chapitre II, entièrement consacré à l'Alceste, offre d'abord une description codicologique et une analyse paléographique très complètes du texte. Elles sont suivies d'un ensemble de données succinctes sur les sources de l'œuvre, le style et la langue, le mètre et la prosodie, et enfin le genre littéraire. Ce sont ces quelques pages qui nous ont le plus intéressé. Depuis l'édition princeps, publiée par Roca-Puig en 1982, l'Alceste a fait l'objet jusqu'en 1998 de six nouvelles éditions, celle de L. Nosarti, Bologne, 1992 étant la plus complète et la meilleure. G. Nocchi Macedo nous propose à son tour (chapitre III) une transcription diplomatique du texte, puis une édition critique qui se veut aussi respectueuse que possible des principes de la philologie moderne. Nous lui adressons cependant deux reproches : le premier est d'avoir conservé la colométrie aberrante du papyrus, ce qui entraîne de nombreux risques d'erreur dans les références, au lieu d'imprimer un hexamètre par ligne ; le second est de rejeter dans l'apparat critique, au lieu de les intégrer dans le texte, les corrections les plus faciles. En voici deux exemples, provoqués par une haplographie évidente : vers 62 (ligne 68), au lieu deTitanide … arte, lire :Titanide de arte ; vers 122 (lignes 136-137), au lieu declaudet … membra, lireclaudet mea membra. Nous dirons, pour conclure ce point, qu'éditer c'est choisir, ou plutôt, c'est oser choisir. Fort heureusement, l'auteur fait suivre son édition d'un ensemble de considérations sur la langue du poème, qui concernent l'orthographe et la phonologie, la morphologie et la syntaxe.

Le moment semble venu d'aborder l'étude de l'Alceste d'un point de vue véritablement littéraire, que les quelques considérations du chapitre II, vite expédiées, ont tout juste permis d'entrevoir. Et c'est là, malheureusement, que l'auteur se dérobe. Le chapitre IV, en effet, étudie l'Alceste « en contexte », ce qui veut dire qu'on y étudie les autres textes contenus dans le cahier d'un point de vue surtout codicologique. On y apprend ainsi que le codex était essentiellement un instrument d'utilité pratique, c'est-à-dire scolaire. Le Psalmus Responsorius est le seul poème chrétien conservé sur papyrus. L'Alceste n'a droit qu'à quelques pages (p.143-157), consacrées surtout à deux problèmes : le christianisme (p.145-147) et l'éthopée (p.151-157). Dans une courte étude publiée en 1998 dans un volume d'Hommages, et citée par l'auteur à la p.167, nous avons essayé de répondre à quelques questions d'ordre philosophiques et religieux concernant le texte de l'Alceste. Une étude véritablement littéraire serait la bienvenue également. Elle montrerait, par exemple, que le style très paratactique du poème ne révèle pas la faiblesse d'un latin dit « vulgaire », mais qu'elle résulte d'un choix esthétique conscient et efficace, qui exprime à merveille la simplicité et la grandeur du sacrifice d'Alceste. Par la rigueur de ses travaux papyrologiques et codicologiques, G. Nocchi Macedo répond à beaucoup de nos questions et en soulève d'autres : c'est la définition même du chercheur.

Table des matières

Remerciements 7
Préface 9
Introduction 13

Chapitre I – Le codex Miscellaneus de Montserrat
1. Présentation générale 17
2. Provenance et origine 18
3. Description codicologique 24
4. Les textes 26
4.1. Cicéron, In Catilinam, I, 6-9, 13-33 ; II 27
4.2. Psalmus Responsorius 31
4.3. Dessin à sujet mythologique 36
4.4. L'Euchologie grecque 38
4.5. Alcestis Barcinonensis 45
4.6. Hadrianus 45
4.7. La liste des mots grecs 47

Chapitre II – L'Alcestis Barcinonensis
1. Description codicologique 49
2. Analyse paléographique 50
2.1. Signes « utilitaires », diacritiques et de ponctuation 57
2.2. Signes de lecture et notes marginales 62
2.3. Les corrections 65
2.4. Le modèle 66
3. Le texte 68
3.1. Les sources 69
3.2. Le style et la langue 70
3.3. Le mètre et la prosodie 71
3.4. Le genre 72
3.5. La date 75
3.6. Les éditions 75

Chapitre III – Alcestis Barcinonensis : Le texte
1. Transcription diplomatique 79
2. Edition 82
3. Traduction 96
4. Notes critiques et grammaticales 100
5. Considérations sur la langue de l'Alcestis 116
5.1. Orthographe et phonologie 116
5.2. Morphologie et syntaxe 119
5.3. Lexique 123

Chapitre IV – L'Alcestis Barcinonensis en contexte
1. Le codex 125
1.1. Le format du codex de Montserrat 128
1.2. Bilinguisme et digraphisme 129
1.3. La mise en page des textes poétiques 132
1.4. La décoration 132
1.5. Les dédicaces 136
1.6. Le contenu 136
2. Le poème 143
2.1. Le mythe d'Alceste dans l'Antiquité 143
2.2. Alceste et le christianisme 145
2.3. Alcestis Barcinonensis : une composition scolaire ? 147

Conclusion 159
Bibliographie 163
Index
Index locorum 183
Index uerborum 188
Index nominum 199
Planches 205
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2014.10.60

Garth Tissol, Ovid: Epistulae ex Ponto, Book I. Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. ix, 191. ISBN 9780521819589. $36.99 (pb).

Reviewed by Jo-Marie Claassen, Stellenbosch University (jmc@adept.co.za)

Version at BMCR home site

A new commentary in English on Ovid's Epistulae ex Ponto is to be welcomed, especially one by such a distinguished scholar. The blurb on the back cover of this relatively slim addition to the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series explains that this commentary (on Book I only) '[will] assist intermediate and advanced students in understanding Ovid's language and style, while guiding them in the appreciation of his poetic art.' In other words, the stated intention of the author was to produce a teaching tool. In this Tissol succeeds admirably.

The book is concise and relatively user-friendly, even if readers need to page back and forth from the text of the poems to the appropriate commentary. The general set-up is predictable. The usual Preface and List of Abbreviations is followed by an Introduction of twenty-eight pages (pp.1-28). Topics covered in the Introduction are, in turn 'Letters from exile: a new vessel for old grief,' 'The literary background', 'The higher genres and Ovidian hyperbole,' 'Names in the Epistulae ex Ponto, 'Observations on style,' 'Fata libellorum: remarks on the early reception of the Epistulae ex Ponto' and 'A note on the text.'

Next follows the full text of Book I in just over twenty pages (pp.31-52). The author has, as explained in the above 'note,' slightly adapted Richmond's 1990 Teubner edition, sometimes choosing alternative readings and providing only a brief apparatus that (sensibly) reports 'only [those] readings that are discussed in the commentary' (p.28).

The commentary itself comprises 127 pages (pp.53-180), which amounts mutatis mutandis to an average of just under thirteen pages for each poem commented upon. A five and a half page bibliography lists all modern works cited (but explicitly, and sensibly, not including the names of standard commentaries on other ancient authors). The index of Latin words discussed in the commentary fills, rather surprisingly, only one double-columned page (in contrast with the twenty-two pages of Jan Felix Gaertner's wide-ranging commentary on Book I 1). Tissol has a (similarly double-columned) four-page 'General Index' with a variety of topics, ranging from names of addressees to grammatical concepts such as participles or case usages, to literary-critical or stylistic concepts, to various metres (pp.188-91).

In his Preface Tissol lists the meagre range of commentaries available on books of the Epistulae ex Ponto , the only one in English (on Book I) until recently being that of the nineteenth- century Keene, to which Gaertner's commentary should now be added. .A surprise, to this reviewer, however, was the author's omission of any mention of Peter Green's very accessible Penguin translation of both the Tristia and Ex Ponto2 which has a finely printed forty-five page introduction and devotes almost a hundred pages of useful, mostly literary or prosopographical, commentary to the Ex Ponto (of which almost thirty pages elucidate Book I). It must be conceded, however, that Green himself calls his commentary mere 'notes' (p.xv). For the rest, the 'usual suspects' in any discussion of Ovid's exilic corpus are very much in evidence in Tissol's list of works cited, but, interestingly, there is scant overlap with Green's seven-page 'Select Bibliography'.

However, Tissol's commentary is much more extensive than Green's briefer discussions of individual poems, for Tissol offers a 'line-for line' commentary. Unlike in Gaertner's tome, which is heavily slanted toward matters linguistic, Tissol's comments range in type between linguistic elucidation, suggestions for appropriate translation, cultural or legal explication (for example of the term peregrinus in I.3), references to similar linguistic or grammatical usages in other Ovidian poems or in other authors, also referring to commentators ad locc. cit.. Also frequent is discussion of grammatical usages (as with I.9-10, latere… tutius as an 'infinitive treated as an indeclinable neuter noun' etc.), or discussion of matters of Ovidian style or typical poetic usages, such as quamvis with the indicative. For the rest, extensive literary-critical comments on a particular phrase within a poem alternate with longer or shorter historical analyses or detailed discussion of particular grammatical usages and contrast of Ovid's language or his situation with other ancient sources. Each couplet usually has a longish paragraph devoted to it, comprising a variety of different types of comment as cited above, relating in turn to individual words or phrases within that couplet.

The commentary on each individual poem is preceded by a brief introduction, all of these following roughly the same pattern, covering in turn the following topics (but not always in the same order after the initial discussion of the relevant addressee). These are: the structure ('parts') of the poem; notes on the tone of the poem (for example, wit and irony versus pathos); discussion of matters intratextual (that is, Ovid's allusions to his own earlier works, whether exilic or otherwise); frequently, also, comments on the linguistic register our poet employs (more elevated towards grandees such as Messalinus and more familiar toward his brother, Ovid's bosom friend Messala Corvinus).

What this reviewer missed in this otherwise admirable and useful literary commentary was perhaps more extensive discussion of the spectrum of emotions that Ovid displays and his manner of conveying these: that is, more on both his wit and his all too frequent despair. But that is something the target readers (intermediate and advanced students) should get to grips with themselves, once Tissol has helped them over the many linguistic and other hurdles that prevent instant understanding and enjoyment of our brilliant poet when in extremis in the fourth year of his banishment.

An intriguing element of the commentary is Tissol's conservative (in the literal sense) attitude throughout to various verses or couplets that Gaertner's commentary proposes blithely to discard as 'un-Ovidian'. I counted no fewer than nine rejections of Gaertner's readings within some forty-six pages (130-76). Gaertner's justification of his apparently frequent proposals to cut couplets are most often trenchantly labelled as 'wrong' by Tissol, but always, then, plausibly rebutted with well-framed arguments. In all these cases Tissol argues for the retention of the verses, most often with reference to Ovid's exuberant and often elliptic style. I quote one such refutation (on Ex P.I.7.49-2): 'Gaertner deletes the lines because of their parenthetical nature: the next couplet (53-4) returns to Augustus' leniency and so "would follow far better after 1.7.48," i.e. immediately after. One ought not, however, to expect invariably smooth transitions in Roman elegy, especially in a poem that reflects Tibullan style. The lines are appropriate to their context; their style and expression are unobjectionable and the wound-imagery is characteristic of O.'s exilic poetry' (p.144).3 On page 151 Tissol follows this up with '[Ovid's] thought does not move with bland unpredictability from point to point.' These examples serve as illustrations of Tissol's sensitive reading of our poet and his awareness of the variability of Ovid's style from context to context.

Tissol does not, however, reject all previous commentators out of hand, but often cites earlier scholars such as Postgate, Platnauer or Bömer, depending on the kind of issue he wishes to elucidate.

I have never been sure how much explication is required in a commentary aimed at students, and what kinds of problems of understanding it should seek to solve. As indicated above, Tissol addresses an admirable variety of issues, grammatical, linguistic, literary and cultural. He may therefore be excused the occasional redundancy, as for instance his illustration of the fact that that a verb of fearing (ne… clauserit) 'need not depend directly on a governing verb or expression' with a quotation from Cicero Verr. 2.1.46 (p.56). Again, his suggestion for translating 1.8.21-2 rex aevo… fortissime nostro as 'bravest king of our time' is to my mind then rather unnecessarily explained as 'temporal ablative' and illustrated with an example from the Ars amatoria (p.154). But these are mere quibbles: students usually need all the help they can get.

More serious is a matter of readability: Tissol's occasional idiosyncratic use of figures and numbers together with non- standard abbreviations left this reader sometimes confused. Tissol's comment on me miserum as 'used 45x by O.' (p.139) is clear enough, but I had to reread the following three times to try to work out what Tissol meant (on page 141, at 1.7.33-4): '…the verb [dedignor] occurs only there before O., who uses it 11x. 33' (and then the line breaks and the next line continues 'recalls 27 in language and expression…' Better editing (or the avoidance of starting a sentence with a figure) would have made of this: '…occurs only there before Ovid, who uses it 11 times. Verse 33 recalls verse 27 in language… etc.'

However, overall the commentary is useful and extremely accessible for its projected users. It is a valuable addition to the arsenal of teaching tools available for academics intent on inculcating a love of our brilliant, star-crossed poet in the next generation of anglophone Latinists, for whom it opens up aspects of Ovid's exilic poetry. It will also be of equal value to more mature academics. Tissol's next publications (hopefully on Books II to IV) are eagerly awaited.



Notes:


1.   Gaertner, Jan Felix (ed., intro, transl., comm.). Ovid, Epistulae Ex Ponto, Book 1. Oxford Classical Monographs. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005.
2.   Green, Peter (transl., intro., nn., gloss.) Ovid: The Poems of Exile. Harmondsworth, Penguin; 1994. Second edition subtitled 'Tristia and the Black Sea Letters: with a new Foreword.' Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press, 2005.
3.   In spite of almost consistent strictures on Gaertner's readings throughout, Tissol refers in his 'Preface' (p.vii) to Gaertner's tome as 'a valuable work', sensibly qualifying this, however, with the comment that its 'vast scale perhaps diminishes its accessibility to some readers'.

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2014.10.59

Peter E. Knox, J. C. McKeown (ed.), The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. xii, 633. ISBN 9780195395167. $35.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Rex Stem, University of California, Davis (srstem@ucdavis.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview

This book presents an overview of Roman literature , providing introductions to and excerpts from 28 major Roman authors in English translation. The translations are of high quality, the selections well chosen, and the introductions informative and substantive, with an appealing dash of humor. I have desired such a book for years. At my large, public American university, I regularly teach survey courses on Roman civilization and Roman literature courses based on English translations, stitching together the literary elements of the syllabus through selections from various primary sources because no better option was available. But Peter Knox and Jim McKeown have now provided an impressively inclusive anthology that expertly serves student audiences at an affordable price.

The editors express their intention "to stand behind the curtain as much as possible" so that the texts "be allowed to speak for themselves" (p. viii). The editors' voice is regularly heard in the lively introductions and afterwords to each selection, but in such a way as to introduce the readings without overshadowing them. The collection thus succeeds as a smartly annotated anthology of Roman literature through its avoidance of presenting itself as a literary history.

The structure of the book is straightforward. It opens with an overall introduction of ten pages, entitled "The Roman World of Books," discussing the integration of Greek culture into Roman culture, the technology of the ancient book, and where and how a Roman might hear or read texts. There are then five chronological sections, each with a two-page introduction devoting a chapter to each author included from that period. The specific selections for each author, which are not conveniently listed in any one place, are as follows. Early Republic: Plautus, Menaechmi; Polybius 3.57-59, 77-94, 106-118. Late Republic: Lucretius 1.1-634, 3.830-1094; Catullus 1-60; Cicero, First Catilinarian, Pro Caelio; Caesar, Gallic War 4.20-5.23; Sallust, Catiline 1-33, 50-61. Age of Augustus: Virgil, Eclogue 4, Georgics 1, Aeneid 4; Horace, Odes 1; Propertius 1; Ovid, Amores 1, Metamorphoses 3; Livy, Preface, 1.1-16, 22-28, 57-60. Early Empire: Seneca, Medea; Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 19.1-19; Lucan 7; Petronius 16-47, 83-90, 110-113; Pliny the Elder 7.1-32, 73-132; Statius, Thebaid 12; Quintilian 1.1-3, 12.1; Martial, over 50 selected epigrams. High Empire: Tacitus, Annals 1.1-54, 60-71; Pliny the Younger, Letters 3.5, 3.21, 5.6, 6.16, 6.20, 10.96-97; Suetonius, Nero 1-13, 20-57; Plutarch, Antony 1-13, 23-31, 71-87; Juvenal 1, 10; Apuleius, Metamorphoses 2.15-3.29; Lucian, True History 1.1-29; Marcus Aurelius 1, 4.

The chronological span is limited to 200 BCE through 200 CE (the end date of 200 CE is defended in a four page Postscript), but within that period a wide range of authors and genres is represented. Internal summaries introduce each text within a selection and bridge excerpted gaps. The primary texts are printed in two columns per page, while the contributions of the editors are printed fully across the page, hence the reader has a constant visual cue as to whether s/he is reading ancient or modern material. At the back of the book is included a helpful chronological table (with dates down the middle, political history on the left and literary history on the right) and a glossary of terms, names, and places (many of which are keyed to the four maps at the front of the volume). There are no footnotes.

The English translations are drawn from those already published in the Oxford World's Classics series, with the exceptions of Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, translated by the editors, and Josephus, Quintilian, and Martial, where the Loeb translations are adopted (see pp. 632-33, where it would have been helpful to list exactly which passages from each work are included in this anthology). One may not prefer the Oxford translation for a particular author, but they rarely disappoint, and relying upon a corpus that Oxford University Press already has under copyright is what makes this book possible at such a reasonable price. Moreover, the prudishness of earlier translations is avoided: these selections include frank sexual language (Catullus, Martial) and direct descriptions of sexual acts (Petronius, Apuleius).

The quality of the selections is the great strength of the book. The texts selected are appropriately representative, undoubtedly significant, and, most important of all, long enough to provide a sense of the achievement of each author. One gets a complete play (Plautus, Seneca), a whole book of poetry (Horace, Propertius, Lucan, Statius), or a reasonable equivalent (the first 60 poems of Catullus; Lucretius 1.1-634, 3.830-1094). Selections from prose authors have equal presence and coherence, though they have often undergone tactical abridgement. Chapters 14-19 are excluded from Suetonius' Nero, chapters 55-59 are dropped out of the first book of Tacitus' Annals and chapters 72-81 trimmed from its end. Was space at such a premium that these texts could not be included in their entirety? It could perhaps be argued that the missing chapters would not significantly change a reader's response to the whole, but in some cases the abridgement clearly has interpretive consequences. Plutarch's Antony is largely reduced to those sections that feature Cleopatra (1-13, 23-31, 71-87), which meets popular interest but greatly simplifies Plutarch's portrait. Omitting chapters 34-48 of Sallust's Catiline causes the reader to be unaware of the central digression in which Sallust directly characterizes the politics of his own day (chapters 36-39).

Many authors and texts have been omitted altogether, sometimes surprisingly. A second example of a genre within the same chronological period rarely makes the cut. Thus we get Plautus but not Terence, Propertius but not Tibullus, Statius' Thebaid but not Valerius Flaccus or Silius Italicus. If an author spans genres, usually only one of them is represented: two of Cicero's speeches but none of his letters or treatises, Seneca's Medea but none of his prose, Horace's Odes but no Satires. The exceptions are Virgil and Ovid, but even with two books each in their case, you might well be left wanting more. The most likely complaint about this volume, despite the fact that it is already an oversized and heavy book, with small print, is that it does not contain even more than it does.

The choices the editors made are always defensible, however, and there is undeniable value in offering a wider range of what Roman literature comprises than in assembling large quantities of those regarded as greatest. Note that five of the authors included wrote in Greek (Polybius, Josephus, Plutarch, Lucian, Marcus Aurelius), for this is an anthology of Roman literature not Latin literature, a commendable editorial choice that increases the book's completeness. Equally valuable is the inclusion of engaging selections from authors not frequently read in translation courses (e.g., Pliny the Elder, Quintilian), yet who represent genres and disciplines otherwise ignored in such courses.

The strength of the editors' introductions also merits praise. These introductions average 4-5 pages and convey an impressive amount of contextual information and critical perspective without strain or opacity. They highlight especially famous passages of the author, and they seed the reader's mind with several topics for consideration as s/he continues on to read the primary text. A few of the editors' claims struck me as undeservedly speculative (e.g., "It seems likely that Caesar would have managed to bring about the almost universal peace and stability that Augustus eventually bestowed on the empire," p. 141) or as a bit heavy-handed (e.g., the final assessment of Virgil on p. 215), but my much more frequent response was appreciation for the dexterity of their coverage. The afterwords at the close of each selection comment on the author's reception, in antiquity and since. These mini-essays are often light-hearted but learned sketches of the trends in an author's popularity, providing a gratifying coda to each chapter while demonstrating the ongoing relevance of Roman literature.

My pedagogical desire for a book of this type and quality caused me to adopt it for my courses in Spring 2014, and my satisfaction in teaching the book led to my solicitation of this review. Students across a wide spectrum expressed appreciation for the presentation of the texts, and I found that my own presentation of material was rendered more efficient yet more detailed because of the strength of the foundation offered by this anthology. Challenging some of the claims found in the editors' introductions both provoked discussion and revealed how well individual students could connect the texts to the introductions. Since each chapter stands on its own, this anthology can be accommodated to a wide array of syllabi. The somewhat hypothetical figure known as the general reader would also certainly profit from this book, but its most apparent value derives from its teachability. Thanks to Knox and McKeown, the power and range of Roman literature now opens more easily into the undergraduate classroom.

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2014.10.58

Kathleen Maxwell, Between Constantinople and Rome: An Illuminated Byzantine Gospel Book (Paris gr. 54) and the Union of Churches. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014. Pp. xvi, 307; 63 p. of plates. ISBN 9781409457442. $119.95.

Reviewed by Jeffrey C. Anderson, George Washington University (anderson@gwu.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

Among the manuscripts produced in Constantinople following the restoration, in 1261, of Byzantine authority is the Gospel book Paris. gr. 54 (henceforth Paris Gospels). It is an ostentatiously rich bilingual (Greek-Latin) copied in four different inks, by at least two scribes, possibly more, and illustrated with evangelist portraits and subjects imbedded in the text; both miniature cycle and Latin text were left in an unfinished state. The manuscript contains no internal evidence regarding its date, patron, or intended reader, if different from the patron. Kathleen Maxwell has now given us a lengthy and well-researched monograph devoted to this enormously complicated manuscript. Her book comprises nine chapters, the first of which is an introduction that offers summaries of the findings in the following eight.

In chapters two through five Maxwell reports on the basic aspects of the manuscript: codicology and handwriting, the stages in which the makers may have produced the work, the Greek text of the Gospels, the subjects of the embedded miniatures, including those intended for spaces left blank, and a division of the miniatures among three illuminators, whom Maxwell calls A, B, and C. The fourth chapter contains the most substantial contribution made in this first part of the book. The unspoken premise is the widely recognized view that the model used for most of the completed miniatures is a manuscript on Mt. Athos, Iviron Monastery, cod. 5. Implied is the question: Was it also the exemplar used in copying the Greek text? After a much too lengthy review of the history of New Testament text criticism, Maxwell focuses on one member of the small group of Gospel books with which the Paris manuscript has traditionally been associated: Princeton Garrett 3, copied near Jerusalem in 1135/36. Using microfilm, she compares the texts of the Paris and Princeton manuscripts and finds them to be (p. 80) "extremely closely related, but not identical," but the few discrepancies, as it turns out, are ultimately irrelevant, and for two reasons. First, a comparison of the Paris and Iviron texts shows that the latter cannot have been the source. Second, Maxwell's careful examination of the Princeton manuscript shows that a later hand, presumably that of the scribe of the Paris Gospels, went through its text and systematically marked each line where the Iviron Gospels had a miniature, reminding him where to leave space when copying the text.

In the final four chapters, Maxwell widens her scope from technical matters to consider the Paris Gospels as a reflection of Palaeologan art and society. Chapter six lays the foundation by examining the relationship between the imagery in Iviron 5 and that of the Paris Gospels. Following an analysis of a pair of evangelist portraits, as emblematic of the close relationship between the two manuscripts, Maxwell turns to the narrative miniatures. The Iviron Gospels has twenty-nine miniatures and the Paris Gospels fifty-one (completed or planned). The guiding principal in Maxwell's analysis of the differences in composition arises from the different formats of the two manuscripts: the size and layout of the Paris Gospels led to the scribe's creation of rectangular fields proportionately much longer than those of the smaller, single-column Iviron Gospels. The author proceeds on the basis of how the three illuminators handled the cinemascope format. She finds the work of painters A and B, which is confined to the illustration of Matthew and Mark, often less than satisfactory in the face of the challenge. In the illustration to Luke and John, the relationship with the Iviron manuscript is less clear, but this is attributed to the miniatures' having been executed by Painter C, who is, in the author's view, far more open to contemporary trends and may even be looking outside to monumental and icon painting as he confidently fills the rectangles. I must admit that at this point, closely following some of her comparisons, my faith in the model-copy relationship between the two works—a staple of the undergraduate Byzantine art survey—began to waver badly; and it should be noted that when the scribe went through the exemplar for the Greek text, the Princeton manuscript, he seems to have marked every place where a miniature would be inserted, not simply those where the Iviron Gospels had an illustration. The sixth chapter ends on speculation of why miniatures were added over what was illustrated in the Iviron manuscript and from what the author thinks may have been a variety of sources. She sees the effect of the liturgical calendar and its great feasts as the primary motivation underlying the expansion, an entirely reasonable conclusion. There follows a brief coda on the increased number of scenes in which St. Peter is a main participant; it is intended to contribute to the later argument that the manuscript was intended for a Western audience, but in fact the scenes containing Peter easily fall within the liturgical emphasis.

In chapter seven Maxwell turns to the place of the work in Palaeologan art, arguing, reasonably, for a date around the middle of the fourth quarter of the thirteenth century. The author thus sets the stage for chapter eight, which is devoted to the patron of and audience for the manuscript. Maxwell opens on a discussion of the knowledge of Latin in Constantinople (and Greek in the West). The goal of her again lengthy review of the secondary literature is to suggest (p. 191) that the years from around 1265 to 1283 presented "something of a 'window of opportunity' for Latin translations in Constantinople." Some knowledge of both Greek and Latin would have been required to correlate the two columns of text and use of inks of different colors. Given the Greek animus toward the Latins, Maxwell considers it unlikely that anyone other than the emperor would have commissioned the work. Her choice is Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259-82), an ardent supporter of the union of the churches, who, in her view, intended the manuscript as a diplomatic gift for Pope Gregory X (1271-76) following the Council of Lyons (1274); at the time of Michael's death, work on the Gospel book stopped, leaving a substantial number of miniatures and the Latin text unfinished. The author lists a number of other possible recipients, but considers Pope Gregory to be the most likely choice. Chapter nine is designated as an epilogue. The core of this brief chapter is the provenance of the manuscript, which surfaces in the West in the library of Niccolò Ridolfi (1501-50), son of one of the daughters of Lorenzo the Magnificent and an archbishop of Florence. Owing to other connections between the manuscript and the Medici family, Maxwell speculates that the Paris Gospels may have come to Florence in conjunction with the Florence-Ferrara Council (1438-39), which again took up the union of the churches with John VIII Palaiologos (1425-48) in attendance. The author does not press the suggestion owing to its speculative nature.

The intended readership is the specialist in Byzantine art, and he or she will find the physical descriptions, identification of the exemplar of the Greek text, and discussion of the illuminators valuable, but the reader may become impatient along the stretches of potted history. Much of the book points to the circumstances surrounding the commission; the argument for Michael VIII, though seductive in tying together the author's observations, nevertheless depends entirely on circumstantial evidence. I wish to note in conclusion that there is a strain of Roman history running from Andreas Alföldi to Paul Zanker; it finds explicit or implicit political content in works of art, both literary and representational. Efforts by Byzantinists to apply the same approach—whether to the Cyprus Plates, the mosaic over the Imperial Door of St. Sophia, the Berlin Scepter fragment, the fragmentary silver cross in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, or the Barberini Psalter (Vat. Barb. gr. 372)—have all led to conclusions that are, if not incorrect, then at least contentious.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014.10.57

Sébastien Morlet, Christianisme et philosophie: les premières confrontations (Ier-VIe siècle). Série "Antiquité" 33333. Paris: Le Livre de Poche, 2014. Pp. 260. ISBN 9782253156505. €7.10 (pb).

Reviewed by Pieter W. van der Horst, Utrecht University (pwvdh@xs4all.nl)

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In this booklet, Morlet presents us with a very concise but excellent overview of the confrontations between Christian faith and Graeco-Roman philosophy in the first six centuries CE, written in a clear style. After a methodological introduction, the first chapter deals with Christian objections to philosophy (e.g., Tatian, Hermias): they see the history of Greek philosophy as one of never-ending contradictions. No wonder, since philosophy is based upon human reason and for that very reason inferior to faith that is based upon divine revelation.

Ch. 2 deals with philosophical objections against Christianity (Celsus, Porphyry, Julian, Hierocles, the anonymous opponent in Macarius' Apokritikos). Here the argument of kainotomia is important: Christianity is a new phenomenon and as such cannot be true; only what is old is valuable (Aristotle's timiôtaton to presbytaton). Furthermore, Christian faith is irrational (see Celsus' parody: 'Do not ask questions, just believe!' in Origen, Contra Celsum 1.9). Christians have an inadequate conception of deity, for instance, by attributing a son to god. Doctrines such as the incarnation or the resurrection of the body are the senseless products of alogos pistis. And if all this were divine revelation, why was it made known so late in history? The Bible is an absurd 'holy book,' written as it is charlatans and read by idiots. Jesus was a goês, an impostor, and his disciples were nothing but ignoramuses.

In ch. 3, Morlet sketches the counter-attacks by Christian intellectuals and apologists (Justin, Origen, Eusebius, Theodoret, and others). They argue that Christian faith can be justified and accounted for on a rational basis. If Christ is the Logos, he has been present throughout history and was also active in those philosophers who were open to the truth, such as Plato. He and others were in fact chrétiens avant la date, they knew about Christ, but for fear of having to undergo the same fate as Socrates, they kept their deepest conviction for themselves and only hinted at them in their writings. Moses, who also knew Christ and hints at him in allegorical ways, was older than even the earliest Greeks and influenced many a Greek thinker in their philosophy (hence, e.g., the agreements between Genesis and Plato's Timaeus, already pointed out by the Jew Philo). The inevitable conclusion is not only that Christianity is the oldest, and hence the only true, philosophy, but also that in the final analysis philosophy, too, is a product (albeit a somewhat polluted one) of divine revelation.

Ch. 4 demonstrates that this theory made it possible to regard philosophy as a kind of 'introduction to Christianity' (praeparatio evangelica). In patristic theories of history ('salvation history'), philosophy could thus play a positive role, even to the point that in the famous catechetical school of Alexandria the study of Greek philosophy, with its nuggets of truth, became a regular part of the curriculum. That the study of philosophy could prepare a person for conversion to Christianity is exemplified in Justin's Dialogue with Trypho 1-8 and in other writings.

In ch. 5 Morlet shows how the great pagan philosophers and their schools were interpreted by the early Church Fathers. In a fascinating survey, he discusses several passages from ancient philosophers as interpreted by Christian authors and points out what he calls the 'double décontextualisation' in such an interpretatio christiana: ignoring the immediate context of the passage quoted and interpreting it in the light of the biblical revelation.

Finally, in ch. 6, the question is raised whether one can find any influence of Christianity upon later Greek philosophers. Morlet discusses inter alia whether such influence may perhaps be detected in Plotinus' doctrine of the three hypostaseis, or in the increased antirationalism and appeal to revelatory experiences of the later Platonists, but he is very cautious, if not skeptical, in assuming such influences.

The book is meant to be read by a wider non-technical audience and for that reason there are no footnotes, but there are quite a number of small 'block texts' alongside the main text in which important information is given about the main figures or ideas dealt with. The book ends with an index locorum and a bibliography (the latter is somewhat lopsided because most of the works mentioned are in French, but in view of the target audience this is understandable). Even though one might quibble with Morlet about some minor issues, on the whole this is an excellent introduction for beginners to a complex field of research that I recommend unreservedly.

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2014.10.56

Gabriel Sicoe, Mithräischen Steindekmäler aus Dakien. Cluj Napoca: Editura Mega, 2014. Pp. 338. ISBN 9786065434974.

Reviewed by Csaba Szabó, University of Pécs; University of Erfurt (szabo.csaba.pte@gmail.com)

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Preview

In the last two decades, numerous books and articles dealing with the provincial aspects of Roman Mithraism have appeared.1 The new approaches brought by cognitive archaeology and the "archaeology of the sacred" have amplified the importance of the neglected archaeological material (small finds) creating the old-new concept of "sacred snapshots," or contexts and not objects.2 The new tendencies in Mithraic studies, including both— archaeological and theoretical approaches,—urge the necessity of a new, updated corpus of Marteen Vermaseren's monumental Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae.3

Gabriel Sicoe's monograph is an important contribution toward this end. His book is the first synthesis that deals with the extremely rich Mithraic material of the province of Dacia since CIMRM was compiled between 1956 and 1960. The book is a slightly modified version of Sicoe's Ph.D. thesis, defended at the Humboldt University in 2013 after a more than ten years of research conducted mainly in the museums and libraries of Romania, Hungary, Rome and Germany. Some preliminary results have already been published by the author.4

The first chapter presents the historiography of international and Romanian scholarship in Mithraic studies. Citing especially the works of Roger Beck, Sicoe highlights also the importance of the Tienen conference from 2001 and the proceedings of this meeting published in 2004, unanimously considered a turning point that introduced both new methodological approaches and hitherto neglected groups of archaeological artifacts (small finds, coins, votive contexts) . Yet Sicoe moves in a very different direction, underlining that his main aim is to present only the figurative monuments of Dacia, following in the footsteps of Will and Campbell to create iconographic typologies by comparing "local" or "Dacian" monuments to the "universal" iconography of the cult.5

In the next chapter, Sicoe briefly presents the discovery of the mithraea of Dacia, beginning with Pál Király's famous 1882-3 discovery in Sarmizegetusa, which included 96 reliefs and other important artifacts, the biggest find of this kind in the whole Roman Empire. An interesting part of this chapter deals with the estimation of the number of Mithras sanctuaries based on the number of the so-called "Kuldbilds" or cult-reliefs. He states that the size of a relief is not always relevant for these kinds of estimations and urges a reinterpretation of the interior of Mithraic contexts and the role of objects in them.

The three subsequent chapters deal with the archaeological data of the province, though still concentrating on the reliefs (22 sub-sections, as opposed to 3 for statuary and 5 for inscriptions). This tremendous disproportion is not surprising for a book that explicitly claims to focus on the figural and typological aspects of this material, a difficult task in itself, Dacia yielding the fourth richest trove of material— after Rome, the Germaniae and Pannoniae.

The author presents 110 inscriptions from Dacia, partitioning and presenting them in geographic order from north to south. This division could cause confusion, as it is organized around the place of the discovery of the inscription and not the original provenance of it (the examples from Vinţu de Jos and Doştat were found as pierres errantes). As always happen, the number of the inscriptions differs from that in the last great corpuses on the cult of Mithras in Dacia. 6 A very useful list is the summary of the dedicational form of the votive inscriptions, where the formula Soli Invicto Mithrae leads with 20 examples. It would be very useful if the author had analyzed the dedicational forms in comparison with other provinces and also in a chronological aspect; still, Sicoe's work provides a useful jumping-off point for such future work. As far as dedicants, Sicoe presents each follower and their social status, as well as their "ethnic" origins.

The next chapter presents the statuary monuments from Dacia in the same laconic way, counting 15 statues, 8 of them representing Mithras Petrogenitus in a particular iconography and 4 the torchbearers. One famous representation of Cautes drawn by Layard and Müller in the nineteenth century is missing today. Similarly, some problematic representations of the torchbearers or even Mithras—preserved as fragments—are presented very briefly.

Sicoe's most outstanding contribution comes in the next chapter, which analyzes for the first time all 182 Mithraic reliefs from Dacia. The author presents the local particularities of the reliefs, focusing especially the so-called "Sarmizegetusa workshop", where numerous specific iconographies are identified, including the torchbearers holding two torches, the presence of small altars (the bracca persica), the presence of the lion and the krater or some particularities of the dagger sheaths on the side of Mithras Tauroctonos. In the Sarmizegetusa collection, Sicoe identifies local types and their spread in Dacia as well as their spread in Moesia Inferior and other Danubian provinces. He deals in a separate subchapter with the iconography of the torchbearers in Dacia and for the first time gives a detailed analysis for all of the scenes in the small registers. Sicoe identifies 64 reliefs that could be considered local—only 15 of them being proved as such by petrographic analysis. 31 of these could come from the same workshop. The author does not proclaim the existence of a single, "provincial" workshop centered in Sarmizegetusa, but highlights with numerous analogies and sharp logic the obvious influence of the capital in the Mithraic iconography of Dacia and the Danubian provinces. Sicoe identifies three main specific iconographic elements as a specialty for this workshop: the position of the dagger in Mithras Tauroctonos' hand, the kneeling position of the bull already forced down onto the ground, and the rare iconography of the torchbearers with two torches.

A subchapter deals with the imported reliefs found in Dacia. The identification of these was made on the basis of the petrographic analysis of several international projects and on some particular iconographic features (the absence of Luna and Sol for example) that appear only on these reliefs.

About the chronology of the Dacian corpus, Sicoe is very careful: based on the epigraphic data and the iconography of the finds, he found eleven reliefs dated in the second century A.D. Some of the reliefs from the so-called "Sarmizegetusa workshop" are dated to the Antonine period, others to the Severan period. He dates the earliest mithraeum to the time of Hadrian and the latest to the Severan period. In the case of Dacia, where the Roman presence was focused mainly in two short centuries (106-271 A.D.) the chronology is much more relative than in other provinces.

The book ends with a detailed catalogue of the finds and the presentation of the 254 pieces with 145 photos, many of them published first time with high-resolution pictures.

Gabriel Sicoe's book is an important step, marking the new tendencies of Romanian historiography to fill the great lacks of the discipline.7 One cannot expect a single book to resolve all the problems and missing tasks of Mithraic studies in Dacia—especially when several new projects and excavations are focusing now on this topic. Sicoe's book deals only with the iconography of the finds, giving also the first unified corpus of Mithraic finds of the province after Vermaseren. However, the corpus is not complete: the author does not mention some notable recent inscriptions ( 2010, 1369). Other, recently rediscovered Mithraic pieces (CIMRM 1938) and the new finds of the so-called Mithraeum III from Apulum will also change his corpus. The problematic relation of Mithras—Sol Invictus and their appearance in Dacia is mentioned in a single footnote (nr. 96). Similarly, the highly attested megatheism and henotheist tendencies of some communities from Apulum and Sarmizegetusa—some of them strictly related to the Mithraic communities—are also neglected.

However, the author chose as his book's main aim the iconographic typology; a detailed study on the social network of the Mithras worshippers and their relationship within the province would paints a much more complex picture than the one obtained from these objects alone. The functionality of the reliefs and their role in the interior "star talk" of a mithreaum is mentioned very briefly. The discovery and the context of the Sarmizegetusa mithraeum and the Oancea mithraeum (discovered in 1930 and not in 1941) are presented too briefly.

In sum, Gabriel Sicoe's book is a milestone in the Romanian—but also in international—Mithraic studies. Even if this book treats only a particular aspect of the Mithras cult in Dacia—a synthes is still needed—it is an important step for further studies and an essential corpus for researchers. Its great merits include— its extremely accurate, clear language; logical construction; argumentation; meticulous analysis of the iconographic program of the reliefs; and the high quality of some images. Sicoe's book is one of the first steps towards establishing a CIMRM Supplementum.


Notes:


1.   Sagona, Claudia, Looking for Mithra in Malta. Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Culture and Religion, 10. Leiden, 2009, Hensen, Andreas, Mithras: Der Mysterienkult an Limes, Rhein und Donau, Theiss, 2013.
2.   Martens, Marlene - Boe, de Guy (ed.), Roman Mithraism: The Evidence of Small Finds, Bruxelles, 2004.
3.   A new initiative for a Supplementum was the Electronic Journal of Mithraic Studies (EJMS). Similar projects are in progress by Darius Frackowiak from the University of Heidelberg and Matthew McCarty from Princeton University.
4.   G. Sicoe, Lokalproduktion und Importe. Der Fall der mithraischen Reliefs aus Dakien. In: Martens, Marlene - Boe, de Guy (ed.), Roman Mithraism: the evidence of small finds, Bruxelles, 2004, 285-303.
5.   Campbell, Leroy, Mithraic iconography and ideology, Leiden, 1969, Will, Ernst, Le relief culturel gréco-romain. Contribution a l’histoire de l’art de l’Empire romain, Paris, 1955.
6.   The last corpus for the Mithraic inscriptions from Dacia: Carbó García, Juan-Ramón, Los cultos orientales en la Dacia romana. Formas dedifuzión, integración y control social e ideológico, Salamanca, 2010, 717-741.
7.   Nemeti, Sorin – Marcu, Felix, "The historiography of religions in Roman Dacia. A brief account", in: Boda Imola – Szabó Csaba, The bibliography of Roman Religion in Dacia, Cluj – Napoca, 2014, 9 – 20.

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2014.10.55

Christian Laes, Beperkt? Gehandicapten in het Romeinse Rijk. Leuven: Davidfonds Uitgeverij, 2014. Pp. 297. ISBN 9789059085244. €29.95 (pb).

Reviewed by Beert Verstraete, Acadia University (beert.verstraete@acadiau.ca)

Version at BMCR home site

The author of this Dutch-language study, the title of which may be translated as, "Restricted? The Handicapped in the Roman Empire," teaches at the University of Antwerp and, publishing in both Dutch and English, has become well known for his scholarship on the family and daily life in the Roman Empire (the Bibliography on pp. 256-7 includes all his English-language publications). Laes has already published articles anticipating the subject of this work but, as he says in his "Woord Vooraf" ("Foreword"), he came to the realization that a comprehensive study was still lacking. In this review, all quotations will be provided in translation, with the occasional additional citation of a key Dutch word or phrase indicated in brackets. The author does not hesitate to make use at times of English-language words or terms; when thus cited, these will be indicated by cursive font.

It might be useful at this point to provide a brief sketch of the Table of Contents; note that the chapters are not numbered. After the Foreword comes the "Introduction," which discusses "The problem of terminology," "Geographical and chronological demarcation," "Sources," and finally raises the question, "A new discipline?" What one might call the first chapter is entitled, "Conception, Birth, and the 'Crucial' First Days." The remaining chapters are: "Mental and Psychological Handicaps: Being Crazy or Healthy?"; "Blindness: 'Worse than Death?'"; "Deaf, Mute, and Deaf-Mute: A Silent Tale" ("Een Stil Verhaal"); "Speech Defects: A Stammering Story" ("Een Stamelende Geschiedenis"); "Mobility Handicaps: A Story of Pain and Toil." The "Final Conclusions" are followed by end-notes, a bibliography, an index of key-words ("trefwoorden"), an index locorum, and an index of persons.

"Introduction." Right at the start, under the heading of "The problem of definition," Laes foregrounds the topicality of his subject by posing the question as to what today is considered a handicap (the same word is used in Dutch). For helpful clarification, the author cites the detailed definition offered by the World Health Organization which, importantly, underscores that any definition and understanding of disability needs to be set in its socio-cultural context. In his comments on this definition, the author makes a crucial distinction between an "impairment" that can be objectively described and an "impairment" that "depends on the culture and society where they [the impaired] live." (17). It is useless to search in our Greek and Roman sources "for a term which comes close to the modern concept of handicap." (17) Here we only find "vague terms" in a vocabulary replete with words such as "weak", "helpless," "misshapen / deformed," "ill," and "unhealthy." (17) In a juridical context, such as making a ruling as to whether the birth of a deformed child could be counted as normal, the concept of monster and monstrosity might be used—the author cites a text of Ulpian to this effect—but here, too, precise definitions are not to be found. Modern medical science can help us to form a precise diagnosis of a handicapping affliction suffered by a prominent person in Antiquity such as the emperor Claudius' stuttering and his other physical peculiarities (in his case, Little's Disease), but in the concluding paragraph Laes enjoins the appropriate caution.

The section,"Geographical and chronological demarcations," indicates the study will focus on the Roman Empire from approximately 200 BCE to 500 CE. In the West, this takes us into the post-Roman era. Christian sources will be touched upon briefly for the possibility of detecting changed and changing attitudes and practices, and for this reason the author's survey will even venture into the next few centuries in the West, to authors such as Gregory of Tours and the Venerable Bede. In this connection, the author notes that "the number of sources for disability history increases exponentially in Late Antiquity." (26) There will also be a look at Jewish sources. "Sources" provides a bird's-eye view of the wide range of sources — literary and non-literary, iconography, and osteology — to be consulted, always with a view of extracting reasonably reliable information (not always an easy task). Finally, in "A new discipline?" the author underlines the relative newness of the subject of his study as a distinct discipline (or, perhaps, subdiscipline), which goes back only a few decades, although intermittent scholarly publications can be traced as far back as the nineteenth century.

"Conception, Birth, and the 'Crucial' First Days." This short chapter discusses a grim state of affairs well-known to students of Greco-Roman Antiquity, the "massive mortality rate" (35) of infants and young children, with the first days after birth being especially "precarious." (35) The author makes the important distinction between "biological" and "social birth" (43) and the crucial interval of time between these two in all communities and religious traditions. It is widely assumed that children born with physical or mental defects were usually killed, but compelling evidence suggests that this was not an "automatic" (48) choice on the part of the parents.

"Mental and Psychological ("geestelijke") (50) Handicaps." Not surprisingly this is the longest chapter, for anyone who engages with this subject, also in a historical and historical context, will feel find himself or herself plunged into a morass of complexities and ambiguities that are as much moral as intellectual and conceptual. Laes especially underscores the fact that "f]or the domain of cognitive ("intellectuele") and mental disorders ("stoornissen") the problem seems even more acute than for other handicaps." (91) The author navigates his way skillfully through all the problematics and provides a thoughtful overview of how mental and psychological disorders were understood and handled in the Greco- Roman world of the Roman Empire.

The chapter starts with a vivid look, extending over four pages, at the supposed "madness" ("waanzin") (50) of the emperor Caligula as vividly detailed in our ancient biographical and historiographical sources. A modern psychological perspective will see a powerful trigger of Caligula's delusional episodes and sadistic cruelty in his severely traumatized childhood. Anticipations of three modern approaches, both diagnostic and therapeutic, to mental, cognitive, and behavioral disorders may be discerned in our sources: 1) the biological-physiological approach, which is prominent in medical literature, as can be seen in the discussion of Celsus, Aretaeus, and Galen; 2) the largely psychological approach, which does not rely on aetiologies of the aforementioned kind and operates within a framework of strong impulses and emotion-bound factors—this, too, has parallels in the Greco-Roman world especially in ethicists such as Seneca and other Stoics; and finally 3), the psycho-social and "social stress " (58) approach, which best characterizes Laes's own. The author calls attention to the sensible, even humane approach of Roman jurisprudence with its provision of the cura furiosi. There is good discussion of cognitive impairments, especially mental retardation, which, in its less severe forms, as the author rightly notes, hardly renders a person dysfunctional in a pre-modern society. The figure of the moros or fatuus in historical or anectodal sources, the author emphasizes, is invariably colored by ethnic or class-bound prejudices. The author is obviously sympathetic to St Augustine's distinctively humane Christian-creationist perspective on cognitive impairment and mental illness, and then allots a few pages to the phenomenon of demonic possession as described in the Christian gospels—here, I would add, we encounter a supernaturalist belief-system is virtually absent from non-Christian sources dealing with everyday life. Finally, Laes is not receptive to the extreme social-constructionist view which holds that "to declare a person mad is simply an expression of a society's exercise of power" (91) and expresses the cautiously optimistic view that "for mental handicaps, too, it is most certainly possible to build intercultural bridges." (91)

The next four chapters, which deal with physical handicaps, can be dealt with more summarily. "Blindness." It is the handicap of blindness that appears most prominently in our written sources of both the non-Christian and the Christian communities. Blindness figures more commonly than deafness or muteness (or these two combined) in Greek and Latin idiom, and what we would call the discipline of ophthalmology was highly developed in the Greco-Roman world. Once more, the author points to the practical and humane bent of Roman law in dealing with this handicap, and how the blind or severely visually impaired were not ipso facto excluded from productive work and meaningful participation in society. Such inclusion applies also to deaf, mute, and deaf-mute persons covered in the section, "Deaf, Mute, and Deaf-Mute." The section, "Speech Defects," which starts with the well-known story of how Demosthenes learned how to overcome his stutter, highlights a handicap that receives little attention in our sources—we are also reminded of the Old Testament story of Moses' speech difficulties. In a society, whether Greek- or Latin-speaking, where the spoken word was of paramount importance, this handicap posed a serious obstacle for anyone who aimed at a public career, but there are stories of those who "through courage and determination" achieved "ameriolation" (162) of their condition.

The final chapter dealing with physical handicaps, "Mobility Handicaps," deserves a separate paragraph, for here the scientific examination, over the past few decades, of human skeletal remains (osteology), from Classical Antiquity, for instance from Urbino in Roman Italy during the imperial period, has significantly rounded out our picture, for which we otherwise would be totally dependent on written sources, which, of course, are also used by Laes. Three of the four remains examined point to "physical restrictions" accompanied "daily" by "severe pain" (170) suffered by those afflicted, and in this they are almost certainly typical of much of the population, "[a]nd this [condition] meant no hindrance to the performance of (heavy) physical labour." (170) Far more than the medical treatises and other written sources it is the osteological record that makes the most graphic impact on us regarding the daily lot of the laboring classes.

The chapter containing the "Final Conclusions" is rather lengthy, 22 pages, but its principal conclusions, already to a large extent anticipated in the previous chapters, may be conveniently summarized. First of all, Laes is obviously supportive of a comparative methodology of research, drawing heavily and to good effect on facts and figures from the contemporary world such as provided by the World Health Organization as well as on the insights of modern scholars such as the ethicist Martha Nussbaum, while at the same time recommending future studies in disability history" comparing the Greco-Roman world with other ancient societies and cultures. Secondly, we are presented with a picture of both social exclusion and social integration for the handicapped, the nature and extent of these conditions greatly dependent on the afflicted person's social class. Thirdly, a person's handicap, whether physical or mental, also played a major role in the formation of his or her identity, above all social identity, which was firmly shaped by what was largely a shame-culture. Fourthly and finally, with its soteriological perspective on suffering, Christianity brought about a major change in mentality, and so it is not surprising that "[i]n the miracle-stories of the saints, which steadfastly followed the wonders performed by Jesus, the information about the handicapped increased exponentially." (202-3).

To conclude: To a fascinating and important facet of the social history of the Greco-Roman world Laes has brought a formidable erudition, clarity, and insight. It is worth mentioning that his English-language book on children in Roman Empire (listed in the bibliography referred to in the first paragraph) was preceded by a Dutch version.1 In my BMCR review (2006.08.28) of the latter, I judged that its excellence called for a speedy translation, and this is, once more, my recommendation and sincere hope.



Notes:


1.   Christian Laes, Kinderen in het Romeinse Rijk: Zes Eeuwen Dagelijks Leven ("Children among the Romans: Six Centuries of Daily Life"). Leuven: Davidsfonds Uitgeverij, 2006.

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2014.10.54

Leslie Brubaker, Shaun Tougher (ed.), Approaches to the Byzantine Family. Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman studies. Farnham; London; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Variorum, 2013. Pp. 446. ISBN 9781409411581. $124.95.

Reviewed by Olympia Bobou, Ashmolean Museum Oxford (olympia.bobou@gmail.com)

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In 1989 Angeliki Laiou observed that 'the study of the Byzantine family is still in its infancy.' Despite the appearance of some important publications on the topic,1 the situation has not improved markedly. Unlike the studies on Roman, and recently Greek, family life, Byzantine families remain to a large degree elusive, as Brubaker acknowledges in the Preface (xxi). The aim of the editors to address this imbalance is successful.

The title 'approaches to the Byzantine family' reflects well the different source materials of the different chapters, and consequently the different methodologies employed for their analysis: legal texts, theological treatises, saints' lives, historical sources and archaeological material are all mined for information about interfamilial relations, political and economic presence and mobility, and the space that families inhabited – both social and physical.

The chapters are arranged in chronological order from Late Antiquity to the late Byzantine period, with an introductory chapter on Greek and Roman families (Harlow-Parkin) that presents the main trends in the study of the history of ancient families. Thereafter five chapters deal with topics from Late Antiquity. Hilner's contribution focuses on the question of domestic violence and whether Christianity changed the outlook and behaviours of people in late antiquity, and follows upon increased interest in violence in the ancient world.2 . Vuolanto's essay moves away from the typical historiographical approach of childhood from an adult perspective. He tries to recreate the childhood experience from a child's point of view – as far as that is possible through the use of sources written in adulthood. It also highlights a phenomenon analysed more deeply by Vasileiou, in her essay on the 'death of the father' – fatherless children are driven towards an ecclesiastical career by their mothers on the absence of a father. Vasileiou expands on this and shows that the lack of a paternal figure meant increased freedom of choice for aristocratic youths. In contrast it could hinder the career paths of low- and middle-class children. Howard offers an interesting reading of the Life of Macrina: he places it in the context of the dispute between Gregory and Eunomius, former bishop of Cyzicus, about the nature of the Holy Trinity ("one substance ('ousia') consisting of three divine entities ('hypostaseis')" versus …Eunomius's "teaching that God the Son and God the Father were unlike in their natures ('physeis')" p. 92). In the Life of Macrina, Gregory shows how his family 'present[s] a human analogy for considering the Godhead, a household composed of multiple members, each one reflecting the same essence' (p. 102). In the process, Gregory's family is subtly glorified – something also explored in Kaplan's essay on the Life of Theodora of Thessalonike.

After this section is an overview of the historiography of western families between 400 and 700 (Southon, Harlow, Callow). They focus on kin (including spiritual kin), marriage, children and women, in order to 'emphasise areas where thinking about family has changed' (p. 109). A good example is that of the kin group or clan: the idea that there was one large, homogeneous 'Germanic' society organised in large clans dominated scholarship until the 1980s, when the importance of small family groups, and the subsequent recognition of distinct Germanic societies was gradually accepted by historians (pp. 111-113). This paper is important in introducing the main historiographical trends regarding Western families to historians working on families in the East, and also serves as a useful reminder to constantly re-evaluate what is taken as scholarly orthodoxy.

Bray's essay on medieval Islamic families is the first of the two comparative essays of this volume, and aims to identify 'some of the general problems of framing families within the mainstream of Islamic history' (p. 131), starting from the term 'Islamic' and its application in relation to specific people, geographical places, cultures and historical periods. This essay is particularly useful for providing a theoretical framework in which we can study families, not just Islamic ones.

The next three essays (Davies, Brubaker, Hennessy) are the most wide-ranging, covering the period from the fifth to the thirteenth century. Davies examines the connections between age, gender and status in hagiographies, and demonstrates that expectations placed on men and women at different life stages complemented those based on gender (masculine/feminine), and status.

Brubaker offers a survey of different material sources (illuminations, paintings, coinage, mosaics) in order to examine how portraits were used as indications of family lineage, documentation of status, commemoration of events, and as a political tool. His thematic approach shows how the imagery of family could be used for a variety of purposes, and how it changes in the Byzantine period, with imperial portraiture becoming more prominent from the eighth century, while elite representations became more important from the eleventh century onwards. Hennessy focuses on the image of the child, and how they were portrayed as part of smaller or larger family groups. Her approach is thematic, covering imperial, biblical and elite representations, and demonstrates the various roles and purposes that images of children could have in Byzantine art. These last two essays work well together and highlight the importance of using iconographic sources for examining family history, since they reveal either how specific families wanted to be portrayed (imperial, elite families), or ways of thinking about family life (mainly through images of biblical families).

Ludwig offers a re-evaluation of prosopographical analysis in the middle Byzantine period. By using the evidence of historiographical texts it is possible to distinguish between people with and without recorded family names. These results have implications about our understanding of specific social groups (such as eunuchs), social mobility in this period, and families ties (for example of monks). Ludwig's essay shows clearly that prosopography can be a useful tool for examining family continuities and changes despite the limitations of the sources.

Ellis relies on a combination of literary sources and archaeological material. Excavations at Corinth, Pergamon and Amorium, as well as in Cappadocia, brought to light the remains of middle Byzantine structures. The re-evaluation of the Cappadocian material as domestic buildings, previously identified as monastic structures, shows that there is a different attitude to housing that reflects the different social conditions of safe, urban centres and frontier estates. Field survey results are used for establishing a wide network of villages connected to estates, while literary sources are used to recreate houses in Constantinople. Undoubtedly the most interesting part of this essay is his examination of early Turkish houses based on the archaeological material from Central Asia, and how they should be seen as the 'missing link' in the development of housing from the ninth to the twelfth century in the Mediterranean.

Constantinou and Kaplan return to two more hagiographical sources, the Life of Saint Alexios and the Life of Theodora of Thessalonike, which offer two different ways of presenting the families of the saints. Tougher's essay on the Macedonian dynasty and its complex interrelations is the last middle Byzantine topic, followed by El Cheikh's essay presenting the equally complex relations of the members of families of the Abbasid caliph.

Krausmüller's essay on monastic communities examines hagiographies and monastic rules in the middle Byzantine period in order to understand how they functioned as families. The paper provides an interesting contrast to the family lives of saints analysed in earlier essays. The previous essays explored situations where monastic life was deemed incompatible with family life, and the ascetic life was either a rejection of normal family life (supporting one's elders,or marriage), or something that could be pursued after such demands had been met (for example, after the death of supported family members), while here we see how the family can serve as a model for ascetic life.

There are only two chapters on late Byzantine families. Neville examines another imperial family, the Komnenoi, while Kondyli uses monastic archives together with the results from a survey on Lesvos to reconstruct family structures and changes in the island.

The importance of this book lies in two areas: first, it presents a collection of insightful papers that combine careful analysis of sources (both textual and archaeological) with current scholarly knowledge. For example, Vuolanto shows how it is possible to recreate typical and individual experiences of a child in Late Antiquity, even with biases of class, age and agenda obvious in the sources. This forms part of a larger trend in childhood studies to recreate 'a history of children' (Vuolanto, 47), where effort is made to understand the role and presence of children (usually through the archaeological material) and to present the children's perspectives and experiences.3

Secondly, the collection highlights areas that are still underexplored. The distribution of the essays reveals that even in the field of family studies, Late Antiquity proves a popular subject4 Middle Byzantine families come second, and seem to draw most of the scholarly attention, while late Byzantine families are the least explored so far. Textual sources are the most analysed, with hagiographical sources featuring heavily (Vuolanto, Vasileiou, Howard, Constantinou, Kaplan). Archaeological material is the least represented (Ellis, Kondyli), while essays on iconographic sources (mainly art historical) are also limited (Brubaker, Hennessy).

Geographically, the area covered is even more limited: there are no contributions dealing with families in areas such as Sicily (under Byzantine occupation until the 9th century), the Balkans outside of Greece, or Cyprus. This means that there is still a great scope for supraregional and regional studies in the field, apart from studies on specific topics or periods.

The book is well produced and well edited. I have only a minor complaint about the state of the images: the black-and-white images are not always easily legible (for example, fig. 9.4 on p. 183, fig. 10.2 on p. 210, fig. 12.1 on p. 261) and one image is unhappily cropped (fig. 10.3, p. 212). This is not a criticism aimed at the authors or the editors, however, but rather at the constraints of modern academic publishing. The authors present the current scholarship in their areas of expertise in a consistently accessible way that will make this book an ideal resource for students and scholars of the Byzantine family, and a standard reference point for any future explorations on Byzantine and medieval families.



Notes:


1.   For example, C. Hennessy, Images of Children in Byzantium (Farnham: Ashgate, 2008).
2.   Some recent publications are: J.-M. Bertrand, La violence dans les mondes grec et romain : actes du colloque international (Paris, 2-4 mai 2002) (Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 2005); H. A. Drake (ed.), Violence in Late Antiquity. Perceptions and Practices. (Burlington, VT and Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006); T. Sizgorich, Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam. Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009); G. G. Fagan, The Lure of the Arena : Social Psychology and the Crowd at the Roman Games (Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011); Christopher J. Fuhrmann, Policing the Roman Empire : Soldiers, Administration, and Public Order (Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2012).
3.   Some of the first publications on the history of children date from the early 2000s – for example: J.R. Sofaer, Children and Material Culture (London: Routledge, 2000); N. Orme, Medieval Children (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2001); J.E. Baxter, The Archaeology of Childhood: Children, Gender, and Material Culture (Walnut Creek, CA, Oxford : AltaMira Press, 2005), all dealing with the topic in distinct historical periods.
4.   Scholarly research in late antiquity has been renewed since the late 2000s, with numerous publications, and the creation of databases (for example: Last Statues of Antiquity; digilibLT: Digital library of late-antique latin texts).

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014.10.53

Andrew Hofer, Christ in the Life and Teaching of Gregory of Nazianzus. Oxford early Christian studies. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. xi, 270. ISBN 9780199681945. $99.00.

Reviewed by Christopher A. Beeley, Yale University (christopher.beeley@yale.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

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Andrew Hofer's Christ in the Life and Teaching of Gregory of Nazianzus, a revised doctoral dissertation from the University of Notre Dame, draws our attention to the way in which Gregory's doctrine of Christ informs his depictions of his own life, and vice-versa. To students of late antiquity it comes as no surprise that an accomplished Greek orator and leading Christian bishop should infuse his public message with aspects of his personal experience, yet in Gregory's case we are dealing with far more than rhetorical convention. First-time readers of Gregory's work are often surprised to see that the major theological authority in Eastern Orthodox tradition often sounds like an eighteenth-century Methodist or a modern Evangelical. For one of the characteristic marks of Gregory's work is his habit of including himself in serious Christological statements—such as, Christ "bears the whole of me, and all that is mine, in himself" (Or. 30.6); or, "You who are God became human and mingled with mortals. . . . Come to me with helping hand, O my propitious God" (De rebus suis 13-18, trans. Meehan)—and he regularly describes his life and sufferings in terms of Christ's own. Hofer terms this reciprocal phenomenon Gregory's "autobiographical Christology" and "Christomorphic autobiography" (5, 9, and passim). The book's chief aim is to elucidate this typical mode of Gregory's doctrinal exposition, autobiographical expression, and pastoral direction, giving as much attention to Gregory's words of praise and lament as to his more familiar didactic instruction and theological argument. The book tends to succeed best at the task of basic exposition; however, it fares less well at explaining the rationale of the interconnection, and its doctrinal analysis is positively misleading.

The book is divided into six chapters, the logic of which is not apparent in their given titles. Following an introductory Chapter 1, three chapters advance the book's main argument (Chapters 2, 5, and 6), with two intervening chapters on technical Christology (Chapters 3 and 4), which detract from the main argument.

Chapter 1, "Gregory's Theology of the Word," gives an introductory account of the connection between the doctrinal and rhetorical elements of Gregory's works. Hofer casts in his lot with John McGuckin and others who accept Gregory's poetic self- representations as a reliable portrayal of his inner life, against other attempts to dissociate the two more severely. Hofer aims to improve on the seminal account of Gregory's philosophical rhetoric given by Frederick Norris, arguing that Gregory's Christian philosophy, which is "the life of intimacy with Christ," takes precedence over rhetoric as the Greeks understood it (26-27). Yet Hofer's point does not advance the discussion, since the synthesis that Norris describes already includes the prioritization of substance over form—as do the theories of Plato, Aristotle, and the Second Sophistic Hermogenes. Finally Hofer notes that, for all their classical form, Gregory's works are suffused with biblical words and images, and their ultimate aim is to promote his readers' "performing the gospel life" (42). To this general observation Hofer appends an able summary of Gregory's Trinitarian and Christological exegesis, which aims to discern the single Word of God (more accurate would be "Son of God," or "Christ," which are the more frequent titles) throughout the Bible's many different references to him.

Chapter Two, "Gregory's Christomorphic Autobiography," lays out the central idea of the book. Hofer handily demonstrates Gregory's identification with Christ in his autobiographical works, showing how he "blends Christ into the troubles, fears, and joys of his own life" (56); the chapter concludes with a detailed study of the poem De rebus suis. In Hofer's reading, Gregory's public self-presentation is informed by his sincere conviction that Christ heals his life through the process of poetic narration, and it aims to heal others through their reading and imitating of Gregory (9). Hofer provides a helpful survey of Gregory's use of Christian and non-Christian models in his autobiographical poetry (following John McGuckin), his handling of biblical narrative (Michael Williams), his use of biblical paradeigmata (Christoffel Demoen), and Gregory's invocation of Christ in the various stages of his life. Accordingly, De rebus suis is a didactic epic (Celica Milovanovic) of Christomorphic autobiography, and Gregory's poetry functions as an autobiographical "logostherapy" for his readers. Given the nature of Gregory's works, it a relatively easy case to make, but Hofer has done it well in these first two chapters.

Chapters Three and Four steer us into more strictly doctrinal waters, and at this point the argument comes undone. Chapter Three, "Autobiographical Christology I: The Mixtures of Gregory and Christ," offers a new interpretation of Gregory's language of mixture and mingling (μίξις, κρᾶσις). Although these terms were later forbidden by the Council of Chalcedon, Gregory regularly uses them to speak about the original mixture of heaven and earth in the creation of human beings, Christ's Incarnation as the "new mixture" of God and humanity, and Gregory's own experience of Christ, whose life is mixed in with his own. Hofer gives a well-informed account of the various philosophical theories of mixture in late antiquity, from Aristotle and the older Stoics to the more recent Alexander of Aphrodisias, Porphyry, Plotinus, and Bishop Nemesius of Emesa, together with modern scholars who prefer one scheme or another. At first Hofer concludes, rightly, that no single ancient scheme accounts for Gregory's meaning; then, without explanation, he prefers the Aristotelian notion of mixture as the predominance of the stronger over the weaker. While Gregory does believe that the divine nature predominates over Christ's human existence, Hofer's privileging of Aristotelian predominance theory, and his downplaying of Gregory's language of composition (σύγκρασις, p. 118, e.g.), neutralizes Gregory's deliberately shocking claim that God predominates over humanity in Christ through the mixture of the incarnation, which is radically unlike any other form of divine-human relationship. Chapter Three also contains some puzzling misreadings of the scholarship, in this case my own. Hofer misunderstands my position as a black-or-white choice between unitive and dualist Christological schemes (I have argued that Gregory's unitive Christology preserves Christ's two natures entirely, much as Maximus Confessor would later), and he ignores my account of Gregory's facility with both single- and dual-nature Christological expressions (94-95). This line of argument becomes a hornet's nest of problems in the following chapter.

Chapter Four, "Autobiographical Christology II: Ep. 101 in the Christological Controversy," undertakes a wholesale reinterpretation of Gregory's famous Letter 101 to Cledonius.

Hofer aims to show that Gregory's letter is aimed almost uniformly at Apollinarian Christology, against the prevailing scholarly consensus that it is predominantly anti-Antiochene, which includes John McGuckin, Christopher Beeley, Lionel Wickham, and the recent critical edition of Diodore of Tarsus's works by John Behr (The Case against Diodore and Theodore: Texts and Their Contexts, Oxford Early Christian Texts, 2011). There are several major flaws in the argument.

First, Hofer's exegesis Gregory's text ranges from the irresponsible to being positively misleading. His discussion of Oration 22, for example, a text in which Gregory depicts Apollinarian and Antiochene doctrines as equally pernicious, avoids telling the reader that Gregory is referring to non-Apollinarian theologians at all (127-28), and he studiously avoids mentioning Diodore in several other important passages (114, 118, 129, 141, 143). Despite his professed intention to take Gregory's rhetoric seriously, Hofer puzzlingly interprets hyperbolic statements at face value, such as Gregory's ludicrous remark in Letter 202 that Apollinarianism is the very worst of all heresies (129). Not only does Hofer ignore the fact that Gregory is here writing to a bishop sponsored by the Antiochene party in order to secure legal action against Apollinarians who have just attempted to take over his church, but he ignores the evidence of Gregory's wider corpus, which is aimed at Eunomian theologians more than anyone, is directed against Antiochenes just as strongly as Apollinarians, and most often characterizes the true faith as "neither Arian nor Sabellian." At the heart of the chapter, Hofer's analysis of the letter's ten anathemas verges on the fantastical. In anathemas that plainly pertain to Antiochene doctrine, Hofer casts about for other groups to whom Gregory might be responding—to the point of suggesting Ebionites and Manicheans!—and he searches far and wide for evidence of a grand Apollinarian threat.

Second, Hofer bafflingly turns to the old heresy lists as reliable categories of doctrinal analysis. The council of 381, for example, produced "the most authoritative list of heresies at the time," which scholars should now employ as a reliable barometer of Gregory's position (137). Hofer fails to mention that the council, which anathematized Apollinarius and established Diodore as a standard-bearer of orthodoxy, was controlled by the Antiochene faction that rebuffed Gregory's own attempts to reach a true ecclesiastical settlement. Similarly, Hofer refers to Nicene theology as if it required no further qualification, against the weight of the last thirty years of patristic scholarship (125 n7).

Third, Hofer's use of source material is erratic. He relies on the testimony of Epiphanius solely on the authority of Epiphanius himself (he "thought these documents to be central," 141), and he mishandles evidence from Sozomen given by Charles Raven, Maurice Jourjon and Paul Gallay (128 n22). In the end, Hofer grasps for Eusebius of Caesarea as the real source of Antiochene two-Sons Christology, despite Eusebius's strong arguments against the dualism of Marcellus of Ancyra, which receive only brief mention in a footnote (138 n69).

Chapter Four thus amounts to a quixotic attempt to rescue Diodore and his Antiochene colleagues from Gregory's opprobrium, based on methods of argument that are shocking to find in a work of higher scholarship.

Setting aside formal Christology, Chapter Five, "Autobiographical Christology III: The Mysteries of Christ," gives a straightforward exposition of Gregory's festal orations on the Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost, along with his various treatments of the stoning of Christ. Like his poetry, Gregory's festal orations provide ample evidence for his autobiographical Christology. Hofer wisely follows Odo Casel and Verna Harrison in seeing past, present, and future melded in Gregory's performative liturgical works. Hofer aptly depicts Gregory in these texts as a spiritual director who urges his people to follow him in experiencing the mysteries of the Savior.

Chapter Six, "Gregory's Christomorphic Ministry," demonstrates how Gregory's autobiographical Christology informs his account of lay and ordained Christian ministry, covering Gregory's Oration 2 on the priesthood, his works on marriage and virginity, and those on wealth and poverty. In each case, Gregory depicts Christ as being directly involved in the respective ministry, through both positive and negative examples, in such a way that life, doctrine, and ministry are intertwined.

Gregory's rhetorical-theological synthesis is indeed an important and even central mode of his work. Hofer has brought together a good deal of recent research, and his translations are often felicitous. Aside from these qualities, the book's main argument is in a sense too obvious, and its Christological analysis is severely flawed. The strongest sections of the book are Hofer's discussions of Gregory's works, yet these tend to be seriatim expositions and not terribly illuminating. In the end, we learn little about why Gregory's autobiographical Christology demands the particular Christological position he maintains, or vice-versa, and it remains unclear why Hofer is so concerned to rescue Gregory for the anti-Apollinarian cause. A stronger case could be made, I think, that the reverse is true—that a steadfastly unitive, anti-Antiochene (and also anti-Apollinarian) Christology serves to integrate Gregory's life with Christ more effectively than a uniformly anti-Apollinarian one, which keeps them further separated along Antiochene lines. And while it is certainly the case that Gregory's Christology informs his autobiography, the reverse is not true in the same way: Gregory hardly considers the exigencies of his life essential to understanding Christ's, any more than human existence could prevail over the divine nature in the Incarnation. Consequently, the book will be useful for introducing students to Gregory's autobiographical Christology, yet it does not succeed as a work of scholarship.

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2014.10.52

Bruno Bleckmann, Timo Stickler (ed.), Griechische Profanhistoriker des fünften nachchristlichen Jahrhunderts. Historia - Einzelschriften, Bd 228. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2014. Pp. 228. ISBN 9783515106412. €56.00.

Reviewed by Christoph Begass, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (cbegass@uni-mainz.de)

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Table of Contents

Der hier anzuzeigende Sammelband geht auf eine Tagung zurück, die von den beiden Herausgebern im September 2010 veranstaltet wurde. Er ist die erste Publikation eines an der Düsseldorfer Heinrich Heine-Universität angesiedelten Projekts, in dem Kleine und Fragmentarische Historiker der Spätantike „vom vierten bis zum siebten Jahrhundert ediert, übersetzt und kommentiert werden sollen." (8) Ausführlicher als die Einleitung unterrichtet die Homepage des Projekts, dass die Texte jeweils mit „einem über die wichtigsten Lesarten und Konjekturen unterrichtenden kritischen Apparat" sowie einem historisch-philologischen Kommentar und einer deutsche Übersetzung versehen werden.1

Die Beiträge des vorliegenden Bandes – es handelt sich um „überarbeitete und teilweise wesentlich erweiterte Vorträge" (Vorwort) durchweg ausgewiesener Forscher – widmen sich mit den griechischen Profanhistoriker des 5. Jhs. n. Chr. somit nur einem Teil des Gesamtprojekts, einem Teil jedoch, der in den letzten Jahren verstärkte Aufmerksamkeit gefunden hat. Dies ist wenig verwunderlich, beruhen unsere Kenntnisse des 5. Jhs. weitgehend auf den fragmentarisch überlieferten Historikern. Im einzelnen widmen sich die Beiträge Eunapius von Sardes, Olympiodorus von Theben, Priscus von Panion, Malchus von Philadelphia und Candidus, die bisher in den Editionen von Karl Müller, Ludwig Dindorf und Roger C. Blockley vorliegen.2 Bis auf Hans-Ulrich Wiemer, der auch einige wichtige Überlegungen zum Malchus-Text vorlegt (s.u.), widmen sich die Autoren weitgehend interpretatorischen, weniger textkritischen Problemen.

In seiner Einleitung (7–18) stellt Bruno Bleckmann vor allem die methodischen Probleme vor, die sich bei der Edition fragmentarisch überlieferter Autoren ergeben (8). Hier sei vor allem stets der Kontext, in dem das Zitat überliefert ist, zu berücksichtigen. Dies gilt im vorliegenden Falle vor allem für die von Photios oft nur in Paraphrase wiedergegebenen Autoren. Aber auch die in den Exzerptsammlungen des byzantinischen Kaisers Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos überlieferten Bruchstücke wiesen oftmals in den Einleitungen „Verzerrungen durch Kürzungstechniken" auf (9). Darüber hinaus ergibt sich aus der durch die Fragmentierung stark verzerrten Überlieferung die Frage, ob sich Blockleys Einordnung dieser Historiographen als Klassizisten („classicising historians") halten lässt (7).3

Mit Antonio Baldini und François Paschoud widmen sich zwei ausgewiesene Kenner dem historiographischen Werk Eunaps (19–50). Ihr Beitrag ist schon deshalb interessant, da er zwei Forscher im Dialog zeigt, die seit über dreißig Jahren teils ähnliche, teils auch deutlich divergierende Positionen vertreten. Nachdem die Gemeinsamkeiten dargelegt worden sind, erörtern beide Autoren – jeweils in Abgrenzung zum anderen – ihre eigenen Positionen („Hypothèses Paschoud non partagées par Baldini", 29–36; „Ipotesi Baldini non condivise da Paschoud", 37–50). Zum Verhältnis des Geschichtswerks zu den Sophisten- und Philosophenviten und damit auch zu Baldinis „Ricorso alle Vite dei Sofisti" (43–44) sei jetzt auch auf M. Becker, Eunapios aus Sardes, Biographien über Philosophen und Sophisten. Einleitung, Übersetzung, Kommentar, Stuttgart 2013 verwiesen.4

Im folgenden unterzieht Udo Hartmann Eunaps Vitae philosophorum et sophistarum einer eingehenden Interpretation (51–84). Zwar handelt es sich bei diesen Lebensbeschreibungen nicht im eigentlichen Sinne um ein historiographisches Werk, doch hat schon Eunap selbst sie als Komplementärwerk zu seinen Historien angelegt (75–77). Hartmanns Fokus liegt auf der Frage, inwieweit sich Eunaps Geschichtsbild rekonstruieren lässt, wo doch weite Teile seines historiographischen Werkes nur durch Zosimos überliefert sind. Leider konnte Hartmann, wie er selbst in einem Nachtrag bemerkt, die zu den Viten nun grundlegenden Arbeiten Matthias Beckers nicht mehr berücksichtigen.

Mit Olympiodor widmet sich Timo Stickler einem Geschichtsschreiber, dessen Werk weitestgehend verloren ist (85–102). Die erhaltenen Teile hingegen sind oftmals durch Photios' Paraphrasen so weit entstellt, dass die Frage nach der ursprünglichen Konzeption unbeantwortet bleiben muss. Photios exzerpierte nämlich „nicht das Naheliegende, dem Patriarchen möglicherweise geläufige, sondern das für ihn Neuartige, ihm wunderlich oder sonst irgendwie merkwürdig Erscheinende." (96) Eine solche aus dem Zusammenhang gerissene Kuriosität, die noch isoliert großen Wert besitzt, ist das bekannte fr. 44 Müller = 41,2 Blockley, das die Abstufungen der reichsten Familien schildert.5

Einen etwas anderen Zugang als Stickler wählt Dariusz Brodka in seiner Untersuchung zu Priscus von Panium (103–120), indem er den gescheiterten Feldzug des Basiliskos gegen die Vandalen in Nordafrika als Beispiel für die historiographische Methode des Priscus untersucht. Brodka hält Priscus für weitgehend zuverlässig und ordnet die verwirrenden Zahlenangaben späteren Autoren wie Theophanes zu, die in dessen Traditon stehen (104–105). Darüber hinaus kann er überzeugend darlegen, dass auch Prokops Schilderung des Feldzuges gegen Geiserich (Bell. 3,6) und die anschließenden Verwerfungen am Hof in Konstantinopel auf Priscus zurückgeht (115–116), die Darstellung bei Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos aber wohl nicht (117).

Hans-Ulrich Wiemers Beitrag zu Malchus von Philadelphia (121–159) unterscheidet sich von den übrigen insbesondere durch seine textkritischen Passagen. Hier schlägt er einige Emendationen vor, von denen sich die wichtigste auf die Verleihung der patricius-Würde an Odoaker bezieht (fr. 10 Müller/Dindorf/Cresci = 14 Blockley = 5.5 Wiemer). Seine ausführliche Begründung dieses Vorschlags (138–140) ist sprachlich möglich (Optaviv Aorist πράξειε statt Optativ futuri πράξοι in der oratio obliqua), inhaltlich zudem wahrscheinlich. Aus diesem Grunde ist es nachvollziehbar, dass er in einem Anhang die von ihm diskutierten Fragmente mit den Verbesserungen im griechischen Text, deutscher Übersetzung sowie einigen Verständnishilfen wiedergibt (149–155).

Die folgenden beiden Aufsätze von Hartwin Brandt (161–170) und Mischa Meier (171–193) beschäftigen sich mit dem isaurischen Historiographen Candidus. Ähnlich der Doppeluntersuchung zu Eunapios von Baldini und Paschoud ergänzen sich beide Abhandlungen, da sich Brandts Beitrag stärker auf die Frage konzentriert, welche Quellen Candidus benutzt hat bzw. welchen Autoren Candidus selbst als Quelle diente (163–166), während für Meier die Frage nach einer vermeintlichen isaurischen Identität im Mittelpunkt steht und wie ein solches Konzept als isaurischer Gegenpart zu den „offiziösen Texte[n] der Anastasios-Seite" diente.6

Die abschließenden Beiträge von Henning Börm (195–214) und Philippe Blaudeau (215–228) wollen, obschon es sich um fundierte Arbeiten handelt, nicht recht zum Thema des Bandes passen – was sowohl den Herausgebern (17) als auch den Autoren (196) wohl bewusst ist. Vielleicht hätte sich eine Zusammenschau der weiteren kleineren griechischen Profanhistoriker – wie Capito (FHG IV 133–134) oder Eustathios von Epiphaneia (FHG IV 138–142) – angeboten. Um eine Verbindung zum Thema des Sammelbandes herzustellen, steht daher in Börms Beitrag über Hydatius von Aquae Flaviae dessen Interesse für den östlichen Reichsteil im Mittelpunkt (201–205), aus dem für Börm eine nach wie vor vorhandene „Einheit des Römischen Reiches" spricht (208–211).

Neben den profangeschichtlichen Werken des 5. Jhs. sind Fragmente zahlreicher Kirchengeschichten erhalten, von denen die wichtigsten sicherlich jene des Ps.-Zacharias Rhetor und Theodoros Anagnostes (bzw. Lector) sind. Auf diese konzentriert sich Philippe Blaudeau im letzten Beitrag. Zunächst beleuchtet er die nur in Fragmenten erhaltene Kirchengeschichte des Hesychios von Jerusalem (216–221), bevor er in einem zweiten Teil allgemein Gebrauch und Missbrauch der Kirchengeschichten, speziell in justinianischer Zeit, in den Blick nimmt (221–227).

Insgesamt bietet der Band neun sehr gute Einzelbeiträge, die den aktuellen Stand darstellen. Speziell in den Beiträgen zu Eunapios und Candidus, wo sich verschiedene Aspekte und Forschungsmeinungen begegnen, ergibt sich ein vielschichtiges Bild der jeweiligen Geschichtsschreiber. Von großer Wichtigkeit sind auch Wiemers umsichtige Vorschläge zum Malchus-Text. Wie bereits oben angedeutet, hätte sich ein weiterer Beitrag zu den übrigen griechischen Profanhistorikern angeboten, statt auch den lateinischen Westen und die Kirchengeschichte mit einzubeziehen.

Einziges Manko dieses vorzüglichen Bandes sind fehlende Register. Gerade bei einem Sammelband, dessen Einzelbeiträge üblicherweise separat konsultiert werden, erschwert dies die Benutzung erheblich. Ein Personen- und ein Stellenindex wären unerlässlich gewesen, zumal dies bei dem Umfang von etwa 230 Seiten auch drucktechnisch zu keinerlei Problemen geführt hätte.



Notes:


1.   Projekthomepage an der Universität Düsseldorf. An der Universität zu Köln bereitet Dariya Rafiyenko eine kritische Ausgabe Fragmente des Petros Patrikios (FHG IV181–191) vor, vgl. Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies 2011, Sofia 2011, III 136.
2.   Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum IV, ed. Karl Müller, Paris 1851; Historici Graeci Minores I, ed. Ludwig Dindorf, Leipzig 1870; The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire. Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus, hg. v. Roger C. Blockley, 2 Bde., Liverpool 1981–1983. Zu den FHG vgl. Anthony Grafton, Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum. Fragments of Some Lost Enterprises, in: Glenn W. Most (ed.), Collecting Fragments – Fragmente sammeln, Göttingen 1997, 124–143, hier 125–127.
3.   Diese Bedenken wurden bereits in den Rezension zu Blockleys erstem Band geäußert, vgl. Averil Cameron, CR 33, 1983, 19; Brian Croke, Phoenix 37, 1983, 178; Roger Scott, JHS 104, 1984, 245; A. B. Breebaart, Mnemosyne IVs. 37, 1984, 234–35.
4.   Vgl. auch dens., Der schlechtere Weg ist das Ziel. Zum Leitbild des Philosophen in den Biographien des Eunapios, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 15, 2011, 450–475; Philosophen zwischen Reichtum und Armut. Sozialer Status und asketischer Anspruch bei Eunapios aus Sardes, Millennium 9, 2012, 123–143.
5.   Vgl. dazu Alan Cameron, Probus' Praetorian Games. Olympiodorus fr. 44, GRBS 25, 1984, 193–196.
6.   Zur Identität der Isaurier jetzt auch Rene Pfeilschifter, Der Kaiser und Konstantinopel. Kommunikation und Konfliktaustrag in einer spätantiken Metropole, Berlin/Boston 2013, 541, vgl. meine Rezension: Sehepunkte 7/8, 2014

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