Monday, April 23, 2018

2018.04.50

Josine Blok, Citizenship in Classical Athens. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.. Pp. xix, 328. ISBN 9780521191456. $99.99.

Reviewed by Romain Guicharrousse, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Laboratoire ANHIMA (UMR 8210) (romain.gui@gmail.com)

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

Aboutissement d'un long cycle de recherches, l'ouvrage de Josine Blok réinterroge la notion de citoyenneté dans la cité athénienne à l'époque classique. L'objectif, double, est de faire un point sur les recherches entreprises jusqu'ici, et de développer une nouvelle approche de la notion de citizenship, à rebours de la tradition qui fait prévaloir la définition aristotélicienne en matière de citoyenneté. L'ouvrage est organisé en six parties thématiques, qui questionnent autant d'aspects de la citoyenneté athénienne.

Dans un premier chapitre, l'autrice revient tout d'abord sur les définitions de la citoyenneté dans les sources attiques utilisées par les historiens depuis le XIXe siècle, en évoquant d'abord la définition que donne Euxithéos dans le Contre Euboulidès de Démosthène. Son argumentaire, pour défendre sa citoyenneté, est centré sur de la question de son ascendance et des verbes meteinai (être un citoyen) et metechein (agir comme citoyen), verbes d'action qui soulignent l'importance des pratiques dans l'exercice de la citoyenneté. En opposition à cette définition, les historiens ont largement valorisé la définition d'Aristote dans ses Politiques (1275a22-24). Selon le philosophe, est citoyen celui qui participe (metechein) aux magistratures (archai) et à l'exercice de la justice. Cependant, l'autrice postule que le passage d'Aristote a été mal interprété. Cette définition est avant tout philosophique et ne s'applique pas aux situations concrètes, mais vise à dégager ce qu'il faudrait changer dans la cité pour la rendre meilleure. Aristote concentre son propos sur les magistratures les plus importantes car il s'intéresse aux changements possibles : il passe sous silence les prêtrises, pourtant essentielles dans la cité et qui relèvent du divin – composante immuable de la communauté. Dès lors, il met en avant l'exercice de la justice et de la délibération, réservés aux hommes. La plupart des écoles historiographiques modernes, dont Blok résume les acquis, se sont appuyées sur cette définition qui exclut les femmes de la citoyenneté. Si certains articles de Patterson1 ou de Sourvinou-Inwood2 ont tenté de remettre en cause cette citoyenneté limitée aux hommes, ceux-ci ont trouvé très peu d'échos. Cette prédominance de la définition aristotélicienne s'explique notamment par son ancrage dans la pensée historique dès le XIXe siècle, où elle s'accordait bien avec les évolutions politiques d'alors. L'idée d'une citoyenneté masculine fondée sur le droit de vote coïncidait avec l'image que du citoyen de l'époque : la Grèce, et Athènes en particulier, devint un référent politique majeur. D'après Blok, la convergence des valeurs entre le discours d'Aristote et les idées de l'Europe et des États-Unis a éclipsé les éléments non-politiques de la citoyenneté, décrits par Euxithéos. Fort de ce constat et de cette archéologie de la notion, l'autrice en vient alors à proposer une définition qui lui semble plus juste, et qu'elle souhaite discuter par la suite : « citizenship consists of membership of a political community, in which an individual holds claims to whatever prerogatives and is encumbered with whatever responsibilities are attached to this particular community » (p. 43).

Josine Blok s'intéresse d'abord à l'importance des liens avec les dieux dans les pratiques des citoyens. Partager la cité, c'est avant tout partager les hiera et les hosia entre citoyens (de naissance ou naturalisés), qui sont « the heart of what every Athenian shares both in the family and in the polis » (p. 50). Ces deux notions sont pourtant problématiques pour les historiens et l'autrice étudie à nouveaux frais ces deux termes : pour elle, les hiera sont les cadeaux offerts par les humains en échange de la protection des divinités. La pratique du don, sous toutes ses formes, permet de tisser des liens entre les dieux et les mortels, mais aussi entre les mortels lors des cérémonies afférentes. Quant aux hosia, l'autrice souligne que le terme désigne, concrètement, les règles de conduites à observer par les humains pour honorer les dieux, le fait de réaliser pieusement les hiera, mais aussi les règles à observer dans les relations entre humains. Dès lors, l'expression hiera kai hosia, dont Blok commente longuement les occurrences, traduit le lien entre les dieux et les hommes et femmes, lien dont dépend le bien-être de l'ensemble de la communauté sur le temps long. Ce lien est au cœur des pratiques communautaires, notamment à Athènes, puisqu'il est réaffirmé aussi bien dans des lois, que dans des coutumes, des obligations sociales (le serment des éphèbes) et lors des événements communautaires (les réunions de l'Assemblée). Le respect des hiera kai hosia est ainsi compris comme une nécessité pour faire communauté avec les dieux et entre membres citoyens et citoyennes de la communauté.

Blok poursuit en étudiant le rôle de la descendance dans la construction d'une communauté partagée. Après un rappel des règles de descendance et de transmission de la citoyenneté et de leurs évolutions de l'époque archaïque à l'époque classique (avec Solon, Clisthène et Périclès comme principaux jalons), elle analyse le contenu de ce qui est transmis. La transmission concerne aussi bien les biens matériels (aux seuls membres masculins de l'oikos) qu'immatériels (aux hommes comme aux femmes). Blok montre avec justesse que la transmission de droits et valeurs au sein de la famille s'accompagne de cette même transmission au sein de la cité, notamment dans le domaine des hiera. Ainsi, les descendants d'une même famille de citoyens recevaient à la fois une part dans les cultes de l'oikos et une part dans les cultes de la cité et de ses subdivisions. Appartenir à un même oikos, c'était avant tout partager une identité commune et des intérêts communs, à commencer par la relation avec les divinités, au sein de l'oikos et de la cité. La descendance était ainsi une « institution » (p. 145), c'est-à-dire un ensemble de règles formelles et informelles (parfois exprimées à travers des mythes), dont le but civique était la perpétuation de la communauté et du lien avec les dieux. Dans cette perspective, hommes et femmes, membres de la même cité, avaient un rôle à jouer. Cette conception de la citoyenneté à Athènes, où la descendance tient une place centrale, permettait la perpétuation et la continuité de la communauté et des hiera – et constitue la raison pour laquelle la légitimité de la descendance était si discutée.

Dans un quatrième chapitre, Josine Blok revient sur le vocabulaire employé pour désigner les citoyens et les citoyennes au cours de l'époque classique. Cette discussion des termes (polites, politis, politai / astos, aste, astoi, astai / Athenaios, Athenaia) révèle notamment l'importance de la descendance et le rôle des femmes dans ce cadre pour qualifier un individu d'astos à partir du milieu du Ve siècle. Une très fine attention aux types de textes dans lesquels apparaît chaque terme permet à l'autrice de montrer que l'ensemble de ces termes a en commun de souligner l'appartenance à une descendance légitime. Mais ces mots ne sont pas interchangeables pour autant : les mots de la famille pol- renvoient davantage à l'appartenance à un groupe, avec des pratiques communes et une politeia commune. La famille des ast- sert davantage à souligner la différence avec les outsiders. Enfin, l'usage d'Athenaios, plus fréquent que polites ou astos dans les documents à partir du Ve siècle est plus flexible et permet d'intégrer les naturalisés, comme si ils étaient Athéniens. Dans l'ensemble, l'autrice constate une modification de l'usage des termes entre l'époque archaïque et l'époque classique : de formules génériques désignant la collectivité, ces termes désignent davantage, au fil du temps, un groupe civique au statut légal et à la descendance affirmés, distinct de ceux qui sont exclus de ce dernier.

Le cinquième chapitre traite de la participation des individus à la cité, sur les rôles et les fonctions possibles des hommes et des femmes dans les magistratures de la cité. Blok souligne d'abord qu'il n'y a pas de différence réelle, comme supposé jusque-là, entre les archai politiques et les autres timai comme les prêtrises, parce que les magistratures possédaient des missions touchant aux hiera : toutes les fonctions de la cité doivent être comprises comme des timai. À l'époque archaïque, celles-ci étaient réservées à certains groupes (notamment les gene qui pouvaient justifier d'une ascendance légitime ancienne), mais avec la mise en place progressive de la démocratie, les timai se sont multipliées, ouvrant les possibilités pour les citoyens et les citoyennes de participer plus activement au fonctionnement de la cité. Quant à l'attribution de ces timai, la loi de Périclès de 451/0 constitue un tournant : à partir du moment où tous les citoyens sont de descendance légitime athénienne, à l'égal des gene, la mise en place du tirage au sort, accompagnée d'une dokimasie, devient possible, car tous les citoyens sont légitimes à détenir toutes les timai, et deviennent ainsi responsable du respect des hiera kai hosia. La seule différence entre citoyens se fait entre femmes et hommes, puisque ces derniers sont seuls éligibles à l'ensemble des timai.

Enfin, dans un dernier chapitre, Josine Blok étudie certains aspects de la présence d'individus libres naturalisés et non citoyens, c'est-à-dire ceux qui sont présents dans la cité, participent à certaines pratiques collectives, mais ne sont pas de naissance athénienne légitime. Dans le cas des familles naturalisées, Blok souligne bien que l'absence de naissance athénienne légitime marquait la première génération, avec des restrictions d'accès à certaines timai (archontat et prêtrises) qui demandaient d'être de lignée athénienne. Comme le résume l'autrice, « being an Athenian was not the same as being an astos » (p. 262-263). Dans le cas des métèques, Blok, citant abondamment l'ouvrage de son élève Sara Wijma (BMCR 2015.09.06), souligne qu'en fermant drastiquement l'accès à la citoyenneté en 451/0, les Athéniens ont inclu davantage, en compensation, les métèques dans les structures religieuses, sociales, économiques de la cité. Leur sont conférées des timai, particulièrement dans le domaine religieux, mais celles-ci sont très limitées et encadrées. Le chapitre s'achève sur une courte comparaison de la situation athénienne avec d'autres cités grecques à l'époque classique.

L'ouvrage, aussi précis dans son emploi des sources que didactique dans son propos, apporte une contribution importante aux débats sur la définition de la citoyenneté, ravivés récemment3, car il permet de faire le point sur une vision renouvelée de la citoyenneté. L'argumentation de chaque chapitre est bien menée, même si certains détails pourraient être discutés ça et là, et est tout à fait convaincante. La principale difficulté est l'absence d'une véritable introduction et d'une conclusion qui lieraient des chapitres parfois un peu hors-sol. Ainsi, certains points discutés dans les premiers chapitres ne prennent véritablement sens qu'à la lecture de l'ensemble de l'ouvrage : l'intérêt de montrer l'importance de la place de la relation aux dieux d'une part, de la descendance d'autre part, ne s'éclaire véritablement qu'au moment d'aborder la question de la participation à la cité (chap. 5). Par ailleurs, l'ouvrage aurait sans doute gagné de profondeur par la mise en perspective régulière de la situation athénienne avec celle d'autres cités grecques : rejetée dans quelques pages à la fin du dernier chapitre, la comparaison est peu utile.

On sait gré à Josine Blok d'avoir livré cette étude, très sérieuse et solide, qui constitue dorénavant un jalon important, en offrant une nouvelle approche, audacieuse et convaincante, de la citoyenneté grecque athénienne à l'époque classique, qui met en valeur, à travers l'importance des pratiques religieuses, la question de la descendance dans les critères d'évaluation de la citoyenneté, invitant à dépasser la définition aristotélicienne.



Notes:


1.   « Hai Attikai: The Other Athenians », in Skinner M. (éd.), Rescuing Creusa: New methogological approaches to woman in Antiquity, (Austin, 1986), p. 49-68.
2.   « Male and female, public and private, ancient and modern », in E. Reeder (éd.), Pandora: Women in classical Greece, (Princeton, 1995), p. 111-120.
3.   Sébillotte V., « Ces citoyennes qui reconfigurent le politique. Trente ans de travaux sur l'Antiquité grecque », Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire 43, 2016, p. 185-215, proche des positions de Blok, contra Fröhlich P., « La citoyenneté grecque entre Aristote et les Modernes », Cahiers Glotz 28, 2016, p. 91-136.

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2018.04.49

Jennifer A. Rea, Liz Clarke, Perpetua's Journey: Faith, Gender, and Power in the Roman Empire. Graphic History Series. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xxi, 208. ISBN 9780190238711. $19.95.

Reviewed by Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan (emuehlbe@umich.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

The newest issue in Oxford's Graphic History Series transports readers into a striking martyr narrative set in the ancient Christian world: the story of Perpetua's last week of life, as represented in the first-person account often attributed to her as a "diary" and included in the Passion of Perpetua and Felicity. The Passion frequently appears on syllabi for courses in early Christianity or the history of Christianity more broadly. (An informal poll on Twitter showed that 82% of the 73 respondents have assigned it.) Valued for how vividly it recounts the narrative of a group of male and female Christians in conflict with local authorities, the text is a boon to teachers who want to use it to highlight women in the ancient Christian world. Rea and Clarke's attractive and affordable new treatment will only increase the Passion's popularity in classrooms, as it supplements its story and ancillary resources with a graphic representation of the text (1-86).

The traditional teaching tools that Perpetua's Journey provides are both generous and detailed. Rea's English translation of the text of the Passion (169-81) is accompanied by a short bibliography (202-6), a timeline (198-201), a glossary (207-8), and sample questions for discussion. Rea also compiled an extended review of the historical topics an instructor might need to contextualize the Passion according to its most common reading: as a document that records directly the experiences of early-third-century Carthaginian Christians (91-165). The question of the text's documentary quality—that is, whether the Passion is the veridical record of the thoughts and visions of a group of Christians in their last days—is briefly entertained in a preface (xi-xvii). Rea presents the diversity of existing scholarly views about the issue carefully, even encouraging readers to let go of the question altogether. (xiii) Yet Perpetua's character, represented so idiosyncratically and realistically in the Passion, has exerted a considerable pull on most readers, and Rea is eventually no different. Elsewhere in this preface, the text simply "is the first extant diary authored by a Christian woman," which gives readers direct access to "her experiences" and "Perpetua's authentic voice" (xi, xiii). Such phrases erase the nuance of Rea's other cautions, and advocate for one perspective on the text: that this is a historical record created by its actors.

The graphic representation of the Passion included in Perpetua's Journey, brilliantly executed by Clarke, reinforces that this is the best way to approach the text. It may seem strange already to say that a graphic representation could add to a text's realism. After all, "graphic" is just the more recent label for the drawing style we used to call "comics," a medium that has habitually represented superheroes, monsters, and fantastical beings. Yet, in the past three decades the graphic medium has been adopted to recount histories of events, memoirs, and explorations of the communal past. Audiences that have already encountered graphic representations of historical events—whether in Art Spiegelman's Maus, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, or Alison Bechdel's Fun Home—may in fact be primed to see work conveyed in graphic form as representing the accurate and necessary narrative of actual events, often voiced by actors whose authenticity is central to the narrative.

Beyond the use of the graphic medium itself, Clarke's choices within the medium also lend weight to the impression that Perpetua was a historical actor. Clarke's style of illustration, here and in other issues in the Oxford series, is finely detailed, particularly in the depiction of individual faces. Graphic artists are not required to draw this way; indeed, many choose to depict their characters with less-detailed, cartoonish faces, even when they are representing historical events (for examples, see Chester Brown's Louis Riel or Shigeru Mizuki's Hitler.) The effect of such "masking," as Scott McCloud has termed it, is to induce the reader to identify with the characters so drawn. Though Perpetua, as an object of veneration in Christian martyrological culture, may have inspired many to think themselves brave and self-determined like her, Clarke's choice not to cartoon her face places Perpetua out of the reader's reach, but at the same time, more directly in the historical register. In the selection of realism out of the full range of graphic options for drawing Perpetua, Clarke codes her less as an exemplar for identification and more an artifact for inspection.

Other, seemingly contradictory choices in illustration reinforce from different angles the sense that the Passion is a documentary record which includes the unmediated voice of a third-century woman. Throughout Perpetua's Journey, beginning even on the front cover, Perpetua is almost always depicted in positions and from perspectives that signal her earnestness. She is wide-eyed and fresh-faced, even under duress. As viewers, we almost never see her on the level; we are either looking at her from above, as if we were watching her contest as spectators, or from slightly below, as we were seated and viewing her standing before us. Taken together, these stylings present the impression of an innocent, steadfast woman. What is fascinating is that the visual cues of angle and pose Clarke has used are what usually depict purity, innocence, and determination to us. That is to say, Perpetua is drawn in the modern idiom that represents young women we are to admire. Though the scenes do not present Perpetua according to the ancient visual vocabulary of elite Roman womanhood—where bodily dignity and facial continence rule—she paradoxically will feel more like a "real" historical actor because she follows a template that we have learned from our media. Her earnestness and her directness, perhaps ahistorical for a Roman woman, convey the authenticity readers will need to assume in order to accept Perpetua as a historical Roman woman.

These are subtle effects, but the claim that Perpetua is the third-century author of the "diary" included in the Passion is more explicitly made by other visual details of Clarke's work. In one frame, we see Perpetua, seated against the wall of the prison where she is held, papyrus on lap and quill in hand (44). Through the section that recounts her "diary," the words of the first-person text appear in dialogue boxes marked with a small vertical quill, drawn to match the one we have seen her holding. When Perpetua's "diary" reports visions, the entirety of the text of the vision is written out on one page, in a font roughly reproducing American print handwriting, and on a background hashed and colored to suggest papyrus. In this way, readers "see," so to speak, the document that Perpetua created. The artifacts of writing presented in these illustrations (papyrus, quill) are not just the components necessary for a realistic style; if that were Clarke's intent, then an ink bottle would have appeared at some point. Instead, they are iconic, shorthand references to the claim of authorship itself. The words of the "diary," Clarke's visualization insists, are in fact from Perpetua; they are manu sua, just as the Passion claims.

What I have just discussed barely scratches the surface of the meaning that an illustrated version adds to the story of the Passion and its possible interpretations. To give just a hint of how much can be conveyed by this format, let me draw your attention to the part of the graphic narrative that corresponds to Passion 3.1-5, Perpetua's famous argument with her father. In the Latin text, Perpetua uses an example of a jar to make a point to her father about the necessity of her speaking directly about what she is, namely, a Christian woman. Just after the argument is reported, Perpetua is baptized, and in the text of the Passion, this development is easily read as a confirmation of the faith that she had just fervently affirmed to her father.

Clarke depicts the argument and the baptism on facing pages, which appear at this link courtesy of Oxford University Press. As Perpetua and her father argue over the course of six overlaid panels on page 8, we are introduced to several important narrative elements: the two argue by a fountain, which allows for water to appear in almost every panel on the page; the jar, likewise, appears multiple times on the page. In each of the page's six panels, Perpetua's father appears; noticeably, his hands also feature in each panel on the page. In one, the largest, we see only a snippet of his clothing, green like much of page 8's scenery, but we see the entirety of his left hand, including a signet ring he wears. His hands reach out violently toward Perpetua in another panel, in which the jar is overturned (a clear allusion to Perpetua's lament, me pater verbis evertere cupiret—she and the jar are being violently upended).

All these elements reappear, transformed, in the second page of the spread: a jar appears just barely in the lower right corner, now arguably bearing the water of baptism that drips from the large hand in the center of the page—not that of her father, but the bare hand of the baptizer. Even Perpetua's outfit signals the transition: on page 8, her yellow garment is distinct against the dominant green color of the panels; it more rightly conforms to the scene of baptism on the next page, where green gives way to gold. Her outfit, or lack of it, also distinguishes the two scenes. In all the panels before her baptism, Perpetua wears an undershirt and tunic, gathered by two gold braces, golden earrings on display under a careful coiffure, a substantial golden necklace and two thick gold bracelets on her wrists. Yet when we see her baptized, she is clearly bare-shouldered, her hair loosed. This is, of course, a visual reference to the tradition that early Christians were baptized naked. At the same time, the contrast of the two figures pairing shows the reader that Perpetua's Roman identity is an accoutrement that can be shed, while her naked self, her unadorned and natural self, is Christian. All this (and more I must leave out for brevity's sake) is legible, for those who read visual narratives, on the spread of pages 8 and 9. There are seventy-two other pages of illustration, each of which can be read as deeply and profitably.

A palpable excitement bubbled up among scholars of early Christianity when this book was first publicized, and for good reason. Remediating the Passion into the graphic medium obviously expands the possibilities for undergraduate engagement with this workhorse of the early Christianity syllabus. Yet with those possibilities come a few limitations. Those who take the Passion as a historical record, including a diary written by a Carthaginian woman in the week before she is executed, will have that viewpoint subtly but firmly supported by Clarke's illustrations and Rea's teaching tools. But teachers who want to use an array of approaches, perhaps including but not bound to such documentary authenticity, may need to work harder to cultivate such nuance with readers of Perpetua's Journey. Once acquired, the sense of surety about Perpetua's reality may extend to other literary creations from early Christian writing, inducing a way of reading that defaults to the narrative claims any other text makes about its creation. This is not an inconsequential result in the undergraduate classroom, or in the study of early Christian literature, and it is worth thinking about for those of us who plan to adopt Perpetua's Journey in our courses. This graphic treatment of the Passion is outstanding and inventive, because it brings Christian history so vividly to life for the reader—but that may be an outcome orthogonal or even contrary to one's pedagogical aims.

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2018.04.48

Miltiadis Michalopoulos, In the Name of Lykourgos: The Rise and Fall of the Spartan Revolutionary Movement (243-146 BC). Translated by Marion Kavallieros and Maria Anna Niforos. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military, 2016. Pp. xxxvi, 258. ISBN 9781783030231. $39.95.

Reviewed by Benjamin Pedersen, University of Southern Denmark (bwp@sdu.dk)

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

The rise and fall of the enigmatic city state of Sparta have puzzled historians from antiquity up to the modern day. Built on the pillars of the principles of the legendary lawgiver Lycurgus, Sparta was known by ancient historians as an anomaly compared to the rest of Hellas; promoting such values as military discipline, self-sacrifice, asceticism, and physical and moral endurance, which ultimately created a complete subjection and loyalty to the city state by its citizens. In In the Name of Lykourgos, Miltiadis Michalopoulos studies the importance of this myth in Hellenistic Sparta, and thus engages refreshingly with a period of Spartan history that has not been covered extensively in modern scholarship. The study centres on the reigns of the three Spartan kings, Agis IV (245-241), Cleomenes III (235-222) and Nabis (207-192), who all, in different ways, sought to save the Spartan state from complete collapse in the third century. It is Michalopoulos' hypothesis that these three rulers represent a "revolutionary movement", aiming to redirect the fate of Sparta by reinstating the traditional principles of Lycurgus.

The book consists of an introduction, six chapters, four appendices and a thorough notes section. In the introduction (pp. xi-xxvii), Michalopoulos focuses on the origin and nature of the Lycurgan constitution, and this leads him into the crucial discussion of possible reasons for the decline of the Spartan system in the fourth century. Michalopoulos argues that the practice of giving large dowries to daughters, in combination with a decline in manpower, led to an irreversible concentration of property in fewer and fewer hands (p. xxi). As owning property and paying the monthly fee for the Syssitia were essential requirements of a Spartiate, only a few could uphold their citizenship. Although Michalopoulos points to the wider economic, moral and social context of the third century, where the majority of Greek city states had trouble responding to the new political and military reality, he could have done more to address other perspectives relevant to the issue: was it fear, pride or something else that prevented the Spartans from changing the system? Did the military innovations in Thebes and Macedonia simply outdo the Spartan way? Did the status and influence of the Helots prevent Sparta from establishing hegemony, as engaging in foreign affairs would then jeopardise their control of the southern Peloponnese? It seems that numerous problems challenged the viability of the Spartan system at the same time, and a wider discussion of the entanglements of these different historical lines of development would have strengthened the opening chapter.

Despite the humiliating Spartan defeat at Leuctra in 371, there was no eagerness to reform the system. This unfortunate downward spiral continued until the middle of the third century, when three rulers in turn tried to oppose the development by establishing a new Spartan hegemony; battling against the great powers of Macedonia, Syria, Egypt and Rome. In chapter 1 ("Dawn", p. 1-16), Michalopoulos discusses the reign of Agis IV. He ascended the throne in 245 with the revolutionary aim of expanding the number of citizens by redistributing property and cancelling debts. However, Agis' agenda was opposed in the Gerousia by a countermovement led by the co-monarch Leonidas II, and the dispute ended with the execution of Agis in 241 without any reform of the system. Although the reforms never took root, Michalopoulos' point is that the first important seeds were planted in these years.

Chapter 2 ("Zenith", p. 17-83) covers the pivotal period of the reform movement in the 220s. In 235, the son of Leonidas, Cleomenes III, ascended the Spartan throne and, paradoxically enough, he was to be the one to implement fully the revolutionary reforms of Agis. Through the redistributing of land and cancellation of debts, Cleomenes was able to enlarge the Spartan army drastically. This provided him with enough power to challenge the Achaean League. Although he carried out several successful campaigns in the early years, the Cleomenean War culminated at Sellasia in 222 with Cleomenes' decisive defeat by Antigonus Doson III of Macedonia. The Spartan reformer ended up in exile in Egypt under Ptolemy III, but a failed coup against the Egyptian king in 219 ultimately ended his life. Michalopoulos provides the reader with a discussion in depth of the political and military development of the 220s, and specifically his treatment of the battle of Sellasia stands out as one of the strongest sections of the book.

Chapter 3 ("Eclipse", p. 84-93) is a short intermezzo treating the years between Cleomenes and Nabis, where Sparta was forced to obey Macedonia and the Achaean League, which made it rather similar to the situation in 338 where Philip II controlled the Greeks in the Corinthian League. The chapter ends with the Spartan tyrant Machanidas' defeat at Mantinea in 207 by an Achaean alliance led by Philopoemen.

Chapter 4 ("Twilight", p. 94-123) begins in the aftermath of the Spartan defeat at Mantinea and the new ruler Nabis' plan to rescue Sparta once again from a hopeless political and military situation. Nabis made the radical moves of integrating the Helots into Spartan society, circulating money, walling the city, creating a fleet and abolishing the mandatory payment for the Syssitia and the old institutions of kingship and ephors (p. 99). On top of that, Nabis had territorial ambitions, and this soon led him into conflict with the Achaean League and the Roman Empire. History repeated itself and Sparta was conquered by the Roman general Flamininus in 195, and Nabis himself was assassinated in 192 by his very own allies from the Aetolian League. In the chapter, Michalopoulos nicely shows that Nabis' tyrannical reign was hated at the time, but also that posterity judged him harshly for his extreme revolutionary agenda. His death marked the end both of the revolutionary movement and Sparta as an independent city state.

Chapter 5 ("Pax Achaica", p. 124-134) covers the years to 146, where Sparta was forced into the Achaean League and never again managed to start a new movement towards independence. With the complete Roman domination of the Greek world after the destruction of Corinth in 146 Sparta became a "free city" in the Roman sense, acting as a historical tourist attraction for the Roman elite.

In the final chapter ("Pax Romana", p. 135-150), Michalopoulos evaluates the nature and character of the "Spartan revolutionary movement" and its connection to the Spartan tradition. It is his conclusion that the agendas of Agis, Cleomenes and Nabis belong in the same historical framework: they sought to reverse the loss of Messenia in the fourth century and restore the old Lycurgan institutions through a redistributing of land and a cancellation of debts. However, Michalopoulos argues the appeal to Classical Sparta was only to justify these new reforms; the reigns of the three rulers in fact undermined the Lycurgan elements of the Spartan constitution, and all that was left after the death of Nabis in 192 was the name of Lycurgus, not his spirit and principles from a time where Sparta flourished militarily, politically and culturally.

As we are entirely dependent on a few selective sources to reconstruct the period, the study would have benefitted greatly from a systematic treatment of these scanty sources. Although some of these essential considerations on the works of, for example, Polybius, Pausanias and Plutarch are found in the lengthy (and sometimes more interesting) footnotes at the end of the book, these discussions should occupy a more important place in a historical study of the Hellenistic period. In general, the book is well-written, thoughtful, and Michalopoulos successfully brings to life a period in Spartan history that is too often neglected. The greatest achievement of the study is that Michalopoulos convincingly shows that the reigns of Agis, Cleomenes and Nabis should be seen as a wider revolutionary phenomenon and that the mortal agony of one of the most important and influential city states of Ancient Greece was a continuous struggle beginning in the middle of the third century.

Table of Contents

List of Plates, p. vi
List of Maps, p. vii
Preface, p. viii
Introduction, p. xi
Chapter 1: Dawn, p. 1
Chapter 2: Zenith, p. 17
Chapter 3: Eclipse, p. 84
Chapter 4: Twilight, p. 124
Chapter 5: Pax Achaica, p. 124
Chapter 6: Pax Romana, p. 135
Appendix A: Military Roads of Lakonia, p. 151
Appendix B: Sphairos, p. 154
Appendix C: The Modern Battlefield of Sellasia, p. 157
Appendix D: From Crucified Kleomenes to Crucified Jesus, p. 165
Notes, p. 172
Bibliography, p. 243
Glossary, p. 252
Index, p. 254

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

2018.04.47

Krzysztof Nawotka, The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes: A Historical Commentary. Mnemosyne Supplements no. 399. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2017. Pp. xii, 360. ISBN 9789004335219. $138.00. ISBN 9789004335226. ebook.

Reviewed by Christian Thrue Djurslev, The University of Edinburgh (c.djurslev@ed.ac.uk)

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This book represents a welcome contribution to a surge of recent studies on the Greek Alexander Romance. It is one of the results of a longer journey with Alexander at the University of Wroclaw. Since the early 2010s, the Institute of History has produced a series of books and conferences on the Alexanders of the Near East and beyond. Krzysztof Nawotka has himself published two books on 'Aleksander Wielki' in the 2000s, among them a Polish translation of the Alexander Romance. Nawotka's new commentary fittingly expands much of this previous work. While we have commentaries on the Alexander Romance in German, Polish, and Italian (partially complete), Nawotka provides the first full commentary in English. The choice of language will ensure that the commentary reaches an even wider scholarly community, which is useful because Nawotka collates and updates much of the previous scholarship on the text. Taken together with the previous and forthcoming publications on the greater Alexander tradition from Wroclaw, this book builds momentum for further study of the text's origins and development.

The strangeness of the Alexander Romance invites commentary. The oldest Greek version, the so-called 'alpha recension' preserved in a unique MS from the 11th century, professes to be the true story of Alexander's life when it is in fact a novelistic biography. Its three books throw the king into a stream of hyperreality, mixing stories and literary tropes from many cultures, above all Egypt and Greece. To take just one of many examples, the Egyptian Nectanebus―Pharaoh, magician, charlatan―travels incognito to Macedon, seduces Olympias and fathers the future king. Another strange aspect is the date of composition. The Alexander Romance can be variously dated between the third century BC (Stoneman) and the fourth century AD (Kroll) because of its constituent parts, some of which are early Hellenistic, and others late imperial. Moreover, even the very name of the author is dubious.1 The conventional name of 'Pseudo-Callisthenes,' Isaac Casaubon's identification in a letter of 1605 to Joseph Scaliger, is here maintained, although there is no substantial support for this. After all, ancient translators of the Alexander Romance attributed the text to Aesop (Latin translation by Julius Valerius) and even Aristotle (Armenian translator), so we need not perpetuate the Renaissance rectification of the Byzantine 'Callisthenes.' Of course, we tend to prefer works to which we can attach a well-known name.

Nawotka deals with such issues in a thorough introduction to the text (pp. 1–33). Against his predecessors, he makes a case for the mid- third century AD for the final form of the text (pp. 3–5). He also discusses genre, composition, language, and historical value. His general approach to the Alexander Romance is advertised in the subtitle, 'a historical commentary.' This method is similar to the one Adolf Ausfeld used in his commentary published posthumously in 1907 ('historischer Kommentar,' pp. 123–213).2 This choice may surprise readers, as Nawotka dismisses Ausfeld's commentary as 'outdated' (p. ix). Nawotka accepts, however, the arguments of his predecessor on multiple occasions (e.g. pp. 59, 73, 93), sometimes with updates (pp. 158–9). Good points of the past deserve to be brought into present scholarship, and one such example of this updating is the commentary on Nectanebus' death (Alexander Romance 1.14, Ausfeld p. 130, Nawotka p. 75). When Nectanebus takes Alexander to see the stars, the young prince hurls the astrologer into a ditch because Nectanebus concerns himself with the sky, unaware of the affairs of the earth. This story echoes the sad fate of the philosopher Thales (for Ausfeld, Aesop's Fables no. 40 Perry; for Nawotka, Diogenes Laertius 1.34, Plato Theaetetus 174a), but it also has its own function within the narrative of the Alexander Romance and is treated in different ways in the Romance's wider tradition. Nawotka comments on all these aspects, whereas his predecessor simply mentions the reference to Thales' death as in the archaeology of the Alexander Romance story.

The 'death of Nectanebus' episode is one of those instances in which Nawotka's points align with those found in Stoneman's commentary (pp. 501–2). There are, however, some fundamental differences between the two new commentaries with regard to authorship, date, and interpretation of the Egyptian and Indian material in the Alexander Romance, which Stoneman himself has noted.3 These single- authored commentaries on the Alexander Romance each have their forte according to the fields to which their authors belong. For example, Nawotka makes some excellent observations on the Near Eastern material in the Alexander Romance, but he does not say much about the Latin and Armenian translations, which are crucial for reconstructing the contents of the Greek 'alpha' version. Given the difficulties posed by this multi-layered work, I wonder if the text might lend itself better to a collaborative project between scholars of many fields both within and beyond the realm of Classics and Ancient History.

Rather than comment on the commentary point by point, I limit myself to some further remarks on interpretation. I have a few minor quibbles with the introductory part. Nawotka argues that, of the extant historians, the Alexander Romance has the most in common with Plutarch's Life of Alexander (p. 21). This point hardly needs so much labouring, for Plutarch and the Alexander Romance are the only ancient accounts of Alexander's birth and upbringing. Perhaps more in need of justification is Nawotka's contention (p. 18) that the Alexander Romance was a 'pagan hagiography.' The religious significance that Nawotka attributes to this term is unclear. Moreover, Nawotka suggests that the Alexander Romance is closer to a historical account than other 'fringe' novels, and so stands out. I am not, however, persuaded by this generic distinction when we possess comparable texts, such as Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana and the Life of Aesop, that operate in the same way as the Alexander Romance. They 'purify' their protagonists' imperfections in the same manner that the Alexander Romance does, regardless of historical accuracy. In this context of prose biographies of holy persons and popular heroes, I miss engagement with Thomas Hägg's The Art of Biography in Antiquity. The ancients knew what a biography 'ought to look like' (Michael Williams in BMCR 2013.01.60) and did not worry as much about 'genre' as we now tend to.

A commentary is structured around the text it comments on, and the main bulk of the book is naturally devoted to the chapters of the Alexander Romance. There are also many other helpful sections. Instead of a full Greek text or translation, we are provided with a detailed summary and useful overview of the historical events that the Alexander Romance covers (pp. 6–13). Nawotka also offers a rich bibliography, index of references (primarily Greek sources), and a general index. Since the primary texts and the scholarship range from different cultures and periods, there could have been a greater care with verifying and presenting information. For examples, the Letter to Theophilus is merely attributed to John Damascene, not a genuine work as Nawotka says (p. 213); I cannot verify Nawotka's claim that George the Monk wrote a Commentary on Daniel (p. 245); and 'Annus 2010' does not appear in the bibliography (p. 231). Even though this book is a costly volume from Brill, I noticed some editorial haste, even with oft-used names (e.g. "Ausfled" for Ausfeld, p. ix; "Merkalebach" for Merkelbach, p. 4; "Instinsk" for Instinsky, p. 291; "Aaarhus" for Aarhus, p. 286). Despite these irregularities, however, the volume is generally of high quality. 1



Notes:


1.   Stoneman, R., and Gargiulo, T. Il Romanzo di Alessandro, vol. 1. (Milan: Mondadori, 2007).
2.   Ausfeld, A., and Bernays, U. Der griechische Alexanderroman, (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1907).
3.   Stoneman, R. Review of Nawotka, Ancient History Bulletin online reviews 8 (2018), 18–20. Ancient History Bulletin.

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2018.04.46

Edmund Stewart, Greek Tragedy on the Move: The Birth of a Panhellenic Art Form c. 500-300 BC. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xviii, 261. ISBN 9780198747260. $95.00.

Reviewed by Elodie Paillard, Universities of Basel and Sydney (epai7821@uni.sydney.edu.au)

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Stewart's book is part of a recent trend that has seen scholars develop an interest in Greek theatre outside the geographical and chronological boundaries of Classical Athens. In the last 5–10 years, a number of studies have been published on the subject, including, but not limited to, K. Bosher's Theatre outside Athens (2012), V. Vahtikari's Tragedy Performances outside Athens in the Late Fifth and the Fourth Centuries BC (2014), and the publications resulting from E. Csapo and P. Wilson's extensive research on the topic, among others, Greek Theatre in the Fourth Century (2014). Belonging to this trend in scholarship one also notes a new interest in early reperformances of tragedies. The work under review here was published almost at the same time as A. Lamari's Reperforming Greek Tragedy. Theatre, Politics, and Cultural Mobility in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries (2017) which focuses on a topic strikingly similar to Stewart's.

Greek Tragedy on the Move is a revised version of Stewart's PhD thesis. Its aim, as outlined in the introduction, is to show that Greek tragedy had always been a Panhellenic art form, using from its very beginnings a festival network already established in the Archaic period in the context of a 'song culture' from which tragedy supposedly emerged. The author tries to demonstrate how tragedy was 'on the move' through the activities of professional travelling tragic poets (as well as audiences). Athens is still seen as an important centre of this Panhellenic network, both as a place which 'exported' tragedy and as a place where tragic poets came from elsewhere to present their works. However, it is no longer considered as the ultimate origin of and privileged place for tragedy.

In the first chapter, Stewart shows how, more often than not, the mythological stories chosen for tragedies revolve around different Greek communities or locations and tell tales of travel between them or explain or problematize the links that came to exist between them. Here, the author draws a parallel between the wandering heroes of myths staged in tragedies and the travelling poets, arguing that both travelled in order to acquire fame and material gain. His interpretation of the reasons for mythological heroes' travels might appear questionable (heroes in myths rarely seem to travel of their own volition but are very often forced by negative events or external elements or deities), and the author also downplays the religious aspects which might have led poets to travel to festivals where tragic contests took place. His claim that heroes and poets travelled for fame and material gain sounds somewhat anachronistic.

In the same chapter, Stewart opposes the idea of seeing Athens as the exclusive centre for Greek tragedy by noting that only a very limited percentage of those texts to which we still have access are concerned with stories that take place in this city, although he rightly acknowledges that the fictive geographical backgrounds are not enough to prove that these plays were performed outside Athens. Stewart concludes this section by saying that tragedy can be understood as Panhellenic because the subjects of its plays are the Greeks in general, their origins, moves, and relations.

The second chapter is devoted to the Panhellenic networks of travelling poets and to the question of their professionalism. The author reviews the evidence available in ancient sources for the existence of networks of travelling poets, both on the Greek mainland and in other Greeks areas around the Mediterranean. The reasons for their travels are also surveyed. Stewart shows that, from very early on, poets were mobile around the Greek world (and audiences in part as well) and willingly visited different cities or sanctuaries in order to present and perform their works. He argues that this well- established Panhellenic network provided a sort of 'infrastructure' (p. 63) which allowed tragedy to be disseminated. Yet the sources quoted by Stewart contain, for the overwhelming majority, information related to non-dramatic poets. The question that immediately arises from this argument and is not really dealt with in the book, is whether one can really so easily draw a parallel between the dissemination of tragedy and that of other literary genres, especially non-dramatic ones. While the performance of, for example, lyric poets might only have required a space wide enough to accommodate a chorus, dramatic performances required much more than that (a theatre, to mention only the most obvious). The expenses linked to tragic performances were also no doubt on an entirely different scale from what an epic poet might have requested in order to come to a specific city to recite his verses.

Chapter 3 focuses on tragic performances in Attica from 500 to 300 BC. In this section, the author once again treats evidence not directly related to tragedy (e.g., musicians, choral performances) in the same way as evidence that clearly concerns tragedy. This has of course the result of downplaying the specific characteristics that tragedy had as a literary and performative genre. Despite the scarcity of the evidence directly related to tragedy, Stewart convincingly shows that Athens was not isolated in the Classical period in performing tragedy: performers came to play in tragedies in Athens from far afield. In fact, non-Athenian poets competing at the Great Dionysia were not as rare as previously thought, according to Stewart's review of the available evidence. By paying attention to the chronology of this evidence, the author is also able to show that the dissemination of tragedy is not a fourth-century development: Athens was, from the early stages of tragedy, only one of the centres (admittedly an important one) of a larger network of cities were the genre was developed. It is, however, acknowledged in the conclusion of this chapter that Athens 'almost certainly played a key part in the dissemination of tragedy to the wider Greek world' (p. 91), a claim that tends to be downplayed in the rest of the chapter and in the book in general.

Chapters 4, 5, and 6 examine the question of tragedy outside Attica from 500 to 300 BC. Chapter 4 focuses on the period between 500 and 450 BC. As expected, the question of Aeschylus' visit(s) to Sicily is examined in detail. Stewart shows how Aetnaeae and Persians (taken as re-performed for Hieron in the 470s) contained elements that were Panhellenic enough to appeal to a Sicilian audience. During this period, tragic poets emerged, alongside poets of other literary genres (lyric, epic), as professionals whom cities and tyrants could hire to celebrate their links to the entire Greek world. Stewart argues that the dissemination of tragedy had never been a late feature of this genre but that it was a reality from its earliest stages and was contemporary to its development.

For the period 450–400 BC (chapter 5), Euripides' works are examined more closely (esp. Archelaus, Temenus and Temenidae; Andromache; Captive Melanippe and Aeolus). The fundamental question asked in this chapter is whether those plays were merely Athenian 'exports' (i.e. plays intended to be first performed in Athens and then re-performed later elsewhere), or were in the first place intended for non-Athenian audiences, or were representative of tragedy understood as an essentially Panhellenic product (and thus intended to be performed elsewhere in the Greek world). After the examination of Euripides' case and the presentation of various hypotheses (sometimes speculative, but within reasonable limits) about the plays at the centre of this chapter and their place(s) of performance, Stewart concludes the chapter by saying that, contrary to the usual view on the question, tragedy did not begin to be exported outside Athens in the second half of the fifth century. He argues that the period 450–400 BC is only in continuity with the 50 previous years. A new 'market' for tragedy had opened in Macedonia, but the mechanism of dissemination of tragedy there was the same as was noted for the earlier period in other places. Once again, tragedies tell the stories of heroes in a way that highlights the links and connections between different parts of the Greek world. Poets who were eager to please rulers whose empires were situated at the margin of this world refashioned mythological stories in order to adapt to the contexts of performance.

The sixth and last chapter of the book deals with 'Tragedy outside Attica' from 400 to 300 BC. Stewart includes in this chapter reflections about the supposed changes specific to this period, namely the questions of whether tragedy became less political, the phenomenon of the emergence of professional actors, and the view that tragedy's content might have undergone substantial changes at that time. Here again, the author emphasizes continuity and argues against the idea that tragedy fundamentally changed between the fifth and the fourth centuries. In his view, tragedy had always been political and remained so. Cities, whether Athens or others, had always been interested in the performance of tragedy, which was from the beginning more concerned with Panhellenic themes than with local internal political questions. What was important in tragedy, Stewart argues, in the fifth as well as the fourth century, were the connections between cities that were part of a Panhellenic network. It would have been interesting to compare more closely those conclusions with regard to comedy. Another difficulty that might have been considered is the fact that, in order to gauge the extent to which a tragedy referred to local political interest, one needs to examine closely the full content of the work. As our knowledge of fourth-century tragedy is only fragmentary at best, the picture might be biased.

As for the supposed 'rise of the acting profession', Stewart again argues for continuity rather than radical change in the fourth century. While acknowledging the role of the actors in the dissemination of tragedy during the fourth century, he thinks that they were already doing so in the fifth when they travelled in the company of tragic poets. In this, he downplays the importance usually given to actors in the fourth century and the links between professional 'star actors', reperformances of older plays, and spread of tragedy. For him, the difference between the fifth and the fourth century is best explained by the fact that cities and rulers increasingly recognized and used tragedy as a Panhellenic genre rather than by seeing tragedy spread from Athens to other places.

The book included a summary conclusion and three appendices, the first of which gives a list of the fictive settings in which the stories narrated in tragedies take place. The overwhelming precedence of the Troad as a location for those stories should make us cautious about drawing any kind of link between fictive localization and real place of performance. The second appendix lists non-citizen performers in Attica, including performers/poets of other, non-tragic, genres, which somewhat artificially extends the amount of evidence actually available for the precise purpose of the book. The third appendix contains a short discussion in which Stewart argues in favour of the hypothesis that Phrynichus travelled to Sicily.

All in all, this is an interesting book, which has the merit of restoring tragedy and its dissemination to a wider geographical and literary context. Although at times one cannot help but feel that Stewart underestimates the role of Athens, his book is an important step in direction of seeing tragedy as not exclusively centred on Athens or limited to this city. Likewise, Stewart's taking other literary genres into account in his examination of the dissemination of tragedy is to be commended, although the widespread use of evidence related to non-tragic genres in chapters aimed at demonstrating a specific point about tragedy can be questioned. This is a well-argued, well-researched book, with a very clear structure (sometimes to the point of irritatingly repeating intermediate questions or conclusions). Stewart reveals a complete command of the relevant bibliography, including works in languages other than English. It is all the more regrettable that no one at Oxford University Press thought it worth proofreading non-English titles and quotations: almost every one of them contains at least one error.

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2018.04.45

Giorgio Bonamente, Roberto Cristofoli, Carlo Santini (ed.), Le figure del mito in Properzio: Proceedings of the Twentieth International Conference on Propertius, Assisi-Bevagna, 30 May-1 June 2014. Studi di poesia latina, 20. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016. Pp. 437. ISBN 9782503569376. €95,00 (pb).

Reviewed by Nicoletta Bruno, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, München​ (nicoletta.bruno@thesaurus.badw.de)

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Il volume raccoglie la maggior parte delle relazioni tenute al Convegno Le figure del mito in Properzio (Assisi-Bevagna, 30 maggio – 1 giugno 2014), 1 organizzato dall'Accademia Properziana del Subasio di Assisi. La città natale di Properzio ospita a cadenza biennale, sin dal 1976, prestigiosi convegni di studi sul poeta elegiaco latino.

Al tema del mito nelle elegie di Properzio hanno spesso rivolto la loro attenzione gli interpreti, come dimostrano anche i contributi del Convegno Properziano del 2002 (cf. BMCR 2005.04.24). Gli articoli contenuti nel volume sono tutti in lingua italiana, ad eccezione del contributo in spagnolo di Carmen Codoñer. Non si giustifica la traduzione dall'originale inglese del saggio di Alison Keith.

Il ricorso al mito si presenta, in particolar modo nell'età augustea, in tutta la sua radicale ambiguità, nelle trasposizioni e reinterpretazioni romane delle immagini del patrimonio leggendario greco. A ricostruire un quadro complesso e interdisciplinare concorrono tutti i contributi presenti nel volume, e le differenze metodologiche e i diversi approcci di ricerca ne rappresentano uno dei punti di forza.

Il volume si apre con il saggio di Paolo Fedeli, specialista mondiale della ricerca su Properzio e della poesia di età augustea. A partire dall'analisi dell'elegia 4, 9, lo studioso argomenta come l'autore latino si serva e manipoli il mito in senso ambiguo. Ercole, eroe in bilico tra divino e umano, inizialmente è visto sotto una luce eroica e invincibile, nel racconto della fatica contro Caco, già considerato esemplare in età augustea. Il richiamo allusivo all'episodio virgiliano nel libro VIII dell'Eneide, che sottolineava la potenza dell'eroe contro la brutalità del ladro dei buoi di Gerione, è palese. Del semidio Ottaviano rimarca la devozione, ma, emblematicamente, è anche il protettore della gens di Antonio. A questo punto comincia la degradazione dell'immagine mitica di Ercole, enfatizzata dagli aspetti buffoneschi della mancanza di moderazione nel consumo del vino e nei piaceri della tavola, già presente nella poesia greca (commedia, tragedia, tradizione alessandrina). La propaganda avversa era solita accostare Antonio a modelli negativi di comportamento, perché soggiogato dall'amore per Cleopatra e indotto dalla regina a intemperanze nei piaceri e alla mollezza nefasta dei costumi egizi. Proprio questo motiva l'accostamento tra il "nemico" Antonio e l'aspetto antieroico e degradato di Ercole.

Arcangela Cafagna analizza due episodi contenuti nelle elegie 4,7 e 4, 8, tratti dal ciclo troiano, in cui gli amanti elegiaci si "travestono" da eroi epici e ripropongono le situazioni dell'epos omerico e virgiliano con risultati paradossali. In 4, 7, ad esempio, l'apparizione agli occhi di Properzio dell'ombra di Cinzia riprende in forma analogica la visione di Achille dell'ombra di Patroclo nel XXIII canto dell'Iliade (vv. 69-92). La situazione dolorosa di lutto del modello omerico viene declinata da Properzio in modo funzionale al discorso elegiaco. Lo studio conferma che il riuso elegiaco di episodi ricavati dal repertorio dell'epica ha un tono e un risultato finale ben diversi da quelli del modello di riferimento, per via delle caratteristiche linguistico-stilistiche e delle finalità che differenziano i due generi letterari.

Il contributo di Giampiero Rosati mira a indagare il rapporto tra Properzio e il mito troiano, fondato sulla mediazione omerica e sui poemi del Ciclo epico. Si ridiscutono, così, le interrelazioni tra i testi elegiaci properziani e l'epos, tema su cui più volte ritornano gli interpreti, per proporre o affinare nuove chiavi di lettura. Attraverso una puntuale analisi dei testi, lo studioso giunge alla conclusione che l'erotizzazione dei personaggi del mito troiano (e.g. Pentesilea, Achille, Briseide, Paride, Elena) e di alcuni passi tratti dall'Iliade, è una caratteristica peculiare della tradizione post-omerica. Il mito troiano, pertanto, pur essendo un mito epico e di conseguenza anti-elegiaco, viene riletto come la storia di una "guerra per una donna", Elena, e acquista una veste elegiaca, perché diviene l'archetipo di una "guerra per amore". Alla luce di questa prospettiva, sia l'Iliade sia l'Odissea hanno la loro origine in una donna: in conclusione, infatti, Rosati cita Ovidio, che, nella sua provocatoria autodifesa davanti ad Augusto, sostiene che perfino Omero può considerarsi un poeta erotico (trist. 2, 371-80).

Il mito di Troia resurgens è al centro del contributo di Fabio Stok, richiamando il saggio del 1975 di Mario Pani. 2 Rappresenta una creazione letteraria nuova, nata in età augustea dall'idea che in Roma riviva l'antica Troia. Anche se i riferimenti al mito troiano non mancano in tutti i libri delle Elegie di Properzio, nel IV libro viene proposta un'immagine della guerra di Troia completamente diversa rispetto ai libri precedenti. Stok esamina un passo particolarmente problematico (4, 1, 39-54): la tradizione manoscritta colloca i vv. 87-88, che predicono la resurrezione di Troia, in posizione indubbiamente incongrua, ovvero nel discorso di Horos (dopo il v. 52). Lo studioso propende per l'espunzione del distico, giacché la collocazione dei vv. 87-88 non sembra una casuale trasposizione meccanica, bensì un'interpolazione

volta a includere nella profezia di Horos l'annuncio del futuro di Roma, anche in considerazione del fatto che Horos predice il disastroso ritorno in patria dei Greci, sottinteso nella profezia di Cassandra. (p. 86)

Con un approccio narratologico e il richiamo allo schema archetipico della ragazza perseguitata, Paola Pinotti, nel suo intervento, prende in esame le storie dell'eroina Antiope, nella 3, 15, e di Io nella 2, 33a. Secondo l'autrice, il primo mito è narrato da Properzio in "stile soggettivo", una modalità che ricorda lo stile epico virgiliano: un'interpretazione che supera l'approccio tradizionale del riuso del materiale mitologico da parte del poeta. Quanto alla seconda eroina, Io, Properzio offre una trattazione patetica del mito, dai toni ironici e dissacranti, nella quale l'eroina tragica subisce una metamorfosi elegiaca, finendo per interagire con il mondo del poeta e di Cinzia, non come una semplice citazione erudita, ma come protagonista di un'autentica avventura sentimentale.

Nel suo ampio contributo, Luciano Landolfi si occupa delle diverse funzioni delle divinità orientali nella poesia di Properzio: si passa dalla funzione metaletteraria (Bacco) a quella esornativa-pragmatica (Cibele), per poi giungere alla funzione paradigmatica e contraria (Iside) fino a quella complementare (Anubi). Grazie a una rigorosa analisi filologico-linguistica, il saggio mostra come le divinità orientali, nonostante la loro marginalità nel pantheon romano, abbiano arricchito in maniera considerevole il repertorio iconografico e simbolico del poeta elegiaco.

Il contributo di Rosa Alba Dimundo affronta nel dettaglio l'esame di tre figure femminili del ciclo troiano in versione elegiaca: Calipso, Penelope e Elena. Gran parte delle vicende mitiche, si è visto, sono impiegate da Properzio per illustrare le alterne vicende del suo rapporto con Cinzia. La ninfa Calipso, nell'analisi dell'elegia 1, 15, è per l'autrice il personaggio che risente maggiormente della "riduzione" elegiaca e subisce la trasformazione più radicale dei suoi connotati tradizionali. La Calipso properziana assume infatti una nuova personalità: abbandonata da Odisseo, la ninfa si trascura e si dispera, con un atteggiamento patetico e lamentoso, sulla spiaggia deserta.

L'intervento di Roberto Cristofoli è dedicato all'analisi storica dell'elegia 4, 10, che rievoca i tre episodi canonici di conquista e dedica a Giove Feretrio degli spolia opima, che la tradizione storica e mitologica attribuiva a Romolo, Cornelio Cosso e Claudio Marcello. La propaganda augustea, è ben noto, mirava all'assimilazione romulea della figura di Ottaviano. L'allineamento di Properzio all'ideologia di Augusto, risulta ed è particolarmente evidente nella 4, 10, in cui il fondatore di Roma è rivalutato rispetto ai libri precedenti e occupa con la sua impresa lo spazio maggiore, insieme al più lungo elogio del governo di Augusto, aderente ai dettami del mos maiorum.

Obiettivo del saggio di Francesca Boldrighini è rappresentato dalla decorazione pittorica a soggetto mitologico della Domus Musae, un edificio di epoca romana, sito al di sotto della chiesa di S. Maria Maggiore di Assisi. Lo studio si concentra inizialmente sui graffiti greci leggibili sulle pareti, in corrispondenza dei dipinti, che, purtroppo, non si sono completamente conservati. La Boldrighini conduce un'analisi comparativa delle diverse letture dei testi che sono state proposte nel corso degli anni e stabilisce un confronto tra i dipinti di Assisi e alcuni soggetti pittorici analoghi conservati in edifici di Pompei e dell'area campana, che consentono di avanzare ipotesi sul soggetto iconografico perduto nella Domus Musae umbra.

Carmen Codoñer dedica il suo studio al personaggio di Tarpea, protagonista dell'elegia 4, 4, che si rivela come un riflesso di Properzio stesso e della sua precedente produzione di carattere amoroso all'interno del IV libro. La scelta dell'eroina antepone la dimensione privata a quella pubblica, in controtendenza rispetto alla posizione che ha assunto il poeta al momento della stesura del libro, e pertanto sembra essere una sorta di lascito del vecchio Properzio al nuovo. La parte conclusiva dell'articolo è particolarmente convincente per la contrapposizione, nel personaggio di Tarpea, tra il desiderio d'amore e la rottura del patto della fides, attraverso il tradimento ai danni della sua patria (amor vs. fides).

Il nome di Cinzia è messo in relazione, già a partire dall'elegia 1, 1, con la figura della dea della caccia Diana, attraverso l'episodio del mito di Atalanta e Milanione, un'associazione che Properzio ha ereditato da Callimaco (Hymn. 3, 215-224). Nel suo saggio, Alison Keith rimarca i tratti distintivi che Cinzia eredita dall'archetipo della cacciatrice, in primo luogo la resistenza all'amore (la domina come cacciatrice). Tuttavia, pur essendo frequente l'analogia tra Cinzia e Diana (le allusioni compaiono in diverse elegie e in tutti i libri), spesso il rapporto tra la donna elegiaca e l'archetipo divino appare mutevole e complicato. Properzio, inoltre, lega la donna amata alla figura di Diana-divinità lunare (1, 1; 1, 2; 1, 3; 1, 10), proprio a confermare l'inclinazione programmatica del suo verso elegiaco.

L'intervento di Giovanni Polara dischiude una riflessione sull'aspetto teorico dell'uso del mito nella poesia di Properzio. L'exemplum mitologico, secondo lo studioso, serve al poeta soprattutto nei contesti autobiografici, per attenuare gli eccessi di coinvolgimento, componente ereditata dalla poesia ellenistica, in particolare callimachea. Sempre sulla scia di una riflessione teorica, nel saggio successivo, Carlo Santini spiega la natura simbolica dei miti acquatici. L'acqua rappresenta il simbolo della fluidità e della mutevolezza del riuso mitologico nel genere elegiaco e ritorna come elemento immancabile nella poetica properziana. Santini ripercorre lo studio del "simbolismo" properziano a partire dai moderni Hermann Hesse, Virginia Woolf e Robert Musil, fino ad approdare a letture sociologiche più recenti, come Zygmunt Bauman e la simbologia della "liquidità" contemporanea.

Il contributo archeologico di Fausto Zevi non riguarda propriamente Properzio, ma uno dei temi cari alla propaganda di età augustea: l'origine troiana di Roma. Il saggio di Zevi, dopo una efficace ricostruzione delle fonti storiche e letterarie delle fondazioni troiane nel Lazio, illustra le nuove scoperte nei luoghi del Lazio di cui parla Virgilio, ovvero il santuario lavinate del Sol Indiges e gli scavi di Castrum Inui, sede del santuario del dio Inus. Zevi ripercorre l'indagine del complesso del Castrum Inui ad Ardea, scoperto da Francesco Di Mario e ampiamente studiato da Mario Torelli, secondo il quale coinciderebbe con il sito che la tradizione indicava come l'approdo di Enea, descritto da Dionigi di Alicarnasso (Ant. Rom. 1, 64, 4-5).

Nelle sue lucide e attente conclusioni, Raffaele Perrelli sottolinea l'attenzione rivolta, in prevalenza, al IV libro, su cui si è ampiamente soffermato l'interesse degli studiosi negli ultimi anni, a partire dai commenti di Hutchinson (Cambridge 2006), Coutelle (Bruxelles 2015), Fedeli-Dimundo-Ciccarelli (Nordhausen 2015). I contributi raccolti nel presente volume gettano nuova luce su diversi aspetti, nella poetica e nell'età di Properzio, dell'uso del mito, in alcuni casi, degradato e rovesciato, in altri, enfatizzato a scopi propagandistici. ​



Notes:


1.   Non sono presenti i testi della lezione inaugurale del Convegno, tenuta da Piero Boitani, e l'intervento di Vittorio Ferraro.
2.   cf. M. Pani, "Troia resurgens: mito troiano e ideologia del principato", in AFLB 18, 1975, 65-85.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

2018.04.44

Laurel Fulkerson, Tim Stover (ed.), Repeat Performances: Ovidian Repetition and the Metamorphoses. Wisconsin studies in classics. Madison; London: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016. Pp. vii, 328. ISBN 9780299307509. $75.00.

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

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

From the subtitle, a reader may be led to believe that this collection of essays treats of aspects such as figura etymologica, polyptoton, epanalepsis and anaphora, as well as perhaps the type of formulaic phrases that are characteristic of epic composition. However, the concept of "repetition" is envisioned much more widely by the two editors of the book and the ten contributors of individual chapters, to cover anything from Ovidian intratextuality (re-use of his own words, plots or themes), to all aspects of Ovid's intertextual allusion to Latin and Greek predecessors, both verbal and thematic, plus the earliest receptions of Ovid by other epicists. Ovid's poetics appear to have set the norm against which his successors measured themselves.

An erudite "Introduction" by the two editors ("Echoes of the Past") explains their approach to repetition, starting with various interpretations of an author's "dynamic recycling of previous material" (4), such as Bloom's idea of "appropriative hostility" in parody and pastiche, versus Deleuze's idea of imitation as "either a theft or a gift," implying a "hierarchical model" within which the imitator "admits inferiority" or "rehabilita[tes]… a lesser-known model" or "goes one better" (5). They touch briefly on early twentieth century denigration (as morally reprehensible) of authors who either unconsciously borrowed from predecessors or deliberately repeated themselves (6).

The editors place Ovidian repetition in three categories: revision of previously published work, re-use of his own words and "re-appropriation of his own work," concluding that Ovid's "own acquisitive habits" served as a model for his successors (8-9). A discussion of Ovid's Echo and Narcissus tale from Metamorphoses 3.399-510 as a "case study" serves as illumination of Ovid's multi-faceted approach (9-15). This ties in with the cover illustration featuring Salvador Dali's 1937 Metamorphosis of Narcissus. The picture represents two different phases of the unfortunate youth's "floralization," as well as the reflections of both these phases in the pond that serves as his mirror, that is, repetitive duplication and reduplication, a subtle touch. The Narcissus tale essentially shows "the complicated nature of representation and reality… a topic closely related to repetition" (9-10). However, emphasis here is on Echo, the juxtaposition of whose tale with that of Narcissus is an Ovidian innovation, so the editors. "Repetition" is the Leitmotiv of Echo's tale; her clever redeployment of Narcissus' words in a successful attempt at conversation leads to what the editors term her "smutty double entendres" which, while "literally reappropriat[ing] Narcissus' questions and exclamations, "…is also, on Ovid's part, a kind of recycling," serving as a "powerful model for intertextual relations" (11).

In Chapter One ("Nothing like the Sun: Repetition and Representation in Ovid's Phaethon Narrative") Andrew Feldherr starts with a short discussion of the more obvious aspects of duplication (a rape-and-paternity plot, verbal echoes, Augustan political comment) in the tale of Phaethon, who sought to find certainty about his paternity as son of the Sun (a delicious repetition in English, not available to our Roman predecessors) and whose temerity in assuming that he had inherited enough of his father's characteristics to take over his duties for a day led to inevitable disaster. Feldherr considers that the story "comments on the hermeneutic consequences of repetition itself… [serving as] a kind of verbal metamorphosis capable of simultaneously suggesting sameness and difference" (27). In his discussion of the sculptures on the doors of Sol's palace (which, incidentally, reprise Ovid's account of the creation of the cosmos), Feldherr makes an important point about the function of ecphrasis in literature as another form of repetition: a verbal mirror of reality. The author's metatextual interpretation of the tale as an almost Platonic metaphor for the common human search for identity cannot be re-argued here: a series of close analyses of the text throughout the chapter serves to elucidate how throughout this tale Ovid is concerned with repetition as paradoxically central in a poem about change.

Chapter Two ("Repeat after Me: the Loves of Venus and Mars in Ars Amatoria 2 and Metamorphoses 4,") is the first of three chapters in which Ovid's debt to (reception of) Homer is explored. Barbara Weiden Boyd's discussion here of Ovid's two-fold repetition of the tale he gleaned from Odyssey 8 later became part of her extensive monograph titled "Ovid's Homer" (Oxford 2017). In the third chapter ("Ovid's Cycnus and Homer's Achilles Heel," where the omission of a second possessive apostrophe indicates a subtle pun worthy of Ovid himself) Peter Heslin triangulates from the episode in Ovid's "prequel" to the Iliad in Met 12 (where an apparently invincible Cycnus does battle with an apparently equally invincible Achilles) to Homer and subsequently to Statius' Achilleid. The gist of Heslin's argument is that Ovid's mischievous hinting at the idea of Achilles' vulnerability in the cut and thrust of this battle undercuts Homer's apparently objectively epic depiction of his hero. This, so Heslin, directly influenced Statius' version of the story of Achilles, which has always been considered as the first to feature the vulnerable heel.

The theme of Ovidian nuancing of the Homeric epic tradition also underlies Four ("Loca Luminis haurit: Ovid's recycling of Hecuba,") by Antony Augoustakis. In a complex nexus of arguments, the author delineates the line Ovid drew from Homer, via tragedy, to Vergil's Aeneid, by focusing on Hecuba as both victim and perpetrator of violence, and, by extension, on Hecuba's dual character as a metaphor for what the editors have termed the "mutilation and deformation of literary tradition that Ovid's poetics of recycling entails" (18).

The next three chapters concentrate on Ovid's re-use of his own material. Darcy Krasne (Five, "Succeeding Succession: Cosmic and Earthly Succession in the Fasti and Metamorphoses,") compares Ovid's rival cosmogonies, largely correspondent in the opening verses of both works, but with an alternative cosmogony in Fasti 5. The structure of this third version is neatly set out in Table 5.2. (127). Throughout, the divine "succession myth" parallels the imperial, as also in the 15th book of Ovid's epic. Both divine and human "sons" are drawn as surpassing their fathers, but in the human sphere no overthrow of the father-figure is featured; yet in Fasti 5 the ramifications of the "complex of Jupiter, Mars, Augustus, Tiberius" (142) hint toward the potential supremacy of Tiberius over his adoptive "progenitor."

Sharon James (Six, "Rape and Repetition in Ovid's Metamorphoses: Myth, History, Structure, Rome") tackles the fraught topic of rape in the poem, and the fact that the occurrence of such stories tapers off during the course of the epic. As our poet's narration of "world history" moves westward and ever closer to his own time, the uncomfortable aspects of the Roman founding myths are simply omitted: no Rhea Silvia, Sabines, Lucretia or Verginia are shown as violated during the course of the creation of the Roman state. James sees in this a political dimension: their omission causes these tales to become conspicuous by their very absence, an uncomfortable intrusion into Augustus' much vaunted "re-founding" of Rome.

Until the end of his life Ovid continued to re-use his own material: in exile, much from his earlier poetry reappears, now with a new thrust, but often, too, illustrating how the poet's life has become the final metamorphosis in his oeuvre. Peter Knox in Seven ("Metamorphoses in a Cold Climate,") first concentrates on Ovid's view of his relationship to his own poetry, reading the tale of Althaea's vengeance on her own son for the death of his uncles as "a metaphor for negation of the creative act" (180). Next, Knox discusses the exiled Ovid's frequent view of himself as an Actaeon, the victim of Fortune, punished for a mistake, rather than a crime, and, consequently, his view of Augustus as a vengeful Jupiter. "Repetitions of themes," so Knox, "… activate the intertext in the Metamorphoses… [so that i]t becomes impossible to read [its] … epilogue without interpolating Augustus into the text." Of a passage from the Tristia: "it is not Jupiter's wrath that is at issue, but Caesar's" (188). Verbatim repetition of 15.129 from the epilogue of the Metamorphoses in Tristia 4.10 signals Ovid's view of his own death-defying renown as set against oppression. Knox's concluding paragraph (191) has a more negative interpretation of the tone of Ovid's last work, the Epistolae ex Ponto, than this reviewer finds in it.

Eight ("Ovidian Itineraries in Flavian Epic,") by Alison Keith and Nine ("Revisiting Ovidian Silius, along with Lucretian, Vergilian, and Lucanian Silius," 225-48) by Neil W. Bernstein together cover the major Flavian authors who show Ovidian influence: that is, the earliest receptions of our poet, that served to establish him as a normative predecessor. Both are writing against the more common assumption of the preeminence of Vergil as the paragon. The chapters differ vastly, yet complement each other: Keith gives a careful analysis of the manner in which Ovid serves to supplement Vergilian evocations in Valerius Flaccus, Statius and Silius Italicus. Bernstein examines the occurrence of "quotation" from predecessors in Silius. This is done in a novel way: a quantitive analysis (by means of a computer program called Tesserae) of "all matches of two-lexeme phrases in a database of more than three hundred poetic and prose texts from the Greco-Roman literary corpus" (226). A system of "weighting" ensures that such matching can be further refined to eliminate common and fortuitous similarities, leaving only those that are "interpretatively significant." A series of tables shows the relationship between Ovid, his Flavian successors and Silius. Again Ovid stands second to Vergil, but is still a significant source for emulation on the lexical level.

Finally, in Ten ("Return to Enna: Ovid and Ovidianism in Claudian's unfinished De raptu Proserpinae) Stephen Hinds shows how, by the late fourth century, Ovid had become established as the norm, and this poem appears as almost "Flavian" in its closely "Ovidian" feel. Claudian was a Greek who composed in both Latin and his own tongue. Hinds shows that his responsiveness to Ovid's repetitive poetics is functional and essential to the fabric of his poem. A central philological issue has always been the question of whether the locus amoenus whence Proserpina was abducted was Enna ("Henna") or Etna, a reading of DRP 2.71-5 which has been favored in various modern editions. Recourse to Ovid's Met.5.385-6 and Cicero's Verr. 4.107 indicates "Enna" as the correct reading. Also, so Hinds, as a bilingual "Greek [with] Alexandrian origins" (267), Claudian could not have resisted the punning play on the contrast between Hennaeae (= Greek "oneness") and "numeric" Latin words "/ unica… secundam… / primos… / numeri damnum" in DRP 1.122-6. Hinds' chapter is particularly rich and thought-provoking, but must be left here in favor of a more general discussion.

Particularly memorable in all considerations of the concept of repetition are Feldherr's remarks (33) on ecphrasis as aiding the reader's "understanding of the relationship between representation and reality"; also, contrast between "unchanging ecphrasis and the linear narrative of Ovid's poem" illustrates the contrast between a "fixed picture" (as in visual art) versus "fluid narrative". Memorable in a different way is Hind's delicious praeteritio (276n.39) by means of which he manages to smuggle in a brief note on Claudian's debt to Vergil.

Less memorable are a few linguistic solecisms or deviations from the academic register: "…tradition from which Hercules has been air-brushed out" (twice: 76, 77); "a Homeric red-herring" (86); "paint-by-numbers view of poetic composition" (89); "she refutes a deeper …connection" for, presumably, "…rejects…" (149n.48); "…none of the Flavians take it up" (197). Another quibble: the Preface refers to "the original conference" (vii) on, we must assume, the topic of Ovidian repetition, and, apparently, at one of the campuses of Florida State University, but nowhere is this explicitly stated, nor when the conference took place. Also, puzzlingly, the editors refer to the "ambience" of the conference, when the context shows that "atmosphere" or "feel" of the event is meant. However, my slightly negative reaction to this was soon dissipated by the quality of both their Introduction and the chapters that follow.

Endnotes are printed after each chapter, which renders them slightly less difficult to look up than at the end of a volume, but footnotes would still have been preferable. A combined bibliography comprises a list of "Works Cited", starting with a list of common abbreviations. Thumbnail sketches of the twelve collaborators take up three pages, followed by a brief topical index of three double-columned pages and a similarly double-columned Index Locorum.

This volume of essays ranges widely and yet seems only to have touched on the theme of Ovidian repetition. Scholars can fruitfully take up the challenge to explore the topic in other directions.

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2018.04.43

Irene Berti, Katharina Bolle, Fanny Opdenhoff, Fabian Stroth (ed.), Writing Matters: Presenting and Perceiving Monumental Inscriptions in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Materiale Textkulturen, 14. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. viii, 395. ISBN 9783110529159. €89,95.

Reviewed by Alexandra Wilding, University of Manchester (alexandra.wilding@manchester.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

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[The Table of Contents is listed below]

The present volume assesses the value of ancient and medieval texts, primarily those incised on hard surfaces such as stone, as artefacts with the potential to interact with and even re-shape their immediate surroundings.1 It is based on the conference 'Writing Matters. Presenting and Perceiving Monumental Texts in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures' held in Heidelberg from 10-12th October 2013, and consists of 13 contributions (three in German and 10 in English, all of which have brief synopses in the Introduction, pp. 5-9). They are arranged thematically under four headings: 'Theoretical and Methodical Approaches Around and About Writing', 'Text Spaces', 'Inscribed Monuments and Memory' and 'Writing Practices: Seeing, Perceiving and Acting with Inscriptions'. Space unfortunately does not permit discussion of all the contributions in this review.

After a brief introduction by the editors, the first section deals with 'Theoretical and Methodical Approaches Around and About Writing'. Of particular note here is the chapter by Ludger Lieb and Ricarda Wagner, which tackles the difficulty of assessing an inscription's impact on human actions and emotions (its 'affordance').2 They suggest that surveying literature for literary references which mention or directly quote an inscribed text ('fictional metatexts') is a way to identify the functions of physically extant inscriptions and to gauging their broader importance. This study may encourage systematic collection of literary references to Greek and Latin inscriptions.3

In the section on 'Text Spaces', focus is on the influence that a setting could have on an inscribed document (a theme also important to the latter two sections). While scholars remain interested in the factors determining the location of a particular genre of text,4 this section considers how an inscription's location could also create meaning. The chapter by Irene Berti and Péter Kató concerns the reception of Hellenistic lists of names at Athens and on Kos, places where list- makers were particularly prolific. The chapter focuses on records of actions such as lists of public donations (epidoseis) and lists men who served on the council. These lists commemorate the actions of the individuals concerned, but the authors suggest that their placement within major sanctuaries and civic centers important to the democratic image of their respective communities extended such commemoration to all citizens (a point made more explicit in the case of Athens): for example, the location of lists of prytaneis in front of the bouleuterion and later inside the prytanikon possibly represented the political involvement of all Athenians. While the social purpose of inscribed lists is well explored, it would be interesting to uncover more about their honorific capacity in relation to other Athenian honorific practices at this time.5

The chapter by Eeva-Maria Viitanen and Laura Nissin discusses the spatial contexts of the painted notices (programmata) that promoted candidates in local elections at Pompeii. By comparing reconstructions of their spatial distribution above and between doorways of public and private buildings with known 'street activity', they hypothesize a connection between the placement of the candidates' notices and the doorway owners. The importance of exactly where a text was visible is brought to the fore, and the authors speculate on who determined an inscription's placement and how they did so: although exact details are unknown, they suggest plausibly that negotiations between the candidates and doorway owners – who were possibly supporters and even neighbours – were integral to their location.

The section on 'Inscribed Monuments and Memory' examines the relationship between epigraphy and remembrance.6 The connection is drawn out particularly well by Julia Shear in her exploration of the Athenians' posthumous honours for Demosthenes in 281/0 BC, which were displayed within the Agora. Shear's chapter reflects on the fact that the reception of an honorific monument is shaped by historical circumstance: in this instance, she argues that Demosthenes' reputation as a past defender of democracy made it possible for his honours to blend in with the Athenians' contemporary efforts to re-establish their democracy.

Elizabeth Meyer's chapter offers a different perspective on the mnemonic function of inscribed monuments: she argues that the choice of a document's physical layout could harken back to the memory and importance of a society's earlier inscribing habits. Meyer's focus is on the Athenians' development of writing in columnar format, which began in the early fifth century, and suggests that this habit was inspired by inscribed posts set up on the Acropolis from the late sixth century (whose content corresponded broadly to thesmoi). Although Meyer is faced with the obvious problem of patterns in survival,7 her hypothesis that the columnar format was used in texts whose content overlapped with the concerns of earlier thesmoi is broadly compelling (although it is not applied as forcefully to the casualty lists from the Kerameikos). This chapter may encourage further recognition of the physical presentation of inscriptions in order to unlock their mnemonic function.

The final section, 'Writing Practices: Seeing, Perceiving and Acting with Inscriptions', concerns both the performative effect of inscribed texts and also motivations for monumentalizing the written word. The chapter by Vincent Debiais focuses on writing above, and leading to, medieval doors and passageways of religious structures, particularly the representation of the Holy City on a column capital in the Cloister of Moissac. Debiais highlights how the physical presence of this capital's text influenced the movements and even cognitive senses of its viewer: its position in front of the church door, for example, meant that its text signaled an entrance to sacred space. However, it was just one of the 80 capitals within the cloister and it would be useful to know more about how the Holy City capital fitted with the others, 80% of which were also inscribed (particularly as the influence that monuments could have on one another is a theme in several of this volume's chapters).

Rebecca Benefiel's chapter moves indoors in her exploration of wall inscriptions within domestic spaces at Pompeii, at the villa of San Marco at Stabiae, and at the villa of Poppaea at Oplontis. Although larger urban and rural domestic spaces display similar numbers of wall inscriptions, Benefiel observes a difference in their performative nature. At Pompeii, she suggests that wall inscriptions represent social interaction between residents and visitors: their placement in clusters within larger rooms and entrance halls suggest the inscriptions are communicating with one another. At the two rural villas, however, Benefiel notes a stronger presence of non-textual inscriptions such as drawings and numerical graffiti and a less- clustered spatial distribution and argues plausibly that this reflects a more ornamental than social function. One wonders if the type of person incising the text within urban and rural domestic spaces influenced its purpose.

Overall, this volume's loosely thematic approach succeeds in highlighting key similarities in the function of ancient and medieval incised texts, but the themes in each section are quite fluid. The editors note explicitly (p. 5) that several of the chapters could usefully contribute to more than one of the volume's subsections; inevitably, this does blur their focus. Nevertheless, this volume offers an important contribution to understanding incised texts and will be of value to students and scholars of various disciplines.

Table of Contents

Irene Berti, Katharina Bolle, Fanny Opdenhoff, Fabian Stroth. Introduction - 1
Theoretical and Methodical Approaches Around and About Writing
Ludger Lieb and Ricarda Wagner. Dead Writing Matters? Materiality and Presence in Medieval German Narrations of Epitaphs - 15
Alexander Starre. Social Texts: How to Account for the Cultural Work of Carrier Media - 27
Francisca Feraudi-Gruénais. Das synaktive Potential von Beischriften - 43
Text Spaces
Irene Berti und Péter Kató. Listen im öffentlichen Raum hellenistischer Städte - 79
Eeva-Maria Viitanen and Laura Nissin. Campaigning for Votes in Ancient Pompeii: Contextualizing Electoral Programmata - 117
Georgios Pallis. Messages from a Sacred Space: The Function of the Byzantine Sanctuary Barrier Inscriptions (9th-14th centuries) - 145
Inscribed Monuments and Memory
Julia L. Shear. Writing Past and Present in Hellenistic Athens: The Honours for Demosthenes - 161
Milena Melfi. The Stele of Polybios: Art, Text and Context in Second-Century BC Greece – 191
Elizabeth A. Meyer. Inscribing in Columns in Fifth-Century Athens - 205
Writing Practices: Seeing, Perceiving and Acting with Inscriptions
Andreas Rhoby. Text as Art? Byzantine Inscriptions and Their Display - 265
Vincent Debiais. Writing on Medieval Doors: The Surveyor Angel on the Moissac Capital (ca. 1100) - 285
Wilfried E. Keil. Von sichtbaren und verborgenen Signaturen an mittelalterlichen Kirchen - 309
Rebecca R. Benefiel. Urban and Suburban Attitudes to Writing on Walls? Pompeii and Environs - 353


Notes:


1.   Recent publications assessing the inscribed word beyond its immediate textual content include: Zahra Newby and Ruth Leader-Newby (eds.), Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World. Cambridge, 2007; Julia L. Shear, Polis and Revolution: Responding to Oligarchy in Classical Athens, Cambridge, 2011.
2.   This chapter is related to the subproject led by Ludger Lieb, 'Inscriptionality. Reflections of the Material Text Culture in the Literature of the 12th to 17th Centuries', which is part of the Collaborative Research Center 933, 'Materiality and Presence of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies' at the University of Heidelberg.
3.   See now Peter Liddel and Polly Low (eds.), Inscriptions and Their Uses in Greek and Latin Literature. Oxford, 2013, a collection of essays focussed on Greek and Latin literary attitudes to fictional and non-fictional epigraphical texts. For discussion of assembling a collection of inscriptions preserved in literary testimonia see pp. 4-6.
4.   For example: Robin G. Osborne, 'Inscribing Democracy' in R.G. Osborne and S. Goldhill (eds.), Performance Culture in Athenian Democracy, Cambridge, 1999: 341-58, Peter Liddel, 'The Places of Publication of Athenian State Decrees from the Fifth Century BC to the Third Century AD', ZPE 134 (2003): 79-93, Stephen D. Lambert Inscribed Athenian Laws and Decrees in the Age of Demosthenes. Historical Essays. Leiden, 2018: Chapter 1.
5.   For example, William Mack, Proxeny and Polis. Institutional Networks in the Ancient Greek World. Oxford, 2015 p. 240 (with Fig. 5.5, p. 241) observes that while the Athenians' inscription of honorific decrees declined from the late fourth century, inscribed decrees for citizens from this time were more common than those for non-citizens.
6.   The bibliography is extensive, but recent studies include Julia L. Shear, Polis and Revolution: Responding to Oligarchy in Classical Athens. Cambridge, 2011; Julia L. Shear, 'The Politics of the Past: Remembering Revolution at Athens', in J. Marincola, L. Llewellyn-Jones and C. Maciver (eds.), Greek Notions of the Past in the Archaic and Classical Eras. Edinburgh, 2012: 276-300; Polly Low, 'Remembering and Forgetting: The Creation and Destruction of Inscribed Monuments in Classical Athens', in J. Tumblety (ed.) Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject. London and New York, 2013: 71-87; Stephen D. Lambert Inscribed Athenian Laws and Decrees in the Age of Demosthenes. Historical Essays. Leiden, 2018: Chapters 5 and 6.
7.   For extant inscribed stone posts from the Acropolis (and elsewhere within Athens and Attica) see Elizabeth A. Meyer, 'Posts, Kurbeis, Metopes: The Origins of the Athenian "Documentary" Stele', Hesperia 85 (2016): 323-383 (pp. 359-360, Table 1).

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