Friday, June 23, 2017

2017.06.38

Frederik A. Bakker, Epicurean Meteorology: Sources, Method, Scope and Organization. Philosophia antiqua, 142. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016. Pp. xii, 301. ISBN 9789004321564. €125.00.

Reviewed by Francesco Verde, 'Sapienza' University of Rome / Julius–Maximilians–Universität Würzburg (francesco.verde@uniroma1.it)

Version at BMCR home site

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Vi sono alcuni libri che, prima della loro pubblicazione, già sono citati dagli studiosi; questo è il caso della dissertazione dottorale di Frederik A. Bakker, Three Studies in Epicurean Cosmology (2010) che, dopo un accurato lavoro di revisione e di aggiornamento bibliografico, è pubblicata per i tipi di Brill. Fino al libro di Bakker non esisteva una monografia interamente dedicata alla questione della meteorologia epicurea, pertanto l'indiscusso merito di questo volume è soprattutto quello di aver colmato una lacuna negli studi. Il volume di Bakker non è un testo semplice per via delle molte questioni che vi si trattano; non è neppure un libro che raggiunge soluzioni definitive, preservando quella decisiva dose di problematicità che ogni onesta ricerca storica deve avere. Un ulteriore merito di questo lavoro è quello di essere profondamente improntato a una seria (e ormai rara) Quellengeschichte, fondata su un'attenta analisi dei non facili testi primari, senza tralasciare un costante confronto critico con la letteratura secondaria, ampia e soprattutto multilingue, che non discute, quindi, la sola produzione anglofona, come ormai generalmente si vede fare.

In questa sede ripercorrerò—anche se sommariamente—i temi affrontati, aggiungendo alcune considerazioni. Dopo una General Introduction (pp. 1–7) che, facendo da primo capitolo, fornisce alcuni dati essenziali sull'Epicureismo ed esibisce programmaticamente i temi che saranno affrontati nel corso del libro, il secondo capitolo è dedicato alle Multiple Explanations (pp. 8–75). Lo studio dei meteora (che per Epicuro sono tanto i fenomeni che chiameremmo meteorologici quanto quelli più strettamente astronomici) presuppone il pleonachos tropos, il metodo delle molteplici spiegazioni o cause. All'inizio dell'Epistola a Pitocle (86) Epicuro afferma che i fenomeni celesti hanno molteplici cause del loro generarsi e della loro essenza (πλεοναχὴν ἔχει καὶ τῆς γενέσεως αἰτίαν καὶ τῆς οὐσίας); uno dei motivi che potrebbe aver spinto Epicuro a teorizzare tale metodo epistemologico potrebbe risiedere nel fatto che i meteora, essendo lontani da noi, sono degli adela, quindi delle realtà non–evidenti che è possibile esaminare scientificamente facendo riferimento ai loro semeia (Pyth. 87) forniti dai fenomeni che accadono presso di noi. La nostra conoscenza dei meteora, quindi, non è diretta ma è mediata dai loro semeia e, di conseguenza, dai fenomeni παρ' ἡμῖν. Giova menzionare, in proposito, la distinzione tracciata da Sesto Empirico (M VIII 318–319) tra φύσει ἄδηλα e τῷ γένει ἄδηλα; si può concludere che i meteora, per Epicuro, non siano φύσει ἄδηλα (in questo caso la loro analisi risulterebbe impossibile) ma τῷ γένει ἄδηλα, la cui conoscenza è ottenibile attraverso segni o dimostrazioni (διὰ δὲ σημείων ἢ ἀποδείξεων). In questo capitolo Bakker si pone soprattutto due problemi: (1) le spiegazioni alternative date da Epicuro per un fenomeno celeste sono tutte vere? Il pleonachos tropos è originario di Epicuro o deriva dal Peripato? Dopo aver esaminato la lunga testimonianza sestana (M VII 211–216) e la generale metodologia della conferma (epimartyresis)/smentita (antimartyresis), Bakker conclude che tutte le spiegazioni fornite da Epicuro e da Lucrezio (DRN V–VI) sono tutte vere sulla base del cosiddetto principle of plenitude per cui, date l'infinità del vuoto e l'infinità degli atomi, negli infiniti mondi le spiegazioni non sono solo possibili ma tutte vere: «Although in our world each explanation can at best be called possible, in the universe at large, given the infinity of space and matter and hence of worlds, any given possibility cannot fail to be realised (the 'principle of plenitude') and so every possible explanation is also 'true', if not here, then somewhere else» (pp. 21–22). A ciò andrebbe aggiunto, però, che, per quanto i mondi siano infiniti, le forme e le condizioni interne a ogni mondo sono limitate.1] Ciò si spiega col fatto che gli atomi, per via del numero e della disposizione dei minimi (elachista) al loro interno, hanno forme (quindi grandezze e pesi) limitate; pertanto anche il numero delle (possibili) spiegazioni dei fenomeni celesti nell'infinità dei mondi è necessariamente limitato e soprattutto non sarà così diverso rispetto alla quantità e alla tipologia di cause dei meteora che si verificano nel nostro mondo. Riprendendo (almeno in parte) uno studio di A. Wasserstein (Epicurean Science, «Hermes» 106/1978, pp. 484–494), Bakker ha cura di sottolineare come le molteplici spiegazioni per un singolo fenomeno non necessariamente sono compatibili con quelle di un altro e ciò si spiega perché Epicuro rifiuta l'esistenza di un unico principio esplicativo che, appunto, spieghi e giustifichi il verificarsi di ogni fenomeno: «Epicurus viewed the cosmos as a series of unconnected phenomena, each to be explained separately in agreement with the appearances here with us» (p. 263). Si tratta di un punto problematico che evidentemente lede l'akribeia scientifica che occorre perseguire anche nell'esame dei meteora (Hrdt. 78); a me pare che Epicuro non sia interessato alla perfetta connessione di tutti i fenomeni naturali al fine di costituire un sistema fisico–astronomico unitario (di qui la sua critica agli organa astronomici), allo stesso tempo, tuttavia, non può essere trascurato che il pleonachos tropos si fonda sul monachos tropos (Pyth. 86) e che, conseguentemente, ogni spiegazione non può compromettere l'esistenza e l'attività dei principi fondamentali della physis (gli atomi e il vuoto). La sezione dedicata all'"archeologia" del pleonachos tropos è una delle più originali del volume; la convincente conclusione di Bakker è che il metodo delle molteplici spiegazioni di Epicuro non possa essere, per così dire, "schiacciato" sulla metodologia teofrastea (ma anche aristotelica) di analisi dei fenomeni meteorologici. Ciò, tuttavia, non significa che il pleonachos tropos sia assolutamente originale di Epicuro; la condivisibile tesi di Bakker è che diverse spiegazioni per un singolo fenomeno sono rintracciabili (anche se non così di frequente) in Aristotele (cfr. e.g. Meteor. I 3, 314a 12–31) e in Teofrasto;2 in entrambi i filosofi, inoltre, si riscontra anche l'uso dell'analogia con gli eventi empirici direttamente verificabili per l'esame dei fenomeni celesti.3 Malgrado ciò né in Aristotele né in Teofrasto si osserva un uso massiccio e capillare di più spiegazioni per un evento naturale come in Epicuro che, probabilmente, è stato influenzato, quanto all'origine del metodo, da Aristotele e Teofrasto, ma il significato e l'uso di tale metodo sono in Epicuro del tutto innovativi e originali. Bakker, tuttavia, è perfettamente consapevole che questa conclusione dipende soprattutto dall'attribuzione della cosiddetta Meteorologia siriaco–araba, di cui si occupa specialmente nel secondo capitolo. In questo ambito si potrebbe aggiungere a ulteriore riprova della differenza tra Teofrasto ed Epicuro sul metodo il fatto che essi hanno una concezione diametralmente diversa di aisthesis che per entrambi è alla base della ricerca naturale (cfr. e.g. Theophr. Metaph. 8b 10–17). La relazione con il Peripato, tuttavia, non è limitata solo al metodo scientifico; Bakker sottolinea come in Epicuro e in Lucrezio le spiegazioni scientifiche fornite provengano non dall'osservazione dei fenomeni o dalla conoscenza diretta dei testi di quei filosofi che si occuparono di meteora ma con ogni probabilità da dossografie,4 come mostra anche l'ordine dei fenomeni esaminati. Per motivi cronologici non è possibile che Aezio sia la fonte di Epicuro ma è ben noto che gli studi di J. Mansfeld e D. Runia hanno definitivamente provato che i Placita di Aezio dipendono da Teofrasto e da Aristotele, pertanto non va escluso che Epicuro possa dipendere da dossografie peripatetiche. Bakker, infine, si occupa del Fr. 13 III 2–13 Smith in cui Diogene di Enoanda osserva che mentre tutte le spiegazioni sono possibili questa è più plausibile (11: πιθανώτερον) di quella; Bakker giustamente non ha dubbi sul fatto che «Diogenes of Oenoanda's claim that some explanations are more plausible than others is a departure from Epicurus and Lucretius for whom all alternative explanations have the same truth–value» (p. 74). Le ragioni di ciò possono essere varie; secondo B. Diogene, a differenza di Epicuro, avrebbe voluto riconciliare la posizione epicurea con i risultati che l'astronomia del suo tempo aveva conseguito (p. 42). A mio giudizio non si può escludere che Diogene (o la sua fonte epicurea) avesse in qualche modo "riformato" l'originario metodo di Epicuro anche per la sua non piena comprensione. Se Diogene non segue Epicuro, Lucrezio, per Bakker, gli rimane fedele; a me pare, invece, che la trattazione del metodo delle molteplici spiegazioni proposta da Lucrezio non sia pienamente sovrapponibile al pleonachos tropos dell'Epistola a Pitocle; ciò renderebbe più plausibile, tra l'altro, l'"evoluzione" o la "divergenza" di Diogene rispetto a Epicuro, dato il precedente lucreziano.

Il terzo capitolo (Range and Order of Subjects in Ancient Meteorology, pp. 76–161) è dedicato al tipo e all'ordine di indagine dei meteora sulla base del confronto con alcuni rilevanti testi meteorologici: i libri I–III dei Meteorologica di Aristotele,5 il capitolo 4 del De mundo, il III libro (+ IV 1) dei Placita di Aezio, i §§ 89–248 della Naturalis Historia di Plinio il Vecchio, la sezione meteorologica stoica in Diogene Laerzio VII 151–154, la Meteorologia siriaco–araba, l'Epistola a Pitocle e, infine, il libro VI del De rerum natura.6 Bakker conduce un'analisi sinottica estremamente scrupolosa di cui non è possibile rendere conto. La persuasiva conclusione è che la Meteorologia siriaco–araba, Aezio, Epicuro e Lucrezio mostrano, con qualche eccezione, numerose affinità relative all'ordine e all'analisi dei meteora investigati. Ciò conduce Bakker a esaminare nuovamente la vexatissima quaestio dell'attribuzione della Meteorologia siriaco–araba; la storia di questo testo—che comunemente si ritiene essere un "estratto" dai due libri (perduti) dei Μεταρσιολογικά di Teofrasto (Diog. Laert. V 44)—è complessa. Basti qui ricordare che quest'opera è giunta in versione siriaca e in duplice versione araba rispettivamente di Bar Bahlūl e, forse, di Ibn Al–Khammār. Solo nelle due versioni arabe compare il nome di Teofrasto, dato che la corrispondente sezione del testo siriaco è andata perduta. H. Daiber [= D.] ha fornito l'edizione critica delle tre versioni, aggiungendo anche la traduzione inglese della versione araba probabilmente attribuibile a Ibn Al–Khammār.7 Il capillare uso delle molteplici spiegazioni e l'ordine degli argomenti trattati farebbe pensare (come è stato fatto)8 che Epicuro e Lucrezio dipendano pedissequamente da Teofrasto tanto per l'invenzione del metodo epistemologico delle molteplici spiegazioni quanto per l'ordine dei meteora investigati e la tipologia delle spiegazioni offerte. Bakker, al contrario, rilevando che nelle opere sicuramente teofrastee non si osserva un uso tanto capillare delle molteplici spiegazioni, ipotizza che la Meteorologia siriaco–araba non sia la fonte privilegiata di Epicuro e Lucrezio ma che, invece, riprendendo una suggestione (rimasta tale e non approfondita) già di G. Bergsträßer, F. Boll ed E. Reitzenstein (cfr. p. 71), il testo siriaco–arabo dipenda fortemente dalla meteorologia epicurea. Io credo che, sulla base dei testi, questa ipotesi, per quanto non la si possa provare con certezza, sia particolarmente convincente. Quella che lo studioso definisce Epicurus' Other Meteorology (p. 144)—ossia l'originaria e più ampia trattazione (rispetto a Pitocle) che Epicuro dedicò ai meteora (esplicitamente richiamata da Pyth. 84: τὰ γὰρ ἐν ἄλλοις ἡμῖν γεγραμμένα)—sarebbe la fonte di Pitocle, Lucrezio (VI 96–607) e, appunto, del frammento meteorologico siriaco–arabo (cfr. p. 154). Malgrado ciò è certo che la Meteorologia siriaco–araba non contenga un'opera in tutto e per tutto epicurea; se si considera la "sezione teologica" ([14.] 14–29 D.) del trattato si legge che dio non può essere la causa del disordine nel mondo ma lo è della corretta disposizione (delle cose) e dell'ordine (15–16). Questa tesi ovviamente non ha nulla di epicureo; per questo il frammento siriaco–arabo verosimilmente «is a compendium of some sort, derived for the most part from Epicurus' meteorology, but supplemented and 'corrected' on the basis of other, possibly Peripatetic or even specifically Theophrastean theories» (p. 153), sebbene, a mio avviso, non si possa escludere perfino un'eventuale influenza stoica. Per ciò che riguarda l'"altra" meteorologia epicurea, fermo restando che, sulla base del confronto dei frammenti del libro XI del Περὶ φύσεως con Pitocle, Epicuro distingueva i fenomeni astronomici da quelli meteorologici, per quanto li sussumesse al di sotto dell'unico termine meteoron (p. 95), Bakker condivide l'idea di D. Sedley per cui i libri XII–XIII del Περὶ φύσεως sarebbero quelli dedicati ai fenomeni meteorologici (non a quelli astronomici, quindi).9 Il contenuto di questi libri sarebbe la fonte della sezione centrale (cioè quella strettamente meteorologica: §§ 99–111) di Pitocle, oltre che di Seneca (NQ VI 20 circa la sismologia epicurea) e di Aezio (III 15, 11; III 4, 5), ovvero di quei testi che contengono spiegazioni o fenomeni non trasmessi da Pitocle (p. 144). Limitatamente alla struttura e all'ordine dei temi affrontati, l'"altra" meteorologia di Epicuro sarebbe la fonte di Pitocle (§§ 99–111), di Lucrezio (DRN VI 96–607) e della Meteorologia siriaco–araba; le teofrastee Φυσικαὶ δόξαι (o anche, aggiungerei, i Μεταρσιολογικά, di cui però sappiamo pochissimo) sarebbero, per i contenuti delle spiegazioni, alla base dell'"altra" meteorologia epicurea oltre che di Aezio (Plac. III), senza negare anche una dipendenza diretta di Lucrezio dal materiale dossografico presente in Aezio (pp. 156–158). La verosimiglianza di questa ipotesi si fonda sul "carattere epicureo" della Meteorologia siriaco–araba. Proprio su Lucrezio si incentra un'altra importante sezione del capitolo. Bakker rileva giustamente che Lucrezio dedica la parte finale del VI libro (608–1286) a quelli che considera «exceptional and local phenomena, the kind of phenomena the ancients referred to as παράδοξα, θαυμάσια or θαύματα, and mirabilia or miracula, i.e. 'paradoxes', 'marvels' or 'miracles'» (p. 110); si tratta, per esempio, dell'Etna (VI 639–702), del Nilo (VI 712–737) o dei luoghi legati all'Averno (VI 738–839). L'interessante ipotesi avanzata è che questi versi—che non trovano paralleli in Pitocle—non derivino da Epicuro ma direttamente dalla letteratura paradossografica che Lucrezio avrebbe consultato.10 Senza dubbio interessante è il caso dell'Etna, menzionato nel De mundo (IV 395b 21), nel De mirabilibus auscultationibus (38b; 40) e in Plinio (NH II 236); Bakker osserva, a ragione, come l'approccio lucreziano nei riguardi del vulcano siciliano sia estremamente peculiare, dato il forte interesse del poeta, confermato dal cospicuo numero di versi dedicati a questo fenomeno. Aggiungo brevemente che l'Appendix Vergiliana conserva un poema didascalico, l'Aetna, le cui attribuzione e datazione sono dibattutissime.11 Da Diogene Laerzio (V 49) sappiamo che Teofrasto scrisse un Περὶ ῥύακος τοῦ ἐν Σικελίᾳ in un libro; nell'Aetna, inoltre, è ravvisabile il metodo delle molteplici spiegazioni (cfr. e.g. i vv. 102–117 sulle fenditure della terra); credo che uno studio accurato di questo testo, anche sulla base delle novità apportate da Bakker, sia ora auspicabile.12 Tornando ai versi lucreziani, Bakker, pur non escludendo che Lucrezio abbia potuto derivare la sua conoscenza dei mirabilia non da Epicuro ma da un altro epicureo (p. 126), ribadisce che la parte conclusiva di DRN VI può essere vista come «a personal innovation by Lucretius in answer to the increasing popularity of such marvel stories in the paradoxographical as well as meteorological literature of his time» (p. 157). Questa conclusione risulta persuasiva, benché non si possa escludere, appunto, che già qualche epicureo, evidentemente seguito da vicino da Lucrezio, si fosse occupato di fenomeni locali; è utile rammentare che in Diogene di Enoanda si trova la menzione di luoghi specifici come la Libia, la Scizia, l'Asia e l'India subito dopo la trattazione dei meteora.13

L'ultimo capitolo (The Shape of the Earth, pp. 162–263) si occupa con acutezza del problema della forma della terra; generalmente gli studiosi attribuiscono agli Epicurei la tesi per cui la terra sarebbe piatta e non sferica come, invece, la scienza del tempo aveva provato. Bakker osserva che né in Epicuro né in Lucrezio sia rintracciabile un testo che parli esplicitamente della forma (piatta o sferica) della terra. A tale proposito Bakker esamina con precisione le diverse argomentazioni sollevate da filosofi e scienziati (da Aristotele a Cleomede, da Teone di Smirne a Tolemeo) tese a provare la sfericità della terra. Bakker tenta di investigare il difficile problema a partire dalla direzione del movimento.14 Senza scendere nei dettagli secondo B. la direzione del movimento rettilineo dall'alto verso il basso presuppone una cosmologia lineare o parallela e, dunque, una terra piatta, mentre il movimento che dall'alto si dirige verso il basso identificato con il centro implica una cosmologia centripeta e, quindi, una terra sferica (cfr. p. 179). Lucrezio (DRN I 1052 ss.) critica senza mezzi termini una teoria avversaria (che rimane anonima) per cui tutte le cose tenderebbero verso il centro. Sulla base di un confronto ravvicinato (non esente da difficoltà) con un passo di Ario Didimo su Zenone (Fr. 23 Diels = SVF I 99) Bakker riprende con solidi ragionamenti la tesi di un libro—a torto dimenticato—di J. Schmidt (Lukrez, der Kepos und die Stoiker, Frankfurt am Main 1990), per cui gli Stoici e non Aristotele (Furley) o dei Platonici sotto la guida di Polemone (Sedley) costituirebbero il bersaglio polemico di Lucrezio (p. 195),15 benché Bakker non condivida l'ipotesi di Schmidt per cui Lucrezio dipenderebbe da «neo–epicurean sources» (ivi). In ogni caso, nella Schlussbemerkung del suo lavoro, Schmidt sostiene che non è possibile provare che Lucrezio dipenda solo da modelli neo–epicurei ma che «Epikur sicher nicht die einzige [in grassetto nel testo] Quelle des Lukrez gewesen ist» (p. 223). Non mi sentirei di escludere che Lucrezio possa dipendere da altre fonti epicuree che polemizzarono con gli Stoici. La parte conclusiva del capitolo (pp. 223 ss.) si occupa, infine, della cosmogonia lucreziana di DRN V 449–508; Bakker non ha dubbi sul fatto che si tratti di un «Fremdkörper» (p. 234), dal momento che qui Lucrezio ammette che in principio i vari corpi della terra a causa del loro peso e del fatto che erano aggrovigliati, coibant in medio (450–451). Per Bakker questa è una contraddizione con DRN I 1053, in cui Lucrezio mette in guardia Memmio dal credere che tutte le cose convergano verso il centro, assumendo, quindi, come corrette la cosmologia lineare/parallela (del resto implicata anche dalla dottrina del clinamen: cfr. pp. 214–216) e, pertanto, la piattezza della terra. La conclusione che Bakker raggiunge è (condivisibilmente) piuttosto problematica e aporetica:

«It is true that the Epicureans assumed a parallel downward motion (with the curious exception of Lucretius' cosmogony), but they did not infer from this, as their predecessors had, that the earth is flat. Nor do their astronomical theories suggest one specific shape of the earth. It would seem, then, that the Epicureans had no firm conviction as to the shape of the earth at all […]» (p. 262).
Mi chiedo, tuttavia, se la sezione filodemea sui cosiddetti star–gods (De dis III [PHerc. 152/157] coll. VIII–IX Essler) non possa gettare una qualche luce per chiarire la questione. 16 In breve Filodemo confuta la (falsa) credenza nella teologia astrale, asserendo che i corpi degli dei si riflettono su quelli degli astri, cosicché l'osservatore ha l'impressione che gli dei e gli astri si identifichino, occupando il medesimo luogo; per il Gadareno ovviamente non è così, dato che l'immagine di un oggetto riflessa da uno specchio non è l'oggetto in sé.17 Mi chiedo, pertanto, quale forma specifica abbiano gli astri di cui parla Filodemo e se la forma sferica (o comunque tondeggiante) non sia la più idonea a riflettere il quasi corpus divino; un astro che sia piatto potrebbe riflettere efficacemente il corpo degli dei?18 Al di là di questa che rimane una pura suggestione, il punto che mi sembra più interessante è il fatto che, fermo restando che per motivi cronologici Epicuro non poté polemizzare con gli Stoici, il rifiuto della cosmogonia basata sul movimento centripeto non può che essere diretta contro gli Stoici, dunque DRN I 1052–1093 «must be considered post–Epicurean» (p. 266), il che si oppone alla ben nota tesi di Sedley circa il fondamentalismo epicureo di Lucrezio.

Ho cercato di rendere conto, anche se cursoriamente, della ricchezza del lavoro di Bakker che apporta notevoli progressi e comprovate novità nel campo degli studi sull'Epicureismo. Un lettore attento saprà carpire i molti pregi di questo volume estremamente curato anche nella veste editoriale.19 Non da ultimo va segnalata la peculiare chiarezza con cui Bakker conduce le proprie argomentazioni che, essendo spesso complesse e articolate, sono sempre adeguatamente sintetizzate; molto utili anche le numerose tabelle e le illustrazioni che corredano queste pagine. I miei pochi rilievi critici, ça va sans dire, non oscurano affatto l'importanza di quest'opera ma, anzi, sono l'esito dei molti stimoli ricevuti dal serrato livello argomentativo che questo volume offre. In breve, un libro esemplare di storia della filosofia e di storia della scienza.



Notes:


1.   Cfr. D. Sedley, Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity, Berkeley–Los Angeles–London 2007, pp. 155–166.
2.   Bakker (pp. 67–68) menziona De igne 1 4–11 in cui Teofrasto menziona effettivamente diverse motivazioni della generazione del fuoco; tali ragioni, però, sono essenzialmente connesse ai diversi materiali combustibili che fanno da sostrato al fuoco, pertanto, non si tratta di vere e proprie spiegazioni alternative.
3.   Solo di passaggio segnalo che l'uso dell'analogia non è ignota nemmeno all'anonimo autore del De mundo (un testo di cui Bakker si occupa nel secondo capitolo), come mostrano G. Betegh–P. Gregoric, Multiple Analogy in Ps.-Aristotle, De Mundo 6, «Classical Quarterly» 64/2 (2014), 574–591.
4.   Chiunque volesse rendersi conto della ricchezza di questi riferimenti (soprattutto ai filosofi "presocratici", tra cui, in massima parte, gli Atomisti antichi) limitatamente all'Epistola a Pitocle può prendere in considerazione le annotazioni in E. Boer (Hrsg.), Epikur: Brief an Pythokles, Berlin 1954.
5.   Forse sarebbe stato utile considerare brevemente anche Meteor. IV (cfr. p. 80) che, se non è attribuibile con sicurezza ad Aristotele, conserva materiale peripatetico (cfr. almeno C. Baffioni, Il IV libro dei «Meteorologica» di Aristotele, Napoli 1981, pp. 200–244).
6.   Bakker (p. 79) decide di non occuparsi dei frammenti meteorologici di Posidonio e di Arriano; forse la figura di Posidonio avrebbe meritato qualche attenzione in più non solo perché probabilmente Posidonio criticò il pleonachos tropos epicureo (cfr. F. Verde, Posidonius against Epicurus' Method of Multiple Explanations?, «Apeiron» 49/4 (2016), pp. 437–449), ma anche perché generalmente si considera Posidonio come una fonte influente del De mundo.
7.   H. Daiber, The Meteorology of Theophrastus in Syriac and Arabic Translation, in W.W. Fortenbaugh–D. Gutas (eds.), Theophrastus: His Psychological, Doxographical, and Scientific Writings, New Brunswick–London 1992, pp. 166–293.
8.   P. Podolak, Questioni Pitoclee, «Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft», 34 (2010) pp. 39–80.
9.   Secondo Bakker la distinzione (tradizionalmente aristotelica: cfr. p. 76) epicurea (più o meno implicita) tra fenomeni astronomici e meteorologici potrebbe spiegare anche lo "strano" ordine degli argomenti in Pitocle, dove si passa dalla cosmologia/astronomia alla meteorologia per poi fare nuovamente ritorno, alla fine della lettera, all'astronomia e alla meteorologia (pp. 93–94).
10.   Rimane ancora assai utile la raccolta di A. Giannini (ed.), Paradoxographorum Graecorum Reliquiae, Milano 1966. Tra i trattati paradossografici studiati da Bakker vi sono la Historiarum mirabilium collectio di Antigono (difficilmente identificabile con Antigono di Caristo: cfr. T. Dorandi, Accessioni a Antigono di Caristo, «Studi Classici e Orientali» 51 (2005), pp. 119–124, spec. pp. 121 ss.) e la versione latina del XIII sec. del Liber de inundacione Nili per R.L. Fowler attribuibile a Teofrasto (cfr. p. 116 n. 111).
11.   Per un primo orientamento cfr. F.R.D. Goodyear, The 'Aetna': Thought, Antecedents, and Style, «Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt» II 32.1 (1984), pp. 344–363.
12.   Cfr. già L. Taub, Aetna and the Moon: Explaining Nature in Ancient Greece and Rome, Corvallis, OR 2008, spec. pp. 49 ss. 
13.   Diog. Oen. NF 182 III (Theol. XVI) Hammerstaedt–Smith.
14.   È noto che Epicuro si occupa di questo argomento nell'Epistola a Erodoto in più luoghi tra cui il § 60; solo en passant è utile ricordare che già E. Montanari (Una polemica fisica in Epicuro, «Prometheus» 5/1979, pp. 124–36) aveva ipotizzato che il bersaglio polemico di questo paragrafo fosse Stratone di Lampsaco e non Aristotele.
15.   Cfr. comunque anche K. Kleve, The Philosophical Polemics in Lucretius: A Study in the History of Epicurean Criticism, in O. Gigon (éd.), Lucrèce, Entretiens sur l'antiquité classique, Tome XXIV, Fondation Hardt, Genève 1978, pp. 39–71, nonché C. Lévy, Lucrèce et les stoïciens, in R. Poignault (éd.), Présence de Lucrèce, Actes du colloque tenu à Tours (3–5 décembre 1998), Tours 1999, pp. 87–98.
16.   È interessante osservare che, nel contesto della trattazione dei luoghi (naturali) occupati dagli dei, Filodemo (col. VIII 14–15 Essler) informa che Epicuro si occupava del movimento verso il basso (π̣ερὶ  τῆc̣ κ̣άτ̣ω φ̣[ορᾶc) nel quinto libro (ἐν τ̣ῷ π̣ε̣[μ]π̣[τωι]) verosimilmente del Peri physeos (cfr. H. Essler, Glückselig und unsterblich: Epikureische Theologie bei Cicero und Philodem: Mit einer Edition von PHerc. 152/157, Kol. 8–10, Basel 2011, pp. 278–280).
17.   Cfr. H. Essler, Glückselig und unsterblich, cit., p. 291.
18.   Bakker si occupa anche di un'altra vexatissima quaestio epicurea, la grandezza del sole (pp. 236 ss.); assai velocemente mi limito a osservare che l'interpretazione del problema fornita da K. Algra (Epicurus en de zon: Wiskunde en fysica bij een Hellenistisch filosoof, Amsterdam 2001) e riferita da Bakker a p. 236 n. 184 mi sembra convincente. Epicuro e Lucrezio si riferirebbero alla grandezza del sole relativa all'osservatore, il che può essere confermato anche dall'espressione τὸ φάν| τασμα τὸ ἡλιακόν di Dem. Lac. PHerc. 1013 col. XXI 5–6 Romeo.
19.   Mi limito a segnalare solo pochi punti: i frammenti di Eudemo, in attesa della pubblicazione della nuova edizione di P. Stork, vanno citati secondo la numerazione di Wehrli (cfr. e.g. n. 134 p. 52; il passo di Teone [145 Wehrli] va anche indicizzato); la paginazione di De mundo IV nella tabella 3.1. (p. 102) è 395b… e non 5b…; il passo del PHerc. 1012 (p. 109 n. 87) va citato secondo l'edizione di E. Puglia (= col. XXXVII 4–5); p. 71 n. 194 e p. 131 n. 136 "van Raalte" e non "Van Raalte"; p. 169: datazione di Posidonio/Varrone/Cicerone (rispettivamente: 135–51 e non 151; 116–27 e non 127; 106–43 e non 143); p. 169 n. 36 il passo di Strabone corrisponde al Fr. 134 Broggiato (Cratete di Mallo); p. 187 l. 20 della traduzione inglese: Nor e non nor; p. 277: lo studio di J. Barnes (1989) è stato ristampato in Id., Mantissa: Essays in Ancient Philosophy IV, Edited by M. Bonelli, Oxford 2015, pp. 1–20; p. 296: i frammenti di Stratone di Lampsaco vanno ormai citati secondo l'edizione di R.W. Sharples (in M.-L. Desclos–W.W. Fortenbaugh, eds., Strato of Lampsacus: Text, Translation, and Discussion, New Brunswick–London 2011, pp. 5–229).

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2017.06.37

Pierre Cabanes, Faïk Drini, Corpus des inscriptions grecques d'Illyrie méridionale et d'Épire 3: Inscriptions d'Albanie (en dehors des sites d'Épidamne-Dyrrhachion, Apollonia et Bouthrôtos). Études Épigraphiques, 2.3. Athènes: École française d'Athènes, 2016. Pp. 336. ISBN 9782869582620. €85.00.

Reviewed by Fabienne Marchand, University of Fribourg (fabienne.marchand@unifr.ch)

Version at BMCR home site

This third volume in the series of the Corpus des inscriptions grecques d'Illyrie méridionale et d'Épire (CIGIME) gathers inscriptions from Albania, save those from Epidamnus-Dyrrachium, Apollonia in Southern Illyricum and Buthrotum, which are already covered in the previous volumes.1

The volume is arranged geographically into three parts: the Chaonia; the edges of Illyria and Epirus; and finally Central, Eastern and Northern Albania, each in turn split according to site. At the end of the volume two additional sections deal with texts of uncertain provenance (nos. 470-476) and inscriptions from elsewhere in the Greek world that mention Illyrians (nos. 477-485). Chronologically, the inscriptions cover a particularly extensive period, from the fifth or fourth century BC well into the Middle Ages, with a significant majority of the texts belonging to the Roman Imperial Period. Texts include the expected public and private inscriptions (decrees, manumission documents, dedications, milestones, epitaphs, etc.), as well as perhaps more neglected types of inscribed artefacts such as stamped tiles, and inscriptions on terracotta and vases.

Lemmata are exhaustive, and the editions of the inscriptions are clear and rigorous. Systematic translations into accessible French – even to non-native speakers – will particularly appeal to students. Where relevant, detailed apparatus critici and generous scholarly commentaries are also provided. The volume closes with indices (pp. 313-323) of names of divinities, magistrates, Roman consuls, Roman and Byzantine Emperors, male and female personal names (with slave names conveniently highlighted in italics, and foreigners at the end, arranged alphabetically according to ethnics), ethnics and geographical names, words pertaining to institutions, and finally the names of months. A three-page table lists concordances with Inscriptiones Graecae; Fouilles de Delphes; Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum; Cabanes, L'Épire, de la mort the Pyrrhos à la conquête romaine (1976); and E. Lhôte, Les lamelles oraculaires de Dodone (2006). The latter could have been included in the list of abbreviated works at the beginning of the volume, as the reference "E. Lhôte" in the table of concordance is not immediately clear to non-specialists. Two pages of addenda to previous volumes (including three unpublished texts2), a table of contents, and six excellent and legible geographical maps precede 40 pages of plates in which about three quarters of the 476 inscriptions are illustrated in the form of photographs, squeezes, and occasional drawings, of variable quality, unsurprising given the number of illustrations provided and the fact that some stones have disappeared since they were recorded. It is frustrating that occasionally some dates are omitted and not even broadly indicated, leaving the reader with no other option but to rely on the pictures.

Although the title of the book advertises simply a corpus of Greek inscriptions, the contents of the book go much deeper, and even many Latin texts are taken into consideration, mostly pertaining to Roman Emperors (such as milestones and dedications). An important series of rupestral inscriptions carved into the cliffs at Grammata (dedications, ex votos, and epitaphs) also include Latin texts. Furthermore, extensive literary and epigraphical testimonia, including the Tabula Peutingeriana, are provided for each region, city or site, arranged in chronological order down to Late Antiquity and even the Middle Ages. The authors also provide generous geographical and historical background for each section, and, where relevant, a history of archaeological research, so that this book will become an indispensible starting point for any research on ancient Albania. Some useful additional essays are also provided. One in particular, devoted to the Dioskouroi (pp. 162-167), deserves to be mentioned. Although intended as a scholarly introduction to a series of inscriptions from Grammata related to the gods, it provides an invaluably rich synthesis of the cults in the region as well as in Grammata. In other words, the volume is a goldmine for archaeologists, historians, epigraphers, and students alike.

One of the strengths of this volume is the number of previously unpublished texts, which represent approximately three quarters of the inscriptions. Unfortunately for the reader, the volume does not contain a list to highlight which ones are new. The remainder of this review will focus on several texts deserving special attention.

The site of Grammata on the Ionian coast offers the most substantial contribution to the hoard of new inscriptions. Over 100 of these are rupestral inscriptions carved into its cliffs. Besides graffiti bearing personal names, many are dedications, for example to Isis (no. 178), but the majority are linked with the local cult of the Dioskouroi whose sanctuary is mentioned in no. 221. A substantial series consists of "remembrance" inscriptions in which someone recommends someone else for protection from the Dioskouroi (nos. 196, 206, 214, 215, 216, 217, 220, 224, 227, 228, 250, 252, and 253). These texts typically read "Ἐμνήσθῃ παρὰ τοῖς Διοσκόροις" or "τοῖς θεοῖς", although sometimes the gods are only implied. Funerary inscriptions are also found engraved into the cliffs of Grammata. One may refer to a death in shipwreck (no. 225), and another, in Latin, probably refers to a slave master (no. 188). The site also yielded an important series of Christian inscriptions in Greek and Latin, mostly prayers (nos. 270-293, 296-298, 301).

A substantial number of previously unpublished inscriptions pertain to religious matters. The earliest inscription in the volume (no. 170 from Borshi on the Ionian coast) is a 45.5 cm long bronze club from the fifth or fourth century BC, now kept at the Tirana National Museum, bearing a dotted engraved dedication by a Xenarchos to Herakles "in Maxya" ("Ξέναρχος ἀνέθηκε Ἡρακλεῖ τῶι ἐν Μάξυαι"). A second inscription identifies the artefact as the club of Heracles himself ("᾿Εκ καυ(λ)ᾶς ἱαρὸν ῾Ηρακλεῦς"). Perhaps to be accurate the aspiration in the second text could have been rendered in the edition of the text instead of simply being mentioned in the commentary ("᾿Εκ καυ(λ)ᾶς hιαρὸν ῾Ηρακλεῦς"). Asklepios appears in texts from various sites, such as Byllis (no. 311, on an ex-voto, and no. 312, a sundial) and Memëlisht, where two ex-voto stelae, nos 456 and 457, were dedicated to the god. No. 457, probably adorned with a pair of eyes, was dedicated to Asklepios by Κλωδία ᾿Ιουλία Μαρκελλείνη, while no. 456, decorated with breasts, was dedicated by a Κλωδία ᾿Ιταλία to the god alongside Hygia. Aphrodite appears in a dedication from Byllis (no. 303), while at Kashar a miniature altar was dedicated to Zeus Megistos (no. 435). A previously unknown religious association is also revealed in an unfortunately damaged 3rd-century AD epitaph, no. 402 from Cakran, erected by ὁ θίασος Πατο[..]ησις.

Several new texts refer to Roman and Byzantine Emperors. From Muzina (Chaonia) a boundary stone bears an honorific inscription for the Emperor Aurelian (270-275 AD, no. 73). At Halis (also in Chaonia) no. 83 records four small columns now lost but preserved in photographs (perhaps milestones, though with indications of distances missing) from the end of the 3rd or early 4th century AD, for Maximinus Daia and Constantius II; an unknown Emperor and Diocletian; Diocletian again; Maximinus Daia and by Constantius Chlorus for Maximianus Herculus. No. 341, fragmentary, alludes to the baths of Justinian at Byllis.

No. 7, though heavily damaged, offers for the first time a glimpse into the institutions of the Epirote League (232-170 BC) at Phoenike in Chaonia, in this case a strategos ([Στρατ]αγοῦντο[ς] l. 1) in what appears to be part of a decree in which Molossia is also mentioned.

At Byllis, no. 317, erected by a manumitted slave, Thraikidas, lists extracts from a series of three Hellenistic manumissions dated by the eponymous magistrate, followed by the names of the manumitted slaves, and the names of their masters. The slaves, two women and one man, appear with their patronymics, suggesting that their origins may have been local.

Besides the above-mentioned text no. 341, referring to the baths of Justinian at Byllis, several other new building inscriptions are published here. For example, a mosaic inscription from Lissos, discovered in the so-called baths of Sopatros, indicates that the facility was built by a certain Philistion, while an Eutychidas was in charge of its flooring (no. 465).

Finally, an important series of previously unpublished texts consists of Christian inscriptions, among which, from Byllis, come prayers (no. 335, 353-355), an ex-voto (no. 344), and a series of six ex-voto mosaic inscriptions from the cathedral.



Notes:


1.   CIGIME I 1. P. Cabanes, F. Drini, Inscriptions d'Épidamne-Dyrrachion (Athens 1995); CIGIME I 2 A. P. Cabanes, N. Ceka, Inscriptions d'Apollonia d'Illyrie (Athens 1997); CIGIME 2. P. Cabanes, F. Drini, Inscriptions de Bouthrôtos (Athens 2007).
2.   CIGIME I 1 no. 591: late fragmentary funerary inscription mentioning the age of the deceased; CIGIME I 2 no. 491: fragmentary manumission document from Apollonia ; CIGIME 2 no. 221: fragmentary epitaph indicating the age of the deceased.

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2017.06.36

Peter Thonemann, The Hellenistic Age. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. xi, 152. ISBN 9780198759010. $17.95.

Reviewed by Conor P. Trainor, The University of Warwick (c.trainor@warwick.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview

"Most books on the Hellenistic world begin by lamenting the state of our evidence for the period. This is nonsense. On almost any criterion, we know far more about Hellenistic history than we do about the Archaic or Classical Greek world" (p. 9-10). This statement serves to summarise the enthusiastic and lively tone of P. Thonemann's The Hellenistic Age. Thonemann, an Associate Professor of Ancient History at Wadham College, Oxford, has authored and edited a multitude of academic books and articles on the history, epigraphy, numismatics, and archaeology of Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor, so that the current book is rooted in his expertise in this area. The vast geographical, chronological, and cultural span of the Hellenistic world, combined with the lack of one single epicentre, such as Rome or Athens, as well as the lack of a single unifying ancient historical narrative create unique challenges for the historian. This book, however, presents an accessible, unconventional and enjoyable introduction to the Hellenistic world. It strikes a welcome balance, using both broad historical narrative and also more detailed case studies of thematic issues such as kingship, intellectual developments, the peripheries of the Hellenistic world, and the Hellenistic city.

When I first encountered The Hellenistic Age, I had wondered about how this book would compare to F.W. Walbank's The Hellenistic World, which is very much a standard brief introduction to Hellenistic history. 1 The comparison revealed that these books do slightly different things.While Walbank's book could be updated in some areas, it nonetheless provides a more holistic approach to the history of this period than Thonemann's, which is more selective and thematic. In terms of a brief and systematic introduction to Hellenistic history, Walbank's work may still be more appropriate. Where Thonemann's book excels, however, is in its accessibility and in the range of material that has been used throughout, and thus serves as a better introduction for anyone intending to begin studying the Hellenistic World.

Thonenmann's short book is divided into six chapters. The first of these, The Idea of the Hellenistic, presents an overview of how Hellenistic might be defined temporally, spatially, and culturally, as well as presenting some of the sources for exploring the period: ancient authors (Diodorus Siculus, Josephus, Livy, Plutarch, and Polybius), inscriptions, papyri, coins, and architectural remains. Some key modern scholars are then introduced: Bickerman, Droysen, Ma, Momigliano, Robert (indirectly, through a nice introduction to the travels of Clearchus at the beginning of the book) and Tarn. Scholars such as Green, Rostovtzeff, and Walbank are perhaps notably absent from this section.

Chapter Two does an admirable job of presenting a concise overview of Hellenistic history "from Alexander to Augustus", as the title indicates. This is by no means a comprehensive study of Hellenistic history (nor could it be, in such a short book). Instead, it offers descriptions of the three major Hellenistic Dynasties (the Ptolemies, the Seleucids and the Antigonids), as well as drawing in the Attalids, the Achaean League and Hellenistic Sicily later in the chapter. The key people and events of Hellenistic history from the life of Alexander to the death of Cleopatra VII are referenced in this chapter. I was particularly impressed with the section entitled Symplokē, 220-188 BC, which begins on p. 35. Here, Thonemann has encapsulated the emergence and increasing engagement of the Romans in peninsular Greece and Asia Minor in a particularly lively and enjoyable narrative. This section ends touchingly with Cavafy's wonderful poem, The Battle of Magnesia. The chapter itself finishes with a short discussion of the Mithridatic wars and the eventual victory of Octavian at Actium.

Perhaps part of the reason for the clean and flowing historical narrative of Chapter 2 is that Thonemann does not go into any depth on key thematic issues at this stage, but rather presents an energetic historical account. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are reserved for exploring thematic issues in more depth. Chapter 3, "Demetrius the Besieger and Hellenistic Kingship", presents Demetrius, surely one of ancient history's most colourful characters, as a case study for understanding Hellenistic kingship. The chapter outlines the storied career of Demetrius, which is contextualized within a wider thematic discussion about the emergence of Hellenistic kingship, the hallmarks of this institution, and the complex topic of Hellenistic ruler cult.

Chapter 4, "Eratosthenes and the System of the World", describes intellectual and technological innovation during the Hellenistic period. This was one of the most enjoyable chapters in this book. It presents literary and scientific developments as interconnected strands of investigation. As the title indicates, Eratosthenes and his famed calculation of the earth's circumference occupy an important place in this chapter. An exploration of Hellenistic intellectual developments would not be complete without the inclusion of Archimedes, the Temple of the Muses in Alexandria, and the library of Pergamum, all of which are discussed in varying levels of detail. A welcome addition to this chapter is a section on the Antikythera mechanism, and perhaps more significant from a historical perspective, a brief discussion of the development of water-powered grain mills. Thonemann provocatively suggests [p. 81] that the rate of innovation characteristic of Hellenistic times could not have occurred in independent Greek city-states lacking the organization, resources, and intellectual freedom of Ptolemaic Alexandria.

Chapter 5, "Encounters", turns to the peripheries of the Hellenistic World. Beginning with an inscription associated with the Indian king Ashoka, in which the Hellenistic kingdoms are named, this chapter is structured around the cardinal points of the compass. Thonemann discusses the east with reference to Aï Khanoum, the south with reference to Greek activities in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf regions, the north with reference to Olbia and Scythians, and the west with reference to the Villa of the Papyri. The underlying theme is the complex interplay and exchange between Greco- Macedonian and native societies.

The final chapter of the book presents us with a case study of a small city, "Priene", and examines its place within the wider Hellenistic world. Thonemann draws upon archaeological, historical, epigraphic and numismatic remains (as well as an account from a 19th century liquorice magnate!) to present a contextualized picture of a city throughout its lifecycle from early Hellenistic times until its decline during the Roman imperial period. This chapter was thoroughly enjoyable to read: Thonemann's multi-faceted approach is one that should engage newcomers to the Hellenistic world as well as specialist historians, epigraphers, and archaeologists.

The Hellenistic Age is written in such an enthusiastic and engaging style that a broad range of readers with little, or even no, familiarity with the topic should find it both informative and enjoyable. Returning to the range of sources consulted, this work serves to reflect the diversity of the toolkit available to the modern scholar of the Hellenistic world. Thonemann's use of sources such as ancient literary texts, papyri, coins, inscriptions, and archaeological remains effectively communicates to the reader how various types of data can potentially be mobilised in the context of a larger interpretation. This book would have benefitted from more detailed bibliographical suggestions; the Further Reading section will surely be helpful for readers with no background on the topic, but is perhaps a little too general even for undergraduate readers.

That minor criticism aside, this is a thoroughly enjoyable short book and serves as an excellent introduction to the Hellenistic age. I will be assigning this on undergraduate summer reading lists in order to stimulate students' interest in Hellenistic history, and I would recommend it to anyone seeking to gain a basic familiarity with this period, which Thonemann casts as a time of political redefinition, cultural interaction, and technological innovation, not unlike the present.



Notes:


1.   Walbank, F.W. The Hellenistic World. London: Fontana Press, 1981.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

2017.06.35

Winfried Schmitz (ed.), Antike Sklaverei zwischen Verdammung und Beschönigung: Kolloquium zur Rezeption antiker Sklaverei vom 17. bis 20. Jahrhundert. Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, 40​. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2016. Pp. xii, 259; 7 p. of plates. ISBN 9783515110891. €46.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Jonathan S. Perry, University of South Florida—Sarasota-Manatee (perryjs@sar.usf.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

[The reviewer apologizes for the lateness of this review.]

2017 marks the centenary of Vladimir Lenin's return from exile and rapid rise to dominance, and one of the most evocative portraits of his speaking and leadership styles can be found in a 1939 novel about Spartacus, the "revoliutsiia rabov" ("revolutionary slave").1 While he had not yet fully broken with Communism as "the god that failed", Arthur Koestler used Lenin as the model for his Spartacus, a speaker who senses "the self-contained, aloof hostility, the malign stupidity of the buzzing human mass" before him and tailors his speech accordingly.2 Howard Fast's very different version of the Spartacus legend—composed during his imprisonment for Communist affiliation and self-published in 1951—became the one permanently etched in most late- 20th-century minds, due to the 1960 film. Nevertheless, even this portrait had been scrubbed of much of its original Marxist content in order to soothe the jittery sensibilities of American audiences.

As this partial Nachleben of the most famous of ancient slaves indicates, the reception of ancient slavery in the past several centuries is contentious, multi-faceted, and intricately connected to real-world events. Schmitz's collection of papers—appropriately dedicated to the memory of Heinz Heinen, who devoted much of his scholarly output to these questions before his death in 20133—is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the reception of antiquity. Nevertheless, several of the essays do not adequately engage the specifically ancient aspects of the reception of slavery, nor the singular figure of Spartacus himself, nor the contemporary parallels that were raised by many of these cultural products. While this review addresses a few omissions and missed opportunities in the individual essays, the subject-matter of the colloquium is significant, and two pieces in particular (by Elisabeth Herrmann-Otto and by Schmitz himself) are signal contributions that should be read by a wide circle of scholars.

Schmitz's introduction briefly sketches out the parameters of the papers that follow, and it draws particular attention to the wider intellectual currents of, especially, the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and the nineteenth-century abolitionist movements. He deftly analyzes the "biedermeierliche[n] Selbstdomestikation" of Spartacus, "the Social Revolutionary" in the period, while also pointing out Spartacus' many theatrical appearances—even in a fragmentary treatment by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the celebrated author of Nathan the Wise, from 1770. However, even here, the immediate backdrop of the first successful large-scale slave rebellion in history, in Saint-Domingue, which led to the creation of Haïti, is not addressed.

Two subsequent essays address echoes of ancient slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries, but, judging from the scope of these papers, those echoes seem faint. The bulk of Uwe Baumann's piece, on (ancient?) slaves and slavery in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, concerns Philip Massinger's The Bondman, first performed in 1624. While it is always useful to introduce drama from the time of Shakespeare that is not Shakespeare, Baumann also discusses metaphorical concepts of slavery (e.g. "slaves of passion") to the detriment of some probable references to actual ancient slaves. Unless I am mistaken, I detect an allusion to Spartacus—at least as described in Plutarch's life of Crassus—in 2 Henry VI, II.3, in which Warwick kills his horse "because I will not fly" the field of battle. Throughout his career, Shakespeare relied heavily on his translations of Plutarch, and the ancient resonances contained within this early play (there is even a reference to Olympic victors' crowns later in the same scene) are pronounced. Similarly, Andreas Wacke's reflections on the German indentured servants who were transported to colonial Pennsylvania seem disconnected from the theme of, specifically, ancient slavery. The one exception to this may be the so-called "redemptioner", a bond-servant who is working off the price of his passage until "redemption", whose parallels to Roman slave law are only addressed in a short footnote on p. 59. Even here, though, contractual references to "the year of our redemption" are surely more redolent of Christian concepts than pre-Christian ones?

Four papers survey appearances of ancient slaves in historical novels, contemporary crime fiction, film, and television, but these also fail sufficiently to contextualize the artistic products and to be fully comprehensive. Ulrich Eigler makes glancing references to several romances produced in the 19th century, but the slaves who appear in novels like The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), Fabiola (1854), Quo Vadis (1895), and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ4 (1880) are not the most significant characters. This makes the absence of Raffaello Giovagnoli's famous 1874 rendering of a Garibaldian Spartaco all the more troubling. The confrontation between Spartacus and Catiline (Capitolo III) and another moonlit conversation between Spartacus and Caesar (Capitolo IX) may not be historically feasible, but they do illustrate the heroic potential of a slave liberator, particularly against the backdrop of real revolutions during this century. Cornelia Ritter-Schmalz analyzes slaves in a series of novels published in the 1990s and 2000s, dealing especially with their attendant themes of sexual exploitation and sexuality in general, but she does not, for example, discuss the other novels of Steven Saylor, whose works form the crux of her paper. In recent years, Saylor has moved outside genre fiction and has published two superb historical novels, tracing the experiences of one family throughout Rome's history. The second of these, Empire (2010), deals in a sensitive way with the familiar story of the execution of L. Pedanius Secundus' enslaved household in 61 CE.

Martin Lindner's erratic journey through cinematic history to spotlight "Sklaven als Heldenfiguren" pauses briefly to discuss the television extravaganza Spartacus: Blood and Sand and several peplum films, but he gives only scant attention to Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus and omits entirely a 2004 film starring Goran Visnjic in the title role. It is also important to acknowledge that Timonides, the noble character played by James Mason in the 1964 Bronston Studios epic The Fall of the Roman Empire reveals himself to be a former slave—even though he is also Marcus Aurelius' principal advisor and most trusted confidant. Anja Wieber makes a more successful analysis of films and television programs designed specifically for children in the USA, West Germany, and the UK, but the wider contexts of children's programming—and of children's and young adult literature more generally —are downplayed here.

One of the strongest essays in the collection investigates the role of slaves in Bertolt Brecht's The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar (in its English title), which began as a theater piece in 1938, morphed into a novel project, and was finally abandoned due to its "Unmenschlichkeit". Wolfgang Will demonstrates the centrality of enslaved people to Brecht's conception, analyzing a series of episodes Brecht had sketched out, including Caesar's sojourn among the sea pirates. Will points out that, since the book was to take the form of a slave's diary, this was essentially an enslaved person's perspective on Caesar. One might only wish that Will had addressed the particular context of 1938, a year which saw a number of new investigations of the Late Republic, as Mussolini had launched a commemoration of Augustus' 2000th birthday in 1937-1938. Moreover, there are many other appearances of Caesar in Brecht's own work and in those of his frequent collaborators. A stanza in his 1935 poem "Questions from a Worker Who Reads" observes, "Caesar defeated the Gauls, Did he not even have a cook with him?", and Kurt Weill composed a song for a 1933 musical on the theme of "Caesars Tod", suggesting the wider application of Caesar's image within Weimar culture.

Henri Wallon's three-volume Histoire de l'esclavage dans l'antiquite/, first published in 1848, forms the basis of Elisabeth Herrmann-Otto's compelling study of the connections between ancient slavery and human rights. Defining slavery as a "usurpation de l'homme par l'homme", Wallon underscored the brutality of institutional slavery—no matter how anodyne it may appear in ancient documents—and insisted that its corrupting effects on humanity were irreversible, even though some slaves were freed. As such, Herrmann-Otto argues, Wallon prefigured the "slavery as social death" position maintained so forcefully by Orlando Patterson, and, having undertaken my own investigation of Wallon, I would concur that he was remarkably prescient in anticipating today's scholarly debates.5 This leads to the article's most interesting question: Why has Wallon's work been so overlooked and/or actively denigrated in the 20th century? While she suggests that some of the ambivalence about Wallon has stemmed from his moralizing tone, one wonders whether Herrmann-Otto is also thinking of the bitter controversy between Moses Finley and Joseph Vogt over the "Humanität" of ancient slavery.

Perhaps the most accomplished and provocative article in the volume is Schmitz's own study of "Slave Labor, Factory Work, and the Social Question at the Turn of the 20th Century". In a sophisticated analysis of major and minor scholarly works, as well as overall intellectual trends in the 19th century, he contrasts scholarship of the earlier parts of the century (Adolf Ebeling and Ernst Frank) with Eduard Meyer and, especially, the specialized studies of Robert von Pöhlmann and Friedrich Oertel. Focusing on analyses of textile manufacture in classical Greece—and the interactions between enslaved and free labor in a "factory" context—he positions these studies against the "social question" confronting industrial capitalism in the period 1880-1914. Schmitz demonstrates that the trajectories Marx and Engels had triggered were pursued, even by those who did not share their ideological views. Specifically, ancient slaves were conceptualized partly as a tool the capitalists could use against the proletariat, and partly as an oppressed class that could be equated with the proletariat itself.

In sum, this collection raises essential questions that are long overdue for examination. However, many of the individual papers exemplify some of the difficulties scholars face when delving into "reception studies" in any specialized context. A tighter focus on the figure of Spartacus would facilitate a course correction in this field. Nonetheless, there is an even more critical need: to take into account the actual slaves and real revolutionary activity to liberate them, particularly in the 19th century. Nowhere is this more crucial than in the impact of the "Black Spartacus" and his associates in revolutionary Haïti, who established the first republic of liberated slaves—and also terrified the slaveholders who controlled another republic nearby.6



Notes:


1.   A book by A. V. Mishulin carrying this subtitle was published in Moscow in 1936.
2.   The Gladiators, translated by Edith Simon, reprint of 1939 edition New York: Graphic Publishing Company, pp. 256-257. Michael Scammell explores the circumstances of the book's creation in his 2009 biography Koestler, pp. 164-166, and Henry Innes MacAdam has painstakingly recreated the fascinating race between Koestler and Howard Fast to launch a film version of Spartacus' story. (Fast, thanks to Kirk Douglas, won.) See especially MacAdam's article in Left History 16 (2012): 55-71.
3.   See my review of Heinen's edited volume, Antike Sklaverei: Rückblick und Ausblick, at BMCR 2011.07.46.
4.   The dash between the words is mistakenly omitted here (168), but it was rendered in this fashion in the original edition.
5.   I would add that Wallon pays remarkably modern attention to both the "adoucissements" [mitigations, consolations], principally in a type of marriage and the granting of a peculium, that masters used to control the enslaved, and to the forms and success of resistance by enslaved people, especially in the Roman Empire.
6.   A biography of Toussaint Louverture by Philippe Girard, subtitled "A revolutionary life," was published in January 2017 by Basic Books. The impact of images of the Haitian revolutionary Jean-Baptiste Belley is well-known among art historians, and the novelist Alexandre Dumas was also only one generation removed from enslavement in Saint-Domingue. ​

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2017.06.34

Shari Boodts (ed.), Sancti Aurelii Augustini Sermones in epistolas apostolicas II, id est Sermones CLVII – CLXXXIII secundum ordinem vulgatum insertis etiam aliquot sermonibus post Maurinos repertis. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, XLI Bb; Aurelii Augustini opera, Pars 11.8. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2016. Pp. lxxx, 784. ISBN 9782503568119. €460.00.

Reviewed by Daniel Hadas, King's College London (daniel.hadas@kcl.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site

This volume provides critical editions of sermons 157-183 of St Augustine, in the now canonical Maurist sequence, plus 11 additional sermons that have been discovered since the Maurists' edition (1683), and to which Augustinian scholars have assigned numbers that slot them into the sequence (159A, 159B, 162A, 162B, 162C, 163A, 163B, 166A, 167A, 177A, 179A). The editing project is complex, because the Maurists organised the sermons thematically—all those included here are on verses from St Paul or the Catholic epistles—and only some manuscript collections of sermons are so organised. Many of the sermons here are transmitted, albeit not always exclusively, in the 'De verbis apostoli' collection ("DVA"), but 17 belong to other traditions.

Boodts is the overall editor, and has herself edited 28 of the individual sermons, in 6 cases reprinting her own earlier editions.1 G. Partoens reprints his recent editions of ss. 163 and 176, and C. Weidmann does likewise for 166A ( = Enarrrationes in psalmos 25.2). F. Dolbeau's contribution stands somewhat apart: he re-edits, rather than reprints, 3 of the sermons (159A, 159B, 162C) he discovered in Mainz, Stadtbibliothek I 9, and also offers new editions of ss. 160 and 177, for which the Mainz manuscript gives valuable new evidence.2

Boodts provides a general introduction to the DVA collection. Each sermon then has an individual introduction by its editor. These discuss the sermon's possible date, present the manuscript tradition, and set out the editor's ratio edendi: how s/he has chosen to use the manuscript evidence. For sermons transmitted within the same collections, this involves much (acknowledged) repetition, whose purpose escapes me. A more serious frustration is the use of manuscript sigla: those employed in the general introduction are abandoned in the separate editions, and the same manuscript may then have different sigla for different sermons. This makes analysis difficult.

As a whole, the volume is a model of diligence and clarity. Where a sermon's tradition is of manageable size, the editors have collated everything. Where it is too big for that, they have used a generous selection of manuscripts. Florilegia, including unprinted ones, are collated throughout, as are all important earlier printed editions. The editors give sure-footed and succinct guidance through this vast wealth of information: the book could serve as an excellent introduction to the medieval circulation of patristic sermons. The rationes edendi are particularly welcome: we are not left to guess at how the editors have made their decisions. The proofreading—a gargantuan task—is also exemplary.3

Less satisfactory is Boodts's attempt to make sense of the DVA tradition. This is a very difficult task: there are "several hundred" manuscripts (xxix) and the tradition appears heavily contaminated. Building on the work of P.-P. Verbraken and of Partoens, Boodts starts from a list of 33 manuscripts, all 12th century or earlier. She eliminates 3 for practical reasons,4 and collates the rest for ss. 158 and 183 only. From these collations, and from previous scholarship, she attempts to deduce the relationships among her 30 manuscripts, and thence reduces her list to 13 witnesses, which she has collated for all the DVA sermons she had not previously edited. Some of Boodt's proofs are convincing, and she is candid about the fragility of others. But she too often argues from readings she calls "errors" when they might be right, and, above all, she makes no attempt to test her conclusions from ss. 158 and 183 on the collations from the other sermons, either those that she is now editing for the first time or those that are re-printed here. Those collations could of course only tell us about the manuscripts that were used in each case, but it was still worth asking whether, for those manuscripts, the collations validated the ss. 158-183 conclusions. Boodts's approach is rather to use her conclusions for ss. 158-183 to choose among readings in the other sermons. This puts too much weight on the evidence of only 2 sermons, and makes the dangerous (if tempting) assumption that the relationship between manuscripts must be the same for every sermon.5

In constituting her DVA texts, Boodts divides her manuscripts into 3 groups: those with an identifiable hyparchetype, "those which show the fewest signs of contamination" and "the remaining manuscripts". She then seeks to build a text from agreement between groups 1 and 2, where it is backed by at least one member of group 3. When this won't work, she prefers group 1, "as this group allows us to be more confident that the chosen reading is a not a product of contamination".6 The reasoning here is hard to follow: groups 2 and 3 are shadowy, and there is no good cause why contaminated manuscripts cannot have the correct reading. Boodts does, very rightly, also give weight to "internal critique", but her apparatus contains regrettably few indications of how she is doing this.

Where sermons feature not only in DVA manuscripts, there are other problems. They cannot all be discussed here, but I note in particular the case of s. 180. Boodts shows that there are two branches to the tradition (p and v), and suggests that 3 manuscripts (r1, r2, r3) may constitute a third branch. Yet, rather than balancing the 3 branches against each other, she states she will try to reconstruct only p, "with the rest of the transmission serving to filter out errors" (653). In fact, her apparatus shows that p and v have equal value. Boodts then naturally follows v when it must be right, but p and v readings needed to be given equal weight throughout, and Boodts would also have done well to consider whether the agreement of r1, r2, r3 with v against p might give the right text, as I believe it does at line 340 (see below). We find a similar problem in s. 172: a number of manuscripts are independent from DVA, but Boodts writes that because their "stemmatic positioning is based on limited evidence—though their independence from the De verbis Apostoli archetype has been adequately proved—we have elected to reconstruct the point in the stemma that is clearest to us: the archetype of the De verbis Apostoli tradition" (475). And yet the independent witnesses have "enabled us to correct the De verbis Apostoli archetype" (ibid.). The right procedure was then to reconstruct the archetype of both traditions.

I also do not think it was wise of Boodts (and Partoens) to provide an "exhaustive" (lxxix) apparatus, recording all non-orthographical variants. Where no stemma can be built, it is perhaps justifiable to record everything that could be right. But do we truly need every unique error, including those the scribes have themselves corrected (let alone the misprints of previous editions)? The result is an enormous apparatus, and I wonder who will read it. The procedure is especially puzzling in s. 170, where (we are told) the archetype is extant, but we are still given the readings of 13 other manuscripts, and in s. 176, where Partoens gives the readings of 31 DVA manuscripts, although he wishes to discard the DVA text in favour of the alternative 'De paenitentia' tradition. Moreover, for all their detail, the collations are not always accurate.7

Despite these problems, the text adopted by all the editors is generally very good: free from non-Latin, carefully punctuated, and boldly faithful to the loose grammar and hammering repetitions and questions of Augustine's preaching. Given how few predecessors they have, it is no discredit to the editors that their text cannot always be accepted. I suggest corrections, as follows:8

Better reading in apparatus:9 s. 158, 175: credemus; s. 159, 123: qui; s. 160, 25 aliquo; s. 163, 284: et ex; s. 163B, 14: accept Morin's addition (see 27-30); s. 164, 302: nunc; s. 165, 122-3: qui autem … quod] quis autem … cui; s. 166A, 202: sed; s. 169, 207: iustitia1: iustitia tua; s. 174, 69 om. et1; 215: qui non; s. 176, 80-1: sed ex … superare] sed quia ex …. superavit; s. 178, 100: ergo] totum; s. 180, 329 sanctum] falsum, 340: clament; s. 182, 80: si non.

Repunctuate: s. 161, 204: est, sed] est sed; s. 162A, 503-4: gentibus.] gentibus?; s. 165.122 habet cui] habet, cui; s. 167A, 6 illum et] illum, et; s. 181, 163: habebat, ut] habebat ut; 178-9: hic, exhibet] hic exhibet.

Conjecture: s. 159, 180-1: timorem … poenarum] timorem doloris timoremque poenarum; s. 159B, 684: quis] is; s. 160, 152 ire] irent; s. 162C, 242: del. et; s. 176, 113: se] me; s. 180, 132 διὰ] μὰ.

Deeper corruption: s. 162, 201-2 (alienum … esse 2): I can neither construe nor make sense of this. s. 172A, 240-5 (denique … praecisum): There seems to be a lacuna before this passage, as the image of the eye is not followed through. The worm image is also hard to grasp, and perhaps needs fixing.

On balance, despite its imperfections, this volume is a very valuable contribution to Augustinian scholarship. Where the editors reprise their earlier work, one welcomes the gathering of their scattered editions in a single volume. Where they re-edit sermons last edited 100-300 years ago, they offer huge improvements on the earlier text, and much precious new evidence. This will be the edition of reference henceforth, and rightly so. But it is to be hoped that its qualities will not lead to another 3-century gap in editorial work on these sermons, but will rather serve as a spur to detailed, sermon by sermon, studies of what Augustine said and how he said it. The sermons are well worth the trouble.



Notes:


1.   s. 168, 169 (with G. Partoens and M. Torfs), 170, 180, 182, 183.
2.   Dolbeau writes in French, whereas all the other editors use English.
3.   A slip at p. lix: iam3 should read iam2; p. 542: S1 cannot be right. Corrections to apparatus: s. 161, 32 inv. is ambiguous; s. 166, 78: a is the archetype; s. 175.30: which 'ridere'?; s. 176: '164' should read '165'; s. 178, 189: 'etiam' is a false lemma, 201: si1 or si2?; s. 180, 348: v reading given twice. The various layers of editing have also caused some slips. Boodts uses v throughout for DVA in her apparatus, but doesn't tell us what it means till s. 172. d for the 'De verbis domini' collection at s. 171 is also unexplained. In s. 169 and 174, we are not told that s of the apparatus is σ1 of the stemma. We are also not told that Dolbeau and Weidmann use the asterisk in their apparatus to mean "this reading could be right".
4.   But Paris Lat. 14292, "no longer consultable due to damage to the binding" (xxxv-vi), has been online Gallica BnF since 2011.
5.   For instance, Boodts has Valenciennes 157 and Vat. Lat. 476 as closely related. They do share characteristic errors in s. 157, 159, 161, 178, 181, 183, but not elsewhere.
6.   I quote from the rationes edendi , formulated in near-identical terms in the introductions to most of the DVA sermons.
7.   As a sample, I have re-collated Vat. Lat. 474 DigiVatLib.474 for s. 159 (errors: 6 hac] ac a.c.; 10 secundum] cundum a.c.; 12 ut om. p. c.; 16 tantum] tamen; 19 nonnulla] nulla; 89 infidelitate] infideli te a.c.; 100: gustate et videte] gusta et vide p.c.; 143 delectatione] delectatatione a.c. ; 155-6 gratius minus] gratus munus (?) a.c.; 203 minantia] minacia p.c.; 225 ait bis a.c.); British Library Add. 17292 for s. 168 (errors: folios should be 22r-24r; 79 ubi vestimenta inv. a.c.; 93 om. et3; 129 et] ut; 153 sic] si a.c.; 160 dignus vocari inv. a.c.; 164 ipsa vacat inv. a.c.; 177 non orat inv. a.c.); Lyon 604 Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon, Ms. 604 for s. 170 (errors: 121 quaere] quare; 193 resurrectionem] resurrectione a.c.; 214 om. sumus; 219 creditis] credetis a.c.; 235 qui2] quia).
8.   I hope to justify these suggestions elsewhere.
9.   A number of these readings return to the Maurists' text, which is never to be dismissed lightly.

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2017.06.33

Eric Adler, Classics, the Culture Wars, and Beyond. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016. Pp. xi, 292. ISBN 9780472130153. $75.00.

Reviewed by Harriet Fertik, University of New Hampshire (harriet.fertik@unh.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview

"You're a traditional gal, aren't you!" This is the most memorable response I have received to the admission that I am a classicist, and it is an understandable pronouncement: the field of classics is often associated with the values and practices of a bygone era, both within the academy and outside of it. Yet as Adler's book shows, classics has long been so marginal in American life that its status as traditional may be questioned. Adler examines the role of classical studies in American education and society during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. He focuses on three "classical controversies" of the period: an editorial dispute at the American Journal of Philology, the debates surrounding Bernal's Black Athena, and the reception of Hanson and Heath's Who Killed Homer? Through these case studies, he aims to shed light on the history of higher education in America and to "plot a way forward for the discipline of classics" (2). Adler overlooks some important problems in his analyses of these debates, but he has provided an accessible and assiduously even-handed study of a contentious period.

In the introduction, Adler states that his book "pertains to contestations over what Americans should learn in colleges and universities, about who we are as Westerners, as Americans" (2). While this book will be of greatest value to those interested in the American context for classical studies, the scope of the project is broader than Adler's avowed focus on "who we are as Westerners" suggests: later in the book, he attends to the multicultural history of the Mediterranean (Chapter 4) and argues for the need to reach a diverse population of students (Chapter 4 and 6). These points would be advanced if Adler discussed how studying Greek and Roman antiquity can challenge simplistic notions of East and West.

The first chapter of the book surveys the culture wars in the American academy in the late twentieth century and demonstrates that classical studies and classicists were only peripheral players. Adler distinguishes between two parties in the culture wars: traditionalists, who argued for a Great Books approach in higher education, and antitraditionalists, who promoted "the study of race, class, gender, and sexuality…and other elements associated with the postmodern movement" (16). Millennial readers (like this one) may appreciate Adler's review of the traditionalist and antitraditionalist works of the era (e.g., Bloom, Graff, and D'Souza). One of the strengths of Adler's book is his persistent interest in identifying points of contact and overlap between opponents in a debate. For example, he notes that both traditionalists and antitraditionalists saw pre-professional courses for undergraduates, such as business, as a threat to the liberal arts. Yet Adler acknowledges that "traditionalist critiques…did not chiefly seek to reform higher education in the US" but were instead "interested in informing the general public about 'tenured radicals' and their biases" (34). Adler is careful to consider strengths and weaknesses of traditionalist and antitraditonalist perspectives, but this focus on balance obscures a larger question: whether "culture warriors" are equally invested in the project of higher education and in the complex problems it presents.

Chapter 1 concludes with one remarkable point of consensus in the culture wars. For both traditionalists and antitraditionalists, classics, especially the study of Latin and ancient Greek, was "stodgy and elitist….a discipline so outmoded that it failed to win even the traditionalists' assent" (40). Chapter 2 addresses the history of classical studies in American colleges and universities, tracing the connections between the changing priorities of these institutions and the increasingly tenuous position of the field of classics. Although the polemics of Chapter 1 emphasized the mid- twentieth century as the turning point for undergraduate education, Adler shows that, from the perspective of classical studies, the transformation had arrived by the end of the nineteenth century. Early American colleges were influenced by the ideals of Italian Renaissance humanism, which ensured a dominant place for classical antiquity and ancient languages in the undergraduate curriculum. In the nineteenth century, however, the German research university became an increasingly important model for American institutions. If college faculty in early America were primarily teachers, by the late nineteenth century they were expected to be professional experts and to be dedicated to producing new knowledge. These demands facilitated the decline of the prescribed classical curriculum and the rise of electives and distribution requirements, so that faculty could offer courses in their own areas of expertise. Adler convincingly argues that twentieth-century battles over Great Books courses were "small potatoes" (73) for classical studies, as these courses are taught in English translation and are far from the exclusive preserve of classicists.

In the next three chapters, Adler shows how classicists responded (or failed to respond) to very public controversies. The first episode (Chapter 3) began with George Luck's editorial statement for the American Journal of Philology, in which he specified the kinds of scholarship acceptable to the journal; he also refused to publish some articles that his predecessor had already accepted. Although this dispute is remembered as a conflict between the male academic establishment and feminist scholars, and between philology and newer intellectual approaches, Adler argues that it arose due to the limited resources for classics at AJP's home institution. As he did in Chapter 1, Adler notes points of contact between ostensible opponents, as both traditionalists in the culture wars and feminist classicists valued scholarship written for general audiences. Although philology was the height of tradition for academic classicists, the writers of traditionalist polemics disdained such specialized research.

Chapter 4 examines the academic and popular responses to Bernal's Black Athena. Adler argues that many classicists were (or have become) receptive to Bernal's contention that racism shaped the study of classical antiquity, even when they rejected his views of the Egyptian and Phoenician origins of Greek civilization. With the exception of Mary Lefkowitz's writings for the popular press, however, the public debate had little to do with classics or classicists: instead, the most vocal participants were Afrocentric scholars, whose views were often taken (incorrectly) to represent the entire field of African American studies, and who "served as a perfect media foil for classical studies, which could be portrayed as the traditionalistic discipline par excellence" (143). Adler's account of the controversy in classical studies focuses on Bernal and Lefkowitz, the figures who are most familiar to classicists.1 While he does discuss responses from Frank Snowden and Molly Levine, both at Howard University, this chapter would have benefited if black classicists and historically black colleges and universities had received more sustained attention. In Ulysses in Black, Patrice Rankine recounts an experience from his days in graduate school, when he went to meet with a professor and brought his copy of Black Athena (volume 1) with him: "I scarce expected the greeting I would receive. 'You certainly aren't reading that nonsense, are you?' asked my professor. While the condemnation of the Black Athena idea might well have been warranted, I realized that the professor had dismissed the book without even visiting its central arguments. Nor was he to any extent aware of why the notion of a Black Athena might appeal to me as a strongly black-identified individual."2 These experiences have much to teach classicists who are invested in addressing the very problems of elitism and disengagement that concern Adler.

Chapter 5 discusses the critiques of classical studies that Hanson and Heath pose in Who Killed Homer? Adler reviews the shortcomings and logical inconsistencies of the book's account of ancient Greece, and explains how the authors fail to consider the history of higher education (see Chapter 2) in their attacks on classical scholarship as a profession and on specific classicists. Like the traditionalists of Chapter 1, Hanson and Heath recommend reforms that are "obviously utopian," rather than serious proposals to change the culture of the academy (190). Adler points out, however, that Hanson and Heath raised key challenges that deserve a response from scholars: the elitism of classics as a field, the focus on research productivity (especially in narrow and technical topics) rather than teaching, and the absence of a rationale for studying classics when Greek and Roman antiquity have no protected place in the curriculum.

In Chapter 6, Adler offers his own proposals to make classics a more central player in American higher education. He presents the bleak picture of the number of classics majors and course enrollments (especially in ancient languages) in the United States, and the even bleaker outlook for the academic job market. He has also produced a survey of the (largely pessimistic) attitudes of classicists in America toward the state of the field. Adler is mindful that classicists cannot independently enact sweeping change in American higher education; he is also refreshingly cognizant of the different priorities, perspectives, and needs of different kinds of institutions, and he emphasizes that lack of job security and limited resources severely limit the actions that faculty can take. He argues that reception should be essential to course offerings in classics programs, that classicists should advocate for optional core curricula (based on the Great Books model) for undergraduates rather than distribution requirements, and that they collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines to pursue this goal.

Adler's proposals, however, are not limited to curriculum design: he also makes more sweeping suggestions. One is that classicists must adopt a "big tent" model, because "alienating any potentially sympathetic constituency remains counterproductive" for a field that needs to attract as much interest and support as possible (241). He is primarily concerned with including moderates and conservatives in the "big tent" of classical studies, but recent events have raised different political problems for classics. This book was published before the so-called alt-right, and its racist posturing on the defense of Western civilization, was headline news in the US, and before the white nationalist group Identity Evropa began poster campaigns at college campuses, with classical statues featured prominently in their imagery. How should classicists respond? Adler distinguishes between statements made by organizations and by individual scholars, and he warns that scholarly organizations should avoid "official declarations...on topics outside their purview" (241), but these troubling developments fall within the purview of classics, and the "big tent" model does not give us the tools to address them. Publicly condemning these appropriations of antiquity attracts controversy, but failing to respond may well deter potential (and current) classicists and classical enthusiasts from entering the "big tent."

Adler also urges classicists to advocate, both in the classroom and to the wider public, for "the cardinal importance of Greco-Roman antiquity to educated Americans" (231). As Adler notes, however, when we recognize the troubling history of such grand assertions about the classical past, we may hesitate to make them (or we may simply disagree with them). Furthermore, Adler's emphasis on studying the classical foundations of "the West" elides critical issues, such as the relationship between Greco-Roman antiquity and the Islamic world, and engaging with these issues offers valuable opportunities to expand the appeal of classical studies.3 Yet his main point, that classicists should be able to explain the importance of their field to students and to the public, is well taken. Adler makes the case that "Why study classics?" must be the central question for classicists today, and his book invites readers to join the conversation.



Notes:


1.   Denise Eileen McCoskey, Race: Antiquity and its Legacy, Oxford, 2012, 167-199 provides a rich discussion of race and the history of scholarship on the ancient Mediterranean, including the place of Black Athena in this wider picture.
2.   Patrice Rankine, Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature, Madison, 2006, 8.
3.   Kwame Anthony Appiah, "There is no such thing as Western civilization", The Guardian, November 9, 2016.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2017.06.32

John K. Papadopoulos, Sarah P. Morris, Lorenc Bejko, Lynne A. Schepartz, The Excavation of the Prehistoric Burial Tumulus at Lofkënd, Albania (2 vols.). Monumenta archaeologica, 34. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2014. Pp. xxxvii, 1,118. ISBN 9781938770005. $169.00.

Reviewed by Michael L. Galaty, Mississippi State University (mgalaty@anthro.msstate.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

The Excavation of the Prehistoric Burial Tumulus at Lofkënd, Albania, hereafter Lofkënd, describes the results of six years of archaeological fieldwork (2003–2008) focused on a prehistoric burial mound located in south- central Albania in the valley of the Gjanicë River, a tributary of the much larger Vjosa. Composed of twenty-two chapters in four parts, Volume 1 presents the text and tables (667 pages), while Volume 2 presents the figures (450 pages), many of which are produced in full color. The project directors thought it would take a year to excavate the roughly 15x20 m mound; it took four. One hundred tombs were removed, fifteen of which were Modern (and two of these were animal burials); altogether they contained 154 individuals (described in great detail, along with the mound's stratigraphy, in Parts I and II). Many, but not all, graves included grave goods of pottery, metal, stone, faience, glass, and bone (Part III). The Lofkënd volumes thereby represent a tremendous amount of work, and set the gold standard for the modern excavation of a burial monument, whether in Albania, elsewhere in Europe, or anywhere in the world. It is to be hoped that archaeologists who work outside of Albania will buy and read this fantastic, handsome report.

To date, over 150 tumuli have been excavated in Albania, so it is perhaps appropriate to ask why the excavations at Lofkënd are so meaningful. Lofkënd records in great detail the various technologies and methods used, but also addresses multiple, important theoretical-archaeological questions. These pertain to Albanian late prehistory and ancient Illyria's place in the wider Mediterranean region, the practice of landscape archaeology, and cultural resources management, among others (mostly addressed in Part IV).

Lofkënd is located in the Mallakastër Hills, directly east of the large Greek colonial city of Apollonia. Apollonia and its hinterland, including the Illyrian hill fort at Margelliç, were surveyed by an Albanian-American team, the Mallakastra Regional Archaeological Project (MRAP), from 1998–2003. MRAP's main goal was to investigate the nature of Greek-Illyrian interactions by looking at regional changes in settlement patterns before, during, and after the founding of the colony, sometime around 600 BC. When the Lofkënd project began (as recounted in Chapter 1), Papadopoulos et al. hoped that the use of the tumulus would span the era of Greek colonization, and that its excavation might contribute to this larger research program. To their surprise, the tumulus was constructed quite early—sometime after 1400 BC—and used for approximately 600 years. The last prehistoric burial occurred about 800 BC, at least two centuries before the arrival of the Greeks. The Lofkënd team was forced to switch gears.

A major problem in Albanian archaeology has been and continues to be the general absence of an absolute prehistoric chronology for the country. This situation is partly a result of Albania's closure during the Communist era, when radiometric dates were unavailable, but is also due to a lingering cultural-historical/materialist theoretical approach that depends upon and generates elaborate, but inaccurate, relative chronologies, based largely on parallels with Aegean and Balkan artifacts, which themselves are not well dated. As a result, the processes whereby Illyrian settlements in southern Albania were transformed into urban centers remain poorly understood. The single most important contribution made by the Lofkënd project, therefore, is an anchored, local absolute chronology for southern Albania, based on a sequence of 37 AMS radiocarbon dates on bone and wood charcoal (as described in Chapter 4). These dates bracket the use-life of the tumulus, but also connect the Lofkënd chronology to other emerging, regional chronologies, such as those produced for Korça by Lera et al. (2011) and for northern Albania by Galaty et al. (2013). With the Lofkënd chronology in hand, Papadopoulos et al. were able to address several of the more important issues relating to the late prehistoric occupation of Albania.

For example, most Albanian archaeologists (and foreign archaeologists working in and around Albania) continue to assume that Bronze Age "proto-Illyrians" were strongly influenced by the Mycenaeans and their Middle-Late Bronze Age predecessors. Some (mostly early) Mycenaean artifacts, primarily weapons, have in fact been recovered from Albanian tumuli, but the bulk of connections between southern Albania and Greece appear to have been forged after the Late Helladic IIIB, i.e., after the fall of the palaces. Lofkënd is no different. The first thirteen tombs date to Lofkënd Phase I (14th–13th centuries BC) and, but for a number of bone dress pins, are almost devoid of grave goods. The remaining 72 prehistoric tombs (Phases II–V) account for the majority of grave goods, none of which betray overtly "Mycenaean" connections. In fact, Lofkënd's material culture was as strongly influenced by northern Greece (and Italy and Central Europe) as it was by southern Greece. The upshot is that changes to Albanian social complexity, signaled by the construction of mounds and hill forts, were indigenous developments, set in motion well before any possible contacts with Mycenaeans. This conclusion bears, of course, on larger debates in Mediterranean/European archaeology about connectedness, the movement of peoples, and the rise of protourban sociopolitical formations (cf. Kristiansen and Larsson 2005).

Another major problem in Albanian archaeology, which the Lofkënd project could at least peripherally address, concerns the organization of proto-Illyrian settlement and economy. Whereas Albanian archaeologists focused much of their energy on tumuli, very few southern Albanian, proto-Illyrian settlement sites (i.e., hill forts) were excavated. Those that were suffered from shallow deposits and mixed stratigraphic sequences, and generated little evidence for full-time occupation prior to the Classical period. Such was the case, for example, at Margelliç (Ceka 1986, 1987), the closest hill fort to Lofkënd.1 It thus remains unclear who built the Lofkënd tumulus, and the other tumuli in the area, at Mashkjezë, Pazhok, and Apollonia, and where they lived. What is particularly interesting about the Lofkënd tumulus is that much of its fill incorporated numerous artifacts from earlier and contemporary periods, including chipped stone tools (some of which are Paleolithic and Mesolithic), pottery, animal bone, and 40 kg of daub. Papadopoulos et al. concluded that this fill must have been mined from a nearby settlement site and used to construct and repair the mound. As a consequence, one of the objectives of the project was to situate the tumulus in its regional, natural and settlement context. This objective was met by reconstructing the local paleo-environment (Chapter 16), including soils, and by conducting intensive and extensive archaeological surveys (Chapter 18). The results of this work indicated that the environment and landscape had not changed significantly since the Bronze Age. Importantly, survey did not identify any settlements in the vicinity of Lofkënd from which the tumulus fill might have been mined. These results mimic those of the MRAP survey, which likewise identified no new Bronze -Iron Age sites. Thus, where Lofkënd's builders lived and where the mound's fill was acquired remain a mystery.

In several of Lofkënd's more speculative chapters (e.g., in Chapter 8, on burial customs, and Chapter 20, on Lofkënd as a "cultivated" place), as well as in the Epilogue, the authors argue, based on negative evidence, that the so- called Lofkëndis must have been settled agriculturalists who practiced some form of mixed-village farming (following Halstead 1990). On the contrary, I have argued, based on the same sorts of negative evidence, that those who built the Albanian tumuli might well have been transhumant pastoralists and that tumuli marked routes of migration (Galaty 2002). The truth, of course, must lie somewhere in between. New data from northern Albania indicate that (at least some, probably not all) Late Bronze-Early Iron Age peoples moved from coast to interior, over relatively short, vertical distances, in order to monitor routes of travel, and that (at least some of) their animals went with them. In Shala, we gathered evidence from the Grunas hill fort (contemporary with the Lofkënd tumulus), from faunal, botanical, and residue analyses, to support this model (Galaty et al. 2013: 220–227), which may also apply to southern Albania.2 Southern Illyrian tribal units may have been based out of near-coastal sites, like Apollonia, and maintained seasonally and/or lightly occupied hill forts, like Margelliç, each of which exploited and monitored a particular river corridor. In this scenario, tumuli, like that at Lofkënd, were used occasionally and opportunistically, and the Lofkëndis were not peripheral players; rather they were key participants in a complex regional system.

Finally, the Lofkënd project is a model of reflexive, community-based archaeology and engaged heritage management. Lofkënd includes a 34-page Albanian summary. No fewer than 18 men and women from surrounding communities worked on the project. Numerous Albanian archaeology students were trained, some of whom have since earned advanced degrees. And the unusual decision was made to rebuild the mound, using locally made mudbricks (as described in Chapter 22). As noted by Morris and Papadopoulos, the tumulus "provided the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age inhabitants of the Gjanicë valley not only an image of, but an anchor to, their past" (p. 579). In reconstructing the mound, and returning it to the landscape, Lofkënd's modern occupants, working in consultation with project archaeologists, have charted a future course, one tied to heritage tourism and regional economic development. For this reason, the Lofkënd volumes serve an audience that is much larger than the relatively small number of archaeologists who will read them. They are a fitting testament to the departed dead, once buried in the Lofkënd tumulus, and an inspiring springboard for future investigations of Albanian prehistory, archaeological education, and local pride of place.

Works Cited

Ceka, Neritan (1986), Amfora Antike nga Margëlliçit. Iliria 16(2): 71–98.
Ceka, Neritan (1987), Arkitektura e qytezës së Margëlliçi. Monumentet 33: 5–25.
Galaty, Michael L. (2002), "Modeling the Formation and Evolution of an Illyrian Tribal System: Ethnographic and Archaeological Analogs," in The Archaeology of Tribal Societies, edited by William A. Parkinson, pp. 109–122. Ann Arbor: Monographs in World Prehistory.
Galaty, Michael L., Ols Lafe, Wayne E. Lee, and Zamir Tafilica, eds. (2013), Light and Shadow: Isolation and Interaction in the Shala Valley of Northern Albania. Monumenta Archaeologica 28. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA.
Halstead, Paul (1990), "Present to Past in the Pindhos: Diversification and Specialization in Mountain Economies." Revista di Studi Liguri 1: 61-80.
Kristiansen, Kristian, and Erik Larsson (2005), The Rise of Bronze Age Society: Travels, Transmissions and Transformations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lera, Petrika, Cécile Oberweiler, and Gils Touchais (2011), "Le passage du Bronze Récent au Fer Ancien sur le site de Sovjan (Basin de Korçë, Albanie): nouvelles données chronologiques," in Proceedings of the Cinquième Colloque International sur l'Illyrie Mériodionale at l'Épire dans l'Antiquité, Grenoble, France, October 8–12, 2008, edited by Jean-Luc Lamboley and Maria Paola Castiglioni, pp. 41–52. Paris: De Boccard.
Stocker, Sharon R. (2009), Illyrian Apollonia: Toward a Ktisis and Developmental History of the Colony. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cincinnati.



Notes:


1.   Only one other settlement is known from the vicinity of Lofkënd, a small, Bronze Age-Iron Age non-fortified site, called Kraps, test excavated by MRAP in 2002 (see Stocker 2009).
2.   In Lofkënd, Chapter 16 (p. 484), Marston erroneously asserts that the Lofkënd tumulus generated "the only record of animal use during the Early Iron Age in Albania."

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