Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Robert G. Ousterhout, Visualizing Community: Art, Material Culture, and Settlement in Byzantine Cappadocia. Dumbarton Oaks Studies, 46. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Trustees for Harvard University, 2017. Pp. xxv, 532. ISBN 9780884024132. $90.00.

Reviewed by Hugh Jeffery, Lincoln College, Oxford (

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The past two decades have seen something of a revolution in our understanding of medieval Cappadocia. The interpretation of the region's spectacular remains presents many challenges. Scholars have tended to focus on mural paintings, with less attention given to architectural and social context. Many domestic, agricultural and military installations remain undocumented. An almost complete absence of textual sources adds further difficulty. In brief, Cappadocia takes Christopher Hawkes' classic Ladder of Inference and turns it upon its head. One may quickly glean the theological arguments manifest in a particular painted program, but the economic and social relations of medieval Cappadocian communities remain elusive.

Byzantine Cappadocia has generally been interpreted as a pious landscape of scattered monastic communities. This paradigm began to unravel in the late 1990s as researchers began to investigate more mundane aspects of Cappadocian material culture. Monks and monasteries could certainly be found within the landscape, but not necessarily in any greater proportion than in any other territory of the empire. Robert Ousterhout was at the forefront of the secularization of Byzantine Cappadocia. A Byzantine Settlement in Cappadocia, first published in 2005, presented the results of four seasons of intensive survey at the settlement surrounding the Çanlı Kilise, an eleventh-century masonry church in the west of the region.1 Ousterhout interpreted the settlement as a town housing local landowners, their dependents, peasants, monks and soldiers assigned to the garrison of a nearby fortress. Visualizing Community draws on decades of experience, employing new approaches and interpretive paradigms to illuminate such communities across the whole of medieval Cappadocia.

The book has two principal thrusts. The first is a close analysis of the region's ecclesiastical architecture. Ousterhout demonstrates how the rock-cut architecture of the region was concerned less with replication of masonry forms than with signification, rhetorically exploiting familiar architectonic codes in order to create particular kinds of sacred space. The second thrust contextualises these monuments in a new social history of Cappadocia, exploring the relationships among monasteries, manors, towns, fortresses and cemeteries. These two approaches are complementary, as the architectural semiotics illustrate on a micro scale the priorities of the wider society—particularly with regard to the signification of holy space appropriate for the commemoration of the dead. The first two chapters are therefore concerned with architecture and mural painting, with the third and fourth treating socioeconomic relations and funerary archaeology.

In his initial chapter, "Architecture," Ousterhout sets out the first comprehensive analysis of ecclesiastical architecture in Cappadocia. He includes both built and rock-cut spaces, dating from late antiquity to the thirteenth century. Churches are presented chronologically by period (early Christian, transitional, middle Byzantine, and thirteenth century), and typologically within each period (single nave, atrophied Greek cross, cross-in-square, etc.). This is followed by discussions of identifiable workshops and local idiosyncrasies, concluding with some remarks on the relationships between carved space and masonry archetype. Ousterhout's structure allows the reader to contextualise both innovative and archaising monuments within a general narrative of architectural development in Cappadocia and the wider Byzantine world. The introduction of the cross-in-square church to Cappadocia in the tenth century is often cited as a manifestation of contacts with the capital. Careful analysis reveals how the Cappadocian carved cross-in-square departed from its Constantinopolitan and masonry predecessors while maintaining some of their symbolic connotations. Throughout Ousterhout is keen to bring the reader within the small and dimly lit interiors of his churches. This concern for visual experience leads to some fascinating reappraisals of the phase chronologies for several churches, including that at Karabaş in the Soğanlı valley and the famous Tokalı Kilise in Göreme. Ousterhout argues that the origins of both complexes may be found in small hermitages, and that the peculiar orientations of the later churches carved around these chambers permitted lines of sight between the hermit's cell and liturgical performances.

With the second chapter, "Painting in its Contexts," Visualising Community returns to the better-trodden territory of Cappadocian mural painting. Ousterhout does not attempt to give a complete overview of iconographies or stylistic developments, since such matters have been discussed at length elsewhere. However, he does not presuppose an intimate knowledge of Cappadocian painting, and provides a brief introduction to different modes of decoration. Having familiarised the reader with these essentials, Ousterhout turns to the question of how mural painting relates the architectural forms analysed in the preceding chapter. His approach focuses on craftsmen and their workshops, employing analyses of working practices developed in his 1999 Master Builders of Byzantium. Despite their fame today, it must have been extremely difficult to secure the services of a mural painter in Byzantine Cappadocia. A great number of spectacular churches never received a painted program, and even in the most sumptuously decorated monuments it is apparent that the artists arrived long after the execution of the architecture. Painters often plastered over sculpted decoration, and encountered great difficulty fitting their iconographic programs into the forms left by the excavator-architect.

These observations have significant implications for the mechanics of cultural transmission between Cappadocia and Constantinople. In the latter, the development of the Feast Cycle decorative program, in which Biblical events were depicted as individual iconic images, went hand-in-hand with that of the cross-in-square church and was dependent upon its discrete interior surfaces—lunettes, pendentives, vaults, etc. Ousterhout demonstrates that the Feast Cycle and the cross-in-square church arrived in Cappadocia through separate channels. So, for example, the painter of the early tenth- century Kılıçlar Kilisesi at Göreme, one of the first cross-in-square churches of Cappadocia, was unfamiliar with the new form and struggled to impose a continuous narrative around its multifaceted architecture.

Chapter three shares its title with that of the book as a whole, and contextualises the monuments discussed in the first two chapters. These hundred pages convincingly refute the monastic paradigm that dominated twentieth-century Cappadocian studies, describing a wide range of settlements within a productive agricultural landscape. Just as in his descriptions of church interiors, here Ousterhout consistently evokes the visual connections within the landscape. The ancient village of Soandos lies within the angle of a steep forked valley. During the tenth and eleventh centuries the valley was dominated by the Skepides family, whose portraits may now be seen in many of the churches they sponsored. Ousterhout argues that a rock-cut courtyard complex in the western fork, known locally as the Han, was not a monastery but in fact the palatial residence of the Skepides. Its imposing façade of horseshoe arches was intended to be visible from the irregular troglodytic chambers of the village below. A true monastery was located directly opposite the aristocratic Han, with cemeteries and more churches stretching up the eastern fork. Social relations are embedded into the local topography. Ousterhout also describes landscapes of fear and organised violence: fortresses, underground refuges, and redoubts cut into the backrooms of aristocratic manors and sealed by rolling stone doors. The analysis integrates the pious and violent landscapes into a complex social whole.

It is in this section that one perhaps regrets the lack of reference to numismatic evidence—or rather to its absence across the region. Ousterhout's surveys at the Çanlı Kilise settlement turned up only six coins, all post-Byzantine. The collections of the Niğde and Kayseri museums suggest that monetised exchange began only in the eleventh century.2 That the complex economies of tenth-century Cappadocia functioned without small denomination coinage seems relevant to an analysis of social and economic relations.

The fourth and final chapter, in which Ousterhout discusses monastic and funerary archaeology, is likely to prove the most controversial. Noting the frequent overlap between monasteries and cemeteries, he demonstrates that the latter almost always predate the former. Moreover, almost all Cappadocian churches were equipped for special burials in their first phase. These observations lead to an extensive review of Göreme, the most remarkable assemblage of rock-cut churches in all of Cappadocia. Ousterhout traces the development of the site. The earliest Christian spaces date to late antiquity and were situated within an ancient necropolis. These were followed by a cluster of tenth-century churches along the site's northwestern ridge, by the most elaborate eleventh-century monuments within a natural crescent at its southernmost extent, and finally by a complex of slightly later and smaller churches to the west. Surrounding the medieval churches are many rock-cut refectories, which have led to the common interpretation that a church and one or more refectories formed a monastic "unit." However, Ousterhout points out that there are far more refectories than churches, that churches are small and remote while refectories are large and easy to access, and that we are lacking many of the more utilitarian structures that would be required for large monasteries. He argues that these landscapes were in fact commemorative spaces for the lay dead. In place of active lavriotic communities, Ousterhout leaves only small groups of caretaker monks tending to the funerary chapels of the Cappadocian nobility. The refectories were used for special meals accompanying funerary liturgies or held in memory of the deceased. Nevertheless, Ousterhout admits that Göreme is anomalous even for Cappadocia, and one wonders why this extraordinary incidence of refectories should be exclusively confined to this site. Are we to imagine a Cappadocian Valley of the Kings? Would this not require an extremely wide catchment area for deceased aristocrats?

Ousterhout concludes with a fascinating essay on architectural semiotics and the production of sacred space. He distinguishes first between structural logic and architectonic detailing. The columns, vaults, and domes of the rupestrian churches are clearly informed by masonry archetypes. Working in negative space within the living rock, the excavator- architect was freed from any gravitational and structural impositions. Domes may therefore inflate illogically from flat ceilings, or be offered illusory support from a variety of ingenious pseudo-pendentitves. Yet these features might be overburdened by architectonic detailing, such as ribbed vaults or arcaded interior walls. Ousterhout's argument is reminiscent of Umberto Eco's take on the semiotics of gothic vaulting: "the communicative value of the ogival ribbing remains… [even] if the ribbing had been articulated only to communicate the function, and not to permit it".3 The architectonicity of the Cappadocian monuments contributed to the signification of their "church-ness," thereby creating an immanently holy space. The miniaturization of Cappadocian churches is likewise adduced in support of a reading as "iconic" architecture. Petite rock-cut liturgical furnishings reinforce the effect of the miniaturization. The ambo of the sixth-century Durmuş Kadır Kilisesi is miniscule. However, if one assumes a consistent scale between ambo and architectural space then this reduction in size performs important miniaturizing work, transforming the chapel into a miniature basilica. Liturgical spaces in Cappadocia are often multiplied. Tiny sanctuaries within pastophoria, equipped with complete liturgical furniture, would have been ludicrously cramped spaces for any liturgical performance. Ousterhout suggests that these are likewise communicative, maintaining holy space through the continuous anticipation of liturgies that might never be said. These communicative features are related to the commemorative function of Cappadocian architecture in that they create and maintain the holy space for burial ad sanctos, even in the absence of frequent worship by human actors.

Visualizing Community emphatically succeeds in its ambitious reassessment of Byzantine Cappadocia. This is now the best reference work for the region's famous churches, providing a thorough account of architectural developments complemented by insightful theoretical discussion. The bustling communities that inhabited this bizarre landscape are brought to life as never before. Necessary reading for the Byzantinist, but recommended for all those interested in how we might read the social lives of architectural spaces.


1.   Ousterhout, R. G., A Byzantine Settlement in Cappadocia (Washington, D.C: Dumbarton Oaks, 2011).
2.   Prigent, V., and Métivier, S., "La circulation monétaire dans la Cappadoce byzantine d'après les collections des musées de Kayseri et de Nigde," in Mélanges Cécile Morrisson = Travaux et Mémoires 16 (Paris, 2010) 577-618.
3.   Eco, U. "Function and Sign: The Semiotics of Architecture," in N. Leach, ed. Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory (New York: Routledge, 1997).

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Cédric Scheidegger Lämmle, Werkpolitik in der Antike: Studien zu Cicero, Vergil, Horaz und Ovid. Zetemata, 152. München: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2016. Pp. 312. ISBN 9783406699351. €88.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Wolfgang Polleichtner, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (

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Table of Contents

Cédric Scheidegger Lämmle's dissertation, handed in at Basel University in 2015, has been shortened and revised for publication. I find the book an interesting start in many regards but in some respects it is highly problematic.

The main point of Scheidegger Lämmle's dissertation is to take Steffen Martus' approach to the history of German literature from the 17th to the 20th century and to apply it to literature from Greco-Roman antiquity, to Augustan literature in particular.1 While communicating with each other over time, Martus claims, authors and their critics made each other increasingly aware of the fact that both literary history and literature are inextricably linked. Martus coins the term Werkpolitik for the attempt of authors to anticipate possible criticisms of their works and to instruct their readership on how their works need to be read. Scheidegger Lämmle considers the time of the end of the Roman republic and the beginning of the principate to be a period comparable to the time span between the 17th and the 20th century in Germany as far as the changes in the way works of literature were produced and critiqued. He mentions this on p.18f., but tries to prove this claim much later, in one footnote only (p.70 n. 35). One of the points he does not address is the difference in the quantity of still existent ancient source material that is at hand for a study like Martus'.

Scheidegger Lämmle's case studies of Cicero (75-109), Vergil (111-134), Horace (135-170), and Ovid (171-246) deal with the questions why these authors wrote their works, what they thought about them in retrospect, and what kind of future they wished for their books. These longer chapters are preceded by smaller investigations on the works of Hesiod (25-29), Galen (30-40), and Augustine (41-50) which in turn serve as examples upon which Scheidegger Lämmle builds the theoretical framework for his book (61-71).

After a brief personal foreword, Scheidegger Lämmle begins his work with a discussion of the problem of the first verses of the Aeneid (11-21). The famous ille ego qui and its following verses show, in his opinion, what a later author thought about Vergil's works as a whole.2 These verses give credence to the Aeneid as being a work written by Vergil and Scheidegger Lämmle assumes that this is how the text validates itself.

I cannot agree, however, with Scheidegger Lämmle when he discusses his theoretical view on what kind of relationship exists between author, text, and reader (51-60). Authorship is not just "an effect of the text" (55, cf. 58): the author is the condition without which a text would never come into existence. An author who wrote a text may claim a false identity or even completely hide it yet to this day, a text simply never physically writes itself. In fact, Scheidegger Lämmle in his case studies talks about Cicero etc. and what these authors think or write (cf., e.g., 65 or 143)3

Also, there are particular problems in these smaller investigations. Hesiod, Op. 26 is more complex in regard to any question surrounding Hesiod's self-awareness as an author than Scheidegger Lämmle allows it to be.4 In addition to what Scheidegger Lämmle says about the reception of Augustine's works in Possidius, Augustine's self-fashioning in his Retractationes as an author of works that need correction also points to his Christian beliefs.5 Augustine was aware of the fact that contemporary trends in making books, i.e. questions of mediality, would influence the reception of his work. And he took advantage of the changing media in his own interest and also in the interest of his god.6

As regards the main chapters a discussion of the terms imitatio and aemulatio and their role in Scheidegger Lämmle's theoretical framework would have been helpful. Martus' authors wrote after or while intellectuals were debating and writing about the character of geniuses and their originality. Especially the chapters on Vergil, Horace, and Ovid could have been improved by drawing conclusions from intertextual allusions in these authors' works. What these allusions meant matters a great deal to the reception of their works. For example, a thorough discussion of Tibullus' elegies and their reception of Vergil is missing.7 The topic of "love in old age" is treated by more authors than just Horace and Philodemus. Just to call this topos "althergebracht" deprives the argument of lots of opportunities for interpreting its use (155). Plato's Republic and Cicero's de senectute should be mentioned, especially because Cicero also talks about old horses in chapter 14. The question of how Ovid positioned his Metamorphoses in particular between, for example, Homer and Vergil would have been enriched by considering Apollonius, Roman architecture, Livy, and even Horace's ode 3.30.8 The proem of this epic poem is not just an intratextual allusion (217, 221 n 22, 301). The role of intertextuality for "Werkpolitik" becomes even more critical when dealing with common topics in the works of more than only two of Scheidegger Lämmle's authors.9

I cannot go into detail regarding Scheidegger Lämmle's translations of the Latin texts, yet there are many cases where the translation does not help the reader understand the meaning of the original word despite this being the goal for his translations (11 n. 1). For example, Rendering "scidas" as "Seite (32) or "fabulositas" as "Märchenerzählungen" in Plin. nat. 7.101 (146 n. 21) or "fuge" as "so geh doch" in Hor. epist. 1.20.5 (164).10 Also, there is no need to change the structure of a sentence if one can imitate the Latin without detriment to the target language, as in videntur in Hor. epist. 2.2.61f. (137), ut in Hor. epist. 1.3.12 (156), or prima and summa in Hor. epist. 1.1.1 (141).11 Finally, Scheidegger Lämmle sometimes shows a tendency to leave out Latin words, and to add words that are not in the Latin texts, where such changes are not necessary. Cf. epist. 1.20.6: tibi (164f.), epist. 1.20.20-23: patre, maiores nido, belli … domique, and und erklären kannst (168) and epist. 1.14.31: "und erfahre" (153).12

There are only a few typographical errors,13 but the author has the odd habit of starting sentences with "kommt hinzu, dass". 14

Scheidegger Lämmle's argument proves his claim: all his authors are very much aware of the fact that their works will be read by interested readers who may well have different expectations of these works. These authors also try to influence the reception of their work. I would say, however, that in general we were aware of these facts. In his summary (249-257), Scheidegger Lämmle declares Martus' "Werkpolitik" the hallmark of Roman literature from Cicero to Ovid. A far-reaching claim like this would need more detailed research and comparison with other periods of literary history.


1.   S. Martus: Werkpolitik. Zur Literaturgeschichte kritischer Kommunikation vom 17. bis ins 20. Jahrhundert mit Studien zu Klopstock, Tieck, Goethe und George, Berlin 2007.
2.   Scheidegger Lämmle could have availed himself of S. Koster: ILLE EGO QUI oder ARMA VIRUM? in: S. Koster (ed.): Ille Ego Qui. Dichter zwischen Wort und Macht, Erlangen 1988, 31-47.
3.   And he fails to discuss secondary literature that argues differently. Suffice it to mention the "Konstanzer Schule" and the questions surrounding the poetics of authorship. Cf. the pertinent entries in A. Nünning (Ed.): Metzler Lexikon Literatur- und Kulturtheorie, Stuttgart 52013.
4.   The "self-deprecating humor" (cf. R. M. Rosen: Poetry and Sailing in Hesiod's Works and Days, in: ClAnt 9.1, 1990, 107) of this structurally and rhetorically important verse and the preceding lines serves more purposes than just to build a bridge into Hesiod's earlier work and to claim the authorship of both. Among other things, this verse probably intends to distinguish between Hesiod and Homer and their works. Cf. M. S. Marsilio: Farming and Poetry in Hesiod's Works and Days, Lanham 2000, 83, n. 175. We need more detailed discussion of the author's autobiographical claims, his intentions with both the Theogony and the Erga, and also his intertextual goals.
5.   Cf. K. Pollmann: Alium sub meo nomine: Augustine between His Own Self-Fashioning and His Later Reception, in: ZAC 14, 2011, 409-424, here: 414.
6.   Cf. C. Tornau: Medium und Text. Buch, Buchproduktion und Buchkomposition bei Augustinus, in: P. Gemeinhardt, S. Günter (edd.): Von Rom nach Bagdad. Bildung und Religion von der römischen Kauserzeit bis zum klassischen Islam, Tübingen 2013, 189-218, esp. 191f. and V. H. Drecoll: Etiam posteris aliquid profuturum. Zur Selbststilisierung bei Augustin und der Beeinflussung der eigenen Wirkungsgeschichte durch Bücher und Bibliothek, in: REAug 47, 2001, 313-335, esp. 330-334.
7.   Cf. already R. J. Ball: Tibullus 2.5 and Vergil's Aeneid, in: Vergilius 21, 1975, 33-50 or J. H. Gaisser: Tibullus 2.3 and Vergil's Tenth Eclogue, in: TAPhA 107, 1977, 131-146.
8.   Cf., e.g., B. L. Wickkiser: Famous Last Words: Putting Ovid's Sphragis Back into the Metamorphoses, in: MD 42, 1999, 113-142; S. Papaioannou: Epic Succession and Dissension: Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.623-14.582, and the Reinvention of the Aeneid. Berlin/New York 2005, and S. Papaioannou: Redesigning Achilles: The 'Recycling' of the Epic Cycle in Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.1-13.620. Berlin 2007. Scheidegger Lämmle mentions Horace's ode 3.30 on page 136, but misses the opportunity to bring the intertextual relationship to fruition on page 214.
9.   Cf., e.g., U. Eigler: Urbanität und Ländlichkeit als Thema und Problem der augusteischen Literatur, in: Hermes 130, 2002, 288-298 or S. Papaioannou: Embracing Vergil's Arcadia, in: AAntHung 53, 2013, 145-170.
10.   The translation of "ampullari" (156: Hor. epist. 1.3.14) that Scheidegger Lämmle chooses ("Pathos versprühen") is less than congenial to Horace's calque from Greek: F. X. Burger in the ThlL and the respective lemma in LSJ's lexicon leave no doubt that the word has nothing to do with flacons. Scheidegger Lämmle's translation for "auspice Musa in verse 13 of the same passage is infelicitous. Making the reader think that Philodemus (4 Sider) talks about the "book of life" out of which "pages" can be ripped (154f.) is confusing, because Scheidegger Lämmle then continues to talk about papyri.
11.   These attributes belong to Camena which can be translated metonymically just like venus in epist. 2.2.56, which is spelled with a capital first letter in Shackleton Bailey's edition. "Purgatus" in 1.1.7 can retain its colloquial tone as well as indicate the intertextual allusions (cf. R. Mayer: Horace. Epistles. Book I. Cambridge 1994, 89) if translated literally.
12.   There is no personal pronoun in direct proximity to the triple "quem" in epist. 1.14.31ff.(153). Scheidegger Lämmle's colloquial "eingehämmert" seems to stem from R. Mayer's commentary (cf. above n. 11, 210) but it simplifies Horace's playfully cryptic language and withholds this specific quality from the reader who cannot read the original. Likewise it is problematic to change the genus verbi in epist. 1.3.15 and then to use the original passive voice of "monitus" and "monendus" in the discussion (157).
13.   "Sillyboi" on page 67 should be rendered in Greek as well as "kat'exochen" on page 139, unless Scheidegger Lämmle would prefer the German loanword: "katexochen". There is a superfluous "n" in "poetologischen" on page 127. "Zucken" is misspelled on p. 156. "Quodam on p. 249 should be corrected to "quondam". O'Rourke's article on p. 284 runs from 457 to 497.
14.   Cf., e.g., 125 n.10, 142, and 160. On p. 137 Scheidegger Lämmle even uses this phrase to translate denique and thus loses the notion that the list comes to a close.

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Anton Bierl, Joachim Latacz (ed.), Homers Ilias: Gesamtkommentar (Basler Kommentar / BK). Band IX, Sechzehnter Gesang (Π) (2 vols.). Sammlung wissenschaftlicher Commentare. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2016. Pp. xvi, 51 p.; xiii, 422. ISBN 9783110206128; 9783110206531. $56.00; $140.00.

Reviewed by Ronald Blankenborg, Radboud University Nijmegen (

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Together the present two volumes represent the ninth installment of the Basel commentary ('BK') on Homer's Iliad. Previously published instalments in the German edition cover the Prolegomena, and Iliad books 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 14, 17, 18, 19, 22, and 24. In English translation, the Prolegomena volume and commentaries (without the text) on Iliad books 3, 6, 19, and 24 have been published. This ninth instalment, on Iliad book 16, features two separate fascicles. The first fascicle contains the Greek text based on the Bibliotheca Teubneriana edition of the Iliad by Martin L. West (1998/2000), and a translation into German verse by Joachim Latacz. The second contains the commentary, which, as its compiler Claude Brügger readily admits, owes much to the fourth volume (books 13-16, general editor G.S. Kirk) of The Iliad: A Commentary (Cambridge 1992) by Richard Janko, which is the standard in English-language scholarship.1 Still, Brügger's commentary has much of great value to add to Janko's admirable achievement.

Book 16 describes the aristeia of Patroclus with both its introduction, and its painful and horrifying conclusion. As Brügger's commentary keeps pointing out, the introduction had already begun several books earlier, and the conclusion will keep affecting events until the completion of the narrative of the Iliad. The commentary invites its readers to focus on the poet's craftsmanship in storytelling, and on the intricate and fascinating plot of Patroclus' aristeia. The extended introductions and elaborations of passages (in Normaldruck, p. ix) facilitate all audiences enjoying the story of Patroclus' overestimation of his own role, his heroic and successful attempt to drive back the Trojans, his two hundred verses of fame, and his encounter with Apollo and subsequent death at the hands of the god, of Euphorbus, and of Hector. The story loses nothing of its tension, its horror, and its emotional impact. With ample attention for characters' motives, narratological threads, type scenes, and realia, Brügger (who also provided the commentary on Iliad 24 in the BK series) guides his readers through the Patrocleia as through a gripping and spellbinding epyllion. His laborious work enables audiences not familiar with Homer's Greek, having read Latacz' translation in the first fascicle, to come to a profound understanding and appreciation of the Iliad's peripeteia and the extensive secondary literature.

Those (somewhat) familiar with Greek and with the Homeric Kunstsprache, benefit from philological and linguistic comments at various levels. Beginners and students are referred to the Elementarteil, 'footnotes' explaining how Homeric morphology and prosody differ from classical Attic Greek. With reference to the '24 rules of Homeric Greek' (fully formulated in the Prolegomena volume, and reprinted as a summary in subsequent volumes), non-Attic phenomena in Homer's language, like shortening, non-contraction, tmesis, digamma, and epic τε, are touched on briefly -- and randomly, as frequently recurring phenomena like the verbal form without augment are mentioned only every so many lines. Useful in itself, the Elementarteil does not come to the beginner's aid whenever he needs it, nor does it provide the information required for the more advanced student, who would do better to learn the 24 rules (pp. 1-7) by heart. Despite the promise (on page IX) to indicate the fuller treatment of the issues in the 'footnotes' in the main commentary (with ↑), this happens only once in the 357 pages of Brügger's commentary (page 207, on line 454). Hence, for beginners and students, who will surely enjoy the general and narratological comments, a large part of the commentary cannot be put to practical use, and the Elementarteil, only sparingly.

The main commentary, both the general commentary and the treatment of Greek entries, suffers from comparable restrictions stemming from the editorial choices concerning the BK series as a whole. For discussion of phenomena that are used repeatedly in the Iliad (like the aristeia, p. 70-71), readers are advised to look back at their treatment in the volumes already published: in case of the structure of Patroclus' aristeia, elements are described as 'missing' with reference to 19.374-383. Advanced students and scholars studying specifically Iliad 16 will have no problem here, provided that their institution or personal library provides them with all the instalments of the BK series published so far. Those reading the whole Iliad, or larger passages consisting of several books from the Iliad, cannot as easily benefit from their experience in reading Homeric Greek, or the growth of their knowledge and understanding from studying the work from its beginning when using the BK series as their guide and source.

And what a source it is: Brügger's volume, as did the previously published instalments, presents its readers with a wealth of observations and insights from the vast scholarship on Homeric epic. The series chose to start from the commentary by Ameis-Hentze that was published more than a century ago; it shimmers through on every page, but its contributions to the commentaries in the BK series betray its original aim to support the teaching of Homeric Greek in schools. Practically all relevant subsequent publications on Homer's Iliad have been consulted: in his commentary, Brügger regularly backs up his interpretations with a wealth of references, 'to allow his readers', in his own words, 'to expand on them, to modify them, and for further reading' (Vorwort, p. vii). Alternative interpretations are often not elaborated but merely mentioned or signaled, also with extensive references for those longing to venture out onto the paths of neoanalysis, and readers studying the Homeric epic outside the frame of narratology. A field of study that this reviewer particularly missed in Brügger's commentary, is Homeric performance. In recent years, substantial steps forward have been made that have not made their way to the BK commentary series, nor to the bibliography of the present instalment.2 The abundance of references and bibliographical entries is the commentary's strength though, and it is effectively further exploited by two specific means. First, the editors and authors of the BK series implement the results of recent research in the field of Homeric study that developed during the project's duration, or even as a result of the BK project. An example is Brügger's constant reference to the series New Trends in Homeric Scholarship, summarized into a single chapter in the English translation of the Prolegomena volume in 2015. It is hoped that similar new initiatives will soon find their way to forthcoming instalments of the BK series.3 Secondly, there are numerous Hinweise, personal communications from the scholars mentioned as 'contributors' in the commentary's credits. Such Hinweise provide a unique opportunity to witness the compilation of a commentary with the aid of a team whose observations are valuable even when not yet published. It is commentary-writing for the 21th century.

The commentary on Iliad 16, and the separate fascicle containing the Greek text and the translation, are both very well produced by De Gruyter: great care has been taken to check all the references and cross-references, and there are no serious typos. The various print types of the introductory section, the general commentary, the philologists' and linguists' commentary, and the 'footnotes', make for a well-organized and clearly set out read. At the same time, however, the presentation of the commentary's lemmata at four different levels (the general audience, scholars on Homeric Greek, narratologists, and beginners/students), the various ways references are constituted (internally, to other instalments of the BK series, to introductory chapters and glossaries in the Prolegomena volume), and the (understandable but rather) profuse usage of abbreviations (five types in total) and specific markers and signs (for volume-internal or series-internal reference) evoke the question whether this beautifully produced and highly valuable printed volume is the best means of presentation. Users have to resort to many more publications to complete their picture and further their understanding of the issues raised in the separate instalments of the BK series. Using Brügger's commentary fascicle alongside the reading of Iliad 16 in class, as this reviewer has done, evokes the very practical observation that there might have been a way to make this commentary even more up to date: by publication online. At times, the BK series makes one feel as if the book is a step in a process towards online publication: full use of all its observations requires readers to 'click on the link' to retrieve additional information. The BK series, this instalment in particular, I readily recommend to any advanced student and scholar working on the Iliad, and I am sure that anyone, regardless of specialty and interest, will find many valuable insights in it. They would, however, be easier to find and put to use if a commentary like this were to be found and accessed online. Until such online publication, the publishing house is encouraged to provide a translation of the commentary on Iliad 16 in English soon, so that Brügger's achievement may be welcomed by a wider readership.


1.   Several of the volumes in the BK series, both in German and in English, have already been reviewed on BMCR. Haubold, BMCR 2001.09.01, Lethbridge, BMCR 2005.08.16, Van Emde Boas, BMCR 2016.08.22, and Lesser, BMCR 2017.04.25 have commented on the Greek text, the translation, the '24 rules of Homeric Greek', the four typographically distinct categories in the Commentary, the disappearance of neoanalysis. and the abundant attention for narratology. I will try to avoid repeating their valuable and valued remarks in my attempt to add to their observations, and their praise.
2.   Notably J.M. González (2013), The Epic Rhapsode and his Craft. Homeric Performance in a Diachronic Perspective, Cambridge Mass./London: Harvard University Press.
3.   Like the Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic (YAGE, edd. J.L. Ready & C. Tsagalis, first instalment published by Brill, 2016).

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Monday, November 20, 2017


Sarah Klitenic Wear, Plotinus on Beauty and Reality: A Reader for Enneads I.6 and V.1. Mundelein, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2017. Pp. li, 302. ISBN 9780865168428. $29.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Benedikt Krämer​, Westfälische Wilhelms-universität, Münster​ (

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Publisher's Preview

The book under review is a reader for two of Plotinus' most important and most famous treatises, Ennead I.6 and V.1. The target readership of Sarah Klitenic Wear's book are "students of Classics, philosophy, and theology with a year of introductory Greek grammar under their belt" (p. ix), for whom Wear wants to make Plotinus' work accessible in his own language. From the intermediate student's point of view this book is surely a welcome enterprise, since even in antiquity Plotinus was well known for being verborum parcus. His style of language is often elliptical, sometimes dark, and it challenges advanced scholars, too. Beside the Greek text and Wear's commentary the reader will find a good deal of introductory and additional material in this volume.

Wear's book is divided into three sections. The introduction (pp. xv-li) includes two short paragraphs about Plotinus' life and his philosophical influences, but focuses on the metaphysical system of the Enneads, which is presented in a top-down approach starting from the One and ending with matter (pp. xvii-xxxviii). The reader will find concise summaries after each step through the levels of reality and some useful, clearly arranged tables. The author rightly stresses the importance of Plotinus' so called "double act" doctrine with regard to the constitution of reality, for Plotinus addresses this theory in several passages of Enn. V.1 and presupposes it in Enn. I.6. Plotinus takes each principle to possess a primary activity of its essence (energeia tēs ousias) and to produce an image (eidōlon, eikōn) deprived of power and being as its secondary activity (energeia ek tēs ousias). By means of Wear's approach, the reader will gain the right impression of the dynamic relations connecting the individual remaining, unfolding and reverting levels of reality. A marginal note: dealing with Plotinus' doctrine of the One, the author holds that intellection (noēsis) can grasp the One (p. xix). I tend to consider this statement as rather 'un-Plotinian' as far as ordinary noēsis—as distinguished from the loving intellect's faculty, which is not nous (VI.7.35)—is concerned (cf. e.g. I.7.1.19, 20 and V.3.13.2, 3 for the One's transcendence above intellection). Since Wear's book is labelled "Plotinus on Beauty and Reality", the reader might be disappointed not to find a separate introductory chapter which deals with the topic of beauty.

The next section (pp. 1-230) is the main part of the book, where Wear presents the text of Ennead I.6 (pp. 1-97) and V.1 (pp. 99-230) from Henry / Schwyzer's editio minor, together with her commentary. The text is slightly revised (p. xlv); in the case of the hotly debated passages V.1.6.18 and V.1.7.6, for example, Wear sides convincingly with the editors who argue against the reflexive αὑτό from H-S2 and prefer αὐτό. The Greek text of Wear's reader is conveniently accompanied by same- and facing-page notes. Each chapter of the two treatises is preceded by a short summary, which helps the reader to follow Plotinus' line of thought. The commentary covers grammatical and philosophical issues, but focuses justifiably on grammatical problems. The commentary on philosophical issues provides useful references, primarily to the main sources of Plotinus' texts (Plato, Aristotle), but also to further important pre- and post-Plotinian works and parallel passages in the Enneads. Throughout her commentary on grammatical problems, Wear shows sensitivity towards the problems which are likely to occur to intermediate students translating Plotinus or ancient Greek texts in general, i.e. difficult forms, idioms, omission of copulative εἶναι, crasis, and the use of particles are explained.

I would like to make the following remarks and suggest some emendations: As far as I can see H-S's addenda ad textum from tomus III of the editio minor (pp. 304-25) have not been taken into account, although they are of major importance at least in the case of two passages from Enn. V.1 (cf. H-S2 tomus III p. 324 for the addenda et corrigenda ad Enn V.1). So the adopted ἑστῶσα (V.1.2.18) is not a masculine accusative perfect participle, as Wear states (p. 119) (it should indeed be!), but an error typographicus for ἑστῶτα. Furthermore it is not true that πάλιν αὖ (V.1.9.9) is an idiom meaning "contrariwise" or "no longer" (p. 202). The passage does indeed require a negation, but it derives from elsewhere: the version of the text provided by Henry / Schwyzer has accidentally omitted οὐ (it is supposed to run: πάλιν αὖ οὐ τὸ κ.τ.λ. not πάλιν αὖ τὸ κ.τ.λ.). I turn to the grammatical notes: The remark on Enn. I.6.3.28 (p. 36) was, I guess, supposed to say "οὐ: with the participle μετέχον has a causal force" (not: "conditional force"), for the author rightly translates "since". In the remark on αἰδῶ (I.6.5.15) the substantive is unintentionally referred to as adjective (p. 48), while the misleading remark on ἐκθρέψαντος (V.1.3.14)—"(<ἐκτρέχω)" instead of (<ἐκτρέφω)—seems to be misspelled (p. 133). This problem reoccurs in App. 4 (see p. 284), where ἐκτρέχω is rendered 'to raise'. γεννήμασι (p. 96, Enn. I.6.9.37) is not dative plural aorist participle deriving from γίγνομαι, but a dative plural substantive (τὸ γέννημα). To my mind the masculine participle ὤν (V.1.2.25) should be understood as modifying οὐρανός and takes σῶμα as the predicate nominative instead of modifying the neuter substantive σῶμα (p. 120). For the sake of completeness, we might add that ἐτίθετο (V.1.8.17) must be taken to be the middle voice of the verb instead of the active voice (p. 196), and likewise ἡγεῖσθαι must be the present infinitive instead of the aorist infinitive (p. 234). Finally the note on erexerunt (text: App. 2, p. 256) needs an emendation from "<exeo" to "<erigo".

The main part of the book is followed by a third section consisting of five appendices. The first three appendices are intended to provide further information for the understanding of Plotinus' sources, his life and the (Latin) reception of Ennead I.6. They contain Diotima's speech from Plato's Symposium (App. 1), Augustine's vision at Ostia from the Confessiones (App. 2), which are both presented in the manner of Plotinus' treatises I.6 and V.1 (text and commentary), and a translation (MacKenna) of Porphyry's Life of Plotinus (App. 3). Finally, two word lists applying to the main section are added (App. 4: "Technical Philosophical Vocabulary" from I.6 and V.1, App. 5: a more general "Plotinus Word List", also focussing on Enn. I.6 and V.1).

Some inaccuracies can be detected in Appendices 4 and 5. They concern the meaning of some words (even if, according to the information on p. 287, words in the word list "are defined as they occur in situ") and minor errors like wrong genitive forms and accents, e.g. (I give a selection): ἀποθνῄσκω is given transitive force ('to put to death'); ἀνάγω is rendered 'to go', which may hold for I.6.9.7 (without being completely adequate), but not for V.1.10.28 and other passages, where the verb is used transitively; the lemma δῆλος gives only masculine and neuter endings of the adjective; incorrect genitive forms are δόξα, -ας and ἴχνος, -εως; examples for wrong or missing accents are θέα, -ᾶς, θεατής, -ου).

All in all, despite the few critical remarks above I have no doubt that Wear's target readership will benefit strongly from this book, so that it may in fact contribute to fulfil her hope to see the students being "transformed by the wonders of Plotinus" (p. ix).

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Hans-Christian Günther, Zwei Liebesgedichte vom Ausgang der lateinischen Antike: Ausonius' Bissula und das Pervigilium Veneris. Studia Classica et Mediaevalia, 15. Nordhausen: Verlag Traugott Bautz, 2017. Pp. 95. ISBN 9783959482622. €25.00.

Reviewed by Jean-Louis Charlet, Université d'Aix-Marseille (

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Un bref avant-propos (p. 11-14) présente rapidement la période considérée, le IVe siècle, siècle de transition où se rencontrent le christianisme et le paganisme et où fleurissent trois grands poètes latins : Ausone, Prudence et Claudien (qui est bien païen et non « vraisemblablement chrétien » comme il est écrit p. 11). De cette période, l'auteur a choisi de présenter deux œuvres de poésie d'amour qui s'inscrivent dans une longue tradition romaine qui remonte à la période augustéenne, en s'adressant non aux spécialistes (les études scientifiques sur les deux œuvres choisies sont nombreuses, même si la très brève bibliographie finale, p. 93-94, est très incomplète), mais à une public beaucoup plus large (germanophone) : un cycle de six poèmes d'amour, dont le dernier a été transmis incomplet (seulement le distique initial), qu'Ausone consacre à une jeune esclave germanique blonde nommée Bissula et la fameuse Veillée de Vénus, de date controversée, mais qu'un certain nombre de critiques, dont Alan Cameron, placent au IVe siècle, deux charmantes poésies d'amour qui méritent d'avoir leur place dans la littérature européenne.

Une introduction (p. 15-46) présente successivement les deux œuvres. Pour la Bissula, l'auteur présente la personnalité d'Ausone en insistant sur ses poèmes d'amour, ses épigrammes érotiques, y compris à sa femme (poèmes donnés en allemand sans le texte latin) et, bien sûr, le cycle polymétrique (mètres lyriques et dactyliques) des six poèmes à Bissula préfacé par une lettre à son ami Axius Paullus : deux poèmes d'introduction et quatre poèmes pour retracer une sorte de roman d'amour qui renouvelle la topique élégiaque par une relation sentimentale d'un type nouveau (comparaisons éclairantes avec Mr. Higgins, Lolita et le professeur Unrath, comme avec Horace et Anacréon, sur le thème de l'homme âgé et de la jeune femme).

Le Peruigilium Veneris, petit poème anonyme de 93 vers qu'on peut dater par sa métrique et sa langue du IVe siècle, mais dont l'attribution à Tibérianus, proposée par Baehrens et reprise par Alan Cameron, est incertaine (sa qualité ne permet pas à Hans-Christian Günther d'accepter cette hypothèse), établit pour la première fois dans l'antiquité le lien entre l'amour, force cosmique de l'univers, et l'amour personnel. Ce poème, qui a connu d'innombrables admirateurs jusqu'à T. S. Eliot, donne l'impression d'avoir été écrit pour une fête de Vénus, mais c'est une fiction poétique qui introduit dans un monde idéal et non réaliste. Des couplets inégaux scandés par un refrain lancinant créent une atmosphère particulière qui mêle mélancolie et mystère (mise en parallèle avec la musique de Schubert) : c'est le poème d'un poète exclu de la fête d'amour qu'il décrit et qui a perdu la parole (parallèles avec le poème d'Heidegger Das Wort et avec le poète grec moderne Giorgos Seferis), une sorte de musique dans l'ombre, à la lisière du silence, qui est ici proposée en contrepoint avec la Bissula d'Ausone.

Après cette belle présentation, les textes sont donnés en version bilingue, textes latins et allemands face à face : les six poèmes de Bissula avec leur lettre d'accompagnement (p. 48-63), puis le Peruigilium Veneris (p. 65-79). L'apparat critique, comme on peut le comprendre dans une édition destinée non aux spécialistes mais au grand public, se limite pour Bissula à quelques notes sélectives pour indiquer quelques interventions de philologues (à noter une correction personnelle à Bissula 3,5 : nescit erile) ; mais le texte latin de Bissula n'est pas toujours fiable : le vocatif Paule est omis et dans la lettre d'accompagnement (p. 48, ligne 2 devant carissime) et au premier vers de la Praefatio (p. 52, avant cunctos), ce qui rend le vers faux (au même vers, pourquoi l'orthographe Bissullae contre Bissula partout ailleurs ?) ; et l'oubli de in devant hoc (II,5, p. 54) impose un hiatus qui n'est pas dans la manière d'Ausone. Le texte du Peruigilium Veneris est plus rigoureux, même si les leçons spécifiques de chaque manuscrit n'y sont pas précisées ; il aurait fallu indiquer que En (v. 19), dicet, adsidebunt (v. 50) et subter (v. 81) sont des corrections et, au v. 20, l'on aimerait savoir d'où vient la leçon serena qui pose un problème métrique (hiatus).

La traduction allemande est exacte, parfois un peu large et délayée, mais j'ai apprécié l'effort pour proposer une traduction en stiques (rythmés si possible) des poèmes.

L'annotation est légère (p. 81-84 pour Bissula ; p. 85-91 pour le Peruigilium Veneris) et consiste essentiellement en notes explicatives pour faciliter la lecture d'un large public (les références scientifiques manquent parfois).

Au total, il ne faut pas demander à ce livre ce qu'il ne voulait pas être : conçu pour intéresser un large public à deux ensembles poétiques latins tardifs d'un intérêt littéraire indubitable, ce livre atteint sans aucun doute son objectif par la qualité de la présentation initiale. Dans une approche de littérature comparée qui fait intervenir, à côté des littératures antiques, les littératures modernes (anglaise, allemande, grecque), la philosophie et les arts (en particulier la musique), l'auteur montre parfaitement l'intérêt des textes qu'il propose dans une perspective culturelle très large propre à intéresser un large public cultivé.

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Bärbel Kramer, Carlos Maria Sánchez-Moreno Ellart, Neue Quellen zum Prozeßrecht der Ptolemäerzeit: Gerichtsakten aus der Trierer Papyrussammlung (P.Trier I). Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete - Beihefte, 36. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. viii, 293. ISBN 9783110474244. $103.99.

Reviewed by Nadine Grotkamp, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (

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Table of Contents

Bis vor wenigen Jahren gab es nur wenige Quellen, die die Tätigkeit der als dikasterion bezeichneten Gerichte im hellenistischen Ägypten bezeugten. Diesen Gerichtstyp, der in Bezeichnung und, so vermutete man, auch in seiner Arbeitsweise eng an die Gerichte der griechischen Poliswelt angelehnt war, kannte man bis zum Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts nur aus wenigen Dokumenten, vor allem einer kleinen Gruppe von Urteilen des dikasterion in dem kleinen Ort Krokodilopolis im Arsinoites aus dem Jahr 226/225 v. Chr., unter denen für die Verfahrensrekonstruktion vor allem ein doppelt überliefertes Urteil (P.Gur. 2 = Sel. Pap. II 256 sowie P.Petr. III 21 g = M.Chr. 21) herausragte. Daneben gab es nur wenige, zusammenhanglose und fragmentarische Dokumentenreste, und die Erwähnung in normativen Texten.

In den letzten Jahrzehnten hat sich der Quellenbestand um eine zweite, jüngere Gruppe aus einem anderen Ort erweitert und damit mehr als verdoppelt. 2001 veröffentlichte Demetrios Kaltsas mit P.Heid. VIII Urkunden aus dem Heidelberger Bestand, allesamt Überreste der Tätigkeit des dikasterion in Herakleopolis aus der Zeit zwischen 189 u. 176 v. Chr. Aus dem gleichen Gericht und dem gleichen Zeitraum stammen auch die 2015 von Charikleia Armoni edierten P.Köln XIV 561-563, und zu dieser Gruppe gehören auch die 14 Urkunden aus dem Trierer Bestand, die Kramer und Sánchez-Moreno Ellart hier veröffentlichen. Es handelt sich um sechs Klageschriften mit Ladungsvermerk (von den Herausgebern als „Vorladung" bezeichnet), drei bei Gericht eingereichte „Zeugenaussagen" von Urkundenhütern (syngraphophylakes), einen Pachtvertrag und einige Fragmente ähnlicher Urkunden mit der gleichen Herkunft. Das am besten erhaltene Stück (P.Trier I 3) war bereits 2010 in der Festschrift Thissen1 veröffentlicht worden.

Der Edition vorgeschaltet ist ein mit der Überschrift „Neues zum Prozessrecht der Ptolemäerzeit" überschriebenes Kapitel, in dem das neue Quellenkonvolut in die bisher bekannten Stücke einsortiert wird, und in dem dann einige Fragen der Gerichtsorganisation und des Gerichtsverfahrens beim dikasterion diskutiert werden. Im ersten Unterkapitel („Die neuen Quellen"), verantwortet von Bärbel Kramer, finden sich Listen mit den bislang bekannten Klageschriften bzw. von Zeugenaussagen von Urkundenhütern. Die jeweiligen Formulare werden schematisch dargestellt, und die wahrscheinlichen Bearbeitungsschritte der unterschiedlichen Dokumente bei Gericht sind aufgelistet. Das zweite, von Carlos Sánchez-Moreno Ellart verfasste Unterkapitel, gibt eine Zusammenfassung zur Justizorganisation, die vor allem auf Wolffs Justizwesen der Ptolemäer von 1962 beruht, mit den kleine Modifikationen, die durch die Veröffentlichung der P.Heid. VIII angeregt wurden. Gegenüber der Darstellung von Wolff fällt trotz des referierenden Charakters der Darstellung auf, dass er die gesamte Justizorganisation nun ohne jedes Fragzeichen als Ausfluss eines großen Justizdiagramma erscheint.

Für die übrigen, ebenfalls von Carlos Sánchez-Moreno Ellart verfassten Unterabschnitte gibt es keine der Wolff'schen Studie vergleichbare, zusammenfassende und die Quellen ausführlich diskutierende Abhandlung, die jünger als 80 Jahre ist. Ausgangspunkt der Überlegungen sind daher regelmäßig die Grundzüge von Mitteis (1891). Im dritten Abschnitt („Die Prozessvorbereitung") wird zunächst die Frage aufgegriffen, ob beim dikasterion eine amtliche Ladung erfolgte. Schon Mitteis und Berneker gingen Ende des 19. bzw. in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts von einer privaten Ladung aus. Wie die Herausgeber selbst in einer Fußnote referieren, wurde nur in Bezug auf bestimmte Urkunden von Mitteis einmal in Betracht gezogen, später aber von ihm selbst verworfen, dass das Gericht selbst dem Beklagten die Klageschrift zustellt. Auch die neuen Dokumente liefern keinen Hinweis darauf, dass jemand anderes als der Kläger die Ladung des Prozessgegners besorgte.

Der vierte Abschnitt („Der Beweis") nimmt die Sachverhaltsschilderung der Klageschriften in den Blickpunkt. Einige der hier veröffentlichten Klageschriften (wie auch P.Köln XIV 561 u. 562) enthalten gegen Ende einen mit to adikema egeneto(„Das Unrecht geschah") beginnenden Satz, so beispielsweise (P.Trier I 3, 24-26 = Festschrift Thiessen) nach der Angabe des Streitwerts: „Das Unrecht geschah, als du, obwohl du von mir eine Zahlungsaufforderung über die 2.000 Bronzedrachmen und den Zins gehalten hast, mir nicht zurückgezahlt hast." Ein solcher Einschub war zuvor nicht belegt. Sánchez-Moreno sieht darin eine Bestätigung für die auf Wolff zurückgehende Theorie der Zweckverfügung. Der Herausgeber geht in den Ausführungen zur allgemeinen Frage, was das verpflichtende Element ist, zurück zur Diskussion, in wieweit eine syngraphe eine ‚Dispositivurkunde' darstellt. Dass dieser (auch in der Rechtswissenschaft nicht gerade gebräuchliche Ausdruck) für das in den Papyri dokumentierte Recht eine unbrauchbare Kategorie ist, hat nach längerer Debatte eigentlich abschließend Wolff bereits 1978 festgehalten.2 Gelegentlich wurde danach in der systematisch arbeitenden Romanistik noch auf diesen Ausdruck für schuldbegründende Urkunden bzw. Schuldverschreibungen zurückgegriffen, um Eigenheiten des römischen Rechts zu erläutern.3 Dies geschieht jedoch ausdrücklich mit dem Vorbehalt, die römische Perspektive auf eine griechische Praxis zu beschreiben. In Untersuchungen, die sich eingehender mit griechischen Rechten befassten, und in den einschlägigen Einführungen wird diese These schon seit über vierzig Jahren nicht mehr vertreten.

Der fünfte Abschnitt („Das Zeugnis") ist den Zeugenaussagen gewidmet. Neben allgemeinen Fragen (Möglichkeit und Schriftlichkeit, Funktion der Zeugen) finden sich hier detaillierte Analysen des Formulars. So bemerken die Herausgeber, dass die Zeugenaussage in den hier veröffentlichten Dokumenten abweichend von der bisher beobachteten Praxis in der ersten Person wiedergegeben wird. Zudem variiere das Formular danach, ob ein Tatzeuge eine Handlung bezeuge oder ein Vertragszeuge wie ein syngraphophylax den Vertragsinhalt.

Der Editionsteil ist ausgesprochen materialreich und mit großer Aufmerksamkeit auf eine leichte Handhabbarkeit gesetzt. Nach der Angabe der üblichen Daten steht zunächst eine Einleitung mit einer Beschreibung des Papyrus, einer Inhaltsangabe und Hinweisen auf interessante Besonderheiten und Literatur. Dann erfolgt die Transkription. Die Abkürzungen sind hier wie üblich aufgelöst, das zur Abkürzung benutzte Zeichen am Ende der Transkription abgedruckt. Gut lesbare, farbige Abbildungen stehen unmittelbar neben der Transkription auf der gegenüberliegenden oder folgenden Seite, so dass die Lesung, aber auch die Verteilung des Textes über das einzelne Blatt bequem nachverfolgt werden kann. Nicht ganz sichere Zeichen sind als kleiner Bildausschnitt im ausführlichen Zeilenkommentar noch einmal abgedruckt. Die Übersetzungen sind durch Absatzwechsel bei Sinnabschnitten übersichtlich gegliedert. Das Buch schließt mit der Bibliographie, einer Liste von Korrekturvorschlägen sowie Namens- und Wörterlisten. Da die beiden Autoren weit mehr leisten als nur eine Quellenedition, wäre vielleicht noch ein Sachindex hilfreich gewesen.


1.   Dieter Hagedorn/ Bärbel Kramer, „Vorladung (P.UB Trier S 188-82 + S 188-119)," in: Hermann Knuf/ Christian Leitz/ Daniel von Recktlinghausen (Hrsg.), Honi soit qui mal y pense. Studien zum pharaonischen, griechisch-römischen und spätantiken Ägypten zu Ehren von Heinz-Josef Thissen, Leuven u.a. 2010, 219-232.
2.   Hans Julius Wolff, Das Recht der griechischen Papyri Ägyptens, 2. Band: Organisation und Kontrolle des privaten Rechtsverkehrs, München 1978, 141-144. Ebenso Elisabeth Meyer, Legitimacy and Law in the Roman World. Tabulae in Roman Belief and Practice, Cambridge 2004, 19.
3.   Einflussreich: Max Kaser, Das römisches Privatrecht, Bd. 2, 2. Auf. München 1975, S. 374, an dessen Ersetzung gearbeitet wird.

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Sunday, November 19, 2017


Jeremy Armstrong (ed.), Circum mare: Themes in Ancient Warfare. Mnemosyne supplements. History and archaeology of classical antiquity, 388. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016. Pp. 322. ISBN 9789004284845. $175.00.

Reviewed by Bertrand Augier, École Française de Rome (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

Cet ouvrage collectif, issu d'un colloque organisé à l'Université d'Auckland en juillet 2012, ambitionne de proposer une approche large des composantes du phénomène guerrier dans l'Antiquité, en se rattachant au courant de la « nouvelle histoire militaire ». Le fil directeur du volume est ainsi l'étude de la guerre comme construction sociale et prisme au travers duquel examiner les cultures antiques. Les douze chapitres qui le composent couvrent une bonne partie de la période antique, de l'Égypte pharaonique au Ve siècle p.C., suivant une perspective comparatiste. Chacune des six parties de l'ouvrage repose en effet sur la mise en regard, autour d'une thématique commune, de deux périodes et/ou aires culturelles distinctes, organisation destinée à ouvrir un dialogue transdisciplinaire et transpériodique.

Le premier thème discuté, Military Narratives, évoque les modalités de description de l'expérience de la guerre antique à travers différents types de sources. La contribution d'Anthony Spalinger s'intéresse ainsi aux représentations topiques des pharaons lors de leurs campagnes asiatiques sous le Nouvel Empire, en reliant sources épigraphiques, iconographiques et littéraires. Leur combinaison fonde un récit historique mettant l'accent sur les aspects volontiers standardisés du rôle guerrier du souverain égyptien. Dans le chapitre suivant, David Nolan se concentre sur le corpus césarien, singulièrement le Bellum Gallicum, pour aborder la question des exempla qui y sont mis en œuvre par César, à travers le cas des centurions. Les comportements exemplaires de ces sous-officiers apparaissent comme des outils interprétatifs illustrant par l'anecdote le déroulement de la bataille. Par ailleurs, ces exempla se conforment à des paradigmes socio-culturels, correspondant au rôle attendu des centurions sur le champ de bataille. Ces derniers étaient en effet chargés de maintenir la discipline dans les rangs et de suivre les ordres du commandant, et ne devaient s'engager au combat que pour rétablir une situation désespérée. Sans nier l'intérêt de cette étude, on pourra regretter l'absence de toute référence à la description polybienne des devoirs des centurions (Pol. 6.24.9), tandis que la tension dans les représentations romaines de la guerre entre furor et disciplina, ou encore entre courage défensif et offensif, aurait pu être davantage convoquée comme schéma explicatif du comportement des centurions au combat.

La deuxième partie de l'ouvrage, The Economics of Warfare, aborde la question de l'interdépendance des sphères militaires et économiques, notamment la mise en relation de trois pôles : guerre, mobilisation des ressources et contextes socio-économiques. Elle s'ouvre par une étude particulièrement éclairante de Matthew Trundle, examinant le rôle de l'économie monétaire dans l'évolution de la ligue de Délos au Ve s. a.C., autour de la question de l'acquisition, de la redistribution et de la circulation des ressources. L'auteur met en avant le lien étroit entre guerre navale, monnayage athénien et empire, et pointe l'émergence au sein de l'organisation militaire de la symmachie d'une économie interne centralisée, notamment à partir des années 430. La contribution de Nathan Rosenstein évoque ensuite la question du financement des guerres romaines entre la fin du IVe s. et 167 a.C. L'auteur démontre de façon très convaincante que celui-ci, pour la plupart des opérations militaires dans cette période ne reposait pas sur le butin et les indemnités de guerre, mais avant tout sur le tributum, payé par les assidui. Sur la base d'une estimation du coût annuel de l'entretien des légions romaines (fondée en grande partie sur l'évaluation du poids du stipendium), Nathan Rosenstein arrive à la conclusion que ce modèle de financement de la guerre reposait sur un nombre conséquent d'assidui. Le poids du tributum par citoyen, certes modeste, mena par ailleurs à un essor de la monétarisation et des circuits commerciaux. Cette conclusion permet à l'auteur de montrer, dans la lignée de ses précédents travaux, que la guerre, loin de ruiner les petits propriétaires italiens, fut aux IIIe et IIe s. a.C. un catalyseur de leur prospérité.

Le troisième thème, Military Cohesion, central dans la nouvelle histoire militaire, est introduit par la contribution décisive de Jeremy Armstrong, mettant en cause la place de l'ethos civique comme facteur explicatif central de la cohésion des armées antiques dans l'historiographie. Aux VIe et Ve s. a.C., les armées de Rome furent ainsi très souvent victorieuses, en dépit d'une identité civique mouvante et d'une unité politique incomplète. Par ailleurs, les guerres romaines ne visaient alors ni expansion étatique, ni contrôle territorial. Dans ces conditions, les structures de commandement verticales semblent avoir combiné les formes de légitimité a priori concurrentes qu'étaient patria potestas et imperium. Autour de la notion sociologique de « groupe primaire », l'auteur met par ailleurs en avant que la cohésion horizontale de ces armées archaïques se fondait sur des liens familiaux, religieux, gentilices, mais aussi sur les buts communs aux combattants, qu'ils soient territoriaux ou économiques, davantage que sur l'appartenance civique. Concluant à l'absence de toute consubstantialité entre cohérence étatique et efficacité d'une armée, Jeremy Armstrong insiste sur la dimension personnelle de l'engagement. Sur ce point, les apports de cette étude font écho au chapitre de Mark Hebblewhite. Abordant la question des relations entre empereur romain et armée dans les années 235-395, l'auteur montre que le sacramentum militiae en demeurait alors un élément clé, et pouvait renforcer la fidélité des troupes à l'égard de l'imperator, sans toutefois la garantir ou même la générer, comme l'atteste le phénomène des usurpations. Pour autant, l'archéologie du serment militaire par lequel Mark Hebblewhite ouvre sa contribution n'aborde que trop peu sa dimension juridico-religieuse, fondant la condition de miles, et surtout fait fi des riches discussions que le contenu de ce serment, tant pour l'époque républicaine que le début de l'époque impériale, a suscitées. 1

La quatrième partie de l'ouvrage, Military Authority, s'ouvre par la contribution de Ralph Covino, centrée sur la question des limites légales posées à l'imperium des magistrats romains en contexte provincial dans la période républicaine. L'auteur s'appuie en particulier sur l'exemple sicilien, et met en évidence la complexe stratification des dispositions légales ou coutumières provinciales, et des outils de contrôle mis en place depuis le centre romain, tout au long de la période républicaine, afin de limiter les abus éventuels des gouverneurs. Ces derniers, ou leur entourage, connaissaient parfaitement ces limites posées à leur action, ce qui précisément leur permettait d'ailleurs de les contourner. Il s'agit là d'une contribution précieuse à l'histoire administrative du monde romain, et des rapports entre Rome et ses provinces, objet de nombre de recherches récentes. Sa perspective juridique contraste avec l'étude suivante de James Kierstead, analysant la nature du pouvoir et du contrôle exercé par Athènes sur ses alliés dans le cadre des deux ligues navales successives à la lumière des théories de l'action collective. Suivant cette perspective particulièrement stimulante, ces symmachies pourraient être conçues comme des groupes d'états individualisés recherchant les biens publics qu'étaient la sécurité et l'accès au marché, en vue desquels les membres les plus puissants supportaient l'essentiel des coûts. James Kienast différencie la ligue de Délos, dont la taille importante imposait un mode d'action hiérarchique avec des pouvoirs importants concédés à l'hegemôn, de la Seconde Confédération athénienne, de taille plus restreinte et au fonctionnement plus coopératif. Il met ensuite en évidence que la coercition exercée par Athènes à l'encontre des alliés récalcitrants (des « profiteurs »), pouvait apparaître légitime aux autres membres de la ligue. Par conséquent, ce modèle interprétatif nuance de façon radicale la vision d'une domination athénienne reposant sur la seule violence.

La cinquième partie, Irregular Warfare, est la moins cohérente, en dépit de l'intérêt des deux contributions qui la composent. Dans la première, Jeroen Wijnendaele applique le concept de « seigneur de la guerre » (warlord/warlordism) afin d'éclairer les transformations de l'armée romaine au Ve s. p.C. La démarche adoptée, d'une grande valeur heuristique, permet d'éclairer la trajectoire de chefs militaires tels que Boniface ou Aëtius. Sur la base d'un réexamen de la Notitia Dignitatum et de l'Epitoma Rei Militaris de Végèce, l'auteur met en évidence le passage d'une armée centralisée à des corps de troupes partiellement autonomes par rapport au pouvoir impérial, pouvant certes être utilisés pour le rétablir, mais dirigés par des chefs militaires dont la légitimité était fondée sur le patronage qu'ils exerçaient sur leurs troupes (ainsi les buccellarii pour Boniface). Brisant le monopole impérial de la violence, ces seigneurs de guerre acquirent une prééminence politique, sans pour autant avoir recours à l'usurpation. Louis Rawlings analyse ensuite la petite guerre, ou guerre irrégulière, faite d'embuscades et de coups de main, lors des deux premières guerres puniques. Il montre que cette tactique indirecte était alors en usage du côté romain comme carthaginois : son impact psychologique, logistique, économique, autant que sa fonction d'exercice pour les troupes explique sa faveur auprès des commandants du temps. L'auteur insiste en particulier sur le rôle des troupes légères, de cavalerie, mais aussi de l'infanterie lourde dans de telles opérations. On peut regretter que ce volumineux article ne situe pas davantage la réflexion dans le temps long, et n'aborde ainsi pas les origines hellénistiques de cette conception guerrière (voir Pol. 9.12.2), ni ses développements ultérieurs. Le concept éminemment problématique, pour le contexte antique, de guérilla, aurait de la sorte pu être plus directement interrogé.2

La sixième et dernière partie, Fortifications and Sieges, montre le rôle clé joué par les fortifications dans les empires antiques, objets de conquête et instruments de défense territoriale. L'étude de Brett Headren est consacrée aux ouvrages de fortifications et aux opérations de siège connus par les reliefs égyptiens du Nouvel Empire. Comme le montre l'auteur, si la véracité historique des scènes de batailles représentées est discutable, les sources iconographiques sont d'une grande richesse pour notre connaissance des pratiques égyptiennes. Enfin, la contribution de John Lee concerne les défenses achéménides en Anatolie occidentale dans les années 412-395 a.C., soit de la nomination de Tissapherne comme satrape de Sardes, jusqu'à l'expédition d'Agésilas en 395. Déplaçant le regard habituellement fortement helléno-centré porté sur ces événements, l'auteur bat en brèche de façon fort convaincante l'idée d'un affaiblissement des défenses de l'empire perse dans ce secteur, mettant en évidence l'importance de la stratégie initiée par Tissapherne, appuyée davantage sur une connaissance de la géographie et de la politique locale que sur de puissantes fortifications ou des troupes nombreuses. En dépit d'un affaiblissement conjoncturel après la tentative de prise de pouvoir de Cyrus le Jeune, le dispositif permit l'établissement d'un ferme contrôle des achéménides sur la région, notamment après la Paix du Roi en 386.

On pourra déplorer l'absence d'une conclusion générale, ainsi que la présence de coquilles (ertarrte au lieu de erstarrte p. 31 ; Mitylene au lieu de Mytilene p. 73 ; poetstas au lieu de potestas p. 112…), erreurs de latin (commentaria au lieu de commentarii, p. 36 et n. 18 p. 38 ; tribunes militum au lieu de tribuni militum p. 43) ou omissions dans une bibliographie générale presque exclusivement anglo-saxonne. Toutefois, les contributions à ce volume sont dans l'ensemble de qualité, notamment du fait de la fréquente prise en compte des apports récents des sciences sociales. L'ouvrage pourra donc constituer un instrument de travail et de réflexion des plus utiles, ouvrant ponctuellement la voie à des perspectives nouvelles de recherche dans le champ de l'histoire militaire antique.


1.   Notamment S. Tondo, « Il sacramentum militiae nell'ambiente culturale romano-italico », SDHI 29, 1963, p. 1-25 et « Sacramentum militiae », SDHI 34, 1968, p. 376-396 ; A. Momigliano, « compte rendu de S. Tondo, Il sacramentum militiae », JRS 1967, P. 253-254 ; J. Linderski, « Rome, Aphrodisias and the Res Gestae : the genera militiae and the status of Octavian », JRS 74, 1984, p. 74-80 ; F. Hinard, « Sacramentum », Athenaeum 81, 1993, p. 251-263; J. Rüpke, Domi militiae. Die religiöse Konstruktion des Krieges in Rom, Stuttgart, 1990 ; et encore récemment A. Dalla Rosa, Cura et tutela. , Le origini del potere imperiale sulle provincie proconsolari, Stuttgart, 2014.
2.   Voir F. Cadiou, «Alia ratio. L'armée romaine, la guérilla et l'historiographie moderne », REA 115.1, 2013, p. 119-145.

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Görge K. Hasselhoff, Meret Strothmann (ed.), "Religio licita?": Rom und die Juden. Studia Judaica, 84. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. viii, 230. ISBN 9783110406559. $126.00.

Reviewed by Arco den Heijer, Theological University Kampen (

Version at BMCR home site

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

This volume results from two conferences held in Bochum in 2012 and 2013 on, respectively, the thesis of a split Jewish diaspora posited by Doron Mendels and Arye Edrei, and the privileges accorded to the Jews/Judeans by the Romans. The list of contributions included below shows, however, the wide range of themes discussed in the book, which is better covered by the book's subtitle (Rome and the Jews, broadly understood) than by its title. Indeed, the term religio licita is discussed only in the introductory first chapter by the editors, who point out that the term is an ad hoc coinage of Tertullian (Apologeticum 21,1) without any legal status. Nevertheless, the term is used uncritically in several essays, in one case even in reference to a decree from the Codex Theodosianus that turns out not to use the term at all (p. 68, referring to Cod. Theod. 16.8.9).

The introductory chapter situates the book within a number of scholarly debates: the debate on Jewish or Judean identity within the Mediterranean world (is it primarily ethnic or primarily religious, or does it evolve from the one into the other?), the debate on the legal status of the Judeans within the Roman empire and the question how conflictual the relationship between Judeans and other inhabitants of the Roman empire was on a social level. Scholars generally acknowledge the relatively large degree of freedom accorded in a number of decrees to Judeans to live according to their ancestral customs,1 but disagree about the extent to which they could actually participate in Greco-Roman society without getting involved in various kinds of cultural conflict.2

This volume contributes to these debates by collecting a number of essays by leading scholars in the field. The strengths of the book are its detailed attention to the ancient sources and its wide chronological and geographical scope, ranging from the speeches of Cicero to the Judean community of Cologne in the fourth century. However, the book as a whole fails to move forward on the debates mentioned above, both because a number of the contributors have already presented their views in more detail in earlier publications and because the book lacks a concluding chapter that could bring the various contributions together to answer the questions posed in the introduction. Still, the quality of the individual papers is generally high in its argumentative strength and adequate use of the evidence. I cannot discuss all papers in detail, but will highlight some of them.

After the short introductory chapter, the book opens with an excellent contribution by Benedikt Eckhardt. Eckhardt positions his contribution within the ongoing debate on the meaning of Ἰουδαῖος / Iudaeus and asks whether the privileges that the Romans granted to the Ἰουδαῖοι were given to them as a people ('Judeans') or as a religion ('Jews'). He begins by emphasizing the regional connotations of ἔθνος (to be distinguished from the modern concept of ethnicity) and the connection between 'ancestral customs' (πάτρια ἔθη) and the idea of a home country (πατρίς). Wherever Romans allow Judeans in the cities of the Roman empire to live according to these customs, this does not imply an interest in their religion, but grants them the right to live and gather as diaspora communities according to the rules of their homeland, including the observance of their ancestral cult. Still, Eckhardt points out that the privileges of Judeans were unusual in comparison with other diaspora communities in view of their wide-ranging consequences. Thus, the groups of Judeans were a challenge to the customary understanding of diaspora communities, but did not lead the Romans to consider them in a different framework. The diaspora groups were organized as associations that can be compared with associations of Syrian or Phoenician diaspora communities. Romans categorized Iudaei essentially on an ethnic basis, even if Eckhardt is keen to emphasize that ethnic groups could be identified to a large extent by their religious practices. Only in the second and third centuries did they begin to be conceptualized more as a religion. Daniel Boyarin and Steve Mason have explained this as due to the influence of Christianity and the 'invention' of religion by the Christian apologists, but Eckhardt rightly regards this as only one factor among others. Eckhardt's position in the debate on Jewishness/Judeanness stands out for its nuance and precision. Moreover, he makes clear that the dichotomy 'people' or 'religion' can have heuristic value even if the two are in reality always connected and 'religion' as a separate cultural domain did not exist in antiquity.

Less convincing is the argument of Ernst Baltrusch, who invokes the concept of the "arts of the weak" from postcolonial theory to argue that Josephus' historiographical project was a response to the destruction of the temple and a plea for an equal status of Jews in the Roman empire. He pictures Judaism after the destruction of the temple as being on the verge of extinction and in need of strategies for survival, and argues that Josephus utilizes the historiographical discourse of the dominant power to assert the cultural superiority of the Jews, extolling the beauty of the temple and taking pride in his Jewish education. However, although Josephus is unmistakably fond of his cultural background, his apologetic historiography continues a long tradition of Hellenistic Jewish literature and cannot, therefore, be explained purely as a response to the allegedly desperate situation of Judaism after 70 CE.

Two essays focus on the Flavian emperors and the fiscus Iudaicus. Christopher Weikert highlights the role of the Judean war as "Gründungsmythos der flavischen Dynastie" (p. 174) but also emphasizes that the Flavian emperors continued the policy of the Julio-Claudian dynasty with regard to Jewish privileges. He interprets the fiscus Iudaicus in the context of Vespasian's desperate need of financial resources. As for Domitian, Weikert argues plausibly that he used the victory over Judea in his propaganda mainly in order to emphasize his dynastic connection to Vespasian and Titus.

Rather more problematic is the next essay, by Sven Günther, which is dedicated entirely to the fiscus Iudaicus and sets out to replace earlier "hypothetical constructs" in scholarship with a "new, source-based view" (p. 175). He states that the Jewish Tax (the two denarii of the Jews collected by Vespasian in rededication of the former temple tax) should not be equated with the fiscus Iudaicus. According to Günther, the fiscus Iudaicus was instituted by Vespasian in connection with the constitution of Judaea as an independent province around 70 CE, and the two denarii of the former temple tax were made to flow into this new treasury. This is, indeed, clarifying. However, when Günther concludes that "most likely, the fiscus Iudaicus was a department of the imperatorial financial administration led by the a rationibus to coordinate and administrate the Jewish Tax" (p. 189), he leaves me confused. fiscus as an administrative department is, at best, another hypothetical construct, and at worst, in clear conflict with the sources; when Suetonius writes, Iudaicus fiscus acerbissime actus est (Suet. Dom. 12.2), fiscus can only refer to revenues which are collected, not to a department which collects.

Finally, Werner Eck directs the focus to the northwestern corner of the empire with an investigation of the position of Jews in Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (Cologne). From a Constantinian decree (Codex Theodosianus 16.8.3) that allows the decuriones of Cologne to summon Jews to a function in the curia, he deduces through detailed contextualization that there must have been a considerable Jewish community in Cologne and that some of its members were rich enough to fulfill a function in the city council. Until the date of the decree (321 CE) Jews were apparently exempted from this duty because it would necessitate their involvement in pagan rituals. With Constantine's endorsement of Christianity, both Christians and Jews were no longer requested to perform these rituals as part of a public office. The decree provides an interesting window into Jewish life in an area of the Roman empire for which there are otherwise no indications of Jewish presence.

In sum, the book brings together a number of good essays on Jewish-Roman interaction in various regions and periods, but lacks both interaction among contributions and a clearly defined theme or conclusion that would have added significantly to existing scholarship. Moreover, the book has a number of typos which should not be allowed at this price. Still, anyone working on any of the topics discussed in the book might want to consult it in their library.

Authors and Titles

Religio licita – Rom und die Juden (Görge K. Hasselhoff and Meret Strothmann)
Rom und die Juden – ein Kategorienfehler? Zur römischen Sicht auf die Iudaei in später Republik und frühem Prinzipat (Benedikt Eckhardt)
Der rechtliche Status der Juden im römischen Reich. Tradition und Wandel in der römischen Judengesetzgebung vom 2. Jahrhundert v.u.Z. bis zum 6. Jahrhundert u.Z. Mit einem Exkurs zur These von Doron Mendels und Arye Edrei über „Zweierlei Diaspora" (Karl Leo Noethlichs)
Vertragen sich Sonne und Mond? Überlegungen zum Kalender als politisches Instrumentarium bei Römern und Juden (Mereth Strothmann)
The Myth of Cicero's Anti-Judaism (Miriam Ben Zeev)
„Kein Stein auf dem anderen" (Mk 13, 2). Josephus, der Tempel und das historiographische Konzept (Ernst Baltrusch)
Nach der Tempelzerstörung. Die gens Flavia und die Juden (Christopher Weikert)
The Fiscus Iudaicus. A Hypothetical Scholarly Construct (Sven Günther)
Wie zuverlässig ist Euseb, Kirchengeschichte IV, 1-6? (Görge K. Hasselhoff)
Die Teilnahme von Juden am politisch-administrativem Leben der Selbstverwaltungsgemeinden im Westen des römischen Reiches und der Konstantinische Erlass von 321 für die CCAA (= Köln) (Werner Eck)


1.   See especially Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev,Jewish Rights in the Roman World: The Greek and Roman Documents Quoted by Josephus Flavius, (Tübingen 1998) and Erich S. Gruen, Diaspora. Jews amidst Greeks and Romans, (Cambridge 2002).
2.   E.g., Philip A. Harland, Associations, synagogues, and congregations: claiming a place in ancient Mediterranean society, (Minneapolis 2013) emphasizes the integration of Judean diaspora communities within the structure of Mediterranean society, whereas Martin Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem. The Clash of Ancient Civilizations, (London 2007) emphasizes the role of Rome's victory over Judaea in imperial propaganda and its negative implications for the social position of Judean culture after 70 CE.

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Erich Trapp (ed.), Lexikon zur byzantinischen Gräzität besonders des 9.-12. Jahrhunderts. 8. Faszikel (ταριχευτικῶς - ὤχρωμα). Veröffentlichungen zur Byzanzforschung, VI/8. Wien: Verlag der Österreischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1994. Pp. 318. ISBN 9783700179962. €136.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Michael Zellmann-Rohrer, Oxford (

Version at BMCR home site

The eighth and final fascicle of the Lexikon zur byzantinischen Gräzität (LBG) has now appeared, marking the completion of a monumental work whose foundations were first laid by the chief editor, Erich Trapp, in 1965. The LBG is already a standard reference among Byzantinists, but as it has not yet been reviewed in BMCR, some contextualization of the project is in order. Critical comments focus on the final fascicle.

The history of modern Byzantine lexicography in the West1 can be traced to 1610 with the publication by the Dutch philologist Ioannes Meursius of his Glossarium Graecobarbarum (Leiden), in which he aimed to explicate magna congeries uocum exoticarum, quas cum externis gentibus decliui Imperio paullatim Graecia admisit ... quae etsi Graecae quidem sint, tamen aut ipsas, aut earum significationem, antiqua Graecia ignorauit. The title page claims a collection of over 3,600 words, drawn from literary works, in some cases unpublished. A revised and augmented second edition of 1614 brings the total to over 5,400. (The lexicography of Classical Greek had already been progressing since the Renaissance, with the achievement of Stephanus, Thesaurus Graecae linguae, already reached in 1572.) The discipline begins in earnest in 1688 with the publication of Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange, Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae graecitatis (Paris), a monument still cited by modern Byzantinists. Making extensive use of unpublished manuscript material, and ranging across the entire Byzantine period, Du Cange's collection spans 1794 folio columns (with 214 of addenda); the number of lemmata is not stated, but should easily surpass 15,000.

Despite methodological shortcomings, such as citation of manuscript texts in unverifiable form without shelfmarks, and an obvious and growing need for supplement, Byzantine studies were slow to produce a replacement. Noteworthy, albeit generally regarded as unsatisfactory, above all for its limited scope, is E.A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100) (Cambridge, M.A. 1887, with revisions by J.H. Thayer and H. Drisler). This work deserves credit for expanding consideration, selectively, beyond the manuscript tradition to stone inscriptions. A significant portion of Byzantine literature is covered in exemplary fashion by G.W.H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford 1961-1968), with a specific focus on "theological and ecclesiastical vocabulary" from the first through early ninth centuries CE, and secondarily building on the then-standard lexicon of Classical Greek to give selective coverage of rare and new words with respect to LSJ. Comparably methodical attention to a subset of Byzantine Greek has been given by Emmanuel Kriaras, and collaborators, in the Λεξικὸ τῆς μεσαιωνικῆς Ἑλληνικῆς δημώδους γραμματείας, 1100-1669 (1968- ), with the aim of systematic coverage of vernacular literature starting from its recognizable origins. Work began in 1959, and coverage has progressed only partway through Ρ. More recently, simultaneous work has been undertaken on an abridged version, with revisions and emendations, which now reaches from Α partway through Π.2 Mention should also be made of the nine-volume Μέγα λεξικὸν τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς γλώσσης of Demetrios Demetrakos (Athens 1936-1951), which, though proceeding primarily by compilation from existing lexica, remains the only attempt at coverage of the Greek language over the full course of its history, from Homer through the present day, and integrates literary sources with documentary texts from inscriptions and papyri.

The tradition begun by Meursius and Du Cange sees a significant new achievement in the LBG, the largest congeries of Byzantine words yet, with the benefit of sound and systematic methodology. The project has been jointly centered at Vienna and Bonn and edited by Erich Trapp with various collaborators over its course. The publications have appeared in two phases of four fascicles each: Band I (Α-Κ), 1994-2001, and Band 2 (Λ-Ω), 2005-2017. As noted, preparatory work dates back to 1965, and sample lemmata for Η were offered in 1985.3

In a program outlined in a series of valuable companion publications by Trapp and his collaborators on lexicography and its contribution to Byzantine studies,4 the LBG takes as its core the "theologische und nicht-fachwissenschaftliche profane Literatur" of the ninth through twelfth centuries, with secondary consideration of sixth- through eighth-century sources for words not included in LSJ and Lampe. There has been a more selective review of literary texts from the fourth through eighth (especially hagiography) and thirteenth through fifteenth centuries, excluding the vernacular, and of technical literature and documentary sources, including papyri and inscriptions. LBG is conceived fundamentally as an "Aufbaulexikon" on the model of Lampe, with respect to the latter and LSJ, concentrating on new words and significant changes in Byzantine usage. For common words, attestations are limited to the earliest.

The extensive, if not exhaustive, collection of sources is concisely attested by the 91-page Verzeichnis der Abkürzungen, now issued in a definitive form accompanying the final fascicle. Trapp estimated in 1985 that a completed lexicon would contain approximately 50,000 lemmata. I have not seen a final tally in print, but from the total of 2,060 pages for the full lexicon, and the nearly 74,500 lemmata from fascicles 1-7 available online (see below), a rough estimate of c. 86,000 total seems plausible.

Lemmata offer accurate and succinct German translations, followed by sources and context (for limitations of space, only selectively), with helpful indications of their date. Slipping relies on indices, but is also informed as much as possible by fresh reading of the source texts, especially for the core period. References to other lexica and similar resources are also provided. Some of the references of Du Cange to unpublished manuscript material have been taken over (e.g., 2033a s.v. χωροκώμη), and resources used for control and completion of the lemmata include an unpublished word-list prepared by the philologist Emmanuel Miller, and collation with the digital TLG.

There are also selective etymologies for the many words of foreign derivation in Byzantine Greek, from, e.g., French, 1799b s.v. τρέβα; Medieval Latin, 1795b s.v. τρανσλαταρίζω; Turkish, 1793a s.v. τοῦφαξ; Italian, 1778b s.v. τζοῦστρα; Slavic 1774b s.v. τζελνίκος; Persian 1782a, s.v. τιμάριον. Occasionally there is room for improvement: e.g., τζεμέην at 1775a is defined as "Versammlungsort" and referred to Arabic ǧāmiʾ, apparently a misprint for ǧāmiʿa. Recourse to the cited source to confirm this correction shows that in context the reference is to the Umayyad mosque at Damascus,5 and hence a parenthetical reference to the more specific sense required here, "mosque," would have been helpful; the lemma cites the Greek gloss συναγωγὴ τόπου supplied by the same source, but it may otherwise not be obvious that the meaning must be "local congregation."

Uncertainty about definitions is frankly acknowledged with a query, and some especially difficult words are included without an attempt at definition. These lemmata will hopefully spur future lexicographical studies, in which direction I offer a few notes.

At 1782b, τιμογλύφιος is recorded without definition from a Life of St. Catherine.6 In context, the term is applied in a parody of a rhetorical declamation, to the magician Iambres, who is praised for having written efficacious treatises on necromancy. The declamation is delivered in a competition set by the emperor Maxentius, to test the skill of the saint, described as consummately trained "in the knife and pen of rhetoric" (γλυφίδι καὶ καλάμῳ ῥητορικῷ). Maxentius calls for a discourse "skillfully carved" (σαφῶς τορνευθείς), and Catherine retorts to one boastful competitor, "you know not even the butt of the orator's knife" (οὐδὲ πτέρναν γλυφίδος ῥήτορος ἐπίστασαι). This amusing text abounds in nonce-words, of which τιμογλύφιος appears to be one: in the context of this conceit (rhetoric = knife, chisel) we might translate "renowned carver" or "phrase-turner." The attractive v.l. ἑτοιμογλύφιος, "ready carver" in the same sense has not found a place in LBG, though its (senseless?) counterpart v.l. τρυμογλύφιος appears at 1824b.

At 1778b, τζυάκλης is given from Niketas Choniates (PG 140:137A) as "Sodomit," in context an insult applied by an Armenian and glossed in Greek as ὁ κτηνοβατούμενος. The interpretation of LBG is clearly superior to the parallel Latin version furnished by Migne, homo belluino more gradiens, but remains decorously vague. I suggest instead "livestock-fucker" (in the passive role, certainly a stronger insult as such, cf. κτηνοβατέω as already included in LBG from this very passage, where it is analyzed as middle).

Some quibbles with selection and referencing may be illustrated by two samples: at 2034a ψαλιδωτός, "gewölbt," is cited from SEG LIV 1385, which leads to a lengthy lemma reviewing an entire volume of inscriptions, I.Perge II, eventually citing the word in question as remarkable under "special terms and vocabulary." Readers would surely have appreciated a reference in the first instance to the inscription itself, I.Perge II 366. There follows TAM III.1.590.11 (wrongly cited as 390 in the lemma). As helpfully marked in both cases, the former inscription is probably to be dated to the second century CE, and the latter to the third. As such, both sources, the only ones cited for this lemma, fall outside even the expansive starting point of "Byzantine" generally adopted for this project, the foundation of Constantinople as imperial capital. Other lemmata extend even earlier, such as χρυσωτός (2028a), entered solely from P.Oxy. LXXIX 5202.10, of the first century CE. It would be mean-spirited to censure the inclusion of such words, but one might have hoped for some further methodological discussion in the preface or companion lexicographical studies on their selection criteria and scope – as further complements to LSJ and Lampe? – with an announcement to users that such information, beyond the stated chronological scope, is also available. Both ψαλιδωτός and χρυσωτός at least are already found in LSJ, but without these new references.

The supplement of previously printed fascicles is already under way.7 In an afterword to fascicle 8, Trapp reflects on approaches to addenda and corrigenda accumulated over the course of the project and envisions an "Ergänzungsdatenbank zum LBG," perhaps to be maintained online. Due to the pace of epigraphical and papyrological publications in particular, addenda are likely already in order for the final fascicle. A further help in this process should be the recently-published Wörterlisten compiled by Dieter Hagedorn and Klaus Maresch and maintained online. One addendum can be proposed here, from the mass of later Byzantine technical literature, the coverage of which was admittedly less systematic: χριάω, a by-form of χρίω, as the form underlying the perfect participles χριωμένον and χριωμένη in Demetrios Pepagomenos, Iatrikon. 8

The book is elegantly and carefully typeset. The content of the entire LBG will be made available without subscription in partnership with the TLG project: currently fascicles 1-7 are online, which already increases the utility of the material by allowing users to search in "meanings" (i.e., the text of lemmata) in addition to headwords.

Erich Trapp and his team should be congratulated on a lexicon whose adoption as an essential tool for Byzantinists is well deserved. For readers of BMCR it should be stressed once again that the LBG holds much of interest to Classicists, especially those who deal with papyri and inscriptions, and to students of the late ancient, medieval, and early modern Mediterranean area.


1.   For previous attempts and their shortcomings: E. Trapp, "Stand und Perspektiven der mittelgriechischen Lexikographie," in E. Trapp et al., Studien zur byzantinischen Lexikographie (Vienna 1988) 11-46.
2.   I.N. Kazazes, T.A. Karanastases, Ἐπιτομὴ τοῦ Λεξικοῦ τῆς μεσαιωνικῆς Ἑλληνικῆς δημώδους γραμματείας, 1100-1669 (Thessalonike 2001- ).
3.   E. Trapp, W. Hörandner, J. Diethart, Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 35 (1985) 149-170.
4.   Besides the preface of fascicle 1, see most recently E. Trapp, S. Schönauer (edd.), Lexicologica Byzantina. Beiträge zum Kolloquium zur byzantinischen Lexikographie (Bonn, 13.–15. Juli 2007) (Bonn 2008).
5.   K.-P. Todt, Bartholomaios von Edessa, Confutatio Agareni (Würzburg 1988) 94.15.
6.   J. Viteau, Passions des saints Écaterine et Pierre d'Alexandrie, Barbara et Anysia (Paris 1897) 30.
7.   For some published proposals: D.R. Reinsch, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 89 (1996) 497-500; G.S. Henrich, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 91 (1998) 590-595, 93 (2000) 656-658, 96 (2003) 327-329, 100 (2007) 226-228; T. Antonopoulou, Byzantion 70 (2000) 9-24; A. Failler, Revue des études byzantines 64 (2006) 414-416; A. Rhoby, Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 57 (2007) 1-16, 62 (2012) 111-118; J. Diethart, C. Grassien, W. Voigt, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 105 (2012) 635-644 (further bibliography).
8.   Recension C §25; and ibid. §26, with recension L §31, ed. M. Capone Ciollaro, Demetrio Pepagomeno, Prontuario medico (Naples 2003).

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