Thursday, September 29, 2011


Camillo Neri, Lirici greci. Età arcaica e classica. Introduzione, edizione, traduzione e commento. Classici 9. Roma: Carocci editore, 2011. Pp. 495. ISBN 9788843055951. €30.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Douglas E. Gerber, University of Western Ontario (

Version at BMCR home site

There are few anthologies of Greek lyric in languages other than Italian, but in Italian they are numerous. I personally own fourteen that have been published in Italy since the 1960s. The majority provide a text followed immediately by the commentary, but Neri's anthology is very different, and much less easy to use. One example, that of Callinus fr. 1, will illustrate what I mean. On pp. 16-18 we have the introduction, text and translation; on pp. 145-47 we have the commentary; on p. 333 we have the apparatus; on p. 387 we have the dialectal forms, with translation and Attic equivalents; and on p. 454 we have the bibliography. This is an unnecessarily complicated method of providing the required information. Neri's anthology differs from most others in another way also. Very little is said about grammar and syntax, and although different interpretations of a passage may be mentioned they tend not to be discussed in any detail.

No two compilers of anthologies will agree on what authors and texts should be selected. In part this depends on the degree of thoroughness in the commentary, on whether Pindar and/or Bacchylides should be included, on whether space allows for longer texts in addition to shorter ones, and on whether translations are added. Neri has selected 110 mostly fragmentary texts from 25 authors, two of whom are Pindar (Ol. 1) and Bacchylides (Dith. 18). The choice of authors differs from that of most other anthologies, since he includes Carmina convivialia, Carmina popularia, Critias, Euenus, and Terpander. As far as the fragments themselves are concerned, they are for the most part what one would expect to find. It is surprising, however, that the Cologne epode of Archilochus is omitted. Only two fragments of Solon are included (4 and 27). Fr. 27 is an unusual choice, especially since fr. 13 is omitted. For Xenophanes we are given fr. 2 and four of the hexametric fragments. Fr. 1 would seem to me a more appropriate choice than the hexameters.

In 2004 Neri was the author of La lirica greca. Temi e testi (Roma, Carocci editore). This is in two parts, the first (pp. 23-121) dealing with a wide variety of topics pertaining to Greek lyric and the remainder with the same fragments covered in the volume under review. There is, however, no Greek text and much less is said about each fragment. Given the existence of this earlier work, I am surprised that Neri did not dispense with the translations and in their place provide students with more grammatical assistance. In the introduction (p. 9) we are told the following: "Gli studenti ne ricaveranno un libro di testo, completo di tutti i supporti linguistici, metrici e critico-esegetici, per preparare gli esami di lingua e letteratura greca e per approfondire la propria conoscenza di quel fenomeno cui si dà il nome di lirica." This seems to me to claim more than the book delivers. I do not wish to imply any incompetence on Neri's part. He is an established scholar with an excellent reputation and he certainly could have provided the information that I think is lacking.

Apart from the reservations listed above, it should be stressed that Italian students will benefit from the judicious analysis of each fragment, from the clarity of his writing, and from the extensive bibliographies.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Barry W. Cunliffe, John T. Koch (ed.), Celtic from the West: Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language, and Literature. Celtic Studies Publications 15. Oxford/ Oakville, CT: Oxbow Books, 2010. Pp. vii, 384. ISBN 9781842174104. $80.00.

Reviewed by Jürgen Zeidler, University of Trier (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

This rehabilitation of the "Atlantic hypothesis", that the Celtic languages emerged in the Atlantic Zone during the Bronze Age, pursues previous efforts undertaken by the authors (see p. 1, n. 1). It is a comprehensive and fully illustrated volume with provocative considerations, which are at the cutting edge of research.

The book contains an introduction by the editors (p. 1–10) and eleven individual studies divided into three parts, covering archaeology, genetics and language/literature. Koch's study of Tartessian as Celtic (p. 185–301) comprises almost one third of the text of the volume. Due to space limitations, only a few topics can be commented on here.

In the introduction, the term "Celtic" is defined to mean "… a proven affiliation with the Celtic languages or (for non- linguistic evidence) a demonstrable close connection with them" (p. 2). This is both unambiguous and applicable to all geographical areas of Celtic Studies and is preferable to that of the "Vienna school", which leaves the definition to each individual discipline. But the ultimate consequence of the authors' approach is to completely resign from the use of "guide fossils" of "Celtic" material culture.

In line with the last statement, Raimund Karl (p. 39–64) disentangles the historical and modern constructs of the "Celts", which consist of elements of various origins. Besides the archaeological La Tène and linguistic Celtic origin, he identifies a "historical druidic origin" in the British Isles. However, this is in itself a disputable construct because it is not clear whether Caesar's reference to Britain (De bello Gallico 6. 13–14) has any bearing on the origin of druidism.1

Barry Cunliffe (p. 13–38) argues that the geographical setting of the Proto-Celtic language in the Atlantic Bronze Age, c. 2000–750 BC, is in better agreement with the archaeological data than the traditional opinion. One major argument is seen in the large-scale exchange of goods and ideas in the Bronze Age before the fragmentation and regionalization in the transition to the Iron Age. Another important argument is said to be the lack of archaeological evidence for any considerable immigration into the British Isles. Finally, he asks (p. 34) whether Celtic could have developed between 5000 and 3000 BC in the Atlantic Zone. However, this would be an unusually early date from the linguistic point of view. Most scholars accept that late Proto-Indo-European was still a coherent group in the fourth (and even third) millenium BC. Moreover, language spread is not necessarily associated with mass dissemination of material culture, and it is a proven fact that Hallstatt artifacts did spread into the British Isles. Thus it is difficult if not impossible to draw far-reaching conclusions from objects to languages.

In support of the Atlantic hypothesis, Stephen Oppenheimer's alleged chalcolithic "gene-flux" from the Balkans towards the British Isles is brought up as an argument. But Oppenheimer himself (p. 146) is cautious enough to stress that the contribution of genetics "may be an impossible task since genes do not carry ethnic or linguistic labels". And post-neolithic migration resulted in "a minority intrusion to the gene pool".2

Ellen C. Røyrvik (p. 83–106), Brian P. McEvoy and Daniel G. Bradley (p. 107–120) are also reserved regarding conclusions from our present knowledge of the genetics of Britain and Ireland to the linguistic situation. They agree that "population genetics should be able to make a considerable contribution towards the elucidation of Celtic … prehistory" (p. 102), but they also agree that "we are still restricted to examining but a fraction of the human genome's diversity" (p. 118) and are hence unable to reconstruct prehistory from the genetic diversity. Inconclusive as genetic studies presently are, they look more promising for the future. The genetics of facial features (p. 87), the correlation of surnames and Y chromosomes (p. 114–117), to take just these two examples, are all interesting and encouraging.

The philological part of the book begins with a contribution by Graham R. Isaac (p. 153–167), who advocates the traditional viewpoint of language spread from east to west. In particular, he underlines features of Celtic "shared with specifically Iranian" (p. 163). David N. Parsons (p. 169–184) poses the difficult question whether distributional patterns of Celtic place-names reflect "forces at work many centuries after the original Celticization" (p. 182), even "something inherent in the Roman Empire" (p. 183). In two ancillary studies, Philip M. Freeman (p. 303–334) assembles ancient references to Tartessos from Greek, Latin, Assyrian and Hebrew sources (the two latter without the original texts). And Dagmar S. Wodtko (p. 335–367) dwells on the problem of Lusitanian. Her thorough and cautious analysis concludes with the remark that "the assessment of the linguistically Celtic and non-Celtic features in western Spain, Galicia and Portugal depends crucially on the interpretation of the evidence" (p. 362), specifically with regard to etymologies, historical phonology and language affiliation.

Pursuing previous studies, John T. Koch (p. 185–301) argues that the so-called Tartessian inscriptions reflect a Celtic language. In his analysis, he includes new inscriptions discussed by Amílcar Guerra (p. 65–79), in particular from Mesas do Castelinho (meanwhile also in Tartessian 2. The inscription of Mesas do Castelinho and the verbal complex. Oxford: Oxbow, 2011). Apart from these inscriptions, the presence of Celtic speakers by the time of Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC) or earlier is suggested by personal and tribal names such as Arganthonios (*arganto- 'silver') and Kunetes (*kun-et- 'hound (warrior)'). Whether this has a bearing on the Tartessian inscriptions of the eighth to sixth centuries BC, however, remains problematic.

The inscriptions are written in a variant of the Palaeo-Hispanic scripts (p. 203–208), which are semisyllabic. Alphabetic signs for vowels (a, e, i, o, u), resonants (m, n, r, ŕ, l) and sibilants (s, ś) are distinguished from syllabic signs for stops plus vowel (Pa, Pe, Pi, Po, Pu etc.). Stops are only divided according to their place of articulation (P: labial, T: dental, K: tectal), not to sonority (voiced, voiceless). No word dividers are used. A typical feature of Tartessian is the use of extra vowel signs usually accompanying syllabic signs with the same vowel, e.g. Po+o. Thus the Tartessian script resembles an intermediary between semisyllabic and alphabetic writing. Some cases of disagreement occur, though, e.g. Ko.o.ŕ.Pe.o (J.53.1)—interestingly always Ce +V—and rarely no extra vowel is written after a stop, e.g. Tu.n.?i.i.te.s.Pa.a.n (J.53.1).

It should be clarified from the outset that a system like this—hardly suitable for the denotation of an Indo-European language as it is—leaves ample room for interpretation.

Scanning through the suggested translations, one cannot help feeling puzzled by the results achieved by the author. One wonders automatically what message these texts intend to convey. Moreover, epigraphic and literary styles seem to change arbitrarily. Elements of funeral inscriptions appear to be combined with those of dedications and elegies, e.g. "Invoking the divine Lugoves of the Neri (tribe), this funerary monument for a noble … 'Celt/Gaul'. Invoking all the heroes (Eśkingolī group) [the necropolis] has received, [the grave] of Ta[χ]seovonos" (J.1.1, p. 211). What are the invoked groups expected to do for the deceased or the grave? Obscurities like this arouse one's suspicion.

A closer look at orthography and phonetics reveals a number of inconsistencies, even if Koch's linguistic analysis is followed as far as possible. Thus, reconstructed Proto-Celtic (short) */e/ is taken to be variously written e, i and even ii, cf. i.ś */eχs-/ 'out of' (J.1.1), n.i.i.r.a.Po.o */nerabo/ 'belonging to the Neri' (J.1.1 – sic! for -abo is the feminine dative plural ending, thus the nominative plural should be */Nerās/).3 An ad hoc assumption of a phonetic change is sometimes visible.4 And the stem vowel of the o-declension fluctuates between o and a.5

As regards morphology, a strange combination of archaic and unexpected young traits can be observed. One example may serve as an illustration: the use of To.o */do/ 'to' (J.1.1) to reinforce the dative would be rather unusual for an ancient Celtic language.6

To sum up, Koch's analysis reflects the author's superior scholarship, but is not really convincing. The reader is left with a number of inconsistencies, in form and content, ad hoc solutions and divergencies from the results of the other Hispano-Celtic sources. Nevertheless, it is a strong vote for a Celtic solution to the problem of Tartessian, and future research will not be able to avoid this approach. As in the case of Lusitanian, it may very well be a hybrid language with a non-Celtic matrix and extensive Celtic loanwords (as previously assumed by Francisco Villar) or vice versa.

In the end, the hypothesis of an Atlantic origin of the Celtic languages remains a problematic issue. Genetics is not yet (and may never be) able to give any clues beside support for the accepted view that no mass immigration into the British Isles ever happened in the second half of the first millenium BC. Archaeology cannot provide "guide fossils" for communities that are primarily defined by linguistic criteria. Trade connections and "elite networks" affect only small fractions of society with little impact on the choice of language. As to the linguistic evidence, Parsons's toponomastic study questions the time-depth and thus the significance of the Celtic nomenclature (although more material has to be analysed to reach reliable conclusions). Written sources do show a Celtic element in the Iberian Peninsula as early as the sixth or fifth century BC, but this is late enough to allow for an Atlantic as well as a Central European origin of Proto-Celtic. The results from historical linguistics are so far not decisive. Correspondences with various Indo- European languages do not prove more than subsequent phases of mutual influence. It is hardly possible to determine the space and time of these contacts.

One could assume that loanword, substrate and hydronym analysis, together with advanced methods of "linguistic palaeontology"7 rather than genetics and archaeology, will contribute to a better understanding of the linguistic development of Celtic.


1.   A. Hofeneder. Die Religion der Kelten in den antiken literarischen Zeugnissen. vol. 1. Vienna: Austrian Academy, 2005: 195–196.
2.   He thinks of the dissemination of the haplogroups J2e-M12 and E3b1a2 of the Y chromosome as a hint at mining as a motive for long-distance migration in the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Age. But it may be asked whether groups of miners would really leave significant traces in the gene-pool of the native inhabitants.
3.   The following examples are completely unconvincing: */ei/ written eai (Te.e.a.i.o.n.a */deiwonā/ 'goddess', J.4.3), */a/ (Koch: */ə/) written eo (r.i.n.o.e.Po.o */rī(g)nabo/ 'to the queens', J.5.1).
4.   In a.r.i.a.r.i.ś.e */ario-rīgi/ 'for Arioriχs' (J.10.1): ś is said to represent palatalized */g'/ before */i/ (n.b.: the dative ending could as well be */ei/ as in Celtiberian) whereas in the similar case of */k/ before */i/, or other consonants, no such change is assumed (e.g. ki.i.e.l.a.o.e */kīlawāi/ 'for Kilawa', J.11.1).
5.   As in the last example a.r.i.a */aria-/ (J.10.1) compared to l.e.Po.o-i.i.r.e */lemo-wirī?/ (Mesas do Castelinho), u.a.r.Po.o-i.i.r */uwarmo-wir-/ (J.22.1) and (o).i.r.a */wira/ 'man' without -s (J.1.2) in contrast to Ti.i.r.To.o.s */tirtos/ 'third' (proper name, J.1.2). Ka.a.k() */kʷākʷ-/ 'all' (J.1.1, n.b.: *Ku.a.Ku- would have been easily possible) remains without an ending altogether.
6.   TO LVGVEI in Peñalba de Villastar (K.3.3), which is quoted in support of this analysis, has been explained in many different ways (D.S. Wodtko. An outline of Celtiberian grammar. Freiburg 2003: 17). A connection with the theonym has been rejected, in favour of an abstract noun 'oath', by F. Beltrán Lloris et al. (Palaeohispanica 5 (2005): 914–930).
7.   Zsolt Simon. "How to find the Proto-Indo-European homeland? A methodological essay". Acta Antiqua Hungarica 48 (2008): 289–303.

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Gonda Van Steen, Theatre of the Condemned: Classical Tragedy on Greek Prison Islands. Classical Presences. Oxford/ New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. xiii, 354. ISBN 9780199572885. $125.00.

Reviewed by Diana Gilliland Wright (

Version at BMCR home site

The Varkiza Agreement, signed on 12 February 1945, was intended to regularize the political situation in Greece, end the fighting of the previous December, and reconcile opposing political blocs. A significant provision stated that all offences of December were pardoned except "common-law crimes against life and property which were not absolutely necessary to the achievement of the political crime concerned." The immediate result was the criminalization of political activities and the internment in detention camps of thousands of ELAS/EAM fighters, Communist party members, and left-wing supporters—actions described as "internal exile," "preventive displacement," and "disciplined living." 1 In September 1947, 19,623 political prisoners were in jail, and in August 1950, there were 23, 457—this out of a population of seven and a half million people.2

Three of these detention camps—Makronisos, Aï Stratis, and Trikeri—provide the theatres for Gonda Van Steen's stunning book Theatre of the Condemned—a double meaning there—which examines the many nuances involved in the theatrical productions of classical tragedy by camp inmates and directors. It was much to the advantage of camp theatre that so many actors, producers, and writers were leftist, and so by their internment were available to contribute to the richness Van Steen describes.

While in many cases, inmates read and acted plays on their own account, at Makronisos the camp management selected plays and actors, and provided good sets for propaganda purposes. The filmmaker Nikos Kondouros, imprisoned for three years on Makronisos, called the island "a stage of eleven kilometres long." He wrote of the performances for visitors who included the Red Cross, the BBC, the National Geographic (which had an article on the camp in the December 1949 issue3), foreign diplomats, journalists, and other selected guests: "All knew what 'play' was being performed and all pretended not to know. Following the rules of the stage direction, both parties had to act as if they were improvising and reacting spontaneously . . . the deception was organized perfectly; the production ended with applause, and . . . the happy camping returned to its role of an indoctrination camp." (82)

Torture in the camps was conducted as its own kind of theater, performed where other prisoners could hear. If torture succeeded in its stated aims, which were to return the leftist offender to an appreciation of the doctrine of the Right, the offender then had a new set of requirements to fulfill: "from composing hideous confession statements to denouncing their former comrades, to assisting in the process of 'breaking' others (to translate the modern Greek expression for 'torturing')." (120) Many were broken by the public humiliation of these requirements and the isolation and psychological punishment by the Left, which had no tolerance for the nuances of personal decision. The leftist actress Kati Kalo wrote that she finally signed simply because she had to get back to her small children, and then that was refused her. Significantly, she described it as "the sacred role of the mother." She wrote, "I was hurt so much by the signature that I put to a text that did not represent me and that I did not believe in either . . . for very many months I used to walk with lowered eyes, so as not to face by chance the look of a comrade, who would have ignored me with an air." (122)

Before the time of the camps, the Right had used classical drama to reinforce certain ideas of authority, and some of the Left had thus avoided the classics as tainted by the establishment. In the camps, the prisoners reappropriated classical drama to speak of their own situation and challenge authority, and on their rocky islands found their voices in Philoctetes and Prometheus. Antigone was more problematical and was used by both sides to make points, the Right seeing in it a statement of authority and justice, the Left finding support for the nobility of resistance. Still, particularly for women, Antigone provided confirmation of their struggle and justification for resistance.

Theatre conditions varied from camp to camp, and over time. For example, the Makronisos repertoire between Easter 1948 and the end of 1949 included no classical tragedy or comedy, (naturally) a minimal number of leftist plays and a vast majority of patriotic, didactic, and moralizing works. Plays were generally performed once or twice a month, on Sundays, national holidays and major feast days. What camp officials seemed to miss was that plays intended to celebrate Greek resistance against the Turks could also function to encourage resistance against the Right, and constituted another form of inmate theatre within the disguise of formal theatre. Some camps did not have female prisoners and when women were transferred to Aï Stratis, for example, broader choices for repertoire and casting were opened up.

The situation of women in the camps was particularly complex. Not only did they face institutionalized anti- communism, they were also targets of sexism by communists as well as by rightists, and victimized by sexual violence. Educated women were targets of anti-intellectualism on the part of the guards and many reported having to hide their books. Women in camps were expected to perform roles that required women to be obedient, pious, and uncritical. Many accounts report on the reading and acting of classical drama as key points for solidarity among the women, and for making up for the education not given to women. If some women learned to read and write, and female teachers gave classes in a wide variety of topics, there was another side and "many were deeply conscious of the value of self-improvement, which entailed self-education, but also communal training to make women with leftist sympathies more useful to the leadership of the Left." (117) Other women's accounts speak of the educational and class lines they encountered when urbanized women formed cliques for reading and performance and did not invite the less-educated rural women to participate. Still, the exposure to the common experience of classical drama gave coherence to the camp experience as rooted deep in Greek culture. As the poet Victoria Theodorou wrote, "here we lived out the clay age / we dug for roots / we coaxed the music from the reed / we made a lyre from the turtle shell." (129)

Classical drama provided opportunities for challenge away from the stage. One prisoner recalled encountering the infamous torturer Vonklis in the Makronisos camp. Seeing him, the actor Manos Katrakis climbed on a rock and began reciting from the Prometheus, "Mother Earth, Mother of all. Sun, you who see everything. Look at me! . . . I am being tortured and I will forever be tortured." Vonklis demanded to know what was going on. The prisoner responded that he was an actor going on about the ancient gods. (128) The same actor performed as Prometheus at Epidauros at the time of the collapse of the dictatorship. The cancellation of an all-female production of Prometheus just before its performance provided an extraordinary theatre for the exiles to discuss the tyrant and his servants, Bia and Kratos. (In modern Greek, Bia still means "violence," and the primary meaning of Kratos is "state.")

A full chapter is given to a discussion of a production of The Persians at Aï Stratis in September 1951, supported by the camp administration, who saw in it a presentation of the glorious Greek past and a celebration of victory. The participants, however, saw it as a response to the losses and defeats of the Civil War and a possible alternative form of heroism. The chorus was large, to include as many exiles as possible who wanted to participate, and the poet Yiannis Ritsos taught them the choreography. The sheeps' wool wigs, costumes (dyed and sewn in the camp workshop), and set were carefully constructed to present, even for a short time, an alternative world. Most of the cast had never been on a stage before. The audience included 2,500 prisoners, many of the residents of the village of Aï Stratis, and representatives of the Red Cross. In fact, prisoner productions made it a point to welcome the villagers and often gave several performances so they could attend.

The memorable scene where the Persian messenger describes the Greek advance—ὦ παῖδες Ἑλλήνων, ἴτε—was taken as a patriotic affirmation by camp officials and probably many of the visitors, quite removed from its context and narrator: to the participants this was a triumphant affirmation of their participation in the resistance. This may be a simplistic example, but over and over prisoners found that these plays insisted on reexamination of conventional assumptions of patriotism, victory, and resistance.

Van Steen has constructed Theatre of the Condemned like a drama. While the first four chapters movingly demonstrate prisoners' experience of classical drama and primarily emphasize the Right's oppression of the Left, the fifth chapter brings the reader up short with the insistence that both leftist rigidity and the oppression by the Left of individuals within the camps, demand ethical attention. She includes here the text and her translation of Aris Alexandrou's Antigone, written first in the camp on Moudros and then destroyed, as it was finally presented in Thessalonike in 2003. A narrative of the resistance, the plot concerns Antigone's (a resistance fighter) sympathy for a wounded German prisoner, and then her concern to give his body forbidden burial, a symbolic burial after he is executed by the partisans. We learn that she has become pregnant by him. Refusing to show remorse, she is sentenced to execution. Refusing her jailor's offer of marriage, which would at least allow the child to be born, she choses to sacrifice herself and the child for the sake of her integrity. It is an unattractive play, burdened with symbolism, and sub-plots, but leftist graduates of the camps who saw the performance must have found it profoundly unsettling.

The language of the play is often moving. Lyrical passages alternate with stichomythy. The opening chorus sets the tone:

The tracks of the tanks passed through our yards. Their horses passed through our fields. The rains passed, and we have no sun. We have no bread. We drag the palms of our hands over our aged cheeks—as one drags them over thick butcher's paper that won't lie flat—all those years—with a bad wind coming in through the cracks. We close the doors. We close our mouths. And yet they circle around and enter everywhere. With a helmet on their shoulders—and our blood on their heels hasn't even dried up yet. Our men ran away during the night. They sleep outdoors amid the stones, amid the clouds. They've blown up the bridges. There is no way for us to return close to them. There is no way for them to return close to us. We're alone here now and the wells have dried up. Our breasts have dried up. We go to haul water, and we draw mud . . .

Van Steen has beautifully translated Alexandrou's lyrical text: both have paid a great deal of attention to the needs of actors in speaking. Oxford has seriously let down Van Steen by printing the text and translation consecutively rather than on facing pages. If OUP has no one able to write a program to handle that layout, I live with a type-setter who can and has. The translation is too good to be treated so casually.

Gonda Van Steen has the Cassas Chair in Greek Studies at the University of Florida. Her first book is the brilliant Venom in Verse: Aristophanes in Modern Greece.

A word about production: Nothing is said about the font, which looks like a press version of Times Roman. It makes for simple reading, but without the quality due such scholarship. The photographs from the camp theaters are printed much too small to convey the detail. I regret the $125 price which puts the book beyond the reach of a great many individuals intimately concerned with the experience described, but who do not have access to academic libraries.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Collectivity within the Confines of an Island
1. Selections, Occasions, Origins, and Objectives
2. Makronisos: Island of the 'Greek Inventors of Barbarian Evils'
3. Female Prisoners Learning (in) Defiance: What's Playing on Trikeri?
4. The Prison and the Past as Theatre: Aeschylus 'Persians' on Ai Stratis, September 1951
5. 'Suspect Always Like the Truth': The 'Antigone' of Aris Alexandrou
6. Alexandrou's 'Antigone' (Greek text and English translation) Conclusion


1.   P. Volgia, "Between Negation and Self-Negation: Political Prisoners in Greece, 1945-1950," in After the War Was Over, M. Mazower, ed. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2000) 75.
2.  World population aging chart for Greece 1950-2050, Population Division, DESA, United Nations
3.  Maynard Owen Williams. "War-torn Greece Looks Ahead", National Geographic Magazine Vol. XCVI, no. 6. December (1949): 711-744. I found this article so disturbing in its implications that I have put it on-line here.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Kostas Buraselis, Katerina Meidani (ed.), Μαραθών: η μάχη και ο αρχαίος Δήμος / Marathon: the Battle and the Ancient Deme. Athens: Institut du livre - A. Kardamitsa, 2010. Pp. 374. ISBN 9789603542728.

Reviewed by Giorgia Proietti, University of Trento (

Version at BMCR home site

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

This is a collection of proceedings of an international symposium which took place at Marathon in September 2008. The articles, some in Greek, some in English, are all provided with a useful abstract in the other language, respectively. The essays—either archaeological and topographical or historical and historiographical—are not organized in sections based either on content or on chronology; a division in a few major sections would surely have been useful to readers. Nevertheless, this volume is a rational and well-thought-out collection of essays examining the battle of Marathon from different yet complementary perspectives. As Buraselis' introductory paper well exemplifies, it definitely achieves its aim of presenting an updated and comprehensive overview of relevant topics.

E. S. Banou's and I. Tsirigotou-Drakotou's articles present the archaeological evidence for settlements and cemeteries in the plain of Marathon and its surroundings. Architectural and ceramic relics dated to both pre-historic (Banou) and historic periods (Tsirigotou-Drakotou) confirm the occupation of several sites in the Marathon area from the Neolithic period down to Late Roman period.

The following paper, by M. T. Weber, is a brief topographical note about the location of the ancient deme of Marathon, which has been variously discussed in scholarship and which the author identifies with the site of Plasi, about one kilometer to the north-east of the Soros.

P. Valavanis' paper offers the most thorough study to date of the much-discussed question of the identification of the famous Tumulus of the Marathonomachoi. The authenticity of the Soros on the Marathon plain as the burial ground for the 192 Athenians fallen in the battle has been recently disputed after the publication of one of the alleged stelae of the Athenian polyandreion on the battlefield, found in Herodes Attikus' Peloponnesian villa (see the subsequent article in this volume). According to the editor G. Spyropoulos, followed by G. Steinhauer, Herodes stole the polyandreion from the Marathon plain and took it to his villa in the Peloponnese, as part of his collection of antiquities; then, Herodes himself planned the construction of the tumulus on the battlefield. On the basis of archaeological arguments and comparisons with other burial mounds for fallen soldiers, Valavanis reasserts the pertinence of the tumulus to the Athenian fallen. In the second part of the paper he focuses on Athenian burial practice, which has both public and private aspects. In fact, while the cremation of the Marathonomachoi was attended by the Antiochis tribe, the vases predating the battle found in the offering trench show that relatives of the dead or inhabitants of the region also took part in the burial ceremony.

The following essay, by G. Steinhauer, deals specifically with the aforementioned 'Marathon stele' found during the excavations of the villa of Herodes Attikus at Loukou (1980-2001), conducted by T. Spyropoulos. Announced several times in local Greek newspapers, the stele was first integrally published by G. Spyropoulos only in 2009.1 On the basis of formal evidence, Steinhauer argues in favor of the authenticity of the stele and suggests a hypothetical restoration of the monument to which the stele belongs as the polyandreion of the Athenians fallen at Marathon, which would be similar in its structure to IG I3 503-4 (the monument with the so-called 'Marathon epigrams'). As this is a matter of potentially great consequence, additional epigraphic and philological considerations are worth examining. First, the difference between the letters of the stele and those of other famous public inscriptions dated to the end of the 6th/beginning of the 5th century B.C. (in addition to IG I3 503-4, IG I3 4, the 'Hekatompedon inscription', and IG I3 1, the 'Salamis decree') cannot be ignored. Secondly, the peculiar engraving of the list of the fallen, described by Steinhauer as an example of the so-called 'plinthedon' writing, does not correspond to the definition of 'plinthedon' offered by literary sources (schol. Eust. Thess. 1305.55; schol. Dyon. Thrac. 191, 3; 484, 26), nor is it otherwise attested in epigraphy.2 Thirdly, several terms and iuncturae in the epigram happen to recur in later literary sources on the Persian Wars (several pseudo-Simonidean epigrams, some passages of Demosthenes passages, Plato's Menexenus). Thus, if the epigram were original, we would have here—unlikely in my opinion—the very first occurrence of numerous expressions which later became topoi in the literary tradition.

Other aspects of the cultural and political characterization of the figure of Herodes Attikus can be observed through I. Dekoulakou's paper. It deals with the statues of Isis from the Egyptian sanctuary of Canopus at Marathon, which literary tradition links to Herodes.

The following article, by M. Kreeb, which could conclude an ideal first section of the book, surveys travelers, antiquarians and archaeologists who visited Marathon from the 17th century onwards, from J. Spon and G. Wheler to E. Vanderpool, and so offers an important testimony to the development of modern day scholarship on Marathon.

A. Missiou investigates the changes in the communication between the centre and its outskirts in Attica brought on by the implementation of the Kleisthenic reforms. In particular, she argues that the reorganization of the population into demes far from each other influenced the development of writing from oral tradition. This is particularly true for the Marathonian Tetrapolis, which was artificially split and scattered with the partition of its demes in two different tribes (Aiantis and Pandionis), and with the inclusion of demes that were far away from the centre such as Rhamnous.

Next comes a series of articles that deal, from an historical-historiographical perspective, with different topics regarding early fifth-century Athens. K. Meidani makes some useful remarks on Miltiades' activities before and after Marathon (his domain in the Chersonese, his conquest of Lemnos, his expedition to Paros, and the two trials he stood in Athens); meanwhile, T. Figueira sheds new light on the political relationships which bound Marathon to other territories, such as Khalkis, and on the role of the 4000 Khalkidian cleruchs in the battle of Marathon.

The following study, by E. W. Bowie, makes several points about fifth-century epigraphic evidence for Marathon, such as Kallimachos' dedication on the Athenian Acropolis (IG I3 784), the aforementioned 'Marathon epigrams' (IG I3 503-4) and some (pseudo-)Simonidean literary epigrams (XXII FGE; V FGE). The most original part of Bowie's essay regards the much-discussed 'Marathon epigrams'. Bowie agrees with the latest research on the topic in interpreting the monument as a cenotaph for the fallen, erected at Athens in the Demosion Sema and bearing at least four stelae inscribed with the names of the dead,3 but offers a new interpretation for the historical references of the texts. In particular, he gives a completely new reading of lines 3 and 4 of epigram δ (see Petrovic's edition),4 which in Bowie's interpretation refer to the agricultural riches of Southern Italy: epigram δ might therefore be connected with the episode of the Crotonian hero Faillo fighting with his trireme in the battle of Salamis, which is also narrated by Herodotus (VIII 47).

K. Raaflaub's article on Herodotus' account of Marathon stands out in the book for its great theoretical commitment and its sophisticated historical analysis. The scholar here maintains that the brevity of the account of Marathon, compared to the very detailed one of Plataea, is due not to the historian's incapacity or unwillingness to recover detailed information about the historical facts, but to a conscientious ideological choice. While examining this, Raaflaub offers valuable hints for some crucial themes such as the origins of panhellenism, the coexistence of different familiar traditions about episodes of the Persian wars, and Herodotus' sources of information.

M. Dimopoulou also deals with the literary treatment of Marathon, this time in Aeschylus' Persae. She analyzes the three passages in which Marathon is mentioned (vv. 231-245; 353-479; 681-842) and explains how and to what extent they were meant to interact with the historical reality of the time. Their main purpose seems to be that of illustrating that the naval victory in 480 B.C. had been made possible only by the previous success at Marathon: on the one hand, Marathon is 'subsumed' in Aeschylus' Salamis as its ideological background, while on the other hand, Marathon, thanks to Salamis, transcends its Athenian dimension and acquires a strong panhellenic connotation.

The following article, by C. Tuplin, goes in search of the Persian perspective on Marathon. The starting point of Tuplin's investigation is the notorious poem by Robert Graves The Persian Version, in which Marathon is described as a 'trivial skirmish' (v. 2). Whereas some years ago on the basis of this very poem Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp tried to demonstrate that the battle of Marathon was perceived by contemporaries, both Greeks and Persians, as 'ein unbedeutendes Scharmützel',5 Tuplin here argues against Graves' downsizing of Marathon's importance. On the basis of a few passages in Herodotus (VII 12-19; VI 48-9; VI 94), he maintains that, on the one hand, Marathon was part of the Persians' imperialistic program, which aimed at the conquest of the whole of Greece, while, on the other hand, all Greeks were fully aware of their freedom being at risk.

The last two articles of the book deal with warfare. B. Meissner's paper on 'war as a learning-process', shows how the Persian wars caused the transformation of fifth-century Greek warfare, and how this change represented a step of cognitive and social development for all Greeks. The Greeks at Marathon not only tried an unusual way of fighting, but also adopted military techniques and administrative methods from their opponents themselves. Speaking of "an imitative but creative reaction to the Persian model" (p. 292) and of a "mutual adaptive process" (p. 287), Meissner's view seems to be consistent with modern historical and anthropological approaches that investigate the theme of acculturation in terms of creative and mutual influence and it helps to understand concretely how Marathon and the Persian Wars influenced the Greek way of being, thinking and acting.

M. Sommer's article on imperial failures and anti-imperialist narratives ends the volume with a comparative investigation of three examples, far away from each other in space and time. By analyzing the Vietnam War, the defeat of the Roman legions in Teutoburgus and the defeat of Datis at Marathon, the author explains why imperial powers failed and explores narratives and myths that shaped the perception that contemporaries of both sides had of imperial failures.

The book ends with a comprehensive and extremely up-to-date bibliography (pp. 311-345), which includes numerous Greek studies that are updated with the most recent archaeological evidence. Nonetheless, some trivial mistakes could have been avoided, as for instance, the confusion between scholars whose names are similar (Lombardo, M(ario) 2008 should have been Lombardi, M(ichela) 2008) and the lack of correspondence in the year of publication between some bibliographical notes and the final bibliographical list (for instance Hsu 2007, n. 23, p. 78, contra Hsu 2008 in the final list).

Despite these limited inaccuracies in the editing of the volume, this book definitely comes as a welcome gift in the year of the Marathon Jubilee. It stands out for both its high scientific quality and for its interdisciplinary approach to historical analysis amongst the plethora of hasty and popular publications about Marathon written for the 2500th anniversary of the battle.

Authors and titles

K. Buraselis – K. Meidani, Πρόλογος/ Foreword, pp. 13-1
K. Buraselis, Ἀφορμὴ τῶν ὕστερον πάντων. Σκέψεις για τον Μαραθώνα ως ορόσημο της ελληνικής και παγκόσμιας ιστορίας και τη σημερινή ερευνητική του πραγματικότητα, 19-32
E. S. Banou, Η πεδιάδα του Μαραθώνα κατά τους προϊστορικούς χρόνους, 33-49
I. Tsirigotou-Drakotou, Η κατοίκηση της περιοχής κατά τους κλασικούς χρόνους, 51-62
T. M. Weber, Where Was The Ancient Deme of Marathon?, 63-71
P. Valavanis, Σκέψεις ως προς τις ταφικές πρακτικές για τους νεκρούς της μάχης του Μαραθώνος, 73- 98
G. Steinhauer, Οι Στήλες των Μαραθωνομάχων από την έπαυλη του Ηρώδη Αττικού στη Λουκόυ Κυνουρίας, 99-108
I. Dekoulakou, Statues of Isis from the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods at Marathon, 109-133
M. Krebb, Ταξιδιώτες – αρχαιοδίφες – αρχαιολόγοι: Επισκέψεις στον Μαραθώνα από τον 17ο αι. έως τα νεότερα χρόνια, 135-150
A. Missiou, Επικοινωνία κέντρου και περιφέρειας πριν από και μετά τις μεταρρυθμίσεις του Κλεισθένη: η περίπτωση του Μαραθώνα, 151-165
K. Meidani, Μιλτιάδεια. Remarks on Miltiades' Activities before and after Marathon, 167-183
T. Figueira, Khalkis and Marathon, 185-202
E. Bowie, Marathon in Fifth-Century Epigram, 203-219
K. Raaflaub, Herodotus, Marathon, and the Historian's Choice, 221-235
M. Dimopoulou, The Athenians' Victory at Marathon in Aeschylus' Persae, 237-250
C. Tuplin, Marathon. In Search of a Persian Dimension, 251-274
B. Meissner, War as a Learning-Process: The Persian Wars and the Transformation of Fifth Century Greek Warfare, 275-296
M. Sommer, Imperial Flops and Anti-imperialist Narratives: Marathon - Varus - Vietnam, 297-308


1.   G. Spyropoulos, Οι στήλες των πεσόντων στη μάχη του Μαραθώνα από την έπαυλη του Ηρώδη Αττικού στην Εύα Κυνουρίας, Athina 2009. See also G. Steinhauer, " Στήλη πεσόντων τῆς Ἐρεχθηίδος", Horos 17-21 2004-2009, pp. 679-692.
2.   Thus, Ameling's definition as 'versetzten στοιχηδόν-Schema' seems more appropriate. See W. Ameling, "Die Gefallenen der Phyle Erechtheis im Jahr 490 v. Chr.", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 176 2011, pp. 10-23 (p. 11).
3.   Lastly, see A. P. Matthaiou, "Ἀθηναίοισι τεταγμένοισι ἐν τεμένεϊ Ἡρακλέος (Hdt 6.108.1)", in P. Derow – R. Parker (eds.), Herodotus and his World, Oxford 2003, pp. 190-202; M. Jung, Marathon und Plataiai. Zwei Perserschlachten als 'lieux de memoire' im antiken Griechenland, Göttingen 2006, pp. 84-96.
4.   A. Petrovic, Kommentar zu den simonideischen Versinschriften, Leiden-Boston 2007, p. 158.
5.   K.-J. Hölkeskamp, "Marathon. Vom Monument zum Mythos", in D. Papenfuß, V. M. Strocka (hrsg.), Gab es das griechische Wunder? Griechenland zwischen dem Ende des 6. und der Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr., Mainz 2001, pp. 329-353.

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José Luis Vidal, José Ignacio García Armendáriz, Adolfo Egea (ed.), Paulo minora: estudios sobre poesía latina menor y fragmentaria. Barcelona: Publicacions i edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, 2011. Pp. x, 306. ISBN 9788447534941.

Reviewed by John Henderson, King's College, Cambridge (

Version at BMCR home site

Here, presented by Vidal, and each headed by a minimal abstract in English and Spanish, are eleven essays issuing from a major 2007 Barcelona conference gathering scholars from all over Spain to share information and ideas about the also-rans of Latin poetry.

1. Alejandro Coroleu, 'La poesía latina menor en el Renacimiento' (pp. 1-15) clears up how, and how come, C16th school anthologies, collections of archaic poetry (Stephanus 1564), hotchpotch flosculi moralisés (Mirandola 1507), and pastoral, whether culled from Virgil through Petrarch and Boccaccio to the then present-day (Benedetto Filologo 1504) or taken from the Vienna MS of Nemesian, Calpurnius and Grattius supplemented by its discoverer Sannazaro's own efforts (1539), gave way to editions of minor classics and -ana such as Erasmus' Nux and, in particular, Scaliger's Virgilii Appendix (1566), with its own appendix of sundries, and Pithou's Pervigilium (1577) and thematic omnigatherum Epigrammatia et poemata vetera (1590). These two friends' works pre-mixed the two traditions that later separated into (1) the Anthologia Latina collection(s) edited, after the 1609 discovery of the Codex Salmasianus, by Burman the Younger (1759-1773), and reedited by Riese (1869-1870, Vol. 1);1 and (2) the Poetae latini minores edited (and so-named) by Burman the Elder (1731), and amplified and thematized by Wernsdorf (1780- 1799). With Baehrens' PLM (1879-1883) and Wight Duff's Loeb Minor Latin Poets (1934), the two traditions overlapped anew for the modern era.

2. Francisco Socas, 'Desguace y restauración de la Anthologia Latina' (pp. 48) unpacks the (C9th ?) Codex Salmasianus with its miscellany accreted from a C6th base strung together in Vandal Africa (heavily bagged for Dido) and its modern title shared with Saumaise's discovery at Heidelberg of the Greek Anthology in the Palatine Library (1606-1607): a scrapbook of off-canon poems starting with a bunch of centos and Hosidius Geta's Medea tragedy, then lining up amassed epigrams, riddle collections, and so on, besides the Pervigilium and whole authored collections; never an anthology, then, but always and forever an agglutination of agglutinations, snowballed from other codices by editorial studium augendi, and dramatized in Riese's untidy stratification by date of collection, with roughly a thousand pieces written between Augustus and the print era. Socas runs us generously through the variously bizarre contents and Riese's patchy performance before briskly interring Shackleton Bailey's abortive — '(¿fallido?)' — actualización of this editors' graveyard (1982, vol. I.1) and finally summarizing the task that awaits its superhero. In vain?

3. Xaverio Ballester, 'Poetae latini minimi' (pp. 49-70) dismantles prejudices written into blank(et) belittling labels ('minor') before disentangling the 'minimalist' world of fragmentariness represented by the FPR tradition from Baehrens' supplement to his PLM (1886) through Courtney's FLP (1993) — and, for Hispanophones, Carande (2003- 2004: next chapter). Ballester introduces minors majoring in Latin ('iuniores') to the trials, snares and pratfalls of citationality with neat illustrations and witster formulations.

4. Rocío Carande Herrero, 'Problemas métricos en la editión de poesía fragmentaria' (pp. 71-89) takes on a row of running sores in FLP-land that don't turn on prosody and metre, and then a score more that do. The common pursuit continues. That minority taste.

5. José Carlos Fernández Corte, '¿Era Licinio Calvo un poeta menor? Una aproximación de historia literaria immanente' (pp. 91-120) suggests that Baldy became a 'titch' (exigui ... Calui, Ov. Tr. 2.431, et al.: pp. 108- 10) because — according to his fellow writers' evidently loaded assessment — he wrote as tiny an amount, in as pared down an aesthetic, as a determined minimalist could manage. Fernández Corte's exercise in 'literary phenomenology' hunts down no less loaded agenda informing modern editions and literary scholarship, where he keeps playing Cicero's mis/match in oratory (Brutus 283-284) and/or/as Catullus' other (better? lesser?) half (par ... similisque, Ov. loc. cit.), as our turn comes to juggle (that mere diminutive) Catullus' poems 14 with 52, 49 with 50 and with 96, parallels between his oeuvre and the reimagined remains of Calvus', and the range of testimonia on the latter. (All these materials are set out, with translation provided, in the 'Apéndice', pp. 113-120.) Anyone for social swank — 'el mundo de Clodia' and Claudii — figureheading the far from minora 'long poems'? And/Or anyone for posey poesy — like either poetaster hero/minnow (uariis ... furta modis (Ov. loc. cit. 432)? The red rag remark, after Barthes on Queneau, (let's) 'assume the literary mask but at the same time point a finger at it',2 marks and minutes what must have been the liveliest discussion on the day (p. 99 n. 25).

6. Antonio Ramírez de Verger, 'La carta de Safo a Faón (epist. 15): ¿Ovidiana o pseudo-Ovidiana?' (pp. 121-135) holds out for authenticity, against the majority verdict since Francke (1816). Vindicating the claims of Epistula Sapphus attested by Marius Plocius, Ausonius, verses in florilegia datable to around the C9th and to MSS from the Frankfurt codex through the C15th, to fit with the letter listed last in Amores 2.18 (34 ~ ES 181). Doubted and flawed loci are cleared (1, 8, 49, 53, 129-34 with 129-30 before 133-134 and siccae as climax, 181) and/or healed (emend 63 inops to et est; at 96 accept uerum ut or accept sed te ut or else emend; emend 113 postquam se dolor inuenit to sed p. d. increuit). That Ovid, after Catullus, should make Sappho to Phaon the ultimate in singles is so right!3 (But she was shifted to fifteenth, between singles and doubles, from either first or last, by D. Heinsius in 1629.)

7. María Consuelo Álvarez Morán and Rosa María Iglesias Montiel, 'Algunas precisiones sobre Las Elegiae in Maecenatem' (pp. 137-165) sketch the fortunes of the Maecenas poem/s, included in the Appendix Vergiliana since Scaliger (1573) and found already listed between Copa and Ciris in a C9th library catalogue, before arguing, along with many other majuscularities, that, whatever the proem's relation to Consolatio ad Liviam, the Ovidian phrase deflere fata in line 1 and Met. 7.388, 8.699 only, points to a terminus post of 8 CE, soon after the release of the epic, for a composition thus datable to c. 10-14 CE. Lines 36 and 102 parrot Amores 2.6.26. The beryl of 19 is Maecenas' (from fr. 2). They accept Maeonii in the crux at 37 as = 13 Etrusci. The Achilles' heel of discincture (21, cf. 24) metapoetically aligns Maecenas with the elegist (Am. 1.2.41). Line 62 bungles adaptation of Am. 3.7.8. The Ovidian Omphalized Hercules of 69-86 (esp. 71-78 ~ Her. 9.65-80) will allude to Maecenas' De cultu suo (leave Terentia out of it!). claua torosa at 79 is reference point for Sen. NQ 1.7.1, Plin. HN 9.93, not inspired by them. The exempla at 107ff. directly recall Ovidian Medea working with magical ingredients of stag and crow on Peliades and Aeson (Met. 7.265-274). They reckon. 8. José-Ignacio García Armendáriz, 'Los hiertos de Columela, en prosa y en verso' (pp. 167-199) reads busily through the (supposedly) supplementary book of verse intercalated in the manual. Triangulated with Virgil and the prose version of book 11 to bring out the poemification (variatio and copia, feat. pictorialism, expressionism, Hellenism, textual frisson plus mythic, astronomic, geographic, cosmic animation). The processing and storage book 12 ought to figure in here, already metapoetically prequelled at the vintage finale (423-32) along with the rest of the garden of verse, from the outset (p. 199: numeri/adnumerari, numeroso ... horto, Praef. 3,4, v. 6).

9. Vicente Cristóbal, 'El Pervigilium Veneris: caracterización del poema, notas textuales y traducción' (pp. 201-29) introduces the weirdly sexy/hymnic 'pre-mediaeval, folkloric (rather: fakeloric?)' rave in trochaic tetrameters catalectic (or tr. sept. à la versus quadratus), before constituting his text to accompany an updated version of his 2005 translation into dead-ringer, perhaps direct descendant, octosyllables: 'Quien no amó, mañana ame, y manãna ame el que amó' ... Get(ting) Ready for Love ('Praise her!', Bad Seeds) has been getting back toward the paradosis for a century, and Cristóbal takes this on several more times out of ten minutiae: v. 6, gazas (MSS), not casas (Pithou, from v. 44, which instead 'de-glosses' v. 6); v. 13 floribus (MSS, cf. 49, 58), not floridis (Riglerus, with pictorialized Golden Line); v. 15 urget in notos penates (MSS), not u. i. nodos tepentes (Lipsius, cf. 26) etc. (Quite how to gather these punsome teeming breast-rose-hymen- buds bedewed between 14 and 21!); v. 22 mane tutae (Scaliger, 'kept safe'; cf. 82), not manet tute/mane tute/mane tuae (MSS), etc.; v. 23 †prīus† (MSS: unmetrical but accentual, cf. 72, Romulēas? ), not Cypridis (Bücheler: palmary), etc.; v. 29 et puer comis (MSS except comes S) , not it p. comis (Pithou); v. 35 in ˆ armīs (Pithou), not inermis (MSS; with ?, ed. Formicola); v. 50 praeses (Scaliger, metri causa; but, rather, cf. 7), not praesens (MSS); keep lacuna before v. 58 (overriding past doubts); v. 60 totis (MSS), not totum (Salmasius, with Silver Line and cf. Ov. Fast. 1.26, 168). An ad calc. note points to literature on New Year festivals and lyric spring, then on through Pater's chapter on 'Flavian' in Marius to the metafictional turn in Fowles' Magus, to Lope de Vega and more Iberian mystagogues (flagged for future treatment).

10. Antonio Alvae Ezquerra, 'Technopægnia latinos' (pp. 231-261) reviews the Roman joci-verse down to the Fall of Rome through a typology of technopaegnism featuring: figured and echoic verse; rhopalics; the cento; acro-/meso- /telestics, the palindrome and anacyclics; mono-/di-/tetra-stich series (alphabetical, calendrical, teamsheet, etc.). Ausonius and the Latin Anthology are the main sources and the main resources are Ausonius' prefaces to Technopaegnia and Cento Nuptialis.

11. Joan Gómez Pallarès, 'Vergilius a minore: una lectura epigráfica del final de la Eneida' (pp. 263-292) busts the envelope with a hobby-horse essay devoted to showing how, at the death, Virgil's 'opus maximum' (p. 291) and, in its wake, the epitaphic tomb of the sphragis for Odes 1-3 are no way above appropriating the fully Roman discourse of epigraphic-lapidary verse on the (im)mortal theme of mors immatura.4 In seeing-sending off Turnus, the 'Daunian' standing in the Antihero figure's shoes on every Roman-Italian boot hill, one more lifespan uncompleted and incomplete (along with Camilla's, Patroclus', Hector's, Brutus', Antony's ... ), the final sheet winds down the Aeneid (12.919-952) by mobilizing — and so returning to use for all Roman epitaphs to come ever after— the motifs fatalis, fortuna (iniqua), ater (with acerbus at 6.429, 11.28), lumen, acer, monimentum, eripior, membrum, indignor. Gómez Pallarès urges direct — twin-barrelled — linkage between Virgil's | ille humilis supplex ... | protendens (930-931) and | dicar ... uiolens ... ex humili potens | on Horace's monumentum (Odes 3.30.10-12). He enjoys citing reams of inscriptions from Hispania much more than he can the barbarous English of his 'ABSTRACT'.

In the end papers to this variegated volume, an 'Index Auctorum' gives a comprehensive index locorum (essential) plus a few mediaeval and modern items (pp. 293-300); and a roll call of recentiores (pp. 301-306) (useful, at any rate, for the history of scholarship).


1.   With Bücheler's Carmina latina epigraphica as Vol. 2.
2.   'Zazie and literature', in Critical Essays (1972), p. 113.
3.   See Vic Rimell, 'Epistolary fictions: authorial identity in Heroides 15', PCPS 45 (1999), pp. 109-35 / Ovid's Lovers: Desire, Difference, and the Poetic Imagination (2006), chapter 4.
4.   This has become a hot topic, as in Martin Dinter's continuing series of studies of 'inscriptional intermediality' and 'epicgram', from 'Epic and epigram — minor heroes in Virgil's Aeneid', CQ 55 (2005), pp. 153-169 onwards.

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Monday, September 26, 2011


Derek B. Counts, Bettina Arnold (ed.), The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography. Archaeolingua 24. Budapest: Archaeolingua, 2010. Pp. 261. ISBN 9789639911147. €56.

Reviewed by Judith Weingarten (

Version at BMCR home site

[Table of contents is given at the end of the review.]

Who or what qualifies as a 'The Master of Animals' (hereafter Master)? The classic representation of a central male figure in hand-to-hand contest with one or more animals is already a relatively standardized image by the end of the 4th millennium in Mesopotamia. The editors of this stimulating volume, however, extend the title to all male humans (or humanoids) demonstrating power over animals. Thus, a king/hero/god qualifies if he is controlling, destroying, or even hunting wild beasts. As such, the type is not only extraordinarily long-lived but demonstrates almost universal appeal. The elements of the Master's depiction are nonetheless variously mixed and recombined in different cultural contexts: "the function and context of the Master of Animals were always a matter of local concern." (p. 13)

The volume covers a wide swathe of cultures, including areas rarely considered by 'Old World' archaeologists from the Indus Valley to Europe circa 500 CE. On the other hand, we are taken from 4th/3rd millennium Mesopotamia straight to Neo-Assyrian times, omitting both the Old Assyrian and Babylonian periods, while Syria and the Levant are nowhere to be seen. In compensation, perhaps, Minoan-Mycenaean Greece is privileged with three chapters.

In the "Prolegomenon", the editors recapitulate the role of animals in shaping human social practice across so many geographical and temporal boundaries. They find that one of the strongest associations in all contexts 'is that between representations of the Master of Animals and elite behaviour and status: there appears to be a consistent link between hunting and mastery as signifiers for other forms of socio-political domination....". (p. 19)

Sarah Kielt Costello traces the earliest appearance of the Master back to the 'priest-king' figure of the late 4th millennium who is often shown hunting lions and horned animals and may represent the metaphoric power of civilization over the wild. In the 3rd millennium, his place is taken by a superhuman Nude Hero with bearded frontal face and distinctive hair curls. Physically powerful, he wrestles lions and bulls or a hybrid foe/friend, the bull man. The Nude Hero may be an allegory for the kings of the Early Dynastic period—idealized, strong, and able to control natural forces. The Nude Hero is always unarmed, but a third heroic figure—pictured in profile and beardless—stabs a lion with dagger or sword; this figure perhaps represents the king as god-like hero.

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer traces Early Harappan (ca. 3300-2800 BCE) horned anthropomorphic images through the Indus cities period (2600-1900 BCE), at which time human-animal hybrids have become common. Horned deities with either short zebu-bull horns or wide water-buffalo horns may be pictured on a throne/bed in the yogic position. The hybrids presumably represent deities or powerful nature spirits.

Surveying Hittite Anatolia, Billie Jean Collins notes that scenes of divine hunters and heroes in hand-to-hand combat with animals are abundant in the Assyrian Colony period but very rare during the Hittite Old Kingdom. Instead, festival programs organized by the king and queen included a sacred hunt of stag and bull on behalf of the Storm God and/or Stag God. Textual and iconographic evidence (ca. 1500 BCE) describe ritual games and bull sacrifice in the cult of the Storm God. In the Empire period, the God on the Stag appears as a Tutelary Deity of wild nature.

Janice L. Crowley presents a catalogue of the Master and Mistress in Minoan-Mycenaean glyptic. Always in antithetic pose, Masters/Mistresses are classified by their animal or fantasy familiar: lion, hound, bull, agrimi (Cretan wild goat), stag, dolphin, bird, griffin, Minoan Genius. Master and Mistress share most beasts, some ferocious, others fairly tame. Crowley rightly stresses the Aegean identity of the Master and many of his animals. She also considers other male and female authority figures (dubbed 'Lords' and 'Ladies') as deities although represented with animal attendants in quite diverse poses.

Anna Simandiraki-Grimshaw considers Minoan animal-human hybrids as either heterosomatic (humans adopting animal parts as a notional hybrid; e.g. animal-hide skirts, boar's tusk helmets) or homosomatic (a fusion of distinct corporealities). When animals occupy the heads, arms, or front legs of homosomatic hybrids (with the bottom parts human), these are almost always edible and herbivorous beasts; when, however, they have human heads, the bodies are of more aggressive animals. Such hybridity appears at times of socio-political shifts and may be contextualized "as a set of expressions of wider mastery—of bodies, cultures, and audiences." (p. 102)

Louise Hitchcock focuses on the Knossos Throne Room where, between gypsum benches and wall-paintings depicting griffins, palms and reeds, stands a gypsum high-backed seat. Certainly, whoever sat on this 'seat of honour' would have been the focus of whatever activities took place in this room. But what if the throne were empty and no one sat on it? Hitchcock proposes that the throne "was not occupied at all but that the seat ... instead served as an aniconic element and focal point for sacred emptiness and indicated the presence of an invisible deity in the Master of Animals position" [i.e. between two antithetic griffins] (p. 111). The invisible deity would be Kothar-wa- Hasis (better known in the Aegean as Daidalos) who, according to an Ugaritic account, had a throne in Crete. The Throne Room is seen as the Daedaleion mentioned in Linear B in connection with oil offerings.

In Iron Age Greece, the Master is decidedly less popular than the Mistress. Susan Langdon judges only Herakles as an exemplar of male power over monsters and monstrous wild beasts. Images of man-lion combat decline in Late Geometric art, replaced by hunters pursuing smaller edible and inedible quarry. Later 8th/7th century images show the successful hunter carrying home the makings of a feast. In the later city-states, farmland and pastures of the polis were gendered male while the wilderness with its beasts was female.

On Cyprus, Derek Counts traces three divine Master types reflecting Cyprus' situation at the crossroads of east-west: 1) in 'smiting god' pose holding a club over a mastered lion, mixing eastern images with the trappings of Greek Herakles; 2) a ram-headed or ram-horned human often with cornucopia; 3) a human with goat horns and ears, frequently ithyphallic, and carrying pipes—related to Greek Pan. The hybridized iconography stresses divine potency and control over natural forces.

Mark Garrison defines the iconographic meaning of the Master in Assyrian culture as either 1) a central male figure upright with arms extended out to hold animals/creatures or who cradles them at his chest—the 'heroic encounter'; or 2) a figure who holds a weapon, grapples, or chases an animal/creature as if in hand-to-hand combat—the 'heroic combat'. The 'heroic encounter' is very rare in Neo-Assyrian sculpture or ivories but common in Assyro-Babylonian glyptic: the hero, often winged, holds a sword or scimitar in one hand and grasps the animal/creature (itself often winged) with the other as it either moves away from or confronts him. More than 100 versions of an Assyrian royal- seal type show the king grasping a confronted rampant lion while stabbing it with dagger or sword. In the Achaemenid period (522-331 BCE), hundreds of seal impressions from Persepolis archives picture the hero in a multiplicity of guises, from winged bull man to crowned king, most commonly controlling lions and winged leonine creatures.

Bryan K. Hanks considers the role of human-animal symbolism in the construction of social relationships and identity across the Eurasian steppes in the first millennium BCE. The development of mounted warfare led to shifts in society as indicated such monuments such as Arzhan I and II burial complexes (ca 900 BCE) and the 4th - 2nd centuries BCE Pazyryk tombs in which horses were buried with flamboyant masks, saddles, and other prestigious accoutrements. Although Master of Animals imagery was known to Greek colonists along the northern Black Sea coast, the type had little resonance in the Eurasian steppe region.

Bettina Arnold reviews the evidence for animal sacrifice in ritual and mortuary contexts in Iron Age temperate Europe, ca 750 BCE-200 CE. Metres-deep faunal bone and ash deposits in Hallstatt open-air sites resulted from the burning of victims on large pyres over hundreds of years. Human and animal remains often found together in Celtic ritual contexts may suggest human sacrifice, as many Classical sources report. Highly stylized animals flanking a human figure (Cernunnos?) who grasps them around the neck or waist appear on belt hooks and wooden carvings. From the Hallstatt to the La Tène period, hunting becomes the role of paramount elites, perhaps represented by the rare burials with arrowheads.

Anthony Tuck shows that the Mistress of Animals was adopted in Etruscan central Italy early in the Orientalizing period (end 8th century) and almost immediately incorporated into a range of objects found in elite burials. At the late 7th century elite residence at Poggio Civitate (Murlo), bucchero cups are decorated with potnia theron images. Alternating sculpted female antefixes and feline waterspouts on buildings at the site may reflect the identity of the Mistress. Comparatively rarer male antefixes might similarly have evoked the Master. Most 'Masters' in early Etruscan art, however, are being bitten by their flanking lions, an anthropophagus image possibly echoed in 4th century representations of the myth of Acteon.

Martin Guggisberg points to the transalpine transfer of potnia theron as exemplified by the Mistress with bird and beasts on the Grächwil bronze hydria, made ca. 600 BCE in the Mediterranean area and deposited almost a century later in a Celtic burial in Switzerland. Early La Tène representations remain close to these figures so the imagery of such imports may have reflected the religious world view of their Celtic owners. Still, the Master will predominate in the Celtic world, and not the Mistress. The abstraction of Celtic art usually reduced the human body to the head alone: the Master appears as a bearded or moustached head, antithetically flanked by rams, sphinxes, or birds on gold neck rings and bracelets, among other objects. The shift in the 5th century BCE from images of the Mistress to a Master is associated with the new warrior elite who developed a martially equipped Master of Animals.

The Germanic areas of Europe during the Early Middle Ages (ca. 400-600 CE), as Peter S. Wells shows, also favoured a human face flanked by an animal or hybrid on metal objects. Most such images appear on personal ornaments: the motif's focus on faces was intended to capture the attention of the viewers. From the 6th century onwards, the motif is represented on new media associated with Christianity (reliquaries, chalices, gravestones, etc.) but portrayals are more naturalistic: their creators wanted to show viewers figures and stories they would recognize. In these cases, the animals are subordinate whereas on non-Christian objects, the animals are at least as significant as the human faces.

Summing up, animal mastery was associated with a range of concepts, from divine ancestry and sacral kingship to the most basic symbols of authority and elite identity. While some contributions in this volume are of dubious relevance to the main theme or tropes, every scholar will undoubtedly find much fascinating new material in this rich and engaging collection.

Table of Contents

B. Arnold - D.B. Counts, "Prolegomenon: The Many Masks of the Master of Animals", 9-24
S. Kielt Costello, "The Mesopotamian 'Nude Hero': Context and Interpretation", 25-36
J. M. Kenoyer,"Master of Animals and Animal Masters in the Iconography of the Indus Tradition", 37-58
B.J. Collins, "Hero, Field Master, King: Animal Mastery in Hittite Texts and Iconography", 59-74
J. L. Crowley, "The Aegean Master of Animals: Evidence of the Seals, Signets, and Sealings", 75-91
A. Simandiraki-Grimshaw, "Minoan Animal-Human Hybridity", 93-106
L.A. Hitchcock, "The Big Nowhere: A Master of Animals in the Throne Room at Knossos?", 107-118
S. Langdon, "Where the Wild Things Were The Greek Master of Animals in Ecological Perspective", 119-133
D.B. Counts, "Divine Symbols and Royal Aspirations: The Master of Animals in Iron Age Cypriote Religion", 135- 150
Mark Garrison, "The Heroic Encounter in the Visual Arts of Ancient Iraq and Iran ca. 1000-500 BC", 151- 174
B. K. Hanks, "Agency, Hybridity, and Transmutation: Human-Animal Symbolism and Mastery among Early Eurasian Steppe Societies", 175-191
B. Arnold, "Beasts of the Forest and Beasts of the Field: Animal Sacrifice, Hunting Symbolism and the Master of Animals in Pre-Roman Iron Age Europe", 193-210
A. S. Tuck, "Mistress and Master: The Politics of Iconography in Pre-Roman Central Italy", 211-221
M.A. Guggisberg, "The Mistress of Animals, the Master of Animals: Two Complementary or Oppositional Religious Concepts in Early Celtic Art?", 223-236
P.S. Wells, "Meaning in Motif and Ornament: The Face Between the Creatures in Mid-First-Millennium AD Temperate Europe", 237-250
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David J. Mattingly (ed.), The Archaeology of Fazzān. Volume 3, Excavations of C. M. Daniels. Society for Libyan Studies monograph 8. Tripoli/London: Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahariya, Department of Antiquities; Society for Libyan Studies, 2010. Pp. xxv, 573. ISBN 9781900971102. €60.00.

Reviewed by Eleftheria Pappa, VU Amsterdam University (

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This is the third and penultimate volume of The Archaeology of Fazzān multidisciplinary project series, which publishes the results of the fieldwork directed by David Mattingly in the Libyan desert region of the Fazzān (1997-2001), along with those of the earlier excavations and surveys by Charles Daniels (1958-1977). Following the first two volumes of the series, one of which consists of a synthesis of the evidence from this Saharan region1 and an additional volume of a site gazeteer and survey finds,2 the present endeavour includes Daniels' results of all excavations and surveys in the region, with the exception of the Classic Garamantian settlement of Old Jarma—the focus of Volume 4. Fieldwork in the area is continued by the "Desert Migrations Project", directed by David Mattingly. 3 The aim of the volume is to bring to the fore the outcome of multiple interventions of varying degrees of scientific expertise carried out in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by Daniels, but also by Libyan and French teams of archaeologists, whose work remained unpublished or scarcely known. The monumental task of systematically collecting, cross-referencing and reconstructing information from archival documents, including field reports and correspondence, old museum catalogues and photographic material succeeds in making available to the public a wealth of information that would have otherwise remained irretrievable. This is further enhanced by the Fazzān Project's recent fieldwork, which clarifies, systematizes and expands on these older data, especially crucial in the fields of chronology and ceramic and tomb typology. The occasional omissions in the archaeological contexts and finds presented in the volume are the inherent problems of such a task of reconstruction and do not deprive it of its value.

Following the introduction, ten other chapters are divided into four thematic parts, dealing with the early Garamantian escarpment sites, Classic Garamantian oasis settlements, excavations at Garamantian cemeteries and other excavation finds. A list of acronyms and one of transliterated Arabic place names are supplemented by a full bibliography and an index. A summary in Arabic can be found at the end.

The introductory chapter sets out the background of Charles Daniels' career in Africa, detailing his expeditions between 1955 and 1977 and giving an account of his shortcomings in publishing them. Apart from an early popular monograph and a few interim reports appearing mostly in the Annual Report of the Society for Libyan Studies, much of Daniels' work remained unknown. His activity was preceded by and overlapped with that of the Controller of Antiquities for the Fazzān, Mohammed Suleiman Ayoub, whose multi-scale and "prolific" operations lacked a firm scientific basis, despite Daniels' attempts to instruct him.

Part I deals with the early Garamantian escarpment settlements of Zinkekrā, Tinda, al-Khara'iq and Ikhlif, located along the southern, escarpment edge of Wādī al-Ajāl. Chapter 1 presents Zinkekrā, the type-site of an Early (1000- 500 BC) and Proto-Urban (500-1 BC) Garamantian settlement. A fortified headland site, with a later cemetery, 4 km to the west of modern Jarma, it was well-published by Daniels. Previous fieldwork was carried out by Ayoub, presaged by Caputo's Italian team in the 1930s. Enclosure and defensive walls are attested on the top of the spur and on the hillsides. Timber, stone and mudbrick structures, as well as mudbrick and stone rectangular houses emerged in overlapping succession. Ceramic fabrics are distinctively local but the forms have parallels elsewhere in the Fazzān, while small-scale beadmaking is documented. Agriculture and pastoralism were practiced from the early first millennium BC. It is assumed that water supply must have been obtained either from wells dug into the foothill or from springs on the headland, though apart from some gypsum crystal deposits on the northern slope, there is no evidence for either. Ceramic typology was revised according to The Archaeology of Fazzān 2. The radiocarbon dates supplied, although useful in confirming the 1st millennium BC date of the site, are too broad for refining its occupation sequences (p. 78). A nucleated cemetery (1st-2nd c. BC) postdates the use of the site as a settlement. Evidence for rock art (from the Neolithic to the Garamantian period) is summarily treated here in anticipation of a specialized study. The site also yielded a 4th c. AD rock- cut Greek inscription of a Latin name. In Chapter 2, limited work at Tinda suggests a simpler settlement, though Hellenistic/Punic imports were substantial. Cemeteries were likely situated in the northwest/northeast. The smaller Early Garamantian site at al-Khara'iq is also discussed, along with that of Ikhlif, a dispersed settlement of embankments and stone structures.

Part II presents the excavations at the Classic Garamantian (1-400 AD) oasis settlements of Sāniat Jibrīl and Sāniat Sulaymān Krayda in Chapters 3 and 4 respectively. At the former, excavations by Daniels and a survey by Mattingly revealed a nucleated oasis settlement, occupied from the 1st to the 4th c. AD according to the stratigraphic finds, or from 1st BC to the 5th c. AD according to the survey results. Architecture consisted in multi-room, mudbrick houses with internal, U-shaped structures of a domestic function. Metallurgical activities and large-scale bead-production are documented. Imported Roman pottery, both amphorae and fine wares, show a steady inflow from the Mediterranean coast. Small-scale excavation at Sāniat Sulaymān Krayda revealed a contemporary settlement of mudbrick structures.

Part III deals with the cemeteries and the osteological remains. Chapter 5 publishes the inhumation cemetery of Sāniat Bin Huwaydī, a low mound 2 km from modern Jarma. This is the first full report on any Garamantian cemetery. Superimposed layers of mudbrick tombs, with offering tables and stelae, are examined using the typology devised within the The Archaeology of Fazzān series, so it is advisable to read the chapter with Volume 2 open. Interventions by Ayoub, Daniels and an unidentified French team are reconstructed here. Large, rectangular tombs with rectangular chambers in Phase I (late 1st- early 2nd c. AD) are followed by tombs made of rectangular platforms and oval shafts in Phase II (- late 3rd c. AD), with considerable overlap. Tripolitanian and Roman amphorae, fine wares and lamps are prominent among the many unrobbed tombs of Phase I; by Phase III, imports allow the identification of specific pottery workshops in Pisa. Chapter 6 catalogues the results of small-scale interventions at the nucleated Late Garamantian cemetery of Tāqallit, comprising monumental, stepped square or sub-rectangular tombs and shaft graves. A group of pyramidal tombs at Al-Haţīya are mentioned and the few burials from the early cemetery (2nd-1st c. BC) at Zinkekrā are catalogued. Information is available only for a single burial for the late cemeteries (1st-4th c. AD). The Late Garamantian (4th-6th c. AD) so-called Royal Cemetery, south of modern Jarma and the rectilinear Tuwash and al-Fugār mausolea are also discussed. The latter appear to have been cenotaphs. Three burials from the settlement at Al-Kharai'iq and yet another from Ikhlif are also catalogued.

Chapter 7 presents the results of the osteological analysis of skeletal material from fifty-six individuals of different periods kept at the Jarma Museum. Due to the deterioration of the storage material, it was not always possible to distinguish the bones of different individuals. The highest mortality rate is observed in the 18-35 age group. Low infant mortality is almost certainly due to alternative forms of burial for foetuses, e.g., under house floors. There was a high frequency of osteoarthritis and osteophytosis attesting to the physically demanding life conditions of the Garamantes. Two cases of serious skull traumas that healed hint at Garamantian medical practices. Yet any conclusions on biological affinities, demography of the population are tempered not only by the low sample size, but primarily by its chronological discordance.

Part IV deals with other excavation finds and the conclusions. Chapter 8 is a detailed discussion on the non-ceramic finds, including the glass assemblages from Ayoub's and Daniels' excavations, dating from the Hellenistic period to the Late Roman. Two meticulous catalogues of glass and faience from Sāniat Bin Huwaydī and from other sites reunite material kept at Jarma Museum and at Newcastle University. Catalogues deal separately with the glass and faience objects from Sāniat Bin Huwaydī and from other sites, beads and bead grinders, stone artefacts, impressed pottery and with textiles from Zinkekrā. The latter show the development of a local tradition of Z-spin, predating that of the Islamic period by centuries. Beads from Old Jarma are also catalogued here as part of a group (p. 461-470), although there is an absence of any discussion of this site in the volume.

Chapter 9 is the summary of an earlier palaeobotanical study of the plant remains from Zinkekrā, which identified a remarkable 9,966 species, including three cereal crops, fruits, date palms and other wild plants. It suggests that processing of domesticated crops took place at the top of the settlement, while food consumption on the northern slopes. A brief report and catalogue on the archaeozoological evidence from 1966 are reproduced here, including material from Old Jarma, Zinkekrā, Sāniat Jibrīl. Again, it is not clear why material from Old Jarma was included - perhaps so as not to mutilate the initial report.

Chapter 10 offers the final conclusions, approaching the subject chronologically from the Early Garamantian Period (1000-500 BC) to the Late (400-700 AD), where the evidence is summarised and some additional interpretations based on the wider historical context are offered. For example, an increase in the imports at Sāniat Jibrīl and Sāniat Bin Huwaydī in the late 1st c. AD is related to the Garamantian intervention in territorial conflicts of the Tripolitanian cities (p. 527-529). Nevertheless, given the qualitative and quantitative richness of the data contained in this volume and the labour invested in their analysis, this final chapter is surprising in its brevity and rather narrow scope. Perhaps the authors anticipate the publication of the final Volume 4 in which to draw on the entire corpus of evidence for a deeper and more detailed analysis and interpretation.

Few observation of a minor weight can be made: for some of the less familiar terms a definition is not always given (i.e. "hamada") or its meaning is clarified a few times after the word has been used (e.g. "doca", which appears twice without a definition, before one being supplied on p. 98). Two minor problems occur with the information contained in a table and a figure.4

The volume is a meticulous, multidisciplinary piece of work, superbly illustrated and commendable for its clarity and easiness of use. It is an indispensible addition to the limited, but rapidly expanding publication record in Saharan archaeology, with great value not only for those working on the region, but also for others interested in the trade connections on the frontiers of the Roman world. It will also be essential to the identification of provenance for those finds stored at the Jarma Museum.


1.   Mattingly, D.J. (ed.) 2003. The Archaeology of Fazzān. Volume 1. Synthesis. London: The Society for Libyan Studies, Department of Antiquities.
2.   Mattingly, D.J. (ed.) 2007. The Archaeology of Fazzān. Volume 2. Site Gazeteer, Pottery and Other Survey Finds. Society for Libyan Studies Monograph 7. London: The Society for Libyan Studies and Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahariya Department of Antiquities.
3.   e.g. Mattingly, D.J., Lahr, M., Armitage, S., Barton, H., Dore, J., Drake, N., Foley, R., Merlo, S., Salem, M., Stock, J. and White, K. 2007. Desert Migrations: people, environment and culture in the Libyan Sahara. Libyan Studies 38:115-56. Mattingly, D.J., Dore, J. and Lahr, M. (with contributions by others). 2008. DMP II: 2008 fieldwork on burials and identity in the Wādī al-Ajāl. Libyan Studies 39: 223-62. [[4] In Table 0.2 (p. 14), the "Late Pastoral Phase (3000-1000 BC/AD)" is followed by the "Pastoral phase (undifferentiated) (5500-1000 BC/AD)", despite the order being one of chronological ascendancy for the remaining table entries. The description of Figure 3.216 (p. 138) does not seem to correspond to the photograph in relation with the plan in Figure 3.21 (p.136).

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Sunday, September 25, 2011


Andrew Wallace, Virgil's Schoolboys: The Poetics of Pedagogy in Renaissance England. Classical Presences. Oxford/ New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. xiv, 264. ISBN 9780199591244. $110.00.

Reviewed by Rebecca W. Bushnell, University of Pennsylvania (

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Any debate about the influence of classical literature on English Renaissance culture must take on schooling. Whether in the stuffy grammar schools or the homes where the better sort were tutored, from the first moments that they encountered letters children learned both through and about classical authors. They began with Terence and Cicero, but soon made their way to Caesar, Juvenal, Sallust, Horace, Ovid, and, inevitably, Virgil. Their life-long relationships with those texts were surely profoundly influenced by these early classroom experiences, always mediated by the voice and hand of a master teacher.

Andrew Wallace's Virgil's Schoolboys: The Poetics of Pedagogy in Renaissance England participates intelligently in a lively ongoing debate about the role of pedagogy in shaping the literary, social and political culture of early modern England. Histories of the content and practice of grammar school education have been mined to produce competing versions of their effects. For some scholars, the intense schoolroom drilling, imitation, and repetition, reinforced by corporal punishment, was designed to produce subservient subjects, despite all the grand claims of the humanist educational reformers. Others have stressed the positive as well as negative effects of this culture that created such intimate relationships, both painful and pleasurable, between student and teacher and student and text. In particular, Wallace expresses his indebtedness to Jeffrey Dolven's Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance, which investigates how this teaching shaped early modern poets, deeply marked by the experience yet conscious of its failures.

Wallace's own sensitive take on this debate focuses on that intimacy between master and student, and student and text, a relationship filled with desire as well as fear. Where other interpreters of the evidence see "strife or competition" in humanist pedagogy and commentary, Wallace sees amor as the primary driver. While his focus on amor grounds the book's general argument, his vehicle is the study of the pedagogic and cultural influence of the master text of Virgil. Not only was Virgil the quintessential "schoolbook," but also, as Wallace argues, Virgil himself was deeply engaged with questions of teaching and learning. Even as they were core school texts, each of the three genres Vigil mastered--the pastoral, georgic and epic--all enact the power and problems of pedagogy. Wallace marshals old school textbooks, early Virgil translations, glossed editions, and woodblock illustrations, as well as early modern poetry, to make a convincing case for the importance of teaching Virgil, as well as the importance of teaching to Virgil himself.

Before plunging into the works, Wallace devotes an initial chapter to the form and function of "Virgil" as a schoolbook in early modern England. Young students would first encounter the poet's work as fragments in grammars, but more mature ones would come to him encased in a book, "thick with commentary and, after 1502, frequently constellated with woodcuts" (57). In these forms, Virgil's work could appear at once overwhelming and omnipresent, but it was never monolithic. Between the chapter's sections on these two different textual encounters with Virgil is a discourse on amor, the complex love or longing evoked in the master-student relationship, which also imbues the scholar's relationship with the classical text. In both its undercurrents of pederasty and its more elevated meanings of "loving mastery" and a "yearning for knowledge" (56), pedagogic amor converts the schoolroom dialogue and the conversation of commentary into a scene of interaction calling up the master's physical presence. There, "the body and the voice of the master" become "the source, measure, and gravitational centre of a full lesson" (191). That presence, real or imagined, saturates the moment of learning with desire for what one lacks or may lose, as much as with fear of punishment.

Pastoral is the first place to turn for the Virgilian ethos of instruction, structured as it is through both "dialogue and desire" (79). Here, Wallace ingeniously adapts the pastoral trope of the echo to explore learning through the echo that is repetition and imitation, the primary tools of instruction in the grammar school classroom: "Virgil's pastoral poems return again and again to this notion that instruction thrives in a echo chamber" (87). Paralleling the pastoral dialogue is Maturin Cordier's Colloquiorum scholasticorum libri quatuor, a volume of Latin dialogues between schoolboys, an engaging counterpart to the pastoral scene, concentrating on the students' relationship with their master. Wallace also offers a detailed reading of Virgil's Sixth Eclogue, and especially the episode of the drunken Silenus, who is bound by two boys and a nymph and made to sing, a strange image of schoolmaster indeed. While Wallace successfully enlists this scene for his argument, treating it is an allegory for the student's quest for the "recalcitrant original" of knowledge (114), it is curious that he does not do more with the dynamics of resistance in the early modern school room (the history of teaching bristles with such examples of students' defying their masters).

While the pastoral stages scenes of instruction, the Georgics seem to have been composed explicitly to teach, and it has been most often received as such, as a textbook on agricultural practice. Wallace's point of entry into the Georgics's pedagogy is Francis Bacon's characterization of The Advancement of Learning as a "georgics of the mind," which Wallace reads "as a claim about the instrumentality of the methodical procedures he advocates in his text" (136). That is, words do something, both logically and rhetorically; texts teach, thus standing in for the master. The focal point of the chapter, however, is a reading of a relatively small slice of text, the Aristaeus epyllion at the midpoint of the Fourth Georgic, the link being the curious directions for "breeding bees from the corpses of slain bullocks" (140). Wallace offers an elaborate analysis of the epyllion's allegory of pedagogy, both as text and as it was illustrated, focusing the sea nymph's Cyrene's wavering instruction of her son Aristaeus. This is a story that has challenged scholarly interpretation, and Wallace joins the fray with his own reading of it as a commentary on the contingencies of the pedagogic process.

The final chapter of Virgil's Schoolboys tackles the primary genre of the poet's opus: the Aeneid. For the early modern English student, the sign of pedagogical accomplishment would have been the mastery of epic, and the Aeneid was "the master-poet's master text" (179). Epic was the destination of the scholar who was drawing ever closer to leaving the school behind, compelled to remember (or forget) all that he had learned. It makes it all the more poignant that the Aeneid itself recounts the remembrance and forgetting of the loss of Troy. Wallace compares with the Aeneid the early modern teacher's worry that his work "immerses him, and his schoolboys too, in a sea of forgetting" (188). This approach foregrounds the striking fact (also noted by Lynn Enterline) that the genre of epic never did take a strong hold in English Renaissance literature.

While this chapter is thus about "forgetting epic," it leads inevitably to a consideration of the one great English epic of this period, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. The Faerie Queene itself is rife with scenes of instruction. As Spenser tells us in the dedication to Raleigh, the poem provides "doctrine by ensample," not "by rule." While Jeffrey Dolven considers the overall perils of teaching by example in Spenser's epic, Wallace focuses on the "agonizing over the nature and possibility of instruction" (208) in the pedagogy of the "example" that does not depend on the master's presence. The chapter follows the adventures of Guyon, the hero of Temperance, and his guide, the "Palmer." The Palmer is usually seen as reason embodied in the figure of a pilgrim, but he is also a teacher, whose appearance and disappearance throughout Book II marks the charged relationship between master and student (Wallace notes ingeniously that while "palmer" meant pilgrim, it also signified a piece of wood used to strike the palm of a recalcitrant child). Like Dolven, Wallace sees The Faerie Queene as demonstrating the failure or at least instability of the effects of teaching and learning. Mastery may be sought, but in the end, the figure of the schoolmaster must recede from the scene, and self-mastery may never fully be achieved.

What then does one learn from reading Virgil's Schoolboys? This reader took away a great deal (and hopes she can remember it). This is a relatively short book, but it packs a great deal of erudition into its pages. Wallace shares his deep knowledge of both Virgil's texts and the landscape of early modern English learning, both inside and outside the classroom. That erudition does not weigh the book down, however. For the most part, Wallace's style is straightforward and even eloquent. Most impressive is his sympathy for his subjects of both Virgil and pedagogy. While not ignoring the pain, Virgil's Schoolboys evokes well the longings and the pleasures inherent in the acts of both teaching and learning.

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Casey Dué, Mary Ebbott, Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush: a Multitext Edition with Essays and Commentary. Hellenic Studies 39. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University Press, 2010. Pp. xi, 426. ISBN 9780674035591. $24.95 (pb).

Reviewed by Miklós Péti, Károli Gáspár University (

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Book 10 of the Iliad, commonly known as the Doloneia, has been problematic since antiquity; its language, its unusual theme, and its sometimes strange narrative strategies have made it seem suspicious (and spurious) to both ancient and modern scholars. Yet, alongside the well-known objections there have always been attempts to interpret the Doloneia as an integral part of our Iliad. Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush (volume 39 in the Hellenic Studies series) by Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott is the latest such attempt;1 through interpretive essays, a multitext edition (featuring several papyri as well as the text of Venetus A), and a detailed commentary the authors reevaluate the status of book 10 both within the Iliad and the critical tradition. Drawing on a great variety of resources from the historical reception of the Iliad to the iconographical traditions of ambush in Greek vase-painting to the most recent research on oral traditions (and more—the bibliography contains more than 400 items) Dué and Ebbott address in this tastefully presented volume (the cover features an intriguingly ominous ambush scene from a white-ground lekythos) some of the most controversial points in Homeric studies with an admirable arsenal of interpretive tools and techniques. What emerges from this complex enterprise is a thought- provoking, excellent scholarly work catering for a wide variety of readers.

The first part of the volume contains four essays on different aspects of Iliad 10. The Doloneia's problematic status in Homeric scholarship makes it necessary to deal with and take a stand on the so-called Homeric Question, and in the first essay ("Interpreting Iliad 10") the authors duly turn this necessity into an opportunity to clarify how their theoretical assumptions and interpretive methods differ from both earlier and recent scholarly work. Dué and Ebbott repeatedly emphasize the need for an approach that would account for the peculiarities of Iliad 10 with recourse to oral-traditional theory rather than critics' presuppositions about the integrity of the Homeric poems or a creative genius responsible for them. According to the authors, "[w]hat is at stake in taking this approach is a better understanding of the language, structure, evolution, and cultural meaning of the epics" (29). It is therefore not surprising that their attempt to reconstruct the special oral-traditional poetics of the Doloneia goes beyond the sketching of novel interpretive possibilities and involves a thorough reappraisal of the textual tradition as well as the provision of a commentary elucidating how this poetics works. In laying out the program for the reevaluation of Iliad 10 the authors are noticeably (and understandably) eager to assert their allegiance to the critical tradition reaching back (often through the work of Gregory Nagy) to Milman Parry and Albert Lord and at the same time to challenge what they deem to be problematic aspects of previous and current scholarship on the Doloneia (e.g. claims that the book is un-Homeric, "Odyssean," etc). In explaining the aims of the commentary, however, they also emphasize that they "do not seek to replace […] but rather add to" Hainsworth's 1993 work (volume 3 in the Cambridge commentary) and "offer an alternative explanation/approach to many passages" (28).

This introduction is followed by the central essay of the first part, indeed, of the whole volume. In this long piece entitled "The Poetics of Ambush" Dué and Ebbott set out to recover the characteristics of the elusive ambush theme in early Greek epic mostly on the basis of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but also the Epic cycle and the Homeric hymns. Amplifying Anthony Edwards's 1985 study2 the authors argue that the theme of lokhos (ambush) in early Greek epic represents a traditional alternative to polemos, open warfare, and is as much endorsed by the best warriors as conventional battlefield tactics. Dué and Ebbott's analyses of a great number of Homeric passages reveal that the texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey contain numerous significant references to this special type of guerilla warfare requiring mētis, and the evidence mustered in support of their thesis includes the double role of several heroes (Odysseus, Diomedes, Meriones, and most surprisingly perhaps Achilles) as ambushers as well as promakhoi in the archaic epic tradition. According to the authors, rather than being un-Homeric or a late addition, Iliad 10 is the most extended and most comprehensive remnant of this traditional theme, one whose reconsideration will not only make it possible to reconstruct the poetics of ambush, but also "add to our understanding of the poetics of the Iliad and the nature of the Homeric hero" (49).

What characterizes, then, the theme of ambush in early Greek epic? Interpreting the Doloneia Dué and Ebbott show that, similarly to Homeric accounts of daytime or open warfare, descriptions of (and references to) night raids and missions have their own traditional and typical elements. These include, among other things, arming scenes with special weaponry and outfits, the emphasis on the aural rather than the visual aspects of a given episode, or frequent references (e.g. in epithets) to the endurance of the heroes. Further, ambush functions as a narrative pattern whose sub-themes (e.g. the choosing of the aristoi for the undertaking, or the return of the heroes) the poet/singer may choose to compress, expand, or even skip at will in a given (re)composition-in-performance. Some of these characteristics are common to other traditional themes, i.e. spying missions or cattle-raids, and one of the most fascinating parts of this excitingly written essay is the final section in which the authors argue that the narrative structure of two of the most memorable Homeric episodes, the Cyclopeia and Priam's ransom of Hector's dead body, may be interpreted as special variations on the ambush theme.

The third essay of the first part entitled "Tradition and Reception" focuses on the traditionality of the characters of Rhesos and Dolon, and the historical reception of the Doloneia in Euripides and Virgil. In the case of Rhesos the authors could rely on previous scholarship as well as information preserved in the scholia and other ancient sources to explain how this character's special presentation in Iliad 10 may be connected to the Rhesos tradition outside the Homeric epics. In the case of Dolon, however, the meagerness of external evidence and the character's relatively short Iliadic career make it difficult to trace the one-time existence of such a traditional identity. Dué and Ebbott therefore compare the presentation of Dolon to the formulaic introduction and description of other Homeric characters, and they also consider how the unfortunate Trojan appears on vase-paintings. The authors are cautious in their claims here—at p. 117 they concede with regard to possible Homeric parallels that "[a]ll these possibilities remain uncertain without further evidence,"—and, indeed, this discussion remains the most tentative section of the volume. Not so with the historical reception where the authors' interpretation of the Euripidean and Vergilian use and transformation of the Doloneia convincingly shows that the episode became an inextricable part of Homer's literary heritage.

All this could already fill a short monograph, but there remains the fourth essay ("Iliad 10: A Multitextual Approach") which serves as a transition to the second part of the volume, the multitext edition of Iliad 10. Here Dué and Ebbott, who are editors of the Homer Multitext project, lay the theoretical foundations for applying the results of oral-traditional theory to textual criticism. As anyone even mildly interested in contemporary Homeric studies will know, the issue of how the text is presented is a major point of contention, one of the key fault-lines dividing sometimes radically different conceptions of the status, the dating, the composition, and the survival of the epics. Not surprisingly, Dué and Ebbott take a very firm position in this ongoing debate, instead of providing a "definitive" text which privileges one version and relegates "variants" to the critical apparatus their aim is to represent the (synchronic and diachronic) multiformity of the Homeric epics. The authors' admittedly contentious approach in this essay will no doubt provide ammunition for future battles about the fundamental questions of Homeric scholarship, but Dué and Ebbott also stress that embracing multiformity is essential for a new understanding of the Doloneia "as the product of a dynamic oral system of poetry that evolved through time" (165).

It is of course a question to what extent this multiformity can be captured in a printed book: as the authors point out, "a digital edition—one that can more readily present parallel texts—enables a more comprehensive understanding of these epics" (152). The selection of three papyri and a medieval manuscript for the book is indeed limited, but it certainly embraces a wide span of time (from the second century BCE to the tenth century CE) and provides ample variation in the text to account for. Dué and Ebbott's commentaries on this often heavily fragmentary material focus on "multiforms," some of which are directly connected to the theme of ambush, and are accordingly cross-referenced both in the essays in the first part and in the general commentary in the third part of the volume. One is inevitably left with the impression that this section is merely a sample of what a digital edition can provide, but the advantages of being able to consult the different texts side by side are quite apparent even in this format. This section also renders a service to scholars by providing an easily consultable transcript of the Venetus A MS (though without the scholia).

The last third of the volume is devoted to a detailed commentary of Iliad 10 in light of the various theoretical and practical results of parts 1 and 2. The authors here retain their dominant focus on multiformity and the theme of ambush (and often the connections between the two), but several entries also serve as illustrations of more general points about oral traditional poetry (e.g. the discussion of βοὴν ἀγαθός (300–306), or the consideration of Odysseus's rather bloodcurdling smile at 10.400 (340–346)). Some comments reach exceptional lengths and become mini-essays; a good example is the authors' interpretation of the extended simile illustrating Agamemnon's unrest at the beginning of the Doloneia (lines 5–9) which provides in nine pages (237–246) a close reading of the traditional elements of this often-condemned image. Naturally, Dué and Ebbott do not comment on every single line, and it would be unjust to quibble over what is left out. One cannot help but wonder, however, whether some expressions would have deserved the authors' attention (e.g. ἀλᾶσθε in line 141 which could perhaps be fruitfully related to the ambush theme). Similarly, although the commentary is exemplarily cross-referenced to the first two parts of the volume and to multiple occurrences of certain phrases within Iliad 10, there are some minor inconsistencies: μάχεσθαι has a comment at line 101 (265), but not at line 147 (which is generally suppressed by editors), or at line 327; then again, the phrase 3 νύκτα δι' ὀρφναίην is passed over in silence at line 276, though the fact that it alternates with νύκτα δι' ἀμβροσίην receives interesting commentary elsewhere (254–256). (Its occurrence at line 276 is also mentioned in the commentary to line 41).

Due to its specific thematic orientation, this section will probably be read as a companion piece to other commentaries (most notably Hainsworth's). This, however, does not diminish the volume's interest for Homerists dealing with the traditional nature of the Homeric epics in general, or the Doloneia in particular. The essays, the multitext edition, and the commentary are interdependent parts of the same enterprise, but it is certainly to the authors' credit that these sections can individually serve different groups of readers. Regardless of critics' dispositions—and opinions will certainly split over many aspects of the book from the methods employed to Dué and Ebbott's specific findings—Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush can be expected to become a seminal reference work for future discussions of the Doloneia.


1.   A notable earlier monograph on the Doloneia is Georg Danek's Studien zur Dolonie. Wiener Studien 12, Vienna: 1988.
2.   Anthony T. Edwards, Achilles in the Odyssey. Königstein/Ts.: Hain, 1985.
3.   See J.B. Hainsworth, ed., The Iliad: A Commentary. Vol 3, Books 9–12 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. p. 169.

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