Thursday, October 31, 2013


Ralf Behrwald, Christian Witschel (ed.), Rom in der Spätantike: Historische Erinnerung im städtischen Raum. Heidelberger althistorische Beiträge und epigraphische Studien (HABES), Bd 51​. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2012. Pp. 409. ISBN 9783515094450. €62.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Diederik Burgersdijk, Radboud University Nijmegen (

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Table of Contents

The volume under review presents the proceedings of a conference held in Heidelberg in July 2006 (authors and titles are listed below). The contributions to the volume, much to the profit of the final result, have been updated with subsequent research. This is an important new contribution to the field of Late Antique studies, which follows the now standard studies of 'places of memory' published by Beck in 2006.1 The volume highlights how the integrated study of archaeological, historical, social, epigraphical and literary aspects, which used to be encountered particularly in studies of classical Rome, has entered the field of Late Antiquity. The diffuse material that characterizes Late Antiquity– different from the centralized artistic expressions in Julio-Claudian times, and stemming from a relatively small aristocratic group – was usually interpreted according to disciplinary divides, e.g., patristic as opposed to pagan literature, or ecclesiastical to secular architecture, inevitably resulting in the conclusion that there was a marked 'transformation' in virtually all aspects of life during late pagan to early Christian times. Rom in der Spätantike shows that the urban landscape of fourth-century Rome is far more complex than the arrangement in simple and straightforward binary categories could explain.

The model used for the multi-disciplinary approach of this volume is the concept of historical 'memory', which subjects historical events to scrutiny not on the basis of how they happened, but how they were remembered by later generations – or how people wished to have certain events remembered by later generations. This proves to be a particularly fruitful approach to the many questions surrounding the urban developments in fourth-century Rome. In their introduction, Behrwald and Witschel discern three influences on the position of Rome as a metropolis in the empire, namely the rise of other imperial centres and the corresponding transfer of the capital, the Christianization of the empire and the role of Rome within this process and, thirdly, the social-economic framework in which these developments occur. Whilst it can hardly be expected that every contribution (ranging from thirteen to fifty-nine pages, in German, English, French and Italian) maintains strict continuity, it is regrettable that the rich material offered to the reader is not treated along the same theoretical lines as set out in the introduction.

The book is aptly divided into three parts, viz. the secular Erinnerungsorte ('places of memory'); the Christian Erinnerungsorte and the evidence of memory in inscriptions. In the part devoted to secular places of memory, Sebastian Schmidt-Hoffner's contribution treats the representation of the emperor in Rome on the occasion of official visits (Constantine AD 312, Constantius 357, Theodosius 389, Honorius in 403, Theoderic in 500; Constans II 663), for which Trajan especially appears to be the model (Augustus is conspicuously absent). Schmidt-Hoffner considers the difference between a civilis princeps within the City in opposition to his role as deus praesens in other parts of the empire. Richard Lim's contribution is a natural follow up, focusing on signs of either Romanitas or religiositas in the Circus Maximus. Some inadequacies might be observed in his use of 'elites' against 'masses', or 'rulers' and 'ruled' (p. 61 and 71) One might ask how these groups are defined: does the ordo senatorius number among the 'rulers' or the 'ruled'? Lim's use of terms does not seem wholly consistent with Schmidt-Hoffner's (see e.g., the latter's description of the adventus on p.53). Lim aptly reconfigures the pagan-Christian binary as secular-religious in his interpretation of the use of the Circus, thereby showing that 'Christianization' is not very helpful in describing the complex processes that took place in the urban development.2 This view is more or less shared by Fauvinet- Ranson in her treatment of the sixth-century Christian author Cassiodorus, in whose Variae monuments of the ancient past are prominent. In the three contributions just mentioned, an appeal to romanitas and antiquitas appears to be important to all emperors, regardless of their religiosity.

Coates-Stephens treats the most visible of all Roman monuments, the Aurelian Wall, which dates from the seventies of the third century AD, from the perspective of the urban demolition works necessary to construct it, as well as the possible reasons behind its lay-out, which on many points remains unclear. Among the sources consulted by Coates-Stephens, the problematic Historia Augusta hardly offers help, although Paschoud's 2002 commentary on the vita Aureliani might have clarified certain problems. From this same source, the vita Gordianorum is important for Machado's fascinating reconstruction of the impact on urban development after the demolition of certain patrician houses; although I would suggest that in this particular vita the idea of memoria created urban villas rather than the other way round, as evidence for them only exists in text. Machado draws from rather fanciful textual sources as supporting evidence for archaeological data. Still, his description of how owners of villas actively created memory in their own personal museums is illuminating. Eusebius' description of Constantine's palace in Constantinople in the vita Constantini might serve as a textual counterpart to this.

The book's second part, about Christian places of memory, contains a combination of material (churches and streets) and textual (epigrams and legends) approaches. Franz Alto Bauer treats the foremost example of founding memory through building activity: the church of Saint Peter. Peter's memory was further propagated by the widely disseminated relics connected with his cult. A central cult in the eastern part of the empire, that of Cosmas and Damianus, benefited from the location of their church on the Forum's via sacra, as Beat Brenk stunningly points out, along with some other examples of early churches like San Vitale, that of SS. Giovanni e Paolo on the Celian Hill and S. Paolo fuori le mura. In all cases, the surrounding urban fabric is carefully taken into account.

Stefan Diefenbach is perhaps most explicit in advancing the theoretical concept of memory in his contribution about Urbs and ecclesia. One could contrast his views with Van Dam's recent argument (Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge, Cambridge 2011) that 'memory' might be expanded to realms of personal 'remembering'. Diefenbach, following the more established view proposed by Halbwachs in 1950, defines remembering as a social phenomenon defined by collective participation (cf. Alto Bauer p.163).3 According to Diefenbach, Damasus pro-actively advanced the Christian community, as constituted by the ecclesia, but did not assert the highest position for Rome's bishop. Diefenbach's main conclusion is that Rome, being caput mundi of old, was not 'Christianised' as the capital of the Christian world by Damasus. This would be undertaken only by later generations, as was shown by Bauer in the example of St. Peter's basilica.4 Furthermore, Diefenbach maintains that there is no strict or sudden transition from a pagan past to a Christian present. Marianne Sághy's piece, centered on Damasus' epigrams and the cult of martyrs, is largely in line with Diefenbach's view, which sees the Roman past utilized for contemporary purposes. Ralf Behrwald's contribution links the saints' legends, or Passiones, to particular places in Rome, as prescribed by the editors' theoretical approach. These places may be either official buildings such as the praefectura or palatia of officials. Surprisingly – given the editor's aims with the volume –, Behrwald concludes that there is no firm local basis for the legends in the urban topography; the stories were not intended to establish a 'landscape of memory'. Still, the city of Rome provided the places for literary scenes, even when not always easily recognizable.

The epigraphic evidence is taken up by Silvia Orlandi (past and the present in epigraphy), John Weisweiler (imperial letters and epigraphy), Philippe Bruggisser (the restoration of the Dei consentes-porticus) and Christian Witschel in a general overview of epigraphy. This part shows how text in its most literal sense is integrated in the urban landscape of Rome. After a useful categorization of several ways of reusing the classical past in Late Antiquity (texts, political institutions, secular traditions, pagan cults, public monuments, names), Orlandi applies earlier conclusions about the reuse of ancient ruins (that the continuity of the original cultural context of monuments mattered more than the celebration of past times) to secular as well as Christian inscriptions on restored monuments. According to Orlandi, it appears that there is no vital difference between the two. This topic touches upon the more general debate, such as concerns Constantine's Arch, whether there is any essential 'newness' to the restoration of old monuments. Orlandi's contribution tends to a middle position, in that old messages necessarily appear in new contexts, without pretense of originality, but not without proud expectations about continuing the 'present' state of affairs, which is seen as an improvement upon the past.

A similar line of thought is encountered in John Weisweiler's study, who points out that the resurrection of Nicomachus Flavianus' statue on Trajan's Forum in 431, almost forty years after its installation, reflects contemporary politics rather than veneration of the deceased. The base was reused, for purely practical (instead of ideological) reasons. The emperors' esteem for the petitioner, Flavianus' son, was inscribed on the pedestal: the oratio granting the re-installation was cited verbatim. This procedure, typical to Late Antique inscriptions in Rome, reflects the emperors' physical distance from the former capital. In the case of Avianius Symmachus, two statues were raised in 376 in Rome as well as Constantinople. The monuments, as well as the imperial permission (inscribed on a reused pedestal now in the Vatican Musea), testify of the historical links between the two cities. Then, in what gives the impression of a semi-finished product, Philippe Bruggisser traces the connotations of sacrosanctus, a notion recorded in the inscription on the temple of the dei consentes on the slope of the Capitol, which Praetextatus restored in 367-68. Bruggisser concludes that an 'old' word is reused in a 'new' context, for the first time applied to simulacra, as far as we can tell from the extant texts. The word is used in pagan as well as Christian literature.

The final contribution treats a question posed on several occasions in the volume: are there any differences between the memory of the past in earlier times and in Late Antiquity, and does memory of the past in pagan cults on the one side and Christian on the other occur in different modes? As to the last point, Christian Witschel concludes, in line with many others, that there is no essential difference in the Denkmaltopographie in Christian and pagan use. On the other hand, from the fourth century onwards, Christian 'memory' shifted to the cult of martyrs, saints and bishops, while the official state communication did hint to the conservation of the Roman past (as becomes clear in architectural inscriptions on bridges and buildings). Witschel stresses that inscriptions were read and understood as means of communication much more than they had been in earlier Roman times.

In conclusion, this volume offers a rich collection of material, approached from several angles, a design which sometimes tends to distract the reader's attention from the central topic: in this case, the relationship of place to memory. Thus, apart from the helpful introduction and its bibliography, the volume may serve as a stimulus to further studies of places of memory, rather than a clear-cut contribution to the debate itself. Individual contributions are too unequal in length and scheme to be easily accessible for many interested readers. Some contributions do have translations of the Greek and Latin quoted, while others have not. An overall image of the developments of Rome's urban landscape in Late Antiquity certainly arises, but largely depends upon the reader's own familiarity with Late Antique Rome. Some cross-references facilitate the reading, although a general conclusion, a combined bibliography and an index might have helped to create more unity. The editing is not flawless: spelling and other errors are visible, but do not distract. Beyond these objections, the contributions in general are of high quality, although many of them have been published in earlier works by the authors, or works that were forthcoming during the editing process. The book may be consulted (rather than read) with great profit, and may serve as a reference work for scholars of diverse disciplines. ​


1.   Stein-Hölkeskamp. E. and K.J. Hölkeskamp Erinnerungsorte der Antike. Die Römische Welt, München 2006; id. Erinnerungsorte der Antike. Die griechische Welt , München 2010.
2.   Lim curiously enough skips the important evidence from Livy, 1.9.7, in his treatment of the Consus-cult in the Circus Maximus, p.61-2, and ignores Livy again when treating the institution of the chariot games on p.76.
3.   Halbwachs, M. Le Mémoire Collective, Paris 1950 (reprint ed. G. Namer, Paris 1997), mentioned on p. 26 of the introduction (bibliography).
4.   A detail about the dating of the Cento Probae (p.221-2n96) might be added: proceres does have a Virgilian flavor (see e.g. Aeneid 3.105: audite, o proceres and cf. the volume at issue p. 53 (concerning Claud. IV Cons. Hon. 594-6) and p.268, concerning Prudentius Symm.1.502), which cannot be invoked in the discussion about dependency from the Carmen contra paganos. Furthermore, a propos p.225, where Virgil is considered an uncompromising poet for all Romans, I would like to point at Pseudo-Paulinus of Nola's Carmen ad Antonium 55, where Virgil is disparagingly called auctor eorum (i.e. of the pagans). Virgil is often quoted by Christian authors according to their whims and the needs of the moment, and often imitated to beat the pagans in their own game, which is in fact a perfect example of how ambiguously classical heritage is adopted in Christian culture. ​

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T. M. Kristensen, B. Poulsen (ed.), Ateliers and Artisans in Roman Art and Archaeology. JRA Supplementary series, 92. Portsmouth, RI: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2012. Pp. 197. ISBN 9781887829922. $99.00.

Reviewed by Alexandre Vincent, École française de Rome​ (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents and Introduction

The papers gathered in this 92nd volume of the JRA Supplementary series are based on a session held at the 109th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in 2008. The session was partially funded by the Danish Research Council and the faculty of humanities of Aarhus University. Four of the nine contributors belong to this last institution.

The opening contribution, by T. M. Kristensen, is a short introduction to the main themes of the book. The author insists on methodological questions linked to the problem of identifying ateliers in Roman artistic production, mainly mosaic and sculpture. A goal of this publication, regularly expressed in the different contributions, is to supply new clues for this identification, especially by means of an archaeological approach. The last paper (Zohar, and not Wootton as stated on p. 10), is particularly involved with this methodology. It is anchored in a deep historiographical approach that might have been provided to the reader earlier in the book. This problem of identification is important but hazardous, as evidenced in many cautious conclusions of the volume. Most of the contributors try to answer the question by studying the production methods of the opera : is it possible to identify the stylistic mannerism of a workshop ? Of an artist ? Inevitably, in the end, the real question is : what was an atelier ? How many people were involved ? was it static or in perpetual reframing, depending on the patrons' desires ? As Kristensen announces, the problem of definition recurs again and again in the various papers. A greater effort at synthesis, in either the introduction or in a global conclusion (there is none in the book), would have made more meaningful the value of the answers suggested by the authors. Similarly, a global bibliography would have been very helpful to readers.

S. Birk's contribution focuses on the sarcophagus industry, mainly in Rome. In a very thorough essay on the chain of production of the sarcophagi, she offers new arguments for reassessing the role of the patrons in the iconographic choices. The re-use of big blocks of marble, like architraves, would have attenuated Rome's dependency on outlying sources (mainly the Carrara quarries). The use of stone already in Rome would reduce the time needed for its ultimate form and give more time for the clients to choose their own model. The idea is appealing, although it would need a more extensive inquiry to be fully accepted, especially given the evident standardization of the numerous sarcophagi extant. 1 Birks gives a new elaboration on the subject, but she recognizes that a block imported from the quarry in a partially finished state offered the same opportunities. The use of compass and pattern-books, the probable specialization of the sculptors for features of the production (such as faces and hands), the fact that those specialists could be mobile, paved the way to both mass-production and standardization. In these circumstances, the identification of a workshop is difficult and Birk suggests that to this purpose, historians should concentrate on plinths rather than on sculptures themselves.

J. Van Voorhis presents a case study on Aphrodisias. The situation of the Carian city is exceptional, both in the importance of the "school of Aphrodisias" within the whole Roman world and in the archaeological opportunities it presents. The discovery of a sculptor's workshop, in the vicinity of the bouleuterion, enabled the study of the Aphrodisian production. The author identifies the different spaces of this workshop, active between c. 200-400, and examines the evidence found during the excavations. She gives insights on the sculpting techniques (multiple specialists on a single statue, training of apprentices, re-use of a statue) and questions the mere fact that some statues remained on site.

The contribution of E. Friedland on marble sculpture in the Roman Levant is less technical. As there was no marble quarry in this territory, the author focuses on importation and its consequences. Petrographic analysis show that almost every marble piece came from Greece and present-day Turkey. As a consequence, we should not be surprised by the lack of evidence for workshops and specialists of marble sculpture in the Levant, even though there could have been some in the main ports of the territory. More convincing, even if not surprising, is the analysis of the adaptation of some Roman iconographical code by local artists, on local material. Rather than on a territory, N. Hannestad chose to focus on a type of sculpture, mythological marbles. His stylistic analysis of many sculptures aims at demonstrating that quality cannot be a criterion for an "early dating" (2nd-3rd century). Late antique sculptors could produce pastiches of earlier iconographical motifs, sometimes misleading even contemporary experts. The author insists on the predominance of Aphrodisias' workshop(s?), whose sculptures were broadly exported in late antiquity. An explanation for this success could be found in Aphrodisian carving procedures, which would have made possible successful long distance transport. A specialist would have accompanied the sculptures to their destination, repairing eventual damages occurred during travel. Specialists will find in this contribution many detailed analyses on particular pieces, such as the Esquiline group, the Dioscuri of the Metropolitan Museum, the sculptures from the Chiragan villa or the mithraeum of Sidon.

M. Henig is passionate in his attempt to make Roman Britain a place of artistic production. To do so, he surveys all kinds of art, major and minor, from mosaic to jewelry. The author identifies many schools, in mosaic or sculpture, essentially on the basis of the support or the technique used. Those workshops would have had a local market and local techniques. They would not have needed the intervention of specialists from outside the island, even if a very specific help from a Gallic artist cannot be excluded.

B. Poulsen's contribution on the identification of mosaic workshops in late antiquity illustrates very well the complexity of this problem when inscriptions are missing. She hypothesizes that workshops presented a combination of geographical stability and mobility, that they were composed of mosaicists with various levels of specialization, who could furthermore move from one atelier to another. In these conditions identification is hard, but Poulsen suggests, as does S. Birk, that experts should concentrate on the details of an opus rather than on its predominant motif. She applies this methodology to the tangent 4-pointed star motif, frequent in southwestern Caria and in the Dodecanese, and reaches the conclusion that the motif was shared by two or three workshops. The conclusion relies partly on the analysis of a mosaic from Halikarnassos which is published here for the first time.

Britain is back with W. T. Wootton's presentation of the mosaic from Badminton Park. In this case study, the author outlines the whole process of realization of a mosaic, from the choice of the tesserae to the estimation of the length of construction. He is, thus, making a real contribution to the history of the techniques. It seems that tesserae could be supplied by either the contractor or the client, depending on the situation. The workshops would have been composed of one to four workers, with a low level of specialization.

D. Zohar's presentation closes the book with an essay on late antique production in the Mount Nebo area. To overcome the general absence of a common method for the identification of workshops, the author carefully suggests a range of seven criteria. They all belong to an internal analysis of the document and can be easily applied to other mosaics : illusionistic overlapping ; internal division of the figure ; repetitive gestures ; recurring features ; size and shape of the tesserae ; color and level of their sorting ; inlay patterns. This model of analysis is applied to the production procedures of the mosaic of the Church of Lot and Procopius and, by comparison, to the upper chapel of the priest John, both at Khirbet al-Mukhayyat. The conclusion that the two teams of artisans involved shared a master mosaicist is convincing.

In the end, something must be said about the title, as the reviewer finds a gap between it and the content of the book. In its broad formulation the title promises a global approach to the topic, both chronologically and geographically. Yet the contributions appear to be much more concentrated in time and space. Except for the short introduction, five out of the eight papers are exclusively focused on late antiquity (Van Voorhis, Hannestad, Poulsen, Wootton, Zohar), the remaining three having a broader chronological perspective (Birk, Friedland, Henig). The same (dis)proportion applies to the territories studied : five papers focus on the Roman East, whereas only three are interested in the western part of the empire. Even more surprising, two of those three deal exclusively with Roman Britain ! Since I agree with M. Henig that any province of the empire deserves the same scrutiny, I cannot fail to wonder why the Gauls are considered only minimally, mainly by citing the mosaics of the villa in Lillebonne (p. 115 and 130), not to mention the total absence of African and Germanic artistic production. The choice to focus mainly on late antiquity and the eastern part of the empire is proper and understandable (especially given the importance of the often mentioned Aphrodisias school, including its links with western provinces, as in the case of the Chiragan villa, cf. Hannestad). I only note that the reader would have been better informed by a more precise title for the volume.

Nevertheless, this book has the courage to explore a very complicated problem, with multiple methodological issues. Many contributions are highly valuable, both for the case study they present and/or the archeological solutions they suggest. The subject is vast and there is little doubt that further investigations, in time or space, will help the evolution of our knowledge about workshops and artisans in Roman art and archaeology.2


1.   As frequently noted, most recently by E. Mayer, The Ancient Middle Classes. Urban Life and Aesthetics in the Roman Empire 100 BCE-250 CE, Cambridge-London, 2012, p. 147 and 164. The author even advocates an "aesthetic of standardization".
2.   As an example of a very useful contribution, one could cite the recent essay by F. Demma on the marble workshops of Puteoli which happily combines the analyses of archaeological datas and inscriptions : F. Demma, "Scultori, redemptores, marmorarii ed officinae nella Puteoli romana. Fonti storiche ed archeologiche per lo studio del problema", Mélanges de l'École française de Rome, 122/2, 2010, 399-425. ​

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Donald Kagan, Gregory F. Viggiano (ed.), Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2013. Pp. xxv, 286. ISBN 9780691143019. $35.00.

Reviewed by Matthew A. Sears, The University of New Brunswick (

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Aristotle famously linked military organization and tactics to political developments within the Greek polis. Specifically, in the earliest post-monarchical times, aristocrats and their horses dominated both the battlefield and the state, whereas once the hoplite phalanx, with its greater numbers of cohesive soldiers, gained preeminence, a greater number of people gained a share in the state's government (Politics 4.1297b16-24). That military practices reflect far more than the realities of the battlefield – indeed being intertwined with politics, society, and culture – is beyond serious dispute. What is a matter for debate, however, is the extent to which politics, society, and culture play a role in military affairs, and vice versa. In the case of ancient Greek, and especially hoplite, warfare, this debate concerns two further questions: when, how, and why hoplite equipment and tactics emerged; and how exactly the hoplite phalanx operated on the battlefield. The present book, stemming from a 2008 conference held at Yale, gathers essays from several of the leading participants in the "hoplite debate" and, rather than offering a solution to the many issues involved, presents each side clearly and concisely so that the reader gains an understanding of the debate's terms, ramifications, and personalities.

In the last several decades scholars have marshaled serious challenges against what was once agreed to be the "orthodox" position regarding Greek hoplite warfare: namely, that a sudden revolution in tactics brought about by the invention of the double-grip hoplite shield in the early Archaic period led to massive social and political changes throughout Greece. This orthodox view stemmed ultimately from Aristotle's observation and gained widespread acceptance in the English-speaking world in the years following the hugely influential article by H. L. Lorimer published in the 1947 volume of BSA (though, to be sure, the orthodox view had existed in various forms well before Lorimer). The fullest and most recent catechism of hoplite orthodoxy came in the form of Victor Davis Hanson's The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece (Berkeley: [1989] 1998) and The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization (New York: 1995). Drawing inspiration from John Keegan's The Face of Battle (London: 1976), Hanson provides a rich account of the nuts and bolts of hoplite warfare, especially the experience of the hoplites themselves, and the most comprehensive theory concerning how the hoplite phalanx and the independent farmers of which it was constituted revolutionized the polis and laid the groundwork not only for political egalitarianism, but the very concept of Western citizenship. Beginning with Anthony Snodgrass in the 1960s, who systematically analyzed the hoplite equipment dedicated at sanctuaries such as Olympia, the supposedly sudden revolution in arms and tactics has increasingly given way to a more "gradualist" approach. Peter Krentz has devoted much work to showing that the mass-shove and other canonical elements of massed warfare are implausible on their face, while also reevaluating hoplite equipment to suggest that the soldiers were in fact much less heavily armed than traditionally thought and therefore capable of operating outside of the densest formations. Hans van Wees has argued that the warfare depicted in the Iliad, once thought to epitomize the sort of heroic and aristocratic fighting to which the hoplite phalanx represented a sudden and decisive break, was not in fact much different, if at all, from the Archaic phalanx. Van Wees offers the nebulous formations of Papua New Guinean warriors as a modern analogue to Homeric and Archaic warfare. He further argues that the "middling" yeoman farmer central to Hanson's thesis did not exist in any great numbers during the Archaic period, and thus could not have had the sort of socio- political impact that Hanson and others postulate. All of these scholars – Hanson, Snodgrass, Krentz, van Wees, and several others holding various positions on the phalanx – have contributed to this book. It is perhaps an understatement that none seems to have been convinced by the arguments of the others.

Following a preface and introduction outlining the aims of the original conference and giving a brief overview of the book's chapters, Donald Kagan and Gregory F. Viggiano in Chapter 1 provide a very useful synopsis of the hoplite debate. This chapter traces the debate from Grote in the 19th century to the present day, and will prove valuable to anyone wishing to get up to speed on past and current developments in the study of hoplite warfare. For Chapter 2, Viggiano teams up with Hans van Wees to offer a brief outline of the various iconographic sources for hoplite warfare, concluding that very little of the evidence is unambiguous, a fact that explains the persistence of sometimes diametrically opposed views among scholars. Paul Cartledge, in Chapter 3, introduces the rest of the essays by framing some key terms of the debate, and expressing his approval of the rise in what he calls "polemology," that is, the holistic study of ancient Greek warfare that takes into account broader Greek society instead of merely battlefield tactics and equipment.

For Chapter 4, Anthony Snodgrass traces the various ways that Homer has been treated as evidence for the phalanx, before returning to his important study of Greek arms and armor. Snodgrass attempts to highlight the hidden similarities between even the most seemingly opposed views of the phalanx, as he restates his own gradualist position.

Kurt Raaflaub in Chapter 5 explores the possibility of "Orientalizing" influence on Greek warfare, concluding that the phalanx and its equipment really were uniquely Greek developments. The single-grip round Assyrian shield might have influenced the double-grip hoplite shield, but even this is far from certain.

In perhaps the most contentiously argued piece in the book, Viggiano uses Chapter 6 to restate the orthodox view. For Viggiano, the phalanx could only have operated in massed formation, and the hoplite class must have been instrumental in first propping up tyrants against the old aristocracy, and eventually pushing for full equality for themselves. Though many valid challenges are raised by the revisionists, Viggiano maintains that no single revisionist thesis offers a satisfactorily complete alternative to the orthodox model. At the end of the chapter, he presents his own, very detailed, postulation of how and when the phalanx took hold throughout Greece, bringing in specific actors such as Pheidon of Argos and Cypselus of Corinth. Viggiano's reconstruction is interesting, though perhaps far too detailed in light of the evidence.

In Chapter 7, Peter Krentz restates many of his arguments against the plausibility of the hoplite mass-shove and the heavy weight of hoplite equipment. Most interestingly, Krentz traces the scholarly history of orthodox ideas, showing that some ideas (such as the weight of the hoplite shield) have been passed on from generation to generation perhaps with too little critical evaluation. Krentz poses some very serious challenges to the view of the massed phalanx, though he could have done more to state exactly how hoplites fought in battle, if indeed they were not as densely packed as once thought.

For Chapter 8, Adam Schwartz defends the orthodox view of the extreme weight and unwieldiness of hoplite equipment, especially the shield. Schwartz insists that even a shield at the lower end of the estimated weight would be a considerable burden, especially considering the smaller relative size of ancient Greek soldiers. Schwartz and Krentz use much of the same pieces of evidence, including even the experiences of modern re-enactors and riot police, yet their conclusions stand at opposite poles.

John R. Hale in Chapter 9 presents the first real alternative to the orthodox view of hoplite development, positing that mercenary service abroad, especially in the Near East, was decisive for the rise of the hoplite and the phalanx. In contrast to the nearly continuous action that a Greek solider would encounter in the employ of Assyrian or Egyptian rulers, the sporadic and small-scale battles in the Greek homeland were an insignificant sideshow. Hale makes two very interesting suggestions: that the round hoplite shield was developed to suit the needs of sea-borne troops making beach landings, and that the energetic and entrepreneurial spirit of these early mercenaries led to the values associated with the polis.

In Chapter 10, Lin Foxhall offers an overview of the evidence from survey archaeology. After usefully outlining the methods and aims of surface survey, she argues that the results of surveys throughout Greece tell against the rise in cultivation of marginal lands, a phenomenon that was essential to Hanson in formulating his views on the importance of small farmers.

In Chapter 11, Hans van Wees challenges the notion that there was a "middling" class of hoplite-farmers in the Archaic period, showing that the evidence points only to two classes, namely leisured farmers who could afford to have others do all the necessary labor, and everyone else, who often had to hire themselves out as labor. Van Wees's interpretation of the evidence is indeed compelling. He then offers the only full alternative to the orthodox model concerning hoplites and the development of the polis. For van Wees, the early polis was really a republic of gentlemen that offered equal rights to no more than 15 % or so of the total population. The larger phalanx, known from Classical sources, incorporating a larger share of the polis arose only in the very late 6th century.

Victor Davis Hanson uses the last chapter to restate the orthodox position, urging that the sources really do indicate that hoplite warfare was the rule for Archaic poleis and was foundational for the rise of Greek civic-mindedness. It was also a densely massed affair characterized by shoving. He concludes by reminding us that the orthodox position is no mere flash in the pan, but rather a view that has been held, more or less, for over a century. This fact by itself should afford orthodoxy no small consideration.

As mentioned, this book is geared to presenting the parameters of the hoplite debate in the clearest possible terms, a goal in which it succeeds. Anyone charged with teaching about hoplite warfare and its role in Greek history, let alone anyone doing original research on the subject, will find this book useful and necessary. Can anything be said concerning which argument or set of arguments from the book are most convincing? I am sympathetic to the claim made by Hanson, and reiterated forcefully by Viggiano, that the revisionists, while perhaps highlighting genuine weak spots in the orthodox argument, have failed to offer a comprehensive theory of their own. Hanson and Viggiano maintain that the orthodox position still presents the most plausible account of all the evidence. Van Wees is the only revisionist in this volume, with the possible exception of Hale, offering a more or less comprehensive account of the rise of the phalanx and its role in socio-political developments, though I still find the dense, mass-shove image of hoplite battle itself to be more convincing than van Wees's alternative of loose and fluid formations. Where van Wees succeeds most is in his reappraisal of the evidence, or lack thereof, of the middling yeoman farmer in the Archaic period. Van Wees' conclusion that there were really only two classes in Archaic Greece –leisured gentlemen farmers and everyone else – seems to me inescapable. In short, the socio-political effects and importance of the hoplite phalanx as suggested by the orthodox view seem increasingly uncertain, despite the fourth-century remark by Aristotle, while the orthodox picture of how hoplites actually fought continues to make the most sense in light of the evidence.

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David M. Jacobson, Nikos Kokkinos (ed.), Judaea and Rome in Coins, 65 BCE - 135 CE. Papers Presented at the International Conference Hosted by Spink, 13th - 14th September 2010. London: Spink and Son Ltd, 2012. Pp. x, 245. ISBN 9781907427220. £50.00.

Reviewed by Friedrich T. Schipper, University of Vienna (

Version at BMCR home site

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

This volume contains the edited papers of the same-name two-day international conference organized in cooperation with the Institute of Jewish Studies at UCL by Spink and Son, an English coin trading company established in 1666. The financial support of Spink also enabled the production of this high quality hard-cover volume with many high resolution color photographs of coins, maps and charts.

The event was coordinated by David Jacobson and Nikos Kokkinos,, and Philip Skingley of Spink. It was partly designed to follow-up on two earlier London conferences on similar topics organized by Jacobson and Kokkinos, the first one entitled "The World of the Herods and the Nabataeans" published in 2001 by Franz Steiner Verlag and the second on "Herod and Augustus" published in 2005 by Brill. This third conference dealt exclusively with the interrelations between Rome and Judaea as reflected in the numismatic evidence, thereby focusing on the period between Pompey's conquest of Judaea and the second Jewish war against Rome.

Dan Barag, one of the intended speakers, passed away only a few months prior to the conference. David Hendin took up his topic for the conference and the volume, both of which are dedicated to Barag. (The author of this review also participated in the conference.)

The papers represent the impressive advances within numismatic scholarship that have taken place in the past few decades in connection with this region and this specific period. Only some of them are reviewed here in an attempt to highlight the diversity of the volume.

In the opening, somewhat programmatic paper, Andrew Burnett views Herodian coinage against the wider perspective of Roman coinage. He concludes that compared to the mainstream coinages in Syria-Palestine throughout the Hellenistic-Roman period, Herodian coinage was strikingly different. He labels the mainstream coinages as 'conservative' meaning that they 'did not look to the reality of the new Roman world and its coinage as a source of innovation'. This was also true for Hasmonean coinage. Everything changes with Herodian coinage, which 'swings right in the other direction and to an extreme'. Burnett points out that Herodian coinage was even more Romanized than the coinage of Egypt or Asia Minor, which is particularly evident when considering the coinages of Philip, Agrippa I and Agrippa II. The absolute climax is constituted by the coinage of Agrippa I, which fully embraces Roman ideology and members of the imperial family as well as reflecting its closeness to contemporary Roman Imperial coinage. Burnett explains this phenomenon partly by noting that the Herodian kings and tetrarchs as client kings were entirely dependent on Rome. In this context, the Warren cup, whose iconography is exceptional according to every standard, may be understood.

Anne Lykke's paper investigates the use of languages and scripts in ancient Jewish coinage, thereby focusing on the role of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem as a financial institution. Starting with the assumption that the use of specific languages and scripts were related to the identity of the minting authorities and their relation to the administration of the Jewish temple, she concludes that, though the content of the legends varied with their changing contexts, the scripts held specific meanings in nationalistic and religious terms. It becomes obvious that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem played not only a central role in religious life but also a central role as a financial and monetary institution, to which the use of the palaeo-Hebrew script in the legends of the coins is clearly related.

One of the editors of this volume, Nikos Kokkinos, examines the coinages of the Roman prefects of Judaea. While nine prefects are known in the era from 6-48 CE based on the historiographical evidence, coins can be attributed only to the first five of them 'on the basis of chronology, as their legends refer only to individual emperors dated by year of reign'. In consequence coins were traditionally attributed to the first three prefects—Coponius, Marcus Ambivius and Annius Rufus—but the current state of research is that the latter two issued no coins. Kokkinos shows that this is a misinterpretation of the evidence and explains a change of iconography from the third to the fourth prefect. While the first three used the same designs on their coins, namely the palm tree and corn, Valerius Grassus chose a more Roman iconography that referred to the emperor and the imperial family, using wreaths, cornucopiae, laurel branches, lilies, vine branches with grapes and imperial vessels offered to the temple. Pontius Pilatus basically followed his example with the lituus on the coins of Years 17 and 18, an exception that left 'a bad taste among the Jews'.

The second editor, David Jacobson, discusses the significance of the caduceus between facing cornucopiae in Herodian and Roman coinage. He demonstrates that this motif symbolizing Fortuna Felicitas, which also bore connotations of peace, concord and happy conditions made possible by a benevolent ruler, became recognized as a cipher for commitment by Rome and to Rome. This meaning of the motif is in particular evident in the case of a coin of Sepphoris struck at the climax of the first Jewish war against Rome in order to show the loyalty of its mostly Jewish inhabitants to Rome and its Emperor.

Marius Heemstra deals with the interpretation and wider context of Nerva's Fiscus Judaicus sestertius, the topic of his PhD- thesis published by Mohr Siebeck in 2010. He views the introduction of Nerva's sestertius as a turning point in Roman tax policy as well as an event of historical significance in terms of the distinction between Jews and Christians towards the end of the first century. By the end of the reign of Domitian, both Jews and non-Jews could be reported to the Fiscus Judaicus, with the result that non-Jews found guilty of leading a Jewish way of life were treated as tax evaders. Heemstra argues that Nerva's coin, struck at the very beginning of his reign, is evidence that the Emperor was urged to set clear measures against the use of the Fiscus Judaicus for wrong accusations in order to ruin people, e.g. for revenge or to remove unwanted rivalry. The Emperor on the one hand changed the definition of the tax-payer from 'each of the Jews' to 'Jews who continued to observe their ancestral customs'. This legal distinction between Jews and mainly Christians also harmonized in a way the new Roman definition and the Jewish definition of Jewry and formed an important step in the 'parting of the ways' of Jews and Christians.

New coin hoard finds from the era of the second Jewish war against Rome are discussed by Boaz Zissu and David Hendin. During a survey campaign of Me'arat Te'omim in the western Jerusalem hills in 2009, Boaz Zissu discovered three coin hoards. Hoard A consists of 83 Bar Kokhba silver coins (the largest hoard ever found in a regular excavation), 20 Sela'im (tetradrachms) and 53 zuzim (denarii). Hoard B consists of 10 coins: 8 Bar Kokhba zuzim, 1 shekel of the first Jewish war (!) and one Hasmonean bronze coin. Hoard C comprises 24 coins, including 5 Roman gold coins, 15 Bar Kokhba silver coins and 4 bronze coins. Another hoard was discovered by Boaz Zissu in the course of the excavations of Horvat 'Ethri, a Jewish village in the Shephela that was destroyed toward the end of the second Jewish war against Rome. The village shows underground complexes cut in bedrock, and in complex xiv an assemblage of finds typical for the Bar Kokhba period was found, including a hoard of coins containing Roman and provincial coins, three Bar Kokhba bronze coins and a silver half-shekel of the first Jewish war dating to the year 3. The hoard finds at these two sites form the first reliable evidence that coins of the first and the second Jewish war were found together.

Table of Contents

Andrew Burnett: The Herodian Coinage Viewed against the Wider Perspective of Roman Coinage
Rachel Barkay: Roman Influence on Jewish Coins
Anne Lykke: The Use of Languages and Scripts in Ancient Jewish Coinage: An Aid in Defining the Role of the Jewish Temple until its Destruction in 70 CE
Danny Syon: Galilean Mints in the Early Roman Period: Politics, Economy and Ethnicity
Robert Bracey: On the Graphical Interpretation of Herod's Year 3 Coins
Nikos Kokkinos: The Prefects of Judaea 6-48 CE and the Coins from the Misty Period 6-36 CE
Robert Deutsch: The Coinage of the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome: Script, Language and Inscriptions
David Hendin: Jewish Coinage of the Two Wars: Aims and Meaning
David M. Jacobson: The Significance of the Caduceus between Facing Cornucopias in Herodian and Roman Coinage
Ted V. Buttrey: Vespasian's Roman Orichalcum: An Unrecognised Celebratory Coinage
Marius Heemstra: The Interpretation and Wider Context of Nerva's Fiscus Judaicus Sestertius
Kevin Butcher: The Silver Coinage of Roman Arabia
Boaz Zissu and David Hendin: Further Remarks on Coins in Circulation during the Bar-Kokhba War: Te'omim Cave and Horvat 'Ethri Hoards
Larry J. Kreitzer: Hadrian as Nero Redivivus: some supporting evidence from Corinth
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Olivier Devillers, Karin Sion-Jenkis (ed.), César sous Auguste. Scripta antiqua, 48. Bordeaux: Ausonius Éditions, 2012. Pp. 264. ISBN 9782356130716. €25.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Thomas Biggs, Yale University (

Version at BMCR home site

This co-edited volume, the product of conferences held at The University of Bordeaux 3 in 2009 and 2010, presents a wide range of approaches to an often explored, but never comprehensively tackled, series of issues surrounding the heritage, reception, and memory of Caesar under Augustus. The editors and contributors rightfully refocus scholarly attention on the Augustan afterlife of Caesar at a time when memory studies, cultural history, and reception studies have provided the perspectives needed to expand upon such work. César sous Auguste is a worthy contribution, but by no means the final word on the various roles of Caesar during the Principate. Readers familiar with the work of Gowing 2005 and, now, Farrell and Nelis 2013, as well as the research coming out of the Memoria Romana project, may see this volume less as a potential catalyst than as a parallel development, which is at times disconnected from contemporary, especially Anglophone scholarship.1 Nonetheless, all scholars interested in the political, social, and cultural landscapes of the Roman world in the Late Republic and Principate will find aspects that invite consideration.

Although it is impossible to address all of the arguments of any work in a review, especially of a volume as wide-ranging as the present, I will attempt to sketch the argument of each paper. Readers will also be well advised to approach this volume through Jean-Michel Roddaz' "Conclusion générale," which summarizes each contribution. Karin Sion-Jenkis' "Introduction historiographique" begins Section One (Problématique générale et approches thématiques) with an overview of historical scholarship connected to the central issues of the volume (mainly German, with due attention to Syme). This discussion leads fluidly into Martin Jehne's tidy study, the only one in German, of historical continuity and Republican precedent (military, economic, social) in the differing autocratic self-constructions of Caesar and Augustus ("Die organisatorische Verankerung der Alleinherrschaft und die republikanische Tradition: von Caesar zu Augustus").

In Paul Marius Martin's piece "Octave, héritier de César. Enquête sur les sources historiographiques," the will (testamentum) that bestowed both name and legacy on Octavian is closely scrutinized in relation to its social and legal implications, as is the language used by the Greek and Latin sources that discuss it. Notable is Martin's focus on the fundamental ambiguity of the expression 'Caesar's heir' and the role that Octavian's propaganda and (ultimately) Augustan ideology played in suppressing that ambiguity to construct a self-serving conception of the adoption.

Marie-Claire Ferriès turns to Antony, the other main figure in the running to claim Caesar's legacy, in "L'ombre de César dans la politique du consul Marc Antoine." Her analysis of Antony's use of Caesar and continuation (or split) from Caesarian policy during his consulship in 44 highlights how he ran a middle ground ("une troisième voie") between adherence to the acta and Caesar's intents (difficult to truly determine as they are) and the exploitation of their authority to justify his actions, especially in relation to veterans' affairs, senatorial expansion, agrarian reform, and the divine status of the late dictator.

In "L'image de César dans les groupes statuaires julio-claudiens et le monnayage augustéen," Jean-Charles Balty argues that Caesar, although present in Augustan statuary, does not appear to have been given a dynastic role. In relation to coinage, Balty contends that Caesar stopped appearing on the issues of Octavian (and Antony) at the legal end of the first period of the Triumvirate in 37 BCE and that he survived only in the legends of Octavian's issues; Caesar's name and divinity were now employed to designate his heir (IMP CAESAR DIVI F).

For Anne Bajard ("Le modèle de César dans les spectacles d'Auguste"), spectacles provided a forum in which it was not necessary for Augustus to distance himself from Caesar's model – a problematic assertion. Within the substance of her analysis, Bajard focuses on specific and striking public displays reenacted by Augustus with established Caesarian precedent. Too much, however, of this short piece is spent on constructing one less than clear example from brief reports in Suetonius regarding the staging of plays per omnium linguarum histriones (Suet. Jul. 39.1.13; Aug. 43.1.6).

Section Two of the volume contains three works linked only by their focus on the provinces (Approches régionales). Stéphanie Guédon looks for continuity between Caesar and Augustus in the exploration of the edges of the empire, specifically Africa and the Garamantes ("Sur les pas de César en Afrique? La question de son influence sur l'exploration des confins africains sous Auguste"). Some attention is given to highlighting Caesarian interest in such intellectual/imperial enterprises and what could amount to the realization of this interest by the geographical and exploratory activities of Agrippa and Augustus. The majority of the paper focuses on Cornelius Balbus' expedition in Africa, an interesting topic but not wholly appropriate for a volume on Caesar's Augustan afterlife.

Laurent Bricault's paper ("Le monnayage d'Auguste à Alexandrie) attempts to highlight aspects of Augustan rule in Egypt through numismatic analysis. Outside of specific points regarding the number of groups that make up the Augustan issues (of interest to specialists), a central argument which emerges is that Alexandrian coinage under Augustus followed Ptolemaic precedent, while also incorporating Roman imagery and the concept of diui filius to align Augustus with Pharaonic authorizing techniques.

Provincial reorganization and the role of cult in Asia, especially Ionia, form the material through which François Kirbihler highlights change and continuity (with weight on the former) between Caesar and Augustus ("César, Auguste et l'Asie: continuités et évolutions de deux politiques"). Analysis of personal image, as monarch or divinity, as well as specific policy (e.g. formation of Koina, grants of asylia) lead ultimately to some general conclusions: direct engagement with Caesar by Augustus in Asia is visible, but neither very marked nor the order of the day; even the seeds of Caesarian ruler-cult (hence its authorizing function for Augustus) were planted by Antony and the Triumvirate.

The third and final section of the volume deals with literature (Approches littéraires). In the one paper devoted to poetry ("Le(s) César(s) des poètes et la mémoire de la res publica"), Marie Ledentu explores the presence and presentation of Caesar in Vergil, Horace, and Propertius.2 She focuses largely on the way Caesar relates to the authority and legitimacy of Augustus via the poetic memory of divus Iulius, his political roles, and his military accomplishments (especially those abroad). The potentially subversive, or at least ambiguous, aspects of the poets' presentation of the Princeps receive little consideration here; although Caesar himself in, e.g., Odes 1.2 and Satires 1.7, is read critically, he is largely approached in relation to Augustus' hot and cold relationship with Caesarian ideology. In fact, Ledentu sees criticism of Caesar and Pompey as part of Augustan discourse; a fair point, but so too is praise of Pompey – one of many aspects of the Augustan poetic landscape's engagement with the Republic that upsets easy distinctions.

Prose authors make up the rest of the volume. Bernard Mineo's piece on Livy tackles the image of Caesar in the AUC ("Le César de Tite-Live était-il politiquement incorrect?"). The ancient conception of the Pompeian Livy is shown to be too reductive (Tacitus Annals 4. 34), and a Livian conception of Caesar is proposed that combines authorial admiration for his foreign conquests with what sometimes amounts to disgust with the overturning of time-honored Republican institutions.3 Yet the civil wars are consistently construed as a fated evil in contemporary literature (Vergil, Horace), hence, for Mineo, Caesar is not solely to blame for the destruction he brought forth and the ruins of the Republic are presented as the ashes from which the Augustan present rises.

In "César chez Nicolas de Damas. Essai de lecture aristotélicienne", Guillaume Flamerie de Lachapelle analyzes the Bios Kaisaros of Nicolaus of Damsacus. He argues that Caesar is presented as a model for Octavian/Augustus to follow and (consistently) exceed, but an imperfect model constructed in a mode that aligns with Nicolaus' Aristotelian outlook. Readers who do not accept that Aristotelian philosophy is the central way to approach Nicolaus' comparisons of Caesar and Augustus will find many conclusions unconvincing.

Gianpaolo Urso's study of Strabo rigorously explores the meaning of stasis, especially at 4.1.5 where the civil war is itself described as the stasis of Pompey against Caesar ("La stasis de Pompée: Strabon et la guerre civile"). Strabo elsewhere, from Remus to Antony, uses the word in relation to conflicts against the established order (189), and Urso sees this as Strabo's own perspective. Of note is his analysis of anachronism and the retrospective influence of Augustan teleology; at 6.4.2, for example, the wars against the Hellenistic kings and Carthage are (impossibly) described as revolts/seditions against Rome. It follows then that Pompey's actions were themselves a revolt against Rome and so too against the first Roman emperor, Caesar.

Isabelle Cogitore argues that Velleius Paterculus' narratives of Caesar often follow the Commentarii and the Caesarian tradition, but were simultaneously influenced by Augustan rhetorical exercises focused on exemplarity and elaboration ("Le César de Velleius Paterculus: de reflets augustéens?"). While the attention given to one of the generic and social filters Caesar's image would have passed through (his rhetorical reception) is a strength ("César passé par le creuset augustéen" (207)), the specific contours of rhetorical training under Augustus are not well defined and many of the examples are drawn from outside the period under analysis.

The last chapter is devoted to Tacitus, in which Olivier Devillers explores how Augustan 'propaganda' plays a role in this historian's various depictions of Caesar ("Permanence et transformations du modèle augustéen: le César de Tacite"). The role of Caesar's political, social, and military interactions with Gauls and Germans is set center stage and his exemplary value is shown to have complex and ambiguous interpretations both for characters and, so it follows, for imperial readers. Where continuity between Caesar and Augustus is emphasized (esp. concerning the civil wars), Devillers argues that Tacitus is at odds with Augustan ideology (212). Further, it is shown that Caesar the Republican commander, not emperor, is revived for his military exploits against the Gauls. Caesar is thus a model for imperial power, but a figure from the times of the Republic (diuus and dictator). Yet for Tacitus, there remains one all-powerful distinction between life under Caesar and under Augustus – under the former, hope still remained that libertas could be revived.

In sum, this well-produced volume is a welcome addition to the highly active and evolving scholarly debate on the afterlife of the Republic in Imperial thought, even if it largely employs traditional methodologies. One can only hope that more interdisciplinary work on the Augustan reception of Caesar soon emerges to complement César sous Auguste.


1.   Gowing is not cited, nor are other recent contributions such as Osgood. See A. Gowing Empire and Memory: The Representation of the Roman Republic in Imperial Culture (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005); J. Osgood, Caesar's Legacy: Civil War and the Emergence of the Roman Empire (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006); and J. Farrell and D. Nelis (edd.) Augustan Poetry and The Roman Republic (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013). For the Memoria Romana project, visit Beyond recent studies, the similar 1990 volume edited by Raaflaub and Toher is not present, and even key works in French and German are missing. For example, one thinks of Lyasse, whose 2008 article is however cited, the 'Ausblick' into the Augustan age (408-26) in Walter, or even the widely influential writings of Jan Assmann and Pierre Nora: K. A. Raaflaub and M. Toher (edd.) Between Republic and Empire: Interpretations of Augustus and His Principate (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990); E. Lyasse Le Principat et son fondateur. L'Utilisation de la référence à Auguste de Tibère à Trajan (Brussels, Éditions Latomus, 2008); U. Walter Memoria und res publica. Zur Geschichtskultur im republikanischen Rom. Studien zur Alten Geschichte, Band 1 (Frankfurt am Main, Verlag Antike, 2004).
2.   For Vergil, readers will want to consider the forthcoming book, A. M. Seider Memory in Vergil'sAeneid: Creating the Past (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013). For Augustan poetry in general, M. Labate and G. Rosati (edd.) La Costruzione del Mito Augusteo (Heidelberg, Universitätsverlag Winter, 2013).
3.   Compare Masters' conception of the relationship between poet and Caesar in Lucan's Bellum Civile, a text largely absent from this volume. J. Masters, Poetry and Civil War in Lucan's Bellum Civile (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992).

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Dimitris Bosnakis, Klaus Hallof (ed.), Inscriptiones Coi insulae: catalogi, dedicationes, tituli honorarii, termini. Inscriptiones Graecae Vol. XII: Inscriptiones Graecae insularum Maris Aegaei. Fasc. 4, Inscriptiones Coi Calymnae insularum Milesiarum. Pars II. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2012. Pp. vi, 304, ix. ISBN 9783110222272. $419.00.

Reviewed by Pierre Fröhlich, Université de Bordeaux-3 (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of contents

C'est avec une remarquable rapidité que paraît le deuxième volume du corpus des inscriptions de Cos, deux ans après le premier (BMCR 2011.04.37). La continuité est assurée par une pagination et une numérotation continues. Comme pour le précédent, on pourra regretter l'absence de planches photographiques, prévues pour l'ultime volume de la collection. Grâce à l'énergie déployée par Kl. Hallof, il ne devrait néanmoins pas tarder à paraître.

Le présent volume est découpé en quatre parties. La première (ch. VII) regroupe les catalogues : listes de souscripteurs, particulièrement nombreuses à Cos (52 inscriptions), catalogues de vainqueurs à des concours (Dionysies et Asklèpieia), listes de magistrats (dans cette rubrique se trouve un petit groupe de textes de genres assez différents, car il n'y a qu'une seule véritable liste, d'Halasarna, n° 459), listes de citoyens et d'étrangers. Suit un morceau de choix, les dédicaces (ch. VIII ; 321 inscriptions), avec un grand nombre de dédicaces privées (66). La partie consacrée aux inscriptions honorifiques contient encore plus d'inscriptions (ch. IX ; 372 inscriptions) : ici, ce sont les inscriptions à caractère public qui sont en plus grand nombre. La dernière partie (ch. X) rassemble les bornes (51 inscriptions).

Le corpus rassemble ainsi plus de 800 inscriptions, auparavant dispersées dans un grand nombre de publications. On y trouve près de 220 inédits,1 issus d'une longue quête à Cos, mais aussi dans les carnets de R. Herzog, systématiquement utilisés. Il y a certes une majorité de fragments souvent insignifiants – pour lesquels le grand format des IG est particulièrement inadapté. Mais l'édition exemplaire des inscriptions déjà connues, leur reclassement et le rassemblement de ces dossiers constituent en soi de remarquables nouveautés.

La nature des inscriptions éditées dans ce volume est particulière : elles apportent à l'historien avant tout un très important nombre de noms, tant dans les listes que les inscriptions honorifiques et les dédicaces. Les spécialistes disposent ainsi d'un remarquable matériel onomastique, appelé à s'étendre lorsque les inscriptions funéraires seront éditées. Certains dossiers apparaissent désormais dans leur unité et pourront être étudiées à nouveaux frais, telles les listes de souscripteurs, enrichies de six inédits (n° 425-427, 435, 443 et 444). Il en va de même pour le foisonnant ensemble de textes touchant au médecin de Claude, G. Stertinius Xénophôn, qui bénéficie de 58 dédicaces (dont 11 inédites), auxquelles s'ajoutent 20 inscriptions honorifiques (dont trois inédites), plus une, nouvelle, émanant de dèmes coéens (n° 1184). Relevons aussi l'intérêt des bornes, notamment celles des domaines sacrés des regroupements gentilices que doivent être les Nestoridai, les Maiônidai ou les Kentreidai (époque hellénistique, avec plusieurs nouveautés).

Certaines inscriptions nouvelles méritent d'être signalées. On regrettera qu'à nouveau2 le principe de la brevitas si rigoureusement promu dans les volumes des IG se traduise par l'indigence des commentaires, réduits, lorsqu'il y en a (nombre d'inscriptions sont éditées sans une ligne de commentaire), à des rapprochements prosopographiques. Personne n'était mieux placé que les éditeurs pour éclairer, ne serait-ce que d'une phrase, certaines difficultés des nouveaux textes, ou tout simplement signaler leur intérêt historique ou linguistique. La rigueur avec laquelle est appliqué ce choix dans les derniers volumes des IG me semble excessive. Nombre d'inscriptions ont attendu un siècle avant leur édition dans ce corpus ; une attente prolongée de six mois ou d'un an, qui aurait permis la rédaction de brefs commentaires, n'aurait pas été dommageable pour le public savant.

Sans pouvoir en faire le tour, on signalera ici quelques intéressantes nouveautés. — Dans les listes de souscripteurs, il s'agit souvent de noms rares ou nouveaux : dans le n° 443 (fragment du début IIe s. a.C.) l'épichorique Εὐξίμβροτος et le rare Πειθάνωρ, ou, dans l'inscription suivante, [Κορ]άλλειν, équivalent de Κοράλλιον. Une dédicace de la seconde moitié du IVe s., adressée à Athéna et à Asklépios émane d'un certain Χενάνθης (n° 496) : le nom est nouveau.

Parmi les nouvelles apparitions dans la société coéenne, on peut relever un Laodicéen et son épouse Antiochéenne, auteurs d'une dédicace aux divinités égyptiennes dans la première moitié du IIe s. a.C. (n° 552). La base a été réutilisé au Ier s., comme le montre la signature d'un sculpteur inconnu jusque là, Onasas d'Halicarnasse (qui apparaît également dans le n° 1049). Deux siècles plus tard, un texte original concerne les mêmes cultes : il s'agit apparemment d'une inscription honorifique, consécutive à un vote du peuple, pour une femme, défunte, qui a consacré tout un ensemble d'objets de cultes, inventoriés dans le texte (n° 853). — Du n° 861, une autre inscription honorifique (2e moitié du Ier s. a.C.), un seul fragment était connu : les deux autres publiés ici donnent le nom de l'honorandus, C. Paccius Balbus, préteur, désigné comme patron de la cité. Parmi les grands personnages honorés par la cité de Cos, on peut évoquer Pythodôris, fille de Polémon, roi du Pont (n° 883) ou Trajan, sôtèr et ktistès (n° 899, ce titre était jusque là bien attesté pour son successeur Hadrien). — Une des plus intéressantes nouveautés du corpus est l'inscription honorifique d'Halasarna, qui bénéficie également d'une édition soignée de D. Summa, pour un citharode dont le palmarès est reproduit (n° 1166).3 Il a entre autres été vainqueur aux Klaudeia de Rhodes, dont c'est la première apparition (alors que des Klaudeia sont attestés dans plusieurs cités).

D'une manière générale, ce nouveau fascicule du corpus de Cos ouvre la voie à bien des études. D'abord d'histoire sociale, avec les souscripteurs, surtout à l'époque hellénistique, les dédicants, les personnes honorées, surtout à l'époque impériale. Il y aurait là matière à s'interroger sur l'habitus épigraphique de Cos, avec sa foisonnante série de listes, et sur les pratiques sociales qu'elle pourrait traduire. Mais les spécialistes d'histoire religieuse y trouveront aussi leur compte, grâce aux séries de dédicaces ou de bornes. Ce ne sont que deux exemples des richesses de ce corpus. En attendant la parution des prochains volumes, qui devrait être rapide, on saluera de nouveau la réussite exemplaire de cette entreprise.


1.   Leur décompte dépend de la prise en compte des fragments nouveaux d'inscriptions anciennement connues : la liste donnée à la fin du volume donne 225 numéros, y compris ces fragments.
2.   Sur cette absence encore plus gênante pour le précédent volume, cf. Bulletin épigraphique de la REG 124 (2011), 472.
3.   D. Summa, « Ein neuer Kitharöde aus Kos (IG XII 4, 2, 1166) », ZPE 184 (2013), p. 175-182.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Walter Pohl, Clemens Gantner, Richard E. Payne (ed.), Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World: The West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, 300-1100. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. Pp. viii, 575. ISBN 9781409427094. $165.00.

Reviewed by Alexander Angelov, The College of William and Mary (

Version at BMCR home site

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

Many visions of community intersect in this collection of essays. We encounter medieval Tibetans, ancient Nabataeans, Armenians, Franks, Vikings, Saracens, Byzantines, Seljuks and many other protagonists set in their historical context. Each article has its own particular objectives, but the conceptual axis of the book revolves around "how ethnic identities, civic and regional communities, religious beliefs and political allegiances interacted in shaping different social worlds" (1). Thus, the polemics of ethnicity and identity formation are revisited here, but with the ambitious objective to produce the first comparative study in the period. In effect, we are taken through a world of case studies, broadly organized in three thematic units, where the overarching emphasis falls on the constructed nature and contextual basis of identity and community. As in most collections of articles, there are many perspectives and approaches here as well, so I will first sketch out the primary objectives of each contributor before I turn to my general comments at the end of the review.

Part I, broadly organized under the rubric of ethnic differences, opens with two anthropological essays that set the general theoretical outlook of the volume. Andre Gingrich introduces the understanding of ethnicity—conventional among anthropologists—as a fluid marker of social identity dependent on historical context and shaped by cultural interactions with perceived "others". Guntram Hazod adopts this definition and studies how the Silk Road's political and economic network transformed the religious and tribal dynamics into what became imperial Tibet. Fritz Mitthof's essay also engages with the general theme of creating common identity and interprets Hadrian's imperial coinage as a way to relate the disparate provincial peripheries to a common imperial center. In turn, Jan Retsö reveals how the Romans managed to erase the term Nabataea when they brought into existence the Provincia Arabia in 106 C.E.. Even the seventh-century Monophysites, according to Bernhard Palme, did not focus on doctrinal differences when pressed between the political structures of the Chalcedonians and the Umayyads.

Imperial formation is the theme of the first few articles. The opposite process, that of emerging native identities, connects the following three essays. Herwig Wolfram shows that there were many ethnicities among early medieval groups, and each could be evoked depending on particular political expediency. "Each individual could hold several passports" (105). Only in the modern period, Wolfram points out, has "nation" come to designate a restrictive sense of identity and has become an exclusivist ideological concept. Unlike the political exclusivity of the modern period, the early Middle Ages, according to Helmut Reimitz, display fluid and interchangeable visions of community, and Catherine McKenna draws attention to the emergence of Welsh ethnicity that revolved around the elastic concepts of Britain and the ethnonym Cymry. As it turns out, it was precisely the ambiguity of the two referents that brought about "the invention of Wales" as an accommodationist process.

Religion does not seem to have had much effect on the ethnic emergence of the Welsh, but it played a critical role in early Islamic communities. Michael Morony contends that religion sustained the multi-ethnic societies of the late-antique Islamic world, and Walter Kaegi illustrates the stringent tightening of Muslim control over North Africa in the seventh century. The earlier openness of Muslims to accommodate Christians in their polity ended with the close of the seventh century, and the social and cultural diversity of North Africa was transformed into a "recognizably Muslim" community (179).

Religion as the primary organizing force of community also steered the social identities of medieval Christians in the Middle East. Bas ter Haar Romeny charts out how the development of a Syrian orthodox historiographical tradition in the period up to 1300 effectively brought about their ethnic identification. Interested in "recovering" their past from biblical accounts and local traditions, the Syrian clergymen created normative ethnic boundaries. In contrast to the Syrian ethnogenesis that emerged out of the elites' historical writing, northern Mesopotamian Christians articulated their own social identity, as Richard Payne explains. Locality and nobility guided the Sasanian Christians who sought to define themselves within the Persian empire (214). Art and ceremonial, too, played a critical role in building and sustaining political allegiance. Thus, Lynn Jones urges us to take seriously the Armenian adaptations of material culture and explores how local aristocrats employed them as strategies of social control (239). Hartmut Leppin, on the other hand, stresses the performative aspects of ethnicity, and George Hatke offers a detailed analysis on the forging of specific political communities different from Byzantium in the late-antique Red Sea region.

The articles in Part I unveil a story of shifting ethnic differences. Part II explores integration and successful building of political allegiance. Mischa Meier opens up the section by making clear the powerful ways in which intellectuals molded historical memory to form political authority, and Ralph-Johannes Lilie investigates the pragmatic ways in which the Byzantines employed soldiers disregarding their religious or ethnic background. John Haldon and Hugh Kennedy finish the section with a keen investigation of how the changing political and military structures of the Byzantine and Umayyad states affected tribal and regional identities. The making of Christian Europe in the Middle Ages is a fascinating subject, and Stefan Esders shows how the Byzantines employed oaths of allegiance to forge "faithfulness," to unite different ethnic groups, and effectively to consolidate their political authority. Steffen Patzold describes Carolingian society as a powerful symbiosis of "the kingdom of the Franks" and the "people of God," different social forces that ultimately combined to build a single community. Wolfram Drews explores the dramatic consequences of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and shows that in the medieval diaspora it was religion that held together and sustained Jewish identity (401). Clemens Gantner turns to the papacy and explores the great repercussions of the Saracen attacks on Rome in 846 and 849. First, he argues, they consolidated the pope's political power in Italy, and then the conflicts were used to justify a fundamental change in the prevalent theology of war that would come to serve as a basis for the eleventh-century crusades (421). Gantner's essay closes Part II.

Part III, the last section of the volume, focuses on the three broad visions of community that have historically intersected in Europe: Islamic, Byzantine, and Western. Daniel König begins with an argument that there is no clear notion of "Latin- Christian Europe" in Arabic-Islamic sources written between the ninth and the fifteenth centuries. Over time, however, Arabic-Islamic scholars isolated as critical markers of difference Roman history, Christianity, and the nature of institutional organization (444). Ann Christys shows how the Arabs stitched together their cultural notions of the Vikings out of received traditions and a rich legacy of ethnographic references. Przemysław Urbańczyk explores Arabic conceptions of the Slavs and the Rus. Ultimately, time and the ever-expanding research of Arab scholars shifted stereotypes and ethnic appellations, but traditions remained powerful.

The theme of reframing culturally entrenched stories or signs for new usages carries over into Wolfram Brandes's essay on Byzantium. He traces the biblical tradition of Gog and Magog and shows how it motivated the Byzantines during the Arab siege of Pergamon. Alexander Beihammer studies how the Byzantine views of the Seljuks were formed not out of direct cultural encounter but within a complex literary and historical context. There was no vacuum for new strategies of identification since earlier traditions always affected patterns of perception.

John Tolan moves the discussion to the West and shows the rich composite behind the appellation "Saracens." Latin scholars traced it back to the Old Testament and charged it with meanings that were deployed according to contextual exigencies. Ian Wood writes the final essay of the volume. He explores how the notions of "the monstrous" and "the exotic" were used in the past to define and normalize particular communities and enforce specific political structures.

As is clear from this survey, this is a kaleidoscopic book with an ambitious scope. Two separate conclusions attempt to bring all points together. First, Leslie Brubaker explores the volume's focus on "religion" and "power". Then Chris Wickham revisits the theme of "ethnicity" itself. In the end, he wishes for a Weberian, ideal-type application of the term, "stripped of as many implicit values as we can manage" (554). "If we employ it, then, instead of saying, 'Is this a real ethnic identity or not?', we would say, 'What elements of ethnic identity does this social group stress, and how/why do they do so?'" (555). Besides sharpening the analytical focus, comparisons based on this methodological premise bring the added benefit of working across any pre-existing historiographical or chronological divides. If explicit comparisons are what we want, future projects need to take Wickham's (and Weber's) suggestion seriously. The present volume is for those who seek varieties of approaches and perspectives through which they are bound to find complex "visions of community" past as well as present.

Table of Contents

Walter Pohl. "Introduction: Ethnicity, Religion and Empire." p. 1.
Andre Gingrich. "Envisioning Medieval Communities in Asia: Remarks on Ethnicity, Tribalism and Faith." p. 29.
Guntram Hazod. "Tribal Mobility and Religious Fixation: Remarks on Territorial Transformation and Identity in Imperial and Early Post-Imperial Tibet." p. 43.
Fritz Mitthof. "Zur Neustiftung von Identität unter imperialer Herrschaft: Die Provinzen des Römischen Reiches als ethnische Entitäten." p. 61.
Jan Retsö. "The Nabataeans—Problems of Defining Ethnicity in the Ancient World." p. 73.
Bernhard Palme. "Political Identity versus Religious Distinction? The Case of Egypt in the Later Roman Empire." p. 81.
Herwig Wolfram. "How Many Peoples are (in) a People?". p. 101.
Helmut Reimitz. "The Providential Past: Visions of Frankish Identity in the Early Medieval History of Gregory of Tours' Historiae (sixth-ninth century)." p. 109.
Catherine McKenna. "Inventing Wales." p. 137.
Michael G. Morony. "Religious Communities in the Early Islamic World." p. 155.
Walter E. Kaegi. "Seventh-Century Identities: The Case of North Africa." p. 165.
Bas ter Haar Romeny. "Ethnicity, Ethnogenesis and the Identity of Syriac Orthodox Christians." p. 183.
Richard Payne. "Avoiding Ethnicity: Uses of the Ancient Past in Late Sasanian Northern Mesopotamia." p. 205.
Lynn Jones. "Truth and Lies, Ceremonial and Art: Issues of Nationality in Medieval Armenia." p. 223.
Hartmut Leppin. "Roman Identity in a Border Region: Evagrius and the Defense of the Roman Empire." p. 241.
George Hatke. "Holy Land and Sacred History: A View from Early Ethiopia." p. 259.
Mischa Meier. "Anastasios und die 'Geschichte' der Isaurier." p. 281.
Ralph-Johannes Lilie. "Zur Stellung von ethnischen und religiösen Minderheiten in Byzanz: Armenier, Muslime und Paulikianer." p. 301.
John Haldon and Hugh Kennedy. "Regional Identities and Military Power: Byzantium and Islam ca. 600-750." p. 317.
Stefan Esders. "'Faithful Believers': Oaths of Allegiance in Post-Roman Societies as Evidence for Eastern and Western 'Visions of Community.'" p. 357.
Steffen Patzold. "'Einheit' versus 'Fraktionierung': Zur symbolischen und institutionellen Integration des Frankenreichs im 8./9. Jahrhundert." p. 375.
Wolfram Drews. "Diaspora Jewish Communities in Early Medieval Europe: Structural Conditions for Survival and Expansion." p. 391.
Clemens Gantner. "New Visions of Community in Ninth-Century Rome: The Impact of the Saracen Threat on the Papal World View." p. 403.
Daniel G. König. "Arabic-Islamic Historiographers on the Emergence of Latin-Christian Europe." p. 427.
Ann Christys. "The Vikings in the South through Arab Eyes." p. 447.
Przemysław Urbańczyk. "Identities of the Ṣaqāliba and the Rūsiyya in Early Arabic Sources." p. 459.
Wolfram Brandes. "Gog, Magog und die Hunnen: Anmerkungen zur eschatologischen 'Ethnographie' der Völkerwanderungszeit." p. 477.
Alexander Beihammer. "Strategies of Identification and Distinction in the Byzantine Discourse on the Seljuk Turks." p. 499.
John Victor Tolan. "'A wild man, whose hand will be against all': Saracens and Ishmaelites in Latin Ethnographical Traditions, from Jerome to Bede." p. 513.
Ian N. Wood. "Where the Wild Things Are." p. 531.
Leslie Brubaker. "Conclusions." p. 545.
Chris Wickham. "Conclusions." p. 551.
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Cécile​ Bost-Pouderon, Bernard Pouderon (ed.), Les hommes et les dieux dans l'ancien roman: actes du colloque de Tours, 22-24 octobre 2009. Collection de la Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée, 48. Série littéraire et philosophique, 16​. Lyon: Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée – Jean Pouilloux​, 2012. Pp. 349. ISBN 9782356680297. €35.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Frederick G. Naerebout, Leiden University (

Version at BMCR home site

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

This collection of papers is the fifth in a series emanating from as many colloquia dedicated to the ancient novel (and to its sources and avatars). All papers are in French, and have short summaries in French and in English. A critique of the volume, together with an extensive summary of all papers, from the point of view of a literary scholar, has been published online in Agora: les comptes rendus de Gaia: revue interdisciplinaire sur la Grèce archaïque), by Stephen Rojcewicz, who is in the PhD programme in Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland. I will approach Les hommes et les dieux from a different angle: as a student of ancient religion, I will ask whether this volume has something worthwhile to contribute to the field of religious history. That it has a lot to say on the ancient novel, some of it innovative, I take for granted; it seems to me that the papers are, in this respect, a rather mixed bag (also qualitatively — one might compare Froma Zeitlin's review of the proceedings of the fourth colloquium, BMCR 2011.11.05). Certainly they are all heavily annotated and thus guide readers to other research in the field, especially the previous four volumes in the series.

The book is divided into two main parts, the one, with eleven papers, on religion as a literary device, the other, with nine papers, on what is labelled "the religious background". The first part is divided into three subparts: the structuring role of religion in narration, the meta-literary role of gods and priests, and religion as a means of characterisation. The second part also includes three subparts: philosophical and spiritual approaches, allegory, and re-appropriation of divinities. I find the contents of the first part clear enough from the titles of its subparts, while the actual contents of the second part are not so easily grasped. According to the Introduction, in the first part the relation between man and the divine in the novels is mainly studied as a metaphor for the relation between author and reader (I am not certain that this is what all the contributors intended to say). It is about the uses made of religion for the purposes of literary composition (that seems more to the point). In the second part, religion is not so much looked at as a set of building blocks for the novel writer, but as his subject matter: what religiosity or spirituality is being portrayed in novels, and what does this tell us about the beliefs of their authors? (One should add: and their audience.) That would imply that, for the purpose of my historical enquiry, the second part would be the most profitable. But let us not jump to conclusions, but rather judge every paper on its own merits.

I will limit myself to the sixteen papers that deal with the ancient world (another four deal with post-antique Greek novels and will be left out of account — which does not so much reflect on their quality as on their insufficient integration into this volume); and of these, I will highlight nine. Of the other seven, the ones by Hélène Frangoulis on Heliodorus, Giovanni Garbugino on the Risus festival in Apuleius, Françoise Léblouton and Nicolas Boulic on the imagery surrounding Eros, Christophe Cusset on Eros in Longus, and Marie-Ange Calvet-Sebasti on the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, seem to me to be instances of literary analysis where the presence of religion is merely incidental; that is to say, these papers are not, or not substantially, about religion as a narrative tool. In the second part, two relatively minor contributions by Sébastien Montanari and John R. Morgan discuss respectively Euhemeros as a renewer of mythology, and Heliodorus, whose description of the cult of the Nile parallels the structure of his whole novel. As to Morgan, his paper seems to fit the first part of the book better than the second.

In the first part, we begin with Alain Billault, who shows in much detail how in Leucippe and Clitophon by Achilles Tatius religious occurrences and convictions set the action going and determine its shape. The protagonists live out their religion, and the mythical stories inserted into the novel ("partie du folklore qui remplace les dogmes dans le paganisme", p. 27) comment on and even steer the action. Billault interestingly hints at the fact that religion functions as a façade behind which the author can hide his storytelling: the story seems not an invention but the logical outcome of divine interference in human affairs. Jean-Philippe Guez also addresses Leucippe and Clitophon, and compares it to the Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus. There Artemis and Aphrodite are in harmony, but with Achilles Tatius they are in conflict. Guez traces the antagonism between the two goddesses throughout the novel in the conflict between sexual desire and chastity. The supposedly happy ending — marriage resolving the conflict — is denied by Guez, who interestingly sees the antagonism between the two goddesses as irreconcilable. Romain Brethes shows that priests and prophets, who play an important part in ancient novels, are — in distinction from the gods — not always portrayed with reverence but may be depicted irreverently or even parodied. This depends on their role in the novels' narrative structure. According to Brethes, these priests worship Fiction rather than any 'real' gods: are not all miracles in the stories the storyteller's invention rather than the workings of the divine? Michel Briand, on Longus, promisingly opposes two main kinds of interpretation: the novel seen as fiction and a more "anthropological" approach. Briand interestingly wants to reconcile the two, with the god Eros as "une sorte de médiateur entre ses deux poles interprétatifs" (p. 104).

These four papers I find the most interesting of the first part, but at the same time they clearly illustrate the limitations of the literary approach: it does seem rather obvious that in a fictive story religion can be used to motivate the intrigue and structure the plot, or to help characterise the protagonists, This last aspect is addressed in two other papers: the first, by Koen de Temmerman, shows that the protagonists, especially the male ones, frequently and actively use divine and semi-divine exempla to (de)construct their "auto-presentation" (interestingly, his convincing analysis flies in the face of much accepted ideas about the ancient novel), while the second, by Cécile Bost-Pouderon on the religious festival as the occasion where the young lovers of the ancient novel meet, is less obviously about characterisation — she ranges much more widely. Of course, religion can be made to do other things as well: as Bost-Pouderon shows, religious festivals can be mentioned as mere chronological markers or to sketch the circumstances summarily and without any special significance. Some authors give a description, but actually only Heliodorus goes on to give us a true ekphrasis of a festival. But however religion is inserted into fiction, it always raises questions concerning the relationship between actual belief and cult and religious life in the world of the novel. Certainly in the reception of the story by its intended audience the overlaps and gaps between the one and the other must have been instrumental in the novel's understanding.

Almost all authors reject, I think rightly, Merkelbach's reading of ancient novels as coded sacred texts of mystery religions. But in the interpretations in the present volume these texts no longer seem to have a link to any world exterior to the text at all. In the words of Billault quoted above, actual religious life makes an appearance only to disappear behind the fiction and never to be mentioned again. Guez states: "je n'ai pas cherché à distinguer deux théologies, mais deux conceptions de la sexualité". I can readily belief that Achilles Tatius wants to express his rather sombre vision of human sexuality, a vision probably shared by others (though that is not discussed). But in order to understand his use of Artemis and Aphrodite to do this it seems rather essential to establish whether this is an idiosyncratic, narrative ruse or an antagonism ingrained in (or at least part of) general religious thought. In the same way, the analysis by Brethes invites the question: how then are priests and prophets regarded in society? Indeed, a certain distrust seems common: after all, human intermediaries have human weaknesses. And the miracles that Brethes foregrounds: are those merely good story-telling, or are they recognized by the novels' audience as the kind of miracle that everybody could experience? And alas, Briand's anthropology is limited to the Merkelbach cultic-allegorical approach. The more obvious anthropological issue, as to whether the religious elements in the novel are (partly) shared by the fictive and the real world of author and audience, is never addressed.

The second part of the book, however, should ask whether an existing world is mirrored, in some way, whenever a fictive world is created. This can be the interior world of the author or of the audience, or the world of cultic realities. Most interesting is Dowden on Apuleius and cult. Apuleius shows himself rather less interested in cultic behaviour than the Greek novelists. Dowden presents a helpful chart of the number of occurrences of Greek gods, and of divinities or the divine in general, in ancient novels. It appears that Apuleius' story — not counting the myth of Amor and Psyche — has little affinity with cult. It deals rather with more abstract, philosophical ideas. Even the myth of Amor and Psyche appears to function on that level. Other than the myth, the story deals with magical, not regular cultic practices, and with false religions that will lead astray. At the very end, of course, Lucius turns to Isis — but that is not to say that Apuleius wants his audience to convert to the cult of Isis: here too we are directed to a truth that lies beyond cult, and which only the philosophically minded can grasp. Slighter, but comparable in its conclusions, is the paper by Mariangela Scarsi Garbugino on Amor and Psyche. In her opinion Apuleius' re-writing of the myth gave it a new and deeper meaning comparable to Gnostic mythology; Apuleius comes out as an heir to Neoplatonic ideas and a precursor of Christian thinking. A very substantial contribution is Tim Whitmarsh' paper on Joseph and Aseneth. In his view Joseph and Aseneth is not a simple piece of religious propaganda but a sophisticated literary work which uses narrative strategies in order to examine the conflict between Jewish ideology and the human sexual drive. Whitmarsh argues that instead of looking for the origins of the story (a popular pastime), we should address the reasons for its popularity. He suggests plasticity, "sa capacité à fonctionner comme tableau blanc sur lequel les peuples multiples pouvaient projeter leurs souhaits et leurs anxiétés" (p. 239). In this case, those anxieties concern sexual desire versus religious constraints, treated with a subtlety that helps explain the story's continuing success.

From the above, it will be obvious that as a historian of ancient religions I especially appreciate Dowden and Whitmarsh, who not only analyse the religious element in the ancient novel but also relate this to the world the authors and their audience lived in. Whitmarsh's blank screen onto which people project their wishes and anxieties steers us squarely in the direction of reception issues. In the same vein Whitmarsh stresses that so-called marginal Greek novels, such as Joseph and Aseneth, the Alexander Romance and the Life of Aesopus, were more widely read in the ancient world than what we now call the 'core novels', "c'est-à-dire, du point de vue historique, plus significatifs" (p. 238). I also find quite important his plea for looking at a text such as Joseph and Aseneth from all directions: Jewish, Christian, pagan, literary, historical. Some of the more interesting papers in the first part of the book open up beckoning vistas, but the authors never take a closer look and their approach remains one-directional. Of course, this is what the Introduction had prepared us for. Nevertheless, I think an approach such as Whitmarsh's (or Briand's for that matter, even if I do not share his enthusiasm for the allegorical mode) will ultimately be the most fruitful one.

The book has high production values: it is well-edited and properly proofread, excellently printed, and provided with two indices (an index locorum and an index of names — where some subjects are hiding as well; a separate subject index would have been welcome.

Table of Contents

PART 1. Les potentialités littéraires de la religion (ou le fait religieux et l'écriture romanesque)
[1.1] Rôle structurant du divin ou du religieux dans la trame romanesque:
— Alain Billault: Cultes, rites et récit dans le roman d'Achille Tatius
— Jean-Philippe Guez: Le royaume d'Aphrodite et la grotte d'Artémis: amour et chasteté chez Achille Tatius
— Françoise Létoublon et Nicolas Boulic: Éros doux-amer
— Marie-Ange Calvet-Sebasti: La relation au « Seigneur » dans les Actes apocryphes d'André
[1.2] Fonction méta-littéraire du fait religieux ou du « personnel religieux » (divinités ou clergé):
— Romain Brethes: Hommes sacrés, sacrés hommes : fonction du prêtre dans le roman grec
— Michel Briand: L'érotique (et le dionysiaque) dans les Pastorales de Longus, ou la fiction comme rite et thérapie
— Christophe Cusset: Éros parmi les hommes: une divinité très poétique dans le roman de Longus
— Hélène Frangoulis: Hommes et dieux chez les Éthiopiens d'Héliodore
— Giovanni Garbugino: La fête du Dieu Rire dans les Métamorphoses d'Apulée
[1.3] Dieu/religion et caractérisation des personnages:
— Koen De Temmerman: Dieux humains et hommes divins dans le roman grec ancien
— Cécile Bost-Pouderon: Leurs yeux se rencontrèrent . . . ou Les fêtes religieuses des romans grecs et l'ἔκφρασις χρόνων (καίρων) des traités de rhétorique

PART 2. Le fond Religieux
[2.1] Approches philosophiques ou spirituelles:
— Sébastien Montanari: Les dieux-hommes d'Évhémère
— Ken Dowden: Apulée et le culte
— Mariangela Scarsi Garbugino: Nostalgie et déclin du mythe dans la « fable » d'Amour et Psyché
— Tim Whitmarsh: Joseph et Aséneth: érotisme et religion
[2.2] Lectures allégoriques:
— John R. Morgan: Le culte du Nil chez Héliodore
— Michel Lassithiotakis: Foi et reniement, vie régulière et séculière : une lecture du roman d'Imbérios et Margarona
[2.3] Réappropriation des figures divines et évolution du sentiment religieux:
— Corinne Jouanno: Du roman grec au roman byzantin: réflexions sur le rôle de la tyché
— Florence Meunier: Polythéisme et christianisme dans le roman byzantin du XIIe siècle
— Henri Tonnet: La religion dans le roman grec au XIXe siècle
Index locorum
Index nominum
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