Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Richard Sorabji, Perception, Conscience and Will in Ancient Philosophy. Variorum collected studies series, CS 1030. Farnham; London; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Variorum, 2013. Pp. 324. ISBN 9781409446699. $165.00.

Reviewed by John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin (

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This is a most welcome and significant addition to the Variorum Collected Studies series. It is unusual in various interesting ways. First of all, the great majority of the papers included here (11 out of 13) concern a single broad topic, or rather a nest of closely- related topics, the mind-body relation and the mechanics of perception, primarily in Aristotle (although also to some extent in Plato, and in the later commentators on Aristotle – with whom of course Sorabji, by reason of his long-time editorship of the great Ancient Commentators on Aristotle series, has had much to do over the years). Just the last two papers concern, respectively, the concepts of moral conscience and the will, and these extend more broadly, from Plato to late antiquity. Secondly, the collection is enriched with a much more extensive introduction than is usual in the series, in which Sorabji comments in some depth on the papers making up the collection.

First, a list of the contents (with dates of original publication) then some remarks.

Part I Perception:
1. Body and soul in Aristotle (1974)
2. The mind-body relation in the wake of Plato's 'Timaeus' (2003)
3. Intentionality and physiological processes: Aristotle's theory of sense perception (1992)
4. From Aristotle to Brentano: the development of the concept of intentionality (1991)
5. Aristotle on sensory processes and intentionality: a reply to Myles Burnyeat (2001)
6. Aristotle on demarcating the five senses (1971)
7. Aristotle, mathematics and colour (1972)
8. Aristotle on colour, light and imperceptibles (2004)
9. Aristotle on the instant of change (1976)
10. Aristotle's perceptual functions permeated by Platonist reason (2004)
11.Self-awareness. (2007)
Part II Conscience and Will:
12. Moral conscience: contributions to the idea in Plato and Platonism (2012)
13. The concept of will from Plato to Maximus the Confessor (2004)

It will be seen that the chronology of these papers extends from the 1970s, with a gap in the 1980s, more or less to the present day. They thus represent a most intriguing conspectus of the development of Sorabji's thought on a number of topics that have long been of interest to him.

The first two papers concern the 'mind-body' problem, or, more properly, the status of the soul in relation to the body. Here Sorabji has much of importance to say about the differences between Aristotle's position and those of 'proper' materialists, ancient or modern. He is surely right that Aristotle is not a materialist; what Aristotle objects to, and feels that he has a superior formulation to, is the Platonic/Academic penchant for 'separable' immaterial entities, whether soul or Forms. The Aristotelian immanent form is not a material entity, any more than is the active intellect.

This issue pervades also the next three papers (III-V), on the general topic of the physiology of perception, together with the question of the 'intentional object', such as Franz Brentano thought he perceived being at least adumbrated in Aristotle. Sorabji gives (particularly in IV) a fascinating survey of the pre-history of this doctrine in various commentators on Aristotle, a key element being Avicenna's propounding of the concept of ma'na, 'meaning', as being what Aristotle describes as the 'form without the matter', that the sense abstracts from the sense-object, which is then translated into Latin as intentio. I must say (contra Sorabji) that I feel that Brentano (and Avicenna) has put his finger on something here, in that an 'intentional object' is at least a concept towards which Aristotle is feeling his way. But perhaps, as a Platonist, I should stay out of this controversy!

Essay VI has interesting things to say about the demarcation of the five senses, drawing on De Anima II.3, 4 and 6, and Essay VII has interesting things to say on Aristotle's borrowing of Pythagorean theories of mathematical ratios to explain relations between colours. In Essay VIII, Sorabji turns to De Sensu chs. 3, 6 and 7, to discuss the relation among colour, light and transparency. This in turn brings up the issue of minimal magnitudes, whether of colour-shades, musical notes or time, which is the topic of Essay IX, on the instant of change. Sorabji's discussion here is authoritative and fascinating. Just one thing it occurs to me to add, in connexion with Aristotle's concern to attack the notion of minimum or indivisible units, and that is that his rival Xenocrates, in the Academy, seems to have been quite keen on these in various spheres (minimal lines, minimal units of sound) – although ultimately, no doubt, it is Zeno's paradoxes that Aristotle is concerned with.

In Essays X and XI Sorabji passes to the topic of self-awareness, and the nature of 'higher order' perceptions or thoughts. He is very good on how the later Platonists upgraded Aristotle's 'common sense' into a faculty of 'attention' (prosektikon). In Essay XI, he lays emphasis on the point that one does not absolutely require a single faculty for self-awareness, just a single person to possess what may be a plurality of faculties.

Mention of conscience (suneidos) as well as self-consciousness in Essay XI provides a good link to the last two essays, which concern the topics of moral conscience and will. Essay XII, a contribution to the 2012 Festschrift in honour of Charles Kahn, presents a fine survey of the concept of conscience from its beginnings in Platonic passages discussing 'sharing knowledge with oneself (suneidêsis) of a defect' down to Augustine. A parallel investigation is conducted in Essay XIII into the concept of the will, a topic much investigated in recent years. I must say that I bristle at suggestions in earlier treatments of the subject that somehow the Greeks failed to discover the will, which needed to be developed by figures like Augustine. I think that they were quite well off without it, and I am glad to observe that Sorabji would on the whole agree with me. Still, he analyses very lucidly what the salient components of this concept might be, and who (viz. Posidonius, Epictetus, or Alexander of Aphrodisias) might have developed them on the Greek side. He carries the story past Augustine, even to Maximus the Confessor, who was primarily concerned with how many wills Christ might have had. In his introduction, Sorabji is able to take account of the fine (though posthumous and unrevised) Sather Lectures on the topic by Michael Frede (A Free Will, Berkeley, 2011)

All these essays, of course, should be taken in conjunction with Sorabji's relevant book-length studies, such as Matter, Space and Motion (1988), Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate (1993), Emotion and Peace of Mind (2000) or Self: Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality (2006), to which they relate in various ways. All in all, we are treated here to a feast of insightful reflections on all of these topics, many of the discussions being retractations of others, to make up a dynamic whole. The collection is completed by three indices, one on Perception, one on Moral Conscience and one on Will.

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David L. Kennedy, Settlement and Soldiers in the Roman Near East. Variorum collected studies series, CS 1032. Farnham; Burlington,VT: Ashgate, 2013. Pp. 300. ISBN 9781409464365. $165.00.

Reviewed by Nigel Pollard, Swansea University (

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Table of Contents

David Kennedy has made a crucial contribution to the study of the Roman East that now spans four decades. While this volume reprints only a small sample of his vast and distinguished output (and significant areas of this are absent, Zeugma, for example), and is a rather mixed selection in terms of subject matter, it provides a convenient collection of important articles that illustrate his range and key themes of his work, namely the Roman army in the East and urban and rural settlement in the region. They also illustrate Kennedy's expertise in both written and archaeological evidence, and the impressive range of methodological and theoretical approaches employed in his research.

The volume is organized into three sections, titled 'The Roman Near East', 'Settlement', and 'Soldiers', with the soldiers taking up nearly half of the book. Since the linking themes are broad ones rather than presenting detailed arguments that can be followed through the whole book, it is perhaps most useful to single out particular highlights from each section.

The Roman Near East

While the first paper, a 2006 review article focused on Maurice Sartre's The Middle East under Rome, introduces some important themes that run through the volume (diversity of identity in the region and the crucial role of archaeology in studying and defining it), the second piece, 'Demography, the population of Syria and the census of Q. Aemilius Secundus', reprinted from Levant (2006) is a particularly good one to demonstrate the range of Kennedy's interests and expertise. While centred on a discussion of CIL III, 6687 (ILS 2683), which records the involvement of an equestrian auxiliary officer in Quirinius' census of Syro-Palestine in AD 6, Kennedy places the inscription in the context of recent scholarship on demography and its centrality in the study of the ancient economy. He also brings to bear archaeological evidence from both urban and rural Syria to evaluate the past and present contexts of the inscription. The inscription provides rare numerical information on for the population of a Roman city, recording that the census officer counted 117,000 individuals in the territory of Apamea. Kennedy convincingly argues that this figure represents a "high count" that includes almost all the free inhabitants of the city and its rural chora rather than a narrow one composed of (for example) just enfranchised adult males, as argued by Cumont and others. Kennedy adduces evidence from the urban and rural archaeology of the region to demonstrate the implausibility of a population of half a million or so inhabitants of Apamene (implied by Cumont's figures) while acknowledging, in conclusion, the limitations of applying a static and undifferentiated number when confronting the problem of ancient demography in a wider sense.


'The identity of Roman Gerasa: an archaeological approach', from a 1997 conference in Canberra, reiterates Kennedy's view that archaeology produces a much more complex and diverse picture of identity than studies (such as Fergus Millar's) based largely on written evidence. He examines environment, rural settlement ('the less dramatic and largely unseen developments'), and urban archaeology to demonstrate how these factors (and their accretion over the centuries) led to considerable local variation in the character of cities and their territories, even within the Decapolis. 'The Frontier of Settlement in Roman Arabia: Gerasa to Umm el-Jimal… and beyond', from Mediterraneo Antico 3.2 (2000) examines in detail a 'slice' of Roman Arabia, from the fertile hinterland of Gerasa, through the steppe town of Umm el-Jimal and into the desert proper to take a fascinating look at the relationship between sedentary and nomadic populations. It considers environmental factors, rural settlement, urban development and military deployment. Kennedy discusses the intensification of civilian settlement in marginal areas in (broadly speaking) the Roman period, and its relationship to the considerable evidence for Roman militarisation of the region in (particularly) the Severan period. He argues that the civilian occupation may have pre-dated the military presence and suggests that initial settlement and sedentarisation were perhaps relatively peaceful, but provoked longer-term problems with nomads that required the later deployment of Roman garrisons. A third paper reprinted in this part of the book (from JFA 22.3, 1995) examines the issue of 'Water supply and use in the Southern Hauran, Jordan'.


This part of the volume is largely made up of older contributions, mostly from the 1980s, many of which were fundamental in developing our knowledge of the Roman army in the eastern provinces. Most are based on epigraphic and literary evidence. For example, 'Legio VI Ferrata: The Annexation and Early Garrison of Arabia' (from HSCP 84, 1980) sets out some of the evidence relating to the complex question of the deployment of the legions in the eastern provinces in the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. It particularly follows III Cyrenaica, from Egypt to Arabia, then back to Egypt and finally back to Arabia and VI Ferrata from Samosata in Commagene to Arabia and then to Syria Palaestina. While more recent evidence (from Saudi Arabia and Israel, among other places) has provided a more detailed picture of the deployment of these legions, none of it undermines Kennedy's principal arguments, and the paper remains fundamental. The same applies to 'The Garrisoning of Mesopotamia in the Late Antonine and Early Severan Period' (Antichthon 21, 1987), which examines the implications of Severan expansion for the existing legions of Syria as well as the legions I Parthica (based at Singara) and III Parthica (Kennedy argues, entirely plausibly, for Nisibis), newly raised in 194/5. ' "Europaean" Soldiers and the Severan Siege of Hatra' (from Kennedy and Philip Freeman's 1986 volume The Defence of the Roman and Byzantine East disputes Michael Speidel's view that Cassius Dio's reference (76.12.3-5) to elite but mutinous troops at Severus' second siege of Hatra as Europaioi alludes to elements of the garrison of Dura-Europos. Kennedy follows the traditional interpretation of the term, that they were European troops, perhaps from Moesia, rightly presenting the ineffectiveness of the Syrian troops there (Dio's Suroi) in the light of their recent defeats in support of Niger and their limited experience of siege warfare rather than the literary topos of the general laxity of eastern legions. 'The military contribution of Syria to the Roman imperial army', from David French and Christopher Lightfoot's 1989 volume The Eastern Frontier of the Roman Empire provides an important overview of the rather scattered evidence for recruitment of individual Syrians and of Syrian auxiliary units to the Roman army, emphasizing the extent to which this contribution has been underestimated, partly due to the ancient prejudice against easterners as soldiers. Of the four other papers in this part of the collection, only one ('The special command of M. Valerius Lollianus', from a 1997 volume edited by Edward Dabrowa) is perhaps unsatisfying, not because its argument (that the inscription naming Lollianus as praepositus of a group of alae and cohortes equitatae in Mesopotamia relates to unrest on the Parthian frontier in c. AD123) is inherently implausible, but because it is intricate but remains essentially hypothetical, as Kennedy himself admits in the five pages of addenda and reflection that round off the book.

Overall, the quality of the papers is excellent, and all of them are well worth reprinting and re-reading. Their selection in terms of subject matter seems a little uneven, although they do serve to illustrate the range of Kennedy's output and expertise, as already noted. The volume is fairly expensive for a collection of reprints, particularly when many readers will be able to access the papers in their original publications. The brief preface and addenda by the author himself, while providing useful updates, do not add much to the book. However, for a reader who has yet to encounter this material, or for a library lacking the original versions (the 1980s BAR volumes in particular may be hard to find now), this volume is invaluable and strongly recommended.

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Alain Blanchard, Ménandre, tome II: Le Héros; L'Arbitrage; La Tondue; La Fabula incerta du Caire. Collection des Universités de France. Série grecque, 495. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2013. Pp. lxxi, 238. ISBN 9782251005782. €55.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Giada Sorrentino, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (

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L'edizione menandrea della Collection des Universités de France si arricchisce del suo secondo tomo, dedicato alle commedie restituiteci dal papiro Cairensis (ad eccezione della Samia) e curato da Alain Blanchard.

L'opera si apre con un'introduzione generale (XI-XXXVIII) in cui l'autore, colmando un vuoto registrato nei precedenti volumi della collana, ricostruisce la vita, la produzione e la fortuna di Menandro. Al suo interno, novità rilevanti presenta la datazione di alcune commedie: accogliendo i risultati di recenti studi sulla cronologia delle opere menandree, Blanchard assegna all'anno 321 la Thais facendola divenire la prima commedia menandrea in luogo dell'Orgé, ritenuta invece vincitrice di un agone drammatico nel 315, e colloca la rappresentazione degli Epitrepontes nel 295.1 La rappresentazione degli Imbrioi è fissata al 301 sulla base del testo di P.Oxy. 1235 (Test. 52 K.-A.). In esso tuttavia si afferma che Menandro compose la commedia per presentarla alle Dionisie dell'anno dell'arcontato di Nicocle (appunto il 302/301), ma che la rappresentazione non avvenne a causa della tirannide di Lacare: la notizia avrebbe pertanto richiesto un'adeguata discussione, che invece manca.2 Le diverse tappe della fortuna di Menandro e della sua opera sono ripercorse in una quindicina di pagine la cui densità di informazione non va a scapito della piacevolezza della lettura. In modo sintetico vengono affrontate questioni di estrema importanza come quella delle ragioni e dei tempi della scomparsa delle opere menandree. Blanchard ritiene che questa, avvenuta tra il IX e il X sec., sia stata il frutto tardivo dell'opera di detrattori come l'atticista Frinico, che presentarono Menandro come uno dei rappresentanti più significativi della crisi politico-culturale cui Atene andò incontro dopo il V secolo, escludendolo perciò dal novero degli autori da imitare.

All'introduzione generale ne segue una al presente tomo, incentrata sul Cairensis (XXXIX-LI). In essa Blanchard dapprima ripercorre la storia della riscoperta e delle pubblicazioni del codice e in seguito ne illustra il contenuto e le particolarità formali senza limitarsi alla mera descrizione (condotta peraltro con precisione e chiarezza), ma tentando di risalire ai criteri che lo strutturano. Pur ammettendo l'impossibilità, allo stato attuale delle nostre conoscenze, di giungere ad alcuna certezza in proposito, Blanchard corre volentieri il "beau risque" (XLVI) di avanzare ipotesi sulla selezione di opere menandree contenute nel codice e sull'ordine in cui esse erano disposte. Perciò, considerando che quest'ultimo non era alfabetico né, probabilmente, cronologico, Blanchard immagina che il Cairensis fosse suddiviso per triadi di commedie simili per intreccio e personaggi: ad es. l'Heros e gli Epitrepontes avrebbero fatto parte di una triade caratterizzata dal fatto di mostrare madri vittime di violenza le cui pene cessano dopo un riconoscimento (XLVI n. 2).

Dopo la lista delle sigle e delle abbreviazioni e quella della bibliografia (LIII-LXXI), si passa alla trattazione delle singole commedie secondo l'ordine nel quale con ogni probabilità si succedevano all'interno del codice: all'Heros (3-20) seguono gli Epitrepontes (23-136), la Perikeiromene (139-198) e infine la Fabula Incerta (201-214). Com'è nella tradizione della collana, il testo di ogni commedia è preceduto da una "notice" introduttiva in cui Blanchard presenta ogni opera illustrando quanto si conosce dell'intrigo, della struttura e dei personaggi e discutendo ampiamente e spesso in modo originale le tematiche e gli interrogativi che la riguardano; inoltre, quando vi siano altri testimoni, li enumera e ne descrive le caratteristiche materiali, paleografiche e di contenuto. Il testo è stato stabilito, come affermato da Blanchard stesso, "sans grande prétention à l'originalité" (VIII), ma traendo profitto dai principali contributi alla sua restituzione. L'apparato, di tipo positivo, è ampio e dettagliato. La traduzione in francese a fronte è resa scorrevole dalla scelta di completare i periodi lacunosi il cui senso appaia ricostruibile dal contesto con i supplementi ritenuti più verosimili, contrassegnati in corsivo, ed è accompagnata da indicazioni didascaliche. Le note di commento poste in calce alla traduzione oppure in appendice al volume (215-233) costituiscono uno strumento utile e snello per la comprensione del testo e all'occorrenza presentano opportuni riferimenti bibliografici. Ricca è la bibliografia sul testo delle commedie.

A queste osservazioni generali è opportuno far seguire la discussione di singoli aspetti della trattazione di ogni commedia in cui sembrano risiedere novità o problemi rilevanti.

A proposito del testo dell'Heros, Blanchard dispone i piccoli frammenti del Cairensis attribuiti generalmente alla commedia allo stesso modo di Sandbach e Austin e differentemente da Arnott.3 Inoltre, come già Webster4 annovera tra i frammenti dubbi (come fr. 11) il fr. adesp. 1022 K.-A. (proveniente da P.Oxy. 862), sulla base del fatto che i resti del frammento sembrano contenere l'annuncio della nascita di un figlio ad un personaggio di nome Fidia. Al v. 69 (al termine del quale nel testo si omette l'indicazione di un dicolon) l'apparato trascura di segnalare che nel codice τι era posto tra il vocativo γύναι ed uno spazio. Nella traduzione, al v. 1 del fr. 3 il neutro τὸ καλόν sarebbe stato reso più fedelmente da un sostantivo astratto (come "la virtù" o "l'onestà") che da "l'homme de bien".

Nell'introduzione agli Epitrepontes Blanchard si sofferma soprattutto sul "pathétique" (23), che a suo avviso ne rappresenta il carattere fondamentale ed è legato alla sofferenza della giovane Panfile per la violenza subìta. La vicenda è molto vicina a quella dell'Alope di Euripide, che Blanchard, come numerosi interpreti (cfr. 33 n. 2), ritiene uno dei modelli principali degli Epitrepontes: tenta perciò di individuare, oltre agli elementi di prossimità tra le due vicende (dall'abuso contro una fanciulla bellissima al personaggio del padre di lei, in ambedue i casi "un être difficile" (35)), quelli che le differenziano, il più evidente dei quali è lo svolgimento di quella comica in un ambito quotidiano e cittadino regolato da leggi. Lo sfondo giuridico nel quale essa si sviluppa viene ricostruito sia per la scena dell'arbitrato sia riguardo alla situazione di Smicrine e Panfile. Nella presentazione dei personaggi lo spazio maggiore è dedicato a Smicrine, che Blanchard ritiene "vraiment le personnage principal de la pièce" (49) sminuendo a mio parere l'importanza di Carisio, dei suoi comportamenti e soprattutto del suo ravvedimento, non riducibile ad un suo 'rubare la scena' (227 n. 5) al personaggio del vecchio. Una maggiore considerazione per il ruolo di Carisio si accorda meglio con la bella osservazione di Blanchard sulla corrispondenza rivelata dai comportamenti dei due κύριοι di Panfile (quello presente e quello passato) nel metterne a rischio la felicità.

Per le lezioni e i supplementi scelti il testo degli Epitrepontes deve molto a quello stabilito da Furley5 nella sua ottima edizione, ma accoglie talora i suggerimenti di altri studiosi (come al v. 576, sanato secondo la proposta di Austin).6 Nella collocazione dei frammenti Blanchard mostra invece in genere maggiore prudenza rispetto ai precedenti editori: a parte quelli situabili con certezza (come il fr. 1 K.-Th., ormai identificato come l'incipit della commedia), tutti i frammenti di tradizione indiretta sono posti tra quelli "aliunde nota", benché per ognuno di essi venga ipotizzata o discussa una collocazione; analogamente, la maggior parte dei resti trasmessici da papiri è riunita nella sezione dei "Fragmenta papyrologica nondum inserta" (eccetto quelli del P.Oxy. 4936, inseriti nelle prime due scene).7 Questa è la prima edizione degli Epitrepontes che tiene conto del contributo dei frammenti di papiri del Michigan pubblicati da Cornelia Römer nel 20128 per la ricostruzione dei vv. 692-702 della presente edizione e dei vv. 786-823. Il testo pubblicato coincide quasi perfettamente con quello della Römer, ma i frammenti lasciano ancora spazio alle congetture, come dimostra un recentissimo articolo di Furley9 contenente per essi numerose proposte di diversa integrazione. Per il v. 270 in apparato non viene indicata la lezione del codice, che per un passo così problematico sotto l'aspetto testuale sarebbe stato opportuno riportare a fini di chiarezza.

Nelle note, un errore compiuto da Blanchard (220 n. 8), come già da Furley (123), riguarda il contenuto del passo del commento al De interpretatione di Aristotele cui dobbiamo i versi 1-3 della commedia (4.5 p. XXII). Secondo entrambi gli studiosi questi vi compaiono come illustrazione del fatto che l'amore svanisce rapidamente. In realtà, l'anonimo commentatore li cita a proposito di tutt'altro: presentando un tipo di domanda (l'ἐρωτηματικός), osserva che ad esso "rapida segue la risposta", come nel passo menandreo.

Ai vv. 397-398 pur stampando, come Furley, οἷόν τε …;, da intendere come domanda retorica ("È possibile mettere in salvo i beni di un orfanello?"), Blanchard traduce il periodo rendendo οἷον un esclamativo ("Quelle affaire c'est de sauver les biens d'un orphelin!").

Nell'introduzione alla Perikeiromene (139-159), dopo aver ricostruito la trama, che ritiene caratterizzata da un "pathétique masculin" (139) per la centralità del personaggio di Polemone e del suo sentimento amoroso, Blanchard indaga i legami della commedia con la filosofia e la tragedia. Dapprima riflette sulla προπέτεια di Polemone, che essendo priva di premeditazione può considerarsi un ἀτύχημα, mentre in seguito ravvisa interessanti analogie sul piano dell'intreccio tra la commedia e l'Ifigenia in Tauride, accostate già in un affresco di Efeso del II sec. d. C., indicando l'opera euripidea come il modello tragico della commedia.

A proposito del v. 282 l'apparato non chiarisce quale sia il testo del Cairensis, mentre per il v. 1021 non accenna al fatto che secondo diversi studiosi (come Sandbach) la nota personae apposta sul margine sinistro si riferiva a Glicera.

Nella traduzione, la frase del v. 527 dovrebbe avere un soggetto di terza persona plurale. La traduzione del v. 748 sembra adattarsi maggiormente al testo di Sandbach che a quello adottato.

Nell'introduzione alla Fabula Incerta (201-205), per la quale nessuna identificazione è ritenuta soddisfacente, Blanchard enumera i frammenti che sono stati da alcuni studiosi (come Arnott) assegnati a quest'opera (PSI 1176, P.Oxy. 429, 2533 e 4409), affermando che non si hanno informazioni sufficienti per pubblicarli insieme ai circa 70 versi del Cairensis.

Numerosi sono i refusi, che risultano particolarmente fastidiosi quando occorrono nel testo delle commedie.10

I rilievi mossi non intendono comunque sminuire il valore che questo volume ha per la conoscenza delle commedie menandree edite e del loro principale testimone.


1.   La datazione di Orgé e Thais segue P. Iversen, "Menander's Thaïs: 'Hac primum iuvenum lascivos lusit amores'", CQ 61 (2011), 186-191, quella degli Epitrepontes E.W. Handley, "The Date of Menander's Epitrepontes", ZPE 178 (2011), 51-53.
2.   La notizia viene ampiamente discussa da L. O'Sullivan, "History from comic hypotheses: Stratocles, Lachares and P.Oxy. 1235", GRBS 49 (2009), 53-79.
3.   I nomi di questi autori non seguiti da precisazioni si riferiscono rispettivamente a F.H. Sandbach, Menandri reliquiae selectae, Oxford2 1990, C. Austin, Menander, Eleven Plays, Cambridge 2013, W.G. Arnott, Menander, voll. I-III, Cambridge Mass./London 1979-2000.
4.   T.B.L. Webster, An introduction to Menander, Manchester 1974, 148 n. 1.
5.   Questo nome senza ulteriori indicazioni si riferisce a W.D. Furley, Menander, Epitrepontes, London 2009.
6.   C. Austin, "Varia Menandrea", ZPE 175 (2010), 9-14.
7.   Seguendo E.W. Handley, "Menander, Epitrepontes", in: The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. 73, London 2009, 25-31.
8.   C. Römer, "New Fragments of Act IV, Epitrepontes 786–823 Sandbach (P.Mich. 4752 A, B and C)", ZPE 182 (2012) 112–120; ead., "A New Fragment of End of Act III, Epitrepontes 690–701 Sandbach (P.Mich. 4805)", ZPE 183 (2012) 33–36.
9.   W.D. Furley, "Pamphile Regains Her Voice: on the Newly Published Fragments of Menander's Epitrepontes", ZPE 185 (2013), 82-90.
10.   Ne cito e. g. alcuni preceduti dal numero della pagina: XXIII παιδιόν per παιδίον; XXXIV in der letzten per in den letzten; XLIII reliquia per reliquiae; 16 ἒχει per ἔχει; 35 v. 716 per v. 714; 51 ἀμάρτημα per ἁμάρτημα; 70 E. Nünlist per R. Nünlist; 74 CAG 3.5 per 4.5, Μενάδρου per Μενάδρωι, ἔναρχος per ἔναγχος; 79 ἀ γ' per ἅ γ', ταῦτὰ per ταῦτα, νύκ[κ]τος per νυ[κ]τός; 81 πειρᾶν per πείραν, οὔθεις per οὐθείς, Σμικρὶνη per Σμικρίνη; 82 διπλάσιά per διπλάσια; 86 ἐπόιεις per ἐποίεις, ἐπόιουν per ἐποίουν, εποουν C riferito al v. 284 anziché al v. 274; 172 ἀτόπον per ἄτοπον; 192 ?95 per ?951; 219 ψαλτρία anziché ψάλτρια; 228 5. per 1.

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Caroline Vout, Sex on Show: Seeing the Erotic in Greece and Rome. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2013. Pp. 256. ISBN 9780520280205. $34.95.

Reviewed by Beert C. Verstraete, Acadia University (

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This thought-provoking and beautifully illustrated book by Professor Vout, who is Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and a Senior Fellow of Christ's College, is the fruit of a solid record of previous scholarship,1 but its catchy title already hints that the author's target audience goes well beyond fellow scholars and will most certainly not fail to engage anyone with a keen interest in the conspicuous legacy of erotic art and iconography that the ancient Greco-Roman world has bequeathed to us. The book's informal tone is established right in its first sentence: "The ancient Greeks and Romans were not shy about sex." (9) And it also echoes in the fundamental question that soon follows: "Why did the ancient Greeks and Romans put sex on show?" (9) Right from the beginning, the author makes it abundantly clear that reflection upon what might be thought of as the constants of human nature will not get us very far in answering this question, but that, rather, we must consider the all-important cultural context, a much more exacting task: "Human nature is the easy bit. It is cultural difference that is difficult to negotiate." (11)

Not surprisingly, given her overall target audience, Vout everywhere is light on theory (as opposed to the praxis) of critical understanding and appreciation on the part of the 21st-century viewer and reader. Thus, in her opening chapter, "Sex, Love, Seduction," she does not hesitate to affirm that "the value of imagination should not be underestimated" (14) as we, contemporary viewers and readers, try to divine how Greek or Roman men and women, from whatever social class or status, might have responded to a erotically or sexually charged objet d'art or implement. Even though ours must be an imagination informed by sound research, "[n]o amount of research will ever confirm whether, whatever they said in writing, Greeks or Romans ever indulged in oral sex in the privacy of their bedrooms." (14) Our response should not be purely subjective or rest exclusively, or almost so, on the sexual norms and mores current in our own age and society. What the author seems to be enjoining on the modern viewer or reader is an act of imaginative empathy, or to use Hans-Georg Gadamer's well-known hermeneutic term, "a fusion of horizons." Vout perhaps states her hermeneutic most clearly and explicitly in the final chapter, "Desire or the Antique": her book has not "tried to impose contemporary categories but to interpret what the iconography of each object had to say, and said differently, at different periods of the past, and what each object now has to say, articulating this carefully, suggestively even, so as to engage the reader with his or her own looking." (234)

The author casts her eye on a wide range of art and iconography: statuary, painted vases, wall paintings, and numerous domestic and cultic artefacts with erotic and sexual representations and motifs, illustrations and discussions of which already abound in the first chapter. The chapters are organized thematically: I "Sex, Love, Seduction"; II "Exposure"; III "Fantasy"; IV "Divine Encounters"; V "Fatal Attraction"; VI "Desire for the Antique." The fundamental methodology informing her art history is succinctly stated here: "Careful looking and detailed comparison of images—especially, but not only those that are contemporary with one another—lends flesh to individual examples. It allows us to compose frames of visual reference within which to situate Greek or Roman viewing." (17) Vout goes on to underline that "this is not simply a case of our subjectivities versus those of the ancients. Our looking adds another layer of response to an already proliferating set of meanings which takes us back through collection- and cataloguing histories, back to when the objects were rediscovered and desired again for the first time since antiquity." (17) Thus, in our ideal, i.e. in our most concentrated and best articulated viewing we have to "wade" (21) through layers of meaning accumulated over the centuries, and, as the author puts it, " this book is going to leave no layer unexcavated when it comes to seeing sex in Greece and Rome more clearly." (21)

In the section, "Terminologies," in ch. I the author makes it clear that she will always carefully distinguish between what was "represented" and what was "merely suggested" (22)—a distinction that is well observed by her throughout the book. In the following section, "Love and Marriage," Vout, surprisingly but but certainly not inappropriately, also discusses male same-sex desire here, mainly illustrated from Greek vase-painting: "[o]ne of the most fascinating things about Greek culture is its investment in 'homosexuality'…" (28) Surprising art- and cultural-critical forays such as this are indeed typical of this book.

At the beginning of the second and longest chapter, "Exposure," the reader is usefully reminded that, in contrast to nakedness, "nudity is not a natural state but a representational choice, parading at being unaffected." (44) Vout takes us through the idealizing but unselfconscious representation of divine (both male and female) and male-athletic nudity in ancient Greek statuary (including their later Roman versions ) and vase-painting. She also ventures into the far more selective and deliberately Hellenizing and heroizing depiction of male nudity in Roman culture, where it was superimposed on the traditional 'veristic' styles of portraiture. She continues into the age of Augustus and his imperial successors who made "the nude body one of the standard types in a limited range of options…" (81) It is useful, however, to be reminded that the convention of the idealizing depiction of the male nude in classical Greek art enjoyed only a limited range and did not apply to the representations of intellectuals and orators. The depiction of nudity, of both male and female, also provided, as much then as it does now, an ample means for making a prurient impact on the viewer, not to speak of the comedic, satiric, and sheer pornographic possibilities; here, too, the author provides thoughtful guidance through the wealth of illustrative material ranging from Roman wall painting to the famous Warren Cup. The chapter closes with a brief reflection on how the Christian community of late antiquity, on the one hand, and not surprisingly, rejected the nudist conventions of pagan iconography, while, on the other hand, nudity might be "revised once again to signal resurrection, rebirth, or baptism" (88) and Greco-Roman imagery featuring erotic nudity turns up sporadically in the Christian iconography of late antiquity.

As noted earlier, already in the first chapter Vout stresses the crucial role played by the imagination, not only in the artist's or craftsperson's act of creating the erotic or sexually charged object (the author speaks punningly in the third chapter of the rampant "sexhibitionism," both Greek and Roman), but equally in the ancient viewer's response to that object. Consequently, therefore, the object's purely representational aspect, its iconic conveyance, so to speak, to the viewer, of a social reality should also not be overemphasized. Today's viewer, too, is not bound to a reductively representative quality of erotic and sexual iconography. Thus, for instance, as is underlined by Vout, a woman depicted in an erotic Greek vase as performing oral sex on a man or submitting to sodomy should not be simply understood as a prostitute but as any woman, whether married and socially respectable or not, who is objectified in the male imagination as lasciviously pleasuring her male partner. The force of the idealizing imagination should also not be underestimated in the ancient iconography, as, for instance, in the portrayal of a husband and wife couple (cf. the sculpted panel of the funeral altar of Pedana, illustrated on p. 127). Similarly, mythological scenes need not be received and understood in a purely literalistic fashion.

"Divine Encounters," the theme of chapter four has already entered the earlier chapters, especially the second, which touches, among others, on the myth of Actaeon and Artemis. The chapter opens with highlighting the sharp contrast between ascetic Christianity and Greco-Roman polytheism with its erotically and sexually driven deities who crowd the iconography of Greek and Roman religion and must have equally saturated the fervor of its worshippers. Even so, as Vout underlines, "[i]n favouring anthropomorphism, the Greeks were not simply assuming affinity with their gods. They were quantifying the distance between their world and that of the divine." (133.) The ontological gap between god/goddess and mortal was, after all, enormous. Thus, this anthropomorphism did not amount to a benevolent pansexualism, a fact vividly demonstrated, among others, by the fateful encounters between gods (or goddesses) and mortals which ended disastrously for the latter. The iconography of Dionysus, the eroticized god par excellence although, paradoxically, "one of the least adulterous," (148) is discussed in detail, as well as the not infrequently grotesque—not even eschewing bestiality – philandering of the gods, especially Zeus; for these "offered the ancients templates for facing the often unlikely pairings and clumsy couplings involved in love and lovemaking. They also offered alternative templates for sketching divine will and obeisance to it." (151). The deification of Hadrian's Antinous and the stupendous iconography of the second century reflecting and celebrating it, the most remarkable religious phenomenon certainly of late Greco-Roman paganism, as the author, too, sees it – an apotheosis of the erotic Beautiful, if there ever was one – rounds out this chapter.

The fifth chapter," Fatal Attraction," opens with a striking two-page close-up of a marble group of a satyr and nymph (from a Roman version inspired by a second century BCE Greek original which is illustrated in its entirety on p. 178), and with the following question: "How much of what we have been looking at in the last few chapters could, or should be, classified as violent or pornographic?" The contemporary topicality of this question is obvious and is handled perspicaciously by the author. The titles of the three sections following the introductory pages, "Satyr Porn," "Screwing the enemy" (illustrated, among others, from the marble relief of the emperor Claudius conquering Britannia), and "Obsessions" (the last bringing in pendants, tintinnabula, and curse tablets from the Roman imperial period), might give the reader the superficial impression of the drift of this chapter as mainly inspiring a judgmental frisson. However, Vout, as always, urges a balanced outlook: "Given how enlightened, egalitarian and lucid we pride ourselves on being, we should not be too quick to judge the Greeks and the Romans for the pleasure they derived from images of sex, sexualisation and sexual violence, any more than we should let them off the hook." (171) In any case, as is made clear also in this chapter, the ancients did have a strong notions of inappropriateness and obscenity with respect to sexuality and the erotic. Already early on, Vout makes a great deal of the disapproval voiced by Suetonius – who we may be sure was expressing common societal opinion – of the emperor Tiberius' extravagant fondness for Parrhasius' sexually graphic painting of Meleager and Atalanta (11-12, with also numerous references to this later on – see the Index). The author's closing observation on a second-century statue of Leda and the swan which was sold at a New York auction for over twelve million pounds — "[t]hose bidding are as guilty as anyone of pornographizing the classical antique and making Leda the ultimate commodity" —leads the reader into the sixth and final chapter, "Desire for the Antique."

The last chapter, like all the previous ones beautifully illustrated, delves into the later West's fascination with the erotic and sexual transparency of the material culture of Greco-Roman civilization, a fascination which captivated artists, scholars (including the all-important excavators and archaeologists), and collectors alike, starting in the Renaissance and then accelerating in the following centuries right into the present. The pioneer in this respect was the sixteenth-century Italian engraver Marcantonio Raimondi, who "produced a set of heterosexual couples having sex [where] the inspiration was classical." (207). The signal contribution of Johann Winckelmann is also highlighted as well as the crucial importance of the excavation of Pompeii in the mid eighteenth century which "brought both collectors…and scholars…into contact with real bodies" (209). It is not easy to disentangle the motivations, "…[s]ex, symbolism, art, scholarship, and pornography…," (214) behind all these interests and activities. As the author points out, already in Cicero's Rome the encounter with Greek art was a complex and multifaceted one. Detailed attention is paid to collectors, including galleries and museums, above all the British Museum, in the English-speaking world, starting in the eighteenth century and ending with the career of Edward Perry Warren. Already in her first chapter Vout underlines that the reception in the West adds for us another, and an indeed most significant, layer of meaning and meaningfulness to the erotically and sexually colored art and material culture of classical antiquity. In this chapter, therefore, the author engages throughout — especially in the closing pages — with questions of contemporary reception and controversy. As she puts it in her second-last sentence, all this art and material culture "are no easier to understand, their provocations still able to shock and to force us to reconsider what we thought we knew about the classical past, neoclassicism, what makes humans human." (237)

The book has thirteen pages of helpful and detailed suggestions for further reading, followed by a note on Greek pottery, a list of picture credits (beyond those for the British Museum, which are identified in the main text), and an index of names and topics.

The excellence of Vout's book, above all for its vivid thematic range, thought-provoking qualities, and splendid gallery of illustrations, not to forget its reasonable price, make it, in my judgment, an ideal companion text—alongside a text drawing on the written word in our ancient sources—for an undergraduate course on sexuality and the erotic in Greco-Roman civilization.


1.   The Hills of Rome: Signature of an Eternal City, Cambridge University Press, 2012; Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome, Cambridge University Press, 2007; Antinous, The Face of the Antique, Henry Moore Sculpture Trust, 2006.

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Edward Dąbrowa (ed.), The Greek World in the 4th and 3rd Centuries BC. Electrum, 19. Kraków​: Jagiellonian University Press, 2012. Pp. 178. ISBN 9788323334835. $42.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Johannes Engels, Universität zu Köln​ (

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This volume in the "Electrum" series offers a rich collection of 10 papers and one review article on very different topics of late classical Greek and early Hellenistic history. Since the thematic and methodological scope is broad, the volume may be of interest to experts in ancient history, philology, archaeology, epigraphy, and numismatics. Due to restrictions of space I focus on selected papers that were of particular interest to me.

Ctesias of Knidos had a quite bad reputation as a historian in earlier modern scholarship, although he found many readers in antiquity as an entertaining author. In recent years, however, one observes a remarkable reappraisal of his qualities as a historian and ethnographer.1 E. Almagor's contribution adds useful observations to these studies. Meanwhile, however, one perhaps should be careful not to exaggerate Ctesias' qualities. Crucial questions concerning Ctesias' biography (e.g. the date and circumstances of his sojourn in Persia or his disputed travels) and the connection between his life as a physician at the Persian court and his writings remain unresolved because of the fragmentary preservation of his works. A much debated topic deals with defining the genre of Ctesias' main work, the Persika. While Ctesias was a founding father of a subgenre of historical works on the vast Persian empire, many modern historians have been puzzled by the "pedestrian lists" (9) which one finds in the Persika (as well as in his other works). Here, Almagor suggests that those lists might be later interpolations to earlier versions of Ctesias' work. More importantly, Almagor then suggests that several minor works of Ctesias, especially the Indika, which circulated in antiquity under Ctesias' name and were transmitted independently, originally might have been sections of this main work. This certainly holds true for Ctesias' Assyriaka which originally made up books 1-6 of the 23 books of the Persika. Given the fragmentary preservation of the Persika, however, in my view it may ultimately be impossible to establish the precise connection between Ctesias' works. I would agree with Almagor on the considerable influence which Ctesias had on later Persika authors, especially on Dinon though I would be cautious to subscribe to Almagor's opinion that the many personal notes in Ctesias' Persika can be judged as "tantamount to a proto-autobiography" (9). Books 19-23 of Ctesias' Persika included the reign of king Artaxerxes II and the revolt of his brother Cyrus (see Almagor 26-27, and his useful appendix 28-36). Hence, literary rivalry between Ctesias and Xenophon, who wrote his Anabasis a few years after Ctesias' Persika, appears to be important and merits further study.

The family monument which Daochus of Pharsalos erected at a most prominent place in the Panhellenic sanctuary of Delphi ranks among the most discussed monuments of late classical Greece.2 Daochus of Pharsalos became tetrarchos of Phthiotis only with the political support of the Macedonian king Philip II. Nevertheless, Aston rightly stresses that the clever political message of this expensive monument should not be reduced to a simple act of showing Daochus as a willing partisan of Philip and Macedon. Aston suggests that Daochus had his own 'Thessalian' agenda and understands the subtle message as a clever gesture towards a shared Macedonian and Thessalian mythology (52). The monument primarily shows the proud self-confidence of Daochus as the leader of an influential Thessalian clan with a long-standing tradition. Delphi was just the right place, where "Thessalians and Macedonians could stage a delicate symbolic interaction founded on shared northern culture, myth and religion" (43).

"There is little about the Pistiros inscription that can be considered certain or uncontroversial" (100), states D. Graninger rightly in his interesting paper.3 As the basis of his discussion of the documentary contexts of this inscription Graninger offers an improved Greek text and a new English translation (101-102). The Pistiros inscription is a key document for the study of the Odrysian kingdom after the death of king Cotys I and before Thrace finally fell under Macedonian hegemony in 340/39 BC. The discussion is still open about the implications of this inscription for the relationship between Greek emporia and poleis and indigenous Thracian kings and their functionaries, on the legal context of trade in the Odrysian kingdom and on specific regulations for Greek resident traders in relation to other Greek traders and to Thracian natives and rulers. Graninger convincingly suggests that the Pistiros inscription should not be understood as a simple re-publication of earlier regulations. He holds that this document substantially adds to earlier regulations and defines them more precisely. One wonders whether we already know of enough ancient sources to venture a comparison with the conditions of trade and co-existence in the Odrysian kingdom and in another border zone of the Greco-Roman world, e.g., in 4th century BC Celtic Gaul.

Both the democratic system and the foreign policy of Athens in the late classical period (403-322 BC) have seen an overdue reassessment over the last decades. Today, only a minority of experts would still defend the earlier general picture of 'failure' or 'decline' of 4th century Athens. P.J. Rhodes has been one of the major participants in these discussions and his overview over Athenian policy after 403 BC4 shows his profound knowledge of the problems and events. Roughly 20 years ago E. Badian coined the lucky term 'ghost of empire', which allegedly haunted the Athenians between 403 and 322 BC with illusory dreams of regaining their 5th century naval empire under dramatically changed circumstances.5 According to Badian, Athenian strategic mistakes would have significantly contributed to an ultimate failure of its military and foreign policy. Rhodes, however, concludes that except for the years after Leuctra and the end of the war against the allies in the Second Athenian League (ca. 371-355 BC), this alleged 'ghost of empire' did not have any malign effects, and that even with substantial more expenditure in the 350s and 340s Athens would not have defeated Philip. One would agree with Rhodes that the crucial first years of Philip's reign probably would have been the best years to fight successfully his expansion. But in the 350s a majority of the Athenians did not regard Philip as a dangerous enemy, or they were occupied with more urgent problems. So what did go wrong with Athenian policy? Rhodes wittily states (quoting the former British prime minister Harold Macmillan): "Athens' problem was 'events, dear boy, events'." For against their expectations, Philip II "was too clever diplomatically and became too strong militarily for the Athenians." (126)

Theopompus' Philippika were the main contemporary historiographical work on the ascendance of Philip II to his final hegemonic position. Unfortunately, the voluminous Philippika have been preserved only very fragmentarily (FGrHist / BNJ 115). Likewise on the royal court and the king's companions (hetairoi); one of the most crucial and notorious fragments is F 225b (preserved in Athenaeus, Deipnosophistai 260d-261a). According to the manuscripts Athenaeus briefly stated that Theopompus mentioned a total number of 800 hetairoi. J. Rzepka discusses thoroughly whether we should understand those 800 men as an inner circle of court hetairoi, or in a more general sense as Philip's cavalry men. Since 800 court companions is an incredibly high number, Rzepka understands simple cavalry men, but then 800 men is clearly too few, and Rzepka convincingly suspects that in the original manuscript a correct number of 1000 and 800 was mentioned (shortly before 338 BC), and then the Greek character sign for the number 1000 was omitted in the process of the manuscript tradition. 1800 cavalry men perfectly fit to the number of Macedonian cavalry which Alexander took with him on the invasion of Asia in 334 BC.

S. Sprawski discusses in his paper the few preserved fragments on the Aristotelian Thettalon Politeia (Fr. 495-500 Rose). According to Sprawski we should be very cautious in drawing far-reaching conclusions on early Thessalian political and military history on the basis of these problematic fragments. The earliest ancient sources which mention an Aristotelian 'Thessalian constitution' stem from the 2nd century AD. Sprawski rightly remarks that the ancient scholar Heraclides Lembus, who made Epitomai of the Aristotelian constitutions in the 2nd century BC, did not hint to an Aristotelian Thettalon Politeia. Sprawski holds that it is impossible to base any reconstruction of the alleged political reforms of the tetrads in Thessalia by Aleuas in the 6th century BC on these fragments. It is also unsafe to draw any conclusions on the military organisation of archaic Thessaly from these texts. Some fragments probably reflect military reforms of Jason of Pherai in the 4th century BC, and were later assigned to the archaic period.

E.L. Wheeler deals with a stratagem in Polyaenus (3.9.38) on naval war. The preserved Greek text is problematic because of a lacuna, and hence different scholarly explanations of the stratagem have been offered. Wheeler suggests that we may understand this difficult passage in Polyaenus better if we combine it with a parallel later text in the collection of the Byzantine author Leo (Taktika 20.196). This suggestion seems attractive, and perhaps other passages in Polyaenus may also profit from a similar method of investigation.

In sum, this is an interesting collection of studies on late classical and early Hellenistic history. I would recommend all contributions (see below for the complete table of contents) as useful and rewarding reading mainly to specialists of the particular topics.


1.   On the reappraisal of Ctesias' work, see recently J. Wiesehöfer, G. Lanfranchi and R. Rollinger, Die Welt des Ktesias von Knidos, Stuttgart 2011, on the Indika A. Nichols, Ctesias on India, London 2011, and on the Persika L. Llewellyn-Jones and J. Robson, Ctesias' History of Persia. Tales of the Orient, London 2010 and J. Stronk, Ctesias of Cnidus' Persica. Editio Minor with Introduction, Text, Translation and Historical Commentary, vol. 1, Düsseldorf 2010.
2.   E. Ashton subscribes to a dating of ca. 337-332 BC, while in my opinion the minority view of W. Geomini of a substantially later date (ca. 288-278 BC) has not yet been convincingly refuted, see W. Geominy, "The Daochos Monument at Delphi. The Style and Setting of a Family Portrait in Historic Dress", in: P. Schultz and R. von den Hoff (eds.), Early Hellenistic Portraiture. Image, Style, Context, Cambridge 2007, 84-98.
3.   On the so-called Pistiros inscription, see esp. V. Chankowski and I. Domaradzka, "Réédition de l'inscription de Pistiros et problèmes d'interprétation", BCH 123, 1999, 247-258, and SEG XLIX, 911.
4.   See also on Athenian policy especially in relation to Philip II and Alexander several recent studies in J. Roisman and I. Worthington (eds.), Blackwell's Companion to Ancient Macedonia, Oxford - Malden MA 2010, and in R. Lane Fox (ed.), Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon. Studies in the archaeology and history of Macedon, 650 BC -300 AD, Leiden 2011.
5.   E. Badian, "The Ghost of Empire. Reflections on Athenian Foreign Policy in the Fourth Century B.C.", in: Eder, W. (ed.), Die athenische Demokratie im 4. Jahrhundert v. Chr.: Vollendung oder Verfall einer Verfassungsform?, Stuttgart 1995, 79-106. ​

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Helena Bodin, Ragnar Hedlund (ed.), Byzantine Gardens and Beyond. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Byzantina Upsaliensia, 13. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2013. Pp. 256. ISBN 9789155486273. SEK 289.00.

Reviewed by Jane Draycott, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (

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Table of Contents

This volume comprises seven papers originally presented in a symposium organised by the Nordic Byzantine Network and held at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in 2011, with two additions that were commissioned subsequently. The stated purpose of the symposium was to bring together a variety of different perspectives on Byzantine garden culture, and by and large the nine papers published here achieve this, although the arguments of some are significantly more developed than others. The contents of the volume can be divided into three sections: the first three papers focus on the Byzantine garden itself, the next four focus on the Byzantine garden as a concept, and the remaining two focus on the reception of different aspects of the Byzantine garden. There is minimal overlap or repetition of content (even the examples used to prove similar points are entirely different, and intriguingly so) and thus the volume is a testament to the myriad possibilities of studying Byzantine garden culture, no matter what your academic discipline.

Ingela Nilsson's paper 'Nature Controlled By Artistry: the Poetics of the Literary Garden in Byzantium' opens with a brief summary of Eustathios of Thessalonike's use of the garden motif in his account of the capture of Thessalonike by the Normans from the kingdom of Sicily in 1185 as a means of establishing from the outset of the volume just how important gardens were in Byzantine culture. Nilsson acknowledges that the very term 'Byzantine garden' is problematic, as it encompasses entities ranging from the hunting grounds of suburban parks to the pleasure gardens of palaces to the productive gardens used to grow fruit and vegetables, but emphasises that all variations had in common the fact that they were a source of pleasure to the visitor. She notes the importance of ekphrasis for the study of Byzantine gardens, both as a means of reconstructing actual Byzantine gardens, and interpreting allegorical ones. This foreshadows several of the volume's subsequent contributions. Antony Littlewood's paper 'Gardens of the Byzantine World' likewise foreshadows the volume's subsequent contributions, for despite his initial disclaimer that information on Byzantine gardens is highly elusive, he presents a magisterial survey of the literary, archaeological, and visual evidence for Byzantine gardens. To those new to Byzantine garden culture, this paper is the most accessible and informative. It both summarises research already undertaken, and suggests potentially fruitful directions for future endeavours. Kristoffel Demoen's paper 'A Homeric Garden in Tenth-Century Constantinople: John Geometres' Rhetorical Ekphraseis of his Estate' attests to the continuing importance of classical literature and culture for the people of Byzantium by focusing on the tenth century author John Kyriotes Geometres. He highlights two rhetorical letters in which Geometres not only describes actual gardens, but also incorporates allusions to Homeric ones (first Mount Olympos, and second the garden of Alkinoos) that were clearly intended to be understood by the letters' recipient.

Helena Bodin's paper '"Paradise in a Cave": the Garden of the Theotokos in Byzantine Hymnography' surveys and discusses how the garden of the Mother of God is utilised in the hymns of the Byzantine - and wider Orthodox Christian - tradition. The garden is in turn an ideal space, an allegorical space, a topos, a literary motif, a trope. Most significantly, Byzantine hymns repeatedly depict the Mother of God opening a closed door or gate and making sealed or locked places accessible, and both inviting and welcoming people into the garden. Jørgen Bakke's paper 'The Vanished Gardens of Byzantium: Gardening, Visual Culture, and Devotion in the Byzantine Orthodox Tradition' builds on Bodin's, and examines what Bakke describes as 'devotional gardening'. He explores the role of gardens and gardening both as an epistemology of inner vision, and as a spiritually fortifying activity. This combination raises the possibility that there is a spiritual benefit to viewing and tending a beautiful garden. Olof Heilo's paper 'Guarding and Gardening: Syria from Byzantine to Islamic Rule' redirects the focus of the volume from the gardens of the Byzantine world to the gardens of Islam, and the way in which, in the aftermath of the Umayyad conquest of former Byzantine provinces, the efforts made to direct attention away from war and towards peace incorporated elements of the Byzantine conception of the garden as a paradise. Unfortunately, this paper is much shorter (six and a half pages of text, three and a half pages of illustrations) and, more importantly, less comprehensive than the others in the volume, reading almost as an abstract or summary of a more extensive piece of scholarship. Per-Arne Bodin's paper 'The Terrestrial Paradise: the Garden as a Topos in Russian Medieval Culture' focuses on two rare examples of Russian theological literature dating to before the eighteenth century, one a letter from Vasilii the Archbishop of Novgorod to Fedor the Bishop of Tver, and the other a story of two monks from Novgorod. Both texts are concerned with the garden of Paradise. Vasilii's letter (which has been tentatively dated to 1347) argues that despite the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, paradise still exists on earth, while the story of the monks (which dates from the seventeenth century) depicts the monks searching for a place where heaven and earth meet. Bodin notes that there are distinct differences in the depiction of paradise before and after iconoclasm, and that the conceptions of paradise found in the Russian texts are more similar to those depicted before iconoclasm.

Inger Larsson's paper 'Beyond Byzantium: Swedish Medieval Herbalism and Plant Names' approaches the perennial problem of securely identifying the plants mentioned in ancient literature, and explores the Swedish reception of classical and medieval texts devoted to plants. She concludes that there was extensive foreign influence on Swedish botany, the plant and plant name repertoire, knowledge of the plants' assumed or real medicinal properties, and the formation of new textual genres in Swedish for expressing this knowledge. Kjell Lundquist's paper 'White and Red Lilies from Constantinople: "Lilium album Byzantinum" and "Lilium rubrum Byzantinum"' likewise questions whether it is possible to securely identify actual plant species from literary references and descriptions, and attempts to identify two particular types of plant with powerful classical and biblical symbolic associations that were designated 'Byzantine' in the late 1500s, over a century after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. He concludes, however, that these plants had nothing whatsoever to do with Byzantium or Byzantine gardens, and that by the sixteenth century the term 'Byzantine' was something akin to a trademark.

Throughout its exploration of the cultural transfer of the Byzantine garden to the West, Byzantine Gardens and Beyond takes great pains to place the gardens of Byzantium in an appropriate historical, cultural, and social context, not only making clear the debt owed to the gardens of Graeco-Roman antiquity, but also making clear the debt that is in turn owed to the gardens of Byzantium by those not only of the Mediterranean, but also the Near and Middle East, and northern Europe. Each paper is supplemented by extensive footnotes, and it is stated early on that, due to the repetition of references to key pieces of scholarship, there are not nine separate bibliographies but one comprehensive one, in addition to a list of specialist internet resources. It boasts almost one hundred high quality full colour illustrations. These are particularly valuable in the case of ancient manuscripts where the fine detail facilitates the reading and interpreting of the text in conjunction with the relevant paper's discussion of it, but also a sheer pleasure to view. The volume is a valuable addition not just to the disciplines of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine history respectively, but also to the discipline of garden history.

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Paul Roberts, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. 320. ISBN 9780199987436. $45.00.

Reviewed by Linda Maria Gigante, University of Louisville (

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The number of publications on Pompeii and Herculaneum is vast, ranging from accounts of their rediscovery in the 18th century and the circumstances of their destruction in 79 CE to current investigations into their pre-destruction history. Thanks to the extensive archaeological remains and abundant documentation concerning these sites, scholars have provided us with an in-depth view of privileged life on the Bay of Naples in the first century CE. In recent years, that picture of Roman culture has expanded to include the more mundane aspects of life and to take into consideration the non-elites who contributed to the vitality of these communities. These scholarly interests have inspired investigations not only into the public but also the private lives of a broad range of inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The objective of the publication under review is to provide an introduction to the art and culture of Pompeii and Herculaneum within the context of a hypothetical single-family dwelling (domus). Although it accompanied an exhibition at the British Museum, this book stands on its own and is much more than an exhibition catalogue. As the reader progresses through the richly color- illustrated text, he/she proceeds through the domus from the atrium into the triclinium, cubiculum and open-air garden resplendent with statuary and water features, finally to areas "behind the scenes" of reception and display: the kitchen, toilet, and baths. In the chapters focused on particular areas of the domus, the various activities that took place in each are discussed and the author makes extensive use of both archaeological evidence and ancient literary sources. For example, in addition to the design and appointments of a triclinium, the rituals of dining and the types of dishes served at dinner parties are mentioned. Similarly, in the chapter on the cubiculum, the author discusses the evidence for personal hygiene and grooming for men and women.

In an effort to bring the domus to life, the author populates these domestic spaces with occupants consisting not only of the family residing in the home but also the slaves and freed persons whose lives were associated with the household in various ways. Among them are tradespeople, most likely the former slaves of the domus' family, who lived above the shops that were attached to the domus, and the slaves who labored within the household.

The text is divided into nine chapters, each providing a smooth transition from one section to the next. It begins with a brief Introduction (12-19) in which there is an overview of the excavation history of both cities and a concise summary of concerns about their conservation. Chapter I ("The Urban Context," 22-41), which sets the stage for what follows, includes the mythological origins and early history of the cities, as well as evidence for their political structure and social fabric. The variety of peoples who inhabited this region of south Italy – Oscans, Etruscans, Greeks, Samnites and, finally, Romans – is illustrated by a marble inscription written in Oscan dated c. 150 BCE and found at Pompeii's Nola Gate (Fig. 11). The Chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the contributions made by public benefactors, like Eumachia in Pompeii, and the role of freedmen in the cities' commercial enterprises.

Chapter II ("Living Above the Shop," 44-71) begins with a view of life on the streets and proceeds to the variety of businesses, such as bakeries, workshops, and fulleries, that contributed to the communities' economic vitality. The production of wine and garum/liquamen receives particular attention and the prominence of Aulus Umbricius Scaurus in Pompeii's garum trade is noted. Less reputable business establishments (like bars and inns) round out the discussion, with the familiar paintings of customers and a barmaid from Pompeii's Caupona of Salvius (Figs. 57, 58) reminding the reader that commercial life in the Vesuvian cities was principally in the purview of the non-elites.

In Chapters III through VIII the reader makes his/her way through the domus and is introduced to the design, decoration, and furnishings of the various rooms, as well as to the people and activities associated with them. Chapter III ("Atrium," 74-115) marks the beginning of the tour and highlights the space's importance in promoting a family's wealth and position in the community. In addition to being the location where the strong-box (arca), ancestral images and shrines, and table (cartibulum) where the family's prized silverware was displayed, the atrium (and adjacent tablinum) was also a place where business transactions were conducted. The survival of financial records, such as wooden writing tablets, and the pictorial representations of writing implements speak to the public nature of a domus and particularly the atrium. One of the more interesting illustrations of this connection between business and the atrium is a masonry lararium (Fig. 105) in Pompeii's House of the Lararium of the River Sarnus onwhich there is a painting of commercial life at the Sarnus River port. On the exterior of the shrine barges are shown being hauled by mules and goods are being unloaded, all under the watchful eye of the River Sarnus. Inside the niche there is a painted figure of the Genius of the household, shown making sacrifices at an altar. Clearly, the family that worshipped at this shrine offered prayers not only for the protection of the members of its household but also for the success of its livelihood.

Chapter IV ("Cubiculum," 118-145) provides a glimpse into the less public life in a domus and focuses on the fact that a cubiculum was much more than a bedroom. References to several primary sources (like Ovid and Martial), furnishings (like the carbonized wooden cradle from Herculaneum, Fig. 128), as well as wall paintings with sexual imagery and artifacts for bathing and grooming speak to the versatility of this living space. Mindful of the current view that a woman's hairstyle was an expression of the wearer's sophistication (cultus), the author discuss various beauty routines performed by the domina of the household. By way of conclusion, there is the important reminder that most of the artifacts discussed in the Chapter (like a pottery chamber pot, Fig. 136) were used by the household's slaves identified as "the unseen presence."

In Chapters V ("Garden," 148-177) and VI ("Living Rooms and Interior Design,"180-223) the fountains and statuary found in peristyle gardens, along with the wall paintings and floor mosaics in rooms arranged around them, are the focus. Noting that 1/3 of the houses in Pompeii and Herculaneum had a garden of some sort, the author is particularly interested in the mechanical aspects of the gardens' fountains and water features. For example, he points out that, while shut-off valves did exist in some houses, there must surely have been a great deal of waste-water pouring into the cities' sewers. Vegetation in the gardens is also considered, with perforated clay pots from Pompeii's House of the Ship Europa (Figs. 189, 190) probably used to transplant trees and shrubs. Again, the presence of non- elites in these luxurious settings is indicated by graffiti scratched onto the walls of peristyle gardens by slaves (Figs. 198-200). From the garden in Pompeii's House of the Painters at Work comes a slave's graffito in slightly incorrect Latin stating that "the bath is cleaned" (balneus lavatur). In Chapter VI, the variety of the decoration in the rooms around the garden is underscored, from floor mosaics whose patterns could provide a visual link to certain spaces in the home to painted marble panels inserted into the walls. The practical side of mural decoration is highlighted by a discussion of painting pigments and the evidence in Pompeii's House of the Painters at Work for the steps that were taken in painting a room. The author concludes the discussion of a room's decorative scheme by noting that ceilings were also an important part of the décor and illustrates this point with a painted coffered wooden ceiling discovered in 2008 in Herculaneum's House of Telephus (Fig. 260).

Chapters VII ("Dining," 226-245) and VIII ("Kitchens, Toilets and Baths," 248-269) provide the reader with a picture of both the savory and unsavory aspects of life in a Roman domus. In addition to ancient writers who speak about the ritual of dining and the various foods served, the author discusses the recent excavation of a large drain under Herculaneum's Cardo V in which remains of vegetables, fruit, seafood, and imported seasonings were discovered. The areas associated with cooking and personal hygiene, unseen by visitors to the home, were almost exclusively the domain of slaves. The author emphasizes the everyday activities in the kitchen by illustrating utilitarian objects like coarse-ware vessels and a pottery jar (glirarium) for fattening dormice (Fig. 313). Herculaneum's Cardo V drain is described as the "grandest and most extensive septic tank ever discovered (265)." The 2005-6 excavation of this channel unearthed all types of refuse that emanated from chutes in an insula, including food waste, pottery, jewelry, and discarded building materials.

In the final chapter (The Death of the Cities," 272-301) the author discusses the destruction of the Vesuvian cities, positing that there were probably many earthquakes beyond the one in 62 that preceded the eruption in 79 CE. The fact that Pliny the Younger's and Cassius Dio's accounts of the eruption offer different chronologies, the former stating it took place in August and the latter in October, leads the author to focus on certain archaeological clues that may provide an answer. For example, based on the ubiquity of heating braziers and the discovery of remains of certain foods available in the fall, the author posits that Dio's chronology is a distinct possibility. Following a summary of the volcanic debris' different courses through Pompeii and Herculaneum, there is a discussion of the 300 human skeletons found in Herculaneum's ship sheds in 1980, the 74 bodies found in the basement of Villa B at Oplontis, and the remains of two adults and two children found in Pompeii's House of the Golden Bracelet. The text and accompanying illustrations provide a vivid reminder that these cities were populated with real people, many of whom suffered a painful death.

This book is an important contribution to our understanding of Pompeii and Herculaneum , for the author discusses both cities with equanimity, effectively weaving together the archaeological evidence (much of it recent) with information about Roman culture and always mindful of including the non-elites in his discussions. The illustrations, which are of consistently high quality, have been carefully chosen, ranging from familiar works like the megalographic paintings in the Villa of the Mysteries to less well known artifacts like the debris from Herculaneum's Cardo V sewer. The inclusion of recent scholarship enhances the text and makes the story of these ancient cities relevant. The author consistently enlivens the visit to a hypothetical domus by reminding the reader that it was not only the venue for a family's public and private life but also the place where slaves sweated in the kitchen and held their noses when cleaning out the toilet. The only criticism this reviewer can make concerns the discussion of domestic décor, more specifically wall painting. While the author does mention the work practices of wall painters, he frames his discussion of the paintings themselves within the context of Mau's Four Styles. While this traditional approach is reasonable from the perspective of organizing the material, including some mention of the viewer with respect to Roman wall painting would have enriched the discussion.

All in all, this engaging text – with its , useful notes, list of exhibits, and extensive bibliography – will appeal to a wide readership, from the interested lay person to the university student. In fact, this reviewer would find it a useful text for courses on ancient cities and Roman culture. One can hope that a paperback edition is considered for publication in the near future so that this text can reach a broader audience.

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Monday, April 28, 2014


Philippa M. Steele (ed.), Syllabic Writing on Cyprus and its Context. Cambridge classical studies. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Pp. xviii, 191. ISBN 9781107026711. $95.00.

Reviewed by Vassilis Petrakis, Affiliated Researcher at the National Hellenic Research Foundation (

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Recent years have seen important developments in the study of Cypriot syllabographic writing. Silvia Ferrara's two-volume work on Cypro-Minoan (CM) writing, Jean-Pierre Olivier's "holistic" edition of Cypro-Minoan inscriptions (hereafter HoChyMin)1 and the eagerly awaited corpus of 1st millennium BC Cypriot syllabic inscriptions prepared by Markus Egetmeyer, Artemis Karnava and Massimo Perna (see below) form an appropriate background for the conception of the title under review here. This is the first single-volume publication dedicated exclusively to the study of both Bronze and Iron Age non-alphabetic Cypriot scripts and presents quite aptly the current state of affairs in this field.

After the necessary illustration and abbreviation lists, acknowledgements and a Concordance of HoChyMin inscriptions cited (pp.ix-xviii), the core of the volume is formed by the Introduction (pp.1-6), written by the editor, followed by seven chapters that study Cypriot syllabic inscriptions from a variety of grammatological, linguistic, philological and historical perspectives. As the editor herself acknowledges, this collection of viewpoints illustrates well the differences in the terminology employed: the term 'Cypro-Minoan' has been justifiably criticized (most strongly by Sherratt in this volume), alternatives are also problematic: to call Cypro-Minoan scripts simply "Cypriot syllabaries of the second millennium" (Olivier, p.7) is inconsistent with the possible identification of the tenth-century BC Opheltas obelos as still essentially CM1 (a recurrent issue throughout the volume). There are problems too in the case of the 'Cypriot Syllabic' script. Egetmeyer's "Cypro-Greek" cannot cover the so-called 'Eteocypriot' inscriptions (pp.4-5 and also p.47, footnote 141). The possible survival of CM1 until c.950 BC ‒if the Opheltas inscription is accepted as such‒ would render Olivier's "Cypriot syllabaries of the first millennium" (p.16) equally inaccurate. Given such problems, we may need to consider resorting to commonly agreed, conventional labels, while we are offered the option of Duhoux's long ‒but accurate‒ "non Cypro-Minoan Cypriot syllabaries", abbreviated "nCMCs" (p.47, n.141) for the 1st millennium systems.

The seven chapters that follow (originally presented as papers at a conference at Cambridge in December 2008) are arranged in a rough chronological order, with precedence given to Olivier's outline of the development of the entire Cypriot syllabography.

Olivier (pp.7-26) provides a clear and concise account of the various subcategories of Cypriot syllabographic systems used during the second and first millennia BC. Drawing on the immense work represented by HoChyMin, this chapter is accompanied by excellent and indispensable illustrations and tables and is written in a lucid and authoritative style. Besides a couple of more controversial points,2 the brilliance of Olivier's comprehensive synthesis is evident throughout.

Duhoux (pp.27-47) provides a reasonably detailed exposition of the main data regarding the definition, features and relationship between the four proposed subcategories of Bronze Age Cypriot writing (including the 'archaic'-looking CM0), mostly drawing on (even if critically reviewing) HoChyMin. Of heuristic value is his painstaking analysis of sign-groups in an attempt to identify 'nuclei' and 'additions' in them, on a par with his efforts with Linear A.3 Duhoux readily acknowledges the limitations of this method, especially as to the question of the relations between the languages represented by each of the Cypro-Minoan categories, although he tentatively proposes what seems most plausible from the outset: that the co-existence of CM1 and CM2 in such highly urbanized sites as Enkomi most likely points to their use to represent different languages (p.38).

Ferrara (pp.49-76) gives a valuable overview of the Cypro-Minoan scripts with interesting observations and points of convergence and divergence with the previous accounts. She specifically aims at demonstrating the value of what might be considered an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on epigraphic documents both as texts and as material artifacts with their own contextual associations. The concepts of "micro-context" and "micro-structure" (the latter referring to detailed comparisons of the different signaries with special attention to the interaction between the support material and the form of the sign) serve to demonstrate the importance of analysis at the micro-scale. Throughout her contribution, she exposes the considerable difficulties in the internal classification of Cypro-Minoan, justifiably termed "a variegated affair" (p.61). However, from her sound critical points (that do suggest the need to thoroughly revise Masson's ideas), it does not immediately follow that any division did not altogether exist. Although she acknowledges the possibility of multilingualism in quite cosmopolitan Late Bronze Age Cyprus, Ferrara raises the possibility that CM1 and CM2 "may well be one and the same script" (p.75), while at the same time admitting that this "simply does not explain the differences across the subgroups" (p.68). Her criticism of CM3 as a separate category (pp.57-58) is likely to invoke much less reaction.

Sherratt (pp.77-105) focuses on the genesis of the Cypro-Minoan writing and, in particular, on a critical reassessment of its Aegean ancestry. She too discusses Cypro-Minoan "in context", namely the chronological and sociopolitical context of the adoption of writing in Late Bronze Age Cyprus, as well as the intellectual context in which past and current interpretations were shaped. Sherratt's refreshing and deliberately iconoclastic discussion places the idea of a genetic link between Linear A and Cypro-Minoan within the frame of Evans' conceptions and preconceptions about the cultural dynamics in the second millennium BC Eastern Mediterranean and argues that the 'Minoan' ancestry of the first writing on Cyprus owes its academic dominance to Sir Arthur's "dominating personality (and celebrity)" (p.83). Sherratt goes on to stress the complex picture created by the different writing systems in use in the Middle and Late Bronze Age East Mediterranean, and especially the too many "unknowns" that we do have regarding the linguistic and political geography of Cyprus, Anatolia and the Levant. She does not pretend to have an easy way out of the many puzzles of this fragmentary and complicated material; she offers us a highly desirable impediment to the uncritical perpetuation of traditional assumptions and a useful reminder of how much we still do not know. Yet, we can be sure that the general frame is by and large correct: although the phonograms sharing identical or close form and phonetic values in Linear B and 1st millennium Cypriot syllabaries are admittedly "not […] very many" (p.101, n.35), their very existence cannot be adequately explained without assuming some sort of genetic link between the Aegean and the Cypriot systems during the Late Bronze Age.

Egetmeyer (pp.107-131) studies the elusive script 'reform' that the passage from Cypro-Minoan to the 1st millennium BC Cypriot syllabic scripts could represent. He justifies calling the latter "Cypro-Greek" (whose abbreviation "CG" can be confused with Cypro-Geometric) from the fact that "the main bulk of [the 1st millennium BC] material is written in this language, and one can suppose that this language was the target of the adaptation" (p.108). The problem with this assumption is not the fact that the Cypriot syllabic script was also used to write the non-Greek Eteocypriot language(s): if Olivier's reclassification of the Opheltas inscription as still Cypro-Minoan is accepted, then the fact that Cypro-Minoan could be used to write Greek undermines the linguistic motivation behind the 'reform'. Egetmeyer discusses eleventh to ninth century BC Cypriot syllabic inscriptions and their affiliations to Cypro-Minoan and the later 'Classical' or 'Paphian' signaries, stressing the important point that "[t]he Opheltas inscription does not contain Paphian innovations" (p.120) and is distanced from Cypro-Minoan only by its Greek reading. Egetmeyer offers many insightful comments on the implications of the preservation of j- series signs and the total loss of the q- series and uses the seeming non-representation of labiovelars in our extant 1st millennium material as an argument supporting the late date of the 'reform'.

Iacovou (pp.133-152) looks at the political function of 1st millennium BC Cypriot syllabography. She presents important observations about the patterns of script use by rulers of different linguistic identities throughout the 1st millennium BC indicating the strong affinity between the syllabary and the Cypriot Greek dialect: bilingual/digraphic inscriptions were never issued by Greek-speaking rulers, while the Cypriot syllabaries were never used to render the koine. It is interesting that, despite the koine enforcement by the Ptolemies that brought Phoenician and Eteocypriot to an abrupt end, syllabic Cypriot Greek continued (although it is uncertain whether the Nea Paphos sealings demonstrate Cypriot syllabic literacy as late as the 1st century BC, cf. Olivier's comment on p.23).

Perna (pp.153-160) offers us a glimpse into the benefits of the research that has gone into the preparation of the forthcoming corpus of 1st millennium BC Cypriot syllabic inscriptions (to be published as Inscriptiones Graecae XV in three parts).4 He presents two cases where the preparation of the new corpus has led to revisions of two inscriptions from the Cesnola collection in Turin: one limestone tablet inscription, formerly classified as 'dubious' in ICS, p.390, is reinterpreted as actually alphabetic, while a chalcedony seal which Cesnola himself read as alphabetic is in fact in the Paphian syllabary.

The structure and layout of the volume is excellent, leaving room for only one significant complaint: although Olivier's and Egetmeyer's contributions are well-illustrated, figures and tables are used very sparingly elsewhere. Ferrara's and Sherratt's contributions, in particular, lack any illustration although they would have profited immensely from it.

Bibliography is common (pp.161-180; "General" at p.161 is confusing, since there is no other category). Although author-date-page references (except for abbreviated works, p.xv) are used in all chapters, there is some variation in the way these appear, with Olivier, Duhoux, Iacovou and Perna placing them in footnotes, and Ferrara, Sherratt and Egetmeyer inserting them within the text. Indices of inscriptions (pp.181-183) are also very important, but prospective readers should be aware that not all authors refer to inscriptions in their HoChyMin or ICS numbers (only Olivier, Duhoux and Egetmeyer make use of HoChyMin numbers). Further editorial pressure might have been desirable on this point. The inclusion of an index of discussed Aegean and Cypriot syllabic signs (pp.184-185) deserves high praise.

Overall, this valuable collection of essays should be consulted by anyone with an interest in Bronze and Iron Age Cypriot writing. Graduate students and experts will equally profit from the variety of opinions and perspectives included herein, while certain segments (particularly Olivier's clear account) can be suitably suggested for the advanced undergraduate level as well.


1.   S. Ferrara. Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions Volumes I-II. Oxford 2012; J.-P. Olivier. Édition Holistique des Textes Chypro-Minoens. Pisa-Roma 2007. We should add Nicolle Hirschfeld's excellent chapter on "Cypro-Minoan" in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC), edited by E.H. Cline, Oxford 2010, pp.373-384; A. Morpurgo-Davies and J.-P. Olivier "Syllabic scripts and languages in the second and first millennia BC" in Parallel Lives: Ancient Island Societies in Crete and Cyprus, edited by G. Cadogan, M. Iacovou, K. Kopaka and J. Whitley, London 2012, pp.105-118.
2.   We cannot be certain that our extant signaries of CM1 and CM2 (1300 and 1500 attested signs respectively) are complete (p.11); the example of sign AB 48 ‒identified on Linear A only as late as 2005 despite the nearly 8000 attested signs‒ on a stone so-called libation table from Kato Syme by Olivier himself (reported on pp.8-9, fig.1.1) can be didactic. While Olivier's assurance is most probably valid for the 'core' Cypro-Minoan syllabaries, the skepticism expressed by T. Palaima ("Cypro-Minoan scripts: Problems of historical context" in Problems in Decipherment, edited by Y. Duhoux, T. Palaima and J. Bennet, Louvain 1989, pp.121-187, esp. pp.124-125 and 157-158) is still preferable and certain signs of peripheral use may still remain to be discovered. Of course, any definition of CM3 should not use a geographical criterion (pp.11 and 15), but be firmly based on the existence of a sufficiently different signary (p.11; cf. Duhoux's points on p.38).
3.   Y. Duhoux "Une analyse linguistique du linéaire A" in Études Minoennes I: Le linéaire A edited by Y. Duhoux, Louvain 1978, pp.65-129; id.. "Le linéaire A: Problèmes de déchiffrement" in Problems in Decipherment (supra n.2), pp.59-119.
4.   Announced also in M. Egetmeyer, A. Karnava and M. Perna. "Rapport 2006-2010 sur les écritures chypriotes syllabiques" in Études Mycéniennes 2010. Actes du XIIIe Colloque International sur les Textes Égéens, edited by P. Carlier et al., Pisa-Roma 2012, pp.23-40 (at p.27).

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Daniela Baldoni, Fede Berti, Marco Giuman (ed.), Atti del convegno internazionale per i cinquanta anni della Missione archeologica italiana (Istanbul, 26-28 febbraio 2011). Archeologica, 170; Missione archeologica italiana di Iasos, 5. Roma: Giorgio Bretschneider editore, 2013. Pp. xiv, 263; 84 p. of plates. ISBN 9788876892752. €180.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Jacques des Courtils, Université Bordeaux Montaigne (

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

Le présent ouvrage réunit des contributions offertes lors du congrès organisé à Istanbul du 26 au 28 février 2011, à l'occasion du cinquantenaire de la mission archéologique italienne d'Iasos, qui avait été précédé par une exposition sur le même sujet en décembre 2010 (millésime exact du cinquantenaire). Les 17 articles ainsi réunis ne représentent pas toutes les communications prononcées lors du colloque, et les éditeurs y ont joint, à juste titre puisque son auteur a été un des piliers de la mission italienne, un article de S. Lagona qui n'avait pas été présenté alors. Les thèmes abordés sont variés, allant de rapports de fouilles et d'études de matériel à des questions d'anastylose et d'historiographie en passant par des considérations topographiques et épigraphiques.

La première contribution porte sur Iasos au HRIII (M. Benzi, G. Graziadio) et commence par résumer les données sur les périodes antérieures : depuis les traces sporadiques du Néolithique final, jusqu'à l'établissement assez important de la fin du BM et du BR, qui présente un faciès anatolien. Au BR III apparaît de la céramique mycénienne ou apparentée, avec de la céramique de style mycénien. Les couches concernées ont malheureusement été très perturbées par la suite, mais il n'y avait certainement rien de comparable avec l'important établissement de Milet. La céramique mycénienne représente seulement 10% de l'ensemble, le reste est local, l'influence anatolienne a disparu.

L'article de L. Donati est consacré à l'étude de deux fontaines situées sur le côté ouest de l'agora, faisant suite à l'établissement du Bronze et à une nécropole géométrique, et comptant parmi les rares vestiges de l'époque archaïque (en dehors des inscriptions). La présence de ces fontaines témoignerait de l'aménagement d'une première agora, également indiqué par l'angle d'un édifice. L'auteur présente une sélection de matériel céramique comprenant beaucoup d'importations qui suggèrent une parenté de destin avec Milet et la présence d'Iasiens dans l'aventure égyptienne (tête d'Osiris en pierre d'époque saïte). Les quelques exemplaires de sculpture (kouroi) supposent aussi des liens avec Athènes.

R. Fabiani, M. Nafissi, traitent de "La pubblicazione dei decreti a Iasos : cronologia e topografia", dossier qui comprend une centaine de décrets (dont 90 pour des étrangers) du début du IVe à la fin du IIe s. Il ne s'agit pas d'une étude définitive mais d'une sorte d'essai sur la période d'abondance de cette procédure et sur la topographie officielle qu'on peut en induire (sans préjudice des recherches en cours). Contrairement à la plupart des cités, qui comportent un lieu d'affichage unique, Iasos en présente plusieurs dont la localisation est ici discutée. On constate des cas de spécialisation : ainsi le sanctuaire d'Artémis Astias ne recevait que les décrets "premiers" qui mentionnaient les honneurs principaux accordés aux juges étrangers et étaient complétés par un décret secondaire accordant la citoyenneté, affiché au sanctuaire de Zeus et Héra.

F. Berti traite de topographie : "Tra mure e porte urbane : ricostruzioni, ipotesi e proposte a margine della stoà occidentale dell'agorà di Iasos". Il s'agit d'une mise au point sur cette zone située entre la fortification médiévale et le portique ouest de l'agora, dont la fouille a été facilitée par la libération de nouveaux terrains. Malgré la maigreur des vestiges conservés, l'auteur pense qu'il y a une parenté complète entre la porte d'Iasos et la porte de Myndos à Halicarnasse. L'article ne constitue ni un abrégé de l'historique de la fouille, ni un survol chronologique de l'évolution du secteur, mais il fournit un répertoire des trouvailles qui y ont été faites, classées dans l'ordre chronologique (architecture, épigraphie, sculpture).

G. Maddoli, « Vente de la prêtrise de la Mère des dieux à Iasos » : étude préliminaire d'une stèle malheureusement lacunaire datable entre le milieu du IIIe s. et le milieu du IIe. L'intérêt particulier réside dans l'association à la prêtrise de la Mère des dieux de celle de la Mère phrygienne, montrant que les deux cultes sont encore bien distincts. Elle vient rejoindre deux textes déjà connus de vente de prêtrises au gymnase des anciens d'Iasos. L'auteur commente la nature de la Mère des dieux ainsi que la précision (en partie restituée) donnée en tête du texte : il s'agit d'une diagraphè. L'auteur donne un résumé du contenu de ce texte, très intéressant pour l'étude des sacrifices antiques.

M. Michelucci, « Le stipi votive dell'agorà e l'agorà augustea » : réexamen d'une fouille en partie inédite effectuée en 1972 sur l'agora et qui a livré un matériel intéressant, apportant des indices sur une agora d'époque augustéenne ayant précédé l'agora impériale. Le matériel céramique, dont une grande quantité de lampes, est brièvement analysé et daté au plus tard du 1er quart du Ier s. p.C. Quelques importations occidentales laissent la place à pas moins de 153 exemplaires de sigillée orientale. La construction des portiques d'époque hadrianique a dû se faire sans remaniement majeur.

S. Lagona, « Uno spazio commerciale di fianco all'esedra di Artemide » : brève étude d'un bâtiment situé à côté de l'agora dont la fonction première est inconnue mais qui, au vu du matériel découvert (bassins de marbre, amphores, coquillages et céréales), servit à l'époque tardo-romaine (IIIe-IVe s.) de boutique. Les amphores appartiennent à deux groupes, l'un oriental, l'autre égéen. La denrée la plus vendue semble avoir été le poisson, ce qui n'étonne pas en raison de la situation géographique d'Iasos.

M. Landolfi, « La coroplastica votiva dal santuario di Zeus Megistos » : ce sanctuaire (proche de la porte orientale de l'enceinte hécatomnide) fut fouillé en 1972-76 et en 1982-86. Une divinité féminine carienne en fut probablement la première occupante, remplacée par Héra associée à Zeus (lui-même remplaçant un Tarhunt bien attesté en Carie) et destinée à connaître ici un effacement progressif comparable à ce qui se passa à Olympie. L'article donne un aperçu synthétique (sous forme d'un classement typologique relativement détaillé) des figurines, dont beaucoup de groupes hiérogamiques et de kourotrophes. La présence de plusieurs thymiateria renverrait à des sacrifices non sanglants à la manière perse.

A. Romualdi, « Materiali dal santuario di Demetra e Kore » : le sanctuaire ("de la pointe sud"), fouillé en 1967 et 1968 par D. Levi et objet d'un nettoyage en 2005, est situé face à la mer, comme ceux de Caunos et de Thasos, mais encore inédit. Le présent article en donne une description et une étude très générale du matériel (incomplètement illustré) trouvé dans une eschara et dans un dépôt votif d'époque classique. L'auteur discute aussi le cas de quelques protomés masculines, de coupes attiques et de l'apparition au début du IVe s. d'un type de figurine d'offrant barbu qui perdurera jusqu'à la fin du IIIe s. (Hadès?).

S. Angiolillo, M. Giuman, « La 'casa dei mosaici' : una domus della Iasos romana » : découverte en 1968, cette maison n'a pas été complètement fouillée. L'article, clair et dense, en fournit une présentation bien illustrée qui décrit, phase par phase (de la fin de l'époque hellénistique à l'époque tardo-antique), ses principales caractéristiques architecturales et surtout décoratives (mosaïques, opus sectile, peintures). On en connaît la cour avec pastas et des pièces disposées à l'entour, mais les limites de la maison ne sont pas claires. Des fragments de mosaïques pourraient provenir d'un étage (le terrain est en pente). À l'époque impériale sont attribuables les mosaïques et sols en opus sectile qui occupent le portique de la pastas et les pièces avoisinantes. Les mosaïques en noir et blanc, mode répandue en Asie Mineure à l'époque romaine, sont de parenté italienne prononcée.

D. Baldoni, « Riti, usi e corredi funerari a Iasos in epoca ellenistica » : étude très détaillée (avec catalogue) de tombes, mais n'incluant pas les découvertes les plus récentes, en cours d'étude, faites sur le territoire. Certaines tombes conservaient un matériel assez riche et plusieurs ont été réutilisées au cours du temps, jusqu'au Bas-Empire. Plusieurs tombes contenaient des éléments tubulaires en terre cuite formant cercueil, d'un type attesté aussi bien à Chypre qu'en Grèce et en Espagne. Les données matérielles sont rapidement commentées et suivies de considérations générales sur l'intérêt de l'étude spatiale des nécropoles, sur l'utilisation et la symbolique du miel dans le traitement des corps et sur l'analyse sociologique que permet l'étude diachronique du matériel.

R. Parapetti, « Anastilosi grafica del monumento funerario nel Balik Pazarı di Iasos » : ce passionnant article part d'une relecture critique de l'anastylose de l'ensemble funéraire de Balık Pazarı qui amène à modifier sur des points importants l'analyse, la datation et la restauration architecturale considérées jusqu'ici comme acquises. Menée avec rigueur et retenue, cette analyse est un modèle du genre.

N. Masturzo, « Viaggiatori, epigrafisti e designatori. La topografia di Iasos dal 1600 a oggi ». Comme le titre l'indique, il s'agit d'une revue des mentions d'Iasos par les voyageurs : de Pirî Re'is (début XVIIe), à Ph. Le Bas qui y fit, en 1843 une belle moisson d'inscriptions. C'est peu après que les ruines de la cité furent mises à contribution par des norias de bateaux pour des constructions à Istanbul. Les recherches d'A.E. Kontoléon, Th. Reinach et L. Robert enrichirent ensuite le dossier du gymnase des neoi et du gymnase des presbyteroi. La confrontation avec le plan dressé par W. Judeich (1890) permet de proposer une localisation plausible pour ces gymnases immédiatement au nord de l'agora.

R. Pierobon Benoit, « Archestrato e Iasos : note a margine » : l'auteur commente le passage d'Archestratos de Gela (poète parodique du IVe s. a.C.) cité par Athénée (Deipnosophistes, 3, 104e-108d) évoquant les crevettes de grande taille existant – mais difficiles à trouver – dans les eaux d'Iasos. Ce texte a servi de point de départ à l'idée que la pêche était un moyen de subsistance essentiel pour les Iasiens, mais un rapprochement lexical avec l'Iliade amène à une lecture de nature politique du passage étudié, y détectant une allusion aux troubles internes traversés par la population locale mixte, faite de Grecs et de Cariens indigènes.

L. Cianciulli, « L'architettura lelega nella chora di Iasos ». Cet article livre des observations très intéressantes sur les quelques 120 sites lélèges identifiables par les techniques de construction en plaques de calcaire schisteux accumulées en murs épais et couvertures à encorbellement. Ils s'échelonnent de l'époque archaïque à l'époque hellénistique. Les édifices étudiés par W. Radt dans la presqu'île d'Halicarnasse et W. Voigtländer près d'Akbük présentent exactement les mêmes caractéristiques. La répartition des constructions sur le territoire montre une occupation dense et une typologie bien repérable. Il en ressort une contribution archéologique essentielle à la connaissance de cette partie de l'Asie Mineure, à ses aspects ethniques et politiques.

A. Baran, « Arkaik dönem ion mimarisinde friz kullanımı »: ce petit article intègre les fragments de reliefs archaïques d'Iasos à une nouvelle tentative pour démontrer que la frise continue d'entablement existait déjà dans des édifices ioniques d'époque archaïque : rien de nouveau à l'appui d'une théorie bien fragile.

S. Önder, M. H. Sayar, « Foreign Judges in Caria » : s'appuyant largement sur les travaux de C.V. Crowther, les auteurs esquissent une présentation très générale des sources concernant les juges étrangers dans les cités grecques et analysent synthétiquement le fonctionnement de cette institution originale, en faisant appel à des exemples régionaux. Il ne s'agit pas d'une véritable étude, aucun texte n'étant cité ni analysé, mais d'une introduction rapide à la question.

Ce livre apporte donc aussi bien d'utiles mises à jour que la mention de trouvailles nouvelles mais, abordant des sujets variés au gré des intervenants, il fournit surtout des informations sur des recherches en cours, offrant ainsi une sorte de rapport intermédiaire un peu hétéroclite. Le lecteur aurait apprécié d'y trouver aussi une histoire et un bilan synthétique des 50 années de fouilles italiennes, qui eussent mis en valeur l'importance archéologique du site et la qualité des résultats des fouilles italiennes. On comprend bien que dans le contexte difficile qui entoure actuellement le fonctionnement des missions étrangères en Asie Mineure, nos collègues italiens aient souhaité montrer qu'ils sont actifs et féconds : de ce point de vue, la démonstration est un succès, mais le livre laissera un peu sur leur faim ceux qui, attirés par son titre, souhaiteraient y trouver des données archéologiques précises ou des conclusions argumentées.

Table of Contents

M. Benzi, G. Graziadio, Iasos nel Tardo Bronzo III. Un sito miceneizzato alla periferia del mondo miceneo
L. Donati Agorà. The fountains and the archaic period
R. Fabiani, M. Nafissi, La pubblicazione dei decreti a Iasos : cronologia e topografia
F. Berti, Tra mure e porte urbane : ricostruzioni, ipotesi e proposte a margine della stoà occidentale dell'agorà di Iasos
G. Maddoli, Vendita del sacerdozio della madre degli dei a Iasos
M. Michelucci, Le stipi votive dell'agorà e l'agorà augustea
S. Lagona, Uno spazio commerciale di fianco all'esedra di Artemide
M. Landolfi, La coroplastica votiva dal santuario di Zeus Megistos di Iasos
A. Romualdi, Materiali dal santuario di Demetra e Kore
S. Angiolillo, M. Giuman, La 'casa dei mosaici' : una domus della Iasos romana
D. Baldoni, Riti, usi e corredi funerari a Iasos in epoca ellenistica
R. Parapetti, Anastilosi grafica del monumento funerario nel Balık Pazarı di Iasos
N. Masturzo, Viaggiatori, epigrafisti e designatori. La topografia di Iasos dal 1600 a oggi
R. Pierobon Benoit, Archestrato e Iasos : note a margine
L. Cianciulli, L'architettura lelega nella chora di Iasos
A. Baran, Arkaik dönem ion mimarisinde friz kullanımı
S. Önder, M. H. Sayar, Foreign judges in Caria
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