Monday, August 31, 2015


Corinne Bonnet, Les enfants de Cadmos: le paysage religieux de la Phénicie hellénistique. De l'archéologie à l'histoire, 63​. Paris: Éditions de Boccard​, 2015. Pp. 606. ISBN 9782701803715. €79.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Nathanael Andrade, University of Oregon ( )

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Around 200 BCE, the Sidonians honored Diotimos, a dikastēs (probably Greek for "suffete"), with a Greek inscription for a chariot victory at the Nemean games. 1 The inscription contains an epigram that knits the pasts of Sidon and Greece. Highlighting Sidon's Argive descent and its ancestry of Thebes with its references to Phoronis, the Argive father of Agenor, and Cadmos, the son of Agenor, the inscription also calls to mind the debt that Greeks owed to Phoenician letters. The Greek inscription thus represents how Hellenistic Phoenicians endowed their local identities with prestige within a Mediterranean Greek cultural koine. Corinne Bonnet's book, aptly entitled Les enfants de Cadmos, illuminates the eclecticism of this phenomenon.

Les enfants de Cadmos is remarkable. In the spirit of Nicole Loraux's Les enfants d'Athéna,2 it likewise weaves deep sophistication and erudition into the treatment of its vast topic: the religious life of Hellenistic Phoenicians. Its publication is timely. Recent decades have witnessed an outpouring of scholarship on Phoenicians in the Mediterranean and on the Hellenistic and Roman Levant, including Roman Phoenicia.3 Yet, a monograph on Hellenistic Phoenicia last appeared decades ago,4 and Bonnet's book is the first synthesis integrating the extensive scholarly output of the interval. However, it does much more than that.

One merit of Bonnet's work is its analytical position regarding cultural life. Alexander's conquest of Phoenicia amplified the circulation of Greek culture there, but Bonnet aligns herself with recent critiques of the once canonical term "Hellenization." For Bonnet, its traditional baggage does not capture the agency that the conquered Phoenicians exercised in cultivating Greek culture or the complexity with which they interwove it with local practices. The term also frames "Greek" and "Phoenician" as monolithic categories in ways that obscure the cultural pluralism of Phoenicia's urban areas and rural hinterlands. Bonnet captures such intricacies by communicating the nature of Phoenicia's "paysages religieux," the landscapes or spaces in which Phoenicians created lived religious realities through their social and cultural practices, and her primary analytical frames are the negotiations of "the Middle Ground,"5 the entanglements of métissage, and anthropological views on culture articulated foremost by Marshall Sahlins and fellow travelers. In her characterizations of such phenomena, Bonnet also invokes other terms that have gained traction in classical studies, anthropology, various fields of history, and even the natural sciences, including,bricolage, "hybridity," "modernity," "new deal," "subversive submission," simplexité, and "more is different," and she makes frequent comparisons to the engagement between European and indigenous populations in the Americas.6 Readers may differ regarding the utility of such terms and historical comparanda, but Bonnet makes some significant observations. First, the religious landscapes of the Hellenistic Phoenicians integrated diverse cultural symbols, and this was not a unique phenomenon. Cultural systems are inherently mixed, amalgamated, and indebted to multiple antecedents, and they transform as indigenous populations domesticate various foreign cultural forms, including those of imperial conquerors. Amid the contingencies of shifting social contexts, Phoenician articulations of indigenous cult and identity, which were foremost defined by civic locality (Sidonian, Tyrian, and so forth), likewise enjoyed profound eclecticism and change. Second, Phoenicians did not merely adopt, adapt, and intertwine cultural traditions from diverse sources. They created new forms of cultural expression in ways that typify dynamic social encounters and negotiations.

Another merit of Bonnet's book is that its narrative scope spans beyond Phoenicia. It situates the local religious landscapes of Phoenicians within the "global" interconnections of a Mediterranean Greek koine. The book contains an introduction (15-36), four parts divided into nine chapters, a conclusion (521-35), detailed indices, 9 maps, and 117 illustrations. Errors are usually minor,7 and the figures are apt and generally of sound quality.8 Part I (Chapter 1: 41-106) anchors the efforts of Alexander the Great to establish royal legitimacy over Phoenicia's cities in Greco-Macedonian and Near Eastern traditions of dynastic rule. His intention to sacrifice at Melqart's sanctuary in the besieged city of Tyre, for example, highlighted his dynastic linkage and emulation of Herakles, Melqart's Greek counterpart. But it also placed Alexander within a longstanding local narrative of royal legitimacy, as Tyrians and many Near Eastern peoples conceived of their kings as authenticated by their cities' patron divinities.

Part II (Chapters 2-5) probes the religious landscapes of major Phoenician cities and their hinterlands. In Chapter 2 (109-52), Bonnet analyzes the island of Arados and its adjacent mainland territory. Her discussion treats the material finds of Amrit, a bilingual dedication to Herakles/Melqart, and the epigraphic dossier celebrating "the listening god" of the sanctuary of Zeus of Baetocaece (IGLS 7.4028). She demonstrates how the complex interactions of urban elites, imperial authorities, and rural sanctuaries endowed indigenous practices with new language, cultural idioms, and semantic values. Chapter 3 (153-96) probes the religious landscape of Byblos (traditionally Gubal), which are documented by inscriptions, various material objects, the sanctuary at Afqa, and the cosmogony of Philo of Byblos. With an eye on longstanding Egyptian influences, Bonnet posits that the Hellenistic Byblians domesticated the newly reconstituted Greek and Egyptian practices through which the Ptolemies expressed dynastic legitimacy. The Byblians accordingly associated Astarte (the Baalat Gubal) with Isis and embraced an Adonis figure that bore many affinities with Osiris. Achaemenid and Hellenistic Sidon receives the focus of Chapter 4 (198-268). It features analyses of the philhellene king Strato I (Abdashtart), the famous temple and "Tribune" of Eshmun at Bustan el-Sheikh; the sanctuary at Kharayeb; the sarcophagus of Abdalonymos; and the honors for Diotimos previously mentioned. In this chapter, Bonnet reconstructs a religious landscape reflecting how the Sidonians participated in a Mediterranean koine. Sidonians amplified their prestige through their adoption of Greek culture. They interwove and embedded an assortment of Greek and Near Eastern (Assyrian, Cypro-Anatolian, Egyptian, Persian) antecedents into experiences of indigenous practice. Finally, they nurtured a cultural eclecticism and innovation that defy simple typologies and narratives of artistic "evolution" or "Hellenization." Chapter 5 (269-327) focuses on Tyre and the culturally variegated material remains of the rural sanctuary at Umm el-Amed. It includes an examination of how Tyrians aligned the connotations of royal legitimacy traditional to their cults with the novelty of Ptolemaic dynastic worship. Bonnet also analyzes how Tyrians associated Melqart and his "avatar" Milkashtart, of nearby Umm el-Amed, with Herakles and his iconographic features. Rather than passive acculturation, these phenomena reflect how Tyrians reconstituted their local religious expressions and identities through their cultivation of Greek symbols (as well as Egyptian ones).

Part III (Chapters 6-7) examines the kinship myths, religious diplomacies, and iconographic forms through which Phoenicians inscribed local identities and claimed preeminence within the Mediterranean Greek koine. Chapter 6 (331-65) treats the genealogies and diplomatic ties that Phoenicians forged. As the book's title highlights, the Sidonians and Tyrians claimed to have been descended from Argives through Agenor, to have founded Thebes through Cadmos, and thereby to have endowed Greeks with Phoenician letters. The inscription for Diotimos is only one expression of this phenomenon; Phoenicians, for example, also established cults to Leucothea and Melicertes (both descended from Cadmos) in their local landscapes. Chapter 7 (367-411) explores Achaemenid and Hellenistic period religious iconographies, with particular focus on sarcophagi, the reliefs at Umm al-Amed, sculpted thrones, stamped weights, and coinage. Opposing evolutionist arguments that religious landscapes transformed from aniconic to iconic ones, Bonnet emphasizes the eclectic manner and diverse antecedents through which Phoenicians crafted religious or artistic forms.

Part 4 (Chapters 8-9) focuses on the Phoenicians' social navigation of an interconnected Mediterranean. While figuring into Bonnet's analysis, the Phoenicians traditionally known by the controversial label "Punic,"9 on whom Bonnet has published elsewhere, are not treated systematically.10 Chapter 8 (414-72) explores the Phoenicians of the Piraeus and Athens. Among other texts, their religious life is documented by an Athenian decree for a koinon of Citians who worshipped their unique "Aphrodite," the bilingual inscription of a koinon of Sidonians, and various bilingual funerary stelai. Similarly, Chapter 9 (474-520) treats the Phoenician presence on Delos, especially during the duty-free years of 166-88 BCE. During this period, the notable koina of Tyrian "Heracleistai" and Berytian "Poseidoniasts," named for their patron divinities' Greek counterparts, expressed their veneration for Melqart and Baal-Marin through ecumenical Greek symbols. Bonnet also examines the forms of worship on Delos that may have affected cult at Sidon and transformations in the worship of Astarte (often invoked as Aphrodite or Isis), as well as the Syrian divinity Atargatis. In these two chapters, the overall picture is one in which Phoenicians inhabiting certain multi-ethnic contexts reoriented their religious expressions in ways that conveyed the nature of their specifically ancestral cults through Greek symbols. In this way, they amplified the prestige of their home cities in a broader Mediterranean koine.

Finally, a valuable aspect of Bonnet's book is that it consistently measures continuity and change in Hellenistic Phoenicia through learned forays into Bronze and Iron Age antecedents, classical Greek trends, and the materials and texts of Roman Phoenicia. In some instances, this is a figment of the preponderance of Roman-era evidence in comparison to Hellenistic witnesses. But Bonnet's engagement with earlier and later periods adds greatly to the cogency of her book's main arguments. As she defies the premise that Hellenistic Phoenician cultural expression was a static monolith, she also demonstrates that no single uniform Phoenician experience of indigenous culture had ever existed. The category of "Phoenician" was a Greek invention, and the cultural and religious practices of Phoenician cities and rural hinterlands had long been diverse and in dialogue with many cultural koinai (Assyrian, Egyptian, Anatolian, Persian, and Greek, for example) that were themselves prone to transformation and internal diversity. Accordingly, when Bonnet describes how Hellenistic Phoenicians integrated Hellenism into new expressions of their local identities, she situates this activity within a long history of transformation, heterogeneity, selectivity, and creativity among Phoenician actors. This history persisted throughout the Roman imperial period, even as the Phoenician language disappeared from the inscriptions of Phoenicia altogether. ​


1.   Elias Bikerman, "Sur une inscription agonistique de Sidon," in Mélanges syriens offerts à Monsieur René Dussaud 1 (Paris: 1939), 91-99. See Bonnet, pp. 260-65 and 342-43.
2.   Nicole Loraux,Les enfants d'Athéna: idées athéniennes sur la citoyenneté et la division des sexes (Paris: F. Maspero, 1981), in English as The Children of Athena: Athenian Ideas about Citizenship and the Division between the Sexes (Princeton University Press, 1993).
3.   The bibliography is vast. Recent examples are Josephine Crawley Quinn and Nicholas C. Vella (eds.), The Punic Mediterranean: Identities and Identification from Phoenician Settlement to Roman Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2014); Julien Aliquot, La vie religieuse au Liban sous l'Empire romain (Beirut: IFPO, 2010); Michael Blömer, Achim Lichtenberger, and Rubina Raja (eds.), Religious Identities in the Levant from Alexander to Muhammed: Continuity and Change (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015); Ted Kaizer (ed.), The Variety of Local Religious Life in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods (Leiden: Brill, 2008).
4.   J. D. Grainger, Hellenistic Phoenicia (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991).
5.   The concept, often adopted and adapted by Mediterranean scholars, originates from Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Cambridge University Press, 1991).
6.   References are interspersed throughout the narrative. The introduction (15-36) and conclusion (521-35) contain some key discussion, and the index des notions/themes principaux (590-91) documents recurrent usage.
7.   On p. 393, however, figure 47 is denoted as figure 72.
8.   Images of some coins, however, are small and visually difficult.
9.   See now Quinn and Vella, Punic Mediterranean (cited footnote 3).
10.   Recent examples are "On Gods and Earth: the Tophet and the Construction of a New Identity in Punic Carthage, "in Erich Gruen (ed.), 373-87, Cultural Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2011); "Le destin féminin de Carthage," Pallas 85 (2011): 19-29; "Phoenician Identities in Hellenistic Times: Strategies and Negotiations," in Quinn and Vella, Punic Mediterranean (cited footnote 3), 282-98 (esp. 289-94); "Carthage, 'l'autre nation' dans l'historiographie ancienne et moderne," Anabases 1 (2005): 139-60; "Identité et altérité religieuses: à propos de l'hellénisation de Carthage," Pallas 70 (2006): 365-79. ​

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Sofía Torallas Tovar, Klaas A. Worp, Greek Papyri from Montserrat (P.Monts.Roca IV). Scripta orientalia, 1. Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 2014. Pp. 327; 55 p. of plates. ISBN 9788498837001. (pb).

Reviewed by W. Andrew Smith, Shepherds Theological Seminary (

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The variety of Greek manuscripts found in the Abadia de Montserrat Collection (Barcelona) is a tribute to the efforts of Ramón Roca-Puig (1906–2001), who bequeathed the papyri to the abbey. The collection holds over 1500 papyrus and parchment items dating from the Ptolemaic period to the tenth century.

Sofía Torallas Tovar, Associate Professor of Classics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, has been the curator of the Papyrological collections at the Abadia de Montserrat since 2002 and directs the research conducted by the CSIC and Universitat Pompeu Fabra at the abbey. She has co-authored this fourth volume of Montserrat papyri 1 with professor emeritus at Leiden University Klaas A. Worp. The volume contains sixty-three Greek manuscripts, some published previously (often in publications that are difficult to obtain) and updated here, others published here for the first time. The other contributors to this volume are Alberto Nodar Domínguez and María Victoria Spottorno, bringing specialized expertise to the analyses of the Homeric and biblical papyri, respectively.

In addition to the color printed plates that are included with this book, high-quality digital images are available online at the DVCTVS website (, though the direct link to the digital catalogue is Searching the catalog using the P.Monts.Roca inventory numbers is the most expedient way to locate the manuscript images (links to which are located at the bottom of each full record).

The front matter of this book is quite brief. The volume begins with a three-page preface by Father Pius-Ramon Tragan, who is responsible for the Scriptorium Biblicum et Orientale at the abbey. Written in Catalan, the preface provides an overview of the scope and purpose of the publication project for the manuscripts housed at Montserrat. This is followed by the four-page introduction, which quickly orients the reader to the history of the manuscripts from the hands of Ramón Roca-Puig to the context of the current volume's research. Very little is revealed regarding the modern provenance of these manuscripts.

Following the front matter, the descriptions of the papyri follow in the typical layout of papyrological works, divided according to type (literary, paraliterary, and documentary). The twenty literary manuscripts in this volume consist of: five Homeric papyri (two from the Ptolemaic period, containing Iliad 9.696–10.3 and Odyssey 11.73–78, and three from the Roman period, containing Iliad 1.135–139, Iliad 14.1–80, 369–381, 411–419, and Odyssey 5.113–122); three classical texts (Demosthenes' Oratio 21.62, an intriguing fragment of an unidentified Hellenistic historiography, and a commentary on Theocritus' Idylls 1.45–152, 7.5); twelve biblical texts (for readers in biblical studies, the Rahlfs numbers for the Septuagintal manuscripts are 952, 967, 983, 984, 2160, and 2162, while the Gregory-Aland identifiers for the New Testament manuscripts are P67, P80, 0252, 0267, and 0298); and seven works of Christian literature (lines 44–63 of Comparatio Menandri et Philistionis, a fragment with a portion of Hippolytus' De benedictionibus Isaaci et Jacobi, two fragments of John Chrysostom's De Virginitate, the earliest extant fragment of Methodius' Symposium, and two unidentified Christian texts dating to the 4th/5th c. and 5th/6th c.).

The six paraliterary papyri consist of: a second- or third-century list of six gods (all in the genitive case); a portion of an amulet with eleven lines of magical text; a complete Christian healing amulet; an unknown literary text (incomplete, but possibly medical in nature) and partial Greek medical prescription from the late Ptolemaic period; a Greek horoscope dated to 336/7 CE; and a dated name tag (2nd c. CE).

The thirty-one documentary papyri cover a wide variety of topics. There are five public documents, including: a petition from the priests of Seknebtynis to an unidentified official (2nd c. BCE); an application from Tanais for seed-corn, with an accompanying oath, from the reign of Domitian; a papyrus declaring the death of a woman (whose name is lost) from the first or second century; a declaration from two priests to the logistes of Oxyrhynchus (c. 325 CE); and a tomos synkollesimos from early Byzantine Egypt, with an administrative account and a report of trial proceedings. There are five tax-related documents: a second-century receipt from Bubastos for a tax referred to as hermeneia metrou; a fifth-century papyrus from Oxyrhynchus with two receipts, one for a monthly stathmos tax and one for the vestis militaris tax; and three documents from Hermopolis dating from the seventh to eighth centuries, including an item related to tax collection, and two tax receipts.

There are twelve contracts, including: a cession of land from Krokodilopolis (183/2 BCE); an extensive Ptolemaic contract of lease from Hephaistias (148 BCE); a loan of money from a woman in Oxyrhynchus to two other women (49–54 CE); a fragment of a house sale, in both Greek and demotic (37–69 CE); a deed of gift for a plot of land (161–169 CE); a labor contract for farm work and a lease for two pigs (3rd c. CE); a fragmentary division of an inheritance (dihaeresis) from Oxyrhynchus (Roman period); a contract to apprentice a textile worker (Oxyrhynchus, 3rd/4th c. CE); a fragment of an Oxyrhynchite loan contract (4th/5th c. CE); a fragment of the end of a contract, with indication of parties, oath, etc., from Oxyrhynchus (mid-5th c. CE); a notarized loan document from Herakleopolis (8th c. CE); and, finally, a Ptolemaic fragment that is intriguing because of its mention of sunthiasitai ("fellow-member of a thiasos"). There are five accounts and payments documents, including: a small fragment of an account dating to the third century BCE, possibly derived from cartonnage; an order from Oxyrhynchus for a baker to pay an individual a certain amount of money (336/7 BCE); a receipt for eighteen loaves of bread (6th/7th c. CE); an account from an unidentified monastery for an unknown purpose (7th/8th c. CE); and a list of names and payments, probably from Hermopolis (7th/8th c. CE). Finally, there are four private documents: a request for help from someone stopped at the (as yet unidentified) "Gate of Prosperity" (2nd c. CE); a nearly complete private letter from the third or fourth century mentioning a hieroglyph carver (surprising for that time period) and a pagan priest; a private letter from two authors apparently in Syria to a certain Kalliopios (4th/5th c. CE); and a fragment of a letter from a scholasticus to a (possibly known?) comes domesticorum named Solon (6th c. CE).

The usual indices follow the descriptions of the papyri (pp. 299–327). Following the indices are 55 pages of color plates, illustrating all papyri published in the volume. In most cases the color images are of an appropriate size, but there are some inventory items that are photographed at such a small size that they are difficult to examine (e.g., items 36, 2, 3, 315, and 241). The on-line images compensate for the presence of these smaller prints. Additionally, it is helpful that each papyrus is photographed with a ruler.

Given the number of pieces in this book, brief comments on three of the manuscripts follow to provide an idea of the volume's contents. Roca-Puig's primary interest was in biblical manuscripts, and the biblical papyri from this collection represent important witnesses to the transmission history of the Greek Bible. For example, the two fragments that compose P.Monts.Roca 1 (Gregory-Aland P67) are an early (late second century) witness to the Gospel of Matthew (containing Matt. 3:8–9, 14–15 and 5:20–22, 25–28); the fragments are known to be part of the same manuscript as GA P64 (Oxford's Magdalene Greek 17). In Spottorno's analysis of P.Monts.Roca 1, she proposes a convincing reconstruction of the manuscript (including P64) as a two-column codex with quires of four bifolia. Other papyri of particular interest include the Homeric items, especially those of the so-called "wild" Ptolemaic papyri because of the unique variants they present. In his analysis of these Ptolemaic papyri (P.Monts.Roca 47 and 46), Nodar records the plus and minus verses in this volume but refers elsewhere for discussion of those variants.2 A final interesting piece, the unidentified Hellenistic historiography of P.Monts.Roca 267 (a roll from the 3rd c. BCE), provides an enticing glimpse into what may be a historiographical work of Alexander. Only two names, Eurydice and (possibly) Ptolemy, survive in the work, which is comprised of three fragments: in the first fragment Eurydice is among bodyguards; in the second there is travel along a coast back to a military camp after offering a sacrifice involving a female costume, a golden bowl, an axe, and an iron dagger; in the third there is a sacrificial offering of a hecatomb of goats, sheep, and calves. A lengthy and insightful commentary accompanies this papyrus, discussing possible interpretations of the text.

For the papyrologist, this type of cataloging and discussion of numerous manuscripts of disparate subjects represents an invaluable data mine. In light of the obscure nature of the previous publications of papyri from this collection, this work is a boon to researchers with a wide range of manuscript interests. Compared to the wealth of information provided in the indices, it is disappointing (but not unusual) that this book has no accompanying bibliography. Regardless, the attention to detail and the expertise of the authors render this book a valuable and appreciated contribution to the field.


1.   See also Sofía Torallas Tovar and K. A. Worp, To the Origins of Greek Stenography (P. Monts.Roca I) (Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 2006); Sofía Torallas Tovar, Biblica Coptica Monserratensia P.Monts.Roca II (Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 2007); and Sofía Torallas Tovar and Juan Gil, Hadrianvs P.Monts.Roca III (Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 2010).
2.   A. Nodar, "Wild papyri in the Roca-Puig collection," in P. Schubert (ed.), Actes du 26e Congrès international de papyrologie, Genève 16–21, août 2010 (Genève 2012), 565–572.

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Julie Thompson Klein, Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. Pp. 201. ISBN 9780472052547. $30.00.

Reviewed by Anne Mahoney, Tufts University (

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Preview and Text

Classicists can take digital humanities (DH) for granted. We are all familiar with projects like the TLG, Perseus, the Bibliotheca Neo-Latina, and even BMCR itself. Arguably the first DH project of all was in classics, Fr. Robert Busa's 1949 concordance to Thomas Aquinas (p. 38). For us, classical DH projects are as much part of the landscape as JSTOR,, and so on are for colleagues in other fields. Even if we do not work on digital projects ourselves, we use tools from DH. But the place of DH in classics deserves discussion: first of all, is DH work "in" classics at all? Is it possible to be both a classicist and a DH scholar, or must one choose one or the other? Is DH work disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, or para-disciplinary?

These are the questions raised by Klein's book. She herself is in an English department, but she makes an effort to cover the relationship of DH to many humanities fields, in particular including both classics and archaeology. She is concerned with the definition of DH and how it positions itself relative to other fields, how it labels its own boundaries. She sketches the history of DH, and discusses how it fits into colleges and universities (mainly in the US): this includes not only where DH scholars are situated on campus, but how DH work counts for tenure and other assessments and evaluations of faculty.

Although several guides and textbooks on DH have appeared in the last dozen years,1 this book is different because it's more theoretical: not "what is DH so I can use it?" but "what am I doing when I do DH?"—or when I do classics with DH tools. It's a book to argue with rather than one to study. The biggest question is whether DH actually is an interdisciplinary field in the same way as, say, medieval studies (which is one of Klein's regular examples of an established interdisciplinary field, for example p. 75, 94, 118). Klein's goal is to test this idea through examination of the "boundary work" of DH, that is, "the claims, activities, and structures by which individuals and groups work directly and through institutions to create, maintain, break down, and reformulate [boundaries] between knowledge units" (p. 5).

The first chapter, "Interdisciplining," explains different ways of crossing or transcending disciplinary boundaries. An activity or field may be multidisciplinary, juxtaposing "inputs" from several disciplines, or truly interdisciplinary, integrating rather than just combining (p. 15). It may be narrowly or broadly interdisciplinary, depending on how disparate the underlying disciplines are in their methods, questions, and epistemology (p. 16). Interdisciplinary work may be methodological, focused on improving results in one discipline by bringing in methods from elsewhere, or theoretical, aiming to generalize beyond one discipline (p. 17); it may be instrumental, focused on solving a problem, or critical, paying more attention to the structure of knowledge itself (p. 18). Finally, interdisciplinary work may be transdisciplinary, if it gets beyond the world-view of a single discipline (p. 20). Klein suggests that DH as practiced today is transdisciplinary in this sense, and points to work on "critical digital humanities" (p. 19) to show that DH is more than merely instrumental. She acknowledges that "Digital Humanities is widely viewed as methodological in nature" (p. 17) but suggests that the change from thinking of "humanities computing," as we used to call it, to "digital humanities" reflects a movement from methodological to more theoretical focus within the field (p. 17). In other words, for Klein, DH is interdisciplinary in all the best ways.

Chapter two, "Defining," steps back to ask what DH actually is. The term is surprisingly hard to pin down, and practitioners even disagree about whether it is a field or "an array of convergent practices" (p. 47, quoting Jeffrey Schnapp and Todd Presser's Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0). Klein identifies a "first wave of Digital Humanities in the late 1990s and early 2000s" which "emphasized large-scale digitization projects and technological infrastructure," basically quantitative in orientation, and effectively replicating 500 years of print culture in digital form, followed by a second wave which "has been qualitative, interpretive, experiential, emotive, and generative in nature," expanding beyond text to visual, spatial, and temporal forms like film or music (p. 47). It is in this second wave that DH truly becomes interdisciplinary, she argues.

Chapter three, "Institutionalizing," talks about how DH fits into the university. Digital humanists may be in humanities departments, like classics; in the library; or in a center for DH. There are named chairs, graduate fellowships, and everything in between. Klein gives a broad, clear overview of the affiliations of DH scholars and practitioners and the state of the job market in DH (p. 74-79): currently, there seem to be more jobs for administrators and technical support staff than for researchers and faculty within DH (p. 77-78). Research centers, often funded by grants, "provide interstitial space for boundary crossing and collaboration" (p. 79) and give DH visibility as a type of faculty work rather than part of the school's information-technology service-computing infrastructure (p. 85).

"Professionalizing," the fourth chapter, discusses communities of practice within DH, and scholarly publication and communication. There are several scholarly organizations for DH (p. 96), and there are interest groups or other sub-divisions within disciplinary organizations (for example, the Digital Classics Association holds its annual meeting at the SCS annual meeting). Communities arise around projects (p. 93, using Integrating Digital Papyrology as an example), around teaching (p. 94), and around the creation of standards (p. 95).

Scholarly communication includes publication both of DH projects themselves and of theoretical work about DH. The latter might appear in printed books or journals, but the former necessarily require a digital platform of some sort. The first DH projects were fundamentally similar to print books, but various new types and genres of publication have been created, from annotated and transcribed page images to GIS-based mapping projects (p. 97-98). DH projects may also be libraries or collections. These projects, especially the largest ones, require collaboration, and, as Klein observes, "the concept of authorship is more complex in digital environments because it entails the composite work of compiling and archiving, editing and curating, and making or adapting tools for searching, indexing, annotating, and collaborating" (p. 101).

"Educating" is the fifth chapter. Here Klein looks both at courses on DH and at courses using DH: "digital teaching and learning as interdisciplinary practice" (p. 11). The overview of syllabi and texts for introductory DH courses (p. 111-115) will be useful to anyone preparing to teach such a class. Students who work in or with DH should gain not only some technical skills but also skills of integration, critique, and collaboration (p. 125), all things that will be useful even for the majority who won't go on to careers in DH (p. 128). In fact, some scholars and practitioners suggest that, at its core, DH is "a means of scholarship and pedagogy" (p. 129, quoting Jon Saklofske, Estelle Clements, and Richard Cunningham).

"Collaborating and Rewarding," Klein's final chapter, picks up the idea of communities of practice from chapter 4 and considers how DH is recognized and rewarded in universities. Collaboration is much more common in DH than in the humanities generally. As a result, humanities disciplines have not yet figured out how to assess collaborative work, as scientists have. Klein surveys some of the working arrangements different projects have made, best practices for agreeing ahead of time about ownership and credit, and in general the ethical principles necessary for working together (p. 136-144). While much of this may be obvious, for example the value of intellectual generosity in collaboration, some points are more subtle, such as the discussion of how cross-disciplinary teams develop their own language, which may eventually lead to a new field (p. 141).

Interdisciplinary work and collaborative work also pose problems for the usual systems of evaluating humanities faculty, which expect us to produce single-author books and journal articles. But new standards are evolving. Klein refers to the MLA Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media and the AHA's Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians; both of these documents have been updated since the versions she cites.

A seventh chapter, "Resourcing," by Andy Engel, gives an annotated list of resources, most on line, for keeping up with DH. These include scholarly associations, journals, and blogs. Of particular interest to classicists is Digital Classicist, a collaboration among British, German, and American scholars, with links to project sites and tools.

Klein concludes her last chapter with a look to the future of DH (p. 151). Perhaps, as she suggests, "the promise of Digital Humanities also remains greater than the uneven realities of practice and institutionalization" (p. 153). In classics, the tools of DH have become ubiquitous, and they make even "ordinary" (we might even say, "classic") work in classics easier. While a scholar who uses the tools, methods, or corpora developed by DH to do non-digital work would probably say she's not actually doing DH, and would not call herself a digital humanist (compare p. 56), nonetheless these tools influence the types of questions we think of asking, or how difficult it is to answer them. Is there a basic core of "DH knowledge" that every classicist should have? Each discipline needs to find its own answer to a question like this. Klein points us to what our colleagues in other fields have done, and to ways of thinking about DH both as a field and as a practice. The book is useful not merely as a summary of current thinking in and around DH but as a stimulus to defining Digital Classics.


1.   For example, Susan Schreibman, Raymond Siemens, John Unsworth, edd., A Companion to Digital Humanities, Blackwell, 2004; Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan, Edward Vanhoutte, Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader, Ashgate, 2013; Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schapp, Digital_Humanities, MIT Press, 2012. Klein lists and describes these and other books, p. 8.

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Trevor S. Luke, Ushering in a New Republic: Theologies of Arrival at Rome in the First Century BCE. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014. Pp. xii, 328. ISBN 9780472052226. $35.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Ida Östenberg, University of Gothenburg (

Version at BMCR home site


In recent years, Roman political culture has become an increasingly vibrant field. Not least through the work of Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp, scholars have become more attentive to the central importance of political performances staged in the city at festal occasions and in everyday life. Religion forms part of that scholarly discourse; the gods, temples and rituals are analysed as an integrated component of Roman political culture at work.

Has cultural studies thinned out scholarly approaches to the specific religious attitudes and practices of Republican Rome? Have we, in our strive to relieve Republican Rome of Christian conceptions centred on faith, watered down ancient religion to a general 'cultural practice', to which we can relate and thus more easily understand? It seems to me, reading Trevor Luke's monograph Ushering in a New Republic: Theologies of Arrival at Rome in the First Century BCE that one of its central aims is to restore the particularity of Roman Republican religion in scholarly debate. Politics and performance both have a place in Luke's book, but religion is emphasised as the prime player.

Luke analyses departures and arrivals performed and retold by the principal figures of late Republican Rome. According to Luke, each leader constructed his own 'personal political theology', according to which he displayed his religious claims and created stories of divine support. By setting departures and arrivals in narrative frames dense with religious overtones, the leading Romans of the time, according to Luke, advertised themselves as divinely appointed saviours, who brought stability, peace and a new era (saeculum) to Rome.

Luke's first analytic chapter focuses on Sulla, suggesting that the memoirs started with an omen announcing a new saeculum and probably ended with his triumph. Luke commendably underlines that we should take Sulla's interest in omens and divine protection seriously. He also convincingly argues that Sulla justified his march on Rome in religious terms. But the sources, or lack thereof, present a problem for the chapter as a whole. When Plutarch writes that Sulla, in his dedication of the memoirs, advised Lucullus to look out for divine signs and thereafter refers to the Lavernan prodigy and Sulla's profectio, it's possible but far from certain that these events formed part of Sulla' own introduction. Also, this chapter would have benefitted from an inquiry into the relationship between performance (departure and triumph) and commemorative literature (memoir).

In Chapter two, Luke argues convincingly for the success of Pompey's cleverly played out act in front of the censors during the recognitio equitum in 70 BCE. Luke relates the event to the welcoming of Italians as citizens through the census, Pompey's Italian background, and an investment in Hercules, popular in Italy. It is not quite clear how this ties in with the idea of a divinely protected adventus, but as I understand Luke, he sees the performance as an ovatio or triumphus of sorts, which, linked with the censors naming Pompey Magnus, the strengthened relationship with the Italians and the image of Hercules, forms a coherent political-theological program that aimed at launching Pompey as a new saviour of Rome and Italy. This is a clever idea, and in parts acceptable. However, when Luke calls Pompey's engagement with Hercules in 70 BCE unique (p. 83), his case rests purely on circumstantial evidence. There was a temple to Hercules Pompeianus, which imperial sources placed near the Circus Maximus, but we do not know when the shrine was built. Luke further claims that Pompey's victory games in 70 were dedicated to Hercules, whereas in fact, no ancient source confirms this. In order to verify his argument, Luke casts doubts on the enmity of Pompey and Crassus (who also attached himself to Hercules), arguing that they used this religious symbolism cooperatively.

Cicero's exile and return is discussed in chapter 3. Cicero made a spectacular show of his profectio (dressed in black, accompanied by an escort, offering a statue of Minerva on the Capitol) as well as the reditus, which was staged and retold very much in terms of a triumph. Luke makes several good points about how Cicero's exit and return proclaimed him saviour of Rome. By linking the statue of Minerva, Cicero's poem De consulatu suo with its council of gods, the dream of Marius as reported in the De Divinatione and his own return, Luke further claims that Cicero painted his departure and return in strongly theological terms. As so often throughout this book, one wonders if 'personal theology' would not be better expressed as 'self-presentation set in a triumphal tradition, strengthened by ideas of divine assistance'. Also, Luke at times stretches the sources quite far in order to validate his idea of a Ciceronian theological construction. For example, the fact that it was the birthday of the temple of Salus when Cicero landed in Brundisium simply cannot entail that readers of the letter to Atticus saw here a reference to Cicero's desire to become censor because there was a statue of Cato the Censor in that shrine.

In chapter 4, Luke targets Caesar's entry into Rome from the Feriae Latinae in 44 BCE. The discussion is partly based on Sumi's argument that the ovatio provided Caesar with a possibility to stage a vision of reconciliation and concordia after his failed attempts to show off the civil war victories in the triumphs of 46.1 Luke also claims that the procession re-enacted the migration of his ancestors the Julii to Rome and that it formed a response to Cicero's Pro Marcello. Both arguments are valid, albeit at times somewhat strained. Luke also makes a good case for why the ovatio should be read as an attempt to perform a recusatio regni and argues that Caesar used the arrival to display a vision of the new order, with himself in the leading but not regal role.

Chapter 5 presents an analysis of Octavian's ovatio in 36 BCE after the defeat of Sextus Pompeius at Naulochus, rightly noting that the event was celebrated as the end of the civil wars. Luke emphasises the extraordinary honours offered by the Senate, such as the banquet promised to Octavian, his wife and children in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on each anniversary of the victory (Dio Cass. 49.15.1–2). Luke links this event to Suetonius' report of a scandalous secret banquet of the twelve gods in which Augustus was dressed as Apollo (Aug. 70), although there is no evidence for when the cena dodekatheos would have taken place. He further insists that the banquet on the Capitol was a private event, which is both unfounded and unlikely, as the day involved public commemorations. Luke tries very hard to tie everything down to the year 36: Octavian's ovatio, his new divinity, rumours of a new saeculum, the identification with Apollo, a cosmic restoration of the Republic and the two banquets. In the end, he even suggests that Octavian entered Rome 'to acclamations as the New Apollo, perhaps even dressed as the god' (159, cf. 160). To me, this seems utterly implausible. Unfortunately, the importance of the attested divine associations of Octavian's entry in 36 gets lost in this chapter, much being built on speculation.

In the final section, Luke focuses on the Res Gestae, arguing that the inscription presented a theological case for deifying Augustus.2 In Chapter 6, he discusses earlier texts as inspirational forerunners: Pompey's dedicatory inscription to Minerva, the silver tablets with Caesar's honours, the bronze tablet of Capys. In general terms, these inscriptions certainly formed part of the cultural frame within which the Res Gestae was produced, but their contexts and forms were very different.

In Chapter 7 and 8, Luke argues that the first 13 chapters of the Res Gestae should be read as a theological adventus narrative of Augustus, the refounder of Rome and bringer of a new saeculum. I agree with Luke's emphasising Augustus' deliberate use of his arrivals, and with the interpretation of the Ara Fortunae Reducis and the Ara Pacis as triumphally embedded topographical markers of an age of peace. He also offers several other potentially important arguments. But the main ideas presented in these chapters are unconvincing.

According to Luke, the Res Gestae as a whole is framed by two Augustan arrivals, chapter 1 (Octavian raises an army) and chapter 35 (Augustus is named pater patriae). This is an interpretation rather than facts. He further claims that the reader at the Mausoleum would quickly have acknowledged chapter 1–13 of the text as an imaginary journey into the heart of Rome and Augustus' Forum. Central to Luke's argument is his understanding of an underlying evocation of Romulus in chapters 1–4 and of Numa in 9–13, and the appearance of these figures on the panels of the Ara Pacis, set along the route between Mausoleum and Forum. One major problem here is of course that the identification of Numa on the altar is far from clear. Also, in these chapters, Luke plays on a large palette of associations to Romulus, Janus, Mars, Apollo, Valerius Poplicola, Camillus, Caesar and especially Numa, and ties them to monumental and topographical locations evoked by the Res Gestae. How even the cultural elite in Rome would have understood and made sense of this highly intricate web of references remains unclear.

In the conclusion, Luke targets the last two chapters of the Res Gestae, which he interprets as a final adventus, a destined endpoint for Augustus' personal theology, for the Republican project as such, and for the arguments of his monograph. He argues well that Augustus' nomination as pater patriae in chapter 35 formed a statement of Roman consensus. The reminder of the chapter is more problematic. Luke finds in the final part of the Res Gestae yet another itinerary, which led the reader to the quadriga inscribed pater patriae on his Forum. Based on Strocka's suggestion that the marble biga in the Vatican is identical to the statue on the Forum,3 Luke presumes that the chariot stood empty. We are not presented with any arguments in favour of this surmise, and, after all, the Res Gestae mentions a quadriga, not a biga. This leaves Luke's ingenious concluding hypothesis without any source-based evidence. Luke's point is that the empty chariot represented the end of a journey, which was played out in the Res Gestae and which symbolised Augustus' refusal to accept triumphs after 29 BCE and, later on, his apotheosis and deification.

Ushering in a New Republic is a challenging book. It takes the reader on a winding route of wide-ranging associations. The arguments are often strained, and Luke not seldom presses the sources to their limits or even beyond to have them fit into his model of theologically imbedded departures and arrival stories.

At the same time, Luke has clearly spotted a lacuna in the present scholarship, and I applaud the will and courage to explore a new path. I am not convinced that the term 'personal political theology' is adequate or helpful, but it is certainly thought-provoking. I also believe Luke is right that we should take the ancient testimony of experiences of the divine and stories of miraculous manifestations seriously. It is clear that the political leaders of the late Republic freighted their departures and arrivals with religious associations, and that the idea of a saviour entering Rome formed part of triumphal rhetoric. Throughout the book, the reader is left with a somewhat frustrating feeling that Luke is on the verge of uncovering something potentially very important. Ushering in a new Republic is provocative and forced, but it is also bold and stimulating.


1.   G. S. Sumi, Ceremony and power. Performing politics in Rome between Republic and Empire, Ann Arbor 2005, 65–69.
2.   A thesis first presented by von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and more recently argued by B. Bosworth, 'Augustus, the Res Gestae and Hellenistic theories of apotheosis', JRS 89, 1999, 1–18.
3.   M. V. Strocka, 'Die Quadriga auf dem Augustusforum in Rom', MDAI(R) 115, 2009, 21–55.

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Jean-Yves Guillaumin, Les arpenteurs romains, Tome III: 'Commentaire anonyme sur Frontin'. Collection des universités de France. Série latine, 408. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2014. Pp. xlvii, 159. ISBN 9782251014685. €53.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Jens-Olaf Lindermann, Freie Universität Berlin (

Version at BMCR home site


Mit diesem Buch legt Jean-Yves Guillaumin den dritten Band zu Les arpenteurs romains in der CUF-Reihe vor. Es enthält Edition, Übersetzung und Kommentierung eines spätantiken anonymen Frontin-Kommentars. Neben diesem commentum bietet der Band außerdem eine Edition des libellus diazographus, eines kleinen Heftes mit Abbildungen, die den Kommentar unterstützt haben sollen. Text und Übersetzung sind Anmerkungen (Notice, vii-xxx) vorangestellt: Nach "Sujet" (vii-viii) und "Nature" des commentum (viii-ix) geht Guillaumin präzise auf die Datierung des Autors (6. Jh. n. Chr.) ein (ix-xii), dessen Bildungshintergrund er (xii-xvii) vielleicht etwas zu positiv bewertet; angesichts der vernichtenden Urteile Lachmanns und Thulins ist diese Neubewertung aber für die weitere wissenschaftliche Diskussion zu begrüßen. Der christliche Hintergrund (xvii-xviii) des Autors wird kurz behandelt, ebenso die Quellen des commentum (xviii-xxiii): Neben Iulius Frontinus sind dies Siculus Flaccus, Hygin 1, Balbus und Agennius, dessen sogenannte status — und effectus — Lehre in de controversiis ebenfalls genau untersucht werden (xxiii-xxvi). Die Seiten xxvi-xxx behandeln den diazographus, da der Autor des commentum ebenfalls verantwortlich für das angefügte kleine Heft mit Abbildungen ist; die Möglichkeit, die Abbildungen bestimmten Textpassagen zuordnen zu können, beantwortet Guillaumin positiv (xxviii).

In einem kürzeren Abschnitt (xxxi-xxxv) widmet sich Guillaumin den Textzeugen (xxxi-xxii) von commentum und diazographus, die auf einen Palatinus latinus 1564 (P, saec. ix) zurückgehen. Der in P verlorene Beginn von commentum und diazographus wird bewahrt durch eine späte Abschrift, den Bruxellensis p (saec. xii) und einen zu P fast gleichzeitigen Enkel G (saec. ix), der im Gegensatz zu P auch die Illuminationen überliefert. Nach der Begründung der texteditorischen Prinzipien (xxxiii-xxxiv) folgen kurze Hinweise (Avertissement, xxxvii-xxxix) u.a. zur neuen Paragraphierung des Texts und Anmerkungen zum libellus diazographus (xxxviii-xxxix). Bibliographie (xli-xliii), Danksagung und conspectus siglorum beschließen den einleitenden Teil. Es folgen Text und Übersetzung des commentum (1-23, Anmerkungsteil 49-117), der diazographus (25-48, Anmerkungsteil 119-144) und drei Indices (verborum notabilium, nominum, geographicus 145-157).

Guillaumins Edition hat vor allem in ihrem editorischen Bereich einige Schwächen, so daß sie die letzte, wirklich als kritisch zu bezeichnende Edition Thulins nicht ersetzen kann. Auch Guillaumin übernimmt den Text ohne größere Änderungen; leider treten dabei Fragen nach der Textüberlieferung bzw. der Quellenbehandlung durch den Autor des commentum weitgehend in den Hintergrund. Das commentum ist nämlich in weiten Teilen eine Kompilation verschiedener Quellen, mit denen der Autor Passagen aus zwei gromatischen Traktaten eines Iulius Frontinus erläutert. Während Thulin in seiner Edition versucht hat, die unterschiedlichen Quellen im apparatus fontium sichtbar zu machen, sind bei Guillaumin nur die Frontinzitate markiert. Die anderen Anleihen finden sich teilweise im Anmerkungsteil, so daß nur beim mühsamen Nachschlagen in den Fußnoten (und nicht immer) deutlich wird, ob der Text nun dem Autor des commentum zuzuweisen ist oder nicht. Beispielsweise wird (16) zum Satz nam et in Italia Pisauro flumini latitudo est assignata eatenus quousque alluebat in n. 263 (90) nur auf Siculus Flaccus' allgemeine Bemerkung verwiesen und der heutige Name des Flusses (Foglia) genannt; daß der Satz wahrscheinlich aus Agennius 44, 22-23 Th. stammt, wird nicht erwähnt. Zur Auseinandersetzung mit diesem wichtigen Thema sind damit immer noch Thulins Edition und seine Apparate unverzichtbar.

Die Entscheidung Guillaumins, die Texttradition nur im Anmerkungsteil zu behandeln, ist auch deswegen ungünstig, weil man bei dem reichen (und interessanten) Anmerkungsteil, den Guillaumin wie stets bietet, wohl nicht immer damit rechnen kann, daß jede verwendete Quelle des commentum vom Leser als solche erkannt wird. Diese Quellen sind Texte, die nicht nur in der P-Redaktion (also der zweiten Handschriftenklasse) überliefert sind, sondern ebenso auch in der ersten Handschriftenklasse, die durch den Arcerianus (A, B, saec. vi) repräsentiert wird. Zwischen beiden Handschriften liegen rund 300 Jahre — eine Zeit, in denen die Texte weiter verändert wurden. Schon im Arcerianus liegt aber der Text Frontins in einer weitgehend durch die Agenniustexte kompilierten Fassung vor; diese Texte verwendet auch der Autor des commentum. Um seine Texte also tatsächlich kritisch richtig einordnen zu können, wäre es notwendig gewesen, die Überlieferungsgeschichte der von ihm verwendeten Texte deutlicher auch in den anderen Handschriftenklassen zu dokumentieren.

Diese Dokumentation fehlt im kritischen Apparat und ist unübersichtlich und unvollständig in den Anmerkungsteil verschoben. So verweist Guillaumin in I 3 (2) und n. 39 beim ager occupatorius auf Siculus Flaccus' territis fugatisque hostibus, wo statt hostibus civibus steht, übersieht aber gleichzeitig, daß dieser Unterschied eher auf die Stelle Frontin. 8, 5-6 Th. territorium est quidquid hostis terrendi causa constitutum est zurückgehen dürfte. In solchen Fällen verweist Guillaumin häufig nur auf seine früheren Editionen. Ebenso wird manchen Hinweisen Thulins nicht energisch genug nachgegangen. In II 22 (19) merkt Thulin zu ad urbem venientibus peregrinis richtig an, daß der Autor in Rom schreibt1 und spekuliert im Apparat, daß peregrinus wohl schon die christliche Nuance 'Pilger' enthält. Ein "à propos de laquelle Thulin (apparat critique p. 67) se demande si elle ne désignerait pas des 'pélerins'" hundert Jahre nach dieser Frage ist als Antwort zu wenig. Im selben Kontext steht weiter unten die Anpassung des frontinischen alveum fluminis veterem in alvei Tiberis (II 21, 19) im commentum. Für Guillaumin (n. 323, 100) ist dies allein "unprocessus paléographique complexe". Daß der Autor in Verbindung mit ad urbem eine allgemeine Bezeichnung gegen einen ihm bekannten Flußnamen ausgetauscht haben könnte, wäre immerhin eine Überlegung wert gewesen, zumal die Anmerkungen sonst einen guten Ein-und Überblick über das commentum geben. Teilweise geht jedoch die Kommentierung über das hinaus, was man dem Autor zutrauen darf.

Zwar bricht Guillaumin zu Recht die Lanze für einen Autor, der in der bisherigen Forschungsliteratur mit Ausdrücken wie "elendes Commentum"2 oder anderem belegt worden ist. Guillaumins Bewertung "la profonde connaissance de la lítterature gromatique ... et, dans une certaine mesure, sa capacité de réflexion sur les textes concernés" (xii) ist völlig richtig, dennoch würde es zu weit führen, dem Autor durch die Übersetzung von sermo obscurus mit "un langage mystérieux" (1) eine über Cicero vermittelte, auf Pythagoras zielende Anspielung zu unterstellen (n. 3, 50). Man sollte berücksichtigen, daß der Autor im 6. Jh. ein Latein zu kommentieren hatte, daß seinem Publikum nicht mehr ohne weiteres verständlich war. Statt an Cicero Tusc. 4,10 ist eher an Isid. PL 83, 816A cum autem doces, noli verborum obscuritate uti; ita dic, ut intelligaris, nec simplicibus loquendo displiceas zu denken.3 Die Übersetzung insgesamt hält sich an den lateinischen Text, erlaubt sich aber ab und zu auch Paraphrasierungen statt Genauigkeit, wie zum Beispiel: antiqui intercidendis portiunculis inter filios suos defigebant = "les anciens plantaint entre les parcelles de leur fils comme des pancartes pour en marquer la division" (10).4

Auch zum Apparat und zur Textkonstitution Guillaumins seien einige wenige Bemerkungen erlaubt. Guillaumin ändert in I 17 (6) bei secundum illam maiorem assignationem zu maiorum. Laudanda inventio, doch spricht der Autor sonst nie von maiores, sondern von veteres (I 1) oder antiquitas (II 2). Die zeitliche und kulturelle Nähe ist nicht gegeben. In II 25 nimmt Guillaumin Thulins Athetese von [religiosum enim vel a relinquendo] für sich in Anspruch. Etwas mehr Mut wäre Guillaumin in II 22 (19) zu wünschen gewesen, wenn er den deutlich sichtbaren Einschub hoc est mensoris, mit dem falsch der conditor und mensor in Personalunion gesetzt sind, im Text hält, obwohl er selbst n. 330 (101) auf diesen Fehler hinweist. Mangelnde Kenntnis sprachlicher Besonderheiten liegt vor bei Änderung von extra fano, extra sanctuario in den Akkusativ (II 25, 21), ebenso wie es dem lateinischen Sprachgebrauch durchaus entspricht, de mit dem Akkusativ zu konstruieren, weswegen in I 17 (6) de modum nicht in dimidio geändert werden muß.

Die Edition des diazographus zu würdigen, stellt den Rezensenten vor Herausforderungen. Auch der ThLL kann irren, doch dem Verfasser des Lemma diazographus, Gudemann, zu unterstellen, nicht zwischen Substantiv und Adjektiv unterscheiden zu können und die richtige adjektivische Form mit diazographicus anzugeben (xxvii), verkennt nicht nur zweiendige Adjektive mit passivischer Nuance (autographus, orthographus), sondern auch, daß nur auf-ικος endende griechische Adjektive im Lateinischen analog gebildet wurden.

Für Guillaumin sind die Zeichnungen des diazographus den Passagen des commentum weitgehend zuzuordnen, obwohl darin nirgends explizit auf die entsprechenden Figuren des Abbildungsteils hingewiesen wird. Für ihn ist der Autor des commentum auch Schöpfer der Abbildungen. Dies hängt damit zusammen, daß er die Aussage I 19 (7) sicut in subsequenti libello nostro designavimus quem diazographus nuncupavimus poterit agnosci für echt hält (n. 125, 71). Warum dann der Autor ausgerechnet hier unsauber konstruiert , erklärt Guillaumin weder im Anmerkungsteil noch erwähnt er den Heilungsversuch des Anakoluth mit designatum (Lachmann) oder Thulins Apparat-Anmerkung. Daß sich die Abbildungen dem commentum zuordnen lassen, hängt allein mit seinen Quellen zusammen: Da im Palatinus schon die Frontintexte nicht illuminiert sind, kann man die Zeichnungen nicht zwingend allein auf das commentum beziehen. Ähnlichkeiten ergeben sich zum Beispiel auch mit den Illuminationen zum Hygini gromaticus liber.

Die entsprechenden Bildbeschreibungen Guillaumins lassen deswegen kunsthistorische ebenso wie mathematische Aspekte weitgehend unberücksichtigt. Bei den Abbildungen betont Guillaumin in der Einleitung (v.a. xxxiii-iv) die Präsentation nach Prinzipien der Textkritik. Daß dazu auch Mittel der Bildbearbeitung gehören, durch die die Abbildungen einer Recto-und einer Verso-Seite so vereint werden (fig. 9, 34), daß der Betrachter den Eindruck erhalten muß, ein einzelnes folium vor sich zu haben (und dies nur aus der Bildbeschreibung ersichtlich ist), wird nirgends deutlich gesagt. Daß bei Abbildung 9 außerdem Knotenzeichnungen und die Abbildung einer hexagonalen colonia dieser Bildbearbeitung zum Opfer gefallen sind, wird ebenfalls nicht erwähnt. Ferner erstaunt es, wenn bei Abbildung 11 (36) von der der Zeichnung in Rustica beigefügten Legende rigor finalis latitudo eius usque triginta pedes nur rigor finalis übrig bleibt und man 132 erfährt: "cette légende n'est pas d'origine et c'est pourquoi nous la supprimons de la figure que nous éditons." Immerhin läßt sich der Originalzustand der Illuminationen mithilfe der online abrufbaren Digitalisate überprüfen.

Zusammenfassend läßt sich sagen, daß es Guillaumin gelingt, die vielfältigen inhaltlichen Aspekte des commentum darzustellen und durch die teilweise gründliche Kommentierung das Bild von Autor und Werk gegenüber der älteren Forschungsliteratur zu korrigieren. Bei Fragen der Quellenabhängigkeit und damit zusammenhängend bei Fragen der Texttradition sind die Apparate der Thulin-Edition weiterhin unverzichtbar, da Guillaumins Interessen nicht unbedingt in der Textkritik und –konstitution liegen. Dies zeigt sich auch in seiner Präsentation des liber diazographus, die durch unzureichend ausgewiesene Bildbearbeitung über das hinausgeht, was kunsthistorisch erlaubt ist.


1.   C. O. Thulin, "Der Frontinuskommentar. Ein Lehrbuch der Gromatik aus dem 5.-6. Jahrh.", RhM 68 (1913), 110-127, 114.
2.   Die Handschriften des Corpus agrimensorum Romanorum. Aus dem Anhang zu den Abhandlungen der Königl. Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften aus dem Jahre 1911, Berlin 1911.
3.   Vgl. dazu z.B. J. Kramer, "Die Geschichte der lateinischen Sprache", in: F. Graf (ed.), Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie, Stuttgart 1997, 115-164, bes. 151-152.
4.   Statt filios ist vielleicht fundos zu lesen.

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James H. Richardson, Federico Santangelo (ed.), The Roman Historical Tradition: Regal and Republican Rome. Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. viii, 372. ISBN 9780199657858. $49.95 (pb).

Reviewed by S. J. Northwood, Charterhouse (

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At the last count there were thirty-eight volumes in this burgeoning series of Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. The current volume stands a little apart from the others, which mostly concern individual classical authors or genres rather than historical themes or periods. Richardson and Santangelo propose to explore 'the strategies with which the past was understood and constructed in Roman culture' (1). They acknowledge the problematic nature of this enterprise, and they include amongst their collection articles by scholars with widely divergent views on the reliability of Roman accounts of their past, ranging from Carandini at one extreme through to Wiseman at another. Indeed it is one of the purposes of this collection to illustrate the variety of competing and complementary approaches.

The collection opens with Carandini's often polemical essay (2003). He dates the foundation to c.750 BC, based on his excavations of the Palatine wall, gate, and watchtower that were part of the transition from proto-urban to urban community effected by Rome's first king. The foundation myth, in place before the late seventh century BC, reflects many authentic aspects of this foundation and was confirmed by 'more than twenty generations of Romans without break of continuity in their memory' (26).

Humm (2004) examines the myth of Numa's Pythagoreanism. The late fourth-century statue of Numa on the Capitol shows he was already established in the Roman tradition when the roughly contemporaneous statue of Pythagoras was placed in the comitium. This reflects contact between Rome and Tarentum and the associated diffusion of Tarentine Pythagoreanism. Aristoxenus speaks of Romans as disciples of Pythagoras, but Humm prefers a Roman origin for the myth: Roman gentes responding to the new philosophy by claiming descent from Numa.

Zevi (1995) argues that the migrations of Demaratus from Corinth to Tarquinii, and his son, Tarquinius Priscus, from there to Rome are not an (unreliable) composite of Greek and Roman legends but a single organic tradition recorded at the court of Aristodemus of Cumae. Tarquinius Superbus had made Aristodemus his heir, so the Cumaean story emphasized the non-Roman origin of the Tarquins' wealth and thus legitimized the bequest. Roman annalists invented the stories of Egerius and Arruns, members of a poor branch of the Tarquins, to do the opposite.

The longest contribution is Ridley's (1975), which emphasizes how ideologically important Servius Tullius became for both conservatives and radicals in later Rome. Layers and layers of interpretation, reinterpretation, and fabrication surrounded his origin, accession, death, conquests, religion, constitution, census, coinage, and associations with topography. Few firm conclusions are offered aside from accepting Servius as an Etruscan friend of Vibenna who became king of Rome by conquest. Ridley accepts the François tomb frescoes as evidence for a mid-fourth-century BC tradition independent of Roman historiography.

Wiseman (2003) argues that since Greek historians had no interest in the internal history of Rome there is no reliable contemporary source for the expulsion of the kings; by 200 BC the canonical stories of Brutus, Lucretia, Collatinus, and Valerius had been hopelessly distorted by multiple layers of politically motivated invention. Wiseman privileges remnants of various uncanonical early versions in order to reveal a Brutus who may have expelled Superbus but became a powerful figure in his own right rather than holder of a joint magistracy.

Bremmer (1993) is equally sceptical about the tradition on early Rome. He points to a relative lack of authentic myth in early Rome and explores aetiology instead. The relationship between Egeria and Numa was invented by Ennius; the copying of the original ancile was based on the story of the Trojan Palladium and was therefore late ('the Homeric cycle was accepted relatively late by the Romans'); other aspects of the legend are very late, the product of a "mythological 'workshop'" employed by Augustus. Turning to the three aetiologies of Mettius Curtius, Bremmer sees his escape through a swamp during Romulus' war against the Sabines as the earliest version: precise location and freedom from Greek motifs are the criteria.

These first six pieces are well chosen in that they illustrate several important issues and some very divergent responses. For Wiseman, Greek sources convey authentic early information and act as a control on the later canonical version produced after centuries of politically charged invention. Bremmer concludes the opposite: Greek elements are a sign of late invention, a fashionable introduction of Greek motifs for literary purposes. For Carandini too, Romanness of myth is a sign not only of authenticity, but even truth, collapsing the gap between founder and myth to less (and maybe much less) than a century and a half. Humm and Wiseman also reflect a growing focus on the later fourth century BC as a key period in Roman myth-making.

Pais (1906) starts by contradicting a shared assumption in all the previous contributions, viz. that Roman literary history began c. 200 BC. For him prose histories by Ap. Claudius Caecus, Cn. Flavius, and Sempronius Sophus had fixed the tradition a century earlier and allowed later historians only to interpolate rather than reconstruct. Fabius reworked the Tarquinienses' killing of 307 Roman prisoners after the defeat of M. Fabius Ambustus in 358 BC into an heroic self- sacrifice of 306 at the Cremera in 477 BC.

Spurius Cassius's third consulship (486 BC) is the subject of Gabba's well-known article (1964), introducing us to retrojection by annalists from Piso onwards of the political controversies and methods of the late republic. Cassius, who according to the earliest version was killed for aspiring to kingship, now pursues his ends by means similar to those of the Gracchi: a land law, grain dole, and extension of citizenship to non-Romans.

Crawford has rewritten his important piece on colonization (1995) in which he argued Roman views of their own colonial history were bedevilled by ignorance of its variety in time and place and confused by contested definitions of colonial status driven by contemporary issues, e.g. the lex Iulia (90 BC) and the measures of Cn. Pompeius Strabo, such that 'we simply do not know what the term colonia populi Romani meant to a Roman of the late Republic' (205).

Cornell's classic article (2000) debunks the Roman tradition on the senate: a regal body of 300 senators connected with three tribes and 30 curiae is schematic nonsense. Roman views on its relationship to the king and patriciate either before or after 509 BC are equally unreliable. The lex Ovinia, as reported by Festus, points to the truth: the senate, which had in fact been an ad hoc council of personal advisers chosen by the senior magistrates, now became a permanent formal body independent of the magistrates, and chosen by the censors.

The contributions of Pais, Gabba, Crawford, and Cornell all explore ways in which the history of the early republic was expanded and falsified by later historians. This theme is brought down to the second century BC by Richard (1972), who aims to show the Gracchan crisis influencing accounts of events just decades earlier. Livy's account of the elder Ti. Gracchus' persuasion of M. Aburius not to veto M. Fulvius Nobilior's triumph was based on a source hostile to Gracchus' sons that wanted to show how far they had departed from the honourable example of their father.

Rawson's important article (1972) shows that Cicero had more sympathy for antiquarianism than for historiography, exploring the development of Cicero's own historical reading and appreciation of antiquarian method. She shows Cicero being unusually serious in constructing the historical contexts of his dialogues and speculates that it was the difficulties he saw in reconciling the findings of antiquarianism with the annalistic tradition (a similar theme to that in Cornell's piece) that discouraged him from writing history. Her judgement on Cicero's historical digression on L. Crassus as an example of history carried out to the standards advocated at de orat. 2.51-64 remains relevant to recent debate: 'we should take care not to be over-indulgent to much ancient historical writing on the grounds that ancient standards were altogether different from our own' (282).

Flower (2000) reassesses the supposed tradition of the spolia opima. Unsurprisingly she rejects the Romulean example as unhistorical, but rejects too that of Cossus, usually regarded as the first genuine occurrence. The argument is that when Marcellus in 222 BC claimed to reinstitute an archaic institution by identifying his trophy as spolia opima, and Jupiter Feretrius as its recipient, he was inventing a tradition in order to place himself beyond the reach of his competitors. The spolia opima do not figure significantly in the narrative of Romulus, and Cossus was a Roman soldier who killed a notorious enemy, not a commander who killed his opposite number. Flower suggests that Cossus' achievement was later adorned in order to undermine Marcellus' claim to uniqueness. The spolia attracted attention again under Caesar and Octavian.

Study of the Roman historical tradition is an international enterprise, and it is a strength of this collection that six of the thirteen articles are translated from the original Italian or French (quotations — both ancient and modern — have also been translated throughout). The translations are accurate, indeed I detected only one mistake: 'the middle of the seventh century' (24) ought to be 'the middle of the eighth century'. I have also not spotted any typos or proof errors that do not also appear in the originals of the thirteen contributions.

The editors provide largely bibliographic (but admirably up to date) addenda for the majority of the contributions. Flower, Humm, and Richard add their own, which allow them to engage briefly but usefully with later literature and to add further comment. An unintended consequence of Crawford's rewritten piece having no addendum is that we are not directed towards important recent work on colonization, e.g. by Bispham, Bradley, Fentress, and Pelgrom.1

To cover the Roman historical tradition on regal and republican Rome coherently in just thirteen contributions and 320 pages is a tough task. The editors have wisely chosen to prefer discussion of individual stories rather than individual ancient authors, and in spite of their different conclusions the contributions share well-chosen themes. The editors admit 'a certain emphasis on early Rome, as it is here that the tradition is most controversial' (6). This is an understandable emphasis. In fact I feel that by attempting to go beyond regal and early republican Rome the tightness of inter-relation and the critical mass of shared themes falls away somewhat towards the end. Maintaining focus on the earlier period might have been better. Indeed this would have allowed consideration of the pontifical annals and the consular fasti and made the collection watertight.

For contextualisation of the contributions we rely largely on the editors' admirable introduction (1-15). They take pains to emphasize the variety of legitimate approaches and the degree to which conclusions can be driven by judgements on finely balanced issues. One cannot expect the editors to be partisan, but a desire to avoid controversy may have led them to stop short of pointing out some essential cruxes. For example, when we are told that Carandini has found little support, it would be useful to know why. Likewise it would be helpful to have summarized for us, without prejudice of course, the different understandings of myth encountered in the collection, or the evidence for and against the dynamic role of Greek myth in early Rome, all issues which drive contributors in different directions. The material in this collection is not easy, and even the more experienced end of its intended audience of students and scholars might have benefited from such an approach.

In spite of what may be a missed opportunity for greater boldness in the introduction, the editors have done us a service in assembling and editing this collection, and I should recommend it to those wishing to familiarise or refamiliarise themselves with past and present trends and problems in the study of early Rome. It is a shame that at £40 OUP has put this paperback volume beyond the reach of some of its intended audience.


1.   E.g. E. H. Bispham, 'Coloniam deducere: how Roman was Roman colonization' and G. Bradley, 'Colonization and identity in Republican Italy', both in G. Bradley (ed.) Greek and Roman Colonization: Origins, Ideologies and Interactions (Swansea, 2006); E. Fentress, 'Frank Brown, Cosa and the idea of a Roman city', in E. Fentress (ed.) Romanization and the City: Creation, Transformation and Failures, JRA Supplement 38 (2000), along with much additional work on excavations at Cosa; and J. Pelgrom, Colonial Landscapes. Demography, Settlement Organization and Impact of Colonies Founded by Rome (Leiden, 2011).

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D. J. Butterfield (ed.), Varro Varius: The Polymath of the Roman World. Cambridge Classical Journal supplementary volume 39. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2015. Pp. x, 218. ISBN 9780956838148. £30.00.

Reviewed by Katharina Volk and James E. G. Zetzel, Columbia University (;

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed at the end of the review.]

The Roman polymath Varro has always seemed a large question mark in any account of Roman literary and cultural history. Despite the fact that more of him survives than of most writers of the Roman Republic (De re Rustica complete, nearly six of the 25 books of De lingua Latina), the range of his interests and writings was so vast, and the extant portions represent so small a fraction of his output, that it is difficult to reconstruct either what he said or what influence it had—except that we can surmise that this influence was immense. 41 books of Antiquitates, 150 Menippean Satires, 76 Logistorici, nine books of Disciplinae ... the list of his works (which Jerome helpfully supplies, also noting that he has reported scarcely half of it) goes on and on. The fragments that survive are also many, and difficult to interpret: important ones preserved by Augustine are as distorted as they are extensive.

Varro, then, is a challenge, and it is no surprise that the last serious collection of his fragments was made in the seventeenth century. Recently, however, there has been increasing interest: the present volume is the record of a conference at Cambridge in 2011; since then, there have been two panels at the APA/SCS (in one of which two of the contributors to the present volume and both of the reviewers took part), and work on various aspects of his oeuvre has been more abundant than in a long time. In addition, a number of important new editions are scheduled to appear in the next few years: Robert Rodgers's OCT of De re rustica, Joseph MacAlhany's Loeb of the collected fragments, and Wolfgang de Melo's edition of De lingua Latina with translation and commentary, to be published by OUP. All that is very welcome indeed.

Varro Varius consists of eight papers divided into three groups: "Varro on language," "Varro on Rome," and "Varro's afterlife." The chapters are preceded by David Butterfield's introduction, which provides a basic overview of Varro's oeuvre and cultural significance,1 enlivened by an amusing if tangential discussion of the Varronian origin of the Roman meme "Armenian tiger."

In the first chapter, Daniel J. Taylor revisits his earlier work on De lingua Latina,2 apparently wishing to give the impression that his view of Varro as a tidy "language scientist" is by now scholarly orthodoxy, a "new Varro." Taylor proceeds to argue, largely on the basis of one fragment, that the lost second half of the treatise was a detailed account of Stoic syllogistic applied to Latin; he also suggests that Varro's explicit tripartite division was really bipartite, reflecting the two sides of Stoic linguistics. Taylor plucks from its historical or textual context anything he can find that anticipates modern linguistic ideas; his results are as unhistorical as they are untrue. He briefly cites the important work of Baratin on syntax in Rome, but seems not to recognize that it conflicts with his own claims.3

The following chapter, by Adam Gitner, stands in sharp contrast to Taylor's history-from-hindsight. Starting from a careful analysis of the meanings of Aeolism (in general, the idea that Latin is somehow based on Greek) in modern scholarship, and an equally precise delineation of the ways in which one can speak of two languages as related to one another, Gitner discusses the views of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Quintilian before turning to detailed treatment of the complicated evidence for Varro's stance. He is able to show not only that Varro himself clearly does not believe Latin to be derived from Greek, but that Aeolism is a modern construct that has no correspondence in ancient ideas of linguistic relationships.

Giorgio Piras's chapter builds usefully on his earlier work:4 starting from a review of problems concerning the relationship of the poetic etymologies in De lingua Latina 7 to the famous statement at 5.7-9 about the four grades of etymology, he goes on to look closely at Varro's methods of poetic citation and his sources. After analyzing and comparing in particular the citations from Ennius and Plautus, Piras concludes, with good reason, that Varro borrowed from earlier scholarship in some sections of Book 7, while relying on his own research in others.

In the first chapter of the "Varro and Rome" section, Diana Spencer (currently in the process of writing a monograph on Varro) proposes reading De lingua Latina linearly, as a narrative that enacts the author's delivering to his audience the linguistic, political, and social mastery of Latin or, as Spencer calls it, "Romespeak." Of this chapter, one might observe what Spencer herself at one point says about Varro's own text: "Much ground is, at least potentially, covered" (89). Between the promising approach and not unreasonable conclusion, however, the reader is led into a morass of incomprehensibility, whose jargony non sequiturs (sample sentence: "I suggest that contemporary ancient understanding of mnemotechnics embedded narrative in the citizen-episteme," 91) make Varro's meandering opacity emerge by comparison as a model of clarity.

The theme of Roman identity continues in T. P. Wiseman's ambitious reconstruction of Varro's version of the city's foundation, which—the author argues—was unorthodox in many ways. Relying primarily on Solinus, Collectanea rerum memorabilium 1.1-33 and touching on a variety of intriguing issues (including the meaning of the puzzling phrases Roma quadrata and ad aequilibrium, the location of Romulus' hut, and the augural and astrological aspects of the foundation), Wiseman spins an engaging yarn that does, however, require the reader to take a fair number of leaps of faith. Crucially, we are asked to believe that Solinus follows Varro's account throughout—except at those points where Wiseman conveniently diagnoses digressions containing later material. Readers skeptical of these and other premises are likely to experience the occasional crisis of confidence in the course of Wiseman's diverting tale.

In a chapter written in barely idiomatic English, Yves Lehmann makes a number of sweeping ex cathedra pronouncements about Varro's philosophical work and beliefs. He reiterates claims made in earlier publications,5 notably his characterization of Varro as a highly spiritual Middle Platonist, who was "particularly inclined to metaphysical speculation on the supreme principle of things and of beings, both by temperament and training" (127). Varronian scholars of a more sober inclination may have some problems recognizing in this ardent transcendentalist the Roman pragmatist who famously put res humanae before res diuinae (Augustin. Civ. D. 6.4). Lehmann gives no indication of being familiar with most of the relevant secondary literature; his extended discussion of Varro's Antiocheanism, for example, contains no reference to the important work of T. Tarver and D. Blank.

In the first of the two chapters dedicated to Varro's "afterlife," Leofranc Holford-Strevens provides an informative if necessarily superficial overview of Varro in Aulus Gellius (including some discussion of the extent of Gellius' first-hand knowledge of Varro's works) and in a variety of late antique authors.

The final chapter is quite different from the others: as mentioned above, R. H. Rodgers is preparing a new edition of De re rustica and here provides a brief survey of the textual and editorial history, followed by close scrutiny of the textual issues in two passages (1.2.1-7, 1.11.1-12.4) framed as a discussion of the conservative (Flach) and radical (Giusta) editorial work that precedes his own. Rodgers's comments are learned, sensible, and both modest and moderate; one looks forward to his edition.

While the volume's title invokes the variety and diversity of Varro's scholarly and literary output and interests, the chapters cover only a fraction of the polymath's oeuvre: four deal with De lingua Latina and one with (the text of) De re rustica, but the Antiquitates and other antiquarian treatises, De philosophia, and the Menippean Satires make only a few cameo appearances in the remaining chapters, and other works do not appear at all. If Varro himself thus does not come across as particularly uarius, the approaches and interpretations put forth by the volume's authors are certainly remarkable for their wide divergence, with confident claims for the true identity of Varro facing off across the chapter boundaries (these tensions are largely left implicit—there is next to no cross- referencing). Is the "most learned of Romans" a hard-nosed linguist adhering to modern scientific principles? A spiritualist seeker for the one true god above all earthly manifestations? A postmodern guide through the dark forest of language? Or is he—an all-too-common fate of the fragmentary author—but a blank canvas on which each reader gets to project his or her own speculations?

Although (as we hope is clear from our descriptions above) the volume contains a number of perfectly level-headed contributions, it leaves the strong impression of a field in which personal scholarly agendas lead to highly speculative and extreme theories that will be convincing to few beyond their authors. It is the editor's avowed and honorable goal to "rouse the slumbering state of Varronian studies" (15), but one very much hopes that future Varronian scholarship, once wide awake, will be able to move beyond some of what is on offer in Varro Varius. In this context, it is a hopeful sign that the author of what is by far the best chapter in the volume, Adam Gitner, is also the youngest of the contributors. Setting out not to make a spectacular single-minded claim, but to demonstrate, through careful and informed scholarship, that an earlier claim of this kind ("Varro was a radical Aeolist") is not borne out by the evidence, Gitner shows that Varro, like other ancient authors, is not in fact operating according to our ideas (e.g., of language affiliation) but his own. It will take more such nuanced and unprejudiced criticism for us to unravel how uarius Varro really was.

Table of Contents

Introduction (David Butterfield)
1. The new Varro and the structure of his De Lingua Latina (Daniel J. Taylor)
2. Varro Aeolicus: Latin's Affiliation with Greek (Adam Gitner)
3. Cum poeticis multis uerbis magis delecter quam utar: poetic citations and etymological enquiry in Varro's De lingua Latina (Giorgio Piras)
4. Varro's Romespeak: De lingua Latina (Diana Spencer)
5. Rome on the balance: Varro and the foundation legend (T. P. Wiseman)
6. Varro the Roman philosopher (Yves Lehmann)
7. Varro in Gellius and late antiquity (Leofranc Holford-Strevens)
8. A new text of De re rustica (R. H. Rodgers)


1.   See also Butterfield's helpful Oxford Bibliographies article on Varro.
2.   Declinatio: A Study of the Linguistic Theory of Marcus Terentius Varro (1974) and multiple subsequent publications.
3.   M. Baratin, La naissance de la syntaxe à Rome (1989).
4.   Varrone e i poetica verba: studio sul settimo libro del De lingua Latina (1998).
5.   See especially Varron théologien et philosophe romain (1997).

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Friday, August 28, 2015


Vasiliki Zali, The Shape of Herodotean Rhetoric: A Study of the Speeches in Herodotus' Histories with Special Attention to Books 5-9. International Studies in the History of Rhetoric, 6. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2014. Pp. viii, 383. ISBN 9789004278967. €135.00.

Reviewed by Carlo Scardino, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

Zali analysiert in der überarbeiteten Fassung ihrer 2009 entstandenen Dissertation die Reden in den Büchern 5-9 von Herodots Geschichstwerk. Das Interesse Herodots für die Rhetorik zeigt sich schon darin, daß "speakers are very well aware of the process of manipulating and adapting their arguments to suit the particular audience" (S. 3). Folgende drei Aspekte leiten ihre Untersuchung: "performativity" (das Verhältnis zwischen Reden und Erzählung), "dialogue" (die verschiedenen Arten von Intertextualität und das Verhältnis zu den Figuren im und den Rezipienten außerhalb des Werks) und "metahistory" (implizite Hinweise Herodots auf seine historische Methode). Zali gibt bezüglich der von ihr behandelten Themenkomplexe einen konzisen Überblick über die antike und moderne Forschung, wobei sie den Akzent vor allem auf die neueren englischsprachigen Beiträge legt.1 Anstelle der sporadisch und oft nur in einzelnen Fußnoten im Einzelfall diskutierten Quellenfrage (etwa bei der Rede des Miltiades vor Marathon 6,109 [S. 86f. und 267, Anm. 118] oder bei Mnesiphilos' Rede 8,57 [S. 140, Anm. 125]), wäre es besser gewesen, wenn Zali bereits in der Einleitung ihre Position bezüglich der Frage nach den Quellen von Herodots Reden dargelegt hätte.

Im ersten Teil ("Architectonics of Speech", S. 35-99), der mit dem ersten Kapitel ("Allocation of Speech") zusammenfällt, untersucht Zali "the distribution of speech and particular speech modes to individuals and groups and compression or omission of speech" (S. 37). Sie lotet aus, inwieweit die Reden zur Manipulation des Erzählrhythmus, zur Abwechslung und Dramatisierung und besonders zur Charakterzeichnung der Sprecher dienen. Die Zuschreibung an bekannte oder anonyme Figuren, die Modalität (als Redenresümee, indirekte bzw. direkte Rede, wobei eine direkte Rede stärker als eine indirekte die Autorität des Sprechers hervorhebt) und die Länge einer Rede tragen zur Charakterisierung der Figuren bei, während das Auslassen einer (möglichen) Rede "power relations between groups and characters" (S. 42) markiert. Zali beschränkt sich auf die beiden Themen des griechisch-persischen Antagonismus (was eigentlich in den Rahmen des Barbarendiskurses gehört und mit den ethnographischen Teilen und dem Freiheitsdiskurs zu verbinden wäre) und der Uneinigkeit unter den Griechen, ohne aber die Wahl dieser (und nicht anderer) Leitmotive eingehend zu begründen. Ihre These lautet, daß die Form und das Arrangement der Reden und der Erzählung "exemplify and buttress the Greco-Persian polarity and the problem of Greek unity. Debates compressed and suppressed, division of opinions, emphasis on certain individual views, exclusion of speeches, and Spartan silence vs. Athenian/Greek speech—all reflect the differences between the Greek cities and the difficulties the Greeks are facing in trying to work together" (S. 98). Dasselbe läßt sich aber auch bei Thukydides, dessen Erzählmodus von dem Herodots durchaus abweicht, feststellen. Gerade die als Antilogien angeordneten Reden in Sparta im ersten Buch oder während der Sizilienexpedition erfüllen bei jenem eine ähnliche Funktion. Um ihre These zu erhärten, hätte Zali Parallelen und Gegenbeispiele anführen müssen.

Die Spannungen zwischen Athen und Sparta treten besonders bei den Gesandtenreden (etwa 7,157-162; 8,140-144; 9,7-11 und 9,26f.) hervor. Interessant ist Zalis Beobachtung, daß die Spartaner gemäß ihrem 'lakonischen' Charakter, nur dann zu sprechen, wenn es absolut nötig ist, in der Regel nur kurze Reden halten und sich dadurch von den übrigen Griechen, besonders den Athenern, unterscheiden; Demaratos oder Pausanias, die im Gegensatz etwa zu Kleomenes als Individuen längere Reden in oratio recta halten, werden vielleicht auch in dieser Hinsicht als von Sparta dissoziierte Figuren gezeichnet (beide verraten ja ihre Heimatstadt). Ob aber in der Amompharetos-Episode "a direct exchange would make the situation excessively comical", während die indirekte Darstellung "both preserves the grandeur of Amompharetus' brave resolution and avoids pointless narrative retardation" (S. 72), ist fraglich, zumal die Parodie der spartanischen Ideologie auch so plastisch hervortritt. Von den Individuen, die sprechen, tritt gemäß Zali Themistokles' Autorität in den Reden vor und nach Salamis deutlich hervor, denn "the manipulation of silence and speech modes as well as his late introduction into the narrative single Themistocles out from all the other Greeks and highlight his authority and importance" (S. 83).

In Bezug auf Xerxes spielt Zali aber dessen rhetorische Fähigkeit zu sehr herunter. Es trifft nicht zu, daß im Kronrat "Xerxes more or less repeats Mardonius' arguments with some elaboration" (S. 89), zumal er im Gegensatz zu Mardonios den Feldzug ideologisch untermauert und in die Tradition des persischen Imperialismus stellt. Daß Herodot im 7. Buch "emphasizes his ruthlessness and tendency to emotional extremes. Extensive commentary on his nonverbal behaviour compensates for his repressed and insubstantial speech" (S. 91), trifft Xerxes' komplexes Wesen nicht ganz; es stimmt, daß er wie Agamemnon immer den Rat anderer sucht und als noch junger König im Gegensatz zu seinem Vater Dareios weniger Autorität besitzt; dennoch kann auch er durchaus rational argumentieren (z.B. 7,49-52; 7,130; 147).2 Zali selbst bezeichnet Xerxes' Paränese an das Heer 7,53, in der sie sogar Parallelen zu Perikles' Epitaphios zu erkennen glaubt, als rhetorisch gelungen: "Herodotus challenges Greek presumptions of national stereotypes by assigning the Persian king Greek-style rhetoric." (S. 292).

Der zweite Teil ("Speech and Competition", S. 101-167) befaßt sich mit der Frage, "on how the kind of language that describes debate and the mechanics of debate sustain and problematize specifically the fragility of Greek unity and the distinction between Greek and Persians" (S. 104f.). Vor Salamis setzt Herodot "suppression and compression of the majority of debates; description of long and confounded debates to stress the inability of the Greeks to discuss collectively; and focussing on individuals" (S. 111) als Mittel ein, um die Bedeutung der Beratungsreden der Griechen und somit der griechischen Eintracht zu schmälern. Dies gilt aber nicht nur für die kurzen und indirekt wiedergegebenen Reden, sondern auch für die längeren Debatten in Syrakus oder Tegea in oratio recta. So setzt sich Themistokles nicht so sehr dank den Argumenten seiner Reden, sondern durch seine Drohungen, geheimen Botschaften und Manipulationen vor und nach Salamis durch – was der Fähigkeit der Griechen, erfolgreich zu beratschlagen, ein Armutszeugnis ausstellt. Bei den Persern verlaufen die Debatten zwar geordneter, aber ebenfalls ohne Erfolg. Auch in diesem Teil bespricht Zali verschiedene Beispiele. Besonders die Verfassungsdebatte in Persien (3,80ff.) ist dabei signifikant: Die Wahl der persischen Staatsform erscheint als das Resultat einer ziemlich freien Diskussion unter gleichberechtigten Gesprächspartnern. Dies führt zum erstaunlichen Ergebnis, daß die Debatten in Persien oft auf ähnliche Weise wie diejenigen in Griechenland beschrieben werden: "There are even spells of free speech with Artemisia, Demaratus and Artabanus. … Debate is constantly being problematized and undercut in ways that both underpin and contest the Greco-Persian polarity" (S. 166f.).

Der dritte Teil ("Speech and Typology", S. 169-302) umfaßt zwei Kapitel: In Kapitel 3 "Alliance Speeches" (S. 171-236) untersucht Zali die in den späteren rhetorischen Handbüchern beschriebenen Argumente und Rede-Strategien, die in den Reden vor potentiellen Bundesgenossen zur Anwendung kommen, wobei alle Sprecher, was nicht verwunderlich ist, sowohl moralische als auch utilitaristische Argumente verwenden (S. 227). Daß auch die Täuschung dazu gehört, ist ebensowenig erstaunlich; darin ist vor allem Aristagoras ein Meister: Sehr schön zeigt Zali S. 187-203 auf, wie dieser seinen Vorschlag als etwas, das leicht zu verwirklichen ist, beschreibt, indem er jeweils Formen des Adjektivs εὐπετής gebraucht, während auktoriale Glossen anzeigen, daß seine Argumente faktisch nicht zutreffend sind. Die Vermutung, daß Herodot bei Aristagoras' Erwähnung des Reichtums Persiens "might … be appropriating models of barbarian discourse," zumal jener als Ionier wohl "was acquainted with relevant rhetorical or storytelling patterns," übersieht, daß Reichtum und Nutzen allgemein ein Movens der imperialistischen Expansionspolitik sind (vgl. die Erwartung vieler Athener vor der Sizilienexpedition, durch den Feldzug Reichtümer zu erlangen, Thuk. 6,24,3). In Bezug auf den Mythos zeigt sich, daß ähnlich wie die Griechen (besonders in den Reden in Syrakus 7,157ff.) auch die Perser diesen in ihrer Argumentation einsetzen (etwa 7,150).

Bezüglich der Verhandlungen in Athen nach der Schlacht bei Salamis meint Zali, daß Alexanders wörtliche Wiedergabe von Xerxes' Rede (8,140) ein rhetorischer Trick sei, um "to ascribe an alliance speech to an individual who possesses greater power, which confers authority on the speech and thus reinforces its effectiveness" (S. 187), zumal die Spartaner in ihrer Erwiderung nur Mardonios, aber nicht Xerxes erwähnten (8,142), weshalb es sinnvoller sei, "to interpret it as a rhetorical device to achieve persuasion" (S. 218). Andererseits spricht aber Xerxes 7,150,2 durch einen Boten in oratio recta direkt zu den Argivern. Darüber hinaus gibt Herodot keinen Hinweis darauf, daß Mardonios bzw. Alexander durch einen rhetorischen Trick die Athener täuschen wollten und nicht im Einklang mit Xerxes' Meinung sprachen (anders verhält es sich 9,89,3, wo Artabazos auf der Flucht absichtlich, wie auktorial angemerkt wird, die Thessaler durch die Angabe, daß Mardonios' Heer nachfolge, täuschte). Nichts spricht somit dagegen, Alexander als Xerxes' Sprachrohr zu betrachten.

Das 4. Kapitel "Prebattle Speeches" (S. 237-302) behandelt die Paränesen, die seit Homer als eigenständige Redegattung vorkommen. Nach einem kurzen Überblick über die Forschung versucht Zali nachzuweisen, daß "Herodotus is making use of comparable motifs, terminology and forms, as well as mixing diverse strands of rhetorical argument" (S. 247), wobei nur selten reine Kampfparänesen vorkommen. Vielmehr werden solche Topoi oft in deliberativen oder anderen epideiktischen Reden verwendet. Sie illustriert dies anhand verschiedener Fallbeispiele wie der Paränese des Phokers Dionysios vor der Seeschlacht bei Lade (6,12) oder des Appells Miltiades' vor Marathon. Während in den meisten Fällen die Uneinigkeit der Griechen klar hervortritt, meint Zali, daß Herodot bezüglich der Perser die Rezipienten auffordere, "to challenge the Greco-Persian polarity. The Persians deliver harangues too and deploy motifs similar to those used by the Greeks (though not freedom)" (S. 301).

Im Schlußteil ("Conclusions", S. 303-316) geht Zali kurz auf die "Dialogic Interaction" (S. 305-310) ein, d.h. die Polyphonie der herodotischen Erzählung und die Art, wie der Autor seine Autorität begründet und die Erwartungen der Leser durch viele intertextuelle Bezüge steuert. In den "Metahistorical Reflexions", (S. 310-316)3 sucht Zali in den Reden Hinweise auf Herodots historische Methode. Sie erkennt zutreffend, daß Herodot zwar die zeitgenössische Rhetorik und ihre Strategien kennt, aber (wie später Thukydides) andere Ziele verfolgt: "The Histories does not attend to any specific context, subscribe to any ideology, or have a unique purpose. … Herodotus invites his readers to compare and contrast, think the text through, and approach it from different perspectives." Ob aber "at a metahistorical level, Herodotus may be stating the value of his new, different genre for a more reliable approach to rhetoric" und "envisages himself as offering his readers the chance to see through and beneath the use of epideictic rhetoric by setting the speeches against the narrative" (S. 313), müßte wohl durch eine eingehende Analyse von in den Reden behandelten Patterns wie der Wohlberatenheit (εὐβουλία) oder dem Problem der Kommunikation und auktorialer Kommentare zur Rhetorik verifiziert werden, was aber Stoff einer eigenen Untersuchung wäre.4

Zwei Tabellen mit allen Reden der Bücher 5-9, welche den/die Sprecher bzw. den/die Adressaten und die Art der Rede vermerken, das Literaturverzeichnis, der Stellen- und der allgemeine Index runden das auch graphisch ansprechend gestaltete Buch ab (S. 317-383).

Die Tatsache, daß Zali in den drei Teilen dieselben Reden unter verschiedenen Blickwinkeln untersucht hat, führt unweigerlich zu Wiederholungen und Zerstückelung der Argumentation, was sich aber bei einer solchen Vorgehensweise kaum vermeiden läßt. Trotz der oben geäußerten Kritikpunkte, die vor allem als Anregung für weitere Arbeiten verstanden sein wollen, zeichnet sich Zalis Buch durch einen originellen Ansatz und eine Fülle treffender Beobachtung aus, die den Horizont der Reden-Forschung in der antiken Geschichtsschreibung gewiß erweitern können.


1.   Daß "speech has a prominent position" in Hekataios' Werk (S. 22f.), läßt sich m.E. aber weder aus dem Proömium (FGrHist 1 F1a) noch aus dessen Fragmenten erschließen.
2.   Vgl. dagegen C. Scardino, Gestaltung und Funktion der Reden bei Herodot und Thukydides, Berlin–New York 2007, 337-341.
3.   Interessante Überlegungen dazu etwa bei V. Gray, Herodotus' Literary and Historical Method: Arion's Story (1,23–24), AJPh 122 (2001), 11–28 in Bezug auf Periander.
4.   Vgl. dazu einige Gedanken und Stellen bei Scardino 2007 (wie Anm. 2), 370-375.

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