Thursday, June 22, 2017


Winfried Schmitz (ed.), Antike Sklaverei zwischen Verdammung und Beschönigung: Kolloquium zur Rezeption antiker Sklaverei vom 17. bis 20. Jahrhundert. Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, 40​. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2016. Pp. xii, 259; 7 p. of plates. ISBN 9783515110891. €46.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Jonathan S. Perry, University of South Florida—Sarasota-Manatee (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

[The reviewer apologizes for the lateness of this review.]

2017 marks the centenary of Vladimir Lenin's return from exile and rapid rise to dominance, and one of the most evocative portraits of his speaking and leadership styles can be found in a 1939 novel about Spartacus, the "revoliutsiia rabov" ("revolutionary slave").1 While he had not yet fully broken with Communism as "the god that failed", Arthur Koestler used Lenin as the model for his Spartacus, a speaker who senses "the self-contained, aloof hostility, the malign stupidity of the buzzing human mass" before him and tailors his speech accordingly.2 Howard Fast's very different version of the Spartacus legend—composed during his imprisonment for Communist affiliation and self-published in 1951—became the one permanently etched in most late- 20th-century minds, due to the 1960 film. Nevertheless, even this portrait had been scrubbed of much of its original Marxist content in order to soothe the jittery sensibilities of American audiences.

As this partial Nachleben of the most famous of ancient slaves indicates, the reception of ancient slavery in the past several centuries is contentious, multi-faceted, and intricately connected to real-world events. Schmitz's collection of papers—appropriately dedicated to the memory of Heinz Heinen, who devoted much of his scholarly output to these questions before his death in 20133—is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the reception of antiquity. Nevertheless, several of the essays do not adequately engage the specifically ancient aspects of the reception of slavery, nor the singular figure of Spartacus himself, nor the contemporary parallels that were raised by many of these cultural products. While this review addresses a few omissions and missed opportunities in the individual essays, the subject-matter of the colloquium is significant, and two pieces in particular (by Elisabeth Herrmann-Otto and by Schmitz himself) are signal contributions that should be read by a wide circle of scholars.

Schmitz's introduction briefly sketches out the parameters of the papers that follow, and it draws particular attention to the wider intellectual currents of, especially, the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and the nineteenth-century abolitionist movements. He deftly analyzes the "biedermeierliche[n] Selbstdomestikation" of Spartacus, "the Social Revolutionary" in the period, while also pointing out Spartacus' many theatrical appearances—even in a fragmentary treatment by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the celebrated author of Nathan the Wise, from 1770. However, even here, the immediate backdrop of the first successful large-scale slave rebellion in history, in Saint-Domingue, which led to the creation of Haïti, is not addressed.

Two subsequent essays address echoes of ancient slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries, but, judging from the scope of these papers, those echoes seem faint. The bulk of Uwe Baumann's piece, on (ancient?) slaves and slavery in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, concerns Philip Massinger's The Bondman, first performed in 1624. While it is always useful to introduce drama from the time of Shakespeare that is not Shakespeare, Baumann also discusses metaphorical concepts of slavery (e.g. "slaves of passion") to the detriment of some probable references to actual ancient slaves. Unless I am mistaken, I detect an allusion to Spartacus—at least as described in Plutarch's life of Crassus—in 2 Henry VI, II.3, in which Warwick kills his horse "because I will not fly" the field of battle. Throughout his career, Shakespeare relied heavily on his translations of Plutarch, and the ancient resonances contained within this early play (there is even a reference to Olympic victors' crowns later in the same scene) are pronounced. Similarly, Andreas Wacke's reflections on the German indentured servants who were transported to colonial Pennsylvania seem disconnected from the theme of, specifically, ancient slavery. The one exception to this may be the so-called "redemptioner", a bond-servant who is working off the price of his passage until "redemption", whose parallels to Roman slave law are only addressed in a short footnote on p. 59. Even here, though, contractual references to "the year of our redemption" are surely more redolent of Christian concepts than pre-Christian ones?

Four papers survey appearances of ancient slaves in historical novels, contemporary crime fiction, film, and television, but these also fail sufficiently to contextualize the artistic products and to be fully comprehensive. Ulrich Eigler makes glancing references to several romances produced in the 19th century, but the slaves who appear in novels like The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), Fabiola (1854), Quo Vadis (1895), and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ4 (1880) are not the most significant characters. This makes the absence of Raffaello Giovagnoli's famous 1874 rendering of a Garibaldian Spartaco all the more troubling. The confrontation between Spartacus and Catiline (Capitolo III) and another moonlit conversation between Spartacus and Caesar (Capitolo IX) may not be historically feasible, but they do illustrate the heroic potential of a slave liberator, particularly against the backdrop of real revolutions during this century. Cornelia Ritter-Schmalz analyzes slaves in a series of novels published in the 1990s and 2000s, dealing especially with their attendant themes of sexual exploitation and sexuality in general, but she does not, for example, discuss the other novels of Steven Saylor, whose works form the crux of her paper. In recent years, Saylor has moved outside genre fiction and has published two superb historical novels, tracing the experiences of one family throughout Rome's history. The second of these, Empire (2010), deals in a sensitive way with the familiar story of the execution of L. Pedanius Secundus' enslaved household in 61 CE.

Martin Lindner's erratic journey through cinematic history to spotlight "Sklaven als Heldenfiguren" pauses briefly to discuss the television extravaganza Spartacus: Blood and Sand and several peplum films, but he gives only scant attention to Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus and omits entirely a 2004 film starring Goran Visnjic in the title role. It is also important to acknowledge that Timonides, the noble character played by James Mason in the 1964 Bronston Studios epic The Fall of the Roman Empire reveals himself to be a former slave—even though he is also Marcus Aurelius' principal advisor and most trusted confidant. Anja Wieber makes a more successful analysis of films and television programs designed specifically for children in the USA, West Germany, and the UK, but the wider contexts of children's programming—and of children's and young adult literature more generally —are downplayed here.

One of the strongest essays in the collection investigates the role of slaves in Bertolt Brecht's The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar (in its English title), which began as a theater piece in 1938, morphed into a novel project, and was finally abandoned due to its "Unmenschlichkeit". Wolfgang Will demonstrates the centrality of enslaved people to Brecht's conception, analyzing a series of episodes Brecht had sketched out, including Caesar's sojourn among the sea pirates. Will points out that, since the book was to take the form of a slave's diary, this was essentially an enslaved person's perspective on Caesar. One might only wish that Will had addressed the particular context of 1938, a year which saw a number of new investigations of the Late Republic, as Mussolini had launched a commemoration of Augustus' 2000th birthday in 1937-1938. Moreover, there are many other appearances of Caesar in Brecht's own work and in those of his frequent collaborators. A stanza in his 1935 poem "Questions from a Worker Who Reads" observes, "Caesar defeated the Gauls, Did he not even have a cook with him?", and Kurt Weill composed a song for a 1933 musical on the theme of "Caesars Tod", suggesting the wider application of Caesar's image within Weimar culture.

Henri Wallon's three-volume Histoire de l'esclavage dans l'antiquite/, first published in 1848, forms the basis of Elisabeth Herrmann-Otto's compelling study of the connections between ancient slavery and human rights. Defining slavery as a "usurpation de l'homme par l'homme", Wallon underscored the brutality of institutional slavery—no matter how anodyne it may appear in ancient documents—and insisted that its corrupting effects on humanity were irreversible, even though some slaves were freed. As such, Herrmann-Otto argues, Wallon prefigured the "slavery as social death" position maintained so forcefully by Orlando Patterson, and, having undertaken my own investigation of Wallon, I would concur that he was remarkably prescient in anticipating today's scholarly debates.5 This leads to the article's most interesting question: Why has Wallon's work been so overlooked and/or actively denigrated in the 20th century? While she suggests that some of the ambivalence about Wallon has stemmed from his moralizing tone, one wonders whether Herrmann-Otto is also thinking of the bitter controversy between Moses Finley and Joseph Vogt over the "Humanität" of ancient slavery.

Perhaps the most accomplished and provocative article in the volume is Schmitz's own study of "Slave Labor, Factory Work, and the Social Question at the Turn of the 20th Century". In a sophisticated analysis of major and minor scholarly works, as well as overall intellectual trends in the 19th century, he contrasts scholarship of the earlier parts of the century (Adolf Ebeling and Ernst Frank) with Eduard Meyer and, especially, the specialized studies of Robert von Pöhlmann and Friedrich Oertel. Focusing on analyses of textile manufacture in classical Greece—and the interactions between enslaved and free labor in a "factory" context—he positions these studies against the "social question" confronting industrial capitalism in the period 1880-1914. Schmitz demonstrates that the trajectories Marx and Engels had triggered were pursued, even by those who did not share their ideological views. Specifically, ancient slaves were conceptualized partly as a tool the capitalists could use against the proletariat, and partly as an oppressed class that could be equated with the proletariat itself.

In sum, this collection raises essential questions that are long overdue for examination. However, many of the individual papers exemplify some of the difficulties scholars face when delving into "reception studies" in any specialized context. A tighter focus on the figure of Spartacus would facilitate a course correction in this field. Nonetheless, there is an even more critical need: to take into account the actual slaves and real revolutionary activity to liberate them, particularly in the 19th century. Nowhere is this more crucial than in the impact of the "Black Spartacus" and his associates in revolutionary Haïti, who established the first republic of liberated slaves—and also terrified the slaveholders who controlled another republic nearby.6


1.   A book by A. V. Mishulin carrying this subtitle was published in Moscow in 1936.
2.   The Gladiators, translated by Edith Simon, reprint of 1939 edition New York: Graphic Publishing Company, pp. 256-257. Michael Scammell explores the circumstances of the book's creation in his 2009 biography Koestler, pp. 164-166, and Henry Innes MacAdam has painstakingly recreated the fascinating race between Koestler and Howard Fast to launch a film version of Spartacus' story. (Fast, thanks to Kirk Douglas, won.) See especially MacAdam's article in Left History 16 (2012): 55-71.
3.   See my review of Heinen's edited volume, Antike Sklaverei: Rückblick und Ausblick, at BMCR 2011.07.46.
4.   The dash between the words is mistakenly omitted here (168), but it was rendered in this fashion in the original edition.
5.   I would add that Wallon pays remarkably modern attention to both the "adoucissements" [mitigations, consolations], principally in a type of marriage and the granting of a peculium, that masters used to control the enslaved, and to the forms and success of resistance by enslaved people, especially in the Roman Empire.
6.   A biography of Toussaint Louverture by Philippe Girard, subtitled "A revolutionary life," was published in January 2017 by Basic Books. The impact of images of the Haitian revolutionary Jean-Baptiste Belley is well-known among art historians, and the novelist Alexandre Dumas was also only one generation removed from enslavement in Saint-Domingue. ​

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Shari Boodts (ed.), Sancti Aurelii Augustini Sermones in epistolas apostolicas II, id est Sermones CLVII – CLXXXIII secundum ordinem vulgatum insertis etiam aliquot sermonibus post Maurinos repertis. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, XLI Bb; Aurelii Augustini opera, Pars 11.8. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2016. Pp. lxxx, 784. ISBN 9782503568119. €460.00.

Reviewed by Daniel Hadas, King's College London (

Version at BMCR home site

This volume provides critical editions of sermons 157-183 of St Augustine, in the now canonical Maurist sequence, plus 11 additional sermons that have been discovered since the Maurists' edition (1683), and to which Augustinian scholars have assigned numbers that slot them into the sequence (159A, 159B, 162A, 162B, 162C, 163A, 163B, 166A, 167A, 177A, 179A). The editing project is complex, because the Maurists organised the sermons thematically—all those included here are on verses from St Paul or the Catholic epistles—and only some manuscript collections of sermons are so organised. Many of the sermons here are transmitted, albeit not always exclusively, in the 'De verbis apostoli' collection ("DVA"), but 17 belong to other traditions.

Boodts is the overall editor, and has herself edited 28 of the individual sermons, in 6 cases reprinting her own earlier editions.1 G. Partoens reprints his recent editions of ss. 163 and 176, and C. Weidmann does likewise for 166A ( = Enarrrationes in psalmos 25.2). F. Dolbeau's contribution stands somewhat apart: he re-edits, rather than reprints, 3 of the sermons (159A, 159B, 162C) he discovered in Mainz, Stadtbibliothek I 9, and also offers new editions of ss. 160 and 177, for which the Mainz manuscript gives valuable new evidence.2

Boodts provides a general introduction to the DVA collection. Each sermon then has an individual introduction by its editor. These discuss the sermon's possible date, present the manuscript tradition, and set out the editor's ratio edendi: how s/he has chosen to use the manuscript evidence. For sermons transmitted within the same collections, this involves much (acknowledged) repetition, whose purpose escapes me. A more serious frustration is the use of manuscript sigla: those employed in the general introduction are abandoned in the separate editions, and the same manuscript may then have different sigla for different sermons. This makes analysis difficult.

As a whole, the volume is a model of diligence and clarity. Where a sermon's tradition is of manageable size, the editors have collated everything. Where it is too big for that, they have used a generous selection of manuscripts. Florilegia, including unprinted ones, are collated throughout, as are all important earlier printed editions. The editors give sure-footed and succinct guidance through this vast wealth of information: the book could serve as an excellent introduction to the medieval circulation of patristic sermons. The rationes edendi are particularly welcome: we are not left to guess at how the editors have made their decisions. The proofreading—a gargantuan task—is also exemplary.3

Less satisfactory is Boodts's attempt to make sense of the DVA tradition. This is a very difficult task: there are "several hundred" manuscripts (xxix) and the tradition appears heavily contaminated. Building on the work of P.-P. Verbraken and of Partoens, Boodts starts from a list of 33 manuscripts, all 12th century or earlier. She eliminates 3 for practical reasons,4 and collates the rest for ss. 158 and 183 only. From these collations, and from previous scholarship, she attempts to deduce the relationships among her 30 manuscripts, and thence reduces her list to 13 witnesses, which she has collated for all the DVA sermons she had not previously edited. Some of Boodt's proofs are convincing, and she is candid about the fragility of others. But she too often argues from readings she calls "errors" when they might be right, and, above all, she makes no attempt to test her conclusions from ss. 158 and 183 on the collations from the other sermons, either those that she is now editing for the first time or those that are re-printed here. Those collations could of course only tell us about the manuscripts that were used in each case, but it was still worth asking whether, for those manuscripts, the collations validated the ss. 158-183 conclusions. Boodts's approach is rather to use her conclusions for ss. 158-183 to choose among readings in the other sermons. This puts too much weight on the evidence of only 2 sermons, and makes the dangerous (if tempting) assumption that the relationship between manuscripts must be the same for every sermon.5

In constituting her DVA texts, Boodts divides her manuscripts into 3 groups: those with an identifiable hyparchetype, "those which show the fewest signs of contamination" and "the remaining manuscripts". She then seeks to build a text from agreement between groups 1 and 2, where it is backed by at least one member of group 3. When this won't work, she prefers group 1, "as this group allows us to be more confident that the chosen reading is a not a product of contamination".6 The reasoning here is hard to follow: groups 2 and 3 are shadowy, and there is no good cause why contaminated manuscripts cannot have the correct reading. Boodts does, very rightly, also give weight to "internal critique", but her apparatus contains regrettably few indications of how she is doing this.

Where sermons feature not only in DVA manuscripts, there are other problems. They cannot all be discussed here, but I note in particular the case of s. 180. Boodts shows that there are two branches to the tradition (p and v), and suggests that 3 manuscripts (r1, r2, r3) may constitute a third branch. Yet, rather than balancing the 3 branches against each other, she states she will try to reconstruct only p, "with the rest of the transmission serving to filter out errors" (653). In fact, her apparatus shows that p and v have equal value. Boodts then naturally follows v when it must be right, but p and v readings needed to be given equal weight throughout, and Boodts would also have done well to consider whether the agreement of r1, r2, r3 with v against p might give the right text, as I believe it does at line 340 (see below). We find a similar problem in s. 172: a number of manuscripts are independent from DVA, but Boodts writes that because their "stemmatic positioning is based on limited evidence—though their independence from the De verbis Apostoli archetype has been adequately proved—we have elected to reconstruct the point in the stemma that is clearest to us: the archetype of the De verbis Apostoli tradition" (475). And yet the independent witnesses have "enabled us to correct the De verbis Apostoli archetype" (ibid.). The right procedure was then to reconstruct the archetype of both traditions.

I also do not think it was wise of Boodts (and Partoens) to provide an "exhaustive" (lxxix) apparatus, recording all non-orthographical variants. Where no stemma can be built, it is perhaps justifiable to record everything that could be right. But do we truly need every unique error, including those the scribes have themselves corrected (let alone the misprints of previous editions)? The result is an enormous apparatus, and I wonder who will read it. The procedure is especially puzzling in s. 170, where (we are told) the archetype is extant, but we are still given the readings of 13 other manuscripts, and in s. 176, where Partoens gives the readings of 31 DVA manuscripts, although he wishes to discard the DVA text in favour of the alternative 'De paenitentia' tradition. Moreover, for all their detail, the collations are not always accurate.7

Despite these problems, the text adopted by all the editors is generally very good: free from non-Latin, carefully punctuated, and boldly faithful to the loose grammar and hammering repetitions and questions of Augustine's preaching. Given how few predecessors they have, it is no discredit to the editors that their text cannot always be accepted. I suggest corrections, as follows:8

Better reading in apparatus:9 s. 158, 175: credemus; s. 159, 123: qui; s. 160, 25 aliquo; s. 163, 284: et ex; s. 163B, 14: accept Morin's addition (see 27-30); s. 164, 302: nunc; s. 165, 122-3: qui autem … quod] quis autem … cui; s. 166A, 202: sed; s. 169, 207: iustitia1: iustitia tua; s. 174, 69 om. et1; 215: qui non; s. 176, 80-1: sed ex … superare] sed quia ex …. superavit; s. 178, 100: ergo] totum; s. 180, 329 sanctum] falsum, 340: clament; s. 182, 80: si non.

Repunctuate: s. 161, 204: est, sed] est sed; s. 162A, 503-4: gentibus.] gentibus?; s. 165.122 habet cui] habet, cui; s. 167A, 6 illum et] illum, et; s. 181, 163: habebat, ut] habebat ut; 178-9: hic, exhibet] hic exhibet.

Conjecture: s. 159, 180-1: timorem … poenarum] timorem doloris timoremque poenarum; s. 159B, 684: quis] is; s. 160, 152 ire] irent; s. 162C, 242: del. et; s. 176, 113: se] me; s. 180, 132 διὰ] μὰ.

Deeper corruption: s. 162, 201-2 (alienum … esse 2): I can neither construe nor make sense of this. s. 172A, 240-5 (denique … praecisum): There seems to be a lacuna before this passage, as the image of the eye is not followed through. The worm image is also hard to grasp, and perhaps needs fixing.

On balance, despite its imperfections, this volume is a very valuable contribution to Augustinian scholarship. Where the editors reprise their earlier work, one welcomes the gathering of their scattered editions in a single volume. Where they re-edit sermons last edited 100-300 years ago, they offer huge improvements on the earlier text, and much precious new evidence. This will be the edition of reference henceforth, and rightly so. But it is to be hoped that its qualities will not lead to another 3-century gap in editorial work on these sermons, but will rather serve as a spur to detailed, sermon by sermon, studies of what Augustine said and how he said it. The sermons are well worth the trouble.


1.   s. 168, 169 (with G. Partoens and M. Torfs), 170, 180, 182, 183.
2.   Dolbeau writes in French, whereas all the other editors use English.
3.   A slip at p. lix: iam3 should read iam2; p. 542: S1 cannot be right. Corrections to apparatus: s. 161, 32 inv. is ambiguous; s. 166, 78: a is the archetype; s. 175.30: which 'ridere'?; s. 176: '164' should read '165'; s. 178, 189: 'etiam' is a false lemma, 201: si1 or si2?; s. 180, 348: v reading given twice. The various layers of editing have also caused some slips. Boodts uses v throughout for DVA in her apparatus, but doesn't tell us what it means till s. 172. d for the 'De verbis domini' collection at s. 171 is also unexplained. In s. 169 and 174, we are not told that s of the apparatus is σ1 of the stemma. We are also not told that Dolbeau and Weidmann use the asterisk in their apparatus to mean "this reading could be right".
4.   But Paris Lat. 14292, "no longer consultable due to damage to the binding" (xxxv-vi), has been online Gallica BnF since 2011.
5.   For instance, Boodts has Valenciennes 157 and Vat. Lat. 476 as closely related. They do share characteristic errors in s. 157, 159, 161, 178, 181, 183, but not elsewhere.
6.   I quote from the rationes edendi , formulated in near-identical terms in the introductions to most of the DVA sermons.
7.   As a sample, I have re-collated Vat. Lat. 474 DigiVatLib.474 for s. 159 (errors: 6 hac] ac a.c.; 10 secundum] cundum a.c.; 12 ut om. p. c.; 16 tantum] tamen; 19 nonnulla] nulla; 89 infidelitate] infideli te a.c.; 100: gustate et videte] gusta et vide p.c.; 143 delectatione] delectatatione a.c. ; 155-6 gratius minus] gratus munus (?) a.c.; 203 minantia] minacia p.c.; 225 ait bis a.c.); British Library Add. 17292 for s. 168 (errors: folios should be 22r-24r; 79 ubi vestimenta inv. a.c.; 93 om. et3; 129 et] ut; 153 sic] si a.c.; 160 dignus vocari inv. a.c.; 164 ipsa vacat inv. a.c.; 177 non orat inv. a.c.); Lyon 604 Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon, Ms. 604 for s. 170 (errors: 121 quaere] quare; 193 resurrectionem] resurrectione a.c.; 214 om. sumus; 219 creditis] credetis a.c.; 235 qui2] quia).
8.   I hope to justify these suggestions elsewhere.
9.   A number of these readings return to the Maurists' text, which is never to be dismissed lightly.

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Eric Adler, Classics, the Culture Wars, and Beyond. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016. Pp. xi, 292. ISBN 9780472130153. $75.00.

Reviewed by Harriet Fertik, University of New Hampshire (

Version at BMCR home site


"You're a traditional gal, aren't you!" This is the most memorable response I have received to the admission that I am a classicist, and it is an understandable pronouncement: the field of classics is often associated with the values and practices of a bygone era, both within the academy and outside of it. Yet as Adler's book shows, classics has long been so marginal in American life that its status as traditional may be questioned. Adler examines the role of classical studies in American education and society during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. He focuses on three "classical controversies" of the period: an editorial dispute at the American Journal of Philology, the debates surrounding Bernal's Black Athena, and the reception of Hanson and Heath's Who Killed Homer? Through these case studies, he aims to shed light on the history of higher education in America and to "plot a way forward for the discipline of classics" (2). Adler overlooks some important problems in his analyses of these debates, but he has provided an accessible and assiduously even-handed study of a contentious period.

In the introduction, Adler states that his book "pertains to contestations over what Americans should learn in colleges and universities, about who we are as Westerners, as Americans" (2). While this book will be of greatest value to those interested in the American context for classical studies, the scope of the project is broader than Adler's avowed focus on "who we are as Westerners" suggests: later in the book, he attends to the multicultural history of the Mediterranean (Chapter 4) and argues for the need to reach a diverse population of students (Chapter 4 and 6). These points would be advanced if Adler discussed how studying Greek and Roman antiquity can challenge simplistic notions of East and West.

The first chapter of the book surveys the culture wars in the American academy in the late twentieth century and demonstrates that classical studies and classicists were only peripheral players. Adler distinguishes between two parties in the culture wars: traditionalists, who argued for a Great Books approach in higher education, and antitraditionalists, who promoted "the study of race, class, gender, and sexuality…and other elements associated with the postmodern movement" (16). Millennial readers (like this one) may appreciate Adler's review of the traditionalist and antitraditionalist works of the era (e.g., Bloom, Graff, and D'Souza). One of the strengths of Adler's book is his persistent interest in identifying points of contact and overlap between opponents in a debate. For example, he notes that both traditionalists and antitraditionalists saw pre-professional courses for undergraduates, such as business, as a threat to the liberal arts. Yet Adler acknowledges that "traditionalist critiques…did not chiefly seek to reform higher education in the US" but were instead "interested in informing the general public about 'tenured radicals' and their biases" (34). Adler is careful to consider strengths and weaknesses of traditionalist and antitraditonalist perspectives, but this focus on balance obscures a larger question: whether "culture warriors" are equally invested in the project of higher education and in the complex problems it presents.

Chapter 1 concludes with one remarkable point of consensus in the culture wars. For both traditionalists and antitraditionalists, classics, especially the study of Latin and ancient Greek, was "stodgy and elitist….a discipline so outmoded that it failed to win even the traditionalists' assent" (40). Chapter 2 addresses the history of classical studies in American colleges and universities, tracing the connections between the changing priorities of these institutions and the increasingly tenuous position of the field of classics. Although the polemics of Chapter 1 emphasized the mid- twentieth century as the turning point for undergraduate education, Adler shows that, from the perspective of classical studies, the transformation had arrived by the end of the nineteenth century. Early American colleges were influenced by the ideals of Italian Renaissance humanism, which ensured a dominant place for classical antiquity and ancient languages in the undergraduate curriculum. In the nineteenth century, however, the German research university became an increasingly important model for American institutions. If college faculty in early America were primarily teachers, by the late nineteenth century they were expected to be professional experts and to be dedicated to producing new knowledge. These demands facilitated the decline of the prescribed classical curriculum and the rise of electives and distribution requirements, so that faculty could offer courses in their own areas of expertise. Adler convincingly argues that twentieth-century battles over Great Books courses were "small potatoes" (73) for classical studies, as these courses are taught in English translation and are far from the exclusive preserve of classicists.

In the next three chapters, Adler shows how classicists responded (or failed to respond) to very public controversies. The first episode (Chapter 3) began with George Luck's editorial statement for the American Journal of Philology, in which he specified the kinds of scholarship acceptable to the journal; he also refused to publish some articles that his predecessor had already accepted. Although this dispute is remembered as a conflict between the male academic establishment and feminist scholars, and between philology and newer intellectual approaches, Adler argues that it arose due to the limited resources for classics at AJP's home institution. As he did in Chapter 1, Adler notes points of contact between ostensible opponents, as both traditionalists in the culture wars and feminist classicists valued scholarship written for general audiences. Although philology was the height of tradition for academic classicists, the writers of traditionalist polemics disdained such specialized research.

Chapter 4 examines the academic and popular responses to Bernal's Black Athena. Adler argues that many classicists were (or have become) receptive to Bernal's contention that racism shaped the study of classical antiquity, even when they rejected his views of the Egyptian and Phoenician origins of Greek civilization. With the exception of Mary Lefkowitz's writings for the popular press, however, the public debate had little to do with classics or classicists: instead, the most vocal participants were Afrocentric scholars, whose views were often taken (incorrectly) to represent the entire field of African American studies, and who "served as a perfect media foil for classical studies, which could be portrayed as the traditionalistic discipline par excellence" (143). Adler's account of the controversy in classical studies focuses on Bernal and Lefkowitz, the figures who are most familiar to classicists.1 While he does discuss responses from Frank Snowden and Molly Levine, both at Howard University, this chapter would have benefited if black classicists and historically black colleges and universities had received more sustained attention. In Ulysses in Black, Patrice Rankine recounts an experience from his days in graduate school, when he went to meet with a professor and brought his copy of Black Athena (volume 1) with him: "I scarce expected the greeting I would receive. 'You certainly aren't reading that nonsense, are you?' asked my professor. While the condemnation of the Black Athena idea might well have been warranted, I realized that the professor had dismissed the book without even visiting its central arguments. Nor was he to any extent aware of why the notion of a Black Athena might appeal to me as a strongly black-identified individual."2 These experiences have much to teach classicists who are invested in addressing the very problems of elitism and disengagement that concern Adler.

Chapter 5 discusses the critiques of classical studies that Hanson and Heath pose in Who Killed Homer? Adler reviews the shortcomings and logical inconsistencies of the book's account of ancient Greece, and explains how the authors fail to consider the history of higher education (see Chapter 2) in their attacks on classical scholarship as a profession and on specific classicists. Like the traditionalists of Chapter 1, Hanson and Heath recommend reforms that are "obviously utopian," rather than serious proposals to change the culture of the academy (190). Adler points out, however, that Hanson and Heath raised key challenges that deserve a response from scholars: the elitism of classics as a field, the focus on research productivity (especially in narrow and technical topics) rather than teaching, and the absence of a rationale for studying classics when Greek and Roman antiquity have no protected place in the curriculum.

In Chapter 6, Adler offers his own proposals to make classics a more central player in American higher education. He presents the bleak picture of the number of classics majors and course enrollments (especially in ancient languages) in the United States, and the even bleaker outlook for the academic job market. He has also produced a survey of the (largely pessimistic) attitudes of classicists in America toward the state of the field. Adler is mindful that classicists cannot independently enact sweeping change in American higher education; he is also refreshingly cognizant of the different priorities, perspectives, and needs of different kinds of institutions, and he emphasizes that lack of job security and limited resources severely limit the actions that faculty can take. He argues that reception should be essential to course offerings in classics programs, that classicists should advocate for optional core curricula (based on the Great Books model) for undergraduates rather than distribution requirements, and that they collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines to pursue this goal.

Adler's proposals, however, are not limited to curriculum design: he also makes more sweeping suggestions. One is that classicists must adopt a "big tent" model, because "alienating any potentially sympathetic constituency remains counterproductive" for a field that needs to attract as much interest and support as possible (241). He is primarily concerned with including moderates and conservatives in the "big tent" of classical studies, but recent events have raised different political problems for classics. This book was published before the so-called alt-right, and its racist posturing on the defense of Western civilization, was headline news in the US, and before the white nationalist group Identity Evropa began poster campaigns at college campuses, with classical statues featured prominently in their imagery. How should classicists respond? Adler distinguishes between statements made by organizations and by individual scholars, and he warns that scholarly organizations should avoid "official declarations...on topics outside their purview" (241), but these troubling developments fall within the purview of classics, and the "big tent" model does not give us the tools to address them. Publicly condemning these appropriations of antiquity attracts controversy, but failing to respond may well deter potential (and current) classicists and classical enthusiasts from entering the "big tent."

Adler also urges classicists to advocate, both in the classroom and to the wider public, for "the cardinal importance of Greco-Roman antiquity to educated Americans" (231). As Adler notes, however, when we recognize the troubling history of such grand assertions about the classical past, we may hesitate to make them (or we may simply disagree with them). Furthermore, Adler's emphasis on studying the classical foundations of "the West" elides critical issues, such as the relationship between Greco-Roman antiquity and the Islamic world, and engaging with these issues offers valuable opportunities to expand the appeal of classical studies.3 Yet his main point, that classicists should be able to explain the importance of their field to students and to the public, is well taken. Adler makes the case that "Why study classics?" must be the central question for classicists today, and his book invites readers to join the conversation.


1.   Denise Eileen McCoskey, Race: Antiquity and its Legacy, Oxford, 2012, 167-199 provides a rich discussion of race and the history of scholarship on the ancient Mediterranean, including the place of Black Athena in this wider picture.
2.   Patrice Rankine, Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature, Madison, 2006, 8.
3.   Kwame Anthony Appiah, "There is no such thing as Western civilization", The Guardian, November 9, 2016.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017


John K. Papadopoulos, Sarah P. Morris, Lorenc Bejko, Lynne A. Schepartz, The Excavation of the Prehistoric Burial Tumulus at Lofkënd, Albania (2 vols.). Monumenta archaeologica, 34. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2014. Pp. xxxvii, 1,118. ISBN 9781938770005. $169.00.

Reviewed by Michael L. Galaty, Mississippi State University (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

The Excavation of the Prehistoric Burial Tumulus at Lofkënd, Albania, hereafter Lofkënd, describes the results of six years of archaeological fieldwork (2003–2008) focused on a prehistoric burial mound located in south- central Albania in the valley of the Gjanicë River, a tributary of the much larger Vjosa. Composed of twenty-two chapters in four parts, Volume 1 presents the text and tables (667 pages), while Volume 2 presents the figures (450 pages), many of which are produced in full color. The project directors thought it would take a year to excavate the roughly 15x20 m mound; it took four. One hundred tombs were removed, fifteen of which were Modern (and two of these were animal burials); altogether they contained 154 individuals (described in great detail, along with the mound's stratigraphy, in Parts I and II). Many, but not all, graves included grave goods of pottery, metal, stone, faience, glass, and bone (Part III). The Lofkënd volumes thereby represent a tremendous amount of work, and set the gold standard for the modern excavation of a burial monument, whether in Albania, elsewhere in Europe, or anywhere in the world. It is to be hoped that archaeologists who work outside of Albania will buy and read this fantastic, handsome report.

To date, over 150 tumuli have been excavated in Albania, so it is perhaps appropriate to ask why the excavations at Lofkënd are so meaningful. Lofkënd records in great detail the various technologies and methods used, but also addresses multiple, important theoretical-archaeological questions. These pertain to Albanian late prehistory and ancient Illyria's place in the wider Mediterranean region, the practice of landscape archaeology, and cultural resources management, among others (mostly addressed in Part IV).

Lofkënd is located in the Mallakastër Hills, directly east of the large Greek colonial city of Apollonia. Apollonia and its hinterland, including the Illyrian hill fort at Margelliç, were surveyed by an Albanian-American team, the Mallakastra Regional Archaeological Project (MRAP), from 1998–2003. MRAP's main goal was to investigate the nature of Greek-Illyrian interactions by looking at regional changes in settlement patterns before, during, and after the founding of the colony, sometime around 600 BC. When the Lofkënd project began (as recounted in Chapter 1), Papadopoulos et al. hoped that the use of the tumulus would span the era of Greek colonization, and that its excavation might contribute to this larger research program. To their surprise, the tumulus was constructed quite early—sometime after 1400 BC—and used for approximately 600 years. The last prehistoric burial occurred about 800 BC, at least two centuries before the arrival of the Greeks. The Lofkënd team was forced to switch gears.

A major problem in Albanian archaeology has been and continues to be the general absence of an absolute prehistoric chronology for the country. This situation is partly a result of Albania's closure during the Communist era, when radiometric dates were unavailable, but is also due to a lingering cultural-historical/materialist theoretical approach that depends upon and generates elaborate, but inaccurate, relative chronologies, based largely on parallels with Aegean and Balkan artifacts, which themselves are not well dated. As a result, the processes whereby Illyrian settlements in southern Albania were transformed into urban centers remain poorly understood. The single most important contribution made by the Lofkënd project, therefore, is an anchored, local absolute chronology for southern Albania, based on a sequence of 37 AMS radiocarbon dates on bone and wood charcoal (as described in Chapter 4). These dates bracket the use-life of the tumulus, but also connect the Lofkënd chronology to other emerging, regional chronologies, such as those produced for Korça by Lera et al. (2011) and for northern Albania by Galaty et al. (2013). With the Lofkënd chronology in hand, Papadopoulos et al. were able to address several of the more important issues relating to the late prehistoric occupation of Albania.

For example, most Albanian archaeologists (and foreign archaeologists working in and around Albania) continue to assume that Bronze Age "proto-Illyrians" were strongly influenced by the Mycenaeans and their Middle-Late Bronze Age predecessors. Some (mostly early) Mycenaean artifacts, primarily weapons, have in fact been recovered from Albanian tumuli, but the bulk of connections between southern Albania and Greece appear to have been forged after the Late Helladic IIIB, i.e., after the fall of the palaces. Lofkënd is no different. The first thirteen tombs date to Lofkënd Phase I (14th–13th centuries BC) and, but for a number of bone dress pins, are almost devoid of grave goods. The remaining 72 prehistoric tombs (Phases II–V) account for the majority of grave goods, none of which betray overtly "Mycenaean" connections. In fact, Lofkënd's material culture was as strongly influenced by northern Greece (and Italy and Central Europe) as it was by southern Greece. The upshot is that changes to Albanian social complexity, signaled by the construction of mounds and hill forts, were indigenous developments, set in motion well before any possible contacts with Mycenaeans. This conclusion bears, of course, on larger debates in Mediterranean/European archaeology about connectedness, the movement of peoples, and the rise of protourban sociopolitical formations (cf. Kristiansen and Larsson 2005).

Another major problem in Albanian archaeology, which the Lofkënd project could at least peripherally address, concerns the organization of proto-Illyrian settlement and economy. Whereas Albanian archaeologists focused much of their energy on tumuli, very few southern Albanian, proto-Illyrian settlement sites (i.e., hill forts) were excavated. Those that were suffered from shallow deposits and mixed stratigraphic sequences, and generated little evidence for full-time occupation prior to the Classical period. Such was the case, for example, at Margelliç (Ceka 1986, 1987), the closest hill fort to Lofkënd.1 It thus remains unclear who built the Lofkënd tumulus, and the other tumuli in the area, at Mashkjezë, Pazhok, and Apollonia, and where they lived. What is particularly interesting about the Lofkënd tumulus is that much of its fill incorporated numerous artifacts from earlier and contemporary periods, including chipped stone tools (some of which are Paleolithic and Mesolithic), pottery, animal bone, and 40 kg of daub. Papadopoulos et al. concluded that this fill must have been mined from a nearby settlement site and used to construct and repair the mound. As a consequence, one of the objectives of the project was to situate the tumulus in its regional, natural and settlement context. This objective was met by reconstructing the local paleo-environment (Chapter 16), including soils, and by conducting intensive and extensive archaeological surveys (Chapter 18). The results of this work indicated that the environment and landscape had not changed significantly since the Bronze Age. Importantly, survey did not identify any settlements in the vicinity of Lofkënd from which the tumulus fill might have been mined. These results mimic those of the MRAP survey, which likewise identified no new Bronze -Iron Age sites. Thus, where Lofkënd's builders lived and where the mound's fill was acquired remain a mystery.

In several of Lofkënd's more speculative chapters (e.g., in Chapter 8, on burial customs, and Chapter 20, on Lofkënd as a "cultivated" place), as well as in the Epilogue, the authors argue, based on negative evidence, that the so- called Lofkëndis must have been settled agriculturalists who practiced some form of mixed-village farming (following Halstead 1990). On the contrary, I have argued, based on the same sorts of negative evidence, that those who built the Albanian tumuli might well have been transhumant pastoralists and that tumuli marked routes of migration (Galaty 2002). The truth, of course, must lie somewhere in between. New data from northern Albania indicate that (at least some, probably not all) Late Bronze-Early Iron Age peoples moved from coast to interior, over relatively short, vertical distances, in order to monitor routes of travel, and that (at least some of) their animals went with them. In Shala, we gathered evidence from the Grunas hill fort (contemporary with the Lofkënd tumulus), from faunal, botanical, and residue analyses, to support this model (Galaty et al. 2013: 220–227), which may also apply to southern Albania.2 Southern Illyrian tribal units may have been based out of near-coastal sites, like Apollonia, and maintained seasonally and/or lightly occupied hill forts, like Margelliç, each of which exploited and monitored a particular river corridor. In this scenario, tumuli, like that at Lofkënd, were used occasionally and opportunistically, and the Lofkëndis were not peripheral players; rather they were key participants in a complex regional system.

Finally, the Lofkënd project is a model of reflexive, community-based archaeology and engaged heritage management. Lofkënd includes a 34-page Albanian summary. No fewer than 18 men and women from surrounding communities worked on the project. Numerous Albanian archaeology students were trained, some of whom have since earned advanced degrees. And the unusual decision was made to rebuild the mound, using locally made mudbricks (as described in Chapter 22). As noted by Morris and Papadopoulos, the tumulus "provided the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age inhabitants of the Gjanicë valley not only an image of, but an anchor to, their past" (p. 579). In reconstructing the mound, and returning it to the landscape, Lofkënd's modern occupants, working in consultation with project archaeologists, have charted a future course, one tied to heritage tourism and regional economic development. For this reason, the Lofkënd volumes serve an audience that is much larger than the relatively small number of archaeologists who will read them. They are a fitting testament to the departed dead, once buried in the Lofkënd tumulus, and an inspiring springboard for future investigations of Albanian prehistory, archaeological education, and local pride of place.

Works Cited

Ceka, Neritan (1986), Amfora Antike nga Margëlliçit. Iliria 16(2): 71–98.
Ceka, Neritan (1987), Arkitektura e qytezës së Margëlliçi. Monumentet 33: 5–25.
Galaty, Michael L. (2002), "Modeling the Formation and Evolution of an Illyrian Tribal System: Ethnographic and Archaeological Analogs," in The Archaeology of Tribal Societies, edited by William A. Parkinson, pp. 109–122. Ann Arbor: Monographs in World Prehistory.
Galaty, Michael L., Ols Lafe, Wayne E. Lee, and Zamir Tafilica, eds. (2013), Light and Shadow: Isolation and Interaction in the Shala Valley of Northern Albania. Monumenta Archaeologica 28. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA.
Halstead, Paul (1990), "Present to Past in the Pindhos: Diversification and Specialization in Mountain Economies." Revista di Studi Liguri 1: 61-80.
Kristiansen, Kristian, and Erik Larsson (2005), The Rise of Bronze Age Society: Travels, Transmissions and Transformations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lera, Petrika, Cécile Oberweiler, and Gils Touchais (2011), "Le passage du Bronze Récent au Fer Ancien sur le site de Sovjan (Basin de Korçë, Albanie): nouvelles données chronologiques," in Proceedings of the Cinquième Colloque International sur l'Illyrie Mériodionale at l'Épire dans l'Antiquité, Grenoble, France, October 8–12, 2008, edited by Jean-Luc Lamboley and Maria Paola Castiglioni, pp. 41–52. Paris: De Boccard.
Stocker, Sharon R. (2009), Illyrian Apollonia: Toward a Ktisis and Developmental History of the Colony. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cincinnati.


1.   Only one other settlement is known from the vicinity of Lofkënd, a small, Bronze Age-Iron Age non-fortified site, called Kraps, test excavated by MRAP in 2002 (see Stocker 2009).
2.   In Lofkënd, Chapter 16 (p. 484), Marston erroneously asserts that the Lofkënd tumulus generated "the only record of animal use during the Early Iron Age in Albania."

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Wolf Koenigs, Der Athenatempel von Priene. Archäologische Forschungen, 33. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2016. Pp. 504. ISBN 9783954900640. €110.00.

Reviewed by Joseph Coleman Carter, Institute of Classical Archaeology, The University of Texas at Austin (

Version at BMCR home site

Table of Contents

The goal of this investigation of the Temple of Athena in Priene, in the author's words, was a full consideration of the whole structure and every possible stone belonging to it. After nearly four decades of labor, beginning in 1977, but with many interruptions, he has realized it. This publication commenced as part of a reconsideration of the sanctuary of Athena by the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul. The temple had been excavated (1868–69) by R. P. Pullen, who published many but not all of his results in Antiquities of Ionia 4 (1884). A quarter-century later, it was published again by T. Wiegand and H. Schrader, in Priene: Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen und Untersuchungen in den Jahren 1895–1898 (1904).

This is a very large book (430 double-columned pages of text with hundreds of photographs and drawings), and very important for those interested in the architectural and cultural revival of the Ionian coast in the 4th century BC, and in Greek architecture in general—not only in its theoretical and historical aspects, but also in the practical questions of design and execution, of the use of tools and choice of materials.

The architect of the temple, Pytheos, as we learn from Vitruvius De Arch. 1.1.2, also wrote a book about it, and, together with Satyrus, a second one about the Mausoleum at Halicarnassos. At Priene the ground plan was based on squares 6 feet (1 foot=29.44 cm) on a side, on which the Ionic columns of the peristasis (6x11) were centered. The entire ground plan fits into a precise network of squares of this dimension. With his accurate measurements, Koenigs shows that there is very little difference between this theoretical grid and the actual structure. The naos walls were aligned with the second and fifth columns of the façade. The space between wall and columns was one interaxial. This narrow passage around the temple had a ceiling consisting of 26 very large coffers, whose lids were sculpted with action scenes. This invention of Pytheos, first developed for the Mausoleum, links two outwardly very different buildings. Some of the more lasting innovations by Pytheos in Ionic architecture were the forms of the antae, the proportions of the capitals, which Koenigs worked out (L:W:H = 1:2:3) and which became standard in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and the molded soffits in the architrave. A close relationship to both the Ionic and the Doric orders is apparent in Pytheos' design. The interior of the building is open with the wooden ceiling of the cella spanning over 9 m without interior supports.

Overshadowed by immense, neighboring temples—at Ephesos, Didyma, and Samos—in its rational, mathematic structural design, its use of Doric and Archaic Ionic elements, its arrangement of rooms, the Priene temple is not only original, it is the sum of all architecture thought up till then, and it points in new directions. Yet, it had no direct imitators. It was a paradigmatic structure without establishing a tradition (Koenigs, 224).

The outer appearance of the temple was not altered by Koenigs' careful work, but it has been significantly refined with his discoveries. The great strength of Koenigs' book is his and his team's precise workmanship, in the measured drawings, in the "stone plan" (Beilage 1), in the numerous measured drawings of individual stones, in photographs that reveal original and insightful observations, and in details recorded in the exemplary catalog. This thoroughness and emphasis on straightforward, objective facts led to discoveries that had escaped his predecessors. That the crepidoma was curved was revealed by plotting the elevations along the flanks at an exaggerated scale. This refinement it shared with developments on the mainland (e.g., at Tegea).

Much less fragmentary than those from the Mausoleum and numbering some two dozens—enough to fill all the coffers—the Priene panels represent the Gigantomachy, with two or possibly four scenes of Amazonomachy. The Gigantomachy reliefs were dated by me to the first phase of the temple's construction, shortly after the middle of the 4th century BC.1 This date, however, has not been accepted by Koenigs, nor by a number of scholars who insist on a 2nd century date.

Much of the book is devoted to discussion of the ground plan (15–64) and a reconstruction of elevation (65–166). Of particular interest are Koenigs' descriptions, using ancient terms for the working of the stone, his documentation of clamps and dowels, and observations on the use of color (red, blue, green, and yellow) on various parts of the building. These are major and original contributions. Especially impressive is his color reconstruction of an anta capital (Pl. 40). This entire section could act as a manual for Greek construction in general.

Of fundamental importance is Koenigs' recording of the incised positioning lines ("Ritzlinien"). On a block from the anta in situ, and dating also to the first phase, is an inscribed drawing at a scale of 1:48 of the gable of the temple, the so-called "Pytheos sketch." The drawing corresponds with the proportions of the temple, as Koenigs shows. It is a rare example of a drawing to scale. It was perhaps a kind of explanatory sketch. Koenigs concludes that it cannot be a final statement about the temple, but it does give a glimpse of the hand of the architect or his helper. Significantly, it is the earliest known scale reproduction of a building in the Greek world.

Koenigs' reconstruction of the elevation is very precise. Two hundred and fifty pieces of column were measured, but there remains even in his mind some doubt about the column height. He convincingly opts for the lower height, 11.62 m, because of his study of the antae. This section (75–104) could be read independently, and is fundamental for the temple and the Ionic capital.

In the final section of the text, devoted to the history of Ionic architecture, Koenigs considers the temple in relation to others. In the chapter on Pytheos the sources are dealt with critically. The role of Pytheos and the Hekatomnid rulers of Caria in the construction of the temple is definitely downplayed. These final sections, though anchored to the temple, could stand by themselves.

It has long been recognized that the temple was completed in several phases. There is a clear difference in the quality of carving of the decorative moldings: the ovolo, the lotus and palmette, and the Lesbian leaf. Schede recognized two periods, as did Koenigs earlier.2 The dating for the development of the temple, here described as "little steps" ("kleinen Schritten"), in this study is based on a theoretical scheme—that there were at least five separate periods interrupted by four pauses stretching from the mid-4th century to the time of Augustus. The theory, developed by Rumscheid3 and adopted by Koenigs, was applied throughout the book.

There are serious problems with the theory in the case of Priene. Only a limited number of blocks with molding survived, and they were scattered around the site immediately after Pullan left in 1870. (Pullan had recorded the positions of many blocks on a Cartesian grid, information that was not utilized here.)

The chronology of the construction of the temple in little steps is summarized graphically in Fig. 119, "Zeittafel des Bauablaufs," a table illustrating the "deconstruction" of the temple. The amount of labor behind the creation of this diagram has been prodigious. But has it explained the development of the temple in a believable way?

During the first phase in the 4th century, the east end of the temple was complete as far as the four columns along the north and south flanks, and one of the eastern antae was inscribed high up by Alexander as dedicant in the 330s. It is hard to believe that Pytheos or his assistants would have left the coffers of the front of the temple empty for 200 years, as Koenigs apparently assumes. Their action scenes were, after all, inventions of the 4th century by the architect of this temple.

This first period, according to the theory, drags on past 275 BC, and is followed by a pause of ca. 25 years. The second building period lasts from after 250 to just before 200, and so forth.

In the second building phase, the temple progressed no further than it had in the first phase. There is a gabled roof as far as the fourth columns along the sides. The roof did not extend westward to cover the wooden ceiling of the naos that contained the cult statue and its base, assigned to Phase 1 on the basis of its ovolo molding. Besides the bizarre appearance of the whole building this creates, it seems scarcely credible that the wooden ceiling, the only protection of the cult statue, would have been left unprotected and exposed to the elements for a century or more (Plate 3a).

Construction picked up again after 200 BC, and this third phase occupied the mid-2nd century. The sculptured ceiling coffers could thus be safely slotted in this period. At the end of the 19th century all were described by a renowned German art historian as pale reflections of the Pergamene Gigantomachy, which had recently been discovered and moved to Berlin, and dated to the later 2nd century BC.4 In the thirty years since the publication of my study of the reliefs, various attempts have been made to date them to the 2nd century BC. The stylisticparallels with the Mausoleum sculptures securely belonging to the mid-4th century BC have been strengthened recently with the full publication of the Mausoleum friezes and fragments.5

There is always a degree of subjectivity in stylistic analysis and comparison, whether of sculpture or decorative moldings. The isotopic analysis of the marble employed offers objective evidence. It is a fact that the marble used for the sculptured coffer lids at Priene is chemically very similar if not the same as that employed for the Amazonomachy frieze at Halicarnassos.6 The marble employed for the head, identified as the Hekatomnid princess Ada, found in the naos at Priene, is the same Paros I lychmites employed for the female over-life-sized portraits at Halicarnassos (except for Artemisia). This is an objective link between the Priene sculpture and mid-4th century BC Halicarnassos.

The fourth "step" is not so little, from 140 to ca. 70 BC, and the final one (corresponding to molding groups 9–12) brings us to Augustus and the completion of the temple. This unexpected conclusion is supposedly supported by the inscription naming Athena Polias and the Emperor, prominently displayed across the architrave across the eastern façade. That differences in Priene moldings and comparisons with those from other sites could result in such a fine-tuned chronology and a construction lurching along for 350 years strains credulity.

Inscriptions on the whole are more obvious grounds for chronology than style. The Alexander inscription informs us that King Alexander dedicated the building (incomplete as it was) to Athena Polias. The Augustus inscription does not relate the emperor to any phase in the construction. Attempts to associate him with Priene have resulted in self-admittedly "unverifiable hypotheses." The decree honoring Megabyzus for the completion of the temple was originally dated to the mid-4th century BC and recently re-dated to ca 290 BC.7 (The Greek is unambiguous: περὶ τοῦ ναοῦ τῆς [Ἀθηνᾶς] την συντέλεσιν.) Even more recently, it has been given back its mid-4th century date.8 This inscription has received remarkably little comment. It is clearly inconvenient for the dating of the completion, but it is not an alternative fact.

Despite some serious reservations about the chronology of the temple and its physical appearance in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC (for which the author is not entirely responsible) there is something to learn in every section of this book. It is, in short, a splendid work.9


1.   J. C. Carter, 1983. The Sculpture of the Sanctuary of Athena Polias at Priene. London. See also: J. C. Carter, 1990. "Pytheos." In Akten des 13. Internationalen Kongresses für Klassische Archäologie, Berlin. Mainz. 129-136.
2.   M. Schede, 1934. "Heiligtümer in Priene." JdI 49: 97–108; Carter 1983 (ibid.); W. Koenigs, 1983, "Der Athenatempel in Priene. Bericht über die 1977-82 durchgeführten Untersuchungen," Istanbuler Mitteilungen 33: 134–75.
3.   F. Rumscheid, 1994. Untersuchungen zur kleinasiatischen Bauornamentik des Hellenismus. Mainz.
4.   A. Furtwängler, 1881. "Zum Friese vom Tempel in Priene." Archäologische Zeitung xxxix: 306ff.
5.   B. F. Cook, 2005. Relief Sculpture of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Oxford.
6.   Carter 1983, 339–43; S. Walker and M. Hughes, 2010, "Parian Marble in the Dynastic Monuments of Lycia and Caria," in Paria Lithos. Parian Quarries, Marble and Workshops of Sculpture, eds. D. U. Schilardi and D. Katsonopoulou, 2nd ed., 445–51, Athens; K. J. Mathews, 2005, "Report on the stable isotope analysis of fragments from the friezes of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus," in Cook 2005,37–40; K. Germann et al., 1988, "Provenance Characteristics of Cycladic (Paros and Naxos) Marbles: A Multivariate Geological Approach," in Classical Marble: Geochemistry, Technology, Trade, eds. N. Herz and M. Waelkens, Dordrecht.
7.   C. V. Crowther, 1996. "I. Priene 8 and the History of Priene in the Early Hellenistic Period." Chiron 26: 195–250.
8.   W. Blümel and R. Merkelbach, 2014. Die Inschriften von Priene. Vols. I and II. Bonn.
9.   I wish to acknowledge the generous help of Dieter Mertens and Scott Williams, Professor of German at Texas Christian University, who studied classical archaeology in Germany.

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John Sellars (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition. Routledge handbooks in philosophy. London; New York: Routledge, 2016. Pp. xx, 407. ISBN 9780415660754. $240.00.

Reviewed by Kurt Lampe, University of Bristol (

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As John Sellars writes in the introduction, this volume aims to "map" the widespread and enduring influence of Stoicism. He means "Stoicism" in a capacious sense; already in antiquity, he asks whether we should we should think in terms of a doctrinal core, family resemblances, or an arborescence that simply happens to be rooted in the Athenian Stoa (3). Subsequent chapters address the reception of various dimensions of that Athenian original, from philosophers' rigorous engagement with concepts and arguments to poets', theologians', and visual artists' appropriation and polemical redeployment of emotional, interpersonal, political, and cosmological attitudes. Since the authors in this collection have diverse aims and methods, I will group them topically/methodologically rather than prioritizing the volume's chronological ordering principle. Naturally these groupings are rough-and-ready, and some of the chapters could have been allocated to more than one group.

One series of chapters addresses explicit reactions to Stoic theory by individual philosophers. For instance, Lloyd P. Gerson gives a lucid summary of Plotinus' detailed criticism of Stoic metaphysics and epistemology, suggesting also that Plotinus was sympathetic to Epictetan positions on moral responsibility and happiness. Matthew D. Walz surveys Boethius' half- hearted approval of Stoic emotional therapy and wholehearted criticism of their ostensibly selfish axiology and rigid logic and physics. Jacqueline Lagrée elegantly explains how Lipsius' Christian neo-Stoicism departs from its ancient paradigm. She also provides some of the religious and political contexts that inform Lipsius' thinking. David Forman regularly cites Leibniz's explicit commentary on Stoicism, but his focus is as much on comparison as on reception: he puts the two philosophies into dialogue on a series of issues revolving around determinism and freedom, such as the connectedness of causes, the modality of future events, spontaneity and moral responsibility, and the problem of evil.

The studies by Sarah Catherine Byers and Troels Engberg-Pedersen are slightly different from the rest of this group, since neither concerns explicit reactions to Stoicism. Although Augustine engages directly with Stoic theory in many passages, Byers disregards them; instead, she makes a novel argument that the Stoic theory of "appropriation" (οἰκείωσις) implicitly frames Augustine's account of his personal development. Troels Engberg-Pedersen's chapter concerns the Apostle Paul and John the Evangelist, both of whom he treats as philosophers. (For Paul in particular, given the last two decades in continental philosophy, this is hardly controversial.) Engberg-Pedersen argues that we can understand specific passages in both authors' works better if we read them against the physics and theology of Stoic "spirit" (πνεῦμα). But he does not make any claim about influence; rather, he explains that he views this comparison as a "heuristic" tool for understanding Paul and John better.

A second group of chapters also focuses on individual philosophers, but puts the emphasis more clearly on comparative philosophy rather than on influence or reception. Kevin Guilfoy begins his chapter on Peter Abelard and John of Salisbury with the remark that "The Stoic influence . . . is vast, but identifying specifics is difficult" (85). Abelard's and John's explicit indebtedness to Roman Stoicism on the topics of virtue and natural law is not very philosophically interesting. By contrast, Guilfoy's comparison of Abelard's theories of "consent" and "intention" with Stoic "assent" deserves more space, as does the apparently fortuitous convergence of Stoic and Abelardian logic and metaphysics of language. Jon Miller finds no evidence that the Stoics had much influence on Spinoza (221), and—given the volume of scholarship already existing on this topic, including Miller's own monograph—is surprisingly cursory in comparing some of their major positions. (In fact, this is the shortest chapter in the book.) Daniel Doyle and José M. Torralba are more rigorous and patient in discussing another well- established topic, the comparison of Kant and the Stoics. Included in their discussion are not only Kant's explicit comments on Stoicism, but their respective positions on value, nature, virtue, happiness, and "duty" or "obligations."

Many chapters attempt to survey the reception of Stoicism across an entire period or intellectual movement. It is not obvious that all of these merited inclusion. For instance, Jill Kraye begins her short chapter by saying that "Stoicism . . . played only a marginal role in the philosophy of the Italian Renaissance" (133). The highlights are the debate between Politian and Bartolomeo Scala about Epictetus' Handbook and Pomponazzi's Stoicizing in On Fate, Free Will, and Predestination. But these need further theoretical, biographical, or sociocultural development. Guido Giglioni's chapter on "Medicine of the Mind in Early Modern Philosophy" takes its starting point from the medical metaphor in Cicero's Tusculan Disputations, but thereafter has almost nothing to do with Stoicism.

The others in this category were more successful, beginning with Gretchen Reydams-Schils' overview of key figures and thematic emphases in Roman Stoicism. Edward Andrew discusses reactions to Stoicism (especially to Seneca) by Enlightenment French philosophers generally more sympathetic to Epicureanism, including Diderot, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and la Mettrie. Michael Ure gives us a very clear interpretive summary of how Stoicism functioned as a game-piece in debates with big philosophical stakes among Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. Particularly rewarding were the chapters by Christopher Gill and Thomas Bénatouïl. Gill not only summarizes with lucidity and rigor Stoic influences on contemporary Anglo-American ("analytical") ethics; he also comments critically on each major area of reception, returning to ancient Stoic texts and attempting to take this dialogue further. Bénatouïl provides a synoptic vision of intersecting receptions of Stoicism in twentieth-century ("continental") Francophone scholarship and philosophy. Especially useful is the division he borrows from Michel Foucault between philosophies of consciousness and philosophies of knowledge and rationality, which allows him to map similarities and filiations in this subfield.

Subtly different from the foregoing are six broadly cultural-historical chapters. Inasmuch as my imperfect grasp of the primary materials allows me to judge, most of these were excellent. Mary Beth Ingham lays out a fascinating and wide-ranging argument about how the influence of Roman Stoic texts about "practical wisdom" (prudentia) converged with monastic theories of "discernment" (discretio) in order to condition the (mis)understanding of Aristotle's ethics up until Thomas Aquinas. Barbara Pitkin criticizes an existing dichotomy in the scholarly literature between Erasmus' "Stoicizing" attitudes and Calvin's "Augustinian" anti-Stoicism. She offers a far more nuanced portrait of how trends in Christian Stoic reception culminate in the complex attitudes of Erasmus and Calvin. Michael Moriarty contributes a concise, sharp, and far-ranging discussion of early modern French responses to Stoicism, from the systematic neo-Stoicism of Guillaume du Vair to the measured responses of Descartes and Jansenist and other neo-Augustinian anti-Stoic Catholic movements. Christian Maurer's chapter on the Scottish Enlightenment offers a far-ranging intellectual history of Stoic reception by Frances Hutscheson, Hume, and Adam Smith, which Maurer relates to contemporary thinking by Shaftesbury and the Cambridge Platonists, and situates against the backdrop of controversies in Scottish Christianity. Simon Swift argues that the Romantic reception of Stoic concepts needs to be understood against the backdrop of the emergence of the concepts of "literature" and "criticism," which became alternatives to traditional philosophical ethics, and provided novel categories like "character" and "sentiment." He then explains how the reception of Stoicism as a model of character and sentiment was strongly marked by reactions to the French revolution and Napoleon. This is a compelling study in how "sub-philosophical" contexts give meaning to philosophical theory. Heather Ellis discusses the reception of Marcus Aurelius in Victorian England, which she connects to what she calls "social Stoicism": in other words, a model of character for elite men of the British Empire. Finally, Kenneth Sacks' chapter on American Stoicism must be the most multidisciplinary chapter in the volume. Sacks ranges from the philosophies of the American founders, transcendentalists, and pragmatists, to autobiographical and fictional literature, cinema, painting, and even hip hop. His brief discussion of the amazingly pervasive characterization of Native Americans as "Stoic" (especially in visual art) and the recent backlash from activists merits a chapter in its own right.

There remain three chapters that do not fit into the preceding groupings. Ada Palmer gives us a thorough account of the recovery of Stoic texts in the Renaissance, the gradual elimination of forgeries, and a detailed register of printings. Andrew Shifflett touches on William Cornwallis' Stoicizing, but focuses on ostensibly Stoic elements in Shakespearean characterization or dialogue, with extensive attention to prior scholarship on this topic. Because the question of Shakespeare's Stoicism revolves around his relation to Senecan tragedy, Shifflett's failure explicitly to reflect on whether Seneca tragedy is Stoic (an ongoing controversy) vitiates this discussion. Finally, Donald J. Robertson surveys Stoic elements in modern psychotherapy, especially the family of therapies grouped under the heading "cognitive-behavioral." Particularly useful here for historians of philosophy will be Robertson's analysis of the history and branching of this type of therapy.

As Sellars rightly claims in the first note to his excellent introduction (which thankfully eschews any attempt to summarize the ensuing chapters), there has never been any attempt in any language to cover Stoic reception so broadly. The nearest competition is B. Neymeyr, J. Schmidt, and B. Zimmerman (eds.), Stoizismus in der europäischen Philosophie, Literatur, Kunst, und Politik, 2 vols (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008). But at $349.00, Stoizismus has not enjoyed a broad circulation; moreover, the current volume has a much larger and more international authorial team as well as wider coverage. Any reader will identify their own "noteworthy omissions"; Jewish (especially Philo) and Byzantine reception occur first to me. But Sellars prudently disclaims any hope of being exhaustive (1), which is clearly impossible.

Other than its comprehensiveness, the book's strengths and weaknesses will to some extent depend on each reader's interests. Those interested in specific authors or movements will find valuable starting points for their research in individual chapters. From this perspective, it is a strength that many provocative observations remain undeveloped. One might mention Erasmus' invocation of Jesus' emotional experience on Gethsemane when debating Stoic wisdom with John Colet (149), or William Hazlitt's claim that the frigid characterization in Wordsworth's Excursion was linked to its Stoic sentimentality (315). It is unlikely that many will want to read straight through the 388 pages of fairly small print, which is rather a shame. By doing so they would discover that themes repeat with philosophically important variations. Two prominent examples are the problematics of freedom in a deterministic universe and the idealism of the sage (as pride, heroism, or godlikeness). Yet Sellars has considerably facilitated cross-volume searches with a superb, eighteen-page index. All in all, this will be a very useful reference volume for scholars working in a wide range of fields.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017


Christian Vogel, Boethius' Übersetzungsprojekt: philosophische Grundlagen und didaktische Methoden eines spätantiken Wissenstransfers. Episteme in Bewegung. Beiträge zu einer transdisziplinären Wissensgeschichte, 6. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016. Pp. x, 184. ISBN 9783447106092. €48.00.

Reviewed by Pieter Beullens, KU Leuven, Institute of Philosophy, Aristoteles Latinus (

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Table of Contents

What would you do if you found yourself in a society that seemed to lose interest in the writings of the ancient Greek culture which it had always valued? Boethius, the Roman senator who lived (and died) under the rule of the Goths in the early 6th century CE, saw the decline in Greek studies among his contemporaries. Therefore, he decided to make the works of Plato and Aristotle accessible to his Roman readership through Latin translations and commentaries. As Boethius only realized this intention for (most of) Aristotle's logical works and for Porphyry's introduction to the Aristotelian logic, his enterprise is usually considered incomplete or even failed.

This book stems from a research project at the Freie Universität Berlin. Its general scope is to investigate different forms of knowledge-transfer from antiquity through the early modern age, and not limited to European culture. In his study, Vogel specifically aims to reappraise Boethius' translation activity, for which the theoretical framework appears throughout his works, including in the Consolation of Philosophy. From this approach, Boethius' viewpoints as a translator should necessarily be in line with those of Boethius the author of philosophical texts, and the whole of his output has to be considered.

Vogel's first step in investigating Boethius' project of knowledge-transfer is to define his views on education (ch. 2, 'Bildungstheoretischer Rahmen des Übersetzungsprojekt'). Boethius chose to begin his plan with Aristotle's logic based on his assessment that it not only is the starting point for all philosophical activity, but especially that its training leads to the perfection of the soul and finally opens the way to eternal bliss in the study of theology. For that reason, Boethius does not consider his translations and commentaries as the ultimate purpose of his activity, but as necessary constituent parts of an education for which the next steps are to be found is his works on the quadrivium. Vogel argues that this conception of education is coherent with Boethius' views on the soul (ch. 3, 'Boethius' Seelenkonzeption'). Although he did not devote an entire work to the subject nor develop an explicit psychology, Vogel sketches his knowledge of Aristotle's De anima and his own interpretation from information scattered throughout Boethius' output. The study of logic ultimately leads to the perfection of the third and specifically human part of the soul in its threefold Aristotelian composition (the other two being nourishment and sense perception).

In the fourth chapter ('Boethius' Sprachkonzept'), Vogel turns to Boethius' concept of language as a form of assimilation within the soul, the intellectus, and to the question whether words get their meaning through nature or convention. While developing his own position, the Roman philosopher displays a good knowledge of Plato's treatment of the same subject in his Cratylus and of the Aristotelian position, especially as exposed by Ammonius. Throughout his works, Boethius relies on and evaluates the commentaries of his Greek colleagues and predecessors. The approach is consistent with contemporary currents in Platonic and Aristotelian scholarship, where texts were not merely reproduced, but also discussed and commented upon. The commentators traditionally intended to harmonize Platonic and Aristotelian doctrines. Boethius' projected audience for his works makes his position peculiar. His students were not familiar with the language of the original writings nor with the longstanding commentary tradition in the Greek world. His method accordingly is not limited to the translation of the texts alone. The commentaries that he wrote allowed him to enter into a dialogue with the content of the Aristotelian treatises and to interpret them for his readers. His work, Vogel argues, is aimed at transfer, rather than mere transformation.

Now that this backdrop of Boethius' project has been established, his translation theory and practice enter the scene (ch. 5, 'Boethius' Übersetzungstheorie und -praxis'). Vogel recalls the classical interpretation of the fidus interpres as developed by Cicero and Horace, and especially by Saint Jerome. He also discusses the traditional view of the deficiency of the Latin language with respect to the Greek philosophical terminology and the development of a specific vocabulary in this field in later antiquity. Boethius mostly chooses the same Latin words to translate certain Greek terms. Yet he is aware of the difficulty caused by the fact that Aristotle sometimes attaches different meanings to one word or that he varies between terms to render a similar concept. Vogel lengthily discusses Boethius' use of the same Latin term nota for both Greek words σύμβολον and σημεῖον. While the translator's choice was criticized by modern scholars as a significant interpretative failure, Vogel defends the consistency of the terminology with Boethius' general views on translation. As it turns out, this is the only case where the author addresses a concrete translation problem that Boethius had to face.

This observation brings my review to the evaluation stage. It would not be fair to judge a book based on what is not in it. As this book deals with Boethius' overall method in transforming Greek philosophy for his Roman readership, I was struck by a conspicuous absence. Lorenzo Minio-Paluello, the editor of logical treatises in the Aristoteles Latinus series, discovered that each translation of these texts circulated in two different versions. He suggested that Boethius prepared two recensions of every translation, one literal and close to the Greek text, the other with greater fluency and following the rules of Latin rhetorical diction. Minio-Paluello revised his hypothesis as his editing of Boethius' translations progressed and it seems to have gained general acceptance among scholars.1 Since Boethius' attempts to translate Aristotle's treatises must be considered as important steps in the hermeneutical process, it would have been useful to at least consider how this choice can be brought in line with the book's overall thesis. Surprisingly, Vogel does not even mention this peculiarity.

In general, the volume is nicely presented by the publisher. The illustration on the front cover is inspired by a miniature in a fourteenth-century manuscript from Glasgow University Library.2 As for the Latin in the footnotes, it is sometimes marked by a certain carelessness. In particular, the original quotations from Boethius' works that accompany the long passages in German translation contain numerous mistakes. Most of them are typical scanning errors and should have been eliminated during proofreading. Occasionally, the main body of the text is also affected, as on pp. 53 and 115 where the author mistakenly refers to quidam vis. Beside the extensive bibliography, the book contains an index locorum, but no general index of persons or cited works.

To conclude with the words of Jean-Pierre Levet, Boethius' translation and commentary endeavour is a combined effort in philology, logic, and pedagogy.3 Vogel's book supplies a rich study of Boethius' didactic and philosophical ideas, especially his psychology and language theory, yet the philological side of the project is all but absent. The author almost exclusively discusses metatheoretical information about translation practice gathered from Boethius' commentaries and other works. The translations themselves are mostly left out of the discussion. It is a telling sign that only the edition of his Analytica priora translation is listed in the bibliography of primary sources.


1.   There is a survey of Minio-Paluello's evolving views in Jozef Brams, La riscoperta di Aristotele in Occidente (Milano: Jaca Book, 2003), pp. 29-34. For a critical note, see Sten Ebbesen, 'The Aristotelian Commentator,' in The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, ed. John Marenbon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 34-55, at p. 51, n. 5.
2.   A full colour picture of the relevant manuscript page is on display University of Glasgow: Manuscripts Catalogue.
3.   Jean-Pierre Levet, 'Philologie et logique: Boèce traducteur des premiers chapitres du Livre I des Analytica priora d'Aristote,' in Revue d'histoire des textes18 (1988), pp. 1-62, at p. 6: "une telle recherche, qui relève à la fois d'une démarche de philologue - elle a pour fin de trouver la meilleure formule, la plus juste, la plus adéquate - d'un travail de logicien - on doit respecter le plus possible la vérité exprimée - et enfin d'une tâche de pédagogue, puisque donner la possibilité de lire Aristote ne suffit pas."

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Robert B. Koehl (ed.), Studies in Aegean Art and Culture: A New York Aegean Bronze Age Colloquium in Memory of Ellen N. Davis. Philadelphia, PA: INSTAP Academic Press, 2016. Pp. xvii, 158. ISBN 9781931534864. $36.00.

Reviewed by Jessica Doyle, University College Dublin (

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

This volume presents the papers delivered at a special meeting of the New York Aegean Bronze Age Colloquium on September 2014, held in memory of Ellen N. Davis who passed away in July of the preceding year. Davis herself was a founding member of the Colloquium, and so the Colloquium and this resulting collection of papers are fitting tributes.

Davis' scholarship will be familiar to readers with an interest in the Aegean Bronze Age. She produced seminal works on a range of topics pertaining to the period (a bibliography of her work is usefully provided on pages xv–xvi), and each of the ten papers in this volume builds on, responds to, or otherwise acknowledges Davis' insight and enthusiasm. This is more explicit and focused in some instances (for example, the papers by Weingarten, Wiener, Kopcke, Koehl and Palaima), while in others Davis' broader influence is celebrated (for example, in the contributions by Shank and Jones). The contents are not divided into sections, but are somewhat thematically grouped.

The first four papers deal with Aegean metallurgy. Davis' own doctoral dissertation examined the Vapheio Cups and gold and silver ware, and was followed by a number of papers pertaining to the use and provenance of metals in the Bronze Age Aegean. 1 The volume opens with Weingarten's reconsideration of the Gournia silver lobed kantharos (conventionally dated to Middle Minoan IB), a unique vessel that Davis examined early in her career. 2 Frustratingly for Davis, the proposed Anatolian prototypes for this unusual type post-dated the Gournia kantharos. Weingarten here makes a convincing case, based on recent discoveries and up-to-date classifications, for a later date for the Gournia cup, thus supporting the role of the Anatolian vessels as inspiration behind the silver kantharos and its ceramic imitations, and offers some suggestions as to the possible purposes of these vessels in their Minoan context. Wiener's offering revisits Davis' early work on Helladic cups in precious metals, most notably those from the Vapheio tholos. Davis proposed that one of the gold Vapheio cups was the work of a Minoan craftsman, the other produced in a Mycenaean workshop. 3 Wiener takes his cue from this insight to examine the significance of the remarkably rich Vapheio tholos, and the importance of Lakonia in the Mycenaean period, particularly regarding relations between Crete and the Mainland, in light of new evidence from the palatial site of Hagios Vasileios. He suggests these pairs of cups were tools in the cultivation of host-guest relations in the tradition of xenia. The third paper, a contribution by Kopcke, re-appraises Davis' view that Transylvania was a major source of gold for Mycenaean Greece which had bronze to offer in exchange. Kopcke defends Davis' view, though is less certain of her argument that Crete could not have been the source for the Shaft Grave gold, urging us to conceive of a wider exchange network incorporating Crete and its Egyptian connections as well as the Carpathian connection. A further paper on northerly connections is offered by Betancourt, Ferrence and Muhly. Citing Davis' interests in Minoan interconnections with northern regions, the authors offer a study of some metal objects from the cemetery at Petras in eastern Crete that indicate Cretan interconnections with the Cyclades and locations further north. The objects studied are small, personal items, of types known from the Cyclades, the Greek peninsula, the Balkans and Anatolia. The authors link this evidence for northerly connections at Petras to the site of Hagia Photia nearby, a site with demonstrably strong Cycladic connections in Early Minoan (EM) I which was deserted in EM II. Petras, they suggest, may have replaced Hagia Photia in EM II as a gateway to the north.

The next four papers shift the focus to the visual arts, reflecting Davis' own career, which saw her interests expand, notably into the area of Bronze Age wall-painting and iconography. Christos Doumas offers an exploration of the human experience in Cycladic prehistory as told through the manifestations of the human figure and its many changes across modes and media. Observing the fluctuations in representation between figurine, vase, and fresco, and the favour shown alternately to female and male representation from the Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, Doumas examines the relationship between social change and how the human condition is expressed in Cycladic art. Vlachopoulos' paper invokes Davis' interest in the wall-paintings of Thera, examining the use of colour-contrast and, in particular, purple pigment to enhance the optical effects of a set of non-figurative frescoes from Xeste 3 at Akrotiri. The frescoes, depicting lozenges with rosettes and spirals, are demonstrated by Vlachopoulos to have been rendered in polychromatic combinations that were deliberately selected for illusionistic and aesthetic effect. His paper also includes a discussion of the possible interpretative significance of the rosette in Aegean iconography, and points the way towards further research on the possible relationship between the use of prestigious pigments and the important Goddess and Adorants frescoes in the same complex. Shank's paper retains the focus on Aegean wall-painting, examining the various conventions employed by Minoan artists to represent water in miniature-style frescoes. Basing her observations on familiar examples from Hagia Eirene and Akrotiri, and some less well-known ones from Epano Zakros and Tel Kabri, Shank distils her findings into the identification of six conventions employed in the representation of water by Aegean artists working in the miniature style. Her closing paragraph hints at a further study into this important subject that will investigate the same topic but in the realm of larger-scale wall painting. The eighth paper, by Jones, re-envisages some familiar figures from the Temple Repositories at Knossos, deconstructing Evans' extensive "reconstitutions" of the female faience statuettes that he designated as "Snake Goddesses." Jones brings to bear her expertise on Minoan female dress to offer new reconstructions of the statuettes HM63 and HM65. 4 Most interestingly, she uses previously misplaced and overlooked fragments to reconstruct a third statuette of a female associated with snakes (HM64).

The final two papers in the collection address social and ideological themes that were of interest to Davis, namely rites of passage and rulership. Her seminal paper of 1986 on the Theran frescoes examined the relationship between hairstyles and age in Minoan society. 5 Davis concluded that there were correlations between various hairstyles, age-grades and initiatory rites, particularly relating to nuptial rites for girls. This paper coincided with the publication in the same year of Koehl's equally seminal piece on the "Chieftain Cup," in which he interpreted the imagery on the vessel as representing male initiatory rites with the participants distinguished by their various hairstyles. 6 In his paper here, Koehl reiterates, with further evidence, his views on the correlation between the male's progression from childhood to maturity and the distinctive hairstyles associated with each phase. Here he presents some glyptic images, all of which appear to depict homoerotic activity amongst males of varying age-grades. Inevitably, these findings are linked to Ephorus' much later account of Cretan initatory rites that involved a homoerotic component. This account has received much attention in the light of the Iron Age material from Kato Syme Viannou, and Koehl offers these Bronze Age images from Pylos and Zakros in further support for the Bronze Age origins of these practices. 7 The final paper in the collection revisits Davis' perceptive observation that Minoan art offers no indisputable ruler iconography. 8 Palaima points out that the same lacuna exists in Mycenaean iconography, and looks to the etymology behind certain words associated with power and leadership in Mycenaean Greek—namely, wanaks, megaron, skeptron, and thronos—to elucidate the ideology of Mycenaean rulership. 9 Drawing parallels with Hittite etymologies and kingship ideology, Palaima concludes that these cultures applied non-Indo-European, pre-Greek terms to ideals of power and rulership in the interest of legitimising supremacy through association with ancestral figures.

The standard of scholarship is excellent, as is to be expected from the contributors, all leading Aegeanists and Mycenologists. The slim volume is well presented, with paper of good quality that does justice to the 66 illustrations, of which several are in colour. It is something of a shame that there are no subject and place-name indexes, though this does not significantly detract from the overall quality. The absence of a List of Contributors is also somewhat surprising. The editorial standards are irreproachable. This book should be of interest to any student of the Aegean Bronze Age, and deserves a place on the shelves of all libraries with an interest in the prehistoric Aegean.

The esteem in which Ellen Davis is held as a scholar, a colleague, and a friend, is evident throughout this book. Several papers open with personal memories of Davis, though it is perhaps Palaima who most vividly evokes the essence of her scholarly approach when he recalls that "she discussed topics in the Aegean Bronze Age as if they were part of the meaning our lives have in hoc tempere, right here and right now, over a bagel with a schmear, over dim sum, over the coffee-stained pages of yesterday's New York Times (p. 133)." As a glimpse into the rich diversity of scholarship in the Aegean Bronze Age, shining new light on many topics and revisiting ongoing discussions, this book succeeds very well. As a fittingly warm and affectionate tribute to a loved and well-respected scholar, it triumphs.

Authors and Titles

List of Figures in the Text
Preface and Acknowledgements
Bibliography of Ellen N. Davis
List of Abbreviations
1. Judith Weingarten…The Silver Kantharos from Gournia Revisited
2. Malcolm H. Wiener…Helladic Pairs of Cups
3. Günter Kopcke…For Ellen Davis: Transylvanian Gold?
4. Philip P. Betancourt, Susan C. Ferrence, and James D. Muhly…Cycladic and More Northerly Connections in the Metal Objects from Petras Cemetery
5. Christos Doumas…The Human Condition as Reflected in Early Aegean Art
6. Andreas G. Vlachopoulos…Purple Rosettes/ Πορφυροί ρόδακες: New Data on Polychromy and Perception in the Thera Wall Paintings
7. Elizabeth B. Shank…Depictions of Water in Aegean Miniature-Style Wall Paintings
8. Bernice R. Jones…The Three Minoan "Snake Goddesses"
9. Robert B. Koehl…Beyond the "Chieftain Cup": More Images Relating to Minoan Male "Rites of Passage"
10. Thomas G. Palaima…The Ideology of the Ruler in Mycenaean Prehistory: Twenty Years after the Missing Ruler


1.   Davis, E.N. 1977. The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware (Outstanding Dissertations in the Fine Arts) New York.
2.   Davis, E.N. 1979. "The Silver Kantharos from Gournia," Temple University Aegean Symposium 4, pp. 34–45.
3.   Davis, E.N. 1974. "The Vapheio Cups: One Minoan and One Mycenaean," The Art Bulletin 56, pp. 472–487.
4.   Jones, B. 2015. Ariadne's Threads. The Construction and Significance of Clothes in the Aegean Bronze Age, Leuven.
5.   Davis, E.N. 1986. "Youth and Age in the Thera Frescoes," American Journal of Archaeology 90, pp. 399– 406.
6.   Koehl, R.B. 1986. "The Chieftain Cup and a Minoan Rite of Passage," Journal of Hellenic Studies 106, pp. 99–110.
7.   Ephorus FGrH 70 F 149, as quoted in Strabo (X.483–4); on Kato Syme Viannou, see A. Lebessi and P. Muhly, 1987, "The Sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite at Syme, Crete," National Geographic Research 3.1, pp. 102–113.
8.   Davis, E.N. 1995. "Art and Politics in the Aegean: The Missing Ruler," in The Role of the Ruler in the Prehistoric Aegean. Proceedings of a Panel Discussion Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, New Orleans, Louisiana, 28 December 1992, with Additions (Aegaeum 11), P. Rehak, ed., Liège, pp. 11–20.
9.  This builds on some previous work by Palaima, e.g., T.G. Palaima 2006, "Wanaks and Related Power Terms in Mycenaean and Later Greek," in Ancient Greece: From the Mycenaean Palaces to the Age of Homer (Edinburgh Leventis Studies 3), S. Deger-Jalkotzky and I.S. Lemos, eds., Edinburgh, pp. 53–71.

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