Sunday, December 10, 2017


Marco Tentori Montalto, Essere primi per il valore: gli epigrammi funerari greci su pietra per i caduti in guerra (VII-V sec. a.C.). Quaderni della rivista di cultura classica e medioevale 16. Pisa; Roma: Fabrizio Serra editore, 2017. Pp. 244. ISBN 9788862279062. €68.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Marco Sferruzza, Università di Roma La Sapienza (

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

Warfare plays a major role in Greek culture, in that it pervades not only the literary sources but also the visual arts, archaeological evidence, and epigraphic sources. Funerary inscriptions are particularly important, since they show how, to what extent, and from when the hoplite ideal of the "belle mort" became embedded in Greek society.

M. Tentori Montalto's book, published in the series Quaderni della «Rivista di cultura classica e medioevale», is based on the author's Ph.D. thesis. This study collects all Greek funerary verse inscriptions dedicated to the war dead from the archaic age to the end of the 5th century BCE, mostly, but not exclusively, from mainland Greece.

This corpus consists of 46 inscriptions. 32 epigrams dedicated to war dead: nos. 1–17 (private epigrams) and I–XV (public epigrams); 5 inscriptions dedicated to warriors who did not die in battle: nos. a–e; 4 copies of inscriptions dedicated to war dead, which might or might not be copies of 5th-century originals: nos. A–D; 5 dubious inscriptions: nos. α–ε.

The introduction presents the corpus and the criteria for inclusion. After surveying the current state of academic research, Tentori Montalto presents his work and its impact in several branches of ancient studies. While most of the inscriptions studied here are present in the wider CEG corpus (P.A. Hansen, Carmina Epigraphica Graeca, Berlin 1983–89), the selection of the theme of the epigrams and the addition of several newly found and/or studied inscriptions make the book of Tentori Montalto a new and valuable work.

The inscriptions are grouped into the categories of private and public. The inscriptions are then organised according to their completeness and in rough chronological order. For each inscription an outline of the monument is first given, followed by bibliographic and photographic references. The Greek text of the inscription is then given in transcription with a critical apparatus, followed by a translation in Italian by the author. A number of the inscriptions are also found in the 25 photographic plates at the end of the book.

After this outline, an extensive analysis of the inscription is given. The reader will find there useful notes about the material condition of the base, about the alphabet and linguistic peculiarities, and philological and literary analysis, as well as historical notes. In dealing with the historical context of the epigrams, Tentori Montalto gives brief but thorough accounts; he reports not only the literary loci similes and echoes but also the similarities with the Greek aristocratic milieu.

The section on private epigrams deals mainly with linguistic and epigraphic issues. In some of the epigrams (nos. 1–4, 14), the most interesting remarks concern the linguistic forms attested in the inscriptions. A common problem is the identification of the beneficiary: in some cases the name of the deceased has to be reconstructed or emended. When it is possible, a bit of their life and socio-cultural context can be inferred from the text. A good example is the epigram of Tetichos (no. 2), the "Cicada". In trying to reconstruct the prosopography of the honorand, the author delves into the symbolism of cicadas among the Athenian aristocracy.

Some of the epigrams have been preserved in a very fragmentary state, with the result that the analysis and commentary focus on the textual reconstruction. Such is the case for epigram nos. 8–10, 12–13, 16. Before supporting his argument, Tentori Montalto reviews the philological efforts of his predecessors. In several cases, he proposes new readings based on his autopsy of the inscription.

One field of study in which these epigrams will be useful is Greek military history. Tentori Montalto underlines the images and formulas of the epigrams connected with the so-called "hoplite ideal". He highlights, for instance, echoes by Tyrtaeus, such as the praise of the young age of the fallen (nos. 2, 4), and the refusal to flee (no. 7).

Tentori Montalto deals, when possible, with historical issues such as the historical setting of the epigram. No. 11, for example, a stele from Thessaly, commemorates Theotimos, a warrior fallen at Tanagra. In identifying the battle mentioned here with the famous battle of Tanagra in 458/7 BCE when the Thessalian cavalry suddenly joined the Spartan side, Tentori Montalto suggests that here a 'lawful' Thessalian hoplite is celebrated, in implicit contrast with the laconising aristocratic horsemen. To highlight the contrast, the author briefly analyses a related, non-verse inscription: the dedication at Delphi of the Thessalians (no. 11a).

Epigram no. 15, although it is greatly mutilated, has been identified with the inscription of the monument to Melanopos and Makartatos mentioned by Pausanias (1.29.6). The epigram is the clue for the identification of the battle in which the two died, a battle at Tanagra that cannot be identified with the battle in 458/457 BCE but is probably a battle from the Archidamian phase of the Peloponnesian war (for which see infra, epigram no. XII). Closing the first section, epigram no. 17 is presented, an inscription previously published.

An appendix consisting of five epigrams (nos. a–e) follows the first section and collects the funerary inscriptions (all from CEG) that may or may not refer to war dead. In relating the arguments for and against the inclusion of these epigrams among his collection, Tentori Montalto stays true to the principle of caution, stating for instance that inscriptions nos. c and e most surely do not commemorate war dead.

The section on public epigrams is the largest part of the work and analyses 15 inscriptions. A colossal inscription from Ambracia (no. I) opens the section. The author accounts for the many historical issues concerning this inscription and gives a brief account of the settlement and migration of the Perrhaebi, which may be the "Pyraiboi" mentioned in the first verse.

Epigram nos. II–VI date to the first decades of the 5th century and have been connected with the Persian wars; as such, they offer much of interest about the building of a celebratory tradition.

No. III, the epigram for the war dead from the tribe Erechtheis, is most telling. Its probable connection with the battle of Marathon makes it of fundamental importance for the historical study of the aftermath of the Persian wars. Tentori Montalto links the disposition of the letters, here called 'alternated stoichedon', with the mass formation of the hoplite phalanx, perhaps proving the importance of that battle in the tradition of the Athenian hoplite, although caution argues against positing a direct connection between the textual disposition and hoplite tactics.

Epigram no. IV, which mentions the Persians, probably contains two different epigrams commemorating the Athenian dead at Marathon, and Tentori Montalto brings out every possible reference to the battle in the text. The very fragmentary epigram no. V allows the author to infer only that it refers to a land battle and a naval one, which could be, among many other possibilities, Plataea and Salamis. Epigram no. VIII, from a monument to the Argive dead at Tanagra found in Athens, has been identified as the one seen by Pausanias (1.29.8–9); it could be an interesting instance of the type of the attic tribal list used for the commemoration of one of Athens' allies.

No. XI, a fragmentary and now lost inscription, is known via the literary tradition (Anthologia Palatina 7.254): most of the commentary deals with identifying the historical event in which Athenian horsemen were involved; the battle of Tanagra (457 BCE) is perhaps too early, and a more plausible candidate is an event from the Peloponnesian War.

Well preserved is inscription no. XII, dedicated, like the former, to fallen Athenian horsemen. The reference to Alkathoos (i. e. Megara), Tanagra and Spartolos has been the starting point for previous scholars in identifying the military events which most likely date to the first phase of the Peloponnesian war. The author criticises previous reconstructions and proposes to date the events to either 429 or to 424 BCE, in both cases postulating that one of the battles mentioned in the inscription has not been documented elsewhere.

Epigram no. XIV receives a thorough commentary. Starting with the archaeological history of the monument, Tentori Montalto analyses the well-preserved inscription, which refers to an Athenian defeat. The epigram mentions a demi-god as the real cause of the defeat, and the many hypotheses about this character, with suggested identifications ranging from Trophonios to Orion Amphiaraos, are discussed here since his identification could help with dating the inscription.

The last epigram of the section, no. XV, mentions a battle at the Hellespont and is preceded by lists of Athenian dead in the Chersonesos and at Byzantion. It has been linked with the monument seen by Pausanias (1.29.13); this epigram probably refers to the battle in 409 BCE.

As an appendix, later copies of epigrams are then presented (nos. A–D). The main issue discussed here is whether they are copies of archaic/classical inscriptions or later works. Quite interesting is an inscription from Miletos, no. B. It mentions a state of war between Megara and Miletos; Tentori Montalto relates the various hypotheses for the historical event to which the epigram pertains. He then suggests that it is an original work that reuses the language of Attic funerary inscriptions to relate the mythical past of Miletos, including the rivalry with Megara in the colonisation of the Black Sea. Epigram no. C, from Late Antiquity (5th century CE), is preceded by a brief title that attributes the verses to Simonides and refers them to the Persian wars. The inscription contains many errors, traces of itacism, and may lack a line: it is then suggested that it is not a direct copy of a 5th century BCE inscription, but rather of a copy (or even an original work) of the Hellenistic age.

The third section of this corpus deals with the dubious epigrams (nos. α–ε). Nos. α and β have too many lacunae to ascertain their link with war dead. Epigram no. γ is well preserved, but its language is too vague: the honorand's "great deeds", wergon agathon at v. 3, may or may not be connected with warfare. The last two epigrams, nos. δ and ε are mere fragments (the former also now lost) and cannot be dated more closely than the 5th century BCE generally.

Summarising and providing a broader context, the conclusions are a fundamental part of this study. Tentori Montalto here follows the chronological and geographical development of the culture of warfare in ancient Greece as seen through the funerary epigrams analysed above. The image of the culture of warfare in 5th-century Greece is then used in a short history of warfare culture in the classical world. The aristocratic ideal of the "good death" first rises in archaic Greece; the poleis of the classical period subsume it in different ways, the most noteworthy of which is the Athenian fusion with democratic ideology. Beside the Persian War epigram, a model, starting from the middle of the 5th century, is also the Athenian form of funerary monuments, comprising epigrams and lists, which spread beyond Attica in the 5th and 4th century. With the rise of the Hellenistic kingdoms and above all of Rome, this form of honouring the war dead was destined to shrivel, although there are still a few isolated instances of the form surviving well into the Roman era.

This corpus is a valuable reference work, and its many digressions, the depth of the author's knowledge of the historical context, and above all the summarising introduction and conclusion make it a work useful not only in Greek epigraphy, but also in history, linguistics, and philology.

Table of Contents

Ringraziamenti, p. 11
Introduzione, p. 13
I. Gli epigrammi privati per i caduti in guerra, p. 27
Ia. Appendice sugli epigrammi privati per guerrieri non caduti in guerra, p. 77
II. Gli epigrammi pubblici per i caduti in guerra, p. 85
II a. Appendice sulle copie di epigrammi, p. 157
III. Epigrammi incerti, p. 165
Conclusioni, p. 169
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Franca Perusino, Aristofane, Lisistrata: I Canti. I canti del teatro greco, 6. Pisa; Roma: Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2017. Pp. 108. ISBN 9788862278843. €28.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Mattia De Poli, Università degli Studi di Padova (

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

This book belongs to the series "I canti del teatro Greco" (The Songs of Greek Drama), created by Bruno Gentili, and is the first volume devoted to a comedy. It is as short as it is complicated, as Franca Perusino knows (p. 12), but it is well organised and offers a meaningful contribution to the understanding of Aristophanes' Lysistrata.

The Foreword focuses on the most important methodological principle: papyri, manuscripts and metrical scholia preserve metrical structures and cola divisions whose origins date back to the archaic and classical age. Our sources can be wrong for these aspects just as for the text, so examination and assessment are necessary, but they generally offer correct hints. This claim sounds as an answer to Laetitia Parker, who wrote that «setting out lyric in lines may force us to make choices that the poet himself may not have seen as such».1

The Introduction first deals with the transmission of the text, distinguishing papyri and manuscripts (the full text is only in Ravennas 429, which is also the oldest manuscript of Lysistrata dating back to the 10th century) from the indirect tradition, i.e. lexica (Suda, Photius, Zonaras). Although there is not a real stemma codicum, Perusino traces the relationship among the seven principal manuscripts, and adds that two 15th-century manuscripts have some scholia to the text, but no metrical scholia have been preserved. She then describes how the analysis of the lyric parts is organised in the rest of the book: 1) the text is followed by a positive critical apparatus, limited to the main variae lectiones and corrections that are somehow relevant for metrics; 2) the prosodic scansion and metrical analysis are followed by an essential colometric apparatus that is the most original contribution of this book; 3) finally there are comments on selected matters of text, prosody, metrics and colometry. In fact, each critical apparatus is also preceded by an apparatus fontium (only in the strophe for strophic pairs). Finally, Perusino identifies the singers of this play: two semichoruses, which sing together only from line 1043, and a Spartan soloist.

Papyri and manuscripts (with their abbreviations) are listed again in a section ('Sigla') that collects both the usual sigla codicum and some metrical symbols, such as verse-end or strophe-end, hiatus, and acephalous, catalectic or brachycatalectic metron. Abbreviations for the names of metra, cola or verses are in a separate list.

In 'Metrical Structure of Lysistrata' Perusino shows the metrical composition of each part of the text in spoken or recitative lines, with the exception of the songs that are the book's main focus in the following pages.

Songs are grouped according to the general structure of the comedy (parodos, agon, parabasis, lyric intermezzo, song of the united chorus, exodos), with a short paragraph explaining the context of each. Each song is then presented and analysed as explained in the Introduction. Some lines at the beginnings of songs (marked by Perusino as katakeleusmos or kommation) are not considered here, but one can find their analysis under 'Metrical structure'.2

Perusino offers a text of the songs of Lysistrata that differs from the principal modern editions3 at several points. She accepts words attested by the manuscripts (above all in Ravennas 429) more frequently than any other editor, or is the only one who adopts emendations suggested by previous scholars, such as Hermann (264), Ellebodius (644–5), Bentley (808–9), Wilamowitz (1257), Reisig (1258–9), van Leeuwen (1270–1), Chrestien (1281), Burges (1282–3), Enger (1307). At 541 Perusino marks a lacuna with no emendation suggested (her only personal choice).

The author indents lines whenever synapheia between two cola is made evident by a split word (e.g. 273) or elision (e.g. 275), i.e. verbal synapheia, or even by proclisis (e.g. 256) or enclisis (e.g. 323), i.e. syntactic synapheia, but she treats the so-called prosodic synapheia differently (e.g. 481 = 546, 482/3 = 547/8, 621 = 643, 665, 690, 1279, 1289), avoiding indentation.4 Brevis in longo is limited to adiaphoria in thesis,5 so Perusino marks verse-end at 291 = 301 or at 661 = 685 (catalectic trochaic tetrameter) but not at 1303 (catalectic iambic dimeter).6

In the prosodic scansion, as is usual, Perusino notes the quantity of a syllable in the antistrophe above that of the corresponding syllable in the strophe, when they are different; so in strophic songs when we find a short symbol (˘) above a long one (¯) before verse-end (||) or strophe end (|||), this does not indicate a shared brevis in longo but a short syllable in the antistrophe corresponding to a long syllable in the strophe.7 Similarly, when a long syllable in the antistrophe corresponds with a short syllable in the strophe, Perusino marks a long over a short, e.g. at 291 = 301, 671 = 695. At verse-end she scans as short (i.e. brevis in longo) a syllable with short vowel plus consonant whenever the first word in the following line begins with a vowel. This scansion is usually offered also at strophe-end as well.

Colometry is generally derived from the manuscripts, whose cola division seems to be incorrect mostly when a split word is required (e.g. 273–4, 335–6, 347–8, 781–2 = 805–6, 785–6 = 808–9). Perusino, however, considers 476/7 = 541/2 as a single line, a tetrameter (ia 3cr) very similar to that in the following line (478 = 543 [4cr]), although both a papyrus and the manuscripts divide it into two dimeters (476 = 541 [ia cr], 477 = 542 [2cr]). At 616–7 = 638–9 she prefers repeating the same trimeter (ia 2cr) twice rather than a tetrameter (ia 2cr ia) followed by a dimeter (2cr), as attested in the manuscripts, despite the series of four cretic dimeters at 619–22. Sometimes there is a difference in cola division between strophe and antistrophe, so the author approves the division attested by manuscripts at 1051–4 = 1066–8 (either with reiz lecyth or with a single 3ia at the end) and changes it at 1198–9 and 1211–2, although a metrical analysis of the transmitted colometry is possible for those lines if we omit strophic responsion. Nevertheless, at 659–60 πολλή; κἀπιδώσειν μοι δοκεῖ | codd. τὸ χρῆμα μᾶλλον = 683–4 λύσω τὴν ἐμαυτῆς ὗν ἐγὼ δή, |R καὶ |cett. ποιήσω Perusino does not follow the manuscripts either in the strophe or in the antistrophe and changes the sequence ith cr (or sp lecyth) and reiz (or ia penth)—if we accept the division of the strophe—into ith (sp tr) and 2tr, which looks like ith tr (sp 2tr) at 658 = 682.8 So also internal similarities are an important criterion for the author in modifying the transmitted colometry. Moreover, Perusino avoids every spondee singled out by manuscripts (e.g. 1266), even if we find it both in the strophe and in the antistrophe (e.g. at 667 = 691, 784 = 808, 793 = 816), but this choice implies that the same sequence sp lecyth reiz (or ia penth) that we could find at 659–60 = 683–4 is modified again at 667–9 = 691–3.9

Finally, the Bibliography is preceded by a prosodic and metrical index (p. 93), that sums up all the instances of shortening in hiatus (5 cases, but at least 4 of them are uncertain),10 lengthening of a short vowel followed by muta cum liquida (one certain and one suspected case), synizesis (two certain and two suspected cases), free responsion (nine cases). Perusino also points out two lines (345 and 791) that do not have a corresponding line in the strophic pair. Almost all of these prosodic and metrical peculiarities are adequately examined in the commentary.

The book has a lot of good qualities. It provides a complete overview of the comedy: Perusino briefly investigates also the division of some lines (386, 605–7, 971–2, 1295) that she analyses only in the 'Metrical Structure of Lysistrata' (pp. 23–27, notes 3, 4, 6, 10). The author is very attentive to metrical peculiarities, their connection with the text, their effect on hearers and their musical implications. Sometimes the comic text is compared to other comic, tragic or lyric texts. This is particularly evident in the commentary on the two monodies (1247–72 and 1296–1321), which are compared with Alcman's fragments (pp. 78–9, 89).

Perusino's prosodic and metrical analysis is very careful, but I think that some remarks are necessary.

1) Before strophe-end at 483 = 548, 796 = 819/20, the last syllable should be scanned simply as short:11 the double sign (short over long) is misleading (cf. 478 = 543) and incoherent. In astrophic songs before strophe-end at 1272 or before verse-end at 1064, 1258/9, 1262, 1280, 1281, 1282, 1288, 1290 a simple short could be enough. Surprisingly at 1301, 1306 and 1321b in another astrophic song Perusino uses the inverted double sign (long over short) to scan a brevis in longo, instead of a simple short.

2) Again a mistake in noting brevis in longo and a misleading description of strophic responsion at 664 = 688: focusing on the second cretic metron, there is a proceleusmatic with final brevis in longo in the strophe corresponding with a paeon I in the antistrophe, so prosodic scansion should be: one long over two shorts, one short, two shorts over one short. Description at p. 58 is unclear.

3) I would analyse 1263 μόλε δεῦρο, παρσένε σιά as ia cr (or ia paeon IV) rather than a catalectic iambic dimeter.

4) Accepting the colometry of the manuscripts at 1268–1269, there no reason to emend the transmitted text at 1268 ταῖς συνθήκαις (fere codd.) or ταῖσιν συνθήκαις (R) into ταῖσι συνθήκαισι (Hermann): it can be interpreted as an anapaestic metron of four longs or, as I would prefer, a reizianum of five longs (i.e. anapaestic penthemimer). Perusino's justification (p. 82) insists on a spondaic analysis instead of considering the anapaestic.

5) At 1271–2 the transmitted text δεῦρ' ἴθι, δεῦρ', ὦ | κυναγὲ παρσένε could be accepted (adon pros: cf. 1292). But even if one takes Bergk's emendation moving ὦ at the beginning of 1272 (ὦ κυναγὲ παρσένε = lec), there no reason to avoid elision at the end of 1271 (δεῦρ' ἴθι, δεῦρ' = cho) writing δεῦρ' ἴθι, δεῦρο (adon).

Table of Contents

p. 11 Avvertenza
p. 13 Introduzione
p. 19 Sigla
p. 21 Abbreviazioni metriche
p. 22 Struttura metrica della Lisistrata
p. 29 Parodo
p. 43 Agone
p. 49 Parabasi
p. 59 Intermezzo lirico
p. 65 Canti del coro riunito
p. 75 Esodo
p. 93 Indice prosodico e metrico
p. 95 Bibliografia


1.   L. Parker, The Songs of Aristophanes (Oxford, 1997), 375.
2.   See e.g. 319–20, 614–5 = 636–7. Perusino's choice differs from both Parker 1997 and B. Zimmermann, Untersuchungen zur Form und dramatischen Technik der Aristophanischen Komödien, III: Metrische Analysen (Frankfurt am Main, 1987).
3.   A. H. Sommerstein, Aristophanes: Lysistrata, (Warminster, 1990); J. Henderson, Aristophanes: Birds, Lysistrata, Women at the Thesmophoria (Cambridge MA; London, 2000); N. G. Wilson, Aristophanis fabulae (Oxford, 2007), all in Perusino's biblography. There is no reference to G. Mastromarco, P. Totaro, Commedie di Aristofane, II (Torino, 2006).
4.   At 279 and 1249 Perusino scans the last syllable as short, prosodic synapheia being supposed, but that is uncertain because in a trochaic metron the last element is indifferens. On synapheia see B. Gentili, L. Lomiento, Metrics and Rhythmics. History of Poetic Forms in Ancient Greece (Pisa; Rome, 2008), 74.
5.   On brevis in longo see Gentili–Lomiento 2008, 57.
6.   On colon and verse end see p. 20, note 1.
7.   At 624 = 646 there is no reason to mark a verse-end after a full trochaic dimeter.
8.   On ithyphallics with initial spondee see C. Prato, I canti di Aristofane: analisi, commento, scoli metrici (Rome, 1962), 225, and Gentili–Lomiento 2008, 139. In 684 we may scan ποιήσω as ˘¯¯ with shortening in hiatus.
9.   Perusino intentionally avoids reiziana (i.e. iambic penthemimers) attested by manuscripts at 660, 669 = 693, preferring a more uniform trochaic rhythm: see p. 58.
10.   The instance at 1291 seems the most probable.
11.   See Prato 1962, 221, and Parker 1997, 370.

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Eleanor Betts (ed.), Senses of the Empire: Multisensory Approaches to Roman Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. xiv, 227. ISBN 9781472446299. $149.95.

Reviewed by Ursula Quatember, University of Graz (

Version at BMCR home site


Das Buch geht auf eine Tagung zurück, die im November 2013 in Camden abgehalten wurde, und nimmt mit seinem Titel Bezug auf den von David Howes 2005 herausgegebenen Reader Empire of the Senses, mit dem die Hinwendung zur Untersuchung von Sinneserfahrungen in den Kulturwissenschaften eingeleitet wurde. Dieser "sensory approach" oder "somatic turn" erfasst in den letzten Jahren auch vermehrt die Altertumswissenschaften, wobei bisher ein deutlicher Schwerpunkt unter den anglo-amerikanischen Publikationen auszumachen ist. In der deutschsprachigen Forschung wurde dieser Ansatz bislang eher in geringem Umfang rezipiert.1

Der von Eleanor Betts herausgegebene Band versucht, das Erkenntnispotential für die römische Antike anhand von Fallstudien auszuloten. Am Anfang steht eine Einleitung durch die Herausgeberin, die neben einer kurzen forschungsgeschichtlichen Einführung einen Überblick über die im Band versammelten Beiträge gibt.

Zu Beginn widmet sich Ray Laurence den "soundscapes", also der Geräuschkulisse der antiken Stadt. Neben antiken Quellen bezieht er sich auf den eigenen Erfahrungsschatz, konkret einen Besuch an einem Samstagabend im April 2014 im Pantheon. Damit sind zwei problematische Punkte angesprochen, die auch in den folgenden Beiträgen unter verschiedenen Gesichtspunkten diskutiert werden: Zum einen ist dies die Nutzung schriftlicher Überlieferungen, die jeweils die subjektive Gestimmtheit eines Individuums wiedergeben und—insbesondere ohne Kontextualisierung—falsch gedeutet werden können. Zum anderen ist dies die Person des modernen Betrachters, dessen eigener Erfahrungshorizont ebenfalls die Beurteilung sinnlicher Wahrnehmungen beeinflusst.

Eleanor Betts liefert mit ihrem Beitrag zur "multivalency of sensory artefacts" eine methodische Einführung zum Thema, wobei sie nicht zuletzt auch die Grenzen dieses Ansatzes aufzeigt: Der menschliche Körper ist zwar das "universelle Maß" aller Dinge, da jedes Individuum grundsätzlich über einen Körper mit gleichen Sinnesorganen und deshalb über eine identische Wahrnehmung verfügt. Jedoch wird diese im Zusammenspiel mit subjektiven Erfahrungen moduliert, so dass daraus ein individuelles Empfinden dieses sinnlichen Erlebens entsteht. Betts geht deshalb von den "Emittierenden" von Sinneswahrnehmung aus, also den materiellen Ursachen von Gerüchen, Geräuschen oder haptischen Erfahrungen. Diese sind messbar und können in einem zweiten Interpretationsschritt von der literarischen Überlieferung und dem darin ausgedrückten subjektiven Erfahrungsschatz ergänzt werden.

Miko Flohr gelingt es in seinem Kapitel überzeugend, mit dem Vorurteil aufzuräumen, dass die römischen fullonicae ein Hort des üblen Geruchs in der römischen Stadt gewesen seien. Er analysiert akustische, optische, haptische und olfaktorische Aspekte des Arbeitsvorgangs inklusive der zur Verfügung stehenden literarischen Quellen. Durch die Untersuchung erhaltener fullonicae und den Vergleich mit anderen Werkstätten kommt Flohr zur Erkenntnis, dass es vergleichsweise angenehm gewesen sei, eine Walkerei in der Nachbarschaft zu haben.

In seinem Beitrag zur Geräuschkulisse römischer Straßen beschäftigt sich Jeffrey Veitch exemplarisch mit der trajanischen Portico di Pio IX am nördlichen cardo maximus von Ostia. Basierend auf einer Rekonstruktion des Gebäudes, soweit diese für die akustischen Eigenschaften relevant ist, ermittelt er Werte und Kennzahlen für die Geräuschentwicklung in diesem städtischen Raum. Leider bleiben diese Erkenntnisse mangels Vergleichen und Bezugsgrößen aber eher allgemein und für Laien auf dem Gebiet der Schallforschung ohne weiterführende Aussagen. Dies ist bedauerlich, zumal es Veitch sonst gelingt zu zeigen, dass die von ihm gewählte Annäherungsweise an akustische Phänomene durchaus Potential besitzt.

Thomas J. Derrick widmet seinen Abschnitt den "smellscapes"—im Deutschen vielleicht als "Geruchskulisse" zu bezeichnen—des Kastells und vicus von Vindolanda unweit des Hadrianswalls. Nicht nur auf Grund der gut aufgearbeiteten archäologischen Zeugnisse, sondern auch durch zahlreiche auf Holztäfelchen notierte schriftliche Zeugnisse unterschiedlicher Gattungen ist die Quellenlage für die Rekonstruktion der olfaktorischen Atmosphäre in Vindolanda gut geeignet, einen Überblick über analytische Möglichkeiten auf der Mikro- und der Makro-Ebene zu geben. Während die Erstgenannte kleinere, abgeschlossene Einheiten, wie etwa Häuser oder einzelne Kasernengebäude, repräsentiert, zu der nur eine begrenzte Anzahl von Menschen Zugang hatte, handelt es sich bei der Makro-Ebene um Straßen oder ganze Handwerker-Viertel, die für größere Gruppen Interaktionsräume bildeten.

Valerie M. Hope diskutiert im Kapitel "a sense of grief" den körperlichen Ausdruck und die physische Erfahrung von Leid im Rahmen römischer Begräbnisse. Sie bezieht sich dabei einerseits auf den Körper der Toten, der auf das Begräbnis vorbereitet, gewaschen und gesalbt wird, sowie andererseits auf die Trauernden, die ebenfalls unmittelbar physisch betroffen sind. Diese tragen nicht nur etwa dunkle Gewänder und werden durch Leichengerüche ebenso wie Salböle und Räucherwerk mit ephemeren Sinneseindrücken umgeben. Sondern es war beispielsweise gerade auch für Frauen nicht unüblich, sich Brust und Gesicht mit den Fingernägeln zu zerkratzen und sich Haare auszureißen, also die Trauer unmittelbar am eigenen Körper zu spüren.

In einem Abschnitt zur Rolle von "touch and taste in Graeco-Roman animal sacrifice" streicht Candance Weddle die Bedeutung der Sinne für das antike Opferritual heraus. Während der Duft von Opfergaben und die Musik der direkten Kommunikation mit den Göttern dienten, spielten auch Geschmack und Haptik eine wichtige, bislang oft vernachlässigte Rolle. Weddle analysiert unterschiedliche Opferdarstellungen, um Geruch und Geschmack—letzteren im Rahmen des Opfermahles—zu thematisieren.

Emma-Jayne Graham beschäftigt sich mit Terracotta-Votiven von Wickelkindern, die, durchschnittlich 52 cm groß, in Aussehen und Gewicht tatsächlich an Säuglinge erinnern. Graham versucht auszuloten, inwiefern die Votive durch unterschiedliche Sinnesreize bei den Interagierenden einerseits erlernte Verhaltensmuster abrufen und andererseits durch gegensätzliche synästhetische Reize—also die Koppelung unterschiedlicher Bereiche der Wahrnehmung—auch widersprüchliche Empfindungen evozieren. So entsprechen beispielsweise Größe, Gewicht und Optik der Votive durchaus einem Wickelkind; diese Assoziation wird durch das Material Terracotta jedoch gleichzeitig konterkariert.

Ian J. Marshman behandelt als exemplarische Fundgattung Siegelringe und spricht einen m. E. generell wichtigen Aspekt an: Traditionelle Publikationsformen fördern häufig nicht das Verständnis für die sinnliche Dimension dieser Gegenstände, da—im Fall der Siegelringe—in der Regel nur der Stein selbst, oft als Schwarzweiß-Abbildung oder sogar nur in Form eines Abdrucks, veröffentlicht wird. Das Objekt selbst geht jedoch über die ikonographische Fragestellung hinaus. In visueller Hinsicht gehört dazu etwa die Farbigkeit des Steins und die Fassung durch einen Ring. Gleichzeitig ist auch das haptische Erleben von großer Bedeutung, wird ein Siegelring doch am Körper getragen und repräsentiert diesen—trotz dieser intimen Beziehung—über die Verbreitung der Siegel auch in der Öffentlichkeit, so dass Siegelring und Person quasi zu einer Einheit verschmelzen.

Alexandre Vincent bringt in seinem methodisch orientierten Artikel neben einer an der französischsprachigen Forschung orientierten Perspektive auch andere historische Epochen, geographische Räume und wissenschaftliche Disziplinen, wie etwa die Ethnologie, ein. Er weist völlig zu Recht auf die eingangs hier bereits angesprochene notwendige Kontextualisierung von literarischen Quellen hin. So sei etwa die—auch im vorliegenden Band mehrfache zitierte—Stelle in einem Brief Senecas zum lärmenden Badebetrieb in Baiae (Sen. epist. 56,2) nur zu verstehen, wenn man den Hintergrund ihres Schreibers als Philosoph und Stoiker in Betracht ziehe.

Als interessante Fallstudie bezüglich einer Verbindung zwischen schriftlichen und archäologischen Quellen beschäftigt sich Vincent mit der römischen tuba und setzt die Laute eines gut erhaltenen Fundes aus Frankreich und ihre moderne Wahrnehmung in den Kontext einer lexikographischen Analyse von Wörtern, die in antiken Quellen zur Beschreibung von tuba-Klängen verwendet werden.

Helen Slaney beschäftigt sich in ihrem ungewöhnlichen Beitrag mit der Kinästhesie, also dem Sinn für Bewegung und die Position des eigenen Körpers im Raum. Ihre Fallstudie zur römischen Pantomime sticht insofern unter den Beiträgen des Sammelbandes hervor, da sie praktische "Übungen" anführt, die den Leser unmittelbar an dem Thema teilhaben lassen sollen und in einem von der Autorin mitorganisierten, interdiszipliniären Forschungsprojekt "Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers" an der Universität Oxford entwickelt wurden.

Jo Days Thema sind die sparsiones, das Besprühen von Besuchern bei Empfängen und vor allem im Amphitheater und Theater mit parfümierten Flüssigkeiten. Neben einer Analyse der schriftlichen und bildlichen Quellen diskutiert sie die technischen Aspekte der Distribution. Der dabei verbreitete Duftstoff dürfte in erster Linie Safran gewesen sein, der neben intensivem Geruch auch eine temporäre Färbung hervorrief, die sich—je nach Intensität—von gelb über orange bis zu rot erstreckte. Diese sparsiones führten durch Geruch, Farbe und einen gewissen "Überraschungseffekt" während der Darbietung zu einer sinnlichen, synästhetischen Theater-Erfahrung, die durch den Wert des Safrans ebenso gesteigert wurde wie durch Assoziationen mit Religion und Ritual.

In ihrer Zusammenfassung betont Eleanor Betts—ähnlich wie in ihrem ersten Beitrag—nochmals die Bedeutung einer kontextuellen Analyse sowie einen holistischen Anspruch, der Körper und Geist ebenso einbezieht wie die handelnden Personen, Artefakte und Örtlichkeiten. Neben einem positivistischen Ansatz, der die Erfahrbarkeit der antiken Umwelt durch den eigenen Körper betont (vgl. den Beitrag von Helen Slaney) und sich u. a. auf Maurice Merleau-Ponty berufen kann, sind jedoch auch Einschränkungen zu machen: Nicht zuletzt durch kulturelle Prägung ist sinnliche Wahrnehmung eine individuelle Erfahrung, die sich niemals vollständig rekonstruieren lässt, auch nicht durch literarische Quellen.

Neben der Methode des "close reading" von schriftlichen Quellen und materiellen Hinterlassenschaften zeigt E. Betts einige weitere Ansätze auf, die ihrer Meinung nach zur Weiterentwicklung beitragen könnten: Dazu zählt etwa "text mining", also das computergestützte Suchen nach Wörtern und ihrem Bedeutungsinhalt in antiken Texten (angesprochen im Beitrag von A. Vincent) oder auch die intensivierte Auswertung von archäologischen Quellen. Dies betrifft insbesondere das Potential, das in einer Kombination der Analyse von baulichen Resten mit naturwissenschaftlichen Methoden steckt (z.B. angesprochen in den Beiträgen von J. Veitch oder von Th. J. Derrick).

Die im Buch versammelten Beiträge repräsentieren eine Sammlung von Fallstudien zum Thema der sinnlichen Wahrnehmung in der Antike. Gerade im Kontext der Altertumswissenschaften handelt es sich noch um ein relativ junges Gebiet, so dass in den einzelnen Kapiteln häufig methodische Ansätze diskutiert werden und sich mitunter gewisse Gedanken wiederholen. Insgesamt bieten die einzelnen Abschnitte jedoch ein vielfältiges Bild zu diesem Thema und liefern wertvolle Anregungen für eine weitere Beschäftigung.

Der Band ist sorgfältig redigiert und qualitätvoll produziert. Einziger Kritikpunkt ist die Größe der wenigen Farbabbildungen, die—anstatt um 90 Grad gedreht, um den Seitenspiegel besser auszunutzen—in die obere Hälfte einer Seite gedrängt sind, wobei der Rest des Blattes leer bleibt.

Insgesamt handelt es sich um einen anregenden Beitrag zu einer noch relativ neuen Fragestellung in der Erforschung antiker Lebenswelten, die großes Erkenntnispotential besitzt.


1.   Großteils von Forscherinnen und Forschern aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum verfasste Beiträge finden sich in: A. Haug & P. A. Kreuz (Hrsg.), Stadterfahrung als Sinneserfahrung in der römischen Kaiserzeit, Studies in Classical Archaeology 2 (Turnhout 2016), das in die Bibliographie des vorliegenden Bandes—wohl auf Grund des Erscheinungstermins—keinen Eingang mehr gefunden hat.

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Friday, December 8, 2017


Stella Demesticha, A. Bernard Knapp (ed.), Maritime Transport Containers in the Bronze-Iron Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. Studies in Mediterranean archaeology and literature, PB 183. Uppsala: Åströms förlag, 2016. Pp. ix, 241. ISBN 9789170812118. €60.00.

Reviewed by Raymond L. Capra, Brooklyn College (

Version at BMCR home site

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

The prefatory comments to this collection of twelve papers on Maritime Transport Containers (MTCs) note that it arose from a session at the 21st annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Glasgow, Scotland, and the majority of the papers in the volume were first presented there. In the preface the editors note that it is the aim of the present volume to aid in the systematic study of MTCs (a more fitting name for the ceramic commonly known as the Canaanite jar) from the Early Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, and while later periods are better studied, the development of these ceramics and their function in early maritime exchange is often overlooked. This is familiar territory for Demesticha and Knapp, as their recent 2016 volume Mediterranean Connections: Maritime Transport Containers and Seaborne Trade in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages demonstrates, and the purpose of this volume is successful in providing both general discussions of the MTC and the thorny issues of nomenclature, as well as case studies of specific sites.

The introductory chapter by Demesticha and Knapp discusses the emergence and development of MTCs in the early third millennium through the early Iron Age. First engaged is the complicated definition of an MTC; those of the Bronze Age are, previous to the seventh century BC, the precursors to the Iron Age amphora as a medium for the transport of liquids. For a ceramic vessel to be an MTC denotes mass-produced wares for transport by sea with some standardized capacity. This chapter gives a brief diachronic overview and also addresses their function. The authors note that such containers developed along with the increase in maritime exchange in the third millennium BC. As an introduction to the collection this chapter works wonderfully for those that follow.

Peter M. Day and David E. Wilson discuss the emergence of the collared jar in the Aegean as the first MTC in the region. This is a form that has an immediate widespread distribution after its initial appearance. Following an examination of the ceramics from various sites from the gulf of Euboea through the Cyclades to Crete, they suggest that wine was the high- value liquid transported to the port centers along this route. The rapid dispersal of the container and its contents indicates more than the movement of goods, as the distribution of wine in this period (specifically EB II) was part of a greater cultural phenomenon. Accordingly the jars emerge in the same environment as specialized drinking vessels.

One of the earliest ceramics that may be termed an amphora is from the Middle Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean, as Cydrisse Cateloy notes in her chapter on the capacity studies of the 'Levantine amphora,' the term she uses in lieu of the problematic 'Canaanite jar.' After the discussion of terminology, the capacities of 50 Levantine amphorae from the Middle to Late Bronze Age are examined from which it is evident that "groups of capacity" existed (p. 48). That is to say, there is relatively clear evidence for standardization. Comparison with more examples together with an eye toward provenance indicates the commercial purpose of the vessels and reveals a tendency to decreased volume in later periods when trade was flourishing.

Tatiana Pedrazzi continues the connection between morphological study and its implications for understanding trade with a paper on two types of 'Canaanite jars' present in the Late Bronze Age. One form, the angular-shouldered, fell out of use before the Early Iron Age while the 'bellied' type continued to be used. Pedrazzi notes that the different shapes likely indicate different trade networks. This is an example of how such a study can elucidate the nuances of trade, as the jars moved goods from the Levant to Greece, Cyprus, and southern Anatolia. Chris Monroe's chapter discusses the standardization of Canaanite jars and the practice of labeling these containers. That the contents of these 'low value' commodities were labeled indicates a need for this information, "because the nature of the contained goods was not outwardly obvious" (p. 88) Standardization in ceramic size existed in this period, but was not directly correlated to specific goods as in later centuries.

Michal Artzy considers the ceramics excavated from the Late Bronze anchorage of Tell Abu Hawam (Haifa Bay, Israel). Thin section petrography reveals the origin of a large group of Canaanite jar sherds, the Carmel ridge, which is the same as 100 such jars from the Uluburun shipwreck. These were likely produced explicitly for maritime transport. Other ceramics came from further afield, in particular Cyprus. The finds indicate that the site of Tell Abu Hawam was an important site for the exchange between Ugarit and the greater Mediterranean world.

Robert Martin's paper is a diachronic overview of MTCs, with particular focus on their morphological development from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Though not a comprehensive study, as only a few ceramic types are investigated, the conclusions it brings forth are important indicators of trade throughout these periods. Some of the shapes were certainly influenced by ship transport, and certainly there was some degree of standardization in their production. Furthermore, Martin notes the evidence for the growth and diminishment of international trade networks that such a study can provide.

Transport Stirrup Jars (TSJs) are discussed by Halford Haskell. The TSJ is significant as it was seemingly designed for overseas shipment from Crete. As Crete was the origin of these jars, this study begins in the Minoan period. The distribution of the TSJs, from Sardinia to Cyprus and the Levant, indicates a wide network of trade with Crete and the mainland in the center. Often these ceramics were decorated, some with octopus motifs. Haskell remarks that this decoration was a form of marketing, as it outwardly proclaimed information about its origin and its contents.

The following chapter by Elina Kardamaki, Peter Day, Marta Tenconi, Joseph Maran, and Alkestis Papadimitriou is closely connected with the previous one, as it also discusses the TSJ, here with a particular focus on the trade of Tiryns. The majority of the jars from Tiryns were from Crete, both from the west and one area in central Crete, the western Mesara. This was determined through petrography and is presented with color photographs, which allows the non-specialist a glimpse of this scientific analysis. These ceramics may indicate a particular relationship and exchange between Tiryns and Ayia Triada during the final palatial period, whereas previous analyses had stressed the relationship with Chania.

Paula Waiman-Barak and Ayelet Gilboa discuss an Early Iron Age Phoenician site, Tell Kesian in Israel. While it is now seven kilometers inland, Tell Kesian was closer to the sea in the Bronze Age and thus a site of much trade from the Late Bronze into the Iron Age. The bulk of the paper is dedicated to an analysis of shape, in particular the carinated jars that show some indication of standardization in their capacity, and to the analysis of the petro-fabric of 51 vessels. From these, eight groups were identified, thus allowing for identification of the origin of the fabrics. The authors focus on the "local/regional groups" (p. 175). The petro-fabrics are shown in excellent color photos with six images for each: the vessel or fragment, photomicrographs of a fresh break, photomicrographs of the surface treatment, and then three thin sections magnified 40 times, 100 times, and 200 times. This is an excellent presentation in providing the reader a solid understanding of the materials they are discussing, as the origins of the diverse trade vessels at Tell Keisan underscore the site as a part of a network of early Iron Age Phoenician trade.

Catherine Pratt's paper examines the distribution of Corinthian and Athenian amphorae in Sicily during the early Archaic period (ca 750-600 BC) in order to assess the involvement of the two city states in the burgeoning trade networks of this period. Her study illustrates the early activity of Athenian commerce with Sicily and thus challenges the assumed supremacy of Corinth in early Archaic maritime trade.

The final chapter of the volume is Mark Lawall's paper on the use of MTCs during the 9th through 7th centuries. The discussion begins with some brief remarks on MTCs, the possible goods contained and traded, and the information the containers themselves provide. After considering these aspects of MTCs in general, he moves on to survey the use of these containers in the Aegean. Lawall brings together many of the issues considered in the preceding chapters, as well as some caveats to consider when investigating the aspects of ancient trade, among them the hazard of considering standardization of ceramics from a modern perspective of precision. In his conclusion he stresses that MTCs should be studied from a number of perspectives, both as the objects themselves and in relation to contexts of trade and distribution.

The overall impression the reader takes away is an improved understanding of the origin and development of MTCs in this transitional period of Mediterranean exchange and trade. The different contexts for these containers discussed by the contributors highlight various implications of trade in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages, even for the casual archaeologist. The volume is extremely well edited and published. An index facilitates the cohesiveness of the volume for scholars of this period, for whom the volume is most directed.

Authors and Titles

Stella Demesticha and A. Bernard Knapp, "Introduction: Maritime Transport Containers in the Bronze and Iron Age Aegean and eastern Mediterranean"
Peter M. Day and David E. Wilson, "Dawn of the amphora: the emergence of Maritime Transport Containers in the Early Bronze Age Aegean"
Cydrisse Cateloy, "Trade and capacity studies in the eastern Mediterranean: the first Levantine trade amphorae"
Tatiana Pedrazzi, "Canaanite jars and the maritime trade network in the northern Levant during the transition from the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Age"
Chris M. Monroe, "Measure for 'measure': connecting text to material through Late Bronze Age shipping jars"
Michal Artzy, "Distributers and shippers: Cyprus and the Late Bronze II Tell Abu Hawam anchorage"
Robert Martin, "The development of Canaanite and Phoenician style Maritime Transport Containers and their role in reconstructing maritime exchange networks"
Halford W. Haskell, "Seaborne from the beginning: Transport Stirrup Jars"
E. Kardamaki, P.M. Day, M. Tenconi, J. Maran and A. Papadimitriou, "Transport Stirrup Jars in Late Mycenaean Tiryns: Maritime Transport Containers and commodity movement in political context"
Paula Waiman-Barak and Ayelet Gilboa, "Maritime Transport Containers: the view from Phoenician Tell Keisan (Israel) in the Early Iron Age"
Catherine E. Pratt, "Greek commodities moving west: comparing Corinthian and Athenian amphorae in early Archaic Sicily"
Mark Lawall, "Maritime Transport Containers of the Bronze and Early Iron Age as viewed from later periods"
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Christopher Ratté, Angela Commito, The Countryside of Aphrodisias. Kelsey Museum Publication, 15. Ann Arbor, MI: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 2017. Pp. 168. ISBN 9780990662358. $18.95 (pb).

Reviewed by Maeve McHugh, University of Birmingham (

Version at BMCR home site

The volume under review presents an abridged version of the results from the Aphrodisias Regional Survey,1 and is simultaneously published in English and Turkish. My intention in this review is not to reassess the data recorded or the conclusions made by the initial survey. The survey's publication undoubtedly shed great light on the hinterland of Aphrodisias and was an important step forward in the integration of urban and rural archaeology. Instead, I review The Countryside of Aphrodisias with regard to the success of presenting the initial survey's conclusions in a format that makes them accessible to general readers and those visiting the ancient city of Aphrodisias. This volume is the first in a new series for the Kelsey Museum Publications, which aims to present abridged versions of reports from Kelsey-sponsored field projects intended for the general public. To help achieve this aim the series is published in English and the language of the host country in order to "pay back a small part of the debt we owe our host countries" (pg. 4). The intention of making the data recorded during archaeological projects accessible to a wider audience, in particular the local community, is to be commended.

The introductory chapter (Chapter 1) begins with the topography of the Maeander River basin, including its natural resources, the ancient city, and the methodology of the survey, all of which one would expect in any good survey report. Thus, it is clear from the outset that the content and structure of the monograph follows the larger, more in-depth report published in 2012. The remaining chapters take a chronological approach to the data, beginning with prehistory and continuing through to the present day. To help the reader gauge the types of archaeological evidence associated with different periods, the authors discuss in greater detail certain architectural features which could be deemed typical of each. For example, in Chapter 2, "Before the Founding of Aphrodisias", descriptions are given of the Lydian tumuli and territorial fortifications. There is a good study of the existing tumuli, and the fact that some of them have standing architectural remains will certainly attract interest from potential visitors to the region. Along the same lines, the description of the Yazır Citadel gives a good overview of the site and its importance within the region.

Chapter 3 covers the founding of the city and its impact on the surrounding territory. The first half of the chapter offers a thorough overview of Aphrodisias and its architecture before moving on to discuss the economies of the territory, including brief discourses on agriculture and quarrying. The discussion here is informative and helps the reader gauge the extent of Aphrodisias' exploitation of its countryside and the various types of economic industry within the region. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to the territory's water supply, including the architectural remains of aqueducts and the potential routes of supply to the city. As with the presentation of the tumuli in Chapter 2, the standing remains presented in the photographs certainly look striking, and make a good case to the modern tourist that they are well worth a visit to the region. But the large scale of the general maps and the symbology used for site locations might make it difficult for visitors to use these resources to locate these sites, particularly if they are not well-versed in the reading of survey data maps.2

Chapters 4, 5, and 6 discuss Late Antiquity, the Christianization of the region, and a history of the landscape from the Middle Ages to the present day. These chapters are informative, with enough historical background of each period to allow a reader who might be unfamiliar with certain time periods to understand how the archaeological data reflects historical trends. For example, the study of the Christianization of the territory offers concise information concerning the archaeology of the repurposing of pagan shrines and temples and the development of churches in the area. The inclusion of these chapters within this abridged version of the larger survey report highlights the authors' wish to engage the reader in the long-term history of the region, instead of confining the discussion to the Classical and Roman periods. Consequently, these chapters make an important contribution to the readers' understanding of the area in later periods.

The final chapter, "A Tour of the Countryside of Aphrodisias", presents a series of hiking and driving tours. The intention here is to encourage the reader to take a tour of the landscape and visit the archaeological remains. The tours are divided into nine sections in a circular route around the valley, which allows the visitor to stop off to visit certain sites in the vicinity. Having never visited the region, I cannot comment on the accuracy of the directions; my experience with travelling through the countryside of Greece, however, trying to find small paved and unpaved roads, suggests that the uninitiated visitor may struggle, and a more detailed map of the modern road system might have been beneficial. Additionally, it would have been helpful for the authors to note that the majority of the maps used in the publication are available online.3 Finally, as some of these sites may be on private land, it would be useful to know whether all of these sites are accessible to the public.

As stated at the beginning of this review, the intention of such a monograph—making the data recorded by the survey team accessible to people beyond archaeological practitioners—is commendable. In addition, the inclusion of chapters on those periods that often receive less attention in historical guidebooks will help the reader gain a greater sense of the long-term history of the region. While the information included in this volume is an abridged version of a longer treatise on the archaeological data of the Aphrodisias region, the authors provide enough information so the general reader will not become lost, while also giving enough detail on specific sites to satisfy the more knowledgeable reader. The book does have some weaknesses, particularly in relation to the scale and readability of maps and ground plans. For example, the symbology on some of the maps may make it difficult to find these sites on the ground, and the plan of Yazı Citadel could have been larger to allow the reader to follow the description in the text. These issues are perhaps due to the nature of the publication, the size of the printing, and limitations of space. Furthermore, if this book is intended for use by tourists to the region it would have been helpful to have more integration with the tour routes and the sites discussed in the earlier chapters. These issues, however, do not take away from the overall efficacy of the book in communicating the process of survey and its results in the region to the interested lay reader.

This book succeeds in its stated aim of presenting the findings of the Aphrodisias Regional Survey to a wider audience. In particular the book is successful in giving a sense of each period by selecting certain sites for a detailed study. These studies are enhanced with the use of color photography to illustrate the nature of the standing architectural remains. The maps could have been improved upon, and I do believe better maps would help the visitor navigate the landscape. However, this should not subtract from the worthwhile value of this book, especially to an audience of interested tourists and students conducting site visits, who will surely find the book worthwhile and informative read.


1.   C. Ratté and P. D. De Staebler (eds.), Aphrodisias V. The Aphrodisias Regional Survey (Darmstadt/Mainz 2012): the current monograph duplicates the information found in the original survey report and should be considered a companion to the larger volume rather than an advancement in the publication of the project.
2.   The maps presented in the volume have not been amended from the initial survey's publication.
3.   Aphrodisias Regional Survey.

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Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum, The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence. Ancient magic and divination, 11. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016. Pp. xxvi, 573. ISBN 9789004306202. $241.00.

Reviewed by Nicholas Campion, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (

Version at BMCR home site

Publisher's Preview

Dorian Greenbaum's study of Hellenistic astrology is the latest in a field that is remarkably neglected, considering the central role that astrology occupied in all levels of Hellenistic culture, from street to temple and court. Her work forms part of what is an even smaller body of work, dealing with astrology's internal history (its own cosmology, techniques and theory of personality) rather than externals (such as social and political uses). For Greenbaum Hellenistic culture is characterised by the use of the Greek language in the classical world which she extends up to the sixth and early seventh centuries, when the production of astrological texts effectively ceased, with the exception of a horoscope cast for Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in 905.

Greenbaum's focus is the daimon, that ill-defined entity which occupied the Hellenistic cosmos, played a role in individual lives, and comprised a central part in the astrological diagnosis of destinies. The daimon, Greenbaum writes, is multivalent, and may appear in different contexts as demon, spirit, genius, personality, destiny and power or, even, she adds, as fate. There is also, we might add, some overlap with soul.

The book is clearly structured in three parts, with ten chapters, and an introduction and conclusion. Although in many instances this subject does not lend itself easily to separate chapters, Greenbaum has successfully identified separate themes. Chapter 1 introduces views outlined by Plutarch and the astrologer Vettius Valens, in which the daimon exists in tertiary providence, affording a degree of choice within astrological fate. Chapter 2 provides some cultural background and deals with the daimon's benign astrological role in the fifth and eleventh places (modern houses) in the horoscope. By analysing these places, mainly through related planetary positions, it would have been possible to identify the potential areas of good fortune. Chapter 3 considers Egyptian and Babylonian antecedents, particularly a fascinating account of the god Shai, who played a role in the fate given at birth. Chapter 4 examines the bad daimon, the ancestor (or cousin, perhaps) of the demons of the Jews and Christians, who was revealed through the sixth and twelfth places of the horoscope. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 (Part 2) examine the daimon in Gnosticism and Mithraism, the Magical Papyri and Hermetica, and Neo-Platonism and Porphyry. Chapters 8, 9, and 10 (Part 3) deal with Lots, mathematical points in the horoscope calculated by adding the positions of any two points and subtracting a third (p. 365). One of these is the Lot of Daimon, the meaning of which was elucidated by Valens: he claimed that together with the Lot of Fortune, it could indicate the length of life. A concise and helpful conclusion is followed by over eighty pages of appendices.

The bulk of the book consists of close textual analysis. It is difficult to think of an extant source which Greenbaum has not used—her citation index occupies seventeen pages. Indeed, it is likely that she has used every source available. The obvious risk in such an approach is a tendency to overwhelm the reader with information. Greenbaum avoids this trap with her fluent writing and commentary. In the background, constantly, is the notion of the soul's ascent and descent through the planetary spheres in Plato's myth of Er. The daimon connects individual to cosmos, and so to divinity; this is an important feature of astrology as an early system of psychological analysis. Greenbaum cites Olympiodorus (c.495-570) on individuals born with Mercury and Saturn in the sixth and ninth places: they are, Olympiodorus wrote, 'malicious and envious and…are intimately connected with vices or infirmities'. Thus astrology could outline possible futures, answer questions about the timing of events, assist in the management of time, and also, through a system of personality analysis, enable self-awareness. In this sense, it was pivotal to the requirements of the Platonic teaching that fate can be negotiated through self-understanding.

Greenbaum is perhaps the first historian of Hellenistic astrology who is also skilled in the calculation and interpretation of horoscopes. She suggests (p. 3) that this gives her an advantage for two reasons: first she is able to spot nuances in astrological interpretation and technique and, second, she is alert to astrology's philosophy, challenging the critical claim that astrology is fatalistic in the hard deterministic sense of predicting futures from which there is no escape. She returns to her historiographical argument in her conclusion; her closing sentences criticize, with justification, the marginalisation of the history of astrology, whether for religious, philosophical, or scientific reasons. Her book, she states, is an attempt to rectify this situation, and her scholarship will be impossible for future writers to ignore, whether they study astrology in particular or classical culture in general.

Greenbaum's intimate knowledge of the subject sets her apart from two of the main traditions in astrological historiography, Franz Cumont's religious framework and overt hostility to astrology, and Otto Neugebauer's analysis of astrology as an adjunct to the history of mathematics that is of no interest in itself. Greenbaum is closer to the methodological neutrality of Roger Beck, for whom astrology is to be understood on its own terms, and her understanding of its technical processes and philosophical perspectives is clearly considerable.

The book is well laid out, as one would expect from Brill, and I found no typos or factual inaccuracies, further evidence, I suggest, that the book has achieved a new level of excellence in the subject area.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017


Barbara Graziosi, Homer. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. 154. ISBN 9780198788300. $16.95.

Reviewed by Carmine Pisano, Università di Napoli Federico II (

Version at BMCR home site


Homer is a book written by Barbara Graziosi in the setting of the research project Living Poets: A New Approach to Ancient Poetry (Living Poets). The project, financed by the European Research Council, proposes to investigate how, over the centuries, readers imagined the classical poets, and how the biographies and representations they produced influenced the comprehension of the works of these poets, reconfiguring their value and meaning as a function of specific historical-cultural contexts. The application of this investigative scheme to Homer, a poet that many readers know "primarily through echoes and refractions in other poems, novels, plays, and works of art – as well as through the ubiquitous myth of the author" (p. 2), has two fundamental objectives, clearly indicated in the "Introduction": to provide an overall view of Homeric studies, examining the basic questions about the author of the poems, their composition and transmission; to show how certain images of Homer conditioned the interpretation of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and how ancient and modern readers approached Homer considering him as a "living poet", constantly present in the Western collective conscience. This declaration of intent indicates that Homer represents the natural end point of a research path that, in her previous works, has led Barbara Graziosi to investigate the invention of Homer as an "author" and the ancient reception of the Homeric poems;1 the "resonance of epic" in the more general context of a unified history of the cosmos;2 and the reception of Homer in the twentieth century.3

Homer is divided into three parts, dealing with the poet, the Iliad and the Odyssey respectively.

In the first part ("The Poet"), Graziosi primarily analyses the biographical legends regarding the name, the birthplace and the works of Homer, stressing the strict interconnection between the history of the text and the identification of its author: "We inherited from the Greeks […] a habit of discussing the Iliad, the Odyssey, and indeed the cyclic epics in terms of their putative authors(s)" (p. 11). In the two following chapters, the author discusses the main textual and material clues about the creation of the poems. In a subject about which there are no certainties, Graziosi demonstrates three fixed points. The constant use of formulae and type scenes reveals that Homeric epic derives from a long process "of oral composition, and recomposition, in performance" (p. 19), in which it is difficult to define the role and the influence of writing. Homeric language, as a mélange of Ionic, Aeolian, Mycenaean and Attic elements with a clear predominance of the first, suggests that Ionia is the location of the origin of the epic, in agreement with the ancient testimony that locates the birthplace and poetic activity of Homer in this area. The material evidence reflected in the poems testifies that, despite the presence of elements of Mycenaean culture, they cannot have been composed much before 700 BC. Though coming to no original conclusions, the analysis of how, where and when epic was created shows balance and rigor in evaluating a complex and contradictory scholarly tradition. In conclusion, the last chapter of the first part deals with the voice of the poet as it emerges from the poems. This voice, which Graziosi identifies with that of the Muse, reveals a divine power of "vision", which allows the poet to sing of facts of the past "as if he had been there himself" (Odyssey, VIII, 491). In the two poems, however, the narrator's voice presents different features: while in the Iliad it has an objective tone, in the Odyssey it mixes with that of the protagonist who, in books 9-12, recounts himself the story of his own exploits "like a bard". The second part ("The Iliad") discusses the narrative material of the Iliad through the comments of the ancient scholiasts and the interpretations of modern scholars. Achilles' pain at the death of his friend Patroclus is observed in the light of two comparative models: the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh who, having lost his friend Enkidu, rebels against the limits of the human condition, and Vietnam veterans who, because of the loss of a close comrade, display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Graziosi shows a just caution about positing homologies, stressing that the Iliad expresses essential aspects of human life that inevitably resonated with the experiences of people of other times and places. The theme of resonance is central to Graziosi's analysis. In the following chapter, she demonstrates that the Iliad, though only narrating a small part of the Trojan war, makes reference to the whole Trojan saga through specific allusions that the audience is able to recognize. For example, the fall of Troy is not narrated, but symbolized in the death of Hector who, after Achilles, is the other great protagonist of the story. Graziosi interprets this character as a tragic hero, whose story offers the ancient audience the chance of experiencing the approach of death, as well as the emptiness and importance of hope. The significance of this hero in the economy of the story is clarified by the antithesis with his great rival: while "Achilles has to choose between glory and a long life" (p. 81), in Hector's case "the choice is not between life and death, but between a cowardly death or a glorious one" (p. 87), which will give eternal memory to the hero and provide the material of song for future generations.

The third part ("The Odyssey") shows how interpretation of the Odyssey has changed from ancient to modern readers. While for Aristotle (Poetics, 1455b 16-23) the poem about Odysseus is above all the story of his return to Ithaca and the restoration of his authority, in modern culture it essentially becomes an adventure tale in which travels to the end of the earth and the search for knowledge monopolize the public's attention. From this viewpoint Graziosi analyses the narrative function of women and monsters in Odysseus' peregrinations and, finally, concentrates on the ancient and modern rewriting of the Nekyia ("the dialogue with the dead"), recognizing in the different reincarnations of the Homeric hero "not just a will to live, but a determination to take pleasure in the tale" (p. 125).

The end of the volume has a list of textual and bibliographical references, suggestions for further reading, and an index of names, places and concepts.

Compared to other books by Barbara Graziosi, especially Homer: The Resonance of Epic,4 Homer is less ambitious but more thorough and more balanced. The author has perfectly mastered the material under investigation and, even when speaking of allusions in the Homeric text to other myths, she does not generally force the interpretation in an attempt to establish improbable chronologies. The only exception is on page 63, where Graziosi claims that the Iliadic episode in which Thetis saves Zeus from an attempted revolt by other divinities (Iliad, I, 396-406) presupposes the myth of the preempted union between Zeus and Thetis, which was destined to produce a son stronger than his father. Moreover, it is easy to appreciate Graziosi's clarity of presentation and ability to offer precise and brief definitions: for example, the Iliad is at the same time "a political poem" because "it offers an intense exploration of leadership and its failures" and "an existential poem" because it "invites a clear-sighted reflection on the value of life" (p. 80), while "the Odyssey […] offers a more disenchanted, epic exploration of power and its consequences" (p. 107); "The Odyssey, like the Iliad, seeks to define what it means to be human" (p. 95). In virtue of the features I have highlighted, the book constitutes not only an accurate critical evaluation of Homeric studies for the benefit of scholars, but also a valuable and accessible introduction to the subject for non-specialist readers.


1.   Barbara Graziosi, Inventing Homer: The Early Reception of Epic, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
2.   Barbara Graziosi, Johannes Haubold, Homer: The Resonance of Epic, London: Duckworth, 2005. See the review by Minna Skafte Jensen in BMCR 2005.07.21.
3.   Barbara Graziosi, Emily Greenwood (eds.), Homer in the Twentieth Century. Between World Literature and the Western Canon, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. See the review by Constanze Güthenke in BMCR 2008.02.10.
4.   See note footnote #2.

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Valérie Fromentin, Estelle Bertrand, Michèle Coltelloni-Trannoy, Michel Molin, Gianpaolo Urso (ed.), Cassius Dion: nouvelles lectures (2 vols.). Scripta antiqua, 94. Bordeaux: Ausonius Éditions, 2016. Pp. 881. ISBN 9782356131751. €45,00.

Reviewed by Aleksandr Makhlaiuk, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

By and large, both classicists and ancient historians are creating commentaries on Greek and Roman texts: the former primarily in order to understand a text itself, with respect to its literary quality, genre, style, and contextual and intertextual connections; the latter in order to grasp, through the information elicited from the text, the social, political, and cultural realities of the past. When they are dealing with such a monumental historical narrative as Cassius Dio's Romaika—an indispensable source of information covering almost a thousand years of Roman history—the close collaboration of these two approaches to the reading of an ancient text is of particular importance.

The two-volume set Cassius Dion: nouvelles lectures is a result of the international research project Dioneia – Lire Cassius Dion – Cinquante ans après Fergus Millar supported by l'Agence Nationale de la Recherche in 2011–2015 and carried out under the guidance of Valérie Fromentin, Estelle Bertrand, Michèle Coltelloni-Trannoy, and Michel Molin, who, together with Gianpaolo Urso, are the editors of this large collective work. It has a double aim: to draw up 'un bilan du cinquantenaire' (that is the fifty years since the publication of Fergus Millar's famous book on Cassius Dio1) and to open up new approaches to fill the most serious deficiencies in the modern study of the work, or, in other words, to propose new readings of Dio's history in its historical and literary settings. Significantly, in the same year another collection of essays on Dio as a historian and politician was published, and that volume was the first of a new series published by Brill that was initiated within an international project concerning Dio, the Cassius Dio Network (co-founded by Carsten Lange and Jesper Madsen), and begun at a corresponding conference held in 2014.2 Thus, among the vast Dionean bibliography,3 these two books, products of competing but complementary enterprises, are the first collective works specially dedicated to Dio. Representing modern insights into and debates within in the study of Cassius Dio, they both, along with other important monographs and commentaries of the last two decades, are witnesses to a second revival of scholarly interest in Dio's personality and work, demonstrating the fruitfulness of such multi-faceted research carried out by teams of leading specialists from around the globe.

Apart from a preface by Fergus Millar, an editors' introduction, a bibliography, and an index locorum , Cassius Dion: nouvelles lectures contains forty-six contributions (thirty-eight in French, five in Italian, two in English, and one in German) by thirty authors. Given these large numbers and the limitations of a short review, there is no way to summarize each contribution, even in brief. So I will focus on the general structure of the book and point out (with inescapable selectivity) some novelties and interesting hypotheses.

The two volumes, with sequentially numbered pages, are organized into three parts with inner subdivisions: "Tradition et réception du texte de l'Histoire romaine", "Ecrire l'histoire de Rome sous les Sévères," and "Cassius Dion, historien du pouvoir." All the parts, subdivisions, chapters, and their authors are listed below. The contributors to the first part address, in two subdivisions, such questions as major stages of the direct transmission of Dio's text in comparison with other Greek historians (Valérie Fromentin), the first printed edition of the Romaika by Robert Estienne (Stephanus) in 1548 (Marion Bellissime), and the fate of Dio's history in late-antique and Byzantine literature, including its epitomes, extracts, and continuations by Peter the Patrician, John of Antioch, Xiphilinus, and Zonaras (five chapters by Laura Mecella, Umberto Roberto, Bénédicte Berbessou-Broustet, and Marion Bellissime). The second subdivision will undoubtedly be of particular interest for specialists in textual criticism and Byzantine historical writing.

The first subdivision of the next part, "La bibliothèque de Dion (sources et modèles)" deals principally with traditional Quellenforschung. It opens with an essay by Giuseppe Zecchini, "Cassius Dion et l'historiographie de son temps", which stresses the originality of Dio's historical project as a new comprehensive history of Rome written in Greek and with a senatorial perspective that was influenced by his contemporary reality and forced him "de nier la fin de l'histoire et de reprendre le fil rouge de sa narration" (p. 122). The following nine chapters scrupulously consider the specific sources of Dio's narrative for specific periods, from Polybius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and the pre-Livian tradition to the Acta senatus. These, as far as I can judge, do not give any radically new solutions for long debated problems, although they add quite illuminating suggestions to many concrete issues and old questions (for example, Marielle de Franchis contrasts the Dionean and Livian models of writing history and argues that Dio's choice of Greek is a result of his deliberate decision to reconnect with the origins of Roman history, written in Greek by Fabius Pictor [p. 201]). In the final paper of this section, Michel Molin provides a discerning comparison of the epigraphic and numismatic evidence with Dio's treatment of Caracalla, Macrinus, and Elagabalus in 79[78].2.2–80[79].8.3, as transmitted by the manuscript Vaticanus Graecus 1288.

The eight contributions of the second subdivision, "Les formes de la narration historique", cast light on various issues of Dio's literary technique: John Rich, with a careful attention to detail, traces annalistic organization and book division in Dio's fragmentary books 1–35. Evolution of the annalistic model in Dio's Julio-Claudian narrative is the subject of Olivier Devillers' paper. Marianne Coudry analyzes the portraiture of the eminent political figures in the republican books, pointing out the originality of Dio in comparison with Plutarch. Dio's view of historical time and modes of the chronological references in his late republican and imperial narratives are investigated in two further chapters by Bertrand, Fromentin, and Coltelloni-Trannoy, and three final contributions deal with the various rhetorical devices used by the historian (prosopopoeia, ekphrasis, enargeia), treating them in the light of modern literary criticism and ancient theories of rhetoric.

The third part of the book, "Cassius Dion, historien du pouvoir", covering the entire second volume, includes five subdivisions. In the first, "Cassius Dion, sénateur romain", Molin presents two essays that examine Dio's biography (presenting all available data and a critical re-assessment of previous hypotheses) and his views of imperial society, and its crisis during the historian's own epoch. Michel Christol gives comparative analyses of the careers and political positions of Dio and two of his outstanding contemporaries, Marius Maximus and Ulpian. The three essays of the second subdivision, "Dire en grec les choses romaines", meticulously investigate Dio's political vocabulary in his description of republican institutions and procedures, the relations between the context of utterance and the lexical choices made by Dio in his account on Caesar (Coudry), and polysemy and the re-semantization of the terms μοναρχία and δημοκρατία (Bellissime). The contributors to the third subdivision, titled "Penser la πολιτεία romaine", propose case-studies to examine how Dio applies the theory of governmental forms to the rule of Julius Caesar (Chiara Carsana), to the early Principate as it is described in books 52–59 (Coltelloni-Trannoy), and to imperial legitimacy from the Antonines to the Severans (Clifford Ando).

The next subdivision, "Fonctionnement et dysfonctionnement institutionnels", continues the theme of Dio's depiction of political institutions, but now focuses on rather narrow aspects and periods. This two-part contribution is devoted to changes to the imperium militiae in the period from Pompey to Augustus: Frédéric Hurlet in his essay presents the current state of debate on this institution, while Bertrand and Coudry pay scrupulous attention to Dio's attitude to the question of extraordinary commands, which is inseparable from his reflections on the governance of the world-wide empire. Such a two-pronged approach to the problem may be justified, but Hurlet's paper says almost nothing about Dio and so seems to be at odds with the general structure of the book. Other papers deal with the senate and magistrates on the eve of the civil war between Pompey and Caesar (Coudry), senatorial procedures under the Empire (Coltelloni-Trannoy), and the relationship between the senate and imperial power during the reign of Tiberius (Marie Platon).

The final subdivision "Rome et son empire" contains six chapters on different topics, such as Dio's view of Roman imperialism and the geography of the imperium Romanum (both by Bertrand), the specifics of the portrayal of the empress Livia among other female figures (Karin Sion-Jenkis), Dio's narrative of the imperial eastern campaigns (Giovanni Brizzi), imperial finances in the light of the Agrippa–Maecenas debate (Jérôme France), and religious issues in books 50–61 and Julio-Claudian historiography (John Scheid). Here Bertrand's papers are worth noting because they raise rather new questions with regard to how Dio perceived Roman expansion, the imperial form of power (l'"impérialité"), "story-space", and the specific space of power. On the other hand, Brizzi's essay tells us more about various aspects and episodes of Roman military history (such as guerilla tactics of Rome's enemies, viri militares, and so on) than about Dio's narrative as such, and this is regrettable, since not only is military history in Dio one of few fields that is not considered in this book, but it is a very rare topic in the scholarship on Dio as a whole.4

Overall, this is an extremely well-done work, with very wide (although not exhaustive) thematic coverage, a well-balanced and thoroughly thought-out overall structure (including multiple cross-references to the other chapters that treat similar matters), and excellent editing and production quality.5 The vast bibliography will be especially useful because it contains numerous items in French and Italian that are not always cited in English or German works. It must be noted, however, that readers would benefit from a list of abbreviations used in the bibliography. The scholarly level of the individual contributions is in general quite high, notwithstanding the fact that some of them are of a more descriptive than analytical nature and add relatively little to a deeper comprehension of Cassius Dio's methods and views. Certainly, given the large variety of issues raised in the book, the volumes may and should be read selectively, depending on the specific areas of the reader's specialization. One of the great strengths of Nouvelles Lectures lies not so much in its wide scope as in its detailed case-studies, which illuminate the originality of the authorial personality of Dio embedded in his narrative. With perhaps the slight exception of Lachenaud the contributors to the "philological" sections of the book do not overuse fashionable literary theories and instead seek to take into account the historical background of Dio's work and epoch. The authors of the "historical" sections, in their turn, try not to lose sight of how narrative creates the past. So, the book provides a solid summary of recent scholarship on Dio and also outlines interesting proposals to promote Dioneia further. All this makes it a valuable contribution to the study of Roman imperial historiography.

Table of Contents

Fergus Millar, Préface, p. 9.
Valérie Fromentin, Estelle Bertrand, Michèle Coltelloni-Trannoy, Michel Molin, Gianpaolo Urso, Introduction, p. 11.

I. Tradition et réception du texte de l'Histoire romaine
La tradition du texte
Valérie Fromentin, Cassius Dion et les historiens grecs. Contribution à l'histoire comparée des traditions textuelles, p. 21.
Marion Bellissime, Le Parisinus graecus 1689 et l'édition princeps de l'Histoire romaine de Cassius Dion, p. 33.
La fortune de Dion dans la littérature tardo-antique et byzantine
Laura Mecella, La ricezione di Cassio Dione alla fine dell'antichità, p. 41.
Umberto Roberto, L'interesse per Cassio Dione in Pietro Patrizio e nella burocrazia palatina dell'età di Giustiniano, p. 51.
Umberto Roberto, Giovanni di Antiochia e la tradizione di Cassio Dione, p. 69.
Bénédicte Berbessou-Broustet, Xiphilin, abréviateur de Cassius Dion, p. 81.
Marion Bellissime, Bénédicte Berbessou-Broustet, L'Histoire romaine de Zonaras, p. 95.

II. Écrire l'histoire de Rome sous les Sévères
La bibliothèque de Dion (sources et modèles)
Giuseppe Zecchini, Cassius Dion et l'historiographie de son temps, p. 113.
Dominique Briquel, Origines et période royale, p. 125.
Gianpaolo Urso, Cassius Dion témoin de traditions disparues: les premiers siècles de la République, p. 143.
Éric Foulon, Polybe source de Cassius Dion? Bilan d'une aporie, p. 159.
Valérie Fromentin, Denys d'Halicarnasse, source et modèle de Cassius Dion?, p. 179.
Marielle de Franchis, Tite-Live modèle de Cassius Dion, ou contre-modèle?, p. 191.
Mathilde Simon, L'épisode de Sentinum chez Zonaras à la lumière du parallèle livien, p. 205.
Paul François, Cassius Dion et la troisième décade de Tite-Live, p. 215.
Olivier Devillers, Cassius Dion et les sources prétacitéennes, p. 233.
Cesare Letta, L'uso degli acta senatus nella Storia romana di Cassio Dione, p. 243.
Michel Molin, Cassius Dion et les empereurs de son temps. Pour une confrontation du manuscrit Vaticanus Graecus 1288 et des autres sources contemporaines, p. 259.
Les formes de la narration historique
John Rich, Annalistic Organization and Book Division in Dio's Books 1-35, p. 271.
Marianne Coudry, Figures et récit dans les livres républicains (livres 36 à 44), p. 287.
Estelle Bertrand, Marianne Coudry, Valérie Fromentin, Temporalité historique et formes du récit. Les modalités de l'écriture dans les livres tardo-républicains, p. 303.
Olivier Devillers, Cassius Dion et l'évolution de l'annalistique. Remarques à propos de la représentation des Julio-Claudiens dans l'Histoire romaine, p. 317.
Michèle Coltelloni-Trannoy, Les temporalités du récit impérial dans l'Histoire romaine de Cassius Dion, p. 335.
Marion Bellissime, Fiction et rhétorique dans les prosopopées de l'Histoire romaine: les marges de liberté de l'historien, p. 363.
Sophie Gotteland, Ἔκφρασις et ἐνάργεια dans l'Histoire romaine: les choix de Cassius Dion, p. 379.
Guy Lachenaud, Récit et discours chez Cassius Dion: frontières, interférences et polyphonie, p. 397.

III. Cassius Dion, historien du pouvoir
Cassius Dion, sénateur romain
Michel Molin, Biographie de l'historien Cassius Dion, p.  431.
Michel Christol, Marius Maximus, Cassius Dion et Ulpien: destins croisés et débats politiques, p. 447.
Michel Molin, Cassius Dion et la société de son temps, p. 469.
Dire en grec les choses romaines
Marianne Coudry, Institutions et procédures politiques de la République romaine: les choix lexicaux de Cassius Dion, p. 485.
Marianne Coudry, Contexte d'énonciation et vocabulaire politique: le cas de César , p. 519.
Marion Bellissime, Polysémie, contextualisation, re-sémantisation: à propos de μοναρχία et de δημοκρατία, p. 529.
Penser la πολιτεία romaine
Chiara Carsana, La teoria delle forme di governo: il punto di vista di Cassio Dione sui poteri di Cesare, p. 545.
Michèle Coltelloni-Trannoy, La πολιτεία impériale d'après Cassius Dion (livres 52-59), p. 559.
Clifford Ando, Cassius Dio on Imperial Legitimacy, from the Antonines to the Severans, p. 567.
Fonctionnement et dysfonctionnement institutionnels
Frédéric Hurlet, De Pompée à Auguste: les mutations de l'imperium militiae. 1. Les réalités institutionnelles, p. 581.
Estelle Bertrand, Marianne Coudry, De Pompée à Auguste: les mutations de l'imperium militiae. 2. Un traitement particulier dans l'Histoire romaine de Dion, p. 595.
Marianne Coudry, Sénat et magistrats à la veille de la guerre civile entre Pompée et César, p. 609.
Michèle Coltelloni-Trannoy, Les procédures sénatoriales à l'époque impériale: les choix de l'historien, p. 625.
Marie Platon, Sénat et pouvoir impérial dans les livres 57 et 58 de l'Histoire romaine de Cassius Dion, p. 653.
Rome et son empire
Estelle Bertrand, Point de vue de Cassius Dion sur l'impérialisme romain, p. 679.
Estelle Bertrand, L'empire de Cassius Dion: géographie et imperium Romanum dans l'Histoire romaine, p. 701.
Karin Sion-Jenkis, Frauenfiguren bei Cassius Dio: der Fall der Livia, p. 725.
Giovanni Brizzi, Cassio Dione e le campagne d'Oriente, p. 741.
Jérôme France, Financer l'empire: Agrippa, Mécène et Cassius Dion, p. 773.
John Scheid, Cassius Dion et la religion dans les livres 50-61. Quelques réflexions sur l'historiographie de l'époque julio-claudienne, p. 787.
Bibliographie, p. 799.
Index des passages de Dion, p. 843.


1.   F. Millar, A Study of Cassius Dio (Oxford, 1964).
2.   C. H. Lange & J. M. Madsen (eds.), Cassius Dio. Greek Intellectual and Roman Politician (Leiden; Boston, 2016). Reviewed by Valérie Fromentin in Sehepunkte 17 (2017), Nr. 9 [15.09.2017] and by Giuseppe Zecchini in Histos 11 (2017), lxxvi–lxxx. This volume in Brill's Historiography of Rome and its Empire series will be continued by forthcoming volumes: C. Burden-Strevens & M. Lindholmer (eds.), Cassius Dio's Secret History of Early Rome; J. M. Madsen & C. H. Lange (eds.), Cassius Dio the Historian: Methods and Approaches; J. Osgood & C. Baron (eds.), Cassius Dio and the Late Republic; C. H. Lange & A. G. Scott (eds.), Cassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War.
3.   G. Martinelli, L'ultimo secolo di studi su Cassio Dione (Genova, 1999) contains more than 480 items, but by now this figure has probably doubled.
4.   One hopes that this topic will be explored in more detail in a forthcoming volume of Brill's series edited by Lange and Scott (see above, n. 2).
5.   There are very few typos: in Brizzi's paper, when Boudicca's revolt is mentioned, references are given to Book 52 instead of 62 (p. 741 and n. 1); on p. 790 read ἀπεδείχθη for ἀποδείχθη.

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Niv Allon, Hana Navratilova, Ancient Egyptian Scribes: A Cultural Exploration. Bloomsbury Egyptology. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. Pp. xi, 203. ISBN 9781472583956. $114.00.

Reviewed by Jacqueline E. Jay, Eastern Kentucky University (

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The title and activities of the stood at the center of ancient Egypt's administration, and the term's most common English translation "scribe" is ubiquitous in current discussions of ancient Egyptian society. Yet, in modern scholarship the word "scribe" often appears without explanation, obscuring the fact that its ancient uses were remarkably amorphous. By exploring "the multiplicity of approaches towards the [social] figure of the scribe" (p. 3), this monograph provides a valuable nuancing of our understanding of the scribe's role in Egyptian society. After a brief introduction and a prologue outlining the mechanics of writing in ancient Egypt, the bulk of the volume consists of ten chapters that are each biographies of "scribal" individuals of the New Kingdom. The individuals at the core of the study represent the broadest possible cross-section of scribal culture, including royals and artists alongside more traditional examples of scribal administrators. In this way, Allon and Navratilova explore the often conflicting uses of the term "scribe" in the context of elite self-presentation.

Another of the authors' goals is to illustrate ways in which historical change over the course of the New Kingdom affected the lives of the Egyptian elite (p. 3). To that end, the biographies are arranged chronologically, beginning with Paheri, an overseer of fields and royal tutor to the sons of Thutmose I who was buried at Elkab during the reign of Thutmose III, and ending with Djehutimose Tjaroy, scribe of Deir el-Medina at the very end of the Twentieth Dynasty. This chronological organization means that specific themes are often introduced in one chapter and then re-emerge a number of chapters later. Particularly useful, then, is the brief description of several key thematic connections found at the end of the introduction (p. 4). I elaborate upon these here.

Chapters 1 (Paheri), 7 (Dedia), and 10 (Djehutimose Tjaroy) reveal the "great variety of tasks" engaged in by scribes (p. 4). In this respect, the chapter on Paheri is particularly interesting, for his self-representation changes depending upon its context. Paheri's own tomb stresses his role as accountant: he is depicted overseeing the collection activities of lower level scribes and (more unusually) in one scene he himself is shown writing, "reckoning the number of cattle" (Fig. 1.3). In contrast, in the tomb of his grandfather (the soldier Ahmose, son of Ibana), his title is given as "draughtsman of Amun," suggesting that Paheri himself was the artist who designed the decorative programme of his grandfather's tomb. The blurred line between "scribe" and "draughtsman" is also a key theme of the life of Dedia, chief draughtsman of Amun under Haremhab, Ramses I, and Seti I. Although Dedia did not hold the title of "scribe," his stelae speak to his high status as a dignitary, and his job likely required him to be literate. Finally, the case of Djehutimose Tjaroy highlights the more unorthodox tasks scribes might be called to perform in times of national difficulty. Although officially the scribe of Deir el-Medina, at various points in his career Djehutimose may be found collecting grain taxes throughout the broader Theban region, travelling south to supply Piankh's army, and (most dramatic) being ordered to secretly interrogate and if necessary execute two Medjay.

Chapters 2 (Senenmut) and 5 (Tutankhamun) address issues of literacy. Although the designations "literate" and "scribal elite" are often used interchangeably in modern scholarship, Allon and Navratilova stress the critical difference between the two: as they note, "All scribes may be assumed to be literate to some extent, but it is a logical fallacy to assume that all literate people were scribes" (p. 2). The case of Hatshepsut's chief official, Senenmut, illustrates this axiom, because he never calls himself scribe. Is this, as the authors hint, because of his relatively humble beginnings (p. 30)? Perhaps as a result he had a different attitude towards the value of "scribehood" than did other members of the elite. In general, the title of scribe does seem to have been highly regarded and was used by the most powerful administrators, as revealed by the pre-royal career of Haremhab (Chapter 6; for other examples, see p. 35). The title was not, however, applied to royals, who (as noted in the chapter on Tutankhamun) were nonetheless literate. Using Princess Meritaten's ink palette as an entry point, the chapter on Tutankhamun also addresses the question of female literacy in ancient Egypt, concluding that at least some elite women likely were literate.

Chapters 4 (Amenemhat) and 9 (Hori) explore ways in which the body of scribes developed its own self-definition of what it meant to be a scribe. The focus of Chapter 4 is a man named Amenemhat who left a visitors' graffito in a chapel at Djoser's Step Pyramid complex, paleographically dated to the Eighteenth Dynasty. In this graffito, Amenemhat calls himself "the scribe of skilled fingers" (a traditional self-designation highlighting a scribe's ability) and (much more unorthodox) expresses his anger at the shoddy nature of the earlier graffiti left in the chapel: "It breaks my heart as I see the work of their hands. This isn't good skill. It is like a work of a woman who is lacking knowledge" (p. 54). As the authors note, Amenemhat's obviously insulting comparison to "a woman lacking knowledge" may itself be an indication of a rudimentary level of female literacy, albeit an informally trained one (pp. 64-65). Chapter 9 similarly focuses on criticisms levied within the scribal community, its case study being the fictional Hori who in his "satirical letter" of the Ramesside Miscellanies castigates his colleague Amenemope for his many shortcomings, all described in detail.

Chapter 8 uses Inena, the copyist of the Tale of Two Brothers on P. D'Orbiney, active during the reign of Seti II, as an entrée into issues of text authorship (particularly of literary works) and scribal education. While text authorship was typically not recorded in ancient Egypt, the Ramesside Period did witness an upsurge in the practice of identifying oneself as copyist through manuscript colophons. With respect to education, the authors present a number of important reinterpretations of texts traditionally understood as "school texts." They suggest that the Late Egyptian Miscellanies were more likely produced by early career scribes than by advanced students. They also summarize Odgen Goelet's argument that the archaic script of the Kemit would have made it more suitable in the New Kingdom for the training of artists than of administrative scribes. Instead, they suggest that the earliest stages of Inena's education focused on training in the production of hieratic administrative texts.

The authors group Chapter 8 (Inena) together with Chapter 3 (Tjanuni) and Chapter 6 (Haremhab), noting that all three focus on "men who saw the role of the scribe beyond the administrative realm" (p. 4). Chapters 3 (Tjanuni) and 6 (Haremhab) are themselves linked by the presence of the military. Tjanuni was a military scribe who served under Thutmose III, Amenhotep II, and Thutmose IV. He is known solely from his tomb, Theban Tomb 74, which incorporates a tomb biography structurally very similar to that of the better-known Ahmose, son of Ibana. As the authors note, both of these biographies exemplify the revival of the "historical biography" genre in the New Kingdom (p. 46). Unlike Ahmose, however, Tjanuni does not claim to have fought himself, but rather to have witnessed the king's military deeds and to have recorded them in writing. It thus seems reasonable to suppose that Tjanuni was one of the scribes responsible for producing daybook journals of military activity while on campaign, and perhaps also the monumental record inscribed on the walls of temples like Karnak upon the army's return. Haremhab's career before his rise to pharaoh also reveals the strong connections between the scribal world and the military. In Haremhab's pre-royal Memphis tomb, his most commonly listed titles are "generalissimo" and "royal scribe" (p. 81). Although named as scribe, however, pictorial depictions present him engaging in cultic and military activities, but never writing. In fact, a few scenes depict him with his own "military scribe," who presumably did his writing for him. This disconnect suggests that for the very highest-ranking officials, the title of scribe was an honorific unrelated to their actual daily activity.

At the beginning of the chapter on Haremhab, the authors note that Haremhab used the hieroglyph of the scribal palette and penholder (Gardiner Y3) both before and after his ascension to the throne. This statement could be taken by the reader to mean that Haremhab continued to use the title of "scribe" after he became king. Importantly, however, the authors are in fact emphasizing the appearance of the hieroglyph itself in texts commissioned by Haremhab as king. They make the suggestion that, even as king, Haremhab placed a particular importance on the act of writing and on writing equipment. As evidence, they cite the introduction to his legal decree, which describes his scribe taking "the palette and the document" to record in writing everything that the king said (p. 85). But, I would also argue that this scene separates the now-king from his former role as scribe. As "royal scribe," he still bore the title even though someone else did the writing for him; as king, he no longer does.

Overall, the monograph left me with a strong sense of a distinction between practical and symbolic ancient uses of the term "scribe." Practically, we can understand scribes as the lower-level functionaries (pen-pushers) carrying out the basic recording tasks of the administration. These are the men described by Chloe Ragazzoli's definition of the scribal class as "a sub-elite of intermediary civil servants who were responsible for the administrative functioning of the Egyptian State and of its temples."1 But on a symbolic level, individuals far higher up the ladder could choose to present themselves as scribe as a way to indicate that they possessed the scribe's important skills. The authors note Quirke's suggestion that "scribe" be translated "secretary" instead, since the connotation of the latter term runs the gamut from the office secretary to the high level "Secretary of State" (p. 155 [n. 2]; p. 82).

The book is explicitly designed to be understandable to the non-specialist, and for the most part it succeeds well. Ancient dates are notoriously difficult, and it would have been impossible to provide precise birth and death dates for the non-royal individuals covered in the text. It would, however, have been useful for these men to be integrated into the chronological list at the end of the book in order to indicate the kings under whom they are believed to have lived. Similarly, the nature of the book is such that the overarching history of the New Kingdom is presented only tangentially, and thus might be somewhat confusing for the non-specialist unfamiliar with the basic details. In general, however, the book should prove quite accessible. For the specialist, it serves as an important corrective to the common Egyptological equation of the "literate elite" and the "scribal elite"; in actuality, the latter should really be presented as a subset of the former. At the same time, while scribes per se did not "control" the administration (p. 148), the men who were at the top of the power structure could choose to stress their identity as scribes in their own social representation. As this study stresses throughout, the title clearly held a great deal of cultural currency.


1.   Chloé Ragazzoli, "Weak Hands and Soft Mouths: Elements of a Scribal Identity in the New Kingdom," ZÄS 137 (2010), 157.

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