Sunday, March 17, 2019


Donald Sells, Parody, Politics and the Populace in Greek Old Comedy. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. Pp. ix, 291. ISBN 9781350060517. €76,50. ISBN 9781350060531. ebook.

Reviewed by Dimitrios Kanellakis, University of Oxford (

Version at BMCR home site


The aim of this monograph (most parts of which arise from Sells' doctoral thesis, 'Old Comedy and its Performative Rivals of the Fifth Century', University of Toronto, 2011) is to show that, for individual comic poets and for Old Comedy as a whole, parody was 'an offensive strategy of survival in the world of fifth-century Athenian performance culture' (15). Its methodology is the consideration of both verbal and visual evidence (as opposed to the strictly textual and linguistic focus of P. Rau and M. S. Silk), from an aesthetic ('mechanical') and a social/ political/ cultural ('contextual') perspective. This, for Sells, is a 'holistic approach' (6). He draws inspiration from a wide range of theoretical models, from Darwin and reader-response theory to theatre semiotics and marketing theory. In terms of scope, the categories of parody concerned are paratragedy, parasatyrism, and paralyric; the main corpus concerned, inevitably, is Aristophanes (14); and politics is understood 'in the broadest possible sense, i.e. life in the polis' (10). The latter might disappoint some readers and seems to follow the annoyingly popular tendency of putting 'politics' in a book's title as a mere catchword. Indeed, in the Introduction, the discourse on Aristophanes' politics is summarised into a single paragraph (9–10), and the bibliography ignores some very important scholarship on the matter (e.g. M. Vickers' work). Later on, some brief discussion about Pericles is marked as 'subordinate to [the author's] concern with intergeneric engagement' (100). 'Populace', which also features in the title, is not adequately discussed either.

Two particular points of the Introduction require comment. First, that 'while early plays like Cratinus's Dionysalexandros and Aristophanes's Acharnians use parody to satirize Athenian governance and vice versa, Aristophanes uses social and cultural topics in increasingly intimate and personal settings to parody Euripidean tragedy' (10) is highly questionable. Acharnians parodies Euripides no less than it satirises politics; as for the later plays, only Frogs and Thesmophoriazusae prioritise the parody of Euripides. Second, that comic poets also parody and attack each other but such 'comic intertextuality is not typically […] woven into the deeper structure of a play in the same way that Aristophanes tends to use tragedy' and the comparison with lions who rarely attack each other and usually collaborate in attacking other species (14–15) remains in the sphere of speculation. We simply do not have enough evidence for such a comparison and the author does not consider K. Sidwell (1995) 'Poetic Rivalry and the Caricature of Comic Poets' in A. Griffiths (ed.) Stage Directions (London, 1995), 56–80.

Chapter 1 argues that the para-Euripidean Telephus in Acharnians is programmatic for all Aristophanic paratragedy, in the sense that this symbolises and preludes Aristophanes' trygôidia. For Sells, Aristophanes builds on the mythical hybridity of Telephus (a Greek and a barbarian, a king and a beggar) to promote his own aesthetic hybridity (writing comedy to speak of serious things). The idea is stimulating, but its lengthy and repetitive description leaves no space for literary analysis. For example, the author announces that he will examine the 'codes' or 'mechanisms' of parody (24), but apart from 'collision', few other techniques are mentioned, and metatheatre appears only once, in passing (42). More important, the development of the episode, with the charcoal basket as its visual core, is totally ignored. Again, there is some important bibliography missing, e.g. S. Tsitsiridis (2010) 'On Aristophanic Parody: The Parodic Techniques' in idem. (ed.) Παραχορήγημα (Heraklion, 2013), 359-82. Overall, this chapter offers a nice hypothesis on why Aristophanes chose to deal with Telephus, but no elaboration on how he uses this material.

Chapter 2 argues that the iconography from South Italy not only affirms but also supplements our knowledge of the parodic techniques (55). Starting with 'signatures scenes', i.e. vases that portray recognisable scenes from Old Comedy, and then moving to (probably non- theatrical) vases that entail comic reversals of popular myths, the author outlines a variety of visual strategies of parody, with failed disguises and exchanges of roles receiving most of the attention. The last and most important section examines some vases that portray the interplay of comedy with other genres. Most of the discussion repeats Taplin and Csapo, quite naturally, but there are also some original ideas: the 'Tragoidos' figure in the left top corner of the 'New York Goose Play' is portrayed as an erômenos and thus symbolises that comedy has intergeneric relationships with tragedy, in which comedy has the dominant role (82). If so, one could object, why does the erômenos/tragedy (and not the erastês/comedy) appear 'on top'?

Chapter 3, the most original and thought-provoking of the book, explores parasatyrism. Cratinus' Dionysalexandros includes satyrs for a comic chorus, but the adultery narrative is comic par excellence and clashes with the 'romantic' outlook and 'heroic ethics' of satyr play (100). In the 'hauling-scene' of Peace, scholars have long ago noted that the chorus act and speak like satyrs, and Sells identifies more 'distinctively satyresque' elements, starting already with the entrance of the chorus (105). However, in contrast to the childish and incompetent satyrs, the chorus here eventually succeeds in rescuing the goddess. As for the comic protagonists, they also have satyric features but the finale affirms their comic identity. For example, Peisetairos abuses Iris like a satyr, but eventually gets married with Basileia: he is 'romantically successful' (112). The latter argument seems to contradict the previous discussion of Dionysalexandros: is romanticism a comic or a satyric mode?

Through the case-study of Peace, Chapter 4 argues that comedy converts failure in other genres into its own success. In contrast to Pegasus in Euripides' Bellerophon, the dung-beetle succees in reaching Olympus, and 'the comic crane provides a means to overcome the cosmic limits represented by the same effect in tragedy' (133). Secondly, the bloodless sacrifice and the restoration of the household in Peace reverse the dominant paradigm, i.e. the corrupted sacrifices and marriages in tragedy. For Sells, the latter paradigm was 'parodic' in itself (134, 143, 144) in the sense that it parodied the actual rituals. Tragedy, however, draws from mythological rituals: Iphigenia is sacrificed before and beyond tragedy; Oedipus gets married to his mother before and beyond tragedy. Thus, tragedy's 'distorted and perverted sacrifices and marriages' (134) are not a product of parody. More important, the chapter fails to answer whether this failure-to-success scheme applies to Aristophanic comedy, or to Old Comedy as a whole, and ignores the ironic readings of Peace.

Chapter 5 argues that Old Comedy appropriates traditional lyric poetry in opposition to New Music. Comedy not only cites and alludes to classic lyric (Stesichorus, Pindar, Simonides) with a nostalgic attitude, but also actively parodies New Music. For example, the hymn to Apollo in Thesm. 101–29, after the fashion of New Music, is sung by the androgynous Agathon, thus being classified as a bastard genre; the supposed choral song by Euripides in Frogs 1309–22 involves 'talking' animals, thus being classified as a genre out of (cosmic) order. The most interesting, yet not fully articulated, notion is that the comedians attacked the New Musicians because they wanted to reserve the title of innovators for themselves (149).

Finally, Chapter 6 argues that Thesmophoriazusae criticises the didactic and limited character of the realism of Euripidean tragedy. On the one hand, because of Euripides' shameless heroines, 'real' husbands are now oppressing their wives. On the other hand, as Inlaw reveals (476 ff.), 'real' women are even worse than those heroines, because the comic stage affords them more freedom (of movements, props etc.) Thus, comedy alone can portray female promiscuity in full. We note the omission of G. Hutchinson (2011) 'House Politics and City Politics in Aristophanes' CQ 61 (2011), 48–70.

This review has emphasised the weaknesses of the book, but this is only because the book truly merits a close consideration. It makes some steps – not as bold as necessary – towards what will hopefully become the norm in the study of Greek comedy: considering the performative and visual aspect as a sine qua non.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Jonathan Ready, Christos Tsagalis (ed.), Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic, Volume 2. Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic, 2. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2018. Pp. 220. ISBN 9789004376908. €116.00.

Reviewed by Fabian Horn, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (

Version at BMCR home site

After the inaugural volume of the Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic (YAGE 1, 2017: BMCR 2017.05.47), the second instalment continues the study of Ancient Greek epic poetry with a range of different approaches and topics. However, the volume is not focused solely on "Ancient Greek Epic and Ancient Greek Tragedy" (as had been announced), and the relationship between epic and tragedy is just one of the many aspects explored in this collection. As the editors state in their foreword, "Homer also features here in YAGE 2, but contributors look elsewhere as well: to Hesiod, to Empedocles, to Greek tragedians, and to ancient mythographers."

In the absence of an overarching theme holding the seven articles of the volume together, it is probably best to give brief summaries of the individual contributions:

Joel P. Christensen's "Eris and Epos. Composition, Competition, and the Domestication of Strife" (pp. 1–39) opens the volume with a study of the theme of ἔρις in the poems of Hesiod and Homer. Drawing on the terminology of game theory, he argues that the two forms of strife described by Hesiod (Hes. Op. 11–24) can be considered as representing the principles of zero and positive sum games, and discusses the cultural and compositional force of ἔρις as cooperative competition resulting in mutual benefit. Without positing any direct influences, and simply comparing the traditions behind the respective poems, Christensen proceeds to trace a progression from the zero-sum game of the destructive ἔρις of the Theogony and the Iliad, which already shows impulses towards the resolution of conflicts through institutionalization and cooperation, to the Odyssey and the Works and Days, in whose worlds violent conflict is still present but human communities strive to 'domesticate' negative ἔρις and realize the value of cooperative, positive-sum competition.

Xavier Gheerbrant's "Ritornell and Episodic Composition in Empedocles" (pp. 40–77) focuses on a structural feature in the extant fragments of Empedocles' didactic poetry. In a minute reading of selected fragments, Gheerbrant argues that Empedocles organized the episodes in the first book of his poem On Nature through repetition of lines and phrases in non-linear and non-circular patterns, which can best be described and analyzed as instances of 'Ritornellkomposition', and shows the argumentative force and didactic value of this poetic technique.

Ahuvia Kahane' contribution, "The Complexity of Epic Diction" (pp. 78–117), addresses a substantial topic, the relationships between form and meaning and tradition and innovations in Greek epic diction, and the resulting difficulties of its interpretation. Basing his own approach on the methodology of usage-based grammar and cognitive functional linguistics, Kahane argues that epic diction is a complex adaptive system: he proposes a reinterpretation of Homer's systematic diction by building on Parry's notion of the importance of analogy as a generative mechanism, illustrating his argument with a study of the semantic and poetic functions of the prevalent speech introduction formula τὸν/τὴν/τοὺς δ' ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφη + name-epithet combination. He offers a theoretical framework for evaluating the language of epic, describing the epic diction and its patterns as emergent, interactive and inherently complex. Kahane concludes that the processes of analogy and reanalysis of formulae and formulaic patterns have the potential to lead to the emergence of innovative semantic value within the tradition along a linguistic continuum of the usage of the individual poet (idiolect) and communal language, even though it is difficult to evaluate individual patterns in the absence of external evidence.

In her study "Searching for Homeric Fandom in Greek Tragedy" (pp. 118–150), Lynn Kozak draws on the comparatively recent field of 'fan studies', the field of scholarly research focused on media fans and fan cultures, as a framework for reconsidering the creative responses of tragedy to the Homeric poems and for studying reception in antiquity. After extensive remarks on fan studies and particularly the model of the 'fanboy auteur' (illustrated with the contemporary examples of J. J. Abrams and Bryan Fuller), the final third of the piece is dedicated to the application of a refined version of the model to the parodos of Euripides' Iphigenia at Aulis, arguing that the chorus of Chalcidian women functions as an affirmational fan avatar community but also contains a transformational element in the women's affective response, thus challenging, expanding and contributing to the Iliad's storyworld.

In the shortest contribution of the volume, "Iliad 11: Healing, Healers, Nestor, and Medea" (pp. 151–164), Bruce Louden argues that the Iliad demonstrates awareness of the myth of the Argonauts and draws on the figure of Medea as a template for two minor female characters, Hekamede and Agamede, both servants of Nestor: their names are compounds from the same root as hers and they exhibit a similar knowledge of herbs, concoctions and restoration (cf. Il. 11.624–41, 740–1; 14.5–7), like Kirke in the Odyssey. On the basis of these thematic associations with Medea, who is known for her abilities of rejuvenation, Louden suggests speculatively that their service and skill with restorative cures may also be the cause and explanation for Nestor's extraordinary, preternatural longevity, which the Iliad's tendency to minimize all supernatural and incredible elements of the myth does not make explicit.

Sheila Murnaghan's "Penelope as a Tragic Heroine. Choral Dynamics in Homeric Epic" (pp. 165–189) investigates an aspect of how Homeric epic is shaped by its engagement with choral lyric; this reveals another continuity between epic and tragedy beyond their common mythological subject matter and the characteristics of dialogic form. Murnaghan focuses on the representation of choral demographics in the epics, i.e. a central individual leader surrounded by a collective of subordinates. She places particular emphasis on the depiction of Penelope in the Odyssey as a displaced chorus leader at odds with the chorus of her twelve disloyal maidservants who, as a result of their transgressions, are hanged and thereby made to perform a travesty of a choral dance.

In the final contribution, "Variations on the Myth of the Abduction of Ganymede. Intertextuality and Narratology" (pp. 190–217), Polyxeni Strolonga identifies two main themes in the traditional story of Ganymede, his transference to Olympus and the compensatory gift of Zeus to his father. She argues that despite being employed for different narrative purposes in their respective contexts in early Greek epic, the narratological function of the references to Ganymede is consistent: mentions of Ganymede might be shaped and adapted by exaggeration or suppression of certain elements of the myth, but they always serve a celebratory function as a hortatory external analepsis, either praising the descendants of Ganymede's siblings, the royal house of Troy, or the descendants of the compensation his father received.

As these summaries show, the volume, like YAGE 1 (2017), shows clear interpretive focus on the Homeric epics, but individual contributions pursue innovative and ingenious approaches to the poems, often drawing on theoretical frameworks from other fields of scholarly research. The result is an anthology of current scholarship with an impressive breadth of topics ranging from minor interpretive problems to questions addressing the development and tradition of the genre as a whole.

The next volume, YAGE 3 (2019), is announced as addressing the interactions between the Homeric epics and the Epic Cycle. It is to be hoped that it will be able to retain this thematic focus.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Francesca D'Alessandro Behr, Arms and the Woman: Classical Tradition and Women Writers in the Venetian Renaissance. Classical memories/modern identities. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2018. Pp. viii, 285. ISBN 9780814276297. $89.95.

Reviewed by Quinn Griffin, Grand Valley State University (

Version at BMCR home site

The classically-inspired works of Renaissance and Early Modern women have for some time occupied a liminal space between disciplines. Classicists may hesitate to work on them for fear of going "outside the canon," while scholars in other fields have in the past lacked access to texts written in Latin and Italian that were accessible only in manuscripts and early print editions and often incompletely transcribed, edited, or translated in modern collections.

High-quality works like D'Alessandro Behr's, and other recent volumes such as Women Classical Scholars (BMCR 2017.09.43),1 are important steps towards making women more visible in the history of Classical scholarship. As D'Alessandro Behr argues for the authors covered in this volume, the classical tradition can offer women the opportunity to challenge the values of their society through a rich shared vocabulary of images and ideas.

In the introduction to the volume, D'Alessandro Behr proposes to demonstrate, in particular, how two women, Moderata Fonte (1555-1592) and Lucrezia Marinella (1571-1653), were able to develop and promote their own readings of classical texts outside the constraints of the male-dominated arenas of academia and politics; and how their contributions to epic poetry challenged the traditions of the genre by placing "womanly" virtues such as compassion at the center of the story, rather than male virtus. Importantly, the author notes not only the significance of direct allusions for this study, but also the "meaning of silence" (12). In other words, the moments in which the authors choose explicitly not to echo their sources are just as important as those in which they do. For instance, Clelia, who appears in Marinella's L'Enrico, overo Bisantio acquistato recalls Vergil's Dido, but the similarity ends when Clelia faces her death calmly, with a cold, logical outlook, highlighting a key difference between the two characters. Where possible, D'Alessandro Behr supports such readings with evidence from the two authors' other works. In this instance, the author finds that Marinella explicitly challenges Vergil's portrayal of Dido in her work Della nobiltà et eccellenza delle donne, where she calls his version of events "false" (109 n.1).

One challenge inherent in this type of work is the high degree of interdisciplinarity it demands. D'Alessandro Behr is conscious of this challenge from the beginning of the work and is careful to place the argument in dialogue with philological, reception-based, and gender-based studies. For example, she frequently places the discussion of the two authors' epic poems in dialogue with Kallendorf's The Other Virgil (BMCR 2008.04.02, 2 locating Fonte and Marinella within the tradition of alternative and subversive readings of epic described in that volume. Behr also shows sensitivity to the history of scholarship on the querelle des femmes, using key authorities such as Constance Jordan, Virginia Cox, and Sarah Gwyneth Ross, while discussing Marinella and Fonte's own contributions to the "woman question." Finally, there is attention to the influence of Italian authors such as Petrarch and Vegio. In light of this multi-disciplinary approach, scholars of Classics, early modern literature, gender, and reception studies will find D'Alessandro Behr's volume useful for their research. The text could also serve as a guide for advanced undergraduate students working in gender and reception studies or early modern Italian literature with some introduction and guidance from an instructor.

Part I of the volume is entitled, "Female Fighters: On Women, War and Pietas." Chapter One, "Lady Knights and Pietas," focuses on Moderata Fonte's epic poem Tredici Canti del Floridoro, and consists mainly of a close reading of two battle scenes in the epic, one placed at the beginning (Canto 1-2) and one near the end (Canto 13). The author argues that these scenes constitute an implicit critique of the violence and rage characterizing the end of the Aeneid. Although the lady knight Risamante slaughters her opponent in Cantos 1-2, she mercifully spares the enemy in Canto 13, showing an ethical development in the character that Vergil's Aeneas does not achieve. Behr argues futhermore that Aeneas, in killing Turnus, "does not preserve that pietas which has motivated…the hero's actions throughout his mission" (48). This argument is somewhat problematic, however, given the author's inconsistency in the use of the word pietas. In portions of the text Behr clearly defines it as an allegiance "to fatherland, gods and country" (110), and yet elsewhere seems to equate it with pity (59-60) or the modern Italian pietà. Still, Behr adds weight to her argument by placing the Floridoro in the context of other "pessimistic" readings of the end of the Aeneid, citing Kallendorf's work 3 and pointing to Francesco Filelfo's rejection of just anger in the De morali disciplina and his construction of the character Francesco Sforza in the Sphortias, who "even on the battlefield, is able to control ira" (51).

Chapter Two, "Women and Compassion," argues that Fonte and Marinella, in encouraging peace and resisting violence in their epics, are part of the larger movement of i giovani in Venice, who were questioning the previous generation's traditional values. The approach of both authors to the problem of cyclical violence is to identify alternative, "feminine" values that disrupt the reciprocal killings often featured in epic.

Fonte encourages her reader to see other valuable qualities in women besides the traditionally feminine attributes of chastity and beauty. Another of Fonte's works, Il merito delle donne, argues similarly that women should also be honored for nontraditional qualities like valor and skill. In this work, Fonte goes a step further than in the Floridoro, using Aristotle and Galen to argue that women have less bile and blood than men, and so are better able to overcome appetites. D'Alessandro Behr notes that this argument was not original to Fonte; in Baldassare Castiglione's Il Cortegiano the character Magnifico Juliano argues along similar lines that the moisture of women balances their warmth, and so makes them more temperate than men.4

Whereas Fonte alludes to Aeneas and Turnus, Marinella looks to Virgil's character Camilla in her epic poem L'Enrico, overo Bisantio acquistato about the thirteenth-century conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, led by Enrico Dandolo. In Behr's reading of the Aeneid, Camilla disappoints Diana by going to war (see 11. 584-5: vellem haud correpta fuisset / militia tali, conata lacessere Teucros). Behr sees a parallel between Camilla and Marinella's Amazons Claudia and Meandra, who participate in violence that continues the cycle of war and ultimately leads to their own deaths; as opposed to the Amazon Emilia, who decides in the face of defeat to go into the woods and become a follower of Diana.

Part II of the volume is entitled, "Lovers at War: Virgil, Ovid and the Resistance." Chapter Three, "Epic and Elegy," continues the conversation on Marinella's L'Enrico. D'Alessandro Behr argues that Marinella uses references to the Aeneid, the Heroides, and Ovid's Metamorphoses to complicate a seemingly straightforward praise poem by showing the effect of Dandolo's war on those left behind, noting also the influence of Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata (1581) and Lodovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1532). Marinella resists the epic impulse to abandon, kill, or otherwise silence the women standing in the way of the heroes' quest, using two love stories in particular to highlight alternative values within the narrative: the stories of Lucillo and Clelia and of Corradino and Areta. In so doing, Marinella "disrupts the heroic economy of her poem and undoes (or problematizes) the claims and progress of the male heroes" (107) and, in fact, shows men being punished for placing war above family.

Chapter Four, "Love and Lamentation," more fully treats the two love stories introduced in Chapter Three's discussion of L'Enrico. D'Alessandro Behr identifies Aeneid Book 4 and Metamorphoses Book 11 as models for the love story of Clelia and Lucillo, while Areta and Corradino's story mirrors that of Hector and Andromache as told in Iliad 6 and Heroides 13. Particularly convincing is the author's comparison of Lucillo to Ovid's Ceyx (Metamorphoses Book 11), who dies in a shipwreck after his wife Alcyone begs him to remain at home with her. Lucillo, too, dies calling out in vain to his beloved and admitting that he is getting what he deserves for leaving her behind. This moment is significant in that it shows the ability of a female character to influence an epic hero's view of himself.

Part III of the volume is entitled, "Women in the Garden: Enchantresses Erina and Circetta." Chapter Five, "Ancient and Modern Prototypes," presents Marinella's character Erina as a new kind of "positive enchantress" (156), who appeals to men not through magic and seduction but through philosophy and education. The character Venier's interactions with Erina recall Odysseus' encounters with Circe, Calypso, and Nausicaa with two important differences: a lack of erotic undertones, and, more importantly, the fact that Venier refuses to stay on Erina's island is rewarded not with kleos or nostos, but instead, an ignoble death.

Chapter Six, "Away from the City," places Erina's episode in the context of pastoral poetry, which D'Alessandro Behr identifies as a natural foil for the genre of epic. The placement of a pastoral episode in the middle of the epic makes explicit the contrast between the world of men and war, and the world of women, peace, and knowledge, while at the same time evoking the Renaissance debate on the value of the vita contemplativa versus the vita activa.

Chapter Seven, "Fonte's Enchantress and Beyond," looks once more to Fonte's Floridoro, which features a character called Circetta, daughter of Circe and Odysseus. Circetta rescues two knights stranded on her island and uses magic to protect them from wild animals, replaying and reversing the moment where Hermes appears with a magic herb to protect Odysseus from Circe's magic. The episode reverses the Odyssey's message about the dangers of seductive, magical women by juxtaposing the men's lack of trustworthiness with Circetta's naivete and sincere desire to help throughout the rest of the encounter.

D'Alessandro Behr reflects in the Epilogue that "Classical learning was defended on the basis that it strengthened children's moral and physical fiber. Boys studied…texts that reinforced religious, classical and manly virtues" (231-2). She makes the case that classical texts also served young women's intellectual empowerment by providing a medium for the reassessment of the masculine values found in both the texts and the reader's own society.

D'Alessandro Behr argues convincingly throughout the volume that Marinella and Fonte accomplish this reassessment by seeking out the abandoned and silenced women of epic and placing these women and their values at the center of their works. The writer finds that these woman-centered epic poems argue for the importance of love and marriage to society and for the value of qualities in which women are traditionally superior to men, like compassion and mercy, ultimately making the case that the separation of men and women into different and incompatible spheres is detrimental to both sexes.


1.   Wyles, Rosie, and Edith Hall, ed. Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romil. Oxford University Press, 2016.
2.   Kallendorf, Craig. The Other Virgil: 'Pessimistic' Readings of the Aeneid in Early Modern Culture. Oxford University Press, 2007.
3.   Kallendorf, Craig. "Historicizing the 'Harvard School': Pessimistic Readings of the Aeneid in Italian Renaissance Scholarship." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 99: 391-403.
4.   Castiglione, Baldesar. The Book of the Courtier, trans. G. Bull, p. 222. Penguin Classics, 1967.

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Jason Moralee, Rome's Holy Mountain: The Capitoline Hill in Late Antiquity. Oxford studies in late Antiquity. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. 304. ISBN 9780190492274. $74.00.

Reviewed by Caroline Goodson, University of Cambridge (

Version at BMCR home site


The Capitoline was the centre of Roman history in antiquity; its temples and buildings were fundamental to the stories Romans told about their past and the rituals and administration that promoted the empire and its rulers. Political and social changes in late antiquity meant that the hill no longer performed the roles it once had, and yet the Capitoline remained numinous. Moralee's book expertly and surprisingly charts the history of the hill through transformations of imperial ceremony, state religion, and strategies of social memory between the fourth and seventh centuries to show how the history of a place and the memories of its ancient functions carried forward into the early middle ages. This is an excellent, stimulating read about the history of ideas and how ideas attach to places.

An Introduction locates the hill in modern Rome and historiography, picking out the threads of ancient sources that were woven and rewoven in the post-Classical past. Here we are introduced to Moralee's methodology and his erudition. His approach is forged through classical literature, and he understands and explains well how ancient texts cite, invert, inform, and allude to each other. He is keen to consider less-canonical texts of late antiquity, not only Augustine but also several anonymous authors with poorer grammar and muddier philosophy. Working beyond texts, Moralee addresses the ways in which physical reality and textual accounts interplay in 'a "living textuality"' (p. 21, quoting Umberto Eco).

Chapter One charts the life of the Capitoline in the imperial period. Augustus radically changed the patterns and topography of Rome's celebrations, not—as many have assumed and claimed—Constantine. Augustus and his successors used multiple sites across Rome for adventus, triumphs, and other celebrations of their rule. When Constantine celebrated a triumph in 312, and in his subsequent procession in Rome, his apparent omission of the Capitol from the event was hardly novel. The multiplication of the stages and frames for imperial ceremony across Rome was a change from the late Republican focus on the uia sacra and the Capitoline, attributed by Moralee to 'a more decentralized empire, Rome's evolving symbolic topography, and the increasing significance of Rome's Christian community' (p. 50).

Chapter Two examines the social and administrative institutions of the Capitoline and their evolution in the changed world of late antique Rome. On the one hand, nothing much changed: some of the temples seem to have been restored by Theodoric, administrators continued to work on the hill, and there were many high-status residences and a marketplace for luxury items. The fourth-century Regionary catalogues report a concentration of houses, tenement blocks, baths, fountains, et cetera, in addition to the temples and administrative buildings: a bustling neighbourhood. On the other hand, Christianity changed the terms of who went to the Capitoline and what they did there.

Chapter Three makes the case that a church dedicated to the Theotokos was created on the hill in the sixth century by Narses, the exarch of Italy from 552 to c. 573. Moralee proposes this as a possibility that could be accommodated in the gaps in our evidence. If you follow: there is an excerpt of a history, preserved in Walahfrid Strabo's handbook compiled at Fulda in the ninth century (Cod. Sang. 878), which places Narses on the Capitoline; there are some texts reportedly from sibylline oracles foreseeing the birth of Christ and the virginity of Mary; a late sixth-century permutation of these attests an altar to Christ in Rome on the Capitoline; the seventh-century Latin translation of those oracular texts suggests that this shrine was later made the home of the Virgin Mary. A faded note in a Vetus Latina Gospel of Mark (not John, pace p. 103) was deciphered by Bernhard Bischoff as recording the manuscript's presence in the eighth century at S. Maria in Camellaria, which might be a monastery on the Capitoline. In the twelfth-century 'Mirabilia Urbis Romae,' the Sibyl prophesied Christ and the Virgin to Octavian in a room which came to be known as S. Maria in Ara Caeli, at the 'Tabularium' on the Capitoline. This clever piece of research leaves open the possibility that there was a Christian shrine on the Capitoline before the tenth century, when a Latin monastery is surely attested, but there is hardly a smoking gun, and it is not clear why we should want there to be a church on the Capitoline before the tenth century. Moralee turns to consider the Kapetolion in Constantinople in the sixth century, in an effort to explain what Narses might have thought he was doing at Rome's Capitoline, if he did anything at all. Though the Kapetolion was a Christian monument from its inception and was therefore fixed within different urban processions, it 'stood for political continuity, dynastic harmony, and a toponomic bridge to Rome's ancient imperial culture' (p. 107), that is, exactly what Moralee claims the Roman Capitoline was in late antiquity. Reflection on memory, imperial monuments, and history in the New Rome opens up new ways of considering Old Rome and the construction of its past.

Chapter Four shows the symbolic power of the Capitoline in a literary sense as we catch sight of it in the polemics between late antique intellectuals, Christian and traditionalist. Moralee's deft hand corralling difficult texts emerges with real strength here. The textual sources with which he is working have challenging transmissions and layers of composition that imposed shifting senses of value on the Capitoline and its historical significance, and this is the point. Thus, in the 'Acts of Silvester,' revised in Rome in the mid-fifth century, Constantine had leprosy and to cure it he made his way up the Capitoline to sit in a bath filled with the blood of children. On the way, the sight of the sobbing mothers bringing their babies to the priests to sacrifice provoked the emperor's reflection on the nature of triumph. He abandoned the cure, converted to Christianity, and erected the Lateran Basilica and St Peter's. This account of Constantine's conversion and his relationship to the Capitoline was revised (with added attention to the specifically Roman context) not even 100 years after the senator Vettius Agorius Praetextatus took a public procession up the Capitoline before he died in 384. The meaning of the story in the 'Acts' turns on the memory of imperial processions and sacrifices at the Capitoline temples before Constantine's day, just as the social status achieved by Praetextatus on his procession—if he took it—turned on his fellow Romans knowing the same histories of the place. We know of Praetextatus's procession through Jerome's criticism of it, an example of what Moralee elegantly styles the 'downward pressure of a Christian ideology of power' (p. 120), which provoked an inversion of the previously understood symbolic power of Roman monuments including the Capitoline.

The focus of Chapter Five shifts to authors in the Christian tradition: Tertullian, Lactantius, Augustine, and others. Though Moralee never names Pierre Nora or his concept of 'les lieux de mémoire,' the analysis here of the intersections between events, monuments, place-names, and historical transmissions is clearly indebted to the French historian's charting how a thing, place, or event slips between the past and present and consolidates multiple, even divergent, memories into community heritage.1 Thus, the Gallic siege of Rome in 390 BCE was replayed and its story retold in antiquity and the early middle ages; histories of the warning by geese, statues and images of geese, celebrations of geese, and then Christian condemnations of sacred geese all memorialised an event, fixing it in a certain place, uniting multiple histories, real and imagined.

Chapter Six concentrates in particular on accounts of the destruction of the Capitoline temples and how a specifically Christian history aligned these with destructions of other famous historic temples, including the temple in Jerusalem and the Temple of Apollo, Delphi. Accounts of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans and the ruin on the Temple Mount served as a reminder of the fallibility of men's monuments and the legacy of Jews' sins, according to Jerome, Prudentius, and others, and the Roman Capitol was put to this moralising function as well.

Chapter Seven turns to the literary roles of the Capitoline in the Roman martyr acts of the fifth and sixth centuries. The Roman gesta are difficult as sources for topography and history, as they have unclear authorship and dating, and they are popular, funny, unrelentingly pious tales never intended to serve as maps or histories. Moralee recognises the invention on display in this literature. Several gesta put forward a new layer of meaning of the Capitoline, one of resistance. The Temple of Jupiter served as the stage of nefarious acts, and Capitoline priests play starring roles as persecutors and baby-killers; the Capitoline becomes an evil church and its priesthood. The Capitoline temples of the gesta are not only those of Rome, but also the temples of Capitolia across the empire, making what happened in Rome relevant all over the late Roman world. The pious heroes of the martyr acts defied traditional religion, idolatry, sin, and persecution for an eternal reward. An Epilogue considers the subsequent fortunes of the Capitoline in later narratives down to the twelfth-century Mirabilia urbis Romae.

The book is lucidly written with an engaging voice. Moralee is a master of similes and makes sublime word choices: the imagined Romes of the gesta martyrum are 'like snow globes sold in tourist shops' (p. 189), old temples might be 'like decommissioned nuclear power reactors' (p. 62). At times he stretches a bit far with the medieval evidence: a diaconia is not really a 'soup kitchen' (p. 89) but it was a charitable institution; the twelfth-century charter (p. 116) uses notarial formulae so the list of property types is not an account of what exactly was on the hill then; cryptis means "(ancient) vaulted rooms" in medieval Roman documents, not "crypts"; the scholae of foreigners at the Vatican are not 'institutes' (p. 213), whatever that might mean, but hostels and community-centres, they were not only for transalpine visitors, as there was one for Lombards. None of these little issues besmirches his argument. What does detract are the maps. The Capitoline is a well-known and well-studied place with impressive topography both natural and artificial; it changed considerably over time. This book seeks to analyse accounts of that place; it has three-dimensional form on, over, and around which Romans walked up and down each day. Some maps show elevation as indistinguishable blobs of grey—at least I think that's what the blotches intend to represent. Ancient monuments are often shown in outline, which is fine for general orientation, but makes it nearly impossible to understand what 'climbing' or 'experiencing' the hill might have been. The maps cut and pasted from archaeological plans are more helpful, but lack scales and North arrows. To read the first chapters of this book it would be helpful to have at hand Filippo Coarelli, Rome and Environs. An Archaeological Guide, trans. J. Clauss and D. Harmon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014) and Amanda Claridge, Rome: An Archaeological Guide, rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

This study offers a subtle and attentive analysis of the relationships between word and image, stone and story through a period of pivotal change. The very natures of history, sacrality, and imperial power and its representation transmuted in late antiquity, and these changes become clear and apparent when examined through a spotlight on the Capitoline. Moralee's book is filled with careful readings of a wide range of sources and attentive consideration of up-to-date archaeological studies, demonstrating the intersections of the 'lived-in and dreamed-of realities of the hill' (p. 23). Moralee is to be congratulated on an exciting, insightful, and learned contribution to our understanding of how Rome's past gave rise to its future.


1.   Such as Les lieux de mémoire, sous la direction de Pierre Nora, 3 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1986-92), translated as Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past, under the direction of Pierre Nora, ed., trans. A. Goldhammer (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996-8).

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Sunday, March 10, 2019


Daniela Dueck (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Strabo. London; New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. 408. ISBN 9781138904330. $230.00.

Reviewed by Mélanie Lozat, Université de Genève (

Version at BMCR home site

[La table des matières est présentée à la fin du résumé.]

Édité par Daniela Dueck, spécialiste de Strabon et de la géographie antique,1 ce volume réunit vingt-huit contributions d'historiens et de philologues. Les études, de longueur sensiblement égale, donne un aperçu non seulement des ouvrages de Strabon et des méthodes utilisées, mais aussi de la manière dont se constitue le savoir géographique au tournant de notre ère.

Le volume s'ouvre par une introduction succincte de Daniela Dueck. L'éditrice présente en quelques pages Strabon et son œuvre, relève les principales études réalisées sur le géographe, puis expose la structure du Companion. Les articles sont ordonnés selon quatre axes : le milieu intellectuel de Strabon, la Géographie, les Commentaires historiques, et la réception de ces ouvrages de l'Antiquité au XVIe siècle.

Dans la première partie « Strabo's point of view », Myrto Hatzimichali s'intéresse à la manière dont Strabon fait appel à la philosophie en vue de s'inscrire dans la tradition épistémologique de ses prédécesseurs les plus illustres et de légitimer son entreprise géographique. Les deux articles suivants se concentrent sur les connections du géographe avec le monde romain. Nicholas Purcell met en évidence la place centrale de Rome dans la Géographie: alors que les cités sont rarement le sujet d'une présentation littéraire dans les traités géographiques, Strabon donne de nombreux détails sur la topographie de la ville et son histoire, de sa fondation mythique à l'avènement du principat d'Auguste. Purcell montre d'ailleurs que le projet de Strabon est entièrement orienté vers les besoins de l'empire: connaître la géographie d'un pays, son histoire, les coutumes des peuples qui l'habitent est un atout pour les dirigeants romains qui peuvent ainsi contrôler plus facilement un territoire. Jesper Majbom Madsen s'intéresse quant à lui à la position ambivalente de Strabon vis-à-vis du pouvoir romain. Si le géographe admire les succès de Rome et le gouvernement mis en place par Auguste, il n'en demeure pas moins que les valeurs auxquelles il se réfère sont essentiellement grecques.

La seconde partie, la plus longue, est consacrée à l'ouvrage géographique de Strabon. Elle est subdivisée en six sections. La première, « The inhabited world and its parts », traite de la Méditerranée, véritable fil conducteur de la Géographie, et de différentes régions du monde habité, à savoir le nord de l'Europe, l'Ibérie, l'Italie, l'Arménie et la Libye. Si ces régions semblent davantage choisies selon les intérêts propres à chaque auteure (et non selon leur importance dans la Géographie), leur étude permet toutefois de mettre en évidence la manière dont Strabon se sert d'éléments historiques, mythiques ou de stéréotypes hérités de la tradition pour rendre compte de la géographie de certaines parties du monde. La deuxième catégorie d'articles, regroupés sous le titre de « Human Geography », débute par une analyse du rôle des descriptions ethnographiques qui abondent dans la Géographie. Edward Dandrow étudie en effet la construction mise en place par Strabon pour inventorier les différents peuples du monde. Si le géographe d'Amasée semble de prime abord opposer les Grecs aux barbares, les peuples civilisés aux peuples non-civilisés, les Romains aux non-Romains, Dandrow met en évidence la porosité de ces catégories et montre que les groupes ethniques décrits par Strabon ont au final plusieurs facettes, qui dépendent principalement de changements politiques ou migratoires. Les articles suivants traitent des interactions des activités humaines avec la géographie en prenant comme exemple les routes, le commerce et les migrations.

La troisième section, « Mathematical geography », comporte deux études qui montrent l'importance des mesures dans la description littéraire de la géographie, quand bien même aucune carte n'accompagnait le traité de Strabon. La quatrième subdivision, « The art of writing geography », est consacrée à la question de la géographie comme genre littéraire. En prenant comme exemple la description de l'Assyrie et des principaux fleuves du monde habité, les deux premiers articles montrent comment Strabon fait appel à des indicateurs spatiaux pour structurer son traité et ainsi créer une image mentale du monde. Dans l'étude suivante, Daniela Dueck montre que si les proverbes, citations et anecdotes ne sont pas essentiels dans la constitution d'un savoir géographique, ils contribuent aux variations stylistiques employées par Strabon pour briser la monotonie des descriptions géographiques. Le dernier article de cette section porte sur les sources « mineures », c'est-à-dire les moins citées, utilisées par Strabon. Johannes Wietzke s'intéresse à la manière dont le géographe les incorpore dans son récit: elles ont à la fois une valeur fonctionnelle, en tant qu'autorités, et esthétique en raison de leur variété (poikilía). Par l'agrément que les anecdotes, proverbes et citations apportent aux récits, ils augmentent le plaisir, qui est selon Strabon le philtre de l'apprentissage. La cinquième section, « Tradition and sources », examine la tradition mythique que Strabon réemploie pour composer son ouvrage ainsi que quelques-unes des sources qu'il utilise, à savoir Homère et ses commentateurs, Ératosthène et les historiens d'Alexandre. Jane L. Lightfoot se concentre sur la place qu'Homère occupe dans la Géographie. Les prolégomènes reflètent d'ailleurs la querelle autour de la valeur scientifique de la poésie homérique. Ératosthène, entre autres, critiquait la portée « psychagogique » de l'Iliade et de l'Odyssée ainsi que l'ajout d'éléments mythiques pour suppléer à une méconnaisse topographique de certains endroits. Strabon réfute les propos de son prédécesseur en soulignant que les mythes homériques sont didactiques et contiennent un noyau de vérité. La seconde contribution, par Alexadra Trachsel, porte sur les commentateurs d'Homère. Strabon discute en effet à de nombreuses reprises des erreurs de graphie et d'orthographe qui empêchaient une bonne compréhension du texte homérique, notamment en matière de géographie. Dans la troisième étude, Lee E. Patterson propose une analyse des usages des mythes dans la Géographie. Les mythes peuvent être envisagés comme des preuves, ou tout du moins des indices (« evidence » en anglais), permettant d'expliquer la topographie d'un lieu, son origine et son histoire en les rattachant le plus souvent, précise Patterson, à une mémoire hellénique. Pour compléter la réflexion entreprise par Lee E. Patterson et Jane L. Lightfoot, il convient d'ajouter à la bibliographie un article de Joëlle Soler,2 dans lequel l'auteure montre que Strabon n'oppose pas le mythe à l'histoire comme un régime de vérité à un autre, mais qu'il s'agit de deux « formes » (skhḗmata) de discours. Aucune des formes ne permet à elle seule de savoir avec exactitude si l'énoncé dit le vrai ou non. Ce qui permet de juger de la véracité d'un récit, c'est la visée d'ensemble, le télos, le « but » de l'auteur qui écrit en vue de la vérité et du savoir (dans une perspective didactique) ou avec le seul souci de plaire. Dans la dernière étude de cette section, Antonio Ignacio Molina Marín souligne l'influence d'Ératosthène dans l'œuvre de Strabon, tant dans son usage des historiens d'Alexandre que sa volonté de rectifier et corriger les traités antérieurs. L'article pourrait bénéficier des réflexions de Christian Jacob sur le principe de rectification (diόrthōsis).3 La dernière section, « The text », clôt la partie sur la Géographie de Strabon en relevant les difficultés que l'on rencontre lors de l'édition et de la traduction du texte.

La troisième partie est consacrée à la carrière d'historien de Strabon et ne comporte qu'une seule étude. Gósciwit Malinowski recense les thèmes abordés dans les fragments préservés. Ceux-ci se rapportent à l'histoire des Parthes, à celle du Pont, aux actions et expéditions de Pompée, Jules César et Marc Antoine et montrent l'intérêt porté aux signes prophétiques. Il revient également sur le nombre de traités historiques que Strabon aurait composé avant d'entreprendre son projet géographique et conclut qu'au moins deux versions des Commentairescirculaient dès l'époque augustéenne.

La dernière partie porte sur la réception des ouvrages de Strabon. Søren Lund Sørensen montre que les Commentaires historiques et la Géographie n'ont eu finalement qu'une influence restreinte durant l'Antiquité et sont principalement utilisés comme source d'informations exploitables. Patrick Gautier Dalché s'intéresse, quant à lui, à la réception de la Géographie. Après avoir brièvement retracé la transmission de l'ouvrage en Orient dès la période byzantine, il étudie sa réception dans le monde occidental, particulièrement aux XVe et XVIe siècles et montre l'impact que l'œuvre a eu sur le milieu intellectuel européen.

Le Companion s'achève par quatre index, listant les différents passages de la Géographie, les sources antiques utilisées, les noms des personnes et des endroits cités dans les différentes contributions. L'index sur les références de la Géographie rend compte de l'intérêt, sensiblement équivalent, accordé à chacun des livres.

L'ouvrage édité par Daniela Dueck est un outil utile pour les spécialistes de Strabon du fait de la variété des thèmes abordés, mais aussi pour ceux qui se passionnent de géographie antique. Les indications bibliographiques, référencées à la fin de chaque article (et par conséquent parfois répétitives), sont récentes et donnent un état actuel de la recherche sur ces sujets.

Table des matières

Introduction, Daniela Dueck
Part I : Strabo's point of view
Strabo's philosophy and Stoicism, Myrto Hatzimichali
"Such is Rome …": Strabo on the "Imperial metropolis", Nicholas Purcell
Looking in from the outside: Strabo's attitude towards the Roman people, Jesper Majbom Madsen

Part II : The Geography
The inhabited world and its parts
Strabo's Mediterranean, Katherine Clarke
Strabo's description of the North and Roman geo-political ideas, Ekaterina Ilyushechkina
Strabo and Iberia, Benedict J. Lowe
Strabo, Italy and the Italian peoples, Elvira Migliario
Strabo and the history of Armenia, Giusto Traina
Strabo's Libya, Jehan Desanges
Human geography
Ethnography and identity in Strabo's Geography, Edward Dandrow
Strabo's roads, Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen
Patterns of trade and economy in Strabo's Geography, Marta García Morcillo
Strabo's Cis-Tauran Asia: a humanistic geography, María-Paz de Hoz
Mathematical geography
Measurement data in Strabo's Geography, Klaus Geus and Kurt Guckelsberger
Strabo: from maps to words, Pierre Moret
The art of writing geography
Signposts and sub-divisions: hidden pointers in Strabo's narrative, Sarah Pothecary
A river runs through it: waterways and narrative in Strabo, Catherine Connors
Spicing up geography: Strabo's use of tales and anecdotes, Daniela Dueck
Strabo's expendables: the function and aesthetics of minor authority, Johannes Wietzke
Traditions and sources
Man of many voices and of much knowledge; or, In search of Strabo's Homer, Jane L. Lightfoot
Strabo and the Homeric commentators, Alexandra Trachsel
Myth as evidence in Strabo, Lee E. Patterson
Under the shadow of Eratosthenes: Strabo and the Alexander historians, Antonio Ignacio Molina Marín
The text
Textual traditions and textual problems, Roberto Nicolai
On translating Strabo into English, Duane W. Roller

Part III : The historiographic work(s)
Strabo the historian, Gósciwit Malinowski

Part IV : Reception
"So says Strabo": the reception of Strabo's work in antiquity, Søren Lund Sørensen
Strabo's reception in the West (fiteenth-sixteenth centuries), Patrick Gautier Dalché
Index of references to Strabo's Geography
Indes of ancient sources
Index of ancient place names and nations
Index of ancient personal names


1.   Daniela Dueck (2000), Strabo of Amasia. A Greek Man of Letters in Augustan Rome, London; New York: Routledge (compte rendu: BMCR 2001.05.11); Daniela Dueck, Hugh Lindsay, Sarah Pothecary (2005), Strabo's Cultural Geography: The Making of a Kolossourgia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Daniela Dueck (2012), Geography in Classical Antiquity. Key themes in ancient history, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (compte rendu: BMCR 2012.12.29).
2.   Joëlle Soler (2010), « Strabon et les voyageurs: l'émergence d'une analyse pragmatique de la fiction en prose », Danièle Auger & Charles Delattre (eds.), Mythe et fiction, Nanterre: Presses universitaires de Paris-Ouest, p. 97-114 ; OpenEdition Books.
3.   Entre autres, Christian Jacob (1986), « Cartographie et rectification. Essai de lecture des prolégomènes de la Géographie de Strabon », Gianfranco Maddoli (ed.), Strabone. Contributi allo studio della personalità e dell'opera, II, Perugia: Università degli Studi, p. 27-64.

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Friday, March 8, 2019


Alain Duplouy, Roger Brock (ed.), Defining Citizenship in Archaic Greece. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xiii, 370. ISBN 9780198817192. $105.00.

Reviewed by J.J. Mulhern, University of Pennsylvania (

Version at BMCR home site

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

This book memorializes papers presented at conferences in Leeds (2009) and Paris (2010). One of the editors, Alain Duplouy, begins the book with a review of a century's work on subjects related to citizenship in Greece, taking issue with Hansen (6-11) and leading up to scholarship associated with the École de Paris, after which he offers a prospectus of the papers (48).

John K. Davies continues the discussion by proposing "to model (52)" the development of all "types of state (55)" in the post-Mycenaean period ranging from monarchies through ethnē and temple-states to the polis (55-56), each developing from units that are "agro-pastoral-fishing" communities with minimum adult populations of "about fifty (56)." Literary examples are the settlement of the Phaeacians in the Odyssey and Ascra in Works and Days. The model has, provisionally, six elements which are described as kinds of "force" or "energy," for example, that of "the exceptional individual (60)," which Davies offers in the end as a "plausible model (78)" of the emergence and consolidation of the polis-state.

Josine Blok downplays sharing in archai as an index of citizenship in favor of sharing (85) in cult and descent. She summarizes her view: "citizenship, i.e. polis membership, was a status defined by descent, conceived as being a descendant of the original founders of the covenant of the polis with the gods, more precisely as being a legitimate heir to a share of this covenant. This applies equally to men and women, as members of the kin group and as heirs (93)." Further, "Laws consolidated the polis as a human community and perpetuated its covenant with the gods, devolving human and divine property and obligations towards the gods and fellow humans onto future generations (98)." Thus, for Blok, the key elements are cult, descent, and law.

Hans van Wees insists on investigating "both the informal and the formal, legal, institutional aspects of citizenship (105)." He argues that the difference of archaic from classical Athenian citizenship lay "not in greater informality and fluidity [in the archaic period], but on the contrary in stricter legal regulation of military and other obligations for the social and political elite . . . whose significance faded only in the late fifth century with the rise of democratic government (105)." He asks "to what degree was the archaic citizen body a formal juridical 'order' with legally enforceable rights and duties, or rather an informal 'status group' defined by peer judgement of one's 'performance', with moral but not legal obligations and privileges (143)?" His answer is that the Solonian and perhaps older pentakosiomedimnoi, hippeis, and zeugitai were orders from a military standpoint but that the thētes were less than that, although the thētes were required to serve in general levies along with noncitizens, and they might and did volunteer for service, even as hoplites (135, 137).

Paulin Ismard proposes to study "the ways in which associations were able to take part in the slow elaboration of civic identity in sixth-century Athens (146)." He begins with the law of Solon preserved in the Digest which lists some of the associations of the archaic period. He then turns to Plutarch, who "implies the existence of a law of citizenship (148)" in Solon, while acknowledging that this second law was "very far removed in its form from laws of citizenship of the classical period (149)." Both laws, he suggests, describe "the same historical configuration, that of a very weakly integrated sixth-century city within which there were multiple communitarian affiliations, and where the first political entitlements within the 'city under construction' were probably linked to them (151)." After drawing on examples from Herodotus, Plutarch again, and the Politeia of the Athenians, and after referring to "the Solonian definition of citizenship," Ismard concludes, with regard to Cleisthenes' reforms, "it was less important to define the notion of 'citizen' than to construct communitarian structures which alone could guarantee the rights attached to this evolving citizenship (158)."

In the first paper to focus mainly on Sparta, Marcello Lupi attempts "to reconstruct the civic organization of Sparta during the archaic period" using the Rhetra, Tyrtaeus, Herodotus, Pausanias, and some other sources (174). Looking for authority to Tyrtaeus and Demetrius of Scepsis, he suggests that, during the archaic period, "being a Spartan citizen meant being a member of one of the three tribes and the twenty-seven phratries that made up the city. However, the adoption of rational civic structures would not have been sufficient to create social cohesion if it had not been accompanied by participation in collective rituals whereby the members of the Spartan community, suitably mixed, recognized each other as fellow citizens (178)."

Paul Cartledge follows up on his earlier treatments of Sparta with a cautious piece, observing, despite his title, that "to speak of Spartan citizenship 'theory' may perhaps be thought to be pushing the boat out a little too far (179)" but that "Sparta—arguably—invented the citizen ideal in ancient Greece (182)." The Spartan "idea of citizenship" for him connotes "deep membership in a strong corporate body (186)." He finds it "more than debatable whether there is any direct 'legacy' of citizenship from ancient Greece to the modern world (188)."

Nick Fisher also regards citizenship as community membership (189) while acknowledging "the murky gloom of inadequate evidence (190)." He considers the intersection of membership with athletic performance, especially "measures cities might choose to foster gymnastics and athletics" to strengthen their members and to gain international prestige at the games. These measures include making athletic skills part of the qualification for citizenship and easing entry into citizen subgroups "for those marked out by athletic prowess or promise (191)." He offers examples from Sparta (191-202), Crete (202-207), and Athens (207-211), and there are treatments as well of Corinth, Argos, Aegina (211-214), and the South Italian and Sicilian cities (214-223). He concludes that "substantial evidence points almost exclusively to the ambitious and wealthy 'colonial' cities of Sicily and Southern Italy, and above all to Croton and Syracuse," for "positive encouragement directed at athletes [to become citizens of one's own city] (224)."

James Whitley focuses on eating together ("commensality") to explain how "Greek political communities could make up through participation what they lacked in administration (227)"—that is, how the appropriate sort of commensality "defines citizen as against non-citizen (229)." His example is Crete with its andreia, which offered a different dining arrangement (sitting up) from that of the symposium (reclining), though Whitley contends that "citizenship on Crete would not have been too different from citizenship in other 'citizen' (i.e. polis) states on the mainland (246)." He ends by disagreeing with Blok's view that "citizenship was not an exclusively male preserve" and by arguing that, while, in most parts of archaic Greece, "citizenship is predicated on certain kinds of performance, performance that was essentially masculine, competitive, and agonistic . . . the scope that archaic Crete provided for its citizens for any kind of agonistic display seems to have been highly restricted (247)."

Duplouy's second contribution recommends "valuing [archaic Greek] citizenship as a performance, rather than as a granted status enshrined in legal criteria (250)," observing that "the concept of performance originates from theatre studies (252)." At the same time, however, he concedes that "even a performative citizen status could also have been supplemented in some cities with more formal criteria of citizenship (254)." His examples of citizenship as performance include horse breeding ("In archaic Chalcis, horse-breeding was thus probably associated with the performance of citizenship [259]") and luxury (at Sybaris and elsewhere, "luxury and its performance seem to offer a very sound model of archaic citizenship [269]"). Duplouy ends by taking issue with Morris and Ober on middling or mass and elite since "the elite and the 'common people' shared the same agonistic mentality (272)."

In preliminary remarks, Maurizio Giangiulio distances himself from "the idea that the history of the archaic polis was defined by the succession of different constitutions, according to the interpretative model of Aristotelian origin which has strongly influenced the ancient and the modern perception of Greek political history." He observes, "Categories such as 'statehood', 'constitution', 'citizenship', 'political franchises' are not attuned—to say the least—to the nature of political life in the archaic age (276)." He argues that the numbered political bodies in the archaic period typically were "the whole community of the citizens (279)." "Before becoming a legal status," he writes," "citizenship was a distinguished behaviour (292)." In considering evidence for the Thousands of Colophon (Xenophanes), Aeolian Cyme (Heraclides Lembus), Croton, Locri, Rhegium, and Locrian Opus (various sources) as well as for the Six Hundred of Massalia, he proposes that these "numbered political bodies . . . should be seen much more as an integral part of the process by which a notion of citizenship took shape than of the history of the Greek oligarchical regimes (293)."

In concluding, Roger Brock notes by way of retrospect "the sheer range and diversity of criteria for citizenship that were current in the archaic period (295)" and observes that "the diversity of the studies presented" in the book "calls into question both the usefulness of the term 'citizenship' in relation to the archaic period and how archaic arrangements are to be related to citizenship in the classical period (296)," while conceding that "the language of 'citizenship' might be the appropriate terminology (297)."

There is much material in this collection which will repay close study. Organizing the material around a notion of citizenship is challenging, since there is little evidence that the archaic Greeks had a clear concept of citizenship or a word for it, presumably an abstract noun, even if they did have ethnics (Athēnaios, Korinthios 84). Hence the contributors fall back on "might be" and so on. Implicitly acknowledging the lack of evidence by using 'membership' in place of 'citizenship', which several contributors do, could be a step in the right direction given additional linguistic evidence. "Defining" in the title is ambiguous: while it might mean either what the archaic Greeks did or what the authors do, it is used in this book mainly for the way the contributors express themselves rather than for anything attributable to the archaic Greeks.

Readers will find some errors in presentation—for example, a word missing (228), a disagreement in number (253), items mentioned in text (Mitford and Gillies, 276) but omitted from the still extensive and helpful bibliography, Thirlwall's name misspelled twice on this same page (but correct in the notes and bibliography), an extra letter (278), an extra word (287).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements, v
Contents, vii
List of Figures and Tables, ix
List of Abbreviations, xi
List of Contributors, xiii
Chapter 1 – "Pathways to Archaic Citizenship," by Alain Duplouy, 1-49
Chapter 2 – "State Formation in Early Iron Age Greece: The Operative Forces," by John K. Davies, 51-78
Chapter 3 – "Retracing Steps: Finding Ways into Archaic Greek Citizenship," by Josine Blok, 79-101
Chapter 4 – "Citizens and Soldiers in Archaic Athens," by Hans van Wees, 103-143
Chapter 5 – "Associations and Citizenship in Attica from Solon to Cleisthenes," by Paulin Ismard, 145-159
Chapter 6 – "Citizenship and Civic Subdivisions: The Case of Sparta," byMarcello Lupi, 161-178
Chapter 7 – "The Spartan Contribution to Greek Citizenship Theory By Paul Cartledge, 179-188
Chapter 8 – "Athletics and Citizenship," by Nick Fisher, 189-225
Chapter 9 – "Citizenship and Commensality in Archaic Crete: Searching for the Andreion," by James Whitley, 227-248
Chapter 10 – "Citizenship as Performance" by Alain Duplouy, 249-274
Chapter 11 – "Oligarchies of 'Fixed Number' or Citizen Bodies in the Making? " By Maurizio Giangiulio, 275-293
Chapter 12 – "Conclusion: Taking Stock and Looking Backward," by Roger Brock, 295-304
Bibliography, 305-350
Index Locorum, 351-361
General Index, 362-370
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Robin Osborne, P. J. Rhodes, Greek Historical Inscriptions, 478-404 BC. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xxxii, 628. ISBN 9780199575473. $170.00.

Reviewed by Patrice Brun, Université Bordeaux Montaigne​ (

Version at BMCR home site

Publisher's Preview

Ce recueil très attendu d'une sélection d'inscriptions grecques par Robin Osborne et P. J. Rhodes (désormais O & R), qui, presque un demi-siècle après, prend la relève du « Meiggs–Lewis » (1969) (M & L), est en tous points une réussite absolue. Cet ouvrage, dans la droite ligne du recueil des deux mêmes auteurs (mais dans un ordre inversé), consacré en 2003 au IVe siècle (BMCR 2004.10.08), obéit aux mêmes principes qui ont fait sa renommée, avec par exemple la traduction dans la page droite du texte grec édité page gauche. Il faut d'ailleurs se reporter à ce recueil de 2003 pour rappeler ce que les auteurs entendaient justement par inscriptions « historiques » quand tous les épigraphistes s'accordent pour dire que toute inscription est, par nature, historique: ils avançaient, dans leur préface, admettre sous ce terme des textes qui permettaient de faire avancer notre connaissance sur certains points disputés. Autre différence fondamentale: tandis que M & L intégraient des inscriptions archaïques, antérieures à la fin des guerres médiques (28), ce recueil ne débute qu'avec la célébration par Hiéron de Syracuse de sa victoire à Kymè contre les Étrusques en 474 (O & R101 = M & L 29). Comme les deux recueils comptent autant de textes (95), on comprend que le nombre de textes du Ve siècle a augmenté.

Dans une introduction évoquant les spécificités de l'épigraphie du Ve siècle, les auteurs résument de manière très précise certaines questions apparues ou développées depuis la parution du recueil de Meiggs et Lewis. Certaines sont purement épigraphiques comme la problématique des « mains » de graveurs, des republications d'inscriptions, des restitutions, le système numéral, la forme des lettres; d'autres sont plus historiques. Il y a ainsi un développement sur la « constitution athénienne », l'ordre des tribus, l'ordonnancement progressif des décrets, la ferme des impôts, le calendrier, les unités monétaires, les particularités alphabétiques locales, la forme des lettres et l'utilisation des inscriptions par les historiens modernes.

Il n'est évidemment pas possible de détailler la totalité des textes présentés. Il faut cependant commencer par quelques chiffres. Le recueil compte donc 95 textes, dont les deux tiers (64) étaient déjà insérés chez les prédécesseurs d'Osborne et Rhodes. Sur les 31 restants, 11 inédits ont été publiés après 1988 et la seconde édition de M & L (no. 104, 115, 117 B, 124, 127, 128, 143, 146, 161, 163, 178) et d'autres, connus antérieurement à la première édition, n'y avaient pas été intégrés (comme par exemple le n° 105, « Micythus' dedications at Olympia »). Nombre de textes déjà présents dans M & L ayant fait l'objet de publications nouvelles avec insertion de nouveaux fragments, trouvent ici une réédition up to date: c'est le cas par exemple du n° 151, « Contributions to a Spartan War-Fund » dont la découverte du fragment de gauche a montré la présence des Éginètes parmi les contributeurs. Mais, même lorsqu'il n'y a pas eu de nouveau fragment découvert, Osborne et Rhodes notent les lectures nouvelles des stèles qui ont pu être faites ou l'interprétation de leur datation. C'est ainsi que dans l'ensemble, pour les documents « impérialistes » athéniens du Ve siècle, les éditeurs suivent les propositions de Harold Mattingly en abaissant leur gravure aux premières années de la guerre du Péloponnèse. Parfois, un nouveau texte en éclaire un ancien ou permet de le dater de manière précise: c'est ainsi que le n° 161, « Athens honours Polypeithès of Siphnos, 422/1 », publié pour la première fois en 1998 permet, grâce à la mention du secrétaire du Conseil, de dater le n° 162 « Athens honours Callipus of Thessaly » de la même année, alors qu'il l'était jusqu'à présent de 416/5, voire du IVe siècle.

Le choix des textes présentés relève d'une véritable pertinence historique et pas seulement épigraphique. Certaines des inscriptions choisies peuvent être très fragmentaires et laisser donc la place à bien des incertitudes de lecture mais elles illustrent alors tout un pan important d'un aspect historique: c'est le cas du n° 116 (« Athenian dealings with the Delphic Amphictiony, c. 457 ») qui permet d'éclairer les tentatives athéniennes en Grèce Centrale et la situation globale de cet ensemble géographique au milieu du siècle. Si la domination des textes d'origine athénienne est toujours très importante, on voit que O & R ont accompagné les publications d'inscriptions extérieures à Athènes. En effet, sur les 67 textes de M & L postérieurs à 478, on comptait 50 issus de l'Attique et 17 du reste du monde grec. O & R proposent 62 textes venus d'Athènes et 33 du reste du monde grec. On passe des trois quarts d'inscriptions athéniennes à un peu moins des deux tiers, ce qui donne une image plus diversifiée de l'histoire de ce siècle. On imagine assez bien que les auteurs auraient pu augmenter le nombre d'inscriptions, mais le volume compte déjà plus de 600 pages et l'on imagine ce qu'il en aurait été, de la commodité de lecture d'une part, et du prix d'autre part, déjà astronomique.

Chaque texte est précédé d'une description et d'une présentation rapide de la pierre, des principales éditions du texte et de quelques références bibliographiques sur son utilisation historique. Ce serait un très mauvais et injuste procès que de souligner de prétendus oublis: on ne peut pas donner tous les livres et articles qui parlent de telle ou telle inscription. Le texte est évidemment accompagné d'un apparat critique et suivi d'un commentaire qui peut être long. Il s'agit là de la grande différence avec l'ouvrage de M & L, qui se contentait d'un commentaire explicatif assez minimal et qui, rappelons-le, ne donnait pas non plus de traduction. Le n° 109, la célèbre « Casualty-list of the Athenian tribe Erechtheis » ne donne aucune indication nouvelle sur le texte lui-même, mais elle permet à O & R d'expliquer le sens de ce type de stèle commémorative.1 Le n° 119 (« Athenian tribute quota lists, 454/3 – 432/1 ») est ainsi l'occasion de neuf pages très denses sur toutes ces années de phoros. De la même manière, le n° 172 (« Confiscated property of the Hermocopidae ») reprend en autant de pages tout le détail de l'affaire et commente en détail les informations considérables que livre ce document. O & R font toujours, lorsque c'est possible et pertinent, une allusion à des données dialectales du texte (ainsi pour les n° 117 A et 118 sur le dialecte thessalien).

Cet ouvrage majeur n'est pas seulement un manuel d'épigraphie, exemples à l'appui. C'est un vrai et grand livre d'histoire du Ve siècle, grâce précisément à ces commentaires où rien n'échappe aux auteurs: la mise en relation avec les sources littéraires, quand c'est possible, est toujours recherchée, comme en témoigne le n° 132, « Halicarnassian law concerning disputed property » où apparaît le personnage de Lygdamis, connu pour être peut-être responsable de l'exil d'Hérodote; la bibliographie, sans être pléthorique, est juste et bien choisie. Enfin, les trois riches index permettent une circulation commode dans l'ensemble du livre. Il ne fait pas de doute que cette nouvelle édition des Greek Historical Inscriptions sera, pour le demi-siècle à venir, la référence épigraphique et historique du Ve siècle. ​


1.   Peut-être aurait-il été utile dans le commentaire d'évoquer ici l'inscription honorant les morts de Marathon récemment découverte et publiée et concernant la même tribu Erechtheis, inscription dans laquelle on trouve six noms connus par la stèle de 464. ​

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Response: Rebillard on Bremmer on Rebillard, Greek and Latin Narratives about the Ancient Martyrs. Response to 2019.02.37

Response by Éric Rebillard, Cornell University (

Version at BMCR home site

Though I am grateful to Jan Bremmer for his review, I must point out one erroneous and at least two tendentious statements that misrepresent my work.

The erroneous statement is the following: "Rebillard has only eleven texts (in all cases, I have counted the various texts regarding the same martyr(s) as one Act), all dating from before 260, as 'by 300 there is a genre that both authors and readers identify as martyr narrative (21)', a statement that is not supported by any argument." I do not contend that the texts that I selected for publication date from before 260. Instead, the statement excerpted by Bremmer from p. 21 explains why I selected only narratives about Christians executed before 260. It says nothing about the date of composition of the narratives themselves.

The tendentious statements are the following:

"Unfortunately, his criteria for selection are arbitrary, as he has accepted only 'isolated, or stand-alone narratives' about one or several martyrs, whose existence is guaranteed by a mention by Eusebius or Augustine (21-22). […] And why would Augustine and Eusebius have mentioned all martyr Acts? But not only the selection is arbitrary; the order of publication too makes no sense."

I do not use tendentious lightly: the reader of Bremmer's review cannot from these statements get a fair sense of what I tried to do.

I cannot accept that my "criteria for selection are arbitrary." One can disagree with them. However, they are carefully defined and explained in the introduction. I dispense with the issue of authenticity and I resist dating the texts on the basis of internal elements. I look, therefore, for an external attestation to the existence of the texts. Bremmer's rhetorical question "And why would Augustine and Eusebius have mentioned all martyr Acts?" implies that I claim this could be or is the case. However, I explain quite clearly that I only include texts for which Eusebius and Augustine provide a terminus ante quem. This does not assume that no other martyr text had been written beyond those mentioned by Eusebius and Augustine, only that we have no external evidence about those other texts. The Acts of Justin, mentioned by Bremmer, is a good example. Bremmer contends that in version A, which he calls the oldest, "nothing points to a post- Eusebian age." This is the kind of judgement call with which I try to dispense. No agreement can be settled on such a basis, as is clear from the history of scholarship on the Acts of Justin. On the other hand, Eusebius, who displays an extensive knowledge about Justin, only knows the circumstances of his martyrdom through Tatian and does not mention any narrative. This is not positive evidence that version A is post-Eusebian. It is the absence of positive, external evidence that this version was composed before Eusebius that leads me to exclude it from my collection.

Again, one can disagree with the order in which the texts in my edition are published. I would argue, however, that it makes a lot of sense. The texts are presented in alphabetical order, following the numberings of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca and the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina. All the collections mentioned by Bremmer at the beginning of his review list texts in the chronological order of the executions they report. Such a presentation runs the risk of making the reader believe that the texts were composed at the time of the execution and that they can be used to document the "persecutions." Few historians would accept that is the case. The intertextual relations between the texts are noted in the notes so that the reader will not miss them. Bremmer writes "Polycarp influenced Pionius." I assume he means The Martyrdom of Polycarp influenced The Martyrdom of Pionius. This is inexact or at least debatable: The Martyrdom of Pionius refers to the martyrdom of Polycarp, not necessarily to The Martyrdom of Polycarp. These distinctions are important.

I am not sure to what Bremmer refers when he writes: "It seems therefore not helpful to speak of the authenticity of the earlier Acts." This is exactly my point: the notion of authenticity should be abandoned. However, authenticity should not be confused with historical reliability. A close reading of my introduction will show that I do not discuss the historical reliability of the narratives.

For the Greek and Latin texts, the decision I made was to use the best available critical editions, and not to provide randomly emendated texts. Bremmer himself repeatedly criticized Musurillo for such a practice in his invaluable Notiunculae martyrologicae. Van Beek (1936) is still the best edition available for the Passion of Perpetua. I indicate in several footnotes how the Greek text can provide interesting readings (305n62, 307n68, 307n74, 309n75313n86, 319n100, 321n106, 321n107). I disagree with Bremmer that we should correct the Latin text by using the Greek one.

I thank Bremmer for noting that my book "is progress compared with earlier editions." I do not wish to replace them, not even Musurillo. The collection was conceived and commissioned originally as a "new Musurillo." I quickly realized, however, that if I wanted to bring something new, I needed radically different criteria of selection and organization. I hope that my response will provide a better sense of what these are than Bremmer's review and allow the reader to agree or disagree with them.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019


Anne Bielman Sánchez, Isabelle Cogitore, Anne Kolb (ed.), Femmes influentes dans le monde hellénistique et à Rome (IIIe siècle av. J.-C. - Ier siècle apr. J.-C.). Des Princes. Grenoble: ELLUG Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. Pp. 260. ISBN 9782843103278. €25.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Rosario López Gregoris, Univ. Autónoma de Madrid (

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

Este libro colectivo, fruto de dos mesas redondas celebradas en Grenoble y Lausane en 2014, compara la presencia de mujeres cercanas al poder (denominadas "influyentes") en dos periodos históricos distintos, el helenístico y el romano, para determinar puntos comunes y divergentes en las maneras en que las mujeres están en el poder y, eventualmente, lo usan. El libro se estructura en dos partes, una dedicada a las formas femeninas de asociación al poder (con 5 capítulos), y otra dedicada al ejercicio del poder (con 4 capítulos). Ambas partes van precedidas de inteligentes introducciones y síntesis a cargo de las editoras, que ponen de relieve los aspectos más destacados de los distintos capítulos dentro del plan general.

El libro se abre con una introducción y se cierra con un capítulo de conclusiones que evidencia los mecanismos más recurrentes de influencia femenina que el libro identifica: el de matronazgo o red familiar, así como el de pertenencia a una familia poderosa que convierte a la mujer en una fuerza legitimadora, el de fortuna económica para intervenir en política, así como el de mantenedora de una moral patriarcal firmemente establecida. La comparación entre periodos confirma que estos mecanismos no permiten en Roma el ejercicio femenino del poder, que siempre se vio como subversivo; sin embargo, en las monarquías helenísticas se tolera e incluso se admite que la mujer detente, en condiciones bien definidas, la autoridad legítima.

En la primera parte, los dos primeros trabajos se centran en las monarquías helenísticas, con dos casos que ilustran de manera efectiva la instrumentalización de las mujeres asociadas al poder. El primero de ellos ("Apamé. Une reine au coeur de la construction d'un royaume", pp. 17-33), a cargo de Marie Widmer, desarrolla la utilización de la reina Apamea por parte de su marido y rey, Seleucos I, tanto para mantener el control del poder en un vasto territorio, gracias a una eficaz red familiar, como para legitimar al heredero del trono, Antíoco I, hijo de ambos. El segundo trabajo ("Representation and agency of royal women in Hellenistic dynastic crises. The case of Berenike and Laodice", pp. 35-59), firmado por Monica d'Agostini, pone de nuevo la atención en la compleja red de relaciones y lealtades que las reinas Laódice y Berenice, ambas viudas de Antíoco II, tejieron en sus respectivas zonas de influencia, durante la guerra que las enfrentó para designar a sus respectivos hijos como heredero al trono. Todo hace pensar que, en su posición de autoridad, crearon "matronazgos" poderosos, con ejércitos propios, independientes del poder del rey. El tercer trabajo ("The king's daughters: Justin's story", pp. 61-80) de Jens Bartels, basado en el estudio del término filia en el epítome de Justino, explica el comportamiento pasivo de las hijas asociadas al poder como modelo de conducta romano, que establece la norma de la obediencia al padre. Ello conlleva una dura crítica de las reinas y madres de las monarquías helenísticas que se enfrentan a los maridos a la hora de elegir consorte para las hijas, en la convicción de que son los padres los que deben marcar la política familiar de los enlaces.

La presencia femenina en los retratos de las monedas, provinciales y de Roma, permite a Fabrice Delrieux y Marie-Claire Ferriès, los autores de "Portraits des femmes, profils de reines? Les femmes sus les monnaies provinciales romains à la fin de la République et au début de l'Empire (43 av. J.-C.–68 apr. J.-C.)" (pp. 81-117), poner de relieve que en este periodo existe una estrecha unión entre mensaje político y representación femenina, aunque hay que tener presente que las mujeres aparecen representadas no por su propio poder, sino como acompañantes y refuerzo del poder imperial. Aunque la variedad de las fórmulas de representación es grande y está bien explicada (el trabajo está muy bien documentado y ofrece gran cantidad de información), sobresalen de entre los datos dos mensajes: uno sobre la figuración de las monedas provinciales, más proclive a la divinización de sus gobernantes; otro, en el caso de las monedas acuñadas en la época de Calígula con la efigie de sus hermanas y su madre, que desarrolla un nuevo mensaje político, a saber, que el emperador, como representante máximo del poder, legitima desde su posición a toda su familia, con independencia del sexo y de la jerarquía familiar.

La fuerza legitimadora de las mujeres de la familia imperial viene de nuevo resaltada en la lectura política que propone Francesca Cenerini ("Il matrimonio con un'Augusta: forma di legittimazione?", pp. 119-143) para dos matrimonios mal comprendidos, el de Sejano y Livia Julia, bajo Tiberio, y el de C. Silio con Mesalina, bajo Claudio. Queda bien establecido en el trabajo que las mujeres de la domus Augusta son usadas como vías de legitimación del poder, y más aún en el caso de ambas consortes, nombradas Augustas. Precisamente la capacidad dinástica que suponía un matrimonio con una Augusta está en la base, según la autora, de la prohibición de Tiberio del matrimonio de Livia Julia con Sejano, quien pretendía legitimar sus aspiraciones al poder imperial con un matrimonio que además le diera hijos. En mi opinión, la unión de Mesalina y Silio es más difícil de explicar, pues no deja de ser sorprendente la poca visión política de Mesalina en un supuesto matrimonio de tanto riesgo para ella y su hijo, y la torpeza política de un supuesto hábil patricio como Silio, que no midió la influencia real en la corte del valido del emperador, Narciso. Muchas sombras aún impiden ver con claridad el propósito de esta unión.

La segunda parte del libro está dedicada al análisis del ejercicio efectivo del poder por parte de las mujeres influyentes. Para ilustrar este protagonismo, Anne Bielman et Giuseppina Lenzo ("Deux femmes de pouvoir chez les lagides: Cléopâtre I et Cléopâtre II (IIe siècle av. J.- C.)", pp. 157-174) ofrecen una lección magistral de cómo rescatar del olvido y la censura el reinado de dos mujeres excepcionales, Cleopatra I y su hija, Cleopatra II, reinas de Egipto entre los años 180 y 115 a.C. El fino análisis de documentos contemporáneos a las reinas (protocolo en los documentos oficiales, estatuas, monedas, etc.) delatan su presencia y voluntad de participación en la política en una fórmula que las autoras denominan "reinado conjunto" de dos o tres miembros, en detrimento del término ambiguo corregencia. Esta capacidad de correinar con distintos grados de influencia (en especial Cleopatra II), que se deja ver en la titulación de los protocolos de la documentación oficial, con un genitivo absoluto del verbo reinar en femenino singular (expresión máxima de voluntad política e individualidad), solo se explica, dicen las autoras, por una sólida red de apoyos internos y una preeminencia económica incontestable. Sería deseable que la historiografía moderna tratara el reinado de estas mujeres no como un hecho singular, sino como un proceso político apoyado en una cierta manera de concebir la monarquía en los estados helenísticos y en el imperio egipcio.

En "La ricchezza delle matrone: Ortensia nella dialettica politica al tramonto della Repubblica" (pp. 175-196), Tomaso Maria Lucchelli y Francesca Rohr Vio, por su parte, insisten en las redes familiares y el efectivo poder político y económico del grupo familiar para explicar el éxito del discurso pronunciado en el foro por Hortensia, hija del célebre orador Hortensio, contra un procedimiento extraordinario, ordenado por los triunviros en el año 42 a.C., que afectaba a mil cuatrocientas matronas romanas y consistía en pedir una estimación de su fortuna e imponer un impuesto para financiar la campaña militar en Oriente contra la facción republicana. Según las fuentes, tras esta actuación, el número de matronas afectadas se redujo a cuatrocientas. En ambos procedimientos, siempre según los autores, había un segundo objetivo menos evidente, debilitar las fuerzas republicanas que, desde Roma y usando a las matronas como depositarias de ingentes fortunas familiares, podían apoyar económicamente a la facción republicana. Hortensia, por su ascendencia familiar, era una de esas matronas con una gran fortuna y unida a importantes políticos republicanos represaliados, elegida precisamente por las otras matronas como portavoz por el poder político de su grupo familiar.

Christiane Kunst analiza, en "Formen der Intervention einflussreicher Frauen" (pp. 197-216), tres escenarios de intervención femenina en ausencia del hombre: el primero, por medio de esposas de hombres influyentes, el segundo, por medio de parientes femeninos de hombres importantes, y el tercero, la presencia femenina en el marco del espacio público: en manifestaciones rituales excepcionales. La intervención de la mujer en política se explica como forma de defensa de los intereses familiares y también como síntoma de crisis en el Estado romano; de hecho, forma parte del relato legendario tradicional que las mujeres se echan a la calle o toman el rumbo del Estado en momentos de grave peligro social o ante la ausencia de liderazgo masculino. La documentación literaria muestra que las mujeres estuvieron presentes de forma velada en todas las decisiones políticas del convulso I a.C. y que su influencia se basaba en poderosas redes femeninas y familiares, siempre dentro de la élite romana. Una forma constatada de intervención femenina en el espacio público es la supplicatio, ceremonia que se aborda desde la óptica de este entramado de redes llamado matronazgo femenino.

El último artículo ("Die Schwester potentiell einflussreicher Männer: einige Exempla aus dem römischen Reich in der Kaiserzeit", pp. 217- 242), de Leonhard Burckhardt, se centra en el papel que las hermanas desempañaban en la estructura familiar y en las relaciones sociales de la familia dentro del entramado político romano, y confirma el peso que los matrimonios de estas mujeres suponían en términos de representación y asociación para las familias tanto de la élite como de otros niveles sociales. Para ilustrar esta tesis y sus consecuencias políticas, el autor propone como ejemplar la figura de Octavia, la hermana de Augusto, sostenedora en cada una de sus decisiones de la ideología patriarcal romana de poder, y, en el lado opuesto, las hermanas de Calígula, tan cercanas a las decisiones de poder que la historiografía conservadora romana no dudó en calificar la relación entre hermanos de un caso de incesto, especialmente en el caso de Drusila. El tercer ejemplo propuesto, el de Berenice, hermana de Herodes Agripa II, representa otro modelo, aparentemente más cercano al papel que las dinastías helenísticas concedieron a las mujeres emparentadas con los hombres de poder, donde precisamente la relación familiar (la consanguineidad) otorgaba a la hermana una representación oficial asociada al poder y un control de esa representación.

Más allá de las aportaciones concretas de cada capítulo, el libro ofrece una oportuna reflexión en torno al concepto "influyente", útil instrumento para futuros estudios sobre la mujer en el mundo antiguo. El acercamiento no es intuitivo, sino que se basa en el análisis de una serie de rasgos citados en la introducción (veintidós temas sabiamente seleccionados por las directoras, pp. 12-13, de los cuales algunos quedan finalmente descartados, pp. 244-245), cuya pertinencia y recurrencia constituyen la base científica del libro y consiguen así sustentar la categoría de "influyente", absolutamente necesaria en los Estudios de Género de la Antigüedad.

En otro nivel de importancia, este libro también ofrece un buen número de nuevas líneas de trabajo. Uno de ellas, por ejemplo, es la educación de la mujer de élite en Roma y la falta de datos al respecto. Otra, la decisión política de Calígula de unir sus hermanas al poder, asumiendo un modelo helenístico contrario a la tradición romana. Otras líneas dignas de mención son el funcionamiento de las parejas de poder, es decir, el reparto efectivo de funciones en el desempeño del poder, y la debilidad del sistema dinástico creado por Augusto con el papel legitimador otorgado a las mujeres de la domus Augusta.

Table des Mätières

Introduction - Problématiques. Isabelle Cogitore, Uniuersité Grenoble Alpes 7

Première Partie. Les autouts de la réussite féminines erours 15
Chapitre I. Apamè. Une reine au coeur de la construction d'un royaume. Marie Widmer, Uniuersité de Lausanne 17
Chapitre II. Representation and agency of royal women in Hellenistic dynascic crises. The case of Berenike and Laodike, Monica DAgostini, Uniuersità Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan 35
Chapitre III. The king's daughters: Justin's story. Jens ßartels, Uniuersität Zurich 61
Chapitre IV. Portraits de femmes, profils de reines ? Les femmes sur les monnaies provinciales romaines à la fin de la République et au début de I'Empire (43 av. J-C. - 68 apr. J.-C.). Fabrice Delrieux, Uniuersité Sauoie Mont Blanc et Marie-Claire Ferriès, Uniuersité Grenoble Alpes 81
Chapitre V. Il matrimonio con un'Auguste: forma di legittimazione? Francesca Cenerini, Uniuersità di Bologna 119
Synthèse de la première partie. Anne Bielman Sánchez, Uniuersité de Lausanne 143

Deuxième Partie. L'exercice d'un pouvoir par les femmes 155
Chapitre VI. Deux femmes de pouvoir chez les Lagides : Cléopâtre I et Cléopâtre II (IIe siècle av. J.-C.). Anne ßielman Sánchez et Giuseppina Lenzo, Uniuersité de Lausanne 157
Chapitre VII. La ricchezza delle matrone : Ortensia nella dialettica politica al tramonto della Repubblica. Tomaso Maria Lacchelli et Francesca Rohr Vio, Università Ca' Foscari, Venise 175
Chapitre VIII. Formen der Intervention einflussreicher Frauen. Christiane Kunst, Uniuersität Osnabrück 197
Chapitre IX. Die Schwester potentiell einflussreicher Männer : Einige Exempla aus dem römischen Reich in der Kaiserzeit. Leonhard ßurckhardt, Uniuersité de Bâle 217
Synthesis Part II. Anne Kolb, Uniuersität Zürich 237
Conclusion. Anne Bielrman Sánchez, Uniuersité de Lausanne 243
Les auteurs 255
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