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A Character Sketch
"A vibrant account that puts flesh on the bare bones of early Roman history." ---Celia Schultz, University of Michigan The ancient Romans' story down to 264 B.C. can be made credible by stripping away their later myths and inventions to show how their national character shaped their destiny. After many generations of scholarly study, consensus is clear: the account in writers like Livy is not to be trusted because their aims were different from ours in history-writing. They wanted their work to be both improving and diverting. It should grow out of the real past, yes, but if that reality couldn't be recovered, or was uncertain, their art did not forbid invention. It more than tolerated dramatic incidents, passions, heroes, heroines, and villains. If, however, all this resulting ancient fiction and adornment are pruned away, a national character can be seen in the remaining bits and pieces of credible information, to explain the familiar story at least in its outlines. To doubt the written sources has long been acceptable, but this or that detail or narrative section must always be left for salvage by special pleading. To press home the logic of doubt is new. To reach beyond the written sources for a better support in excavated evidence is no novelty; but it is a novelty, to find in archeology the principal substance of the narrative---which is the choice in this book. To use this in turn for the discovery of an ethnic personality, a Roman national character, is key and also novel. What is repeatedly illustrated and emphasized here is the distance traveled by the art or craft of understanding the past---"history" in that sense---over the course of the last couple of centuries. The art cannot be learned, because it cannot be found, through studying Livy and Company. Readers who care about either of the two disciplines contrasted, Classics and History, may find this argument of interest. "Like Thucydides of the hyperactive Athenians and de Tocqueville of the nation-building Americans, MacMullen here draws a character sketch of the early Romans---the men who built Rome, conquered Italy, and created an empire. Based on profound familiarity with history, evidence, and their better-known descendants, attention to what they did and failed to do, remarkable insight, empathy, constructive imagination, and not without humor, he reconstructs the homo Romanus and thus helps us imagine what he was like, and understand why he achieved what he did. This little book is informative, full of important ideas, and delightful to read." ---Kurt Raaflaub, Brown University Jacket image: Marcus Fabius and Quintus Tannius. Fresco. Musei Capitolini, Rome, Italy. Courtesy of Scala / Art Resource, NY..
A Study of Social History and the Brothel
In recent years, a number of classical scholars have turned their attention to prostitution in the ancient world. Close examination of the social and legal position of Roman meretrices and Greek hetairai have enriched our understanding of ancient sexual relationships and the status of women in these societies. These studies have focused, however, almost exclusively on the legal and literary evidence. McGinn approaches the issues from a new direction, by studying the physical venues that existed for the sale of sex, in the context of the Roman economy. Combining textual and material evidence, he provides a detailed study of Roman brothels and other venues of venal sex (from imperial palaces and privates houses to taverns, circuses, and back alleys) focusing on their forms, functions, and urban locations. The book covers the central period of Roman history, roughly from 200 B.C. to A.D. 250. It will especially interest social and legal historians of the ancient world, and students of gender, sexuality, and the family. Thomas A. J. McGinn is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Vanderbilt University.
Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca and Petronius
In The Empire of the Self, Christopher Star studies the question of how political reality affects the concepts of body, soul, and self. Star argues that during the early Roman Empire the establishment of autocracy and the development of a universal ideal of individual autonomy were mutually enhancing phenomena. The Stoic ideal of individual empire or complete self-command is a major theme of Seneca’s philosophical works. The problematic consequences of this ideal are explored in Seneca’s dramatic and satirical works, as well as in the novel of his contemporary, Petronius. Star examines the rhetorical links between these diverse texts and demonstrates how the idea that imperial speech structures and reveals the self represents a significant point of contact between two writers generally thought to be antagonists.
Political by its very nature, Greek tragedy reflects on how life should be lived in the polis, and especially the polis that was democratic Athens. Instructional as well, drama frequently concerns itself with the audience's moral education. Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians draws on these political and didactic functions of tragedy for a close analysis of five plays: Alcestis, Hippolytus, Hecuba, Heracles, and Trojan Women. Clearly written and persuasively argued, this volume addresses itself to all who are interested in Greek tragedy. Nonspecialists and scholars alike will deepen their understanding of this complex writer and the tumultuous period in which he lived. ". . . a lucid presentation of the positive side of Euripidean tragedy, and a thoughtful reminder of the political implications of Greek tragedy." --American Journal of Philology ". . . the principal defect of [this] otherwise excellent study is that it is too short." --Erich Segal, Classical Review ". . . a most stimulating book throughout . . . ." --Greece and Rome Justina Gregory is Professor of Classics, Smith College, where she is head of the department. She has been the recipient of Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson fellowships.
Cosmos, Politics, and the Ideology of Kingship in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia
For almost three thousand years, Egypt and Mesopotamia were each ruled by the single sacred office of kingship. Though geographically near, these ancient civilizations were culturally distinct, and scholars have historically contrasted their respective conceptualizations of the ultimate authority, imagining Egyptian kings as invested with cosmic power and Mesopotamian kings as primarily political leaders. In fact, both kingdoms depended on religious ideals and political resources to legitimate and exercise their authority. Cross-cultural comparison reveals the sophisticated and varied strategies that ancient kings used to unify and govern their growing kingdoms.
Experiencing Power, Generating Authority draws on rich material records left behind by both kingdoms, from royal monuments and icons to the written deeds and commissions of kings. Thirteen essays provocatively juxtapose the relationships Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings had with their gods and religious mediators, as well as their subjects and court officials. They also explore the ideological significance of landscape in each kingdom, since the natural and built environment influenced the economy, security, and cosmology of these lands. The interplay of religion, politics, and territory is dramatized by the everyday details of economy, trade, and governance, as well as the social crises of war or the death of a king. Reexamining established notions of cosmic and political rule, Experiencing Power, Generating Authority challenges and deepens scholarly approaches to rulership in the ancient world.
Contributors: Mehmet-Ali Ataç, Miroslav Bárta, Dominique Charpin, D. Bruce Dickson, Eckart Frahm, Alan B. Lloyd, Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia, Ludwig D. Morenz, Ellen Morris, Beate Pongratz-Leisten, Michael Roaf, Walther Sallaberger, JoAnn Scurlock.
The Rise of Peisistratos and "Democratic" Tyranny at Athens
The sixth century is a very contentious time; Fame, Money, and Power unambiguously advances our understanding of Peisistratos and archaic Athens. No one else has tackled so many of the difficult issues that Lavelle has taken on. --David Tandy, University of Tennessee "Well researched and engaging, [Fame, Money, and Power] painstakingly builds [its] case for how the various phases of Peisistratos's career developed." --Tony Podlecki, University of British Columbia The Athenian "golden age" occurred in the fifth century B.C.E. and was attributed to their great achievements in art, literature, science, and philosophy. However, the most important achievement of the time was the political movement from tyranny to democracy. Though tyranny is thought to be democracy's opposite and deadly enemy, that is not always the case. In Fame, Money, and Power, Brian Lavelle states that the perceived polarity between tyranny and democracy does not reflect the truth in this instance. The career of the tyrant Peisistratos resembles the careers and successes of early democratic soldier-politicians. As with any democratic political system, Peisistratos' governance depended upon the willingness of the Athenians who conceded governance to him. This book attempts to show how the rise of Peisistratos fits into an essentially democratic system already entrenched at Athens in the earlier sixth century B.C.E. Emerging from the apparent backwater of eastern Attika, Peisistratos led the Athenians to victory over their neighbors, the Megarians, in a long, drawn out war. That victory earned him great popularity from the Athenians and propelled him along the road to monarchy. Yet, political success at Athens, even as Solon implies in his poems, depended upon the enrichment of the Athenian d?mos, not just fame and popularity. Peisistratos tried and failed two times to "root" his tyranny, his failures owing to a lack of sufficient money with which to appease the demos. Exiled from Athens, he spent the next ten years amassing money to enrich the Athenians and power to overcome his enemies. He then sustained his rule by grasping the realities of Athenian politics. Peisistratos' tyrannies were partnerships with the d?mos, the first two of which failed. His final formula for success, securing more money than his opponents possessed and then more resources for enriching the d?mos, provided the model for future democratic politicians of Athens who wanted to obtain and keep power in fifth-century Athens.
Public Taxation and Social Relations
To meet the enormous expenses of maintaining its powerful navy, democratic Athens gave wealthy citizens responsibility for financing and commanding the fleet. Known as trierarchs—literally, ship commanders—they bore the expenses of maintaining and repairing the ships, as well as recruiting and provisioning their crews. The trierarchy grew into a powerful social institution that was indispensable to Athens and primarily responsible for the city's naval prowess in the classical period. Financing the Athenian Fleet is the first full-length study of the financial, logistical, and social organization of the Athenian navy. Using a rich variety of sources, particularly the enormous body of inscriptions that served as naval records, Vincent Gabrielsen examines the development and function of the Athenian trierarchy and revises our understanding of the social, political, and ideological mechanisms of which that institution was a part. Exploring the workings, ships, and gear of Athens' navy, Gabrielsen explains how a huge, costly, and highly effective operation was run thanks to the voluntary service and contributions of the wealthy trierarchs. He concludes with a discussion of the broader implications of the relationship between Athens' democracy and its wealthiest citizens. "This is a marvelous book: an original, well-researched, and compelling treatment of the financial organization of the Atheniannavy, from which Gabrielsen expands our understanding of the functioning of Athens' democratic government. In particular, he addresses the topic of how democracy induced its richer members not to hide their money but to spend it on behalf of Athens. Gabrielsen has mastered a rich body of unusual—and fundamental—material which he presents with clarity and intelligence. This book is a major contribution to Athenian social history."—Robert Wallace, Northwestern University.
While the remains of its massive aqueducts serve as tangible reminders of Rome’s efforts to control its supply of drinking water, there are scant physical reminders that other waters sometimes raged out of control. In fact, floods were simply a part of life in ancient Rome, where proximity to the Tiber left a substantial part of the city vulnerable to the river's occasional transgressions. Here, in the first book-length treatment of the impact of floods on an ancient city, Gregory S. Aldrete draws upon a diverse range of scientific and cultural data to develop a rich and detailed account of flooding in Rome throughout the classical period. Aldrete explores in detail the overflowing river’s destructive effects, drawing from ancient and modern written records and literary accounts, analyses of the topography and hydrology of the Tiber drainage basin, visible evidence on surviving structures, and the known engineering methods devised to limit the reach of rising water. He discusses the strategies the Romans employed to alleviate or prevent flooding, their social and religious attitudes toward floods, and how the threat of inundation influenced the development of the city's physical and economic landscapes.
The Black Experience of Ancient Egypt
In From Slave to Pharaoh, noted Egyptologist Donald B. Redford examines over two millennia of complex social and cultural interactions between Egypt and the Nubian and Sudanese civilizations that lay to the south of Egypt. These interactions resulted in the expulsion of the black Kushite pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty in 671 B.C. by an invading Assyrian army. Redford traces the development of Egyptian perceptions of race as their dominance over the darker-skinned peoples of Nubia and the Sudan grew, exploring the cultural construction of spatial and spiritual boundaries between Egypt and other African peoples. Redford focuses on the role of racial identity in the formulation of imperial power in Egypt and the legitimization of its sphere of influence, and he highlights the dichotomy between the Egyptians' treatment of the black Africans it deemed enemies and of those living within Egyptian society. He also describes the range of responses—from resistance to assimilation—of subjugated Nubians and Sudanese to their loss of self-determination. Indeed, by the time of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, the culture of the Kushite kings who conquered Egypt in the late eighth century B.C. was thoroughly Egyptian itself. Moving beyond recent debates between Afrocentrists and their critics over the racial characteristics of Egyptian civilization, From Slave to Pharaoh reveals the true complexity of race, identity, and power in Egypt as documented through surviving texts and artifacts, while at the same time providing a compelling account of war, conquest, and culture in the ancient world.
Odysseus in Ancient Thought
Praise for Silvia Montiglio "[A] brilliant and important book. . . . " ---Journal of Religion, on Silence in the Land of Logos "[A]n invigorating reevaluation of both the ancient symbolic landscape and our preconceptions of it." ---American Journal of Philology, on Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture Best known for his adventures during his homeward journey as narrated in Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus remained a major figure and a source of inspiration in later literature, from Greek tragedy to Dante's Inferno to Joyce's Ulysses. Less commonly known, but equally interesting, are Odysseus' "wanderings" in ancient philosophy: Odysseus becomes a model of wisdom for Socrates and his followers, Cynics and Stoics, as well as for later Platonic thinkers. From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought follows these wanderings in the world of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, retracing the steps that led the cunning hero of Homeric epic and the villain of Attic tragedy to become a paradigm of the wise man. From Villain to Hero explores the reception of Odysseus in philosophy, a subject that so far has been treated only in tangential or limited ways. Diverging from previous studies, Montiglio outlines the philosophers' Odysseus across the spectrum, from the Socratics to the Middle Platonists. By the early centuries CE, Odysseus' credentials as a wise man are firmly established, and the start of Odysseus' rehabilitation by philosophers challenges current perceptions of him as a villain. More than merely a study in ancient philosophy, From Villain to Hero seeks to understand the articulations between philosophical readings of Odysseus and nonphilosophical ones, with an eye to the larger cultural contexts of both. While this book is the work of a classicist, it will also be of interest to students of philosophy, comparative literature, and reception studies.