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Vol. 5 (2014) through current issue
Islamic Africa is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, academic journal published by Northwestern University Press in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA), based at Northwestern University, Evanston. The journal incorporates Sudanic Africa, retaining its focus on historical sources, bibliographies, and methodologies. Islamic Africa promotes interaction between scholars of Islam and Africa across all continents and across historical periods.
Civic virtue and the type of education that produces publicly minded citizens became a topic of debate in American political discourse of the 1980s, as it once was among the intelligentsia of Classical Athens. Conservatives such as former National Endowment for the Humanities chairman William Bennett and his successor Lynn Cheney held up the Greek philosopher Aristotle as the model of a public-spirited, virtue-centered civic educator. But according to the contributors in this volume, a truer model, both in his own time and for ours, is Isocrates, one of the preeminent intellectual figures in Greece during the fourth century B.C. In this volume, ten leading scholars of Classics, rhetoric, and philosophy offer a pathfinding interdisciplinary study of Isocrates as a civic educator. Their essays are grouped into sections that investigate Isocrates’ program in civic education in general (J. Ober, T. Poulakos) and in comparison to the Sophists (J. Poulakos, E. Haskins), Plato (D. Konstan, K. Morgan), Aristotle (D. Depew, E. Garver), and contemporary views about civic education (R. Hariman, M. Leff). The contributors show that Isocrates’ rhetorical innovations carved out a deliberative process that attached moral choices to political questions and addressed ethical concerns as they could be realized concretely. His notions of civic education thus created perspectives that, unlike the elitism of Aristotle, could be used to strengthen democracy.
The Poetics of Power in Late Antiquity
In histories of ancient Jews and Judaism, the Roman Empire looms large. For all the attention to the Jewish Revolt and other conflicts, however, there has been less concern for situating Jews within Roman imperial contexts; just as Jews are frequently dismissed as atypical by scholars of Roman history, so Rome remains invisible in many studies of rabbinic and other Jewish sources written under Roman rule.
Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire brings Jewish perspectives to bear on long-standing debates concerning Romanization, Christianization, and late antiquity. Focusing on the third to sixth centuries, it draws together specialists in Jewish and Christian history, law, literature, poetry, and art. Perspectives from rabbinic and patristic sources are juxtaposed with evidence from piyyutim, documentary papyri, and synagogue and church mosaics. Through these case studies, contributors highlight paradoxes, subtleties, and ironies of Romanness and imperial power.
Contributors: William Adler, Beth A. Berkowitz, Ra'anan Boustan, Hannah M. Cotton, Natalie B. Dohrmann, Paula Fredriksen, Oded Irshai, Hayim Lapin, Joshua Levinson, Ophir Münz-Manor, Annette Yoshiko Reed, Hagith Sivan, Michael D. Swartz, Rina Talgam.
Law, Communication, and Control
As the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great has long interested those studying the establishment of Christianity. But Constantine is also notable for his ability to control a sprawling empire and effect major changes. The Justice of Constantine examines Constantine's judicial and administrative legislation and his efforts to maintain control over the imperial bureaucracy, to guarantee the working of Roman justice, and to keep the will of his subjects throughout the Roman Empire. John Dillon first analyzes the record of Constantine's legislation and its relationship to prior legislation. His initial chapters also serve as an introduction to Roman law and administration in later antiquity. Dillon then considers Constantine's public edicts and internal communications about access to law, trials and procedure, corruption, and punishment for administrative abuses. How imperial officials relied on correspondence with Constantine to resolve legal questions is also considered. A study of Constantine's expedited appellate system, to ensure provincial justice, concludes the book. Constantine's constitutions reveal much about the Theodosian Code and the laws included in it. Constantine consistently seeks direct sources of reliable information in order to enforce his will. In official correspondence, meanwhile, Constantine strives to maintain control over his officials through punishment; trusted agents; and the cultivation of accountability, rivalry, and suspicion among them.
In ancient Greece, interstate relations, such as in the formation of alliances, calls for assistance, exchanges of citizenship, and territorial conquest, were often grounded in mythical kinship. In these cases, the common ancestor was most often a legendary figure from whom both communities claimed descent. In this detailed study, Lee E. Patterson elevates the current state of research on kinship myth to a consideration of the role it plays in the construction of political and cultural identity. He draws examples both from the literary and epigraphical records and shows the fundamental difference between the two. He also expands his study into the question of Greek credulity—how much of these founding myths did they actually believe, and how much was just a useful fiction for diplomatic relations? Of central importance is the authority the Greeks gave to myth, whether to elaborate narratives or to a simple acknowledgment of an ancestor. Most Greeks could readily accept ties of interstate kinship even when local origin narratives could not be reconciled smoothly or when myths used to explain the link between communities were only “discovered” upon the actual occasion of diplomacy, because such claims had been given authority in the collective memory of the Greeks.
Settlement, Ceremony, and Status in the Deep South, A.D. 350 to 750
The first comprehensive and systematic investigation of a Woodland period ceremonial center. Kolomoki, one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the southeastern United States, includes at least nine large earthen mounds in the lower Chattahoochee River valley of southwest Georgia. The largest, Mound A, rises approximately 20 meters above the terrace that borders it. From its flat-topped summit, a visitor can survey the string of smaller mounds that form an arc to the south and west. Archaeological research had previously placed Kolomoki within the Mississippian period (ca. a.d. 1000-1500) primarily because of the size and form of the mounds. But this book presents data for the main period of occupation and mound construction that confirm an earlier date, in the Woodland period (ca. a.d. 350-750). Even though the long-standing confusion over Kolomoki's dating has now been settled, questions remain regarding the lifeways of its inhabitants. Thomas Pluckhahn's research has recovered evidence concerning the level of site occupation and the house styles and daily lives of its dwellers. He presents here a new, revised history of Kolomoki from its founding to its eventual abandonment, with particular attention to the economy and ceremony at the settlement. This study makes an important contribution to the understanding of 'middle range' societies, particularly the manner in which ceremony could both level and accentuate status differentiation within them. It provides a readable overview of one of the most important--but historically least understood--prehistoric Native American sites in the United States. Thomas J. Pluckhahn is Instructor in Anthropology at the University of Georgia and an archaeologist with Southeastern Archeological Services, Inc.
Spanning forty years, this collection of essays represents the work of a renowned teacher and scholar of the ancient Greek world. Martin Ostwald's contribution is both philological and historical: the thread that runs through all of the essays is his precise explanation, for a modern audience, of some crucial terms by which the ancient Greeks saw and lived their lives—and influenced ours. Chosen and sequenced by Ostwald, the essays demonstrate his methodology and elucidate essential aspects of ancient Greek society.
The first section plumbs the social and political terms in which the Greeks understood their lives. It examines their notion of the relation of the citizen to his community; how they conceived different kinds of political structure; what role ideology played in public life; and how differently their most powerful thinkers viewed issues of war and peace. The second section is devoted to the problem, first articulated by the Greeks, of the extent to which human life is dominated by nature (physis) and human convention (nomos), a question that remains a central concern in modern societies, even if in different guises. The third section focuses on democracy in Athens. It confronts questions of the nature of democratic rule, of financing public enterprises, of the accountability of public officials, of the conflict raised by imperial control and democratic rule, of the coexistence of "conservative" and "liberal" trends in a democratic regime, and of the relation between rhetoric and power in a democracy. The final section is a sketch of the principles on which the two greatest Greek historians, Herodotus and Thucydides, constructed their outlooks on human affairs.
Ultimately, the collection intends to make selected key concepts in ancient Greek social and political culture accessible to a lay audience. It also shows how the differences—rather than the similarities—between the ancient Greeks and us can contribute to a deeper understanding of our own time.
The history of Spain in late antiquity offers important insights into the dissolution of the western Roman empire and the emergence of medieval Europe. Nonetheless, scholarship on Spain in this period has lagged behind that on other Roman provinces. Michael Kulikowski draws on the most recent archeological and literary evidence to integrate late antique Spain into the broader history of the Roman empire, providing a definitive narrative and analytical account of the Iberian peninsula from A.D. 300 to 600. Kulikowski begins with a concise introduction to the early history of Roman Spain, and then turns to the Diocletianic reforms of 293 and their long-term implications for Roman administration and the political ambitions of post-Roman contenders. He goes on to examine the settlement of barbarian peoples in Spain, the end of Roman rule, and the imposition of Gothic power in the fifth and sixth centuries. In parallel to this narrative account, Kulikowski offers a wide-ranging thematic history, focusing on political power, Christianity, and urbanism. Kulikowski's portrait of late Roman Spain offers some surprising conclusions. With new archeological evidence and a fresh interpretation of well-known literary sources, Kulikowski contradicts earlier assertions of a catastrophic decline of urbanism, finding that the physical and social world of the Roman city continued well into the sixth century despite the decline of Roman power. This groundbreaking study will prompt further reassessments of the other Roman provinces and of medieval Spanish history.
The Dennison and De Criscio Collections
The Latin inscriptions in the Kelsey Museum are among the best primary sources we have for documenting the lives of the lower classes in the Roman world. They provide unique evidence of the details of Roman daily life, including beliefs, occupations, families, and attitudes toward death. The 400 entries in this volume include all of the Latin inscriptions on stone or metal in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan; they represent the largest, and arguably the most important, collection of Latin inscriptions in the Western Hemisphere. The collection is notable not just for its size but for the fact that almost all the inscriptions were acquired by purchase for their scholarly and educational value to the members of the university community. Because of this, the collection is also an important testimony to a seminal phase in the development of the study of Classics at the University of Michigan. For the first time ever, this project makes the Latin inscriptions of the Kelsey available in one volume and has provided an opportunity to reexamine some texts that have not been edited in over a century. The commentaries for this edition have benefited from a wealth of recent scholarship resulting in some amended readings and reidentification of texts. Steven L. Tuck is Assistant Professor of Classics at Miami University of Ohio. The Kelsey Museum Studies series, edited by University of Michigan professors Elaine Gazda, Margaret Cool Root, and John Pedley, is designed to publish unusual material in the Museum's collections, together with reports of current and past archaeological expeditions sponsored by the University of Michigan.
The economy of the Roman Empire was predominantly agrarian: Roman landowners, agricultural laborers, and small tenant farmers were highly dependent upon one another for assuring stability. By examining the property rights established by the Roman government, in particular the laws concerning land tenure and the contractual relationships between wealthy landowners and the tenant farmers to whom they leased their land, Dennis P. Kehoe is able to demonstrate how the state fostered economic development and who benefited the most. In this bold application of economic theory, Kehoe explores the relationship between Roman private law and the development of the Roman economy during a crucial period of the Roman Empire, from the second to the fourth century C.E. Kehoe is able to use the laws concerning land tenure, and the Roman government's enforcement of those laws, as a window through which to develop a more comprehensive view of the Roman economy. With its innovative application of the methodologies of law and economics and the New Institutional Economics Law and the Rural Economy in the Roman Empire is a groundbreaking addition to the study of the Roman economy. Dennis P. Kehoe is Professor of Classical Studies at Tulane University. He is the author of several books, including Investment, Profit, and Tenancy: The Jurists and the Roman Agrarian Economy(University of Michigan Press, 1997). "Kehoe brings his deep expertise in Roman land tenure systems and his broad knowledge of the methodologies of New Institutional Economics to bear on questions of fundamental importance regarding the relationship of Roman law and society. Was governmental policy on agriculture designed to benefit large landowners or small farmers? What impact did it have on the rural economy? The fascinating answers Kehoe provides in this pathbreaking work should occasion a major reassessment of such problems by social and legal historians." ---Thomas McGinn, Department of Classical Studies at Vanderbilt University, and author of The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World: A Study of Social History and the Brothel and Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome "A ground-breaking study using the principles of New Institutional Economics to analyze the impact of legal policy in balancing the interests of Roman tenant-farmers and landowners in the 2-4 centuries C.E. Kehoe's book will be essential reading for historians of the Roman Empire, demonstrating how the government overcame challenges and contradictions as it sought to regulate this enormous sector of the economy." ---Susan D. Martin, Department of Classics, University of Tennessee "In Law and the Rural Economy, Kehoe brings to life the workings of the ancient economy and the Roman legal system. By analyzing interactions between the imperial government, landlords, and tenant farmers in provinces across the Empire, Kehoe opens insights into imperial economic policy. He handles a variety of challenging sources with mastery and wit, and his knowledge of scholarship is extensive and thorough, covering ancient history, textual problems in the sources, legal history and, perhaps most impressively, the modern fields of economic theory and 'law and economics.' Kehoe's innovative and sophisticated methodology sets his work apart. The book will make an important contribution to our understanding of access to the law and the effectiveness of the legal system, important topics for scholars of law, ancient and modern." ---Cynthia J. Bannon, Department of Classical Studies, Indiana University