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Coinage appeared at a moment when it fulfilled an essential need in Greek society and brought with it rationalization and social leveling in some respects, while simultaneously producing new illusions, paradoxes, and new elites. In a book that will encourage scholarly discussion for some time, David M. Schaps addresses a range of important coinage topics, among them money, exchange, and economic organization in the Near East and in Greece before the introduction of coinage; the invention of coinage and the reasons for its adoption; and the developing use of money to make more money. David M. Schaps is Professor of Classics at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
On the boundary of what the ancient Greeks and Romans considered the habitable world, Ireland was a land of myth and mystery in classical times. Classical authors frequently portrayed its people as savages—even as cannibals and devotees of incest—and evinced occasional uncertainty as to the island’s shape, size, and actual location. Unlike neighboring Britain, Ireland never knew Roman occupation, yet literary and archaeological evidence prove that Iuverna was more than simply terra incognita in classical antiquity. In this book, Philip Freeman explores the relations between ancient Ireland and the classical world through a comprehensive survey of all Greek and Latin literary sources that mention Ireland. He analyzes passages (given in both the original language and English) from over thirty authors, including Julius Caesar, Strabo, Tacitus, Ptolemy, and St. Jerome. To amplify the literary sources, he also briefly reviews the archaeological and linguistic evidence for contact between Ireland and the Mediterranean world. Freeman’s analysis of all these sources reveals that Ireland was known to the Greeks and Romans for hundreds of years and that Mediterranean goods and even travelers found their way to Ireland, while the Irish at least occasionally visited, traded, and raided in Roman lands. Everyone interested in ancient Irish history or Classics, whether scholar or enthusiast, will learn much from this pioneering book.
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.