From the Editor
With this issue, we bid farewell to one of the most storied figures of late antique studies, Alan Cameron, who died July 31, 2017 at the age of 79 in New York. None of us who study the field can claim to be without debt to him. I remember well my first encounter with Cameron in his Manhattan home where he had invited me to discuss Synesius of Cyrene as I considered the possibility of embarking on a dissertation related to the De regno and the state of Gothic relations in the crucial years around 400 ce. Together with Jackie Long, Alan had just completed Barbarians and Politics at the Court of Arcadius (California 1993) and was kind enough to share the proofs with me as it was going into press. I was, of course flattered by his interest in me and my work, and was soon mesmerized by his latest magic. Once having read it, however, I could see there was little more I could add to the question – and I moved on. Yet our friendship continued over the years as we shared offprints and ideas, from which I surely learned much more than he. Indeed, whenever we would meet, I always felt as if I were in the presence of some otherworldly genius, for much though Cameron was very human, always personable and ready with a smile and a joke, his encyclopedic knowledge and razor-sharp wit lifted him to a different plane than mere mortals.
Cameron entered the field direct from his degree in Literae Humaniores at New College Oxford in 1961. After sixteen years researching and teaching in Glasgow and London, he joined the faculty at Columbia University in 1977, and there he remained until his retirement in 2008. He was part of the charmed generation, steeped in the Classics early but also inspired by the innovative spirit of the 1960s that first opened the field of Late Antiquity to modern eyes.
It would be nearly impossible to summarize adequately his bibliography, which stretched to more than 200 articles and some nine books, covering a range of subjects from Hellenistic poetry to Byzantine social history. Already with his first book on Claudian: Poetry and Propaganda at the Court of Arcadius (Oxford Clarendon, 1970) he showed how close reading can open the marquetry box of late Latin poetry in such a way as to afford us a view of the political and cultural history it has tucked away inside. Within six years he had published two more classics in the field, Porphyrius the Charioteer (Oxford Clarendon, 1973) and Circus Factions: Blues and Greens at Rome and Byzantium (Oxford Clarendon, 1976). Both treated a subject that had gone largely unnoticed up to that day with such clarity and cleverness that the spectacle industry of Late Antiquity—as indeed of earlier ages as well—has [End Page 295] become a staple of contemporary ancient studies. Following his book on Synesius, Cameron turned to one of his other great loves, Hellenistic poetry, and quickly produced two more books, on Callimachus and the Hellenistic Anthology, showing that both corpora were preserved, transmitted, and in some sense even constructed in a Byzantine literary environment.
Cameron was also a master of the article, publishing some of the most insightful and influential thematic studies in the field, many of them the length of short monographs. Some of the most important are collected in his Wandering Poets and Other Essays on Late Greek Literature and Philosophy (Oxford 2016), reviewed in the first issue of this volume. These include famous studies such as "Wandering Poets: A Literary Movement in Byzantine Egypt," which explores the free-flow of Hellenophone litterateurs across the Mediterranean and particularly toward the Latin West; and "The Empress and the Poet," a spicy exposé of the Aelia Eudocia and her tragi-comic travails. His studies on late Roman diptychs, the last of which is published in this issue, are abundant and substantial enough to constitute a monograph unto themselves and include definitive investigations such as "The Origin, Context and Function of Consular Diptychs" (Journal of Roman Studies 2013) and "City Personifications and Consular Diptychs" (Journal of Roman Studies 2015).
Cameron's most important monograph appeared after his retirement, The Last Pagans of Rome (Oxford 2011), a book decades in the making. It is as difficult to summarize its vast erudition as it is to estimate its lasting impact, for the work was an instant classic and will remain standard reading for students and scholars for decades to come. A study of the literature and history of Rome's fourth and fifth-century pagans, it surveys and expands upon many of Cameron's long-treasured ideas: about the fundamentally literary nature of pagan-Christian disputes in the period; about the date and authorship of the Camern contra paganos; about the insignificance of the fabled Annales of Virius Nichomachus Flavianus. The book has won approval from most, provoked aspersions from few, and elicited admiration by all. Standing as a monument not just to all that Cameron thought and achieved but also to an entire generation of scholars steeped in the Classics but eager to look through and beyond them to the rich and rewarding texts of later centuries, it will remain a guidepost for future generations and a signpost of a scholar's life well lived.
This issue also marks the end of my tenure as General Editor of the Journal of Late Antiquity. Beginning in January 2018, this position will be assumed by my former University of Colorado Classics colleague Andy Cain. This means that all future submissions and correspondence should be directed to Professor Cain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I inherited from JLA's founder, Ralph Mathisen, a journal he had set on firm footing in five short years. I have attempted to carry forward his vision of a publication dedicated to the dissemination of quality work related to Late [End Page 296] Antiquity in all of its aspects: politics, culture, religion, society, art, archaeology, and literature. My efforts have, I hope, helped the journal quicken and mature into the sort of venue that attracts articles of the highest caliber by the very best scholars from around the world.
Over the course of my five years as editor, JLA has published 71 articles and accepted a further 8 for publication in 2018—putting 79 articles in print or in the pipeline. These have derived from a total of 215 submissions. The journal has thus averaged an acceptance rate of 36.7%. These manuscripts were sent by 149 male and 66 female lead authors, making the submission population 69% male and 31% female. Of the articles published or accepted, 51 were by male and 28 by female lead authors, yielding a gender rate of acceptances at 64.5% male and 35.5% female. Under my editorship, the journal published three special issues involving contributions solicited and curated by me as General Editor: JLA 6.2 "Religious Violence in Late Antiquity: Engagements with B.D. Shaw, Sacred Violence: African Christians and Sectarian Hatred in the Age of Augustine", JLA 7.2 "Letters in Late Antiquity", and JLA 9.2 "Landholding and Power in Late Antiquity." In addition, one special issue was solicited and curated by two guest editors, Heidi Marx-Wolf and Kristi Upson-Saia, JLA 8.2 "Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in Late Antiquity." Because these special issues accepted most of the papers submitted with their original dossiers, they inflate the perceived acceptance rate of JLA relative to the rate from open submission. Open and unsolicited submissions to JLA numbered 184 of which 52 were published, making the acceptance rate from open submission 28.2%.
I could not have accomplished all that I did without support from my editorial board. Particular thanks go to my Associate Editors, Scott Bradbury, Andrew Cain, and Judith Evans Grubbs. My Review Editors, Michael Kulikowski, Hagith Sivan, and Dennis Trout have provided me with a steady stream of reviews and a reliable editorial hand. Above all, my Editorial Assistant Sean Northrup, who has been with me since issue 8.1, has been nothing short of extraordinary in his speed and dedication, but also in his skills and acumen as a reader and user of English and countless other languages. This staff will now largely be replaced: Sean steps down as Editorial Assistant, and the new cast of Review Editors will consist of Sabine Huebner, Jason Moralee, and Tina Sessa. I welcome all of these new staff members and wish them courage and good fortune.
The contents of this issue represent a perfect culmination to my efforts, for they are satisfyingly varied in content and brilliantly crafted in approach. Cameron's essay opens the volume with the question, "Presentation Diptychs or Fancy Stationery?" Taking on several recent interventions concerning the nature and purpose of diptychs, Cameron argues that these beautiful objects were never used as writing tablets or portfolios but were instead showpieces [End Page 297] meant to celebrate important occasions that came gradually to be restricted to the announcement of consular games. Georgios Deligiannakis continues the investigation of material objects in "Helios and the Emperor in the Late Antique Peloponnese." This essay follows recent work on Constantine which has emphasized local responses to the emperor's religious signals using an over-life-sized marble head from the Greek coastal town of Gytheum. Furnished with drill holes for projecting bronze fittings, the image would appear to represent yet another in a series of local statuary types that figure Constantine as the Sun God, Helios.
In the third article, Jonathan P. Stanfill and Adam W. Schneider combine historiographic with climatological data to study "Gothia Submerged: The Impacts of Severe Flooding on Valens's First Gothic War." The paper shows how reports of inundations in 368 ce from Ammianus and other contemporary sources can be corroborated with tree-ring data for flooding in the region at this time, and can then be supplemented with comparative studies of flooding on the lower Danube to enhance our understanding of the role played by natural disaster in Valens's defeat of the Goths in the late 360s. Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner then looks at "Barbarian Migrations and SocioEconomic Challenges to the Roman Landholding Elite in the Fourth Century ce." Aligning a broad range of fourth and fifth-century sources, he demonstrates that landholders actually welcomed barbarian migrants as a means to increase their productivity and tap scarce manpower resources in a highly dynamic environment of economic competition.
Moving to matters religious, Naomi Koltun-Fromm writes on "Jerusalem Sacred Stones from Creation to Eschaton." Sacred stones in Jerusalem were the subject of competing claims by Jews (Even Shetiyah), Christians (Golgotha), and Muslims (Sakhra), who ascribed imaginary attributes and histories to these sites of memory in response to and in competition with one another. Koltun Fromm explains how these were constructed and cultivated in ways that have lasting consequences up to the present. Meghan DiLuzio contributes "All Call Me Blessed: The Magnificat in Paulina's Poem to Praetextatus," a literary study of the epigraphically attested eulogy of this late Roman aristocratic matron for her husband Praetextatus. Clear textual echoes with the Christian "Magnificat" are used by the ancient author to evoke and critique contemporary Christian ideals of asceticism and celibacy and to favor instead traditional norms of marriage and reproduction.
Jan Stenger's article on "The Public Intellectual according to Choricius of Gaza, or How to Circumvent the Totalizing Christian Discourse" interrogates Averil Cameron's assertion that Christianity represented a totalizing discourse in later Late Antiquity. Using Choricius of Gaza's funeral oration for his teacher Procopius (Or. 8), Stenger shows that the author lards his prose with allusions to Classical literature with the aim of preserving a place for [End Page 298] the education and literature of the pre-Christian past. Michael E. Stewart explores "The Danger of the Soft Life: Manly and Unmanly Romans in Procopius's Gothic War." By focusing on gendered discourse in Procopius, Stewart is able to show that the language of manhood and effeminacy represent broader ethnic and political concerns as these worked themselves out in a period of tremendous tension between East and West.
Finally Catherine Conybeare closes with an essay that responds to the review of her book The Laughter of Sarah by Stephen Halliwell in JLA 8.1.
The last five years have flown by with remarkable speed, bringing tiny frustrations but much greater satisfaction that I could play some small role in the advancement of our understanding of this fascinating period. I leave my readers with thanks for their patient attention and hopes that it was repaid. [End Page 299]