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THE AJP BEST ARTICLE PRIZE FOR 2018
HAS BEEN PRESENTED BY
THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY TO
CHRISTOPHER B. KREBS
STANFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS

for his contribution to scholarship in “The World’s Measure: Caesar’s Geographies of Gallia and Britannia in Their Contexts and as Evidence of His World Map,” AJP 139.1 (Spring 2018): 93-122.

Krebs situates the geographical descriptions of the BG within the techniques of Roman surveying and Greek geographical writing to reveal two largely different intentions: the first to organize a territory in such a way as to ready it for Roman control, the second as a contribution to a map of the oikoumene.

Krebs contrasts Caesar’s description of Gaul with that of his Britannia. The Gallia, he argues, is indebted to a variety of geographical traditions created for the purpose of ordering inhabited space. Important sources include the work of Roman surveyors, with which Caesar himself was familiar as curator of the Via Appia, and that of the agrimensores, whose work on laying out roads and in partitioning new territories focused on the fines of an area and the people who lived within. The result is an approach to Gallia from an imperial perspective that structures the area as an object of Roman military and administrative control.

The description of Britannia, by contrast, is abstract, rather than descriptive, and can be seen as representing the kind of ethno-geographical writing that traced its origins back to Herodotus. Caesar is familiar with the topoi of these discussions and how they are related to Britain in particular. Krebs connects the level of detail contained in the Britannia to Caesar’s intellectual interest in the comprehensive measurement of the oikoumene as attested by the so-called Cosmographia Iulii Caesaris. However, in the end, knowledge always has a political dimension. Caesar’s Britain, so constructed, can stand as a counterweight to Pompey’s military success. In addition, the scientific geography of Britain constitutes both a practical template and an intellectual justification for eventual Roman control.

Judges for Johns Hopkins University Press

Charles Platter (chair)     Anthony Corbeil     Alex Purves

The Thirty-first Annual Best Article Prize of $1,000 will be awarded for the best article to appear in the Journal in 2019. The Press would like to thank the members of the committee for their time and effort.

William M. Breichner
Journals Publisher
Johns Hopkins University Press

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3168
Print ISSN
0002-9475
Pages
v
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-17
Open Access
Yes
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