Friday, November 13, 2009
This book examines the ancient origins of debate about art as cultural property. What happens to art in time of war? Who should own art, and what is its appropriate context? Should the victorious ever allow the defeated to keep their art? These questions were posed by Cicero during his prosecution of a Roman governor of Sicily, Gaius Verres, for extortion. Cicero's published speeches had a very long afterlife, affecting debates about collecting art in the 18th century and reactions to the looting of art by Napoleon. The focus of the book's analysis is theft of art in Greek Sicily, Verres' trial, Roman collectors of art, and the later impact if Cicero's arguments. The book concludes with the British decision after Waterloo to repatriate Napoleon's stolen art to Italy, and an epilogue on the current threats to art looted from archaeological contexts. Margaret M. Miles is an archaeologist and art historian, now Professor of Art History and Classics at the University of California, Irvine. She has held fellowships at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the American Academy in Rome. She has excavated at Corinth and Athens, and did architectural fieldwork at Rhamnous in Greece and at Selinunte and Agrigento in Sicily. Her earlier publications include a study of the Temple of Nemesis at Rhamnous (Hesperia, 1989) and a volume in the Agora excavation series on the City Eleusinion, the downtown Athenian branch of the Eleusinian Mysteries (The Athenian Agora, Vol. 31: The City Eleusinion, 1998).
Performance and Cure: Drama and Healing in Ancient Greece and Contemporary America by Karelisa Hartigan
In this fascinating addition to the 'Classical/Interfaces' series, Karelisa Hartigan suggests that drama was regularly performed in the theaters built within or adjacent to the ancient sanctuaries of Asklepios. She argues that a pageant which showed the enactment of the god healing prompted the dream therapy the patient experienced at the sanctuary. Patients who viewed this drama were ready to receive the nightly ministrations of the deity, his attendants and his animals while they slept in the dormitory at the Asklepieion. The book also investigates the importance of the mind-body relationship in the healing process, and concludes by presenting first-hand material based on Hartigan's experience doing Playback Theater for patients at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida.
- The first book to gain new insights into the topic of ‘epic and history’ through in-depth cross-cultural comparisons
- Covers epic traditions across the globe and across a wide range of time periods
- Brings together leading specialists in the field, and is edited by two internationally regarded scholars
- An important reference for scholars and students interested in history and literature across a broad range of disciplines
Heroic epics have existed in many cultures, from antiquity to the modern day, offering an important means by which societies commemorate the past and transmit memories over time. Yet few attempts have been made to compare these epics systematically or to establish a typology of heroic epic. Nor is it always clear to what extent heroic epics reflect history, or what methodologies might be used to retrieve historical information from epics.
Addressing these issues, Epic and History invites comparison across a broad variety of cultures in which traditions of epic – oral and written – existed and continue to exist. It makes a unique and conscious effort to take full advantage of this cross-cultural comparison to enhance our understanding of this important topic, presenting crucial insights into how history is treated in narrative poetry.
Contributors are leading scholars on epic and heroic poetic traditions. They base their analyses on profound knowledge of the wide range of cultures discussed throughout the book, from the ancient Near East and South Asia, the Greco-Roman world, and medieval Europe – from Scandinavia to Spain – to today’s Egypt, Southern Africa, and Central America.
Kurt A. Raaflaub is David Herlihy University Professor, and Professor of Classics and History at Brown University. His numerous publications include The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece(2004) and Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece (2007, co-authored with Josiah Ober and Robert Wallace). He is also the editor of Social Struggles in Archaic Rome (Blackwell, 2005), andWar and Peace in the Ancient World (Blackwell, 2007), and co-editor of Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in Fifth-Century Athens (1998), War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds(1999), A Companion to Archaic Greece (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), and Geography and Ethnography: Perspectives of the World in Premodern Societies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
Two thousand years ago, up to one-half of the human species was contained within two political systems, the Roman empire in western Eurasia (centered on the Mediterranean Sea) and the Han empire in eastern Eurasia (centered on the great North China Plain). Both empires were broadly comparable in terms of size and population, and even largely coextensive in chronological terms (221 BCE to 220 CE for the Qin/Han empire, c. 200 BCE to 395 CE for the unified Roman empire). At the most basic level of resolution, the circumstances of their creation are not very different. In the East, the Shang and Western Zhou periods created a shared cultural framework for the Warring States, with the gradual consolidation of numerous small polities into a handful of large kingdoms which were finally united by the westernmost marcher state of Qin. In the Mediterranean, we can observe comparable political fragmentation and gradual expansion of a unifying civilization, Greek in this case, followed by the gradual formation of a handful of major warring states (the Hellenistic kingdoms in the east, Rome-Italy, Syracuse and Carthage in the west), and likewise eventual unification by the westernmost marcher state, the Roman-led Italian confederation. Subsequent destabilization occurred again in strikingly similar ways: both empires came to be divided into two halves, one that contained the original core but was more exposed to the main barbarian periphery (the west in the Roman case, the north in China), and a traditionalist half in the east (Rome) and south (China).
These processes of initial convergence and subsequent divergence in Eurasian state formation have never been the object of systematic comparative analysis. This volume, which brings together experts in the history of the ancient Mediterranean and early China, makes a first step in this direction, by presenting a series of comparative case studies on clearly defined aspects of state formation in early eastern and western Eurasia, focusing on the process of initial developmental convergence. It includes a general introduction that makes the case for a comparative approach; a broad sketch of the character of state formation in western and eastern Eurasia during the final millennium of antiquity; and six thematically connected case studies of particularly salient aspects of this process.
The study of colour has become familiar territory in recent anthropology, linguistics, art history and archaeology. Classicists, however, have traditionally subordinated the study of colour to form. By drawing together evidence from contemporary philosophers, elegists, epic writers, historians and satirists, Mark Bradley reinstates colour as an essential informative unit for the classification and evaluation of the Roman world. He also demonstrates that the questions of what colour was and how it functioned - as well as how it could be misused and misunderstood - were topics of intellectual debate in early imperial Rome. Suggesting strategies for interpreting Roman expressions of colour in Latin texts, Dr Bradley offers new approaches to understanding the relationship between perception and knowledge in Roman elite thought. In doing so, he highlights the fundamental role that colour performed in the realms of communication and information, and its intellectual contribution to contemporary discussions of society, politics and morality.
These questions are examined in a comparative analysis of Archaic/Classical Greek and Early Chinese historical and ethnographic sources, in particular the 'Histories' of Herodotus and the 'Shiji' of Sima Qian. The author argues that Greece was an integral part of the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilization and that this had a major impact on the ways in which the Greeks chose to represent foreigners in their literature. He also shows that the Ancient Chinese of the Han dynasty were as assertive as the Greeks in claiming their ethnic superiority over non-Chinese, but concludes that, although the two cultures shared the same breadth and variety of prejudices towards outsiders, they chose to emphasize different categories of differentiation.
This is the first book to examine the economic impact of external cultures - the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans - upon the Iberian peninsula throughout the first millennium BC. Benedict Lowe provides a synthesis of recent archaeological work to place Spain in the broader context of debates about Romanisation during the Republic and Early Imperial period. He adopts a chronological approach, focusing on the processes of integration and regionalism in the economy of the Iberian peninsula.
The book begins with an introduction to the kingdom of Tartessos and the impact of the Phoenician and Greek colonists upon the economy of the peninsula, setting the scene for Rome's conquest. Succeeding chapters explore the growing Roman presence, culminating in the 1st century AD.
Combining literary and archaeological evidence, Roman Iberia provides an in-depth analysis of the Romanisation of Iberia in economic terms: villas, urbanism, pottery and trade and the interaction of Roman and native populations.
Countless books detail the development of Roman law and explain the laws of the ancient Romans. Similarly, many scholars have traced the law of ancient Athens. Written for both students and educated lay readers, the chapters dealing with ancient Greece focus primarily on the law of ancient Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.E.
Among the topics covered by A Companion to Roman Rhetoric are the evolution of Roman rhetoric from its origins to the Renaissance; rhetoric’s role in education and acculturation; the seminal importance of rhetoric in statesmanship and politics; the relationship between rhetoric and social identity; the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of rhetoric; the dynamics of rhetoric performance; and rhetoric’s interaction with the major genres and figures of Roman literature.
This Companion will be valuable to a wide readership including undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in Roman culture, as well as scholars in adjacent disciplines seeking an accessible introduction to Roman rhetoric. All Greek and Latin passages are translated. The volume complements A Companion to Greek Rhetoric published in the Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World series.
Jon Hall is Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Otago. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters on Cicero’s oratory and rhetorical treatises. He has also completed a book on Cicero’s correspondence.
The forced suicide of Seneca, former adviser to Nero, is one of the most tortured -- and most revisited -- death scenes from classical antiquity. After fruitlessly opening his veins and drinking hemlock, Seneca finally succumbed to death in a stifling steam bath, while his wife Paulina, who had attempted suicide as well, was bandaged up and revived by Nero's men. From the first century to the present day, writers and artists have retold this scene in order to rehearse and revise Seneca's image and writings, and to scrutinize the event of human death.
In The Deaths of Seneca, James Ker offers the first comprehensive cultural history of Seneca's death scene, situating it in the Roman imagination and tracing its many subsequent interpretations. Ker shows first how the earliest accounts of the death scene by Tacitus and others were shaped by conventions of Greco-Roman exitus-description and Julio-Claudian dynastic history. At the book's center is an exploration of Seneca's own prolific writings about death -- whether anticipating death in his letters, dramatizing it in the tragedies, or offering therapy for loss in the form of consolations -- which offered the primary lens through which Seneca's contemporaries would view the author's death. These ancient approaches set the stage for prolific receptions, and Ker traces how the death scene was retold in both literary and visual versions, from St. Jerome to Heiner Muller and from medieval illuminations to Peter Paul Rubens and Jacques-Louis David. Dozens of interpreters, engaging with prior versions and with Seneca's writings, forged new and sometimes controversial views on Seneca's legacy and, more broadly, on mortality and suicide. The Deaths of Seneca presents a new, historically inclusive, approach to reading this major Roman author.