Most recent update:7/1/2004; 5:37:13 AM

 Wednesday, June 16, 2004
JOURNAL: Amphora

I just noticed (as I'm about to do the morning ablutions thing) that the fifth issue of the APA's Amphora is now online (as a pdf) ... here's a link to it if you can't wait to read it; I'll post a TOC later on.
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ante diem xvi kalendas quinctilias

212 A.D. -- martyrdom of Ferreolus and Ferrutio

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NUNTII: Julia Augusta Found?

An Italian site -- PMNet -- has a lengthy article (in Italian, natch) on some sort of conference/presentation about excavations at Costigliole which suggest they have found the 'lost' city of Julia Augusta. Remains from earlier periods have been found but what appears to be driving the suggestion is are the structural remains of an insula, or perhaps a villa. Hopefully we'll hear more about this one ... I've got to track down which 'Julia Augusta' they're referring to ...
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CHATTER: The Apotheosis of Ronald Reagan

Here's a new twist on the U.S.-as-Rome thing, from the Kansas City Star:

Unlike the ancient Romans who made gods of many of their emperors, we do not consider former presidents divine. Still it may be useful to compare Roman practices with what some observers have called the apotheosis of former President Ronald Reagan.

But first a word about Roman religion. The Romans recognized the achievements of other cultures, but they saw their own virtues rooted in a special capacity to be religious. Cicero wrote, “We excel all people in religiosity and in that unique wisdom that has brought us to the realization that everything is subordinate to the rule and direction of the gods.”

The Romans did not conceive of religion as so much a matter of the soul as of the state; religion concerned outward behavior more than inward spiritual life.

Our very word “religion” derives from Latin, and its original meaning is often described as “scrupulous carefulness,” following deliberate custom. We still use the term this way, as in “I play golf each week religiously.” Our legal system derives in part from Roman ritual, which was a way of sealing contracts and determining judgments. The lawyers' expression, “I pray to the court,” echoes the pre-Christian religious basis of our legal system, still strewn with Latin expressions.

How did an emperor, dead or living, become a god? The Senate voted. Our legislature doesn't make gods, but it does have similar powers to bestow honors and compel recognition.

Emperor worship was important as a way of uniting disparate cultures under Roman rule. The statue of the emperor commanded the kind of veneration many of us give to the American flag.

The Romans respected the gods of the peoples they conquered so long as they made a place for the Romans' emperor. The state religion was an integral part of government. Early Christians refused to confound the state with the divine, and some were thrown to the lions.

The state and religion were united in the obsequies for Reagan in many ways. While the coffins of ordinary soldiers killed in Iraq are not available for public viewing, his coffin draped with the flag was prominently displayed and revered in the rituals. Government offices were closed, and taxpayer funds were expended for the observances. Leaders of government were intimately involved in the rites. Proposals to place Reagan's image on coinage and on Mount Rushmore are being considered in the Congress. [more]

I think we're really straining the analogy in this one ...

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CHATTER: The Venus

A very interesting essay in The New Republic on the 'fate' of the Venus de Medici (not a typo) from a humanistic sort of standpoint:

Just how much does one have to know about something--a work of art, a sensibility, a way of being in the world--in order to be able to recognize what one doesn't know? An awkward and poorly put question, but one that haunts me whenever I am faced with a fragment from the past that has lingered into our own time, something that still manages to speak to me, yet in an accent and diction so foreign and sometimes so startling that I can barely discern its meaning. A number of years ago, I came upon a passage in Kenneth Cmiel's excellent study, Democratic Eloquence, that unsettled me in this way. It comes from a series entitled "Afoot," describing an Englishman's travels through Europe published in Blackwood's Magazine (August 1857). In the installment from which Cmiel quoted, the narrator tells of meeting "a Yankee," who had just come from "Florence the beautiful." His friend addresses him enthusiastically:

"Of course, you were in raptures with the Venus de Medici" --expecting an answer such as he would himself have given. "Well, sir, to tell you the truth, I don't care much about those stone gals," was the answer he received. Our friend collapsed. Had anyone in his presence denied the orthodoxy of St. Augustine or abjured the Thirty-Nine Articles, there would have been more sorrow in his anger, but scarcely more indignation. The Venus de Medici--a classic chef d'oeuvre--a thing which Praxiteles might have touched with his chisel, or Pericles have looked upon, to be called a "stone gal"! Had he doubted its genuineness, or spoken of it as a specimen of secondary art, he might have been deemed critical, hypercritical; but this was a classic impiety, an irreverence, a profanity.

What is more, the Yankee's words also betrayed "uncivism" and "egoism." He was undoubtedly among that type who "under their home influences, and the shadow of their own nationalities ... have no aptitude for general civism."

There is much, of course, that is familiar in this vignette, not least the conflict between Old World sophistication and New World simplicity, which was destined to become a popular theme in novels depicting Americans abroad. But I was struck by what was unfamiliar in it. The Englishman's willingness to judge a total stranger as well as the terms of his judgment--that the Yankee was "uncivic" and "egoistic"--could not have been in starker contrast to today's non-judgmental attitudes: that everyone is entitled to his or her taste, that all tastes are equal, that diversity of tastes is a measure of democracy. But even more alien to me, more mysterious, was the sculpture in question. Like most people, I could easily conjure the exquisitely draped, armless Venus de Milo at the Louvre, but had no picture in mind of this other, once-beloved Venus de' Medici. My familiarity with ancient sculpture was so slight that I began to wonder if the Venus de Milo's name had undergone some change over the centuries. I turned to the standard art textbooks I had at home but found nothing to support this and, even more disconcertingly, I could find no trace of this "classic chef d'oeuvre--a thing which Praxiteles might have touched with his chisel, or Pericles have looked upon." Could the Venus de' Medici simply have vanished? Was the piece in Blackwood's Magazine fiction? Satire?

A month or so later, my husband and I were in Florence "the beautiful," with Henry James's Italian Hours in hand. I turned to the index to see whether James, the passionate art-pilgrim, had anything to say of the missing Venus. I found but one entry: "Venus de Medici, statue of, Hawthorne's estimate." James, in a review of Passages from the French and Italian Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1872) noted in passing, "When he gets to Florence, [Hawthorne] gallantly loses his heart to the Venus de' Medici." The Venus de' Medici, then, was not a figment of some long-forgotten writer's imagination, for Hawthorne, too, had fallen under its spell. But, to my surprise, in James's own chapters on Florence, even when he is describing his visits to art galleries, the Venus again goes missing.

Luckily, I had also packed a modern guidebook to Tuscany. Its index proved more helpful, directing us to the sculpture's location at the Uffizi, specifically in a gallery called the Tribuna, an octagonal room luxuriously decorated with a mother-of-pearl dome and a pietra dura floor that once displayed the treasures of the Medicis (hence the Venus's name). "For centuries," the guidebook instructed us with impeccable authority, "the best-known of these [treasures] was the Venus de' Medici, a second-century BC Greek sculpture, farcically claimed as a copy of Praxiteles's celebrated Aphrodite of Cnidos, the most erotic statue in antiquity." The usual condescension toward the past, I thought, but still I was ill-prepared for our guide's final word on the subject: "In the eighteenth century, this rather ordinary girl was considered the greatest sculpture in Florence; today most visitors walk by without a second glance." "Rather ordinary girl"--had the whole world somehow turned into narrow, insensible, nineteenth-century Yankees?  [more]

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REVIEW: From the Telegraph

Vivan Nutton, Ancient Medicine

Lacking modern technology, ancient doctors drew their conclusions from what the naked eye told them. So if their theories about disease (say) seem to us completely potty, that is not surprising. All they could do was to take a view on the matter, determined by whatever philosophy of medicine they clung to, and crack on. After all, germs, bacteria and viruses were discovered not much more than 100 years ago.
One very influential ancient theory of health was that of the "four humours". Observing what came out of the body when it was ill - blood, phlegm, bile and black bile (the four "humours", or liquids) - doctors recommended what to put back into it to prevent excess of any humour, thus keeping the body "in balance" and ensuring good health.

Diagnosis and prognosis were "improved" when these humours became associated with bodily temperature, and then with the seasons; so cold food and drink could be confidently recommended for the sick in the hot summer. As a theory of disease it is all nonsense, but it has been superseded only relatively recently - though there is still, apparently, a practitioner in Torquay.

That said, no medical breakthrough has ever been more crucial than the Greeks' assertion that disease was not supernatural: it had physical causes and could therefore be dealt with physically. So doctors did what they could within their limitations. Symptoms were observed and the progress of illnesses tracked (Greeks were good at prognosis); healthy and unhealthy locations and climates were identified (they may not have known about malaria but they certainly observed its effects); dietetics ("life-style" studies) covered everything from food to exercise; and there were bodies to be examined, alive or dead.

A gaping wound from the battlefield could reveal a lot, and the ancients were not squeamish about working on animals. For a short while in third century BC Alexandria, even human bodies were dissected - normally taboo in the Greek world (the practice was not repeated till the 2nd century AD).

In this brilliant book (part of Routledge's excellent "Sciences of Antiquity" series), Vivian Nutton, Professor of the History of Medicine at University College, London, surveys clearly and in gripping detail the story of ancient medicine from early Greece (8th century BC) to Late Antiquity (7th century AD). There are two figures that dominate: Hippocrates from the island of Cos (5th century BC), who was so important that treatises written hundreds of years after his death were ascribed to him (including the "four-humour" theory), and Galen, a Greek from Pergamum and follower of Hippocrates, who made his name in Rome (2nd century AD) and left us his frequently dogmatic and pugnacious but deeply influential thoughts on medicine and many other topics, running to nearly three million words. [more]

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CHATTER: Tebt Papyri

UC Berkeley News has a nice article on the sort of summer program you'd love to be part of:

A dozen students from around the world convened today (Monday, June 14) at the University of California, Berkeley's Center for the Tebtunis Papyri to learn new skills and take a concentrated look at some of the center's neglected Egyptian papyrus texts dating back to the third century B.C.

"There's no way to say for sure exactly what they will find, but I think we'll have some exciting discoveries," said Todd Hickey, papyrologist and curator of the center that houses the largest papyri collection in the United States.

"What's exciting is the fact that they're really going into unknown territory. Nobody's done anything with this material from this part of the collection before," said Hickey, who in 2001 became UC Berkeley's first papyrologist in nearly 30 years.

Donald Mastronarde, director of the Tebtunis center and professor of classics at UC Berkeley, said that because so much of the collection has not been properly studied, "The students will have the excitement of discovery no matter what particular documents they happen to receive or select for decipherment and analysis."

The papyri were excavated along with more than 2,000 artifacts in the winter of 1899 and 1900 during a University of California expedition to the ruined town, temple and cemeteries of Tebtunis, Egypt, southwest of modern Cairo. Phoebe Apperson Hearst financed the excavation.

More than 40,000 text fragments were found in homes, wrapped around or stuffed inside crocodile mummies, and in the masks, chest coverings and foot cases of human mummies. The last group will be the center of attention for the students coming from such fields as classics, ancient religion, literature, Mediterranean archaeology and Egyptology.

The texts are written in Greek and demotic Egyptian on papyrus - the ancient equivalent of paper, made from the fibers of papyrus plants native to Egypt. They include letters, handbooks on medicine, property records and tax receipts as well as fragments of copies of Homer's "Iliad" and unique fragments of the once-lost play, "Inachus," by Sophocles.

The seminar will put students studying Greek papyri side by side with those studying demotic Egyptian papyri in a type of interaction that "has been all too rare in the past," said Mastronarde.

The six-week seminar at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library is funded by the campus and takes place under the auspices of the American Society of Papyrologists as part of a plan to hold summer programs in papyrology at each of nine participating universities in the United States and one in Canada. The first program took place last year at Yale University.

Each session has a special focus, and the students at UC Berkeley will examine classical and demotic Egyptian texts at the Tebtunis Center. Students at Yale explored Greek and Latin texts.

Experts in the language, economics and administration during the Ptolemaic period also will present lectures. Others will discuss conservation and preservation issues for papyri, as well as magic texts detailing charms and spells contained in papyri and Greek literary texts discovered in mummies.

The goal is to give students the opportunity to work first-hand with papyrological materials and provide specialized training in the discipline, Hickey said.

"By the end, they will be able to edit papyri in one of the languages, if not both," he said. "And they will be able to apply what they learn here in their graduate work and their careers."

 Center for the Tebtunis Papyri

Online exhibits

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Classicists tend to be large fans of James Joyce's Ulysses -- for what are possibly obvious reasons. For those of you who have never managed to make it through the book (guilty as charged!), the Village Voice has an okay little essay on what all the hubbub is about today:

Why is today different from all other days? Who is this Bloom, and why does he—along with Lincoln and Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus, Valentine and Patrick—have his day?

For the uninitiated: Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, June 16, 1904, the day upon which all of the events of James Joyce's wonderwork, Ulysses, take place. Bloomsday celebrates neither the year of the book's publication (1922) nor that of Joyce's birth (1882). Rather, as Isaiah Sheffer, host and director of "Bloomsday on Broadway XXIII" at Symphony Space (to which we'll return), explains, June 16 is the world's sole annual "commemoration of a fictional date, a date in which something happened in a book."

What happens on this "allincluding" day? In Ulysses, Joyce reimagined The Odyssey, finding modern-day analogues for the characters and situations from Homer's epic poem in turn-of-the-century Dublin: prudent, gentle Leopold Bloom for Odysseus; the young would-be writer Stephen Dedalus for Telemachus; earthy, adulterous Molly Bloom for faithful Penelope; a day in the life for Odysseus's 20 years wandering.

Appropriating the outline of the ancient text, Joyce doesn't simply build a bridge between antiquity and modernity: He crosses it, then blows it up. For just as Bloom's peregrinations over this average day touch upon the full spectrum of human experience—eating, drinking, cooking, defecating, bathing; masturbation, sex, death, religion; athletics, politics, imagination; singing, sleeping, violence, drunkenness, childbirth (has ever a writer given a better sense of the clutter of life?)—over the course of Bloomsday, Joyce puts the English language through its paces as well. The most formally daring of books, Ulysses begins as a more or less well-behaved 19th-century-style novel and then passes, chapter by chapter, through every conceivable narrative mode (third- and first-person narration, newspaper headlines and articles, an entire full-length play-within-the-book, catechistic Q&A) until it arrives at Molly Bloom's punctuationless interior monologue, which brings the book to a close with that simplest, most beautiful word of affirmation.

But back to Bloom. In his masterly biography, Richard Ellmann relates how Joyce chose to model his epic on Homer's poem because he considered Odysseus the most "complete" character in world literature (son of Laertes, father to Telemachus, husband to Penelope, lover of Calypso, king of Ithaca, companion in arms to the Greek warriors at Troy). Joyce longed to create a character of that magnitude—an epic hero and everyman—but how to do it given the mundane material of modern life? [more]

Update: see now also the BBC's Cheat's Guide to James Joyce's Ulysses

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AUDIO: Father Foster

This week's edition of The Latin Lover is a repeat ... it's the one where they talk about the origins of the term Latium and wander down the road to the use of Latin by the Church. Father Foster gets quite agitated that the use of Latin in the Church is contained in an Apostolic Constitution, among other things. Enjoy!
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Elizabeth A. Meyer, Legitimacy and Law in the Roman World: Tabulae in Roman Belief and Practice.

Luigi Battezzato (ed.), Tradizione testuale e ricezione letteraria antica della tragedia greca.

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Klauck, Hans-Josef, The Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide to Graeco-Roman Religion (pdf)

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Published by (May, 2004)

Erik Hildinger. _Swords against the Senate: The Rise of the Roman Army
and the Fall of the Republic_. Cambridge: DaCapo Press, 2003. xiii + 240
pp. Notes, bibliography, index. $26.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-306-81168-5;
$18.95 (paper), ISBN 0-306-81279-7.

Reviewed for H-War by James Bloom, Independent Scholar.

The Road to Julius Caesar

The problem of how an idealized "Roman Republic" lost its compass and
devolved into an empire with an autocratic ruler "advised" by the senate
has been studied from several angles. One of the pioneers in this field is
Ronald Syme, whose masterwork, _The Roman Revolution_, written in 1939,
still is the definitive work on the transition from republic to empire
from 60 B.C. to A.D. 14, the accession of Augustus, and the ineluctable
movement from democracy to dictatorship. In contrast, Hildinger traces the
fall of the republic back further, accentuating the role of the military
and some of the military operations and factors that delineated its
responsibilities and character. The topic has also been covered recently
in _Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War_ by Ramon L. Jiménez
(Praeger, 2000), though as the title indicates, Jiménez focuses on the
final death throes of the republic just before the accession of Augustus.
_Crossing the Rubicon: The End of the Republic_, by Tom Holland (Doubleday,
2004) covers the same ground as Hildinger's book but also embraces the
operations between Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Octavius. Then there is the
newly prefaced 1995 paperback edition of Erich S. Gruen's _The Last
Generation of the Roman Republic_ (Berkeley, 1974). Where Hildinger
differs from these other accounts is his emphasis on the role of the army
in politics and his more narrow focus on the Jugurthine War, the Social
War, and the civil war between Marius and Sulla--that is the period from
the Third Punic War through the Mithridatic Wars, or 147 B.C. to 80 B.C.
In fact, the book could be subtitled "The Road to Julius Caesar," since it
tells how the social, political, and military turmoil preceding Caesar set
things up for the final confrontation. In fact Caesar, a nephew of Marius,
to a large extent perpetuated the Marian reforms--at least while it suited
his ambitions.

In order to tell his story, Hildinger concentrates on three events that
brought the republican crisis to culmination. These were either
contributing factors to or reflections of the highlighted crises: (1) the
public unrest that followed the murders of the Gracchi brothers, (2) the
war against the North African prince Jugurtha, and (3) the civil wars
resulting from the uprisings of Marius and Sulla against Rome. These all
reflect, in Hildinger's view, "the relentless breakdown between
aristocrats and plebeians during the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C."

The author begins by sizing up the problem; he does this by presenting a
sketch of the development of the Roman state, especially focusing on the
army and the role it played socially and politically. Hildinger next
provides a concise general overview of the central figures and events of
the period. The Gracchi, Marius and Sulla, and the Jurgurthan,
Cimbrian/Teuton, Social, Mithridatic, and First Civil Wars are briskly
presented as these events are related in the works of Appian, Sallust, and
Plutarch.  Since this is clearly a popular history appealing to a layman
interested in Roman military affairs, Hildinger does not convey a
systematic assessment of the sources. Nor does he distinguish the
revisionist literature that challenges the traditional account of the
events. However, he does make use of some solid modern military critiques
such as Delbruck and Keppie. The subject matter is quite complex--one need
only consult Syme and Gruen to appreciate the intricacy of the
constitutional and organizational developments in this period. (Oddly,
Syme's opus magnus and Gruen's more recent treatment are missing from the
subject book's notes and bibliography.)

Indubitably, the age of Marius and Sulla (roughly 110-78 B.C.) is
critically important to understanding the decline and collapse of the
republic and the rise of Caesar Augustus and the empire. Hildinger
clarifies the way that the Gracchi, Marius, and Sulla laid the groundwork
for the Ides of March. Hildinger manages to blend the overlapping,
complicated explanations of political and army reform, social convulsion,
and a hodge-podge of unpopular and unsuccessful foreign entanglements with
the lively narration of military operations and vicious conspiracies. The
result is informative and entertaining popular history in the best sense
of that term. Most importantly for the members of this list, he points the
way to balance the old drum and trumpet school of military history
featuring tactics and orders of battle with the more modern "war and
society" mode showing how the home front molded a people's style of

The notes are a useful blend of citation of sources and brief
parenthetical comments on source discrepancies or side issues. A few maps
could have been helpful to follow the campaign narratives. All in all,
this book is recommended for readers needing a solid introduction to this
crucial turning point in Roman history.

Purchasing through these links helps support H-Net:;cgi=product&isbn=0306811685;sourceid=41034484&bfpid=0306811685&bfmtype=book

Copyright © 2004 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational
purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web
location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities &
Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews
editorial staff at

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Published by (May, 2004)

Laura K. McClure, ed. _Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World:
Readings and Sources_. Interpreting Ancient History Series. Oxford:
Blackwell Publishers, 2002. xiii + 318 pp. Illustrations, notes,
bibliography, index. $70.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-631-22588-9; $31.95 (paper),
ISBN 0-631-22589-7.

Reviewed for H-Women by Thomas J. Sienkewicz, Department of Classics,
Monmouth College.

Concepts of Sexuality and Gender in the Ancient World

_Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World_ is the first volume in a new
and exciting series entitled Interpreting Ancient History, published by
Blackwell Publishers.  Two other volumes in this series have also been
published:  Craige B. Champion's _Roman Imperialism_ (2003) and Eric W.
Robinson's _Ancient Greek Democracy_ (2003).  In these books, intended
primarily as undergraduate textbooks, scholarly articles are combined with
related primary-source material to present ancient texts in the context of
major issues and methodologies.

In an editor's introduction, McClure provides an excellent stand-alone
history and summary of scholarship on women in the ancient world and
gender studies.  Any scholar or student seeking a succinct overview of the
historical progress and theoretical foundation of women's and gender
studies in the ancient word is highly advised to consult McClure's essay
first.  Also included in this introduction are the editor's own short
descriptions of the nine articles in this volume.  These articles are
grouped in three parts, with four articles on Greece, four on Rome, and
one on the Classical Tradition.  For the most part, the focus of the
authors is on analysis of literary texts such as poems, plays, and
philosophical dialogues.  Even the historical material, including texts
from Livy and Cicero, is approached more from a literary than an
historical point of view.  The emphasis is less on topics like sexual
habits, gender preference, and the lives of women in ancient Greece and
Rome, and more on literary descriptions of these topics by ancient
authors.  Each article is accompanied by an appropriate reading from an
ancient source, translated by the editor, and a black-and-white
illustration of the topic in art, usually ancient.

The first essay, "Classical Greek Attitudes to Sexual Behaviour" by K.  J.
Dover, originally appeared in _Women in the Ancient World: The Arethusa
Papers_ (1984), edited by John Peradotto and J. P. Sullivan.  In this
article, Dover, who is the author of a major study of Greek homosexuality
(_Greek Homosexuality_ [1989]), surveys Greek sexuality vocabulary and
assumptions, cultural inhibitions toward sex, segregation of the sexes,
attitudes towards adultery, commercial sexual practices, evidence for
chastity and repression of sexual desire, homosexuality, the effect of
social class and status on sexual activity, and statements about sex by
Greek philosophers and writers of comedy.  This essay is accompanied by an
excerpt from Plato's _Symposium_, in which Aristophanes offers a
mythological account of the origin of the sexes.  McClure includes with
this essay a representation of the god Zeus and his male lover Ganymede
from an Attic red figure _kylix_ of c. 455 B.C.E.

The second essay, "Double Consciousness in Sappho's Lyrics," is an excerpt
from J. J. Winkler's _The Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex
and Gender in Ancient Greece_ (1990).  Winkler examines the sixth century
B.C.E. and Sappho's consciousness as woman and poet in the context of the
masculine world of Homeric epic which she appropriates in her poetry.
McClure appropriately accompanies this essay with a representation of
Sappho on an Attic red figure _kalanthos_ attributed to the Brygos
Painter, c. 470 B.C.E.  She follows the essay with translations of two
poems of Sappho (numbers 1 and 31) and two passages from Homer (_Iliad_
5.114-132 and _Odyssey_ 6.139-185) to which Winkler makes significant
reference in his essay.

H. King's "Bound to Bleed: Artemis and Greek Women" first appeared in A.
Cameron and A. Kuhrt's collection of essays entitled _Reflections of Women
in Antiquity_ (1983).  King considers fifth-century Greek mythology and
medical theory in the context of the role of Artemis as goddess of the
female life cycle and, especially, of menstruation.  King argues that the
Greeks had two contrasting views of "woman," the _parthenon_ or "unmarried
woman, virgin" whose lack of discipline was a threat to society, and
_gyne_ or "woman" who represented controlled reproduction.  The menstrual
process marked the transition from the former to the latter.  McClure
follows King's essay with a translation of two fifth-century B.C.E. texts:
Hippocrates' treatise "On Unmarried Girls" and lines 59-105 of Euripides'
_Hippolytus_ (which describes the worship of Artemis). McClure illustrates
this essay with a scene of Artemis propitiating a swan on a white ground
_lekythos_ attributed to the Pan Painter c. 490 B.C.E.

The last of the four essays devoted to Greek material is "Playing the
Other: Theater, Theatricality, and the Feminine in Greek Drama" by F.  I.
Zeitlin, which originally appeared in _Representations_ 11 (1985).
Zeitlin uses a structural and psychoanalytic approach to the
representations of male and female in fifth-century Athenian tragedy and
comedy, with special attention to theatrical space, plot, references to
the human body, and the Aristotelian concept of mimesis.  Her particular
focus is the death of Heracles at the hands of his wife Deineira in
Sophocles' _Women of Trachis_.  Zeitlin concludes by suggesting that
Plato's distaste for tragedy is embedded in a view of the genre as
essentially an imitation of the feminine.  Accompanying this essay are
McClure's translations of Sophocles' _Women of Trachis_ 531-587 and
1046-1084, and of Euripides'_Bacchae_ 912-944, passages which Zeitlin uses
especially in her examination of references to male and female bodies in
Athenian theater.  Heracles and Deineira are depicted for this essay on an
Attic red figure _pelike_ in the manner of the Washing Painter c.440-430

Introducing the Roman material is M. I. Finley's "The Silent Women of
Rome," published previously in his _Discoveries and Controversies_ (1968).
In this important essay, Finley describes some of the challenges faced by
historians studying the social history of women in ancient Rome, where
respectable women were expected to remain outside the public eye. Since
Finley focused this essay around a funerary inscription for a woman named
Claudia, McClure chose as accompanying primary sources not only
translations of Cornelia's inscription but also those of five other Roman
women.  She also provides an illustration of a grave relief for a Greek
woman named Lysandra.

S. R. Joshel's "The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy's Lucretia and
Verginia" moves the reader from the evidence of Roman inscriptions to myth
representations of violence against women in Livy's _Histories_.  In this
essay, which first appeared in A. Richlin's _Pornography and
Representation in Greece and Rome_ (1992), Joshel observes how the women
of Rome were raped, enslaved, and killed in order to make the Roman men
and their empire come alive.  Although Joshel focuses on two texts of
Livy, McClure offers translations of only one of them, the rape of
Lucretia (I.57.6-I.59.6); i.e., Livy's story of Verginia is not included.
The Lucretia myth is also illustrated in a painting by Titian, c. 1568-71.

Joshel's article is followed by M. Wyke's "Mistress and Metaphor in
Augustan Elegy," published previously in _Helios_ 16 (1989).  Wyke
considers the degree to which the portrait of women in Latin love elegiac
poetry reflects the social reality of women's lives in Augustan Rome (late
first century B.C.E.).  Focusing on the portrayal of Cynthia in the poetry
of Propertius, Wyke concludes that poetic conventions are more important
than biography and authenticity in this poetry and that these poetic
conventions are determined by the cultural discourses about women in the
Augustan Age, such as the portrayal of Clodia by Cicero in _Pro Caelio_.
For this essay McClure translates three poems of Propertius (1.8a, 1.8b,
and 2.5) as well as an excerpt from the _Pro Caelio_.  She also provides a
scene of a couple at a Roman banquet from a wall painting from
Herculaneum, c. 70 C.E.

The final essay in the Roman section of the volume is A. Richlin's
"Pliny's Brassiere," originally published in J. Hallet and M. Skinner's
_Roman Sexualities_ (1997).  Unlike the other essays in _Sexuality and
Gender in the Ancient World_, this essay deals not with literary material
but with a technical passage from Pliny the Elder (first century C.E.)  on
breast milk and menstrual fluid.  Richlin uses this passage to discuss
Roman attitudes towards reproduction and the female body.  She also uses
the passage as evidence for folk medicinal practices actually used by
Roman women for menstruation and other health conditions.  McClure
provides a translation of the passage from Pliny's _Natural History_
28.70-82 on which Richlin's essay is based.  Accompanying this essay is an
illustration of the "Bikini Girls" from a mosaic at the villa at Piazza
Armerina in Sicily, c. 350 C.E.

The only essay in part 3, "Classical Tradition," is P. K. Joplin's "The
Voice of the Shuttle Is Ours," from _Stanford Literature Review_ 1
(1984).[1] Joplin uses the myth of Procne and Philomela from Ovid's
_Metamorphoses_ (6.424-623) to discuss ways that this myth of rape and
female mutilation has been interpreted by feminist scholars.  In her
essay, Joplin shows how Philomela's tapestry serves as an act of
remembering and healing and obviates the male violence to which it
responds.  Following the essay is McClure's translation of the Procne and
Philomela passage from Ovid.  McClure also provides an illustration of
Procne and Philomela from an Attic red figure _kylix_, c. 490 B.C.E.

Undergraduate users will appreciate McClure's short but useful
introductions which precede the ancient sources and her introductions to
the essays in the editor's introduction.  Many of the same undergraduates,
however, would benefit from additional introductory material before each
of the essays.  Where summaries and conclusions are not provided by the
authors themselves, the editor should have.  Some basic biographical
information about the authors and the context in which they wrote is also
essential for undergraduate readers, few of whom will know, without some
guidance, know who Moses Finley is or appreciate his place in classical
scholarship.  These students further need to know that Dover is also the
author of a major study of ancient Greek homosexuality (_Greek
Homosexuality_ [1989]) and that Zeitlin is the author of a number of
important studies on Greek tragedy, and, especially, on the portrayal of
women in tragedy (e.g., Winkler and Zeitlin's _Nothing to Do with
Dionysus_ [1992]).  While bibliographic information about the original
publication of the articles does appear in the acknowledgements at the
front of the book, an undergraduate user will not look for it there and
this information should appear at the bottom of the first page of the
reprinted article.  Also useful for the undergraduate users are study
questions based upon the article and questions on the source readings.

Undergraduate users may also be challenged by the use of multiple
translations of the same primary text.  While McClure herself has
translated all the primary texts which accompany the articles, the authors
use translations from a variety of sources in the articles.  This
occasionally makes for awkwardness of juxtaposition and phraseology.  For
example, McClure translates as "woman's breast-band" (pg. 254) the phrase
which is translated as "brassiere" in the title of Richlin's article,
"Pliny's Brassiere."

Many undergraduates will find it difficult to recognize and process
passages translated in radically different ways. In her exegesis of Ovid's
story of Procne and Philomela, Joplin, for example, uses Rolfe Humphries's
translation of the _Metamorphoses_.  Joplin quotes the following seven
lines of Humphries translation:

"What punishment you will pay me, late or soon! / Now that I have no
shame, I will proclaim it. / Given the chance, I will go where people are,
/ Tell everybody; if you shut me here, / I will move the very woods and
rocks to pity. / The air of Heaven will hear, and any god, / If there is
any god in Heaven, will hear me." (p 261)

Later, McClure translates these same lines (i.e., _Metamorphoses_
VI.542-548) as:

"But if the gods see these things, indeed, if there are gods at all, / if
all things have not perished with me, someday you will pay for this. / I
will broadcast your crime, setting aside my shame. / If there is an
opportunity, I will go to the people; if I am kept / imprisoned in this
forest, I will fill the woods with my story / and I will move the stones
to witness." (p. 290)

McClure could have eased the process of comparing such translations by
numbering her lines with the same numeration used in the ancient text and,
perhaps, by using footnotes to her translations to indicate where the same
passage is used in the accompanying article.

McClure provides her own translation of Sappho I, often called the "Prayer
to Aphrodite," which is also translated by Winkler in his essay.  In this
case, not only does one wonder why McClure did not explain to her
undergraduate audience that these were translations of the same poem, but
one also wonders why she felt it necessary to add her translation to
Winkler's at all.  The space could have been used to provide a translation
of additional material from Homer (to which Winkler refers but does not
translate).  The same observations could be made in the Finley essay about
the Claudia inscription, which is translated by both Finley and McClure.

Some comments are also warranted about the bibliographies in this book.
In addition to the bibliographies provided by the authors of some of the
essays, McClure provides a short bibliography of sources for future
reference following the editor's introduction and a lengthy bibliography
at the end of the volume.  The purpose and scope of this final
bibliography is unclear.  It is neither a comprehensive bibliography on
the topic nor a list of major works for future reference by
undergraduates.  Too many major works fitting one description or the other
are missing to serve either purpose.  Rather the bibliography appears to
be not much more than a composite of all the other bibliographies in the
book.  This bibliography also has anomalies such as an incomplete
reference to a 1997 article by Richlin and the absence of significant
works by authors such as Zeitlin and Finley.  The space used by this
bibliography could have been used for another article, or, even better,
for a bibliography of selected, important works with annotations geared to
undergraduate users.

While this collection of essays cannot be used unaided by the average
undergraduate, it can still serve as an excellent supplementary textbook
in advanced college courses on gender and women's studies.


[1].  The journal is inaccurately identified as the _Standford Literature
Review_ in the acknowledgements.

Joplin's essay has since been published, under the author's birth name,
Patricia Klindienst, on the internet at along
with an epilogue at

Purchasing through these links helps support H-Net:;cgi=product&isbn=0631225889;sourceid=41034484&bfpid=0631225889&bfmtype=book

Copyright © 2004 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational
purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web
location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities &
Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews
editorial staff at

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