Abstracts for Volumes of Antichthon
Beginning with Antichthon 45 (2011), it has been decided that authors should prepare an abstract of their article, which is to be printed at the start of their article and which will also be placed on the ASCS website. The abstracts will then be archived each year on this page of the website as each volume is published.
Current Volume - Vol. 45 (2011)
Kurt Raaflaub, Brown University, Providence, RI
Riding on Homer’s Chariot: The Search for a Historical ‘Epic Society’ (pp. 1-34)
This paper continues the author’s long-standing quest to define the historicity of ‘epic society’ and to understand epic warfare and battle descriptions. It summarises the range of questions involved and a number of aspects on which some agreement has been achieved. Further progress is only possible by using new approaches. One of these, the comparative study of epic traditions, has recently yielded important results that are briefly summarised. Another new approach, overlapping with that of narratology, aims at understanding the working methods and conventions of the epic singer’s art. The application of this approach to the narrative of epic battles has made it possible to distinguish between two large type scenes: ‘normal battles’ and ‘flight and aristeia phases’. The former are essentially historical and thus help us understand early Greek fighting, while the latter are essentially fantastic. Three elements occur predominantly or almost exclusively in these fantasy scenes: the aristeiai of the greatest heroes, the active intervention of gods in battle, and the use of chariots in battle. The demonstration, provided in the final section of this paper, that the latter – a component of Homeric battle that has long resisted convincing explanation – is part of the singer’s arsenal of fantastic entertainment and ‘special effects’, removes it from historical consid-eration and further facilitates the explanation of epic battles and their historicity.
Christopher Ransom, The University of Sydney
Aspects of Effeminacy and Masculinity in the Iliad (pp. 35-57)
This paper considers the figure of the realised or hypothetical effeminised male in Homer’s Iliad, and discusses the impact of effeminacy upon idealised masculine identity in the epic. The idea of effeminacy in the Iliad is explored alongside several related but distinct concepts, such as cowardice, child-ishness, dress, physical appearance and battle-field rebukes and insults. The second half of this paper addresses more specifically the figure of Paris and the comparisons drawn between Paris and his brother Hektor. I argue that actualised or hypothetical effeminacy is constructed in the Iliad in order to define, by contrast, a ‘proper’ masculinity, founded on concepts of martial fortitude and civic responsibility, thoroughly antithetical to the ‘other’ which the effeminised male symbolises.
Diana Burton, Victoria University of Wellington
Response and Composition in Archaic Greek Poetry (pp. 58-76)
This paper discusses a series of archaic poems in which one poet responds directly to the work of another, identifying the other by name or by direct allusion (for example, Simonides frag. 542 PMG, Solon frag. 20 West, Sappho frag. 137 Voigt). Such responses often disagree with their models, and this disagreement is frequently constructed in terms of a correction, not only to the subject matter, but also to the way in which the original is composed. These responses, therefore, not only reflect the pattern of improvisation and ‘capping’ common to much Greek poetry, but form an ongoing debate on the nature and role of the poet and his poetry. The construction of such responses also serves to underline both the importance of improvisation and the permanency of the fame conveyed by the completed poem.
Neil O’Sullivan, the University of Western Australia
“It would be the time to discuss the optatives.” Understanding the Syntax of the Optative from Protagoras to Planudes (pp. 77-112)
This paper uses the Greeks’ understanding of the optative mood over many centuries to enlarge our knowledge of the origins of formal grammar, of the vernacular Greek language in post-classical times, and of the limitations which imitative Atticism faced when it tried to give new life to a verbal form which had virtually disappeared from the spoken language. Starting with the very beginnings of grammar as a discipline, it argues that Protagoras’ contribution to the study of verbal mood has been overlooked, and the Stoics given too much credit. This observation has implications for the larger issue of whether the origin of formal grammar is to be found amongst students of literature or of philosophy. The rest of the paper works through the standard uses of the optative found in Attic and Homeric Greek, examining the explanations and paraphrases of these usages found in ancient and medieval grammarians and scholiasts, and arguing that this material confirms the evidence for the vernacular suggested by the New Testament and papyri, and can also explain some non-classical uses of the optative found in Atticising writers.
James Uden, Columbia University / Boston University
Codeswitches in Caesar and Catullus (pp. 113-130)
This article analyses two texts, Caesar’s Bellum Civile and Catullus’ Carmen 12, as a window onto linguistic politics in mid-first century Rome. Both writers use ‘codeswitches’ between Latin and Greek as a means of indirect characterisation of the subjects of their texts. On one hand, isolated switches into Greek in Caesar’s text contribute to the sense of foreignness with which Caesar polemically characterises Pompey throughout the Bellum Civile. On the other hand, Catullus’ use of the word mnemosynum in his twelfth poem is part of the establishment of a sophisticated language of elite aestheticism from which the napkin-thief Asinius is pointedly excluded. Both these authors have connections to a larger first century controversy that fixated on Latin linguistic purity – a controversy in which politics and language use were inextricably linked.
Ellen Westott, Macquarie University
Suggestions of Sentiment: The Epitaphs of Tomb 87 (Isola Sacra) (pp. 131-148)
Epigraphic material has traditionally been used to explore a variety of topics ranging from demography to family relationships, but the subject of emotion is not often addressed. In this paper I examine three inscriptions which were discovered in situ in Tomb 87 at the cemetery at Isola Sacra. The paper provides a detailed analysis of these inscriptions within both their immediate context and the broader context of the body of epigraphic material discovered at the cemetery. Here I comment on the function of the inscriptions in relation to their location in the tomb and identify evidence related to the expression of emotion. I focus on the extent to which sentiment could be an element in the commemorative practice of ordinary Romans in the early centuries AD with a particular emphasis on the relationship between freedman and patron.
Tristan Taylor, The University of New Enfland
Magic and Property: The Legal Context of Apuleius’ Apologia (pp. 149-166)
This paper examines Apuleius’ Apologia from the perspective of its legal context. The paper asks three questions: first, what was the legal situation in relation to the property issues central to the motivations of Apuleius’ accusers? Second, what would the legal effects of a conviction have been on these property concerns? And, finally, what light do our answers to these questions shed on the Apologia itself? The applicable legal rules suggest both that some of the concerns of the prosecutors were ill-founded and that the prosecution would have achieved little in a legal sense in terms advancing their alleged ends. These observations suggest several potential conclusions: first, that Apuleius’ accusers sincerely believed their accusation of magic and thought that it was only the magical skill of Apuleius that threatened their aspirations to Pudentilla’s estate. Conversely, it may be that the accusers were simply ignorant about the law, vindictive towards Apuleius, or both. Third, that Apuleius has misrepresented his accusers’ motivations. Finally, these conclusions on matters of law could even be taken to suggest that the speech does not represent a genuine case, but rather is a work of fiction concocted by Apuleius for literary purposes.
Abstracts for Past Volumes
[This section is under construction, and will be changed as the abstracts for each volume are added.]