There have been a pile of news reports about the Archimedes Palimpsest this week … near as I can tell, what is new in these reports is the revelation that Archimedes’ thoughts on infinity in the palimpsest are different than previously thought. The salient excerpt (via the Live Science version):
“Scholars are now talking about some new words which are emerging in the reconstruction of the evidence in introduction to the Method, that Archimedes’ concept of infinity was rather different from what was previously thought,” Bergmann said.
In fact, the new reading reveals that Archimedes was engaged in math that made conceptual use of actual infinity, as Netz describes on the Web site ArchimedesPalimpsest.org. The calculations involved adding infinite numbers of sums, such as the number of triangles inside a prism, as well as the number of lines inside a rectangle. Archimedes tried to argue that these values are equal to each other, making a statement about actual infinity, not just potential infinity, Nets writes.
The project website mentioned above (which I wasn’t aware of) has a pile of interesting stuff, including a digital version of the palimpsest and interviews etc. with those involved. You could easily kill an hour or so there.
- Idea of Infinity Stretched Back to Third Century B.C. (Live Science)
- Uncovering ancient secrets beneath the surface (AP via Google)
- Scholars uncover writings of ancient mathematician (Detroit News)
At UEFA.com there’s an interview with Ukrainian football/soccer star Anatoliy Tymoshchuk … towards the end he sez:
These days, some consider the role of captain as just a nod to tradition. But remember that Herodotus described a game in ancient Greece, where soldiers played to develop their fighting capacities and used the head of the defeated team captain as a ball. It’s a historical fact that extra responsibility for a team’s result lies with the captain.
… er … stick to soccer.
Azzaman is reporting the discovery of of a bridge somewhere north of Mosul purportedly built by Alexander the Great. In the rather vague article, archaeologist Omer Sharif is quoted inter alia:
“The bridge dates to 330 B.C. and to the reign of Alexander the Great … I have asked the Antiquities Department in Baghdad to send a team of specialists to evaluate the discovery … hopefully, a lot of the ancient construction survives so that we can have in place a bridge that will bear the name of this great monarch.”
IRONY AND THE IRONIC IN CLASSICAL LITERATURE
A conference at the University of Exeter, 1st-4th September 2009
Call for Papers
What precisely do we mean when we talk about ‘irony’?
The term ‘irony’ is often bandied about – as a glance at the Index of any commentary or literary-critical monograph will attest. Both ‘irony’ and the adjective ‘ironic’ are frequently (perhaps too frequently?) used as catch-all terms to describe a variety of effects within literary works, including unusual shifts of tone, slippage between overt and implied meanings, transparently deceptive or disingenuous narrative strategies and other self-conscious collusions with an implied reader or audience. But what sort of a phenomenon are we actually dealing with? Is irony (as many have thought) by its very nature too subtle, subjective or elusive a concept to be theorized? And what are its broader implications, once it has been identified?
These questions stimulate cross-cultural analysis, as irony may be understood differently in ancient and modern cultures. Although ironical effects, such as those outlined above, are found in abundance in ancient Greek and Roman literature, they were not theorized as such in antiquity. Instead, eirōneia and related words were used to denote a more specific and limited mode of behaviour than we associate with irony in modern thought. Indeed, given that it has been thought that an ‘ironical’ outlook is a peculiarly modern concept, is our application of this outlook to ancient texts fundamentally anachronistic? What is the value of the concepts of irony and the ironic from the historicist perspective?
This conference is designed to open up the debate about this challenging concept, and to stimulate discussion from a diversity of perspectives. It is anticipated that proceedings of the conference will be published in book form. We invite papers dealing with irony in Greek and Latin literature, and we welcome also theoretical and comparative approaches to the concepts of irony and the ironic. Topics for consideration may include:
* frameworks for understanding ‘the ironic’, especially ancient conceptualizations of ‘the ironic’
* patterns of irony and the ironic
* irony and other strategies of collusion (e.g. parody, allusion, innuendo)
* the dynamics of irony – how is it effected?
* irony and intentionality – embedded or imported meanings?
* irony and the reader/reading-cultures in antiquity
* irony as a political, rhetorical or pedagogical strategy
* the politics of irony: exclusivity and esotericism – who’s ‘in’, who’s ‘out’?
Please send abstracts of ca. 300 words to one of the conference-organisers (below) by 28th February.
Matthew Wright (M.Wright AT exeter.ac.uk)
Karen Ní Mheallaigh (K.Ni-Mheallaigh AT exeter.ac.uk)
ante diem xiii kalendas martias
Parentalia (Day 5) — the period for appeasing the dead continued
Quirinalia — festival honouring the namesake of the Quirinal hill, the Sabine divinity Quirinus, who was later identified with Romulus. Little else is known about the festival.
304 A.D. — martyrdom of Donatus and 80+ others near Venice
A reviewish sort of thing of a biography of Maurice Bowra in the New Statesman includes this tantalizing bit, inter alia:
He was a scholar of ancient Greek literature but, despite a string of books, produced nothing exceptional (one contemporary compared his prose to “a man writing luggage labels”) and failed to get an Oxford chair. He was allegedly a great wit, but does not have a single entry in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. He was almost certainly homosexual and, to his friends between the wars, proclaimed himself a leader of the Homintern. Yet he ducked out of public backing for homosexuals, most shamefully in 1947 when he refused to support André Gide, as open a honorary degree. Many thought him the model for characters in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time, but it probably wasn’t true in either case. Nor was it true that, on being greeted by Hitler with “Heil Hitler!” he responded: “Heil Bowra!” It was his friend (and possibly lover) Robert Boothby who shouted “Heil Boothby!” and he was responding, not to Hitler himself, but to a secretary. When the false version of the story circulated, Bowra implored Boothby not to spoil it. Which says, perhaps, all you need to know about the man.
… there’s more:
The Sofia Echo reports:
The unexplored Roman fortress of Trimammium near the village of Mechka in Rousse has been ravished by treasure-hunters, Dnevnik daily reported on February 12 2009, quoting local archaeologists who informed police.[...]
During his presentation in Rousse, Vurbanov revealed photos showing more than 30 shallow holes dotting the site, obviously dug with the help of a metal-detector and spade. Treasure-hunters have also “explored” another part of the site, yet to be researched by archaeologists, the newspaper said.
The incipit of an interesting piece in the Daily Princetonian:
On Mondays, I try to attend the French table. On Wednesdays, I go to Arabic. And on Thursdays, I am always at the Cena Latina.
Cena Latina is Princeton’s Latin language table, sponsored by the Classics Department, and to the best of my knowledge it is one of only two weekly Latin tables in the Ivy League (the other being at Harvard). This has a lot to do with Leah Whittington — classics grad student here and classics undergrad at Harvard — who organized both.
Latin, like Lazarus, refuses to stay dead. Every Thursday at 6:15 p.m.in the Rocky Private Dining Room, some five or six regulars and a few reinforcements resurrect the language and say, “Amabo te, mitte saltem” for “Please pass the salt.” No English is spoken. If you don’t know what the word is, say, “Quomodo dicitur…”
This might seem a little necromantic to those who were told that Latin is safely defunct, but Latin shows a surprising will to life for a language with 30 endings to a regular adjective. Whenever the topic arises — and it does with surprising frequency — those to whom I mention the Latin table are always surprised that anybody speaks Latin, let alone that Princeton sponsors a table for it. Latin is supposed to be extinct. (Anybody who went through Wheelock’s textbook in high school may know the ditty, “Latin is a dead, dead language, as dead as it can be / it killed the ancient Romans and now it’s killing me.”)
… there’s more:
Various news venues are reporting the arrest of a man near Thessaloniki (the actual town varies depending on the report) who was found with a pile of items … as described by the IHT:
The confiscated antiquities included more than 1,500 silver and copper coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D., Halkidiki anti-crime squad director Giorgos Tassiopoulos said. Police seized another 680 clay and bronze artifacts, including vases, lamps, statuettes and jewelry.
… there was also a preColumbian statuette found amongst the items; not sure what to read into that …
- Greek man arrested with stash of antiquities (MSNBC … includes a photo of the preColumbian thing)
- Greek man arrested with stash of antiquities (Chronicle)
Michael Poliakoff (classicist and an administrative bigwig at UColorado) comments on 300 as #5 on National Review‘s list of the Best Conservative movies of the past 25 years:
During the Bush years, Hollywood neglected the heroism of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan—but it did release this action film about martial honor, unflinching courage, and the oft-ignored truth that freedom isn’t free. Beneath a layer of egregious non-history—including goblin-like creatures that belong in a fantasy epic—is a stylized story about the ancient battle of Thermopylae and the Spartan defense of the West’s fledgling institutions. It contrasts a small band of Spartans, motivated by their convictions and a commitment to the law, with a Persian horde that is driven forward by whips. In the words recorded by the real-life Herodotus: “Law is their master, which they fear more than your men[, Xerxes,] fear you.”
The Guardian reports on a row going on in Athens over plans to erect a statue of Alexander the Great … inter alia:
Seventeen years after its acquisition by the Greek culture ministry, the rendition of the military commander has been gathering dust in a basement storeroom because of fierce controversy over where to put the sculpture. Nationalist-minded politicians, on both sides of the spectrum, believe the statue “rightfully” belongs to a prominent square in the heart of ancient Athens. There, they say, the Macedonian king would not only receive maximum viewing but the reverence he deserves from a people who see themselves as his rightful descendants.
Had it not been for archaeologists, that might have happened. But the purveyors of Greece’s past – a powerful lobby in this antiquities-rich country – have strongly resisted the move, saying Alexander came to the capital “as a conqueror”. The row might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the recently reinvigorated intensity of the name dispute between Athens and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
… I wonder if that report a couple of weeks ago of plans to erect a statue of Al at Arbela is prompting a similar reaction there …
A few years ago a number of items from the so-called treasures of King Croesus were purloined from a museum in Turkey and replaced with fakes. Today we read that the former museum director and a handful of his colleagues have been found guilty of the theft.
As often, the Italian press is full of discoveries which never make it to the English press, alas …
Politicamente Correto reports on the discovery of a monumental lion sculpture from Modena, dating to the second half or so of the first century:
PatrimonionSOS has a letter suggesting the protests of archaeologists at Ostia are getting more serious:
A piece in Articolo 21 seems to suggest it goes beyond Ostia:
Cetona reports on the impending ‘continuation’ (for want of a better word) of the search for the tomb of Lars Porsenna:
L’Unione Sarda on the excavation of some nuraghi and other sites (a bit vague):
At Archaeogate there resides an article about remains of an Etruscan aquaduct at Bolsena (the pdf of the article is on the right side of the page):
Plans for an archaeological park in Lecce make mention of a pile of finds from various periods, including some well-preserved Roman baths:
- Lecce rivela le Terme romane (Il Paese Nuovo)
Toscana TV reports on the arrest of a 72-year-old man in possession of some Dressel amphoras which eventually led to the discovery of a shipwreck site off the coast of Arrezzo:
Manduria Oggi has a report (with some photos) on the discovery of a Messapic burial dating to the 4th/3rd century B.C.:
John F. Drinkwater. The Alamanni and Rome 213-496: (Caracalla to Clovis). Oxford Oxford University Press, 2007. xi + 408 pp. $125.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-929568-5.
Reviewed by James E. Cathey (Department of German and Scandinavian Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst ) Published on H-German (February, 2009) Commissioned by Susan R. Boettcher
Germany at the End of the Roman Empire: The Alamanni and Rome
This book offers a fine-grained account of the leaders and peoples on the Roman and Alamannic sides (more or less) of the Rhine and the events that defined their symbiotic relationship during the approximately three hundred years between Caracalla and Clovis. John F. Drinkwater seems to leave no leaf unturned in his interpretation of the sources, and he provides a lucid narration of a reconstructed history that illuminates Roman political and personal motivation in interacting with the Alamanni and other groups, importantly the Franks and Burgundians, primarily on the upper and middle Rhine.
Alamannic groupings were local in character and never formed any sort of unified polity, while the Franks emerged from their own disorganization to form a kind of national identity only in the fifth century, when Alamannia had ceased to exist as such. The Alamanni, like the Franks, had no unifying mythical past (as did, say, the Burgundians or Goths). Their names were generic, not ethnic. Drinkwater’s programmatic statement is: “The aim of this book is to review this work [on the nature of the people and the archeology] and to present my own ideas on the relationship between the Alamanni and imperial Rome…. [Those who] in their readiness to accept the Roman historical background as a datum run the risk of missing current shifts in opinion in this field” (p. 3). He rejects mass migration as the source of the Alamanni in favor of a process of ethnogenesis through gradually cohering warbands. Some scholars take their name to express an ancient, special relationship with the god Mannus: “The ‘al’ prefix of ‘Alamanni’ was exclusive, not inclusive. ‘Alamanni’ signifies ‘Mannus’ own people’, created directly by him” (p. 65). These early “Alamanni” are hypothesized to have been an elite troop, that is, a warband, of the Juthungi, whom the Romans met as fierce warriors. The name of the elite Alamanni warbands was then extended to all Juthungi. Advances in archeology have aided in differentiating the Alamanni from, say, the Burgundians or Visigoths, although subgroups of the Alamanni, such as the Bucinobantes or Lentienses, cannot be identified distinctively through archeology.
The body of the book is an almost painstaking deconstruction or interpretation of the writings of Roman historians and inferences regarding the motives of all players. The Alamanni and the Roman army faced each other across the Rhine at the current Swiss-German border, and downstream between Gaul and Alamannia. The “barbarian threat,” created by raids and attempts to settle land on the left bank of the river, served the interests of Roman leaders by justifying taxation to maintain an army, which in turn offered a path to power. Even before the period of this book, Julius Caesar used the Germani as a reason to station an army in Gaul, which created the military and financial strength that propelled him to prominence in Roman politics. Not only were the Germani not a threat to Italy; they had been actively recruited into the Roman army approximately three hundred years before the Alamanni were portrayed as threatening the frontier. True enough, raids were conducted by various parties north and east of the Rhine into eastern Gaul and Raetia–and later by the Alamanni–but such actions fell far short of an invasion. The “threat” was proclaimed largely for political gain in Rome: “The ‘Germanic threat’ thus allowed western emperors, generals, administrators, and local aristocrats to validate their high position in society by allowing them to be diligent: diligently spending the taxpayers’ money, to their own economic and social advantage” (p. 361). By the year 240, however, a genuine threat had developed in the East from frequent raids by Goths on the lower Danube and at the Black Sea, which did call upon the emperor and his generals to succeed or be overthrown.
The interface at the Rhine was a land of opportunity for Alamannic leaders, who let themselves be co-opted by the Romans or used them to their own advantage for material benefit. During most of the period under consideration the only threat came through infrequent long-distance raiding by self-motivated warbands, certainly not a permanent problem for Roman forces on the lower and middle Rhine. But emperors needed to be generous to an army whose support they relied on. Furthermore, the reputation of a general depended on the victories he won. Repelling Alamannic threats solidified reputations; victories against eastern enemies, such as the Persians, brought glory. The end goal was to pacify groups; to do that, the cooperation of Alamannic leaders had to be achieved at the same time as victories were sustained against raids.
After an introduction, Drinkwater divides his presentation into nine chapters: “Prelude,” “Arrival,” “Settlement,” “Society,” “Service,” “Conflict 285-355,” “Conflict 356-61,” “Conflict 365-94,” and “The Fifth Century.” He adds an appendix on the Lyon Medallion, references, and an index. “Prelude” posits the inferiority of the Alamanni to Rome and sketches the background of raids into Roman territory, beginning with the Cimbri and Teutones in the late second century BCE, showing how Julius Caesar’s exploits with the Gauls set the stage for later “barbarian threats.” “Arrival” concerns the settlement history of what is now southwest Germany. The first brush east of the Rhine with a Germanic group, called Alambannoi by Cassius Dio, occurred when Caracalla encountered a raiding party in 213 at the Main River. The Roman _limes_ yielded to pressure in the mid third century, as more Germanic groups filtered south “thanks to the availability of the imperial road network” (p. 70). The Alamanni may have come from the western part of modern-day Mecklenburg or, more generally, from groups living between the Elbe and Main. Repeated raids by warbands led to southern settlement up to the Rhine. At the same time that the _limes_ was being breached in the West, the East was threatened by incursions of Goths on the lower Danube in the 240s, which diluted Roman defenses.
“Settlement” describes developments in the northwest, near the _limes_. The author posits the size of a warband at about six hundred-plus women and children. Since warbands most likely also quarreled, settlements would have been widely spaced. Drinkwater posits “a maximum resident population of c. 120,000 for the fourth century. The third-century figure must have been considerably lower” (p. 81). Not all settlements were primarily agricultural. There were also (at last count) 62 _Höhensiedlungen_, or “hill settlements,” constructed from the late third to early fourth centuries that were used–likely by Alamannic kings with entourages–until the Franks assumed power in the sixth century. The Romans encouraged such settlement, hoping to pay some Alamanni settlers to help protect the Roman Empire against others. Thus began subsidies that persuaded some Alamannic leaders to stay in place. The Alamanni were, however, not the only group in the region; the originally East Germanic Burgundians, who had come west as warrior bands that settled along the upper Main, were also in the region, occasionally complicating intergroup relations.
“Society” begins with a disclaimer that other than the warriors having had “long hair, dyed red, and [liking] strong drink we know little about them. As far as, for example, the lives of women are concerned, we know nothing” (p. 117). The Alamanni were pagan before the seventh century. Farming may have been viable near the Rhine and captured Romans may even have been used as slaves. Their political and military structures are recounted in commentaries by Julian Libanius and Ammianus Marcellinus, who described superior kings, kings, lesser kings, and princes. Petty kings or chieftains with transitory reigns are known from Scandinavian sources. Drinkwater comes down on the side of hereditary as opposed to elected chieftainship, due to the reports of sons following fathers in office. The Alamannic laws reveal what other Germanic laws reveal: a violent, impoverished society with a vendetta code. As Drinkwater puts it, “one suspects that it was never easy to be an Alamannic chief. This explains the attractiveness of Roman support” (p. 122). Alamannic kings were “in a cultural and strategic cul-de-sac. For a leader to emerge, he would have to be victorious in battle, and the sole worthy opponent was Rome. But Alamannic leaders relied on Rome for pay and goods” (p. 124).
They often served the Romans militarily. Drinkwater profiles fourth-century Alamannic chieftains by name and follows their entry and departure from imperial duty on a model established by Julius Caesar. Whereas Caesar employed Germani as cavalry, the Alamanni in some instances “mixed with the cream of imperial society” (p. 147) and “lived dangerous but generally successful lives as Roman grandees. Their descendants may have gone on to do even greater things–hidden from us by Roman names” (p. 153). This happy integration waned in the later fourth century due to a change in policy by Valentian I, after which Frankish rather than Alamannic chieftains joined the Romans. The author proposes models for recruitment in the early period: short-term hires of warband leaders who returned home after mercenary service and/or sons of chieftains forming warbands from local young men and serving under treaty. Other sources included individual crossings to the Romans for personal gain, prisoners of war, and long-term hiring of Alamanni for specific tasks, such as replacement of Roman troops sent to face the Persians.
The earlier chapters serve as an extended introduction; later chapters proceed chronologically. In “Conflict 285-355,” a close reading of Ammianus leads Drinkwater to conclude that “from the later third to the early fifth centuries … Alamanni and Franks were never a menace to Rome” (p. 177). Disturbances were exaggerated for internal Roman purposes, while occasional attacks by warbands intruding from the interior of Alamannia were repulsed. Any real or exaggerated engagements suited the purposes of Roman generals. The subsequent “Conflict 356-361″ turns on the change in relations when the Alamanni settled on the Roman side of the Rhine, an action Drinkwater suggests was not aggressive but witnessed to their desire to become Roman subjects; the chapter illustrates his point about the illusory nature of the Alamannic threat. We read that Julian (a cousin of Constantinus II who became Caesar of the West in 355 BCE) retook Strasbourg, Brumath, Seltz, Rhinezabern, Speyer, Worms, and Mainz in 356, with resistance only at Brumath. In the following year, Alamanni blockaded the roads and fled to islands in the Rhine. Seven chieftains under Chnodomarius demanded that Julian retreat, but he attacked instead. The Battle of Strasbourg was hailed as a glorious victory and Julian spared Chnodomarius and sent him to Rome. Julian proceeded to Mainz, put a bridge over the Rhine, and invaded Alamannic territory. The Alamanni eventually sued for peace and Julian added to his glory by defeating six hundred Frankish raiders who had attacked while he was busy with the Alamanni. In subsequent seasons Julian continued to penetrate Alamannic territory, in part to suppress suspected hostile districts and in part to secure the Main frontier against the Burgundians. Julian was able to “proclaim himself conqueror of Germani, Franks, and Alamanni” (p. 252). He assumed the title of Augustus and used his military dealings in the West to set him up for honors and transfer East to face the Persians. By 361 he had left Gaul.
“Conflict 365-394″ begins with the death of Julian in June 363, which led to the reign of Valentinian, whose career is hard to follow due to gaps in the record. The chapter again illustrates the Roman exploitation of a “barbarian threat” for individual political gain. Ammianus, useful as a source for the year 378, provides news of Alamannic incursions into Gaul early in the reign of Valentinian. The Alamanni became troublesome after 365 when the Romans changed long-standing agreements on gift exchanges to seal treaties. The unilateral termination of an established diplomatic custom was offensive to the Alamanni. Drinkwater writes: “The wholesale alienation of border communities so soon after his accession and arrival in the west would have been needlessly risky. What we see is Valentinian acting like Julian in both cowing and provoking the western enemy of choice…. Most Alamannic communities would fall into line, but … Roman action would inevitably goad some hotheads to fight. These could be picked off once Valentinian had reached the Rhine; but other events prevented this” (p. 272). Hotheads did act. A raid by perhaps a few thousand Alamanni had the indirect effect of provoking the main Roman field army at Rheims. Valentinian’s field marshal Jovinus rolled up the Alamanni from behind and conquered them at Châlons-sur-Marne.
A victory by one of his generals thus rhetorically bolstered Valentinian’s presence in the West (so that he did not go to face the Persians). After a raid into Mainz and a separate assassination of a major Alamannic leader, Vithicabius, Valentinian launched a campaign over the Rhine and established fortifications on the river and east of it, one at Mons Piri–now Bierhelder Hof in Rohrbach near Heidelberg. The successor of Vithicabius was subsequently rewarded with the construction of the Zähringer _Bergburg_. Valentinian fortified the Rhine frontier from Basel north to Mainz and east to the Iller and Danube Rivers, including fortified landing sites for warships.
Drinkwater states that Valentinian “never intended to conquer the Alamanni” (p. 299) but rather engaged in a defensive strategy that allowed him to call containment a victory. The Alamanni were exploited as the emperor saw fit: as recipients of imperial clemency or as victims of imperial intolerance. The occasional goading of neighboring Alamannic communities into revolt was useful in maintaining the illusion that they constituted a major enemy, requiring the permanent presence of a large (and growing) army and a senior emperor and his court. “The Fifth Century” recounts in more rapid sequence the events leading to the dissolution of the Alamanni as a defined group to contend with and the reasons for the rise of the Franks.
This account of the rise and fall of the Alamanni and their manipulation by the Romans is a book highly recommended as a compendium of scholarship by Drinkwater himself and others over the course of investigation into this period of Roman and Germanic history.
Drinkwater integrates (with great detail) scholarship from a great many sources and thus provides both a thorough survey and a guide to further reading. A good companion volume would be Karlheinz Fuchs et al., _Die Alamannen_ (1997) with fifty-four essays on aspects including anthropological considerations, law(s), dress and weapons, working with metals, burial customs, the early church, and language–among others. Drinkwater’s volume should be of interest to historians and to those who have sought a good source on the interaction between the Romans and the Alamannic people(s) in the earliest period of their history.
Citation: James E. Cathey. Review of Drinkwater, John F., _The Alamanni and Rome 213-496: (Caracalla to Clovis)_. H-German, H-Net Reviews. February, 2009. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=23731
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
University Teacher (Fixed-term)
School of Humanities – Department of Classics
University of Nottingham
Greek language & literature:
University Teacher (Fixed-term)
School of Humanities – Department of Classics
University of Nottingham
The Department of Classics at McMaster University invites applications for a contractually limited appointment to run for one year (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010). The successful candidate will teach 6 courses (3 per term), including classical archaeology (1 Greek archaeology, 3 Roman archaeology) and two sections of first year Latin. A PhD in Classics with specialization in Archaeology is required, and a record of excellent teaching is preferred. Applicants should send (in hard copy only) a letter of application, together with a curriculum vitae and a sample of their writing, to Dr. Michele George, Chair, Department of Classics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M2, Canada; fax: 905-577-6930. Applications must be received by April 1, 2009, and applicants should arrange for three confidential letters of recommendation to reach the department by the same date.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. However, those legally able to work in Canada and at McMaster University will be given priority. McMaster University is strongly committed to employment equity within its community, and to recruiting a diverse faculty and staff. Accordingly, the University especially encourages applications from women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities and persons with disabilities
More information on Classics at McMaster is available on our website: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~classics/
Classical Association of the Canadian West Annual Meeting
The University of Manitoba will be hosting the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Canadian West on 6th and 7th March 2009, at the Delta Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. The theme of the conference is ‘Violence in Greek and Roman Antiquity’.
The finalised programme is now available at the following address:
SPRING MEETING OF ONTARIO CLASSICAL ASSOCIATION: Sat. 28 March 2009
The Spring Meeting of the Ontario Classical Association will take place at Trent University (Peterborough) on Saturday 28 March 2009 from 9.30 to 3.30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room, Scott House, at Traill College (Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario). It will be in honour of Professor David Page, a former OCA President who taught Roman History and Classics at Trent University for his entire career. The theme of the meeting is “The Lessons of History”.
The keynote speaker is Professor Tim Cornell (University of Manchester), who will give a talk on “When was Rome founded?”.
Other speakers include Professor Guy Chamberland (Laurentian University) and Professor Fanny Dolansky (Brock University). There will also be a panel discussion on “Think Latin, Take Latin: Promotional Strategies for Classics”, involving Elizabeth Ellison (Elmwood School, Ottawa), Richard Burgess (University of Ottawa) and Allison Glazebrook (Brock). For full details of the meeting, see schedule below.
Registrations are due 1 March 2009 (see registration form, below). Cost: $50 (OCA members), $60 (non-OCA members), $40 (students), including a hot lunch.
The Lessons of History
Registration (Teachers– bring 20 items for Promotional Materials Exchange)
Welcome by Dr. Christine McKinnon, Vice-President
Academic and Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Hugh Elton,
Department of Classics and the OCA Vice-President, Elizabeth Ellison
10:00– 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Guy Chamberland, Laurentian Univerity, “A New
Constantinian Milestone from Xanthos in Lycia”
Dr. Fanny Dolansky, Brock University, “Mixed Messages,
Girls, Dolls and Roman Ideals”
OCA Annual General Meeting
Luncheon in Honour of Dr. David Page
“Think Latin, Take Latin: Promotional Strategies for
Classics”- Dr. Richard Burgess, University of Ottawa, Dr. Alison
Glazebrook, Brock University and Elizabeth Ellison, Elmwood School
Keynote Address by Dr. Tim Cornell, University of Manchester,
“ When Was Rome Founded?”
Closing Remarks and Adjournment
Please complete the following form and return it by 01 March 2009 to
Ontario Classical Association, P.O.Box 19505, 55 Bloor Street West, Toronto, M4W 3T9
Name: (Please Circle one) Mr. Mrs. Ms. Dr. _________________________________________________
Guest: (Please Circle one) Mr. Mrs. Ms. Dr. _________________________________________________
Please indicate your menu choice :
_____ Roast Beef au jus _____ Szechwan Stir-Fry (vegetarian)
Student: ______ X $40.00 = _________
Member: ______ X $50.00 =_________
Non-Member: ______ X $60.00 =_________
Total cheque enclosed payable to the OCA:_________
Brock University Archaeological Society 20th Annual Scholarly Symposium
Saturday March 14th 2009
Pond Inlet Brock University
11:30 am to 5:30 pm
Banquet to follow
Brock University Department of Classics
Living the Nightmare: When Your Gladiatorial Dreams Come True
Wilfrid Laurier University Archaeology and Classical Studies
Oaths and Oracles in Greek Tragedy
Queens University Department of Classics
Nature, Duty, and Divination in Cicero
University of Toronto Department of Classics
Seeing Witches Everywhere: Apuleius? Lycius at Hypata
University of Cincinnati Department of Classics
Lesbian Love Call: Magic, Sappho, Sex Wars and the Construction of Feminine
University of Winnipeg Department of Classics
Expelling Misconception: Identifying the Professional Astrologer in Rome
Email buas AT brocku.ca for more information and to register for the day by March 8.
$10.00 day of and after March 8
Critical Approaches to Ancient Philosophy
University of Bristol
21-22 March 2009 (2 pm Saturday- 1 pm Sunday)
While the diversity of disciplines influenced by classical philosophers is
a testament to their works’ fecundity, all too often it happens that
specialists approaching them from the perspective of the history of
philosophy, literary theory and “continental” philosophy, and ancient
cultural history do not communicate. When they do happen, encounters
between these perspectives are sometimes marked by confusion and
frustration. Even with abundant good will, we may get the feeling that we
simply are not speaking about the same texts. The purpose of this workshop
is to bring scholars from different backgrounds into a round-table format
in order to consider the feasibility and desirability of breaking down
these “disciplinary walls.” Speakers will give a series of
methodologically self-conscious papers on ancient philosophical texts,
reflecting on the preconceptions about the means and aims of “philosophy”
particularly and “scholarship” generally that underlie their approaches.
Equal time will be given to papers and discussion, and there will also be
a closing discussion.
There is no cost for this workshop, but those interested in attending
should contact the convener, Kurt Lampe (email@example.com).
Postgraduates are welcome.
Robert Wardy (Cambridge), “Unapproachable Philosophy”
Kurt Lampe (Bristol), “Authenticity inside and outside the Text: the
Reception and Meaning of the Platonic Theages”
Miriam Leonard (UCL), “Hegel’s Socrates”
Wilson Shearin (Stanford), “Philosophical Things: the Materiality of
Language and the Practice of Reading in Epicureanism”
John Sellars (UWE), “Conceptions of Philosophy and Genres of Philosophy:
The Case of Marcus Aurelius”
Christopher Rowe (Durham) will chair the first day’s papers, and David
Konstan (Brown) will chair the second day and introduce the closing
This workshop is supported by BIRTHA (The Bristol Institute for Research
in the Humanities and Arts), the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome, and
the Classical Tradition, and the Bristol Institute for Advanced Studies
Inquiries about accommodation or other particulars should be directed to
Kurt Lampe (clkwl AT bristol.ac.uk).
From the ASCSA site (no … I do not understand why McMaster University has nothing mentioning this):
With great sadness, the School reports that Daniel Joseph Geagan passed away at St. Joseph’s Villa, Dundas, Ontario, Canada on Friday, February 6, 2009, in his 72nd year. He is survived by his wife, Helen Augusta von Raits Geagan and daughter, Augusta Helsby. Geagan’s life was devoted to education and work within his community. He was Professor Emeritus of History, McMaster University.
Geagan received his A.B. from Boston College and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and taught at Dartmouth College after serving in the military for two years. He joined the Department of History at McMaster University in 1973 and until 2001 he taught Ancient History, especially ancient Greece, with an emphasis on social and institutional history.
He was a Member of the School and the David M. Robinson Fellow in 1962-1963. His future wife, Helen Augusta von Raits, was also a Member that year. In 1963-64, he was an Associate Member and the Edward Capps Fellow. Geagan returned to the School in 1969-1970 as a Senior Research Fellow, holding a A.C.L.S. Fellowship. He was assigned to publish all Greek and Roman dedications from the Athenian Agora Excavations and the Latin inscriptions from the University of Chicago Excavations at Isthmia.
Geagan was the author of “The Athenian Constitution after Sulla”, Hesperia Supplement 12, published in 1967, and his publications include seven articles in Hesperia. His book, Inscriptions: The Dedicatory Monuments (Agora XVIII), will be published posthumously.
On a personal note … one of my teaching assignments during my Ph.D. pursuit at McMaster was to teach Dr. Geagan’s (very popular) second year Roman History course. I probably didn’t do it the justice it deserved … he will be missed.
My driving-to-work-and-back listening yesterday was a very interesting edition of In Our Time featuring Mary Beard, Jo Crawley-Quinn and Ellen O’Gorman. The topic of the conversation was the destruction of Carthage, but it went much beyond that and gave a very good overview of Rome’s dealings with Carthage in general, and there was much mention of the contrast/comparison between the opulence of Rome and similar conditions in Carthage. Definitely worth a listen … I’m not sure how much longer it will be available:
Every now and then, this story about the purported Roman origins of hopscotch pops up … most recently in the East London Advertiser:
The game involving hopping between squares on a chalk grid dates back to Roman times.
It was used originally for military training when foot soldiers ran in full armour and field packs along hopscotch grids 100ft long to improve their footwork.
Roman children imitated the soldiers, drawing their own smaller grids on the ground.
It appears in too many websites to mention, but always seems to be tied to the UK somehow. I think I’ve managed to find a possible indirect origin for the tale … in the 1870 edition of the Journal of the British Archaeological Association we read:
Later, in the same proceedings:
I invite folks to click on those links to read the full thing … as often, I don’t think there really is any evidence for Roman hopscotch (I seem to remember once discussing this with someone online … specifically, that there is a ‘hopscotch court’ somewhere in Rome on some Roman monument (and I seem to recall that Augustus’ horologium is also involved) … does anyone recall such things?)