d.m. Dirk Held

From the New York Times:

HELD–Dirk tom Dieck, Of Westerly RI, was the Elizabeth S. Kruidenier ’48 Professor of Classics at Connecticut College in New London, CT. He took his A.B. and Ph.D in Classics at Brown University. In 1971, he joined the faculty of Connecticut College, where he served until his death from a cerebral hemorrhage on March 19, 2012. He held the Chair of the Classics Department for thirty-two years. Professor Held presented and/or published over one hundred learned papers on a wide variety of topics. He was widely known and respected for the quality of his scholarship and his dedication to the field. Colleague Robert Proctor, Professor of Italian, remarked, “Dirk Held lived the liberal arts ideal. His scholarship was both profound and wide-ranging, from Plato’s understanding of love to Nietzsche and the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world. He was a modern exemplar of ancient Roman humanitas: culture, kindness, generosity, and wit.” In 2007 he was awarded the Helen B. Regan Faculty Leadership Award. He was a superb teacher whose students often became his lifelong friends. Dirk was secretary and presiding officer of the Ariston Club, a society of prominent professionals founded in 1900 to foster literary culture in the New London area, where he was his black tie, witty, raconteur best. Born on March 24, 1939, he was the son of the late Oskar Edouard Held and Ethel Crofton Hunt. He grew up in Rumson, NJ. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Elizabeth Candace Allen; daughters Elizabeth Jensen and Kristin Held; grandsons Nicholas Thomson and Martin Jensen; and his brother Robert Crofton Held. He was descended from Pierre S. DuPont and was buried in the family cemetery, DuPont de Nemours, in Wilmington, DE. A Memorial Service will be held in Harkness Chapel, Connecticut College, on Friday, April 27th at 4pm, followed by a reception.

via: Dirk Held (New York Times)

L’Année Philologique Threatened?!!

Seen on a couple of lists now:

Chers Collègues,

L’Année Philologique, outil irremplaçable de bibliographie de l’Antiquité gréco-latine, est menacée à très court terme de disparaître dans sa forme actuelle, voire de cesser sa parution.

La cause de cette menace est simple : la rédaction allemande de L’Année philologique, la Zweigstelle Heidelberg, doit fermer ses portes à la fin de l’année civile 2012 si aucune source de financement durable n’est trouvée.

Cette fermeture programmée aurait, si elle prenait effet à la date prévue, des conséquences désastreuses sur l’ensemble du projet : avec elle c’est toute la recherche en langue allemande, dont chacun sait l’importance pour les humanités classiques, qui cesserait d’être couverte par notre publication.

Si aucune solution n’est trouvée, les conséquences se résumeront à la transformation d’un projet à haute valeur scientifique en un moteur de recherche au rabais ou la disparition pure et simple de la publication.

Je me permets donc de vous inviter à signer en ligne et à faire circuler la pétition où figurent tous les détails concernant les motifs de cette fermeture, ainsi que ses implications concrètes, en vous rendant à l’adresse suivante : http://anphil.org/

Cordialement à tous,

Laurent Capron
Éditeur à l’Année Philologique

CONF: Menander in Contexts

Seen on the Classicists list

Menander in Contexts

23 – 25 July 2012
Lincoln Hall, University of Nottingham

It is now over a century since Menander made his first great step back from
the shades with the publication of the Cairo codex, and over half a century
since we were first able to read one of his plays virtually complete; since
that time our knowledge of his work has been continually enhanced by further
papyrus discoveries. This international conference is designed to examine
and explore the Menander we know today in the light of the various literary,
intellectual and social contexts in which they can be viewed, more
particularly in relation to

· the society, culture and politics of the post-Alexander decades

· the intellectual currents of the period

· literary precursors and intertexts, especially in comedy and

· the reception of Menander, in antiquity and in modern times

For more information see the conference website at


To book, follow the link below:


CONF: Bodies of evidence: redefining approaches to the anatomical offering

Seen on the Classicists list:


An international conference at the British School at Rome,
Tuesday 5th June 2012

From Pharaonic Egypt to Roman Italy and from Classical Greece to the
Byzantine world, anatomical votives have performed a continuous, if poorly
understood, role in ritual and votive practice. Modern scholarship has
categorised as ‘anatomical’ a range of ex-votos, made largely but not
exclusively from terracotta, which depict parts of the body. These arms,
legs, eyes, fingers, hands, feet, uteri, genitals, internal organs and
other recognisable parts of the internal and external body have attracted
much attention from scholars exploring both past religion and health
alike. Nevertheless, the category of ‘anatomical offering’ remains
noticeably ill-defined and remains to be integrated fully into the study
of ritual, artefacts and the body. This conference will ask how we should
define and interpret the ‘anatomical’ votive, bringing together scholars
working upon the anatomical offering in its broadest sense order to
explore and refine our understanding of this phenomenon. What were
anatomical votives for, what did they represent to those who dedicated,
encountered or made them, and what factors influenced the selection of a
particular item? How have they been implicated in broader discourses
concerning medicine and the human body? In particular it will be concerned
with what these offerings reveal, not only about past religious and
medical contexts and practices, but also about identity, society, politics
and concepts or constructions of the human body.


09.00 Registration and introduction

09.30 Letizia Ceccarelli (University of Cambridge)
‘Donaria: Anatomical Terracotta Offerings from a Votive Deposit at

10.00 Jessica Hughes (Open University)
‘A Farewell to Arms: Votive Body Parts and Rites of Passage in
Hellenistic Italy’

10.30 Tea and coffee

11.00 Georgia Petridou (Humboldt University)
‘Demeter as an Ophthalmologist? Eye Votives and the Cult of
Demeter and Kore’

11.30 Ergün Lafli (Dokuz Eylül University)
‘Votive Ear Plaques from Asia Minor’

12.00 Matthias Recke (University of Giessen)
‘A Deeper Insight: Etruscan Anatomical Votives with
Representations of Intestines’

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00 Rebecca Flemming (Jesus College Cambridge)
‘Wombs for the Gods’

14.30 Olivier de Cazanove (University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)
‘Anatomical Votives (and Swaddled Babies): from Republican Italy
to Roman Gaul’

15.00 Fay Glinister (University of Cambridge)
‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’

15.30 Tea and coffee

16.00 Ellen Adams (Kings College London)
‘Fragmentation and the Body’s Boundaries: Classical Antiquities
and Human Remains in the British Enlightenment’

16.30 Jennifer Grove (University of Exeter)
‘Roman Votive Genitalia in the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum’

17.00 Discussion / Break

18.00 Keynote address: Laurent Haumesser (Musée du Louvre)
‘The Open Man: A Large Etruscan Anatomical Bust from the Musée du

19.00 Reception

Attendance at the conference is free of charge. If you would like to
attend or receive further information please register your interest by
contacting either of the organisers: Jane Draycott (j.draycott AT bsrome.it)
or Emma-Jayne Graham (eg153 AT leicester.ac.uk).

Reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature

A couple of items within our purview:


Reviews from Bryn Mawr Classical Review

  • 2012.04.27:  Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, James Robson, Ctesias’ History of Persia: Tales of the Orient. Routledge classical translations.
  • 2012.04.26:  Isabelle Loring Wallace, Jennie Hirsh, Contemporary Art and Classical Myth.
  • 2012.04.25:  Ihor Ševčenko, Chronographiae quae Theophanis Continuati nomine fertur liber quo Vita Basilii imperatoris amplectitur. Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 42.
  • 2012.04.24:  William Brockliss, Pramit Chaudhuri, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, Katherine Wasdin, Reception and the Classics: an Interdisciplinary Approach to the Classical Tradition. Yale classical studies, 36.
  • 2012.04.23:  Harry Love, Hūrai.
  • 2012.04.22:  Richard Stoneman, The Ancient Oracles: Making the Gods Speak.
  • 2012.04.21:  Michel E. Fuchs, Benoît Dubosson, Theatra et spectacula: les grands monuments des jeux dans l’antiquité. Etudes de Lettres, 288.
  • 2012.04.20:  Anne Merker, Une morale pour les mortels: l’éthique de Platon et d’Aristote. L’Âne d’or.
  • 2012.04.19:  Giovanna Pace, Giovanni Tzetzes, La poesia tragica. Edizione critica, traduzione e commento (2nd edition; first published 2007). Speculum, 27.
  • 2012.04.18:  Richard Alston, Edith Hall, Laura Proffitt, Reading Ancient Slavery.
  • 2012.04.17:  Philip P. Betancourt, The Bronze Age Begins: the Ceramics Revolution of Early Minoan I and the New Forms of Wealth that Transformed Prehistoric Society.
  • 2012.04.16:  Pierre Destrée, Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, Plato and the Poets. Mnemosyne supplements. Monographs on Greek and Latin language and literature, 328.
  • 2012.04.15:  Juan Gil, Sofía Torallas Tovar, Hadrianus. P.Monts.Roca III. Orientalia Montserratensia, 5.
  • 2012.04.14:  Richard J. A. Talbert, Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered.

Roman Anti-Semitism

Interesting Op Ed from Arutz Sheva:

The Jewish Revolt that led to the destruction of the Second Temple is erroneously held to be the start of Roman anti-Semitism, while it is actually more of the same – the belief Jews are sinister, evil and threatening.

That anti-Jewish prejudice features among Latin authors of the early Principate cannot be doubted.

For example, in the Cena Trimalchionis, which is a part of the satirical novel Satyricon, written during Nero’s reign, two freedmen- Habinnas and Trimalchio- have a discussion on the slaves they own. The former mentions a particular favorite of his, but adds that his “duo vitia” (“two vices”) are that “recutitus est et stertit” (“he is circumcised- i.e. a Jew- and he snores”- Petronius 68.8).

Similarly, in Satire 3, the poet Juvenal, who lived during the reign of the Antonine dynasty at the turn of the second century CE, has a certain Umbricius complain that at Rome, the Jews have taken over the grove of Numa (a symbol of traditional Roman religion).

It has commonly been held that the Jewish Revolt (66-73 CE) marked a turning point in anti-Semitism among Romans. Namely, prior to the Jewish revolt, it has been widely argued that Jews were merely seen as silly rather than sinister or threatening in any way, with, for example, the dietary laws and prohibition against working on the Sabbath sometimes subjected to mockery.

However, I do not find such a view of Roman anti-Semitism tenable. In this context, an incident particularly worthy of consideration is a senatorial decree from 19 CE that ordered practitioners of Egyptian and Jewish rites to either abandon their religion or face expulsion from Italy.

The historian Tacitus (Annals II.85) provides further details:

actum et de sacris Aegyptiis Iudaicisque pellendis factumque patrum consultum ut quattuor milia libertini generis ea superstitione infecta quis idonea aetas in insulam Sardiniam veherentur, coercendis illic latrociniis et, si ob gravitatem caeli interissent, vile damnum; ceteri cederent Italia nisi certam ante diem profanos ritus exuissent.

“And there was a discussion about the expulsion of the Egyptian and Jewish rites, followed by a senatorial decree that 4000 freedmen infected with that superstition and of suitable age should be brought to the island of Sardinia in order to keep a check on the activities of bandits there; and, if any of them perished because of the harshness of the climate, it would be a cheap loss; the rest were to leave Italy unless they abandoned their profane rites before a certain day.”

Not much different then from the decrees issued against Jews in the Iberian Peninsula after the completion of the Reconquista in 1492. The contingent of 4000 freedmen sent to Sardinia is also noted by Josephus and described as a unit of Jewish men only, rather than Egyptians.

The decree was brought on the Emperor Tiberius’ instigation. Josephus recounts an incident whereby four Jewish rascals had apparently persuaded a noble Roman lady who had converted to Judaism- Fulvia- to provide purple and gold for the Temple in Jerusalem, which they then took for themselves; whereupon Fulvia’s husband Saturninus informed Tiberius of the matter.

As for the practitioners of the Egyptian rites, Josephus notes that a noble lady called Paulina (married to another Saturninius) was seduced by a certain Decius, who employed methods of trickery in collaboration with priests of Isis in Rome.

Now, as Heidel convincingly argued in an article published in the American Journal of Philology in 1920, there is a connection between the cases of Fulvia and Paulina. The latter was guilty of “religious prostitution” in Egyptian rites, while the fact that Fulvia was asked to provide purple for the Temple at Jerusalem probably suggested to Tiberius that the Jewish rascals were seeking to make her a “temple prostitute”, a practice inconsistent with Jewish rites.

Nonetheless, if we accept these reasons alone as the justification for the senatorial decree, the harshness seems unbecoming of Tiberius’ characteristic moderatio at the time, which is evident, for example, in his speech to the Senate in 20 CE, urging the senators not to accept the accusations against Piso – who was accused of murdering the Emperor’s adopted son Germanicus, inter alia – as true without proper consideration of the evidence, just because of Tiberius’ grief over Germanicus’ death (Annals III.12).

In a similar vein, speculating on the possible influence of Aelius Sejanus, the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard who later became Tiberius’ “partner in labors” and then consul in 31 CE (only to be executed on charges of treason), is of little help in explaining the nature of the senatus consultum.

Had Sejanus played any part in the Emperor’s instigation of the senatorial decree, it would surely have been documented by Tacitus, who portrayed Sejanus as a reincarnation of the villainous Catiline (Annals IV.1) and was eager to note any instances of the man’s perceived influence on Tiberius’ decision-making.

Instead, it makes sense to begin by noting, as Heidel did, that the decree effectively treats the Egyptian and Jewish rites as identical. The cases of Fulvia and Paulina must therefore have fuelled existing Roman prejudices and suspicions about Egyptian and Jewish religious practices.

The nature of these hostile attitudes can be ascertained from Virgil’s Aeneid, an epic poem written in the first century BCE to celebrate the founding of the Roman race by Aeneas, who was the reputed ancestor of Augustus – the predecessor of Tiberius – and the Julian line. The Aeneid’s influence cannot be overstated, since it became a school-text for educated Romans, and on graffiti at Pompeii and other sites, it is not uncommon to find single-line excerpts from the epic poem.

In an extended description of the Battle of Actium (31 BCE) as depicted on Aeneas’ shield, Virgil depicts the clash as an East vs. West conflict, with Marc Antony and Cleopatra representing the forces of the East that encompass nations like Indians and Arabs, while Augustus leads the armies of Italy. Of particular note are these lines (Aeneid 8.698-700):

omnigenumque deum monstra et latrator Anubis/
contra Neptunum et Venerem contraque Mineruam/
tela tenent.

“All sorts of monstrous gods and the barking Anubis hold their weapons against Neptune, Venus and Minerva.”

It is clear that the gods of Egyptian religion (and perhaps Eastern deities more generally) are represented here as sinister forces that are naturally opposed to the gods of traditional Roman religion.

Hence, on the basis of conflation of Egyptian and Jewish rites, it seems reasonable to conclude that Tiberius and the Senate saw the Egyptians and Jews as somehow a malicious threat to Roman religion and morality in society. The link with Juvenal’s complaint nearly 100 years later about the Jewish takeover of Numa’s grove in Satire 3 could not be more apparent.

The cases of Fulvia and Paulina only vindicated that animosity in the Romans’ minds, and so the only appropriate solution for the Emperor and the Senate was to decree that the Jews and Egyptians in Italy should either convert or leave, with particular furor directed at the Jews, something that is illustrated by the forced conscription of 4000 Jewish men to deal with brigands in the harsh climate of Sardinia.

In short, the senatorial decree of 19 CE suggests continuity in Roman anti-Semitism rather than any crucial turning-point in attitudes because of the Jewish Revolt.

Translations of Latin text are the author’s own.

Folks wishing a bit more detail or fuller discussion of official Roman policy towards the Jews might want to track down Leonard Victor Rutgers, “Roman Policy towards the Jews: Expulsions from the City of Rome during the First Century C.E.”, Classical Antiquity, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Apr., 1994), pp. 56-74 … which is available in JSTOR and apparently is also available here as a pdf.

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xvi kalendas maias

ante diem xvi kalendas maias

  • ludi Cereri (day 5)
  • 43 B.C. — Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) is hailed as Imperator for the first time
  • 69 A.D. — suicide of the emperor wannabe Otho (this might have occured on April 17)
  • 304 A.D. — martyrs of Saragossa
  • 1928 — death of Jane Ellen Harrison (Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion among others)