CFP: Emotion and persuasion in classical antiquity; London, 27-28 June 2013

Seen on the Classicists list:

This colloquium addresses the variety of ways in which emotions are used in
strategies of persuasion within and between societies, groups and
individuals in the ancient world, considering different strata of society,
and diverse media of communication. Persuasion may be effected, for
example, by narrative, explicit exhortation, or covert manipulation through
the judicious use of certain words and phrases. Emotional strategies can be
aimed at superiors, inferiors or one’s equals; to strangers or friends; and
attempted for personal gain or the public good. They can appear in oral
communications designed to be heard briefly – i.e. forensic, deliberative,
epideictic, hortatory or supplicatory oratory – their representations in
literature, or in written communications that can be read again and again
(philosophical treatises, other literary works, letters, inscriptions).

In recent years scholarship on emotive persuasion techniques has focused
primarily on explicit exhortation to feel a small group of emotions (anger,
hatred, envy, gratitude, pity) in Attic forensic oratory, rhetorical
techniques as propounded by philosophers (Aristotle, pseudo-Aristotle,
Cicero, Quintilian), and theatrical techniques such as dress, gesture or
vocal techniques. The last of these is outside the scope of this
colloquium, and we aim to move discussion well beyond the former two.

We invite abstracts on any aspect of emotion(s) used to persuade, in any
period of ancient Greece or Rome from the earliest written texts through to
Late Antiquity. In literature this will include rhetorical treatises
(mainly in their relation to other forms of literature), actual speeches
(from Classical Athens through Rome to the ‘Second Sophistic’ and early
Christian sermons), representations of actual or fictional speeches in other
genres (epic, drama, historiography etc.), and other forms of literature
whose purpose may be deemed partly to persuade (e.g. philosophical
treatises, consolations, satires, epodes, Pauline letters). In non-literary
media it will include texts preserved in inscriptions or on papyri such as
imperial rescripts from and petitions to emperors, private letters, and
prayers or curses addressed to gods. Supplementary questions, especially in
non-literary media, will be to consider whether women’s voices differ from
men’s (or from male representations of female voices), and to what extent
the ‘common man’ (and woman) makes use, or not, of literary techniques
developed by higher-status educated men.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to Ed.Sanders AT
and Matthew.Johncock.2011 AT by 23 December 2012

Confirmed speakers include: Professors Chris Carey (UCL), Angelos Chaniotis
(Princeton), Eleanor Dickey (Exeter) and Catherine Steel (Glasgow)

The colloquium will take place at Royal Holloway’s central London buildings
at 11 Bedford Square/2 Gower Street, London WC1B 3RF. It is generously
supported by the Institute of Classical Studies and the Centre for Oratory
and Rhetoric at Royal Holloway

CFP: Public and Private in the Roman House and Society, April 2013

seen on the Classicists list:

The "Public and Private in the Roman House" project ( is organizing a conference at the University of Helsinki, Finland in April 2013. Keynote speakers include Filippo Coarelli, Paul Zanker and Margareta Steinby. The aim of this conference is to take a fresh look at notions of public and private within the domus by exploring the public and private spheres of the Roman house from the first century BCE to the third century CE. The "Public and Private in the Roman House" is an ongoing project organizing its second major event, building on the success of a workshop at NYU this October. Please find the call for papers below.

Call for Papers: Public and Private in the Roman House and Society Conference

April 18-20, 2013, University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract deadline: December 15, 2012

E-mail: romanhouse2013 AT

Ancient Roman houses were designed to suit both the private life of its occupants and the demands of public life. As a result, the division between public and private spaces inside the domus was a complicated topic even for the Romans themselves. Previous scholarship has tended to treat the domus in terms of a rigid division between public and private, with the same division acting as a gender marker for (male) political activities and (female) domestic activities respectively. This strict division within the household now seems outdated. The aim of this conference, then, is to take a fresh look at notions of public and private within the domus by exploring the public and private spheres of the Roman house from the first century BCE to the third century CE. The "Public and Private in the Roman House and Society" is an ongoing project organizing its second major event, building on the success of a workshop at NYU this October. Keynote speakers include Filippo Coarelli, Margareta Steinby and Paul Zanker.

We therefore invite papers that explore the complex relationship between public and private in Roman society from a variety of perspectives – historical, archaeological, philological, architectural and anthropological – in order to further the understanding of the domus as a place for social, cultural, political and administrative action.

Potential themes include but are not limited to:
– The house and the city: Political and administrative spaces
– The Roman house as political, religious, social and cultural arena
– Newest theories and methods in the study of privacy/public in the Roman House
– Public and private in material culture and artefact studies
– The provincial house: Local and Roman building traditions and usages
– Changes and Continuities of the Roman house in Late Antiquity
– Gender in the house

The conference is organized by the project Public and Private in the Roman House (, which seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate on privacy in the ancient world as well as the issues of how the limits between public and private spaces were drawn. In an attempt to gain new perspectives on these questions, the project seeks to utilize comparative anthropological theories concerning the conceptualization of the public/private interface.

Please submit your abstract (300 words) as a [word/pdf] file to Juhana Heikonen at romanhouse2013 AT Please include your name, academic affiliation and address in your email.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is December 15, 2012.

Thracian Gold

This is another one I’ve been sitting on because the darned story kept developing — something not normally seen with finds from Bulgaria. In any event, here’s the original notice from Novinite:

Bulgarian archaeologists have found a unique gold Thracian treasure in the famous Sveshtari tomb.

The team, led by one of the most prominent Bulgarian experts on Thracian archaeology, Prof. Diana Gergova, from the National Archaeology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, made the discovery during excavations at the so-called Omurtag mount.

The researchers found fragments of a wooden box, containing charred bones and ashes, along with a number of extremely well-preserved golden objects, dated from the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd century B. C.. They include four spiral gold bracelets, and a number of intricate applications like one which shows the head of a female goddess adorned with beads, applications on horse riding gear and a forehead covering in the shape of a horse head with a base shaped like a lion head. The objects weigh 1.5 kg, but the excavations continue.

The precious find also contains a ring, buttons and beads. Gergova explains that it seemed the treasure was wrapped in a gold-woven cloth because a number of gold threads were discovered nearby.

The Professor says these were, most likely, remnants from a ritual burial, adding the team expects to discover a huge burial ground, probably related to the funeral of the Gath ruler Kotela, one of the father-in-laws of Philip II of Macedon. She notes this is a unique find, never before discovered in Bulgaria.

According to her, the Omurtag mount is the biggest one in the Gath center, which was their religious and political capital while the Gath were the tribe that influenced the most western tribes such as the Celts.

Gergova expects the treasure will entice the Culture Ministry to finally fund in full this emblematic Thracian site, part of the archaeological reserve Sboryanovo with the Sveshtari tomb, which is on the world cultural-historical heritage list of UNESCO.

The Professor says the Omurtag mount must be turned into a museum where the excavated segment could become an exhibit hall.

… and I initially found the connection to Philip II interesting, and planned on mentioning that and moving on. Then, for reasons unknown, this story caught on. Art Daily, Greek Reporter, and the Telegraph, to name but three, were giving the find some attention.  Al Jazeera gave a nice video report as well:

And shortly after this media frenzy, the story seems to have taken a different turn. Novinite then was telling us that the Louvre ‘Eyes’ Bulgaria’s Newest Thracian Treasure and that Magnificent Bulgarian Thracian Gold ‘Outshines’ Obama’s Win. Of course, it’s only natural to follow those up with being told Bulgarians Want Unique Thracian Treasure Back in Hometown, while the Daily Mail decided to take it to it’s usual sensationalistic extreme: Golden discovery: Archaeologists discover astonishing haul ‘linked to Alexander the Great’ in network of tombs in Bulgaria … but they had some really nice photos. Things seem to have quietened down a bit over the past few days … it is a nice find.

ED: UGA Classics Summer Institute 2013

seen on the Classics list:


Each year the Institute offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate Latin and Classics courses, including, in odd-numbered years, a methods course for Latin teachers and Intensive Beginning Greek and, in even-numbered years, Intensive Beginning Latin. The Institute curriculum is supplemented by workshops and guest lectures by visiting master teachers and scholars. The program is designed especially for Latin teachers who wish to continue their education or earn a Master’s degree in Latin on a summers-only basis. The faculty of the Department of Classics share in a tradition of cooperation with high school teachers that culminates each summer in an exciting and challenging curriculum. Here are the offerings for the summer of 2013:

First Short Session – June 10 – June 28, exam on July 1GREK 2050 – Intensive Greek I 9:30 am – 12:15 pmPark Hall 225 Dr. Naomi Norman

Second Short Session – July 2 – July 24, exam on July 25GREK 2060 – Intensive Greek II 9:30 am – 12:15 pm
Park Hall 225 Dr. Charles Platter
LATN 4/6770 – Teaching Methods 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Park Hall 114 Mr. Randy Fields
Through Session – June 11 – July 23, exam on July 24CLAS 4/6120 – Pompeii 9:00 – 10:15 am
Park Hall 115 Dr. Robert Curtis
LATN 4/6300 – Cicero 10:30 – 11:45 am
Park Hall 115 Dr. John Nicholson
CLAS 8010 – Survey of Greek Literature (in English translation) 1:00 – 2:15 pm
Park Hall 115 Dr. Charles Platter
LATN 6090 – Medieval Latin 2:30 – 3:45 pm
Park Hall 114 Dr. Robert Harris
Housing:For the most up-to-date information about available University Housing, please visit: Off-campus housing is also available. UGA meal plans are offered at low student rates.

Tuition:Tuition rates for summer 2012 were $300 per credit hour plus $844 in fees for in-state students and $913 per credit hour for out-of state students (2012 rates will be available in early 2013 – please check the UGA Bursar’s Office for the most updated information).

Latin teachers from outside Georgia may complete a tuition waiver to reduce tuition to the in-state level. Modest scholarships are also available from the Department. Scholarships are also offered by non-UGA organizations; please visit for a list.

Admissions:All Institute participants must be admitted to the University of Georgia, either as Degree or Non-Degree students. Please apply on the Graduate School website at For admission to the Summer Institute, complete the online application packet available at Writing samples may be emailed to grading AT

Deadlines:Application and supporting documents must be received no later than April 1st for domestic applicants, six weeks earlier for international applicants.

For more information, please contact Kay Stanton at gradinq AT or Dr. John Nicholson at jhn AT, or call 706-542-9264.

Department of Classics • University of Georgia • 221 Park Hall • Athens, GA

CJ Online Review: D’Angour, The Greeks and the New

posted with permission:

The Greeks and the New: Novelty in Ancient Greek Imagination and Experience. By Armand D’Angour. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Pp. x + 264. Hardcover, £58.00/$90.00. ISBN 978-0-521-85097-1. Paper, £20.99/$33.99. ISBN 978-0-521-61648-5.

Reviewed by Ruth Scodel, University of Michigan

This book initially seeks to refute a belief that I am not entirely sure needed to be refuted, the claim that the Greeks were profoundly conservative and shunned novelty. To be sure, this claim has often appeared, notably in van Groningen’s In the Grip of the Past;[[1]] but I would judge that scholars today are generally inclined as much to discount the Greeks’ traditionalism as their innovativeness. Work on the development of literacy, on Greek science and mathematics, on democracy and its ideology, and on literary genres has made it hard to ignore the importance of the new in Greek history. Still, a general investigation of Greek attitudes to the new is itself new and worthwhile, both because we sometimes repeat tired clichés about Greek conservatism, and because Greek attitudes were obviously not uniform or uncomplicated—there was a powerful tendency in Greek thought to value stability and the past, as well as a strain of cyclic thought. We would not want to move from one excess to another. The book is wide-ranging and hard to summarize (even so it does not address every issue I might have liked), but it is consistently balanced and thoughtful.

It wisely concentrates on novelty in the Greek imagination, on how Greeks thought about the new rather than on the “actual” new. As D’Angour says, what counts as new is socially constructed. To be sure, D’Angour briefly comments on the evidence for actual innovation in such technical fields as pottery and architecture, and refers in passing to trade and the development of the money economy; some slippage between reality and Greek thought about it is probably inevitable, but his primary focus is clearly how Greeks evaluated and categorized the new, not on what they invented.

He finds little evidence for what in modern times is both the most typical form of actual innovation and a typical way of thinking about it. In modern capitalist society, we take it for granted that competition prompts invention, as a machine or process is newly invented or improved in response to commercial competition (D’Angour worked for several years in manufacturing). Competition spurred Greeks to innovation in music and poetry, but not in industry. Even in warfare, the evidence that competition prompted invention is weak. Although the argument is familiar that the Greeks did not do as much as might expect in practical improvements, and explanations offered are also familiar (such as slavery and contempt for banausic occupations), the specific point about competition is interesting. Greeks associated innovation not with competition, but with multiplicity, complexity and pluralism, and Athens was a center of innovation because it was a center of trade and contact. D’Angour does not say much about financial innovation, where political and commercial needs were surely powerful, but even here it is hard to see the effect of competition as such. Instead, Greeks created new styles in painting and poetry, or built clever devices, to create wonder. New objects are associated with brightness and radiance.

One of the richest features of the book is the treatment of the vocabulary of newness. There is a sensitive and sensible discussion of the complex semantics of words for “new,” which overlap with “young,” “recent,” and “strange.” The word καινός is not found before the sixth century, when it refers to objects, and it first appears in literature in Bacchylides. D’Angour suggests etymologies for both kainos and the name Kaineus from the Semitic root qyn, whose derivatives refers to metalworkers (Kaineus would be from qayin, “spear”). He certainly makes a strong point that the Indo-European etymology linking it to Sanscrit kanyā (“young woman”) is implausible for a word that could so often have been used earlier than it is, and whose associations are with newness rather than youth. Connecting kainos with metal imports, he suggests that its first meaning is “brand-new,” “just manufactured.” It certainly accords well with the consistent Greek love, which D’Angour documents, for splendid, never-used objects. He also suggests that this word was particularly Attic. This too is plausible. Another particularly interesting discussion concerns the association of innovation and youth. Although Greeks did not think about why young people welcome innovation more than their seniors, they clearly recognized this phenomenon, and D’Angour speculates that Greeks may have given themselves freedom to innovate because they thought of themselves as racially and culturally young.

Not all praise for the new is praise for innovation. D’Angour’s treatment of Telemachus’ famous statement that people celebrate “the newest song” (Od. 1.351–2) points to the difference between a new song and a new kind of song. The New Music of the late fifth century was a new kind and brought lasting change, but not everyone was happy about this transformation. Plato’s Socrates insists that Homer’s praise of the new should be interpreted to encourage only new works, not new forms or style (Plato, Rep. 424b–c).

The book is well-written and fun to read—it has itself some of the gleam and glamor of the new, and I expect that its readers will give it kleos.


[[1]] B. A van Groningen, In the Grip of the Past: Essay on an Aspect of Greek Thought (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1953).

Roman Giant

I’ve been sitting on this one for a week, hoping there’d be a bit more coverage, but the National Geographic seems to have an exclusive. Some excerpts:

It’s no tall tale—the first complete ancient skeleton of a person with gigantism has been discovered near Rome, a new study says.

At 6 feet, 8 inches (202 centimeters) tall, the man would have been a giant in third-century A.D. Rome, where men averaged about 5 and a half feet (167 centimeters) tall. By contrast, today’s tallest man measures 8 feet, 3 inches (251 centimeters).


Two partial skeletons, one from Poland and another from Egypt, have previously been identified as “probable” cases of gigantism, but the Roman specimen is the first clear case from the ancient past, study leader Simona Minozzi, a paleopathologist at Italy’s University of Pisa, said by email.


The unusual skeleton was found in 1991 during an excavation at a necropolis in Fidenae (map), a territory indirectly managed by Rome.

At the time, the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome, which led the project, noted that the man’s tomb was abnormally long. It was only during a later anthropological examination, though, that the bones too were found to be unusual. Shortly thereafter, they were sent to Minozzi’s group for further analysis.

To find out if the skeleton had gigantism, the team examined the bones and found evidence of skull damage consistent with a pituitary tumor, which disrupts the pituitary gland, causing it to overproduce human growth hormone.

Other findings—such as disproportionately long limbs and evidence that the bones were still growing even in early adulthood—support the gigantism diagnosis, according to the study, published October 2 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

His early demise—likely between 16 and 20—might also point to gigantism, which is associated with cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems, said Minozzi, who emphasized that the cause of death remains unknown. (Explore an interactive of the human body.)


The original article is avaliable here (payfer; not even a free abstract, grumble): Pituitary Disease from the Past: A Rare Case of Gigantism in Skeletal Remains from the Roman Imperial Age (JCEM)

Greece & Rome Freebies

The Cambridge Journals online folks have put some articles from vol. 59 of Greece and Rome up for free for a while (until mid-January), including:

  • Alison Rosenblitt, Rome and North Korea: Totalitarian Questions
  • James Robson,Transposing Aristophanes: The Theory and Practice of Translating Aristophanic Lyric
  • Sean Corner, Did ‘Respectable’ Women Attend Symposia?
  • Malcolm Heath, Greek Literature
  • B.M. Levick, Roman History

… as might be inferred, the latter pair are subject review type things. Check them out at: Greece & Rome

CJ Online Review: Thibodeau, Playing the Farmer

posted with permission:

Playing the Farmer: Representations of Rural Life in Vergil’s Georgics. By Philip Thibodeau. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011. Pp. viii + 326. Hardcover, $60.00. ISBN 978-0-520-26832-6.

Reviewed by John Henkel, Georgetown College

Its author describes this book as a “large-scale exercise in compare-and-contrast” between the Georgics and the tradition of Greek and Roman agricultural writing (5). Most modern scholars have treated Vergil’s agricultural poem as a vehicle for some other message—whether political, moral, or literary—but Thibodeau hopes to renew interest in the poem’s treatment of agriculture for its own sake. Based on a thorough knowledge of Greco-Roman agronomy and a broad survey of relevant sources, he shows that Vergil’s presentation of agriculture differs significantly from that of his contemporaries, and he makes an attractive argument that these differences reveal part of Vergil’s purpose in the Georgics.

In Chapters 1–4, Thibodeau argues that Vergil’s intended original audience was wealthy landowners, whom the poet aims not so much to instruct as to entice to rustication and the further study of agronomy. The civil wars forced many of this class into an unhappy retirement from political life in the city, so the Georgics can be seen as a work of consolation carried out through a protreptic to agriculture. As Thibodeau shows, the Roman tradition before Vergil is generally hostile to the vita rustica, largely because its isolation precludes social and political advancement. Vergil, however, systematically distorts country life in ways that characterize it as a worthy alternative to the city and even, paradoxically, as a place where one could achieve glory. This argument is not only convincing, but also simple and elegant enough to teach with; one may hope it will finally supplant the dated view of the Georgics as an agricultural handbook advocating a return to the simpler days of peasant farming.

Thibodeau’s steady focus on agronomy—with its corresponding de-emphasis on the poem’s literary background—makes these chapters valuable as historical and economic context for any study of the Georgics, but also creates some blind spots. Thibodeau shows, e.g., that Vergil’s positive depiction of manual labor is foreign to the Roman agronomical tradition, but he fails to connect this perspective to Vergil’s literary model Hesiod, who enjoins work on his brother Perses throughout the Works and Days. Still, the book’s new perspective on Vergil’s audience gives it new traction with some previously difficult passages, like the Laudes ruris at the end of Georgics 2: where Ross and Thomas have seen the poem as provoking skepticism and pessimism through its “lying” presentation of rustic life as easy (e.g., fundit humo facilem victum iustissima tellus, 2.460), Thibodeau shows that much in this passage makes good sense from the perspective of a wealthy landowner, whose staff would handle the day-to-day difficulties of farm life.

In Chapter 5 Thibodeau departs from his early focus on agronomy to consider the Georgics in light of ancient literary criticism. Although it is not quite clear how this chapter fits with the rest of the book, it is nevertheless full of valuable insight into Vergil’s poetic method and its development. Proceeding from the ancient critical disagreement over the purpose of literature—instruction or entertainment (psychagōgia)—Thibodeau explores the poem’s “psychagogy,” i.e. its ability to excite and then relieve strong emotions in its readers, analogous to the excitement and catharsis of pity and fear that Aristotle saw in tragedy. Although didactic poetry was sometimes condemned for its failure to draw readers in emotionally, Thibodeau plausibly suggests that Vergil adapts technical advances by Nicander—who excited fear and pity by describing the effects of snake bites—and Lucretius—who excited and then undercut strong emotion to demonstrate its vanity—to involve his readers emotionally in his project of agricultural protreptic. To demonstrate, Thibodeau looks at how Vergil excites pathos in the Georgics, and how he “scripts” the emotional responses of his readers, finding (inter alia) that he creates emotional tension by exciting an emotion but ordering his addressee not to feel it (e.g., he should not forgive the horse’s pathetic old age, 3.95–100), and that he excites strong emotion only to purge it (catharsis) by channeling it into wonder (e.g., Aristaeus’s grief over the loss of his bees, 4.321–32 is dispelled by his wonder at his mother’s underwater home, 4.363–73). Thibodeau’s argument here is indirect, but his points are of great interest, and Vergilians will see implications for the Aeneid as well, since these techniques prefigure that poem’s well-known polyphony and its use of wonder/ignorance as a closural device (e.g. after Aeneas views his shield, 8.729–31).

Different parts of this book will be useful to different readers. Students will profit from its convenient Introduction, which lucidly surveys trends in the poem’s interpretation; teachers of literature and history will find Thibodeau’s narrative helpful for their accounts of the Augustan period; and scholars will find much of value in his endnotes, his survey of the poem’s early reception (Ch. 6), and his two highly informative appendices, which include a catalogue of the poem’s known early readers. The book’s greatest virtue is this assemblage of data, which allows Thibodeau to make good observations and novel suggestions. Not every detail of Thibodeau’s argument is equally satisfying, but its general contours emerge as both right and useful. And although some scholars may see insensitivities that result from his emphasis on economics, Thibodeau is remarkably sensitive to how Vergil creates an effect, even when one disagrees about why.

Classical Words of the Day