Catullus Online

This one has been making the rounds of the various Classical social media outlets … here’s how it was presented on the Classicists list:

The website ‘Catullus Online’ <> has just opened. It comprises an online critical edition of the poems of Catullus, a repertory of conjectures, and high-resolution images of three of his most important manuscripts.

… if you’re studying and/or working with Catullus, this is a definite site to check out …


CJ Online Review: Liapis, Commentary on the Rhesus

posted with permission:

A Commentary on the Rhesus Attributed to Euripides. By Vayos Liapis. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. lxxviii + 364. Hardcover, £90.00/$185.00. ISBN 978-0-19-959168-8.

Reviewed by Simon Perris, Victoria University of Wellington

Commentaries, like readers, come in all sorts. Vayos Liapis’ commentary on Rhesos is of the kind I prefer, for he dedicates it not only to explicating the text, but also to advancing an argument. “In order to establish whether Rhesus can or cannot be Euripidean, and (more importantly) in order to lay the groundwork for a proper appreciation of this idiosyncratic play, nothing less than a full-scale commentary is required” (v). Production meets the usual standards of the press: typographical errors are few enough;[[1]] binding is adequate; the reproduction of Diggle’s OCT text leaves a little to be desired. Liapis translates each lemma into English. End matter includes indices Graecitatis, Nominum et Rerum Potiorum, and Locorum Potiorum.

This is effectively a book about dramaturgy and authorship. Liapis’ introduction, now required reading for anyone working on Rhesos, thus introduces the main interpretative issues (“The Mythical Background,” “Dramaturgy and Stagecraft,” “Character-Portrayal,” “Language and Style; Metre,” “The Authenticity Question,” and “The Text”) and also outlines the argument: the Rhesos attributed to Euripides was composed by a man of the theatre imitating the style of the old master with limited success, probably in the fourth century, possibly for performance in Macedon.

Liapis does force the issue at times. At p. xxix, despite citing Pickard-Cambridge’s caveat on the matter, Liapis maintains that “kothornos-boots” on Apulian red-figure vases are “a tell-tale sign of theatrical influence.” Kenneth Dover (Aristophanes: Frogs (Oxford, 1993) ad 47) and, more recently, Rosie Wyles (Costume in Greek Tragedy (London: Bristol Classical Press, 2011) 25) affirm that classical kothornoi—to be distinguished from post-classical cothurni—were not a synecdochic icon for tragedy.

On the one hand, Rhesos supposedly demonstrates its poet’s incompetence. On the other, while arguing for a fourth speaking actor in the Alexandros scene, Liapis claims that “no half-competent playwright” would have risked the failure of a very fast costume change (xliv). On that note, Liapis is very dismissive of the possibility of a fourth actor at Khoephoroi 886–90, calling it a “specious” example (xliv) and thus implying that the case is open-and-shut.

Due to the play’s depiction of Odysseus and Diomedes, we are told, “one is bound to conclude that the playwright is manifestly unsympathetic to the Greeks” (li). The most one can conclude is that the poet’s portrayal is manifestly unsympathetic.

To my mind, a concentration on minor, unnamed characters is anything but paradoxical (liii) in a drama which owes so much to Euripidean style.[[2]]

I resist any assumption that “late” stylistic features are necessarily late-Euripidean, and I am thus wary of the conclusion, “That one and the same play can combine metrical and linguistic features both from early and from late Euripides can mean one thing, and one thing only: Rhesus is the work of a later imitator” (lvii).

Nevertheless, Liapis’s sensible and cogent argument has real explanatory power. I, for one, am persuaded. Moreover, Liapis’s commitment to his argument (if not his author) also supports the other goal of the commentary—to understand Rhesos as a piece of theater. He meticulously unpacks the play, qua verse drama, such that even a reader convinced of Euripidean authorship should still come away from the book enlightened about how Rhesos works or does not work, as the case may be.

I was gratified to discover that Liapis and I came independently to the same conclusion regarding the staging of Rhesos: neither the stage-building nor its door(s) represent anything, and Hektor sleeps not in a Homeric hut (klisiê) but in a bivouac (69–70).[[3]] On a related note, Liapis makes astute observations on Odysseus and Diomedes’ entrance to an empty stage (xxxvii–viii). Further, I approve of Liapis’s forthright approach to the problem of the chorus, and now agree entirely that “The chorus’ identity as soldiers on guard duty proves to be an exceedingly bad idea” (xli).

As his own entries in the bibliography illustrate, Liapis has spent some years now working on Rhesos, and in the commentary proper we reap the fruits of that labor on points of detail as well as wider issues. See, for example, the exemplary treatment of the Rhesos-poet’s (ab)use of the word ἄντυξ (instances of which may be found in the index Graecitatis); the explanation of λῦσον βλεφάρων γοργωπὸν ἕδραν (Rh. 8); or the lucid account of the Hypotheseis to the play. On the other hand, I strongly disagree that “it is doubtful … that [δαίμων] is ever used as a mere synonym for ‘god’” (87). Compare, for example, Bakkhai 22, 417, 498, et cetera.

Rhesos is probably our only extant fourth-century tragedy and, some would say, the weakest extant tragedy. Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this book, then, is that Liapis implicitly stakes a claim for the play’s importance without apologizing for its (lack of) quality. This excellent commentary deservedly takes its place as the standard reference work on Rhesos for scholars and graduate students alike.


[[1]] xxii: “n.*”. xliv n. 126: “n.*” (twice). lxvii with n. 226: Liapis repeats (not verbatim) an earlier assertion (p. lvi with n. 175) about the poet’s lax approach to interlinear hiatus. 57: παρέμβολήν [sic]. 62: “or later hypotheseis-collection[s] were falsely attributed.” 70: references to both “Popp” and “H. Popp.” 102: ὅ,τι [sic]. 110: “Fraenkel.;”. passim: the editor of tragic fragments is sometimes “Radt,” sometimes “R.”

[[2]] See now F. Yoon, The Use of Anonymous Characters in Greek Tragedy: The Shaping of Heroes (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

[[3]] S. Perris, “Stagecraft and the Stage Building in Rhesus,” G&Rome 59 (2012) 151–64.

ED: Conventiculum Bostoniense 2013

Seen on the Latinteach list

CONVENTICULUM Bostoniense 2013: July 27-August 4th.

Have you ever wondered wanted to speak Latin exclusively? Would you like to enliven your Latin classroom with active teaching techniques? Come to the Conventiculum Bostoniense this summer: speak Latin with like-minded Latin enthusiasts in a supportive environment for an entire week. Enjoy beaches, vineyards, nature hikes, and evenings spent with new friends, discussing world events, wine-making, nature, food, and more in Latin. At the same time you’ll be earning either 2 or 3 graduate credits, in classes taught by experts in Latin literature and living Latin.

For more information, or to apply, visit, our facebook page (conventiculum bostoniense), or add us on twitter (conventiculum).

CFP: Gendered Bodies in Health and Medicine (CAC Session)

Seen on various lists:

REMINDER: CALL FOR PAPERS for the Women’s Network
Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of Canada
Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg
May 14-16, 2013

Gendered Bodies in Health and Medicine
The Women’s Network of the Classical Association of Canada invites submissions for this year’s panel themed “Gendered Bodies in Health and Medicine”. We invite submissions that explore a variety of interdisciplinary topics related to health, medicine and the body as they interact with gender in the ancient Mediterranean world. Specifically, we are interested in the differentiation between women’s health and men’s health and the medical, scientific, and intertwined socio-cultural approaches toward the fe/male body. Contributors may examine, but are not limited to, such topics as: Hippocratic gynaecology, the reproductive health of gendered bodies, gender specific illness and disease, and, more generally, men’s views on the female body. We also welcome submissions that explore themes of reception, specifically the classical origins of attitudes (and/or stereotypes) towards the female body in health and medicine of the Renaissance and beyond.

Please submit abstracts of 350-500 words (with relevant bibliography) by Thursday, January 31, 2013 directly to Dr. James T. Chlup (cac2013 AT and indicate that the abstract is for the Women’s Network. Further enquiries can be directed to Dr. Judith Fletcher (jfletcher AT or Dr. Lisa Trentin (lisa.trentin AT

CFP: Graeco-Roman society and the NT

Seen on the Agade list:


Ekaterini Tsalampouni, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR
(etsala AT

The research group will focus a) on various aspects of the social life
of the Graeco-Roman world (e.g. household networks and religion,
kinship, friendship and other relationships, slavery, prostitution,
social and geographical mobility, social groups, everyday life in
Graeco-Roman cities etc.) that consist part of the socio-historical
context of the New Testament texts and could therefore provide insight
into them, and b) on artifacts from the Graeco-Roman world (e.g.
inscriptions, papyri and archeological findings) that can shed light
to various aspects of the New Testament texts and events.

Papers that present interdisciplinary approaches to the topics under
discussion and offer new insights and interpretations of New Testament
texts placing them within their socio-historical context are welcome.
Previous meetings

– 2010: Tartu, Estonia – “Family and Friendship as Reality and
Metaphor in the Graeco-Roman World and in the New Testament” (joint
session with the SBL Greco-Roman World Section)
– 2011: Thessaloniki, Greece – “Graeco-Roman Thessaloniki” (joint
session with the Pauline Literature Research Group)
– 2012: Amsterdam, Netherlands – “Inscriptions and the New Testament”
(joint session with the Greco-Roman World Group of SBL)

Agenda for 2013

Two sessions are scheduled for the meeting of 2013 in Leipzig:

(a) a session where papers on any topic within the range of the
interests of the research group as described above are welcome;
(b) following the significant attendance of the session dedicated
to the inscriptions and the NT in Amsterdam a session focused again on
“Inscriptions and the New Testament” is being scheduled. Inscriptions
have always provided useful evidence not only for understanding the
New Testament vocabulary but also for illuminating events and
situations described or implied in the New Testament texts. The ever
growing epigraphic data provides the biblical scholarly research with
a valuable pool of information that can be used through
interdisciplinary readings in reconstructing the socio-historical
context of the NT texts and of the early Christian communities.
Therefore, papers that deal a) with methodological issues regarding
the constructive use of the epigraphic data in the NT exegesis, b)
with the evaluation of the work done in this field by previous
scholars (e.g. A. Deissmann, R. Horsley etc), c) with particular cases
of utilization of the epigraphic data in the lexicographical research
of the NT, and d) with the use of the inscriptions in illuminating the
social, political or religious background of the NT, are welcome.

Paper proposals and abstracts can be submitted to the chair of the
research group, Ekaterini Tsalampouni (etsala AT Call for
papers opens on December 1st, 2012 and closes on February 15th, 2013.
When submitting a paper, please, note which of the two sessions you
would like it to be included in.