Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews

  • 2013.02.20:  Jesús Hernández Lobato, Vel Apolline muto: estética y poética de la Antigüedad tardía.
  • 2013.02.19:  Pietro Bortone, Greek Prepositions From Antiquity to the Present.bmcr2
  • 2013.02.18:  Kristina Sessa, The Formation of Papal Authority in Late Antique Italy: Roman Bishops and the Domestic Sphere.
  • 2013.02.17:  Drew Arlen Mannetter, I Came, I Saw, I Translated: an Accelerated Method for Learning Classical Latin in the 21st Century.
  • 2013.02.16:  Mark Vessey, A Companion to Augustine. Blackwell companions to the ancient world. Ancient history.
  • 2013.02.15:  Lutz Popko, Nadine Quenouille, Michaela Rücker, Von Sklaven, Pächtern und Politikern: Beiträge zum Alltag in Ägypten, Griechenland und Rom. Δουλικὰ ἔργα zu Ehren von Reinhold Scholl. Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete – Beihefte, 33.
  • 2013.02.14:  Kai Broderson, Censorinus: Über den Geburtstag. Edition Antike.
  • 2013.02.13:  Philip Hardie, Rumour and Renown: Representations of ‘Fama’ in Western Literature. Cambridge Classical Studies.
  • 2013.02.12:  Markus Schauer, Tragicorum Romanorum Fragmenta, Vol. 1: Livius Andronicus; Naevius; Tragici minores; Fragmenta adespota.
  • 2013.02.11:  Peter Van Deun, Caroline Macé, Encyclopedic Trends in Byzantium? Proceedings of the International Conference held in Leuven, 6-8 May 2009. Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta, 212.
  • 2013.02.10:  Chris Entwistle, Noël Adams, ‘Gems of Heaven:’ Recent Research on Engraved Gemstones in Late Antiquity c. AD 200-600. British Museum Research Publication 177.
  • 2013.02.09:  Marilia P. Futre Pinheiro, Stephen J. Harrison, Fictional Traces : Receptions of the Ancient Novel. Volume 2. Ancient Narrative Supplementum 14. 2.
    Marilia P. Futre Pinheiro, Stephen J. Harrison, Fictional Traces : Receptions of the Ancient Novel. Volume 1. Ancient Narrative Supplementum 14.1.
  • 2013.02.08:  Mariam F. Ayad, Coptic Culture: Past, Present and Future.
  • 2013.02.07:  Peter G. Walsh, Christopher Husch, One Hundred Latin Hymns: Ambrose to Aquinas. Dumbarton Oaks medieval library, 18.
  • 2013.02.06:  Bernard Eck, La mort rouge: homicide, guerre et souillure en Grèce ancienne. Collection d’Études anciennes. Série greque, 145​.
  • 2013.02.05:  John Noël Dillon, The Justice of Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control. Law and society in the ancient world.
  • 2013.02.04:  Silvia Ferrara, Cypro-Minoan inscriptions. Volume 1: Analysis.
  • 2013.02.03:  Lukas Thommen, An Environmental History of Ancient Greece and Rome (first published 2009; revised edition).
  • 2013.02.02:  Claudia Giontella, «… Nullus enim fons non sacer…». Culti idrici di epoca preromana e romana (Regiones VI-VII).

Top Literary Hatchet Job

The Telegraph has a top ten list of “vicious literary hatchet jobs” and coming in at number one is one which might be familiar to y’all:

1. Aristophanes on Euripides (405 BC)

Just a year after the death of the celebrated tragedian, Aristophanes ignored all warnings never to speak ill of the dead, and savaged Euripides in his comedy The Frogs.

As the play draws to an end, Euripides is pitted against Aeschylus in a war of wits. The prize: a route out of the underworld. Predictably, Aristophanes pours scorn on Euripides and Aeschylus emerges the victor.

ÆSCHYLUS: “Hah! sayest thou so, child of the garden quean! And this to me, thou chattery-babble-collector, Thou pauper-creating rags-and-patches-stitcher?”

ÆSCHYLUS: “My poetry survived me: his died with him.”

CJ Online Review: Welch, Magnus Pius

posted with permission:

Magnus Pius: Sextus Pompeius and the Transformation of the Roman Republic. By Kathryn Welch. Swansea and London : Classical Press of Wales, 2012. Pp. 350. Hardcover, £50.00/$100.00. ISBN 978-1-905-12544-9.

Reviewed by Andrew Lintott, Worcester College Oxford

The triumviral period necessarily figures in grand narratives, but is less popular as a subject for research, in spite of the fact that there is plenty of source-material, even if little is contemporary. The danger is that we see the Principate as the inevitable consequence of Julius Caesar’s murder and his testamentary arrangements. The Muse of History, of course, tends to be hard on losers: a minor humiliation is that they rarely appear in exam questions and, even when they do, they are ignored by candidates. As the introductory chapter, “The Lost Republic,” makes clear, this book is a protest against this neglect, where it joins recent contributions to the period by Josiah Osgood’s Caesar’s Legacy (2006) and Annie Allély’s Lepide le triumvir (2004).

The problem with the subject is simple: we know little about Sextus Pompeius, except for the time between the battle of Philippi and his death, and what we are told is mediated by sources which, whether sympathetic to Caesar Octavianus or Antonius, would have reason to downplay his importance. If for Augustus Livy was a “Pompeianus,” this support does not seem to have been extended to his younger son (p. 21). Welch’s solution is to extend the topic so as to be a study of the Pompeian cause from the civil war of 49 bc onwards. After the introduction, chapters are devoted to the Pompeian naval strategy and Pompeian naval power, the pursuit of this policy by his sons after his death, and the attempt to resuscitate the Republic after Caesar’s murder. Chapter 5, entitled “A Republican Triumvirate?,” sets Sextus Pompeius beside Brutus and Cassius as the opposition to the triumvirs. In Chapter 6 Sextus comes at last fully into view in the struggles between Philippi and the treaty at Misenum; Chapter 7 follows Sextus down to his death. The last chapter discusses how Sextus’ exploitation of pietas, as slogan and value, may be regarded as a precedent for its exploitation by Augustus later.

Welch succeeds in restoring Sextus’ importance, if not in making us believe in his Republicanism. Her stress on the significance of naval power in the civil wars is a helpful corrective to any over-emphasis on the Caesarian legions. There is also much useful discussion on the in-and-outs of diplomacy and campaigning. Important questions, however, remain unanswered and perhaps unanswerable. The members of the elite who fled from the Triumvirate to Sicily were of necessity anti-Caesarian, but were they genuinely Republican? How far did Sextus’ more junior officers and men have political sentiments, apart from personal loyalty to him? What was the attitude of leading Romans with property in Sicily? Here we may suspect that many actively supported Sextus and paid for it, to judge from Agrippa’s possession of major estates there (see Horace, Ep. 1.12). Above all, where did his money (generously illustrated in a number of plates) come from? Did he still have access to Spanish metal, when in Sicily? His funding no doubt relied a great deal on the diversion of provincial revenues, as did that of Brutus and Cassius, but he was probably also a plunderer by necessity, while his enemies used extremes of taxation.

Some further issues may be noted by the way. Decimus Brutus’ legions were, surely, already in Cisalpina when he went out in 44 (p. 129). Calenus’ speech in Dio Cassius (p. 128) is poor evidence for anything except the anti-Ciceronian rhetoric of the period, both before and after the latter’s death, and Dio’s ability to stage a Demosthenic debate. Hence we should not assume that the argument in the senate in the first days of January 43 (p. 145) was essentially between Calenus and Cicero. The consular called first might have been Servilius Isauricus or Lucius Piso; Lucius Caesar certainly spoke after Cicero (Phil. 5.5–6). Historians, misled by Antonius’ rhetoric and the survival of Cicero’s speeches, ascribe to him a greater influence in the senate in this year than the Caesarians surrounding him had. Note for example that it was a motion of Cassius’ relative, Servilius Isauricus, that finally granted him the official command in Syria with the injunction to attack Dolabella (Ad. Brut. 15.3), not one of Cicero’s (p. 163).

Nevertheless, Welch has provided us with a good read, which succeeds in conveying the excitement of the period to those who can now watch the gladiatorial contest from safe seats.

Classical Words of the Day

  • aegis (Merriam Webster)