Steven D. Smith, Man and Animal in Severan Rome: The Literary Imagination of Claudius Aelianus. Greek culture in the Roman world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. xii, 308. ISBN 9781107033986. $99.00.
Reviewed by C. W. Marshall, University of British Columbia
Man and Animal in Severan Rome is an exciting and imaginative study detailing the literary virtues of Claudius Aelianus—Aelian— with a particular emphasis on De natura animalium (NA). Smith’s Aelian emerges, perhaps surprisingly, as both a sophisticated literary stylist and a politically savvy observer of the Severan court. His polished anecdotes (Smith regularly calls them “fragments”, which is misleading), strung together with deliberate haphazardness, are shown to reveal an author maintaining his position just outside the periphery of the imperial circle: “Aelian’s moralizing should be understood not as an instrument of power, but as an expression of disavowal and longing for a transformation of the world” (273). […]
Iran’s life-size marble statue of Penelope excavated in Persepolis in 1945 will return home after its four-month show at Milan’s Prada Foundation.The torso along with its other Roman counterparts will go on display at the National Museum of Iran beginning on September 21 concurrent with the International Day of Peace, director of the museum Jebreil Nokandeh said in a press release on Sunday.
Earlier in March, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Director Masud Soltanifar had announced Iran’s plan to lend the statue for the exhibit based on an agreement with the Italian government.
Italy was also due to lend four historical statues to Iran for a showcase after the exhibition ends. The statues will be displayed for four months.
It is surmised that the artifact was brought back to the Persian capital of Persepolis by Xerxes after the sacking of Athens.
It lay scattered in three fragments in the ruins of the Persepolis Treasury, a headless torso lying in Corridor 31, with its shattered right hand in Hall 38.
The circumstances of discovery recall the destruction of Persepolis by Alexander the Great in spring 330 BC. Before torching the palace, Alexander removed the gold stored in the Treasury and allowed his army to plunder the rest of its contents.
Penelope is a character of Homer’s Odyssey, one of the two great epic poems of ancient Greek literature. Penelope is the wife of the main character, the king of Ithaca, Odysseus (also known as Ulysses), and the daughter of Icarius and his wife Eurynome.
She waited twenty years for the final return of her husband from the Trojan War, while she had hard times in refusing marriage proposals from several princes for four years after the fall of Troy. For this reason, she is often regarded as a symbol of connubial fidelity.