The first part of this article deals with abbreviations found in Greek documentary papyri and ostraca. The documents in which abbreviation is rife are predominantly those produced on a massive scale and bound to repeat the same words, such as tax accounts and receipts. The most common method of abbreviation is by suspension. to omit one or more of the final letters of a word. Most symbols stem from abbreviations by suspension; these may become reduced to monograms whose original constituents are sometimes no longer discernible. This is the case with most symbols that represent weights and measures, as well as, in the later period, money, which naturally occurred very frequently. In the early days of papyrology, Verschleifungen were given the status of a particular subgroup of abbreviations. This practice is predominantly found with the names and titles of emperors and the names of months in date clauses.
Robert K. Englund
This article examines the accounting methods in proto-cuneiform during the archaic period. It discusses the importance of archaic numerical and metrological systems as elements of social control and explains the use of accounting method in writing by providing examples drawn from grain administration archives. The proto-cuneiform administrative documentation can be divided into the two major bookkeeping types known from later periods in Babylonia, namely into primary and secondary documents.
This article focuses on cuneiform and scribal education in Anatolia. It attempts to trace some of the developments in the corpus of knowledge and training when it let the confines of its initial area of relevance and was received in Anatolia by the Hittites and to draw inferences about the semiotic and sociological context of the wholesale import of a large-scale technocratic apparatus from one culture into another. It discusses the institutional and social context of scribal education in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia and suggests that class composition among the Anatolian elite was not necessarily the same as that in Mesopotamia.
Sabine R. Huebner
This chapter focuses on the practice of adoption and fosterage in the Eastern Mediterranean, a family strategy that is, compared with its equivalent in the Roman West, understudied. She traces the source material for adoption from ancient Near Eastern through classical Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman times up to late antiquity comparing the respective legal backgrounds and analyzing recorded cases that reveal motives of the adopter and age and status of the adoptee. In general, children or young adults (males as well as females) were adopted or taken in in place of natural children for a number of reasons, among them to provide a childless man or couple with an heir or to provide a destitute or orphaned child with a home and family. Marriage between an adopted and a natural child was a desired outcome of adoption in societies all over the Eastern Mediterranean.
Aegina was one of the major centers of the Aegean Bronze Age. This article discusses the most important information about the site of Kolonna, the main settlement known on the island. The importance of both the site and the entire island is mainly the result of its location in the center of the Saronic Gulf, at the maritime crossroads between central mainland Greece, the northeast Peloponnese, the Cyclades, and Crete. The material culture of Kolonna is generally associated with the Greek mainland, but foreign influences from the Cycladic islands and Crete also played a significant role. Kolonna flourished for almost a millennium as its impressive fortifications and wealth of material remains show. Kolonna seems to be the earliest example of a ranked society in the Aegean, outside Crete, and a large commercial and perhaps political center in the Saronic Gulf.
During the fifth and sixth centuries
This chapter discusses how, despite himself, Aelius Aristides corresponds in many ways to the typical portrait of the sophist. It examines how his personality was both emblematic (practicing epideictic and deliberative eloquence as a counselor, declaimer, and formal speaker) and idiosyncratic: a man who lived in symbiosis with a god, Asclepius, in whom he found both a doctor and a mentor in rhetoric, and who refused to take on civic responsibilities, preferring reclusion to society, yet who also was occupied with promoting language and rhetoric among his contemporaries, and defined himself as the incarnation of the ideal orator in his century. Aristides holds a vital place in literature of the imperial period: his work gives evidence of a real creative process and offers a new vision of the world, where cultural Athens, Roman domination, and the urban world of contemporary Greece and Asia Minor subtly interfere in a new way.
The chapter begins with a short overview of the history, structure, and themes of the commentary on Terence composed by the grammarian Aelius Donatus. The main discussion explores the audience and purposes of the commentary, showing that the scholia on delivery, language style, and stage movement reveal the multidimensional spectrum of readers’ interests, ranging from techniques of rhetoric to analyses of comic action. Following from scholia on gesture, the chapter refers to the challenging question of possible echoes of theater. A parallel study with the illustrated Terence manuscripts shows that both sources reflect a certain interest in staging. Donatus’s observations on performance confirm that he and his readers treat Terence’s comedy not simply as a literary but also as a dramatic genre. The concluding comparison with Eugraphius accentuates the multifaceted nature of the commentary.
Kevin J. Wetmore Jr.
This essay employs hip-hop theory, specifically the ideas of the sample (incorporating text or music from another source) and the mashup (a free blending of two songs to form a third), to engage and explore the different iterations of Will Power’s The Seven, a rap adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Seven against Thebes. Specifically, The Seven is examined as a mashup that samples Aeschylus. Power does not merely transculturate a Greek tragedy into an African-American context, the different audiences for Power’s work and competing claims on it by audiences, critics, and scholars problematize the relationship between Greek original and twenty-first-century American adaptation, resulting in The Seven being perceived as both the product of shared cultural space and a work that itself creates shared cultural space.
Jeremy B. Lefkowitz
This chapter examines the tensions between the symbolic valence of anthropomorphic animals and authentic concerns about real animals in fables of ancient times. It provides an overview of sources and scholarly approach in this study of the Graeco-Latin fable and explores the boundaries between human and animal in early Greek fable-telling. This chapter suggests that the fable tradition occasionally eschews symbolism and anthropomorphism entirely, which reveals a deep and abiding interest in animal behaviour and in material that could be considered as natural history. It also mentions that the fable was linked to the lower classes and affiliated with slaves in antiquity.
Aesthetic, Sociological, and Exploitative Attitudes to Landscape in Greco-Roman Literature, Art, and Culture
This article introduces and discusses ancient and contemporary approaches to landscape and proposes model readings for their evaluation. Model readings suggest strategies drawn from environmental and ecocritical studies alongside art historical, and more traditional literary studies approaches. This article emphasizes in particular the benefits of evaluating architectural and agricultural interventions in nature alongside one another. Perceptions of landscape in the Greco-Roman world were strongly associated with cultivation and human invention. In order better to understand how and why aesthetic interest, sentiment, mood, and movement can also be significant, this article explores what makes for “improvement” and value in landscape. It also investigates how contemporary theory offers new ways of evaluating ancient depictions of landscape and responses to the natural environment.
This chapter analyzes some of the historical ways sculpture was conceptualized, critiqued, and evaluated in the Roman world. How did Roman viewers go about making sense of statues? What sorts of social, cultural, and intellectual frameworks were at play? And in what ways were these ideas like and unlike our own modern ideologies? The chapter concentrates on three broadly defined (albeit interconnecting) evaluative modes, each one structured around a particular Latin author: first, Cicero’s critique of appropriate sculptural subjects for particular contexts of display; second, Pliny the Elder’s emphasis on history and agency in the final five books of his Natural History; and third, rhetorical traditions of art criticism enshrined in Quintilian’s Education of an Orator. By comparing literary evidence with surviving assemblages of sculpture, the chapter posits a close correlation between the critical frames of Roman writers and those evidenced through surviving archaeological materials.
This article examines the way the ancient Greeks conceived of the emotions. Special attention is paid to the differences between classical Greek and modern English conceptions, in line with the view that culture plays a significant role in shaping the way emotions are experienced. The analysis draws on ancient Greek literature, from Homer’sIliadto tragedy, comedy, and lyric poetry, as well as on historical and philosophical works by Aristotle and Xenophon. Also considered are changes in the way the emotions are understood in early Christian and later texts, with occasional reference to Latin adaptations. In particular, the emotions of pity, anger, fear, love, and jealousy are examined in detail.
The analysis and periodisation of the events and changes that take us from the Roman Empire at its height to whatever came after it have long occupied a distinguished place in European historiography. The collapse of the Roman state, however understood, issued in multiple polities of greater and lesser stability, as well as multiple vernaculars in law and language. This historiographic tradition was a European tradition, produced first in Latin and later in Romance and Germanic languages, and was preoccupied with explaining a European past and present. In the analysis of cause, much attention was focused on barbarism and religion, and in both cases there was a sharp divide in assessment. In addition, however positively the emergence of Europe was esteemed, the fall of Rome and the changes consequent to it were construed as a decline, a falling-off from classical ideals in reason, classical aesthetics in literary and decorative arts, and classical standards of prosperity in urban and economic life. This article explores when classical antiquity ended, focusing on literatures of the Roman decline and fall.
Chapter 33 focuses on Demosthenes’ reception in antiquity and during the Byzantine Era. In particular, it examines the character and value of the 15 ‘demegoriai’ that survive from Demosthenes’ Assembly speeches, first by discussing the peculiarly Demosthenic phenomenon of a first version written already in a highly elaborated form. Demosthenes was perhaps influenced here by Isocrates’ important innovation, the written speech that presented itself as if it had been delivered; this practice is also documented in Demosthenes’ circle by the On Halonnesus of his associate Hegesippus. These innovative practices became the object of attention for the generation of critics immediately following Demosthenes. The article considers the reception of Demosthenes by looking at the works of Theopompus of Chios, Anaximenes of Lampsacus, Timaeus, Aesion, Hermippus, Demochares, Callimachus, Polybius, Cicero, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Didymus of Alexandria, Hermogenes of Tarsus, Plutarch, Lucian of Samosata, Aelius Aristides, Libanius, Zosimus, and Photius.
Alastair J. L. Blanshard
Chapter 34 focuses on Demosthenes’ reception in the modern era. It was Cicero and Quintilian who made sure that Demosthenes will never be forgotten. The praise that they heaped on Demosthenes’ style made it possible for him to always remain a figure to conjure with. Plutarch established the status of Cicero and Demosthenes as the twin fathers of oratory. The article first considers how Demosthenes emerged as a central topic in political discussions during the modern period, as seen in the first English translation of the Olynthiacs and the Philippics by Thomas Wilson. It then examines how, from Wilson onwards, Demosthenes’ fortunes became largely intertwined with the fortunes of Athenian democracy itself, and particularly how his association with liberty and opposition to tyranny propelled Demosthenes into the limelight of American Revolutionary rhetoric. It also describes how Demosthenes became an important figure in popular culture.
This article examines certain types of narrative from rabbinical sources and how they relate both to forms of social life and to expectations of Greco-Roman narrative, genre, and normativity. It situates them within the context of the writings of Hellenistic Judaism and to the adoption of Greco-Roman models by what becomes the dominant religious authority of the Christians. It also explores the particularity of the textual world of the Talmud as an issue of the construction and performance of subjectivity and concludes by highlighting the importance of the connection between narrative and lived experience for rabbinical writing and for the construction of the subject’s positionality within it. It argues that the Talmud reveals a defeated national group reforming its community in interaction with—and often in fierce and fearful contention with and gestures of separation from—dominant Greco-Roman culture, and from other Jews, more assimilated to that dominant culture.
A misconception about Byzantium is that its agriculture was not technically advanced. In reality, Byzantine farmers were effective in sustaining the population for more than a thousand years, as evidenced by the stability of the empire and the relative abundance and variety of foodstuffs observed by medieval western travellers to Constantinople. The geography and climate of the Byzantine Empire had a major impact on how farmers responded to the perpetual challenge of food supply. In addition to climate, a range of precursors such as quality of the land, availability of water for irrigation, land-tenure relationships, individual and communal wealth, and local cultural traditions influenced methods of agricultural production. This article explores agriculture and agricultural technology during the Byzantine Era, focusing on tools and traction, crops and cropping technology, presses and press technology, mills and milling technology, and irrigation technology.
This article presents a survey of research in farming and agriculture. It discusses the extent the economy was open that involved export and import. It then demonstrates how the local agriculture was adapted into the structure of the economy, and assesses the impact of the agrarian structure on agricultural variety. It also studies the influence Jewish religion might have had on agricultural practices in Roman Palestine. Finally, the article considers how different the agrarian economy of Roman Palestine was from the surrounding provinces.
This article examines the role of farmers and sages in the history of cuneiform writing in ancient Mesopotamia. It explains that when cuneiform writing was invented at the end of the fourth millennium