Reading’s Latin Inscriptions: New Book by Prof. Peter Kruschwitz

We are delighted to announce the publication of a new book by Prof. Peter Kruschwitz with Reading’s very own Two Rivers Press:

WotWThe book contains an anthology of 48 Latin inscriptions that are on display in Berkshire’s county town of Reading (as well as an extra four that have disappeared some time ago!) – covering some 1,800 years of Latin in use as a language of authority, of the church, of business, of learning, and – of course – as a language to honour the dead.

The book, showcasing the very finest examples of a body of some 200 inscribed Latin texts altogether from the Reading area, is the result of several years of fieldwork (about which Prof. Kruschwitz has occasionally blogged on his blog ‘The Petrified Muse’) – and if you wish to follow his walking routes, there is even a handy map that shows you the location of the various pieces that are covered in the book on Google Maps!

The book, beautifully designed and illustrated, is available from the publisher, Inpress Books, Waterstones, and – soon –  Amazon.

For anyone in and around Reading: Prof. Kruschwitz will be signing copies of his book at Reading’s branch of Waterstones next Saturday (12 September, 3-4pm) as part of Reading’s activities during the 2015 Heritage Open Days (further information can be found here).

A new exciting publication from one of our staff members has just appeared: discover the The Hellenistic ‘Far East’ with Rachel Mairs

RachelBookClassics students – and those with a taste for sub-par Oliver Stone movies – will know that Alexander the Great campaigned as far as the very edges of the world as known to the ancient Greeks, in Afghanistan and India.  A story which is less well know is that of the military colonists he left behind.  Greek and Macedonian soldiers were settled in remote garrisons, as well as ancient cities such as Samarkand and Bactra.  For almost three hundred years, the descendants of these soldiers ruled as kings in Central Asia and India, minting coins with Greek legends.

Like many of our current third-year dissertation students, I found that unanswered questions from my undergraduate studies made for a great research project.  What happened at the ‘fringes’ of the ancient world?  How did Greek settlers interact with local populations?  In areas where few ancient written sources survive, what other forms of evidence can we employ in historical research?  Why have ancient Greek olive oil jars been excavated in Afghanistan?

My new book The Hellenistic Far East: Archaeology, Language and Identity in Greek Central Asia has just been published by University of California Press.  It presents exciting, and little known, textual and archaeological material from Central Asia and India in the period after Alexander the Great.  Through this evidence, we can explore a complex, multiethnic, multilingual society in the contact zone between Greek and ‘barbarian’, settled and nomad, East and West.For those interested in finding out more, the Hellenistic Far East blog (www.bactria.org) has regularly updated bibliographical essays.

 

Promoting Undergraduate Research in Classics

Many congratulations to Mathew Britten, currently a second-year undergraduate student in our department and president of the Reading University Classics Society, on getting his article ‘Don’t Get the Wrong End of the Stick: Lifting the Lid on Roman Toilet Behaviour‘ published in Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Well done, Mathew!

Mathew’s publication is the outcome of a presentation at the 2013 British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Our department has a long history in supporting Undergraduate Research – a number of recent news items on this topic can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.

 

Forthcoming Talk by Dr Katherine Harloe – Winckelmann: Art and Death in Enlightenment Europe’

Winckelmann and the invention book coverOn Wednesday 5 February 2014, Dr Katherine Harloe will give a public talk with Ian Jenkins of the British Museum on the topic ‘Winckelmann: Art and Death in Enlightenment Europe’.  Below she discusses some aspects of Winckelmann’s life and work, his death, and what led her to make him the subject of her recent monograph.

Around ten in the morning on 8 June 1768, a commotion disturbed the staff and guests at Trieste’s Osteria Grande.  The hotel steward, Andreas Harthaber, was first to react. He was cleaning the main dining room when he heard a loud thump from room 10 above.  Running upstairs, he threw open the door to see the guest of that room stretched out on the floor, a noose around his neck.  The inhabitant of the neighbouring room knelt above him, one hand on his chest, the other brandishing a bloodied knife.  On seeing Andreas the assailant jumped up, pushed his way out of the door and fled from hotel and city. Doctors were called but it was too late to save the victim, who died from his injuries some hours later.

Such was the unexpected and brutal end of a man who was known to the Osteria staff simply as ‘Signor Giovanni’, but was soon revealed to be a person of some consequence.  Among his effects were gold and silver medals bearing likenesses of Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, and her son, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.  A passport, issued in Vienna some two weeks previously, identified its bearer as ‘Johannes Winckelmann, Prefect of Antiquities in Rome, on his way back to the Holy City’.

1024px-Johann_Joachim_Winckelmann_(Raphael_Mengs_after_1755) Wikimedia commonsThe notoriety of this murder is so great that the Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta, which now stands on the site once occupied by the Osteria Grande, still carries details of it on its homepage . The murderer, Francesco Arcangeli, had unwittingly killed one of the leading lights of Enlightened antiquarianism and connoisseurship.  Contemporary opinion of Winckelmann is best summed up in an early nineteenth-century French engraving, a copy of which is displayed in the case devoted to Winckelmann in the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery.  The main image, which is based on a portrait Winckelmann’s great friend, the neoclassical painter Anton Raphael Mengs, shows him dressed humbly, reading an edition of Homer.  Below, between copies of two of his most famous works (the Description of the Apollo Belvedere and the History of the Art of the Ancients), a legend declares ‘In the midst of Rome, Winckelmann lit the flame of the rational study of the works of the Ancients’.

My own fascination with Winckelmann began some eight years ago, when I was researching a project on changing conceptions of classical scholarship from the seventeenth century to today.  My experiences as an undergraduate classicist at Oxford, and then as a student of early modern history at Cambridge, had alerted me a strange disjunction between the notion of classics held by an early modern thinkers like Thomas Hobbes and those of my teachers and contemporaries.  In the early modern university, study of the Greek and Roman classics was an elementary discipline, taught to inculcate principles of good style and virtuous conduct through the study of uplifting examples.  This seemed a far cry from classics as I understood it, as a non-utilitarian, historical discipline aimed at recovering and reconstructing of the ancient world in all its aspect.

My attempts to account for this change led me back time and time again to Winckelmann’s name.  His researches in 1750s and 1760s Rome were key to transforming the academic study of classics, popularising the study of ancient objects and turning it from a mainly literary discipine into the holistic study and reconstruction of ancient cultures.  Winckelmann was the first to bring together interpretation of thousands of different artefacts from ancient Egypt, Etruria, Greece and Rome into an overarching story of the rise and decline of ancient cultures, and to connect differences in their characteristics and quality (‘style’) to the political and social conditions of their time.  Even if many of his judgements now seem to have been motivated by prejudice, the ambition of his historical ‘system’ – as well as some of its details, such as his broad distinctions between the archaic, classical and Hellenistic periods – have exerted a great influence on the concepts and categories of classical scholarship to this day.

Yet, in the eighteenth century as today, commentators were just as fascinated by other aspects of Winckelmann’s life and character: his biography, with its startling ascent from rags to riches, the overt homoeroticism of some of his most famous writings, and of course his bloody end.  Winckelmann inspired the generation of Goethe and Schiller; French revolutionaries hailed him as a champion of liberty; and in the early twentieth century he inspired novellas by German Nobel laureates Thomas Mann (‘Der Tod in Venedig’) and Gerhart Hauptmann (‘Winckelmann – das Verhängnis). My research to date has focused on Winckelmann’s impact on scholarship, but this Enlightenment life and personality is fascinating from any number of angles.

All are welcome to attend Dr Harloe’s talk in the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery on Wednesday 5 February at  1:15pm.

New Book by Prof. Ian Rutherford

Ian Rutherford: State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers

Ian Rutherford: State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers

We are delighted to welcome the most recent addition to our Faculty bookshelf: today Prof. Ian Rutherford‘s monograph ‘State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers in Ancient Greece. A Study of Theōriā and Theōroi‘ has just been published by Cambridge University Press (also available as e-book):

From the blurb: ‘For at least a thousand years Greek cities took part in religious activities outside their territory by sending sacred delegates to represent them. The delegates are usually called theōroi, literally ‘observers’, and a delegation made up of theōroi, or the action of taking part in one, is called theōriā.

‘This is the first comprehensive study of theōroi and theōriā. It examines a number of key functions of theōroi and explains who served in this role and what their activities are likely to have been, both on the journey and at the sanctuary.

‘Other chapters discuss the diplomatic functions of theōroi, and what their activities tell us about the origins of the notion of Greek identity and about religious networks. Chapters are also devoted to the reception of the notion of theōriā in Greek philosophy and literature.

‘The book will be essential for all scholars and advanced students of ancient religion.’

Currently, Prof. Rutherford spends a year as Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, where he is working on his project ‘Hittite Texts and Greek Religion: Borrowing, Hybridity, Comparison‘.

Animals in the Classical world – New Book by Reading Doctoral Researcher

Congratulations to our doctoral researcher Alastair Harden on the publication of his book Animals in the Classical world: ethical perspectives from Greek and Roman texts.

Harden, AnimalsThe sourcebook is a collection of nearly 200 specially-translated excerpts from Classical authors from Homer to Plutarch. It  aims to contextualize modern animal rights debates within the civilizations of Greece and Rome, and to provide an introduction to the uses of animal imagery in Classical literature with the ultimate goal of understanding the place of the non-human animal in the moral and ethical parameters of the ancient world.

Topics such as warfare, science, farming, vegetarianism and public entertainment join the more traditionally-philosophical corners of this growing area of Classical studies, and passages are included from authors of all genres of Classical literature including poets, novelists and historians.

The book suggests that we can learn as much about ancient ethical parameters from a Homeric simile, a passage of Sophocles or a throwaway comment from Thucydides as we can from the nuanced language of philosophical discourse, if we look in the right places.

The book joins the Animal Ethic series published by Palgrave Macmillan (www.palgrave.com/philosophy/animal_ethics.asp) in conjunction with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, which recently founded the new print Journal of Animal Ethics. The photograph on the cover was taken in the Ure Museum.

New Monographs by Reading Classicists

Reading’s Department of Classics is delighted to welcome the two most recent additions to our Faculty bookshelf by Prof. Annalisa Marzano and Dr Katherine Harloe:

Harvesting the SeaProf. Annalisa Marzano published her monograph ‘Harvesting the Sea. The Exploitation of Marine Resources in the Roman Mediterranean‘. Harvesting the Sea provides the first systematic treatment of the exploitation of various marine resources, such as large-scale fishing, fish salting, salt and purple-dye production, and oyster and fish-farming, in the Roman world and its role within the ancient economy.

Bringing together literary, epigraphic, and legal sources, with a wealth of archaeological data collected in recent years, Marzano shows that these marine resources were an important feature of the Roman economy and, in scope and market-oriented production, paralleled phenomena taking place in the Roman agricultural economy on land. The book also examines the importance of technological innovations, the organization of labour, and the use of the existing legal framework in defence of economic interests against competitors for the same natural resource.

WinckelmannDr Katherine Harloe published her monograph ‘Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity. History and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft‘. This volume provides a new perspective on the emergence of the modern study of antiquity, Altertumswissenschaft, in eighteenth-century Germany through an exploration of debates that arose over the work of the art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann between his death in 1768 and the end of the century.

Winckelmann’s eloquent articulation of the cultural and aesthetic value of studying the ancient Greeks, his adumbration of a new method for studying ancient artworks, and his provision of a model of cultural-historical development in terms of a succession of period styles, influenced both the public and intra-disciplinary self-image of classics long into the twentieth century. Yet this area of Winckelmann’s Nachleben has received relatively little attention compared with the proliferation of studies concerning his importance for late eighteenth-century German art and literature, for historians of sexuality, and his traditional status as a ‘founder figure’ within the academic disciplines of classical archaeology and the history of art. Harloe restores the figure of Winckelmann to classicists’ understanding of the history of their own discipline and uses debates between important figures, such as Christian Gottlob Heyne, Friedrich August Wolf, and Johann Gottfried Herder, to cast fresh light upon the emergence of the modern paradigm of classics as Altertumswissenschaft: the multi-disciplinary, comprehensive, and historicizing study of the ancient world.

Luwian Identities

We are pleased to announce the publication of ‘Luwian Identities: Culture, Language and Religion Between Anatolia and the Aegean’, co-edited by Prof. Ian Rutherford, Dr Alice Mouton (CNRS), and Dr Ilya Yakubovich (Moscow State University).

Luwian Identities

Luwian Identities

The Luwians inhabited Anatolia and Syria in late second through early first millennium BC. They are mainly known through their Indo-European language, preserved on cuneiform tablets and hieroglyphic stelae. However, where the Luwians lived or came from, how they coexisted with their Hittite and Greek neighbors, and the peculiarities of their religion and material culture, are all debatable matters.

A conference convened in Reading in June 2011 in order to discuss the current state of the debate, summarize points of disagreement, and outline ways of addressing them in future research. The papers presented at this conference were collected in the present volume, whose goal is to bring into being a new interdisciplinary field, Luwian Studies.

The Classics and Colonial India

Prof. Phiroze Vasunia talks about his new monograph The Classics and Colonial India (OUP, 2013) on Classics Confidential:

Vesunia book cover

In the sixth interview recorded during this year’s Classical Association meeting, CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks to Professor Phiroze Vasunia of the University of Reading about his recently published book The Classics and Colonial India (OUP, May 2013).

He tells us about the impact of the Graeco-Roman classics in the age of empire (1750s-1945) and about the collision of cultures in India during this period. The very concept of the ‘classical’ was problematic in a culture with its own long-standing local traditions which included Sanskrit, Persian and Arab threads. These competed with the imported Graeco-Roman classics privileged by the British educational system which encouraged the colonisers to view themselves as ancient Romans. Neoclassical architecture, now largely destroyed, also radically transformed the landscape of the country. Indians such as the writer Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-31) and Mahatma Gandhi, however, opened up their own dialogue with ancient Greek culture and its literature. Inspired by British Romantic Philhellenism, Derozio’s poetry forged a passionate connection with both ancient and modern Greece, while Gandi’s admiration of Socrates informed his own political thinking. This is not, therefore, a simple story of empire, but one of a dialogue of traditions.

Phiroze also tells us about his work as the general editor of the Ancients and Moderns series which is published in the UK by I.B. Tauris and in the USA by OUP. The series explores how classical antiquity continues to inform modern thinking, and examines the encounter between ancients and moderns on topics such as gender, slavery and politics. Seven books have appeared to date, and more are forthcoming.

Click on the image below or follow this link to watch the interview!

Dr Emma Aston wins Mary White Prize 2012

The Mary White Prize for Best Article in Phoenix for 2012 has been presented to Dr Emma Aston, University of Reading, for her article “Friends in High Places: The Stereotype of Dangerous Thessalian Hospitality in the Later Classical Period” in Phoenix volume 66.3-4, 247-271.

Dr Aston’s “Friends in High Places: The Stereotype of Dangerous Thessalian Hospitality in the Later Classical Period” was a unanimous choice for the inaugural Mary White Prize.

There were a number of original and thought-provoking papers, but Aston’s contribution stood out for the quality and development of its argument, its sensitive reading of primary texts, and its engagement with a variety of scholarly debates.

Aston’s conclusions were thorough and convincing, and the judges believed her success in situating her study of a specific stereotype within the larger context of self-representation in classical Greek culture deserved particular recognition.