|Prof. 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.
|Dr 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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
Last week saw the publication of my new book Your Secret Language: classics in the British colonies of West Africa (Bloomsbury 2013). It contributes to the Departmental research cluster in ‘Reception and Classical Tradition’, and to the Faculty research theme of ‘Language, Text and Power’. Above and beyond these aspects, I have found it a fascinating story to research and write.
The classical languages, literature and history formed part of the cultural equipment which European colonisers called upon in order to justify their imperial ambitions, but within the complex and assertive societies of nineteenth-century West Africa, classical education quickly became a weapon to use against colonisers. The Church of England, which was very early on involved in educating colonised West Africans, put a premium on teaching the ancient languages, including Hebrew, in order to enable converts to read and preach the Bible themselves, and missionaries were delighted when Africans showed themselves highly adept at Latin and Greek. They and the colonial establishment generally were less pleased when Africans used their classical training to qualify as lawyers, churchmen, teachers and journalists and then to agitate against colonialism. Several African commentators noted the ancient relations between Africa and Greece, anticipating Martin Bernal’s analysis by many decades and complicating the notion of the classical tradition.
In the early twentieth century the colonial establishment often reacted by trying to withhold classical education from Africans and teach them agriculture instead. Africans usually saw this as an attempt to keep them subordinate, as ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’, and put up prolonged and articulate resistance. The struggles over classical education continued, and eventually led to a situation in which Classics was the first degree offered in the post-war University of Ibadan. Although the subject lost most of its prominent position after independence, when Africans seized the opportunity to study many other subjects that colonialism had not imported, there are still departments of Classics in Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, as well as in several other African states. We are planning to welcome one of the lecturers from Nigeria as a visiting researcher, who will be in Reading in 2014.
Researching this book, I have felt privileged to learn more about the history of my discipline and to see what it has meant within the making both of the colonial and the postcolonial eras. The history has also deepened my understanding of the West African adaptations of Greek tragedy about which I wrote in the co-authored Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone and dramas of the African diaspora (Oxford 2007). In addition, I have felt proud to be part of a Department where ‘classics’ signifies both the ancient world and its varied manifestations in the modern.
The online Hellenistic Far East Bibliography, maintained by Dr. Rachel Mairs, has just been updated (www.bactria.org ). The Hellenistic Far East Bibliography project originated in the 2011 print publication The Archaeology of the Hellenistic Far East: A Survey: Bactria, Central Asia and the Indo-Iranian Borderlands c. 300 BC – AD 100 (Oxford: BAR). It aims to collate and review publications on the archaeology and epigraphy of the Hellenistic-period Greek settlements of Central Asia and India. Supplement 1, now available online, covers new publications 2010-2013. Supplement 2 (forthcoming) will review several recently-published corpora of Greek inscriptions from Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Dr Katherine Harloe‘s co-edited volume on Thucydides and the modern world: reception, reinterpretation and influence from the Renaissance to today has just been published by Cambridge University Press.
This collection, which is based on a series of AHRC-funded research workshops organised with Neville Morley (Bristol), brings together leading scholars from a range of disciplines to explore the different facets of Thucydides’ modern reception and influence, from the birth of political theory in Renaissance Europe to the rise of scientific history in nineteenth-century Germany and the triumph of ‘realism’ in twentieth-century international relations theory.
Its chapters consider the different national and disciplinary traditions of reading and citing Thucydides, but also highlight common themes and questions; in particular, the variety of images of the historian produced by his modern readers: the scientific historian or the artful rhetorician, the brilliant analyst of society and politics or the great narrator of political and military events, the man of experience and affairs or the man of contemplation and reflection
The Department is delighted to welcome the three most recent additions to its Faculty bookshelf by Arietta Papaconstantinou, Amy Smith, and Tim Duff:
|Dr Arietta Papaconstantinou published a co-edited conference volume ‘Le Proche-Orient de Justinien aux Abbassides’. This volume is the result of a conference held in Paris with the aim of exploring the impact of the seventh-century Arab conquests on population and settlement in the Near East and Egypt. The transfer of sovereignty from Byzantium to the Caliphate brought some obvious geo-political changes, which in the long term signalled the decline of some cities or regions, which had lost their hinterlands, and the rise of others which were much more strategically placed than before. The contributions in the volume build on thirty years of extremely fruitful archaeological investigations in the area, and paint an exciting new picture of a major transition, which shaped the wider Mediterranean world as we know it|
|The latest volume of the international series Pallas (vol. 86), published by the Presses Universitaires du Mirail, University of Toulouse, has been devoted to The Gods of Small Things, a volume that presents select articles from the international conference by the same name hosted by the Ure Museum and the Department of Classics at University of Reading in September 2009. The volume was edited by Dr. Amy Smith, Curator of the Ure Museum and Senior Lecturer in Classics at Reading, and Dr. Marianne Bergeron, who completed her PhD in Classics at Reading in 2010 and is now Project Curator in the Naukratis Project at the British Museum.Smith and Bergeron, along with Katerina Volioti, a current PhD candidate in Classics at Reading, co-organised the 2009 conference on the Gods of Small Things. Bergeron and Volioti have contributed articles to this volume as has Nick West, who has also just this term defended his PhD thesis at Reading.This volume investigates small and portable objects-small pots, figurines, loomweights, even shells-that functioned in a variety of non-commercial contexts in antiquity. Such objects are often fragmentary and/or overlooked, even by excavators. These items and assemblages, whether or not used as offerings, also inform us about the relationships between humans, their ancestors and gods.
While the volume gathers together an international team of scholars, ranging from established professors to PhD candidates, from Europe and the Americas, it is a landmark publication for the Pallas series insofar as it is published in English, and thus signals the internationalisation of the series.
|We are happy to announce the publication of Dr Timothy Duff‘s annotated translation of Plutarch’s fourth- and third-century BC Greek Lives: Plutarch: the Age of Alexander, in the world famous Penguin series. The volume, which runs to almost 700 pages, includes translations, introductions and notes to 10 of Plutarch’s Lives covering a crucial period of Greek history which saw the collapse of Spartan power, the rise of Macedonia, the conquests of Alexander the Great, and the wars of his successors.Dr. Duff has already published extensively on Plutarch, including his landmark 1999 monograph, Plutarch’s Lives: Exploring Virtue and Vice (Oxford University Press). This new edition includes a revised version of Ian Scott-Kilvert’s earlier translations, plus a new general introduction, and new introductions and substantial historical and literary notes to each Life. It also includes new translations of the Life of Artaxerxes I, Great King of Persia from 405 to 359 BC, and of Eumenes of Cardia, one of Alexander’s officers.Lives included in the volume: Artaxerxes – Pelopidas – Dion – Timoleon – Demosthenes – Phocion – Alexander the Great – Eumenes – Demetrius Poliorcetes – Pyrrhus of Epirus.|
Thinking the Olympics: the classical tradition and the modern Games (London: Bloomsbury/Bristol Classical Press, 2011) is the first book to focus on the theme of tradition as an integral feature of the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Just as ancient athletes and spectators were conscious of Olympic traditions of poetic praise, sporting achievement, and catastrophic shortcoming, so the revived Games have been consistently cast as a legacy of ancient Greece.
The essays here examine how this supposed inheritance has been engineered, celebrated, exploited, or challenged. Deriving from a range of disciplines including cultural history, classics, comparative literature, and art history, the essays address aspects of the Games as varied as oratory, praise poetry, ideas of victory and defeat, the athletic body, neoclassical painting and architecture, and contemporary advertising. The Athens Games in 2004 were widely represented as a return to ancient, and modern, origins; the Beijing Games in 2008, meanwhile, saluted a radically different ancient civilisation. What is the Olympic future for ancient Greece?
Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson have collaborated on several ground-breaking works on classical reception, including most prominently Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone and dramas of the African diaspora (Oxford: OUP, 2007) and most recently ‘Voice from the Black Box: Sylvain Bemba’s Black Wedding Candles for Blessed Antigone’, in Helene Foley and Erin Mee ed., Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage (Oxford: OUP, 2011). They are currently working on a study of classics in the British Labour movement.
We are delighted to see the publication of Dr Emma Aston’s monograph ‘Mixanthrôpoi’. Emma’s book examines an under-explored aspect of Greek religion: gods and goddesses depicted in half-human, half-animal form.
Many of the beings discussed – Cheiron, Pan, Acheloos, the Sirens and others – will be familiar from the narratives of Greek mythology, in which fabulous anatomies abound. However, they have never previously been studied together from a religious perspective, as recipients of cult and as members of the ancient pantheon. This book is the first major treatment of the use of part-animal – mixanthropic – form in the representation and visual imagination of Greek gods and goddesses, and of its significance with regard to divine character and function. What did it mean to depict deities in a form so strongly associated in the ancient imagination with monstrous adversaries? How did iconography, myth and ritual interact in particular sites of worship?
Drawing together literary and visual material, this study establishes the themes dominant in the worship of divine mixanthropes, and argues that, so far from being insignificant curiosities, they make possible a greater understanding of the fabric of ancient religious practice, in particular the tense and challenging relationship between divinity and visual representation.