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Filiation Expressions and the Language of Official Roman Letters Inscribed in Greek

By Christopher Haddad

As the Romans were consolidating their position in the eastern Mediterranean, they adopted from the Greeks the practice of sending official letters to Hellenistic states. Although Rome’s state language was Latin, official Roman Republican letters were inscribed in Greek. Recent scholarship on ancient letter writing has neglected these inscribed Roman letters, and their language in particular has not yet received satisfactory treatment.

Law Set in Stone: Inscribing Private Rescripts in Imperial Roman Greece

By Kaius Tuori

One of the most important sources of legal epigraphy are imperial legal rulings: decisions, rescripts and subscripts. The texts were initially letters sent by the emperor to private recipients such as individuals or communities. For reasons that are often unclear, from the beginning of the Principate onwards, their recipients decided to inscribe the letters in stone and post them in a public place.

Epistles on Granite: Ptolemaic Authority and the Superlative at Philae

By Patricia Butz

This paper deals with the phenomenon of three letters in Greek inscribed on a single monument reflecting the series of correspondence between King Ptolemy VIII Euergetes, together with Queens Cleopatra II-III, and the priesthood of the Temple of Isis at Philae in the last quarter of the second century BCE. The monument in question was a granite pedestal base supporting an obelisk inscribed in hieroglyphs located originally in front of the temple. The base carried a fourth inscription, also in hieroglyphs, making it bilingual as opposed to the obelisk.

Silence as a Sign of Personal Contact with God(s): New Perspectives on a Religious Attitude

By Lucia Maddalena Tissi

This paper focuses on the significance of ‘silence’ as a sign of personal contact with god(s) in late antiquity and on its connection with personal and public religious spheres. Effectively, religion was not only based on oral prayers (Pulleyn), but also on silence. Normally requested before a solemn act, dialogue or divine epiphany mirroring a literary topos (e.g. Mesom. H. II 1-6), silence covered also a ritual function echoing mystery code (OC 132 des Places) or becoming a gnostic entity (CH 13.2). Yet, when and why did silence play such an important role?

Greek Divination as Personal Religion: The Divining Self as Independent of Polis Religion

By Matthew Paul James Dillon

Ancient Greek divination (manteia) is a topic that has recently been generating some scholarly interest (Stoneman, Johnston, Flower). Traditionally, many studies of Greek prophecy focused on polis-centred divination, the needs of the city as a community being met by state embassies being sent to oracular centres (Delphi, Klaros, Didyma), or officials sleeping in dream sanctuaries (Lindos, Lebadeia, Oropos).

Recipes for Domestic Rituals in the Greek Magical Handbooks

By Christopher Faraone

I aim to complicate the renewed work and interest in “personal” or “private religion” by emphasizing the neglected role of “domestic religion”, as a tertium quid that is either ignored entirely, or assumed without discussion to be part of “private” cult in contrast to “public”.

The Advent of the Night Sortie in Siege Warfare

By Michael G. Seaman

The sortie in ancient Greek warfare is underappreciated in modern scholarship. In his magisterial five-volume work on ancient Greek warfare, W. K. Pritchett makes no mention of sorties (Pritchett 1971-91). There is no discussion of sorties in the recent volumes, The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare (Sabin et al.

Lament in the Land of logos

By Naomi Weiss

Lament is frequently represented as a musical paradox in Greek tragedy. From Cassandra’s nomos anomos (“tuneless tune”) in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon to the description of mourning as “unmusical” in Euripidean drama, the musicality of lamentation tends to be simultaneously stressed and negated. The motif of the “unmusical muse” has been viewed in terms of its emotive affect—the pleasure produced by songs of suffering (Segal 1993).