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Sophistication and Homeric Citation in Philostratus’ Lives of the Sophists

By Lawrence Kim

By the second century CE, Homeric poetry held a position of considerable authority in Imperial Greek literature; one has only to look at the frequency with which references to the Iliad and Odyssey are deployed: nearly 500 times by Lucian, 400 by Dio, and 300 by Aristides (Householder 1941, Kindstrand 1973, Gangloff 2006). Such citations, whether used as decoration, examples, or supporting evidence, collectively functioned as a respected ‘language’ in which authors or speakers could communicate to their audience.

Quintus’ Homer Illusion and the Proem of the Posthomerica

By Emma Greensmith

To the Late Antique poet, Homer represented the ‘classic’ par excellence, the source of all cultural and literary identity, but he was also a contested figure, as open to satirizing as to sacralizing (Kindstrand 1974; Lamberton 1986; Zeitlin 2001; Kim 2010). In most cases, epic’s response is openly Oedipal: Nonnus’ Dionysiaca both praises Homer and programmatically discards his theme (1.34-8;25.255-60) and Triphiodorus’ speedy rewriting of the ‘tiresome’ Trojan War (Iliou Halosis 1-5) is an implicit critique.

Rebellion and the Making of a Governmental Grammar in Post-Roman Iberia

By Damian Fernandez

In this paper, I will analyze the impact of rebellions on the construction of governmental styles in the Visigothic Kingdom. Like the Late Roman Empire, the successor kingdoms in the West witnessed rebellions aimed at overthrowing ‘legitimate’ rulers. Rebellion (successful or not) was an endemic feature of this kingdom from its inception in the fifth century until its fall in the early eighth century. Challenges to rulers opened up the opportunity to define normative expectations on the proper behavior of kings and governors.

Fiscal Grammars of Governance in Ostrogothic Italy

By M. Shane Bjornlie

This paper argues that taxation in Ostrogothic Italy was an important means by which Ostrogothic rulers sought to generate the idea of a harmonious society and that the rhetoric of this policy is visible in the Variae of Cassiodorus. Ostrogothic Italy has enjoyed a long reputation in modern scholarship as one of the most successful amalgamations of imperial Roman political tradition, Germanic military aristocracy and emergent Christian culture (Momigliano 1955; Hen 2007; Arnold 2014).

“A Splendid Theater”: Courtly Epithets in a Provincial Society

By Ariel Lopez

The growth and spread of official status designations are a distinctive feature of late antique documents. Every reader of sources from this period has been struck by the fact that the names of practically all elite men and women are accompanied by extravagant epithets characterizing them as “most glorious”, “extremely perfect,” “most magnificent,” and so on. These epithets are not applied randomly but tend to follow certain rules. They are an empire-wide system. They are clearly a fundamental element of the language developed by the later Roman State to classify and organize society.

Grammars of Government in the Imperial Estate of Saltus Burunitanus

By John Weisweiler

In this paper, I explore the impact of Roman languages of government on the North African countryside in late second and third centuries CE. As a case study, I draw on the evidence of the inscription from Saltus Burunitanus (CIL VIII 10570 = ILS 6870). The text is a subscriptio, a reply of the emperor Commodus to a petition in which a group of peasants on an imperial estate in central Algeria complain about maltreatment by their managers.

A Pre-post-human Herodotus: Distributed Knowledge in Herodotus’ Histories

By Emily Greenwood

This paper engages directly with the theme of Herodotus@2500, by considering what it means to read and interpret Herodotus’ Histories in the context of the unfolding Humanities. Specifically, it will stage a dialogue between Herodotean interpretation and divergent theories of post-humanism.

Herodotus on the Ethics of Retaliation

By Elizabeth Irwin

This paper examines the recurrence at the close of Herodotus' Histories of the themes of the limits of vengeance taken in victory and the question of whether certain acts generally recognized as beyond the pale can nevertheless be legitimately justified in terms of retaliation.

Rewriting the North: Herodotus, Aristeas, and the Construction of Authority

By Renaud Gagné

Herodotus' construction of authority is a process that spans the whole of the Histories. The sweeping expanses of the text's claims to truth and knowledge are traced and defended throughout all nine books. If certain key passages function as cornerstones of the massive narrative edifice, a great many other sections of the Histories contribute in asserting the "demonstration of enquiry" offered by the author to his audiences.

Spoofing Herodotus

By Thomas Harrison

This paper seeks to raise questions about our own engagement with Herodotus’ text through an exploration of one element of his reception: the rich tradition of Herodotean ‘spoofs’ from Lucian to the present day.