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Merope's Legacy on the Italian Stage

By Tatiana Korneeva

Between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe, the rediscovery of Aristotle’s Poetics and the translation of Greek and Latin comedies and tragedies into the Italian vernacular brought about the birth of modern theatre at the hands of Renaissance scholars and members of the learned academies. Not only did these writers reinvent the ancients in the context of the particular demands of their own age and their own audiences’ expectations, but they also contended with questions of performance and public reception, often engaging critically with contemporary politics.

Totus Ulixes: Versions of Ulysses in the neo-Latin Ulysses Redux

By Emma Buckley

‘Who could put Seneca’s buskins on Homer?’ asks William Gager in the epilogue to his own Ulysses Redux, a neo-Latin tragicomedy which formed part of a trilogy of Shrovetide performance at Christ Church, Oxford in 1592. After the event, and as a result of the ‘anti-drama’ controversy with John Rainolds, Gager himself marketed this play – and academic drama more generally – as chiefly about moral edification: and the drama, with its strong central emphasis on the theme of fidelity, apparently offers us a typically ‘Renaissance’ Ulysses stripped of his scheming amorality.

Hanc fabulam nescio an tragoediam vocare debeam: Florent Chrestien, Isaac Casaubon, tragedy and Euripides' Cyclops

By Malika Bastin-Hammou

Translations of Greek tragedies into vernaculars have been well studied, but Latin translations of them have not, so far, gained the attention they deserve. Classicists are well-positioned to study them and thus contribute to a better knowledge of the development of Early Modern tragedy. Latin translations of tragedy represent an important stage in the reception of Greek drama and also play a major role in the definition of modern tragedy (as their paratexts show).

Tragic Phaidra: A Diachronic Case Study between Antiquity and Early Modern Age

By Lothar Willms

Since the rediscovery and revival of Ancient Tragedy in the Renaissance the concept of the tragic has played a crucial role both for the interpretation of ancient tragedies and the production of modern pieces. Both endeavors have been influenced by the reception of Aristotle’s Poetics – and have been greatly led astray, as research has fully acknowledged only in recent times (Lurje 2004). The high tide of the concept of the tragic was German Idealism and Romanticism which on its turn also creatively adopted ancient tragedy rather than grasping its core features.

Women’s Desire, Archaeology and Feminist Theory: the Case of the Sandal-Binder

By Hérica Valladares

In a 2009 article entitled “Women’s Desire, Archaeology and Feminist Theory,” Natalie Kampen explored different ways in which women in the Greco-Roman world might have responded to statues of a nude Aphrodite, especially Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Knidos. As Kampen herself pointed out, much of the scholarly work produced on the Knidia for the past two decades has tended to discuss this well-known sculpture as a locus for male-viewing practices and men’s sexual desires (Kampen 2009, 208).

Beyond the Male Gaze: The Power of the Knidian Aphrodite in Her Narrative Context

By Rachel H. Lesser

In the mid-4th century BCE, Praxiteles broke with previous tradition to sculpt the first monumental nude of Aphrodite, which became the cult statue of Aphrodite Euploia in Knidos. This paper argues that the mythological narratives the Knidian Aphrodite evokes invite the identification of female viewers and the reverence of worshippers by suggesting her divine power to dominate, unite, and protect mortals. At the same time, I contend that her sideways gaze constructs her as an unattainable erotic object for all spectators.

Hercules and the Stability of Gender

By Matthew P. Loar

In “Omphale and the Instability of Gender,” Natalie Boymel Kampen’s own contribution to her seminal volume Sexuality in Ancient Art: Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Italy (Cambridge 1996), Kampen focuses on an early-third-century CE statue of a noble Roman woman depicted as Omphale. At issue for Kampen is why and how Omphale, a figure long associated with the dangerous feminizing power of the East, could suddenly serve as a positive paradigm for an elite Roman woman.

The Mirror, Narrative, and Erotic Desire in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses

By Jeffrey Ulrich

The gaze and the role of viewing in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses have been useful theoretical models for understanding how Lucius progresses (or fails to progress) through his bewildering journey (Slater (1998); Slater (2003)). In Metamorphoses 2.4, for instance, the ‘curious gaze’ (curiosus optutus) of Apuleius’ Actaeon has been seen as a didactic exemplum for Lucius, who should recognize himself in the voyeuristic statue but fails to interpret the spectacle accurately (Heath (1992)).

Baubo and the Question of the Obscene

By Frederika Tevebring

In 1898, a group of German archaeologists working in the Demeter sanctuary at Priene unearthed a set of Hellenistic figurines with a peculiar and distinctive iconography. The head of each of these female figurines is placed directly onto her legs and, lacking a torso, the chin and vagina merge into one another. Each has long hair that drapes around her back, resembling a lifted veil, or skirt. “Surely we are dealing with a creation from the context of the grotesque-obscene aspects of the Demeter cult,” (Wiegand and Schraeder, 163. My translation) the excavators write in the 1904 report.

Boys, Herms, and the Symposiast’s Gaze

By Jorge J. Bravo III

In choosing to paint scenes of youths in the company of a herm--the distinctive statue featuring a bearded male head set on a rectangular shaft with an erect phallus carved on the front--the painters of Athenian sympotic pottery ostensibly portray a scene of daily life.