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The Inspired Commentator: Plotinus’ Doxographical Ascent

By Michael Griffin

Porphyry portrays Plotinus as an unusually interactive and dialectical teacher. His meetings
in Rome (sunousiai, VP 1,14; 9,1) avoided set lectures and adopted a conversational tone (homilia,
5,5; 7,2), emphasizing question and answer (18,5-6). Debates were executed through the exchange
of student essays (15,1-17), which also served as a venue for the teaching and exposition of
central doctrines (18,8-24). When a guest visited Plotinus’ circle in search of ‘general

Female Plumbers in the Metamorphoses: Women Talking Water

By Bridget Langley

The hydraulic infrastructure of Augustan Rome was female -- according to Ovid. Of the seven aqueducts that supplied the city during his lifetime, the only one to interest Ovid is the “water maiden”, the Aqua Virgo (A.A. 3.385-6; Fast. 1.463-4; Tr. 3.12.21-2; Pont. 1.8.37-8), and he consistently personifies the city’s monumental fountains and natural pools as female nymphs (e.g. A.A. 1.81-4, 3.451-2; Fast. 1.707-8, 2.603-4).

Women, Water, and Politics in Aristophanic Comedy

By Carl Anderson and Maryline Parca

Aristophanic comedy offers fertile ground for exploring the associations of women
with water in classical Athens, for his women—lustful wives, smart meddlers, inveterate
gossipers, confirmed imbibers—have a tendency to lose control of their emotions and
appetites, “a tendency encouraged by [their] wet nature and by the liquid or liquefying
nature of emotions and appetites themselves” (Carson 1990: 156). In this paper we
examine whether the traditional view of Aristophanes’ women as comic confections with

Fluid Dynamics: Interpreting Reproductive Risk in Greco-Roman Medicine

By Anna Bonnell-Freidin

Throughout Greek and Latin scientific and medical literatures, women’s bodily fluids are described with metaphorical language evoking the dynamics of rivers and springs. Agricultural language, especially irrigation, also features prominently in metaphors for human reproduction and the female body, emerging in a variety of early Greek sources (see, for example, duBois, 1988). In this paper, I consider the persistence of water metaphors as tools for understanding the reproductive process primarily in scientific and medical literature from the Roman Empire.

Annie Get Your Jug: Anna Perenna and Water in the Aeneid

By David Wright

On the Ides of March, the Romans celebrated the festival of Anna Perenna, which involves drinking and fraternizing between the sexes on the banks of the Tiber River (Fast 3. 523-542). In the Fasti, Ovid gives three aitia regarding the true identity of the goddess and the origins of the festival. One of these origins connects the deity to Anna, Dido’s sister, who became a nymph by drowning in the Numicus River in Italy after her flight from Carthage (Fast. 3.543-656).

Well-washed Whores: Prostitutes, Brothels and Water Usage in the Roman Empire

By Anise K. Strong

In Plautus’ comedy Miles Gloriosus, a gentleman seeking to hire a prostitute must choose between a “washed” woman (lauta) or one “not yet washed” (nondum lauta) (Plautus, Mil.Gl. I.787). Such a distinction suggests a strong connection between Roman prostitutes and bathing in general, as well as a potential status distinction between prostitutes with ready access to water and those lacking such facilities.

Lists & Roman Law

By John Matthews

From the Catalogue of the Ships through the inventories of everyday items that we find on papyri, the late Roman catalogues of governmental and military structures of the Notitia Dignitatum, to the lists of war dead on a modern memorial, the effect of lists and catalogues is to fix attention on the specific in relation to the general in human experience.

Cicero the Satirist? Generic Variation and Allusion in the Letters

By Amanda Wilcox

This paper explores Cicero’s experimentation with satire, a genre with which Cicero is not generally associated, within another genre in which he is a central figure, namely, Roman prose letters. This paper will argue that Cicero’s introduction of satire into his familiar correspondence is not superficial or casual. Rather, it suggests that Cicero turned to satire for the relief it afforded him at a period when his freedom of speech and action was otherwise exceptionally constrained by the ascendancy of Caesar.

Epistolary Style and Rhetorical Style: A Path Across Letters and Rhetorical Treatises

By Francesco Ginelli

The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the strong relationship between the theory of epistolary style explained by Cicero in fam. 9, 21, 1 and the rule of the tria genera oratoris clarified in de orat. 3, 210-212 and orat. 69-71. Although there are many Greek and Latin epistolary corpora still preserved (like that of Plato, Themistocles or Pliny), we don't have any ancient textbook about epistolary style, but only scattered theories or notes in many different texts.