This paper argues that the dramatic fabric of Sophocles’ extant tragedies is closely intertwined with their ethical and religious content, so that each play functions, on one level, as a dramatization or mise-en-scène of human existence in its relationship with the divine. This interrelation of performance, ethics, and religion, as well as the specific view of humanity enacted by the plays, reflects Sophoclean tragedy’s embeddedness in intellectual and poetic traditions that can be traced back to archaic thought and literature.
This paper investigates the gap between the position of Artemis in the Athenian religious life, where she was an important and powerful deity, and her depiction in the Athenian tragedies, where her presence is considerably diminished.
Early modern Italy probably counted more professional medical readers of the Roman encyclopediast Celsus' De medicina than did antiquity. After the copying of the Laurentian manuscript in the early fifteenth century and subsequent printing Celsus was read intensively among elite Italian practitioners, from the Florentine surgeon Antonio Benivieni (1443-1502) to Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682-1771), professor of anatomy at Padua. While both wrote influentially on Celsus, their discussions differed.
Reception studies of any body of material inscribe some of the material as “classical,” i.e., as of enduring worth, produced in an exceptional age, or by exceptional authors. That presumes that history is a process of decay, which produces a cognitive tension when the material is any ancient science, particularly medicine. If history is decay, there must be a “fall” between the ancient “golden” age and our present “iron” age. This “classicizing” approach is a trope in Greco-Roman scholarship, and is also manifested in several other ancient cultures.
Studies analyzing ancient conceptions of the female orgasm are misguided in that the Greeks and Romans appear not to have been focused on the woman’s experience of the completion of the sexual act, but rather on the process that leads to it. In other words, there was no female orgasm in antiquity. I argue that the ancient medical discussion of a woman’s pleasure in sexual intercourse focuses on her desire before sex and her pleasure during sex—not on the culmination of pleasure in the orgasm.
The publication of Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica in 1543 is often marked as a dramatic shift, not only in anatomical knowledge but also in anatomical method. Just over two centuries earlier in 1315, Mondino de Luzzi had famously conducted the public dissection of a human cadaver in Bologna. In his demonstration, Mondino lectured on select anatomical passages, often Galenic, while an assistant performed the manual dissection under direction of a second assistant.
There has been a recent flurry of research that explores how tools and object/human interactions affected daily life in the Roman world (Van Oyen 2016; Green 2015a; Eckhardt 2014). Other scholars have also focused on how architecture, wall-paintings, and landscapes created and maintained social interactions and gender performances (Green 2015b; Severy-Hoven 2012; von Stackelberg 2009; Grahame 1997). My paper builds on these studies, but it investigates the literary and visual expressions of resistance to elite culture in images of work involving food preparation and production.
This paper examines the role of the use and display of ritual implements in the construction of identity by and for Roman women. It draws together current strands of scholarship on Roman women’s religious activity (DiLuzio 2016, Takács 2008, Schultz 2006) and the importance of dress and visual insignia in communicating gender and status (Harlow 2012, Olson 2008, Edmondson and Keith 2008).
In antiquity, as in the contemporary world, shoes were a key element in the visual language of self-presentation and self-fashioning. As markers of age, gender, status, and identity, shoes eloquently communicated who a person was and, in some cases, who s/he wished to be. For instance, an elegant black leather woman’s sandal found in the praetorium in Vindolanda not only indicates the presence of women at this Roman military fort, but also tells us something about its owner: first and foremost that she was someone who could afford this luxury item.
Curse tablets served as a ritual outlet for private concerns, and thereby provide a unique perspective of the intimate anxieties of the average Greek citizen. In particular, they gave women in a dire situation an opportunity for a private, personal mediation with their world. The constructed and fictional empowerment given to women in certain literary sources more fully emerges in these ritual artifacts, which presented practitioners with an opportunity to assert control over their domestic and social statuses.