I. The American Philological Association Presidential Address
- Robert Kaster, "The Shame of the Romans" p. 1
Full text available online at https://www.princeton.edu/~kaster/documents/1997TAPA1.pdf
II. Art, Myth, and Epic Conventions
Steven Lowenstam, "Talking Vases: The Relationship between the Homeric Poems and Archaic Representations of Epic Myth" p.21
Representations of epic episodes painted on Greek vases in the sixth and fifth centuries often differ significantly from the versions of the myths familiar to us from the Homeric poems. An examination of such differences indicates that painters did not recast myths on their own but frequently gained inspiration from contemporaneous oral poems. This conclusion suggests that the Homeric poems did not gain canonical status until the end of the Archaic period (and may have been composed later than generally thought). In fact our dating of the Iliad and Odyssey relies on very tenuous evidence.
Hilary Mackie, "Song and Storytelling: An Odyssean Perspective" p.77
The Odyssey's conception of song is unique in the Greek hexameter tradition. In its focus on recent events and ability to cause pain, song in the Odyssey resembles autobiographical storytelling, also foregrounded in the poem. Thus the Odyssean account of narrative emphasizes a dynamic relationship between narrative and life. Storytelling is further differentiated, however, as first-person narration based upon first-hand experience. This type of narrative enables mortals to create order, and even pleasure, from random ills. The Odyssey's idiosyncratic account of song and storytelling arises from its unique notion that mortals enjoy this kind of agency in creating their own happiness.
III. History and Ideology
E. A. Fredricksmeyer, "The Origin of Alexander's Royal Insignia" p.97
This paper examines three theories about the origin of Alexander's diadem as the exclusive emblem of his kingship in Asia. One, that it was Macedonian, another, that it was Persian, and the third, that it derived from an association in iconography with the hero-god Dionysus. This last possibility is the most likely. Thus Alexander's royal insignia gave an indication that his kingship of Asia was neither Macedonian nor Persian but a combination of the two, and uniquely a creation of Alexander.
Craige Champion, "The Nature of Authoritative Evidence in Polybius and Agelaus' Speech at Naupactus" p.111
This paper studies Agelaus' oration at Naupactus in Polybius (Hist. 5.104.1-11), from a fresh perspective. Leaving behind well-worn debates on the speech's historicity and the speech as Polybian fabrication, the paper analyzes Agelaus' address in order to understand Polybius' working methods and historiographical principles. The focus is upon Polybius' thoughts on the symplokê, or unification of world history, and on Philip V's conscious motivations in calling for peace at Naupactus. Examination of these ideas in Agelaus' oration helps to clarify Polybius' practices in recording historical agents' speeches and provides important insights into the nature of classical historiography.
Noel Lenski, "Initium mali Romano imperio: Contemporary Reactions to the Battle of Adrianople" p. 129
The Battle of Adrianople changed the course of Roman history. This was recognized even by contemporaries who recorded their reactions in abundant testimony from the forty years after the disaster. This article offers the first comprehensive assessment of these varied responses: shock, denial, blame, condemnation, foreboding and eventually, reassessment. It explores how reactions changed over time and through interrelation with one another in a complex interplay which remains remarkably vivid even today.
IV. Hellenistic Epigram Books and Roman Epistles
Kathryn Gutzwiller, "The Poetics of Editing in Meleager's Garland" p.169
Scholarly progress in reconstructing the aesthetic arrangement of the Garland now permits a new understanding of Meleager's epigrammatic poetry. This paper analyzes a number of epigrams within their original context in the Garland's amatory section in order to show that their meaning as erotic verse, emanating from Meleager's poetic persona, is enhanced by a secondary layer of meaning emanating from his editorial persona. Through the skillful arrangement of poems on such themes as wine, song, and garlands, Meleager produces a dual reference to both erotic experience and the poetics of the collection.
Erik Gunderson, "Catullus, Pliny, and Love-Letters" p. 201
This article explores the relationship between love and literary culture. The seemingly disparate writings of Catullus and Pliny agree on the role of the literary epistle in forming and negotiating the bond between author and reader. Through the movement of letters which are always implicitly love-letters, each author acknowledges and engages a performative ontology of the literary sign. In so doing, they presage the commentary of Freud, Lacan and Derrida on questions of subjectivity, alterity, and the mobility of the symbol. The love-letter thus becomes an elementary and ineluctable literary exercise revealing the nexus binding love and the letter.
V. Roman Satire and Epic
Ruth Rothaus Caston, "The Fall of the Curtain (Horace S. 2.8)" p.233
Despite recent advances, the conclusive force of S. 2.8 has not been thoroughly understood. I argue that 2.8 is an effective finale to the second book, and also to both books of Satires. As the culmination of a series of satires on food in Book 2, 2.8 literally drops the curtain on fancy food, explicitly warning against a departure from the simple lifestyle. The cena Nasidieni also gives the final word on satire's comedic ancestry, perhaps the most important literary theme of Book 1. Finally, 2.8 tests the effectiveness of the teaching embodied in all the preceding poems: to produce readers who judge for themselves.
Christine Perkell, "The Lament of Juturna: Pathos and Interpretation in the Aeneid" p. 257
While some critics have read pathos as implicit political comment subversive of the Aeneid's imperial claims, others have variously challenged the authenticity of the poemÍs pathos, reading it as a mere function of the epic genre, a product of ideological fissures, or the indirect expression of a political program. As part of a larger inquiry into the function of pathos in the Aeneid, I consider one of the laments, namely, the lament of Juturna. I first attempt a refutation of a respected reading of the lament that reads its primary significance as the retarding of closure; I then propose a more historical/political reading of my own. Through a reading of this single text, I aim to investigate both the poem's famous pathos and also some of the critical assumptions and procedures that tend to question its moral power.
Katharina Volk, "Cum carmine crescit et annus: Ovid's Fasti and the Poetics of Simultaneity" p. 287
The paper argues that time, tempora, is not just the subject of Ovid's Fasti, but that the passing of time also provides the poem's narrative framework. As the work unfolds, it tells the story of its own coming into being: its poet is living through the Roman year and at the same time producing poetry about it. This I is central to the Fasti and helps explain a number of the poem's specific features and elucidate some of its more controversial passages.
Christopher Michael McDonough, "Carna, Proca and the Strix on the Kalends of June" p. 315
The Kalends of June were also known as the Kalendae Fabariae due to the custom of eating beans and bacon on this day. Before discussing the custom in the Fasti, Ovid tells the odd story of the Alban king Proca, who, as an infant, was attacked by malevolent flying creatures called I, and was rescued by the ritual slaughter of a piglet by the goddess Carna (Fasti 6.101-82). The relevance of the story to the custom (or, perhaps better, the myth to the ritual) can be explained by the anthropology of witchcraft and misfortune, as well as the concept of liminality.
VI. Presidential Forum 1996
Robert A. Kaster, Introduction
"Fruitful Disputes: Controversy and Its Consequences in the (More or Less Recent) History of Classical Studies" p. 345
Glenn W. Most, "One Hundred Years of Fractiousness: Disciplining Polemics in Nineteenth-Century German Classical Scholarship" p. 349
Three controversies are examined which show how even temporary disagreements can manifest long-term, unresolvable structural tensions: the polemic about Creuzer's Symbolik (1811ff.); the dispute about Boeckh's corpus of Greek inscriptions (1825f.); and the controversy over K. O. Müller's edition of Aeschylus' Eumenides (1833f.). The first excluded aesthetic and religious approaches to Greek myth from classical philology; the second ultimately established the validity of epigraphy within classics. These two controversies helped determine the shape of the field but did not put the field itself into question. But the questions raised in the Eumenidenstreit revealed tensions and self-contradictions which continue to define classics.
Christopher Stray, " 'Thucydides or Grote?' Classical Disputes and Disputed Classics in Nineteenth-Century Cambridge" p. 363
A series of disputes in nineteenth-century Cambridge are discussed. To understand them, we need to see them in their ideological and institutional contexts. Conversely, they offer a window into the nature of those contexts. The conflicts between the study of classical language and literature as an idealised, permanent exemplar, and the exploration of ancient culture as a historical phenomenon, were intersected by conflicts within academe, and between scholars and schoolteachers. These latter became marginalised as a professional academic structure emerged in classics.
G. W. Bowersock, "Beloch and the Birth of Demography" p. 373
Karl Julius Beloch opened up the systematic study of the demography of the ancient world. His work met with vigorous resistance from towering figures of his time, and Beloch passed virtually his entire career in exile from his own country. His espousal of important new directions in the social history of antiquity illuminates the painful process by which our discipline is gradually transformed, and it exposes the complexity and moral ambivalence that often attend such a transformation.
Natalie Boymel Kampen "Democracy and Debate: Otto Brendel's 'Prolegomena to a Book on Roman Art' " p. 381
Otto Brendel's magisterial 1953 essay on the historiography of Roman art has long been read for its understanding of European intellectual traditions. It has not, however, been seen in the context of post-war American liberalism, the context in which the latter part of the essay was actually produced. I argue here that the emphasis on such concepts as pluralism, the artist as individual, and freedom indicates the author's involvement with that context. Further, the use of these concepts raises the question of the troubled nature of debate in a modern western democracy.
- Gerald Graff, Commentary