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TAPA 150 Spring (2020)

Papers

Matthew Simonton – “Teisamenos the Son of Mechanion: New Evidence for an Athenian Demagogue”

A Hellenistic inscription from Iasos prompts a reconsideration of the career of the Athenian politician Teisamenos the son of Mechanion. I first address some interpretive problems that have beset the study of this figure before turning to the new information from Iasos. I argue that we should understand Teisamenos as a "demagogue" as that term was coming to be known already in antiquity, with negative connotations. Finally, the physical form of Teisamenos's decree, known from an earlier Attic copy, invites us to rethink the relationship between democratic rhetoric and material culture, in this case decrees adorned with sculpted reliefs.

Afroditi Angelopoulou – “Problematizing Aisthēsis: The Disruption of Shared Affectivity in the Ajax

This paper focuses on Sophocles' Ajax, aiming to show that the eponymous hero's "moral injury" is primarily grounded in the body: Ajax's loss of identity and sense of collectivity is evinced in the disruption of shared affectivity (the notion of sunaisthanesthai), which forms the bodily basis of the familial and social bonds of philia. I argue that evaluating Ajax's perception of a new physical and ethical reality that is impossible to bear, through the lens of aisthēsis, can help us to appreciate the social and ethical nature of the warrior hero's traumatic experience.

Radcliffe G. Edmonds III – “The Song of the Nightingale: Word Play on the Road to Hades in Plato’s Phaedo

Plato uses word plays in the Phaedo as a literary technique with a double purpose: to illustrate the process of recollection that moves from the sensible particulars to the intelligible ideas and to remind his readers of the ideas discussed in the dialogue, spurring their recollective associations of unseen Forms, absence of pleasure and pain, and the absence of fear, with the traditional name of Hades. The swan song of philosophy is therefore revealed to be not a nightingale's lament but rather an incantation against fear of death, a reminder of the true reality of the unseen intelligible world.

Michael Trapp – “With All Due Respect to Plato: The Platonic Orations of Aelius Aristides”

This article offers a fresh analysis of the tone and argumentative strategies of Orations 2–4 of Aelius Aristides. It suggests that they are a more hostile and destructive exercise than is normally allowed for and that the recent critical consensus that they represent essentially an effort to reconcile philosophy and oratory needs substantial revision; these Orations testify instead to the continuing awkwardness of Plato and philosophy as components of the Greek cultural heritage in the Imperial period, as well as to the ambition of Aristides' own strategies of self-presentation.

Emelen Leonard – “Perversions of the Epistolary Instinct: Desire and Form in the Letters of Philostratus”

Philostratus's Letters have posed problems for scholarly interpretation due to their unconventional use of the epistolary form. I argue, however, that this collection offers profound reflections on the interrelation of epistolarity and desire. Letters can substitute absent lovers and become vehicles for indirect but sensuous contact. These erotically charged roles of the letter resonate with the desires of the writer, who does not seek presence and sexual union, but traces of the absent bodies of his beloveds. Ultimately, I suggest that the writer uses letters not to overcome distance, but to create space for new forms of desire and writing.

Tedd A. Wimperis – “Turnus’s Tota Italia: Italian Solidarity and Political Rhetoric in Aeneid 7-12”

Upon the Trojans' landing in Latium, the many distinct peoples inhabiting the Aeneid's fictionalized Italy show little evidence of national solidarity as "Italians"; rather, they identify primarily with their local communities. But Aeneas's enemies, mobilizing resistance to an alleged foreign invasion, promote an amplified—and largely invented—claim of shared Italian identity constructed in militant contrast to the Trojan Other. This rhetorical strategy echoes Octavian's historical appeals to Italian unanimity in 32 B.C.E. against Cleopatra, which also promoted a sense of national solidarity that was, in reality, only emergent among communities characterized by strong and diverse local identities.

Micaela Janan – “The Father’s Tragedy: Assessing Paternity in Statius, Silvae 2.1”

Silvae 2.1 mourns Glaucias, libertus-foster child of Atedius Melior. Statius's allusions to Vergil's Aeneid examine fatherhood as a model for understanding other hierarchical relationships. Statius probes Vergil's implied justification of Augustus's rule as patria potestas via the princeps' mythical descent from Rome's founding father, Aeneas. Writing under Domitian—no Julio-Claudian—Statius scrutinizes an imperial authority still conceptualized as patriarchy. By substituting a freed slave-child, a bereaved old man and possibly an assassin's victim for Vergil's heroic vessels of Rome's future, Aeneas and Anchises, Silvae 2.1 traces how the Aeneid's logic of patrilineal superiority infantilizes and imperils even élite imperial subjects.

Lauren Donovan Ginsberg – “Allusive Prodigia: Caesar’s Comets in Neronian Rome (Tac. Ann. 15.47)”

This paper examines Tacitus's notice of a comet and lightning at the close of his account of 64 c.e. I argue that these prodigia allude to Vergil's account of the chaos after Julius Caesar's death at the end of Georgics 1 and to Lucan's account of Caesar's invasion in Bellum Civile 1. Tacitus capitalizes on the prodigies of Neronian Rome, on the intertextual tradition of Caesarean prodigies in early imperial literature, and on his annalistic framework to draw important connections between Nero and Caesar, and between the civil wars of the Republic and the conspiracies of Neronian Rome.

Volume

150.1

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