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Presidential Address

Kathryn Gutzwiller - "Fantasy and Metaphor in Meleager"

Meleager of gadara is one of those increasingly rare greek authors whose works are somewhat known to many classicists but whose influence on ancient and later literature remains underappreciated. Meleager’s anthology of Greek epigrams called the Garland produced Latin imitations shortly after its creation in the early first century b.c.e., and allusions to Meleager’s own, mostly erotic poems are found in prominent programmatic passages of Latin poetry. Examples include the first three poems and the last poem of the Catullan liber, the opening of Propertius’s Monobiblos, the first speech in Vergil’s Eclogue 1, and the opening lines of Tibullus 1.2. I would assert that as a model for Latin erotic poetry Meleager rivals Callimachus in both direct allusions and as a source of topoi and imagery. Alessandro Barchiesi has spoken of the Garland as a model for elegant poetry books because of its careful arrangements, but what was it about Meleager’s own poetry that appealed to Roman poets? Pointing toward an answer to that question, I here examine some unique features of Meleager’s poetry involving his use of fantasy and metaphor, which distinguish him from the epigrammatists he anthologized.


Daniel B. Levine - "Acts, Metaphors, and Powers of Feet in Aeschylus’s Oresteia"

Aeschylus’s Oresteia employs metaphors of the power, uses, and weakness of human feet in order to underline the narrative’s progression from disorder to reconciliation. Agamemnon’s conquering foot was “Troy’s plunderer,” before he entered his palace barefoot and met his death. Shoeless Orestes leaves a footprint at Agamemnon’s grave before going inside to avenge his father. In contrast to Athena’s protecting feet, the Furies’ “crippling” feet and “vindictive dancing” pursue Orestes until accepting “an honored seat by the halls of Erechtheus.” In the solemn processional exodos, instead of frantic running hunters, they walk as protective spirits “feeling delight along their way.”

Matthew Simonton - "The Cry from the Herald’s Stone: The Revolutionary Logic behind the Rhodian Democratic Uprising of 395 B.C.E."

I adduce a neglected but illuminating historical parallel, the performance of Solon’s “Salamis” poem as reported by Plutarch, to show that the actions of Rhodian conspirators during the democratic revolution of 395 b.c.e. (Hellenica Oxyrhynchia 18.1–3 Chambers) are best understood as an attempt to solve a “coordination problem,” to use the language of contemporary social science. The exhortation of a few conspirators was expected to trigger a mass uprising among the wider population. The episode illustrates the distinctive strategies utilized by different political groups in Classical Greece, democrats and oligarchs, depending on their numbers and their popularity.

Joshua D. Sosin - "Manumission with Paramone: Conditional Freedom?"

A common view holds that slaves freed on condition of paramone were juridical chimeras, legally half-free, half-slave. This paper argues that this view is based on a misunderstanding of the Greek sources, mainly epigraphic; that the intermediate or hybrid juridical state of conditional freedom is a modern invention; that the evidence for manumission in the Greek world suggests overwhelmingly that polities constructed liberty and slavery as a binary pair, rather than poles on a spectrum.

Stanly H. Rauh - "The Tradition of Suicide in Rome’s Foreign Wars"

This paper challenges the perceived existence of a Roman tradition of shame-based military suicides that follow defeat in battle. A method emphasizing recorded behavior and empirical evidence reveals that suicide during foreign war was quite rare during the Republic and that shame exerted minimal influence on such decisions. These results are consistent with the experiences of the defeated upon their return home, Rome’s expectations of her generals in defeat, and the operative force of pudor on behavior.

Lauren Curtis - "Explaining Exile: The Aetiological Poetics of Ovid, Tristia 3"

This essay reads the third book of Ovid’s Tristia in terms of its interest in aetiology. It argues that aetiological inquiry offers Ovid a way of exploring his changed relationship with Roman space and with the centers of Roman knowledge in a book that dramatizes his increasing alienation from Rome and assimilation to Tomis. Ovid’s poetics of causae reveals the exile’s difficulties in reading Rome, while reveling in the manifold interpretive possibilities afforded by the landscape of Tomis.

Aldo Tagliabue - "Heliodorus’s Aethiopica and the Odyssean Mnesterophonia: An Intermedial Reading"

The opening scene of Heliodorus’s Aethiopica has a special ekphrastic quality, and scholars have noted that its tragic banquet recalls the Mnesterophonia in Homer’s Odyssey. I argue that Heliodorus’s banquet is not only a literary remaking of the Odyssean episode but also an account that stresses its pictorial quality. This new reading is suggested by the vividness of the description and by the echoes of drinking vessels and tables, the two distinctive features of the iconography of the Mnesterophonia, which was likely to be known in Heliodorus’s time (third-fourth centuries c.e.).