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Staging Morality: Augustan Adultery Law and Public Spectacle

By Mary Deminion

The lex Iulia de adulteriis of 18 BCE, which for the first time made adultery a criminal offence and created a standing court, the quaestio perpetua de adulteriis, was touted by the Augustus as a return to the moral customs of the Republican past (Res gestae 8.5). However, the reform in fact represented a significant shift away from the traditional authority of the Roman paterfamilias to punish transgressions privately at his discretion and towards the legal power of the emperor to define and regulate morality on a public scale.

Landscapes of Authority: Roman Officials in Second-Century Ephesus

By Garrett Ryan

The aim of my paper is to explore how relations between travelling Roman officials and provincial elites were molded by the civic settings in which they took place. Although it is generally agreed that the public spaces of ancient cities were in some sense social products, generated by and generative of the power relations they framed (e.g. Laurence 2007), the role played by civic space in shaping the authority of Roman officials in the provinces has been largely neglected.

Vespasian and the Uses of Humor in Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars

By Michael Konieczny

The depiction of the emperor as both author and object of humor is a significant feature of Suetonius’ Lives that as yet has received only limited scholarly attention. It is the aim of the present study to argue that humor, beyond providing flashes of color to individual episodes of the Lives, is one of the categories that Suetonius uses to assess the reigns of the various principes.

First as History, and Again as Farce: Ironic Echoes in Herodian’s Description of Commodus

By Patrick Cook

Herodian remains one of the least studied historians of the Roman empire. He has won few admirers, either for his historical technique or his literary qualities, but he has an undeniable flair for the visual and the dramatic, which comes to the forefront in his use of vivid description. The first book of Herodian's History contains a remarkable ekphrasitic description of body of Commodus (1.7.5-6), as it appeared during his entry to Rome. Commodus is described as a sight well-worth seeing, with golden curly hair, bright eyes, and a halo.

Tertullian the "Jurist" and the Language of Roman Law

By Anna Dolganov

The "legalism" of Tertullian of Carthage — his profuse employment of the terms, concepts and idioms of Roman law, and of dramatic scenarios from the world of litigation and penal justice — is a traditional problem in early Christian studies. Was Tertullian a iurisperitus in his earlier life, perhaps even the Tertullianus whose work is attested in the Digest?

The Argonautica of Diodorus Siculus

By Charles Muntz

An Argonautica is one of the most significant portions of the overview of Greek mythology in book 4 of the Bibliotheke of Diodorus Siculus. Diodorus’ Argonautica is largely based on a mythographical work by Dionysius Scytobrachion that was written at approximately the same time as Apollonius’ Argonautica, and which apparently heavily rationalized the story of the Argonauts to give it a more historical veneer (Rusten 1982).