This session presents a unit of study centered on the life and writings of Cicero, a pivotal figure in Roman history and one of the best-documented. Cicero’s life, intersecting with many of Rome’s best-known figures, provides a perfect point of access to many cultural themes, while engaging students with primary texts of undisputed virtuosity.
Nagy, Gregory. 2013. “Virgil’s verse invitus, regina … and its poetic antecedents.” More modoque: Die Wurzeln der europäischen Kultur und deren Rezeption im Orient und Okzident, edited by P Fodor, G Mayer, M Monostori, K Szovák, and L Takács, 155–165. Budapest: Forschungszentrum für Humanwissenschaften der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Festschrift für Miklós Maróth zum siebzigsten Geburtstag, 155–165.
The Poetics of Consent breaks new ground in Homeric studies by interpreting the Iliad’s depictions of political action in terms of the poetic forces that shaped the Iliad itself. Arguing that consensus is a central theme of the epic, David Elmer analyzes in detail scenes in which the poem’s three political communities—Achaeans, Trojans, and Olympian gods—engage in the process of collective decision making.
These scenes reflect an awareness of the negotiation involved in reconciling rival versions of the Iliad over centuries. They also point beyond the Iliad’s world of gods and heroes to the here-and-now of the poem’s performance and reception, in which the consensus over the shape and meaning of the Iliadic tradition is continuously evolving.
Elmer synthesizes ideas and methods from literary and political theory, classical philology, anthropology, and folklore studies to construct an alternative to conventional understandings of the Iliad’s politics. The Poetics of Consent reveals the ways in which consensus and collective decision making determined the authoritative account of the Trojan War that we know as the Iliad.
Weiss, Naomi A. 2012. “Recognition and Identity in Euripides' Ion.” Recognition and Modes of Knowledge: Anagnorisis from Antiquity to Contemporary Theory, edited by T Russo, 33–50. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 33–50.
Nagy, Gregory. 2012. “Signs of Hero Cult in Homeric Poetry.” Homeric Contexts, edited by Franco Montanari, Antonios Rengakos, and Christos Tsagalis, 17–61. Berlin: De Gruyter, 17–61.
Thomas, Richard F. 2012. “The Streets of Rome: The Classical Dylan.” Reception and the Classics: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Classical Tradition, edited by William Brockliss, Pramit Chaudhuri, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, and Katherine Wasdin, 134–159. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 134–159.
Thomas, Richard F. 2012. “Thoughts on the Virgilian hexameter.” Multi nominis grammaticus. Festchrift for Alan J. Nussbaum, edited by Adam I Cooper, Jeremy Rau, and Michael Weiss, 306–314. Ann Arbor: Beech Stave Press, 306–314.
This article identifies and analyzes bureaucratic features in the language employed by Pliny and Trajan in Epistles 10 as an example of communication between two officials of senior but unequal status who were engaged in managing provincial affairs in the Roman empire.
Book XII brings Virgil's Aeneid to a close, as the long-delayed single combat between Aeneas and Turnus ends with Turnus' death – a finale that many readers find more unsettling than triumphant. In this, the first detailed single-volume commentary on the book in any language, Professor Tarrant explores Virgil's complex portrayal of the opposing champions, his use and transformation of earlier poetry (Homer's in particular) and his shaping of the narrative in its final phases. In addition to the linguistic and thematic commentary, the volume contains a substantial introduction that discusses the larger literary and historical issues raised by the poem's conclusion; other sections include accounts of Virgil's metre, later treatments of the book's events in art and music, and the transmission of the text. The edition is designed for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students and will also be of interest to scholars of Latin literature.
The Carmen Saeculare was composed and published in 17 BCE as Horace was returning to the genre of lyric which he had abandoned six years earlier; the fourth book of Odes is in part a response to this poem, the only commissioned poem we know from the period. The hardening of the political situation, with the Republic a thing of the past and the Augustan succession in the air, threw the problematic issue of praise into fresh relief, and at the same time provided an impulse towards the nostalgia represented by the poet's private world. Professor Thomas provides an introduction and commentary (the first full commentary in English since the nineteenth century) to each of the poems, exploring their status as separate lyric artefacts and their place in the larger web of the book. The edition is intended primarily for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, but is also important for scholars.
Nota Bene explores a little-known juxtaposition of verbal text and musical notation in the Middle Ages. This particular intersection deserves attention from those interested in music, the reception of classical Latin literature, the history of education, and the development of punctuation.
Between the late tenth century and the late twelfth century, the musical notation known as neumes was provided in dozens of manuscripts for, among other texts, a number of Horace's Odes as well as for sections of epics by Lucan, Statius, and Vergil. These materials constitute a paradoxical corpus of "classical poems in plainchant" that complicates our views of both how students learned Latin and what was being sung in an era most often associated with Gregorian chant. The book wrestles first with the literary-historical puzzle of why certain passages and not others were "neumed" and later with the ethnomusicological riddles of how, where, when, and by whom the passages were sung.
Tarrant, Richard J. 2006. “Seeing Seneca Whole?.” Seeing Seneca Whole: Perspectives on Philosophy, Poetry and Politics, edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth D Williams, 1–17. Leiden: Brill, 1–17.