Research

scholarly expertise spanning the ancient world

Faculty Updates

William Bubelis

While Spring 2018 was a much-needed sabbatical, this past year proved to be a busy one on all fronts. Both semesters entailed much work on two separate book projects (one on northern Greek coinage, the other on Hellenistic religious associations) and a bevy of articles, ranging from judges on the island of Kos to Hellenistic coinage at the city of Kyme. 

 

Cathy Keane

I recently enjoyed a relatively calm (but snowy) SCS meeting in Boston, where I gave a talk on Juvenal’s adaptations from Martial in the opening of Satire 1, and a short trip to New York in February to serve on the jury for the American Academy in Rome’s Rome Prize in Ancient Studies. This summer I began work on the commentary I’ve long wanted to write, on Juvenal’s fifth book of Satires.

 

 

Nicola Aravecchia

It was a wonderful first semester at WashU! In terms of research, I delved into the revisions of my forthcoming book on the excavations at the Egyptian site of ʿAin el-Gedida. I also worked on an essay for a volume on Coptic Studies and began developing new collaborative projects. 

Lance Jenott

I presented new research on a medieval Coptic apocryphon, the Investiture of the Archangel Gabriel, at the 2017 annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, and prepared the first English translation of the text, to be published in the forthcoming anthology More Christian Apocrypha (Eerdmans, 2019). In December, I conducted the public review of a dissertation written in the History of Religions department at the University of Lund, Sweden, and served on its final defense committee in May. In the Summer of 2018, I returned to the Nebraska “Coptic Camp” for a week of intensive sight reading with John D. Turner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and participated again in Christian Wildberg’s Corpus Hermeticum translation group in Princeton.

 

Luis Salas

Over the winter break I presented a paper at the Society for Classical Studies on the reception of Galen's work in the preface of Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica. After returning from parental leave in the spring I submitted two articles for publication [whose titles are omitted here for blind review!]. This coming year I will be on leave to complete my first book manuscript, Cutting Words: Polemical Dimensions of Galen's Anatomical Experiments. I have had the great fortune to receive support for this leave from the Center for Humanities here at Washington University and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation. 

 

Tim Moore

In my first year post-chairmanship, I have enjoyed dedicating more time to research. Two pieces of mine appeared this year in Greek and Roman Musical Studies: “Stinging Auloi: Aristophanes, Acharnians 860-71,” and “Music in the Time of Vergil: Insights from a Symposium.” I completed essays on “Meter, Music and Memory in Roman Comedy” and “Ludic Music in Ancient Greece and Rome” for forthcoming volumes and, with WashU MA student Amanda Kubic, a contribution on Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus for Oxford Bibliographies Online. 

 

Tom Keeline

I spent the spring semester on parental leave. I’m happy to report that my first book, The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend, was published in July 2018.

 

 

Kathryn Wilson

This was a busy year of teaching at WashU, both old standbys like Homer, and some brand new classes like The Greek World. This summer, I went back to my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, to present at the Penn-Leiden Colloquium on Ancient Values, and to a tiny village in the Netherlands called Ravenstein, for a conference on technical poetry in a renovated convent. 

 

 

Zoe Stamatopoulou

This past academic year was a busy one. I served as the department’s Director of Graduate Studies for the first time, I submitted a few articles for peer-review, and I gave papers at the University of Iowa, the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C., the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Institute of Mediterranean Studies in Rethymnon (Greece). 

Recent MA Theses

“Women’s Erotic Desires and Perspectives on Marriage in Sappho’s Epithalamia and H.D.'s Hymen” (Amanda Kubic)

“Dreams, Visions, and their Interpretation in Lucan’s Pharsalia” (David Harris)

Sophrosyne in Aeschylus” (Constantine Karathanasis)

“Catullan Obscenity and Modern English Translation” (Tori Lee)

“An Epic Hydrography: Riverine Geography in the Argonautika of Apollonios Rhodios” (Joe Morgan)

“Augustan Allusion and Poetic Immortality in the Pseudo-Virgilian Dirae” (Vergil Parson)

“ἐκ τοῦ ʹΟμήρου ad Homerum: A Survey of the Roman Imperial Iconography of Homer” (Juan Dopico)

“Capturing Charis: Semantics and Structure in the Iliad”     (Bryan Norton)

In-Progress Dissertations

 “The Pristine and the Pure: Sex, Gender, and Narrative in Achilles Tatius and Longus” (Joe MacDonald)

“The Three-obol Phratry: Aristophanes on the Monetization of Democratic Politics” (Constantine Karathanasis)

the faculty bookshelf

'Ain el-Gedida: 2006-2008 Excavations of a Late Antique Site in Egypt's Western Desert
An Oasis City
The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend
Hesiod and Classical Greek Poetry
Hallowed Stewards: Solon and the Sacred Treasurers of Ancient Athens
Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions
The Monastic Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices
Three Comedies
Roman Theatre
Music in Roman Comedy
The Gospel of Judas: Coptic Text, Translation, and Historical Interpretation of 'the Betrayer's Gospel'
A Roman Verse Satire Reader: Selections from Lucilius, Horace, Persius, and Juvenal
Figuring Genre in Roman Satire
The Theater of Plautus: Playing to the Audience

'Ain el-Gedida: 2006-2008 Excavations of a Late Antique Site in Egypt's Western Desert

‘Ain el-Gedida: 2006-2008 Excavations of a Late Antique Site in Egypt's Western Desert is a presentation of primary evidence from an archaeological dig at ‘Ain el-Gedida. ‘Ain el-Gedida dates to the 4th century and is a uniquely important archaeological site for the study of early Egyptian Christianity; it is also a rare example of a type of Late Roman rural settlement that was previously known only from written sources.

The authors first present the data collected during excavations of various buildings and rooms at ‘Ain el-Gedida; in the second half of the book, specialists on the ‘Ain el-Gedida research team catalog and describe what was found at the site: ceramics, coins, ostraka, and zooarcheological remains.

An Oasis City

Scattered through the vast expanse of stone and sand that makes up Egypt’s Western Desert are several oases. These islands of green in the midst of the Sahara owe their existence to springs and wells drawing on ancient aquifers. In antiquity, as today, they supported agricultural communities, going back to Neolithic times but expanding greatly in the millennium from the Saite pharaohs to the Roman emperors. New technologies of irrigation and transportation made the oases integral parts of an imperial economy.  

Amheida, ancient Trimithis, was one of those oasis communities. Located in the western part of the Dakhla Oasis, it was an important regional center, reaching a peak in the Roman period before being abandoned. Over the past decade, excavations at this well-preserved site have revealed its urban layout and brought to light houses, streets, a bath, a school, and a church. The only standing brick pyramid of the Roman period in Egypt has been restored. Wall-paintings, temple reliefs, pottery, and texts all contribute to give a lively sense of its political, religious, economic, and cultural life. This book presents these aspects of the city’s existence and its close ties to the Nile valley, by way of long desert roads, in an accessible and richly illustrated fashion. 

The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend

Cicero was one of the most important political, intellectual, and literary figures of the late Roman Republic, rising to the consulship as a 'new man' and leading a complex and contradictory life. After his murder in 43 BC, he was indeed remembered for his life and his works - but not for all of them. This book explores Cicero's reception in the early Roman Empire, showing what was remembered and why. It argues that early imperial politics and Cicero's schoolroom canonization had pervasive effects on his reception, with declamation and the schoolroom mediating and even creating his memory in subsequent generations. The way he was deployed in the schools was foundational to the version of Cicero found in literature and the educated imagination in the early Roman Empire, yielding a man stripped of the complex contradictions of his own lifetime and polarized into a literary and political symbol.

Hesiod and Classical Greek Poetry

Hesiod was regarded by the Greeks as a foundational figure of their culture, alongside Homer. This book examines the rich and varied engagement of fifth-century lyric and drama with the poetic corpus attributed to Hesiod as well as with the poetic figure of Hesiod. The first half of the book is dedicated to Hesiodic reception in Pindaric and Bacchylidean poetry, with a particular focus on poetics, genealogies and mythological narratives, and didactic voices. The second half examines how Hesiodic narratives are approached and appropriated in tragedy and satyr drama, especially in the Prometheus plays and in Euripides' Ion. It also explores the multifaceted engagement of Old Comedy with the poetry and authority associated with Hesiod. Through close readings of numerous case studies, the book surveys the complex landscape of Hesiodic reception in the fifth century BCE, focusing primarily on lyric and dramatic responses to the Hesiodic tradition.

Hallowed Stewards: Solon and the Sacred Treasurers of Ancient Athens

Students of ancient Athenian politics, governance, and religion have long stumbled over the rich evidence of inscriptions and literary texts that document the Athenians’ stewardship of the wealth of the gods. Likewise, Athens was well known for devoting public energy and funds to all matters of ritual, ranging from the building of temples to major religious sacrifices. Yet, lacking any adequate account of how the Athenians organized that commitment, much less how it arose and developed, ancient historians and philologists alike have labored with only a paltry understanding of what was a central concern to the Athenians themselves. That deficit of knowledge, in turn, has constrained and diminished our grasp of other essential questions surrounding Athenian society and its history, such as the nature of political life in archaic Athens, and the forces underlying Athens’ imperial finances.

Hallowed Stewards closely examines those magistracies that were central to Athenian religious efforts, and which are best described as “sacred treasurers.” Given the extensive but fragmentary evidence available to us, which consists mainly of inscriptions but includes such texts as the ps.-Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians, no catalog-like approach to these offices could properly encompass their details, much less their wider significance. By situating the sacred treasurers within a broader religious and historical framework, Hallowed Stewards not only provides an incisive portrait of the treasurers themselves but also elucidates how sacred property and public finance alike developed in ancient Athens.

Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions

In his sixteen verse Satires, Juvenal explores the emotional provocations and pleasures associated with social criticism and mockery. He makes use of traditional generic elements such as the first-person speaker, moral diatribe, narrative, and literary allusion to create this new satiric preoccupation and theme. Juvenal defines the satirist figure as an emotional agent who dramatizes his own response to human vices and faults, and he in turn aims to engage other people's feelings. Over the course of his career, he adopts a series of rhetorical personae that represent a spectrum of satiric emotions, encouraging his audience to ponder satire's proper emotional mode and function. Juvenal first offers his signature indignatio with its associated pleasures and discomforts, then tries on subtler personae that suggest dry detachment, callous amusement, anxiety, and other affective states.

As Keane shows, the satiric emotions are not only found in the author's rhetorical performances, but they are also a major part of the human farrago that the Satirespurport to treat. Juvenal's poems explore the dynamic operation of emotions in society, drawing on diverse ancient literary, rhetorical, and philosophical sources. Each poem uniquely engages with different texts and ideas to reveal the unsettling powers of its emotional mode. Keane also analyzes the "emotional plot" of each book of Satires and the structural logic of the entire series with its wide range of subjects and settings. From his famous angry tirades to his more puzzling later meditations, Juvenal demonstrates an enduring interest in the relationship between feelings and moral judgment.

The Monastic Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices

Hugo Lundhaug and Lance Jenott offer a sustained argument for the monastic provenance of the Nag Hammadi Codices. They examine the arguments for and against a monastic Sitz im Leben and defend the view that the Codices were produced and read by Christian monks, most likely Pachomians, in the fourth- and fifth-century monasteries of Upper Egypt. Eschewing the modern classification of the Nag Hammadi texts as »Gnostic,« the authors approach the codices and their ancient owners from the perspective of the diverse monastic culture of late antique Egypt and situate them in the context of the ongoing controversies over extra-canonical literature and the theological legacy of Origen. Through a combination of sources, including idealized hagiographies, travelogues, monastic rules and exhortations, and the more quotidian details revealed in documentary papyri, manuscript collections, and archaeology, monasticism in the Thebaid is brought to life, and the Nag Hammadi codices situated within it. The cartonnage papyri from the leather covers of the codices, which bear witness to the monastic culture of the region, are closely examined, while scribal and codicological features of the codices are analyzed and compared with contemporary manuscripts from Egypt. Special attention is given to the codices' scribal notes and colophons which offer direct evidence of their producers and users. The study ultimately reveals the Nag Hammadi Codices as a collection of books completely at home in the monastic manuscript culture of late antique Egypt.

Three Comedies

Three Comedies features the work of three dramatic geniuses of the glorious, no-holds-barred tradition of ancient Athenian comedy. Here Aristophanes, the eight-hundred-pound gorilla of Old and Middle Comedy meets Menander, elephant in the room of New Comedy, in a match made possible by Douglass Parker—if not Athenian exactly, or even ancient, possibly the maddest chameleon ever to absorb the true colors of an ancient choral song, transpose a lost pun, or channel a venerable, giant, dung-eating cockroach for the benefit of those who couldn’t be there the first time.

Timothy J. Moore offers concise and informative introductions and notes to Parker’s brilliant translation of Aristophanes' fantastical Peace and Money, the God and Menander’s lively, domestic Samia—and includes, as a bonus, Parker's James Constantine Lecture at the University of Virginia, "A Desolation Called Peace: Trials of an Aristophanic Translator."

Roman Theatre

When we think of ancient theatre today, we tend to think of Greek theatre. Yet the Romans also had a lively and varied set of theatrical traditions, which have had a considerable influence on later drama. This book offers an introduction to these traditions, including the origins of Roman theatre, the extant plays of Plautus, Terence and Seneca, and the many works of comedy, tragedy, mime and pantomime that no longer survive as written texts. The emphasis throughout is on performance, the role of these theatrical works within Roman society, and Roman theatre’s legacy.

Music in Roman Comedy

The plays of Plautus and Terence were profoundly musical: large portions of all the plays were sung to accompaniment, and variations in melody, rhythm and dance were essential elements in bringing both pleasure and meaning to their performance. This book explains the nature of Roman comedy's music: the accompanying tibia, the style of vocal performance, the importance of dance, characteristics of melody, the relationship between meter and rhythm, and the effects of different meters and of variations within individual verses. It provides musical analyses of songs, scenes and whole plays, and draws analogies between Roman comedy's music and the music of modern opera, film and musical theatre. The book will change our understanding of the nature of Roman comedy and will be of interest to students of ancient theatre and Latin literature, scholars and students working on the history of music and theatre, and performers working with ancient plays.

The Gospel of Judas: Coptic Text, Translation, and Historical Interpretation of 'the Betrayer's Gospel'

Lance Jenott presents a new critical edition, annotated translation, and interpretation of the Gospel of Judas which, for the first time, includes all extant fragments of the manuscript. Departing from the scholarly debate over how this second-century Gospel portrays the character of Judas Iscariot, he investigates the text's preoccupation with Jesus' Twelve Disciples, and why its author slanders them as immoral priests who unwittingly offer sacrifice to a false god. Jenott challenges previous interpretations of Judas as a Gnostic text that criticizes the sacrificial theology, Christology, and ritual practices of the orthodox church, including Eucharist and baptism. Instead, he emphasizes how its Christian author voices a political critique of the emerging clergy who established their ecclesiological authority through doctrines of apostolic succession and the exclusive right to administer the Eucharist. In the final chapter, Jenott leaves questions about the author's second-century Sitz im Leben behind to consider how Judas may have appealed to the fourth-century Coptic Christians who produced our only known copy.

A Roman Verse Satire Reader: Selections from Lucilius, Horace, Persius, and Juvenal

The trademark exuberance of Lucilius, gentleness of Horace, abrasiveness of Persius, and vehemence of Juvenal are the diverse satiric styles on display in this Reader. Witnesses to the spectacular growth of Rome’s political and military power, the expansion and diversification of its society, and the evolution of a wide spectrum of its literary genres, satirists provide an unparalleled window into Roman culture: from trials of the urban poor to the smarmy practices of legacy hunters, from musings on satire and the satirist to gruesome scenes from a gladiatorial contest, from a definition of virtue to the scandalous sexual display of wayward women. Provocative and entertaining, challenging and yet accessible, Roman verse satire is a motley dish stuffed to its readers’ delights.

Figuring Genre in Roman Satire

Horace, Persius, and Juvenal, the verse satirists of ancient Rome, developed a unique mode of social criticism by borrowing from their culture's existing methods of entertainment and moral judgment. Keane's analysis of the satiric genre reveals its debt to four key Roman practices: theater, public violence, legal process, and teaching.

The Theater of Plautus: Playing to the Audience

The relationship between actors and spectators has been of perennial interest to playwrights. The Roman playwright Plautus (ca. 200 BCE) was particularly adept at manipulating this relationship. Plautus allowed his actors to acknowledge freely the illusion in which they were taking part, to elicit laughter through humorous asides and monologues, and simultaneously to flatter and tease the spectators.

These metatheatrical techniques are the focus of Timothy J. Moore's innovative study of the comedies of Plautus. The first part of the book examines Plautus' techniques in detail, while the second part explores how he used them in the plays PseudolusAmphitruoCurculioTruculentusCasina, and Captivi. Moore shows that Plautus employed these dramatic devices not only to entertain his audience but also to satirize aspects of Roman society, such as shady business practices and extravagant spending on prostitutes, and to challenge his spectators' preconceptions about such issues as marriage and slavery. These findings forge new links between Roman comedy and the social and historical context of its performance.

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