Rosen, Ralph

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Rose Family Endowed Term Professor of Classical Studies
Ralph M. Rosen (B.A. in Greek and Latin, Swarthmore College, 1977; MA, PhD in Classical Philology, Harvard University, 1983) is the Rose Family Endowed Term Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarly interests lie broadly in Greek and Roman literature and intellectual history, with particular focus on ancient comic and satirical poetic genres. He has published widely on archaic and classical Greek poetry, and has recently completed a new book about ancient poetic mockery and satire (Making Mockery: The Poetics of Ancient Satire, forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2007). Other interests within Classical Studies include ancient medicine and philosophy; much of his current work concerns the Hippocratic tradition and the 2nd-C C.E. medical writer, Galen.
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Now showing 1 - 10 of 40
  • Publication
    The Syriac Galen Palimpsest Project: An Introduction
    (2019-05-09) Noel, William; Rosen, Ralph M
  • Publication
    The Death of Thersites and the Sympotic Performance of Iambic Mockery
    (2003-01-01) Rosen, Ralph M
    One of the greatest frustrations confronting the student of archaic Greek poetry is the relative paucity of evidence about performance context. It is often lamented that if we only knew more about the conditions under which a work was performed, we would be in a much better position to understand its poetics - not only its meaning and function for a putatively "original" audience, but also the vicissitudes of its afterlife. Our frustrations in this regard are particularly acute in the archaic iambus - that infamous genre of satire and personal mockery - particularly because of its many transgressive conceits (e.g., aischrologia, abusive mockery, unelevated subject matter, etc.) have always made it difficult for critics to imagine why a poet would be moved to compose this sort of poetry in the first place, and who would want to hear it. If we knew a little more than we do about the circumstances in which iambographers composed and performed, and the particular relationships they expected to develop with an audience, we would presumably be in a much better position to assess cultural attitudes toward poetic satire and mockery, as well as the general dynamics that informed the composition of such poetry.
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  • Publication
    Review of Neil O'Sullivan, Alcidamas, Aristophanes and the Beginnings of Greek Stylistic Theory
    (1993-04-01) Rosen, Ralph M
    Most of us tend to think of the fourth century BC as the time when a reasonably standardized vocabulary for rhetoric developed, and along with it an increasingly selfconscious and systematized notion of the TE/XNH of persuasion. There is certainly some truth in this; but it is also very likely that, if we simply had more evidence from the fifth century, particularly about the sophists, we would have to reformulate significantly our understanding not only of the development of rhetoric but of the entire contemporary intellectual landscape as well. O'Sullivan's monograph, a revision of a 1986 Cambridge PhD dissertation, cannot of course conjure up a new body of fifth-century evidence, but it does make us rethink many of the common presumptions about the early development of Greek rhetorical theory.
  • Publication
    Aristophanes, Fandom and the Classicizing of Greek Tragedy
    (2006-07-01) Rosen, Ralph M
    It is no doubt true that the questions I would like to address in this chapter, which concern Aristophanes’ role (and more broadly, the role of Old Comedy) in disseminating and popularizing Greek tragedy, can never be answered adequately, given the nature of the evidence we have to work with. But it is also true that if any progress can be made in answering them, Alan Sommerstein’s magisterial editions of Aristophanes, as well as his other voluminous work on Greek drama, deserve a good deal of the credit for it. For during the course of his long-standing scholarly engagement with Aristophanes, Professor Sommerstein has often shown a particular interest in the interaction of comedy and tragedy during the Classical period, and his own contributions to this topic throughout his Aristophanes commentaries have directly inspired the discussion that follows.
  • Publication
    Euboulos' Ankylion and the Game of Kottabos
    (1989) Rosen, Ralph M
    Euboulos' "Ankylion" is represented by only four fragments (frr. 1-3KA = frr. 1-4 Hunter), all culled from Athenaeus, which tells us nothing about the plot of the play or about the identity of its titular character. R.L. Hunter, in his recent commentary on Eubolus, discusses at length the name "Ankylion"1 and concludes that it could belong to either (1) a humble and poor man;2 (2) "a character from folklore notorious for sexual relations with his mother";3 or (3) "a wily slave such as those foreshadowed in Aristophanes and familiar from New Comedy".4 In view of our ignorance of the play's plot, each of these possibilities has an equal claim to our consideration. I believe, however, that the context in which the fragments are embedded in Athananeus allows us to refine our understanding of the name even further.
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    The Gendered Polis in Eupolis' Cities
    (1998) Rosen, Ralph M
    Ever since Antiphanes brought on the stage a character, perhaps Comedy herself, complaining that comedy was more difficult to compose than tragedy (fr. 189.17-23 K-A), it has become something of a truism to say that the poets of Old Comedy had at their disposal much richer and less generically restricted literary possibilities than their colleagues working in tragedy.
  • Publication
    The Andreia of the Hippocratic Physician and the Problem of Incurables
    (2003-01-01) Rosen, Ralph M; Horstmanshoff, H.F. J
    One of the most enduring metaphors of Western medicine has been its conception of illness as an invasive enemy against which the patient and doctor must join forces to do battle. Indeed, the more invisible and mysterious the processes of disease, the more vividly do people seem to invoke the metaphor. So it is not surprising to find that in antiquity, when the etiology and control of disease was considerably more elusive than it is today, the notion of the body as a battlefield pervaded the medical treatises both implicitly and explicitly.1
  • Publication
    Hipponax and His Enemies in Ovid's Ibis
    (1988) Rosen, Ralph M
  • Publication
    A Poetic Initiation Scene in Hipponax?
    (1988-07-01) Rosen, Ralph M
    In a note in Heph. 3.1 ( = Hipponax Testim. 21 Dg), Choeroboscus relates several etymologies of the term "iambos." The first is the familiar derivation from the mythical Iambe, the servant of the King Celeus of Elusis, who cheered up the grieving Demeter by mocking her. This story, well known to us from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (198-211), functioned as an ation of the ritual jesting and abuse practiced at the various festivals of Demeter, and, by extension, of the poetic genre known as iambos.1