Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)
For over two centuries Penn has offered a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs representing all aspects of the broad field of Classical Studies, from languages and literature to history, archaeology and cultural studies. The Department encourages interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to teaching and research and maintains productive ties with a variety of programs, including Religious Studies, English, Comparative Literature, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Linguistics, Italian Studies, History of Art, and the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
PublicationComic Parrhêsia and the Paradoxes of Repression(2013-01-01) Rosen, Ralph M; Rosen, Ralph MComic satirists such as Aristophanes thrive on the tension that arises from their need to ridicule prominent figures of contemporary society and the possibility that this ridicule will cause genuine offense. The history of satire is full of complaints by authors that they work in a dangerous profession, and that their detractors fail to appreciate their high-minded, often explicitly didactic intentions. In such moments, satirists attempt to leave the impression that those who try to repress their freedom to mock and abuse are unwelcome obstacles to their enterprise. It is precisely such allegations of risk and danger, however, that make for effective satire and allow satirists to present themselves as comically “heroic” in the first place. And if satire requires a fraught, antagonistic relationship between author and target, we cannot trust the satirist’s account of the relationship or accept the claim that the alleged oppression is unwelcome. This study begins with such conundra in Aristophanes, and examines comparative evidence from other periods and literary forms, including Homer’s Thersites, Horace, Socrates and Lenny Bruce. PublicationNaming Names, Telling Tales: Sexual Secrets and Greek Narrative(2014-01-01) Murnaghan, Sheila; Murnaghan, SheilaAs Creusa finds the courage to reveal her long-concealed union with Apollo, Euripides aligns the powerful narrative at the heart of his Ion with the disclosure of a sexual secret. Such disclosures make good stories, interesting in part for their sexual content, but even more, I suggest, for the circumstances that lead to their telling. As Peter Brooks argues in Reading for the Plot, narratives engage us in the desires of their characters, which we follow through a trajectory of frustration and fulfillment, propelled by a corresponding passion for knowledge. Among the strongest of those desires, more powerful even than erotic longing or material ambition, is the wish to tell one’s own story, “the more nearly absolute desire to be heard, recognized, listened to” (Brooks 1984: 53), so that narratives often include an account of their own origin in a character’s quest for recognition. But a story like Creusa’s can only be told after a difficult struggle with fear and shame, which have to be overcome before one party in a sexual encounter breaks the bond of silence to reveal what had been a shared and exclusive secret. PublicationGoethe's Elegiac Sabbatical(2010-01-01) Farrell, Joseph; Farrell, JosephAny effort to interpret Goethe's career according to a single, pre-existing pattern would obviously be misconceived. Not only was his literary career a vast, sprawling thing in itself, but it was thoroughly intertwined with several others, including those of courrier, politician, diplomat, scientist and artist, Moreover, several of these callings interacted quite directly with his work as a writer. Even if we focus on Goethe's literary career in the narrowest possible sense, we cannot really speak in any simple way either of continuous Virgilian ascent through ever more elevated genres, or of Horatian retirement to an aesthetic angulus, or of any other model derived from the careers of Classical poets as the dominant lens through which to view Goethe's experience. And let us admit this at once: the evidence that Goethe himself modelled his own career upon any of these patterns is non-existent. In this respect he differs from Petrarch, Spenser, Marlowe, Milton and other poets who explicitly represent themselves as fashioning their careers after Virgilian, Horatian and Lucanian proto-types. All of this might seem to make Goethe an unpromising subject in the context of career studies. PublicationThe Six Books of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura: Antecedents and Influence(2010-01-01) Farrell, Joseph; Farrell, JosephLucretius’ De rerum natura is one of the relatively few corpora of Greek and Roman literature that is structured in six books. It is distinguished as well by features that encourage readers to understand it both as a sequence of two groups of three books (1+2+3, 4+5+6) and also as three successive pairs of books (1+2, 3+4, 5+6). This paper argues that the former organizations scheme derives from the structure of Ennius’ Annales and the latter from Callimachus’ book of Hynms. It further argues that this Lucretius’ union of these two six-element schemes influenced the structure employed by Ovid in the Fasti. An appendix endorses Zetzel’s idea that the six-book structure of Cicero’s De re publica marks that work as well as a response to Lucretius’ poem. PublicationIntroduction to Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic(2013-01-01) Farrell, Joseph; Farrell, Joseph; Nelis, Damien PA considerable body of recent scholarship has been devoted to investigating the ways in which societies remember, studying not only what they construct as memorable but also why and how they do so. Adopting a narrower focus, this volume examines the ways in which different aspects and images of the Roman Republic are created and exploited by the Augustan poets. Our subject immediately suggests two obvious strategies:- on the one hand, emphasis on a strictly historical project; on the other, concentration on versions of literary history. The latter has been more popular and influential in recent Latin scholarship, but the former has not been without its adherents, as the lively debate in recent historical research has fought over the value of ancient literary sources for reconstructing the early history of Rome and, crucially, for the origins of the Republic and the struggle of the orders. Simultaneously, recent work on Livy has provided strong support for a pre-Actian dating for the beginning of the composition of his history, and so has vastly improved our appreciation of the complexity and subtlety of this extraordinarily ambitious and influential historiographical project. In addition, more sophisticated readings of Roman historians in general that are themselves influenced by the application of New Critical techniques of dose reading developed by critics of poetic texts, have begun in turn to impinge on the ways in which the Latin poetry of the Augustan age is interpreted. Just as historical writers employ the materials of poetry and what we now call fiction-myth and metaphor, artful structuration, and the careful activation of intertextual possibilities involving models in both prose and verse-Augustan poets reveal their keen awareness of and interest in different historiographical modes, such as those of universal history, regal chronicles, and the tropes of annalistic writing. They are also interested in some of the characteristic themes and devices of historical writing, such as battle narrative, civil conflict, ethnography, speeches, and debates, even as they too engage intertextually with precise historiographical models in pointed and influential ways. The challenge for this volume, then, is not so much to ask whether the Augustan poets are concerned with Roman history, but to gain greater clarity with regard to the questions of how and to what end they may be seen as presenting their past as a specifically Republican history. In setting out to think about this vast topic, one which can only be treated in a highly selective manner in a book such as this, a series of obvious questions comes immediately to mind. Are there any particular aspects of the Republic that Augustan poets seem to remember with particular frequency and immediacy? Equally, are there any aspects they seem to prefer to forget? How do they shape the past in relation to the present: do they favour narratives of continuity, rupture, or repetition? What other forms of periodization do they adopt? And finally, how are we to define any given poet as 'Augustan'? Amidst such a bewildering array of questions, it seems advisable to attempt to seek some solid ground as a starting point. PublicationReview of Peter A.J. Attema and Günter Schörner, Comparative Issues in the Archaeology of the Roman Rural Landscape: Site Classification Between Survey, Excavation and Historical Categories(2014-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, KimberlyThis fine volume is a natural successor to the two fundamental Mediterranean field survey collections: Extracting Meaning from Ploughsoil Assemblages (R. Francovich, H. Patterson, and G. Barker, eds. [Oxford 2000]) and Side by Side Survey (S. Alcock and J. Cherry, eds. [Oxford 2004]). Its best essays illustrate the advances in both methodology and theory that have characterized landscape archaeology over the decade since those fundamental volumes were published. The volume takes up the problem of classification, that is, the interpretative and evidentiary basis by which surface survey material is functionally classified. Both intentionally and tacitly, the volume also illustrates the assumptions underlying all classificatory systems and thus the challenges surface survey faces as a stand-alone tool for historical interpretation. PublicationSuetonius the Ventriloquist(2014-01-01) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, CynthiaThis chapter surveys Suetonius’ prose style, particularly his tendency to include the emperors’ own words in verbatim quotation. The metaphor of the ‘ventriloquist’ is apt for Suetonius, who frequently uses his biographical subject’s own language to display their character. This method is in direct contrast with the custom of Roman historians, especially Tacitus, who rewrites the original material in his sources, including speeches, to fit with the overall tone and texture of his own history. Suetonius permits the diction and rhythm of other writers to intrude in his biographies, but he does this for useful effect, and is not devoid of his own signatures of style and authorial voice. Suetonius’ prose is redeemed as more artful than in previous estimations, which have often found it to be plain and monotonous. PublicationReimagining Ancient Italy: New Directions in Italian Archaeology(2011-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, KimberlyIn the modern imagination, Italy is a land of rolling vineyards, dramatic coastal vistas, and of course, extraordinary food— infinite varieties of pasta, delicate pastries, rich cheeses, and earthy wines. Italian archaeology does not perhaps conjure up quite such an image of richness and diversity. The great monuments of Rome—the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and the catacombs—have dominated foreigners’ experience of Italian archaeology since the era of the Grand Tour. The practice of archaeology was, until the 1960s, similarly limited: the search for Greco-Roman antiquities— sculpture, vases, temples, and rich houses—preoccupied Italian and foreign archaeologists alike, and modern archaeological technique was slow to take hold. PublicationGalen on Poetic Testimony(2013-01-01) Rosen, Ralph M; Rosen, Ralph MGalen had an abiding reverence for the classicized Greek poets of his day, in keeping with the prevailing cultural norms of the educated elite. He wrote monographic works on Attic comedy, and often peppered his medical treatises (particularly the psychological and propaedeutic works) with quotations from Homer, the Greek lyric poets and the tragedians. But while he regarded the study of poetry as essential for a complete education, however nebulously construed, he was conflicted about its utility for the scientific enterprise. Often in On the Opinions of Hippocrates and Plato (Plac. Hipp. Plat.), for example, Galen ridicules the Stoic Chrysippus for misusing the testimony of poets in the service of philosophical and scientific argument, while elsewhere in the treatise he freely cites classic poets as illustrative of his own arguments. In Protrepicus, too, he includes mousikē (encompassing for Galen something like our notion of ‘the literary’) as one of the ‘elevated arts’ (semnai tekhnai), the cultivation of which will help humans live according to truth and reason. This paper will examine Galen’s complicated, often inconsistent, attitude to the role of ‘literature’ in his work, focusing specifically on questions of poetic vs. logical/philosophical authority. In particular, I will discuss how Galen aligns his own practice of invoking poetic authors as evidence or exempla with Plato’s, and attempt to clarify what he believed literary testimony could contribute to his argument, both rhetorically and philosophically. PublicationPliny's Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History(2010-01-01) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, CynthiaReview of Pliny's Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History by Aude Doody.