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New Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews

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  • IrenesBooks@aol.com
    While few of us very likely are able to afford these books, they are a good cross section of what s being published today. For all Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews,
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 3, 2000
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      While few of us very likely are able to afford these books, they are a good
      cross section of what's being published today.

      For all Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews, go to: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/

      Florence Dupont, The Invention of Literature: From Greek Intoxication to the
      Latin Book


      "…D. has a clear agenda: she seeks to undermine the aetiological fantasy of
      "Western civilization" as "the cradle for the arts and literature" and sets
      out to rediscover the otherness of the ancients that would lead to the
      rediscovery of ourselves in all our "repressed diversity"(2). She sees
      herself as part of the project of demystifying the "Greek miracle" started by
      Jean Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. She sets out to show that the
      mainstream association of oral = primitive and written = civilized cannot be
      justified within the frame of reference of the ancients themselves. The
      minority popular cultures of today are heirs to the living, oral version of
      Greek and Roman culture as much as our literary culture is heir to the
      culture of books and libraries that originated in antiquity. Since modern
      culture is witnessing a comeback on the part of orality, the recovering of
      our oral origins can help us "project ourselves forward to the future by
      acknowledging that "the deficiency, if any, is not on the side of orality and
      traditional poetry, but rather on that of writing and the poetry of books"
      (16), which are deprived of the voices and bodies that gave birth to them… "

      Ronald Syme, The Provincial at Rome and Rome and the Balkans 80 BC-AD 14


      " …This is a fascinating book, and can be highly recommended; but for whom
      and for what? As a work of history it has clearly been overtaken by
      subsequent scholarship, including S.'s own. It would not, therefore, be wise
      to include it without great qualification on undergraduate or even
      postgraduate reading-lists. Rather, it deserves attention as an
      historiographical gem, of enormous interest and importance in helping us
      understand S.'s development to become one of the greatest modern authorities
      on imperial Rome (see K. Christ, Neue Profile der Alten Geschichte, 1990,
      Chapt. 5)..."

      B.H. Warmington, Suetonius: Nero. Edited with introduction, commentary and


      "… All in all, this edition will be useful to those readers who are looking
      exclusively for factual information about Nero's reign and the ways in which
      it is described in Suetonius, Tacitus and Cassius Dio. Those, however, who
      wish to study the text as a whole and as a literary document in its own
      right, will do better to use the richer commentary by Kierdorf…"

      Jean Andreau, Banking and Business in the Roman World. Key Themes in Ancient


      "… Jean Andreau already has an impressive bibliography of publications
      oneconomics and business in the Roman world. In Banking and Business in the
      Roman World he provides an extremely helpful survey of a complex field with
      both a refreshing clarity and a depth of insight that is belied by the small
      package in which it is presented. The focus of the book is on Roman private
      finance in the period from the late fourth century BCE to the first half of
      the third century CE, with a special interest in the activity of professional
      bankers. The book admirably fulfills the goals of the Key Themes series,
      which is designed to serve the needs of students and non-specialists…"

      Mark Edwards, Martin Goodman & Simon Price, Apologetics in the Roman Empire:
      Pagans, Jews and Christians


      "… If historiography seemed too far from the traditional form of apologetic
      for this volume (notwithstanding the fact that the editors intended to
      explode the classification of the genre by form in favour of intention and
      strategy), then surely Apologetics in the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews and
      Christians should have addressed the relative absence of pagan apologetic.
      Did they really go down with so little fight as the scope of this volume

      Quinn, Stephanie, ed. Why Vergil? A Collection of Interpretations


      "… This is a very good and intellectually stimulating volume of essays
      aboutVergil. In it, Stephanie Quinn (Q) means to address two different, if
      largely complementary purposes: to provide a collection of essays for
      students and teachers of Vergil in schools and colleges, and to present that
      audience and a broader academic and general audience with a compelling case
      for reading and thinking about Vergil outside the schoolroom. Largely, the
      book succeeds…"

      Philip Hardie, Alessandro Barchiesi, Stephen Hinds, edd. Ovidian
      Transformations: Essays on the Metamorphoses and its Reception


      "… The papers in this volume, to which all Ovidians and many other scholars
      of Latin poetry will want to have access, were delivered at the first Craven
      Seminar at Cambridge, a conference in July of 1997 entitled "Perspectives on
      Ovid's Metamorphoses..."

      Andrew Laird, Powers of Expression, Expressions of Power: Speech Presentation
      and Latin Literature


      "… From Andrew Laird …we have an exciting study of speech presentation
      inLatin literature. It is a thorough work, covering the principle genres of
      Latin literature as well as the main questions on the subject raised by the
      leading literary theorists…"

      Georgia L. Irby-Massie, Military Religion in Roman Britain.


      "… Roman Britain is the military province par excellence. It has provided a
      bodyof information on military architecture and the organization of the Roman
      army during the four centuries or so of its presence there that is unmatched
      by any other part of the Roman empire. It is therefore natural that we should
      turn to the evidence from Britain to understand better the religions
      practised by the Roman army. This is the task that Irby-Massie has undertaken
      in her comprehensive and useful study. She is not, of course, a pioneer. Much
      important work has already been done on religion in Roman Britain, which she
      acknowledges, but earlier studies have concentrated on specific topics. Hers
      is the first systematic treatment of the subject as a whole…"

      Co-host, Ancient/Classical History Forum
    • IrenesBooks@aol.com
      Heius! You will like the new and spiffy look of the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/ Here is a recent selection (as usual the prices
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 30, 2001
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        You will like the new and spiffy look of the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

        Here is a recent selection (as usual the prices are rather stiff):

        1. Stephen Harrison, Apuleius. A Latin Sophist.

        "That the opening of a work often repays close attention is a truth commonly,
        if not universally, acknowledged. Priscian in the sixth century devoted a
        treatise of more than fifty pages to the opening line of each book of the
        Aeneid. The opening paragraph of Apuleius's Metamorphoses has spawned any
        number of articles, as well as a 1996 conference, and now a 300 page
        "companion."1 So it might be just as well to look closely at the opening
        sentence of Stephen Harrison's new book and the capsule evaluation it offers
        of its subject: "Apuleius -- display orator and professional intellectual in
        second-century North Africa, Platonist philosopher, extraordinary stylist,
        relentless self-promoter, and versatile author of a remarkably diverse body
        of work, much of which is lost to us." (v) Uncontroversial, perhaps, at first
        glance. Or is it? ...

        ...One shrinks at applying the word "radical" to such a painstaking,
        level-headed, and lucidly-argued book. Yet its conclusion is indeed a radical
        one. Paradoxically, H. argues, we can better appreciate Apuleius's real
        achievement by taking him less seriously (deep down, he's really very
        shallow). To be sure, others have expressed similar judgments from time to
        time. Many readers of H. will be reminded of Perry's analysis of the
        Metamorphoses as a slapdash piece of Unterhaltungsliteratur (though H. has
        greater respect for Apuleius's compositional skill) or Rudolf Helm's
        characterization of the Apology as a masterpiece of the Second Sophistic.6
        But the center of discourse has been elsewhere. From Fulgentius and Beroaldus
        to Merkelbach and Winkler, criticism of the Metamorphoses has persistently
        yearned for deeper significance in Apuleius (or in Winkler's case, perhaps, a
        deeper lack of significance). Not all intending readers will be delighted by
        H's portrait of a writer "to whom breadth and rapid composition must have
        often been more important than depth and elaborate literary craftsmanship"
        (209). But even those who disagree will be stimulated by this book, easily
        the best study to date of this curious and perplexing author."

        2. Barbara Levick, Government of the Roman Empire. A Sourcebook.

        "One of the most useful tools for the ancient historian is the sourcebook, a
        collection of primary source passages which serve to capture a particular era
        or theme. Levick's The Government of the Roman Empire: a sourcebook attempted
        to illustrate the administration of the first two centuries of Roman imperial
        government as well as the problems it faced which led to the crisis of the
        third century. The effort was successful enough that a second edition has
        been been produced fifteen years later...

        ...Levick's Government of the Roman Empire is more of a narrative with
        passages interspersed to illustrate each point or issue.1 Because the
        author's touch is so deft and the passages are allowed to demonstrate the
        relevant issues, this narrative never seems invasive or unnecessary. In fact,
        the effect is quite smooth and natural. Included in these narrative portions
        are explanations the author felt necessary to clarify any references in the
        preceding passage with which the reader may be unfamiliar...

        ...On the whole it is quite user-friendly and well laid out, so that it is
        easy to focus in on any one area (geographical or topical) of Roman
        government. It provides students and non-specialists with an excellent
        discussion of the topic and specialists with an important addition to their

        3. Sarah Scott, Art and Society in Fourth-Century Britain: Villa Mosaics in

        "Romano-British mosaics have never quite featured at the top of anyone's
        wish-list of favourite objects in Roman art; and indeed Roman art in general
        figures lower than Greek. But for a topic where interesting objects can be
        placed in their archaeological and hence social and historical context better
        than most, these mosaics score rather high. Relatively good excavation, a
        long history of serious academic and antiquarian interest in Roman Britain
        and the application of modern archaeological methods and theories makes the
        Scott's theme a meaty one, generally well executed and handled...

        ...this is a strong, competent and eminently useful monograph."

        Co-host, Ancient/Classical History Forum
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