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New Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews

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  • 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 1 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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