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In analysing matters as diverse as state financing, strategic planning, public benefactions and long-term credit in private business transactions, the historian is faced with an underlying problem about the perceptions of time. One aspect of this problem is the manner in which pictures of a complex future are reflected in the behaviour of agents engaged in these activities. The manner in which actions were (or were not) taken by them suggests a peculiar configuration of future time in the Roman world. It is speculatively argued that perspectives on the future had analogies with the different ways in which a sense of depth was created by artists working on a two-dimensional space and with the contextual ways in which spatial perspective was employed.
This paper draws on recent advances in our knowledge (much of it owed to the proliferation of military diplomas) and a new analytical method to quantify the number of soldiers and their children who received Roman citizenship between 14 and 212 c.e. Although significant uncertainties remain, these can be quantified and turn out to be small relative to the overall scale of enfranchisement. The paper begins by reviewing what is known about grants of citizenship to soldiers, with particular attention to the remaining uncertainties, before presenting a quantitative model of the phenomenon. The total number of beneficiaries was somewhere in the region 0.9–1.6 million — significantly lower than previous estimates have suggested. It also emerges that the rate of enfranchisement varied substantially over time, in line with significant changes in manpower, length of service (and hence the number of recruits and discharged veterans) and the rate of family formation among soldiers. The Supplementary Material available online (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0075435819000662) contains a database of military diplomas (Supplementary Appendix 1), a mathematical model of enfranchisement implemented in MS Excel (Supplementary Appendix 2), a description of the model (Supplementary Appendix 3A) and a derivation of the model of attrition across service cohorts in Fig. 6 (Supplementary Appendix 3B).
This paper explores alternatives to analysing the political impact of Augustus in terms of the establishment of a new constitutional structure, the Augustan Principate. It starts by showing how the word principatus changed over time and explores the significance of the term statio. It considers how contemporaries viewed the political changes that occurred during Augustus’ lifetime, analysing the ways in which power at Rome became increasingly embodied in the person of Augustus himself. It suggests that there was an increasing recognition that Augustus was an exceptional individual, whose position in the state was supported by powers granted formally by senatorial decree and popular vote as well as informally by acclamation, but whose authority was ultimately a personal quality, supported by the gods, and predestined by birth. It traces the ways in which Augustus’ rule became increasingly personalised, with the result that one of the main challenges faced by Tiberius in a.d. 14 was how to take over Augustus’ personal role as princeps.
The Tabula Alimentaria of Veleia records the details of two second-century a.d. imperial alimentary schemes at the northern Italian town of Veleia, providing a rare insight into the workings of these schemes. Imperial loans are made to local landowners in exchange for pledges of specified property. Interest paid by landowners is used to fund cash subsidies for the upbringing of selected local children. In the early twentieth century, the French scholar Félix de Pachtere came close to demonstrating a consistent arithmetical relationship between a landowner's declared property value and the loan received. However, anomalies remained. This article proposes a revised formula which establishes a precise and consistent linkage between loan amounts and property declarations. Based on this arithmetical dataset, the paper proposes some hypotheses about how these fractional computations might have been performed in second-century Rome.
Tarpeia's role as a Vestal has become a matter of scholarly consensus in the past two decades. This article questions that consensus by suggesting that Varro and Propertius are the two major proponents of this ‘Vestal version’, which is not present in other major narratives such as Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Plutarch. Propertius’ version in particular, which depicts Tarpeia as a Vestal in love, has been overprivileged in analyses of this myth as a dramatisation of individual identity versus loyalty to the state. Varro's account, which also includes Tarpeia's Vestal status, suggests a different interpretation: it is likely that Varro considered Tarpeia a non-Roman Vestal whose Vestal status supported the state. This version resolves certain dissonances in early Roman myth.
This article discusses the votive dedications to the goddess Reitia at the sanctuary of Este-Baratella (Veneto) as evidence for the acquisition of literacy in Italy c. 350–150 b.c. These dedications, which take the form of bronze writing-tablets and styluses, are inscribed with Venetic dedicatory formulae, abecedaria and other writing exercises. This article shows how these texts function as writing exercises — some of the earliest evidence of elementary education methods in Italy. Many of the votives were dedicated by women, and this article argues that women were active participants in literacy and education in this period. It also sets the dedications in their Italian and Mediterranean context by comparing them to votive and funerary deposits of abecedaria from across Italy and the ancient world.
In this article we describe a series of computer algorithms that generate prose rhythm data for any digitised corpus of Latin texts. Using these algorithms, we present prose rhythm data for most major extant Latin prose authors from Cato the Elder through the second century a.d. Next we offer a new approach to determining the statistical significance of such data. We show that, while only some Latin authors adhere to the Ciceronian rhythmic canon, every Latin author is ‘rhythmical’ — they just choose different rhythms. Then we give answers to some particular questions based on our data and statistical approach, focusing on Cicero, Sallust, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger. In addition to providing comprehensive new data on Latin prose rhythm, presenting new results based on that data and confirming certain long-standing beliefs, we hope to make a contribution to a discussion of digital and statistical methodology in the study of Latin prose rhythm and in Classics more generally. The Supplementary Material available online (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0075435819000881) contains an appendix with tables, data and code. This appendix constitutes a static ‘version of record’ for the data presented in this article, but we expect to continue to update our code and data; updates can be found in the repository of the Classical Language Toolkit (https://github.com/cltk/cltk).
In Prudentius, the bodily resurrection becomes a figure for poetic immortality. Just as the author believes that his God will one day raise him from the dead, he expects and invokes a Christian reader to authenticate and authorise the fragile verbal records of a poetry that is insistently human and fallen. In other words, Prudentius’ metapoetics are perfectly in sync with his theology. After (I) presenting Prudentius’ transformation at the end of his Praefatio and setting out the terms and scope of the argument, this article (II) shows how the author puts himself at the mercy of his readers and patrons in the Peristefanon poems and then (III) considers the body and the resurrection in the Liber Cathemerinon. A short section (IV) on fictionality and belief opens up the argument, and a conclusion (V) advances it through a reading of the end of De opusculis suis. This metapoetic reading of Prudentius reveals that the author's hopes for an afterlife are expressed in and through the creative imagining of poetic and fictional scenes.
A parchment codex of the early sixth century a.d., now in Vienna, contains a remarkable series of nearly 400 full-page illustrations of individual botanical species. These illustrations accompany an alphabetical recension of a pharmacological treatise on the medicinal properties of plants written by Dioskourides of Anazarbos, a Greek author of the first century a.d. Both the date of the codex and the style of its botanical illustrations have encouraged suggestions that the latter were modelled somehow on classical archetypes. This article presents new observations in support of the classical archetypes theory, but questions the traditional view that these archetypes were transmitted by ‘illustrated texts’ or ‘pattern books’ executed in papyrus or parchment. What follows is a new hypothesis concerning the nature of the artistic intermediaries used by painters, mosaicists and sculptors during antiquity.
Tertullian's treatise De pallio is the briefest and most difficult of the North African's works. Its purpose, ostensibly, is to advocate for a change in clothing from the toga to the pallium. This sartorial shift functions, in turn, as a metaphor for conversion to the philosophical life, which, at the end of the treatise, is revealed to be the Christian life. Towards the centre of the work, Tertullian turns to nature to support his argument, citing the example of five different animals. This essay analyses his description of the chameleon, arguing that it is a riddle: drawing on the natural historians, Tertullian paints a realistic picture of the small lizard, but at the same time, skews the description of these features to depict the philosopher. The purpose of this central sketch is to alert listeners to the nature of the speech as a guessing game, and to point to the complex identity of the speaker.
Although a panegyric can be defined very simply as a speech of praise, it is no longer assumed that praise is also its sole function. What that function might be, however, continues to preoccupy scholarship. Generalisations can be made, but even a nuanced judgement such as ‘every encomium is at once a literary work, a moral problem, and a social rite’ (Pernot, Epideictic Rhetoric, ix) can be challenged by the particular: ‘there is no system and there never was. There is circumstance, preference and ambiguity’. The question is further complicated by the evolution of a rhetoric of praise, related to but independent of the formal panegyric, which came to characterise the literature of Late Antiquity and beyond. The questions, therefore, of what a panegyric is and what it is for are highly relevant to modern scholarship, not only to commentaries but, as is apparent from the books under review, to studies of rhetoric, late antique historiography and the creation of the imperial image.
In seventh-century Wiltshire, a scholar-monk began to write classicising Latin poetry. In bold terms he describes himself as the first of the Germanic peoples to write Latin poetry (‘neminem nostrae stirpis prosapia genitum et Germanicae gentis cunabulis confotum in huiuscemodi negotio [i.e. poetry] ante nostram mediocritatem tantopere desudasse’). His programmatic statements cite Virgil explicitly, and allude to Prudentius and Sedulius. His is a poetry that sets out a stall for the beginning of something new, but does so by making clear his predecessors. For Aldhelm, as for much of the Middle Ages, the canonical models of Latin poetry included classical Latin authors as well as the Christian Latin poets of Late Antiquity.