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A Little Greek Reader by James Morwood and Stephen Anderson forms a companion volume to A Little Latin Reader by Mary English and Georgia Irby (though one might be seduced into thinking from the cover illustration and italic title print that this is a volume from the JACT Reading Greek stable). The twenty-plus chapters focus on different points of Greek grammar (for example, ‘Indirect Statement’ [64–74] and ‘Result Clauses’ [99–106]), prefaced with brief grammatical introductions and then illustrated with a selection of unadapted passages in prose and verse. Each passage is supported by linguistic and contextual notes, and an extensive vocabulary is supplied at the back of the book. Although billed as ‘an ideal supplement for undergraduate courses in beginning and intermediate Greek’ (back cover blurb) it should also be of use to sixth-form teachers for revision and extension work (it was, in fact, trialled at the JACT Greek Summer School in 2013). Appendices supply short biographical notes and offer help on meter and dialect. There is also a useful guide to literary terms – though the definition of ‘hyperbaton’ – ‘the dislocation of normal word order, by way of displacing one part of one clause into another’ (213; our emphasis) – seems unnecessarily proscriptive.
Twelves Voices from Greece and Rome by Christopher Pelling and Maria Wyke sounds like a title specially commissioned by this very journal, though, alas, we can claim none of the credit! The collaboration arose out of a BBC Radio 3 series on classical literature in collaboration with the Open University and should have a broad appeal. Of the twelve voices six are Greek, six Latin: for the poets, Homer, Sappho, Virgil, Horace; for the tragedians, Euripides; for the historians Herodotus, Thucydides, Caesar, Tacitus; with Cicero for the orators (and philosophers…) and Juvenal for the satirists, paired with the final ‘voice’ in the collection: Lucian (a striking sign of the growing interest and marketability of Second Sophistic and Imperial Greek authors). This is a stimulating and enjoyable read, which carries one swiftly along. It is not a didactic regurgitation of literary and cultural history (though the final section on ‘Translations and Further Reading’ gives all the references one needs for further research) but a celebration of the continuing relevance of the Classics:
The texts of the ancient world can still speak, not just to us, but with us, and in a range of exhilarating and disturbing ways. They still matter, and what they talk about can still be fresh (whether empire, masculinity, nature, urbanity, madness, rationality, religious commitment and disbelief, family and friendship, desire, or death). (x)
Originally published in Dutch in 1995, Antiquity. Greeks and Romans in Context by Frederick Naerebout and Henk Singor aims to provide (in its own modest words) a ‘reasonably comprehensive one-volume’ overview of the Greco-Roman world for undergraduates and a wider interested audience (xiii). The main focus of the work is the Greco-Roman world from 1000 bc to 500 bc (divided into the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman Imperial periods). Each period is covered under the same three headings (in the interests of comparability): ‘Historical Outline’, ‘Social Fabric’, ‘Social Life and Mentality’. The wider context is, however, by no means ignored. The authors provide a valuable overview of the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods (27–35) and of the early civilizations of Eurasia up to 900 bc (36–58). At the other end of the timeline, the book does not simply conclude with the Roman Imperial period but carries on the story up to the tenth century ad and beyond (369–94). A particular emphasis is placed in the introductory chapter on ‘The Ecology of History’ (11–23):
[M]aterial factors can be called the ‘basics’ of history: they determine what, under given circumstances, is possible and what is not; they create preconditions for, and restraints on human life. Thus, every culture has been in many respects the expression of the ways in which some group of human beings managed to adapt to the ecosystem in which they happened to be living, which might also be described as ecological anthropology. (11)
The last few years have brought us handbooks, companion guides and encyclopaedias in serried ranks. In size these works have ranged from magnum (opus) through to double magnum or perhaps (in the case of the 2010 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome) to jeroboam. The new Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History outdoes them all in capacity (clearly a rehoboam) and range. This vast work – comprising over 5,000 entries in more than 7,000 pages – advances confidently (note the bold use of the definite article in the title: TheEncyclopedia of Ancient History) beyond the confines of the ‘classical world’ and ‘ancient Greece and Rome’ to provide nothing less than a reference work for the whole of Ancient History from the Near East to the Egypt of the Pharaohs, from the Neolithic to the eighth century ce. The refusal of this work to recognize traditional boundaries would clearly have appealed to the spirit of Alexander III, the Great (whose entry spans an impressive six pages). Alexander would no doubt also be impressed by the remarkable juxtapositions which occur within this alphabetized encyclopaedia: in volume 11 we move within five pages from an Egyptian residence and town associated with Rameses II (Piramese) to the Greek district of Elis around Olympia (Pisa) to a ‘short Jewish magical text of a Late Antique Babylonian provenance’ (Pishra de-Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa; 5337). Alexander's attempts at eastward expansion proved, in the end, too much for his men. One wonders if this work too – in the form of thirteen printed volumes – may prove to be similarly overwhelming to many an undergraduate whose starting point lies in Augustan Rome or Periclean Athens:(consider, for example the daunting thirty-five pages of maps which precede the first entry in volume 1 (not ‘Aardvark’, alas, but ‘Abantes’). However, it is important to consider that the print version of this work is not the end of the project nor even the main point of the project at all. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History is a true child of the World Wide Web. It has clearly been conceptualized as an online resource (not simply as a printed text that can be viewed on a computer screen) that will continue to expand and evolve:
The electronic form of the EAH will continue to add new articles, indeed new areas of the ancient world; to revise existing ones; and to create spaces for correction and discussion of published articles – even, in line with our conviction of the open-endedness of history, counter-articles… . It will try to represent something of the unsettledness of our disciplines and their vitality. It will continue to evolve as historical studies do. (cxxxvi)
‘Classics, is, to me, the unicycle of education. It isn't especially practical or useful… It won't get you a well-paid job in a fancy office, and it won't necessarily make you attractive to the opposite sex… But none of that is important compared with the simple fact that studying Classics is brilliant’ (253). So says comedian (and former Cambridge classicist) Natalie Haynes on her own one-wheeled whistle-stop tour of the classical world: The Ancient Guide to Modern Life. Haynes is an intelligent guide with a real passion for the Classics and a great sense of humour. The index gives a good indication of what to expect: The Office can be found next to Xenophon's Oeconomicus, Dead Poets Society next to Tertullian's De Spectaculis, and Barbra Streisand sandwiched between Stoicism and Suetonius. Chapter titles are inevitably playful: from ‘Thinking Allowed’ to ‘Frankly, Medea I Don't Give a Damn’ and the inevitable ‘There's No Place Like Rome’. But this is not just a book played for laughs: Haynes's discussion of Aristophanes (199–209) is keen to emphasize that entertainment and education, comedy and Classics are not mutually exclusive categories: as she shows, is it possible both to amuse and advise.
This chapter takes tomb architecture as the starting point for the examination of changing Etruscan attitudes to surface and boundaries from the seventh century to the fifth. It will argue that the surface of the tomb not only marked the physical distinction between inside and outside the tomb, but also formed the interface between the living and the dead. The period under consideration saw dramatic changes in Etruscan funerary monuments: the massive burial mounds (tumuli) of the Orientalising period were characterised by their size and wealth, extending as far as 50 metres in diameter, and containing up to four tombs, each with multiple chambers, all reached by an entrance corridor (dromos); by contrast, the sixth century saw a decrease in the size of funerary monuments and a change from circular to rectilinear monuments that were now arranged in orderly rows.
The reasons for such changes have been thought to be increased foreign contacts, technological advances, restrictions of space, or socio-political considerations. An example of the latter is the interpretation of the stylistic unity of the tombs from the late sixth century on, taken together with their increased number and decreased size. With particular reference to the cemeteries of Cerveteri, this has been seen as the result of the rise of a ‘ceto medio’, or middle class, at the expense of the old elites who had been buried in the large mounds.
This chapter sets out the theoretical basis on which the analysis of the following chapters takes place. First it considers some of the approaches that have underpinned and characterised previous studies of Etruscan material culture change; next it draws on recent developments in the wider discipline of archaeology and beyond in order to establish a theoretical model for the following chapters.
Models of change in Etruria
This section examines the characteristics of previous treatments of Etruscan material with particular emphasis on how change in material culture has been approached. Its aim is to open discussion about certain assumptions that have been implicit in previous treatments, and to highlight the limitations of such approaches for our understanding of Etruscan culture more widely. Though this section may often seem critical of these approaches, much of the work of the following chapters is based on their conclusions. The analyses in the rest of the book take for granted the chronological and cultural framework established by such work; they aim not to contradict them, but to push their conclusions further.
One of the most important factors affecting the study of the Etruscans has been the closeness of the subject to the discipline of Classics. Both within and outside Italy, the study of the Etruscans has proceeded concurrently with the study of Greece and Rome and this has had a significant influence on the way in which Etruscan culture has been studied.