Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

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Spoken Like a Woman: Speech and Gender in Athenian Drama

Author: Laura McClure

In ancient Athens, where freedom of speech derived from the power of male citizenship, women's voices were seldom heard in public. Female speech was more often represented in theatrical productions through women characters written and enacted by men. In Spoken Like a Woman, the first book-length study of women's speech in classical drama, Laura McClure explores the discursive practices attributed to women of fifth-century b.c. Greece and to what extent these representations reflected a larger reality. Examining tragedies and comedies by a variety of authors, she illustrates how the dramatic poets exploited speech conventions among both women and men to construct characters and to convey urgent social and political issues.

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The Hippocrates Code: Unraveling the Ancient Mysteries of Modern Medical Terminology

Authors: J.C. McKeown and Joshua M. Smith

In this book lies a key for decoding modern medical terminology, a living language that, despite some quirks, is best approached as an ordered system. Rather than presenting a mere list of word elements to be absorbed through rote memorization, The Hippocrates Code offers a thorough, linguistically-centered explanation of the rules of the terminological game, both for the language of medicine and for scientific vocabulary in general. Its careful exposition of Latin and Greek linguistic principles—along with a healthy dose of innovative exercises—empowers students to successfully employ the word elements that are the building blocks of modern medical terminology. Along the way, fascinating discussions of the practice of medicine in the ancient world provide an integral aid to the understanding of medical vocabulary. Code-breakers drawn to language, history, and medicine will be as stimulated as they are enlightened.

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The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature

Eidtors: Peter E. Knox and J.C. McKeown

Though the wonders of ancient Roman culture continue to attract interest across the disciplines, it is difficult to find a lively, accessible collection of the full range of the era's literature in English. The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature provides a general introduction to the literature of the Roman empire at its zenith, between the second century BC and the second century AD. Two features of this extraordinarily fertile period in literary achievement as evidenced by this anthology are immediately and repeatedly clear: how similar the Romans' view of the world was to our own and, perhaps even more obviously, how different it was.

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The Passionate Statesman

Author: Jeffrey Beneker

The Passionate Statesman explores the intersection of passion and politics in Plutarch's Parallel Lives, with special emphasis on how he represents the influence of eros, or erotic desire, on the careers of some of the most prominent statesmen from Greco-Roman antiquity. 

Using Aristotle's notion of friendship and Plato's conception of the soul to describe the ideal marriage as based on a mutual love of character (philia), supported by an enduring erotic attraction, Beneker examines how Plutarch applied his system of ethics both to his reading of history and to his writing of biography. 

With close readings focusing on the three pairs of biographies from Parallel Lives, namely the Greek kings (Alexander the Great, Demetrius "the besieger," and Agesilaus) and Roman statesmen (Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Marc Antony), the book draws a general conclusion about how Plutarch uses the narration of his subjects' private erotic affairs to interpret their historical deeds.

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The Rhetorical Exercises of Nikephoros Basilakes

Editors: Jeffrey Beneker and Craig A. Gibson

Progymnasmata, preliminary exercises in the study of declamation, were the cornerstone of elite education from Hellenistic through Byzantine times. Using material from Greek literary, mythological, and historical traditions, students and writers composed examples ranging from simple fables to complex arguments about fictional laws. In the Byzantine period, the spectrum of source material expanded to include the Bible and Christian hagiography and theology.

This collection was written by Nikephoros Basilakes, imperial notary and teacher at the prestigious Patriarchal School in Constantinople during the twelfth century. In his texts, Basilakes made significant use of biblical themes, especially in character studies—known as ethopoeiae—featuring King David, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Peter. The Greek exercises presented here, translated into English for the first time, shed light on education under the Komnenian emperors and illuminate literary culture during one of the most important epochs in the long history of the Byzantine Empire.

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The Transjordanian Palimpsest: The Overwritten Texts of Personal Exile and Transformation in Deuteronomistic History

Author: Jeremy Hutton

This study analyzes several passages in the Former Prophets (2 Sam 19:12-44; 2 Kgs 2:1-18; Judg 8:4-28) from a literary perspective, and argues that the text presents Transjordan as liminal in Israel’s history, a place from which Israel’s leaders return with inaugurated or renewed authority. It then traces the redactional development of Samuel-Kingsthat led to this literary symbolism, and proposes a hypothesis of continual updating and combination of texts, beginning early in Israel’s monarchy and continuing until the final formation of the Deuteronomistic History. Several sourcedocuments may be isolated, including three narratives of Saul’s rise, two distinct histories of David’s rise, and a court history that was subsequently revised with pro-Solomonic additions. These texts had been combined already in a Prophetic Record during the 9th c. B.C.E. (with A. F. Campbell), which was received as an integrated unit by the Deuteronomistic Historian. The symbolic geography of the Jordan River and Transjordan, which even extends into the New Testament, was therefore not the product of a deliberate theological formulation, but rather the accidental by-product of the contingency of textual redaction that had as its main goal the historical presentation of Israel’s life in the land.

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Varro the Agronomist: Political Philosophy, Satire, and Agriculture in the Late Republic

Author: Grant A. Nelsestuen

Some six years after his narrow escape from proscription in 43 BCE, Marcus Terentius Varro, the “most learned” of the Romans, wrote a technical treatise on farming in the form of a satirico-philosophical dialogue. Grant A. Nelsestuenargues that far from simply being just another encyclopedic entry of a seemingly aloof antiquarian or offering an escapist’s retreat into rustication, Varro’s De Re Rustica uses the model of the farm to craft an implicitly political treatise that grapples with multifarious challenges facing the contemporary Roman world.

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