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Eric Poehler, The Traffic Systems of Pompeii (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Book Cover: The Traffic Systems of Pompeii

The Traffic Systems of Pompeii is the first sustained examination of the development of road infrastructure in Pompeii &emdash; from the archaic age to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE &emdash; and its implications for urbanism in the Roman empire. Eric E. Poehler, an authority on Pompeii's uniquely preserved urban structure, distills over five hundred instances of street-level "wear and tear" to reveal for the first time the rules of the ancient road. From his analysis of curbstones, cobbled surfaces, and ruts emerge the intricacies of the Pompeian traffic system and the changes to its operation over time. Though archaeological expertise forms the backbone of this book, its findings have equally important historical and architectural implications. Later chapters probe the impact of design and infrastructure on social roles and hierarchies among property owners in Pompeii, illuminating the economic forces that push and pull upon the shape of urban space. The final chapters set the road system into its broader context as one major infrastructural and administrative artifact of the Roman empire's deeply urban culture. Where does Pompeii's system fit within the history of Roman traffic control? Is it unique for its innovation, or only for the preservation that permitted its discovery? Poehler marshals evidence from across the Roman world to examine these questions. His measured and thoroughly researched answers make this study a critical step forward in our understanding of infrastructure in the ancient world.

Melissa Mueller, Objects as Actors. Props and the Poetics of Performance in Greek Tragedy (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

Book Cover: Objects as Actors. Props and the Poetics of Performance in Greek Tragedy

Objects as Actors charts a new approach to Greek tragedy based on an obvious, yet often overlooked, fact: Greek tragedy was meant to be performed. As plays, the works were incomplete without physical items—theatrical props. In this book, Melissa Mueller ingeniously demonstrates the importance of objects in the staging and reception of Athenian tragedy. As Mueller shows, props such as weapons, textiles, and even letters were often fully integrated into a play’s action. They could provoke surprising plot turns, elicit bold viewer reactions, and provide some of tragedy’s most thrilling moments. Whether the sword of Sophocles’s Ajax, the tapestry in Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, or the tablet of Euripides’s Hippolytus, props demanded attention as a means of uniting—or disrupting—time, space, and genre. Insightful and original, Objects as Actors offers a fresh perspective on the central tragic texts—and encourages us to rethink ancient theater as a whole.

Brian Breed, Pastoral Inscriptions: Reading and Writing Virgil’s Eclogues (Duckworth, 2006)

Book Cover: Pastoral Inscriptions: Reading and Writing Virgil’s Eclogues

Virgil's "Eclogues" represent the introduction of a new genre, pastoral, to Latin literature. Generic markers of pastoral in the "Eclogues" include not only the representation of the singing and speaking of shepherd characters, but also the learned density of the text itself. Here, Brian W. Breed examines the tension between representations of orality in Virgil's pastoral world and the intense textuality of his pastoral poetry. The book argues that separation between speakers and their language in the "Eclogues" is not merely pastoral preciosity. Rather, it shows how Virgil uses representations of orality as the point of comparison for measuring both the capacity and the limitations of the "Eclogues" as a written text that will be encountered by reading audiences. The importance of genre is considered both in terms of how pastoral might be defined for the particular literary-historical moment in which Virgil was writing and in light of the subsequent European pastoral tradition.

Brian Breed (with Cynthia Damon & Andreola Rossi), Citizens of Discord: Rome and Its Civil Wars (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Book Cover: Citizens of Discord: Rome and Its Civil Wars

Civil wars, more than other wars, sear themselves into the memory of societies that suffer them. This is particularly true at Rome, where in a period of 150 years the Romans fought four epochal wars against themselves.

This volume brings together exciting new perspectives on the subject by an international group of distinguished contributors. The basis of the investigation is broad, encompassing literary texts, documentary texts, and material culture, spanning the Greek and Roman worlds. Attention is devoted not only to Rome's four major conflicts from the period between the 80s BC and AD 69, but the frame extends to engage conflicts both previous and much later, as well as post-classical constructions of the theme of civil war at Rome. Divided into four sections, the first ("Beginnings, Endings") addresses the basic questions of when civil war began in Rome and when it ended. "Cycles" is concerned with civil war as a recurrent phenomenon without end. "Aftermath" focuses on attempts to put civil war in the past, or, conversely, to claim the legacy of past civil wars, for better or worse. Finally, the section "Afterlife" provides views of Rome's civil wars from more distant perspectives, from those found in Augustan lyric and elegy to those in much later post-classical literary responses. As a whole, the collection sheds new light on the ways in which the Roman civil wars were perceived, experienced, and represented across a variety of media and historical periods.

Debbie Felton, Haunted Greece and Rome: Ghost Stories from Classical Antiquity (University of Texas Press, 1999)

Book Cover: Haunted Greece and Rome: Ghost Stories from Classical Antiquity

Stories of ghostly spirits who return to this world to warn of danger, to prophesy, to take revenge, to request proper burial, or to comfort the living fascinated people in ancient times just as they do today. In this innovative, interdisciplinary study, the author combines a modern folkloric perspective with literary analysis of ghost stories from classical antiquity to shed new light on the stories' folk roots.

The author begins by examining ancient Greek and Roman beliefs about death and the departed and the various kinds of ghost stories which arose from these beliefs. She then focuses on the longer stories of Plautus, Pliny, and Lucian, which concern haunted houses. Her analysis illuminates the oral and literary transmission and adaptation of folkloric motifs and the development of the ghost story as a literary form. In her concluding chapter, the author also traces the influence of ancient ghost stories on modern ghost story writers, a topic that will interest all readers and scholars of tales of hauntings.

Elizabeth Keitel (with Jane Webb Crawford), Cicero Pro Caelio (Focus, 2010)

Book Cover: Cicero Pro Caelio

A commentary of Cicero's great speech which provides insights into Roman life and culture, the nature and tools of Roman rhetoric, and, through the inclusion of correspondence and other texts, the life and friendships of Cicero himself. Includes the text, extensive introduction, notes, vocabulary, selected letters of Cicero and Caelius, and selections from "In Clodium et Curionem."

Marios Philippides (with Walter K. Hanak), The Tale of Constantinople (Of Its Origins and Capture by the Turks in the Year 1453) (A.D. Caratzas, 1998)

Book Cover: The Tale of Constantinople (Of Its Origins and Capture by the Turks in the Year 1453)

There are few surviving accounts of the final siege and subsequent conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. This work, by an individual known as Nestor-Iskander, is a unique testament to the event that brought an end to the millennial empire of East Rome.

This bilingual edition, published for the first time, is the work's first translation into English, presenting the original Slavic text and the translation on facing pages. It is based on the Troitse-Sergievskaia Lavra Ms. No. 773. There are extensive annotations by the editors to provide a philological and historical context.

Marios Philippides (with Walter K. Hanak), The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 (Ashgate, 2011)

Book Cover: The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453

This major study is a comprehensive scholarly work on a key moment in the history of Europe, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The result of years of research, it presents all available sources along with critical evaluations of these narratives. The authors have consulted texts in all relevant languages, both those that remain only in manuscript and others that have been printed, often in careless and inferior editions. Attention is also given to 'folk history' as it evolved over centuries, producing prominent myths and folktales in Greek, medieval Russian, Italian, and Turkish folklore. Part I, The Pen, addresses the complex questions introduced by this myriad of original literature and secondary sources. Part II, The Sword, applies the results of these researches, first to the topography of the wall areas and adjacent structures, surveying key areas that played a part in the defense of the imperial city. These investigations have resulted in new conclusions, compelling the acceptance of consequences that previous studies failed to consider. There then follows a fresh study of the land and sea operations during the siege, with particular attention given to Ottoman offensive strategies and methods, and to the defensive operations of the besieged. This work is detailed in its evaluation of and presentation of sources, and it fills a gap in scholarship, as there is no comprehensive guide to these events. In addition, as a reference work, it will be essential as a starting point for any future studies of the siege and fall of Constantinople.

Eric Poehler (with Kevin Cole & Miko Flohr), Pompeii: Art, Industry, and Infrastructure (Oxbow Books, 2011)

Book Cover: Pompeii: Art, Industry, and Infrastructure

Even after more than 250 years since its discovery, Pompeii continues to resonate powerfully in both academic discourse and the popular imagination.

This volume brings together a collection of ten papers that advance, challenge and revise the present conceptions of the city's art, industry and infrastructure. The discussions of domestic art in this book, a perennial topic for Pompeian scholars, engage previously neglected subjects such as wall ornaments in domestic decoration, the sculpture collection in the house of Octavius Quartio, and the role of the covered walkways in luxury villa architecture. The famous cupid's frieze from the house of the Vettii is given a novel and intelligent reinterpretation. The place of industry at Pompeii, in both the physical and economic landscapes has long been overlooked. The chapters on building practice in inhabited houses, on the presence of fulling workshops in atrium houses, and on the urban pottery industry serve as successful contributions to a more complete understanding of the life of the ancient city. Finally, this volume breaks new ground in the consideration of the urban infrastructure of Pompeii, a topic that has won serious attention only in the last decades, but one that is playing an increasingly central role in Pompeian studies. The final three chapters offer a reassessment of the Pompeian street network, a scientific analysis of the amount of lead in Pompeian drinking water, and a thorough analysis of the water infrastructure around the forum that supported its architectural transformation in the last decades before the eruption of mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Teresa Ramsby (with Sinclair Bell), Free at Last! The Impact of Freed Slaves on the Roman Empire (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)

Book Cover: Free at Last! The Impact of Freed Slaves on the Roman Empire

How did freed slaves reinvent themselves after the shackles of slavery had been lifted? How were they reintegrated into society, and what was their social position and status? What contributions did they make to the society that had once - sometimes brutally - repressed them? This collection builds on recent dynamic work on Roman freedmen, the contributors drawing upon a rich and varied body of evidence - visual, literary, epigraphic and archaeological - to elucidate the impact of freed slaves on Roman society and culture amid the shadow of their former servitude. The contributions span the period between the first century BC and the early third century AD and survey the territories of the Roman Republic and Empire, while focusing on Italy and Rome.

Teresa Ramsby, Textual Permanence: Roman Elegists and the Epigraphic Tradition (Bloomsbury Academic, 2007)

Book Cover: Textual Permanence: Roman Elegists and the Epigraphic Tradition

Textual Permanence is the first book to examine the influence of the Roman epigraphic tradition on Latin elegiac poetry. The frequent use of invented inscriptions within the works of Rome's elegiac poets suggests a desire to monumentalise elements of the poems and the authors themselves. This book explores inscriptional writing in the elegies of Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus and Ovid, showing that whenever an author includes an inscription within a poem, he draws the reader's attention beyond the text of the poem to include the cultural contexts in which such inscriptions were daily read and produced. The emphases that these inscriptions grant to persons, sentiments and actions within the poems are reflections of the permanence that real-life inscriptions grant to a variety of human efforts. These poetic inscriptions provide unique windows of interpretation to some of Rome's most significant and influential poems.

Teresa Ramsby traces an important relationship between the Roman tradition that honoured individual participation in Roman politics, and the way that elegiac poetry was early applied in Rome to the same activity. In the course of the book she offers fresh interpretations of poems that have been analysed by a host of scholars.

Anthony Tuck (with Derek Counts), Koine: Mediterranean Studies in Honor of R. Ross Holloway (Oxbow Books, 2009)

Book Cover: Koine: Mediterranean Studies in Honor of R. Ross Holloway

The Oxford English Dictionary defines koine as 'a set of cultural or other attributes common to various groups' . This volume merges an academic career over a half century in breadth and scope with an editorial vision that brings together a chorus of scholarly contributions echoing the core principles of R. Ross Holloways own unique perspective on ancient Mediterranean studies. Through broadly conceived themes, the four individual sections of this volume (I. A View of Classical Art: Iconography in Context; II. Crossroads of the Mediterranean: Cultural Entanglements Across the Connecting Sea; III. Coins as Culture: Art and Coinage from Sicily; and IV. Discovery and Discourse, Archaeology and Interpretation) are an attempt to capture the many and varied trajectories of thought that have marked his career and serve as testimony to the significance of his research. The twenty-four papers (plus four introductory essays to the individual sections, biographical sketch and main introduction) contain recent research on subjects ranging from the Kleophrades Painter to the Black Sea, Sicilian Coinage and archaeology in modern Rome.

Rex Wallace, An Introduction to Wall Inscriptions from Pompeii and Herculaneum (Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2005)

Book Cover: An Introduction to Wall Inscriptions from Pompeii and Herculaneum

This edition is a representative selection of the various types of inscriptions, from political manifestos to gladiatorial announcements, found in the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. These inscriptions, painted and incised on the walls of public and private buildings, document aspects of daily life in the first century A.D. Inscriptions, particularly graffiti, were often written by less educated members of society, and as such provide a rare glimpse of common Latin.

 

Rex Wallace, The Sabellic Languages of Ancient Italy (LINCOM, 2007)

Book Cover: The Sabellic Languages of Ancient Italy

This book is a grammatical description of the Sabellic languages of ancient Italy, focusing on Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene. These languages are attested through written documents (inscriptions incised on stone, metal, and ceramic) that date from the 7th century BCE to the 1st century CE. As a whole they form the most important group of languages spoken on the Italian peninsula in the period before Roman expansion. A general overview places these languages within their historical context and describes their relationship to each other, to Latin, and to other members of the Indo-European language family. The principal chapters of the book treat phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexis. Also included is a detailed description of the features of the alphabets in which the Sabellic languages were written. A chapter on nomenclature describes the structure of the onomastic system. The concluding chapter provides a detailed word-by-word analysis of important inscriptions in each language.

Rex Wallace, Zikh Rasna: A Manual of the Etruscan Language and Inscriptions (Beech Stave Press, 2008)

Book Cover: Zikh Rasna: A Manual of the Etruscan Language and Inscriptions

Zikh Rasna is a comprehensive description of Etruscan grammar and inscriptions. Besides presenting the grammatical elements of the language, the book also covers important methodological approaches, the alphabet, regional variation in language and orthography, historical changes, and the evidence for connecting Etruscan to Lemnian and Raetic. It treats over 200 inscriptional texts in a wide variety of genres. The clear exposition and balanced discussions makes the book an essential foundation for the advanced study of one of the most important languages and peoples of pre-Roman Italy.