American journal of philology

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Klassische Philologie
Johns Hopkins University Press JOURNALS DIVISION
0002-9475
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American journal of philology

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About the Journal
The American Journal of Philology (AJP) was one of two foundational publications responsible for launching Johns Hopkins University Press. Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve founded AJP in 1880, two years before the Press would publish its first book. He would edit the Journal for forty years. Gildersleeve is generally considered to be the most significant American classicist of his time. In addition to AJP, he instituted the first Classics program in the United States at Johns Hopkins University. His ambition for AJP was that it would provide “a medium of philological intercommunication” for classical scholars in the United States, who he believed worked largely in isolation from one another. Gildersleeve’s significant ... Read More
New Beginnings
Since 1880, the name of B. L. Gildersleeve has appeared on the cover or title page of every issue of AJP. Starting with this issue, that practice comes to an end. In addition, since 1989, the Gildersleeve Prize has been awarded annually for the best article published in AJP. That prize will now be renamed the AJP Best Article Prize. Gildersleeve was identified as editor of the journal from its beginning until 1919, and thereafter as its founder. His contributions to AJP and to the profession of Classics in the United States are not in doubt. His work on Greek and Latin grammar in general and, among individual authors, on Pindar in particular continues to be useful. In addition, he was instrumental in the ... Read More
Announcement: The Gildersleeve Prize Winner for 2018
THE AJP BEST ARTICLE PRIZE FOR 2018 HAS BEEN PRESENTED BY THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY TO CHRISTOPHER B. KREBS STANFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS for his contribution to scholarship in “The World’s Measure: Caesar’s Geographies of Gallia and Britannia in Their Contexts and as Evidence of His World Map,” AJP 139.1 (Spring 2018): 93-122. Krebs situates the geographical descriptions of the BG within the techniques of Roman surveying and Greek geographical writing to reveal two largely different intentions: the first to organize a territory in such a way as to ready it for Roman control, the second as a contribution to a map of the oikoumene. Krebs contrasts Caesar’s description of Gaul with that ... Read More
Naming the Plague in Homer, Sophocles, and Thucydides
The Greek word for the plague, λοιμός, is relatively absent from the surviving texts of the archaic and classical periods. It is used once in Homer, once in Hesiod, three times in tragedy and in Herodotus, four times in Thucydides and Plato, and once in Demosthenes and Aeschines.1 Robin Mitchell-Boyask may well be right that superstition plays a role in this, especially for the period following the great plague of Athens that first broke out in 430 b.c.e.2 In the context of this article, however, I am more interested in the broader consequences of the phenomenon and in the possibilities it opens up for how the plague can be transmitted in poetic and historical narrative. If the plague is identified through other ... Read More
The Past Made Present: Mythic References and Pragmatic Effects in Sappho
The poems of Sappho,1 despite their fragmentary state, offer tantalizing snapshots of a specific and elusive social and cultural context. Regardless of the proposed answers to various biographical riddles about who she was and whom she loved, Sappho's poems provide glimpses into the world of women in archaic Lesbos: a world that included poetry and song among other forms of communication. This corpus, therefore, offers a starting point for understanding not only some aspects of female life but also some aspects of female speech in antiquity.2 In addition to this female-specific understanding of speech in the poems, this corpus offers a rich source of material for understanding speech and narrative authority more ... Read More
The Pronunciation of Syllable Coda m in Classical Latin: A Reassessment of Some Evidence from Latin Grammarians
Scholars have traditionally resorted to several kinds of evidence to reconstruct the actual pronunciation of Classical Latin. The classic work by Traina (2002, 39) lists observations made by ancient grammarians and writers, "phonetic" writing in inscriptions, the transcription of Latin words in Greek and vice versa, ancient lexical borrowings from Latin to other languages (particularly Germanic languages), and data from both Indo-European and Romance comparative philology. The fact that remarks made by grammarians appear first in that list might not be due to chance, since they had also been mentioned first in an influential study by Seelmann (1885, 3) and ranked "an erster Stelle" in the Ausfürliche Grammatik by ... Read More
The Character of Tradition in Plutarch's On the Malice of Herodotus
On the Malice of Herodotus, Plutarch's notorious broadside against the Halicarnassian, hardly makes for relaxing reading.1 Long seen as a churlish outlier in a largely genial corpus, the Malice shuttles its readers into a zone of shadows and intrigue, where Herodotus operates, we are told, "from an unseen place" (ἐξ ἀφανοῦς, 856C), his ill spirit like sidelong winds that secretly slip through a narrow crack (ὥσπερ οἱ κρύφα διὰ στενοῦ παραπνέοντες ἄνεμοι, 855A). Plutarch's aim is to persuade readers that Herodotus was not just factually wrong but also fundamentally flawed in his character.2 He famously classifies the manifestations of Herodotus' surreptitious menace as a series of ichnē ("tracks" or "signs," ... Read More
Recuperata re publica: Julian, Serdica, and the Civic Promotion of an Emperor in Late 361/Early 362 C.E.
Roman cities and communities had long been accustomed to posting various imperial pronouncements and messages, on stone and bronze, that showcased and strengthened their relationships with emperors. And emperors since Caesar Augustus, whose Res Gestae was inscribed posthumously on his mausoleum in Rome and on his temple in Ancyra (Ankara), among other places empire-wide, knew the value of epigraphy as a vehicle of ideology or propaganda—i.e., as a means for advertising and celebrating their achievements, or their claims to achievement, to strengthen their positions and standing among contemporaries and posterity.1 Later, in the 4th century, Constantine and Constantius II, during separate visits to Rome in 315 and ... Read More
The Mortal Voice in the Tragedies of Aeschylus by Sarah Nooter (review)
In the dystopian world of Ben Marcus' novel, The Flame Alphabet (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012), adults are forced to flee the viral toxicity of children's voices: pre-adolescent speech transmits a deadly disease for which there is no cure. Children alone are immune. This novel was often on my mind as I read The Mortal Voice in the Tragedies of Aeschylus. Voice in all its sublimity lies at the heart of both Marcus' novel and Sarah Nooter's beautifully written study. I finished both books feeling awed by the power of human speech, and thinking about how high-stakes an activity listening can (and should?) be. Nooter's new book invites us really to hear the words on the page, by listening attentively for both the ... Read More
The Early Hellenistic Peloponnese. Politics, Economies, and Networks 338–197 BC by D. Graham J. Shipley (review)
Shipley's insightful and timely study sheds some much needed light on the history of an important region during an important time. Indeed, with a few notable and recent exceptions, as the author himself notes, "historians seem loath to treat this period of Peloponnesian history head-on rather than from the perspective of individual states or regions" (2). Combining epigraphic, numismatic, and archaeological evidence to supplement the ancient sources from the period in question, Shipley's "head-on" approach aims to provide a new and comprehensive narrative of the Peloponnese during the early Hellenistic period through a close examination at various scales (peninsula, region, polis, and locality). Shipley maintains ... Read More
Personification and the Feminine in Roman Philosophy by Alex Dressler (review)
This book is a bit of a wild ride, which makes it enjoyable and intellectually stimulating, in the eyes of this reviewer at least. But there may well be too much going on, with the impressive range of intellectual resources from which Alex Dressler draws. Many of his footnotes could be turned into graduate seminars. The core idea, as the author himself summarizes it (253), is as follows: "it was the aesthetic artifact of the feminine, in the form of the personifications of grammatically feminine abstractions, that the Roman philosopher persistently included in his attempt to understand who and what he was, and it was this that escaped his effort and his unflagging interest in discriminating male and female." This ... Read More
Editor's Letter
In March, I wrote about my commitment and that of my editorial board colleagues to make AJP an exciting venue for the work of scholars from all backgrounds. I also promised that in the future you would see constant evidence of our determination to meet this challenge. In this issue, you will find the first installment of an occasional series of guest editorials by colleagues who can speak to the issues involved from perspectives that have seldom, if ever, been represented in these pages. I am grateful to Patrice Rankine for agreeing to write—and for doing so on very short notice—the first essay in this series.Professor Rankine takes his bearings from the divisive events of the recent SCS annual meeting, but goes ... Read More
Female Ethics and Epic Rivalry: Helen in the Iliad and Penelope in the Odyssey
Since the feminist intervention in classical studies in the last quarter of the 20th century, Homeric scholars have taken a sustained and productive interest in Homer's female characters, and in the gender and sexual ideologies of the Iliad and Odyssey. Critics have focused especially on the figures of Helen in the Iliad and Penelope in the Odyssey, but they have almost always approached them in isolation from one another, in the contexts of their respective epics.1 The Odyssey, however, invites us to consider the Iliadic Helen and Penelope together when, in Book 23, lines 213–24, Penelope defends her own circumspect reception of Odysseus with reference to Helen's disastrous elopement with Paris. Several scholars ... Read More
Literary Commemoration In Imperial Greek Epigram: Niobe In The Living Landscape (SGO 05/01/55)
SGO 05/01/551 (= Keil Anz. Akad. Wien 90, 20 n. 2; Peek GV 1545 and GG 335; SEG 14.755; Pleket 68; Petzl 23.549; McCabe Smyrna 263; Christian p. 152)1 ΦΘΙΝΙΘΩ lapis 3 ΚΩΦΕ … ΠΕΤΡΕ ΚΕ lapis 6 ΑΧΗΩΝ lapis (= ἀχείων = ἀχέων) Merkelbach/Stauber after Petzl 9 τις ᾍδῃ Keil and Peek (1960); τι σ', Ἅδη Peek (1955) and Pleket; τι σ' Ἅδη<ς> Merkelbach/Stauber; τις Ἅδῃ Christian 10 ΑΝΤΗΙΣΕΣ lapisHenry John Van Lennep was born in the city of Smyrna in 1815, and in the course of his life as a missionary and educator he traveled extensively through the region in which he had been born. Some of his experiences made their way into Travels in Little-known Parts of Asia Minor (1870), a two-volume work complete with Van Lennep's ... Read More
The Dissemination of Texts in the High Empire
The question of how books were disseminated in the Greek and Roman worlds has attracted considerable attention. Scholars have discussed evidence for publishing practices within particular historical settings, and by far the most attention has been paid to Latin texts written in Rome at the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire.1 This article takes into consideration some Greek and Latin texts of a later period. The term "to publish" is fraught with problems, and attempts to find an equivalence in the modern world have failed.2 Contemporary terms and concepts referring to the publication of ancient books are of limited help, but are sometimes useful in the interest of exposition. Not every aspect of ... Read More
The Argos Narrative in Statius' Thebaid: A New Ovidian Perseid?
Scholarship on the Thebaid has long approached it as a prime example of Flavian epic's aemulatio of the Aeneid. Although that reading has been pressed less forcefully in the last couple of decades, scholarly debate remains primarily focused on Statius' debt to Virgil.1 Nevertheless, more recent reconsideration of single episodes of the poem has begun to reveal the importance of Ovid not only as a go-to repository of myths for Statius but also as a model for the Thebaid's poetics, characters and landscapes.2 In the following analysis, I argue that Statius programmatically acknowledges the role that the Metamorphoses must play in readers' interpretation of his poem, by opening the Thebaid with an Argive narrative ... Read More
Necromancy, Divine Encounters, and Erotic Magic in Cupid and Psyche
The Cupid and Psyche episode is an odd interlude in Apuleius' Metamorphoses: refined and dream-like, whereas the rest of the novel is bawdy, coy whereas Apuleius is often risqué, populated by gods and royalty instead of the generally lower-class (or at most locally notable) characters who make up much of the work. In accordance with the tone of this lepida fabula, Apuleius' fascination with magic—usually a rather seedy affair in the Metamorphoses—is less in evidence than usual. Despite the fantastical subject matter, no one in the tale overtly casts a spell. Gods exercise divine powers and nature is highly personified, so that reeds and eagles speak, but humans do not exercise magical arts here as they do in the ... Read More
The Classics, Race, and Community-Engaged or Public Scholarship
America begins in black plunder and white democracy, two features that are not contradictory but complementary.Our discipline has always been, at its core, concerned with language. At its best, The American Journal of Philology has professed to being a forum for those seeking knowledge of the words and worlds of Greece and Rome. It is unreasonable, however, to disentangle the discipline of philology and its allied fields—art history, philosophy, archaeology, and so forth—from the modern realities of slavery, race, and their impacts well after global abolition, emancipation, and any declaration of a postracial period. That is, we bring a great deal of cultural baggage to what we call the Classics.If we can ... Read More
Para-Narratives in the Odyssey. Stories in the Frame by Maureen Alden (review)
Seventeen years after her book on the para-narratives in the Iliad, Maureen Alden has published a companion volume on the Odyssey. Her working programme is the same: to show how narratives that are embedded in the main story influence our interpretation of that story. Alden walks on well-trodden ground since the stories of the Odyssey have been extensively discussed. She has chosen to consider all embedded narratives which means that sometimes she offers no more than a paraphrase of the text. But most of the time she gives at least a clear summary of existing interpretations and regularly adds original interpretations of her own. The systematic treatment of her topic is an asset in itself since it turns her book ... Read More
The Measure of Homer: The Ancient Reception of the Iliad and Odyssey by Richard Hunter (review)
In Book 9 of Homer's Odyssey, the Cyclops Polyphemus is assimilated to the natural landscape, "like a wooded peak of high mountains" (Od. 9.191–2), in control of his rocky environs. He moves a great door stone that twenty-two wagons couldn't lift (Od. 9.240–3), and throws a mountain peak and stone after the escaping Odysseus (Od. 9.480–6, 537–42). Rocks persist throughout the Homeric poems as markers of strength and power, with Ajax hurling a large rock in Iliad 7.268 and Hector doing the same at Il. 12.453. When in the battle between the gods Ares attacks Athena, it is with a rock that she fights back: But she, forced back, took up with her heavy hand a stone which was lying on the plain, black and rough and big ... Read More
Female Mobility and Gendered Space in Ancient Greek Myth by Ariadne Konstantinou (review)
Since feminism began to make its presence felt in the 1970s, and certainly since the publication of Sarah Pomeroy's Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Greece in 1975, the question of the access of ancient Greek women to public space has been fiercely debated. What counts as reliable evidence for the experiences of women? How do the representations of women in literary texts relate to the material realities of their lives? And what is the relationship of myth, as broadly conceived, to other kinds of data? This book both summarises and evaluates these discussions by painstakingly working through a wide range of material relating to female characters in myth and mapping their trajectories through ... Read More
Tragic Rites. Narrative and Ritual in Sophoclean Drama by Adriana Brook (review)
Both narrative and ritual have attracted much attention in recent tragic scholarship. Adriana Brook's monograph brings them together in an impressive study which ranges across the seven surviving plays of Sophocles.After some Acknowledgements, a Note on Translation and Sources, and an Introduction ("Ritual Poetics in the Plays of Sophocles"), five chapters follow: "Normative Rituals and Ritual Mistakes in the Antigone, Trachiniae, and Oedipus Tyrannus," "Ritual Conflation in the Ajax," "Ritual Repetition in the Electra," "Ritual Status in the Philoctetes," and "Supplication in the Oedipus at Colonus." There then comes a "Conclusion: Ritual and Closure," before the book itself closes with Notes (i.e., endnotes ... Read More
Greek Fragments in Postmodern Frames: Rewriting Tragedy 1970–2005 by Eleftheria Ioannidou (review)
Eleftheria Ioannidou's first monograph is a welcome addition to classical reception studies from a scholar equally embedded in the disciplines of classics and theatre and performance studies, whose level of expertise and fluency in both academic fields and several European languages is remarkable. The volume examines the relationship between the notion of tragedy and postmodern theory and aesthetics through an analysis of a series of plays which rewrite ancient dramatic material. In the past few decades, the debate about contemporary theatrical adaptations of Greek tragedy in western drama has been dominated by classical scholars based at, or associated with, the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama ... Read More
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