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Abstract

According to Suetonius, in 62 bc the praetor Caesar was ‘banished from the administration of the state’ and left the forum. A spontaneous gathering (coetus) offered him help in recovering his position. Unexpectedly he restrained the crowd, and the grateful senate itself restored him to his rank. Even though only Suetonius explicitly mentions Caesar’s suspension, in fact, all our sources allow this. I will argue that Caesar did not lose his magistracy, just like the plebeian tribune Metellus Nepos affected by the same measures. Nor did the suspension include the restriction of any magisterial prerogatives. Instead, it meant the loss of political initiative. However, Caesar was still able to respond to the initiative of others. Suetonius’ account raises a number of questions about the political role of those who found themselves at the moment of transition from a position of a magistratus to that of a privatus, and vice versa.

In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

This article argues that Cobet’s philological and text-critical work deserves to be understood on its own terms, rather than being dismissed for its inconsistency with prevailing conceptions of classical scholarship. As shown by his Latin programmatic writings, Cobet was a typical nineteenth-century humanist, who aimed to integrate contemporary scholarly values into a traditional educational framework. Both Cobet’s method of textual criticism and his determination to remain aloof from what are nowadays considered progressive developments in nineteenth-century classical scholarship make sense on the basis of his humanistic conviction that classical scholarship’s ultimate aim is to serve humane educational ends. The fact that Cobet’s humanistic educational writings have fallen into oblivion is the result of a tendency among modern classicists to measure the past by standards drawn from the present, a tendency that can be called the ‘Whig history of classical scholarship’.

In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

This paper offers a new interpretation of the Goat Island episode in Od. 9. The description of the island focuses on its potential for cultivation and settlement. Against the background of the colonization, my approach emphasizes the temporal dimension of the island, which evokes the past of the Phaeacians who fled from the violence of the Cyclopes before settling in Scheria. The narrative function of Goat Island resides within its temporal dimension that bestows it with a temporal-spatial connectedness, a chronotope in Bachtin’s term.

In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

This article reviews Susan Sauvé Meyer’s new commentary on Laws 1–2 in the Plato Clarendon Series. The commentary offers a lucidly written and highly accessible introduction to Laws 1-2 to philosophical readers without knowledge of Greek. This review will focus on two new interpretations Meyer puts forward: the more philological problem of the third criterion of musical judgement in Book 2, and Meyer’s overall approach to the discussion about virtue that structures the argument of Books 1-2. It is argued, first, that Meyer convincingly solves the long-standing puzzle of the third element that needs to be taken into account when evaluating art; second, that her approach to virtue combines two views that, however, on closer inspection appear to sit somewhat uneasily together.

In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

The proposal I make for the restoration of fr. 22 Powell of the Erigone by Eratosthenes faithfully rewrites the manuscript tradition and does not conflict with the metre, as the line Ἰκαριοῖ, etc. (see fr. 4 R.) is balanced, thanks to the trihemimeral caesura and the bucolic diaeresis. To further my argument, I cite a series of hexameters from both earlier epic as well as that of the Hellenistic era, where the secondary caesurae (trihemimeral + hephthemimeral or bucolic) are either found alone or are reinforced, as the main caesura is absent or cannot be applied given the enclitic, preposition, and (sometimes) elision. Starting from the surviving line, I argue that in the Erigone mention was certainly made of the origins of tragedy, which are located in Attica. Eratosthenes drew from a pre-existing theory and, through his authority, made it the prevailing one. This can be seen from a plethora of similar evidence, in both later Greek and Latin authors and scholars.

In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

The role of Lucius Vitellius in the events leading to the death of Valeria Messallina, the third wife of the emperor Claudius, in autumn 48 ad is re-examined. It is argued that the freedman Narcissus delayed his action against Messallina for her dangerous affair with Gaius Silius until he could be sure of the tacit support of Vitellius, where Vitellius had been hoping for a practical opportunity to strike against Messallina ever since she had forced him to play a key part in the trial of his friend Valerius Asiaticus in late 47 ad.

In: Mnemosyne