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This volume places the satirical works of the Middle Byzantine period in a wider political and socio-cultural context, exploring not only their various forms but also their functions and meanings. The volume is divided into four parts. The first part provides the backgrounds of the authors and texts discussed in the volume. The second concerns the manifold functions and appearances of Byzantine satirical texts. Part three offers detailed analyses of three largely unexplored texts (the Charidemos, the Philopatris, and the Anacharsis). The last section moves from the individual texts to the larger picture of satirical modes in Middle Byzantium.

Contributors are Baukje van den Berg, Floris Bernard, Stavroula Constantinou, Eric Cullhed, Janek Kucharski, Markéta Kulhánková, Paul Magdalino, Henry Maguire, Przemysław Marciniak, Charis Messis, Ingela Nilsson, Emilie van Opstall, Panagiotis Roilos, and Nikos Zagklas.
Play and Illusion in Renaissance Humanism
Author: Timothy Kircher
In Before Enlightenment: Play and Illusion in Renaissance Humanism, Timothy Kircher argues for new ways of appreciating Renaissance humanist philosophy. Literary qualities – tone, voice, persona, style, imagery – composed a core of their philosophizing, so that play and illusion, as well as rational certainty, formed pre-Enlightenment ideas about knowledge, ethics, and metaphysics.

Before Enlightenment takes issue with the long-standing view of humanism’s philosophical mediocrity. It shows new features of Renaissance culture that help explain the origins not only of Enlightenment rationalists, but also of early modern novelists and essayists. If humanist writings promoted objective knowledge based on reason’s supremacy over emotion, they also showed awareness of one’s place and play in the world. The animal rationale is also the homo ludens.
The Language of Classical Literature is a peer-reviewed series of studies on Greek and Latin language and literature that are informed by modern literary or linguistic theory (e.g. discourse linguistics, narratology, intertextuality, metapoetics). The series is open to monographs, edited volumes, and conference proceedings (provided they have a clear thematic coherence).

Abstract

Some nineteenth-century scholars misleadingly thought that no Greek codex supports Galen’s legal affiliation to the gens Claudia. When the manuscript Thessalonicensis Vlatadon 14 was thrust into the limelight with regard to this issue in 2011, it was promptly imagined that the relevant information derived from Renaissance Italy, thanks to the voyages and studies of John Argyropoulos. Allegedly there also is a codex gemellus of the Vlatadon witness, the MS Athous Iviron Graecus 184, which does not transmit that gentilic name. The article shows that the latter codex cannot reasonably be regarded as a twin manuscript of the former. Moreover, it disproves the widespread scholarly claim that Galen is never named Claudius in documents that antedate the Age of Humanism, drawing attention to some insufficiently explored Byzantine sources, the oldest of which dates back to around 1200 AD.

In: Mnemosyne
Author: Olivier Demerre

Abstract

This article aims at a better understanding of the trial scene in Longus’ novel Daphnis and Chloe (2.12-19). It argues that Longus capitalises on contemporary rhetorical debates to elaborate on his own literary project. The insertion in Philetas’ verdict of a debated point (the storm) in stasis-theory aims at underlining the discrepancy between the means of persuasion mastered by an uneducated cowherd and by an educated reader. This allows a reflection on the incidence of the displacement of an elite social practice, the trial, into the rustic world of Daphnis and Chloe. This displacement is further emphasised in the trial itself by the juxtaposition of two speeches, one that is artificially simple (the Methymnaians’), and another naturally simple (that of Daphnis). Through this, Longus promotes his own stylistic project. I eventually contend that this scene explores the notion of credibility within Longus’ fictional world.

In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

This article examines the now complete Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus, begun in the 1930s by Pieter de Jonge and completed in 2018 by J. den Boeft, J.W. Drijvers, D. den Hengst and H.C. Teitler. It starts with a detailed consideration of the final volume, the commentary on Book 31, and addresses aspects of it that reflect both the strengths and the weaknesses of the whole commentary series. From there, it concludes by surveying the most significant historical insights and the most essential historiographical discussions in the volumes produced by the final team of four editors, the so-called quadriga Batavorum.

In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

This article contributes to our understanding of Dio’s technique of using sexual discourse as a useful tool of characterisation and ethical and historical interpretation. It also aims to advance our understanding of the role of sexual-moral critique in ancient historiography more generally. In the first part, it argues that comments on sexual matters in Dio’s history contribute to the construction of imperial portraits and the evaluation of an emperor. Sexual transgressions regularly coalesce with other bad characteristics of a ruler and his overall tyrannical behaviour. In the second part it is suggested that Dio’s representation of Elagabalus is considerably peculiar in terms of both its narrative technique and content, including themes and stories that unfold in significantly different and unexpected ways. Sexual misconduct is not simply associated with other vices, but is also used as a significant stand-alone category in the historian’s assessment of Elagabalus’ character and reign. This understanding of Dio’s technique, it is proposed, makes not only a historiographical point, but also a significant historical one about Elagabalus, his rule, and the state of the Roman Empire at the time.

In: Mnemosyne

Abstract

In this paper, we show how the Epicureans are part of and transform the originally Platonic ethical tradition of the assimilation to the divine (ὁμοίωσις θεῷ). We argue that a proper understanding of this tradition helps us to understand better the role that thinking plays in Epicurean ethics: Epicurus’ emphasis on and reinterpretation of thinking allows him to reject more forcefully the claim that the best life is a life of unreflective pleasure (βίος ἀπολαυστικός).

In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne