Laetae segetes VII

International PhD Student Conference
18‒20 November 2020

Abstracts of conference papers

Stefan Büttner (Wien): Der Orestes des Euripides: Mitleid oder Abscheu?

Der Orest des gleichnamigen Stückes des Euripides gilt den meisten Interpreten als verbrecherischer Charakter, dessen kriminelle Energie im zweiten Teil des Stückes voll zum Tragen komme. Das Stück wolle zeigen, dass es keine Heroen mehr gebe und dass damit auch die Tragödie unmöglich geworden sei. Es intendiere im Grunde die Aufhebung der Tragödie; für Orest könne man nur Abscheu übrig haben. Der Vortrag versucht, unter Einbeziehung der Nikomachischen Ethik des Aristoteles, plausibel zu machen, dass Interpreten gute Gründe vorweisen können, wenn sie zumindest Verständnis für das Verhalten des Orest auch im zweiten Teil des Stückes entwickeln; und dadurch zugleich zeigen, dass es Euripides nicht um eine Destruktion der Heroen und der Tragödie geht.

Maria Vittoria Curtolo (Pisa): The third family of Platonic manuscripts: some considerations on the Laches

Vindobonensis suppl. gr. 7 (W), Radnice IV F.a.1 (Lobcovicianus, siglum L) and Vaticanus graecus 1029 (R) are three manuscripts that belong to the same family of the Platonic tradition, i.e. the third family. W is regarded as a primary witness for the constitution of the text, therefore all the other manuscripts of its family derive – directly or indirectly – from it. The independence of W was stated for the first time by Josef Král (1892, Über den Platocodex der Wiener Hofbibliothek suppl. phil. gr. 7, «WS» 14, 161-208) and it is accepted by most scholars.

This paper will give an overview of these manuscripts and examine the relations between them according to the errors they share in the text of the Laches against the readings of the other primary manuscripts.

Radek Černoch (Brno): Specifics of translating Latin legal texts

Translation of Latin legal texts has its specific features, but the general translatological rules are applied there as well. The choice of an appropriate method of translation is influenced by both objective and subjective aspects. The objective aspect is the type of the text to be translated, in this case the texts from the area of law and especially Roman law. Subjective aspect is the supposed addressee of the text as it is necessary to accommodate the wording of the texts according to the capacities of its reader. Apart from that, there are other aspects influencing the final outcome of the translation, such as the tradition of both domestic and foreign translations and even the technical aspects of the published translation. As a result, the translator shall, having considered all the relevant aspects, choose such methods of translation, which will render the text not only correct from the material point of view, but also understandable at the highest level possible for all its potential readers.

Carlo Delle Donne (Roma): Plato's syngheneia: riddles and possible solutions

The objective of my paper is to examine the role of syngheneia in Plato’s dialogues. Although this notion has never been given much attention by Plato’s scholars, it is likely to be crucial to his philosophy. As I set out to demonstrate, the function of syngheneia can be either “vertical” or “horizontal”: in the first case, it turns out to put human intellect in touch with the ideal and divine dimension, so that this proves knowable and imitable; whereas, in the second sense, syngheneia should be considered as alluding to nothing but our being “tied” both to one another and to the kosmos. Moreover, by means of an accurate research for all the occurrences of syngheneia and synghenes in Plato’s works, I set out to elicit from them all the philosophical assumptions which lie behind (and follow from) the exploitation of this notion. What I will show is that syngheneia plays a remarkable role in any kind of philosophically relevant affinity or similarity, for it proves to be the reason for these similitudes to occur.

Zuzana Dzurillová (Brno): Significance of historical present tense in Vitsentzos Kornaros' Erotokritos

Historical present tense, frequently used in most modern European literatures as well as in everyday oral practice, originally starts to occur in oral tradition of all Indo-European languages, including Greek. This narrative technique has become popular not only in historical works of Classical Antiquity, but also in Byzantine and modern Greek texts. The aim of this paper is to describe the role of the historical present tense in narration of romance Erotokritos – a literary masterpiece of Golden Age of Cretan Renaissance (mid 16th – 17th century), written by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613/1614). Focusing on semantic groups of verbs, I will point out the tendency of historical present tense to occur not exclusively with verbs of motion, but more strikingly, with verbs of thinking and psychological expressions of protagonists. I will try to demonstrate the significance of this phenomenon from both narratological and linguistic point of view.

Jens Fischer (Halle-Wittenberg/Potsdam): Vates Apollinis, vates Augusti – about oracles, poetry and a magnificent temple

The temple of Apollo on the Palatine right next to the private quarters of Rome's first emperor belonged to the most magnificent buildings of the Augustan era. It itself as well as its porticoes and libraries are a recurring subject of the Augustan poets. These on the other hand tend to describe themselves as vates – that is, as seers. Not later than 12 BC, Augustus transferred the Sibylline books to his temple of Apollo. These books contained a collection of Greek oracles ascribed to ancient Sibyls, legendary female seers which were also seen as vates. The words of the Sibyls were one of the most cherished treasures of Roman religion and were safeguarded by the important priesthood of the quindecimviri sacris faciundis. The few surviving fragments of Sibylline oracles demonstrate that these texts constituted a form of hexametric poetry. It will be the purpose of my paper to demonstrate that these are far more than random correlations. In fact, the temple of Apollo on the Palatine seems to have played a much more important role at the curious intersection between literature, divination and politics than has so far been recognized by scholarship.

Marta Fogagnolo (Pisa/Köln am Rhein): ‘The scourges of Homer’. Some remarks on the term Homeromastiges

The epithet Ὁμηρομάστιξ/Homeromastix is referred in antiquity exclusively to the grammarian Zoilus of Amphipolis, the detractor of Homer par excellence, lived in the 4th century BC (see Suda ζ 130 A. s.v. Ζωΐλος, Tzetz. Ex. Il. 3.13, Vitr. Ar. 7 Praef. 8, Gal. Meth.Med. 1.3, [Zonar.] ζ 963 T. s.v. Ζωίλος, Eust. Il. 2.313-29 V., schol. Porph. Il. 10.274 BF, Eust. Οd. 1.321.44-322.1 S.). An apparent exception is schol. Luc. 50.24 K, where Ὁμηρομάστιξ is referred to Zenodotus. Nevertheless, there are three evidences of the term in plural: Eust. Od. 1.301.29-31 S., Eust. Od. 1.439.41-440.2 S. and Plin. NH 1 Praef. 28. Whereas the third evidence represents a generic allusion to the critics of Pliny’s books (especially the grammatical ones), the first and the second ones introduce observations on specific Homeric problems, under which personalities of ancient scholars were probably hidden. Aim of this paper is to investigate the exegetical method especially of Eust. Od. 1.301.29-31 S., in order to demonstrate a certain degree of proximity to an extant fragment of Zoilus (schol. Hdn. vel ex. 1.129a1 A = FGrHist 71 F 6) and to justify Eustathius’ use of the term with reference to this particular criticism.

Sofia Foskolou (Roma): When the ear gets an earful: Metapoetic connotations audible in Persius’ satiric programme

Persius’ satiric programme is (in)famously ear-conscious. Although much ink has been spilled on how the auditory imagery operates in the opening programmatic Satire 1 – with more emphasis on the “donkey’s ears” little joke (auriculas asini quis non habet?, 1.121)–, hardly any attention has been paid to the orgasmic potentials of the ear(s) during the public recitation/sex show described at Satire 1.15-21, as well as the acoustic significance of the Prologue, where the process of hearing turns into a didactic ars. From performance, throughout ‘addressivity’, to satiric scolding, the ear(s) is required for the speaker’s message to be drilled into the recipient’s mind. But what happens when the ear(s) of the (internal or/and external) audience is wearied, asinine, clogged, unreceptive or unable to hear? This paper examines the undeservingly neglected supernatural and (a)sexual dynamics of the ear(s) in Persius’ Prologue and Satire 1, respectively, aiming to demonstrate that: i) the symbolic use of the ear(s) plays an important role in figuring and expressing the literary and moral identity of Persius’ persona; ii) the ear(s) is a leading literary-critical and socio-critical motif; iii) the satirist develops an alternative audience engagement technique, one which appeals to the ear(s), and thereby incites it to react.

Jurgen R. Gatt (Malta): The role of witnesses in Antiphon's sixth speech

While the importance of witnesses in ancient litigation is indisputable, the exact role that testimony played in the ancient lawcourts is a matter of intense debate. On the one hand, some scholars would have us regard testimony as a socio-political ritual entrenched in the logic of enmity and divorced from any consideration of truth, while to others witnesses are best regarded as the means by which litigants could demonstrate the central facts of the case. A central piece of evidence in favour of the latter position is the enthymeme found in Antiph.6.15ff. Here, the defendant states that the accusation can be reduced to an exhaustive disjunction: his opponents have charged him with ‘ordering or forcing the drug to be given to [Diodotus], or of giving it to him’. Next, the litigant purports to demonstrate that the individual components of this ‘disjunction’ are false by appealing to the testimony of witnesses. And yet, neither the credibility nor the pertinence of these ‘demonstrations’ are granted automatically to the defendant by the court, but are the subject of explicit argumentation. Antiph.6, then, shows that the question of the ‘role of witnesses’ cannot be resolved generally, but was itself a source of legal argument.

Gergő Gellérfi (Szeged): Non nisi accipietur ab ebriis – Bartolomeo della Fonte’s criticism of his contemporaries

Bartolomeo della Fonte’s (1446–1513) Annotations on Juvenal containing his observations to 81 Juvenalian loci was preserved in a single manuscript. It was published in 2013 for the first time. The length and the depth of his explanations are very diverse; however, they have a common feature: they always mention at least one refuted view. In all but 4 of his arguments, he names at least one of his fellow humanists whose interpretation he reckons as unacceptable – and therefore the texts are not characteristically “annotations”, but more like “clarifications” of previously misinterpreted passages. Della Fonte mentions seven humanists in his work, most prominently Valla (40), Merula (33), and Calderini (23). While speaking about the latter, his tone is very reserved and polite, treating his mistakes leniently, towards others he is much more ruthless: Valla’s, Merula’s, and Poliziano’s misinterpretations are attacked with sharp, sometimes personal insults; and moreover, on rare occasions, he launches unfair attacks on Valla. When reading the Annotations from this aspect, not only Della Fonte’s distinct satirical style can be examined, but we can also draw new conclusions regarding his personal relations with his prominent contemporaries.

Eleonora Giunchi (Santiago de Compostela): Dalla μῆτις all’ ἔρως: uso letterario del “fuoco sotto la cenere” nella letteratura greca

Quella del fuoco sotto la cenere è un’immagine di tradizione omerica che è stata rielaborata e adattata a diversi contesti e generi della letteratura greca, sviluppandosi fino a diventare “topica” per indicare ciò che, pur essendo all’apparenza spento, ha il potere di ravvivarsi improvvisamente. Attraverso l’analisi diacronica dei passi che presentano un uso letterario dell’immagine nell’arco temporale che va dall’epoca arcaica a quella ellenistica, si metteranno in luce i diversi valori del “fuoco sotto la cenere”: dalla rappresentazione della μῆτις nell’epica arcaica, alla trasposizione in ambito erotico nella prima epoca ellenistica, fino alla “proverbializzazione” dell’immagine attestata in epoca tardo-ellenistica. In particolare, l’attenzione sarà rivolta a individuare quei testi che possono aver agito da “mediatori” nell’evoluzione delle accezioni metaforiche dell’immagine e nel suo adattamento a generi tra loro profondamente diversi. In questo contesto, si presterà particolare attenzione al “fuoco sotto la cenere” di Theoc. Id. 11.51, in cui, come si vedrà, la figura del Ciclope sembra svolgere un ruolo chiave nello sviluppo della tradizione dell’immagine, vincolando il πῦρ ὑπὸ σποδῷ dell’idillio teocriteo alle occorrenze precedenti, fino a risalire, attraverso una catena di rimandi intertestuali, alla sua prima attestazione nella similitudine omerica di Od. 5.488-490.

Victoria Maria Gleich (Potsdam): Ein Philosoph in Persien. Überlegungen zur sokratischen Prägung der Kyroupaideia des Xenophons

Der griechische Sokrates-Schüler, Söldner, Feldherr und Autor Xenophon ist in den letzten Jahren wieder verstärkt ins Zentrum der Forschung gerückt. Sein ausgesprochen vielfältiges Oeuvre, das überdies vollständig erhalten geblieben ist, wird vor allem hinsichtlich seines philosophischen Gehalts, im Hinblick auf die politische Stellung des Autors und, besonders in US-amerikanischen Managementstudien, als Quelle zur Bestimmung von Führungsqualitäten neu bewertet. In meinem Vortrag möchte ich den Fokus auf die sokratische Prägung der Kyroupaideia legen. Viele Ansichten und Vorstellungen des Xenophons sind wesentlich durch den Kontakt zu seinem Lehrer sokratisch geprägt. Anhand von ausgewählten Stellen aus der Kyroupaideia soll gezeigt werden, dass Parallelen zwischen dem xenophontischen Sokrates und Kyros bestehen. Des Weiteren sollen andere sokratische Elemente, wie beispielsweise sokratische Dialoge in der Kyroupaideia, deutlich werden. Darauf aufbauend soll am Ende des Vortrages gezeigt und folglich der Schluss gezogen werden, dass Xenophon in seinen zahlreichen Werken allen seinen “Helden“ das Konzept eines xenophontischen Sokrates zugrunde gelegt hat.

Kamil Cyprian Choda (Tübingen): Malalas Slavicus: On use, misuse and joy of the parallel tradition of John Malalas' Chronographia

The historical work of John Malalas has attracted increased interest during recent decades, his Chronographia having been re-evaluated as one of the most important sources for the 6th century Byzantine history. However, the chronicle as it exists today poses numerous problems. Not only the transmission of its Greek text has challenged the scholarship; Chronographia, or at least parts of it, has been transmitted in the languages other than Greek, too. Among them there is a Slavonic translation. This Slavonic rendition of the work of Malalas is valuable as it is a witness to the longer version of the original chronicle that no longer exists in Greek. The modern editor of Chronographia, Thurn, recognized the value of its Slavonic translation. He went so far as to retranslate parts of it into Greek. This paper shows that at times Thurn's attempts at retranslating may have been questionable. It demonstrates that sometimes mistakes made by scholars of the Slavonic Malalas became incorporated in the subsequent studies acquiring reputation of the established facts. Finally, this paper points to and analyses some remarkable differences between the Slavonic and Greek texts of the work of John Malalas.

Martin Jehne (Dresden): The Crisis of the Republic and the Emergence of Monarchy in Rome, or: Task Fulfillment and System Preservation in Conflict

In the times of Corona, we fear for our democratic systems. This reaction is in no way unfounded, but of course the constellation that gives rise to the fears is not structurally new, since it is based on the fundamental conflict between the rapid mastery of urgent tasks and the preservation of participation and freedom, a conflict that emerges powerfully in severe crises. Thus, we can observe in the long crisis until the end of the Roman republic and the establishment of monarchy in the 1st century B.C.E. how the discourse of task fulfillment and the discourse of system preservation collided. In my lecture, I would like to foreground this dimension of the decline of the Roman republic, whose political system can be classified as participatory to a certain degree, though not democratic. To this end, I want to first present Polybius’s probably justified long-term pessimism about the lifespan of political systems. Then I will conceptualize the long path to the demise as a historical process in which the greater strength of the side effects was the dominant component. My central example of the struggle between the discourses is the debate about the appointment of the major military command to Gnaeus Pompeius in 66 B.C.E., because in it we clearly see how the reflexes to preserve the system were pushed aside to solve current problems, but also to make use of opportunities to expand personal power. Finally, the “Caesarian contingency” will take the focus, not as a regression to the perspective from which “great men” make history, but primarily to illustrate how the discourse of achievement made monarchy acceptable, which could no more be made explicit as one’s personal goal in the Roman republic’s political system than it can in our democracies.

Mirón Jurík (Brno): The closer look at the Church of the Goths in Constantinople

The Capital city of Late Roman Empire as political centre and wealth place naturally drew a lot of different nationalities and people of the then known world. The Goths, due to the development of the political relations with Empire in the second half of the 4th century, represented one of the greatest groups among these gentes in Constantinople. Most of them were Christians, who took an active role in the life of the Constantinopolitan church. However, our sources reflect that there were two or three groups of Constantinopolitan Christian Goths. Probably minor group of the orthodox Goths, and the larger part of the arian Goths, who for some time split themselves between followers of the Dorotheus and Marinus. When did these groups or “churches” of Goths first appear in Constantinople? How did they develop and impact imperial politics and relations between barbarians and Romans in Constantinople? How were the interactions especially between arian Goths and the representatives of the orthodox church and How were their relations with other groups of Goths in Empire? This paper should provide answers to these questions.

Anastasios Kantaras (Thessaloniki): L’epigramma bizantino per la Croce e la Crocifissione di Cristo come mezzo di promozione dell’ideologia imperiale a Bisanzio

Gli Imperatori Bizantini ritenendo se stessi continuatori del regno dei vecchi Imperatori Romani governarono il nuovo Imperium Romanum allo scopo, da un lato, della manuntezione dei principi dell’ insegnamento e della morale cristiana e, dall’ altro lato, della manuntezione della classe religiosa, mondana e imperiale, della tranquillità, della sicurezza e la salvezza dei propri cittadini. E tutto questo con la continua manifestazione della volontà divina tramite lo stesso Imperatore Bizantino, siccome anche lui costituisce ormai il rappresentante temporaneo del Dio sulla terra e di conseguenza il garante di ogni bene. Questa ideologia imperiale degli Imperatori Bizantini cercheremo di individuare e commentare così come essa si presenta agli epigrammi relativi alla Croce e alla Crocifissione di Cristo, epigrammi che accompagnavano piccoli oggetti sacri e preciosi, come stauroteche e croci, riuscendo in questo modo a collegare la poesia alta e dotta con l’ arte bizantina di piccole dimensioni eccezionalmente raffinata e in quale grado questo è successo in modo riuscito o no.

Adam Kuvik (Brno): Consular dating formulas on the Late Roman papyri as an evidence for the progressive decline of Late Roman and Early Byzantine aristocratic ranks (c. 450–540)

During the Late Roman Empire, the members of aristocratic classes became even more status conscious than before. This consciousness and strife for achieving more and more prestigious position progressively caused the degradation of Late Roman and Early Byzantine honorary titles and ranks, which bore less and less importance thus conferring lower social status upon their bearers. This paper presents a conclusion to a year-long research under which several hundreds of papyrological documents were examined. Examination of consular dating formulas on these papyri – or more specifically the honorific epithets found in those dating formulas, dated to the period of c. 450–540, presents an evidence connecting the progressive degradation of Late Roman honorary ranks to the decline of aristocratic classes themselves while also being yet another cause for their gradual transformation.

Tereza Kvasničková (Brno): Were Roman poets anti-Semitic?

I would like to present my research, which focuses on anti-Judaism in antiquity. First of all, I would like to deal with what anti-Judaism really is and whether we can use it for antiquity. I will focus on the works of three ancient poets Horatius, Martial and Juvenal. I will ask myself whether we can consider their work to be anti-Judaistic or whether it is a general hatred of foreigners, so I will examine these poets' view of foreigners. I think only Horatius is anti-Judaic. Martial and Juvenal hated all foreigners. The second aim will also be to compare that "literary" anti-Judaism with that of anti-Judaism in Roman and Hispanic Visigothic legislation, which will help to confirm or rule out the personal antipathy of our three Roman poets.

Florin Leonte (Olomouc): Ethos in late Byzantine epideictic rhetoric (c. 1350–1453)

The concept of ethos stands as the locus of convergence of both ethics and rhetorical techniques within the subjective act of rhetorical composition. It can be understood as neither a solely linguistic phenomenon nor solely a socio-psychological phenomenon, but as the point of intersection between language and the subject’s character. By focusing on a selection of illustrative examples from late Byzantine rhetoric, with this presentation I hope to achieve the following: 1. to locate by what means and in which places ethos was introduced and disseminated since authors used multiple strategies in the rhetorical construction of the self, the audience, and the addressee; 2. to understand how the late Byzantine authors’ subjectivity was woven in the conventions of the epideictic discourse; and 3. to identify and explore the types of ethos that orators constructed and their impact on the audiences and the objects of praise.

Adalberto Magnavacca (Pisa): Lucan’s metamorphosed Jupiter(s): Jovian traits in Pompey and Caesar

Lucan’s idiosyncratic attitude towards the divine in the Bellum ciuile is a widely known phenomenon (see e.g. FEENEY 1991.250-301; HUTCHINSON 1993.250-255 and D’URSO 2019): though gods are not directly acting in the story, there are some characters in the BC who share some distinctive traits with them. The two main antagonists of the poem, Pompey and Caesar, can be considered a good exemplification of this assumption. In my analysis I will focus on some relevant scenes where Jovian traits emerge with full evidence: the two first similes introducing the two protagonists and the hospitality scenes. In the first two passages, the oak (Luc. 1.129-143) and the lightning (Luc. 1.143-157) are symbols of Jupiter’s power and associate Pompey and Caesar with a static and rather indifferent Jove and a dynamic and destructive one respectively. On the other hand, in Luc. 5.504-539 and Luc. 8.456-562, Caesar is hosted by Amyclas in his humble hut, while Pompey is murdered by Ptolemy’s henchmen: the first scene mainly recalls Ov. Met. 8.626-670, where Jove and Mercurius are hosted by Philemon and Baucis, while the second one powerfully evokes the failed hospitality granted to Jupiter by Lycaon (Ov. Met. 1.196-225), an unnoticed Ovidian model which can also cast light on the characterisation of Caesar in the first simile.

Zuzana Mitrengová (Brno): The late Byzantine romance seen through Greimas‘ actantial model

The late Byzantine romances is a corpus of seven narratives of love written between the middle of the 13th and the 15th centuries, which marked a significant shift in the use of vernacular language in Byzantine literature. Moreover, their central motive of love between the two protagonists indirectly responded to changes in the turbulent times in which they were written. The aim of my Ph.D. thesis is the narratological analysis of the main couples in these romances. One of the tools I have chosen to do so is the actantial model proposed by A. J. Greimas, who divided every narrative situation into six categories, i. e. actants: the subject, the object, the sender, the receiver, the helper and the opponent. In my presented paper, I will focus on the first time when the actants of the sender and the receiver are occupied by the protagonists. Focusing mainly on the female protagonist in the position of the sender and the male one in the actant of the receiver, I will follow the development of their relationship. I will try to capture the shift in the behaviour of the female protagonist towards her male counterpart during his courtship. My aim is to identify and explain significant common features and differences within the corpus.

Teresa Mocharitsch (Graz): The many faces of Civilis: Depictions of the Batavian revolt in the visual arts

The Batavian revolt against the Romans is one key event in the early history of the Netherlands and became – similar to the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in Germany – a template in the nation building process of the Early Modern time. The remembrance of the ancient Germanic tribe even served as an eponym at the end of the 18th century, when the Batavian republic was founded. The best-known account for the reception of this incident is the monumental painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, commissioned for the Town Hall in Amsterdam, that anchored the revolt and its protagonist Civilis visually as a turning point in history. But it was by far not the only one. Starting with a comprehensive series of paintings by Otto van Veen – that were printed shortly after by Antonio Tempesta – this event entered the stage of the art world and was depicted several times throughout the 18th and 19th century. This talk aims to reconstruct the reception of the Roman accounts on the Batavian Revolt and its protagonists in the visual arts in connection to the reappearance in historical literature.

Renáta Mokošová (Bratislava): Translatological and cultural contexts of translations from Modern Greek literature to Slovak language

This work-in-progress paper will present some preliminary results of a PhD research which focuses on translatological and cultural contexts of translations from Modern Greek literature to Slovak language. The thesis examines historical and social conditions – in Czechoslovakia and, after 1993, the Slovak and the Czech Republic – from which the Slovak translations emerged as well as cultural backgrounds which affected their production. The admission of Greek Communist refugees to Czechoslovakia at the end of the Greek Civil War (1946–1949) was a crucial factor which stimulated establishing of Modern Greek Studies in Czechoslovakia. The first lectorate of Modern Greek, at the Charles University in Prague, aimed at educating Greek children in their mother tongue. The fact that the Greek refugees were stationed only in Czech cities, but not in Slovakia, has substantially influenced the situation in the Slovak part of the country for what the knowledge of Modern Greek language and the Modern Greek studies in general concerns. This had a significant impact on the production of translations from Modern Greek literature to Slovak language. In the last fifteen years, new perspectives have been gained.

Francesco Mori (Roma): Satyr play in Byzantium: the case of Eustathius of Thessalonica

It is well-known that both direct and indirect tradition of classical texts were not as generous in preserving satyr plays as were towards Greek tragedies. Nonetheless, byzantine scholars have often shown much interest in this theatrical form. For instance, John Tzetzes boasted of reading satyr plays, and it was argued with some support that his contemporary Eustathius knew almost one satyr play, Euripides’ Cyclops, belonging to the so-called “alphabetical plays”. In his Homeric Commentaries we can find two quotations (Cycl. 104, 136) and one generic reference to this euripidean satyr play. In addition, Eustathius quotes a fragment of the lost Syleus (fr. 693 Kn.) and it is noticeable that, in comparison with the other witnesses of this short passage, he transmits a more complete text. An inquiry into the Patriarch’s way of citing classical texts and his usage of other indirect sources (particularly Athenaeus’ Deipnosophistae) can raise doubts about a direct knowledge of satyr plays. The aim of the paper is to re-examine the remaining traces of this literary genre in Eustathius’ works in order to establish whether quotations and references can be considered indisputable pieces of evidence of his reading texts.

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Manolis Pagkalos (Groningen): Negotiating power in the political discourse: Views on first century BCE Athens

This paper explores the agency of the Athenian elite during the first century BCE, drawing upon Athenian practices of the Hellenistic period. It approaches the methods (political tools and ideological formations) for the negotiation of power and the anchoring of political developments in the Athenian political discourse. How did the Athenians reform their civic narratives in a period of increasing Roman activity in the East? What are the links between Athenian cultural memory and decision-making? What is the evidence for negotiating power in the Athenian political discourse? A variety of evidence (epigraphic, textual, and numismatic) will be discussed as evidence of the negotiation of power between the Athenians and the Romans to shed some light in these questions. Thus, this paper delves into the ideological grounds for decision-making in pre- and post-Sullan periods exploring how the Athenians articulated claims of power both at the local and interstate levels as a response to the increasing Roman power and control. The evidence highlights the political fluidity of first-century BCE Athens, yet also mirrors the understanding the political elites have on the role of the past and the need for the construction of new political narratives according to current political directions and their results.

Libor Pruša (Brno): Ctesias in Persia

This presentation deals with Greek author Ctesias of Cnidus and his stay on the court of the Achaemenid Empire. Ctesias is the author of Persica, now fragmented work about the history of the Middle East, Median and Persian Empire. Ctesias was a physician who took care of Persian king and his family and spent seventeen years on the Persian court. After his return to Greece he summarized his studies and hearsay from Persia in Persica. In the first part of the presentation I will briefly outline his stay in Persia, how he managed to become the physician of the king and what was the cause of his departure. Ctesias claimed, he was able to read the local sources which captured the tales of the previous kings and empires. He recorded many stories which originated from the oral tradition and circulated among noblemen and commoners as well. In the main part of the presentation I will examine Ctesias’ sources from Persia and how they affected his writing. From time to time several Persian words appear in Persica. Persian loanwords in the works of Ctesias will be the last point of my presentation.

Bettina Reese (Halle-Wittenberg): Polluit sanguis iste, non redemit – polemics on the ritual use of blood in Firmicus Maternus, De errore profanarum religionum

In his treatise De errore profanarum religionum, Firmicus Maternus fiercely attacks the traditional cults of the Roman Empire for performing vain and idolatrous rites. While doing so, he particularly targets several mystery religions, such as the cult of Cybele and Attis as well as the cult of Mithras. These mysteries offered their own ways of salvation to their worshippers and were, especially from a Christian perspective, perceived to compete with Christianity. Within the context of Firmicus’ critique, he is polemicizing particularly against the use of blood in the rites of these cults, criticizing it as being offered to evil demons, the fellows of the devil, and being the source of pollution leading to death. My presentation attempts to explain the reasons for this polemic. In a first step, I will examine the function of the blood in the mysteries, taking up Firmicus’ examples. By comparing the results to Firmicus’, i.e. Christian views on blood in rituals the conflicting conceptions of both sides can be outlined. In this way, the presentation can shed a brighter light on an important aspect of the discussion of pagans and Christians on religious ritual in the fourth century.

Andrea Salayová (Brno): Animal as a part of the magical ritual of the ancient curse tablets

The aim of this paper is to research the presence of animal ingredients on the ancient curse tablets. Despite the wide presence of animal ingredients within the texts of Greek magical papyri (142 papyri texts contain at least one animal ingredient), there are only four currently known curse tablets mentioning animal ingredients. This paper goes into the details of each occurrence and gives possible explanations for the difference in numbers, while also focusing on animal ingredients on each curse tablet and providing possible reasons for its specific use within the ritual. As the basis for the research serves the epigraphic evidence (curse tablets and Greek magical papyri).

Michaela Senkova (Leicester): Ancient Greek reproduction theories and real life

This paper addresses the impact of ancient Greek fertility and reproduction theories on everyday life in fifth and fourth centuries BC. Two main models of reproduction are discussed by our sources from this period. Firstly, the so-called ‘one-seed’ theory of Aristotle argues that the man alone is responsible for the creation of new life (Generation of Animals 727b). Secondly, the so-called ‘two-seed’ theory of the Hippocratic Corpus sees both male and female parts as essential (Generation 8). But, how did the ‘ordinary’ Greeks view and experience these models in real life, and which one did they favour, if any? The paper examines examples from material evidence from sanctuaries and literary tradition, mainly medical and philosophical, for possible scenarios in which individuals of both sexes were likely to seek assistance with begetting children. It suggests that the Greeks developed alternative ways of thinking about fertility and reproduction, with the combination of a particular couple as a whole seemingly playing a vital part.

Filip Schneider (Trnava): Armenians as seen by Anna Comnena

The end of 11th and the beginning of the 12th century was a period of great changes in the Middle East. The Turkish advance resulted in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 that cost Byzantium a great portion of its Anatolian territories. The Empire was able to regain some of its former lands under the rule of Comnenian dynasty. Its first ruler, Alexios, struggled many enemies of the Empire and experienced important events of the period.

His reign had a witness, who left us a description of the events – Anna Comnena. In her historical work, The Alexiad, Anna not only describes the events of her father´s rule, but she provides us with information about various nations. The aim of my paper is to analyse her perception on one of these groups of peoples – the Armenians. The research will provide a picture of Armenians as it occurs in her work and the reasons behind this picture. Compared to other ethnographic elements in her work, I will attempt to find the Armenians´ place in the prejudicial image among other nations.

Markéta Slažanská (Brno): The importance of oratorical skills in the Roman society

A famous quote by M. Porcius Cato defines an orator as vir bonus dicendi peritus. This might suggest that an orator of his times must have been, above all, a man of impeccable moral qualities, whose oratorical skills were enhanced by experience rather than by education. A century later, a great Roman orator, M. Tullius Cicero, in his work De Oratore pictured a good orator as a man of profound philosophical and oratorical education, and seems to find a warm response by his audience. More than a century later, Pliny the Younger in his letters seems to shift Cato’s definition completely by describing his adversary’s bad character using features of a bad orator. The goal of this paper is to show the increasing importance of literary interests and oratorical skills for those who seeked being considered morally impeccable citizens. The research is based on Cicero’s and Pliny the Younger’s correspondence and aims to show the development of Roman viewpoint on education; in a nutshell, to show that a man from the 1st cent. BC on must have been dicendi peritus to have a chance to be considered vir bonus.

Lucrezia Sperindio (Warwick): Tragedy in Horace Carm. 1.2

This paper explores the intertextual dialogue between Horace’s Carm. 1.2 and the parodos from Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes. These texts show striking similarities in context, structure, and tone. Carm. 1.2 is a prayer to the gods to restore peace in post civil war Rome. The poem is characterised by an ominous and anxious atmosphere, caused by the excess and lack of closure of civil violence. Similarly, in the parodos, the chorus of Theban women enters the stage panicking and attempting a prayer, as the Argive army is about to attack the city of Thebes. In both these odes, the perception of fear and distress is vividly described through cross-references to hearing and sight, and the usage of liquid imagery. Both the poems are negotiating with the gods safety for the city, but are also trying to tell a narrative that, for its horror, needs to be indirectly reported and mediated by a choral voice. I will demonstrate that Horace evokes the parodos in order to describe civil war through a tragic filter, and to present his lyric poetry as mediating between men and gods, and between the different temporal dimensions of Rome’s history.

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Tito Storti (Bologna): The ambiguity of Plato’s Menexenus: a school manifesto

No general agreement has yet been reached about the meaning and the purpose of Plato’s Menexenus. Two mutually exclusive readings have been generally given: Socrates’ funeral oration could be either a parody and a satire of Athens’ funeral speeches, or an example of a better, idealistic, maybe even philosophically grounded rhetoric. However, the problem does not only come from the dichotomy present in most scholars’ works. It lies, instead, in the ambiguity of the text itself. This paper aims to clarify the serious implications that parody can have. Exemplarity and parody, irony and seriousness should not be considered as mutually exclusive, because an imitation that seriously demonstrates how easy it is to write a good epitaph can be understood as a form of parody. In fact, Plato’s Menexenus seems to be a school manifesto: it recalls Callicles’ charges against the educational value of philosophical practices (Grg. 484c-485d). Therefore, it may be directed against Isocrates’ conception of rhetoric as related to education and politics. The mention of the Peace of Antalcidas (245c) will then prove the topical and thus political character of this work.

Pavel Ševčík (Brno): The reflection of John Hus‘s teaching in the works of Stephen of Dolany

The well-known Czech preacher John Hus was a loud critic of the conditions in contemporary Christian Church. In the paper, I analyse the 15th-century polemic of Carthusian prior Stephen from Dolany with his opinions and try to point out Stephen’s counterarguments. What are the Hus’s written texts to which Stephen reacts? And how does the Moravian prior treat them? On which objections of famous Prague preacher does he mainly focus? The analysis is based on two Stephen’s works. First of them is Antihus from 1412, the second one is Dialogus volatilis inter aucam et passerem written two years later.

Marek Škybraha (Brno): Die literarische Analyse als mögliches Mittel von Datation der Gesta Inocentii III.

Die Gesta Inocentii III. gehören bei der Geschichtsschreibung zu den bekannten und sehr oft zitierten lateinischen literarischen Denkmälern des Mittelalters. Trotz der umfassenden historischen Forschung der Gesta haben die Identifikation ihres unbekannten Autors und die Problematik ihrer Datierung in der historischen Gesellschaft im letzten Jahren wieder große Diskussion ausgelöst. Alle bekannte Autorschafts- und Datierungstheorien beruhen nur auf den Hypothesen ohne glaubwürdige Argumente. Die Historiker konzentrieren sich nur auf die Inhaltanalyse, wobei sie fast immer den literarischen Charakter der bemerkten Biografie unterlassen. Ich sehe den Ausweg aus dieser Diskussion in der Verwendung der literarischen Analyse und in der besseren Arbeit mit den überlieferten Handschriften bei der Forschung der Gesta. In diesem Beitrag stelle ich gerade die Verwendung der literarischen Analyse als eine Forschungsalternative zu der möglichen genaueren Datierung dieser päpstlichen Biografie vor.

Diletta Vignola (Genova): Scire mori. Tre exempla virtutis fra Seneca e Silio Italico

Il presente lavoro ha l’obiettivo di contribuire ad analizzare il complesso rapporto di Silio Italico con la filosofia morale stoica, e in particolare stoico-senechiana, attraverso la rilettura di tre episodi di morti esemplari. La prima parte della relazione sarà dedicata a due celebri exempla virtutis: la morte di Marco Atilio Regolo (Sil. 2.340-4, 2.435-6, 6.535-44) e quella dell’anonimo schiavo che ride fra i tormenti (Sil. 1.169-81). In entrambi i casi, l’obiettivo sarà quello di mettere in luce le affinità tra la versione siliana e quella senechiana, di cui il poeta flavio riprende talvolta dettagli assai singolari - ad esempio, la crocifissione di Regolo. Nella seconda parte, poi, si analizzerà l’episodio dedicato alla morte del console Lucio Emilio Paolo a Canne (Sil. 10.260-88): un fatto storico (cfr. Liv. 22.49.6-11) di per sé estraneo alla tradizione moralistica, ma che pure nei Punica viene riletto in chiave stoicizzante attraverso l’introduzione di svariati motivi di matrice senechiana (primo fra tutti quello dello scire/ nescire mori), con l’effetto di accostare implicitamente la figura del console di Canne a quella di un sapiens stoico.

Marek Todorov (Brno): State capture in the late Roman empire

Main focus of the paper rests on the meaning of the term State Capture and whether or not it can be used to describe the processes happening in the Late Roman Empire. The term State Capture is a modern one. It was first used to describe actions of certain powerful individuals or groups of people in the post-Soviet republics of Eastern Europe that were harmful to the welfare of the state. Very similar kind of actions can be found taking place in the period of the Late Roman Empire. However, using modern terms in connection with the antiquity carries certain methodological difficulties that will be addressed in the paper in order to find out how is using of the term beneficial. The period of the Late Roman Empire is often known for the corruption among the Roman society and the term State Capture, if used correctly, can help with understanding some processes closely tied with corruption. On top of that, working with the modern terms primary used not in history but in other sciences, can bring certain kind of interdisciplinarity and innovation to the field of historical studies.

Viktor Wintner (Brno): Evangelium versificatum or How to put the Gospel into verses

Until the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, Christian literature had not produced a poem which would be qualitatively comparable to Homer´s Iliad or Vergil´s Aeneid. A Christian of Hispanic origin, Aquilinus Iuvencus, had, however, decided to match the most famous of the pagan poets in their own genre which resulted in his versification of the New Testament Gospels known as Evangeliorum libri quattuor, the first biblical epic of the ancient times. What was the transformation that the original text of the Gospel underwent during the process of versification? Was it exposed to embellishment or simplification? Can we speak about word-to-word poetization or free-thinking paraphrasing? These are the very questions which are going to be answered by close stylistic comparison between the parables of the Last Judgement in their original prosaic form and their later poetic adaptation produced by Iuvencus.

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