Deparment of Classics
410 Blegen Library
PO Box 210226
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0226
Phone | (513) 556-2584
Fax | (513) 556-4366
In the past few years UC Classics has been well represented at the Archaeological Institute of America/American Philological Association (AIA/APA) conferece each winter. In both 2010 and 2011 we had nine speakers and last year we had 11 speakers at the conference. This winter we will have ten speakers from UC Classics presenting their scholarship.
Recent work on Minoanization within the Cyclades has focused on reconstructingthe complex traditions of potting communities amongst the islands. The ceramicproduction sequence is intrinsically bound up with learned and shared practices ona local level, offering a window onto the introduction of specific technologies suchas the potter's wheel. This technique was first used for producing local ceramicswithin island settlements during the MBA and is considered by scholars of Aegeanprehistory as part of a package of technological innovations that spread across theAegean from Crete. The use of the wheel requires high-intensity, sustained contactbetween two potters, and so the adoption of this technique within local pottingpractice gives new insights to the nature of interactions between the communitiesof the Cyclades and those on Crete over this period. By reconstructing the ways inwhich local communities adopted Minoan ceramic technologies, we propose thatpotters at both Ayia Irini and Phylakopi recognized a conceptual connection betweentheir own use of the wheel and Cretan wheel-made production, even though eachCycladic community employed Minoan technology in its own ways.
This connection to Crete, Minoan pottery, and Minoan technology continued to beimportant in the choices made by local potters well into LC II, even as ceramicevidence suggests that the Mainland had begun to produce the finewares mostcommonly imported to the Cyclades. As the Mycenaeans became powerful playerswithin trade networks of the Cyclades during LC II-III, local choices made by pottersat Phylakopi and Ayia Irini do not appear to reflect a conceptual connection toMainland culture (like that previously noted for Minoan culture), despite a longhistory of contact with Mainlanders. Furthermore, the implication that Cycladiccommunities – who even during LC II developed thriving industries in other areas ofproduction – did not adopt Mainland technologies that might have enhanced thevalue of local ceramic products suggests that significantly different relationshipsexisted between Cycladic and Mainland craftspeople and consumers. That is, thelocal response to the growth of Mainland influence was not just one of replacingMinoan products with Mycenaean ones, but of a substantial shift in local productionstrategies. We argue that scholars seeking to understand Mycenaeanization in theceramic record may gain significant insight into the responses of pottingcommunities and their consumers to LBA acculturation processes throughintegrated, diachronic investigations of local production strategies, whichincorporate both compositional and technological analysis.
The development of frameworks and models for the life cycle of Roman pottery has been the subject of much discussion in recent scholarship, but additional case studies are needed to illustrate how these models can be applied to excavated materials. This paper utilizes reuse models to investigate the life cycle of one class of ceramics, amphorae, in the context of two Pompeian insulae (I.1 and VIII.7) excavated by the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (University of Cincinnati). These excavations have demonstrated that amphorae could serve in many different capacities in an urban environment; reused amphorae were utilized in aboveground drainage systems, in underground soak-away systems for the removal of commercial or industrial waste, in construction and leveling fills, and in various other infrastructural roles.
My analysis brings together the ceramic, architectural, and environmental data related to these instances of reuse in order to reconstruct patterns and preferences in the ways in which the inhabitants of Pompeii chose to repurpose amphorae. These patterns of reuse suggest that in an urban environment, discarded amphorae were an important and readily available resource in industrial and commercial infrastructure. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that patterns of reuse and repurposing differed between the two excavated insulae, suggesting variability both in access to discarded amphorae and in the nature of industrial and commercial activities taking place in each insula. By focusing on the provenance and dating of these vessels, as well as the date of their reuse in urban infrastructure, this case study also reveals evidence for the time lapse between the use and reuse of the amphorae, which in turn reveals something of the length of their journey from production to infrastructural use. Through this careful examination of reused and repurposed amphorae from two Pompeian insulae, it is therefore possible to both examine the applicability of models for the life cycle of Roman amphorae and to illustrate in greater detail the frequency and importance of reused amphorae in an urban context.
This paper reevaluates the influence of Leonidas of Tarentum on Greek epigrammatists of the 1st century BCE. Scholars have noted a shift in Greek epigram of this period away from, for instance, traditional erotic themes and towards occasional poetry and the depiction of the poet’s own life and social milieu (Laurens 1965; Cogitore 2010). This paper will argue that the poets of this period follow, to a certain degree, a common set of conventions in their representation of themselves within their work. In particular, it will argue that Leonidas, a figure whose influence on earlier Greek epigram is already well-known (Gow Page 1965 and 1968; Gigante 1971; Gutzwiller 1998), served as a common model for poets of this time in representing themselves within their work. In so doing it will shed light on Leonidas’ reception in antiquity as well as the generic development of epigram after Meleager.
Leonidas wrote himself into his own epigrams, creating a vivid poetic persona imbued with the ethical principles of ancient Cynicism. He communicated his ethical message through sermons in the manner of diatribe, dedicatory and funerary epigrams on humble members of society, and epigrams about his own life. In AP 6.302, which will serve as my primary example in this paper, the poet addresses mice that have invaded his hut (καλυβής, 1) in search of food, bidding them to go elsewhere since he leads a life of simple possessions (λιτά, 7), keeping only enough food in his meal-tub (σιπύη, 2) for himself. Mock-epic diction and the use of the language of religious imprecation contribute to the vivid characterization and the ethical urgency of the speaker; meanwhile, the poet’s material circumstances are made into symbols of his ethical outlook.
While some later epigrammatists (e.g. Ariston, AP 3.303) imitate this poem quite directly, others range further afield while still engaging with the poem’s quasi-religious language, ethical content, imagery, and key words. I will discuss three examples in detail in order to illustrate some of the techniques used by the epigrammatists in engaging with Leonidas and one another. In the first of these, AP 11.44, Philodemus recasts Leonidas’ address to the mice as an invitation, rather than a prohibition. He bids Lucius Calpurnius Piso to come to his simple cottage (λιτὴν καλιάδα, 1) to enjoy a dinner in honor of Epicurus. Like Leonidas’ hut and his simple food, Philodemus’ cottage and unpretentious fare are symbols of his ethical outlook on life. Cynic irascibility is here transmuted into Epicurean friendliness, and Leonidas’ imprecation becomes a kind of prayer directed to Piso, who will enrich the company by his very presence (ἄξομεν ἐκ λιτῆς εἰκάδα πιοτέρην, 8).
In accordance with his hedonistic predilections, Antipater of Thessalonica (AP 11.20) recasts Philodemus’ dinner party of Epicurus as a raucous symposium in honor of Homer and Archilochus. Returning to Leonidas’ quasi-religious language, Antipater shoos away not mice, but pedantic, water-drinking poets from his wine-jar, excluding them from the ritual pouring of libations. Merging Callimachean and Leonidean terminology, Antipater rejects those who drink “plain water” (λιτὸν ὕδωρ, 4). Antipater has thus made his symposium and his wine-jar, in a way analogous to Leonidas’ hut and meal-tub, serve as physical representations of his ethical and poetic principles.
Crinagoras (AP 5.545) ingeniously references both Leonidas and Philodemus at once. He presents to Marcus Claudius Marcellus a copy of Callimachus’ Hecale, a poem featuring a prominent scene of hospitality offered by a humble person (Hecale) to a hero (Theseus). The scene of this hospitality is a simple hut (καλιήν, 3). Like Leonidas, Crinagoras has an ethical purpose—to inspire Marcellus to a virtuous life (κλεινοῦ τ ̓ αἶνον ἴσον βιότου, 6) in part through the appreciation of poetry. Like Antipater’s krater or Leonidas’ meal-tub, meanwhile, the book Crinagoras gives to Marcellus serves as a physical symbol of the ethical principles he espouses.
Since 2010 the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP) has been conducting a variety of fieldwork in the area immediately north of Petra, southern Jordan. One component of this project, the Petra Area and Wadi Silaysil survey (or PAWS), is an intensive pedestrian survey focused on recording artifacts and features of all types and periods across the landscape. While we have, up to this point, avoided the often ambiguous and problematic practice of site definition, meaningful patterns among particular feature types have emerged from field recording and GIS-based mapping of both anthropogenic elements of the landscape and artifact densities. This spatial and typological perspective provides a means to draw conclusions about the ways in which people from antiquity to the present have inhabited and modified this landscape.
The high density of built and rock-cut features, in particular, has presented a unique set of methodological and interpretative challenges not often encountered in Mediterranean survey archaeology (i.e., over 1000 archaeological features or feature groups were recorded in a survey area of around 600 hectares). Of special interest are complex and extensive systems of dammed wadis and terrace walls over large areas of land north of the city center. The documented landscape saw a more significant human modification of the terrain than previously recognized, much of it designed for the purposes of directing water and improving agriculture. Alterations included the construction of vast terraced plots, most likely in the service of growing grapes, wheat, and perhaps olives. Nearby finds were dominated by ceramics of the 1st centuries BCE and CE, suggesting that much of this improvement took place during the last centuries prior to Roman annexation, when the Nabataean empire was at its zenith. When contrasted with the area’s current desiccation, signs of former productivity are especially striking.
Mapping of other features which are not purely functional in nature, such as rock-carved inscriptions, petroglyphs, and aniconic representations of Nabataean deities, shows that the landscape in this area was also symbolically significant to Petra’s ancient inhabitants and visitors. Moreover, such installations, combined with traces of ancient structures and roads, have helped to situate probable ancient entryways into the city for travelers coming from the north. This paper will describe how strategies for managing the landscape changed over time, thus supplementing the well-known history of Petra itself with extensive evidence of human activity in its hinterland.
Heather Graybehl, Samantha Ximeri, Mark D. Hammond, Christian Cloke and Peter M. Day: "The Production and Distribution of Corinthian Cooking and Southern Argolid fabrics in the Late Roman Northeast Peloponnese"
Recent studies of Late Roman ceramics (4th-7th centuries A.D) at the sites of Corinth and Nemea have revealed several fabric groups in a variety of vessel shapes, which were exchanged around the Corinthia and Argolid. Two fabrics - Corinthian cooking fabric (C.c.f.), thought to be manufactured in the vicinity of Ancient Corinth, and the “Southern Argolid” fabric - represent large centers of manufacture that seem to have supplied the surrounding region with utilitarian and transport vessels. This paper presents analyses of ceramics from Panayia Field, Corinth and the Nemea Valley Archaeological Project (NVAP), to characterize and compare these fabric categories from each location.
The Corinthian cooking fabric (C.c.f) is the one of the most prevalent types of ceramic fabric found in the Late Roman (4th-7th centuries AD) assemblages in Panayia Field and NVAP. Employed in the manufacture of coarseware vessels during the course of the Roman period from the 1st century BC, this fabric was used not only for cooking pots, but also for amphorae, basins, and some table wares. These coarse red fabrics were are dominated by characteristic large chert inclusions, quartz and garnet. It is concluded that the examples from Nemea and Corinth are from the same production location, though it is difficult to suggest their geographical source. In addition they appear to match a fabric published by Whitbread from the Berbati-Limnes Survey that he suggests matches a local clay source. The cooking pot fabric clearly represents products with a wide distribution from one source, though petrography alone cannot pin-point its origin as yet.
The “Southern Argolid” fabric is the primary fabric used in the manufacture of Late Roman Amphora 2 vessels in the Northeast Peloponnese. Several types of serving and storage vessels, such as basins, lekanes, and pitchers were also produced in this fabric. Again, in this case the products from Corinth and those from the NVAP were found to be of identical composition and to be products of one manufacturing center. This characteristic fabric has been compared subsequently to those found in kilns from Kounoupi in the Southern Argolid to examine whether it may have served as a production center for this fabric.
This paper will discuss the implications of these analytical results, the changes in production over the four centuries in question, and the distribution of Corinthian cooking and the “Argolid” fabrics across the Northeast Peloponnese.
The South Stoa in Corinth, central to the commercial life of the Hellenistic city, was perhaps the most high-profile victim of the Roman destruction of the city in 146 BC. Though the stoa itself survived largely intact, the shops and offices inside it were sacked and left in a ruinous state. The wells and hoards inside those stoa shops preserve a valuable record of life immediately before and subsequent to the fall of the city. Recent studies of the deposits in these wells have fundamentally changed our understanding of their dates and formation, requiring a reexamination of the coins found within and the conclusions based upon them. Such a re-assessment is vital because, as Jennifer Warren’s work on the bronze coinage of Sikyon and the Achaean League has shown, coins from the South Stoa wells play a critical role in our understanding—historical, numismatic, and archaeological—of the 2nd century BC in the Corinthia. In his publication of the South Stoa coins, Martin Price argued that Corinth had ceased minting bronze coinage by the end of the 3rd century BC and, based on the presence of large numbers of Sikyonian coins in the later fills of the South Stoa wells, that until the sack of the city in 146 Corinthians used mostly bronze coins from Sikyon for their basic coinage. Based on new examination of the coins and their contexts, I argue that Corinthian bronze coins remained the primary coinage in use in the markets of antebellum Corinth. The sharp rise in Sikyonian coins in the South Stoa wells only becomes manifest in the post-destruction material dumped down the wells during cleaning operations in preparation for the reestablishment of Corinth as a Roman colony in 44 BC. This period (146-44 BC) corresponds to a time of dramatic economic growth for Sikyon and to the city’s control of the Corinthia. This new interpretation of the coins from the South Stoa wells sheds new light not only on the bustling Corinth of the Achaean League, but also on economic life in the ruins of the post-Mummian city.
In 1952, excavations in the Megaron of the Palace of Nestor in southwest Messenia uncovered one of the best preserved examples of a Mycenaean painted floor. This floor, laid out as a large grid, was composed of more than one hundred squares each decorated with a brightly painted pattern. In a small number of these squares were found enigmatic “incised lines,” which Carl Blegen and Marion Rawson tentatively interpreted as marking places for persons to stand during important state ceremonies. New evidence, however, gleaned from primary excavation notes and drawings, and from firsthand investigation of sections of the floor of the Megaron's Hearth Room during the summer of 2012, suggests the alternative interpretation that these lines were artists’ grids. This drafting technique, well-known from depictions of textiles in Minoan wall painting, is the first of its kind identified on a Late Bronze Age Greek floor and raises questions about how and why it was employed. This presentation will address these questions, and discuss how the grids may help to interpret the function of the overall layout and design of the Pylian floor as a whole.
The catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE undoubtedly reshaped life in southern Campania. Theories on the lasting effects of the eruption, however, have varied greatly, with the return to economic vitality placed anywhere from the years immediately following the calamity to several centuries later. The relative scarcity of archaeological material and the almost complete silence of the literary sources have led to a general uncertainty regarding the state of the region during this important period.
This paper examines the most widely available evidence for life in southern Campania after the eruption, the funerary material, in order to trace post-eruption experiences in Stabiae, Nuceria, Surrentum, and Salernum, as well as in the territories of the destroyed cities Pompeii and Herculaneum. By bringing together the evidence of monumental tombs, individual burials, and independent grave markers from each city, I demonstrate the socio-economic complexity of the region in the years after 79 CE, highlighting the divergent experiences of various communities and of the people who lived within them. In each city, funerary culture reveals a marked economic downturn resulting from the eruption, but recovery rates varied from place to place, with certain towns revitalizing rapidly, and others lagging behind. Additionally, experiences varied within communities, as certain individuals and families suffered from the new economic environment while others found ways to thrive. The multifaceted picture presented by this new analysis of the funerary evidence indicates the inherent difficulty of attempting to fit all of southern Campania into a single mold, and helps to explain why the course of recovery has been subject to such variant interpretations. In treating the communities of the region as separate pieces of a larger whole, we are able to arrive at a more subtle, and ultimately a more satisfactory, understanding of the effects of one of the Roman period’s most devastating natural disasters.
In 546 B.C.E., The Phrygian city of Gordion in central Anatolia was integrated into the Persian empire. Gordion, a thriving industrial and commercial center, had served as the cultural and political capital of the Phrygians from the Early Iron Age and was characterized by palatial megara dominating a fortified citadel and monumental burial mounds dotting the landscape. During the Persian period, Gordion continued to thrive, but maintained only regional importance within the broader Persian empire. From the time of Persian conquest leading up to Alexander the Great’s arrival in 334 B.C.E., the city witnessed a remarkable change in its topography as the formal, ashlar megara that had housed the political and cultural activities of the Phrygian capital were gradually dismantled and replaced by modest, rubble buildings showing evidence for mixed domestic and industrial activity. The architectural history of this transformation has never been systematically studied, however, due to the complex disturbed stratigraphy of the citadel. This paper presents evidence for Phrygian domestic architectural forms during the period of Persian control through a careful reconstruction of the excavation records.
These rubble structures that became widespread on the citadel by the end of the fourth century B.C.E. were remarkably uniform in their construction and size, the majority of them being one-roomed, semi-subterranean chambers. Rodney S. Young, who excavated the citadel from 1950-1973, identified these rubble structures as “cellars,” but did not consider their function or overall architectural form. Subsequent excavations by Mary M. Voigt (1988-2006), which provide comparative data from other parts of the city, indicate that while the appearance of these cellars on the citadel was unique to this period, their architectural style was traditional in respect to Phrygian domestic architectural forms. By combining the largely unstudied data from Young’s excavations with Voigt’s publications, it is now possible to formulate a holistic view of domestic activity at Gordion in the sixth to fourth centuries B.C.E. and a greater understanding of how this regional city transformed under Persian control. Furthermore, the characteristically Phrygian building activity on the citadel during Persian rule indicates aspects of Persian imperialism—namely, that the Persian administration did not appropriate or maintain the city’s preexisting monumental architecture, but rather granted their subjects the authority to create a new city based on their own needs.
This paper presents a regional study of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age settlement and burial sites from ancient Epirus. Similarities in ceramic styles, artifact types, and architectural constructions from Epirus indicate that prehistoric communities in northern Greece and southern Albania traded and communicated with one another, and shared common cultural characteristics. However, accounts of Epirus’s prehistory often trace the modern political border between Greece and Albania as a strict cultural divide, despite the nonexistence of that border in antiquity.
By comparing diachronic growths and changes between 1400 and 800 BC of sites located along the Ionian coastal plain, this study considers what roles native Epirote communities, Mycenaeans, and later Greek colonists played in the development and urbanization of this region’s landscape. Furthermore, it offers a chance to test whether models of growth, collapse, and urbanization that have been applied to southern Greece for this same period are also applicable to ancient Epirus. By consolidating the conventionally separate prehistories of southern Albania and northern Greece, this study seeks to access this region its ancient residents would have experienced it.
Traditionally, archaeological scholarship has approached the study of Attic pottery in Southern Italy from the Athenian perspective. The distribution of vases has been used as a proxy to reconstruct Athenian trade routes and export/import markets, which in turn has been tied to fifth century political and economic Greek history. As a consequence, Attic imports have been discussed on their own--separated from their context--and usually grouped in macro-areas (e.g., Apulia, Sicily, the Ionic Gulf), which each comprise multiple cultural entities.
My paper discusses the role of Attic imports in their contexts, using as a case study the grave good assemblages from Peucetia (central Apulia). Although rare in Peucetian settlements, hundreds of Attic pots--including masterpieces like the Pronomos vase--found their way into the tombs of this Italic population between the mid 6th century and the second half of the 4th century BCE.
The presence of these imports cannot be explained by “hellenization” of the Italic population. While Greek vases and customs were certainly appealing to the Peucetians, they never replaced the indigenous forms, which continue to appear in the assemblages in association with Greek and Greek-looking vessels. Moreover, the core of the typical grave good assemblage in Peucetia had already been codified at the beginning of the 5th century BCE (a mixing vessel, at least one serving vessel, a number of non-decorated drinking vessels, a cooking pot, a small vase for libations, and a number of vessels for food consumption). The arrival of Greek vases did not change the basic core of an assemblage. Rather, the Peucetians chose specific shapes from the Greek repertoire that could be assimilated easily into these six existing categories. Furthermore, in some cases Attic vases were chosen to complement figured South Italian vases in the assemblage and not because the scenes represented a Greek ideal to which the Peucetians aspired.
The choices made for Peucetian tombs have nothing to do with emulation or slavish imitation of Greek culture, but rather they are highly conscious expressions of an already existing local tradition. “Being Greek” was not the goal of the Peucetians; rather, they actively appropriated the idea of “Greekness” and repurposed it to express their Italic identity.