Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics

UC Classics Will be Well Represented at the Annual AIA/APA Conference in January
The annual Archaeological Institute of America/American Philological Association meeting will have nine speakers from UC Classics. The following papers will be presented:

Andrew Connor
"Beset on All Sides by Peasants:" Making the Worker Invisible on the Roman Villa

The Roman villa was a place of both extreme intellectual and physical leisure, otium, and, often, extensive agricultural labors. The traditional focus of ancient literature, art and public attention on the elite use of the villa complex has resulted in an occasionally invisible role for the workers on those villas. Based on the spatial organization of Roman villas in Italy, Germany, and Britain, this paper argues that the Roman villa complex was designed, when possible, to limit the visual intrusion of the negotium of workers on the otium being practiced by the elite society, and described by, among others, Cicero and Pliny the Younger. As the recreatory aspect of the villa became more pronounced, villa owners at such sites as Gadebridge Park in eastern England and Settefinestre in Italy undertook reconstructions of the physical space around the complex to minimize the visibility of the worker’s negotium, often against the apparent economic interests of the owner. Artful management of the topography of the villa—seen most clearly in Hadrian’s hillside villa of Tivoli—was combined with carefully arranged viewsheds and demarcating architecture, as at Great Witcombe in southwestern England. These efforts created an idealized image of the villa, perfected for undisturbed otium and easily reproduced across the empire, as far away as England, Belgium, or Germany.


Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker
Prioritizing the Past: A Byzantine Deposit from the Palace of Nestor at Englianos


Steven Ellis
"How to Start a Career That's Already Begun"
in the workshop: The Future is Now: A Forum on Career Strategies for Archaeology Graduate Students


Suzanne Faris
Crossing Borders, Crossing Categories: When Westerners Go Eas

Much valuable scholarship has been focused on how Romans and Greeks defined themselves as westerners, with all that this implied, as against a feminized Eastern “Other.”  A related question arises as to the perception of the non-Greek or non-Roman westerner who moves east and rejects his native ethnic and culture and conspicuously embraces a Greek or Roman (or Greco-Roman) identity.  Maud Gleason, in her seminal study of the Second Sophistic, has effectively used gender theory to shed light the controversial career of the second-century sophist and alleged hermaphrodite Favorinus of Arles, a transplanted western provincial who gained fame after relocating from Arles to Ephesus. In this paper, I shall expand upon Gleason’s analysis by applying contemporary post-colonial theory to examine Favorinus and Apuleius of Madauros, another transplanted western provincial whose oratorical talents and esoteric education made him both a celebrity and a target.

The literary evidence will reveal that while these individuals, largely sophists or self-styled philosophers, sought to craft their own image as seemed most expedient, others frequently viewed them with suspicion, or more precisely with a combination of fascination and disgust, as one might have viewed a prodigious natural oddity such as the birth of a two-headed calf or a hermaphrodite infant.  That is to say, border-crossers were perceived as a threat on two levels: they threatened the established social order by using their mastery of the hegemonic discourse to advance themselves socially and economically and, on a more fundamental level, such individuals’ mastery of the privileged discourse in se challenged deep-seated mental classifications of geography, peoples and gender.

Favorinus actively embraced this geographic and gender ambiguity, even playing up the gender-bending possibilities of his anomalous identity.  Apuleius, albeit less overtly “transgressive” in fashioning his public image, nevertheless did not hide his African-provincial background, but subtly advertised it as evidence of the magnitude of his educational and cultural achievements.

The crux of the threat posed to the Greco-Roman establishment by such individuals, transplanted western-provincials, is that of the successful cultural hybrid: the colonial subject (feminized as members of a dominated and allegedly culturally inferior group) who have not only mastered the hegemonic language(s) and discourse, but employed that mastery to rival and even surpass their “betters” economically and socially, and furthermore whose successes had a sexual component: For example, Favorinus was, according to his chief rival and enemy Polemo,  a “born eunuch” and a “Gaul who played the Greek,” who nevertheless allegedly seduced the wife of a consular, while Apuleius managed to seduce and marry a wealthy older woman, thus arousing the enmity of her late husband’s family and an accusation of criminal magic.

This paper will examine the problem of hybridization in the perception and public image of transgressive individuals of this type, with special attention to the issue of gender-stereotypes of the west-east transplant as simultaneously hyper-sexed and feminized males.


Anne Feltovich
Ethical Decision-Making among Women in Menander

As scholars, we have been considering for some time how the social status of women in comedy places limitations on their actions (Gomme 1938; Fantham 1975).  Foley has argued convincingly that social status plays a role in the decision-making process of women in tragedy (2001, 109), and Traill has examined the role of social status on the decisions made by women in Menander’s Epitrepontes (2008, 205-235) and Samia (156-170).  But Traill, as others, is primarily interested in the interaction between male and female, and primarily concerned with women of hetaira status: in the Samia, Traill suggests that the pallakē Chrysis makes her decisions based on divided loyalties to her lover Demeas and his son Moschion (162), and with a goal of mending the relationship between these two men (168).  Many have speculated on the motives for Chrysis’ actions (scholarship summarized in Krieter-Spiro 1997, 117-120), but none allows for the possibility that the women’s network offers a vital motive not just for Chrysis but for all of the women in this play.  In this paper I will argue that Menander shows women making decisions with a view towards strengthening their social network with other women. The level of risk that a woman is willing to take to help another woman is related to her social status, which in turn is related to how great a reward she may hope for as a result of her actions.  This pattern is found in several plays of Menander and his Latin descendants, but I will be focusing on the Samia as a case study.

In the prologue of the Samia, Moschion explains that the women of two households have a long-standing friendship (l. 35-7), and Menander is careful to demonstrate the emotional attachment they have to each other (l. 426).  Throughout the play, these women work together to protect each other and themselves.  The pallakē Chrysis claims the baby of a citizen korē as her own at great personal risk to herself: she is in danger of losing her livelihood (her lover Demea throws her out, l. 133-4), and possibly in danger of losing her life (l. 580-81).  Because of her low social status and dependence upon others, the risks that Chrysis takes are great, but so is the potential reward: by helping the citizen women, she gains the long-term security that comes from a strengthened social network. By protecting Chrysis, the korē Plangon invokes the ire of her father (l. 535-55), but she escapes the far greater penalty that would come if the truth of the baby’s parentage were revealed.  Plangon’s mother, also participating in the plot to conceal the baby’s parentage, risks only a temporary upsetting of her marital dynamic, but hopes to protect her daughter’s chances for a secure future.  By working together, each of the three women has a greater chance for future security.  Although each stands to gain something, we should not see their motives as purely short-term; by continuing to strengthen this support network, they are creating a resource for the future.  I do not suggest that the women’s network is the only motive for their actions, but I would like to propose it as a new motive for us to consider as we read Menander and New Comedy.


Shannon LaFayette
New Reflections on the Collapse and Reoccupation of the Palace of Nestor

In this paper I present new evidence from Carl Blegen’s excavation archives to support a more gradual collapse of the Palace of Nestor architecture and possible Iron Age activity not only on the hilltop, but also in the ruins of the palace. The original publication of the Palace of Nestor presented a catastrophic collapse in LH IIIB, after which the palace hilltop lay in ruin, abandoned and overgrown, before it was reoccupied in the 7th century B.C. In the past two decades, however, an earlier Iron Age date for reoccupation of the hilltop has become well-attested, but the extent and nature of this reoccupation remains unclear.

My detailed analysis of the stragraphic records reveals that architectural debris from the second floor was distributed vertically throughout the palace deposits, indicating that portions of the palace’s second floor remained standing for some time following the LH IIIB fire. As a result, access to the palace site for looting and reuse was much greater than traditionally believed. Furthermore, I attribute the resiliency of the architecture in certain areas of the palace, particularly Room 20 of the pantries, to less complete burning than the excavators originally envisioned. With this new evidence, I demonstrate that the collapse of the palace was not instantaneous and I provide an exciting picture of the palace still standing as both a visual landmark and a partially-usable structure in the Iron Age.


Kathleen M. Quinn
Drowned in the Depths of Obscurity: How Archaeology both Marginalized and Revitalized Our Understanding of Late Byzantine Troy

This paper examines the treatment of Byzantine material culture excavated at the historic site of Troy in northwestern Turkey. Consideration is given to how the methodologies and research agendas employed by three generations of archaeolo- gists have impacted the understanding of the area’s history during the postclassi- cal period. The paper begins with a brief overview of the contributions of Heinrich Schliemann and Wilhelm Dörpfeld to our knowledge of Byzantine history at Troy, but the bulk of the previously unpublished evidence for this paper comes from the excavations of the University of Cincinnati archaeologists led by Carl W. Blegen. In keeping with the intellectual climate of the age, the research agendas of both of these early teams of archaeologists marginalized the study of Byzantine remains and often left little in the way of contextualized or detailed stratified deposits. In the case of the Blegen excavations, the Byzantine material survives today as tantalizing tidbits in old manuscripts, handwritten field journals, and card files of artifact and photographic inventories. When coupled with the finds from the more recent excavations of the Troia Archaeological Project (1988–present), how- ever, this “first out” material tells the tale of a small yet prosperous Late Byzantine settlement. Now known as Troy X, this Byzantine “level” of the famous Bronze Age citadel consists of small houses and agricultural buildings, cemeteries, and a qanat-style water supply system dating to the 13th and 14th centuries C.E.


Jed M. Thorn
New Archaeometric Evidence for Apulian Red-Figure Production Centers

Since the first half of the 20th century, it has been widely assumed that the Greek colony of Taras was the birthplace of Apulian red-figure pottery. It is also generally assumed that this pottery was produced exclusively at Taras for roughly the first century of its existence (c. 430 - 340 B.C.). However, the preference for Taras has historically been based on rather subjective criteria, and debate on this important issue has been hampered by a lack of hard evidence.

This paper presents the results of a neutron activation analysis conducted on a group of 41 Apulian red-figure vases -- the largest Apulian red-figure sample group ever to have been subjected to chemical analysis. The project was designed to test the prevailing theory that Taras was the exclusive production center of Apulian red-figure pottery c. 430 - 340 B.C. It employed archaeological reference material made with Tarantine clay, and this allowed for some important conclusions to be drawn regarding the nature and extent of Tarantine red-figure production. The analysis demonstrates that while certain vase-painters can be linked decisively with Taras, other important workshops were using a clay type that was clearly distinct from Tarantine clay.

I conclude by arguing that the relationship between Apulia’s non-Greek inhabitants and Apulian red-figure workshops may have been much closer than has typically been assumed. The results suggest that Apulian red-figure may even have been born in a non-Greek settlement, and this has important implications for our understanding of intercultural dynamics in ancient South Italy.