UNIVERSITY OF NATAL, ROMAN STUDIES CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS
Durban, South Africa
Wednesday, 8th July to Friday, 10th July 1992
Organisers: W. J. Dominik and J. L. Hilton
SESSION 1 ON HISTORY, M. LAMBERT, CHAIR
ROMAN AGE LAWS AND THE REPUBLICAN CURSUS HONORUM
R. J. Evans, University of South Africa
What were the regulations governing a young man's entry into a political career, and what qualifications was he actually obliged to obtain before he could aspire to the highest magistracies of the res publica? The structure of the cursus honorum was fixed for all time by Augustus shortly after 27 BC, and prior to this date Sulla's leges Corneliae had stipulated certain requirements for a political career at Rome. Despite the fact that the lex Villia annalis appears to have enforced provisions for holding public office, there is evidence to suggest that the cursus which existed before Sulla's dictatorship was very much more flexible. Although the traditional offices were available to would-be politicians who desired them, it may be argued that many, in fact, avoided all but the most senior and prestigious positions. Indeed, it seems to have mattered less what offices were held than whether a Roman politician was ultimately successful.
MUNICIPAL LITES IN THE ROMAN WORLD AND OUTSIDE
M. Kleijwegt, University of South Africa
Every Roman city possessed a municipal council to administer local politics. Each year four to six magistrates were elected who were responsible for jurisdiction, the food supply and finances. Outside Italy, the Roman government relied heavily on municipal lites for matters of taxation, the upkeep of roads and the billeting of troops. In concreto, the towns represented a vital part in the machinery of state. It is more than a matter of coincidence that when the Roman empire was slowly crumbling away, the town councils are said to have been experiencing a period of crisis. Up until now municipal lites in the Roman empire have not been studied in detail. Possibly, the cause for this must be sought in the fact that ancient literary sources - still the primary source for the majority of us - are particularly unhelpful in giving information on municipal affairs. A man like Tacitus was to a large extent only interested in imperial affairs. The most informative source on municipal lites is provided by epigraphy. Unfortunately, epigraphists are not always able ancient historians. Work on municipal lites, as I see it, should move in two directions. Firstly, one should collect all the evidence available and digest from this some basic aspects of municipal lites in the ancient world. Secondly, one should choose a sociological approach and establish a paradigm for lite-behaviour. This should be tested against the data we have for the ancient world and early modern Europe. Scholars on the latter period have provided us with many excellent monographs on individual cities. Thus, what is not known for the ancient world can be tested against a similar background in the same region: the Mediterranean world.
POPULAR AND HIGHER EDUCATION IN AFRICA PROCONSULARIS IN THE SECOND CENTURY AD
F. Opeku, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
To be published in Scholia ns Vol. 2 (1993).
THE CONCEPT OF 'CLASS' AND THE SOCIETY OF THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE
H. Szesnat, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
The basic thesis of this paper is that, despite the claims of Finley and others, a Marxist concept of class (as opposed to ordo and/or status) can be highly useful for the analysis of the early Roman empire, provided that its purpose is recognised. Different sociological concepts of class are briefly described in order to point to an important misunderstanding by many critics of the Marxist class concept: it is is not a gradational concept equalling the notion of social stratification (as are those of, for instance, Alf ldy and Finley), but rather is a relational concept. Then a Marxist- oriented, relational class concept is developed that helps to describe and explain essential socio-economic inequalities within the society of the early Roman empire. Following the work of de Ste Croix, it is my contention that the basic distinction between classes of the early Roman empire rests on the ownership and control of land; thus the two basic groups of classes can be called 'propertied' and 'non-propertied'. However, legal, occupational, labour, and other aspects are not ignored within this concept of class. The definition and conceptual clarification of sub-classes within the propertied and non-propertied classes remains problematic; further work is needed in this field.
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF WOMEN: ROLE REVERSAL AND POWER-BROKERS IN ROMAN HISTORIOGRAPHY
M. De Marre, University of South Africa
Women were undoubtedly involved in political life from whenever politics began at Rome to the end of the empire in the west and, indeed, to the ultimate collapse of Byzantine civilisation. The role of politicised women was, however, very seldom overt or easily identified. Moreover, female roles were affected, in differing degrees, by the prejudices of writers in antiquity who were, for the most part, male. How far was the position of women in politics distorted by the historian concerned, perhaps, about enhancing the majesty of a masculine dominated Roman society? To what extent may shifting perceptions in female contributions to public affairs, for example, from the regal period to the early principate, be ascertained in the sources? Furthermore, is it possible that the views and beliefs of modern writers and twentieth century preconceptions, especially related to feminism and a male-oriented social framework, have coloured the real facts as found in the source material? This paper not only examines the various political roles which were assigned to women by Roman historiographers and identifies changes in the way that they were represented by these writers, but also attempts to analyse the process by which current academic trends have produced apparently well-founded hypotheses concerning the functions of dynamic females, but without solid foundation in the sources.
THE RES GESTAE AND THE AUGUSTAN AGE
T. T. Rapke, University of the Witwatersrand
The Res Gestae divi Augusti is a unique and a uniquely maltreated document. No other emperor chose to justify or commemorate his career, achievements, and policies in this fashion; historians, both in antiquity and in modern times have either ignored its existence altogether or have made but scant use of its contents. It is argued that the date of composition was not later than AD 1 and that the Res Gestae received very few finishing touches after that date. The few additions and updates that were made were probably penned in AD 14. The comparatively early date for the all but final draft of the document made it an unattractive source for historians in antiquity. It is not a complete record of Augustus' achievement - the unhappy but fascinating years AD 2 to 10 are all but ignored; Tiberius receives even less attention than Gaius Caesar in a work that could have been used, at least in part, to promote his prestige and suitability for the destiny that was so plainly to be his after AD 4. Its overall tone and tendency never quite rise above those which Augustus adopted in his earlier work, the Autobiography - explanation, justification, and self- exculpation. That Augustus chose not to proceed with his Autobiography beyond the year 26 BC was a mistake. Despite being even more incomplete than the Res Gestae, the Autobiography was widely read and, to judge from the number of fragments that appear in an impressive range of ancient writers, much more widely used and quoted than the later, shorter and more accessible work.
SESSION 2 ON HISTORY, J. L. HILTON, CHAIR
M. VALERIUS MESSALLA CORVINUS. AN ARISTOCRATIC OPPORTUNIST?
A. Watson, University of Durban-Westville
M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus has been accused by Sir Ronald Syme of being an aristocratic opportunist. While Corvinus' aristocratic status is beyond question, it is the purpose of this paper to defend him against the charge of opportunism. It will attempt to show that Corvinus was not only not opportunistic in his activities and intentions but, on the contrary, was behaving properly in terms of his class; it will also attempt to explain the difference in attitude towards his actions and towards similar actions by contemporaries as being the result of socio-economic bias.
THE SATURNALIA AND THE POLITICS OF RITUAL
M. Lambert, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
In the light of H.S. Versnel's analysis of the Athenian myth and ritual complex, the Kronia, this paper argues that, as a ritual of rebellion, the Roman Saturnalia dangerously dissolves the status quo in order to confirm it. The ritual is politically exploited by the ruling class in order to legitimise its continued domination.
REFLECTIONS ON A MIRROR: POSSIBLE EVIDENCE FOR THE EARLY ORIGIN OF THE CANONICAL VERSION OF THE ROMAN FOUNDATION LEGEND
P. Tennant, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
A re-examination of a scene engraved on a fourth century BC bronze mirror from Praeneste suggests that the main elements of the Romulus and Remus legend - in particular the role of Mars - may have their roots in an earlier period than is generally assumed.
SOME STATISTICS ON THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN MONUMENTS
A. V. van Stekelenburg, University of Stellenbosch
The demolishing of Roman buildings for the sake of re-using their material began in earnest in the fourth century AD. Imperial legislation to protect the monuments was largely unsuccessful. Until the end of the Middle Ages the process of destruction went on almost totally unrecorded. A comparison between the spolia used in Christian basilicas from the fifth through the thirteenth centuries clearly reveals the increasing inability of the ruins to cope with the demand for material. Statistical calculations applied to the spolia columns show a progressive decline in availability of homogeneous material and a similarly increasing use of granite columns resulting from a diminishing supply of marble.
SESSION 3 ON LITERATURE, A. P. BEVIS, CHAIR
TU . . . ROMANE, MEMENTO (AEN. 6.851FF.): ANCHISES' MORAL INJUNCTION AND HISTORICAL REALITY
W. J. Dominik, University of Natal, Durban
This paper discusses one of the crucial scenes in the Aeneid: Aeneas' passage through the gate of ivory as he ascends to the upper world (6.893ff.). It explores various interpretations that have been offered to 'explain away' the scene in a manner that is appropriate (or at least not detrimental) to the idea that the Aeneid is a glorification of the Roman imperial achievement. The significance of the gates scene is manifest when it is examined within the context of the entire Aeneid and Vergilian corpus. Its significance is entirely consistent with - indeed essential to - Vergil's themes in the Aeneid: the disparity between imperial achievement and human cost; between imperial ideology and practice. The second part of the paper explores the reasons for the various misinterpretations of the gates of sleep passage and the Aeneid. It also responds to some of the objections of critics who argue that Augustus never would have supported Vergil and saved his epic if it had borne an anti-imperial message.
DIE SKEPPING VAN ATMOSFEER IN VERGILIUS SE AENES EN DANTE SE INFERNO
L. F. van Ryneveld, Universiteit van die Oranje-Vrystaat
Published in Scholia 1 (1992), pp. 79-84.
THE SINGER, THE SONG, AND THE SUNG (OVID, FASTI 2.79-118)
M. A. Gosling, University of Natal, Durban
In his tale of Arion and the dolphin, as so often in the Fasti, Ovid is almost more concerned with the process of narration than with the narrative itself. Comparison with Herodotus 1.23f. and other sources reveals manipulation both of the narrative and of the reader as recipient of the narrative. Central to Ovid's version of the tale is his concern with the value of poets and poetry, which may be seen as his personal credo.
A ROLE REVERSAL IN SILIUS ITALICUS, PUNICA 10. 605-39
K. O. Matier, University of Durban-Westville
The entry of a great man into the city and the welcome he receives is a traditional topos in Greek and Latin literature. The entry of Varro into Rome after the disaster of Cannae is a neat reversal of this theme, possibly suggested by Cicero's portrait of Piso returning from Macedonia like a dishonoured corpse. The flattering portrait of Fabius is in sharp contrast to the negative image of Varro. Although Silius' attitude to Fabius may have been influenced by Plutarch, it is argued that differences between Silius and Livy should be ascribed to poetic originality rather than the use of an annalistic source. The use of similes in Silius, particularly nautical similes, is discussed. This passage shows great narrative skill and psychological insight for which the poet has not received due credit. Feeney is the latest in a long line of critics to savage Silius.
TACITUS AND LITERARY CRITICISM
M. A. Dircksen, Rand Afrikaans University
The historical works of Tacitus have been the subject of analyses and criticism (both historical and literary) for more than a century. The main tendencies in scholarship are traced from the early commentaries as well as the historical and aesthetic approaches to the recent trend towards theory. The problem of historicism in its various forms and the possible solution which contemporary literary theory offers are discussed. A workable model for the analysis of an historical text is proposed and the advantages of such a method demonstrated by comparing aspects of a traditional analysis with one based on modern theory.
CICERO'S USE OF NARRATIVE IN HIS PHILOSOPHICAL WORKS
J. L. Hilton, University of Natal, Durban
Ancient rhetorical theory in Cicero's time defined narratio very broadly but repeatedly drew a distinction between more and less elaborate forms of narrative (in line with the larger distinction between the genus grande and the genus humile). Of the three types of narratio mentioned in the rhetorical literature, the first two concerned forensic rhetoric, while the third was used in rhetorical exercises and drew on literature in general for its subject matter. It was sub-divided into narrative concerned with events (as found in mythological drama, realistic drama and history) and narrative concerned with persons (personarum sermones et animi). Cicero's varied use of narratio in his speeches has been studied by Johnson (1967) and McClintock (1975). Johnson drew a distinction between narratio simplex and narratio ornata in Cicero's speeches. McClintock suggested that Cicero extended the range of narratio to include logical argumentation and elaborate descriptions of character (ethos), but he also pointed out that narrative in Cicero's speeches makes use of colloquial speech (cotidiano sermone explicatae), chronologi- cal presentation, brevity, clarity and vividness. This paper examines the use Cicero makes of narrative in his philosophical works in the light of contemporary attitudes to narrative.
J. H. D. Scourfield, University of the Witwatersrand
Studies of consolatory writing in the Greco-Roman world have tended to concentrate on literary aspects of the texts: philosophical and rhetorical influences, topoi, exempla, and so on. Recent interest in the Roman family has caused some attention to be given to the affective bonds linking family members, and a small number of consolatory texts have been used as evidence in such investigations. This paper proposes that a wider and more systematic examination of the extant consolatory letters from the late Republic to the late Empire will yield valuable information about the character of the Roman family and about the experience of grief in the Roman world. It takes a first step in this direction by asking certain questions of those consolatory letters written to parents on the deaths of children.
SESSION 4 ON PEDAGOGY, M. A. GOSLING, CHAIR
MULTI-LINGUAL LATIN TEACHING: PROBLEMS AND POSSIBILITIES
J. M. Claassen, University of Stellenbosch
Published in Scholia 1 (1992), pp. 102-118; reprinted in Electronic Antiquity 1.1, June 1993
HOW TO ELIMINATE THE DRUDGERY FROM LEARNING LATIN VOCABULARY AND ACCIDENCE
B. E. Lewis, University of Port Elizabeth
This paper suggests means of enlivening the drudgery of rote learning of Latin vocabulary and paradigms. It entails illustrating: (l) that words and sounds in Latin behave in much the same way as those in English and Afrikaans; (2) the application of some elementary facts of comparative philology. General phenomena are illustrated, for example, assimilation, changes of vowels and consonants, vowel gradation and the effect of stress. Sound laws are used to explain the so-called irregularities of the third declension, fero, volo and sum, principal parts of verbs, and comparatives. The common origin of certain words is shown, proving the shared ancestry of Latin and English/Afrikaans, and that sounds behave in a fairly predictable way. With this knowledge students are encouraged to find more examples of phenomena presented and to make learning an active process.
DER NEUE PAULY: A REPORT ON THE PROJECT
B. Kytzler, Free University, Berlin / University of Natal, Durban
The talk will present a brief history of the series of encyclopaedias substituting or complementing each other since the beginning of the last century at Metzler Verlag. It will then report the discussions and results of the founding session for Der Neue Pauly held in Tubingen in December 1991. A discussion at the end that reflects the good or bad experiences of happy or disappointed users would be most welcome, since these comments could be passed on to the editors and could influence the content and style of the new edition.
CLASSICS IN AFRICA: DISCUSSION
This discussion session consisted of some comments by Fabian Opeku (University of Cape Coast, Ghana) on the state of Classics in West Africa with a general discussion on the situation in South Africa.
COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright remains with authors, but due reference should be made to this journal if any part of the above is later published elsewhere.
Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 2 - July 1993 edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 1320-3606