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Queen's University
 

Student Theses - 2004

100 Days of Spectacle: What the Audience Saw at the Inaugural Games of the Flavian Amphitheatre

Falcone, Anthony

This thesis studies the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known to us as the Colosseum. Specifically, it looks at the sources for this event and attempts to create a picture of what the audience would have seen over the 100 days of games. The introduction examines the previous scholarly work on the topic and the problems that require further study. The first chapter looks at evidence for animal hunts at the games, and other types of animal presentations, such as tricks for the crowd. The second chapter examines the midday spectacles, which were made up of executions. Various forms of execution are studied, including exposure to animals, re-enactments of mythological events, and naval battles. The third chapter discusses gladiatorial combat itself at the games as well as the ancient attitudes towards gladiators. The thesis presents a specific study of the audience's experience at the inaugural games. Such a presentation and examination of primary sources has not been attempted in this fashion, for the topic is only briefly touched upon in the various secondary sources on gladiators or the Colosseum. Re-examination of the evidence for the inaugural games is necessary in order to demonstrate a more comprehensive picture of the institution and its place in Roman culture and society.

Abstraction and Mycenaean Art: A New Look at Plant and Animal Representations in the Shaft Graves of Mycenae

Gagné, Laura A.

Because decorated metalwork is not useful for establishing relative chronologies, it tends to be neglected by archaeologists and art historians. It is likely, however, that the most gifted craftsmen would have worked with the most precious materials, so a study of the designs on gold would represent a study of the highest art period. This thesis will discuss metalwork found in the Shaft Graves of Mycenae. These graves were so rich in gold and precious materials that the entire period of their use, spanning about a century from the end of the MH period to the beginning of the LH II period, has been called the Shaft Grave period after them. Within that time metalworkers produced a variety of decorations which range from naturalistic portrayals of plants and animals to highly abstract geometric patterns.

It will become clear that the metalworker has a much greater concern for ornamentation and composition than his colleagues who were working with clay. A particular motif, such as the octopus or butterfly, can be stylized within a coordinate system based on its composition, or it can be divided into parts of the whole which can in turn be multiplied by themselves and/or combined with parts of other motifs to create entirely new designs. It is possible to reconstruct the creative process once we see where the abstraction comes from and describe the thought which guides this process. For this reason the octopus on metalwork is compared to its companions on pottery, showing that the creativity of the metalworker is greater than that of the painter. Within a century the metalworker brought into existence the sophisticated abstraction that eventually migrated onto pottery over the course of four hundred years.

Once this process is established, it will be easier to understand the treatment of flying insects, other animals, birds and also of plants. The exploration of these motifs in chapters three to six will serve to verify that our interpretation is valid and applicable to all representations of flora and fauna in Shaft Grave art.

Antiochus IV and the Jews of Palestine: Causes and Effects of the Edict of Persecution of 167 B.C.E.

Helfield, Michael

Antiochus IV's proclamation of an edict of persecution in 167 BC resulted in the killing of thousands of Jews who refused to abandon their ancient customs, and in the defiling of the Jerusalem Temple, their most sacred place. This edict is problematic because it contradicted the general tendency of Seleucid kings to be tolerant with their subject peoples, and, in particular, it ran contrary to the edict of Antiochus IV's father, Antiochus III, who made it very clear in 198 BC that the Jews of Palestine were free to practice their ancient traditions, and even granted various groups within the Jewish polity significant tax exemptions and legal privileges. The most recent trend in modern scholarship is to assign the responsibility for the edict to a group of Jews who wanted to introduce Hellenic institutions into Jerusalem. This study re-examines the historical background to Antiochus IV's edict against the Jews of Palestine and discusses the background, both Jewish and Seleucid, that led to so extreme a measure against a group that for Antiochus, as king of Syria, must have been small and insignificant. It is argued that the emphasis should be placed on such factors as Antiochus IV's concern for money and for the security of his kingdom rather than on the religious ideology of a certain group of Palestinian Jews.

Speaking Silences: Silence in Homer, Pindar, Apollonius and Vergil

Lea, Sylvia

This thesis examines each of the Iliad, the Odyssey, Pindar's Odes, the Argonautica and theAeneid independently and in detail for its use of silence, and finally the significance of silence in each passage.

In these poems silence does not have a meaning in and of itself: it can be, by context, either good or bad, show high status or low status. Silence is an intensifier: it gives emphasis to the moment, and its meaning comes from the context. In the Iliad, the Odyssey and Pindar's Odes silence is simply the lack of human speech: it is never used to describe the night, death or the landscape. In Apollonius' Arogonautica and Vergil's Aeneid, silence is not restricted to speech: nature can now be silent. The Odyssey introduces the extensive use of silence in his break-offs to effect swift transitions between stories. In the Argonautica Apollonius uses silence to enhance his major themes: it intensifies the scenes of eros between Jason and Medea, and is paired with amechanie, the word that so defines the mood of the poem. Vergil uses silence to create the ambiguity of meaning and interpretation that is so essential to the Aeneid.

The Divine Sickness: A Study of Madness in Greek Tragedy

Macdonald, Glenda

The goal of this thesis is to explore the concept of madness as it is presented in Greek tragedy. The study begins with a review of fifth-century ideas about madness. Popular ideas about the composition and functioning of the human mind are examined, from the perspective of both lay people and the ancient physicians. The thesis then moves on to a comprehensive review of all the extant and fragmentary tragedies that feature manifestations of madness.

We first notice that most characters seem to descend into madness in one of two main ways: either instantly, or through constant, drawn out torment. Once maddened, characters exhibit physical attributes and behavioural traits that link the different manifestations together.

Recovery from madness is also an important aspect of Greek tragedies, since it is here that the playwrights are able to explore the effects of mental illness on the heroes.

The tragedians provide clear examples of the causes and effects of madness, and the drastic impact that this disease has on its sufferers. There is also some indication of the effect that madness has on the community, both while the sufferer is mad, and after he or she has begun the recovery process.

Department of Classics, 505 Watson Hall
Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6.
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