Department of Classics



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Student Theses - 1996 - 2000

Student Theses - 2000

The role of the women in the frescoes from Akrotiri

Debbo, Nicola Jane

The excavation of the site of Akrotiri on the ancient island of Thera began in 1967 under Spyridon Marinatos. The discovery of this city, preserved in ash after the eruption of a volcano, has sparked a debate on the destruction of Akrotiri and the possible links to the destruction of cities on Crete. The frescoes found at Akrotiri are some of the most captivating wall paintings in Greece. The interpretation of these frescoes has become the subject of recent debate and the continuing excavations may yet add more material to the discussion. This thesis examines the roles the women play in the Theran paintings, as can be determined by their dress, hairstyle and jewellery. Analogies for each feature are obtained through the study of other wall paintings, seals, gemstones, rings and figurines, all from Crete and the mainland. Secondary evidence, mostly in the form of later literary material and material from Egypt and the Near East, will prove helpful for interpretation. The last chapter presents and critiques the prevalent scholastic interpretations of the paintings, specifically those that deal with the stages in the life of the women. In the conclusions, a new interpretation of the frescoes will be presented.

'Speech is the concern of men,' or is it? : an analysis of female speech in the epics

Jupp, Catherine Anne

The perception that women and men speak and use language differently is long-standing and evident in many cultures and languages. In the early 1970s, the study of gender and language became a widely discussed and criticized topic. Sociolinguistic findings and theories have recently become of interest to classicists and have served as models for the study of language and gender in ancient Greek and Latin literature. Scholars have definitively shown that differences in gender and language are evident in various ancient authors and genres, particularly in tragedy and comedy. The intent of this thesis is to explore the idea of gender and speech in the earliest surviving works of Greek literature, namely the Iliad and the Odyssey. This exploration of gender and speech focuses on genres of speech, linguistic and non-verbal distinctions, as well as the genre of ritual lamentation as a female-exclusive discourse. In addition, this thesis explores the concept of women's wool-work as a medium of communication. In ancient Greek thought, wool-work becomes a metaphorical image for speech and thought. In the epics, wool-work is strongly emphasized and connected to all female characters. Thus, I examine the connection between women, wool-work and speech.

The legacy of the family of Pompey the Great in Sicily : a study of the clientela, property and reputation of the Pompeii Magni in Sicily, with comparisons to their legacy in the province of Asia, to Julius Caesar's in the province of Aquitania and to that of other families in Sicily

Lo Dico, Mauro

This dissertation studies the impact that Pompey the Great and his family had on Sicily. Many of the island's inhabitants became their clients and even adopted their names if they were granted Roman citizenship by the Pompeii. The extent of the family's influence on the Sicilians is examined through that relationship, both as a process of Romanisation in a province and as a province's contribution to the Roman world. The first chapter surveys all the members of the gens Pompeia involved with Sicily, since they could make the provincials Roman citizens. The second chapter examines the Sicilians granted citizenship by the Pompeii, for the status of the former in their locality reveals the type of relationship that both parties shared and thus the kind of influence that the Pompeii had there. The third chapter contrasts those Sicilian Pompeii with other groups, so that they are viewed within the greater context of the Roman Empire. Comparison are made with (a) the Pompeii from another province, noting any regional similarities or differences; (b) another distinguished gens from yet another province, to gauge the degree to which the Sicilian Pompeii were established in the Empire; and (c) other prominent gentes in Sicily, thereby determining the status of the Pompeii both on and off the island.

Student Theses - 1999

Fora of Africa Proconsularis : a study of their development, types and architecture from the conquest to the end of the Antonine age

Fullerton, Matthew

In the last thirty years there have been several important studies of public buildings, and particularly fora and their associated annexes, of Roman Britain and the western Empire. Yet neither the older surveys and monographs nor the recent publications focus on the fora of Africa Proconsularis. The fora of this province have rarely been the subject of a regional survey. This thesis is a study of the origins, development, architecture and types of Romano-African fora. Such a study is useful in providing an understanding of the architectural characteristics of Romano-African fora, the manner in which they differed from and resembled those in Europe (Italy, Gaul, Britain and Spain) and of the types of activities for which they were used. Chapter one provides a summary of the origin and development of Republican fora, with particular emphasis on examples from Italy. Chapter two covers the first imperial period, from the conquest of Africa in 146 BC until the end of the Julio-Claudian period. Chapter three focuses on developments of the Flavian period in Africa Proconsularis. Chapter four centres on developments in the fora of Africa Proconsularis from the end of the Flavian period to the early third century.

The Parthenon frieze : problems in scholarship

McCall, Walter F.

The Parthenon is arguably the greatest monument in western civilization. This temple, erected on the Acropolis in Athens between 447 and 432 B.C., was a symbol of the power of Athens which, at this time, was the leader of a large empire. In ancient times, authors such as Plutarch, Pliny and Pausanias have made specific references to its beauty and significance as a work of art, providing firsthand accounts and observations of many important aspects that are no longer available. These accounts were then supplemented, following the temple's destruction by the Venetians in 1687, by such notable visitors as Jacques Carrey, William Pars, James Stuart and of course, Lord Elgin, who transplanted much of the temple's sculptural decoration to London. This fascination with the Parthenon has not dimished in modern times as the enormous quantity of scholarship, especially following the Second World War, would seem to suggest. These works by modern scholars cover almost every aspect of the edifice, including such topics as the temple's architecture, artistic programme, influences and historical significance. Perhaps the most interesting branch of scholarship on the Parthenon, however, is that which deals with the Parthenon frieze, the continuous band of figures sculpted in relief that was incorporated into the temple's architrave. It is the intention of this thesis to investigate the current state of this scholarship, looking particularly at the opinions and theories that have arisen since W.B. Dinsmoor accounted for all existing portions of the frieze in 1954 up to the present. More specifically, this investigation will evaluate two opinions that have been commonly accepted by modern scholars and subsequently reamin prevalent throughout the entire body of scholarship. The first involves the identification of the frieze as an element of standard Ionic architecture and its incorporation into a Doric temple. Whereas most scholars have accepted this observation as fact and thus have attempted to contrive compelling theories accounting for this unusual combination of canons, this theory will reexamine the evidence on which this supposition has been based in an attempt to evaluate the validity of these theories. Second, this thesis will investigate the identification of the figures on the frieze as those engaging in the Panathenaic procession that accompanied the annual festival of Athena in Athens. Despite many flaws and inconsistencies, this interpretation remains the one most widely accepted among modern scholars. Finally, this thesis will conclude with a new analysis of the frieze in an attempt to stimulate new and innovative approaches in its interpretation and shed new light on a work of art that has been shrouded by the obscurity of the legacy it has left behind.

'Come on up, my friend': a study of friendship in the Greek novels of the Roman period and Luke-Acts

Walsh, Kelley Ann

The five extant Greek novels and Luke-Acts offer an excellent opportunity to study friendship in antiquity. The authors of the novels and Luke-Acts all portray friends and friendships without discussing them as philosophy. Although it is not a central theme of these stories, this dissertation will show that without forming friendships, the protagonists of these stories could not have accomplished their goals. The most important common theme that four of the five Greek novels and Luke-Acts share is that of travel. The heroes of the novels, as well as Jesus and his disciples, form friendships with the people they encounter as they journey and must depend on the kindness of strangers to continue their travels. Without the willingness of others to assist them, neither the heroes of the novels nor the apostles of the New Testament could have been successful in their journeys. It will be shown, then, that a change of friendship traditions from those centered around the polis to friendships that extended to the entire human race are the friendships most common in the Greek novels and in Luke-Acts. 

Student Theses - 1998

Amphitheatres of Roman Britain : a study of their classes, architecture and uses

Deniger, Véronique

The last decade has seen renewed interest in amphitheatre studies and the publication of several important monographs. However, neither older works nor the recent publications focus on the amphitheatres of Roman Britain. The amphitheatres of this province have never been the subject of a regional survey. This thesis is a study of the classes, architecture and uses of Romano-British amphitheatres. Such a study is useful in providing an understanding of the architectural characteristics of Romano-British amphitheatres, the manner in which they differed from and resembled those in other parts of the Empire and of the types of activities for which they were used.

Chapter One centres on the military amphitheatre class. It opens with general information on the sites of military amphitheatres and with an architectural study of the three monuments ( the Chester, Caerleon and Tomen-y-mur amphitheatres) belonging to this class. The information provided in this section was obtained from archaeological reports, works on amphitheatres and works on Roman Britain. The chapter concludes with an examination of physical, epigraphical and literary evidence, the aim of which is to gain insight into the function of these buildings.

Chapter Two focuses on urban amphitheatres. It begins with an architectural study of the ten facilities of this category (the amphitheatres at Silchester, Dorchester, Cirencester, Chichester, London, Richborough, Carmarthen, Aldborough, Caistor St. Edmund, Caerwent). The information found in this section also comes from excavation reports, works on Roman Britain and works on amphitheatres. This chapter likewise concludes with an examination of physical, epigraphical and literary evidence, the purpose of which is to shed light on the function of urban amphitheatres.

Chapter Three focuses on rural amphitheatres, an enigmatic group of buildings. Five monuments, including three positively identified amphitheatres (those at Charterhouse-on-Mendip, Frilford and Catterick) and two earthworks tentatively identified as amphitheatres (the Woodcuts and Winterslow earthworks) are considered. The chapter begins with an overview of the monuments' sites and a study of their architectural characteristics. Excavation reports constitute the chief source of information. A brief discussion of various hypotheses as to their uses concludes the chapter.

Vergil's dreams : a study of the types and purpose of dreams in Vergil's 'Aeneid'

McNeely, Shawn

By the time Vergil was writing (40-19 B.C.) there was already a long tradition of dreams in ancient literature. From the beginning, dreams were a topic of interest for poets, historians and philosophers. We find in the literature of ancient Greece and Rome five main classifications of dreams: prophetic, anxiety, wish-fulfilment, oracular and incubation. Other dream-types existed, of course, but these seem to have been ones most employed by ancient authors. In the Aeneid Vergil employs anxiety-dreams six times, oracular-dreams three times and the incubation-dream once. His choice, we may be sure, was in part determined by the necessities of plot and in part under the influences of authors such as Homer, Apollonius, Euripides, Lucretius and Cicero. Without sacrificing narrative immediacy and the illusion of reality, dreams allow Vergil to reveal not only simultaneous events but also a character's emotions, with their causes and potential consequences. Vergil uses dreams in the Aeneid to great effect. Dreams introduct the three main characters in the epic, Aeneas, Dido and Turnus. They motivate the actions of the characters and help to advance the plot to its conclusion. Dreams not only set Aeneas on his journey and mark his arrival in Latium but they continually provide more information about his destination while on his journey. Dreams also bolster Aeneas' resolve in moments of emotional and physical crisis. In a grander and more enigmatic way, Book 6, as a sustained dream-vision, conveys to the reader, at least, Vergil's vision of both the tragedy and greatness of Rome's mission and history.

Student Theses - 1997

The political phases of literary amicitia in Rome from the third century BC to the second century AD

Chan, May

There has been little investigation of the early origins of literary patronage and the role of drama in the development of Latin literature. During the third and second centuries BC, the curules aediles were the earliest literary patrons because they paid for the production and staging of plays. After the end of the second century BC, more powerful and wealthier politicians replaced the aediles and began to support poets. As a result, politics and Latin literature were not exclusive in Rome and Roman poetry came to afford more opportunities for political and social advancement to poets and patrons alike. Another period of literary patronage that needs to be re-explored by literary scholars and historians is the early Empire. The intent of this thesis, therefore, is to explore and chart the 'evolution' of literary patronage in Rome from its origins in the third century BC down to its 'decline' in the second century AD. Since the majority of the evidence comes from Latin poetry itself, special emphasis will be placed on what Roman poets say about their relations with their maiores amici. Emphasis will be placed on how the different political phases affected the development of Latin literature and language over these five centuries.

Greek arbitration : Homer to classical Athens

Manley-Tannis, Richard Michael

Greek arbitration was developed out of the community's need to resolve conflict. Earlier scholarship, however, has often used a legal framework with which to explain its development. The findings of previous scholarship have proven insightful in regard to the mechanics of the ancient process. Earlier scholarship, however, has not given sufficient emphasis to the role of the community in the development of arbitration. At its centre, Greek arbitration was a survival mechanism. The Greek community, from the Homeric period forward, was constantly threatened by both internal and external violence. In order to address these dangers, the community as a whole created a method designed to resolve conflict. Greek arbitration was an innovation because throughout the process the community was directly involved in the legitimisation of the process. The community itself developed arbitration. In order to illuminate this, a modern conflict resolution process, mediation-arbitration, is better able to clarify previously overlooked aspects of the process. The ancient arbitrator's primary task was to act as an acceptable neutral who was expected to first reconcile the disputants and, should that prove unlikely, to then bring forth a judgement. The neutral's task was first to attempt to mediate the dispute and, should reconciliation prove unattainable, he would then arbitrate. Public pressure was brought to bear in order to encourage the resolution of conflict. The oath was used in order to ensure the honesty of the disputants by involving the gods as witnesses to and protectors of the process. It was the expectation that disputants would resolve their conflict peacefully that ensured, in turn, the continued stability of the community.

"Haec est illa meis multum cantata libellis" : an investigation of female personae in the epigrams of Martial

McIntosh, Gillian Elizabeth

Much research and work has been done on both Martial and his epigrams. Most dated scholarship has tended to provide unduly narrow perspectives, neglecting much of Martial's art, and focussing instead on his "immoral" character, and "obscene" verse. Still, a great deal of progress has been made in recent decades in understanding the poet and his verse.

There has, however, been little investigation of the personae in his epigrams -- less still of the female personae, who appear in roughly twenty percent of Martial's 1600 epigrams. We should look now at the individual epigrams and notice what types of women appear, how often they appear, and in what capacity. (What are they doing? Do certain types share certain traits of representations? Are some always praised and others always frowned upon?) This can only be done by a detailed analyses of Martial's text.

The intent of this thesis is to explore objectively the female personae appearing throughout the fourteen books of Martial's epigrams. The end result will be a clearer understanding of the female-oriented poems, and of the female personae within those poems. The reader of Martial might then know what to expect, and what to find when embarking upon an examination of his leading ladies.

Other objectives include clearing away past moralizing, and opening up other possible lines of investigation -- into Martial, his epigrams, his male and female personae, as well as into other contemporary writers and their works.

I have begun by providing introductory tables and observations. The first table shows -- book by book -- the distribution of female oriented poems. As well as listing the individual epigrams on women, it separates the poems that focus on the woman from those that mention her in passing. The second table reveals the different female types that appear. It groups together and lists all the poems -- from all the books -- that pertain to a certain type.

Even though tables and statistics reveal when and how often certain types of women appear, they tell nothing of the meaning of such appearances; that is, there is no context. In the chapters following, then, I have placed these personae in context, and attempted to find patterns among Martial's various representations of similar types of women. Everything is gathered together and summed up in a concluding chapter. Here, too, there are some ideas for further investigation, research, and writing.

The glorious life of Agricola : a critical analysis of the literary form and political content of Tacitus' Agricola

Peterson, David

Traditionally studied as an invaluable source document for the Roman conquest and occupation of Britain, Tacitus' biographical treatise on the life of Agricola also has great relevance to the study of elite society at Rome. Modern scholarship on the Agricola has been focused for the most part on the historicity of the work. As such, the work offers the historian an unparalled account of the Roman military campaigns and administrative initiatives in Britain. Consequently, the work has proven to be an excellent source document for both historians of the Roman military and Roman Britain. However, the literary, social, political and moral elements of the work have largely gone unnoticed or at the very least have been studued in a cursory manner. At the same time, the large body of twentieth century scholarship pertaining to the role and function of the works of Tacitus has for the most part dismissed the Agricola as a minor work of little significance that provides only a glance of the artistic genius which would emerge in his later and larger works, the Histories and the Annals. The present thesis is an attempt to show the importance of the Agricola in the study of the Senatorial class in the first century AD, portraying their views and aspirations, as well as the literary framework upon which these concepts were converyed.

The first chapter examines the literary form and how it affects the content of the work. In tradition of the eulogistic biography, a sub genre of history, Tacitus presents in the character of Agricola the ideal to which the majority of his class aspired. The second chapter is an account of the political and social changes that had occurred with the rise and evolution of the Imperial government and the resultant changes in the function and composition of the Senatorial class. Tacitus and the other members of his class had to create strategies to combine their ideals with this new reality. Finally, the third chapter examines the political content of the work. Viewed in moral terms, Tacitus sought to convey an important message about the proper conduct of both his class and the Emperors, as well as ingratiate himself with the new regime of Nerva under which he was writing. The appendices provide information about the life of Tacitus, Agricola, and general political events in the Empire, along with a more specific examination of the conquest of Britain. These have been added to provide the reader with a historical context within which to more fully understand both the writing of Tacitus and the impact of Rome and Agricola on the history of Britain.

Student Theses - 1996

An interdisciplinary perspective of urbanization in La Tene, Central Gaul : a reassessment of the oppida, aspects of landscape organization and the impact of long-distance trade

Bau, Anna

The process of urban development in non-Mediterranean Gaul during the Iron Age, from the sixth to the first century B.C., involved many social factors that were spatially expressed through the creation of central fortified settlements, oppida, and secondary agglomerations. The central Gallic chiefdoms were complex stratified societies engaged in production and exchange, controlled by an elite chieftain class. One of the results of centralized elite authority is spatial consolidation through settlements of resources and structures for the effective conduct of trade, accumulation of wealth and admininstration. The central oppida have been defined as urban, based on the significance of their fortifications, the extensive evidence of long-distance trade and the impact of interaction with the Mediterranean world. It has been further argued, based on these factors, that the central Gallic chiefdoms developed into urbanized states. Current theories of complexity suggest, however, that this view needs reassessment, perhaps with the corroboration of archaeological evidence. Recent regional surveys suggest that the requisite social complexity was not there. Urbanization requires both intra-site layout and inter-site connectivity, and consequently a spatial organization of the landscape. Full understanding of the process must involve a cross-disciplinary interpretation, including geographical and ritual-ideological aspects of the site that have previously been neglected.

Master, what sick thing is this? Cambyses' madness and analogies of the health of the state in the 'Histories' of Herodotus

Sitoski, Richard-Yves

This thesis will first examine Cambyses' role as a monster of sickness in Herodotus' Histories, and next discuss allied health themes as these are applied to the Persian Empire. It will not deal with the historicity or factual veracity of Herodotus' portraits, but will rather consider Cambyses and other prominent Persians from the point of view of the author's implied ethical philosophy. It will be found that Cambyses is more than the most marginal of Persian kings, an incomprehensible figure whose behaviour is purely arbitrary, but in many ways the polar opposite of the author himself in his reaction to the limited behavioral choices open to mortals. Consequently, an understanding of this explicit morbidity can thus prepare the reader to evaluate the more implicit instances of sanitary themes in the Histories. By "sanitary themes" is meant a complex of analogies relating to physical, moral, and mental intactness. Disease, injury and emotional impairment commonly figure in these analogies; without exploring ancient medical concepts per se, this thesis will examine how Herodotus alludes to what can be called the Persian Empire's state of general health, as it progresses through time, by describing the physical and emotional conditions of its most significant members.

Herodotus can be said to offer himself up as an example of good, "healthy" behaviour: throughout the text, the author comes across as someone who possesses an active curiousity about the world, ready to seek the lessons implicit in each experience, and who can be expected to act accordingly. Cambyses, for his part, is equally concerned with learning, experiencing and ascertaining; yet he does so out of a spirit of respect, but out of a persistent tendency toward subversion. Herodotus equates this tendency with the sheerest folly, a folly usually understood as the cause of Cambyses' misbehaviour. But a case can be made for equating the misbehaviour with the folly itself, and by extension, for equating Cambyses' misdeeds and insanity with the injudiciousness to which all mortals are at times prey.

Virgil and the countryside: land, landscape and country life in Virgil's poetry

Tough, Ian Carnochan Kerr

Countryside and country life were notable themes in Augustan poetry, themes which no poet handled more effectively than Virgil. This is a study of the ways in which Virgil used these themes in expressing his thoughts and ideas. Virgil, who was born in 70 BC, lived through one of the most turbulent and critical epochs of Roman history, and those events exerted a powerful influence on his poetry. An equally important influence was Virgil's own upbringing in agricultural northern Italy. Those country origins are clearly reflected in his poetic landscapes. His descriptions fequently depict his native countryside and he evokes, especially in the Georgics, a sense of intimacy with the landscape by his personification of both its animate and inanimate features. Virgil's readers are constantly reminded that the landscape he describes is Italian. Virgil used the themes of land, landscape and country life to portray the fertility and productivity of the Italian countryside, to promote the age-old values of the countryman, to condemn the excesses of civil war and to express his hopes for the future of an Italy united under Augustus.