Department of Classics



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Student Theses and Research Essays - 2014

Laurent Boivin (Essay)

Gravitas in the Desert: An Analysis of Selected Letters of Isidore of Pelusium and his Influence on the Secular and Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Fifth Century CE.   (QSpace)

With the 2,000 letters that have come down to us under his name, Isidore of Pelusium has long been considered an important Church father not only for the quality of his doctrinal exegesis, but also for the meticulous craftsmanship of his writing.  Isidore is also known for the myriad of subjects on which he could write, including rhetoric, philosophy, and even science.  However, one aspect of Isidore’s output that needs further study is his correspondence with powerful secular and ecclesiastical officials of the first half of the fifth century CE.  This paper therefore argues that besides being a Church father of note, Isidore was also a very well-connected holy man during the time of the First Council of Ephesus of 431 CE. 

Clare Barker (Essay)

A Guide to the University of Toronto's Classics Department Papyrus Collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library    (QSpace)

The Classics Department Papyrus Collection at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library was formed by Alan E. Samuel when he arrived at the University of Toronto in 1966. The collection consists of three inventory types: the Paper Towel (PT) Inventory, which was purchased in 1965 by Samuel when he was in Egypt; the Oxford University Gazette (OUG) Inventory, which consists of small fragments excavated from El Hibeh by Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt in 1902 and 1903; and the Rostovzteff-Welles (RW) Inventory, which consists of larger papyrus fragments from the same source as the OUG Inventory. The entire collection is described in an appended catalogue that provides information on the condition and contents of each inventory designation and lists the storage method, material type, language(s), proposed date(s), document type(s), number of fragments and dimensions. The collection consists mainly of Greek documents and letters extracted from Ptolemaic mummy cartonnage dating to the third century BCE, but there are also a few Demotic pieces, as well as late Greek papyri, three Coptic pieces and one Arabic letter. In order to make the papyri readily available for scholarship and decrease their handling, they were photographed in visible light and near infrared. The near infrared photographs improve the legibility of the ink by increasing its visibility through thin layers of gesso and certain stains. Additionally, the contrast of the ink against the papyrus background is high at near infrared wavelengths, which improves the legibility of extremely darkened papyri and effaced, faded and washed out ink. Three Ptolemaic documents that were poorly legible in visible light, but significantly improved in near infrared photographs, are also transcribed and translated in this paper: a receipt for various tax payments, a list of names and payments, and a list of names for tax collection in arrears.

Tori Bedingfield  (Thesis)

Black Gloss Ceramics from Cerveteri: The Vigna Marini Project 2012 (QSpace)

The purpose of this thesis is threefold: to catalogue the black gloss ceramics excavated by the Vigna Marini project in Cerveteri in 2012; to understand the relationship between Rome and Caere in terms of ceramic production, especially in the third century BCE; and to highlight the importance of archaeometric analysis in ceramic studies. Using a firmly established typology of black gloss ceramics, a qualitative analysis of the ceramics of this type recovered in Cerveteri, and archaeometric studies, I show that black gloss production remained relatively stable in Caere during Rome’s expansion into Italy. This is significant for the understanding of Caere’s economy during this period: it has been commonly held that Caere suffered an economic crisis in the third century BCE, but this thesis strongly argues for economic stability.

Alison Cummings (Essay)

An Intercultural Reading of Euripedes' Medea 219-21  (QSpace)

Lines 219-21 near the start of Medea's first speech of Euripides Medea are intriguing from an intercultural perspective. This paper considers the meaning of these lines alongside Milton Bennett's modern theory of intercultural development - the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS). By applying the DMIS to these lines, as well as to other Greek of the classical period, the paper explores the ancient Greeks' attitudes toward cultural difference.