ASCS 31 Proceedings
BEASLEY, Megan. University of Western Australia
'A philosophical Gigantomachy in the Metamorphoses'
In the Sophist, Plato
describes the disagreement between idealists and materialists as a
Gigantomachy, turning Gigantomachy into a philosophical battle. This
philosophical interpretation is picked up by Lucretius, who famously
reverses the moral values of Gigantomachy in describing Epicurus'
assault on Religio. This paper reinterprets Ovid's references to the Gigantomachy in the Metamorphoses in the light of the philosophical form of Gigantomachy initiated by
Plato and revised by Lucretius, focusing on the episodes of Lycaon in
Book I and the Musomachia in Book V.
BILLOT, Frances. University of Auckland
'Hannibal, elephants and turrets'
This paper responds to some issues raised in Philip Rance's recent publication, 'Hannibal, elephants and turrets in Suda THETA 438 [Polybius Fr. 162B] - an unidentified fragment of Diodorus', Classical Quarterly,
59.1.91-111 (2009). Rance's remark on page 92 that, '... excepting some
demonstrably fictive allusions in later Latin poetry, this fragment
contains the only explicit and unequivocal statement that Hannibal's
elephants were furnished with turrets.' Assuming that Rance's
unspecified 'later Latin poetry' includes Silius Italicus' Punica,
this paper argues that the acceptance of the fragment belonging to a
historical text requires an acceptance of the description of elephants
with turrets in the Punica.
BLYTH, Dougal. University of Auckland
'Philosophy in the late Latin West'
In the late antique Latin west and thereafter a new conception of
philosophy emerged, as primarily related to the meanings of texts. My
aim here is to infer when and how this conception arose, eventually to
replace the older sense of philosophy as a way of life. Elsewhere I
have discussed the influence of Cicero's philosophical texts, but in
this paper I will focus on three further important contemporary
elements in the transformation: the disappearance of competence in
Greek language in the Latin west; the cultural form in which Greek
philosophical developments were accepted into the Latin tradition; and
the influence of Christianity.
BURTON, Diana. Victoria University of Wellington
'The role of Zeus Meilichios in Argos'
This paper examines the relationship between Hades and Zeus, and in
particular those areas in which the functions of the two overlap.
Although, in Greek religion, Hades is notoriously without cult, certain
aspects, epithets and iconography of Zeus identify him very closely
with the underworld and the dead, as well as with hero-cult. I will
discuss these interactions with particular reference to the cult of
Zeus Meilichios at Athens and Argos.
CHAMPION, Michael W. University of Western Australia
'Creation from Gaza'
Three late fifth-century thinkers from Gaza defended Christian ideas about creation against arguments for the eternity of the world in contemporary Neoplatonism. This paper explores connections between Aeneas, Zacharias and Procopius and Neoplatonists including Proclus, Hierocles and Ammonius. It identifies relationships between the Gazan contributions and later sixth-century controversies, particularly Philoponus' arguments, and suggests some implications for understanding education in Gaza.
DAVIDSON, John. Victoria University of Wellington
'Prometheus Bound in Christchurch 2009'
This paper discusses the production of Prometheus Bound staged in Christchurch in December 2009 (directed by Robin Bond). It
considers the translation used and the set, masking, costumes, music
and sound effects, and their effectiveness in the context of the
performance space used. It also assesses the way in which the various
characters were conceived and realized in action, and the choreography
utilized for the chorus. Some illustrations from both rehearsals and
actual performances will be shown. Consideration will also be given to
the problems of staging a problematic play like Prometheus Bound for a contemporary audience, the range of possible options that might
have been chosen, and possible reasons behind the directorial choices
made for this production.
FORD, Susan. Australian National University
'Spatial context of Odyssey 5.452 to 6.317'
The presentation of small-scale space contributes to the coherence and
therefore intelligibility of a narrative. When shipwrecked near the end
of Odyssey Book 5, Odysseus
swims along a rocky coast before deciding to come ashore at the mouth
of a river where he subsequently meets Nausicaa by some washing pools,
located (we presume) at the same river. This description of small-scale
space is, ex hypothesi,
coherent. I examine the statements which anchor the characters to this
space, ask whether they do in fact describe a single space, and suggest
the consequences for the text of a spatial 'micro-context' reading.
GADOR-WHYTE, Sarah. University of Melbourne
'Emotional preaching: ekphrasis in the Kontakia of Romanos'
Ekphrasis is described by writers of Progymnasmata as a speech which 'brings before the eyes the thing described'. From
Aristotle onwards, the point of a descriptive or ekphrastic speech was
to elicit a certain emotional response in the listener. But how does
eliciting an emotional response in listeners help a preacher? This
paper will investigate Romanos' use of ekphrasis in his kontakia or 'verse-sermons'. What sort of emotional response do these ekphraseis create and why is this useful for the preacher?
GARRETT, Phoebe. University of Newcastle
'Character inheritance in Suetonius' Caligula and Nero'
At Nero 1.2 Suetonius declares
his interest in the inheritance of character from ancestors. He would
have it appear that vices, where present in the parent, are inherited
faithfully from parents and ancestors, but virtue, where present in the
parent, degenerates and is not passed on to the son. Two Caesars
demonstrate this principle: Caligula, an example of the father's
considerable virtue degenerated in the son, and Nero, as the product of
a long line of vicious ancestors, nastier than any of them. I contend
that Suetonius' interest in character inheritance explains the level of
research on the subjects' ancestors.
GILLETT, Miriam. Macquarie University
'The "Etruscan League" reconsidered'
According to ancient historians, the duodecim populi of Etruria formed a federal league for political, military and
religious purposes. This paper will review how the 'Etruscan league'
has been constructed in ancient sources and how it is perceived in our
contemporary scholarship. It will explore the possibility of a
pan-Etruscan league and will propose that temporary coalitions and
localised alliances were formed between some Etruscan cities. This
reconsideration of the evidence will question the league's existence
and the political formation of pre-Roman Italic peoples, suggesting
that we have perhaps relied too heavily on Graeco-Roman accounts and
have disregarded the Etruscan evidence (or lack thereof).
HEINEMAN, Kristin M. University of Newcastle
'The chasm at Delphi: a modern perspective'
The proposed 'chasm-theory' of Delphi - that the priestess, or Pythia,
was intoxicated by fumes emitted from the earth - has been debated by
scholars of Ancient Greece since the tradition first appeared in the
extant sources. There is new evidence and the theory needs to be
re-examined through this updated lens. My presentation is a brief
introduction to the debate. I will present a brief overview of Delphi,
and then focus on the issue of the chasm, tracing the evidence of the
ancient sources. Next, the modern sources will be addressed and their
evidence examined. Finally, I will examine the recent geological
studies done at Delphi and summarize their findings.
JAMES, Dylan. University of Canterbury
'Art of gold: precious metals and Chariton's Callirhoe'
In Callirhoe by Chariton, the
author has Dionysius erect a golden statue of Callirhoe on his estate.
While it has been recognised that Chariton describes Callirhoe in terms
evocative of sculpture throughout his work (e.g. Hunter, R. 'History
and historicity in the romance of Chariton' ANRW 34.2 (1993) 1055-86), the wider significance of the precious metal from
which Dionysius' statue was constructed has often been overlooked. This
paper seeks to examine the importance of gold, and indeed silver, in
the context of the novel.
JARVIS, Paul. University of Tasmania
'The politics of fraud: a Seruilius Casca in Livy'
The paper analyses an incident of fraud on the part of the publicani which took place during the Second Punic War in 215 BCE. The paper
examines Livy's account of the aftermath of this incident, in which he
records the methods the Senate employed to condemn the malefactors, and
the efforts of the two accused to save themselves. The focus of the
paper is twofold: the political influence that the publicani displayed throughout this incident, and Livy's misleading account of
Gaius Seruilius, a tribune to whom Livy attributes the cognomen Casca.
The paper aims to demonstrate the importance of the publicani at this time and to clear up a misconception concerning the identity and motivations of the tribune Gaius Seruilius.
JOHNSON, Paula. University of Queensland
'Fabius, Marcellus and Otacilius - the alliance that never was'
Since Poseidonius called them the Sword and Shield of Rome, Marcellus
and Fabius, heroes of the Second Punic War, have always been paired
together in the collective consciousness. It has been widely assumed by
scholars of such eminence as Munzer, Scullard, Briscoe, Caven, and more
recently, Flower, that Marcellus and Fabius were political allies, and
that Marcellus and his half-brother Otacilius were members of a faction
that acknowledged Fabius as its leader. Recent work by McDonnell has
challenged this idea. This paper seeks to pick up where McDonnell left
off by examining more closely the events surrounding the elections of
215 and 214 B.C.
KEENAN-JONES, Duncan. Macquarie University
'The Aqua Augusta and control of water resources in the Bay of Naples'
This paper considers a largely ignored aqueduct that was one of
Augustus' largest construction projects. The Aqua Augusta transferred a
significant amount of water from a mountain basin, with consequent
environmental and social impacts, to at least eight towns around the
heavily settled, and geologically unstable, Bay of Naples. The Augusta,
rather than being focused on one urban centre, was a regional water
supply network built to help secure the strategic area of Campania. In
its creation and operation we see a complex interplay between municipal
and imperial interests until the Augusta's demise in the fifth century
LEADBETTER, Bill. Edith Cowan University
'Galerius, Gamzigrad and the politics of abdication'
Lactantius, in his De mortibus persecutorum,
makes the claim that Galerius intended to resign his power at the
conclusion of his vicennalia and retire. This claim is regarded as
confirmed by the discovery of a palace complex near modern Gamzigrad in
north-eastern Serbia, and firmly identified as Romuliana. The
implications of this conclusion have not been explored as thoroughly as
they might. This paper looks firstly at the Gamzigrad site and assesses
its particular significance to Galerius himself, and secondly explores
the implications of Lactantius' claim, especially as it impinges upon
the way in which historians have analysed and represented the complex
imperial politics of this period.
MAITLAND, Judith. University of Western Australia
'Homer and the Aiakid cousins: kinship celebrated or overlooked in the Iliad'
I will take two episodes: the embassy in Iliad 9 and the aristeia of Telamonian Aias in Iliad 15-16 to show the poet's selectivity in deploying his material. With regard to Iliad 9, I shall make some suggestions as to the authorial process in
handling the characters who appear. This vivid episode, in which the
character of Achilleus is portrayed in a manner worthy of tragic
composition, is not only a high point of the epic but appears to give
Achilleus preference over his Aiakid cousins. As a consequence, the
strain shows, not only in the famous use of the incongruous dual forms,
but in the personal histories of Phoinix and Patroklos and in the
presence of Phoinix himself, who does not appear in Pindar or
Bacchylides. In the case of Aias' aristeia,
it is highly incongruous that he and Achilleus are portrayed working so
closely together without any reference to their common ancestry, a
neglect all the more striking in view of the treatment of the episode
in Bacchylides 13.96-167. Both these episodes serve to bring Achilleus
to the fore and recast the Aiakid kinship structures in a way that
suits the poet's purpose.
MARSHALL, Bruce. Macquarie University
'"With friends like this, who needs enemies?" Pompeius' abandonment of his friends and supporters'
Pompeius' changes of sides to secure his advancement are well known,
such as his choice of Sulla's side from 83 on, only to turn to
supporting the consular candidature of M. Lepidus in 79 when the latter
was campaigning on a platform of repealing the Sullan legislation, and
turning again to secure a military command against Lepidus' rebellion.
Equally inconsistent was Pompeius' relationship with his so-called amici;
they were used when it suited him for the political advantage they
might bring, but abandoned when he thought they might be a political
drawback to his desire for acceptance as the pre-eminent leader in the
state. This paper will examine some examples of Pompeius' supporters
who deserved better from him.
MIDFORD, Sarah. University of Melbourne
'From Achilles to Anzac: heroism in the Dardanelles from antiquity to the Great War'
The Australian representation of the Gallipoli Campaign in the Great
War is laced with allusions to antiquity and the Classical world. The
men in the trenches were aware that they were located across the
Dardanelles from Troy and references to the landscape's past permeated
their writings. Allusions to antiquity also pervaded art, literature
and newspapers throughout the war and afterwards. This paper will look
at the reasons why the epic and the heroic were used when representing
the Anzac involvement at Gallipoli. It will also examine the
construction of an Anzac myth at Gallipoli which forged a link between
the Classical past and the Australian present and future. This will
demonstrate that the Classics were used as an 'opiate' to dull the pain
that the war caused the Australian nation. It will also examine the
Anzac myth's construction as a convenient link to Western civilization,
placing Australians within a European continuum while simultaneously
establishing them as an independent nation with their newly composed
MILES, Graeme. University of Tasmania
'"I, Porphyry": narrator and reader in the Vita Plotini'
Porphyry's Vita Plotini has
been described as 'the enfant terrible among ancient biographies',
partly on account of its unusual structure. Written by Porphyry as an
introduction to his edition of his master's works (the Enneads),
it is in several respects a unique document: opening with the
surreptitious creation of an image of its protagonist, it moves
directly to his death, before recounting a series of observations and
personal anecdotes and concluding with an oracle on Plotinus'
posthumous fate. Incorporated into this account are personal
recollections ('I, Porphyry...') as well as the words of others
(Longinus, Eustochius, Apollo), and of Plotinus himself. Most
scholarship on the Vita Plotini has centred on questions of history of one sort or another. This is not
surprising, as it is indeed a unique and valuable historical source.
Far less attention, however, has been given to it as a literary text.
The proposed study aims to provide a narratological analysis of the Vita,
and to compare it with other biographical works and with texts of other
genres. De Jong has observed that 'there is no direct correlation
between genre and type of narrator'. Nonetheless, an analysis of this
sort, by shedding light on the formal characteristics of the text, and
in particular its construction of narrator and audience, will
contribute to the debate on the text's status as a factual or an
idealising account, and the kinds of meaning which can legitimately be
read into it.
O'SULLIVAN, Patrick. University of Canterbury
'Use your illusion: "Critias" on religion reconsidered'
The famous dramatic, possibly satyric, fragment (TrGF 43 F 19), usually ascribed to Critias (or Euripides), which posits the
social origins of belief in the gods, has often been considered a
shrewd and cynical denunciation of religion per se. A close examination of the fragment's enumerations of the benefits of religion suggests otherwise. While Dana Sutton (CQ 1981) rightly noted that the fragment presents religion as a 'benign
swindle', we can go further and see in it an interesting paradox
amounting to an atheistic defence of religion, which tallies with much
contemporaneous ethical and sophistic speculation more than has been
O'TOOLE, Kevin J. University of Western Australia
'The Demosthenic basileus: a phantom in the Ath. Pol.?'
In the ancient sources contemporaneous with the Athenaion Politeia and its references to the Athenian basileus, there is only one extant narrative of any significant length concerning the Athenian basileus: the narrative in Demosthenes' Against Neaira.
Ironically the authorship of both these sources is disputed but it is
the contention this paper that of more importance is the fact that both
sources are more notable for what they do not say about the basileus than for what they do and that the heavy reliance on these sources for assertions today about the basileus may be misplaced.
PHILLIPS, David J. Macquarie University
'Thucydides 1.99: tribute and revolts in the Athenian empire'
Thucydides 1.99, with its implication of widespread revolts that were
caused by the failure of allies to produce the right amount of tribute
or ships, is not supported by the details of Thucydides' narrative nor
by the evidence of Xenophon, Diodorus or the inscriptions. Further,
passages such as 1.81, 1.122.1, and 8.2.2, which refer to the fostering
of revolts as an anti-Athenian strategy, are not supported by
Thucydides' own evidence until one reaches 412/11 and even then
qualifications need to be made.
PRITCHARD, David. University of Queensland
'War, democracy and culture in classical Athens'
Athens is famous for its highly developed democracy and its veritable cultural revolution. Not widely known is its military revolution. More than any other city Athens invented new forms of combat and was responsible for raising the scale of Greek warfare to a different order of magnitude. The contemporaneity of these revolutions raises the possibility that democracy was one of the major causes of Athenian military success. Ancient writers may have thought as much but the traditional assumptions of Ancient History and Political Science have meant that the impact of democracy on war has received almost no scholarly attention. This paper summarises the finding of an international consortium which has investigated this important problem from multiple perspectives and considers what insights we can learn from ancient Athens for contemporary foreign policy.
SING, Robert. University of Western Australia
'Jury pay and Aristophanes'
It is striking that, like his depiction of Cleon, Aristophanes'
unfavourable treatments of jury pay appear in popular comedies
performed for ordinary Athenians. Further, how is it that Aristophanes
can seemingly ignore the convention of not criticising democratic
institutions? Closer examination of the handling of jury pay and jurors
in Old Comedy offers insights both into Aristophanes' persuasive use of
humour and contemporary divergences of opinion on this controversial
fixture of Athenian public life.
TARRANT, Harold. University of Newcastle
'The Theaetetus as a narrative dialogue?'
The prologue of the Theaetetus has caused some to suppose that an early version had been composed in
narrative form. A different prologue was known in antiquity. Evidence
will be shown that, after stylometric examination of its vocabulary-mix
(content-specific words excluded), its language is indeed that of the
narrative and not that of the dramatic dialogues. Clearly this means
that the reader was entitled to expect that the material would be
presented in narrative form. Was that ever the case?
TATUM, W.J. Victoria University of Wellington
'Tyche in Plutarch's Aemilius Paulus - Timoleon'
The importance of tyche to any reading of Plutarch's Aemilius - Timoleon is emphasised in the work's preface. Nor have scholars been slow to
take the hint. What has gone unobserved, however, is the extent to
which Plutarch's deployment of tyche is conditioned by tyche's role in Polybius, the biographer's inevitable source for the Life of Aemilius. Polybian tyche in this pairing lends Timoleon's career the same historical importance
as Aemilius' - a similarity explicitly denied in Polybius. Plutarch's
correction, inspired by his view of Timoleon as a liberator of the
Greeks, has implications for the meaning of his Parallel Lives.
WALLIS, Jonathan. University of Tasmania
'(Un)Elegiac characterisation in Propertius 3.12'
In his third book, Propertius seeks to stretch the thematic limit of
elegiac poetry to the point of breakdown. In this paper I examine a
pair of elegies from heart of Book 3 which introduce to elegy
strikingly novel perspectives and modes, while offering at the same
time opportunity for metapoetic reflection on the complexities of
literary development itself. In 3.12 the peerless yet complex
faithfulness of Aelia Galla offers a counterpoint to the fickleness of
the poet's own mistress; and an epicedion for the dead Marcellus in
3.18 presents the most challenging instance of a new modality in Book
3, giving a glimpse of what it might look like - were an elegiac poet
ever to write court poetry.
WELCH, Kathryn. University of Sydney
'Pietas, Pompeiani and Cicero's Thirteenth Philippic'
Because of its direct quotation of Antonius' words, the thirteenth Philippic uniquely exposes the rhetoric of both Cicero and his protagonist.
Antonius had called upon the Caesarians to desert their treacherous and
dangerous alliance with the partes victae and had held himself up as an example of fides and pietas towards the dead Dictator. In response, Cicero directly attacks his impietas, contrasting it with two young men, Caesar, who understands that maxima pietas is pietas erga patriam, and Sextus Pompeius who is commended for many virtues but not pietas,
although Pompeius had already claimed the virtue as his own. What is
going on? An examination of the competing strategies of Cicero and
Antonius exposes the nature of the Republican factions in early 43,
their subsequent integration and the effect of the divisions on later