R. W. Westall, Caesar's Civil War

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Richard W. Westall, Caesar's Civil War. Historical Reality and Fabrication, Leyde, 2017.

Éditeur : Brill
Collection : Mnemosyne Supplements, 410
XIV-400 pages
ISBN : 978-90-04-35614-6
116 €

In Caesar's Civil War: Historical Reality and Fabrication, Westall combines literary analysis of Caesar's Bellum Civile with a concern for the socio-economic history of the Roman empire. The Bellum Gallicum and the Shakespearean play are better known, but Caesar's partisan account of the Roman civil war culminating in the battle of Pharsalus offers a historical text of perennial interest and relevance.
Two introductory chapters contextualize this book and offer a traditional narrative of political and military history for 49-48 BCE. There follow seven chapters that are dedicated to each of the geographical theatres of civil war. These chapters show how Caesar's testimony sheds important light upon the nature of Roman rule in the Mediterranean, but also explore the problems to be encountered in using potentially tendentious testimony.

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J. Rüpke, Pantheon. A New History of Roman Religion

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Jörg Rüpke, Pantheon. A New History of Roman Religion. Translated by David M. B. Richardson, Princeton, 2018.

Éditeur : Princeton University Press
576 pages
ISBN : 9780691156835
$ 39.95

From one of the world's leading authorities on the subject, an innovative and comprehensive account of religion in the ancient Roman and Mediterranean world.
In this ambitious and authoritative book, Jörg Rüpke provides a comprehensive and strikingly original narrative history of ancient Roman and Mediterranean religion over more than a millennium—from the late Bronze Age through the Roman imperial period and up to late antiquity. While focused primarily on the city of Rome, Pantheon fully integrates the many religious traditions found in the Mediterranean world, including Judaism and Christianity. This generously illustrated book is also distinguished by its unique emphasis on lived religion, a perspective that stresses how individuals' experiences and practices transform religion into something different from its official form. The result is a radically new picture of both Roman religion and a crucial period in Western religion—one that influenced Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and even the modern idea of religion itself.
Drawing on a vast range of literary and archaeological evidence, Pantheon shows how Roman religion shaped and was shaped by its changing historical contexts from the ninth century BCE to the fourth century CE. Because religion was not a distinct sphere in the Roman world, the book treats religion as inseparable from political, social, economic, and cultural developments. The narrative emphasizes the diversity of Roman religion; offers a new view of central concepts such as “temple,” “altar,” and “votive”; reassesses the gendering of religious practices; and much more. Throughout, Pantheon draws on the insights of modern religious studies, but without “modernizing” ancient religion. With its unprecedented scope and innovative approach, Pantheon is an unparalleled account of ancient Roman and Mediterranean religion.

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E. Plantade et D. Vallat (éd.), Les savoirs d'Apulée

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Emmanuel Plantade et Daniel Vallat (éd.), Les savoirs d'Apulée, Hildesheim, 2018.

Éditeur : Olms
Collection : Spudasmata 175
404 pages
ISBN : 978-3-487-15638-5
98 €

Ce livre remet au premier plan la question des savoirs d'Apulée, actuellement considéré comme un simple sophiste. Les auteurs y envisagent une variété de savoirs pratiques, spirituels et intertextuels que mobilise le Madaurensis dans l'idée qu'ils peuvent aider à éclairer son projet. Ainsi, la polymathia qu'on lui prête pourrait-elle correspondre chez lui à un authentique désir de connaissance et de sagesse, suffisant à justifier le titre de philosophus ? Ne pourrait-on voir le Madaurensis comme un nouvel Ulysse, revenant en Afrique après avoir fait sienne la polytropia du héros d'Homère, et mobilisant les savoirs méditerranéens pour leur donner un nouveau sens ?

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M. J. MacDonald (éd.), The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies

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Michael J. MacDonald (éd.), The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies, Oxford, 2017.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
Collection : Oxford Handbooks
848 pages
ISBN : 9780199731596

One of the most remarkable trends in the humanities and social sciences in recent decades has been the resurgence of interest in the history, theory, and practice of rhetoric: in an age of global media networks and viral communication, rhetoric is once again "contagious" and "communicable" (Friedrich Nietzsche). Featuring sixty commissioned chapters by eminent scholars of rhetoric from twelve countries, The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies offers students and teachers an engaging and sophisticated introduction to the multidisciplinary field of rhetorical studies.
The Handbook traces the history of Western rhetoric from ancient Greece and Rome to the present and surveys the role of rhetoric in more than thirty academic disciplines and fields of social practice. This combination of historical and topical approaches allows readers to chart the metamorphoses of rhetoric over the centuries while mapping the connections between rhetoric and law, politics, science, education, literature, feminism, poetry, composition, philosophy, drama, criticism, digital media, art, semiotics, architecture, and other fields. Chapters provide the information expected of a handbook-discussion of key concepts, texts, authors, problems, and critical debates-while also posing challenging questions and advancing new arguments.
In addition to offering an accessible and comprehensive introduction to rhetoric in the European and North American context, the Handbook includes a timeline of major works of rhetorical theory, translations of all Greek and Latin passages, extensive cross-referencing between chapters, and a glossary of more than three hundred rhetorical terms. These features will make this volume a valuable scholarly resource for students and teachers in rhetoric, English, classics, comparative literature, media studies, communication, and adjacent fields. As a whole, the Handbook demonstrates that rhetoric is not merely a form of stylish communication but a pragmatic, inventive, and critical art that operates in myriad social contexts and academic disciplines.

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D. Miano, Fortuna: Deity and Concept in Archaic and Republican Italy

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Daniele Miano, Fortuna: Deity and Concept in Archaic and Republican Italy, Oxford, 2018.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
256 pages
ISBN : 9780198786566
60 GBP

What is good luck and what did it mean to the Romans? What connections were there between luck and childbirth, victory in war, or success in business? What did Roman statesmen like Cicero and Caesar think about luck? This volume aims to address these questions by focusing on the Latin goddess Fortuna, one of the better known deities in ancient Italy. The earliest forms of her worship can be traced back to archaic Latium, and though the chronological scope of the discussion presented here covers the archaic age to the late Republic, she was still a widely recognized allegorical figure during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The primary reason for Fortuna's longevity is that she was a conceptual deity, symbiotically connected to the concept of chance and good fortune. When communities, individuals, and social groups interacted with the goddess, they were inevitably also interacting with the concept: renegotiating it, enriching it with new meanings, and challenging established associations. All the available literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources on Fortuna are explored here in depth, including analyses of all the attested sanctuaries of the goddess in Italy, an updated study of inscribed gifts offered to her by a variety of individuals, and discussion of how authors such as Cicero and Caesar wrote about Fortuna, chance, and good luck. This study of the goddess based on conceptual analysis serves to construct a radically new picture of the historical development of this deity in the context of the cultural interactions taking place in ancient Italy, and also suggests a new approach to polytheism based on an exploration of the connection between gods and goddesses and concepts.

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Marion Bellissime et Frédéric Hurlet, Dion Cassius, Histoire romaine, livre 53

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Marion Bellissime et Frédéric Hurlet, Dion Cassius, Histoire romaine, livre 53, Paris, 2018.

Éditeur : Les Belles Lettres
Collection : CUF (série grecque)
LXXXIX + 151 pages
ISBN : 9782251006215
39 €

Texte établi par M. Bellissime, traduit et commenté par M. Bellissime et F. Hurlet.
Le livre 53 de l'Histoire romaine de Dion Cassius retrace les événements des années 28 à 23 à Rome et hors de Rome, et s'attarde en particulier sur l'année 27 et la confirmation au pouvoir d'Octave après la bataille d'Actium. Dion Cassius imagine un discours de prétendu renoncement au pouvoir du futur empereur, qui assure en réalité à ce dernier le Principat puis le titre d'Auguste. L'historien se livre ensuite à une analyse très fine et extrêmement renseignée des institutions au moment du passage de la République au Principat. Cette étude se conclut notamment avec le récit de l'année 23, dont l'importance pour la mise en place du nouveau régime est bien mise en évidence par Dion.

Source : Les Belles Lettres


D. Potter, Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint

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David Potter, Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint, Oxford-New York, 2017.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
Collection : Women in Antiquity
288 pages
ISBN : 9780190692759
14,99 £


Two of the most famous mosaics from the ancient world, in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, depict the sixth-century emperor Justinian and, on the wall facing him, his wife, Theodora (497-548). This majestic portrait gives no inkling of Theodora's very humble beginnings or her improbable rise to fame and power. Raised in a family of circus performers near Constantinople's Hippodrome, she abandoned a successful acting career in her late teens to follow a lover whom she was legally forbidden to marry. When he left her, she was a single mother who built a new life for herself as a secret agent, in which role she met the heir to the throne. To the shock of the ruling elite, the two were married, and when Justinian assumed power in 527, they ruled the Eastern Roman Empire together.
Their reign was the most celebrated in Byzantine history, bringing wealth, prestige, and even Rome itself back to the Empire. Theodora was one of the dominant political figures of her era, helping shape imperial foreign and domestic policy and twice saving her husband from threatened deposition. She played a central role trying to solve the religious disputes of her era and proactively assisted women who were being trafficked. An extraordinarily able politician, she excited admiration and hatred from those around her. Enemies wrote extensively and imaginatively about her presumed early career as a prostitute, while supporters elevated her, quite literally, to sainthood.
Theodora's is a tale of a woman of exceptional talent who overcame immense obstacles to achieve incredible power, which she exercised without ever forgetting where she had come from. In Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint, David Potter penetrates the highly biased accounts of her found in the writings of her contemporaries and takes advantage of the latest research on early Byzantium to craft a modern, well-rounded, and engaging narrative of Theodora's life. This fascinating portrait will intrigue all readers with an interest in ancient and women's history.

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