Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome

BookMyth, History and Culture in Republican Rome

Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome

Studies in Honour of T.P. Wiseman


January 3rd, 2003





In this collection of essays, an international team of outstanding scholars engage with the ideas and methods of Professor Peter Wiseman's past and present work. They provide a sustained response to the work of one of the most widely respected Roman historians of this generation. The contributions range over myth (Corialanus and Remus), the interplay between historiography, literature and myth-making (on Cleopatra, for instance), and art and story-telling at Boscoreale. They explore Roman drama (Pacuvius) and links between drama and Virgil's Aeneid; they discuss Catullus in Bithynia and Cicero on Greek and Roman culture. Professor Wiseman has been at the forefront of innovative research in Roman history, historiography, literature in context, drama and myth, for many years. His work is marked by the combination of a powerful historical imagination with an acute sense of the limitations of our knowledge and of the need to negotiate with the complexity of our sources.

Christopher Gill is Professor of Ancient Thought, University of Exeter. His books include Form and Argument in Late Plato (OUP, 1996) and a translation of Plato, Symposium (Penguin, 1999). David Braund is Professor of Ancient History, and head of the Classics and Ancient History department at the University of Exeter. His particular specialism lies in the Black Sea region, especially Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, and he speaks Russian and Georgian fluently. His books include The Administration of the Roman Empire (Exeter, 1988); Georgia in Antiquity: A History of Transcaucasian Georgia, 550 BC-AD 562 (Oxford, 1994); Ruling Roman Britain: Kings, Queens, Governors and Emperors from Caesar to Agricola (Routledge, 1996).

List of Contributors David Braund (By (author)) Christopher Gill (By (author)) David Braund (Contributions by) Francis Cairns (Contributions by) Edward Champlin (Contributions by) Filippo Coarelli (Contributions by) Tim Cornell (Contributions by) Michael Crawford (Contributions by) Elaine Fantham (Contributions by) Karl Galinsky (Contributions by) Christopher Gill (Contributions by) Erich Gruen (Contributions by) Nicholas Purcell (Contributions by) Mario Torelli Torelli (Contributions by) Susan Treggiari (Contributions by) T.P. Wiseman (Contributions by) A.J. Woodman (Contributions by) James Zetzel (Contributions by)

Some of these essays are . . . quite radical in their implications. Many are provocative. All are valuable. It is good to be reminded that so many different roads can lead us back to the Romans.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

The quality of these essays, . . . eloquent testimony to what TPW has done to enliven and invigorate Roman studies over the last thirty years.

Scripta Classica Israelica, Vol. XXII

This is a delightful and important book... The book is handsomely produced and bound. The editors have done a splendid job... It should, therefore, be read by any JACT member who genuinely cares about Roman studies. Another ideal gift.

Joint Association of Classical Teachers, (JACT), Issue 34

(JACT), Issue 34

A striking feature of this collection is the extent to which all the contributions demonstrate an indebtedness to the person in whose honour they were presented. Professor T.P. Wiseman’s ‘presence’ permeates these essays and gives them a coherence which is usually impossible to achieve in the case of most Festschriften... This is indeed a rich collection of scholarly articles, many of which employ instances of the bold – yet plausible – conjecture that is exemplified by much of Wiseman’s work.

Scholia Reviews, Vol. 13

An all-star team has gathered to pay tribute to the work of Peter Wiseman in this impressive collection of papers… the various contributions come together for a result that is much like Wiseman’s scholarship: a blend of historiography, literature and thought practised in excellent fashion which does much to advance our knowledge of Roman culture… In sum, these papers are a fitting tribute to Peter Wiseman’s work. Many of the authors have interacted directly with his scholarship, some in opposition to well known theories. Yet even those who have not done so owe a clear debt to the dedicatee, for they all support and attempt to emulate the kind of interdisciplinarity which marks Wiseman’s publications. This should not be taken for granted. There was far greater specialization and patrolling of the disciplinary boundaries at the commencement of Wiseman’s academic career. Points were at times scored rather easily against (say) a historian who strayed leaden-footed into the world of literature, or into the world of a particular writer, and failed to appreciate the nuances of extract lifted clumsily out of context. It needed scholars of Wiseman’s learning and personality to break this mould and inspire others to emulate them. There can be little doubt that he is a pioneer and that the study of Roman culture is much the better for his example and leadership. In fact, we have to think in broad holistic terms of ‘culture’ when we read him.


We have here thirteen solid and stimulating papers from some of the brightest stars in the firmament of Roman studies, as well as an informative introduction by the editors... The editors, both highly respected scholars at Exeter, have done their work carefully, and the book is handsomely produced, with a striking reproduction of a detail from a fourth century B.C. bronze cista on its cover, clear illustrations and maps, and helpful indices. The content, however, is the most important thing; the individual essays run the gamut of Roman studies from the beginning to the end of the republican period... Every college and university library should own it, and everyone interested in Roman history, myth, and culture would profit from reading it.

New England Classical Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2

Author Information

David Braund is Professor of Ancient History, and head of the Classics and Ancient History department at the University of Exeter. His particular specialism lies in the Black Sea region, especially Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, and he speaks Russian and Georgian fluently. Christopher Gill is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter. His books include 'Form and Argument in Late Plato' (OUP, 1996) and a translation of 'Plato, Symposium' (Penguin, 1999).

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Part 1
An appreciation of the work of T.P Wiseman, Elaine Fantham.
Part 2
Land and people in republican Italy, Michael Crawford
Le megalografie dell'oecus della villa di Boscoreale: programma iconografico e programma politico (in English translation), Mario Torelli
Remoria (in English translation), Filippo Corelli
Becoming historical - the Roman case, Nicholas Purcell; Coriolanus - myth, history and performance, Tim Cornell
The theatre of Pacuvius - melodrama and mythography, Elaine Fantham
Agamemnon at Rome, Edward Champlin; Catullus - in and about Bithynia, Francis Cairns
Ancestral virtues and vices - Cicero on nature, nurture and presentation, Susan Treggiari
Plato with pillows - Cicero on the uses of Greek culture, James Zetzel
Cleopatra in Rome - facts and fantasies, Erich Gruen
Greek and Roman drama and the Aeneid, Karl Galinsky
Celebrare Clio - poets and historians, Tony Woodman
Autobiographical note, T.P. Wiseman
Bibliography of T.P. Wiseman to date of publication