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California Classical Studies, no. 5

Joey Williams,  The Archaeology of Roman Surveillance in the Central Alentejo, Portugal

Paperback, 168 pages, published February 16, 2017, ISBN 9781939926081, $29.95
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EPub (flowing text) version, published February 21, 2017, ISBN 9781939926098, $14.95, available from our sales page, or (within a few weeks) from other retailers.

Open-access page view at eScholarship page (free PDF download starting February 23, 2019) .

During the first century B.C.E. a complex system of surveillance towers was established during Rome’s colonization of the central Alentejo region of Portugal. These towers provided visual control over the landscape, routes through it, and hidden or isolated places as part of the Roman colonization of the region. As part of an archaeological analysis of the changing landscape of Alentejo, Joey Williams offers here a theory of surveillance in Roman colonial encounters drawn from a catalog of watchtowers in the Alentejo, the artifacts and architecture from the tower known as Caladinho, and the geographic information systems analysis of each tower’s vision. Through the consideration of these and other pieces of evidence, Williams places surveillance at the center of the colonial negotiation over territory, resources, and power in the westernmost province of the Roman Empire.


California Classical Studies, no. 4

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Mirjam E. Kotwick, Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Paperback, 356 pages, published March 11, 2016, ISBN 9781939926067, $39.95
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EPub (flowing text), published March 20, 2016, ISBN 9781939926074, $19.95
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Open-access page view at eScholarship page  (free PDF download starting March 16, 2018).

Alexander of Aphrodisias’s commentary (about AD 200) is the earliest extant commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and it is the most valuable indirect witness to the Metaphysics text and its transmission. Mirjam Kotwick’s study is a systematic investigation into the version of the Metaphysics that Alexander used when writing his commentary, and into the various ways his text, his commentary, and the texts transmitted through our manuscripts relate to one another.  Through a careful analysis of lemmata, quotations, and Alexander’s discussion of Aristotle’s argument Kotwick shows how to uncover and partly reconstruct a Metaphysics version from the second century AD. Kotwick then uses this version for improving the text that came down to us by the direct manuscript tradition and for finding solutions to some of the puzzles in this tradition. Through a side-by-side examination of Alexander’s text, his interpretation of Aristotle’s thought, and the directly transmitted versions of the Metaphysics, Kotwick reveals how Alexander’s commentary may have influenced the text of our manuscripts at different stages of the transmission process. This study is the first book-length examination of a commentary as a witness to an ancient philosophical text. This blend of textual criticism and philosophical analysis both expands on existing methodologies in classical scholarship and develops new ones.


California Classical Studies, no. 3


Mark Griffith, Greek Satyr Play: Five Studies

Paperback, 222 pages, published August 23, 2015, ISBN 9781939926043, $29.95
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EPub (flowing text), published August 30, 2015, ISBN 9781939926050, $14.95
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Open-access page view at eScholarship page  (free PDF download starting September 2, 2017).

With a new introduction and some revisions, these essays on Classical Greek satyr plays, originally published in various venues between 2002 and 2010, suggest new critical approaches to this important dramatic genre and identify previously neglected dimensions and dynamics within their original Athenian context. Griffith shows that satyr plays, alongside the ludicrous and irresponsible—but harmless—antics of their chorus, presented their audiences with culturally sophisticated narratives of romance, escapist adventure, and musical-choreographic exuberance, amounting to a “parallel universe” to that of the accompanying tragedies in the City Dionysia festival. The class oppositions between heroic/divine characters and the rest (choruses, messengers, servants, etc.) that are so integral to Athenian tragedy are shown to be present also, in exaggerated form, in satyr drama, with the satyr chorus occupying a role that also inevitably recalled for the Athenian audiences their own (often foreign-born) slaves. Meanwhile the familiar main characters of tragedy (Heracles, Danae and Perseus, Hermes and Apollo, Achilles, Odysseus, etc.) are re-deployed in an engaging milieu of erotic encounters, miraculous discoveries, guaranteed happy endings, marriages, and painless release from suffering for all—both for the well-behaved heroes and also for the low-life, playful satyrs (the “slaves of Dionysus”). In their fusion of adventure and romance, fantasy and naïvete, Aphrodite and Dionysus, Athenian satyr plays thus anticipate in many respects, Griffith suggests, the later developments of Greek pastoral and prose romance.


California Classical Studies, no. 2


Edward Courtney, A Commentary on the Satires of Juvenal

Paperback, 583 pages, published October 9, 2013, ISBN 9781939926029, $49.95
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EPub (flowing text), published October 18, 2013, ISBN 9781939926036, $24.95
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Open-access page view (also free PDF download) at eScholarship page.

Edward Courtney’s study of the Satires of Juvenal is the only full-scale commentary on the corpus since the nineteenth century and retains its value for students and scholars a generation after its first appearance in 1980. This commentary incorporates the findings of classical study up to that time, including the work of A. E. Housman, new discoveries such as those of papyri, and the expanding horizons of classical research. Courtney elucidates the form of each poem and the progression of thought, and offers many suggestions for the adjustment of traditional punctuation. In addition to basic explanation of the text, the commentary offers a detailed understanding of the literary and historical context, including thorough treatment of social customs, realia, development of the Latin language, and rhetorical features. The Introduction discusses Juvenal’s life, his development as a satirist, his view of society and morals, his style, and his handling of metre.


California Classical Studies, no. 1


Leslie Kurke, The Traffic in Praise: Pindar and the Poetics of Social Economy 

Paperback, pages xvi + 250 pages, published August 21, 2013, ISBN 9781939926005, $29.95
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EPub (flowing text), published October 7, 2013, ISBN 9781939926012, $19.95
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Open-access page view (also free PDF download) at eScholarship page.

Pindar’s epinikian odes were poems commissioned to celebrate athletic victories in the first half of the fifth century BCE. Drawing on the insights of interpretive anthropology and cultural history, Leslie Kurke investigates how the socially embedded genre of epinikion responded to a period of tremendous social and cultural change. Kurke examines the odes as public performances which enact the reintegration of the athletic victor into his heterogeneous communities. These communities—the victor’s household, his aristocratic class, and his city—represent competing, sometimes conflicting interests, which the epinikian poet must satisfy to accomplish his project of reintegration. Kurke considers in particular the different modes of exchange in which Pindar’s poetry participated: the symbolic economy of the household, gift exchange between aristocratic houses, and the workings of monetary exchange within the city. Her analysis produces an archaeology of Pindar’s poetry, exposing multiple systems of imagery that play on different shared cultural models to appeal to the various segments of the poet’s audience. The Traffic in Praise aims to provide new insight into Pindar’s poetry as well as into the conceptual world of archaic and classical Greece.