John Maxwell O'Brien and Barney Rickenbacker
*Hadrian's famous institution for the study of Greek *rhetoric and letters in the centre of Rome. In the 4th cent.
Athenaeus (2) Mechanicus is the named author of a surviving treatise On Machines; military ones, for use in siege-warfare. The work is addressed to a ‘Marcellus,’ and nowadays orthodoxy identifies him with M. Claudius Marcellus, the short-lived (42–23
Short and not always coherent though it is, the On Machines has a two-fold importance. One is in the material mentioned already: Athenaeus and Vitruvius in tandem (together with a middle-Byzantine version of the same material) provide a succinct but useful summary history of military machinery from its beginnings to the early Hellenistic period, highlighting especially the mechanici who served Alexander the Great. But beyond that, Athenaeus offers valuable insights into late-Hellenistic culture, when an educated dilettante felt entitled to make his own contribution to such a technical genre.
M. Stephen Spurr
The Domus Aurea (Golden House) was the opulent residence of the emperor Nero (r. 54–68
The imperial-age Greek Progymnasmata in which the term ekphrasis first appears show that the rhetoricians of the Greco-Roman world identified “descriptive speech” as an important component of rhetorical narrative and other elements of an oration insofar as it created “vividness” (ἐνάργεια) and “clarity” (ͅσαφήνεια) so as to bring persons, places, events, objects, etc. “before the eyes” (ὑπ’ ὅψιν) of listeners. The Roman rhetoricians draw upon Greek concepts and terminology to express the value in oratory of vividness (evidentia, illustratio, repraesentatio) imparted through description (descriptio, sub oculos subiectio, etc.). Many examples of such techniques can be found in Roman oratory as well as the Roman historians, who, like most Roman authors, share with the orators a strong familiarity with rhetoric. But if, in general, neither oratory nor historiography exhibits a high degree of self-consciousness about differences between ekphraseis/descriptiones in Greek and Latin, one type of ekphrasis—that of art objects in Roman poetry and the Roman novel—does. This constitutes one reason why it merits separate attention, in spite of the fact that the Progymnasmata suggest that in Antiquity it was viewed as a subcategory of the larger phenomenon. Many of the ways the Latin authors use ekphrasis of art (real or imagined) are, again, drawn directly from Greek practice. For example, these ekphrases often represent in metaliterary fashion the larger text in which they appear (a technique known in modern discussions as mise en abyme) or, in a related gesture, allude through analepsis and prolepsis (flashback and “flash-forward”) to other parts of the main text. They often interrupt the course of the larger text’s narrative by encouraging its audience to concentrate on a visual narrative within the art object and yet demand to be integrated into the larger narrative, however problematically or imperfectly, by an interpreting audience. Whether implicitly or explicitly, moreover, they often affirm verbal art’s capability to express things that a silent art object cannot and thus seem to assert the primacy of the text over the image. All of these are inherited Greek techniques; but the Latin authors extend the self-referential quality of ekphrasis’ conventional functions to encompass focused scrutiny of the relationship between Greek and Roman culture. We can sometimes discern, moreover, ways in which allusions to Greek elements of actual painting, sculpture, architecture, etc. enhance this dimension of Roman ekphrasis. Latin authors’ uses of these interrelated techniques develop and change over time.
The study of Latin texts inscribed on durable objects, usually of stone or bronze. It is concerned both with the form of the inscriptions and with their content, and so impinges on many other fields, e.g. art history, palaeography, philology, history, law, religion. It excludes, but cannot ignore, texts on coins and gems; it has a strong interest in Greek inscriptions of the Roman period; it includes some texts written with paint or pen and ink (see e.g.
2. The epigraphist must first decipher all that can be read on the inscribed object, however much damaged it is and then, where possible, propose restorations of what is illegible or lost: processes for which modern techniques, such as computer-enhanced photographs and computerized indices of formulae, are currently supplementing long-standing aids, such as photographs taken in raking lights and squeezes (impressions made with absorbent paper or latex). The resulting text can then be interpreted as a historical document.
M. Stephen Spurr
Iulius Atticus, probably of Gallic origin, wrote, in *Tiberius' time, the first specialized monograph on viticulture (*Columella, Rust. 1. 1. 14). He apparently aimed to produce *wine in bulk while cutting costs (ibid. 4. 1–2).
P. J. Parsons
J. David Thomas
Publius Septimius, a republican writer on architecture mentioned by Vitruvius (7. praef. 14).