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Kelly Olson

The stola was a long, sleeveless overdress or slip-like garment suspended from shoulder straps that is claimed by literary sources to be the distinguishing garment of the Roman matrona. The stola was worn over the tunic and belted with a cord (see Figure 1). It was a sign that the wearer (perhaps freeborn) was married in a iustum matrimonium. The term is not mentioned by Terence, Cato, or Plautus, and so the garment may not have been commonplace before about 50 bce. It is by no means referred to by all authors even after this date: often the garment of the married woman is referred to in general terms as longa vestis (e.g., Ov. Fast. 4.134), which may refer to her long enveloping tunic, and not the stola at all. It is uncertain whether or not freedwomen wore the stola (see ILLRP 977; = CLE 56; Macr. Sat.



Michael B. Charles

Elephants were widely used in the Mediterranean World and Middle East for military purposes. The Mediterranean world first encountered them during Alexander the Great’s conquest of Achaemenid Persia, but the first major battle between a Mediterranean power and elephants occurred at the Hydaspes (326 ce) during Alexander’s Indian campaign. Thereafter, the Successor kingdoms sought to maintain elephant corps. When Ptolemaic Egypt was cut off from supplies of Indian elephants, it had to look south. The nearby civilization of Meroë had an interest in elephants, although it is unknown whether they used them militarily. Like the Ptolemies, the Carthaginians and Numidians also trained African elephants for war. Although Rome first encountered the Indian elephants of Pyrrhus, it had to contend with the African elephants of Carthage in the First and Second Punic Wars. Having beaten elephants in several battles, and recognizing that elephants were often a danger to their own side, Rome showed little interest in the elephant other than for display and games. This, together with their appetite for ivory, resulted in the extinction of elephants in northern Africa. African elephants were last used for military purposes by the kingdom of Aksum, although it is uncertain whether this use was commonplace. In contrast, the final user of Indian elephants in classical antiquity was Sasanid Persia, which used them against Rome in various wars, most notably during the 4th century ce.


Column of Trajan, reception of  

Elizabeth R. Macaulay

Since Late Antiquity, architects, leaders, and nations have emulated, adapted, and reinterpreted the Column of Trajan. Its appeal has been due to its height, ability to dominate the surrounding landscape, and complex spiral reliefs detailing the emperor Trajan’s annexation of Dacia as a Roman province. Its form has inspired countless honorific, triumphal, and commemorative monuments in the post-antique era.

Honorary columns were erected in Rome, possibly as early as 439bce; they were certainly known by 318bce. Rostral columns—columns with the beaks of captured warships attached—were erected in 260 and 255bce to celebrate Roman victories over the Carthaginians. None were so important in the tradition of erecting monumental, honorific, columns as the Column of Trajan (figure 1). Erected by the Senate in the Forum of Trajan in honour of Trajan’s two successful campaigns in Dacia (101–102ce; 105–106ce), it stood between the forum’s two libraries and the Basilica Ulpia. The Column (38 m tall and 3.7 m in diameter) was topped by a bronze statue (4.7 m) of Trajan in military attire. The column is hollow and contains a spiral staircase to the platform at the top of the column’s capital. The Column is famous for the finely carved helical sculptural relief program that depicted the Dacian wars. If rolled out, this frieze would be approximately 200 m long. There are 155 scenes with more than 2,600 figures, each at about two-thirds life size. The height of the frieze increases, as it spirals up the Column, from 0.89 m to 1.25 m.


Polybius (1), Greek historian, c. 200–c. 118 BCE  

Emma Nicholson

Polybius was a Greek historian who documented Rome’s rise to power in the Mediterranean in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bce. Originally a leading figure of the Achaean League, he was deported to Rome after the defeat of Perseus of Macedon in 168 bce and became closely attached to Scipio Aemilianus, forming part of the so-called Scipionic Circle. While in Rome he began to write his Histories, a vast forty-book historical account of the middle-Hellenistic world and Rome’s establishment of dominion over the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, only the first five books remain complete; the rest are preserved in varying degrees of fragmentation. The Histories are the earliest surviving “universal” history and interweave events in the different geographical areas of the Mediterranean to demonstrate the increasing interconnectedness of world affairs.The Histories are described by Polybius as pragmatikos, concerned with political and military affairs, and have a strong didactic and moral tendency aimed at current and future leaders. The work intends not only to explain what happened in the Mediterranean and why, but also to train its readers to navigate a political and military career as successfully as possible and to bear the reversals of fortune with courage. As a historian, Polybius was characterized by his deep concern for the truthfulness of his narrative, his careful consultation of documents and witnesses, his efforts to apply reason and correct judgement, his focus on human character and action, and his elucidation of cause and effect. While not immune from political bias, Polybius adheres rigorously to his principles throughout the Histories and often criticizes other historians for their lack of accuracy, judgment, or objectivity.



Rebecca Langlands

Lucretia, the virtuous wife of Collatinus, was raped by a royal prince, Sextus Tarquinius, and killed herself after reporting the crime to her father and husband. Her death and the vengeance it inspired marked a turning point in Roman history in 509 bce, when Lucius Junius Brutus led the expulsion from Rome of the tyrannical Tarquinii, putting an end to monarchical rule, and founding the Roman republic; Brutus and Lucretia’s father Collatinus were elected the first pair of consuls. The avengers of Lucretia’s rape are thus champions of liberty, freeing Rome from tyranny. This is the core of one of Rome’s more powerful and enduring foundation legends. Although the episode is set in the 6th century bce, our most extensive early ancient accounts were written in the 1st centuries bce and ce by Livy, Ovid, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Augustan authors for whom Lucretia’s fate was a distant legend. Since antiquity, the story has been reworked and reinterpreted many times, in scholarship, political thought and philosophy, and literature and arts. It has been used to explore a wide range of political and moral ideas, including the ethical ramifications of both rape and suicide.


maritime loans  

Dominic W. Rathbone

In the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, centred as they were on the Mediterranean, maritime transport was far more practical than land transport for long- and even medium-distance trade. Most ships seem to have been of medium size (around 70 tonnes burden) and to have been owned and run by a shipper who both carried goods as freight and traded on his own account. There were also many individual merchants who hired shipping as needed for their ventures. Then as now, the major expense in trading was the investment in purchasing goods; roughly, one cargo of wheat was worth as much as the ship. Hence a merchant, whether or not also a shipowner, often needed third-party finance, for which, because of the peculiar risks involved, a special type of loan was used. This was the maritime loan—nautikon daneion in Greek, nauticum faenus or mutua pecunia nautica in Latin.The maritime loan is first attested in 4th-century bce Athens, in four speeches attributed to Demosthenes, of which the most informative is the prosecution of the brother of a pair of merchants for fraudulent default on a loan (Dem.


Pantheon, reception of  

Elizabeth R. Macaulay

The Pantheon, considered to be one of the greatest Roman buildings ever, was an architectural palimpsest that ancient and post-antique architects have reinterpreted, especially the combination of the dome and temple façade.The Pantheon is considered one of the greatest Roman buildings ever erected (figure 1). Its soaring dome, remarkable interior, and porch with a double pediment have resulted in wide-ranging receptions of its architecture. While scholars debate the origin and meaning of the double pediment and the date of the Pantheon, such academic debates were not a primary consideration for later architects, who viewed the Pantheon as an architectural palimpsest. The Pantheon’s unique soaring dome and oculus created a remarkable architectural interior, and the monumental porch served as an impressive and imposing entrance. The combination of a dome and porch would be replicated in countless buildings. Due to its conversion into a church in 609 or 610 .


triumphal arches, reception of  

Kimberly Cassibry

Triumphal arches originated in the Roman Empire and have been constructed for over two thousand years. These free-standing portals are more accurately known as arch monuments, commemorative arches, or honorific arches due to their diverse functions. Arcuated shapes allow these monuments to span significant roads; multiple façades create space for dedicatory inscriptions, relief sculptures, and statues. Varied reception of this fundamental design concept—a free-standing portal with words and images—is evident in each commemorative arch. Reception of individual arch monuments can be traced through descriptions, representations, and interventions.

The Roman arches dedicated to the emperors Titus (c. 81 ce), Septimius Severus and his sons (c. 203 ce), and Constantine I (315 ce) have strongly influenced the monument’s modern reception, even though they do not represent the monument’s full range of ancient designs and functions. In major European revivals since antiquity, ephemeral arches have adorned political processions, and permanent monuments have commemorated imperial military victories. In the 20th century, arch monuments arose in cities around the globe, often amid debates about national identity.


building techniques and materials, Roman  

Roger B. Ulrich

The inherent strengths, weaknesses, and availability of diverse Roman building materials governed the techniques used in construction and greatly influenced the final appearance of Roman architecture. Trace archaeological evidence exists of buildings and burials in Rome from the Italian Bronze Age (second millennium bce) or earlier, and substantial physical remains, in the form of Iron-Age huts and grave goods, roughly correspond to the Romans’ own belief of the foundation date of their city (traditionally 753 bce). Rome’s earliest builders sourced materials obtainable from the immediate environment and transformed them using practical knowledge. Within the span of a couple centuries, architectural design, implementation, and decoration reflect a broad interaction between Roman builders and their counterparts in the regions around central Italy (particularly Etruria to the north and Campania to the south) and also the wider Mediterranean world, particularly those areas where Greeks traditionally lived or had placed colonies. While southern Italy and Sicily represent the closest areas for the transmission of Greek ideas, Greek building practices on the Greek mainland and in Asia Minor also influenced Roman projects from the Archaic period onwards. As Rome grew wealthier and expanded abroad, patrons and builders imported marble to the capital from the Aegean, well before the discovery of more local, Italian sources. The importation of exotic stones grew exponentially over the period of the late Republic and the first two centuries of empire. The coloured marbles that embellished the buildings of Rome served as physical testimony to Rome’s control over the eastern Mediterranean. Nothing, however, was as transformative as the adoption of concrete in the late 3rd century bce, the mass production of fired brick, and the ensuing experimentation that resulted in the vaulted structures that have become the hallmark of Roman architecture.



Ian Archibald Richmond and John Patterson

Subura, the valley between the *Viminal and *Esquiline hills of Rome, was connected to the *forum Romanum by way of the Argiletum and Forum Transitorium (see forum nervae). The district was notorious for its bustle, noise, and dirt, and for *prostitution. It was a well-known centre of trade and manufacture. Here lay a Jewish *synagogue. Distinguished residents included *Caesar, prior to his election as *pontifex maximus (Suet.Iul. 46).


annona (other products)  

Carlos Machado

The annona was the imperial service responsible for overseeing the supply of key food items to the city of Rome and the army. Primarily concerned with grain, the service became increasingly involved in the provisioning of other commodities, such as olive oil, wine, and pork. By the end of the 3rd century, the annona was a complex machinery involving private and public agents in different parts of the empire, overseen by the prefect of the annona, based in Rome. The operation of this system is documented in literary texts, administrative documents such as papyri and writing tablets, inscriptions, and a rich archaeological record, in Rome and in the provinces. However, the precise working of the system and the degree to which it was controlled by the Roman state remain open to debate. The annona was also involved in the supply of the army, especially with regards to provisions brought from distant producing centres. During the later empire, the system became more centralised, being overseen by the praetorian prefecture.



Paul Erdkamp

While our sources mention numerous prices of a wide range of commodities, the question remains to what extent these prices offer insight into the ancient economy. Despite the wealth of data, reliable prices of everyday goods under normal market conditions are rare. The extent to which they can be used to analyze such topics as market integration, living standards, market stability, and inflation is limited. Only regarding Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt do we possess sufficient market prices (rather than imposed prices or valuations) to conduct meaningful analyses. For most of the rest of the empire, the prices—in particular those of everyday goods—are generally too uncertain, too sparse, and too diverse to form a solid basis for economic analysis. It is a valid question, moreover, to what extent prices in the ancient world reflect the interplay of supply and demand according to modern economic theory. Nevertheless, ancient writers depict price levels as depending on the interplay of supply and demand, and market transactions, as narrated in our sources, emphasizing competition and bargaining, make clear that price formation was largely determined by economic forces. Hence, prices fluctuated over time and differed in various places. The authorities tried to keep prices of staple foods low by influencing market conditions, but direct price fixing was rare.


Sibylline Oracles  

Erich S. Gruen

The Sibylline Oracles had a long life. The Sibyl was in origin a single Greek prophetess, renowned for the accuracy of her forecasts, divinely inspired, but portrayed as mad or raving, and regularly spewing forth dire forebodings. Additional Sibyls gradually sprang up in a variety of locations in the Mediterranean world, including the renowned Cumaean Sibyl whom Aeneas reputedly consulted. Sibylline prophecies were eventually collected in written form in Rome and used by Roman authorities to provide interpretation of unusual prodigies or natural disasters or to offer advice on significant matters of foreign entanglements and wars. Although that collection (insofar as it is historical) has long since disappeared, the voice of the Sibyl was reproduced in literary form. The extant Sibylline verses, composed in Homeric Greek hexameters, constitute twelve books of oracles, fashioned over a period of several centuries by numerous different and no longer identifiable hands. They constitute a motley assemblage of grim forecasts, historical references, apocalyptic visions, and denunciations of various peoples, especially Romans, for their abandonment of piety and indulgence in evil. The genre was appropriated by anonymous Jewish authors, speaking through the voice of the Sibyl, and employed to convey condemnation of cities and nations for the sins of idolatry, licentiousness, and a range of vices. Vivid portrayals of the end time and eschatological conflagration feature many of the texts. Subsequent Christian writers interpolated verses, added exaltations of Christ, and appropriated Sibylline pronouncements for their own ends. Others manipulated the oracles to record historical personages and events in the framework of prophetic pronouncements. The result was a complex and unsystematic compilation of reconstructed or fabricated prophecies ascribed to Sibyls but largely representing the ingenuity of Jewish and Christian compilers.


Honoria, Justa Grata, sister to western emperor Valentinian III  

Meaghan McEvoy

Justa Grata Honoria was the elder sister of the western Roman emperor Valentinian III (reigned 425–455 ce), and the first child of the Augusta Galla Placidia and her husband Flavius Constantius (later Constantius III), who died in 421 ce (Olympiodorus, fr. 33.1). Honoria was born in late 417 or 418 ce,1 and in 425 her younger brother was acclaimed western emperor at the age of six years.2 At perhaps the same time or very shortly thereafter, Justa Grata Honoria was elevated to the rank of Augusta.3 Honoria cannot have been more than eight years old at the time of her elevation, and the creation of a child Augusta was a rare and almost unprecedented event, the only similar case being the recent elevation of her cousin Pulcheria, the older sister of the eastern emperor Theodosius II, who in 414 had been raised to the rank of Augusta while a teenager.


Greco-Roman architecture, reception of  

Elizabeth R. Macaulay

Since antiquity Greek and Roman architecture has been subject to diverse and complex receptions. Architectural forms have experienced different and wide-scale transformations across space and time, both in antiquity and in postantique contexts. These adapted forms have emerged because of the complex interactions between building traditions and contemporary needs.

At a fundamental level, architecture must be functional. It must work for the purpose for which it was designed, be it a temple, law court, or residence. Vitruvius endorses this view in De Architectura (I.2.5), the only surviving architectural treatise from Greco-Roman antiquity. At the same time, architecture has a unique ability to concretise ideas. Not only were there political, religious, economic, social, and ideological concepts associated with specific types of ancient buildings, but the architectural forms of the classical world have had a powerful range of resonances that postantique architects, patrons, and regimes have been only too keen to exploit. Classical architectural forms come with a lot of baggage.


wall of Aurelian  

Rossana Mancini

In 271 ce, nominally in response to the empire’s state of vulnerability, the Emperor Aurelian decided to protect Rome with a curtain wall, a decision that may also have been driven by social pressures in the city and the form of which was motivated by economic limitations. Following its completion by Probus, the wall has subsequently received periodic improvements from Maxentius and Honorius through Theodoric and medieval and Renaissance popes and into the modern period when the walls became partially accessible to the public.When Aurelian succeeded to the imperial throne, in 270ce, northern European tribes posed a serious threat. The most pressing danger was posed by the Juthungi in Noricum, Rhaetia and northern Italy and by the Vandals and Iazygian Sarmatians along the Danube. In 271ce the Juthungi penetrated as far as Umbria, though they were defeated at Ticinum (modern Pavia). It was in that very year that the Emperor .


anti-Semitism, pagan  

Catherine Hezser

Whether the modern term anti-Semitism, popularized by the German anti-Semitic agitator and founder of the League of Antisemites Wilhelm Marr (1819–1904), is appropriate for antiquity is controversial. Scholars have proposed to use alternative terms such as Judeophobia or hatred against Jews instead. Similarly controversial is the question whether racism existed and was directed against Jews in antiquity. Greek and Latin writers’ expression of anti-Jewish arguments and slanderous allegations against Jews need to be investigated within the respective social, political, and cultural contexts in which they occur. Several anti-Jewish writers lived in Egypt and created variant versions of a counter-narrative to the biblical exodus story. Egyptian “anti-Semitism” is usually explained by reference to relations between Jews and non-Jews in Alexandria and the Hellenistic and Roman rulers’ treatment of the different ethnic groups. Recurrent anti-Jewish arguments are directed against beliefs and practices associated with Jews, such as Jewish monotheism, Sabbath observance, circumcision, and abstinence from pork. Rather than being based on detailed knowledge of Judaism or close observance of Jewish practices, they reflect misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Some allegations were entirely fictional. Greek and Roman authors’ claims of their own culture’s superiority over Jews as an ethnic and religious minority flared up in times of rebellion and defeat. Conflicts and clashes also happened in Antioch, Caesarea, and Rome, where Jews were frequently expelled. Major Roman authors expressed hostile views of Jews and Judaism. Roman emperors’ policies shifted between submission and toleration. Not every form of conflict between Jews and others can be called anti-Semitism. When pagans became Christian, traditional pagan attitudes towards Jews merged with Christian anti-Judaism.


Martial, Latin poet  

Luke Roman

Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis, born c. 38–41 ce in Bilbilis, Spain, died c. 101–104) was a Latin poet who came to Rome around 64 ce. His early works were linked to specific occasions: the De Spectaculis, written for the inaugural games of the Colosseum in 80 ce, and the Xenia and Apophoreta (published c. 83–85 ce), associated with the celebration of the Saturnalia. Over the course of his subsequent career, Martial published twelve numbered books of epigrams. His version of epigram, which became canonical in later centuries, was the result of a highly distinctive series of interventions. Drawing on a range of Greek and Latin literary models, he imprinted onto epigram a constellation of recognizable traits: the set-up and punchline structure of epigrammatic wit, a materialist focus on quotidian realities, the forthright use of obscene language, and a relaxed mood of carnivalesque festivity. The genre of epigram, thus inflected and reconfigured, allowed Martial to position himself in relation to the canonical Augustan poets and define his poetic role under authoritarian emperors.



Annalisa Marzano

Fishing was an economically important activity in the classical world. Some communities owed their prosperity to the exploitation of bountiful fisheries and the trade in salted fish and fish sauces or the manufacture of products such as purple dye made from sea molluscs. Salted or pickled fish products supplemented a subsistence diet, while specific types of fresh fish were costly and sought after as status enhancers. Marine fishing rights were not the object of monopolies since in ancient Greece and Rome the sea was seen as something held in common. In practice, ownership of coastal fishing installations and control of specialist knowledge related to fishing were ways in which one could exercise control over fishing rights. In contrast, inland bodies of water could be held as private property and exclusive fishing rights to them could be claimed. Fishermen specialized in specific fishing techniques and formed professional associations. In the Roman imperial era, fishing activity and the trade in fish products increased.



Helen King

Almost all information about women in antiquity comes to us from male sources. Some women could read and write (see literacy), at least to the level needed for their role as guardians of the *household stores (e.g. Xen.Oec. 7.5 and 9.10; see housework), but, although there are many references to literary works by women, very few texts survive. The known exceptions to male authorship include women poets (e.g. *Sappho, *Corinna, *Erinna, *Nossis, Sulpicia (1 and 2)), early philosophers (e.g. *Hypatia; some Hellenistic pamphlets are attributed to Pythagorean women; see women in philosophy), personal letters from women, and the 5th-century ce travel diary of Egeria (*Itinerarium Egeriae). Many attributions to women are problematic. Were women's letters written by scribes? Is a text ascribed to a woman simply in order to attack a man (e.g. Aspasia's alleged authorship of *Pericles(1)'s speeches)?The central source problems, and the strategies developed to overcome them, underpin the large amount of work on ancient women produced since the 1980s.