Vol 52 (2016)

Published September 1, 2016



A gold lamella for ‘Blessed’ Abalala

This article examines a previously unpublished gold lamella of unknown provenance, datable on palaeographical grounds to the 1st century BCE, give-or-take a half century, either side. The tablet preserves three words written in Greek letters that may contain a GrecoPersian formula of protection in the afterlife for its bearer, Abalala,... a name of pre-Islamic extraction. The study compares the formula with those on a number of shorter ‘Orphic’ gold lamellae to show that the tiny piece represents a ‘Totenpaß’ for the beneficent dead, rather than a protective charm (phylactery) with the usual voces magicae, although the distinction between magic words and meaningful text is not always clear in such instances.

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Acrostic shit (Ecl. IV 47-52)

The cacata-acrostic (Ecl. IV 47-52) is considered accidental, as being inconsistent with the dignitas of this “Messianic” Eclogue. It is however possible to demonstrate that Virgil employs such acrostics on other occasions with the object of undercutting such political panegyric. The intentionality of thi...s cacata-acrostic is further buttressed by clues in the lines it spans as well as by winks tipped in other parts of the poem. Pointers to this acrostic are also embedded in the foregoing third Eclogue, especially in the section devoted to Pollio, dedicatee of Eclogue IV. Problematic passages in both these Eclogues are elucidated by the presence of the cacataacrostic.

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Die Haut des Satyrs: Marsyas und Apollo

The essay proceeds from the observation that out of the surviving literature of antiquity only one poet, Ovid pays significant attention to the tragic fate of Marsyas. Both the Fasti and the Metamorphoses relate the tale. The narrative in Metamorphoses only focuses on the naturalistic description of the punishment, th...e flaying of Marsyas. The interpretation of this account within even wider contexts leads to the proposition that Marsyas’s tale is the self-reflection of the elegiac poet Ovid, and as such it becomes a key narrative within Metamorphoses.

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Municipal Scaevolas and Ulpians? The presupposed legal knowledge in the Roman municipal charters

Modern scholars usually examine what the municipal charters tell us about the local administration, the legal processes etc. They are annoyed whenever the texts – using only references or ambiguous terminology – do not explain something that is not known to us. It is much rarer for them to examine whether the average inhabitant of a city wa...s able to understand the legal topics which are obscure even for modern jurists. In this paper I try to map the knowledge necessary to understand and apply the municipal charters.

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The Cup of Gaius Valerius Verdullus found at Arcobriga (Monreal de Ariza, Zaragoza)

In this paper I present two fragments from a fine walled ceramic vase found in Arcobriga that are part of the production of Gaius Valerius Verdullus, and I advance some views regarding the restoration of the epigraphic text that characterizes it.

Epigrafía pública y defixiones: paradigmas (y paradojas) del Occidente Latino

This paper falls into two main sections. The first deals with the defixio and its traditional definition as an example of so-called private inscriptions. Unlike public epigraphs, which were monumental, crafted by professionals, intended for display, and had (mainly) a commemorative function, defixiones (whether written by ...magoi or amateurs) are usually considered to be among Antiquity’s most private texts. Nevertheless, curse tablets and public inscriptions share a very important feature: both contained messages meant to endure. This specific feature brings us to the second section of this article, which discusses the influence of public inscriptions on curse tablets: to what extent are defixiones a reflection of monumental epigraphy? Aspects such as the ordinatio of the text, the media employed or the way they were displayed (even inside a tomb) are analyzed in this regard. In an attempt to answer these questions, three publicly displayed curse tablets are discussed in depth.

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A Coptic magical name in a Pannonian phylacterion

A silver lamella was found in Aquincum (1927/28), in a burial site which could be easily dated to the latest Trajan or early Hadrian era, but it was published defectively, misread and misinterpreted. Several attempts at re-interpretation in the 1990s and 2000s succeeded only partially. The reading I propose contains distinct textual units begin...ning with characters (among them hieroglyphs), and a Coptic magical logos (παχνουφις). In my opinion, the phylacterion was meant to give protection in the next world, and the writer of the spell was well acquainted with the Egyptian magical traditions.

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Notices épigraphiques et onomastiques (Dacie romaine) (I)

This paper republishes 12 Greek and Latin inscriptions from Roman Dacia, in most cases with illustrations. Previous readings are improved and more ghost-names are removed. These inscribed monuments and objects (some of them, in the category of instrumentum inscriptum) are explained in their series or contexts, pertaining to the militar...y milieu or the cosmopolitan side of the province.

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Tropes and figures as arguments in textual criticism?

In the first part of my paper, I present the so-called first homilies of St Gregory of Nyssa delivered in praise of the forty martyrs of Sebaste (Mart Ia and Ib) from two separate angles: on the one hand, focusing on how they can be related to stays of the Cappadocian Father in Sebaste and, on the other hand, identifying what ...sorts of internal arguments of textual criticism are cited when an effort is made to identify when they were delivered. By giving an overview of the most important research findings, I provide a basis for my query concerning whether certain tropes and rhetorical figures as well as rhetorical-stylistical-poetical solutions could be typical of specific time periods and genres in the oeuvre of the church father and, thereby, serve as arguments of textual criticism for identifying the dates for composition of his works. Using the opening lines of Mart Ib, I focus my investigation on the banquet-simile connected to the figure of yesterday/then and today/now, primarily in the epideictic speeches of the bishop of Nyssa. My conclusion is that this is a valid question, while the text analyses confirm the conventional date (383) identified for the production of Mart Ia and Ib.

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Das Bildprogramm der Meleager-Platte aus dem Seuso-Schatz

There are eight distinct love stories on the Meleager plate of the Seuso treasure. In four of them hunting plays an important role. The main theme of the depicted stories is allprevailing love, the emotion that is the motivating force in human life. An ancillary theme of the stories is hunting, which can be interpreted in a concrete as well as ...a figurative sense. Hunting is an aristocratic pleasure but at the same time it represents the exercise of virtues, too, in which even females can participate, cf. the scenes with Helene and Atalante. Although there is no need to look for a topical event to feature the motif of love, it is tempting to determine the contemporary function of the treasure as a wedding gift. We are inclined to believe that Seuso, the well-off owner of the treasure, must have been given this unique silver tableware as a wedding gift some time around the beginning of the 5th century.

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Early Christian archaeology in Hungary between 2010 and 2016

In 2010 the Department of Archaeology at the University of Pécs witnessed the establishment of Christian Archaeology, a new M.A. subject that did not exist in Hungary before. Shortly after the launch of Christian Archaeology in Hungary, in 2012 the department started a new research project in collaboration with the Department of Christian Arch...aeology, University of Vienna, under the title Frühes Christentum in Ungarn. This contribution is a presentation of the most important events and research-results in Christian Archaeology in Hungary between 2010 and 2016. Recent publications of the Roman provincial archaeologists, migration period archaeologists and patristic philosophers and theologians are also taken into account.

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