Vol 45 (2009)

Published September 1, 2009



The Island of Laws

According to the well-known opinion of Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato was not familiar with Cretan customs when he wrote the Laws. If we compare the text of Nomoi with Cretan law inscriptions from the 7th-5th centuries, we can conclude that Plato’s knowledge of the laws of Cretan poleis was more profound than it had been assumed. It is especi...ally true in the case of the regulation of alcohol consumption on the basis of Laws 666a-b and an inscription form Eleutherna (Nomima II.98; Lupu 323).

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Tilting Scripts: Incongruence as a Source of Humour in the Parodos of the Frogs

The purpose of the following study is to decode the semantic layers of ancient Greek texts and scripts introducing the well-defined “General Theory of Verbal Humour”. Classical tragedies, the parodoi of the texts used by Aristophanes and the dialogues following them, are all formed according to a (more or less standardised) script.... Via putting frogs on the stage, Aristophanes parodies the patterns of the chorus songs and agons in Greek tragedies. Although the setting – the River Styx – could not be more sublime, and the winner of the debate is Dionysus himself, his adversaries are “only” frogs. The Frog Song reveals that the unity of content and form is not to be broken up without serious damage to the effect, as their separation from each other results in the reverse of the original catharsis. This parody, however, does not only refer to the emptiness and anachronistic quality of certain forms, that is, it does not only ridicule the genre, but can also function as the continual self-correction of Aristotelian mimesis. Aristophanes’ parody of a parodos is a meticulously constructed text, a faithful image of the prototypical scripts functioning as source texts, and abundant in humorous effects. Parody is enjoyable in itself, however as any good parody works with the mechanisms creating the parent text; it can only appear comic if it really reveals the patterns underlying the original, and it can only reach its aim if these patterns really bring the original work of art to the recipient’s mind.

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Some Points to the Explanation of the Concept of οὐσία θεοῦ in the Hermetic Literature

The philosophical problem how the essence of God can be defined and what this substance, if it can be called a substance at all, might be like is present in several treatises of the Corpus Hermeticum and in some philosophical and theological texts of late antiquity. In my essay I try to find the correct interpretation of the idiom οὐσία ...εοῦ in the Hermetic texts with the help of some parallel writings from Jamblich and Sallustius. After the explanation of the relevant texts I conclude that the term οὐσία is used only to the cosmic gods, not to the first principle, and it has the function to connect the absolute transcendent first cause to the material world through the cosmic gods. The main source of this conception is the platonic tradition, as it can be seen not only from the similarity of the content, but from the similar use of the philosophical terms.

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More Additions to Maltby’s Lexicon of Ancient Latin Etymologies and Marangoni’s Supplementum Etymologicum: The Scholia to Statius

Etymology has recently become one of the most vibrant spheres of classical scholarship. Maltby’s epoch-making Lexicon has now been complemented by Marangoni’s Supplementum Etymologicum. The present article offers addenda to both. It limits itself to the scholia on Statius.

Tutela mulierum: The Institution of Guardianship over full Aged Women in the Late Roman Republic and Early Principate

The purpose of this study is to examine the social and legal opportunities of the Roman women through the tutela mulierum in the late Republic and early Principate. The base of the disquisition is a remark in Gaius’ Institutes, which says that full aged women, in spite of being legally under guardianship, administer their own propert...y. The examined sources show relevant social changes, which resulted in the guardians’ sanction becoming merely formal, yet indispensable condition for concluding certain transactions. Therefore the reason for retaining guardianship may be associated with the nature of these transactions. Women, who did often run enterprises on their own, did not have the authority to conclude the transactions of archaic law, based on the so-called „words of creation”, until the legislative reforms of the 4th century AD.

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La „saevitia” de Quintilius Varus: transformación de su imagen entre Velleius Paterculus y L. Annaeus Florus

In Latin literature the image of Quintilius Varus underwent an evolution between Velleius Paterculus and Florus that to a large extent corresponded to the change of political circumstances within the Roman state. During the reign of Tiberius the “clades Variana” was devised as a means that helped justify to public opinion the changes in for...eign policy. A century later, Annaeus Florus, who had lived through Trajan’s wars, described the “saevitia” of Varus and attacked the idea of expansion beyond the limes. This attitude provides further support for the case that is now made for his work’s “Hadrianic ideology”.

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Valerius and Decoratus Crescens on CIL III 15169

The paper examines a rediscovered inscription (CIL III 15169) and its dating. It raises the question why the relief depicts one man, though a father and his son were buried under the gravestone.

Syrian Names Given in Pannonia Inferior

Many people in Pannonia Inferior, who had some connection with the Syrian military units of the province, had more or less evidently barbarous names. Examining 46 such names, we can find that most of them are clearly interpretable either in Syriac or in Hebraic language, or even in both of them. Sometimes we can identify orthographic variations... of these names, their religious background or even some differences in those people’s use of their native language.

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The Magical Fomula on a Lost Uterine Amulet

The article tries to reconstruct the inscription of a magical gem found in 1883 in Torontál which went lost by now. For this reconstructive work I used other gem inscriptions and also other magical papyri and lead tablets in order to compare the two types of texts. The inscription contains the Soroor-logos and the Gigantorekta barophita-logos ...as well. The gem and the inscription together were used for the protection of the uterus.

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Three Years? : St. Paul’s Journey to Arabia

The article intends to summarize and answer the questions concerning the journey of Paul to Arabia. Shortly after his conversion, Paul left Damascus to go to Arabia, a place that can be possibly identified with the Kingdom of Nabataea. We cannot surely establish the duration of his stay in Arabia, which may be considerably shorter than three ye...ars. Some scholars have claimed that Paul went there to preach the gospel, whereas others have assumed that he prepared in contemplation and prayer to his career as an apostle. The Nabataean kingdom and its capital, Petra, was a greatly Hellenized, “cosmopolitan place”. A passage of Strabo (XIV.5.13.) leads us to a third conceivable assumption to explain the motivation for Paul’s visit in Arabia: the Hellenic surroundings of Petra contributed to the development of his theological thinking.

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Father or Mother? : Stories of Male Pregnancies in Phlegon’s De mirabilibus

Phlegon was a representative of the genre „paradoxography”, telling stories about marvellous, interesting and fabulous events and phenomena. Frequently he is looked at as a pure fictionist without any real background and relevance from the point of view of historic research. However a comparative analysis of his stories and our recent knowl...edge in natural sciences indicate the feasibility of the background of his „tales”. Accordingly even such fantastic topics like male pregnancy and parturition may potentially have a core of truth.

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