Faculty News and Notes, 2016-2017
Last summer I went to Brussels for a couple of weeks, continuing my study of manuscripts at the Royal Library, but spent most of the summer and fall proofreading and editing a monograph, which appeared in February: The ‘Psychomachia’ Codex from St. Lawrence (Bruxellensis 10066-77) and the Schools of Liège in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017). I’ve been working on this volume for many years and was delighted to see it in print. I also published “Ratherius, Bobbio, and Theodulf’s Contra iudices,” in Filologia mediolatina 23 (2016) 239-44. The students in my graduate class in textual criticism in the fall prepared an edition and study of an unpublished Carolingian sermon in a manuscript in the rare book collection at Duke, and we hope to publish that study soon. My Cicero class in the spring, included a research component: the students studied and edited the annotations in a fifteenth-century manuscript of the De senectute (now in the rare book library at Yale). The manuscript belonged to the princess Beatrice of Aragon, who later married Matthias Corvinus and became Queen of Hungary.
The past year was mainly focused on baby Rose, a smiley wee lady who arrived last summer and is now 10 months old, crawling about at high speed after her big sister Julia, and trying her very best to stand up. More scholarly arrivals included a volume I co-edited with Edith Foster: Clio and Thalia: Attic Comedy and Historiography (Histos Supplement 6); an essay on the speeches in Xenophon for Michael Flower’s Cambridge Companion to Xenophon; and a chapter on intertextuality and plural truths in Xenophon for Lisa Hau and Ian Ruffell’s Truth and History in the Ancient World: Pluralizing the Past. This Spring I have been teaching undergrad Herodotus as well as the Junior Seminar on Ancient Delphi, and I presented papers in Boulder, Colorado and at CAMWS in Kitchener.
This year I have enjoyed teaching introductory Greek, as well as the Fourth century survey and a new graduate course on Greek rhetoric and oratory. Research has taken me to Germany twice – to Heidelberg, and then to Gottingen, where I had the opportunity to contribute to a volume on Lucian’s Dialogues of the Gods. I hosted a visiting PhD student from KCL in February, co-organized a panel at CAMWS on Imperial literature in April, and continued work on my imperial landscapes project: two articles have recently appeared, one on Philostratus and one on Dionysius the Periegete. I spent last summer in the trenches – with Donald Haggis’ Azoria Project on Crete, learning about archaeological field work and working on my modern Greek. I’ll be back in Greece this summer for research travel and intensive Greek study in Thessaloniki.
Getting further settled in this, my second year at Chapel Hill, was equal parts pleasant and productive. Even while I established roots in NC, my academic year began with a (northern hemisphere!) summer trip to South Africa to spearhead future research on truth, reconciliation, and tragedy. Giving a talk at University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, I was able to connect with colleagues and friends, new and old—relationships I hope to strengthen as a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. Back in Murphey Hall this fall, I used a research and study assignment to develop my monograph on ugliness in Attic drama and embark upon several chapters for edited volumes. Much of this work takes place at the overlap of aesthetics, theater and cognitive studies–a fast-developing research area. I am grateful for the dedicated time for writing and immersing myself in the scholarship.
I was happy to return to the classroom this spring with a graduate topics seminar and new, Honors variant of CLAS 263, “Athletics in the Greek and Roman Worlds”. This semester I also took up the mantle of departmental diversity liaison, and am proud to have a hand in helping the department reach and embrace new audiences. Most notably, I was pleased with the support and impact of the March outreach event, entitled “Whose Classics?”, which showcased the diversity not only of the ancient world but also our department’s offerings. Last but not least, I’m sure I echo all of my colleagues in looking forward to welcoming the fellow Hellenist Patricia Rosenmeyer to UNC this fall after a successful, and highly competitive, international search.
2016 saw another successful field season for the Omrit Settlement Excavation Project in northern Israel. We continued to uncover remains of late Roman public buildings in the settlement that include a monumental stoa-like building as well as evidence for later re-use of these structures in the 12th and 13th centuries. Most exciting, however, was the discovery of an older building underneath the fill laid down to prepare for the late 2nd -early 3rd century stoa. This early, large building preserves remains of frescoed walls in three areas. These include a fountain structure decorated with images of water birds, plants and fish and scenes of a garden beyond an illusionistic depiction of a latticework fence. These Roman-style paintings are found in the Levant in elite houses and likely date to sometime in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD. We plan to return to Omrit this summer for our final season of excavation when we hope to uncover more of this exciting building.
This winter I also participated in the excavations by the French Mission to the Eastern Desert of Egypt at Bir ‘Abbad. I continue to serve as the mission’s ceramicist. Once again the mission recovered a remarkably well-preserved Ptolemaic fortification built sometime in the 3rd century BCE. Many rooms were abandoned late that same century, although the fort saw a major reoccupation during the Late Roman period, roughly from the 5th-6th centuries CE. I will return this winter along with one of our graduate students, Melanie Godsey, for further work with the amphorae from this fort and the faience vessels.
I continue to enjoy my time at UNC and I love being part of the department of Classics. Last summer, for the third time, I went to France and taught “Caesar in Gaul” for Paideia; fall was busy with teaching “The Romans,” “The Politics of Persuasion” and supervising beginning Latin, then I was on paternity leave in the spring which is not less busy. I continue to work on irony in Latin literature, and I was invited to give a paper in Groningen and a talk at Kings College London, where I also taught a series of classes. This year I finally submitted the complete manuscript of the Cambridge Companion to Caesar (which I am co-editing with Christopher Krebs) and I wrote three chapters for edited volumes, on irony in Cicero’s Philippics, on Tertullian and the rhetoric of fake, and on the poetics of friendship in Lucilius.
In the summer of 2016, we completed the ninth field season and the 15th year of the Azoria Project excavations, a 20-year research and teaching program of the UNC Department of Classics and the Research Laboratories of Archaeology. In 2016, the Azoria Project field staff consisted of 92 academic, student and technical staff members. Among the seven graduate-student trench supervisors in 2016, Cicek Beeby and Catharine Judson were from UNC Classics. Catharine is currently the Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, conducting dissertation fieldwork. Cicek Beeby is the Anna C. and Oliver C. Colburn Fellow at the School for the spring, but will return to Athens next year under a Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF). Professor Janet Downie also joined our team this year, developing her excavation skills, while speaking demotic Greek and thinking about Greek urban landscapes.
Among the 29 trench assistants, there were five students from UNC: Alex Griffin, classical archaeology, Helen Hansel, classics; Lacey Hunter, archaeology; Stephanie Coria, art history and archaeology; and Tucker King, classical archaeology. Alex Griffin will return in the summer of 2017 as a trench supervisor and Tucker King as assistant to the zooarchaeologist.
The focus of excavation in 2016 was the archaic (7th-5th c. B.C.) civic and residential complexes on the west slope of the South Acropolis of the site. We completed the excavation of the archaic Monumental Civic Building–a communal meeting and dining hall, probably functioning as an early prytaneion or bouleuterion. We discovered its main access, which was an elaborate 46-meter long north-south ramp that ascended from a street on the west slope.
Below this ramp and street, we began exposing a series of residential buildings that were abandoned before a fire ultimately destroyed the site in the first quarter of the 5th century B.C. Although floor levels were not reached in 2016, the architecture and destruction debris of six rooms were exposed. The pottery recovered amidst the burned wall collapse and roofing material indicates an early 5th c. destruction date. The remains represent probably two contiguous buildings whose function has not been determined. Among the non-ceramic finds was a bronze foot of a tripod for a podanipter of Lakonian or more likely Corinthian manufacture. This is the second imported bronze podanipter recovered so far from stratified Late Archaic contexts at Azoria.
Among these buildings on the west slope, Cicek Beeby excavated one room to floor level, recovering remarkable evidence for storage, processing and consumption–a diverse range of vessels, including several pithoi; transport and table amphorae; lekanes; chytras; hydrias; a variety of cups and jugs; terracotta and stone mortars; and several querns and other stone grinding tools. Most important for our analysis was the GPS mapping of quantities of carbonized olive, grape, grain, and pulses, conducted by Margie Scarry, Chair of the UNC Curriculum in Archaeology, and Director of Research laboratories of Archaeology, and Drew Cabaniss (UNC B.A. classical archaeology), now conducting Ph.D. work in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology (IPCAA) at University of Michigan. Our preliminary analysis indicates that cereals were found in a dispersed pattern across the space, while olive, pulse, and grape were concentrated on the outer edges of the space, possibly correlating to specific storage vessels. The remarkable preservation of this room suggests the opportunity to expose, map, and collect plant and faunal assemblages that can be used as a comparative sample for assessing the economic functions of houses across the site, as well as the differences and similarities between houses and civic buildings. This work will continue in 2017 under grants from the National Geographic Society, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory.
Catharine Judson completed her work on the Communal Dining Building (an archaic andreion, or communal mess hall). At the northern end of the building, a sequence of 6th-century floor levels was recovered. The two uppermost floors were separated by a deep layer of sherds and animal bones, presumably cooking, serving, drinking, and dining debris from the 6th-century use phases, deposited as fill for the repurposing of the space. The material represents an assemblage that will be critical in reconstructing the function of the Building during the Archaic period. The uppermost 6th-century floor, evidently in disuse before the final abandonment of the site, had the remains of a pottery kiln in the northeast corner, and a wide paved platform on the west side of the room.
Stratigraphic soundings in the Building exposed a 7th-century B.C. hearth room with a paved platform, ash and fine-ware pottery deposit, and nine terracotta figurine fragments, representing probably eight different bull figurines clustered on the floor surface next to the pavers. The room evidently functioned as a small hearth-temple or communal dining hall prior to the establishment of the 6th-century Communal Dining Building.
In the last year, my life has been busy–I would say busy as usual, but in fact life was much busier than usual because my husband was going through cancer treatment. The treatment was exhausting (for us both), but it worked perfectly, and he is now cancer-free (officially in remission for 4 more years). My wonderful colleagues were amazingly helpful and accommodating, my students were very understanding about the demands on my time, and I thank all of them. I’m very lucky to be in such a special community. Despite the unusual stress, I was able to keep up with some of my scholarship: with Sheila Dillon, I co-edited Women in the Classical World for Routledge’s “Major Works” series, and published a couple of articles. A talk I gave at Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute is now on-line. I co-organized panels for the annual meetings of the Society of Classical Studies, CAMWS-Southern Section, and Feminism and Classics VII, and recently returned from CAMWS in Ontario, Canada. I’m also organizing a series of translations of all of New Comedy, for Wisconsin, and will be contributing four of my own translations, as well as editing and contributing to a volume of essays on Propertius. I was lucky enough to win a Senior Faculty Research Grant, which I am greatly enjoying; I’m polishing and preparing my translations, while also looking for ways to trim my very large book manuscript, Women in New Comedy, which I hope to send to my very patient editor at the end of this calendar year. At the end of June, I will be off to Cumae for the Villa Vergiliana conference, along with Jim O’Hara and Hérica Valladares, and I’m looking forward to that trip very much.
Although my teaching this year involved mainly Homer (in Greek and in English) and Lucretius (in both a grad course and an undergrad course), almost everything else was about Vergil. I have sent to the publisher (Focus-Hackett) the completed manuscript for my standalone commentary on Aeneid 8, like my 2011 Aeneid 4; a slightly different version will also appear in a volume I am co-editing, with Randall Ganiban, on Aeneid 7-12, scheduled to be done early this summer. In January I took over as President of the Vergilian Society (2017-2019). At the Toronto SCS meeting, I organized and introduced the Vergilian Society panel “Vergil and Tragedy,” and I have been organizing the next panel, “Dido in and after Vergil” for the 2018 SCS meeting in Boston. My “Response” to the papers in the 2016 panel on the “Harvard School” of Vergilian studies is forthcoming in a special issue of Classical World. In June of 2017 I’ll be speaking along with Sharon James, Hérica Valladares, John Henkel (Ph.D. 2009), and Chris Polt (Ph.D. 2010) at the Vergilian Society’s Symposium Cumanum (at Cumae, near Naples, a half mile from the Sibyl’s cave, you should go there) on “Vergil and Elegy;” my paper is “Genre, gender, and the etymology behind the phrase Lugentes campi at Aeneid 6.441.” I gave versions of my paper “Lying, Exaggeration and Encomium in Aeneid 8 and the Shield of Aeneas” at Yale in September, and Baylor in April. At CAMWS in April, I was the respondent for the presidential panel on “Ovid and Vergil;” my handout offered an update on the “Yastrzemski of Prima Porta.” I’ve put out an expanded paperback edition of my 1996 True Names: Vergil and the Alexandrian Tradition of Etymological Wordplay, which in paperback would make a lovely gift. Also in the “re-packaging greatest hits” category: I revised my chapter on “Virgil’s Style” (they make me spell the name that way) for a new edition of the 1997 Cambridge Companion to Virgil. A paper on “Evander’s love of gore and bloodshed in Aeneid 8″ will appear this year in a Festschrift for my Holy Cross teacher Blaise Nagy. On campus, I chaired the search that is bringing to campus new Paddison Professor of Classics Patricia Rosenmeyer. In March I gave a brief “snapshot talk,” jointly with my student Tedd Wimperis, on “The Ethnicity of the Enemy in Epic,” in the Department’s event “Whose Classics? Diversity, Representation, and the Ancient World Today.” (Tedd defended in April his great dissertation on Cultural Memory and Constructed Ethnicity in Vergil’s Aeneid.) I was also a respondent for two papers at the Eta Sigma Phi undergraduate conference in March, and in April gave a presentation, “Cliffs Note for Homer: Reading Greek Letters and Names on a Papyrus” at the NCJCL State Conference here (thanks to friend-of-the-Department Marion Redd, I had a four-foot-high papyrus plant and several sheets of papyrus to show them). Work continues on my book Teaching, Pretending to Teach, and the Authority of the Speaker in Roman Didactic and Satire. And as was announced in last year’s Tabulae, my daughter Marika is a member of UNC’s class of 2020. She was music director for a production of Cabaret in the Fall and conducted the music for Lin Manuel-Miranda’s In the Heights in the Spring.
As I mentioned in my Chair’s letter, I have signed on to continue as Chair for another three years, and so expect to have relatively little to report in terms of research activities for a while to come. I do manage to keep my long-term project on animal sacrifice in the Roman empire bubbling away, albeit at a very low simmer. Last May I presented a paper on the role of animal sacrifice in the representation of the Roman emperor at an international conference in Palermo, and a written version of that will eventually appear in the conference proceedings. In October (peak foliage season!) I spent a delightful two days at Bowdoin College in Maine at a conference on ‘Religion before “Religion”‘, and received some excellent feedback on a paper in which I explored the theoretical framework of my sacrifice project. Lastly, in November I acted as the respondent for a panel on ‘the meaning of Punic identity in Roman Africa’ at the annual meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature in San Antonio, which took me back to the research topic of my first book after a gap of many years.
In the fall, I taught as usual my lecture course on classical mythology, which (I hope!) I continue to refine and improve. In the spring, as a treat, I taught for the second time our fourth-semester Greek course on the Greek New Testament, which had for what these days is a record enrollment of twenty students. This time I organized it around the Gospel of Mark, a text that I had never really read carefully in Greek before and that turned out to be fascinating. I also included a set of assignments that I thought of as an introduction to philology (the use of the major lexica and grammars, the basics of textual transmission and textual criticism, source criticism and the Synoptic Problem), which I think proved to be fairly successful; I’ll know more when I read the student evaluations!
In addition to my duties as Department Chair, I also took on some other administrative and committee work. I served on the advisory committee for the Department of Asian Studies, and it was very interesting to observe from the inside the workings of another department. I also served on the Faculty Hearings Committee, which unfortunately had a busy year. Lastly, I served on the search committee for the new University Librarian and Vice Provost for the University Libraries. It was fascinating to see at first hand how a search for a position at such a high level operates; I met several very impressive people and learned a lot.
It’s been a busy and fruitful year. In the fall, I taught another wonderful group of first year students in my honors seminar on life in ancient Pompeii. One of the highlights of this course was working with my students on a small exhibition of eighteenth and nineteenth-century prints and photographs of monuments from Pompeii and Herculaneum at the Ackland Art Museum. I also taught a graduate seminar on the Roman house and I was completely blown away by the quality of the students’ presentations and papers. Two of these students are now transforming their seminar papers into MA theses and I’m thrilled to be advising them.
This spring I have been on leave, mostly working on my book manuscript, whose title (for now) is “On Roman Tenderness: Painting and Poetry in the Early Empire.” My goal is to complete this project by the end of the calendar year. In the meantime, I have also been making some progress on my second book project on fashion in the Roman empire. In January, Vicki Rovine (Department of Art) and I were among twelve UNC faculty members to be awarded funding from the Dean’s office to develop a new interdisciplinary, co-taught course. In Spring 2018 Vicki and I will teach “Art and Fashion from Rome to Timbuktu” for the first time. By using fashion as a window into Classical antiquity and contemporary African culture, we hope to challenge misconceptions about our respective fields of study and enhance connections between them.
Last year, Mike, Lucas, and I spent the whole summer in Chapel Hill. But this year I will be traveling for a few weeks. In June I will visit Jen Gates-Foster’s excavation project at Omrit, where I will be studying recently unearthed frescoes from the Roman imperial period. From there, I will fly to Italy where I will join Sharon James, Jim O’Hara and other UNC classicists at this year’s Symposium Cumanum on Vergil and Elegy at the Villa Vergiliana. I promise lots of beautiful photos for next year’s Tabulae.
Since the publication of my book (on ancient book collections) two years ago, I have been working on items a good deal smaller in scale. For Bryn Mawr Classical Review, I reviewed a book that turned out to be longer and harder than I anticipated (BMCR 2016.05.31). I wrote two biographies for the online American National Biography, one of them on our own Archibald DeBow Murphey, the other on Adele S. Poston, an early reformer of psychiatric care. Other than that, I have been doing mostly refereeing: of articles, of a book proposal submitted to Oxford, and, most recently, of a children’s book on Rome. When left alone, I read Cicero; after several years dealing with snippets of Greek, primarily book titles, I longed for a) Latin, and b) long stretches of prose. I am also well along in putting together a kind of history of Murphey and the Classics Department from 1950 to 2000; suggestions on this will be welcome.
Since retiring in July 2016, I have continued to come to campus to work on a Loeb Library edition of Menander Rhetor, a third-century CE Greek rhetorician, under whose name two treatises survive that give detailed instructions on how to compose various types of hymns and speeches to deliver for various occasions, including welcoming an emperor or visiting official, bidding farewell to one’s city and friends, and speeches for weddings, funerals, official invitations, and departures.
As a long-time student of Pindar, ancient Greece’s greatest sports poet, who celebrated winning athletes in his splendid odes, I was especially pleased with the UNC basketball team’s display of athletic aretē!
Two articles came out, one on Plutarch and one on Thucydides:
“Sulla’s three-thousand νοῦμμοι apartment: Plutarch’s problematic code-switching,” in A Versatile Gentleman: Consistency in Plutarch’s Writing, G. Roskam, J. Opsomer, F. Titchener (eds.), Leuven 2016, 197-209, and “Characterization of Individuals in Thucydides’ History,” in R. Balot, S. Forsdyke, and E. Foster (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Thucydides (New York, Oxford University Press, 2017 (283-99).
I attended a conference on Plutarch and the New Testament in Freiburg im Breslau, Germany, Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2016, and gave a paper on Plutarch’s Life of Solon. In March I also participated in a workshop, “Thucydides’ Digressions” sponsored by Jeff Rusten at Cornell, presenting a paper on “oral narrative traits in Thucydidean Digressions.” This May I will attend the International Plutarch Society congress in Fribourg, Switzerland and present a paper entitled “Aesopic Wisdom in Plutarch.” Lucia and I have now been living in Galloway Ridge at Fearrington for five years, have settled in, and find the atmosphere quite stimulating. We seem busier now than ever.
I have gotten to the age where I spend much of my time traveling around visiting old friends. I went to England before Christmas to attend the fiftieth wedding anniversary party of friends both of whom I knew before they got married. Recently I visited friends in France whom I have also known for over fifty years. At Christmas I traveled with Sara Mack, John Johnston, James Rives, and one of my aunts to Banff, where we spent a lovely week in the snow and cold. In October Sara and I took a cruise down the Saint Lawrence River. Other than traveling I moved into Carol Woods last August and like it very much.