This book concerns the way we read--or rather, imagine we are listening to--ancient Greek and Latin poetry. Through clear and penetrating analysis Mark Edwards shows how an understanding of the effects of word order and meter is vital for appreciating the meaning of classical poetry, composed for listening audiences. Based on the author's Martin Classical Lectures at Oberlin College in 1998, this book will enrich the appreciation of classicists and their students for the immense possibilities of the languages they read, translate, and teach. Since the Greek and Latin quotations are translated into English, it will also be welcomed by non-classicists as an aid to understanding the enormous influence of ancient Greek and Latin poetry on modern Western literature.
Individual agents are frequently evident in early writing and notational systems, yet these systems have rarely been subjected to the concept of agency as it is traceable in archeology. Agency in Ancient Writing addresses this oversight, allowing archeologists to identify and discuss real, observable actors and actions in the archaeological record. Embracing myriad ways in which agency can be interpreted, ancient writing systems from Mesoamerica, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, China, and Greece are examined from a textual perspective as both archaeological objects and nascent historical documents. This allows for distinction among intentions, consequences, meanings, and motivations, increasing understanding and aiding interpretation of the subjectivity of social actors. This work leads to a more thorough and meaningful discussion of agency as an archaeological concept and will be of interest to anyone interested in ancient texts, including archaeologists, historians, linguists, epigraphers, and art historians, as well as scholars studying agency and structuration theory.
Classicists have been slow to take advantage of the important advances in the way that literacy is viewed in other disciplines, including in particular cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology). On the other hand, historians of literacy continue to rely on outdated work by classicists and have little access to the current reexamination of the ancient evidence. This timely volume attempts to formulate new interesting ways of talking about the entire concept of literacy in the ancient world--literacy not in the sense of whether 10% or 30% of people in the ancient world could read or write, but in the sense of text-oriented events embedded in a particular socio-cultural context. The volume is intended as a forum in which selected leading scholars rethink from the ground up how students of classical antiquity might best approach the question of literacy in the past, and how that investigation might materially intersect with changes in the way that literacy is now viewed in other disciplines.
The volume represents the seventh in the series on Orality and Literacy in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds. It comprises a collection of essays on the significance and working of memory in ancient texts and visual documentation, from contexts both oral (or oral-derived) and literate. The authors discuss a variety of interpretations of ‘memory’ in Homeric epic, lyric poetry, tragedy, historical inscriptions, oratory, and philosophy, as well as in the replication of ancient artworks, and in Greek vase inscriptions. They present therefore a wide-ranging analysis of memory as a fundamental faculty underlying the production and reception of texts and material documentation in a society that gradually moved from an essentially oral to an essentially literate culture.
This book explores the role of written and oral communication in Greece and is the first systematic and sustained treatment at this level. It examines the recent theoretical debates about literacy and orality and explores the uses of writing and oral communication, and their interaction, in ancient Greece. It is concerned to set the significance of written and oral communication as much as possible in their social and historical context, and to stress the specifically Greek characteristics in their use, arguing that the functions of literacy and orality are often fluid and culturally determined. It draws together the results of recent studies and suggests further avenues of enquiry. Individual chapters deal with (among other things) the role of writing in archaic Greece, oral poetry, the visual and monumental impact of writing, the performance and oral transmission even of written texts, and the use of writing by the city-states; there is an epilogue on Rome. All ancient evidence is translated.
Scholars are becoming increasingly aware that, despite its written literature, ancient Greece was in many aspects an oral society. In the first major attempt to study the implications of this discovery, Thomas stresses the coexistence of literacy and oral tradition in Greece and examines their interaction. Concentrating on the plentiful evidence of Classical Athens, she shows how the use of writing developed only gradually and under the influence of the previous oral communications. Using insights from anthropology, the author isolates different types of Athenian oral tradition, constructing a picture of Athenian traditions and exploring why they changed and disappeared. Thomas researches not only the nature of individual traditions, but the mechanisms of oral tradition and memory in general; then the possible effect of writing on oral tradition. This study provides crucial insights into the methods and achievements of the Greek historians and therefore into the very material of Greek history.
The landmark developments of Greek culture and the critical works of Greek thought and literature were accompanied by an explosive growth in the use of written texts from the sixth through the fourth centuries B.C.E. The creation of the "classical" and the perennial use of Greece by later European civilizations as a source of knowledge and inspiration would not have taken place without the textual innovations of the classical period. This book considers how writing, reading, and disseminating texts led to new ways of thinking and new forms of expression and behavior.