Classics (Scholarly Articles)

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  • Publication
    John B. Wilkins: Accordia’s first Director (27.iv.1935 – 8.iii.2017)
    (Accordia Research Institute, University of London, 2019) Herring, Edward; Ruth. D. Whitehouse
    Sine amicitia, vitam esse nullam (Cicero, de Amicitia, 86) Neither the cursus honorum of an academic career nor a simple list of publications can capture the rich texture of a scholar’s life. This is especially true of the Protean figure that was Accordia’s first Director. John B. Wilkins’ interests were so varied, his intellect so formidable, and his influence on subsequent generations of scholars so profound that I cannot hope to do him justice in a few short pages.
  • Publication
    She’s can be “heroes”: Female status and the Daunian stelae
    (Accordia Research Institute, University of London, 2019) Herring, Edward
    In Accordia Research Papers 11, Guilia Saltini Semerari published a thought-provoking article on ‘high status’ female burials in 6th century BC Basilicata. In this paper, she contended that ‘wealthy’ female burials should not be regarded either as anomalous or as a temporary manifestation of an unstable sociopolitical situation (contra Markantonatos’ argument (1998: 190) for such burials having belonged to female power brokers, who mediated intensifying relationships with South Italy’s Greek communities). Furthermore, Saltini Semerari maintains that élite women enjoyed a high status in their own right, because of important spheres of influence dominated by women, and not by virtue of their association with their husbands, fathers and other male relatives. She goes on, “…it was a long-standing feature of Basilicata society to allow women to gain and express power according to the prevalent élite ideology…” (Saltini Semerari 2009: 130). Prior to reading this paper, although I had acknowledged the possibility of independent female status (Herring 2007a: 280–1), I had, in truth, always considered ‘wealthy’ female burials as evidence of a kinship-based social structure: thereby, effectively relegating female status to that of a derivative of male status, i.e. that women enjoyed or, more correctly, were buried with the trappings of status by virtue of being the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of high status (and probably powerful) men. The fact that there are ‘wealthy’ tombs belonging to children suggested that status could be acquired by association or birthright alone rather than independently (a particularly striking example of a ‘wealthy’ child burial would be Tomb 102 from Braida (Vaglio Basilicata, Potenza) (Setari 1996)). That notwithstanding, the power of Saltini Semerari’s argument has led me to think again about female status. In this paper I shall consider a different part of South Italy, the Tavoliere plain, from which there is another roughly contemporary, potential source of evidence for female status, the so-called Daunian stelae.1
  • Publication
    Tarbflaith: une influence classique dans Audacht Morainn?
    (CNRS Éditions, 2015-09-29) Bisagni, Jacopo
    Audacht Morainn (AM) – ou « Testament de Morann » – est, sans aucun doute, l’un des textes les plus célèbres de toute la production littéraire en vieil-irlandais. Cette situation est due à plusieurs facteurs : en particulier, une des quatre recensions existantes d’AM a été datée par son dernier éditeur, Fergus Kelly, de l’an 700 environ , ce qui place ce texte parmi les spécimens littéraires vieil-irlandais les plus anciens que l’on connaisse. Deuxièmement, AM, qui consiste en une longue série d’instructions morales et comportementales offerte par le sage juge Morann au jeune roi Feradach Find Fechtnach, est souvent considéré comme l’une des principales sources vernaculaires détaillant l’idéologie médiévale irlandaise de la royauté : au travers du rôle d’intermédiaire joué par des traités hiberno-latins tels que De duodecim abusiuis saeculi (DDAS) ou les Proverbia Grecorum , cette idéologie aurait contribué de façon significative à l’élaboration de la conception royale que l’on trouve dans les nombreux specula principum de l’époque carolingienne , comme par exemple la lettre adressée à Charlemagne par l’écrivain insulaire Cathwulf , la Via regia de Smaragde de Saint-Mihiel , le Liber de rectoribus Christianis de l’irlandais Sedulius Scottus , ou encore De regis persona et regio ministerio de Hincmar de Rheims . D’ailleurs, l’importance considérable d’AM dans le contexte de la tradition littéraire médiévale irlandaise elle-même est démontrée par le nombre très élevé de copies manuscrites qui subsistent .
  • Publication
    Prolegomena to the study of code-switching in the Old Irish Glosses
    (Brepols, 2014) Bisagni, Jacopo
    This article investigates the frequent alternation of Latin and Old Irish in several collections of Early Medieval Irish glosses (especially focussing on the glosses to the Epistles of St Paul in Würzburg, Universitätsbibliothek, MS M.p.th.f.12), in the attempt to ascertain how modern language contact and code-switching theories (Myers-Scotton s Matrix Language Frame or MLF model in primis) may help us understand this phenomenon, as well as the exact nature of the linguistic relationship between Hiberno-Latin and the vernacular among the Medieval Irish literati. Criteria for identifying what can be legitimately defined as written code-switching are discussed, and a methodology for the study of code-switching in Medieval glosses is proposed.
  • Publication
    A new citation from a work of Columbanus in BnF lat. 6400b
    (Brepols, 2014) Bisagni, Jacopo
    The author argues that a section of the newly-discovered eighth-century Irish computistica in Paris, BnF, lat. 6400b may contain a citation from a (lost?) work of Columbanus.
  • Publication
    The origins of the preterite of the Old Irish copula and substantive verb: an overview and new ideas
    (University of Wales Press, 2012-12) Bisagni, Jacopo
    As is well known, Old Irish presented a morphological and functional distinction between the copula and the so-called 'substantive verb'. While in the present indicative the former is based on the PIE root *h1es- and the latter on PIE *steh2- , all other tenses and moods of both verbs are formed from the PIE root *bhuH-. Although these forms have often attracted the attention of scholars, several details of their prehistory are still unclear. This article will focus on the origins of the preterital forms: in particular, a solution for the striking difference of vocalism between the 3rd singular of the substantive verb (boí) and the copula (absolute ba, conjunct -bo, -bu) will be proposed. It will also be shown that the answer to this specific problem can shed some light on the Irish differentiation of the two forms of the verb 'to be', a process which, as will be suggested, may depend on the same mechanism which brought about the long-debated distinction between absolute and conjunct flexion in Old Irish.
  • Publication
    The early Old Irish material in the newly discovered Computus Einsidlensis (c. AD 700)
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2008) Bisagni, Jacopo; Warntjes, Immo
    The Computus Einsidlensis (Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, 321 (647), pp. 82-125) is a recently discovered text in the Swiss monastery of Einsiedeln. Besides its importance for the study of computistics in the early middle ages in general, and of seventh- and eighth-century Irish monastic learning in particular, the fact that this Latin text incorporates a considerable number of Old Irish terms makes it especially important also for the study of Old Irish. A dating to the period AD 689 to 719 is provided, together with an analysis of all the Old Irish material from this period of transition from Early to Classical Old Irish.
  • Publication
    Latin and Old Irish in the Munich Computus: a reassessment and further evidence
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2007) Bisagni, Jacopo; Warntjes, Immo
    A previously rather neglected area of research, namely the interaction between Latin and the vernacular in medieval Irish texts, and the possibility of applying categories of linguistic analysis like code-switching and code-mixing to the medieval Irish linguistic context, has recently received some degree of attention.
  • Publication
    Greek in early medieval Ireland
    (Cambridge University Press, 2012-09) Moran, Padraic; |~|
    [no abstract available]
  • Publication
    High Island and the cult of Saint Féichín in Connemara
    (Stationery Office, 2014) Moran, Padraic; |~|
    High Island is one of very many early medieval monastic sites which furnish scarcely a mention in the historical record. It follows, then, that any attempt to sketch out the history of the island must inevitably be tentative and conjectural. What few references there are have already been collected and discussed in White Marshall and Rourke (2000, esp. 7-21, 215-28). Some of these were earlier collected by Petrie (1845, 424-427). This chapter aims to supplement that material and provide a fresh assessment, giving in addition some account of the wider circumstances that may have shaped the monastery during the lifetime of ts occupation.
  • Publication
    The Discovery of Phocaean Red Slip Ware (PRSW) Form 3 and Bii ware (LR1 amphorae) on sites in Ireland - an analysis within a broader framework
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2010-04-29) Kelly, A.M.; |~|
    Phocaean Red Slip Ware and Bii amphorae sherds have been identified, by the present author, at the site of Collierstown 1, County Meath. One of the advantages of discovering Phocaean Red Slip Ware Form 3 on sites in Ireland is that it is instantly datable to the late 5th and early 6th century AD - a valuable asset in an Early Medieval context; however, the main benefit in identifying this ware in Ireland is that its manufacture can be accurately and exclusively attributed to a centre in Asia Minor; a provenance which has major implications for long-distance connectivity in the Early Medieval period. Similarly, the Bii amphorae discovered in Ireland, manufactured in the wider Cyprio-Syrian catchment area, have never been assessed as a group before and the present study attempts to redress this in presenting fifteen findspots of Bii amphorae in Ireland; a marked increase on the two sites included in Thomas 1959 catalogue (1959, 108). This paper essentially addresses the complexity of the trade network between northwestern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean (and, more locally, between Ireland, Britain and France) in the Early Medieval period, thereby presenting hypothetical intermeshing trading models.
  • Publication
    Neo-Assyrian relief in the Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities, Trinity College Dublin; a case study in artefact acquisition.
    (2012) Kelly, Amanda; |~|
    The focus of this paper is a neo-Assyrian relief discovered in the Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities at Trinity College Dublin (hereafter the Weingreen Museum). The shallow relief depicts a pictorial vignette of a kneeling genie, rendered in profile, facing a tree of life, on a horizon formed by a cuneiform border (WM 1189). Details surrounding the relief's acquisition were completely unknown to Trinity College Dublin staff during 2008-9. This investigation follows a paper trail which illuminates the circumstances behind its procurement and subsequent journey from Iraq to Dublin in the Victorian period. The results establish the relief as the uncontested prize piece of the Weingreen Museum.
  • Publication
    The Cretan Slinger at War: a weighty exchange. 1-39.
    (2012) Kelly, Amanda; |~|
    Lead slingshots discovered on Cretan sites carry considerable weight regarding the nature of warfare on the island in the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods. On Crete, inscribed lead sling bullets have been reported from nine archaeological sites while a further inscribed slingshot, issued by the Phalasarnians, has been discovered on the neighbouring island of Antikythera. Text on slingshots was conceived of, and cast as, an integral component of the weapon, thereby representing a fundamental aspect of the weapon's design. Slingshots bearing text are illuminating artefacts as not only can they reflect military action, leadership and civic affiliations, but they also raise questions regarding literacy levels within the forces and prompt debate concerning the psychological potential of such communications. It is the purpose of this paper to present the growing corpus of Cretan material against a wider backdrop of evidence, with a view to understanding the overarching role and purpose of such inscribed communications and to assess the degree of Cretan conformity with, or deviation from, broader military trends.