Prof. Hans Taeuber (University of Vienna): Daily Life in Ancient Ephesos – the Evidence from the Graffiti
There is no better way to get close to people who lived almost two thousand years ago than to read what they scratched into the walls of their living rooms. Out of a momentary emotion,
an immediate necessity or just a playful mood they took a sharp instrument and wrote (or drew) whatever was on their mind. In Ephesos, we have the fortuitous situation that a whole
insula (“Terrace House 2”) was destroyed by an earthquake in 262 AD and never re-used; thus, much of the original decoration, including huge spaces of wall paintings, has been
discovered and preserved by the Austrian excavators. The numerous graffiti on these frescoes allow fascinating insights into the interests and activities of an upper-scale household.
A/Professor Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides (MQ): Turnus and Aeneas: Greek Tragedy and Vergil’s Debate on Violence
The conflict between Turnus and Aeneas in the final books of the Vergilian epic has left many generations of readers puzzled about Vergil’s intentions. In the so-called most Iliadic, and therefore
violent part of the Aeneid, the dutiful son of Venus is increasingly transformed into a ruthless soldier, determined to claim his new bride and kingdom through merciless killings. The epic culminates with the duel between Turnus and Aeneas in which Aeneas, despite a brief moment of hesitation (Aen.12.940-941), slaughters his opponent securing the opportunity to re-found Troy and fulfil his
destiny. My paper re-examines the circumstances of the conflict between the two contenders for Lavinia’s hand and argues that in the final books of the Aeneid Vergil reflects on the role of violence in political affairs making important distinctions regarding the types of violence that are, in his view, permissible in state-building. To this direction, despite the scholarly focus on his Iliadic model, Vergil draws on a number of Greek dramas, which offer crucial insights to his reflection on political power; while some of these parallels have been identified in scholarship (Panoussi 2009; Mac Góráin 2013; Fratantuono 2015), others are yet to be revealed and/or discussed more systematically. Taken together, Vergil’s tragic adaptations present an authoritative narrative on the kind of leadership that Jupiter endorses which can be read both as the poet’s nod of approval of Augustus’ new regime, but, at the same time, as a bold warning against mishandling of political power.
Fratantuono, L. 2015. “Lethaeum ad fluvium: Mercury in the Aeneid,” Pallas 99: 295-310.
Mac Góráin, F. 2013. “Virgil’s Bacchus and the Roman Republic,” in J. Farrell and D. Nelis (eds), Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic, Oxford, 124-145.
Panoussi, V. 2009. Greek Tragedy in Vergil’s “Aeneid:” Ritual, Empire and Intertext. Cambridge.