Papers and Monographs

Voting Districts of the Roman Republic

The Voting Districts of the Roman Republic

Lily Ross Taylor with updated material by Jerzy Linderski
University of Michigan Press
448 pages

Fundamental to an understanding of the Roman Republic is comprehension of the tribal system employed to organize citizens. Used first for the census, raising an army, and tax collection, tribes later became voting districts for the election of magistrates. Voting districts were distributed geographically in and around the city of Rome and eventually throughout the Italian countryside, and they have been studied through evidence largely textual and epigraphical.

In this volume, first published in 1960, evidence is adduced to locate and describe the tribes’ locations. In his major new update, Lily Ross Taylor’s disciple and scholarly follower Jerzy Linderski brings forward new evidence resolving earlier cruces, updates the lengthy bibliography on voting districts, and situates this invaluable work in its historical perspective.

Obligations in Roman Law

Obligations in Roman Law: Past, Present, and Future

Thomas A. J. McGinn, editor
University of Michigan Press
376 pages

Long a major element of classical antiquity, the study of the laws of the ancient Romans has gained momentum in recent years as interdisciplinary work in legal studies has spread. Two resulting issues have arisen, on one hand concerning Roman laws as intellectual achievements and historical artifacts, and on the other about how we should consequently conceptualize Roman law. Drawn from a conference convened by the volume’s editor at the American Academy in Rome, addressing these concerns and others, this volume showcases the expertise of participants from eleven European and two American universities. The Roman law of obligations—a subset of private law—is investigated in detail, together with its subordinate fields, contracts and delicts (torts). Participants elucidate the relationship between private law on one hand and Roman society and its economy on the other. Chapters also examine whether rules themselves reflect upper-class values and whether it is possible to speak of them as elements of an ideology.

This volume includes contributions by Nikolaus Benke, Cosimo Cascione, Maria Floriana Cursi, Carla Masi Doria, Paul du Plessis, Roberto Fiori, Dennis Kehoe, Ernest Metzger, Federico Procchi, Michael Rainer, Salvo Randazzo, and Bernard Stolte, as well as opening and concluding chapters by the editor, Thomas A. J. McGinn.

Roman Republican Villas

Roman Republican Villas: Architecture, Context, and Ideology

Jeffrey A. Becker and Nicola Terrenato, editors
University of Michigan Press
152 pages

The Roman villa is a classic icon of Western culture, and yet villa can be used to cover a multiplicity of ideas, experiences, and places. In the late Republic and early Imperial periods, villas are inseparable from elite lifestyles, providing a prestigious setting for leisurely and intellectual pursuits. But how did these advanced buildings come about? Roman Republican Villas examines key aspects of early villa culture and architecture, with the goal of understanding the development and deployment of villas in Republican Italy. For instance, where does the “classic” villa architecture originate? How do writers like Cato the Elder or Varro use the villa to their own advantage? How visible are Republican villas in the landscape of central Italy?

Traditional theories about villa development have been largely focused on stereotypical ideals of early Roman austerity and industriousness. New work at sites such as the Auditorium, however, proves the existence of luxurious residences already by the 5th–4th century BCE, even before the Roman conquest of Italy. Such recent developments in archaeological fieldwork have begun to reshape the discourse in such a way that old assumptions are being challenged and, in many cases, found wanting. Within this atmosphere of new discoveries and reconsideration, scholars are uniquely poised to reexamine the villa and the part it played in the culture of Roman Italy, in terms of both the material remains and the literary sources. The villa also plays a prominent role in Republican literature such as the De agri cultura of Cato and the texts of Varro, as the early Latin authors seek to fashion identities for themselves and the city of Rome. Drawing on diverse source materials, the collected essays of Roman Republican Villas help to recenter the discussion of Roman villa culture, particularly in light of new evidence offered both by fieldwork and by new approaches to Republican agricultural writers.

This volume brings together scholars of Latin literature, Roman history, and classical archaeology to offer a multidisciplinary approach to the questions connected to the emergence and development of villas and their farming culture. With contributions from leading scholars Jeffrey A. Becker, John Bodel, Stephen L. Dyson, Carin M. C. Green, Brendon Reay, Nicola Terrenato, Mario Torelli, and Rita Volpe, the viewpoints offered build upon previous scholarship and ask challenging questions about how the evidence of Roman villas has traditionally been interpreted.

Renaissance Humanism and the Papal Curia

Renaissance Humanism and the Papal Curia: Lapo da Castiglionchio the Younger’s De Curiae Commodis

Christopher S. Celenza
University of Michigan Press
244 pages

Renaissance Humanism and the Papal Curia offers first a general introduction to the life and work of Lapo da Castiglionchio. Then a facing-page translation of and commentary on Lapo’s complicated treatise, De Curiae Commodis, are offered. These illuminate both the text itself as well as Lapo’s own situation and the humanistic era that De Curiae Commodis addresses.

Born into a family of the feudal aristocracy in 1406, Lapo da Castiglionchio as an adult was a practitioner of the new art of humanism. A student and friend of noted humanist Francesco Filelfo, Lapo long sought admittance to the powerful circle at the Vatican’s pinnacle. He failed in that goal but left us a document full of valuable details about the workings, goals, and interests of the papal curia. In the year he died, Lapo wrote the treatise De Curiae Commodis. This work is written elegantly, learnedly, and angrily. It is a human document alive with information for intellectual, social, and cultural historians.

Libri Annales Pontificum Maximorum - book cover

Libri Annales Pontificum Maximorum: The Origins of the Annalistic Tradition

Bruce W. Frier
University of Michigan Press
368 pages

Recent years have seen a welcome growth of interest in the history of early Rome. Libri Annales Pontificum Maximorum: the Origins of the Annalistic Tradition contributes important information on this period by focusing on the earliest stages of Roman historical writing. The book is once again available, with a new Introduction by the author that brings the work up to date and helps place it in its current context. This book remains the starting point for study of the preannalistic tradition of Roman history.

When first published, the volume sparked a lively debate among classicists and historians of the ancient world. Previous scholarship had often assigned the pontifical chronicle a central role not only in preserving the history of the early Republic, but also in shaping the form of the annalistic tradition. But the author showed that these assumptions rested on insecure foundations; to a large extent, they misrepresented the historiographic development of the annalistic tradition as we know it from, above all, Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Perhaps the book’s most controversial contention was that the final eighty-book edition of the chronicle, which previous scholars had dated to the later second century BCE, is more probably a massive reworking of materials in the Augustan period. This finding will likely require a considerable revision in our understanding of the development of the annalistic tradition. In the course of making these innovative arguments, the author offers extensive information about the origins of the annalistic tradition and about the early history and historiography of Rome.

Architectural Terracottas from the Regia - book cover

Architectural Terracottas from the Regia

Susan B. Downey
University of Michigan Press
136 pages

Susan Downey has studied and catalogued the terracotta fragments surviving from the Regia, a building of great civic and religious importance that was located in the Roman Forum. Many of the fragments date from roughly the sixth to third centuries BC, a period frustratingly ill-documented in the literary sources yet of considerable interest and importance in Roman history.