Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome
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Recent advances in cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology are revolutionizing our understanding of literacy. However, this research has made only minimal inroads among classicists. In turn, historians of literacy continue to rely on outdated work by classicists (mostly from the 1960's and 1970's) and have little access to the current reexamination of the ancient evidence. This timely volume seeks to formulate interesting new ways of conceiving the entire concept of literacy in the ancient world, as text-oriented events embedded in particular socio-cultural contexts.
In the volume, 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 result will give readers new ways of thinking about specific elements of "literacy" in antiquity, such as the nature of personal libraries, or what it means to be a bookseller in antiquity; new constructionist questions, such as what constitutes reading communities and how they fashion themselves; new takes on the public sphere, such as how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with the use of public spaces, or with the construction of civic identity; new essentialist questions, such as what do "book" and "reading" signify in antiquity, why literate cultures develop, or why literate cultures matter.
Containing new work from today's outstanding scholars of literacy in antiquity, Ancient Literacies will be an indispensable collection for all students and scholars of reading cultures in the classical world.
documents.’’ The punitive power of the list probably plays a large part here. 46. Cf. (e.g.) IG ii2 120, of 362/1, a list in continuous prose form of objects in the Chalkotheke (or IG i3 123). Cf. D. Harris’s interesting discussion (1994) of the inventory lists of the Parthenon and public accountability; and D. Harris 1995. 47. Helpfully collected in Langdon 1991; Pritchett 1953–6 for the ‘‘Attic stelai.’’ Writing, Reading, Public and Private ‘‘Literacies’’ 35 Figure 2.9 Fragment of IG i3
implies that popular knowledge is in some respects secondary to that mastered by the social elite.15 This may well have been the case in ancient Rome. The Roman e´lite played alea, but not all alea players had access to the educational curriculum described by Quintilian or documented in the schoolbooks.16 The kind of cognitive skills required for the game were developed in one context—e´lite education—and then entered wider circulation through other less socially circumscribed activities. But it
been found. Originally this area was a major east-west street ﬂanking the Agora, and on its other side was a late Hellenistic peristyle house. But the new 26. Campanile 1994, 42–3; van Bremen 1996, 71–5, 84, 154, 195, 291–2, 309; Kearsley 1999. 27. Hueber (1997a, 70–3, 1997b, 267) based his theory on a mid-ﬁrst-century B.C.E. inscription (IvE 3004) which states that a horologeion was at ‘‘the middle of the Agora.’’ But at the time of that inscription, the area in which the round monument stood
learner. Learning the declension of a single form of the adjective (e.g., the masculine plural) across its various cases invites an analytical approach to the language, one that focuses on the possible transformations of a given word. It’s a useful method for learning to read or otherwise decode: ﬁguring out where a form ‘‘ﬁts’’ on the chart will tell the reader its case and number, information he needs if he is to parse its function in the sentence. In contrast, learning the declension of the
text that has speech. It addresses a lector (Trist. 3.1.2) and speaks about its papyrus (in hac charta, 4) as the support of its versus. Ultimately, it is always an object which speaks through writing, but the book in order to speak needs to be metaphorized in a double ﬁction built on the basis of its materiality as a roll of papyrus covered with letters. The book is a letter and the letter is a traveler. Here, too, its physical appearance is that of an incultus (14): the papyrus has not been