A three-year research project (1999-2001)

Head of the project:
Prof. Heikki SOLIN
Department of Classics,
PL 4
FIN-00014 Helsinki
Tel. +358-9-191 22591     Fax +358-9-191 22161

Research team, its senior scholars and a selection of its junior fellows involved:

1. The Origin of Roman Citizenship in Greece and Asia Minor

Prof. Salomies has been studying the Roman population of the Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire, and he has written on the composition of the population in Macedonia and on the role of Roman proconsuls of the province of Asia in promoting Roman citizenship in Roman Greece and Asia Minor, and of population movements between the two areas (cf. especially his important contribution Römische Amtsträger und römisches Bürgerrecht in der Kaiserzeit, in: Prosopographie und Sozialgeschichte, hrsg. von W. Eck, 1993, 119-145. He is also working on a study on the impact of Rome on the Eastern provinces as reflected by the epigraphic sources.

2. Language Contact and Language Attitude in Greek and Latin Inscriptions

Doc. Dr. Martti LEIWO
Kalle Korhonen, MA
Dr. Leiwo's subject belongs to the sphere of bilingualism, the main focus being in the study of Greek and Latin speech communities, or better epigraphic communities, in the Roman Empire. The study benefits from sociolinguistic and contact linguistic theories and views. Such an approach is rather new and at present researvh is being done in Britain, Belgium, Netherlands and the USA; Dr. Leiwo has close contacts with this international community of scholars (e.g. a paper at a conference on bilingualism in Antiquity organized by J. Adams in Reading).

Speakers of Greek and Latin were in contact for several centuries, and the aim of Dr. Leiwo is to study this contact in Greece and Italy through the language transmitted to usby inscriptions down to the sixth century AD. His study forms a natural continuation of his monograph on the language situation in Graeco-Roman Naples (Napolitana, 1995). The basic question is: what kind of contact situations can be derived from the epigraphic evidence? Is it, for instance, possible to find out traces of a mixed native in-group language created by Latin and Greek speaking bilinguals, or are the features of mixture always due to normal casual bilingual code switching? A bilingual mixture differs from pidgins and creoles in one important constituent, namely that the speakers are by definition bilingual. A typical feature of a mixed language is that it usually, or always, serves as a conspicuous marker of ethnic group identity, while pidgins and creoles rise as lingua francas. Therefore, bilingual mixtures all seem to be in-group varieties. To achieve trustworthy results, the data must pertain to such communities which can be defined by some ethnic, social or cultural factor. They are referred to as epigraphic communities. It is not Dr. Leiwo's aim to study the long-term contact of Greek and Latin, interesting as it may be. His study belongs more to the sphere of sociolinguistics than to that of historical linguistics. in the study the descriptive analysis is far more important than a prescriptive one. The main point is not the 'correctness' of Latin or Greek, but the form of deviation from the standard language, which can tell something about the varieties used within the communities. - Dr. Leiwo's work has a close connection with Mr. Korhonen's.

Mr. Korhonen's project consists of the study on ancient bilingual (Greek-Latin) language primers, the subject of his MA thesis (1995). In the near future, he will be writing a series of articles on the language of these primers and on their contribution to the study of school in antiquity (a first article came out in Arctos 1996). Afterwards he is planning to publish an edition, commentary and translation of the primers. These school texts include very original pieces of ancient literature, notably descriptions of everyday life. At present, they are fairly inaccessible even to scholars; the only complete edition dates from 1892. To accomplish this plan, Korhonen has been in contact with Dr. C. Dionisotti, London.

3. The Emergence of Greek Honorific Inscriptions in the Roman Period

Doc. Dr. Mika KAJAVA
In a study on the presence of Roman senatorial women in the Greek East from 1990 (in the Conference Proceedings Roman Eastern Policy and Other Studies on Roman History) Dr. Kajava noticed that in early times the honorific inscriptions given to Roman governors by the Greek cities were stereotypical and very similar to each other in terms of contents and diction. Now Dr. Kajava is studying Greek honorific texts of the Imperial period which show considerable differences between individual cities and regions: apart from dialectal variation, local influence may be seen in the epigraphic diction, formulas, structure and vocabulary. It would seem in many cases that local expressions and phrases had been in use for long periods; Roman administration did not necessarily have an effect on the traditional form of language. This subject still lacks systematic research. The relation of the style and language of Greek honorific inscriptions to the geography of Asia Minor is also an unexplored topic which uregntly needs a thorough treatment. - The base material consists of several thousands of Roman-period inscriptions from Greece and Asia Minor, which were set up to Roman office-holders, their families, or the local, more or less Romanized notables. Because of its material and the problems involved, the study of Dr. Kajava is associated with many branches of classical scholarship: philology, history, archaeology. A thematical link with Dr. Leiwo's project is obvious.

4. Greek Philosophy in Rome

Mr. Mäkeläinen is studying the role of Greek philosophy in Roman society. The subject of his PhD dissertation is "Seneca on equality, freedom and slavery". In it he aims to clarify in which way Seneca uses the concepts of equality, freedom and slavery in his thought. His texts are not just Greek philosophy in Roman dress, nor can they be satisfactorily described as a fusion of Greek philosophical precepts with traditional Roman values. Both of these over-simplified and misleading characterizations underestimate the complexity of Seneca's philosophical position.

The early Principate was a time of great political, cultural and moral changes. In a Roman context morality and politics are always closely interconnected. In confrontation with these changes and sometimes with little less than political chaos Stoicism could be understood to represent either a doctrine of reform or then one of acceptance. It seems that Seneca tried to combine these two alternatives. Superficially he seems to concentrate on the second option and for this he has been commonly censured even in scholarly literature. However, especially after his retirement from active political life, he seems to be creating a new beginning and grounding for the Roman values and for the Roman way of life. His exhortation does not aim to detach the reader from the surrounding reality, because the description of the behaviour of a Stoic progressive is fashioned out of the anxieties and problems typical of his audience. On the other hand he occasionally employes alienating strategies to conceal the dependance of his view of life on the material and psychological make-up of his time.

The Roman society of the early Principate exhibits a tension between ideology and practice in many debates over status and value. The age-old authority of birth and family tradition got on its side new forms of authorization based on social mobility. One way to advancement was to manipulate the symbols and ideals of Roman cultural tradition. This tradition was subject to invention and reinterpretation. Seneca used Stoic i.e. essentially Greek patterns of thought for his reworking of this material. The aim of Mr. Mäkeläinen is to analyse how and for what purpose Seneca did it when dealing with concepts, which are so central for the idea of human rights.

5. The Greek Impact on the Formation of Literary Culture in Ancient Italy

The subject of his forthcoming PhD dissertation is the dissemination of literary culture in ancient Italy, especially in Southern Italy, based on epigraphical evidence. His aim is to study at which pace and in which extension the impact of Rome as a cultural centre in the field of literature begun to make an impression in rural towns, and which role the Greek literature had in this process.

The sources are the inscriptions (and the monuments that they are inscribed on) with literary content in the area of the Italian peninsula. So far there exist only special studies concerned with the epigraphical culture of certain towns or areas, or with the influence of certain authors (especially Virgil) on "literary" inscriptions. The project of the revised edition of CIL X is indispensable for the study, as it offers accurate, complete and up-to-date source material and also gives access to wide secondary literature related to the topic.

6. The Diffusion of Oriental Cults in the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire

Dr. Uta-Maria LIERTZ
Her subject is: "The diffusion of Oriental cults in the Celto-Germanic Provinces of the Roman Empire. Studies on the establishment of a foreign culture and its mechanism". This project is a continuation or Dr. Liertz's monograph on the Imperial cult in the Roman provinces of Gallia Belgica and the two Germaniae (Kult und Kaiser, 1998). In the 2nd and 3rd centuries a large number of new gods and their cults from the Eastern part of the Roman Empire overflooded the western provinces. As their popularity increased quickly, the question arises why and how such a foreign element could take root so easily in a totally different environment?

The study of Dr. Liertz aims first to chart the different cults. The sources consist primarily of inscriptions. On this basis the worshippers' role, the mechanisms of the spreading of the cults and their way of responding can be studied. Very interesting as well is the role of the state and the emperor in the establishment of these cults and their encounter with Christianity.

7. Graeco-Roman Onomastics

Prof. Heikki SOLIN
Prof. Solin (with several graduate and postgraduate students) is preparing a handbook on Graeco-Roman onomastics (the first of its kind!). An introduction to this topic will appear in 1999 in the form of a monograph published by the Teubner Verlag Stuttgart (an English version is under consideration). The next step would be a comprehensive treatment of Greek and Roman onomastics both from the philological and historical point of view. For this purpose, prof. Solin has collected extensive documentation and will begin with the writing of the handbook by 2000. It is needless to stress the importance of such an enterprise, as there is no similar introduction to ancient onomastics. Solin has given a three month class on this topic at the University of Heidelberg and a similar two week seminar at the University of Bari, and lectured on the topic at several European and American universities.

8. The Oriental Population in the Roman West

Prof. Heikki SOLIN
Solin has for some years been interested in the history of the oriental population of the Roman Empire, especially of Jews and Syrians (but he has also dealt with, e.g. Thracians). His aim is to produce a comprehensive survey of the size of the Oriental population in the Roman West. While Visiting Professor at the University of Hamburg (Sommersemester 1990), he gave a seminar on this topic to a wide audience (the students came from three different faculties) and has since then been reflecting on these demographic problems. As for the Jews and Syrians, he published a longer contribution on the presence of them in the Roman West; he plans to publish an analysis of the Jewish community of Rome. He is completing two longer reviews, of Dr. Noy's excellent edition of Jewish inscriptions of Western Europe (to appear 1999 in Gnomon) and of L. Rutger's important monograph on the Jews of Rome in Late Antiquity (to appear 1999 in Journ. Study of Judaism).

9. Linguistic History of Sicily under the Roman Empire and in the Middle Ages (1100-1359)

In his PhD dissertation, Mr. Korhonen is dealing with two important aspects of the "linguistic history" of Sicily, namely the Greek and Latin epigraphical cultures of the Imperial period (1st-6th centuries), and the Greek documentary material from the period of the Norman conquest (1100-1350). He is using a sociolinguistic and contact linguistic approach, applied to the study of corpus languages, in this case classical philology. The central point of view is the influence of language contact on written language tradition. The wide historical perspective obtained through work on the PhD dissertation will enrich his post-doctoral research. The first part of the thesis will concentrate on inscriptions, mainly the Christian funerary inscriptions of Sicily. On a more general level, the birth of Christian epigraphic customs in the different areas of the multilingual Roman Empire, is a very rewarding topic from the sociolinguistic point of view. In a second phase, the research can be pursued in other geographical areas. These include the Eastern Mediterranean, where Greek was the dominant literary language, and the bilingual city of Rome, the nature of which as a linguistic community can be clarified with sociolinguistic methods. A thematic overlapping with Dr. Leiwo's project is evident.

Mr Korhonen has also the intention to continue research on the history of the Greek language in Southern Italy and Sicily. The language, which at present is endangered and possibly becoming obsolete, is still used in some villages. Its tradition, which has continued for two and half millenia, offers many interesting problems to contact linguistics. The Arabo-Greek literary culture has also attracted the attention of Korhonen.

10. Legal Integration of the Mediterranean World after AD 212

Dr. Antti ARJAVA
Dr. Arjava examines the legal integration of the Mediterranean world after the universal grant of Roman citizenship in 212. He will pursue the study of a subject which he has already brought up in his monograph Women and Law in Late Antiquity (OUP 1996) and in several articles since then (Akten 21. Pap. Kongr. 1997, JRS 1998, Tyche 1998, others in preparation). The principal source material will consist of papyri from Roman Egypt, although there is an increasing amount of comparative documentary evidence from other parts of the Roman Empire, including the sixth-century archive of Petra (in the publication of which Dr. Arjava presently takes part). The study will focus on family law, but it will also discuss more widely the impact of Roman legal and cultural models on provincial life. Arjava argues that as early as the third century this impact can be seen more often than is usually assumed. The working title of his planned monograph is "Women, Family, and Society in Roman Egypt: Studies in the Legal Integration of the Roman Empire".

In addition, for instance the following graduate students are involved in the project's work:

Ari SAASTAMOINEN (MA in 1998): African Building Inscriptions
Jan VIHONEN (MA in 1999): Inscriptions in the Public Life of Pompeii