Mediterranean Studies Association Update
July 14, 2020
Mediterranean Studies Journal 28.1 Preview
Dear MSA members,
The latest volume of Mediterranean Studies (28.1) has just been published, and the table of contents has been posted to the MSA website:
Identity is the crux of the essays in Mediterranean Studies 28.1
In the opening article, Nicholas Cross takes a close look at the Panionia.This festival originated among Ionian Greeks in the Archaic period, but eventually attracted non-Ionians.By the late sixth century BCE, celebrants of the ritual were sharing a cultural identity.Cross ponders the possibility that this ritual-induced cultural identity is at the heart of the political identity reflected in legendary accounts of the Ionian Migration to Asia Minor.
As a response to the linear history of identity we find in Cross’s article, Tiziana Carlino presents writing as a ritual that simultaneously engenders and affirms identity.Her study of Jewish authors coming to Italy from Arab countries teases out the distinctive narrative strands of personal experience and historical circumstances that so often express identity in writing by members of minorities.
Poetry both creates and performs identity in Nathaniel Miller’s close readings of Muslim poets under Roger II in Sicily.Here again, writing is a ritual connected to identity.But in this case, Muslim poets writing in Arabic while living under a Christian king signal their identity with a culture well beyond that of Sicily, reaching instead around the Mediterranean.
While the Muslim poets in Miller’s article addressed themselves to the greater Mediterranean world, the Italo-Greek courtiers of Eleni Tounta’s study narrowed their concerns on forming their own collective cultural identity within the court of Sicily’s Norman kingdom.These courtiers leveraged linguistic difference and administrative expertise to protect and perpetuate their elite status.
The four books reviewed in this issue keep us focused on contemporary problems by returning to the challenges of the past.Reminding us that the fate of an artifact is liable to change over time, Eric Olson reviews The Sarpedon Krater: The Life and Afterlife of a Greek Vase by Nigel Spivey.In the midst of our own climate and COVID crises, Darryl Phillips invites us to consider Kyle Harper’s work, The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease and the End of an Empire.Should we imagine we can disregard the lessons of the past, Maria Shiaele’s review of Médée et la rhétorique de la mémoire au féminin:Ovide brings us back to reality.In reviews of two works by Stefano Trovato, Luigi Andrea Berto applauds the author’s contributions to a better understanding of Julian the Apostate in Antieroe dai molti volti: Giuliano l’Apostata nel Medioevo bizantino and “Molti fedeli di Cristo morirono tra terribili pene”: Bibliografia agiografica giulieanea con edizione della Passio Cyriaci BHG 465b.
Enjoy Mediterranean Studies 28.1!
Susan L. Rosenstreich, Editor, Mediterranean Studies