Tell Me Who You Are: Labeling Status in the Graeco-Roman World [Paperback]

Maria Nowak (Editor); Adam Łajtar (Editor); Jakub Urbanik (Editor)

ISBN: 5550210059 | Published by: Journal of Juristic Papyrology | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 299p, H235 x W165 (mm)

Tell Me Who You Are


This volume is a contribution to the discussion regarding identities and identification in history, specifically in the ancient world. The following twelve articles focus on various issues surrounding personal identification from the classical period through Hellenistic and Roman times up to the early Byzantine era. Research into methods of identification employed in the ancient world is important not merely in terms of understanding how people were described, but also why they were described in a particular way and what those descriptions can tell us about the cultures that imposed them. This broad approach to the question of identification has been adopted throughout the present volume in a number of ways. The studies on onomastics and identification patterns contribute greatly to our knowledge of the inter-cultural exchange between both Greeks and Romans (Kantola) and Greeks and Egyptians (Depauw& Broux); by examining this exchange at a linguistic level we are better able to understand the multi-cultural nature of these societies. The analysis of specific descriptions in the context of their time and place (Kruse, Garel) can provide us with a better sense of what those descriptions meant within the society that created them. Investigating descriptions of individuals can also help to clarify the political (Thomsen) or social (Nowak) institutions to which those individuals belonged. The study of identification methods can illuminate the relationship between how people were named and where they belonged (Lewis, Nowakowski), a question no less relevant in today’s world of globalization than it was in antiquity. Specific studies on Roman onomastics can help us to understand aspects of the structure of established families, such as the standing of mothers and their descent (Nuorluoto), but can also allow us to attempt a reconstruction of informal family structures (Krawczyk); both contribute to the study of the legal and social standing of women in the Roman world. Of course, none of these research questions may be answered without the application of appropriate methodologies and tools (Broux). This volume is not only a collection of articles discussing the sources and research issues from different regions of the Graeco-Roman world, but also a demonstration of some of the historical issues that can be clarified through the study of names and descriptions. Taken together, the following articles offer a sample of the diverse and plentiful information hidden behind and within something as simple as a name, and in doing so hopes to illustrate some of the ways in which the examination of very specific details can be used to achieve wider perspectives in historical studies.

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