Posted by Dennis » Add Comment »
The latest issue of TAPhA is out and this piece caught my eye:
Malevolent Gods and Promethean Birds: Contesting Augury in Augustus’s Rome
Steven J. Green
The well-known mythological basis for augury (by which I mean in this paper the specialist consultation of various antics of birds in flight) is that there exists a positive interaction between gods and birds, whereby beneficent gods send reliable signs to expert mortals by means of certain birds, which act as the gods’ messengers.
The aim of this paper will be to demonstrate that Augustan writers (Livy, Vergil, and Ovid) engage in a lively debate about the hallowed mythological underpinning for augury, a debate which is all the more surprising (and potentially contentious) in light of the Emperor’s own promotion of this most ancient religious institution.
I haven’t read it yet. (Is it possible for APA members to access the online edition without some other institutional affiliation?) But as a teacher who tends to spend a fair amount of time in advanced courses dealing with Augustan literature, and as a teacher who thinks genuine Roman cultural practices get short shrift in the classroom (generally in deference to a misplaced and incongruous focus on Greek myth), this kind of article is certainly welcome. I’m looking forward to the print edition landing on my doorstep.