Bryn Mawr Classical Review 02.06.18


A.E. Raubitschek, The School of Hellas. Essays on Greek History, Archaeology, and Literature. Dirk Obbink and Paul A. Vander Waerdt, editors. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Pp. xv, 384. ISBN 0-19-505691-4.


Reviewed by Mabel L. Lang, Bryn Mawr College.

"Designed to make accessible between two covers the most important works of A.E. Raubitschek" (Preface) this book deserves a team of reviewers to cope with the great breadth and depth of its 39 essays and 7 reviews, conveniently arranged under four all-embracing rubrics: History; Institutions; Art, Monuments and Inscriptions; Poets, Literature and Historiography. Ranging in date of publication from 1938 to 1986 and largely focusing on subject matter of the sixth to fourth centuries B.C., these essays and reviews continue to make important contributions to our understanding of ancient Greece, particularly as represented by Athens.

Typical of the eight pieces dealing with historical problems from the time of Solon through the restoration of the democracy in 403 is the examination of relations between Athens and Melos during the Peloponnesian War; ingeniously combining evidence from Diodoros and scholia on Aristophanes with inscriptions, it questions Thucydides' candor in his report of the Melian Dialogue. In the next section eight of the 14 pieces devoted to Institutions shed light on various aspects of ostracism in Athens, dealing not only with its origin, practice and manipulation, but also with the interpretation of particular sherds. Along with Eugene Vanderpool's fundamental work on ostraca and ostracism these studies form the basis of all modern work on the subject. Of the other six pieces in this section which range widely over clubs, the Olympic Games, the Dionysiac festival, a priesthood and education, particularly to be noted is the decisive review of F. Sartori's La eterie nelle vita politica Ateniese del VI e V secolo A.C. And just as the eight pieces on ostracism are only a sample of the more than 20 in which AER enlarged our understanding of that institution, so a glance at the (almost) complete AER bibliography at the end of the volume shows many treatments of these institutions in addition to these six.

In Part III five articles illuminating specific monuments which combine sculpture and inscriptions serve as examples illustrating both a general essay outlining the value of inscriptions in historical research of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. and a useful review of L.H. Jeffery's Local Scripts of Archaic Greece. In addition, the iconography of Triptolemos' agricultural mission is examined, and a short piece on the Eleusinian Peace (IG I3 6) is a reminder of AER's many contributions to that magisterial volume. In Part IV eleven of the fifteen pieces are more historiographical than purely literary, but all demonstrate the sensitivity to the style and content of ancient sources that has characterized AER's writing throughout his long career. In addition to two reviews of books dealing with the Atthidographers there are three essays on Herodotus, two each on Thucydides and Theopompus, and one on Xenophon.

The editors are to be congratulated not only on their difficult and discriminating choice of material to be reprinted in this volume but also on their inclusion of a short introduction in which Raubitschek himself has written of the nature and influence of classical studies in our time, of his own career both as student and teacher, and of the institutions with which he has been associated, with some reminiscences of old classicists. This strikes an optimistic and heartwarming note and provides an appropriate context for this sample of his briefer contributions to classical studies, a worthy companion volume to his authoritative Dedications from the Athenian Acropolis.

The very full Subject Index, as well as Indexes of Greek and Latin Words, make this collection unusually useful. Sixteen plates reproduce the original illustrations of the nine illustrated articles.