Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.09.18

Rothaus on Scotton on Rothaus.   Response to 2002.02.25



Response by Richard M. Rothaus (rrothaus@stcloudstate.edu)

[[For a response to this response, see BMCR 2002.10.31.]]

The point of this response is simply to alert readers that evidence Dr. Scotton (BMCR 2002.02.25) claims is missing from my work (Corinth: The First City of Greece, An Urban History of Late Antique Cult & Religion ) is actually there and cited. Dr. Scotton's claims of omission are so perplexing, I cannot but wonder whether he was working with a defective copy of my book and failed to notice that pages were falling out. Dr. Scotton's claim that "the only cited evidence of earthquake damage is an indirect quote of Emerson Swift's 1915 field notebook from the Julian Basilica" is ludicrous. The documented evidence fills pages 16-21, including evidence from architecture, ceramics, literary sources, and an inscription. Footnote 52 alone cites over 20 archaeological reports. While Dr. Scotton's expertise on the Julian Basilica provides a welcome corrective, it seems he did not read the rest of the chapter with care. The incomplete nature of his reading is illustrated by his claim that "it is impossible to tell whether the well-documented evidence of earthquake damage found in the East of Theater excavations conducted by Charles Williams was meant to be included." This evidence is included on page 21 and in footnote 52; why that was impossible to see I cannot imagine. Dr. Scotton questions the identification of the graves at the Temple of Asklepios as Christian, stating that identification must wait "until someone has examined the grave goods from these burials and has determined whether or not we can call the interred Christians." On page 51 the grave goods, and, more importantly for the identification, the Christian tombstones are noted. Perhaps, in some way I do not understand, Christian tombstones recovered from the graves are insufficient to indicate they are Christian burials. But that is a question of interpretation; claiming that the evidence has not been examined is an unfortunate misrepresentation. And finally, while I readily admit that there are some odd inconsistencies, such as the use of both "Corinth" and "Korinth" in Plan 1, I can only smile when I see this criticism coming in a review that apparently sees no inconsistency in using the forms "Asklepieion" and "Aphrodesion" alongside "Asklepius." Fortunately (as is obvious by my own work) I believe such issues are, in the end, inconsequential. I agree with Dr. Scotton; "I am not sure that [my] current presentation of the evidence and arguments can support the conclusions." Missing the evidence I include, however, is not going to help us find out.

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