Little is known about Vegetius, who wrote a military handbook, Epitoma Rei Militaris (RM), most likely for Emperor Theodosius I (although even that is not certain) during the late 3rd or early 4th century CE. His manuscript is extensive, examining a wide array of military practices and norms that a proper Roman army should follow. The RM covers specific tasks and responsibilities of a general, which Vegetius appears to have drawn from earlier Roman writers, mainly those from the late Republic and early Principate. Comparing Vegetius’s writings to those of Julius Caesar, specifically to Caesar’s own narrative of his actions in Book I of De Bello Gallico (BG), provides insight into how Roman ideals of good military leadership progressed through centuries of history.
Animals as a whole are often overlooked when studying ancient Rome, but there is one animal that even Roman authors of farming guides often dismissed as being insignificant; this animal being the dog. The Romans kept dogs for many purposes; such as for hunting game, protecting a flock of sheep, guarding the house, and providing companionship. The authors of Roman farming guides often provided guidelines as to which characteristics were ideal for each type of working dog, but are these ideal characteristics reflected in the reality of Roman dogs? I set out to conclude to what extent the Romans influenced observable dog traits by the process of selective breeding. The ideal dogs described in the guides written by Columella, Varro, and the Greek author Xenophon have been analyzed and compared to archaeological findings depicting real Roman dogs in the forms of vases, mosaics, and actual dog bones. It was found that the Romans placed selective pressures most strongly on their hunting and herding dogs, followed closely by their guard dogs, and then minimally on their lap dogs. The nearly uniform traits shared by herding and hunting dogs is most likely due to the high stakes positions that these dogs held, as their owner depended on them for money and food. The guard dog also held a high stakes position in protecting the household, so it is not surprising that it experienced selection in a similar way. The lap dog did not contribute to its household as working dogs did, and selection for a lap dog’s traits was likely done on an individual basis, based on the owner’s personal preferences. This leads to the highest degree of diversity being observed in Roman lap dogs.
When considering the love elegy of Ovid, there are multiple cases in which love, beauty, or infatuation with a woman is expressed through visual descriptions of her hair. In the Amores and Ars Amatoria, these descriptions of hair support a seemingly subjective view of beauty when compared to current hairstyle trends at the time. As a result, this view of feminine beauty suggests that the woman holds the power within the amorous relationship described. However, the nature of the hair description reduces Ovid’s view of feminine beauty to an objective one, revealing a disingenuous view of feminine power and therefore supporting Ovid’s claim to masculine dominance in the relationship.
References to poets immortalizing themselves by writing poetry is a frequent trope of classical literature. It appeared in Greek literature thanks to the lyric poets Sappho and Theocritus and the philosopher Plato. The Greeks passed down the tradition to the Romans, where it featured in the collections written by Horace, Gallus, Tibullus, Propertius, and, eventually, Ovid. Ovid’s claim to immortality in Tristia 3.3 is an interesting poem to study, given he references his earlier claim to immortality in Amores 1.15 and Horace’s claims in Carmina 2.20 and 3.30. My paper examines his attitude in both of his poems, analyzing the connections he makes to his prior work and to Horace’s. Drawing upon this research, I argue the sequence of claims by Ovid demonstrates his lack of repentance for his exile. Rather than truly admit guilt, I believe Tristia 3.3 reveals he continues to take pride in erotic poetry – a revelation visible when the poem is placed in contrast against Amores 1.15.