2008

DA History and Area Studies


Deutschlandbilder: Historische Schulatlanten zwischen 1871 und 1990; ein Handbuch [Images of Germany: Historical School Atlases Published between 1871 and 1990]. Patrick Lehn. Köln: Böhlau, 2008. 588, [120] p. ill. maps. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-412-20122-7: EUR 99.90 [08-1/2-288]

Based on the author’s 2007 dissertation (Heidelberg) entitled Medien des nationalen Zeitgeistes: Historische Schulatlanten und ihre Deutschlandbilder von 1871 bis 1990 [Media of the National Zeitgeist...], this richly illustrated volume, with 185 mainly color illustrations of maps, focuses on the analysis of German school atlases from five historical periods: the German Empire, Weimar Republic, Nazi period, and (West German) Federal Republic and the (East German) Democratic Republic. Some 60 publishers in all are listed in this work, including perhaps the most famous, Friedrich Wilhelm Putzger (1849-1913), whose Putzger, Atlas und Chronik zur Weltgeschichte (see RREA 9:161) is the leading school atlas in Germany. Deutschlandbilder provides detailed bibliographical information about these atlases and analyses the understanding of nation and German history that is implicit in them. Most of the works cited can be found in the Georg Eckert Institute for International Schoolbook Research in Braunschweig, or in the Berlin State Library, which possesses some 2,128 editions chiefly from German-speaking Europe. Its collection is indexed in Schulatlanten in Deutschland und benachbarten Ländern vom 18. Jahrhundert bis 1950 [School Atlases in Germany and Neighboring Countries from the 18th Century to 1950] (München, 1982).

It would have been useful to index the contributors, not just the publishers and the editors. A study of Austrian and Swiss atlases and of the maps found in major German encyclopedias would further enhance this excellent publication. [frh/ldl]

Diccionario de personajes históricos griegos y romanos [Dictionary of Historical Greek and Roman Figures]. Jorge Martínez-Pinna, Santiago Montero Herrero, and Joaquín Gómez Pantoja. 2d ed. Madrid: Akal, 2008. 430 p. ill. 18 cm. (Akal/Istmo básica de bolsillo, 170). ISBN 9788446029861: EUR 14.90

Biblioteca de clásicos para uso moderno: diccionario personal sobre griegos y latinos [Library of Classics for Modern Use: A Personal Dictionary on Greeks and Romans]. Luis Antonio de Villena. Madrid: Gredos, 2008. 282 p. 24 cm. ISBN 9788424935610: EUR 22

An RREA Original Review by Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (Tulane University)

While these two Iberian Spanish classical dictionaries share a publication date and clearly overlap in coverage, they differ in scope, presentation of content, and, to some extent, purpose.

The objective of the biographical dictionary Diccionario de personajes históricos griegos y romanos (hereafter Martínez-Pinna), compiled by three Spanish university professors and first published in 1998, is to provide a basic prosopography of ancient Greek and Roman historical figures through the death of Emperor Theodosius (395 CE). While the primary intended audience consists of Spanish secondary school and university students, the educated general reader is also kept in mind.

An important criterion for inclusion is the individual’s political involvement; literary authors in the narrower sense are excluded. For example, an entry is given for the orator Demosthenes, because of his political activity, but not for the dramatist Sophocles, while the only Callimachus/Kallimachos addressed was an Athenian polemarch at the battle of Marathon, not the Hellenistic poet and scholar-librarian. The scope does include non-Greeks and non-Romans relevant for classical history, such as Persian satraps, Parthian kings (e.g., Hyrodes II), North African kings (e.g., Massinisa), and barbarian leaders (e.g., Alaric). Not all entries are for political and military figures; other examples represent architects (Apollodorus of Damascus), historians (Plutarch), and religious leaders (St. John Chrysostom).

Each entry consists of one paragraph, generally running from a few lines to about a page and a half, with a few longer ones (Cicero’s entry is almost four pages long). It includes the following elements: (1) the name as known in Spanish; (2) the Latin or Romanized Greek name in italics (even when the same as the Spanish, for example “Ismenias. Ismenias”), not necessarily using the romanization found in North American catalogs following LC; (3) a brief identifying term or phrase indicating official title or primary role; (4) place and dates; (5) for most, some additional biographical information, which may include a summary statement about the person’s significance or reputation; and (6) the entry author’s initials. There are no bibliographical references in individual entries. Martínez-Pinna closes with helpful supplementary sections: a five-page bibliography; a list of monarchs and emperors, broken down geographically, then chronologically, with asterisks after the names of rulers covered in the dictionary; and an extensive set of genealogical tables of families of rulers and major officials.

Entries file under the Spanish form of name, not always where one might expect them, as in the case of “Tulio Cicerón” for Marcus Tullius Cicero; multiple individuals with the same name (e.g., “Claudio [Claudius] Pulcher”) are covered in chronological order. Numerous cross-references are provided, both “see” references (e.g., “Cicerón: Tulio Cicerón,” “Julio Serviano: Serviano”) and “see also” references, which are indicated within entries by an asterisk following the filed-upon element of each other name that has its own entry, for example, “rey Pérdicas* II de Macedonia” [King Perdiccas/ Perdikkas II of Macedonia]. While most references are reliable, one blind reference was found, “Pablo* de Tarso,” as there is no entry for St. Paul of Tarsus under “Pablo,” “Paulus,” “Tarso,” or “Tarsus.” For more versatile use, either cross-references from the original Greek and Latin name forms or an index of those forms would have been ideal.

Within its stated scope, this dictionary is quite comprehensive for its small size and modest price. Lesser-known figures such as Phalaikos (“Faleco”) and Ovinius Camillus (“Ovinio”) are included; there are eight different entries under “Julia.” That said, the absence of literary authors per se is a limitation about which users should be made aware, since they may not take time to read the introduction. The selection criteria also, not surprisingly, result in the sparse coverage of non-royal women.

Luis Antonio de Villena, a noted Spanish literary writer and critic, takes quite a different approach in his avowedly personal Biblioteca de clásicos para uso moderno (hereafter “Villena”). As he states in the introduction, among his reasons for writing it were to provide a small inviting guide, to protest against the disappearance of Greco-Latin humanism, and to demonstrate his passion for that world and many of its authors.

The compilation consists of 65 entries, including several collective as well as individual ones. Literary authors, philosophers, historians, and others are represented, examples being Theocritus, Statius, Socrates, and Ammianus Marcellinus; a few famous rulers are included, such as Alexander the Great and Nero. While it is naturally far from exhaustive, the best-known classical authors (for example, Sophocles) are generally covered, while some less well-known authors (e.g., Mimnermus of Colophon/Mimnermos of Kolophōn) are also addressed. Topics of collective discussions include the Library of Alexandria, Pompeian graffiti, and others.

The essay-length entries in Villena run from slightly over one page to about five pages. Each one provides a mixture of brief biographical background and literary criticism of the author’s or authors’ works. Some entries include Spanish translations of brief passages. An annotated bibliography at the end of each entry, in paragraph form, concentrates on Spanish translations, with a few also including secondary studies (e.g., under “Homosexualidad griega” [Greek homosexuality]) or historical fiction (e.g., under “Hipatia” [Hypatia]).

The entry is under the Spanish form of name (e.g., “Esquilo” for Aeschylus and “Adriano” for Hadrian). The absence of cross-references or index is particularly a handicap in identifying information about authors discussed only in collective essays such as “Novela griega” [Greek novel] and “Biógrafos y historiadores latinos” [Latin biographers and historians].

As Villena himself says, one could actually read this work from cover to cover, as an essay. The alphabetical arrangement also makes it possible to go straight to a single author or topic of interest identified in the table of contents. It is beautifully written, as one would expect from such an author, whose enthusiasm is clearly conveyed. At the same time, as a reference work for beginners it should be used with some caution due to its openly subjective perspectives; for example, Villena considers Christianity the primary cause of the fall of the Roman Empire.

In North America, the usefulness of both Martínez-Pinna and Villena would tend to fit within a defined niche, since access to their contents is based on Spanish-language name forms not supplemented by references from Greek and Latin forms. They would be helpful for students, faculty, and others reading Spanish-language works who need more information on subjects of classical allusions. Neither work claims to be a tool for specialist research, and Anglophone readers would benefit by supplementing both through consulting standard English-language classical dictionaries. Martínez-Pinna is quite a bit more comprehensive, as well as more conventional in its approach; Villena complements it by concentrating on literary authors and by providing criticism in addition to biography. Naturally, the latter work is also of value to anyone interested in the writings of Villena himself.

Der Brockhaus, Archäologie: Hochkulturen, Grabungsstätten, Funde [Brockhaus Archaeology: Cultures, Excavations, and Finds]. Ed. Jürgen Hotz for the Lexikonredaktion des Verlags F. A. Brockhaus, Mannheim. Mannheim: Brockhaus, 2009. 671 p. ill. maps. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-7653-3321-7: EUR 49.95 [08-1/2-294]

Brockhaus Archäologie belongs to the genre of popular reference books that provide the engaged general reader with an overview of and terms belonging to a specific subject area, in this case archaeology. The 3,8000 entries, 570 images, and 80 maps and site plans, cover specific excavations, cultures, architectural types, art objects, and well-known archaeologists, as well as selected general themes, such as mythology and agriculture. The selection criteria for entries are hard to ascertain, and certain cultural areas are ignored, such as the German Archaeological Institute excavation sites of Marib and Sirwah in modern day Yemen. The emphasis is on spectacular finds and treasures rather than the field and techniques of archaeology itself. This volume would be appropriate in public libraries in German-speaking countries. [mki/ldb]

Bibliographie zur klassisch-archäologischen Denkmälerkunde [Bibliography of Classical Archaeology Studies]. Konrad Hitzl. 2d rev. and expanded ed. Rahden (Westf.): Leidorf, 2007. xix, 574 p. 22 cm. (Subsidia classica, 9). ISBN 978-3-86757-181-4: EUR 39.80 [08-1/2-295]

The second edition of this bibliography has doubled in size since the first edition appeared in 1999. It focuses narrowly on information dealing with excavations, topography, art, and sites in Greece, Italy, and the Near East. Coverage begins with 1989, although some random older entries are included. The bibliography is suitable for students of classical archaeology. The bibliography is also searchable online at http://opac.dainst.org/F?RN=258631975. [sh/ldb]

Sachwörterbuch der Klassischen Archäologie [Dictionary of Classical Archaeology]. Wolfram Martini. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2003. ix, 371 p. ill. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 390). ISBN 3-520-39001-9: EUR 19.80 [08-1/2-297]

Wörterbuch Archäologie [Dictionary of Archaeology]. Andrea Gorys and Christel Gorys. Wiesbaden: Marix-Verlag, 2004. 528 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 3-937715-29-0: EUR 9.95 [08-1/2-298]

The Sachwörterbuch der Klassischen Archäologie (SKA) and the Wörterbuch Archäologie (WA—see RREA 4:172 for a review of the first edition) have long stood in competition. Both dictionaries have the classical world as their focus. The SKA includes Minoan, Mycenaean, and Etruscan cultures in its coverage, and the WA also draws in non-European Mediterranean cultures including Persia. The biggest difference between the SKA and WA is in approach. The SKA attempts to itemize all subject terms (over 2,500) used in the field of classical archaeology, whereas the WA supplements its less extensive listing of terminology (over 850 entries) with more comprehensive articles on important sites, finds, archaeologists, and philologists. The SKA is useful for the researcher looking up numerous, specialized terms, whereas the WA, with its longer articles about sites and finds, also appeals to the interested general reader. Research libraries will probably need to acquire both titles. In this connection libraries should also consider acquiring the Metzler-Lexikon antiker Architektur (see RREA 13:135). [sh/ldb]


Next Section
Previous Section
Table of Contents


Comments, suggestions, or questions
Last update: April 2011 [LC]
2010 Casalini libri - VAT no. IT03106600483