May 12, 2006

Bandum, Rance, Procopius, Amplificatio, and the Senators

At the gym the last few days I've been reading through some of Rance's articles. As I've noted before, I'm quite impressed with his work. Well, I came across in article on the fulcum a footnote related to my little rant about the bandum. He basically said the same things that I did. Unfortunately, there wasn't much new to add besides a reference to Paul the Deacon. Paul the Deacon, whom I haven't read, lived in the 8C. It may seem that its relevance is questionable, but we are dealing with a period with fairly limited resources. So, I can add the reference in his work to the reference to a certain Gregorius Illiberitanus, who was around in the 4C. I don't know much about him: the bandum reference to Gregorius' work comes from Souter's "Glossary of Later Latin"; it ends in AD 600 (or so the title says). For interests sake, I'll have to check that out sometime. Getting back to the reference to Paul, however, it seems that he makes the connection between a vexillum and a bandum. I'm pleased about that. One interesting aside, however, is that the bandum of the 6C seems to have been different in character from the vexillum of say the 2C. It was less of a banner and more of a flag. There are a few articles that I could/should check out, but I'll hold off for the moment until it becomes specifically relevant to my work. Finally, Rance has highlighted, and rightly I believe, the importance in elucidating the military vocabularly in use in Late Antiquity. With such disparate sources, I think the need for some sort of study is in order. He notes that there are some olders ones, but they really should be brought up to date, particularly with the appearance of some critical studies of some of the important texts (perhaps mine might be included in that list at some point?). Anyway, lots of food for thought.

I'm going to send in another conference proposal, though admittedly it's another graduate conference. What I plan on looking in the paper is amplification in Procopius' Vandal and Gothic Wars. The title that I have tentatively given it is: "The Horror of War: Amplificatio and Procopius' Vandal and Gothic Wars". The conference itself is about strangers in the Roman world. I figure that my paper many of the possible topics suggested in the 'call for papers'. For one thing, there's the historiographical angle and my analysis of one aspect of Procopius' work. Plus, there's the warfare angle. Suffering and destruction is a problem discussed by Procopius. And it's real: it's happening now; it happened then. There's also this unique historical situation, virtually unknown in the rest of Classical History. The Romans that are the focus of Procopius' Wars are actually East Romans since they are the citizens of the surviving half of the Roman empire. They, at least at the elite level, still largely saw themselves as Romans; they'd continue to do so for years to come. But, Rome itself was no longer part of the picture. Well, in this re–conquest they came into greater contact with (for there was still trade and some political ties between east and west) their former, well, empiremen? Italy and north Africa had been the heart of the empire for centuries. In the 5C, both were lost. By the time Justinian decides to reconquer the west, the west had been left to its own devices for almost 75 years. The commanders of the expeditions, and Belisarius in particular, are quick to point to the sameness of these people. Would the common lot of soldiers really have conceived of them as such? Perhaps not. Perhaps they wouldn't have given it much thought either way. In fact, it's probably the former. They certainly would have spoken a different language and possibly practised a different form of Christianity, or even a different religion altogether. Anyway, anothe rpoint is that they suffer in the re–conquest. But, people always suffer in historiography. That's one of the stock things; it's part of the historian's rhetoric. Procopius is no different. As well and classically trained as any of his predecessors, and probably a lawyer to boot, Procopius was well–versed in rhetoric and deployed throughout his narrative, and in particular throughout the Vandal Wars. So, and now I finally get to the thrust of what I want to look at, or at least, its central question, "How does Procopius' amplificatio of the inhabitants suffering fit into the respective narratives, is there any truth to it, does the unique nationality of the sufferers have any bearing on Procopius' work?" Basically, it will be a study of Procopius' description throughout the texts of the suffering of folk in Africa and/or Italy during the re–conquest. Yeah. Gotta get all of that into a suitable proposal.

Blow Sens Blow…boo hoo hoo. So many years of playoff collapses. Will they ever succeed? Can they slay their demons? What sort of animal do I have to sacrifice to the hockey gods to make them propitious?

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