Working Papers by Subject - Ancient/Modern Studies

041303 Evolutionary psychology and the historian
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - New possibilities have been opened up for historians by a new wave of engagement with biology, or more particularly with human biology, for the study of human history, environmental history, health history, and the co-evolutionary history of humans and other species. This paper critically explores the uses and limits of evolutionary psychology for the study of history by focusing on the particularly intensely discussed phenomenon of incest avoidance.

041302 Measuring Finley’s impact
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - The concluding contribution to a conference devoted to the work of the prominent ancient historian Moses I. Finley (1912-1986), this paper seeks to measure his scholarly impact by means of a bibliometric approach.

091201 Relevant Expertise Aggregation: An Aristotelian middle way for epistemic democracy
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Decision-making in a democracy must respect democratic values, while advancing citizens’ interests. Decisions made in an epistemic democracy must also take into account relevant knowledge about the world. Neither aggregation of independent guesses nor deliberation, the standard approaches to epistemic democracy, offers a satisfactory theory of decision-making that is at once time-sensitive and capable of setting agendas endogenously. Analysis of passages by Aristotle and legislative process in ancient Athens points to a “middle way” that transcends those limitations. Relevant Expertise Aggregation (REA) offers an epistemic approach to decision-making in democratic organizations with minimally competent voters who share certain interests and knowledge. REA allows better choices among options to be made by basing choices on expertise in multiple relevant domains, through a time-sensitive process conjoining deliberation with voting. REA differs from a standard Condorcet jury in aggregating votes by relevant domains, based on reputations and arguments of domain-experts.
This paper replaces version 121101 posted in December 2011, version 071102 posted in July 2011, and version 090901 posted in September 2009.

081201 Thucydides as prospect theorist
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Opposing the tendency to read Thucydides as a strong realist, committed to a theory of behavior that assumes rationality as expected utility maximization, Ned Lebow and Clifford Orwin (among others) emphasize Thucydides’ attentiveness to deviations from rationality by individuals and states. This paper argues that Thucydides grasped the principles underlying contemporary prospect theory, which explains why people over-weight potential losses. Thucydides offers salient examples of excessive risk-aversion and excessive risk-seeking by decision-makers variously faced with high or low probabilities of losses or gains. Thucydides shows that leaders' rhetoric can limit or exacerbate the political effects of bias in risk assessment.

071201 Democracy's Dignity
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Dignity, as equal high standing characterized by non-humiliation and non- infantilization, is democracy’s third core value. Along with liberty and equality, it is a necessary condition for collective self-governance. Dignity enables robust exercise of liberty and equality while resisting both neglectful libertarianism and paternalistic egalitarianism. The civic dignity required for democracy is specified through a taxonomy of incompletely and fully moralized forms of dignity. Distinctive features of different regimes of dignity are modeled by simple games and illustrated by historical case studies. Unlike traditional meritocracy and universal human dignity, a civic dignity regime is theoretically stable in a population of self-interested social agents. It is real-world stable because citizens are predictably well motivated to defend those threatened with indignity and because they have resources for effective collective action against dignitary threats. Meritocracy and civic dignity are not inherently liberal, but may persist within a liberal democracy committed to universal human dignity.
This paper replaces version 011201 originaly posted in January 2012, and 071101 originally posted in July 2011.

021206 Mixed capital: classicism in unexpected places
Grant Parker, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - The reception of Greco-Roman antiquity in South Africa exhibits enormous variety. The current essay is an introduction to a proposed volume that explores as many aspects as possible. Several instances of South African classicism cluster around Cecil John Rhodes, but equally there is significant material involving people who have had little or no formal instruction in Latin or Greek.

011201 Democracy's Dignity
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
This paper has been revised. See 071201 entry.

121101 Weighted Expertise Aggregation: An Aristotelian middle way for epistemic democracy
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
> Abstract - Decision-making in an epistemic democracy takes into account not only citizens’ interests but also their knowledge about the world. The dominant epistemic approaches to democratic decision-making focus on aggregation of independent guesses and on deliberation, but neither offers a satisfactory means of decision-making that is at once time-sensitive and capable of setting agendas endogenously. Analysis of two passages by Aristotle points to a hybrid “middle way” that transcends these limitations. Weighted Expertise Aggregation (WEA) conjoins diverse forms of expertise in multiple domains through a time-sensitive process of deliberation and voting. WEA differs from a Condorcet jury in aggregating the marginal probability of correct judgments on domain- experts, rather than on the substance of complex issues. Although it requires procedurally competent voters who share common knowledge, WEA offers a realistic approach to decision-making in democratic organizations.
This paper replaced version 071102 originally posted in July 2011. It was revised in September 2012; please see 091201 entry.

091102 Updated citation scores for ancient historians in the United States
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - This survey of citation scores provides a rough measure of the relative impact of scholarship published by thirty-two leading ancient historians in the United States. It offers an update of an earlier survey presented in this series in 2008.

071102 Weighted Expertise Aggregation: An Aristotelian middle way for epistemic democracy
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
This paper has been revised. See 121101 entry.

071101 Four Kinds of Dignity and Democracy
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
This paper has been revised. See 011201 entry.

061001 Sweating Truth in Ancient Carthage
Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: Richard Miles’s Carthage Must Be Destroyed (2010) justifies a new look at Gustave Flaubert’s controversial novel Salammbô (1862). An abridged version of this essay appeared as “Pacesetter,” London Review of Books 32 (June 2010): 30-31.

021001 The instrumental value of others and institutional change: An Athenian case study
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - A primary motive for certain Athenian rule changes in the direction of increased legal access and impartiality in the fourth century B.C. was Athenian awareness of the increased instrumental value of foreigners. New Athenian rules were aimed at persuading foreigners to do business in Athens. Foreigners gained greater access to some Athenian institutions, and fairness, in the sense of impartiality, was more evident in some forms of legal decision-making. These new rules appear to have worked; Athens became more prosperous by the later fourth century, at least in part because foreigners liked the new rules and so did more business there. Because increased access and impartiality were not prompted by a changed Athenian approach to the ends/means distinction, a Kantian deontologist would deny that the new rules made Athens a better place. A consequentialist might disagree. Written for a Leiden/Penn collection of essays on “Valuing Others,” in progress, edited by R. Rosen and I. Sluiter.

090906 Rudolf Pfeiffer. A Catholic Classicist in the Age of Protestant "Altertumswissenschaft"
Christian Kaesser, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: The basic question this paper addresses is the way in which Catholic classicist in Germany’s south and Catholics in general reacted to Wolf’s Altertumswissenschaft, which was inspired by Prussia’s ‘Kulturprotestantismus’, developed by Protestant scholars, and tied to the institutions of Protestant Prussia. It approaches the question through a case study of Rudolf Pfeiffer, who was one of very few Catholic classicists who flourished within the institutional framework of Altertumswissenschaft. It identifies unique features in Pfeiffer’s scholarship in comparison to his Protestant colleagues and examines the extent to which they can be explained by his Catholic upbringing and the tradition of studying Classics it inspired.

090901 An Aristotelian middle way between deliberation and independent guess aggregation
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
This paper has been revised. See 071102 entry.

080901 Epistemic democracy in classical Athens: Sophistication, diversity, and innovation.
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Analysis of democracy in Athens as an “epistemic” (knowledge-based) form of political and social organization. Adapted from Ober, Democracy and Knowledge, chapters 1-4. Jon Elster (ed.), volume on “Collective Wisdom” (to be published in English and French).

020902 Classical culture for a classical country: scholarship and the past in Vincenzo Cuoco'sPlato in Italy
Giovanna Ceserani, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: What is the place of the classical past and its study in Italy, a classical country whose roots reach back to antiquity, but has existed as an independent nation only since 1860? This essay (to be published in S. Stephen and P. Vasunia eds., Classics and National Cultures, OUP) explores this question through analysis of a historical novel set in ancient Greek South Italy and written by a founder of Italian Risorgimento. Cuoco's turn to the past in order to build a modern Italian identity is caught between European Hellenism and alternative ancient pasts of Italy. Moreover, as Cuoco co-opted Italian scholarship to bestow authority on his vision, a new relationship between classical scholars and national past emerged: scholars study, shape and preserve the nation's antiquity, but become at the same time, to an extent, themselves cultural patrimony.

100801 The Mole on the Face. Erotic Rhetoric in Ovid’s "Amores"
Christian Kaesser, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: The paper examines the role of formal rhetoric in Ovid’s Amores. It points out that while in modern aesthetics the experience of art is dissociated from the experience of love and sex, the ancients had developed an erotic aesthetics that associated the two. Recalling the metaphor that describes a text as a body and the ancient view according to which rhetoric could make a text appealing just like cosmetics could a real body, it argues that Ovid uses formal rhetoric to inspire in his readers desire for his text. The appearance of voluptas in the epigram to Amores 1 confirms this view. It also suggests that the eroticization of Ovid’s text resonates within the contemporary political situation in Rome, where sex had become a matter of politics.

060801 Etymology (A Linguistic Window onto the History of Ideas)
Joshua Katz, Princeton University
Download PDF Abstract - This short essay for a volume on the classical tradition aims to give a basic, lively account of the forms and development of etymological practice from antiquity to the present day.
This paper has now been published in The Classical Tradition, ed. Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, & Salvatore Settis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 342-45.

020806 Working Papers, Open Access and Cyber-Infrastructure in Classical Studies
David Pritchard
Abstract - This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of the revised version of an article which has been accepted for publication by Literary and Linguistic Computing following peer review. To read the full article, use this link:

020805 Modern histories of ancient Greece: genealogies, contexts and eighteenth-century narrative historiography
Giovanna Ceserani, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: This essay is a response to Aleka Lianeri's call to reflect on how encounters with antiquity were foundational to modern categories of historiography, by exploring both the idea of the historical and the discipline's concepts and practices. In taking up such questions I chose to focus on the earliest modern narrative histories of ancient Greece, written at the beginning of the eighteenth century. I examine these works' wider contexts and singular features as well as their reception in the discipline. I argue for the formative role of this moment for modern historiography. Although they were often dismissed as simple narratives, these early modern works provided later historians with a sense of their own modernity. These texts prefigured modern narrative historiography's relationship of simultaneous dependence and independence from its ancient models.

020801 Citation scores for ancient historians in the United States
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - This survey of citation scores provides a rough measure of the relative impact of scholarship published by forty-eight leading ancient historians in the United States.

010803 Editing the Nation. Classical Scholarship in Greece ca. 1930
Constanze Güthenke, Princeton University
Download PDF Abstract: This article looks at the role of classical scholarship in early twentieth century Greece and its discursive role in discussions of national literature and culture; it focuses on the (German-trained) young scholar Ioannis Sykoutris, particularly his edition of Plato’s Symposium; it is forthcoming in a volume on Classics and National Culture, ed. by Susan Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia for Oxford University Press.

010802 State Intervention and Holy Violence: Timgad / Paleostrovsk / Waco
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
A revised version of this paper is forthcoming Summer 2008.

090704 The original meaning of “democracy”: Capacity to do things, not majority rule.
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - That the original meaning of democracy is “capacity to do things” not “majority rule” emerges from a study of the fifth and fourth century B.C. Greek vocabulary for regime-types. Special attention is given to –kratos root and –arche root terms. Paper delivered at the American Political Science Association meetings, Philadelphia, 2006.

090703 What the Ancient Greeks Can Tell Us About Democracy
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - The question of what the ancient Greeks can tell us about democracy can be answered by reference to three fields that have traditionally been pursued with little reference to one another: ancient history, classical political theory, and political science. These fields have been coming into more fruitful contact over the last 20 years, as evidenced by a spate of interdisciplinary work. Historians, political theorists, and political scientists interested in classical Greek democracy are increasingly capable of leveraging results across disciplinary lines. As a result, the classical Greek experience has more to tell us about the origins and definition of democracy, and about the relationship between participatory democracy and formal institutions, rhetoric, civic identity, political values, political criticism, war, economy, culture, and religion.
Forthcoming in Annual Reviews in Political Science 2007

020702 Towards Open Access in Ancient Studies: The Princeton-Stanford Working Papers in Classics
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Donna Sanclemente, Princeton University
Download PDF Abstract - An investigation of the present impact and future prospects of open access electronic publication of scholarly research on working papers sites, based on the authors’ collective experience with developing and maintaining a WP site for Classics and Classical Archaeology.
This paper has now been published in Hesperia vol. 76 (2007), pp. 229-242.

070604 Natural Capacities and Democracy as a Good-in-Itself
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - A paper on moral and political philosophy, arguing on Aristotelian grounds, that democracy is not only an instrumental good, but a good-in-itself for humans, because the exercise of constitutive natural capacities is and end, necessary for true happiness (understood as eudaimonia), and democracy (understood as association in decision) is a constitutive natural human capacity of humans. Forthcoming, winter 2006 in Philosophical Studies.

070603 From epistemic diversity to common knowledge: Rational rituals and publicity in democratic Athens.
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Effective organization of knowledge allows democracies to meet Darwinian challenges, and thus avoid elimination by more hierarchical rivals. Institutional processes capable of aggregating diverse knowledge and coordinating action promote the flourishing of democratic communities in competitive environments. Institutions that increase the credibility of commitments and build common knowledge are key aspects of democratic coordination. “Rational rituals,” through which credible commitments and common knowledge are effectively publicized, were prevalent in democratic Athens. Analysis of parts of Lycurgus’ speech Against Leocrates reveals some key features of the how rational rituals worked to build common knowledge in Athens. This paper, adapted from a book-in-progess, is fortthcoming in the journal Episteme.

070602 Socrates and democratic Athens: The story of the trial in its historical and legal contexts.
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - Socrates was both a loyal citizen (by his own lights) and a critic of the democratic community’s way of doing things. This led to a crisis in 339 B.C. In order to understand Socrates’ and the Athenian community’s actions (as reported by Plato and Xenophon) it is necessary to understand the historical and legal contexts, the democratic state’s commitment to the notion that citizens are resonsible for the effects of their actions, and Socrates’ reasons for preferring to live in Athens rather than in states that might (by his lights) have had substantively better legal systems. Written for the Cambridge Companion to Socrates.

070601 A Prehistory of Hatred
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Abstract - A critical reconsideration of a recent foray into the vexatious problem of the origins of race and racism.
This is now published in "Journal of World History" vol. 16 (2005), pp. 227-32.

030602 Watching the Great Sea of Beauty: Thinking the Ancient Greek Mediterranean
Constanze Güthenke, Princeton University
Download PDF Abstract: This is a contribution to be published in a volume entitled Mediterranean Studies, edited by Roberto Dainotto and Eric Zakim for the Modern Language Association (MLA), as part of a new MLA series on Transnational Literatures. The editors had asked their contributors to respond to their introduction in which they encourage new ways of conceptualizing cultural contact, and to suggest new approaches to reading and writing the Mediterranean, creating a new epistemology of place, especially with a view to literature. Contributions span all geographic areas of the Mediterranean. While I was initially asked to look at modern travelers with a view to Greek antiquity and ancient travelers, the paper gradually turned into an essay on how to integrate some recent work on the ancient Mediterranean within the editors’ agenda.

020601 Republics between hegemony and empire: How ancient city-states built empires and the USA doesn’t (anymore)
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract - This paper discusses the concepts ‘empire’ and ‘hegemony’, provides a new model of the institutional structure of ancient ‘citizen-city-state empires’, and argues that the contemporary USA cannot be defined as an ‘empire’.

010601 The Fabric of Continuity
Constanze Güthenke, Princeton University
Abstract: Review article of M. Alexiou. After Antiquity. Greek Language, Myth, and Metaphor (2002) and J.C.B. Petropolus, Eroticism in Ancient and Medieval Greek Poetry (2003), two recent books dealing with issues of continuity and methods of studying cultural transmission in post- classical Greek texts; forthcoming in Classical and Modern Languages.
This paper has been published in Classical and Modern Literature, 26/2 (2006): 203-217.

110516 Spartacus Before Marx
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Download PDF Abstract - The story of the pre-Marxian ideology of Spartacus is not without its own peculiar interests. It is a strange narrative prompted both by the birth of a modern analytical, and political, interest in slavery, and in parallel debates over the meaning of liberty and servitude.