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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Berkeley Undergraduate Journal of Classics is committed to the progress and proliferation of scholarship in the field of Classics and to providing a common medium through which undergraduates from all relevant disciplines can actively engage in one another’s work. In order to establish a channel for interdepartmental exchange and collaboration, we seek to publish exceptional papers and translations from a wide range of fields pertaining to Classics and the world of the ancient Mediterranean.

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Augustus and Auctoritas

This paper aims to address the Republican precedent for Augustan auctoritas, with a particular focus on its role in legitimizing near-absolute rule in a State which continued to refer to itself as a res publica, and to its leader as an exceptionally authoritative princeps.

Discovering Sources by Discerning Methods: Evidence for Tacitus' Annals I-VI

Tacitus' Annals begins with an allusion to Sallust's Bellum Catilinae that makes manifest the Sallustian disposition of the historian. Tacitus declares, "Urbem Romam a principio reges habuere," and Sallust prefaces his monograph by stating, "Urbem Romam, sicuti ego accepi, condidere atque habuere initio Troiani." Yet, what is the role of facts, if Tacitus' delineation of a tyrant comports to Sallust's delineation of a conspirator? The purpose of this paper is to explore Tacitus' sources by interrogating his narrative technique.

Material culture in Late Antique Egypt: between pagan tradition and Christian assimilation.

This paper will deal with the survival of material culture in Late Antique Egypt, focusing on the fourth and fifth centuries AD. I will survey the main issues related to the study of the pagan material world in Late Antique Egypt. These issues relate to the various objects at our disposal, which in some instances have been hard to date. Moreover, even when items have been ordered into temporal categories, it has been difficult to distinguish between “religious” and “neutral” usage of material culture. Then I will examine the state of fourth-century pagan Egyptian religion, arguing that, as a lack of epigraphical material indicates a steady decline of public cult, a particular phenomenon was taking place: the “privatisation” of pagan cults, as demonstrated by the case study of Karanis. In addition, I shall focus on both apotropaic and “neutral” usage, as attested by the development of amuletic objects from the fourth to the fifth century AD. Objects of personal adornment will be analysed in relation to magical practices to verify what role decorative paraphernalia played in the survival of pagan material culture. Finally, I shall examine the syncretic process between paganism and Christianity. In particular, through the influences paganism had on Christianity, it may be possible to infer that pagan objects were still in use in late fifth-century Egypt, though with a different purpose.

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Translation of Catullus 51 and Sappho 31

Catullus 51, “Ille mi par,” is Catullus’ translation and adaptation of Sappho’s poem “φαίνεταί μοι” (Sappho 31 by the Lobel and Voigt numbering). After translating Catullus 51 in a Latin Lyric class, I became very interested in comparing the two poems and investigating how Catullus used Sappho’s framework to express his own desire and longing for Lesbia. Here I submit a translation of Catullus 51 and one of Sappho 31, specifically intended to be read side by side. I have attempted to render a translation of each poem that will demonstrate both the areas in which Catullus nearly literally translates the Sappho, and the lines which are Catullus’ own invention. Of particular interest are the last four lines of Catullus’ poem, which end the poem on a restrained, dispassionate note that contrasts sharply with the strong emotion of the first three stanzas. The Sappho poem, by contrast, ends with a culmination of Sappho’s passion and a resolve for action. I present both poems for comparison, so that a reader may appreciate the depth of emotion in both poems, and the differing conclusion of each poem.

The Wrath of Apollo

A translation of lines 1-18 of Euripides' Alcestis done in the style of a graphic novel.

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