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Queen's University

Student Theses - 1996

An interdisciplinary perspective of urbanization in La Tene, Central Gaul : a reassessment of the oppida, aspects of landscape organization and the impact of long-distance trade

Bau, Anna

The process of urban development in non-Mediterranean Gaul during the Iron Age, from the sixth to the first century B.C., involved many social factors that were spatially expressed through the creation of central fortified settlements, oppida, and secondary agglomerations. The central Gallic chiefdoms were complex stratified societies engaged in production and exchange, controlled by an elite chieftain class. One of the results of centralized elite authority is spatial consolidation through settlements of resources and structures for the effective conduct of trade, accumulation of wealth and admininstration. The central oppida have been defined as urban, based on the significance of their fortifications, the extensive evidence of long-distance trade and the impact of interaction with the Mediterranean world. It has been further argued, based on these factors, that the central Gallic chiefdoms developed into urbanized states. Current theories of complexity suggest, however, that this view needs reassessment, perhaps with the corroboration of archaeological evidence. Recent regional surveys suggest that the requisite social complexity was not there. Urbanization requires both intra-site layout and inter-site connectivity, and consequently a spatial organization of the landscape. Full understanding of the process must involve a cross-disciplinary interpretation, including geographical and ritual-ideological aspects of the site that have previously been neglected.

Master, what sick thing is this? Cambyses' madness and analogies of the health of the state in the 'Histories' of Herodotus

Sitoski, Richard-Yves

This thesis will first examine Cambyses' role as a monster of sickness in Herodotus' Histories, and next discuss allied health themes as these are applied to the Persian Empire. It will not deal with the historicity or factual veracity of Herodotus' portraits, but will rather consider Cambyses and other prominent Persians from the point of view of the author's implied ethical philosophy. It will be found that Cambyses is more than the most marginal of Persian kings, an incomprehensible figure whose behaviour is purely arbitrary, but in many ways the polar opposite of the author himself in his reaction to the limited behavioral choices open to mortals. Consequently, an understanding of this explicit morbidity can thus prepare the reader to evaluate the more implicit instances of sanitary themes in the Histories. By "sanitary themes" is meant a complex of analogies relating to physical, moral, and mental intactness. Disease, injury and emotional impairment commonly figure in these analogies; without exploring ancient medical concepts per se, this thesis will examine how Herodotus alludes to what can be called the Persian Empire's state of general health, as it progresses through time, by describing the physical and emotional conditions of its most significant members.

Herodotus can be said to offer himself up as an example of good, "healthy" behaviour: throughout the text, the author comes across as someone who possesses an active curiousity about the world, ready to seek the lessons implicit in each experience, and who can be expected to act accordingly. Cambyses, for his part, is equally concerned with learning, experiencing and ascertaining; yet he does so out of a spirit of respect, but out of a persistent tendency toward subversion. Herodotus equates this tendency with the sheerest folly, a folly usually understood as the cause of Cambyses' misbehaviour. But a case can be made for equating the misbehaviour with the folly itself, and by extension, for equating Cambyses' misdeeds and insanity with the injudiciousness to which all mortals are at times prey.

Virgil and the countryside: land, landscape and country life in Virgil's poetry

Tough, Ian Carnochan Kerr

Countryside and country life were notable themes in Augustan poetry, themes which no poet handled more effectively than Virgil. This is a study of the ways in which Virgil used these themes in expressing his thoughts and ideas. Virgil, who was born in 70 BC, lived through one of the most turbulent and critical epochs of Roman history, and those events exerted a powerful influence on his poetry. An equally important influence was Virgil's own upbringing in agricultural northern Italy. Those country origins are clearly reflected in his poetic landscapes. His descriptions fequently depict his native countryside and he evokes, especially in the Georgics, a sense of intimacy with the landscape by his personification of both its animate and inanimate features. Virgil's readers are constantly reminded that the landscape he describes is Italian. Virgil used the themes of land, landscape and country life to portray the fertility and productivity of the Italian countryside, to promote the age-old values of the countryman, to condemn the excesses of civil war and to express his hopes for the future of an Italy united under Augustus. 

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