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Josephus’ Jewish War and the Causes of the Jewish Revolt: Re-examining Inevitability

Description: The Jewish revolt against the Romans in 66 CE can be seen as the culmination of years of oppression at the hands of their Roman overlords. The first-century historian Josephus narrates the developments of the war and the events prior. A member of the priestly class and a general in the war, Josephus provides us a detailed account that has long troubled historians. This book was an attempt by Josephus to explain the nature of the war to his primary audience of predominantly angry and grieving Jews. The causes of the war are explained in different terms, ranging from Roman provincial administration, Jewish apocalypticism, and Jewish internal struggles. The Jews eventually reached a tipping point and engaged the Romans in open revolt. Josephus was adamant that the origin of the revolt remained with a few, youthful individuals who were able to persuade the country to rebel. This thesis emphasizes the causes of the war as Josephus saw them and how they are reflected both within The Jewish War and the later work Jewish Antiquities. By observing the Roman provincial administration spanning 6-66 CE, I argue that Judaea had low moments sprinkled throughout the time but in 66 there was something particularly different, according to Josephus. Josephus presents the governors and other important characters in the war in a very distinct way through rhetoric, narrative, and other methodology. The idea of a beginning to this revolt, no matter how obscure or hidden by Josephus, is the reason I want to examine the works of Josephus the historian.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Lopez, Javier
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Argei: Sex, War, and Crucifixion in Rome and the Ancient Near East

Description: The purpose of the Roman Argei ceremony, during which the Vestal Virgins harvested made and paraded rush puppets only to throw them into the Tiber, is widely debated. Modern historians supply three main reasons for the purpose of the Argei: an agrarian act, a scapegoat, and finally as an offering averting deceased spirits or Lares. I suggest that the ceremony also related to war and the spectacle of displaying war casualties. I compare the ancient Near East and Rome and connect the element of war and husbandry and claim that the Argei paralleled the sacred marriage. in addition to an agricultural and purification rite, these rituals may have served as sympathetic magic for pre- and inter-war periods. As of yet, no author has proposed the Argei as a ceremony related to war. By looking at the Argei holistically I open the door for a new direction of inquiry on the Argei ceremony, fertility cults in the Near East and in Rome, and on the execution of war criminals.The Argei and new year’s sacred marriage both occurred during the initiation of campaign and spring planting and harvest season. Both in the ancient Near East and in Rome, animal victims were sacrificed and displayed through impaling, crucifixion, and hanging for fertility and in war. for both Rome and the Near East war casualties were displayed on sacred trees. Through the Near East cultures a strong correlation existed between impaling, hanging, and crucifixion in war and Sacred Tree fertility worship. By examining Roman tree worship, military rituals, and agricultural ceremonies a similar correlation becomes apparent. on the same day of the Argei, Mars was married to the anthropomorphized new year and within the month became a scapegoat expelled from the city. Additionally, on the first day of the Argei boys became soldiers.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Ewin, Kristan Foust
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Light of Dark-Age Athens: Factors in the Survival of Athens after the Fall of Mycenaean Civilization

Description: When looking at Dark Age Greece, one of the most important sites to consider is Athens. The Dark Age was a transitional period between the fall of Mycenaean Greece of the Bronze Age, and Archaic Greece of the Iron Age. This period is called the Dark Age because the palaces that ruled the Mycenaean age collapsed, and with them fell civilization in mainland Greece. Writing, fine art, massive architecture, trade, and luxury goods disappear from mainland Greece. But Athens survived the fall of the Mycenaeans. In order to understand the reason why Athens survived one must look at what the causes of the fall of the Mycenaeans were. Theories range from raiders and invasion, to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, droughts, and plagues. One must also examine Greece itself. The landscape and climate of Greece have a large impact on the settlement of the Greeks. The land of Greece also affects what Greek communities were able to do economically, whether a city would be rich or poor. It is because Athens is located in Attica that it survived. Attica had the poorest soil in the Mycenaean world, and was the poorest of the major cities, therefore, when looking at the collapse of the Mycenaeans being caused by people, there would be no reason for said people to raid or invade Athens and Attica. It is because Athens survives that it is such an important site. Athens survived the fall of the Mycenaeans and in doing so acts as a refugee center and a jumping off point for the remaining Mycenaeans to flee east, to the Aegean islands and Anatolia. Athens also stayed occupied during the Dark Age and because of this it was able to make some advancements. In particular Athens was a leader in mainland Greece in the development ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Golightly, Paul
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Captain of the People in Renaissance Florence

Description: The Renaissance Florentine Captain of the People began as a court, which defended the common people or popolo from the magnates and tried crimes such as assault, murder and fraud. This study reveals how factionalism, economic stress and the rise of citizen magistrate courts eroded the jurisdiction and ended the Court of the Captain. The creation of the Captain in 1250 occurred during the external fight for dominance between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope and the struggle between the Guelfs and Ghibellines within the city of Florence. The rise of the Ciompi in 1379, worried the Florentine aristocracy who believed the Ciompi was a threat to their power and they created the Otto di Guardia, a citizen magistrate court. This court began as a way to manage gaps in jurisdiction not covered by the Captain and his fellow rectors. However, by 1433 the Otto eroded the power of the Captain and his fellow rectors. Historians have argued that the Roman law jurists in this period became the tool for the aristocracy but in fact, the citizen magistrate courts acted as a source of power for the aristocracy. In the 1430s, the Albizzi and Medici fought for power. The Albizzi utilized a government mandate, which had the case already carried out or a bullectini to exile Medici adherents. However, by 1433, the Medici triumphed and Cosimo de Medici returned to the city of Florence. He expanded the power of the Otto in order to utilize the bullectini to exile his enemies. The expansion of jurisdiction of the Otto further eroded the power of the Captain. Factionalism, economic stress and the rise of the citizen magistrate courts eroded the power of the Captain of the people.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Hamilton, Desirae
Partner: UNT Libraries

Let Her Be Shorn: 1 Corinthians 11 and Female Head Shaving in Antiquity

Description: In 1 Corinthians 11:3-15, Paul writes that if a woman is to be so immodest as to wear her hair uncovered while praying or prophesying in a Christian assembly she might as well shave her head. Paul instructs the Corinthians that it is “one and the same” for a woman to have her head shaved and for her to unveil her hair. There is a large body of works cataloging the modesty standards in Hellenistic Greece but Paul’s reference to head-shaving remains obscure. This thesis looks to find the best explanation of Paul’s instructions. Research in this topic began as an investigation of a popular modern view. It can be found in conversation or a simple Google search, that women in Ancient Greece with their head shaved were prostitutes. Beyond being prostitutes, they were probably temple prostitutes. The evidence does not bear this out as there is no artwork depicting prostitutes, or indeed any women, with their heads shaved. Instead prostitutes are shown in Greek erotic art with both long and short hair, some with and some without head coverings. Literary sources do offer several different examples of women who had their hair cut off. There are examples of women shaving their hair off in Lucian’s The Syrian Goddess, Tacitus’ Germania, Plutarch’s Lycurgus and Roman Questions, several Talmudic sources, and On Fortune II, formerly attributed to Dio Chrysostom. By examining these sources in tandem with 1 Corinthians 11, the most probable impetus behind Paul’s writing relates to punishments for adultery.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Montier, Curtis E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Paul and Slavery: a Conflict of Metaphor and Reality

Description: The debate on Paul’s views on slavery has ranged from calling him criminal in his enforcement of the status quo to rallying behind his idea of equal Christians in a community. In this thesis I blend these two major views into the idea that Paul supported both the institution of slavery and the slave by legitimizing the role of the slave in Christian theology. This is done by reviewing the mainstream views of slavery, comparing them to Paul’s writing, both the non-disputed and disputed, and detailing how Paul’s presentation of slavery differed from mainstream views. It is this difference which protects the slave from their master and brings attention to the slave’s actions and devotion. To Paul, slavery was a natural institution which should be emulated Christian devotion. He did not challenge the Romans but called for Christians to challenge the mainstream views of the roles of slavery in the social hierarchy of their communities.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Baker, James C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Companion to the Gods, Friend to the Empire: the Experiences and Education of the Emperor Julian and How It Influenced His Reign 361-363 AD

Description: This thesis explores the life and reign of Julian the Apostate the man who ruled over the Roman Empire from A.D. 361-363. The study of Julian the Apostate’s reign has historically been eclipsed due to his clash with Christianity. After the murder of his family in 337 by his Christian cousin Constantius, Julian was sent into exile. These emotional experiences would impact his view of the Christian religion for the remainder of his life. Julian did have conflict with the Christians but his main goal in the end was the revival of ancient paganism and the restoration of the Empire back to her glory. The purpose of this study is to trace the education and experiences that Julian had undergone and the effects they it had on his reign. Julian was able to have both a Christian and pagan education that would have a lifelong influence on his reign. Julian’s career was a short but significant one. Julian restored the cities of the empire and made beneficial reforms to the legal, educational, political and religious institutions throughout the Empire. The pagan historians praised him for his public services to the empire while the Christians have focused on his apostasy and “persecution” of their faith. With his untimely death in Persia, Julian’s successor Jovian, reversed most of his previous reforms and as such left Julian as the last pagan emperor of the Roman Empire.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Lilly, Marshall
Partner: UNT Libraries

Looting and Restitution During World War II: a Comparison Between the Soviet Union Trophy Commission and the Western Allies Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission

Description: From the earliest civilizations, victorious armies would loot defeated cities or nations. the practice evolved into art theft as a symbol of power. Cultural superiority confirmed a country or empire’s regime. Throughout history, the Greeks and Romans cultivated, Napoleon Bonaparte refined, and Adolf Hitler perfected the practice of plunder. As the tides of Second World War began to shift in favor of the Allied Powers, special commissions, established to locate the Germans’ hoards of treasure, discovered Nazi art repositories filled with art objects looted from throughout Europe. the Soviet Union Trophy Commission and the Western Allies Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission competed to discover Nazi war loot. the two organizations not only approached the subject of plunder as a treasure hunt, but the ideology motivating both commissions made uncovering the depositories first, a priority. the Soviet trophy brigades’ mission was to dismantle all items of financial worth and ship them eastward to help rebuild a devastated Soviet economy. the Soviet Union wished for the re-compensation of cultural valuables destroyed by the Nazis’ purification practices regarding “inferior” Slavic art and architecture; however, the defeated German nation did not have the ability to reimburse the Soviet State. the trophy brigades implemented a process of restitution in kind to make physical reparations through the confiscation of Nazi war loot. the Western Allies disagreed with the Soviet Union’s policy. the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission endeavored to return artwork looted by the Germans to the rightful owners or surviving descendants. Historically, the Western perspective of the Soviet Union’s actions was that the trophy brigades looted the conquered German Reich; however, during the period of Glasnost and after the fall of the Soviet Union, personal memoirs and interviews of Soviet trophy brigade members and museum officials have become available, and the Soviet viewpoint ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Zelman, Laura Holsomback
Partner: UNT Libraries

Soldier Boys of Texas: The Seventh Texas Infantry in World War I

Description: This study first offers a political, social, and economic overview of Texas during the first two decades of the twentieth century, including reaction in the Lone Star state to the declaration of war against Germany in April, 1917; the fear of saboteurs and foreign-born citizens; and the debate on raising a wartime army through a draft or by volunteerism. Then, focusing in-depth on northwest Texas, the study examines the Texas National Guard unit recruited there, the Seventh Texas Infantry Regiment. Using primarily the selective service registration cards of a sample of 1,096 members of the regiment, this study presents a portrait of the officers and enlisted soldiers of the Seventh Texas based on age, occupation, marital status, dependents and other criteria, something that has not been done in studies of World War I soldiers. Next, the regiment's training at Camp Bowie, near Fort Worth, Texas, is described, including the combining of the Seventh Texas with the First Oklahoma Infantry to form the 142nd Infantry Regiment of the Thirty-Sixth Division. After traveling to France and undergoing nearly two months of training, the regiment was assigned to the French Fourth Army in the Champagne region and went into combat for the first time. The study examines the combat experiences of these soldiers from northwest Texas and how they described and expressed their experiences to their families and friends after the armistice of November 11, 1918. The study concludes with an examination of how the local communities of northwest Texas celebrated the armistice, and how they welcomed home their "soldier boys" in the summer of 1919. This study also charts the changing nature of the Armistice Day celebrations and veteran reunions in Texas as time passed, as well as the later lives of some of the officers and men who served with the ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Ball, Gregory W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Masters No More: Abolition and Texas Planters, 1860-1890

Description: This dissertation is a study of the effects of the abolition of slavery on the economic and political elite of six Texas counties between 1860 and 1890. It focuses on Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Fort Bend, Matagorda, and Wharton Counties. These areas contain the overwhelming majority of Stephen F. Austin's "Old Three Hundred," the original American settlers of Texas. In addition to being the oldest settled region, these counties contained many of the wealthiest slaveholders within the state. This section of the state, along with the northeast along the Louisiana border, includes the highest concentration of Texas' antebellum plantations. This study asks two central questions. First, what were the effects of abolition on the fortunes of the planter class within these six counties? Did a new elite emerge as a result of the end of slavery, or, despite the liquidation of a substantial portion of their estates, did members of the former planter class sustain their economic dominance over the counties? Second, what were abolition's effects on the counties' prewar political elite, defined as the county judge? Who were in power before the war and who were in power after it? Did abolition contribute to a new kind of politician?
Date: December 2010
Creator: Ivan, Adrien D.
Partner: UNT Libraries