Justine Andrews
Solmsen Fellow
Art and Art History, University of New Mexico

"Gothic Architecture in Cyprus: French, Byzantine, and Crusader"

Gothic Architecture in Cyprus: French, Byzantine, and Crusader Influence in Nicosia and Famagusta centers on the relationship of the two cities Nicosia and Famagusta from the early thirteenth century until 1489. I examine carefully the architectural, sculptural, and painted details of the extant churches in each city. While revealing the diverse sources and models, I also explore the historical context through systematic archival research. I prove that the monuments of these two cities were built and decorated in direct response to the patrons' social positions within the island and the political position of the Kingdom of Cyprus in the East.

Justine M. Andrews is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico. She has published on the art and architecture of Medieval Cyprus, as well as on illuminated Books of Job in the Medieval Mediterranean. Her research interests include cross-cultural interaction in the Medieval Mediterranean, the artistic legacy of the Crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean, and illuminated manuscripts from Byzantium. She is currently co-curating an exhibition of Byzantine illuminated manuscripts titled: East Meets West: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Anne Duncan
Solmsen Fellow
Classics and Religious Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"Command Performance: Tyranny and Theater in the Ancient World"

Command Performance examines depictions of tyrants in Greek and Roman tragedy alongside depictions of historical Greek and Roman tyrants to demonstrate that they share a common representational strategy: they represent absolute power as a force that theatricalizes existence. Scholarship on tragedy and on absolute rulers tends to posit a relationship of unidirectional influence (from tragedy to real life or vice versa). This project combines literary, historical, and historiographical analysis to find a "feedback loop" in the relationship between theater and absolute rulers, as historians began to depict real rulers in "tragic" style, real tyrants began to style themselves after tragic kings, and tragic kings increasingly resembled historical rulers.

Anne Duncan holds a Solmsen Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 2013-14. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her publications include Performance and Identity in the Ancient World (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and articles on Greek and Roman performance issues. She is currently at work on two projects: a monograph about the intersections between theatricality and absolute rule in the ancient world (Command Performance: Tyranny and Theater in Classical Antiquity), and a textbook on Roman spectacle (under contract to Cambridge University Press).

Ben LaBreche
Solmsen Fellow
English, University of Mary Washington

"Tragedy of Reason: Liberty in the Age of Milton"

Historiography of the past twenty years has often been at pains to distinguish seventeenth-century theories of liberty from modern liberalism. Over the same period, however, political theorists have questioned the conceptual usefulness of liberalism even in our own day: a variety of critiques have shown liberalism to be less a coherent political philosophy than a set of logical conflicts. Tragedy of Reason bridges the gap between these two bodies of scholarship to offer a new approach to political writing during and after the English civil wars, particularly the poetry and prose of John Milton. Specifically, this project relates political writings transhistorically without anachronism by focusing on specific problems that early modern and modern theorists of liberty share. This method reveals a new degree of theoretical sophistication and conflict in works written on the cusp of the early Enlightenment, and it also shows how these texts can contribute to the debates of twenty-first century political theory regarding topics such as pluralism, the relationship of law and violence, popular sovereignty, and the role of faith. By juxtaposing texts of different periods and genres, this project also explores how we imagine and order power relations rationally in any period and argues for the importance of literary techniques in responding to the limitations of reason.

Ben LaBreche, Solmsen Fellow, is an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Mary Washington. His interdisciplinary research focuses on how British writers of the seventeenth century grappled with problems that would come to define modernity. His forthcoming article in Milton Studies will examine how English toleration tracts of the mid-1640s anticipated the theoretical problems of twenty-first century postsecularism, and his article “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce” received the Milton Society of America’s James Holly Hanford Award for the best essay on John Milton in 2010. In addition to the Solmsen, he has also recently received fellowships from the Clark Memorial Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Harry Ransom Center, and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Gregory Milton
Solmsen Fellow


"Cultures of Debt: Christian, Muslim and Jewish Society in Iberia (1000-1500)"

Milton will be using his time as a Solmsen Fellow to develop his second book project, Cultures of Debt: Christian, Muslim and Jewish Society in Iberia (1000-1500). This study will examine the complex nature of debt by considering the real factors of socio-economic life within the historical context of interreligious interaction during the later Middle Ages. It will explore how debt, obligation, and gift exchange made up a language of cross-cultural, cross-class relations which demanded negotiation and required variability between and among elite, commercial, and agrarian members of Iberia’s major religious communities. Medieval aristocratic and mercantile values clashed. Church and state authorities debated the moral regulation of economic exchange. Modern expectation often assumes that the contractual terms of debt must be met without exception, describing violations (real or assumed) with morally prescriptive language. The real language of debt, however, has delineated a range of activity and attitude for people, medieval or modern, with a fluidity often unrecognized. Debt - an economic act, social obligation, and moral question - connected people in medieval Iberia through an ever-shifting web of culture.

Gregory Milton has taught history at the University of South Florida, Marquette University, UCLA and the U.S. Naval Academy. His scholarship focuses on Europe and the Mediterranean during the Later Middle Ages, particularly the social effects of economic activity experienced by individuals and communities. His first book, Market Power: Lordship, Economy and Society in Medieval Catalonia (1276-1313) examined the development of the rural market town of Santa Coloma de Queralt, tracing the intersection of regional commercial interests, local lordship, and royal authority within the town’s market place. The regularity of commerce and credit in rural society for peasants and local nobility, along with the actions of Jews and Christians as enterprising businessmen, created complex economic, political, and cultural interactions across religious and social boundaries. Dr. Milton has published articles exploring the connection between religious identity and finance, about the transformation of written culture as notaries became professional scribes during the last quarter of the thirteenth century, as well as about the role of Jews as financiers in later medieval Iberia. A forthcoming article will address the marriage season of Santa Coloma as a combination of temporal and business activity in the formation of new rural households in Catalonia.

Benedict Robinson
Solmsen Fellow
English, Stony Brook University

"Grammars of Mood: How the Seventeenth Century Invented a New Language of the Emotions"

This project draws on the histories of language, literature, philosophy, and science to trace the seventeenth-century origins of a modern structure of the emotions. On the evidence of both language and literature I build a phenomenology of early modern experience, comparing it with the technical discourses the period used to theorize emotion: medicine, philosophy, rhetoric, theology. I argue that the period generated a philology and a poetics of emotion that helped shape the forms of feeling we still talk about today, and that the study of language and literature have a crucial contribution to make to current interdisciplinary conversations about emotion.

Solmsen Fellow Benedict S. Robinson is Associate Professor of English at Stony Brook University. His first book, Islam and Early Modern English Literature, was published in 2007 by Palgrave. He has published articles in Shakespeare Quarterly, ELH, SEL, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and elsewhere. He is currently under contract with Arden Early Modern Drama for an edition of John Webster’s The White Devil.

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