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Book Beat: August 2002

L'inno epidaurico a Pan: Il culto di Pan a Epidauro

L'inno epidaurico a Pan: Il culto di Pan a Epidauroby Robert Wagman, Department of Classics

For centuries, thousands of people from all over the Ancient Mediterranean traveled to the healing sanctuary of Epidaurus in southern Greece to be cured from ailments and other problems. Today, people still come to this holy place to visit its ruins and explore its mysteries. Associate Classics Professor Robert Wagman made his first journey to Epidaurus more than 15 years ago as a graduate student studying the religious hymns inscribed at the sanctuary. Now, he has written two books about his findings.

WagmanL'inno epidaurico a Pan: Il culto di Pan a Epidauro (The Epidaurian Hymn to Pan and the Cult of Pan at Epidaurus) is Wagman's latest book to evolve from his research at Epidaurus. "This book is an offshoot of my other work, Inni di Epidauro (Epidaurian Hymns), which is about the reconstruction of an inscription containing hymns to a variety of Epidaurian gods," he says. The book, written in Italian, is a volume in the scholarly series "Biblioteca di Studi Antichi" published by the University Press of the University of Pisa, Italy.

While working on the inscription of the Epidaurian Hymns, Wagman, like other scholars before him, observed that a poem to the half-man, half-goat god Pan seemed out of place at a sanctuary like Epidaurus. The other gods praised in the hymns, such as Asclepius and Apollo, were known gods of healing. Pan, worshipped throughout the ancient times as the god of music, countryside and nature, had no apparent connection with medicine. When he started probing further into the problem, Wagman discovered that this seemingly incongruous association of Pan with healing extended well beyond Epidaurus to most healing sanctuaries in the Greek world. "From an archaeological point of view, Pan was present at such sanctuaries long before the arrival of major healing gods like Asclepius," Wagman says.

In his new book, Wagman reconstructs the missing connection between the Goat God and the sphere of healing. His is the first complete study on Pan at the medical sanctuaries of ancient Greece. Wagman's investigations of the archaeological, epigraphical, and literary materials on the subject expose Pan as more than a god of nature. The Goat God proved to be associated with a wide range of pathological conditions, from heatstroke to epilepsy to sleep disorders as well as panic, the mental condition that is named for him.

Wagman recently moved his work to another ancient healing center, the sanctuary of Aesculapius on the Tiber Island in Rome. One of his principal tasks has been the identification of the lost temple of Pan on the island. "He is under a Roman name (Faunus), but he is here," Wagman says. "I've lived with him for more than 10 years, and he is a good god to have on your side."

—Melissa Douso

The Physiological Ecology of Vertebrates: A View from Energetics

The Physiological Ecology of Vertebrates: A View from Energeticsby Brian McNab, Department of Zoology
(Cornell University Press, 2002)
Available through Amazon

Physiological ecology has grown in importance as an area of biology in the past 30 years and integrates the diverse approaches used in the comparative biology of organisms.

In a comprehensive and authoritative synthesis of physiological ecology supported by more than 3,100 references, Zoology Professor Brian McNab demonstrates the intellectual cohesion of the field. To ground his discussion in clearly understood contexts, McNab emphasizes the common thread of energy expenditure throughout the text and limits the discussion to vertebrates, which have familiar habitats and comparatively well-known evolutionary histories.

A thorough scientific resource and reference tool, Physiological Ecology of Vertebrates is the first book to cover this complex subject. It will be the standard reference and basis for much future research in this fast-growing field of study.


Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis

Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysisby Grant Thrall, Department of Geography
(Oxford University Press, 2002)
Available through Amazon

Business geography aims to improve business decisions through the development and application of geographic reasoning, geographic analysis and geographic technology. In this book, Geography Professor Grant Thrall uses the powerful tools of business geography to analyze real estate markets in a comprehensive and detailed manner. Thrall argues that real estate market analysis has, in recent years, focused too much on issues of finance, rather than on location, and shows how geographic analysis of location can improve the profit margins of a business firm. This book demonstrates that business geography is a rigorous and relevant academic subject that can be put to work to improve real-world business. "This is a book that every person in business needs to read and that those regulating business need to understand," says Kingsley E. Haynes, Dean of the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. "This is an outstanding contribution to business and geography."


Jane Dominguez

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