Welcome to the fourth edition of Eras, the refereed journal of the School of Historical Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Eras is edited and produced entirely by postgraduate students. We present the work of continuing or recently finished postgraduates from all over the world, and, in so doing, aim to facilitate international, multi-disciplinary dialogue among researchers. We showcase articles from the areas of history, archaeology, religion and theology and Jewish civilization – a wide range that is certainly reflected in this edition’s papers.

Geoff Adams reinterprets the iconography of Classical Athenian grave stelai. Issues of social status, familial relations and the role of sculptural iconography are explored to show their importance in exhibiting a family’s standing and importance in society.

Jenny Allen’s article examines the previously unexplored filmmaking activities of Dahl and Geoffrey Collings within the complex and intriguing collage of their work and lives. She provides an informative foundation for future analyses of their films and their contribution to Australian documentary filmmaking history.

Peter Keegan employs a narratological interrogation of classical Roman epigraphs to offer a reconstruction of marginalised female interests. He introduces a groundbreaking interpretive framework in Latin epigraphy, paying due regard to the discursive fields of gender, ethnicity, class and belief system.

Using the work of both Italian and other historians, Michael Kelly deftly traces the historiographical debate surrounding definitions of the Italian Resistance from the 1940s to the present day. He examines the post-war political and social impact of the Italian Partisans which has previously been a neglected aspect of the historiography.

Geoff Robinson offers a comprehensive micro-economic analysis of Federal policy outcomes in the shipping industry in the interwar period in New South Wales. He details the dialogue between proponents of competitive and anti-competitive practices that led to the establishment of the Maritime Services Board in 1925.

In the first century CE Pontius Pilate allegedly misappropriated sacred money from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem, an action that caused an outcry in the Jewish community. Susan Sorek uses previously little studied Jewish literature to propose that Pilate may have been condemned for a crime he did not commit.

Additionally, four reviews are presented on a diverse range of books.

Both here and overseas, funding shortfalls in the Humanities are taking their toll. Government and university administrations, seemingly swept up in the push for ‘vocational studies’, have in recent years reduced funding to research projects that lie outside the ‘useful’ spheres of Business, Marketing, Commerce and Economics. Humanities departments are being forced to invest more time than ever – with perhaps less support than ever – in justifying their existence. Despite the enormous pressures that this places upon individuals, Eras has continued to receive enthusiastic support from the Arts community, and for this we are very grateful. So – our thanks must be extended to those academics who have generously acted as anonymous referees – not only for the articles seen here, but also for those which remain ‘works in progress’ and which Eras hopes to publish in the future.

Finally, the co-editors also thank the Eras editorial committee members who worked hard to launch this edition. Readers please note that Eras holds a discussion forum relating to the articles published in each edition. There is a link at the bottom of each paper which allows the reader to make constructive comments about the article they have read. These comments will be mediated by the Eras editorial committee and reasonable emails will be published on our site. We hope that authors and other readers will participate in the ensuing debate, allowing Eras to create the immediate academic dialogue to which online publishing is so conducive.

We hope you enjoy reading the fourth edition!

Megan Blair, Mark Eccleston and Carly Millar
(Eras co-editors)