Elizabeth Baughan Heads for the Center for Hellenic Studies

Excerpt from the Collegian:

Baughan will research and write the final chapters of her coming book. Her work is the first comprehensive study of funeral couches and their social and cultural significance in the area that is now Turkey.

Baughan said ancient funeral couches were burial places and made of stone to replicate wooden furniture of the type used during Greek and Roman antiquity.

The funeral beds Baughan researches replicate the wooden couches that were used for dining. This type of burial was popular when Anatolia was part of the Persian Empire.

Baughan became interested in the couches during an excavation near Turkey. The work gave her the idea for her thesis about funerary couches in Anatolia.

The couches had never thoroughly been collected and studied, and Baughan said she wanted to research where the idea for funeral couches came from and its significance.

“My focus is on the origins and significance [of couches] as a marker of elite and cultural identity,” she said.

People would recline while eating at banquets, so Baughan said she thought the couches might signify the belief that one continues banqueting after death, or that the couches may have identified the dead as people who had been elite enough to attend banquets.

Before Baughan’s work, it had been argued that the couches must be a Persian custom, but Baughan has researched couches that predate the era of the Persian Empire.

Baughan is in her third year at Richmond and previously taught at Trinity College.

“She’s just a really great colleague to have, a wonderful addition to the department,” Laskaris said. “She does fantastic work and has excited so many students about archaeology. She’s just a delight.”

Baughan’s research began as her dissertation in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Since then I’ve just been doing more and more research,” she said. “I applied [for the fellowship] because it’s a research institution that is close by, so I can stay in Richmond with my family but be a part of the academic center, a researcher and a fellow, part of a community of scholars,” she said. “I’ll probably go up once a week to work for the day or stay overnight.”

Part of the application process for fellowships included writing a proposal about the work applicants hoped to accomplish at the center, writing a statement of career goals and submitting recommendation letters. Baughan was notified in December that she had been selected as a fellow.

According to the center’s Web site: “The center will fund proposals that (a) show scholarly promise as indicated by the merits of the project, (b) demonstrate the capability of the researchers to achieve the proposed outcomes as reflected in their academic records, prior publications and supporting letters, and achieve results that will have a broad impact both on the immediate field and on the humanities in general.”

Baughan said she looked forward to working with more professionals in her field of study.

“It’s exciting for me to become a part of this scholarly community,” she said. “From what I understand it’s sort of like a family in that you develop strong bonds with other fellows.”

The fellowship with the center is special because many fellowships in the United States are only open to Americans, but this fellowship is available for international scholars as well, Laskaris said.

Baughan will continue to teach at Richmond after her fellowship.

“Hopefully I can use the funding to take leave to finish my book,” she said. “Then I look forward to getting back to teaching.”

via Professor selected as Center for Hellenic Studies fellow | The Collegian.

Greek and Latin Online Reading Tools

Interesting item in my box (and making the rounds of various lists as well) … I haven’t had a chance to check it out myself:

Free reading and learning web tools released for Greek and Latin
by the Alpheios Project.

The Alpheios Project has released the first beta version of a set of free reading aids and learning tools for Classical Greek and Latin. The source code is also freely available to developers.

The tools are intended to provide unusually convenient lexicographical and grammatical support for anyone wishing to read HTML versions of original Greek and Latin texts, whether online or on a local computer. Pedagogical modules are currently being added for those who wish to learn the language. We are also making available prototypes of several related tools, including a graphical interface for treebank editing that can easily be adapted to different annotation schemes.

The reading tools and the initial pedagogical modules can be downloaded from


The other resources and prototypes currently in development can be accessed at


It is hoped that these tools can facilitate consultation of original texts by scholars in other fields, provide customized options for students who wish to learn the language through the study of specific texts, and generally promote appreciation of the unique legacy of the classical world.

An important feature of the tools is that their architecture was designed to facilitate the rapid addition of other resources, such as lexicons, grammars, and reference materials, and even other languages, especially highly inflected ones where the value of such tools seems especially compelling. To illustrate this flexibility we will also be making modules available for Arabic and Chinese; but our design goal was to create an infrastructure that would make the creation of similar tools for any language as easy as possible.

We would greatly appreciate comments, suggestions and criticism because the tools are still in active development.

Yours very truly,

The Alpheios Team

Citandus: Rabbitus victorius recurret

The incipit of an entertaining opinion piece in Stuff:

OPINION: The Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace to his pals), who famously said, as I am sure I don’t need to remind you, “naturam furca expellas, tamen usque recurret”, which translates roughly as “you can turf nature out with a pitchfork but from all sides it will come running back”, would have enjoyed this story, writes Joe Bennett this week.

via Rabbitus victorius recurret | Stuff.co.nz.

Pondering a Major in Classics?

A couple of interesting blog posts up at Psychology Today over the past couple of days:

… which concludes with a question many of us have heard and/or pondered:

But how do you deal with THE QUESTION, that dreaded moment when someone learns you’re a Classics major and asks: “What are you going to do with that?!?”

Well, first of all, your major is not a hammer. You’re not going to “do” anything with it. Your major is a body of knowledge, a way of thinking– the mindsets and skills you have acquired. The more relevant question is: How are you going to apply your knowledge, mindsets and skills in the workplace? In other words, how will your Classics major help you THINK and ACT in whatever career you select? After all, you will have several careers and many jobs over a lifetime and that Classics major in your head will follow you everywhere.

then today, Branding and Marketing the Classics Major offers some suggestions about how to face that interview in the ‘real world’. Not sure it’s much different advice than you’d give if you were a major in a different discipline, but perhaps that’s the point.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the What To Do With a Classics Degree link (also in the sidebar) … delicious tags with bios about famous folks who have degrees of some sort in Classics. I semi-regularly update these and might possibly start including birthdays of same in my ‘This Day in Ancient History’ feature to make their ‘radices’ more widely known ..