Bologna Greek and Latin Summer School (25th June – 13th July 2012)

Seen on various lists:

Bologna University Greek and Latin Summer School (25th June – 13th July

The Department of Classics and Italian studies (
of Bologna University offers, for the fifth running year, an intensive three
week Greek and Latin Summer School.

The school offers courses in Greek and Latin language (at different levels:
beginners and intermediate) and the possibility of combining two courses
(Latin & Greek) at a special rate.
The courses will be held in Bologna from 25th June to 13th July 2012 and are
open to students (undergraduate and post graduate) and non-students alike.
Participants must be aged 18 or over.

The teaching will be focused mainly on Greek and/or Latin language with
additional classes on Classical literature; further classes will touch on
moments of classical history and history of art, supplemented by visits to
museums and archaeological sites (in Bologna and Rome).

All teaching and activities will be in English.

For further information and application forms please visit:
E-mail: diri_school.latin AT

CJ Review: Finglass on Apfel, Advent of Pluralism

posted with permission

Lauren J. Apfel, The Advent of Pluralism: Diversity and Conflict in the Age of Sophocles. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011. Pp. xvi + 380. £70.00/$135.00. ISBN 978-0-19-960062-5.

Reviewed by P. J. Finglass, University of Nottingham

This solid and thought-provoking monograph investigates the extent to which the ancient Greeks possessed the concept of pluralism: that is, the idea that ethical questions can have more than one right answer. A clear introduction is followed by sections on Protagoras, Herodotus, and Sophocles (though no conclusion, alas). Apfel writes intelligently and is usually easy to read, although footnotes are sometimes a little long (188 n. 75 is an especially egregious example). Her discussion of Sophocles (to cite the section relevant to my own interests, and highlighted by the book’s title) is intelligent and worth reading. I did not always agree with her. Sometimes she seemed too keen to assert moral equivalence between conflicting characters and values when Sophocles appears to me to be directing his audience in the direction of support for a particular side. I also wonder how hard she has thought about the terms “heroism” and “Sophoclean heroism” (e.g., 244), which seem decidedly question-begging, especially when used in a work concerned with ethics. But unanimity on such matters is hardly to be expected. The key point is that Apfel’s close readings of the ethics of Ajax, Electra, Antigone, and Philoctetes will stimulate thought and deserve to be widely cited.

Some points of detail. (31 n. 129) Apfel cites lyric poetry via Campbell’s outdated 1967 edition (not 1997, as she cites it); this will confuse readers, especially as they are notified here and not in e.g. a section on abbreviations at the beginning. (109-11) Apfel has a heading “The Poem of Simonides,” referring to the poem cited by Socrates in Plato’s Protagoras, but nowhere refers her readers to a text of that work. (134) It is Orestes, not Electra, who in Sophocles’ play “grasp<s> the idea that people can benefit from having been thought dead.” (135 n. 71) Read “Sophocles’” for “Sophocle’s”. In the same note Apfel cites Sophocles O.R. 1528-30 without indicating that almost every scholar who has seriously investigated the question considers this final tailpiece spurious (cf. Philologus 153 (2009) 59 n. 50). (135 n. 74) Apfel concludes that there is a “strong probability” that Sophocles read Herodotus; does she thereby exclude the possibility that Sophocles listened to Herodotus reciting parts of his work? And might Herodotus not have attended performances of Sophocles’ plays? I rather think he might have enjoyed them. (210) Abraham’s aborted sacrifice of Isaac did not take place on Mount Sinai. Apfel’s discussion here is vitiated by a lack of historical awareness concerning ancient attitudes towards the autonomy of children vis-à-vis their parents; I also miss a reference to Noort and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Sacrifice of Isaac … (Leiden etc. 2002). (211 n. 4) “Homer <Il.> 23.22-3.” (213 n. 14) Apfel dismisses the Epic Cycle as “inferior poems”; Sophocles himself apparently took a different view (Athenaeus 277c-e). (224 n. 63) Rieu’s translation is not in the bibliography. (225 n. 70) According to Apfel, “we can grant the suitors the valid point that Penelope has been stalling rather duplicitously and that it is high time she gets on which her choice.” Personally, I find Penelope’s fidelity admirable and inspiring, but perhaps I am just a romantic at heart. (253 n. 66) Ajax is hardly characterized by “mental slowness and inarticulateness” throughout ancient literature: cf. Hom. Il. 7.288-9, Soph. Aj. 119-20, Philost. Her. 35.2. (291) Sophocles’ use of Chrsyothemis and Ismene as foils to Electra and Antigone was commented on by the ancient scholia (on El. 328, p. 162 Xenis), well before Kamerbeek. (301 n. 113) Van Erp Taalman Kip in AJP 1996 refutes Apfel’s claim concerning Electra’s language here (305). Apfel mistranslates Soph. El. 1415 (“twice as hard,” not “a second blow”). (346 n. 131) For “interesting possibility,” read “uninteresting impossibility.”

The book contains a few errors in the Greek: ἐλπὶδ’ (87), καῖ (103), ἡδ’ (223, for ἠδ’), σὐ (226), εὐγηνὴς (289-290), αισχύνειν (299), αἰσχἰων (300), και (300 n. 107), ἐγω (301 n. 113), Ἀπόλλοων (306). The Bibliography contains errors, too; for example, several works are given the wrong publication date (somebody should have noticed that Finley’s The World of Odysseus came out somewhat earlier than 1999). On the dust jacket, in the description of the jacket illustration, a comma after “Protagoras” might have cleared up a potential confusion. I would also query Apfel’s definition here of “pluralism” as “the idea … that values and moral codes can and will come into conflict with one another”; the key point is not the existence of conflict (since conflict can occur between right and wrong), but the validity of the competing values. These mistakes can be corrected in the paperback reprint that this useful book deserves.

Blogosphere ~ Hadrian’s First Wall

Theoretical Structural Archaeology has an interesting series on the building of Hadrian’s wall:

… I kept getting redirected to some webring page (webrings are still around?!) which was rather annoying … YMMV

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vii kalendas februarias

ante diem vii kalendas februarias

  • Sementivae or Paganalia (day ?) — Sementivae was a festival of sowing which was actually a moveable feast (although I’m not sure of the moveability criteria; I’m guessing that the first day falls between January 24 and 26). By Ovid’s time it appears to have been coincident with Paganalia, which also obviously has some rural aspect to it. It appears to have been a two-day festival with an interval of seven days between (corrections on this welcome … my sources seem muddled on this one)
  • 66 A.D. — perihelion of what would eventually be called Halley’s comet (possibly mentioned in Josephus; less possibly mentioned in Suetonius)
  • 97 A.D. — martyrdom of Timothy
  • 1721 — death of Pierre Daniel Huet (editor of the Delphi Classics)