Publishing and the Early Career Classicist

I meant to post a link to this very useful pdf a while ago when it was making the rounds … here’s some background from the intro:

This collection is based on presentations given at a half-day workshop held at the Institute of Classical Studies in May 2011. It is aimed at those approaching the end of, or who have recently received, their PhDs, and who would like some advice on thinking strategically about publication of their research, to raise their publishing profile most effectively and to maximize their attractiveness to potential academic employers…

Classicists Rule!!!

A couple of items of interest which coincidentaly passed under my caerulean gaze this week … first, one of the Discover Magazine blogs confirmed (based on GRE matters) what we all know (but which appears to be a surprise to some): Classicists are Smart! … inter alia:

I looked at the average verbal and mathematical score for each discipline. Then I converted them to standard deviation units away from the mean. This is useful because there’s an unfortunate compression and inflation on the mathematical scores. Disciplines which are stronger in math are going to have a greater average because the math averages are higher all around. You can see that I divided the chart into quadrants. There are no great surprises. People who want to pursue a doctorate in physical education are in the bottom left quadrant. Sorry. As in my previous post physicists, economists, and philosophers do rather well. But there were some surprises at the more detailed scale. Historians of science, and those graduate students who wish to pursue classics or classical languages are very bright. Budding historians of science have a relatively balanced intellectual profile, and the strongest writing scores of any group except for philosophers. I think I know why: many of these individuals have a science background, but later became interested in history. They are by nature relatively broad generalists. I have no idea why people drawn to traditionally classical fields are bright, but I wonder if it is because these are not “sexy” domains, to the point where you have to have a proactive interest in the intellectual enterprise.

… one really has to read the whole thing to get the full effect. One of the comments (by ClassicsPhD) pretty much says what most of us are probably thinking:

As a Classics PhD (Berkeley; BAs in Philosophy and Classics) and professor of Classics, the only thing I find surprising—or rather, we’re chuckling at it here at the dept.—in the article above is the author’s apparent surprise at the overarching intelligence of Classicists.

A few observations:

Classical Languages should be in the plural; no one studies but one in grad school. Although we generally specialize, as researchers, in one or the other (i.e., Latin or Greek), both languages are studied and examined equally in grad school (as are, of course, the modern scholarly languages required).

I am unclear on the differentiation between “Classics” and “Classical Language (sic)” here; there are no PhD programs that allow one to earn an advanced degree in “Classics” without the Classical languages (there are “Classical Studies” BAs that may require only two years in one of the languages, but such degrees do not lead to graduate study). I suspect that this may have something to do with the ways in which reporting depts. identify themselves, but I am not at all sure.

Emil: “I am surprised to see classicists up there… [though] I have never spoken with one.” Indeed.

While I was still basking in the overinflated self esteem that would come from reading such findings, I was also heartened to read the incipit of this item in USA Today:

A liberal arts education can provide a leg up in a down economy, a survey suggests.

Recent college graduates who as seniors scored highest on a standardized test to measure how well they think, reason and write — skills most associated with a liberal arts education — were far more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest, says the survey, released Wednesday by the Social Science Research Council, an independent organization.

It found that students who had mastered the ability to think critically, reason analytically and write effectively by their senior year were:

•Three times less likely to be unemployed than those who hadn’t (3.1% vs. 9.6%).

•Half as likely to be living with their parents (18% vs. 35%).

•Far less likely to have amassed credit card debt (37% vs. 51%).

Grades and other factors influence a student’s chances of success, too. Graduates of colleges with tougher admissions standards tended to have fewer debts and were less likely to live with their parents, the study found.

A report this month by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which studies the labor-market value of college degrees, found that recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in architecture had the highest average jobless rate (13.9%, vs. 8.9% for all recent college graduates). Education and health care majors had some of the lowest jobless rates.

The findings released Wednesday “show something new and different,” says lead author Richard Arum, a New York University professor. “Students would do well to appreciate the extent to which their development of general skills, not just majors and institution attended, is related to successful adult transitions.”

… you can read the full report at the SSRC site. Of course, engineers come out on top, as often, but while Classics is not specified specifically (I do that sort of word pairing a lot lately), the claims of unemployability of humanities types seems to be largely discredited by this study … perhaps this study can be thrown in the face of those ‘restructuralist’ university presidents who think we should only think of the employment potential of subjects when deciding whether to axe a department …

CFP: Logos, Mythos, Sophos (Warminster)

Seen on the Classicists list:


Friday, 29 June to Sunday, 1 July

Ivy House, Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

Logos, Mythos, Sophos : Reason and Myth in the Search for Wisdom

The Platonic tradition has always embraced both reason and myth in its cultivation of wisdom – but what is their relationship? Are they in opposition or complementary? How should we understand Socrates’ views on Homer and his fellow poets as stated in the second and third books of the Republic, and Proclus’ response in his Scholia on that dialogue? As philosophers within our own time and culture, are we still able to balance the two approaches and take from each the insights available to those of ancient times? What kinds of reasoning and what kinds of myths contribute to our own cultivation of wisdom?

Papers are invited from those interested in these areas for presentation at the seventh Prometheus Trust conference. We hope that the subject will attract speakers from both academic and non-academic backgrounds who share a common love of wisdom.

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should be with us at the latest by Friday, 30 March 2012. Acceptance of these will be confirmed as quickly as possible.

Papers should be around 2500-3000 words or 20 minutes’ presentation (we usually allow a further 20 minutes for a question and answer session after each presentation).

Bookings should be received by us not later than Monday, 30 April 2011.

We are delighted that Professor John F Finamore has agreed to be our keynote speaker. John is a professor of Classics at The University of Iowa, where he has taught since 1983 and was chair from 2002-2007. He teaches courses in Greek and Roman Philosophy, Word Power, Greek, and Latin. Professor Finamore is the author of Iamblichus and the Theory of the Vehicle of the Soul (1985), Iamblichus’ De Anima: Text, Translation, and Commentary (with J.M. Dillon, 2002) and co-editor (with R. Berchman) of both Plato Redivivus: History of Platonism (New Orleans, 2005) and Metaphysical Patterns in Platonism: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern Times (New Orleans, 2007), and he has written numerous articles on philosophy and literature. He is editor of The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition and president of the U.S. section of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. His research interests include ancient philosophy, the Platonic Tradition, and Latin poetry. Professor Finamore holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in Philosophy from Tufts, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from Rutgers.


The conference will take place at Ivy House, a retreat centre in Warminster, which is comfortable and well appointed. Residential prices are for full board for the weekend (from Friday supper to Sunday tea) and are £130 (£95 for students). Students are requested to share a bedroom if there are no single rooms available when they book. Please contact the Treasurer in confidence if you cannot afford these fees as it may be possible to offer you a bursary.

For those who wish to attend the conference but who do not wish to stay or eat at Ivy House, there are inexpensive residential pubs in Warminster and several take-aways/cafes/restaurants. It would be your responsibility to arrange accommodation and food; attendance at Ivy House on a non-residential basis costs £20 per day (to include refreshments and lunch) plus the conference fee. We can forward a list of local accommodation.

Conference fee: This charge is £40 and is payable with your booking. It is non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Accommodation fees are payable by end of May. Ivy House has its own cancellation policy – details if required from the Conference Secretary.

Booking forms are available from the Conference Secretary at the address below, phone or email. Completed forms with your deposit of £40 should be returned by MONDAY, 30 APRIL at the very latest.

Travel: Warminster is on the main train line from South Wales and the South Coast and is easily reached from London via Bath or Salisbury. Buses run from Bath, Bristol and Salisbury and coaches from London.

Prometheus Trust
28 Petticoat Lane
Dilton Marsh, Westbury
Wilts, BA13 4DG
01373 825808

Theft From Oplontis

It’s really depressing working through the backlog of Italian press articles tonight … Beyond the attention being paid to the Colosseum and its plight (which I’ll blog about soon … I promise) it’s clear that something is not right with Italian antiquities right now … this Repubblica article details the theft of an amphora and candelabra from storage facilities at Oplontis, and concerns for other items stored there which probably should be on display:

Sottratti un’anforetta e un candelabro dal deposito della Villa di Poppea

“La scomparsa di due preziosi reperti romani dal deposito archeologico della villa di Poppea a Oplontis è un fatto di notevole gravità che apre scenari inquietanti su come sono custodite le preziose testimonianze archeologiche dell’area vesuviana”.

E’ quanto afferma l’architetto Antonio Irlando, responsabile dell’Osservatorio patrimonio culturale, commentando la notizia pubblicata oggi dal quotidiano “Metropolis” relativa alla denunzia che la soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei ha presentato ai carabinieri del comando di Torre Annunziata per la scomparsa di un’anforetta e di un candelabro dal deposito degli scavi archeologici della villa di Poppea a Torre Annunziata, episodio sul quale ora indaga la procura della Repubblica.

“I reperti di Oplontis sono un unicum – spiega Antonio Irlando – la loro straordinaria fattura conferma il carattere imperiale di una villa straordinaria, frequentata dall’influente corte di Nerone”.

Gli scavi di Oplontis sono composti da due ville romane di notevoli dimensioni, la Villa di Poppea, struttura residenziale che sorgeva lungo la costa vesuviana con decine di ambienti decorati da pregiate pitture e pavimenti in marmo e mosaico e la villa di Crasso, una grandiosa residenza su due livelli, dove insieme a numerosi scheletri furono trovati numerosi preziosi gioielli in oro.

“E’ inammissibile che da oltre trent’anni diverse statue e oggetti in marmo, tra cui un’originalissima centauressa, vasellame in terracotta e lucerne – conclude il responsabile di Osservatorio patrimonio culturale – siano ammassati in un piccolo magazzino, non visibili al pubblico ed esposti a rischi gravissimi, come questo episodio conferma”.

Samnite Tombs Vandalized

I doubt this will make it to the English press, but it should … Corriere del Mezzogiorno relates how vandals/tombaroli broke into the archaeological zone at Santa Maria Capua Vetere — the ancient city of Capua — and trashed a number of the Samnite Tombs there. These tombs, among other things, were notable for frescoes which adorned the walls. In any event, here’s the report:

Vandali in azione nell’area archeologica di santa Maria Capua Vetere. A pochi passi dall’anfiteatro campano distrutte alcune tombe sannitiche.

TOMBE DISTRUTTE – E’ accaduto durante la notte di lunedì e martedì. Ignoti si sono introdotti nell’area archeologica di santa Maria Capua Vetere, in provincia di Caserta ed hanno devastato alcune tombe sannitiche risalenti al IV sec. a.C. A lanciare l’allarme il funzionario responsabile dell’Ufficio per i Beni Archeologici dott. Francesco Sirano che accortosi dell’accaduto ha avvertito la locale compagnia dei carabinieri. Dai primi rilievi sembra che i vandali siano penetrati di notte nell’area archeologica – celebre per i resti dell’ anfiteatro campano, secondo per dimensioni solo al più noto Colosseo – e con l’ausilio di un manicotto dell’antincendio hanno distrutto tre «tombe a camera» d’età sannitica.

RISALENTI AL IV SEC. A. C. – «Le tombe devastate – spiega Elisabetta Vitale, archeologa de La Sapienza – sono del tipo a semi camera, una delle testimonianze più importante degli equites campani. Monumenti funerari in lastroni di tufo dipinti con scene che raffigurano cene con il ritorno del guerriero».

LA «VULNERABILITÀ» DELL’AREA – Sotto i riflettori finisce così la vulnerabilità dell’area. «In una zona dove i tombaroli la fanno da padrone – sottolinea l’archeologa – eventi del genere gettano luce sulla scarsa protezione dei siti archeologici, anche se la devastazione delle tombe sannitiche è un gesto senza alcuna motivazione logica e senza alcuna finalità».

The original report includes photos of the destruction … here’s one of them (there are more):

Greek Gods on Fakebook

Not a type … saw this in the Gazette … an idea with potential:

On her profile, Pandora agonizes about having opened the box. “I am so ashamed,” she writes, “I’ve opened the golden box and thousands of little lizard-looking creatures escaped! I am so worried.”

Zeus, who according to his profile was born in 1971 BC, “is loving being king of all the Gods,” but Hades openly disagrees.

“Shut up about that,” said a comment that he left on Zeus’s wall. “Ruling the Underworld is so much better.”

That’s what happened to ancient Greek gods recently when students were asked to make Fakebook profiles for the mythological characters.

“It makes it interesting and exciting for them. It’s doing a research and report, but it’s doing it in a new format,” said English teacher Jack Fraser from Westwood High School’s Junior Campus in St. Lazare, who had students pull gods out of a hat and fill in the date of birth, list of friends, and comments on their walls.

“They are going to have to use their imaginations – it’s an English class after all,” Fraser said, adding that, in a way, he asked students to think about what Zeus’s Facebook page would look like if Zeus were real. “But it has to make sense, it has to fit with the character.”

The “k” is not a typo – he is using Fakebook, not Facebook.

Fakebook is a Facebook look-alike website minus the social networking. Created as an educational tool about a year ago, it allows students to make profiles for literary and historical figures – without interacting with other users on the site.

“Kids love Facebook and you always have to latch on to what they’re enthused about and channel it into the classroom,” said Russel Tarr, who made the site. Tarr teaches history at the International School of Toulouse, in France, and had originally used the webpage for profiles of Mussolini, Franco, and Stalin.

Tarr says he is surprised by how popular the site has become. With a quarter million views per week, it is now also used not only in English and history, but also by mathematics teachers to make profiles for circles and triangles, in biology to teach the different parts of a cell, and in chemistry, he said.

When the elements of the periodic table get Fakebook profiles, their date of birth can be their date of discovery, while their friends are the other elements that they bond with, Tarr said.

Tarr created Fakebook in part because most schools do not allow students to access Facebook.

That is also the case at the Lester B. Pearson School Board, where access to

Facebook remains blocked. A year ago, the school board made news by announcing that it would be the first in the province to launch a digital citizenship program, which would teach students about using the Internet responsibly, and one day allow them access to Facebook in class. Almost a year later, however, only YouTube has been unblocked, according to Fraser.

A hidden agenda of the Fakebook exercise is to prepare students for Facebook, he said.

“How to write and be responsible on the Net – how to say things that are appropriate and be aware of what is said – they have to learn that,” he said, noting that the school has had problems with students leaving offensive comments about their classmates or teachers on Facebook. “That has to be taught. You can’t just assume they’re going to figure it out.”

One English teacher, however, recently used Facebook to teach Shakespeare to her high school class in St. Lambert. This became possible after the Access Adult Education and Career Training Centre decided in October to give students access to Facebook in class.

Students were assigned to characters from Romeo and Juliet and acted out the play in modern English on each other’s walls. The result was a Romeo who has a degree from Harvard but mops the floor at McDonald’s, a friar who works as a part-time drug-dealer, and a nurse, who inquired on the friar’s wall whether it would be okay to confess online.

“Shakespeare is not really meant to be read like a novel. I would want to tear my hair out if (when I was in high school) I was made to sit down and read it,” said teacher Diane Alken, who staged the Facebook play.

Alken is now planning to put Macbeth on Facebook and has been asked to give a talk to other teachers about using the social networking site as an educational tool.

“It shouldn’t be treated as some kind of evil site,” she said. “I think it’s good to interact with this new form of literacy, this technological literacy.”

To see a Greek mythology page on Fakebook, visit

… of course, we’ve mentioned the Facebook Aeneid (which has disappeared from it’s original home at eternally cool, along with eternally cool, it appears). I seem to recall there were others in this genre, but I’m coming up empty …

Robert Garland (and others) at Udemy

From Colgate University:

Forty-eight hours after posting his first installment of Ancient Greek Religion online at, Robert Garland had 99 viewers for his new video course. Garland, professor of classics at Colgate, is one of about a dozen professors from universities including Duke, Northwestern, and Stanford who donated content that is now available at no charge through Udemy’s Faculty Project.

“I went into this believing it’s a public service and would advance anyone who is interested in Greek religion,” Garland said. “And as a humanist, I feel that I should do this in defense of the humanities.”

Garland has experience offering online course content. A couple of years ago, he recorded an 18-hour course, Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean, for The Teaching Company. That program, he said, is aimed at professionals and life-long learners who can afford to buy it.

His program for Udemy is much more casual. In the past week, Garland posted 18 monologues, each one 15-20 minutes long. He recorded them in his home office using an external microphone and his computer’s built-in camera.

“I basically just talked about a subject that interests me, and that I haven’t taught at Colgate, or anywhere else, in at least a decade.”

Garland’s academic specialties include Greek religion, urban development, and society and social values. He is the author of several books including Religion and the Greeks (Duckworth Publishers, 2001).

The Colgate piece also has a link to the ‘sign up’ page for Garland’s course, but there are more (and it’s somewhat difficult to find things of interest to us, so here’s what I managed to find) … I think all of these are free (perhaps just the first lecture?), although there are some ‘payfer’ courses on the site too; some might mirror things on iTunes:



  • Latin 101 (Brian Craig … only one lecture there)


Latest Development (?) in the Search for Cleopatra’s Tomb

As often, it seems, the only news we get on this is from Dominican Today:

Egypt’s new military authorities have reissued the license to Dominican archaeologist Kathleen Martinez to resume the excavations in the historic search for the tomb of Cleopatra, an investigation that has piqued the interest and obtained the support of the leaders of the United Arab Emirates.

Martinez made the announcement Friday, but also revealed the theft of many of the artifacts she had already unearthed and the “disappearance” of the excavation equipment during the year-long turmoil in Egypt.

She said the process to recover her excavation license has already passed through several departments, “so we are ready to return and resume the investigation.”

Martinez said the she was invited to a private audience by the sheiks of the United Arab Emirates, where its royal facility discussed the project with her.

The attorney turned tomb hunter said on expressing her concerns over the protection of her archaeological finds, the UAE leaders encouraged her to continue her search, “and let the world worry about protecting your discoveries.”

“They invited me and honored me with encouragement to continue with my search,” she said, interviewed by Huchi Lora on Channel 11.

Close to Cleopatra

Explaining the progress in her quest, Martinez was upbeat despite the year-long hiatus forced by the revolt in Egypt. “We found the plaque of the tomb of Isis, this confirms my theory of Cleopatra’s burial site.”

The last we heard on this was a list of assorted folks who are backing the quest now that Zahi Hawass is out of the picture (Latest in the Search for Cleo’s Tomb (Sept 2011) … about a month prior to that, we heard of possible robotic involvement (Cleopatra’s Tomb Update (of sorts) (August 2011)). I’m not sure what this ‘plaque’ is she’s talking about …

Podcast: For All Us Poorly-Regarded Classicists

Haven’t had time to listen to this one from KUT, but the description is worth reading alone:

First off, we’ve got an episode of ThoughtCast for you. It’s full of smart folks talking about thoughtful things, so we think you’re gonna like it. You like thinking, right? Then you’ll like ThoughtCast, trust us. And whose thoughts will ThoughtCast be casting at you today? How about author Tom Perrotta, poetry critic Helen Vendler and esteemed classicist Gregory Nagy? That do it for it? Of course it does. Also, on a sidenote, can we mention that we love that Gregory Nagy is listed as an “esteemed classicist,” because that opens up the possibility that some of the classicists out there aren’t so esteemed. We want to know who those poorly-regarded classicists are so we can make fun of them at parties.

A Robert Graves Tidbit

The Independent has an article on folks who turned down Royal honours, among whom was Robert Graves:

War poet and classicist Robert Graves rejected a CBE in 1957, and would go on to reject the Companion of Honour in 1984. He told an interviewer: “I don’t want any honours but I wouldn’t so much mind being honoured for writing novels which sell abroad and earn money for England.” The author of I, Claudius continued: “Writing poems is different. To get a CBE for being a poet would be absurd. But the government always tries to coax well-known writers into the Establishment; it makes them feel educated.”

d.m. Helen North

From the Inquirer:

Helen F. North, 90, professor emerita of classics at Swarthmore College, died Saturday, Jan. 21, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

In a tribute to Dr. North, Swarthmore College president Rebecca Chopp said: “The college has lost not just a brilliant scholar who was instrumental in building one of the most influential classics departments at a liberal-arts college, but also, as one who taught and cultivated relationships among generations of Swarthmore students for more than 60 years, a complete embodiment of the teacher-scholar.”

A native of Utica, N.Y., Dr. North earned a bachelor’s degree in 1942, a master’s in 1943, and a doctorate in the classics in 1945 from Cornell University.

She taught at Rosary College in Illinois before joining the Swarthmore faculty in 1948.

An avid equestrienne, she told an interviewer for Swarthmore’s alumni magazine that then-president John Nason informed her she was the only job candidate who ever insisted on seeing the school’s stables.

As a young faculty member, Dr. North, a devout Catholic, helped establish – over Nason’s objections – a Newman Club for Catholic students at Swarthmore.

Dr. North held several visiting-teaching appointments, including at Columbia University, Vassar College, and Cornell. She was a classicist in residence at the American Academy in Rome and held teaching and research posts at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

She was the recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, and Ford Foundation fellowships and two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation.

Dr. North wrote numerous articles for academic publications, published two books on Greek literature, and was editor and translator of several classical volumes and college texts.

She was a member of the American Philosophical Society; past president of the American Philological Association; and chairwoman, for eight years, of the search committee for the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program. From 1973 to 2003, she served on the board of La Salle University.

Her many honors include a Harbison Prize, for outstanding accomplishments in college teaching. In 1989, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

Chopp said in her tribute, “Although she retired from teaching at Swarthmore in 1991, Helen remained thoroughly engaged with the college community. Until recently, she continued to meet weekly with her colleagues in classics to read, translate, and discuss Greek poetry. She also regularly attended Alumni Weekend and the annual lectureship in classics established in her name in 1996.”

For years, Dr. North led Alumni College Abroad trips. Travelers would marvel, Chopp said, at her “near-encyclopedic knowledge of even the tiniest details of Christian as well as classical symbolism.”

In the alumni magazine interview, Dr. North said her idea of earthly happiness was the life she had. “When I walk across campus and stop in the rose garden or at the weeping cherry trees, I have a feeling it’s all kept up just for me.”

Dr. North and her sister, Mary, lived in a house Mary North designed in Swarthmore. They traveled annually in Ireland, the home of their ancestors, and wrote two guidebooks on Ireland’s earliest art and archaeology.

Mary North died in 2001. Dr. North has no survivors.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Notre Dame de Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, 950 Michigan Ave., Swarthmore. A reception will be in the church school. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.

A memorial gathering will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Friends Meeting House on the Swarthmore College campus, 12 Whittier Place, Swarthmore.

Donations may be made to Notre Dame de Lourdes School, 1000 Fairview Rd., Swarthmore, Pa. 19081.

Reviews from BMCR

  • 2012.01.44:  Laurianne Martinez-Sève, Atlas du monde hellénistique (336-31 av. J.-C.): pouvoirs et territoires après Alexandre le Grand. Atlas. Mémoires.
  • 2012.01.43:  Marie-Joséphine Werlings, Le dèmos avant la démocratie: mots, concepts, réalités historiques.
  • 2012.01.42:  S. L. McGowen, Sacred and Civic Stone Monuments of the Northwest Roman Provinces. BAR international series 2109.
  • 2012.01.41:  Louise H. Pratt, Eros at the Banquet: Reviewing Greek with Plato’s Symposium. Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture, 40.
  • 2012.01.40:  Eugenio Amato, Xenophontis imitator fidelissimus: studi su tradizione e fortuna erudite di Dione Crisostomo tra XVI e XIX secolo. Hellenica, 40.
  • 2012.01.39:  Roy K. Gibson, Ruth Morello, Pliny the Elder: Themes and Contexts. Mnemosyne supplements. Monographs on Greek and Roman Language and Literature, 329.

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