Why Study Classics? Why not?

This one’s been lurking in my email box for a while … tip o’ the pileus to Dr Stephen Glass (emeritus, Pitzer College) who sent this along fom The Princeton Review: Guide to College Majors: 2004

“A classics major offers the opportunity to explore the beliefs and achievements of antiquity, and to learn just how profoundly they still affect contemporary civilization.

If you major in classics, you’ll learn Greek or Latin (or both). You’ll also read the great literary and philosophical works composed in these languages. Be forewarned, though: reading The Odyssey in the original Greek is a little on the demanding side. You’ll study ancient art, architecture, and technology too, and you’ll learn about Greek and Roman legal systems, social institutions, religious practices, and class distinctions.

We can’t overstate the value of a classics major. Check this out: According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, students who have a major or a double major in classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science. Crazy huh? Furthermore, according to Harvard Magazine, classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school. Believe it or not, political science, economics and pre-law majors lag fairly far behind. Furthermore, classics majors consistently have some of the highest scores on the GRE of all undergraduates.

Shocked? Don’t be. One reason classics majors are so successful is that they completely master grammar. Medical terminology, legal terminology, and all those ridiculously worthless vocabulary words on the GRE (and the SAT) have their roots in Greek and Latin. Ultimately, though, classics majors get on well in life because they develop intellectual rigor, communications skills, analytical skills, the ability to handle complex information, and above all, a breadth of view which few other disciplines can provide.

… I think this (or something similar) is what was causing a kerfuffle back in December: Why Study Classics? Does It Get You Into Med School?. Whatever the case, I tend to think that last sentence is probably the best summing up of the benefits of Classics for the so-called ‘real world’ that I’ve read in a long time.

April CSA Newsletter

“The CSA Newsletter provides up-to-date information on the use of computers and digital technologies in the practice of archaeology and architectural history.”

Here’s the TOC:

Changing Web Standards and Long-Term Web Access
Can we really use the web for important text?
— Harrison Eiteljorg, II

Website Review: Glassway, Glass from the antiquities to the contemporary age
An older website that can serve as an exemplar.
— Andrea Vianello

Website Review: The Acropolis Virtual Tour
Spectacular imagery in search of a rationale.
— Harrison Eiteljorg, II

Project Publication on the Web — Addendum II
The importance of multiple languages for websites.
— Andrea Vianello

Digital Data in Archaeology
Where do digital data fit?
— Harrison Eiteljorg, II

Them Crucifyin’ Romans

I’m sure plenty of readers of rogueclassicism saw/heard the comments of a US EPA official in the past week or so … if not, here’s the incipit of some typical coverage:

A top EPA official has apologized for comparing his agency’s enforcement strategy to Roman crucifixion — as Republican Sen. James Inhofe launched an investigation and told Fox News the comments are part of a campaign of “threats” and “intimidation.”

Al Armendariz, the EPA administrator in the Region 6 Dallas office, made the remarks at a local Texas government meeting in 2010. He relayed to the audience what he described as a “crude” analogy he once told his staff about his “philosophy of enforcement.”

“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean,” he said. “They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them.

“And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years,” he said. […]

Last week our old Classics list friend Jan Gabbert asked if I could recall any such incident, and after much poking around, I’ve come up empty. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say this wasn’t ‘standard practice’, but can anyone think of an example where it may have happened once? Or maybe this happened in some movie or novel?  This seems to me to be Historia Augusta type material, if it is genuine at all …

CONF: Conflict and Consensus in Early Hexameter Poetry

Seen on the Classicists list:

Durham University Department of Classics and Ancient History is pleased to

announce the international conference

CONFLICT AND CONSENSUS IN EARLY HEXAMETER POETRY
2nd to 4th July 2012

This conference aims to examine Conflict and Consensus in Early Hexameter
Poetry from two main perspectives: as thematic concerns in the poems
themselves and as aspects of their early reception. Conflict is a key theme
in the Iliad (which famously starts with a quarrel between Achilles and
Agamemnon), the Odyssey (the civil war in Ithaca), the Theogony (among
generations of gods) and the Works and Days (Hesiod and his brother). All
these key conflicts happen between parties who should actually get along,
and they are explored within poems that aimed to meet with consensus among
Panhellenic audiences. The Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi dramatises the
reception of early epic, and suggests that war – as a poetic theme – can
actually be less divisive than peace. The conference brings together
advanced graduate students, early-career researchers and more experienced
scholars in order to make an original and significant contribution to
Homeric studies.

Key-note speaker: David Elmer (Harvard)

Speakers: Paola Bassino (Durham), Alexander Beecroft (South Carolina),
Andrea Ercolani (CNR Italy), Lilah Grace Fraser (Durham), Barbara Graziosi
(Durham), Johannes Haubold (Durham), Jon Hesk (St. Andrews), Adrian Kelly
(Oxford), Don Lavigne (Durham), Jim Marks (Florida), Ivana Petrovic
(Durham), Oliver Thomas (Cambridge).

Respondent: Douglas Cairns (Edinburgh)

For a provisional schedule, paper abstracts, registration forms and more,
please go to the conference website at
http://conflictconsensus.wordpress.com/

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Lilah
Grace Fraser (l.g.fraser AT dur.ac.uk) or Paola Bassino
(paola.bassino AT durham.ac.uk).

Registration will be open until 2nd June 2012.
Graduate bursaries are available, with applications accepted until 2nd June
2012.