We Are Sparta! And Athens!

A piece in Metro Santa Cruz begins with this interesting quote:

“We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta.”

–Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

I guess you can take the man out of the sword-and-sandal, but you can’t take the sword-and-sandal out of the man …

CONF: Institute of Classical Studies Greek Literature Seminar– Autumn 2009

Seen on the Classicists list:



Mondays throughout the autumn term at 5 pm
Senate House South Block Room ground floor room G37
Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Organizer: Giambattista D’Alessio
Contact: giambattista.d’alessio AT kcl.ac.uk



5 October
M. Fantuzzi (Columbia University)
“The Epithalamium of Achilles and Deidameia”

12 October
G. Hutchinson (Oxford)
“Apollonius, space, and text world theory”

19 October
R. Hunter (Cambridge)
“Callimachus’ Gods”

26 October
B. Acosta-Hughes (Ohio State University)
“Songs for a queen: on celebrating women of power”

2 November
A. Chaniotis (Oxford)
“Theatricality and Illusion: What is Hellenistic in Hellenistic historiography?”

9 November: Reading Week

16 November
G. Massimilla (Naples)
“Practical skills, work, and money in the epigrams ascribed to Theocritus”

23 November
P.J. Parsons (Oxford)
“Callimachus and his koinai”

30 November
S. Hornblower (UCL)
“Lykophron’s Alexandra and another hellenistic Kassandra-poem (Coll. Alex. pp. 188ff.)”

7 December
S. Stephens (Stanford)
“Writing the (Common)place: Callimachus’ ideologically charged geographies”

New Issue of Iris

A note from Lorna Robinson is making the round:

Dear Classicists,

The Autumn 09 issue of Iris magazine looks at the influences and interpretations of epic, and includes:

  • Iris chat: Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy
  • Home Thoughts from Abroad: Virgil’s Aeneid
  • 1000 Years Before Homer: The epic of Gilgamesh
  • Masters of War: Epic battles on film
  • A Marriage of True Minds: Arabic and Classical epic
  • News feature: A Mosaic for the London Olympics
  • Travelogue: Ephesus

It also includes articles and features on outreach projects, news and reviews, quizzes and puzzles, a what’s on section, translations and fiction, advice and more…

Iris magazine is part of The Iris Project, an educational charity promoting Classics in state schools and inner cities, and half of all copies printed are sent free to state schools which do not offer any Classical subjects.This is funded by subscriptions and advertising.

That Translation …

Interesting intro to a religion column in the Marion Star:

In 1979, I sat in Dr. Richard Cutter’s early morning Greek class at Baylor University praying my professor would call on someone else to translate the homework passage from Plato.

My prayers were answered when he called on John.

John was more clueless than I was in this second-year Greek class, but he took a gallant stab at translating the passage.

After five agonizing minutes, Dr. Cutter thanked John and interrupted our naps with seemingly the most random of questions.

“How many of you think crap is a bad word?” he asked the class comprised of mostly Baptist ministerial students.

A few brave souls from the conservative South raised their hands, while the rest of us stared forward with wide-eyed incredulity.

“A freshman girl came to me after class last week,” he said, introducing his reason behind the question. “She told me that she was offended by my occasional use of the word crap because her East Texas upbringing taught her that it was an expletive.”

Cutter told us he’d apologized to the girl, but explained to her that his upbringing on a Kansas farm taught him to understand crap as a common word.

For him, the word was a homonym, a word having the same spelling and pronunciation, but with different meanings. Offering an example, he explained that a Baptist deacon in Kansas might use crap to describe the proposed church budget as well as the piles scattered in the pasture next door.

Hoping his heartfelt explanation had convinced us, he repeated his polling question. “How many of you still think that crap is a bad word?”

We cowered in silence. It was our second year with Dr. Cutter, and most of us recognized the sound of him loading both barrels.

“Good,” he said, taking our silence as approval.

“John,” he exclaimed pointing to the unfortunate translator, “that translation was a bunch of crap.”

I’m sure we’ve all been in John’s shoes at some point … some of us have also been in the (late) Dr Cutter’s.