JOB: Greek Art @ BU

Seen on Greek-Arch (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)

Boston University’s Department of History of Art and Architecture
invites applications and nominations for a tenure-track position as
assistant professor of Greek art and architecture to begin September
1, 2011 (pending final budgetary approval). Ph.D. required; teaching
experience and publications preferred. The successful candidate will
teach four courses per academic year, usually two lecture courses and
two seminars, and conduct research in her/his area of specialization.
Applicants should send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the
names of three references no later than December 1, 2010, to
Professor Fred S. Kleiner, Chair, Department of History of Art and
Architecture, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 302,
Boston, MA 02215, fsk AT Supporting materials, unless requested
by the search committee, will not be returned Boston University is an
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Citanda: The Social Network

Wired has a reviewish thing of The Social Network which begins thusly:

Mark Zuckerberg is many things, not least a student of the classics. He reads Latin and ancient Greek, and his personal motto is said to be Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit, or, loosely translated, “Maybe one day we’ll look back on all this shit and laugh.” Lately, though, he’s probably meditating on another Latin phrase: annus horribilis. Because it’s been one lousy year for the 26-year-old CEO, despite (and also because of) the success of his dormitory-born company, Facebook, aka the most trafficked social-networking site on earth. His squirrely media appearances have been called Nixonian, his hoodie choices have been savagely and publicly critiqued. His occasionally Orwellian quotes have been obsessively parsed. He’s even been stalked by a Gawker paparazzo.

via Sex! Hackers! Embellishment! The Inside Story of the Facebook Movie | Wired.

… anyone know if the Facebook CEO really does have this Classics connection?

Citanda: Why You Should Read Thucydides

Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy:

1) It will purge 300 from your system. The ancients were all about the purging, and this classic will help you void the non-so-classic film. True, the two stories don’t overlap all that much. And true, I like homoerotic goofiness as much as the next hetrosexual. That said, it’s a crying shame that far more people have seen that mockery of Greek history than read… any Greek history. Alas, even modern criticisms of 300 wind up infected with stupid and ignorant Thucydides references. So read some Thucydides and you can enjoy Gerald Butler’s abs Lena Headey’s abs 300 on a more refined, absurdist plane.

2) You will earn Star Trek street cred. Want to know where the Star Trek franchise gets the names for 90% of its obscure alien species? Look no further than Thucydides. Just one read and you’ll discover the source of the Cytherians, the Battle of Tanagra, and other names that will bore amaze your friends.

3) You will recognize some recurrent patterns in history. Thucydides will help one develop a better appreciation for life in 5th century BC, but it will really help one develop an appreciation for the aspects of human nature that are unchanged through time.

via The Peloponnesian War: it’s not just for snooty academics anymore | Foreign Policy.

… explanations of each (and more) follows in the article …

JOB: Classics Librarian @ Yale

Seen on various lists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)

Classics Librarian

Classics Library

Yale University

Phelps Hall, 344 College St

New Haven, CT

Rank: Librarian I-III

Schedule: Full-time (37.5 hours); Standard Work Week (M-F, 8:30-5:00)

The University and The Library

The Yale University Library, as one of the world’s leading research libraries, collects, organizes, preserves, and provides access to and services for a rich and unique record of human thought and creativity. It fosters intellectual growth and is a highly valued partner in the teaching and research missions of Yale University and scholarly communities worldwide. A distinctive strength is its rich spectrum of resources, including more than 12.5 million volumes and information in all media, ranging from ancient papyri to early printed books to electronic databases. The Library is engaged in numerous digital initiatives designed to provide access to a full array of scholarly information. Housed in the Sterling Memorial Library and twenty school and departmental libraries, it employs a dynamic, diverse, and innovative staff of over 500who have the opportunity to work with the highest caliber of faculty and students, participate on committees, and are involved in other areas of staff development. For additional information on the Yale University Library, please visit the Library’s web site at

The Classics Library
The Classics Library, located adjacent to the Department of Classics, serves the research and instructional needs of the Department’s faculty and students, as well as the entire Yale community. For more information, please visit online at

Position Description

Reporting to the Director of the Arts Library, and in concert with Sterling Memorial Library’s Classics subject specialists, the Classics Librarian provides leadership for building print-based and online collections, provision of on-site library services, and library research education in support of the Classics Department’s academic program. Instills the highest service standards and administers the department’s resources to provide excellent services. Fosters a creative, collaborative, and team-oriented work-environment; and facilitates communication and coordination among other units of the Library. The Classics Librarian plays a lead role in maintaining the Classics Library’s web pages, facilitating design, and content planning. Working collaboratively with Library and systems staff, the Classics Librarian initiates new projects and explores innovative technologies to improve services as appropriate. Contributes expertise to improve coordination of service procedures, and understanding of reader expectations.


Plans, monitors and evaluates services of the Classics Library including: information services, document & Library Shelving Facility materials delivery, interlibrary loan, electronic and print course reserves, stacks maintenance, security and facilities maintenance, annual inventory, and the Classics Library web site. Supervises and coaches 5-8 student assistants; establishes, monitors and incorporates performance indicators to assess and improve the quality of services provided to the department; and participates in general planning for future programs and services of the Classics Library. Provides general oversight of the Classics Library web site including: facilitating design and content planning in coordination with other librarians and Yale Classics Library constituencies; routine maintenance; and coordinating with the Library Access Integration Services (LAIS) Dept. for web technology support and implementation of centrally developed standards. Works with vendors or other on-campus units that support Library operations, such as photocopying, print management, facilities maintenance, and security. Participates in the delivery of Classics reference and research education services.

Contributes to the development of system-wide policies and procedures, and continues to be professionally active both at Yale and in the field. May participate in and contribute to library long-term planning and is professionally active in library, scholarly, and/or academic organizations. Represents the Library and the University in the academic and professional community by serving on various committees and task forces. May be required to assist with disaster recovery efforts. May be assigned to work at West Campus location in West Haven, CT.


Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program for library and information science and advanced degree in classics or related disciplines; or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and education. Appointment to the rank of Librarian II requires a minimum of two years of professional experience and demonstrated professional accomplishments appropriate to the rank, as well as ongoing engagement in professional development, research, or services. Appointment to the Librarian III rank requires at least five years of professional experience and demonstrated professional accomplishments appropriate to the rank.

Experience and success in supervising and leading in a unionized and diverse staff team environment. Excellent analytical, organizational, management, customer service, oral and written communications, and interpersonal skills. Experience with web design and development and electronic information resources. Ability to effectively build partnerships and promote the benefits of change in an academic culture that often values ambiguity, diversity of opinion, and historic precedent. Ability to work both independently and collegially in a demanding and rapidly changing environment and to effectively build partnerships and promote benefits of changes.

Preferred: Demonstrated ability with HTML and XML; reading knowledge of two or more Western European languages.

Salary and Benefits

We invite you to discover the excitement, diversity, rewards and excellence of a career at Yale University. One of the country’s great workplaces, Yale University offers exciting opportunities for meaningful accomplishment and true growth. Our benefits package is among the best anywhere, with a wide variety of insurance choices, liberal paid time off, fantastic family and educational benefits, a variety of retirement benefits, extensive recreational facilities, and much more. Applications consisting of a cover letter, resume, and the names of three professional references should be sent by creating an account and applying online at for immediate consideration – the STARS req ID for this position is 11002BR. Please be sure to reference #11002BR in your cover letter. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until position is filled.

Background Check Requirements

All external candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent on successful completion of a background check. Please visit for additional information on the background check requirements and process.

Yale University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Yale values diversity in its faculty, staff, and students and strongly encourages applications from women and members of underrepresented minority groups

Mary Beard on Lost Authors

From the Guardian‘s book section:

Would it have been better had some surviving works of ancient authors been lost?

Classical studies are driven by the ambiguities of survival. It is not a question of what we have versus what we do not have (the surviving books of Dio’s History of Rome measured against the lost books of Tacitus’ – no doubt infinitely sharper – history of the last days of Nero). Classics, as a subject, engages in the curiosities, problems and discontents of survival. It builds on the puzzling, changing identifications of works that are transmitted via the scholarly hands of the monkish middle ages, or those dug up from the sands of Egypt. It makes us face how little we know about what the “survival” (or “loss”) of literature means.

Sometimes it’s clear enough. Diogenes, the second-rate, second-century AD epicurean philosopher, ensured his own survival by having his thoughts inscribed on the wall of his home city of Oenoanda in what is now Turkey. There was little chance of destroying that. But usually “survival” is a trickier question. Take the short essay “Constitution of Athens”, now attributed to the anonymous “Old Oligarch”. Is this a work of the Athenian renegade politician Xenophon (with whose works it has been transmitted in medieval manuscripts)? Or is it a weird rightwing tract by a not very bright anti-democrat of about the same period – that is, the late fifth century BC? (Moses Finley always used to say that the modern pseudonym “Old Oligarch” was the problem here: it made him sound like an engaging elderly pub-philosopher, when in fact he was the closest the ancient word came to a fascist – with the exception of Plato.)

Or think, rather differently, of the archaic Greek poetess Sappho. A few of her poems survive, brilliant enough to define the history of love poetry for the next two and a half millennia (“Phainetai moi . . .” as the best one goes in Greek, copied by the Roman poet Catullus in “Ille mi par esse . . .”). But maybe Sappho’s reputation has been helped by what we no longer have. Most of her output was, we fear, interminable marriage hymns for the young ladies in her entourage. Lost, and well lost, perhaps.

To think more widely (and not to forget that the origin of Christianity was in the Roman empire), what difference has it made that the four canonical gospels have been canonised as such – so effectively consigning the variants to the scrap heap? The recently published Gospel of Judas gives a hint of a very different tradition, and one in which – as never happens in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Jesus actually laughs (with all the theological complexity that that involves – does God laugh?). Survival, or not, has theological implications and a theological history.

But the key example is that holy grail of classical scholarship – a holy grail because no one can agree whether it is lost or not – the second book of Aristotle’s Poetics (written in the mid fourth century BC). The first book of the Poetics deals with Aristotle’s theory of tragedy (the famous discussion of pity, fear and catharsis). The second book, or so we glean from other references in Aristotle, brought the reader back to comedy and to that tricky problem of laughter. The usual scholarly line here is to lament that this work did not make it through the middle ages. Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose (“spaghetti structuralism” according to Slavoj Žižek, but fun all the same) dramatised the disappearance of the last surviving copy: literally eaten as a subversive tract by a gloomy “agelastic” monk, before his whole monastery goes up in flames. And recently such leading scholars as Quentin Skinner have mourned its disappearance: if only we had Aristotle’s essay on comedy, writes Skinner, we would understand ancient laughter.

But has it disappeared? And what counts as disappearing? According to Richard Janko, valiantly reviving a (nearly lost) 19th-century theory, the weird little treatise “On Comedy” in a 10th-century manuscript (Tractatus Coislinianus, now in Paris, once on Mount Athos) is actually a summary of this lost work.

So is it or isn’t it? Scholarship has not gone with Janko. The essay in the Tractatus is a very mediocre little tract, and most likely – so the orthodox view goes – a jejune compendium of Aristotelian thought by a none-too-bright Byzantine monk. It includes, for example, some very plodding ideas of what makes an audience laugh (“silly dancing”, is one prompt to laughter). But could we see it differently? According to Michael Silk (no admirer of the intellectual power of lost Aristotle) we might actually think that, in all its mediocrity, this mediocre work was a reasonable summary of some very mediocre Aristotle – altogether not worth saving. Let’s not lament its loss.

Who knows? But this should remind us of the perils of survival (as the question asks us to reflect). Sometimes the best may not survive (and classical nostalgia always suspects that we have inherited some dross while losing some gems). But maybe (and this would be a simplified version of Silk’s position on the second book of the Poetics) what we have lost was second-rate all along. Perhaps the history of the transmission of classical texts has been a pretty efficient sorting mechanism: the survival of the fittest.

In a way it was summed up towards the beginning of Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love. The play’s “hero”, AE Housman, Cambridge professor and celebrity classicist, is going down to Hades from the Evelyn Nursing Home in Cambridge. He is delighted to interrogate Charon, the boatman taking him across the Styx, wanting to find out more about what happened in Aeschylus’ lost play, Myrmidons. Charon looks as if he can deliver. But the joke is that he only tells Housman the lines that Housman knows already, preserved in later quotations and no surprise at all.

The allure of survival turned out to be the survival of what Housman already knew. It complicates the idea of choice and loss.

via: ‘You may now turn over your papers’ Guardian

… other authors are asked different questions