Treebanking in the "World of Thucydides"

Of Grave Hunters & Earth Contractors: A Look at the "Private Archaeology" of Greece.

“I have already given orders to all the tomb robbers of Athens, who dig up old tombs all over Attica for the vases found in them, that whenever they find an intact skull or indeed any bones they should bring them to me in exchange for a good price, and they do so.”  Professor Athanasios Rhousopoulos to Professor George Rolleston (18/30 August 1871)   So far I have tried to… Read more

Pylos before Pylos, and then again another Pylos

My interest, as discussed in my first post, is in how audiences responded to descriptions of communities in the early Greek epics. On such response, albeit a late one, comes from the Roman-period geographer Strabo. In a discussion of the western Peloponnesos, Strabo observes that a number of communities there claimed to be the original home of the Homeric hero Nestor: βιάζονται δ᾽ ἔνιοι μνηστευόμενοι τὴν Νέστορος δόξαν καὶ τὴν… Read more

Visualizing Greek Epigrams on Stone

The visual medium has always been a powerful way to communicate; this is probably one of the reasons why visual arts are often used to convey a political message. It is usually agreed «that architecture is the most political of all visual arts […]; public buildings represent the polis’ most permanent and official statements».[1] Several ancient examples can be recalled and someone who is writing about this topic at the… Read more

The Rise of the Pleiades in Alcm. PMGF 1

The so-called First Parthenion of Alcman (PMGF 1) is one of the most important findings in the ‘era of the papyri’: in fact, it is one of the most extended fragments of archaic Greek poetry. Since its first publication by Egger, the First Parthenion has attracted the attention of several scholars. The seminal work on poem is the interpretation of Calame. According to Calame, the poem possibly describes a step… Read more

Feeling Together: Collective Emotion and its Discontents

Alma Tadema, “A Pyrrhic Dance” “We should beware of the tendency to reinforce the opposition between reason and emotion by rendering emotion as primitive as possible and then glorifying reason in an uncritical way.  To pack all of the reasonable solutions and their mode of deliberation into one set of categories (reason) and only the most unreasonable, vindictive, and ill-considered emotional responses into another (emotion) is to render reason insensitive… Read more

Ritual objects and ancient Greek nomenclature

 The semantic relationship of “objects” and “names” often appears self-evident, but when examined closer it becomes clear that the relationship is complex and less straightforward. In this post, I would like to introduce some of the challenges involved in the interpretation of ancient objects, often termed “ritual objects”. All objects have many meanings and various connotations. This diversity and ambiguity in their interpretation can lead to multiple understandings and readings.… Read more

“University Professor – Antiquities Looter”?

Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones seizing a “priceless artifact” from a South American temple.Source: Raiders of the Lost Ark © 1981 – Lucasfilm, Ltd. Indiana Jones is the world’s most famous archaeologist – a death-defying adventurer who, in his attempt to “salvage” antiquities, leaves behind a trail of destruction. His main aim, we are left to believe, is the protection and preservation of cultural heritage because, as he often exclaims, these… Read more

Archaic and Classical Stone Epigrams: Ordinary, Extra-ordinary or Both?

In dealing with some core aspects of the classical world and its legacy (Attic drama; archaic epigrams collected in post-classical anthologies), I have become increasingly interested in epigrams on stone, and particularly in dedicatory epigrams on stone in the archaic and classical eras. Stone epigrams in fact combine in an unique way features regarded as “ordinary” and “extra-ordinary”, both by the ancient Greeks and by modern scholars, and I will… Read more

Guns, Drugs, and the Trafficking of Antiquities. Archaeology in 19th-century Greece.

A family of tomb hunters at the Isthmus of Corinth. “A party of native labourers digging among the tombs of the deceased Greeks for such relics of antiquity as now find a ready sale to museums or private collections.” Source: The Illustrated London News (21 April 1877), page 364 (sketch by William Simpson). Only a few days ago The New York Times published a front-page article about Turkey’s renewed campaign… Read more

Rethinking the Homeric Polis

Cop Shows and Homer, or, An Introduction to a Re-Thought Homeric Polis I begin with the commonplace that every story is selective in what it tells, and reliant upon the preconceptions of its target audience. A police procedural drama, for instance, will often feature scenes set at the police station, which might include a large room filled with desks where the detectives sit, a holding cell for criminal suspects, interview… Read more

Research Symposium, Spring 2012

CHS fellows and undergraduates from Sunoikisis institutions presented at the CHS Research Symposium on April 27-28, 2012. Links to recordings of the talks are available below. Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Symposium Friday, April 27, 2012 9:00-10:30AM Session 1 (Chair, Kenny Morrell, Rhodes College) “Sexuality and Intellectualism in Classical Athens” Leigh Ann Voulgaris, Kalamazoo College Abstract | Paper [PDF] | Video “Implicit Characterization in Plato’s Euthyphro” Jillian Stinchcomb, University of Notre Dame Abstract… Read more

Trollope's Apollo: Information Fluency through Reception Studies

What follows is a script for a presentation I gave this past March at the CIC Workshop for Information Fluency in Ancient Studies. Teams of professors, librarians, and senior administrative officers gathered to discuss various issues related to information fluency and devise information fluency plans for their programs and campuses. The project I describe in my talk is supported by the Center for Hellenic Studies and provides an example of… Read more

Socrates Plays Stesichorus

CHS Research Symposium, April 27-28 2012 Socrates Plays Stesichorus Andrea Capra I will take my cue from Attic comedy. Here is a sleight of hand scene where Socrates plays Stesichorus to the lyre while stealing a wine jug: 1. δεξάμενος δὲ Σωκράτης τὴν ἐπιδέξι’ 〈ἄιδων〉 Στησιχόρου πρὸς τὴν λύραν οἰνοχόην ἔκλεψεν (Eupolis, 395 PCG) A possible connection between Stesichorus and Socrates, as well as with Plato, provides some background to… Read more

POxy XXX 2513: Iphigenia in the Corinthiaca of Eumelus

What follows is the text of the presentation I gave on the occasion of the CHS Research Symposium (April 28, 2012). I am glad to post it here, since I find it representative of the type of research on Eumelus I could conduct in this very special and conducive environment. A more detailed discussion on this topic will appear soon in a scholarly journal. I take advantage of this post… Read more

Presentation Text: The institution of the warrior in several Greek tragedies

I will introduce my contribution to the symposium by commenting on the title of my project, which I have called: ‘The institution of the warrior in several Greek tragedies’. This title however is an abbreviation of the proper but more complex research question I pose. An expression like ‘the warrior in tragedy’ suggests the interpretative effort of identifying characters with certain attributes and describing as well as evaluating the personal… Read more

Abstract: The persistence of ancient poetic craft in the modern world

My project is a hybrid of translation and comment.  I set out to translate Pindar’s fourth Pythian and seventh Olympian odes and to write about them in order to explore the continuity of at least some aspects of poetics from ancient to modern poets.  But I later realized that it wasn’t poetics in the broadest sense that interested me, but only those stances, strategies and many aspects of poetic craft… Read more

Abstract: Ctesias and the Eunuch In-Between

The role of the eunuch in the Achaemenid Persian court (c. 550-330) has long been highlighted, such that it is a mainstay of the stereotypical portrayal of the effeminate Orient. This mainstay finds its predecessors in the eunuch of Assyrian and Babylonian times – the ša rēši (literally “of the head,” an attendant or official) – or so it has seemed. The traditional translation “eunuch” for this Akkadian term ša… Read more

Abstract: The institution of the warrior in several Greek tragedies

The title of my project is: “The institution of the warrior in several Greek tragedies (Aiskhylos, Seven against Thebes, Sophokles, Aias and Philoktetes).” Its primary aim is to develop my method of investigating the tragic genre as it worked among contemporary audiences. Unconvinced by the methods of standard literary criticism, which, I think, project modern assumptions upon the ancient drama performances, I propose to adopt an anthropological method in order… Read more

Abstract: New Perspectives on Athenian Building Contracts

As I explained in my WIP and in my first post for the blog, one of the main research lines of my project on the legal and economic aspects of public building in classical Athens concerns the system of labor recruitment and the contractual relationship between the city and the private individuals paid to execute the building works. For the Research Symposium which concludes our academic year at the CHS… Read more

Abstract: Pyrrhonism and Disagreement

Disagreement is a pervasive feature of human life, not only because people constantly disagree with each other over any possible issue but also because one tends to disagree with oneself over time. The existence of persistent and widespread disputes poses serious difficulties. For although the mere existence of a disagreement does not by itself entail that it is not possible to attain knowledge or justified belief about the disputed matter,… Read more

Abstract: Socrates plays Stesichorus

ABSTRACT FOR THE CHS RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM Title: “Socrates plays Stesichorus” During my stay at the CHS I have worked on Plato’s authorial voice against the background of archaic poetry, with an emphasis on Plato’s “self-disclosures”, that is passages where he implicitly refers to his dialogues (see below, outline of the book in progress). One such passage, namely the myth of the cicadas in the Phaedrus, was the subject of my… Read more

Abstract: The Borders of Attica

Athens’ borders, like those of most of Greek city-states, underwent numerous changes as a result of state formation, military expansion and political alliances. The records of these changes offer much information to the scholar of antiquity. Unfortunately, the borders of Attica are not well known; that is, while some segments of the borders have attracted critical attention, the region as a whole has never been the object of a thorough… Read more

Abstract: Equine Poetics

The project that I’ve been working on at the Center for Hellenic Studies is entitled Equine Poetics and it is a study of elements of Greek literature’s treatment of horses and horsemanship that can be understood in light of inherited Indo-European artistic and intellectual phenomena. It investigates both inherited poetic devices and broad conceptual traditions that were especially important in affecting Greek literature, especially poetry. Although my stay at the… Read more

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