Language/Literature

The Rhythm of Greek Oral Poetry: Prosody, Accentual Groups and Metrical Anomalies

In October 2018, I applied to Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies (henceforth CHS) with the project “The Rhythm of Greek Oral Poetry: Prosody, Accentual Groups and Metrical Anomalies”. The aim of this project was a study on rhythm through an application of linguistic theory on phonetics and phonology to Ancient Greek oral poetry, exploring the concept of prosodic word, namely on the basis of accentual groups and metrical anomalies,… Read more

Xenophon on Liberality and Freedom: Ancient Aristocratic Values and Contemporary Inequalities

Xenophon’s use of slavery as an analogy for political unfreedom permeates his writings, including those revered by the country’s Founding Fathers, the Cyropaedia and the Memorabilia. Xenophon identifies the virtuous leading citizen and ruler through the absence of qualities described as andrapodes (‘of a man-footed beast’, perhaps ancient Greek’s most dehumanising term for the enslaved) and aneleutheron (‘unfree’). The restatement of the link between freedom and unfreedom as character traits… Read more

Portraits of a Pharaoh: The Sesostris Tradition in Ancient Literature and Culture

When Greeks and Romans thought about Pharaonic Egypt, they would have named Sesostris as the land’s most iconic ruler. From his first appearance in Herodotus’ Histories to his afterlife in Byzantine historians, the Sesostris character played the roles of world-conqueror and Egyptian culture hero in Greek and Roman texts. Yet, while the Sesostris character was a creation of legend, he was based on three pharaohs of the Egyptian 12th Dynasty… Read more

Theater of the Home Front: Gendered Trauma in Greek Tragedy

In plays about war and homecoming, male and female characters are both traumatized by the extreme events that disrupt their lives, but structural forces, including gender and class hierarchies, shape their pain in different ways, affecting how these characters react to and express their pain, trauma, and grief in performance. These same structural forces also determine how other characters - and the external audience - respond to their expressions of… Read more

Uncanny Intruders

My main project at CHS this semester, provisionally entitled Uncanny Intruders, seeks to understand Greek literature’s fascination with what Sarah Johnston has called the “returning dead,” from the Homeric poems to Heliodorus’ Ethiopian Story. It demonstrates how an engagement with anthropological approaches to the history and phenomenology of ancient religious experience can deepen and complicate readings of literary texts. In addition, I have also been working on a collaborative project… Read more