Feedback time!

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Dear Classics Confidential followers,

We launched Classics Confidential in March 2010, so we are fast approaching our five year anniversary. Today, we’re looking towards the future and thinking about how to improve the site – so we need your help!

We’ve set up a short online survey, and we’d be hugely grateful if you could spare ten minutes to fill it in. Participants remain completely anonymous, so you can be as honest as you like! We’re also planning to use the survey responses to inform an article that we’re writing for a forthcoming edited book about Digital Classics, so your input will be doubly helpful.

Follow this link to access the survey

Thank you very much everyone, and thank you, of course, for watching the interviews. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback and ideas, and in the meantime, here’s a reprise of our first ever video!

 

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Exploring Roman Dress, with Ursula Rothe

This afternoon we filmed an interview with Dr Ursula Rothe, Baron Thyssen Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, about her research on Roman dress. What did people in the Roman provinces wear? How did dress styles change over time? And why do we tend to refer to ancient clothing using the term ‘dress’ rather than ‘fashion’? Follow this link to watch our interview and find out the answers!

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Illustrating the ‘Red Decade’, with Sara Monoson

We’re sharing Henry Stead‘s latest video for the Classics and Class project, which features Professor Sara Monoson talking about the work of graphic artist Hugo Gellert.

Gellert’s two books from the ‘red decade’ of the 1930s in America consciously promote encounters between classical culture and the working man in order to widen access to the occassionally complex socio economic analysis of the revolutionary philosopher Karl Marx.

Follow this link to watch the video!

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The Literary Epigram, with Chris Carey and Maria Kanellou

Professor Chris Carey and Dr Maria Kanellou join CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni at UCL’s Department of Greek & Latin to talk about the literary epigram. They tell us about this ancient literary genre, its form, origins and evolution from archaic Greece to Byzantium.

The epigram dates back to the introduction of writing in ancient Greece. As a literary genre it flourished not only in Greece, but in Rome and it persisted through to the Byzantine world. The genre’s ability to adapt to new circumstances and to respond to developments in other literary genres ensured its success. Literary epigrams cover a wealth of subject matter and offer a vast tonal range. Maria and Chris share with us their thoughts on their favourite type of epigram. Maria tells us about her study of erotic epigram, while Chris explains the many functions of funerary epigrams.

Maria and Chris talk to us about how literary epigrams were produced and consumed. From performances at symposia, where guests strove to outdo each other by crafting the best epigram of the evening, to reading a collection in the comfort of one’s own home the literary epigram continued to be popular with a variety of audiences. Maria and Chris testify to the appeal that these short poems have for modern readers.

Maria and Chris also tell us about two international conferences designed to promote the study of the literary epigram. Last year’s Greek Literary Epigram: From the Hellenistic to the early Byzantine Era (11-13 September 2013) and the Palladas and the New Papyrus (4-5 September 2014), which will bring together a number of experts to discuss the discovery of a new papyrus containing fragments from about sixty epigrams by Palladas of Alexandria dated to 4th century AD.

Follow this link to watch our interview, and to learn more about this protean literary form and its evolution. From Greek courtesans as pirate ships, to a jilted lover begging a lamp for aid, the literary epigram has much to offer. Join us to find out more!

 

Main epigrams referred to in this interview:

Antipater of Sidon AP 7.218

I hold Lais, who exalted in her wealth and purple dress

and in her amours/ with the power of Eros, more delicate than tender Cypris,

the citizen of sea-girt Corinth,

more sparkling than the white water of Peirene,

the mortal Cytherea, who had more noble suitors

than the daughter/ bride of Tyndareus,

plucking her charms and mercenary favours.

Her very tomb smells of sweet-scented saffron,

her skull is still soaked with fragrant ointment,

and her anointed locks still breathe a perfume as of frankincense.

For her the Foam-born tore her lovely face,

and sobbing Eros groaned and wailed.

If she had not made her bed the public slave of gain,

Greece would have pains for her as for Helen. (trans. K. Gutzwiller, slightly altered)

 

Asclepiades AP 5.7

Lamp, Heracleia swore three times in your presence

that she would come, and she hasn’t come; lamp, if you are a god,

take revenge on the deceitful girl; whenever she has a friend at home

playing with him, extinguish yourself and give (them) no more light. (trans. W.R.Paton, modified)

 

Paulus Silentiarius AP 5.272

I press her breasts, our mouths are joined, and I feed

in unrestrained fury round her silver neck.

However, I have not conquered the whole ‘Foam-born’ yet; I still toil pursuing

a maiden, who refuses me her bed.

Half of herself she has given to Paphia and half to Athena,

and I waste away between the two. (trans. W.R.Paton, modified)

 

Meleager AP 5.204

No longer Timarion, the once hollowed fast-sailing ship,

can endure the rowing of Aphrodite;

but the back is curved like a yard-arm on the mast,

and the greying forestays are loose,

and the relaxed breasts are loose like hanging sails,

and she has a wrinkled belly because of the tossing,

and below the whole ship is completely full of bilge-water, and the sea

overflows the ship’s hold, and her knees tremble.

Wretched is whoever will sail still alive across the lake of Acheron

having mounted the old twenty oared-galley. (trans. W.R.Paton, modified)

 

 

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Classics Outreach at Oxford, with Mai Musié

What do Classics students do after they graduate? This was one of the questions we asked Mai Musié, Outreach Officer for the Faculty of Classics in Oxford, when we caught up with her earlier in the autumn at the Festival of Ancient Tales. Mai was at the festival promoting Oxford’s Classics Outreach programme, which offers a wide range of activities for schools from taster days and cross-disciplinary days to talks and workshops. If you are a teacher, parent or school student and interested in what the largest Classics faculty in the world has to offer, please do get in touch with Mai by email at outreach@classics.ox.ac.uk

ps. Mai is also part of the Classics in Communities project – we’ll ask her to tell us about that next time!

Follow this link to watch our interview

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Roman Fragments, with Gesine Manuwald

Portrait of Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) (mosaic)

Returning to UCL’s Department of Greek and Latin Anastasia Bakogianni talks with Professor Gesine Manuwald about her work on fragments from early Roman tragedy. Gesine tells us about some of the challenges, as well as the rewards, of working with this fragmentary evidence.

Some questions will always remain unanswerable, but Gesine reveals that the fragments offer us an insight into an earlier stage in the development of Roman drama. These plays were not simply translations of their Greek models, but underwent a process of ‘Romanization’. Dramatists like Ennius hoped to use these new versions of Greek drama to win over their Roman public and to secure more commissions. Gesine talks about the popularity of Roman drama, which was enjoyed by all sections of society.

Follow this link to watch our interview, and to learn more about how Latinists assemble this jigsaw puzzle of fragments. Join us to find out more about the Roman versions of tragic heroines such as Andromache and Medea!

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Herodotus on Thermopylae, with Chris Carey

Anastasia Bakogianni joins Professor Chris Carey at UCL’s Department of Greek and Latin to talk about his forthcoming commentary on Herodotus’ Book 7. A highpoint in Herodotus’ Histories, the subject of this book is the inexorable march of the Persian forces against Greece, which culminates in the famous battle at Thermopylae. Chris’ commentary will join those of a number of other eminent scholars currently working on Herodotus’ Histories for Cambridge University Press’ Green and Yellow series.

Chris describes Herodotus’ account of the battle as a ‘riveting story of courage and treachery’. He talks about the recent resurgence of interest in Herodotus’ Histories and how new scholarship is uncovering hidden depths in the work of this less well-explored ancient author. For Chris, Herodotus’ Histories is the book he would choose as his Desert Island pick, simply because every time he returns to it, he discovers something new in Herodotus’ account of the Persian Wars.

Follow this link to watch our interview, and to learn more about Chris’ personal journey in the footsteps of Xerxes and how it deepened his appreciation of Herodotus’ abilities as the narrator of a famous story. Join us to discover more!

References

His journey tracing part of Xerxes’ route and its impact on his work on the commentary was also the subject of Chris’ lecture delivered at the AGM of the Hellenic Society in 2014. To find out more follow this link: http://www.hellenicsociety.org.uk/sphs-lecture-agm/

 

 

 

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