Thursday, June 30, 2005

A whimpering end to the Sappho saga...

I certainly didn't expect so much traffic in the last couple days. Thanks to David Meadows at rogueclassicism for the linking and to various others who know who they are!

The good news is that I finally have my very own copy of the Martin West article on Sappho in the TLS. The bad news is that somebody in the area was even more keen than I and beat me to both Borders locations! Thus, there was only one left in each location. The third location isn't sure if they're sold out or have not yet received their copies. Based on the rate at which they sold at the other two locations, I'm betting it's the former.

Moral of the story: Next time you call every day for an apparently popular edition of a newspaper, ask them to put them on hold for you the moment it comes in.

Other moral of the story: Barring that, call in the morning!

Of course, the reason I didn't call in the morning was because Vergil kept me up most of the night.

That said, I received a call from the Kennedy Center this morning, asking me about their recent production of Hecuba. I actually really enjoyed the RSC's production (and I'm not the only one), and when they asked me what I thought about the chorus actually singing, I all but told them that was my favourite part.

I don't think the poor guy was expecting a gushing Classics major on a Thursday morning.

Harking back to the original purpose of this blog (which seems to have spiraled off into much more, and hopefully much more interesting), I finally got around to making my GRE appointment. I was about to confront the phone, finally, when it occurred to me that I could avoid the phone altogether and apply online at I'm not quite sure why that didn't occur to me before.

And on yet another note, I wanted to present, for your edification and enjoyment, another picture from my time in Paris. In keeping with the theme of vengeful child-murderesses, I give you this vase from the Louvre. Yes, my companions laughed at my predictability for honing in on Medea:

Medea vase

And a close-up of Medea:

Medea close-up

I wish the window had not been open, as there was very little I could have done about the glare.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I think that's the sound of Augustus spinning in his grave...

I'm not sure you can "spoil" a miniseries based on Augustus, but if you'd prefer not to know the details, then don't read on.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, but it's not what I'd call "good"--or even all that educational. However, it didn't actually make my head explode the way Troy and King Arthur did--probably because it doesn't seem to be taking itself as seriously. Either that, or I've grown immune.

Even in the first few minutes, I couldn't understand why Octavius was flirting with a Vestal or why (as someone on the Classics-L list pointed out) said Vestal was praying to a nude statue of Minerva (Edit: It's been confirmed that the statue was actually a nude statue of Venus, not Minerva--still incorrect but not quite as horrifying). It's probably best that my TV screen was too fuzzy to notice most of the visual details. The introduction itself has some nonsense about how "the age of the republic has died" and now it's the "age of the gladiator." The gladiator? Please. There were many things wrong with Gladiator, but that was actually a good movie. I'm not quite sure why ABC is picking this late date to hark back to that movie.

Which brings me to my other question--why gladiators and Vestals? I suppose it's some sort of "mass appeal" tactic, but I didn't realise Vestals were popular these days.

Other token "WTF?!" lines include:

--"Not since Alexander the Great has such a burden been placed on one so young." -- I'm not sure I need to explain why that particular line had me bashing my head on the wall.

--"Whoever thought a god would hold so much blood?" -- Clearly, they made some effort not to evoke the Roman Shakespeare plays, but I'm not sure Cassius (I think it was Cassius who said this line, not 100% sure) should be channeling Lady Macbeth in her insanity.

They also had issues with "who" vs "whom," which really only annoyed me this time because they're supposed to be Romans--and Romans who can't decline their nouns make me sad.

On the other hand, there were exactly two good moments (for me) in this show, and they have more to do with dramatic value than history:

1) The assassination of Caesar--I think they pulled this off decently with a nice, if clichéd, contrast with Tyrannus' fight for his son.

2) Camane's story about when she was called to become a Vestal--Perhaps I just like the Vestals too much myself, but I thought it was a good moment and done well.

There is so much else wrong with the show, though, that I won't bother going into it. The other major thing that struck me as odd was its overall message. On the one hand, you have Caesar proclaiming the good of the People, but on the other, you have a story which is, frankly, about imperialism. It is, of course, the same contradiction that the Romans faced at this time, but this miniseries sides strongly with imperialism. And they've put neon lights on this point by naming their co-protagonist Russell Crowe-wannabe "Tyrannus." It completely makes a mockery of every other point they tried to make about the "People."

Anyway, I shall now return to my regularly scheduled Latin. Vergil tells me he's glad that he's been left out of this travesty.

A few reminders...

ABC is showing their new miniseries "The Empire" tonight at 9PM EST. Check your local listings for details. It's about the civil war after Julius Caesar's assassination. If I forget, I shall roast myself.

For those of you in the D.C. area, this is just a reminder for some of the Smithsonian lectures that are coming up in the next week. More details can be found in this entry.

Thursday, June 30 - Celtic Continuity in the Middle Ages: The fate of Celtic cultures after the fall of the Roman Empire; the Arthurian legends; and the Age of Saints - with Dr. Christopher Snyder of Marymount University.

Thursday, June 30 - Kathy Reichs on her book Cross Bones.

Tuesday, July 5 - The Christianizing of Attributes - with Dr. Angel Puglisi of Georgetown University.

Tuesday, July 5 - Spain's Balearic Islands - with Michael Hornum.

Google Earth and a wee bit more of Sappho

A "dear" friend of mine just introduced me to Google Earth. This is not an explicitly Classics-related link, but it has "torpedoed [my] productivity" because I keep looking up sites related to antiquity! Forgive the momentary lapse into slang, but--it's REALLY DAMN COOL!

I've found the Colosseum, the Vatican (you can even see the statues on top of St. Peter's as little dots!), the Acropolis, and the Louvre (which houses many artefacts from antiquity). It's terribly addictive!

I should probably return to Vergil (we had a horrible fight last night, but I was probably just cranky because it was late), but before I go, I wanted to share with all of you one of my favourite paintings: Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, 1864.

The painting is by Simeon Solomon, and I came across it a month and a half ago while looking desperately for some illustration for my presentation on female homosexuality in antiquity. Clearly, we now know that Sappho and Erinna were not contemporaries, but it's a wonderful painting anyway.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Greek Sappho at last!

Well! This certainly requires a new post! One of my wonderful readers, who wishes to remain anonymous, just sent me a scan of the Greek from the TLS! It's too big to post as an image here without messing up the format of this blog, so I'll just post a link: Sappho in Greek from the TLS.

All I can say is, even with my broken Greek, this poem sounds beautiful. Sappho was a true artist.

Edit: You may also want to see posts from June 24 (includes link to Martin West article) and June 26 (includes the Greek typed out in Unicode).

I still plan on buying several copies from Borders when it comes in, of course.

This one's for the bibliophiles!

Apparently, has seen fit to release the entire set of Penguin paperback books for about $8000. That is, supposedly, a 40% savings, and it does include the multiple translations of Homer--as well as all the other Classical authors they've published, including Aeschylus, Aesop, Apollonius of Rhodes, Appian, Apuleis, Aristophanes, Aristotle, Augustine of Hippo, Marcus Aurelius, Julius Caesar, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cassius Dio, Euripides, Eusebius, Heraclitus, Herodotus, Justinian, Titus Livy, Ovid, Plato, Petronius, Plautus, Pliny the Elder, Plotinus, Plutarch, Sallust, Seneca, Sophocles, Suetonius, Tacitus, Thucydides, Virgil, Xenophon, and any others I missed what skimming. It's interesting to see how inconsistant they are with Roman names (which I've typed as they listed them).

That, of course, also includes all of the later "classics," including all of Shakespeare and even the Letters of John & Abigail Adams (which I already have--and believe me you, they are steeped in the Classical tradition).

This is me drooling, by the way, and wishing I had $8000 to spare. Alas, the life of a poor college student does not allow for this. Donations are, as always, quite welcome.

Something else, quite unrelated, that has also come across my radar (this time, via the Classics-L list again), is a new GreekTranscoder program, which is free and apparently allows for easy conversion between one Greek text to another. This means, for instance, if you can't read the Unicode I've put up for the Sappho text, you can run it through this transcoder into a text you can read. Although, it might just be easier to download and install the Unicode font! But in terms of publishing and updating older texts with older fonts, this promises to be a very useful tool! I've yet to try it, but I'm downloading it now!

Still no word, by the way, on my own copy of the June 24th edition of the TLS. Borders tells me they don't have it in yet, which is somewhat vexing. I shall try again this evening and tomorrow morning before I go in for Latin. Rest assured, as soon as it's in my hands, you all will get to see a scanned copy. I'm thinking of picking up extras, if anyone is ultimately unable to get a copy for themselves. Again, the life of a poor college student doesn't allow me to do this for free, so I'd probably need to be reimbursed. They appear to be running for $5 (shipping will depend on where you live), and my e-mail address is listed in my profile.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sappho in Greek! And did the Romans "invade" Britain?

Thanks to a wonderful member on Classics-L, we now have the Greek text to the "new" Sappho poem! It's in unicode, so you'll need to have that installed. Otherwise, Borders tells me they will have the TLS probably tomorrow. As soon as I have it, I'll scan it in as a picture file of some sort, probably JPG.

The text is, of course, from Martin West's article in the TLS:

῎Υμμες πεδὰ Μοίσαν ἰ]ο̣κ[ό]λ̣πων
κάλα δῶρα, παῖδες,
σπουδάσδετε καὶ τὰ]ν̣ φιλἀοιδον
λιγύραν χελύνναν·

ἔμοι δ᾽ἄπαλον πρίν] π̣οτ᾽ [ἔ]ο̣ντα
χρόα γῆρας ἤδη
ἐπέλλαβε, λεῦκαι δ’ ἐγ]ένοντο
τρίχες ἐκ μελαίναν·

βάρυς δέ μ’ ὀ[θ]ῦμο̣ς̣ πεπόηται, γόνα
δ’ [ο]ὐ φέροισι,
τὰ δή ποτα λαίψηρ’ ἔον ὄρχησθ’ ἴσα

τὰ <μὲν> στεναχίσδω θαμέως· ἀλλὰ τί
κεν ποείην;
ἀγήραον ἄνθρωπον ἔοντ᾽ οὐ δύνατον

καὶ γἀρ π̣[ο]τ̣α̣ Τίθωνον ἔφαντο
βροδόπαχυν Αὔων
ἔρωι φ̣ . . α̣θ̣ε̣ισαν βάμεν’ εἰς
ἔσχατα γᾶς φέροισα[ν,

ἔοντα̣ [κ]ά̣λ̣ο̣ν καὶ νέον, ἀλλ’
αὖτον ὔμως ἔμαπψε
χρόνωι π̣ό̣λ̣ι̣ο̣ν̣ γῆρας, ἔχ[ο]
ν̣τ’ ἀθανάταν ἄκοιτιν.

My Greek isn't exactly good enough to warrent comments from me. I plan on shoving it in my professor's face on Wednesday, though. If any interesting discussion comes up, it will, of course, be posted here.

Taking a 180 from archaic Greek to "modern" Latin, Father Foster has a new segment up today. He discusses boxing and space-travel and proves that even monks can be snarky.

David Meadows at rogueclassicism also posted an interesting article from the Independent on the Roman Invasion of Britain (or lack thereof?). I have to admit I had the same questions running through my head while reading that as David did. I think the "answer" probably lies somewhere in the middle ground of what was known before and what has recently been discovered.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

What do Alexander the Great and Dead Zone have in common? Absolutely nothing, except they're both in this post!

I've still no copy of the Greek of Sappho's "new" poem, but I should be able to get it as soon as "this week's" issue of TLS makes it across the pond.

It's a good thing they all know I'm an insane aspiring Classicist at work already, because my over-enthusiasm for Sappho might have been disturbing otherwise.

However, what has arrived is my copy of National Geographic's Beyond the Movie: Alexander the Great. This is an exciting little gem that got shafted because the movie flopped. Scholars interviewed are (in order of name-appearance, as shown on screen in the video, because it's obvious that Cartledge isn't the other "Professor" in the film, even if he's the only one with the title):

Robin Lane Fox - Oxford University
Professor Paul Cartledge - Cambridge University
John Maxwell O'Brien - Queens College
Joseph Scholten - University of Maryland
Colonel Lance Betros - U.S. Military Academy, West Point
David Byers Millers - National Geographic Maps
Partha Bose - Author of Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy
Andrew Chugg - Author of The Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great

It's an excellent little video (available on Amazon) that was meant to come out with the recent Alexander movie. Except, the movie flopped, so I don't think NG actually aired it (at least, that's what I was told). What I really liked about it, though, was that it wasn't cut-and-dry "this is what Alexander did," etc. They really tried to explore Alexander's psychological motivations, including discussion on Olympias (primarily Cartledge and O'Brien). Scholten also has a few good lines about trying to get inside Alexander's head and exploring his personality. Colonel Betros also had some excellent discussion about Alexander's military strategy.

The other thing I liked was their discussion of Alexander's influence on great leaders in the modern world. Bose discusses George Washington's strategy and how Alexander influenced it. There is also the (obvious) discussion of Napoleon and Patton.

As a bonus (for me), it was the first time I've seen Robin Lane Fox, so now I know what he looks like!

There's also a short extra called "The Influence of Troy's Legend," which is clearly calculated to bring in the movie-going crowd (again). It's actually about the Iliad's influence on Alexander and his relationship to Achilles, so it really just rehashes Homer. It's really not as interesting to a someone with basic knowledge of Classics, but I'm sure it was good for the uninformed.

Anyway, I liked it, despite the bashing review on Amazon.

And on a completely unrelated note, if there are any Dead Zone fans reading this, one of the extras in the Season 3 DVD set includes a bit on pankration, even discussing it as an ancient Olympic sport. Apparently, Chris Bruno (Walt Bannerman) trains in a somewhat modernised version of pankration. My knowledge of ancient sports (or modern, for that matter) is next to nil, however, so I really have little else to say about it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

New(ly discovered) Sappho poem!

Well, this article on a newly discovered Sappho poem just landed in my inbox from the Classics-L mailing list.

The title "A new Sappho poem" is somewhat fraudulent, in that (ok, this is the nitpick in me) 1) there is no such thing as a "new" Sappho poem at this point, since she is well and truly dead, and 2) we've had a decent-sized (compared to others) fragment of this poem for a while. It's the one that mentions Tithonos, number 29 in Diane J. Rayor's translation in Sappho's Lyre.

Ok. I just noticed for the first time that Perseus doesn't have Sappho. That seems like a serious oversight to me, but it probably has more to do with the fact that her work is so fragmentary.

It's also cited as fragment 58 v. in Jane McIntosh Snyder's Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho.

Anyway, I won't copy the entire article here, but I'll copy Martin West's translation of the entire poem as we now have it:

[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.

This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.

Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,

handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o’ertook him, husband of immortal wife."

A few words are still missing, but it is complete enough for real interpretation and smooth reading now! For one, it looks like some of the pronouns have been cleared up. I especially like that we can now see the emphasis on "being human" now that we have those words. The idea was there (and I'd argue that the basic idea of the poem was understandable before), but the artistry comes through better now, in my opinion.

In order to get the Greek, you'll have to get your hands on a copy of TLS. I'm going to try to find it at work (and barring that, see if I can order it somewhere), and I'll be sure to post what I find here!

The interesting part, though, is that they did not know where this poem supposedly begun and ended until they found this new fragment. Thus, Rayor includes two extra lines in the beginning and in the end, while Snyder includes 11 extra lines in the beginning (presumably, now, from another poem) and four extra lines at the end. Based on those two translations (I don't really know if they are an accurate sample of general academic consensus prior to the discovery of this new fragment, though), the poem seems to be quite a bit shorter than originally imagined.

It is a beautiful and moving poem, as are Sappho's others, and I can only imagine it is even better in the original Greek. My Greek is not yet good enough for Sappho, but it is certainly something for me to look forward to reading!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Temple of Poseidon

This picture was too beautiful not to post: Temple of Poseidon

The photographer was apparently playing off of the Moon Illusion, which I sadly missed last night due to clouds and buildings and trees and the like. Eheu!

In other news, Vergil and I continue to wrestle. He is not coming as easily as Ovid, but I suspect that is because I'm using a Latin edition with notes for Vergil, rather than an Ovid reader.

Whitaker's WORDS and the OLD are becoming my new best friends.

Oh, I just had a thought (wow, you say, a thought managed to pop through in her muddled head?). I have a whole mess of Classics related pictures sitting on a disk from Paris last month. I could, every so often, pick one to post and write about, if there is any interest in that. Let me know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Smithsonian Resident Association Program lectures

For the folks in D.C., there are some interesting lectures coming up through the Smithsonian Resident Association Program this summer (actually, there always are), some of which are related to Classical antiquity. There is a series called Celtic Realms, with lectures June 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, and 28. They will all be done by Dr. Christopher Snyder of Marymount University. The most relevant lectures are June 23 ("The Ancient Celts: The origins of the Celtic-speaking peoples, from the Bronze Age to the Roman conquest of Gaul and Britain") and June 30 ("Celtic Continuity in the Middle Ages: The fate of Celtic cultures after the fall of the Roman Empire; the Arthurian legends; and the Age of Saints"). But frankly, it all looks interesting. July 14 is about Scotland--including Macbeth and William Wallace!

There actually seems to be an even wider series of lectures on the Celts, by various professors, called "Celtic Connection."

Another interesting series is Signs and Symbols in Western Art, which includes lectures on June 28, July 5, 12, 19, 26 by Dr. Angel Puglisi at Georgetown University. The relevant lectures are June 28 (The Graeco-Roman World) and July 5 (The Christianizing of Attributes).

There's also a lecture on June 30 by Kathy Reichs on her new book Cross Bones, which apparently "raises questions about the Holy Family and their possible burial in a secret crypt." I've not read it, but that sounds interesting too.

Another series is on the Glorious Islands of the Mediterranean, with lectures on July 5 (Spain's Balearic Islands), 12 (Malta's Temples of Stone Age Genius), 19 (The Isle of the Cyclops: Sicily, Pantelleria, and Lampedusa), 26 (Ancient Sardinia). Most of the lectures are with Michael Hornum, except for July 12 with Linda Eneix.

Then there's a whole day, July 9, on The Gnostic Gospels with Dr. Bart D. Ehrman of University of North Carolina.

Next is a half-week on The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, July 11-14 (once a day), with Dr. Bob Brier of Long Island University.

There's another one-lecture program called A Language History of the World with Nicholas Ostler, who is apparently one of those people who makes everyone else feel inadequate, because he has a "working knowledge of 18 languages." Right. I'm trying to conquer three for right now. Anyway, that's on July 13. And he quotes Themistocles via Plutarch on that page.

We also have The Art of Tuscany with Dr. Christiane Joost-Gaugier. Lectures are July 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10. As always, the first is the most relevant, covering "Ancient and Medieval Tuscany." However, they are all relevant to those with an interest in the Classical tradition.

The last directly-relevant lecture for July is on July 19 with Dr. Steven Rutledge of University of Maryland, called Fiddling with Nero, appropriately on the anniversary of the fire in Rome.

I would, of course, advise that you look through the listings yourself, as there are several other interesting lectures, some of which are at least tangentially related. However, there is only so much I'm willing to type up! They also already have listings for August and September, but I shall go through those closer to their dates.

Unfortunately, they all cost money, which is why you won't be seeing me at most of them. The cheapest and most affordable to students would be the one-lecture programs, which include "Fiddling with Nero," "A Language History of the World," and Kathy Reich's lecture.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Catching up on Father Foster...

So I was either busy with exams, in Paris, or recovering from Paris when a few of the Father Foster programs came out. I decided to listen to them now (just to spite Vergil), and I was especially amused by the June 4th program, "A Latin Dream." He has a lovely rant at the end about how his Latin is not obscure--people just don't know Latin! Ita vero!

Father Reginald Foster, for those of you who do not know, is the Pope's Chief Latinist. Incidently, he is actually an American. He is also a living, breathing example of why Latin is not a dead language. As I like to say: non mortua--transformata!

And because he was talking about "somnium meum in vita," here's my own: Somnium meum in vita est ut linguam Latinam Patre Fostere noscam.

That should hopefully read, "My dream in life is to study Latin with Father Foster."

I figure I might as well make my Latin mistakes while there are fewer people around to see them. Hopefully, someone nice will correct me if I'm wrong.

But yes, that is my other goal, besides grad school. Father Foster is wonderful. He is passionate about Latin, knows the language better than anyone else in the world, and has a sense of humour. I am not Catholic, but I can respect and love that. And besides, how can you not love a man who says, "Without Latin, you should just stay in bed!"?

Although, the way Vergil is "kicking my butt" right now, bed is looking awfully inviting. I certainly shall not be able to finish Book II of the Georgics tonight. I was much too optimistic for my professor. Eheu!

In other news, it is purportedly Alexander the Great's birthday. This reminds me that I've only 11 years left to conquer the known world. I'm two years behind on ruling my own kingdom. Hrm. Suggestions?

In the mind of the Latin student...

Vergil and I had a conversation this "morning." It went something like this:

Vergil: Lege me! Lege me, nunc!
Me: English, please.
Vergil: Read me! Now! And stop dawdling!
Me: You didn't really say that last part in Latin.
Vergil: ::rolls eyes:: Non cuncta!
Me: ::sigh::
Vergil: If you stop dawdling, I'll lay off the subjunctives for a while...
Me: ::sigh:: Fine, fine!
Vergil: Excellentissimus!
Me: You know, you don't really speak like that in anything I've read.
Vergil: Quidquid! It's called "poetic license."
Me: Oh, real authentic that. And "quidquid" just doesn't have the same ring as "WhatEVER!"
Vergil: Lege me!
Me: Fine! But you're starting to sound like Audrey II. ::starts reading:: "...neu segnes iaceant terrae..." Hey, I thought you were laying off the subjunctives!
Vergil: Ita vero! But I didn't say forever! ::smirk::
Me: ::sigh:: ::mutters:: Nunquam vinco... (I never win...)

**Please forgive any errant Latin, as I'm sure Vergil can't be perfect all the time (or maybe he can). I hope this is readable to the non-Latinists as well!**

Edit: If we are to believe the OLD (and we are, because the OLD is equaled only by Liddell & Scott and the OED), then Vergil, dear dead Roman that he is, might actually have been telling me to collect his cremated bones. Of course, he assures me that he was not. I'm not even sure I'd know where to begin looking for them.

Monday, June 20, 2005

On Medea and female homosexuality in antiquity (quite unrelated)

You asked for a rant, so it seems you shall receive one. Reading this article from the Savannah Morning News, which I found from rogueclassicism, I was struck by this line: In the story of Jason and the Argonauts, you realize for the first time that Jason was really a cad. Who was he to think that Medea, the woman who not only loved him but saved his life, would be OK with his marrying another woman?

Now, I don't know about you, but even when my knowledge of mythology was only cursory, I was quite aware that Jason was a cad. My first realisation of that was the first time I was even aware of Jason's existence! That, of course, is my own bias, but it shocks me every time someone implies that Jason could be anything but a cad. I'm also not sure about others, but I know we read Euripides' Medea in our intro-mythology course. How anyone can consider Jason anything but a cad after reading that is beyond my powers of interpretation.

On a different note, I thought I'd share with you, dear readers, a picture I took at the Louvre in Paris last month (I'd be happy to e-mail a larger version if anyone is interested):

Relief of two women, from the Louvre

My biggest regret is that I didn't have time to take a picture of the information with it or write it down, so I can't track this particular piece, other than to say that it is from the Louvre (and located near the statuette of Euripides that is in my icon). I do remember that the subject of the relief, as far as the Louvre or my professor knew, is uncertain. The usual speculation would be that it depicts Demeter and Persephone, but there is nothing explicit in this image to indicate that. In fact, having just written a paper on female homosexual relationships in antiquity (which, sadly, did not include analysis of visual images) this past semester, it seems to me that this possibility should, at the very least, be entertained. Particularly noting the gestures of the woman on the left and the look of the woman on the right, I am personally convinced that it depicts female homosexuality. However, my "expertise" lies more in the analysis of literature than it does in visual art. Thus, if anyone has anything more to contribute, I would certainly be interested in hearing from them.

Most useful, of course, would be some sort of date for this piece and of what it is a part. There are certain periods when female homosexuality was more acceptable than it was in others.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Still under construction, I suppose.

Thanks also to N.S. Gill at Ancient Classical History for linking here!

Not that anyone should expect my progress to happen on a daily basis, but I'm afraid the only step I've taken towards grad school today was to buy a GRE book. It was the Princeton Review book, in case anyone cares. However, I'm fairly certainly no one visits this blog to read about which GRE book I bought.

However, I've been pondering in which direction I should take this blog. I want it to be an account of getting to and maybe even through a grad program in Classics, and that will require some personal experience in order to be of any use to anyone. However, I'm also quite aware that too many personal details are weighty and boring. So I'm asking you all, dear readers, for a little input:

1) Why did you decide to visit this blog?
a. You know me, and I made you click!
b. You saw a link on another website and thought it looked interesting.
c. You saw a link on another website and like clicking on links.
d. A friend (not me) told you about it.
e. Plato told you to.
f. other -- please specify

2) What would you like to see from this blog?
a. Only posts strictly relevant to grad programs in Classics.
b. Postings every other day (or maybe once or twice a week) including only information relevant to grad programs in Classics and "major" developments in my personal studies with Classics.
c. Daily postings (or almost daily) related to my Classical studies, which are usually not as mundane as "I bought a GRE book," but I suppose they can be after a day of work. Maybe I'll take weekends off, because that's when I work.
d. other -- please specify

3) Do you plan on visiting this blog again?

4) Anything else you'd like to suggest.

In other news, perusing a copy of Who Killed Homer? at work today taught me a little about academic in-fighting. Although I find it somewhat disturbing, I've still not been scared away from academia. I'm really not certain if that can be considered a good sign.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Since I've dropped you all in media res...

Wow, when I started this blog yesterday, I only expected perhaps a small handful of visitors, most of whom I already knew. Thanks to David Meadows at rogueclassicism for linking here!

I went up to my Classics dept today to drop off some work to one of my professors. After talking a while with her, it struck me--these undergrad days are precious. Don't wish them away too quickly. Yes, it was depressing to see most of my friends graduating this year, when I should have as well, but I am very lucky to have the excuse and the ability to stay an extra year.

I suppose I should explain a bit of my background, since most people here probably don't know exactly where I'm coming from in my quest for grad school. I started as an English major and finally accepted that I was a Classics major in disguise during my Junior year (when you realise you're actually closer to finishing the requirements for the Classics major than you are for your own English major, facing the truth is inevitable). It was then that I started taking Latin, which I had put off for personal reasons until the last possible moment for my English degree. That was my first mistake. I've since rectified it and have now finished the equivalent of two years of Latin and am still looking to make up lost time. I'm translating Vergil's Georgics this summer with one of my professors, and I'm scheduled to take Vergil's Aeneid and Cicero this fall. I started Greek a semester after Latin and shall graduate next spring with a total of two years of Greek. As for non-language Classics courses, I've taken more than I care to count. They're addictive.

But, of course, the intent of this blog is to look forward. I've finally decided that I want to concentrate on Greek tragedies, which were my first real inspirations in Classical studies. Finally, a hint of decisiveness from me!

Thanks, also, to Featherwolf, who affirmed that I should be taking the general GREs. I'll be calling to make an appointment next week, as soon as I can bring myself to face the phone.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Chairete! Salvete!

The world of Classics blogs seems to already have a life of its own. Classics enthusiasts, students, and even professors have set up a wide variety of informative blogs and blogs for discussion. So why, then, should an inconsequential undergrad (super)senior think to add to the mélange of Classics blogs?

Well, the hardest part about entering Classical academia has been the lack of knowledge about the process. Professors can teach you about the ancient world, but their days of being aspiring Classicists are usually long over, and in many cases, the process has changed. Then, we look to our fellow students. Although they claim interest in the Classics is resurging, many of us come from small departments, and of the handful of Classics majors, not everyone aspires to be a professional Classicist.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), though many of us seek solace in antiquity, modernity and its world of mass internet communication and publication has provided us innumerable tools for information--both good and bad--one of which allows this insignificant undergrad to create this blog. Should you continue reading this blog, you will find the trials and tribulations of an undergrad student trying to make her way into the world of Classical academia. Hopefully, other aspiring Classicists will find this blog useful in their own quests.

The first hump: GREs. I'm gathering that most grad schools want the general GRE, but I haven't found anything explicit on this. This is probably a case where asking one of my professors would be fruitful.

The other hump: Latin, Latin and more Latin. Virgil is eyeing me with impatience. The OLD has become my new best friend. I asked for an independent study course this summer, so I best be working. No rest for the weary.