Classics and the modern world

By Wells Hansen | July 10, 2017

This article was originally published in Amphora 12.1. It has been edited slightly to adhere to current SCS blog conventions.

Elsewhere in this issue, in his article titled The Metal Age, Kris Fletcher discusses the relationship between classical studies and heavy metal music. Examining various metal appropriations of themes, characters, and ideas from classical antiquity, some less orthodox than others, Fletcher notes, “… these songs should remind us that we as classicists do not control this material.” On the SCS website, Mary-Kay Gamel and the Outreach Committee have voiced a similar view concerning the shared understanding of classical material: “We use the word ‘outreach’ not to suggest a one-way communication in which scholars inform others, but a complex interaction in which all involved contribute to a discussion of what Classics is and what it might be.”

By Kristopher Fletcher | June 12, 2017

This article was originally published in Amphora 12.1. It has been edited slightly to adhere to current SCS blog conventions.

It is a great time to be a fan of both the classical world and heavy metal music: the two have never overlapped to the extent that they do right now. Consider, for example, the fact that in 2013 not one but two Italian metal bands, Heimdall and Stormlord, released concept albums based on Vergil’s Aeneid.

By Tom Kohn | April 10, 2017

This article was originally published in Amphora 12.1. It has been edited slightly to adhere to current SCS blog conventions.

By William Scott Duffy | April 3, 2017

Milman Parry’s theory that the Homeric poems are the result of oral-formulaic composition, is central to the study of ancient epic. It can also be difficult to explain to students or non-Classicist friends, since the Iliad and Odyssey are now consumed primarily as books, not oral poems. Most oral traditions are at the tail end of their existence and most members of contemporary, literate societies have little experience with them. There is little to be done about the first of these issues, but we can address the second. While we may not have access to a significant body of oral composition, there are art forms created in the moment of performance that can be quite helpful in explaining how the Homeric epics were created and consumed by audiences. The most notable of these is professional wrestling.

By Garret FitzGerald | January 30, 2017

I was surprised to receive an invitation to write this blog; it was based on some passing remarks that I made last year at a meeting in Dublin on BioPharma on the valuable role that the Greek and Roman classics played in my education. I am, by way of background, a physician and a scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, where I chair a basic science department and direct an institute devoted to translation of basic discoveries into novel therapeutics and diagnostics.

By Nigel Nicholson | October 16, 2016

This paper was delivered as part of "The Future of Classical Education: A Dialogue," a panel organized by the SCS Program Committee at the 147th annual meeting of the SCS in San Francisco, January 8, 2016.

The problem of perceived employability

The biggest challenge that Classics as a discipline faces in the current climate in this country is surely the perception that, unless you are going to be a teacher, a BA in Classics does not make you much more employable than a high school diploma. The challenge comes from a variety of stakeholders: students, of course, current, past and future; students’ parents (I am sure we have all had conversations with parents about what young Johnny will “do” with a classics degree); but also accrediting agencies, deans and provosts, foundations and donors; and, right now, crucially, employers, and indeed many of the employers that our students are interested in working for.

By Ted Gellar-Goad | January 24, 2015

It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.

So ended Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s chances of unseating Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in the 2012 U.S. election.  Discussing pregnancy resulting from rape (timeline of the comments here), Akin was defending his belief that anti-abortion laws shouldn’t include exemptions for victims of rape.  Akin’s words are a now-classic example of a “Kinsley gaffe,” when a politician slips up and says what s/he actually thinks—classic enough that the term “Akinize” now describes the tactic whereby a Democrat compares a Republican opponent’s words to Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments.

Akin was expressing a factually baseless belief that’s not a new idea, and was part of such a trend of election-cycle “rape and pregnancy controversies” that Wikipedia has a page devoted to it.  He also was participating in a tradition dating back at least to the 1st/2nd-century CE Greek medical writer Soranus of Ephesus, whose treatise on gynecology is filled with quack-science gems akin to Akin’s.  Yet there’s a key difference of opinion between Akin and Soranus, as we’ll see, that makes Akin’s comments more sinister by contrast.

By Ted Gellar-Goad | January 24, 2015

“At last my love has come along.” — At Last, written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren
tandem uenit amor (at last my love has come along) — Sulpicia poem 1, line 1

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