This paper argues that recent additions to our understanding of Roman Epicureanism enhance our appreciation for how Horace presents the tensions between public duties in the city and private pursuit of ataraxia in Satires 2.6.  The most significant treatments of Satires 2.6 accurately describe the poetic effects, rhetorical devices, the carefully balanced structure of the poem, and identify some of the Epicurean intertexts such as Lucretius 3.1060-67 and Philodemus’ dinner invitation to his patron Piso, AP 11.44 (Bond, Brink, Gigante, Muecke, West).  West

            One of the most powerful attributes of Horatian satire is its ability to provide seemingly frivolous entertainment while communicating moral truth.  The Roman satirist Perseus effectively captured the force of this paradox: omne uafer uitium ridenti Flaccus amico | tangit et admissus circum praecordia ludit (1.116-117).  This approach to satire is traditionally associated with the Cynic spoudaiogeloion motif, which combines attacks on vicious behavior with language that is colorful, outrageous and even obscene.  In Sermones 1.1, Horace employs

This paper contends that, although Philodemus of Gadara’s doctrines on friendship retain the essential elements of Epicurus’ teachings, he reshapes and adds to these teachings to reflect the social and cultural reality of his contemporary late-republican, Roman context. Where Epicurus had stressed the utilitarian nature of friendship among a community of Epicureans, Philodemus highlights both the utilitarian and affectionate nature of friendship.

Lucretius’ account of the emergence of consciousness in Book 3 of the De Rerum Naturae (DRN 3.136-9, 258-81, 323-32) has long resisted interpretation by scholars using the usual tools of analytical philosophy.  In this paper, I argue that a literary analysis, sensitive to the figural aspects of language and borrowing from the poststructuralist toolbox (i.e. Derrida 1974, Butler 1993; cf. Kennedy 2002), solves some central philosophical problems in these passages.

In this paper I argue that the Orphic hymn to Zeus quoted in the Derveni papyrus, the Aristotelic De mundo, and by a series of later writers, was composed in a hybrid meter that combines Greek hexameters with the meter found in the poetry of Northern Syria and Mesopotamia. Using metrical analysis, I propose a new reconstruction of the hymn to Zeus. I contend that the earliest version of the hymn comply both with the standards of hexametrical and Semitic poetry, but that later versions sometimes display no familiarity with Semitic verse making.

Grammars of Classical Greek note that the potential optative can be accompanied by a negative, resulting in 'total negation' (Gildersleeve §442), i.e., the statement that it is not possible that something might happen (as opposed to the statement that it is possible that something might not happen), as in the following well-known dictum of Heraclitus, 

(1)       δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης.            

You cannot step into the same river twice.

The word douleuma, which appears only three times in extant Greek literature, is defined as “slave” or “servitude” (LSJ), but this lexical meaning is not well-supported by the contexts in which the word appears. This paper will argue that douleuma in the three passages in which it appears does not signify a person’s status as a slave or the duty of a slave to perform service for its owner as is commonly understood.

Sophocles’ Electra, in trying to persuade Chrysothemis to join her cause, reminds her sister that their dead father “was arm-pitted” by Clytemnestra (ἐμασχαλίσθη El. 445).  The term is rare and its meaning problematic; outside the scholiastic tradition the verb recurs only in A. Cho. (ἐμασχαλίσθη 439), likewise describing the treatment of Agamemnon’s corpse, and the corresponding noun occurs only in Sophocles’ lost Troilus (πλήρη μασχαλισμάτων 623 TrGF, cf. 528; adesp.

In this paper I argue that a verb attested in an inscription from Larissa, Thessaly, published in 2007, provides a valuable piece of evidence that clarifies the historical development of so-called ‘Aeolic’ inflection in Greek dialects.

Bombing Syria and the “Logic of Empire"

For several weeks in August and September, the United States government considered whether or not to bomb Syria. Public support for bombing hovered around ten percent, but the nation’s leaders seemed open to proceeding with military action. Various reasons were offered – to prevent further deaths from gas attacks by Syrian government forces; to degrade the Assad regime’s capacity to launch such attacks; to enforce international laws banning chemical weapons; to honor President Obama’s “red line” ultimatum of some months earlier; and to show rogue regimes and the world that the United States meant business when it made threats. An addendum to the last argument was that inaction would embolden the likes of Iran or North Korea. This line of thought got me thinking of a course I teach at Penn State, and the “logic of empire.”

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