In classical antiquity, “miscellaneous” texts were sometimes accompanied by a kind of paratext known today as a Table of Contents: a sequential list of titles or descriptions of the chapters, essays or sections that make up the work.  Modern study of paratext traditionally proceeds from studying books themselves, but no ancient manuscripts of these particular texts survive, which seems to foreclose a materially-oriented study of their nature and function.

In the preface to the second Book of Quaestiones convivales, Plutarch says that he simply jotted down the conversations “without any systematic order, as each came to mind” (Quaest. conv. 629D: σποράδην δ' ἀναγέγραπται καὶ οὐ διακεκριμένως ἀλλ' ὡς ἕκαστον εἰς μνήμην ἦλθεν). This statement is highly programmatic for the work’s underlying writing process and method of composition, including the structuring principles that guide it, however idiosyncratic they may be (König 2007, Morgan 2011).

Paper 4    394 words

Teaching Classics in Community Colleges

In this paper, I will explore the role of Classics in the two-year community college education system. I will describe my personal experiences with Classics at a two-year institution, and the shared experiences of other Classicists employed at community colleges elsewhere in the country. I will also discuss the potential for instructor-based and cross-institutional outreach for enhancing the visibility of Classics at all levels of education.

Paper 3

A Seal of Biliteracy for Classical Languages (419 words)

The goal of this presentation is to provide some historical background on the Seal of Biliteracy, the purposes and goals of the seal, and efforts to establish guidelines for a seal of biliteracy that will include students of  Latin and ancient Greek.

The Seal of Biliteracy movement began in California in 2008 and the state adopted guidelines for its seal in 2011. New York followed suit in 2012.

Paper 1.  The National Committee for Latin and Greek

(328 words)   15 minutes

This paper offers a sidelight to Paper 2 and 3 by discussing the Judeo-Christian creation of a new Alexander commonplace in ancient literature, namely the fictional story of Alexander’s visit to Jerusalem. Jews and Christians fully accepted the tale as part of genuine Alexander history, which sets them apart from the imperial ‘pagan’ writers, who never mention the visit. The story thus circulates in religious milieus as opposed to the acknowledged historiographical channels of Alexander literature, such as Arrian and Plutarch.

As Paper 2 shows, the easy circulation of Alexander-commonplaces throughout the Hellenistic Mediterranean paved the way for the Macedonian king’s use as a shared idiom for discussing kingship in varied Roman imperial literatures. Among Greek writers, Plutarch used such commonplaces to create a unique version of Alexander whose kingship, bound specifically to his status as a world conqueror, became the positive paradigm against which other Greek and Roman rulers could be measured, especially in the programmatic setting of the Lives.

This paper explores whether a set of Alexander commonplaces can help reveal a literary culture in the world of the Roman Empire that operated above linguistic and cultural differences. To do so it considers whether Alexander commonplaces can be productively viewed as a widely understood idiom for discussing kingship that was deployed in a variety of texts from the Latin, Greek, Jewish (Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew), and Demotic Egyptian literary traditions.

The author of these lines has frequently referred to what he thinks to be dead-ends in the History of Alexander the Great, for example in the following words: “Today the history of Alexander has […] reached a crisis point as it has not been sufficiently stimulated by the methodological advances which Greek history has, in the meantime, been able to adopt.


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