Amphora is currently an annual publication that aims to convey the excitement of classical studies to a broad readership by offering accessible articles written by professional scholars and experts on topics of classical interest that include literature, language, mythology, history, culture, classical tradition and the arts, and by featuring reviews of current books, films, and web sites. Sponsored by the Committee on Outreach and supported by the SCS, Amphora will be for everyone interested in the study of ancient Greece and Rome. Engaging and informative, this publication is intended for a wide audience that will include professional classicists, present and former classics majors, interested academics and professionals in other fields, high-school teachers and students, administrators in the field of education, community leaders, and anyone with a strong interest in or enthusiasm for the classical world.
If you’re new to academic conferences, or to the joint annual meeting of the SCS/AIA, you may be thinking that the Exhibit Hall is mostly for buying books. And if you’re at the start of your career and/or on a modest budget, you may think that there’s nothing for you in the Exhibit Hall as a result. Au contraire! Here’s a short list of things you can do there—completely aside from buying books—that can be beneficial to your career, fun, interesting, worthwhile, and generally good things to do. The Exhibit Hall is generally open about nine hours a day for the two full days of the conference, plus a half day on either side, so there’s plenty of time to try these in small bits. As a press exhibitor myself (full disclosure) I spend many hours in the hall, so I have a chance to see the variety of exhibitors who transport their materials or goods or information to the conference, often from international origins, in hopes they’ll have an opportunity to talk with you.
One set of possible activities relates to developing your own publications, whether long or short. Odds are you’ll need to write at least one book in your career, plus a number of articles and book reviews. You may find yourself editing a volume of essays written by others, or involved in an honorary volume (maybe a festschrift, or a volume honoring a campus event, or perhaps documenting a campus collection of antiquities). Examining the journal and book offerings in the Exhibit Hall at this or other academic conferences is a real step forward in terms of developing your own scholarship in those different categories.
by Ellen Bauerle
This spring I was fortunate to hear an interesting panel discussion—stand-up-and-take-notice interesting—at the Medieval Academy of America’s annual meeting, hosted by Notre Dame University. The panelists’ observations seemed to me relevant to the SCS both as demonstrating additional kinds of outreach but more importantly as discussing the peculiar period higher education now finds itself in, and what might be done about that at every level, from junior scholar to dean.
by David Potter
On May 2, 2015, two men boxed for thirty-six minutes, and each made an enormous amount of money, splitting a record purse of $300 million. Fans may not have seen the greatest fight of all time, or anything close to it, but they did get to boo the winner, Floyd Mayweather, when he strutted around the ring after he was awarded the unanimous decision. The political ambitions of the loser, Manny Pacquiao, do not seem to have been damaged by his defeat. There are already rumors of a rematch. Tiberius Caesar would have been appalled.
On May 27, 2015, a series of indictments was issued against leaders of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for a wide range of corrupt activities in connection with the world’s most widely viewed sporting event, the World Cup. The modern notion that major sports organizations should claim to be self-policing and effectively free of governmental oversight—a privilege also asserted by, for instance, professional sports leagues in the United States and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)—descends from the early days of these institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Claudius Caesar would have been astounded.
Tiberius Caesar rarely gets much credit for innovative thought, yet he is the first person who sought to restrain runaway spending on sport. He set limits on the cost of public spectacle—gladiatorial combat to be specific—and faced the question of what might be reasonable public expenditure on sports. Claudius likewise gets little credit for creativity, but it seems to have been in his reign that imperial regulation of independent athletic associations became the order of the day. Although dossiers of imperial letters that have come down to us on papyrus refer to earlier grants of privileges from the Augustan era, the dossiers begin with a letter of Claudius.
The half-century before Tiberius took the throne as sole emperor in 14 CE was a period of extraordinary experimentation in public entertainment. Mime, with male and female performers, was becoming an increasingly important genre; women had started appearing as gladiators; new mythological dance routines—pantomime—had become amazingly popular; professional Greek athletics were increasingly interesting to Roman audiences; and there were now occasional aquatic spectacles. In summing up the events connected with the opening of Rome’s first permanent theater in 55 BCE, Cicero remarked that everything Pompey had to offer, people had seen before (Ad fam. 7.1). This may have been something of an exaggeration—an elephant massacre on the last day had been as novel as it was ill-advised—but the point remained that the aspiring autocrat needed to show some originality. Augustus had been determined not to make Pompey’s mistake.
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.”
Not surprisingly, then, in January the Outreach Committee enjoyed a lively discussion of the role of professional classicists and their students as editors of Wikipedia articles on classical subjects.
Wikipedia is, of course, “the encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” It is also the world’s sixth most-visited website. It is an enormous public forum in which academic experts and the interested public negotiate which facts should be given weight as reflective of a broad consensus of expert opinion. Wikipedia is a site to which many professors say that they turn for information outside their area of specialty. Teachers at leading universities now require that their students actively engage with the Wikipedia community. And these trends seem to be as true in classics as elsewhere. A show of hands at the Outreach Committee meeting confirmed that quite a few professors had edited articles. One member of the committee talked about requiring students to help edit Wikipedia articles. Many other Wikipedia classics editors are students–current or former–who were inspired by these same professors.
The question of the relationship of the credentialed expert to Wikipedia has been a raging controversy since (and, in truth, long before) Larry Sanger’s break with Wikipedia and subsequent publication of “The Fate of Expertise after Wikipedia” (Episteme, 2009). However, there seems to be less debate about the claim that Wikipedia and its users benefit from expert participation.
by Herbert W. Benario
This play is one of Shakespeare’s oddest. The theme focuses upon the Trojan War, with constant interplay among the great figures of the Greeks and Trojans, in the seventh year of the war. The cause of the war, the Trojan prince Paris stealing the beauteous wife of
Shakespeare will pronounce harsh judgments upon the heroine of the play. Her behavior and character will be sharply contrasted with one of Tacitus’ prime female figures in the struggle between Romans and Germans. Both suffer the indignity of being handed over to the enemy by their fathers. But their response and behavior are vastly different.
The focus of the play is likewise upon a young man and woman, Troilus, a son of King Priam of Troy, and Cressida, hitherto unknown in the ancient legend of Troy. She plays a relatively small role in the drama; indeed, almost everything about her is quizzical. She is traded by her father, Calchas, a seer who went over to the Greeks at the beginning of the war, for the release of an important Trojan, Antenor, of whom the audience knows nothing. Her father’s name is barely mentioned. Why had he defected from the Trojan side to that of the Greeks? But Homer (Iliad 1.69) states that he had sailed with the Greeks in the attack upon Troy. How came he there? Had he foreseen the ultimate victory of Troy’s enemy? For seven years, although on Trojan soil, he has had no contact with his daughter. Cressida tells Pandarus, “I have forgot my father; I know no touch of consanguinity; No kin, no love, no blood, no soul, so near me as the sweet Troilus.” (IV.2.99-102) Why?
What significance did he have among the Greek aristocracy that he should be the one to propose that his daughter should be exchanged for a political figure? Did he know that Cressida had of late spent a substantial amount of time with Troilus, which ultimately led, it appears, to intercourse and expression of deepest devotion? And, when the time came for the trade, she left Troy with deep feelings of love and regret but these rapidly passed and she soon found a Greek lover. Shakespeare tells his audience nothing about Calchas the father. The audience in the Playhouse must have been bemused when this as yet unknown character begins the proceedings that have such impact upon his daughter. Could he have determined that he wanted to separate Cressida from the Trojan royal family at the point when she grew from child to woman?
by Ronnie Ancona and Kathleen Durkin
There is a shortage of certified Latin teachers in the United States. Latin teaching positions at the precollegiate level sometimes cannot be filled for lack of qualified applicants. In New York State, for example, where we both teach, in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, Latin was named specifically as a language with a teacher shortage by the United States Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education.
by Sebastian Heath
As the tools and methods for creating 3D models of sites and objects become less expensive, archaeologists are increasingly putting them to good use in the field. This article focuses on my collaborative work to scan objects found at the site of Kenchreai in Greece and now stored nearby in the Isthmia Museum. It does cover practical issues and one goal of writing this piece is to encourage others to explore the creation of 3D content. Accordingly, I stress that 3D tools are becoming easier to use, not just less expensive. And it will be as important to think about what to do with these models after they are made. Permanent access to 3D models is a goal and initial steps towards that are described below. Likewise, rich linking of information about scanned objects to descriptions of their original archaeological findspot will further encourage contextualized studies of Greek and Roman material culture.
As 3D content becomes available on the internet, new approaches both to teaching and research will be enabled. This is particularly the case as virtual technologies move into consumer products, which is a development clearly seen in news coverage of relatively inexpensive virtual-reality headsets such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and FaceBook’s Oculus system. If immersive experiences are coming, classicists can prepare by creating materials that represent the cultures we study. Within this broad context, an underlying theme of the following discussion is that all members of the SCS community can choose to engage with the opportunities that three-dimensional renderings of the ancient Mediterranean world offer.
In recent years, a workflow that involves taking many photographs and processing them into a 3D model of a real-world object or scene has gained in both mind-share and actual results. This approach uses the overlap between photos in a set to calculate the position and shape of objects. That overlap can be discovered automatically and the resulting model has a realistic appearance and can serve as a useful surrogate for the original. Many practical examples and good discussions of photo-based modeling appear in the recent volume Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology, edited by W. Caraher and B. Olson and freely available in PDF form (http://tinyurl.com/pz2rano). The work I describe here builds on themes developed in my contribution to that volume.
A major advantage of the photo based approach is cost. Many archaeologists working in the Mediterranean and elsewhere are using Agisoft Photoscan, which is available for an educational price of $59.00, though other solutions exist and there are more expensive versions of Photoscan as well.
by Thomas D Kohn
A few years ago, I adopted the Anthology of Classical Myth, edited by SM Trzaskoma, RS Smith, and S Brunet (Hackett, 2004), for my Greek and Roman mythology course. And so, some months before the start of the semester, I read through the text, in order to familiarize myself with the selections. At the same time, I began to read the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan. I was amazed by the degree to which the two complemented each other.
by Amy Richlin
In 1954, the girls went out to play
on the green lawns, under the maples lush with June,
and brought their cat’s-cradle strings and dolls
and a book.
“She’s always got her nose in a book,” their mothers said,
wondering about the distant years,
and called them home to dinner:
“Barbara! Natalie!”—names little girls had then,
just as they once were Sylvia and Celia,
Fanny and Minnie and Ida before that.
Serious girls, or rowdy, they got straight A’s,
they couldn’t leave the books alone, and wouldn’t rest,
but thought they might write one,
much to everyone’s surprise.
(No one expected a girl to write a book; not someone
who loved the color pink, and liked to go shopping,
and once wore Mary Janes.)
Once they wore red Keds, and collected barrettes;
once their skin was smoother than a Band-Aid,
and their eyelashes lay as they slept on cheeks like peonies.
Now it is summer again, and the trees cast the same green shade;
underneath, they still lie, reading;
and their mothers are calling them home.
In memory of Natalie Boymel Kampen (1944-2012), Barbara McManus (1942-2015), and all the women of my generation who are gone; and thinking of all the rest who are gone too soon. Sylvia was my mother's name (1917-2003); Celia was the mother of a friend (1913-1973); Fanny and Ida were my grandmothers, Min was Fanny's cousin. Names mark generations, and each generation has its own roll call. “Barbara! Natalie!”: maybe in small towns they still do this, I hope they do, but in our childhood mothers at twilight would stand on the front stoop and call their children home, on a falling minor third.
Virginia Woolf said, “We think back through our mothers if we are women.” Not only my own childhood but my mother’s and her mother’s are part of me just like the rings of a tree: “We used to play under the front porch”; “The ladies used to hide us under the bundles of cloth when the inspector came around.” The “distant years” come from W.B. Yeats’ “A Prayer for My Daughter,” from which this poem departs.
by Victoria Pagán
The story is familiar. Musician marries the love of his life; on their wedding day, she dies. He grieves until he wills his way into the Underworld and is allowed to retrieve her on one condition, which he violates. Thus, even the theme is the same: the fallibility of the human condition and the inability of art to triumph over the persistence of suffering and the finality of death. Nor is Eurydice a strident feminist with a point to prove, after centuries of silent existence as nothing more than a catalyst for the erotic narrative that is the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.