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The University of Cologne (Germany’s largest university with more than 50,000 students) is offering
- a free, intensive course in German aimed to meet the specific needs of young researchers in classics
- free access to lectures, classes and seminars at the departments of Classics, Ancient History, and Classical Archaeology
- seminars where you can present your research and discuss it with local faculty and graduate students
- guided tours and excursions to the archaeological collections and sites of the Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (Cologne) and other Roman settlements/places in the Rhineland.
The language courses are sponsored by the University of Cologne and are free of charge for students who are enrolled in a graduate program in Classics in North America or are about to enter such a program. They will run from June 1 to July 10, 2015, and are organized by its Auslandsamt (international office), which will also offer assistance to find accommodations. Participants are expected to cover their travel expenses and living costs.
On a wintry day in 1996, I was thumbing through catalogues in a deserted corner of the library of Beijing Normal University when my attention was suddenly seized by some titles in a language strangely familiar. I could easily decipher them because of their resemblance to English words, and I knew the names of the authors as I had read them in translations. Latin! My instinct told me. I relayed this discovery to my teacher of Shakespearean plays, a BA in Classics who had just graduated from Oxford. The next morning saw us standing in front of a counter in the most secluded part of the library, after spiraling flights of gloomy stairs. A long silence ensued before the books were fetched from a bank ten stories above and presented before us. In a thrilled voice, my teacher began to read a Latin passage aloud to me. We had been the first in decades, the librarian told us, to borrow these books, and there were many more such books simply locked in some rooms, as no one had the expertise and the energy to catalogue them. I quickly found out, with the available catalogues, that the university had a substantially larger collection in Latin and Greek even than that of the National Library. Stunned, I tried to explain to myself this peculiarity. Then it dawned on me that most of these titles must have been acquisitions of Fu Jen Catholic University, out of which Beijing Normal University grew.
From The Clarion Ledger:
Seven University of Mississippi students recently participated in an educational trip of a lifetime, five weeks of learning in Rome and helping with an archaeological dig at a site that dates to about 600 B.C.
The multi-year excavation project is organized by the University of Michigan and the University of Calabria. Hilary Becker, Ole Miss assistant professor of classics, took the students to the Area Sacra di S. Omobono archaeological field school.
The students dug near the Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill. The excavation site was utilized as a Roman sanctuary that remained in use for more than 800 years. It was eventually transformed into Christian churches, the latest of which still stands.
In September 2012, Joseph Epstein published an essay in the Weekly Standard called Who Killed the Liberal Arts? The piece provoked lively response on the Classics List and at least one rapid, articulate response, by Katie Billotte in Salon.
Epstein’s argument is of more than passing concern to academics, scholars, students, and members of the general public interested in current debates about the value and vitality of the humanities and humanistic education, not only because he claims that the so-called liberal arts are dead, but also because he accuses humanists themselves of the murder. Moreover, it is important not to let his ideas go unchallenged, both because they are so often flawed, and also because they are part of a broader pattern of similar laments that collectively seek to push back against what is really not a death of humanism, but an inevitable, and not at all undesirable, historic evolution.
Amphora invited Michael Broder and Daniel Tompkins to collaborate on a response to Epstein. In consultation with the editors, Broder and Tompkins decided on a dialogic approach. The following is the result.
The Oresteia demands a large canvas. Its trajectory, from the end of the Trojan War to Athena's creation of the first trial by jury, is huge. It is the story of the movement from a tribal cry for blood revenge to a system of justice designed by a god but carried out by men. It addresses the struggle between male and female, chthonic and Olympian gods, tribe and polis, law and tradition, justice and revenge. When we first contemplated the notion of staging the Oresteia at Carleton College we were of course aware of the scale of this undertaking. But even so, the full magnitude of the production that resulted, and its impact on our campus and community, ended up taking us by surprise.
At the entrance of the maximum security prison where I taught Greek tragedy was a wooden plaque in the shape of a shield. It was emblazoned with a motto: Non sum qualis eram. Apart from its incongruity in this place of no Latin and less Greek, the motto struck me as equally a declaration of failure and of hope. The men inside were not what they once were. What were they now?
I knew very little about my students at Cheshire Correctional Institute. I’d been told that over 100 inmates had applied to take classes through Wesleyan University’s Center for Prison Education (CPE).* Only eighteen had been accepted after tests and interviews with Wesleyan faculty members, CPE staff, and prison administrators. The men had widely differing educational backgrounds, but had proved that they could succeed at Wesleyan course work: biochemistry, essay writing, sociology, and philosophy. By the second year of the pilot program, 2011, when I taught, the cohort had lost only two. Of the remaining sixteen, thirteen were African-American.
I’d been told that most of the men were serving long sentences for violent crimes. I didn’t ask for the particulars of who had done what. I would learn some details later, but for now that was enough. I wanted to think of them as students first and prisoners second.
In this issue of Amphora we are fortunate to have our Executive Director Adam Blistein’s account of his introduction to classics through a particularly gifted high school teacher and coach, Alfred Morro, and Adam’s comments on what that experience has meant to him. It was serendipity that Adam proposed his article to your Amphora staff for this issue, but his essay also fits nicely with another topic that has been under discussion among the APA’s Outreach division: thinking about our origins, about our path to classical studies, and what that tells us.
As I was getting to know social media a while back, and mindful of the colorful situations that people sometimes get themselves into with unfamiliar technology, I was looking for some safe, mild topics of discussion and posting. I got to talking with the smallish group of social media friends I had at the time about how they happened to reach the positions they held as adults—most but not all were college or university professors, and most of them were in North America. Was it a decisive college major? an accident of circumstance? a beloved teacher?
“Zero to Hero, in no time flat … Zero to Hero, just like that!” The Muses’ song from the Disney film Hercules could apply equally well to the sudden, spectacular rise of Hercules in pop entertainment of the late 1990s. Those proved lively years for the hero in American film and TV, spearheaded by the 1997 Disney animated movie and by television’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, starring Kevin Sorbo (1995-99). The two quickly spun off more TV series: Disney’s Hercules: The Animated Series (1998-99, 65 episodes of 30 minutes each) and Young Hercules (1998-99, 50 episodes also of 30 minutes each) starring Ryan Gosling.* Both spinoffs reimagined the mythological hero specifically for younger viewers and gave him unprecedented exposure in children’s weekday TV.†
The field of ancient cookery, as a scholarly and popular publication topic, has a long and proud tradition. Study of the subject works like field archaeology, in so far as the scholar must dig up (literally or figuratively) what information there is, recognize its usually egregious gaps, and fill them in as best he or she can. The latter is commonly achieved via comparison with better preserved examples from related fields or sites, with a lot of (usually) logical ratiocination to sew it all together. In this regard, the field archaeologist has a slightly easier row to hoe, in that irremediable gaps in the information can simply be left as unanswerable questions. Scholars of ancient cookery, in contrast, usually hope to recreate the cuisine of antiquity. Here a gap in the information can be disastrous, resulting in concrete, sludge, or flavors so abominable that not even the Romans could figure out a way to enjoy them. This powerful caveat must be kept in mind, since it explains why so much speculation, substitution, and invention are both justified and necessary. If we adhere strictly to available information, we would end up only with translations of terse ancient texts, few of which provide enough information to allow anything appealing to be cooked today.
Vera Lachmann was born in Berlin in 1904 into a family of the German-Jewish aristocracy. She attended a private school for girls, following which she studied philology at the Universities of Berlin and Basel and received her Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1931. Although she expected to teach at a German university, the bias against women led her to take the examinations that qualified her to teach at the Gymnasium level. In April 1933, with Hitler in power, she established a private school that was held on the grounds of relatives. The Nazis closed the school shortly after Kristallnacht. With the aid of friends in Germany and the United States she was able to leave Germany in November 1939. On arriving in the United States. she taught first at Vassar. Soon after, she taught for two years at Salem College in North Carolina, one academic year at Bryn Mawr, and two years at Yale. Her most substantial employment was at Brooklyn College, where she taught large courses in classical civilization and Greek drama in translation, and smaller courses in Greek: Antigone, Oedipus at Colonus, and the Iliad. Castrum Peregrini Press of Amsterdam published three books of her poetry, German and English on facing pages. A considerable number of her poems are on themes from ancient Greece. She died in 1985. In 2004 I edited Homer’s Sun Still Shines: Ancient Greece in Essays, Poems and Translations by Vera Lachmann.