Book Review: "A Most Dangerous Book"? Depends who's reading it.

"No woman, according to New York Mayor Jimmy Walker, was ever ruined by a book. But Christopher B. Krebs, a classics professor at Harvard, makes a strong case that an early ethnological monograph, written in the first century in Latin by the Roman historian Tacitus, may have warped the cultural identity of an entire nation. In my old Penguin translation, 'Germania'—'On Germany'— runs fewer than 40 pages, but, like other comparably short documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and 'The Communist Manifesto,' its influence has been earthshaking. As the Penguin translator, H. Mattingly, frankly writes in his 1947 introduction, the book is 'a detailed account of a great people that had already begun to be a European problem in the first century of our era.'"

Read more of the review of A Most Dangerous Book at The Washington Post online.



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In March’s column, I examined the pattern I term “sinister adaptation” in Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones: the cinematic or television adaptation exaggerates violence against women present in the source-text or adds in violence that was not previously there.  Today, I contrast these examples (and one more American film) with Terentian comedy and Senecan tragedy.

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 05/31/2015 - 8:20pm by .

In a recent issue of Vanity Fair author Peter Davis writes about a dinner party hosted by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at which John H. Finley, Jr. and I. F. Stone discuss (mainly) the death of Socrates but also other aspects of ancient Greek civilization.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 05/22/2015 - 9:03am by Adam Blistein.

The SCS has awarded its second group of Zeph Stewart Latin Teacher Training Awards.  Three students currently enrolled in courses leading to their certification as Latin teachers will receive grants that will offset a portion of their tuition payments.  To fund this program the Association uses income derived from contributions from the Friends of Zeph Stewart and matching gifts from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Research and Teaching Endowment established by its Gateway Campaign for Classics in the 21st Century.  Professor Stewart taught at Harvard for several decades and served the Society in many capacities including terms as President and Financial Trustee.  He was a passionate supporter of the work of primary and secondary school teachers.

The three winners were chosen by a subcommittee of the Society’s Joint Committee (with ACL) on the Classics in American Education.  We are grateful to Robert Cape, Kendra Eshleman, and John Gruber-Miller for their work on this program.

The names of the winners and the schools they are attending are

  • Serena Crosson (San Francisco State University)
  • Petra Laohakul (Hunter College)
  • Ian Merrill (University of Arizona)

A call for applications for the 2016 Stewart Awards will appear in late 2015.  The tentative application deadline is March 1, 2016.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships, SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 9:55am by Adam Blistein.

Last Fall, the SCS conducted a census of classics departments that solicited information on students, faculty, and course offerings.  We received responses from over 50% of the departments on our list of programs where classics is taught in some form.  Click here to see a summary of those responses and to learn about plans for future study of the data.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 8:52am by Adam Blistein.

The Summer Workshops at UC Berkeley, now more than thirty years old, provide a fun, rigorous, and time-tested way for students to master the ancient languages, with ten weeks of intensive study replacing more than two semesters of traditional coursework.  The program includes occasional lectures by Berkeley professors as well as the traditional Friday Symposium, an opportunity to relax and socialize.

View full article. | Posted in Summer Programs on Thu, 05/14/2015 - 3:55pm by Adam Blistein.

Some time ago I expressed a hope that more classicists would write in public venues, so I was very excited when the Paideia Institute announced that they were launching Eidolon, a new online publication for timely writing by Classical Scholars. I’ve written here before about Paideia, which in my opinion is responsible for some of the most exciting new programming in our field, and Eidolon is no exception. I’m devoting this post to it not only because SCS members will enjoy what’s published there, but because I want to encourage you to think about contributing. It’s fun, fulfilling, and believe it or not, they’ll pay you. 

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 05/13/2015 - 8:47pm by Curtis Dozier.







RECEPTION OF ANCIENT MYTHS IN  ANCIENT, MODERN AND POSTMODERN CULTURE                                                                                


12th – 13th   NOVEMBER 2015

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:00am by Information Architect.

The Academy Vivarium Novum is offering ten full tuition scholarships for high school students (16-18 years old) and twenty-eight full tuition scholarships for University students (18-24 years old) of any part of the world. The scholarships will cover all of the costs of room, board, teaching and didactic materials for courses to be held from October 5, 2015 until June 18, 2016 on the grounds of the Academy’s campus at Rome.  Application letters must be sent to by July 10. For early consideration, applications sent by May 31 will receive an answer at the beginning of July. Otherwise, candidates will receive a response before the end of August.

The courses will be as follows:
- Latin language (fundamental and advanced)
- Greek language (fundamental and advanced)
- Latin composition
- Roman History
- Ancient Latin literature
- History of ancient Philosophy
- Renaissance and Neo-Latin literature
- Latin and Greek music and poetry
- Classics reading seminars

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 05/11/2015 - 1:33pm by Adam Blistein.

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2016 Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy, June 21-24, 2016, directed by Timothy J. Moore (Washington University in St. Louis).

The last twenty-five years have seen a marked increase in scholarship dedicated to ancient Greek and Roman music.  These studies have tended to concentrate on music in the Greek world, or to Rome of the early to mid-Republic, the time of Nero, or late antiquity.  Yet music clearly played a highly significant role in the life and literature of Augustan Rome.  Vergil and his contemporaries refer repeatedly to singing and to musical instruments; the Augustan age marked important developments in pantomime, which was to become the most popular form of musical entertainment in the Empire; images of music appear often in Augustan art; and this period witnessed refinements in the music that accompanied private convivia.  This conference will bring together scholars from across the world to evaluate the musical context of Vergil’s poems.

Papers might address topics such as theatrical music, music in Augustan literature, archaeological evidence for music, ways in which Augustans responded to the musical influence of Greece, or musical performances of Vergil’s works.  Papers will be 20 minutes long with ample time for discussion. The symposium will include three days of papers, discussion, and visits to Vergilian sites.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:36am by Adam Blistein.

Dear Colleagues,

Within the last few weeks you should have received from the Society an appeal for our Annual Giving campaign. I know this is a very busy time of year but I hope you will allow me just a few minutes to speak on behalf of the campaign.

Those of us who are officers of the Society are often asked what the SCS actually does. I think it’s fair to say that for most members, the SCS is the annual meeting and the placement service. These are important aspects, of course, but we do much more: resolve disputes arising in professional matters; raise support and lobby on behalf of threatened Classics departments in the US and abroad; support scholarly projects, including L’Année Philologique; promote classics to the general public; and, of course, produce a scholarly journal. And that is far from all.

The fact is that for a Society of our size – we have a small but dedicated staff of three – we actually do a great deal for our members and for the profession at large. Even so, we are constantly on the lookout to do more. One area that we have identified as especially in need of our attention and support is the situation of part-time, adjunct, and in general non-tenure-track faculty. The Board has been discussing ways in which we can help by means of practical measures that are appropriate to our Society’s abilities.

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Thu, 05/07/2015 - 1:51pm by .


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