Classics at Howard University

Howard University is the only HBCU in the United States with a Classics Department, which has been a part of the institution since its inception in 1867. SCS has recently received the following news from the Department:

"Howard University has decided to close the Department of Classics as part of its prioritization efforts and is currently negotiating with the faculty of Classics and with other units in the College as to how they might best reposition and repurpose our programs and personnel. These discussions have been cordial, and the faculty remains hopeful that the department can be kept intact at some level, with its faculty and programs still in place." 

The Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Studies strongly supports all the faculty, including all non-tenure track faculty, and students in the Department of Classics. The SCS Classics Advisory Service will continue to make itself available to all at Howard in order to advise and support the department, its programs, students, and all faculty.

The SCS Board of Directors, 4/16/21

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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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 11:54am by Ellen Bauerle.

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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 11:50am by Ellen Bauerle.

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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 11:44am by Ellen Bauerle.

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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 10:47am by Ellen Bauerle.

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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 10:31am by Ellen Bauerle.

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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 10:23am by Ellen Bauerle.

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.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 10:16am by Ellen Bauerle.

by Roberta Stewart

For the past seven years, small groups of combat veterans in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont have been making Homer their own. This article details the particular value of these small book groups for the veteran, for the community, and for me as the academic facilitator.

The proposal for the book groups originated from the premise that literature is able to provide useful insight into life experience and, more specifically, that Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey provide valuable insight—2800 years old—into the problems of soldiers who individually and collectively experienced deep internal conflicts while deployed (Iliad) and who needed somehow to get home (Odyssey). Homer provides a salutary distancing and deflection that, I believe, allows the problems of homecoming to emerge more clearly as a historical problem of the human condition across cultures and political or social organizations: the problem of homecoming is a product of war.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 9:39am by Ellen Bauerle.

by KFB Fletcher 

It is a great time to be a fan of both the Classical world and heavy metal music: the two have never overlapped to the extent that they do right now. Consider, for example, the fact that in 2013 not one but two Italian metal bands, Heimdall and Stormlord, released concept albums based on Vergil’s Aeneid.

But this overlap is not a new phenomenon—in fact, far from it. Heavy metal music has drawn on the Classical world almost from its very beginnings, and this interest in the Classical world is part of a larger obsession with other times and places—both real and imagined— that is a defining characteristic of the genre. And since metal is a conservative genre (there are clear forefathers to whom almost all subsequent bands owe and acknowledge their allegiance), the interest in these kinds of subjects by earlier bands sanctioned continuous use of them by all subsequent bands.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 9:26am by Ellen Bauerle.

Your Amphora staff members are pleased to bring you this new issue, in print and digital formats. At the initiative of Executive Director Adam Blistein, we have been developing ways to bring materials to you in both formats, much as we did in our most recent issue, as a way of leveraging the benefits of print and digital presentation.

In this issue, KFB Fletcher (Louisiana State University) examines the considerable crossover that classical studies makes into the world of metal, or heavy metal, music. He surveys their use of Latin, and the reuse of mythical themes and plot elements from authors and works we know well, as well as people and events from ancient history. His piece includes hyperlinks to samples of “classical” metal music, so readers may care to visit the version of his article on the SCS’s blog, where the links are of course live and clickable, although those reading Amphora in PDF format will also find these links (and others in the issue) are live.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 08/08/2015 - 9:23am by Ellen Bauerle.

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