In Memoriam: Alan Lindley Boegehold

Alan Lindley Boegehold, Professor Emeritus of Classics at Brown University, died on October 28, 2015 at his home in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in the presence of his wife of 61 years, Julie, and other members of his family. Alan was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 21, 1927; his father, a scientist, was a personal adviser to the president of General Motors. Alan graduated from the Detroit Country Day School in 1944. He had enlisted in a program run by the army, the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program, which during the second war sent men, normally of 17,  to college campuses in the army Reserve to study engineering. Alan and I were in this program and were stationed at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. We met on our first day in the program and formed a friendship at once, partly because we had both studied Latin in school. This friendship became our closest one in classics and endured until his death.

After service in the army, he returned to Ann Arbor, obtained a B.A. in  Classics, and went into business. I moved on to graduate school at Harvard and urged him in letters to come there, where he entered graduate school in Classics in 1952. At Harvard Alan and I became students of Sterling Dow, whose obituary we later wrote. Alan first taught Classics at the University of Illinois in 1957 and under Dow he wrote his doctor’s thesis at Harvard, “Aristotle and the Dikasteria,” 1958.  In 1960 he moved to his permanent position at Brown. Alan’s second scholarly publication, 1960, was an article, “Aristotle’s Athenaion Politeia, 65.2: the ‘Official Token,’” in Hesperia,. the journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, known to all who have worked there as simply “the School.”

This article is a model of what any young scholar might wish to achieve. He explained, for the first time, how the Athenians determined by allotment where jurors should sit during a trial, in such a way as to prevent verbal pressure or cheering for either side. Alan followed his austere style in general in his scholarly publications, over 50 refereed articles for scientific journals.

His first major work was The Lawcourts at Athens (Princeton 1995), vol. 28 of the series “The Athenian Agora” published by the School. Most of the book is by Alan; there are contributions by five American colleagues, and throughout the book precise observations in correspondence from scholars far and wide. There are photographs of the various objects used in the law courts and, indeed, everywhere an encyclopedic treatment of all physical aspects of the courts. Above all, there are over 100 pages of “testimonia,” namely catalogues, with translations from Greek and comments, of references in ancient literature to courts, and descriptions of remains of buildings that can be related to courts. This  book was formally launched with an international conference at New York University and speakers from Brown, Berkeley, Keele, and Milan.

There followed soon Alan’s  second major book, When a Gesture Was  Expected (Princeton 1999), which focuses on the gestures presumably performed, when there seems to have been a break in the action or narrative, by characters in texts from Homer downward. Again and again he invites us, even forces us, to follow the original author’s conceptions of what takes place in the narrative. It is only fair to say that Alan has offered us a new technique for the reading and understanding of written texts. The name of the  book supplied the title for a Festschrift to Alan, Gestures (Oxford 2003), thirty articles by friends and colleagues following up his interpretations.

Throughout their years in Greece, Alan and Julie gained a deep love for the land and the people. They became fluent in modern Greek and now and then slipped away alone to some favorite valley for a day or two of solitude. Alan himself four times directed the summer tour of Greece, organized by the School and taken by visitors. As time went on, Alan was more and more recruited by various committees for the School. He was a Research Fellow in the Agora Excavations, a Visiting Professor, Chairman of the Managing Committee, and a Trustee of the School and of the Gennadius Library of Byzantine and later Greek literature. At a celebration in Athens for the 130th anniversary of the founding of the School, he was awarded the first Aristeia Award of the Alumni/ae Association, a kind of lifetime honor bestowed on those who have made significant contributions to the improvement and repute of the School.

Trained in Homeric poetry, Alan never lost touch with verse and even ventured to write poetry of his own. He published three slender volumes of highly personal poems (one group of four looking back twenty years to his father’s death), all illustrated in strong, daring modern paintings by George d’Almeida, a relative through marriage. On a higher level, he turned to the difficult poetry of Constantine Cavafy of Alexandria and in 2009 published his translations of 166 of Cavafy’s poems. Over the years at Brown, he served as visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley. In retirement he was visiting professor for two years at Amherst College and for a semester at Florida State University.

We often competed in squash and tennis, in which his son David, who lived in a building adjoining the home of Alan and Julie, sometimes took vigorous part. Our last singles match took place as we entered our 80s: one set all. It is hard to say good-bye.

Alan is survived by his wife Julie, his sister Barbara, brother David, sons David and Alan, daughters Lindley and Alison, and eight grandchildren. (I thank  Professor Adele Scafuro for valuable research.)

Mortimer Chambers


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Rhetoric and Historiography: New Perspectives

A two-day conference to be hosted by The University of Notre Dame, Rome Gateway Center

May 18-21, 2023, Rome

Conveners: Luca Grillo (University of Notre Dame), Emily Baragwanath (UNC, Chapel Hill), Andrew Feldherr (Princeton University) and Christopher Krebs (Stanford University)

2023 marks the 35th anniversary of the appearance of A. J. Woodman's Rhetoric in Classical Historiography, a work that has transformed our understanding of the Greek and Roman historians, especially among anglophone scholars. Woodman argued above all that the aims of these historians must be understood according to the principles of ancient rhetoric, for example, to praise, inspire or entertain, rather than anachronistically presuming that they shared the same fundamental goal as the modern academic discipline of history: to represent the truth of what happened in the past.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 08/18/2022 - 9:53am by .
Two shelves of assorted Classics books

Although often left out of the conversation about the future of the instruction of ancient language, history, and culture in higher education, contingent faculty at community colleges serve on the front lines of this struggle, frequently becoming the first ancient studies professors their students encounter. Often working without job security, a steady salary, or benefits, adjunct faculty are providing cutting-edge instruction to an exceedingly diverse student body. According to the American Association of Community Colleges’ 2022 Fast Facts, community college students represent 39% of the total undergraduate population in the United States and include large percentages of first-generation students, workers, single parents, students with disabilities, and members of historically marginalized groups.

The SCS Blog recently had the opportunity to interview two community college adjunct professors to hear about their experiences.

Patrick J. Burns: Let’s start with the here and now — what courses are you teaching this semester?

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/15/2022 - 11:00am by .
A yellowed manuscript page with Ancient Greek script written on it, with large margins and a letter M drop cap at the beginning.

When I learned that I would be teaching my department’s graduate Greek survey in Fall 2021, I promptly burst into tears. The assignment was not what I was expecting; more painfully, it brought up all the barely suppressed memories of my own survey experience.

In one sense, that experience had been a success. It transformed me from a glacially slow reader of Greek into a slightly faster one, familiar with a range of authors and genres and capable of passing my Greek qualifying exam. It also left me with an enduring sense of inferiority, even fraudulence. I didn’t make it through a single one of our assignments (the standard 1,000 lines per week). I never felt in command of the language or my own learning. The fact that I had improved seemed more like a happy accident than an effect of the curriculum, let alone something I could be proud of. For years afterwards, even post-graduation, I would wake up wondering how many lines I had to read that day and then calculate by how far I would fail.

This might seem like an extreme reaction, but from what I can tell, it’s not uncommon. Greek and Latin Surveys, the foundation of Classics graduate curricula in the US, leave many people feeling ashamed of their language skills.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 12:51pm by .

Program of the 1st IConiC Conference

Audience Response in Ancient Greek and Latin Literature 

02-03 September 2022 

Via Ms Teams 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 11:50am by .

Directed by Christopher Bungard

Erin Moodie translator 

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (CAMP) presents a script-in-hand reading of a new translation by Erin Moodie of Terence’s Phormio. The African born Terence often gets short shrift when it comes to ancient drama, but he is tremendously influential in the history of western theatre.  

View full article. | Posted in Performances on Sun, 08/07/2022 - 1:45pm by Helen Cullyer.

Kairos in ancient arts and techniques

Submission deadlines:

October 1, 2022 (Title & Abstract)
April 30, 2023 (Text)

Vol. 11, Issue 2, 2023 

Edited by Giada Capasso & Alessandro Stavru

The international Journal Thaumàzein devotes a special issue to the relationship between kairos and the techniques in Graeco-Roman antiquity.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 08/03/2022 - 10:24am by .

August 15 is the final abstract deadline for A Conference on Homer in Sicily, October 5-8 with a Homer-themed post-conference tour October 9-10, 2022

Keynote Speakers: Jenny Strauss Clay (Virginia) and Stamatia Dova (Hellenic College and CHS)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 08/02/2022 - 2:47pm by .
A fresco with a red background. In the middle is a circle, in which a young man reads a papyrus scroll.

This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Find Part 1 and Part 2 here.

There is nothing ideologically neutral about grades, and there is nothing ideologically neutral about the idea that we can neatly and tidily do away with grades. We can't simply take away grades without re-examining all of our pedagogical approaches, and this work looks different for each teacher, in each context, and with each group of students.

— Jesse Stommel, “Grades are Dehumanizing

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/01/2022 - 3:33pm by .

The following obituary is reposted from

You can read the original posting at this link.

"We collectively mourn the loss of Dr. Corinne Ondine Pache, Professor of Classical Studies and a cherished member of the Trinity University community, who ended her battle with cancer on July 20, 2022. Corinne was an accomplished scholar, revered teacher and mentor, and terrific friend to many all over the globe. She will be sorely missed.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Wed, 07/27/2022 - 2:19pm by .
A mosaic featuring a group of men in togas, variously sitting and standing outdoors. Some are reading, while others engage in conversation.

This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Find Part 1 and Part 3 here.

Only by abandoning traditional grading and performance assessment practices can we achieve our ultimate educational objectives.

Alfie Kohn

Tradition in Classics is powerful. When the three of us started teaching as graduate students, we drew on our experiences as undergraduates in the many Classics courses we had taken, particularly when it came to assessing students. This is not a bad thing! We all need to start somewhere while we are growing as educators. Nevertheless, it was difficult for us to imagine, for instance, teaching Latin without traditional assessment practices (such as high-stakes tests), because that’s how we were taught.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 07/25/2022 - 10:03am by .


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