Diana Wright | 21 May 18:12 2015

the most fabulous dinner party since the S ymp osi m


[I knew half of the speakers.]


June Samaras | 21 May 17:35 2015

ISIS Fighters Seize Control of Syrian City of Palmyra, and Ancient Ruins

ISIS Fighters Seize Control of Syrian City of Palmyra, and Ancient Ruins




BEIRUT, Lebanon — Islamic State militants swept into the historic desert
city of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday, and by evening were in
control of it, residents and the Syrian state news media said, a victory
that gives them another strategically important prize five days after the
group seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

Palmyra has extra resonance as home to some of the world’s most magnificent
remnants of antiquity, as well as the grimmer modern landmark of Tadmur
Prison, where Syrian dissidents have languished over the decades.

But for the fighters on the ground, the city of 50,000 people is
significant because it sits among gas fields and astride a network of roads
across the country’s central desert.

As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, Islamic State fighters have
destroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and sculptures, condemning them
as idolatry in slickly produced recruitment films, even as they pillage and
sell off more portable items to finance their activities. That has raised
fears both locally and internationally that Palmyra, a United Nations world
heritage site, could also be irrevocably damaged.

Aside from the threat of destruction, Palmyra’s vast unexcavated
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Jim O'Donnell | 20 May 17:36 2015

postliminary question

I asked the other day whether anyone knows of a digital edition of a
classical text that is the best available edition, the place to go for
serious scholars.  No responses.  I expected that, and not in a
contentious way:  may well be something I'm missing here, but at the
very least I think it's fair to say there's not a *lot* of competitors
for that honor.

So my next question is, why not?  And I mean that as a serious
question about contributing factors.  Why, after 25+ years of digital
classical stuff being available, easily 20 of it with ready web
access, lots of projects (Perseus, Homer Multitext, DLL), do we not
yet have the thing I'm looking for?  Possible answers include:  (a)
I'm looking for the wrong thing; (b) incentives/rewards in higher
education are all snaffled up; (c) the best is the enemy of the good
and so rather than get one killer edition of Velleius Paterculus we've
got a bunch of larger projects that will take until the Greek Kalends;
(d) absence of standards for markup and formatting *that people have
confidence in* as likely to be durable and portable and universal; (e)
dysfunction in the publishing space that makes it hard to get decent
usable e-representations of standard scholarship from print editions.
What am I missing?  Which of those possible reasons seem genuinely

And then the next question is, how bad is this?  I'm reading
Thucydides these days because I find him so exasperating, puzzling,
and grotesquely overrated.  (Calm down, Dan, we can talk offline.
Marshall Sahlins' discussion of Hexter's treatment of the 1951 World
Series I find very helpful in this regard.)  So I have my copies of
Jones-Powell, Hornblower, and Gomme, and I'm a happy camper.  But when
moving around, I also use Perseus -- where I have Jones/Powell,
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Andrew Calimach | 20 May 16:51 2015

Seeking comments on an analysis of gender issues in Greek myth (apologies for cross posting)

I would be glad to have a couple of readers willing to comment on a paper
exploring the ramifications of the Archias and Actaeon myth. I copy the
abstract below.

Thanks in advance,


This paper reconstructs the myth of Archias and Actaeon utilizing
principles of drama as framework, while remaining faithful to the original
sources, each of which preserves critical elements of the original story.
The tale is seen to contrast ethical pederastic relationships and morally
reprehensible ones in a manner consistent with Ancient Greek conceptions of
homosexuality. The dramatic function of this story is potentiated by the
original use of meaningful names. These highlight and clarify the roles of
the respective characters in the myth and therefore are rendered in
translation. One reason this interpretation of the tale diverges from those
that precede it may be that most modern translators have misread an
important element of the tale, as can be seen from a close textual
analysis. The dramatic structure of the re-assembled myth, looked at in the
context of standard pederastic tropes in Greek literature and culture,
reveals the tale to have a clear pedagogic and cautionary function.
Specifically, it warns lovers against abusing their beloveds by taking
advantage of the power differential inherent in the pederastic relationship
in order to inflict upon the boy hybris, a Greek term understood in this
instance both generally as inflicting harm on another for one’s pleasure,
and specifically as anal sexual penetration. Its topic and didactic
character places the tale within a corpus of pederastic myths constituting
a de facto manual of boy love ethics.

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DANIEL P. Tompkins | 20 May 10:55 2015

Soviet Scholar's recommended TV series: Rome!

I wrote the bit below for friends and realized classicists might have an
interest.  Vlad Zubok's co-authored *Inside the Kremlin's Cold War *is a
brilliant archive-based study -- an important ground-breaker, it seems --
 of the issues that concerned Soviet leadership in 1945ff.  Below, I give
his recent harsh comment on developments in Ukraine.

What is fascinating for classicists is that the TV show Zubok's Facebook
page recommends is Rome <https://www.facebook.com/RomeHBO?pnref=lhc>, which
seems appropriate indeed, another polity in which oligarchs were an
essential part of the landscape.  I say *seems *because I haven't watched
the show yet.


Dan Tompkins

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Subject: Ukraine "Transitology"

Former Temple U historian Vlad Zubok
<https://www.facebook.com/vladislav.zubok.9?fref=ts>, now at London School
of Economics, works on  the Stalin era and of the late 20th century, with
books easily found on Amazon.  He  has a vibrant Facebook page, largely in
Russian but with some translation help, and regularly expresses opinions
that oscillate between harsh realism and downright cynicism.  He has a
sense of the Russian perspective, including a critical attitude toward NATO
and US intentions in Ukraine.

This doesn't mean others must *agree *with Zubok.  But his opinions reflect
(Continue reading)

Elizabeth Manwell | 18 May 17:13 2015

old dialogue


Here's hoping someone out there has a better memory than I!

Once upon a time (in the early 90s) I found in a journal (British, I think,
oriented toward secondary school Latin teachers) a really clever dialogue
that illustrated the conjugation of the present tense via a dialogue,
involving (perhaps) Mr. and Mrs. North and Mr. and Mrs. Hillard.  In it Mr.
North and Mrs. Hillard (or Mrs. North and Mr. Hillard) are discovered in the
parlor ("amamus!") by their spouses and a very melodramatic scene ensues. 
Does this ring a bell with anyone?  I could create my own, but frankly I
remember it as being so well done, I doubt I could equal it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Jim O'Donnell | 18 May 05:26 2015

a preliminary question

So we've had readily available e-texts of Greek and Latin authors for,
what, 20 years now?  More than ever.  So my question is, what text of which
major author (or what texts of which major authors) would a reasonable
scholar tell a student *should* be read, by a serious reader, in a
particular electronic edition?   Well-thought of text, excellent apparatus,
appropriate commentary, best current work, that sort of thing.  Could we
compile a list?

Jim O'Donnell

DANIEL P. Tompkins | 17 May 15:41 2015

Ars Versificandi

Steven Willett has just informed me that the *Ars Versificandi
<http://www.arsversificandi.info/> *website remains and will remain
available online:

... I'd still like to make its huge resources available to those who might
want to use them. This is still the largest accumulation of material on all
aspects of versification on the net. It also has the archive of the
versification listserv that I ran from my office at the Shizuoka
Prefectural University. Most of the big names in the field discussed and
argued a lot of key issues from Chaucer to modern free verse and language

The site dates from 2010, but has significance as an archive. The "search"
tool --


-- seems to be broken (I just tested it with "Whitman" and "Hopkins," about
whom one always wants to learn more -- we're in the season in the US
when "lilacs
last in the dooryard bloomed
and Whitman seems more present than ever).

Here is one example of past discussion of the site on our list:


Good to have this news!  Thanks to Steve.

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June Samaras | 17 May 06:51 2015

"It’s time for students to learn that Life is Trig gering"


<<< It’s time for students to learn that Life is Triggering. Once they
leave college, they’ll be constantly exposed to views that challenge or
offend them. There are a lot of jerks out there, and no matter what your
politics are, a lot of people will have the opposite view. If you’re an
atheist, you’ll live in a world of people whom you see as hostile and
delusional believers. If you’re a believer, you’ll encounter vociferous
heathens like me. If you’re a feminist, well, sexism is alive and well.

That’s why one of college’s most important functions is to learn how to
hear and deal with challenging ideas. Cocooning oneself in a Big Safe Space
for four years gets it exactly backwards. “Safety” has been transformed by
colleges from “protection from physical harm” to “protection from
disturbing ideas.”

A version of this post first appeared on WhyEvolutionIsTrue.>>>


June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877
E-mail : june.samaras <at> gmail.com

Diana Wright | 17 May 05:18 2015

stroke or epilepsy?



Diana Wright | 17 May 03:10 2015