Most recent update:3/1/2004; 6:08:50 AM

 Monday, February 02, 2004

NUNTII: Elgin Marbles Saga Continues

From the Evening Times:

GLASGOW'S museums may be chosen to display priceless antiquities if a campaign to re-home the Elgin Marbles succeeds.

The news comes ahead of a campaign to return the ancient sculptures to Greece.

Marbles Reunited campaign director Peter Chegwyn, hopes to persuade the British Museum to allow the carvings to go on display at the New Museum of the Acropolis.

He is especially keen to see them in Greece as the Olympic Games will also return to Athens later this year.

Today Mr Chegwyn pledged that in exchange for the marbles: "Greece will loan other priceless Greek antiquities for display in the British Museum and other UK museums."

And campaign colleague Tim Gomersall told how Scotland's biggest city would benefit when he revealed: "Glasgow is very much at the top of our list of intended recipients."

The marble carvings were hacked off by the Earl of Elgin in 1801 who sold them to the British Museum for £35,000.

So ... does calling them "carvings" make them somehow more trivial and not such a big deal to return? And of course that last 'graph isn't an editorial comment disguised as news either ...


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NUNTII: Sather Lectures at Berkeley

Oh to be at Berkeley:

The world of ancient chronography will be explored starting Wednesday, Feb. 4, in six free, weekly lectures at UC Berkeley by a renowned authority in the field of Roman literature and cultural studies.

Denis Feeney, Giger Professor of Latin at Princeton University, is the Visiting Sather Professor of Classical Literature in the Classics Department for spring 2004. He is credited with helping to revitalize the field of chronography.

The "Charts of Roman Time" topics, Feeney said, stem from his interest in the calendar poem, "Fasti," by the Roman poet Ovid. "Rather to my surprise, " he said, "as my interest in Ovid's time schemes grew, I found myself more and more drawn into the apparently off-putting world of ancient chronography."

Without a universally accepted dating scheme, Feeney said, ancient societies charted past time by a complex system of correlation, lining up significant events in the distinct time columns of different cities, each with their own calendars, dating systems, and eras. The historians of Greece had perfected a Panhellenic framework of cross-reference by the time the Romans came onto the stage of Mediterranean history, he said.

"I became increasingly interested in how the Romans charted their own past onto these Panhellenic grids of time," Feeney said. "This was a technical challenge of a high order for them, and it was a test case of the crisis of Roman Hellenization, as they made sense of the contours of their past through media that had been devised for Greek cities and empires."

His first two lectures will investigate what is at stake in such "synchronistic patterning," and how the Romans mapped themselves onto a Mediterranean past. The third lecture will delve into the ancient world's divisions between the time of myth and history.

The fourth lecture will examine the division between the times of the Gold and Iron Ages, the point at which, for the Romans, organized time comes into being along with the other appurtenances of civilisation. The talk will also examine the related long-standing fascination of the Romans with the possibility of a return to the lost Age of Gold.

The final two lectures will turn to the Romans' distinctive indigenous time grids, the schemes of organization seen in the consular lists and the Roman calendar. [more]


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A.B. Bosworth, The Legacy of Alexander. Politics, Warfare, and Propaganda under the Successors.

Heinz Heinen, Geschichte des Hellenismus. Von Alexander bis Kleopatra.

Olof Gigon (trans.), Cicero. Gespraeche in Tusculum.

Brad Inwood (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics.

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ante diem iv nonas februarias

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REVIEW: From Scholia

Øivind Andersen and Jon Haarberg (edd.), Making Sense of Aristotle.

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Christian Schulze, Die pharmazeutische Fachliteratur in der Antike. Eine Einfuhrung.

Nancy Worman, The Cast of Character: Style in Greek Literature.

Aurelio Perez Jimenez, Gonzalo Cruz Andreotti (edd.), La verdad tamizada: cronistas, reporteros e historiadores ante su publico.

(all reviews in BMCR are in English)

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NUNTII: Another APA Teaching Award Recipient

From NWA Online:

David C. Fredrick, a University of Arkansas foreign languages associate professor, received the national award for excellence in teaching the classics at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association meeting last month.

The national committee selected Fredrick for his teaching energy, demanding course requirement and high student praise.

He has taught 1,210 students in 90 courses during his 11 years at the UA. He averages 3.5 courses a semester, a full course more than the average in the college. His courses range from Latin and Greek to general courses in classical studies, mythology, gender studies and humanities. He also has taught seven honors colloquia, in which he has never repeated the same topic.

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NUNTII: Classics is Alive and Well in Florida

From the Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel:

At the leading edge of the 21st century, Allison Kotzig can be found contemplating the civilization that reaches to the edge of the 21st century -- B.C.

She spends two evenings a week at Florida Atlantic University grappling with passages of ancient Greek -- unfamiliar alphabet, multiple accent marks, rigorous grammar and all. She has a college degree, but she wants to read Homer's tales of the Greeks and their Bronze Age predecessors, the Minoans, in the poet's original language. "I heard there were puns," she explains. "And you can't get the puns unless you know the language."
Kotzig isn't alone in her affinity for antiquity. After seeing enrollment in ancient Greek, Latin and other classics courses jump 55 percent in the past year, FAU hired its first full-time professor of ancient and modern Greek this year. Hellenic Society Paideia, a cultural organization, is pitching in $25,000 a year for three years to help pay for the professor's post. The local group also is aiming to build a $2.5 million, Greek-temple-style building on campus for the university's burgeoning classics program and other activities.

Meanwhile, the University of Miami is talking about expanding Latin and Greek offerings to launch a complete classics major, noting that a classics-related minor has 29 students after only two years. Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, which has offered Greek for ministry students for five years, started offering Latin for its own sake last year.

Universities with established classics programs, such as Florida and Florida State, are watching enrollment surge, including in graduate courses. In the past five years, UF began offering a classics doctorate, watched the number of undergraduates studying ancient Greek classes shoot up 90 percent, and saw undergraduate Latin enrollments rise about 50 percent, according to classics chief Mary Ann Eaverly.

To some extent, South Florida universities' turn toward Athens and Rome reflects an academic coming-of-age for relatively young and modern schools. UM arts and sciences chief James Wyche, for instance, says his faculty sees the lack of a full-fledged classics department as "an omission that needs to be corrected" at a university aiming for higher education's top echelon.

But the ancient world also is enjoying a widespread campus renaissance. Nationwide, the number of Latin students rose 14 percent -- and ancient Greek students 27 percent -- at colleges and universities between 1998 and 2002, according to the Modern Language Association's widely used figures.

As FAU's new Greek professor, Konstantinos Nikoloutsos, puts it, "Classics have become fashionable again." For classicists, it's a welcome change. During the 1970s and '80s, many high school and college classics programs shriveled or disappeared, swept aside as impractical and impolitic.

With the rise of multiculturalism, gender studies and other new approaches to literature and history, classics often were seen as Eurocentric, patriarchal and traditionalistic. And with the rise of computer technology, many students saw more value in programming languages than ancient ones.

"In the '70s and '80s, there was a feeling that technology would carry all, English would carry all, and all you really needed to do is learn business administration," said Adam Blitstein, who runs the American Philological Association, a national classics group. "What people have discovered is: It's not enough to be technologically savvy. You have to know your history, you have to know your culture, you have to know other people's cultures."

But classicists haven't relied entirely on testaments to renewed humanism. They've labored to change the way they present their subject and the way it's perceived.

With the help of new approaches to their ancient topic, they've portrayed classical languages as useful tools in understanding English and many other modern tongues, and classical civilization as a window on American and many other cultures.

New textbooks and teaching methods aim to enliven Latin and Greek grammar and vocabulary with cultural context, and to make sure that context isn't exclusively the province of emperors and generals. Courses now often look at the lives of women, children, slaves and others besides the senatorial set.

Some classics scholars argue that their subject is as multicultural as it comes. They paint ancient Athens and Rome as the meeting points of far-flung and diverse empires -- in essence, as early melting pots.

"We're doing a lot more than just teaching two dead languages. What we do in classics now, more than ever before, is teach ancient Mediterranean culture," says former American Classical League president Richard LaFleur, a University of Georgia professor.

Also, rising high school Latin enrollments are sending more students to college with a background in the language. And classicists aren't too scholarly to acknowledge that pop culture periodically gives the ancient world new cachet. Some even call it the "Gladiator effect," after the 2000 blockbuster.

"There are fads in scholarship, but [classics] is something that, if you look back over time, has always been part of the college curriculum," UF's Eaverly said. " ... The issue of relevance is always raised, but I can never think of it as irrelevant, if you think about the fact that much of what we do is based upon the things that Greeks and Romans did." [more]

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AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mazes and Labyrinths: Solving Ancient Puzzles

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

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