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Things to do with classics

27 December 2000 – Rome

Saw a double herm of Epicurus and Diogenes the Cynic at the Museo Capitolino, which pleased me much in my soul. At the Palazzo dei Conservatori, saw a herm of Alcibiades, which I thought particularly appropriate and a Roman statue of a toga’d man holding a scroll, whose expression was wonderful, though ineffable. Later — […]

28.03.02 – Thursday

Woke this morning to the chiding of the sun. One always knows that it shall be a bad—or, at the very least, trying—day when distant instances of extreme combustion seem to have gained the power of speech. Moving on, however, to other things. Why is it that, as I read some few of Aemilia Lanyer’s […]

Refuse

I remembered the incident because the young man with the gray velvet coat dropped a note card on the bridge, swearing faintly as he chased the wind-driven scrap of knowledge (carefully color-coded in blue and black and red) along the sidewalk, before snatching it at last from the path of an on-coming cyclist. The incident […]

obsolescence

The truth is, unless a man can get the prestige and income of a Don and write donnish books, it’s hardly worth while for him to make a Greek and Latin machine of himself and be able to spin you out pages of the Greek dramatists at any verse you’ll give him as a cue. […]

An Errant Academic

I mentioned Seth Lerer’s Error and the Academic Self more than a month ago and, having finally finished reading it, there are a few more comments I would like to make. To begin, though, with a summary: errô, errare, erravi, erratus – to wander, to go astray, to err. The record of scholarship, particularly of […]

Zukunftsphilologen!

Theodor Mommsen Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf Erwin Rohde Friedrich Nietzsche

‘could it be J— H— herself?’

Jane Ellen Harrison, 1850–1928 Independent lecturer in London, later a fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, Jane Harrison was author of (among other things): Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Relgion (1903) and Themis: a Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (1912). She is also one of the few women mentioned in the who’s […]

twigs

Prisoners in Bangladesh pleading for their lives in a news photograph from the London Daily Express, 20.xii.1971.

nb

Talk of religion, it is odds you have infidel, blasphemer, atheist, or schismatic, thundered in your ears; touch upon your politics, you will be in luck if you are only charged with a tendency to treason. – Richard Porson, from the Orgies of Bacchus (1797) qtd. 2003.145, p. 47.

a well lerned gentylwoman

Margaret More Roper (Holbein, ca. 1535, Met.) Erasmus wrote many epistels to her, and dedicated his commentaries on certaine hymnes of Prudentius to this gentlewomen, and calleth her the flower of all learned matrones of England. Nor was she meanlie learned. She compounded in Greeke and latyn both verse and prose, and that most eloquentlie. […]

irreptitious

Into my heart an air that kills     From yon far country blows: What are those blue remembered hills,     What spires, what farms are those? That is the land of lost content,     I see it shining plain, The happy highways where I went     And cannot come again. (from […]

grave & weatherworn

Scaliger was far from untouched by the religious troubles of his day, but the way they bedevilled the scholarship of the sixteenth century is more starkly illustrated in the case of his friend and younger contemporary Casaubon. Born in Geneva of refugee Protestant parents, obliged to learn his Greek hiding in a cave in the […]

prosopopœia (1)

… or, an introduction to the history of classical scholarship1 The imminent schollrs of the 6/10 century — including the fatuous Scaliwag who eateded Easelbus, and the imperspicuous Käseböh who collected Athenians and fatted xviii chiliads — are now seldom dead but by kabbalists. The text is believed to be corrupt, the manuscript tradition poor, […]

when in Rome

διόπερ οἱ μὲν ἄνδρες τὰ τείχη προκατελάμβανον καὶ τοὺς πρὸ τῆς πόλεως εὐκαίρους τόπους, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες περιπορευόμεναι τοὺς ναοὺς ἱκέτευον τοὺς θεούς, πλύνουσαι ταῖς κόμαις τὰ τῶν ἱερῶν ἐδάφη· τοῦτο γὰρ αὐταῖς ἔθος ἐστὶ ποιεῖν, ὅταν τις ὁλοσχερὴς τὴν πατρίδα καταλαμβάνῃ κίνδυνος. – Polybius (9.6.3–4) ploratus mulierum non ex priuatis solum domibus exaudiebatur, sed […]

splitted in the midst

Currently (and actively) reading (in no particular order): François Rabelais. Gargantua and Pantagruel. trans. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1955.1 J. Innes Miller. The Spice Trade of the Roman Empire, 29 BC to AD 641. Oxford: Clarendon, 1969.2 Michel Foucault. The Archeology of Knowledge. trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith. London: Routledge, 1989 (1969).3 Goethe. Die […]

Citation (17)

Impossible Object

the mind diseased

Modern Greece, in history and literature, has been viewed as a transitory moment squeezed between two larger and more important entities. Viewed chronologically, modern Greece rests between the glory of the classical Greek past and the hope of a resurrected Greek future, which in many Western minds ought to resemble the democracies of Western Europe […]

Citation (18)

adventurous students always read classics.

ex magna turba…

Nihil mihi nunc scito tam deesse quam hominem eum, quocum omnia, que me cura aliqua adficiunt una communicem, qui me amet, qui sapiat, quicum ego cum loquar nihil fingam, nihil dissimulem, nihil obtegam. abest enim frater ἀφελέστατος et amantissimus. †Metellus† non homo, sed ‘litus atque aër’ et ‘solitudo mera’. tu autem, qui saepissime curam et […]

introductory

…once we have recognised that knowledge in itself is good for man, we shall need to invent no pretexts for studying this subject or that; we shall import no extraneous considerations of use or ornament to justify us in learning one thing rather than another. If a certain department of knowledge specially attracts a man, […]

parrying poetics

At the end of March there was a puff piece about Anne Carson in the NY Times, occasioned by a staged reading of her translation of, I think, Euripides’ Hekabe.1 One short passage attracted my attention: For all this, Ms. Carson said, she is not a poet. ‘Homer’s a poet,’ she said. ‘I would say […]

Citation (24)

mistook.

a backwards glance

The sight of a Greek head depresses many people, strikes an unliberated chord, reminds them of books in their grandmother’s parlor and of all they were supposed to learn and never did. – Joan Didion (‘The Getty’ in The White Album, p. 75)

Citation (43)

in which Lord Chesterfield gives some useful advice regarding time management

hope against hope (1)

in which nothing much is said, especially about Hope Mirrlees.

added too freely

In his ‘History of Ancient Art,’ of which the first edition appeared in 1764, Winckelmann gave to the study of the antique an impulse along a line which it has never wholly deserted; his theory of the ‘beautiful’ as manifested even in these Græco-Roman copies to which his imagination often added too freely the missing […]

Oh well!

The thought of what America would be like If the Classics had a wide circulation  Troubles my sleep, The thought of what America, The thought of what America, The thought of what America would be like If the Classics had a wide circulation   Troubles my sleep. Nunc dimittis, now lettest thou thy servant, Now […]

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