Monday, December 19, 2011

Spirited: The Platonic Process

I've been a little slow on getting my classics stuff up so I thought that I would put up something a little different.

Back in my junior year of undergraduate I was having trouble with my paper on the Phaedrus. Cerinthus recommended to me that I go to one of the group study rooms as the library and outline my paper on the whiteboards.

So, one night around midnight, I went up to the library with all of my books and I started working on my paper. Three enormous whiteboards and 2 hours later, I had the basic idea for my paper. When I got my apartment senior year, the two pieces of furniture I looked forward most to buying were a large whiteboard and bookshelves.

I had to do a talk for my research seminar, but I could write (and present) on anything I desired. So, of course, I wrote on Plato, specifically male lament in the Apology. I used the same process, but I only have my little white board from senior year so I did my thought process and kept erasing the board after snapping photos. My dilemma was the reasoning behind Socrates' hatred of lament in the apology vs. his (partial) acceptance of lament in the Phaedo.

It's been a ridiculously busy holiday so far. More substantive stuff soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Appetitive: Sarcasm in Latin

I really enjoyed the version of Sallust's Bellum Catilinae we read in class. It's the version that was edited by J.T. Ramsey. His commentary is useful, if sometimes overabundant. I found a number of different things in the commentary amusing, one of which is that there is apparently a word that introduces a sarcastic remark in Latin. The word appears in Caesar's speech at 51.10: Scilicet is supposed to taken as sarcastic. It denotes something similar where it is used in Cato's speeches. Initially I read the word as a direct verbal indicator of sarcasm which I thought was a pretty cool idea. Obviously this is not quite the case, but it has that essential value in Sallust-- or at least in the speeches.

The value kinds of reminds me of the times when Socrates (as the Platonic character of course) uses terms of great affection for his interlocutors. The wilder the affection, the less Socrates respects the argument being made by his interlocutors.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spirited: Bellum Catilinae 4

This is the final chapter of Sallust's proem to the Bellum Catilinae.
Igitur ubi animus ex multis miseriis atque periculis requievit et mihi reliquam aetatem a re publica procul habendam decrevi, non fuit consilium socordia atque desidia bonum otium conterere neque vero agrum colundo aut venando, servilibus officiis, intentum aetatem agere; sed, a quo incepto studioque me ambitio mala detinuerat, eodem regressus statui res gestas populi Romani carptim, ut quaeque memoria digna videbantur, perscribere, eo magis, quod mihi a spe, metu, partibus rei publicae animus liber erat. Igitur de Catilinae coniuratione, quam verissume potero, paucis absolvam; nam id facinus in primis ego memorabile existumo sceleris atque periculi novitate. De cuius hominis moribus pauca prius explananda sunt, quam initium narrandi faciam.
Accordingly, when my mind settled down after many wretched things and trials and I decided to spend my remaining life at a distance from the Republic, it was not my intention to spend good leisure in laziness or inactivity, but neither was I intent upon spending my life tilling a field nor hunting, in servile tasks; but having gone back to the same thing from which undertaking my zeal and ambition detained me, I made up my mind to write in parts the deeds having been done of the Roman people, whatsoever ones seemed worthy of memory; that much more because my mind is free from hope, fear, and partisanship for the Republic. Accordingly, about the conspiracy of Cataline I will set forth a brief account as truthfully as I will be able; for this deed I estimate is especially memorable because of the novelty of the crime and attempt. Concerning the mores this man, first a little must be explained, so I may produce the beginning of my narrative.
I think Sallust's proem, in its entirety, is quite brilliant. I did not expect to like a Roman historian, but Sallust's bizarre and interesting take on the world as well as a wonderful professor changed my mind.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Appetitive: The Plato Scholar in the Room

When finals were over yesterday, all of the people from my program went out to decompress. A bunch of the people had just finished a class on the Phaedrus and they were complaining about Plato. I suddenly realized that I was in an extreme minority.

It reminded me of the other day when I asked a fellow student about GRF Ferrari and he told me that Ferrari was "a British Plato scholar" as if this was supposed to create a fairly standard and moderately negative picture in my mind. I had no idea this breed of classicist was so ill-regarded.

In reality, I actually kind of enjoy the argument: standing up opponents on every side-- so long as the opponents are good-natured. However, it was a little odd to be so outnumbered...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sprited: Bellum Catiliniae 3

I am continuing on with the proem of Sallust's Bellum Catilinae. I really grew to like Sallust during this term. He's a lot of fun.
Pulchrum est bene facere rei publicae, etiam bene dicere haud absurdum est; vel pace vel bello clarum fieri licet; et qui fecere et qui facta aliorum scripsere, multi laudantur. Ac mihi quidem, tametsi haudquaquam par gloria sequitur scriptorem et auctorem rerum, tamen in primis arduom videtur res gestas scribere: primum, quod facta dictis exaequanda sunt; dehinc, quia plerique, quae delicta reprehenderis, malevolentia et invidia dicta putant, ubi de magna virtute atque gloria bonorum memores, quae sibi quisque facilia factu putat, aequo animo accipit, supra ea veluti ficta pro falsis ducit. Sed ego adulescentulus initio, sicuti plerique, studio ad rem publicam latus sum ibique mihi multa advorsa fuere. Nam pro pudore, pro abstinentia, pro virtute audacia, largitio, avaritia vigebant. Quae tametsi animus aspernabatur insolens malarum artium, tamen inter tanta vitia imbecilla aetas ambitione corrupta tenebatur; ac me, cum ab reliquorum malis moribus dissentirem, nihilo minus honoris cupido eadem, qua ceteros, fama atque invidia vexabat.
It is beautiful to perform well for the Republic, also to speak well is not at all absurd; it is allowable that fame is made either in peace or in war; both [those] who do and [those] who write about the deeds of others, are praised in great numbers. And in fact, it seems to me, although not at all equal glory follows the writing and the accomplishing of deeds, nevertheless it seems especially difficult to write the things done: first, because the deeds must be matched with words; then, because many, which faults you might blame, they think they are mentioned with ill will or jealousy; when when you recount great virtue and the glory of good men, which whoever thinks easy for themselves to do, accepts with equal mind, [and] reckons as false anything beyond these just as fiction. But initially I as a young man, just as many, I was carried by zeal for the republic, and in that place many things had become adverse to me. For instead of modesty, instead of self-restraint, audacity, spending, and avarice grew strong. Although my mind detested these things, unaccustomed to wicked arts, although in the midst of such vice, feeble age was held by corrupt ambition; and although I differed from the mad habits of the rest, no less did the desire for honor the same as the rest trouble me because of reputation and envy.
I will put up the last part of the proem, chapter 4, next.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spirited: Description of Sempronia

The description of Sempronia is one of my favorite points in the Bellum Catilinae. I decided that I would post it here, which I meant to do quite a while ago before I go back and finish posting the rest of Sallust's preamble (chapters 1-4).

Sed in iis erat Sempronia, quae multa saepe virilis audaciae facinora conmiserat. Haec mulier genere atque forma, praeterea viro atque liberis satis fortunata fuit; litteris Graecis et Latinis docta, psallere et saltare elegantius, quam necesse est probae, multa alia, quae instrumenta luxuriae sunt. Sed ei cariora semper omnia quam decus atque pudicitia fuit; pecuniae an famae minus parceret, haud facile discerneres; lubido sic accensa, ut saepius peteret viros quam peteretur. Sed ea saepe antehac fidem prodiderat, creditum abiuraverat, caedis conscia fuerat; luxuria atque inopia praeceps abierat. Verum ingenium eius haud absurdum: posse versus facere, iocum movere, sermone uti vel modesto vel molli vel procaci; prorsus multae facetiae multusque lepos inerat.
But among them was Sempronia, who often with manly boldness commits many crimes. This woman was sufficiently fortunate in birth and bodily beauty in addition to in husbands and children; [she is] learned in Greek and Latin, instrumental music, and dancing more than is elegant for a proper woman, with many other things which are instruments of luxury. But everything was always more dear to her than honor and modesty; you would have not at all easily decided that she was spearing money or fame less; in this way with desire being incited in this way in order that she seek men than be sought by them. But previously, she often betrayed trust, denied a loan, was aware of murder, and rushed headlong into ruin through extravagance and poverty. But her innate intelligence is not absurd: She is able to compose verses, to make jokes, to use conversation either with modesty, or with gentleness, or with boldness; in short, she is characterized by many witticisms and much grace.
I really love this description of Sempronia. She sounds fabulous.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reasoning/Spirited: Updates

My finals are done. I'm off for a few weeks and get to do fun things for a few weeks. I spent a bunch of today working on my Greek Principal Parts list. I will also be putting up some more Sallust, including my favorite, the description of Sempronia, soon.