Monday, December 29, 2014

Spirited: The Big Time

Like every discipline, Classics has a big national conference. It's known as the conference for the SCS (Society for Classical Studies, formerly the APA-- the American Philological Association). This year, I'm going to attend for the first time. I'm going to be presenting at the AIA (the joint association meeting for the Archaeological Institute of America). It should be a lot of fun.

I've presented at only one other professional conference (although I did a whole set of graduate conferences and even two undergraduate conferences). However, this one is on an entirely different scale. I'm very excited.

My presentation (and studying for my history exams) has inspired me to start working on a new project. I won't spill the beans yet, but check back to the blog every once and a while. I should have the beginnings of the project ready for public consumption in a month or so...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reasoning: Polytonic Greek for Android?

So I finally joined the 21st century at the end of the summer and got a smartphone.  I've always had trouble with Apple products so I got an android. However it doesn't have polytonic Greek support (no polytonic Greek input and can't render some polytonic Greek files although apps like Greek Reference work). Anyone have a solution that doesn't require me to root the phone?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Reasoning: Roman History Resources

I'm back to the land of the living!

I've just finished up my first term of teaching undergrads Roman history and just completed my first set of PhD exams (including a Roman history exam-- which I passed with very high marks!). For those of your who have read the blog at all, you know that this is not even close to my area of expertise. As such, this was quite the victory for me.

So, I thought I'd list, with some comments, the resources I used for studying. Some are from my reading list, some are my own additions.

  • Boatwright, Mary, Daniel J. Gargola, Noel Lenski, Richard J. A. Talbert. The Romans: From Village to Empire. 2nd edition, 2012. (The second edition has a shorter section on early Rome, which is sad, but it expands so that it has information on the end of the Western empire and a little bit on the Byzantine empire, which I think is something that was extremely necessary). Many of the sections were far too short, but it's a fairly decent overview of everything.
  • Brown, Peter. The World of Late Antiquity. I think this book is mostly useless. It is far too broad an overview. However, the pictures are really fantastic and it gives some idea of the broad strokes of what Late Antiquity looks like.
  • Cameron, Averil. The Later Roman Empire. This is a good introduction to Late Antiquity.
  • Cornell, T.J. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars, 1000-264 BCE. This book is an absolutely fantastic resource on early Rome. However, it is heavily academic, so I would suggest another introduction first, or perhaps even ignoring it altogether if you don't have to know this pre-Punic War period thoroughly.
  • Crawford, Michael. The Roman Republic. 2nd edition. 1993. I read this because it was on my reading list but I think it is absolutely terrible. It assumes that you already know this period in history with some degree of competence, so it fails to explain a lot of the important events. Beyond this, it spends the entirety of the post-Gracchi period with a seriously Marxists interpretation of history (specifically that the Gracchi excited the class tensions between the senatorial and the lower classes). Moreover, I found that the earlier half of the book completely useless and rather antiquated.
  • Wells, Colin. The Roman Empire. This book was quite good. The explanation of the political system of the Roman Republic in the Introduction is quite fantastic. Also, although this book is also a short introduction to the empire, I found it was quite useful.

Popular History:
  • Everett, Anthony. The Rise of Rome. I used this for information on early Rome. It had a lot of detail. I listened to the version from Audible.
  • Gwynn, David. Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction. I thought this was a really great introduction to the subject and a nice synthesis of Republican history. 
  • Holland, Tom. Rubicon. This was an incredible helpful and detailed portrait of the Late Republic. I listened to the Audible edition.

Podcasts and Lectures:
  • Duncan, Mike. The History of Rome. (or iTunes). There are small errors scattered throughout the history.
  • Fagan, Garrett G. The History of Ancient Rome. From the Great Courses. Helpful, especially for the Republic. However, it cuts off right after the accession of Vespasian and then goes onto thematic history.
  • -----------. The Emperors of Rome. From the Great Courses. This lecture series is very helpful, especially when paired with Fagan's other series. However, Fagan has a taste for the sensationalist.
  • Noble, Thomas F.X. Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation. From the Great Courses. Most of this is rather late material-- far beyond the scope of most Classics courses. Much of it, also, is out of chronological order so it can be hard to follow at points. However, I found it really helpful when I took my Late Antique education class.

I'm considering posting some timelines and other resources as well, but I haven't gotten around to fixing my paper versions.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Reasoning: Homer and Fish

I finally arrived in Greece for the first time a few days ago. On my first night, I was sitting with a collection of graduate students who were studying at the American and Canadian schools here. This question came up at dinner: "why do Odysseus and his men never eat fish?" It's a pretty good question, especially considering that Odysseus and his men are starving when his comrades resort to eating Helios's cattle. The same can be said, even outside of the Odyssey. When Agamemnon and his men are marooned on an island by lack of wind on their way to Troy (as retold in the Agamemnon), they too begin to starve.

Today I was reading Pomoroy et al.'s Ancient Greece (now in it's third edition), and they claim that "because fish are not abundant in the Mediterranean, they were usually eaten as a small 'relish' with the meal" (Pomeroy et al. 2012: 19).

Is this true? There seems to be seafood on menus in Greece today (including fish). Is the Mediterranean really short of fish?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Reasoning/Appetitive: New Euripides Fragment Found

Coolest Picture Ever can be found here

Scientists Discover a new fragment of Euripides along with a new commentary on Aristotle under a 13th century copy of the prophetic books of the Greek old testement. More information can be found at or from Göttingen University.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Appetitive: The British Schoolboy's Guide to Classical Myths

Since I have been trying to walk for exercise (as well as having a fairly long walk to class every day), I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks and lectures.

My newest favorite set podcasts is from iTunes and is called Myths and History of Greece and Rome. According to the preface, the set of podcasts was composed by the father of two boys who were interested in the stories of Greece and Rome than they were learning in school. He, apparently, did a bunch of background reading and wrote a book.

The set of podcasts is aimed at school children, so much of the sex and violence has been stripped from the stories. However, the stories have the added bonus of being written in that wonderful British way and are peppered by humor, understatement, and little quips to provide background for school children. I find them quite amusing, and they also include a few stories here and there that I had not heard previously, e.g. the origin of Scylla.