- 'Daimonopylai.' Essays in Classics and the Classical Tradition Presented to Edmund G. Berry
The word daimonopylai - 'spirit gates' - does not appear in my Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon, but it is an acceptable attempt to translate 'Manitoba' into Greek, and it makes a fitting title for this volume of essays honouring Edmund G. Berry, who came to the University of Manitoba in 1940 with a freshly minted PhD, completed under the supervision of Werner Jaeger, and taught Classics there until 1979. He was one of a number of classicists turned out by Canadian universities a couple of generations ago - Berry is a graduate of Queen's University - who went to the United States for graduate work, but unlike many of them, he returned. Daimonopylai was intended to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Berry's [End Page 221] arrival in Manitoba, and though it is five years late, it is a significant contribution to the Canadian classical tradition nonetheless.
There are thirty-four contributions in Daimonopylai, all by scholars whose careers brought them into contact with Winnipeg, either by being born there, such as Albert Schachter, professor emeritus of classics from McGill University, or by graduating from the University of Manitoba, such as Hector Williams, an archaeologist at the University of British Columbia, or by virtue of a stint of teaching at either of Winnipeg's two universities, such as Alexander G. McKay, professor emeritus at McMaster University and past president of the Royal Society of Canada, who was Berry's colleague for three years. All thirty-four essays deserve mention, but there is no space for that, and so I shall pick out a few that I particularly enjoyed.
A clutch of them cross the boundaries between classical and modern mentalités. John J. Gahan's 'Epictetus as Therapist' is a critique of Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, where Epictetus's Stoicism meets the glitz of modern Atlanta. Kristin Lord treats Sappho as a feminist exemplar for the Irish poet Eavan Boland in 'Mythmaking and the Construction of the Feminine in Sappho and Eavan Boland.' Mark Golden explores the relationship between Harold Innis and the classicist Eric Havelock, who was a lively professor at Victoria College, Toronto from 1928 until his overt support for the General Motors strikers in Oshawa in 1946 offended the powers-that-were, and Victoria replaced him by a teacher who was in every way Havelock's antithesis. Havelock decamped to Harvard and then Yale, where he left an ambiguous reputation. His The Liberal Temper in Greek Politics is an outstanding book, but I never found his later work on orality particularly helpful. Golden searches for Havelock's spoor among Innis's writings and finds 'conclusive proof' that Innis did not derive his ideas from Havelock or vice versa. Yet both scholars were on parallel intellectual trajectories.
Readers wanting essays on on literary themes will find a good selection. Alexander McKay looks at the Dido episode in Vergil's Aeneid, particularly the bard Iopas, who sang an unusual lay about astronomy at the banquet welcoming the Trojans to Carthage. McKay speculates that Iopas's persona proceeds from the learned king Juba ii of Mauretania, who married the daughter of Antony and Cleopatra. Robert D. Gold's 'Iovis Ira: Allusion and the Relegation of Ovid' attempts a solution for one of Latin literature's enigmas: why did Augustus send fun-loving, immensely talented Ovid into exile? Carol E. Steer deals with the comic leitmotif of the country bumpkin contrasted with the pseudo-sophisticated city slicker, which Aristophanes was the first to use in his Acharnians. It reappears with a new twist in Menander's Dyskolos ('The Grouch'), where the grouch is a misanthropic, anti-social farmer, offset by his stepson who is a country boor but a decent sort just the same. Brad Levett compares Sophocles' Philoctetes and Euripides' Ion on the basis of dramatic technique and suggests - very tentatively - that Sophocles learned from Euripides...