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A Close Verse Translation
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late fourteenth-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. In this poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious green warrior. In a struggle to uphold his oath along this quest, Gawain demonstrates chivalry, loyalty, and honor. This new verse translation of the most popular and enduring fourteenth century romance to survive to the present offers students an accessible way of approaching the literature of medieval England without losing the flavor of the original writing. The language of Sir Gawain presents considerable problems to present-day readers as it is written in the West Midlands dialect before English became standardized. With a foreword by David Donoghue, the close verse translation includes facing pages of the original fourteenth-century text and its modern translation.
Medieval European Studies Series, Volume 13
Norman Austin brings both keen insight and a life-long engagement with his subject to this study of Sophocles’ late tragedy Philoctetes, a fifth-century BCE play adapted from an infamous incident during the Trojan War. In Sophocles’ “Philoctetes” and the Great Soul Robbery, Austin examines the rich layers of text as well as context, situating the play within the historical and political milieu of the eclipse of Athenian power. He presents a study at once of interest to the classical scholar and accessible to the general reader. Though the play, written near the end of Sophocles’ career, is not as familiar to modern audiences as his Theban plays, Philoctetes grapples with issues—social, psychological, and spiritual—that remain as much a part of our lives today as they were for their original Athenian audience.
Vol. 20 (2009) through current issue
Syllecta Classica is an annual publication of the Department of Classics at the University of Iowa. We specialize in publishing long, substantial articles on Classical Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture, including their modern reception. We have excellent facilities for reproducing maps, plans, and illustrations. Refereeing is double-blind, and every effort is made to reach a decision on a submission within two months.
Horace Returns to Lyric in Odes IV
Ten years after publishing his first collection of lyric poetry, Odes I-III, Horace (65 B.C.-8 B.C.) returned to lyric and published another book of fifteen odes, Odes IV. These later lyrics, which praise Augustus, the imperial family, and other political insiders, have often been treated more as propaganda than art. But in A Symposion of Praise, Timothy Johnson examines the richly textured ambiguities of Odes IV that engage the audience in the communal or "sympotic" formulation of Horace's praise. Surpassing propaganda, Odes IV reflects the finely nuanced and imaginative poetry of Callimachus rather than the traditions of Aristotelian and Ciceronian rhetoric, which advise that praise should present commonly admitted virtues and vices. In this way, Johnson demonstrates that Horace's application of competing perspectives establishes him as Pindar's rival.
Johnson shows the Horatian panegyrist is more than a dependent poet representing only the desires of his patrons. The poet forges the panegyric agenda, setting out the character of the praise (its mode, lyric, and content both positive and negative), and calls together a community to join in the creation and adaptation of Roman identities and civic ideologies. With this insightful reading, A Symposion of Praise will be of interest to historians of the Augustan period and its literature, and to scholars interested in the dynamics between personal expression and political power.
Seven against Thebes
A classical epic of fratricide and war, the Thebaid retells the legendary conflict between the sons of Oedipus—Polynices and Eteocles—for control of the city of Thebes. The Latin poet Statius reworks a familiar story from Greek myth, dramatized long before by Aeschylus in his tragedy Seven against Thebes. Statius chose his subject well: the Rome of his day, ruled by the emperor Domitian, was not too distant from the civil wars that had threatened the survival of the empire. Published in 92 A.D., the Thebaid was an immediate success, and its fame grew in succeeding centuries. It reached its peak of popularity in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, influencing Dante, Chaucer, and perhaps Shakespeare. In recent times, however, it has received perhaps less attention than it deserves, in large part because there has been no accessible, dynamic translation of the work into English. Charles Stanley Ross offers a compelling version of the Thebaid rendered into forceful, modern English. Casting Statius's Latin hexameter into a lively iambic pentameter more natural to the modern ear, Ross frees the work from the archaic formality that has marred previous translations. His translation reinvigorates the Thebaid as a whole: its meditative first half and its violent second half; its intimate portrayal of defeat and retribution, and the need to seek justice at any cost. In a wide-ranging introduction, Ross provides an overview of the poem: its composition, reception and legacy; its major themes and literary influences; and its place in Statius' life. And in a helpful series of notes, he offers background information on the major characters and incidents.
Suffering and Sympathy in Ancient Athens
Humane ideals were central to the image Athenians had of themselves and their city during the classical period. Tragic plays, which formed a part of civic education, often promoted pity and compassion. But it is less clear to what extent Athenians embraced such ideals in daily life. How were they expected to respond, emotionally and pragmatically, to the suffering of other people? Under what circumstances? At what risk to themselves? In this book, Rachel Hall Sternberg draws on evidence from Greek oratory and historiography of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE to study the moral universe of the ancient Athenians: how citizens may have treated one another in times of adversity, when and how they were expected to help. She develops case studies in five spheres of everyday life: home nursing, the ransom of captives, intervention in street crimes, the long-distance transport of sick and wounded soldiers, and slave torture. Her close reading of selected narratives suggests that Athenians embraced high standards for helping behavior—at least toward relatives, friends, and some fellow citizens. Meanwhile, a subtle discourse of moral obligation strengthened the bonds that held Athenian society together, encouraging individuals to bring their personal behavior into line with the ideals of the city-state.
Vol. 130 (2000) through current issue
Transactions of the APA (TAPA) is the official research publication of the American Philological Association. TAPA reflects the wide range and high quality of research currently undertaken by classicists. Highlights of every issue include: The Presidential Address from the previous year's conference and Paragraphoi a reflection on the material and response to issues raised in the issue.
Composed in the third century A.D., the Trojan Epic is the earliest surviving literary evidence for many of the traditions of the Trojan War passed down from ancient Greece. Also known as the Posthomerica, or "sequel to Homer," the Trojan Epic chronicles the course of the war after the burial of Troy's greatest hero, Hektor. Quintus, believed to have been an educated Greek living in Roman Asia Minor, included some of the war's most legendary events: the death of Achilles, the Trojan Horse, and the destruction of Troy. But because Quintus deliberately imitated Homer's language and style, his work has been dismissed by many scholars as pastiche. A vivid and entertaining story in its own right, the Trojan Epic is also particularly significant for what it reveals about its sources—the much older, now lost Greek epics about the Trojan War known collectively as the Epic Cycle. Written in the Homeric era, these poems recounted events not included in the Iliad or the Odyssey. As Alan James makes clear in this vibrant and faithful new translation, Quintus's work deserves attention for its literary-historical importance and its narrative power. James's line-by-line verse translation in English reveals the original as an exciting and eloquent tale of gods and heroes, bravery and cunning, hubris and brutality. James includes a substantial introduction which places the work in its literary and historical context, a detailed and annotated book-by-book summary of the epic, a commentary dealing mainly with sources, and an explanatory index of proper names. Brilliantly revitalized by James, the Trojan Epic will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in Greek mythology and the legend of Troy.