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Johns Hopkins New Translations from Antiquity

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Johns Hopkins New Translations from Antiquity

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The Odes of Horace

translated by Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz introduction by Ronnie Ancona

This groundbreaking new translation of Horace’s most widely read collection of poetry is rendered in modern, metrical English verse rather than the more common free verse found in many other translations. Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz adapts the Roman poet's rich and metrically varied poetry to English formal verse, reproducing the works in a way that maintains fidelity to the tone, timbre, and style of the originals while conforming to the rules of English prosody. Each poem is true to the sense and aesthetic pleasure of the Latin and carries with it the dignity, concision, and movement characteristic of Horace’s writing. Kaimowitz presents each translation with annotations, providing the context necessary for understanding and enjoying Horace's work. He also comments on textual instability and explains how he constructed his verse renditions to mirror Horatian Latin. Horace and The Odes are introduced in lively fashion by noted classicist Ronnie Ancona.

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The Thebaid

Seven against Thebes

Publius Papinius Statius translated with an introduction by Charles Stanley Ross

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.

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The Trojan Epic

Posthomerica

Quintus of Smyrna translated by Alan James

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.

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