The Anatomy of a Misunderstood Woman: An Examination of Helen of Sparta

The Anatomy of a Misunderstood Woman
By Lily Burkin

Greco-Roman depictions of religious and mythological women provide a unique lens through which femininity can be seen wielding influence over humanity, while also remaining subject to limitations compared to male counterparts and villainization when they threaten the social order. An infamous example of a woman shamed for her unusual actions is Helen of Troy, the countless narratives about whom—when synchronized—paint a complex and contradictory picture of her motivations within the Trojan War. Despite the influence Helen exerts over powerful male figures, narratives of the Trojan War attempt to strip her of autonomy and reduce her to the “most beautiful woman in the world,” even as she displays shocking levels of emotional and intellectual depth in her struggle for control over her personage…

Magic, Religion, and Social Stigma

Magic, Religion, and Social Stigma
By Fiona Green

James Frazer, a visionary classicist and anthropologist, reshaped the academic landscape with his profound insights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Segal, 1). In his book The Golden Bough, Frazer proposed a conception of the distinction between magic and religion. Magic, he argued, was akin to science because it trusted in fundamental laws which governed the world and could be used to one’s advantage if one knew how to manipulate them. A magician uses these laws to compel gods and supernatural beings, whereas religion consists of  “a belief in powers higher than man and an attempt to propitiate or please them” (Frazer, 50). Thus, for Frazer, religion consists of submitting to and persuading supernatural beings…

Roman Ghost Stories and Superstitions on Societal Behavior

Roman Ghost Stories and Superstitions on Societal Behavior: Analyzing Pliny the Younger’s Letter 7.27, Petronius’ The Satyricon, and Mostellaria
By Aidan Jones

Ancient Roman literature has commonly portrayed ghosts in a satirical sense with the use of plays and short stories; however, it is clear that ghost stories have greater effects on Roman culture and society. By analyzing Pliny the Younger’s “Letter to Sura,” Petronius’ “Dinner at Trimalchio’s” in The Satyricon, and Plautus’ Mostellaria, we can determine how these texts reflect beliefs of the supernatural and hauntings, helping us understand the societal fear associated with ghost stories…

A Review of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Television Series

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Review of the Television Series
By Erin Schott

Students typically become classics majors by one of two routes: either their parents force them to take Latin in high school (my situation), or they read Percy Jackson. Rick Riordan’s popular book series provides an easy, fun entry point into the world of Greek mythology for young readers. Recognizing the series’ potential to draw in new majors, the Penn Classical Studies department offers a freshman course centered around Percy Jackson, and on March 20…

The Reception of Minoritized Translators of Classical Epic Poetry

The Reception of Minoritized Translators of Classical Epic Poetry
By Imaan Ansari

Translating without interpreting is nearly impossible. The primary factors affecting a translator’s decisions are the original work’s author, the author’s intended audience, and the audience receiving the translation upon publication. No translator is impartial; otherwise, all translations would be the same. For ancient literature, the progression by which translations are differently received throughout time can be understood through the prism of “Classical reception,” a phenomenon that also crafts the archetype of the accepted or ideal translator…

Fables of Phaedrus, “The Dogs Sent Envoys to Jupiter”

Fables of Phaedrus, “The Dogs Sent Envoys to Jupiter”
By Dara Sánchez

Animal fables in ancient Rome were not viewed with high regard in comparison to other genres of literature. Yet Phaedrus, an alleged freeman of Augustus from the 1st century AD, does not allow these preconceived notions to deter his ambitions. In this feces-filled poem, Phaedrus describes to us an etiological myth that explains why dogs smell each other’s behinds. He mixes the sacred gods, Jupiter and Mercury, with the vulgarity of dogs and excrement, contrasting such different things, and playing on borderline absurdity…

Penelope’s Wait: A Translation of Ovid’s Heroides Book I Lines 1–50

Penelope’s Wait: A Translation of Ovid’s Heroides Book I Lines 1–50
By Erin Schott

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey have endured for thousands of years because they tell stories still true to the human experience. The Iliad recounts the horrors of war and the egotism of those in power, while the Odyssey narrates an arduous homecoming to a place that is not the same as before…

Nature’s Prominence

Nature’s Prominence
By Imaan Ansari and Caroline Pantzer

We prepared a poem centered around the myth of Daedalus and Icarus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. We focused on the phrase, “nātūram novat,” meaning “he altered nature,” and explored how Daedalus’ desire to alter nature affected both characters throughout the story. Daedalus yearns to be a master craftsman, overstepping his status as a mortal to create wings for his son Icarus, who ultimately “flies too close to the sun” and dies. In our poem, we retell the story of Daedalus and Icarus, displaying how “nātūram novat” becomes incorporated into their journey.

Romanus Graecisans: How The Emergence of Rome Impacted The Greeks

Romanus Graecisans: How The Emergence of Rome Impacted The Greeks
By Frederick Frostwick

The expansion of the Roman empire into the east under Augustus both represents the largest growth of the city’s power up to that point and reveals the issue of integrating the Greek-speaking colonies freshly under Roman rule. How the newly conquered Greeks identified their sense of ‘self’ and how their Roman overlords maintained rule of law in the region through a new language of diplomacy…

The Oresteia: Entanglement in Nets and Blood

The Oresteia: Entanglement in Nets and Blood
By Citlali Diaz

The Oresteia, written by Aesychlus, is composed of three separate plays, each of which focuses the attention on the different characters involved in the same conflict of violence. Whether it is Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, or The Eumenides, regardless of the focus on Clytemnestra, Orestes, or the Furies, the Oresteia as a whole highlights the consequences which arise out of intrafamilial bloodshed…