In the Courts: The Rhetoric of Athens and Today

In the Courts: The Rhetoric of Athens and Today
Rhetoric’s Precedence over Evidence in Classical Athenian Courts
By Lauren Davis

I. Introduction
To many modern audiences, the charm of Ancient Greece lies in its image as an overflowing fountain of artistry and expression, the pantheon they worshipped a lingering memory of their magnificence. Their culture is, in some aspects, timeless—American architecture, literature, and language all a reflection of this ancient world. Yet even this highly romanticized view of our predecessors barely begins to skim the surface of how deeply embedded the arts were in daily life, particularly in the Classical Athens of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.E….

The Discobolus of Qin

The Discobolus of Qin 秦
By Millie Huang

The Discobolus of Qin is a multimedia piece by Chinese-Canadian Millie Huang. It is an encapsulation of the scholarly dialogue speculating that Greek and Hellenistic artwork inspired the creation of China’s terracotta army. Consisting of over 8000 soldiers, the army was sculpted in the late 3rd century BCE under the rule of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang…

Athens: Cruel Imperial Power or Falsely Maligned?

Athens: Cruel Imperial Power or Falsely Maligned?
An Analysis of Greek Perceptions of Athenian Hegemonic Behavior
By Andrew Liu

I. Introduction
The Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Plataea is read by many as a clear repudiation of tyranny and empire—the victory of free peoples against a foreign behemoth intent on the subjugation of all as vassals of the Great King in Persia. The Athenians played a leading role in this defeat of the Persians, and the unpopularity of the Spartan leader Pausanias helped position Athens as the leading city-state taking the war to Persia (Rhodes 24)…

Eclipse

Eclipse
By Millie Huang

This video essay by Millie Huang was created for CLST 143, “Great Books of Ancient Greece and Rome.” It is a response to a class project asking for a presentation-style analysis of any work of classical scholarship. The central topic of the essay is a passage titled “Theoclymenus’s Prophecy” in book 20 of the Odyssey, which has been purported to describe a total solar eclipse since antiquity…

Statues that Speak

Statues that Speak
5th-Century Greek Sculpture as Symbolism for Classical Age Ethos
By Millie Huang

I. Introduction
The Classical Age in Greece (510-323 BC) witnessed many monumental changes in Greek society, including the end of aristocratic culture and the spread of democracy in Athens. Qualities such as egalitarianism, rationality, and austerity became prevalent, and it is said that much of Western artistic thought, on such topics like politics, philosophy, and literature, were derived from this age…

The City in Peace

Iliad 18.490-508
By Stephen Jagoe

In this passage, Homer describes Achilles’ shield and the scenes that decorate it, specifically the “town in peace.” The imagery stands in direct contrast to the rest of the poem’s theme of war. It reminds the reader of the bygone days before the fighting started, and gives him hope that someday the fighting will stop…

Discentes’ Spring 2021 Course Guide

Discentes Course Reviews
Our guide to Classical Studies and Ancient History course offerings this spring
By Sara Chopra

To give our classmates a better understanding of each course beyond its prospectus, syllabus, and PennInTouch description, we asked several members of our staff to reflect upon their past experiences with several of this year’s offerings. Read below to hear their thoughts, whether you’re a seasoned Classics major, considering a minor, or simply looking for an exciting course to fill a gap in your schedule…

Slaves in Free Spaces

Open Dimensions of Space, Socioeconomic Mobility, and Anxiety About Identity in Classical Athens
By Elizabeth Vo-Phamhi

1. Introduction.
World history from antiquity to the present day has abounded with examples of classism and xenophobia as counterforces against socioeconomic mobility and the democratization of opportunity. Societies with servile components are particularly rich in these narratives, and classical Athens (508 – 322 BCE) presents an interesting case of inter-class dynamics involving socioeconomic tensions formed around a spectrum rather than a binary of servile and free statuses…