Everything Old Is New Again

Everything Old Is New Again
Returning Translations to Their Original Meanings
By Olivia Wells

Have you ever wondered what’s lost in translation? Now, I could mean this literally or figuratively—here, I ask it literally, in a Classical sense. Is there a straight path from Ancient Greek or Latin to English? Does the context or background of a translator matter? How much faith should we put into a particular translator’s work…

Graecia Capta: Sappho and Catullus

By Mati Davis
Sappho 31 and Catullus 51

These two poets focus on the same theme as the previous part of this series: love’s pains. Catullus’ poem 51 hovers somewhere between allusion and direct quotation of Sappho’s poem 31. These two are as interesting for their similarities as for their differences. Even though they follow nearly the same formula, Catullus deftly contrasts Sappho’s romantic euphoria with his own frenzied agony…

The King, the Soldier, the Slain

The King, the Soldier, the Slain
By Sara Chopra

When I read the final book of the Iliad in Greek this spring, this scene between Priam and Achilles stood out to me for its distinct portrayal of the two; the passage defines these characters by their humanity rather than by their societal positions or opposition in war. In my free-verse translation, I aim to emphasize the core of each character in this moment…

Snow on the Battlefield

Iliad XII.278-289
By Cate Simons

In this translation piece, I created a lyric poem based on a simile from Homer’s Iliad. In his epic, Homer uses this simile to compare Zeus’ snowfall to stones careening on the battlefield; Zeus’ blizzard highlights the terrible expansion of the Trojan War. In my piece, I wanted to emphasize the contrast between the snowstorm’s silence and the clamor of battle.

The Poe-Meric Hymn to Apollo

Hymn to Apollo 331-342
By Tim Hampshire

In this passage, Lines 331-342 of the Hymn to Apollo, Hera makes an appeal to the Gaia and Ouranos, along with the Titans, to be granted the ability to bear a child on her own. The child ends up being Typhon.

In the Bryn Mawr commentary, there is a note for χειρὶ καταπρηνεῖ indicating that such a gesture often describes appeals to chthonic beings. When I read it that way, her prayer to the primordial gods of the earth feels dark and ghoulish in a way that I am not used to thinking of her…

“Ther nys a bettre knight”: Hector as a Medieval Knightly Ideal

“Ther nys a bettre knight”: Hector as a Medieval Knightly Ideal
By William H. Weiss

In his famous work recounting the Hundred Years’ War, Chronicles, Jean Froissart writes of two interesting episodes that any reader could easily overlook. The first appears in Book III where he details the Battle of Otterburn. He mentions how, during the bloodshed, Earl James Douglas “saw that his men were falling back” so in response he charges into the fray…

The Limits of Ancestral Wealth and Power in Ancient Greece

The Limits of Ancestral Wealth and Power in Ancient Greece
By Shiri Gross

Though historians have often argued that hereditary power and wealth played a critical role in defining an individual’s prospects in Ancient Greek society, there is ample evidence against this conclusion. The prevalence of old archaic noble families is  disputed, and hereditary transfer of political power, where proven to exist, appears short-lived, limited, and insecure…