The Wealth of the Countryside

Virgil, Georgics 2.458-542
Translated by Sara Chopra

In this final passage of Book 2 of his Georgics, Virgil presents his reader with an ode to the farmer, extolling the virtues of country living. However, as much as these closing lines celebrate the joys of an agrarian lifestyle, they equally express the poet’s distaste for the corruption that has taken hold of his city, Rome…

Barbarians: Ancient History, Reimagined

Barbarians: Ancient History, Reimagined
A Review of the New Netflix Series
By Sara Chopra, Margaret Dunn, and Olivia Wells

As the three Articles Editors of Discentes, each of whom happens to focus on a different aspect of the ancient world—Sara reads classical languages and literature, Margaret studies classical civilizations, and Olivia dedicates her work to Mediterranean archaeology—we decided to watch Barbarians ourselves and share some of our own thoughts on the popular series. Should Barbarians be the next show on your winter break Netflix binge list? Our answer—yes. Read our full review of its first season below to learn why…

Two Approaches to Examining Slave Presence in the Plautine Audience

Reviewing Brown and Richlin in Conjunction & Comparison
By Sara J. Chopra

I. Background
To the people of ancient Rome, spectacle was an immense aspect of daily life. Whether it be chariot races, festivals, or city-wide processions, these events collectively contributed to Roman arts and performance culture. One significant medium through which this culture developed was drama…

BLM x CLST: A Series of Interviews with the Faculty of Penn Classics — Part 3: Professor Cynthia Damon

Future Directions and Resources
By Elizabeth Vo-Phamhi, Sara Chopra, Cate Simons

For the third installment of our Black Lives Matter & Classics series, we invited Professor Cynthia Damon to talk about the relevance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the current reassessment of past scholarship in the field. She also provides advice for fostering inclusivity in our classrooms and suggests reading material and resources for us to become better allies by listening, reading, and learning…

BLM x CLST: A Series of Interviews with the Faculty of Penn Classics — Part 2: Professors Kimberly Bowes and Sheila Murnaghan

Looking Back, Thinking Forward: what Black Lives Matter means in our own department and discipline
By Sara Chopra, Cate Simons, Elizabeth Vo-Phamhi

In the first interview of the Black Lives Matter & Classics series, Professor Emily Wilson discussed the translation and reception of BIPOC voices in classical literature. In our second installment in this series, Professors Kimberly Bowes and Sheila Murnaghan provide critical considerations of the exclusionary past of our field and discuss strategies for cultivating a climate of inclusivity here in our department, especially in light of recent statements made by members of peer departments…

BLM x CLST: A Series of Interviews with the Faculty of Penn Classics — Part 1: Professor Emily Wilson

A Translator’s Take on the Black Lives Matter Movement
By Elizabeth Vo-Phamhi, Sara Chopra, Cate Simons

Although several weeks have passed since the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks, amongst countless others, the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States continues to inspire many discussions among us students about how we can better address the issues of race and diversity in Classics. At Discentes, both individually and as a group, we have been joining our nation in long-overdue reflection and action, committing to creating an anti-racist future for our discipline…

Damnatio Memoriae: On Facing, Not Forgetting, Our Past

Damnatio Memoriae: On Facing, Not Forgetting, Our Past
By Mati Davis and Sara Chopra

On a rainy July 1st day several weeks ago, a crowd gathered along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia to cheer on construction crews as they lifted and lowered a statue of the Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from its pedestal. For many onlookers, the toppling of Jackson’s figure in their city —formerly the capital of the Confederacy—symbolized a step toward reshaping its racially oppressive past…

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…