Mythical Beasts

You are invited to visit the website of the project “Chasing Mythical Beasts… The Reception of Creatures from Graeco-Roman Mythology in Children’s & Young Adults’ Culture as a Transformation Marker” supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Alumni Award for Innovative Networking Initiatives. The website will be updated as the project develops:


Protagoras: Ancients in Action

Book Announcement: Protagoras: Ancients in Action (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015) ISBN: 9781472511119
Ideal for classes on History of Ethics, Western Civilization, and Ancient Philosophy
“In this short, elegant, and readable work, Daniel Silvermintz brings alive one of the most elusive and enigmatic thinkers of the ancient world.” – Steven B. Smith, Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science, Yale University, USA,

About Protagoras
The presocratic philosopher Protagoras of Abdera (490–420 BC), founder of the sophistic movement, was famously agnostic towards the existence and nature of the gods, and was the proponent of the doctrine that ‘man is the measure of all things’. Still relevant to contemporary society, Protagoras is in many ways a precursor of the postmodern movement. In the brief fragments that survive, he lays the foundation for relativism, agnosticism, the significance of rhetoric, a pedagogy for critical thinking and a conception of the human being as a social construction.
This accessible introductory survey by Daniel Silvermintz covers Protagoras’ life, ideas and lasting legacy. Each chapter interprets one of the surviving fragments and draws connections with related ideas forwarded by other sophists, showing its relevance to an area of knowledge: epistemology, ethics, education and sociology.
Table of Contents
Notes on Sources
1. From Humble Beginnings to Celebrated Teacher
2. Protagoras and Pericles
3. Protagoras’ Secret Teaching
See more at:

War (6) – sacrilege

War (6) – sacrilege

Just before the expedition to Sicily (415 BCE), stone Hermae in Athens had their faces mutilated; no one knew who had done it

ἐν δὲ τούτῳ, ὅσοι Ἑρμαῖ ἦσαν λίθινοι ἐν τῇ πόλει τῇ Ἀθηναίων (εἰσὶ δὲ κατὰ τὸ ἐπιχώριον, ἡ τετράγωνος ἐργασία, πολλοὶ καὶ ἐν ἰδίοις προθύροις καὶ ἐν ἱεροῖς), μιᾷ νυκτὶ οἱ πλεῖστοι περιεκόπησαν τὰ πρόσωπα. καὶ οὐδείς τοὺς δράσαντας ᾔδει, ἀλλὰ μεγάλοις μηνύτροις δημοσίᾳ οὗτοί τε ἐζητοῦντο καὶ προσέτι ἐψηφίσαντο, καὶ εἴ τις ἄλλο τι οἶδεν ἀσέβημα γεγενημένον, μηνύειν ἀδεῶς τὸν βουλόμενον καὶ ἀστῶν καὶ ξένων καὶ δούλων. καὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα μειζόνως ἐλάμβανον: τοῦ τε γὰρ ἔκπλου οἰωνὸς ἐδόκει εἶναι καὶ ἐπὶ συνωμοσίᾳ ἅμα νεωτέρων πραγμάτων καὶ δήμου καταλύσεως γεγενῆσθαι. (6.27 adapted)
Ἑρμαῖ – Herms
λίθινος – stone
τὸ ἐπιχώριον – custom
τετράγωνος – square
ιδιος – private
το προθυρον – porch
μιᾷ νυκτὶ – in one night
περιεκόπησαν – mutilate
το προσωπον – face
δράσαντας – having done
ᾔδει – know
το μηνυτρον – reward
δημοσίᾳ – at public expense
προσέτι – besides
ἐψηφίσαντο – vote
το ασεβημα – act of impiety
μηνύειν – to inform
ἀδεῶς – without fear
‛ο αστος – citizen
μειζόνως – to a greater degree, more seriously
‛ο εκπλους – expedition
‛ο οἰωνὸς – omen
‛η συνωμοσια – conspiracy
νεωτερος – revolutionary
‛η καταλυσις – dissolving

War (5) – hubris

War (5) – hubris

In the sixteenth year of the war (416 BCE, after hostilities had resumed), the Athenians made an example of the Melians

‘ἡμεῖς τοίνυν οὔτε αὐτοὶ μετ᾽ ὀνομάτων καλῶν, ὡς ἢ δικαίως τὸν Μῆδον καταλύσαντες ἄρχομεν ἢ ἀδικούμενοι νῦν ἐπεξερχόμεθα, λόγων μῆκος ἄπιστον παρέξομεν, οὔθ᾽ ὑμᾶς ἀξιοῦμεν λέγοντας ἢ ὅτι Λακεδαιμονίων ἄποικοι ὄντες οὐ συνεστρατεύσατε ἢ ὡς ἡμᾶς οὐδὲν ἠδικήκατε οἴεσθαι πείσειν, τὰ δυνατὰ δ᾽ ἐξ ὧν ἑκάτεροι ἀληθῶς φρονοῦμεν διαπράσσεσθαι, ἐπισταμένους ὅτι δίκαια μὲν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρωπείῳ λόγῳ ἀπὸ τῆς ἴσης ἀνάγκης κρίνεται, δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς συγχωροῦσιν.’ (5.89 adapted)
το ονομα – pretence
δικαίως – justly
καταλύσαντες – destroy
ἄρχομεν – rule
ἐπεξερχόμεθα – attack
το μηκος – length
απιστος – not credible
παρέξομεν – present
αποικος – colonist
συνεστρατεύσατε – serve with
ἠδικήκατε – do wrong
οἴεσθαι πείσειν – think to persuade
δυνατος – possible
φρονοῦμεν – have in mind
διαπράσσεσθαι – bring about
ἐπισταμένους – knowing
ἐν τῷ ἀνθρωπείῳ λόγῳ – in human reckoning
κρίνεται – decide
προύχοντες – surpass
ασθενης – weak
συγχωροῦσιν – agree, go along with

Plato in the Park

In June and July 2016, the South West Wales Classical Association and Swansea University will run the Plato in the Park project: Latin, ancient Greek, and philosophy classes for children ages 5-12 (philosophy ages 8-12). These classes will be taught by Swansea University students.
For more information and online registration, see

These classes complement our Summer School in Ancient Languages for ages 12+ which will run in July 2016. See for information and registration.

Please contact for more information.

War (4) – peace

War (4) – peace

By the tenth year of the war (422 BCE) both sides desired peace

ταῦτ᾽ οὖν ἀμφοτέροις λογιζομένοις ἐδόκει ποιητέα εἶναι ἡ σύμβασις, καὶ οὐχ ἧσσον τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις, ἐπιθυμίᾳ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῶν ἐκ τῆς νήσου κομίσασθαι: ἦσαν γὰρ οἱ Σπαρτιᾶται αὐτῶν πρῶτοί τε καὶ σφίσι συγγενεῖς. ἤρξαντο μὲν οὖν εὐθὺς μετὰ τὴν ἅλωσιν αὐτῶν πράσσειν, ἀλλ᾽ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι, εὖ φερόμενοι, οὔπως ἤθελον ἐπὶ τῇ ἴσῃ καταλύεσθαι. σφαλέντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τῷ Δηλίῳ παραχρῆμα οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι, γνόντες νῦν μᾶλλον ἂν ἐνδεξαμένους, ποιοῦνται τὴν ἐνιαύσιον ἐκεχειρίαν, ἐν ᾗ ἔδει συνιόντας καὶ περὶ τοῦ πλέονος χρόνου βουλεύεσθαι. (5.15 adapted)
λογιζομένοις – calculate
ποιητέος – to de done
ἡ σύμβασις – agreement, treaty
ἧσσον – less
‛η επιθυμια – desire
κομίσασθαι – get back, recover
συγγενης – kinsmen
ἤρξαντο – begin
‛η ‛αλωσις – capture
εὖ φερόμενοι – doing well
ἐπὶ τῇ ἴσῃ – on equal terms
σφαλέντων – be defeated
παραχρῆμα – forthwith
γνόντες – knowing
ἐνδεξαμένους – accept
ενιαυσιος – for a year
‛η εκεχειρια – armistice
ἔδει – it was necessary
συνιόντας – meet
βουλεύεσθαι – consider, take counsel

Spartan luxury?

On the occasion of its Decennial Anniversary, the Centre for Spartan & Peloponnesian Studies (CSPS) of the University of Nottingham is pleased to announce its 4th International Conference “Luxury and Wealth in the Archaic to Hellenistic Peloponnese”, to be held on campus on April 14th -15th, 2016.

The theme of the conference is timely as it aims to stimulate scholarly thinking and dialogue into past attitudes to luxury, wealth and austerity from a historical, philological and archaeological perspective, which in turn should challenge current understandings of luxury and wealth and generate reflection on current socio-economic conditions and possible alternatives. Luxury and wealth are positioned within their most general contexts, with emphasis placed on their relationships to past lifestyles and choices made. In order to achieve the aims and objectives of this international conference we have assembled a combination of leading scholars and outstanding early career researchers in the field from the UK, Greece, Italy, France, Germany and the USA to organise sessions and deliver papers on a broad range of relevant topics.

The final programme and information on the registration can be found in the conference’s page:
If further information is required, please contact: or

Greek Vases in Oxford

Beazley and Christ Church: 250 Years of Scholarship on Greek Vases

Sir John Beazley, the world’s greatest scholar of Athenian figure-decorated pottery, held his first academic position at Christ Church, and the library houses
rare and important books on ancient Greek art. The exhibition open in the Upper Library presents Beazley’s work and assesses his lasting influence.

A comprehensive catalogue has been produced, which will not only serve as a companion to the exhibition, but also as an aid to undergraduates studying
for Mods, Prelims, Greats, and Finals, postgraduates, and anyone else interested in Greek vases and the history of scholarship.

The exhibition (open from 26 January to 3 May 2016) is curated by Diana Rodríguez Pérez, Thomas Mannack and Cristina Neagu.
Visiting hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10.00 am – 12.30 pm; 2:00 pm – 4.30 pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 10.00 am – 12.30 pm; 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm (provided there is a member of staff available in the Upper Library).

Talks Series and Handling Session (Upper Library, Christ Church)

· The Exhibition Explained (Dr Thomas Mannack) – Monday 1 February at 2 pm
· ‘The fortieth child was born to Hermonax yesterday’. John Beazley and Family (Dr Diana Rodríguez) – Monday 15 February at 2 pm
· Making Sense of Greek Pots (Dr Diana Rodríguez) – Monday 29 February at 2 pm

· Handling Session (Dr Thomas Mannack) – Monday 7 March at 2 pm

· The Exhibition Explained (Dr Thomas Mannack) -Monday 4 April at 2 pm
· ‘The fortieth child was born to Hermonax yesterday’. John Beazley and Family (Dr Diana Rodríguez) – Monday 18 April at 2 pm
· Making Sense of Greek Pots (Dr Diana Rodríguez) – Monday 2 May at 2 pm

Dr Diana Rodríguez Perez
Research Assistant for Beazley Archive Pottery Database
The Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies
66 St Giles’ Street
Oxford OX1 3LU
University of Oxford

War (3) – plague

War (3) – plague

Thucydides describes the symptoms of the plague which broke out in Athens in 430 BCE [he tells us that he himself had the disease, so could describe it at first hand]

τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἔτος, ὡς ὡμολογεῖτο, ἐκ πάντων μάλιστα δὴ ἄνοσον ἐς τὰς ἄλλας ἀσθενείας ἐτύγχανεν ὄν: εἰ δέ τις προύκαμνέ τι, ἐς τοῦτο πάντα ἀπεκρίθη. τοὺς δὲ ἄλλους ἀπ᾽ οὐδεμιᾶς προφάσεως, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξαίφνης ὑγιεῖς ὄντας πρῶτον μὲν τῆς κεφαλῆς θέρμαι ἰσχυραὶ καὶ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ἐρυθήματα καὶ φλόγωσις ἐλάμβανε, καὶ τὰ ἐντός, ἥ τε φάρυγξ καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα, εὐθὺς αἱματώδη ἦν καὶ πνεῦμα ἄτοπον καὶ δυσῶδες ἠφίει: ἔπειτα ἐξ αὐτῶν πταρμὸς καὶ βράγχος ἐπεγίγνετο, καὶ ἐν οὐ πολλῷ χρόνῳ κατέβαινεν ἐς τὰ στήθη ὁ πόνος μετὰ βηχὸς ἰσχυροῦ: καὶ ὁπότε ἐς τὴν καρδίαν στηρίξειεν, ἀνέστρεφέ τε αὐτὴν καὶ ἀποκαθάρσεις χολῆς πᾶσαι ὅσαι ὑπὸ ἰατρῶν ὠνομασμέναι εἰσὶν ἐπῇσαν, καὶ αὗται μετὰ ταλαιπωρίας μεγάλης. λύγξ τε τοῖς πλέοσιν ἐνέπιπτε κενή, σπασμὸν ἐνδιδοῦσα ἰσχυρόν, τοῖς μὲν μετὰ ταῦτα λωφήσαντα, τοῖς δὲ πολλῷ ὕστερον. (2. 49 adapted)
το ετος – year; ὡμολογεῖτο – agreed; ανοσος – free from sickness; ‛η ασθενεια – sickness, disease; ἐτύγχανεν ὄν – happened to be; προύκαμνέ – fell ill; ἀπεκρίθη – put down; ‛η προφασις – reason; ἐξαίφνης – suddenly; ‛υγιης – healthy;
‛η κεφαλη – head; ‛η θερμη – feverish heat; ‛ο οφθαλμος – eye; το ερυθημα – flush; ‛η φλογωσις – burning heat; ἐντός – inside; ἥ φάρυγξ – throat; ἡ γλῶσσα – tongue; ‛αιματωδης – bloody; ατοπος – unnatural; δυσωδης – foul-smelling; ἠφίει – emitted;
‛ο πταρμος – sneeze; ‛ο βραγχος – sore throat; το στηθος – chest; ὁ πόνος – pain; ‛ο βηξ – cough; ‛η καρδια – stomach; στηρίξειεν – fixed; ἀνέστρεφέ – upset; ‛η αποκαθαρσις – discharge; ‛η χολη – bile; ἐπῇσαν – attacked; ‛η ταλαιπωρια – suffering;
‛η λυγξ – cough; κενος – empty; ἐνδιδοῦσα – cause; λωφήσαντα – abate