Crash course in Classics
March 31, 2015 9:20 PM   Subscribe

What are some must-know names and works in current Greco-Roman classical studies scholarship? What are some hot topics, trends, new directions in the field?

I'm a grad student in linguistics. Since I work on Greek and know Latin, I want to educate myself about the current state of classics as an academic field, so that I can broaden my job search and present myself as a possibly somewhat plausible candidate for classics jobs as well as linguistics jobs. I'll always be primarily a classical linguist rather than a classicist, but I want to be a linguist who can fruitfully converse with classicists whose work isn't necessarily linguistic or philological.

I have an okay grasp of classical history, culture, and literature, but I don't know much about current scholarship in the field. I want to put together something like a Top Forty list of must-know scholars/articles/works that one would be well served by knowing if one wishes to have a conversation with a classical scholar.

What scholarly names would it would be impossible to go through a classics graduate program without hearing? What recent or not-so-recent books and articles would someone who had completed such a program be pretty much certain to have at least heard about? What are the most important recent developments and hot subfields?

I realize classical studies is a huge field and this is a huge question. To narrow it down a little, I'm less interested in archaeology, art, or science and technology, and more in history, literature, religion and culture. (Still not very narrow, I know.) I'm somewhat more interested in the Greek than the Roman world, but would like answers on both.
posted by zeri to Education (4 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Donald Kagan on ancient Greece. In addition to his written scholarship, he has an excellent series of lectures on iTune U.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:56 PM on March 31, 2015

Best answer: I don't know, but at the Society for Classical Studies website, you can find at least the last four years' worth of abstracts for papers presented at what seems to be a fairly large conference. They're in tables that scrape very easily if you'd like to tally up popular issues or connect them to the institutional affiliations given in the program. I assume many of the presenters are grad students or people who're not working on emergent topics. But with a day of work, you might wind up with a better cognitive map of the field than many competing grad students.

Or maybe you could make the Web of Science Arts & Humanities Citation Index cough up a list of widely-cited stuff of relevance.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:15 PM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

I guess another burgeoning area you could look at is the work classicists are doing in the Digital Humanities. If you have any interest in the interface between corpus linguistics and classics, this could be particularly relevant for you. Elton Barker is someone doing interesting work in this field. You can find links to his projects and the research articles stemming from them embedded in his staff profile.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:58 AM on April 1, 2015

From Princeton PhD program in Classics.

Classics Reading List

The texts listed below are representative of the works that constitute Classics as a field of literary study: you should read them all in the original Greek and Latin before attempting the literature general examinations.

As a further guide, the texts noted in square brackets, after the phrase ‘in trans.’, are those you would find it especially helpful to have read in English translation. Please note that these texts are suggested as a helpful guide and are not intended to be regarded as required.

Aeschylus: Oresteia [in trans.: all]
Apollonius: Argonautica 3 [in trans.: all]
Aristophanes: Lysistrata, Frogs [in trans.: all]
Aristotle: Poetics [in trans.: Rhetoric, Nicomachean Ethics 1]
Callimachus: Hymn to Pallas, Aetia fr. 1 Pfeiffer (=Prolog)
Demosthenes: Or. 9 (Third Philippic) [in trans.: On the Crow]
Euripides: Bacchae, Hippolytus, Medea [in trans.: Ion, Alcestis, Helen, Iphigeneia in Aulis, Cyclops]
Herodotus: Books 1, 7, 8 [in trans.: all]
Hesiod: Theogony 1-210, Works and Days 1-382 [in trans.: all]
Homer: Iliad 1, 2.1-493, 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 21, 22, 24; Odyssey 1-6, 8-12, 16, 19, 21, 23-24 [in trans.: all + Homeric Hymns]
Isocrates: Panegyricus [in trans.: Antidosis]
Longus: Daphnis and Chloe 1-2 [in trans.: all]
Lucian: Vera Historia 1.1-4 & 2 [in trans.: all + De Historia Scribenda]
Lyric: Campbell’s selections of Archilochus, Tyrtaeus, Alcman, Mimnermus, Solon, Stesichorus, Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Xenophanes, Simonides, Bacchylides 17 & 18
Lysias: 1 (On the Murder of Eratosthenes)
Menander: Dyscolus [in trans.: Samia]
Pindar: Olympian 1, 6, 7, 14; Pythian 1, 2, 4, 6, 8; Nemean 7 [in trans.: all Epinicia]
Plato: Phaedrus, Symposium, Republic 10 [in trans.: Phaedo, Gorgias, Republic all, Seventh Epistle]
Plutarch: Life of Alexander [in trans.: Coniugalia Praecepta, Quomodo Adulescens Poetas Audire Debeat]
Sophocles: Ajax, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus [in trans.: all]
Theocritus: 1, 2, 7, 11, 15 [in trans.: 3-6, 22]
Thucydides: Books 1, 2, 7 [in trans.: all]
Xenophon: Hellenica 2, Memorabilia 2 [in trans.: Anabasis, Apology, Oeconomicus]
Apuleius: Metamorphoses 4.28-6.24 (=‘Cupid and Psyche’) [in trans.: all]
Augustine: Confessions 1, 8 [in trans.: 2-7]
Caesar: Bellum Civile 1 [in trans.: all + Bellum Gallicum]
Catullus: all
Cicero: In Cat. 1; Pro Archia; Pro Caelio; Philippic 2; De Oratore 1.1-159, 3.120-230; selected letters (Att. 1.16, 2.19, 4.1, 4.4, 9.6a, 13.52, 14.12; Fam. 1.9, 4.5, 5.12, 8.1, 15.5, 15.6) [in trans.: Pro Sex. Roscio, In Verrem 2.4, Pro Lege Manilia, In Catilinam all, Pro Sestio, De Oratore all, De Republica 1, 6, De Officiis]
Horace: Odes 1, 3, 4; Satires 1; ‘Ars Poetica’ [in trans.: all]
Juvenal: 3, 6, 10 [in trans. 1-2, 4-5, 8]
Livy: Books 1, 6, 21 [in trans.: Books 2-5, 22]
Lucan: Book 7 [in trans.: all]
Lucretius: Books 1, 3 [in trans.: all]
Ovid: Amores 1; Metamorphoses 1, 8, 15; Fasti 4; Tristia 4.10 [in trans.: Ars Amatoria 1, Heroides 7, Metamorphoses all]
Petronius: Satyricon 26-72 (=‘Cena Trimalchionis’) [in trans.: all]
Plautus: Menaechmi [in trans.: Aulularia, Pseudolus, Rudens]
Pliny: selected letters (1.12, 2.1, 2.20, 3.14, 3.16, 3.21, 4.19, 4.22, 5.8, 7.17, 7.24, 7.27: Sherwin- White ed.)
Propertius: Books 1, 4
Quintilian: Book 10
Sallust: Bellum Catilinae [in trans.: Bellum Iugurthinum]
Seneca: Thyestes; selected letters (51, 56, 79, 84, 86, 88, 114, 122: Summers ed.) [in trans.: Apocolocyntosis, Medea, Phaedra, [Sen.] Octavia]
Statius: Silvae 4; Thebaid 9
Tacitus: Annals 1-4 [in trans.: Dialogus de Oratoribus, Agricola, Annals all, Histories 1-2]
Terence: Adelphoe [in trans.: Heautontimoroumenos, Phormio]
Virgil: Eclogues; Georgics 4; Aeneid [in trans.: Georgics 1-3]

Aristotle: Physics II; Nicomachean Ethics I, II 1-6; and Metaphysics Alpha.
Plato: Apology, Phaedo, Republic I, II, IV, V 471c-VII, X to 607a.


Candidates should prepare seven to ten of the 19 options, selected in consultation with their advisor; substitutions for the texts listed are permitted with the adviser's consent.

Aeschylus: Agamemnon; Prometheus Bound or Eumenides
Aristophanes: Clouds
Aristotle: Categories 1-5; de Anima II 1-7, 12; Nic Ethics III 1-5, VII 1-3, X 6-8; Metaphysics Lambda
Epicurus: Letter to Herodotus, Letter to Menoeceus, Principal Doctrines
Euclid: Elements I
Euripides: Bacchae or Medea or Helen
Herodotus: Histories I
Hippocrates: On Ancient Medicine, On the Sacred Disease
Homer: Iliad, six books
Isocrates: Against the Sophists; Antidosis
Pindar: Olympians I, II; Pythian III
Plato: Protagoras; Parmenides (to 137b); Theaetetus (to 187a)
Plotinus: Enneads I 4 (On Eudaimonia); Enneads IV 8 (On the Descent of the Soul into Bodies); Enneads V 1 (On the Three Primary Hypostases
Presocaratics ("B" fragments only, in Diels-Kranz): Anaximander; Xenophanes; Heraclitus; Parmenides; Zeno; Empedocles (On Nature); Anaxagoras; Leucippus; Democritus
Pyrrhonian Skepticism and Stoicism Sextus Empirius Pyrrhonian Sketches I; Diogenes Laertius Lives VII, 39-160.
The Sophistic Movement "B" fragments in Diels-Kranz of: Gorgias; Antiphon, Teralogies Dissoi Logoi
Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus; Antigone
Thucydides: History II
Xenophon: Memorabilia I, IV; Apology

Latin Authors - Required:
Cicero: De Finibus I-III, V
Lucretius: De Rerum Natura I-III

Latin Authors - Options

Candidates should prepare two to four of the eight options, selected in consultation with their advisers; substitutions for the text listed are permitted with the adviser's consent.

Augustine: Contra Academicos; Confessions XI; De Libero Arbitrio II
Boethius: Theological Tractates; De Consolatione Philosophiae
Cicero: Disputationes Tusculanae I, IV, V; De Natura Deorum II
Horace: Odes
Lucretius: De Rerum Natura IV-VI
Ovid: Metamorphoses
Seneca: De Ira; De Beneficiis I-II; De Tranquillitate Animi
Vergil: Aeneid, six books
posted by BadgerDoctor at 2:42 AM on April 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

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