Narcotics in Scythia

Talk of the ancient inhalation and use of narcotic substances is a fairly widely discussed topic in Classical Studies. With references abounding to the trance like states of Oracles and Prophets, the possession of Poets or Rhapsodes and of course, the clear propensity for wine the Ancients had, it’s with little doubt one can say that […]

Aristotle on Catharsis

Following my reading of Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, I have become fascinated with the relationship between Philosophy and Art, namely Aesthetics, and the Metaphysics of Appearances. This is certainly an area I intend to explore more fully, especially Nietzsche’s controversial opinion that Euripides (through the machinations of Socrates) brought about the downfall of Tragic Art. In […]

The Cambridge Ritualists

I have stumbled upon the existence of an interesting group of intellectuals… The Cambridge Ritualists. Their apparent fascination with the the Mythopoeic, and of course Ritualistic aspects of Ancient Culture, is certainly deserving of study. The works of the Ritualists’ members (G Murray, J E Harrison, F M Cornford et al.) merit further reading. The constant reference in literature to […]

Shakespeare – Troilus and Cressida

Thersites the Anti-Hero Although set firmly within it, I see Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida as no extension of the Epic Cycle, but rather a tactically positioned critique of its classical hero culture. This does not by any means suggest an assault on Homer, the epic poets, or epic poetry itself, yet a tone of resounding polemic […]

Shakespeare – Julius Caesar

Tragica Res Publica – Brutus as the Republic’s Hamartia It would be wrong to consider Caesar as this play’s tragic hero, but his oft-cited replacement, Brutus, can be seen as Shakespeare’s personification of the true victim’s ‘fatal flaw’… this victim being the Roman Republic itself. Given the valiance of Brutus, his selfless sacrifice, his commitment to […]

A Literary Criticism of Horace’s Epode 4

Horace Epode 4: Lupis et agnis quanta Sortito obtigit, tecum mihi discordia est, Hibericis peruste funibus latus et crura dura compede. licet superbus ambules pecunia, fortuna non mutat genus. videsne, sacram metiente te viam cum bis trium ulnarum toga, ut ora vertat huc et huc euntium liberrima indignatio? ‘sectus flagellis hic triumviralibus praeconis ad fastidium arat Falerni mille fundi iugera et Appiam mannis terit sedilibusque magnus in primis eques Othone contempto sedet. quid attinet tot ora navium gravi rostrata duci pondere contra latrones atque servilem manum hoc, hoc tribuno militum?’ Analysis: The subject of this poem is a parvenu, a freed slave who has subsequently acquired great wealth and is now ‘flaunting’ it around. The tone of the poem appears to be […]

A Literary Criticism of Euripides’ Cyclops

Cyclops – lines 316-328: ὁ πλοῦτος, ἀνθρωπίσκε, τοῖς σοφοῖς θεός, τὰ δ᾽ ἄλλα κόμποι καὶ λόγων εὐμορφία. ἄκρας δ᾽ ἐναλίας αἷς καθίδρυται πατὴρ χαίρειν κελεύω: τί τάδε προυστήσω λόγῳ; Ζηνὸς δ᾽ ἐγὼ κεραυνὸν οὐ φρίσσω, ξένε, οὐδ᾽ οἶδ᾽ ὅ τι Ζεύς ἐστ᾽ ἐμοῦ κρείσσων θεός. οὔ μοι μέλει τὸ λοιπόν: ὡς δ᾽ οὔ μοι μέλει ἄκουσον: ὅταν ἄνωθεν ὄμβρον ἐκχέῃ, ἐν τῇδε πέτρᾳ στέγν᾽ ἔχων σκηνώματα, ἢ μόσχον ὀπτὸν ἤ τι θήρειον δάκος δαινύμενος ἑστιῶ τι γαστέρ᾽ ὑπτίαν, εἶτ᾽ ἐκπιὼν γάλακτος ἀμφορέα πλέων κρούω, Διὸς βρονταῖσιν εἰς ἔριν κτυπῶν. Analysis: Immediately following the pleading rhesis of Odysseus as he attempts to convince Polyphemus that the fighting at Troy was as much for the Cyclopes’ benefit as it was the Greeks, this passage marks the beginning of Polyphemus’ […]