Happy Floralia, Greeks and Romans!


As heavy snow falls on April 16, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves of the Roman festival, Floralia, in honor of the goddess Flora to usher in spring and flowers and the renewal of all living things (the Greek nymph goddess Chloris had a similar association).

I who now am called Flora was formerly Chloris: a Greek letter of my name is corrupted in the Latin speech. Chloris I was, a nymph of the happy fields where, as you have heard, dwelt fortunate men of old. Modesty shrinks from describing my figure; but it procured the hand of a god for my mother’s daughter. ’Twas spring, and I was roaming… I enjoy perpetual spring; most buxom is the year ever; ever the tree is clothed with leaves, the ground with pasture (Ovid, Fasti, book 5, lines 195-201; 207-208; Loeb transl.).

Chloris eram, quae Flora vocor: corrupta Latinonominis est nostri littera Graeca sono. Chloris eram, nymphe campi felicis, ubi audisrem fortunatis ante fuisse viris.quae fuerit mihi forma, grave est narrare modestae sed generum matri repperit illa deum…vere fruor semper: semper nitidissimus annus, arbor habet frondes, pabula semper humus.

“Flora,” detail of fresco, Villa di Arianna, Stabiae. First century CE.

Some people think that butterflies are the most reliable sign of spring, on account of the extremely delicate structure of that insect; but in the very year in which I am writing this treatise it has been noticed that their supply has been three times annihilated by a return of cold weather, and that migratory birds arriving on January 27 brought a hope of spring that was soon dashed to the ground by a spell of very severe winter. The procedure is two-fold: first of all it consists in trying to obtain a general principle from celestial phenomena, and then this principle has to be investigated by special signs (Pliny the Elder, Natural History, book 18, chapter 57; Loeb transl.).

…sunt qui certissimum veris indicium arbitrentur, ob infirmitatem animalis, papiliones; sed eo ipso anno cum commentaremur haec notatum est proventum eorum ter repetito frigore extinctum, advenasque volucres a. d. vi kal. Febr. spem veris adtulisse mox saevissima hieme conflictatam. res anceps: primum omnium a caelo peti legem, deinde eam argumentis esse quaerendam. super omnia est mundi convexitatis terrarumque globi differentia, eodem sidere alio tempore aliis aperiente se gentibus, quo fit ut causa eius non isdem diebus ubique valeat. addidere difficultatem et auctores diversis in locis observando, mox etiam in isdem diversa prodendo.

The first flower to herald the approach of spring is the white violet, which moreover in the warmer spots peeps out even in winter. Afterwards comes the violet which is called ion, and the mauve one, followed closely by the flame-colored flower called phlox, but only the wild variety. The cyclamen blossoms twice in the year, in spring and in autumn; it shuns summer and winter. A little later than those mentioned above come, overseas, the narcissus and the lily, which in Italy, as we have said, is after the rose. But in Greece comes later still the anemone. This however is a flower of the wild bulbs, and different from the plant to be spoken of among the medicinal herbs. It is followed by the oenanthe, the melanium and the wild heliochrysus, then the other kind of anemone, which is called the meadow anemone, after which comes the gladiolus, together with the hyacinth (Pliny the Elder, Natural History, book 21, chapter 38; Loeb transl.).

Florum prima ver nuntiantium viola alba—tepidioribus vero locis etiam hieme emicat—post ea quae ion appellatur et purpurea, proxime flammeum, quod phlox vocatur, silvestre dumtaxat. cyclaminum bis anno, vere et autumno. aestates hiemesque fugit. seriores supra dictis aliquanto narcissus et lilium trans maria, in Italia quidem, ut diximus, post rosam. verum in Graecia tardius etiamnum anemone. est autem haec silvestrium bulborum flos, alia quam quae dicetur in medicis. sequitur oenanthe ac melanium et ex silvestribus heliochrysos, deinde alterum genus anemones quae limonia vocatur, post hanc gladiolus comitatus.

The Classics Library’s “Book of the Month” in April: Wild Flowers of Cyprus.

See the delightful Facebook post about this book by PhD candidate Angelica Wisenbarger:


…the blossom is the token of full spring and of the rebirth of the year—the blossom is the trees’ rejoicing: it is then that they show themselves new creatures and transformed from what they really are, it is then that they quite revel in rivaling each other with the varied hues of their coloring (Pliny the Elder, Natural History, book 16, chapter 40; Loeb transl.).

…flos est pleni veris indicium et anni renascentis, flos gaudium arborum: tunc se novas aliasque quam sunt ostendunt, tunc variis colorum picturis in certamen usque luxuriant.

Almond trees in bloom at Agrigentum (Agrigento), Sicily.


“Spring” from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.


I Vespri Siciliani, Act 3, “Spring” by Giuseppe Verdi.


Colorful rendition of Flora, Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera.

The real thing. The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

Pics from Ovid Celebration

The UC Classics Library celebrated the birthday and 2000-year anniversary of the ancient Roman poet Publius Ouidius Naso (20 March 43 BCE – CE 17/18) on March 29, 2018. See UC President Pinto’s tweet: https://twitter.com/UCLibraries/status/978291186975805440

Thank you to all the outstanding participants and to all those who attended!

The following photos were taken with a $75 dollar phone/camera; hence, the poor quality.

Dr. Bridget Langley, UC Classics Department, gave a brilliant and hysterically funny talk on Ovid.

Dr. Colin Shelton, UC Classics Department, read the tale of Echo and Narcissus, in a hauntingly beautiful and suggestive manner, in Latin and in translation/interpretation by modern English poet Ted Hughes. It gave us all goose bumps.

Dr. Jenny Doctor, Library, UC College-Conservatory of Music, gave a fascinating talk on modern English composer Benjamin Britten and his opus 49 for solo oboe, “Six Metamorphoses after Ovid,” as well as introduced the piece’s individual metamorphoses and the oboist.

Yo Shionoya, oboist, UC College-Conservatory of Music. If we were not already Britten and oboe fans, we all became such after his outstanding performance.  Yo is an amazing musician, who although a graduate student, has a full program of public appearances. He, not Ovid, dictated the date of the event.  Many of us were moved to tears (of joy) during his rendition of the heart-wrenching grief of Niobe, the loving “self-reflection” of Narcissus, the hubris of the flight of Phaeton.

It was a full house!

Yo Shionoya and Jenny Doctor enjoying themselves at the reception.

Professors Susan Prince, Jack Davis, Steven Ellis, UC Classics Department, in deep conversation.

Mike Braunlin, UC Classics Library, Bibliographer and Numismatist, handsome in a rare suit.

Three of the UC Classics Department’s bright students, Maria Gaki, Cecilia Cozzi, Kelly Grogan.

“Performers” Bridget Langley and Colin Shelton relaxing together with Professor Valeria Sergueenkova and Tytus Fellow Salvador Bartera.

Mike Braunlin, UC Classics Library, and May Chang, UC Library Chief Technology Officer. May, although a techie, borrowed a book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses after the event and commented that if she had had Bridget and Colin as teachers of Latin, she may have chosen Classics instead of IT, which highlights the importance of Latin teachers that enthuse rather than frustrate their students.

UC Classics Professors Antonios Kotsonas and Daniel Markovic in spirited conversation.

Dan Gottlieb, UC Libraries, Senior Advisor to the Dean and Interim Dean of Library Services, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Mike Braunlin having fun.

The delicious and healthy and “ancient Roman” refreshments prepared by Christina Miller, vegan chef at Whole Foods — roasted asparagus, wild mushrooms, leeks, dates, cinnamon apples, figs, melon, strawberries, grapes, breads, olives, nuts.  Ovid would have enjoyed this feast, free from animal suffering, hormones, and pesticides and perfectly in line with UC President Pinto’s new strategic directions, Next Lives Here! It is our hope that human health, the health of the environment, and kindness to all sentient beings become the norm for receptions at UC. Ovid himself said it best: “The earth, prodigal of her wealth, provides you with her sweet sustenance and offers you food without bloodshed and slaughter” (Metamorphoses book 15, lines 81-83).

The attendees were also treated to “ancient Roman” candy, the so called Confetti di Sulmona, from Ovid’s hometown of ancient Sulmo, present-day Sulmona, in the province of Abruzzo, Italy.

Although born in Sulmo, exiled to Tomis by the Black Sea, present-day Constanța, Romania, where he died, it was the City of Rome Ovid called home.  The She-Wolf with the legendary twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, has become a symbol of Rome, also here in Cincinnati (Eden Park).


If you wish to read Ovid’s Metamorphoses or any other work from his quite extensive œuvre, you could, for example, use the translations with parallel Latin texts in the Loeb Classical Library series. Here are the perhaps best known of Ovid’s poems:

Metamorphoses — https://www.loebclassics.com/view/ovid-metamorphoses/1916/pb_LCL042.3.xml?rskey=7TOGFu&result=1

Fasti — https://www.loebclassics.com/view/ovid-fasti/1931/pb_LCL253.3.xml?rskey=0FvawT&result=13

Amores — https://www.loebclassics.com/view/ovid-amores/1914/pb_LCL041.319.xml?rskey=lwyxTu&result=10

Ars Amatoria https://www.loebclassics.com/view/ovid-art_love/1929/pb_LCL232.13.xml?rskey=lwyxTu&result=7

Tristia — https://www.loebclassics.com/view/ovid-tristia/1924/pb_LCL151.3.xml?rskey=lwyxTu&result=5

(Epistulae) Ex Ponto — https://www.loebclassics.com/view/ovid-ex_ponto/1924/pb_LCL151.265.xml?rskey=lwyxTu&result=8


Dr. Shelton read from the Latin text of the Metamorphoses from the so called Oxford Classical Text edition:

Tarrant, R.J. 2004. P. Ovidi Nasonis Metamorphoses: Recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit. Oxford University Press.

And from the English translation by Ted Hughes:

Hughes, Ted. 1997. Tales from Ovid. Faber & Faber. Also online from Chadwyck-Healey (ProQuest): https://literature.proquest.com/toc.do?sourceId=Z000561710&action=new&area=poetry-toc&divLevel=0&queryId=&mapping=toc#scroll&DurUrl=Yes

Another very readable and accessible translation is that of Charles Martin, with introduction by Bernard Knox.

Martin, C. 2010. Metamorphoses : A new translation, contexts, criticism. Norton.


Moreover, be sure to check out graduate student Angelica Wisenbarger’s amusing and witty description of March’s “Book of the Month,” an Elzevir edition of the Metamorphoses from 1629: https://www.facebook.com/notes/uc-libraries/carmina-mutata-in-nova-corpora-classics-book-of-the-month-march-2018-ovids-metam/1882836821750116/

Finally, don’t miss the book exhibits, still up in the Classics Library’s Reading Room, of rare editions of the works of Ovid with Emperor Augustus, the source of much of Ovid’s chagrin, on top of the display, from a UC excavation at Troy.



Our Favorite Ovid Quotes


In connection with the event on Thursday, March 29, in the Classics Library, celebrating the life and works of Publius Ouidius Naso (see blog post below), we are choosing our favorite Ovid quotes. If you would like to participate, please share your favorite(s) (with exact attribution) or choose from the ones below!

“There is nothing constant in the universe, all ebb and flow, and every shape that is born bears in its womb the seeds of change” (Metamorphoses 5.177). UC President Pinto’s favorite quote!

“To put it briefly, we possess nothing that isn’t mortal, except the benefits of the heart and the mind” (Tristia 3.7.43-44). Bridget Langley’s favorite quote

“The barbarian here is me, for I make no sense to anyone” (Tristia 5.10.37). Colin Shelton’s favorite quote

“Believe me, nothing perishes in all the world; it does but vary and renew its form. What we call birth is but a beginning to be other than what one was before; and death is but a cessation of a former state” (Metamorphoses 15. 254-257). Mike’s favorite quote I

“A person’s last day must ever be awaited, and none be counted happy till his death, till his last funeral rites are paid” (Metamorphoses 3.134-6). Mike’s favorite quote II

“O Time, thou great devourer, and thou, envious Age, together you destroy all things; and, slowly gnawing your teeth, you finally consume all things in lingering death!” (Metamorphoses 15. 234-236). Mike’s favorite quote III

“O mortals, do not pollute your bodies with food so impious [the flesh of animals]! You have the fruits of the earth, you have apples, bending down the branches with their weight, and grapes swelling in ripeness on the vines, you also have sweet herbs…” (Metamorphoses 15.75-78). Rebecka’s favorite quote I

“Poor me! Love cannot be cured by herbs” (Metamorphoses 1.523). Rebecka’s favorite quote II

“Not for one person’s delight has nature made the sun, the wind, the waters; all are free” (Metamorphoses 6.349).

“You can learn from anyone even your enemy” (Metamorphoses 4.428).

“I am the poet of the poor, because I was poor when I loved; since I could not give gifts, I gave words” (Ars Amatoria 165-166).

“If you want to be loved, be lovable” (Ars Amatoria 107).

“A faithful study of the liberal arts humanizes character and permits it not to be cruel” (Epistulae ex Ponto 2.9.47-48).

Greeks and Romans — Beware of Ides of March – καὶ σὺ τέκνον!

The Curia building by the Theater of Pompey on the present day Largo Argentina in Rome, the place of Julius Caesar’s assassination.

Today is the day of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, precipitating the death of the Republic. Below are some passages from Plutarch, Suetonius, and Shakespeare speaking of the Ides of March as well as of the assassination itself, an image and description of the most famous of Roman coins, that with a bust of one of the principal assassins, Marcus Brutus, followed by a brief bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

…ὥς τις αὐτῷ μάντις ἡμέρᾳ Μαρτίου μηνός, ἣν Εἰδοὺς Ῥωμαῖοι καλοῦσι, προείποι μέγαν φυλάττεσθαι κίνδυνον· ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας προϊὼν ὁ Καῖσαρ εἰς τὴν σύγκλητον ἀσπασάμενος προσπαίξειε τῷ μάντει φάμενος· “Αἱ μὲν δὴ Μάρτιαι Εἰδοὶ πάρεισιν,” ὁ δὲ ἡσυχῆ πρὸς αὐτὸν εἴποι· “Ναὶ πάρεισιν, ἀλλ᾿οὐ παρεληλύθασι… (Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, Caesar 63.3-4).


A certain seer warned Caesar to be on his guard against a great peril on the day of the month of March which the Romans call the Ides; and when the day had come and Caesar was on his way to the senate-house, he greeted the seer with a jest and said: “Well, the Ides of March are come,” and the seer said to him softly: “Aye, they are come, but they are not gone.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Act I, Scene II: 





Ha! who calls?


Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!


Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.


Beware the ides of March.


What man is that?


A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.


Set him before me; let me see his face.


Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.


What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.


Beware the ides of March.


He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Assidentem conspirati specie officii circumsteterunt, ilicoque Cimber Tillius, qui primas partes susceperat, quasi aliquid rogaturus propius accessit renuentique et gestu in aliud tempus differenti ab utroque umero togam adprehendit; deinde clamantem: “Ista quidem vis est!” alter e Cascis aversum vulnerat paulum infra iugulum. Caesar Cascae brachium arreptum graphio traiecit conatusque prosilire alio vulnere tardatus est; utque animad­vertit undique se strictis pugionibus peti, toga caput obvolvit, simul sinistra manu sinum ad ima crura deduxit, quo honestius caderet etiam inferiore corporis parte velata. Atque ita tribus et viginti plagis confossus est uno modo ad primum ictum gemitu sine voce edito, etsi tradiderunt quidam Marco Bruto irruenti dixisse: καὶ σὺ τέκνον; Exanimis diffugientibus cunctis aliquamdiu iacuit, donec lecticae impositum, dependente brachio, tres servoli domum rettulerunt. Nec in tot vulneribus, ut Antistius medicus existimabat, letale ullum repertum est, nisi quod secundo loco in pectore acceperat (Suetonius’ De Vita Caesarum, The Deified Julius 82.1-4).


As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered about him as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though to ask something; and when Caesar with a gesture put him off to another time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders; then as Caesar cried, “Why, this is violence!” one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught Casca’s arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound. When he saw that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its fold to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, “You too, my child?” All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, until finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none turned out to be mortal, in the opinion of the physician Antistius, except the second one in the breast.

The Most Famous of all Roman Coins!

BRVT ∙ IMP ∙ PLAET ∙ CEST with Brutus head on the obverse and EID ∙ MAR with a pileus and two daggers on the reverse.

Late summer-autumn 42 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.59 g, 12h). Military mint traveling with Brutus and Cassius in western Asia Minor or northern Greece; L. Plaetorius Cestianus, magistrate. Bare head of Brutus right; BRVT above, IMP to right, L • PLAET • CEST around to left / Pileus between two daggers pointing downward; EID • MAR below. Crawford 508/3; Cahn 22 (same dies); CRI 216; Sydenham 1301; RSC 15; RBW –. Good VF, deeply toned, a little off center and minor porosity on obverse. Very rare. This extraordinary type is one of the few specific coin issues mentioned by any classical author, in this case, Dio Cassius. Roman History 47.25.3: “Brutus stamped upon the coins which were being minted his own likeness and a cap and two daggers, indicating by this and by the inscription that he and Cassius had liberated the fatherland.”

Brief Bibliography

  • Beware of Ides of March. But why? By Martin Stezano, Match 13, 2017. History Channel stories — https://www.history.com/news/beware-the-ides-of-march-but-why
  • Caesar. TNT presents a De Angelis Group and Five Mile River Films production; a film by Uli Edel; producers, Giuseppe Pedersoli, Jonas Bauer; written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner; directed by Uli Edel. Featuring Jeremy Sisto, Richard Harris, Christopher Walken, Christopher Noth, Valeria Golino, Heino Ferch, Tobias Moretti. New York: Good Times Entertainment, 2004 — CLASS Reserves DG 261.C337 2004
  • Caesar Must Die. San Francisco: Kanopy Streaming, 2014 — https://uc.kanopystreaming.com/video/caesar-must-die
  • Dando-Collins, Stephen. The Ides: Caesar’s Murder and the War for Rome. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010 — CLASS Stacks DG 267.D26 2010
  • Freeman, Philip. Julius Caesar. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008 — CLASS Stacks DG 261.F784 2008
  • Julius Caesar. Festival Films (1948). New York: Distributed by Films Media Group, 2016. Films on Demand — http://fod.infobase.com/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=115179
  • Julius Caesar. San Francisco: Kanopy Streaming, 2015 — https://uc.kanopystreaming.com/video/julius-caesar-0
  • Life and Death of Julius Caesar. Arden Shakespeare. MIT  —http://shakespeare.mit.edu/julius_caesar/full.html (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare http://shakespeare.mit.edu/index.html)
  • Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: The Final Days of Julius Caesar. San Francisco: Kanopy Streaming, 2016 — https://uc.kanopystreaming.com/video/living-history-experiencing-great-events–10
  • Mackay, Christopher. The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009 — CLASS Stacks DG 254.M25 2009
  • Manfredi, Valerio Massimo. The Ides of March [fiction]. New York: Europa Editions, 2010 — Langsam PQ 4873.A4776 I3513 2010
  • Parenti, Michael. The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome. New York: New Press, 2003 — CLASS Stacks DG 267.P37 2003
  • Plutarch. The Age of Caesar: Five Roman Lives. Translated by Pamela Mensch; edited, with preface and notes, by James Romm; introduction by Mary Beard. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2017 — CLASS Stacks DG 260.A1 P53 2017
  • The Real Story behind the Assassination of Julius Caesar” by Larry Getlen, March 1, 2015. The New York Post — https://nypost.com/2015/03/01/the-real-story-behind-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar/
  • Strauss, Barry S. The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2015 — CLASS Stacks DG 267.S77 2015
  • Suetonius. Lives of the Caesars. With an English translation by J.C. Rolfe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014 — https://www.loebclassics.com/view/LCL031/1914/volume.xml
  • Sumi, Geoffrey S. Ceremony and Power: Performing Politics in Rome between Republic and Empire. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005 — CLASS Stacks DG254.2.S86 2005
  • Tempest, Kathryn. Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017 —  CLASS Stacks DG 260.B83 T46 2017
  • The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Open Source Shakespeare (see esp. lines 96-110) — https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=juliuscaesar&Act=1&Scene=2&Scope=scene
  • What Are the Ides of March? March 12, 2014. History Channel stories — https://www.history.com/news/ask-history/what-are-the-ides-of-march
  • William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. BBC Play of the Month adaptation, originally broadcast on the 13th of April 1969. Featuring Robert Stephens as Mark Antony, Maurice Denham as Julius Caesar, Frank Finlay as Brutus and Edward Woodward as Cassius. YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JInTNKLaEI4
  • Woolf, Greg. Et tu, Brute?: The Murder of Caesar and Political Assassination. London: Profile Books, 2006 — CLASS Stacks DG 267.W66 2006

Greeks and Romans — Happy Valentine!

Some recommended texts this lovable period might include those about:

The love of a woman as expressed by the greatest of the Ancient Greek lyric poets, Sappho:


…ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ᾿ ἴδω βρόχε᾿, ὤς με φώναισ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ἒν ἔτ᾿ εἴκει, ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσᾴ <μ᾿> ἔαγε, λέπτονδ᾿ αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν, ὀππάτεσσι δ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ἒν ὄρημμ᾿, ἐπιρρόμβεισι δ᾿ ἄκουαι, κὰδ δέ μ᾿ ἴδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δὲπαῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας ἔμμι… (frag. 31.7-14).

…for when I look at you for a moment, then it is no longer possible for me to speak; my tongue has snapped, at once a subtle fire has stolen beneath my flesh, I see nothing with my eyes, my ears hum, sweat pours from me, a trembling seizes me all over, I am greener than grass…

Or the touching love of a dog in Homer’s Odyssey (hey Mike!):


…ἂν δὲ κύων κεφαλήν τε καὶ οὔατα κείμενος ἔσχεν, Ἄργος, Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος…  ἔνθα κύων κεῖτ᾿ Ἄργος, ἐνίπλειος κυνοραιστέων. δὴ τότε γ᾿, ὡς ἐνόησεν Ὀδυσσέα ἐγγὺς ἐόντα οὐρῇ μέν ῥ᾿ ὅ γ᾿ ἔσηνε καὶ οὔατα κάββαλεν ἄμφω, ἆσσον δ᾿ οὐκέτ᾿ ἔπειτα δυνήσατο οἷο ἄνακτοςἐλθέμεν… (17. 290-291; 302-304).

…and a dog that lay there raised his head and pricked up his ears, Argus, steadfast Odysseus’ dog… There lay the dog Argus, full of dog ticks. But now, when he became aware that Odysseus was near, he wagged his tail and dropped both ears, but nearer to his master he had no longer strength to move…

Or the love of a cow for her newborn calf when he is brutally taken away to be sacrificed (or raised as veal) in Lucretius: 


…nam saepe ante deum vitulus delubra decora turicremas propter mactatus concidit aras, sanguinis expirans calidum de pectore flumen; at mater viridis saltus orbata peragrans quaerit humi pedibus vestigia pressa bisulcis, omnia convisens oculis loca si queat usquam conspicere amissum fetum, completque querellis frondiferum nemus adsistens et crebra revisit ad stabulum desiderio perfixa iuvenci; nec tenerae salices atque herbae rore vigentes fluminaque illa queunt summis labentia ripis oblectare animum subitamque avertere curam, nec vitulorum aliae species per pabula laeta derivare queunt animum curaque levare: usque adeo quiddam proprium notumque requirit… (2.352-366).

…for often in front of the noble shrines of the gods a calf falls slain beside the incense-burning altars, breathing up a hot stream of blood from his chest; but the mother, bereaved, wanders through the green glens, and knows the prints marked on the ground by the cloven hooves, as she surveys all the regions if she may espy somewhere her lost offspring, and coming to a stand fills the leafy woods with her moaning, and often revisits the stall pierced with yearning for her young calf; nor can tender willow-growths, and grass growing rich in the dew, and those rivers flowing level with their banks, give delight to her mind and rebuff that care which has entered there, nor can the sight of other calves in the happy pastures divert her mind and lighten her load of care: so persistently she seeks for something of her own that she knows well…

Or the love of nature longingly expressed by Vergil in Eclogue 1:


…fortunate senex, hic inter flumina notaet fontis sacros frigus captabis opacum. hinc tibi, quae semper, vicino ab limite saepes Hyblaeis apibus florem depasta salicti saepe levi somnum suadebit inire susurro; hinc alta sub rupe canet frondator ad auras: nec tamen interea raucae, tua cura, palumbes, nec gemere aëria cessabit turtur ab ulmo (Ecl. 1.51-58).

…happy old man! Here, amid familiar streams and sacred springs, you shall enjoy the cooling shade. On this side, as of old, on your neighbor’s border, the hedge whose willow blossoms are sipped by Hybla’s bees shall often with its gentle hum soothe you to slumber; on that, under the towering rock, the woodman’s song shall fill the air; while still the cooing wood pigeons, your pets, and the turtle dove shall cease not their moaning from the elm tops.

Or one of the many rather twisted love stories in Ovid’s Metamorphoses — Pyramus and Thisbe, Apollo and Daphne, Orpheus and Eurydice and countless others: 


Or that of Cupid (Eros) himself (and Psyche) in Apuleius: 


Happy Reading!

“Snapshots” of the Classics Library’s Collections






The Classics Collection


The Classics collections include more than 270,000 volumes and c. 2,000 journal titles spanning all areas of classical civilization, including language and literature, archaeology, art, history, epigraphy, papyrology, numismatics, palaeography, religion, philosophy, politics, science and technology, and medicine. The collections in all areas of classical studies are outstanding, although especially exhaustive in Greek and Latin philology and Minoan-Mycenaean archaeology.  The comprehensive level of current acquisitions continues. A few highlights include some 18,000 German dissertations and Programmschriften in classics, especially philology, from the 18th to the early 20th c., a separate room of more than 2,000 books on Palaeography, the collecting of which began with the namesake of the library, Latin palaeographer John Miller Burnam, some 3,500 early imprints from the 16th-18th c. as well as various incunabula such as Statius’ Thebaid, Silvae, Achilleid from 1483, Diodorus Siculus’ Bibliotheca Historica from 1496, Tacitus’ Historiae from 1497, Justin’s epitome of Trogus’ Philippic Histories from 1497, and Josephus’ De bello judaico from 1499 as well as some exquisite facsimiles of illuminated manuscripts such as Ptolemy’s Cosmographia (Codex Urb. Lat. 277), the Joshua Roll (Codex Vat. Pal. Graec. 431), and the Vergilius Romanus (Codex Vat. Lat. 3867), and a facsimile of the oldest preserved Sophocles manuscript (Florence, Ms. Codex Laurentianus 32.9). The collections also include representations of Medieval Latin in the superb facsimiles of the Book of Kells with 24 mounted color plates (Turin), and the Lindisfarne Gospels (Cottonian Ms. Nero D.IV) from the British Museum. Continue reading “Snapshots” of the Classics Library’s Collections

Research Strategies for Classics Majors: A Tutorial


This tutorial is chiefly aimed at undergraduate majors in Classics and beginning graduate students who are about to write a research paper, a junior or senior thesis. To illustrate this step-by-step approach to research, a topic, “Aristotle on the Function of Music in Tragedy,” has been chosen. It seems a particularly useful one for this purpose since it incorporates several disciplines — ancient Greek language and literature, philosophy, music, history, education, and politics — and, therefore, offers good practice in conducting research at the UC Libraries. To illustrate these principles of research, as well as to highlight a multitude of library resources at the University of Cincinnati, especially in the John Miller Burnam Classics Library, concrete and live searches are performed in video and audio.

Two New Exhibitions in the Reading Room

There are two new exhibitions in the Classics Library’s Reading Room:

One is to highlight our Modern Greek collection. Among the gems on display are, for example: Έρμς λόγιος (1811-21), the first journal published in “Modern Greek”; Constantine Cavafy’s Ποιματα with the author’s signature; and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas’ illustrations to Nikos Kazantzakis’ Ὀδύσσεια.

Another exhibition is curated by the classics department and features Mycenaean so called psi, phi, and tau (because of their shapes resembling the Greek letters) female figurines as well as horse and other figurines dated to c. 1400-1200 BCE.