The Classics Library at the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day/Findlay Market Day Parade

Classics Library student worker Yo Shionoya, in a John Miller Burnam Classics Library t-shirt he had designed with an image of the Lupa and twins on an Urbs Roma commemorative coin minted during the reign of emperor Constantine and included in our Return of… exhibition (see below), held up the library’s cardboard cut-out of the Eden Park Lupa on a float representing the Italian American Community at the opening day of the Major League Baseball season. Rebecka was relegated to the streets. The atmosphere was electric and full of anticipation with some 200,000 Cincinnati baseball fans lining the streets in downtown Cincy. The float was featured on several local TV stations.

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Greek Refugees from Asia Minor: Exhibition and Presentations

On the day before Greek Independence Day, commemorating the start of the Greek Revolution on March 25, 1821, ca. 100 Greek American Cincinnati residents met for a day of remembrance of the so called Population Exchange following what in English is referred to as the Greco-Turkish War, lasting from 1919 to 1922 and ending with a treaty, the Treaty of Lausanne, signed by Greece and Turkey and also by Britain, France, Italy and others in 1923, establishing the current borders of Turkey and Greece, and stipulating the relocation of ca. 1.2 million Christian Orthodox Turks to Greece and ca. 400,000 Muslim Greeks to Turkey, upending the lives of so many who had never known any other country than the one in which they had been raised and the language they had spoken from birth.

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Today, the John Miller Burnam Classics Library, in cooperation with the Klau Library of Hebrew Union College, commemorates the Bicentennial of the First Jewish Congregation in Cincinnati

On January 18, 1824, the first Jewish congregation in Cincinnati was formed, the first west of New York, making the Queen City a center of Judaism in the United States.

The first recorded Jewish man in Cincinnati was Joseph Jonas, a watchmaker, from Plymouth in England, who arrived in New York in October 1816 with the intent of making his way to the new city of Cincinnati. He left for Cincinnati from Philadelphia on January 2 in 1817 but did not arrive in Cincinnati until March 8, two months later, after a long and difficult journey traveling in horse carriage across the mountains and then on a flatboat (see below) south on the Ohio River.

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Aphorisms, candies, and music in the Classics Library

On the last day of Chanukah, ten brave classics faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and library staff took a few minutes off from exams, papers, grading, and book purchasing to gather in the Classics Library to read aphorisms in Latin, Greek, Sinhala, Mandarin, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Swedish, and English out loud, picked from a bowl of faux parchment scrolls with some 40 aphorisms, and listen to music from around the world, arranged and performed by the Library’s resident musician Yo Shionoya, munch on candy and gingerbread cookies, and have a few well-earned laughs.

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The Italian American Community was out in force at the Dedication of the New Lupa


On a gorgeous, albeit cold, November morning many Italian Americans, including a woman in her 90s who had attended the dedication of the original statue in the 1930s, a few Italian Italians, several Italophiles, and representatives from City Hall and Cincinnati Parks, some of Italian descent, channel 5, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and other press, gathered at Eden Park for the unveiling of the new Lupa statue with the original twin brothers Romulus and Remus on a marble base with gilded lettering announcing the gift of it from the Governor of Rome to the City of Cincinnati, the namesake of the Roman general Cincinnatus, in 1931 (not in place until 1932 as the “wrong” Lupa (a baby one) was initially sent). The governor in question was Prince Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi (Governor 1928-1935) who was sacked by fascist leader Mussolini, landed on Hitler’s “most-wanted” list, and aided Italian partisans and allies, e.g., welcoming the British Red Cross to operate from his palace.

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Seneca, Nero, Shostakovich, Stalin & Stoicism: “An Evening with Seneca”

Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 BCE-65 CE) is a controversial figure in the political, literary, and philosophical history of Rome. Seneca was a remarkably versatile and prolific writer whose life was affected by several emperors from Tiberius to Nero. Claudius caused his exile from Rome and Nero his death. Seneca wrote a large collection of letters, full of memorable quotes (e.g., “If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich,” quoting Epicurus, 16) and thoughtful philosophical essays about anger, death (shortness of life), leisure, the happy life, and tranquility, and also rather gruesome tragedies such as Medea and Thyestes, and even a satire with the impossible title Apocolocyntosis [instead of Apotheosis] divi Claudii (The Gourdification of the Divine Claudius) as well as a work on cosmology, meteorology, and astrology/astronomy. The main controversy stems from the seeming inconsistency of his adhering to a Stoic philosophy of decency, moral awareness, mindfulness, and moderation juxtaposed to his defense of the murderous dictator Nero and his own amassing of considerable wealth and power.  

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She-Wolf Exhibition in the Burnam Classics Library, November 3

Place: Eden Park and the John Miller Burnam Classics Library, UC.
When: November 3. 1. Dedication ceremony in Eden Park at 10:00 am; 2. Exhibition in the Burnam Classics Library after the ceremony.

Exhibition and Dedication Ceremony: In connection with the dedication of the new She-Wolf nursing Romulus (the eponymous founder of ancient Rome) and Remus in Eden Park on November 3, 2023, at 10:00 am (rescheduled from October 20), the John Miller Burnam Classics Library is hosting an exhibition featuring ancient texts about the story underlying the statue, Roman original coins depicting the scene, and photos and a video of the making of the new statue in Tuscany, Italy, before its transport to Cincinnati, and posters with newspaper clippings and other historical materials from the late 1920s and early 1930s concerning the gift of the statue to the City of Cincinnati, the gifting of a “wrong” baby wolf, the explanation of its location in Eden Park, and much more.

Parking: Please plan to visit the Burnam Library after the dedication ceremony. Parking in Cincinnati is always an issue because there are few public transportation options. For the dedication ceremony, plan to arrive at 9:30 am and park at the Krohn Conservatory and walk to Eden Park. For the exhibition, look for parking along Straight Street opposite the Blegen Library building and above, i.e., south of, McMillan Street at the top of Clifton Avenue. There is also metered parking along Clifton Avenue.

Lemonade: Will be served outside the Blegen Library building if it’s a sunny day; inside the lobby if it rains. While enjoying a glass of lemonade, note the Lupa with twins on a relief on the pylon beneath the roof and above the outside entrance to the Blegen building from the 1930s, inspired by the Eden Park statue, which in turn was modeled on a statue now housed in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, Italy.

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“An Evening with Seneca,” October 5, 4:00-6:15 pm

  • After a hiatus because of a pandemic, the John Miller Burnam Classics Library is poised to host its third annual author celebration. The honoree this year is Seneca the Younger, author, politician, and Stoic philosopher. We aim to vary the format each year adapted to the author honored. With that in mind, this year we have organized a panel with leading experts on Seneca (James Romm, Bard, Gareth Williams, Columbia, Christopher Trinacty, Oberlin) discussing the curious case of a man promulgating a philosophy of mindfulness and reason while seemingly condoning the murderous behavior of a madman, Emperor Nero, whose advisor and amicus he was.
  • The panel is followed by a presentation of an interdepartmental group of undergraduate students and their participation in an experiment entailing living like a Stoic for one week.
  • As usual, there will be a music performance, this time with chamber music, and, also true to tradition, under the leadership of Yo Shionoya, a DMA candidate at CCM and long-time student worker in the Classics Library, who has chosen to perform works by Dmitri Shostakovich, a composer who had to balance his creative voice with the demands of another madman, Joseph Stalin.
  • Also, as customary, there will be an exhibition featuring rare books, this time of the works of Seneca from the 16th and 17th centuries (below is a 1651 edition of his philosophical works), an incunabulum of the works of Tacitus, a chief source for the life of Seneca,

an original copper coin of Emperor Nero (the copper as below from 65 CE of Nero on the obverse and the closed door to the temple of Janus, symbolizing peace, on the reverse. The phrase S[ENATVS] – C[ONSVLTO on the reverse shows that the issuing of money was still the prerogative of the Senate),

and a reception serving Mediterranean appetizers.

  • For a special treat, Professor Romm will be signing his best-seller, Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero.

Place: Reading Room, John Miller Burnam Classics Library, Blegen Library building, 2602 University Circle, off of Clifton Ave.
Date: October 5, 2023
Time: 4:00 – c. 6:15 pm

For additional details, please download the program, flyer, and post below.