Santa Clara University

Department of Classics

Department of Classics Blog

  •  Daniel Turkeltaub's article, Reading the Epic Past: The Iliad on Heroic Epic, has just appeared

    Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010

    Daniel Turkeltaub’s article, “Reading the Epic Past: The Iliad on Heroic Epic,” has just appeared.

    Professor Turkeltaub’s latest work appears in a new collection of essays entitled Allusion, Authority, and Truth: Critical Perspectives on Greek Poetic and Rhetorical Praxis, edited by Phillip Mitsis and Christo Tsagalis (Berlin/New York, 2010).

    For details on the publication, check out the following:



    In this article, Daniel Turkeltaub challenges the standard notion that the Iliad is an uncritical, orthodox representative of traditional heroic epic poetry through an analysis of how the Iliad engages in a metapoetic and self-reflexive critique that subverts traditional epic pretensions to ethical authority.  Iliadic heroes learn proper heroic behavior from stories about their heroic fathers and forefathers.  By presenting these stories as inherited from its own epic tradition, the Iliad transforms its heroes into “readers” of its own epic tradition as they seek to understand and aspire to equal their fathers’ legacies.  As they do so, Iliadic heroes demonstrate for their own audiences approaches to understanding epic, including the Iliad itself.  Two test cases, Diomedes “reading” his father’s epic legacy in books four through eight and the competing visions of the past given by Nestor and Priam, demonstrate that while the Iliad maintains a traditional narrative voice extolling the heroic virtues and inherited ethical code of its heroes, the poet arranges his events and language so as to reveal that emulating epic values and behaviors is at best ineffective and at worst dangerously counter-productive.  Epic justifies itself through seducing its audience into considering its heroes to be viable exemplars of noble behavior, but because the production of epic necessarily entails aggrandizing and censoring historical events, the audience must always remember that epic heroes are fictional and that their actions are inimitable in the real world.

  •  Classics welcomes three new faculty members in 2010-11

    Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010

    Classics House is home to three new faculty this year. Daniel Turkeltaub (Ph.D. Cornell University) joins the department as an Assistant Professor of Classics. Daniel is a Hellenist with publications on Homer and the Homeric Hymns. He will be teaching upper-division Latin (Apuleius), upper-division Greek (Euripides), a third-writing core-course, and both sections of a Heroes and Heroism C&I sequence.

    Jason Schlude (Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley), a Lecturer in Classics, is an ancient historian specializing in the relationship between Rome and Parthia. He will be teaching both lower- and upper-division courses this year on Western Culture, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and the second half of the Heroes and Heroism C&I sequence.

    Peter Lech (Ph.D Brown University) is a Lecturer in Classics brought in this year to strengthen the department’s Latin program. A specialist in Roman Comedy, Peter will be teaching Intermediate and Advanced (Plautus and Terence) Latin, Classical Mythology, and the first half of the Heroes and Heroism C&I sequence.

    These three new faculty are part of some big changes in the department for the 2010-11 year. We had prepared for Professors LaBarge and McCarthy to be on sabbatical leave this academic year. And Professor Greenwalt continues to teach a limited load in Classics while serving as Director of Honors, Fellowships, and the LEAD Scholars Program. But who knew that Professor Moritz would be summoned by gods (administration) just one week before classes began to serve as interim chair of the English Department this year? Classics House now echoes with the familiar shuffling of two senior faculty (Dunlap and Heath) along with the lively steps of the three new members of the program.

  •  New Classics courses in the core fill up fast

    Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010

    In our never-ending effort to spread our tentacles through the university, Classics has already had most of our lower-division courses approved in the new core curriculum. In addition to our Greek and Latin courses, all of which either partially or completely fulfill the language core requirement, the following classes are embedded in the new core:

    • CLAS 11A and 12A: Heroes and Heroism (satisfies Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2)
    • CLAS 11A and 12A: Gods and Mortals (satisfies Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2)
    • CLAS 11A and 12A: Natural Law (satisfies Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2)
    • CLAS 11A and 12A: Barbarians and Savages (satisfies Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2)
    • CLAS 60: Introduction to Ancient Studies (satisfies C&I 3)
    • CLAS 65: Classical Mythology (satisfies RTC 2)
    • CLAS 67: Ancient Greek Religion (satisfies RTC 2)
    • CLAS 68: Ancient Roman Religion (satisfies RTC 2)

    This year and next we will develop upper-division courses for the new core. This Spring we will offer a Third-Writing core course, and we are in the process of designing several courses for 2011-12 that will satisfy the Civic Engagement requirement.

  •  Peter Lech presents research on shifting speech patterns

    Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010

    Latinist Peter Lech, Lecturer in Classics, will present his research on shifting speech patterns in two of Terence's plays: Changing roles, changing speech: Chaerea in Eunuch and Demea in Adelphoe


    Recent work on the palliata has uncovered speech patterns specific to character types, to individual characters, and to each gender (Adams 1984, Karakasis 2005, Dutsch 2008). This paper discusses two cases in which a character adopts a speech pattern typically belonging to a character-type different from his own. In the Eunuch Chaerea takes on the speech patterns of female and slave characters, when dressed as a eunuch, and in the Adelphoe, Demea, a senex iratus, adopts the speech-patterns of his brother Micio, an easy-going senex lepidus. In order to demonstrate that each character speaks in a way unusual for him, I rely on statistics based on exhaustive counts of several categories of linguistic data, including directives (e.g. commands, requests, suggestions), request softeners, and questions. Ultimately, like consummate actors, Chaerea and Demea convince others of their new role by adopting the appropriate language.

    Chaerea sustains an assumed identity, that of a eunuch, by changing his idiom. When in disguise as a eunuch, Chaerea adopts speech habits more characteristic of female and slave characters. For example, slave characters in Terence speak three of a total four instances of obsecro, with the imperative in ellipsis, a construction which has a humble tone (Eun 669, 715; Phorm 319). The fourth is attributed to Chaerea in his eunuch guise (887). Chaerea furthermore utters a 1st person plural hortatory subjunctive, modified by obsecro (906), which appears only once elsewhere in Terence when spoken by a maidservant (Ad 309).

    As for Demea in the Adelphoe, he begins to sound more like his brother, that is, more like a senex lepidus, after his famous great monologue in which he announces his decision to be more lenient (855-881). The brothers trade idioms as follows: (1.) while all of Demea's echo-questions had occurred before this point, all but one of Micio's occur after it; (2.) before his change of heart speech, Demea dispenses with a greeting altogether, either refusing to give one (556, 720, 792) or refusing to return one (81, 374, 768), but after it, makes a pointed effort to greet others (883-884, 890-891, 901). (3.) Demea utters roughly two-thirds of his total directive acts after his change of heart; Micio utters only one-tenth of his total after this point. Demea has a metatheatrical awareness of his new role (896-897): meditor esse adfabilis/ et bene procedit (I am rehearsing being affable, and it's going well), he says, just after his change of heart. Indeed his new language is part of the new character which he rehearses in the final scenes of the play. In sum, the observations on Demea's assumed speech patterns give support to Donatus' remark that the brothers switch roles in the last scene of the play, with Demea becoming more generous, Micio more stingy (ad 981).

    The talk will be presented on October 15, 2010, at 3:30.


  •  Next Senior Seminar Topic Announced

    Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009

    Senior Seminar

    Professor John Heath
    Wednesday, Feb. 26, 5:30
    Classics House Seminar Room
    Topic: Are the gods in the Iliad concerned about human justice?
    Seniors are required to read the following articles before the seminar. Juniors are strongly encouraged to attend and all are welcome. 

    Click the links above to download the articles. 

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