Tag Archive for Classical Studies

Caldwell’s Op-Ed: Akin Uses Science of Ancient Romans

In an Aug. 24 op-ed for The Hartford Courant, Lauren Caldwell, assistant professor of classical studies, says that U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s reference to women being able to consciously prevent conception during rape is relying on “facts” presented by the ancient Roman physician Soranus of Ephesus in the Second Century, A.D. Caldwell also says, “The next time I teach my course, I will be able to bring in the example of Rep. Akin to illustrate the ways in which ‘medical understanding’ continues to be used with the aim of social control,” which was also an objective of Roman rulers in the second century.

Caldwell Receives Grant from U.S. Department of Education

Lauren Caldwell

Lauren Caldwell

Lauren Caldwell, assistant professor of classical studies, received a faculty grant for course development in Middle Eastern Studies from the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program of the U.S. Department of Education. Caldwell, whose research specialties include Greco-Roman medicine, used the grant for summer travel to the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine, in London, England, and to Cambridge University.

The grant allowed Caldwell to consult the Wellcome Library’s substantial collection of texts on ancient and medieval medicine. “The transmission of the writings of Galen, the most famous of Roman imperial physicians, into medical theory in Baghdad in the 8th and 9th centuries is a key moment in the Western medical tradition,” Caldwell says. “As a graduate student, I became interested in how many medical texts from the Roman Empire, originally written in Greek, were translated into Arabic in the medieval period. More generally, I have been eager to gain a better understanding of the overlap between the approaches of ancient and medieval physicians. The topic of translation–both of texts and of ideas–is one in which historians of antiquity are becoming increasingly interested.”

With the grant, Caldwell was able to take advantage of the resources at the world’s top research center for the history of medicine.

“Now I have a better sense of how medieval Islamic medicine can broaden my future research and teaching,” she says.

Caldwell plans to add a multi-week unit on medicine in the middle ages to her Classical Civilization course, Medicine and Health in Antiquity, and hopes to link the course to the Middle Eastern Studies program.

Ruden’s Lysistrata Published in Norton Anthology

Sarah Ruden

A translation by Sarah Ruden, visiting scholar in classics, was published in the The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Third Edition in 2012. 

Ruden’s Lysistrata translation was first published in 2003 by Hackett Publishing. Lysistrata is Aristophanes’ comic masterpiece of war and sex. Led by the title character, the women of the warring city-states of Greece agree to withhold sexual favors with their husbands until they agree to cease fighting.

The Norton Anthology of World Literature remains the most-trusted anthology of world literature available. Guided by the advice of more than 500 teachers of world literature and a panel of regional specialists, the editors of the Third Edition made several selections and translations, all-new introductions and headnotes, hundreds of new illustrations, redesigned maps, timelines and new media resources.

Roberts Co-Author of Letters of Symmachus

Michael Roberts, the Robert Rich Professor of Latin, professor of classical studies, professor of medieval studies, is the co-author of the book, The Letters of Symmachus, Book 1. The book was published by the Society of Biblical Literature, in 2011.

Classics Scholar Ruden Published in National Review Magazine


Sarah Ruden


Sarah Ruden, a visiting scholar in classics, is the author of “The Old is New Again,” published in the Feb. 21, 2011 issue of National Review magazine. The article focuses on her work translating — from Latin — the first extant novel in western literature, The Golden Ass’ by Apuleius. Ruden’s translation is due to be published this year by Yale University Press.

In addition to her essays, the National Review publishes Ruden’s original poetry on a regular basis. This fall will also see the publication by Doubleday of the paperback edition of Ruden’s 2010 book on St. Paul, Paul Among the People. Ruden is continuing work on her Guggenheim Fellowship project: the translation of three plays by the classical Greek writer Aeschylus and is completing a translation of the works of Julius Caesar for the Landmark series of classical history for publication in 2012.

Read more about Sarah in The Wesleyan Connection.

In New York, Classical Studies Examines Relics of Classical Society

On Nov. 6, the Classical Studies Department brought about 20 students and four faculty members to New York City to visit museums and exhibitions related to classics. The group visited the Onassis Cultural Center for an exhibit titled “Heroes, Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece,” followed by a visit to Royal Athena, a commercial antiquities gallery. The trip culminated with a tour, guided by the faculty, of the extensive Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pictured in the center is Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, director for the Center for Faculty Career Development.

Sarah Ruden: Guggenheim Fellow Translating Tragic Masterpiece at Wesleyan

Sarah Ruden is a new visiting scholar in Classics.

Q: Sarah, you received a Guggenheim Fellowship to translate the Greek tragedy trilogy, The Oresteia.  Please explain the cultural significance of this particular historical play and why your translation will differ from others?

A: The Oresteia is the first real tragic masterpiece. I think that the greatness of a piece of literature depends mainly on how much it lets us reflect on at once, and the Oresteia has everything: questions of human nature, the nature of the gods, the social order– in this case, the startling Athenian moves toward government by ordinary people. And it’s all conveyed in intense, complex, almost creepily beautiful language.

Debbie Sierpinski: Assisting 4 Departments, Editing Classics Newsletter

Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant, pictured here with Christi Richardson ’10, has worked at Wesleyan more than 24 years. She manages the budgets for Classical Studies and English Departments and for the Archaeology and Medieval Studies programs.

Q: Debbie, you’re the administrative assistant for the Archaeology Program, Medieval Studies Program and the Classical Studies Department. Anything else?!

A: In October 2010, I was given a promotion and added the responsibility of also working for the English Department and Writing Workshop in the new Downey House operations support system. At times it is a bit challenging, but I am good at managing my time and priorities so the work gets done in a timely fashion. I wear many different hats and wear them well.

Q: How many years have you worked for Wesleyan, and in what departments?

A: I have credit for 24 years at Wesleyan. I have been at Wesleyan longer than that but I did not bridge all of the time. I have worked for the Classical Studies Department and Medieval Studies Program for 18 years. After a few years, the Archaeology Program was added on and then most recently, the English Department

Metis Showcases Classical Studies Writing

Students interested in Classical Studies edited and created the undergraduate journal, Metis.

The Greek Titan Metis was considered the goddess of wisdom and deep thought. Her name in Greek also means “wisdom combined with cunning,” a highly desirable personality trait to the ancient Athenians.

This year, a group of Wesleyan students with a knowledge and interest in Classical studies, released their own collection of “cunning wisdom” in a publication titled Wesleyan Metis. The Metis editorial board draws on the abilities and creativity of Wesleyan students to showcase their best examples of undergraduate Classics writing.

“Classical studies go far beyond ancient languages and, as evidenced by the essays in the journal, include studies of archaeology and drama or even ancient medicine, sociology, mythology, poetry and more,” says Metis creator Christi Richardson ’10. “There are so many fields of interest in the classics that Metis can illuminate for Wesleyan students. We hope that Metis can get the word out to the Wesleyan community and showcase the wide range of areas of study available to students.”

The editors received