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Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 17.07.2011

Introduction. 'Ecclesiazusae', produced probably in 392 B.C. is one of the last plays Aristophanes wrote. In style and content it represents a transitional phase between the Old Comedy of the Fifth Century and the New Comedy associated with Menander: there is still a political theme, still a comic hero (here female); but the sustained attacks on individual politicians have gone, the chorus has a reduced role, and a new style of quiet, witty dialogue has emerged. Power to women? The women of Athens, led by Praxagora, have decided to seize political...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 16.07.2011

Introduction - Plato. Plato (427-347 B.C.) was the greatest of the Greek philosophers, and also one of the greatest Attic prose-writers. He was hugely influenced by the life, teaching, and death of Socrates, who himself wrote nothing. Plato wrote about twenty-four philosophical dialogues, in most of which Socrates is the principal figure. It is a matter of controversy how far Plato portrays the historical Socrates, and how far Socrates is made a mouthpiece for his own views. Central ideas (the importance of philosophical enquiry, the notion that virtue is...

Latin, Latin Texts / 13.07.2011

Introduction. The theme of these four extracts, translated by Sabidius, is that of 'Unwelcome people'. The first two are tricksters; the last two are both notorious women. Sallust's character assassination of Sempronia is particularly memorable. In the final extract Cicero is defending Caelius from the charge by his former mistress Clodia that he sought to poison her. As she was the sister of his bitter enemy, Clodius, Cicero was no doubt happy to blacken her character. These extracts are taken from the 'Cambridge Latin Anthology', edited by Ashley Carter and...