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Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 13.11.2011

Introduction. Demosthenes (384-322 B.C.) was the greatest of the Athenian orators. After studying rhetoric and legal procedure, he became a speech-writer for both public and private trials. Sixty-one speeches attributed to him have survived, although the authenticity of some is in doubt. He became prominent as a politician and leader of the resistance to the encroachment of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. The text of the passage translated below comes from "A Greek Anthology", Joint Association of Classical Teachers, Cambridge University Press, 2002. Sections 169-173.2 News of...

Latin, Latin Texts / 09.11.2011

Introduction. Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust) was, together with Cicero and Caesar, the third great prose writer of the first part of the Golden Age of Latin literature which stretched from about 80 to 40 B.C., and like the other two writers he exercised a profound influence on the subsequent development of Latin literature. What is known about his life is relatively meagre. He was born in the Sabine hills of central Italy in 86 B.C. and entered the Senate in about 55, having been elected quaestor, and appears to...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 18.08.2011

Introduction The introductory sections to previous translations on this blog of the "Odyssey", Book V (17th September 2010), Book VI (24th June 2011) and Book VII (9th July 2011) give relevant supplementary information to the whole work and to Homer and his style of writing. Book IX, which is translated below, is an enthralling, albeit gruesome, tale, in which Odysseus encounters, and eventually escapes from, Polyphemus, a savage member of the giant tribe of the Cyclopes, although not without losing six of his companions, whom Polyphemus eats. Like most of the Homeric epics, this book is exciting and quick-moving. Polyphemus' outrageous behaviour continues the theme, central to the whole work, of 'xenia' , that is, the duty of hospitality to strangers, or, in this case, the grievous abuse of it by Polyphemus, whose blinding is a just punishment for his killing of Odysseus' friends.