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Olympic Games in Ancient Greece

A few weeks ago our Iliad reading/translation group translated the passage detailing the catalog of prizes for the best participants in the Funeral Games before the burial of Patroklos, Achilles’s best companion. These games evoke the Olympic Games which will take place soon in France and which will once again ignite hearts and minds. The Olympic games in Paris are going to be quite an event in July and August… Read more

Book Club | July 2024: Ovid’s Metamorphoses Books 3 & 4

He flees through places where he’d often chasedHe flees from his own pets! He yearned to shout,“I am Actaeon‒recognize your master!”The longed–for words won’t come. Barks fill the air.Blackfur is first to gash his back with wounds,Beast–tamer next. Highlander bites his shoulder;he’s set out last but took a mountain shortcutand got there first. As they hold down their master,the whole pack gathers round and bites his fleshuntil there’s no room… Read more

Mésalliance; Unequally-Yoked

And now she is back with the old dilemma – who caused the war? She has been blamed, Paris has been blamed but, fundamentally, it was the fault of Thetis, mother of Achilles. There is the old argument regarding Mésalliance, a goddess marries a mortal, some social discord is sure to arise[1] Some social disruption! The destruction of Troy, the wasting of a generation of men on both sides of… Read more

Book Club | June 2024: Bring Your Own Book

It’s June, so the choice is over to you. As in previous years, you can bring your own selection, one book that you like, or dislike, and share your thoughts about it. You can read any book (or part of a book) you like related to the ancient Greeks, whether a primary or secondary source. Depending on how many attend the live discussion you will be allocated some time to… Read more

The Ship of State

A ship operated by a dysfunctional crew is the metaphor of Plato when discussing the problems of governance in a political system not based on expert knowledge. The teller of this parable, Adeimantus, firstly asks his listener, Socrates, to imagine a ship which is in a state of mutiny, with sailors who are quarreling about the steering and take possession of the ship.[1] Hieronymus Bosch: The Ship of Fools, c.… Read more

Open House | Iliad 6 “War Crimes” with Joel Christensen

We were delighted to welcome back Professor Joel Christensen, of Brandeis University, to join members of the Kosmos Society for an Open House discussion on “Violence and War Crimes in Iliad 6.” As Professor Christensen writes in his Substack post noted below: The story of excessive violence in the Iliad is that of the rejection of conventions meant to make war in some way predictable and ‘acceptable’ to the combatants.… Read more

Book Club | May 2024: Heron of Byzantium Siegecraft

Everything about siege machines is difficult and hard to understand, either because of the intricacy and inscrutability of their depiction, or because of the difficulty of comprehending the concepts, or, to say it better, because of their incomprehensibility to most men… The most competent military commander, kept safe by Providence above because of his piety, and obedient to the command and judgment and good counsel of our most divine emperors,… Read more

Gallery: Three Ancient Greek Monsters

There are many references to monsters in ancient Greek texts, some with detailed descriptions. This Gallery illustrates how just three of them were depicted in the visual arts: Scylla, the Hydra, and the Chimera. Scylla When Circe warns Odysseus that his journey must take him past the dangers posed by Scylla, who lives up in a sheer cliff face, she provides a vivid description of what he will face: …… Read more

Titanophobia

O Mighty Titans, who from heav’n and earth Derive your noble and illustrious birth… Avert your rage, if from th’ infernal seats One of your tribe should visit our retreats.[1] Zeus is the king of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus, but “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”[2] In the first book of the Iliad the hero Achilles tells the tale of his mother the goddess Thetis rescuing… Read more

Women and Goddesses in the Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh is a Babylonian epic, recorded in Akkadian on a number of ancient tablets. Gilgamesh is thought to have lived around 2,800 – 2,500 BCE[1], and most of the tablets, telling the standard version of the story, are thought to date from the seventh century BCE. Stephanie Dalley also gives an earlier version in her book, called the Old Babylonian Version, dating to around the early second millennium[2]. There are… Read more

Upcoming Events

Jul
23
Tue
3:00 pm Euripides Medea (Thespians)
Euripides Medea (Thespians)
Jul 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
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24
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11:00 am Herodotus Translation Study Group
Herodotus Translation Study Group
Jul 24 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
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26
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4:00 pm Plato Meno
Plato Meno
Jul 26 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Plato Meno
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29
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9:00 am Odyssey Study Group (Phaeacians)
Odyssey Study Group (Phaeacians)
Jul 29 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
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11:30 am Poetry Study Group (Mnēmai)
Poetry Study Group (Mnēmai)
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Poetry Study Group (Mnēmai)
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Jul
30
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11:00 am Book Club | July 2024: Ovid’s Me...
Book Club | July 2024: Ovid’s Me...
Jul 30 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Book Club | July 2024: Ovid’s Metamorphoses Books 3 & 4
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3:00 pm Euripides Medea (Thespians)
Euripides Medea (Thespians)
Jul 30 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
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31
Wed
11:00 am Herodotus Translation Study Group
Herodotus Translation Study Group
Jul 31 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Herodotus Translation Study Group
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9:30 am Thucydides Book One
Thucydides Book One
Aug 1 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Thucydides Book One
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11:00 am Social Zoom
Social Zoom
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