Susan Kristol Articles

No Place Like Homer

The immediacy of the distant past
Mar 16, 2015

In a Platonic dialogue, Socrates describes Homer as “the best and most divine of the poets.” Not a bad blurb, if taken at face value. Such an exalted position, however, could not remain unchallenged. Homer’s excellence, not to mention his very existence, has been frequently called into question over the millennia. 

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Ancient to Modern

The Loeb Classical Library goes digital
Oct 06, 2014

“Chemistry and Physics Get Million from Loeb,” blared the Harvard Crimson headline. “Funds will modernize laboratory facilities and establish chemistry chairs.” The donor: scientist Morris Loeb ’83. A million dollars is indeed generous. But on the Harvard scale, did it really warrant a Crimson headline? 

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In the Beginning .  .  .

How the study of words leads to thought
Sep 15, 2014

It takes a daring man, or a very erudite professor, to name a book Philology. Hardly anybody seems to know what the word means. And for that very reason, the professional organization of classicists to which I belong—the American Philological Association (APA)—is currently in the process of jettisoning its name.

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Mediterranean Mystery

A sudden, and inscrutable, Bronze Age catastrophe.
May 12, 2014

Okay, history buffs, let’s do a brief test, a free-association game about the Bronze Age. I say Mycenae, you instantly shout out, “Agamemnon.” I say Minoans, you say, “palace of Knossos.” Troy—“Schliemann, Priam, Hecuba, Trojan horse.” Egypt—“Ramses.” This is easy, right? On to the next level. I say Hittites, you say—“Suppiluliuma?” 

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