Our Top ten Posts by Page Views from the Last Year
1. How to Say “Happy Birthday” in Ancient Greek
A perennial favorite thanks to google searches. Also, some of the site’s most fictive and absurd content.
2, The Horrors of Classical Studies
Palaiophron’s post on the perils of teaching Latin when our textbooks and pedagogical traditions present issues like rape and slavery without adequate framing or criticism. This was the inspiration for his fantastic Eidolon essay.
A long quotation from C. S. Lewis where he ruminates on semiotics issues, presenting the great line “The very formula, ‘Naus means a ship,’ is wrong. Naus and ship both mean a thing, they do not mean one another. ”
4. An Impressive List of Female Authors from Antiquity
This is a post from a different site. It is also from the previous year, but its work is not yet done.
5. Masturbating in Ancient Greek
I don’t know if this post needs an explanation, except for this: it is a lexicographical piece, not an instruction manual.
6. How to Give the Finger in Ancient Greek and “Why”
The ancient Greeks used the middle finger as an obscene gesture. This post explains why and what it means. It also encourages giving tyrants “the bird”
7. Ancient Greek Words for Excrement
Another lexicographical flight of fancy.
8. The Vanity of Knowing Greek
A long quotation from Virginia Woolf on the impossible arrogance of studying and ever truly knowing Ancient Greek.
9. Political Correctness: A Response
A brilliant essay emerging from one of our periodic entries into the political fray on twitter.
A kind and sympathetic reading of Polyphemos’ depiction in the Aeneid (and elsewhere)
What Can We learn from This?
None of these posts consist of what we have seen as the bread-and-butter of this site (passages from Latin and Greek we like, translated with original text often juxtaposed with other texts). That’s ok. We post a lot and the posts that aren’t just about specific passages or Latin/Greek have broader appeal.
Salacious content attracts readers. (Although the post on Ancient Viagra was less well-read than the masturbation post. Hmmmmm.) People like to read about profanity, masturbation, and feces. Given the nature of the internet, this is not surprising.
More surprising for its consistency over the past few years is how much people enjoy the “meta-sententiae”, the modern scholarly comments on the nature of scholarship and the classics (items 3 and 8). When such comments are quoted from well-known intellectuals (C. S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf, respectively), they are especially welcome. I am happy that Palaiophron’s well-thought and eloquent reflection on the difficulties of teaching and talking about classical content is so popular. It is also probably a sign of our times that the list of female authors from antiquity is popular too. We should expand it and add to it. Palaiophron’s thoughts on political correctness also provide one of the rhetorically most potent essays this site has ever witnessed. Similarly, his reading of Vergil’s depiction of Polyphemos is one of the sweetest and most sensitive literary responses on the site.
3 thoughts on “Our Top Ten Posts from the Last Year”
Nay sir, you are too kind. This omnium gatherum for the end of the year is a brilliant idea, by the way!
I write a word/phrase origin blog and one of the blog’s earlier incarnations had entries on the origin of several choice words (fuck being one of them) which was, of course, a top internet hit. No surprise there, either.