Top Posts of Another Year

Outside of the top few posts, this was a year of guest posts and essays. Erik and I were always willing and interested to share the blog with other people, but we have never really had the time to go out and seek them. So, when people have reached out to us, we have been happy to have them join us.

  1. Diocletian’s Horse Saves the City!

This post wasn’t even from this year! Somehow, it turned into a hot post on Reddit for a while and burned down the house.

reddit

2. Newly Discovered Text: Caesar on Forestry in Finland

Dani Bostick’s ‘discovery’ of a fragmentary text responding to fires in California and some of our current President’s more insane comments was politely declined by a few other sites. It found a home here and Dani has shared many more new Latin discoveries since.

3. Head and Heart: A Quotation Falsely Attributed to Aristotle

This one eventually inspired a collection of false-Aristotle quotes I eventually just put in one post: Meme Police, A Collection of Things Aristotle Did not Say

4. “This is Not My Beautiful House”: Classics, Class and Identity

This post was a response to some discussion online and Erik’s post (at #9) about Class and Classics. It seems to have hit a nerve and prompted more discussion. We got a great followup from Brandon Conley: “How Was [the Expensive Classics Event]?”

5. Classics and Theory: A Monday Rant

This started out as a twitter rant and turned into an essay. There are still many, many people who have a naive attitude about what theory is and how it shapes writing, teaching, and just being in the world. There is still an alarmingly stubborn faction in Classics who falsely oppose “Philology” to theory, imagining that the former is not a species of the latter. I think forms of this one will keep coming back.

6. The Humanities: Aristotle in the Sheets, But Xenophon on the Streets

There was a NY Times Op-Ed on the Humanities that got me up in arms. I posted some tweets, wrote a thing. Erik is working on a much deeper and prolonged project on the Humanities and Classics among the Founding Fathers. Since the culture wars continue and the humanities are always already embattled, this subject will probably come back too.

7. A List of Women Authors from the Ancient World

This is a list that needs more work. I am still looking for people to help me expand these entries!

8. Famae Volent: a Personal History

The infamous and hated although obsessively checked classics job bulletin board closed down this year. I wrote a wistful and self-indulgent piece about it. Then I wrote a second one. The successor site is not nearly as interesting.

9. Classics [Itself] Is Not Classist

When Grace Bertelli (The Classics Major is Classist) first wrote on this topic, we had some discussions online and Erik wrote this overview of why the content of Classics is not essentially class-oriented. As with all of his essays, it is sharp and filled with turns of phrase I wish I could think of.

10. Terrible, Wonderful Odysseus, His Epithets, and How We Read Him

This is a hodgpodge of stuff about Odysseus which started out as a twitter discussion because people don’t like my occasional translation of polytropos as shifty. (Don’t @ me! Read the post!)

Some things I love outside the top 10

  1. The Story of Dido in the Aeneid Through Buffy GIFS
  2. Classics For the Fascists
  3. How Was the [Expensive] Classics Event: Income Inequality and the Classics
  4. Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Antiquity
  5. Reclaiming the Story: Ovid’s Mythological Hermaphrodite
  6. Post-Classical Intellectualism in the Latin Classroom

 

Thanks to Elton BarkerDani Bostick, Brandon ConleyHilary Ilkay, Cassie Garrison, Christian LehmannBen Stevens, and Zachary Taylor for making the past year memorable and special

Annual Atopia: The Non Top Ten Posts We Loved

Atopia: “Strangeness,” from a-topos, “out of place”

Hesychius
*ἄτοπα· πονηρά, αἰσχρά: “wretched, shameful”
*ἀτοπία· αἰσχρότης. πονηρία: “shamefulness, wretchedness”

Etymologicum Genuinum
“Atopon: atopon is used in place of something that is amazing or illogical”
῎Ατοπον· τὸ ἄτοπον ἀντὶ τοῦ θαυμαστοῦ ἢ ἀλόγου τάττεται

Earlier today, I posted a list of the most-read posts on this site. Here’s a list of my favorite posts to write (of the nearly thousand posts we made this year), prompted by a twitter friend.

1.  Sharknado in Ancient Greek

This might not have made the top ten, but it was on Neville Morley’s annual retrospective. And, it was fun to work on: it was absurd. Friends helped out with it. A good day.

2. The Zooglossia Posts

This year we did several thematic sequences (one for AP Latin, another for Halloween, a series for Thanksgiving etc.) None of these were really planned. Palaiophron and I just kind of did them.

3. Mermaids in Martha’s Vineyard

I had a taxi driver who claimed their was a worldwide conspiracy to conceal the existence of mermaids. I wrote a post about it. I used to love X-Files. It was foggy and in the late-winter. This had a very 1990’s occult show feel to it.

4. Κ᾿ <ά>π ε᾿φη[φ]ε: A Future Scholion on #Covfefe

Future generations will struggle to understand what this post was about or why it had to be written. I will probably struggle about it in five years time. But it had to be done.

5. SententiaeAntiquae Go to a Museum!

When I still lived in San Antonio, Palaiophron and I would regularly get together to read, translate, laugh. etc. Sometimes we’d drink. It was really one of the best things about living there. Dio Chrysostom would have understood. This summer, he came to visit Boston and we went to the MFA. It was fun.

6. How Do You Say trick Or Treat in Latin and Greek?

This one was the eleventh most read post. Like the Sharknado post, I used crowdsourcing a bit here. I think this will probably continue to be a perennial favorite.

7. Science This! Some Ancient Theories on Eclipses

This post was fun because I learned something about Science. Hooray!

8. Helen’s Serving Girl Wrote the First Sex Manual

Sometimes posts emerge out of random thoughts or research dead-ends. Before I started this blog, I might have spent weeks researching and then giving up on an idea. Now, I write about it, think a bit, post and then let it simmer. Most of the material fizzles.

Some posts come out of classes, preparing for teaching, or conversations from students. This post was a gift from a student. I learned something. I have an anecdote that will never get old. 

9. Latin and Greek Passages on Treason for No Particular Reason

This post on treason was important to write and consider over the past year for no particular reason that I can think of.

10. Neither Cowards Nor Nobodies: A Rant on Classics and Politics

The twitter version of this rant was probably more impactful, but the experience helped to articulate for us what we are doing and why. It was worth doing.

11. Here’s a Problem, Now I’ll Solve It

I have a general idea when a post is going to be popular (hint: feces, phalluses and farting). Sometimes, I think something is hilarious, but it just doesn’t hit. For instance, this post on aporia and lusis in the Homeric Scholia using Vanilla Ice as a comparandum. Why didn’t this make me famous? Also, not the only time R. M. Van Winkle appeared on the blog this year.

Some of Palaiophron’s posts I think should be read regularly

Palaiophron [Erik] has, in my humble opinion, emerged as an important voice not just in selecting and commenting on ancient literature but in discussing its use and import in the modern world. If someone were foolish enough to write a history of this blog, they would note that his posts from when they first started in 2013 helped to transform this site incredibly. I am lucky to have Erik as a partner and collaborator in this endless project; I am luckier to have him as a friend

1. From Homer to Game of Thrones: Atrocity in Art

This is a deep, sensitive, and important reflection on the aesthetics of violence and atrocity in art. I am still surprised that this is not one of the number 1 posts on the site.

2. Antiquity for Everyone: How Classics is Misappropriated for Evil Ends

As I battled nazis on twitter, Palaiophron developed a pointed, disarming style of essay to contend with the larger cultural issues regarding the intersection of the study of the ancient world, modern politics, and racist appropriation. We took a political turn over the past year. Erik’s clarity and bravery provided us with the confidence to do so.

3. I am Not Sorry for Spending my Life on Greek

One of the things Palaiophron does so well is to excerpt from scholarship on scholars. He provides amusing, illuminating, sometimes depressing, and sometimes inspiring anecdotes. Since I first met Erik, one of his hobbies has been learning about the lives and thoughts of scholars in the classical tradition. He has really tapped into general interest with this. 

4. A New Apologia for Latin

Another fine essay on learning and teaching an ancient language.

5. Smutty Saturday: A Real Chatter Box

Erik finds some pretty amazing poems. His ability to balance smut with the sublime is not only one of his most attractive traits, it is also part of what makes this site fun.

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