Why are Christians so concerned about sex? When English interpretations of the New Testament talk about ‘sexual immorality’ they are really translating the Greek word porneia (πορνεία), it’s used almost every time the topic of sex comes up and often when talking about the worst sins in general. If you can really grok what Paul was talking about as he uses the root for the word over and over again (it appears 32 times in the New Testament) then the rest falls into place. Now porneia has always been translated into Latin as fornication, while being understood by many conservatives to just be a 1:1 stand in for ‘any sexual expression not between husband and wife’. However, Porneia in post-classical Corinthian Greek did not mean generic sexual sin, or even sex outside of marriage, at all exactly and neither did fornication in actual Latin. The truth, like in many things, is a little bit more complicated and a lot more interesting. TRIGGER WARNINGS AHEAD FOR DEPICTIONS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN CLASSICAL GREECE, ALSO AN NSFW VASE. (SFW version) [via mefi projects]
Scholars often speak of ancient Greek masculinity and manhood as if there was a single, monolithic, simple conception. I will show that the ancient Greeks, like us today, had competing models or constructions of gender and that what it meant to be a man was different in different contexts. I will focus on three constructions of the masculine gender in ancient (classical and post-classical) Greece: the Athenian civic model, the Spartan martial model, and the Stoic philosophical model. I will focus on how these share certain commonalities, how they differ in significant ways, how each makes sense in terms of larger ideological contexts and needs, and, finally how constructions of masculinities today draw from all three. (10 page PDF) [more inside]
Although she is a literary legend, only one complete poem of Sappho's survives, along with substantial fragments of four others (the last discovered in 2004). Now two new fragments have been discovered. [more inside]
Hellenica is an encyclopedia of Greek culture, from classical Hellas, through the Byzantine Empire until the modern day, though its focus is on antiquity and especially the science and technology of Ancient Greece. Featuring technical diagrams and explications, there's no better site if you seek information on gigantic galleys, now obscure great Greek mathematicians, the last still working Ancient lighthouse and gears and how they were used by Archimedes and other ancients. This is not to denigrate other sections of the site, such as the page on the Olympics (including a Google Map of the site of the games), biographies of ancient, Byzantine and modern Greeks, the warring and healing of the Byzantines or the overview of Greek literature, taking in antiquity, the medieval era and modern times. That said, Hellenica is at its finest when treating science and technology.
Elpenor - Home of the Greek Word is a site built around a bilingual anthology of all periods of Greek literature, but there's more, including ancient greek lessons, a collection of texts by non-Greeks about Greece, a gallery of Orthodox Christ icons and an online resource-guide on Byzantium. [more inside]
Everything you know about Pythagoras is wrong (except the bit about the beans). Less the golden-thighed Einstein of the Ancient World and more the L. Ron Hubbard of Magna Graecia. [Last link has some rude words]
I have been thinking about masks lately. Masks are ancient and universal, our ancestors put on masks to become an other, to become a god, even unto this day. Greek tragedy and comedy began in the worship of Dionysos, the god of wine, intoxication, and creative ecstasy, in rituals where worshipers often wore or worshipped masks. Indeed, the word for mask in Greek drama was persona, now commonly used to describe constructed online identities. And so we understand ourselves as wearing masks, whole series of masks--behind which we find only emptiness, for we can never see ourselves truly.
Peitho's Web: Classic Rhetoric and Persuasion.
Unchecked Greek aggression near Thebes in 1475AD has brought them to war, but Phoenatican democracy prevails. The, uh, fanatics over at civ fanatics have been playing Civilization 3 game as a democracy, with elected leaders, policy votes, a constitution, a census, the works. Their empire is impressive, as is the player cooperation to make a new kind of gameplay that Sid Meier probably never intended.
The Independent has a report that excavations at Herculaneum has brought forth some 850 papyri and "Among the works, which academics hope to read using the new equipment, are the lost works of Aristotle (his 30 dialogues, referred to by other authors, but lost in antiquity), scientific works by Archimedes, mathematical treatises by Euclid, philosophical work by Epicurus, masterpieces by the Greek poets Simonides and Alcaeus, erotic poems by Philodemus, lesbian erotic poetry by Sappho, the lost sections of Virgil's Juvenilia, comedies by Terence, tragedies by Seneca and works by the Roman poets Ennius, Accius, Catullus, Gallus, Macer and Varus."