Site Columns By Caillan
July 5, 2002 - 3:55 PM

Hello World!

The Loeb Classical Library has started releasing new translations of several classical works, because many of the original editions, composed at the turn of the century, were less than accurate when it came to passages referring to sex and other "offensive material."

Instead of actually translating them, the academics either left these sections in the original Latin or Greek, translated them into Italian, or produced versions that were so vauge as not to make any sense whatsoever. Considering many of the Greek comic plays were essentially sex-farces, these versions are unintentially rather amusing. In addition, many of the more adventurous bedroom exploits of the emperors were left out - in the Loeb translation of Suetonius' life of Tiberius, there's a rather large chunk of Latin left untranslated. (Watch 'I, Claudius' for all the gory details.)

The new versions use appropriate contemporary language in order to stay closer to the spirit of the original Greek or Latin. There's quite an art to good translation - and many of the old versions just make people snigger at their prudishness. Two good articles on this can be found at the New York Times (which you have to be a member to view) and Associated Press.

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