Site Columns By Caillan
June 12, 2002 - 1:08 PM

Hello World!

Exams start next week for me, so it's been a highly stressful few days. I'm particularly paranoid about not covering all the material in time. Last semester, in the Celts exam, they asked a completely different question from what I expected, so I spent two pages twisting the material I did know into what the question asked. It all worked out okay in the end, but I don't want to go through the panic of turning over the paper and thinking 'Oh my god, I didn't revise for that!'

For the first section of the Greek history exam, I've chosen to work on Homer's 'Odyssey.' I could have done the Mycenaean & Minoan civilisations, especially since I wrote one of my papers on that topic, but I prefer to approach things fresh for the exam. That way, I don't get complacent and let the side down.

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of all of 'The Odyssey' - the books dealing with Odysseus' travels are the most exciting, but in the second half, I often find my concentration wandering. However, I have recently come to appreciate the argument that you should read the works in the original language.

We've been let loose on some unadapted Euripides (the play is 'Alkestis') in Greek (language), and I've been able to really get to know the text. When you're puzzling out a line in the original language, the end result is so much more satisfying, because you can really appreciate the construction and form of the poetry, and how the writer has used the language to convey feeling and emotion. This is in marked contrast to when I read Sophocles' 'Antigone' and found myself skipping pages just to get to the "good bits."

Tonight, I'm changing lanes and moving to the Roman empire - I've got a pile of books I'm rather optimistically hoping to get through before I go to bed. I want to incorporate some inscriptional evidence into the essay, but I haven't been able to find a translation of the Greek. The inscription does have a commentary, but just to frustrate me, it's in Latin. I guess it's time to haul out the dictionary.

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