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Greek Comedy III: Aristophanes’s Acharnians, Or Aristophanes is Sick of the War

In this episode, we review the oldest of Old Comedy, The Acharnians.

Discussion Prompts
  1. How would you adapt this play for an audience today?  Would you simply use costuming such as is seen in productions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which the title character looks suspiciously like one current world leader or another?  Or would you update the translation and replace the ancient characters with modern ones, keeping the spirit of the play but not necessarily the text?
  2. Did you have other thoughts about the analysis of this play as you read?  

Greek Tragedy V: Seven Against Thebes, Or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Or Seven Champions for Seven Gates for Seven Other Champions In which Everyone Dies. Or not Everyone, but, well, you know…

In this episode we talk about final play in Aeschylus’s Oedipus trilogy, Seven Against Thebes.

Discussion Prompts
  1. This play is not performed very often because of its place as three of three in the trilogy.  How would you handle this if you were to produce the play today?  How would you handle the ending?
  2. What do you think about whether or not the ending is original to Aeschylus?  
  3. What about the treatment of women in this play?  
  4. How would you compare or contrast it with the chorus of Danaids in The Suppliants?

Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments.

Greek Tragedy IV: The Suppliants, or the Pirates of Penzance, I Mean Argos

In this episode we look at Aeschylus’s The Suppliants.  Not the one written by Euripides.  We’ll get to his later.  We’re still working our way through Aeschylus right now.

Discussion Prompts

  1. What is your take on this play?
  2. How feminist is it?  
  3. How should it be treated and performed on the stage today?
  4. It’s difficult not to think about this play in light of #metoo; should that be considered when determining how this play is staged?
  5. What thoughts did you have as you read that I may not have included in this lecture?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Who, What, and Why?

Welcome to the official blog for the official podcast for Triumvir Clio’s School of Classical Civilization (available wherever fine podcasts are found).  I’m Beth, AKA Triumvir Clio, seen here with my favorite tyrant.  When I was a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago, my friend Maria and I took a class called “Epics and Classical Heroes” and it was so much fun that we both declared second majors in classical civilization as we entered our junior years.  By the time we were seniors, there were three women in the department, Maria, our friend JJ, and me.  We dubbed ourselves the new triumvirate and adopted names from ancient Greece.  Since my first major was history, I chose Clio, the muse of history.  Since getting that degree, I have returned to the works that we studied because I love them, and I’m looking forward to sharing that love with you.

So what will we cover at Triumvir Clio’s School of Classical Civilization?  Well, classical civilization, obviously.  Comedy and Tragedy.  Epics.  Philosophy.  History.  But here’s the easy part:  You don’t have to know Latin or Greek.  I don’t.  Or at least not enough to read everything in the original.  My degree is in classical civilization, which did not require us to learn the languages to appreciate the material.  And even though some translations are better than others, you don’t have to read any specific version.  Read what you can find.  Buy if you want to, in which case you should look for a translator who lived during dates you might remember, or check the books out from your library, or download them from Project Gutenberg or another free online source.  Do be aware that Project Gutenberg will likely mean an old translation, but you should still be able to understand what you’re reading.  I’ll always let you know whose translation I am using.  

Now, I know you’re asking why this matters.  The short answer is that it’s fun.  I wouldn’t have gotten this degree if that epics class hadn’t been so much fun.  But it’s about more than that.  There’s a reason that we’re still reading works that are nearly 3000 years old.  They speak to us.  The ancient tragedies teach us about human foibles while the comedies show that humor has not changed over the millennia.  The epics tell outward stories of inward journeys.  History shows us the seeds of the world in which we live today and patterns of which we should be aware as we work to change the future.  The philosophers give us new ways to view the world.  Classical civilization is not just one discipline.  It contains all of the humanities.  Sure, it is fun.  And as we’re having fun, we’re learning something more, something encompassed in that overarching term for these fields.  Humanities.  It is by studying the humanities that we learn a little more about ourselves, our place in the world, and what it means to be a human today.

I hope you will enjoy listening to me share my thoughts on classical civilization and that you will be inspired to join the discussion here on this blog.

Greek Tragedy III: The Persians, Or Aeschylus Kicks You When You’re Down (Or Does He?)

In this episode, we begin our study of Aeschylus’s seven surviving plays with The Persians. Here are some thoughts I had for discussion.

  1. What do you think about The Persians?  
  2. If you were directing this play, how would you handle it?  
  3. How sympathetic towards the Persians, or Greeks for that matter, do you think we should see this play?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.