An amphora is a type of ancient vase, mainly used to transport goods, particularly wine. The arrival of an amphora at your port promised some fine refreshment.
Today, Amphora is the name of the American Philological Association’s annual publication aimed at a general readership. It contains articles about interesting moments in history and cultural facts about the ancient world. It also contains reviews of Greece- and Rome-related books and movies that have gained wide popularity. The newest edition of Amphora (volume 10) was published this week. Athena’s Owl readers will find plenty to enjoy.
Want to learn how to be the life of a Roman dinner party? Check out the lead story by Philip Matyszak. Want to learn where St. Paul saw the altar to the unknown god? William C. West III traces Paul’s itinerary through Athens. What can ancient cemeteries tell us about social relations? Check out Clara Hardy and Jenn Thomas’s article on Roman social networking. There are two articles about writers and their reception of the classics: North Carolina’s own Mary Pendegraft has an excellent article on Edgar Allan Poe, while Herbert W. Benario takes on Goethe’s reception of Tacitus. Out of the books and into the theatre, Claire Catenaccio writes about why Sophocles’ Ajax has become popular in recent years. (She unfortunately doesn’t mention the recent These Seven Illnesses, an aggregation of all seven extant Sophocles tragedies, written by Sean Graney and directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskander at the Flea Theater in New York. No matter: check out the review by George Kovacs in Didaskalia.)
It’s a trifle late, but Netta Berlin offers good suggestions for Greek and Roman summer reading. (We need good leisure books in the fall too!) The issue also contains reviews of recent books. Diane Arnson Svarlien reviews the Follow Your Fates books, based on the 1970s Choose Your Own Adventures series. The FYF books were written by Massachusetts Latin teacher Ed DeHoratius, who happens to be a high school classmate of mine. Also under review is Diogenes by M.D. Usher, reviewed by Nick Kesinger. In this imaginative adaptation, the cynic philosopher has taken his cynicism to a logical extreme: he is literally a dog. Based on these reviews, I know the next books I’ll be purchasing for my son.
The issue’s final article is my favorite. The always fun Christopher Brunelle gives us excerpts from his new translation of Ovid’s Art of Love (Ars Amatoria). He presents a convincing justification that Ovid’s elegiac couplets are best rendered into the classic English verse form of — the limerick. The proof is in the poetry, and Brunelle’s limericks match the delight of Ovid’s Latin verses. I may not get the rhythm out of my head for days.
But try it yourself. Check out the newest edition (volume 10) of Amphora at the APA website.