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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - History of Classical Scholarship

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Christian Campbell

CLA260H1S History of Classical Scholarship July 6/12 • When we talk about classics, we are talking not just about Greece and Rome, but the history of classics, or the “Classical Tradition” • Classical Tradition is the study of the gap between antiquity and ourselves, and how classics were received • Can refer to influence within the classical period itself • Reception: reception of Greek culture • E.g. Rome’s hellenization • Roman reception: translation of Greek literature into latin and adapting and interpreting • Or, how was Greek comedy received, translated and interpreted to become Roman comedy? • The above examples are of “genre studies” • Nachleben (“Afterlife”) studies: way the character gets changed throughout literature. Can look all the way till modern day • E.g. Odysseus characters in modern day films like O Brother WhereArt Thou • How is the character changed, recast and interpreted? E.g. Rome’s recasting ofAlexander as a character rather than a historical figure.As early • as the 3rd centuryAD we get “Alexander Romances”. They go all the way to the Middle Ages. Or in the Persian tradition he is subject of oral tradition as ‘Alexander the two-horned’ and is featured in epic. Then later he is reworked into the Islamic tradition. • Reception studies are a very big part of Classical Studies Alexander spreads Greek (hellenizing the conquered world) • • Rome spreads latin (for administration) • When Roman Empire splits the east retains the Greek language and the western retains Latin • Later on, Greek works are only available in the western empire for scholars • In the east, Byzantine scholars more interested in religious works. Therefore, pagan Greek works stop getting copied and disappear • The Renaissance rediscovers Greek texts • Classical Scholarship can stretch back to the Hellenistic and Roman world • We have people writing about Classics in the 2nd century BC • By the time of St.Augustine not many people were still reading Greek • During the schism, classical Greek dies out, and new testament Greek, which is very different, takes over • The west retains latin through to the 18th century with minor changes • Up until the 19th century works are in latin • Latin as a communal language • 11th century witnesses expanse of universities, and latin becomes invaluable • Not until humanist revolution and the renaissance that people start to learn Greek again • Petrarch - bring
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