(This page of resources is in progress as of July 2013).
LINKS AND RESOURCES
For a linked list of introductory material, peer-reviewed encyclopedia articles and starting-points for bibliography in the discipline of ancient Mediterranean philosophy, check out UBC Prof. Michael Griffin’s resource page.
For language study tools, Greek, Latin, and English translations, and an easy-to-use linked dictionary, The Perseus Project is a really useful site.
On the Greek language side, the TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) Canon of Authors and Works is a searchable database and a bibliographic guide to the authors and works included in the TLG Digital Library.
Also, the extraordinary labors of Bill Thayer have produced a nicely searchable collection of ancient texts, mostly Roman but including selections from Aristotle, at LacusCurtius in both their original language and the English translation hosted by the University of Chicago.
For another helpful collection of texts from the Hellenistic era and Roman Republic, see Attalus.org.
With some caveats, crowd-sourced dictionaries like Wiktionary and urbandictionary can be a good way of arriving at popularly understood definitions of words that are new to the English language. Cullen Murphy makes great use of these resources in Are We Rome?, his inquiry into the similarities between modern America and imperial Rome.
The Language Log is a wonkish resource for linguistically inclined scholars.
Ancient Greek philosophy dealt with questions we are still wrestling and marveling over today. The links below are designed for students and casual viewers to make associations between the issues concerning their daily lives and those of the Hellenistic philosophical schools.
- Film and Television:
1) The Bat Cave: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
2) Clark Kent and the Platonic Question: Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013).
3) Genetic Determinism and Human Agency: Andrew Niccol’s Gattica (1997). Consider Richard Gaskin’s “Do Homeric Heroes Make Real Decisions?” The Classical Quarterly 40, no. 1 (January 1, 1990); “Rethinking Homeric Psychology” by Joseph Russo, both of whom have ideas about what the Greeks of Homer’s time thought humanity was responsible for.
1) Living the Good (American) Life: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s novel, closely modeled after Petronius’s “Dinner of Trimalchio” in the Satyricon, explores the emotional undercurrent of American excess and the tragic desire to recapture the past. Ward Briggs‘s “Petronius and Virgil in the Great Gatsby” delves into Fiztgerald’s reception of the classics. For related reading, consider the recollection of the soul (anamnesis) theme from Plato: Meno (English)(Greek)(Benjamin Jowett’s–dated–translation in audio form), Phaedo (English)(Greek)(audio), and Phaedrus (English)(Greek)(audio).
- Blogs and Essays:
1) Living the Good (Stoic) Life: “Twenty-First Century Stoic — From Zen to Zeno: How I Became a Stoic” by William B Irvine. Oct. 27, 2010. A series of three essays about a man’s quest to live his life in accordance with Stoic principles. Features some handy tricks for the modern Stoic on how to interpret the fuzzy bits of Stoic doctrine but also practical advice on things like how to Stoically respond to insults! This is a really down-to-earth writer talking about how he has internalized a Hellenistic school’s contradictory set of principles.
2) A Modernist’s Understanding of Stoicism: T.S. Eliot’s collection of selected essays (1951) features a piece called “Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca” in which he argues the appeal of Stoicism in the ancient world and the reason for its crossover into Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and beyond. It’s a short essay, utterly readable, for anyone who loves Eliot, Shakespeare, or listening to a poet describe the futility of literary analysis.
- Podcast Episodes:
1) On Epistemology/Ontology: The Ricky Gervais Guide To… Philosophy (2006). Part of “one of the most downloaded podcast series in internet history,” this episode of The Guide To… deals with core issues of what it means to be an individual, how one can know reality for certain, and the script for a brain-swap romance film starring Tom Cruise! Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant, and Karl Pilkington cover lots of ground in the world of philosophy and recast big topics in a fresh and comic light that manages to retain intellectual value even as it revels in absurd buffoonery. Consider Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura 4.722-822 (Latin); also, Diogenes of Oenoanda, new fragment 5.3.3.-14 (Long and Sedley 76); Diogenes Laertius 10.32. See also WNYC’s Radiolab Season 5, ep 4 “Diagnosis” (below).
2) On Human Nature via Animals: Desiree Schell & K.O.Myers’s Skeptically Speaking: Ep. 210 Spillover. Scientific investigation into the potential connections and vulnerabilities between humans and animals. Also, WNYC’s Radiolab short “Argentine Invasion” on the aggression of ants and what social-political implications this may have for humankind. Related to the Hellenistic schools’ theories on the nature of man and animal. Consider Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura 3.262-322 on the Soul; (Latin) Lucretius, 5.1028-90 on Language. (Latin) Cmp. with Stoic ideas on the soul: Origen, On Principles 3.1.2-3 (under the heading in this translation “On the Freedom of Will”) (Latin translation); Sextus Empiricus, Against the professors 8.275-76 (Long and Sedley 317-18); Stobaeus 2.85, 13-86,4 (Long and Sedley 259-60).
3) On Virtue, the Market, and Social Justice: Desiree Schell & K.O.Myers’s Skeptically Speaking: Ep. 217 Money Matters. Usually this podcast is pretty nerdy and spends a lot of time in the weeds which is enjoyable in its own right, since there are any number of podcasts that will do the opposite and serve up sonically beautiful but content-shallow programs. In this episode, the crossroads between science, economics, and morality comes to a fore, especially in the second half of the show. Cf. Ep.: Letter to Menoeceus on pleasure and ethics; Epicurus, Kuriai Doxai, Principle Doctrines, 17, 31-37 on society and justice. St: Hierocles* (Stobaeus 4.671,7-673,11; Long and Sedley 349-50) on Stoic “spheres” of interest. This is a really cool passage, worth checking out in Long and Sedley, but if you can’t get a hold of it, look at the little bit of open source material that is posted online attributed to Hierocles; Potential crossover with themes from transcedentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Circles” (Audi0book version)? For a more pop-py take on this idea, cf. Billy Preston (below); Diogenes Laertius 7.53, 89, 127; Cicero, On ends 3.33-4; Plutarch, On moral virtue 440E-441D.
4) On Sophists in America: Andrea Seabrook’s Decode DC is a podcast, much like On The Media, that takes a telescopic view of politics and media coverage and exposes simplistic narratives created by pundits and parties that draw attention away from substantive issues that most people are interested in. In episodes entitled The Political Stage (Oct 12, 2012) and What’s Wrong (June 26, 2013), Seabrook looks at the dysfunctional political and media system and tries to untangle issues that seem to have become intractable. Socrates too was upset by the sophists in Athens that ran circles around arguments without holding any beliefs themselves, for a Platonic parody of sophistic argument, check out the Symposium.