Emily Katz Anhalt

on leave yearlong

AB, Dartmouth College. PhD, Yale University. Primary interests are Greek epic and lyric poetry, Greek historiography, Greek tragedy, and Greek and Roman sexuality. Publications include Solon the Singer: Politics and Poetics (Lanham, MD, 1993), as well as several articles on the poetics of metaphor in Homer and on narrative techniques in Herodotus. SLC, 2004–

Previous Courses

Intermediate/Advanced Greek: Homer and Herodotus: Telling Stories

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Year

In this course, students will develop their comprehension of Ancient Greek by a close reading of selections of Homer’s Odyssey and Herodotus’ Histories. The Homeric epics, now nearly 3,000 years old, were the Greeks’ earliest accounts of their history until the prose writer Herodotus, in the fifth century BCE, distinguished myth from history. What is the difference between myth and history? Who decides? What is the value and purpose of recording events? What is the role of the supernatural in human affairs? Is objective reporting of the past possible? The English word “history” derives from the Greek historie, which means “inquiry,” and the idea of history in Ancient Greece emerged from an oral tradition of epic poetry. Homer’s Odyssey and Herodotus’ Histories reveal the origins of Western attitudes toward life, love, death, divinity, communal relations, foreigners, war, imperialism, and more. Emphasizing close textual analysis, this course will examine storytelling techniques and moral sensibilities in these two foundational texts. Students will also read English translations of both texts in their entirety.

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Beginning Latin

Open , Seminar—Year

This course provides an intensive introduction to Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, with a view to reading the language as soon as possible. Close reading of Vergil’s Aeneid in English will accompany intensive language study in the fall. By midsemester, students will be translating authentic excerpts of Latin poetry and prose. During the spring semester, while continuing to develop and refine their knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, students will read selections of the Aeneid in Latin.

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First-Year Studies: The Good Life: Individual and Community in Ancient Greek Myths

Open , FYS—Year

What are the elements of a desirable and admirable life? Precisely which skills and ideals enable individuals and communities to survive and thrive? How do you negotiate conflicts between the needs of the individual and the needs of the community? These are among the most fundamental questions of human life, and the ancient Greeks began exploring them more than 3,000 years ago. In this course, we will examine mythical tales of exemplary individuals. We will assess ancient Greek ideals of human achievement as they evolved from archaic times through the Classical period of the Athenian democracy in the fifth century BCE. These ideas have shaped and continue to shape life in the 21st century. Which should we retain? How can we improve upon them? Texts (to be read in English translation) will include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and selected tragic plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

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Beginning Greek

Open , Seminar—Year

This course provides an intensive introduction to ancient Greek grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, with the aim of reading the language as soon as possible. By mid-semester in the fall, students will be reading authentic excerpts of Ancient Greek poetry and prose. Students will also read and discuss several dialogues of Plato in English. During the spring semester, while continuing to refine their grammar and reading skills, students will read extended selections of Plato’s Apology in the original Greek.

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Intermediate/Advanced Latin: Catullus, Ovid, and the Challenge to Autocracy

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Year

What happened to Roman intellectual and political life as the Republic was collapsing under the reign of Augustus? What can poets of ancient Rome teach citizens of a modern republic? Students will develop and refine their Latin reading comprehension skills by reading (in Latin) extended selections of Catullus in the fall and Ovid in the spring. Selected works of Cicero, Sallust, Livy, Horace, and Ovid will be read in English.

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Literature in Translation: Vergil, Ovid, and the Challenge to Autocracy

Open , Seminar—Spring

What happened to Roman intellectual and political life under the reign of Augustus? How did Roman epic poetry transform poetic tradition and confront political authority? Students will read Vergil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses in English, as well as additional works of Ovid, Livy, and Horace.

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Intermediate/Advanced Greek: Topics in Greek Literature

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Year

Themes and texts for this course will depend on enrollment and student interest. Students will attend lectures in literature: How Stories Define Us: Greek Myths and the Invention of Democracy. In addition, students will meet individually (or in small groups) once or twice a week to discuss readings in Greek.

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How Stories Define Us: Greek Myths and the Invention of Democracy

Open , Lecture—Year

At the discretion of the instructor, qualified students may enroll in the course as Intermediate or Advanced Greek.

The ancient Greeks originated the name, concept, and political structure of democracy. Their literature both witnessed and effected the very first-ever political and cultural transformation from tyranny to democracy, from rigid hierarchy to equality and the rule of law. How did telling and re-telling their myths help the Greeks develop the values necessary to make this transition? What can the ancient Greeks’ cultural transformation and their eloquent testimony about it teach the modern world? Readings will include the archaic poetry of Homer and Hesiod (eighth- to seventh-century BCE) and selected Athenian tragedies and comedies (fifth-century BCE). Students will attend one lecture and one group conference each week.

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Additional Information

Selected Publications

Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

forthcoming from the Yale University Press, August 2017

A fascinating new study of three classic works of ancient Greek literature, exposing their enduring relevance. These stories, by Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides, all emphasize the consequences of glorifying violent rage and cultivate instead the capacity for empathy, self-restraint, and rational debate.

Solon the Singer: Politics and Poetics

Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1993.

In the series Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Gregory Nagy.

“The Tragic Io: Defining Identity in a Democratic Age”

New England Classical Journal

42.4 (2015), 246-260

“A Man Out of Time: Sophocles’ Aias: 646-692”

Transference Literary Journal

Fall 2015: 94-97

“A Matter of Perspective: Penelope and the Nightingale in Odyssey 19. 512-534.”

The Classical Journal

vol. 97, no. 2. (Dec.-Jan., 2001-2002), 145-159.

What do you love about teaching at Sarah Lawrence?
Education here is a collaborative process. Students have to find out what they are excited about. When my students are devising their conference projects, I tell them the topic they choose should be the thing that gets them out of bed in the morning.

And they are very creative. I had one student who did a conference project looking at gender and sexuality in fifth-century Greek vase painting and comparing that to modern clothing advertisements. Another student examined the wartime rhetoric recorded by Thucydides, the fifth-century historian, and compared these speeches to the wartime speeches of Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, and George W. Bush. I love it when students can take lessons from the ancient world and translate them for modern times.

How do you connect with students and make sure they are engaged in the material you teach?
My goals are to help students discover how they love to use their minds and to give them the tools to think with. I think college students are at a stage in their lives when they are drawn to the big questions; they really want to understand what it means to be a human being.

I try to draw that curiosity out by being inventive in my classes. We do some role-playing, which my students love. We usually have a "conversation in the underworld," where students take on the roles of various fictional characters or historical/mythical figures, and discuss the implications of what they’ve read—for then and for now. I’ve had classes do a pre-war Congress where we tried to avert the Peloponnesian War. We also put Cicero on trial for his execution of the Catilinarian conspirators. I think students like that I try to get them to engage with the material and engage with each other and they are usually very receptive to that.