Emily Katz Anhalt

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 Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths (Yale University Press, 2017), 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–

Undergraduate Courses 2019-2020

Greek (Ancient)

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 selected works of Plato, Aristophanes, Thucydides, and Ps.-Xenophon 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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Literature

First-Year Studies: The Perils of Passion: Ancient Greek History for Today’s Troubled Times

Open , FYS—Year

Are we unwittingly reliving the past? Authoritarianism, magical thinking, and tribalism are beginning to characterize the 21st century as they characterized archaic Greece. Over centuries, however, the ancient Greeks experienced a movement in the opposite direction: They began to prioritize reality, condemn tyranny, and experiment with broader forms of political participation. In the fifth century BCE, the ancient Greeks devised, simultaneously, the concepts of history and democracy. As the Athenians were experimenting with the world’s first-ever democratic political institutions, the historians Herodotus and Thucydides distinguished history from myth and offered examples of behaviors to emulate or to avoid. These early historians can help us today to analyze facts, identify causes and consequences, and avoid the pitfalls of the past. Students will read (in English translation) Herodotus’s Histories and Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, as well as selected works by Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristotle, and Ps.-Xenophon. Students will meet with the instructor individually for a half-hour conference once every two weeks. On the alternate weeks, when individual conferences do not meet, the entire class will meet for a group conference.

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Previous Courses

Intermediate/Advanced Greek: Defeating Despotism: Essential Strategies From Ancient Greek and Roman Epic Poetry

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Fall

Permission of the instructor is required.

Fearing tyranny, the framers of the US Constitution in the 18th century drew vital lessons from ancient Athenian democracy (508-322 BCE) and the Roman Republic (509-27 BCE). Before and during the Greeks’ and Romans’ radical and unprecedented experiments in broader political participation, Ancient Greek and Roman epic poetry shaped cultural attitudes regarding the use and abuse of power. As the modern world drifts backward in the 21st century toward various forms of dictatorship and authoritarian populism, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Vergil’s Aeneid can help arm us against the tyrants we might serve and the tyrants we might become. Students will read all three epics in their entirety in English translation. Greek conferences will meet twice each week either individually or in small groups to suit each student’s needs/abilities. In conference, students will develop their comprehension of ancient Greek by close reading of selected texts.

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Beginning Latin

Open , Seminar—Year

This course provides an intensive introduction to Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary—with a view toward 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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Defeating Despotism: Essential Strategies From Ancient Greek and Roman Epic Poetry

Open , Seminar—Fall

With the permission of the instructor, qualified students may opt to take this course as Intermediate or Advanced Greek and will do conference work in Greek at the appropriate level. Greek conferences will meet twice each week either individually or in small groups to suit each student’s needs/abilities. In conference, students will develop their comprehension of ancient Greek by close reading of selected texts.

Fearing tyranny, the framers of the US Constitution in the 18th century drew vital lessons from Ancient Greek democracy (508-322 BCE) and the Roman Republic (509-27 BCE). Before and during the Greeks’ and Romans’ radical and unprecedented experiments in broader political participation, Ancient Greek and Roman epic poetry shaped cultural attitudes regarding the use and abuse of power. As the modern world drifts backward in the 21st century toward various forms of dictatorship and authoritarian populism, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Vergil’s Aeneid can help arm us against the tyrants we might serve and the tyrants we might become. Students will read all three epics in their entirety in English translation.

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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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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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Additional Information

Selected Publications

Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

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.