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Women of substance in Homeric epic

Men carve meaning into women’s faces; messages addressed to other men. In Achilles’ compound, the message had been: Look at her. My prize awarded by the army, proof that I am what I’ve always claimed to be: the greatest of the Greeks.  Pat Barker’s book The Silence of the Girls is one of a wave of novels giving a […]

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A reading list of Ancient Greek classics

This selection of ancient Greek literature includes philosophy, poetry, drama, and history. It introduces some of the great classical thinkers, whose ideas have had a profound influence on Western civilization.

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A back-to-school reading list of classic literature

With carefree summer winding to a close, we’ve pulled together some reading recommendations to put you in a studious mood. Check out these Oxford World’s Classics suggestions to get ready for another season of books and papers. Even if you’re no longer a student, there’s something on this list for every literary enthusiast.

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Gods and mythological creatures of the Odyssey in art

The gods and various mythological creatures — from minor gods to nymphs to monsters — play an integral role in Odysseus’s adventures. They may act as puppeteers, guiding or diverting Odysseus’s course; they may act as anchors, keeping Odysseus from journeying home; or they may act as obstacles, such as Cyclops, Scylla and Charbidis, or the Sirens.

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Telemachos in Ithaca

How do you hear the call of the poet to the Muse that opens every epic poem? The following is extract from Barry B. Powell’s new free verse translation of The Odyssey by Homer. It is accompanied by two recordings: one of the first 105 lines in Ancient Greek, the other of the first 155 lines in the new translation. How does your understanding change in each of the different versions?

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Top OUPblog posts of 2013: Editor’s picks

By Alice Northover
As editor of the OUPblog, I’m probably one of only a handful who read everything we publish over the course of the year. Even those posts which are coded and edited by our Deputy Editors I carefully read through in the hopes of catching any errors (some always make it through). So it’s wonderful to reflect on the amazing work that our authors, editors, and staff have created in 2013. Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites from the past year…

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Give peace a chance in Syria

By John Gittings
When Ban Ki-moon, speaking in The Hague, called recently on member countries to “give peace a chance” in Syria, and condemned the supply of weapons to both sides, he was taking part in a ceremony at the Peace Palace to mark the centennial of its foundation (a result of the Hague Peace Conference in 1899) which otherwise was ignored by the media.

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The dire offences of Alexander Pope

There’s never been a shortage of readers to love and admire Alexander Pope. But if you think you don’t, or wouldn’t, like his poetry, you’re in good company there too. Ever since his own day, detractors have stuck their oar in, some blasting the work and some determined to write off the writer. A noted poet and anthologist, James Reeves, wrote an entire book in 1976 to assail Pope’s achievement and influence.

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The Trojan War: fact or fiction?

By Eric Cline
The Trojan War may be well known thanks to movies, books, and plays around the world, but did the war that spurred so much fascination even occur? The excerpt below from The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction helps answer some of the many questions about the infamous war Homer helped immortalize.

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Martin Kemp vs John Gittings: Icons of Peace

Today, John Gittings and Martin Kemp will be discussing icons of peace. Human history is dominated by war, but can we forge a different narrative? In The Glorious Art of Peace, former Guardian journalist John Gittings argues that progress depends on a peaceful environment, identifying iconic proponents of peace such as Confucius and Gandhi. Art historian Martin Kemp’s Christ to Coke looks at the creation of some of our peacetime icons and traces the things they have in common.

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World Humanitarian Day

By John Gittings
Cynical observers, of the kind who always scoff at the UN and its aims, may regard World Humanitarian Day (19 August) as just another high-minded but meaningless annual event. Yet the day has a very specific origin, which should remind us that humanitarianism is not just a fine principle but a hard struggle against the opposing forces of violence and war.

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The real lessons of the Cuban Cold War crisis

By John Gittings
This year we shall recall, with a very nervous shudder, the 50th anniversary of the greatest crisis in the Cold  War – and with the knowledge that but for good fortune none of us would be here to recall it at all.

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An empire of many colours? Race and imperialism in Ancient Rome

Romans sometimes worried that you couldn’t tell enslaved and free people apart. By the second century CE, many senators were descended from Gauls and Iberians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and Syrians—the very peoples Romans had conquered as they extended their empire. So, was the Roman empire unusually inclusive? Or even a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic civilization? None of that seems very likely.

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