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Epics of Rome

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Epics of Rome

Dr Rhiannon Evans

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This subject explores Ancient Roman epic poetry, the literary genre which deals with grand mythical narratives involving heroes, gods, war, and love affairs. Epic was the most prestigious literary form in the ancient world. Roman poets adapted and developed Greek epic, particularly influenced by the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. Roman epics similarly deal with divine and heroic material, but Roman poets also weave contemporary and topical themes into the mythical subject matter. The primary tex ...
 
The Roman World introduces students to the society, literature and art of ancient Rome, through a study of its major historical and literary figures, such as Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Virgil and Ovid. We shall look at Rome’s place in the ancient Mediterranean world, and its connections with ancient Greece and other cultures, such as Egypt and Gaul. Through almost constant warfare, Rome accumulated an enormous Mediterranean empire, and this subject will investigate how this shaped Roman ...
 
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show series
 
President Biden took the oath of office in a moment of deep crisis—the pandemic in full swing and just weeks after an unprecedented attempt to overturn the election by violence. Merely a return to normalcy would have been a tall order. But Biden was promising something more: a transformational agenda that would realign American economics and life o…
 
Nnedi Okorafor, a recipient of the prestigious Hugo Award, is a prolific writer of science-fiction and fantasy novels for adults and young adults. She spoke with Vinson Cunningham about how her Nigerian American heritage influenced her interest in fantastical worlds. “It’s part of the culture—this mysticism,” she says. “I wanted to write about thos…
 
When rioters, encouraged by the President, stormed the Capitol, one year ago, to overturn the results of the election, the idea that such a thing could play out in America was stunning. But the attack may have been just the beginning of an ongoing insurrection, not a failed attempt at a coup. David Remnick talks with Barbara F. Walter, the author o…
 
The repeal of Section 50-A of the New York State Civil Rights Law was no technical change. Passed in the wake of the George Floyd protests, it was a big victory for police-reform activists. 50-A shielded the disciplinary records of police officers, meaning that, in an officer-involved killing, for example, neither lawyers, journalists, nor the vict…
 
One year ago, Amanda Gorman delivered the inaugural poem on the day that Joe Biden became President. Gorman was just twenty-two years old, and it was just two weeks after Trump supporters had assaulted the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the election. At the ceremony, Gorman herself seemed to cast light on a dark situation. He…
 
Vjeran Tomic has been stealing since he was a small child, when he used a ladder to break into a library in his home town, in Bosnia. After moving to Paris, he graduated to lucrative apartment burglaries, living off the jewels he took and often doing time in prison. He became known in the French press as Spider-Man, and he began to steal art. Tomic…
 
By the standards of any musician, Rhiannon Giddens has taken a twisting and complex path. Trained as an operatic soprano at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory, Giddens fell almost by chance into the study of American folk music. Alongside two like-minded musicians, she formed the Carolina Chocolate Drops, in which she plays banjo and sings. The g…
 
For several years in the early nineteen-fifties, Puerto Rico received snow, right around Christmas. Children in San Juan rode a sled and had a giant snowball fight in the tropical weather. It wasn’t a miracle, or a meteorological outlier. The snow was a gift from San Juan’s longtime mayor, Felisa Rincón de Gautier, who had fallen in love with snow …
 
Élite schools are trying hard to recruit students of color and students who are less well-off financially; Yale University, as one example, now covers full tuition for families making less than seventy-five thousand dollars. Yet, many of these students find that the experience and the culture of a selective private university may remain challenging…
 
For the seventh time, listeners provide questions and Rhiannon and Matt answer! In this episode: - What happened to the original sources - Did the Romans have dogs, and how did they use them? - What types of jobs did the Romans have that don’t exist today? - Did far-flung provinces retain their own languages? - What kind of libraries did the Romans…
 
The eldest millennials turned forty this year, and the producer Ngofeen Mputubwele comments on a sense of despair he finds in his generation, having to do with the state of the planet, the nation, the Internet, intolerance, and more. He set out to explore why millennials feel hopeless and how they can live with that feeling, in conversations with f…
 
Paul Thomas Anderson first made a splash in Hollywood with his film “Boogie Nights,” a portrait of the porn industry that burgeoned in the San Fernando Valley, the much-mocked suburbs of Los Angeles. Anderson is a Valley native, and proud to live there still. “There was a terrific story right in my own back yard,” he told David Remnick. “I guess at…
 
As a kid, Jonathan was good at soccer and making friends. But by the age of eighteen, he was a drug dealer facing his first serious conviction. For his third conviction, although the charges were for nonviolent offenses, he received a twenty-one-year prison sentence. In 2019, after serving seventeen years, he was released under the First Step Act, …
 
Romans had the reality of witches, those who made the brews and prepared the curses, but also the witches of fiction. In their poems and stories, a witch took on a horrific persona, one that skews much more closely to the modern idea of a witch. Guest: Associate Professor Rhiannon Evans (Head of Department of Languages and Linguistics, La Trobe Uni…
 
The United States has the largest prison population in the world. But, until the publication of Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow,” in 2010, most people didn’t use the term “mass incarceration,” or consider the practice a social-justice issue. Alexander argued that the increasing imprisonment of Black and brown men—through rising arrest r…
 
Aimee Mann, the celebrated Los Angeles singer and songwriter, recently released an album called “Queens of the Summer Hotel.” The album was inspired in part by Susanna Kaysen’s best-selling memoir “Girl, Interrupted,” about Kaysen’s time in a psychiatric hospital. Mann sat down with Atul Gawande at The New Yorker Festival to talk about the new albu…
 
At The New Yorker Festival, Dave Grohl talked with Kelefa Sanneh about Grohl’s new book, “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.” Grohl, who was the drummer for Nirvana and then the frontman of the Foo Fighters, recalls his earliest experiences of taking music seriously—harmonizing with his mom to Carly Simon on the car radio. Grohl also talks a…
 
Mexico is a deeply Catholic nation where abortion was, for a long time, criminalized in many states; just a few years ago Coahuilla, near the U.S. border, imposed jail time on women who had the procedure. This year, Stephania Taladrid reported, Mexico’s ten-member Supreme Court voted unanimously to deciminalize abortion throughout the country—to th…
 
The Supreme Court, with a six-to-three majority of conservative justices, is hearing critical cases on abortion rights. If it approves restrictive state laws, large swaths of the country might quickly ban abortion. Jia Tolentino co-hosts a special episode on the future of abortion rights for Americans, which includes a discussion of the legal issue…
 
After storms and other climate disasters, legions of workers appear overnight to cover blown-out buildings with construction tarps, rip out ruined walls and floors, and start putting cities back together. They are largely migrants, predominantly undocumented, and lack basic protections for construction work. Their efforts are critical in an era of …
 
A witch occupied a strange niche in the Roman world. Distrusted but respected, persecuted but employed by the most elite, a witch in Rome existed on the sidelines and spoken of in hushed terms, and to many of the powerful, a weapon that could be employed. Guest: Associate Professor Rhiannon Evans (Head of Department of Languages and Linguistics, La…
 
“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” premièred nearly thirty years ago, but it’s one of the most current and important plays on Broadway right now. Anna Deavere Smith pioneered a form now known as verbatim theatre: instead of creating characters and writing dialogue, she would interview dozens or hundreds of people about an event, and weave a story from t…
 
Growing up, Rachel Held Evans was a fiercely enthusiastic evangelizer for her faith, the kind of kid who relished the chance to sit next to an atheist. But when she experienced doubt, that sense of certainty began to crumble. “We went to all these conferences about how to defend your faith, how to have an answer for what you believe,” her sister Am…
 
Cal Newport, the author of “A World without Email” and other books, has been writing about how the shutdown has affected businesses and the culture of work. Remote operation, he says, has raised fundamental questions about the purpose of work, its role in our lives, and how productivity is measured. While most companies are asking employees to retu…
 
Wole Soyinka is a giant of world literature. A Nobel laureate, he’s written more than two dozen plays, a vast amount of poetry, several memoirs, and countless essays and short stories—but, up until recently, only two novels. His third novel was published this past September, forty-eight years after the previous one. It's called “Chronicles from the…
 
When Apuleius married his friend’s mother, little did he realise that it would lead to a charge of sorcery, with a raft of seemingly innocent actions from buying a mirror to writing bad poetry bought up in front of the courts to prove his wicked intentions. Unfortunately for his accusers, Apuleius was a skilled orator, educated in the art of philos…
 
The roughly ten thousand company documents that make up the Facebook Papers show a company in turmoil—and one that prioritizes its economic interests over known harms to public interest. Among other things, they catalogue the company’s persistent failure to control disinformation and hate speech. David Remnick spoke with Maria Ressa, an investigati…
 
Jane Goodall is as revered a figure as modern science has to offer, though she prefers to call herself a naturalist rather than a scientist. Goodall learned a great deal about being human by studying our close relatives among the primates. When she began working, some of her research habits, such as naming her subjects and describing their personal…
 
In the summer, Shabana Basij-Rasikh came on the Radio Hour to speak with Sue Halpern about founding the School of Leadership Afghanistan—known as SOLA—which was the country’s only boarding school for girls. She and those around her were watching the Taliban’s resurgence in the provinces anxiously, but with determination. “It’s likely that Taliban c…
 
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” defined an era. For more than sixteen years, Stewart and his many correspondents skewered American politics. At the 2021 New Yorker Festival, Stewart spoke with David Remnick about his new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart”; the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House; and the controversy around cance…
 
Daniel Craig made his career as an actor in the theatre and in British indie films. When he showed up in Hollywood, it was usually in smaller roles, often as a villain. So, in 2005, when Craig was cast as the original superspy, James Bond, he seemed as surprised as anyone. In “No Time to Die,” Craig gives his final performance as Bond—a role, he te…
 
Kara Walker is one of our most influential living artists. Walker won a MacArthur Fellowship (the “genius” grant) before she turned thirty, and became well known for her silhouettes, works constructed from cut black paper using a technique that refers to craft forms of the Victorian era. Walker has put modest materials to work to address very large…
 
When Pedanius Secunus was murdered by his slave the law was precise - every slave in his household, every man, woman and child, would be crucified as punishment. The law that allowed this was the Senatus Consultum Silanianum, It existed to ease the minds of the wealthy slave owners of Rome, allowing them to live in power amongst slaves who knew tha…
 
At The New Yorker Festival, the renowned investigative journalist Jane Mayer asked Attorney General Merrick Garland about the prosecution of January 6th insurrectionists, the threat of domestic terrorism, and what the Justice Department can do to protect abortion rights. Plus, the staff writer Susan Orlean talks with David Remnick about her obsessi…
 
Broadway theatres are welcoming audiences to a new season, mounting original works and restaging shows that closed in March, 2020. In this unusual season, Broadway is featuring atypical works such as “Is this a Room,” directed by Tina Satter, which stages the F.B.I. interrogation of the whistle-blower Reality Winner using the official transcript ve…
 
Jonathan Franzen’s sixth novel, “Crossroads,” is set in 1971, and the title is firmly on the nose: the Hildebrand family is at a crossroads itself, just as the America of that moment seemed poised to come apart. In the course of his career, Franzen has evolved away from an early postmodernist sensibility that highlighted “bravura” writing, and “wit…
 
Andreas Malm, a climate activist and senior lecturer at Lund University, in Sweden, studies the relationship between climate change and capitalism. With the United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow rapidly approaching—it begins on October 31st—Malm tells David Remnick that he believes environmentalists should not place too much faith in talks or t…
 
In 1967, in the wake of a violent uprising in Detroit, President Lyndon B. Johnson assembled the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate what had happened. This seemed futile: another panel to investigate yet another uprising. “A lot of people felt that way—‘We don’t need more studies, nothing’s going to come out of that comm…
 
In 60CE Rome came close to losing the province of Britannia in an uprising led by the warrior queen Boudicca, who united the tribes in the area, destroyed several Roman settlements and defeated part of a Roman legion. She has become an icon of British resistance, highlighting the difficulty Rome had in controlling the distant provinces. Part III of…
 
On Tuesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a preliminary report on the long-standing underrepresentation of Latinos in the media. While most people consider Hollywood a relatively liberal industry, “the system as a whole is actually quite regressive and . . . exclusionary,” Joaquin Castro, the representative of a Texas district th…
 
“I wanted to do a French movie, and I had this idea of wanting to do a New Yorker movie,” Wes Anderson explains. “Somehow, I also wanted to do one of those omnibus-type things where it was a collection of short stories.” The result is the new film “The French Dispatch.” Anderson describes his interest in The New Yorker as “almost fetishistic.” Each…
 
Wes Anderson’s new film, “The French Dispatch,” is about a magazine, and it was inspired by Anderson’s long-standing love of The New Yorker. In this special episode, introduced by the articles editor Susan Morrison, cast members read excerpts from classic works associated with the magazine. Bill Murray reads a letter from the editor Harold Ross to …
 
The new Texas law Senate Bill 8 effectively outlaws abortion in Texas, violating constitutional protections on reproductive rights. Yet the Supreme Court is in no rush to review it. The law professor and staff writer Jeannie Suk Gersen speaks with Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of Michigan. They examine the novel ways in which the l…
 
Twenty years after the events of September 11th, the writer Edwidge Danticat reads from her essay “Flight,” about the way that tragedies are memorialized by those who survive them. And the New Yorker contributor Anand Gopal reports from Afghanistan, where, he says, the younger rank and file of the Taliban are hardly aware of the way that the 9/11 a…
 
There were few enemies of the Romans who had as much success as Arminius. One of the Germani who fought at their side, he was able to unite the disparate tribes, lure three Roman legions into a trap, and defeat them at the battle of Teutoburg Forest. His success and later resistance would leave the area largely free of Roman influence. Part II of ‘…
 
David Remnick talks with Senator Michael Bennet, of Colorado, who campaigned for the Presidency in 2020 advocating for the child tax credit, which is now a centerpiece of the Democratic agenda. Bennet describes why direct cash payments make such a big difference. Our economics correspondent Sheelah Kolhatkar describes the policy as a scale model of…
 
As a rapper, Riz Ahmed has released critically acclaimed albums, and he was featured on the chart-topping “Hamilton Mixtape.” At the same time, he was becoming a leading man in the movies, with roles including a small part in the Star Wars picture “Rogue One” and an extraordinary, Oscar-nominated performance in “Sound of Metal.” Like his previous f…
 
Our guest host, Vinson Cunningham, looks at the joys of the beach read, hitting Brighton Beach on a hot, muggy day to peer over readers’ shoulders. He relates his own fortuitous encounter with Lawrence Otis Graham’s “Our Kind of People,” after finding the book in a rented house on Martha’s Vineyard. Plus, Rachel Syme feels that “books have a season…
 
One of the premier writers of thinky sci-fi, Kim Stanley Robinson opened his book “The Ministry for the Future” with an all too plausible scenario: a lethal heat wave descends on India, with vast, horrifying consequences. It’s a sobering read, especially after July, 2021, was declared the hottest month on record. And yet Robinson tells Bill McKibbe…
 
Vercingetorix was a Gallic leader who managed to unite the local tribes and mount a credible defence against Caesar during his campaign in Gaul. While his resistance was ultimately futile, he has become a symbol of French nationalism and a much needed foe to Caesar’s Gallic war commentaries. Part I of ‘Enemies of Rome’ Guest: Associate Professor Rh…
 
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