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Books may be borrowed for particular time periods depending on your year of study. They are arranged according to subject matter, using the Dewey Decimal Classification system. The online iCatalogue (see link below) will help you find the books you need.
Recommended reading for courses in Classics
Please go to Learning@UKZN for additional material on specific courses.
For Course CCCV201/301 - Mythology:
Pmb & Dbn 292.13 POW
For Course CCCV203/305 - Movies:
Dbn 791.4309 SOL; Pmb 791.4309358 SOL
For Course CCCV202/302 - Lost Civilisations:
Dbn 938 CLA; Pmb 938 ALC
For Course CCCV204/306 - Ancient Egypt:
Dbn & Pmb (not for loan) R 932 SHA
The library has a growing collection of electronic books which can be found by searching on the online iCatalogue. Some examples are listed below.
In addition, links are provided to collections of electronic books.
Greek Tragedy in Vergil's Aeneid : Ritual, Empire, and Intertext
This is the first systematic study of the importance of Greek tragedy as a fundamental “intertext” for Vergil’s Aeneid. Vassiliki Panoussi argues that the epic’s representation of ritual acts, especially sacrifice, mourning, marriage, and maenadic rites, mobilizes
a connection to tragedy. The tragic-ritual model offers a fresh look into the political and cultural function of the Aeneid, expanding our awareness of the poem’s scope, particularly in relation to gender, and presenting new readings of celebrated episodes, such as Anchises’ games, Amata’s maenadic rites, Dido’s suicide, and the
killing of Turnus. Panoussi offers a new argument for the epic’s ideological function beyond pro- and anti-Augustan readings. She interprets the Aeneid as a work that
reflects the dynamic nature of Augustan ideology, contributing to the redefinition of civic discourse and national identity.
Heracles and Euripidean tragedy
Euripides’ Heracles is an extraordinary play of great complexity, exploring the co-existence of both positive and negative aspects of the eponymous hero. Euripides treats Heracles’ ambivalence by showing his uncertain position after the completion of his labours and turns him into a tragic hero by dramatizing his development from the invincible hero of the labours to the courageous bearer of suffering. This book offers a comprehensive reading of Heracles examining it in the contexts of Euripidean dramaturgy, Greek drama and fifth-century Athenian society. Tracing some of Euripides’ most spectacular writing in terms of emotional and intellectual effect, and discussing questions of narrative, rhetoric, stagecraft and audience reception, this work is required reading for all students and scholars of Euripides.
Homer's Odyssey and the near east
The Odyssey’s larger plot is composed of a number of distinct genres of myth, all of which are extant in various Near Eastern cultures (Mesopotamian, West Semitic, Egyptian). Unexpectedly, the Near Eastern culture with which the Odyssey has the most parallels is the Old Testament. Consideration of how much of the Odyssey focuses on non-heroic episodes – hosts receiving guests, a king disguised as a beggar, recognition scenes between long-separated family members –
reaffirms the Odyssey’s parallels with the Bible. In particular this book argues that the Odyssey is in a dialogic relationship withGenesis, which features the same three types of myth that comprise the majority of
the Odyssey: theoxeny, romance (Joseph in Egypt), and Argonautic myth (Jacob winning Rachel from Laban). The Odyssey also offers intriguing parallels to the Book of Jonah, and Odysseus’ treatment by the suitors offers close parallels to the gospels’ depiction of Christ in
Jonson, Horace and the classical tradition
The influence of the Roman poet Horace on Ben Jonson has often been acknowledged, but never fully explored. Discussing Jonson’s Horatianism in detail, this study also places Jonson’s densely intertextual relationship with Horace’s Latin text within the broader context of his complex negotiations with a range of other ‘rivals’
to the Horatian model, including Pindar, Seneca, Juvenal and Martial. Th e new reading of Jonson’s classicism that emerges is one founded not upon static imitation, but rather upon a lively dialogue between competing models – an allusive mode that extends into the seventeenth-century reception of Jonson himself as a latter-day
‘Horace’. In the course of this analysis, the book provides fresh readings of many of Jonson’s best-known poems – including ‘Inviting a Friend to Supper’ and ‘To Penshurst’ – as well as a new perspective on many lesser-known pieces, and a range of unpublished manuscript material.
Solon and early Greek poetry : The politics of exhortation
The poetry of archaic Greece gives voice to the history and politics of the culture of that age. This book explores the types of history that have been, and can be, written from archaic Greek poetry, and the role poetry had in
articulating the social and political realities and ideologies of that period. In doing so it pays particular attention to the stance of exhortation adopted in early Greek elegy, and to the political poetry of Solon; it also stresses the importance of considering performance context as a critical factor in interpreting the political expressions of this poetry.
Statius' Silvae and the poetics of empire
Statius’ Silvae, written late in the reign of Domitian (AD 81–96), are a new kind of poetry that confronts the challenge of imperial majesty or private wealth using new poetic strategies and forms. As poems of praise, they delight in poetic excess whether they honour the
emperor or the poet’s friends. Yet extravagant speech is also capacious speech. It functions as a strategy for conveying the wealth and grandeur of villas, statues and precious works of art as well as the complex emotions aroused by the material and political culture of Empire. The Silvae are the product of a divided, self-fashioning
voice: Statius was born in Naples of non-aristocratic parents, and his position as outsider to the culture he celebrates gives him a unique perspective on it. The Silvae are poems of anxiety as well as praise,
expressive of the tensions within the later period of Domitian’s reign.
Wagner's Ring cycle and the Greeks
Through his reading of primary and secondary classical sources, as well as his theoretical writings, Richard Wagner developed a Hegelian-inspired theory linking the evolution of classical Greek politics and poetry. This book
demonstrates how, by turning theory into practice, Wagner used this evolutionary paradigm to shape the music and the libretto of the Ring cycle. Foster describes how each of the Ring’s operas represents a particular phase of Greek poetic and political development. This study sees the Greeks through the lens of those scholars whose work influenced Wagner most, focusing on epic, lyric, and comedy, as well as Greek tragedy. Most significantly, the book interrogates the ways in which Wagner uses Greek aesthetics to further his own goals.
Callimachus in context : From Plato to the Augustan poets
Scholarly reception has bequeathed two Callimachuses: the Roman version is a poet of elegant non-heroic poetry (usually erotic elegy), represented by a handful of intertexts with a recurring set of images – slenderMuse, instructing divinity, small voice, pure waters; the Greek version emphasizes a learned scholar who includes literary criticism within his poetry, an encomiast of the Ptolemies, a poet of the book whose narratives are often understood as metapoetic. This study aims to situate these Callimachuses within a series of interlocking historical and intellectual contexts in order better to understand how they arose. In this narrative of his poetics and poetic reception four main sources of creative opportunism are identified: Callimachus’ reactions to philosophers and literary critics as arbiters of poetic authority, the potential of the text as a venue for performance, awareness of Alexandria as a new place, and, finally, his attraction for Roman poets.
E-texts of books that are out of copyright (published prior to 1923) can be found here.
Key reference works for Classics
These are books that are not loanable and may only be used in the library, for example, encyclopaedias and dictionaries. They are
identified by the letter 'R' preceding the dewey number on the spine.
Some examples at E.G. Malherbe Library (Dbn):
- Brill's New Pauly : encyclopedia of the ancient world. Classical tradition. R938 BRI
- The Cambridge dictionary of classical civilization R938 CAM
- Compact Oxford English dictionary for university and college students R423 COM
- The Oxford classical dictionary (3rd ed) R880 OXF
- Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae (LIMCO) R704.9470928 LEX
(housed in the Whitely Library, Classics department)
Prescribed and recommended books in high demand are placed here. A two hour loan period is available in order to provide access by as many people as possible. Material may not be removed from the library but may be borrowed over weekends on Saturday from 3pm and must be returned on Monday by 9am.
Be warned! Late material is subject to heavy fines!
Some examples at E.G. Malherbe library (Dbn):
The Homeric Hymn to Demeter : translation, commentary and interpretative essays / Foley, Helene
Alexander the Great / Lane Fox, Robin
Alexander the Great : king, commander and statesman / Hammond, Nicholas
Responses to Oliver Stone's Alexander : film, history and cultural studies / Cartledge, Paul
Approaches to Greek myth / Lowell, Edmunds
Classical myth / Powell, Barry
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