July 10, 2004

CCCI: The 'Answers'

In the extended entry (press 'Continue reading') I have placed my own preferences on the Classical Cultural Compatibility Index expounded in the previous post. I didn't provide them up front because how much any individual classicist agrees with me personally is hardly the most important thing in the world, even if comparing notes between any two or more classicists can be interesting and (conceivably) informative. My own preferences are bold-faced, and I have added explanations to most.

My Own Preferences

  1. *Aeschylus, or Sophocles, or Euripides? A difficult decision, and I could make a case for any of the three.
  2. *Agricola, or Germania, or Dialogus de Oratoribus? No contest, though having a theory about a work does tend to make it more interesting.
  3. Ajax, or Philoctetes? Subject to change.
  4. Amores, or Ars Amatoria? Not likely to change. Macaulay thought it was Ovid's best work. I wouldn't go that far, but I much prefer it to the Amores.
  5. Anabasis, or Memorabilia? The subject is endlessly fascinating, even if Xenophon's treatment is sometimes dull or confusing -- but perhaps that's just me.
  6. Antony, or Cleopatra? I may change my mind on this tomorrow.
  7. Antigone, or Oedipus (Tyrannus, I mean)? I may be prejudiced by a bad experience with Antigone in high school. A lousy translation and poor teaching combined to give me a visceral aversion to the play, which vanishes as soon as I actually sit down to read it. Since I'm not reading it at the moment, I have to go with Oedipus, where I'm not handicapped by any semiconscious learned aversion.
  8. Apollonius of Rhodes, or Apollonius of Perga? Hmmmm. Epic or mathematics? Not too hard for me to decide.
  9. Archilochus, or Hipponax? I don't imagine I'll get a lot of agreement on this one. See #50 for a possible reason.
  10. Archimedes, or Ptolemy? The stars are a little too far away for me to care much about them, not that ancient science interests me all that much to start with.
  11. Aristophanes, or Menander? Most contemporary classicists will agree with this one. See #90 for a similar skew.
  12. Athenian navy, or Spartan army?
  13. Augustus’ Res Gestae, or Marcus Aurelius’ To Himself? Perhaps I'm being unfair: it's shorter, and in Latin, and from an era I'm much more interested in.
  14. Aulus Gellius, or Plutarch’s Moralia? Again, being (mostly) a Latinist may prejudice me.
  15. Ausonius, or Prudentius?
  16. Birds, or Clouds? This changes from day to day.
  17. Books, or Journal Articles? Life is short. Get to the point, fellow scholars.
  18. Byzantium, or Constantinople?
  19. Caesars: Julius, or Augustus? Subject to change: criteria for choosing are awfully vague.
  20. Callimachus’ Aetia, or Ovid’s Fasti? Subject to change from day to day -- or would be if I thought of either of these every day.
  21. Callimachus’ Iambi, or Horace’s Epodes?
  22. Catullus’ epigrams, or Martial’s?
  23. Catullus’ love poems, or Propertius’?
  24. Cicero: Verse, or Prose? Will anyone choose the verse, except as a joke?
  25. Cicero: Oratory, or Treatises? Hard to decide, but for now, and at least another five minutes, I prefer the treatises.
  26. Cicero’s philosophical works, or Seneca’s? Ditto.
  27. Cicero’s letters, or Pliny’s? Ditto.
  28. *Pre-Classical, or Classical, or Post-Classical? (both languages)
  29. Claudian, or Ammianus Marcellinus?
  30. Curse Tablets, or Potsherds (I mean the ones used for ostracisms)?
  31. De Bello Gallico, or De Bello Civili? I can never remember who is who on the other side in the Gallic wars: Ariovistus, Commius the Atrebate, Eporedorix, Vercingetorix, one unsuccessful rebel or invader blurs into another. The stakes are much higher in the civil wars. Higher for the Romans, anyway.
  32. Demosthenes, or Cicero? I'm a Latinist, what can I say?
  33. Ennius, or Lucilius? Depending on my mood.
  34. Epistulae Heroidum, or Epistulae ex Ponto?
  35. Ethics, or Politics? Not that I'm all that interested in either -- the books, I mean, not the subjects in general.
  36. Euripides’ Ion, or Plato’s? A favorite, though Plato's is also quite interesting -- not to mention short.
  37. The First half of the Aeneid, or the Second? Maybe I'm just being perverse. Subject to change.
  38. The First Triumvirate, or the Second? All three members are interesting and important, not just two. Who cares about Lepidus?
  39. Gadarene Epigrammatists: Meleager, or Philodemus?
  40. Galliae: Cisalpina, or Transalpina? If I have to choose. Perhaps one day I'll be able to visit one or both and see for myself.
  41. Gilgamesh, or Who cares, since it’s not in Greek or Latin? I know, I shouldn't admit this, and it's not totally without interest. Subject to change.
  42. Gorgias, or the Gorgias?
  43. Greek, or Latin?
  44. Greek Anthology, or Latin Anthology? Just because I prefer the Latin language doesn't mean I have to prefer the Latin Anthology. Not much of interest in it other than the Pervigilium Veneris and bits of (probably Pseudo-) Seneca and Petronius.
  45. Heraclitus, or Democritus?
  46. Herodotus, or Thucydides? A very difficult choice, subject to change from moment to moment.
  47. Herondas, or the Priapea? The seller of ladies' "shoes" is funnier than anything in the Priapea. In fact, is the latter ever actually funny?
  48. Homer, or Vergil?
  49. Horace: Odes, or Epistles? A very tough decision -- not that it's really a decision, since I can and do read both.
  50. *Horace’s Satires, Persius, or Juvenal? I prefer hard liquor to wine or beer, and vicious satire to the more genteel flavors.
  51. Housman, or Wilamowitz?
  52. Ibis, or Medicamina Faciei Femineae? More vicious not-exactly-satire-but-close.
  53. Iliad, or Odyssey? So hard to decide, I almost might as well have flipped a coin.
  54. Iphigenia in Tauris, or Iphigenia in Aulis?
  55. Caring, or Not caring that Tauris in the previous question is a Latin plural and Aulis an English singular?
  56. Isocrates, or Life is too short to bother? Subject to change if I find a job with more spare time. (What am I saying? I'm between jobs right now and still don't have time for Isocrates. Should I sell my texts of his works?)
  57. Livia, or Agrippina?
  58. Livy’s Rape of Lucretia (1.57-60), or Ovid’s (F. 2.685-852)?
  59. Longinus, or Aristotle’s Poetics? If I'd read either of them in the last decade or two, I might be entitled to a more informed opinion.
  60. Longus, or Heliodorus? Mostly because Longus is the shortest of the Greek novelists.
  61. Lucan, or Lucian? So many criteria in play here: Latin vs Greek, verse vs prose, serious (if sometimes bitterly humorous) vs light.
  62. Lucretius, or the Georgics? Another very difficult decision.
  63. Lycophron, or Nicander? Obscure mythology or obscure pseudoscience? Hard to decide, but I lean towards myth today.
  64. Manilius, or Persius? Just as difficult, but a lot more interesting. Then again, I don't much care about the stars.
  65. Marcus Argentarius, or Marcus Aurelius? (both wrote in both languages)
  66. Martial on sex, or Martial on money (and property, class, power, and ambition)? Maybe I just have a dirty mind. (Ed. Maybe? Shut up.)
  67. Martial’s flattery of Domitian, or Statius’? It would be hard to measure, but they seem equally shameless and abject, and both spend whole poems wallowing in flattery, sometimes two or three poems in a row. However, Martial's are so much shorter that there's no contest: relief is never more than a page ahead.
  68. Massive Commentaries: British, or German?
  69. R. G. M. Nisbet, or John Henderson?
  70. Nonnus, or Silius Italicus? Nonnus is (I gather) probably a better poet, but even longer, and in weird Greek with weird metrical rules. If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to read one or the other, it would have to be Silius. Of course, even your Sadist wouldn't be that cruel.
  71. OCTs, or Teubners? Especially the ones with the rough burlappy covers.
  72. Olympus, or Oulumpos? I'm pedantic, but not that pedantic.
  73. Cicero on Catiline, or Sallust on the same? Hmmm: rhetorical elaboration by a direct participant, or full treatment by a later writer? I guess I'll have to go with the full treatment. (I seem to have misplaced this one alphabetically, but I'll leave it here in case anyone is already using my numeration.)
  74. Orpheus’ catabasis (Georgics IV), or Aeneas’ (Aeneid VI)? A lot more to see and do, and with Vergil, the more the better.
  75. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, or Apuleius’? Will anyone dare pick the latter?
  76. Pacuvius, or Accius?
  77. Parmenides, or the Parmenides? It's been quite a few years, but as I recall the latter is even harder to understand.
  78. The Parthenon, or the Pantheon?
  79. The Persian War, or the Peloponnesian?
  80. Petronius, or Tacitus? A very difficult choice.
  81. Phaedrus the Roman fabulist, or Phaedrus the Platonic dialogue? Not difficult at all, even for one who generally prefers verse to prose and Latin to Greek.
  82. Physics, or Metaphysics? Surprisingly, not quite as difficult. I still recall some horrible moments in college (30+ years ago) trying to figure out Aristotle's theory of motion.
  83. Pindar, or Bacchylides? I probably won't get much agreement here, but I love the two dithyrambs (if they are dithyrambs) on Theseus (17 and 18 in modern numbering).
  84. Pirates, or Gladiators?
  85. The Plank (apotympanismós), or the Pit (Bárathron)?
  86. Plato’s Symposium, or Xenophon’s?
  87. Plato’s Republic, or Cicero’s?
  88. Plato’s Laws, or Cicero’s?
  89. Plato’s Apology, or Apuleius’? A tough decision.
  90. Plautus, or Terence?
  91. Plutarch’s Lives, or Suetonius’?
  92. Prometheus Bound, or Seven against Thebes? No contest, even if it is Pseudo-Aeschylus (Euphorion?) vs genuine Aeschylus.
  93. Propertius, or Tibullus?
  94. Pseudo-Tibullus, or Pseudo-Vergil? The average for both is very low, but I figure Sulpicia is better and more interesting than even the Copa and Catalepton XIII. I just wish I could figure out the latter, which seems to be the only Augustan epode not by Horace.
  95. Roll, or Codex?
  96. Sallust, or Livy? Very difficult choice, but with Livy there's so much more to love.
  97. Sappho, or Simonides? Considering the lyrics alone -- what little is left of them both -- Sappho would come out ahead, but throw in the epigrams and it's no contest, though I don't expect many to agree.
  98. Satyr Plays, or Satires?
  99. Semonides on Women (Fr. 7), or Juvenal on Wives (Satire 6)? What can I say? I'm a Latinist.
  100. Senecan Tragedy, or Seneca’s Prose? His prose is probably better overall, but I'm busy editing the tragedies for this site, and still not tired of them.
  101. Siculate sigmas, or the other kind? Just call me 'el pedantón'.
  102. Knowing (or stopping to look up) the technical name for the other kind, or Not knowing and not caring? Maybe I'm not all that pedantic.
  103. Socrates, or Diogenes? A closer contest for me than for most, I suspect.
  104. Statius’ Achilleid, or Claudian’s De Raptu Proserpinae?
  105. Stoics, or Epicureans?
  106. Syme, or Momigliano? Hard to decide, but Syme is more often directly pertinent to things I'm working on, and that counts for something.
  107. Tacitus’ Annales: I-VI (Tiberius), or XIII-XVI (Nero)?
  108. Textual Criticism, or Literary Criticism? No contest for me, though I expect most readers to go the other way.
  109. The Elder Pliny, or the Younger Pliny?
  110. The Elder Seneca, or Quintilian? Not only because he preserves bits of Marcus Argentarius.
  111. The Greek Novel, or the Roman Novel? Sorry, Hellenists, no contest.
  112. Theocritus’ pastorals, or Vergil’s? Close, but . . . .
  113. Theognis, or Solon? I hate to admit it, but I have trouble staying awake for everything Solon wrote except the one on the Ages of Man. Actually, that's a general problem with Greek elegiac verse, as opposed to lyric and iambic, though Theognis has his moments.
  114. Theogony, or Works and Days? Because I don't want to read about how to build a wagon, unless the author provides a clearly labeled diagram. The same goes for Caesar's bridge over the Rhine, and his siege-towers at Massilia.
  115. Trojan Women, or Medea?
  116. Utopias: Aristophanes’ (Ecclesiazusae), or Plato’s (Republic)? I guess I just don't believe in Utopias.
  117. Us and Vs in Latin, or just small u and large V? I don't actually care much either way, but why not be pedantic?
  118. Velleius Paterculus, or Valerius Flaccus? Because, as Leslie Stephen (quoted from memory) put it, "bad verse has no reason for existing". Even the worst of historians, and Velleius may well be that, preserves some useful information.
  119. Vergil, or Ovid?
  120. Verse, or Prose?
  121. Vitruvius, or Plotinus? Not that I'm in a big hurry to read either, but if I have to choose one or the other, I'll go with down-to-earth practical instruction over in-the-clouds philosophical ruminations any day. You may disagree.
  122. Xenophon of Athens, or Xenophon of Ephesus?
  123. *Your personal library: Ink Annotations, or Penciled Notes, or Pristine Pages? Only in my 'reading copies', in tiny print with a number 3 pencil. If my eyesight ever goes bad, I'll be in serious trouble. Secondary sources are kept clean, so maybe I should have bolded Pristine Pages.
Posted by Michael Hendry at July 10, 2004 02:52 PM