Blog Archives

Universities Attack the Classics

Today I learned that Princeton University is no longer requiring Greek and Latin of its CLASSICS majors. Why? To combat racism.  See here and here.

Well, all hail the racism of low expectations. This is a travesty. Classics is one of the key disciplines in a proper education in the humanities and if one doesn’t have Latin and Greek, then one should not major in Classics. Better yet, instead of gutting this discipline, maybe Princeton should do the sensible thing and offer classes in Latin and Greek for ALL incoming students: four years of learning these key languages won’t hurt anyone. Better yet, maybe stop catering to woke-ness and start doing what the students pay you to do: focus on education. 

What you will have now, in your “Classics” students, are ill-educated kids who are dependent on other people’s opinions i.e. translations for access to the key texts that helped to shape the Western world. Instead of educating, Princeton is crippling them.  It makes me sick. I taught myself Latin and Greek. My Greek isn’t great but it’s passable. Was this difficult? Yes. Was it doable? Also yes. Cutting Classics programs doesn’t do a damned thing to combat racism. What it does is tear apart those disciplines that offer students a window into the building blocks of Western Civilization, into literature and cultures that valued the cultivation of virtue, character, courage, and heroism. Of course the new religion of woke-ism wants to do away with those things. It offends their sense of degeneracy. If you have students who can only approach key texts via translation, then they are at the mercy of whoever is doing the translations. 

Princeton is not the only university to destroy its Classics program in the name of saving the student body from imagined racism. Howard University, one of the oldest historically black colleges in the US, and the only with a Classics program, recently announced its decision to close its Classics program too – something the student body is thankfully protesting because they at least, know the value of this field. Last year, there was a similar decision to remove certain key texts in Classics at Oxford too. 

Classics is for everyone and everyone can benefit from its study. In the perfect world, we’d be studying Latin from first grade and Greek from middle school and regardless of major, both would be required (at the very least) throughout undergraduate study. I’m still too stunned on learning of Princeton’s decision to comment further. Farewell to the Ivy league. 

Upcoming Classes

In the fall, several people contacted me about doing another round of online classes. At the time, I couldn’t do it. My academic teaching load was just too heavy (very writing intensive, and hence, grading intensive) for me to add anything more to my schedule but now that school is out for the summer, I’ve decided to offer a couple of classes.

These classes will be interactive: we will meet one day a week for an hour and a half via interactive video-conference for six weeks. There will also be an email list where we can communicate and discuss the material throughout the week.

Upcoming classes are as follows:

Class: Homer’s Iliad
Date and Time: Class begins Friday June 17 from 7pm-8:30pm and meets each Friday for six weeks (June 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22)
Cost: $70

Class: Euripides’ Bacchae
Date and Time: Class begins Thursday June 16 from 7pm -8:30pm and meets each Thursday for six weeks (June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21).
Cost: $70

There are  seven spots still available in the “Iliad” class and six spots in “Bacchae.” 

Future classes will include Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Vergil’s Aeneid, Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses with a little Catullus thrown in for good measure.

Each course will offer an intensive introduction to the mythic tales – our sacred stories in many respects – of ancient Greece and Rome as presented in epic poetry and, in the case of Euripides, tragedy. We’ll focus on ideas of heroism and fate, how the cosmology is reflected in each of these works, and what these works show us about the cultures in which they were written. We’ll talk about hero cultus, ancestor cultus in the ancient world, syncretism, miasma, and the development of ritual and how we can engage with these stories to deepen our understanding and engagement with the Gods in our practice today. We’ll focus on violent transformation: through war, through initiation, through the workings of Gods and Fate and explore what these stories can teach us about our traditions and our faith today.

These were essential, foundational stories for ancient Greek and Roman polytheists (and for many of our own ancestors up until about 1950! Every school child would have learned them). They defined their community’s identity and understanding of the world. They helped our ancestors better comprehend how the Gods could act in our world. These stories were their own language, a lens that shaped everything and through which people learned to face the dangers, fears, and exigencies of their own life and fate.

I’ve taught for six years as a teaching assistant and then senior teaching fellow in the Classics department at Fordham U. I’ve spent the last year exploring these works with my academic classes and I’m delighted to be able to offer them to our communities too.

If you’re interested in taking either of these classes that I’m offering now, please contact me at Krasskova at gmail.com.

I will be offering two online classes in June

Triumph_of_Achilles_in_Corfu_Achilleion

In the fall, several people contacted me about doing another round of online classes. At the time, I couldn’t do it. My academic teaching load was just too heavy (very writing intensive, and hence, grading intensive) for me to add anything more to my schedule but now that school is out for the summer, I’ve decided to offer a couple of classes.

These classes will be interactive: we will meet one day a week for an hour and a half via interactive video-conference for six weeks. There will also be an email list where we can communicate and discuss the material throughout the week.

Upcoming classes are as follows:

Class: Homer’s Iliad
Date and Time: Class begins Friday June 17 from 7pm-8:30pm and meets each Friday for six weeks (June 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22)
Cost: $70

Class: Euripides’ Bacchae
Date and Time: Class begins Thursday June 16 from 7pm -8:30pm and meets each Thursday for six weeks (June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21).
Cost: $70

There are eight seven spots available in each class.

Future classes will include Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Vergil’s Aeneid, Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses with a little Catullus thrown in for good measure.

Each course will offer an intensive introduction to the mythic tales – our sacred stories in many respects – of ancient Greece and Rome as presented in epic poetry and, in the case of Euripides, tragedy. We’ll focus on ideas of heroism and fate, how the cosmology is reflected in each of these works, and what these works show us about the cultures in which they were written. We’ll talk about hero cultus, ancestor cultus in the ancient world, syncretism, miasma, and the development of ritual and how we can engage with these stories to deepen our understanding and engagement with the Gods in our practice today. We’ll focus on violent transformation: through war, through initiation, through the workings of Gods and Fate and explore what these stories can teach us about our traditions and our faith today.

These were essential, foundational stories for ancient Greek and Roman polytheists (and for many of our own ancestors up until about 1950! Every school child would have learned them). They defined their community’s identity and understanding of the world. They helped our ancestors better comprehend how the Gods could act in our world. These stories were their own language, a lens that shaped everything and through which people learned to face the dangers, fears, and exigencies of their own life and fate.

I’ve taught for six years as a teaching assistant and then senior teaching fellow in the Classics department at Fordham U. I’ve spent the last year exploring these works with my academic classes and I’m delighted to be able to offer them to our communities too.

If you’re interested in taking either of these classes that I’m offering now, please contact me at Krasskova at gmail.com.

Latin, and Cicero, and Reading oh My!

My New Year’s resolution is (in part) to be better at setting aside four or five hours each day to study: Latin in the morning, then Greek and in the evening one of two other languages I need.

Today I started the day with Cicero. I never knew reading him could be so entertaining until I read his speeches against Catline (it’s like the Roman version of the “Inquirer” lol. there’s very little proof offered in his court speech but a lot of ad hominem attacks. It’s hilariously entertaining). Now i’m reading several of his letters to his wife and daughter, written while he was in exile in the 50s. They’re tender, moving, and filled with his worry about her health. It’s a totally different impression and insight into this Roman orator. Quite lovely.

To all the Latin students out there who might stumble across this: it does get easier and better. one day there will be this moment where your gut doesn’t twist in fear when presented with a latin translation and you’ll have a sudden sense of “i got this. i can do this. No problem.” it make take a couple of years, but it does happen and one day you’ll be able to pick up a Latin letter, or a history, or poem and it will make sense. Maybe you’ll have to look up a word or two, but the syntax and grammar will untangle itself with an ease you never thought possible. Persevere!

New Paper on Caesar Uploaded to Academia.edu

images
I just uploaded a new paper to academia.edu. It’s titled “Caesar and the Druids: An Exploration of Roman Military Policy and Indigenous Religion.” This one was fun to write and can be found here.