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  • Sep 07 / 2017
  • Comments Off on War Prisoners in Antiquity: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Ancient World

War Prisoners in Antiquity: The Epic of Gilgamesh

Chaos Monster and Sun God

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

This article is one in a series about the treatment of prisoners of war in Antiquity. I will also compare views on this topic in classical cultures to those in our supposedly enlightened modern age in order to see who comes out looking more “civilized”? In this first article I will discuss the Epic of Gilgamesh, which contains the first reference to prisoners of war in world literature, and demonstrate that five thousand years ago the Sumerians believed that prisoners of war should be treated with respect. Continue Reading

  • Sep 05 / 2017
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Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Tacitus

Modern statue representing Tacitus outside the Austrian Parliament Building

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

This is the third in a series of fictitious interviews with important characters of the ancient world. The idea of made-up interviews first appeared in the novel “Grog” by the Italian writer Giuseppe Papini, though his “interviews” were with people more contemporary. Today’s interview is with the famous Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus. Continue Reading

  • Aug 31 / 2017
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Latin

Learning Latin with Dictys Cretensis: Journal of the Trojan War

“The Abduction of Helen” by Gavin Hamilton

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

Have you heard of Dictys Cretensis? Most likely not, since his work Journal of the Trojan War is mostly ignored by scholars. I happened upon this book while doing some research on the Trojan War. This work was supposedly written by an eyewitness who accompanied the Greek fleet on the expedition against Troy. In this short essay I will explain why this text is excellent reading for intermediate Latin students. Continue Reading

  • Aug 29 / 2017
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Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Cleopatra

“Cleopatra and Octavian” by Louis Gauffier

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

This is the second of a series of interviews with celebrities from classical times. This idea first appeared in the novel “Gog” by the Italian writer Giovanni Papini. In that work, the character Gog interviews people like Freud and Picasso. Today I will be interviewing Cleopatra, who was so kind enough to receive me for an interview at Caesar’s home. Continue Reading

  • Aug 24 / 2017
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Classical Literature

Overlooked Literature: Old Norse

Manuscript of Prose Edda (Iceland, 1765-1766)

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

This article is part of a series on literature produced in a variety or archaic and modern languages, including Old English, Old Irish, Chinese, Irish, and Gaelic. In this article I focus on the great literary tradition of the Norse peoples. Continue Reading

  • Aug 17 / 2017
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Latin

Symphosius’ Aenigmata: Latin Riddles for Students!

This painting on the base of an ancient cup shows Oedipus and the Sphinx, a winged monster with the body of a lion and the head of a woman. To rescue the people of Thebes from the monster's terror, Oedipus had to answer its riddle

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Have you heard of the Latin riddle-writer Symphosius? I hadn’t either until a few months ago when, during a search for Anglo-Saxon riddles, I stumbled on his “Aenigmata”, a collection of riddles written in the language of Cicero. Continue Reading

  • Aug 10 / 2017
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Ancient Greek

Tryphiodorus and The Fall of Troy

The Burning of Troy (1759/62), oil painting by Johann Georg Trautmann

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

I first became fascinated with the story of the Trojan War as a child. When I read the Iliad for the first time, I was intrigued by the fact that Homer never mentioned how Troy fell. I eventually realized there was a gap between the events of the Iliad and those of the Odyssey. It turns out that Homer did write about the fall of Troy, but only fragments of that text have survived. Continue Reading

  • Aug 08 / 2017
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Latin

Learning Latin with Asterix

“Asterix the Gaul” in Latin

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

This is the first article in a series about the Asterix comic books, written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, which have also been translated into Latin. I first read the Asterix books when I was ten years old, and the collection was instrumental in helping me develop a taste for classics, with its many allusions to classical culture and education. Continue Reading

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