Wagner and the Epic: A Study of the Homeric Leitmotiv in Parsifal

April 27th, 2013

Wagner’s work Parsifal is closely linked to antiquity and the epic tradition in its ambition and vision.  While it is well-known that his Der Ring des Nibelungen was inspired in numerous ways by Aeschylus’ Oresteia, I contend that Wagner’s Parsifal has important connections with Homer, especially The Odyssey.

Jessika Castillo-Rivera, ’14
Munster, IN
Majors: Classical Studies, History

Sponsor: James Martin

Triumphal Arches: Two Strategies to Legitimize Imperial Rule in Rome

April 27th, 2013

Throughout the Roman Empire, victorious Roman armies marched along the Triumphal Way in celebration, passing important monuments, like the triumphal arches specifically dedicated to victory. The arches were, however, much more than symbols of victory. Read More…

Plautus’ Poenulus: An Analysis of Ancient and Modern Sex-Trafficking

April 14th, 2012

Poenulus, a comedy by the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 BC) tells the story of two sisters who were abducted as children from Carthage and then sold into prostitution. A young man falls in love with one of the sisters and, through a series of comedic mishaps, he helps overthrow their pimp and returns the girls to their father. The jocular prowess of the play hinges upon the hilarity of slavery and the gendered, racial stereotypes that Romans held against Carthaginians. Read More…

Tacitus on Morality and the “Ideal” Woman in Post-Augustan Rome

April 11th, 2011

Roman historian Tacitus (56-101 AD) composed the Germania (98 AD), an ethnographical and historical description of the German peoples. The surviving, comprehensive study of the society was one of the earliest and most complete works of its kind. While it may seem an unlikely source to contain insights into the complexities of the Roman aristocracy, Tacitus was aware of the specific Roman senatorial audience to whom this work would be presented. Therefore, the Germania contains moralizing allegories in which he uses the “primitive” but virtuous German tribe to comment on what he believed to be the moral deterioration of Rome. Read More…

Lucan’s Erictho: Allusions and Illusions of Power

April 11th, 2011

In book 6 of Lucan’s Civil War, Sextus Pompey attempts to foresee the result of the final battle between Caesar and Pompey the Great by consulting the necromancer Erictho. With the notable exceptions of Clauser and Masters, the scholarly opinion on Erictho is that she is the most powerful witch in the ancient world, capable of new and powerful arts that surpass the magical prowess of witches like Medea and Circe. Read More…

The Roman Social Hierarchy: Sexuality in Catullus’s Poetry

April 6th, 2011

A unique social hierarchy, based on a pyramid structure, characterized ancient Roman society.  While elite men stood at the top, youth and upstanding women were in the middle, and slaves were at the bottom.  In “Invading the Roman Body: Manliness and Impenetrability in Roman Thought,” Jonathan Walters argues that sexual roles were instrumental in producing this hierarchy and shows how an impenetrable “shield” protected the men of the upper class from the sexual acts and beatings they themselves imposed upon the lower classes, women, and slaves, who were at risk for both sexual penetrations and beatings. Read More…

“One of all women who took her hand to her beloved children:”The Ino Myth in Euripides’ Medea

April 6th, 2010

In the final antistrophe of the last stasimon in Euripides’ Medea (1282-92) the chorus offers its best historical comparison to Medea: the doomed mother Ino.  Some scholars argue that this comparison is ineffective – that Ino serves as a poor exemplum for Medea. Read More…

Oh Spartacus, Where Art Thou?

April 5th, 2010

For being the most famous gladiator to ever live, there is a surprising dearth of information about the man called Spartacus.  Yes, his slave rebellion against the Roman Republic in 73 B.C.E. and the managerial skills with which he conducts it are both documented and recounted multiple times by both Greek and Latin authors, but none of them truly elaborate on how Spartacus fell in with the Romans, nor how and why the man became a gladiator at all. Read More…

“But When for the Fourth Time”: Homer’s Transformation of an Oral Formula

April 18th, 2009

One of the most important but least studied formulaic patterns in the Iliad uses various combinations with tris (Greek for ‘three times’) and tetarton (fourth). Read More…

Sympathy for the Trojans: Human Connections in Homer’s Iliad

April 18th, 2009

Homer’s epic Iliad is viewed most often as a tale of the triumph of Greek forces against the foreign Trojan enemy. Read More…

Achilles, A Strong Pity

April 18th, 2009

A close examination of the use of the Ancient Greek word eleos (pity) in Homer’s epic the Iliad reveals a concept of pity that is radically different from the traditional western Christian notion. Read More…

Chrysalis: A Novella Based on the Eros and Psykhe Myth

April 14th, 2007

Drawing from material in Metamorphoses by Apuleius, this creative writing project centers on the romance between Eros, the god of love, and Psykhe, a mortal princess. Read More…

Seduction, Adultery, and Catholicism: The Secret Lives of English Professors in David Lodge’s Novels

April 29th, 2006

David Lodge is known most notably for his academia themed novels depicting the lives of English professors and his literary criticism. This foreign, hidden world to the general public is portrayed in Lodge’ s novels as a world of sex, intrigue, and English criticism. Read More…

The Unwanted Guest: Violations of Hospitality in the Homer’s Odyssey

April 29th, 2006

When Odysseus returned home after twenty long years on the road, he found his home full of suitors who did not want to return home. Read More…

How Jewish is Herod the Great? Evidence for Ritual Bathing (Mikva’ot) in Ancient Judea

April 12th, 2003

Herod the Great who ruled Judea from 40 until 4 B.C.E., built extensively and for many purposes, such as residences, assembly halls, fortresses, temples, and monuments. He often employed the latest technologies of his time period, and brought many styles and new forms of architecture and art to Judea from Roman and Hellenistic worlds. Read More…

Defining Mystery Cults: An Examination of Greco-Roman Mystery Cults and the Kachina Cult

April 13th, 2002

Mystery cults are one of the most fascinating and yet generally misunderstood aspects of pagan religion. Read More…

Re-building Rome: The Architectural Synthesis of Augustus Caesar

April 1st, 1999

The reign of Augustus (13BC-14AD) was a period of transition in Roman history. Read More…