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Monday, April 18, 2005

Priceless Classical Texts Prove Huge Disappointment

Posted by a4g @ 4/18/2005 02:50:00 PM

A treasure trove of ancient texts and documents, the translation of which has frustrated scientists for over a century, has been decoded by cutting edge infra-red imaging.

Unfortunately, the results are not particularly welcome to the classicists who have read the freshly revealed texts.

"Our knowledge of the ancient world has exploded with the availability of these writings," says Cadwallader Cooke, Professor of Ancient Greek at Cotswold University in Britain. "Unfortunately, we're really finding out just how unpleasant many of these people were."

As an example, he describes the case of Phoesteles, long considered the greatest of the classical Greek poets based solely on the single surviving word ('...considering...') of his great masterwork, The Aeglion. Cooke explains that the more than seven hundred lines of extracted poetry now available show Phoesteles to be a fashion-obsessed poseur whose verse most closely resembles the lyrics to the John Fogerty song, 'Center Field.'

Another disappointment is the great essayist and polemicist Solophius (the 'Classipundit'). His essays, although highly regarded by his contemporaries, offer little for the modern scholar. A few examples:

Essay 2987:

ARCHILOCHOS WRITES (in the codex with the vermillion coverplate) of the preparations for war:

And ten thousand men beat upon their breasts and rang claxtons that pealed from Olympus to Hades, nearly tearing asunder the peace of the Gods...

Sounds like the right attitude to me...

Essay 3321:

I'M READING the scroll with the lion's head carved on the spindle end.
Heh. Indeed.

Cooke explains that the essays basically just go on like this nearly endlessly.

Scientists are awaiting more results from the research, but based on the current findings, they are planning on losing interest and studying something that allows them more contact with pretty graduate students.

(Via Wizbang)


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