Rethinking Classical Education

We are pleased to highlight the following publications and resources which offer fresh perspectives on the theme of classical education in all its multiforms. To access these resources and more, visit CHS online at
detail School of Athens
Image: detail from The School of Athens, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, by Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

 Online Publications

Working from Benveniste’s idea that the study of Homeric vocabulary is still in its infancy, Muellner describes a way to do research on Homer and then shows how to work inductively, rebuilding the categories of thought and expression from within the epic world.

Calame’s ground-breaking work argues that the songs sung by choruses of young girls in ancient Greek poetry are more than literary texts; rather, they functioned as initiatory rituals in Greek cult practices.

As this book shows through philological and interdisciplinary analysis, Prince Telemachos grows up in the course of the Telemachy and arguably even beyond (in book 24): his education, which is conceived largely as an apprenticeship on land and sea, admits him gradually if unevenly to a full-fledged adult kleos—a kleos that nonetheless necessarily remains minor in comparison to that of his father and other elders.

In this thought-provoking article, Connor rereads moments of surprise and expectation in Thucydides and finds that the historian offers a message of value for students and educators alike.

Homer Multitext Project

The Homer Multitext project, the first of its kind in Homeric studies, presents the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey in a historical framework. It offers free access to a library of texts and images, a machine-interface to that library and its indices, and tools to allow readers to discover and engage with the Homeric tradition. To view the texts use the Manuscript Browser. (We suggest using Firefox or Safari, both freely available.)
The HMT is an multigenerational endeavor because one of the most important aspects of our mission in the overall project is to shape dynamic models of collaboration in research and teaching at all levels of education. To learn more about the benefits and success brought about by this approach, read Gregory Nagy’s article “The Homer Multitext Project” and explore the most recent blog post by HMT editor Mary Ebbott on “The Homer Multitext on Capitol Hill.”


The Center provides administrative and technological support for Sunoikisis, a national consortium of Classics programs. Since 1999, Sunoikisis has yielded new collaborative and interdisciplinary paradigms of learning in the liberal arts for the 21st century. The curricular elements within Sunoikisis include inter-institutional collaborative courses, excavations, internships, travel study, undergraduate research symposia, and faculty development seminars. For more information about how Sunoikisis is impacting Classics education, read “Collaborative Classics: Technology and the Small Liberal Arts College” by Rebecca Frost Davis.
This fall, Sunoikisis will offer courses on Homeric Poetry and Latin Literature from the Medieval Period and Late Antiquity. Apply now to join the faculty development seminars, led by Prof. Bridget Balint (Indiana University) and Prof. Richard Martin (Stanford University) on June 9-18, 2012.


Cyrus’ Paradise is a collaborative, multimedia, online commentary to Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus, a masterwork of leadership theory, romance, and the cross-cultural influence of Achaemenid Persia on a fourth-century Athenian Greek. The platform that Cyrus’ Paradise uses (akin to a blog) can incorporate expert contributions from across the globe in the same collaborative setting. So, for the first time ever the Education of Cyrus is being read and commented on simultaneously by those who might otherwise have no occasion to meet, e.g., leadership theorists, political scientists, Classical philologists, narratologists, Iranian folklorists, Achaemenid archaeologists, and equestrian and military experts. These scholars will read the Education of Cyrus not only with fresh questions in mind but with entirely new perspectives created from the confluence of global expertise. This summer, from June 18–29, the CHS will host an online symposium to build additional content to the commentary. On August 1 the commentary will become available to the public online. Those who wish to participate in the commentary or to use it in their classrooms are invited to contact us at

Heroes Course

As part of its educational mission, CHS offers free access to all the resources associated with a distance learning course taught by Center Director Gregory Nagy–including multimedia lectures and discussions, audio recordings, lecture notes, and the complete collection of readings. Concepts of the Hero in Greek Civilization provides an engaging introduction to the major themes of ancient Greek myth, cult and poetics. All readings are in translation and include the epics of Homer, seven tragedies, two Platonic dialogues, and the dialogue On Heroes by Philostratus.
The learning experience to be gained from reading On Heroes is practically unique in conveying the realities of how it must have felt for a worshiper to participate in hero cult. We invite you to learn more about the relationship between the knowledge of heroes and initiation by reading Nagy’s “The Sign of the Hero: A Prologue to the Heroikos of Philostratus” and the translation of On Heroes by Ellen Bradshaw Aitken and Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean.