I am sorry to say (for many reasons) that I have a family emergency, and need to keep this post short today. A close family friend has fallen critically ill, and a visit with at this time takes priority over anything else. As usualy when I end up unable to post my own words, I let someone else talk for me. Today, I would like to share the words of professor of Classical and Historical Studies and Director of Classical Studies Program, at Bard College, Carolyn Dewald.

For those unfamiliar with Dewald, she is a wonderful author and translator, and a very impressive scholar. If I ever manage to memorize even a quarter of the knowledge she seems to possess, I will be a very happy woman.

Carolyn Dewald gave the Literature Humanities Course-wide Lecture on Friday November 20, 2009 in the Lerner Hall. Though geared at Lit Hum students and their faculty, the lecture was open to all. Subjects of her lecture are 'the three things your mother told you never to discuss in public'; politics, sex and gender, and religion. It is not an easy talk; it is not geared towards beginners, and it assumes you have read Herodotos' Histories and have a working knowledge of ancient Hellas.

Dewald jumps seemingly from one topic to the other, but after a while you get used to it and understand that she is not jumping randomly, but building up the setting to her story: the thought pattern of the average Hellenic citizen. It is this attempt at conveying her understanding of the ancient Hellenic frame of mind that makes this speech so valuable.

The first part of the talk (01:00 - 25:00) is on politics: it discusses a variety of wars and battles, some of the ancient plays, helps you form a basic understanding of the importance of the army to the ancient Hellenes, and a bit of its influence on the general Hellenic society (in as far as you can generalize all the Hellenic peoples).

The second part of the talk (25:00 - 43:00) focuses on sex and gender. The first part (gender) is about the roles of women in ancient Hellas, as looked upon through the lens of Herodotos and the plays. I dislike Dewald's tole of pity for ancient Hellenic women--fearing that a modern mindset is at play here--but the information is very interesting and, at times, unique. The second part (sex) is mostly about men and Satyrs in a state of 'avid anticipation'. This part discusses sex within the marriage, sex outside the marriage, the non-romantic bond between husband and wife, and pederasty.

The third part is about religion (43:00 - 55:00), which covers the Theoi, ancient Hellenic views of the Theoi, sacrifice, and the need for religions the ancient Hellenes would have felt. She covers temples, religious rites, and a bit about hero worship.

I greatly encourage everyone reading this to sit through the hour-long talk. Watch it, and add the images to the words. Not only will this help in forming your understanding, but it also draws you in more. If you enjoyed the talk as much as I did, it will leave you hungry for more. The good thing is, there is more: in all the surviving writings, in the pottery, in the modern practice of the religion.

PS: Also listen to the questions! They are very interesting.