Program Highlight

Working near the Hexamilion Wall in Isthmia, 2008

One of our early evening seminars in the village of Ancient Korinth, at Café Marinos, overlooking the Korinthian Gulf, while discussing Aeschylus' plays.

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Photo Galleries

Students on SMP Presentation Day

Although clothed and with shoes, we recreate a footrace at the original stadium at Nemea.  Professor Taber did retain from ancient times, however, the threat that cheaters would be beaten. Click here to see photos from previous tours.

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Materials

Some of you may elect to get course materials on your electronic device. This saves on packing weight, but do be sure that it's in a format and on a device that allows you efficient thumbing through of pages, for our seminar discussions ("But then look here in the second paragraph of page 37...")--or else resign yourself to having to borrow someone's book the night before a given seminar in order to cross-reference what you take to be important passages, esp. in light of the "thought questions" we'll give you well before departure. (And plan ahead enough in our seminars to sit next to someone who has a book copy.)

The six required books are portable, affordable, and are in modern, easy-to-read translations. (All are from Hackett Publishing Company, which specializes in these three traits.)

  1. Euripides' Medea, translated by Diane Arnson Svarlien; introduction and notes by Robin Mitchell-Boyask, 2008 (978-0-87220-923-7)
  2. Aeschylus' Oresteia, translated by Peter Meineck, 1998 (978-0-87220-390-7)
  3. Thucydides on Justice, Power, and Human Nature, translated and edited by Paul Woodruff, 1993 (978-0-87220-168-6)
  4. Plato's The Trial and Death of Socrates, 3rd edition (translated by G.M.A. Grube and revised by John M. Cooper), 2000 (978-0-87220-554-1)  [Note that we'll be reading only the work The Apology in this volume.]
  5. Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, translated by G. M. A. Grube, 1983 (978- 0-915145-79-0)
  6. Sophocles' Theban Plays, translated by Peter Meineck and Paul Woodruff, 2003 (978-0872205857)  [Note that we'll be skipping the play Oedipus at Colonus in this volume.]

A warning about ordering used copies, based on a couple of bad experiences: We've had several cases--fortunately not more than that--of folks who clicked on the above ISBN links for a book and selected the "Buy used" option. So far, so good. But the used copies that were linked to our translations were NOT our translations, though those (usually antiquated) translations--often replete with inappropriate "thee"s and "thou"s, and just plain difficult to read--had the same volumes; there are, after all, probably a dozen translations of Aeschylus entitled Oresteia, or of Marcus Aurelius entitled Meditations. I'm not sure there's any sure way to protect against this, other than purchasing non-used copies. Although they are affordable even at new prices--and that's part of what has guided our choices--I hope there's a way to buy used copies that doesn't open one to the above snafu. (One that comes to mind is ordering the books far enough in advance that if any of them DO turn out to be the wrong translation, there'd still be time to send them back and get the right one instead. Seems inelegant, though.)

A strategy for saving money and packing space would be to find someone to share books with. This would require some planning prior to departure, as to who has which book for how long, as well as the day before a given seminar when we've assigned you to answer a question in writing, but were sure you're clever enough to pull it off.

Two optional books you might consider are:

A. a Greek phrasebook, like the pocket-sized versions published by Berlitz, The Lonely Planet, and such.

B. a guide book, like those put out by Frommer's, Fodor's, or The Lonely Planet. These are of limited usefulness to you, since they're useful when one is developing one's own itinerary. One exception is The Blue Guide: Greece: The Mainland, edited by Sherry Marker and James Pettifer, 7th edition (2006), W. W. Norton.  The Blue Guide series is the most informative for the earnest traveler, and thankfully free from any noise about "Top 10 Tavernas in Nauplio," or where to buy shoes in Athens.  The diagrams and descriptions of ancient sites are especially worthwhile, as is the reference section up front about the different architectural orders, the different parts of a temple, and such. A chubby volume it is, however, so if you like it, you might (a) cut out and bring only the pages relevant to our itinerary, (b) split the cost with a fellow traveler, or (c) do both of the above.