The Hippoi Athanatoi, the immortal horses, are the fabulous steeds of the gods and heroes of Greek myth.
After years of being indecisive, I finally decided to apply for the two degrees I am qualified for under the new, Bologna-adapted system at the university. So, now I have a Bachelor and what they call a one-year Master in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History.
I could have had the equivalent of the one-year Master in the old system some ... 3 years ago, I think, but the old system allows you to include more classes than the required number so I was holding off to finish up some more Latin and Greek. I may possibly still be allowed to apply for one of those as well, so I probably will if I do finish those classes before they stop taking applications under the old system (2015, I believe).
For now, though, the goal is to finish up the last requirement for the new two-year Master, which is a 30 credit paper. I already have another 30 credits of other classes within the subject done, but I have not been able to come up with a good subject for the paper. Ideally, it combines horses and Homer, or perhaps horses and something Bronze Age again. But I really, really suck at coming up with subjects that don’t turn out a) too general and b) too vast.
Way back when I started my first big paper in Classical History, I got in touch with a fellow named David Anthony who was doing some really interesting work on early horseback riding. I ended up using some of his papers for my work to support the idea that the Mycenaeans not only drove chariots but also rode horses. I have since then followed his work on and off, lately more off then on. A couple of weeks ago, Elio reminded me to check what he’s been up to next (I think we were discussing my lack of ideas for a final Classical History paper ;P), and to my surprise and delight I found that he published a book last year titled The Horse, The Wheel and Language. How Bronze Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World.
I immediately ordered it from Amazon.co.uk, and since it arrived a few days ago it has provided me with some very exciting reading material. I really like comparative linguistics, I find it completely fascinating, and of course I am thrilled to be reading anything focused on the importance of the horse in the development of human civilizations. Now, I was already in agreement with Anthony on his major point regarding the often argued point of where the Indo-European Homeland lies, but even so I think the book presents his case very well and in a way that is readable even for those who aren’t experts within the various areas. The linguistic sections are less fact-intensive than the archaeological, but even those are pretty readable (though you may want to skim some of the more detailed lists of finds at various sites), and overall I have found it very well-written. Lots of fascinating points are made about the development of cultures.
And now I really want to do my next paper on something that ties together Bronze Age Greece, the horse and Indo-European myths and religion. My first paper was sort of in that direction, but ended up being broad rather than particularly in-depth. Not sure if there’s enough material to work with, however, and its definitely not an area of expertise by any of the professors here in Gothenburg.
It took me rather longer than I had planned, but now a first, basic site for Hippokrene, the business I registered this spring, has finally gone live. Of course, between working with Elio on The World of Ice and Fire and potential assignments from Softitler, I am not sure how much time I will have left for other projects for the next year or so. Given this, I won’t exactly go out hunting clients. I definitely want to start off nice and slow. Any more stress and I’ll never be rid of my current bout of depression.
This also means that, for the first time in a darn long while, I’ll have virtually nothing to study this semester and possibly the next one too, as I opted against another semester of Literature knowing I’d be too busy to have the energy to force myself (I really have no interest in these periods) to read lots of 19th century and early 20th century literature. I do have a pair of English exams I hope to finish up during the autumn, but the only real option for the spring is Archaeology, and that one is pretty time-consuming.
The papers finally arrived today. Hippokrene is now an officially registered company, of which I am the proprietor. Of course, it will be awhile before I have time to get the website up, not to mention before I have time to actually start taking on any projects. Well, I am thinking I might do something small during the spring, but that depends on which extra classes I’ll try to finish up outside of the Literature.
So, I have one day left before I need to send in my classical & medieval literature exam. Two essay questions out of three down, but the last one’s a bit of a bitch. This has been a very strange class. For the first section, we had a teacher who provided miles upon miles of secondary sources to read, and commented on everything you wrote, and then some. A little overwhelming at times, but useful. For this second section, we have had an incredibly hands-off teacher. Minimal secondary sources provided, just some very general stuff on the period(s), and extremely general and not very useful comments after each batch of assignments. Hence, I really don’t know what he’s looking for in this exam. Which means I am doing what I usually do in those situations; I give them everything. If I get a well-phrased question and a strictly limited word count, I can usually manage to stick to it (though it takes some work, to put it mildly), but open-ended questions and rough suggestions for word counts tend to result in very, very long answers from me.
I am hoping this particular teacher will learn his lesson and be a little more hands-on for the next section of the class, but I rather doubt it. Going back to the first teacher for the fourth and final section late this spring will no doubt be a rather shocking experience. Still, I already find myself wishing the second literature class wasn’t focused entirely on modern stuff, as I wouldn’t have minded continuing on for another year. Its been quite useful for my translation work, and it has even prompted me to do some very small, tentative bits of writing on the side. But alas, since my interest in modern literature is strictly confined to the fantasy genre, I doubt I’d survive a year of what would be on offer in that class.
Yesterday, I finally got a chance to talk to my supervisor about my paper. She’s the head of the faculty, so its taken her some time to go through it and find an hour free in which to speak with me about it. Naturally, this has lead to much worrying on my part; when I hand something in, I really want to know as soon as possible how I did. Fortunately, she had reassuring things to say. The overall quality was very good, with good ideas and good reasoning, and the stuff that needed fixing was primarily structural formalities. The only issues she had with the actual paper as such was my usage of one article that she felt had too many problems, but as it was the only article focusing on that particular aspect, she could see why I had ended up using it. She also wanted me to work in something more about the nature of the relief plaques in terms of what kind of occasions they probably depict; I do have quite a bit about this in the paper, but spread over several sections rather than presented as a cohesive thought.
So ... the end result is that it shouldn’t take me long at all to get it read to be presented. Of course, I have my Literature class to deal with at the same time (this and next semester I am taking a part-time Literature course), but so far it hasn’t been too labour-intensive. Spring will be worse, though. Oh, and of course, it has to be mentioned that just as I thought I was done with the Classical Archaeology & Ancient History (barring the miracle needed to get me into the post-graduate program, that is), they’ve decided to add two more years for a ‘real’, EU-compatible Master’s, and my supervisor asked if I was interested. Which, of course, I am. Especially as the second year of it would actually count towards the post-graduate program, reducing it to three years and hopefully increasing one’s chances to actually get in. But for now, its back to Ibsen (ugh) and polishing up the current paper.
I promised that I was going to use this spot for discussing my Master’s thesis. My original idea was going to involve an examination of differing presentations of Faerie as they are used in Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword and Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter. That didn’t quite work out, however.
Hippoi Athanatoi is divided into four sections, covering various of our hobbies.