Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
I hate and I love. Why do I do this, you may ask.
I don’t know, but that it happens I notice and torment myself.
Anyone who hears Catullus’ verses in Latin, written in the first half of the 1st century BCE, will hardly speak of a dead language, so resonantly is the inner conflict of a loving person put into words here. A German translation can hardly do it justice; but even in this version, the short poem feels immensely alive. It seems to speak to us directly. However, we have to consider that such an expression of a poetic self must have had a very different effect in the socio-cultural conditions of the time than it does today. Moreover, the verses are also part of a literary tradition from which they distance themselves at the same time. From this it becomes clear how difficult and at the same time fascinating it can be not only to comprehend an ancient text linguistically, but also to interpret it.
The two components, “interest in language” and “interest in literature”, are at the centre of the study of Classical Philology, i.e. the Greek and Latin languages and literature(s) of antiquity. The entirety of literary texts and linguistic forms of expression ranges from the Archaic Period (8th century BCE) to Late Antiquity – over a period of about 1200 years, and if one adds the reception and continuation in the Middle Ages, humanism and modern times, of over 2500 years.
The aim of the curriculum is to convey an understanding of the liveliness, colourfulness and richness of linguistic expressions and literary forms of the ancient world and their contextualisation, to provide insights into the origins of a linguistic and literary tradition that still exists, and at the same time to discover the fundamental otherness of ancient ways of thinking. This applies to prose writings such as those from the field of ancient rhetoric and philosophy (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca) or historiography (e.g. Herodotus, Thucydides, Sallust, Livius, Tacitus) and poetry such as the epic (e.g. Homer, Virgil, Ovid), lyric poetry (e.g. Sappho, Pindar, Catullus, Propertius, Horace) or tragedy/comedy (e.g. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, Terence, Seneca).
In detail, the curriculum comprises the acquisition of basic skills such as independent translation from the original texts and comprehensive knowledge of ancient literary history as well as of its authors and genres, in addition to knowledge of current interpretation methods and analysis criteria of philology and literary studies up to the use of digital resources.
The history of Classics in Graz goes back a long time and was rich in change: “Classical literature and Aesthetics” was already an integral part of the university landscape at the Graz Lyceum and at the university newly founded by Franz I in 1827. Major impulses were given by the dean and later rector Albert Muchar. “Classical Philology” was founded by Karl Schenkl in 1863. Classical philologists such as Otto Keller (“Antike Tierwelt”), Franz Stoessl, who was dismissed in 1938, or Franz Ferdinand Schwarz, who expanded the focus to include distant languages and cultures of antiquity, were able to exert a formative effect in Graz.
The extensive institute library, which is located together with the collections of Ancient History in the atmospheric rooms of the main building, invites to work. At the same time, the University Library has valuable collections, which include papyri as well as numerous precious manuscripts; for example, the special collection of the Graz University Library has been in possession of 42 papyri from Oxyrrhynchus and Hibeh since 1904 – a counter-offer from Egypt for the financial support of the excavations by the city of Graz. One of them is singled out here:
In the papyrus fragment (Ox. Pap. Graz Ms1910) from the 3rd century CE we read verses from the Medea by the Greek poet Euripides from the 5th century BCE In the verses 710-715 Medea, abandoned by Jason, asks King Aegeus of Athens for asylum – sosa2.uni-graz.at/sosa/katalog/katalogisate/1910.html
γονά[των τε τῶν σῶν ἱκεσ]ία τε γίνομαι, By your knees I beseech and implore you,
οἴκτ[ιρον οἴκτιρόν με] τὴν δυσδαίμονα have pity, have pity on me, the wretched,
καὶ μ[ή μ' ἔρημον ἐκπεσο]ῦσαν εἰσίδηις, and that I am lonely and rejected, let it not be so,
δέξαι [δὲ χώραι καὶ δόμο]ις ἐφέστιον. make me at home in land and houses!
οὕτως [ἔρως σοι πρὸς θεῶν] τελεσφόρος Thus love from the gods, which brings fulfilment,
γένοι[το πα]ίδων καὐτὸς ὄλβιος θάνοις. shall come forth to you from the children, and also you yourself shall one day die blessed.
Everyone is cordially invited to the συμφιλολογεῖν, the shared exchange about the fascinating texts of antiquity, – it is worth it.
Professor and Head of Department
Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Ursula Gärtner
Priv.-Doz. Dr.phil. Markus Hafner
Mag. Dr.phil. Ulrike Kaliwoda-Bauer
Mag. Dr.iur. Dr.phil. Gernot Krapinger
Mag.phil. Nora Kohlhofer
Mag.phil. Lukas Spielhofer
Research Project Employees
Sally Baumann, MEd
Dr. Mag. Enno Friedrich
Mag.phil. Aaron Plattner
Blaz Ploj, prof.lat. in univ.dipl.soc.kult.
Student Research Assistants
- Greek and Roman archaic and classical literature
- Greek and Roman literature of the Imperial period
- Modern literary theory and ancient literature
- History of the discipline
- Edition philology (editions, translations, digital applications)
- Teaching classical languages (Collaborations between scholars and the public)
- „Die menschlichen Rücksichten und Empfindungen stehen auf einem anderen Blatt und können letzten Endes die Haltung einer Zeitschrift nicht bestimmen“ – der Gnomon in den Jahren 1933/34 und 1946-49 (Leitung: Markus HAFNER)
Cooperations with Schools
- Fabula docet – Wer will schon saure Trauben? Grazer Repositorium antiker Fabeln (GRaF) (bmwfw-Projekt, Förderreihe ‚Sparkling Science‘, Leitung: Ursula GÄRTNER)
- SISTE VIATOR. Latein auf Stein 2.0. Lateinische Inschriften für digitales und außerschulisches Lernen (LIDAL) (Leitung: Ursula GÄRTNER, Lukas SPIELHOFER)
Language and Literature
- Antike Versfabeln (Leitung: Ursula GÄRTNER)
- Ekphrastisches Erzählen (Leitung: Ursula GÄRTNER, Sally BAUMANN)
- EuroNotos - Rethinking Classics (and Beyond) in Southeastern Perspective – Südosteuropäische Perspektiven auf die Antike und ihre Rezeption (Leitung: Markus HAFNER)
- Gleichnisse im antiken Epos (Leitung: Ursula GÄRTNER)
- Konzeptionen kooperativer Autorschaft in frühgriechischer und klassischer Literatur (8./7.-4. Jh. v. Chr.) (Leitung: Markus HAFNER)
- Lebensgefühl und Lebenswirklichkeit im 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. (Leitung: Robert POROD)
- Lukians Schrift Über die Trauer (De Luctu) in ihrem literarischen Kontext und mit Blick auf die Zeitstellung des 2. Jh. n. Chr. - Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung und interpretierende Essays (Leitung: Robert POROD, Markus HAFNER; Beiträge u.a. von Wolfgang SPICKERMANN und Peter SCHERRER)
- Platon, Lysis. (Neuübers., Hrsg., Reclam) (Gernot KRAPINGER)
- Platon, Phaidon. (Neuübers., Hrsg., Reclam) (Gernot KRAPINGER)
- Interdisziplinäre Grazer Theater-Workshops zu Konvergenz und Divergenz im antiken und modernen Theater (mit dem Schwerpunkt auf der ‚Raum- und Aufführungspraxis’) seit 2010 (Leitung: Eveline KRUMMEN)
Institut für Antike