Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop 2019: The Sale of Lives

Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop: Lucian, The Sale of Lives

July 12–18, 2019

Roundel with Comic Mask, ca. 300 BC. South Italian. J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AC.88. Source: J. Paul Getty Museum

Roundel with Comic Mask, ca. 300 BC. South Italian. J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AC.88. Source: J. Paul Getty Museum

The Dickinson Workshops are mainly intended for teachers of Latin and Greek, to refresh the mind through study of an extended text, and to share experiences and ideas. Sometimes those who are not currently engaged in teaching have participated as well, including students, retired teachers, and those working towards teacher certification.

The text for 2019 is Βίων πρᾶσις, literally “The Sale of Lives,” also known as Philosophies for Sale or Vitarum Auctio, by Lucian of Samosata (ca. 120–190 AD). It is a comic dialogue or script in which Zeus acts as owner-manager of a slave auction house, with Hermes as the auctioneer. Together they attempt to sell the various Greek philosophical schools to wary buyers, as if the philosophers were potential servants. Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Socrates are all on the block, as are the famous Cynic Diogenes, and a fast-talking Stoic. What can they do for you? The work can serve as a humorous introduction to all the major schools of philosophy in the Roman empire, but no sect is unscathed as Lucian ruthlessly parodies their mannerisms and excesses.

Lucian’s Greek is generally straightforward, so this text would be good for those whose Greek might be a bit rusty. Comprehensive notes and vocabulary for the forthcoming Dickinson College Commentaries edition of this text by Dr. Casey will also prove helpful for those seeking to improve ancient Greek reading fluency.


Eric Casey (Teacher of Latin and Greek, Trinity School, New York City)

Christopher Francese (Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies, Dickinson College)

The participation fee for each participant will $400. The fee covers lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Dickinson cafeteria, the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as wireless and wired internet access while on campus. The fee does not cover the costs of books or travel, or of dinners, which are typically eaten in the various restaurants in Carlisle. Please keep in mind that the participation fee, once it has been received by the seminar’s organizers, is not refundable. This is an administrative necessity.

Lodging: accommodations will be in a student residence hall near the site of the sessions. The building features suite-style configurations of two double rooms sharing a private bathroom, or one double and one single room sharing a private bathroom.

The first event will be an introductory dinner at 6:00 p.m., July 12. The final session ends at noon on July 18, with lunch to follow. Sessions will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day, with the afternoons left free for preparation.

Application deadline: May 1, 2019.

Fee deadline: June 1, 2019.

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal, blumentt@dickinson.edu by the application deadline. The fee is due in a check made out to Dickinson College, by the fee deadline.

For more information please contact Prof. Chris Francese (francese@dickinson.edu)

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