Monthly Archives: August 2014

Our upcoming visitor brings ancient wines to life!

This fall the Classics Department is looking forward to some amazing lectures on campus! One of our visitors, Brandeis University Professor of Classics and Chemistry Andrew Koh, is featured in the August 27th online issue of Time magazine for his work on understanding the flavor profiles of ancient wine. Working at a palace site in modern Israel, Koh observes:

“In the past,” says Koh, lead author of a paper describing the discovery in the latest issue of the journal PLOS One,“we wouldn’t have been able to say much more than ‘this is a bunch of containers that held wine.’”

Thanks to an unprecedentedly sophisticated analysis of the deposits inside those containers, however, Koh, who has a joint appointment in Brandeis’ Classical Studies and Chemistry Departments, along with two colleagues, can conclude much more, specifically that the wine was flavored with — deep breath, now — honey, storax resin, terebinth resin, cedar oil, cyperus, juniper and possibly mint, myrtle and cinnamon as well….

See Andrew Koh speak about his methods and discoveries at Trinity on October 16th!

A botanist reviews Socrates’ drug of choice

This excerpt from Michael Largo’s new book The Big, Bad Book of Botany: The World’s Most Fascinating Flora, courtesy of

“…According to Christian mythology, the hemlock plant became poisonous after growing on the hillside of Jesus’ crucifixion. When his blood touched the plant, it turned forever toxic. However, the most infamous poisoning by hemlock is attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates, who chose a hemlock drink as his preferred means of death—most sources say that he drank it mixed with water or as a tea….”

Continue reading at

Now anyone can access all of Greek and Latin literature–in English, too!

Thanks to John Alcorn of Italian Studies here at Trinity for bringing this wonderful news to my attention:

“WHEN JAMES LOEB designed his soon-to-be-launched series of Greek and Roman texts at the turn of the twentieth century, he envisioned the production of volumes that could easily fit in readers’ coat pockets. A century later, that compact format is still one of the collection’s hallmarks. Beginning in September, however, the iconic books will be far handier than Loeb had hoped: users of the Loeb Classical Library (LCL) will have the entire collection at their fingertips. After five years of dedicated work on the part of the library’s trustees andHarvard University Press (HUP), which has overseen LCL since its creator’s death in 1933, the more than 520 volumes of literature that make up the series will be accessible online. Besides allowing users to browse the digitized volumes, which retain the unique side-by-side view of the original text and its English translation, the Digital Loeb Classical Library will enable readers to search for words and phrases across the entire corpus, to annotate content, to share notes and reading lists with others, and to create their own libraries using personal workspaces…”