The last day at the conference of Latin and Greek (FIEC 2014) has begun. I have been listening dozens of presentations for five days. For me, Thursday was the climax. In the morning I heard a presentation on the poetry of Catullus, ”The Venus Variations: Genre and Intertextuality in Catullus’ carmina maiora” by Christopher Nappa (University of Minnesota). Actually the paper was more fascinating than the title ever promised: about family, love, death and other fundamental issues of life. In the afternoon, Sandra Scepanovic (University of Belgrade) gave a presentation on the human condition, divine intervention and the passage of time in Pindar’s poetry.
I felt that we are the children of Antiquity, that there exists the community of scholars from around the world. Despite the many different languages of the FIEC participants, we share the common languages in Greek and Latin. There, sweating in tiny hot classrooms, we were contemplating the poetry Catullus, Pindar and others together. We, the old, middle-aged and young scholars, were initiated in the mysteries of the human lot in antiquity.
”As for human expectations, they often rise up and then back down, as they cleave the waves of vain falsehoods. No human on earth has yet found a reliable token of what will happen from the gods. Our understanding of the future is blind.” (Pindar, Olympian ode 12.5-9, transl. Diane Arnson Svarlien, modified).