This is the first page, containing the Index to all Quotations of the Month from 2004 (the first year quotations were posted) to the present year. To read quotations for any year, click on the links below.

Minerva Systems home page
Chapter 1 of The Loom of Minerva: An Introduction to Computer Projects for the Literary Scholar, "A Guide to the Labyrinth"
"The Eureka Machine for Composing Hexameter Latin Verses" (1845)
"Verbal Patterns in Hesiod's Theogony"
Selected Excerpts from Chapters of Traditional Themes and the Homeric Hymns
"Thought Clusters in Early Greek Oral Poetry"
"Holy Places", a study of myths of landmarks
"Epilogue to 'Holy Places': the World Trade Center as a Mythic Place"
Writings on Building and Architecture
"Ancient Myths in Modern Movies"
Archived "Quotations of the Month"
Write e-mail to Cora Angier Sowa
Apollo playing the lyre

For people always applaud the most
for the song that is newest to circulate among the listeners.

Odyssey I.351-352.

The latest news is always a standard subject of the oral poet, whether the bard of antiquity or the improvisational artist of today. In the Odyssey, Phemius (described in the quotation above) sings a song about the Trojan War to the assembled Suitors, because that was the news of the day.

Illustration: Apollo, patron god of music, plays the lyre, the instrument with which the bard accompanied himself.

Archived quotations of the month —— index to all years

Beginning with September, 2004, my home page will feature a different quotation from Classical or other literature each month, appropriate to the season or to current events. The pages you are now looking at contain "Quotations of the Month" from previous months. Translations are my own, except where otherwise noted.

Each year now has its own separate page. The list below contains an index to all years from the first year (2004) to the present year.

Do you have a suggestion for a future Quotation of the Month? If so, send me your ideas.

Index to quotations

All archived quotations, from the earliest in 2004 to the present, are listed here with links for easy access to the selections.

Quotations of the Month, Year by Year

Click on a link to read each quotation















  • December 2009: In the winter season of the Northern Hemisphere, a shout-out to the Antipodes, where it's summer. The Antipodes as a real place in Plato, as a state of mind in Seneca's satire of modern overindulgence.
  • November 2009: Inspired by the debate over health care, "A cock for Asclepius" (from Plato's Phaedo).
  • October 2009: For Halloween, Odysseus summons the ghosts of the dead (Odyssey Book 11).
  • September 2009: For the beginning of the school year, quotations from Plato and Cicero on the need for a broad education.
  • August 2009: Inspired by the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, quotations from Plato on the elevating or corrupting influence of music in education.
  • July 2009: In honor of the astronauts' moon landing, we have quotations from the Homeric Hymns and Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica, on the moon as goddess and as object of witchcraft.
  • June 2009: Inspired by the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, we cite Athena's judgment in favor of Orestes in Aeschylus' Eumenides
  • May 2009: Inspired by the current hysteria about "swine flu," we quote Pindar's impassioned defense against the slur "Boeotian pig."
  • April 2009: Ovid, in the Fasti, wonders about the name of the month of April; why is it not named for Venus? (Perhaps it is named for Aphrodite, the Greek counterpart of Venus?)
  • March 2009: As we are reminded by the task of cleaning up the world's crises, Heracles had to clean up the Augeian stables, whose vastness is described by Theocritus.
  • February 2009: For the financial meltdown and other follies, wisdom from a Cretan knife ("Don't take a trip with your mind unless you see a road...").
  • January 2009: For the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Vergil's prediction of a new Golden Age in his Fourth Eclogue.






Go to Quotations for the current year ---->

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