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The Greeks had a word for it 

Andrew Wilson offers a wonderful account of his work on translating Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone into ancient Greek. It’s apparently the longest work to be translated into ancient Greek since 400 CE.

“Before getting down to the translation I had to find a style — J K Rowling would not lend herself to the style of Thucydides or Plato or Demosthenes (who had been our main models for prose composition). But there are Greek novels (Charitons’s Callirhoe, Achilles Tatius’ Cleitophon and Leucippe, Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, Heliodorus’ African Story) all of whom I read, along with the entire works of Lucian — a most entertaining task. Lucian’s humorous tongue-in-cheek approach, together with his fantastical notions such as The True History (which is guaranteed to contain not a single word of truth) soon convinced me that he was the closest writer in ancient Greek to J K R. So Lucian became my model — his Greek, despite his date (3rd century AD) is (almost) pure 5th century BC Attic, which was being recycled the time. But this also gave me an excuse for using vocabulary from post-classical sources, without which it would have been impossible to proceed.”

Thanks to Rogue Semiotics for spotting this.

Great temptation 

I missed this wonderful report from Stuart Hughes earlier this week:

  “This afternoon I attended a news conference by President Bush and Tony Blair — arguably the two most powerful people in the world.
  After passing through the tight security cordon, and waiting for a couple of hours in a holding room at the Hilton hotel Istanbul, I found myself face to face with the two main architects of the war in Iraq.
  The world’s media was watching as President Bush and Mr Blair hailed their success in the war against Saddam Hussein.
  And as I sat there, headphones clamped to my ears and listening to the news conference, the temptation to speak out was overwhelming. What would happen, I wondered, if I removed my artificial leg, waved it in front of Bush and Blair, and proclaimed “See this. This is the outcome of your war. Iraq may have been liberated, but I — and hundreds of others like me — will be burdened with this artificial limb every day for the rest of my life because of the conflict you created.”
  Dozens of cameras were there. An outburst would probably have made front page news around the world. But what would it have achieved, except for a fleeting 15 minutes of fame?
  Without doubt, my career as a journalist would be over.
  The leaders would offer sympathetic words — but little else.
  Call me a sell out, but I bit my tongue — and kept silent.”

It would be comic if it wasn’t so sad 

Here’s a great way to win hearts and minds. Limit media access to the initial hearing of Saddam Hussein to American journalists. Brilliant.

On the BBC news last night, we were treated to the spectacle of ABC’s Peter Jennings, who was allowed in the courtroom, telling us that the judge and Saddam argued, but he couldn’t understand what they were talking about.

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