EpicureaPoetica—Epicurean Themes in Poetry [Video Project]

  • In our recent meeting I mentioned an idea I've been kicking around lately. This is a thread to flesh out the project, and to invite comment and feedback.

    Recent major projects have been the group reading of DeWitt, and the ongoing and very dedicated podcast on the close reading of Lucretius. We have additionally been enriched by the rebirth of a classical tradition; the 'feast' (or celebration) and meeting of the Twentieth. These have been excellent and informative, as well as richly inspiring!

    But there is as well a large and mostly formless mass of secondary literature pertaining to our school, and I feel that there is an opportunity here to shed new light on some of it.

    Working on the model of LatinPerDiem, I envision brief, simple and crisp presentations exploring the shorter poetic works of Epicureans and their detractors: Horace and Virgil; Philodemus, Anacreon, and Catullus; Frederick the Great, Edmund Spenser, and Alfred Tennyson. Lucretius was particularly influential, and the borrowings innumerable, so there will be a lot to work with.

    The planned first 'Episode' will explore themes of madness, death and suicide in Tennyson's masterful Victorian poem "Lucretius". I am still looking for a proper and corrected sample of the text, but in the mean time I have been studying the poem Here.

    One key to my analysis will be a short section of another of Tennyson's poems, which you can find Here. Careful readers will notice the certain allusion to Lucretius that doubtfully concludes the passage. (I'll post this passage later when I find it.)

    If you happen to read the poem and there are points you would like to see touched upon, I encourage you to post them here! I look forward to putting this together.


  • What can we name the thread to make it more descriptive? Have you thought of a podcast name? Something that labels it as focusing on the secondary literature or on specific points, rather than on the larger major works?

  • I've secured the necessary domain and gmail address, so I can tentatively announce EpicureaPoetica as the name of the 'show'. The Latin is slightly clunky, but I suppose "Of the Poetry of the Epicurean Tradition" would be a loose translation. Mainly I derive it from Epicurea, which was a collection of fragments compiled by Usener, and Poetica, which of course is the Latin for poetry as well as the title of a work by Horace (Ars Poetica).

  • Joshua

    Changed the title of the thread from “Video Project” to “EpicureaPoetica—Epicurean Themes in Poetry [Video Project]”.
  • The software I've downloaded for the task;

    OBS Studio--Screen Recording software

    EpicPen--Screen marking tool, for basic visual annotations of the text

    Audacity--Audio recording, although OBS Studio has a native audio client that I'll try first.

    And an idea I had for flavor art;


    Which is a software cartoonification of this image;


    (The yellow ribbon is a watermark of sorts; I would have to actually pay for the photo editor or find an alternative to do it properly. BeFunky is the name that popped up in case anyone wants to play around with it)

  • 1 - Wow that cartoon software works pretty well!

    2 - I use Audacity for all the editing of the Lucretius Today Podcast and it works well

    3 - I know people swear by OBS Studio and have played with it but not found reason to use it - we record the podcast in Skype and I just edit that file in Audacity.

    4 - The visual annotation feature looks like it is perfect for the type of video you're talking about.

  • Further work on the logo/art;


    With space for project title;


    And a longer version as a banner;


    What I really need now is a good text editor with a block font that works well with this art style! Hoping to record something tomorrow evening.


  • Oops, I guess it's the copyright holder that owns the rights to make derivative works. Mea culpa.

    But you might be able to argue fair use on educational grounds. But honestly, I'm seeing that same image on book jackets and other things. I think you're in the clear :) Disclaimer: i am not a lawyer not do I give legal advice. Sorry, standard librarian disclaimer.

  • i know nothing about copyright law either, but I too see these same images everywhere and I would imagine the worst that would happen is you eventually get asked to take it down, which is probably a one in a thousand chance, or less. I never studied the Digital Millennium Copyright Act either but maybe if someone were concerned they would even have to issue a take-down notice first? I wouldn't imagine that anything major bad could happen except in situations where maybe someone takes a Getty or other commercial image and then crops off the copyright watermark, and even then I have to wonder what's the worst that could happen for a project like this.

    Looking forward to hearing the first episode!

  • I've been reading further as well.

    I have identified the copyright holder of the photograph. The image is available on several stock image sites, all sourced back to one individual; apparently this is common for photographers to license their images through several different outlets simultaneously. I would be willing to pay a nominal fee--less than $100, say--for such a license, except that the terms of the licenses on offer are so convoluted and opaque. I would probably be fine regardless; but in order to be free of any and all trouble forever (a fine goal!), I think I will choose a different photo to work off of.

    I have also found, looking through Wikimedia Commons, that several photographs of busts of Epicurus are already offered either in the public domain, or under a Creative Commons license. That's likely the route I'll go, but I'll also keep looking.

  • https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/248475?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=epicurus&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=1

    This image is listed as public domain by the museum that holds it. At some point we should think about a central location for all images of Epicurus known to be in the public domain.

    That's a great find!! Looking forward to your project!

  • As to that particular image - https://www.metmuseum.org/art/…rus&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=1 We see that one used all the time and it being public domain may explain it.

    Which is a shame.

    I have to say that my personal opinion is that is the LEAST flattering portrayal of Epicurus in existence. With the broken eyebrow, he looks confused or resigned or 'stoned,' which is why I never use that one in any of my work. Of course I generally bite my tongue when others use it though :) At least it's not one of those older portrayals of a bald or other wise totally "wrong" portraits - not Epicurus at all - that we sometimes see used, such as:.

    That "bald" Epicurus is the worst, but a close runner up is the broken eyebrow version:


    I suppose it's possible that this bust was mutilated by the Christians, so maybe it's a badge of honor, but in this view and lighting I think he actually looks sad:

    But of course, to each his own ;)

  • LOL. I had the exact opposite reaction. I saw the piercing eyes, serious brow, and clarity of the photo picking up the luster of the marble. Every curve of his hair and beard stood out. The fact that you could see it 360° in different lighting attracted me as well.

  • Cassius, do you happen to know anything about the current curator of Erik Anderson's old site? He has an image of the same bust I used above; an artful photo which he took himself at the Capitoline Museum in Rome. It would be the perfect photo to use--a fine portrait of Epicurus, as well as an homage to one of the early Epicureans of the internet age. I'm asking as a prelude to writing the webmaster--I just don't know where that e-mail will land!


  • Quote

    At some point we should think about a central location for all images of Epicurus known to be in the public domain.

    The gallery on this webpage could be that location. We would just need to add a subfolder (or a tag to each PD image of Epicurus?).