Richard P. Martin

Anthony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor in Classics, Stanford University

Fall 2014 Sather Lectures

Comic Community: Laughter and Loathing in Athens

October 16:
Lecture 1: It Takes a Village
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall, 8 p.m.

October 23:
Lecture 2: Demedy
370 Dwinelle Hall, 5:30 p.m.

October 30:
Lecture 3: Born on the Fourth
370 Dwinelle Hall, 5:30 p.m.

November 6:
Lecture 4: Act Democratic
370 Dwinelle Hall, 5:30 p.m.

November 13:
Lecture 5: In it Together
370 Dwinelle Hall, 5:30 p.m.

R. P. Martin

More about Richard Martin

Richard P. Martin interprets Greek poetry in the light of performance traditions and social practices. His primary interests are in Homeric epic, Greek comedy, mythology, and ancient religion. His research is informed by comparative evidence ranging from fieldwork on oral traditions in contemporary Crete to studies in medieval Irish literature. 

A native of Boston, he received his BA in Classics and Celtic Literature and PhD in Classical Philology from Harvard University. Before becoming Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor at Stanford in 2000, Professor Martin taught Classics for eighteen years at Princeton University.

Among his major publications are Healing, Sacrifice, and Battle: Amechania and Related Concepts in Early Greek Poetry (1983) and The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad (1989). He has also published books for general audiences (Myths of the Ancient Greeks, 2003; Bulfinch's Mythology, edit. 1991) and a number of articles on Greek, Latin, and Irish literature.

About the Fall 2014 Lectures

Laughing with and at others is a universal mechanism for social bonding. In Athens, the temporary and imaginative "community" enabled by comedies at festivals of Dionysos drew on, but also competed with, pre-existing social groups. These ranged from clubs of like-minded citizens and religious associations to the larger political districts ("demes") that defined Attica. This series of lectures will examine the dramatic repercussions arising from a confrontation of identities--civic, local, in-group and individual--within the Athenian polis. Primary texts for this exploration will be comedies by Aristophanes (especially Acharnians, Knights, Peace, and Birds), as well as fragmentary plays by Eupolis, Cratinus and other poets of the 5th and early 4th century BC.