University of Texas, Classics Department   |   Director: Thomas G. Palaima

Latest News

New PASP Website!

We are proud to announce that we have updated our website.
Click here to access the new site.

The new site features all new updates by Dr. Palaima and the PASP staff. The site itself has improved search functionality, cleaner text formatting, and stable links to all posts and articles. All the material on the old website is still available as well and can still be accessed here.

June 5, 2011
Added Palaima review:
The Lure of the Arena: Social Psychology and the Crowd at the Roman Games

May 22, 2011

As Tom Palaima steps down as UT Austin representative on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, he invites anyone interested in these matters to read his candid and through reports of the last three years:

UT representative on the national Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) 2008- 2011 annual reports:

Link to Palaima comment on review of Joseph S. Nye, The Future of Power, Perseus Books ISBN 9781586488918, Published 24 February 2011:

Added Palaima editorials:
"The NCAA and the Athletes It Fails".
"Universities' spending on sports undermines their mission: education".


May 19, 2011

UPDATED: Palaima editorial with selected reader responses:
"Regents in Texas push ideas that do lasting damage to higher education".


May 16, 2011

Added Palaima editorial:
"Regents in Texas push ideas that do lasting damage to higher education".


April 30, 2011

Added a report on the 2011 visit by Vassilis Petrakis.


April 11, 2011

From Michael Cosmopoulos and Cynthia Shelmerdine

Readers of Aegeanet clearly share our excitement at the discovery of a Linear B tablet from Iklaina. In the last few days it has led to some good publicity for the Aegean Bronze Age. But since media reports rarely transmit information with complete accuracy, wed like to offer the following brief account of the context and content of the tablet. A full publication will appear as soon as practicable.

Context and date: The tablet was found in a burned refuse pit containing diagnostic pottery of LH IIB/LH IIA1/early LH IIIA2 date and is, therefore, earlier than the tablet from the Petsas House at Mycenae. Palaeographically the signs resemble those on tablets from the Room of the Chariot Tablets at Knossos, and the four (not five) early tablets from Pylos. Phylogenetic analysis by C. Skelton (cf. her article in Archaeometry 50, 2008, 158-176) bears out a date earlier than the main Pylos archive.

Content: The tablet is broken at bottom, one side, and perhaps also at the top, which is uneven. On the front side (recto), a probable mans name is preserved in the first extant line, followed by the number 1. We read in the fragmentary second line ]ṇụ-o-wo[ , probably the end of another name (cf. the name ]ṛụ-o-wo on Knossos Sc 130). The back side (verso) is determined by the more slanting ductus of the signs, a point observed by J.L. Melena. It preserves a participial ending, attested at Knossos and Pylos as perfect active in form, with an intransitive-passive sense. The closest parallel is te-tu-ko-wo-a ('fully finished'), attested at Knossos with reference to cloth (KN L 871.b, restored on KN X 7846), and in the variant te-tu-ko-wo-a2 at Pylos with reference to wheels (PY Sa 682). te-tu-]ko-wo-a is a plausible restoration on the Iklaina tablet, though of course not certain.

Thus the tablet may present a personnel list on one side, and a verb form possibly linked to manufacturing on the other. The really interesting point is that this is the first tablet ever found at a secondary center in a Mycenaean state. We think that Richard Hope-Simpson and John Bennet are right in identifying Iklaina as the district capital a-pu2 (Alphys, vel sim.) in the Hither Province of Pylos. If the date of the tablet is not later than LH IIIA1/early LH IIIA2, as the evidence suggests, it represents either a phase of independent written accounting predating a Pylian takeover, or the very early stages of state bureaucracy. Either way, it opens a window into a state of administration barely attested at Pylos itself.

April 6, 2011

A new Linear B tablet was discovered at the site of Iklaina, under the supervision of Michael Cosmopoulos. National Geographic has recently published a description of the discovery.

You can also find a discussion of the tablet at the LA Times website. Both articles feature input on the find by Tom Palaima.


March 31, 2011

Added Palaima reviews:
The Casualty Gap: The Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities.
(also available here)

Imperialism, Power, and Identity: Experiencing the Roman Empire


March 17, 2011

University of Missouri St. Louis
Center for International Studies


ORGANIZED BY Prof. Michael Cosmopoulos,
with the assistance of Terry Marshall, Richard Thomas and Tom Palaima

For those of you who are Bob Dylan fans and are in the major St. Louis area, please consider joining us for the following conference:

"Bob Dylan at 70: Immigrants, Wanderers, Exiles, and Hard Travelers in the poetry, music, and culture of Ancient Greece and Modern America"

Saturday, March 19, 10 am-5 pm, Century Room A, MSC.

Free and Open to the Public. Lunch provided.

For the full program please visit

There is a newsroom item on it at:

Bob Dylan at 70

Michael Cosmopoulos, UM-St. Louis
Welcoming Remarks

Barry Powell, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Freewheelin With Bob Dylan

Richard Thomas, Harvard University
Must be the Jack of Hearts in the Great North Woods




13:30-14:15 PM
John Foley, University of Missouri (Columbia)
In Search of Penelope: Dylan as Wanderer

14:15-15:00 PM
Thomas G. Palaima, University of Texas-Austin
Songs of the 'Hard Traveler' from Odysseus to the Never-Ending Tourist


15:30-16:15 PM
Stephen Scobie, University of Victoria
'And Forget My Name' - A Reading And Commentary

Videos of Bob Dylan performing -- Discussion

Songs of the 'Hard Traveler' from Odysseus to the Never-Ending Tourist

The traveler is a familiar figure in ancient Greek song and in the 20th-century American popular and folk song tradition. For emigrant and immigrant nations like Greece and the United States, songs about hard lives away from home and home communities are fundamental as ways of learning modes of behavior and expressing shared feelings about common experiences. These songs may express the thrill of adventure, the loneliness and sorrow of an unsettled and essentially friendless life,, the dangers of travel, longing for security, and the joy of finally reaching a permanent destination and setting down roots again. All of these, of course, are found in Homer's "Odyssey," the supreme distillation of ancient Greek, traveling-man songs. We will here examine Dylan's own songs and his performance repertory in order to trace these same themes.

Added Palaima editorials:
"Closing doors to the future"
"Budget woes and our misguided priorities"
"No more excuses for UT's excesses"
"Key to the present lies in the past"
"Let's make this our 9-28"
"U.S. gun laws allow normal day at UT to take a scary turn"
"Game over: Helping teens deal with violence"
"Redirect UT's resources"
"Obama's rah-rah speech ignored sobering reality"
"Wake-up call on homelessness"

Added Palaima reviews:
A New History of the Peloponnesian War

African American Writers and Classical Tradition


February 6, 2011

Long-time friend of Austin, of Texas, of the United States and the world, Joel Cryer passed away on January 23, 2011 at age 64. Here are his obituaries and text versions of two commentary pieces (from 2001 and 2007) that get across partially who Joel was and why he is missed.

Following the 08/13/07 commentary is the response and discussion that Joel's ever-present strong and quiet and even gentle concern for morality evoked.

February 4, 2011
Added a text-only PDF and HTML copy of a previously scanned Palaima editorial:
"One cruel year and two caring gentlemen"

July 21, 2010

Added Palaima Review of Freedom Is Not Enough: The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Texas (also available as a pdf)

TODO Austin is a free-distribution, full-color, monthly newspaper that focuses on Austin's multicultural community. The August issue is in distribution today.

The articles in this issue, which features a beautiful full color photo of Dylan on its cover, are:

  • Gavin Lance Garcia (editor and publisher), "Living in the Age of Bob Dylan" p. 8
  • Richard Thomas (Harvard University Classics), "Into Exile With Bob Dylan: Rome to the Black Sea" p. 8
  • Kurt Heinzelman (UT Austin English), "Dylan's Turkish Delights" p. 9
  • Tom Palaima (UT Austin Classics), "A Classical Bard Brings It All Back Home" pp. 9-10
For your convenience I attach a pdf that excerpts the pages of writing about Dylan and his music.

The entire issue and back issues can be easily found on the TODO web site.


Added Palaima editorials:
"Capitalizing on socialism's bad name"
"Juneteenth is a reminder of a reality that is still overdue"
"No profiles in courage when it comes to university presidents"

Here you can access a collection of war songs at:

Lyrics for many of these songs with some comments are attached in pdf and .doc versions.

This mp3 has twenty songs of war that I use in my Myths of War and Violence Plan II seminar:

  1. Steve Earle "Rich Man's War" (Iraq, Afghanistan);
  2. Richie Havens, "Handsome Johnny" (historical sweep from Revolutionary War to civil rights movement);
  3. Richie Havens, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Civil War);
  4. Bob Dylan, "John Brown" (unspecified);
  5. Blind Willie Johnson, "When the War Was On" (WW I);
  6. Woody Guthrie, "Sinking of the Reuben James" (WW II);
  7. Perry Como, "Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba) (WW II);
  8. Townes van Zandt, "Ballad of Ira Hayes" (WW II);
  9. Sunnyland Slim, "Back to Korea Bluees" (Korean War);
  10. Bob Dylan & Mark Knopfler, "Clean Cut Kid" studio session (Vietnam War);
  11. Bob Dylan, "Masters of War" Gerdes Feb. 1963 (Cold War period, unspecified);
  12. Bob Dylan, "Masters of War" Berlin 2002 (unspecified);
  13. J.B. Lenoir, "Veitnam (sic) Blues) (Vietnam War);
  14. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Fortunate Son" (Vietnam War period);
  15. Todd Snider, "Fortunate Son";
  16. Johnny Cash, "Drive On" (Vietnam War veterans);
  17. Willie Nelson, "Jimmy's Road" (Vietnam War);
  18. Bruce Springsteen, "Devils and Dust" (Iraq and Afghanistan);
  19. Emily Kaitz, "It's Not Enough to Give Our Love" (general);
  20. Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the USA" (Vietnam veterans).

And here are readings of war poems from Aeschylus to the present (texts in attached pdf):

Readings of War Poems:
(1) passage from Aeschylus' "Agamemnon" (5th c. BCE);
(2) Yehuda Amichai, "The Diameter of the Bomb" (Israel);
(3) Walt Whitman, "I Saw the Vision of Armies" (Civil War);
(4) Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms" (WW I);
(5) Wilfred Owen, "Dulce Et Decorum Est" (WW I);
(6) e.e. cummings, "my sweet old etcetera" (WW I);
(7-8) Robert Graves, "I Hate the Moon" (WW I), "A Dead Boche" (WW I);
(9-12) Siegfried Sassoon, "The Kiss"' (WW I), "The Hero" (WW I), "Enemies" (WW I), "The Tombstone Maker" (WW I);
(13) Randall Jarrell, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" (WW II);
(14) Denise Levertov, "What Were They Like?" (Vietnam War);
(15) Allen Ginsberg, "A Vow" (Vietnam War 1966);
(17) Yusef Komunyakaa,"Facing It" (Vietnam War veteran 1988)

May 16, 2010

Bob Dylan - Our Homer
Recording Date 2010-05-05


This is a studio version of the lecture and the music for the Poetry on the Plaza presentation that I gave on March 1, 2006 at the Humanities Research Center (HRC = Harry Ransom Center, too). It had the title "Bob Dylan: Our Homer".

I discussed and illustrated in recordings, as I repeat here with clear audio, the art of Bob Dylan as an oral poet and songster.

This covers his career from the very early 1960's until 2006.

Dylan and his music are parts of a rich tradition going back to Homer and in the modern period reaching back to the 17th century in folk ballads.

Here I selectively play and discuss mainly live concert recordings and the recordings of singers (Martin Carthy, Charlie Patton, the Stanley Brothers, all the way to Warren Zevon) who inspired Dylan's own songs or were singled out by Dylan himself in his concerts as special.

I hope you enjoy these masterworks and my commentary on them.

On December 1, 2010, I will give a second Poetry on the Plaza on Bob Dylan.

The topic will be "Harmonica Bob: The Ineffable Poetry of Bob Dylan."

In it, I will discuss Dylan's use of harmonica (an instrument that is very important in folk and blues traditions) in order to express meanings and feelings that cannot be said or to emphasize or create a tone for what has been said in sung words.

Dylan Song Poems 1963 through 2009
Recording Date 2010-05-14


Bob Dylan has been 'accused' of abandoning concerns about the ills and problems of society when he made the shift around 1965 from the traditional folk music scene to writing and performing his own at times deeply personal music.

There is also a controversy over whether Dylan's lyrics can stand alone on their own as poetry.

Here I read the lyrics of selected Dylan songs from 1963 right up to the present. I provide minimal commentary aimed a contextualizing more than advancing any arguments.

These song poems include: "Ballad of Hollis Brown," "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," "Señor," "Blind Willie McTell," "Foot of Pride," "What Was It You Wanted," "Love Henry," "Not Dark Yet," "Mississippi," "Ain't Talkin'," and "Forgetful Heart."

All of them reflect Dylan's continuing and keen interest in the human condition, the human spirit and the human heart.


My thanks to Michael Heidenreich and the UT Austin College of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services for producing these audio files in connection with my honors seminars on war and violence and on the history of song as social commentary.

April 20, 2010

In a Talking Heads interview on The Horn, Tom Palaima lists and comments on the major problems with UT sports financially, educationally, ethically and in terms of the true value of competitive sports.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Part 3:

Added Palaima editorials:
"UT administration subverts, silences faculty voice"
"Pre-empted by the war in Iraq"

April 6, 2010

Added Palaima Texas Observer cover story:
"The Golden Football: The University of Texas' Bad Example"

Added Palaima Review of Catching Out: The Secret World of Day Laborers

Added Palaima editorials:
"Athletics' moral, fiscal mismanagement"
"UT's big spenders show little regard for value of money"
"The root of our desires"

February 6, 2010

Added Palaima Review of Unquenchable

January 28, 2010

Added a report on the visit by Ruth Palmer.

Added a report on the visit by Dimitri Nakassis.

Added Palaima editorials:
"Going by the book"
"Surround children with beauty and goodness"
"UT's Byzantine Budget: On $5 million coaches and laid-off lecturers"

Added PDF of Palaima article:
"Continuity from the Mycenaean Period in an Historical Boeotian Cult of Poseidon (and Erinys)," in the Festschrift for Spyros Iakovidis.

Added Palaima Review of Out of Athens: The New Ancient Greeks

Watch Palaima and Lino Graglia debate college football
The transcript of their exchange can be found here.

Also Watch Palaima and Stephen Sonnenberg debate the cultural evolution of war.



PASP 2007