Archive for November 2018

Announcing Pharos’s Onomasticon of Classical Pseudonyms and Avatars

This week Pharos is launching a new initiative: the Onomasticon of Classical Pseudonyms and Avatars. It’s a list of names and images taken from Greco-Roman antiquity and used by those who espouse hateful politics. Many of these are authors who publish under classical names or use classicizing avatars on the sites Pharos documents. Others are people who leave comments on those sites (these are listed at the bottom of the Onomasticon’s list). Some, like “Lysander” or “Carnifex“, are figures who have attracted broader media attention. All of them are attempting to use the prestige of Greco-Roman antiquity to dignify their regressive views. An “onomasticon” is an index of names related to a particular theme; several ancient and medieval examples survive, such as Eusebius’ index of places mentioned in the gospels, or Pollux’s list of words and phrases in the Attic dialect of ancient Greek.  Read More→

The First Year of Pharos

by Curtis Dozier, Director of Pharos

The end of this month will be the one-year anniversary of the launch of Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics. I started the site as an experiment to try to raise awareness of what hate groups were saying about Greco-Roman antiquity online and to create a platform for classical scholars to point out the errors, distortions, and sometimes outright lies that underlie those appropriations. And I had a further goal: to try to articulate politically progressive and inclusive ways of talking about the ancient world as an answer Donna Zuckerberg’s call to “seek better reaesons for studying Classics” than the traditional notion of Greco-Roman antiquity as the “foundation of Western Civilization” that all the hate groups Pharos documents rely on as the bedrock of their admiration of the ancient world.

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White Nationalist celebrates “European” Philosophers

Eurocanadian.ca is a white nationalist site devoted to the “promotion and defense of the ethnic interests of European Canadians.” Pharos previously documented a review on this site of a book arguing that ancient Greek homosexuality is “a myth”, but the site also contains original content about antiquity, such as a ranking of  seventy-five of the “greatest” philosophers entitled “Greatest Philosophers are ALL European Men.” It’s a textbook example of confirmation bias: the author presents the list as a scholarly assessment but is really only interested in “proving” the intellectual and racial superiority of Europeans.

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Mark Antony and Cicero, “great men undone by weakness”

Michael Sebastian is a misogyinst blogger whose site, Honor and Daring, features articles such as “How to turn your wife from a feminist into a traditional woman.”  He has also contributed articles to the misogynist site Return of Kings, such as “Why are so many women sluts?” in which he complains about contraception and Hollywood’s “Pro-Slut Agenda.” Another of his pieces on this site, “Powerful men who were undone by weakness”, presents “the lives of great, or nearly great, men who failed so that we can avoid making the same mistakes.” His examples include the ancient Roman statesmen Cicero and Mark Antony, for whom “failure” turns out to mean sharing power with a woman. It reads like little more than a clichéd interpretation of history until it turns to white supremacy and neo-Fascism.

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