This Online Open House features a welcome return visit with Norman Sandridge, who invites us to think about and discuss the deaths of ancient leaders. What was considered a good way, or a shameful way, for an ancient leader to die, and what meaning is attached to the mode of death?
To prepare for the discussion, you might like to read Suetonius’ account of Julius Caesar’s death. You can find the text online here.
You might also like to find examples from Greek history for comparison, such as in Herodotus, perhaps from the selections in the HeroesX Sourcebook, or think of other examples from antiquity whose deaths you know about.
You can watch in the frame below, or on the CHS YouTube channel.
Mentioned in the discussion:
Death of Cyrus: Xenophon, Cyropaedia, available on Perseus (links to 8.7)
Norman B. Sandridge
Norman B. Sandridge is Associate Professor of Classics at Howard University, and Fellow in Leadership Studies and Greater Washington Outreach at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies. Dr. Sandridge began his academic career with an interest in physics and philosophy, doing research on space plasma and synchronous sonoluminescence. His goal at the beginning of college was to become an astronaut and a cosmologist.
Yet, after a series of inspiring courses in Latin, he became more interested in the humanities and pursued graduate degrees in Greek, Latin, and Classics, with a focus on ethics, the emotions, heroism, and leadership. He wrote a master’s thesis on the theme of redemption in the tragedies of Sophocles (Ajax, Philoctetes, and Oedipus Coloneus) and a dissertation on Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica. In 2010–2011 Dr. Sandridge was a research fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies and remains an ongoing fellow in leadership study and greater Washington outreach. His 2012 book, Loving Humanity, Learning, and Being Honored: The Foundations of Leadership in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus was an exploration of Xenophon’s Theory of Leadership and the extent to which three character traits (philanthropia, philomatheia, and philotimia) could be seen as the basis for all other important leadership traits.
This research on leadership in Xenophon led to a digital humanities project, to create a collaborative online commentary to the Education of Cyrus, called Cyrus’ Paradise. Dr. Sandridge became the co-creator of this site and is currently its principal editor. The pages of this site have been visited over fifty thousand times since 2011; the dozens of contributors have contributed over one-hundred thousand words; and students at many colleges and universities have used it as their primary text for third-semester Greek.
Dr. Sandridge also became interested in the pedagogy of ancient languages and in hybrid- online education through his involvement with Sunoikisis: A National Consortium of Classics Programs. In 2013 he teamed up with Kristina Meinking and Ryan Fowler to develop a curriculum of hybrid-online Greek courses that used the Education of Cyrus for the third semester. In Spring 2014 he taught a collaborative hybrid-online course on Homer’s Iliad with colleagues from Elon University, Sweet Briar College, and the University of Southern Maine.
Image credit: Jean-Léon Gérôme: The Death of Caesar, Creative Commons License, Walters Art Museum