Personal Statement; the University of Edinburgh; MSc in Classics

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  • Cyrushhz
    University: Shanghai International Studies Univesity
    Nationality: China
    December 25, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Personal Statement; the University of Edinburgh; MSc in Classics

    Pericles’ famous saying “In short, I say as a city we are the school of Hellas” from Thucydides’ The History of Peloponnesian War propelled my study of classics.  The discussion about power, justice, and virtue in that book, as well as other classical works, still provides insights in our era and therefore demands to be valued as a guidance to understand ourselves. The wish to study classical work and enliven them has driven me to further my study in classics in interdisciplinary fields of literature and art, and to apply to the programme “MSc Classics” at the University of Edinburgh.

    During my undergraduate years, I have studied much in classics. The course “Ancient Greek”, which I have taken for four semesters, has enabled me to translate Socrates’ Apology to English. I have taken courses like “Thucydides and the History of the Peloponnesian War” and various reading groups held in school to know well both the overall situation of the ancient world and the profundity of classical texts like Aristotle’s The Politics and Homer’s Iliad. Last year, my essay “Between Citizenship and Kinship: The Justice in Antigone”, which discussed the conversations among Antigone, Creon, Haemon to analyze the conflict in the tragedy, was awarded Jury Prize in the first “Xin Miao” Undergraduate Academic Forum held in SISU.

    Apart from classical texts, I also have a strong interest in Ancient Greek Art. Since last year, I have been a research assistant for the project “Greek Vase Painting” conducted by the World Arthistory Institute (WAI). This project requires me to compare actual vase paintings on Greek potteries with the decoration term-words of them in Beazley Archive Pottery Database (BAPD) so that I can observe the complexities of potteries’ visual presentation using the software Neo4j. These achievements provide a foundation for my future study in the interdisciplinary fields of arts and archaeology.

    My current graduate thesis, which focuses on Ezra Pound’s adaptation of cultural and personal history in Cantos I-III, argues while history is both dominant and mutable, only a few people look beneath mutability and obey its dominance, and the poet himself faces history with calm. Writing this thesis gives me a chance to closely study Book IV of Odyssey, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and their adaptation in the modern era.

    Once I am admitted into the programme, I am eager to undertake my study with Professors Richard Rawles and Judith M. Barringer. I learned from prof. Rawles’ research, Simonides the poet, how the poet tailors the Iliadic presentation of the Trojan war, using it as precedent for the thinking of ‘us vs. them’ in the Persian Wars. Professor Barringer’s Olympia: A Cultural History informs me of the development of Olympia the site and the god’s sanctuary there. In addition, courses like “Classical Greek Sculpture” in the University, along with the event of Edinburgh Art Festival, allow me to appreciate classical works from various perspectives. In return, as a Chinese student, I am willing to hold reading groups at the University, focusing on topics like the comparison between two historical writings, The Histories written by Herodotus and Historical Records written by Si Maqian in Ancient China. Finally, if I am fortunate enough to earn a degree from this program, I will choose to pursue doctoral studies, focusing on the reception of classical art and literature in the modern era.

    December 26, 2021 at 3:37 am

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