Hamilton, Richard 1943-
HAMILTON, Richard 1943-
CAREER: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, began as assistant professor, became associate professor, 1971-88, Paul Shorey Professor of Greek, 1988—. Founder, "Bryn Mawr Commentaries" series.
MEMBER: American Philological Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities senior fellow, 1994.
Epinikion: General Form in the Odes of Pindar, Mouton (The Hague, Netherlands), 1974.
The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1989.
Treasure Map: A Guide to the Delian Inventories, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2000.
Also annotator of numerous texts in "Bryn Mawr Commentaries" series of texts in Greek and Latin.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Hamilton, a scholar of ancient Greek literature at Bryn Mawr College with specialties in Greek literature, religion, and iconography, has published a number of interpretations of the works of the lyric poets Pindar and Hesiod as well as studies of Greek vase art and inventories of gifts to the Greek gods. He is also the founder of the "Bryn Mawr Commentaries" series, which publishes intermediate texts in both Greek and Latin with annotations.
In The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry Hamilton focuses on Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days, which have long intrigued scholars who like a riddle. As he states in The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, Hamilton set out to investigate "the poorly understood parts of each poem, the digressions of the Theogony and the second half of the Works and Days, to see how they contribute to the form of the whole." After reviewing the interpretations of previous scholars, particularly those of M. L. West, Hamilton launched into his own close reading and discussion of the poems, particularly their narrative structure.
Reviewing The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry in Religious Studies Review, Jon Solomon felt that "the book will be difficult for the Greekless reader." More positive was the assessment of Minna Skafte Jensen, writing in Classical Review, who called the work a "sober, serious" study, one that takes "into proper account earlier theories and recapitulat[es] them loyally." Jensen also remarked, however, that Hamilton's method of analysis "clearly rings of New Criticism," yet it does not meet the expectations of that critical method. "Important terms (such as digression, extension, structural device and distinctive repetition) are defined loosely or not all," Jensen reported. "These inconsistencies are serious flaws in an otherwise imaginative and attractive whole," she concluded.
In Choes and Anthesteria: Athenian Iconography and Ritual Hamilton studies the most important Athenian festival through its representation on vases. For Brian P. Sparkes, writing in Joint Association of Classical Teachers Review, Hamilton manages to forge meaning out of minutiae: He "has made what had always seemed to be intractable data intelligible, and has carried out a painstaking study that will be used as a reference book for anyone studying the workings of the religious machinery on Delos and elsewhere."
In Treasure Map: A Guide to the Delian Inventories Hamilton takes a look at the gifts Greeks offered to their gods through a careful examination of marble inscriptions of such "inventories" on the sacred island of Delos. The Athenians began making such inscriptions as early as the fourth century B.C.E., and over the millennia they became badly damaged. Hamilton's is the first English translation of these inventories of goods in this religious precinct; he also details such specifics as how the goods were weighed and listed, and how daily life was lived on the island. As such, Treasure Map provides a resource for researchers on Greek history, religion, politics, and economics.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Hamilton, Richard, The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1989.
American Journal of Archaeology, July, 1993, Mark W. Padilla, review of Choes and Anthesteria: Athenian Iconography and Ritual, p. 578.
Classical Philology, January, 1991, Robert Mondi, review of The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, p. 64; October, 1994, T. H. Carpenter, review of Choes and Anthesteria, p. 372.
Classical Review, Volume 40, issue 2, 1990, Minna Skafte Jensen, review of The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, pp. 213-214.
Classical World, May, 1991, p. 406.
Greece and Rome, October, 1990, N. Hopkinson, review of The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, p. 232.
Joint Association of Classical Teachers Review, summer, 2001, Brian P. Sparkes, review of Choes and Anthesteria.
Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume 116, 1996, B. A. Sparkes, review of Choes and Anthesteria, p. 220.
Mnemosyne, November, 1993, W. Kassies, review of The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, p. 549.
Religious Studies Review, January, 1991, Jon Solomon, review of The Architecture of Hesiodic Poetry, p. 63.
Bryn Mawr Graduate Group in Archaeology, Classics and History of Art Web site,http://www.brynmawr.edu/ (August 9, 2004), "Richard Hamilton."
University of Michigan Press Web site,http://www.press.umich.edu/ (August 9, 2004).*