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University of Iowa News Release

March 27, 2006

UI Classics Professor Gibson Gets $40,000 NEH Fellowship For Translation

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Craig Gibson, a University of Iowa associate professor of classics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a $40,000 fellowship for his translation of a 4th century collection of "preliminary exercises" in Greek prose composition.

The source work, Libanius' Progymnasmata, consists of about 150 model exercises intended to help students in the rhetorical schools learn to write and, eventually, deliver their own speeches. The curriculum proceeded generally from simpler forms of composition, such as fables and narrative, to more complex forms, such as theses and defense of a law. It also provided teachers with an organized, step-by-step method for teaching students the constituent elements of speeches and the techniques needed by professional speakers and writers.

"Libanius' collection represents a significant part of a comprehensive educational system used to train Greek and Roman writers and speakers from the Hellenistic period through late antiquity and the Byzantine era," Gibson said.

The translation is under contract with the Society of Biblical Literature and E.J. Brill for their series, "Writings from the Greco-Roman World." Gibson said it would have special interest to scholars in the history of education, the development of the Classical tradition, ancient law, mythology, gender and sexuality, morality and ethics, and the influence of rhetorical training on reading, writing, declamation and early Christian preaching. 

Gibson holds a Ph.D. in classical studies from Duke University and a B.A. in classics from Rhodes College. His research interests include Greek and Roman oratory and rhetoric, ancient scholarship and Greek literature of the Roman empire. His recent and continuing work focuses on the ancient reception of Demosthenes and later Greek rhetorical education.

His publications include "Learning Greek History In The Ancient Classroom: The Evidence of the Treatises on Progymnasmata," in Classical Philology (2004); and

"The Agenda of Libanius' Hypotheses To Demosthenes," in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies (1999), as well as a book, "Interpreting a Classic: Demosthenes and His Ancient Commentators" (2002), a Joan Palevsky Book in Classical Literature.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen J. Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu