Saturday, May 15, 2004

This evening I finished the Book IX of the Iliad, partly while waiting for Annie Franck to pick some black berries, some by her field, and some by the ditch near the ESL class.

So Achilles refused the request of the emissaries, Odysseus, Nestor, and old Phoinix, sent by Agamemnon. Even with all the gifts Agamemnon had promised. Even his own daughter in marriage, on top of the nine best Trojan women after the hoped-for victory.

Languagehat has sought and solved the mystery of why so very many sports teams in the United States. (Anyone from UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand: any teams named Trojans over where y'all live? South Afrika?) By event, it can be traced to a LA Times sports writer, Owen Bird, in 1912. When Warren Bovard, son of the athletics director of University of Southern California, Dr. George Bovard, to help them find another name for the USC team besides "the Methodists."

An alternate explanation is provided in Belle Waring's Crooked Timber, who points out that for many, the Romans are considered the ultimate winners, and secondly, that with Christianity growing so much out of Rome, that the Roman influence, and therefore Trojan bias, is stronger than the Greek. I'm kind of intrigued by the synchronicity of pondering this question and posting it within a week of Ms. Waring. Though it's not really the first time I pondered it. Oh, and make sure to read Ophelia Benson's comment further down in the thread...

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