Toga! Toga! Toga!
On Saturday, April 19, the William Smith Circle will be transformed into an ancient Greek arena for the first annual Classics Festival, hosted by Eta Sigma Phi (the Classics Honors Society) and ITF. With activities including a toga competition, Olympic-style games, and an ancient warfare “reenactment,” the festival promises to revitalize an interest in the Classics that was more visible in the Colleges' history.
“Some people argue that there are more important things to worry about right now than what happened 2,500 years ago,” explains Marilyn Cassedy '08, Eta Sigma Phi member and organizer of the event. “But given the cyclical nature of history, the most meaningful way to gain perspective on the present is through our past.”
Festivities will commence at noon on William Smith Hill, with opening ceremonies and a contest for “Best Toga” (be creative!) with awards to follow. At 12:30, there will be an Olympic-style competition-featuring individual running, team running, and a discus throw-which will also be followed by an awards ceremony.
At 2 p.m., festivities will move to Smith Green for the Phalanx Push-off (that's right, Phalanx Push-Off), the highlight of the afternoon. The Phalanx, first used in Ancient Greece around 700 B.C., is a military formation which consists of a column of warriors armed with round shields in one hand and spears in the other. Behind these warriors are additional columns lined up in similar fashion. When the opposing phalanxes were ready, they would march forward until their shields met, whereupon they would push for their lives. The side that broke ranks first lost, and the victorious side got to erect a trophy made up of the armor left behind by the losers.
Saturday's Phalanx Push-Off will consist of a series of phalanx pushes (sans spears or high speed collisions, of course), with the winning sides erecting their own trophies. If you've ever wanted to see what the Peloponnesian War looked like, now is your chance!
If interested in participating in this historic event, e-mail Andrew Wilson '09 (Andrew.Wilson@hws.edu) to sign up a team of 8 – 12, and come wearing your best toga. For information about the Olympic-style games, e-mail Marilyn Cassedy '08 (Marilyn.Cassedy@hws.edu). Or, just come watch the fun!
To learn more about the event, or to RSVP, visit the Facebook page.