(left to right) Sarah Harrison, Matt Liscovitz and Cole Fiedler-Kawaguchi play three generals in ancient Greece in their short film about a disastrous military maneuver known as the Sicilian Expedition.
And the Winner is ...
Creativity is the rule in the course “Culture and Crisis in the Golden Age of Athens,” co-taught by professors Bret Mulligan and Robert Germany. In addition to lectures, students get to see live performances of ancient Greek dramas. Instead of writing a paper, students have the option of making web pages or video reenactments illustrating aspects of Athenian daily life they have researched. And, in the final weeks of the class, they each create a historically accurate biography for a real or fictional Athenian. This biography becomes the basis for the persona they will take on during a lively classroom simulation of the debate that roiled Athens after the Peloponnesian War.
All that innovation inspired students Sarah Harrison, Cole Fiedler-Kawaguchi and Matt Liscovitz to team up for an ambitious final project: a short film about a disastrous Athenian military maneuver known as the Sicilian Expedition. Their efforts were recently rewarded with a Terence Award for Excellence in Classics Student Filmmaking. The trio won “Best Picture—University Category” for the film, shot on the Haverford campus, in which they take on the roles of Lamachus, Nicias and Alcibiadis, the three generals appointed to lead the Sicilian Expedition, which was doomed by discord and political infighting.
“The goal was to capture the essence of the expedition’s failings [and] the inherent incompatibility of a democratic method in the middle of a war or similar crisis,” said the student filmmakers in a statement about their work, titled Panic! The Sicilian Misadventure. “Unfortunately, times of crisis demand expediency, one thing democracy is not known for.”
The Terence Awards competition is sponsored by the American Classical League, a national organization dedicated to the teaching of Classics, and Bolchazy-Carducci Press, one of the most prominent publishers of Classical texts. The students each won a copy of Terence’s play, The Phormio, and will split a small cash prize.