The Eta Sigma Phi Hon­orary Society for Clas­sical Studies is sending two Hillsdale stu­dents to its national con­vention. Wiki­media Commons

The Eta Sigma Phi Hon­orary Society for Clas­sical Studies selects four stu­dents each year to present clas­sical studies research projects at its annual national con­vention. This year, two of those are from Hillsdale.

Senior Katie Hillery and John James ’17 will present their research to fellow Eta Sigma Phi members, faculty advisers, and graduate school pro­fessors at the 90th Eta Sigma Phi Con­vention at Dick­inson College in Carlisle, Penn­syl­vania, from Friday to Sunday.

Hillery and James worked with classics pro­fessors Laurie Ward and Joseph Gar­njobst, who assisted in both the research and editing processes.

Hillery researched an image of Her­cules from the Via Latina Cat­acomb in Rome. In her paper, Hillery  explored the complex con­nection between paganism and Chris­tianity por­trayed in the image from a his­torical per­spective.

“This image shows the par­allel themes between the leg­endary figure of Her­cules and what Christ rep­re­sents — being trained in virtue and enduring suf­fering,” Hillery said. “Those aspects of the myth of Her­cules are also ful­filled by the figure of Christ.”

According to Hillery, these common themes suggest a harmony between pagan and Christian culture.

“The con­vention will be a good oppor­tunity for me to network and meet pro­fes­sionals and scholars,” Hillery said. “It will be nice to get con­nected within the classics com­munity.”

Hillery plans to double major in history and classics. After grad­u­ation, she plans on studying clas­sical arche­ology, history, and classics and even­tually work in curation for a museum.

James researched the Gorgias, a pre-Pla­tonic speaker. Before Plato coined the term “rhetor,” Gorgias’ peers labeled him as a sophist. The term later developed a neg­ative con­no­tation— they are typ­i­cally viewed as indi­viduals who learned to speak against philoso­phers and win argument without nec­es­sarily arriving at truth. In his research, James found that “rhetor” better defines Gorgias.

“I am excited to present this research,” James said. “I am also inter­ested in dis­cussing the ques­tions I’ll receive and talking about it with people.”

James earned a Bachelor of Arts in classics while studying at Hillsdale.

Gar­njobst has taken stu­dents to the Eta Sigma Phi National Con­vention since 1998. In the past 10 years, 18 Hillsdale stu­dents have been selected to present their research at the con­vention. Gar­njobst cur­rently serves as trustee for Eta Sigma Phi, and Ward serves as the faculty advisor for Hillsdale’s chapter of Eta Sigma Phi.

“This is a major asset for our stu­dents,” Ward said. “Any time you get to revise papers and work on public speaking and pre­sen­tation skills, you benefit from that.”