Ye Comical Rhymes of Ancient Times

Read by Mark Purcell: Deputy Director of Research Collections

Charles Ross (1842?-1897)

London, [1873?]

The elasticity of the term ‘ancient’ is demonstrated by these illustrated poems, first published in 1862. The three Graces, Jupiter’s daughters, are recurrent figures in classical literature and art: Thalia (youthful beauty), Euphrosyne (mirth), and Aglaia (elegance). In altering their names, Ross plays on Latin and Greek pronunciation and metrical units familiar to elite schoolboys, and (as throughout the volume) uses blue ink for emphasis. The facing page reveals the casual racism often found alongside references to Greco-Roman antiquity in Victorian popular culture.


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