Congratulations to Georgia Irby who has won the very prestigious Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship. The grant supports her translation and commentary of Pomponius Mela, who was a courtier of emperor Claudius in the first century CE.
Mela’s text is a three-book description of the world's layout, which he claims is "an entangled task and very little fit for eloquence" since it "consists in the names of nearly all peoples and places and in their especially intertwined order.” In addition to the endless lists of toponyms, hydronyms, and ethnonyms, Mela occasionally digresses into ethnography, paradoxography, and mythology.
Professor Irby is producing a translation faithful to the Latin to give the reader a real taste of Mela's style. With the commentary, she is highlighting Mela's sources of information (Herodotus, Sallust, and Caesar, among others) and his stylistic influences, including Vergil, Ovid, Livy, and Horace. She is also trying to include one interesting or quirky thing about each place – the sort of information that Mela would want his readers to know or the bizarre details that would have delighted Mela. She is also keying the commentary to the Barrington's Atlas and hoping to make Mela’s location on the map very clear to the reader at any given time.