Most recent update:3/1/2004; 6:09:17 AM

 Thursday, February 05, 2004

REVIEW: Locrian Maidens

It's not so much a review as the University of Chicago Chronicle promoting the work of 'one of its own' but interesting nonetheless:

Many believe the classical tradition is a source of what is right with society: Western civilization began in Athens. But others would say the Greeks enshrined the inequality of men and women, making the classical tradition a source of what is wrong with society. In his new book, The Locrian Maidens: Love and Death in Greek Italy, James Redfield challenges both of these views.

Greeks outside of Athens, he said, knew other ways to reconcile the differences between the sexes. Thus, Redfield may have discovered a different classical tradition.

Redfield said a fixation on Athens has distorted society’s understanding of the classical tradition. If Athens celebrated the individual—at least in contrast to the conformist Sparta—it also was warlike, embraced power, and was based in part on the repression and political disenfranchisement of women, for which Athenians were not without anxiety. In fact, the Athenians may have invented the Woman Question, Redfield said. It was when Redfield came across the Greek colony of Locri in Italy that he found a different point of view on how Greeks handled sex differences.

When Redfield, the Edward Olson Distinguished Service Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures and the College, first realized there was something special about the Locrians, it was not from some social theory but from being spellbound by the beauty of their art. Coming across the bronzes and terra cottas in the National Museum in Reggio Calabria, Redfield said the figures radiated what he would describe as “disciplined sensuality,” deeply unlike other Greek art. These people, he thought, must have had something special, and he spent the next 25 years looking for it. [more]

7:16:25 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

REVIEW: Pig Latin?

Just as I'm about to shut down the laptop and get ready for work, the following review of Paul Shipton, The Pig Scrolls squeals across the screen:

Author Paul Shipton warns us at the outset of his (sort of) Greek-style epic that though every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of the material, the Great Library of Alexandria was closed on the Tuesday afternoon he tried to go there. (Err, actually, it's been closed 24/7 since before Christ was born, so our author was about two millennia too late.)

Without the guidance of the great tomes of Alexandria, what Shipton gives us is the product of an overactive imagination -- the tallest pig tale of them all.

So move aside, Odysseus! Out of the way, Achilles! Gryllus is here! And Gryllus is a pig. Yes, you read that correctly. He's a talking pig with a profound distaste for poetic convention. The invocation of this prose epic doesn't call upon the Greek muses for inspiration. "If the Muses don't like it, they can lump it," he grunts.

If there's one thing Gryllus hates more than poetry or pork chops, it's adventure. He'd rather keep his snout in the mud, thank you. In fact, he was no pig to begin with -- he was a garlic-peeler in Odysseus' army. But while returning from the Trojan War, he got turned into a pig by the goddess Circe and liked pighood so much, he decided to stay that way.

But even though Gryllus tries running as fast as his trotters will take him (which isn't fast enough), adventure catches up with him in the form of a young priestess called Sibyl. She's heard that the end of the world is nigh, and -- glory be -- only a smartypants talking pig can save things now.

Together, reluctant pig and driven priestess embark on an epic journey, picking up a motley crew along the way: a naked goatherd who speaks only in unintelligible monosyllables, a budding poet called Homer (rings a bell?) and the world's first scientist who's trying to split the atom (we know how this one ends, don't we?).  [more]

Looks like fun ... aimed at kiddies 12 and up

5:43:31 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


nonae februariae

5:36:58 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

BLOGWATCH: @ Ancient/Classical History

N.S. Gill has had a number of interesting items of late ... a review of Lindsey Davis' The Accusers ... coverage of some articles dealing with Greek archaeology and the Olympics (already seen here, but worth mentioning again in case you missed them) ... some coverage of the Mel Gibson Passion thing ... and more ...

5:26:16 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

BLOGWATCH: @ Suite 101 Ancient Biographies

Robert Greaves continues his biography of Cicero with a look at the period from Cicero's governorship to his murder.

5:19:54 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

BLOGWATCH: @Suite 101 Ancient Rome

Ling Ouyang has continued a series on the conflicts between Marius and Sulla. There have been two installments since I last mentioned this site, one dealing with the period 100-88 B.C./B.C.E. and the other with 88-83 B.C./B.C.E.

5:17:11 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

NUNTII: Mt. Athos Fleet

Here are a few more details on the discovery of what appears to be the Persian fleet wrecked off Mt. Athos:

An international research team including a University of Colorado at Boulder professor has mounted a deep-water search off the northern coast of Greece in search of a fleet of Persian warships presumed lost in a massive ocean storm in 492 B.C.

The armada of warships is believed to have been sent by Persian King Darius to invade Greece, according to ancient historical accounts. The research team included more than a dozen Greek, Canadian, American and Finnish scholars.

The project is being conducted in the seas off the Mt. Athos peninsula. "This survey is the first one where scholars have searched for fleets of ancient ships using an historical source--in this case the writings of Herodotus," said CU-Boulder History Professor Hohlfelder, a senior maritime archaeologist on the project.

Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived from 485 to 430 B.C., is often called "The Father of History." His extensive writings include a report that in 492 B.C., nearly 300 ships and more than 20,000 men perished in a severe storm off Mt. Athos.

The event was said to cause Persian King Xerxes to cut a canal through the narrowest part of Mt. Athos prior to his 480 B.C. invasion of Greece to avoid the need to round the peninsula in the Aegean Sea, said Hohlfelder.

The team used sonar from the R/V Aegaeo ship of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, the manned Thetis submersible submarine and a remotely operated vehicle known as the Achilles for two weeks last October, said Hohlfelder. But ironically, it was an octopus that proved perhaps the most useful detector.

"We were a high-tech operation, but our most useful research tool turned out to be the octopuses that lived in these waters," said Hohlfelder. One octopus living in a ceramic pot 300 feet down had dragged broken pieces of pottery, stones and a bronze spear point with part of the wooden shaft still intact into the entrance of its home.

"Happily for marine archaeologists, these animals love to collect antiquities and pull them into their homes. "Very often the first clue that a shipwreck is nearby is a pile of artifacts collected by these wonderful creatures with an antiquarian's passion for old things."

The researchers hypothesize a vessel likely sunk there and landed on a deep shelf, spilling cargo. The site was chosen for the first survey by the team after two local fishermen raised two Greek bronze helmets from the area in 1999.

The bronze point tentatively has been identified as a "sauroter," a bronze spike at the end of a spear. It served as a counterweight and also allowed the shaft to be stuck in the ground when in was not in use. "It could be used as a weapon of last resort if the shaft with the iron point had broken or was lost during combat," he said.

The researchers were able to get a close-up view of the spear butt-spike with the remotely operated vehicle, or ROV. As soon as it was determined to be metal, the ROV moved into position and a mechanical arm equipped with a claw grasped onto it and the vehicle began a slow descent to the surface, Hohlfelder said.

The sauroter and the helmets found in the same area probably mark a warship in distress. "It may well have smashed into the rocky coast of Athos at Cape Fornias, spilling its contents onto a sandy shelf that sloped down to about 300 feet." Since the shelf ends abruptly and drops off into water up to 2,000 feet deep, Hohlfelder believes the rest of the ship's contents and perhaps the hull might rest there.

The team plans to add an autonomous underwater vehicle to its fleet -- built by a team member from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution -- as well as a tow-sled with cameras and recording instruments that will be designed and built at Woods Hole in spring 2004. The next expedition is slated for June 2004, said Hohlfelder.

"Doing archaeology in such deep water is a tremendous breakthrough for researchers," he said. "In a sense it is like the two Mars rovers now searching uncharted territory in space. Arguably, our survey holds the potential to be the most important underwater archaeology project ever attempted with the promise of providing unique information about the maritime life of antiquity." [more ... including a couple of photos]

5:04:51 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Seven Wonders of the World: Wonders of the East

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Foot Soldier: The Romans
Host Richard Karn looks at the Roman legionnaires, who conquered and
dominated most of the known world for 500 years, and left behind a
legacy of language, culture, architecture, and government.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HINT = History International

4:30:37 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Click for Athens, Greece Forecast

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

Site Meter