Most recent update:3/1/2004; 6:11:33 AM


 Friday, February 20, 2004

NUNTII: Restoring the Forum????

Yikes. From the BBC:

A 78-year-old Italian professor of architecture, Carlo Aymonino, has been entrusted by the city's mayor with redesigning the area around the Roman forum - once dominated by a soaring, white marble temple.
 
Part of the professor's plan is to restore the ancient Coliseum

His plan is to do away with the modern road leading to the Coliseum, the ancient Roman amphitheatre where gladiators once fought wild animals - and each other - to entertain the crowds.

The modern road, built by Mussolini, covers many important ruins.

Professor Aymonino also proposes to fill in the missing part of the outer wall of the Coliseum with red brick.

He wants to clean out the weeds and the rubble nearby and to reconstruct part of the temple of Jupiter - which formed the heart of ancient Rome - adding a transparent dome amid the ruins. [more]

Maybe forced retirement at 65 isn't such a bad idea sometimes ....


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CHATTER: Roman Bottled Water

One of those 'in passing' things from the Daily Star (Lebanon) ... since we've pushed some Classically-inspired wine and beer in these pages, it seems worthwhile to also include water:

Nestlé, the worldís largest food and beverage company, took journalists on a tour of the Sohat water bottling factory as part of a publicity campaign celebrating 70 years of operating in the Middle East.
Originally a majority Lebanese-owned company, Sohat had once been one of the most popular brands of bottled water exported across the region. The Sohat factory, which draws from a Roman-era well, was constructed in 1971 with Vittel owning a 25 percent share.


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THIS DAY IN ANCIENT HISTORY

ante diem x kalendas martias

  • Parentalia (Day 8)
  • 116 A.D. -- Trajan is given the title "Parthicus" by the senate for his victories against the Parthians

5:31:36 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


CHATTER: Alrighty Then ...

I'm still trying to make sense out of this one ... it might be performance art, it might be dinner theatre, it might be comedy, it might be a concert, it might be all of them. Inter alia, though, the 'thing' in New Orleans includes this:

The Art a la Carte dinner was the brainchild of artist Heather Weathers, known for her mostly nude performances, in which she stamps sheets of paper with her paint-smeared buttocks or models a bikini made of flank steak. Chef K. J. Smith provided the Roman-inspired fare. David Rex Joyner's sketchy abstract paintings that lined the gallery walls glowed elegantly in the dim light.

The first course, a mushroom salad, was accompanied by the well-rehearsed riffing of comedian Fayard Lindsey. The pork chop and risotto main course was served during an incomprehensible, though mercifully short, performance by Michele Boulet in which scraps of paper were doused with brandy and burned in an aluminum Dutch oven while someone pounded a conga drum. Trista Douglass' charmingly bohemian though way-way-too-long play followed over dessert. The evening ended with coffee and a driving rock 'n' roll set by Maximus, a more-than-competent trio, dressed in Belushi-inspired wine-stained togas and plastic laurel wreaths. The self-effacing band passed out ear plugs before their performance.

When the drummer stuck a drumstick up his nose, somewhere Caligula smiled.

Your guess is as good (or better) than mine ... perhaps the whole article will make things more clear, but I doubt it.


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CHATTER: English "not a close sister to Latin"

Oh oh ... looks like we've got a custody battle on our hands. According to a lengthy piece in the Dover-Sherborne Press:

Roughly two dozen linguaphiles took up at the local bochorde - the Old English word for library - to hear Heather Littlefield track the history of the English language from its reconstructed roots to its latter-day spoken dialects.

Littlefield started with a vow not to put the audience to sleep, and like a true post-collegiate showing, the audience at the Sherborn Library last Thursday continued to feed Littlefield with questions and observations well beyond the figurative bell had rung.

Littlefield is professor of linguistics at Northeastern University. She is also attending Boston University to complete her doctorate dissertation in linguistics.

Like a family tree, modern English is the result of branching and different development trends. At the top of the English language family tree is the Proto-Indo-European language. Based on similarities between structures and pronunciations, Proto-Indo-European (P-I-E) is a grouping of 10 sister languages, each of which diverged in separate directions.

Of the more than 5,000 languages in the world, said Littlefield, 140 are of Proto-European descent; about 50 percent of the world's population speaks a Proto-European language.

Against a popular misconception, Littlefield argued that English comes from Germanic roots, not Latinate. English is not a close sister to Latin, she said, it is part of the Germanic family.

The P-I-E language was discovered and constructed through the efforts of two early 19th-century linguists: the Brothers Grimm. Frustrated by the polished language they heard when inquiring about dialects, the brothers began asking people to tell them fairytales or bedtime stories. When the brothers had finished their research, they had not only collected a vast amount of fairytales, but they also developed a phonetic rule for tracing languages.

By tracing back different nine different consonant sets, the Brothers Grimm determined the first main shift where Germanic tongues become distinct from differently developing Latin tongues, said Littlefield.

Old English first became distinct in 449 A.D. as a played-out result of wars and occupations. Emperor Claudius extended the Roman Empire to southern England. The Romans took over the majority of what became England, and put up Hadrian's Wall to keep the Picts and Scots at bay. [more]

I'd love to hear a rather more elaborate argument about the Latin claims made -- I'm not sure myself that anyone would claim sisterhood, so this becomes a bit of a 'straw woman' ab initio, no? Cousin seems more reasonable ... In passing, it's interesting to note  that Littlefield's specialty appears to be African linguistics ....


5:14:28 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


REVIEW: Trojan Women

Not favourable ... from the Scotsman:

ITíS A powerful idea that drives this new version of Euripidesí Trojan Women, adapted by leading Nigerian writer Femi Osofisan, and playing at the Traverse until Saturday. Set in Nigeria in 1821, it places the action of Euripidesí 2,100-year-old drama outside the walls of the vanquished city of Owu, where the queen, Erelu Afin, mourns with her women over the death of their sons and husbands, and over their own humiliating fate of slavery and sexual servitude.

Itís a concept that should draw both on the power of the original play, and on the experience of African women over the last three centuries, to conjure up an unforgettable sense of womenís suffering in war; and Osofisanís text, specially commissioned by Chipping Norton Theatre for Chuck Mikeís international company Collective Artistes, is full of deliberate echoes of the language of the recent Iraqi campaign, as the women curse those who have attacked and taken their city.

But somehow, itís as if in trying too earnestly to universalise Euripidesí story, this version falls into a vacuum between different cultures and experiences, and ends up seeming distanced from them all. [more]

 


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AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |DTC| Vesuvius: Deadly Fury
In 79 AD, eruptions from Mount Vesuvius buried the city of Pompeii.
A burning wave of gas shot out from the side of Vesuvius killing the
inhabitants of neighboring Herculaneum in just four minutes.
Archaeologists look to these bodies for historical clues.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| The Myth of Cleopatra
Journey through Egypt, Greece, and Italy as we search for the real
woman behind the myth of Cleopatra VII, the last Egyptian queen.
Drawing on archaeology and ancient texts, we see how the historical
ruler squares with modern depiction. A consummate politician, she was
faithful to both Caesar and Antony, but foremost Egypt!

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Lost City of Pompeii: Secrets of the Dead
Journey to the playground of the Roman aristocracy, Herculaneum.
Buried by the same volcanic eruption that leveled Pompeii, this city
of luxurious villas, magnificent arcades and extensive library
collections holds clues to the Roman's riches.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel (US)

HINT = History International


4:44:08 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Click for Athens, Greece Forecast

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

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