Most recent update:6/1/2004; 5:08:42 AM

 Sunday, May 09, 2004

NUNTII: Electronic Publication and the Classics Profession

The APA has updated its Professional Matters pages, including a page with the papers from a panel at the 2004 annual meeting devoted to the above subject. Here are the individual papers:

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The ACLS History E-Book Project: “Electronic Publication: The State of the Question”

Peter Suber, Earlham College “Promoting Open Access in the Humanities”

Jeff Rydberg-Cox, University of Missouri-Kansas City: “Electronic Publication and Academic Credentialing”

David Whitehead, Queen's University, Belfast: Response

Ross Scaife, University of Kentucky: Response

There are several interesting comments in these ... I'll be posting some of my own comments in the near future (I've got a stack of marking to get through first).

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PAPER: Writing in the Greco-Roman World

The Philo of Alexandria blog points us to this paper at the SBL site:

Ronald F. Hock, Writing in the Greco-Roman World

Here's the incipit:

The skills and techniques that are necessary to be able to write any number of genres are taught in every educational system. Education in the Greco-Roman world was no different, though perhaps it did so with a rigor and thoroughness that would surprise those who are familiar only with current methods of teaching writing. Writing was also central to Greco-Roman education, at least in the latter stages of the curricular sequence. Just when and how writing was taught will be the burden of the following discussion of Greco-Roman education.

Greco-Roman education arose after the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C.E. and indeed in response to them. The various Hellenistic monarchies that arose after his death to rule the vast territories conquered by him needed to be ruled by Greek speaking and writing administrators. By the early third century there arose a three-stage curricular sequence — primary, secondary, and tertiary — that emphasized an intimate knowledge of poetry, especially Homer, and culminated in a profound sophistication in writing and delivering the three basic kinds of public speeches — advisory, judicial, and celebratory. [1] This system of education persisted largely unchanged century after century despite the rise of Rome and later of Christianity and ended only with the rise of industrialism, with its need of scientists and engineers more than literate and rhetorically trained leaders. [more]

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here we go again ...
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Issue 7.02 of Explorator has been posted ...

... as has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ...


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CHATTER: On the Popularity of Sword and Sandal Flicks

NPR's Weekend Edition has a segment on the above subject which focusses primarily on how such films are a metaphor for the 'state of the nation' of the USA. A bit of an updated on the Vin Diesel Hannibal flick and mention of a Socrates flick towards the end.  Worth a listen (click on Weekend Edition Saturday Audio to choose your preferred audio format).

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CHATTER: Whither War?

The Miami Herald has a piece pondering the way Hollywood depicts war, which, of course, includes some references to the upcoming Troy flick inter alia:

Today, Hollywood war movies, if they're not pre-Vietnam historical dramas a la Pearl Harbor or Saving Private Ryan, are mostly all about awe and grandeur and adventure -- about far-flung lands, ancient history, mythological creatures and fantastic realms. Escapism is the primary objective: Only from a safe distance do the movies dare to make a connection -- metaphorical or otherwise -- to present-day events.

Take, for example, Troy, the $200 million re-imagining of Homer's The Iliad that opens Friday. In the movie, the characters ruminate on the nature of war using platitudes as old as Homer himself. When Achilles (Brad Pitt) says, ''Imagine a king who fights his own battles; wouldn't that be a sight?'' or Odysseus (Sean Bean) observes, ''War is young men dying and old men talking,'' their words could apply to any war ever waged in any corner of the world.

Troy's real draw is its oversized, magnificent spectacles: a thousand Greek ships crossing a glittering sea to converge on Troy, the Trojan Horse being pulled into the walled city, vast armies running and hacking at each other on a sandy field, a horizon dotted with armor-clad soldiers sporting swords and shields.

In Troy -- as in The Return of the King and Gladiator and Braveheart, Best Picture Oscar winners all -- politics are clear-cut, objectives easily discerned, and moral ambiguity practically nonexistent. Troy doesn't have any traditional bad guys: Even the lovers Paris (Orlando Bloom) and Helen (Diane Kruger) are racked by guilt over the consequences of their adulterous affair. The only real villains are human greed and arrogance, and anyone who succumbs to them gets their comeuppance by film's end.

It is that kind of black-and-white simplicity that makes fictional and ancient wars so appealing to filmmakers today.

''I think audiences have a longing for a world that's a little bit clearer -- a world where it's easier to understand the forces at work -- which is why we feel comfortable watching these movies,'' says Wolfgang Petersen, who directed Troy. ``Even though the violence was just as extreme back then as it is today, there were a different set of rules -- rules of engagement and conduct -- that are not clear anymore. War is a gray area now: It's unclear and chaotic; it has no ethics behind it.

``In Troy, the clarity of the war is very simple: There's this army and that army, and you know exactly what each of them wants and why. That allows you, as a storyteller, to concentrate on the complexity of the individual characters. These are people who are willing to fight for honor and even die for it, so the audience looks up to them. They're not like the wishy-washy politicians who weasel around today, dividing the world into good guys and bad guys for their own agendas. We don't trust them anymore, because we know the world is more complex than that.''


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CHATTER: More Troy Coverage

The New York Times has an excellent (p)review of the Troy flick today, which includes some comparanda in regards to previous celluloid versions of the story:

In "The Trojan Horse," Giorgio Ferroni's 1962 English-dubbed, spaghetti-epic version of the story (featuring Steve Reeves, as Aeneas, in one of his countless classical beefcake roles), Helen is Edy Vessel, who plays her, not very convincingly, as a pouty, smoldering sexpot. In "Helen of Troy," which was made in 1955, back in the heyday of the lavish, pageantlike Hollywood epic, the Italian actress Rossana Podesta plays the title role in larger-than-life screen-goddess style. She, too, is not very convincing, but her airbrushed unworldliness is a reminder that Helen, like Achilles, is not entirely human. (She was hatched from an egg after Zeus, in swan guise, impregnated her mother.) Ms. Kruger was cast, presumably, because she's more natural-looking, but the story nevertheless calls for her and Paris (Orlando Bloom) to conduct their affair very much in the 50's tradition — as helpless, star-crossed lovers caught up in something bigger than both of them. The movie even includes a scene in which they fantasize about going off somewhere by themselves, without palaces and servants, to live off the land. It could have been lifted from the one between Ms. Podesta and her Paris, the Troy Donahue look-alike Jake Sernas. [more]

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NUNTII: Akropolis World News

The latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek) include:

The role of Finland in World War II (3rd part)
The role of Finland in World War II (2nd part)
The role of Finland in World War II (1st part)

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NUNTII: Nuntii Latini

The latest headlines from YLE's Nuntii Latini:

Captivi Iraquiani humiliati (7.5.2004)

Auxilium Coreanis datum (7.5.2004)

Electrogrammata nugatoria (7.5.2004)

Facultas competendi oeconomica (7.5.2004)

Mona Lisa detrimenta accepit (7.5.2004)

Unio Europaea amplificatur (30.4.2004)

Audi ...

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AWOTV: On TV Today

 7.00 p.m. |HINT| Greece: A Moment of Excellence   
Journey back to Athens, where the world's first democracy took seed,
as Pericles ushered in a Golden Age of unparalleled learning in
philosophy, architecture, science, art, and drama, when small city-
states in Greece rose from obscurity to ignite one of the most
spectacular explosions of cultural achievement in Western
Civilization's history. Learn why, the modern world still clings to
the ideals of Ancient Greece for intellectual and aesthetic
inspiration. Sam Waterston narrates.

HINT = History International

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Click for Athens, Greece Forecast

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

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