Most recent update:6/1/2004; 5:09:03 AM

 Tuesday, May 25, 2004

ante diem viii kalendas junias

5:37:53 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

NUNTII: Another Blog

Hypotyposeis alerts us to the existence of the Laudator Temporis Acti blog by Michael Gilleland, which seems to have been around for a week or so. There are some interesting posts under the rubrics Progress (which takes an excerpt from Juvenal as a point of departure), Eugenics (which cites Herodotus via Bowra), Thoreau on the Study of Classics, and others. Worth a visit!
5:33:07 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

REVIEW: From the Review of Biblical Literature

Whealey, Alice, Josephus on Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum Controversy from Late Antiquity to Modern Times

5:24:36 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Classical (and Pre-Classical) Costumes

A Reuters piece reveals who is behind the costumes of some of our recent epic portrayals of the ancient world:

The embroidered robes in "Troy," the props and flags in Oliver Stone's "Alexander the Great," the intricate embroidery on the 400-meter stage curtain in the upcoming "The Phantom of the Opera" -- all came from Rangarsons, a family-run business located in New Delhi's central business district.

Paramjit Singh Rana and his son Manjot say they got their start as a "peculiar" business, supplying military ceremonial products, accoutrements and musical instruments to the Indian army. For nearly 50 years they have supplied products to various overseas buyers, from the Tanzanian army to the Canadian police and the Queen of England's own guards.

But their Hollywood break came with Richard Attenborough's 1982 epic "Gandhi," when one of the film's costume designers, John Mollo, walked into Rangarsons while on a scouting mission.

"John saw the various products on display and realised he could source all the costumes and props for the British army in the film," Manjot recalls.

That break led to more work throughout the decade, when a spate of productions with colonial backdrops were filmed in India.

The Rangarsons have recently graduated into Hollywood's big league, thanks to their work for Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" under the supervision of set decorator Crispin Sallis. The ornate embroidery on banners, flags and curtains and the valances in the arena fight sequences were a major production.

"We sent a flag design, and Ridley Scott liked it so much he ordered 500 pieces," Paramjit says.[more]

5:15:05 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

NUNTII: The Battle for Latin in Scotland Redux

The battle to save Latin and/or Classics in Scotland's schools continues:

A SENIOR classics teacher accused the Scottish Executive last night of lacking "the political will" to save the subject.

Alan Milligan, the principal teacher of classics at the High School of Glasgow, said ministers should be doing more to increase the popularity of Latin and Greek.

He spoke out in the wake of a decision made by Strathclyde University to suspend the only classics teacher-training course in Scotland this summer.

The Scottish Executive has instructed the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council to order institutions to run classics teacher-training courses only if there is a clear need for staff at local authority or private schools.

Ministers say there is little point in training teachers and funding their probationary year in schools at a cost of £23,000.

However, Mr Milligan, a teacher for over 20 years and the convener of the Scottish Council for Independent Schools west of Scotland classics group, said the Executive had proved in the past that it was prepared to promote subjects if there were a drop in student demand.

He also warned that there would be an adverse knock-on effect for Scotland as a whole if the classics were allowed to die off.

He said: "If the politicians feel strongly about something, they do something about it. For example, if they’re worried about the numbers doing modern languages, they introduce initiatives to raise the subject’s profile.

"But what they’ve done with the classics is neglect it," he said. "They see numbers going down, but they don’t do anything about it. There is a lack of political will.

"It will look bad for Scotland if we stop teaching our children the classics. In America, there are more people now doing Latin, and it’s the same in Germany.

"Scotland could end up looking as if we’re falling behind and not taking the classics seriously enough, unlike our competitors."

In 2002, about 700 Standard Grade pupils sat Latin and four sat classical Greek, compared with more than 39,000 for French and almost 60,000 for English.

Between 2000 and 2002, the numbers sitting a Higher in classical Greek has varied between 6 and 14. In the same period, the number of candidates for higher Latin has slumped from 346 to 257.

Mr Milligan dismissed suggestions that falling demand was down to the perception that classical studies were irrelevant in the 21st century.

He said: "Education is more than just a practical thing. You could say that algebra or even English literature have no practical application in the outside world, but they have a clear educational benefit. Latin and Greek are important in areas such as grammar, and a lot of phrases are used in computer language.

"The politicians have got to realise what is at stake if we allow the classics to slip away from the curriculum."

A spokeswoman for the Executive said a review of the school curriculum was due to be completed by the end of the year, but she would not be drawn on whether ministers would introduce any initiatives aimed at improving the popularity of classics.

However, she denied that the Executive had not done enough to promote classical studies and insisted it would be "irresponsible" to continue to train teachers in the subject in the current climate.

"It’s not as if the classics have been neglected. The problem is that there are no vacancies and there is no demand," she said.

"There will always be competing demands in various subjects, but there’s a limited amount of time in the school day and decisions have to be made about priorities."

She added: "Local authorities notify us where there are vacancies and we seek to match teacher supply to subject demand.

"Currently, there is no demand for classics and it would be irresponsible to train teachers where there are no vacancies." [Scotsman]

5:08:19 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Classics in the Sports Pages Again

Holy cow ... another Classical reference in a sports column relating to the Stanley Cup. This time it comes from the Mercury News:

Two go-for-it teams. The NHL's next generation of superstars. An aging Odysseus looking to bring home the prize for which he has wandered the land. One team can bring the Cup back to Canada, the other can be the southernmost Cup winner in the big punch bowl's 111 years.

The obscure reference is to Tampa Bay's Dave Andreychuk (a Hamilton boy ... yay!) who has toiled in the NHL for 20 years on five different teams and has yet to lift Lord Stanley's mug above his head.

5:04:01 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

AWOTV: On TV Tonight

Nothing of interest ...
4:54:48 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

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