Latest update: 10/1/2004; 5:10:33 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ Alexander and Herodotus???

Over the past few months my admiration for Canada's 'national' newspaper, the Globe and Mail, was growing as assorted journalists and journalistas appeared to be making the effort to include accurate references to the ancient world in their squibs. Alas, in typically Canadian style on my part, that admiration all came crashing to the ground with a piece trumpeting Canada's influence on the world (e.g. our 'Charter of Rights and Freedoms' is creating jobs for lawyers and judges all over the world) ... here's the big conclusion:

Canada may not have the military power some insist goes arms-in-arm with diplomatic influence — but as they say, if Alexander the Great conquered the world, he in turn was conquered by Herodotus.

Not sure who 'they' are ... and this just came in from the same edition ... it's a review of a book written by a local Greenpeace bigwig/journalist (Robert Hunter) in which the reviewer states:

But Hunter's Homeric ode to confused and argumentative hippies on the high seas makes fresh and crazy reading.

Homeric ODE????

Saturday, September 11, 2004 8:58:56 AM

~ Greek Theatre Boom in the UK

According to the Independent, production of ancient Greek plays is enjoying major popularity in the UK:

If the Greeks had a word for Tim Pigott-Smith, it would be their term for "large rat" or "ferret" or, if there is one, "vicious rabbit". Or so, at least, he has been described by theatre and TV critics for his portrayal of conspirators, soldiers and coppers, straight and bent - most frightening among them the poisonous Ronald Merrick in The Jewel in the Crown, a character with whom he became so identified in 1984 that, for years afterward, women would pale and cringe when he was introduced.

Years before his thrilling Cassius at the RSC in 2002, a critic noted his "lean and hungry look". In person, though, the animal that comes to mind when the trim 58-year-old strides in from a break in rehearsal for Hecuba, clad in close-fitting black, his ginger hair now sandy, is a foxhound. He briskly sniffs out the lunch waiting for him, disposes of it neatly and quickly and sits with an alert, intent but not unfriendly air. Unlike a hound, he laughs easily, somewhere between a snuffle and a giggle.

Pigott-Smith is enjoying a boom-time for the Greeks - the ancient ones, anyway. There may have been embarrassments and disasters for the hosts of the Olympics, but, in show business, the boys in the chitons are cleaning up. Iphigenia at Aulis was well received at the National; the RSC is putting on another production of Hecuba (not the most popular work by Euripides) next year, starring Vanessa Redgrave; and five movies and a mini-series about Alexander the Great wait in the wings. Pigott-Smith will appear in Oliver Stone's Alexander, to be released in November. Now he is preparing for his role as the commander of the victorious Greeks at the end of the Trojan war.

Curiously, though he had not entered the house of Atreus until last year, this is the second time he has, in a sense, played Agamemnon. The first was his portrayal of Ezra Mannon, the anguished veteran murdered on his homecoming from the American Civil War by his faithless wife, in Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra. It was an intense performance, but more attention was paid to the showier and longer parts of his wife and daughter, played splendidly by Helen Mirren and Eve Best. The storyline may have been roughly the same, but Pigott-Smith sees little connection between the characters in O'Neill's play and those in the drama of 425BC. [more]

Saturday, September 11, 2004 8:23:05 AM

~ Bringing Greek Back

From the Hartford Courant:

Just why more students are clamoring to learn Greek is a mystery to the district's classics teachers, although they are thrilled at the attention.

But student interest is only part of the reason why Hall and Conard high schools are offering Greek for the first time this year.

While educators have wanted to offer the course for years, it is only possible now because George Coleman, a classics teacher at Conard, was awarded a fellowship that is providing seed money for the program.

The Massachusetts-based Phinney Fellowship, which aims to promote Greek in public schools, is paying $10,000 of Coleman's salary this year, which covers the time he spends teaching Greek. The fellowship is also paying for textbooks.

And, to keep things even between the two high schools, the district is funding Greek at Hall.

Conard has 16 students signed up for Greek this year; Hall has 17. They are studying ancient Greek, which has little in common with the tongue of modern Greece.

Theodore Beers, 16, a Hall student who wants to major in classics in college, said he believes studying the classics has helped him tremendously. "I am going back to basics. This is the foundation for all my other classes," he said. "English, math, science."

In the early 20th century, Greek and Latin were both graduation requirements at Hartford Public High School.

But a 2000-01 study by the University of Massachusetts found that Greek is taught at only eight schools in Connecticut, most of which are private, said Amy White, president of the Classical Association of Connecticut.

Coleman said he has been trying to start a Greek course in West Hartford for years. Four years ago, he gave up his free period to teach Greek to six students, who got credit, but it wasn't realistic to continue, he said.

He had hoped the district would offer Greek the year after his volunteer teaching, but he said it wasn't financially possible until the fellowship opened up.

Next year, the Phinney Fellowship will provide $20,000, enough to cover a larger portion of Coleman's salary, so he can teach this year's students level two Greek. Coleman said he hopes the district will continue funding the program when the fellowship money runs out. [more]

Saturday, September 11, 2004 8:18:15 AM

~ Reviews from BMCR

Takashi Minamikawa (ed.), Material Culture, Mentality and Historical Identity in the Ancient World: Understanding the Celts, Greeks, Romans and Modern Europeans. Proceedings of the First International Conference for the Study of European Identity from a Historical Perspective in September 2003, University of Kyoto, Japan.

Andrew Dalby, Bacchus: A Biography.

Ben Witherington III, Revelation.

Gilbert Dagron, Emperor and Priest. The Imperial Office in Byzantium.

Saturday, September 11, 2004 8:12:02 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV today

3.00 p.m. |DTC|The Rise
The beginnings of the Roman Empire are shrouded in mystery. Without armies, palaces, or priests, the Romans conquered and ravaged the best of other civilizations.

4.00 p.m. |DTC|Legions of Conquest
At the height of military power, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland to the Sahara. Yet the same traits that created this vast expansion eventually turned the Roman military into an unwieldy and self-serving force of destabilization.

5.00 p.m. |DTC|Seduction of Power
Trace the evolution of Roman politics from the world's first representative government through the lives of Gracchi, Julius Caesar, Nero, and Septimius Severus and into a tumultuous and theatrical display of power over substance.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel

Saturday, September 11, 2004 7:48:52 AM

1. n. an abnormal state or condition resulting from the forced migration from a lengthy Classical education into a profoundly unClassical world; 2. n. a blog about Ancient Greece and Rome compiled by one so afflicted (v. "rogueclassicist"); 3. n. a Classics blog.

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