~ Miss Digital World
Okay ... this one's a bit strange. Yesterday there was a 'beauty pageant' called 'Miss Digital World'. Women from around the world were entered, but they had to be 'virtual women'. The ultimate winner was a certain Katto Ko, from Chile. So what does this have to do with Classics? Well, one of the 'contestants' was none other than Pompeia, who was the virtual recreation of a slave girl from Murecine. Since I can't seem to find her picture at the official Miss Digital World site (they seem to only have the 'top ten' ... alas, Pompea was not one of them), you can find her in the photogallery section of an Italian article on at MyTech. Pompea is number five in the subsequent slide show (no earrings?).
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:45:03 AM::
~ The Evils of Latin
In response to a couple of efforts at political correctness in the news, the editor in chief of the Washington Times mentions the following in an editorial (obviously) column:
The Swedes, who have given us the meatball as well as the dumb blonde, are particularly sensitive to slights others are guilty of, and now a scholar in Stockholm has written a scholarly history of Latin, which started out as "the story of the world's most successful language" and became, when the professor was overcome with revulsion, a catalog of how politically incorrect the Romans were. Why their language continues, thousands of years later, to be the starting point for any study of linguistics is actually an interesting question, but it became an academic afterthought. The Romans, after all, owned slaves (white folks, mostly) with whom they conjugated more than verbs, engaged in wars (they would have fought with unregistered guns if there had been any), and the red-state Romans would probably have voted to re-elect George W. Bush if only they could have. "Personally," writes Prof. Tore Janson, this all "makes me feel sick."
Nausea is not necessarily the best teacher. "Did the sins of the language's first speakers, camped around the Tiber some 2,700 years ago, pass down to those later great Latinists, Charlemagne, in Eighth-Century France, or to Janson's own distinguished countryman, Linnaeus, in Eighteenth-Century Sweden?" asks a reviewer in the Times of London. "Was there something in the vowel sounds?"
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:33:09 AM::
~ Alexander Mini-Roundup
We're beyond the trickle stage, but we can post a couple of items of interest under this rubric. First is an excerpt from an interview with Leonardo diCaprio over how/why he chose to be Howard Hughes overs Alexander ... from About.com's Romantic Movies guide:
How did you go from the idea of an Alexander the Great movie to doing "The Aviator?" Do you have any regrets about not being able to take on that role at this point?
I donít have any regrets. Certainly after seeing [ďThe AviatorĒ] again last night Ė not all at. Alexander the Great was also Ė like [I've] said before Ė itís one of those things where Scorsese and I just share the same tastes in similar things. We were both fascinated with Alexander the Great, as well as Howard Hughes. They were completely different time periods, different men, but similar dynamics. You know, men who keep on reaching for their ultimate goal and stop at nothing until they achieve that. It just happened to be that this script and the project was way further advanced in the development stage than the script that landed in our lap was for Alexander. We wanted to go forth. We had the intention, at one time, of doing them both but you donít get everything you want all the time [he says with a smile].
Are you still developing an Alexander the Great movie with Baz Luhrmann?
BazÖ I canít even tell. Iíve talked to him about it. I have no idea if heís still going to do it or not.
But there definitely was also a Scorsese "Alexander" project?
There was. A lot of people were toying with it. Thatís the way it is in the business. An idea pops up and all of a sudden itís a piranha feeding frenzy. Oliver got his off before anyone else.
Now we know Al didn't play in Peoria, but did it play in Athens? An excerpt from a reviewish thing on the AP Wire (via the Indy Star) which will probably pop up all over the place:
Oliver Stone's "Alexander," with Colin Farrell in the title role and Val Kilmer and Angelina Jolie as his parents, opened in cinemas here Friday, but the word "Great" was in short supply among those who attended a special screening Thursday.
"Farrell fell short. Val Kilmer played his role like a one-eyed cowboy. And Angelina Jolie showed off her beauty but not her talent," critic Dimitris Danikas wrote in Athens' Ta Nea newspaper, one of Greece's largest circulation dailies.
Greeks had been eagerly anticipating the movie. They were particularly curious to see how Stone would treat the historical debate over whether Alexander was bisexual.
A group of Greek lawyers who had threatened to sue Warner Bros. if gay "innuendoes" were too strong sat in the audience. After the movie, they dismissed the film as unworthy of their efforts.
"I think that if we attach importance to this innuendom we will give too much importance to a film that doesn't deserve it," said Costas Koutsoulelos, one of the lawyers.
Some critics even deprived Stone of one of his trademarks -- his ability to stir controversy.
"The film is a bit flat. . . . It doesn't annoy you but doesn't inspire you either," said Panayiotis Timoyiannakis, a critic for the Athens daily Eleftheros Typos.
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:27:46 AM::
~ Classical Association Recitation Results
From the Hexham Courant:
PUPILS from Hexhamís Queen Elizabeth High School carried off a clutch of prizes in the annual two-county Classical Association Recitation contest.
Nearly 100 youngsters from all over Northumberland and Durham displayed their skills at declaiming the words of great classical writers like Virgil and Cicero, and English translations of Greek playwrights such as Euripides.
With the Hollywood blockbuster Troy not long out of the cinemas, the teenagers had plenty of inspiration to select passages with the theme Ė Helen of Troy.
Year 12 student Charles Ogilvie won the Senior Latin Recitation with a narration from the Aeneid and Ciceroís Second Philippic.
Robert Earnshaw and Catherine Metcalfe won the Classics in Translation competition for the second year running with their scene from the Greek tragedy Helen.
Ruth Keenan and Lily Jones came second, just pipping Haydon Bridge High School team Graeme Hutton and Heather Pringle.
Also in the Queen Elizabeth High School classics squad were Amy Akino, Henry Collingham, Tom Keys, Lucy Swinton, Georgina Gettings, Robert Brockway, and Bridie Chomse. Pupils Lucy Davidson and Daniel Woodhouse submitted artwork.
The competition was judged by professors and senior lecturers from the classics departments at Newcastle and Durham Universities.
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:17:57 AM::
~ Elgin/Parthenon Marbles Saga Redux
Discovery.com has the latest in the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles saga ... the comments of Dr. Snodgrass are somewhat confusing:
One of the oldest international cultural disputes, the battle over the Elgin Marbles, has taken another turn as a distinguished Cambridge scholar says the sculptures would have been just fine if Lord Elgin had left them in Athens.
Following a sophisticated 11-year conservation program in Athens, the 14 slabs that Lord Elgin did not manage to remove are now showing surprisingly bright original details.
"They are in better shape than anything in London. We now know exactly what Lord Elgin 'saved' them from: one has only to go to Athens and see for oneself," Anthony Snodgrass, professor emeritus of classical archaeology at Cambridge University, told Discovery News.
Indeed, the 17 figures and 56 panels chiseled off in 1801 by Lord Elgin from a giant frieze that once decorated ancient Athens' most sacred shrine, the Parthenon, bear dramatic signs of the British Museum's heavy-handed cleaning scandal in the 1930s.
The fearless horsemen, sprightly youths, lounging deities, belligerent centaurs and expressive horses were cruelly scraped and scrubbed with chisels and wire brushes in an attempt to make them whiter than white, an aesthetic admired by museumgoers.
Despite the 1930s cleaning, the British Museum has always maintained that the museum is the best possible place for the marbles to be on display.
"The British Museum is a truly universal museum of humanity, accessible to five million visitors from around the world every year entirely free of entry charge.
"The Parthenon Marbles have been central to the museum's collections, and to its purpose, for almost two hundred years. Only here can the worldwide significance of the sculptures be fully grasped," Neil MacGregor, the museum's director, said in a statement.
He added that centuries of damage have meant that "the Parthenon is a ruin" and that only 50 percent of the original sculptures survive today.
"They can now only be an incomplete collection of fragments," MacGregor said.
Until now, no one had been able to have a close view of the slabs Lord Elgin did not remove as they were too high up on the Parthenon. When they were taken down in 1993, a thick layer of soot made it almost impossible to distinguish anything.
Now, after undergoing a double-laser cleaning program, the marble pieces show an abundance of details, such as chisel marks and veins on the horses bellies.
According to Snodgrass, who has chaired the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles since 2002, the difference between British museum's marbles and the Greek ones is clear to anyone who compares them.
"The Athens pieces have more detail preserved, and are more like what their makers intended," Snodgrass said.
He noted that the much-debated natural-stained patina is still present in the newly restored Greek marbles, while it is totally gone in the British museum's pieces.
Carved by Phidias in the 5th century B.C., the Parthenon sculptures are scattered throughout several European museums, including the Louvre in Paris.
But the bulk of the marbles are kept in London's British Museum. Greece contends they were stolen in 1801 by Lord Elgin, British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Britain claims that Lord Elgin had permission from the ruling Turkish authorities to take them.
Greece has been demanding the return of the Elgin Marbles since the country's independence from Turkey in 1829.
It is now building an Acropolis Museum which is due to be completed by 2006. The museum will include a Parthenon Hall which will remain empty until the marbles have been returned.
I'm confused ... where are these slabs that have recently been restored?
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:15:38 AM::
~ Roman Pottery Found
From This is Local London:
Fragments of Roman pottery have been unearthed following an excavation at a housing development site in Isleworth.
The pottery, along with a number of boundary ditches, could be confirmation that the area was the most westerly point of occupation for the Brentford Roman Community. This colony inhabited the area surrounding the Roman road which ran west from London towards the Roman town of Silchester.
The find was made at the Rushmon Homes site, Abbey Mew , off London Road, after developers consulted with English Heritage's greater London archaeological advisory service.
The investigations has been carried out by Thames Valley archaeological services.
Rushmon Homes construction director explained: "It is standard procedure to invite experts to search for any archaeological evidence of any earlier occupation on new homes developments that are located close to a recognised historical feature, such as a Roman road.
"We will be providing further access to the development for the archaeological team to investigate the area."
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:06:44 AM::
~ JOB: Department Head @ UBC
The Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia invites applications for the position of Full Professor and Head within the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies. The successful candidate will have an outstanding record of scholarly activities in any one of the department's following fields: Greek and Roman History, Islam, Latin Literature, Patristics, Roman Archaeology. Applicants should be committed to sustaining and enhancing the research profile of the Department. The appointment will begin no later than July 1, 2006 (either January 1, 2006 or July 1, 2006). The appointment is subject to budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Applications, curriculum vitae, and names of referees (plus full contact information including e-mail addresses) should be sent to Dr. Nancy Gallini, Dean and Chair of the Search Committee, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z1 for receipt no later than February 15, 2005. Applications and enquiries may also be forwarded via email to the Dean's Assistant, Margaret Tom-Wing, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested applicants may visit the following websites at http://www.cnrs.ubc.ca and http://www.arts.ubc.ca.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We encourage all qualified persons to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.
Informal queries can be directed to A. Barrett at:
... seen on various lists
::Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:04:19 AM::