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Apollo of Gaza

Fisherman find an ancient Greek bronze statue in the waters off the coast of Gaza. Now the question is how it can be preserved and what its ultimate fate will be. Here Apollo is lying on Smurf sheets (photo from an Italian article). (Previously on underwater archaeology in the Mediterranean.)
posted by larrybob on Feb 9, 2014 - 38 comments

 

Competing Constructions of Masculinity in Ancient Greece

Scholars often speak of ancient Greek masculinity and manhood as if there was a single, monolithic, simple conception. I will show that the ancient Greeks, like us today, had competing models or constructions of gender and that what it meant to be a man was different in different contexts. I will focus on three constructions of the masculine gender in ancient (classical and post-classical) Greece: the Athenian civic model, the Spartan martial model, and the Stoic philosophical model. I will focus on how these share certain commonalities, how they differ in significant ways, how each makes sense in terms of larger ideological contexts and needs, and, finally how constructions of masculinities today draw from all three. (10 page PDF) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 31, 2014 - 12 comments

Sappho's sixth and seventh poems

Although she is a literary legend, only one complete poem of Sappho's survives, along with substantial fragments of four others (the last discovered in 2004). Now two new fragments have been discovered. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Jan 28, 2014 - 89 comments

μὴ ζῴην μετ᾽ ἀμουσίας

How Did Ancient Greek Music Sound?
The music of ancient Greece, unheard for thousands of years, is being brought back to life by Armand D'Angour, a musician and tutor in classics at Oxford University. He describes what his research is discovering.
Song Of The Sirens [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Socrates in his own words

An introduction to Socrates in his own words through Plato by Michael Griffin, Assistant Professor of Greek Philosophy at the University of British Columbia [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 17, 2013 - 20 comments

"One can see why virgins went astray."

To The Great God Pan
There is only one piece of film that shows Isadora Duncan dancing. It is four seconds long, the very end of a performance, and it is followed by eight seconds in which Duncan accepts applause. This small celluloid footprint – light-struck in the manner of Eugène Atget – contains quite a bit of information. It is an afternoon recital, early in the 20th century, and it takes place en plein air, trees in the background, like so much of the painting of the day. Duncan enters the frame turning, her arms positioned in an upward reach not unlike ballet’s codified fourth position, but more naturally placed. ... Because of her thrown back upper body it seems as if she is running, but she is actually slow and steady, offering herself to something so large she doesn’t need to move fast. The dance over, she stands simply and acknowledges her audience with a Christ-like proffering of her palms. In fact, her classical garb is as much that of the sandalled shepherd of men as it is a barefoot goddess of Greek mythology. ‘I have come,’ she once said, ‘to bring about a great renaissance of religion through the dance, to bring the knowledge of the beauty and holiness of the human body through its expression of movements.’ Thus spake Isadora.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 11, 2013 - 5 comments

Achilles sat on the shore and looked out to the wine-dark sea

That Homer used the epithet "wine-dark" to describe the sea in the Iliad and Odyssey so puzzled 19th Century English Prime Minister William Gladstone that he thought the Ancient Greeks must have been colorblind. Since then many other solutions have been proposed. Scientists have argued that Ancient Greek wine was blue and some scholars have put forward the case that Homer was describing the sea at sunset. Radiolab devoted a segment to the exploration of this issue, saying that Gladstone was partly right. Another interpretation is that the Ancient Greeks focused on different aspects of color from us. Classicist William Harris' short essay about purple in Homer and Iliad translator Caroline Alexander's longer essay The Wine-like Sea make the case for this interpretation.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 12, 2013 - 108 comments

I like to look at men… the way they look at women.

[All links probably NSFW] Ingrid Berthon-Moine is a London-based photographer whose latest series Marbles focuses specifically on the testicles of Classical Greek statuary. Hyperallergic asks her why.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 1, 2013 - 95 comments

"It has been your lot to achieve that the obedience to manifold rules should not hamper poetry."

During the reign of Constantine the Great, the Roman senator and poet Publilius Optatianus Porphyrius was sent into exile for crimes unknown. He succeeded in regaining favor and his good name by composing a series of poems in praise of the emperor which looked like nothing else. His poetry was an evolution of the Greek tradition of pattern poetry, but he took it a much more complex level, as Arrigo Lora Totino explains. In an illustrated article, John Stephan Edwards goes through the poetry of Porphyrius, showing the evolution of his craft.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 25, 2012 - 14 comments

This is slavery, not to speak one's thought - Euripides

After protests by members and MPs of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and religious groups, the Athens premiere of the play Corpus Christi was cancelled. A journalist trying to document the protests was reportedly beaten while the police stood by. "A well-known Golden Dawn MP follows me. He punches me twice in the face and knocks me to the ground. While on the ground, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawn MP kicks me. The police are just two steps away but turn their back". Full translation of the tweets. MP Christos Pappas was later charged for intervening in officers’ attempts to detain a protester. The incident was captured on video, as well as MP Ilias Panayiotaros abusing the actors in a homophobic and racist manner (translation NSFW). [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Oct 13, 2012 - 68 comments

Illustrated Aesop's Fables through history

Historical versions of Aesop's fables - text and pictures - collected by Laura Gibbs. She gives thousands of historic texts in English, Latin, and Greek, but even better, has Flickr sets of the historic illustrations (that page is sorted by artist) from editions by Rackham, Caldecott, and other artists going back to the 1400s. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 30, 2012 - 11 comments

I am Hellene

A little while ago a video by a young Greek actress appeared on the web, attempting to hit back at the blame and recriminations her country has suffered in the debt crisis. The video (which follows the style of a beer commercial) created all sorts of reactions in Greece, with some people responding with their own videos. Here is one, and here is another. There are more, but these have become quite popular. Enjoy!
posted by acrobat on May 4, 2012 - 53 comments

Fuzzy Flounder Fishing?

Johnny Bench Called The Ten Most Obscure Archer jokes, explained. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on Apr 12, 2012 - 194 comments

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

If you’ve spent much time in museums—or even leafing through art books—you’ve probably come across something that leaves you scratching your head. You’re not alone. The very funny, if occasionally puerile blog WTF Art History was created, according to the anonymous art historian who writes it, for “everyone who loves art history but has a sense of humor to know that even great masters create things that leave us asking, WTF?” [via] [prev]
posted by netbros on Feb 21, 2012 - 24 comments

"I need to feel the winter, grey colour to me is the most poetic. It allows me to leave the prison of my imagination, everything that is grey suits me."

Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos has passed away. "[He was] possessed of a singular style that has long divided critics... visually evocative, often beautiful, his films contain long sections with little or no dialogue." In 1995, he won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes for Ulysses' Gaze, and three years later, the Palme D'Or for Eternity and a Day. A career in clips. [more inside]
posted by phaedon on Jan 26, 2012 - 9 comments

The personal website of a retired classics professor

Humanities and the Liberal Arts is the personal website of former Middlebury classics professor William Harris who passed away in 2009. In his retirement he crafted a wonderful site full of essays, music, sculpture, poetry and his thoughts on anything from education to technology. But the heart of the website for me is, unsurprisingly, his essays on ancient Latin and Greek literature some of whom are book-length works. Here are a few examples: Purple color in Homer, complete fragments of Heraclitus, how to read Homer and Vergil, a discussion of a recently unearthed poem by Sappho, Plato and mathematics, Propertius' war poems, and finally, especially close to my heart, his commentaries on the poetry of Catullus, for example on Ipsithilla, Odi et amo, Attis poem as dramatic dance performance and a couple of very dirty poems (even by Catullus' standard). That's just a taste of the riches found on Harris' site, which has been around nearly as long as the world wide web has existed.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 30, 2011 - 18 comments

"Somewhere in there there are the lost texts from all sorts of authors."

Ancient Lives is a project by the University of Oxford which asks your help in transcribing fragments from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Collection using the Zooniverse model. Leader of the project, Chris Lintott, explains the project here in a short interview. Can you help him find his one-eyed astrologer? [Oxyrhynchus previously]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 26, 2011 - 39 comments

Greek Leader Proposes to Step Down, Reports Say

As nationwide strikes sweeps across Greece, unconfirmed reports are swirling that Prime Minister George Papandreou is preparing to step down.
posted by phaedon on Jun 15, 2011 - 134 comments

And the greatest adventurer of all time is....

Xenophon is called the original horse whisperer. He wrote one of the earliest works on hunting, and training dogs. He helped lead ten thousand Greek warriors and their camp followers out of Persia back to the Black Sea; his account, Anabasis, inspired The Warriors and countless other creative works. He is one of only two sources of information about the most famous philosopher of all time. He inspired Machiavelli. Xenophon at wikipedia, wikisource, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Project Gutenberg, famous quotes, In Our Time.
posted by bq on Jun 10, 2011 - 34 comments

Amo Amas Amat

Harvard's 1869 Entrance Exam (PDF - NYT)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 9, 2011 - 85 comments

Zeus does not understand contraception

so the moral of the story is
always wear a condom
because otherwise
you are going to have to resort to an impromptu skull c-section
with a shovel

Myths Retold. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on Mar 2, 2011 - 50 comments

The film Dogtooth

Dogtooth is an Oscar nominated Greek film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Reviews have noted its uncomfortable blend of family, insanity, sex, and power. In interviews, the director touches on his thoughts behind the film and its creation. (1, 2, 3)
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 9, 2011 - 45 comments

Bibliotheca Corviniana

The library of King Matthias I of Hungary, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was "the second greatest collection of books in Europe in the Renaissance period, after that of the Vatican." Destroyed following the 15th century Turkish invasion of Hungary (despite the efforts of Matthias' vassal Vlad III the Impaler), a few surviving codices have been digitized by the National Széchényi Library and the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Jan 6, 2011 - 7 comments

Nikos Kazantzakis

They think of me as a scholar, an intellectual, a pen-pusher. And I am none of them. When I write, my fingers get covered not in ink but in blood. I think I am nothing more than this: an undaunted soul. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 24, 2010 - 9 comments

Colors of antiquity

Richard Meier [...] once declared that “white is the most wonderful color of all, because within it one can find every color of the rainbow.”
"We think of white marble figures as aesthetic monuments ... frozen in a museum installation."
Most scholars haven't paid much attention to the light traces of pigment that remained on the surface of marble statues, but a flood of recent exhibitions has set out to put their color back.
Listen to Helen of Troy, in the Euripides play that bears her name:
My life and fortunes are a monstrosity,
Partly because of Hera, partly because of my beauty.
If only I could shed my beauty and assume an uglier aspect
The way you would wipe color off a statue.
It is a wonder how it took us as long as it did to realize the colorful truth behind some of Man's oldest artistic relics. [previously] [via]
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 21, 2010 - 41 comments

Where Does Our Alphabet Come From?

We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will need to travel much farther back in time, to an era contemporaneous with the emergence of civilisation itself. The origins of abc.
posted by netbros on Aug 10, 2010 - 24 comments

It's all Greek to me

Digital Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World is a three volume, drill down* cornucopia of information (some sections not published yet - but often with hover over info) for you to get lost in. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Jul 22, 2010 - 12 comments

Plato's Protagoras, a translation

An attempt at a collaborative translation of Plato’s Protagoras. Every day for a few months, Dhananjay Jagannathan will post roughly a page of the dialogue, side by side in Greek, in his own translation, and in Jowett’s classic 1871 translation. He's invited readers to comment and offer suggestions to improve the translation. Jagannathan's goal is to communicate Plato in English the way readers of his would have interpreted his Greek.
posted by unliteral on Jun 30, 2010 - 11 comments

Someone should give him a gas mask

Proposed austerity measures in response to Greece's economic crisis have led to riots and three deaths . However, this isn't the first time that riots have shaken Greece in response to the economic turmoil. One dog has seen them all.
posted by emilyd22222 on May 6, 2010 - 64 comments

WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU

Father of the Anthora, dead at 87. Known to people outside of New York mostly from Law and Order episodes, the Anthora is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city, the blue and white paper coffee cup with a Greek design and "We are happy to serve you" written on the side. "The Anthora seems to have been here forever, as if bestowed by the gods at the city’s creation. But in fact, it was created by man — one man in particular, a refugee from Nazi Europe named Leslie Buck. " For use outside of NYC, you can order the paper version in bulk or get a ceramic replica from MOMA.
posted by octothorpe on Apr 30, 2010 - 61 comments

Fridge magnets in seven scripts

Fridge magnets in seven scripts – Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Korean, Arabic, Devanagari. [more inside]
posted by joeclark on Jan 11, 2009 - 12 comments

Ancient, Medieval and Classic Works

In Parentheses is a collection of many ancient, medieval and classic texts from all over the world, many of whom are hard to find anywhere, let alone on the internet. There are translations from Greek, Old Norse, Medieval Irish, Japanese, Incan, Old French, Medieval Latin and many more! As well as all that they have papers in medieval studies and vaguely decadent and orientalism series. Adding to that there's a linguistics section with wordlists and language flash cards in languages such as Icelandic, Quechua, Basque, Classical Armenian and a whole bunch more. [flashcard links go to pdf files]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 10, 2008 - 18 comments

Elpenor - Home of the Greek Word

Elpenor - Home of the Greek Word is a site built around a bilingual anthology of all periods of Greek literature, but there's more, including ancient greek lessons, a collection of texts by non-Greeks about Greece, a gallery of Orthodox Christ icons and an online resource-guide on Byzantium. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Nov 6, 2007 - 5 comments

Libya

Libya is a desert, yes, but if you trace your fingers through the moonlit sand and listen, carefully, you may hear ancient whispers: of Apollo's love of Cyrene; of prehistoric hunters making Rock Art [1, 2, 3], back when the Sahara was wet; of Phoenicians subdued by Greeks, of Romans followed by Byzantines, all leaving ruins that Libya is famous for [Cyrene, Leptis Magna, Sabratha, et cetera]; of desert soldiers in World War II, remembered in Graves and Memorials; of the occupying Italians, who responded to Omar Mukhtar's resistance of the Fascists by rounding Libyans into concentration camps; of the camps' prisoners, one of whom wrote this famous poem: "My only illness is the torturing of our young women, with their bodies exposed ... how my speech has become subdued, the humiliation of our noble and leading men and the loss of my gazelle-like horse..."; of more culture, more memories from this land that witnessed the wrenching passion of all man's history—whispering in the very dust that made his soul.
posted by Firas on May 14, 2007 - 18 comments

Un seul de tes regards

Orpheus and Eurydice, the acid-tinged, animated music video version.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 22, 2007 - 8 comments

Claws and Combinatorics in the Ancient World

We've talked about the Archimedes death ray, but it is not the only mysterious ancient war machine the Greek scientist constructed. A contemporary Greek historian describes a wide number of clever devices developed by Archimedes during the siege of Syracuse by Roman forces - most notably a mysterious "Claw" that destroyed invading ships. You can see animations and scale models that attempt to reconstruct the Claw. Other, less-warlike, Archimedes secrets are being revealed as the Archimedes Palimpset, an overwritten text of some of the scientist's mathematical writings, has been gradually recovered using new techniques. Among the suprises is the Stomachion, a mathematical puzzle (tangrams, anyone?) and early discussion of combanitorics.
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 20, 2007 - 18 comments

Old News

Sadly, the good professor is putting his project on hold for a while, but he's keeping the old stuff around. Well, there's always Latin. The Finns have been mentioned before, the Bremens not. But for sheer opulence, this site takes the prize.
posted by IndigoJones on Feb 4, 2007 - 10 comments

Ah, Misirlou, magical, exotic beauty

From Rebetika to Surf Rock: Misirlou is a melody that has spanned genres, from Greek, Turkish and Jewish folk songs to the classic Dick Dale version on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack to the Black-Eyed Peas, to the obligatory Greek folk version/Pump It mash-up.
posted by costas on Jan 23, 2007 - 35 comments

Griko, Ladino and ethnolinguistics

Griko is a language used by the descendents of ancient Greek colonists in southern Italy that still has thousands of speakers. Pennsylvania Dutch, the only German language native to North America, was used as a first language until well into the twentieth century. Ladino ia a variant of medieval Spanish written in the Hebrew alphabet that florished among refugees from the Spanish Inquisition in modern Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece. Welcome to the world of ethnolinguistics.
posted by huskerdont on Jul 20, 2006 - 22 comments

Thomas Henry Huxley and Matthew Arnold on Classics

In 1875, Josiah Mason gave a gift to establish a college which was called the Mason Science College (now a part of the University of Birmingham). Within the terms of the gift to the institutuion, one of the stipulations was that classics not be taught. Of course at such an institution, the Founder Day's address was logically given by Thomas Henry Huxley on the place of Science in Education. Huxley preached the virtues of science and derisively dismissed all value in studying classics, and he wondered whether any rational person would choose to study classics over science. His conclusion was that the only people who would choose a study of classics are those like "that Levite of culture" Matthew Arnold. Arnold took the opportunity to respond to his friend. In his reply, Arnold acknowledged that nobody would expect him to engage Huxley in a debate about science, and though he wouldn't presume to take on Huxley in such a debate, he did want to mention something that struck him as he thumbed through a book of Huxley's friend. Arnold noted that he was struck by the idea that "our ancestor was a hairy quadruped furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in his habits." Arnold acknowledged that he isn't a scientist and therefore doesn't dispute such a claim, but he did want to point out that even if that were true, with regards to this good fellow, there must have been a necessity in him that inclined him to Greek. And would always incline him to Greek. After all, we got there, didn't we?
posted by dios on May 26, 2006 - 27 comments

I am the son of Earth and Heaven

Oprheus, is said to be the founder of The Orphic Mysteries, or Orphism. While in school most students are taught the Theogony of Hesiod, but as in most religions, a differing account existed: The Orphic Theogony, summarized somewhat in this short video (nsfw? abstract nudity). The Orphic Reform to the Dionysian Mysteries included vegetarianism, abstention from sex, and restraint from eating eggs and beans — which came to be known as the Orphikos bios, or "Orphic way of life". Initiation into the Mystery school was needed to teach the Road to the Lower World, through Bone Tablets and papyrus remnants of Orphic Hymns. The Orphic Mystery has been seen as very similar to other religions. (scroll about 2/3 down the page or search for Orphics).
posted by ozomatli on Feb 17, 2006 - 7 comments

Seamus Heaney and the Soul of Antigone

Love that can't be withstood,
Love that scatters fortunes,
Love like a green fern shading
The cheek of a sleeping girl.
Seamus Heaney's search for the soul of Antigone.
(more inside, with Christopher Logue)
posted by matteo on Nov 4, 2005 - 15 comments

Greek police "spam arrest" ongoing muddle

Register article on Greek arrest of well known programmer I'ved been watching this story since it surfaced at the rixstep.com page here and here; also covered at Techdirt.com in a couple of threads. Worth a look.
posted by hank on Nov 2, 2005 - 16 comments

Greek wav files

Greek as it was spoke. Mrs. Jones thinks they sound like a cross between French and Chinese. You decide. Alternatively, Latin wav files, mostly poetry. Or, for those into the bestseller circuit, there’s this (narrator rolls the r’s a bit - Jim Dale he ain’t).
posted by IndigoJones on Oct 1, 2005 - 34 comments

ted turner got loose in the sculpture garden.

Ancient sculptures the way the ancients saw them.
posted by crunchland on Feb 16, 2005 - 31 comments

Sappho: Poem of Jealousy (26 Translations)

Are you not amazed at how she evokes soul, body, hearing, tongue, sight, skin, as though they were external and belonged to someone else? And how at one and the same moment she both freezes and burns, is irrational and sane, is terrified and nearly dead, so that we observe in her not a single emotion but a whole concourse of emotions? Such things do, of course, commonly happen to people in love. Sappho’s supreme excellence lies in the skill with which she selects the most striking and vehement circumstances of the passions and forges them into a coherent whole.   Longinus, On the Sublime
Sappho’s poem of jealousy survives only because the ancient critic Longinus quoted it as a supreme example of poetic intensity--now Ken Knabb has put up 26 translations of it in the English at the Gateway to the Vast Realms , the literature and texts section of his Bureau of Public Secrets. And wait! There's more!
posted by y2karl on Oct 2, 2004 - 10 comments

What are you doing with that torch?

The Naked Olympics
Sex, nude sports, violence, boozing; a scholar's view of ancient Olympic practices.
posted by moonbird on Aug 12, 2004 - 4 comments

well, they were a big hit at Plato's Laugh Shack

A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller. He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: "Everyone is fine, especially your father." When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: "You have no clue who your real father is."--that's one of the jokes from The Laughter Lover (Philogelos), an ancient Greek joke book published in the 4th or 5th century AD. The New Yorker commented on it, and other old jokes here, stating about one of the possible authors: ... there is some scholarly speculation that the Hierocles in question was a fifth-century Alexandrian philosopher of that name who was once publicly flogged in Constantinople for paganism, which, as one classicist has observed, “might have given him a taste for mordant wit.”
posted by amberglow on Jul 10, 2004 - 12 comments

Classic Rhetoric and Persuasion

Peitho's Web: Classic Rhetoric and Persuasion.
posted by hama7 on May 13, 2004 - 6 comments

Polytheists Have More ...

Ancient Greek mythology for aspiring young pagans.
warning: educational friday flash fun for the geeklings!pre-emptive comment: it's now friday in oz :)
posted by elphTeq on Apr 15, 2004 - 9 comments

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