Spring Awakening

First Fascinating Aida (see below) and now a review of Spring Awakening in the Independent. While most of the description would probably bring hits to rc for all the wrong reasons, I can’t help but wonder about this:

Kevin Adams’s outstanding lighting is a constellation of bare lightbulbs – now the heavens, now the class room (where Sater’s one made-up scene achieves the impossible task of building a chorus number into a rock chant of Virgil’s Aeneid in the original language) – carried through to the auditorium in a riot of neon strips all round the Lyric’s venerable Frank Matcham interior decoration.

… someone has to find a video of that (the Aeneid thing, obviously) …

Anna Perenna

Here’s one from L’espresso which goes beyond brief mention and hopefully we’ll read about this one in the English press (because we should! I was unaware of all this for some reason) … back in 1999 at Monti Parioli archaeologists found a pile of artifacts in a fountain dedicated to Anna Perenna dating from the second century A.D. (possibly earlier). What’s especially interesting for our purposes is that they found 22 defixiones, 14 other sheets of lead, and a pile of containers with anthopomorphic wax figures in them, obviously for black/sympathetic magic purposes. A pile of coins was also found. What the article seems to be primarily doing is advertising a conference focussing on all that … but it sure sounds interesting!

Turns out there’s some good stuff on the web too, e.g.,:

Fascinating Aida?

A music/performance review from the Times was snagged by one of the spiders … check this paragraph out:

They have pared the show to two costume changes a night. A blend of subtlety and showmanship, strong opinions and sharp wit, erudition and free-for-all, Fascinating Aïda’s new songs are full of what they call “twisted zaniness” in the best British tradition. A short list includes It Isn’t Too Late to Be Famous, which has impeccably rhymed references to every star to grace Heat magazine (“Always smiley, just like Kylie; I’m gonna be famous”). There’s My Parents (“Mama, don’t spend my inheritance!”) and the rollicking tent revivalist song with a snake-handling Adèle, Tesco Saves (“Jesus saves but Tesco saves you more”). And there’s the audience favourite, Lieder (aka The German Song), in which they perform Bob Fosse jazz dance routines while singing deadpan about the ability of a German accent to cover a multitude of singing sins. Can’t forget those Bulgarian songs, either, with their nod to Thucydides and Boris Johnson…

I don’t have time to work my way through their stuff on Youtube (I wonder what they say about Boris and Thuc), but you might want to check it out … I thought this form of comedy had died out, but they do it well …

Denmark v Italy

The Copenhagen Post relates what appears to be the next repatriation case … here’s the salient bit:

The issue first came to light in 2006 when Italy requested the return of six Etruscan pieces from the museum in connection with an international operation against an illegal art dealing syndicate. But for more than two years the museum and the Danish culture ministry gave various reasons for not co-operating in the investigation.

In December 2008, the Italians presented a list of 100 artefacts that they believed were acquired illegally and wanted returned. The Glyptoteket management refused to oblige, stating that many of the objects on the list were purchased legally after the former administrators, who are suspected of purchasing the alleged illegal artefacts, left their positions at the museum.

… but here’s the clincher:

Many of the illegal artefacts purchased by Glyptoteket during the 1970s were from art dealers Robert Hecht and Giacomo Medici. Medici was found guilty of dealing in stolen goods in Italy in 2004, while the case against Hecht is still ongoing.

CFP: Oratory and Politics in the Roman Republic


Oratory and Politics in the Roman Republic
An international conference to be held in Oxford on 1-3 September 2010

Oratory played a central part in the political life of the Roman Republic,
where popular decision-making and aristocratic dominance intersected to create
a fertile environment for persuasive speech. This conference brings together a
group of leading international scholars to explore this phenomenon. The aim of
our discussions is to clarify the workings of oratory within a dynamic
political system as it was transformed from city state to empire. In so doing,
we will explore public speech as a near-universal activity of the elite, a
normal part of political business as well as a source of authority and
prestige, in which competence was required and skill rewarded. This broad
understanding of oratory, drawing on fragments of speeches and evidence about
occasions of performance as well as complete surviving texts, will enable us to
transcend a purely textual reading of Roman oratory, which focuses necessarily
on the surviving speeches of Cicero.

Key themes include the careers, styles and methods of individual orators;
public speaking and political decision-making; the relationship between
oratorical skills and political career; the criteria for oratorical success and
failure; forensic oratory and politics; performance space; gesture and
delivery; developments and implications (also political) of differing
oratorical styles; rhetorical training; the dissemination of written versions
of speeches and their possible political influence.

The following speakers are confirmed:
Dr Valentina Arena
Dr Henriette van der Blom
Dr John Dugan
Professor Harriet I. Flower
Professor Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp
Professor Martin Jehne
Professor Robert Morstein-Marx
Professor Francisco Pina Polo
Dr Jonathan Prag
Ms Amy Russell
Professor Christopher Smith
Professor Catherine Steel
Professor Jeffrey Tatum

If you are interested in giving a paper, please send an abstract (max. 300
words) to both organisers (see below) before 30 April 2009. Please note that
the conference is due to take place in 2010.

If you are interested in participating in the conference, but do not wish to
give a paper, do email both of us too and we will send you further information
once available.

Conference organisers:
Prof. Catherine Steel (Glasgow) and Dr Henriette van der Blom (Oxford)

Contact details:

Prof. Catherine Steel
Department of Classics
65 Oakfield Avenue
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Email: c.steel AT classics.arts.gla.ac.uk

Dr Henriette van der Blom
Merton College
Merton Street
Oxford OX1 4JD
Email: henriette.vanderblom AT classics.ox.ac.uk

CONF: Exercise of Power in Sicily

Between Ideal and Reality
Exercise of Power in Sicily from Antiquity to Early Modern Times

From February 13th to February 15th, the Institute of History of the University of Aachen (Theaterplatz 14, 52062 Aachen, Germany) will be hosting a conference on „Exercise of Power in Sicily from Antiquity to Early Modern Times”. Everyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend the event. The 17 international researchers involved in the project are investigating the discrepancy between ideal and reality in the exercise of political, economical and religious power in Sicily. The results of the paradigmatic and interdisciplinary case studies will be published as a collection of papers.

The research project is organised and supervised by the chair of Roman History of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the chairs of Ancient and of Medieval History of the University of Aachen (RWTH). The project initiators are David Engels (Roman History, ULB), Lioba Geis (Medieval History, RWTH) and Michael Kleu (Ancient History, RWTH).

The conference is attendance free. Those interested are kindly asked to apply
by contacting sizilien@histinst.rwth-aachen.de. Further information concerning the project and the conference can be obtained by consulting


Classical Antiquity

1. Michael Kleu, M.A. (Aachen): Von der phönizischen Hegemonie zur karthagischen Epikratie. Eine Untersuchung der karthagischen Herrschaftsausübung auf Sizilien

2. Dr. phil. Stefan Schorn (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ/Leuven): Politische Theorie, `Fürstenspiegel´ und monarchische Propaganda: Philistos von Syrakus, Xenophons Hieron und Dionysios

3. Alexander Schüller, M.A. (Aachen): Der Befreier Siziliens und die Macht der Soldaten. Dions sizilisches “Experiment” und das Problem seines Scheiterns

4. Dr. phil. Luca Guido (Sassari/Heidelberg/Düsseldorf): La prima guerra punica e la costituzione dell’amministrazione provinciale romana

5. Thomas Bounas, M.A. (Athen/Aachen): Cicero und Verres: Realität und Idealität römische Provinzverwaltung

Imperial Rome, Byzance, and Islam

6. Dr. phil. Julia Hoffmann-Salz (Köln): Augustus und die Städte Siziliens

7. Dr. phil. Peter Van Nuffelen (Exeter): Episcopal Succession in Late Antique Sicily

8. Carla Nicolaye, M.A. (Leuven/Aachen): The Vandal Occupation of Sicily and the Struggle for Domination over the Mediterranean

9. Dr. phil. Volker Menze (Münster): Gregor der Große (590-604) und die Päpstliche Herrschaft in Sizilien

10. Erik Lipperts, M.A. (Aachen): Sizilien zur Zeit der Anfänge des Bilderstreits

11. Dr. phil. David Engels (Bruxelles): L’insurrection d’Ibn Qurhub: La Sicile entre Fatimides et Abbasides

Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

12. Dr. phil. Julia Becker (Rom): Graf Roger I. von Kalabrien und Sizilien. Eine realistische Herrschaft zwischen drei Kulturen?

13. Lioba Geis, M.A. (Aachen): Die Hofkapelle als Herrschaftsinstrument Rogers II. für Sizilien?

14. Dr. phil. Georg Vogeler (München/Lecce): Sizilien unter Friedrich II.: Vom Kernland des Regnum Siciliae zur imperialen Peripherie

15. Dr. phil. Christian Friedl (München): Herrschaftskonzeption bei König Manfred. Staufisches Ideal und Scheitern der realpolitischen Ansätze

16. Philipp Schneider, M.A. (Aachen): Die Sizilianische Vesper und die communitas Siciliae

17. Sascha Schlede (Aachen): Von der Herrschaft Friedrichs III. bis zur Vereinigung mit dem Königreich Neapel 1296-1458