Michael Jackson’s Cleopatra

Here’s something I didn’t know … this well-known (to Classicists, anyway) painting of Cleopatra’s death by D. Pauvert:

… is currently owned by the monogloved-one.  Somehow I always thought MJ would have some ‘connection’ to Cleo … whatever the case, he’s putting this one up for auction.

Chimera of Arezzo Coming to the Getty

I’m sure we’ll hear more of this as the date approaches, but there’s already a fair bit of coverage. Here’s the incipit of the LA Times’ coverage:

The J. Paul Getty Museum and the National Archaeological Museum of Florence, Italy, have entered into a long-term cultural collaboration that will bring one of the latter’s most important masterpieces and other significant works to Southern California, officials of both institutions announced today.

As the first element of the partnership, the Getty Villa in Malibu will present an exhibition centered on the Etruscan bronze, “The Chimaera of Arezzo,” from July 16 through Feb. 8. The Getty also plans an exhibition of ancient bronzes, including Greek, Roman and Etruscan works, and a show devoted solely to Etruscan art.

In an interview today, J. Paul Getty Museum director Michael Brand hailed the collaboration as the “silver lining” of the Getty’s involvement in a highly publicized controversy over looted antiquities that have been discovered in recent years in the collections of major museums worldwide.

Remember a while back when folks were questioning the antiquity of the Capitoline She-Wolf? I am still wondering whether the Chimera will be subjected to the same scrutiny …

Uma Medusa?

Tip o’ the pileus to Dorothy King for directing my caerulean brow towards this … there’s an interesting fantasy type movie in the works called Percy Jackson, with a definite Classical twist … here’s the brief coverage from the Telegraph:

As a teenager, Uma Thurman was cast as Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, in the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and now, 20 years on, she has won the role of another figure from ancient mythology. It is, alas, Medusa.

The 38-year-old will play the snake-haired deity who turns mortals into stone alongside Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean, who take on the parts of Chiron, a centaur, and Zeus, the king of the gods, in a fantasy film called Percy Jackson which will be directed by Chris Columbus.

In a departure from any recognisable Greek myth, the plot sees Poseidon’s 12-year-old half-human son Lerman embark on a quest across modern-day America to save his mother, return Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt and prevent a deadly war between the gods. So long as Mr Brosnan doesn’t start singing again, it’s okay by me.

Personally, I always envisioned Thurman as Artemisish, but that’s beside the point … check out the Entertainment Weekly coverage (mentioned below) … could be a good thing for Classics in general.

Recreating Gladiatorial Weapons

A series called Deadliest Warrior is coming to Spike TV which, apparently, will include some recreations of gladiatorial weaponry and demonstrations of it in action. I’ll try to embed a video here of same (but it was having difficulties yesterday):

If it doesn’t show up for you, here’s a link to the series page … click on the “sneak peak” tab to get to the gladiatorial stuff (the items on the first page are more ‘the making of’ type things).

The End of the Printed Scholarly Tome?

Interesting item from Inside Higher Education … here’s the incipit:

The University of Michigan Press is announcing today that it will shift its scholarly publishing from being primarily a traditional print operation to one that is primarily digital.

Within two years, press officials expect well over 50 of the 60-plus monographs that the press publishes each year — currently in book form — to be released only in digital editions. Readers will still be able to use print-on-demand systems to produce versions that can be held in their hands, but the press will consider the digital monograph the norm. Many university presses are experimenting with digital publishing, but the Michigan announcement may be the most dramatic to date by a major university press.

The shift by Michigan comes at a time that university presses are struggling. With libraries’ budgets constrained, many presses have for years been struggling to sell significant numbers of monographs — which many junior professors need to publish to earn tenure — and those difficulties have only been exacerbated by the economic downturn. The University of Missouri Press and the State University of New York Press both have announced layoffs in recent months, while Utah State University Press is facing the possibility of a complete elimination of university support.

Michigan officials say that their move reflects a belief that it’s time to stop trying to make the old economics of scholarly publishing work. “I have been increasingly convinced that the business model based on printed monograph was not merely failing but broken,” said Phil Pochoda, director of the Michigan press. “Why try to fight your way through this? Why try to remain in territory you know is doomed? Scholarly presses will be primarily digital in a decade. Why not seize the opportunity to do it now?”

… I’m actually rather surprised that a pile of major journals haven’t done this already …

Triangular Temple from Cyprus

StonePages had this at the beginning of the month, but it doesn’t seem to have hit the ‘English press’ until recently. Italian archaeologists working on Cyprus have excavated a triangular-shaped (!) temple at Pyrgos-Mavroraki believed to date  to around 2,000 BC (which would make it the oldest temple on Cyprus; the jury’s still out on that one, apparently) . Maria Rosaria-Belgiorno  (Archaeological Mission of the Italian National Council for Research) told Cyprus Weekly:

“This is the first evidence of religion in Cyprus at the beginning of the second millennium BC.”

“The temple is the most ancient found in Cyprus and of a unique triangular shape. The finding sheds new light on the existence of religion on the island, since the oldest temple found in Cyprus before that was Kition and Enkomi, both dating to 1,000 BC …”

“We found no statues, although there is evidence that it is a monotheist temple. The most important thing is the altar and the blood channel running on two sides.”

“Among the finds we found stone horns which are more ancient than the consecration horns found in Kouklia, Enkomi, Kition, and Myrthou (Pighades) seven centuries later.”

Belgiorno has a website with assorted photos and diagrams worth looking at as well (the home page has some annoying music, so we’re linking directly to the page of interest).