Lorna Robinson scripsit:
Iota – a new Classics magazine for primary schools!
The Iris Project is launching a younger sibling for Iris magazine, Iota. Each issue is to be structured around a different myth from the ancient world, and will contain an exciting mix of games, articles, puzzles, language learning ideas and activities, and much more. The pilot edition of Iota will be available in autumn 2010. If you would like to receive a copy of the first issue, please get in touch with us!
More information will be posted up soon about Iota so check out The Iris Project’s website www.irismagazine.org and our facebook page for updates.
Seen on Aegeanet (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)
A Call for Papers for an international
conference on Minoan Archaeology to be held on March 23-27, 2011 at
the University of Heidelberg.
More information can be found on the website:
Ute Guenkel-Maschek, Mag. Phil. & Sarah Cappel, M.A.
Seen on various lists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)
For your / your colleagues’ / your students’ consideration:
Archaeology – Assistant Professor
Date posted: 2010-05-21
The Department of Anthropology at McMaster University invites applications for a tenure-stream faculty position in Archaeology at the Assistant Professor level, commencing July 1, 2011. We are seeking an archaeologist who is actively engaged in theoretically informed topical research that includes the study of ceramic technology or related materials analysis. Experience with analytical techniques, including petrographic and elemental composition analysis, is an asset for the successful candidate. Regional specialization is open, but a willingness and capacity to undertake or to supervise research in northeastern North America is an additional asset.
The successful candidate will be a researcher who can collaborate with faculty in other fields within the Anthropology Department, and can also develop research links and collaborations beyond the department. The candidate hired will be joining a department with graduate programs in cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and the anthropology of health, and with a strong tradition of collegiality and collaboration.
The candidate selected for this position will be expected to teach undergraduate lecture and seminar courses in archaeology, contribute to MA and PhD teaching and supervision, carry out an active research program leading to peer-reviewed publications, and take on administrative responsibilities. A PhD in anthropological archaeology at the time of hire and evidence of effective university-level teaching are required.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be considered first for this position. McMaster is strongly committed to employment equity within its community and to recruiting a diverse faculty and staff. The University encourages applications from all qualified candidates, including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities, and persons with disabilities.
Applications should include a curriculum vita, the names and addresses (including email) of three referees, a statement of research interests and plans, and a statement of teaching philosophy and should be sent in electronic format, though an additional hard copy may be sent by regular mail. Letters of application should address how candidates are prepared to engage in the supervision of graduate students. Submit applications to:
Aubrey Cannon, Chair
Department of Anthropology
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8S 4L9
Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 23920
Fax: (905) 522-5993
E-mail: cannona AT mcmaster.ca
CLOSING DATE: October 1, 2010.
Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)
WATER IN MYTHS AND CULTS
A one-day workshop organised at Durham University, sponsored by the
Durham Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) & the Centre for the Study of
the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East (CAMNE)
Date: Thursday 24 June 2010
Venue: Dept. of Classics & Ancient History; 38 North Bailey; Durham DH1
For further information please contact ted.kaizer AT durham.ac.uk
10.30 – 10.50 COFFEE
10.50 – 11.00 Welcome
11.00 – 11.45 Mark Woolmer (Durham)
Sea monsters and seafarers: the religious
symbolisation of Phoenician ships
11.45 – 12.30 Etienne Dunant (Warwick)
Water in Greek sacred places – power, cult and
12.30 – 13.15 Maria Pretzler (Swansea)
Healing waters on the ‘magic mountain’: Aelius
Aristeides in context
13.15 – 14.30 LUNCH
14.30 – 15.15 Rubina Raja (Aarhus)
What does water have to do with it? The role of
water in sanctuaries in the Roman Near East
15.15 – 16.00 Peter Alpass (Durham)
Water in the cult monuments of Nabataea
16.00 – 16.30 TEA
16.30 – 17.15 Michael Sommer (Liverpool)
God of the healing waters: Grannus and the
17.30 onwards Drinks & dinner in town
Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)
‘INTEGRITY AND CORRUPTION IN ANTIQUITY’
UNISA CLASSICS COLLOQUIUM
PRETORIA, 21-22 OCTOBER 2010
You are cordially invited to submit paper proposals for this year’s Unisa
Classics Colloquium. Papers concerned with any aspect of the conference
theme in the ancient world will be considered. Scholars working on
historical, literary, oratorical, religious, philosophical, epigraphical
and other material are welcome to contribute.
The Unisa Classics Colloquium is hosted by the Department of Classics and
World Languages at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. Invited guest
speakers to this year’s conference are:
Clifford Ando (Chicago), “Two revolutions in government”
Emily Greenwood (Yale), “The corruptible logos: the politics of speech and
silence in Greek historiography”
Papers will be limited to 45 minutes. Speakers may request a shorter slot
of 20-30 minutes. Please submit abstracts of appr. 200 words via e-mail
attachment to bosmapr AT unisa.ac.za by the end of June 2010.
Please note that, depending on interest, a third day (23 October) may be
added to the conference programme.
The Unisa Classics Colloquium is held for the 11th time this year. The
conference is deliberately kept small enough to avoid parallel sessions, to
provide enough time for discussion and to promote interaction between
delegates. It presents an excellent platform for young scholars to present
their work. We are at pains to maintain an old tradition of South Africa
hospitality and attempt to show guests from abroad a little of our city and
country during and after the conference.
Further information regarding the conference may be found on the
departmental website at
For other enquiries, please contact Philip Bosman at bosmap AT unisa.ac.za.
An excerpt from a feature on Zahi Hawass in Speigel … I don’t think comment is necessary ….
Hawass reserves the right to announce all discoveries himself. Not everyone likes this. Some people feel that he is about as interested in serious research as Rapunzel was in having her hair cut.
He boasted that there were “10,000 golden mummies” at the cemetery in Bahariya, but only 200 were found. And he mistakenly declared a shabby find in the Valley of Kings to be the gravesite of a female pharaoh.
His own excavation efforts also appear to be somewhat bizarre. For some time, the master has been searching for the body of Cleopatra in a temple near Alexandria — based on an idea suggested to him by a lawyer from the Dominican Republic.
“Are you sure about this?” a journalist wanted to know. Hawass replied: “Completely, otherwise I wouldn’t have even mentioned it. After all, I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
When nothing was found, despite feverish excavation efforts, Hawass took a granite bust of Cleopatra’s lover, Mark Antony, from a museum last year and pretended that he had just pulled it out of the ground.
Tip o’ the pileus (or perhaps crunch of the rectus abdominis is more appropriate) to Julia Borek (who also was first to use the ‘contact the rogueclassicist’ thing) for sending in this ‘different’ view of sword and sandal flicks:
A somewhat strange illustrated top ten list, apparently trying to make the Romans seem ‘just like us’ (but just a little different) … seems to be tied to Ray Laurence’s latest work (and he’s apparently the author of the written portion). FWIW:
This one’s kind of confusing for me … from the Global Arab Network:
Remarkable archaeological finds from the Greek and Roman eras have been found in different archaeological sites in Deir Ezzor Province during current excavation season.
A Greek stone crown, the first of its kind in the region, was discovered by the Syrian-French mission operating in Dura Europos site, Director of Deir Ezzor Antiquities Department Amir al-Haiyou told Syrian local media.
A 30 cm statue of a man on top of a camel, and a number of coins and clay pieces were also unearthed in the site, added al-Haiyou.
The Syrian-Spanish archaeological mission working in the site of Tell Qaber Abu al-Atiq (hill), 75 km north of Deir Ezzor, found a collection of cuneiforms dating back to the Middle Assyrian period.
The city of Dura Europos was founded around 300 BC by the Seleucids in the Hellenistic era and was discovered accidentally in 1920. It became a battlefield between the Seleucids, the Parthians, the Romans and the Sassanids.
… I’m not sure what a ‘stone crown’ is … is it just another type of capital?
Of course, he has another gig:
He came, he saw, he got told off for not paying attention in class and then he was heckled by binmen. It was all in a morning’s work for the supply teacher at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Church of England secondary girls’ school – or, as he is more commonly known, the Mayor of London.
The classroom full of 15-year-old girls in south-east London was far from the one at Eton where Boris Johnson conjugated his first ancient verb. But for Boris, there is no fear: he began his lesson by telling the girls about the proclivities of Roman women, in particular their fondness for gladiators.
Everyone was a little awkward. Then in an episode of cunning, he conjured two sentences that he helped the class put together in Latin: the woman loves the gladiator, but the women do not love the charioteer.
The Mayor, former King’s scholar (one of Eton’s highest awards) and Brackenbury scholar (Oxford) was playing teacher to promote a scheme which aims to persuade companies to give employees a day off each year to be spent helping the local community.
Mr Johnson came to offer his skills as a classicist, and all-round good egg, to pupils studying for Latin GCSEs. Although the subject is not on the syllabus, it is taught in lunchtimes and after hours by English teacher, Sophie Hollender, and voluntary emissaries from Westminster College.
The Mayor’s long-lasting affection for Latin comes from his belief in its benefits beyond the realm of dusty academia. “I won’t say it’s the route to colossal riches,” he told the class, “but I read almost nothing but Latin and Greek for 25 years, and I’m now in charge of every bus in London.”
He added: “It helps you be more logical. It gives you an understanding of your own language too.” There was a ripple of nervous laughter from an audience amused and slightly wary of Mr Johnson, whose bike, bray and bouffant thatch were novel to the surroundings.
He found himself rapped on the knuckles for not paying attention during the class discussion following a clip from Ben-Hur. “That was a bad moment,” he confided after the bell had rung. “I forgot I was supposed to be writing down my thoughts and feelings. And when she [the teacher] got to me, I had not a single adjective written on my paper.”
He appeared to have quite a freestyle approach when it came to his turn in front of the whiteboard, muttering “teaching is hard”, before leading the assembled in a hearty chant of “amo, amas, amat” and a further, rather less certain version of the passive.
So far, so Cambridge Latin Course: the comforting repetition is the same regardless of student or social strata. I learnt Latin this way, studying in lunchtimes and evenings, because it was not on the curriculum at my comprehensive. Thanks to two teachers, one of whom called in a favour from her alma mater Cheltenham Ladies’ College (which was throwing out old textbooks), I got a little of what some call a “classical education”.
“Maintained schools haven’t had enough government encouragement,” Mr Johnson said at the end, adding: “I was drained by that. And the kids knew far more than I thought they would.”
After answering binmen’s questions on the congestion charge at the school gates, he was ushered away for the next mayoral event, wearily getting on to his bike with the admission: “I’m also deeply hungover.”
ante diem vi kalendas junias
- 189 A.D. — birth of P. Septimius Geta, son of the emperor-to-be Septimius Severus and Julia Domna and brother of the emperor-to-be Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla)
- 270 A.D. — martyrdom of Restituta at Sora (?)
- 302 A.D. — Martyrdom of Julius at Durostorum
- 1265 — birth of Dante Alighieri
Once upon a time, there was almost an annual event of some guy coming up with a new theory about where Homer’s Odyssey or Iliad really took place … haven’t had one for quite a while, but in the Toronto Star I was gobsmacked to read this one:
The first thing to know about George Fowler is that, strictly speaking, he is not a full-time classics scholar. He’s just a couple of courses short of a degree in that field.
The other thing is that Fowler is a retired engineer, late of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia. So he knows a thing or three about currents, tides and trade winds.
It’s that curious combination of amateur and professional interests that has fuelled Fowler’s belief that the seafaring Odysseus, hero of Homer’s Odyssey, actually ended up in, well, the Bay of Fundy.
He first dreamed up this theory back in 1997 for a conference of the Marine Technology Society, whose organizers wanted a session on exploration to mark the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s voyage to Newfoundland. “I just sort of got carried away,” says Fowler, 69.
Not that he makes a point of mentioning all this to his literary colleagues. The classics crowd tends to pooh-pooh such speculations. For them, it’s the poem’s allegorical meanings that resonate, which is partly why Fowler hasn’t done much to publicize his views.
Fowler certainly isn’t alone in his pursuit. Over the centuries, countless scholars have tried to plot Odysseus’s exact voyage, culling clues from 12,109 lines of hexameter verse.
It may be the ultimate parlour game, matching landmarks in the poem with current geography, figuring out which natural phenomenon might have inspired the descriptions of various monsters.
And while others have situated Odysseus somewhere in the vicinity of Nova Scotia, Fowler may be the first to detail his ramblings around the Bay of Fundy.
The Odyssey is , of course, an epic journey filled with all sorts of extravagant perils. It begins with Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Latin) departing the ruins of Troy around 1200 BC, ostensibly homeward bound to Ithaca. (Homer’s recounting of the journey dates from much later, likely about 700 BC.)
Odysseus is, in other words, sailing all the way around modern Greece, from the Aegean Sea to the Ionian Sea in the eastern Mediterranean.
But he and his men get blown off course, and sent further west for nine days into relatively unknown waters. Most of those who’ve attempted to chart Odysseus’ subsequent travels have him bouncing around the western Mediterranean, which, in Homer’s day, was starting to be actively explored and colonized by the Greeks.
A few outliers, however, figure Odysseus got past the Straits of Gibraltar to the “Ocean River” mentioned by Homer. Fowler is one of them. “If you go outside, you’re no longer in control of your own destiny,” he says.
Fowler’s account of where Odysseus journeys from there is long and detailed, and even includes descriptions of the stars as they would have appeared in 1200 BC.
But the general outline first puts Odysseus in the grip of the Great North Atlantic Gyre, the massive system of currents and winds that circles the Atlantic, moving from Europe to North America and back again. That would carry him south to the Canary Islands and then across the ocean to the Caribbean, roughly the same course followed by Columbus.
Assuming Odysseus then opted to follow the Gulf Stream, he would have sailed up the coast of North America toward Nova Scotia.
On its own , this wouldn’t take him to the Bay of Fundy. Fowler’s assumption is that, faced with a crew anxious to get ashore anyplace, Odysseus decided to make landfall. That would mean crossing the cold Labrador Current that hugs the shore of Nova Scotia, flowing southwest and rotating around the southern end of the province.
The poem tells us that Odysseus “saw smoke and heavy breakers, heard this booming thunder.”
Fowler equates this “smoke” with the heavy fogs in that part of Nova Scotia, while the “thunder” could be the roar of water making its way around Cape Split into the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Basin.
Then come the whirlpools, which the poem describes as “awesome Charybdis” gulping dark water. “Three times a day she vomits it up, three times she gulps it down.”
It turns out that, in addition to having the highest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy is home to three major whirlpools in the course of each tidal cycle. “It really does look like a hole in the water,” says Fowler.
So, what about the nearby monster of the poem, yelping Scylla in her cave? Masses of writhing seals, says Fowler, and the black, basalt columns jutting upward on Cape Split.
He figures Odysseus, having escaped, turned up next in the Annapolis Basin, where the Annapolis River flows into the Bay of Fundy, the spot where Samuel de Champlain camped out much later.
It’s there that Odysseus’s starving men do the forbidden. They slaughter and feast on the Sun god’s cattle, “those splendid beasts with their broad brows and great curving horns,” as Homer puts it.
Fowler maintains these cattle were such a wondrous novelty because they were actually moose, a beast unknown in the Mediterranean. Killing them comes with a price. Zeus destroys Odysseus’s ship, and he’s left to float alone on a makeshift raft, first deep into the Bay of Fundy and then back toward the ocean.
He eventually hooks up with the goddess Calypso on the Island of Ogygia (which Fowler takes to be Grand Manan Island), and spends his time eating grapes (reminiscent of the Vikings’ Vineland).
But Homer also mentions “spread-beaked ravens of the sea, black skimmers who make their living off the waves.”
As it happens, black skimmers — a tern-like seabird — aren’t native to the Mediterranean, or at least not in recent memory. They do, however, show up with regularity in the Bay of Fundy, whenever storms blow them north from Cape Cod.
It turns out that Odysseus would have seen a great many black skimmers. He seems to have grown quite fond of the Bay of Fundy. Or maybe this “tough cookie,” as Fowler calls him, just needed a lot of rest after his adventures.
Odysseus ends up staying with the lovely goddess Calypso for seven years before duly heading back across the Atlantic to his actual home and lawful wife.
Well being a (rogue)classicist, I am duty bound to “pooh pooh” this, although I have to admit that when one sees the tides in the Bay of Fundy, one does think of Scylla and Charybdis … of course, what all these ‘relocations’ actually are are just a testament to the universality of Homer’s text: people can and do make personal connections, and sometimes those connections are geographical … sadly, what will likely happen is that someone will now make the ‘logical’ leap and notice the ‘similarity’ between the words “Mi’kmaq” and Mycenean and subsequently make connections between M’ikmaq writing and Linear B (Barry Fell notwithstanding) … or maybe someone can take it even further (and Odysseus too) and have him go as far as the site of the Peterborough Petroglyphs; I’m kind of surprised that no one has made an Odyssey connection there …
ante diem vii kalendas junias
- 17 A.D. – Germanicus celebrates a triumph for his victories in Germany
- 106 A.D. — martyrdom of Zachary in Gaul
- 107 A.D. – Trajan arrives in Rome and celebrates a triumph for his victories over the Dacians
- 303 A.D. — martyrdom of Felicissimus, Heraclius, and others at what is now Todi (Umbria)
Not sure if this is the one mentioned by Francesca Tronchin on Twitter (if so, tip o’ the pileus!):
An ancient Etruscan home dating back more than 2,400 years has been discovered outside Grosseto in central Italy. Hailed as an exceptional find, the luxury home was uncovered at an archeological site at Vetulonia, 200 kilometres north of Rome.
Archeologists say it is rare to find an Etruscan home intact and believe the home was built between the 3rd and 1st century BC.
Using six Roman and Etruscan coins uncovered at the home, archeologists believe the house collapsed in 79 AD during wars unleashed by Roman general and dictator, Lucio Cornelio Silla.
Archeologists have discovered a large quantity of items which have revealed a great deal about life in the home and the construction techniques of the era.
“These are the best ruins that have ever been found in Italy,” said Simona Rafanelli, director of the Isidoro Falchi archeological museum in Vetulonia, told journalists.
“They represent something incredibly important from an archeological and historical point of view, because they finally give us an understanding of new techniques linked to Etruscan construction that we did not know until today.
“Here today we are rewriting history. It is a unique case in Italy because with what we have found we will be able to completely reconstruct the entire house.”
From the ruins they discovered a basement or cellar in which the family is believed to have stored foodstuffs.
A beautiful earthenware pot was found in the corner of the room and an olive press.
Pieces of vases and plates were also uncovered at the house, while the walls were made of sun-dried clay bricks.
The Oxford University Press blog seems to be running a series of podcasts about Cleopatra over the next few days (?). In this first installment, we have an interviewish thing with Duane Roller, who, of course, has recently written a biography of our favourite Alexandrian.
Sorry … I’m grumpy this a.m.. A piece in the Express about letter writers begins with these three brief paragraphs:
PLINY the Younger had a strong sense of description. The eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD looked like a pine tree, he told the historian Tacitus in a graphic letter, “for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches”.
It was actually his uncle Pliny the Elder who had passed the description on to his nephew. But it was such an accurate pictorial account of the natural catastrophe that engulfed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum that volcanologists still use the term “Plinian eruption” as a scientific category.
Pliny the Elder was unable to write about the eruption himself because he died trying to rescue friends from Pompeii. He had taken a ship across the Bay of Naples but collapsed and died on the beach. How do we know? Because his nephew also wrote vividly about that event in another letter to Tacitus..
How can someone write in one paragraph that Pliny the Elder passed a description on to his nephew and in the very next one talk about his death on the beach. Doesn’t anyone at the Express make the connection???
ante diem viii kalendas junias
- rites in honour of Fortuna Publica Populi Romani Quiritium Primigenia on the Quirinal hill
- 585 B.C. — Thales possibly predicted the eclipse on this day
- 302 A.D. — martyrdom of Julius of Durostorum and companions
A while ago we mentioned that lead recovered from a Roman shipwreck was going to be used to help in neutrino research. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was more interested in the shipwreck than the lead, so I’m happy to share this very interesting video/slideshow thingy by Rossella Lorenzi of Discovery News fame. All about the wreck:
I thought of tying this to the Times piece (below) but it seems sufficiently different to warrant its own little chunk of rogueclassicism. The incipit of a column in the Post … where possible, I’ve interspersed bits from Youtub of the clip in question:
1. In the Stanley Kubrick epic “Spartacus,” the Romans offer slaves leniency if they’ll turn in the title character, played by Kirk Douglas. But when Spartacus rises to identify himself, Tony Curtis’ Antoninus screams “I’m Spartacus!” So does another man, then another, and by scene’s end, the infamous “No Snitching” movement is born.
And so, too, is an iconic movie moment, as “I’m Spartacus” became a legendary movie line in league with “You talkin’ to me?” “I coulda been a contender,” and “Don’t call me Shirley.”
As such, the line has generated more parodies and offshoots in pop culture than the “Single Ladies” video has on YouTube. On the occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary Blu-Ray release this Tuesday, here are some of our favorites.
MONTY PYTHON’S “LIFE OF BRIAN” (1979) As the Romans seek Brian (Graham Chapman) in order to release him from his crucifixion, they ask him to identify himself. Caught unaware, as he’s cursing out John Cleese’s People’s Front of Judea, the also-crucified Eric Idle sneaks in with, “I’m Brian of Nazareth.” When the real Brian screams “I’m Brian,” so does another man on a cross; then another, and another, until it becomes a chorus — including one man who announces, “I’m Brian, and so’s my wife.” The gesture of generosity from “Spartacus” is flipped into a cowardly act of self-preservation.
“MALCOLM X” (1992) Spike Lee ends his biopic of the civil rights icon with a depiction of Malcolm’s assassination, followed by footage of the actual murder. Then real African and African-American children declare, in the same spirit of unity as Spartacus’ fellow slaves, “I am Malcolm X.” [the bit comes towards the end of this long clip; some nice oratory by Nelson Mandela follows]
“MONK” (2002) The episode “Mr. Monk Meets the Red-headed Stranger” finds Willie Nelson, playing himself, suspected of killing his road manager after a financial dispute. When the police come to arrest him, his band members loyally step up, intoning “I’m Willie Nelson” one by one. The real Willie wisely surmises, “I don’t think they’re goin’ for it, boys.” [sorry ... can't find one for this]
“SOUTH PARK” (2005) In the episode “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow,” which aired two months after Hurricane Katrina, Cartman and Stan accidentally breach a local beaver dam. This leads to Katrina-level flooding, and a parody of the hysteria and whirlwind of blame surrounding that tragedy that includes the mantra, “George Bush doesn’t care about beavers.” At episode’s end, after Stan confesses, the townspeople misconstrue his guilt for altruism and declare “I broke the dam” one after the other, Spartacus-style, as the music swells, with Stan screaming the details of his crime aloud to no avail. [can't find this one either, although I suspect it's there somewhere]
PEPSI COMMERCIAL (2005) Incorporating clips from the film, here the Romans simply want to return a lost lunch bag with the name “Spartacus” written on the back, and a can of Pepsi inside, to its rightful owner. As a Roman holds the can aloft and screams “Is there a Spartacus here to claim this?” Douglas and Curtis rise, Curtis screams his line, and the noble scene is transformed into a greedy grab for a can of soda as Douglas looks on, forlorn. In the end, the Roman declares that he is Spartacus, and takes the can for himself.
… and as long as we’re doing things Spartacan, I came across this little vid thing of the Mediaeval Baebes singing Salva Nos, with images from the 2004 tv version of Spartacus:
From Natalie Haynes in the Times’ entertainment pages (this one is filling my box and Facebook notification thingy; tip o’ the pileus to quite a few folks) … a good excerpt:
Spartacus reflects so many of our current obsessions: the actors are uniformly gorgeous, toned and buff, like models. It’s never questioned. These are gladiators — they spend all day working out. Well, maybe, but think what the Romans and Greeks used to look like on TV: Peter Ustinov was no John Hannah. And it’s even more obvious when you look at Perseus in the original Clash of the Titans movie and this year’s remake. Harry Hamlin was very pretty, but he would have needed a year in the gym to look like Sam Worthington.
So while it’s tempting to believe that we are like the Romans that we see on TV — the sex, the violence, the swearing, the beautiful naked ladies and the hot, naked guys — the truth is that we are simply constructing a vision of the Romans that shows us as we would like to see ourselves. Which raises the question of how much historical accuracy matters in entertainment.
The New York Post asked a pile of celebs the movies they have to see … a couple are of interest:
* Jeanine Pirro: “Gladiator.” It’s not just an historical classic about the triumph of the human spirit, it’s about settling scores. It’s about strength and honor.
* Sherri Shepherd (“The View”): “Gladiator,” because Russell Crowe fighting to avenge his wife and child is sexiness at its best.