A Couple More Videos from the Royal Ontario Museum

Can’t say that I like the latest trio of short vids from the ROM … we mentioned the meh factor in the Pantheon video (below), and now I’ve been alerted to two others … the first is  ostensibly on ‘Bread and Games’, but really is about the theatre in Bosra and doesn’t really say anything about the ‘Bread and Circuses’ aspect of Roman life:

The next one is about gladiators and looks at a relief from Turkey … the narrative is a rather ‘popular’ viewpoint (with some rather loose use of ‘Colosseum’):

… this one’s perhaps the most infuriating as the relief itself is so interesting … the gladiators are wearing the same armour (which is extremely uncommon)  and it seems to be a mishmash of different types; I have to stare at this one a lot longer and harder, I think …

Circumundique – August 16, 2011

… and now we catch up with what was posted yesterday or so:


Liz Glynn and Schliemann

Interesting little excerpt from the middle of an item in the Los Angeles Times:

Liz Glynn’s studio, on the second floor of a mildly shabby Chinatown office complex, is modest in size and extremely cluttered. Shelves are crammed with boxes and bins; tables are loaded with books, piles of snapshots, and odds and ends from various projects. It would be difficult, at a glance, to get a very clear sense of the work Glynn makes, or the scale on which she makes it: sculptures, installations and participatory performances involving crowds of volunteers, feats of DIY engineering and a thematic range spanning centuries of history.

Nor is her manner particularly revealing: 29 and slight of build, she has a quiet voice and a calm demeanor. In her studio as in her often hectic performances, she seems always to be poised in the eye of the storm. As she speaks, however, drawing objects and anecdotes out from the clutter like an archaeologist drawing from the rubble of a dig — given her interest in ancient history, the metaphor is irresistible — a picture gradually begins to appear.

Ten minutes into a recent visit, for instance, she tells an animated story that epitomizes the scope of her current interests concerning the discovery of what’s known as the “gold of Troy” by the German-born businessman-turned-amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who was obsessed with establishing the historical veracity of “The Iliad.” Schliemann unearthed the gold — a cache of ancient jewelry — in northwest Turkey in the 1870s and gave it to a museum in Berlin. In World War II it was seized by the Russians, who hid it in the basement of the Pushkin Museum for 50 years until an outside scholar tracked it down.

“So this curator who’d been there the whole time was like, ‘Yeah, we have it, and we’re not giving it back because the Germans did such damage to our culture,'” she says. Meanwhile, she adds, “you go to the museum in Berlin and there are these really crappy copies there and this thing about how the Russians took it, the Germans were the victims of World War II, and the Germans want their gold back. The whole thing is totally insane. So I made copies and I snuck them into the museum and shot video of me sticking them in. Then I brought some other copies to Troy and shot a video of me walking through all the trenches and stuff.”

Tracing the paths of artifacts through the world, including the splintering paths of copies and replicas, is a central preoccupation for Glynn, who sees objects like the gold of Troy, and the charged, often irrational disputes that tend to surround them, reflecting larger forces of growth and decay, creation and destruction at play in the operations of history.

Again and again, the work calls attention to the odd ways in which the distant past intertwines with the present. For instance, she has plans for an installation involving the construction of a tunnel intended to invoke both the tunnels in the Egyptian pyramids and those constructed today between Egypt and Gaza, drawing a parallel between antiquities being smuggled out and provisions being smuggled in. […]

via Artist Liz Glynn digs through rubble of history, modern times | LA Times.

d.m. Alan Treloar

From the Sydney Morning Herald (tip o’ the pileus to Tim Parkin):

Colonel Alan Treloar was one of Australia’s greatest linguists and classical scholars and also a distinguished soldier.

Few could rival his knowledge as a scholar of ancient Greek and Latin. He had a special interest in the Roman poet Horace but had read the entire classical literatures of both languages at least twice.

He had an astonishing gift for languages and would admit, when pressed, to direct knowledge of about 80. He had a formidable command of many, such as Sanskrit, Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Hittite. In his early 80s he was investigating Bunuba, a language of the Kimberley.

Alan Treloar was born in Ivanhoe, Victoria, on November 13, 1919, the eldest of four children of John Treloar, who became the first director of the Australian War Memorial, and his wife, Clarissa (nee Aldridge), a music teacher.

His first linguistic interests were in French at six and Latin at 10. He soon took up ancient Greek as well and was learning Japanese by correspondence while at school.

He went to Carey Baptist Grammar School and the University of Melbourne, where he took a bachelor of arts and was the Victorian Rhodes Scholar for 1940 but did not take up the scholarship then because of his service in the Second Australian Imperial Force.

He began his military career with the Melbourne University Regiment and went on to serve with the 2/14th Battalion from 1940 to 1944, first in the Syrian campaign, during which he was seriously wounded, and later on the Kokoda Track.

His wounding meant he was no longer able to march with the infantry and he was transferred to a staff appointment at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne. After hours, he worked for his master of arts degree from the University of Melbourne, which he took in 1943. He then transferred to the Australian Army Intelligence Corps from 1944 to 1945.

In 1945 he married Bronnie Taylor, a fellow linguist and diplomatic staff cadet.

On release from the army, Treloar was a lecturer in classics at the University of Melbourne and tutor at Trinity College, Melbourne, before taking up his Rhodes Scholarship. At Oxford, he chose to read classical moderations and greats.

He also served with the British Army of the Rhine in 1946 and from 1949 to 1950 was assistant lecturer in ancient history at the University of Nottingham. He then went to the University of Glasgow from 1950 to 1959. During this period, he was attached from the Australian Army to the University of Nottingham Training Corps and then the Glasgow Highlanders, then was transferred to the Territorial Army.

In 1959 the Treloars moved back to Australia. He became first warden of Hytten Hall and reader in classics at the University of Tasmania in 1959 and, in 1960, moved to the University of New England, where he was master of Wright College (1960 to 1966) then reader in comparative philology (1966 to 1984).

He also continued his military involvement, transferring back to the Australian Army to serve with the Tasmania Command and then the Sydney University Regiment in command of New England Company until retiring in 1969.

Academic retirement came nominally in 1984 but in fact ended only with failing health in the past few years. He continued to be sought out for expert advice by scholars from around the world and to make his skills available as an inspirational teacher to a string of students.

His publications reflect the diversity of his interests and include The Importance of Music (1987) and Lyra (1994), as well as academic and military papers.

Treloar was a reserved and dignified man of honesty and integrity and a warm and generous friend. In 1992, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of New England.

Alan Treloar is survived by his children, Anna and Jeannie, son-in-law James and grandchildren Sarah, Katy and Alex. Bronnie died in 1991, as did daughter Meg, in 1995.

Circumundique – August 15, 2011

Got a bit sidetracked yesterday … this will keep you busy while I wade through the accumulated email: