Hannibal Flick Update

Vin Diesel’s Fast and the Furious is getting a pile of reviews right now … at the end of the one in the LA Times (and probably elsewhere) we read:

And for the last six years, Diesel has remained relentlessly dedicated to bringing a biopic about the Carthaginian military commander Hannibal to the screen. Over that time, producers have balked at its initial price tag of $230 million as well as Diesel’s insistence on directing. Still, the ambiguously ethnic actor has gone as far as hiring a screenwriter to translate the script he and other writers have been working on into Punic — an ancient language that has been extinct for more than 2,000 years.

Diesel said he identified with Hannibal on several levels.

“It’s about overcoming insurmountable odds. But nothing speaks more to me than the fact that this was the first champion of multiculturalism,” he said. “Rome’s empire flourished because they were able to adopt the idea that many nationalities could coexist together. They learned that from Hannibal.”

He weighed the consequences of pursuing his dream project.

“It takes someone with enough of an ego to believe they can tell this story better than anybody else. That’s where I’m at,” Diesel said, breaking into a wide grin. “They can’t stop me. They can stomp me. Kick me when I’m down. But they won’t stop me. Cross your fingers for me, brother!”

Perhaps further evidence that the project is still going on  is word that Diesel is also developing an online video game which is clearly connected. Neoseeker reports (inter alia):

This new game — that has been in development for 2 or 3 years already, apparently — is going to be a MMO with RPG qualities, set around 200 B.C, in the Punic Wars. (Shotgun blast history lesson: the Punic Wars were a series a battles in the Mediterranean against the dominating empire of day, the Carthaginian State, against the upstart Roman Republic. Hannibal Barca was a fearsome, legendary talented Carthaginian general, raised from birth to kill Romans.)

“The reason why it’s my dream game is because it is an MMO …  where you create an avatar that lives in the reality of Hannibal Barca, the Punic Wars and life 200 B.C,” Vin Diesel said to Destructoid. “You would have avatars that you would invest [in] — it would be an RPG game — and creating that ancient world as your backdrop. Creating an ancient world that is your ‘Azeroth.’ That is probably my dream scenario,” Diesel went on to say.

From the interview, it seems that Diesel has a sincere interest and affinity for the world of the ancient West. In that period before the Roman Empire began, when the whole ‘civilization’ ball really started to roll, warfare was entering a new conceptual stage of tactics, and massive, well-equipped armies where deciding the entire course of history in the West.

It appears that Barca B.C has at least a few years of development before it will see the light of day. But it is a project the Diesel is personally motivated to see through to the end: “We all know those games take a lot of work to create, a lot of funds. We are just in the first two or three years of putting it together. It could probably take another four years before we see that game…When we talk about dream case scenarios, man, I would love to play as a Carthaginian soldier 200 years before Christ. Sailing around the Mediterranean, that’d be pretty damn cool. If you could add some historical elements to it, the better.”

So I guess all these Fast-and-Furious-type flicks are subsidizing the Hannibal one …

Lucy Lawless in Spartacus Flick?

Variety reports (inter alia):

Lucy Lawless is returning to her action-hour roots, signing on to star in the new fantasy-and-fighting series from “Xena: Warrior Princess” masterminds Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi. The previously announced project from Starz Media, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” will feature the New Zealand-bred thesp, who starred in “Xena” from 1995-2001, as the proprietor of a camp for gladiators.

A female lanista?

Hellenistic Harbour Remains from Ptolemais/Akko/Acre

By whatever name you recognize it, this is interesting … the Israel Antiquities Authority has issued a press release (and photos) of evidence of a floor (pavement is probably a better word) one metre below the water level in the harbour at Akko, the erstwhile Ptolemais. An excerpt from the press release:

As part of the project, a temporary rampart that serves as both a road and dam was built in the sea. The pool of water that formed between the rampart and the seawall was pumped out so as to create dry conditions for rehabilitating the seawall.

The part of the floor that has been revealed so far extends for a distance of 15 meters and is 4 meters wide (the full dimensions of the floor have not yet been exposed). The floor was built of rectangular, smoothly dressed kurkar stones that were placed atop a foundation course of roughly hewn kurkar stones arranged next to each other as “headers”. In probes that were conducted beneath the floor, numerous fragments of ceramic jars of Aegean provenance (from Rhodes, Kos and elsewhere) were found that were used to transport wine, as well as tableware and cooking vessels. Among the other artifacts recovered were a Greek style bronze arrowhead and bronze coins that are covered with marine encrustations. A preliminary identification of the finds shows that the floor was constructed in the Hellenistic period (end of the third century until the middle of the second century BCE) as part of a national project.
According to Kobi Sharvit, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Archaeology Unit, “The location of the floor, its size, the building style and the building method, which is mainly known from the construction of harbor installations, indicate with a high degree of certainty that the floor has a marine connection suggesting it belongs to a large pier or dockyard structure”.

The floor constitutes an extremely important indicator for studies that deal with changes in sea level and in the location of the shoreline during the Hellenistic period in Akko. This find raises other questions regarding the tectonic changes that occurred in Akko, which is located on a geologic fault, and sea levels.

Not sure how they recognize this as part of a “national project”, unless that comes from text-based evidence vel simm. Whatever the case, here’s a relevant photo:

IAA photo
IAA photo

Restoring Philip II’s Palace

ANA has a brief item on the restoration work ongoing at Philip II’s palace at Aigai. From the conclusion:

The restoration of the two-storey gallery (stoa) in the building’s front section was a “revelation” for archaeologists’ studying ancient architecture, as it contradicted earlier beliefs according to which such galleries were a later practice, dating in the 2nd century BC. The galleries’ architectural sections are built based on the “golden mean” ratio (1 to 1.6). Archaeologists believe that Pytheos was the palace’s architect, who had also designed the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, while the mausoleum’s sculptor Leocharis had also worked on the palace of Aigai.