Women’s Rights in Italy

Commenting on the ‘glass ceiling’ and other matters in regards to modern women’s rights in Italy, here’s the conclusion to a letter to the editor in the New York Times:

Ironically, in “The Emancipation of Women in Ancient Rome,” Roger Vigneron and Jean-François Gerkens explain how the Italians of antiquity forged a polity where “the rule of juridical equality was the duty to be pursued.” According to the authors, the Romans believed men and women to be inherently equal.

The Vigneron-Gerkens piece is available online (Revue Internationale des droits de l’Antiquité, 3ème série, XLVII (2000)) … I don’t really think one can make the leap from juridical equality to “inherently equal” and I’m pretty sure the women of Italy would not want to go back to the social situation of a couple of millennia ago (not that they necessarily need to be satisfied with their current lot either) …

Ad Myths (and vice versa)

Excerpts from a Wide-Format Imaging press release (?):

A pantheon of mythological gods is leading the Alcan Composites USA campaign to inspire legendary creations on an epic scale from graphic designers, who’ve long relied upon the proven performance of the company’s Fome-Cor, Sintra, Gator, and Dibond graphic display boards. Alcan Composites’ Legends of Mythology marketing communications campaign has been designed to visually inspire designers by powerfully representing each product line’s attributes through a mythological figure.

“Alcan Composites has earned a long-standing reputation in the graphic display industry for producing legendarily reliable substrates and has challenged designers to create their own legendary graphic displays in its previous ‘Legends’ marketing communications campaign,” said Joseph N. Masters, marketing manager, graphic display, Alcan Composites USA. “The Legends of Mythology campaign extension is designed to remind graphic designers and fabricators of the powerful role these products can play in creating legendary displays. Bold images of mythological gods—including Neptune, Ra, Medusa and Thor—represent the unique attributes of each of our lines of Fome-Cor, Sintra, Gatorfoam, and Dibond graphic display boards.”

Those mythological images include:

Fome-Cor and Neptune. Illustrations of the Roman god of the sea often depict Neptune rising out of the depths of the ocean. This concept of “depth” is exemplified by Fome-Cor board because it is uniquely embossable; varying surface levels can be die-cut into the board to produce 3-D effects as well as closed edges that will stay closed permanently. Fome-Cor board consists of extruded polystyrene foam bonded between various high-quality papers that feature a smooth surface for direct digital- and screen-printing applications or mounting.


Gatorfoam and Medusa. In Greek mythology, Medusa possessed the power to turn into stone anyone that she gazed upon. Similarly, that kind of rigidity is possessed by Gatorfoam, the original heavy-duty graphic display board that consists of polystyrene foam bonded between two layers of wood-fiber veneer laminate. This unique construction makes Gatorfoam rigid yet lightweight and warp-resistant; its surface also is exceptionally smooth and strong.


More Instrument Re-Creations

This one seems to be filling my box … from Phys.Org:

Salpinx, barbiton, aulos, syrinx. Never heard them? Never heard of them? Neither had anyone else, for centuries. Until now.

These were all musical instruments, familiar to ancient civilizations but long since forgotten.

Ancient instruments can be lost because they are too difficult to build, or too difficult to play, but they can be heard again thanks to the ASTRA (Ancient instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application) team. These researchers accomplish this feat using computer modeling and grid technology – the shared resources of a distributed network of hundreds of computers.

Having successfully reconstructed the sound of an earlier instrument called the “epigonion,” ASTRA is working on a whole host of other lost instruments including the salpinx (a kind of ancient trumpet), the barbiton (an ancient base guitar), the aulos (an ancient oboe) and the syrinx (a pan flute).

More ancient instruments are to be heard soon, after the organization’s official Lost Sounds Orchestra finishes its preparations for a unique performance towards the end of summer.

In many respects, ASTRA’s Lost Sounds Orchestra is like any other orchestra — with real musicians, rehearsals and performances — except its goal is to offer its audience a completely new world of music. The sounds of the barbiton and the salpinx are currently being finalized, while a guitar player is familiarizing himself with both the epigonion and the barbiton using his specially adapted electric MIDI guitar, which has been programmed with the lost sounds. The sounds of even more instruments, such as an ancient lower Mediterranean frame drum, should also be completed by the end of summer.

The original article includes some video and sound files of the instruments being played (although it’s kind of odd to hear ‘classical’ music in this instrumental context, no?). More info on the Astra Project can be found here … also worth checking out is the Lost Sounds Orchestra

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem kalendas septembres

ante diem kalendas septembres

rites in honour of Jupiter Liber

392 B.C. — dedication of the Temple of Juno Regina on the Aventine (and associated rites thereafter)

22 B.C. — dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans (and associated rites thereafter)

69 A.D. — traditional date for the sacking of Jerusalem

118 A.D. — martyrdom of Terentian in Umbria

1987 — death of Arnaldo Momigliano