Bipolar Alexander?

The incipit of a piece in the Telegraph:

Clever children are almost four times more likely to suffer from the condition, which is also known as manic depression.

The latest finding, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, supports a commonly held belief that exceptional intellectual ability is associated with the mental illness.

Famous sufferers include Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson, Alexander The Great, Michelangelo, Picasso, Mozart, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Christopher Columbus.

While it seems that any list of maladies which looks for ‘historical’ sufferers is bound to include either Alexander or Caesar, this notion of a bipolar Alexander is new to me … where did this come from?

via Straight-A schoolchildren at higher risk of bipolar disorder, research claims | Telegraph.

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Roman Theatre at Baia

via corriere del mezzogiorno

Came across this one las week but couldn’t get it to post for some reason … it details the discovery via satellite imagery, off the shore of Baia, of what seems to be a Roman theatre:

Era il lontano 1956, quando Raimondo Bucher – ufficiale pilota da caccia – scoprì durante una ricognizione aerea, giacere a soli pochi metri dalla linea di costa, un’intera città romana collocata sui fondali del golfo di Pozzuoli. Come ebbe a dire poco dopo, durante un’intervista: «Era da poco passata la guerra, uscivo di pattuglia sul mare partendo dall’aeroporto di Capodichino. Dall’alto, in una giornata caratterizzata dalla straordinaria limpidezza del cielo e del mare, intravidi forme sottomarine simmetriche e regolari. Incuriosito, decisi pertanto di scattare dal cielo alcune fotografie, che ancora oggi restano per la loro limpidezza, testimonianza ineguagliata. Dopo lo sviluppo ebbi la sconcertante sorpresa: dalle stampe apparvero nella loro chiarezza quelle che inequivocabilmente erano mura, strade, e costruzioni di un’antica città sommersa. Erano i resti della antica città romana di Baia».
L’antico teatro: guarda le immagini

OPERA MURARIA – Oggi, a soli poco più di 50 anni di distanza, ritornando a “sorvolare” la zona interessata dai ritrovamenti è stato possibile osservare (grazie all’ausilio di moderni strumenti di telerilevamento satellitare), accanto a quelle antiche strutture d’età imperiale che giacciono in fondo al mare individuate dal Capitano Bucher, resti di un’opera muraria non ancora degnamente esplorata. Rilevati nei fondali della collina del Castello Aragonese, emergono per le loro caratteristiche essenziali, i resti di una particolare struttura dalla forma geometrica a semicerchio, che richiamano la pianta classica di un antico teatro romano d’età imperiale. La struttura, che si trova a pochi metri di profondità, è rivolta in direzione sud-est ed era capace di ospitare fino a 5.000 spettatori. Gli spalti, sfruttando la naturale conformazione del terreno, degradavano dolcemente dalla collina verso il mare. Stilisticamente il manufatto mostra una perfetta ed inalterata forma semicircolare interrotta da una murazione, forse utlizzata come fondale.

SPETTACOLO NELLO SPETTACOLO – Presumibilmente, ricalcando la linea di costa dell’antica «Baiae», offriva alle rappresentazioni del periodo uno scenario unico e inimitabile direttamente sul mare. Più elementi inducono a pensare che si tratti del famoso Teatro di Cesare in quanto la struttura risulta facente parte di un più ampio complesso residenziale definito Villa di Cesare (a conferma di quanto sostiene Tacito secondo il quale la villa di Cesare era posta su di un’altura dominante il golfo di Baia) successivamente inglobato nell’attuale fortezza Aragonese. Un grandiosa villa romana dunque i cui resti e il suo teatro si conservano inalterati ancora nelle profondità del nostro mare.

There is a slideshow of a dozen images of varying relevance at the original page …

Podcast:Cleopatra’s Alexandria Treasures

Renowned archaeologist Franck Goddio talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky [below] about his efforts to recover artifacts from the ancient cities of Alexandria, Heracleion and Canopus, with special attention to discoveries related to Cleopatra and her reign. The exhibit Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt opens at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on June 5th. Web sites related to this episode include http://www.underwaterdiscovery.org

via Cleopatra’s Alexandria Treasures : Scientific American Podcast.

Anne Carson Performs

From the Emory Wheel:

Renowned classicist and contemporary poet Anne Carson read her work at Emory last Wednesday as the 2010 Nix Mann lecturer.

The Nix Mann lecture series features a distinguished lecturer on campus each year.

Carson, who performed her poems “Cassandra Float Can” and “Bracko” in the Michael C. Carlos Museum, has received numerous awards for her work. These awards include the MacArthur Genius Award, Lannan Literary Award and the Pushcart Prize.

She serves as the distinguished poet in residence at New York University.

Carson began the lecture by reciting her poem “Cassandra,” during which 10 Emory student collaborators carried photos and a slideshow depicting different images on a screen.

“Cassandra” is based off of Carson’s translation of Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon.”
Cassandra, a princess of Troy, was blessed with prophetic vision, but was cursed so that no one would believe any of her prophecies.

She contrasted Cassandra, a witness to the gory Trojan War, with other observers of tumultuous times, including the architect Gordon Matta-Clark, who found beauty in splicing large objects such as buildings.

“Where is the edge of new?” Carson read. “What is the future doing under the past or Greek metrics in Trojan silence?”

Images of an individual ensconced in a net, the gritty exterior of a house and the rounded narrow view of a staircase flickered on the screen as Carson read.
Carson performed “Bracko” with Emory philosophy professor Richard Patterson and Carson’s collaborator and New York artist Robert Currie.

“Bracko” utilized selections from Carson’s translations of the incomplete works of Sappho, the musician and poet who was born in 653 B.C. who lived on the island of Lesbos.

The incomplete text was marked by brackets, which was both in the written text and verbalized during the performance.

In lieu of dancers who were originally part of the piece, brackets of varying sizes and animation moved across the screen.

“Helen left her fine husband behind. … I would rather see her lovely step,” Carson recited in a monotonous tone.

As she chanted, others speakers’ voices would overlap with the repetition of “bracket bracket,” or complete her phrases with lines such as, “sing to us, the one with violets in her lap.”

Carson received a loud ovation from the crowded room at the conclusion of her presentation.

Carson’s visit to Emory was co-sponsored by the Luminaries in Art and Humanities series of the Office of the Provost, the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry as well as the Poetry Council.

At the end of Carson’s lecture, she answered several questions from audience members who were curious about the tone of voice she used while she was reading her poems.

“I consciously try to scrape [when I read],” she explained.

Carson added that her monotonous voice was intended to remove vestiges of academia because she said she believed academia would clutter the meaning of the words.

“I just have the words be the words,” Carson said.

Carson served as a member of the Emory classics department in the 1980s.

Officials at the Carlos Museum, which hosted the event, wanted to invite Carson to lecture this year due to her strong ties with the classical world not only as a scholar but also as an imaginative poet, Director of Education Programs at the Carlos Museum Elizabeth Hornor said.

“One of the things that is important to the Carlos Museum is to try to demonstrate that the ancient world is a great source of inspiration for contemporary writers and artists,” Hornor said.

Anne Carson was a great choice for this year’s Nix Mann lecturer, Emory classicist and history professor Cynthia Patterson wrote in an e-mail to the Wheel.

“She is elegant and very funny,” Paterson wrote. “She is both a creative poet and an expert translator of Greek.”