David Davies on Archaeological Traces of LitTrad

Interesting incipit from the UDallas University paper:

On Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. in the Art History Auditorium, the Rome office gave the third installment of the Rome Walking Tour in Irving, a series of lectures designed to both prepare future Romers for their semester abroad and enhance the Rome experience for past Romers, as well as for people who have never yet gone to Rome. Dr. David Davies of the English and classics departments spoke on “Archaeological Traces of Literary Traditions I: Facts of Fiction.”

Davies began his lecture by holding up a dollar bill and explaining that the eagle on the back is the bird of Zeus, accented with the olive branch and the brace of arrows. That this image appears on the bill is representative of the government’s use of art to speak to the nation. As such, the eagle represents an independent power capable of both peace and war. Also on the back of the dollar bill is the Latin phrase, “Annuit coeptus” – “he has nodded at our beginnings,” a line from the Aeneid describing the foundation of the Roman people.

With this beginning, Davies explained that he wanted to make his audience aware of the many images from the Lit Trad I poems scattered around, specifically in Rome. “The audience of the poems was so captivated that they wanted artistic representations of them to remind them.” Davies said that he wanted to make some suggestions on how to understand these images. Therefore, the first part of his lecture he called “Art, or how to look at it.” First, he cited the example of Pasquino, one of the seven “talking” statues of Rome, a badly worn marble statue which, in the middle ages, Romans would scribble messages near to voice their dissatisfaction with the reigning powers. Davies explained that the guide books will alert the tourist of this story, but will fail to identify the statue as a representation of Menelaus defending the fallen Patroclus. “You have to know the stories from which the artists took their inspiration,” Davies said.

The rest: Davies gives lecture on archaeological traces of Lit Trad I – News.

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