From the Mailbag: Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project

Bernard Frischer sends this along:

Nov. 22, 2013 Launch of The Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project!
Dear Friends of Hadrian’s Villa and the Tomb of the Gladiator,
I write you because you were good enough to sign our iPetition to save Hadrian’s Villa and/or to support a related petition to save the Gladiator Tomb when these precious monuments were at risk.
The occasion for contacting you now is something very positive, indeed. After five years of work by many individuals and with the cooperation of many academic and cultural institutions, we are proud to announce the launch of The Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project.
The goals of the project are to provide: (1) a website with rich visual documentation of the condition of the site today; (2) a 3D restoration model of the site as it appeared during the reign of Hadrian; and (3) an interactive simulation that puts the 3D restoration model into web players of a game engine.
Here is a brief progress report on our efforts to reach these goals:
The project website documenting the state of the villa today is now open to the public and can be viewed at:
Please be sure to "like" the website on Facebook and other social media.

The first web player to be finished is the Canopus-Serapaeum. It will be released by the end of this month and will be freely available from the Canopus page of the project website ( Over the next 18 months, our plan is to release web players of a dozen of the most important structures in the villa (Canopus, Hall of the Doric Pillars, Piazza d’Oro, etc.).

The current state of the 3D model can be seen in an HD video at:

Please be sure to select the HD setting for best viewing quality and to "like" it.

This Friday, November 22, 2013, starting at 6:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time, there will be a public launch of project hosted by the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. The guest of honor is Dr. Marina Sapelli Ragni. The event will be webcast, and you can watch it live at:
Please go online a few minutes early so that you are present when we start.
Thank you very much again for your interest and support. Please remember to join us on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm EDT via our webcast!
Sincerely yours,
Prof. Bernard Frischer, Director
The Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project
The Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, Indiana University School of Informatics

P.S. The Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project has been generously supported by an anonymous private donor, the National Science Foundation (grant # IIS-1018512), and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We are very grateful for this support.
We thank the Archaeological Superintendency for Lazio, a unit of the Italian Ministry of Culture, for its kind permission to gather and publish on the website visual documentation of the site today. We especially thank Superintendent Emerita Dr. Marina Sapelli Ragni for her encouragement and support.
Co-sponsors of the public launch on November 22, 2013 are: School of Informatics, Indiana University; Ball State University; the Center for Hellenic Studies; and the American Institute for Roman Culture.
Copyright © 2013 Frischer Consulting, Inc., All rights reserved.
You are on this email list because you either signed the iPetition to Save Hadrian’s Villa in 2012-13 or else are a supporter of the American Institute for Roman Culture (AIRC).

CJ~Online Review: Murnaghan on Nooter, When Heroes Sing

posted with permission:

When Heroes Sing: Sophocles and the Shifting Soundscape of Tragedy. By Sarah Nooter. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. viii + 200. $95.00 ISBN 978-1-107-00161-9.
Reviewed by Sheila Murnaghan, University of Pennsylvania
In this innovative and rewarding study, Sarah Nooter assesses the "poeticity" of the Sophoclean hero. In the context of tragedy, itself a form of poetry, poeticity (a serviceable, if ungainly term) denotes instances of sung or heightened language that depart from ordinary speech as presented through the unobtrusive, conversational rhythms of the iambic trimeter. The clearest cases are passages in which actors actually sing, often in alternation with the chorus, and Nooter’s focus on Sophocles’ protagonists is grounded in the fact that Sophocles gives sung lyrics to his main characters much more often than either Aeschylus or Euripides.
But Nooter is also concerned with spoken utterances that are variously marked as lyrical by their emotional intensity, use of repetition and word play, dense imagery, and expansive range of reference. She pays particular attention to apostrophe (making good use of theoretical treatments by Jonathan Culler and Thomas Greene) as a means by which speakers reach beyond their immediate interlocutors. Such features distinguish poetic from everyday discourse in many settings, but for Athenian tragedians and their audiences, they were especially associated with the non-dramatic lyric genres that figured among tragedy’s sources. Nooter’s book thus shares in the current interest in tragedy’s debt to its lyric roots and its mixture of multiple styles and meters-an overdue response to John Herington’s groundbreaking Poetry into Drama (1985), propelled by a swing of the pendulum from sociological to more formalist approaches in tragic criticism.
Examining the protagonist’s speech patterns in six of the surviving plays, Nooter shows how Sophocles stretches ordinary language to produce the voices of out-sized characters facing extreme, uncharted circumstances. The effects she discusses are diverse, and the lines between poetic and unpoetic expression are inevitably fluid. Her willingness to allow poeticity only to the central hero of each play can certainly be questioned. It seems arbitrary that Deianira’s gnomic, metaphor-filled speeches in Trachiniae should be ruled unpoetic because they lack addressees or are indirectly quoted, and Teiresias’ enigmatic, disorienting words in Oedipus Tyrannus could surely be classed as poetic.
Nooter herself admits the artificiality of her boundaries when she declines to discuss Antigone because the play features two main characters who meet her definition of speaking poetically. But this limitation is not a serious problem for her argument because her greatest interest is in the efficacy, rather than just the expressiveness, of heightened language; it is the strong-willed heroes who most conspicuously make things happen with their extraordinary words, especially when more tangible resources fail them.
Surveying the plays in presumed chronological order, Nooter finds a progression from earlier heroes (Ajax, Heracles, Oedipus at Thebes) who gain "authority" through poetic language to later ones (Electra, Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus) who gain actual "power," making things turn out as they wish. Along this trajectory, her readings acutely delineate the various formal means by which particular situations are dramatized. The painful lyric outbursts with which Ajax responds to his situation drive home his isolation from other human beings, not least because they meet with sober trimeter answers from the chorus. In his own great trimeter speeches, Ajax uses riddling language, arresting metaphors, and addresses to gods and nature to make contact instead with superhuman forces.
Heracles in Trachiniae and Oedipus in Oedipus Tyrannus are treated together as figures who turn to lyrics to construct new and compelling identities when their seemingly-secure positions and enviable reputations have been destroyed. In one of the book’s strongest discussions, Electra is shown to dominate and direct the other characters of her play through relentless deployment of lamentation. For Philoctetes, apostrophe is the poetic trope through which he most effectively shapes his circumstances-articulating his abjection, soliciting Neoptolemus’ sympathy, conjuring Heracles’ epiphany, and mastering his Lemnian surroundings. Finally, in Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus relies on elevated language to bring his Athenian interlocutors a proper appreciation of his unfathomable, paradoxical, and superhuman status and then falls silent as his survivors take over his lyric mode to express what they have witnessed.
Throughout this discussion, Nooter maintains that the power these heroes gain by using poetic language is specifically the power of a poet. This claim seems doubtful and even somewhat anticlimactic. Sophocles may have drawn on lyric poetry for his protagonists’ modes of speech, but it does not follow that he has characterized them as lyric poets. Nooter rightly stresses the authority of poets in the Greek tradition (and might have said even more about their associations with seercraft, priesthood, and magic), but that authority hardly matches the singular strengths of the Sophoclean hero: the worldly prerogatives gained and lost, the special closeness to the gods, the uncompromising will and sense of self, the driving awareness of deprivation and injustice-powers conveyed in tragedy through heightened, hyper-poetic language. As the author of this language, it is Sophocles who emerges from Nooter’s suggestive treatment as an impressively powerful poet.

[©2013 by The Classical Association of the Middle West and South. All rights reserved.]

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xiii kalendas decembres

ante diem xiii kalendas decembres

… and ten years ago at rogueclassicism, inter alia, we we chatting about garlic being spread around Europe by the Roman army and the discovery of an ancient ‘gated community’ on the outskirts of Jerusalem …