#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for June 29, 2022

Hodie est a.d. III Kal. Jul. 2775 AUC ~ 1 Hekatombion in the first year of the 700th Olympia

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…on others, it eventually imposed on itself.” A key quote for journalist Chris Hedges in analysing the present state of the USA – but if it’s not actually Thucydides (who never wrote about the rule of the Thirty Tyrants in Athens), who was it?

Countless faces of real people survive in ancient portraiture, but how often do we know their names, or anything about their lives? In this episode, Dr. Judith Swaddling joins Melissa and Chelsea to talk about Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa, an Etruscan woman who lived over 2000 years ago in Italy. Seianti is an incredible person to get to know, since we have a full-sized portrait of her lying atop her sarcophagus, as well as the physical remains of her skeleton. Listen in as Dr. Swaddling reveals the layers of Seianti’s past and discusses the limits to how much we can actually know about any one person from the ancient Mediterranean world.

In this episode the guys make their way through the rest of Book 3 where we find more regressive pulls back to the old Troy as well as Homeric tags and Odyssean cameos. At the first stop Aeneas is stunned to find a remarried Andromache still alive in Epirus, but also still obsessed with the past and her dear departed Hector. And even more things are off—she seems to be living in a low-rent, Euro Disney, knock-off “Tiny Troy” with a mini Simois, scant Scaean gates, and paltry Pergamum. It’s like we’ve entered Vergil’s version of the Upside-Down or some other referent to a show Dave hasn’t seen. Aeneas hightails it out of this creepy place and heads for (at last!) Italy, the land of murses and selfie-sticks. Now there’s some solid Homeric “fan service”—crowd pleasing walk-ons by Scylla, Polyphemus, Achaemenides, and Bill Murray. Oh, and Aeneas’ dad dies. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Adrienne Mayor is renowned for exploring the borders of history, science, archaeology, anthropology, and popular knowledge to find historical realities and scientific insights–glimmering, long-buried nuggets of truth–embedded in myth, legends, and folklore. Combing through ancient texts and obscure sources, she has spent decades prospecting for intriguing wonders and marvels, historical mysteries, diverting anecdotes, and hidden gems from ancient, medieval, and modern times. Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities (Princeton UP, 2022) is a treasury of fifty of her most amazing and amusing discoveries.

After a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, the Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics returned in 2022 for in-person instruction and research. This edition of the Planchet contains brief conversations with Seminar director Peter van Alfen and visiting professor Jérôme Jambu, plus the cohort of five Seminar students from American University, the University […]

A group of strangers tell stories about the mysterious White Island (now called Snake Island, Ukraine) where the spirit of Achilles lives eternally, but they can’t quite agree on the details… This story is based on Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.19.11-13, Arrian, Periplus of the Euxine Sea, 32-34, and Philostratus, On Heroes, 54.1-56.4. Followed by a discussion including Trojan War stories, ancient Greek hero cult, and conflicting folklore tales.

As things moved on in the early renaissance art – painting and sculpture – led the way and theatre soon followed. Artists tried to inject more realism into their work, showing their subjects as they really were, or as close as they could get. The colours of clothes, skin tones, fruit, countryside scenery and, well, whatever the artist’s subject was, became more subtle and realistic as artists looked at the different impacts of viewpoint, light and light sources in paintings and strived to show the world as it really was. The discovery of an understanding of one thing in particular made those working in the theatre sit up and take note – perspective in art had arrived…

Liv reads Lucian’s True History, translated by Francis Hickes. In a satirical novel of epic proportions, Lucian and his companions get eaten by a whale, fight a war inside, before they eventually land on the island of the blessed…

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends improving business for the capital city.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

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