The Faculty of Classics: An Anthropologist’s Report

Editor’s note: A copy of this report was found this morning pushed under the door of the Mycenaean Epigraphy Room; it is reproduced here in its entirety, including the original illustrations. It is unsigned, and the author is unknown; presumably he or she wishes to remain anonymous in order not to jeopardise future fieldwork.

Many an explorer, anthropologist, or documentary-maker has attempted to enter the mysterious land known as the Faculty of Classics in order to study its inhabitants (termed Classicists). Living so long in isolation from the influence of the outside world, this uncontacted tribe must, it is often speculated, have developed its own, completely unique, culture, such as every anthropologist would dream of studying. It was, therefore, a great privilege for me not only to gain access to the Faculty of Classics just a few days ago, but also to witness first-hand one of the most important events of the Classicists’ ritual calendar: the festival known as Graduate Tea.

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Participants in the celebration of Graduate Tea. See below on the ritual significance of the headdresses.

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Bronze at the Royal Academy

Bronze at the RA: the Chimaera of Arezzo

The Royal Academy’s current exhibition is, unusually, devoted not to a particular artist, period, or culture, but to a single material: bronze. Choosing to display works from so many different cultures in a thematic arrangement was certainly a bold move on the part of the RA, but it has produced a spectacular exhibition, incorporating works from ancient Egypt, classical antiquity, the Etruscans, Bronze Age Europe, the medieval and Renaissance periods, the Middle East, China, South-East Asia, and Western Africa, alongside 19th-and 20th-century and contemporary art; the sheer visual impact of so many bronzes collected in a single place is quite stunning. Continue reading “Bronze at the Royal Academy”