Some more Mycenopoly news…

…the game (which was tMycenopoly 2he subject of an earlier blogpost) is featured in this week’s edition of ‘Coins Weekly‘ (despite not containing any coins). The English version is here and German version here. Just a reminder to say that I am happy to distribute copies free of charge to any teachers wishing to use it specifically for teaching purposes – please send me an email (‘apj31’, then the ‘at’ symbol, then ‘cam.ac.uk’) letting me know who you are and where/what you teach! (Unfortunately I can’t distribute it for any other purposes – please don’t email if you just want a copy to play as I’m afraid I will have to disappoint. But in that case, why not try making your own ancient version of Monopoly…)

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Esagil: a Babylonian board game

Some more board-game-related news: next week I’m going to be helping out with an event in the Cambridge Festival of Ideas called “Esagil: Treasure Hunt in Babylon“. It’s a board game designed by Marie-Franรงoise Besnier, a researcher studying ancient Mesopotamia – here’s the event details and blurb:

Tuesday 25 October: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Wednesday 26 October: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Thursday 27 October: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Friday 28 October: 11:00am – 4:00pm

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, CB2 3DZ

Discover ancient Babylon! Seek a treasure for the great god Marduk in the maze of the city. Every encounter may change your fate… Will the odds be in your favour?

“Esagil” is a game for 2-6 players aged 8+, which approximately lasts 20-25 min. It is set in the ancient city of Babylon (1st mill. BC). The aim is to make an offering to the main god of Babylon, Marduk, in his temple, called Esagil. The offerings are sacred objects, “treasures” (all real Mesopotamian objects). The players will seek them in one of the numerous temples of the city. The winner is the first to bring his offering back to the Esagil.

The search is determined by the “if- cards” which tell the players what their next step will be. The “if- cards” are based upon real Babylonian omens. All of them were introduced by the word shumma, “if”: they recorded all kinds of signs and events that could happen in everyday life, which were understood as messages from the gods, such as a black cat crossing the road or the fall of a meteorite. “Esagil” is thus a fun way to learn about ancient Babylonian culture, especially religion and divination.

Come along and have a go at playing it (no need to book)! The Festival of Ideas is going on until October 30th and has a huge range of other events – talks, activities, exhibitions, performances, and more – check out the full event listing here, there’s pretty much guaranteed to be something for everyone!

Blog round-up: from PhDs to SF

A quick round-up of some recent blog posts by friends and colleagues that I think are worth checking out! I recently linked to some good advice for new graduate students from Res Gerendae; here’s another similar post from Katherine McDonald (featuring some more good advice re work/life balance, and a cute picture of a mouse).

Fans of Mycenopoly, or of board games in general, will enjoy this post by Daniel Unruh about the ‘gods playing games’ motif – when gods are depicted as playing board games to control human lives (as frequently seen in the Discworld, for example, or the classic film Jason and the Argonauts).

Finally, one for the SF fans: an interesting pair of posts by Philip Boyes on the close but problematic relationship between science fiction and archaeology: Part 1 and Part 2.

Oh, and here is a picture of a cat, because every blog post is improved by a picture of a cat:

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Happy reading!

The Cambridge Greek Play 2016: Antigone and Lysistrata

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Image from http://www.cambridgegreekplay.com

There’s a tradition in Cambridge of putting on a production of an Ancient Greek play every three years – entirely in Ancient Greek (with English surtitles!). Expectations were running high this year when, after a phenomenal tragedy-comedy double bill three years ago (Prometheus Bound and The Frogs), the same production team returned for another double bill: Antigone and Lysistrata – a tragedy about a woman who defies the laws of her city (and her uncle Kreon, the king) to bury her dead brother, and a comedy about a woman who organises a sex-strike to put an end to wars between the Greek city-states. When I say expectations were running high, I mean that at the time of writing tickets were entirely sold out, though there may be returns for the last couple of shows on October 14th and 15th (check the theatre site) – but I also mean that I personally was looking forward to another incredible performance – the ‘Prometheus’ last time round in particular was hands down the best production of any ancient Greek play I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. I’ve just got back after the show, and I can safely say I wasn’t disappointed – in fact I think this production may have been even better than the last one. Continue reading “The Cambridge Greek Play 2016: Antigone and Lysistrata”

‘If the shoe fits’…Roman shoes at Vindolanda

A brief note to share some exciting news from the Roman fort of Vindolanda (home of the famous writing tablets), where this year’s excavations have produced 421 Roman shoes, including children’s shoes and even baby boots! More details and some wonderful pictures on the Vindolanda blog.

Some start-of-term news

Just a quick post with a few things I wanted to share for the start of term! Firstly, a couple of posts over on the Cambridge Classics graduate blog, Res Gerendae: some handy tips for new PhD students (mostly just as relevant to students in other universities!), and an exciting exhibition that’s currently on in the Faculty’s Cast Gallery (but finishing on October 15th). By the way, I encourage any readers who haven’t checked out Res Gerendae yet to do so – it has a lot of great posts on a huge range of topics, and I’m sure there are many more interesting posts to come this term! (Any new Cambridge classics grads reading this – I also encourage you to sign up to write for RG – see my previous post on why this is a useful and fun thing to do!) Continue reading “Some start-of-term news”

Eureka! It’s an automatic Latin poetry machine

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The ‘Eureka’ machine (image: Alfred Gillett Trust)

I just have to share this wonderful machine a friend recently sent me an article about: the ‘Eureka‘, a machine created in the early 19th century which automatically generated Latin poetry. Invented by John Clark (a relative of the Clarks who founded the shoe company), the machine caused a sensation when put on public display in London in 1845 (it was the subject of articles in Punch and the Illustrated London News, and its exhibition apparently made Clark enough money to retire).

Continue reading “Eureka! It’s an automatic Latin poetry machine”