Linguistics Baking Part IV: Linear A

Linear A cupcakesI was starting to think it was high time I got round to doing some more linguistic baking, when a fellow linguist conveniently had a birthday…so here they are: Linear A cupcakes.

Like Linear B, Linear A is found written on clay at Bronze Age Cretan sites. As well as larger tablets, both Linear A and B are often written on ‘sealings’ or ‘nodules’: small lumps of clay that presumably recorded individual transactions, perhaps to be compiled on a tablet later. Handily, these are very suitable for representing in cupcake form. The examples here with two or three signs may be names of people or places who were contributing or receiving goods, while the single signs probably represent commodities (the sign in the middle of the third row, for instance, looks like some kind of tripod to me).

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Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 01/11/2013

Claire Jackson started off this week’s GIS with a paper on ‘Ancient Fiction and Forgery in Antonius Diogenes’. After explaining some of the problems with studying the concept of ‘fiction’ in the ancient world, she looked specifically at Antonius Diogenes’ novel τα ὑπὲρ Θούλην ἀπίστια (‘The Unbelievable Things Beyond Thule’ – Thule being a semi-mythical land located somewhere to the north of Europe), which survives only in fragments and a plot summary by Photius. This summary reveals the strategies used by the author to present the novel as ‘documentary’, backed up by authentic sources, but simultaneously to undermine that status by referring to these claims as false.

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Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 18/10/2013

The first GIS of 2013-14 got the year off to a good (and very interdisciplinary!) start. First up was Laura Viidebaum with a paper on “Rhetorical Performance”. After a suitably rhetorical but wholly unnecessary apologia for her lack of oratorical skill, Laura told us about her investigation of ancient statements about performance as a feature of rhetoric, particularly the issue of character portrayal (ἠθοποιία); she discussed the ways in which various ancient authors use this term, and its particular importance in Lysias’ rhetoric. Continue reading “Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 18/10/2013”

The Cambridge Greek Play 2013: Prometheus & The Frogs

If you haven’t already been to the Cambridge Greek Play – a double bill of Prometheus and The Frogs – or bought tickets for today’s or tomorrow’s performance, then before you read this review – STOP, and book your tickets now, because everyone ought to go to see this!

Done that? OK, you can read on now.*

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Whither the Rubicon?

Why has no-one else thought of this before? No need to keep having these endless scholarly debates, just hold a trial and have a judge decide once and for all. Think of all the paper we’d save!

rogueclassicism

… apparently there’s going to be a mock trial do decide which of the potamonial (if that isn’t a word, it should be) claimants’ cases hold water. Excerpts from the Guardian’s hype:

[…]

On Saturday, in the usually peaceful town of San Mauro Pascoli, near Rimini, the centuries-old debate will be reopened in a mock trial that aims to deliver a verdict, once and for all, on the identity of the real Rubicon. It is a battle that pitches neighbouring towns against each other and divides impassioned locals into three equally zealous camps – one for each river in question.

Fierce as Caesar’s battle with Pompey was, it may have nothing on this. The judge, however, is expected to draw the line at severed heads.

In 1933, a time when Benito Mussolini was fully versed in the rehabilitation of Rome’s ancient glory for contemporary political purposes, he decided the debate…

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Caecilius est in metro?

I feel I have to share my recent discovery (sadly made via the internet rather than in person) that Wallsend Metro Station in Newcastle has bilingual signage in English and Latin:

image
Image from Wikipedia

It also has pictures of “Romanised” local shops, of which the one of the Job Centre labelled “Forum Venalicium” – “slave market” – seems to be the most popular.

Cult Classics Films – The Oscars

The vast majority of recent ‘Classical’ movies are, almost universally, completely mangled versions of the Classical history/mythology/literature on which they were supposedly based, without even the potentially redeeming feature of decent acting (I’m thinking of ‘Troy‘, ‘300‘, ‘Centurion‘…I’m sure you can fill in others). Classical movies from several decades ago, on the other hand, are, almost universally, completely mangled versions of the Classical history/mythology/literature on which they were supposedly based, without even the potentially redeeming feature of decent acting…and yet possessed of a certain vintage charm that somehow makes them utterly hilarious and hugely entertaining to watch.

In our never-ending quest to bring our readers the best in home entertainment, therefore, Res Gerendae‘s dedicated team of film critics selflessly set out to investigate and judge a series of cult Classics films – broadly defined as films relating (or claiming to relate) in some way to Greek or Roman history or mythology, dating from the 1950s-1980s. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you – the Cult Classics Oscars!

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