I know that this week I ought to be writing about statues and history. Obviously I should be writing about statues and history. Everyone else is writing about statues and history. It’s important. It’s a time of change. And historians are in the news!
But honestly, I don’t really want to. You can read what other people say instead (see links below); they say it better than I would. I’ve had a long and difficult week, so I’m checking out of the Serious Thinking and going for frivolity and pretty pictures.
Today I thought I’d direct your attention to #MuseumsUnlocked, a fabulous Twitter initiative run by Professor Dan Hicks of the Pitt Rivers Museum, which I’ve been thoroughly enjoying (and occasionally contributing to) for the last 80 days or so. Each day has a different theme, and people contribute pictures and information which is then all put together in a compilation. Today’s theme, for instance, has been ‘Gold, Silver and Jewels’, and it’s been such a pretty day! Here’s the schedule for the next couple of weeks.
If you’re on Twitter you can join in; if not, you can just check in on a day that interests you, or browse the archives. Highlights for me have been the Roman day (obviously!), the Greek day, the Literary Sites and Museums day, the Wall Paintings day, and the Religious Art day (each one of these runs to several collections, so do have a look around).
It’s all so pretty. But it’s not uncritical. There are a lot of debates going on at the moment around colonialism in museums, and Dan Hicks has a book coming out soon on this, with a particular focus on the Benin Bronzes – which should be familiar to any OU students who studied the Arts introductory module AA100. So #MuseumsUnlocked doesn’t shy away from controversy – although (as mentioned above) I absolutely intend to today. Frivolity, people – that’s all you’re getting from me right now.
Speaking of joining in… may I draw your attention to a creative initiative being run by a group of KCL classicists? If you’ve been inclined to turn your hand to art, poetry or anything else creative during quarantine, you might consider entering… and if I ever manage to find some time to pick up my paintbrushes, I might too!
Also, as you’ll see from the links below, there are a lot of online events going on at the moment which you can sign up to join. Most of them, annoyingly, seem to fall on a Wednesday – but there’s also the Festival of the Muses, running tonight and tomorrow and featuring some Zoom friends of mine. If you’re interested in ancient music, epic and performance – or in reception – do check it out.
This week I’ve been continuing with my Comfort Classics interviews. Some day soon I’ll have to cut down on them to make time for other projects – but for now I’m enjoying myself too much!
I started the week by talking to Emma Pauly, a Chicago-based translator and actor who enjoys Ovid as much as I do! Tuesday’s interview was on Horace (Ovid and Horace – what a great way to start my week!), and it was a treat to talk to Llewelyn Morgan from Oxford, whose love for Horace – like mine – was inspired by David West. On Wednesday the interview came from one of my lovely ex-students, Karis Williamson, who writes powerfully about disability – and who also happens to be a poet! Thursday’s interview came from Jess Hughes at the OU, who talked about South Italian vases (and reminded me, incidentally, that the whole of Taplin’s ‘Pots and Plays’ book is readable for free on Google Books). And then today I heard from Jennifer Ingleheart about Housman and Sappho. It’s been a good week!
It’s also been a foggy week. Other people have had sunshine and thunderstorms; but here by the sea the foghorn hasn’t stopped for a week. So here are some foggy fort pictures for you, from my walks this week.
This week from around the Classical Internet
Christie’s withdraws looted treasures – The Guardian
CfA Impact Report – Classics For All
DNA and Ireland’s god-kings – BBC
Fishbourne palace faces closure – The Times
BLM and Statues
Boris and Roman statues – The Guardian
Temporary monumentality – Andrew C. Fox
Statues of Socrates and Aristotle – Tales of Times Forgotten
Heroes and anti-heroes – A Don’s Life
Statue bashing – History Hack [podcast]
Empowering classicists of colour – Society for Classical Studies
Comment and opinion
Travel Guide to Thebes – British Museum Blog
Opulent Roman bath-houses – Roman Times
Greeks and fake news – Big Think
Working Classics – Eidolon
Artemidorus and dreams – Bellaria
An Epicurean view of coronavirus – Ad Familiares
Philosophy can’t help us – TLS
Caesar: a very bad man – London Review of Books
Cook a classical feast – British Museum Blog
Poems on sundials – Blogging Ancient Epigram
New Latin resource-sharing website – Open Latin
Podcasts, video and other media
Medea – By Jove Theatre
Vindolanda –When in Rome
Festival of the Muses – this evening and Saturday
Michael Scott on global perspectives – Lecture for the BSA, 24 June
Wolfson Ancient Warfare Wednesdays – 24 June – Greek Warfare and Economics
Reading Greek Tragedy Online (also Wednesdays!) – 24 June – Hecuba