The Watchman

Helen Eastman, director of the last three Cambridge Greek plays, is embarking on what I think is a really amazing project:  filming short excerpts from ancient Greek tragedies, in Ancient Greek (with subtitles).  Check out her first offering, “The Watchman” in which actor Leon Scott performs the opening speech of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon:

Having both acted in and watched several Greek plays and readings, I can attest that the experience of speaking and hearing a language that we so often experience purely as text is a powerful and often moving one.  I’m looking forward very much to seeing more of Helen’s offerings.

You can find more information about the project at its homepage here:

More Boardgames

I’m working on a longer post, but for the moment I thought I’d do some quick links to showcase the work of my friends and colleagues.  Boardgames and ancient times seems to be a major point of intersection in the circles I move in, and two Cambridge classicists have done some amazing work adapting pre-existing boardgames to the ancient world.

First up, several months ago Anna Judson, a linguist studying Bronze-Age writing systems and a Junior Research Fellow of Gonville and Caius College produced Mycenopoly, a re-imagining of Monopoly set in the Aegean of the late Bronze-Age.  You can read about her efforts on her blog here:

More recently, another Cambridge Classicist, Postdoctoral Researcher in Ugaritic and Bronze-Age archaeologist Philip Boyes adapted an even more complex game, the Lovecraftian co-operative boardgame Eldritch Horror, to create Ancient Horror, which combines the weird fiction of H. P. Lovecraft with the turbulent world of the late Bronze Age Near East and Aegean.  Philip describes his massive undertaking here:

I have played both games, and can testify to the incredible effort and creativity that both involve, and indeed to just how much fun they are to play!

And indeed, it’s just possible that this classicist has also been inspired to contribute something in the boardgame department.  I will say nothing and promise nothing, because life has an annoying habit of intervening, but suffice it to say that you may see another boardgame-related post on this blog sometime soon.


Gods Playing Games


I recently re-watched the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts, one of the best cinematic retellings of a Greek myth and a film that contains some of the finest work of master animator Ray Harryhausen.  Among the film’s conceits is the image of the gods literally playing games with mortal life: Jason’s adventures are revealed to be largely controlled by a boardgame that Zeus and Hera are playing against each other – Hera supports Jason in his quest, while Zeus seeks to derail the quest by placing various obstacles in their path.

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I’m Late to the bandwagon again – Percy Jackson and the Olympians

[Note:  This was first published a few years ago on Res Gerendae, the collaborative blog of the Cambridge Faculty of Classics’ graduate students;  visit it at]

Like many of my colleagues, my engagement with this century’s pop culture is rather erratic.  There are quite a few major crazes that have largely passed me by (wasn’t there something about a boy wizard a few years back?).

That especially applies to the explosion of young adult fiction that followed that boy wizard thing–I was already in my late teens when the first of those came out, so anything afterwards ended up being more or less off the radar.

Nevertheless, it did dimly come to my attention that there was a series of YA novels based on Greek mythology, which I thought I ought at some point to read.  When I found the entire series on sale in the Cambridge market for two pounds each, it seemed reasonable to buy them.  After all, it was a fair guess that my future students would have read it, so it was clearly a good pedagogical practice, by no means just an excuse to spend several weeks reading teen novels.

Pictured: Serious Educational Research

Continue reading “I’m Late to the bandwagon again – Percy Jackson and the Olympians”

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