Ancient Spookiness II: Werewolves

Content note: Child death, cannibalism, animal death If vampire stories were few and far between in the ancient world, werewolves are pretty much everywhere. It was clear a pretty strong belief among the ancient Greeks and Romans that there were human beings who could transform themselves into wolves and prey on livestock and even other... Continue Reading →

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Ancient Spookiness I: Vampires

Content note: Brief mentions of rape and child death As Halloween draws near, it seems a perfect time to look at some of the ancient equivalents of the various ghouls, ghosts and creatures of the night that have come to haunt the Western imagination.  First off, the hungry, sinister, and sometimes sexy devourers of the... Continue Reading →

“I Go to Die”

Just came across this video of Sir Derek Jacobi performing Socrates' final speech from Plato's Apology.  Wish they'd used a slightly more up-to-date translation, but still a very powerful performance.  

There goes the Sun

(photo credit: William Unruh) Something is happening to the Sun.  Though the sky is clear and cloudless, and the Sun far above the horizon, the light has been slowly dimming, until it seems as dark as a cloudy day in winter.  The air is feeling wintry too - it's been getting steadily colder for a... Continue Reading →

The Music of Tragedy

Greek Tragedies were as much musical as theatrical performances.  Much of the text uttered by the Chorus, and some by individual characters as well, was sung.  The ancient tragedians were as much composers as writers, creating both the texts and the musical settings.  Indeed, in Aristophanes' Frogs, when the ghosts of Aeschylus and Euripides fight... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

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