Two articles recently published on the BBC website recently caught my eye. The first was a discussion of the earliest known writing on Earth, as part of a series on ‘50 things that made the modern economy’. These earliest written texts were economic texts: inventories of goods, sale contracts, IOUs, written in Sumerian Cuneiform more than 5000 years ago. Continue reading “Words that Last: Clay, Papyrus, and Computers”
In honour of International Women’s Day, Pippa Steele of Cambridge’s CREWS project (Contexts and Relationships between Early Writing Systems) has blogged about two women who had a massive influence on the study of Ancient Greek writing systems.
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:
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.