Published in Hastings Independent Press Issue 91 8/12/17 Beautiful Helen of Troy - seduced by Paris into leaving her daughter and husband, Menelaus. It’s often said about women in Ancient Greece that they were second class citizens without power or freedom, so was she just an object to be manipulated and fought over? Generalisations made … Continue reading Helen of Troy- Whore or Heroine?
Published in Hastings Independent Press Issue 89 10/11/17 If you saw the film ‘Eagle Huntress’, perhaps you wondered, among other things, how nomads manage bathing. There’s one answer in Herodotus, a Greek historian of around 484-425 BCE: a tent of wooden mats supported by poles is set over a pit into which red hot stones … Continue reading Art and Bathing on the Hoof: the Scythians at the British Museum.
The cheer was used later by Jules Verne, for the discovery of an underground ocean; by Iris Murdoch and James Joyce. In Ulysses, Buck Mulligan calls the sea ‘snot-green’ in a parody of Homer’s ‘wine-dark’’, which referred to the silkily impenetrable depth of colour it shared with the rough wines of the period.
These rather athletic lovelies have tied their clothes to a bar and are paddling in a pool while showering under water jetting from boars' mouths. It's a sophisticated bathing experience which wouldn't be out of place in a Spitalfields Rough Luxe interior. These showers are on a fourth century BCE Italian pot. It's my guess … Continue reading Liquid Assets
By Simone Witney On the west coast of Turkey, near the town of Balat, lie the ruins of Miletus, which in the 6th century BCE, was the most important city in the Greek world. Here Anaximander was brought up, in a city teeming with traders from Ethiopia, the Ukraine, Italy, France, Asia Minor and the … Continue reading No WIMPS* in this Dark Matter
Homer’s Iliad, translated by Stephen Mitchell, audiobook, read by Alfred Molina,. Review by Simone Witney. ‘Rage’ is the first word of the Iliad and its theme. ‘ Anger’, says Achilles ‘far sweeter than trickling honey, expands in the breast like smoke’. Mitchell prioritises contemporary idiom (for which he has a gift) and smoothness of delivery … Continue reading We Can Be Heroes.
Simone Witney and Stephen Cullis. Greek Mythology is full of bizarre tales of humans becoming animals, plants and even stones. They gave the poet Ovid, born in Italy in 43BCE, a rich resource for a beautiful poem which links the disparate stories by the theme of transformation: a hunter is changed into a stag and … Continue reading A Hundred and One Uses For a Dead Poet.