Category: Athens Now

Comix: An Empedoclean Periodic Table of Elements

Savage Chickens takes on an Empedoclean Periodic Table of Elements:

Marginalia 3.25.2012

An exciting week around and about the World o’ Classics!

  • The Virtual Tour of the Acropolis “is an interactive website that allows various aspects of the historical site to be explored in a unique way. It consists of high-resolution gigapixel images and panoramas of the four main monuments – the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike – as well as a detailed photographic representation of the inner and outer ancient walls surrounding the hill, all accompanied by historical information and a descriptive map.” h/t Austin!
  • Via Boingboing: Lapham’s Quarterly has an interesting (and saucy!) “collection of rude and complaining messages left by monks in the margins of medieval manuscripts… Depictions of sexual consort are frequent, among men and women, among various species of animals, and enough other combinations to make even contemporary readers blush.”

A Day at the Spartan Races

The Wall Street Journal relays the remarkable story of a 34-year-old air conditioner technician who is angling to win an unprecedented 14 “Spartan Races” in a single year. Not impressed? What are Spartan Races you say?

Details of each Spartan Race course are kept secret so competitors can’t specifically train for them.

Organizers force racers to do just about anything, including crawl through muddy troughs covered in barbed wire, jump through flames, solve puzzles, chop wood, carry water and learn Greek. It also helps to be very fast. The Death Race, the longest of the Spartan races, usually covers 45 miles. It lasts at least 24 hours, but has gone on for as long as 72. (Participants won’t know exactly how long until it’s over; they are given instructions during the race.)

The Spartan Race website has videos and more information. And look there’s a Spartan Sprint coming to Pennsylvania on September 10th. It’s only 3 miles! What would Leonidas do?

Spartan Sprint

Did a Tsunami Destroy Olympia?

According to new evidence from a geomorphological and geoarcheological study conducted by Professor Andreas Vött of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, the shrine at Olympia was destroyed by a tsunami, not an earthquake in 551 CE as previously thought. Let’s go to the press release!

west of the central Kladeos River valley and the range of hills which separate Olympia from the wider coastal area; photo: Andreas Vött

Olympia, site of the famous Temple of Zeus and original venue of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, was presumably destroyed by repeated tsunamis that travelled considerable distances inland, and not by earthquake and river floods as has been assumed to date. Evidence in support of this new theory on the virtual disappearance of the ancient cult site on the Peloponnesian peninsula comes from Professor Dr Andreas Vött of the Institute of Geography of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Vött investigated the site as part of a project in which he and his team are studying the paleotsunamis that occurred along the coastlines of the eastern Mediterranean over the last 11,000 years. According to his account, the geomorphological and sedimentological findings in the area document that Olympia and its environs were destroyed by tsunami impact. The site of Olympia, rediscovered only some 250 years ago, was buried under a massive layer of sand and other deposits that is up to 8 meters deep. [More…]


The Mayor Lists the Top 10 Greeks

Via the Daily Mail, we find Boris Johnson–Conservative mayor of London, gadfly, and historian–offering his list of the 10 greatest ancient Greeks: Homer to Plato: Boris Johnson on the ten greatest ancient Greeks.

Boris Johnson contemplates an earlier mayor...

I would decry our obsession with “Top” lists, prone as they are to elide complex questions of worth. But nah, I love’em!  They do make great conversation pieces. (Simonides over Euripides? No Demosthenes? ?????!) And of course a lover of antiquity has to admit that the interest in listing and ranking is by no means a modern development. Perhaps the first of the “top” lists was the Canon of authors that scholars during the Hellenistic period deemed worthy of study and commentary. Today we have entire websites devoted to nothing but lists, they had the Nine Lyric Poets.

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