Keith Hopkins Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress DG68.1.H67 2005 | Dewey Decimal 937.6
The history of the Colosseum is, in reality, much stranger than the legend. In this engaging book, we learn the details of how the arena was built and at what cost; we meet the emperors who sometimes fought in gladiatorial games; and we take measure of the audience who reveled in, or opposed, these games. The authors also trace the strange afterlife of the monument.
Jane Ellen Harrison (1850-1928) is the most famous female Classicist in history, the author of books that revolutionized our understanding of Greek culture and religion. A star in the British academic world, she became the quintessential Cambridge woman--as Virginia Woolf suggested when, in A Room of One's Own, she claims to have glimpsed Harrison's ghost in the college gardens.
This lively and innovative portrayal of a fascinating woman raises the question of who wins (and how) in the competition for academic fame. Mary Beard captures Harrison's ability to create her own image. And she contrasts her story with that of Eugénie Sellers Strong, a younger contemporary and onetime intimate, the author of major work on Roman art and once a glittering figure at the British School in Rome--but who lost the race for renown. The setting for the story of Harrison's career is Classical scholarship in this period--its internal arguments and allegiances and especially the influence of the anthropological strain most strikingly exemplified by Sir James Frazer. Questioning the common criteria for identifying intellectual "influence" and "movements," Beard exposes the mythology that is embedded in the history of Classics. At the same time she provides a vivid picture of a sparkling intellectual scene. The Invention of Jane Harrison offers shrewd history and undiluted fun.
Mary Beard Harvard University Press, 2003 Library of Congress DF287.P3B43 2003 | Dewey Decimal 938.5
Oscar Wilde compared it to a white goddess, Evelyn Waugh to Stilton cheese. In observers from Lord Byron to Sigmund Freud to Virginia Woolf it met with astonishment, rapture, poetry, even tears--and, always, recognition. Twenty-five hundred years after it first rose above Athens, the Parthenon remains one of the wonders of the world, its beginnings and strange turns of fortune over millennia a perpetual source of curiosity, controversy, and intrigue.
At once an entrancing cultural history and a congenial guide for tourists, armchair travelers, and amateur archaeologists alike, this book conducts readers through the storied past and towering presence of the most famous building in the world. Who built the Parthenon, and for what purpose? How are we to understand its sculpture? Why is it such a compelling monument? The classicist and historian Mary Beard takes us back to the fifth century B.C. to consider the Parthenon in its original guise--as the flagship temple of imperial Athens, housing an enormous gold and ivory statue of the city's patron goddess attended by an enigmatic assembly of sculptures. Just as fascinating is the monument's far longer life as cathedral church of Our Lady of Athens, as "the finest mosque in the world," and, finally, as an inspirational ruin and icon. Beard also takes a cool look at the bitter arguments that continue to surround the "Elgin Marbles," the sculptures from the Parthenon now in the British Museum. Her book constitutes the ultimate tour of the marvelous history and present state of this glory of the Acropolis, and of the world.
Table of Contents:
1. Why the Parthenon might make you cry
2. 'The temple they call the Parthenon'
3. 'The finest Mosque in the world'
4. 'From ruin to reconstruction
5. 'The Golden Age of Athens'?
6. Meanwhile, back in London...
Making a visit? Further reading List of illustrations List of figures Greek Names Acknowledgements Index
Reviews of this book: With painstaking attention to detail and a fair-minded view of centuries-old controversies, Mary Beard delivers a brief, but thorough, and surprisingly readable history of what is arguably the world's most famous building...Beard pieces together what we do know, beginning with the earliest surviving account...[She] does a fine job of storytelling...describing changes on the site from a modern tourist's perspective. --Stephen H. Morgan, Boston Globe
Reviews of this book: In her brief but compendious volume [Beard] says that the more we find out about this mysterious structure, the less we know. Her book is especially valuable because it is up to date on the restoration the Parthenon has been undergoing since 1986. --Gary Wills, New York Review of Books
A radical reexamination of the most extraordinary of ancient ceremonies, this book explores the magnificence of the Roman Triumph--but also its darker side, as it prompted the Romans to question as well as celebrate military glory. This richly illustrated work is a testament to the profound importance of the triumph in Roman culture--and for monarchs and generals ever since.
The Victorians, perhaps more than any Britons before them, were diggers and sifters of the past. Though they were not the first to be fascinated by history, the intensity and range of their preoccupations with the past were unprecedented and of lasting importance. The Victorians paved the way for our modern disciplines, discovered the primeval monsters we now call the dinosaurs, and built many of Britain’s most important national museums and galleries. To a large degree, they created the perceptual frameworks through which we continue to understand the past.
Out of their discoveries, new histories emerged, giving rise to fresh debates, while seemingly well-known histories were thrown into confusion by novel tools and methods of scrutiny. If in the eighteenth century the study of the past had been the province of a handful of elites, new technologies and economic development in the nineteenth century meant that the past, in all its brilliant detail, was for the first time the property of the many, not the few. Time Travelers is a book about the myriad ways in which Victorians approached the past, offering a vivid picture of the Victorian world and its historical obsessions.