The Ancient World

A Question for the Followers of the Ancient World

Do any followers of this blog know of an established tumblr for original fictional works relating to the ancient world? Poems, fiction, flash fiction with themes, characters or settings from mythology or ancient history?

If not, I’d like thoughts on any interest in posting such user contributed contemporary content on this blog. To this point this blog has been almost strictly informational: images, non fiction links, quotes and discussion.

What are your opinions on expanding the content of this blog to include some occasional fiction and poetry submitted by yourselves and some of my own writing all within the theme of ancient history? Would anyone have something to submit if so?

Young girl reading
Roman
Bronze statuette after a Hellenistic model
Photographer: Marie-Lan Nguyen
Cabinet des Médailles

Young girl reading

Roman

Bronze statuette after a Hellenistic model

Photographer: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Cabinet des Médailles

Herodotus Writes a History of the 20th Century

(Source: newfavething)

AGATHON:

Old man, old man, I hear the shafts of jealousy whistling by my ears, but they do not hit me. My dress is in harmony with my thoughts. A poet must adopt the nature of his characters. Thus, if he is placing women on the stage, he must contract all their habits in his own person.

from Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazouses

Agathon here takes “imitation of an act”* as far at it can go.

Euripides and his relative Mnesilochus are off to ask help from another existing tragic poet; Agathon, Agathon is rolled out on an eccyclema, lying spread on a divan, dressed very fashionably in women’s clothes and begins composing a choral ode for a female chorus- to be posted.

All the while there are jokes about his effeminacy and the subject of his passive homosexuality. However, the actual joke might not be the feminine manners of this poet-that’s just the garnish. Maybe, the joke is on how far actors and poets would go in order to better portray their roles- you will remember the story of the actor Πώλος (late 4rth century) who played Electra and allegedly put his deceased son’s ashes in the jar containing by narrative Orestes’ ashes in order to better emulate Electra’s grief.

What’s important here is that the behaviour of women and its imitation in drama by men was a subject that really occupied both actors’ and playwrights’ minds. One of the most important aspects a woman’s life in the ancient greek world that is usually downplayed is their involvement with lyrical composition. Women did have their dances and songs that portrayed their world from their point of view. Their work was also known to their male colleagues.

Female creativity was neither unknown, nor shunned and the corpus of women’s work not only appeared in anthologies compiled by male poets, but also appeared in historical accounts by men. Unfortunately the greatest part of it was destroyed and erased in subsequent times, coinciding with the rise of christianity and its prosecution of such female practices, which were tied to the practice of religion as well.

(You can see some of the surviving poetesses and their poetry here)

When Agathon first appears, Mnesilochus compares him with Cyrene; a hetaera. It should be noted that hetaeras were always very well musically educated and have been immortalized as well as intelligent conversationalists. The same goes for less prestigious female companions, the majority of them if not acrobats and dancers, were musicians.

It is not a stretch of imagination to consider that playwrights could seek the company of such female artists for “professional” reasons as well, especially if said playwrights were already on the “feminine” side. We will see more men on the feminine side both literally and figuratively later in the play, which you can read here.

Take note however that the concepts presented in Aristoteles’ Poetics are indicative of his time’s dramatic practices. The concept of imitating nature is a pretty big chapter of ancient thought and at times it even encopasses the distortion of reality to better approach truth. Female presence in comedy and tragedy is also subject to such distortions.

(via women-of-the-antiquity)

Nothing is sweeter than passionate love. All else, all happiness is secondary. Even honey I willingly spit from my mouth. Nossis says this. She, however, who has never been befriended by Cypris, will never tell amongst her flowers, which are the roses.

Νοσσίς / Nossis (3rd century B.C)

This the most famous epigram by Nossis. Cypris here is Venus.

(via women-of-the-antiquity)

(via classicsenthusiast)

1. Statue of Eros sleeping, Marble, Hellenistic

2. Sleeping Eros, 2nd century CE, National Archaeological Museum in Athens

Alcman, Fragment 59 :

"At the command of Kypris [Aphrodite], Eros once again pours sweetly down and warms my heart."

(Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

noordzee:

More Mythology-lady valentines! Less monstrous, no less dangerous. Well, except for the Graeae, they’re just old and creepy. Like last time, HERE is a full sheet of all four, print away, freefreefree!

So this time we have an Amazon, a Maenad, half-crazed worshipper of Dionysus, the enchantress Circe, and the Graeae or Gray Sisters, who are NOT the Fates, Disney… Again, I referenced artworks for their appearances. The Graeae are not very well-represented in the greek canon, though, so I drew from that delightful genre of Hellenistic art: Statues Of Decrepit Old Ladies.

First set is here! Thank you everyone, by the way, who have supported that first set! I hope you like this one, too!

(via classicsenthusiast)

noordzee:

Ancient Greek Lady-Monster Valentines, because I love the morbid sense of humor I develop around these gals. HERE is a full-resolution printable sheet of all four, the page is 8x10.5 inches.

Featuring a Siren, Sphinx, Medusa, and also Eris. She isn’t exactly a monster but shhhh. I referenced their appearances from ancient art, though I have to admit I kind of took artistic license with Medusa’s face and hair. The original Gorgons had scary-ugly faces and normal hair with a couple snakes. A head full of snakes is just so much more fun to draw…!

I have buckets more ideas for these, so I might do more! Because if a joke’s worth making it’s worth running into the ground, that’s what I say :D

(via classicsenthusiast)