A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act II, Scene I

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“My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song.”
~ William Shakspeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act II, Scene I

Painting: John William Waterhouse – Mermaid, 1900

#Folklore #Myth #Mermaid #Shakespeare

Cosmetic Spoon

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A cosmetics container made around 1300 BC in Ancient Egypt:

“Tusk cosmetic spoon: in the form of a duck, which turns her head to offer a fish to the two ducklings which ride on her back. The duck’s eyes were carved to hold inlays, now lost. The closed wings form the lid of the spoon and swivel to either side so that the bowl hollowed from the bird’s body might be used to receive a scented fat or oil. In order to stabilize the lid when closed, a knob is set at its end, around which a cord could be tied to join it with a corresponding knob at the very back of the duck’s body.”
~ The British Museum

1350BC – 1300BC (circa)

Lysippos

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Lysippos was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC. Together with Scopas and Praxiteles, he is considered one of the three greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek era, bringing transition into the Hellenistic period. Here is an example of his work above.

#ArtHistory #ClassicalGreece #HellenisticPeriod #Lysippos

Aristophanes

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Classical history profile —> Aristophanes

Aristophanes (c. 448-385 B.C.) is the only representative of Old Comedy whose work we have in complete form. Aristophanes wrote political satire and his humor is often coarse. His sex-strike and anti-war comedy, Lysistrata, continues to be performed today in connection with war protests. Aristophanes presents a contemporary picture of Socrates, as a sophist in the Clouds, that is at odds with Plato’s Socrates.

Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete. These, together with fragments of some of his other plays, provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, and are used to define it.

Also known as “the Father of Comedy” and “the Prince of Ancient Comedy”, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries; Plato singled out Aristophanes’ play The Clouds as slander that contributed to the trial and subsequent condemning to death of Socrates, although other satirical playwrights had also caricatured the philosopher.

His plays include: The Acharnians, Assemblywomen, The Birds, The Clouds, The Frogs, The Knights, Lysistrata, Peace, Plutus, Thesmophoriazusae, The Wasps

#ClassicalWisdom #ClassicalComedy #AncientGreece #Aristophanes

International Blasphemy Day!

It’s International Blasphemy Day!

Celebrating the day in 2005 when a Danish Newspaper published these cartoons. Note that these cartoons are reproduced in Wikipedia, despite the cowardice of many other outlets, including a Yale University Press book about the cartoons, who refused to show them:

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Aeschylus

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Classical history profile —> Aeschylus

Aeschylus (c.525 – 456 B.C.) was the first great tragic poet. He introduced dialogue, the characteristic tragic boot (cothurnus) and mask. He established other conventions, like the performance of violent acts offstage. Before he became a tragic poet, Aeschylus, who wrote a tragedy about the Persians, fought in the Persian War in the battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Plataea.

Only seven of his estimated seventy to ninety plays have survived, and there is a long standing debate regarding his authorship of one of these plays, “Prometheus Bound”, which some believe his son Euphorion actually wrote.

Only seven tragedies have survived intact: The Persians, Seven against Thebes, The Suppliants, the trilogy known as The Oresteia, consisting of the three tragedies Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides, together with Prometheus Bound.

The only complete trilogy of Greek plays by any playwright still extant (save a few missing lines in several spots) is the Oresteia (458 BC), although the satyr play that originally followed it, Proteus, is lost except for some fragments. The trilogy consists of Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers (Choephoroi), and The Eumenides. Together, these plays tell the bloody story of the family of Agamemnon, King of Argos.

#ClassicalWisdom #ClassicalTragedy #AncientGreece #Aeschylus