The Polyglot of Bologna

Mezzofanti as pictured in the frontispiece to The Life of Cardinal Mezzofanti; with an introductory memoir of eminent linguists, ancient and modern (1858) by Charles William Russell Michael Erard takes a look at The Life of Cardinal Mezzofanti, a book exploring the extraordinary talent of the 19th century Italian cardinal who was reported to be able to speak[…]

Family Lines: Chasing Ghosts in Greece

By Jolene Latimer / 05.15.2017 All photos by the author Instead of sitting by her side, helping her gently pass into the afterlife, when my grandma died, I was standing on a street corner in Thessaloniki, Greece, eating a cheese pie. Since she was old and had complicated health, her death was an inevitability for[…]

Classicism and the Early Middle Ages

The Mildenhall Treasure, fourth century C.E. (The British Museum) (photo: Estel, CC BY-SA 3.0) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 06.14.2017 Associate Professor of Art History, Department Chair Indiana University In 1942 a farmer plowing a field in the East of England unearthed a substantial hoard of Roman silver (beginning in the 1st century parts of Britain were conquered by[…]

Classical Pagan and Early Medieval Christian Art Combined in the Paris Psalter

David Composing the Psalms, from the Paris Psalter, c. 900 C.E. 14-1/8 x 10-1/4″ / 36 x 26 cm (Bibliothèque nationale de France) By Dr. Anne McClanan / 08.08.2015 Professor of Art History and Historical Methodology Portland State University The classical past and the medieval Christian present Why would a Biblical king surround himself with pagans?[…]

Aesthetics: The Role of Visual Expression in African Art

Pair of Diviner’s Figures, Côte d’Ivoire, central Côte d’Ivoire, Baule peoples, wood, pigment, beads and iron, 55.4 x 10.2 x 10.5 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) By Dr. Christa Clarke / 10.09.2016 Senior Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas Newark Museum The Role of Visual Expression in Africa Because many tradition-based African artifacts serve a[…]

The AMNH ‘Man in Africa Hall’ at 50: Exploring African Ethnographic History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in NY circa 2000. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.    By Dr. Enid Schildkrout (left) and Jacklyn Lacey (right) / 10.14.2017 Schildkrout: Curator Emerita of African Ethnology, Division of Anthropology Lacey: Museum Specialist II, African Ethnology, Pacific Ethnology American Museum of Natural History The “Man in Africa Hall”[…]

Byzantine Amphora with Christian Inscription Discovered in Roman Trimammium Fortress

The six-line inscription in Ancient Greek found on the fragment of a 6th century AD Byzantine amphora in the Trimammium Fortress in Northeast Bulgaria. Photo: Ruse Regional Museum of History By Ivan Dikov / 01.09.2018 Part of an Early Byzantine amphora with a fully preserved inscription in Ancient Greek dedicated to Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary[…]

As a Lute out of Tune: Robert Burton’s Melancholy

‘ Frontispiece to the 6th edition of Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (published under the pseudonym Democritus Junior) – Internet Archive In 1621 Robert Burton first published his masterpiece The Anatomy of Melancholy, a vast feat of scholarship examining in encyclopaedic detail that most enigmatic of maladies. Noga Arikha explores the book, said to be the favorite of[…]

Vesalius and the Body Metaphor

Portrait of Vesalius featured in De Humani Corporis Fabrica / U.S. National Library of Medicine City streets, a winepress, pulleys, spinning tops, a ray fish, curdled milk: just a few of the many images used by 16th century anatomist Andreas Vesalius to explain the workings of the human body in his seminal work De Humani Corporis Fabrica.[…]

Queen Isabella and Late Medieval Health Regimens

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ms. français 2663, folio 14v: Queen Isabella of England admonishes two of Edward II’s favourites, Sir Hugh Despenser and Edmund, earl of Arundel, prior to their execution, 1326. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons. By Dr. Richard Aspin / 01.21.2017 Head of Research Wellcome Library In the later Middle Ages there was a considerable[…]

A New Pictorial Language: The Image in Early Medieval Art

Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos, Roman marble copy after 4th century Greek original (Palazzo Altemps, Rome) By Dr. Nancy Ross / 12.19.2016 Assistant Professor of Art History Dixie State College Utah An illusion of reality Classical art, or the art of ancient Greece and Rome, sought to create a convincing illusion for the viewer. Artists sculpting the images of[…]

Graeco-Roman Influence in the ‘Vienna Genesis’

Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, folio 7 recto from the Vienna Genesis, early 6th century, tempera, gold and silver on purple vellum, 12-1/2 x 9-1/4″ (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna) By Dr. Nancy Ross / 08.08.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History Dixie State College Utah Caught in between It’s not hard to find inspirational quotes about the difficulty and[…]

The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus: Early Christian Adoption and Adaptation of Roman and Greek Art Forms

Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, marble, 359 C.E. (Treasury of Saint Peter’s Basilica) By Dr. Allen Farber / 08.08.2015 Professor of Art History State University of New York College at Oneonta Please note that due to photography restrictions, the images used in the video above show the plaster cast on display in the Vatican Museum. Nevertheless,[…]

Why Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are More Relevant Now than Ever Before

By Dr. Walter G. Moss / 12.11.2016 Professer Emeritus of History Eastern Michigan University A half century after the assassinations of MLK and RFK, we need their visions. In the age of Trump, who offers us no more than his empty “Make America Great Again,” massive tax cuts for corporations and rich people, an Environmental Protection Agency[…]

Harriet Beecher Stowe: ‘The Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Started this Great War’

By Kimberly J. Largent Editor Charge the Cannons Publishing It is reported that upon being introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862, Abraham Lincoln fondly commented she was “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” Although President Lincoln’s comment was certainly made in jest, in truth, Stowe’s novel was indeed instrumental[…]

Why Martin Luther King’s Trip to Tyneside Still Matters 50 Years On

Martin Luther King in Newcastle, 1967. Newcastle University Special Collections By Dr. Brian Ward / 10.20.2017 Professor in American Studies Northumbria University, Newcastle While controversy about the removal of Confederate memorials in the US rumbles on, in the north-east of England, plans to honour one of the US South’s most famous sons are coming to fruition. Freedom City[…]

Meet the Theologian Who Helped MLK See the Value of Nonviolence

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , chats with African-Americans during a door-to-door campaign in 1964. AP Photo/JAB By Dr. Paul Harvey / 01.11.2018 Professor of American History University of Colorado After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they[…]

The Santa Pudenziana: Christianity Takes on an Imperial Aura in Ancient Rome

Pediment above the door of Santa Pudenziana, 4th century C.E., Rome By Dr. Allen Farber / 08.08.2015 Professor of Art History State University of New York College at Oneonta A ritual space Nave of Santa Pudenziana, 4th century C.E. The opulent interior of the Constantinian basilicas would have created an effective space for increasingly elaborate[…]

An Introduction to Early Christian Art and Architecture

Colossal statue of Constantine the Great, 4th century (Capitoline Museum, Rome) (photo: Jean-Christophe BENOIST CC BY 2.5) By Dr. Allen Farber / 08.08.2015 Professor of Art History State University of New York College at Oneonta Early Christianity Two important moments played a critical role in the development of early Christianity: 1. The decision of the Apostle Paul[…]

The Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)

Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), 9 B.C.E. (Ara Pacis Museum, Rome, Italy) By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 11.23.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), 9 B.C.E. (Ara Pacis Museum, Rome, Italy) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) The Roman state religion in microcosm The festivities of[…]

Sacrifice Preparation as Communal Ritual in Ancient Rome

Preparations for a Sacrifice, fragment from an architectural relief, c. mid-first century C.E., marble, 172 x 211 cm / 67¾ x 83⅛ inches (Musée du Louvre, Paris)  [note: the date for this relief from the Louvre’s website—beginning of the second century C.E.—is at odds with the Louvre’s publication of its catalog, Roman Art from the Louvre (2009)[…]

Water Has Been Discovered on Mars and May Accelerate Human Exploration

Huge ice sheets discovered on Mars could mean human exploration of the planet is closer than scientists had thought. (Science Photo Library RF/Getty Images) Scientists believe the ice layers and water are the result of accumulated snow. By Alexa Lardieri / 01.12.2018 Large sheets of ice have been discovered just below Mars’ surface, leading scientists to[…]