What is Concrete Poetry?

Augusto de Campos’s Lygia Fingers, a poem from 1953 for his wife-to-be, Lygia Azeredo, highlights the international tendencies of concrete poetry; it appeared in a portfolio of concrete poems by European and Brazilian artists issued by the German printer and publisher Hansjörg Mayer in 1964. From 13 visuelle Texte (Stuttgart: Edition H. Mayer, 1964). The[…]

The Guitar in the Classic and Romantic Periods, c.1750-1850

Classical 19th-century six-string guitar / Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg By Dr. Júlio Ribeiro Alves / 12.2015 Professor of Music Theory and Guitar Marshall University Towards the Six-String Guitar The transition between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries revealed a new context for the guitar. The socio-political context of Spain under the leadership of Philip[…]

The Defacement of the Parthenon Metopes: Dating and Interpretation

By Dr. Benjamin Anderson Assistant Professor of Art History Cornell University Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 57 (2017), 248-260 The dating and interpretation of archaeologically attested acts of vandalism is a hazardous business. Consider the Arch of Constantine. The archaeologist remarks that the emperor’s head has been systematically removed from each of the Constantinian reliefs,[…]

Prodicus on the Rise of Civilization: Religion, Agriculture, and Culture Heroes

Karthea Temple ruins on the island of Keos (modern Kea) By Dr. Stavros Kouloumentas / 11.01.2016 Postdoctoral Classics Research Fellow University of Humboldt, Berlin CHS Research Bulletin 4:2 (2016) Introduction Three authors who were active in classical Athens seem to have been familiar with Prodicus’ doctrines.[1] Xenophon preserves a speech of Prodicus in which the[…]

Judith Leyster, ‘The Proposition’

Judith Leyster, Man Offering Money to a Woman (The Proposition), 1631, oil on panel, 11-3/8 × 9-1/2 inches (Mauritshuis, The Hague) By Dr. Saskia Beranek / 03.17.2017 Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History Duquesne University and University of Pittsburgh A soberly dressed woman sits in a darkened room, working diligently on her sewing. The only light[…]

Decoding the Textual Experience in the Bronze Age Levant (c.2000-1150 BCE)

By Dr. Rachael Thyrza Sparks / 12.18.2013 Professor of Archaeology University College London Introduction A review of the types of writing found in the Southern Levant during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages underlines one fact: textual evidence is much rarer in this region than contemporary Egypt, Syria-Lebanon or Mesopotamia. There is a dearth of[…]

Communication of Divine Will in the Sargonid Period

  Fragmentary stele bearing the inscription “Ur-Nanshe, son of Gunidu, to Ningirsu” / Louvre Museum, Paris By Lisa Wilhelmi / 08.28.2015 Professor of Drama and History McLennan Community College Introduction* The ancient Mesopotamian world-view determined that human life on earth was inextricably intertwined with the divine, and the omnipresence of this divine element was never[…]

The Guitar in the Renaissance

16th-Century Spanish guitar / Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix By Dr. Júlio Ribeiro Alves / 12.2015 Professor of Music Theory and Guitar Marshall University Introduction The evolution of the guitar achieved a new phase during the sixteenth century, as documentary evidence can confirm. The instrument passed through transformations during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and some[…]

Songs of Stone

Sculptural Group of a Seated Poet (possibly Orpheus) with Two Sirens, 350–300 B.C., Greek, made in Tarentum, South Italy. Terracotta with traces of polychromy. Sirens: 55 1/8 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 76.AD.11. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program Is the greatness of poetry behind us? Writer Gabriele Tinti shares[…]

Democracy and Civic Participation in Greek Cities Under Roman Imperial Rule

Computer reconstruction depicting Roman Athens in 165 AD. / (c) Sebastian Kiersz By Dr. Cédric Brélaz / 11.01.2016 Professor of Ancient History University of Strasbourg, France Introduction By the age of Dio Chrysostom and Plutarch the Greek popular Assemblies, the very nerve-centre of Classical Greek democracy, were already in full decay, although some of them[…]

The Development of Athenian Democracy

By Dr. Christopher W. Blackwell / 01.24.2003 Louis G. Forgione University Professor of Classics Furman University Introduction The Greek word Demos (δῆμος, pronounced “day-moss”) has several meanings, all of them important for Athenian democracy. Demos is the Greek word for “village” or, as it is often translated, “deme.” The deme was the smallest administrative unit[…]

Prehistory through Language and Archaeology

Language families of the world (click image to enlarge) By Dr. Paul Heggarty / 03.24.2015 Department of Linguistics and Cultural Evolution Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History Abstract This is not about the histories of languages themselves. Rather, it explores what those histories can tell us of the populations and societies that[…]

Making Medieval Manuscripts

The author of a manuscript at his writing desk. From the Roman de la Rose, 14th century / National Library of Wales Dr. Erik Kwakkel and Dr. Beth Harris look at two manuscripts: 1) Boethius, De institutione arithmetica, c. 1100,  The Hague), Royal Library, MS 78 E 59 and 2) Paris Bible, mid 13th century,[…]

Origins of the Guitar

By Dr. Júlio Ribeiro Alves / 12.2015 Professor of Music Theory and Guitar Marshall University Introduction Las Mujeres y Cuerdas Las mujeres y cuerdas De la guitarra, Es menester talento Para templarlas. Flojas no suenan, Y suelen saltar muchas Si las aprietan.[1] The poem above, used by Catalan composer and guitarist Fernando Sor in one[…]

The Rediscovery of Guercino

Sir Denis Mahon at his desk, 2010. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland, Sir Denis Mahon Archive & Library Collection Sir Denis Mahon’s crusade to restore the reputation of an Italian seicento master. By Davide Gasparotto / 03.01.2016 Senior Curator of Paintings J. Paul Getty Museum Sir Denis Mahon (1910–2011) is undoubtedly one of[…]

Writing as Material Technology: Orientation within Landscapes of the Classic Maya World

By Dr. Sarah E. Jackson / 12.18.2013 Associate Professor of Anthropology University of Cincinnati Introduction Writing as Material Technology We endeavor to shift our perspectives on texts from the transparent view that allows us to look past pages, monuments, and objects straight to the content or meaning of recorded signs, and instead to think about[…]

Re-Animating a Murderer: The Corpse Experiment that Inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Cartoon of a galvanized corpse from the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division. 10.15.2016 George Forster was hanged at Newgate Prison on January 18, 1803 for murdering his wife and daughter.  After the execution, Forster’s (also spelled Foster in The Newgate Calendar) body was carried to a nearby house so that Giovanni Aldini (April[…]

The Twisting Paths of Recall: Khipu (Andean Cord Notation) as Artifact

Figure 1: Khipu demonstrates repeating colour sequence. 64-19-1-1-6-2 of the Musée de l’Homme (now in Musée du Quai Branly). By Dr. Frank Salomon / 12.18.2013 Professor Emeritus, Anthropology University of Wisconsin-Madison Introduction The most complex system of writing (using the word in a broad sense) that Andean peoples possessed before the Spanish invasion of 1532[…]