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Depicting writing

Depicting writing

The overwhelming tendency to talk about writing systems as linguistic codes (which they usually are in some sense) has often ignored other important aspects of writing. For instance, one way way we can study writing is as a practice or action, because writing is a thing you do. At CREWS we have been particularly interested in developing the ways we look at writing practices, because this is an area with important ramifications for the way writing looks and the place of writing in a society (and in fact you can hear me speaking about some of these issues at the beginning of this seminar video).

1280px-Scribe_E3023_mp3h8780Fourth Dynasty Egyptian statue of a seated scribe: close-up detail. Image from here.

But how can we reconstruct the ways in which writing was done, accomplished or performed in the ancient world? The nature of the act of writing is extremely dependant…

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Posted by on June 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
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A Sense of Place WALKING THROUGH ANCIENT MYCENAE

A Sense of Place                                WALKING THROUGH ANCIENT MYCENAE

The Muddy Archaeologist's Blog

Mycenae: the place the myth and legend.  It was from here that King Agamemnon set out for the Trojan War, leading the allied troops of the Greek lands across the northern Aegean Sea to a long drawn-out siege and seemingly interminable hand-to-hand battles.  So the epic poems of Homer sang.

The king returned here, with his new, captured girl, the daughter of King Priam of Troy, Cassandra.  Here he was slaughtered by his wife, Clytemnestra and her new lover, Aegisthus, almost as soon as he arrived home; Clytemnestra had, understandably, never forgiven Agamemnon for sacrificing their daughter, Iphigenia, to gain favourable winds to sail to Troy.  So the epic poems of the 600s and 500s BC and the dramatic tragedies of Athens of the 400s BC tell.   The stories lived on as Greek vases and Roman frescoes and epics would vividly tell their stories.

To walk in Mycenae is…

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Posted by on April 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
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Teaching with CREWS

Do you want to learn more about writing in the ancient world? Then read on!

I am excited to tell you that we recently received a small grant to develop some teaching materials based on our research on ancient writing systems and practices! Firstly, we want to make as many resources as we can available to the wider public, and we hope that lots of people will enjoy and learn from these – especially in these dark times when so many of us are isolated from each other, looking for something to take our minds off the news, and so many children are learning at home. This post is going to give you an idea of resources that are already available, and ones that are coming soon.

ERNbH7bX0AAdE_e Lego Pippa and Philip demonstrating ancient writing techniques to a crowd of fascinating onlookers. Lego tableau by Philip Boyes!

Eventually we aim to…

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Posted by on April 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
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Troy: Myth and Reality – review

It's All Greek To Me

Following on my from visit to the Ashmolean’s ‘Last Supper at Pompeii’ exhibition over Christmas, just before term started I headed to the British Museum’s exhibition on ‘Troy: Myth and Reality‘ (on until March 8th). The entrance sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition by pairing ancient artefacts – a classical vase showing Achilles killing the Amazon Penthesilea, and a pot found at the site of the real Troy (Hisarlik, Turkey) – with modern artworks inspired by the story of the Trojan War, including this set of ceramic and concrete sculptures which to me were a very evocative depiction of the brutality and dehumanisation involved in much of this story.

P1000071 ‘The Death of Hector’, ‘King Priam’, and ‘The Skaian Gate’, from Anthony Caro’s ‘Trojan War’ sculptures

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Posted by on January 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
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►Greek Mythology: “Helen of Troy” / Poem: “Helen of Troy”, by Sue Dreamwalker.-

⚡️La Audacia de Aquiles⚡️

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"Helene glorifee" by Gustave Moreau (1897). “Hélène glorifiée” by Gustave Moreau (1897).

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Helen of Troy, also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and sister of Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux.

Pollux shared a father with Helen (Zeus), whilst Castor’s and Clytemnestra’s father was he king of Sparta, Tyndareus.

In Greek myths, Helen was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus, who was Agamemnon‘s brother.

When it was time for Helen to marry, many princes came to seek her hand.

During the contest, Castor and Pollux had a prominent role in dealing with the suitors, although the final decision was in the hands of King Tyndareus, Helen’s father.

Menelaus, her future husband, did not attend but sent his brother, Agamemnon on his behalf.

Before this, when Helen was a…

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Posted by on July 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
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Studying Writing in Bronze Age Cyprus

Studying Writing in Bronze Age Cyprus

This term has been Cyprus term at the CREWS project. We have been very lucky to have two Visiting Fellows with us – Cassie Donnelly and Giorgos Bourogiannis – who are Cypriot specialists and are working on different aspects of writing in ancient Cyprus. It also happens to be the time of year when we run a seminar where we teach and discuss a particular ancient writing system. So of course we chose Cypro-Minoan, the script of Late Bronze Age Cyprus, for our seminar theme, and you may not be surprised to hear that some practical experimentation was involved… and indeed some themed cake and chocolates!

clay balls.jpg

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Posted by on July 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
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Clay play day and baking double bill: Cypro-Minoan

It's All Greek To Me

My fellow ancient writing system researchers in the CREWS Project have organised a Cypro-Minoan seminar/’reading’ group this term, to coincide with the visits of two visiting researchers who work on ancient Cyprus (Cassie Donnelly and Giorgos Bourogiannis, who have written about their research here and here). Cypro-Minoan is an undeciphered writing system used in the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age, mainly on the island of Cyprus but also at the site of Ugarit on the coast of Syria. My recent(ish) post about undeciphered writing systems focused on those found on Crete, so didn’t include Cypro-Minoan, but a lot of the same issues arise with trying to understand it: the corpus is very small (200-odd inscriptions), widely dispersed both geographically and chronologically, and consists of a very wide range of different types of inscribed objects (from probably administrative clay tablets and balls to inscriptions on metal bowls, clay figurines, ivory…

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Posted by on June 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
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Writing in Time and Space: the writing ‘systems’ of Doctor Who

Writing in Time and Space: the writing ‘systems’ of Doctor Who

doctor_who_season_11_logo_thumb800Anyone who’s followed the CREWS blog will know that we’re fond of a bit of sci-fi and fantasy. We’ve talked about the writing systems of Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Indiana Jones. But ever since I was a kid, my absolute favourite piece of science fiction has been Doctor Who. Since it’s finally back this weekend, what better time to look at how it handles writing?

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Posted by on October 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 
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A guide to the mosaics along the Roman Baetica Route (Spain)

This from the author Carole of  ” ” FOLLOWING HADRIAN ” is an excellent post and a MUST READ for all those interested in the Roman period. The photo’s of the Mosaics are excellent.

FOLLOWING HADRIAN

On a recent trip to Southern Spain, I travelled along the Roman Baetica Route and I visited many of the archaeological sites and museums that Andalusia has to offer. Among the plethora of ancient treasures to be found in the region, I was particularly impressed by the incredible mosaics I came across.

The Roman Baetica Route is an ancient Roman road that passes through fourteen cities of the provinces of Seville, Cadiz, and Córdoba which correspond to modern-day Andalusia. It runs through the most southern part of the Roman province of Hispania and includes territories also crossed by the Via Augusta. The route connected Hispalis (Seville) with Corduba (Córdoba) and Gades (Cádiz). The word Baetica comes from Baetis, the ancient name for the river Guadalquivir.

The Roman Baetica Route The Roman Baetica Route

Before the arrival of the Romans, the area was occupied by the Turdetani, a powerful tribe and, according to Stabo…

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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
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Decoding Anglo-Saxon art

British Museum blog

silver-gilt brooch detailRosie Weetch, curator and Craig Williams, illustrator, British Museum

One of the most enjoyable things about working with the British Museum’s Anglo-Saxon collection is having the opportunity to study the intricate designs of the many brooches, buckles, and other pieces of decorative metalwork. This is because in Anglo-Saxon art there is always more than meets the eye.

The objects invite careful contemplation, and you can find yourself spending hours puzzling over their designs, finding new beasts and images. The dense animal patterns that cover many Anglo-Saxon objects are not just pretty decoration; they have multi-layered symbolic meanings and tell stories. Anglo-Saxons, who had a love of riddles and puzzles of all kinds, would have been able to ‘read’ the stories embedded in the decoration. But for us it is trickier as we are not fluent in the language of Anglo-Saxon art.

Anglo-Saxon art went through many changes between the 5th…

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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