Friday, March 26, 2010

A Ride Up Vesuvius

A Don's Life, the blog of Professor Mary Beard of Cambridge, is a surprisingly funny and straight-forward look at academia and all things Roman. The latest post is on a documentary of Pompeii that she is consulting on. As someone who is used to being on the entertainment end of such things, it's really interesting to get the opposite point of view. I think my favorite part is where she talks about being able to try on jewelry that was actually worn by the Pompeiians. Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Their Words

"He is not haggard from Venus' quiver, nor fired by her torch;
the dowry it was that kindled his ardour and furnished the arrows.
Her freedom is paid for; no need to conceal her notes and glances.
A wealthy woman who marries a miser is as good as single..."

- Juvenal (The Satires)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Movie News ~ Agora

I have been waiting impatiently for the movie Agora to hit american theaters since last year. For anyone not familiar with this beautiful historical-epic-biopic the trailer can be found under the link. It stars Rachel Weisz as the famous astronomer Hypatia, and follows her choices and challenges during a Christian uprising in Alexandria, Egypt in 415 AD. As this happened in March it would make sense for the film to come out this month, however no U.S. release date has yet been announced, though it is expected to be sometime this year. I'll let you know as soon as I hear more.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recreating the Romans

I like to do a series in every era of my interests on how to recreate the look of another time. This is because as a costumer I spend quite a lot of time finding and adapting garments and accessories to look like something else, and because as a costume historian I like things to be at least a little accurate.

First of all me have a beautiful set of Roman jewelry, late period, in mostly gold and turquoise. Priceless no doubt. Oddly enough I think my mother owned a necklace very like that back in the 80's. It's surprisingly simple being comprised of chunky beads and gold motifs. The earrings and ring follow a similarly basic aesthetic, yet when put together they have an oppulent effect.

I recently came across the Etsy shop of an international jewelry designer known as Kokomi, whose museum-inspired creations in polymer are just lovely. For more images visit (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=19592370), and for an article by and about the items go to (http://www.squidoo.com/kotomi-jewelry#module8258065)

Be inspired!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exhibition notes

It's always hard to hear that something perfect has passed you by. I would have loved to have seen the exhibition entitled "Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples", but sadly it was only at the National Gallery through March of last year, and then it went to LACMA until October.

Do not despair, however, there is a very interesting article by Smithsonian.com which can be found at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Roman-Splendor-in-Pompeii.html which drops some crumbs for those of us who missed it.

Did anyone catch the exhibit when it was in town? Thoughts on what you saw?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Roman Names- Part 1

One of the first things that comes to mind when pondering the life of a woman in Rome is "What would my name have been?" Let's start with a list of known names for women:-
Aemilia
Agrippina
Antonia
Aquilia
Artemis
Atia
Balba
Caecilia
Caenis
Caesonia
Calatoria
Clodia (Claudia)
Cloelia
Corintha
Cornelia
Domitia
Domna
Drusilla
Epicharis
Fulvia
Galla
Graecina
Hortensia
Iris
Julia
Lepida
Lesbia
Licinia
Livia
Livilla
Longina
Lucilla
Lucretia
Maesa
Marcella
Matella
Megallis
Messalina
Metrodora
Murcia
Octavia
Paulina
Placidia
Plautia
Politta
Pomponia
Poppaea
Procula
Publilia
Pulchra
Sabina
Scribonia
Servilia
Severa
Themis
Urgulanilla
Valeria
Vipsania

This is, of course, an incomplete list, and we can never know the names of all those who went unrecorded on monuments, epitaphs, or in legal records. With only 58 to choose from it is limiting, but not only could a woman have a first name, but often two names were combined, especially in the later part of the Roman era; as in Poppaea Sabina. For my part I think I would choose Aquilia Galla. As for what we would call the surname, we'll look at that next time.