Friday, February 27, 2009


In continuing the blogging of the second session of the Trondheim conference, I’m going once again to wildly abuse the word fabulous, but I can’t say I have a choice, since we now reached the paper presented by the, yes, fabulous Dr Thea.

She is not only one of the organizers of the conference, but is also a translator of Ovid (I love the norweigan word for translator “omsetjar”), a published writer of fiction, has a doctorate in latin and is a genuinely nice person.

Most fabulously though, she has appeared been a commentator and object of charm for the Norwegian reality show Sjarmørskolen (translates to Charm school), which naturally is some young men trying to learn the art of charm and seduction. (See her here explaining the steps outlined by Ovid, (such as hygiene being an important factor; trimming your nose hairs, cleaning your teeth etc) , and impressing the youngsters of this charm school with her degree (that is the main reason women want graduate degrees, to impress guys).

Anyhoo, her paper tide in nicely with the previous one as they both dealt with the theater of Pompey, this one in a different fashion. Here it rather was how such virtual imaginings can be used in research other than the history of theater and such.

This theater, dedicated to Venus Victrix, was once the most monumental building in Rome, and several models have been attempted for all kinds of purposes in the academia. Such reconstructions do also have their uses in philology. The paper was an attempt to trace similarities between the portico, probably filled with new and ancient statues, surrounding the theater and the Heroides of Ovid, which might have borrowed imagery and characters form this collection of marble portraits.

Visualisation of this portico is of course difficult as both written and archaeological sources are sketchy. Apparently Pliny has some mention, but the best source is the cranky Tatian’s Oratio ad Graecos (33-2), in which he describes the general uselessness of the Greeks, and in describing the statues made of silly women he gives some clue to who might have been portrayed in this portico (a place recommended for a stroll by Ovid and as a pick-up place by Propertius).

Speculating about the statues, their order and identification, brings a contemporary tie-in to the Heroides, which has earlier been hard to give some kind of political slant. I won’t present the rest of the philological evidence, as, hey, brevity, but I will say it was compelling.

Once again coffee, and I think I fell asleep for a few minutes during the break (not that many hours of sleep the night before), but before that, I finally met my long time correspondent Magnus E, who, as you should know, led the student protests against the cut-backs of classical languages in Trondheim.


Anonymous said...

You have obviously met quite extraordinary people during that illustrious Conference, and we are very proud of you for being such a good representative of our country, bilingual and all (sparing them the pain of listening to our Swenglish idiom!)

Looking around I found among other things this Press Release from Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers , where Andrew Reinhard is working as 'Director of eLearning '. ("").

I think the article could be of general interest, casting some more light on the topic.
' Digital evangelist for Classics'-NON MICA MALE!!

Andrew Reinhard said...


You might also enjoy this peer-reviewed online article on Classics and digital media from Classical Journal, 2008: