Sketches from Olympus in the University of Warsaw Gallery [ENG/PL/BY]

For Belarusian click here / For Polish click here

Sketches from Olympus to Be Seen in the University of Warsaw Gallery

On 29th April the exhibition “Sketching on Olympus” was inaugurated at the University of Warsaw Gallery in the UW Library (BUW). It accompanies the Our Mythical Nature conference within the Our Mythical Childhood… The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges project at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW. The exhibition presents works by children from Belarus and Ukraine, currently living in Warsaw, on Greek mythology and more. These drawings were created during classes in an art studio for children “Цёплы круг” (The Warm Circle).

Exhibition poster

The studio “The Warm Circle” was founded in September 2020 by two Belarusian artists from Minsk, graduates of the Belarusian Academy of Fine Arts: Tatiana Karpachova and Liza Mikhadziuk. Currently, 13 children aged between 5 and 15 years old attend the studio. The aim of the studio is to teach children the basics of drawing and painting in a comfortable atmosphere of concentration, creative joy, and inner peace. The studio creates the conditions for sharing energy and experience, while at the same time developing the ability to think outside the box and releasing creativity by spending time in an artistic environment.


Tatiana Karpachova, Liza Mikhadziuk and Olga Anisko at the exhibition.

All photos have been published with the consent of the project participants (or their parents).
Tatiana Karpachova and Liza Mikhadziuk.
All photos have been published with the consent of the project participants (or their parents).

During the classes, the children worked on different themes: “Warsaw”, “Self-portrait”, “Home”, “Hokku”, “Japanese still life”, etc.

In order to create the exhibition “Sketching on Olympus”, the children and their teachers, armed with the necessary equipment: paintbrushes, pencils, paper, and an inexhaustible imagination, spent a month exploring Mount Olympus in order to tell us, the viewers, what “really” happened there. Beforehand, the children listened to the myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome and familiarized themselves with the works on the subject of the most prominent artists of the world.

Michał Racewicz and his artwork.
 All photos have been published with the consent of the project participants (or their parents).
Władzisława Racewicz and her artwork.
All photos have been published with the consent of the project participants (or their parents).

In studying the mythological characters in detail, many difficult questions arose. Could the royal shepherd Faustulus, who raised Romulus and Remus, have had a woollen overcoat? Was Medusa Gorgona’s entire body covered in scales and how long were her nails? If the Minotaur had the head of a bull, was his body hairy? Why did the Minotaur eat so rarely (once in seven years)? Why do all the paintings and sculptures by prominent artists have curly hair?

Children’s creativity is full of improvisation and experimentation, hence the Minotaur here does have horns, but his head is square, and the Labyrinth at Knossos is a room with many doors. The comic book which illustrates the journey of Theseus is also worth mentioning – try to find Ariadne in it. In the exhibition we meet Theseus fighting the Minotaur, Medusa playing with stone men, a modern Narcissus wearing a mask but dressed according to 15th-century fashion, and a Narcissus so beautiful that even birds fly away at the sight of him.

The curator of the exhibition is Olga Anisko.

Cooperation with Belarusian scientists, students, and artists has been coordinated for years by Dr Hanna Paulouskaya.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr Tomasz Strączek, the Director of the University of Warsaw Gallery, for his invitation, hospitality, and assistance in organizing the exhibition.

We also wish to express our gratitude to the Artes Liberales Institute” Foundation for its financial support which made the exhibition possible.

The exhibition is on display at the University of Warsaw Gallery in the main hall of the University of Warsaw Library (BUW) until June 28, 2021. Here on the blog, we are pleased to share all the works online for all those who are outside of Warsaw or cannot move freely due to the pandemic.

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Замалёўкі з Алімпу ў Галерэі Варшаўскага ўніверсітэта

29 красавіка ў Галерэі Варшаўскага ўніверсітэта, якая знаходзіцца ў універсітэцкай бібліятэцы, адбылося адкрыццё выставы “Szkicowanie na Olimpie” (“Замалёўкі на Алімпе”). Выстава прымеркавана да канферэнцыі Our Mythical Nature ў межах праекта Our Mythical Childhood… The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges, якая праводзіцца факультэтам “Artes Liberales” Варшаўскага ўніверсітэта. На выставе прадстаўлены працы дзяцей з Беларусі і Ўкраіны, якія цяпер жывуць у Варшаве. Гэта малюнкі па матывах грэчаскай міфалогіі, а таксама на іншыя тэмы, якія былі створаны падчас заняткаў мастацкай студыі для дзяцей “Цёплы круг”.

Студыя “Цёплы круг” была арганізавана ў верасні 2020 года двума беларускімі мастачкамі з Мінска, выпускніцамі Беларускай дзяржаўнай акадэміі мастацтваў: Таццянай Карпачовай і Лізаветай Міхадзюк. Зараз у студыі навучаецца 13 дзяцей ва ўзросце ад 5 да 15 гадоў. Мэта студыі – у камфортнай атмасферы сканцэнтраванай працы і настрою творчай радасці і душэўнага спакою перадаць дзецям моцную базу малюнка і жывапісу. Студыя – гэта магчымасць дзяліцца сваёй энергіяй і досведам, адначасова развіваць уменне нестандартна мысліць і раскрываць свой творчы патэнцыял, праводзячы час у мастацкім асяроддзі.

На занятках навучэнцы працавалі над рознымі тэмамі: “Варшава”, “Аўтапартрэт”, “Дом”, “Хоку”, “Японскі нацюрморт” і г.д.

Спецыяльна да выставы “Szkicowanie na Olimpie” дзеці разам са сваімі настаўніцамі, узяўшы з сабою неабходнае абсталяванне: пэндзлікі, алоўкі, паперу і невычэрпнае натхненне, прысвяцілі месяц даследаванню Алімпу, каб расказаць нам, гледачам, як “усё было насамрэч”. А папярэдне дзеці праслухалі міфы і легенды Старажытнай Грэцыі і Рыма і азнаёміліся з працамі выбітных сусветных мастакоў на дадзеную тэматыку.

Падчас падрабязнага знаёмства з міфалагічнымі героямі паўстала мноства сур’ёзных пытанняў. Ці мог каралеўскі пастух Фаўстул, які выхоўваў Ромула і Рэма, мець ваўняны кажух? Ці ўсё цела Медузы Гаргоны было пакрыта луской і якой даўжыні ў яе былі пазногці? Калі ў Мінатаўра была галава быка, то ці было ў яго валасатае тулава? Чаму Мінатаўр так рэдка еў (адзін раз у 7 гадоў)? Чаму на карцінах і скульптурах выбітных мастакоў усе маюць кучаравыя валасы?

Дзіцячая крэатыўнасць напоўнена імправізацыяй і эксперыментамі, таму Мінатаўр тут хоць і з рагамі, але галава ў яго квадратнай формы, а Кноскі Лабірынт – гэта памяшканне з мноствам дзвярэй. Увагі заслугоўвае комікс, які ілюструе падарожжа Тэсея – паспрабуй знайсці ў ім Арыядну. У экспазіцыі сустракаем Тэсея, які змагаецца з Мінатаўрам, Медузу, якая гуляе каменнымі чалавечкамі, сучаснага Нарцыса ў масцы, але апранутага па модзе XV стагоддзя, а таксама Нарцыса, прыгожага настолькі, што ад яго выгляду разлятаюцца нават птушкі.

Куратарка выставы – Вольга Аніська.

Супрацоўніцтва з беларускімі навукоўцамі, студэнтамі і мастакамі каардынуе кандыдат навук Ганна Паўлоўская.

Вялікі дзякуй доктару Томашу Стрончку, дырэктару Галерэі Варшаўскага ўніверсітэта, за запрашэнне, гасціннасць і дапамогу ў арганізацыі выставы.

Мы таксама хацелі б выразіць нашу ўдзячнасць Фундацыі “Інстытут Artes Liberales за фінансавую падтрымку, якая дазволіла ажыццявіць ідэю выставы.

Шчыра запрашаем на выставу, якую можна паглядзець у Галерэі Варшаўскага ўніверсітэта ў галоўным холе Бібліятэцы Варшаўскага ўніверсітэта да 28 чэрвеня 2021 года. Для тых, хто жыве не ў Варшаве, і ўсіх, хто не можа прыехаць з-за пандэміі, публікуем усе працы онлайн.

Gallery


Szkice z Olimpu do obejrzenia w Galerii UW

29 kwietnia w Galerii UW w BUWie została otwarta wystawa „Szkicowanie na Olimpie”. Towarzyszy ona konferencji Our Mythical Nature w ramach projektu Our Mythical Childhood… The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges. Wystawa prezentuje prace dzieci z Białorusi oraz Ukrainy, obecnie mieszkających w Warszawie, dotyczące mitologii greckiej i nie tylko. Rysunki te powstały podczas zajęć w pracowni plastycznej dla dzieci „Цёплы круг” (Ciepły krąg).

Pracownia „Ciepły krąg” została założona we wrześniu 2020 roku przez dwie białoruskie artystki z Mińska, absolwentki Białoruskiej Akademii Sztuk Pięknych: Tatianę Karpaczową i Lizę Mikhadziuk. Obecnie do pracowni uczęszcza 13 dzieci w wieku od 5 do 15 lat. Celem pracowni jest w komfortowej atmosferze skupienia oraz nastroju twórczej radości i spokoju wewnętrznego przekazać dzieciom solidne podstawy rysunku i malarstwa. Pracownia stwarza warunki do dzielenia się swoją energią i doświadczeniem, jednocześnie rozwijając umiejętność nieszablonowego myślenia i wyzwalania kreatywności poprzez spędzanie czasu w środowisku artystycznym.

Na zajęciach w pracowni dzieci pracowały nad różnymi tematami: „Warszawa”, „Autoportret”, „Dom”, „Hokku”, „Japońska martwa natura” itd.

Na potrzeby wystawy „Szkicowanie na Olimpie” dzieci wraz z ich nauczycielkami, uzbroiwszy się w niezbędny sprzęt: pędzle, ołówki, papier i niewyczerpaną wyobraźnię, poświęciły miesiąc na badanie Olimpu, aby opowiedzieć nam, widzom, co tak „naprawdę” tam się wydarzyło. Wcześniej zaś dzieci wysłuchały mitów i legend starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu oraz zapoznały się z dziełami wybitnych światowych artystów o danej tematyce.

Przy szczegółowym zapoznawaniu się z mitologicznymi bohaterami zrodziło się wiele trudnych pytań. Czy królewski pasterz Faustulus, który wychował Remulusa i Remusa, mógł mieć wełniany kożuch? Czy całe ciało Meduzy Gorgony było pokryte łuskami i jak długie były jej paznokcie? Jeśli Minotaur miał głowę byka, to czy jego ciało było owłosione? Dlaczego Minotaur jadł tak rzadko (raz na siedem lat)? Dlaczego na obrazach i rzeźbach wybitnych artystów wszyscy mają kręcone włosy?

Dziecięca kreatywność przepełniona jest improwizacją i eksperymentami, stąd Minotaur tutaj wprawdzie posiada rogi, ale za to głowę ma kwadratową, a Labirynt w Knossos jest pomieszczeniem z wieloma drzwiami. Na uwagę zasługuje komiks, który ilustruje podróż Tezeusza – spróbuj odnaleźć w nim Ariadnę. Na wystawie spotkamy Tezeusza walczącego z Minotaurem, Meduzę bawiącą się z kamiennymi ludzikami, współczesnego Narcyza w masce, ale ubranego zgodnie z XV-wieczną modą, oraz Narcyza tak pięknego, że nawet ptaki odlatują na jego widok.

Kuratorką wystawy jest Olga Anisko.

Współpracę z białoruskimi naukowcami, studentami i artystami od lat koordynuje Dr Hanna Paulouskaya.

Z całego serca wyrażamy podziękowania dla Pana Dr Tomasza Strączka, Dyrektora Galerii UW, za zaproszenie, gościnność i pomoc w organizacji wystawy.

Chcielibyśmy również wyrazić wdzięczność Fundacji „Instytut Artes Liberalesza wsparcie finansowe umożliwiające realizację wystawy.

Serdecznie zapraszamy na wystawę, którą można zobaczyć w Galerii UW w głównym holu BUWu do 28 czerwca 2021. Dla osób spoza Warszawy, a także dla wszystkich, którzy nie mogą przemieszczać się z powodu pandemii, zamieszczamy komplet prac online.


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“In the Footsteps of Hercules in Rome” by Michał Kuźmiński

This post has been prepared by Michał Kuźmiński, a student of Cultural Studies – Mediterranean Civilization at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw, within the Our Mythical Childhood Seminar. Michał is at the moment in Rome, at his Erasmus Plus stay, and, as much as the situation permits, he is reporting on the traces of some mythical heroes in Urbs aeterna.


Hercules was undoubtedly the most powerful and renowned hero in the Greek mythology. Like other numerous heroes and deities, he was adopted to the Roman pantheon and his cult became very popular and widespread. Hercules was worshipped by the members of almost every social class: beginning from the ordinary soldiers, farmers and merchants, up to the emperors themselves.

Apart from the customary rituals, Hercules earned his own place in local tales and myths which formed the traditions of the city of Rome. To make the Greek hero more familiar to the Roman worshippers, they developed and expanded the myth of his Twelve Labours. Virgil (among the other authors) described in his Aeneid how the terrifying giant named Cacus, son of Vulcan, used to terrorize the people living near the Aventine Hill (Wergiliusz, Eneida, VIII,  267-365, Polish trans. Z. Kubiak, Warszawa, 1987). It happened so that Hercules was coming back to Greece that way after completing the tenth labour. While the hero was asleep, Cacus stole some of the cattle which Hercules had previously stolen from Geryon as part of his tenth labour. The angry hero strangulated the giant, regained the cattle, and as a result he freed the area from that dreadful monster.

According to the Roman tradition, after killing Cacus, Hercules erected an altar, which was later known as Hercules Invicti Ara Maxima, meaning The Greatest Altar of Hercules the Invincible. It was located in the Forum Boarium (the cattle market; relation with the myth is clearly visible) which extended between the Tiber and the Capitoline, Palatine and Aventine hills. The archaeologists think that remains of the Ara Maxima are preserved till today. To see them, one need to go to the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. In its crypt there is a platform made of tufa which was identified as the remaining part of the Ara Maxima. Thus, the ancient cult space preserved its purpose, only the venerated god changed.

But just a few steps from Santa Maria in Cosmedin there is another place of Hercules’ cult which, in turn, did not change its appearance so much. It is a Temple of Hercules Victor, still in the Forum Boarium. The building is a tholos – a temple on a circular plan, encircled by the colonnade. Almost all of the twenty columns made of Greek marble and the inner wall remain in their positions till today.


Forum Boarium (phot. by Michał Kuźmiński)

These are the places related to the mythical presence of Hercules in Rome and the oldest places of his worship. But looking for the image of the hero in those venues would be in vain – to stand face to face with Hercules we need to visit the other parts of Rome.

In Antiquity the temples of all the gods were above all the dwellings of their images. Unfortunately, the statue of Hercules from his temple in Forum Boarium left it a long time ago. However, we may see what is believed to be the cult statue from this area in the other place. Not far from Forum Boarium, on the Capitoline Hill which was the religious heart of ancient Rome, we will find the Capitoline Museums with their splendid collection of antiquities. The Capitoline Museums are located in three buildings and it is Palazzo dei Conservatori (The Palace of the Conservators), where we should look for Hercules. Near the remains of the most famous Roman temple – the one devoted to Jupiter Optimus Maximus – there is an impressive, over-life-size statue of the standing hero. It was made of gilded bronze and most of the gold survived till today, which makes it look splendid and sumptuous. It depicts a naked Hercules standing in relaxed position, in one hand he holds his club and in the other the apples of the Hesperides. The statue was discovered in the Forum Boarium in 15th century and is believed to  originate from the temple of Hercules Victor.

Hercules in the Capitoline Museums (phot. by Michał Kuźmiński)

But this is not the only example of Hercules’ presence in the Capitoline Museums. A few steps further we meet a different but still extraordinary incarnation of the hero. There is a marble bust of a man with all the most distinctive attributes of Hercules: he wears a lion’s skin over his head and holds a club in one hand and the apples of Hesperides in the other. But it is not just another, traditional representation of a deity, the bust is in reality a portrait of the emperor Commodus in the guise of Hercules. This wonderfully preserved work of art is at the same time an intriguing example of a man of power fascinated by the icon of manhood, a superhero from the collective imagination. That is certainly a timeless situation which we could spot also at the present time.

Commodus (phot. by Michał Kuźmiński)

Speaking of superheroes from pop culture, in Rome we may also look for a representation of Hercules which is far more modern and closer to us than the ancient depictions from the Museum. To find it we need to leave the historical center and move to the neighbourhood of Cinecittà Studios, a large film studio in the outskirts of Rome. In its vicinity the Italian artist Flavio Campagna Kampah painted in 2018 a huge mural depicting multiple figures of an actor and body-builder Steeve Reves, who was famous in mid-20th century for his roles of Hercules in Italian sword and sandal films. The mural involves also some symbolism: there are seven figures of Reves, just like the seven hills of Rome and each of them is painted on a background of a different colour. Together they form a range of colours which resembles the rainbow. According to the author (read here), the result is not coincidental, the mural was thought to celebrate the diversity of human beings and bring the optimism to the thinking about the future.

Mural (phot. by Michał Kuźmiński)

All these places indicate clearly the significance of Hercules in the landscape of Rome and the lives of its inhabitants. The hero has already been present in the city for a very long time – more than 2000 years! He played different roles: from the caring deity up to the icon of masculinity and example to follow. He could have been met in various places and disguises, but the most important fact is that Hercules is still present in Rome till today and he still possesses the power to inspire and influence people’s imagination.

Post by Michał Kuźmiński, placed by Dorota Rejter



Sources

Wergiliusz, Eneida, Polish trans. Z. Kubiak, Warszawa, 1987.

Claridge A., Rome. An Oxford Archaeological Guide, Oxford 2010, 287—290.

Graves R., Mity Greckie, Warszawa 1992, 424—426.

Leeming D., The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, Oxford 2005, 177.

Platner R., The Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London 1929, 253—254.

The bust of Commodus in the guise of Hercules – link

The statue of Hercules from Forum Boarium – link

The interview with Flavio Campagna, the author of the mural with Steve Reeves – link

About the mural on the personal blog of its author:


“Dolls of the World – Princess of Ancient Greece”

This post is an English updated version prepared by Wiktoria Popowicz’s (3rd year of Cultural Studies – Mediterranean Civilization) of her work for the classes “Ancient Greek Art around Us” conducted by Dr Alfred Twardecki at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW in 2019/2020.


The echo of ancient Greek art returns and is still alive nowadays. Elements borrowed from the fragments of culture of the inhabitants of Hellas can be found in all areas. In 1980, the toy company Mattel produced a collector’s series of Barbie dolls “Dolls of the World – The Princess Collection”, which includes representatives of different countries and historical periods. The company has released 91 types of dolls in this series since then. Doll collectors receive a certificate and a passport confirming authenticity. Dolls’ distinguishing features are the costumes that characterize particular culture. Among them, the “Princess of Ancient Greece” from 2003 deserves attention, representing the ancient world that does not exist anymore:

The doll wears a dress stylized as a woman’s garment worn in ancient Greece. Since the original fabrics have not survived to our times, the designers of this toy could only use the available sources (including vase paintings and sculptures) supplemented with imagination.

The dress of the “Princess of Ancient Greece” consists of two elements: a golden-copper, shiny, free-flowing chiton and a white see-through scarf decorated with a golden pattern, called himation. It is tucked under the left shoulder and pinned on the right. You may compare Barbie’s dress with the one worn by Nike depicted in the red-figure oinochoe (illustration 1): the goddess wears a himation, from under which a chiton protrudes similar to the one in which the doll was dressed, made of pleated material that widens slightly at the feet.

Illustration 1: The Nikon Painter, Nike pursuing a bird, red-figured oinochoe, 470-450 BC, The British Museum (E538) [source]

The difference in the approach to ancient patterns is that the doll is made of plastic and synthetic materials, just like her clothes and jewelry. The colors – white and gold-copper metallic shade of the dress – may result from numerous stereotypical “naked” white sculptures devoid of old polychrome and poor colors conveyed by vase painting. The upper scarf is decorated with a golden floral pattern. Similar design motifs can also be found in vase painting. Two clips placed on the arms of the doll are also interesting. They imitate the golden brooches fastening the robe. They are shaped like lion heads. Similar representation can be found on the Greek pendant (illustration 2) and earrings (illustration 3).

Illustration 2: Pendant in the shape of a lion’s head, Classical period, ca. 5–4th c. BC, Christie’s. [source]
Illustration 3: Greek earrings, Classical to Hellenistic period, ca. 4th c. BC, Christie’s. [source]

Barbie’s “Princess of Ancient Greece” earrings also refer to the jewelry worn by the inhabitants of Hellas. They are large, golden, oval in shape. Archaeological excavations have provided many similar artifacts. The designers of the doll even took care of details such as the bracelet on the wrist. Analogous item (illustration 4) can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York.

Illustration 4: Gold Greek Bracelet, ca. 300–250 BC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [source]

The clothes of the collectible dolls are very well made, but most often they cannot be taken off. The doll’s outfit is complemented by a plastic version of the golden tiara in the form of a laurel crown. Many real decorations have survived to our times (illustration 5), which could be an inspiration for artists.

lllustration 5: Golden Greek myrtle crown/wreath. [source]

 In ancient Greece, wreaths were worn in religious ceremonies and were usually presented as prizes in sports and art competitions. The doll’s crown made of golden leaves is attached to lush, dark hair pinned up in a classic, high bun, reminiscent of the goddess Artemis’ hair in a red-figure vase (illustration 6).

lllustration 6: Amphora with the goddess Artemis wearing a thin chiton and himation, ca. 520–510 BC, Louvre. [source]

 The cardboard background behind the doll is also important. There are columns and construction elements suggesting the Doric style of the building. The time-gnawed marble is clearly visible. All this is surrounded by grass, empty spaces, and lush vegetation in the background. A similar sight can be seen, for example, in Athens and Paestum, where the preserved Doric temples are only a shadow, a remnant of the magnificent, colorful buildings from centuries ago, which the packaging designers did not take into account. Paradoxically, the doll was placed in a Greek landscape, but modern to us, full of ruins and white scattered marble. Contemporary reconstructions of Doric buildings (illustration 7) show what the architecture of ancient Greece is supposed to look like.

Illustration 7: Kieran Orrell, A color reconstruction of the Parthenon, 2014. [source]

 The designers probably referred to the image of the Acropolis that we know today (illustration 8), located in the capital of the country, making it the background.

Illustration 8: Parthenon from West, Athens, 5th c. BC, phot. by Mountain, 2006, Wikimedia Commons. [source]

The construction of the Barbie doll, especially the mobility of its joints, resembles the ancient Greek prototypes (illustration 9), whose arms and legs were connected to the body with a string or wire. The “Princess of Ancient Greece” shakes her head, can sit up, and move her legs and arms – similar to ancient Greek dolls, referred to as “neurospaston” (τὸ νευρόσπαστον, from: τὸ νεῦρον – “sinew, cord” and σπάω – “to draw”). Such Greek figurines were not always toys for children. They could have cult functions that would connect them to the adult world – much like the Barbie series of dolls intended for collectors.

Illustration 9: Greek clay doll, 5th c. BC,  Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens. [source]

Ancient Greek art surrounds us, but it is transformed, often difficult to see if we do not know what to look for. The background of the “Princess of Ancient Greece” doll is based on a schematic vision of Greece, with the ancient buildings turned into ruins, stripped of polychrome. It follows the stereotypical pattern, as does the doll’s outfit, which draws a lot from Greek fashion but modifies it quite freely. Nevertheless, some elements have a lot in common with reality, which is especially visible in the hairstyle and intricately made jewelry. Details such as a bracelet, a wreath, and brooches impress with their precision, despite their small size. “Princess of Ancient Greece” is an interesting and well-made example of the presence and use of ancient culture today.

Post written by Wiktoria Popowicz. We wish to ackowledge Dr Alfred Twardecki’s help in preparing the post and we also thank Dr Karolina Kulpa who specializes in Antiquity-inspired toys for her consultation.

Post elaborated by Dorota Rejter


Bibliography and Further Reading

  • Bernhard Maria Ludwika: Ubiory starożytnej Grecji. Warszawa: Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, 1956.
  • Papuci-Władyka Ewdoksia: Sztuka starożytnej Grecji. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2001.
  • For more information about toys and games in Classical Antiquity, visit the website of the ERC Advanced Grant Project Locus Ludi led by Prof. Véronique Dasen at the University of Fribourg: https://locusludi.ch/.
  • Currently, Prof. Dasen leads also the project focused on the ancient dolls, “Poupées articulées grecques et romaines” (see http://p3.snf.ch/project-192197).

Websites


“Mythologica: An Encyclopedia of Gods, Monsters, and Mortals from Ancient Greece” by Stephen P. Kershaw (2019)

“Mythologica: An Encyclopedia of Gods, Monsters, and Mortals from Ancient Greece” (written by Stephen P. Kershaw, illustrations by Victoria Topping, ed. Wide Eyed Editions) is a very interesting example of a modern look on Greek mythology. The book was Amazon’s No. 1 Children’s Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2019.

The first thing to notice are very vivid, colorful and modern illustrations, reminding poster art or collage style. Some characters look like from the alternative rock scene!

Mythologica: An encyclopedia of gods, monsters and mortals from ancient  Greek: Amazon.co.uk: Kershaw, Dr. Stephen P., Topping, Victoria:  9781786031921: Books
Cover

We can find 50 different gods and goddesses, monsters, and mortals in “Mythologica” collection, for example Harpies, the Minotaur, the Muses, and well-known deities, such as Athena and Zeus. Their presentation often challenges the stereotypes about these characters and the traditional style of their portrayals.

Kershaw provides brief descriptions of each mythological character (or group) and writes about its/their roles, origins, attributes and traits. The author also highlights the presence of mythology in the contemporary world:

“Greek mythology is everywhere.
Superstar athletes have the Midas touch, fashion designers have their muses, we undertake Herculean tasks, we make personal odysseys, and we all have our Achilles heel. This book gives you a selection of some of the greatest mortals, immortals, and monsters in Greek mythology.”

Mythologica: An Encyclopedia Of Gods, Monsters, & Mortals From Ancient  Greece | Hello Luna
Athena
Mythologica, An Encyclopedia Of Gods, Monsters And Mortals From Ancient  Greek by Stephen P. Kershaw | 9781786031921 | Booktopia
Zeus
Mythologica: An Encyclopedia Of Gods, Monsters, & Mortals From Ancient  Greece | Hello Luna
Twelve Labours of Heracles

Below you can watch the Flip Through Review of the book and see more from the inside:

Post written by Dorota Rejter

In the Spotlight. A Look at an Interactive ebook “Medea in Performance”

Medea in Performance is an interactive ebook created by Fiona Macintosh, Claire Kenward, and Tom Wrobel, with illustrations by Thom Cuschieri. Released in 2016, it is a multimedia library of images, films, interviews and digital objects to tell the story of Euripides’ Medea (see http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/ebooks-medea). Materials used in the ebook come from the collection of APGRD (Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/) based at the University of Oxford. The ebook is intended especially for students and teachers.

Cover [source]
(accessed: 13 January 2021)

Although Euripides’ play was first staged 2,500 years ago, it still remains a source of inspiration: “Like all myths, no two versions of the Medea story are quite the same – and there are many versions” [1]. Even though this protagonist is widely recognized as a monstrous mother, various threads of Medea’s story have been highlighted by the ebook’s authors. Broad outlook at character is especially visible in performative arts.

Inside the book [source]
(accessed: 13 January 2021)

The ebook is a helpful guide to various interpretations of Euripides’ play. In one place it collects sources and research, historical photographs and information on performances from different parts of the world. It shows not only what Medea is, but what she has become through reinterpretations.

A short video about ebook history, featuring APGRD Director, Fiona Macintosh is available on YouTube:

The ebook version is available for free on Apple Books (https://books.apple.com/gb/book/medea-a-performance-history/id1085751260). Also a free EPUB version is available to download from the APGRD website http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/ebooks-medea (accessed: 13 January 2021).


Post prepared by Zuzanna Majorczyk, 3rd year of Collegium Artes Liberales, for the Our Mythical Childhood Seminar

[1] Fiona Macintosh, Claire Kenward, Tom Wrobel, “Medea in Performance” (APGRD, 2016), 96, http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/ebooks-medea.

“Mythical Beasts Masks” by Gavin Rutherford & Tanya Batrak

Happy New Year 2021! Thank you for being with us all year round! 🙂

The carnival period will begin soon around the world and we’ve found something great for this occasion – to enjoy safely at home! We present to you our latest discovery – 3D “Mythical Beasts Masks” created by Gavin Rutheford and Tanya Batrak, published by Ivy Press (2018):

Inside the book there are 10 mythical beast masks to print out and make! You can choose between a dragon, phoenix, basilisk, griffin, werewolf, unicorn, vampire, the Sphinx, a mermaid or Hydra. To introduce young readers to the world of myths and legends, the authors decided to include short, informative paragraphs introducing each creature.

Post elaborated by Dorota Rejter

“Shine Your Magic Torch: Magical Creatures and Mythical Beasts” by Professor Byron & Millie Mortimer

Our latest discovery is an interactive book titled “Shine Your Magic Torch: Magical Creatures and Mythical Beasts”, published in October 2020 by Magic Cat Publishing (reading level: 7-10 years old). The book is written by Professor Byron Mortimer and his daughter Millie. Illustrations were created by Victo Ngai“Forbes Under 30 2020: Art & Style” honoree and gold medalist of “Society of Illustrators New York”:

Book cover [source]

The book focuses primarily on the illustrations. It presents 18 real-life locations from around the world with hidden magical creatures that are revealed only after using the UV flashlight included with the book. Every location is briefly described, concentrating on the monsters appearing in it and its history. For example, in the forests around the Harz Mountains we read about the unicorn:

Many famous people from history apparently met unicorns, including the Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan and the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

It appears in relation to the De Bello Gallico 6, 26ff. where Caesar describes a series of three strange creatures that appear in the Hercynian Forest in Germany. (Find out more about “The Curious Animals of the Hercynian Forest” in the article written by Walter Woodburn Hyde and published in “The Classical Journal”, Vol. 13, No. 4, Jan., 1918, pp. 231-245 – link)

A Sprinkling of Magic – one of the chapters from the book where children meet the Unicorn [source]

In the preview of the book we can see that children can also visit Greece and meet Chimera and the goddess Athena with an owl:

Magical Creatures and Mythical Beasts
Preview of the book [source]

Post prepared by Dorota Rejter

“Abi in malem cursem”: The Latin of Magic in “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” – a BA Thesis by Alessia Borriello

Alessia Borriello is a student from the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies at the University of Bologna. She accomplished her Erasmus training within the Our Mythical Childhood project at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw, in the 1st term of the academic year 2019/2020.

Our Mythical Childhood Christmas Meeting at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW

Ever since Alessia has been in touch with us and at the moment she is preparing within the OMC project a game for children, with illustrations by her colleague Ludovica Lusvardi, student at Politecnico di Milano, Fashion Design. Alessia also writes books of fiction. Her novel “Blu e le streghe” [“Blu and the Witches”] was a finalist in the Italian Literary Contest Zeno 2019:

45′ Reception:  “Blu e le streghe” [“Blu and the Witches”] by Alessia Borriello

Recently Alessia defended at her Alma Mater her Bachelor Thesis about the Latin spells in the Netflix web series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – supervisor: Prof. Lucia Pasetti, reviewer: Prof. Daniele Tripaldi. Below we present you Alessia’s abstract of her research. I nostri complimenti!

Sabrina and Salem, [source].

Abstract:

The research collects and analyzes the Latin spells in the Netflix web series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018–ongoing). To introduce the topic (ch. 1), the television series is presented as functioning within a particular communication system: it is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name and a reboot of the Archie Comicscharacter Sabrina from 1962. Ch. 2 analyzes some aspects of ancient magic, with a particular focus on cross-references provided in the Netflix web series, namely, the ancient Graeco-Roman defixiones (curses) (§2.2), and the interplay between ancient magic and prayer (§2.3). Next, comes a discussion of the Latin incantations divided into two parts: a quantitative analysis, which facilitates understanding of the frequency and distribution of Latin formulas and their relation to the English ones, and a qualitative one, offering a detailed treatment of individual, significant cases.

The quantitative analysis (ch. 3) arranges the spells into typological and linguistic subgroups according to: 1. the types of magic present in the lore created for the series, and 2. a linguistic categorization of ancient Latin defixiones developed by the German scholar Amina Kropp (2008).

The quantitative analysis shows that the Latin incantations are preferred to the English ones, and this tendency follows two main criteria: the degree to which an individual spell is generic, and the overall inherent ‘magical power’ of Latin.

Finally, ch. 4 provides a linguistic analysis of a sample of two of the most frequently used types of incantation: §4.1 Aufforderungsformel mit der Einbindung des Empfängers (‘wish formula with the involvement of the addressee’); §4.2 direkte Adressierung des defixus (‘direct addressing to the defixus’).

A more detailed assessment of the Latin phrases reveals that these spells are pastiches created from distorted Latin expressions and usages of non-literary Latin, coloured by loanwords from poetic memory, as well as from the Bible. This traditional material is also filtered through modern tools, available on the Internet, such as contemporary e-books of Latin spells (Carl Nagel 1986) or the Google Translate platform itself, with which modern languages speakers can produce approximate translations from and into Latin.

It is also possible to trace the origin of the deviations from standard Latin, both to the genre of the magical writing of the defixiones, characterized by a distorted application of Latin morphology and syntax, and to ‘translationalism’, semantic diffraction and grammar mistakes influenced by English usage, the mother tongue of creators and speakers of this fictitious Latin.

The research is original: there are no other studies on Latin in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (neither on its formal characteristics nor on its sources in ancient magical culture).

Diploma and corona laurea

Alessia defending her thesis (a remote defense due to the pandemic situation)

Abstract by Alessia Borriello. Introduction by Katarzyna Marciniak and Dorota Rejter. Post elaborated by Dorota Rejter

Publication of the Book “Chasing Mythical Beasts…”

We are most pleased to share the good news with you: The volume “Chasing Mythical Beasts: The Reception of Ancient Monsters in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture” edited by Katarzyna Marciniak has just been published by the Universitätsverlag Winter Heidelberg. The book summarizes the results of the stage of the “Our Mythical Childhood” programme, carried out as part of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award and ERC Consolidator Grant.

We keep publishing the previews of the single chapters on the Facebook and Twitter profiles of the Centre for Studies on the Classical Tradition (OBTA) and on the OMC social media.

Table of contents

For more OMC publications please check our updates here.

Post by Olga Strycharczyk

“Roads to Rome” Family Game (2020)

“Roads to Rome” is a new family board game designed by Matthieu Podevin and illustrated by Joëlle Drans, recently published in Poland by GRANNA publishing company. The game was originally published in France by Holy Grail Games.

The official age range of the game is 8+ and the amount of players can be between 2-5 people.

Cover of the game

The rules of the game are very simple – each player becomes a member of one of the richest families of ancient Rome, trying to win by creating a network of roads connecting Rome with the rest of the world. What is really interesting, all city names visible on the board correspond to their authentic names in the era of the Roman Empire. Also the connections between the cities did exist during Roman times – to recreate them, Matthieu Podevin was using the project called “ORBIS”, created by Professor Walter Scheidel (a historian from the Stanford University).

Main board of “Roads to Rome” [source]
Players boards [source]
Quick play for two players

See more:

Granna’s official website – link

“Roads to Rome” on Boardgame Geek – link

Post by Dorota Rejter