Home > Late Antiquity, Varia and Quick Hits > Friday Quick Hits and Varia

Friday Quick Hits and Varia

Just a handful of quick hits today:

  • Princeton has announced the acquisition of a  collection of over 800 Medieval Greek coins minted in the 13th and 14th century.  The collection is said to feature many coins from the Villehardouin and Angevin rulers of the Southern and Central Greece. 
  • Alun Salt‘s PD(Q) project continues to gain momentum.  The conversation over at the Ancient World Bloggers Group has been productive, although it may not have added too much clarity to exactly what kind of journal this will be and how it will relate precisely to what we do in our blogs.  I tried to frame my position in a post (which derived in large part from an earlier post here) and got a good, sharp reply.  Then the public planning stopped and it all went underground into a series of emails, which is a shame since I think some of the issues might be of somewhat wider interest.  And the conversation might be particularly suitable for a blog which so often focuses as much on process as real product. In any event, the conversations have resulted in a web site.  I think that it is still in draft form, but here’s the link.
  • I didn’t feel the earthquake off the south coast of Greece yesterday, and so far I haven’t heard anything about the damage to the island of Kythera.  The island is known for its painted Byzantine churches (M. Chatzēdakēs and I. Bitha, Corpus of the Byzantine wall-paintings of Greece : the Island of Kythera.  David Turner Trans.  (Athens 2003)), and some of them there are in pretty fragile shape.
  • I heard a really good Tea Talk this week by Brenda Longfellow of the University of Iowa.  Tea Talks are supposedly less formal talks held during tea time (yes, the American School still serves tea in the afternoons).  Mostly they are formal talks which run about 40 minutes in length.  Anyway, Brenda (Dr. Longfellow) talked about the use of spolia in the Roman period (1st and 2nd c. AD).  The use of spolia — that is older material like statues or architectural sculpture built into new buildings usually in a programmatic way — earlier than Late Antiquity rarely gets serious and systematic attention.  One reason for this might be that the use of spolia became a key component in the definition of Late Antiquity as topic worthy of study.  In fact, if we follow J. Elsner’s argument (in J. Elsner, “The Birth of Late Antiquity: Reigel and Strzygowski in 1901,” Art History 25 (2002), 358-379) the use of spolia in the Arch of Constantine — particularly the juxtaposition of the 2nd century and 4th century sculpture — was a key impetus in Riegl’s description of a distinctive Late Antique style (in his Spätrömische Kunstindustrie).  In particular, one of the major lines in his argument for the autonomy and independence of Late Antique art is demonstrating its development from art of the high empire.  Without the willful juxtaposition of spoliated members in such monumental works as the arch of Constantine, this influential argument would not have occurred. 
  • Finally, I got into work this morning and found that a friend had sent an email with a link to a New York Times article which reassuringly told me: “… in the other America, specifically in small cities like Austin; Grand Forks, N.D.; Yakima, Wash.; and Salem, Mass., the available evidence suggests the real estate market is holding up. Prices there never boomed as crazily as they did in the big cities, and now, even though volume is down almost everywhere, prices in many of these towns are firm or rising.” (More…)  This is good news for me because we have begun some renovations this week to our 100 year old American Four-Square.

Have a good weekend!

  1. Kythera Cultural Association
    February 15, 2008 at 8:00 am

    No damage has so far been reported to any of Kythera’s Byzantine Churches (or, indeed, to anything else) as a result of yesterday’s two earthquakes.

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