Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Athens Fragments

Some loose ends  from around  Athens:
  • The last time I set foot here was about 20 years ago. Changes: much less smog and traffic, many more graffiti, especially around the University.  I have no good ideas about the graffiti, but I wonder about the smog and the traffic.  Is it better fuel processing efficiency?  The price of gas (calculating in my head, I think about $12 a gallon for premium)?  Economic doldrums (everyone staying home?)?
  • Those  boar tusks on Minoan helmets--I am assured that they were not merely decorative, but fully weaponized. I wonder. You'd have to be awfully close, and the strap would have to be mighty tight.   Anyway, I have an operatic Wagnerian horned helmet which I wear to class on silly days.  Twenty years and I've never yet gored a student. 
  • The new(ish) Parthenon museum: indeed it is a prodigy of political theatre, demonstrating so emphatically that yes, we can provide a home for the Elgin marbles, long so unjustly (so they say) withheld in London.  It's an impressive showing, although I never thought Elgin  was quite the bad boy as which he is often cast--look at the frieze panels in place here and you get some sense of just how shabby the London pieces would look if they, too, had been left just lying around on the ground for another century or more. But beyond that--if it is so important to move the Elgin marbles back from London to Athens,wouldn't it be just as important to move the Minoan Boxers back from  the Athens Archaeological Museum home to their source on the Island of Santorini?
  • And while we are taking on current politico/cultural controversies: it dawns on me that there really were lions in Greece, well into the Iron Age (where else did Hercules get his lion suit?).   Now that we  we have reintroduced wolves to Yosemite, is there anyone lobbying for the reintroduction  of lions to Greece?
  • A final thought: Israel had 12 tribes and lost ten, some time before the end of the 6C BCE.  Just a few years later, Athens emerges with ten tribes.   Just sayin'.
Update: That last one is a joke OK? I do not believe the 10 tribes are the ten lost tribesl


marcel said...

I recently watched a "Great Courses" video on ancient empires which contained the the claim that the Philistines were (descendants of) Mycenaeans. Wikipedia suggests a similar connection. Maybe there'd been more intermarriage than sits well with modern Jews, and a feeling that it was time to go home.

dilbert dogbert said...

I am waiting for the re-introduction of the grizzly bear into California. It was a low land bear so Californians could experience a wilderness experience without leaving home.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce,

Someone that comments as dilbert dogbert on Calculated
Risk suggested I try to catch up with you. Do you plan to be in Thessaloniki?

I post as Haralambos in my comments on the site. My training is in philosophy, but I do a lot of academic editing.

You can follow a thread here:

Ping me if you see I am up there or mail me at kay m f r kc at Ignore the a and the y and no spaces

Anonymous said...

Error--it should be

kay m h r kc at Ignore the a and the y and no spaces

Buce said...

An enticing offer, and in fact I may be in Thessaloniki in a few days. But my time and schedule are not my own. I'll keep you posted.

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

If Buce doesn't think that the Greeks are the ten lost tribes, who does he think they are? The Britons? The American Indians? The Japanese? Don't tease us!