More specifically concerning: religion
22 December 2000 – Rome
Spent the best part of the day sitting in and ambling through the Pantheon; one wonders what it must have been like before the later Romans came with their god and their saints, tearing out the older deities and the bronze rosettes for the baldacchino at St. Peter’s. The Pantheon is on such a scale, […]
23 December 2000 – Rome
To the Musei Vaticani in the morning; the streets were deserted and trees cast pale shadows onto the Tiber. Having not the faintest clue of a suitable direction, I wandered vaguely Vaticanwards and found I needn’t have worried: one can’t miss it. Waited in a rather long line for admission, then darted away to see […]
What is one looking for in these cases, anyway? One could find an object lesson, an unexpected symbol, but one is unlikely to find what it all meant; it is a void, then, and scholarship a waste of time? Perhaps. One little thing, this fixation on an object, whether worthy or no; wisdom and understanding […]
Codes of Misconduct
‘Entrance into the sanctuary is allowed: forty days after the miscarriage of a woman, a dog, or a donkey; forty-one days after sexual intercourse with a virgin; forty-one days after a death in the family; seven days after washing a corpse; three days after entering [the house where a death has occurred?]; three days after […]
Hellenistic figure of a mime Louvre (from Rostovtzeff, SEHHW) Seminar (1) Of John the Baptist: ‘he was as clean as a baby.’ ‘Stupidity is also a blemish.’ Rapid, fluid interchange: ‘ ‘No, not boring…’ ‘You have too good manners to say that.’ ‘Or indeed to feel it, in such a case as this.’ ’ The […]
a glimpse in the mirror.
‘could it be J— H— herself?’
Jane Ellen Harrison, 1850–1928 Independent lecturer in London, later a fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, Jane Harrison was author of (among other things): Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Relgion (1903) and Themis: a Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (1912). She is also one of the few women mentioned in the who’s […]
Talk of religion, it is odds you have infidel, blasphemer, atheist, or schismatic, thundered in your ears; touch upon your politics, you will be in luck if you are only charged with a tendency to treason. – Richard Porson, from the Orgies of Bacchus (1797) qtd. 2003.145, p. 47.
Crambe repetita (1)
Hipponax, fr. 104.
One of the strangest footnotes I have ever written: On the knee as a seat of power, see Deonna (1939); on the knee as a gathering place for seminal fluids, see Onians (1951): p. 173–86. This lends credence to the theory that one channels the powers beyond when writing, because really, I don’t think I […]
when in Rome
διόπερ οἱ μὲν ἄνδρες τὰ τείχη προκατελάμβανον καὶ τοὺς πρὸ τῆς πόλεως εὐκαίρους τόπους, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες περιπορευόμεναι τοὺς ναοὺς ἱκέτευον τοὺς θεούς, πλύνουσαι ταῖς κόμαις τὰ τῶν ἱερῶν ἐδάφη· τοῦτο γὰρ αὐταῖς ἔθος ἐστὶ ποιεῖν, ὅταν τις ὁλοσχερὴς τὴν πατρίδα καταλαμβάνῃ κίνδυνος. – Polybius (9.6.3–4) ploratus mulierum non ex priuatis solum domibus exaudiebatur, sed […]
Crambe repetita (18)
Isabel Fonseca, Bury Me Standing.
Books. There’s an invoice there, too.
hope against hope (1)
in which nothing much is said, especially about Hope Mirrlees.
hope against hope (3)
a counter reformation.
I was almost exactly halfway through Céleste Albaret’s recollections of Monsieur Proust when I realized I had erred in the matter of genre. I had supposed it was merely a servant’s memoir of her eccentric employer. Given the pains she takes to clarify her stances on her employer (not crazy, not malingering, not a bit […]
hope against hope (4)
A bit of Caravaggio’s painting of ‘Saint Jerome Writing’ It’s taken me a while to get through Hope Mirrlees’ Collected Poems, perhaps because it confounded my expectations (which were admittedly a bit confused). Eager readers of Mirrlees’ work or those interested in her life should, of course, pick up a copy, as it is contains […]
‘Contre les astrologues’, Gilles Corrozet, Hecatomgraphie (1540) We can neither understand the arbitrary and personal meaning of the stars, nor why Heliogabalus died in a privy.1 Montaigne seems to suggest that we should be content with not knowing and, while he would believe in a greater meaning for these things – a meaning perceptible only […]
Forgot Easter is tomorrow. A gaggle of families carried four outsize crosses (not sturdy enough to bear human weight, but strong enough for faith I dare say) in the direction of the river. A few minutes later, a fifth cross scurried down the sidewalk to catch up. Or so it seemed from the coffee shop. […]