Fulvia: “You make it simple. 2000 years ago and today: we’ve always been colliding.” Old Man: “You’re wrong, Fulvia. Back then: fusion not collision. And today …” Extropian: “… today fusion too. Despite your bursting breasts – *winking at her*; Fulvia, 64, is still a beauty – OM is right. Just this: the collapse of the Italian economy would result in a (symmetrical) collapse of half of the German industry, since we provide many of the components for Germany’s manufacturing.” The Tobacconist:*Nodding*
[The Tobacconist pops in here for the first time. His perfectly organized store gently flooded by classical (preferably German) music, TT is steeped in Hegel, Kant & the Nichiren Buddhism. Both the highbrow and the lowbrow from his rioneask for his consilium (or wisdom advice.)
"Europe's crisis is mental"
Ulrich Beck (born 1944). German sociologist, professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich until 2009, he holds a professorship at Munich University and at the London School of Economics [Wikimedia. Click for credits and to enlarge]
“Now that I am finishing the damned thing I realise that diary-writing isn’t wholly good for one, that too much of it leads to living for one’s diary instead of living for the fun of living as ordinary people do.”
What is said above applies equally to blog-writing / writing tout court since, when dealing with passions the challenge is always the right measure.
The ancient Romans developed the fine art of cuisine so that the delights of life were augmented, but there was undeniably gluttony in some milieus.
I remember that, much younger, I stopped composing music since it had become an obsessive pastime that basically swallowed me up.
Life should be harmonious. A single part should not devour the rest (as Benedetto Croce, master of harmony, reminds us.)
Benedetto Croce (1866 – 1952), filosofo italiano
Christopher: You wrote: “Life should be harmonious. A single part should not devour the rest”
If everyone lived according to this precept there would be no civilisation and we would all be living short and brutish lives.
MoR: “Hard to say, although my post regards happiness more than creativity in the arts & sciences. Besides, creativity seems related to both balance and unbalance (take Vincent van Gogh etc.).
You possibly suggest that big creators lived disharmony in their life. Frank Lloyd Wright devoted *most* of his time to architecture, Einstein to physics etc.
Ok, but one has to see how these people actually spent their days.
I remember a Roman top advertising agency, at the end of the 80′s, where extremely well-paid copywriters and art directors were walking around in robes and were sunbathing on an elegant terrace overlooking the Parioli district’s skyline (where the rich and famous live, or lived).
I was puzzled at first because these creativi seemed to do everything except what they were paid for. The agency’s output was though brilliant and rivalled Milan’s creativi (the best we’ve got in this country).
One often needs quiet and relaxation to produce ideas, which suggests ‘balance’.
Moving to bigger examples, Beethoven’s music conveys to me the image of an unhappy person.
There are many elements of anger, of obsession, in his music. His life was almost certainly disharmonious: Beethoven’s father was an alcoholic; Karl, the composer’s nephew, whose custody Beethoven had obtained, attempted suicide. And so forth.
Johann Sebastian Bach aged 61 (1685 – 1750). Click for source
Bach’s music on the contrary (with its powerfully abstract architectures that unfold like a majestic river flowing) is much more enriching consoling, imo, and well fits the image of the patient German artisan, whose methodical, quiet work was conceived as a service to God. Bach was a musician but also a good Christian, a good father, a good husband and a good teacher – which suggests harmony of life.
Which doesn’t mean many breakthroughs weren’t the product of unbalanced lives. The commonplace of the deranged genius is more than a commonplace imo, though it’s not my post’s point.
Cheri: “Your point is well taken. My grandfather always told me that moderation is the key to a balanced and contented life.”
MoR: “Hi Cheri! I like roots (as you probably like your Jewish or whatever roots), this blog being a search for roots from a past that, I believe, is still working on us Latins, though not only on us.
Enjoying the pleasures of life without excess, drinking without getting drunk, a life outside compulsions or obsessions – I am often obsessing / obsessed – is not only wise, it is part of a lifestyle, and an element of grace.
To me this is particularly evident in the French, the Latin people I possibly love most.
Neapolitan Benedetto Croce, ‘master of harmony’ …
Incidentally, the Olympian beauty seeping through his works is probably of Hellenic origin, and, like the Hellenic miracle arose from formidable difficulties (if we may compare a huge thing to a small one) Croce’s serene attitude and sharp mind came at a hard price: at 17, on vacation with his parents and his sole sister, their house being wiped out by an earthquake he barely survived and remained alone.
Potsoc: “I agree with Cheri. Many creators were, indeed, unhappy people but as many had a relatively simple and happy life. The examples given speak by themselves.”
MoR: “Someone must have already done it, Potsoc le Canadien, but it’d be interesting to systematically analyse the biographies of creators (in both arts & sciences) in search of a correlation between creative intelligence and lifestyles.
My post was more about the gratification from a life with nicely distributed, non compulsive, activities, but one can blabber a bit and wonder if Balzac, for example, was compulsive in his writing.
He may have been, but his work – so vital, energetic & rich with an immense number of vividly depicted characters – suggests a life not spent exclusively on a desk with a pen in his hand.
A correlation between scientists’ lifestyles and their innovation level seems much harder to establish. They (seem to me to) reveal less about themselves.
ALL this, in any case, is a-blowing in the wind, Paul.”
Potsoc: “I guess nobody wrote a Ph.D thesis on the subject and I will not write it.”
MoR: “Ah ah ah, right Paul :-) Getting stuffy, I know.”
Sledpress: “The need for quiet and mental space in which to be creative can’t be denied, but does that support an argument against being too obsessional as a creative person?
I can only write fiction (or songs, or music) when I’m in an obsessional fugue, and it is bitter for me, because I want to have at least something of a life otherwise — probably few people are willing to have their spouse or friend snarl “GO AWAY!” should they be so unfortunate as to come ask about dinner or the water bill when one is creating.
But if I put the chisel down, it’s cold when I pick it back up, and what I wrote mocks me. (Blog posts and so on don’t count; those are five finger exercises.) I can’t start the fire again if I’ve let myself be jollied into putting it out so as to make nice on the rest of the human race. And if I don’t create something, who cares if I lived? It won’t matter.
I’ve already lost the thread of so many good ideas (maybe not lightning genius, but worth something) that I could spend the rest of my life in mourning, and for what in the end? People who really were only bored or wanted me to do them something. I vote for the obsessed people, myself.”
MoR: “You say, Sled:
“I can only write fiction (songs, music) when I’m in an obsessional fugue, and it is bitter for me, because I want to have at least something of a life otherwise …”
“If I don’t create something, who cares if I lived? It won’t matter”
Well, if creation & obsession necessarily go together with us, and creativity is our top priority, let us embrace obsession, why not.
Besides, obsession, as far as I can tell, may produce compellingly emotional results etc.
As for my experience, the insignificant (though much important to me) things I have written or composed were produced in both situations: within a quiet, balanced routine of life; or via obsession, pain, sacrificing the rest.
I sometimes think that, had I more discipline, I’d be able to kill two birds with a stone and reach a synthesis.
What I mean, I’m witnessing an example of creative discipline in my neighborhood, where a certain Paolo Buonvino is leaving a couple of blocks away from my home (it, en wikies.)
Italian from Sicily, conductor, composer of film scores, Buonvino’s music is extremely good, Sicilian-sunny and much appreciated. I exchanged a few words with him. He gave me some inspired advice on related-to-music stuff. Flavia and I have visited him once at his home.
In short, he’s the classic example of one who, compelled to compose scores at appalling speed, is nonetheless able to enhance productivity by finding the right breaks, walking about the rione, enjoying something at a bar (an ice-cream, a coffee, a cake) or watching trees or the sky on a park bench.
You see him around, always relaxed, a mobile at his ear, talking quietly with loads of people (this amazing ease with human relationships being typical of many Italian from the Mezzogiorno.)
So Paolo Buonvino, despite high productivity rates, manages to live quite well. A gift from heaven? Hard to say but some creative discipline should be taught when very young, I believe.”
Sledpress: “There is a trapdoor when someone has asked a creative person to produce something. I say this from experience.
Somehow it frees you to be both creative and human. I don’t know how this works. Only that knowing someone *wants* what you can create substitutes for the energy that otherwise only comes from obsession and a sort of rage against the people who don’t understand why you are working so hard to produce a composition or poem or story, however minor.”
Potsoc: “I moderate a group called “Imaginations”, each week we meet around a theme, different each week, and we write a short piece on the week’s theme that we will read to the group the following week. It’s much fun…and work but we all enjoy it and it has been going for most of ten years with a core of 5 steady participants and another 5 or 6 that come and go.”
MoR: “Sledpress, Paul, you two imply that creating for someone ‘waiting’ for your production can release the pressure?
I agree, an act of communication, then, almost always good. When I was writing the Manius so-to-say novel my motivation were you, the bloggers of my circle, ‘waiting’ (so I felt) for each new installment and the resulting fun, as Paul says, the jokes that we shared etc.
When a publisher told me one day that he was interested, the magic vanished. I tried to continue, but felt only the obsession (plus depression for my failure, lack of discipline.) I quit writing.
Potsoc: “Being approached by a publisher is an altogether other proposition, I agree. Sharing with friends is just plain fun.”
Sledpress: “Yes! You are touching on something that I meant.
If a publisher dangled money in front of me I might still be motivated. Because money is something squeezed out of one’s bloodstream (unless one is one of the one-per-cent who wallow in it), so it is like enthusiasm.
However the biggest fun was an experience like yours, of people hanging on for the next installment to find out what happened!!!
Stephen King writes of something like this in his classic novella “The Body” which became the film Stand By Me.
The pathetically young kid with the gun in this clip — earlier the film shows him telling stories around a kids’ camp fire with everyone asking him what comes next, what comes next. King later called this “the *gotta.*” “I gotta find out what happens.”
I miss having people who cared about that, which happened to me for five minutes.”
MoR: “You’ve said, Sled:
“the biggest fun was an experience like yours, of people hanging on for the next installment to find out what happened!!! I miss having people who cared about that, which happened to me for five minutes.”
When was that and where? Can we reach it?”
Sledpress: “Oh, that was my silly detective novel, an inner circle read every chapter as I wrote it — the way Dickens used to work, releasing installments before the story was all set down. Then as I wrote, with caricatures of everyone who is politically active around here, I looked forward to the public consternation it would cause, another incentive.
And oh yes, I made it look as if the author was a local newspaper editor who had been a real jerk to me a couple of times — it was easy to lift little quirks of style from his editorials. People pestered him about it for years.
Along the way it let me say and even discover a lot about my outlook on the whole “res publica”, the “public thing” that constitutes local political life, which both attracts and repels me — so many people trying to be important, yet actually doing important things despite their flaws. It is really the only thing I ever finished.
Everything else I ever did disappointed me and I threw it over or put it in the drawer, but I had people asking for this, so I had to finish it, amateurish as it may be. I wrote like hell for two months and was burned-out for two more but I wish I could do it again. Only I’m afraid to yell GO AWAY at the few friends I really have.”
MoR: “Wow. Quite a good review. I’ll read the book as soon as I can, or rather buy it (I also missed your poems over at your blog: my next comment)
In the meanwhile, a portion of the review, to the benefit of readers:
“Is this story (MURDER ACROSS THE BOARD by *******) of local interest? Sure. But the writing here is so good it is irrelevant. This is just as good a murder mystery as you will find anywhere, with a compelling story and clever writing to match. The story is truly twisted [...] and the murder-mystery here is fun and energetic. No one is who they seem in this fast read, and as the story unfolds, the plot rolls along like a freight-train. What may have started as a goof on some friends or a dig at local politics has turned into a clever, engaging page-turner.”
Sledpress: “Mind you, another reader said it was cliched and awful. Then again, the point was to throw every trope of gritty detective stories into a story about local politics. Looking back I thought it needed tightening, but I’ve always hugged that one rave review to my heart.
I’m editing the pseudonym in your comment just because it really did piss off a number of people, one of whom is a habitual troll, and I’d prefer they didn’t find this blog too easily.”
Sledpress: “Oops, I was on a dashboard when I wrote the above reply and thought we were talking on my page. Oh well — if you wouldn’t mind “asterisking” the author name. Trolls shouldn’t find you either. ”
MoR: “Well, there are good and there are bad reviews, always. Who the hell cares?
I have ‘asterisked’ the author’s name, as you asked me.
And, tell this troll I am ready here waiting.”
Flavia è laureata in filosofia della scienza. Visione un po’ matriarcale la sua, un po’ patriarcale la mia, cozziamo spesso ma alla fine ne usciamo diversi.
Dice Flavia ieri:
“Ma tu che dici, ma che dici, ma che diici! Stai sempre a pensare a te stesso!”
Dopo aver discusso insieme il post su Radhakrishan ripostato ieri (The most unique is the most universal) ne è venuto fuori questo:
“In fondo conoscere noi stessi – nel senso dell’oracolo di Delfi, in senso socratico, nel senso anche di Montaigne: noi stessi, dice il francese, siamo la cavia ‘umana’ che possiamo osservare più da vicino – ci porta ad aprirci anche agli altri”.
“Questo lo vediamo nei grandi classici, come dice Radhakrishan. Kalidasa, Radhakrishan osserva, esattamente come Sofocle, Shakespeare, Platone ecc., è legato alla realtà locale indiana ma più si è profondamente dentro noi stessi (come Montaigne, come Saffo), legati cioè al mondo culturale proprio, sia individuale-locale che collettivo-locale, PIU’ CIOE’ SIAMO NOI COME UNICUM essenzializzato (essenza umana della specie Homo, direbbe Olaf Stapledon; Geist o Mind, direbbe Hegel) E PIU’ SIAMO UNIVERSALI”
“Perché a questo punto il messaggio humanus risuona, son come corde pitagoriche sparse per il mondo che cominciano a vibrare, e vibrano vibrano vibrano vibrano e si crea come una sinfonia, e questo è il superuomo pitagorico collettivo, l’entità collettiva di Olaf Stapledon.
Anche il Leonardo da Vinci di massa di Antonio Gramsci; solo che con Stapledon (Odd John, Star Maker ecc.) e con Pitagora si traversano i cosmi grazie alle reincarnazioni”
Dunque, chiarendo meglio, i vari superuomini si connettono attraversando ere e universi e gli infiniti mondi (di Giordano Bruno anche? Check) … e allora abbiamo, in un caso più ristretto (o forse no?) Pitagora, Orfeo (il grande Musico), Apollo (riprendere quel bel brano di Shakespeare su Orfeo; rileggere Diogene Laerzio – Διογένης Λαέρτιος – dove parla delle reincarnazioni di Pitagora) che a livello di telepatia, di vibrazioni mistiche, si fondono come in un turbine.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Wikipedia. Click for credits and to enlarge
Del resto Hegel lo dice con sinteticità prolissa (Update. Con sinteticità. E’ prolissa la traduzione di William Wallace, Oxford 1894) :
The knowledge of mind is the highest and hardest,
right for its being the most “concrete” of sciences.
[Die Erkenntnis des Geistes ist die konkreteste, darum höchste und schwerste]
[Ndr. Infatti per i Vorsokratic Eleatici, per Platone, Hegel etc. conta solo l'essenza, l'essere, le idee-mente-Geist, a complex notion and onthology (link1, link2) that goes on and on - getting too wide-ranging, I know - up to Heidegger's Dasein (there-being,) to Quineand to William James]
The significance of that absolute commandment, Know Thyself,
(whether we look at it in itself, or,
under the historical circumstances of its first utterance)
is not to promote mere self-knowledge in respect of the particular capacities,
character, propensities, and foibles of the single self.
[Erkenne dich selbst, dies absolute Gebot hat weder an sich noch da, wo es geschichtlich als ausgesprochen vorkommt, die Bedeutung nur einerSelbsterkenntnisnach denpartikulärenFähigkeiten, Charakter, Neigungen und Schwächen des Individuums]
The knowledge it commands means that the man’s genuine reality
(of what is essentially and ultimately true and real)
is Mindas the true andessentialbeing.
[from Ancient Roman mens, English Wiki; see wider entry mensin German Wiki; O.Stapledon's novels, incidentally, narrate the bringing into being of the Homo's Mind across the Universe(s): for such splendid narration Darwin is of course there to help him]
[sondern die Bedeutung der Erkenntnis des Wahrhaften des Menschen wie des Wahrhaften an und für sich, - des Wesens selbst als Geistes]
Equally little is it the purport of mental philosophy
to teach what is called knowledge of men,
the knowledge whose aim is to detect the peculiarities,
passions, and foibles of other men,
And lay bare what are called the recesses of the human heart.
Information of this kind is, for one thing, meaningless,
Unless on the assumption the we know the universal:
man as man, and, that always must be, as mind.
And for another, being only engaged with casual,
insignificant and untrue aspects of mental life,
It fails to reach the underling essence of them all:
THE MIND ITSELF.
Carla Shodde from Australia has some German DNA among the rest. A ‘budding Classicist’, as she phrased it, she is probably more than that.
We had a good dialogue at her place (see below. Here the original, not pruned, one.)
Another conversation had occurred here with Sledpress (another German, from US Virginia, this time,) which will be published as Dialectics 5, the last cherry on the pie in some way.
Why cherry on the pie?
Because Sled is a valuable writer (I have a notebook with many of her sentences since I am an aspiring non mother tongue writer in English,) she has been very much present in almost ALL discussions here and elsewhere, she being a valuable polymath (with high-level musical knowledge also,) capable of talking about everything (as our blogosphere small slice attests) … but most of all:
She has a VERY BAD temper ;-)
Which of course (any passion being powerful) is a big part of her charm and her being verygood: as a writer, dialectic commentator, friend, musician (and real soul.)
Why We Love The Germans
At this point, after Easter Monday (when the exchange with The Virginian and other stuff will be already here), given the present crisis of the Euro zone, we think it’ll be high time to say aloud (from us, from many other Italians):
“Why we love the Germans and will continue to love them!”
In the meanwhile: Carla Shodde.
Impiety Among Philosophers
Carla thus presents her work and studies:
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” – Cicero, Ad Brutum. Carla recently finished first-class Honours in Classics, writing a thesis on accusations of impiety among philosophers in Greece and Republican Rome. She loves ancient art, ancient history, theology and pretty much anything to do with the Romans.”
Courtesy of Carla Shodde’s Web site soon in our blogroll. Click to enlarge and for source file
MoR: “Great post. About to repost the other one, I might repost this one as well, though I’m not sure, I am overwhelmed by business, family (my strength,) and my mentor’s ‘an article a day in languages that are not your own’ rule.
You are a scholar, a beginning scholar, perhaps, but hats-off scholar nonetheless. Ciao
[PS: hai per caso qualche stilla di sangue italiano? Carla è un nome italiano]“
Carla Shodde: “Thanks so much for reblogging the other post! You can reblog whatever you like, when you want to. :) And thanks for the encouragement, I would love to cultivate scholarship in Classics.
And actually, I don’t have any Italian blood, but my parents named me after my German great-grandfather Carl. They thought I was going to be a boy but when I was born a girl, they named me Carla. Italian is a beautiful language though and I wish I knew more.”
MoR: “Sorry I’ll be the usual Italian chatter-box. My thoughts come in floods, am too tired to prune and I proceed from chaos to order – my cognitive style, aspiring towards dialectics.
This exchange in fact, should you say yes, I’d love to publish over at my blog as Dialectics 4.
I’ll prune my texts of course but not much, this being the MoR plus I’d love you to reply extensively (in case you can and want) – the exchange of ideas resulting hopefully more stimulating for readers.
This being fussily said o_O …
Roman Bona Dea (Good Goddess)
Carla: “I would love to cultivate scholarship in Classics”
The personal opinion of a dilettante is that ‘you can’ lol become what you want if you really want it. You have ‘la stoffa’ (what it takes.)
You are creative, have passion but most of all you have discipline. Talent without discipline is zero.
A scholar I have not become (just a quirky researcher) for lack of guidance since I was abandoned to grow by myself like a weed (and am still, in the good sense though I hope, 1. Christianity and religions plus 2. intellectual curiosity helping.)
A Master Shows
I found the latter (2) after an encounter at 24 – id est a Master and inspiring polymath to whom I owe a lot and whom I call Magister διδάσκαλος, here.
The former (1) came after some study of the Ancient Roman religions (I liked that post of yours where you criticize those who consider the Ancient Roman religion void of emotions, of mysticism, simply formulaic (a total moronity imo.)
Via some study of cults, gods, goddesses and the mysteries etc. I realised how Roman Christianity was, plus Christianity was one of the several mysteries too (you might not agree here.)
A powerful blend, the ancient Roman religion – no need to tell you – which together with Christianity can provide strength and consolation. I am more Christian than Pagan, incidentally; although we ALL here, and elsewhere – eg some areas of the Roman Empire’s ex provinces – are (one may like it or not) a bit pagan.)
Let me add it is so refreshing to see a young woman – the age of my two daughters – so very ‘well’ doing what she does, and a real polyglot too (mandarin, wow, and German; Latin and Greek being of course necessary.)
Jardin de Ninos Interlingua Spanish Immersion, Austin, TX. Click for credits and source
Carla: “Actually, I don’t have any Italian blood, but my parents named me after my German great-grandfather Carl. They thought I was going to be a boy”
Italian is bastard Latin so I don’t think you’ll have difficulties though my advice, you being a polyglot, is considering Interlingua instead.
Interlingua (official web site) is not artificial like Esperanto. It is ‘biological’; and, most importantly, it was conceived by solid scholars as a modern form of Latin.
For which purpose? [one might ask] English is already the lingua franca of a vast portion of the world.
A Fascinating vacation.
No ‘Direct’ contact with natives?
Ok, but take a woman from New York for example (all English speaking people we Italians btw call ‘Anglo-Saxons’, even those not wearing furs anymore – the others having passed away many centuries ago (stole this from an English guy living in Milan).
Rio de Janeiro. Click for credits and source file
Now it turns this woman and her husband are planning a long trip to, say, Brasil, Spain, Italy and have desire to get to know the natives in a non-mediated-via-English way, ie, a more direct, ‘cultural’, way.
[As a side note, English is not much spoken the more ancient the country is (apart from India, naturally) : Romans for ex. have this couldn’t-care-less attitude thinking they are so darn universal – and they are, accepting everybody with open heart but at the same time being scared by other cultures plus also feeling superior but behaving like provincials who think they are gas nobles, or gods.]
In any case the said couple has only one solution: even if the trip will occur in 3 years (yes, they plan years in advance, the Americans lol) they nonetheless must frantically TOIL eg learn Portuguese on the first year, Spanish on the second year, and Italian on the third.
It can be done, but it’s a hard path especially until the half of it, then Latin underlying the 3 languages will make things easier.
[Getting Big Deal Man, I know ^^' ]
Interlingua: Many Languages
at the Same Time
There is another exciting solution: learning Interlingua. It’ll take 2-3-4 months in the worst cases (or just a few weeks,) after which the couple will be able to understand and talk directly (via Interlingua) to Brasilians, Spanish and Italians, who will 70% understand them even if they never heard of Interlingua before.
Carla Shodde: “That’s really interesting – I’ve never heard of a language called Interlingua before, but it is nice that it uses Latin-based words to connect various Romance languages together.
I’ve been fantasising about learning early Germanic languages like Anglo-Saxon, so that I could possibly connect English and German together at their Germanic roots. A friend of mine is learning Gothic and is really enjoying the language. I’d love to read an Anglo-Saxon gospel book some day.
MoR: “By studying several cults & gods goddesses and the mysteries etc. I realised how ‘Roman’ Christianity was”
I am Christian, and I find the study of pagan theology fascinating. I believe in one God, as did the fathers of the Church, and I do not worship other gods, as it would be a deep betrayal of the sanctity of God.
While I am not a pagan, I still find pagan Roman theology interesting, both as a counterpoint for early Christian apologetics and as a subject in its own right.
“Christianity was not
a mystery religion”
Regarding Mystery Cults: I follow the most recent and well researched wave of scholarship, which concludes that Christianity was not a “mystery religion” in the same vein as, say, the Mithras cult.
“The evidence we have been examining suggests that there was little contact between Christianity and mystery cults at any time. This contrasts with a long-established scholarly tradition that tried to find considerable influence of mystery cult on Christianity. Often the debate was as much to do with contemporary concerns as with the distant past. So, for example, it suited Protestant polemicists to argue that the ‘primitive Christianity’ of the early church was corrupted by the incorporation of rites and doctrines drawn from non-Christian mystery cults… And it suited critics of Christianity as a whole to claim that many elements of Christianity, including the sacramental rituals of baptism and holy communion, were taken over directly from Mithraism.” – Hugh Bowden, Mystery Cults of the Ancient World, Princeton University Press (2010) p.207
“Pagan Theology: Overlooked”
I like studying pagan theology. I think it has been so often overlooked in modern studies of Roman paganism. Instead of viewing religion as a religion (i.e. a proposed way for reasonable humans to interact with a divine being or beings) people want to see religion only as a coded way of expressing sexism, elitism or some other secular or political goal that reflects narrow-minded modern concerns. I find it very surprising that some prominent scholars who study Roman religion have openly said they are contemptuous of all religion. Little wonder that it so commonly said that Roman religion was invented for the sake of empty traditionalism alone, or that it was a tool to manipulate the unthinking masses. I think Roman religion, at least in philosophical texts and grave inscriptions, meant much more to the people than just empty rituals.”
Answer to a complex question:
Found in the Holy Week?
MoR: “Well, gosh, wow. This will keep my brain juices working for a while I’ll admit. Not for long though. And I always (90%) come back. I spot some German determination. Schodde —> Schotte? Good. I’m a Bach wrestler since I was 19 :? “
MoR: “Dear Carla, I like dialectics, as you & others know too well, id est Diskurs als argumentativer Dialog so my lateinisch discursus feedback, LOL, will be:
The answer to your very-German reply is to be found, in my view, in the Holy Week (Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς) where Christians celebrate the events related to the last days of Jesus – passion, death and resurrection, among the rest.
Last Sunday I was feeling tense, tired. Therefore for some weird reason I randomly chose a Church (every 5 meters we have one in Rome) and had the luck to find a real shepherd speaking from ‘a heart’ and from a sound-theological-knowledge (as far as I can tell) brain, as well.
I’ll say I was moved to tears twice but since I never believed in signs, in the past, it is unlikely I will believe in them, in the future.
Mario: “A lose lose situation then”
“Not at all. It will allow readers to rest on the Seventh Day, according to Universal Good and Justice” Fulvia: “I don’t get it” 30-year-old Samnite Youth: “Daje Fulvia, you’ll get ahead one day by just watching Carla Shodder writing in Greek Uncial ca. 350 CE.”
*Fulvia is staring*[Just ancient craftiness, her inner soul is void, blank void]
Have you ever wondered how to write in one of earliest Ancient Greek calligraphic scripts? Wonder no more! I’m happy to present the first video I’ve made for Found in Antiquity, so that you can see first hand how to write the alphabet in Greek Uncial.
What exactly is Greek Uncial?
Greek Uncial hails from the first few centuries of the Common Era. Unlike Ancient Greek cursive, Uncial is surprisingly readable even if you’re mostly used to reading modern Greek letter forms. While most of the surviving examples were written on parchment, Greek Uncial started life on papyrus and was generally used for literary texts like Homer’s Iliad (below).
“Via Torpignattara, anni ’50. Veduta del mercato e dell’incrocio con Via Casilina. Sullo sfondo Piazza della Marranella con l’abbeveratoio dei cavalli”. Cliccare per i credits, per altre immagini e accedere a un bel sito sul quartiere
Listen to this: (by MoR, wait a few seconds)
Lello, er romanaccio Depardieu (always with us in spirit?) says:
“Un po’ contemporanea, ‘sta litania.”
“What is this sh** …”
the Romanesco dialect)
[To the English-speaking: This post being partly written in the Romanesco dialect Google translations might be unpredictable]
[Al lettore italiano: parlare il romanesco, ok, ma scriverlo - e studiarlo come lingua - è un'altra cosa. 1° sperimento]
‘Nnamo (let’s start.)
Il Depardieu del Casilino
Gérard Depardieu au Film Festival de Berlin (2010.) Click for credits
Incontro Lello a un bar di Torpignattara. Sta ordinando una Ceres.
Ogni tanto ci capito, a Torpignattara, perché se hai fortuna incontri i romani veri – magari non del tempo di Tito (come gli ebrei del rione S. Angelo) – ma veri in ogni caso, di 7 generazioni.
Corpulento, sui 40 anni, i braccioni tatuati che se t’agguantano ti stritolano, Lello ha i tratti marcati e sarebbe il perfetto Gérard Depardieu del Casilino se fosse un po’ più gallico e un po’ meno scuro nei capelli e negli occhi.
Saltuariamente – al Pantheon, a piazza Navona, al centro, in definitiva – Lello compare e scompare come un fantasma suonando percussioni esotiche assieme a un contrabbassista emaciato, a un sassofonista colla panza tonda, e a un chitarrista eccezionale col cappello calato gli occhi quasi nascosti dalle rughe che pare sia di Birmingham
[Lello dice che è di Birmingham. Io gli credo]
Sorseggia la Ceres, guardandosi lentamente attorno. E’ il suo mondo, il suo ambiente.
Lello è un capo.
A ‘sto punto, dico, la ordino pure io, sta Danese perché, è così particolare, sto Lello, che voglio che mi si sciolga la lingua (che mi s’è come ingufita coll’età).
Sorrentino ce sta a fa’ neri
Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in ‘La Grande Bellezza’ by Paolo Sorrentino
“Lello, a fijo de ‘na mignotta, vviè cqua!”
Si avvicina. Sempre pronto allo scambio umano, in realtà parla pochissimo. Annuisce.
“Ahó, possin’ammazzatte – dico – co’ sta Grande Bellezza Sorrentino ce sta a fa’ neri. Tutto il mondo parla di metafora: metafora qua, metafora là… mo’ pure gli Americani sur Nu York Times …”
Lello è impassibile. Un minuto, forse due.
Poi, guardandosi le unghie, ‘na finissima ironia nello sguardo, comincia un bofonchio, che cresce man mano e se fa cavernoso.
Capisco solo le ultime tre parole:
“[...] [...] [...] M-e-t-a-f-o-r-a de che”.
Una voce dall’antro. A sentirla di notte al buio … Depardieu me fa impazzì.
Gran bucio de c… profumato
Cerco di provocarlo (ho bisogno di fa’ casino, di distrarmi).
Provo – un’imitazione ok – a crescere piano piano pure io per poi dargli dentro dopo 20 esatte parole:
“Beh, metafora dell’Italia – dico ‘n sordina, preciso -, d’un paese destinato al declino, con Roma – girata bellissima, per carità (sennò perché il titolo), – che poi in verità è ‘na pattumiera, è solo ‘na cloaca pure un po’ fine ma inzomma, lo vogliamo dire CAZZO, è come ‘N GRAN BEL BUCIO DE CULO TUTTO PROFUMATO – so’ cavernosissimo – co’ tanto de mignotte, ruffiani, pretacci (e nani!!) – parossismo – CHE CE CAMMINAMO TUTTI SOPRA!!!!”
Altra pausa. Si bbeve. Er calore de ste Ceres comincia a impregnacce.
Lello, lo vedo, è un poco ‘allertato’
Poi, ‘na lievissima sfumatura de complicità (divertita?) Lello disce:
“Tutti sopra ‘sto bucio de culo”
“Tutti sopra ‘sto bucio de culo. Confermo” (mi guardo le unghie puro io)
“Che poi è profumato”
[non capisco se mi piglia per il culo; siamo romani, ok, ma Lello è tosto, niente da dire]
“Che è profumato. Riconfermo”. C’è qualcosa che non va.
Ma sentendomi provocato sbotto, incazzato come Agosto (quello a piazza de’ Renzi 15, che si incazzava davvero, non era un fintone, e Sandro il figlio, l’ho visto piccolo, è come lui)
“Ma dimmi un po’ a Lello: a te te piasce? Vojo dì, a te te piasce che Sorrentinos mostri ste zozzerie al mondo???”
Credevo d’avello beccato ‘n pieno. Erore. Ridiventa ‘na statua. Che soggetto, minchia, e potrebbe esse mio figlio … :?
A ripensarci, ora che lo scrivo, mi salta in quer boccino er solito carme:
[no 'n bbuzzuro stavolta, ma carme nella lingua delle madri che la sera deambulav... lasciamo perdere]
Gigante immobile e paonazzo (e sanguigno, diciamolo, come sto pezzo di …. Bbacco).
Poi d’un tratto, uomo dalle infinite risorse, Lello trasfigura, la pelle je se chiazza, l’occhio sinistro mosso dan lieve tremito.
Allora t’ho colpito, stronzo. ma te sarai ‘ncazzato?
Via di Tor Pignattara anni ’40 circa. Courtesy di Silvestro Gentile. Cliccare per i credits
Seconda Ceres. Lo seguo a ruota. Comincia, si direbbe, a approfondirsi na certa atmosfera che è solo de ‘ste parti … discorso lungo, da non fare ora (anche perché credo che ‘n ce porta a un cazzo).
Mario, homo novus
Mario m’accompagna un bel giorno a Torpignattara.
E’ il classico chiacchierone fanfarone – niente a che vedere co gli Augusti, I Lelli -, al punto che la tragica diffusione di un simile ‘tipo psicologico’, qui, è uno dei motivi per cui molti italiani … sparlano di Roma.
Al bar mi parla di calcio, della sua vecchia Lancia vintage, delle ultime 10 partite (10!) di 4 squadre diverse. Non ci capisco molto.
Poi arriva Lello, e Mario commenta:
“Ma quello sta sempre zitto. Me sembra n’imbecille”.
[Ok, Lello-Depardieu sarà tranquillo - Mario non capisce un cavolo - ma già con gli occhi ti dice mille cose. Gli occhi di Mario, invece, esprimono il vuoto assoluto)
"Imbecille? Errore grave, Mario mio, perché Lello, a te, t-e s-e m-a-g-n-a".
Nonostante calchi la voce Mario se ne fotte e scrolla le spalle (co gli occhi -quasi na punizione divina- che ripetono il nulla dell'anima).
[Che è st'anima? Che ne so. Ma che Mario l'anima non ce l'abbia mi sembra l'unica verità scientifica della storia della teologia]
laconico (e non cazzaro)
Lello è intelligentissimo, e, a differenza di Mario il cazzaro, ha un retroterra.
Cerco di darvi un’idea.
Da 20 anni frequenta il centro storico (“la mia famiglia è de llì: co’ ggenitori, e i nonni, e i bisnonni, e i trisnonni -e via cantando- ci arrivi fino Adamo”).
Detto come una cantilena, difficile da spiegare, che è ritmata dalla ‘o’ di nonni (da dove viene? Mah).
Lo vedo ‘na volta al mese, anche meno oramai, ma so che c’è (e mi basta).
Lello è un capo, ripeto. Mi dà la fiducia di pensare che qui in Italia tanta gente (qualcuno al palo c’è, purtroppo) nonostante la crisi se la cava, ai vari livelli della gradinata sociale.
Nell’arte della sopravvivenza, romani e italiani, sono professionisti patentati, la storia è lì a dirlo.
E Lello, che il frescone e fannullone Mario non può capire, Lello in realtà fa.
ma fiorente commercio
Lello lavora, s’ingegna.
Buon marito e buon padre di due figli, ha raggiunto la sua modesta prosperità con il commercio di cellulari e tablet a costo bassissimo, che la gente compra perché non gira più ‘na lira.
Da qualche anno s’è fatto 2 o 3 esercizietti (stanzine, in definitiva) che visita più volte al giorno, la faccia del boss autorevole ma pensoso, quasi pensasse ad altro (è però nota tutto e tutto sa).
Esercizietti che gli so’ gestiti da 3 marocchini svegli che gli fanno da bassa manco tanto bassa manovalanza, che lo rispettano, e che soprattutto je vogliono bene.
Lello dunque incede nel quartiere, coi tatuaggioni il nasone la faccia (e la stazza) del Depardieu zigano.
Una figura caratteristica come non ce ne saranno più in futuro (oppure no?) Ho sentito in giro a Roma giovanissimi di altri paesi che già parlano romanesco meglio di me.
Il tradizionale tuffo di Capodanno nel Tevere dal ponte Cavour di Roma. Tanti sono stati i personaggi famosi in questo ‘sport’, almeno dal 1870 a oggi. Click for credits
Poi insomma cazzo (la terza Ceres, inesorabile … :twisted: ), ma a vede’ sti romani che se tuffano ancora da’ ponti (no Lello), con mezza falange in meno ar medio (sì Lello, cqui: ‘na sforbiciata a 16 anni).
Aaa vede’ cioè ‘sti tosti che s’industriano, che non aspettano tutto dar stato, ognuno col su’ stile, qui e in altre regioni del paese, spina dorsale che impedisce che il corpaccione italiano s’afflosci.
In altre parole, a vede’ na Roma e un’Italia positive nonostante le sofferenze, che non s’avvoltolano nella nevrosi, che non si prostituiscono, che non ballano nelle terrazze chic vista Colosseo con le narici incipriate, che non scopano le minorenni ai Parioli e nemmerno le minorenni slave sulla Salaria … cazzo!
A vede’ sti ggiovani che lottano, che imparano le lingue straniere, che vanno ‘n culo ar monno dovunque ci sia ‘no stracciaccio de lavoro, e così facendo – poverini poverini si dice! – non diventano più deboli, ma più forti, fanghala, che si aprono la mente e il futuro … (Mario – che mi sta vicino, compagno di scuola a cui infondo voglio bene, me dice: daje, famo notte).
Neapolitan Paolo Sorrentino. His success at the Academy Awards granted him a Roman honorary citizenship. Click or credits and to enlarge
Ok, ok, a Marioo, ma la domanda scusate che spontanea cazzo ce sorge a ‘sto punto fangulo è la seguente:
A’ Sorrentinoooos! Sarai puro Napoletano talentuoso (lo sei) ma la conosci veramente Roma? O sella conosci – non credo – non te sarai mica ‘mbo’ incazzato perché l’ambiente del cinema romano – che è poi quello italiano – è ‘na Grande Zozzeria, cogli outsider che so’ outsider semper, tanto che Villaggio (puro Pupi Avati?) s’è addirittura ‘nbestialiddoooo?
Dice Fantozzi, ineffabile, a Mediaset:
“Sordi è il simbolo della ‘Grande Cattiveria’, la cattiveria dei Romani ‘che sono veramente, e profondamente, cattivi’ “
[detto poi con lo sguardo cattivo ... who's kidding who]
Ora, a me il film de Sorrentinos piasce, ma me fa puro ‘ncazzare.
Pertanto, in onore dei Lelli semper tosti e viventi (in periferia: l’hanno cacciati cogli sventramenti), residuo piccolo e coriaceo di una forza grande e suprema (passata, gone, dead).
In loro onore dicevo ‘sta musica di pianoforte dedico, da romano -più fortunato e sfortunato insieme- ad altro romano.
[Mario: "Sei un cazzone". Giovanni: "pure tu, stronzo, ma ti voglio bene"]
Ripropossta pure qui (Mario: “per puro narcisismo, cojone” “Sei un fregnone – ma ciai raggione?” “Sì” “No” “sta minghiaaa”) :
Per te, e per tutti voi – (Gino, Sergio, Spartaco, Gianni e Samanta), oltre che pe’ sti napoletani a cui vojamo bene, no Mario? So’ i nostri cugini) – butto llà ‘sto pezzo de cazzo de pianoforte non decadente (me lo si permetta, Sorrentinooos).
Lello, romanaccio Depardieu, always with us in his a spirit, says:
“Un po’ contemporanea, ‘sta litania.
Certo, stronzo (no scusa Lello, scusa) ma nello spirito, almeno, e nell’anima (che abbiamo simili), ci metterà senza dubbio d’accordo ….
Ecco un clip del La Grande Bellezza, in tutta la sua struggente (in all its aching) … beauty bellezza.
Dulcis in fundo Pino Daniele, napoletano cantautore e chitarrista di vena raffinata, che canta Anna Magnani e il cinema romano.
[Così ricomponemo er tutto e famo pace :-) "Stronzi" "Frocioni" "So 'frocio ma me ne vanto" "Hai raggione" Ma il partenopeo "ste nutizie nu ssierve" Depaardieu mostra i braccioni "a fijo de ‘na mignotta, vviè cqua" ma viene travolto da' stilettata greca colta ... "ta' soreta è latrina, e matre, a te, na pumpinare jamme jamme JAMME!!"]
Update. What I had to say I have posted over at the Manius Papirius Lentulus blog dialogue section. Here it is.
Latin Poets of the Golden Age
'A favourite poet' by the Victorian painter Alma Tadema (1888). Detail. Click to enlarge
Regarding this painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) Jenny had asked :
“I need to know which (favorite) poet the Roman women are reading in that painting. I just ordered Slavitt’s translation of Ovid’s Love Poems, Letters and Remedies. Looks great.”
MoR: “According to Rosemary J. Barrow (*L. Alma-Tadema*, Phaidon 2001) the poet is divine *Horace* – I add links for the sake of new readers, and basically am a pedantic teacher to the marrow -, who was from *Venusia*, South Italy, today’s Venosa in Mezzogiorno’s Lucania also called Basilicata.
[Incidentally, Rosaria's personal account on his town, with Orazio's statue in the main piazza, and the bay-leaves crown the best school students received, similar to the one Orazio's statue wears, is so compelling]
The bronze wall panel behind the 2 Roman women in Tadema’s gorgeous painting has inscribed a few words by Horace. The title of my Manius soap (Misce stultitiam consiliis: Add Folly to Wisdom) is taken from Horace (4 Odes, xii. 28), and the ‘act’ the buddies in the plot perform in the taberna (read Chanting in an Ænglisc taberna) is one of Horace most perfect choral songs from the *Carmen Saeculare* (Song of the Ages!), probably his most perfect (and classical in the real-deal sense of the term) poem.
Horace (together with Vergil) is Rome’s bard and his poems were sacred to the Romans – no easy stuff, Horace; Lord Byron confessed he couldn’t understand Horatius Flaccus; but I believe every minute spent on Horace’s lines is worthwhile – although sacred, I don’t mean it in the sense of the Judeo-Christian ‘Revealed Writ’ of course. For that – revealed-by-god(s) words – you have to turn, outside the Jewish tradition, to the amazing Orphic Greek literature, for example, which I’m sipping here and there and find terribly inspiring.
Tibullus visiting his beloved Clelia. Click to watch it in full resolution
True Romans & Celts.
A different temperament?
Horace was the most loved ancient poet in 19th century England. His tone befitted the Victorians who kinda felt like the spirituals heirs of the Romans. He was also fun like most Roman writers (he for ex. preferred the liberty of loving slaves or unintelligent women, since Roman matrons were a headache to him, a tad too matriarchal perhaps, but basically I think he didn’t find a long-for-life love (Vergil did, probably, but I guess it was a man) and most of all Horace is the real classical thing more than Vergil in some way, while Tibullus and Catullus (and Vergil) were a bit more … romantic since – so darn interesting for the Manius’ blog – they were Italian Celts from North Italy, id est continental Celts, id est cousins to insular, British-Isles, Celts.
I absolutely adoreTibullus and his elegies, so beautiful & melancholic, and Clelia (Tibullus’ true love – see a painting below- : differently from Horace he was more or less monogamous: Clelia not by chance is Manius’s lost love too.
[Tadema painted Tibullus at Clelia's, and Catullus at Lesbia's - see above and below. How could he not;-) ]
But Manius is not monogamous. Massimo, the positive hero, is.
Ovid is a sparkling choice Jenny. His verses are peculiar, naturally flowing, and possibly much more fun than all the poets I’ve mentioned.
Catullus at Lesbia's by Sir Laurence Alma Tadema (1836-1912). Click to enlarge
All the best Rome could give
ALL these poets are the best Rome could give and were much deeper than the coeval Greek literature, that was extremely refined but void and spineless. Catullus was another first class Italian Celtic poet, very romantic as well. He was in love with the sluttish Clodia he calls Lesbia.
True Romans from Rome were – and still are – not much romantic (in both the arts and common sense of the term); Manius, Massimo, Giorgio (and myself) are partly true Romans, partly North Italian Celtic, so they are a tad romantic too (I guess it takes also bad weather to be ‘romantic’ lol).
I mean, it all fits together perhaps – or so it seems to the Man of Roma (now Manius) ;)
“Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.
Not being a Roman and being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?
Of course you are my friend and that could cause me some scruples and those guys do seem to be cutthroats so they could also be out to cut mine, they seem to be somewhat xenophobic.
All considered, I will side with you after all.”
MoR: ” Being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?
Right Paul, you got into the Pavlos character as I see it at least, probably because it’s part of you despite what you may think who knows.
Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse (1849–1917). Detail. Via Wikimedia. Click for a bigger image and a higher resolution view of it
Ulysses, ie the Mediterranean Man
To me Pavols is a symbol par excellence of the Mediterranean Man ready to survive in every circumstance and to exchange knowledge goods symbols experiences with a wonderful good nature – given to him by Helios ok – but with an admirable life balance reached tho thru horrible toil it must be said:
the Med, one often forgets, is a ruthless stepmother and no fertile area as the Nordic European lands.
One reason why the Germans are so big compared to the Greco-Romans and successive Mediterranean people: their climate may be horrible but they got BEEFY in the course of the centuries from the beefy cattle that got (and still gets) BIG – as them – from the fat-and-so-green-from-rain darn grass)
« La rareté en Mediterranée – Fernand Braudel écrit – des vrais pâturage. Elle entraîne le petit nombre des bovin … pour l’homme du Nord le bétail de la Méditerranée semble déficient. La Méditerranée, II, pp. 290-291, Livre de Poche »
You add, Paul:
Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.
Well well, I don’t think this to be a problem. I had added the following italic text (but had to prune this and other stuff, it was too verbose:
“Pavlos pulled out an inlaid-with-gold throwing dagger that he always carried with him (even in bed?). He had already shown his ability to use it with deadly precision..
If you have even a colossus before you – Ulysses had one-eyed Polyphemus – you can dispatch him in a second by throwing dagger hurled into the left or right eye (your choice).
But, true, both the Romans & their Greek copain then would all be slaughtered by the rest of the Angles. So yes, Pavols waits for the events to unfold.
Nikos Kazantzakis: Odyssey, a Sequel
Nikos Kazantzakis, a modern Greek genius. Click for attribution & additional infos
MoR: “A side note à propos de Ulysess. In the winter of 1938, at the age of 45, your father’s countryman Nikos Kazantzakis from Crete (1883 – 1957) published his “Odyssey” (a modern Sequel) in Athens. A huge tome of 835 pages in 24 books with 33,333 verses!
Spaghettoni alla chitarra e ragù. Wikimedia. Click for credits
After aperitivo at the bar the conversation continues to unwind at our home while we consume a simple dinner made of spaghettoni al ragù, cheese with a side dish of boiled vegetables, all washed down with Chianti and some Grappa as digestivo.
Classicus and King Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius, 6th Roman King. Image via Wikipedia
Extropian: “In my Calonghi Latin dictionary classis means both ‘fleet’ and ‘social class’; classicus is both a ‘sailor’ and ‘a member of the first Servian class of citizens’, out of the five tax classes set up by the Roman King Servius Tullius.
Giorgio: “It implies some timeless worth, it is known. Less known perhaps the origin of the notion. In the 2nd century CE Aulus Gellius, a Roman grammarian, [see image below] in his Noctes Atticae (Attic nights) – I just found out – was the first to mean by classicus ‘a writer of the first Servian class’ (classicus scriptor). He was the first to connect via a metaphor 1) literary and 2) social excellence. Classicus to him was a first-class & exemplary writer.
English: Frontispiece to the 1706 edition of Auli Gellii Noctium Atticarum (Aulus Gellius Attic Nights) libri xx. prout supersunt, quos ad libros Mss. novo et multo labore exegerunt, perpetuis notis et emendationibus illustrarunt Joannes Fridericus et Jacobus Gronovii. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Extropian: “Well, it somewhat reflected the elitism of antiquity.”
Flavia: “Yes, but I’d say excellence is excellence. Horace and Virgil were of humble background (Horace – read a reply to Sledpress on him – was even the son of a freed slave,) but were revered as excellent (and timeless) as soon as their works came out.”
Giorgio: “Horace himself refers to his Odes as timeless. But people didn’t call them classici. The new meaning didn’t immediately spread. In the 5th and 6th centuries CE authors such as Martianus Capella, Fulgentius and Boethius began to reconsider earlier pagan authors as models of style and thought, although again no use was made of the term classicus in the sense Gellius did.”
Extropian: “I see.”
Villa Rotonda, Veneto, Italy, by Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580). Click for attribution
Classicus to Renaissance People
Giorgio: “And throughout the Middle Ages too we have the concept but not the word for it. Until we get to the Renaissance men, in 1400s-1500s CE.
In their Latin classicus refers again to something seen as timeless and as a standard of excellence: to the people of the Renaissance [see a Palladian villa above] the Greek and Roman past was THE classicus exemplary model in all fields.”
Mario: “In fact we still say ‘Classical Antiquity’. Of course the Renaissance is neoclassical ante litteram since it found inspiration in Antiquity and looked down upon the Middle Ages.
By the way, wasn’t the second half of the 18th century labelled as neoclassical?”
Rome and the Grand Tour
Goethe in the Roman countryside as painted in 1787 by his friend Tischbein. Click to enlarge
At the end of the War of the Austrian Succession (1748) a long period of peace ensued in Europe. Winckelmann arrived in Rome in 1755. He there conceived his master-work History of Ancient Art(1764) which influenced the entire neoclassical attitude from that year onwards and basically blew the minds (to mention the Germans only) of people like Hölderlin, Goethe, Lessing, Herder, Heine, Nietzsche etc. The marriage and the tyranny of Greece over Germany started with him.”
Giorgio: Those were the days of the Grand Tour. People flocked to Italy and especially to Rome to study classical culture. Rome with all her statues etc. also became a huge workshop of copies purchased worldwide. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi was the best sculptor to make casts, copies and fakes.
Caffè Greco – 86, via Condotti -, possibly the oldest caffè in Rome, frequented by Goethe, Byron, Stendhal, Liszt, Keats, Mendelssohn etc. Click to enter the Caffè Greco web site
Cavaceppi’s studio was in via del Babbuino, close to Caffè Greco (opened in 1760, see above,) to via del Corso (where Goethe lived at num 18 between 1786 & 1788,) to Piazza di Spagna: all popular places among the expatriates of the time. Cavaceppi’s shop was a must-see. Goethe was there and Canova himself was greatly impressed by Cavaceppi’s atelier. Goethe bought a cast of the Juno Ludovisi [see the last big picture below] but I forgot from whom though.
Anton Raphael Mengs, Jacques-Louis David, the Scottish architect Robert Adam, Canova, Piranesi with his efforts to build a map of Ancient Rome: surely a great period for our city.”
[The exhibition catalog is now on the living room table. Grappa is unfortunately served. Art and Bacchus are a perfect match since Homer, what did you think ...]
Giorgio: “Last (but least) Italians played the guitar quite a lot during the 18th c. before the Spanish took over. I am studying Mauro Giuliani and Ferdinando Carulli who composed delightful classical pieces for this instrument, mixing sober taste (Giuliani) or brilliant grace (Carulli) with rationality.”
Jeu des dames, by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845). Click to enlarge. Elegance, sobriety, classical décor and Hellenic attire (and face features) of the women
Extropian (reading the catalog): “New archaeological discoveries fuelled the Roman and Greek frenzy. A great number of statues and mosaics were unearthed and reproduced. Décor and clothes were created in the neoclassical style in Europe and in the New World. Also Nero’s Domus Aurea wall paintings – at that time thought to belong to Titus’ thermae – were reproduced on mansions, on decorative furniture etc.
[Hope you can reach this great 3d reconstruction of Roman Emperor Nero's Domus Aurea (see another movie below too:) you'll think you are in a 18th century rich palace!]
The spirit of the Ancients and of the Enlightenment (Age of reason) splendidly matched. Classical triumphed and influenced the French and American Revolutions.”
Roman Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea fresco. 1rst century CE
Classicism as a Concept. Mere Chance?
Extropian: “Classic, more generic for valuable, is related to classical … Wait a minute. Such fundamental concept going back to this Aulus Gellius, an almost unknown, second-rate Roman writer? Something is wrong here.”
What would modern aesthetics have done for a single general concept that could embrace Raphael, Racine, Mozart, and Goethe, if Gellius never lived?
Extropian: “Or if Servius Tullius didn’t divide Rome into 5 classes! I wonder whether we know the exact connection Gellius-Renaissance, but certainly goddess Fortune plays her tricks when making ideas successful or not, as Curtius also suggests.”
A cast of Juno Ludovisi (ie Antonia minor, Mark Antony’s daughter), similar to the one bought by Goethe. Antonia became a model of junoesque, imposing beauty
Grappa is making all blurred at this point.
That is, we have traced some origins but couldn’t define that general concept that can embrace Horace, Mozart, Mauro Giuliani, Haydn, Raphael, Schubert, Pindar, Canova, Racine, Goethe, Jane Austen and many elements of British and American Georgian culture.