Friday, March 12, 2010

Wallace-Hadrill to present Herculaneum: Living with Catastrophe in Lexington, VA

I see that Dr. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill will present Herculaneum: Living with Catastrophe at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater.  Oh how I wish I could attend that lecture.  I love living on the west coast but up here in the Pacific Northwest we seldom get the opportunity to hear such world class presentations from classical scholars like Dr. Wallace-Hadrill.

[Image of  Dr. Wallace-Hadrill courtesy of  The Alleghany Journal]

Roman Mosaic found in the ruins of Herculaneum 1st century CE (1)I always enjoy his insight that he has shared in numerous History Channel programs.  Even after all of the years he has spent studying ancient Rome, he still talks about it with such marvelous enthusiasm.  I had hoped to catch a glimpse of him when I visited Herculaneum in October 2007, but no such luck. I did watch some of his researchers working on this beautiful mosaic in a bath complex:

[Image: 1st century CE Roman mosaic found in the ruins of Herculaneum.  Photographed by Mary Harrsch]

Herculaneum is a rather small excavation compared to Pompeii so I was able to explore it in about half a day.  There is much more of the site as yet unexplored but it has been covered by the modern city of Naples so it is doubtful any more of the ancient complex will be unearthed (except perhaps, sadly, by tunneling looters). Much of the artwork originally found in Herculaneum has been removed and placed in the Museo Archaeologico di Napoli but there are still a few pieces in situ.

The day I was there, the Villa di Papiri was closed because of ongoing excavations there.  I would have loved to have seen it, too, so I could compare the layout to the Getty Villa in Malibu that is based upon it.

Herculaneum: Italy's Buried Treasure   Secrets of the Dead - Herculaneum Uncovered   The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum   Vesuvius, A.D. 79: The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum   Antiquity Recovered: The Legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum (J. Paul Getty Museum)   Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum   An Introduction to Wall Inscriptions from Pompeii and Herculaneum (From Pompeii and Herculaneum)
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ancient Vine Delights Visitors with Beautiful Recreations of Ancient Life

Today I received a news alert from Heritage Key about the impending illumination of Hadrian's Wall event and it included a marvelous video of a 3D recreation of Hadrian's Wall and Newcastle Fort by a system's analyst known as Decimus who manages a website called Ancient Vine.  The graphics in the video were absolutely stunning.

I actually thought Decimus had merged 3D computer graphics with live action because the soldiers in the video looked so lifelike.  When I visited his site I saw that they were creations of his talent as well:

Decimus has also created a virtual Roman domus as part of the exhibit "A Day in Pompeii" at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Above is Decimus' recreation of a Roman tablinum.  The museum created a wonderful video of a virtual visit to the domus complete with rain water falling in the atrium, music and background sound effects.

He is now working on a reconstruction of the ancient city of Alexandria.

He has already finished several iterations of the Pharos lighthouse and is presently working on a recreation of the famous library.

Decimus is also working on a game set in the fictional Roman town of Opacia that was built on the ruins of Oplontis.  It will be an adventure/role playing game and I'm sure the visuals alone would make it well worth the price of the final product!

He has a marvelous image gallery and even offers his graphics for free use with attribution.  His site also features a discussion forum with interesting discussions about both Roman History and 3D graphics tools.  So, please check out Ancient Vine and continue to encourage such an artistic enthusiast!

Roman Art in the Private Sphere: New Perspectives on the Architecture and Decor of the Domus, Villa, and Insula   Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples   Pompeii and the Roman Villa   In Stabiano: Exploring Ancient Roman Villas
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

HBO’s Rome Gets a Big Screen Script

It looks like Bruno Heller's plans to resurrect Vorenus and Pullo in a big screen treatment of HBO's Rome is moving forward.  According to this article, a script has been written and financing has been secured for the project.  I was at least relieved to see that the story would resume just four years after the original miniseries concluded.  I had read at one point that there were rumors Heller was going to take the boys to Judea for a rendezvous with a certain messiah which, of course, didn't make any sense at all since Vorenus and Pullo would have been so old they couldn't have lifted a gladius.

According to this release, we will find them fighting the barbarians in Germania - much better!  Kevin McKidd must be juggling the project with his appearances on "Grey's Anatomy".  McKidd appears to have been much more successful than Ray Stevenson at using the popularity he gained from "Rome" to leverage his career.  His own series on NBC, "Journeyman", only lasted a year but was a good effort.  I also saw him in "Made of Honor" with Patrick Dempsey who may have helped him land a spot on "Grey's Anatomy".  Stevenson has made a few films but none that garnered much notice.  He was such a natural in his role as Pullo.  It will be good to see him back in a starring role again with a good script to demonstrate his talent as well.

HBO’s Rome Gets a Big Screen Script
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