Every good blog needs a banner. Being of the non-technical persuasion, I opted to create a collage using good old paper and scissors. And inkjet printer. But how to encapsulate the infinite variety of Classics in a box 940 x 198 pixels?
We tried to be objective, but as with most things, it’s probably more a matter of personal taste. It seemed clear (to me, being of an art and archaeology bent) that the banner would not be complete without reference to the art and architecture of the classical world – an Attic red figure vase, the Parthenon from Athens, obviously, and the Pantheon from Rome (little known fact: the bronze lettering in the Pantheon frieze is not in fact ancient, but a 1930s restoration). Fran (being a literary type) insisted that we represent ancient texts with the manuscripts of the Aeneid and the Odyssey. Socrates also seemed pretty much a non-brainer to represent classical philosophy (and also has an amusing face).
But from then on it became rather more difficult. An early idea, the Prima Porta sculpture of Augustus, hit the waste paper basket when we realised that unconsciously we’d excluded one half of the classical world – its women. Plenty of ladies to choose from. Contenders included Sappho, Eudocia, any number of mythological figures. In the end we went for a basalt sculpture of Livia, who as well as being a key member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty also had the right shaped head for the collage. It seemed important to make reference to the two extreme ends of our period – the Aegean Bronze Age and Late Antiquity. In the end we couldn’t find an image that would encapsulate the breathtaking breadth and vast scope of the cultural flourishings in the later Roman Empire. This is possibly because of our own failings. The mask of Agamemnon, though, seemed the obvious choice to stand for the Aegean prehistoric period.
Finally, many of us would not be here without the firm guidance of the Mighty Kennedy, of Latin Primer fame. And so in the top right hand corner, in Nigel Molesworth’s famous cartoon, Kennedy discovers the gerund and leads it back into captivity.
So, there’s the banner (controversial or not). What would YOU have done??