London: Printed for J. F. and C. Rivington, and B. Law, Greece is a mountainous country made up of Central Greece, the Peloponnesian peninsula and hundreds of islands. From about 750 BC the Greeks began to colonise other territories and eventually had a presence as far north as modern-day Russia; Sicily and Southern Italy to the west; Asia Minor in the east and Egypt in the south. Republican Rome conquered Greece in the 2nd century BC and continued expanding its territories until, as an empire, it stretched from Hadrian’s Wall in England south to North Africa; and eastwards to the Middle East and modern-day Syria. This Empire covered about five million square kilometres, encompassed forty different modern countries and contained between a sixth and a quarter of the world’s population. This map, engraved from Cellarius (1638-1707), shows the ancient world according to Strabo (63 BC-24 AD), a Greek geographer., 1785. Shoults Eb 1785 S, Geographia Antiqua: Being a Complete Set of Maps…of Gentlemen who make the Antient Writers their Delight or Study.
[Rome: Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith], Alpha- α, beta-β, gamma-γ, delta-δ…so begins the Greek alphabet. Most scholars agree that the Greeks began developing their alphabet in the 8th century BC from letter forms borrowed from the Phoenicians (from modern-day Lebanon). The Greeks added vowel-sound symbols to the Phoenician alphabet (which only contained consonants) which was eventually standardised. In turn, the Latin alphabet was developed from the Greek about the 7th century BC and was dispersed far and wide in the time of the Roman Empire. Our own English alphabet derives from the Latin. , 1771. Shoults Itb 1771 A , Alphabetum Graecum.
[Rome: Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith], Alpha- α, beta-β, gamma-γ, delta-δ…so begins the Greek alphabet. Most scholars agree that the Greeks began developing their alphabet in the 8th century BC from letter forms borrowed from the Phoenicians (from modern-day Lebanon). The Greeks added vowel-sound symbols to the Phoenician alphabet (which only contained consonants) which was eventually standardised. In turn, the Latin alphabet was developed from the Greek about the 7th century BC and was dispersed far and wide in the time of the Roman Empire. Our own English alphabet derives from the Latin. , 1771. Shoults Itb 1771 A, Alphabetum Graecum.
London: Folio Society, Homer’s (c. 800 BC) Iliad and the Odyssey are considered by some to be the foundation works ‘from which all European literature derives’ (Watson). Composed in hexameter verse in about the 8th century BC, the narratives of these two epic poems have had a wide-ranging influence on western literature of all genres. Shakespeare was inspired by the Iliad for his play Troilus and Cressida; James Joyce took inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey for his Ulysses; and how can we forget Brad Pitt’s semi-naked portrayal of Achilles in Troy (2004), a movie loosely based on the events described in the Iliad. Displayed here is John Buckland Wright’s interpretation of Odysseus’s escape from the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus., 1948. Special Collections PA4025 A75 LX43, The Odyssey.
London: Heinemann, There is no doubt that Greek culture was greatly influenced by others, especially those from the East and while it is necessary to remember this eastern influence, ancient Greece did develop its own unique culture. After the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC, Greece was finally brought under the control of Rome and despite being defeated, ‘Greece, the captive, made her savage victor captive, and brought the arts into rustic Latium’ (Horace, line 156-7 above). The Romans deeply admired the culture of the Greeks and thought it worth emulating. Greek intellectuals came to live in Rome and many children from elite Roman families had Greek tutors. Indeed, ‘by 133 [BC] probably most educated Romans were bilingual’ (Scullard). Horace (65-8 BC), himself a Roman, was educated in Athens., 1947. Brasch PA6393 S2, Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica.
[Mount Vernon, N.Y.]: Printed for the Members of the Limited Editions Club [by A. Colish], Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC- c.17/18 AD), or Ovid, was a prolific poet extant in the time of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor. His Ars Amatoria or The Art of Love is essentially a ‘how-to’ for courtship and relationships, a Love 101 if you will. Books I and II offer advice to men on finding and keeping a female partner and Book III is aimed at women. Ovid used Greek myths and Roman life in general to advise on such topics as not forgetting your lover’s birthday, not asking her age, and the benefits of mutual sexual satisfaction – all advice still pertinent today. On display are Ovid’s thoughts on women eating and drinking in company – ‘Mind table-manners; eat with finger-tips/ Nor smear a greasy hand all o’er your lips’. A friend and contemporary of Horace, Ovid died in exile., 1971. Special Collections PA6522 A8 1971, The Art of Love.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 BC), or Virgil, was born in the Lombardy region of Italy (at the top of the ‘boot’) and educated in Milan and Rome. Even though Roman writers tended to imitate Greek authors, and Virgil did indeed capitalise on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid is a remarkable work in its own right. Virgil is described as having ‘made a unique contribution to the history and culture of the West’ (Griffin) and his Aeneid was widely read by his contemporaries and studied as part of a typical Roman education. The legacy and influence of Virgil’s Aeneid endures in the works of Bede (d. 735 AD), Dante (d. 1321), Milton (d. 1674), T. S. Eliot (d. 1965) and many others., 2008. Private Collection. (Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners of the images displayed in this online exhibition. If any issues arise from their display, please contact Special Collections, University of Otago, email@example.com), Aeneid.
Westminster [England]: Folio Society, The Italian Francesco Petrarch (1304-74) was one of the great characters of 14th century Renaissance Europe. He is credited with finding forgotten and discarded classical manuscripts, such as Cicero’s Ad Atticum, and making them popular amongst his contemporaries. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75), Petrarch’s friend and pupil, also rediscovered classical works and is thought to have been the first early modern European in the west to learn ancient Greek. So began the cultural revolution of the Renaissance encompassing not just literature but painting, sculpture, music, politics and architecture – ‘a resurgence of learning based on classical sources’ (Highet)., 1954-1955. Special Collections PQ4272 E5 A3571 1954, The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio.
London: Printed for T. Becket, Virtually all literary works surviving from the ancient Greeks and Romans were written by ‘dead, white males’. Greek women in ancient times could not become citizens; Roman women were under the complete control of either their fathers or husbands; and non-Greeks and Romans, male and female, were considered ‘barbarians’. Some academics and feminists therefore believe that most ancient writings are sexist, racist and elitist and have no relevance in our modern world. Conditions for men and women were different in the ancient world, that’s just the way it was, but it is no reason to dismiss all ancient literature as not relevant. This volume contains a list of ‘various editions of the Greek and Roman classics’, including these entries for Cicero and Caesar. There are gaps in the literary history of the ancient world and we have no idea what works have been lost over time., 1778. Shoults Eb 1778 H, A View of the Various Editions of the Greek and Roman Classics.
Euclid, (Translated from the Greek by Ishaq ibn Hunayn)
___, Preceded by Thales (624-546 BC), thought to be the ‘first true mathematician’; Pythagoras (c. 570-500 BC) – the equation, a2 + b2 = c2, is named after him – and many more, Euclid (ca. 330-275 BC) made an enormous contribution to the history of mathematics with his incomparable work Elements. It is a book of thirteen chapters dealing with the subjects of geometry, number theory and irrational numbers. The content is not his own work but Euclid is credited with recording all extant mathematical knowledge of his time in a comprehensive, clear and logical format. On display is a page from an Arabic manuscript of Euclid’s Elements. The work has annotations in Arabic, Persian and English and dates from the 15th century., [873 A.H. (1466 A.D)]. de Beer MS 08, Elements. Book 1-3.
London: William Pickering, Little is known of Euclid’s life except that he was Greek, lived in Alexandria in Egypt under the rule of Ptolemy I (367-283 BC) and was responsible for Elements, one of the most reproduced textbooks of all time. The book’s survival is due in part to its easy-to-understand, systematic nature and its popularity has endured for at least 2000 years. This 19th century copy of the first six books of Elements (1897) was produced by Oliver Byrne (ca. 1810-1880), an Irish mathematician and civil engineer. It is unique in its use of ‘coloured diagrams and symbols…instead of letters’ and is an excellent example of printing from the Victorian era., 1847. Special Collections QA31 E9 BZ84 1847, The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid.
[Oxford, Sheldonian Theatre], Apollonius of Perga (ca. 262-190 BC) was born in modern-day Turkey and studied in Alexandria under the followers of Euclid. His work, Conics, contains 400 propositions and of the eight books that he wrote on the topic seven survive. Apollonius introduced the terms ellipse, parabola and hyperbola to the mathematical lexicon and his works, rediscovered and made popular in Renaissance Europe, influenced scholars like Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) and Isaac Newton (1642-1727). On display is Apollonius’s other surviving work De Sectione Rationis, translated by the discoverer of Halley’s Comet, Edmund Halley (1656-1742), then Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University, in 1706., 1706. Shoults Eb 1706 A , De Sectione Rationis.
London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., One of the most significant cultural developments initiated in ancient Greece was the political idea of δημοκρατία – democracy, made up of two words – demos, the people and kratos, power. Through a series of reforms in 507 BC, Cleisthenes laid the foundations for democracy in Athens. Basically he handed the power of governance to its citizens (males only; women, children, slaves and foreigners were not included), and with the introduction of democracy came a ‘foundational moment in the history of society’ (Goldhill). As an Athenian citizen, one was able to sit on juries and judge one’s peers which according to Aristophanes (ca. 446-386 BC) could be addictive. In his comedy, The Wasps (422 BC), slaves Sosias and Xanthias stand guard over Philocleon, to prevent him from running off to the law courts – he is a ‘lawcourt-lover’ and is addicted to attending trials., 1920. Brasch PA3877 V5, The Wasps of Aristophanes.
London: Dropmore Press, The free-thinking culture of ancient Greece, with its centre in Athens, foregrounded civic duty. Each citizen was able to express himself freely in public, vote for whomever he chose, and was entitled to a fair trial. The most famous democratic Athenian leader, Pericles (495-429 BC), an army general and statesman, came to prominence in 461 BC. At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) he made a speech honouring those who had died in battle for Athens. Thucydides (460-395 BC), a Greek historian, ‘recorded’ this speech in which Pericles spoke of the struggles of the ancestors to achieve a free state, the democracy of that state, and the equal rights that ‘everyone’ enjoyed – this being his somewhat idealised vision of Athens as a democracy. , 1948. Special Collections DF229 T55 BL94, The Funeral Oration of Pericles.
London: Dropmore Press,, The dedication to Winston Churchill, ‘The Pericles of his day and generation’, in the Dropmore Press 1948 edition of Pericles’s funeral oration., 1948. Special Collections DF229 T55 BL94, The Funeral Oration of Pericles.
New York: New York University Press, In a House of Commons speech, given in 1947 after he was voted out of office, Winston Churchill (1874-1965) said that ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time’. Despite this criticism some believe Churchill to be one of the driving forces behind the ‘modern democratic world order’. The democratic realities of ancient Greece were very different from those of today but the democratic West does share some basic tenets with the citizens of Athens: freedom of speech, equality in the eyes of the law and the ability to exercise the right to vote. According to S. Goldhill ‘The democratic ideal is the banner under which the West lives and fights’. , 2003. Central DA566.9 C5 B5398. (Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners of the images displayed in this online exhibition. If any issues arise from their display, please contact Special Collections, University of Otago, firstname.lastname@example.org), Winston Churchill.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, Pythagoras (c. 570-500 BC) was a mathematician and a scientist, in the broadest sense of the word. Born on the Greek island of Samos, he travelled as a young man to the Middle East and eventually settled in Croton in Southern Italy. Here, Pythagoras set up a ‘scientific school’ and believed, along with his followers (and modern scientists), ‘that mathematics [was] the key to understanding the universe’ (Fara). Pythagoras and his followers looked for numbers in everything. They were the first to separate numbers into odd, even, prime and composite, and also first to investigate mathematical acoustics. Pythagoras is credited by some as initiating the beginnings of science and scientific discovery. None of his writings survives., 2012. Central B243 Z568 2012. (Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners of the images displayed in this online exhibition. If any issues arise from their display, please contact Special Collections, University of Otago, email@example.com), Pythagoras and the Early Pythagoreans.
[Oxford]: e typographeo Clarendoniano, A reproduction of an image of Archimedes from his Works, 1792. de Beer Ed 1792 A, Works.
[Paris]: Claudius Morellus, A mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer and inventor, Archimedes (287-212 BC) was perhaps ‘the ablest scientific genius’ of his age and possibly of all time. Most people are familiar with Archimedes’s supposed ‘Eureka’ moment but they may not know of his work in hydrostatics, principles of the lever, and inventions of siege engines for war. The work on display is known as The Sand-Reckoner in which Archimedes, addressing King Gelo of Syracuse, explains how he attempts to calculate how many grains of sand it would take to fill the universe. Archimedes first had to develop a system of naming very large numbers, the first of its kind, with the largest being a 1 with 80 x 1015 zeroes following. Upon reaching his conclusion Archimedes assures King Gelo that he is likely to understand his calculations since the king is a maths scholar himself., 1615. Shoults Fc 1615 A, Panta sozomena. Archimedis opera quae extant. Novis demonstrationibus commentarisque illustrata..
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books,, As R. H. Barrow states at the beginning of his chapter on Roman law ‘The greatest achievement of the Romans…is without doubt their law’. In the middle of the 5th century BC, the Romans began the tradition of written law by publishing the Twelve Tables (on ivory tablets) which listed all laws and punishments of the time. Another political institution that began in ancient Rome was republicanism or representative democracy, an institution echoed in the founding of modern France and the United States. Many modern Western countries’ law codes are now based on that of the ancient Romans – a massive and far-reaching legacy., . Brasch DG77 B855, The Romans.
London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, The Forum: a place to meet, shop, make speeches, attend court, watch triumphal processions, gladiatorial bouts, criminal trials and executions; the place where Julius Caesar’s (100-44 BC) body was burned and Mark Antony (83-30 BC) announced the imminent death of his political opponents. Here was the centre of Roman politics, commerce and law. In this image on the far right is the Curia Julia or the Senate meeting house, dating from about 44 BC and named for Julius Caesar. At the back and slightly to the left is the Tabularium, completed in 78 BC, a building that housed the laws, records and archives of ancient Rome. The bottom half of the building is original while the top half dates to the 16th century. On the left are the ruins of the Basilica Julia, one corner of which is delineated by three arches, a building built in the 1st century BC to house civil law courts and a place for government administration., 1970. Storage VAH G, The Roman Forum.
[Amsterdam]: P. & I. Blaev, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) was a philosopher, a politician, an orator and a very successful lawyer. His first criminal case, which he won, saw him defending the alleged patricide, Sextus Roscius in 80 BC. A contemporary of Pompey, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, more of his writings survive to this day than any other Latin author. He was admired by St Jerome (347-420 AD), Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), among others. Mark Antony ordered Cicero’s death in 43 BC and after he was killed his head was displayed in the Forum., 1695-1699. de Beer Lb 1695 C, Orationes.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, Justinian I (ca. 482-565) ruled what was left of the Roman Empire from Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) and during his reign, in 527, he ordered that all Roman laws be written down. The result, published in 533, was the Corpus Iuris Civilis (Corpus of Civil Law), which became ‘the code of Roman law that was inherited by modern Europe’ (Shelton). The Corpus filled three volumes and was made up of four parts. Part one was the Code expounded all the laws; part two, the Digest, was a collection of legal writings; part three, Institutes, was a text-book for students of law; and part four, Novels, were new laws which had been passed after 534. Some of these new laws were sensible, such as the law against collusion between a plaintiff and a judge, but others, as displayed here, seem nonsensical to us; law 77 ‘forbids swearing and blasphemy’ as it may cause ‘famines, earthquakes and pestilences’., 1951. Brasch DF572 UR2, Justinian and His Age.
Greek Philosopy - The Big Three
[Oxford]: Jacobi Fletcher, ‘The legacy of Greece to Western philosophy is Western philosophy’ (Barnes) and the first of the ‘Big Three’ philosophers of the ancient world is Socrates (469-399 BC). Xenophon (430-354 BC), one of his pupils, wrote Memorabilia (c. 371 BC), which is basically a treatise in defence of Socrates. Since Socrates left no writing extant, it provides some details, along with Plato’s Dialogues, of the philosopher’s life and work. Socrates promoted the in-depth analysis of commonly held beliefs and regarded free public discussion and free thought as fundamental for society. But not everyone was a fan. Aristophanes (445-386 BC) satirised Socrates in his play The Clouds (first performed in 423 BC) and Plato believed that this contributed to Socrates’ subsequent trial and execution., 1749. Shoults Eb 1749 X, Memorabilia, Vol. IV.
New York: Mentor Books, ‘The legacy of Greece to Western philosophy is Western philosophy’ (Barnes) and the first of the ‘Big Three’ philosophers of the ancient world is Socrates (469-399 BC). Xenophon (430-354 BC), one of his pupils, wrote Memorabilia (c. 371 BC), which is basically a treatise in defence of Socrates. Since Socrates left no writing extant, it provides some details, along with Plato’s Dialogues, of the philosopher’s life and work. Socrates promoted the in-depth analysis of commonly held beliefs and regarded free public discussion and free thought as fundamental for society. But not everyone was a fan. Aristophanes (445-386 BC) satirised Socrates in his play The Clouds (first performed in 423 BC) and Plato believed that this contributed to Socrates’ subsequent trial and execution., c. 1962. Brasch PA3877 N8 1962, The Clouds.
[Oxford: James Fletcher], Socrates’ pupil, Plato (427-347 BC) was one of the greatest early original thinkers. His intellectual legacy comes to us in the Dialogues, a series of philosophical discussions he wrote throughout his life. Plato had a conversational style of writing that he hoped would appeal to a wide readership and ‘believed that well-directed conversation may stimulate and clarify our thinking, organise our knowledge and promote the discovery of truth’ (Barnes). Plato’s Phaedo contains theories about the afterlife and immortality of the soul; his Timaeus has been described as ‘the first Greek account of divine creation’; and his work influenced the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Plato established the Academy, the first organised learning institute of its kind, on his estate just outside of Athens in about 387 BC., 1745. de Beer Eb 1745 P, Dialogues V.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, Socrates’ pupil, Plato (427-347 BC) was one of the greatest early original thinkers. His intellectual legacy comes to us in the Dialogues, a series of philosophical discussions he wrote throughout his life. Plato had a conversational style of writing that he hoped would appeal to a wide readership and ‘believed that well-directed conversation may stimulate and clarify our thinking, organise our knowledge and promote the discovery of truth’ (Barnes). Plato’s Phaedo contains theories about the afterlife and immortality of the soul; his Timaeus has been described as ‘the first Greek account of divine creation’; and his work influenced the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Plato established the Academy, the first organised learning institute of its kind, on his estate just outside of Athens in about 387 BC., 1965. Brasch B387 A5 LF58, Timaeus.
[Geneva]: Guillemus Laemarius, Third of the ‘Big Three’ philosophers is Aristotle (384-322 BC). Born near the modern-day city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Aristotle’s father was physician to Alexander the Great’s grandfather, King Amyntas. A student at Plato’s Academy from age seventeen, Aristotle later became tutor to Alexander. His writings and teaching had enormous scope in subject matter – politics, poetry, physics, astronomy, ethics, zoology, botany, medicine – the list goes on. Aristotle was a great observer and recorder and is considered to be the first encyclopaedist. He loved logic, reasoning and analysis and is thought to have pioneered ‘some of the major intellectual innovations in the history of human thought and culture’. This volume, printed in both Greek and Latin, shows the end of the treatise, Meteorologica, Aristotle’s theories on earth science and the beginning of his treatise on zoology, De Historia Animalium., 1597. Shoults Swb 1597 A, [Works].
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, Ancient bust of Aristotle. Note the forehead ‘bulging’ with knowledge.
, 2004. Central DF234 FP66, Alexander the Conqueror: The Epic Story of the Warrior King.
London: Printed by M. Flesher, for Ch. Brome , Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 5 BC-65 AD) was a Spanish-born Roman philosopher, a statesman and a playwright. The literature Seneca left behind includes twelve philosophical essays and 124 letters in which he expounds his Stoic beliefs. Christianity and Stoicism share some common philosophical ground and some of Seneca’s thoughts still resonate today. De Vita Beata – ‘Of a Happy Life’ and De Brevitate Vitae – ‘On the Shortness of Life’ – are two of his works on how to achieve happiness and how to make the most of life. Seneca was forced to commit suicide for his alleged role in a conspiracy to kill the Emperor Nero. This plate depicts Seneca in a warm bath in his last stages of his death., 1685. de Beer Eb 1685 S, Morals.
London: Penguin, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 5 BC-65 AD) was a Spanish-born Roman philosopher, a statesman and a playwright. The literature Seneca left behind includes twelve philosophical essays and 124 letters in which he expounds his Stoic beliefs. (According to Wikipedia ‘Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions’; basically a ‘stiff upper lip’ outlook on life.) Christianity and Stoicism share some common philosophical ground and some of Seneca’s thoughts still resonate today. De Vita Beata – ‘Of a Happy Life’ and De Brevitate Vitae – ‘On the Shortness of Life’ – are two of his works on how to achieve happiness and how to make the most of life. Seneca was forced to commit suicide for his alleged role in a conspiracy to kill the Emperor Nero. The plate above depicts Seneca in a warm bath in his last stages of his death., 2004. Special Collections B1 GS48 no.01. (Permissions kindly granted by Penguin Ltd.), On the Shortness of Life.
London: D. Nutt, Boethius (c. 480-524), a philosopher and statesman, was born in Rome into a wealthy family. A Hellenist, Boethius had fluent Greek, a rare talent at that time. During his incarceration by King Theodoric he wrote Consolation of Philosophy which takes the form of a dialogue between Boethius the philosopher and Philosophy personified. Supposedly translated by King Alfred (849-899) into Anglo-Saxon, and into English by Chaucer (1343-1400) and Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), this prose translation is by George Colville, first printed in 1556. The Catholic Church recognises Boethius as a saint and the recently retired pope, Benedict XVI, spoke of Boethius’ enduring relevance to Christians in a speech he gave in 2008. This is the Tudor library edition of 1897., 1897. Special Collections B659 C2 E54, Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
London: Collins' Clear-Type Press, Adopted by the Emperor Hadrian (76-138) in 138, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180) became emperor himself in 161 AD. Educated at home, Marcus Aurelius studied law and followed the teachings of Stoicism. He wrote Meditations while waging war against the Germanic tribes to the North, in the decade before his death in 180 AD. This work, intended only for his personal use, has helped Marcus Aurelius’s enduring reputation ‘as an influence, an example and an inspiration for two millennia’ (McLynn). Meditations is still relevant today. Pocahontas’ husband, Captain John Smith (1580-1631) took two books with him to America, one of which was Meditations; Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) often carried a well-read and annotated copy; and Bill Clinton (b. 1946) is known to have read Meditations while in residence at the White House., [19--]. Brasch B580 LU51, Meditations.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
London: Penguin, Adopted by the Emperor Hadrian (76-138) in 138, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180) became emperor himself in 161 AD. Educated at home, Marcus Aurelius studied law and followed the teachings of Stoicism. He wrote Meditations while waging war against the Germanic tribes to the North, in the decade before his death in 180 AD. This work, intended only for his personal use, has helped Marcus Aurelius’s enduring reputation ‘as an influence, an example and an inspiration for two millennia’ (McLynn). Meditations is still relevant today. Pocahontas’ husband, Captain John Smith (1580-1631) took two books with him to America, one of which was Meditations; Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) often carried a well-read and annotated copy; and Bill Clinton (b. 1946) is known to have read Meditations while in residence at the White House., 2004. Special Collections B1 GS48 no.02. (Permissions kindly granted by Penguin Ltd.), Meditations.
Concrete and Roman Architecture
Rome: [Mariano Vasi], The Romans’ use of concrete enabled them to build enormous, solid and stable buildings and structures both on land and under the water. They perfected the ‘recipe’ and typically used the volcanic sands called pozzolana from the town of Pozzuoli near Naples. Mixed with quicklime, an aggregate and water, this concrete was very strong and durable and has similar qualities to modern-day Portland cement. The Colosseum and the Pantheon were constructed using concrete and both of these buildings survive to this day. Concrete is now the most widely used man-made substance. Indeed, what would we do without it? In his guidebook, Mariano Vasi mentions pozzolano in his entry about Pozzuoli – ‘…de faire avec la chaux un ciment très-dur, propre à résister à toute espèce d’humidité…’ [when mixed with limestone the sands make a durable cement, unique in its ability to withstand all kinds of moisture]., 1813. de Beer Itb 1815 V, Itineraire Instructif de Rome à Naples, ou, Description Generale des Monumens Anciens et Modernes.
London: Printed by Tho. Roycroft for John Place, With the aid of concrete the Romans built baths, amphitheatres, temples, aqueducts, bridges, basilicas, arches and roads, throughout their vast empire. Concrete enabled the Romans to build larger, more monumental buildings. Unlike stone, concrete did not need to be carved, it could be shaped when wet, and the materials needed to make it were easier to transport and it required less skill in construction. All in all, concrete was cheaper and quicker. Finished in 306 AD, Diocletian’s Baths were the largest imperial baths built in Rome. Of the three Greek orders of columns the Romans preferred the Corinthian, the most ornate, and as Fréart writes above ‘[the style] is not therefore to be employed but in great and publick Works…’ as it was in the Baths of Diocletian. The original of this engraving was drawn in 1574 by the Italian architect Pyrro Ligorio (1510-83). , 1664. de Beer Ed 1664 F, A Parallel of the Antient Architecture with the Modern.
[Rome]: Ex typographia Camera Apostolica, sumptibus Hieronymi Bonae, In his work, De Architectura, Vitruvius (c. 80-15 BC) outlined what he thought was the ideal education for an architect and the principles of firmitas – durability; utilitas – usefulness; and venustas – beauty, in architecture. After his treatise resurfaced during the Renaissance it dominated architectural theory for the next 300 years. Andrea Palladio (1508-80) was heavily influenced by Vitruvius’s work. The above volume shows the Pantheon, which still stands in Rome 2000 years after it was first built and has the ‘largest unreinforced concrete dome’ in the world. The concrete was poured continuously, from the bottom of the dome to the top, so that it was seamless. The production, transport and distribution of all the concrete must have been a logistical nightmare., 1618. de Beer Itb 1618 P, Antiquitates Almae Urbis Romae.
Francis D. K. Ching, et al
Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Section-elevation of the Pantheon, Rome, 2007. Central NA200 CH58, A Global History of Architecture.
[Amsterdam: Daniel Elsevir], Christianity emerged as an off-shoot of Judaism in the 1st century AD and for the next four centuries it developed alongside and within the Roman Empire. Until Christianity was made ‘legal’ in 313 by the Christian Emperor Constantine (272-337 AD) and adopted as the state religion in 380, Christians were arbitrarily persecuted by administrators of the Empire. The Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) blamed the Christians for the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD and the resulting executions were chronicled by the historian Tacitus (56-117 AD) in his work Annals – ‘…Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt…’ (Annals, Book XV, chap. 44). Tacitus also alludes to the beginnings of Christianity, named after its leader, and Christ’s subsequent execution by Pontius Pilate., 1672. Shoults Lb 1672 T, Opera.
San Francisco: Book Club of California, Rome’s adoption of Christianity led to its spread and proliferation throughout the empire, and as H. E. Barnes states ‘Rome brought to Christianity its genius for organisation and administration’. In fact, would Christianity have been so wide-spread today without the initial help of the Roman Empire? The Bible, one of the most published books in history, has had an enormous influence on literature and historical texts and on art, music and philosophy. On display is a page of Leviticus from the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. Work began on the six-volume Bible in 1502 at Complutense University in Acalá de Henares (35 kilometres NE of Madrid, Spain) and each page has the Hebrew, Latin and Greek versions. The complete set, a masterpiece in printing, was finished in 1517. Of 600 printed, 123 full sets survive today., 1966. Special Collections BS1 1966 H344, The Great Polyglot Bibles: including a Leaf from the Complutensian of Acalá, 1514-17.
[Antwerp: Christophe Plantin], Barnes states ‘To the Greeks we attribute virtually all our literary forms… [for example] historical writing, literary criticism, … lyrical poetry… philosophical dialogue…comedy’ and of course tragedy. Composed for the Dionysia, an Athenian festival celebrating the god of wine Dionysus, Greek tragedies pitted man against the gods in battles of will and destiny. Aeschylus (c. 525-456 BC), wrote about 70 plays, seven of which survive to this day. Agamemnon, the first play in Aeschylus’s Oresteia trilogy, tells of Agamemnon’s return from the Trojan War and his subsequent assassination by his wife, Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) quoted Aeschylus, ‘his favourite poet’, on the campaign trail in 1968 after hearing of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)., 1580. Shoults La 1580 A, Tragedies VII.
[Leyden]: Franciscum Raphelengium,, Along with the Greek tragedians Aeschylus and Euripides (c. 480-406 BC), Sophocles (c. 496-406 BC) enjoyed success at the Dionysia. Sophocles wrote about 120 plays and, like Aeschylus, only seven are extant. During his 50 years of success as a playwright he won at the festival of Dionysus 24 times. Indeed on his inaugural outing in 468 BC, Sophocles beat Aeschylus for the top prize. Perhaps his most well-known play is Οίδίπους Τύραννος or Oedipus Rex which was performed for the first time in Athens in 429 BC. The play tells the story of the ill-fated mythical character Oedipus and how he unsuspectingly kills his father and marries his mother. Peter Watson believes that ‘[Oedipus Rex’s] influence is felt in our own day, thanks to Freud and the Oedipus complex’., 1593. Shoults La 1593 S, Tragedies VII.
Oxford: Printed for J. and J. Fletcher; and sold by Messrs. Rivington…, at Cambridge, Of forty plays written by Aristophanes (446-386 BC), only eleven survive. They are the only extant examples of comedy from his time. His comedies have influenced the likes of Racine (1639-99), Goethe (1749-1832) and Shelley (1792-1822) and are still performed around the world today. A mixture of satire, farce, burlesque, slapstick and parody, these comedies always have a happy ending. First performed in 405 BC, Aristophanes’s Frogs features the god Dionysus (Bacchus) who is lamenting the quality of the current Greek tragedians and ventures into the Underworld with his half-brother Heracles, to bring back the playwright Euripides. The introduction to the edition on display states it is the first translation in English and some of the more ribald and lascivious parts ‘are either omitted, or qualified;… it is hoped, without injuring the context’., . de Beer Ec 1785 A, The Frogs: A Comedy.
London: Printed for E. Curll; and A. Bettesworth, Greek lyric poetry was composed to be accompanied by the music of a lyre, hence the name. Sappho (d. ca. 570 BC), from the island of Lesbos, is possibly the most famous female poet, though her work comes to us only in fragments. Her poetry is characteristically emotional and passionate and speaks of life and love. Raphael immortalised Sappho in his painting Parnassus (1511), alongside other great poets of both ancient and contemporary times, such as Homer and Dante. Anacreon (582-485 BC), also a lyric poet whose work remains in fragments, wrote ‘elegant, light, fanciful’ love poetry and is known for his drinking songs. The Star Spangled Banner’s original tune is taken from an 18th century drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven., 1713. de Beer Eb 1713 A, The Works of Anacreon and Sappho.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, Although it is claimed that the Romans never reached the dizzy intellectual heights of the Greeks, they can lay claim to satire as their own invention. Satire uses irony, sarcasm, scorn and parody to make comments on society and its conventions. It can be light-hearted and funny or cruel and scornful. Not much is known about Juvenal (c. 55-130 AD) but we have sixteen of his satires. He is described by Peter Green as ‘a distinguished pagan moralist’ but he could be xenophobic and misogynistic. In Satire VI Juvenal laments the ‘good old days’ when women knew their place and were chaste, and advises a friend, Postumus, against marrying as women had become adulterous and deceitful; he chastises men, too, for putting up with their wives’ behaviour in exchange for a large dowry., 1967. Brasch PA6447 E5 GS86 1967, The Sixteen Satires.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, Thought to be one of the greatest prose writers in history, Cicero (106-43 BC) was born near Rome and educated in all things Greek. He was a prolific author and amazing linguist, credited with bringing a definitive style and elegance to the Latin language. Cicero has made an enormous contribution ‘to the intellectual content of the Western cultural tradition’ (Watson). His writings have influenced the likes of Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Locke (1632-1704), and he was greatly admired by John Adams (1735-1826) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the second and third president, respectively, of the United States of America. , 1960. Brasch PA6307 A2, Selected Works.
Kentfield, California: Allen Press, Publius Terentius Afer (c. 195-159 BC) or more commonly, Terence, wrote six plays, all of which survive to this day. Brought to Rome as a slave from Carthage, North Africa (modern-day Tunisia), Terence was educated and eventually freed by his master. Modelling his plays on those of his Greek forebears, he wrote in ‘perfect Latin’ and had ‘a remarkable ability in handling of plot and character’. This edition of Terence’s play, Adelphoi or The Brothers, recreates images made by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the renowned Renaissance artist. The only other surviving works of Roman comedy are from Plautus (254-184 BC), whose comic plots and characters were immortalised in the Broadway musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, written in 1962., 1968. Special Collections PA6756 A5 E3 1968, The Brothers.
London: MacGibbon & Kee, Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 BC) was born into a wealthy family in Verona and consequently moved to Rome. He was a contemporary of Cicero and Julius Caesar, both of whom feature in his poetry, which has been described as personal, emotional, beautiful and sometimes ‘slangy and obscene’. Catullus admired and was influenced by the Greek poets Sappho and Callimachus (c. 310-240 BC), some of whose poetry he translated and adapted for his own purpose. Popular in the Renaissance, Catullus was widely read and imitated by Ben Jonson (1572-1637) and Christopher Marlowe (1564-93). , 1966. Brasch PA6275 E5 SL47, Catullus.
The Star Wars Movies, Graves and Joyce
London: Methuen, Edward Gibbon’s (1737-1794) The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was the first of its kind in historical writing and relied heavily on primary sources. Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), the prolific Science Fiction writer, acknowledges, in his poem The Foundation of Science Fiction Success, his use of Gibbon’s seminal work and that of Thucydides. There are parallels between Asimov’s recurrent theme of ‘galactic empire’ and the Empire of the ancient Romans. In turn, as Peter Bondanella informs, Asimov’s ‘Gibbonian historical structure provided the nucleus around which the most successful film trilogy of all time was constructed’ – George Lucas’s Star Wars. May the force be with you!, 1926. Brasch DG311 GE142 1926, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
New York: Ace Books,, Edward Gibbon’s (1737-1794) The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was the first of its kind in historical writing and relied heavily on primary sources. Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), the prolific Science Fiction writer, acknowledges, in his poem The Foundation of Science Fiction Success, his use of Gibbon’s seminal work and that of Thucydides. There are parallels between Asimov’s recurrent theme of ‘galactic empire’ and the Empire of the ancient Romans. In turn, as Peter Bondanella informs, Asimov’s ‘Gibbonian historical structure provided the nucleus around which the most successful film trilogy of all time was constructed’ – George Lucas’s Star Wars. May the force be with you!, 1955. Fastier Science Fiction Collection PS648 F3 BJ43 1955, ‘The Foundation of Science Fiction Success’ (From The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction).
New York: Time, Robert Graves (1895-1985) relied heavily on ancient sources such as Suetonius’s De Vita Caesarum to write his popular and financially successful novel, I, Claudius. Throughout history, the Emperor Claudius (10 BC-54 AD) had been viewed as a disabled simpleton. Graves’s book went some way towards changing this long-held view. He believed that Claudius was ‘never given proper credit for cleaning up the mess left by his insane predecessor, Caligula’ and despite suffering a stammer and, what is now thought to have been, a form of cerebral palsy, Claudius initiated many successful administrative changes and public works. Graves admitted that he finished the novel prematurely at the moment when Claudius becomes Emperor upon the death of Caligula (12-41 AD)., 1965. Special Collections PR6013 R35 I23 1965, I, Claudius.
[Amsterdam: Ludovic Elzevir], Robert Graves (1895-1985) relied heavily on ancient sources such as Suetonius’s De Vita Caesarum to write his popular and financially successful novel, I, Claudius. Throughout history, the Emperor Claudius (10 BC-54 AD) had been viewed as a disabled simpleton. Graves’s book went some way towards changing this long-held view. He believed that Claudius was ‘never given proper credit for cleaning up the mess left by his insane predecessor, Caligula’ and despite suffering a stammer and, what is now thought to have been, a form of cerebral palsy, Claudius initiated many successful administrative changes and public works. Graves admitted that he finished the novel prematurely at the moment when Claudius becomes Emperor upon the death of Caligula (12-41 AD)., 1650. Shoults La 1650 S, [De Vita Caesarum].
London: Picador, Renowned for being a ‘difficult read’, James Joyce’s Ulysses was first published in its entirety in 1922. Joyce (1882-1941) was born and educated in Dublin but lived most of his adult life in continental Europe with his wife, Nora Barnacle. Joyce first experienced the hero Odysseus, from Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, as a child and came to regard him as an ‘all-round character’. Much of Homer’s epic is mirrored by Joyce in the novel in terms of its characters, events, and themes, and its episodic structure. Ulysses is considered by some scholars to be one of the greatest and most influential novels of the early twentieth century., 1997. Special Collections PR6019 O9 U422 1997. (Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners of the images displayed in this online exhibition. If any issues arise from their display, please contact Special Collections, University of Otago, firstname.lastname@example.org), Ulysses.
Sport and the Olympic Games
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, For just over a thousand years from 776 BC, the ancient Olympic Games took place, almost continuously, every four years until about 390 AD. The Games, in honour of the god Zeus, were held at the ‘religious precinct’ of his cult at Olympia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula. The events of the Games, open only to male citizens, included running races, with or without armour; pentathlon; discus; long-jump; javelin; wrestling; boxing; poetry and music; equestrian events including chariot races; and pankration – an ancient ‘ultimate fighter’ contest with only eye-gouging and biting forbidden. All these events are familiar to us today and many are still included in the modern Olympic Games., 2004. Central GV23 YP52. (Permissions kindly granted by Blackwell Publishing), A Brief History of the Olympic Games.
London: The British Museum Press, All the events at the ancient Olympic Games were undertaken in the nude, in fact the word ‘gymnasium’ means a place to do things in the nude. Going to the gym for ancient Greek men was a way of balancing academic pursuits with exercise and a way to ‘keep fit’ for war. The discus event, as it still does today, required the competitor to throw a flat, round disc as far as possible. Ancient Greek discuses could be made of bronze, marble or lead and usually weighed around 2.5 kilograms (the modern-day minimum discus weight is 2 kilograms). All the discus competitors at Olympia used one of three ‘official’ discuses in an attempt to maintain fairness. , 2011. Private Collection, The Ancient Olympic Games.
London: Folio Society, There is evidence that boxing was around from at least 2700 BC and, along with wrestling and pankration, the sport became ‘one of the essential aspects of Greek athletic education’ (Swaddling). Until about 500 BC, boxers’ hands were wrapped in long leather thongs, with ‘gloves’ being developed in the 4th century BC. Boxing or bare-knuckle fighting, became popular in the 17th century and Pierce Egan’s, Boxiana, first published in 1813, tells the stories of famous boxers of his time. Egan (1772-1849), a journalist, includes the matches between Tom Cribb (1781-1848), an English fighter who became ‘World Champion’, and Tom Molineaux (1784-1818), an ex-slave from America. They fought twice, in 1810 and 1811, and Egan, who watched both fights, gives ‘blow by blow’ accounts in his work., 1976. Special Collections GV1121 E89 1976, Boxiana.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, The site at Olympia, though remote and uninhabited, was easily accessible by sea, being only 15 kilometres from the coast; and because it was a major religious site many roads converged on the area. A truce was set up prior to each Games to ensure the safety of travelling athletes and spectators through warring Greek states. Buildings at Olympia included a stadium, temples, altars, a gymnasium, a swimming pool and a hippodrome. The poet, Pindar (c. 522-433 BC), wrote many epinikia or ‘victory odes’ in which he extolled the virtues of victorious athletes, not only in the Olympics but in all Panhellenic Games of the time. This is a familiar scene to the modern reader – the Olympic flame, reintroduced to the modern Olympics in 1928 at Amsterdam., 1969. Brasch PA4275 E5 BS55, The Odes of Pindar.
Chandler McC. Brooks [et al.]
[Albany]: State University of New York, Hippocrates (c. 460-370 BC), Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Galen (c. 129-216 AD) (pictured from top to bottom) were all responsible for disseminating the theory that the body, as a whole, was controlled by ‘Four Humours’. The theory, based on the ‘humours’ phlegm, blood, yellow bile and black bile, endured in medical thinking for 2000 years. Despite this erroneous theory, the ancient Greeks made many advances in medical science, divorcing themselves from the idea that the gods were the cause of health problems and beginning a tradition of using empirical evidence. Some relatively unknown characters in the field of ancient medicine are Herophilus (c. 335-280 BC) described as the ‘founder of scientific anatomy’; Erasistratus (c.304-250 BC), who was particularly interested in the anatomy of the brain; and Soranus (1st-2nd cent. AD), a gynaecologist who invented the speculum and the obstetric chair., . Fastier Science Fiction Collections QP187 H78 1962, Humors, Hormones, and Neurosecretions.
[Geneva]: Samuelis Chouet, Described as the ‘Father of Western Medicine’, Hippocrates was a doctor, surgeon and researcher. Hippocrates and the followers at his ‘medical’ school rejected the tradition of supernaturalism and believed illness was a natural occurrence and had environmental causes. Hippocrates closely examined his patients and was an advocate of detailed note-taking, not only for his own records but as a guide for future doctors. About 60 works are attributed to Hippocrates and his followers, including the work on epilepsy, The Sacred Disease. Hippocrates put much value in the ethics of practising medicine and upon entering his school, his pupils had to take the Hippocratic Oath – a modified version of which is still in use today., 1657. Monro Collection (Special Collections) M 129, [Opera Omnia].
[Rotterdam], [Joh. Daniel Beman], A lot of medical treatises were written in ancient Rome but none of them were original works, all having been copied or translated from Greek texts. Despite the fact that the Romans were not ‘great scientific innovators’ they made huge advances, for the time, in public health. Sewage systems, bath houses and aqueducts brought fresh water into Rome and contributed to maintaining the health and well-being of the Roman populus. It is possible that Aulus Cornelius Celsus (c. 25 BC- 50 AD) was not a doctor but he wrote an enormous encyclopaedic work, of which only De medicina survives. This treatise, a great source on medicine in the Roman world, details medicinal preparations, remedies, surgeries, treatment for fractures and among other things, how to prepare a tonic for the expulsion of dead foetuses., 1750. Shoults Lb 1750 C, De Medicina.
London: John Murray, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote of our need and desire for history in his essay On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life: ‘…history thus serves life, and expands the sense of what humans are capable of…’. Herodotus (c. 484-425 BC) has been called the ‘father of history’ and despite travelling widely, consulting archives and literary evidence, making observations and interviewing witnesses, he has been criticised for ‘embellishing’ his work. Written in prose in nine books, Histories is ‘an emancipation from myth’ (Watson), a 'factual' work, not one filled with gods and legends. Despite his detractors Herodotus left a seminal work that signalled the beginning of the tradition of historical writing., 1880. Shoults Eb 1880 H, The History of Herodotus.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, In the introduction to his translation, Rex Warner describes Xenophon (c. 431-355 BC) as ‘cool, calculating, brilliant and intensely pious…one of the most fascinating characters of history’. At the beginning of the 4th century Xenophon served as a mercenary for the Persian prince, Cyrus, and along with 10,000 other soldiers, was defeated and stranded far from home. Xenophon’s Anabasis or The Persian Expedition is an account of the journey made by the 10,000, with Xenophon as one of its leaders, across mountains and desert plains back into Greek territory. Writing in a clear and concise style, Xenophon chronicles the daily life and struggles of the ordinary soldier and provided future generations with not only an historical account of ‘one of the most famous marches in history’ but an insight into the mind of a Greek., 1949. Brasch PA4495 A6 W872, The Persian Expedition.
[Leyden: Samuel Luchtmans], Born in Spain, Pomponius Mela (died c. 45 BC) wrote De Situ Orbis (also known as de Chorographia or de Cosmographia) in the fourth decade of the 1st century. Describing three of the continents known in his time – Africa, Asia and Europe – his work is the first geographical treatise in Latin. Mela recognised that the earth was round and he makes reference to China, Sri Lanka, India and the Orkney Islands, which he called the Orcades. This map, drawn by Petrus Bertius, the Flemish cartographer in 1628, is a depiction of the world as described by Mela. According to Mela the large landmass at the bottom was inhabited by the Antichthones and unreachable by those from the north ‘because of the heat of the intervening expanse’ (transl. Romer)., 1748. Shoults Lb 1748 M, De Situ Orbis.
[Venice: Aldo Manutius],
Usually remembered as a great statesman and leader of the Roman army, Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) was also a great historian. His Commentaries on the Gallic Wars (58-51 BC) is one of his two surviving works. Written in the third person, Caesar recorded simple yet highly descriptive accounts of his campaigns. Barnes has called the Commentaries the ‘best historical memoirs of the ancient world’. In one of the last battles for supremacy in Gaul (France), Caesar surrounded the hilltop town of Alexia or Alesia in September 52 BC, with the Gallic chief Vercingetorix (82-46 BC), (yes, the one in the Asterix comics), and an army of united Gallic tribes inside. Caesar built an enormous series of fortifications facing the town and a mirror image set of battlements facing outwards, to ward off attacks from the Gallic chief’s allies. Occupying the space in between, Caesar defended his position from attacks both fore and aft; and starving and defeated, Vercingetorix surrendered to Caesar in October 52 BC.
(Key to engraving of Alexia: A=siege tower; B=parapet; C=battlements; D=palisades; E=wall; F/G=trenches; H=tree trunks with sharpened branches; I=spiked pit; K=stakes with iron hooks; L=trench, 20 foot wide with perpendicular sides; M=the town of Alexia)
, 1575. de Beer Itb 1575 C, Works.
Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, The development and proliferation of pottery and vase painting in ancient Greece was helped by the increasing trade in olive oil. Vase painting portrayed mythical scenes and scenes from everyday life such as athletic events or weddings and Watson believes that ‘No ancient people has given us such an intimate account of themselves as the Greeks did in their vase painting’. This image of the black-figure vase (c. 520 BC), held in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, depicts Herakles’s capture of the Erymanthian boar on one side and a scene showing Dionysus, the god of wine, on the reverse. , 2008. Central N5634 W35 W682, The Art of Ancient Greece.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Working in stone, marble and bronze, the ancient Greeks became masters in the art of sculpture. Athletic male bodies were represented in what was thought to be its ideal form – nude and muscular – while women were usually clothed in elaborate drapery. Greek sculptors were so skilled that they could make clothing carved in marble appear diaphanous, revealing the shape of the body beneath. Many artists in later centuries, especially those of the Renaissance, were profoundly influenced by the works of ancient Greek sculptors. , 2007. Central N5871.5 MK71, Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Seattle: University of Washington Press, The ancient Romans were not only a practical and pragmatic people but they were also incredibly efficient engineers and planners. Their talents for skill and accuracy in construction is evident in the monuments that still exist today. By 200 AD the Romans had built more than 80,000 kilometres of roads throughout their vast empire. Constructed of three or four layers of stone and clay with side channels for drainage, Roman roads were built strong and straight for the efficient transport of armies, trade and civilians. The roads were built by slaves and were well maintained at the state’s expense with officials dedicated to their upkeep. A Roman road surveyor may have used an hodometer or ‘road-measurer’. Described by Vitruvius (d. c. 15 BC) this machine has wheels of a prescribed diameter which turn a series of toothed cogs that cause a marble to drop into a container for every (Roman) mile travelled. , 1928. Storage DQA S, Roman Surveying Instruments.
[Venice: Giovanni Varisco & Compagni], The Romans were engineering innovators and over time they perfected the construction of the arch. By making use of arches in architecture they were not only able to save on building materials but they were able to construct buildings with wide open interior spaces. The Colosseum in Rome, completed in 80 AD, could seat between 50,000-80,000 spectators. It consisted of four floors with the first three storeys containing 80 arches each. The arches, made of uprights of limestone and archways of lightweight moulded concrete, added strength to the walls and ceilings of each floor. The Colosseum is still the largest amphitheatre in the world., 1569. de Beer Itb 1569 G, Le Antichità della Città di Roma.
[Rome: Joannes Baptista Bussotti], As the city of Rome and its population grew so did the need for a constant supply of fresh water, free from contamination, for public baths, fountains, latrines, industry and some private dwellings. The first aqueduct supplying Rome was built in 300 BC and by 300 AD there were eleven aqueducts carrying in millions of litres of water a day. Aqueducts relied on gravity alone for water movement and Vitruvius posits a gradient of 1:4800 as optimal. In the 17th century, Italian antiquarian Raphael Fabretti wrote three dissertations on Rome’s aqueducts. This engraving of the Aqua Alexandrina, built in 226 AD and supplying the Baths of Alexander, describes some of the above ground parts of the 22.4 km long aqueduct. The aqueduct, still visible in Rome today, was thought to supply between 120,000 and 300,000 cubic metres of water a day.
(Key to Fabretti’s engraving
Page 8: A=the space or hollow through which the water flowed
Page 9 (top):A=the space or hollow through which the water flowed; B=the ventilation shaft to maintain freshness and allow
access; C=the ridge of the arch; D=the form of the arch upright
Page 9 (bottom): A settling tank where the water is carried through (A) and (B) into the tank (C), where the mud in the water remained. Purified water exited through (D) and (E) and continued its journey to the city.)
, 1680. de Beer Itb 1680 F, De Aquis et Aquaeductibus Veteris Romae.
The Classical World in America
New Haven: Yale University Press, From the early days of the Republic, the American imagination was captured by the classical world, and the ‘ideal’ achieved by the ancient Greeks and Romans in politics, arts, architecture, ethics and education. Hiram Powers (1805-1873) and Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908) were both American sculptors who lived and worked in Italy and produced statues and busts in the neoclassical style, often ‘dressing’ their contemporary subjects in traditional Greek and Roman garb. Neoclassical sculptures were the concrete embodiment of American society’s aspirations to the ‘ideal’, portraying the likes of George Washington, among others, in the same way that the great Greek and Roman leaders had been., c. 1989. Storage NX503.7 V635, America’s Rome.
Garden City, New York: Doubleday, America’s ‘Founding Fathers’ and revolutionaries in France looked to the monarch-less republic of ancient Rome for inspiration in the formation of their new governments and administrations. Both America and France wanted to protect the ‘liberty’ that was achieved through their revolutions by creating a system based on the ‘political principles’ and ‘constitutional mechanisms’ developed in the Roman Republic. The works of Cicero and Polybius were instrumental in shaping the American and French ethos of working for the common good of the people. ‘Modern republicans found both their morals and their constitution in the old republican legacy of Rome’ (Sellers). Here are various images of the first elected president of the United States, George Washington (1732-99) and Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), republican leader of France., 1984. Central E312.62 WQ65, Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment.
Delray Beach, Florida: Levenger Press, Written on presidential stationery, this manuscript is a facsimile of one of the first drafts of the Gettysburg Address. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) delivered the speech on the occasion of the memorial dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863. Lasting a short two minutes, the speech is considered by some to be the most famous and important speech given by an American. It is thought that Lincoln was influenced by the oratory techniques of the ancient Greeks, especially those in Pericles’s funeral oration recounted by Thucydides.The techniques include acknowledging forebears and those slain in battle, reiterating the democratic principles of the state and encouraging those who are living to continue to strive for the ‘cause’., 2011. Special Collections E475.55 L663 2011, Long Remembered: Lincoln and his Five Versions of the Gettysburg Address.
Delray Beach, Florida: Levenger Press, The Gettysburg Address, Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, 2011. Special Collections E475.55 L663 2011, Long Remembered: Lincoln and his Five Versions of the Gettysburg Address.
___, Abraham Lincoln, ___. ___, Abraham Lincoln.
[Venice]: Bartolomea Carampello, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third president of the United States and talented amateur architect, designed and built many buildings in neoclassical style. Jefferson had an extensive knowledge of and reverence for the classical world and was greatly influenced by the work of Italian architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-80) whose work was, in turn, influenced by the ancient Romans. Dominated by domes, colonnaded porticoes and pediments, Jeffersonian architecture is visible in Jefferson’s own home, Monticello and the Rotunda building at the University of Virginia, both in Charlottesville, Virginia. This neoclassical type of architecture was thought to reflect and reinforce the link between the ideologies and values of the republic of America and that of ancient Rome. , 1581. de Beer Itc 1581 P, I Qvattro Libri dell'Architettura di Andrea Palladio.
New York: Free Press of Glencoe, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third president of the United States and talented amateur architect, designed and built many buildings in neoclassical style. Jefferson had an extensive knowledge of and reverence for the classical world and was greatly influenced by the work of Italian architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-80) whose work was, in turn, influenced by the ancient Romans. Dominated by domes, colonnaded porticoes and pediments, Jeffersonian architecture is visible in Jefferson’s own home, Monticello and the Rotunda building at the University of Virginia, both in Charlottesville, Virginia. This neoclassical type of architecture was thought to reflect and reinforce the link between the ideologies and values of the republic of America and that of ancient Rome., 1964. Storage NA705 AJ822 1964, Architecture, Ambition and Americans.
During the Graeco-Persian War in the 5th century BC, King Xerxes (520-465 BC) invaded Greece in 481 BC with hundreds of thousands of infantry soldiers and an enormous naval fleet. The Persians ultimately lost. One of the most famous battles during the subsequent war was between Xerxes’s army and the Greeks at Thermopylae in 480 BC. Parts of this battle were fictionalised in the movie 300 (2007). King Xerxes was played by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santora, with the leader of the 300 Spartan warriors, King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler.
Herodotus, The History of Herodotus, London: John Murray. 1880, Shoults Eb 1880 H.
London: Folio Society, Hector, son of King Priam and Prince of Troy, was played by Eric Bana, the Australian actor, in the 2004 film Troy. In Homer’s Iliad, the epic poem on which the movie is based, Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) is enraged by the death of his friend Patroclus, and stabs Hector to death in combat, afterwards dragging his body behind his chariot. In 1950, the Dunedin-born illustrator John Buckland Wright was commissioned by the Folio Society, London, to produce engravings for an edition of the Iliad., 1950. Special Collections PA4025 A2 LX43, The Iliad.
London: Methuen, In 180 AD, Emperor Marcus Aurelius died, having ruled over an empire that stretched from northern Britain, across Europe, to the Middle East. He was succeeded by his son Commodus (161-192 AD) who, incidentally, was played by the actor Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s movie Gladiator (2000). In his seminal work, Edward Gibbon claimed Commodus’s accession to the imperial throne was the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire., 1926. Brasch DG311 GE142 1926, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Attributed to the Euphiletos painter, this Greek amphora would have contained olive oil and would have been the prize for the winner of an event in the Panathenaic games in the 6th century BC. The black-figure image depicts men participating in a foot race, with the slower beardless youth coming last. The other side shows the goddess Athena. The vase is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York., 2007. Central N5871.5 MK71. (Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners of the images displayed in this online exhibition. If any issues arise from their display, please contact Special Collections, University of Otago, email@example.com), Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
___, Vitruvian Man is one of the most famous drawings in history. Drawn by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) in 1490, it was based on details regarding ideal human proportions from Vitruvius’s work, De Architectura (1st cent. BC), and depicts a man, with arms and legs askance, inside a square and a circle. Leonardo’s original is surrounded by his notes on Vitruvius’s work., 1490. ___, Vitruvian Man.
[Rome], Nella libraria Michel’ Angelo, e Pier Vincenzo Rossi, The area encompassing Rome has been occupied by humans for over 10,000 years. The city of Rome was established on the banks of the river Tiber in the 8th century BC. At the height of the Roman Empire, in the 2nd century AD, over a million people lived there. When the empire fell the population dropped to below 50,000 inhabitants. Today almost three million people live in the city of Rome and up to ten million tourists visit every year. This early 18th century engraving shows the monuments and buildings at the centre of ancient Rome; some of which remain to this day. , 1708. de Beer Itb 1708 D, Descrizione di Roma Antica.
London: William S. Orr, Built on the Acropolis in Athens and completed in 438 BC, the Parthenon was a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, for whom the city is named. Constructed from limestone and marble, the temple housed a statue of Athena holding the goddess of victory, Nike, in her right hand. , 1840. Special Collections DF725 W672 1840, Greece: Pictorial, Descriptive and Historical.
Giovanni Giacomo de’ Rossi and Giovanni Battista Falda
[Rome: Giovanni Giacomo de’ Rossi], This engraving of the Colisseum in Rome was published by Giovanni Giacomo de’ Rossi in the 17th century. De’ Rossi inherited his father’s publishing business and worked with Giovanni Battista Falda (c. 1640-78), artist, architect and engraver, to create detailed engravings of Rome’s famous monuments and buildings.
, . de Beer Itd 1690 R, [Engravings of buildings of Rome by Rossi and Falda (1650-1684)].
Jean Jacques Boissard, [et al.]
[Francofurti: impensis Theodori de Bry], Here are the twins Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. Abandoned at birth, they were saved and suckled by the she-wolf Lupa and then adopted by a shepherd and his wife. In adulthood while trying to found a new city, the twins argued and Remus was killed. Romulus founded Rome, named it after himself and the rest, as they say, is history. , 1597-1602. de Beer Gc 1597 B, Romanae Urbis topographiae…..