Thanks to Wayne for the strip.
I know I have not written anything in a while, partly because I have been so busy with working on a new collection of essays I am putting together with Bob Price and partly because I have been working on articles for another collection of essays I am contributing to, that I have not had the time to blog (even though I really, really want to). In between drilling myself silly with book proposals, abstracts, and contacting contributors, I have managed to start working on the article concerning ancient literature, literacy and model use in antiquity that I promised a few months ago.
During my research for the article, I have been very interested in Pompeii as a possible example for one of the points I make throughout. In Pompeii, there are some 11,000 instances of the written word. Some of these instances show signs of bilingual semi-literates (where something is written in Latin, but in the Greek alphabet), which belay the influence of Greek culture on the region prior to the war which later brought that region of Italy into the Roman empire. Other instances are far more elaborate (like official inscriptions) or less than fascinating (like who is in love with who).
The questions that I feel are important concerning literacy rely primarily on the banal. Much of this will be covered in the main article, however the question must be asked; if the common man or woman (much less frequently) could write graffiti on the side of a building, or could even write their name, what does that imply about their level of literacy? Who would be able to read the graffiti anyway? What purpose would literacy even have in the commoners life? These questions aside (like I said, answered in the main article I am working on), while reading through some of the graffiti, I had more than my share of chuckles. I thought as a quick blog post I would share some of them with you. You might see similar graffiti above urinals in a public restroom. (The Complete Pompeii, p. 102)
This is one of my favorite scenes from any 1960′s movie dealing with mythology. The scene here is at the end of the movie. I still think the animation here is better than CGI in a lot of movies. (But I have a bias, as Jason and the voyage of the Argo is one of my favorite cyclic epics from antiquity) Enjoy.
(Added) This is a scene from Sinbad; I just really like the skeleton fight scenes.