Posts Tagged With: Tom Holland

14. 3. 2014

By-the-Bye No. 1
Tom Holland and Mary Renault’s Alexander Trilogy
A few weeks ago on my Alexander Facebook page I mentioned that Virago Books are re-releasing Mary Renault’s Alexander Trilogy. I started reading one of them, The Persian Boy, I think, a while ago but got nowhere with it. Not the book’s fault – the story was being told from Bagoas the eunuch’s perspective, and I’m not really interested in him. I might have another go with the new editions, though, especially as they will come with an introduction-or-three by Tom Holland.
Alexander the Fourth… Version
Did you know that Oliver Stone is releasing a fourth version of his ‘biopic’ of Alexander? It will be called Alexander The Ultimate Cut and is due for release on 3rd June this year. Here it is at Amazon. I will buy it, if only to see what changes Stone has made. Unfortunately,  I don’t expect to come away thinking ‘Finally, Oliver Stone has made a great picture’. This is because, to my mind, his Alexander is fundamentally flawed; for example, in silly mistakes such as the absurd accents or the insipid interpretation of Hephaestion, but also in the more serious errors such as the hatchet job done on Philip II. This is not to say that the film is and always will be unwatchable – I enjoyed watching Alexander Revisited for my scene-by-scene series and appreciated the film more as a result – but I do think it means that no matter what Stone does to the film he will never get the first class picture that he craves.
And yet, he must clearly love it to come back to it time and again. If only he would move on and, perhaps, direct or produce a documentary series on Alexander. That would be worthy of his devotion and give him a new chance to write the story he obviously wants.

300 Rise of an Empire
300 Rise of an Empire has just come out in Britain. Lucky us. I am being a little unfair. 300 was immensely silly but enjoyable in its own silly way; I daresay that Rise of an Empire is more of the same. I enjoyed reading Pop Classics’ review of it; particularly as it taught me a new word – parallelaquel, being a sequel that takes place before, during and after the original movie!

Forgotten Dynasties
A couple of days ago I opened the Livius website and started reading about the Attalid and Antigonid dynasties. Before doing so you could have summed up my knowledge of both as – the Attalids? Who? Where? And, Antigonids? You mean the ones defeated by the Romans? So it was good to learn a little more about them both. Next, I should do the same for the Seleucid kings. My heart will always be with the Argeads and Ptolemies but it is good to fill in the blank spaces in one’s knowledge.
Well Done to The Last of Us et al
The British Film Academy held its annual video game awards this week (Here is the Daily Telegraph’s report). Am I the only one who would love to see a game based on the Macedonian phalanx. It could be a First Person… what? Shooter obviously won’t do; I am going for Stabber and Slasher. I believe there are strategy games based on Alexander’s conquests but the FPS&S would allow the player to get up close and personal at the front of the phalanx. Blood, gore and mayhem. Brilliant.

Pi in the Sky
Happy Pi Day to this blog’s American readers.
The official (??) website claims that this day is celebrated ‘around the world’. Alas, not in Britain where – as you can see from the title of this post – we place the day before the month. Still, the sentiment – that we use the day to celebrate maths – is a good one. As I am as good with numbers as Ptolemy I Soter, though, I fear I will use our different method of dating as an excuse to ignore all things mathematical until tomorrow (and thereafter).
2058 Years of Hurt
Speaking of anniversaries – tomorrow is, of course, the Ides of March. Had I been around in First Century BC Rome I would definitely have been on Julius Caesar’s side* so it will naturally be a sad occasion for me. I may have to take a little wine to assuage the pain. If so, I shall raise a glass to the other great man. 

* Well, okay, I would probably have been a peasant but I’m sure we have all harboured thoughts of being a patrician. Haven’t we?

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Categories: By the Bye, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Men on the Moon

This morning on Twitter I read the following tweet by historian Tom Holland.
imageYou can follow his link to The Sky at Night’s webpage here.
I have to admit, I share his scepticism. Arrhidaeus’ claim-to-fame is really just the fact that he was Alexander the Great’s (half-)brother. Apart from staying alive as long as he did Arrhidaeus didn’t really do anything to be worthy of great honour.
To be fair, he wasn’t best placed to, having some form of (mental?) illness as a result of being poisoned by Olympias when he was just a boy (Plutarch 77). Perhaps whoever decided to name a crater after him was not thinking of Arrhidaeus as one of the great men of old worthy of remembrance but as a disabled man who deserved recognition for what he unfairly suffered.
Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is a list of people who have lunar craters named after them. It includes the following Greeks,

  • Agatharchides
  • Agrippa
  • Alexander the Great
  • Ammonius Saccas
  • Anaxagoras
  • Anaximander
  • Anaximenes of Miletus
  • Apollonius of Perga
  • Aratus
  • Archimedes
  • Archytas
  • Aristarchus of Samos
  • Aristillus
  • Aristotle
  • Autolycus of Pitane
  • Cleostratus
  • Euctemon
  • Harkhebi
  • Hipparchus
  • Philip III of Macedon
  • Bartholomaeus Pitiscus
  • Protagoras
  • Theaetetus
  • Zeno of Citium

The list comes with the usual provisos – as useful as Wikipedia is, it can sometimes be unreliable; and, of course, I may have missed someone out.
By-the-bye, as I went through the list I was struck by the fact that there appeared to be very few Roman names mentioned. Yet, if you click on the link to The Sky at Night‘s webpage, you will notice that Arrhidaeus’ crater is located close to one named after Julius Caesar. As I said, Wikipedia can be unreliable.
One last thing – I hope you noticed the two comments below Holland’s tweet. They are notable for different reasons. Unless I am mistaken ‘Keftiu’ is the ancient name for Crete – beloved of this author for its association with Patrick Leigh Fermor. The second reply just made me smile, thus 🙂

Categories: Of The Moment | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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