Saturday, January 23, 2010

Athens, Attica and the Megarid.

Guess what, Gentle Readers? It's time for another (short) book report!

Athens, Attica and the Megarid: an Archaeological Guide is the result of intensive research on the part of Hans Rupprect Goette, who leaves no stone unturned (literally) in his detailed account of the Attican countryside.

The work is divided into seven sections: Athens and Piraeus, Sounion and the Mesogeia, Marathon and north-east Attica, the areas around the Thriasian plain, the Megarid, the islands of the Saronic Gulf, and finally the Appendices which include information on things like architecture, geography, flora and fauna. The divisions are wonderfully comprehensible, and Goette includes maps and sketches every few pages to give the reader an idea of the area he is covering.

To say the least this book is VERY detailed. It's over 350 pages of small print that's packed with information on every ancient shrine, palace, farmstead, cave, temple, fort, boundry stone, statue, monument, quarry, theatre, cemetery and wall ever built in Attica. There are fabulous details on rarely visited places like the forts at Eleutherai and Oinoe and the harbors at Lavrion and Porto Raphti. The author also takes the time to acknowledge the little things that are huge in importance: a boundry stone that seperated a coastal tritty from an inland one, an ancient quarrry road, a goatpen with architecutral furnishings for milking animals, a gaurd post in a small mountain pass. It's clear from reading this guide that Goette took on a Herculean task, but luckily for readers he manages to succeed and succeed very well.

Athens, Attica and the Megarid is not cheap. The book is $108 on Amazon. Yet such is the price for extensive research. If you are interested in the ruins of Attica, then this book is for you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spartacus: Blood & Sand & Bleh

I poked my head out of my archeological dig on Anceient Greece long enough to watch a free episode of the new Spartacus series. Wish I hadn't.

This series has no redeeming qualities. Where Rome was over-the-top and gritty (with a solid cast of actors), this is just AWFUL. The script is terrible, the acting is flinch-inducing, the costumes are ridiculous and the green-screen is annoying. The latter worked in 300 because the movie was based on the comic book, which in and off itself is very stylized. This...this is just stupid.

I guess it's unfair of me to expect anything glamorous from the makers of Xena: Warrior Princess, but seriously...