Wednesday, July 18, 2007

First Stop: The Met

The first stop on my trip to Greece was New York City, to visit some family and friends, and, of course some bookstores. This would probably not be worth mentioning here in connection with my trip to Greece, if it wasn't for the exciting opening of the new Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 1949, more than half of the Met's Classical collection went into storage, and, despite the heaven of culinary delights already available in Manhattan, someone decided to use the space for a restaurant instead. But now, almost sixty years later, with this opening, the museum's already impressive display of Greek and Roman artwork has doubled back to its original size. The new sections seem to be mostly Hellenistic and Roman artifacts, but the space itself is lovely, and it includes a tremendous example of an Ionic style column.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Anniversary and Adventure

Yesterday marked one year since I wrote the first entry for this blog called Nestor's Cup, which I've used to keep myself writing by noting some of the interesting and unusual things that I've discovered while studying Greek culture. It was an idea that I had in mind for a while: I considered it a good way to keep a journal that I could access at the library or at housesitting jobs without having to lug a computer around constantly. It also seemed like a nice memorial for my cat, Nestor, as I noted in the first post.

If anyone reads this blog, you will have noticed that the entries for the past six months have been much more sparse than those in the first six months. There are several reasons: some personal reasons, a change in my working life, and fluctuation in my access to the internet. I've also been preparing to return to school this fall to begin graduate work in Classics. After the initial research and paperwork, I began to dedicate a lot of time to studying the languages that I will need, since I'm entirely self-taught (excepting the fantastic community of independent classicists at Textkit), and especially to Latin, which is a weak point for me. More recently I've begun to address some of the details of my advent at university: where I will live, how I will move, what classes I will take, and how to deal with the confusing web of administrative personnel.

I'm not sure how this change will affect Nestor's Cup. On one hand, I expect to be extremely busy with papers and reading and teaching; but on the other hand, I will have constant internet access, and hope to come across interesting tidbits at a faster rate, since I will be surrounded by scholars and students---plus, I've often found that I can be more productive when I have a pressing schedule. We'll see what happens. I've felt free to blog about anything that I found interesting, but I've always had a special interest in topics that are relegated to the fringes of scholarship, like mundane details of everyday life, more unusual passages or writers, and anything immature, vulgar, and obscene: things to remind me that Greek culture encompassed more than those brilliant artists whom we study and admire most keenly. I expect that I will continue to be drawn to these things, but I can also envision some ways in which this blog might evolve in the short-term and over time. In the first place, I imagine that I will be more and more prone to include Roman elements, and other foreign elements, primarily, but perhaps not exclusively, as they shed light on Greek art and culture. There also might be times when I make brief posts that will be more useful to me as a memory aid for future research than it will be interesting reading for others. And, finally, it is likely that I will write sometimes about the state of Classical studies in general, and at my school in particular, as well as personal reflections about graduate study as opposed to independent study. In the more distant future, if this blog is to survive that long, I can imagine it growing ever wider in scope, to include more of my intellectual interests outside of the Classical world, and to become a tool in the essaying that I hope to work at throughout my life. Already, however, with this post, there has been a change in the tone of Nestor's Cup.

But over the next few weeks there will be a more definite program as I find time to write on this blog: that is to recount my recent adventure to Greece, from which I've just returned, and to offer you commentary and photographs of my journey to some of the landscapes and landmarks that we read about as Hellenists. It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life, and a very good bit of research as well, and more enlightening than it can ever seem from my recollections and photos; but, with any luck, I'll offer some unique reflections that don't find their way into the scholarly accounts, nor the travel-writing done by excellent writers who nevertheless haven't the same passion for the ancient culture and language---at any rate it will be my story.