Coriolanus – The Failed Politician

While not one of Shakespeare’s more popular plays, I have now seen a couple of productions of it, even if one of the productions is actually a movie. Okay, a theatrical production and a movie are two completely different things, and sometimes I find that I tend to be drawn towards one medium more than the other, and unfortunately, in the case of Coriolanus, I have found myself attracted to the film. I guess one of the main reasons is that with film the scope can be much larger while the play tends to be quite limited in what you are able to do. Secondly, the film version of Coriolanus had machine guns and tanks (and I have to say that I love Shakespeare with machine guns and tanks). Anyway, here is the trailer for the film (simply because I have to include it in this post):

Defy the State – Sophocles’ Antigone

I was sitting outside a coffee shop in Melbourne one morning and a tram trundled past advertising a production of the Sophoclean play Antigone. Knowing that Melbourne trams have the really bad habit of advertising plays that have long since finished I jumped onto the internet and to my absolute delight discovered that it had yet to begin. I have only ever seen one Ancient Greek play performed in my life and that was an amateur production (though it wasn’t all that bad – its just that amateur productions tend to be a little different – the actors wander amongst the audience beforehand practising their lines), so I decided to immediately book my tickets.

The Persian War – Salamis

I would open this post by saying that I’m sure every school boy has heard the story of how 300 battle hardened warriors held a tiny pass against a foe whose numbers literally dwarfed them for three days before being betrayed by a shepherd and then fighting valiantly to the last man. However, thanks to Zac Snyder and Frank Miller, this story that was once relegated to the high school and university classes was released to the world in the form of a graphic novel and one awesome movie.

Marathon – A Persian Victory

Once again on my explorations of Youtube I came across a video produced by the Alternate History Hub (and I must admit that they produce some really interesting videos that inspire me to explore much deeper) speculating what would have happened if Persia had managed to invade Greece. The problem that I find with a lot of their productions is that their conclusions tend to be ‘this was so long ago it is impossible to know what would have happened’. Well, there is a whole field of counter-factual history where historians explore the ‘what might have been’ with regards to these particular historical events.

War, Bloodshed, and Political Intrigue – Tacitus’ Annals

I remember when I was studying Greek and Roman Literature at University and our lecturers asked us if they should consider looking at any other works beyond the ones that we had studied and I immediately put my hand up and suggested a history such as Plutarch. My lecturer liked the idea of looking at a history but didn’t seem to be all that keen on my suggestion of author and instead suggested Tacitus. I immediately blew off Tacitus thinking that he was boring (and I had only just discovered Plutarch) however years later I picked a copy of his Annals of Imperial Rome from my shelf and gave it a read – and discovered that is was really good. It then went onto my ‘have already read’ bookshelf and promptly forgotten about. However, with the rise of social media, and in particular sites such as Goodreads and Booklikes, I decided that I would trawl through all of the books that I read and write a few thoughts on them along with the books that I was currently reading.

Jupiter Ascending – The evolution of the secular gods

Years ago, when I was in university, I had this desire to not so much review movies, but to critically analyse concepts that I picked up while watching them. I guess it had a lot to do with me studying English Literature and the realisation that I could take the same ideas and apply them to Hollywood movies. Okay, you may be wandering what one could possibly get out of Terminator II, but I have actually written a review and posted it on IMDB. However, that was back in the days before IMDB ever existed, so using my SMUG (Student Machine Users Group) account I created a basic webpage to catalogue my thoughts. Mind you, I doubt that website still exists, and even if it does it is floating somewhere deep in the web, cut off from the rest of the internet. A few years later a friend at church directed me to the website Hollywood Jesus which tries to get Christian meaning from Hollywood movies (while in many cases is not all that hard to do, it does depend on the movie: I doubt you are going to get any Christian meaning out of Debbie Does Dallas).

Julius Caeser – Bestriding the World

Well, it seems that I simply cannot get away from watching Shakesperian plays, even if the production is, in my opinion, somewhat sub-par. I am starting to understand why a friend of my really hates going to Australian theatre. Okay, being a regular attendee at theatres of Broadway, and regularly traveling to the United States to go to Shakespeare festivals probably does that to you, and while I have never been to the States, I have been to London, and seen performances in the West End and at the Globe and honestly, these more modern adaptations are really starting to get to me.

The Roman Republic and the Death of Democracy

Well, I have previously explored the similarities, and differences, between the world as it is today and France prior to the French Revolution, so now I will go much further back into the past to the Roman Republic so see what we can learn from the tumultuous period between the fall of the republic and the rise of the empire.