New PDF release: The Classics

By Mary Beard, John Henderson

ISBN-10: 1402781962

ISBN-13: 9781402781964

Mary Beard and John Henderson hyperlink a haunting temple on a lonely mountainside to the distinction of historic Greece and the grandeur of Rome, and to classics inside glossy culture-from Jefferson and Byron to Asterix and Ben-Hur. instead of targeting the normal retelling of the classics, the authors be aware of one specific artifact--the friezes from the Temple of Apollo at Bassae in Arcadia--as a springboard to discover, outline, and debate the connection among our modern global and the traditional one.

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Sample text

The eruptions of 472 and 512 added to the chaos of a crumbling Roman Empire and invading barbarians, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Lombards. In 512, moreover, the volcano began to change its habits. Earlier eruptions, like the disaster of 79, expelled volcanic pebbles and produced pyroclastic flows, but now the mountain also began to spill real liquid: molten lava. When the volcano threw out pebbles in 1138 and again for eight days in 1139, Naples had just fallen to Norman 20 from pompeii warlords, who would soon transform the city into one of the most beautiful and populous settlements on earth—but at the time, the people of the region could see only the terror of invasion compounded by an exploding volcano.

The events of 79 and 1631 both came after long years of dormancy, both exploded a stone plug and sent the fragments into the air before emitting deadly pyroclastic surges, and both produced ash and lapilli rather than lava (the 1631 eruption is now classified as “sub-Plinian,” a less drastic version of the larger “Plinian” eruption of 79). Because we lack a visual record of the original “Plinian” event (we have the “before” picture from the House of the Centenary but not the “after”) we do not know how the eruption of 79 changed the skyline of the Bay of Naples.

C. It was hard to imagine mountains toppling or continents rising and falling at the rate a merely six-thousand-year-old world would dictate, and Kircher himself could not imagine a world so fast moving or so young. Before Pompeii 49 He therefore searched for ways to reconcile orthodox doctrine with his observations and found a few ser viceable loopholes. On the whole, however, his usual way of dealing with controversial topics was simply to state both the approved position and his own, side by side, as if there were no contradiction between them.

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The Classics by Mary Beard, John Henderson

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