Archive for February 2009

Kingdoms of one-eyed giants

Totius africae tabula

Totius Africæ tabula, Sebastian Münster, 1554, with “a one-eyed giant seated over Nigeria and Cameroon, representing the mythical tribe of the Monoculi”

For a larger version of this map, see Evolution of the Map of Africa, part of the online exhibition To the Mountains of the Moon: Mapping African Exploration, 1541-1880


Written by Dave Lovely

February 23, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Posted in maps

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Flickr favorites, lately

Cranach Magnified


Cranach Magnified, a project of the Getty Museum, “allows you to investigate the refined painting technique of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) and his workshop by comparing zoomable macroscopic details from different paintings side by side.”

Here are two magnified lions, one from the Getty’s A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion of about 1526, and the other from the Courtauld Institute‘s Adam and Eve, painted in the same year.

two lions

By zooming in closer, you can see in detail the bloody muzzle of one, and the beady eye of the other.

detail of lion from A Faun and his Family with a Slain Lion, ca. 1526detail of lion from Adam and Eve, 1526

Quite apart from its usefulness for Cranach scholars, playing about with this is a lot of fun, so I suggest you imitate the tiny running figure (who can just be seen, as a speck on the road to the left of the faun’s wife’s head, in A Faun and his Family with a Slain Lion, and get yourself over to the Getty as fast as your legs (or your browser) can carry you.

Written by Dave Lovely

February 15, 2009 at 11:16 am

A Roman magpie

Nox Philologiae  

Gellius’s only work, the twenty-volume Noctes Atticae, is an exploding, sometimes seemingly random text-cum-diary in which Gellius jotted down everything of interest he heard in conversation or read in contemporary books….Gunderson tackles Gellius with exuberance, placing him in the larger culture of antiquarian literature. Purposely echoing Gellius’s own swooping word-play and digressions, he explores the techniques by which knowledge was produced and consumed in Gellius’s day, as well as in our own time. The resulting book is as much pure creative fun as it is a major work of scholarship informed by the theories of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida.

One can only imagine what Gellius would have made of Twitter, Tumblr, and the rest. What’s the Latin for “I’m so reblogging this” ?

Nox Philologiae – Aulus Gellius and the Fantasy of the Roman Library, by Erik Gunderson

via fabula

Written by Dave Lovely

February 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Posted in books

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