The Lady and the Sea Monster

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Domenico Guidi (Italian, 1625-1701) Commissioned by Francesco II, Duke of Mantua and Reggio (Italian, 1660-1694) , who died before the sculpture’s completion. Andromeda and the Sea Monster. 1694. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Web. 11 Dec 2017.

This sculpture, though made in the Common Era, resembles traits of a Hellenistic sculpture from Ancient Greece. The depiction of Andromeda in this fluid like movement is very common in Hellenistic style art as well as noticing how the free-standing Andromeda is much like new upcoming sculptures in BCE. Having the subject in the nude like so relates to how the Greeks shaped their art to show how the human body should be shown off as such, as it is in the Gods image.
This piece of art can relate to a quote from the Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 1:

“Her fury inflamed by all this, the daughter of Saturn drove over endless oceans Trojans left by the Greeks and brute Achilles. Juno kept them far from Latium, forced by the Fates to wander round the seas of the world, year in, year out. Such a long hard labor it was to found the Roman people.”

The sculpture of Andromeda is in relation to Greek art, and not Roman art. We can clearly tell by observing how the breasts of Andromeda are revealed and not hidden by shrubbery. Greek and Roman themes do relate sometimes, where we can see how Andromeda, goddess of dreams, who usually accompanies with Poseidon, can be like the daughter of Saturn. Both are strong mythological female figures, with relation to “driving over endless oceans” They differ from their cultural origins, but both parts of Greco-Roman mythology can be connected.

The artist wanted to try his best, from a 17thy century perspective, to copy an old time Greek sculpture to the best of their ability. The artist Domenico Guidi, was a prominent Baroque sculptor, who had a short life as an artist. His intentions for creating art are not that important for the relation to Roman era literature, since they are two different time periods.

Sean Reilly, Team Artemis


Halloween Chiaroscuro

While scrolling down some of my friends Instagram feeds, I stumbled upon my friend Cristian’s Halloween post dressed up as Johnny Depp from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Clearly shown here there is a case of chiaroscuro discussed in our class. I was there when Cristian took this photo, and I remember specifically him wanting the idea of madness, insanity, and confusion to come through with the photo, so making this chiaroscuro effect helped him achieve that. We can see how this contemporary piece is using photography instead of painting to achieve a certain lighting effect. Old Baroque artists like Carvaggio used this chiaroscuro technique for dramatic effect, while Cristian used it for a more insane look to the art, to emphasize his character.

“Hallucinations are bad enough. But after awhile you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth.”

Sean Reilly, Team Artemis


The Founding Fathers and their “Founding Father”… It’s Polybius

Chinard, Gilbert. “Polybius and the American Constitution.” Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 1, no. 1, 1940, pp. 38–58.

The intended audience for this journal is an intellectual person, interested in the history of the American Constitution, and how Polybius’ ideas related to the ideas drafted to forming it.

The terms, “United States Constitution” & “Polybius” are interconnected in the journal in the explanation of how certain ideas the Founding Fathers used to write the Constitution.
For example, “the best government is that which consists of three forms, regis, optimatium et populi imperitum.” Cicero had expressed the same idea almost in the same words when he asserted: “Statuo esse optime constitutam rempublicam, quae ex tri bus generi bus illis, regali, optimo, et populari, modice confusa,” and Adams, as well as his contemporaries, was familiar with it, but nowhere had this “fu- sion” of the three orders balancing one another been expressed so clearly and so perfectly as in the Greek historian of Rome” (Chinard 43).
The ideas expressed here are what Adams used in conjuring a sufficient government.

“There have also been several oligarchical constitutions which seem to bear some likeness to aristocratic ones, though the divergence is, generally, as wide as possible. The same holds good about democracies.  The truth of what I say is evident from the following considerations. It is by no means every monarchy which we can call straight off a kingship, but only that which is voluntarily accepted by the subjects and where they are governed rather by an appeal to their reason than by fear and force.” (From The Preface)

Sean Reilly, Team Artemis 7

The Warrior Fasces on the Bank

This form of fasces was found above a window on the City Bank-Farmers Trust Company Building. This design element of a Roman soldier is to show a form of power and prestige within the bank itself. A bank is an important and vital business in this world, and showing this specific image conveys the idea that the building is a prestigious and powerful entity.

Sean Reilly, Team Artemis


We Want YOU, to populate!

The parts of a society all rely on it’s human corespondents. These societies all have flaws, and it is almost impossible to reach a sort of, “perfect society”. We can pick and choose the actual meaning of this idea, but it’s something all people wish to adopt. To have no poverty, no civil unrest, no famine, etc. all sound very appealing. Religions tend to have this idea of a “perfect society” with the path of the divine, will lead to this new place.

In the article, Urged to Multiply, Iranian Couples Are Dubious, the life in Iran is one of much struggle and turmoil. A couple, by the names of Bita and Sherag, discuss how religious and societal pressures make living a sustainable life very hard. The constant political unrest, economic instability, as well as rough living conditions, are very hard for them. Yet the government, along with the Muslim faith, encourages these families to produce offspring, and especially more than one. In the article, an Islamic cleric states, “Sitting behind a laptop, Mr. Takhtipour took a sip of hot tea and explained that Islam orders a quest for a perfect society. ”That means we need to increase the number of Muslims, so we also need more kids,” Mr. Takhtipour said. To those of his flock making financial arguments against having many children, he lectures on the scriptures of the faith. ”We do believe that ultimately God will provide our daily bread. So go out and have kids and have faith, is what I always say.” (Erdbrink para. 26-27).

The reliance on religious scripture in these heavily religious countries can put these families in a tough spot. As he puts it, a perfect society will include many Muslims, so you musty produce more Muslims. But in the case of Bita and Sherag, the idea of producing children will be a extremely bad idea, ands hinder them economically. Here in Iran, Erbrink is clearly showing how current Iran is nowhere near a perfect society, and the ideas push only further it from that place.

From a first person perspective, I believe all societies on this planet are nowhere near “perfect”. It is an idea, it is all but a goal that we will never reach. All the “perfect society” or “Utopia” does is gives humans a destination to work towards, providing function and effort to be placed in society. In regards to Classics, and the ideas discussed regarding human behavior and the talks of Plato, the readings of Plato completely support my ideas of human society. He states,

“And we will catch the just person redhanded, traveling the same road as the unjust one.  The reason for this is the desire to do better than others. This is what every natural being naturally pursues as good. But by law and force, it is made to deviate from this path and honor equality.” (Plato 359a).

The human person is merely present in society, and is only molded by the laws set in place. Perfection is impossible. The Iranian people are bound by the Muslim ideology and law to have children, to bring children into a very dangerous setting, and to hinder themselves. The natural human destroys the perfect society with it’s mere presence.

Sean Reilly, Team Artemis

Iranian Article

Erdbrink, Thomas. “Urged to Multiply, Iranian Couples Are Dubious.” New York Times, 8 June 2014, p. A1(L). New York State

Barbarian Barbecue

The word ‘barbarian’ has been used for centuries in this world, referring to an uncultured or brutish person. In the terms that matters to Classics, the barbarians were what we call the ‘Others’ or those who were not a member of the Ancient Greek community. The term originates from how the Greek perceived these outsider’s language as a jumble of words sounding like: “bar, bar, bar, bar…”. Now in modern day we stick to the more brutish person definition, instead of it only referring to a stranger in our regular surroundings.

We can see the term being used frequently in news, articles, and other forms of media to describe unforgivable behavior. If we look at the article, School Lunch Without Same by the Editorial Board of the New York Times, the term “barbaric” is used in the the brutish context being discussed. The State of New York allowed for 1.1 million children to receive free or reduced lunch, which is a very good step towards giving relief to impoverished children. Though this is a positive aspect, some discrimination towards these children still exists. The Board describes some mistreatment towards children says, “Nationally, however, far too many school districts still employ barbaric policies under which children are openly humiliated when their parents cannot pay lunch bills. These shaming tactics include berating students, stamping their arms with messages like ”I need lunch money” and throwing meals into the garbage while hungry children stand by.” (Editorial Board para. 3). Here these children are being treated as the ‘Other’, seeming as they are inferior due to their economic level. The article is pinned towards a more liberal mature audience who understands the state of economics in this country. The audience should know and feel sympathy for these children and the barbaric behavior being thrown against them.

The use of “barbaric” can also be seen elsewhere in the modern media like the New York Times. An article by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Dalio Book Lays Bare Bridgewater Culture, discusses the principles and behavior of Ray Dalio, the chairman to the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates. The term is used when Sorkin states, “Mr. Dalio’s critics — and there are many — say his principles offer permission to be verbally barbaric, and they question whether the $160 billion firm’s success is a product of such ”radical transparency” or whether he can afford such a wide-ranging social experiment simply because the firm is so financially successful.” (Sorkin para. 16). Here it is clear how Ray Dalio’s behavior can be seen as barbaric due to his financial level giving him a “leg up”. The ‘Other’ here is anyone who is the recipient of Dalio’s behavior/principles; seemingly they must keep up with it since he is such a powerful figure so he is allowed to, in some form, act barbaric. The audience is the same as the last article, mostly aiming at an audience of a sympathizer for the economically impaired.

Both articles have a clear line showing how economic dominance allows for a barbaric atmosphere to be put upon them. Those who struggle economically, whether it be a impoverished child in NYC, or anyone in Ray Dalio’s path, can be on the receiving end of becoming the ‘Other’. In Herodotus’ History, we see the long mistreatment of the Medes, or the ‘Other’ frequently throughout the story. One section states “For, supposing that he was obliged to invest another with the kingly power, and not retain it himself, yet justice required that a Mede, rather than a Persian, should receive the dignity. Now, however, the Medes, who had been no parties to the wrong of which he complained, were made slaves instead of lords, and slaves moreover of those who till recently had been their subjects.” (Herodotus 129). Here we see how the Persian Revolt, should in some form allow a Mede to receive fair treatment, always puts them in an inferior position. This look back at the classic Greek history, allows us to observe how “barbaric” behavior has been excused, passed on, and promoted through superior positions in society. It’s almost ironic, how the definition of barbaric went from the ‘Other’ to the ‘Not Other’. Seemingly how the Greeks treated the Medes in our definition IS barbaric, yet the Medes and foreigners were the barbarians themselves. How we translate and look at this word will always twist and turn but always will see a barbarian as a cruel, brutish thing to be.

Sean Reilly, Team Artemis


Board, The Editorial. “School Lunch Without Shame.” New York Times, 8 Sept. 2017, p. A26(L). New York State Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

Sorkin, Andrew Ross. “Dalio Book Lays Bare Bridgewater Culture.” New York Times, 5 Sept. 2017, p. B1(L). New York State Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

The Corinthian Column; Sean Reilly, Team Artemis

The Corinthian column is a piece of architecture used to hold up buildings, and have some form of an aesthetic. This kind of column, one of the big three (Doric, Ionic, and the Corinthian) was very popular within Roman art culture, while the Greeks preferred Doric and Ionic columns. You can see these columns like where this one, throughout all cultures and places, due to its familiarity, and notoriety. While walking back from a dinner I had for my friend’s birthday, we all headed back to Penn Station to prepare for the train ride home. As I’m strolling by, class clicked in my head, as an enormous horizontal Roman column was waiting to be photographed. From a bank, to a school, to the middle of Penn Station, the column can be traced back to ancient times, and brought back to modern contemporary society. Here the piece of architecture is being used for more than just it’s artistic elements, but used as a single piece of historical art itself.