These Greeks that is
Richard Armitage isn’t the only thing that can make me go, “Squee!!” The presence of 500 plus Greek artifacts only 150 miles away works too! Bestie and I have set a date (dangerously close to the “close of special exhibit” crowd issue, but so be it) to go, so naturally, I set to trawling around the interwebs to get a preview of the exhibit and came across a photo array from the Chicago Tribune. One piece in particular caught my eye because I’d seen him before on a visit to the old museum at Sparta years ago.
The photo caption reads, “Statue of Hoplite, known as Leonidas (Acropolis of Sparta 480-470 BCE) at the Field Museum exhibit The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.”
It’s quite doubtful that this is meant to be understood as any sort of portrait of Leonidas, but it could well have been erected on the Spartan acropolis as a dedicatory monument to him. Leonidas is arguably the most well known of the the Spartan warrior kings due to the Thermopylae episode…you know the one…where he, leading a detachment of 300 Spartan hoplites held the entire invading Persian army of Xerxes at bay long enough for the rest of the Greek coalition forces to retreat and regroup. Leonidas and his men enjoyed the pinnacle of a Spartan military career – that is, every last one of them ultimately died in battle at the hands of Xerxes, but their actions enabled the rest of the Greek army to escape to fight another day (and to go on to defeat Xerxes against almost astronomical odds!).
Compared to what Athenian sculptors of the same period were producing, this particular piece isn’t particularly remarkable, but I remember it being a standout item in the comparatively tiny Sparta Archaeological Museum. Worthy of a sculpture geeky “squee” for sure!
Now if only I could figure out a way to work my other main source of “squee” in here somehow…
Yep – that’s the stuff!
I had intended to answer all of the great comments on the Armitage ἠθοποιοφόρος post this afternoon but then this happened:
I’m making for cover…catch you when I get there!
In classical sculpture, there’s a lot of “bearing” going on…
There’s the Doryphoros (Δορυφόρος) – The Spear Bearer (the spear is lost)
More literally, we have the Moschophoros (Μοσχοφόρος) – The Calf Bearer
and the Kriophoros (Κριοφόρος) – The Ram Bearer
As it happens, Richard Armitage emerges as Ἠθοποιοφόρος (eeth-o-poi-o-four-os) – The Actress Bearer in numerous roles…
From Robin Hood S3 E9 we have Meg-phoros…
and Strikeback S1 E2: Katie-phoros
Last, but certainly not least, there’s Hannibal S3 E11…Reba-phoros (in motion!)
Interestingly, in every instance I’ve seen, Armitage Ἠθοποιοφόρος is carrying the actress in question bridal style…arguably the hardest way to carry an adult human. It’s fascinating to me that women being ported around is still such a romanticized element in contemporary performance – that it’s also referred to as princess style is plenty telling…the whole “sweep her off her feet” thing. I’ve been tossing the notion around from a variety of perspectives for a few days.
Even considering the strength differential between genders, carrying an adult is not something most men I know undertake on a regular basis. I was recently watching a standup routine in which comedian Bill Burr joked about this very topic. In an extension of a bit about the impracticality of sex scenes in rom-com – you know the ones…where the impossibly handsome leading man sweeps the willowy leading lady off her feet, bearing her effortlessly to the bedroom where she practically floats out of his arms to lay on the conveniently turned down bed – Burr points out to the women in the audience…“You’re heavy!” At a chorus of female gasps he says something like, “What? When did you stop carrying your kids around?!” He goes on to qualify by pointing out that even on the low side, the average adult woman weighs something over 100lbs (45kg) and more to the point, that this weight is not evenly distributed when carrying bridal style – “you don’t go to lift weights with 20 pounds on one side and 80 on the other.”
He’s got a point there…remembering back, I think I stopped carrying my kids around when they reached about 40-ish pounds. Unless they rode piggyback or on my shoulders, they were just too heavy to lug around – I don’t want to carry the 40lb box of cat litter either, but at least that’s got a handle! It’s clear that this operation is fairly impractical, yet it is quite common in dramatic performance. I assume dramatic performers learn ways and means to make it appear more effortless than it actually is. I also assume that actresses don’t just hang there like a sack of potatoes, but actively assist in the carry. Interested, I reached out to my in house drama advisor regarding actress cartage.
Showbiz Kid is 6’0″ tall 220 pounds and is regularly called upon to lift and carry his female colleagues around on stage. He confirmed that some of the girls are much easier to lift and carry…even if they are heavier. For instance Eliza, though very slim, “just schlups about like overcooked manicotti when anyone tries to lift her” while Lily, who outweighs Eliza by 40 or so pounds, “carries herself” and is much easier to lift and carry. It’s probably worth noting that Eliza has had tap training – emphasis on connection to the floor, while Lily is schooled in ballet. It’s not a very long leap to assume that if high school performers are schooled in lifting, so are professional actors.
If you watch the above gif again closely (*cough*) it looks to me as if Rutina Wesley is plenty involved in this lift…her feet touch the floor and it seems that she pushes off to kind of “jump” up at the same time as he’s lifting from below. (I love the repetition of the gif…I wonder how many takes this scene needed- maybe that stomping out of the room wasn’t characterization as much as muscle fatigue?)
Practicality aside, I also wondered about why this is such a persistent image in dramatic performance. In the images above, two depict Armitage Ἠθοποιοφόρος bearing a wounded character…a woman who could not carry herself from point A to point B…this is self explanatory. Guy and Porter couldn’t just throw Meg, recently speared by a pike, or Katie with her severed hand, over the shoulder in a fireman carry and be on the way.
The scene from Hannibal where Dolarhyde sweeps Reba off the sofa is something else entirely. Here, there’s a clear fantasy element playing out…the notion of her being so desirable that he can’t wait for her to walk on her own, or risk that she’ll walk away, so he wisks her up off her feet and rapidly bears her away. I’d be a giant liar if I didn’t admit that this was an evocative scene to watch in the moment. For me, it’s a weird thing…the “I can do it myself” side of me wants to be in control of my own business, while the fantasy side of me is drawn to the display of power depicted here.
While I was pondering this whole question, I also wondered if petite women get tired of people (particularly men) trying to carry them around. On some level, it seems like it could be perceived as infantalizing. Truthfully, I’ve known more than a few petite women who’ve complained that they hate it when people pick them up and move them from place to place – that they may be small, but they are not children who’s will is often subordinated to that of an adult. Conversely, I’ve also known many non petite women who would cheerfully elect to be boiled in oil before having anyone lift and carry them anywhere. Curious.
Carry On Armitageworld!
Having beautiful buttocks
As we enter the “Bleak Midwinter,” I can’t help but look forward eagerly to 8 months from now when I, and an intrepid group of travelers, about 1/3 of whom are Armitageworld connected, will be trekking around the Peloponnese of Greece.
I’m especially looking forward to seeing some places I’ve never been, but also to revisiting some old favorites like the fortified Byzantine town of Mystras.
I did go all the way up once
There I am, circa 1995-ish perched gingerly on a wall at the top of the town, pretending not to notice the sheer cliff dropping away right behind my left hand. Good times (BTW, that tan is 99% the product of excavating in Greece in July – and I did indeed use copious amounts of sunblock – only 1% beach…I detest sand.)
I told you about the details here and here, and I bring it up again to let anyone who might have been on the fence in December, or who is just now hearing about it, that my lovely tour agent in Crete has extended the price to March 1st, so you can still get in on the fun.
The more, the merrier Armitageworld!!
It has been nine months since I posted the last completed chapter of my John Porter/Strikeback fan fiction Recovery on AO3, and coming up on TWO YEARS since I originally wrote and posted it on Dreamer Fiction…Livy is so right…
Potius sero quam numquam:
better late than never!
The story where I left it, could stand as complete, but I had always intended to return to it to add a final epilogue to tie up a few loose ends. Lately, I’ve wondered if I would be able to return to it after leaving the characters languishing so long. It’s not as if I haven’t thought about how I wanted to close the story, and what I wanted to say, it’s just that available time and proper inspiRAtion haven’t seemed to coincide in the past 18 months.
I’m happy to report that inspiRAtion and available time seemed to jell last week and I sat down and mapped out the first section of the epilogue. Seems my worries about finding the characters again were unfounded. When I started writing, it was something like reconnecting with an old friend – once the initial ice was broken, the “conversation” began to flow easily. I’m hoping to have that epilogue posted by the end of January!
I haven’t decided if it should be mostly sweet, or more than a little spicy – any votes?
From the decorum and manners corner, I had an “encounter” that is still bugging me about a month after the fact:
I was a member of several choirs during my church’s annual advent concert. This meant a bit of shuffling about as one choir performed and left the “stage” and the next assembled. At one point, having just completed the first selection with the Chime Choir, I was leaving the chancel to sit down while the Handbell Choir performed. In the process, I breezed past the Christmas tree and whisked one of the ornaments off of it. I sheepishly retrieved it as it bounced down the chancel steps. I was no doubt somewhat flushed when I returned to my seat in the 2nd pew. Here’s where the “encounter” occurred. When I sat down, a male member of the Vocal Choir, leaned over and remarked,
“You’re pretty red in the face…bit early for menopause isn’t it?”
I was taken aback but I mumbled some noncommittal response and then filed it to ponder later. For context, this man – let’s call him Bob – is about 15-20 years my senior, and only the most casual of acquaintances. I’m not overly sensitive about my 40 something age bracket, but my immediate reaction was that this comment was completely inappropriate – Showbiz Kid (who directed the vocal choir) was aghast when I told him and then we laughingly compared some of the things Bob had recently said to and about him during the choir rehearsals. We concurred that Bob is substantially deficient in the inapropro filter department.
I have no plans to make a big deal out of it, but I was wondering if this seems like out of line behavior to anyone else. (My mother, for instance, just shrugged it off to “that’s Bob”) It leaves me wondering why some people think they should say whatever pops into their head at any given moment, and why I feel that I should just give them a pass on it when they do. Still pondering…