A Time to Remember – Memoriam for a Mother

As you may have read here .  Servetus’s mother passed away yesterday.  Knowing that many of you would want to reach out in a tangible way, a few of us have gotten together and created a PayPal account to accept donations in honor of Mrs. Servetus.  All moneys received will be donated to RA’s charities at JustGiving, under the moniker “Memoriam for a Mother.”

ὅ παῖς καλός? Certainly, but who dressed you Richard Armitage??

I was quietly watching the happenings in Armitageworld over the weekend as I began my (annual) frantic preparations for the beginning of the academic year.  I couldn’t help but notice the Ben Rayner images that have popped up all over the place.  My immediate reaction?   Good Lord – that sweater!

I'm not putting words in his head but... Photo by Ben Trayner courtesy of www.richardarmitagenet.com

I’m not putting words in his head but…
Photo by Ben Rayner courtesy of http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

This LV abomination has replaced my previous least favorite Richard Armitage sweater look….

The bulky, cable knit SHORT sleeved sweater?? Photo by Paula Parrish for Fault Magazine courtesy of www.richardarmitagenet.com

The bulky, cable knit SHORT sleeved sweater??
Photo by Paula Parrish for Fault Magazine courtesy of http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Fashion, like art, is a subjective thing I think.  I’m certainly not a fashionista – I’d describe my personal style as something like academic chic or maybe contemporary librarian?  Seriously, I have no idea what I’d call it…today I’m wearing a fitted blue tee with gray capri pants and sandals – fine – Birkenstock sandals!  Probably my edgiest fashion statement is 4 piercings in one ear 🙂  (I mostly did that to annoy my mother when I was in college!)

Even though I don’t tend to buy “fashion forward” I know what I like when I see it.  Do I really need to describe what about this sweater I don’t like?  It would be easier to identify what I do like…the color is OK.  I ran this ensemble past my local contact for fashion forward menswear (he’s a 20 something musician  studying at a prestigious local university for the arts, and we’ve had several conversations about the dearth of such attire here in the land of Levis and baseball caps) and he’s not a fan of the look either.

I’m not sure what was going through the mind of whoever put this all together, since none of it is particularly flattering on Mr. Armitage – if the goal was to make him look less attractive than usual, well done I guess.

It’s not as if LV only makes ugly (there, I said it…it may be warm, but IMHO, it’s ugly.) sweaters.  Look at John Hamm in this LV cardi:

Richard Armitage would look awesome in that sweater!   Source:  Details Magazine - October 5, 2010

Richard Armitage would look awesome in that sweater!
Source: Details Magazine – October 5, 2010

I suppose I’ll be grateful that they didn’t break out some of the LV Winter 2012/13 runway looks I saw for the Rayner shoot.  Thankfully, I only need one image to remind me how good Richard Armitage can look in a sweater…

Won’t you be my neighbor…please?!
Photo by George Pimentel/Wirelmage for Roots Canada Photo Shoot
Image can be viewed at Getty Images by searching Richard Armitage

ὅ παῖς καλός!!

Happy Birthday from the Classical tRAdition Richard Armitage



Felicem natalem diem tibi exopto,

Felicem natalem diem tibi exopto,

Felicem natalem diem tibi exopto Richardi Armitagi cari,

Felicem natalem diem tibi exopto!

It doesn’t have quite the same flow, but the sentiment is sincere :). Let’s try it in Greek!

καλὰ γενέθλια σόι…

Or something like that.  It seems the ancients didn’t place the same emphasis on birthdays that we do today, so there really are no standard phrases.

Pig Latin though, is very clear :  Appyhay Irthdaybay Richard Armitage!!

yet another ascroft

It’s your birthday….Artypay ’til you’re Urplepay!!


A couple of weeks ago, I was talking about Richard Armitage and how he embodies the Roman quality  known as GRAVITAS.  This quality, along with fourteen others, made up what the ancient Romans called VIRTUTES ROMANAE – Roman Virtues.  The root word virtus, derives from the Latin word vir, meaning simply, man.  Virtus essentially refers to “acting like a man,” and in the context of Roman culture this was tied up with bravery and military achievement. (Interestingly, this very manly term is actually a feminine noun in Latin…so is the word for beard – go figure)   In a broader scope, VIRTUTES ROMANAE were the character traits that all Romans, especially citizen class men aspired to…essentially, they made up the ideology upon which the Roman Republic was based.

Roman history is full of stories of virtus in action…it was a prerequisite of a successful political and military career in Ancient Rome, and ancient authors love to record the activities of the rich and powerful.  Vergil’s Aeneid is a great place to look for a literary model of VIRTUTES ROMANAE.  Vergil was writing at the turn of the first century BC/AD, under the patronage of the emperor Augustus.  Augustus was very interested in a revival of traditional Roman values, and Vergil’s version of Aeneas, the founding father of the Roman race, was written with Augustus’ agenda in mind.  As the legendary poster boy for Rome’s new era, Aeneas became the embodiment of VIRTUTES.

Aeneas saves his elderly father and young son from the destruction of Troy (I love me some Bernini!) Source: http://www.wga.hu/support/viewer/z.html

Aeneas saves his elderly father and young son from the destruction of Troy (I love me some Bernini!)
Source: http://www.wga.hu/support/viewer/z.html

The more I think about this, the more I think that Richard Armitage would be perfect in the role Aeneas.  It would be a case of art imitating life in a way, since he seems to embody so many of the VIRTUTES ROMANAE.  You don’t have to take my word for it…periodically, I’ll bring you a new virtue and illustrate how Richard Armitage personifies it.  Take COMITAS for example.  It means humor, ease of manner, courtesy, openness, friendliness  (www.novaroma.org/nr/Roman_virtues).  This one is almost too easy.

Whether it’s

Red carpet events Source: www.richardarmitagenet.com

Red carpet events
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com


or interview

Drinking wine at 8am?  OK! www.richardarmitagenet.com

Drinking wine at 8am? OK!

after interview,

Miming...or is it meme-ing? www.richardarmitagenet.com

Miming…or is it meme-ing?

or being upstaged be an iconic muppet,

Source:  the-hobbit.tumblr.com

Source: the-hobbit.tumblr.com

Richard Armitage seems to approach it all with humor, courtesy and friendliness.  In a word – COMITAS!

QUO VADIS Richard Armitage?

The longer Richard Armitage makes me wait to hear what his next project will, the less able I am to resist indulging in wild flights of fancy on the subject.   People have been throwing about all sorts of roles that Richard Armitage is rumored to be contender for, or that they would love to see him do…from comic book heroes to a charming, gentlemanly vampire (?) and more.  I thought that I might as well throw my hat into the ring with some ancient world possibilities.

The solid commercial (if not always critical) success of projects like Gladiator, Troy, Rome and Spartacus in the past 15 years, in addition to the plethora of “sword and sandal” epics in the  fifties and sixties, lends credence to the notion that films and television series set in the ancient world have wide popular appeal.  This week I was idly wondering what roles from the ancient world I’d like to see my fave appear in, which led me to taking a look around to see what stories are in the works.  A few mouse clicks, and what do I find but a section on the novelist Steven Saylor’s website that talks about the very thing.  Trawling around there, this caught my eye…

Hmmm, "What current actor could match the sheer screen presence of Charlton Heston in the campy but classic The Ten Commandments?"  I wonder?????

Hmmm, “What current actor could match the sheer screen presence of Charlton Heston in the campy but classic The Ten Commandments?” I wonder?????

I was happily contemplating Richard Armitage as Moses going to to toe with, an as yet uncast, Ramses, wooing Nefertari,  rescuing the daughters of Jethro, burning bushes, Plagues of Egypt, Exo….wait a minute – what’s that?


– Ergh – Foiled again!

It was great while it lasted!   I am not one to be defeated that easily, so my hunt continued and I saw any number of things that looked sort of interesting (and a few are actually in some degree of development).   Last week Perry and I were considering a version of the Roman poet Vergil’s epic tale of Aeneas, the progenitor of the Roman race – as far as I can find, this story has never been made for film or TV.    There’s been scuttlebutt for years about a feature film continuation of the HBO series Rome (please, please, please), and latent talk of a major motion picture version of Homer’s Odyssey.   My favorite prospect at the moment is this one:

It's not just TV, it's HBO!

It’s not just TV, it’s HBO!

Remakes seem to be the name of the game these days, and this one could be great.  If you’ve not seen I, Claudius, a 1976 BBC series based on the Robert Graves novel by the same name, you should.  The production value is dated now,  but it is a masterpiece on a number of levels…not to mention a who’s who of British stage and screen in the 1970’s.  The title role of the emperor Claudius was a breakout role for Derek Jacobi – that’s Sir Derek Jacobi these days.  I would be hugely interested to see what Richard Armitage would do with Claudius (or Augustus, or Tiberius, or…)  Yes, it is TV, but recent HBO efforts have definitely had cinematic qualities.  HBO and the BBC have partnered successfully before, and have garnered great casts in memorable roles.

Yes, yes, you do the, "I'd like to tell you, but - " routine very well, however...

Yes, yes, you do the, “I’d like to tell you, but – ” routine very well, however…

It certainly is fun to consider what if, but in the land of reality, please Mr. Armitage, what’s next?  I know you wouldn’t want my death on your conscience, and the suspense is KILLING me!

et alia – So you want to write RAcy fan fiction? Get thee a writing space!

I’ve been wanting to sit down and write on Richard Armitage related topics several times over the past few days, but every time I find some time, something or someone seems to interrupt the process.

That's not me, but it could be!

That’s not me, but it could be!

This seems to be a limb with two branches.   The first branch  is “brain space.”    I don’t mean to come across as condescending or overly dramatic, and I’m not sure how this works for other people, but in order for me to concentrate, to write, I need to have some peace and quiet. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that writing begins in the head, and if the head is being constantly bombarded with outside stimuli, it is impossible to think.

Case in point:  This morning, I was laying in bed thinking tons of productive thoughts about the blog and about how I’m going to wrap up Recovery.  The resident eight year old space invader had crept in at some point and was blissfully asleep next on the far side of the bed.  Thought continued along several promising avenues until some minutes later when my son entered for the morning check-in.  Contrary to his usual pattern of peeking in to see if I’m up, today he came all the way in and actually spoke to me.  This woke Mini-me and initiated a concentration shattering chain reaction that started with her whining that her eyes itch (allergies), proceeded to them wrestling for space on the bed and culminated in him asking me, “Do you like Gouda?”


When I remarked that such random non-sequiturs had totally driven all productive thought from my mind he replied in his best Poindexter voice, “It’s a scientific fact that early morning dreams and thoughts are fleeting…you should really write them down.”  Well thank you Prof. Obvious!  *sigh*  I would like to point out that this is not an entirely isolated incident lately, and that school starts in 20 days and 12 hours.

When I am finally able to find some “brain space” the second branch of the issues is a physical space that is conducive.  For me, writing at home is a challenge, even when I’m alone (which seems like virtually never lately).  There are so many distractions.  *Buzz* the dryer stopped…better get those shirts out before they wrinkle.  *Ding-dong*…neighbor asks me to water her plants while she’s away, etc.   There are also a million things that I “should” be doing around the house on any given day.   Thus, focus is elusive.

I’ve struggled with this for a while with professional writing.   I’m not an hourly employee, and a lot of the time I spend in my office is my own, so it might serve as an appropriate writing space away from household distractions, but in my office, I’m really a teacher.  When I’m there during the school year, things like lecture prep, grading, student meetings, syllabi, book selection, ad infinitum make it a space that is often too “cluttered” for me to concentrate on a writing project.   In addition to this, I work in a shared office space, so distractions abound.  This problem is a compounded when I’m writing on RAcy topics.   Although my office mates have a general idea what I am writing, I’d rather not have someone walk behind me to get a book from the shelf while I’m busily writing a RAcy scene – talk about coitus interruptus!

I know from experience that places like the public library and Starbucks won’t work for me either – I am much too avid a people watcher!  I recently found out via the local news that there is a growing trend of places offering workspace rentals for the self employed who prefer not to work from home.  Even better, there is one such place local to me – Shazam!  I am looking into it!

John Porter here I come...look how please he is to hear the news! Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

John Porter here I come…look how pleased he is to hear the news!
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Guy of Gisborne and Hades: Coercive Courtships

Have you ever thought that Richard Armitage’s potential as an onscreen lover has been grossly under utilized thus far in his career?  That idea must be very active in my subconscious since I seem to keep gravitating to it as I seek to connect his pantheon of characters to the classical tradition.  Today’s association is a variation on a familiar theme.

I imagine that most people’s first thought of the god Hades is not that of a “love connection,” but oh yes, that’s where I’m goin’. Hades, along with Zeus and Poseidon, was one of the elder generation of Olympian gods – offspring of the Titans Cronos and Rhea.   When the Olympians defeated the Titans and became the reigning champ deities on the earth, the three brothers drew lots to determine how they would divvy up the world.   Zeus got the earth and sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld.  Apparently grumbling ensued as Hades expressed his dissatisfaction at the turnout before leaving for his new kingdom in a huff.  Zeus shrugged saying something like, “I don’t know what his problem is, his kingdom is the biggest since he gets everyone eventually!”

Hades enthroned

Hades enthroned

It’s probably not surprising that Hades is not one of the best represented gods within the Greek pantheon.  Although there is no inherent sense of evil or malevolence associated with the god Hades or the Greek Underworld – also referred to as Hades, death and gods of it are not the most popular mythological topics.  Generally, Hades is depicted as glum and gloomy…a perfect match to his environment.

Curiously, one of the most famous stories associated with him has to do with his selection of a bride.  As the god of the Underworld, Hades didn’t have a lot of opportunity to meet women, so he asked his brother Zeus to give him a bride from among Zeus’ many daughters.  Zeus decided on Persephone, his daughter by the grain goddess Demeter (another of his sisters – incest was definitely not a problem for Zeus), but since he knew Demeter would object to the match, he gave Hades the nod to go ahead and take Persephone by force.

Abduction of Persephone from the Tomb of Persephone at Vergina

Abduction of Persephone from the Tomb of Persephone at Vergina

Persephone was innocently picking flowers in a meadow when the ground split open and Hade’s chariot sped out.  The image above shows the moment when Hades scooped Persephone up to carry her away.  This moment is also depicted in magnificent baroque glory by the Italian sculptor Bernini.

Abduction of Proserpina (Persephone) by Bernini

Abduction of Proserpina (Persephone) by Bernini

Hard to believe that's marble isn't it?!

Hard to believe that’s marble isn’t it?!

Hades carried Persephone with him to the Underworld, with every intention of making her his queen – actually, he was a pretty good catch in the eligibility department – but he also knew that she would rather not be there and that her mother would doubtlessly come to look for her.  As a result, he needed to find a way to make sure she would stay with him permanently.  While she was with him, he was solicitous and kind to her, doted on her actually, but she continued to spurn his gifts until one day when her hunger got the best of her.  Persephone finally accepted his gift of a pomegranate and ate six seeds before she realized the consequences.

Hades courts Persephone

Hades courts Persephone with food and drink

When Demeter eventually convinced Zeus into forcing Hades to return Persephone to her, Hades played his trump card.  Demeter could take her daughter back for part of the year, but since Persephone had consumed food (six pomegranate seeds) in the Underworld, she was required to spend six months of the year in Hades with him, as his queen.  Courtship complete.

A downright saturnine looking Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) woos a reluctant Marian (Lucy Griffiths) with gifts

A downright saturnine looking Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) woos a reluctant Marian (Lucy Griffiths) with gifts
Image Courtesy of http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Guy of Gisborne’s courtship of Marian in Robin Hood struck me as equally coercive.  Despite the fact that she persistently resists his advances, he continues to pursue her – determined to make her his own.  Like Hades, Guy is an eligible match for Marian in terms of fortune and social position, but like Persephone, Marian is not convinced.

Marian rebuffs Guy yet again...

Marian rebuffs Guy yet again…
Image Courtesy of http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Despite the fact that she is physically “stirred by him” as Guy boasts to Robin in S1.8, Guy has his work cut out for him in making her his wife.  He tries just about everything, including manipulating her affection for her father, before finally telling the Sheriff (Keith Allen) that he will take her by force in the final episode of S2 – what Hades had done from the start.  Ultimately, while Hades’ coercive courtship was at least partially successful, Guy’s is an utter failure, leading to Marian’s death and his own brush with madness.  Kind of makes me wonder about that whole “if at first you don’t succeed” strategy when it comes to courtship.

**update…not a part of the Hades – Guy discussion, but too cool not to use here

Thorin and Bilbo as Hades and Persephone  By Ewelock at Deviant Art

Thorin and Bilbo as Hades and Persephone
By Ewelock at Deviant Art

Richard Armitage and Batman?

Far be it from me to not jump into the Batman mania.  There has been a ton of buzz about Richard Armitage being amongst the pool of actors in consideration for the role of Batman in an upcoming Superman/Batman effort.  If he were so inclined, I’m sure Mr. Armitage could nail that part.  Batman is in his wheelhouse – a flawed, but heroic character.  It’s all speculation at this point, I suppose.  As I understand it, there is not even a script for the film as yet.  Reading the comments on some of the reports has been extremely interesting. One particularly struck me in it’s reference to Richard Armitage as possessing the gravitas to do justice to the character of Batman.  “Yes!” I thought, that is the perfect term.


Latin authors, of both prose and verse, often refer to the mos maiorum (“the customs of the ancestors”) as models of correct Roman behavior.   According to the poet Ennius:

Moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque.” (“The Roman state stands on ancient customs and heroes.”)

The Romans measured their Romanitas or “Roman-ness” via a series of qualities known jointly as The Roman Virtues.  Gravitas was one of these virtues.  Translated literally it means gravity or seriousness, but in the context of a personal trait, novaroma.org sums it up really nicely as:

“A sense of the importance of the matter at hand, responsibility and earnestness.”

I also find it interesting that secondary definitions of the term refer to heaviness or dullness – things that Richard Armitage has accused himself of on more than one occasion.   (He’s a bit hard on himself if you ask me…)

Richard Armitage reacts and responds to a question with gravitas

Richard Armitage reacts and responds to a question with gravitas

Gravitas is certainly a quality Richard Armitage possesses in his approach to his work.  His seriousness, responsibility and earnestness would all contribute beautifully to his characterization of Batman should he inhabit the role one day.

Incidentally, there are 14 other Roman Virtues, so we may just revisit this topic in the future 🙂

inter alia: Introspection, Pot Roast, Pickles and Richard Armitage

I’ve learned a number of important personal truths in the past week:

Over the last four days, twenty kids, ranging in age from 2-1/2 to 12 conspired to kick my ass – not literally, but the results were basically the same.  Today was the first day in a week that I didn’t spend frantically prepping to entertain and teach this group or cleaning up the carnage of said exercise.  For the past six years, I’ve headed up the K-6th grade youth programs at my church, a job that I have only recently “retired” from.  Personal Truth#1 :  if I had any doubts about my decision, organizing and implementing VBS for the final time dispelled them all.  I love these kids…I’ve watched most of them grow since infancy, but it is definitely time to pass the torch to someone new – share the wealth and all.  (I kept the fun job – I still get to take them on all the fellowship outings – all the joy and energy of kids and very little of the need to make them sit down and listen 🙂 ) 

Part of the VBS drill for my family is take out food – this week we’ve had pizza, burgers, subs and Chinese, so tonight I thought I’d actually cook a meal.  The meal du jour courtesy of Facebook was “3 Envelope Pot Roast.”  It’s not bad – IF you have no problem with MSG (3 lb roast, 1 envelope Italian dressing mix, 1 envelope Ranch dressing mix, 1 envelope brown gravy mix – 2 cups of water, 4 hours in slow cooker), but as usual with the recipes that everyone raves about, Personal Truth #2 :  I was underwhelmed.  I really love the idea of dumping a bunch of ingredients in a pot, leaving for several hours and returning to dinner, but it never seems to work out that way.   Sigh…oh well, I await the next “great” crock pot recipe.

"3 Envelope Roast"....meh

“3 Envelope Roast”….meh

As summer winds down, the vegetable stands are brimming with all sorts of garden fresh goodness.  I love cucumbers – I like making sweet and sour refrigerator cucumbers, but I especially LOVE home made dill pickles.  I bought some cucumbers at the farmers market where I ran into a friend with a big garden.  Personal Truth #3:  if you express an interest, you run the risk of becoming cucumber and zucchini dump for your green thumbed friends.  On the plus side, I had enough cukes to take a stab at making some dill pickles (refrigerator variety – I cannot be bothered with canning!)  I’ll let you know how they turn out!

My first jar of dill pickles - I'm so proud!

My first jar of dill pickles – I’m so proud!

In all of the Real Life pandemonium this week, there was a definite deficit of quality time with Richard Armitage.  I barely read anything, I only answered comments on my own blog last night, it’s probably my fault that Richard lost to Cumberbatch since I only had time to vote ONCE,  I’ve gotten woefully off my writing schedule for finishing Recovery by the end of the summer, and I’m not happy about any of it!  (Actually, I was downright ornery last night)  Personal Truth #4:  Participation in the Armitageworld fandom has become an integral part of my day…I really can detect a difference in my mood after going cold turkey for a few days.  I’m not sure what that says about me, but…

Wrap Party Candid  Courtesy of Jed Brophy's Twitter feed PS...Love the Carhartt Graham!

Wrap Party Candid
Courtesy of Jed Brophy’s Twitter feed
PS…Love the Carhartt Graham!

I do know that I’m in a lot better mood now that I’ve gotten my fix!