Camo Armitage?

T’was the night before Thanksgiving Break and all through the campus, not a creature was stirring…not even a grampus (it’s a word – look it up!).  

I suppose that’s not entirely true since I am still here and stirring just a bit…doing some clean up in preparation to take a few days off for the holiday.  I’m actually kind of excited because I’ve officially declined to join the big family Thanksgiving fête on Thursday – for all kinds of reasons.   I feel almost liberated at the thought of puttering around in my PJ’s all day – even while making our mini feast.

Turkey, pumpkin pie and antagonistic family gatherings are not all that are synonymous with Thanksgiving in these parts.  This time of year also coincides with the annual whitetail deer gun hunt.  As such, I was not at all surprised to see four hooves sticking up from the back end of a pickup truck riding down the interstate yesterday.  My personal Facebook feed is plastered with images of hunters and their vanquished prey.  I was only slightly unnerved by all of the cars of hunters parked in fields along the interstate – they know how far they need to stay from the road with rifles right?


Although camo clothing is optimal for hunting, in gun deer season, remaining completely invisible to the deer is less important than being very visible to the other people with guns.  Hence, blaze orange is a required element for all hunters (and anyone else who dares step a toe onto hunting grounds).  It becomes the unofficial uniform of Wisconsin in late November.

All this camo pondering got me thinking about the Berlin Station production (?) pic of Richard Armitage which surfaced this week via Getty Images (this one doesn’t appear available to embed, and I’m not keen to mess with Getty Images this week).  The grey henley, grey hoodie, grey ball cap look with the dark jacket and dark jeans read like a sort of urban overcast day camo.  Perfect for hiding in plain sight in a fast paced cityscape where most people only register as a passing glance…a shadowy glimpse.  Perfect for an espionage type trying to keep a low profile.

As you might expect, Greek myth has its own “camo” stories.  Most of them revolve around the Ἄϊδος κυνέην or “Cap of Invisibility.”  Athena wore it in The Iliad when she came to the aid one of her favorites, Diomedes, as he fought her half brother Ares.  The Ἄϊδος κυνέην made her invisible to Ares so that she could help Diomedes defeat him with out being caught interfering.

Perhaps the most famous myth including the Ἄϊδος κυνέην centers around the hero Perseus.  Tasked with returning with the head of the Gorgon Medusa (she who’s face turns humans to stone) Perseus needed all the help he could get.   He didn’t need the helmet to behead Medusa, depicted below in glorious, if gory, bronze detail by Cellini.

Perseus by Cellini Source

Perseus by Cellini

Nope, that he managed with the help of a special shield and some winged sandals he’d been lent by a couple of helpful deities.  The Ἄϊδος κυνέην came in really handy when it came time to flee from Medusa’s sister Gorgons…seems they were more than a bit put out that someone (who they couldn’t see) had just lopped off their sister’s head!

I’m rather glad Richard Armitage doesn’t have an Ἄϊδος κυνέην – then we couldn’t get a glimpse of the quintessence of quadriceps that simply can’t be hidden regardless of the grey…

Happy Hunting Armitageworld!!




ὅ παῖς καλός: An Ambrosial Array of Armitage

For those of you who’ve only recently joined the party here, the καλός post – origins explained here – is generally a celebration of the καλός that is Richard Armitage.  I was thinking about posting something else entirely today, but it is now 9:54PM…I’m still in my office…my office is 50 minutes from my bed…my morning alarm goes off at 6:30AM.  Kαλός it is!

I have got to hand it to my good pal Guylty…once again, she has delivered the goods.  I can’t pick just one.  (Guylty is incredibly generous with the fruits of her photographic labors, so please remember to credit her if you use them.)

I love, Love, LOVE the use of black and white, which takes out all of the background distraction for me and allows me to focus on the detail.  Good to see the return of the shortish hair/stubble look. (Although, as much as I intially was in the sans-a-beard camp, I have to admit, it’s beginning to grow on me).  

I also love that Guylty has caught some not so common expressions flitting across the καλός visage.

Listening…leaning…crinkling.  Not quite candid, but not really posed either.

All in all appealing.  Ambrosia for the eyes.

It’s official (again).

ὅ παῖς καλός!

There’s still time Hellenophiles…

As it happens, the travel agent I’m using to book the airfare for the 2016 tour to Greece recently negotiated better group fare terms with the various airlines which means that I’ve been able to hold a few extra seats past the original October booking deadline.

poster snip

If you were interested, but couldn’t make the October deadline for booking, there is still time to join. Lest you think you’ll be sailing the wine dark seas solo, fear not!  There is a solid handful of like minded Armitageworld peeps (and one very brave spouse!) who’ve already signed up for the adventure .  It’s bound to be a blast…drop me a note in comments or via the “About” page for more detailed information.

By the way…have I mentioned to food???


Kolokothakia (from 2011 trip…my travel buddy takes great food pix  🙂  )




All the buzz about the weekend premiere of Urban and the Shed Crew got me thinking…we all know how dicey that can get!

Seriously though…After reading Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew last year, I’m anxious to see how Richard Armitage will inhabit Chop (aka Bernard Hare) in his role as reluctant foster father to a crew of gritty kids from the back alleys and streets of Leeds.  How do I connect the 1990’s underbelly of Leeds to the classical tradition you ask?  Not so hard really.

Classical mythology is full of stories of young heroes who are in need of a role model – usually because their biological father (who is often a deity) is nowhere in the picture.  Some of them step forward and provide stability and training to the young heroes.  Others, like Chop, have less than stellar resumes to recommend them to the position of foster father, but they all make a memorable impression on their young charges.

In the super foster father camp we might start with Faustulus…the historian Livy describes him as:

“Faustulus regii pecoris magister, Romuli et Remi servator et educator,”

Faustulus, the herder of the royal sheep, savior and fosterer of Romulus and Remus

Faustulus finds the she-wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus. Decorative relief, so-called Campana plaque. Clay. 2nd century CE. Inv. No. 8489. Berlin, State Museums, Pergamon Museum.

Faustulus finds the she-wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus. Decorative relief, so-called Campana plaque. Clay. 2nd century CE. Inv. No. 8489. Berlin, State Museums, Pergamon Museum.  Source

After they had been cast into the river by their grandfather, these twin sons of the god Mars found their way to shore and were suckling at the teats of an unusually maternal she-wolf when Faustulus happened upon the scene.  He took the babies home and he, along with his wife raised them to adulthood….allowing them to fulfill their ultimate destiny – which included the foundation of Rome.

Amphitryon, here, in a fresco from Herculaneum, looking on thoughtfully as his charge wrangles some snakes, was another diligent foster father.  He dutifully kept Herakles, born of his wife Alcmene and her night with an imposter (Zeus had posed as Amphitryon to seduce Alcmene, impregnating her in the process…) mostly out of the clutches of his wicked step mother Hera.  He also repeatedly interceded to try and keep the volatile Herakles on the trail to immortality.

Chiron attempted the same for the young hero Achilles…

Apparently Achilles’ mother, the Nereid (sea nymph daughter of Nereus) didn’t think her mortal husband Peleus was up to the task, so she enlisted the help of the centaur Chiron for the fostering of her own young hero.  Chiron, himself fostered by Apollo, trained Achilles in the arty arts, as well as the art of war.

Even some Greek gods had to be fostered out.  After his mother Semele was burned up by the glory that was Zeus, the infant Dionysus was delivered over to the satyr Silenos for fostering.

Despite his tendency to get drunk and wander off, Silenos was a devoted and lifelong companion to the god of wine and revelry.

A few of the Greek heroes weren’t even afforded the kind of benign negligence of a foster like Silenos. Perseus had to deal with much worse than that…

Like Romulus and Remus, Perseus was one of those ill-fated royal sons…you know, one who was never supposed to be born because he was prophesied to overthrow the current king?  The gods never pay attention to the royal attempts to avoid these prophecies when they stand in the way of a good seduction.  In this case, King Acrisius had locked up his daughter Danae to prevent her from conceiving his usurper…  #fail.  Zeus found a way in via a shower of gold (do NOT go there!) and Danae conceived Perseus.  Plan B for Acrisius was to lock Danae and baby into a giant trunk and dump them into the sea. #epicfail.  Instead of sinking, the trunk landed in the lands of King Polydectes who allowed Danae and her baby safe harbor….although not without strings attached.

Evidently, Polydectes developed a thing for Danae (honestly, beauty was not really to be desired in Classical Myth was it?!) and once Perseus was old enough, the king found a task to keep him busy while he sought to make progress in his pursuit of Perseus’ mother.  Said task?  Just a little errand…pick up some wine, and while you’re out, go grab me the head of Medusa.  Polydectes clearly thought he’d gotten rid of Perseus for good, but little did he know that the kid would have divine assistance in accomplishing his task…revenge, revenge, revenge.

Chop shares another similarity with the classical EDUCATORES…turn out.


Achilles – fostered admirably by the “most noble of centaurs”  – Almost derailed the whole Greek army in the Trojan War due to his MASSIVE ego.

Herakles – lovingly raised by a magnanimous Amphitryon – Killed his wife and children (and almost killed Amphitryon) in a fit of madness inspired by Hera

Romulus – saved and fostered carefully by Faustulus – Killed his brother Remus in an argument over whose wall was bigger…*cough*

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how good your intentions are, there is only so much you can do with independent minds.



Welcome to parenting Chop!

Take heart – at least nobody turned anybody to stone on your watch!

Various and Sundry…Armitage et alia

Well, today marks my first full, post surgical, week back on campus.  The surgeon tells me that I’m good to go (more or less) but I think I’ll keep up the facade of a restriction on lifting for a little while longer (those baskets of laundry aren’t going to carry themselves upstairs…)  As I try to settle back into my routine – which had been derailed the past few months by chronically feeling rotten – I’ve been taking stock of a few things..

  1.  After dithering around with framing it for over a year, tonight I finally said “F$&k it, it’s a poster!” and hung the Crucible poster that Servetus gifted me with last fall on the wall in my office…without a frame.

crucible poster

I think it fits in well with the ca 1954 map of ancient Greece and the SARCASM plaque…even without a frame!  Who knows…maybe finally hanging it on the wall will be the kick in the butt I need to go back and write that analysis of Sophocles, Antigone, Arthur Miller and The Crucible I’ve been kvetching to myself about for a year.

The thought of writing a classically inspired analysis of a piece of the Armitage oeuvre brings me to a second point I’ve been pondering:

Why is it that intersections of Richard Armitage and cheesehead hats generate so much blog traffic?!

armitage cheesea query for the sages no doubt!

And finally, another new piece of wall art for the new office – my recent comic book class has revealed the fact that I really dig the look of vintage comic art –

Cover of  Detective Comics No. 27 - 1st Appearance of Batman  (and man do I need to find more things to hang on that continent of beige wall!)

Cover of Detective Comics No. 27 – 1st Appearance of Batman (and man do I need to find more things to hang on that continent of beige wall!)


…reminds me that I’d promised to report back on whether or not my students were able to detect all of the background character development work that went into Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Heinz Kruger in Captain America The First Avenger:

That would be a resounding “NO” 

They all concurred that the Heinz Kruger character was more or less typical of the one dimensionality one would expect from the 1940’s era comic book villian.  (Sorry about that Mr. Armitage!)

Deep thoughts indeed  😉