Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae Richard Armitage

 

“I recognize the traces of an old flame”

…Vergil, Aeneid IV                                

Old flame indeed…I have a feeling that things are about to flare up around here very soon!

VIRTUTES ROMANAE: Richard Armitage and COMITAS

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

or interview

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

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

after interview,

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

Miming…or is it meme-ing?
http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

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?

image

– 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!

Sing to me, O Muse! : Richard Armitage and InspiRAtion

For those who don’t know, I live in Wisconsin.  In addition to a reputation for cheese and beer, Wisconsin is a state prone to wild swings in weather.  Subzero temperatures and snow falling by the foot in the winter, extreme heat and humidity in the summer.

This never seems to get old to me...

This never seems to get old to me…

Today is one of those “dog days of summer” that makes me remember the icy winds of January fondly – there’s no pleasing some people is there?  To make things even better, the A/C is out in my car, and now the passenger window had decided not to open.  Suffice it to say that today’s fifty minute commute in 90+ degree heat left me feeling more than a little wilted.  I arrived at my office in need of some serious inspiration!

I walked into the office and this is what I see:

Making special note of circled area...

Magnetic wall in my office:  make special note of circled area…

Ahhh,  I’m feeling better already!  I love the 1st birthday cake pic of my daughter and the collage of Greece, but Richard Armitage seems to act as some sort of balm for me from time to time.  Suddenly, I was feeling inspired, so I mapped out another section of Recovery.

When it comes to inspiRAtion for me (and a whole lot of others in the fandom from the looks of it) Richard Armitage certainly functions as a personal Muse.  The Greek Muses were a collection of goddesses who functioned as the personification and “patron” divinities of arts, literature and science.  The earliest references name three, but by the classical period their number was firmly set at nine.  They are most often identified as the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the personification of memory).  The Greeks believed that The Muses epitomized the arts and inspired creativity through their own artistic and literary works.  By the later Hellenistic period, each Muse became associated with a particular genre of creativity and could be identified visually by an emblem or attribute.

muses table

Even earlier than this it became customary for writers to call upon the Muses for inspiration at the beginning of a literary work.  Below are the first lines of three famous poems:

muse quotes

Homer is “writing” very early in the Greek literary tradition, so it is in no way surprising that he does not refer to a particular Muse by name (in this case Calliope, since The Iliad and The Odyssey are epic poems), but simply refers to her as “Goddess” or “Muse”.  The Latin poet Vergil, writing in the 1st century BC, would have been well aware that Calliope was the Muse specific to epic poetry, but rather than name her, he also simply invokes the “Muse”.  This is almost certainly a deliberate homage to Homer.  Regardless, this tradition of calling upon a Muse for inspiration was one started by the Greeks that is still in use today.

I think it might be rather difficult to associate Richard Armitage with a specific area of inspiration…he seems to inspire many different people in a variety of different ways.  Some are inspired to create original artworks based on him or one of the characters he brought to life, others write stories or poems while still others create fan vids or write and record original songs.  Everytime I think I’ve seen it all, something new emerges.

One thing though seems to be timeless… “Sing to me O Muse, a song of…..SQUEEEE!!”

Look...even the interviewer is doing it!!  Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

Look…even the interviewer is doing it!!
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Given his immense and, seemingly, effortless ability to inspire, perhaps we really should inaugurate a new Muse:

Armitage bumps out Sappho as the 10th Muse... Source:  Wikimedia with a little help from richardarmitagenet.com

Armitage bumps out Sappho as the 10th Muse…
Source: Wikimedia with a little help from richardarmitagenet.com