Shakespeare and Greek Linen Armor

It’s been a while since I posted links here, but I think I’m going to start doing a bit of it again. Resisting the pull of gravity that Facebook exerts over my online presence. These are some fun things I’ve stumbled across, mostly geeky things to share with the kids that I want to be able to find again.

1. What Shakespeare Sounded Like to Shakespeare: Reconstructing the Bard’s Original Pronunciation

This is seriously cool and especially timely since we’re about to get to Shakespeare in our history studies and I’ve been thinking about maybe dipping our feet into a play or two.

Scholars are recreating as best they can the pronunciation that would have been used in Shakespeare’s day using clues from the text and from other sources of the period. And the amazing thing is it doesn’t make the plays harder to understand at all. If anything, they make more sense. In short, the puns are funnier, the rhymes actually rhyme, and it feels more familiar.

It’s definitely worth the ten minutes to watch the video. But the final example might have your kids asking, “what is a whore, prostitute, or “sex joke.” It went right over my kids’ heads, but you’ve now been warned.

“If there’s something about this accent, rather than it being difficult or more difficult for people to understand … it has flecks of nearly every regional U.K. English accent, and indeed American and in fact Australian, too. It’s a sound that makes people — it reminds people of the accent of their home — and so they tend to listen more with their heart than their head.”

In other words, despite the strangeness of the accent, the language can sometimes feel more immediate, more universal, and more of the moment, even, than the sometimes stilted, pretentious ways of reading Shakespeare in the accent of a modern London stage actor or BBC news anchor.

It makes me want to hop on a plane for London so I can go watch a performance at the Globe with original costumes and stage movements and pronunciation. At the very least, I’m going to try to hunt down some more video footage.

2. Why did Greek warriors go to war wearing what today looks like a linen mini-dress?

Another timely topic. Since we’ve been absorbed in our book about medieval armor and playing with swords. Bella is always up for things Egyptian, Greek, or Roman. She just adores all the history we’ve done so far.

Interestingly the medieval armor book also mentions armor made out of fabric. I believe theirs was quilted linen and maybe wool too where the Greek armor isn’t quilted but a laminate made of layers of fabric glued together. The video shows the professor and student working together to produce original research.

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