Category Archives: Literature

Mulan: The Journey From Ancient Tale to Disney Blockbuster

MulanIn our blog series on the historic origins of Disney films, we’ve found that being literary archaeologists pays off. Digging into these films reveals layer upon layer of historic events and tales from all over the globe, each serving as inspiration for the next generation of storytellers, and culminating in the present-day retellings that we now experience at the movies. Continue reading

Exploring LegacyQuest 2014! Greek Storytelling: A Modern Twist on Persephone

LegacyQuest large logo blue borderIn week three of our Exploring LegacyQuest 2014 series we’re featuring the festival’s third place winner. This entry from The Baldwin School in Pennsylvania takes a fun and original approach to uncovering the ancient Greek practice of storytelling. It was created by middle school students Allison, Saachi, Jattu, Emma and Ivonna with the help of their teacher, Jeannette Keshishian. Continue reading

The Ancient Roots of Disney’s Blockbuster Film “Frozen”

FrozenIn our previous post, The Disneyfication of Pocahontas and the True Story of Uleleh, we explored the origins of the Disney film Pocahontas and discovered that it has a deeper, more complex history than we thought. In today’s post, we delve into another Disney film, Frozen, which is said to be based on the fairy tale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. Interestingly, there are speculations that Andersen’s fairy tales were actually inspired by Norse mythology, so we decided to examine The Snow Queen for these literary remnants. Join us as we peel back the layers of history to see how an ancient culture eventually gave rise to a 21st-century Oscar-winning animated film. Continue reading

Science Fiction or Just a Matter of Time? Time Travel From Ancient Mythology to Modern Science

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What would it be like to travel back in time? To travel forward in time?  Remember H. G. Wells’ science fiction novella,The Time Machine,published in 1895? The book has been quite popular for more than a century and has even been made into movies.  But as you will see, there are many stories across cultures of time travelers. What is so fascinating about this concept? Continue reading

AntiquityNOW Month and Ancient Horrors: Introducing Paul Hodge

This month we are premiering AntiquityNOW’s Science Fiction section. The horror story is a close relative of science fiction with today’s audiences, whether those tales of horror take place in outer space or a country churchyard.  With a nod to the enduring appeal of both genres, this tale by Paul Hodge conjures up ancient folklore (going back to Mesopotamia and ancient Greece and Rome) and a sense that death is sometimes not all that it appears to be.

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Paul (P.J.) Hodge

Paul Hodge left London and came to reside in Hampshire armed with the collected works of MR James, Kate Bush and Nigel Kneale. He now trawls the dusky corners of the country seeking stories to entertain (and scare). These form part of his own collected works and blog, Freaky Folk Tales. Hodge will also be contributing his imaginative stories to Today’s Muse, AntiquityNOW’s creative section.

Enjoy his tale The Churchyard Horror below. Continue reading

It’s National Poetry Month! Ancient Poetry and the Created Self: From Early Epics to Afghan Women’s Landays

Marble terminal bust of Homer. Roman copy of a lost Hellenistic original of the 2nd c. BC. From Baiae, Italy. In the British Museum.

Marble terminal bust of Homer. Roman copy of a lost Hellenistic original of the 2nd c. BC. From Baiae, Italy. In the British Museum.

Throughout time, poetry has been one of the most evocative of art forms.  From ritual chanting and epic histories to love sonnets and modern free verse, poetry has represented the essence of what it is to be human.  Since April is National Poetry Month in the United States, let’s take a look at the origins of this artistic device.  As well, we’ll observe a unique poetry tradition recast with a 21st century perspective. We’ll see how poetry is giving voice to women in Afghanistan, who as with early cultures that forged their identities in verse, are tapping the extraordinary power of poetry to create their own sense of “self.” Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Savory Strawberry Soup

strawberriesTiny, red and packed with flavor, this delectable little fruit has deep historical roots. Heart-shaped and fragrant, the strawberry has inspired poets, writers, painters and chefs with its plump perfection. William Allen Butler said it best, “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”[1] Today we’re sharing a unique strawberry soup recipe with you. But first, let’s explore this ruby berry’s origins. Continue reading

A Place Called Home: Earth Day, Ecopsychology and an Urban Legend

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What is this connection with the earth that we humans cling to so tenaciously?  As a species we obviously are dependent on the air to breathe, the water and soil that nurture us, the sun whose fiery presence holds us in its eternal circle.  But the earth is more than the elements that give us life.  The earth holds millions of memories in the folds of its mountains, across the tapestry of its lands and in the rhythmic singing of its seas. For we as humans attach ourselves to this earth, not just for nurturance, but by the profound evocations of time, memory and place. Continue reading

Modern Technology Brings the Dead Sea Scrolls to Life

800px-The_Great_Isaiah_Scroll_MS_A_(1QIsa)_-_Google_Art_Project-x4-y0The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is undisputedly one of the most important archaeological moments of the last several centuries. In 1947 hundreds of ancient scrolls, including the oldest copy of the Hebrew Bible were found in a remote Judean Desert cave giving us an unprecedented insight into the society, religion and language during the Second Temple Period. To gaze upon and study these scrolls is an incredible opportunity that few have had up to this point. However, thanks to a collaboration between Google and the Israeli Antiquity Authority, anyone with an internet connection is now able to view these stunning pieces of history in high definition. Using the most advanced and innovative imaging technology, the IAA has imaged and uploaded the scrolls to a public online digital library and they’ve recently revamped their website to make the experience even more user-friendly. Technology is once again giving us the ability to understand and appreciate our past. Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day, Leprechauns and Human Folly

Image courtesy of jpmpinmontreal on Flickr.

Image courtesy of jpmpinmontreal on Flickr.

So it’s the wearin’ of the green time again.  In the United States (which in the 18th century took a religious holiday and turned it into a green phenomenon) it’s when everyone claims Irish ancestry for the day.  Just look around and see all things Irish today: green bagels, green beer, green cupcakes and even a green Chicago River. Continue reading