Sherita is a NYC-based band that explores “the acoustic traditions of the Balkans and Near East.” I had the opportunity to see them play at Barbes, in Park Slope, when I lived in NYC. They’re really outstanding – in all respects. And they’ve just released their first 5-track EP. It contains a mix of traditional Sephardic and original music. I recommend it highly.
Listen (and purchase) at Bandcamp.
The band’s website.
The BBC has an excellent long form story on Vassilis Paleokostas, Greece’s notorious “Robin Hood” figure. He’s escaped from Korydallos prison twice – by helicopter – and remains at large today, despite the sizable bounty placed on his head.
Take a look here.
An enormous tomb is currently under excavation at Amfipoli, Greece. It’s been all over the news, so you may have read about it already. But if not, here’s a website that collects information about the ongoing work:
The Amphipolis Tomb
Current thinking dates the complex to the Hellenistic period, just after Alexander (ca. end of the fourth century BC). But much remains unknown and conclusions, at present, are tentative.
The Loeb Classical Library – whose little green and red volumes contain between them nearly the entire corpus of classical Greek and Latin literature (with facing English translations) – is going digital this fall. From the website:
“…the introduction of the digital Loeb Classical Library presents an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature. Epic and lyric poetry; tragedy and comedy; history, philosophy, and oratory; the great medical writers and mathematicians; those Church fathers who made particular use of the Classics—in short, our entire Greek and Latin Classical heritage is represented here with up-to-date texts and accurate and literate English translations. 523 volumes of fully searchable Latin, Greek, and English texts are available in a modern and elegant interface, allowing readers to browse, search, bookmark, annotate, and share content with ease.”
Take a look at the announcement on the HUP site.
In the mid-20th century, thousands of Greeks immigrated to the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere, mainly as a result of WWII, the Greek civil war, and the socio-economic disruption that these wars caused. A new initiative, Save the Archives, seeks to digitize and preserve some 200,000 immigration entry documents connected to this wave of Greek immigration. The documents are currently stored at the International Organization for Migration offices in Athens. They sit in a basement, rotting away, and soon they might be thrown away altogether. Save the Archives is seeking to raise 25,000 euros to digitize and preserve these important records. Take a look at the project here.
Scholars at Cambridge are busy mapping the Jewish communities of the Byzantine Empire, which is no easy task. The evidence is fragmentary and quite dispersed. Here’s an overview of the the project from their website:
“The aim of the project is to map the Jewish presence in the Byzantine empire using GIS (Geographical Information Systems). All information (published and unpublished) about the Jewish communities will be gathered and collated. The data will be incorporated in a GIS which will be made freely available to the general public on the world-wide-web. Researchers and members of the public will be able to create maps according to their own specifications.
Chronologically, the project will begin in 650. This is soon after the Arab conquest of Egypt, Palestine and Syria when these regions, with their substantial Jewish populations, were permanently separated from the Byzantine empire. The end-date is fixed by the arrival in the region of large numbers of Jewish immigrants from Spain in 1492. Geographically, the core areas of Asia Minor, the southern Balkans and the adjacent islands including Crete and Cyprus will be included for the entirety of the period, Byzantine Italy however, will only be covered down to the Norman conquest. Some smaller territories that were only briefly under Byzantine rule may be excluded.”
The GIS initiative is now live and can be accessed here. The amount of information they’ve assembled is really impressive. The interface is easy to use, and you can save your search results. The site contains a large bibliography, too (close to comprehensive, I’d imagine).
If you like maps of antiquity, you know that the Barrington Atlas is the Gold Standard. And the weighty tome has now been converted into an app for the iPad. From the website:
“In 102 interactive color maps, this app re-creates the entire world of the Greeks and Romans from the British Isles to the Indian subcontinent and deep into North Africa. Unrivaled for range, clarity, and detail, these custom-designed maps return the modern landscape to its ancient appearance, marking ancient names and features in accordance with modern scholarship and archaeological discoveries. Geographically, the maps span the territory of more than seventy-five modern countries. Chronologically, they extend from archaic Greece to the Late Roman Empire.”
If I owned an iPad, I’d buy this, because it’d be a wonderful convenience to have it. But I don’t. But maybe you do. So I wrote this post.