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The Hellenic Bookservice in London, UK August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life.
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Bibliophiles in search of books on ancient and modern Greece will find a collection unsurpassed anywhere in the world at The Hellenic Bookservice in London. Featuring more than 16,000 titles on Greek and Latin subjects, the store serves a distinctive niche market and has been doing so for thirty-nine years.

If your interests in Greek literature include Aristophanes, Cavafy, Kazantzakis, or Xenophon, chances are you can find the book you are seeking at the Bookservice. If you are a Latinist and are searching for Cicero, Horace, Ovid, or Virgil, you will find what you need at the Bookservice. The titles are on three floors and a warehouse is in the basement. The eight employees are knowledgeable, accommodating, and multi-lingual.

Greek book shops in Athens such as Elefthourakis carry volumes on Greek literature, history, and poetry in the English language, but The Hellenic Bookservice has a unique collection of rare and out of print books in Greek as well as in English. Subjects include Ancient History and Art, Byzantium, Mythology, Ancient Religion, Cyprus, Crete, Greek Travel, Modern Greece, Ancient Greece, Modern History, Theology, and Language (Latin, Modern Greek, and Ancient Greek).

The Bookservice has more than 1,000 Greek novels and hundreds of poetry books. In addition, its collection of Latin Literature and Poetry is extensive and includes complete sets of The Loeb Classical Library, along with hard to find sets of writings by Virgil and Horace by scholars such as T.E Page, L.P. Wilkinson, and E.C. Wickham.

There are books for children on every Greek subject, including mythology, and also Latin versions of classics such as Winnie Ille Pu. Numerous books on Greek cooking are in one section and the store stocks a variety of books and videos on various methods of learning Latin, Ancient Greek, and Modern Greek, plus videos on films with Greek or Roman themes, such as The Stratford Shakespeare Theatre’s production of The Odyssey and movie versions of movies such as Spartacus, Ben Hur, Oedipus Rex, and Medea.

Unlike behemoth bookstores such as Waterstones and Dillons in the U.K. and Barnes and Noble and Borders in the United States, The Hellenic Bookservice is a warm and inviting place run by three generations of one family. It is managed by Michael Moloney and Marsha Fleming handles accounts and is a special assistant.

Mrs. Photini Constantinou is the visionary who founded the store. An avid reader who loves Greek poetry, literature, and history, she saw a need for a specialty shop featuring books on classical subjects. Still an active partner, she can be seen browsing about from time to time examining the stock. Other partners are her daughter, Monica Williams, and her grandson, Andrew Stoddart. (more…)

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A short history of a longstanding sex toy August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Exactly what the title says!

It’s 20,000 years older than the wheel and a whole lot less practical, but whether you’re stroking, poking, pegging or pounding, the dildo is still one of the most entertaining human inventions. 

Egyptian frescos dating from 3,500 BCE to 30 BCE depict nearly naked female dancers each carrying an oversized erect penis for the god Osiris. In the same time period, ancient Egyptian women believed they could improve their fertility by masturbating in moonlight atop the stone phallus of Amon-Ra, the Egyptian god of sun.

The ancient Greeks gave us the first known written references to dildos, or as they termed them “olisbos.” Aristophanes refers to them in the play Lysistrata and the poet Herodias entitled one of his plays The Dildo.

The olisbos were popular items, depicted in graphic illustrations of anal and vaginal use on pottery. The ancient Greeks were also the only early civilization that is known to have documented men as well as women utilizing dildos.

In ancient Greece, masturbation was seen as a gift from the gods, literally. It was believed that the god Hermes taught his son Pan how to masturbate to relieve himself of the misery of being rejected by the nymph Echo. Pan in turn shared his knowledge with the human shepherds.

During this period, dildos were made of stone, leather or wood in the city of Miletus and sold by Miletan traders around the Mediterranean and beyond. Considering the potential stiffness and chaffing from stone, leather or wood dildos, it’s not surprising the ancient Greeks were also the ones who came up with the first known lubricant: olive oil.

Want to learn more? Then read the article > Xtra

Have fun!

Scoop launches fourth year of free outdoor theatre August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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The Steam Industry returns to the Scoop at More London for its fourth year this summer, presenting seven weeks of free theatre in SE1.

From tonight 3 August 2006 until 17 September 2006, Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Cyclops!, based on Euripides’ tale, will be performed in repertory at the open air amphitheatre by City Hall, with performances taking place on Wednesdays through to Sundays.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Brecht’s death, the company revisits one of his greatest works, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, featuring Emma Stansfield (TV’s Coronation Street). The epic tale of revolution, flight, love lost and found, bravery and cowardice tackles the fate of an innocent child, abandoned by his royal mother and rescued by a servant girl. The translation is by James and Tania Stern and W H Auden, and has a newly commissioned score by Joe Fredericks.

Returning to the repertoire of the ancient Greeks, the company presents Euripides’ only surviving comedy, the family adventure, Cyclops!, in a new version by Phil Willmott. Written in 408 BC, this Odyssean adventure has never reportedly been staged in the modern world. With a mixture of actors, puppets and live original music by Elliot Davies, it recounts the adventures of the brave warrior Odysseus and his crew, as they encounter the giant one-eyed monster on their long journey home from the Trojan War. Cyclops! opens on 17 August 2006.

The company for both productions includes Duran Brown, Thea Collings, Paul Critoph, Cheryl Fergison, Joe Fredericks, Harry Gooding, Chris Greenwood, Ally Holmes, Ami Instone, Nicholas Osmond, Graham Pattenden, Nigel Richards, Dan Woods, Lucynda Wells and Matthew White.

Since Scoop’s launch in 2003, over 75,000 people have enjoyed productions including Oedipus, Agamemnon, Androcles and the Lion, The London Nativity, Children of Hercules and Treasure Island. The season is sponsored by More London, Arts Council England, Ernst & Young, Awards for All, Southwark Council, Rio Tinto, and Southwark News.

This year, the Steam Industry is collaborating with the National Youth Theatre on the productions, and running workshops and summer school activities for 16-21 year-olds. Director Phil Willmott said: “Every summer our aim is simply to give as many people as possible the chance to watch great plays, in fine productions, in the open-air, for free.”

Neptune Eatery brings Greek flavor to Blaine August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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As Bryan Feist and his Tunisian friend tossed homemade dough, spread spoonfuls of sauces and sprinkled fresh cheeses on one-of-a-kind pizzas for the specialty pizza parlor they worked for, Feist dreamed of owning his own restaurant and creating fine food.

Today, after 27 years in the restaurant business, Feist’s dream has come true.

March 17, Feist became the chef/owner of Neptune Eatery, a Mediterranean restaurant on Cloud Drive, Blaine.

The accomplished chef creates mouthwatering food with French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and Moroccan influences.

Some of the most popular dishes at Neptune are the Greek salad, gyros, homemade deli salads and pizza prepared in a wood fire oven. (more…)

Cafe Mediterano August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Barney Crnalic and Sani Pasagic have modest goals for their Cafe Mediterano, which the pair of old friends opened in late May near Five Corners in Essex Junction.

Their short but unique menu is written neatly on a framed chalkboard behind the counter of the freshly remodeled space that was most recently Huckleberry Junction Cafe. They describe kebab, their headline item, as the best-selling European fast food: “We are not high class,” explains Crnalic. “It is like a McDonald’s here.”

They undersell themselves, as one bite of thinly sliced, spiced chicken or beef and lamb piled onto soft, round, freshly baked rolls with crisp shreds of lettuce, sweet onion, tomatoes, and a generous dollop of Greek-style tzatziki yogurt sauce will quickly prove.

At Cafe Mediterano, they marinate boneless, skinless chicken pieces in olive oil, herbs and spices themselves and then layer them into a tight stack on the skewer. The beef and lamb combination is purchased already formed and ready to be skewered.

Crnalic recently demonstrated how to carve slices smoothly from the cones of compacted meat as they rotate slowly on big vertical skewers set in front of a grill, ribbons of juicy meat falling into a scoop he holds below.

In Europe, the meat is known as doner kebab, “rotating roasted meat”, Pasagic explained, and is similar to the Greek gyros and the Middle Eastern shawarma. In Finland, there are kebab shops on every corner catering to people of all backgrounds hungry for a quick, inexpensive and tasty sandwich.

When Bosnian natives and childhood buddies Crnalic and Pasagic arrived in Vermont nine years ago after spending five years in Germany, they were surprised to find not one true kebab shop. (more…)

History and Traditions > Naming vessels August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Legend has it that the practice of naming vessels started with the ancient Egyptians who carved monikers on the boats they used on the Nile River. This makes sense, since a number of the Egyptian gods were believed to use boats as their primary means of transportation.

The other possible explanation is that boat naming began when Poseidon (the Greek god of the sea) and Neptune (the Romans’ sea god) demanded to have a ledger of all ships. The Greeks and Romans, not wanting to anger the gods, obediently named their boats.

The tradition continues. Spend a few minutes at any Greek harbor or marina and you will observe that all of the boats are adorned with a name. Many of the names are after a Saint – in Greek Agios (Agios Nikolaos, Agios Georgios, etc) or the Virgin Mary (Panagia Evangelistria, etc). Other names used are Captain – in Greek Kapetan (or Kapetanios) (Kapetan Constantine, Kapetan Nikolis, etc).

Books > An Iliad August 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life.
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An Iliad. By Alessandro Baricco. Translated by Ann Goldstein. 158 pages. $21. Alfred A. Knopf.
 
Its oldest surviving manuscript fragments date only to the second or third century B.C., but the “Iliad” came into being much earlier, in the 8th century B.C., and came to be attributed about a century later to a poet named Homer. With its fierce, fine Bronze Age war beats, its lines exhaling brutality and delicacy in turn, the “Iliad” was to the Greeks the breath of life for all of word and rhythm that followed. That pre-eminence has proved enduring.

Homer’s “rosy-fingered dawn” and “wine-dark sea” are themselves the first dawn and first-sighted sea of a new world of poetry: the effulgence, inspired and inspiring, of a new way of seeing and saying. All we read today would be unwritable without the “love,” “death” and “dark” that come to us in the first book of the “Iliad.” That this fountainhead of Western literature begins, exquisitely, with the word “wrath,” just as the poem itself is one of “dismal death” and “corpse-fire,” of “men killing and men killed,” of “vile things” and “vile destiny,” shows that, like other epic wellsprings, such as the Old Testament, most of which postdates Homer, it is more knowing in its awareness of humanity’s most distinguishing trait, inhumanity, than literature of later ages. What came to be called “psychology” more than 2,000 years after Homer has been largely a degeneration from, rather than an advancement of, that awareness.
 
The first complete translation of the “Iliad” was commissioned by Petrarch. This Latin “Iliad,” which arrived in 1366, was not only the first, but one of the worst, translations. It nevertheless brought Homer to prominence among Renaissance humanists, who brought forth other, better Latin renderings. In the 16th century, Homer passed from Latin into the European vernaculars. The British poet George Chapman’s translation into English was published in 1611, the same year as the King James Bible; and from Chapman to the present day there have been many Englishings of the “Iliad.” The Loeb Classical Library edition has for more than 80 years offered the original Greek text facing A. T. Murray’s literal yet elegant prose translation. The poet Richmond Lattimore’s translation came in 1951, the poet Robert Fitzgerald’s in 1974.

(more…)