Friday, October 08, 2004

Comic book artist recreates ancient Rome

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Imagine ancient Rome before its fall: The some 1,350 fountains still trickle with water, the 1,790 palaces haven't fallen to ruins and the 240 public latrines are still in business.

In painstaking detail, French comic book artist Gilles Chaillet has brought the ancient city back to life with an immense map based on a lifetime of research and a touch of artistic license.

Chaillet's immense map is colored in with cheerful greens, russets and pearly tones by his wife, Chantal. Looking at it, you can imagine a day's stroll in Rome circa 314 A.D.: a leisurely morning at the bathhouses, a stop at the market to buy some chickpeas and trip to the Circus Maximus to take in a chariot race.

He set his map in 314 A.D. because the majestic and well-preserved Arch of Constantine wasn't built until around then, and he felt most Rome-lovers couldn't imagine the city without it.

At that time, Rome had about 1 million inhabitants and was ruled by Constantine I, who legalized Christianity.

When Chaillet finally sat down to sketch the 11 foot-by-6.5 foot map, he spent 5,000 hours at the drawing board. His wife spent another 3,000 hours coloring it in.

Chaillet thinks that about 5 percent of the map's 13,000 buildings are completely accurate. About 30 percent are fairly accurate, and the rest is based on educated guesses, he said."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Hannibal ad portas - The Power and Wealth of Carthage

"It was said that Hannibal took an oath from his father when he was 9, that he would hate Rome for life. Also Carthage?s Queen Dido was quoted as saying: "Neither love nor treaty shall there be between the nations... Let your shores oppose their shores, your waves their waves, your arms their arms. This is my prayer let them fight, they and their sons', forever."

Following Hannibal's trail, selected items from a total of 450 exhibits can be touched and explored at a new exhibit running through January 30, 2005 at the state museum in Karlsruhe, Germany.