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Ever heard of the terrible 5th century Plague of Athens? Over 2400 years later we’re living though another dreadful health crisis. How did the Greeks handle theirs? And is coronavirus comparable to the many illnesses that have hit the world so far? Historians and art-historians like us love to say that the past always teaches us something. Some stories, like that of the Plague of Athens, are timeless, and we can learn from them even today.

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Feeling down that you likely won’t get to go to Paris any time soon? Me too. I spent six years in Paris, and it breaks my heart that I can’t pop over to wander the streets of my favourite city, snacking on pastries, stopping to read by the Seine, and – of course – popping into my favourite museums. Wherever you are though, there are things you can do to bring a little bit of the Parisian lifestyle to you. Here are five ways you can live like a Parisian at home.

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Lo stile di vita degli Italiani – notoriamente chiamato La Bella Vita – è ammirato da tutto il mondo, e spesso anche imitato. Ok, mettiamo le cose in chiaro sin da adesso. Sono Italiana, se state già pensando che sono di parte. E comunque, sarete d’accordo con me sul fatto che i turisti che viaggiano nel Bel Paese, spesso raccontano della nostra abilità di celebrare e apprezzare ogni aspetto della vita. Si inizia dal tempo che gli Italiani dedicano ad amici e famiglia, si passa al buon cibo e si finisce con la bellezza artistica e naturalistica in cui siamo immersi.

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Italian lifestyle is admired and exported all over the world. Ok, let’s get this straight from the outset. I’m Italian, in case you think I’m biased. Still, I can’t but notice that tourists travelling to the Bel Paese, often tell about the ability of Italians to celebrate all aspects of life. From spending time with family and friends, to eating and drinking well, to enjoying beauty in all its forms.

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If there’s one thing we should be grateful for in these dark times, it’s that this isn’t happening in a time when we only had three TV channels (or worse, no TV at all). If you’re anything like us, you’ve been spending the last few weeks getting even better acquainted with your Netflix account. And with almost anything you can think of available for you to watch with just a few clicks, it is, all in all, a pretty good time to be stuck at home.

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Questo Blog post è anche disponibile in Inglese!

Il Diadumeno di Vaison è una statua Romana in marmo che rappresenta un atleta vittorioso. Trovato a Vaison, una cittadina Romana nella Francia Meridionale, questo meraviglioso tesoro è oggi al British Museum (perché il Louvre si rifiutò di acquistarlo per il suo ‘prezzo spropositato’!). Si tratta di una copia romana realizzata su un modello originale greco in bronzo. Prova a pensare a quanto i Romani impararono dai Greci… Dopo aver conquistato le loro terre, portarono a casa tutte le loro opere più belle per farsi ispirare da esse. Chiaramente, non avrebbero potuto dimenticare il Diadumeno, un meraviglioso pezzo realizzato da uno dei più famosi artisti della Grecia Classica, Policleto.

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The Daidoumenos of Vaison is a Roman marble statue of an ancient Greek athlete. Found at Vaison, a Roman town in Southern France, this beautiful piece is at the British Museum (because the Louvre refused to buy it for its ‘unreasonable price’!). The statue is a Roman copy of a Greek original in bronze. Just think for a second about how much the Romans learnt from the Greeks… After conquering their lands, they brought back home all their most beautiful artworks and took inspiration from them. Clearly, they couldn’t forget the Daidoumenos, a sculpture by one of the most famous artists of Classical Greece, Polykleitos.

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If you had a trip to Paris planned in the next few months, you’re probably feeling pretty crushed right now. Our hearts go out to our Parisian friends, who are currently on lockdown. For the rest of us, Paris feels very far away. There’s nothing quite like a stroll along the Seine, a picnic in the shade of the Eiffel Tower, or a museum treasure hunting romp through the Louvre (we think so anyway). But here’s the next best thing: our favourite books about Paris to read while you can’t get there.

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As soon as you set foot inside the Natural History Museum, you are greeted by some of the collection’s most amazing skeletons. Depending on which entrance you use, you will be met by one of two Natural History Museum highlights: Hope the blue whale, or Sophie the stegosaurus. Both are remarkably complete specimens that have allowed us to learn a huge amount about how they once lived. 

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Avviso veloce: alcune delle informazioni in grassetto potrebbero essere risposte a domande bonus nella tua caccia Divertimento e Giochi, la cui Prima Verisione in Italiano, sarà Venerdì 3 Aprile alle 17.30.

I Greci rispettavano le regole del buon costume in modo molto diligente: le donne dovevano essere delle bravi madri, bimbi e ragazzi frequentavano la scuola, la palestra e si preparavano per diventare forti guerrieri, i più anziani consigliavano, con la loro saggezza, le nuove generazioni, e tutti pregavano gli dei durante le festività religiose. C’era un’occasione, però, in cui quasi tutto era concesso e in cui le regole del buon costume potevano essere dimenticate: il simposio. I nostri musei sono pieni di vasi che mostrano simposiasti che si divertono e giocano; il motivo della loro popularità  è  semplice: i Greci, come gli Egizi, i Cinesi, gli Anglo-Sassoni e le genti della Mesopotamia, spesso seppellivano i propri morti con dei giochi (o scene di giochi), per permettergli di divertirsi durante la loro vita ultraterrena.

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This post is also available in Italian!

In ancient Greek society people carefully followed the social rules of good behaviour. Women had to be good mothers. Kids and youths went to school, to the gym and were trained to be brave warriors. The elder ones inspired the new generations with their wise advice. And everyone prayed to the gods during the religious festivities. There was a time though, when almost everything was allowed and when social rules of good behaviour could be forgotten: the symposium. Museums are filled with vases showing symposiasts having fun and playing, precisely because the Greeks, like the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, the Chinese and the Anglo-Saxons, often buried their dead with games (or scenes of games), in order to allow them to have fun during their afterlife.

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Our THATMuse Dinosaur and Extinct beasts Treasure Hunt focus on the incredible treasures inside the Natural History Museum’s 80 million strong collection, but this blog contains 7 fascinating facts about the natural history museum building itself.  

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