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ClassicismClassicismClassicis1.Docx 1.Final

ClassicismClassicismClassicis1.Docx 1.Final

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Published by Paul Henrickson
Discusses applications of the term which make communiation and meaning rather awkward.
Discusses applications of the term which make communiation and meaning rather awkward.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Paul Henrickson on May 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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by Paul Henrickson, Ph.D.
The Times of Malta came out with the following announcement:
Sunday, 7th February 2010
Reviving our roots
(the endeavor as described by the title supplied by The Times of Malta)
.A group of graduates and lecturers is planning to set up a Malta Classical Association with the aim of raising the profile of Classics in Malta. This title suggested that the Classics had, in some way, originated here, or had, in ancient times, found rootshere so I was quite interested to learn how that might be. Questions concerning the probability of there having been a Greek settlement here at one time kept recurring for the matter of the Greeks knowing of Ogygia was not in doubt only that
terra firma
might have had the experience of its culture…certai
nly the rest of the world has done over time so why should there not be physical evidence of it in Malta. Why should, especially Gozo, to say nothing of Malta be singled out for a mere reference, anunsustainable reference written by a man whose personal and singular existence is also in doubt. It used to be a staple of local pride to report that if, for any reason, one needed to escape the notice of the world that Gozo would be the place to go to for no-one has ever heard of it and should a tracker, by chance, land here and to question the natives about a stranger he would learnabsolutely nothing at all. While, in fact, everyone knows everything the official social facade ignores realities when, because of the close knit familial relationship it is often thought best to ignore some unfortunate pecadillosAll in all, while recognizing the contribution of A.A. Caruana in his late 19
century research into what he reported as Greek structures, subsequent research seems to indicate that those discoveries may have been more likely to have been Roman since theRomans used mortar and the Greeks did not.All of the above aside it is generally a profitable suit to study anything for it is not merely a virtue to keep the mind working, itseems to be both a physiological and psychological necessity to do so, it is also, as we may recently have learned, that it is asocio-political necessity to learn the truth. So, on that basis alone
(which is considerable in any event)
I support the efforts of the MaltaClasical Society and will do what I can to further it.
 All of the above aside, it is, in general, a profitable suit to study anything for it is not merely a virtue to keep the mind working itseems, as well, to be both a physiological and psychological necessity to do so. It is also, as we may recently have learned, that it isa socio-political necessity to learn the truth. So, on that basis alone
(which is considerable in any event)
I support the efforts of theMalta Classical Society and will do what I can to further it.
When I received word from somewhere
(I shouldn’t identify the source, for it would be too anamolously heuristic)
that a professor at the University of Malta was either originating or was backing
(it sounded like the former was the intended intepretation)
an intellectual movement to establish somehereditory intellectual legitimacy for Malta in attempting to associate 21
century contemporary discourse on a subject with anearlier, or, in this case, a non-existant, unreal cause. I now think it more likely that, as elsewhere, the interest in the classical spiritgets revived from time to time and that in the case of Malta, more specifically Gozo, while the Greeks seem to have known aboutGozo, as witness their references to Calypso and Odysseus and Dido and Aeneas, but from such evidence we should not concludethat the Greeks had settled Britain or that Henry Purcell was Greek. There has been little, if any, scholarly researched evidence
except that of A.A. Caruana dated 1888. However, the following extracted from an online ecyclopedia states: “
Greeks laid their masonry without mortar but with joints cut to great exactness. Marble was not generally used until the 5th cent.
Where coarse stonework or crude bricks were used, a coating, composed of marble dust and lime rubbed and highly polished, was applied to them. Even marble itself was sometimes so treated. Although it was long thought that buildings in ancient Greece retained the unbroken white of the marble, in fact colors and gilding were customarily applied to emphasize decorative sculpture and certain details; remaining traces of these have been found. Having discovered in the simple column and lintel an adequate method of construction, they used it exclusively, drawing from it the
maximum of dignity and beauty.” 
It becomes a rather hairy maneuver to reattach a post-event label to a specific priorly existant period, whether or not historical, andexpect thinking studen
ts not to recognize the essential plastic nature of the effort. In short, and more to the point, wouldn’t it be
logical to query the intention of any of the various generative forces in an epoch
(5thC.B.C. Greece, for eample)
whether they became,what we later identify them to have become, had been their initial intention to be? Did they have any identifiable intention at all? Itseems, as in so many of my classes at University, I am raising non-classical considerations about a subject whose classicalcharacteristics are a factor of the discussion itself and have little,if anything, to do with the ostenstensible subject, which is, byfaulty definition, fifth century Greece. No matter, really, no matter what the subject the factorial analysis seems always to obscure
experiential evidence…not unlike a cat covering its exrement. The classicist linguistic maneuver to limit meaning, with all h
onors toWittgenstein, moves the focus of the subject from the subject to the language about the subject which becomes the new subject
and the socially acceptable rational for a Ph.D….and in this process looses meaning, although it might, later on, regain it.
 In my experience Malta excells in only one socially acceptable expression of personal achievement and that is its vocally projectedvolume. By way of contrast it is difficult for me to identify one proper Bostonian who ever became an opera singer. In Malta it is farfrom being unusual. There is yet another characterstic, however, which fails to achieve the level of respectability of the operatic
voice and that is its (Malta’s) drive for guilt ridden paranoid effort to achieve public notice in any of the various endeavo
rs to whichit aspires of which there are many. The touting of the circus barker far exceeds any measureably legitimate performance. And theobverse side of that coin reveals the portrait of the anti-
hero, that is, no one but a Maltese is worthy of recognition…in Malta thatis….unless the individual such as Caravaggio (who was Italian) and (who was Briti
sh) their reputations appear incontestable, quite
impossible to ignore…in which case such individuals quickly become products of the Maltese environment they were petri
-bred inMalta. The need for universal admiration is so dire that the legitimate ways of achieving it have long been forgotten in favor of contrived hype. Unfortunately, those who have reconized this as the
modus operendi 
are rarely able to recognize legitimate
achievement and when they do they discount it…if it resides in a non
-Maltese. As of this date the most recent expression of thisquite nearly psychotic phenomenon is the announcement, as of April 9, 2010
(a most powerful series numerically),
of the formation of the Malta Classics Association.In this regard, in respect to its title, its identification label, I remain uncertain as to whether this organization identifies itself as anorgnization of individuals interested in classical Malta,
(which is a question of historical origination)
or an Association in Malta of individualsinterested in the classics
which posses a concern of quite different matter, that is, one of aesthetics)
…and then, of course, whose aesthetics
? Well, it iscertain that without acomplishing anything at all that might by way of an intended or expected product the annoucement alone hasalready proved its heuristic potency. All of which goes, perhaps, to indicate that where there is an action there is also a reaction. I,
for example would not have been induced to preparing a response if there hadn’t
been something peculiar about the proposal. And what I suspect I intuiti
vely sensed about this present “classical” interest was its consistency with Malta’s history, most
especially that of Gozo, or Ogygia, the home of the underground and water nymph Calypso, or, in Greek 
which means to
cover”, “conceal”, “hide way”, and, by extension of course “unobserved”, so, having be
social expression of this response might be:
 “me too, do not forget about me” is quite understanda
ble in the need for personal affirmaton and also the functioning of theabstract conceptions of social order as one generally sees it in governance, intelletual activity and law courts. These make of Malta
not a reality but an opinion. In Malta’s defense it might be added that
, in this
regard Malta is “up to
date”, but by default, of course,
not by any effort of its own.Now, for a person like myself, who sought a refuge from a criminal and oppressive reality elsewhere Gozo, or Ogygia, is just theplace to be where, hidden away, I might
have the opportunity undetected to give expression to who I am, or, who I want to be…a
time away from anywhere to use in a reherasal for a later and more perfect performance.
It is largely in this light that I view the present effort to legitimize the Maltese ethos by attempting to establish classicalconnections. In so far as I know there is no evidence of classical
(or non-classical)
Greek achievement on these islands while there ismore impressive prehistoric achievements which predate the Egyptian and raise, in my view, extremely important questionsregarding the relationship between architecture and social organizationThe dating and understanding othe various phases of activity in the temples is not easy. The main problem found, I have been told, is that the sites themselvesare evolutionary in nature, in that each successive temple brought with it further refinement to architectural development which iswhat one turistic promotional source brings to our attention. The consensus is that these structures predate the Egyptianarchitectural contribution. UR,c.18THc.B.C. The Pyramids of Gizah c. 2,600 B.C.
My question has been how is it the structues on Malta appear so much more organic
in conception than those of Ur , Gizah, or elswhere,and why did this architetural form disappear? One is tempted to consider the possible relationship betweenarchitetural form and either matriarchal or patriarchal social systems.
Encyclopedic sources tell us that “for the works or
study of works from classical antiquity, see Classics Classicism, in the arts,refers
generally to a high regard for classical antiquity,as setting standards for
which the classicists seeks to emulate
.[As for the
matter of “taste” which is a very real factor of course, where dicussion of this
type take place, but, in practice it becomes very illusory]
The art of 
classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained. “ This definition of “classisim” is the one generally used whether or
not itapplies to any Greek period. That period of Greek 
production which is generally identified as “classical” took many decades, perhaps
two or three centuries, to develop and lasted, one might say, for no longer than a half century before it, once again, mutated alongthe line of its initial impetus which was the ever increasingly detailed representaton of a physical reality, that is one that made noeditorial comment on the physical condition of that mortality, or atypical physical appearance. It is in this respect that the Egyptianand the Greek dvelopements were coincident in their aims at some points. The technical excellence and exellence of observation of Egypt exceeded that of Greece at most points and by the time the technical excellence of Greece achieved that of Egypt Greecehad already moved on to a yet another aesthetic dimension and in a shorter period of time than the Eyptian. It should be pointedout, as well, that there is evidence indicating that where individual physical anomalies did occur in the person they were eliminatedin the fabrication of their official images. Now, whether the element of time in its relation to development of a culture has moremeaning to its political formulation than to its aesthetically formal one has yet, I think, to be investigated. However, as things standit d
oes seem to appear that the aesthetic rule of thumb for Egypt was that of authority…
a desendent authority
, and that of Greece as
one of individual investigative interest for it is with the “Classical” Greek that the remains of Greek effort include the na
mes of 

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