Caravaggio's Severed Heads / Herodotus Among the Scythians / Ian McKellen on Macbeth

Human Voices Wake Us

Sep 8 2023 • 1 hr 4 mins

An episode from 9/8/23: In the first part of tonight's episode, I read from Peter Robb's M, a biography of the painter Caravaggio (1571-1610). Through a discussion of two of his paintings which depict decapitation, we can understand how, in Caravaggio's early career, he was able to paint directly from life; but when he went on the run to escape a charge of murder, he depended instead upon his memory.

In the second part, I read from the father of history, Herodotus (c. 484-c. 425 BCE), and his description of royal the burial rites of the "barbarian" Scythians, who lived in the area of the Black Sea. The translation and essays I read are from the Landmark Herodotus, edited by Robert B. Strassler.

In the last part, I play a section of a talk given by Ian McKellen on the "Tomorrow and tomorrow" speech from Macbeth. You can find the clip on YouTube here.

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