Monday, 18 November 2013

50,000 Views and a New Animation

That’s right – we’ve past 50,000 views of Panoply’s vase animations, so thank-you and ευχαριστώ again for watching, we really appreciate it.

This latest animation is made from an amphora by the Leningrad Painter – named after the city (now St. Petersburg) where many of his pieces are housed. The Leningrad Painter was an early mannerist painter, working in the early to mid-fifth-century BCE as part of a group known for depicting somewhat exaggerated gestures and for their fondness for scenes that were unusual or drawn from daily life.

On this amphora we see a young warrior being wished well as he leaves for a campaign. He shakes the hand of an older male figure – perhaps his father – whose hair has been outlined with black slip but not filled in, creating the impression of white hair. The warrior is well-prepared for his campaign, with a long thrusting spear, back-up sword, and a traveller’s hat to keep sunstroke at bay. A second male well-wisher is in-between the ages of the two central men, bearded but not yet grey. On the far left, a woman prepares to pour a libation offering; she holds a dish in her left hand and a small jug in her right. Like the man on the right, the woman is bent forward to fit neatly into the curve of the vase, accentuating the focus on the warrior. The handshake, or dexiosis, with a departing warrior became quite a frequently reproduced scene, and – with wars flaring up in most years of the classical period – was one that lots of families would recognise from their own lives.

Thanks again for watching – there are more projects in the offing and we’ll keep you updated

Source image with permission of Jean-David Cahn AG (

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Panoply and the Iris Project

This week, Panoply is delighted to be featured in the Iris Project’s web magazine, Iris Online. The Iris Project is a superb educational charity that supports the promotion of classical languages and culture to children and teenagers. As such, the article (written by Sonya) is aimed at teenagers. It explains what we’ve been doing at Panoply and offers suggestions for vase-related storyboarding activities. You can find it (along with lots of other interesting articles) at:

The Iris Project has just opened The East Oxford Community Classics Centre, hosted by Cheney School. The Classics Centre will be a vibrant new Classics learning venue for people of all ages to attend events, workshops, lessons, and exhibitions. We’re looking forward to attending their opening celebration this evening, a highlight of which will be a talk by Prof. Mary Beard. Check out the array of enticing forthcoming events at:

Our thanks also go out to the Classics Library for their feature on Panoply: The Classics Library provides news, info, and resources for classics teachers. If you haven’t already, look them up!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lifo: Panoply featured in Greek Media

We’re very proud that Panoply featured recently in an article in the Greek publication The article is in a column, written by Dr Vasiliki Pliatsika (ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚΗ ΠΛΙΑΤΣΙΚΑ), that celebrates ‘objects, people and stories from the world of antiquity’. Dr Pliatsika praises the Ure Discovery project as a fresh and inviting way to enjoy ancient vases. In less than a month, more than 20,000 people have watched the animations and the article has been picked up and re-posted by bloggers and news-sites around the world. So a big ‘hello’ if you’re a new visitor, and a μεγάλο ‘γεια σε’ to all our Greek visitors. You can read the article in Dr Pliatsika’s column at:

Monday, 16 September 2013

Vase Remixes

While Panoply create animations from ancient Greek vases, this post is dedicated to other artwork born from the vase. First up on the photostream, you’ll see a brilliant little piece by cartoonist, Matt, who brought Greek vases to the front page of a UK broadsheet during the 2012 Olympics. This link will take you to an article about his curious career as a cartoonist:

The photostream also includes pieces based on the distinctive style of so much ancient Greek pottery, with its use of strong contrast and intricate boarders. There’s a piece by Robert Weigand, who brings a 20th century biker twist to the classic vase scene and one from Andre Asai (aka asaifactory on who brings the Star Wars universe to ancient Greece – a modern myth in an ancient style!

Outstanding mention goes to Ron Hutt, for his project, Greek Myths Redux In this imaginative series, we see contemporary social issues explored through images that reflect ancient myth and art: the Fates weaving DNA, a Muse playing computer games, Athena filming Apollo, and Heracles fighting alongside ‘stem-cell warriors’.

Ancient Greek vases were created for a contemporary audience. Their scenes reflected contemporary interests in myth and daily life, offering us offer a glimpse into the headspace of a bygone people. But while classical vase scenes are specific to a time and place, they’re so old that they can also remind us of the enormous scale of human history – of just how much time has gone before us and will do after, and of the power of art to capture a moment within that huge picture. By drawing on the style of ancient vases, these re-workings encourage consciousness of our time’s own brief moment of cultural space within the huge timescale of human history. Whilst they’re largely playful, they can also prompt us to reflect on what scenes we feel would capture today’s zeitgeist, and perhaps to ask how we might like to be regarded two or three thousand years from now. What would you have on your vase?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Ure Discovery and Beyond

Well, after eight enjoyable months, the Ure Discovery project is complete, with the final animation posted today. Massive congratulations to all the teenagers who took part, plus pats on the back for Amy Smith and Guja Bandini from the Ure Museum at the University of Reading, and for Annette Haworth of AACT, creator of the Ure Discovery museum trail.

We hope you’ve enjoyed watching the animations and reading the info pages. If you’re a teacher or other educator using the animations in teaching then we’d love to hear your feedback and any of the great ideas you’ve had about using the animations in class - just drop us a line through the contacts page.

We have exciting plans for the future, so please click Follow at the bottom of the blog if you’d like to get notifications on updates, interviews, and new materials. You can also follow Sonya on Twitter @SonyaNevin.

Our next major project is an online subscription-based service giving access to more extensive animations, plus further teaching resources including lesson plans, specialist background information, and a wide range of educational activities. The first set of animations will be based on four great vases that are on the UK A-level syllabus. So expect something truly amazing next year, with animations made from some of the finest vessels from antiquity. The material will be aimed at teachers for use in the classroom, based on our knowledge of classics teaching and input from classics and ancient history teachers from around the UK and beyond. If there’s anything you’d like us to include, please let us know :)

We’re also continuing to work with museums and schools to create more pupil-led animations that will be added to the open-access material on Panoply.
Watch this space...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Sirens’ Arrival

We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s animation, featuring the Sirens. In celebration of these scary winged ladies, we’ve posted this album of siren images from throughout antiquity. The album includes vases, sculptures, and terracottas, now housed in the British Museum, the J.P. Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, and the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology. Panoply has lots more about the Siren myths on the Siren animation info page.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Siren Interlude

Due to an unforeseeable health hitch, I’m afraid we’re unable to bring you the latest animation this week. Please visit us again next Wednesday for the latest instalment of the Ure Discovery series. Next Wednesday’s features the Sirens, so check out Odyssey 12 by way of terrifying preparation…

Friday, 26 July 2013

Panoply at the Association for Latin Teaching

This week we were pleased to make an appearance at the annual conference of the Association for Latin Teaching (ARLT) ARLT has been supporting the teaching of Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilisation for over 100 years. The conference is an opportunity for secondary school teachers to meet and share ideas, hear about new trends in research or pedagogy, hone their skills, and enjoy themselves. This year’s conference was held on the beautiful campus at the University of Roehampton, and Dr Susan Deacy gave a lecture about Roehampton’s rich neoclassical history and the opportunities that presents for teaching neoclassicism. Prof. Peter Jones spoke about women in Homer, there were sessions on Latin pronunciation and GCSE and A-Level set texts, and Prof. William Fitzgerald of King’s College London lectured on the Aeneid. There was even a performance of Medea the Musical, and an outing to the British Museum’s much celebrated Pompeii exhibition.

My contribution was ‘Teaching with Animations of Ancient Vases,’ a presentation outlining the range of activities that can be done in class around the Panoply animations. This covered using the animations as a springboard into discussions of related topics – such as The Cheat for the Olympic Games or Clash for the Trojan War, using the animations to lead discussions of specifically related points, such as Pelops for chariot-racing, and using them to link to more loosely related topics, such as Pelops for the background to the Trojan War. We also looked at using the animations for teaching about vases themselves, such as comparing the representations of horses in Pelops, The Cheat, and The Amazon (this week’s new animation). The second half of the session looked at storyboarding – which is a great learning activity. There are lots of example storyboards in the info pages of the Panoply website, and for more detail on how to include it in teaching, visit: to see a how-to guide in the annotated presentation slides.

It’s always a pleasure to hang out with classics teachers, and it was great to get some really positive feedback about the animations and some expert input into our plans for a curriculum-based teacher’s pack. Many thanks to all the teachers who took part!

Roehampton in the summertime

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Medusa at the Party

This week’s animation features a new exploration of the Medusa myth in a story by pupils from Addington School in Reading. The cup, or kylix, they were working with shows Medusa’s head on its shallow inside. The kylix would be used for drinking from at symposiums, and would be filled from larger vases. In this case, the Medusa face would be staring up at the drinker as he neared the bottom of his cup – a good reason to keep it well-filled.

There are images of symposiums in the album below, and visit the Medusa info page (in Ure Discovery - Medusa) for more on Medusa, gorgons, and the animation.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Another new animation up today. This week Pelops, as seen by pupils of Kendrick School in Reading. Check out the Pelops Info page for more on the Pelops myth, including some outstanding statues from Olympia.

Busy preparing for the ARLT summer school later this month, (that’s The Association for Latin Teaching In my session I’ll be sharing ideas about using animation in teaching. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions or questions you’d like answered

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


The second of eight new animations created for the Ure Discovery trail is now up on Panoply! The animation was storyboarded by pupils at Addington School, a school in Reading for pupils with special educational needs. The Addington pupils created the story and storyboard as an interpretation of an archaic Athenian vase. They also excelled in the creation of other artwork based on the vase, producing the majority of the pieces displayed in the Ure Discovery exhibition.

Heracles is shown on a huge number of Athenian vases of the sixth century BCE. It seems that the aristocrats who ruled Athens then associated the city (perhaps even themselves) with Heracles, Athena’s favourite (see the work of the great vase scholar, John Boardman, on this topic). This made Heracles popular, but once democracy was developed at the end of the sixth century, Heracles’ popularity declined at Athens, and Theseus became more prominent on Athenian vases.

Heracles remained extremely popular in the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece, and interest in him never totally died out even in Athens. Heracles remains the subject of interest today. Last month an international academic conference, Hercules: A Hero For All Ages, was held at the University of Leeds . A quick look at the abstracts in the download section of the conference site will show you the enormous range and depth of research currently going on into this great hero.

This is the vase used in the Heracles animation. It's really quite small, only about 20cm high.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Ure Discovery Arrives on Panoply!

The first of eight new animations created for the Ure Discovery trail is now up on Panoply. The animation was storyboarded by pupils at Maiden Erlegh School in Reading, based on their interpretation of a classical Athenian vase. The info button by the animation gives all sorts of insights into the myth, the vase, and the process of creating the animation for the museum trail.

Hope you like the new look to the Panoply site. We’ve tried to make it clearer and easier to navigate – let us know what you think, and please help us keep improving the site by letting us know if you hit any glitches. By the way, we’ve also reloaded the pre-existing videos, so if you have any animation urls saved in PowerPoint presentations or hand-outs, switch them to the new urls.

The second Ure Discovery animation will appear next Wednesday, this time featuring the hero Heracles.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Ure Discovery Museum Trail Launched!

We’re delighted to say that the Ure Discovery Museum Trail was launched successfully today. Visitors to the Ure Museum at the University of Reading can now take the i-pad trail around the museum, seeing vase animations and other material right next to the vases they’re made from.

On Saturday night we attended a special launch event at the museum, where pupils involved in the project showed friends and family their artwork and saw the animations and trail for the first time. Curator Amy Smith welcomed us all and explained the background to the project – how the Arts Council supported the vision of teenagers curating their own responses to the collection. Annette Howard, of local chariot AACT (Access-ability Communications Technology), explained how the digital trail she’s created increases the accessibility of the collection. Steve discussed the animation process and explained some of the interpretative choices he made in transforming the teenagers’ storyboards into animations. And students and pupils who took part in the project told us all how much they’d enjoyed working with the collection and seeing the project come to fruition. Assistant Curator, Guja Bandini, who coordinated Ure Discovery, finished up the presentations by thanking all the participants and inviting everyone to enjoy a drink and look round the fabulous exhibition of project artwork.

A great night all round, soon to be followed by the animations appearing on Panoply in a weekly series starting later this week.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Panoply interviewed by Classics Confidential

Only a matter of days until the Ure Discovery launch! Visitors to the Ure Museum will be able to enjoy the animated museum trail from Monday (17th). Panoply will be posting a new animation from the trail each week for eight weeks, complete with extra info on the myths and ideas in them. We’ll be kicking things off next week with an animation of the Pandora myth – don’t miss it!

Meanwhile, Sonya’s interview for Classics Confidential has gone live! Classics Confidential ( is an outstanding project which posts interviews with classicists from all over the world – it’s a great site for hearing about research from people who love what they’re doing. You can hear Sonya talking about Panoply and animation in museums here:

Monday, 3 June 2013

Ure Discovery Progress: Discovering Ancient Music

Not long now until the launch of the Ure Discovery project, featuring eight new vase animations framed within a museum trail. Building on the successful use of Stefan Hagel’s cithara music for the Ure View animations, Steve’s been sourcing more ancient music to match each animation.

Some of the tracks that will be used are by musician and music archaeologist Conrad Steinmann. Conrad collaborates with instrument maker Paul J. Reichlinn to reconstruct ancient Greek musical instruments. They base their reconstructions on ancient instruments that have survived over the centuries, and on vase images of instruments in use. Surviving Greek lyrics give indications of the rhythms used in ancient music; Conrad is guided by these rhythms in his musical compositions for the ancient-style instruments. You can find out more about his work at:

Also appearing in the animations is music by Lyravlos, The Centre of Greek Musical Tradition, and by the London-based Thiasos Theatre Company Thiasos are a group of academics and theatre professionals whose mission is ‘to put music, dance, colour and spectacle back at the centre of Greek tragedy and comedy.’ The new animations can be followed without the music, but we hope you’ll enjoy the combination.

The Ure Discovery trail will be launched at the University of Reading’s Ure Museum on the 17th June 2013, complete with an exhibition of related artworks by the teenagers involved in the project. In case you can’t make it, Panoply will be displaying the animations along with further details on each piece in the resource pages.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Panoply at Open Circuit

May saw Panoply appearing at Open Circuit, the opening event of Short Circuit, 'a strategic action research project commissioned by Arts Council England, designed to put digital acumen and disability artistry together.' Short Circuit is facilitating collaboration between digital technicians and disabled artists and investigating how the digital world can increase access to the arts. A range of excellent presentations and table discussions were on throughout the day, including a talk by artist Rachel Gadsden. Rachel paints, draws and makes digital animations; she had just returned from the Middle East, where her exhibition This Breathing World formed part of an Arts and Disability Festival in Qatar. There’s more about the participants here: and check out the video of the day at:

Sonya gave a brief presentation about Panoply’s vision for artefact animation and Steve led a table discussion detailing the Panoply approach. We spoke about the potential vase animations have for reaching across boundaries, particularly audio boundaries, and valuable feedback gave us lots to think about and build on. One idea was to explore the use of sign language in future animations. Look out for the artistic results of Short Circuit’s collaborative creation event coming up on the 8th-9th June.

Meanwhile, thanks very much to AWOL (ancient world online) for featuring Panoply on their excellent site:

(an Open Circuit table discussion featuring Dolly Sen and Damian Toal)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Storyboard Progress: Combat Scene for Ure Discovery

Steve is currently creating animations for ‘Ure Discovery’, an Arts Council funded project in which pupils from three schools are collaborating with the Ure Museum. The pupils created stories and storyboards from the vase collection, and Steve is creating animations based on those storyboards, which will be used in a digital museum trail.
You can see here an example of how the storyboards inform scenes from the forthcoming animations. This one comes from a spectacular combat scene on a lekanis (a shallow bowl with side handles), made on the island of Euboea around 550BCE. The teenagers’ story shows a training session getting out of hand. You can read more about the project on the Ure Discovery blog: The Ure Discovery animations will be out in June

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Panoply Features in Russian Media

This week has featured in a news article for Russian news giant Polit. The article, written by Elena Chepel and appearing in the Pro-Science section, focuses on the teaching potential of the animations. Russia has a tremendous history of classical scholarship, and students study classical culture in schools and universities across the country - so hopefully the panoply animations will prompt some interesting discussions in Russian classrooms! You can see the article here: If your Russian's not perfect, you can get a rough translation by running the text through a translator such as Google Translate or Bing Translator.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Classical Association Conference Follow-Up

Pleased to say that Sonya’s paper on the Ure View project went down very well at the Classical Association Conference. The British Museum’s Ian Jenkins was very positive about the animations all together, calling the moment when Achilles pulls down his helmet in Clash ‘a profoundly Greek moment’, which highlights the persona switch between warriors at play and warriors at war. Dr Carrie Vout, from the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge University, suggested a strand of teaching that invites discussion of the difference between static and narrative representations; definitely an idea with huge potential. The third piece key piece of feedback came from a member of the audience who suggested their use amongst pupils who have difficulty with literacy. This was very welcome feedback, and I’m glad to say that we have already found that the visual focus of these animations has made them popular amongst pupils with those specific needs. The current Ure Discovery project also involves Steve developing stories and storyboards with pupils at a special needs school. The lack of a language element also means that the animations work well internationally and it’s been pleasing to hear of them being used in Greek schoolrooms.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Communicating Ancient Greece and Rome

We’re delighted to announce that Sonya has been awarded a place on the Communicating Ancient Greece and Rome programme run by the Archive of Performance of Greek and Roman Drama based at Oxford University. This AHRC funded programme helps researchers to build sustainable partnerships with organisations in the media, arts and heritage, and education sectors. Participants attend an impressive series of development sessions and receive funding to design and deliver a high-quality public programme. Watch this space for further developments - we’ll be making something amazing!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Classical Association Conference Preparation

Busy preparing material for a talk about Ure View at the Classical Association Conference. Sonya will be talking on the ‘Classics in Museums’ panel on Thursday 4th April. Other speakers on the panel include Vicky Donnellan (UCL) with ‘The Role of Classical Collections in UK Regional Museums’, and Laura Snook (Birmingham) with ‘Visiting Places of the Past – Exhibitions of Classical Sculpture.’ Chairing the session is Ian Jenkins, Senior Curator in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum. Must admit I’m really looking forward to it.