Stone carving, war, and the dead – BBC Scotland

Posted on 16/11/2011 by


Greek lyric poet Simonides is best know for his epitaphs, and his mastery of the art of memory. His verses were carved in stone at the sites of famous battles, such as the Greek vistory at Marathon, and to commemorate fallen Spartans at The Battle of Thermopylae.

Nowadays we remember in different ways. With Remembrance Day just passed, many of us will have worn a poppy, watched the ceremonies on television, or listened to stories commemorating the fallen on radio. But these acts somehow lack the permanance and solemnity of words carved into stone.

In Scotland, this skill of carving words onto stone is a dying art, with few practitioners left. But Radio producer David Stenhouse and poet Robert Crawford, who are making a documentary about Simonides, managed to find one craftsman from Historic Scotland who still has those skills.

This radio piece was broadcast on the BBC Book Cafe on Thursday the 14th of November. 

Posted in: Arts, BBC