Thursday, August 04, 2011

Does YU's new Vice Provost know about this? Mascot Questions

As of last January, Y.U's Vice Provost is Lawrence Shiffman. Shiffman has an (earned)  Ph.D. degree from Brandeis University and is a specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Judaism in Late Antiquity. In short, he knows what a Maccabee looks like.

Is this really how
Macabee soldiers dressed?
So inquiring minds are wondering: Did Dr. Shiffman sign off on his University's new mascot? Was he given a chance to say, "Hey, you know what, a Macabee might have had a beard; also, he might not have worn such fancy armor."

I say this not because I think mascots are required to be historically accurate, but because the press release announcing the introduction of this particular mascot claims: "The warrior in the logo is a historically accurate depiction of soldiers at that time and how the Maccabean army would most probably have dressed."

I'm no specialist, but I call B.S and would be most pleased to hear from an expert who can tell us the real deal.

Here's what I know: The skirt is accurate for a Greek soldier; so is the spear (though a hoplite would carry a sword, too.) I don't know if Macabees dressed like that, however. The shield is wrong (should be a circle) and the helmet is Illyrian, which strikes me as wrong, too, but I'm not sure. I'm most curious about the clean face. Did Macabees wear beards, or did they glorify cheek bones like other Greeks?

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