Kim H. Veltman
“The Lion and the Unicorn”, Convegno internazionale: Il Castello Svelato, Direzione Regionale per i Beni culturali e paessaggistici della Campania e Istituto di Cibernetica E.Caianiello of C.N.R., Castel del Ovo, Naples, 28 September -2 October, 2006, Naples, 2007 (in press).   


This paper explores playfully some aspects of lions and unicorns to draw attention to the beastly cultural complexities implicit in these two familiar animals. It focusses on two aspects of this long story. First, there is a complex history how unicorns which were manly became largely the domain of women, whereas lions, which were very much the domain of female goddesses slowly became game for men. Secondly, there is a fascinating story of how lions and unicorns became associated with different seasons of the year, other than the hunting season.

These examples point to two long term needs: 1) a new approach to research of Antiquity that explores the roots of these ideas in the East: Das Vorleben der Antike in addition to Aby Warburg’s Das Nachleben der Antike; a Distributed European Electronic Resource (DEER), which has not just as a digital library in the manner of Quaero, but also a virtual reference room and a virtual agora. This paper outlines a series of 12 specific challenges: 1) multiple classification systems; 2) variant names; 3) bridging authority files, 4) media types, 5) measuring state of art of knowledge, 6) levels of claims and certainty, 7) butlers and agents, 8) levels of reality, 9) GIS of mental worlds, 10) electronic memory theatres, 11) levels of omni-links and 12) bridging inner and outer worlds.    

The accompanying lecture illustrates these points with c. 130 slides in order to broach questions and challenges for a future semantic web of lions and unicorns – here in both a domain specific sense and allegorically as a means of pointing to larger domains.

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