25.5.12

Figures on the side of hills


Listening en inglés. Figures on the side of hills


Today I’m going to talk about hill figures.
In England there are a number of figures carved out on the side of hills. The figure can be of a person or an animal or anything, for that matter. There are about 60 surviving hill figures and most are in the South of England.

Of course hill figures need to be maintained, if not, the grass and other vegetation grows back over them and they disappear. It is known that at least 57 hill figures have disappeared.
Uffington White Horse dates back to the bronze age.
One of the most famous and also the oldest is the Uffington White Horse, in the county of Oxfordshire. It dates back to the bronze age, which means it is about 3,000 years old. There were probably others but they have been lost. It is also big, 110 metres long. People have argued for a long time whether it really is a horse or some other animal. However, it has been called a horse since the 11th century at least.
Cerne Abbas Giant.
The origin of the Cerne Abbas Giant is unknown. Some say it is an ancient Saxon deity or of Celtic origin. However, since the first descriptions of the figure did not appear until the mid-18th century, many people conclude that it is not much older than that and was probably made during the English Civil War which lasted from 1646 to 1651. Regardless of its age, the Cerne Abbas Giant is now part of local culture and folklore, and is often associated with fertility. After all, the giant does have an erect penis.  
The Osmington White Horse near Weymouth.
We know exactly when the Osmington White Horse was made. It was in 1808. The figure is of King George III, who regularly visited the town of Weymouth. It is 85 metres long and 98 metres tall.
There is a legend that King George III was offended by the figure because it shows the king riding out of Weymouth and not into the town. He understood it as a sign that he was not welcome and never returned.
Homer Simpson and the Cerne Abbas Giant.
On the most recent hill figures in that of Homer Simpson holding a big doughnut to defend himself against the mighty club of the Cerne Abbas Giant. It was a publicity stunt to promote the 2007 The Simpsons Movie on 16 July 2007. It was painted on the hill with biodegradable paint so did not last long but it angered and upset a lot of people.  
Good bye.

Vocabulario
carved (verb: to carve) taller, esculpir

regardless = in spite of - a pesar de

folklore - folklore

club - garrote, cachiporra

publicity stunt - ardid publicitario

upset - disgustar


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