Latest update: 4/4/2005; 8:46:43 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

NUNTII: A New Goddess For Roman Britain

"mirabilis" seems to be first of the mark with a link to a Guardian story about the British Museum's discovery of a hitherto unknown Romano-Celtic divinity named Senua. It appears the ancient Britons identified/assimilated her with Minerva, although much research remains to be done.

Read the full story in the Guardian  (with photo) ...

More details (and a different photo of some of the finds) can be had in the Summer 2003 issue of Friends of the British Museum magazine (pdf)...

I'm sure we'll hear more about this ... more links will be included in the next issue of Explorator. Until then, however, it's interesting to note that the magazine piece noted above comments about the identification with Minerva thus:

 The combination of the name Senua with the image of Minerva would suggest the twinning of a local British deity with the popular Roman goddess of wisdom and the crafts. Minerva also had warlike protective powers and an association with healing and with springs, as at Bath, where, twinned with Sulis, she controlled Roman Britain's only thermal spring.

The Guardian piece also mentions a potential link with a spring. It's interesting because for a number of years, Thomas Ikins has been working on a website called The Roman Map of Britain, which is based on his research into the Ravenna Cosmography and various other sources which indicate the Roman place names of various sites. At this site he tries to figure out what the modern equivalents of ancient place names are and one of those place names, or rather, rivers, happens to be Senua! As might be expected, given that the divinity was hitherto unknown, he is unable to positively identify where it is, but does give a rough location.  I can't find a decent map to check if he's in the cricket field or not.

::Monday, September 01, 2003 5:39:41 PM::
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VETERES: Arnaldo Momigliano

It occurred to me as I was putting up 'This Day in Ancient History' that it would be nice if I could link to an obituary of Arnaldo Momigliano. Unfortunately, Momigliano died just prior to the floruit of the Internet and so any obituaries of him lie in newspaper archives yet to be put up. Still, it's possible to glean some things from the web that will give a little insight into the man and his work. The History Society, e.g., has a prize named for Momiglano with a brief introduction about the man:

Arnaldo Momigliano (1908-1987) was one of the most important
historians of the postwar era and has been credited with doing
more than any other 20th-century historian to shape our
understanding of the evolution of Western historiography from
the ancient to the modern world. He produced classical
treatments of an extraordinary range of historical writers and
texts, from Herodotus to Scholem and from biblical narrative to
antiquarian scholarship.  More important still, he showed—as no
one had before him—that the history of historical writing is
itself a vital part of our discipline, and one that can be
practiced at the highest intellectual and stylistic level.
Professor Momigliano, who taught at the University of London and
the University of Chicago for many years, was a master of the
scholarly article form, writing in several languages and
publishing in an astonishing variety of journals.  His erudite
contributions to any number of specialized fields were
periodically gathered into volumes of contributi. Those volumes,
spanning several decades, rather than any single book of his,
constitute Arnaldo Momigliano’s weighty bequest to our

In the introduction to a review for the New Criterion of Momigliano's posthumous The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, Donald Kagan gives a bit of background as well:

Arnaldo Momigliano, who died in 1987, was the world’s leading
student of the writing of history in the ancient world. He
examined the historiography not only of the Greeks and Romans
but also of the Hebrews, Persians, Babylonians, and Assyrians,
among others, and the breadth of his curiosity and learning was
unmatched. Born and educated in Italy, he was appointed to the
chair of Roman history at the University of Turin at the age of
twenty-eight, but as a Jew he was removed from the position by
Mussolini’s racial laws. Most of his subsequent work was done in
England, first at Oxford and then at University College, London,
where he held the professorship of ancient history from 1951 to
1975. From then until his death he was a regular visiting
professor at the University of Chicago. He wrote several books:
biographies of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the
Great, and of the Roman Emperor Claudius, and works on The
Development of Greek Biography, on Alien Wisdom: The Limits of
Hellenization, and on The Conflict Between Paganism and
Christianity in the First Century. Each is written with grace
and is full of learning, careful scholarship, and wisdom, but
each is a slim volume that tends to read more like a collection
of separate essays about a common subject than like a fully
integrated account that sets a problem and proposes a solution.
In fact, Momigliano’s favorite form was the learned essay, and
he fortunately left us eleven volumes of them in his Contributi
alla Storia degli Studi Classici e del Mondo Antico.

Read the full review ...

::Monday, September 01, 2003 10:48:39 AM::
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ante diem kalendas septembres

  • rites in honour of Jupiter Liber
  • 392 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Juno Regina on the
    Aventine (and associated rites thereafter)
  • 22 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans (and
    associated rites thereafter)
  • 1987 -- death of Arnaldo Momigliano

::Monday, September 01, 2003 8:52:03 AM::
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NUNTII: Official Launch Tomorrow!

Just so you know, coinciding with the start of the school year (here in Canada, anyway) tomorrow will be the 'official launch' of this site. I'd like to thank the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of visitors who have come for a preview and the few who have had some constructive suggestions to make about the site (many of which were taken, as you can see) . I hope you'll continue to visit frequently and will make use of this site especially in your classes as it collects examples of how Ancient Greece and Rome still resonate in our collective psyches (yuck ... did I just write that? Must be time for coffee ...Guatemalan, of course). 

::Monday, September 01, 2003 8:48:50 AM::
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SPURIOUS QUOTE?: The Prevalence of the Hellenic Mind

The morning news scan always has surprises, but this item from the Hellenic News of America site definitely made me do a double or triple take. If you're one of the half dozen people who never saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the father in that movie is always trying to prove how practically every word (including "kimono") can be traced back to a Greek root. This article seems to be written in similar spirit and, it seems, with as much concern for accuracy. Just as a hint of its 'take', it makes the grandiose claim:

As a proof of vital American history, had it not been for one vote, our founding fathers would have pronounced Greek as the official language of the United States of America

Gee, wasn't that myth centred on German? Or was it Latin? Whatever the case, perhaps more interesting is that the article concludes with something called the "Oath of Alexander", which was supposedly delivered to his soldiers a year before his death. It runs as follows:

I wish all of you, now that the wars are coming to an end, to
live happily, in peace. All mortals from now on will live like
one people, united, and peacefully working towards a common
prosperity. You should regard the whole world as your country, a
country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial
distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow minded
others do, into Greeks and barbarians. I am not interested in
the origin or race of citizens. I only distinguish them on the
basis of their virtue. For me each foreigner is a Greek and each
bad Greek is a barbarian. If ever there appear differences among
you, then you must not resolve them by taking to arms, you
should resolve them in peace. If need be, I will act as your
You must not think of God as an authoritarian ruler, but you
should consider him as a common father, so that your conduct
resembles the uniform behaviour of brothers who belong to the
same family. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white
or black, equal. And I would like you to be not only subject of
my common-wealth, but also participants and partners. You should
regard the Oath we have taken tonight as a Symbol of Love.

As a collector of spurious quotes from antiquity (which I'll share with you in the upcoming weeks), alarm bells started to go off (especially with the second paragraph and the "Symbol of Love" stuff) and I ventured onto the net. Perhaps not surprisingly, most references to this 'oath' come from sites with a .gr extension or make reference to some 'tour guide' relating the thing. This one seems to be the only one on the net that is a different translation. Some guy even sent it (apparently) to George Bush. Perhaps tellingly, the quote never seems to appear at a site with an .edu extension.

But where did it come from?  One site  or another claims it comes from Eratosthenes (of Cyrene). Another credits Pseudo-Kallisthenes. Is it in Plutarch somewhere?

Now we know from Arrian 7.9-11 that there was a mutiny of sorts at Opis followed by a banquet of 'reconciliation'. Sacrifices were made. Was this oath part of it? I doubt it, but I'll happily be corrected if someone can point me to the original Greek text.

::Monday, September 01, 2003 8:42:54 AM::
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NUNTII: Travelling Along Hadrian's Wall

Here's one I missed in yesterday's "explorator". It's a touristy sort of thing about a trip to Hadrian's Wall and the various Roman things in the area. Read more in the New York Times ...

::Monday, September 01, 2003 7:56:43 AM::
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NUNTII: Illegal Archaeology

Back in May there was a conference in Germany devoted to the subject of illegal archaeology and looting of sites in general. The overall theme of the conference, however, appears to have been how the practices of American Museums seems to actually encourage such activities. ArtNews Online has an extensive article on the subject, with a major focus on how such things have affected Italian archaeology.

::Monday, September 01, 2003 7:47:26 AM::
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1. n. an abnormal state or condition resulting from the forced migration from a lengthy Classical education into a profoundly unClassical world; 2. n. a blog about Ancient Greece and Rome compiled by one so afflicted (v. "rogueclassicist"); 3. n. a Classics blog.

Publishing schedule:
Rogueclassicism is updated daily, usually before 7.00 a.m. (Eastern) during the week. Give me a couple of hours to work on my sleep deficit on weekends and holidays, but still expect the page to be updated by 10.00 a.m. at the latest.

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