Latest update: 4/5/2005; 4:33:30 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

NUNTII: Slate History Lesson

A reader passed this one along (thanks MF!) ... The current (I think) online version of Slate has a piece called Cincinnatus for President by Gary Greenberg. It's a response to Wesley Clark's desire to run for the presidency and ...

It's no wonder that political generals have consistently invoked the Roman hero Cincinnatus—acting as if power is an obligation thrust upon them, not something they crave. In U.S. history, no one has been likened to the Roman hero more than George Washington, who answered the call to duty in the Revolutionary War, then returned to his farm, and then heeded the call again when the early republic sought a chief executive.

Generals since then have emulated Washington's Cincinnatus image by fashioning themselves as nonpolitical public servants, high above the fray. They have tried to get others to draft them into public office rather than advertising their ambition. In 1836 and 1840, supporters of William Henry Harrison, who had won a smashing victory in the Indian wars at Tippecanoe in 1811, called him "The Farmer of North Bend" who was reluctantly willing "to leave his plough to save his country." In 1848, Zachary Taylor, a Mexican War hero, used the slogan "Untrammeled with Party Obligations."

It kind of wanders off after that, but you can read the whole thing at Slate ...

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 8:00:55 PM::
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NUNTII: Paralympics Mascots

I sure some folks remember the brouhaha which arose when Athens chose their mascots for the upcoming Olympics. Now they've chosen a mascot for the Paralympics and I personally was somewhat shocked to find that it's going to be something called Proteus:

Proteus, a multicoloured sea horse named after an ancient Greek sea god who could transform himself into many shapes when his boss Poseidon was in a foul mood, will be the mascot.

The full article is in the Mirror and likely will be hitting many newspapers over the next few days. Proteus (the sea divinity) appears in Homer's Odyssey (4.445 ff) where Menelaus and his men lie in wait for him in order to extract some information from him. The Butler translation (via Perseus) runs thus:

So all the morning we waited with steadfast heart, and the seals came forth from the sea in throngs. These then laid them down in rows along the shore of the sea, [450] and at noon the old man came forth from the sea and found the fatted seals; and he went over all, and counted their number. Among the creatures he counted us first, nor did his heart guess that there was guile; and then he too laid him down. Thereat we rushed upon him with a shout, and [455] threw our arms about him, nor did that old man forget his crafty wiles. Nay, at the first he turned into a bearded lion, and then into a serpent, and a leopard, and a huge boar; then he turned into flowing water, and into a tree, high and leafy; but we held on unflinchingly with steadfast heart. [460] But when at last that old man, skilled in wizard arts, grew weary, then he questioned me, and spoke ...

Now ever since I've become a teacher at an elementary school, the Proteus passage has reminded me invariably of something called "non-violent crisis intervention", which comprise a number of techniques used to control students who become a danger to themselves or others in class. Is this really the image one wants to associate with a Paralympic Mascot?

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 7:17:40 PM::
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D'OH: Latin Typos ...

I hope this typo is only in the newspaper and not in the artwork:

Boisvert, 38, said he “stumbled onto the institute.” Driving past the Route 13 location, he noticed the newly constructed sign. Made by Weidman of carved granite and steel, the 20-foot sign depicts a gigantic easel, inscribed with the phrase “Ex Cealo Ars Vivit” Latin for “from the heavens art lives.”

Full article ...

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 6:57:22 PM::
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NUNTII: Roman Weapons Factory?

Archaeologists are digging a major site in Devon which appears to have been smelting iron on a massive scale. Current estimates suggest it was producing far more than was needed for 'local use', and so speculations are beginning to emerge that this was the site of a Roman weapons factory and that Roman influence in the area was much greater than previously thought. Full story in the BBC ...

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 6:44:02 PM::
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NUNTII: Aqueduct Repairs

They're going to do some repairs to the Dorchester Aqueduct:

Steve Wallis, senior archaeologist at Dorset County Council, said: "The aqueduct is a fascinating part of Dorchester's Roman heritage and it is important that it is preserved for future generations."

The aqueduct was just one of the things the Romans did for Dorchester. From its establishment in about 75AD Durnovaria's governors ordered the construction of many of the trappings of Roman civilization, including public baths, a market place, an amphitheatre and a town hall.

Durnovaria also benefited from several characteristically straight Roman roads, linking the town with other settlements in the empire.

Full article at This Is Weymouth (and if you can find the 'inset' Steve Wallis in the photo, you're a better person than I).

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 6:37:21 PM::
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EXPERIMENT: Auction Photos

I tried this experiment a while ago, but it didn't work out for various reasons. I'm caffeinated now, though, and if it works, you should see below an image from the Sotheby's site ... specifically, the head from a herm from the Bill Blass collection (dating from the first century A.D.) and obviously coming soon to auction:

 If it doesn't work, here's the original info page ...


::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 6:09:28 AM::
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ante diem xv kalendas octobres

  • ludi Romani (day 13)
  • 14 A.D. -- the dead emperor Augustus is declared to be Divus

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:55:17 AM::
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ONE TO WATCH: The Fabulist

I probably should have included this one last night when I was having a heck of a time finding anything to include here (my search engines just didn't want to work). It's an announcement for a forthcoming 'reading' of a musical-to-be (I think), called The Fabulist, which is based on Aesop:

According to the collaborators, "The musical's hero starts out as a hunchback, dwarf, mute slave in ancient Greece, who helps a sorceress in trouble ... for which he finds himself suddenly rewarded with the gifts of speech, insight, reason — and story — and a prophesy that if he can get himself free and reach the city of Delphi, truth will be his, and he will become a man complete. And thus begins an episodic quest in which his true love is an oracle, his best friend is a mercenary warrior, his wits are tested against the Sphinx, his resolve is tested against a tyrant king, his biggest obstacle is the god Apollo, and his eventually world-famous fables are the currency that allow him to trade up toward his freedom...and his destiny..."


"What attracted me to it was the notion of actually doing an epic fantasy fable about Aesop rather than an anthology with a framework," Spencer told Playbill On-Line. In other words, no one is reciting "The Tortoise and the Hare" from the stage. The show begins in 540 BC and is picaresque in its plotting, sending Aesop across great physical, emotional (and often comic) terrain as he fights to be free, to be heard and to overcome the influence of the gods.

More details at Playbill ...

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:45:42 AM::
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REVIEW: Coming of Age in Ancient Greece

The Telegraph has a review of the book which inspired/accompanies the exhibition we've been frequently mentioning ..

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:40:19 AM::
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"I remember quite vividly the speech therapist asking me the days of the week. I thought, how absurd. I was told I was very ornery and started answering in Latin."

Barb Fox on memories of the accident that kept her out of her Latin class for quite a while. She recently returned to Waynesboro Area Senior High classroom after a six-month recovery. Full story ...

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:30:00 AM::
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NUNTII: Phylactery Found in Britain

A gold (!) phylactery -- in this case, a thin sheet of metal inscribed with prayers/curses designed to protect someone -- has been found by a Norfolk gardener:

The tablet – which is covered with magic symbols and Greek writing asking a god for protection – appeals to the god Abrasax, a deity associated with magic. The god, with a cockerel's head and serpents for legs, probably originated in Persia before being adopted by the Romans.


About 1900 years ago, it was engraved by a magician for a man called Similis, son of Marcellina – his name is given in Latin at the bottom. Similis would have folded it up and carried it in a case round his neck and then may have buried it, probably near a temple. As it was found in one of several loads of bought topsoil, archeologists do not know where it came from.

Full article at EDP 24 ...

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:23:28 AM::
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NUNTII: Winchester Hoard a Gift From Caesar?

Back in 2000, a pile of gold and jewellery were found in a field near Winchester (the BBC's 'in passing' mention of  the discovery as well as a 'fact file' are still available on the web). Originally thought to have been of British manufacture, the hoard is now considered to hail from more Roman environs. Scholars are currently suggesting that the hoard might have been a gift from Julius Caesar and might help to explain why there was so little resistance to JC's invasion. Here's a brief blurb from History Today:

Tests on the Winchester Hoard of Iron Age gold in the British Museum have revealed it was Roman, not British. Possibly a diplomatic offering, the collection demonstrates the links between the two peoples before the conquest. The Romans were keen to foster good relations with the British to stop them intervening in the Gallic Wars on the continent. The Winchester Hoard may be connected to the powerful Gaul Commius who had links with the Atrebates tribe in southern England. Found in a field near Winchester three years ago by a metal-detector enthusiast, the hoard includes gold necklace torcs, brooches and two bangles. It had been worn and was of a refined gold which would have been made by a Roman or Hellenistic craftsmen, between 70BC and 30BC. British Museum curator J. D. Hill said: “We can now tell you the definitive story behind the objects. I would have liked them to have been made in Britain, but they weren’t. Their initial discovery was pretty amazing. The new research makes them iconic objects.” The hoard will be part of a show at the British Museum (from November 21st), and at Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich in an exhibition Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past. (Sept 8th).

See also This Is Winchester (it may expire ... all those 'This Is ...' sites have strange archiving practices.).

::Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:12:16 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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