Latest update: 4/5/2005; 4:33:39 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

NB: Thanks!

As folks might have noticed, down in the corner there is a counter which tracks how many visitors rogueclassicism has had. There's also another counter -- at Radio Userland (who make the software to make the site) -- but the two are in different time zones and generally out of whack. Even so, we've generally been averaging 110 to 130 visitors a day. Today, however, both have passed the 200 visitor mark, making today rogueclassicism's busiest day ever! Thanks for coming!

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 9:03:52 PM::
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NUNTII: Gods and Rockers

The Guardian has a series running on European theatre and in its piece devoted to Epidauros it ponders whether the legacy of the ancient Greek theatre is stifling the creativity of its modern counterpart. A taste:


For contemporary Greek theatre, however, the legacy of Epidaurus is much more infuriatingly equivocal. It provides one of the highlights of the Greek cultural calendar, the annual Hellenic festival of Greek drama that draws thousands each weekend in July and August, a uniquely populist theatre event. Every Greek director of note has mounted productions of the 33 extant tragedies and 11 comedies here, alongside interpretations by some of the world's foremost directors: Peter Hall, Peter Stein and Ariane Mnouchkine among others. Epidaurus has become an essential rite of passage, testimony that a young, promising Greek director has finally arrived.

At the same time, the long shadow of tradition has transformed Epidaurus - and to a lesser extent other ancient sites such as the Herod Atticus Theatre in Athens - into a bulwark against innovation. For the most part, the acting style that dominates is one of contrived high artifice. An army of conservative critics carefully polices every production, savaging any whiff of novelty and pouncing on even the vaguest suggestion of modernism.

And the rest ...

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 8:58:04 PM::
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An interview with Eric Bana, who plays Hector alongside Brad Pitt in Troy includes this:

Bana said the demands of playing Hector were different from any other role.

"It was a weird combination that was required for this role," he said.

"It had to have classical drama, that side being super important because the film wouldn't work with it's story, and then combine that with playing Chuck Norris as the warrior.

Chuck Norris? Here's the rest (rather lengthy) ...

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 2:01:27 PM::
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Russell Crowe on Mel Gibson's Passion:

I think he's got to get off the glue.

Source ...

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 11:51:02 AM::
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NUNTII: Return of the Hellenes

I've noticed over the past few weeks that the press is giving some coverage to NeoPagan events. E.g., this lengthy piece in Scotland on Sunday:

IN THE shadow of Mount Olympus the toga-clad worshippers sway to the beating of a drum as the bearded man leading the ceremony throws a pinch of grain into a torch, then circles his hand above the flames.

While the group, dressed in yellow, red and blue robes, may appear to be taking part in some bewildering historical re-enactment, they are members a growing pagan movement dedicated to resurrecting the religion and way of life of ancient Greece.

The pagans have gathered in a meadow near the sacred mountain where their ancestors believed the gods lived and held court to perform a naming ceremony for a nine-month-old boy, Nikoforos Xanthopoulos.

The bearded man officiating, Tryphon Olympios, 58, from Skliva in southern Greece, was a philosophy professor at Stockholm University for 25 years.

"May he be worthy of being Greek" Olympios calls out.

"Worthy," the crowd roars in response.

Leaders of the "return of the Hellenes" movement say they have 2,000 "hard-core" practising followers, about 5,000 who travel to Mount Olympus, 100km southwest of the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, for the annual celebration, and 100,000 "sympathisers" who support their ideas.

The colourful Hellenes are viewed with interest by many in Greek society but largely ridiculed by the media. Yet their unsuccessful efforts to be recognised as an "official" Greek religion highlight Greece’s intolerance of the expression of non-Christian religions.

The rest ...

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 11:40:35 AM::
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NUNTII: Recent Trade Round a Pyrrhic Victory?

Once again, African sources show their knowledge of things Classical in a commentary on the recent trade talks in Cancun. An excerpt:

There is now a chance that the Machiavellian policies perpetuated by the European Union (EU), US and Japan, which have dominated the international trading arena till now, will have to step aside for a new way of doing things.

This is a good thing, and we must not detract from Erwin and his collaborators for their long-overdue effort. But the task ahead will be far harder than hanging tough around a negotiating table.

They must ensure that this is not a Pyrrhic victory, won at great cost but delivering little, if any, benefit.

Pyrrhus (or Phyrros, depending on who you speak to), an ancient Greek king, was acknowledged as a great warrior and master strategist, but he just did not know when to stop.

Crossing to Italy to fight Rome in 280 BC, he won the costly victories over the Romans that turned him into a household name.

And although he gave the Romans - the US of his time - a hiding, he suffered such massive losses that he was prompted, so history tells us, to make his famous statement: "One more such victory and I am lost."

An aside, after his Roman adventure, he returned to his native Epirus and succeeded in driving Antigonus from Macedonia. His death was poetic, though. While campaigning in the Peloponnese in 272 BC, he was killed in Argos during a street fight, felled, so we are told, by an accurately aimed tile thrown from a woman's hand.

While it remains an important matter of principle that the EU be taught that its size and obduracy alone do not make it okay for the region to stuff its self-serving agricultural agenda down the throats of developing countries, we should never lose sight of the fact that the world's poor need a broad, rules-based trading system if they are to deal with the problems of poverty and underdevelopment.

Full article ...

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 11:35:54 AM::
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LUDI: Crossword

The New York Times Learning Network has a special-theme crossword puzzle a couple of times a month designed for use in a classroom situation -- it can be printed out or filled in online. This week's theme is The Ancient Greek Theatre ...

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 11:10:28 AM::
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NUNTII: Vergil Lives!

Since we're marking the death of the poet today (his birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks too!) it seems appropriate that the Weekly Standard has a lengthy review of Eve Adler's Vergil's Empire: Political Thought in the Aeneid. Here's a tease:

Thus, Adler argues, Virgil is consciously seeking to surpass Homer as well as Lucretius. So new and radical was this shift in the ancient world, Adler claims, that it raised the question of whether Virgilian piety--a mixture of duty, religiosity, and loyalty--is compatible with manliness (the root meaning of the Latin word "virtue"), as the ancients understood it. Epicureans could claim heroic virtue in rejecting the consolations of religion, even if they lived relatively unstrenuous lives. But if we also reject the Homeric combination of martial valor and human domesticity--a combination traditionally embraced by the Romans--what's left?

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 11:04:44 AM::
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NUNTII: More Philippine Classical Allusions

Last week I began to keep my eye open for Classical allusions in the Philippines and another one has popped up at an editorial at  in regards to the retirement of Bishop Sin:

THE RETIREMENT of Jaime Cardinal Sin as archbishop of Manila came a few days ahead of the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos on Sept. 21, 1972. As such, Cardinal Sin and martial law are bound up with each other as inextricably as -- if we are to repeat an observation by some perceptive historical observers -- that Achilles is bound up with Hector, Julius Caesar with Brutus and Cassius, Hannibal with Scipio and Napoleon with the Duke of Wellington.
THE RETIREMENT of Jaime Cardinal Sin as archbishop of Manila came a few days ahead of the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos on Sept. 21, 1972. As such, Cardinal Sin and martial law are bound up with each other as inextricably as -- if we are to repeat an observation by some perceptive historical observers -- that Achilles is bound up with Hector, Julius Caesar with Brutus and Cassius, Hannibal with Scipio and Napoleon with the Duke of Wellington.

So ... we've got the U.S. as Rome, comparisons with Rome and Philippine politics, plenty of awareness of Classical sources in African newspapers, so when are Canadian journalists going to show their stuff?

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 10:53:22 AM::
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ante diem xi kalendas octobres

  • Mercatus (hey ... it was a long festival!)
  • 19 B.C. -- death of Publius Vergilius Maro
  • 37 A.D. -- the emperor Gaius (Caligula) is given the title
    pater patriae


::Sunday, September 21, 2003 8:34:48 AM::
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NUNTII: From British Heritage

Dana Huntley, The Coming of Rome

In the 500 years before Christ, Celtic people from Northern Europe moved across the English Channel and the North Sea to occupy and settle Great Britain. Some 15 Celtic tribes and countless local kings comprised the indigenous people of Britain by the 1st century BC. These tribes often fought among themselves from their hillforts, but Celtic culture was sophisticated in many ways. The Celts were skilled in arts and crafts and made fine jewellery. They were knowledgeable in agriculture and architecture, enacted their own laws and customs, exported grain, and practiced a distinct religion. But none of this adequately prepared them to resist the might of Rome.

Julius Caesar's famous declaration "Veni, vidi, vici," as every former Latin student knows, means "I came, I saw, I conquered." He didn't really. He came, looked around a bit, and then left. In 55 BC Caesar landed on the east coast of Kent between Walmer and Deal with an invasion force of 10,000 foot soldiers and 500 cavalry.

The disciplined Roman legionaries had no difficulty routing the Britons who assembled to oppose them. The local Celtic chiefs submitted to the Roman general, but Caesar could not follow up his success. A storm wrecked his invasion fleet as it lay beached on the open shore, and, faced with new hostilities from the local Britons, Caesar hastily improvised a fresh fleet and evacuated his troops back across the Channel to France before the turn of the autumn weather.

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 8:30:36 AM::
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NUNTII: From Military History Quarterly

Rose Mary Sheldon, Toga and Dagger: Espionage in Ancient Rome

The Romans prided themselves on being a people who won their battles the hard way. Roman writers claimed that their army did not defeat its enemies by trickery or deceit but by superior force of arms, and for the most part they were right. The Roman legions could outstrip almost any opponent in maneuverability and discipline. By relying on sound tactics, strategic methods, and superior logistics, the Roman army made itself the most reliable killing machine in the history of pre-mechanized warfare. It has been estimated that the Romans' standard weapon, the gladius, or Spanish short sword, accounted for more deaths than any other weapon before the invention of firearms.

What need would such a people have for spying or covert action? Were the Romans exactly as they portrayed themselves--too noble and upright to resort to subterfuge? Was it only their enemies who relied on dirty tricks and clandestine operations? Although they wanted others to believe this, the historical record shows that, on the contrary, the Romans used a full range of covert intelligence techniques, as we would expect from any power that aspired to world empire.

::Sunday, September 21, 2003 8:26:46 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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