Latest update: 4/3/2005; 2:15:09 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

NUNTII: On Translating Antigone

The Guardian has a piece by Blake Morrison, largely on the difficulties/complexities of translating Antigone. Along the way, there are a couple'soundbites' which are probably useful on their own:

Classics escape the prison of time. Whichever their era, they belong to every other era. People talk of "contemporary classics" but the phrase is tautologous: classics are contemporary by definition. The bad director of an ancient Greek tragedy batters us with parallels to the present day; the good director lets the echoes reverberate for themselves. The classic doesn't have a sell-by date. If it did, it wouldn't be a classic.


Classics can reach us at any time, but we reach out to them most eagerly at times of crisis. Make sense of what's happening, we ask. Put our troubles in a larger perspective.

I like the notion of identifying Classics as something which doesn't have a 'best before' date ... Read the rest (quite lengthy!) ...


::Sunday, October 05, 2003 7:13:23 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Asbestos

A piece on the history of asbestos begins with Strabo (the "geologist") and Pliny:

Ancient Greek geologist Strabo knew it. In the first century, he wrote about the fiber, "which is combed out and woven, so that the woven material is made into towels, and, when these are soiled, they are thrown into fire and cleansed, just as linens are cleansed by washing."

    Roman soldier and author Pliny the Elder knew it. Pliny, also in the first century, noted that asbestos "is quite indestructible by fire," and "affords protection against all spells, especially those of the Magi."

    So at least one of the claims stretched the bounds of credibility. Magi reference aside, the common thread in the ancient observations is asbestos' resistance to heat.

    Strabo and Pliny are widely reported to have made another observation that for centuries was largely forgotten: Lung problems arose among the slaves who were required to work in asbestos.

The rest (no more ClassCon, alas) ...

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 7:06:55 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Roman Site at RAF Base

Stars and Stripes reports on an ongoing dig at an RAF base in anticipation of building a baseball diamond. An excerpt:

The dig has unearthed about what Tester expected, although the presence of a Roman building more than 30 feet wide was a surprise.

Tester’s team did find a body from the late Iron Age or early Roman era. It was buried on its face, which, Tester said, is “slightly odd.”

“He was about 30 years old and he had a lot of muscle,” he said.

A couple bodies have yet to be excavated. One is in a wooden casket, meaning it is certainly Roman.

The dig has unearthed about what Tester expected, although the presence of a Roman building more than 30 feet wide was a surprise.

Tester’s team did find a body from the late Iron Age or early Roman era. It was buried on its face, which, Tester said, is “slightly odd.”

“He was about 30 years old and he had a lot of muscle,” he said.

A couple bodies have yet to be excavated. One is in a wooden casket, meaning it is certainly Roman.

I suspect we'll hear more about this one ... here's the rest to tide you over.

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 7:01:10 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

AWOTV: Weekly Listing

The weekly listings from my Ancient World On Television newsletter are available, ad free, for folks desiring to plan their watching/taping for the week.

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 5:28:50 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Bath Threatened By Water

Yep ... I did a double take too. Apparently water seepage from the street is threatening to destroy the frigidarium of the Roman baths at Bath. Full story at the BBC ...

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 11:03:50 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Peter Jones

Last week I was going to begin including Classicist Peter Jones' column from the Spectator in rogueclassicism, but it appeared that the magazine had become a payfer service. Today, hoping against hope, I checked again, and ecce! It's there. The current piece begins:

Can one justify American intervention in the Middle East, both the wars themselves and the apparent establishment of a shadowy sort of American empire? If one accepts the force of the arguments the Romans used to justify their empire, the Americans probably can.

It goes on to cite the reasons given in ancient sources which the Romans used to justify war ...


::Sunday, October 05, 2003 10:53:58 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Classical Revivial in the UK

Athens News has a lengthy piece on the renewed popularity of Classics in the U.K. Here's a tease;

NO ONE could have predicted that films like the Gladiator and a TV series on Alexander the Great would rekindle a classical mini-renaissance in British education, but it happened. According to the Times (10 February) the number of Greek papers taken by applicants to independent schools in Britain increased by 50 percent over the year before. On the same day the Times report was published, the British education secretary announced that classics is to become one of the subjects in which state secondary schools will be allowed to specialise. This is nothing new in Britain, a place where the discreet charm of a classical education has been luring students towards ancient Athens and Rome for the last three hundred years.

... and here's the rest ...

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 10:50:32 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

CHATTER: That U.S.-As-Rome Thing

As long as we're collecting things, we might as well include this image of George Bush as a western Roman Legionary:

It's from the New York Review of Books, which has a pile of reviews devoted to U.S. Foreign Policy, one of which is entitled "Eyeless in Iraq". The image accompanies the article, but there's no mention of Rome. Go figure.

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 10:47:48 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is a Conservative MP in the UK Parliament with a background in Classics and an erstwhile career in journalism, among other things. There's a lengthy piece in the Guardian today ... here's some teases:

Ten days ago, I was asking Boris Johnson if he was going to be the next editor of the Daily Telegraph and he said: 'I think the possibility is so remote, it's more likely that I would be blinded by a champagne cork, decapitated by a Frisbee or locked in a disused fridge. What are they called in ancient poetry, where you list a series of things, the adunata? What's that Madonna song? Say that the something. Anyway, it's highly unlikely.'


But when I was transcribing my tape, I was bothered by the word adunata because I couldn't find it in the dictionary and emailed Boris to check the spelling. He emailed back: 'It was adunata or adynata, I suppose, depending on how you transliterate it but of course I now shudder at the memory of this fit of pseudery and my skin crawls to think how you will render it in your piece. If you are really determined to shove it in, it means (I think, but please don't bother to check) something that is impossible, adynaton, which the poet invokes by way of comparison with whatever is under discussion. So Madonna says something like, "Say that the sky isn't blue, Say that the leaves don't fall, Say that the earth don't move, But don't say I don't love" - or something like that, I can't bloody remember the words. Similarly in the Medea the chorus says, "Upwards and backwards, the holy rivers are flowing! Honour is coming to the race of women!" This was, of course, a line much quoted by the suffragettes, in Greek unless I am mistaken [ano potamon hieron chorousi pagai etc], showing the VITAL IMPORTANCE OF THE CLASSICS FOR OUR ERA. I rest my case. Best, Boris.'


No, Boris, amazingly enough, I didn't. Being a girl, I didn't do Greek and I really hated Latin. He, of course, did both at Eton and then at Oxford. 'I did almost nothing else for about 20 years.' He hopes his sons will go to Eton, so that they can do it, too. I said wasn't he worried about classical education being divisive and he looked at me as if I'd said I'd been abducted by aliens. Suddenly, all the bumbling was gone and he was quivering with passion.

'I genuinely believe that it is tragic if we ignore the roots of our civilisation and write that stuff off. It makes me weep. I think it's so stupid, so wrong. How can you say it's divisive? These are not sacred texts that can only be studied by a particular caste of our society. Anybody can read this stuff - I think everybody should. I think it's absolutely tragic that it isn't taught in all schools. Perhaps it's a sentimental illusion, perhaps it's pure obscurantism, but I think there is a virtue and a beauty in these subjects which should be disseminated across all schools.'

The rest ...

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 10:36:30 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central


iii nonas octobres

  • mundus patet - the mundus was a ritual pit which had a sort of
    vaulted cover on it. Three times a year the Romans removed this
    cover (August 24, Oct. 5 and November 8) at which time the gates
    of the underworld were considered to be opened and the manes (spirits
    of the dead) were free to walk the streets of Rome.
  • ludi Augustales scaenici (day 1 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23
  • ludi Augustales scaenici (day 3 -- from 19-23 A.D.)

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 9:55:34 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: The Latest From YLE's Nuntii Latini

Here's the headlines:

Fluentum electricum interruptum
Die Dominico (28.9.) multo mane fluentum electricum in tota Italia, excepta Sardinia, interruptum est. In urbes ...

Dimidium Europaeorum interreti uti nescit
Ex investigatione recens divulgata apparet tantum duodesexaginta centesimas ...

Amphitheatrum Cordubae repertum
Archaeologi Hispani amphitheatrum in urbe Corduba Hispaniae meridianae ...

Aestas 500 annis calidissima
Investigatores existimant hanc aestatem ...

Venatio alcium iniit
Hac septimana venatio alcium in Finnia initium ...

Lege plura ...

Audi ...

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 9:52:43 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central


If it's Sunday, there must be a new issue of "explorator" out. There is, of course, and it's free of ads from Yahoo!

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 9:46:15 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

AWOTV: On TV Tonight

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Time Team: Cirencester
"Around 1,700 years ago, Corinium--modern day Cirencester--was
the second-most important city in Roman Britain after Londinium.
By about 300 AD, it had developed into a bustling, wealthy city.
Time Team was drawn to Cirencester by the opportunity to
excavate in the gardens of a number of properties near the
center of old Corinium. Though it has been said that you can't
put a shovel into the ground in Cirencester without unearthing
Roman relics, Time Team adds their 2-spades worth!"

7.00 p.m. |DISCU| The Real Mary Magdalene
"As a reformed prostitute, Mary Magdalene has become an icon
for the virtues of forgiveness. Experts peel away the layers of
mistaken identity and explore the role of women in Mary's
lifetime to show that she may not have been a prostitute at all."

8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Twelve Apostles: History's Great
"Separately, they were nobodies--a handful of fishermen, an
angry tax collector. But united by a charismatic Jewish
preacher, this ragtag gang shaped into history's most famous
revolutionaries. Meet Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip,
Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the Lesser, Thaddeus, Simon,
and Judas in this 2-hour special."

HINT: History International

DISCU: Discovery Channel (US)

::Sunday, October 05, 2003 9:45:08 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

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.

Valid HTML 4.01!

Valid CSS!

Site Meter