Latest update: 4/3/2005; 2:20:51 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

LAST POST: At Sotheby's

They started auctioning off the Bill Blass collection about an hour ago (as of this writing). Here's one of many nice ancient pieces coming under the gavel ... it's a 1st century BC/BCE or AD/CE statue of Herakles, almost eight inches high (kind of goofy looking if you ask me):

Sotheby's listing ...

I still think this previously-posted  first century AD/CE lar is the best of the collection ... sort of a cheerleader on steroids:

For my part, ever since perusing the catalogue online (which I began to do a month or so ago), I've been trying to figure out what Blass' fascination was with arms -- not weapons, but arms which had been broken off statuary (there's hands too ... even the leg of a Roman table).

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 8:13:25 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: What To Do With A Classics Degree

The AP Wire is abuzz with this one, for obvious reasons:

The Associated Press has appointed Arizona Chief of Bureau Steve Elliott to the new position of deputy director of newspaper content services, and named Hank Ackerman and Dan Day as bureau chiefs in Kentucky and New Jersey, respectively


A native of Cleveland, Day earned a bachelor's degree in the classics from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., and a master's in journalism from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Before joining the AP, he was a reporter at The Daily Times in Ottawa, Ill.

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 7:52:23 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Roman Theatre Found in Germany

Strange that this one seems to turn up first in IOL (a South African Newspaper):

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a Roman theatre in the small German town of Kuenzing, suggesting that soldiers at the front were entertained by gladiators and animal fights.

Known as Quintanis in Roman times, the town was on the Danube frontier of the Roman empire and garrisoned by 500 mercenaries.

The archaeologists were astonished to discover an oval area of post holes and realised they were looking at the remains of wooden grandstands round an arena.

"This is the first time a forgotten theatre has been rediscovered in Germany," said Karl Schmotz, archaeologist of Deggendorf county. "There are only a handful of Roman amphitheatres in the whole of Germany." A dig at the site is to continue into next year.

A bit more ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 7:37:14 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Roman Barge Solves Question

Dutch archaeologists have excavated a Roman barge which is shedding light on one of the strangest claims about Roman shipping in northern rivers:

THE BARGE, dating from around A.D. 100, was excavated in the Dutch town of Woerden, which was once the location of the Roman military settlement Castellum Laurium on the banks of the Rhine.
       The flat-bottomed boat was manned by at least 12 rowers. The oars would have allowed the Romans to navigate strong currents back to the German Eiffel region from where it had brought rocks to strengthen the forts along the frontier.

Until now, archaeologists and historians had thought the Romans could sail only downstream with their cargo vessels, which resemble today’s bulky barges.
       The excavated ship appears to have been exactly 100 Roman feet long — which is slightly less than 100 modern feet, or about 30 meters. Archaeologists had thought such ships were dismantled, with the wood as well as its cargo used as building material.

So on this reading, prior to this we thought that the Romans built a barge upstream, then sailed down with the cargo. Then they built more barges and sailed down, etc.? That can't be right.

A bit more from MSNBC ... the Italian coverage isn't that great ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 7:31:58 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Michael Bogdanos

Archaeology Magazine is the latest media outlet to have an exclusive interview with Col. Bogdanos. There isn't much of purely Classical interest in this one, but folks might want a bit of an update on the missing antiquities situation.

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 7:25:38 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: Damage to Early Christian Site?

Not sure where this AP story will go, if anywhere:

Israeli Defense Ministry workers damaged an ancient Christian archaeological site while building a security barrier around Jerusalem, the Antiquities Authority said Tuesday, and work was briefly halted. The Defense Ministry denied the charge.

Israel's government has ordered a speedup in construction of the barrier, and the haste led to the damage, according to archaeologist Yehiel Zelinger from the Antiquities Authority.

The barrier is designed to cut Israel off from the West Bank, an attempt to block Palestinian suicide bombers and other attackers from entering. The project has come under stiff criticism because it dips into the West Bank, and near Jerusalem, it cuts through Palestinian villages.

In its rush, the Defense Ministry sent workers with bulldozers into the town of Abu Dis and started work without coordinating with the Antiquities Authority, he said, and damaged an ancient Byzantine-era archaeological site containing a monastery.

According to Israeli law, the Antiquities Authority has to examine and map construction sites before work begins.

"The problem is that the army went in without our instruction ... there was some damage done and then we stopped them," Zelinger said. "They were in a rush to build the defense barrier. ... If we had gone in before, we would have seen remains."

The Byzantine-era monastery, 1,500 years old, covers about a quarter of an acre and the remains are 5 feet high in the area not damaged by construction, the Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

Once it became clear that there was an archaeological site in the area, the Defense Ministry halted its operation and about 100 experts worked for three weeks to salvage the artifacts, Zelinger said.

More ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 7:14:55 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

AUDIO: Father Foster

This week, Father Reginald Foster talks about the origins of the words consistory (which I did know) and cardinal (which I did not). There's also plenty of cardinalish vocabulary of interest. Check it out ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 7:10:53 PM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central


ante diem xii kalendas novembres

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:55:59 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

SAY WHAT? Quotes I Don't Quite Understand

One of the 'pain in the rear' things that I regularly endure as I wade through search engine results are quotations which have some sort of ancient connection or keyword which don't quite make sense. For example, over the past few days, an article on various American political types and their gestures keeps turning up because of this quote about Al Sharpton:

Jurgen Streeck, who studies communications at the University of Texas, says Sharpton is so good at gesturing he'd please the Roman emperors.

What the heck does that mean? (and now I've got the image of Sharpton wearing a toga stuck in my head!).  And now, this a.m., hot off the epresses we learn that Simple Minds (remember them?) lead singer Jim Kerr has purchased a women's professional volleyball team in Sicily. The team was apparently having its photo taken and Kerr uttered:

``It was in an ancient Roman amphitheatre and there was me thinking of my childhood kicking a ball in the local green onfreezing ice. It's just a different world.''

Then again, he did pen "Cocteau Twins", so perhaps we shouldn't expect too much sense to come out of  JK. Then there's the cheap Hallowe'en 'press release' quote:

Likewise a bed sheet, a homemade crown of leaves  and a pair of sandals makes a great Roman Emperor.

... and Didius Julianus had to spend all that money ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:38:15 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

GOSSIP: The Latest Disneyfication

Okay ... King Arthur is not strictly from the world of Classics of the sort we tend to study, but coming out just in time for Christmas, 2004 is a Disney version of the tale. Here's a description from Clive Owen, one of the actors:

There's this sort of romantic vision of Arthur. Our version is set earlier than it's usually set. We have it at 500 A.D. as opposed to medieval times. Basically, the Roman empire is crumbling.

"I play Arthur, who is half-Roman," Owen says. "He's a commander of a crack team of military knights who, at the beginning of the movie, gets the mission from hell -- to go into dangerous, unknown territory and rescue a family as the Saxons are invading by the thousands, and the rebels are out there fighting. Meanwhile, Arthur has always held onto Rome as something he wants to return to and something he reveres, but it keeps changing."

I'm not sure whether to say "Oh, oh" or "Oh yeah!" or "Oh yeah?" at this point ....


::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:18:12 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

REVIEW: Pompeii: The Last Day

Hot on the heels of the Boudicca thing a week or so ago comes a docudrama  all about the eruption of Vesuvius. The Guardian's reviewer doesn't seem to have been impressed (or maybe he was ... he seems to be rather too engrossed in his own writing style):

Pompeii - The Last Day (BBC1) had a doggedly informative but leaden commentary, lively special effects and some serious actors having serious second thoughts. Never work with volcanos should be added to the usual taboos. Things fall on your head, bit-part actors with curious accents add to the confusion and there is more coughing than in a Brontë biography.

Tim Pigott-Smith, though not designed by nature for the role, was Pliny the Elder. He is celebrated for his evil sneer, while Pliny, if not the noblest Roman of them all, was quite noble enough to be going along with. Pigott-Smith has a lean and hungry look, while Pliny, according to his nephew, was a stout chap whose snores could be heard above the volcano. You warm to him, don't you?

Pigott-Smith entered in a typical temper, demanding to know why he was being disturbed. Dammit man, Vesuvius, nicely framed in your window, is erupting. Will that do? Pliny had a fine, inquiring mind (when you read his medical remedies, usually involving pigs' testicles, it's a wonder he didn't die earlier), and he set sail towards Vesuvius. His nephew declined the invitation to go with him, wildly claiming he had some paperwork to do. And lived to tell the tale.

Small dramas were woven around human remains found in Pompeii. A gladiator and a bejewelled society lady, who died in flagrante. A family group, including a heavily pregnant girl, who died in their own home. When the girl complained, "I hate being shut in," her mother comforted her, "It won't be forever." It was, though. Bodies decayed inside their ashen shroud and, when plaster was poured in, disturbingly animated characters emerged. A running man, a crying baby, a barking dog.

Engrossing information, which I commend to the chancellor, is that Rome taxed human urine. Now, how did that work, do you suppose?

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:11:06 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

CHATTER: Nero Movie

I keep getting little snippets from German and/or Swiss newspapers that there's a production of a Nero movie in the works directed/produced by someone named Motjo ... he's apparently done one about Augustus already and plans are in the works for something about Titus as well. I'll try to find out more (or if you have more, please send it along)  ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:04:30 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: The Eruption of Thera

The New York Times has an extended piece on research, recent and otherwise, into the effects of the eruption of Thera. Here's a bit from the middle:

More intrigued than ever, Dr. McCoy of the University of Hawaii two years ago stumbled on more evidence suggesting that Thera's ash fall had been unusually wide and heavy. During a field trip to Anafi, an island some 20 miles east of Thera, he found to his delight that the authorities had just cut fresh roads that exposed layers of Thera ash up to 10 feet thick — a surprising amount that distance from the eruption.

And Greek colleagues showed him new seabed samples taken off the Greek mainland, suggesting that more ash blew westward than scientists had realized.

Factoring in such evidence, Dr. McCoy calculated that Thera had a V.E.I. of 7.0 — what geologists call colossal and exceedingly rare. In the past 10,000 years only one other volcano has exploded with that kind of gargantuan violence: Tambora, in Indonesia, in 1816, It produced an ash cloud in the upper atmosphere that reflected sunlight back into space and produced the year without a summer. The cold led to ruinous harvests, hunger and even famine in the United States, Europe and Russia.

"I presented this evidence last summer at a meeting," Dr. McCoy recalled, "and the comment from the other volcanologists was, `Hey, it was probably larger than Tambora.' "

Dr. Ryan of Columbia has woven such clues into a tantalizing but provisional theory on how distant effects might have slowly undone Crete. First, he noted that winds at low and high altitudes seem to have blown Thera's ash into distinct plumes — one to the southeast, toward Egypt and another heavier one to the northeast, toward Anatolia. Even if the changes wrought by Thera helped trees there, they apparently played havoc with delicate wheat fields.

Mursilis, a king of the Hittites, set out from Anatolia on a rampage, traveling between the plumes to strike Syria and Babylon and seize their stored grains and cereals. The subsequent collapse of Babylon into a dark age, Dr. Ryan said, also undid one of its puppets, the Hyksos, foreigners who ruled Egypt and traded with the Minoans.

He theorized that the new Egyptian dynasty had no love of Hyksos allies. So Minoan Crete, already reeling from Thera's fury, suffered new blows to its maritime trade.

In an interview, Dr. Ryan said he and other scholars were still refining dates on some of the ancient events, promising to better fix their relation to the eruption. The outcome of that work, he said, could either strengthen or undermine his thesis.

Of course, the whole thing is worth reading ...

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 4:43:39 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

AWOTV: On TV Today

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| Hannibal: The Man Who Hated Rome
"No shortlist of the greatest generals in history would be
complete with out the name of Hannibal. This program shows why
he was both feared and respected by his enemies.Hannibal's
tactical genius is illustrated with the latest three-dimensional
graphics technology and exciting dramatic reconstructions of his
victories. This is the story of the General who took on the
might of Rome. Hannibal led his forces, including a squadron of
elephants, through France, over the Alps and into the heart of
Italy. For 15 years he fought the Romans using their own country
as his battlefield and his base. With his small forces, he
destroyed larger well-trained Roman Armies with almost
contemptuous ease."

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii: Buried Alive
"Exploration of the archaeological site of the city that was
encrusted by incendiary ash when deadly Mount Vesuvius erupted
in 79 AD. Archaeological director Baldasarre Conticello takes
viewers on a tour of Pompeii's ruins, and visits Herculaneum,
which was destroyed by Vesuvius at the same time."

HISTC = History Television (Canada)

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, October 21, 2003 4:36:00 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