Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:05:33 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

PROBABLE LAST POST: Alexander the Great

Since we're in hectic mode here (we're going to a wedding), this will likely be the last post for the day. I've been trying to track down photos of the Alexander the Great movie, pre production and production,  and this seems the best one for here. It's worth noting there are no stirrups on the horses (nor saddles), so an effort does seem to have been made in some of the 'costuming':

Back again tomorrow ...

::Saturday, October 25, 2003 3:09:52 PM::
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CHATTER: Hallowe'en

Here we go again. This time it's the Carolina Morning News telling us about the origins of Hallowe'en, inter alia:

When the Romans conquered the Celts in A.D. 43, they combined two Roman autumn festivals - one named Feralia honoring their dead and another, Pomona, honoring apples and fruit - with the festival of Samhain.

So now we have Pomona, and we have added Feralia to it. Actually, the triad of Samhain, Pomona, and Feralia is all over the web as the ultimate origin of Hallowe'een. Alas, it even shows up at the BBC. A possible source for this belief is Ruth Edna Kelley's Book of Hallowe'en, which is online at Sacred Texts. Chapter four of that text tells of Pomona and mentions that "around November 1" date for her festival. As previously mentioned in rogueclassicism, although Pomona did have a flamen, she does not appear to have any specific feast day; at least none appears mentioned in any of the surviving ancient calendars or other ancient sources; it might be conjectured that she was honoured along with her hubby on August 13.

So, let's turn to Feralia. Our source above claims it to be an autumn festival, and again, all over the web one can find references to this 'late October' festival. Alas, there was a festival called Feralia, but it came on February 21st. The Feralia were apparently closely linked to a couple of other festivals, namely the Parentalia and the Caristia, the former starting on February 13 and lasting until the 21st. During the period of the Parentalia, to use Scullard's words "all temples were close, no fires burned on the altars, marriages were forbidden, and the magistrates laid aside their insignia." (Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic, 75). Warde Fowler tells us this was a general holiday when folks remembered their dead ancestors; it was a happy, private occasion (Roman Festivals, 308-309). Ovid's Fasti 2.570 ff mentions a ritual held on Feralia done by an old woman and apparently designed to curtail gossip, but it seems to be (as Scullard notes) more of a 'sympathetic magic thing' than a religious ritual.  (read it here in Latin, scroll down to line 570 ... I can't seem to find a translation of the Fasti on the web). In other words, Feralia was probably a day when it was favourable to perform such rituals rather than having this specific ritual specifically associated with it. What it does seem to have been was the public aspect of paying respect to the manes. Caristia followed on the 22nd, and was a day to pay respect to the living, and to patch up old quarrels between family members and friends.

So once again we find that any Roman connections to Hallowe'en are tenuous at best, if they exist at all. By the looks of things, someone in the past (probably in the 19th century) tried to find a reason for 'bobbing for apples' and came up with the Pomona connection. Someone else probably added the Feralia connection later. Both rely on the obscurity of reference -- Pomona being a relatively unknown divinity, even to those trained in matters of the ancient world; Feralia similarly being a not overly well known festival -- for them to be taken seriously, or at least not immediately denied by those who one would expect to know.

::Saturday, October 25, 2003 2:38:30 PM::
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NUNTII: Study of Ancient History on the Rise in Australia

A piece in today's Sydney Morning Herald gives a pile of coverage to the writing ot the ancient history paper and how ancient history has become a very popular subject. Ecce, in medias res:

Ancient history is on the rise in NSW high schools. In 2000, just 3226 students sat for the subject. Yesterday almost 9000 students did battle with Akhenaten, Ramesses II, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

For Louisa Di Bartolomeo, 17, who hopes to study archeology and ancient history at the University of Sydney or Macquarie University next year, the study of long-gone societies is fascinating, particularly when it comes to deciphering women's roles within the patriarchal ancient world.

More ...

::Saturday, October 25, 2003 8:18:05 AM::
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CHATTER: Classical Education

The latest installment of what to do with a Classics degree looks at the experience of  John Layfield:

In this case, it comes in the shape of World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and his book, Have More Money NOW.

"I wrote every single word," Layfield said, at a book signing at the Judge Ely Boulevard Wal-Mart. "I tried using a ghostwriter, but he was trying to write his own book, so every misspelled word in there is mine."

The crowd was primarily made up of wrestling fans who took the opportunity to take pictures with the superstar. Layfield signed copies of his book as well as T-shirts and even a few dollar bills.

Layfield, 36, graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1989 with a degree in ancient history.

He played football with the university, leading to three years in the pro circuit with the Los Angeles Raiders and the San Antonio Riders.

While a pro football player, Layfield spent his salary as though he would always have it.

Then, in the spring of 1992, Layfield found himself cut from the team with $27 in his bank account.

More ...

::Saturday, October 25, 2003 8:09:41 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

10.00 a.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Warriors:The Celts

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

::Saturday, October 25, 2003 7:13:18 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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