Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:05:42 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

LAST POST: At the Auctions

Wow ... too much stuff tonight. We'll conclude our broadcast day with a trip to Christies, which is auctioning off an English private collection of antiquities and gems. There's quite a few really nice pieces here, such as this little 'action figure' of a murmillo, dating from the Second Century A.D./C.E. (it's only 8 cm tall!):

To the official catalogue page ...

And to celebrate our 10,000th visitor, here's another one ... this one is a funerary relief from the Eastern part of the Roman Empire (note the Greek inscription), also dating from the Second Century. What I find interesting about this one is that it depicts a banqueting scene, but the male reclines while the female (presumably the Likinnia who is being commemorated) sits upright.  It's a nice metaphor ... the deceased is 'getting up to leave the banquet'.

The obligatory catalog page ...

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 8:54:47 PM::
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OP-ED: A Different Spin on the U.S.-as-Rome Thing

This comes from the Turks.US site, which we've mentioned before. I'll let folks form their own opnions about it (this is but an excerpt):

We all know of Nero's madness - of his hysterical laughter as he watched Rome burn. But Nero's madness was not without rhyme and reason. There was system to his alleged insanity - a system that is chillingly reminiscent of Bush's doctrine of pre-emption. When a fire broke out in Rome in July of 64 AD. destroying much of the city, Nero turned the wrath of the population against the Christians, who made excellent scapegoats since the population already despised their holier than-thou attitude.
Tacitus writes in his Annales that when crowds of Christians were placed on trial, they were convicted not so much for arson as because of their "hatred of the human race." Some were put to death; others were imprisoned, tortured, set on fire, crucified or torn to death by dogs. In the midst of all this carnage, Nero mingled with his people in the dress of a charioteer or drove about in his chariot. As Tacitus explains, the Christians were being destroyed "not for the public good but to gratify the cruelty of an individual." In other words, Nero ingeniously capitalized on the July 64 attack to persecute and attack minorities and people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds - all in the name of national security.

Today, it is not the Christian population but Iraq, and Muslims and Arabs who are being punished and blamed for the burning of the World Trade Center. Today, it is not Christian "hatred of the human race," but Muslim "jealousy" and "hatred" of Western freedom and Western way of life that is being offered as a pretext for the trial and conviction of innocent human beings. This witch-hunt is perpetrated not only by the Bush administration but even by ordinary civilians, by the so-called relatives of the victims of Sept. 11. In the trial in Germany of 28-year-old Mounir El-Motassadeq, the Moroccan student accused of helping terrorist pilots set up the attack, American relatives of the victims offered tearful testimony and made emotional pleas for a guilty verdict against the student even though he has claimed he knew nothing of the plot and had nothing to do with the attack. They insisted that El-Motassadeq was guilty by association. A widow of a New York firefighter lashed out at what she called his "aggressive and unapologetic" defense of his actions. In typical Bushian rhetoric, she insisted that he had chosen to "associate himself with the forces of evil" and demanded he receive "life imprisonment." Other relatives drew parallels to Nazi war crimes trials, saying that those involved in perpetuating the Holocaust used these same arguments to claim innocence. Do the American expect all Arabs, no matter how wrongfully accused, to bend over backwards and accept punishment without "aggressively" defending themselves? The basic problem is that Bush's Nero-like bellicose and crude rhetoric has become a means for Americans to vent their anger and spite, to find a so-called sense of closure, and above all to gain millions of dollars in law suits against alleged associates no matter how fabricated the case against them is or how flimsy the evidence offered by US intelligent sources.

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 8:23:33 PM::
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NUNTII: So ... What's New At Dartmouth?

I suspect the scenario described in the The Dartmouth Online is, alas, far too familiar for many Classicists. It opens thusly:

President of the College James Wright addressed the faculty at yesterday's general faculty meeting, where he outlined the College's goals and priorities, while provoking little opposition from the faculty.

Whereas last year's meeting was marked by virulent protest across departmental boundaries regarding budget cuts, President Wright's address yesterday was greeted with strong applause, to the obvious delight of a smiling Wright.

Wright's news was considerably rosier than last year's. Over the past fiscal year, the endowment grew to $2.1 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 1998, but still less than the $2.2 billion of 2001.

"In short, Dartmouth is strong and well," Wright said. "We have worked through the worst economic downturn in years."

And yet ...

Wright stated his commitment to expanding and retaining the best faculty members, along with improving major advising and increasing faculty governance. He also introduced a new program called the Center for Teaching and Learning, to be located in Baker Library.

This resource would provide technological support for teachers, as well as giving them a forum to better techniques.

This item in the budget drew the only criticism from the audience. Classics Professor Edward Bradley objected to the center, citing the already high quality of Dartmouth faculty. Furthermore, he criticized the using of $3 million from the already strained budget for what he saw as an unnecessary program.

"I just wish there were a little more discussion," Bradley said. "I speak from a small department who has been denied the replacement of a senior faculty member, where $3 million is not a small item."

Wright and Provost Barry Scherr disagreed, citing the need to continue cultivating high quality teachers at what they deemed a low cost.

"It's not a major investment at all," said Wright.

Wright went on to address tensions between sections of faculty, which during last year's budget crunch pitted humanities versus the sciences. As he did in his Convocation speech, Wright stressed the importance of the humanities to a liberal arts education. While sciences often can receive external grants for research, the humanities need to be funded almost exclusively by the school, he said. This creates the illusion that humanities are over-supported, according to Wright.

"We cannot use the same metrics when talking about relative strengths of humanities and sciences," he said.

And, of course, you emphasize the fact that you aren't over-supporting the humanities by not replacing a senior Classicist. Perhaps it's "All Greek" to him???

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 8:14:50 PM::
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REVIEW: From Wine Spectator

Andrew Dalby, Bacchus: A Biography

A taste:

Published on Oct. 27 by The British Museum in London, Bacchus: A Biography pieces together hundreds of stories about the deity, known in Greek as Dionysus, into a profile. Author Andrew Dalby sifted through hundreds of historical and dramatic documents by writers such as Homer, Pliny and Ovid to create a narrative of Bacchus as if he had walked the earth

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 7:40:19 PM::
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CHATTER: Why Cancun Failed

From a speech by EU Trade Commisioner Pascal Lamy, commenting on why the Cancun WTO meeting ultimately met with failure and where the EU and world trade goes from here:

The first group of explanations suggests that Cancun was an accident. Two cars, or three cars, or indeed 148 cars, collided on the way to a wedding. Casualty levels still not clear. Road currently blocked, but the police are on the way with heavy lifting equipment. And when the road is clear, providing everyone can still remember the way to the wedding, and providing that everyone is still in the mood, well, then maybe we can still go, there'll still be plenty to eat and drink.

Of course, rather than my own rather clumsy, indeed tawdry, metaphor, there are plenty of good historical antecedents for this theory that accidents can have major impacts on history. The accident of Cleopatra's nose was just too elegant, driving Julius Caesar to madness and war. At least that is what I recall from my careful study of Asterix battling the Romans. Or the accident of the beauty of Helen of Troy was such that it alone could launch a ten year war. Had it not been for her beauty, Odysseus could have stayed at home with his dog, and indeed his wife, thus ruining the basic plot of not one but two rather good books.

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 7:33:06 PM::
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CHATTER: Okay ... whatever

From a column at CNET News called Why IT Does -- and Does Not -- Matter:

Today, IT departments are consumed by the chore of keeping the datatricity flowing. The millions of personal computers in service today are simply a necessary evil. Quite evil, in fact. Either because we didn't think far enough ahead, or because we simply weren't smart enough when we were inventing this infrastructure, we've ended up with an interlocking system of networked personal computers that are accidents waiting to happen. They must be constantly patched. They must be constantly resurrected from the "blue screen of death." And the networks they are attached to were never designed to really handle sophisticated and simple concepts like commerce, security or privacy.

And we're in denial about it. In 211 B.C., the Romans felt secure because they believed Hannibal could never cross the Alps, much less during the dead of winter. Their heirs in 2003 find cold comfort in their hope that a 16-year-old sipping his cappuccino at Starbucks won't exploit RPC 135 and sack their corporate data treasury. Which leads us to another issue.

It is shameful that so many people have to know what RPC 135 is, much less how to protect it from the modern day Carthaginian army made up of teenagers with too much time on their hands and too little respect for others. Yet this is what it's come to. Thousands upon thousands of highly skilled, dedicated IT professionals spend 150 percent of their workweek playing whack-a-mole without even the slightest chance of winning.

I don't even know where to start commenting on this one ... so I won't.

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 7:23:11 PM::
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NUNTII: Archaeological Digs Resume in Serbia

This is obviously good news from the Balkans, with reports of some recent (and not-so-recent) discoveries:

After 15 years of pause, archaeological excavations have been resumed in Serbia, an area rich with remains of ancient Roman sites along the Danube and Sava rivers.

The most attractive to local public was the first ever underwater expedition in the Danube, the natural border between Serbia and Romania.

It confirmed the existence of the Trajan Bridge, which once had a 1070-metre span across the river between what are today the towns of Kladovo and the Romanian port Turnu Severin some 170 km east of Belgrade.

The Roman emperor Trajan is said to have started to build the bridge in the year 103AD as a part of his forays into the kingdom of Dacians, in today's Romania.


The remains of 16 pillars of Trajan Bridge had been located in 1932. In 1982 archaeologists were able to map 12 of them. Four were swept away by water in the meantime, Karovic says.

Karovic, an archaeologist but also an active diver, says the last expedition in September had centred around pillar number six, counting from the Serbian side. Her three-member diving team filmed the remains of a square base of the pillar covered with engraved stone plates.

Trajan's architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, chose a spot where the Danube has a constant height of about eight metres. That enabled him to construct the bridge with 20 pillars, of about 45 metres height. The remains of the first two pillars are still visible on both sides of the river.


Excavations have also resumed in the nearby town Kostolac along the Danube. The town was the site of ancient Roman camp of Viminacium.

”We dug up several hundred metres of aquaduct and a mausoleum, which proves that this spot dating back to the first century was a very important Roman camp,” says Miomir Korac, head of the excavation team.

The search for the secrets of ancient Roman empire has been extended to Sremska Mitrovica town, 75 km west of Belgrade.

Excavations through the summer centred on the site of ancient Sirmium, the Roman fortress close to the Sava river that dates back to the first century. The marble head of a statue of goddess Diana came to surface only two days before the end of season.

Digging will continue here next summer with the help of the French government. Experts believe that the location hides temples and homes of wealthy residents of Sirmium.

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 7:14:28 PM::
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TTT: A Pair of Interesting Websites

An "explorator" reader sent these two websites along (thanks EF!) ... the first one is part of the to-be-published 1991-1997 excavation report on the site of Cosa. Most of the info presented in this one is very detailed stratigraphy reports, although there are reports of ceramic finds etc.. The second is all about the Roman site of Volubilis (a Unesco Heritage site in Morocco) and there's a pile of stuff in this one. Just make sure you let pages load completely before you begin clicking (maybe my ISP is acting up tonight!).

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 6:58:04 PM::
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AUDIO: Baseball and the Iliad

This was mentioned on the Classics list (thanks JM and PTR!)  and comes from the NPR site:

Wellesley College professor Brendan Reay thinks that today's baseball play-by-play announcers are reminiscent of the fiery prose of classical texts, like Homer's Iliad.

To listen, go to this page and click the appropriate link ... you'll be given a choice of the media format ... I'm not sure why, but I couldn't get either RM or WM to work. Perhaps you'll have better luck.

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 6:42:30 PM::
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AUDIO: Father Foster

This week Father Foster talks about Roman attitudes toward death. It begins with a discussion of Charon and how he's depicted in the Vatican and eventually gets into Roman funerary practices of the rich and famous and the not-so-rich and famous.. Latin vocabulary includes words for the underworld, cypress,  and undertaker (possibly more ...).

If you'd like to see the Charon from the Sistine Chapel, click here ... you can click on the image on the page that comes up if you want a larger version.

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 6:31:28 PM::
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We passed the 10,000 visitor mark today ... thanks for coming out!

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 6:19:59 PM::
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ante diem v kalendas novembres

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 5:59:52 AM::
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CHATTER: Origins

According to a food column reviewing a number of cookbooks (from a Malaysian newspaper):

The recipes come along with plenty of cheesecake trivia. For instance, the word “cheesecake” does not only refer to the delectable dessert. Webster’s dictionary defines “cheesecake” as photography or photographs featuring the natural curves of shapely female legs, thighs or trunk, usually scantily clothed. In another dictionary, cheesecake is described as a photograph of a pretty girl scantily-clothed.  

This scrumptious cake is believed to have originated in Greece. Early records describing cheesecake indicated that it was created on the ancient Greek island of Samos in the Aegean sea sometime around 800B.C. Every Greek province had its own cheesecake recipe. There was even a town near Thebes, northwest Athens, that was named after cheesecake. Athletes in the first Olympic games on the Isle of Delos in Greece in 776B.C. reportedly ate cheesecakes to build up their energy.

Er ... yeah, okay ...

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 5:31:05 AM::
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CHATTER: Noted in Passing

From an editorial in Bangladesh's New Nation about the ongoing dispute over the Kashmir:

Despite Indian brutality, Kashmiris are confident that the right might ultimately triumph over might. Their confidence has been fortified by universal truth like that spelled out by the (65-8 BC) Latin poet Horace, who says, "Brute force, bereft of reason falls by its own weight". Thus, the Indian sinister designs in occupied Kashmir are doomed to fail as Kashmiris are firmly determined to shatter the shackles of Indian bondage.

Or if you prefer the Latin:

Vis consili expers mole ruit sua

Carmina 3.4.65

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 5:22:00 AM::
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NUNTII: Tomb from Inner Mongolia

Obviously this would normally be considered outside rogueclassicism's purview, but the Chinese news agency Xinhua is reporting an interesting find:

Local archaeologists found a bronze mirror and a bronze plate at the two ancient tomb sites in Liangcheng county which can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and theWarring States Period (475-221 B.C.), which they believed could not be the work of ancient northern peoples in China.

The semi-circle button of the mirror and the plate design of a weird beast with a bird's head and a tiger's body resembled very much the style of relics excavated in the hinterland of the Eurasian grass plain extending eastwards from the Black Sea to theouter Trans-Baikalia region in Russia, said Cao Jian'en, a noted researcher with the regional archaeology institute.

The round mirror is approximately 10 cm in diameter and its semicircle button, through which archaeologists believed the mirror was tied to its user for convenience, is only about one centimeter in radius.

More than 80 tombs were unearthed from the two sites and some 200 ornaments, numerous bone utensils for daily use and productionpurpose, and bones of sacrifice animals including horses, oxen, sheep and dogs were found in the tombs.

Archaeologists said the animal sacrifice showed that the tombs belonged to nomads.

According to Cao, the makers of the tombs were native Rong and Di people, two minority ethnic groups in ancient China later to assimilated by the Hun people, called Xiongnu in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D. 220).

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 5:03:17 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

5.30 a.m. |HISTC| History Bites: There's Nero Business Like Show Business
"Ah, the roar of the lions, the smell of the greasepaint.
Unlike modern times where entertainers are scrambling to be
politicians, Emperor Nero was trying to break into show
business. He may not have fiddled while Rome burned, but he
might have staged a musical about it."

1.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Colosseum
"Nothing symbolizes the Roman Empire at its height or Rome in
magnificent ruins more than the Colosseum. Built in 70 AD, it
seated 80,000 people, boasted a retractable roof, underground
staging devices, marble seating, and lavish decorations. It
still serves as the prototype for the modern stadium. The
complexity of its construction, the beauty of its architecture,
and the functionality of its design made it the perfect place
for massive crowds to congregate for the bloody spectacles it

2.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Search for Atlantis
"Ted Danson takes viewers on a spectacular 2-hour search for
one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known--the
fabled Lost City of Atlantis. The epic journey spans the globe
from the volcanoes of the Azores to the uncharted jungles of
South America and even to the archives of Nazi Germany. This
program also brings the glittering Lost City to life once again,
with painstakingly recreated islands, harbors, palaces, and

4.00 p.m. |HISTU| Seven Wonders of the World
"The Great Pyramid of Giza, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Statue
of Zeus at Olympia, Colossus of Rhodes, Temple of Artemis,
Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Pharos of Alexandria. Of the
seven wonders, only the Great Pyramid remains. Why did ancient
scholars select these sites? What can the crumbled remains say
about those who built them?"

6.00 p.m. |HISTU| Pompeii
"August 24, 79 AD. A day like any other day in the thriving
Roman resort town of Pompeii, sheltered in the shadow of Mt.
Vesuvius. Then, the volcano erupts and lava engulfs the city,
preserving it in time. Historians walk us through the daily life
of this ill-fated community. "

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Hadrian's Wall
"Why did the ancient Romans build a stone wall across England
from sea to sea? This look at Emperor Hadrian's Wall suggests
that it had to do with military necessity and the ego of Hadrian

HISTC = History Television (Canada)

HISTU= History Channel (US)

HINT= History International

::Tuesday, October 28, 2003 4:54:52 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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