Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:06:05 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca


From the Frank and Ernest site ... natch!

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 9:15:22 PM::
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NUNTII: Origins

So we come across this in a column on chicken pot pie (as Dr. Weevil says, "mmmmmmmmmm .... pie"):

Archaeological evidence points to pie as a passion for thousands of years, beginning with the early Egyptians, who served foods under pastry crusts. Historians believe that the Greeks invented what we think of as pie — food entirely surrounded by crust, baked in it, and eaten along with that crust.

The Romans, who conquered Greece, took the concept of pie with them back to Italy, where savory pies of all types became popular at every level of society. The richer you were, the more complex and expensive the filling. Poor people could stretch soaked grains or foraged nuts and herbs by baking them under a simple flour and water dough. The Roman statesman Cato the Elder is said to have created the first pie recipe: a mixture of goat cheese and honey in a rye crust.

Fill in the blank:    ____________ coquenda est!

As the Romans conquered Europe and Britain, they brought with them their traditional foods, which included pies. These caught on everywhere, because they were economical as well as practical.

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 9:11:42 PM::
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NUNTII: Etruscan Tomb brings new of an excavation of an Etruscan tomb:

Etruscan art, made of strange demons and monsters, is emerging in a Tuscan village, in what could be one of the most important discoveries of recent times, according to scholars who have seen the paintings.

Lurking on the left wall of a 4th century B.C. tomb, the exceptionally preserved monsters have been unearthed during the ongoing excavation of the Pianacce necropolis in Sarteano, a village 50 miles from Siena, Italy.

"So far we have found some scenes of banquets, snake-like monsters, demons, a hyppocampus and a sarcophagus broken in many fragments, probably by tomb robbers. We are confident to find more art as the digging goes on," archaeologist Alessandra Minetti told Discovery News.

And I just have to include this photo, which is captioned "Demonic Charioteer with the Shadow of Death", which looks like a character from a Max Fleischer cartoon:

More ...

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 9:01:54 PM::
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REVIEW: Oedipus-san

This one looks interesting ... an adaptation of Oedipus Rex by a Japanese director:

The King Disappeared Into the Desert, a newly created musical play based on the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex will premier at the Dai-ichi Seimei Hall in Harumi, Tokyo on Nov. 15 with an evocative accompaniment of traditional Japanese instruments.

This extraordinary project was dreamed up by Japanese traverse flutist Kohei Nishikawa when he heard from actor Takashi Inagaki about a condensed version of Oedipus Rex. The original Oedipus Rex, written by ancient Greek poet Sophocles, depicts the life of Oedipus, the legendary King of Thebes, who gouges out his eyes and sets out to roam the desert after realizing he has killed his father and married his mother as prophesied by an oracle.

The King Disappeared Into the Desert, dramatized by Shoki Sekine, tells the same story with only eight roles to be played by four performers: Oedipus; his wife, Jocasta; her brother, Creon; prophet Tiresias; a messenger; a shepherd; a woman; and a narrator. It is also marked by a speedy investigation of riddlelike truth.

More ...

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 8:38:54 PM::
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REVIEWS: The Latest From BMCR

Patrick Faas, Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome.

Gesine Manuwald, Pacuvius. Summus tragicus poeta. Zum dramatischen Profil seiner Tragoedien. (review in English)

Istvan Bodnar, William W. Fortenbaugh (edd.), Eudemus of Rhodes.

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 8:29:30 PM::
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nonas novembres

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 5:55:39 AM::
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CHATTER: More on the Matrix

The latest installment of the Matrix appears to have something folks can use as an explanatory exemplar:

The Neo-Smith fight sequence features some impressive visual effects, but the real lightshow comes when Neo confronts a new digital character called the Deus Ex Machina (think "The Wizard of Oz"). In Greek drama, the "god machine" was rolled out to provide a tidy ending to classical plays. The intention is much the same here.

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 5:45:42 AM::
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NUNTII: Olympian Stupidity

Some more details are circulating about the Olympian Shot Put proposal:

Imagine it is Aug. 19, 2004, a day before the beginning of the rest of the track and field competition at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Two dozen shot-putters walk between the temples of Zeus and Hera, past the altar where the Olympic flame is lighted to begin the torch relay. They pass the inscribed pedestals identifying athletes whose fines for cheating at the ancient Olympics paid for the statues of Zeus.

Then the athletes go under the one remaining arch of the tunnel that leads to the stadium where the first Olympic event, a race covering the 200-yard length of the stadium, was run 2,779 years ago.

They contest the morning heats and evening final of the shot put in this long, narrow venue, with as many as 30,000 spectators sitting on the grassy slopes on both sides of the stadium and hundreds of millions more watching on worldwide television. Never before - or after - has a shot-put competition received so much attention.

This is the idea Athens Olympic organizers had been developing quietly for several months before it was leaked to the Greek media last week.

Spyros Capralos, executive director of the Athens organizing committee, provided some exclusive details:

The plan involves just the men's shot put, which would take place on one day. The final would begin at 6 p.m. and end about 8, making lights unnecessary. The idea of a males-only event reinforces the link to the ancient Olympics, when women were neither allowed to compete nor watch men, who competed naked.

"They will not have to be naked this time," Capralos said.

Admission would be free.

The Athens organizers would assume all the costs of moving the event, including charter flights and lodging for athletes and officials.

A perimeter of security can be created for the ancient stadium.

"I think it is a fantastic idea," said Craig Masback, executive director of USA Track & Field. "One of the great things about this Olympics in Greece is they can help reground the Games with the values and spirit of what the Olympics are and were about. The more elements that can be linked to the past, the better."

Whether this plan is realized depends on the International Amateur Athletic Federation, track and field's world governing body, and the International Olympic Committee.

The IAAF council will discuss it at a meeting Nov. 22-23. The IOC will wait for a recommendation from the track federation, according to IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies.

The Association of Greek Archeologists denounced the plan as soon as it became public, citing a risk of damage to the ancient stadium and asking the minister of culture, Evangelos Venizelos, to intervene. A day later, Venizelos said there was no risk of damage and that the result of having the shot put in Olympia will be "catalytic, sensational."

"Speaking personally, not as an IAAF official, I hope it will happen," said IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai. "But there are dozens of logistical issues and, most importantly, what is the best interest of the athletes? Do they want to compete in a stadium with 75,000 people, or somewhere with no stands and some people sitting on the grass?"

Lamine Diack, the IAAF president, echoed Gyulai.

"This can be a good idea," Diack said by telephone Monday.

Greek hurdler Pericles Iakovakis, world bronze medalist this year, was skeptical.

"I don't think it's going to work out," Iakovakis said. "First of all, the athletes would like it to take place in the main Olympic stadium. We also have practical problems, including extra security and high cost."

Capralos said the shot-putters reacted favorably when the idea was presented by pole vault legend Sergey Bubka, chairman of the IOC athletes commission, at the August world championships in Paris.

"Often, the shot put is overlooked," Capralos said. "Now the world will be watching."

That focus also may assuage some resentment in Olympia, many of whose 2,500 citizens feel they have been left out of the 2004 Olympics.

"There is nothing happening in Olympia ahead of or during the 2004 Olympics," Olympia Mayor Yannis Skoularikis told Reuters earlier this year. "The citizens are up in arms as we, the birthplace of the Games, have no role whatsoever in the 2004 Olympics. If the Games are going to carry the name of our town, then we have to have the appropriate role in the world's biggest sporting event."

More ...

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 5:30:15 AM::
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CHATTER: Trendspotting

Am I imagining this or is there is an increasing trend to include as part of the hype building up to some dead person's significant anniversary, the exhumation, examination, and possible other fiddling with their corpse? The latest to get this treatment, according to an AP Wire report making the rounds, is none other than Petrarch:

As a poet he encouraged his readers to contemplate death. Now, as the 700th anniversary of his birth approaches, archaeologists will remove the remains of the Italian poet Petrarch from their pink marble resting place, hoping to piece together details of his life.

Led by an Italian anatomy professor, the team wants to reconstruct Petrarch's physical features to shed light on the man considered second only to Dante in the pantheon of Italian writers.

"We will be able to analyze his physical makeup, his height. We will be able to tell from his bones if he was suffering from illnesses," Vito Terribile Wiel Marin, of Padua University, said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his home in the Padua area.

The bones will be removed Nov. 18 from the tomb in Arqua-Petrarca, the village in northeast Italy where Petrarch died in 1374.

Marin said he believes that providing tidbits about Petrarch's body will be a service in itself, even if they do not advance the study of the poet's work.

More ...

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 5:08:43 AM::
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TTT: Matrix Philosophy

It seems appropriate that I point to this one today -- the day The Matrix: Revolutions will be hitting the theatres and the hype will be everywhere (if the latter hasn't hit your town already). The official website actually has a 'philosophy' section (it might take time to load), wherein the various strands behind the movie are explicated. Folks of our ilk will be naturally drawn to John Partridge's Plato's Cave and the Matrix. Here's a tease:

Viewers of The Matrix remember the moment in the film when Neo is released from his prison and made to grasp the truth of his life and the world. The account above roughly captures that turning point in the 1999 film, and yet it is drawn from an image crafted almost twenty-four hundred years ago by the Greek philosopher, Plato (427-347 B.C.E.). Today the Republic is the most influential work by Plato, and the allegory of the Cave the most famous part of the Republic. If you know that Socrates was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by drinking hemlock, or that Socrates thought that the unexamined life is not worth living, you may also know that Socrates in the Republic likened the human condition to the state of prisoners bound in a cave seeing only shadows projected on the wall in front of them. Transcending this state is the aim of genuine education, conceived as a release from imprisonment, a turning or reorientation of one’s whole life, an upward journey from darkness into light:

The release from the bonds, the turning around from shadows to statues and the light of the fire and, then, the way up out of the cave to the sunlight…: [education] has the power to awaken the best part of the soul and lead it upward to the study of the best among the things that are.

The allegory of the Cave gives literary shape to Socrates’ most fundamental concern, namely that our souls be in the best condition possible (Plato, Apology 30a7-b4). Socrates also believed he was commanded by the god Apollo to practice philosophy; it both animated and cost him his life. Yet it is not obvious how philosophical investigation improves the condition of the soul—still less how the Socratic method in particular does so, consisting as it does in testing the consistency of a person’s beliefs through a series of questions Socrates asks.

I believe, and will show here, that the allegory of the Cave is part of Plato’s effort to make philosophical sense of Socrates’ philosophical life, to link Socrates’ persistent questioning to his unwavering aim at what he called the “care of the soul.” On this theme of care of the soul, there is a deep resonance between The Matrix and Plato’s thought in the Republic. Like the allegory of the Cave, The Matrix dramatically conveys the view that ordinary appearances do not depict true reality and that gaining the truth changes one’s life. Neo’s movements toward greater understanding nicely parallel the movements of the prisoner in the cave whose bonds are loosened. The surface similarities between the film and the allegory can run to a long catalog. The first paragraph of this essay reveals some of these connections. But there remains a deeper affinity between the two that I shall draw out here, especially in Part IV, having to do with Socrates’ notion of the care of the soul.

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 4:56:20 AM::
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GOSSIP: A Movie to Watch For

The description of The Travelling Players from the latest Empire Online is interesting:

A gentle tribute to the unchanging nature of the Greek soul in the midst of turmoil, Theo Angelopoulos’ 230-minute epic is also a melancholic denunciation of a national character that is so preoccupied with the past that it can’t cope with the contingencies of the present.

Depicting events from the rise of fascism to the imposition of military rule through the eyes of a troupe that performs the same pastoral play, Golpho The Shepherdess, regardless of the political climate, the action may confound those untutored in Greek history.

But while knowing that the players are named after the dramatis personae in Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy adds to the film’s intellectual lustre, ignorance doesn’t make it inaccessible, as the human tragedy becomes increasingly compelling as it unfolds, while Angelopoulos’ stately visual style is constantly arresting.

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 4:44:46 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Tonight

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Greece

10.00 p.m. |DISCU| The Real Jason and the Argonauts
"The myth of Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the
Golden Fleece may be based on real events that took place over
3,000 years ago. Discoveries in Greece suggest that Jason's
journey may have been a genuine voyage of discovery."

11.00 p.m. |HINT| How Did They Build That?: Arches
"British engineer Scott Steedman views three stunning examples
of one of the most reliable and enduring structural forms--the
arch. In France, he visits the Pont du Gard near Nimes, the
highest Roman aqueduct in the world, with its tiers of round
arches. Then in Koln, Germany, he investigates the largest
Gothic cathedral in the world for which medieval masons used two
types of arch--the pointed and flat. And at the Lufthansa
Tecknik Jumbo Hangar in Hamburg, he examines a modern use of the
double arch."

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| The History of Sex: Ancient Civilizations
"In this hour, we study sex in the ancient world--from
Mesopotamians, who viewed adultery as a crime of theft, to
Romans, who believed that squatting and sneezing after sex was
reliable birth control. We also look at revealing Egyptian and
Greek practices--from the origins of dildos to the use of
crocodile dung as a contraceptive."

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HISTU = History Channel (U.S.)

DISCU = Discovery Channel (U.S.)

HINT = History International

::Wednesday, November 05, 2003 4:28:40 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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