Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:11:33 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca


Source ...

::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:56:33 PM::
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CHATTER: I Am the Very Model ...

So, what does the ancient world have to do with the glitzy world of modelling? The Courier reveals:

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," said the Ancient Greeks.

It sounds warm and fuzzy, but it does nothing to explain why they all thought Helen of Troy was the most beautiful in the land. Apparently, her initiation of the Trojan Wars was a pesky, minor detail.

That her face spited her personality was a conundrum that plagued even Plato.
"(He) wrote of so-called 'golden proportions,' in which, amongst other things, the width of an ideal face would be two-thirds its length, while a nose would be no longer than the distance between the eyes," says an article in the December 2002 Journal of Young Investigators.

Turns out Plato was on to something. Today, Roget's Thesaurus lists symmetry as a synonym for beauty.

Mary Corell, owner of Corell Modeling and Talent in West Des Moines, knows whether a potential model has that certain something the second he or she walks through the door. Commercial models, specializing in everything from fast food ads to infomercials, bring in 90 percent of Corell's business, and they can be any height and any size, but she consistently looks for one thing.

"What we look for is symmetry --- wide set eyes, a strong jaw, full lips, high cheekbones and the proportion of the forehead to the chin. The inch width of the forehead should be the same as the width of the jaw and chin. That goes for both women and men," she says.

More ...

::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:50:54 PM::
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CHATTER: Need An Argument?

For those nights when you've had one coffee too many and there's nothing on TV and you just can't bring yourself to read that article or do the laundry, you can always start an argument with this piece by Robert Stam (reproduced in its entirety) from the Daily Times of Pakistan:

A series of newspaper ads prepared by the Greek National Tourist Organization in 1991 featured alluring images of Aegean seascapes, classical monuments, and mythological icons, anchored by the captions “Greece: Where It All Began” and “Greece Chosen by the Gods.” Appealing to a presumably common myth of origins in order to promote a touristic pilgrimage to the sources of European civilization, the ads chart a pan-European imaginary, the “all” of the caption invoking a master-narrative of quasi-divine origin. Another ad in the same series features a painting of a beautiful White lad contemplating his aquatic mirror-image. The caption invites the viewer to reflect, like Narcissus, on “the crystalline purity of Greek waters.” Yet this narrative of origins is itself specular and narcissistic: Europe looks in the mirror and is dazzled by its own beauty. Overwritten with the prestige of classical myth, the Greek waters invite the tourist into what is projected as a shared past. Ads for the equally crystalline waters of the Caribbean, by contrast, appeal not to historical origins but to “get-away-from-it-all” sensuality (“It’s better in the Bahamas”), evincing little interest in the indigenous myths and history of the region. Both sets of ads reverberate with communal tensions about the meaning and interpretation of history. While the Greek ads are about remembering and reflecting, the Caribbean ads are about reawakening the dormant senses and, implicitly, about forgetting history. The former forges links to a European past, the latter obscures historical connections.

Another Greece-related ad, for an exhibit of classical sculpture, posits Greece as the site of the origin of democracy, and of the European self as Universal Humanity...

Besides overlooking the slave-based nature of Greek “democracy,” the ad posits history as “beginning” in Greece; a Eurocentric misnomer, since world history has no single point of origin, although some physical anthropologists speculate that the first human being was African and a woman. Even during the classical period, history was played out around the globe, in China, in the Indus Valley, in Mesopotamia, in Africa, in what we now call the Americas, and indeed wherever there were human beings. Rather than the “Age” of Antiquity, as Samir Amin suggests, we should speak of the “Ages” of Antiquity. The Americas are dotted with antique ruins, with the pyramids and acropolises of Meso-America and “Turtle Island,” but Eurocentric education rarely calls attention to them. Who tells us that Peruvian monumental architecture existed before Stonehenge? Or that when ancient Greece was falling under Roman hegemony, the Native American Adena culture had been flourishing for over 1,000 years?

Meanwhile, some Afrocentric discourse posits Africa, and especially Egypt, as a site of origins. The debate over origins is played out not only in the pages of books and in the halls of the academy, but also in the myriad forms of popular culture. In the rap music videos of KRSOne, for example, Egyptian pyramids furnish the backdrop for percussive rapped lectures on history. African-oriented culture also animates the street life of First World metropolises; identity is marketed, and nourished, through the sidewalk vending of papyrus, incense, jewelry, kente cloth, and books about African civilization. A whole genre of T-shirt Afrocentrism explicitly links history, geography and contemporary identity. One shirt popular around the time of Nelson Mandela’s visit to the US in 1990 inscribes portraits of African and Afro-diasporic leaders on an Afrocentrically colored map of Africa, positing a line of noble descent — “Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bob Marley. Nelson Mandela and Me” — framed by an admonition to an implicitly White addressee: “It’s a Black Thing ... You Wouldn’t Understand.” The Afrocentric hip hop of X-Clan, meanwhile, portrays ancient Greece as the thief of Egyptian culture: “I am an African. I don’t wear Greek/Must I be reminded of a legendary thief?” In X-Clan’s music video “Heed the Word of a Brother” busts of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates flash on the screen and then are irreverently dismissed. The positing of an alternative Afrocentric version of history, while on one level reproducing the logic of a centered history, on another level inverts it, and. given the negative legacy of anti-African prejudice, reaffirms a genealogically productive past. Emphasized here is not so much the “origins” of civilization as the “beginnings” of political consciousness, with debates about Greece and Egypt becoming proxy battles for cultural prestige. Issues of origin become entangled with the political genealogy of diasporic identity.

The advent of colonialism inspired a retroactive rewriting of African history and its relation to classical Greek civilization. History was recast to conform to colonialist norms, in the name of an eternal “West” unique since its moment of conception. Whole continents were turned into eternal “slave continents.”


::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:42:48 PM::
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CHATTER: More Matrixulations

Thomas Hibbs writes, inter alia, in the National Review about the philosophical underpinnings of The Matrix: Revolutions:

There is endless blather about choice, its significance, and its consequences. Once again, there are traitors who make choices that prove costly for Neo and his cohorts. But the most-important plotline in Matrix Revolutions occurs in silence and deep within the soul of Neo; it involves not so much his wrestling with options as his growing realization of who he is and what he is called to do. As his core group awaits his direction, he disappears, only to reappear to tell them that he must take a ship to the Machine World, an apparently suicidal course of action that Neo concedes is "difficult to understand." Those gathered immediately divide into the skeptics, proclaiming this a "waste," and the true believers in Neo. The scriptural echoes — his withdrawal to be alone, his plan to go directly into the midst of his enemies on a ship named "The Logos," the presence of traitors, and the accentuation of faith in a person — multiply as the film moves toward its climax.

As was true of its predecessors, this film is something of a mishmash of symbols and myths. It mixes a superficial dash of Eastern or Jungian opposites, as in the Oracle's assertion to Neo that Mr. Smith "is you, your opposite, your negation," with a bit of the blind-seer theme from Sophocles's Oedipus — or was that lifted from the pedestrian Minority Report? But what is surprising about Revolutions is the clear ascendancy of Christian imagery: the suffering servant, the One who conquers evil by enduring it, light overcoming darkness, and especially the cross.

More ...

::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:36:20 PM::
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ALSO SEEN: Interesting Premise

From Korea Times comes a 'noted in passing' sort of thing in a theatre column:

What is it that stops people from creating works of art? ``The Gift of the Gorgon,"  Peter Shaffer's latest play written in 1992, is about a theater genius who snorts and struts around the stage of life, disregarding the mundane constraints of ordinary life that keep the rest of the world tame.

Edward Damson, the famous English playwright in the story, dies in his remote Aegean home. His son Philip, whom he has never acknowledged, has had a lifelong obsession with the father he never knew and he begs for permission from his stepmother, Helen, to write Edward's biography.

Helen agrees reluctantly on condition that Philip tell the whole story; a story, she warns, he will find painful. Helen, a conservative academic, re-enacts her bizarre, turbulent 18 years with the wildly passionate, explosive and self-absorbed Edward.

The play melds a blundering sense of purpose and the heroes of ancient Greece _ the Iliad, the Odyssey and the blood of Agamemnon _ within a clash of pop culture and bourgeois theatre.

Sounds like your typical day at rogueclassicism!

::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:34:13 PM::
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TTT: New Stuff at Ancient Narrative

Ancient Narrative 3 (2003) continues to grow. Here's the latest (as .pdf's ... you need Acrobat Reader to view them ... does anyone not have AR any more?):


Akihiko Watanabe, "The Masculinity of Hippothoos" 


I. Ramelli, "I romanzi antichi e il Cristianesimo: contesto e contatti" Reviewed by A. Hilhorst  (not sure of the language of this one ... I'm in the midst of a slow crash ... stimon just went; we'll see what's next).

::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:19:08 PM::
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CHATTER: Bucephalian Musings

The North Country Times has a feature on an upcoming horse show/display which says inter alia:

Akhal-teke horses are one of the rarest equestrian breeds. Originating in the deserts of Turkmenistan, there are only 1,100 mares and 400 stallions worldwide, said Milena Stoszek, a board member of the Akhal-Teke Association of America.

Stoszek said 250 of the horses are found in the United States.

"It was impossible to see or get an akhal-teke here except in the last 20 years," Stoszek said. "All of them were kept in the former Soviet Union."

The breed was developed to fight wars, particularly along trade routes between Asia and Europe. Chinese legends referred to akhal-tekes as "the Heavenly Horse" and they were held in such high regard that the Han Chinese sent 80,000 soldiers to capture only 20 horses. Akhal-tekes were rode by Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great and numerous Asian kings and emperors.

I suspect I am not the only one who becomes skeptical when I read claims of folks to know what breed of horse Alexander rode -- heck, when we read in Plutarch that Bucephalus was brought to Philip by Philonicus the Thessalian, that suggests a 'breed' rather more 'western' than the Akhal-Teke (a very fine horse to be sure). As one might guess, there are plenty of Akhal-Teke sites on the web which parrot the claim. Interestingly, though, one site does seem to get into ancient pedigrees:

A comprehensive account of the origins of the Akhal-Teke breed has yet to be written in English. Much of what is currently available in English is not reliable. Contrary to what has been written about the breed, the Akhal-Teke is not native to Russia; the Akhal-Teke origins predate the founding of the Russian state by three thousand years. Nor, as has been asserted, it the Akhal-Teke a warmblood. Like the Arabian and the English Thoroughbred -- two breeds to which the older Akhal-Teke made significant contributions -- the breed belongs to the hotblood category.

   The Akhal-Teke is the only remaining pure strain of ancient Turkmene horse, a breed whose common ancestors bear a succession of different names over time: Massaget, Parthian, Nisean, Persian, Turkmene and finally, Akhal-Teke. Excavations in southern Turkmenistan have uncovered skeletal remains of tall, fine-boned horses dating back to 2400 BC. The breed name, however, dates back only to the end of the nineteenth century. It consists of two words: "Akhal," the long oasis nestled in the foothills of the Kopet Dag Mountains (once a part of the kingdom of ancient Persia, now present-day Turkmenistan) and "Teke," after the Turkmen tribe, the dominant nomadic people who inhabited the oasis and for centuries raised the Turkmene horse.

I dunno ... it sounds to me like any connection between Akhal-Tekes and Bucephalus is little more than marketing ...


::Monday, November 10, 2003 8:10:03 PM::
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ante diem iv idus novembres

  • ludi Plebeii (day 7)
  • 251 A.D. -- martyrdom of Trypho (maybe ... maybe not)
  • 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Tiberius
  • 1870 -- birth of Michael Rostovtzeff (author of The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire and the Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World among other things)

::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:55:58 AM::
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INTERVIEW: Victor Davis Hanson

ABC (that's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) recently interviewed the "influential historian". He didn't really say anything 'Classical' but folks might be interested nonetheless -- follow the link.

::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:35:21 AM::
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NUNTII: Zoroastrianism Alive and Well

Folks with an interest in ancient religion might be interested in a piece in the Contra Costa Times (which will have a brief shelf life) on someone recently inducted into the ranks of the clergy of the Zoroastrian faith:

Nineteen-year-old Sam Bapasola of Voorhees, N.J., became a member of the clergy recently.

On the surface, the Drexel University freshman looks and lives like any other business major on the Philadelphia campus. He resides in a tiny dorm room, navigates the computer with dizzying speed and trades stocks online for fun.

But underneath his T-shirt and jeans is a hint of Bapasola's spiritual commitment. Every day, he wears a special white undershirt, secured with a sacred cord wrapped around his body three times.

Each ring that circles his waist is to remind him of his daily ambition: good works, good thoughts, good deeds. It is the lifelong goal of all faithful Zoroastrians.


Bapasola is used to the quizzical looks.

"I say 'Zoroastrian.' And they say, 'What's that?'" He then dutifully explains.

"I try to relate it to things that they've heard of, like Alexander the Great conquering the Persians," Bapasola said. "I say our religion was practiced by the Persians."

More ...

::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:29:14 AM::
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REVIEW: From the Sydney Morning Herald

The SMH seems to be first to review Anne Carson's latest, a verse novel entitled The Autobiography of Red. Here's an in medias res excerpt:

Little is known about Stesichoros, a Greek poet who died in about 555BC. His writing was once ranked alongside Homer's and was admired by Socrates, but none of his poems has survived in its entirety. Among the extant fragments of Stesichoros are a few notated lines from an epic about Herakles's 10th labour, coloured with sympathy for Geryon.

In her verse novel Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson places Geryon's story in the present. Geryon has wings, but no cattle or island, and he is an insecure North American youth. As a child, Geryon worries about these wings: do many children think they are monsters? He grows up to take a dull job shelving government documents, in a place as "cold as a sea of stone". Herakles is the confident wanderer with whom Geryon is infatuated.

The novel's structure is unusual. Carson's story of Geryon is surrounded by an essay, translations of Stesichoros's fragments and an interview with Stesichoros. If an academic robot or vandal were to tear out these sections even though their relevance is not minor the central story would be altered but largely familiar.

More ...

::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:24:46 AM::
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REVIEW: From the New York Times

The Times has a review of Robert Harris, Pompeii -- a novel which will be arriving on these shores in the next month or so (it's been out in the UK for over a month already, I believe). Here's a tease:

In June 2000, Mr. Harris said, he saw a newspaper article about new research into the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that alerted him to the latest scientific conclusions about the causes of the catastrophe. And the article, he said, gave him the idea that ancient Rome would provide a more appropriate setting for the book he wanted to write.

The result was "Pompeii," a thriller that has become an instant best-seller in Britain and is set to be published in the United States on Nov. 25 by Random House.

Despite its setting, Mr. Harris says, the book is a modern novel, absorbing Roman characters, notably Pliny the Elder — scholar-commander of the imperial fleet — into a tale of imperial hubris that, after the invasion of Iraq, he depicts as particularly relevant to present-day America.

"The book can be read two ways, as a historical novel and, I hope, good story," he said in an interview. "But there's an allegorical interpretation."

"This is not an old Europe attack on America," he said, explaining why he sees a parallel between ancient Rome and modern Washington. "I do not hold that view. It's a more detached interest in the mind-set of living in a nation so powerful that it's almost inconceivable to imagine that its dominance could ever come to an end."

So for Rome 79 A.D., read the United States post-Sept. 11, 2001.

The rest ...

::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:18:59 AM::
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BULLETIN BOARD: Recently-Posted Items


UMISS: Ancient historian (tenure track)

BU: Latinist (tenure track)

All jobs (use the calendar on the jobs page)



::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:14:44 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Rome: Power and Glory: The Cult of Order

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| James, Brother of Jesus

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

::Monday, November 10, 2003 5:04:07 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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