Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:12:19 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

LAST POST: At the Auctions

There's a pile of nice stuff at Sotheby's of late ... I'll show more over the next few days. Tonight we've got this cute little (15 cm) Gallo-Roman bronze action figure of Zeus wielding his dumbell ... er, thunderbolt. That's silver inlay on the nipples ...

The info page ... ( I just figured out how to centre photos in this thing!)

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 9:05:27 PM::
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AUDIO: Father Foster

This week Father Foster talks about Varus and his ill-fated legions ... Foster seems kind of impatient with the host in this one (perhaps rightly so, if she isn't being disingenuous for 'program' purposes) ... mumbles a lot more than usual too.

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 8:50:49 PM::
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NUNTII: Say What????

The Cypriot Press Information Office sends out summaries of what's happening in the Turkish Press ... today's version (it's one of those HRI things but I can't find it online) includes the following, rather puzzling story (this is the whole thing):

Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (18.11.03) reports that
during archaeological excavations taking place at the occupied Livadia
village two ancient tombs were discovered.

The tombs, which are 15 metres long, were discovered accidentally in the
area where the excavations are conducted at the village. Some
earthenware water jags and some ceramic objects were found in the area
as well.

Mr Serdar Denktas, the leader of the Democratic Party, visited the
occupied Livadia village in the framework of his election campaign and paid a visit to the area where the archaeological excavations are
illegally being carried out.

The headline to the piece says the tombs are "Iron Age" by the way; otherwise, I think (I hope) something seems to have been lost in the translation ...

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 8:35:55 PM::
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CHATTER: Whither the Muse?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a long (and free) piece on where the urge to write comes from. It's an interesting piece with even a bit of ClassCon to give me an excuse for posting it here:

It turns out to matter where the drive to write comes from. All driven writers focus on their work. But people driven by intrinsic motivations such as curiosity and enjoyment have a different relationship to the product of their work from those moved by extrinsic motivations including praise, money, and the constantly varying world of punishments. Someone who is fascinated by language attends to details and to the overall texture of a writing project more than she will if she is writing simply to satisfy the public. While strong intrinsic motivation increases creativity, surprisingly, adding extrinsic motivations -- even positive ones -- can actually decrease creativity. If that is true, paying a writer may paradoxically make him write less well. (As you might guess, I do not think this means you should not pay writers.) Reward may encourage the writer to stop work as soon as she has completed the minimal amount of work necessary for the reward, resulting in what Herbert Simon called "satisficing." Extrinsic motivation may also have a negative effect on creativity by distracting the subject's attention from the task to thoughts of reward or punishment.

This implies that the best way to foster creative writing is to give the writer freedom to work on a subject he loves. But the motivation to write may also be infectious, as Plato described in the Ion. "[The Muse] first makes man inspired, and then through these inspired ones others share in the enthusiasm, and a chain is formed, for the epic poets, all the good ones, have their excellence, not from art, but are inspired, possessed, and thus they utter all these admirable poems." There is actually some scientific evidence for Plato's position: Children shown videos of other children enjoying their work not only enjoy their work more, but seem to escape the negative effect of extrinsic rewards. Reward makes them perform even better.

More ...

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 8:29:36 PM::
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GOSSIP: Alexander the Great on Hold?

This just in, and only on a smattering of sites (and some versions of this have already disappeared from the net, so cum grano salis and all that). According to a vague story making the rounds (still alive at Teen Hollywood):

Leonardo DiCaprio's dreams of playing historical legend Alexander the Great have been put on hold due to a lack of Japanese interest.

Reports in yesterday's Daily Variety suggest producer Dino De Laurentiis has failed to presell his project to Japanese investors.

The article goes on to suggest DiCaprio will take part in a Howard Hughes pic with Robert DeNiro. Now if only we could 'trade' Angelina Jolie for Nicole Kidman in the one already under production ...

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 8:10:34 PM::
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ante diem xiv kalendas decembres

  • Mercatus -- with the ludi plebeii over, it was time to restock the cupboards!
  • 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hesychius of Antioch (another soldier-saint)

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 5:49:35 AM::
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FWIW: The Fall of Conrad Black

The Toronto Star -- never a friend to Conrad Black -- has a 'literary analysis' of the latter's 'fall', which is admittedly borderline in terms of aptness of analogy, but might be of interest to some (I'm sure we'll read similar items soon enough):

When a larger-than-life figure topples from his perch of power, as Conrad Black did yesterday, there's always a temptation to examine characters from great works of literature in an attempt to understand what happened.

Perhaps Black, for example, was a soul-mate to Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the man who searched for the source of a plague destroying his kingdom, only to discover in the process that it lurked inside himself.

Then again, he might have been Herman Melville's Captain Ahab, growing so obsessed with his quest for the Great White Whale that he could not see the ruin he brought on all around him.

Or was he just Farmer MacGregor from Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit stories, taking far too Napoleonic a view of cabbage patch expansion?

Actually, the hunt for Black's literary brother winds up in a play of Shakespeare granted a somewhat obscure one the tragedy of Coriolanus.

More ...

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 5:41:41 AM::
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CHATTER: Dating Advice From Ovid

After quickly going over a pile of recent books aimed at helping folks get a date, a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald points out what Classicists have known all along:

Ovid knew a thing or two about finding love. In Imperial Rome he was doing his best to help the nous-less, and therefore lousy, Latin lovers find it, and began his Ars Amatoria ("The Art of Love") bluntly: "Technique is the secret./Charioteer, sailor, oarsman, All need it. Technique can control/Love himself."

Ovid was banned by the Emperor Augustus as a threat to public morality and exiled in AD8. Too late. He'd already told his avid readers where to find a lover - he advocated parks, a stroll down a shady colonnade at dusk, the theatre ("as spectators, they come, come to be inspected") and the public games ("be sure to press against her whenever you can"), inter alia. He gave advice worthy of the dating workshop Carrie Bradshaw tried and failed to give in Sex and the City: "If some dust should settle/ In your girl's lap, flick it away/ With your fingers; and if there is no dust, still flick away - nothing:/Let any excuse serve to prove your zeal."

Chivalry, he wrote, would be rewarded. A trailing cloak picked out of the dirt would afford the view of a well-turned ankle, plumping a cushion can get the plump-er closer to the object of desire.

He outlined a step-by-step program, starting with enlisting the good offices of her maid (a girlfriend or a PA these days would fill the same role), making common cause against her enemy ("... when she has been miffed by a rival. Make it your job/To ensure she gets revenge.") He also canvasses appearance - real men don't primp, and "don't look too highbrow".

Ovid was clearly writing for an audience with a need - people Devine would assert had serious lack of smarts, too. But he knew finding a mate is complicated: some fish are netted, he writes, others are trawled, some caught with line and hook.

He also gives his readers a warning - love is a tricky god, and the person who wants it must be worthy of it. He tells us you have to put some effort in, because love requires mind and character, class and brains. His subtext is that if you go by the book, you might get your handsome prince/princess, a person of worth, virtue - and a wicked sense of humour.

I'm sure Ovid's advice is at least as efficacious at getting a date as any of the books cited elsewhere in the article. Who ever heard of a Classicist who couldn't get a date ... oh, sorry.


::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 5:34:25 AM::
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CHATTER: Classical Precedent ... er Obiter Dicta

George Carlin used to regale us with tales of going against ... the phone company. As some folks might be aware, a pile of folks have taken Bell-Atlantic Maryland to court over late fees in a class action suit. The lawyers for them were claiming some $13 million in fees, despite the fact that each person in the successful suit would receive only about $6.00. That was appealed, of course, and the Washington Post tells of the judge's decision:

Judge Platt noted that the lawyers argued that the $13 million fell within legal guidelines of 20 percent of Verizon's total legal costs -- the fees plus the total $51.9 million Verizon had set aside. The lawyers also made "extensive arguments citing their long hard hours and derring-do in the hallowed committee rooms and corridors of the General Assembly of Maryland as well as the busy courtrooms" in Maryland, Platt added. "Indeed the level of heroics in this litigation, described by Class Counsel . . . rivals those contained in Homer's great classics the Iliad and the Odyssey," Platt wrote in his 25-page opinion.

Well at least the litigation didn't quite take ten years ...


::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 5:12:02 AM::
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AUDIO: Anthony Boden

I'm not sure who Anthony Boden is (don't read any judgement into that!), but he seems to talk quite frequently with ABC Tasmania on matters Classical (they seem to consistently identify him as an 'historian'). In any event, I've come across some interviews with him which might be of interest ... the first (most recent) is all about the story of the Odyssey ... a few weeks ago, he spoke about the historicity of Homer ... finally (for now), but even earlier than that, he chatted about the legend of Atlantis. (all are in Real format)

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 5:02:25 AM::
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BULLETIN BOARD: Recently Posted Items


McMaster University: Greek Historian (tenure track)

BostonU: Greek Language (tenure track)

APA Job listings for the month of November

All jobs (use the calendar on the jobs page)


GCONF: Fashion, Trend, and Novelty: the 7th Annual UNC-Duke Graduate
Colloquium in Classics

All events (use the calendar on the events page)

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 4:44:33 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Apocalypse: Mystery of the Minoans

9.00 p.m. |HISTC|Surviving 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."

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HISTC = History Television (Canada)

::Tuesday, November 18, 2003 4:18:05 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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