Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:07:43 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca


ante diem v kalendas decembres

  • 43 B.C. -- the lex Titia de triumvirato gave G. Julius Caesar
    Octavianus, Marcus Antonius, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus the
    title of triumviri rei publicae constituendae with near-
    dictatorial powers for a period of five years
  • 8 B.C. -- death of the poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
  • ca 110 A.D. -- birth of Hadrian's paramour Antinoos

::Thursday, November 27, 2003 6:01:12 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

NUNTII: IndoEuropean Origins

This just in ... a while back we heard rumblings that ancient languages were spread by farmers. Now we're getting more specific. According to several articles on the net, citing something in the most recent issue of Nature, IndoEuropean can be traced, not to bands of roving horsemen, but to farmers in the Anatolian region. Here's one version:

Evolutionary biologists have waded into the stormy debate over when and where Indo-European languages originated.

Dr Russell Gray and PhD student Quentin Atkinson from the
University of Auckland in New Zealand have calculated this group of 87 languages - as diverse as English, Lithuanian and Gujarati - arose between 8000 and 9500 years ago.

Their findings were reported in today's issue of the journal
Nature and support the theory that Indo-European languages arose around this time among farming communities in Anatolia, now known as Turkey.

The main competing theory to the Anatolian farmer theory is that these languages originated 6000 years ago among nomadic Kurgan horsemen sweeping down from the Russian Steppes. Some researchers say they spread their language and genes across Europe "through the sword" and through the use of horses and horse-drawn vehicles, Gray told ABC Science Online.

"People have been puzzled since at least Sir William Jones noticed in 1786 that Sanskrit, an ancient language in India, bore striking similarities to Greek and to Latin and to English. Where did all those languages come from and when did they split up?" he asked. "What we've been doing is to try and answer that question and in particular to test the two current major views about the origins of the European languages."

More ... The cynic in me can't help but wonder about the timing of this one, bringing Turkey more into the European fold ...

::Thursday, November 27, 2003 5:48:34 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

CHATTER: Plato and Roman Emperors

I can't quite make heads or tails of the Classical refs in this one. It's from an editorial in Arab News decrying the current state of information dissemination. The incipit:

There is something very strange going on in the Arab world. After decades and decades of information handed over to us by trusty ministries of information, not a single government today is willing to be caught dead with a ministry with such a title. They have either been scrapped altogether or the word “culture” has been added to their appellations.

As your average Arab citizen, I find myself having to deal with yet another trauma. I don’t know about you, but I am reaching the limits of my tolerance. Irony is not a strong local characteristic, so the thought of information going out of the window in an age of information is not really the answer. Or is it the thought of starving us of the information in the said age that is eating me up?

Westerners will probably be baffled by this attitude, but consider that we have been breastfed information from a trusty bosom for so many years. Now that it is not there — at least officially — the lot of us are having withdrawal symptoms.

What is going on? Are we not worth “informing” anymore? Have we been weaned by officialdom without prior warning? How am I (and millions of Arabs) to understand that republicanism is really hereditary in form and substance? Even Plato falls flat on his ancient face on this one.

Okay ... I'm officially lost. It doesn't help that the piece concludes with:

The golden age of “information” has come to an “official” end. I will have to recount its beauty to my grandchildren as I tell them about my favorite subjects: Roman emperors. Rome was a one-off in its madness and purpose in human history.

They might not have had the Net, but they certainly had the web. One such emperor, running dangerously short of money, asked his henchman to go and conduct a new census and bring back the results within 24 hours. He wanted more taxes of course. The resourceful henchman went to the Coliseum and counted spider webs. He multiplied them by the emperor’s years and brought back the number. The emperor got his taxes and his money and the web, as such, has been with us ever since.

::Thursday, November 27, 2003 5:39:50 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

CHATTER: U.S. Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to our friends down south who have given up on that whole 'Manifest Destiny' thing! In the spirit of the season, we draw attention to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which, in its religion column, suggests that forgiveness can add to the joy of the holiday dinner. Inter alia we read:

All major faiths and most philosophers encourage forgiveness. Plutarch, a priest at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece, and the Greek literary genius Cicero wrote that harboring ill will was not beneficial, Danker said. Both Greeks encouraged people to forgive and move on to understanding, he said.

Okay ... we forgive you. This time.

::Thursday, November 27, 2003 5:30:39 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |HISTU| Jesus of Nazareth
"Movie. In this reverent depiction of the life of Christ,
director Franco Zeffirelli uses the Gospel accounts and an all-
star cast to mighty effect. Beginning before the Nativity, Part
1 stars Olivia Hussey as Mary and Yorgo Voyagis as Joseph. The 3
wise men are portrayed by James Earl Jones, Donald Pleasence,
and Fernando Rey. Christopher Plummer plays King Herod Antipas,
who has John the Baptist (Michael York) put to death." [n.b.
HISTU is showing all four parts of this miniseries, back to back
... they run until midnight]

7.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Rise of Christianity: The First 1000Years, Pt. 1
"The story begins not with Jesus, but 50 days after his
crucifixion, when a rushing wind and tongues of fire descended
upon his followers "and all of them were filled with the Holy
Spirit and began to speak in other languages." When Saul of
Tarsus turns into Paul and travels to preach to the Gentiles,
the religion spreads."

HISTU= History Channel (U.S.)

::Thursday, November 27, 2003 5:24:37 AM::
Comment on this post @ Classics Central

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.

Valid HTML 4.01!

Valid CSS!

Site Meter