Latest update: 4/4/2005; 4:13:05 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca


Last post for the night as we enter another marathon chat session for an online (required by our evil College of Teachers) course that I'm taking (apparently teachers aren't expected to have lives) ... anyway, back to Sotheby's ... they've got a pile of ancient glass up for auction too, including this early Fifth Century "cobalt blue glass trefoil oinochoe":

It's only 4.5 inches tall and kind of grotty, but I've always been impressed by ancient glass. I wonder why we never see much of it in our undergrad classes?? Here's Sotheby's page on this one (not much info, really) ...

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 9:24:08 PM::
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NUNTII: Antiquities Thieves Nabbed and more ...

A brief item from Kathimerini:

Two farmers who illegally kept and traded in antiquities, which they stored in caches near their sheepfolds, have been arrested, police in Komotini said yesterday. The two men, who were not named, were arrested after officers discovered in their possession a section of a bronze medallion, a lead spindle whorl, a bronze clasp and 59 coins dating to Classical, Roman and Byzantine times.

Actually, I had originally gone to that page because my nightly scan turned up this excerpt of a sentence, which seemed interesting:

... will not be obliged to publish a summary of a Piraeus appeals court decision forcing it to publish a ruling that obliged the newspaper to pay 315,000 euros to Socrates ...

Alas, the sentence continued:

Kokkalis in connection with reports it published on the telecommunications and software tycoon, under a Supreme Court decision yesterday.

I have no idea what it's all about. My imaginary appeal for Socrates was much more interesting.


::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 9:02:39 PM::
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Just in case you've never heard this one:

Finding just the right Christmas or Hanukkah gift for the wino in your life can be a chore. Let me make it a tad easier for you, with a trek through my recent issue of the catalog from International Wine Accessories.

Some of the stuff is practical, some of it is, uh, tacky. But as Alexander the Great once said, "One man's Mede is another man's Persian."

That wasn't Alexander ... that was Anthony Marshall, my old thesis advisor and punmaster extraordinaire!

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 8:57:04 PM::
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NUNTII: Oh oh ...

A fellow classicist/amicus noster/explorator reader sent this one along (thanks TP!) from the Amador Ledger Dispatch and swears he's not suggesting anything but:

Are you a showoff? Showing off is one of those traits of behavior that most of us notice readily enough in other people but may be reluctant to acknowledge in our selves. Weíre not talking here about simple exclamations of pride in accomplishments, but more like something that progresses into having the power to severely tax the willingness of everyone within earshot to endure.

As a bartender for many years, my job description included the recognition and pacification of the many types of showoffs. On one typical evening, an intense young woman with blazing eyes and a throbbing voice was decrying poverty, war, injustice and human suffering. She expressed such anguish at the anguish of mankind that attention quickly shifted from the moral issues she was expounding to how very, very, very deeply she cared about them. A form of showing off?

Down at the other end of the bar an insistently scholarly fellow had just used angst, hubris, Kierkegaard and epistemology in the same sentence. And not to be outdone, our resident expert in wine meditatively sipped, then pushed away, a glass of unacceptable Beaujolais. Were these people showing off? I think everyone has some need to show off. No oneís completely immune. Not you. And not I.

The narcissistic types are different: They donít bother to compete because they donít even notice thereís anyone there to compete with. They talk nonstop. They brag, they sometimes quote Homer in Greek and even stand on their head if attention should flag. They want to be the star while everyone else is the audience. They can be adorable, charming and amusing until around the age of six.

Kind of like being one of those rainbow butt monkeys ... or running a blog ... oh oh ... here's the rest ...


::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 8:52:30 PM::
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CHATTER: Ancient Bread

A piece in the Budapest Sun about a breadmaker, who has interesting theories about what bread dough should feel like, also includes:

Even in ancient times, people argued over the merits of brown versus white bread. Plato ( circa400 BC) said the ideal state was for people to live to a healthy old age on whole meal bread.

Socrates, however, thought it meant people would be living on pig-food. The Egyptian philosopher Athenaeus (3rd century AD) said that the rich always favored white bread made from wheat.

Rich Romans ate breads made from wheat, milk, eggs and butter.

Bakers carefully guarded their trade.

Roman bakers organized a guild in 168 BC. European bakers in the Middle Ages insisted that newcomers be licensed. A young man had to serve a seven-year apprenticeship to join the trade.

Interesting info, but if one of my students handed in writing like this ...

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 8:46:35 PM::
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ante diem iii nonas decembres

  • Rites in honour of the Bona Dea: essentially private rituals for
    Roman women only held in the house of a consul or praetor and
    attended by the Vestal Virgins and assorted upper class types. The
    actual date does not appear to have been 'fixed' and, of course,
    this ritual was 'crashed' by P. Clodius (dressed as a woman)
    in 62 B.C. with all sorts of nasty spinoffs, not least of which
    was the Julius Caesar's divorce from his wife Pompeia.
  • 283 A.D. -- martyrdom of Claudius, Hilaria, and seventy or so others
  • 298 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cassian
  • 313 A.D. -- death of the retired emperor Diocletian

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 5:57:36 AM::
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NUNTII: More Latin Resurrections

From the Fort Wayne Sentinel:

Students in Judy Hunt's advanced Latin class at New Haven High School have their reasons for learning a "dead" language: higher test scores, a stronger grasp of English and better preparation for college science and medicine courses.

There's also the toga parties and pig sacrifices.

Today, Hunt will stage a "pig sacrifice" when she cuts into a cake that has the image of a pig on the frosting. The ceremony is part of an ancient Roman celebration, Saturnalia, named for the god Saturn. To thank him for a good harvest, Hunt said the Romans had a pig sacrifice.

"Sometimes you need to do weird things to get their interest to create learning," said Hunt, who has taught Latin at New Haven for six years.

After nearly 50 years of dormancy, a renewed interest in the 2,500-year-old language has Latin classes enjoying a renaissance at schools locally and nationwide.

That interest includes New Haven. Hunt, a 1962 New Haven graduate, recalls when Latin was the only foreign language offered at school. Years after she graduated, Hunt said the school started offering French and Spanish, which became the most popular foreign languages for students to take.

From staging mock pig slaughters to conjugating Latin verbs to the tune of the "Mexican Hat Dance," teachers use interactive methods like these to revive a language no longer spoken in common society.

Reports from the Indiana Department of Education and the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language show students statewide are enrolling in Latin at a slightly higher rate than the national average. About 3 percent of all foreign language students nationwide take Latin. In Indiana, it's about 4 percent. Membership at the Indiana Junior Classical League - a network of Latin clubs across the state - rose 8.5 percent to 1,552 last school year.

And it's no wonder.

Studies have shown that students taking Latin have a better understanding of English and perform better on college entrance exams.

This year's college-bound high school seniors taking Latin averaged 559 out of a possible 800 on the verbal section of the SAT - a whopping 58 points higher than students who took Spanish, according to the College Board, the New York-based nonprofit agency that administers the SAT.

In the 1970s and '80s, the U.S. government funded Latin classes in under-performing urban school districts and found that children who were given a full year of Latin performed five months to a year ahead of control groups in reading comprehension and vocabulary. The Latin students also showed gains in math, history and geography. But Congress cut the funding, and nearly all the districts discontinued Latin.

A phonetic language, Latin gives students an understanding of how English words are created. With 60 percent of English-language words based on Latin, students learn grammar structure and basic phonetic principles.

Taught at an elementary-school level, Latin also can help students improve their reading skills. The language is a staple of Zion Lutheran Academy's classical education program.

Students become immersed in the language starting in kindergarten, when they are exposed to Latin vocabulary. In the fourth grade, students start learning the mechanics of the language, said the Rev. Joel Brondos, headmaster.

 Brentwood Elementary is Fort Wayne Community Schools' only school with a Latin focus for elementary students. School officials there said Latin is used as a tool to strengthen reading comprehension, critical thinking and vocabulary. Principal Get Nichols was unavailable for comment.

Latin also is taught at four FWCS high schools: Snider, Northrop, Wayne and North Side. Budget cuts and low student interest has school officials phasing out Latin at North Side this year. Latin is not offered at Northwest Allen County Schools.

In the Southwest Allen County Schools district, Homestead High School offers Latin to middle and high school students.

Homestead Latin instructor Kathy Adair said the program has a devout following, despite being the smallest of the school's foreign language programs.

"The thing I always like to feel good about is that we start with fewer numbers in the first year and hold on to them," Adair said, adding some take Latin all four years. French and Spanish students generally study up to three years.

Latin has gradually attracted more followers at Homestead. She now teaches five sections of Latin - three more than when she first started teaching the language 16 years ago.

Latin's downfall

What was said to be Latin's downfall has resurrected it.

Latin was once taught to elite college-bound high school students in the 1950s, drilled through memorization. Today's Latin teachers have adopted new methods, which include lessons in Roman mythology and culture.

Bishop Dwenger High School graduate Brady Partee recalls learning about the Roman Empire in his Latin class. Now a freshman at the University of Dayton, he said he'll be able to apply what he has learned in a Western Civilization course he is taking next semester.

"I know I'll be able to sleep through it," said Partee, who took five years of Latin - four years at Dwenger and one year at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Dwenger's feeder school, with Donald Shorter.

Shorter has served as Bishop Dwenger's full-time Latin teacher for 11 years, working part time at St. Vincent de Paul until this year.

Shorter said the increasing size of Dwenger's Latin program forced him to stop teaching seventh- and eighth-graders at St. Vincent de Paul. This year, about 15 percent of Bishop Dwenger's 1,026-student population is enrolled in the program. And 80 percent of them first studied the subject at St. Vincent de Paul.

He credits support from the school's administration, guidance counselors and parents.

"Also, the students get caught up in the trend," Shorter said.

Latin's renaissance has seeped into popular culture, with references to it in the Harry Potter novels and movies, and in the film teachers said might have started it all: "Gladiator."

 The growth comes at a time when some schools are dropping Latin programs, he said. While budget cuts may be a factor at some schools, he believes the problem lies in the shortage of teachers of the language. It took St. Vincent de Paul Principal Sandra Leeson three years to find a replacement for Shorter.

Jean Williamson was interviewing for another position when Leeson discovered she had a background in Latin.

"This year, when we made the decision that we were going to hire a teacher, we were lucky enough to find one," Leeson said.

Shorter has faith in the staying power of this "dead" language: "Latin is continuing to plod along, and it will survive."

Just a little more ...

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 5:37:12 AM::
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CHATTER: Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight ...

For those of you trying to anticipate March Madness next year, you might want to note St. John's coach (for how long?) Mike Jarvis' tricolon crescendo:

"Every program has valleys and peaks. Look at North Carolina. Look at UCLA. Look at the Roman Empire. We'll be back."

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 5:32:42 AM::
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NUNTII: Themis The Point!

About a month ago in rogueclassicism we mentioned the intentions of a Fargo man to sue to have the statue of Themis removed from the county courthouse, as a response to that whole Ten Commandments thing. Well, it must be a slow news day in Fargo, because once again we read in the Grand Forks Herald:

A Fargo man Tuesday asked the Grand Forks County Commission to remove the statue of Themis from atop the County Courthouse.

Martin Wishnatsky, the Fargo Christian activist defending the Ten Commandments monument on Fargo's City Hall mall, requested the removal of the statue of the Greek goddess on the basis that she is a religious symbol.

Wishnatsky also has asked the UND law school's Clinical Education Program to help him force the issue, but the law school turned him down. Wishnatsky told the Herald on Monday that he would take his complaint to the County Commission on Tuesday.

The commissioners took no action on Wishnatsky's request.

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 5:16:12 AM::
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CHATTER: Say what?

I think I must have slept through something in Classics 101 ... according to the Scotsman, in a review of a radio program on the history and importance of flatulence:

Consider the literary pedigree: the first recorded mention is in The Frogs by Aristophanes. Herodotus told of a war in ancient Egypt started by a farting messenger.

Hence, the expression "Don't shoot the messenger" ... er... "Don't let the messenger shoot" ... er, something like that. (I know ... pretty lame)

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 5:07:16 AM::
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... continues to be delayed ... sorry

::Wednesday, December 03, 2003 5:03:42 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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