Latest update: 4/3/2005; 2:39:31 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca


Back to Sotheby's, where everything goes on sale tomorrow ... including this First Century Roman bronze of a very Polykleitian-looking youth:

The info page ...

::Monday, December 08, 2003 9:28:53 PM::
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NUNTII: Bulgarian Temples and Caesar

Interesting piece in the Fairbanks News-Miner;

There's a Thracian temple in Kazanluk, Bulgaria, that's so special the United Nations ranks it among the world's 10 most important archaeological sites. It's ancient, over 2,300 years old, and sits upon a hilltop, whereas similar ruins are usually found in valleys. What really makes it significant are the frescos covering its interior.

I got to see it firsthand when visiting a Bulgarian regional governor to relate how American-style public library reference service enables the flow of information between the elected and the electorate. Intrigued, he invited my colleagues and I to discuss it over lunch.

Three hours later, we were all feeling fat and sassy, and he suggested visiting the famous Kazanluk temple. This is a rare privilege, for the temple is sealed in its own micro-climate to protect its interior and is usually opened only for highly accredited scholars. 

These temples aren't large, perhaps 10 feet across inside. A king performed his religious duties there until his death, whereupon it became his tomb. It was covered with rubble and earth and a new temple was built for the next king.

Looters and the moist earth covering caused the destruction of nearly every Thracian temple's frescos long ago, but the Kazanluk temple wasn't discovered until anti-aircraft emplacements were constructed on its hilltop in 1944. Somehow its frescos had survived.

The paintings inside the temple proper are in three ascending layers, with the bottom showing the king's people at work and play, the top featuring lively horses, and the middle displaying the king himself extending a cup of poison to his wife so she could join him in the beyond.

The most amazing paintings were fierce battle scenes in the long entryway. The archaeologist guiding us said they depicted the king's triumph over the Celtic invaders, and that Kazanluk was the high-water mark of their eastward expansion. These were the same Celts that Caesar fought and wrote about 300 years afterward in his "Commentaries," which no less than Francis Bacon called "the best history of the world."

More ... Here's a very good website about the tomb/temple, but it doesn't have very many pictures. This is one of the better ones I came across (source):

::Monday, December 08, 2003 9:20:11 PM::
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CHATTER: Say What?

A piece from the Telegraph's 'motoring' column:

I had always thought of Florentines as delicious chocolate biscuits covered in nuts and mixed peel, not a breed of malevolent Italians with all the lane discipline of a badger, one hand cheerily on the horn, the other holding a copy of Corriere della Sera. But then education comes fast when you're trying to escape the rush hour in Florence.

"We have been given special permission to use this historic square to park the new Prius," said the Toyota PR. So too, it seemed, had several thousand Etruscan taxi and car drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, pretty girls on mopeds, two-stroke skateboarders, scooter riders, a juggler, assorted white-van and lorry drivers, newspaper boys, a carousel operator and several stall holders, with a couple of school parties thrown in for good measure. Exclusive access, it seems, is not a familiar concept to the Italians.

Ahh ... those carpulent Etruscans ...

::Monday, December 08, 2003 9:09:26 PM::
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GOSSIP: That Other Alexander Movie

Here's the first hint that maybe the other Alexander the Great movie (the one with Nicole Kidman as Olympias) might not be shelved after all. In IOL, we find a travel feature on the small town of  Broken Hill, Australia which mentions, inter alia:

There is a possibility that a chunk of the $100-million bundled together by producer Dino de Laurentiis to make "Alexander the Great" will be spent in Broken Hill. The film's Australian director, Baz Luhrmann, is keen to shoot in the town. It's said that fellow Australian Nicole Kidman, who is to star alongside Leonardo diCaprio, is also pushing for an Outback location.

Stay tuned ...

::Monday, December 08, 2003 9:03:42 PM::
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From Scholia:

David Braund and Christopher Gill (ed.), Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome: Studies in Honour of T. P. Wiseman.

From BMCR:

Antonio Aloni, Elisabetta Berardi, Giuliana Besso, Sergio Cecchin (edd.),
I Setti a Tebe. Dal mito alla letteratura. Atti del Seminario Internazionale, Torino 21-22 Febbraio 2001. (review in English)

::Monday, December 08, 2003 8:59:21 PM::
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ante diem vi idus decembres

  • Rites in honour of Tiberinus and Gaia -- not a lot is known about
    these rites; Tiberinus had a temple on the Tiber island and presided
    over the Tiber (of course); Gaia seems to have originally given
    the Campus Martius (a.k.a. Campus Tiberinus) to the Roman people (any
    additional info not from Scullard would be welcome on this one).
  • 65 B.C. -- birth of the poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)

::Monday, December 08, 2003 5:56:00 AM::
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CHATTER: Wars of Religion

FrontPage Magazine has an interesting piece on the modern 'wars against religion'. The article opens:

LIKE THE RELIGIOUS WARS THAT DEVASTATED Renaissance Europe, today’s culture war is largely a conflict between two faiths.As this column recently discussed, on one side of this divide is traditional Judeo-Christian culture. On the other is the cult of humanism, which aims to make man “the measure of all things” and purge the public square of every rival religion.

The piece then opens with a modern example of a 'battlefield', followed by an ancient 'confirming proof' sort of event. There are a couple of interest to us ... the first is sort of a 'mentioned in passing' thing:

The worship of great athletes dates back more than 2,700 years to the early Olympics in Greece, where onlookers believed that the winner in those sporting events was momentarily touched or possessed by pagan gods such as Nike, goddess of victory. Winning in the ancient Olympics was regarded as a mystical religious experience.

While we're still going hmmmmmmmmm (Marge Simpson-like), we eventually get to:

Other Gods. Hanukkah, the “Feast of Lights,” celebrates a Jewish miracle through the lamp that remained lit for eight days with only a single day’s oil in the Temple reclaimed from Greek occupiers.The invader, Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes whose rule descended from a general of Alexander the Great, had in 162 B.C. committed the “Abomination of Desolation,” sacrificing an unclean animal, a pig, to the pagan god Zeus on the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem, thereby igniting a war he would lose to devout Jewish rebels.

Antiochus thought of himself as “modern” and “progressive.” It was traditional for Greeks, like most other pagans including the Romans who would invade the land later, to practice “tolerance” and “multiculturalism” by allowing all faiths to be practiced, so long as they were not subversive. Each cult or sect, however, was expected to exhibit social harmony by its own “welcoming” and “tolerance” by giving the idols of other cults token places in its temple.

Cosmopolitan Antiochus doubtless regarded the Jews as backward for insisting that theirs was the One and only true God. By sacrificing a pig to Zeus on their altar, he was delivering today’s “multiculturalist” message that all gods were equal…but that the Greek god Zeus of the rulers was more equal than all others.

Er ... isn't that what you're arguing too?

Here's the whole thing ...

::Monday, December 08, 2003 5:17:16 AM::
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CHATTER: Return of the King

There's a piece at which seems to be advocating a return to monarchy. It's quite a piece of turgid prose, but it does have an interesting Classical quote within:

Plato told us that we will not have good governance before those govern who do not want to govern. With this in mind it does not sound wise to devise a system where the will to govern is almost a prerequisite for those who govern. In this respect the accident of birth is perhaps not such a bad idea as political correctness would have us believe. Rivarol once said "The absolute ruler may be a Nero, but he is sometimes Titus or Marcus Aurelius; the people is often Nero, and never Marcus Aurelius." (Liberty or Equality, E.M.R. von Kuehnelt-Leddihn).

::Monday, December 08, 2003 5:03:36 AM::
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CHATTER: Very High on the Hype Scale

Of all the NFL games to watch yesterday, the one with the least interest, perhaps, for everyone except cognate relatives of the players had to be the Washington Redskings v. the New York Giants, fighting for possession of the basement of the NFC East. Even so, one player -- Michael Strahan -- apparently played well enough for this little bit of hype to be thrown his way:

In a game his team could not win against a team almost as bad as it is, Michael went through, around and over Jansen with pride as his only spur. His line on this day read:

Eight unassisted tackles ... three assisted tackles and two homeric sacks.

So what would an 'homeric sack' comprise? Getting to the quarterback and his wife and children? Dragging him around the stadium tied to the back of your Hummer?

::Monday, December 08, 2003 4:58:08 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

7.30 p.m. |DCIVC| Creatures Fantastic: Mythical Horses

8.00 p.m.|TLC| The Priests of Amun
"Set against the backdrop of a nation in turmoil, this is the
story of a thirty year feud that tears apart a city and brings
down one of the most powerful dynasties in Egypt. A group of
priests gather to plot murder."

::Monday, December 08, 2003 4:33:58 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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