Latest update: 4/3/2005; 2:39:34 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

CHATTER: Scylla and Charybdis

It's a very slow news night, so I'm seeing what NASA has taken photos of lately ... you might be aware of plans to build a bridge across the Strait of Messina, joining Italy to Sicily. NASA took a satellite photo of the proposed site:

Essentially, they're linking Scylla and Charybdis!

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 8:22:24 PM::
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AUDIO: Father Foster

I have just decided the music associated with this is really, really annoying (why not open with the opening bit from AC/DC's 'Thunder'?). In any event, today our favourite Carmelite talks about the origins of the word Latium, constituitiones apostolicae dealing with Latin (and Greek) -- some very interesting noggin fodder in this one (e.g. that Cicero would understand the Latin of Fr. Foster). Nice definition of 'vernacular' too.


::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 8:03:45 PM::
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NUNTII: A Classical Connection

Things that have been regularly popping up in the daily scan when my search terms have been a bit too general have included coverage of the trial in Greece of the members of the terrorist group November 17, who were convicted of various crimes yesterday, although the acts of terror occurred some 28 years ago. Turns out there is a Classical connection ... according to the Boston Globe:

Richard Welch, a brilliant Harvard-educated classicist, was the first of four US diplomats murdered by the radical leftist organization, in a time of terror that lasted nearly three decades. He had been stationed in Athens only a few months before he was murdered outside his home on Dec. 23, 1975.

Here's his daughter's recollections ...

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 6:06:36 AM::
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GOSSIP: Alexander Again

This just in (literally) from the New York Daily News' entertainment pages, confirming suspicions harboured yesterday:

Famed producer Dino De Laurentiis tells us he's pushing ahead with his movie about Alexander the Great. Britain's Heat magazine reported this week that the Baz Luhrmann-helmed project was dead because Dino and his wife Martha hadn't attracted foreign investment. "It's absolutely not true," Dino says. "Baz Luhrmann is finalizing the script." Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman are onboard to star, and shooting on the Universal/DreamWorks film will begin in 2005, he said. Director Oliver Stone is well on his way toward finishing his rival Alexander epic, starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie ...

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 5:58:14 AM::
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ante diem v idus decembres

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 5:49:59 AM::
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CHATTER: Shot Put at Olympia

More details of the event, from Channel News Asia:

All tickets for the 2004 Olympics shot putt competition which will take place at the Games' ancient birthplace in Olympia, 365km south west of Athens, will be free, Greek games organisers (ATHOC) deputy director Spyros Capralos confirmed Monday.

Capralos said that the event would only be open to 15,000 spectators and 290 journalists in order to preserve the 2,500-year-old stadium.


To protect the site no stands will be built. Instead spectators will sit on the grassy slopes overlooking the site, Capralos said.

"The spectators will sit on the grass and there will be no electronic screen for the scores nor projectors," he added.

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 5:26:34 AM::
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CHATTER: Grinchus

A couple of folks on the Latin List mentioned this one ... it recounts a recent public reading of Quomodo Invidiosolus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit:

On a cold, bleary Wednesday when the sky was not blue, acrowd young and old gathered to hear the tale of the Who.

Sitting in arm chairs in the Bull’s Head Bookshop on UNC’s campus, professors Kenneth Reckford and Tom Stumpf took turns reading the favorite Yule-time tale of “Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit.”

The famous Dr. Seuss story of the red-eyed, mean-spirited, party-pooper known as the Grinch just doesn’t sound as good when it doesn’t rhyme.

But that didn’t stop the crowd of nearly 100 from crowding around the professors as they took turns reading “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” in both English and Latin.

Sitting in front of the red flames of a fireplace painted on paper, Stumpf cleared his throat, straightened his green, Grinch-faced tie and began reading:

“Everyone down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT!”

The chatter in the room fell silent. Munching on gingerbread snacks and sipping on cider, the crowd became instantly enthralled.

After reading a few pages, Stumpf paused so that his partner Reckford could recite the same text in the ancient tongue.

A UNC student in a chocolate-colored sweater followed along in her Latin version of the book. The giddy laughter at all the right moments of a middle-aged man donning a bright red Santa cap showed that some in the audience understood.

More ...

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 5:09:47 AM::
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CHATTER: She's Got the Look ...

A piece in the Sun-Times on "lookism" (discrimination based on how good looking one is) mentions inter alia:

Come on. It's a lookist world. Always has been and always will be. It wasn't Helen of Troy's sparkling personality that launched a thousand ships, and do you really think guys would have put up with Cleopatra's antics in 50 B.C. if she hadn't been hot?

... which is interesting, insofar as when the British Museum had an exhibit about Cleopatra, which suggested she was short and ugly, Zahi Hawass leapt to her defense. Some of the coverage is still kicking around, such as a BBC piece (very neutral), the Egyptian State Information Service ("ravishing beauty"), and a piece from IOL, which gives rather thorough coverage of the brouhaha, including this concluding assessment:

"Researchers have shown that standards of female beauty during the time of the Romans was clear skin and roundness, while their Italian descendants today reject such criteria," she said. Gehan Zaki, a specialist in Greco-Roman history at Helwan University, said Cleopatra combined both political astuteness and seductive charm, though she was not an "exceptional beauty."

Her image has only been enhanced by screen goddesses who have depicted the legendary femme fatale, from Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh to Sophia Loren.

Glorified portrayals of her also date farther back. "It's true that her portrait in the temple at Dendahra is a bit idealistic but there are others, like a white marble relief in the Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria, which show her to be pretty and delicate," Zaki said.

"She was a charming and seductive woman," she said. "As a Mediterranean woman she was obviously a little plump. That does not mean she was fat or ugly."

Walker agreed on the last point. "There is no evidence of Cleopatra having been fat, she certainly would have been curvaceous," she said. However, Walker added: "It would be almost impossible to recapture a true version of how Cleopatra looked as she often changed her appearance to suit her political message...." For these reasons there are varying representations of her.

If you'd like to see the exhibition that launched a thousand squibs, it's still online at the British Museum (but the image from the front page of the Times isn't there). It's safe to assume the debate will continue on this one.

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 5:03:22 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

5.00 p.m. |DCIVC|The Most Evil Men in History: Caligula (12-41AD)

11.00 p.m. |HINT| The Odyssey of Troy
"What is it about the legendary city that 3,200 years after its
fall, we still try to unravel Troy's mysteries? Scholars attempt
to answer the question by researching the Greek poet Homer,
possibly one of the greatest poets in Western Europe's history,
and his epic tale of love and war, and comparing his text to
archaeological sites."

HINT = History International

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

::Tuesday, December 09, 2003 4:33:15 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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