Latest update: 4/4/2005; 5:42:20 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

AWOTV: Weekly Listings

The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television Listings have been posted ... enjoy!

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 7:37:28 PM::
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NUNTII: Latest Explorator

"explorator" issue 6.33 has just been posted ... Enjoy!

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:46:32 PM::
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NUNTII: Nuntii Latini

YLE's Nuntii Latini site has been having technical difficulties for a week, so access to the text versions of stories has been non-existent. I think this link is to the most recent audio version, though, and it still works, although it is for the news from last week. If anyone has any news on what's going on with Nuntii Latini, please pass it along ...

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:42:49 PM::
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NUNTII: Akropolis World News

The latest headlines in Classical Greek (click on the headline for the article):

Largest prime number discovered - Almost half new Iraqi army quits - French ports closed for second day
Greece convicts terror leaders - Russia vote criticized - Judge blocks ghost fleet project

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:36:17 PM::
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ante diem xix kalendas januarias

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:29:55 PM::
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NUNTII: Latin Resurgens

The Daily Press is the latest to feature a piece on the resurgence of Latin (a few LatinTeach types quoted here):

When students say goodbye in their language classrooms, more are saying valete rather than adios or au revoir.

Locally and nationally, teachers are seeing a resurgence of students taking Latin.

Newport News expanded to four high school classes of Latin this year, up from one class three years ago. York County also added additional Latin classes this year at three of its high schools.

Isle of Wight students can study Latin in the county's two high schools, and Smithfield will likely see its enrollment double next semester, mostly because a new teacher has worked hard to make Latin interesting, said Smithfield High School Principal Becky Mercer. Smithfield's Latin students created a Romanesque catapult and launched a ham across the football field at homecoming, and they compete in statewide Latin quiz-bowl competitions.

But why are students seeking out a language that's considered dead by some and has not been widely spoken for more than 1,000 years?

Much of Latin's recent success can be traced to pop culture, namely several recent movies that focus on ancient times and a few popular books that include Latin and come in Latin translations. Others cite a resurgence in classical studies as students focus on the improving SAT scores.

"There's been a great upsurge," said Penny Cipilone, a New Jersey-based Latin teacher and spokeswoman for the National Junior Classical League. "I don't know if we can blame it on Gladiator, but it certainly helped."

The 2000 film, starring Russell Crowe as a sword-slashing warrior, sparked an interest in Roman culture, where Latin was the spoken language. Many of Cipilone's students come to her class with an interest in the Romans or mythology. Others are exposed to fictional ancient cultures through movies like "The Lord of the Rings" or games such as "Dungeons and Dragons."

Many teachers and students are anxiously awaiting the spring release of the movie "Troy," starring Brad Pitt as Achilles. It is based on Homer's Iliad. Also upcoming is the movie "Alexander," starring Colin Farrell as the famous conqueror.

The recent focus on ancient history keeps kids interested in Latin, Cipilone said.

"I think what that does for us - it makes people aware that all of this didn't just dry up and go away," she said. "It made people realize this is a fascinating period in history."

Latin is also popping up more often on the printed page. Many English words come from Latin, but some new books, including the first in the wildly popular Harry Potter series, have been translated to Latin.

Students can read "Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis" and then delve into "Winnie Ille Pu" and "Cattus Petasatus: The Cat in the Hat."

Even in the English version of the Harry Potter books, the young wizard casts most of his spells in Latin. Some Latin teachers spend time on the books in class and have students translate spells into modern languages.

Even though ancient history appears prominently in modern culture, students should realize the study of Latin takes discipline and commitment, said Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association.

"It did bring attention to the ancient world in a way that's attractive to the modern world," she said. "But the study of the actual language is demanding."

Latin's upswing springs from a back-to-basics approach to education, she said.

"There's such a stress on academic achievement now," said Smithfield teacher Ann Graham. Kids want to improve their SAT scores, and studies show that Latin students on average score more than 150 points higher on SAT exams.

"I heard it was good for when you take the SATs," said 15-year-old Smithfield High student Ted Mueller, who enrolled in Latin I. "You can break down words easier."

Other students say they are interested in ancient cultures and history.

"Latin has this huge classical heritage," said Jennifer Bartgis, a student in Smithfield's Latin I class. "It's really interesting, with all the myths and stuff."

In Virginia, thousands of students participate in Latin competitions and conventions. About 1,600 Virginia students gathered in Richmond last month to participate in the Junior Classical League convention, a weekend of Latin art contests, oratory competitions and a Roman banquet.

At the college level, a Modern Language Association study shows Latin enrollment is now up more than 14 percent since the last survey in 1998.

Students cite future careers in law and medicine as areas where Latin is helpful.

They describe the language as a puzzle and a mental exercise. They translate long paragraphs from Latin to English, working out subjects, adjectives and verbs.

"It's confusing to learn," said Smithfield High student Matt Lyons, who is 14.

"But once you get the hang of it, it's fun."

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:23:18 PM::
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GOSSIP: Alexander the Grate

Sounds like Colin Farrell might have been a bit too much in character from time to time:

Hollywood heart-throb Colin Farrell is "clearly unhinged" and needs psychiatric help for his hell-raising, according to a former assistant.

Over a series of wild nights in Morocco filming his new movie, the Irish star caused outrage by downing an incredible 40-plus bottles of beer in a nine-hour binge. He also stripped naked in public, causing great offence in the Muslim country.

Abdoul Cherkoui, who was Farrell's personal guide for three months, said the 27-year-old actor was out of control during shooting of director Oliver Stone's movie Alexander The Great.

More ...

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:18:49 PM::
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CHATTER: Hockey Classics

The Star Telegram's NHL Insider has a pile of stuff, including an interview with Dallas Stars' winger Blake Sloan:

Is there any book out there you want to read that you haven't tackled yet? The Hobbit is one. I'd like to read it and say I've done that. I am in the process of digesting The Iliad and The Odyssey.

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:15:40 PM::
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CHATTER: The Evil Romans

GulfLive proves once and for all that the Romans were evil:

Fruitcake origins reportedly stem from the Roman era, when the Romans mixed fruit and nuts in a barley mash.

Oh ... the shame of it all ...

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:11:22 PM::
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NUNTII: The Stuff Beneath the Colosseum

The Telegraph has a nice piece on all the machinery beneath the Colosseum. Here's the incipit:

The Colosseum in Rome was as sophisticated as a modern stage set, according to archaeologists who have calculated how an intricate system of gangplanks, trapdoors and levers was used to bring wild animals into the arena.

Under the 55,000-seat Colosseum, pulleys and ropes were operated at split-second intervals to connect passages, open gates and hoist cages from the basement to the floor of the arena.

The system was run by teams of trained slaves who faced being fed to the animals themselves if their timing went awry.

A team from the German Archaeological Institute involved in an eight-year project to rebuild the arena - which dates back to about ad70 - has been astonished by the ingenious designs.

Although the basement of the Colosseum was due to be excavated in 1812, the watertable was too high at the time and the area was covered over again. Until now, it has never been properly investigated.

"We found the Romans invested an enormous amount of energy in making their games ever more spectacular," said Heinz-Juergen Beste. "We had to do a lot of research to recreate this stage. What we found was an extremely sophisticated system."

By measuring the floor space and cavities in the walls where wooden lifts, levers and cages would have been constructed, and comparing their findings with contemporary accounts of how animals "magically appeared", the archaeologists have pieced together how the mechanisms worked.

More (the accompanying diagram is useful) ...

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:06:57 PM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

6.00 p.m. |TLC| The Cult of the Apis Bull
"This true story of sacred twins is told in a letter they wrote
to the Pharaoh over 2000 years ago. It's a tragic tale of greed
and betrayal that unfolds in the underworld of the great temple
city of Saqqara in the last decades of the Egyptian empire."

7.00 p.m. |DISCU| Time Team: Wadden, Dorset
"When Time Team descended on Wadden in Dorset, England, they
outnumbered residents--the village consists of 5 houses. They
were invited by neighbors David James and Grace Brooks, who
found a huge amount of old pottery in their shared garden during
excavations for a septic tank. The pottery dated from Medieval,
Roman, and Iron Age days. The name Wadden derives from Wode Hill
and dates back a 1,000 years, but what lies beneath the handful
of houses that remain? Time Team has 3 days to find out."

TLC = The Learning Channel

DISCU = Discovery Channel (US)

::Sunday, December 14, 2003 12:03:17 PM::
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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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