Latest update: 4/4/2005; 5:47:37 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca


ante diem xiv kalendas januarias

  • Saturnalia (day 3)
  • Opalia -- unknown rituals in honour of Ops, the wife of Saturn
  • rites in honour of Juventas (?) -- a somewhat mysterious festival/ritual,
    probably connected to Roman 'coming of age' rituals
  • 69 A.D. -- a major fire on the Capitoline hill in Rome (not the 'Great Fire')
  • 307 A.D. -- martyrdom of Thea and Meuris in Alexandria

::Friday, December 19, 2003 5:56:11 AM::
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NUNTII: Saecular Secrets

Classical Content turns up in the least expected of places ... this time in one of CNN's financial guys' (Michael Sivy) columns, in which he answers some questions ... here's the one that's of interest:

Question: What is a secular bear market? And despite all the hoopla of the past 6 months, are we in one?

The term secular comes via Latin from the Etruscan saeculum, meaning a span of 110 lunar years, or the maximum length of a human life.

Long-term bull or bear markets go on for much less than a century, of course. But the broad decline in stock prices that defines a secular bear market does continue for several cycles of economic expansion and recession.

Even so, I don't think we are in one.

Inflation is the single biggest factor determining long-term stock returns. When inflation is high, as it was from 1966 to 1982, stocks are hobbled.

By contrast, when inflation remains under control, stocks provide solid gains.

That augurs well for the future. Since December 1999, inflation has averaged just 2.4 percent annually and is likely to stay below 3 percent over the next five years.

Even if stocks can't match the spectacular 16.5 percent average annual returns of 1982 to 1999, the 10.4 percent average returns of 1948 to 1966 seem well within reach.

Pretty impressive (I think) when a journalist type knows that saeculum is an Etruscan word (here's the article from Smith's dictionary on the subject (via Lacus Curtius) if you remain skeptical) and then later drops in that "augurs well for the future" later on. Turns out, of course, Michael Sivy is a Classics scholar, with a B.A. and M.A. in Classics from Columbia. So y'all can add this guy (who's a semi-regular talking head on various television programs) to your list of famous folks with Classics degrees.

::Friday, December 19, 2003 5:40:45 AM::
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Peter Jones reviews Edward Champlin's Nero in the Telegraph ... here's an excerpt of a tale of Nero which I've always found interesting:

Edward Champlin, professor of Classics at Princeton, believes that blanket condemnation of this kind has had a similar effect on our understanding of Nero. Not that he has any intention of whitewashing the serial murderer and incestuous matricide who had no obvious interest in the empire he was supposed to be ruling. But he wants to explain why it was that Nero's suicide in AD 68 and subsequent vilification were not the end of the story.

Astonishingly, Nero had an afterlife almost unique in antiquity. Many believed he was still alive. Sightings were reported in the East. A hotch-potch of poems composed between the second and seventh centuries AD, called The Sibylline Oracles, presented Nero as a champion of the East and of the oppressed against the tyranny of Rome. Nero, then, became in many eyes a sort of Elvis figure - a hero of popular culture who had not really died but was waiting to return to "save" his people.

The rest ...

::Friday, December 19, 2003 5:20:54 AM::
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CHATTER: Plenty of Nuts This Christmas

Just t'other day someone was ranting and raving about Atlantean technology on TechTV ... today I have a piece that suggests the Ark of the Covenant is in Japan, and not only that:

Elementary school teacher turned non-fiction writer Masanori Takane, who claims to have pinpointed Tsurugizan following an exhaustive comparative study of the Gospels and the Kojiki, an ancient chronicle of Japan's creation and civilization.

Takane's theory has it that the Gospels say God denoted lions, oxen, eagles and humans as four symbols of His glory, while the mythical creation of Japan outlined in the Kojiki notes that Shikoku, which literally translates as "four countries," was said to have four faces. Tsurugizan, as the most sacred mountain on Shikoku, was thus the logical hiding place for the ark that symbolized God's glory, according to Takane, anyway.

Takane's son, Mitsunori, the head of an academic society devoted to studying Tsurugizan, argues in his book "Alexander the Great Died in Japan," that the Macedonian marvel didn't die in 326 BC as is generally presumed, but instead faked his demise and headed to Japan, where he became the Emperor who founded Shikoku.

Alexander the Emperor ordered Tajima-mori, another legendary figure in the Japanese Creation myth, to Jerusalem. Tajima-mori spent 12 years in Israel, returning to his homeland with the Ark of the Covenant, which he hid in Tsurugizan.

You've got to read this whole thing ... you really do ...

::Friday, December 19, 2003 5:15:27 AM::
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CHATTER: Er, Not Quite

Let's start the festivities today with one of those "what the heck?" things that regularly turn up in the scans, this one from Pakistan's Daily Star:

In the year 2500 BC, the great philosopher Socrates was often seen in broad daylight running about the streets of Athens with a lantern in his hand. People could hear him shouting out aloud, 'Come back in the path of light'. The great scholar had used the lantern as a symbol to bring mankind away from the darkness of ignorance to the path of knowledge.

Even if we ignore the challenges of chronology, are you sure you're thinking of Socrates?

::Friday, December 19, 2003 4:56:01 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Hercules: Power of the Gods
"Story of how the mighty son of Zeus became one of the most
enduring legends of Greek mythology. Includes the saga of
Hercules' 12 labors, which included battles with the awful 9-
headed Hydra serpent and the Ceryneian stag with golden horns."

11.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Seven Wonders of the World: Wonders of the East

HINT = History International

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

::Friday, December 19, 2003 4:46:41 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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