Latest update: 4/4/2005; 5:48:04 AM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca

CHATTER: New Feature

Over there on the right (or down below, depending on your screen resolution), just beneath the calendar, I've added a checkbox which gives you the option of opening links in a new window. I tend to prefer such a set up because it speeds things up, but if you don't want it, you don't have to. At rogueclassicism, the customer always comes first!

::Monday, December 29, 2003 7:22:03 PM::
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BLOGWATCH: @ Curculio

Michael Hendry at Curculio has started an interesting new series called Optanda. Optanda I is a desire to see DVD's of  ancient plays, especially in the original Greek or Latin, which is definitely something there is a need for (there are some in translation available, of varying quality, although Pasolini's Oedipus and Medea are probably worth shelling out for). Optanda II is a desire for a web-guide to Classical texts and translations, along the lines of J.L. Sebesta's textbook surveys for Classical World, but with input from scholars who actually use said textbooks in their courses. I'll wait until he posts the remainder of the series (he claims to have a list of sixteen such items already!) before I add to the wishlist.

::Monday, December 29, 2003 2:23:47 PM::
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CHATTER: Fiddling

I'm fiddling with my sidebar over the next few days ... you'll see things come and go until I'm satisfied with it. Apologies for any confusion.

::Monday, December 29, 2003 2:16:12 PM::
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A couple of weeks ago, I excerpted a piece from a columnist about J.R.R. Tolkein which included:

 He read Pliny, who wrote of the blood feud over a ring between Drusus and Caepio that led to the Social Wars, which ended in the Roman republic's collapse.

My response: I'm sure he read Pliny. I'm sure Drusus and Caepio contributed to the Social Wars. I don't think it all goes together, though, as suggested above and I don't recall a ring. Can someone please correct me if I'm wrong!

Well, I have been corrected. Robert Greaves (thanks!) kindly pointed me to the following passage in Pliny the Elder's Natural History (33.6.20) ... my translation follows:

inter Caepionem quoque et Drusum ex anulo in auctione venali inimicitiae coepere, unde origo socialis belli et exitia rerum.

The hostilities between Caepio and Drusus also began from a ring
connected to an increase in bribery, whence arose the origin of the
Social Wars and the destruction of things.

Not quite a "blood feud", but interesting nonetheless as I had never read/heard of this ring connection before (obviously) -- or had I? By the late second century B.C./B.C.E., if not long before, the ring appears to have become the symbol of the Equestrian order -- a.k.a. the Equites -- and if we want to make a connection between rings, the Equestrian order and a Caepio and a Drusus, we are clearly (now, it seems) talking about the various disputes connected with the composition of juries which dealt with cases dealing with extortion in the late second/early first centuries. The rising -- both in status and wealth -- Equestrian order was continually feeling threatened by these juries and was one group agitating for changes. Up until the time of Gaius Gracchus (ca. 123 B.C./B.C.E.) , these juries were solely a Senatorial prerogative; one of Gracchus' reforms was to open up said juries to 300 Equites (in addition to continuing to allow 300 of the Senatorial order to continue to so serve). That is, we're dealing with a dispute over whether those 'with rings' could sit on juries.

Now the only problem I have is figuring out which Caepio and Drusus we're dealing with since I can't really find two who directly had a dispute with each other. The solution lies, I think, in taking Pliny's inter as not referring to Caepio and Drusus, but to the time between the two, i.e., from the time of Caepio down to Drusus (again, I'll happily be corrected if I'm way off on this ... please tell me!). The Caepio can then be Quintus Servilius Caepio (cos. 106), who, although more well known for taking the fall for the Romans' massive defeat at Arausio also initiated a piece of legislation giving Senators a majority when it came to sitting on juries. The Drusus must be Marcus Livius Drusus -- not the one who was Gracchus' foe, but the latter's son -- who, as tribune of the plebs in 91 tried to effect a compromise solution in the wake of a scandal associated with the courts (which had returned to Equestrian control) which would have made the juries 50-50 equestian/senatorial or would have enrolled some 300 equites in the senate, which would then provide the jurors. While all this was going on, of course, Rome's Italian allies were agitating for citizenship and enfranchisement (the ancient equivalent of "The West Wants In" ... my Canadian readers will understand that one, I hope). Drusus was also very much supported by the Italian allies (and he supported them, of course). To make a long story short, Drusus was assassinated for his troubles and it became a 'final straw' of sorts, precipitating what is usually referred to as the Social Wars (i.e. the wars against the allies), which ran from 91-88 or so.

So indirectly, the Social Wars were caused by a "ring" ... the ring which the Equites used as a mark of their status.

::Monday, December 29, 2003 12:16:22 PM::
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The question of whether LEGO (the building bricks) was called that because it is Latin for "I put together" or something like that comes up every now and again. A piece in the Herald-Sun offers guidance:

The LEGO company got its start in 1932 when Ole Kirk Christiansen, a master carpenter and joiner, established the business in the village of Billund, Denmark, according to the company's Web site.

The company and its products adopted the name LEGO, formed from the Danish words "LEg GOdt" (play well), in 1934. Later, they realized the word meant "I put together" in Latin.

The official LEGO homepage confirms it.


::Monday, December 29, 2003 8:50:53 AM::
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ante diem iv kalendas januarias

  • nothing ... not even a semi-securably datable martyr; the closest we can come to something connected to the Classical world is that in 1788 Christian Jurgensen Thomsen was born -- he came up with the system wherein human development was divided into Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age

::Monday, December 29, 2003 8:38:02 AM::
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AWOTV: On TV Today

Nothing of interest ...

On the other hand, though, the weekly version of the Ancient World on Television listings have been posted. Enjoy!

::Monday, December 29, 2003 7:40:37 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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