Most recent update:5/1/2004; 5:36:42 AM


 Tuesday, April 13, 2004

REVIEWS: From BMCR

Wolfgang Hubner, Raum, Zeit und soziales Rollenspiel der vier Kardinalpunkte in der antiken Katarchenhoroskopie.

Jonathan M. Hall, Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture.

Andrew R. Dyck (ed.), Cicero, De Natura Deorum I.


8:21:27 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


REVIEWS: From Scholia

Rush Rehm, Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World

D. W. Roller,  The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene: Royal Scholarship on Rome's African Frontier


8:18:38 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


THIS DAY IN ANCIENT HISTORY

idus apriles

  • ludi Cereri (day 2)-- games in honour of the grain goddes Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.
  • rites in honour of Jupiter Victor and Jupiter Liber
  • 150 A.D. -- martyrdom of Carpus and companions at Pergamon
  • 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Maximus and companions at Silistria

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CHATTER: Transplants

Here's an interesting tidbit from a New York Times review of a book on the history of organ transplants:

Yet, as Dr. Tilney's book traces the evolution of organ transplantation from the achievement of the "patron saints" of the practice the martyred Cosmos and Damian who substituted the leg of an Ethiopian gladiator for that of a Roman basilica custodian's gangrenous limb to the later, often futile efforts by more professional surgeons.

Folks interested in this (and other ancient precedents) might want to check out the article Dr. Tilney wrote for the Journal of Applied Physiology. A medieval depiction of the transplant is all over the web, but in rather tiny form, e.g., here.


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NUNTII: Robert Fagles

The New York Times has an excellent piece on Robert Fagles and his translations:

ON his deathbed, the Roman poet Virgil asked that the manuscript of his greatest work, "The Aeneid," be destroyed. It was, after a decade of writing, still flawed. And perhaps, as some have suggested, this gentle man, who knew much of human suffering and pain, struggled with his glorification of empire and the reigning Roman imperial house.

These themes of empire and death, of human tragedy, of the pain of duty and the loss of love and the horror of war, have consumed one Virgil translator, Dr. Robert Fagles, for nearly as long as it took Virgil to write the epic poem. Dr. Fagles has worked day after day, month after month, and now, year after year since beginning his work in 1997, in a window-lined room in his house on a back road here.

He struggles to take the highly inflected Latin and render it in English, to make sure Virgil's deep pessimism, his doubts, disappointments and understanding of our incompleteness are passed on to a new generation of readers.

His translation, nearly complete, follows his versions of Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey," "The Three Theban Plays" by Sophocles and "The Oresteia" by Aeschylus, all published by Penguin Books. These translations of ancient Greek classics have sold some two million copies.

"There are many readers who hunger for substance," Dr. Fagles said. "I do not despair. I know they are out there, and I hear from them often."

On his desk was an open copy of Virgil in Latin, sheets of paper and Dr. Fagles's printed manuscript. He works about four or five hours a day.

" 'The Aeneid' is a cautionary tale," he said. "It is one we need to read today. It speaks of the terrible price of victory in war, for Virgil knew that victory is finally impossible, that it always lies out of reach. He saw the unforeseen aftermath, the way war could all go wrong whether from poor planning or because of the gods on high. He knew the sheer accumulation of death, the destruction, the pain we inflict when we use force to create empire."

Every age needs classics translated into the idiom of the moment. It gives the works new vitality, new meaning. It offers to the living a connection with those who went before, the accumulated wisdom of the past, a protection from a dangerous provincialism. [more]


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NUNTII: Lamella Dispute

EDP24 News reports on a dispute brewing over the valuation of a lamella found in Norfolk last year:

A dispute has broken out over a rare piece of 'magical' Roman gold found in Norfolk.

Keith Owen, 56, found the gold artefact in his mid-Norfolk garden, as reported in the EDP last year. He was landscaping his garden at the time and believes the piece of beaten gold must have come from topsoil he had bought in.

The thin piece of gold, called a lamella, is about an inch and a half wide and just over an inch long, and less than a millimetre thick. It is inscribed with magical symbols and Latin and Greek writing asking a god for victory, and would have been worn round the owner's neck.

Mr Owen, who is retired due to ill-health, was keen for his find to stay in Norfolk. So even when he was offered £6000 for it by a private dealer, who would probably have sold it abroad, he offered to lend it to the Norwich Castle Museum in perpetuity.

But because the object is so old and made of gold, it had to be declared as treasure. It was sent to the British Museum for translation by an expert and is being given a government valuation.

[...]

Dr Roger Tomlin, who has transcribed the writing at Oxford University, said it was the Roman equivalent of a personal alarm.

He said: "It is by any standards quite rare. It shows us that Romans were looking over their shoulders at what was going to happen. It is like being an OAP and having a personal alarm."

He said the gold would have been worth about a month's salary to a Roman soldier. If times got hard, it could have been melted down for cash. [more]


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AWOTV: On TV Tonight

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Roman Empire in North Africa
dna

7.00 p.m.|HINT| Masada: The Last Fortress  
Exploration of the mountain fortress where over 900 Jews made a last
stand against Rome in 73 AD. Examines if they committed suicide, and
focuses on the lone survivor of the Roman onslaught who lived to tell
his story.
 
8.00 p.m.|HISTC| QUEENS OF THE NILE
The second episode of a two-part documentary in which authors
Michael Gregor and Wolfram Giese, trace the power of the Queens of
the Nile. From incest and murder to strategy and sacrifice, witness
dramatic stories of these female Pharaohs and the extremes that they
were willing to go to in order to seize and maintain power.

Channel Guide


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