Most recent update:5/1/2004; 5:36:53 AM

 Monday, April 19, 2004


ante diem xiii kalendas maias

  • ludi Cereri (day 8)-- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.
  • Cerealia -- the actual date of the Cerealia is uncertain, but it 'reenacted' Ceres' search for her daughter Proserpina, with apparently all participants and spectators dressed in white.
  • 69 A.D. -- Vitellius is recognized as emperor by the senate in

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NUNTII: Etruscan Capital Found?

Cronaca pointed me to this one ... an article in the Sunday Times (which I can finally access!) on the excavation of a site in Tuscany which might have connections to Lars Porsena:

IN the rolling hills of Tuscany, scholars believe they have uncovered one of the great lost cities of the ancient world.

The ruins are believed to be those of Chamars, the leading city state of the Etruscan civilisation that dominated much of Italy before the emergence of Rome.

The find raises the possibility of locating the tomb of Lars Porsena, the Etruscan king who reigned over Chamars in the 6th century BC.

Porsena’s tomb was said by the historian Pliny the Elder to consist of a labyrinth 300ft square. According to legend, it was adorned with a golden carriage, 12 golden horses and other treasures.

Giuseppe Centauro, a professor of urban restoration at Florence University, said: “I believe Chamars has at last been found. This was the biggest Italian city before Rome and it represents the entire Etruscan civilisation from the beginning to its decadence.

“It was a huge city that controlled various settlements within its walls. Walking among these ruins is every archeologist’s dream.”

Etruscan civilisation reached its peak in about the 6th century BC, when its territories stretched from what is now the Italian-Swiss border to south of Rome.

Some historians credit the Etruscans with the transformation of Rome from a series of villages across seven hills into a city with a walled boundary and central administration.

It was from Chamars that Porsena is said to have launched his most successful attack upon Rome.

From 500BC, the Etruscans’ fortunes started to wane. They were defeated by the Greeks in a big naval battle in 474BC and over the next three centuries their city states fell to the Romans.

After they were vanquished, many of their records were lost. Even their origins are obscure, with some historical sources claiming they fled Troy after its fall in the 12th century BC and other experts believing they were an indigenous people.

Three years ago workmen excavating foundations for a goods yard found the remains of what is one of the most complete Etruscan settlements to be discovered in Tuscany. [more]

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HobbyBlog continues to post a nice collection of Roman coins ... most recently an antoninianus of Valerian with an image of Felicitas holding a caduceus and cornucopia. Is it just me, or does her head look like the evil guy from Scream? Scroll down the page a bit to see the dupondius of Galba -- quite possibly the most "Roman" looking portrait of an emperor I've ever seen on a coin (he actually reminds me of a pope, for some reason).

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BLOGWATCH: Phluzein and Nephelokokkygia

Phluzein hasn't had much of Classical interest of late (although plenty of other stuff worth reading!) but does have a useful pointer to the Nephelokokkygia blog (a philology blog). Nephelokokkygia's most recent pair of posts have been a mini-course in how Classicists might benefit from the use of LaTeX -- a (free) typesetting program which has obvious applications with Greek text. I note a bit further down, there's an interesting post on the Praenestine fibula as well ...

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CHATTER: H.P. Lovecraft

An interesting tidbit I wasn't aware of -- mentioned in passing in a lengthy piece on H.P. Lovecraft in the Edmonton Journal:

Lovecraft was a precocious youth: he was reciting poetry at age two, reading at age three, and writing at age six or seven. His earliest enthusiasm was for the Arabian Nights, which he read by the age of five; it was at this time that he adapted the pseudonym of “Abdul Alhazred,” who later became the author of the mythical Necronomicon. The next year, however, his Arabian interests were eclipsed by the discovery of Greek mythology, gleaned through Bulfinch’s Age of Fable and through children’s versions of the Iliad and Odyssey. Indeed his earliest surviving literary work, “The Poem of Ulysses” (1897), is a paraphrase of the Odyssey in 88 lines of internally rhyming verse.

Alas ... it doesn't appear to be on the web ...

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CHATTER: Greek Music

From the Towerlight:

Students received a lesson in ancient Greek culture Thursday evening during the lecture “What is Ancient Greek Music, Anyway? Music and Drama in Fifth-century B.C. Athens.”

Dimitrios Yatromanolakis, a graduate of Oxford University and a professor at Johns Hopkins, related music of fifth-century Greece to the music of today as he discussed his research on the influence of music in ancient Greek society.

“In this time, you began to see more secular works emerging,” Yatromanolakis explained. “Music turned from the traditional to quotes from great works of criticism and musical analysis.”

Yatromanolakis works on reconstructing music for classic Greek drama from textual and visual sources.

He explained musical analysis done in the fourth century has most influenced the study of ancient music.

“This analysis examines the relationship between the melody and the pitch accents in music,” he said. “The pitch accent in ancient Greek music is unique.”

To bring the ancient music to life for the audience, Yatromanolakis played recordings of what the ancient music would have sound like. In addition to playing recordings, he provided examples of music and lyrics to demonstrate the difference in musical notation.

“It’s important for students to listen to music, especially early music. There’s a revival now of the music prior to the baroque period, since it was often ignored and not heard,” Yatromanolakis said.

Dan Monahan, a senior English major, was particularly interested in the effect of ancient Greek music on society.

“This lecture really interested me as a classical literature student,” Monahan said.“You know that the literature and performance were influenced by the music that accompanied it.”

Allaire Stallsmith, director of the classical studies department, called the study of classical music fascinating.

“By bringing in unique speakers we can unite the interests of the classical studies department with others, such as the music department,” Stallsmith said. [more]

You can listen to reconstructed samples of ancient Greek music, appropriately enough, at Stefan Hagel's Ancient Greek Music webpage.

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AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Rome: Power and Glory: The Cult of Order

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

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