Most recent update:5/2/2004; 9:26:09 AM

 Monday, April 26, 2004

NUNTII: Latin is Alive and Well in Buffalo

From the Buffalo News:

Si hanc sententiam legere potes, magistro Latinae gratias age.

If you can read the above sentence, thank a Latin teacher. Because you're probably a better writer, reader and thinker for it.

No doubt about it, folks: Latin is moving back into the spotlight again, among teachers, school administrators, parents and students.

A dead language? Hardly.

In Erie and Niagara counties, more students took the Regents Latin exam in 2003 than in either of the previous two years, state data shows.

That's despite the fact that a few local Latin programs - Lockport's among them - faced uncertain futures because of budget problems.

After several decades of being decidedly out of fashion - and 2,000 years after it was actually spoken - the Latin language is becoming popular again in Western New York and around the country.

Part of that popularity can be chalked up to the fact that savvy students and parents have realized that knowledge of Latin helps boost standardized test scores - including on the SATs, where a grasp of Latin could be the edge that sets a college-bound student apart.

"I took Latin over science, because I heard that Latin helps a lot on the SATs," said Brooke Reynolds, 15, of Orchard Park, who has been studying the language for three years. "I think a lot of students are here because of that."  [more]

8:39:46 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Atlantis Redux ... or Not

We've mentioned Robert Sarmast before, who believes that Atlantis lies off the shore of Cyprus. We've also mentioned that he planned an expedition to prove his theory and now the hype for that has begun:

A U.S. researcher who is convinced the fabled city of Atlantis is lurking in the watery deep off Cyprus will launch an exploratory mission this summer, he says.

"We believe our discovery will put Cyprus at the centre of the world stage forever," Robert Sarmast told Reuters on Monday.

Sarmast said the east Mediterranean island is actually the pinnacle of the long-lost city and the rest of it is about 1.6 km (1 mile) below sea level.

Using deep sea maps and clues found in Plato, Sarmast said he has discovered a sunken rectangular land mass stretching northeast from Cyprus towards Syria.

"We are going to sail 70 miles (112.7 km) offshore Cyprus, directly over the spot where we believe Atlantis City lays submerged and waiting to be discovered," he said.

The mystery of Atlantis -- both whether it existed and why it disappeared -- has fired the imagination of explorers for centuries.


Now just to show that this is hype, check out how the article ends:

On Friday, he will herald the start of the expedition and Cyprus's membership to the European Union (news - web sites) by heading out to the area where the mission will commence.

"At midnight we will deploy a sealed capsule to the seafloor containing a Cyprus flag, an EU flag and a flag bearing the symbol of Atlantis," he said. [Reuters via Yahoo]

Yeah ... all that will make us take him more seriously.

8:34:25 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Classical Precedents from Israel Redux

Less than a week ago, we made mention of an article in Arutz Sheva which included an appeal to antiquity, which, as we mentioned at the time, we were keeping out eyes open for (pardon the awkward sentence ... I've been marking all day; it rubs off after a while). In any event, that article was written by one Gerald A. Honigman and included the following:

The name "Palestine," itself, was the name Rome gave to Judaea after the Judaeans' (Jews') second of two major revolts, recorded by the Roman historians themselves, for independence in 133-135 C.E. Tacitus, Dio Cassius, etc. speak of Judaea, not Palaestina, in their accounts. Listen to this one telling quote from Tacitus:

"It inflamed Vespasian's resentment that the Jews were the only nation who had not yet submitted." (Works of Tacitus, Vol. II)

To squash their hopes supposedly forever, Emperor Hadrian renamed the land after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines (of David and Goliath fame), a non-Semitic sea people from the eastern Mediterranean or Aegean area.

Today, there turns up in the scan a piece by the same author, also in Arutz Sheva, which includes the following:

To understand the meaning of reborn Israel to the Jew, one needs to know what Jewish history was like for two thousand years after the Jews dared to take on the conqueror of the world for their independence. Most of the world is totally ignorant of this. A reading of the contemporary Roman-sponsored historians -- Tacitus, Dio Cassius, Josephus, etc. -- gives a 'non-Zionist' account of the fervor with which Jews fought for the freedom of their land.

Listen to Tacitus: "Vespasian... succeeded to the command.... it inflamed his resentment that the Jews were the only nation that had not yet submitted."

This was during the first revolt in 66-73 C.E. The Arch of Titus stands in Rome to this very day to commemorate the eventual victory over the Jews.

The emperor Hadrian became so enraged at the Jews' persistence that in 135 C.E., after the second major (and even more costly) revolt, he renamed Judaea Syria Palaestina -- Palestine -- after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines, in an attempt to end the Jews' hopes once and for all.

Well, if it worked in the first one ...

8:25:10 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

NUNTII: Gallic Burial Ground

An item from the Italian news service reports the discovery of a major Gallo-Roman necropolis near Nancy with tombs dating from the First Century B.C. down to the Fourth Century A.D.. It's the largest such necropolis ever found in France (over 7,000 sq. meters). There's a photo of some pots that goes with the report.

8:06:17 PM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

BLOGWATCH: @ Dappled Things

Dappled Things has a useful little entry on the meaning of 'tyrant' and 'dictator' ... this is the sort of thing which Classicists regularly have to tell their first year civ classes and always seems to cause some surprise.

5:47:54 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


ante diem vi kalendas maias

5:38:12 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

BLOGWATCH: @ Ancient Biographies

... Robert Greaves continues his biography of Sertorius ...

5:21:31 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Another Spurious Quote

Liz Smith opens her column in Newsday with a frequently-seen 'quote' from Herodotus:

'Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects," said Herodotus.

The quotation doesn't actually appear in any work of Herodotus. Mark Twain, however, did attribute the words to Herodotus in the preface/acknowledgements to his The Horse's Tale. We had a discussion of this quote a couple of years ago on the Classics list ...

5:15:39 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Troy Doomed?

The Nashville City Paper has a roundup of forthcoming flicks and is the first (that I've seen) to suggest that Troy might be a flop:

That's not quite the case with Troy, the Warner Bros. period piece debuting May 14 featuring a cast heavy with big names (Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom for starters) but burdened by the fact there may not be much interest among its youthful target demographic in a movie whose foundation is based on The Iliad. Wolfgang Petersen is an excellent director, but according to Premiere magazine, production costs escalated into the $700,000 per day realm, and the final figure topped out around $200 million. Those are huge numbers for a film whose early trailers got more laughs and yawns than positive reactions.


5:00:45 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Peter Jones

Here's the latest incipit from Peter Jones' column in the Spectator:

A personal catastrophe strikes, and the cry goes up ‘Why me?’ and ‘Not fair’. The ancients knew all about this, and the 5th-century bc Greek historian Herodotus supplies an answer — of sorts. But first, back to Fronto.

Marcus Cornelius Fronto (c. ad 95–166), orator and public servant, was a close friend of emperors, being appointed by Antoninus Pius (emperor ad 138–61) as tutor to the next emperor, the Stoic Marcus Aurelius (ad 161–80). Much of Fronto’s correspondence survives. In one of his many affecting exchanges with Marcus Aurelius, he bewails in ad 165 the loss of a beloved grandson. This, Fronto exclaims, is neither aequum (‘fair’) nor iustum (‘just’). The child’s father, he says, is a blameless man, loving, gentle and honest, highly cultured, producing just the sort of son the state needs; what can possibly explain such a good man being struck by such grief, while the wicked enjoy such a carefree life at home? At least, he goes on, I can comfort myself by the thought that I will soon be dead — and so on. Clearly, Fronto had little time for Marcus Aurelius’ famous stoicism.

4:53:04 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Secrets of the Colosseum

10.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Most Evil Men in History: Attila the Hun

10.30 p.m. |DCIVC| The Most Evil Men in History: Caligula

DCIVC=Discovery Civilization (Canada)

4:39:06 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Click for Athens, Greece Forecast

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

Site Meter