Most recent update:6/1/2004; 5:22:06 AM

 Monday, May 31, 2004

pridie kalendas junias

  • 70 A.D. -- Titus captures Jerusalem's outermost wall.
  • 170 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hermias at Cappadocia

5:38:41 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

BLOGWATCH: @ HobbyBlog

The coins continue to be posted ... this a.m. there's an interesting coin of Valerian, the obverse of which depicts his deified wife Mariniana ascending to the heavens on a peacock! An interesting double-struck Gallienus is also available ...
5:21:05 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Pompeii Threatened

Australia's version of Sixty Minutes had a segment on the threat tourists and the like pose to Pompeii ... it featured bits by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill with bits by Robert Harris thrown in as well. Here's the incipit of the online transcript:

TARA BROWN: It was the day all hell broke loose: August the 24th, AD 79 ... the day Mt Vesuvius exploded. The horror, the sheer force of the volcano was extraordinary, beyond belief. But amazingly, the disaster left behind one of the great wonders of the world, the perfectly preserved city of Pompeii. It's quite breathtaking buildings, frescos, everything, even people, frozen in time, a slice of ancient Roman civilisation, just as it was 2000 years ago. But now, Pompeii's days are numbered and this time it's not the volcano, it's man causing the devastation.

STORY ROBERT HARRIS, AUTHOR: Vesuvius exploded at twice the speed of sound. The blast had the thermal energy of 100,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. One hundred and eighty thousand tonnes of rock per second were forced into the atmosphere to 28 kilometres in height. Vesuvius was the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

TARA BROWN: Modern Pompeii is a city still living in thrall of the dead. Walk and look and all you see are the remains of that day, perfectly preserved, awesome and chilling. Pompeii's ruins are its fortune, yet this priceless treasure is being destroyed all over again by us.

ANDREW WALLACE-HADRILL, ARCHEOLOGIST: This room here must have been one of the most beautiful rooms in the house. Look at the way the lovely marble floor, marble up the walls, rich decorative system.

TARA BROWN: Look at the water on the floor.

ANDREW WALLACE-HADRILL: It's absolutely tragic. It was restored only 10 years ago and there is water coming through, the ceiling is nearly rotten. There's pigeon droppings. It's desperately in need of more work. [more]

5:06:08 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Mixing Metaphors

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one from Newsday:

Political analysts say almost any renewed discussion of terrorism benefits President George W. Bush because the public -- even as it questions Bush's leadership on Iraq and the economy -- still regards him as best able to deal with that threat.

"It reminds people of his golden age," said Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker, referring to the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. "He was Brad Pitt at Troy. And that is what they [Bush campaign officials] want. They want people to look at George Bush's Homeric age."

Brad Pitt at Troy. Bush's Homeric age. We'll just throw all those metaphors into the old Cuisinart and see what comes out ... I don't get it.

5:01:39 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Economic Lessons of Rome

The Warsaw Business Journal searches for lessons in Rome's economic history:

Empires, like bubble markets, end up at a point that is lower than where they began. Rome began as a town on the Tiber, with sheep grazing on the hills. A bull market in Roman property lasted from 700 B.C. to about 300 A.D. when temples, monuments and villas crowded the Palatine. Then, a bear market began, and even as late as the 18th century, Rome was once again just a city on the Tiber where sheep grazed on the hillsides, albeit amid broken marble columns.

The collapse of the Roman Empire heralded a correction in the European markets. One of the reasons why markets fragmented was because people had lost confidence in the debased currency of Rome and had returned to the barter system.

Until the rule of Augustus (the first ruler of the Roman Empire in 27 B.C.), the Romans only used pure gold and silver coins. In order to finance his expenditures, Augustus ordered that government-owned mines in Spain and France be exploited 24 hours a day, a measure which increased the money supply significantly. It also led to rising prices. It is estimated that between 27 B.C. and 6 B.C. prices in Rome doubled. Thereafter, whenever the Romans needed more money to finance their wars, their public improvements and their trade deficit, they reduced the metal content of their coins. By the time Odoacer deposed the last emperor in 476, the denarius contained only 0.02 percent silver. This process is now happening to the U.S. dollar, which, after it completes its current counter trend, is set to decline much further over the next few years.

4:55:37 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

AWOTV: On TV Today

5.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Warriors:The Celts

5.30 p.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Clues: Murder in the Bog

9.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Riddle of Pompei

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

4:49:14 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

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