Most recent update:8/4/2004; 6:26:03 AM

 Monday, July 05, 2004

ante diem iii nonas quinctilias

  • Poplifugia -- an ill-attested (even to the ancient Romans) festival which commemorated (?) the flight of the people from Rome either when Romulus disappeared during a storm or when Rome was attacked by the Fidenates after the Gauls had sacked Rome
  • feriae Jovi -- a festival in honour of Jupiter, apparently connected to the Poplifugia
  • 286 A.D. -- martyrdom of Zoe of Rome

7:36:52 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Cicero and Modern Politics

WorldNet Daily keeps popping up today ... the most appropriate/interesting column is one by some guy with the nom de plume Vox Day (say it out loud) which begins:

Dr. Umberto Eco is one of the great minds of our time. He is an eminent classicist, a best-selling novelist, the world expert on the science of symbols and writes a weekly column in the Italian magazine L'espresso. He is, like most European intellectuals, a man of the Left, but of the dwindling breed of the sober and freedom-loving Left.

Recently, Dr. Eco wrote a column entitled "To appear more than to be," which highlighted the campaign advice given to Cicero in a letter written by his brother, Quintus Tullius. (A rudimentary translation is here.) The Roman's advice is astonishingly appropriate to modern American politics; the instruction to "never expose oneself on any political issue" immediately brings to mind the Invisible Man, John Kerry, as one watches his attempt to quietly flip-flop his way to the White House. [more]

The 'rudimentary translation' mentioned doesn't appear to work any more. I'll try to track it down in the original ...

7:14:14 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Pompeii = 911?

A review in the Sydney Morning Herald of an upcoming (and interesting-looking) docudramaish thing on Pompeii begins thusly:

On August 24, AD79, the spectacular eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The event, documented in Pompeii: The Last Day, a BBC special showing next week on Nine, was unprecedented in the ancient world, a haunting lesson in the mortality of the supposedly invincible Roman Empire.

Pompeii's creator and executive producer, Dr Michael Mosley, sees parallels between the destruction of Pompeii and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the US. "Rome was a mirror image of America," he says. "It was a superpower and it thought it was immortal, and a cataclysmic event occurred that knocked it off the pedestal. The events of Pompeii shook the foundations of Rome, and I think there is a message there - that even great empires crumble, that cataclysmic events, whether they are man-made, terrorist or natural, like Pompeii, can shake things." [more]

I'm not sure Pompeii "shook the foundations of Rome" or that it was 'knocked off its pedestal'. Why does everything have to be connected to the US and  9/11?????

7:05:21 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: Euro 2004

I'm currently wading through piles of accounts of Greece's victory at Euro 2004 and in the Scotsman find this 'top ten' list of 'famous Greeks':

The Greece squad have earned their place in their nation’s history with their sensational triumph at Euro 2004.

They will forever be celebrated figures across the country as their most successful sportsmen.

Here the Press Association lists 10 famous Greeks from throughout history.

Homer – Homer was one of the first great European writers. Despite being blind he produced some of the great works of literature, including the Iliad which tells the story of the Trojan wars.

Hippocrates – Known as the ‘father of medicine’. He rejected the superstition associated with medicine and laid the foundations of medicine as a branch of science.

Archimedes – Mathematician, philosopher and engineer. Discovered the principles of density and buoyancy while taking a bath on which it is said he took to the streets naked calling “eureka” – “I have found it!”

Konstantinos Kenteris – Shock winner of the 200m title at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 – a result he backed up by victory in the 2001 world championships.

Aristotle Onassis – Shipping magnate who founded Olympic Airways, the Greek national carrier. In 1968 he married Jackie Kennedy, the widow of JFK.

Alexander the Great – King of Macedon, Alexander conquered the warring and divided city states of Greece along with Persia, Egypt and a number of other kingdoms, all the way to the borders of India.

Pythagoros – Mathematician and philosopher who gave his name to the Pythagorean Theorem. Known as the “father of numbers”.

Telly Savalas – Born in New York to Greek parents, Savalas earned worldwide fame as an actor, appearing in such classics as Cape Fear and The Dirty Dozen. His most famous role was as TV detective Kojak.

Aristotle – Along with Plato, his teacher, Aristotle is considered to be one of the most influential philosophers in Western thought.

Demis Roussos – Larger-than-life Greek singer who has had solo success around the world. 

6:52:38 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

NUNTII: Pre-Roman (Samnite) Temple At Pompeii

The Telegraph reports on the discovery of a Samnite temple at Pompeii:

The discovery in Pompeii of a pre-Roman temple is being hailed as evidence that the city was sophisticated and thriving 300 years before Vesuvius erupted.
The temple is said to be of Mephitis, a female deity worshipped by the Samnites, a mysterious ancient people who preceded the Romans in Pompeii.

The temple complex includes a sanctuary where it is thought girls from good families worked briefly in "sacred prostitution" as a rite of passage to full womanhood.

The Samnites were previously thought of as mountain warriors, whose settlements thrived due to a military pact with Rome, but archaeologists say the finds suggest instead that theirs was an advanced society in its own right. [more]

Wow ... I've got nothing about the Samnites on my bookshelves (despite the fact I spent much of my academic life in Togo Salmon hall at McMaster) so I can't check on this 'Mephitis' deity. Some folks will be aware, hopefully, that Mephitis is a word referring to noxious gas and is part of the scientific name applied to various species of skunks. The 'temple prostitution' angle is interesting too, although it just doesn't 'sound right'. Is there a leg being pulled here?

6:42:08 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 Spartans

6.00 p.m. |HINT|The Hidden City of Petra  
Story of the Nabataeans, a desert people who carved the city of
Petra out of the Jordanian mountains some 2,000 years ago. Their
culture flourished, then disappeared. We visit the site of the
amazing sculpted city, which included temples and colonnaded market

Channel Guide

6:16:50 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Click for Athens, Greece Forecast

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

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