Most recent update:8/4/2004; 6:26:10 AM

 Thursday, July 08, 2004

ante diem viii idus quinctilias

  • ludi Apollinares (day 3) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
  • rites in honour of Vitula, possibly honouring a divinity who supposedly presided over victory celebrations ... or perhaps she had something to do with heifers
  • 1851 -- birth of Arthur Evans (excavator of Knossos)

7:48:26 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Administrivia ... since it's a very slow news day

Over the next couple of weeks you might notice some strange things happening at rogueclassicism as I redesign the blog and the associated website with the idea of making the two more integrated and accessible. I have decided to stay with Radio for the time being, despite all the hair it has cost me, as I just don't have time to learn the ins and outs of Wordpress at this point (and I'm awaiting the next release, which will allow for multiple blogs). But after seeing that virtually everyone who visits my site(s) has a CSS compliant browser, it seems like a good time to being to make more use of good CSS to speed the loading of pages etc.. In any event, if you see the 'look' of the pages change from one day to the next, don't worry ...
6:58:10 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

AUDIO: Father Foster

This week Father Foster discusses one of my fave emperors -- Tiberius. The 'headline' for this one at the official website is "Fahrenheit IX/XI" which doesn't really have any connection to the piece ...
6:51:04 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

CHATTER: ClassCon and Museum Funding

This is the engaging lengthy intro to a piece in the Telegraph which is (believe it or not) ultimately about economic policies of Labour governments in the UK:

You see, if you were an ancient Athenian politician and you went bald, things were so much easier. You didn't have to worry that the electorate would harp on about it, as they do when confronted by a bald Tory leader, no matter how brilliant.
Take the case of Pericles. The Athenian leader was a bit of a slaphead with a dolichocephalic skull; but instead of going around enduring the jeers of the ancient tabloid media, he had a very cool solution. He just wore a hoplite helmet, morning noon and night.

I know this because I have just bought, from the British Museum's magnificent shop, the last plaster cast of the 2nd-century Roman copy of the 5th-century BC bust of Pericles by Kresilas. It weighs 23.5kg and is totally fab, if you ignore a few blue crayon marks, which enabled me to knock a few quid off. I stood before it in the shop and reflected that I was only three removes away from the position of the sculptor who stood before one of the greatest statesmen who ever lived. Cor! I thought to myself as we bubblewrapped it. Pericles, eh!

And then it occurred to me that I ought to go and look at the sculpture proper, the one that is only two removes away. So I wandered into the Duveen galleries and pondered again the mysteries of the panathenaic frieze. Are the 192 riders symbolic of the 192 survivors of the Battle of Marathon, that archetypical triumph of Western civilisation over barbarism? Just what are those maidens about to do with that towel?

And as I left, my feet aching, my brain glutted, I remembered the object of my mission. Normally he was there on the left as you go in, on a kind of proprietorial plinth. I turned to the attendant. Where was the marble bust of Pericles, son of Xanthippus? I'm sorry, sir, said that kindly man. He's in room 15 and room 15 is shut.

Shut? I said. That's right, he said, shut because of staff shortages. In fact, he said, there were more rooms shut these days than there were nine years ago when he joined.

Anyone who loves the BM will agree that its current director, Neil McGregor, is offering inspirational leadership. The Great Court is a triumph. It feels like a world-class museum, a proper rival to the Louvre, and any attempt to remove those Periclean marbles would of course be an indefensible mutilation.

But if I were the Greek ambassador, I think I might have fired off an immediate demarche. Oi, I would have said to Tony Blair, how can you people claim to be the valid custodians of so much that is greatest in 5th-century Athenian sculpture when on July 1, at around 5pm, a person couldn't even get to see Pericles? You Brits may think that the owl of Athens haunts the squares of Bloomsbury. But you can't even display Pericles, the man who called these marbles into being! And if the Greek ambassador started a bit of hysterical oimoi pheu pheu-ing at this point, he would have my entire sympathy. Why are there staff shortages? [more]

6:28:38 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HINT|The Great Empire: Rome: Age of Emperors
After Caesar's murder, his great-nephew Augustus was victorious in
the civil wars that followed, becoming the first emperor. Host Joe
Mantegna explores this sensational, scandalous age when palace plots,
hostile takeovers, and imperial family intrigues were humdrum.
Features Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, among others. 
8.00 p.m. |HINT|Gods & Goddesses
The world of the Ancient Greeks lives on today through its
mythology. For countless generations prior to biblical times, tales
of gods and goddesses were passed down by storytellers and interwoven
into traditions and philosophies. Each city devoted itself to
particular gods. But these gods also had human frailties. Where did
the pantheon originate? Did any of the stories in Greek mythology
actually occur? We look at new archaeological evidence that supports
the possibility.
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Cleopatra's World: Alexandria Revealed
This look at the life of Cleopatra may surprise you. Our 2-hour
special suggests that she may not have been a calculating seductress,
but rather a loving wife who risked everything to preserve her great
city's heritage.

HINT = History International

6:21:36 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