Most recent update:8/4/2004; 6:26:31 AM

 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
JOBS: APA Listings

The APA jobs listings have been posted at the APA site ...
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NUNTII: Classcon in Olympic Medals

An official press release informs us that medals for the Olympic Games will -- appropriately -- be dripping with ClassCon:

Thirteen kilos of pure gold, about a ton of silver, and about a ton of bronze. These are the ingredients for the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games medals. Production is already under way. For the first time since Amsterdam 1928, and with IOC approval of an ATHENS 2004 proposal made in June 2003, Olympic medals once more have a Greek look.

On the obverse of the Athens medals will be the statue of Nike by Paeonius, placed in the Panathinaiko (Panathenian) Stadium where the Games where revived in 1896, with the Acropolis in the background.

The reverse will show the flame from the Olympic Torch Relay; a quotation from Pindar's Eighth Olympian; the ATHENS 2004 emblem; and the name of the sport for which the medal has been awarded.

The design of the medal is by Elena Votsi and the relief is by Kostas Kazakos. Nearly 3000 medals will be cut: 986 gold, 986 silver, and 1150 bronze.

The Paralympic Games medals carry the Paralympic emblem and the legend ATHENS 2004 in Braille on the obverse. The reverse shows the eternal symbol of Athens, the Parthenon (as it looked in 1896), and has the legend 'XIIth Paralympic Games, Athens 2004'. This medal was designed and cut by Konstantinos Kazakos.

Approximately 1100 medals will be STRUCK for the Paralympic Games in each category. All medals are manufactured by EFSIMON SA, the company sponsoring Olympic medal production. [more]

Brittanica has a nice image of Paionius' Nike, if you want to compare ...

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CHATTER: Hexameters a Key to Healthy Hearts!

New Kerala reports on why Classicists have such healthy hearts:

The key to a healthy heart might actually lie in reading poems if new research is to be believed. It focuses on the hexameter, the poetic format unique to classical Greek and Roman epic poems like those found in the works of Homer and Virgil.

The study titled "Oscillations of Heart Rate and Respiration Synchronize During Poetry Recitation," investigated the cardiorespiratory synchronization in healthy subjects during recitation of hexameter verse.

Researchers compared three different exercises using a cross sectional study design: recitation of hexameter verse, controlled breathing, and spontaneous breathing.

The results showed that rhythmic speech had the strongest impact on synchronization of low-frequency breathing oscillations and heart rate fluctuations, while controlled breathing showed cardiorespiratory synchronisation to a lesser extent.

The special breathing pattern used for the recitation of hexameter verse produced a strong cardiorespiratory synchronization with respect to low-frequency breathing oscillations and heart rate variations. Controlled breathing showed cardiorespiratory synchronization to a lesser extent. [more]


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CHATTER: Latinitas Foundation

I obviously get too much mail ... I don't even remember seeing this piece sent in by TM. It's all about the Latinitas Foundation set up by the Vatican:

The Latinitas Foundation was established in 1976 by Pope Paul VI with the Pontifical Chirograph Romani sermonis and it has the following objectives:

1) to promote the study of the Latin language, classical literature and Medieval Latin;

2) to promote the increased use of the Latin language by publishing texts in Latin and other suitable means.

They have a number of principal activities with an aim to fulfilling this goal as well ... check it out.

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CHATTER: Olympics Ancient and Modern Sportsmanship

Another one that I found in the piles of email. Dr. Tom Palaima teaches Classics at the University of Texas at Austin and regularly writes a column for the Austin American Statesman. He usually posts these to various lists as well and gave me permission to post same at rogueclassicism (since I can't link to the A A-S). Here's his column from July 7, 2004:

The Olympic Games return in August to the land where they began in 776 B.C.E. and began anew in 1896 C.E. We are caretakers of a tradition of athletic competition that extends back a thousand years before the Olympics themselves. In the second millennium B.C.E., the Hittites in what is modern-day Turkey and the Homeric Greeks placed a high value on organized sports. We are a small part of bigger and older things.

The Hittites and Greeks had a range of competitive events for their young men: chariot-racing, spear-throwing, running, archery, jousting, weight-throwing, boxing and wrestling.

What did they compete for? Aethla or athla, what we call "awards" or "prizes." The notion of "awards" is the very root of our word "athlete," literally "he who contends for awards." The Hittites called "presentation ceremonies" tarpa - or the "pleasure part" of the overall social event. The tarpa gave society as a whole the opportunity to honor the competitors and what the competition symbolized for the athletes, spectators and organizers.

It would have been unthinkable for any participants in Hittite athletics or in the ancient Olympics not to take part in the award ceremonies, whether they finished first, second, third or lower.

The University of Texas Longhorns baseball team recently did not take part in the presentation ceremonies after their upset losses at the College World Series finals in Omaha. Few involved in the controversy that followed know the long history of Western sportsmanship. But by now, they should know what is expected of young adult athletes.

American-Statesman sports journalist Kirk Bohls triggered the debate by rightly questioning what the Longhorns team had done, or in this case, had not done. His sources, Steve Pivovar of the Omaha World-Herald and Dennis Poppe, have attended the College World Series for 25 and 17 years, respectively. They had never seen the second-place team fail to come out for the trophy presentations to both teams.

Bohls' thinking mirrored my own. The awards ceremony is when athletes on the losing team show their true dignity, after the heat of competition. In Omaha, they would have acknowledged and honored the champions on the field and proudly accepted their trophies as second-best team in the nation. My former student, UT's Rhodes scholar and former second-baseman Sean Braswell, wrote me from Oxford, England, saying that the team should also have taken the field to acknowledge its debt to its many fans.

According to the piranha-principles of modern media, what the student-athletes should have done was soon lost in attacking and defending UT head Coach Augie Garrido. It is understandable then that Garrido's "apology" on UT's Web site denies that there was any reason for Bohls or anyone else to be upset in the first place. It is accompanied by a statement from the coach of champion team Cal State-Fullerton that Garrido had discharged his duties with a handshake and personal phone calls.

This all strikes me as playing the game "May the best man spin." Neither statement mentions the duties of the Longhorns players.

Assistant Athletics Director Bill Little thoughtfully discussed with me at length the Athletics Department's position on what had happened and how unfair this all is to Garrido. And indeed the personal attacks are unfair. This one blip should not overshadow a career of great achievement.

But it is also unfair to shoot the messenger and ignore the message. Bohls placed the emphasis where it should be - squarely on the team's actions. Garrido claims it was unclear what the NCAA expected of his team after the game. But what did he expect of the team, and what did the players expect of themselves?

Little disputes Pivovar's and Poppe's statements. He says that in some other sports, the NCAA no longer requires the runners-up to attend the awards ceremony and that it has not been standard procedure recently at the College World Series for the second-place team to take the field afterward.

But at least one team has been doing the right thing. I contacted the coach's office of Stanford University, the intercollegiate baseball second-place team in 2000, 2001 and 2003, and received this statement:

"We have always gone through the awards ceremony at the World Series . . . when we have been champions and when we have finished second. The 'ceremony' that takes place is (that) each player and coach receives their participation trophy and then a representative from the team (coach, captains, etc.) accepts the NCAA trophy. Following these presentations to each team, the All Tournament Team is announced and each of those players come forward to receive their award."

The NCAA and UT athletics need to think long and hard. Garrido and Little are men of integrity who want to do what is right by UT athletes. Intercollegiate sports should resist the "win or you're a loser" mentality that is now so pervasive. What is right has been right for more than 3,500 years.

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CHATTER: That Atlantis Thing

I'm just cleaning up email in anticipation of our impending vacation (more on that later) and I found an item from the Cyprus Mail meant for Explorator which I forgot to post last weekend. It was sent in by a reader (thanks DS!) and here's the incipit:

A PAPHOS-based organisation that investigates paranormal phenomena is challenging American author Robert Sarmast’s assertion that the lost city of Atlantis lies off Cyprus. The group says they have conducted a remote viewing experiment with the participation of a former US military ‘psychic spy’.

John Knowles, who runs Psychognosia with his wife Linda Leblanc, recently engaged Sarmast, the author of Discovery of Atlantis: The Startling Case for the Island of Cyprus, in a friendly debate on Paphos TV, challenging his claims based on history and on the accounts of Plato, which is the main source of Sarmast’s theory on the location of Atlantis.

Following the TV debate, Leblanc said that it seemed like an ideal opportunity to display the skills of what she called one of the one of the world's most talented ‘remote viewers’ and one of the top US military former ‘psychic spies’, Joseph McMoneagle.

It is known that the US and Russian military have over the years conducted extensive research in the use of extra-sensory perception (ESP) to obtain intelligence information. The practice is known as remote viewing and McMoneagle has written four books about his experiences working for the US Defence Department. Following his retirement from the military, he established a company that conducts remote viewing under contract with private individuals and companies

“Using only the map co-ordinates of Sarmast, we commissioned Joseph McMoneagle to report what he found at this location before Sarmast conducts his underwater exploration,” said Leblanc.

“As is McMoneagle's usual protocol, he did not know we were the contractor. All he had was the co-ordinates that Sarmast proposes to use, in a sealed envelope, with general questions we provided, on the outside of the envelope. There was no mention of "Atlantis" or Cyprus, either by us or in McMoneagle’s three-page report.

McMoneagle was asked to describe what he saw within a two-mile radius of the coordinates both 10,000 years ago and at the present time.

His report said he perceived what appeared to be 10,000 years ago a generally elongated island running approximately east-northeast to west-southwest, approximately 235 kilometres in length and 65-75 kilometres wide at its widest with two moderately tall mountains at either end of the island.

He said there was a predominant city on the island with a system of buildings which seemed to represent homes “for lack of a better word”. “These appear to be apartments or clusters of homes that are interconnected with streets that run in lines outward from the central core of the city that sits at the foot of the mountain bluff,” the report said.

And a bit from towards the end:

Under the water McMoneagle perceived some ruins buried in muck and mud, but these are hard to recognise against the remains of the mountain which was also restructured by the collapse of a significant portion of the island during the upheaval that took place during the great flood, he said. McMoneagle classed the ancient city as pre-Sumerian. This would date it prior to 3,500 BC.

Knowles told the Cyprus Mail that it was very likely that Sarmast would in fact uncover an ancient city where his expedition will take place but he said he was concerned that this would be presented as Atlantis, when in fact the likelihood is remote.

“The bottom of the Mediterranean is littered with civilisations so I would not be surprised if some evidence of one is dredged up but they must know in their hearts that it is not Atlantis,” Knowles said. [more ... if you really want to know]

Of course, psychic confirmation was necessary to keep interest in Sarmast's expedition up, what with all those satellite photos from Spain and all.

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LUDI: Alley Oop

Alley Oop goes back to future times to find help for Milo ...
6:44:12 AM    Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


ante diem xiii kalendas sextilias

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Rose Williams, The Labors of Aeneas: What A Pain It Was to Found the Roman Race.

Linda Jones Hall (ed.), Confrontation in Late Antiquity: Imperial Presentation and Regional Adaptation.

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BLOGWATCH: The State of the Classical Blogosphere

Blogographos alerts us to the fact that the Virtual Tophet, another incipient Classics blog, has decided to close down. Pity -- that's Phluzein and VT in the same week (we might mention that the art history blog Out of Lascaux seems to have demised months ago). I continue to wonder about Nephelokokkygia, Goddess in the Doorway, and the Hellenophile, none of which has published anything since May. On a more positive note,'s Ancient History/Classics  site is still going strong, as are Curculio, Classics in Contemporary Culture, and Sauvage Noble and/or Caelestis (the latter has split into two separate blogs ... Sauvage Noble is more Classics and Caelestis more personal). Also in the still-alive-and-still-worth-visiting category (besides those mentioned in the previous Blogwatches) are Passionate About History and  Hobbyblog. When we roll out our 'new look' for rogueclassicism (actually, it's almost an old look ... hearkening back to the days when Explorator was Commentarium), many of these still-surviving blogs will be more easily 'caught up on' with some interesting technology first brought to my attention by Debra Hamel of Blogographos. And so we've come full circle ... stay tuned.
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BLOGWATCH: @ Martialis

If you haven't visited Martialis of late, the Latin and translation of Martial's epigrams is up to 1.46 now.
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BLOGWATCH: @ Laudator Temporis Acti

Recent excerpta of interest include Thoreau on the Iliad ... Life Outdoors ... Open for Business ... check out the blog itself.
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CHATTER: Young Alexander

An Explorator reader sent this one in (thanks LP!), but I don't know about its shelf life ... we've mentioned the Young Alexander flick currently being filmed in Egypt. A brief item from Payvan's Iran News includes a poster:

I don't know if this is an 'official' poster, but it does have one of those things that really annoys me ... the substitution of some Greek letter for a Roman one on the basis that it looks alike. So anyone with knowledge of Greek automatically reads this as "Alexapder". The worst example, though, is a reception hall in Hamilton, Ontario which is supposedly called the Olympia, but which has a psi where the 'y' should be ... my wife quizzically looked at me the first time I saw the sign and was trying to pronounce 'Olpsmpia'.

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CHATTER: Decisive Battles

If you've perused our latest Ancient World on Television listings, you might have noticed the descriptions of the various segments of the Decisive Battles series. This is the series we've mentioned before which uses technology from the Rome:Total War video game series to recreate the various battles. Here's some hype from a press release at Yahoo:

DECISIVE BATTLES is unlike any series The History Channel has ever aired. Employing the same advanced computer gaming technology as in the highly- anticipated new video game Rome: Total War(TM), the series gives viewers an unprecedented perspective of ancient battles by re-creating troops in their vast numbers and landscapes on a scale otherwise impossible. Instead of recounting these ancient battles though drawings, paintings and reenactments using actors, they spring to life in this new computer animation that allows viewers a gods-eye view of the battlefield with its massive numbers of troops, their formations, and the weapons and strategies each side employed. Viewers will get the vantage point the generals wish they'd had.

Hopefully this series will get play in Canada ...

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AUDIO: Nemea or the Olympics

NPR's Morning Edition has a feature (one of those National Geographic Expeditions things) on the ancient Olympics via a visit to the site of Nemea. Of course, they talk to Stephen Miller (as well as some others) ... there's a link to some nice photos as well.
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CHATTER: DH Lawrence on the Etruscans

The Scotsman has a lengthy background piece on the Etruscans to accompany notice of a review of that Etruscan exhibition that's currently at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh. Most of it is stuff most folks probably know, but it opens with an interesting bit from D.H. Lawrence:

THE Etruscans, as everyone knows, were the people who occupied the middle of Italy in early Roman days, and whom the Romans, in their usual neighbourly fashion, wiped out entirely in order to make room for Rome with a very big R." That was how DH Lawrence put it and it is still a fair summary of what we think about the Etruscans - if we think about them at all. If we do, we are likely to be vague, and with reason. They are a mystery. They were ancient Rome’s closest neighbours for centuries but, to use a modern metaphor, they were in bed with an elephant and in the end it rolled over and obliterated them, leaving very little trace. It was partly the mystery that was left, their ghostly presence in the landscape, that attracted Lawrence. He saw it "folded in like a dark thought/For which the language is lost" in the tall cypress trees of Tuscany, and the region still bears the name of the Etruscans who once lived there. [more]

The exhibition website, by the way,  is well-done and has a few objects to peruse. I'd never heard about D.H. Lawrence's Etruscan Places (I'm a Classics guy, not an English guy) ... it doesn't appear to be in the public domain yet (or at least hasn't been put on the web).

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CHATTER: Achilles as the USA

Interesting editorial from the Augusta Free Press tries to make a connection between Troy and the US ... somewhat differently than previous attempts. Here's the concluding bit:

In an interview with the BBC at the Cannes Film Festival, Pitt compared the bloodthirsty kings Agamemnon and Menelaus to contemporary leaders who are pursuing war. In the same interview, co-star Saffron Burrows underscored that the film's primary identification was with the Trojans, not the Greeks, when she said that there was a "terrible sense of deja vu about what the Trojans faced and what we're facing at the moment."

What the Trojans faced - invasion by an overwhelmingly superior military power - has no contemporary analogue for American audiences to identify with. In the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, however, Achilles' public humiliation of his defeated enemy is likely to produce just the sort of ambivalent response that American moviegoers are giving the film.

The ancient Greek heroes were supposed to represent the perfect embodiment of some valued element of their culture. The wily Odysseus was the perfect embodiment of cunning, Hercules the perfect embodiment of strength. Achilles is the perfect warrior in a warrior culture. The fact America has not embraced him as the perfect embodiment of its own aspirations suggests that it continues to have ambiguous feelings about the use of military power divorced from moral integrity.

While Americans can look at characters such as Aragorn (in "The Lord of the Rings"), Captain Aubrey (in "Master and Commander"), or Davy Crockett (in "The Alamo") and see in them virtues such as courage, sacrifice and honor that can and have been manifested in war, the feelings and questions raised by Troy are much less comfortable: Does the rest of the world view us as the Trojans did the Greeks? Are they right to do so?

Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" has been the cinematic focal point for most recent discussion about the war in Iraq. The Internet site "Movie Mojo" reports that Moore's film has made 93 percent of its grosses domestically. Troy, conversely, has made 72 percent of its gross internationally, making nearly 60 times as much money overseas as has the Moore film ($344 million to $6.5 million).

What do these numbers mean? I would argue that they suggest that "Troy" is performing the same cultural work overseas that the previously mentioned films performed in America, that of buttressing our view of ourselves as the aggrieved and injured party in military and global conflict.

Whether or not America wants to see itself as a modern-day Achilles, it must surely come to terms with the fact that this is how it is viewed by much of the rest of the world. [the whole thing]

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AWOTV: On TV Today

9.00 p.m. |DCIVC| James, Brother of Jesus

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

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