NUNTII: Kerameikos Museum Reopens
The Kerameikos Museum in Athens has just reopened, according to Kathimerini:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 9:59:12 AM
The Kerameikos Museum, closed for refurbishment over the past year and a half, reopened on Monday, with a major new find forming the centerpiece of its new display.
The Kerameikos Kouros, unearthed in May 2002, is a striking, 2.10-meter statue of the Archaic era whose beauty, unaltered over 2,500 years, stunned the German archaeologists who found it.
Apart from the Kouros, the renovated museum houses more new finds, including a Sphinx found with it that dates to 560 BC, two funerary marble lion sculptures (the better preserved of the two dates to the sixth century BC) and fragments from a marble Ionic-style pillar and a Doric-style pillar.
The four sculptures had found a second career as supports for a road that crossed the cemetery of Kerameikos, archaeologists say.
The discoveries came as a complete surprise at the end of the methodical excavations carried out by the German Archaeological Institute. The most exciting of the finds is the Kouros, which is attributed to the Dipylos sculptor, the artist who constructed the large, so-called Dipylos Head, which is now at the National Archaeological Museum. [more]
CHATTER: US as Rome
We haven't had a U.S.-as-Rome piece for quite a while, so here's the intro to a piece at WorldNet Daily:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 9:33:58 AM
Recent subscribers may be concerned I've gone over to the dark side. Some have taken a leap of logic, believing that since I despise Bush, I must therefore be a supporter of Kerry.
Americans increasingly, and in so many ways, find themselves in the position of the Romans of the early empire. After Tiberius died, there was great rejoicing, since people figured it couldn't get much worse. But it did: They got Caligula, then Claudius, then Nero – and the decline of the Empire was just beginning. Some emperors were noted more for incompetence, some for dissipation, or viciousness, or stupidity, or paranoia, or – choose your vice. History would show that the immense power of the office brought out the worst in almost everybody. [more]
NUNTII: Archaeological Finds at Anzio
Another one we hope we'll hear more about ... A brief item in the Graziarosa Villani Press mentions the find of some Roman imperial era marbles/statuary in the sea near Anzio (ancient Antium). While most folks probably associate Anzio with WWII, it was the site in ancient times of a major imperial 'villa', which reached palatial proportions under Nero.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 9:30:37 AM
THIS DAY IN ANCIENT HISTORY
pridie idus sextiles
Thursday, August 12, 2004 8:04:14 AM
- rites in honour of Hercules Invictus in the Circus maximus
- rites in honour of Venus Victrix, Honos, Virtus, and Felicitas
in Pompey's theatre
- 305 A.D. -- martyrdom of Anicetus and companions at Nicomedia
CHATTER: Homer v. Homer
This one from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer appeared on the Classics list yesterday (and in my mailbox this a.m.) ... obvious rogueclassicism material:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:51:22 AM
One of them was a great epic poet of Greek antiquity whose two major works laid the foundation for all literature in western civilization. The other is a suburban Springfielder and safety inspector whose wry, ironic and sometimes outlandish commentaries on all things contemporary have entertained millions.
Homer is credited with writing (or compiling) the two great epic poems of ancient Greece, the "Iliad" and "The Odyssey." It is generally accepted that Homer composed them between the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.
Homer Jay Simpson, a resident of Evergreen Terrace, a section of Springfield, is a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Likes: Donuts and beer. Dislikes: His boss, Mr. Burns, and his neighbor, Ned Flanders. Married to Marge. Three children: Bart, Lisa, Maggie.
HOMER: "To labor is the lot of man."
HOMER SIMPSON: "I'm going to the backseat of my car with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes."
HOMER: "His speech flowed from his tongue sweeter than honey."
HOMER SIMPSON: "Good drink, good meat, good God, let's eat!"
HOMER: "Toil is the lot of all."
HOMER SIMPSON: "If something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can't speak English."
HOMER: "Keep aloof from sharp contentions."
HOMER SIMPSON: "I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming."
HOMER: "There is no greater glory for any man alive than that which he wins by his hands and his feet."
HOMER SIMPSON: "Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get."
HOMER: "The difficulty is not to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for."
HOMER SIMPSON: "Operator! Give me the number for 911!"
HOMER: "There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife."
HOMER SIMPSON: "A woman is like a beer. They smell good, they look good, you'd step over your own mother just to get one!"
HOMER: "To be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds."
HOMER SIMPSON: "What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind!"
HOMER: "Always be first and surpass everyone else."
HOMER SIMPSON: "Trying is the first step towards failure."
HOMER: "Those who live by their strength are doomed to perish by it."
HOMER SIMPSON: "I can't believe it! Reading and writing actually paid off!"
HOMER: "We are quick to flare up, we races of men on the earth."
HOMER SIMPSON: "D'oh!!!"
LUDI: Gates of Troy Download
This one was mentioned on the Imperial Rome list ... Slitherine has put a fully functional (apparently) turn-limited demo of its game Gates of Troy online; if you have a high-speed connection (the file is 95 megs), enjoy!
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:44:56 AM
CHATTER: Elgin/Parthenon Marbles
Reuters mentions the latest 'tactic' in Greece's efforts to regain the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles:
Greece has called on Britain to use the occasion of the Athens Olympics to promise to return the Elgin Marbles.
"The Olympics are starting now and we would very much like a commitment for their return," said Culture Ministry official Elena Korka.
In London, no British officials were available for comment, but Britain's line has always been it has no plans to hand back the 5th century BC masterpieces that were taken from the Parthenon temple by Thomas Bruce, the Earl of Elgin, in 1803. [more]
I wonder who in Britain is expected to respond ...
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:33:16 AM
CHATTER: Another Ancient Olympic Profile
Interesting that we're getting this smattering of accounts of ancient Olympians ... this time it's Theagenes of Thasos in the Herald:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:21:00 AM
Nothing new here, then. In 480BC, Theagenes of Thasos beat the great Olympic boxing champion, Euthymos of Lokroi. Euthymos was posthumously deified, according to the legend on his statue at Olympia.
Theagenes became perhaps an even greater champion. He also won the pankration, a vicious form of wrestling in which one had to master various means of strangulation. Bending ankles, twisting arms, punching and even jumping on opponents was legal.
Thegenes won this contest at Olympia in 776BC, and he also logged three Pythian Games victories in boxing and 19 in boxing and the pankration at the Nemean and Isthmian games.
These four festivals were stephanitic or crown games: no prize money, only an olive crown. However, he is recorded as having won 1376 victories at chrematitic, or money games – rather like grand prix events today. These are estimated to have earned him £22.5m pounds during his career.
The base of his statue still stands in the market place of Thasos. The bronze figure was flogged nightly by an enemy who could never vanquish him in life.
Yet even in death, Theagenes was the victor. His statue toppled and killed the aggressor. Under the laws of the day, the family prosecuted the statue for murder, and it was cast into the sea.
CHATTER: Al-Qaeda and Homer
Interesting article at Anti-War.com ... it takes its impetus from the author being sent an interview with the leader of one of the recent attacks in Saudi Arabia:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:17:11 AM
Much of Al-Nashami's account could come straight from Homer. It stresses the vast strength and great riches of the opponent, contrasted with the weakness of the four men who made up the al-Qaeda raiding group. Allah is a constant player, just as gods fought for Greeks and Trojans. Defeated enemies are publicly humiliated: "We tied the infidel by one leg [behind the car] … everyone watched the infidel being dragged." While the enemy was strong in numbers, they were also cowards: "We encountered forces that hastened to defend the Americans. … Their great cowardice was evidenced by their behavior. They were very far away, and as we approached them they kept withdrawing and distancing themselves." Heroes boast and show enemy heads: "Brother Nimr swaggered around inside the compound … we found a Swedish infidel. Brother Nimr cut off his head, and put it at the gate so that it would be seen by all those entering and exiting."
Right in the midst of the fighting, when the raiders are hungry they eat, and when they are tired they sleep. After the first encounter, "We turned to the hotel. We entered and found a restaurant, where we ate breakfast and rested a while." Later, surrounded by Saudi security forces, "The brothers slept for an hour. … Then we decided we would be the ones to attack." [the whole thing]
CHATTER: Sinister Suggestion
A piece in the Scotsman all about being left-handed includes the obligatory list of folks who preferred sinister manipulation and points us to a full list at the Anything Left-Handed site. Among the ancient folk who are claimed to be left-handed are:
Alexander the Great
On several occasions in the past, I have looked for a source for such claims (especially in regards to Alexander and Julius Caesar) and have come up empty. If anyone can point to an ancient source on the subject, please send it along!
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:11:51 AM
CHATTER: Olympic Visual
Teachers might want to keep their eye open for a sidebar thingy that looks like this:
It's an AP wire thing so it should be easy to find ...
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:03:13 AM
CHATTER: Olympic Opening Redux
Some more details on the opening ceremonies (tomorrow!) from AP (via the Pasadena Star)... so much for secrecy:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 7:00:10 AM
Then, in the countdown to the festivities, hundreds of drummers march into the stadium, pounding to the rhythm of a heartbeat. A centaur a half man, half horse emerges from the center of the lake. He shoots an arrow intended to look like a comet into the water and lights up an Olympic symbol of the five rings.
A boy on a replica of the ship sails out into the arena. Getting off the ship, he runs to officials and the Greek flag is raised.
In another segment, three giant statues in varying styles of ancient Greek art one placed inside the other break apart. They are then pulled by wires high above the ground and float, where images of human conception are projected onto them. The last sculpture is a cube on which a man, dressed as an athlete, sits. He is lifted into the air by wires and runs on the cube.
The spectacle is meant to be "an allegoric journey of the evolution of human consciousness. ... We embark on a journey using three Greek sculpture periods to take us through this journey ... from the mythological perception of the world to the logical,' said Dimitri Papaioannou, the concept creator of the ceremony.
At one point, the ancient god of love, Eros, flies above two lovers dancing and playing in the water.
Performers on moving platforms enact famous scenes from Greek art history. Minoan civilization, dating from 2000 to 1,500 B.C., is the subject of the first platform with a woman dressed as Medusa.
For the parade of nations, the people holding the placards with the names of the countries will be dressed up as ancient vases. A foreign entertainer possibly Iceland's Bjork will sing.
Performers dressed as athletes will be lifted into the air holding lanterns that look like rays of light, while a large metal ring floats above a tree. The ring breaks apart to become a globe, and the floating people go toward it.
Said Papaioannou: "The images were designed in a way to really take us to an emotional journey ... to be inspired by the images and not simply by the storytelling.'
CHATTER: Greek Origins
More from the Kansas City Star ... this time on the origin of some modern expressions:
Thursday, August 12, 2004 6:54:30 AM
• Biting the dust: From Homer's The Iliad. Zeus is beseeched not to “let the sun go down” until the Trojans “(f)all headlong in the dust and bite the earth.” The English phrase “to bite the dust” is said to have originated in an 1870 translation.
• Eat your heart out: Also from The Iliad. The hero Bellerophon “…wandered evermore through this Aleian field / Eating his heart out, fleeing the loathed company of men.” Homer liked this expression so much, he used it repeatedly in The Odyssey. “The phrase quickly became popular; but somehow it's been transformed from a piece of advice into an annoying crow of triumph,” writes Michael Macrone in It's Greek to Me! Brush Up Your Classics.
• Don't count your chickens: Did you know Aesop, the king of fables, was Greek? Sure enough. In his story “The Milkmaid and Her Pail,” the farmer's daughter muses about how the milk she's carrying will provide cream, which she will make into butter, which she will sell at the market. With that money she'll buy eggs, which when hatched will be chickens, “and by and by I shall have quite a large poultry-yard.” She has other fantasies, too, all of which are washed away when she spills the milk.
• Call a spade a spade: From Menander: “I know all and speak what I know, whether it be good or evil; I call a fig a fig and a kneading-trough a kneading-trough.” Thanks to a Renaissance translator's mistake — the Greek words for spade (something you dig with) and kneading-trough are similar — we call a spade a spade. It does at least trip off the tongue easier than “kneading-trough.”
• The unexamined life is not worth living: From Plato's Apology (Socrates' Defense): “And if I say again that the greatest good of man is daily to converse about virtue, and all those subjects concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you are still less likely to believe me.”
CHATTER: Greek Quotes R Us ... or Someone
The Kansas City Star has a collection of their favourite "Greek Quotes":
Those ancient Greeks were always good for a pithy quote. A few of our favorites (in English):
Marcus Aurelius: “Injustice is as often done by refraining from action as by action.”
Aristotle: “A friend is a second self.”
Menander: “Debts make free men slaves.”
Chilo: “Laugh not at the unfortunate, for we are all the puppets of fortune.”
Pindar: “Hopes are but the dreams of those who wake.”
Musonius: “You will be worthy of respect from all when you have first learned to respect yourself.”
Plato: “Not life, but a good life, is to be chiefly valued.”
Bias: “Listen to much, speak only what is timely.”
Theocritus: “Youth passes like a dream.”
Without commenting on the veracity of the quotes themselves, I still can't help but hear a paraphrase of that Sesame Street ditty ... "Two of these things are not like the others, two of these things just do not belong ...". I'm assuming this is a sidebar to another rather tepid piece in the same newspaper on what we all should know about the ancient Greeks.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 6:51:56 AM
CHATTER: Another Profile of an Ancient Olympian
From This is London:
He may not have modelled sunglasses, changed his hairstyle every season or been accused of dabbling with a PA.
But, in terms of sporting prowess, Marcus Aurelius Asklepiades seems to have been every inch the David Beckham of his day.
The 2nd-century Greek sportsman was a champion in the brutal event of pankration - a violent blend of wrestling and boxing, with only biting and eye-gouging barred.
Asklepiades never lost a bout and was said to have scared some of his opponents into submission with his physical appearance alone.
Whereas Beckham's football cannot - regrettably - continue beyond
penalties, pankration bouts would often go on until the death of the loser - or sunset, whichever came first.
After retiring at 25, Asklepiades went on to head the prestigious Athletic Guild and moved to Rome.
Dr Jason Konig, a lecturer in Greek and classical studies at St Andrews University, stumbled across the legend of the hitherto unknown Asklepiades while researching a book on ancient athletics.
Studying literature and a series of inscribed stones found in Rome 100 years ago, Dr Konig pieced together his life story.
Asklepiades, who was born into a wealthy family and whose father was also a pankratiast, won more than 20 top titles. His greatest triumph was at the 181AD Olympics.
This ensured fame and riches, as well as statues in his honour across the Mediterranean world.
'In those days, sport was just as important, just as popular as it is today and more hotly debated,' Dr Konig told Nature magazine.
It is unlikely Asklepiades shared Beckham's good looks. Sports stars in his era were celebrated for scars and cauliflower ears - the more physical damage the better.
The BBC also has an account of Konig and his research into Asklepiades.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 6:44:52 AM
CHATTER: Caligular Quote du Jour
Seen in the Philly Inquirer:
John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli the dwarf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, said recently, "You introduce a Republican to another in Hollywood, it's like a meeting between two Christians in Caligula's Rome."
In theory he'd know ... he also played Macro in I, Claudius.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 6:40:24 AM
AWOTV: On TV Tonight
7.00 p.m. |HINT| The Great Empire: Rome: Building an Empire
Host Joe Mantegna visits the vast territories conquered by the
imperial army--by the 2nd century AD, the empire spanned three
continents. The over 4,000 Roman cities were cultural melting pots,
where diverse customs and beliefs blended. Features life in Pompeii,
the flamboyant Emperor Hadrian, and religious revolts in Judea.
9.00 p.m. |DISCU| Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece
The ancient Greeks built the first theatres, staged the first sports
events and worshipped in some of the most spectacular temples ever
built.. From prehistoric palaces to bold symbols of victory, explore
the wonders of this ancient civilization.
10.00 p.m. |DISCU| First Olympian
Witness the spectacular world of the Olympics in 500 BC. The
skeletal remains of Ikkos, the athlete Taranto, were studied to piece
together the lifestyle of the earliest Olympic athletes. Find out how
the first Olympians trained, lived and worshipped.
11.30 p.m. |HISTU| Decisive Battles: Marathon
Marathon, Greece, September 490 BC. King Darius leads his Persian
army in an attack on Greece. When the Persian fleet, carrying massive
infantry and cavalry, arrived on Greek soil at Marathon Bay, the
Greeks were outnumbered 4:1. But in an heroic effort, the Athenian
hoplite warriors were victorious in a fight against both greater
numbers and time. Yet while they fought on land, Persian ships were
sailing round to sack the undefended city. Athens had to be warned--
thus Phidippides' 26-mile run.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 6:28:05 AM