Latest update: 9/1/2004; 6:23:43 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ More Changes

Now we'll fiddle with the sidebar ... if this works, it will be interesting ... it did ... now a mailto link

Monday, August 16, 2004 7:26:40 PM

~ This Day in Ancient History

Nothing ... not even a reasonably-well-attested martyr. Monday, August 16, 2004 9:11:39 AM

~ Another Google Olympics Banner

Folks were pretty excited about Google's 'Classical' banner created for the Olympics over the past few days. Well, the fun continues with a new banner to commemorate the swimming events. Monday, August 16, 2004 7:29:10 AM

~ Microsoft's Latest Project

Microsoft's latest thing which seems to have folks grumbling is something called Palladium ... here's the incipit of an article on it (i.e. the part with the ClassCon):

Athena, born full-grown from the head of Zeus, was trained in the fighting arts. She accidentally killed her friend, Pallas, during a game. It saddened her so much that she appended the name of her friend to her own. A statue of Pallas Athena in full armor, known as the Palladium, stood guard over the ancient city of Troy. Legend held that as long as the statue was safe, so was the city. During the 10th year of the Trojan War, Odysseus and Diomed stole the statue. The city soon fell to the nefarious Greeks, who hid inside a wooden horse.

Thus, Palladium has been defined as a safeguard, a guarantee of social institutions or a sacred object with the power to preserve the city or state it protects. And the Trojan horse? Well, I think you know the answer to that one.

Today, we find the word Palladium everywhere. It's an element: Pd, a silvery-white metal used in watch springs, dental fillings (still got a few of those) and surgical instruments. It's a restaurant in Philadelphia, a theatre and a band in Australia. No doubt, you can find many other interesting uses of the name - including Microsoft's proposed secure computer infrastructure.

Monday, August 16, 2004 7:20:00 AM

~ Bryn Mawr Classical Review(s)

Alan C. Bowen, Robert B. Todd, Cleomedes' Lectures on Astronomy. A Translation of The Heavens with an Introduction and Commentary.

Vinzenz Brinkmann, Raimund Wünsche, Bunte Götter. Die Farbigkeit antiker Skulptur. Eine Ausstellung der Staatlichen Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek München in Zusammenarbeit mit der Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Kopenhagen und den Vatikanischen Museen, Rom.

Emilio Crespo, Luz Conti, Helena Maquieira, Sintaxis del Griego Clásico.

Catharine Edwards, Greg Woolf, Rome the Cosmopolis.

Monday, August 16, 2004 7:00:10 AM

~ Appeal To Roman Precedent: Roads

An opinion piece to something called ESR uses the Romans as a precedent to justify privatizing roads ... inter alia:

A gulf of contrast exists between this veiled theft of a status quo and the conditions of a private market in roads. Consider this: if you were a road entrepreneur, whose foremost concern is not "public service" (I repeat, re-election), but profit, would you seek to magnify your expenses by hiring costly road maintenance crews every year? Or would you use the modern technology at your disposal and incur only marginally higher initial costs to build a road that can serve you over twenty lifetimes without requiring repair? Moreover, if you, as a private entrepreneur, were to charge tolls for each vehicle that used your road, it would be in your interest to attract as many vehicles as possible. Every day and every stretch of space which construction occupies during the road's lifetime inherently cuts your profits by the amount that the cars passing through that space during that time would have generated in tolls! If you were at all intellectually endowed (and to become a road entrepreneur you would need to be), you would realize that authorizing major repairs on a private road, after it had already been opened, is financially ruinous!

Thus, it is evident that, if roads were privatized, and the unlimited private construction of new roads were authorized, major road maintenance would cease to exist altogether; there would be no need for it! As for those minor tasks of road cleaning, such as removing pebbles and roadkill, incentives will develop for private companies to invent means of doing so without interrupting the traffic flow, since such innovations will maximize the profit that these companies receive from an increased and steady volume of traffic.

The question still remains as to why the Roman roads have a life expectancy two thousand times greater than that of American roads. Were these roads privately built? Such a contention is not as far from the truth as may seem at first glance. Unlike modern armies, Rome's was not exclusively controlled by bureaucrats or raised on public funds. Often, generals themselves would devote vast private fortunes to the gathering, equipping, and rewarding of troops, who would swear loyalty oaths to their commander, not to the Roman state.

Commanders such as Marcus Crassus and Julius Caesar, both possessors of immense personal wealth, did precisely that. They needed to concern themselves with the logistical aspects of war as well, for these were what distinguished Roman armies from the barbarians they had to fight. Roman troops would often personally labor on the roads they would later use as avenues between their outposts on the empire's borders and channels of communication with the capital. Many a Roman general's pockets may have been deep, but they were not infinitely deep. And to prevent their depletion, the generals had every incentive to render the roads they commissioned as deep as possible! One may, using Rome's history as an example, question the wisdom of privatizing the military, but the private roads that such a private military built were the most impeccable ever seen in history. Were I given a choice of the route to travel on, I would favor a Roman road over any one of the modern American monstrosities, hands down. [the whole thing]

This is a bit of a non-sequitur, of course ... Roman roads were designed primarily for foot traffic. Those which had large amounts of chariot traffic had those well-known deep ruts worn into them over time ...

Monday, August 16, 2004 6:49:45 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

6.00 p.m.|HINT| Pompeii: Buried Alive
Exploration of the archaeological site of the city that was
encrusted by incendiary ash when deadly Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79
AD. Archaeological director Baldasarre Conticello takes viewers on a
tour of Pompeii's ruins, and visits Herculaneum, which was destroyed
by Vesuvius at the same time. 
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Secrets of the Aegean Apocalypse
Around 1,200 BC, an ancient Armageddon destroyed nearly every known
civilization. What could have caused it? The theories are many, but
most now include one mysterious and massively destructive factor--a
force only the Egyptians survived to name: The Sea People. Who were
these warriors and how could they take down the world's greatest
powers in a span of just 50 years? Scale the dizzying heights of
Crete's mountain fortress with archaeologist Krzysztof Nowicki as he
searches for clues.

Channel Guide

Monday, August 16, 2004 6:17:03 AM

1. n. an abnormal state or condition resulting from the forced migration from a lengthy Classical education into a profoundly unClassical world; 2. n. a blog about Ancient Greece and Rome compiled by one so afflicted (v. "rogueclassicist"); 3. n. a Classics blog.

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