Latest update: 9/1/2004; 6:24:01 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem ix kalendas septembres

  • rites in honour of Luna at the Graecostasis
  • mundus patet -- the mundus was a ritual pit which had a sort of vaulted cover on it. Three times a year the Romans removed this cover (August 24, Oct. 5 and November 8) at which time the gates of the underworld were considered to be opened and the manes (spirits of the dead) were free to walk the streets of Rome.
  • 72 A.D. -- martyrdom of Batholomew at Albanopolis
  • 79 A.D. -- Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae
  • 410 A.D. -- Alaric sacks Rome
  • 1971 -- death of Carl Blegen (excavator of Pylos)
  • 1997 -- death of Philip Vellacott
Tuesday, August 24, 2004 8:23:31 AM

~ Torch Races

In case you don't check out our little selection of Feedsweeps over there in the right hand column, Laudator has a nice little piece on torch relays/races in antiquity ... Tuesday, August 24, 2004 8:13:06 AM

~ Serpents Island

Here's an interesting little tidbit from an article about an island currently known as Serpents Island:

The small, barren island (17 hectares, with a perimeter of 1,973 meters) is situated at the east of the Danube's River mouth, 44.8 kilometers from the Romanian port of Sulina. The island was mentioned frequently in works by ancient Greek writers, when it was called Leuke, or the White Island. This is due to its calcareous geological structure. The Greeks built on the island a temple dedicated to Achilles, the mythological hero of Homer's "Iliad." The temple was destroyed in 1837 by Russian sailors, who used its stones for the construction of a lighthouse. The name Serpents Island may be traced back to the 14th-century period of Genovese dominance over the Black Sea, and is apparently due to the many reptiles found by the Genovese sailors in the ancient Greek temple's water reservoirs. The island itself lacks fresh water, however, and this is one of the reasons that until recently it was never inhabited.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 8:02:53 AM

~ JOB: UKans -- Latin Language and Lit (tenure track)

The Department of Classics invites applications for the position of Assistant Professor of Classics, with research and teaching specialization in Latin language and literature.  This is a tenure-track appointment, to begin August 2005 (contingent on final budgetary approval).  Teaching responsibilities will be two courses per semester, with emphasis on undergraduate and M.A. level courses in Latin language and literature and Greek and Roman civilization, including mythology.  Course rotation may include courses in Greek language and literature.  Ph.D. required. Salary: $44,000-49,000.

First consideration will be given to applications received by December 3, 2004.

Complete applications will include: cover letter, CV, graduate transcripts, and three letters of reference.  Sample course syllabi, a summary of teaching evaluations, and sample publications are also recommended (if available).  Send application to (e-mailed and faxed materials are not acceptable): John G. Younger, Acting Chair, Classics Department, 1445 Jayhawk Boulevard, 2099 Wescoe Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS  66045-7590.  For further information email, telephone 785-864-3263, or access the department's homepage

Initial interviews will be held at the joint meeting of the American Philological Association and the Archaeological Institute of America, January 6-9, 2005 in Boston MA.  Telephone interviews will be arranged for short-listed applicants who are unable to attend this meeting.

The University of Kansas is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  The University encourages applications from underrepresented group members.  Federal and state legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, disability, and veteran status.  In addition, University policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status, and parental status.

... seen on AegeaNet

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 7:55:40 AM

~ BMCR Reviews

Kenneth Haynes, English Literature and Ancient Languages.

Mary Stieber, The Poetics of Appearance in the Attic Korai.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 7:53:52 AM

~ Father of Crime Writers

The Toronto Star clearly is jealous of the attention the Globe and Mail has received from rogueclassicism and so slips some ClassCon into a piece on crime writing:

Herodotus, the father of history, might also have been the father of crime writers with his 5th century BC yarn about Gyges murdering the King of Lydia, at the invitation of the royal missus, in order to usurp his throne and marriage bed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 7:16:21 AM

~ Wheelock and Rick Lafleur

Ah, 'tis a fine day when one presses a mouse button and brings up an article commenting on the work Rick Lafleur has done with Wheelock ... an AP report from the Kansas City Star:

Can there really be anything new to say in a Latin textbook? Richard LaFleur, who took over the "Wheelock's Latin" series in the mid-1990s after author Frederic Wheelock's death in 1987, says Latin may not have changed much, but teaching has, and the culture in which Latin students learn has evolved as well.

The original Wheelock's Latin, published a half-century ago, was unusual for its time. It got students reading authentic Latin passages almost from the start rather than using "made-up" Latin to reinforce lessons. And while most Latin texts relied heavily on Julius Caesar's battlefield dispatches, Wheelock did away with Caesar in favor of a broader selection.

LaFleur says he has essentially expanded on those trends, adding longer passages and more varied readings.

"We've moved so far away from teaching just dead, white imperialist males," LaFleur says. Now, "we're looking at not just the generals, the politicians, the upper classes, but thanks to archaeology in particular, we've learned so much about the inhabitants of the ancient Mediterranean at all levels."

One new reading from Pliny, for instance, pays tribute to the recently deceased daughter of a friend. There are changes in vocabulary, too, like teaching the word "medica" for female physician - small numbers of them existed in ancient Rome - instead of just the masculine "medicus."

It also means humor, from livelier, racy poems to a section at the end of each chapter called "Latina Est Gaudium - Et Utilis ("Latin is fun - and useful"), which often points to connections between Latin and English.

Wheelock's daughter, Deborah Wheelock Taylor, says her father was constantly striving to improve teaching methods and would be delighted to see how the book has evolved - even the racy poems.

In the college classes he taught, he assembled ragtag visual displays using maps torn from Life magazine. He loved hearing Latin read aloud, she says, and would be thrilled with the audio recordings that will soon be available online.

"He would have gotten such a kick that exists," she says. "Never in his wildest dreams would he have been able to do that himself or envisioned it."

Wheelock may have even signaled his views on progress in his own work, quoted in his entry in the Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists:

"Teaching is an act of faith which often bears its fruits years later, when the teacher is not present to witness them."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:58:39 AM

~ Roman Mosaic Uncovered

From This Is Hertfordshire:

AN ARCHAEOLOGIST has unearthed a colourful 3rd Century mosaic in Verulamium Park, St Albans, during building works on the ancient hypocaust and mosaic site.

The field archaeology unit at St Albans Museums was digging a trench for a new electricity cable when Jack Couch made the new find of a chequered mosaic.

Probably not seen for nearly 2,000 years, the mosaic is made up of red or brown tessera in a grid of grey Purbeck marble. It may be from the corridor of a town house built close to the hypocaust.

In Roman times hot air, stoked from a pit in a smaller adjoining room, was drawn underneath the floor of the hypocaust building, once part of a large house with up to 35 rooms.

Keeper of archaeology at St Albans Museums Dave Thorold said: "A new mosaic is always an interesting find. This type of mosaic would have been found in a high quality town house with between 20 to 30 rooms.

"The annoying thing is that because the park has English Heritage protection, we weren't allowed to dig out any more than necessary to put the cable down. We could only see part of the mosaic, which is probably about one metre wide and up to 10 metres long."

The UK's leading expert on Romano British mosaics, David Neal, was called in to record and photograph the mosaic. He said it was well made, laid and composed and was remarkable for the unusual width of the border.

The piece, which is developed from the popular chequer board pattern of the 1st Century, will feature in Mr Neal's multi-volume publication detailing all Roman mosaics. It has now been covered by a protective layer of sand and the trench has been filled in.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:55:32 AM

~ Dining Ancient Athenian Style

We often hear of a restaurant here or there which tries to recreate the Roman dining experience, but I don't think we've ever heard of one which gives similar treatment to the Athenian side. In a sort of omnibus piece, however, the Anchorage Daily News tells about just that:

Plato never ate a potato. Socrates drank his fatal cup of hemlock without ever tasting spaghetti. And his peers went without tomatoes, sugar, oranges and those modern Greek essentials, coffee and cigarettes.

The ancients, however, didn't go without sipping diluted wine all day and lounging on a comfortable sofa after a marathon session of eating and imbibing.

Contemporary gourmands can get a taste of the ancients' diet at Ancient Tastes, an Athens restaurant that is reviving menus from thousands of years ago when the Parthenon was still new and fast food meant chasing a pig.

With harp and recorder music softly playing, servers in traditional tunics ferry plates of goat meat casseroles with chickpea puree, sweet-and-sour shrimp, salads with arugula, raisins and pomegranate, and sweets made with dried fruits, yogurt and honey.

For athletes, the sporting diet was nuts, yogurt, fruits and soft cheeses. After the fifth century B.C., meat, preferably goat because of its lack of fat, was added to the training table.

Dimitris Kechris, the restaurant's head chef, said some dishes never had a chance to make the menu, like the dressing made from fermented fish and garnished with rose petals.

"Some dishes were a bit extreme -- the ancient Greeks ate crickets -- and we couldn't imagine eating them now. So we chose dishes which appeal to people today."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:35:41 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HISTU|  The Trial of Jesus  
Shockingly little is known, historically, about the trial and execution of Jesus. What actions resulted in his death? Who was responsible for his trial and sentencing? How did his ministry pass down through the ages? Why do most biblical scholars insist that the gospel account can't be true? Through literary detective work, historical art imagery, and commentary from respected biblical scholars, we bring First-Century Judea to life--a land of messianic messengers in a time of revolution.

HISTU = History Channel (U.S.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:13:11 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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