Latest update: 10/1/2004; 5:10:41 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xvi kalendas octobres

  • ludi Romani (day 12)
  • 253 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cornelius at Rome
Thursday, September 16, 2004 6:01:53 AM

~ Leprosy in Ancient Greece and Rome

A piece on leprosy in the Scotsman set off (minor) alarms in my head. Inter alia is the claim:

Indian writings from 600 BC describe a disease that most experts agree was leprosy. It does not appear in the records of ancient Greece until the army of Alexander the Great came back from India in 326 BC and in Rome, the first mention coincides with the return of Pompeyís troops from Asia Minor in 62 BC.

Roman soldiers took the disease into northern Europe where it infected possibly a quarter of the population. It is known to have reached Ireland by 550 AD and may have taken hold in Scotland even earlier, scientists say. The Black Death killed hundreds of thousands of people already weakened by leprosy.

I find it difficult to believe that it took two and a half centuries for leprosy to make it from Greece to Italy ... the source for this claim appears to be at least one web page of dubious authority.

Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:56:06 AM

~ Still Searching for the Persian Armada

The expedition searching for remains of the Persian fleet wrecked off Mt. Athos in 492 B.C. drew a blank this year, according to Kathimerini:

Greek and international experts seeking the remains of a Persian armada that sank in northern Greece 2,500 years ago will press on with the project next year despite drawing a blank this summer, it was announced yesterday.

A first underwater survey last autumn off Mount Athos ó where the large invasion fleet came to grief during a storm in 492 BC ó had come up with the encouraging find of a bronze spearbutt, in an area where fishermen had pulled up two 2,500-year-old bronze helmets in 1999.

But a survey carried out between late May and mid-June failed to locate any more weapons or artifacts dating to the time of the invasion, Shelley Wachsmann of the Texas A&M Universityís Institute of Nautical Archaeology told an Athens conference on deep-water archaeology yesterday.

Several wrecks were located, mostly dating to the past few centuries. The 2005 survey will focus on the southwest coast of Mt Athos. According to the historian Herodotus, the storm cost the Persians 300 ships and 20,000 men in the first of their three great expeditions against Greece.

Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:46:22 AM

~ Quote from James Barber

The New York Times has an obituary of political commentator James Barber, which includes this interesting little quotation:

"The pathetic hope that the White House will turn a Caligula into a Marcus Aurelius is as naïve as the fear that ultimate power inevitably corrupts."

Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:41:34 AM

~ Sage Advice from Socrates

To tell the truth, I've never managed to track down the source of this little anecdote about Socrates, which appears most recently in Seacoast Online, but as a Grade Seven teacher (and father) I regularly use this little technique to keep the 'tattling' to a reasonable minimum:

... In fact, when folks around me begin to rev up on a bad-news or gossip track now, I find Iím just ready to move on, if itís not possible to change the subject to something that might take our thoughts to some place more useful.

Socrates is credited with a dandy little mechanism for filtering out this sort of dross from our lives. A story thatís gone around the block far more than once still offers some timely wisdom about this.

Itís said that the esteemed philosopher was approached one day by an acquaintance who couldnít wait to let him in on some information about a person they both knew.

Before hearing him out, Socrates asked first that this information be submitted to a sort of triple-filer test. The first of those filters, he said, was truth. Was the acquaintance absolutely certain that what he was about to say about this other person was true?

It seems that the acquaintance had simply heard it from someone else, a common method of acquiring information, of course, but couldnít confirm its veracity at all.

So, Socrates told him, since he didnít really know whether the information was true, it was time to apply the second filter, the filter of goodness. Was what the acquaintance was about to share about their friend something good?

A fair question, although most things that others rush to share in secret seldom are, as was the case in this instance.

So, Socrates, surmised, this man wanted to tell him something bad about another person, even though he wasnít certain that it was true. There was still one test remaining, the filter of usefulness. Is what the man wanted to tell him about his friend something that would be useful to the hearer?

Itís easy to guess the answer, and to understand why Socrates politely passed on the opportunity.

If more of us do the same, the demand for such things will definitely go down. And maybe, with time, television and popular media will be something Iím likely to turn to again.

Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:36:23 AM

~ Catullus @ Campus Mawrtius

... yet another I wanted to post yesterday ... over at Campus Mawrtius there is a nice little essay interpreting Catullus 50. I note that last night there were three short 'general' notes posted as well (not Catullus-specific), on Latin syntax, paranomasia, and autonomasia. Easiest to access these ones from the main page (actually, if you just go to the main page and scroll down you'll get the Catullus thing too). Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:31:15 AM

~ Cryptography @ Laudator

... another one I wanted to mention yesterday ... Laudator has a very interesting little feature on ancient cryptography, featuring the primary sources for 'Caesar's cipher' (say that ten times quickly), the Spartan skytale, and Polybius' 'checkerboard'. Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:25:25 AM

~ Roman Latrines @

I wanted to mention this one yesterday ...'s N.S. Gill has an interesting feature on Roman Latrines (and hygiene) which is worth a look ... Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:22:26 AM

~ Father Foster

This week, Father Foster waxes about Nero's Domus Aurea and the influence it had on guys like Raphael (I seem to recall this was a subject before; I'm not sure if this is a repeat). I also seem to have neglected to mention Father Foster last week, when he was chatting about matters tonsorial in Ancient Rome. If you need to catch up a bit with our favourite Carmelite, the Latin Lover homepage has four weeks worth of broadcasts available. Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:19:16 AM

~ Classical Archaeology (+) @ UOttawa (tenure track)

The Department of Classics and Religious Studies of the UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA announces the opening of a full-time, tenure-track position for an assistant professor starting 1 July 2005.

Field of specialization: Archaeology and Material Culture, with competence in the Greek and Roman worlds

PhD relevant to the field of Classics is required. Candidates should have sufficient refereed publications (minimum three) to qualify for supervising graduate research at the University of Ottawa.
Most of the teaching at the undergraduate level will deal with the archaeology and art history of the classical period, as well as with ancient history more generally. At the M.A. level, teaching will focus on the period of Late Antiquity. Since the department is in the process of focussing its M.A. programme on Late Antiquity (A.D. 200-700), preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated research expertise in this period.

The successful candidate will be expected to teach and direct research at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both French and English, and this immediately and competently upon assuming the position. The bulk of the teaching load will be in English.
Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience, and consistent with the University's Collective Agreement.All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Equity is a University policy. The University strongly encourages applications from women. Applications, including a curriculum vitae, one or two recent publications, and three letters of reference, should reach the department by 17 November 2004. Address to:

Dr. Geoffrey Greatrex, Chair,
Department of Classics and Religious Studies,
University of Ottawa, 70 Laurier Avenue
East, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5. Tel. 613-562-5714. Fax 613-562-5991.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:03:49 AM

~ Classical Archaeology @ UNB (tenure track)

The Department of Classics & Ancient History at the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton Campus) invites applications for a tenure-track position in Classical Archaeology at the Assistant Professor level effective July 1, 2005. The successful candidate shall have completed the PhD (or be near completion) with a strong background and continuing research interest in the archaeology of the Graeco-Roman World; shall be prepared to teach undergraduate courses in Greek and/or Latin; shall demonstrate an ability to lecture to large classes in Greek and Roman civilization; shall be responsible for developing a selection of undergraduate courses in Greek and Roman archaeology; will be asked to co-operate with archaeologists in other departments with a view to establishing a Minor programme in Archaeology; shall be participating actively in ongoing excavation work in classical lands. The University of New Brunswick is located in Fredericton, the capital city of New Brunswick, situated on the beautiful St. John River. UNB has a rich history and a legacy of excellence and makes a significant difference to the economic, social and cultural development in New Brunswick and around the world. Curriculum vitae, including three references, a teaching dossier (if available), should be sent by 1 December 2004 to:

Michael J. Mills, Chair
Department of Classics & Ancient History
University of New Brunswick
Box 4400
Fredericton, N.B. Canada E3B 5A3
Fax: (506) 447-3072 E-mail:

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian and permanent residents will be given priority. Applicants should indicate current citizenship status.
The University of New Brunswick is committed to the principle of employment equity.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:01:38 AM

~ Roman History or Ancient Philosophy @ Memorial

The Department of Classics at Memorial University of Newfoundland invites applications for an appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor. The department is particularly interested in the fields of Roman History and Society or in Ancient Philosophy, but will consider well-qualified candidates from other areas. We seek candidates who exhibit enthusiasm for teaching Greek and Latin language courses, as well as courses in translation. Applicants must provide evidence of excellence in both teaching and research. For information about the department, please visit our website at Applications should be directed to: Dr. T.J. Allen, Interim Head, Department of Classics, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johnís NL AIC 5S7. Phone: (709) 737-8593; fax: (709) 737-2135; email:

The position will commence July 1, 2005, subject to budgetary approval. A completed earned doctorate is required for the appointee to receive the rank of Assistant Professor and to be in a tenure-tack position. (If a successful candidate has not completed an earned doctorate, he/she shall be appointed to a regular term, non-renewable three-year appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor. If the candidate completes all the requirements for the doctorate during the first 24 months of the term, appointment, he/she shall begin a tenure-track appointment following completion of the requirements of the degree). Letters of application should be sent to the department, accompanied by a current curriculum vitae, a teaching dossier, and the names and addresses of three persons who can supply a letter of reference. Consideration of applications will begin October 18, 2004, and all applications should reach the Head no later than November 19, 2004.

Memorial University is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from qualified women and men, visible minorities, aboriginal people and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

Thursday, September 16, 2004 4:59:05 AM

~ Generalist @ Western (probationary tenure track)

Applications are invited for a probationary (tenure-track) position at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin July 1, 2005. The successful applicant will participate in a programme with a full range of courses in classical civilization and languages, and be expected to have a strong commitment to research and teaching, as well as a solid background in Greek and Latin philology. Although no particular area of expertise is being sought, preference will be given to candidates with a research-interest in Greek history. Applicants should have the Ph.D. or be in the final stages of its completion. The closing date for applications is November 30, 2004. A curriculum vitae, letters from three referees (or a dossier from a university placement office), university transcripts, and a sample of scholarly writing should be sent to Professor C. G. Brown, Chair, Department of Classical Studies, The University of Western Ontario, Talbot College, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7. Positions are subject to budgetary approval. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents will be given priority. Applicants should have fluent written and oral communication skills in English. The University of Western Ontario is committed to employment equity and welcomes applications from all qualified women and men, including visible minorities, aboriginal people, and persons with disabilities.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

Thursday, September 16, 2004 4:56:46 AM

~ Reviews from BMCR

Karl-Joachim Holkeskamp, Rekonstruktionen einer Republik.

Rossana Arcioni, Platone. Il Simposio. Introduzione, testo, traduzione e commento.

Anthony Verity (trans.), Theocritus. Idylls.

Corinna Rossi, Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt.

Thursday, September 16, 2004 4:48:35 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HINT| The Great Empire: Rome: The Enduring Legacy
The final episode reveals the birth of Christianity and how this religion that the emperors initially tried to destroy ultimately passed on the empire's legacy. Highlights include: the crucifixion of Jesus; religious persecutions; rise of Constantine, the first emperor to embrace Christianity; and Justinian, Rome's last emperor. [say what?]
8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: The Celts

10.00 p.m. |NGU| Lost Ships of the Mediterranean

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Battle of Marathon
After providing defensive aid to neighboring Ionia, the Athenians must defend their city against Persian invasion. But Persia, with its archers and cavalry, has a clear advantage. After an 8-day stand off in 490 BC, with Persian reinforcements on the way, the Athenians, led by Callimachus and Militiades, decide to take the offensive. Part documentary, part interactive game, viewers join the forces of King Darius as 6,000 are slaughtered by the Athenians, who depend on speed to gain the advantage. 
11.30 p.m. |HISTU| The Gothic Invasion of Rome 
378 AD. The crumbling Roman Empire, split in two, literally faces the barbarians at the gates. Ravaged by Hunnic invasions, the Visigoths beg Rome to let them cross the Danube. Corruption drives this hungry horde to rebellion, and pride drives Emperor Valens to take them on near Constantinople without waiting for support from Gratian, the Emperor in the West. On a blisteringly hot day, the Goths met Roman forces in a battle that St. Ambrose called "the end of all humanity, the end of the world."  

Channel Guide

Thursday, September 16, 2004 4:44:44 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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