Latest update: 10/1/2004; 5:10:42 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xv kalendas octobres

  • ludi Romani (day 13)
  • 14 A.D. -- the dead emperor Augustus is declared to be Divus Augustus
  • ca. 130 A.D. -- martyrdom of Ariadne (!)
Friday, September 17, 2004 5:51:31 AM

~ APA Job Listings

The APA has posted its Positions for Classicists and Archaeologists for September ... Friday, September 17, 2004 5:44:54 AM

~ Taxes in Perugia?

ChronWatch (whatever that is) has a piece on taxes or something ... what caught my eye was the following:

Not long ago, I visited the town of Perugia in Italy.  On the wall above the dais of the Town Council of Perugia is a metal instrument with Etruscan writing on it, commemorating the elimination of a tax by the then King of Perugia in the third century before Christ.  2400 years ago, this Etruscan king eliminated a tax, and they are still celebrating the fact in Italy.  The historical evidence is clear, whenever a government respects its citizens with fair and honest tax laws and burdens, the leaders of that government are celebrated.  Whenever those leaders become abusive of that power, they are removed from office, either peaceably or otherwise.

Has anyone else seen this? I hae me doots about the interpretation ...

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:38:51 AM

~ Sather Lectures at Berkeley

The Sather Lectures at Berkeley this year feature Classics guy David Sedley, who will be talking about ancient ideas about creation and the like:

In the beginning was the question: did God create the heavens and the earth — or not? Beginning next week, the classics department will offer an unusual look at this centuries-old (yet still fiercely contested) terrain, in a series of Sather Lectures by visiting scholar David Sedley of Cambridge University.

A renowned and prolific scholar of ancient philosophy, Sedley plans, not surprisingly, to look back in time — back before the Big Bang theory, Darwin’s Origin of Species, and even the Church Fathers — to philosophers and physicians who began the West’s conversation about the origins of life, mostly in defense of creationism in some form. “Many Greeks recognized that the world is teeming with evidence of beneficial order,” he has written, “from the cycle of seasons down to the minutest details of individual life forms. How is this comprehensively ordered cosmic structure to be explained?”

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Sedley will begin his series of six talks, titled “Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity,” with a focus on the mid-5th-century BCE philosopher Anaxagoras. In five subsequent evenings, he will follow the speculation and debate chronologically over 800 years, through Socrates and Plato (creationists both), the atomists and Aristotle (members of the opposition), to the eminent ancient physician Galen, who — soon after the life of Christ — used all his medical knowledge to argue on behalf of divine intelligence.

To trace the contemporary conversation back to pagan thinkers, Sedley notes, is to enrich the centuries of debate, since today’s militant creationists — Christians, by and large — rely almost exclusively on the Book of Genesis. (He would be pleased if, through his lectures, he might interest modern creationists in the roots of their ideas in classical antiquity, he says.)
The British scholar — a one-time student of and later a collaborator with Berkeley classics professor Anthony Long — finds it “appropriate” to be offering this philosophical survey in the United States, where the struggle between creationism and evolution “is very much alive. I don’t think that’s true of any other country in the world. In Britain the evolutionists are generally perceived as having won.”

Though he counts himself in the latter camp, along with most of academia, Sedley will invite members of the audience to park their persuasions, of whatever stripe, at the lecture-hall door, so as to better enjoy the benefits of his field. “The object of the exercise is not to vindicate or condemn the philosophers in question, but to think yourself sympathetically into their position, to find out what it would be like to believe things that you yourself may well not believe. It’s intellectually liberating, as well as historically enlightening, to put yourself in their position and think the issues through with them.” [more]

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:33:10 AM

~ Lombardo Reads the Odyssey

From a Knox College press release:

Classical scholar Stanley Lombardo will give dramatic readings of selections from his translation of Homer's "Odyssey," at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, September 26, in Kresge Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois. The event is free and open to the public.

Lombardo, professor of classics at the University of Kansas, has translated numerous works from ancient Greek, including Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey," Hesiod's "Works and Days" and "Theogeny," and selections by Plato and Callimachus. Lombardo also has translated Latin works by Sappho and Horace. He also has co-authored a translation of an ancient Chinese work, "Tao Te Ching," by Lao-Tzu.

Lombardo has received the Byron Caldwell Book Award and the National Translation Center Award, and his dramatic readings have been featured at the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Poetry Center, and broadcast on National Public Radio and C-SPAN.

The performance is sponsored by Knox College's First-Year Preceptorial Program. In the special course, all first-year students read, discuss and write about the same books, one of which is Lombardo's translation of Homer's "Odyssey."

"It's a distinctive advantage for Knox students to hear directly from the translator of one of the seminal works of Western literature, Homer's "Odyssey," at the same time that they're studying the book in class," said Tom Clayton, professor of chemistry and director of the First Year Preceptorial Program.

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:19:45 AM

~ Mr. Shay Goes to Washington

An Explorator reader passed this one along (thanks MK!) ... the Washington Post has an interview with Jonathan Shay, who has taken stint at the Pentagon:

What do the works of the Greek poet Homer have to do with the nitty-gritty details of personnel policy in today's U.S. Army?

Plenty, says Jonathan Shay. In fact, so much that the former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, who has written two well-received books examining Homer as a chronicler of military men in "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," signed on this month as an adviser to the Army's personnel chief. Shay's task is far from literary. Rather, it is to help boost "cohesion" -- that is, the essential psychological glue that holds soldiers together -- in Army units.

It is a long way from ancient Troy to today's Pentagon. But Shay sees a direct line.

In his first book, "Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character," he used Homer's account of combat in the Trojan War to examine the Vietnam War, and especially how poor leadership increased the trauma of many U.S. soldiers in that conflict. Shay's sequel, "Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming," reinterpreted Odysseus's troubled voyage back to Ithaca as a way of understanding the long and painful journey home of many combat veterans.

Through his work as counselor of Vietnam veterans, Shay has become a passionate advocate of the three things that he has concluded reduce the trauma of war on soldiers: keeping members of units together, giving them good leadership, and putting them through intense and realistic training.

"Cohesion, leadership and training -- each of these is a protective factor against psychological injury," he said. And together, "the synergism is enormous."

So, he said, he sees his one-year stint at the Pentagon as a work of "preventive psychiatry." [more]

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:15:25 AM

~ @ Hobbyblog

The coins continue to be posted at Hobbyblog ... of particular interest (to me, anyway) is a coin of Gallienus which has an obverse depicting Perseus holding the head of Medusa (about half way down the page). There's also a 'commemorative' coin issued by Heliopolis to advertise 'their' success in some athletic competition.

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:09:06 AM

~ Roman Coin Hoard in Surrey

From ICSurrey:

One of the biggest finds of Roman coins ever discovered in Surrey has been unearthed on a farm at Leigh.

Almost 60 silver denarii dating back to 30BC were located after Martin Adams, a metal detecting enthusiast, received a signal on his machine.

Father-of-two Mr Adams was sweeping the field with fellow members of the Downland and Weald Metal Detecting Club when he received a strong bleep on his machine - a Laser Hawkeye.

A short while later, the roofer received two more promising signals. He dug down and uncovered two more coins which turned out to be about 2,000 years old.

Meanwhile, fellow detectorist David Williams, a postman, located another coin from a similar period in history. He then announced to the club that a "hoard operation" would have to be implemented.

Mr Adams, 41, from Bushfield Drive, in Whitebushes, near Redhill, was told he could select two other people to search the designated hoard area, which would have to be taped off.

Within a few hours, 23 more Roman coins were unearthed, together with the scattered fragments of a pot in which the money had probably been contained.

Surrey County Council archaeologist Dr David Bird was immediately notified of the find and an official dig of the area closest to the pot shards was arranged. The archaeologists dug out further silver coins - some at a depth of eight or nine inches - and the detectorists located more further afield on the same farm. [more]

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:03:02 AM

~ Robin Lane Fox on Alexander's Tomb (ktl.)

Archaeology Magazine has an interview with Robin Lane Fox in connection (of course) with the upcoming Alexander flick, for which he was historical consultant. Inter alia he comments on Andrew Chugg's recent theory about the location of Alexander's tomb/body (remember ... the body was supposedly taken to St. Mark's in Venice?):

Dozens of attempts have been made, by scholars and quacks, to find Alexander's tomb. Andrew Chugg has recently claimed that a bit of massive Ptolemaic-era wall near medieval Alexandria's Rosetta Gate was a fragment of it. Do you concur?
Andrew Chugg has contributed yet more detail to the studies of the possible whereabouts of Alexander's corpse. I am one of many scholars who certainly do not believe his, naturally tentative, suggestions--least of all that Alexander's bones were possibly transferred from Alexandria in Egypt and placed, centuries later, in St. Mark's in Venice. I think his tomb and body were lost forever in city-riots in the later Roman Empire. But the studies of Chugg and others do encourage us all to look again at this old orthodoxy, and already we have newly recovered textual evidence that Alexander's tomb could be said, by some, to be still "on show" in the A.D. 360s, a century or so later than most of us believed. But I certainly do not think we will find it--although in the last 30 years, we have found what is surely the tomb of his father Philip. We have also found clues to deciphering the Bactrian language spoken by his bride Roxane and her father, a sculpture vowed by a worshiper to the dead Hephaestion as a semi-divine hero, a fragmentary Greek inscription mentioning Alexander, new silver coin-types showing war-elephants in his reign, underwater evidence of the lost monuments and palaces of Alexandria-in-Egypt, and even a hint of how to find the missing burial of the great king Cyrus, founding-father of the Persian Empire. All we need now is to relocate the city which Alexander founded in India in honor of his horse, Bucephalas.

Read the whole interview ...

Friday, September 17, 2004 5:00:43 AM

~ CONF: Roman Dress (+ Ontario Classics Association)

A two-day colloquium on roman dress held in collaboration with the Ontario Classical Association
York University (Keele/Steeles Campus)
Friday 22 – Saturday 23 October 2004

FRIDAY 22 OCTOBER (History Department Common Room: 2183 Vari Hall).
9.45 Welcome
10.00-10.30 Jonathan Edmondson (York University), "Dress and social control in late Republican and early imperial Rome"
10.30-11.00 Fanny Dolansky (University of Chicago), "Togam virilem sumere: Coming of Age in the Roman World"
11.00-11.30 Discussion; Coffee
11.30-12.00 Leslie Shumka (Mt. Allison University), "Inscribing adornment: the Mundus Muliebris on Women's Sepulchral Inscriptions"
12.00-12.30 Elaine Fantham (Princeton University), "Covering the Head: Gender and Ritual"
12.30-12.45 Discussion
1.00 - 2.30 Lunch
2.30-3.00 Alison Keith (University of Toronto), "Sartorial Elegance and Poetic Finesse in the Sulpician Corpus"
3.00-3.30 Riemer Faber (University of Waterloo), "The poetics of dress in Roman epic"
3.30-4.0 Discussion; Tea
4.30-5.00 Michael Carter (Brock University), "Gladiatorial dress"
5.00-5.30 Guy Métraux (York University), "Sacred and Secular in Late Antique Clothing"

Fall Meeting 2004
Saturday 23 October 2004
9.30 – 10.00 Registration and Coffee. Vari Hall, Lecture Room A.
10.00 – 10.05 Opening Remarks, Jonathan Edmondson (York University), President, OCA
10.05 – 10.50 Kelly Olson (University of Western Ontario), "The Appearance of the Young Roman Girl"
11.00 – 11.45 Keith Bradley (University of Notre Dame), "Appearing for the Defence: Apuleius on Display"
12.00 – 1.30 Lunch, Founders College Senior Common Room
1.30 – 2.15 Michele George (McMaster University), "The Dark Side of the Toga"
2.15 – 3.00 Beth Ellison (Elmwood School, Ottawa), "Reconstructing Roman dress at the Ontario Schools Classics Conference (OSCC)"

[I omit the registration form; please contact conference organizers, below]

Please return this form and your registration fee as soon as possible and by Fri. 15 October at the very latest to:
Professor J. Edmondson,
Dept. of History, York University,
4700 Keele St.
Toronto. ON. M3J 1P3.
Please make cheques payable to YORK UNIVERSITY.
If you have any questions, please e-mail Jonathan Edmondson at

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

Friday, September 17, 2004 4:54:14 AM

~ Reviews from BMCR

Peter Stewart, Roman Art.

Michael B. Poliakoff, Kampfsport in der Antike. Das Spiel um Leben und Tod.

Friday, September 17, 2004 4:49:28 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Colosseum
Nothing symbolizes the Roman Empire at its height or Rome in magnificent ruins more than the Colosseum. Built in 70 AD, it seated 80,000 people, boasted a retractable roof, underground staging devices, marble seating, and lavish decorations. It still serves as the prototype for the modern stadium. The complexity of its construction, the beauty of its architecture, and the functionality of its design made it the perfect place for massive crowds to congregate for the bloody spectacles it contained.

8.00 p.m. |DTC|The Grasp of Empire
Rome's legacy of trade, roads and architectural and psychological infrastructure relied on a fragile alliance of slaves, peasants and the provincial. The glory years of the Roman conquest led to the longest period of peace the world has ever known.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| The Cult of Order
Roman culture still weaves influence through western art, architecture, medicine, and urban planning. This enormous empire was a reflection of the multicultural world it encompassed, as excellence gave way to excess and decline.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Foot Soldier: The Romans
Host Richard Karn looks at the Roman legionnaires, who conquered and dominated most of the known world for 500 years, and left behind a legacy of language, culture, architecture, and government.

10.00 p.m. |DTC|The Fall
From the reign of Diocletian to the sack of the Eternal City in 410 A.D., abusive political elite, complacent military, and an eroding cultural identity placed the Roman empire in an inexorable decline.

Friday, September 17, 2004 4:46:51 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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