Latest update: 10/1/2004; 5:34:18 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem v kalendas octobres

  • 70 A.D. -- Romans break through the walls of the upper city of Jerusalem (unconfirmed reckoning)
Monday, September 27, 2004 5:47:18 AM

~ @ Laudator

MG over at Laudator finds inspiration in a passage of Hesiod as a reason for studying Classics ... Monday, September 27, 2004 5:38:00 AM

~ @ Hobbyblog

Folks might be aware that over the weekend I made the transition over to Thunderbird as my mailreader. Although I had been happy with the Bat!, the fact that they had done a major upgrade which required reregistration and paying again (I just did that a few months ago!) put my nose into the out-of-joint category. Thunderbird also became appealing since the last time I had checked it because it has added a facility to collect RSS and Atom feeds and have them delivered to your inbox like email ... this works much better than any news aggregator I've ever seen and is obviously more convenient than bloglines, which I like, but like I said, it's a convenience thing (I really couldn't be bothered to check bloglines more than once a week).

In any event, that huge introduction was made to point out that Thunderbird makes it far easier for me to keep up with the various blogs I have chosen to monitor, including Hobbyblog, which today features a nice antoninianus of Gallienus. The coins features a seated Roma holding a little victory in her hand ... I know the 'image' ultimately harkens at least back to the statue of Athena in the Parthenon, but I wonder whence originally came this idea of a divinity sitting in the palm of another divinity's hand ...

Monday, September 27, 2004 5:36:22 AM

~ A Skeptic's Explanation of Atlantis

Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine, has a column in Scientific American where he expresses doubts about all the recent claims of folks to have located Atlantis. Inter alia, though, he does offer an alternate explanation of Plato's description:

The fodder for Plato's imagination came from his experiences growing up at the terminus of Greece's golden age, brought about, in part, by the costly wars against the Spartans and Carthaginians. He visited cities such as Syracuse, which featured numerous Atlantean-like temples, and Carthage, whose circular harbor was controlled from a central island. Earthquakes were common: when he was 55, one leveled the city of Helice, only 40 miles from Athens, and, most tellingly, the year before he was born an earthquake flattened a military outpost on the small island of Atalantë. [the whole thing]

It's interesting that I rarely ever read anyone else make the connection between Helike and Atlantis; I've often been tempted to ask folks who claim to have found Atlantis what the word "Helike" means to them. The excavations of Helike, by the way, are on going ... there is an official website of sorts.

Monday, September 27, 2004 5:08:24 AM

~ Herodian Palace

Ha'aretz has a nice report on the excavation of a Herodian-era palace at Ramat Hanadiv, which appears to have been abandoned during the Jewish Revolt that began in the 60s A.D.:

Dozens of coins from the tenth Roman Legion, uncovered during the last excavation season at the Herodian palace in Ramat Hanadiv, offer some insight on the demise of the glamorous palace. Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, a Hebrew University archeologist who has been managing the excavations at the site since the 1980s, says that it is possible to learn from the presence of the coins that that the palace was abandoned during the Great Rebellion that started in 66 CE not far away from there, in Caesarea.
The findings at the site do not make it possible to determine whether the palace was captured by force or abandoned and then fell into Roman hands, says Hirschfeld. But they do say something about the haste of the residents as they left. Among other things found at the site were a gold earring and a gold clasp - jewels that even a person of means does not leave behind during a leisurely moving to another place.

The jewels join numerous other findings testifying to the wealth of whoever built the palace and his senior status during the reign of Herod, who ruled over Judah from 43-44 BCE. First and foremost, the palace dimensions themselves indicate the owner's status. It sprawled across an area of 6,000 sq. meters and contained around 100 rooms, most of which have been well preserved. A two-meter thick wall surrounds the palace, with large watchtowers built into its four corners.

The walls of the rooms were covered in marble imported from Italy. In many of them excavators found clay pottery also made in Italy, and considered very luxurious and high quality. In the palace gardens, excavators found a round marble table standing on three legs, each in the shape of a panther - an animal that symbolizes Dionysus, the god of wine. The panther head is made of marble; a fragment of one table leg is today on exhibit in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

At the foot of the hill on which the palace is built, a spring flows; beside it was a full-fledged Roman bathhouse, built with all the fittings and details - as well as a pool, where the residents could refresh themselves on hot summer days. A staircase built at the foot of the hill descended to the bathhouse and pool.

The spring water was used for purification and therefore a mikveh, (ritual purification bath) was not built inside the palace, says Hirschfeld, but there are other signs indicating that the palace dwellers (the person who built it and his heirs, who were forced to abandon it) were Jewish. One of the most obvious signs is the numerous stone vessels that remained in the palace. At the time it was built, at the end of the Second Temple period, it was commonly accepted that stone vessels did not receive impurity and therefore they were used in Jewish communities. [more]

Monday, September 27, 2004 4:56:10 AM

~ Review from Scholia

Ranajit Pal, Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander Monday, September 27, 2004 4:47:16 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Antony & Cleopatra: Battle at Actium

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

Monday, September 27, 2004 4:35:57 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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