Latest update: 10/1/2004; 5:34:21 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

pridie kalendas octobres

Thursday, September 30, 2004 5:27:56 AM

~ Animal Sounds @ Laudator

Laudator has a nice little feature on a handful of sounds made by ancient animals ....

Thursday, September 30, 2004 5:11:04 AM

~ Antigone-inspired Fashion

Excerpts from a report at the Hindu:

OF GREEK tragedies and designer wear, rebellion and bright coloured garments.

Well, if you are wondering what we are talking about, it is city-based fashion designer Deepika Govind's autumn/winter collection that was launched recently.


As for the clothes, Deepika's collection draws inspiration from "Antigone," a Greek tragedy by Sophocles, which narrates a story of human conflict and that men and women are the makers of their own destiny. The vintage block prints in autumn colours were also a draw. [the whole thing]

Unfortunately, the only photo accompanying the article doesn't appear to show the Antigone-inspired stuff ... I'm still trying to figure out what it would look like.

Thursday, September 30, 2004 5:04:48 AM

~ Barry Strauss and Salamis

The Cornell Chronicle has a lengthy piece on Barry Strauss:

The real story of war doesn't make it into history books, poet Walt Whitman once opined. Barry Strauss, Cornell professor of history and classics and an expert on ancient warfare, took old Walt's lament as a challenge.

Strauss' latest book, The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece -- And Western Civilization (Simon and Schuster, 2004), is all about reconstructing an ancient naval battle in as exacting detail as can be rendered -- from wind speeds and the stench of the ship's hold to the garments of a warrior queen and the thoughts that might have been inside her head. Given that the showdown occurred in 480 B.C., primary sources are, of course, missing in action. But there are accounts from Herodotus and Thucydides, Aeschylus, Plutarch -- even the much-maligned Timotheus, as well as a score of modern scholars who have all taken their best shots at the pivotal battle.

Enter Strauss, who, in addition to his reputation for keen, edgy scholarship, is himself an avid rower (he took up sculling at age 40 and wrote a book on it) and an authority on ancient oar-powered fighting vessels such as the Greek triremes that were used at Salamis. His research took him to excavation sites and museums in Turkey to Greek fishing villages. Strauss read modern war diaries and even interviewed his own father, a WWII veteran, to get a sense for the "face of war."

As the book's flyleaf states, the battle of Salamis "was the most important naval encounter of the ancient world. In the narrow strait between the island of Salamis and the Greek mainland, a heavily outnumbered Greek navy defeated the Persian armada ... The Greek triumph at Salamis stopped the advancing Persians and saved the first democracy in history. It made Athens the dominant city in Greece, gave birth to the Athenian empire, and set the stage for the Age of Pericles."  

The story is populated with a star-studded cast of characters: "Themistocles, the Athenian commander who masterminded the victory (and tricked his fellow Greeks into fighting); Xerxes, the Persian king who understood land but not naval warfare; Aeschylus, the Greek playwright who took part at Salamis and later immortalized it in drama; and Artemisia, the half-Greek queen who was one of Xerxes' trusted commanders and who turned defeat into personal victory."

With all these elements, it's easy to see the appeal of Salamis as both historical set piece and heroic seafaring thriller. And Strauss didn't simply wish to pen another military history of the battle of Salamis; he wanted to bring entirely new scholarship into the court of memory, drawing on nautical science, archaeology, forensic anthropology and meteorology, among other specialties -- in short, all the latest advances in the field of classical history.

"What I've been doing as a scholar before writing this book was an exercise in reading between the lines," Strauss said. "By applying the knowledge of naval archaeology or meteorology, for example, we can reconstruct an ancient world that is much richer than the pictures we get from just literary sources. When we read Thucydides or Herodotus or any of the ancient sources without that knowledge, we think, 'gosh, those guys left a lot of gaps.' [But] when we have that stuff in mind, suddenly it begins to make sense and a lot of the gaps get filled in."

In addition to bolstering ancient sources with modern scholarship, Strauss crafted a visceral accounting as full of sun, sea, sweat and blood as necessary to spice the tale. Strauss also details the "Persian campaign in Greece and flesh[es] out a picture of society and warfare in the ancient world, illuminating such topics as Persian court protocol, the prayers of Corinthian temple prostitutes and the proper method of ramming an enemy trireme," according to Publisher's Weekly.

He boldly enters into the heads of the major players on the field of battle, speculating on their states of mind. In choosing a novelistic approach to the narrative, he followed the leads of military historians like John Keegan and Stephen Ambrose, who err on the side of creative verisimilitude. Where Strauss is in doubt he says so or qualifies his observations.

The result is his most popular book to date. Hitting the shelves in June 'twixt the Hollywood blockbuster "Troy" and the summer Olympics in Athens, Strauss found The Battle of Salamis to be a hot item. He was featured three times on National Public Radio and Salamis garnered international attention, receiving rave reviews as well as a few dissenters. [more]

I'm still waiting to see this book in a bookstore around here before I give it a look see, but it's interesting that Strauss' approach gets mentioned in an incipient forum discussion at on Great Blunders in Documentary History; his approach does not seem to be to all people's taste.

Thursday, September 30, 2004 5:00:09 AM

~ Reviews from BMCR

Niklas Holzberg, Applaus fuer Venus. Die 100 schoensten Liebesgedichte der Antike

Gabriele Stein, Mutter - Tochter - Geliebte. Weibliche Rollenkonflikte bei Ovid.

C.J. Mackie (ed.), Oral Performance and Its Context.

Thursday, September 30, 2004 4:42:29 AM

~ Job: Greek @ UIowa (tenure track)

The Department of Classics at the University of Iowa invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant-Professor level, to begin in August 2005.  Candidates should have the Ph.D. in hand by the time of the appointment.  The area of specialization is in Homeric Studies. Areas of sub-specialization may include Archaic Poetry, Epic Poetry, or Bronze-Age Studies.  The full-time teaching load is two courses per semester.  Interested candidates should submit applications to Professor John F. Finamore, Chair, Department of Classics, 210 Jefferson Building, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, by November 1.  Applications should include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae,  graduate transcript, and at least three current letters of recommendation. Applicants are also encouraged to submit evidence of teaching ability and expertise, as well as scholarly publications.  All applications will be acknowledged, and applicants will be informed as soon as the position has been filled. The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution, committed to a policy of non-discrimination.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

... seen on AegeaNet

Thursday, September 30, 2004 4:40:39 AM

~ Job: Chair @ Illinois State

The Department of Foreign Languages at Illinois State University is seeking applications for the position of Chair, preferably to begin on July 1, 2005.

Qualifications and Responsibilities.  Applicants should have a doctoral degree in Foreign Language Linguistics, Literature or Cultural Studies, Foreign Language Education, or comparable degree.  Candidates should also have an established record of research and teaching accomplishments, and should demonstrate effective leadership, as well as strong administrative and interpersonal skills.  The Chair will be expected to provide vision and creative leadership as the department builds on its current strengths and to advance the departments educational and research missions. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Rank and Salary.   Rank is at the Professor level.  This is a twelve-month position, with a competitive salary.

Department and Programs.  The Department of Foreign Languages is located in the College of Arts and Sciences.  It offers B.A. programs in French, German, and Spanish, a B.A. program in Foreign Language Education in those three languages, as well as an M.A. program in Foreign Languages with the opportunity for teacher certification. The Department also offers courses in the General Education Program and courses to fulfill the language requirement for the B. A. degree. In the M.A. program, students choose an emphasis in cultural studies, language/linguistics, literature, or pedagogy within the major language area (French, German, or Spanish). The Department has approximately 140 majors, 30 masters students, and 35 full-time faculty and offers instruction in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Latin, Greek, and Chinese.

More information is available at
The University and Community.  Illinois State University is a state-supported multi-purpose institution with about 20,000 students.  The University is located in Bloomington-Normal, a fast-growing community of over 100,000 residents, located in central Illinois.  Bloomington-Normal is 120 miles southwest of Chicago and is easily accessible by three interstate highways, Amtrak, and several commercial airlines.

To apply: Initial review of applications will begin November 1, 2004 and will continue until the position is filled.  To assure full consideration, please send vita, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of administrative philosophy by November 1, 2004 to:

        Dr. Norma C. Presmeg
        Chair, Foreign Language Department Chair Search Committee
        College of Arts and Sciences
        Illinois State University
        Campus Box 4100
        Normal, Il 61790-4100

Questions may be directed to the Chair of the Search Committee, Dr. Norma Presmeg, Professor, Mathematics Department, via e-mail:

Illinois State is an equal opportunity/affirmative action university encouraging diversity.

... seen on the Classics list

Thursday, September 30, 2004 4:39:17 AM

~ Classical Award from Sweden?

I'm trying to figure out this one, mentioned in a piece in Zenit:

An Italian cleric who helped to save Jews during the Nazi occupation of Hungary will receive a prize recently instituted by Sweden.

Archbishop Gennaro Verolino, 97, will be the first person to receive the Per Anger Prize.

The award is named in memory of an ambassador who was legation secretary in the Swedish Embassy in Budapest during World War II when the city was occupied by the German army.

The award, bestowed on personalities who promote human and democratic values, will be conferred Friday at the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome. [more]

What is the Classical connection??

Thursday, September 30, 2004 4:38:23 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HINT|  The Rise of Christianity: The First 1000 Years
The story begins not with Jesus, but 50 days after his crucifixion, when a rushing wind and tongues of fire descended upon his followers "and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages." When Saul of Tarsus turns into Paul and travels to preach to the Gentiles, the religion spreads.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Twelve Apostles: History's Great Revolutionaries
Separately, they were nobodies--a handful of fishermen, an angry tax collector. But united by a charismatic Jewish preacher, this ragtag gang shaped into history's most famous revolutionaries. Meet Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the Lesser, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas in this 2-hour special.

HINT = History International

Thursday, September 30, 2004 4:23:00 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.

Valid HTML 4.01!

Valid CSS!

Site Meter

Click to see the XML version of this web page.