Latest update: 11/1/2004; 4:39:43 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

iii nonas octobres

  • 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.
  • ludi Augustales scaenici (day 1 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.)
  • ludi Augustales scaenici (day 3 -- from 19-23 A.D.)
  • 287 A.D. -- martyrdom of Palmatius

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:40:03 AM::

~ Another Thracian Tomb!

Wow ... Georgy Kitov certainly has hit the motherlode. From BNN:

Police on Tuesday sealed off an area in central Bulgaria, where archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the largest tomb from the Thracian civilisation, which thrived in the Balkans from the Bronze Age till the early Middle Ages.

The private bTV cited unconfirmed data that the team of famous archaeologist Georgi Kitov discovered a gold treausre in the tomb dating from the fifth century B.C.

Kitov was not immediately available for comment.

The seven-metre (7.6-yard) long and five-metre (5.4-yard) high tomb is located near the village of Shipka, at the feet of the Balkan Mountain, 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of Sofia.

It appears to be one of the few Thracian burial sites that hasn't been plundered by later invaders or by treasure hunters.

Miners on Monday cleared a 13-metre (14.2-yard) corridor leading from the tomb’s entrance to two inside rooms, Kitov told the Sofia-based Darik Radio.

He said the rooms had stone walls and marble doors decorated with human figures.

The archaeologists succeeded to enter only the first room - a vault-shaped premise – where they found a horse’s skeleton. They were working late Monday to open the door of the second room.

The Thracians lived in the Balkans between 4000 B.C. and the seventh century A.D. before being absorbed by invading Slavs. They used to bury their dead noblemen with everything they needed in this world - from their utensils and weapons to their horses and wives. They celebrated death as salvation from human sufferings and mourned birth as their beginning.

Last month Kitov found a fine crafted bronze head portraying an ancient Thracian ruler in the Shipka area. In August he found a 690-gram (24.3-ounce) massive gold mask at excavations at another burial mound near the village.

The mask was supposed to have belonged to Theres, a fifth century B.C. Thracian king, who had succeeded to unite all Thracian tribes under his rule and waged victorious wars against ancient Greeks and Macedonians.

Kitov is the discoverer of the largest Thracian temple on the Balkans, near Starosel, 130 kilometres (80 miles) east of Sofia.

Both Starosel and Shipka are in the so-called Bulgarian Valley of Kings, a Central Bulgarian area rife with Thracian burial mounds, whose name alludes to the Valley of Kings near Luxor, where tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs are located.

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:36:04 AM::

~ The Face of Paternity

Over at Laudator, MG has a nice little collection of references to ancient sources which mention the delight/approval inherent in having children who resemble their father.

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:27:58 AM::

~ We're Not Worthy! We're Not Worthy!

Check this out (from the Spectrum):

Nielsen just recently returned from Greece where he competed in the Nemean Games, which are traditionally held every four years and this year were staged just a few weeks before the Olympics. The Nemean competition is held at an ancient Greek stadium that was restored after years of careful excavation and was one of the sites of the original Greek Olympics. LaGrand ran the 100 meter dash and also competed in a 10K race called the Footsteps of Herakles.

"That race is over 5 miles long and most of it is uphill," he explained. "It was tough."

The Nemean Games follow as closely as possible to the original Greek Olympics.

"The first Olympians did their events in the nude," explained Dr. Nielsen, "but we wore togas. My daughter, who is 72, her husband and my grandson all ran in the 'Footsteps of Herakles' race."

Yes ... he did say daughter. Dr. Neilsen is 97 years old!!!! Macte Esto!

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:26:27 AM::

~ Printable Roman Calendar

The ARLT blog mentioned this one yesterday ... it's a printable Roman wall calendar with piles of customization abilities from the folks at Cambridge Latin. For the record, a desk version of our own 'This Day in Ancient History' calendar is almost complete and will hopefully be available some time in November.

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:22:38 AM::

~ Football Classics ... sort of

I'm sure many folks entertain the stereotypical view that football players (American and Canadian football) aren't the brightest bulbs in the chandelier ... here's something which will hopefully alleviate that view: it's an excerpt from a sort of weekly diary written by a high school offensive tackle trying to get into Stanford:

Having already applied to Stanford last spring, I realized I had to be accepted before my scholarship meant anything. Over my first three years I accumulated a 3.8 GPA (counting honors and AP credit), a 1230 SAT (610 V, 620 M), eight honors classes, and one AP class. Even so, I was told I had to work harder. This year I enrolled in four more AP classes (English Literature & Composition, Calculus AP, Latin IV, and a Greek III class called Homeric Academy), and I am trying to achieve the grades I received sophomore year - somewhere around a 4.2 GPA. Anyways, the point I am making is that Stanford University only takes players who are well rounded, never satisfied, and always attempt to challenge themselves, both on and off the field. [more]

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:18:43 AM::

~ Emilia Victrix

An Auckland student has received press coverage for her receiving (reception?) of a Junior Fellowship at Oxford. From the Scoop (which is also the source of the Emilia Victrix headline):

Auckland Student Appointed Junior Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford University

New Zealand Rhodes Scholar (2001) from Auckland, Emily Baragwanath, has been appointed as a Junior Research Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford University.

Ms. Baragwanath, 27, who has been working on a Classics doctorate at Magdalen College for the past three years, commences her new position today, October 4, the start of the European academic New Year.

Ms. Baragwanath will continue her doctoral research on the narrative technique of the fifth-century Greek historian Herodotus under the supervision of Regius Professor of Greek Christopher Pelling, before turning her attention to a broader research project on mythology in the Greek historians.

She will also carry on her undergraduate teaching for several colleges.

‘This is an amazing opportunity for me,” says Ms. Baragwanath. “It will be exciting to work with such a tremendous group of classicists as those at Christ Church, and on a project I find so fascinating.”

Given her privileged new position as Junior Research Fellow, Ms. Baragwanath will be dining at the High Table in the 16th century “Harry Potter Hall” along with other senior members of the college.

The magnificent hall, where Oxford students still dine each night wearing their academic gowns, served as inspiration for filmmakers looking to re-create the Great Hall of Hogwarts of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

Ms. Baragwanath is a past student of The University of Auckland, Senior College, and Epsom Girls’ Grammar School. [more]

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:10:08 AM::

~ Alexander Hype

Looks like Oliver Stone is using 'The Passion' strategy to hype Alexander ... a pile of reports yesterday -- all in 'alternative press' sources -- were suggesting the real delay in regards to the Alexander flick was due to there being a homosexual love scene (or more than one). Today the claim hit the main stream press as producers etc. vehemently deny the claim ... here's one example from Ireland Online:

Hollywood bosses have slammed reports the release of historical epic Alexander has been delayed because the movie is "too gay".

Reports last week suggested Warner Bros had put back the film's early September release to November (04) so they could tone down love scenes between Colin Farrell's bisexual Alexander the Great and a Persian eunuch called Bagoas - played by Francisco Bosch.

But bosses at Warner insist they are thrilled with the film - and changed the release date to help its chances at next year's Oscars.

Pictures President of Production Jeff Robinov tells The Scoop: "That is completely untrue. Warner Bros Pictures is proud of Alexander and thinks it is an exceptional piece of filmmaking.

"We've moved the release date, as we said earlier, to position it better for Academy consideration.

"We also want to allow ourselves more time to complete some of its ambitious visual effects. Any speculation that the Studio is trying to cut scenes from 'Alexander' based on their depiction of the sexual relationships of the lead character is false and does not accurately represent the content of the film, which portrays Alexander the Great as heroic, and a man of his time and culture."

So in case you missed it: the hype strategy is to ensure that a vocal minority that is somehow involved in the flick gets the wrong impression and runs to the press to vent their ire. Studio executives respond, and the hype continues depending on how the vocal minority responds to that response. For the record, in my memory the origin of this is all the negative publicity Disney received from Aladdin, and it still went on to make piles of cash. I'm sure the Alexander stuff will be on CNN and Entertainment Tonight by this evening.

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:06:04 AM::

~ Reviews from RBL

Scott Noegel And Joel Walker And Brannon Wheeler, eds., Magic in History: Prayer, Magic, and the Stars in the Ancient and Late Antique World

L. Grabbe, ed., Did Moses Speak Attic?: Jewish Historiography and Scripture in the Hellenistic Period

(both .pdf)

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 4:56:40 AM::

~ Reviews from BMCR

Francois Chausson, Etienne Wolff (edd.), Consuetudinis amor. Fragments d'histoire romaine (IIe-VIe siecles) offerts a Jean-Pierre Callu.

David Roochnik, Beautiful City: The Dialectical Character of Plato's Republic.

Richard S. Caldwell, Vergil, The Aeneid.

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 4:54:12 AM::

~ Horace Murdered?

Yesterday we had Alexander the Great being poisoned by Roxane. Today the mail brings a piece from the AgoraClass list, which links to a French site about Horace which includes an interesting article suggesting that Horace was murdered by Augustus! If you can't read French, much of the argument is based on internal 'clues' in a couple of Odes as well as Suetonius' biography of Horace.

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 4:48:01 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Greece: Journeys to the Gods
After creating the pantheon of pagan gods, Greece converted to the Christian god. The monks built imposing monasteries nestled in the most remote nooks, coastal cliffs, and volcanic islands. Join us as our travels take us from the splendors of ancient Greek religious sites to the glories of the mighty Byzantine Empire and its heritage as traced through the awesome Meteora at Mount Athos, and Patmos Island, where St. John, the Evangelist, is said to have written the Apocalypse.
11.00 p.m. |HINT| The Hidden City of Petra
Story of the Nabataeans, a desert people who carved the city of Petra out of the Jordanian mountains some 2,000 years ago. Their culture flourished, then disappeared. We visit the site of the amazing sculpted city, which included temples and colonnaded market streets.

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, October 05, 2004 4:27:58 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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