Latest update: 11/1/2004; 4:39:54 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem iii idus octobres

  • Fontinalia -- a festival in honour of the divinity Fons, who presided over springs and wells; such sources of water were festooned with garlands for the occasion
  • 54 A.D. -- death of the emperor Claudius, purportedly succumbing to a plate of poisoned mushrooms dished up by his niece/wife Agrippina; dies imperii of Nero (son of Agrippina)

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:47:40 AM::

~ O Fons Bandusiae

Taking his start from the celebration of Fontinalia today, MG at Laudator has a nice little feature on Horace Ode 3.13, which is one of those many poems of Horace whose first line regularly pops into my head for some reason.

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:42:04 AM::

~ Asterix Statistics

Strange intro to a piece on polls in India from the Telegraph this a.m.:

Fourteen litres of India Ink, 30 brushes, 62 soft pencils, one hard pencil, 27 rubbers, 1984 sheets of paper, 16 typewriter ribbons, two typewriters and 366 pints of beer went into the creation of Asterix and Cleopatra, the greatest story ever drawn.

Not sure what that has to do with the rest of the story, or the source of the statistics, but they're kind of interesting, no?

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:28:32 AM::

~ Queen's Missing DSC Chair!

My alma mater appears to be having a crisis in undergraduate representation! Queen's University's Department of Classics has no Departmental Student Council chair! Come on, undergrads ... there must be beer or at least a nice lunch at the Faculty Club involved! Cha-Gheill! Cha-Geill!

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:24:42 AM::

~ Etruscan Treasures

I've been toying with the idea of including some reviews of exhibitions of ancient art here (of course I always include such things in Explorator) and a missive from amicus noster Michael Hendry of  Curculio fame spurs me into action (Thanks!). A post at Dustbury directs us to the website for the Etruscan Treasures exhibition at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art and a review as well. Quite the collection of Etruscan jewellery for all you gold granulation fans.

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:16:06 AM::

~ Hipparchus Finally Honoured

Is it just me or are these Hall of Fame's getting out of hand. It seems a little silly to me, e.g., to read as one of the inductees to the International Space Hall of Fame will be:

Hipparchus (190-120 B.C.), considered one of the great astronomers of antiquity, who calculated the distance between the Earth and its Moon, as well as the length of the year to within 6-1/2 minutes.

... even if it is in our interest. Here's a good page on Hipparchus' calculations of the distance between the Earth and Moon.

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:09:06 AM::

~ Bush as Commodus

Okay ... we've had Kerry as Cicero, now from the Washington Dispatch we get George Bush as Commodus:

In 180 A.D., Rome faced one of its greatest challenges as Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus) succeeded his father in ruling the Empire .  Due to his actions during a 12 year reign, he became arguably known as Rome's worst emperor.

Unlike his father who was thought to be kind and genuinely caring, Commodus was violent, short-tempered and thought to be literally insane. 

Commodus' violent nature attracted him to death sports.  He liked to play warrior, dressing up as either a Gladiator or Hercules in order to fight and kill opponents armed only with wooden defenses (while some say they were made of lead).  Comparing himself to the hero Hercules, Commodus claimed to have killed thousands of men in combat.

In order to win the support of the people, Commodus gave large sums of money away to the masses on several occasions, demonstrating a complete lack of fiscally responsibility. 

In protecting himself and his actions, the young emperor kept the Roman Senate and others at bay through the use of the Praetorian Guard, a special unit of men loyal not to Rome but to the emperor.

His foreign policy could only be described as erratic.  Commodus created a peace treaty with Germanic tribes shortly after taking the throne yet waged war with the Germans regardless.  He was also well known to take credit for partial victories in battle, requiring the Senate to Honor him for his accomplishments.

While he played Gladiator and demanded to be treated as a God, Commodus left the affairs of Rome up to corrupt men who pillaged the Empire, sharing their spoils of rule with their constantly vacationing emperor.     

The similarities between a Commodus and our American president are striking for those willing to take an unbiased glance into the actions of the Bush administration. [more]

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:03:35 AM::

~ Job: Chair @ Baylor

The Department of Classics ( invites applications for the position of Chair, beginning August 1, 2005.  The new chair will be expected to lead and mentor in a variety of ways this large (four Associate Professors, five Assistant Professors, four Lecturers), vibrant, and congenial department.  The classics program is philologically based, emphasizing reading in the primary languages, and it is among the strongest in the university.  The chair will be expected to maintain and enhance this standing.  He or she must care deeply for undergraduate education, have a distinguished publication record, and be a strong proponent of the classics as a discipline and a profession.  Applicants should also be able to espouse the major tenets of Baylor's mission: "to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community." (For further information, see  As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, Baylor encourages minorities, women, veterans, and persons with disabilities to apply.  Baylor is a Baptist university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.  Initial interviews will be conducted at the APA meeting in January. Applications will be reviewed beginning 15 November 2004, and will be accepted until the position is filled.  To ensure full consideration, your application must be completed by 15 December 2004.  Please send a cover letter, c.v., and the names of four references to Julia Dyson, Chair of the Search Committee, Department of Classics, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97352, Waco, TX 76798.  Telephone (254) 710-1399; Fax (254) 710-1367; email

... seen on AegeaNet

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 4:53:32 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Secrets of the Colosseum

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Incredible Monuments of Rome
A look at the Colosseum, Pantheon, Forum, and other ancient monuments that were often places of ritualistic human sacrifices and torture.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Egypt According to Cleoopatra
Walk the streets of Alexandria during the time of the Ptolemies along with its citizens as Cleopatra herself serves as virtual tour guide through Egypt during her reign as Queen. From the exotic yet cosmopolitan capital, built by Alexander the Great, to the Sanctuary of Dendera to the magical Isle of Philae, we explore her empire by land and sea. And, we follow Cleopatra as she sets sail for Italy on a visit to Caesar and end our journey within the city walls of Rome, where an Egyptian temple is being erected for Cleopatra's deity protector, Isis.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HINT = History International

::Wednesday, October 13, 2004 4:22:08 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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