Latest update: 11/1/2004; 4:40:12 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ Halley's Comet in Ancient Times

I can't remember which list this was being discussed on (possibly ANE) but someone posted a reference to this article about Halley's comet in 66 A.D.:

Barrett, A. A., "Observations of Comets in Greek and Roman Sources Before A.D. 410"

... the full article is available, but it's in a 'framed page' which is rather quirky (this is actually the first access I've had to the article ... I tried three or four times during the week; your mileage may vary).

::Sunday, October 24, 2004 12:10:39 PM::

~ Bronze Statue Photo

While doing this a.m.'s Explorator I discovered I had an article from Kathimerini which has a photo of that bronze statue found by a Greek fisherman this past week. Ecce:

::Sunday, October 24, 2004 12:04:13 PM::

~ Ludi Octobres

Nice piece in the Contra Costa Times on a local school's participation in the JCL's Ludi Octobres:

Veni. Vidi. Vinco?

More than 450 Bay Area teens descended on Bentley High School in Lafayette Saturday for Ludi Octobres, the California Junior Classical League's annual fest for Latin students and classics devotees.

The "October Games" offered academic competitions and quirky workshops on everything from ancient Roman culture and gladiator skills to vinco, a kind of Latin bingo.

Outside, gray skies wafted misty drizzles. Inside, the air was thick with "hail Caesars" and California-tinged Latin greetings, but this was no toga party.

"I was going to wear a toga, but it's muddy outside," said Bentley senior Edward Hess. "It's fun -- that's why people come -- but it helps students show off their skills and prepare for the state convention, the climax of the Latin year."

Latin academic competitions are decidedly a niche event. California high school students are 70 times more likely to take Spanish than its ancient ancestor Latin. But the state's 6,200 Latin students are both passionate and protective of their foreign language elective.

"Latin is always trying to prove itself," said Bentley teacher Hether Ludwick. "But it's so much fun. Kids really enjoy it, and a lot get started because they love mythology."

"I came to this school so I could take Latin," Hess said of the private school. "I wanted to read the old historical documents and understand our civilization. Our founding fathers, most of them, spoke Latin, and Thomas Jefferson based a lot of his ideas on the old Roman Republic."

Budget cuts have closed Latin departments at some public schools, but the programs thrive at others, including Orinda's Miramonte High, and at such private schools as College Preparatory and Head Royce, both in Oakland. Head Royce teacher Jan Groschupf added a second introductory Latin class for sixth graders this year to keep up with the demand. Several of her enthusiastic new Latinophiles were in Lafayette Saturday to strut their academic stuff.

The morning was given over to academic testing and a general assembly led by Hess, who masterminded this year's celebration and played the role of First Consul in a bright purple Ludi Securitas -- festival security -- T-shirt.

By afternoon, rounds of Certamen -- ancient culture trivia played Jeopardy-style -- vied with workshops on gladiatorial skills, Roman coin-making and a mad dash through 2,000 years of Roman history.

"I'm (doing) the complete history of Rome in 30 minutes," said Miramonte senior and workshop leader Alex Barker.

He shot through an engaging but slightly breathless historical framework four times that afternoon.

"We do the Trojan War to Romulus and Remus in two minutes," he said. "Julius Caesar gets 15 seconds."

And workshops on vulgar Latin and the House of Atreus were both back by popular demand. Billed as "death, doom and destruction with a little bit of cannibalism thrown in," the Atreus session traced five generations of mythology's most dysfunctional family, from Zeus' son Tantalus to the Trojan War.

::Sunday, October 24, 2004 11:58:23 AM::

~ Alexander 'Passion' Strategy Watch

A few weeks ago, I suggested that the publicists for the new Alexander the Great flick were employing the same strategy used with 'The Passion' to increase chatter about it, i.e., 'offending' a vocal minority which can be trusted to run to the press to vent their ire. While I wasn't correct then about the story making its way to Entertainment Tonight etc., it does appear this sort of hype is increasing. This week we can add a piece in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and the Hellenic News of America.

::Sunday, October 24, 2004 11:55:38 AM::

~ Newsletters: AWOTV and Explorator

The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted as well as the latest issue of Explorator. Enjoy!

::Sunday, October 24, 2004 11:24:42 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

6.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME
The final episode brings us to Caesar’s Rome. In the 2nd century AD, Rome is the undisputed centre of a huge empire. A pompous city of marble, here the super-rich elite’s shallow lifestyle contrasts sharply with the life of ordinary Romans, who eke out a barebones existence while paying obscene rents in buildings about to collapse. 

6.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii: Buried Alive
Exploration of the archaeological site of the city that was encrusted by incendiary ash when deadly Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Archaeological director Baldasarre Conticello takes viewers on a tour of Pompeii's ruins, and visits Herculaneum, which was destroyed by Vesuvius at the same time.

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Decisive Battles: Herman the German
Teutoburg Forest, 9 AD. According to the Roman historian Dio, Arminius (aka Herman), Chief of the Cherusci, and his father Segemerus, ambushed and wiped out three legions led by Quinctilius Varus. Not a good day to be out in the woods of Germany if you were a Roman. Strung out and unprepared for battle, the Romans were lulled into a false sense of security and led into the middle of a dense forest and ambushed in the heavy rain. The slaughter--which was total--lasted for three days in a mountain range in the northwest of Germany, and left the Emperor Augustus lusting for revenge and return of his legions' eagle standards.

Channel Guide

::Sunday, October 24, 2004 11:23:32 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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