Latest update: 11/1/2004; 4:47:07 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ Roman Ghosts at York

From a piece in the Mail and Guardian about the York Ghost Festival comes this excerpt:

If York's burgeoning ghost industry can be said to have a godfather, it is Harry Martindale, a retired police officer who put the city on the spirit map 50 years ago with one of Britain's most celebrated supernatural sightings.

In 1953, as an 18-year-old apprentice plumber, Martindale was working alone in a cellar room at the Treasurer's House, a medieval building adjoining the city's cathedral, when he witnessed something that, as he puts it, "changed my life forever".

After hearing the unexpected noise of a horn, Martindale looked across the room to see about 20 Roman legionnaires and a horse walk out of a wall and across the basement before disappearing again into solid stone at the other side.

"They were human beings. They were as real as you and me standing here," he said ahead of a public talk recounting his experience, another part of the Ghost Festival.

"I don't know why I was chosen to see them, but there is no doubt in my mind what I saw."

Martindale took to his bed for two weeks from shock and was ridiculed when he told friends, but as attitudes changed in subsequent years, he became increasingly fêted.

Later excavations in the cellar had revealed it was on the direct route of an old Roman road leading to a military garrison, while Martindale himself -- who had only previously seen Romans in Hollywood films -- impressed experts with his accurate description of the soldiers' clothes and weapons.

Martindale is somewhat of a local celebrity who talks rarely about what he saw, meaning more than 100 people pack into a candle-lit church to hear him tell the story.

::Saturday, October 30, 2004 8:57:34 AM::

The religion column in the Lexington Herald-Leader ponders the similarity of certain non-Christian writers' similarity to passages in the Bible:

Great moral and philosophical truths do exist and seem to transcend any particular religion, nationality or century.

I was reminded of that the other day when I picked up an inexpensive volume in a bookstore -- Ancient Wisdom, Timeless Truths: Immortal Philosophers Discuss the Meaning of Life -- a compilation of sayings by ancient thinkers from Seneca to Confucius.

What struck me was how closely those philosophers' observations parallel certain Hebrew-Christian scriptures. (Yes, I realize this is a sophomoric exercise. Saturday Night Live might lampoon this column as "Deep Thoughts." Oh well.)

Some secularists have argued that the very similarity of these teachings shows that all major religious and philosophical movements tend to borrow from one another and that no one faith is the ultimate way.

As a Christian, I tend to subscribe to the contrary view of C.S. Lewis, one of the 20th century's more perceptive Christian writers. He argued the opposite. He said the fact that the moral truths found in Judaism and Christianity were also evident to pagans or Taoists merely demonstrates that the Judeo-Christian God has revealed his divine laws in the hearts of all humans.

I'll leave it to you to decide. For fun, here are some parallels:

Lucretius (Roman Epicurean philosopher): "The first beginnings of things cannot be distinguished by the eye."

Hebrews 11:3: "The worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."

Confucius (Chinese ethical philosopher): "When the multitude like a man, it is necessary to examine into the case."

Luke 6:26: "Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets."Xenocrates (Greek philosopher, pupil of Plato): "I have often repented speaking, but never of holding my tongue."

Proverbs 17:27-28: "He that hath knowledge spareth his words ... Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."

Homer (Greek poet): "The gods, likening themselves to all kinds of strangers, go in various disguises from city to city, observing the wrongdoings and the righteousness of men."

Hebrews 13:2: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."Confucius: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

Luke 6:31: "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

Lucretius: "Violence and injury enclose in their net all that do such things, and generally return upon him who began."

Matthew 26:52: "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

Lao-Tzu (Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism): "To the good I would be good; to the not-good I would also be good, in order to make them good."

Romans 12:20-21: "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. ... Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

Seneca (Spanish-Roman Stoic philosopher): "The soul is not disfigured by the ugliness of the body, but rather the opposite, that the body is beautified by the comeliness of the soul."

Proverbs 19:22: "That which maketh a man to be desired is his kindness."

::Saturday, October 30, 2004 8:52:28 AM::

~ Missing a Loeb?

The L.A. Times has a piece profiling former USC footballer Riki Ellison ... here's an interesting tidbit from towards the end:

Ellison traveled to Provo earlier this season for reasons that had nothing to do with politics. After all these years, he remains a rabid USC fan and this passion has spawned another, less-publicized group.

Born out of the 1990s, when the USC football team struggled, the Templar Knights of Troy — there are about 10 members — seek to prove their devotion in unusual ways.

Admittance to the group requires three so-called acts of bravado. Candidates must "acquire" a copy of the Iliad, in Greek, from one of the schools on USC's football schedule. Also a personal item from an opposing player, coach, mascot or cheerleader.

Cheerleaders who are Classics majors are especially at risk, I suppose ...

::Saturday, October 30, 2004 8:49:26 AM::

~ Another Marathon Reading

From the MetroWest Daily News:

St. Mark's students and faculty are having a marathon Sunday.
But they won't be running, they will be reading -- the entire length of Homer's ancient epic the "Odyssey."

Beginning at 6:30 a.m., people will gather at the school's Hinkle Room and begin readying Odysseus's mythical journey after the Trojan War.

"There is something authentic about reading it all the way through," said David Conti, classics instructor and director of studies. "We should be done, hopefully, in 12 hours."

The idea came from one of the faculty members, Vernon Edmondson, who took part in reading the "Iliad" at Howard University in Washington, D.C., last year, Conti said.

"I've done it with some other poems, but never the 'Odyssey,'" Conti said.

Another reason for the marathon reading is so many students are interested in Greek and Roman civilization, he said.

"The kids are interested in coming to listen and read a 3,000-year-old epic poem," Conti said.

In order to make the event even more authentic, St. Mark's students and faculty will read some sections in the language Homer wrote it in. "We teach ancient Greek and the students who take it, as well as the faculty, will read (sections) in Greek," he said.

Conti said it made sense to read the "Odyssey" with the school's ninth- graders reading the epic poem.

In future years, Conti hopes to have marathon readings of other poems.

The event is open to the public and the school will have copies of the poem if someone wants to read a part, he said.

Participants do not have to stay for the entire reading but can come and go as they wish, Conti said.

::Saturday, October 30, 2004 8:43:39 AM::

~ CFP: Mediterranean Crossroads Conference

Mediterranean Crossroads Conference (MCC):
New trends in the study of the Mediterranean and its history
at the onset of the 21st century

10-13 May 2005, Athens, Greece

The Conference is organized as the second act of the project “Crossings: Movements of peoples and movement of cultures: changes in the Mediterranean from ancient to modern times”. The project is supported by the Culture 2000 Programme of the European Commission, the Ministry of Education and Culture-Cyprus, the Bank of Cyprus and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation

The Pierides Foundation-Cyprus is the Leader of the Project and the Foundation of the Hellenic World-Greece, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage-Malta, the Institute for the Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage- National Council for Researches-Italy and the University of Amiens-France are the Co-Organisers.

When Fernard Braudel wrote his pioneering book on the history of the Mediterranean region, the study of large-scale entities (spatial and temporal) constituted a theme of central importance for all scientific disciplines, especially the humanities. At the time, social sciences operated under the rubric of what is broadly known as the "modernist" paradigm, which professed to have developed effective criteria for clearly defining units of analysis and for explaining the historical trajectory of these units. A cardinal element of this intellectual tradition has been the firm belief that the units established by science were not only epistemologically but also ontologically valid. In Braudel's case for instance, "environment", "institutions" and "individuals" were "real" and not "fictive" classificatory distinctions. Of pivotal significance on the other hand, has been the acknowledgement that the writing of "history" had greater analytical potential in so far as it could prioritize large-scale over small-scale units; it is for this reason precisely that Braudel's core concept of the "long durée" involved the meticulous diachronic study of "institutions" and the "environment" but to a lesser extent, of "individuals".

Over the past few decades however, this mode of thinking has been put under severe scrutiny and in certain respects, has been heavily criticized. At the same time, the birth of a new paradigm -that of "postmodernism"- has lead to a shift of attention from the "general" to the "particular". The reasons for this paradigmatic shift are to be traced in contemporary concerns on (i) the conscious neglect of social diversity in social studies, (ii) the empowerment of the "whole" and the simultaneous "disempowerment" of the "individual", (iii) the tendency to attribute an obvious surplus of analytical weight on "global" as opposed to "local" processes, (iv) the great emphasis laid on the reconstruction of a single "history" and the denial of the possibility that multiple "histories" are actually at work and (v) the belief that so far, all aforementioned trends were seen as an achievement and guarantee of scientific "objectivity" and "truth". At the onset of the 21st century, the "postmodern" paradigm has taken an entirely different trajectory. Its main aim has been to create an arena of scientific discourse which:

1. encourages epistemological and ontological multivocality instead of absolutist/monolithic narratives

2. sees boundaries as the product of social negotiation and practical performance and not as predetermined, arbitrary constructs

3. and finally, chooses to emphasize movement and fluidity (in our ways of thinking and in our ways of living) as opposed to stasis.

In the light of all these developments, the idea of a "Mediterranean History" such as the one envisaged by Braudel, appears to require some degree of modification; indeed, for some scholars, it would even necessitate the abandonment of the term altogether. The "Mediterranean Crossroads Conference: New trends in the study of the Mediterranean and its history at the onset of the 21st century" embarks on the investigation of this very issue: how has the "postmodern" paradigm affected our understanding of the Mediterranean past and to what extent should we allow the further penetration of its principles (diversity, fluidity, mobility) to the practice of Mediterranean archaeology?

For the purposes of this conference, two broad thematic sessions have been established. The first one examines recent advances in theory and in fieldwork which have significantly altered and/or ransformed our understanding of key themes in Mediterranean archaeology. Scholars are invited to contribute papers pertinent to issues such as the movement of people and the circulation of objects and ideas in the Mediterranean during Prehistory and History (i.e. cultural diffusion and indigenous development, local identity and global process, actor-network theory, world-systems theory, time-geography, population movement, object biographies, trade and gift exchange, islandscapes vs. landscapes, travel and transport technologies, colonisation, colonies vs. empires). The second session broadens the conference themes and adopts an interdisciplinary debate concerning the sociopolitical implications of the "postmodern" agenda in the present and the impact of this agenda on the study of the Mediterranean past. The session addresses contemporary concerns with the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean as a source of social identities and a common heritage of humankind. Issues concerning the use (and abuse) of the Mediterranean past and identity in the present (heritage management, arts, education, media, the well-being of cultural heritage, tourism and the politics of the past) will also constitute an integral part of this section.

The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers working on different aspects of the Mediterranean region (past and present) and to encourage the sharing and examination of a wide spectrum of themes and problems. Moreover, it will provide an excellent opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration and will hopefully help to forge and identify new methodologies for dealing with the now widely acknowledged complexity of Mediterranean history.

The conference will take place in Athens, 10-13 May 2005. All sessions will be held in the large Conference Complex of "ATHINAIS", a modern cultural centre in the historic district of Votanikos in Athens, Greece ( Thirty-five speakers from several Mediterranean countries (France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Israel and Egypt) as well as Northwestern Europe (United Kingdom, Germany and Netherlands), USA, Canada and Australia will take part in the conference. Presentations will be 20 minutes in length and will be followed by additional time for discussion. The proceedings of the Conference will be published.

Scholars interested in participating should notify the organizers (preferably by email) with a title and abstract (maximum 500 words), as well as scholarly affiliation, address, fax number and email address by Friday, 3 December, 2004.

Conference fees: 60 Euros employed  /  30 Euros, students

Abstracts should be sent to all three addresses below:

Sophia Antoniadou
Pierides Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art,
34-36 Kastorias Str., 104 47,
Athens, Greece
Telephone Nr: 0030-210-3480000

Ánthony Pace
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
138, Melita Str
VLT08, Malta
Telephone Nr: 0035621251874

Despina Catapoti
Pierides Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art
34-36 Kastorias Str., 104 47,
Athens, Greece.
Telephone Nr: 0030-210-3480000

For more information about the conference, please contact Sophia Antoniadou or Despina Catapoti 

... seen on various lists

::Saturday, October 30, 2004 8:35:31 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

... nothing of interest (and we're off to a late start)

::Saturday, October 30, 2004 8:31:42 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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