Latest update: 12/2/2004; 4:51:07 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem v idus novembres

  • ludi Plebeii (day 6) -- the Jupiterfest continues
  • martyrdom of Orestes in Cappadocia

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:34:55 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Not much today:

mete @ OED

caprice @ Wordsmith (this one seems a bit of a stretch)


::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:29:05 AM::

~ Jesus: A Bad Stoic?

From the SBL Forums (which I can suddenly access again; not sure why I haven't been able to for a month or so) comes:

Thomas E. Phillips, Was Jesus a Bad Stoic?

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:25:22 AM::

~ Landor on Latin @ Laudator

Over at Laudator, MG has a feature on Walter Savage Landor's take on some Latin poets ...

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:12:02 AM::

~ CFP: Visualizing Epic

Conference: Visualising Epic: Call for papers

A three day conference at the University of Nottingham, UK, September 6-8 2005

This interdisciplinary conference will focus on the intersection between ancient epic and the visual in the broadest possible sense: reading epics themselves as visual, exploring ancient visual representations of epic and modern receptions of epic in film and the visual arts. We aim to bring together classicists and art historians to think about how epic is visualised and made visual. What are the problems and contradictions of huge narrative texts as visual art?

Papers on any aspect of the subject are welcome: visual readings of ancient epic, the epic gaze, Homer on pots, Virgil in friezes, Statius and sculpture, representations of epic subject matter in sculpture or painting, epic on film or in graphic novels.

Invited speakers include:

Nicholas Alfrey (Nottingham)
John Henderson (Cambridge)
Tom Holland (author of Rubicon)
Katharina Lorenz (Giessen, Germany),
Nick Lowe (Royal Holloway)
Helen Morales (Cambridge)
Patricia Salzman (Montclair, USA)
Elizabeth Speller (author of Following Hadrian)
Richard Wrigley (Nottingham)

Please send abstracts to Helen Lovatt ( or Caroline Vout ( by 31st January 2005. Abstracts should be 400 words or less.

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:09:38 AM::

~ Cato's Spirt Lives On

Regular rc reader RMG passed this one along (thanks!) ... Tim Worstall's blog expresses an opinion on the EU which seems, well, Cato-esque (Catonesque?).

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:08:37 AM::

~ CFP: Roman Manhood (APA Panel)

"Exploring Roman Manhood: Formations, Transformations, and Contestations"

Three-Year Colloquium
2006 Annual Meeting of the APA (Montreal)

Call for Papers

Organizers: Jill Connelly, Texas Tech University; Elizabeth Manwell, Kalamazoo College; Mark Masterson, Hamilton College

Ever since the publication of Sarah Pomeroy's Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves, the study of women has been a prominent feature of classical studies, and courses on women in antiquity have become a staple of college course offerings. The study of men, however, as an outgrowth of women's studies and now gender studies, is a more recent field of exploration and one that has begun to receive attention. Increasingly, scholars of the ancient world have endeavored to problematize understandings of Roman male culture as merely political, military, or voluptuary and to suggest instead that Roman manhood is the dynamic product of social processes of enculturation. The research of Carlin Barton, Virginia Burrus, Maud Gleason, Erik Gunderson, Mathew Kuefler, Amy Richlin, and Craig Williams, among others, has helped to deepen our understanding of masculinity in Rome by focusing on Roman men's formative relationships with sexuality, women/femininity, and the social expectations for viri.

In our colloquium's second year, "Transformations of Roman Manhood," we would like to focus on the various changes to which Roman manhood was subject. Authors are encouraged to construe "transformation" broadly. Papers may approach this topic from various perspectives, including (but not limited to) social/historical, literary, feminist- and/or queer-theoretical, archaeological, art-historical, or anthropological. Questions addressed by individual papers might include:

1. How do concepts associated with Roman manhood change over time?
2. Women can possess virtues (e.g., virtus, fortitudo, etc.) marked as masculine by the Romans. Does this relative independence of masculine virtue from the male body transform Roman manhood? (If so, how and according to whom?)
3. How does the change from a small republic of citizen soldiers to an empire supported by mercenaries alter the realization of Roman manhood? Or, put differently, what effect does the removal of elite males from the ranks of the soldiery have on Roman manhood?
4. What impact does the coming of Christianity have on Roman concepts of masculinity?
5. How do various literary genres (epic, elegy, historiography, drama, etc.) and/or philosophy/theology/rhetoric portray or interact with transformations of Roman manhood?

Abstracts of 500-800 words are due by February 2, 2005. Submit abstracts, by email (preferred) or as a hard copy, to Elizabeth Manwell, Department of Classical Studies, Kalamazoo College, 1200 Academy Street, Kalamazoo MI 49006. Abstracts will be judged anonymously by two referees.

... seen on the Classics list

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:05:42 AM::

~ JOB: Generalist @ SIU Carbondale (9 month)

Full-time Lecturer in Classics, one-year (nine-month) appointment for academic year 2005-2006. Effective date August 16, 2005. ABD ( Ph.D. preferred) in Classics or related fields. College-level teaching experience required. Candidates should be prepared to teach Latin and Greek at all undergraduate levels and large lecture general education courses in Greek civilization and classical mythology. Review of applications begins December 8, 2004, and continues until position filled. Submit complete dossier, including letter of application, CV, evidence of success in teaching, graduate transcript, and three letters of reference to Professor Frederick Betz, Chair, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901-4521; FAX: 618/453-5499; E-mail: Website: <>

... seen on the Classics list

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:03:58 AM::

~ Reviews from BMCR

Pia Guldager Bilde, Jakob Munk Hojte, Vladimir F. Stolba (edd.), The Cauldron of Ariantas: Studies presented to A. N. Sceglov on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Black Sea Studies I.

Leena Pietila-Castren, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Finland, fascicule 1. Societas Scientiarum Fennica.

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:02:42 AM::

~ Review from Scholia

Gregory Nagy, Plato's Rhapsody and Homer's Music

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 5:00:41 AM::

~ David J. White

The Baylor Lariat has a profile of sorts of recently acquired 'utility infielder' David J. White:

Baylor classics professor David J. White isn't afraid to raise his voice -- as long as he's performing, anyway.

White, a new professor to Baylor, said he loves to perform.

"I love performing arts and this is one thing I would like to get back into," White said.

White received a bachelor 's degree from the University of Akron, a master's in classics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's in library and information sciences from Kent State.

White came to Baylor from the University of Akron, where he taught for seven years. He also has taught at Rutgers, St. Joseph's University and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has worked in special collections libraries at the University of Pennsylvania and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

His interests include Latin poetry, epic and drama.

"We're very happy to have David as a professor in the classics department," Dr. Alden Smith, chairman of the classics department, said.

"We went to graduate school together, and then he started working at rare books, and it was that fact that made me interested in David because he would be a good fit for paleography libraries," Smith said.

White decided to come to Baylor because the ideal timing presented itself.

"I love my colleagues because they're both supportive and helpful," White said.

White believes the students to be friendly and polite.

"I think I've been called 'sir' in the past two months more than in the last two years," he said.

Although White has taken some time away from academia, he hopes to expand the classics department and bring it into his library of expertise.

"I really enjoy being here, and I hope I can stay for a long time," White said.

He teaches Latin and mythology and says Baylor students have infectious enthusiasm.

"He's an energetic professor, and he's good at getting students involved because he always gives us background information on every topic," Scott Milan, a San Antonio sophomore and student of White, said.

White said he thinks teaching at Baylor is better than he anticipated, but it has been a challenge because the students take full advantage of office hours.

White calls himself a "generalist" or the "utility infielder" of the department because he's used in multiple aspects of the classics department.

He's not afraid to give students advice for his classes to help them along.

"Keep up with homework regularly, don't procrastinate, don't be afraid to ask for help and talk to the faculty members because we're happy to help," White said. 

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 4:47:12 AM::

~ Tourism Threat to Ashkelon Site

A cave site at Ashkelon is threatened -- ironically -- by the tourist development which was supposed to 'save' it ... from Ha'aretz:

A 1,700-year-old burial cave near the beach in Ashkelon is at risk of imminent collapse. Its decorations form quite a collection: Greek goddesses; a naked boy pruning grape vines and picking grapes, which are gathered in a basket; birds pecking at a vine; a boy playing the flute; palm fronds and the implements of war, such as a lance and a shield.
The cave, which served Roman nobles in the third century C.E., was discovered in 1936 near the Ashkelon coastline by an Arab farmer tending his vineyard. Experts describe the site as a particularly valuable archaeological asset and source of information about religion, faith and burial practices during that era. This asset now faces the risk of imminent collapse, ironically, because of earthworks intended to ensure the cave's future by placing it at the center of a new tourism project.

The tourism site is only the latest stage in the series of projects planned for the area. The sand dune holding the burial cave is part of an expanse that is supposed to be covered by vacation apartments and hotels, set inland from the local marina. According to the plan drawn up by the Ashkelon Municipality, when construction of the vacation apartment development near the dune is completed, it will be followed by development of an archaeological tourism complex around the burial cave.

The initial construction stage, that of the vacation apartments, exposed the foundations of the cave. To prevent its collapse during construction, the contractor created massive poured concrete pillars, which were intended to provide a temporary answer to the challenges posed by the site. However, construction has lagged, the foundations of the ancient cave have long been exposed, and its southern wall is said to be liable to collapse at any moment.

"The pit dug by the contractor for the purpose of laying foundations for the apartment building has been left as is - and the burial cave is basically standing on the edge of the abyss," says Dr. Avi Sasson, of the Department of Land of Israel Studies at Ashkelon Academic College. "At present, the public is gaining no benefit from an asset it could be enjoying, and all it will take is one good winter, for which all of us are waiting, to destroy the entire cave. This is a matter of professional negligence of all of the relevant bodies, none of which can claim innocence. It is an important asset for Ashkelon, but the city seems incapable of exploiting its tourism potential."

The Antiquities Authority's regional archaeologist, Pirhiya Nahshoni, is also upset over the condition of the cave. She says that work on the construction of the vacation apartment complex near the dune was supposed to have been completed years ago. "Since that time, we've had no one to talk to," she relates. "Only recently have we been hearing other voices, from the local economic development corporation and the municipality, prepared to do something about it."

Indeed, the Ashkelon Municipality does plan to do something about the cave, as well another nearby cave. The second cave, from the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, was discovered a few years ago when the municipality was paving Eli Cohen Street in another area of the city. In a complex operation that cost hundreds of thousands of shekels, the cave was moved in its entirety to the dune behind the marina, in the hope of ensuring that nothing untoward would happen to it there.

"We know the situation on the site is not good," a municipality official now admits. "At stake is a very significant tourism and archaeological asset. Along with development of the marina area, an expansive antiquities plaza will be built, as well."

Antiquities aficionados can only hope that by the time these projects get off the ground, there will still be something left to preserve.

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 4:40:20 AM::

~ A Looters' Charter for Italy?

This item from the Guardian has my mind boggling a bit:

Archaeologists were yesterday aghast over a plan by MPs loyal to Silvio Berlusconi to legalise the private ownership of archaeological treasures in Italy. One called the measure a "looters' charter".

At present, all antiquities found in Italian soil are deemed to be the property of the state and are meant to be handed over to the authorities.

But under the proposed legislation, treasure hunters who declare their finds can keep and own them if they pay the state 5% of the object's estimated value.

Supporters have argued that it would bring to light previously hidden treasures.

In an article for the newspaper La Repubblica, Salvatore Settis, rector of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, said he feared "a gigantic treasure hunt all over the country" if the measures were approved.

Filippo Coarelli, professor of Roman Antiquities at the University of Perugia, called the plan "an incitement to theft". He added: "Since there appears to be no limit on the time during which artefacts can be amnestied, you could rob today so as to sell tomorrow."

Lord Renfrew, professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of Cambridge and a former director of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre, said: "It sounds like a looters' charter." He added: "Italy has a very good tradition of looking after its antiquities. This legislation would be a slap in the face for those in the administration who work for the conservation of its heritage."

Italy suffers a thriving industry of tomb robbing and is the source of thousands of illicitly sold artefacts.

In the 1990s, it was estimated that art and antiquities worth around £150m were exported from Italy each year, but the trade is so secret no one really knows its true dimensions. In 1996, in one of the largest antiquities seizures, police in Geneva recovered 10,000 artefacts worth an estimated $35m (£18.8m) that had been smuggled out of Italy.

This month, the Art Newspaper published an interview with a robber of Etruscan tombs who said he averaged a break-in every 10 days.

The proposed guidelines are contained in two amendments to the 2005 budget, which is being debated in the Italian parliament. Both were drafted by members of Mr Berlusconi's governing Forza Italia party.

The amendments would give the job of pricing and taxing newly declared antiquities to the officials who are already responsible for Italy's vast archaeological heritage.

If they failed within a reasonable time to value an artefact, the holder would automatically become the legal owner.

Once legalised, the artefact could "be the object of contractual activity", according to the text of one of the amendments.

Earlier this month, one of the signatories of the amendment said that it would help the "emergence of archaeological items in private hands".

An archaeologist working in Italy who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "Anyone who works in this sector knows the [officials] are already overloaded. You can imagine the flood of requests this would bring and the difficulty the [officials] would have in coping with them."

You know ... my mother's Italian, my wife's Italian, and I spend most of my time around Italians (some born here, some born there) and I can honestly say, I've never ever understood the bizarre bureaucratic procedures the Italian government seems to come up with for what should be simple things ... what's wrong with the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme as a rather more practical/realistic model?

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 4:36:42 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HINT| The Odyssey of Troy
What is it about the legendary city that 3,200 years after its fall, we still try to unravel Troy's mysteries? Scholars attempt to answer the question by researching the Greek poet Homer, possibly one of the greatest poets in Western Europe's history, and his epic tale of love and war, and comparing his text to archaeological sites.

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, November 09, 2004 4:11:43 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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