Latest update: 12/2/2004; 4:51:18 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

pridie idus novembres

  • ludi Plebeii (day 9) -- the Jupiterfest continues
  • 324 B.C. -- beginning of the "Era of Alexander", a.k.a. the Philippic era, a.k.a. the era of Edessa

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:40:06 AM::

~ Latin Inspires

From a 'student profile' at the Collegian:

What is your major/minor?

I’m majoring in classics, with either a minor or a double major in education. Why did you choose this particular major/minor? My Latin teacher in high school, Ron Palma, inspired me to teach high school Latin, and I have always enjoyed Latin immensely as a language. Mr. Palma taught me and all of his students about what is important in life, and I want to impart some of that wisdom on to others. I have also tutored others in Latin for the past three summers, and found that I have a gift for teaching others.  [read the whole thing]

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:28:44 AM::

~ Reviews of Alexander Bios

CCC alerts us to a mega review article in the New Republic by Peter Green of a pile of books about Alexander the Great which, no doubt, will be extensively reviewed all over the place in the next few weeks.

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:26:28 AM::

~ More on Theban Finds

Yesterday we hoped we'd hear more on the finds at Thebes and ecce! Kathimerini comes through:

Archaeologists in Thebes have uncovered important building remains and artifacts from the ancient city that lies under the center of the modern town, including nearly 400 intact vases, the Culture Ministry said yesterday.

Excavations that started in February on a private plot close to the ancient Electran Gate revealed finds dating from the third millennium BC to late Byzantine times. Here and there, the eras mingled, as was the case with late medieval walls into which sixth-century BC architectural fragments, sculpture, ceramics and even bronze vessels had been built.

One of the most interesting discoveries was what is believed to have been a huge ancient altar on which the carcasses of animals sacrificed to a god were burnt. Worshippers also dedicated terracotta vases which were deposited among the ashes.

Archaeologists excavated a deep layer of ash — which, in parts, was over 2.5 meters deep — containing large quantities of charred bones and pottery dating to Geometric and Archaic times (eighth to late sixth centuries BC).

A total of 380 intact ceramic vessels were recovered, while archaeologists are optimistic that the great number of broken pieces found among the ashes can be pieced together to produce more complete pots.

The find is being tentatively associated with the Altar of Spondios Apollo (Apollo of the Ashes) which was described by the ancient writer Pausanias as standing close to the Electran Gate.

Furthermore, remains of a late Archaic temple were located at the other end of the plot. Among the architectural remains, a number of bronze vessels and statuettes — including some of Herakles, the mythical Theban-born hero — were found. This could mark the site where ancient Thebans believed the house where Herakles grew up stood.

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:20:20 AM::

~ Ancient Manichean Site Found

From Tehran Times:

The ruins of what is believed to be the center of Mani (216-276 C.E.), the founder of Manicheanism, was discovered during the seventh stage of excavations at the ancient site of Qalaychi Hill in West Azerbaijan Province which began last month.

Experts used to believe that Hasanlu Mound was the major early Manichean center, but the recent excavation seems to prove otherwise.

An inscription found at Qalaychi Hill last year showed that Qalaychi Hill, not Hasanlu Mound, was probably Mani’s early center.

After the most recent excavations at Qalaychi Hill, many archaeologists became convinced that the site was in fact the early Manichean center.

According to Mohammad Kharrazi of the archaeological team, many archaeological questions were answered during the recent stage of excavations.

“The architecture of the site proves that it was Mani’s center as well as a place for performing ritual ceremonies,” he said.

Several shards discovered at the site will also help to reveal the history of the place, he added.

Kharrazi pointed to the remains of aqueducts discovered at the site and their building style, in which large uncut pieces of stone were used, as examples of the early Manicheans’ talent.

Experts plan to continue their research at the site for the next twenty days.

The 100-meter Qalaychi Hill is located near Bukan. Archaeologists have so far only excavated the northern part of the hill, but believe that the site was once a large city.

Mani proclaimed himself the last prophet in a succession that included Zoroaster, Buddha, and Jesus, whose partial revelations were, he taught, contained and consummated in his own doctrines. Besides Zoroastrianism and Christianity, Manicheanism reflects the strong influence of Gnosticism.

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:17:38 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's Classically-inspired Words of the Day:

propitiate @

encomium @ Merriam-Webster

tercel @ WordSmith

reluctate @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:16:03 AM::

~ Peter Jones in the Spectator

Here's the latest incipit from Peter Jones in the new-look Spectator:

First Gordon Brown removed billions of pounds from our pensions; now he is about to land 20,000 pensioners with vast tax bills by cancelling a perfectly legal ‘equity release’ scheme. Ancient Greeks and Romans would have thought it beyond belief that the main purpose of modern government was to remove money from its own citizens.

Government had two functions in the ancient world: first, to protect its people from attack, whether from external forces (war) or internal forces (law-breaking), and second, to stay in power (because power = status and wealth). For both of these functions it needed money (or its equivalent). The question was: how to raise it? Since neither Greeks nor Romans ran police states (in fact they both put a high value on the concept of citizen liberty), there was no question of bleeding their own people dry. Besides, that was not the way to stay in power. The aim, therefore, was to bleed other people dry, and they did this by conquest. Fighting and winning were good business, especially when the conquered lands were rich in minerals. It has been calculated that, as a result of their expanding empire, Roman revenues quadrupled between 200 bc and 70 bc; and Pompey’s conquests in the east immediately doubled, or even trebled, that amount. [more]

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:11:31 AM::

~ New Version of Cardo Available

One of the most regularly-repeated discussions on many of the lists I'm a denizen on revolves around the question of fonts for doing Latin, Greek, etc.. From the Stoa (via NT Gateway) comes news that David Perry's Cardo font has been majorly (is that a word? It's mine, not RS's or MG's) updated. Here's the general description:

Cardo is a large Unicode font specifically designed for the needs of classicists, Biblical scholars, medievalists, and linguists.  Since it may be used to prepare materials for publication, it also contains features that are required for high-quality typography, such as ligatures, text figures (also known as old style numerals), true small capitals and a variety of punctuation and space characters.  It may also be used to document and discuss the features of Unicode that are applicable to the these disciplines, as we work to help colleagues understand the value (and limitations) of Unicode.

Try it out (it's still considered 'late beta') ... make sure you get the info on keyboards as well. Definitely on my 'to do' list.

::Friday, November 12, 2004 5:07:37 AM::

~ Roman Burials at Acre

Explorator has just begun to cover the incipient saga connected to burials found at the site of Acre. According to a piece in Ha'aretz, the burials are actually Roman:

A day after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon intervened in a crisis over the archaeological dig near the train junction in Acre, another monument was discovered at the scene proving the area was a Roman graveyard without the presence of any Jewish graves whatsoever.

Work under way at the site is meant to create a safety barrier between the Acre-Safed road and the railroad tracks, and some NIS 15 million has been spent so far on the project, including moving the road temporarily.

Archaeological finds were discovered on the scene six months ago, and construction of the new, safe junction was halted as the Antiquities Authority attempted to rescue the archaeological finds, which indicated that the site had been a large cemetery previously unknown to archaeologists.

Archaeologist Yotam Tepper from the Antiquities Authority said that Acre was founded around 50 CE by veterans of the Roman Army, and apparently the site was the town cemetery for civilians and soldiers. The Roman city existed until 300 CE. So far, all the findings have been pagan.

Last Friday an unusual marble monument find was uncovered, and yesterday - a day after Sharon's intervention at the request of ultra-Orthodox who were convinced that the bones being uncovered belonged to Jews - the monument was cleaned and discovered to be the tomb of Legionnaire Olfius Martinos, of the Seventh Claudian Legion.

A source in the Antiquities Authority said yesterday that what was amusing about the monument is that ultra-Orthodox Jews and their political allies are fighting against archaeological investigations of legionnaires who oppressed the Bar Kochba rebellion and killed tens of thousands of Jews.

Heavy political pressure from ultra-Orthodox circles has been applied to Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit to cease the archaeological dig for fear of finding Jewish graves. The dig was briefly halted by Sheetrit, but professional opinions, including one from Bar Ilan University, that there were no Jewish graves at the site did not satisfy the ultra-Orthodox. Now the ultra-Orthodox are demanding a NIS 25 million bridge at the junction to raise the road above the alleged Jewish graves, postponing completion of the project by as much as three years.

The prime minister's intervention ordering the archaeological dig halted for three weeks came after the ultra-Orthodox announced plans for a Sunday demonstration in Jerusalem against the dig. Some political sources say the cessation of the archaeological dig was also connected to the votes in the Knesset on the disengagement and the budget.

::Friday, November 12, 2004 4:56:47 AM::

~ Suicide in Classical Mythology

The Stoa (whose feed suddenly kicked in for me for some reason ... Thunderbird's rss reader needs a bit more work) alerts us to an interesting online essay at Diotima:

Elise P. Garrison, "Suicide in Classical Mythology"

It's in two parts ...

::Friday, November 12, 2004 4:53:57 AM::

~ JOB: Roman History/Languages @ Canterbury

The School of Classics and Linguistics invites applications from Classicists for a continuing position of Lecturer from candidates in the field of Roman History.  Candidates should be able to lecture on all aspects of Roman History at the introductory level, as well as conducting advanced and post graduate classes in specialised areas.  Candidates will also be expected to be able to teach Latin and Greek Language at all levels and supervise post-graduate research.

Applicants will hold a PhD, show evidence of excellence in teaching, and have an ongoing research and publication programme.

Further information for prospective staff (salary scales, information about Christchurch and the University of Canterbury, etc.) is at

Application details are available from:

... seen on AegeaNet

::Friday, November 12, 2004 4:49:44 AM::

~ JOB: Greek and Roman Religion @ Skidmore (3 year)

The Classics Department at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, invites applications for a three-year position in Greek and Roman religion at the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor effective fall 2005. Candidates should also be able to teach courses in Greek and Latin at all levels; the teaching load is 3/2. Candidates should be firmly committed to undergraduate education with an active scholarly agenda in Greek and/or Roman religion preferred. Ph.D. preferred by time of appointment. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Women and men from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply. Applications will be reviewed as received until the position is filled. Send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and letters of reference to Prof. Michael Arnush, Chair, Classics Department, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632, or to For further information about the department visit our website at

... seen on AegeaNet

::Friday, November 12, 2004 4:47:36 AM::

~ Reviews from BMCR

Sibylle Ihm, Eros und Distanz. Untersuchungen zu Asklepiades in seinem Kreis.

Christopher Stray, The Classical Association. The First Century 1903-2003. Greece & Rome Supplement.

Erwin Sonderegger (trans.), Proklos: Grundkurs über Einheit. Grundzüge der neuplatonischen Welt. Text, Übersetzung, Einleitung und Kommentar.

::Friday, November 12, 2004 4:45:54 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

... nothing of interest ...

::Friday, November 12, 2004 4:44:08 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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