Latest update: 12/2/2004; 4:58:44 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

pridie kalendas decembres

  • 406 B.C. -- death of Euripides (by one reckoning)
  • 147 A.D. -- birth of Annia Galeria Faustina, the daughter of the emperor-to-be Marcus Aurelius
  • 1817 -- birth of Theodor Mommsen, Nobel prize winning ancient historian

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:49:13 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's words:

contretemps @

palliate @ Merriam-Webster

obvaricate @ Worthless Word for the Day (great word!)

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:44:22 AM::

~ Classical Library Holdings

Classics in Contemporary Culture provides us with a nice summary of where assorted Classics tomes are in the 'top 1000' books held by libraries. I'm still not sure why more libraries seem to have Lucretius than Herodotus or Thucydides ...

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:40:46 AM::

~ Alexander Roundup VII

Well, I guess a pile of editors had commissioned stuff on Alexander and decided to run it despite the apparent tanking of the movie, so we can squeeze out another roundup. First off the mark is a lengthy Canadian Press touristy piece on Troy (of all places) which clearly tried to tie Troy and Alexander together with its headline Ruins of Troy Evoke Era of Alexander the Great and its focus on Alexander's visit there. Newsday has 'rerun' a piece on the 'mystery' of Alexander and whether he was a military genius or megalomaniac (I'm sure we mentioned this one a month or so ago when we were still in hype mode). Slate (once again?) ponders the question What Made Alexander So Great? Finally, we find this little piece in the Sun-Sentinel:

It is not surprising that filmmakers or even historians cannot capture the whole picture of Alexander the Great.

First of all, his mother was from an Illyrian (Albanian) tribe. The original name of Macedonia was "Emathia," which in Albanian means "the great land," hence the appellation Alexander the Great. (The same was true with Constantine the Great and Justinian the Great, all from the general area of Macedonia. Sometimes the area was more inclusive during the Roman times).

To capture Alexander the Great as a soldier, one need only look to the successive generations of Illyrians to witness their exploits. The Albanians literally took over the Ottoman Empire with the Kuprili family -- of obscure origin from Albania.

In Greece in the early 1800s, Lord Byron witnessed the Albanian families fighting for Greek independence, and the first president of Greece was George Kondouriti of Hydra, an Albanian. In Egypt, Mohammed Ali, who made himself king in the early 1800s, was of obscure Albanian origin. The first prime minister of Italy, Fancesco Crespi, was an Albanian.

It would be difficult to change the understanding of Alexander the Great as a Greek, but it is fiction and not fact. The truth would be told if one would understand what Alexander the Great was by ethnic birth -- an Illyrian (Albanian) -- and the research exposed the characteristics of the ethnic Albanians throughout the centuries.

It would be a remarkable accomplishment to put to film and book alike in a more truthful light. Audiences would really come to know the fact and not the fiction.

Okay ... let's see. Alexander is Greek ... he's Macedonian .. now he's Albanian. Such a multicultural mix can only lead to one conclusion: Alexander the Great was actually Canadian (we don't need to get into the gay marriage thing, q.e.d.).

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:35:59 AM::

~ Roman Rest Stop Found

This item originally was reported in the Telegraph this past weekend, but the page kept coming up empty for me. Fortunately, the Sydney Morning Herald managed to get hold of it:

Their dried-out food, cheerless service and overpriced petrol make motorway service stations the bane of modern travel.

However, archaeologists have found evidence that they are not such a modern phenomenon after uncovering the remains of the Roman equivalent.

Deep beneath a bus terminus in the town of Neuss, near Dusseldorf, they have found the 2000-year-old foundations of a roadside rest-stop, complete with forecourt, chariot workshop, restaurant and an area to give horses water and hay.

A Roman traveller would have been able to order a fast-food meal before setting off on the wide road - it ran the length of Germany - or book a room and spend the night. There may not have been sweets or hamburgers, but travellers could buy clothes, preserved meat and olives.

Sabine Sauer, the archaeologist leading the team which spent the past year investigating the site, said: "We've nicknamed it Big Maximus, because people would have pulled their chariots into the forecourt and ordered pork cutlets and wine, before heading back on the road."

The foundations of the first building excavated were found when the team were asked to survey the area for a new underground car park.

Dr Sauer said: "The area has many Roman settlements and roads. We expected to find some some Roman remains, but had no idea we would find an ancient service station."

The team believe that the entire Roman complex, which appears to run beneath several existing buildings, may have been about 400 square metres.

"Big Maximus" was on the main road from the Roman settlement at modern Xanten, near Duisburg, to Cologne. The route followed the Rhine and formed part of the Roman Long Road from the North Sea to Brindisi in southern Italy.

Because it was only possible to travel by day, historians believe there were similar rest-stops every 32 kilometres or so.

The SMH has a nice headline for this one too ...

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:18:02 AM::

~ Blogging Scholarly Meetings

So, as I was saying yesterday before my fingers decided once again to demonstrate their sausageness ... I have long been an advocate that one of the great potential benefits for email discussion groups and the internet in general is that they provide a ready means for communication of what happens at scholarly conferences and the like. When I was a lowly graduate student (technically, I suppose, I still am) back when the Classics list was still young, I often mentioned how it could be used as a means for someone to give an executive summary of what went on at a panel session of the APA or CAC or some weekend conference in Podunk or whatever. Such summaries would serve multiple purposes: they would provide graduate students (and probably some profs) with good information about conferences which they could not afford to attend; they'd make it clear to the scholarly community who is working on what; and they'd give the public an opportunity to see what is going on in our discipline. While I have whined about this on a few occasions on various lists, no one has really taken up the suggestion -- the closest Classicists seem to have come is the publication of abstracts of papers delivered at the APA or CAC (not bad, but there are more meetings out there).

With that in mind, it is very nice to see the Blogosphere demonstrating exactly the sort of thing I have been talking about. As some folks know, the annual SBL meeting recently took place and in the past little while, several Bibliobloggers have been using their pages to give an idea of what was discussed. For puposes of rogueclassicism, e.g., I found particularly interesting Mark Goodacre's account of a session on the Passion which featured Father Fulco (who did the languages). Here's an excerpt:

David Shepherd did put the difficult questions, though, and in particular pressed Fulco on the issue of Greek. Why Latin and Aramaic? Why not Greek? Fulco explained that they had tried using Greek too, but that it did not work and they thought they would have lots of complaints about pronunciation. He said that the advantage of using Latin and Aramaic was the sound of these two languages -- they could have the actors speaking variously in Aramaic and Italianate Latin and then every viewer would be able to distinguish between who was talking in which language because of the basic sounds. Fulco and Fitzgerald added that Gibson had a real love affair / obsession with the Latin of the pre-Vatican II mass.

Shepherd also asked them about Jesus speaking Latin. Fulco (I think it was) replied that this was for deliberate dramatic effect -- you have Pilate addressing Jesus in Aramaic and then Jesus surprising Pilate by answering in Latin.

There was another post on the session as well. Akma did some day-by-day posts, including photos (day one here -- two --  three ... day four really didn't have much), which capture a number of sessions very succinctly. Over at Paleojudaica, Jim Davila posted a nice summary of a session of the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Group which he presided over. At Philo of Alexandria, Torrey Seland had a brief post or two on the meeting, but has raised some interesting points about the actual presentation of papers at scholarly meetings which should be read by the folks who regularly engage in such activities. Hypotyposeis blogger Stephen Carlson has a summary article which also has links to the paper he presented (I should note that he made pre-conference versions available as well).

But now we see wherein lies the rub. Here we've got a pile of Bibliobloggers who all went to the conference and who all happen to have blogs to do this sort of thing in. I'm not sure the same situation exists in Classics, blogwise (for the most part, Classics blogs other than rogueclassicism seem to have become very quiet this term) and my own teaching commitments pretty much make it impossible for me to cover such things. And so, I'll make an appeal to folks who attend such conferences who read rogueclassicism: if you attend a conference and are the sort who takes notes about what was said (or perhaps, more importantly, what sort of thing was discussed in the postpresentation session)  and would like to send them along, I'll post them here and give you credit! Or, if you hold the rogueclassicist in disdain, perhaps this is the sort of niche that can be filled by posting yourself at Blogographos. Whatever the case, it's something that is loooooooooooong overdue in a discipline which has such a looooooooong presence on the Internet.

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 5:13:36 AM::

~ Winslow Lecture @ Hamilton

From a Hamilton College press release:

The classics department's Winslow Lecture will feature University of Chicago Classics Professor Peter White discussing "Absence and Risk in the Correspondence of Cicero," on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 4:10 p.m. in the Red Pit.

White is the author of Promised Verse: Poets in the Society of Augustan Rome (1993), which was awarded the Goodwin Award of Merit by the American Philological Association.  White has published numerous articles on Roman history and society and has also been editor of the journal Classical Philology.

White notes that the collection of Cicero's letters to his friends contains letters that are very different from the kind of letters friends would exchange today.  Most of Cicero's correspondence deals with the management of his relations with senatorial peers, which are particularly at risk whenever one of the two parties is away from Rome.  The lecture will describe some of the issues at stake here.

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 4:43:28 AM::

~ Job: Postdoc in Roman Arky @ UMan

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Roman Archaeology, 2005-2006
University of Manitoba, Canada

With funding from the Canada Research Council (CRC) Chair in Roman Archaeology, the Department of Classics, University of Manitoba, will offer a one-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Roman Archaeology to commence July 1, 2005. This residential Postdoctoral Fellowship will have an annual value of $31,500 Canadian, with an additional $5000 in research funds. The postdoctoral fellow will be expected to undertake an independent research project dealing with a topic in Roman Archaeology or Art. The supervisor of this postdoctoral fellowship is Dr. Lea Stirling, CRC Chair in Roman Archaeology (Tier 2), whose interests encompass both archaeology and ancient art. Applicants should be not more than two years beyond their completed PhD; candidates with a defense scheduled by May 2005 are welcome to apply.

The Postdoctoral fellow will also have the opportunity to teach up to 6 credits for additional remuneration subject to the availability of funds and the needs of the Department of Classics.

Qualified scholars may apply by sending a letter and a description of their proposed research project, including projected research travel, and arrange for three confidential letters of reference to be sent to:

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Roman Archaeology
Department of Classics
University of Manitoba
220 Dysart Rd.
Winnipeg MB
R3T 2M8

The successful candidate must have the Ph.D. in hand by July 1, 2005. The University exercises a Canadian-first policy; however, all those qualified are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is January 20, 2005. Inquiries can be sent to Dr. Lea Stirling, CRC Chair in Roman Archaeology (Tier 2), at, or (phone) 204-474-7357. Dr. Stirling would also be able to meet potential applicants during the AIA meetings in Boston in January.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 4:40:19 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Greece: Journeys to the Gods
After creating the pantheon of pagan gods, Greece converted to the Christian god. The monks built imposing monasteries nestled in the most remote nooks, coastal cliffs, and volcanic islands. Join us as our travels take us from the splendors of ancient Greek religious sites to the glories of the mighty Byzantine Empire and its heritage as traced through the awesome Meteora at Mount Athos, and Patmos Island, where St. John, the Evangelist, is said to have written the Apocalypse.

11.00 p.m. |HINT|  The Hidden City of Petra
Story of the Nabataeans, a desert people who carved the city of Petra out of the Jordanian mountains some 2,000 years ago. Their culture flourished, then disappeared. We visit the site of the amazing sculpted city, which included temples and colonnaded market streets.

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, November 30, 2004 4:38:48 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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