Latest update: 1/1/2005; 8:25:28 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem v idus decembres

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:40:35 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

solecism @

stringent @ Merriam-Webster

sumptuary @ Wordsmith

... leading to today's (no really so) pretentious sentence of the day:

Rome's stringent sumptuary laws led to many a solecism being displayed in the triclinia of the patricii.

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:32:48 AM::

~ Greek Revival Style

Not sure how many folks watch This Old House any more (for my money, it just hasn't been the same without Bob Vila), but they have just finished a segment of a show all about a Greek revival house in Nashville, which might provide some fodder for those looking for Classical 'influence' ... here's some details:

 The popular public television show This Old House traveled to Maury County yesterday to film a segment on Greek Revival architecture at the crown jewel of Tennessee plantations — Rattle & Snap.

''This is one of the best examples of Greek Revival residential architecture in the country,'' said architecture expert Thomas Gordon Smith, professor of architecture at Notre Dame University.

With cameras rolling, Smith gestured to the home's 10 free-standing Corinthian columns, pointing out their intricate architectural elements and design details to the show's host, Kevin O'Connor.

''With a home this grand, you often get the impression that it is an example of Southern architecture, like Tara,'' Smith said, referring to the fictional Gone With the Wind plantation. ''But it is a universal movement that focused on Greek antiquity.

''It was used in both grand homes like this and on a more modest scale.''

In fact, it was a house of more modest scale that first led This Old House to Nashville — and then to this old plantation in Mount Pleasant.

A simple 1849 Greek Revival farmstead in rural Carlisle, Mass., was selected for renovation as part of the show's 25th anniversary season.

''As a part of that, we wanted to explain Greek Revival-style,'' said senior producer and director David Vos. ''We thought it a bit lavish to go off to Greece, but an architect neighbor of mine told me there was a full-scale model of the Parthenon in Nashville.''

So on Monday, the crew filmed at the Parthenon.

''Then we wanted to show a house where you would recognize that 'temple form' of architecture — the Corinthian columns, pediments, casings, moldings and other details,'' said producer Deborah Hood.

''We looked at Belle Meade and the Hermitage, but when I saw Rattle & Snap, I realized this would be the one,'' she said. ''It's perfect.''

In fact, when Hood caught her first glimpse of the stately mansion yesterday, she had one reaction.

''I said, 'Look at that temple on the hill,' '' she said.

The ''temple'' of Rattle & Snap will receive royal treatment on the Boston-based public television show, which will air in either late January or early February.

''We filmed a 14-minute piece on the house,'' Hood said. ''And the show's air time is only 24 minutes, so this segment is the bulk of one show.'' [more]

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:25:14 AM::

~ Stuff for Latin Teachers

Over at ARLT there are a couple of posts which should be of interest to Latin teachers (and possibly Classics types too) ... first, there are some texts of Seneca and Cicero which are available (they require registration) ... second, there's a page of phrases etc. in Latin which could be used as raw material for making Christmas cards (there are other Christmas/Saturnalia resources mentioned as well).

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:20:17 AM::

~ Helen Keller and Classics

A very interesting little post over at Laudator about Helen Keller's view of the ancient world ...

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:15:47 AM::

~ Roman Artifacts Stolen from ANU

From ABC:

Centuries-old Roman artefacts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been stolen from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

The extremely rare artefacts include a roman head dating back to 100 BC, as well as gold jewellery and a vase. The thieves broke a ceramic bowl from 200 BC during the burglary.

Cleaners discovered the valuable pieces missing from their locked cabinet yesterday.

Police have notified Customs and Interpol in an attempt to stop the thieves from smuggling the pieces out of Australia.

The dean of ANU's Faculty of Arts, Adam Shoemaker, says the pieces will be very difficult to sell.

He says the university is unsure as to how they were stolen.

"We haven't ascertained how the thieves gained entry," Professor Shoemaker said.

"It's possible that they entered during daylight hours and even perhaps secreted themselves in one of the buildings waiting.

"We're not sure. Police are investigating all these options."

Professor Shoemaker says the university is reviewing its security to protect the rest of the collection.

"The area is one which we always have secured and which we will secure even more in the future now," he said.

The pieces were used by the university for research.

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:14:13 AM::

~ Sulla's Trophy ... More

Yesterday we posted an article about a tropaion of Sulla being found in a farmer's field ... I'm sure I wasn't the only one trying to figure out where Pyrgos was (the one on the mainland) and why Sulla would have been there. Today we get a bit more detail from an AP piece (this version from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) which provides some much-needed detail:

A farmer tending a cotton field in central Greece has uncovered a stone monument marking the spot where the Roman army stopped a major westward offensive more than 2,000 years ago, a Greek archaeological official said Wednesday.

"This is the location of one of the biggest battles in Greek history ... where a huge army from the east was assembled against Rome," the official, Vassilis Aravantinos, said.

The site near Orchomenos, about 75 miles northwest of Athens, was recorded by the Greek historian Plutarch. But the actual location of the long-sought monument - originally believed to stand 23 feet - was a mystery until last month, when the farmer plowing his fields stumbled upon a buried column that led researchers to uncover the monument's stone base.

Another Roman victory monument, at nearby Chaeronea, was found in 1990 by students from the University of California, Berkeley.

The 86 B.C. battles at Chaeronea and Orchomenos inflicted a heavy defeat on Mithridates VI, who led the Black Sea kingdom of Pontus in an unsuccessful 20-year campaign against Rome.

The monument was raised by a Roman general, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who defeated the Asian forces.

"Sulla's forces of 15,000 - I think it is not an exaggeration - faced the massive armies of the King of Pontus Mithridates, whose forces exceeded 100,000," Aravantinos said.

"It's one of these rare times when the ancient texts meet archaeology. For Rome, this battle meant salvation, and for Greece the effect was great because Sulla brutally punished the Greek towns that sided with his enemy."

The column was styled to look like a tree trunk bearing the armor of fallen soldiers from the defeated army, a common style at the time, a culture ministry statement said.

Aravantinos said the farmer who found the column delivered the remains of the column to the entrance of the archaeological institute using an earth-moving machine while the facility was closed. The farmer left no information about himself or where the column had come from.

But "this was too big to keep a secret," said Panayiotis Kravaritis, an institute official who helped find the spot where the monument once stood. "Eventually we found the farm, and the farmer led us to the spot where the monument is."

While trying to track down Pyrgos yesterday, I came across this piece at UNRV, which will provide a brief refresher for those wanting to know about Sulla's campaigns against Mithridates in Greece ...

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:12:53 AM::

~ Stephen Miller Interview

Here's a taste of a lengthy interview with the soon-to-be-emeritus Stephen Miller from the UC Berkeley News:

On Dec. 31, Stephen Miller, professor of classical archaeology and director of Berkeley’s excavations in Ancient Nemea, Greece, will retire after a remarkable campus career that began in 1973. Miller, 62, has made headlines worldwide for his work uncovering an ancient athletic site where Panhellenic games were held. He also helped establish the New Nemean Games — international footraces, open to all, now held at the ancient site every four years.

On Tuesday, Miller gave his 33rd and last Nemea Lecture, an annual update on his work for hundreds of donors and faithful followers of the project. UC Berkeley Public Affairs recently asked Miller to reflect on the past three decades and look ahead to a retirement that will include living in both Berkeley and Greece with his wife, Effie; working as acting director of the excavation site until June 30; continuing his scholarly work on the artifacts unearthed at Nemea; and occasionally returning to campus to teach.

When you started the excavation at Nemea, did you ever imagine you would make headline-grabbing finds?
No. Frankly, I did not want headline-grabbing finds. I didn’t want gold statues, because of the jealousies that would come [from other archaeologists]. I wanted discoveries that made a difference in what we understood about the history of ancient Greece, the architecture, ancient athletics.

When the big discoveries did come, did it surprise you?
Listen, it is a surprise every time a crummy potsherd comes out of the ground. Do you know what it means to be the first person in 2,000 years to touch something your ancestors have made, to touch that coin or that stone and know that some ancient mason worked on it, smoothed it down, carved the relief that’s seen there? That thrill never leaves.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in Nemea?
Money. And then there was money. And there was money. I suppose in academia we are always complaining about money, but the fact is I’ve raised almost every penny that has gone into Nemea from private donors, and that’s taken a lot of time and a lot of energy. But the donors over the years have become devotees of Nemea, which means they’ve become my students and part of my extended classroom. I feel that I have fulfilled a part of my pedagogical mission at this university with my donors.

How has your work had an impact on the people of Nemea?
I know the project had an impact in one major way, and that was social. When I arrived, there were 300 people in the village, and they were divided into two groups: the rich and the poor. The rich were the big landowners, and the poor worked for the rich at their beck and call. There were two families who ruled the roost. There was no external law enforcement, just these families who were the arbiters.

I upset the village very badly. The people who had always been the hired hands of these families all of a sudden had other work [digging for the excavation] four or five months a year. They had more income, which meant that they were independent. So you’d hear things in the coffeehouse like, “There’s that old shepherd who’s sending his daughter off to nursing school. Who does he think he is? It’s Miller’s fault. He’s given him airs because he works for the excavation.” [more]

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:06:01 AM::

~ Picene Ponderings @ Sauvage Noble

Over at Sauvage Noble, in addition to a sporty new look, there's an interesting piece of AM's current research into a mysterious Picene inscription ...

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:00:34 AM::

~ Reviews from BMCR

Stephen G. Miller, Ancient Greek Athletics.

Nicola Trevet, Commento alla Phaedra di Seneca, a cura di Maria Chiabo.

Nicola Trevet, Commento alla  Medea  di Seneca, a cura di Luciana Roberti.

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 4:57:28 AM::

~ Sanctuary of Apollo Found!

A tantalizingly brief item from AFP via Yahoo:

 Hundreds of ancient objects from as far apart as Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey), Greece, Egypt and Cyprus were discovered among the remains of a previously unreported, pre-Christian sanctuary on an uninhabited Greek islet in the Aegean Sea.

Archaeologists conducting excavations on Despotiko island since 1997 uncovered, among others, a valuable statuette dating from 680-660 BC, statue parts, tools, weapons, pearls, even an ostrich egg, the Greek culture ministry announced Wednesday.

The sanctuary was dedicated to ancient Greek god Apollo and was used as a place of worship from the 7th century BC to Roman times. Only the sanctuary's auxiliary buildings, but not the main temple, have been recovered so far.

I assume this is the group conducting the excavation ... they do have a field school.

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 4:54:33 AM::

~ If it's Thursday, Atlantis Must be in Tampa

Yahoo Finance (specifically, their press releases) is increasingly becoming the repository of strange items of interest to us. The latest is another claim in the "I have found Atlantis" genre ... this one claims it's near Tampa:

After twenty years of searching, Dennis Brooks has found the island of Atlantis. When Plato wrote about Atlantis, he gave detailed measurements of its terrain and waterways. He said that the distance across the center of the triangular Island (Atlantis), was .5 miles, and it was surrounded by three zones of water and two zones of land.

He gave exact measurements of the zones. The first land zone was a peninsula extending from the mainland, and the second land zone was another island. He stated that the water zones were canals cut straight alongside the island, and the first two canals separated the island from the peninsula and mainland. The third water zone was cut through the peninsula to form the second and outer land zone, which was also a triangular shaped island.

Plato went on to give exact measurements of the land masses and waterways. He said that each of the two land zones (peninsula and island) were 1800 feet across. And that one of the water zones was 300 feet across; and the other two were 600 feet across.

According to Plato, this small island of Atlantis held the royal palace and was located across the canal from the main city of Atlantis, which is now Tampa, FL. Plato also gave detailed descriptions of docks, bridges, and aqueducts that connected the land zones. He wrote of beautiful gardens, orchards, and two springs that provided hot and cold water.

Harbor Island, (in Tampa Bay) is elegant, and fits Plato's description perfectly. It is a beautiful triangular shaped, semiprivate island that has a distance across its center of .5 miles. It is surrounded by three zones of water and two zones of land. One of the land zones is a triangular shaped island and the other is a peninsula that extends out into the bay from the mainland. Each of the land zones is 1800 feet across. One of the three canals is 300 feet across and the other two are 600 feet across.

All of the terrain features and waterways can be found on a topographic map, measured, and verified using Plato's writings and measurements.

There are other indications that the area was once part of Atlantis: the northern section of Tampa has a place called Temple Terrace; Apollo Beach is in the Bay area , and on the Florida plain, there is a city called Atlantis. There is much more to this story.

I have rewritten Plato's description in a 48 page book that tells the complete story. It can be downloaded from the Internet free.

I am making this material available because I intend to write a book about the discovery of Atlantis and would like to include information on how people react to its discovery.

I tried to download the associated .pdf, but the message came up that it was "damaged" ... it almost crashed my browser too.

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 4:49:10 AM::

~ JOB: Chair @ UManchester

Applications are invited for a Chair of Ancient History in the University of Manchester.

The successful applicant will have an established international reputation in any field of ancient Roman and/or Greek history. The appointee will take a lead in developing the excellent teaching and research profile of Classics and Ancient History, and will play a full part in the intellectual, managerial, and developmental activities of the new School of Arts, Histories and Cultures.

Classics and Ancient History at Manchester (ClAH) boasts a young and vibrant community of scholars and students, supporting a wide range of teaching and research interests across the ancient world. Teaching and research in history, language, and literature are fully integrated in ClAH, and are complemented by strong links with colleagues with Classical interests elsewhere in the Faculty, the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, and the Manchester Museum. Of particular importance is the role of ancient historians in the diachronic study of history in the University. The appointee will complement and enhance existing teaching and research strengths in ancient history. There is a particular need for academic leadership in Roman history, but Greek historians also are encouraged to apply.

Salary by negotiation.

Informal enquiries may be made to the ClAH subject head, Dr Roy Gibson, tel: ++44(0) 161-275 3030, email:
Information about Classics and Ancient History at Manchester may be found at
Application forms and further particulars are available at or from the Directorate of Human Resources, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL.  Tel: ++44 (0) 161 275 2028; fax: ++44 (0) 161 275 2471; minicom (for Deaf/hearing impaired):  ++44 (0) 161 275 7889; email:
Closing date: Friday 18 February 2005.

The University will actively foster a culture of inclusion and diversity and will seek to achieve true equality of opportunity for all members of its community.

The post will also be advertised in the THES and Guardian in the week beginning Monday 13 December 2004.

... seen on various lists

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 4:42:35 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HINT| The Rise of Christianity: Part 3  
The Eastern Roman Empire, based in Constantinople, survives in splendor for a thousand years after Rome's fall. But the sands of Arabia give birth to a new faith, Islam, which soon conquers half of Christendom. Though Europe is mired in the Dark Ages, Irish monks copy ancient texts, preserving them for the future.

HINT = History International

::Thursday, December 09, 2004 4:40:22 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.

Publishing schedule:
Rogueclassicism is updated daily, usually before 7.00 a.m. (Eastern) during the week. Give me a couple of hours to work on my sleep deficit on weekends and holidays, but still expect the page to be updated by 10.00 a.m. at the latest.

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