~ This Day in Ancient History
- Rites in honour of Tellus, the earth goddess which perhaps included a lectisternium (a 'dinner party' at which images of the god(s) would 'dine' with participants) in honour of Ceres.
- 304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Lucy of Syracuse
::Monday, December 13, 2004 6:03:33 AM::
~ APA Stuff
Checking again for the latest Amphora at the APA site (it isn't there), I find that they have actually linked to RS's post (at the Stoa) regarding the 'wrong direction' the APA is head in in regards to having a "Members Only" section. So ... the APA is reading blogs (or at least one)! Well, as long as we're APA-bashing and I'm in a foul pre-caffeinated mood, let me 'kick them while they're down' and point out that what they claim to be an 'Agora' is about as 'news aware' as the washroom attendant at some taberna in some obscure outpost of the Roman army in Britain. Now I can understand them not linking to anything I've ever done (we apparently don't get along ... I've obviously had run-ins in the past with the person maintaining a 'paper archive'), but come on ... blogs should be 'required reading' in this section. If you can't keep up with the Classical news due to your academic commitments, link to someone who can!
::Monday, December 13, 2004 5:56:08 AM::
~ Roman Nerd
A column in the San Francisco Chronicle on bullies, bad boys, and nerds throughout history has this paradigm of an ancient nerd:
Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Drusus (10 B.C. - A.D. 54), or just Claudius to his friends (and I, Claudius to himself), didn't exactly fit the Roman emperor mold. He drooled. He stuttered. He was lame (literally and figuratively). He was a bookworm and scholar. But his nerdiness served him well, as his maniacal nephew Caligula ignored him, sparing Claudius from the murders and intrigues of the Roman court. When he ascended to the throne after Caligula's murder, Claudius proved himself to be a good man for the job. He was an astute lawmaker and competent military strategist (he was responsible for adding Britain to the Roman Empire). Claudius reportedly died after eating mushrooms poisoned by his evil fourth wife, Agrippina, who also happened to be his niece.
Wow ... Claudius as a sort of Roman precursor to Bill Gates ... although I think Claudius would have been more of a Linux man.
::Monday, December 13, 2004 5:40:27 AM::
~ d.m. Kathleen Devin
From the Boston Globe:
A popular teacher at Boston Latin School who taught Latin courses and fought for teachers' rights was killed early yesterday morning when she lost control of her car on Interstate 95 in Rhode Island, police said.
Kathleen Devin, 44, was apparently driving home from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut when her brown Toyota spun off the highway in Hopkinton, R.I., around midnight, careened down an embankment, and flipped over several times. She was ejected from the car and it landed on top of her, Rhode Island State Police said.
Reports of the accident stunned friends and colleagues in Boston yesterday, who remembered Devin as a teacher who stood out at the elite exam school through her intellect, her adventurousness, and her devotion to the underdog.
She could be imposing: She stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and had a gravelly voice. Before becoming a teacher, friends said, she ran a jackhammer on a highway construction crew.
Boston Latin headmaster Cornelia A. Kelley said that an emergency faculty meeting is planned today and that counselors will be available to students and staff at school. Yesterday, staff members called to console one another.
''It's a tough thing to go through, especially at this time of year," Kelley said. ''You just don't expect when you leave on a Friday that people won't come back on a Monday."
Devin, who was single and a graduate of Boston schools, had taught at Boston Latin for more than a decade, one of 17 classics teachers at the school of 2,400 students. Colleagues recalled her dedication to her profession and the teachers and students she worked with. [more]
::Monday, December 13, 2004 5:26:59 AM::
~ Senator Gigantes Dies
I note that former Canadian senator Philippe Gigantes has passed away. Although most Canadians, if they recognize the name at all, will remember him for his seventeen-plus hour filibuster attempt at delaying the evil Goods and Services Tax back in the 1980's, we should note that he once was a Professor of Classics (and Dean of Arts and Science) at the University of Lethbridge (besides being a Greek emigre, war hero, journalist, and author). Back in 1998, when PG retired, among the tributes to him in the senate was this excerpt from a speech by Noel Kinsella:
Senator Gigantès, of course, a great Biblical reader, caught my attention when I arrived here eight years ago during a more exciting time. I recall him sitting on a special seat at a table in front of where Senator Graham now sits, reading the Bible. Senator Doody was there as well. The place has become much more civil and urbane since then.
Honourable senators, I must say I love Sophocles' story of Antigone. King Creon had decreed that because Antigone's brother had committed a crime and was put to death, his body ought not be buried, but Antigone felt that there was a higher law and a higher duty, and that drove her to defy the king's rule and to bury her brother's body. When called before the king and asked, "Why did you break my decree?" she declared that there are indeed laws that are higher than the laws made by man or by the king.
In some ways, Senator Gigantès has exemplified that great tradition. One noted it particularly in the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. He would press, quite acutely, officials from the Department of Justice who would be attempting to defend legislation written in language less than clear or plain, and he always made the point, eloquently, that there should be much more plain speech in our language.
I also think of Plato when I think of Senator Gigantès. We have the image of Plato in the cave seeing the shadows. I often thought that the shadow that Senator Gigantès sees is that of an elephant, and just as there were many principles of idealism associated with the shadows of Plato, in Senator Gigantès there has always been an idealist on the benches opposite.
I considered referring to Socrates and his hemlock, but that might be misinterpreted, so I will go on to Aristotle.
Senator Grafstein celebrated the retirement by quoting Cavafy's Ithaka:
Yet, honourable senators, how best to adequately celebrate Philippe's almost unparalleled life and extraordinary life accomplishments? Perhaps in quoting a poem written by one of Greece's greatest poets, Constantine Cavafy, in 1911, entitled Ithaca, we can echo some appropriate words. Let me quote:
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.
Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.
Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you a beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.
::Monday, December 13, 2004 5:21:14 AM::
~ AWOTV: On TV Tonight
11.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii: Buried Alive
Exploration of the archaeological site of the city that was encrusted by incendiary ash when deadly Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Archaeological director Baldasarre Conticello takes viewers on a tour of Pompeii's ruins, and visits Herculaneum, which was destroyed by Vesuvius at the same time.
HINT = History International
::Monday, December 13, 2004 5:10:15 AM::