~ Schedule Disruption
Just so folks know ... I'm on holidays now which means there will likely be occasional disruptions in rogueclassicism updates. For the most part, all it means is that I will be updating a bit later than usual since I can now have the opportunity to work on my sleep deficit. So when you're all malled out, rogueclassicism will still be here ...
::Monday, December 20, 2004 7:41:21 AM::
~ This Day in Ancient History
ante diem xiii kalendas januarias
- Saturnalia continues (day 4)
- 69 A.D. -- supporters of the Flavians capture Rome; murder of the emperor-for-a-little-while Vitellius
::Monday, December 20, 2004 7:33:42 AM::
~ Alexander in Europe
There's an AP story bouncing around the Internet with this comment by Oliver Stone in regards to how well he thing Alexander will do in Europe (this version from the Denver Post):
Director Oliver Stone says he's optimistic his historical epic "Alexander" will do well in Europe after its disappointing start at home.
"People in America are apathetic to ancient history - they are," Stone told reporters Thursday in Paris. "They don't study the classics like they do in Europe, so there is a significant difference in reaction."
So "how" do they study Classics in Europe? For what it's worth, the only site I could find which reveals European box office receipts has Alexander on top in Hungary (just unseating the Incredibles), CIS, and Greece. It's also number one in the UAE, interestingly enough. Personally, I'm waiting for Oliver Stone to claim that the lack of success of the film was due to a conspiracy of Classicists who are all "disciples" of Leo Strauss and currently take their marching orders from Victor Davis Hanson who, of course, had to pan the film because the political message of Alexander was detrimental to the current U.S. administration yadda yadda yadda.
::Monday, December 20, 2004 7:10:01 AM::
~ Peter Jones in the Spectator
Here's the incipit of Peter Jone's latest:
Whenever the subject of the EU comes up, someone is bound to compare it to the Roman empire. If the comparison relates to the beginning and subsequent development of that empire, it fails. But the end of the Roman empire in the West in the 5th century ad may well offer quite a good model of how EUthanasia will set in.
Rome entered the imperial stakes after defeating Carthage in the first Punic war (264–241 bc). The two greatest powers of the western Mediterranean had been fighting it out over control of Sicily, which became Rome’s first provincia when Carthage surrendered. After the second Punic war and the defeat of Hannibal (218–202 bc), the Carthaginian territories of Africa (roughly modern Tunisia) and Spain were added, to be followed in 146 bc by Greece (whose king had supported Hannibal). Asia (modern western Turkey) was then bequeathed (!) to the Romans by its ruler Attalus III ...and so it went on.
There was no ‘policy’ about any of this. Rome did not go in for visions or long-term strategies: it simply reacted to events in the way it reckoned would be most advantageous to itself. But once Rome had tasted the benefits of imperial power, there was every incentive for it to protect what it had, and if that meant expansion, so be it. By the 1st century ad Rome ruled an area from the Rhine-Danube to north Africa and Egypt, from Syria to Britain. [more]
::Monday, December 20, 2004 6:54:03 AM::
~ On Matthew's Nativity Story
Geza Vermes has a piece in the Telegraph putting the Nativity story as told by Matthew in its Biblico-literary context:
When we speak of the Nativity story, we speak, in essence, of the account in St Matthew's Gospel. The virgin birth, Joseph's dream, the star, the Wise Men and their gifts, the flight to Egypt, and Herod's slaughter of the innocents: all these elements are drawn from Chapters 1 and 2 of the first Gospel. Only the adoration of the shepherds and the birth in the manger are missing - these staples of the tale being supplied by St Luke.
St Matthew's account of the Christmas story, like a child's fairy tale, consists of an admixture of the charming and the frightening. The sweet image of the baby cared for by the Virgin Mary, greeted by angels, and visited by the Magi - magicians in pursuit of a miraculous star - is followed by menace. The bloodthirsty Herod enters the fray, informed of Jesus's birth by the Magi, and advised by the interpreters of what we have come to call the Old Testament ("the chief priests and scribes"), sages who identify the place where the new king of Israel is to be found.
To rid himself of a potential rival, Herod lets loose his cruel soldiers on the infants of Bethlehem. They all perish - except the child whom Herod actually fears. Joseph, warned by a dream, carries Jesus to safety in Egypt - where, centuries before, the very existence of the Jewish people had nearly been brought to an end by Pharaoh. Yet another dream, and Joseph is told by "an angel of the Lord" that he can take Mary and Jesus back to the Holy Land.
This account of Jesus's birth is missing entirely from the Gospels of Mark and John, and appears in a radically different form in Luke, where there is no mention of a star, wise men or Herod, nor of the murder of the innocents and Jesus's escape to Egypt. The question, then, is: what are the true origins of St Matthew's account, which have proved so extraordinarily influential in Christian civilisation?
To answer this, we have to examine Biblical sources and Jewish folklore. Dreams, for instance, play an essential part in Matthew's account of the Nativity. Joseph discovers by means of a vision that the pregnancy of Mary is miraculous - "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" - in fulfilment of a prophecy by Isaiah.
According to the prophet, a child called "Emmanuel" would be born of a virgin. The crucial point here is that Matthew is quoting the Greek translation of Isaiah: "Behold a parthenos [virgin] shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel." But Isaiah wrote in Hebrew, not in Greek, and in the Hebrew Bible, the mother of Emmanuel is not a virgin - the Hebrew for this would be betulah - but a young woman, almah, already pregnant. She is to give birth to a son, Immanu El, meaning "God is with us"
Here, the historical context of Isaiah's original words is key: this name - Immanu El - promised divine protection to the inhabitants of Jerusalem during the siege of the city by two enemy kings seven centuries before the birth of Jesus. But the writer responsible for St Matthew's Gospel - which is in Greek - added his own double twist to the Hebrew words of Isaiah, distorting them dramatically in the process. The Gospel author took the translated word parthenos, not in the loose sense of a young girl but strictly as "virgin"; and the name "God is with us" not as a promise of hope but, literally, as a person sharing the nature of the Deity.
It is hard to exaggerate the significance of these changes. Matthew's Gospel was written in about AD 80-90 for Christians who were not of Jewish provenance - that is, Gentiles who had no knowledge of Isaiah's original Hebrew. For them, the passage announced, unambiguously, the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy: the miraculous birth of a divine being. But the prophet himself and readers of his original Hebrew sentence regarded it as a quite specific allusion to the historical circumstances of Isaiah's age - and would have found its mutation in Greek into one of the foundations of Christian doctrine quite baffling. [more]
::Monday, December 20, 2004 6:45:46 AM::
Well, not really errata, but more neglegentia in regards to our television listings and Explorator yesterday. I was in a rush and didn't remember to clip my 'placeholders' from the tv listings, nor did I check that the Explorator actually posted (it apparently didn't). Everything is now fixed, so if you want a 'clean' copy of the AWOTV listings (weekly version) or want to see the most recent Explorator, they are now available. Apologies for any confusion/inconvenience.
::Monday, December 20, 2004 6:39:33 AM::
~ AWOTV: On TV Today
10.00 p.m. |HINT| The Twelve Apostles
Separately, they were nobodies--a handful of fishermen, an angry tax collector. But united by a charismatic Jewish preacher, this ragtag gang shaped into history's most famous revolutionaries. Meet Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the Lesser, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas in this 2-hour special.
HINT = History International
::Monday, December 20, 2004 6:35:18 AM::