Latest update: 1/1/2005; 8:26:00 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xi kalendas januarias

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:20:55 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

moil @ (hmmmmm)

sub rosa @ Merriam-Webster

onolatry @ Worthless Word for the Day

achromatic @ Guru.Net

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:14:21 AM::

~ Father Foster

I will listen to this (I promise), but I can't until all the holiday rushing around is done ... so here's the official description of Father Foster's latest:

Enjoy our "Latin Lover’s Christmas card and message" and listen to an exclusive choice of seasonal Gregorian chant to go with it, including a modern Carol the Romans would definitely have liked to hear over the air waves or "per undas aereas"

Actually, I think my students expect me to be listening to Gregorian Chant (I use it regularly to motivate them ... it's like that Simpsons episode where Lisa finds the angel fossil ... Principal Skinner announces "Attention, all honour students will be reward with a trip to an archaeological dig.  Conversely, all detention students will be punished with a trip to an archaeological dig.")

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:10:50 AM::

~ Penelope @ Laudator

Over at Laudator, MG has a nice little piece on Dorothy Parker's Penelope ...

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:05:21 AM::

~ Amazons in Britain

The 'skeptic centre' of my brain is firing rapidly over this one ... a piece in the Times claims there to have found the remains of two female "Amazon" warriors who served in the Roman army in Britain. Ecce:

The remains of two Amazon warriors serving with the Roman army in Britain have been discovered in a cemetery that has astonished archaeologists.

Women soldiers were previously unknown in the Roman army in Britain and the find at Brougham in Cumbria will force a reappraisal of their role in 3rd-century society.

The women are thought to have come from the Danube region of Eastern Europe, which was where the Ancient Greeks said the fearsome Amazon warriors could be found.

The women, believed to have died some time between AD220 and 300, were burnt on pyres upon which were placed their horses and military equipment. The remains were uncovered in the 1960s but full-scale analysis and identification has been possible only since 2000 with technological advances.

The soldiers are believed to have been part of the numerii, a Roman irregular unit, which would have been attached to a legion serving in Britain. Other finds show that their unit originated from the Danubian provinces of Noricum, Pannonia and Ilyria which now form parts of Austria, Hungary and the former Yugoslavia.

Hilary Cool, the director of Barbican Research Associates, which specialises in post- excavation archaeological analysis, said that the remains were the most intriguing aspects of a site that is changing our understanding of Roman burial rites.

“It seems highly probable that we have a unit raised in the Danubian lands and transferred to Britain,” she says in British Archaeology.

“Though the numerii are generally referred to as irregular units, they are not thought of as having women among their ranks. However, the unit came from the area where the Ancient Greeks placed the origin of women warriors called Amazons. Could the numerii be even more irregular than anyone has ever dreamt?”

The cemetery at Brougham served a fort and the civilian settlement of Brocavum in the 3rd century and analysis of the remains of more than 180 people showed that everybody’s ashes were buried there. Archaeologists have been able to determine the ages and gender of the dead and to build up a detailed picture of Roman funerals in Brougham.

One of the sets of women warrior’s remains were found with the burnt remnants of animals. Bone veneer, used to decorate boxes, was also found alongside evidence of a sword scabbard and red pottery. The possessions suggest that she was of high status and her age has been estimated at between 20 and 40 years old. The other woman, thought to be between 21 and 45, was buried with a silver bowl, a sword scabbard, bone veneer and ivory.

We should make known the existence of a report written prior to this 'discovery':

H.E.M. Cool,  The Roman Cemetery at Brougham, Cumbria Excavations 1966-67

Also worth looking at is an article in the March 2003 issue of British Archaeology about assorted Roman burials in the UK, including this little excerpt:

Strangest of all are the possible 'religious' decapitations. At Brougham in Cumbria, three bodies have been found that were cremated without their heads. The archaeologist Hilary Cool has suggested the heads were perhaps kept back for subsequent religious or magical acts - further evidence of the head cult seemingly attested at St Albans and elsewhere.

I wonder why they automatically assume women warriors here (influence of last week's finds in Iran?) ... why not some sort of human sacrifice or 'suttee' sort of thing? Although possibly bizarre in context, surely it's less bizarre than 'Amazons'.

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:50:57 AM::

~ Review from BMCR

Ancona on Roche on Ancona.

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:35:46 AM::

~ Georgics Translation

The Augusta Free Press hypes a local author thusly:

Staunton author Janet Lembke recently received a $20,000 grant to go toward the completion of her work on a translation of Virgil's Georgics - a four-book poem on the subject of farming published in Latin in 30 B.C.

A book by Lembke including the translation - Let There Be Gardens - is slated for an April 2005 release by the Yale University Press.

"The book will incorporate many gardening tips from the first century B.C.," Lembke told The Augusta Free Press.

A run of interesting facts will also be prominent in the book.

"For one, we use the same tools that the Romans used - hoes, rakes, pruning shears, spades and more," Lembke said.

Virgil's original work featured sections dealing with crops and celestial signs that tell when to plant and when to harvest, the cultivation of trees and grape vines, the care of livestock, particularly horses, cattle, sheep and goats, and the wonderful world of bees.

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:34:47 AM::

~ Cana Found?

I don't usually post two versions of the same story, but in this case I think I should ... if only to demonstrate how silly journalists and/or archaeologists come across when they play the 'Jesus card' in regards to a recent discovery. Sure it gets you more coverage, but that coverage, quite frankly, seems to make the profession look rather nutty. First, here's the coverage of the find in an AP story circulating, this one from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Among the roots of ancient olive trees, archaeologists have found pieces of large stone jars of the type the Gospel says Jesus used when he turned water into wine at a Jewish wedding in the Galilee village of Cana.
   They believe these could have been the same kind of vessels the Bible says Jesus used in his first miracle, and that the site where they were found could be the location of biblical Cana. But Bible scholars caution it will be hard to obtain conclusive proof - especially since experts disagree on exactly where Cana was located.
   Christian theologians attach great significance to the water-to-wine miracle at Cana. The act was not only Jesus' first miracle, but it also came at a crucial point in the early days of his public ministry - when his reputation was growing, he had just selected his disciples and was under pressure to demonstrate his divinity.
   The shards were found during   a salvage dig in modern-day Cana, between Nazareth and Capernaum. Israeli archaeologist Yardena Alexander believes the Arab town was built near the ancient village. The jar pieces date to the Roman period, when Jesus traveled in the Galilee.
   ''All indications from the archaeological excavations suggest that the site of the wedding was [modern-day] Cana, the site that we have been investigating,'' said Alexander, as she cleaned the site of mud from winter rains.
   However,  American archaeologists at a rival site several miles to the north have also found pieces of stone jars from the time of Jesus, and believe they have found biblical Cana.
   Another expert, archaeologist Shimon Gibson, cast doubt on the find at modern Cana, since such vessels are not rare and it would be impossible to link a particular set of vessels to the miracle.
   ''Just the existence of stone vessels is not enough to prove that this is a biblical site,''   and more excavations are needed, he said.
   Based on the shards, Alexander believes the vessels found at her site were 12 to 16 inches in diameter - or large enough to be the same type of jars described in the Gospel of John.
   Other evidence that might link the site to the biblical account includes the presence of a Jewish ritual bath at the house, which shows it was a Jewish community.

Now here's the more reasonable coverage from the Jerusalem Post:

The Israel Antiquities Authority recently uncovered the remains of what has been identified as Kana in the Galilee, a settlement known from both Jewish and Christian traditions.

Authority spokesperson said Tuesday that during excavations in the western section of Kfar Kana, an Arab Israeli village in the Lower Galilee, archeologists discovered building remains, household utensils, and a mikve (Jewish ritual purification bath).

In Chapter Two of the Gospel according to John, it is said that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine at a Jewish wedding in Kana. About 100 years later, after the destruction of the Second Temple, Kana was home to many priestly families and was known as Elyashiv.

Based on the second century date of the settlement, it appears to be the same priestly neighborhood that was mentioned in the Lamentations of Elazar Kallir and in a Roman inscription in Caesarea.

The settlement existed for 700 years, through the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

I guess this is what happens when media outlets are trying to build up to their annual 'star of Bethlehem' pieces ....

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:30:43 AM::

~ JOB: Classical Archaeology @ UCal Berkeley

The Department of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley has been authorized to appoint an Academic Coordinator (non-tenure track, 50%) in Classical Archaeology (effective July 1, 2005) as Director of the newly established Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology; in addition, there may be opportunities to supplement salary up to 100% through teaching in the Department.  The successful candidate will have a Ph.D.  in classics, archaeology or a related field, at least three years of excavation experience in Greece, knowledge of classical sites in Greece and the Mediterranean, successful teaching experience, evidence or promise of publication in classical archaeology, fluent command of English and good command of modern Greek, knowledge of ancient Greek and Latin, good organizational skills, and the ability to deal courteously and effectively with a wide variety of people.  Some experience in fundraising and with Greek governmental agencies is desirable.  Ph.D. or equivalent must be in hand by July 1, 2005.  This is initially a one year appointment, renewable for up to five years.  Salary range $50,000-$60,000 at 100% rate; actual salary within this range commensurate with qualifications.  We encourage applicants of all levels, from junior to emeriti.

Deadline for application is January 10, 2005 (postmark).  Send letter of application and full CV to Professor Robert Knapp, Chair, Executive Committee, Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology, 7233 Dwinelle Hall #2520, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-2520 (FAX 510-643-2959).  Junior candidates (ABDs and candidates who completed the Ph.D. within the past 5 years) should have dossiers and a writing sample sent directly to the above address as soon as possible; all other candidates should provide names and addresses of references and a list of publications.

Full information about the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology is at  Candidates are urged to familiarize themselves with that background material before making application.

Inquiries about this ad may be addressed to Professor Knapp at

... seen on AegeaNet

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:21:29 AM::

~ JOB: Ancient History @ UManitoba

The Department of Classics, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Manitoba invites applications for a full-time tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor. The appointment will begin on July 1, 2005, or soon thereafter.  The successful candidate will be a specialist in ancient history, able to teach a wide range of courses in classical civilization and in Greek and Latin at all undergraduate levels. Responsibilities will include participation in the Department's MA program and service-related activities. The starting salary will reflect the qualifications and experience of the chosen candidate, but this is an entry-level position.  Applicants are expected to have demonstrated excellence in research and success in teaching. Candidates must have a PhD by the time of appointment.

The University of Manitoba encourages applications from qualified women and men, including members of visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities.  All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Applications for this position must include: a letter of application, curriculum vitae, the names and contact information of three referees, and a sample of scholarly writing.  Candidates should also include evidence of effective teaching, such as teaching evaluations and sample course outlines.

Applications should be sent to:

Dr. Mark Joyal Head,
Department of Classics
University College
220 Dysart Road
University of Manitoba,
 Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2M8

The deadline for  receipt of applications is 31 JANUARY 2005. Further information concerning the Department and the University may be obtained from ttp:// or by e-mail from

Application materials will be handled in accordance with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Manitoba).

... seen on Romarch

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:20:07 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries: Ancient Computer?
Journey back in time for an eye-opening look at the amazing ancient roots of technologies we like to think of as modern. New research suggests that many of the inventions of the last 200 years may, in fact, have already been known to the ancients. In Part 1, we explore the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient machine that was discovered deep in the Aegean Sea. Could it perhaps have been an ancient computer? Could Archimedes have had a hand in its creation?  
8.00 p.m. |HINT|Glorious Rome: Capitol of the Empire
Art, aesthetics, literature, theater, law, city planning: These are just a few of the debts owed by Western civilization to Rome, the glorious capital of the greatest and most powerful empire that the world has ever known. Take a tour of this vast metropolis as it was during its peak, and see it through the eyes of the Roman citizens of the time. State-of-the-art technology, coupled with enhanced 3-D graphics, allows viewers to explore the architectural treasures as only the Romans could. 

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Galen, Doctor to the Gladiators
In this fascinating series, we examine ancient inventions once believed to have been created in modern times, and test the wits of ancient inventors against some of the world's great modern inventors. Part 2 uncovers the revolutionary work of Galen, the great Roman doctor to the gladiators, who was performing brain surgery 2,000 years ahead of his time. We also explore the sophistication of Roman medicine and compare it to modern techniques. 

9.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Evidence: The Real Disciples of Jesus

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Heron of Alexandria
In Part 3, we travel to Alexandria, Egypt--the home of inventors and philosophers in ancient times. One of the greatest inventors was Heron of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician, geometer, and worker in mechanics, who taught at the famous Museum. His strange inventions, such as automaton theaters--puppet theaters worked by strings, drums, and weights--automatic doors, and coin-operated machines, were famous throughout the ancient world.

Channel Guide

::Wednesday, December 22, 2004 8:12:34 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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