~ This Day in Ancient History
pridie nonas januarias
- ludi compitales continue (day 2) -- really a moveable festival which might occur anytime between Saturnalia and January 5. It was largely a rural occasion involving woollen dolls being made to represent each free member of the household (simple woollen balls would be used to represent slaves) being hung up on the eve of the festival, presumably as offerings to the Lares. There would also follow more formal sacrifices at the compita (places where two farm paths crossed).
- 212 A.D. -- martyrdom of Mavilus of Adrumentum
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:35:13 AM::
This was brought to my attention a few weeks ago (but I forget where and by whom (GL?)) but I just found it in my unsorted bookmarks list. Ephemeris is a weekly online newspaper in Latin aimed, apparently at upper level school types. Current front page stories include the tsunami, the European constitution, and that nightclub fire in Argentina ... definitely worth a look! I'll definitely include notices here when the subject matter changes ...
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:28:57 AM::
~ Classical Words of the Day
distrait @ Dictionary.com
Since it is a slow day, words-wise, it seems salutary to point out that the Classics Technology Centre also has a 'Words of the Week' section ... a selection of words Classicists at all stages in their career should be familiar with ... the most recent offerings focus on drama terms, e.g., contaminatio, kommos, New Comedy, Old Comedy, and parabasis ... there's also an archive of previous stuff.
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:25:48 AM::
~ Tsunamis and Astrology
Folks looking for comparanda in terms of consulting the auspices (or other forms of divination) will be interested in this somewhat vague tidbit from Reuters (via Yahoo):
Former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk says an astrologer warned him that an "ultra-catastrophic cataclysm" would strike, but that his country would be spared if proper rituals were conducted.
"My wife and I decided to spend several thousand dollars to organize these ceremonies so our country and our people could be spared such a catastrophe," Sihanouk, who abdicated last year, wrote on his Web site at www.norodomsihanouk.info.
Cambodia was unscathed by the 30-foot tsunami waves generated by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake under the sea off Indonesia's Sumatra island on Dec.26. The waves rolled through the Indian Ocean, devastating coastal communities and killing more than 126,000 people. [...]
Alas, I can't find more at the king's website ...
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:18:08 AM::
~ Sir Peter Strothard
The former editor of the Times of London, Sir Peter Strothard, is an (if such a thing is possible) Classicist and he's giving a talk at UMichigan which looks interesting:
"The Moderns between the Greeks and the Romans."
Sir Peter Strothard, a respected political journalist and author who was with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the days before and after the outbreak of the Iraq War and wrote one of the first books on that war, will speak at the University of Michigan.
Strothard, who has been a classicist since his days at Oxford University, now asks if modern politicians don't take notice of the history of the ancient world. Do classic scholars help today's leaders or not?
Strothard, a former Times of London editor who also covered President Bush, accompanied Blair to Greece during the war on Blair's 50th birthday. Stothard noted that there is a chance to talk about the importance of the Greek and Roman periods to the world today. He will discuss how those Greco-Roman legacies impact the modern era and how future historians may judge today's world.
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:13:05 AM::
~ Year of Languages
The Review-Atlas has a piece on 2005 being proclaimed 'The Year of Languages' and Monmouth College's participation in it, including this quote from Classics prof. Thomas Sienkewicz:
Professor Tom Sienkewicz, the college's coordinator of off-campus study, said 2005 will be a year of new language initiatives at Monmouth, with students visiting from such countries as Finland and Sweden, and Monmouth sending its first student to study in Scotland. "There is no better way to learn a foreign language than to be immersed in the culture where the language is spoken," he said. "Conversely, it is extremely valuable to have students and faculty from other countries spend a semester or longer on our campus.
Sienkewicz, who also chairs Monmouth's classics department, said that the study of ancient languages such as Latin and Greek remains a key component of a well-rounded education, and he has helped lead a nationwide crusade to encourage students to pursue careers as Latin teachers. "There is currently a severe shortage of Latin teachers, just as there is a shortage of foreign language teachers in general," he said. "It is my hope that the Year of Languages will help call attention to this need."
In a similar vein, Latinteach (and other fora) denizen Ginny Lindzey was on Seattle Public Radio talking about the resurgence of Latin and other Latin-related matters (GL is around minute 42 or so ... it's all interesting, though).
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:09:58 AM::
~ Oliver Stone's Mea Culpa
In a lengthy interview in the Telegraph, Oliver Stone finally admits that he messed up Alexander's story ... the incipit:
There is no need to subject Oliver Stone to a painful precis of the more cruel comments of the American cinema critics: he can, and does, recite them verbatim. Crouched forward, coffee cup in hand, he closes his eyes as he repeats in an anguished voice: "Puerile writing... confused plotting... limp acting... weak script... shockingly off-note performances... disjointed narrative... acted at a laughably hysterical pitch... it has wonderful highlights, but most of them are in Colin Farrell's hair..."
As he utters each phrase, his voice grows louder, his expression more anguished. There can be no denying that the tirade of vitriol from America's all-powerful film reviewers has been relentless.
And Stone, legendary film director and author of the latest swords-and-sandals epic, Alexander, has been, by his own admission, "destroyed" by their derision. As he sits hunched in an easy chair in his Los Angeles office, he makes no attempt to conceal his dejection. "Alexander was a winner... pity the film wasn't," he says sadly. He grimaces. "Alexander never lost a battle in his life. And I have let him down. He was a fighter, the sort of man who would have gone after Osama bin Laden and never given up.
The interview concludes with an interesting quote, with which I think many rogueclassicism readers can identify:
I interrupt him and ask: "Why the fascination with ancient history?"
Stone pauses. "I guess," he says, "I am into history, because the present, the right here and the right now, is too much." [the whole (lengthy) interview]
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:03:31 AM::
~ On the Art of Obituary Writing
Lots of little 'tidbits' (as opposed to articles) so far ... this one, from the Sydney Morning Herald, comes from a larger piece observing how obituaries have become an "entertaining art form":
Matthew Thompson wrote with similar amusement on Godfrey Tanner, aka "The Beast", former professor of classics at the University of Newcastle. An inspired teacher and mentor, a High Anglican and member of synod, he was nonetheless "not averse to an enthusiastic but largely platonic admiration of 'shapely bottomed youths"' and "outdrank many a robust young engineering student. In fact, the diminutive Godfrey was of such good cheer at the university bar that the University Union eventually named the bar after him."
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 4:57:32 AM::
~ The Other Alexander Flick
A piece of 'anti-hype' for the Alexander flick warning folks how terrible it is includes this little tidbit inter alia:
Australian director Baz Luhrmann's own Alexander the Great project, with a working title Alx, is still on the drawing board.
The Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom director "still intends to make it", a spokesman said.
"He currently has a number of projects in development and he has yet to decide which will be next on his slate," the spokesman said. [from News.com]
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 4:54:53 AM::
~ Cowboy Will James
A piece in the North West Arkansas News about (erstwhile Canadian) cowboy Will James appeals to this Calgarian-in-exile coffee snob on a number of levels ... inter alia a quote from a prof commenting on James' works:
" The immediate (practical) purpose of drinking a cup of coffee is to wash the biscuit down; the proximate (ethical), the intimate communion of, say, cowboys standing around a campfire in a drenching rain, water curling off their Stetsons, over yellow slickers, splashing on the rowels of spurs, their faces creased with squinting at the sun, drawing the bitter liquid down their several throats into the single moral belly of their comradeship. The remote (political) purpose of coffee at the campfire, especially in the rain, is the making of Americans — born on the frontier, free, frank, friendly, touchy about honor, despisers of fences, lovers of horses, worshippers of eagles and women. Nations have their drinks: the English, tea, the Irish, whiskey, the Germans, beer. Drinking coffee from a can is us. The ultimate purpose is mystical. To drink a can of coffee with the cowboys in the rain is, in the words of Odysseus, something like perfection. "
Not sure how Odysseus fits in there, but there you go.
::Tuesday, January 04, 2005 4:49:06 AM::