Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:14:20 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

idus januariae

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:43:08 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

indurate @

tendentious @ Merriam-Webster

gulous @ Worthless Word for the Day

... and not really Classical, but probably of interest to some of my fellow bloggers:

pajamahadeen @ (I think we need a 'housecoathajeen' too ...)

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:35:17 AM::
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~ Some Corroboration for Behistun

I'm not sure whether this was an 'issue' with the Behistun monument set up by Darius, but a seal has been found which corroborates some of the info in it. From MehrNews:

An ancient seal has been discovered by chance which confirms the information recorded in the text of the Bistun Inscription in Kermanshah Province, an expert of the Hamedan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department announced on Wednesday.

Fariba Sharifian explained that the Iranian police recently confiscated the seal from smugglers in the town of Asadabad in Hamedan Province, adding, “It is not clear when and where the seal was unearthed, but the information and reliefs carved on it narrate significant and interesting material.” 

The seal is made of green jasper, she said. 

A cuneiform inscription in ancient Persian on one side of the cylindrical seal reads “Dadar Shish, Satrap of Bactria”. 

Dadar Shish was an ancient Iranian proper name which meant brave. It is said that the English word “dare” is derived from this word. 

According to the Bistun Inscription, in ancient Iran two persons were known by this name: the Armenian Dadar Shish, who had been tasked by the Achaemenid king Darius I to suppress the army of Armenia sent to the region; and a satrap of Bactria (modern Balkh in Afghanistan). 

The Bistun Inscription is a cuneiform text written on the precipitous limestone rock of a mountain above the village of Bistun, in western Iran. The inscription was carved in parallel columns, repeating the same text in the Old Persian, Assyrian, and Elamite languages, by order of the Persian king Darius I. It recounts his genealogy and conquests. 

The other side of the recently discovered seal bears a relief depicting a horseman who is hunting a lion with his bow and arrow, with the symbol of Ahura Mazda above this scene. 

“This relief illustrates a story of Darius the Great hunting lions,” Sharifian said. 

According to archaeologists, cylindrical seals were common in economically and politically developed societies of the time. 

Seals have been employed in Iran since the Neolithic era. The Achaemenids used them for administrative purposes.

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:22:20 AM::
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~ Positive Review of Alexander?

I was all excited because I thought I had stumbled upon a positive review of Alexander, but it turns out to be a review of the computer game which was released coincident with the movie. From the Jerusalem Post inter alia:

Alexander, the son of King Philip II of Macedon and of Epirote princess Olympias, is the hero of this program. It was issued as an accompaniment to the movie of the same title - by Academy Award winning director Oliver Stone - which is now showing in Israeli cinemas. The heavy piece of software, which needs a powerful computer to run properly, begins with impressive videoclips from the film and includes selected music from the film's soundtrack by world famous composer Vangelis.

The time is 330 BCE, and Macedon was located in the northernmost part of classical Greece. Although the Second Temple was in Jerusalem at this time, the program map shows only Syria, Egypt and Libya in the neighborhood and the Land of Israel looks like a nameless desert. In an effort to unite the rest of the Greek world against the growing power of Philip II, Greek orators called the Macedonians barbarians because they spoke a different form of the language. Six years later, Philip was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra, and the 20-year-old Alexander was crowned in his place. He immediately ordered the execution of all of his potential rivals and marched south with his armies in a campaign to solidify control of Greece and confront the Persian Empire. Probably the greatest single military strategist of all time, he conquered 90 percent of the known world by the age of 25 and marched with his troops down the Mediterranean coast. He took Tyre and Gaza, was welcomed by Egyptians as a liberator and founded Alexandria, marched into Assyria to defeat Darius and then to Babylon and as far as what is known today as Samarkand, India and Afghanistan - but he died at 32 of a mysterious illness in the palace of Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar II.

These historical events provide the skeleton for missions you pursue at any of four levels of difficulty, against the computer or in the multiplayer mode on the Internet. Surprisingly, there is no tutorial, which is a shame, as the game demands that much involvement be invested by players. But the Hebrew user's manual is a good translated summary of the original long one, which is available on disk. You can also press the F8 key to get immediate help, such as a warning that "you lose if Alexander dies or your army is destroyed" or instructions such as "Unite the village and protect the peasants." In fact, these common folk are the hard-working ants of the program, building dwellings, arsenals, temples, diplomatic centers, blacksmith forges, marketplaces, shipyards and academies.

The king appears on horseback, easily distinguishable by what looks like a glimmer of sunshine that follows him wherever he goes. And, no coward, he accompanies his troops throughout instead of waiting in the wings until they return from battle; fortunately, the gameplay is free of bloody scenes. Alexander carries out dialogue with peasants and other interlocutors, with the dialogue written as text on the bottom of the screen and large boxed portraits; the one framed in red is the speaker. [more]

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:17:04 AM::
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~ Tibetan Achilles

From the Times of Tibet comes this:

Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and Nereid Thetis. He was the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War, and was the hero of Homer's Iliad. Legend has that Thetis dipped Achilles in the waters of the river Styx, by which he became invulnerable, except that part of his heel by which she held him; whence the proverbial "heel of Achilles". Somewhere behind this legend there probably lies a real man; "a man with faith no man could shake, a strength no man could break, a character no man could fake". (Rev. Al Sharpton)

I like the character of Achilles because it gives me inspiration and it reminds me of who I am and it takes me to my very roots of origin. Tibetans believe that nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other. To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Achilles reminds me of the brave men and women of the Kham region of Tibet.

Tibet, a peaceful nation with its head as an incarnated compassionate leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was at one time a nation of warriors. Tibet was just another savage country where people were violent and where there were tremendous warriors and fighters. They had a huge empire in the 6th and the 7th century Common Era. Tibetans used to defeat the Chinese every time; that’s why Chinese built the Great Wall, to keep Tibetans and Mongols at bay. War was the religion of the country, until Buddhism came from China and India. The Chinese think of Tibetans essentially as barbarians as we were in constant war with China, Mongols, Turks, Nepalese, and Indians.

People say that Tibet is made in the image of heaven, but I like to believe that Tibet is made of brave men and women. Warriors, willing to give their lives for what seems to have become a forgotten word: honor. Great Tibetan kings united the whole Tibet and ultimately a vast empire that controlled the whole Northern Asia. Then came Buddhism, a religion of compassion and peace. From a Buddhist point of view, Tibet at that time was an uncivilized nation, a war-like nation, and a nation, which puts military as its highest priority.

Legend has that the Bodhisattva, Avaloketeshvara or Tibetans called "Chen-reg-si" the messiah of perfect compassion, vowed before Buddha, that on the planet earth when the time comes, he will take on Tibetans. He said if he can tame Tibetans he can civilize anybody, because Tibetans at the time were so furious and war was their religion. Then this compassionate God, Avaloketeshvara, was incarnated as the 23rd Kind of Tibet, Srongtsen Gampo.He told the Tibetan people that we have conquered huge lands and we have won so many battles; now it’s time to conquer a new frontier, the frontier of the human soul, and the frontier of the inner mind and the frontier of ignorance, attachment and anger. Tibetans slowly accepted Buddhism and gave up their arms and started building monasteries and temples. People start becoming monks and nuns; religion now becomes the most important thing to every Tibetan. With Buddhism, war and the army declined; at one time in Tibetan history there were only twelve hundred soldiers in the Tibet.

Chinese invaded the peaceful and religious land of Tibet in 1950s and in 1959, His Holiness Dalai Lama, fled to India. Since then, we are striving for our independence, not with guns or tanks but with love and compassion. We have waited for nearly forty-five years or so for a Chinese response to our non-violence plea, but our patience wearing out. They shouldn’t forget that the blood of warriors is still running in today’s Tibetan youth and they should not forget that if God forbids Tibetans come back to their true colors, they would fight till their last drop of blood.

Like Achilles, we Tibetans were also dipped in the river of revenge and pain, which makes us invulnerable. We can bring Achilles into life, but as a Buddhist we will tolerate as much as we can, but also as a human being if it goes above our head, then the Chinese must be ready for their actions.

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:11:42 AM::
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~ LiveScience and History

A pile of folks (and a pile of lists) have mentioned a page at LiveScience which reproduces an (older) article from Skeptical Inquirer in regards to the James Ossuary. That article is worth visiting on its own, but poking around the (fairly new) site I find that it has a complete section devoted to history, much of it ancient. There is, for example, a good argument-starting list of the top ten reasons by Alexander was Great. There's another top ten list of battles for Iraq (which has some Roman content). If you missed the news a while ago about the tropaeum of Sulla found near Orchomenos, they've got coverage of that as well (it's one of the AP articles).

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:07:23 AM::
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~ Bibliographic Software

Not strictly Classical, but this was picked up by my scan for some reason and might be useful to someone. The Telegraph has an article on "Bibliographic Software" which has a pile of links to a number of products and especially to Jay Tate's page gathering all sorts of reviews of same together (including some free ones).

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 5:01:04 AM::
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~ Circus in Colchester Followup

 Some followups to the ongoing Chariot-in-Colchester story. First we have a brief item from EADT in which the lead archaeologist assures everyone the site will be preserved (do archaeologists have that sort of power?). Perhaps more interesting, though, is a page which was posted to Britarch yesterday and which has images of the front (and other) pages of various newspapers that will give you an idea of the coverage this is getting (and some grainy photos of the site too).

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 4:52:52 AM::
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~ Reviews from BMCR

Albert Keith Whitaker, A Journey into Platonic Politics: Plato's Laws.

Carolyn L. Connor, Women of Byzantium.

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 4:47:35 AM::
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~ CONF: Science and Empire in the Roman World

Details below of a one-day colloquium on 'Science and Empire in the Roman World' in St Andrews on 8 April 2005. All welcome! Please contact Jason Koenig ( for more information.

St Andrews LOGOS Centre Colloquium
'Science and Empire in the Roman World'
Friday 8 April 2005
All papers in Swallowgate 11. Times to be confirmed.

Speakers as follows:
o Vivian Nutton (London): 'Where have all the flowers gone ? Medical substances in the Roman Empire.'
o Liba Taub (Cambridge): 'Encyclopedia and Empire'
o Aude Doody (Cambridge): 'The politics of reading Pliny's encyclopaedism'
o Harry Hine (St Andrews): 'Seneca's cosmos: a home from Rome?'
o Greg Woolf (St Andrews): 'Writing Ethne. The ancient anthropologist in the field and in the library'
o Jason Koenig (St Andrews): 'Oribasius and the Emperor Julian: Medicine and the body of the emperor'

... seen on the Classicists list

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 4:45:08 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Tonight

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Who Wrote the New Testament?
In Part 3, we examine how heresies emerged, the literature they produced, and the dangers they posed to the early Christian Church. Few have heard of the 50 "other" gospels that circulated in antiquity, including the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and writings by Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate. Then, there are countless letters--some of them valid, others dangerously heretical, and a few that nearly made it into the accepted canon. And we learn in this investigation that if these "heresies" had been included in the New Testament, Christianity and our understanding of Christ would be fundamentally different. 

HINT = History International

::Thursday, January 13, 2005 4:42:35 AM::
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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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