Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:19:38 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xv kalendas februarias

  • Ludi Palatini (day 2) -- the theatrefest continues
  • 52 B.C. -- murder of Publius Clodius Pulcher near Bovillae
  • 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Moseus
  • 1898 -- death of H.G. Liddell (Greek lexicographer and father of Alice-in-wonderland)

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:43:03 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

voluble @

fiduciary @ Merriam-Webster

presentism @ Wordsmith (a good word for Classicists to know)

nolleity @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:30:15 AM::
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~ Warning

Over the next couple of days I'm going to be fiddling with some things layout-wise ... so if you come across something new here and it seems strange or 'breaks' in your browser, please drop me a line (I'm trying to figure out the fieldset and legend tags) ...

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:26:23 AM::
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~ Physician ...

As long as we're dealing with quotes (see next entry), MG over at Laudator has a nice set of analogues to the Biblical physician heal thyself  thing ...

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:19:58 AM::
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~ You Don't Need to be a Classicist ...

A quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, which I'd never read before (I'm Canadian ...):

"You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. ... You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant."

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:17:07 AM::
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~ Antiquities Recovered

In a recent Explorator we mentioned that Italian police had recovered a pile of antiquities from various cultures in a major operation of some sort. At the Ministry of Culture site there's a photo (and an accompanying article in Italian) of one of the pieces recovered:

Wow ... You usually expect coins and the like, but a krater? The article also mentions a 'head of Trajan' ...

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:14:47 AM::
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~ Parthenon Code

A press release suggests we'll be hearing/reading more about the Parthenon Code in the near future:

Did ancient Greek artists depict Kain (Cain) killing Abel on their most glorious temple, the Parthenon? Yes, according to Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr., author of 'The Parthenon Code: Mankind's History in Marble,' new from Solving Light Books.

Johnson's book relates that the story of Kain killing Abel appeared on four square sculpted panels in the center of the south side of the Parthenon. While these were destroyed in the explosion of 1687, accurate drawings of them from 1674 by French artist, Jacques Carrey, survive. On the first panel, according to the book, Kain and Abel talk. On the second, Kain argues with his own wife over a sacrifice. On the third, Kain startles Abel in the field. On the fourth, Kain kills Abel.

Kain was the eldest son of Adam and Eve; Seth, who replaced the murdered Abel, was their youngest son. Genesis asserts that only Noah's family of the line of Seth survived the Flood; all others who practiced the anti-God way of Kain drowned. According to "The Parthenon Code," the Greeks depicted their recollection of Noah's Flood often on vases as Kentaurs (or Centaurs, half-men/half-horses who represented the line of Seth), pounding a man named Kaineus into the earth with rocks. Kaineus in Greek means "pertaining to Kain," thus Greek artists conveyed the historical message that all that pertained to Kain had disappeared into the earth, matching the Genesis account.

"The evidence shows that the Greeks knew exactly who Kain was. Their entire religious system, what we erroneously call 'myth,' chronicles the reestablishment of the way of Kain after the Flood," Mr. Johnson said.

"The Greeks also knew exactly who Noah was: they called him Nereus, the 'Wet One' often depicting his bottom half as a fish signifying that he had come through the Flood. The Greeks built the Parthenon to celebrate the triumph of the way of Kain over Noah and his God, and to glorify Athena, a picture of the serpent-friendly Eve of Genesis," he added.


"The Parthenon Code" is already the best-selling book on the Parthenon at and Barnes & Noble (Bookstores) has chosen the book for special recognition during its small press celebration throughout March.

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:08:45 AM::
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~ Some Updates on Italian Finds

Alas ... the updates still aren't in English, but worth looking into, nonetheless. First, that female statue from Marsala is now being identified as a Venus (although it is missing its head). Second, La Repubblica has published a photo of that 1st century mosaic depicting a grape harvest scene ... ecce (not sure how long this will stay online):

Il Giorno also has more extensive coverage on this mosaic (in Italian) than we've hitherto had ...

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:06:09 AM::
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~ I, Keano

I have no idea how to introduce this piece, from Chortle, so:

Father Ted creator Arthur Mathews has written a musical about Manchester United and Ireland star Roy Keane.

I, Keano opens in Dublin next month, and is based on the infamous 2002 World Cup bust-up between the midfielder and Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.

Keane devastated Irish hopes in the competition by flying back home following a fierce row about training facilities before a ball had even been kicked.

Now Mathews, with collaborator Michael Nugent, has reset the drama to ancient Roman times, with a legion preparing for battle on a Mediterranean island, only for the general,  Macartacus, facing a leadership challenge from his greatest warrior, Keano.

Mathews admits he got the idea after seeing the controversial Jerry Springer - The Opera on stage and thinking it was “a brilliant idea”.

He told the Sunday Times Ireland: “To turn the McCarthy-Keane thing into a musical is ludicrous.

“It’s even more ludicrous to set it in Roman times. You can’t really take people seriously when they’re dressed in togas.

“Of course, people will say what’s the point of that, it’s stupid. And they’re right.”

And although the show makes satirical points about Keane’s behaviour, the media frenzy that followed it and Ireland’s obsession with a football tournament, Matthews said that was not an obvious intention. [more]

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:00:43 AM::
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~ That Ides Thing Again

I think I've mentioned before how annoyed I get (not much, but just enough) when I read folks who seem to make the assumption that the Ides of any month must be the fifteenth, because, of course, that's when the Ides of March be. But this one pushes the envelope just a bit far ... from the Inquirer, inter alia:

It looks like it might be the RSA Security conference in San Francisco on February 15, where Gates is down as the guest speaker

. Hold didn't say if he saw people applauding or booing, but he expects the program to be on sale in the third quarter, probably as a subscription service, to compete with Symantec and McAfee.

There might be several different protection programs bungled, er, bundled into the service.

A spokesVole declined to comment on the astounding predictions when Bloomburg hacks rang her up. However, we have to admit it is a pretty good bet that it will happen.

Our very own INQ augurer reports that the liver of the lamb he hit with his Jaguar over the weekend, indicated somewhere along the ides of February for the announcement too.

I wasn't aware that augerer was a word (wouldn't it mean 'someone who works an augur'?) and we'd more properly refer to a 'hepatoscopist' in this context, I think.

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:58:18 AM::
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~ Cartledge Doesn't Dislike Alexander

I'm semi-surprised that no one asked Paul Cartledge what he thought about the Alexander flick (or if they did, I missed it), but now we've got an interview from Bloomberg, inter alia:

Paul Cartledge, a professor of Greek history at Cambridge University, played no part in the movie's making. Yet he keeps track of its progress in a plastic folder of press clips.

Cartledge has just published ``Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past'' (Macmillan, 330 pages, 18.99 pounds), revisiting 20 years worth of lectures. The book breaks Alexander down by theme -- his childhood, military prowess, personality, environments -- and quotes his other biographers in an inclusive attempt to get at the real man.

On a sunny January morning, Cartledge settled among millenium- old manuscripts and leather-bound editions of Herodotus to chat with Bloomberg's Farah Nayeri in the wood-paneled library at Clare College, Cambridge.

Psychology or History?

Nayeri: What did you think of the film?

Cartledge: I thought it was like the curate's egg -- good in parts. What puzzled me was what Stone ultimately was trying to achieve. Was he interested in the psychological dimension of absolute power, or was he interested in showing that Alexander's conquests had a positive goal -- to spread some version of a good, Western, Hellenic culture?

It seemed to me that the main focus in the film was on Alexander's personal relations and his psychological states.

Nayeri: So you're saying the figure of Alexander was somewhat trivialized or brought down to a rather too human level?

Cartledge: Yes. If you're to lead a vast army for 11 years, if you're to retain your position as king ... you've got to be extraordinary.

The way in which Alexander is represented in the film, or the way Colin Farrell plays him, is as a kind of ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation. The emphasis is on his doubts, his all too human weaknesses, his emotions ... He cries, that sort of thing.

Emotional Hero

We know that Alexander was very emotional, but as we get it in the sources, he's represented as using his extreme emotion for what I would call political ends.

Nayeri: Having read your book and skimmed others, the film did not strike me as historically incorrect.

Cartledge: It was not historically incorrect in the broad outlines. There are lots of little details where he messed around with the sources. It's also selective in another way, in that it cuts out completely a very important siege of a place called Tyre in modern Lebanon ... But you can't include everything.

He was quite right to emphasize the key role played both by Philip and by Olympias (Alexander's parents).

Nayeri: Does the film not exaggerate Alexander's homosexual leanings, portray him as more sexed than he was?

Cartledge: What, I think, Stone was trying to do so far as Alexander's sexuality is concerned was present it in context and not in a crudely sexual way. There is relatively little explicit sexual activity, and an awful lot of sexual innuendo.

Upper-Class Males

It's very difficult to capture the normality of what we call homosexuality, but which the Greeks didn't have a word for. You weren't a homosexual in Greece; you had sex with boys, or with men, or with women, or with girls. You weren't one or the other. Even the notion ``bisexual'' is inaccurate, because it implies that you have an orientation toward both. Greek males of a certain upper-class nature went through a life cycle where their sexual experience varied according to their age.

In the film, the impression given is that his relationship with Hephaestion was dominant ... Stone is right to pick up on the closeness of the relationship, but whether or not he was correct in the nuancing of it, the tone of it -- it seemed to me to be too effete really, rather too nudge-nudge-wink-wink. And I don't think it would have been like that at all in actuality.

Nayeri: How do you rate Colin Farrell's performance?

Cartledge: I'd never been convinced that he was the right person for this particular role. He looks weak in my opinion. He looks to me like a petulant adolescent. He's never quite grown up. Alexander would have been the exact opposite: He would have been mature and adult by the age of 16.

Stone's Background

Nayeri: What is it about Alexander that so fascinates Stone?

Cartledge: Alexander satisfies the desire of a director who wishes to write a script and to make a movie on the grandest scale.

Stone himself being a liberal, interested in battle, interested in east-west relations, formed by his own experience in the Vietnam War and relatively well educated, would have probably come across something about ancient Greece. If you do ancient Greece, it's difficult to avoid Alexander.

Nayeri: What about you?

Cartledge: If you are a historian of ancient Greece, then Alexander is inescapable. He was, quite literally, in our own terms, epoch making. In other words, we divide ancient history precisely at the career or death of Alexander. Before that, we call it classical Greek history, after that, we call it Hellenistic Greek history.

Nayeri: We're seeing this film in the context of a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Is this a kind of how-to guide to invading the Middle East, a kind of ecumenical approach?

Cartledge: I think that is what it came to be. The actual filming was not done till 2003. Yet it had been in development by Stone since back in the 1980s. So it did actually acquire a strong contemporary salience at the moment of its being shot.

Marrying Cultures

Had Alexander lived, he did have the right idea -- that you can't just muscle in on an alien culture and impose yourself on top of it, and expect that the conquered will say, ``Wow, yes, your values, your way of social organization are absolutely superior to ours, so we're just going to bow down and adopt it.'' You've got to embrace considerable aspects of the existing culture that you are conquering.

In this case, it was actually relatively easy, because the Persian Empire was, in crucial ways, progressive ... The Persians were relatively tolerant of lots of different cultural phenomena in their empire. They didn't impose Zoroastrianism, they didn't impose their language ... So Alexander was following a precedent, consciously following it in buying into and, in fact, marrying into Persian culture.

Nayeri: Do you see any contemporary leaders either right now or in the 20th century who could come close to rivaling the leadership skills of Alexander?


Cartledge: (Laughs.) No one immediately leaps to mind.

To find a relevant comparison, you would have to find someone like the president of the United States. But there's no sense that he or his advisers have anything other than a very crude understanding of what it is for America to be the world's sole, or at least sole significant, superpower.

They seem to have adopted a relatively simplistic understanding of what is good in human or social organization. They seem to think that it's possible as well as desirable to impose their cultural reading on other cultures. And they lack the sophistication to do justice to complexities, particularly, I think, of tradition.

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:52:34 AM::
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~ Reviews from BMCR

B.M. Gauly, Senecas 'Naturales Quaestiones'. Naturphilosophie für die römische Kaiserzeit. Zetemata 122

Susan E. Alcock, John F. Cherry, Side-by-Side Survey: Comparative Regional Studies in the Mediterranean

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:49:44 AM::
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~ CONF: Seminars at Royal Holloway

Royal Holloway, University of London
Humanities and Arts Research Centre and Classics Department present:

Traces from the Past: Antiquity in Dialogue with Modernity An Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Wednesday 19th January

Caesar in Italy and the USA: Cinema, Ancient History, and National Identity in the 1910s

Professor Maria Wyke (University of Reading)
Respondent: Barry Langford (Department of Media Arts, RHUL)

Wednesday 26th January

Politics of Classics and Film

Professor Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge)
Respondent: Ahuvia Kahane (Department of Classics, RHUL)

Wednesday 2 February

'Always historicise'? Derrida and the Politics of Reception

Dr Miriam Leonard (University of Bristol)
Respondent: Ewan Fernie (Department of English, RHUL)

Wednesday 9th February

Queering Pygmalion in Henry James

Dr Sarah Brown (University of Cambridge)
Respondent: Ruth Livesey (Department of English, RHUL)

Wednesday 23 February

Revolutionary Oedipuses

Dr Fiona Macintosh (University of Oxford)
Respondent: David Wiles (Department of Drama, RHUL)

Wednesday 2 March

Robert Browning's Euridiparistophanising

Dr Adam Roberts (RHUL)
Respondent: Robert Hampson (Department of English, RHUL)

Wednesday 9 March

Little Iliads: The Matter of Troy in Popular Fiction and Fantasy

Dr Nick Lowe (RHUL)
Respondent: Adam Roberts (English, RHUL)

Wednesday 16th March

Myth and Masculinities: Black Athena and the Study of Ancient Religion in the Eighteenth Century

Dr James Moore (University of Lancaster)
Respondent: Professor John O'Brien (Department of French, RHUL)

The seminar will be chaired by Efi Spentzou and Nick Lowe. For further details contact

All seminars will be held in the Common Room of the International Building (IN243).  Sessions will begin at 5 p.m. and will last for up to 90 minutes. All are welcome.

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:46:32 AM::
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~ CFP: Classical Association of South Africa

The 26th Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa
will be held at the University of KwaZulu Natal from 5th-7th July, 2005.



In her 2003 publication Reception Studies (Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics No. 33), Lorna Hardwick defines 'The Classical Tradition' as 'the transmission and dissemination of classical culture through the ages, usually with the emphasis on the influence of classical writers, artists and thinkers on subsequent intellectual movements and individual works. In this context, the language which was used to describe this influence tended to include terms like 'legacy'' (p. 2).

With increasing scholarly interest in this field, our understanding of what is meant by the Classical Tradition has broadened its scope considerably. Instead of having a narrow Eurocentric focus, it has become a global enterprise, and now includes Postcolonial Studies and the cultures of developing nations, an aspect which is of obvious significance in the context of African, even South African, scholarship. Instead of limiting itself to high culture, the effects on popular or even trash culture have become a point of interest. Instead of taking a subordinate position, the modern work has gained the right to its own value and has become a partner of equal standing with the ancient original. With the incorporation of modern disciplines such as Literary Studies, Gender Studies, and Media Studies, the Classical Tradition has acquired many additional dimensions.

The aim of the conference to be held by the Classical Association of South Africa in July 2005 is to explore as many aspects of the Classical Tradition / Reception as possible, to establish an overview of the state of the art in the various sub-disciplines and to foster exchange among interested colleagues. A list of selected sections could include Language, Literature, Arts, Music, Media, or Popular Culture. For a more detailed discussion please monitor developments on the conference website:

Papers no more than twenty minutes in duration are invited, on the conference theme or on other classical topics, or with a related multi-disciplinary focus. Proposals for panel discussions, and offers to coordinate panels, will be welcome.

Abstracts (not more than 250 words) should be sent to

Professor J.L. Hilton (or, after 5th February, to Mrs Anne Gosling)
University of KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa
Tel: +27 31 2602312,
Fax +27 31 2602698,

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:41:18 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Atlantis: The Lost Civilization
Why has the legend of a continent under the sea captivated the imaginations of generations of people that have searched for Atlantis? Did Atlantis really exist, and if so, where? Plato discussed the legend in two of his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, the only known written accounts from ancient sources that refer specifically to Atlantis. Atlantis has been linked to Bimini, the Canary Islands, Santorini, and Troy, among other places. What kind of people were the Atlanteans? According to scholars of Atlantis, they developed a technologically advanced civilization that has yet to be surpassed. Did Atlantis sink to the bottom of the ocean in a day and a night? What catastrophic events may have led to its demise? Or is the tale pure fiction invented by a Plato to illustrate a philosophic argument?

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:35:33 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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