Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:19:53 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xiv kalendas februarias

  • Ludi Palatini continue (day 3)
  • 156 A.D. -- martyrdom of Germanicus

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 5:27:16 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

bibulous @

incident @ Merriam-Webster (although it doesn't acknowledge the Latin source)

sarculate @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 5:23:24 AM::
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~ Minoans in Bulgaria?

A brief item from the Sofia News Agency:

The Eastern Rhodopes revealed an old-times funeral site obviously pertaining to an ancient Crete-Micenae cult dating 3,500 years ago.

The demographic researcher Mincho Gumarov of Kardzhali has donated the local museum with unique finds of ceramics, bronze and silver.

The artifacts from the late bronze epoch were found in the nearby Samara cave.

The find's pertainence to the epoch of legendary Micenae derives from the found labris (short two-face ritual axe, characteristic of that civilisation) and a silver amulet of the cult to Mother Earth, as well as pieces of surgery utensils.

Researchers suggested this finding confirmed some theories that the land of Eastern Rhodopes was once part of the Minoan culture and civilisation.

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 5:10:12 AM::
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~ Reviews from BMCR

Michel Reddé, Laurent Dubois, Dominique Briquel, Henri Lavagne, François Queyrel, La naissance de la ville dans l'antiquité.

Gideon Nisbet, Greek Epigram in the Roman Empire: Martial's Forgotten Rivals.

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 5:06:54 AM::
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~ More Mosaic Coverage

A sudden flood of coverage in English (finally) of that mosaic discovery in Rome (see yesterday's entries for a pic). Most detailed seems to be a piece from the Washington Post which adds some details of  some other discoveries in the area, inter alia:

"Colle Oppio is a giant scrap yard," said Eugenio La Rocca, the city's adviser for monumental assets. "There is doubtless much more underneath. Everything has been sealed. There are acres of a city quarter in there."

The mosaics were found more than 40 feet below the ruins of the Trajan Baths, a large structure built over the Golden House more than half a century after Nero's death by suicide.

Parts of the palace were first uncovered in the late 15th century after lying hidden since imperial days. Renaissance artists flocked to the site's caves and tunnels to copy the mosaics and frescoes. Scavengers made off with sculptures.

In recent years, items from other sections of the palace have come to light. In 1998, workers who were cleaning out and shoring up a cave discovered a fresco that showed a view of an imperial city, possibly Rome. They soon discovered a mosaic of a philosopher and his muse.

Experts are split over whether these artworks were part of Nero's estate or dated from an earlier building that he knocked down to make way for his mansion. He constructed the Golden House after Rome burned in A.D. 64. Rivals blamed the conflagration on Nero.

Today, only a small part of the palace, all underground, is open to the public. It will be a while before the arcades and room found beneath the Trajan Baths are open for public viewing, city officials said, because of the slow pace of exploration and reinforcement of the passages. Excavations are entirely in the hands of the municipal government, proprietor of the Colle Oppio, the site of a public park. The Italian government provides no funds.

Private money appears out of reach, given the uncertainty of what might be found. "It's one thing for companies to pay to restore a work of art that exists. You know what you are getting at the end of it," said Gianni Borgna, city hall's cultural adviser. He estimated that it would take 500 million euros -- about $650 million -- to excavate all of Colle Oppio.

The mosaic's discovery continues a trend in Italy of excavating ancient sites deeper underground rather than expanding existing archaeological zones along the surface. In Pompeii last spring, a pre-Roman temple was discovered beneath a later temple at the front entrance to the city. The decision in Pompeii to dig downward stemmed in part from lack of funds to clear and open above-ground spaces.

At other sites, the reason to dig down is simply to go back further into history. Atop Palatine Hill, which overlooks the imperial Roman Forum, pre-imperial buildings, complete with slave quarters in their basements, were recently found beneath newer structures.

South of the Colosseum, a house reputed to have belonged to a pair of Roman generals who converted to Christianity was discovered beneath the Sts. John and Paul Church. The house, now restored, features a painting of a Christ-like figure, arms extended.

This kind of exploration means the future of tourism may be underground, Borgna said, especially in a city built upon layers of history. "Eventually, when these caves and grottoes are open to the public," he said, "it will be like visiting the catacombs. It will be a subterranean experience."

More coverage in the Telegraph and the Independent ...

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 5:05:24 AM::
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~ Learning From Alexander

From CNN comes yet another piece on how business executives can learn from Alexander the Great:

By the time of his death aged just 32 in 323BC the Macedonia-born Alexander had conquered the ancient world, extending his empire across one million square miles from Greece to India.

In his latest screen incarnation, Alexander, played by Colin Farrell in the eponymous Oliver Stone-directed epic, is portrayed as the greatest warrior in history.

But many business experts believe the lessons of Alexander's career have as much relevance for boardroom as battlefield strategists.

According to Partha Bose, author of "Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy", modern executives can learn from Alexander's campaigns in three key areas.

"It fundamentally boils down to three things: it is where you want to compete, when and how you want to enter or exit that market and how do you want to go about competing when you are in that market," says Bose.

"Those are fundamentally the three key strategic issues and again when you take a look at Alexander the Great's history you find that he was pretty much the first ever general to systematically think through those three key issues.

"Strategy is only as good as the organization's ability to execute it. Here again, there are lessons from ancient times."

One modern manager who has drawn inspiration from Alexander's campaigns is Federal Express founder and CEO Fred Smith.

"Primary was his organizational skills," says Smith. "He organized his army in a way that had never been done. That organization allowed him to play to his strengths, minimize his weaknesses and prevail over opponents who were much larger."

In Oliver Stone's cinematic portrait, Alexander's greatest achievement comes at the Battle of Gaugamela where his 50,000-strong Macedonian army defeats the forces of the Persian king Darius, five times its size.

Stone believes Alexander's tactical flexibility and willingness to delegate authority gave him a decisive military advantage.

"He had great instincts in battle," Stone told CNN. "He was very fluid, always changing as the battle developed. He was quick to react. Alexander was a great believer in teamwork and he delegated authority beautifully.

"The Persians could not move without central approval. It was all governed by Darius in the center. Alexander went for the head. He knew that if he killed Darius he would kill the snake."

Bose agrees that delegation and instinct were central to Alexander's thinking.

"We see him trusting a nine-year-old shepherd boy, and getting this shepherd boy to lead the entire army over the Uxion mountains in Persia," he says.

"There are many other situations where he would put his trust just like that in whoever it was he encountered. But a sign of great leadership is that great leaders know whom to trust and do put their faith in lots and lots of people."

But for all Alexander's improvisational abilities on the battlefield, his achievements were also a consequence of careful preparation and forward thinking.

"We know that there was significant rehearsal and planning," says Stone. "They even had markers, they drew marbles of the enemy, they drew carved statues and they made battle plans like they do at West Point today." [more]

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 4:59:34 AM::
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~ CFP: Health, Disease, etc. in the Prehistoric Aegean

Health, Disease and Medicine in the Prehistoric Aegean

1.         Complimentary to my own research on disease, healing and medicine in the Aegean Bronze Age, I am proposing to organise and host in September 2007 an International Colloquium on Health, Disease and Medicine in the Prehistoric Aegean, with specific reference to Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations. The aim of the colloquium will be not only to expand our understanding in this field but also to allow researchers from various disciplines to meet and work together, particularly as a number of important developments have taken place in our understanding of health (and medicine) in the period, particularly through advances in the field of archaeological science.

2.         This colloquium would be the fourth in a series of interdisciplinary conferences on the general theme of the Archaeology of Medicine organised by the Centre for the History of Medicine of the University of Birmingham Medical School (UK). The first in 1998 was entitled ‘The Archaeology of Medicine’ [published as Robert Arnott (ed.), The Archaeology of Medicine, Oxford, 2002 - BAR International Series 1046]; and the second in 2000 concerned ‘Cranial Trepanation in the Ancient World’ [published as Robert Arnott, Stanley Finger and C. U. M. Smith (eds.), Trepanation: History, Discovery, Theory, Lisse, Swets and Zeitlinger, 2003]. The third was in the summer of 2004 (organised jointly with the Society for Ancient Medicine) on the subject of ‘Anatomical Knowledge in the Ancient World’, the proceedings of which will be edited by Lesley Dean-Jones and myself and published later this year.

3.         As with the other meetings, it is anticipated that this would also be of a multi-disciplinary character, with hopefully contributions from archaeologists, Linear B scholars, physical anthropologists (especially palaeopathologists), archaeological scientists, medical historians and others who have more of a general interest. The theme of the colloquium is broad enough to encompass all aspects of health and disease – such as health status, diet, pubic health and hygiene, water supply and sanitation, disease, trauma, occupational health, medicine and surgery and other forms of healing.

4.         A number of colleagues have already expressed an interest in attending and offering papers, and I am encouraged to proceed. I am now seeking to establish wider interest from other established scholars, graduate students and others in potentially participating and/or offering papers. Please reply directly to me offline on if you are interested.

Reader in the History and Archaeology of Medicine
Sub-Dean of Medicine
Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine
The Medical School
University of Birmingham
Birmingham  B15 2TT   (UK)
Tel.:      0121-414 6804 (Voicemail)
Fax:      0121-414 4036
Personal Assistant: Miss Michelle Lee
Tel.:      0121-415 8174 (Voicemail)

... seen on the MedAnt list ...

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 4:55:55 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Secrets at Delphi
An exploration of the hallowed Greek ground at Delphi, where Zeus's two eagles crossed paths and the Oracle prophesied the fortunes of kings and countries.

10.00 p.m. |NGU| Atlantis
What do we really know about the lost city of Atlantis and what happened on the day it died? Legend tells us that the golden civilization became so corrupt and depraved that it was destroyed by the angry gods, but did the city ever exist at all?

11.00 p.m. |HINT|  Aegean: Legacy of Atlantis
This episode of the Emmy Award-winning series explores ancient civilizations that spread through the Aegean Sea and searches for historical roots of some of Western civilization's oldest legends, including an examination of ruins on the Greek Island of Thera (modern-day Santorini) for the basis of the Atlantis legend. On Crete, the Greek mainland, and Turkey, we follow the trail of clues that leads from ancient myths to evidence of the Trojan War, Trojan Horse, Minoan civilization, and the Minotaur. Sam Waterston narrates.

::Wednesday, January 19, 2005 4:50:37 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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