Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:20:46 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xi kalendas februarias

  • Ludi Palatini continue (day four by the post-Augustan reckoning)
  • Sementivae or Paganalia (day 1) -- Sementivae was a festival of sowing which was actually a moveable feast (although I'm not sure of the moveability criteria; I'm guessing that the first day falls between January 24 and 26). By Ovid's time it appears to have been coincident with Paganalia, which also obviously has some rural aspect to it. It appears to have been a two-day festival with an interval of seven days between (corrections on this welcome ... my sources seem muddled on this one)
  • 41 A.D. -- murder of Gaius (Caligula) at the Ludi Palatini; Claudius proclaimed emperor by the praetorian guard
  • 76 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Hadrian
  • ca. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Felician of Foligno

::Monday, January 24, 2005 5:25:00 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

seriatim @

nominal @ OED

propination @ Worthless Word for the Day (another good word!)

::Monday, January 24, 2005 5:16:47 AM::
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~ Akropolis World News

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek):

Bush: "Expand freedom in all the world" - UK health authorities looking for Catalan dentists

::Monday, January 24, 2005 5:10:46 AM::
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~ Ephemeris

There's a new issue of Ephemeris on the web ...

::Monday, January 24, 2005 5:09:45 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Airbus A380 publice expositum

Officina Europaea, cui nomen Airbus, maximum in orbe terrarum aeroplanum commerciale Tolosae, in urbe Galliae, publice exposuit.
In caerimoniam invitati erant moderatores Galliae, Germaniae, Britanniae Hispaniaeque atque quinque milia hospitum honestiorum, in his Jose Manuel Barroso, praeses Commissionis Europaeae.

Novum aeroplanum, A380 appellatum, octingentos quadraginta vectores capere potest. Apices eius alarum intervallo octoginta metrorum distant.

Primi volatus experimentales Martio mense fient et primum iter commerciale Londinio Singapuram eodem mense anni sequentis futurum est.

Hucusque centum undequadraginta aeroplana huius generis tredecim societatibus aereis venierunt.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

::Monday, January 24, 2005 5:08:19 AM::
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~ American Journal of Philology 125.4 Abstracts

Hammer, Dean. Ideology, the Symposium, and Archaic Politics

In this essay, I explore the work of two scholars—Ian Morris and Leslie Kurke—and one of their claims: that the archaic Greek symposium served as the site for an anti-polis ideology. I first examine the conceptual underpinnings that guide their understanding of the operation of ideology. I then look closely at the arguments and evidence provided by Morris and Kurke. I argue that their respective conclusions about the symposium are not sustained even by their own evidence but rest on a set of problematic assumptions about the operation of ideology that they have imported into their analysis.

Hame, Kerri J. All in the Family: Funeral Rites and the Health of the Oikos in Aischylos' Oresteia

This article offers a comprehensive comparison of the funeral rites that Aischylos has Klytaimestra perform for Agamemnon in the Oresteia with historically customary, and so normative, rites as reconstructed for the classical period from extant historical sources. I examine the extent to which Aischylos manipulates traditional funeral rites in order to demonstrate the health of an oikos; I argue that Klytaimestra performs corrupt funeral rites as an indication of the unhealthy and illegitimate household she now heads, whereas Orestes and Elektra perform customary rites as proof of their allegiance to the healthy and thus legitimate oikos of their father.

Andrews, James A. Pericles on the Athenian Constitution (Thuc. 2.37)

Pericles' praise of the Athenian constitution presupposes a complex audience, some members of which are reluctant to hear his praise. Part of the resistance arises from doubts about the celebrated negative freedom of the private citizen (Thuc. 2.37.2-3). But it also concerns the positive political freedom of all citizens to participate equally in political life (Thuc. 2.37.1). Pericles attempts to overcome audience resistance by frankly acknowledging its source—"the equal share" (compare Aristotle's arithmetic equality) and its allegedly unfair consequences for the rich—and by showing why the principle does not entail class domination. All citizens and classes share in governance, without sectarian injustice.

Parker, Holt N. Why Were the Vestals Virgins? Or the Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State

Why were the Vestals virgins? An explanation drawing on anthropological studies of witchcraft and the work of Giovannini, Girard, and Douglas allows a partial solution to this and three other puzzles: 1) their unique legal status; 2) their murder at moments of political crisis; 3) the odd details of those murders. The untouched body of the Vestal Virgin is a metonymy for the untouched city of Rome. Her unique legal status frees her from all family ties so that she can incarnate the collective. Thus, in times of crisis, she serves as a pharmakos/pharmakon. Equally, Roman society reveals a deep fear of witchcraft directed at its own matrons. Danger to the urbs is warded off by the punishment of women, both Vestals and wives, and the foundation of public cults of chastity with admonitory and apotropaic functions. A series of incidents over a thousand-year span reveals a world view deeply rooted in sympathetic magic, where the women embody the state and their inviolability is objectified as the inviolability of the community.

If you have Project Muse access, you can read the articles (and more) via the American or Australian mirrors ...

::Monday, January 24, 2005 5:01:30 AM::
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~ Techie Musings on a Slow News Day

[I'm including this today only because it is such a slow news day (I've only got a couple of items; nothing really in the category of 'news') ... feel free to skip this if you aren't into semi-self-indulgent techie musings] As many folks are aware, besides being the guy who wakes up early to put together rogueclassicism, I also have a website called The Atrium, which is billed as a sort of portal to the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome. The site was conceived while I was procrastinating my Ph.D. and has been in various stages of development ever since. On numerous occasions I've started various sections of that site (some of which have never gotten off the ground, mostly due to time constraints), only to become discouraged for various reasons both internet related (not least of which is the disappearance of sites I'd like to link to) and technology related (browser differences; having to 'settle' on a boring layout because this or that browser, which I know a chunk of my target audience still uses, won't parse my html properly). I also was growing very frustrated at the fact that if I ever wanted to completely restyle my site, I'd have to rewrite a zillion pages.

When CSS first started becoming standard, it seemed to deal with the latter problem, but, of course, there was still the incompatible browser problem (mostly Internet Explorer, of course), and to a certain extent, this problem still exists if you want to do your basic three- or two-column layout (I know there are ways to do it ... almost all involve 'hacks' of some sort and I really do not see the advantage of css tables over regular ones). So I got to thinking: why do we use two- and three column layouts at all? Most of the layouts we see on information webpages now are the illegitimate spawn of magazine layouts from the late 90s, near as I can tell. If you wanted to be 'dynamic', you had to look like one of those flashy mags aimed at gen Xers with lots of colours, fonts, and sidebars, etc.. But screen differences meant that only one of the columns was actually used for content (practically speaking) and the 'navigation sidebar' became standard. When folks tried to make money from their websites, the 'ad sidebar' also became 'normal'. The creation of blogs and the like allowed for the use of a sidebar for 'content from other sites'. Navigation bars, if they already weren't under the title banner, migrated to that position. To ensure that it all fit in all types of screens, some places persist in jamming everything to the left (which always bothers me for some reason).

Which things being noted, I can also point out that one of my major headaches in redesigning the Atrium for years has been trying to figure out how to deal with the menus. To that end, last week I used a school 'mapping' program (Smart Ideas) to make an outline of what I wanted my site to be (I tried to reduce it to a size that could be shown here, but it's just too large. the structure has been pretty much fixed in my noggin for a decade now.) It's your basic portal, breaking off to six sections, each of which breaks off to at least one (or more) levels of subsections. I'd been struggling to figure out the navigation requirements for this for ages, all based on the 'standard' two- or three column model, with levels of stylish navigation bars also thrown in (and possibly even fly-out type menus which I find really annoying) ideally accomplished with CSS that would work in all browsers. Then, while driving home in the snow (where all we Canadians do our best thinking ... there, and in the shower), it hit me ... there really is no need for the complex navigation menu any more, especially in a portal site like the Atrium. It's not like people go to a portal site and 'browse' -- there might be one or two such folks, but they'll enter the site via the home page. The vast majority of folks who ever come to a site like the Atrium (and most webpages) will get there via Google or some other search engine. They'll be looking for a specific topic, like, say, Cleopatra's death,  on a specific page. They will not care about all the other sections of the site (from a browsing point of view) and if their curiosity is piqued, they really only need a link to the home page.  And so, it occurred to me that the only navigation really needed on any page of any portal type site is a 'breadcrumb trail' (i.e. the 'you are here' sort of thing, with links to the top page of each section leading back to the homepage) and maybe a 'suggested method of citation' thing.

Once I realized that, it was amazing how liberating it was from a design standpoint ... there is no need for a 'navigation sidebar', so there is no need of a three column layout. Now since I do plan on having links to books at Amazon on assorted pages, the 'ad sidebar' is still a possibility, but since they aren't the primary focus of my page, why can't they come at the bottom of the page? In other words, there is no real need for a two column layout either! It also makes the creation of a 'printable version' of a page a lot easier.  Now all I have to do is come up with my new look for the stylesheet and I can finally put up a pile of stuff that's sitting on at least three different computers in various states of completion! Stay tuned ...

::Monday, January 24, 2005 4:53:30 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

... nothing of interest

::Monday, January 24, 2005 4:45:01 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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