Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:20:59 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem vi kalendas februarias

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 5:21:34 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

moiety @

egregious @ Merriam-Webster

direptitious @ Worthless Word for the Day (another good word)

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 5:11:31 AM::
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~ The Dictionary Men

TLS has a review of R.W. Holder's The Dictionary Men, which might be of interest to Classicists ... here's the incipit:

Collective nouns have a quaint poetry all of their own. We speak of a knot
of toads and a mustering of storks, an unkindness of ravens and – more commonly – a pride of lions. The collective noun for lexicographers is supposed to be “precision”, which seems a little ironic, since the makers of dictionaries are often remembered for their oversights, lapses and sudden gusts of opinion: Dr Johnson for erroneously defining “pastern” as “the knee of an horse”, the creators of the first Oxford English Dictionary for somehow losing the entry for “bondmaid”, the editors of Chambers for explaining that an “éclair” is a type of cake “long in shape, but short in duration”. Halfway between playfulness and self-pity, Johnson defined “lexicographer” as “a harmless drudge”: the makers of dictionaries may have to finick over microscopic distinctions, but they usually have a pawky sense of humour.

A famous exception was Noah Webster, the Connecticut schoolmaster whose favourite word to describe Johnson’s labours was “injudicious”. Webster convicted his celebrated English predecessor of a multitude of crimes: for instance, many of the words Johnson had included in his Dictionary were “too low to deserve notice”, and a few “no more belong to the English language than . . . Patagonian words”. But Webster was not above lifting hundreds of definitions from Johnson. He reproduced others with minor alteration, and glossed the Englishman’s more sententious entries with a sententiousness all of his own. For instance, where Johnson had followed Robert Burton in his famous definition of “oats” as “a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people”, Webster struck an altogether more patronizing note in averring that the cereal was known to form “a considerable and very valuable article of food for man in Scotland”.

Both Webster and Johnson are among the subjects of R. W. Holder’s The Dictionary Men, which examines the lives of six lexicographers. [...]

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:58:29 AM::
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~ Reviews from BMCR

Mario Liverani, Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography. Edited and Introduced by Zainab Bahrani and Marc Van De Mieroop.

Simon Goldhill, Love, Sex, and Tragedy. How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives.

John G. Fitch (ed.), Seneca. IX Tragedies II, Oedipus, Agamemnon, Thyestes, Hercules on Oeta, Octavia, Loeb Classical Library 78.

Gabor Betegh, The Derveni Papyrus. Cosmology, Theology and Interpretation.

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:53:31 AM::
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~ Roman Numerals in the News

... and it's not related to the upcoming Super Bowl! Actually, both of these pieces seem to stem from a desire to appear-to-be-
using-Roman-numerals-but-not-really-in-order-to-attract-attention (I bet there's a verb in Greek to describe that). First, the incipit of a piece at IT Analysis on Business Objects XI:

BusinessObjects XI (note the Roman numerals – it is pronounced as an "x" and an "i" and not as "eleven" – a first, I think) is now generally available.

Then we have a Reuters piece (via eWeek) speculating on a recent trademark registered by Intel:

Recent trademark filings from Intel Corp. are raising speculation that the world's largest chip maker may be preparing to create a new global brand. The question is, what does VIIV mean?

"Intel Inside VIIV" and "Intel VIIV" were filed as U.S. trademarks last month by the Santa Clara, California-based chip maker, known for its Pentium and Centrino brands. A square graphic, resembling an inkblot or a starfield, was also filed around the same time.

Intel watchers have a few hypotheses on the meaning of VIIV. One is that the letters are Roman numerals standing for 6 and 4, as in 64-bit technology, a feature that Intel is introducing in its chips this year.

Another is that VIIV will appear in a more stylized form as the logo for the company's new dual-core chips, which are the equivalent of two chips in one. Two letter V's, separated by two lines, could represent the two cores of a Pentium 5 chip.

Of course, the trademark for VIIV, which Intel also filed in Asia and Europe, could be something else altogether, or nothing at all. (Intel's rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. filed trademarks for Forton, Adepton, Tegron, Metaron, and Vanton but doesn't making chips with those brand names.)

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy declined comment, saying Intel doesn't discuss unannounced brands or trademarks. But that hasn't stopped chip industry pundits from expressing intrigue.

"I think whoever it was flunked Roman numerals in grade school," said Nathan Brookwood, the head of technology consulting firm Insight 64. [more]

Such is the cachet antiquity brings to the tech world ...

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:47:50 AM::
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~ Sanctuary of Hermes Found

News of this one seems to be just percolating through the enews ... an AFP report (via Yahoo) reports on the discovery of a sanctuary to Hermes at Trikala:

Residential construction in the central Greek city of Trikala brought to light the remains of an ancient sanctuary to god Hermes, the Greek culture ministry said.

Terracotta tablets dedicated to the deity of commerce were discovered near two greenish sandstone walls respectively 12.3 metres (40 feet) and 4.3 metres long.

Other findings included bronze coins, pieces of broken bowls as well as figurine fragments dating from Hellenistic and Roman times (4th century BC - 3th century AD).

The finding is located in the site of the ancient town of Trikke -- home to the Asclepion, the ancient world's oldest and most renowned sanctuary.

Known to the Romans as Mercury and member of the ancient Greeks' 12-god pantheon, Hermes was the messenger and herald of the gods, deity of science, eloquence and cunning, as well as patron of thieves and travelers.

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:38:50 AM::
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~ UCinci Summer Residency Program

    The University of Cincinnati Classics Department is pleased to announce the Summer Residency  Program.  Summer Residents, in the fields of philology, history and archaeology  will come to Cincinnati for a  minimum of one month and a maximum of three  during the summer (June 15 - September 15).  Apart from residence in Cincinnati during term, the only obligation of Summer Fellows is to pursue their own research. They will receive  free university housing.   They will also receive office space and enjoy the use of the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College Libraries.

    The University of Cincinnati Burnam Classics Library ( is one of the world's premier collections in the field of Classical Studies. Comprising 210,000 volumes and other research materials, the library covers all aspects of the Classics: the languages and literatures, history, civilization, art, and archaeology.  Of special value for scholars is both the richness of the collection and its accessibility -- almost any avenue of research in the classics can be pursued deeply and broadly under a single roof.  The unusually comprehensive core collection, which is maintained by three professional classicist librarians, is augmented by several special collections such as 15,000 nineteenth century German Programmschriften, extensive holdings in Palaeography,   Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies.   At neighboring Hebrew Union College, the Klau  Library (, with holdings  in excess of 445,000 volumes and other research materials, is rich in Judaica  and Near Eastern Studies.

              Application Deadline:  February 15.  Applicants must have the Ph.D. in hand at the time of application.

For application forms please write:

Director, Summer  Residency Program
Department of Classics
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0226

There is an online application for the Summer Residency Program at .


... seen on various lists

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:36:13 AM::
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~ Good Stuff at CCC

Classics in Contemporary Culture had a nice couple of posts t'other day, so we'll just link to them collectively here ... first, CCC beat me to the punch  in noting the existence of a new Classics blog called Quid facio demens written by "Persephone", who is a female grad student studying Classical language somewhere down south ... next, there's a post called What to do with Virgil (related to 'what to do with a Classics degree')

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:34:30 AM::
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~ Ancient Letters Found?

This one's pushing our period of purview envelope a bit, but it seems appropriate ... I originally got this link from an Explorator reader (in French) but I see Jim Davila has tracked down this version at the Daily Star:

Swiss researchers have uncovered a rare exchange of letters written in ancient Greek during the fifth century in what is now the Gaza Strip, the University of Fribourg said on Monday.

The discovery offers proof of a rich intellectual society in a region that is better known today for a bitter and bloody standoff between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, said one of the researchers, Professor Jacques Schamp.

Located amid mounds of manuscripts stored at the Marciana National Library in Venice and the French National Library in Paris, the unpublished texts from an ancient school of philosophy in Gaza were identified after a one-year search, he told AFP.

"They have helped us to learn about people that we knew nothing about until now," said Schamp, who conducted the work with his assistant doctor Eugenio Amato.

The oldest discovery is an exchange of letters between a philosopher called Procopius of Gaza who lived around the years 465 to 529 and a young, and until now unknown, lawyer called Megethios.

"The discovery is important because it is practically impossible today to get your hands on material dated from the fifth century," Fribourg University, which helped to fund the research, said in a statement.

Such correspondence was unprecedented, said Schamp, explaining that researchers sometimes found letters from a Mr. X addressed to a Mr. Y but never the response.

"Here, we really have an exchange with a letter from Mr X and a response from Mr Y. It is extremely rare. For me, it is the only case that I know of," he said.

Jim Davila urges caution before accepting the letter as genuinely from the period -- this seems salutary to me; the version sent to me included a number of photos of the researchers and one which may be either the manuscript (a photocopy) or a transcription thereof (more likely?):

Go to the site for a larger version. Should we expect all these diacritical marks and mixture of regular and lunate sigmas in this period?

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:28:22 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

8.00 p.m. |HINT|Who Wrote the New Testament? Maintaining the Truth
Part 2 investigates the letters of the New Testament, many of which warn the early Christian communities against heretics and their teachings. We examine the letters of the brothers of Jesus, James and Jude, and look at how the Jewish movement in Jerusalem, led by James, eventually clashed with Paul's preachings on Christ. And speaking of Paul, we look at Saul's conversion to Paul, and how his subsequent correspondences with the Mediterranean congregations helped Christianity grow from a seed movement in its homeland into a pullulating global movement.  

HINT = History International

::Thursday, January 27, 2005 4:10:37 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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