Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:21:10 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

pridie kalendas februarias

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:40:08 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

perdurable @

diglot @ Wordsmith

desublimation @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:31:08 AM::
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~ Collapsing List?

As some might be aware, I left the Classics list a while ago, but I still check the archives a couple of times a week to see if there's anything useful (there really hasn't been for a couple of months). This week's check notices yet another blowup caused by political, rather than Classical chatter and I couldn't help thinking about the zillions of reviews of Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed which I've read over the past few weeks (reviews, not the book). The review in the Arizona Republic has summative paragraph:

What determines a society's fate, Diamond concludes, is how well its leaders and citizens anticipate problems before they become crises, and how decisively a society responds. Diamond marshals overwhelming evidence of the short-sightedness, selfishness and fractiousness of many otherwise robust cultures.

Change 'society' and 'culture' to 'list' ...

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:27:51 AM::
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~ Artemis Agrotera Threatened

From the Guardian:

The remains of a fifth century BC temple, whose carvings conjured the golden age of Athens, is the subject of a row between potential developers and conservationists.

With Greece's powerful Central Archaeological Council (Kas) pondering whether to allow building on the site, conservationists fear one of Athens's most sacred places is headed for extinction.

The Ionic temple was dedicated to the goddess Artemis Agrotera (the huntress).

"Sites like this are part of a world heritage that go way beyond the borders of a country," said Iosif Efremidis, an architect heading the campaign to stop bulldozers moving in.

Overlooking a boulevard facing the Acropolis, the monument is believed to have been carved by Pericles' master architect, Kallikrates. Socrates and his disciples are believed to have debated the tenets of philosophy there.

But even its most ardent admirers admit the remains are scant. Only a retaining wall survives, thanks to an Ottoman governor who dismantled the marble temple to build Athens's walls in 1778.

But, as the only sacred site to have survived on the south side of the Ilissus river, the monument is also one of the classical world's most documented.

Under Greek law, any site deemed to "show evidence" of antiquity from prehistoric times through to 1830, the foundation of the modern Greek state, is worthy of archaeological protection.

In 1993, the former culture minister Melina Mercouri declared that the plot's owners would be paid some £350,000 so the site could be linked with other monuments in a giant archaeological park. But, as on other occasions, the promise foundered on the ministry's inability to pay compensation.

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:17:14 AM::
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~ d.m. Martin Robertson

From the Times:

MARTIN ROBERTSON was a leading authority on ancient Greek art. Born into a distinguished academic family — the son of Donald Robertson, Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge, and brother to the late Giles Robertson, Professor of Art History at Edinburgh — he seems to have been predestined for a scholarly career.

He chose his own path, however, when as a young student in 1930 he first went out to Greece to take part in the new excavations at Perachora, started by Humfry Payne, the director of the British School at Athens. The summer spent with the charismatic Payne, and a further two years between 1934 and 1936 at the British School, instilled in Robertson a deep love of Greek art and of Greece itself.

He did not follow Payne as a field archaeologist, however — in later years he claimed he was “quite unfitted to conduct an excavation”. Instead, in September 1936, only a few months after Payne’s untimely death, Robertson was appointed Assistant Keeper in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities in the British Museum. There he worked on, among many other things, the Greek pottery from Sir Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Al Mina in Syria, a large part of which came to the British Museum.

Following the unsanctioned cleaning of the Parthenon sculptures in 1937-38, Robertson lost his three years of seniority, despite having been out of the country for much of the time when the scandal was blowing up and, as one of the department’s most junior members, being anyway blameless.

As a result, when he and his friend and colleague Denys Haynes (who had joined the museum in the affair’s immediate aftermath) returned in 1946, after war service, they realised that they could not both progress within the museum. So Robertson took up the Yates Professorship at University College London in 1948, leaving the way clear for Haynes to succeed in due course to the keepership of the department.

Robertson spent some 13 years at University College, during which time he settled down with his wife and his growing family. He began to concentrate more on Classical Athenian pottery. Using the method pioneered by Sir John Beazley, the Oxford professor and a close family friend, of attributing unsigned vases to individual painters, he began to add flesh to Beazley’s skeleton lists. Robertson wrote two important articles on the early works of the so-called Berlin Painter. Nor did he forget his interest in earlier pottery: one particular article, written with Thomas Dunbabin, listing 7th-century BC Corinthian vase-painters and translating Beazley’s method to the best works of Corinthian potters, stands out.

Robertson completed the work on Perachora, left unfinished when Dunbabin, who himself had taken on the work from Payne, died. The climax of this London period, however, was the publication of Greek Painting (1959). In it he set out to recreate the lost art of Classical Greek wall-painting through his understanding of Athenian vase-painting, his interest in mosaics and the few extant reflections and traces of Greek wall-paintings.

In 1961 he was elected to the Lincoln Chair of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford, following in the footsteps of Beazley. During these early years in Oxford, Robertson became the champion of the importance and independence of the art-historical approach. When Beazley died in 1970, it was natural for Robertson to take on the burden of preparing the unfinished typescript of his final listing of Athenian vase-painters, Paralipomena. Somehow, as well as this labour of love, Robertson also managed to complete his magisterial and monumental two-volume work, A History of Greek Art (1975), at this time. It was the culmination of all the work that he had done over the previous 30 years and remains the finest and most important survey of ancient Greek art in any language.

He retired from the Oxford chair in 1978 and moved back to his home city of Cambridge. Not many years into retirement his wife, and the mother of his six children, died. Nevertheless, through the support of his family, friends and, in due course, his second wife, Louise, he kept writing. In 1992 he published The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens, his extraordinary overview of Athenian red-figured pottery, the aspect of Greek art that had always held his heart.

Robertson’s deep and wide-ranging scholarship was worn not only lightly but gently. His students were always treated with a kindly and encouraging patience; criticism rarely went beyond the equivocal “interesting”, while “splendid” signalled real appreciation. Colleagues of a different mind were listened to with respect and attention, for he was always ready to learn.

Robertson came from a deeply cultured family and it was no more of a surprise to hear him bandy quotations from early French literature with the French don across high table at Lincoln College than to have him lead one into a discussion of Renaissance painting.

His eyes were keen and his memory extraordinary. On his first trip to Athens he walked around the Acropolis and picked up at its foot a fragment of a red-figured cup that he recognised as coming from a masterpiece by the great Euphronios — he gave it to the authorities and let Emily Haspels publish it. This incident typifies the man — sight with vision, memory with scholarship, and deep selflessness.

Professor Martin Robertson, authority on Classical Greek art, was born on September 11, 1911. He died on December 26, 2004, aged 93.

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:14:56 AM::
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~ Nauseating Stuff

Over at Laudator, ML has a nice post on one of my little pedantic peccadillos ... the apparent confusion between nauseous and nauseating ... ad nauseum (I know, I know) ...

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:12:28 AM::
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~ Akropolis World News

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

Hundreds of drivers blocked in southern Italy - Iraqis start voting abroad

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:10:07 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Cura rerum circumiectalium (28.1.2005)

Institutum internationale nomine Forum oeconomicum mundi (WEF), cum investigasset, quae civitates rebus circumiectalibus curandis ceteris praestarent, centum quadraginta sex nationibus inter se comparatis Finniam primo loco posuit.

Secundatus Norvegiae datus est, cum Uruguaia tertio loco collocaretur.

Percontatores praesertim id cognoscere volebant, quemadmodum tam qualitas aquae et aeris quam biodiversitas naturae ubique servatae et meliores redditae essent.

Inquisitum est etiam, quo modo administratores problemata circumiectalia tractare valuissent.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:08:28 AM::
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~ Ephemeris

There's a new issue of Ephemeris online ...

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:07:02 AM::
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~ APA Newsletter

The December issue of the increasingly-online APA Newsletter is now available as a .pdf. A quick glance at it and my eye settled on mention that "Institutional members (almost always libraries) will continue to receive printed issues ...". Now since the APA has already mentioned that it is receiving a great cost benefit by publishing electronically, one really must wonder why "Institutional members (almost always libraries)" receive the newsletter at all. It's not as if you could go to one of these almost always libraries and not have internet access to the online edition. So why is that expense necessary?

::Monday, January 31, 2005 5:05:53 AM::
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~ Sam Cooke and Propertius

Folks will hopefully note that I've updated the blogroll over on the side there ... among the additions is Gabriel Laguna's Tradicion Clasica blog which, as the name suggests, is devoted to the Classical Tradition. I've been meaning to mention this post for a while but kept forgetting ... currently GL has an excellent post comparing the rhetorical device in Sam Cooke's Wonderful World to Propertius 2.1 (and it's in English!). Definitely worth a look ...

::Monday, January 31, 2005 4:59:49 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

9.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Conquests
Although Caesar invaded it in 54 BC, Britain wasn't conquered until 43 AD when Claudius established Roman garrisons at Lincoln, York, and Chester. Viewers go inside this savage period of British history and enter the battlefield from an unique perspective--of those who fought and died there. And a bloody period it proved to be for the Romans had not reckoned on the ferocious campaign mounted against the all-powerful Legions under the leadership of the legendary Queen Boudicca.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Pompeii Secrets Revealed
In 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius exploded in one of history's deadliest eruptions, burying the city of Pompeii and other Roman towns along the Bay of Naples beneath layers of ash and pumice. Pompeii was rediscovered in the 18th century, but only recently have archaeologists and volcanologists come to understand exactly how the eruption unfolded, and why it took the people of Pompeii almost entirely by surprise. Intrigued, host Josh Bernstein visits the Bay of Naples, and learns the entire area is built on ancient volcanic rock, some of it still steaming. He climbs the world's most active volcano--Stromboli--an island near Sicily, where "fireworks" from the mountain are a nightly entertainment. Back at Pompeii, he searches for clues that might have enlightened the Romans to the growing threat in their midst. And he literally plays with fire as he follows the story right into the heart of Vesuvius.

HISTU = History Channel (US)

HINT = History International

::Monday, January 31, 2005 4:47:06 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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