Latest update: 4/7/2005; 2:21:24 PM
quidquidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

kalendae februariae

  • Rites in honour of Juno Sospita: Juno Sospita was originally worshipped in Lanuvium, where she seems to have had started out as a fertility goddess of some sort and evolved into a warrior protectrix of the city. When Lanuvium was granted Roman citizenship in 338 B.C., the cult was also given special status and placed under the control of the pontifices, who would annually perform a sacrifice to her. There also seems to have been a ritual whereby blindfolded girls would enter her grove to feed barley cakes to the sacred snakes therein. If the cakes were accepted, the girls were proven to be virgins and the fertility for the upcoming year was guaranteed. Which of these rituals -- or perhaps both -- took place on this day isn't clear in my sources.
  • Rites in honour of Elernus: Elernus (or Helernus, or maybe Avernus) is another one of those very ancient Roman deities about which we know little, as can be seen by the variations in name. He appears to have been some type of underworld divinity (perhaps being honoured with the sacrifice of a black ox by the pontifices).

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:35:54 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

circumambient @

campestral @ Merriam-Webster

aichmophobia @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:27:54 AM::
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~ Akropolis World News

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

Marine survives 9 bombs - Google to create global library

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:24:45 AM::
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~ Go Tell the Spartans

Just noticed that Military History Quarterly has a lengthy piece by Barry Strauss about Thermopylae ... here's the incipit:

Stripped of its helmet, Leonidas' head is framed by his long hair. The lean skin of the warrior's face, its color gone, stands out all the more against a short and pointed beard. The dirt of battle is probably still upon Leonidas, and there is a dark purple bruise on his chin from the pooling of what little blood is left. Ragged bits of tissue and bone hang from his severed neck, and flies and beetles have landed on his skin. If the dead Spartan king's eyes could see, they might look 140 miles to the south -- all the way to Athens, the road to which now lies open for Persia.

The time is August 480 b.c.; the place, Thermopylae, Greece; the occasion, the aftermath of a great battle. A vast army of Persians was on the march to conquer Greece. A small force of Greeks had been all that stood in their way. And yet, in a pass that narrows to a space smaller than a baseball diamond, the impossible almost happened. For three days, just over seventy-one hundred Greeks, spearheaded by an elite unit of three hundred Spartans, gave a savage beating to a Persian army that outnumbered them by perhaps 20-to-1. About 150,000 men willing to die for the glory of Xerxes, the Persian Great King, came up against the most efficient killing machine in history.

Leonidas son of Anaxandrides, commander in chief of the Greek resistance to Persia at Thermopylae, died in a heroic last stand. After the battle, as Xerxes son of Darius toured the battlefield, he came upon Leonidas' body and ordered the beheading of the corpse and the impalement of the severed head on a pole. One of those who no doubt saw Leonidas' severed head was the former king of Sparta, Demaratus son of Ariston, a refugee who was now allied with the Persians.

In the slaughtering pen at Thermopylae -- as the narrow killing fields might be called -- a king died and a legend was born. Led by Leonidas, the three hundred Spartans stood and fell and took the pride of the Persian Empire down with them. Sparta the steadfast and self-sacrificing, Greece unflagging in its fight for freedom, Xerxes the flummoxed, Demaratus the traitorous: These are the images left in the summer heat. Thermopylae is the prototype of many a last stand, from Roncesvalles to the Alamo to Isandlhwana to Bastogne. [more]

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:20:30 AM::
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~ Whither Father Foster?

If anyone knows what has happened to Father Foster's broadcasts, please let me know ... I thought maybe they were changing the day (from January 4 we went to January 15, then 22, but there's nothing for the 29th) ...

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:15:48 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Rerum in proximo Oriente status (28.1.2005)

Legati Israelianorum et Palaestinensium superioris ordinis Hierosolymis colloquia diplomatica inter se egerunt et has consultationes septimana proxime futura continuaturi sunt.

Munus eorum est conventum summi fastigii praeparare, cui Ariel Sharon, minister princeps Israelianus, et Mahmoud Abbas, praesidens Palaestinensium recens electus, una intersint et de pace in Proximo Oriente redintegranda consilia communicent.

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

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:12:42 AM::
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~ Translating Horace

If you've ever wondered why your teacher tells you not to use a 'crib' when translating Horace (or any other ancient author, for  that matter; heck, we should all be reading the original Latin anyway, right?), check out Laudator, which has two rather different translations of Horace Ep. 1.18.105-112 alongside the Latin original. They're both good translations, but definitely have different 'tones' ....

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:04:41 AM::
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~ Tuscans not Etruscan?

Seen in passing at AdnKronos (in Italian) ... DNA studies suggest modern Tuscans are not genetically close/direct descendents of the ancient Etruscans ...

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:00:49 AM::
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~ CFP: Neoplatonic Myth and Poetics

Neoplatonic Myth and Poetics
A Panel to be held at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association in Montreal, January 2006 (Sponsored by the International Society of Neoplatonic Studies) Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Florida State University, organizer

The stories that Plotinus tells about Rhea, Cronus, Zeus, Aphrodite, or Eros are not usually the first passages that come to mind. And yet, the images of Aphrodite Urania and Aphrodite Pandemos, Lynceus, Prometheus, or Apollo remind us vividly of the power of Neoplatonic myth. The compliment which Plotinus pays to Porphyry in the Vita Plotini (15.5-6), i.e., that Porphyry ³has shown himself at once a poet, philosopher, and expounder of sacred mysteries,² is equally relevant for any Neoplatonist. Both Plotinus and his successors are particularly eager to demonstrate how inherently Neoplatonic the works of the early poets and Plato are. The studies of V. Cilento and J. Pepin have already opened the discussion of the Neoplatonic adoption and adaptation of the literary and mythological tradition with a survey of Plotinus¹ poetic sources in the Enneads. The aim of the current panel is to reopen the dialogue on the nature of myth and poetics in the Neoplatonic literature, defined broadly.

 Authors are welcome to send abstracts of 500-800 words, double-spaced, for papers requiring 15-20 minutes of presentation to Svetla Slaveva-Griffin via post mail addressed to the Department of Classics, Florida State University, 205 Dodd Hall, Tallahassee, 32306-1510, e-mail at <> , or faxed at (850) 644-4073, attn: Slaveva-Griffin. The author's name should appear only on the cover letter. The deadline for receiving of submissions is February 10, 2005. A committee of two anonymous reviewers will referee the abstracts. The panel organizer will notify the authors about the committee¹s decision and will provide feedback on the submissions.

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 4:57:21 AM::
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~ CFP: The Reception of Platonic Texts

The 2006 session of the Colloquium will focus on investigation of the reception, modern and ancient, of the Platonic dialogues. Abstracts could approach these questions from a variety of viewpoints: study of the development of the genre of the Socratic dialogue, perhaps leading to the question of the audience for and audience expectations for a "philosophic" text, perhaps contrasting these with modern expectations and modern audiences. Other questions would include investigation of other literary genres, poetic, scientific, or rhetorical, that might have conditioned audience response to the dialogues.

Another reception-oriented question might be that of the problems involved in employing modern literary theories in analysis of these texts, and in what way our expectations as "literary" or "philosophical" readers of Plato may influence our choice of theoretical approaches. Finally, if it is not possible to take a "literary" reading of a Platonic text that is not also "philosophical," then in what specific ways would such a reading contrast with more traditional modes of reading Plato?

This topic invites philologists and philosophers interested in literary studies of Plato to some self-examination and some meta-critical analysis of our task and its problems. Broad, general questions should of course be illustrated by specific instances in the dialogues.

Abstracts, identified by title only, should be limited to 800 words and should be accompanied by a separate page with title of abstract and name and address (regular and email) of sender. Email submissions are preferred and should be sent to  <> <>

Regular mail submissions should be sent to Ann N. Michelini P. O. Box 788 Miranda, CA 95553

All submissions will be evaluated anonymously by two readers. Submissions are due February 15, 2005.

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 4:56:09 AM::
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~ News from the AIA

A bit of a slow day, newswise, so maybe it's worth highlighting some items from the latest AIA eReport ... readers of rogueclassicism might be interested, for example in the following digs:

Also of interest:

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 4:54:39 AM::
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~ Classics and Median Grades

This thing about 'median grades' from the Dartmouth might be of interest to our academic readers:

Despite common perceptions that classes in the hard sciences have much lower median grades than those in the humanities, a recent study by The Dartmouth reveals that all students are in the same boat.

The Dartmouth analyzed the median grades of 13 departments by averaging the median grades of every class offered by those departments in the past year. The departments, both small and large, were chosen to represent the range of Dartmouth's offerings and consisted of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Of the 13 departments sampled, all averages were within 0.4 points of each other and ranged from B/B-plus to A-minus. In ascending order, the departmental average medians were B/B-plus for biological sciences; B-plus for anthropology, economics, government, mathematics and engineering; B-plus/A-minus for psychological and brain sciences, history, environmental sciences, philosophy, classical studies and English; and A-minus for Spanish.

Many students, however, perceive that the natural sciences, like biology, have much lower median grades.

"The hard sciences are definitely scary. There is a lot less room for opinions and interpretation -- it's either right or wrong," psychology major Emily Elliott '06 said.

In reality, Elliott's own department's average median grade is only 0.2 higher than the biology average.

Conversely, students generally think the humanities have markedly higher median grades, because professors might allow more room in grading for creativity.

" I would think the arts and humanities have higher median grades because the material is a lot more creative in nature, which allows for greater flexibility in grading," Shannon Troutman '06, a government major and classics minor, said.

Dartmouth began requiring median grades to be posted in 1994 in an attempt to limit grade inflation. The slight variations between median grades seem to suggest that the policy has effectively kept grades in a reasonable range. [more]

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 4:43:52 AM::
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~ Shadows in Bronze

Just a reminder that the next installment of the dramatization of  Shadows in Bronze is up at the Listen Again section of the Beeb ... available only for a week!

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 4:40:16 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

8.00 p.m. |DISCU| Pompeii: The Last Day
On August 24, 79, Mount Vesuvius showered the city of Pompeii with ash, smoke and rock. The city lay undisturbed under volcanic debris for more than 1,500 years. Follow a compelling account of the city's final 24 hours, based on the buried evidence. 

::Tuesday, February 01, 2005 4:36:42 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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