~ This Day in Ancient History
ante diem iv idus februarias
- 60 A.D. -- Paul is shipwrecked on Malta (traditional)
- 304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Soteris
- 1998 -- death of Paul Mackendrick (author of The Greek Stones Speak, among other works)
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 5:33:40 AM::
~ Nuntii Latini
Comitia in Iraquia facta (4.2.2005)
Die Dominico (30.1.) in Iraquia comitia habita sunt, in quibus parlamentum ducentorum septuaginta quinque delegatorum interim creatum est.
Suffragiis computatis eventus electionis decem fere diebus comperietur.
Opinione plures Iraquiani ad urnas accesserunt, etsi rebelles ictibus suicidiariis eos impedire et perturbare conabantur.
In regionibus Curdorum et shiitarum frequentia fuit multo maior quam apud sunnitas, ex quibus pauci sententiam tulerunt.
Cum in aliis partibus suffragium iam coeptum esset, in quibusdam oppidis sunnitarum conclavia suffragiis dandis destinata diu clausa manserunt.
Omnino circiter sexaginta centesimae Iraquianorum ius suffragii habentium electionibus interfuisse putantur. Comitia Iraquianorum in variis mundi partibus laudata sunt.
Praesidens Americanus George W. Bush et Tony Blair, minister primarius Britanniae, audaciam Iraquianorum laudibus extulerunt, cum illi minis rebellium neglectis ad urnas accedere ausi essent.
Etiam moderatores Francorum, qui obstiterant, ne bellum Iraquiae inferretur, comitia felicissime acta esse professi sunt.
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 5:14:43 AM::
~ Hannibal's March
Military History Magazine has an article all about Hannibal's march across the Alps ... here's a tease:
A powerful army stood poised to cross the Ebro River into northern Spain, comprising soldiers from many peoples and cultures. Yet heterogeneous as the force was, most all of them were veterans of two decades of continuous warfare. It was a cohesive army built for speed and shock, and it answered to one man and one will -- Hannibal of Carthage. Swift light cavalry from the desert plains of Numidia screened the main body from curious or hostile eyes. Past this barrier the army stretched for miles: massed squadrons of Iberian cavalry and infantry; mercenary Balearic Islanders, trained from childhood in the art of the sling; archers; javelin men from the tribes of North Africa; mighty elephants plodding forward like mobile watchtowers; veteran Libyan spearmen -- more than 80,000 men all told.
Hannibal Barca of Carthage had brought this army to the banks of the Ebro in a fateful year, 218 bc. Ten years earlier, the Senate and people of Rome had forbidden the Carthaginians to cross that river on pain of war. Now nothing could please Hannibal more. The young general was resolved not only to cross the Ebro but also to conduct an epic march across the Pyrenees, on through Gaul, over the Alps and into Italy to threaten Rome itself.
The Romans later believed that Hannibal's father, Hamilcar Barca, had bequeathed this plan to invade Italy to his son. That great general waged a masterful guerrilla campaign against the legions of Rome in western Sicily during the final seven years of the First Punic War. Undefeated on land, Hamilcar had been forced by a naval defeat to surrender Sicily to Rome in 241 bc. But the end of that war brought no respite for Carthage, which was soon threatened by a bloody mercenary rebellion. Hamilcar ultimately defeated the rebels in 238, but Rome seized the opportunity to annex Sardinia and Corsica. That act of naked aggression, the Rape of Sardinia as the Carthaginians called it, convinced Hamilcar that his home city would never know peace as long as Roman power remained unchecked. [the rest]
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 5:06:04 AM::
~ Shadow of Rome
We haven't posted a game review in a while and since it's a slow news day ... here's the incipit of a review of Shadow of Rome from Wired:
Care to experience life as a Roman gladiator? Show any mercy and you will earn nothing but jeers from the bloodthirsty crowd, but dismember your opponents without batting an eye and you'll be a legend right up until your own grisly death.
Capcom's Shadow of Rome for the PlayStation 2 is an action-adventure game that puts you smack into the Colosseum for gory, visceral fights, then takes you out into a realistically depicted Rome for puzzle-oriented stealth sequences. Though the quality isn't consistent throughout the game, Shadow of Rome's intense arena fights and impressive cinematics make it worth a play-through.
The year is 44 B.C. Julius Caesar has been assassinated, and an innocent man has been framed for the murder. Agrippa, the man's son, and Caesar's adopted son Octavianus decide to find the real killers -- Agrippa by deserting the army and entering the gladiatorial tournaments and Octavianus by sneaking through the streets of Rome, tailing suspects and uncovering clues.
Rome, as rendered here, is beautiful. The character models are intricately shaded, not cartoon-like, but not real either. None of the environments is especially large, but every locale, from the Forum to the back alleys, brims with realistic detail. One can imagine the game's Japanese design team taking expensive fact-finding trips to Europe -- an effort not undertaken in vain.
The main draw of the game is in the Agrippa levels' Colosseum battles royal, where players compete to be the last man standing. A number of different weapons can be picked up from the ground or taken from an enemy. Players might choose the traditional gladius sword or opt for more exotic options such as a scimitar or a debilitating spiked mace.
Battles are blood-soaked, gruesome and fun. Enemies frequently lose heads and arms (which in a pinch will serve as weapons). The graphics and sound effects are so nicely done that they make the fighting feel intense and realistic. Swinging the heft of a massive two-handed mace into an opponent's prone body is a surprisingly guilty pleasure.
It can also be difficult -- the first melee battle will take even hard-core players more than a few tries to finish. But later battles ease up a bit on the intensity. As it turns out, Agrippa has an easier time slaughtering two ravenous tigers than he does tackling his fellow man. Later events involve chariot races, team-based capture-the-flag-style matches and rescue missions. Of course, it's all the same to the bloodthirsty audience. [more]
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 4:54:28 AM::
~ Piece of Erechtheion
From Kathimerini comes an interesting little item which may have some implications for the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles saga, eventually:
A marble fragment removed over 100 years ago from an ancient temple in Athens will be donated to the new Acropolis museum under the citadel, a spokeswoman for a Swedish museum said yesterday.
The marble piece from the Erechtheion has been kept at the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, where it was sent for analysis and examination last year.
“It is with 100 percent certainty from the Erechtheion,” museum chief Sanne Houby-Nielsen said of the piece, which features a pattern of small, oval-shaped spheres.
Last year, the Stockholm museum was contacted by a Swedish woman who wanted it to analyze a small marble fragment she had inherited from her father. His brother had picked it up from near the Acropolis in the 1890s.
Having read about the independent Swedish Parthenon Committee, which has advocated the return of antiquities to their rightful locations, she sent the fragment to the museum.
It will be shown in Stockholm until the new Acropolis museum is ready, Houby-Nielsen said.
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 4:49:32 AM::
~ TB and Leprosy
Turns out that leprosy victim excavated by Shimon Gibson had more than leprosy. From the BBC inter alia:
The first remains the researchers examined, which prompted them to go on and test 32 in total from all over Europe dating from the 1st to the 15th centuries, were discovered by Israeli archaeologist Dr Shimon Gibson.
The body belonged to a man who had lived around the time of Christ in a cave just outside Jerusalem.
"The body was in a rock-carved niche which had been beautifully carved over and covered with a stone so for 2,000 years it remained undisturbed," said Dr Spigelman.
He said there was something special about this body that set it apart from the other 30 or so buried in the same cave.
"The normal burial practice was to wrap it in a shroud, then return after a suitable time and rebury the bones in an ossuary - a plaster casket.
"Our shrouded man had not been reburied."
He said this was odd because the man must have come from a wealthy, important family to have been buried in a place that was the equivalent of London's Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral.
"It takes a heck of a lot not to uphold religious rituals, which started me thinking perhaps the family were scared to go in to recover the bones.
"That's when leprosy came to mind.
"Mr Shroud had both leprosy and TB."
He said leprosy was a feared disease and that people with leprosy were often cast out of society and shunned.
He said these social factors, combined with the effect of the disease on the body, might weaken the person's immune system.
This, in turn, would make them susceptible to contracting TB or having a reactivation of past TB infection that was lying dormant in the body, he said. [more]
This one seems to be getting a lot of newsplay, and has some interesting implications (maybe). More links, no doubt, in this weekend's Explorator.
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 4:47:34 AM::
~ Argonaut Connections?
Gold jewelry found last year in an unplundered Mycenaean royal tomb on the outskirts of Volos will be tested for links with one of the most enduring ancient Greek myths, the Argonauts’ expedition, an archaeologist said yesterday.
The 14th century BC treasure — gold beads from necklaces and jewelry made of gold and semiprecious stones — was found with vases and other offerings in four pits inside the tholos tomb, a beehive-like subterranean structure usually associated with Late Bronze Age royal burials.
According to local antiquities director Vassiliki Adrimi-Sismani, the Culture Ministry has approved tests, to be conducted by June with Louvre Museum experts, to determine the gold’s provenance. “We want to investigate to what extent our area had contacts with the Black Sea, that is to what extent the myth of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece has to do with the gold we found,” she said. The myth tells how King Jason of Iolkos, near Volos, led an expedition to Colchis, in modern Georgia, to steal a golden ram’s skin. This may allude to trade deals with the gold-rich region.
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 4:42:51 AM::
~ AWOTV: On TV Today
8.00 p.m. |HINT| What is Truth?
This is the story of a book, which at first sight is not very impressive--a collection of 27 compositions; and 21 of them letters. All were originally written in Greek. We do not have a single page or even the smallest scrap of any of the original writings. All we have are copies of copies written many years afterwards. And yet the impact of this book on the world is hard to exaggerate; impossible to measure. Christians have confidently revered the New Testament as authoritative--the word of God. But ours is a questioning age, and this series examines the truth behind the writings of the New Testament. Part 1 looks at the most famous quartet in history--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Were they the men who wrote the four gospels? Who were they? Why did they write them and when?
HINT = History International
::Thursday, February 10, 2005 4:38:28 AM::