Latest update: 3/1/2005; 5:15:25 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xv kalendas martias

  • Parentalia (Day 3) --  a festival for honouring/appeasing the dead began on this day with a number of signs: temples were closed, altars did not have fires burn on them, people were forbidden to get married, and magistrates set down the trappings of their office.
  • Lupercalia-- annual ritual of uncertain (and perhaps evolving purpose) run by a pair of special collegia of priests. On this day, the members of the collegia would meet at a sacred cave called the Lupercal (on the Palatine) where Romulus and Remus had supposedly been suckled by the she-wolf. There, the ceremony would begin with the sacrifice of goats and a dog and offerings of sacred cakes which had been prepared by the Vestal Virgins. Some of the older members of the priesthood would then wipe the sacrificial knife on the foreheads of some of the younger members. Others would then wipe away the blood with wool that had been dipped in milk. The 'wipees' were supposed to laugh at this point. Then the gang would cut up the skins of the goats and make them into long strips, which they would put on somehow. They would then run wildly around the Palatine, whipping people -- especially women -- with the strips of goatskin.
  • 399 B.C. -- Socrates is condemned to death (by one reckoning)
  • 44 B.C. -- Julius Caesar is offered -- and declines -- the title of rex and the diadem to go with it

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:42:34 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

diffident @

muliebrity @ Wordsmith (good word!)

februation @ Worthless Word for the Day (great word!)

Meanwhile, features the Simpsonian 'cromulent', which surely must (or should) come from the Latin cromulens, cromulentis ...

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:28:47 AM::

~ Nuntii Latini

Quid Condoleezza Rice dixerit (11.2.2005)

Condoleezza Rice, nova ministra a rebus exteris Americanorum, in Europam et Orientem Proximum iter suscepit, ut cum moderatoribus civitatum de summis rebus sermones conferret.
Quae lustratio a Britannia initium cepit, ubi Rice ministrum principem Tony Blair convenit.

A diurnariis interrogata, essentne Americani in Iranianos impetum facturi, quos praesidens Bush aliquot diebus ante omnium acerrimos terrorismi fautores vocavisset, respondit Civitates Americae Unitas de tali aggressione in praesenti non cogitare.

Iranianos tamen monuit, ne sub ullo praetextu sibi arma nuclearia pararent.

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

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:21:47 AM::

~ Reviving the Delphic Games (and CFP)

This interesting item ended up in my mailbox I know not how ... the Isadora Duncan International Foundation is behind a move to revive the eight-day Delphic games ... there's a Call for Papers online which begins:

The Pan-Hellenic Delphic Games of antiquity, which celebrated the arts, will be reawakened in an eight-day festival in Delphi, Greece, June 4-11, 2005. This historic re-inauguration will feature live world-class performances, intensive workshops by renowned artists and roundtable discussions on the convergence of dance, music, drama and poetry inspired by the venerable tradition of the Delphic Games and the rich mytho-history of Delphi.

Led by the Mayor of Delphi Panagiotis Kaltsis, renowned storyteller, author, scholar of mythology Michael Meade, the distinguished dance performer and lecturer Jeanne Bresciani, Ph.D., of the Isadora Duncan International Institute (New York City), and the acclaimed Greek-American poet Galatea Psonis, The Festival of the Delphic Games will offer attendees the unique opportunity to participate in a historic, yet intimate, event with extraordinary presenters on Mount Parnassus at sacred sites rarely open to the public. Workshop series may be available for graduate and undergraduate credit upon prior arrangement. [more]

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:16:05 AM::

~ TOC: Arethusa 38.1

In the latest Arethusa ('accessible' via Project Muse):

Bassi, Karen. Things of the Past: Objects and Time in Greek Narrative
Yates, Velvet Lenore, Anterastai: Competition in Eros and Politics in Classical Athens
Burrus, Virginia. Mimicking Virgins: Colonial Ambivalence and the Ancient Romance

Dufallo, Basil. Words Born and Made: Horace's Defense of Neologisms and the Cultural Poetics of Latin
Myers, K. Sara,  Docta Otia: Garden Ownership and Configurations of Leisure in Statius and Pliny the Younger

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:07:02 AM::

~ TOC: Society of Ancient Numismatics XXI


Tribute to Professor Robert Göbl
Lawrence A. Adams

The Shiraz Hoard Revisited
Stuart D. Sears

Scanning Electron Microscopic Examination of an Ancient Silver Punch-Marked Coin With Central Pentagonal Mark
Dr. Nupam Mahajan and Prof. R. Balasubramaniam

A Newly Discovered Fake Sasanian Silver Drachm Of Hormazd II
William B. Warden, Jr.

A Hoard of Early Multi-Denominational Electrum Coins
Eric J. McFadden

Pergamum, Ephesus and Smyrna: The Rivalries Under Roman Rule
Dr. Ursula Kampmann

A Pair Of Moulds For Making Cast Imitations Of A Hunnic Drachm
Michael Alram

The Actual Tribute Penny
Peter E. Lewis

A Fake Gold Dinar of the Sasanian Queen Buran
William B. Warden, Jr.

Four Extremely Rare Sasanian Fractions
Bahram Badiyi

Coins From The Time Of The Avars In Hungary
Elemér Jónás (Translated by Lawrence Adams)

Some Deceiving Kushan Forgeries
Lawrence A. Adams

Notes on Early Sasanian Titulature
Touraj Daryaee, California State University, Fullerton

A Few More Slavei Fakes
SAN editorial staff

The Avars
Lawrence A. Adams

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:04:20 AM::

~ Role of Women in Greek Art

Very few items I ever come across actually make my jaw drop, but this one does. It's a site devoted to the role of women in Greek Art (actually, that's the title too). Scroll down to the 'specialized' pages and wait for the images to load ... the page on Minoan Culture was mentioned on AegeaNet yesterday ... my mind continues to boggle.

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:02:11 AM::

~ What Have the Ancients Done For Us?

The Scotsman has a piece on a forthcoming documentary called What the Ancients Did for Us ... here's the excerpted items of interest for us:


We British can lay claim to the oldest lavatories in the world - the first ancient settlement to set aside a cubicle in each house for the purpose is Skara Brae on Orkney, but the Romans are the founding fathers of the public convenience. Roman toilets consisted of a row of stone benches with holes for latrines, but no cubicles. Like bath houses, they seemed to serve a dual function as a place for socialising. Often the two were placed next to one another, so that the waste water from the baths would be used to flush the loos. Roman baths were legendary, with underground hypocausts to heat the water, the smoke and fumes from which were used to heat the floor and walls. Wealthy Romans had similar central heating systems installed in their homes, especially in Britain.



We might associate it with breeze-block modernism, above, but concrete built the Roman empire. They did not discover it, but were the first to exploit its potential after discovering pozzolana, a sandy volcanic ash found in the bay of Naples, which hardened into a stone-like mass when mixed with water. In the first century AD, Vitruvius wrote about it in his builder’s manual, On Architecture.

Thanks to concrete, the Romans were able to build bigger and stronger harbours, bridges, aqueducts and buildings which rose four or five storeys off the ground.

Some of its greatest achievements still stand today, such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon - its huge unsupported dome uses pumice dust, which produced a lighter concrete.



The world’s first vending machine was built for a temple in Alexandria in the first century AD. If you put a coin in the slot, a short draught of holy water came out. The invention, ideal for the devout worshipper in a hurry, was a brainchild of the Greek inventor Heron. His other inventions, usually executed in miniature, included a weight-and-pulley system for opening temple doors "by magic", a miniature steam engine and a robot theatre. "Heron was a very good egg," says Hart-Davis, "a very bright, intelligent man, but most of his inventions were party tricks or executive toys." [the rest]

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:55:50 AM::

~ Roman Coin Hoard Found

From EDP24:

The beeping of a metal detector delivered a windfall to a couple who found Norfolk's biggest ever hoard of Roman silver coins.

Pat and Sally Buckley were indulging their hobby on a ploughed field near Dereham just before Christmas when they came upon a few silver coins in the dirt.

As they carried on, they realised they had found a remarkable treasure.

The find has been kept secret until now to allow Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service a proper search, and the exact location is not being publicised.

Finds officer Dr Adrian Marsden said the collection of 900-plus Roman denarii is a significant discovery and includes coins from 270 years of early British history.

The earliest coins – from 32BC – feature Marc Anthony, consort to Cleopatra, whereas the most recent date from 240AD and the short-lived reign of teenage emperor Gordian III.

"We were out on a Sunday and it was almost dark when we started," said Mr Buckley.

"We have never found anything as large as this before. The 50 that we first found on the surface was amazing but to think there were hundreds below the surface as well."

Mrs Buckley added: "It was fantastic. There's always a competition when we go out, and Pat found the first two and coins and then I found three."

The couple, who have been metal detecting for 20 years, contacted the museums service as soon as they realised the size of the find.

Dr Marsden said: "Two of my colleagues went out and dug down to find the remains of a pot in which the coins had been buried. They were about 600 coins still in situ, and subsequently they found even more.

"It is the largest hoard of its kind found in Norfolk.

"Some of the older coins are quite grubby but the more recent ones are mint. At the time they would have been worth about four years' pay to a Roman legionary."

Dr Marsden is examining and cataloguing the coins, before the British Museum's treasury valuation committee decides how much they are worth – possibly around £20,000.

"The finders can accept the value or not, but the Norwich Castle Museum hopes to acquire them eventually," he said.

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:50:37 AM::

~ Roman Foundation 'Update'

Yesterday we mentioned a brief item from an Italian source suggesting archaeological evidence had been found supporting an 8th century date for the foundation of Rome. Today we get a flood of coverage of same (mostly from AP) with some more details. Here's an excerpt from AP via Yahoo:

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of Mars, the god of war, who were suckled as infants by a she-wolf in the woods.

Now, archaeologists believe they have found evidence that at least part of that tale may be true: Traces of a royal palace discovered in the Roman Forum have been dated to roughly the period of the eternal city's legendary foundation.

Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome's Sapienza University who has been conducting excavations at the Forum for more than 20 years, said he made the discovery over the past month at the spot where the Temple of Romulus stands today.

It is next to the Sanctuary of Vesta — the Roman goddess of the hearth — just outside the Palatine walls, site of the earliest traces of civilization in Rome.

Where previously archaeologists had only found huts dating to the 8th century B.C., Carandini and his team unearthed traces of regal splendor: A 3,700-square-foot palace, 1,130 square feet of which were covered and the rest courtyard. There was a monumental entrance, and elaborate furnishings and ceramics.

The walls were made of wood and clay, with a floor of wood shavings and pressed turf. It was tests on the clay that allowed the archaeologists to confirm the age of the find.

Carandini said the residence had "absolutely extraordinary dimensions, dimensions not formerly known."

"It could be nothing other than the royal palace," he said, adding that during that period the average abode was about one-tenth the size.

Carandini also found a hut where vestal virgins are believed to have lit a sacred flame.

Eugenio La Rocca, the superintendent for monuments for the city of Rome, said Carandini's interpretation of the ruins appears to be accurate.

"It seems to me that what is emerging from the excavation of Carandini, who can be considered the highest authority in this field, is a very coherent archaeological reading," La Rocca told the newspaper Il Messaggero.

"Whoever created the legend did so with the knowledge that behind it there was a historical foundation," he told the newspaper. "That doesn't mean the story of Romulus and Remus necessarily happened that way, but only that memory as it was handed down by the majority of the Latin writers is much more than a hypothesis." [more]

More in this weekend's Explorator ...

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:49:29 AM::

~ Nietzsche Rogueclassicist

I mentioned last week or so that the guys at Campus Mawrtius (among other things) are excerpting a pile of quotes from Nietzsche on matters Classical. I've got to lift an excerpt from the most recent offering, though, because it seems very much in the spirit of rogueclassicism:

The classics speak to us when they feel like doing so; not when we do.

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:39:23 AM::

~ Reviews from BMCR

Jensen on Sutton on Jensen.

Penelope M. Allison, Frank B. Sear, Casa della Caccia antica (VII 4, 48). Häuser in Pompeji, ed. by Volker Michael Strocka, vol. 11

Seán Hemingway, The Horse and Jockey from Artemision: A Bronze Equestrian Monument of the Hellenistic Period.

 Filippo Canali De Rossi, Le relazioni diplomatiche di Roma, Vol. I: dall'età regia alla conquista del primato in Italia (753-265 a.C).

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:35:46 AM::

~ Major Antiquities Haul

From Kathimerini:

Over 4,000 ancient artifacts and coins were found by police on Saturday after they raided a farmer’s house near Thessaloniki. The 40-year-old was taken into custody after officers confiscated 3,200 silver and copper coins and some 1,000 other items, dating from Paleolithic times to the Byzantine era, from a storage space at his home in Nea Apollonia, some 50 kilometers east of Thessaloniki. The unnamed suspect claimed that he came across the artifacts in fields around the area, officers said. He will now face charges of having broken stiff laws on antiquities, which ban their sale or excavation without a special permit and stipulate that accidental finds must be turned over to authorities.

There's a photo at the Kathimerini site of some of the stuff ...

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:32:10 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Atlantis: The Lost Civilization
Why has the legend of a continent under the sea captivated the imaginations of generations of people that have searched for Atlantis? Did Atlantis really exist, and if so, where? Plato discussed the legend in two of his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, the only known written accounts from ancient sources that refer specifically to Atlantis. Atlantis has been linked to Bimini, the Canary Islands, Santorini, and Troy, among other places. What kind of people were the Atlanteans? According to scholars of Atlantis, they developed a technologically advanced civilization that has yet to be surpassed. Did Atlantis sink to the bottom of the ocean in a day and a night? What catastrophic events may have led to its demise? Or is the tale pure fiction invented by a Plato to illustrate a philosophic argument? 

::Tuesday, February 15, 2005 4:25:09 AM::

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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