Latest update: 3/1/2005; 5:15:44 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem viii kalendas martias

  • Parentalia possibly comes to and end with the festival of Caristia, which was a sort of 'kiss and make up' festival. The idea was that people had made peace with their dead, so now it was right to bring to an end any quarrels they were having with living members of their family. There was usually a big family reunion type banquet and worship was given to the Lares. 
  • 4 A.D. -- death of hoped-for-successor-to-Augustus Gaius Caesar (either February 21 or 22) in Limyra
  • 1756 -- birth of Gilbert Wakefield (Classicist)

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:36:14 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

placid @ Merriam-Webster

hoosegow @ Wordsmith (who'd'a thunk it?)

pluviose @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:29:06 AM::

~ Punk Redux ...

Over at Laudator, MG responds to my query yesterday whether "punk" -- as in the phrase "Go ahead, punk, make my day" -- is reliably translated as "catamitus". He believes so, citing the American Heritage dictionary, but I would argue that context is everything. In perhaps a prison context (usually in conjunction with someone named Bubba), or a somewhat archaic context, catamitus might be appropriate. But in a "Dirty Harry" or every day regular usage context, "punk" is just another word for "thug" or "petty criminal", without any sexual overtones. Heck, even when I was a kid, it was just a general term of derision with no sexual overtones at all. And I'm sure "punk rock" has nothing to do with such things ...

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:25:21 AM::

~ 24

Hmmm ... maybe I'll have to catch an episode of 24 after reading this incipit in the National Review:

In the opening of Agamemnon, the ancient Greek tragedy by Aeschylus, Agamemnon laments the fate that finds him torn between fulfilling his duty to his family and his duty as a military leader and sacrificing his daughter at the command of the gods:

    A heavy doom is disobedience, but heavy too if I shall rend my own child...polluting a father's hands with streams of slaughtered maiden's blood close to the altar. Which of these is without evils? 

Now, the media habit of labeling as a tragedy any event that involves loss has made comparison to Greek tragedy a cliché. In the case of this season's TV series 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland as counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer, the analogy is in one respect apt. The most compelling dramatic moments in the opening hours of the series have featured conflicts of loyalty between family and nation, between the ties of blood and the demands of a broader mission.

With captivating characters and a pace that keeps viewers riveted to every ticking second of footage, this year's 24 has seen a well-deserved ratings bump. As in previous years, terrorism is the basic plot line — this time with an Arab-American family at the center, a plot decision that has earned the show a rebuke from the Council on American Islamic Relations. (In response, Fox has run a public-service message from Sutherland urging viewers to keep in mind, as they watch 24, that the Muslim-American community stands with America in its opposition to terror.)

With previous seasons that featured a black president and plot lines that involve multiple twists, 24 rarely lets viewers rest with easy stereotypes. Even as some of those connected with the production of the show taunt the critics, denying for example that the "world deserves political correctness right now," they also urge viewers to "wait until the story finishes" to make conclusions. Indeed, it is not yet clear who precisely is in control of the nuclear plot and for what precise goals, beyond destabilizing the American political and economic system.

Whatever the ultimate source and aim of the plot, the Muslim-American Araz family — a father (Navi), mother (Dina), and son (Berhooz) living in suburban comfort — is at its center. The father, Navi, is in charge of delivering the stolen gadgets that give access to America's power plants. His ruthless willingness to eliminate any obstacle to the fulfillment of his duty is palpable in the aftermath of his partially Americanized son's experience of conflicted loyalty. When Berhooz's American girlfriend unwittingly follows him as he acts as a courier for his father, the son is put in the position of having to choose whether he will try to protect the girl or obey his father's command that he kill her to insure that she cannot provide information to anyone.

When Berhooz can't bring himself to kill, the mother, Dina (House of Sand and Fog's Shohreh Aghdashloo), does it for him, both to get the job done and to conceal the son's lack of manliness from the father. But the father has already given up on the son, whose execution he orders. Dina learns of this plot, which the son surprisingly anticipates and thwarts, and excoriates her husband. Without any hint of remorse, he responds, "Nothing will stand in the way of what needs to be done — not him, not you." The father himself is beholden to a mysterious and exacting superior, who impatiently instructs him, "take care of your mess." The father responds, "I give you my word. My wife and son will be dead by the end of this day." With Berhooz proclaiming, "he's not my father anymore," mother and son conspire to outwit and escape from the father's clutches. This puts them in a doubly precarious situation; as the mother informs the son, their previous acts have blocked off the possibility of turning now to the American legal system. Even after Jack takes the mother into custody and as one of the nuclear reactors begins to melt down, Dina resists helping the American government. To Jack plea's for help to save the innocent, she responds, "no one is innocent" and "every war has casualties." But her desire — she says it would make her "happy" — for the harm catastrophic nuclear meltdown would inflict upon America is tempered by her desire to make a bargain on behalf of her son. [more]

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:17:22 AM::

~ Remember Loyola

I have often wondered whether letter-writing campaigns about proposed closures of Classics programs and the like have any effect, and for some reason I thought perhaps the rallying cry for departments in peril should be 'Remember Loyola' ... From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Loyola began running into money trouble in 1996, when Loyola University Medical Center, which had been supplementing the university's revenues, became a separate entity. "From 1996 on, you see red all over the university budget," Garanzini said.

This was followed by some controversial decisions, like moving the school of education to Wilmette. The previous administration also focused on making Loyola a national school, neglecting the local student market, Garanzini said.

One proposal was to stop admitting people into the classics' doctoral program, a move that would have saved just $50,000 but bought bad publicity around the world, Garanzini said.

"What happened in classics was classic -- it was Loyola deal- ing with problems piecemeal without an overall design," Garanzini said.

Garanzini and university staff looked at comparable private universities from around the country, like Fordham University in New York, to study how they did things. Management reviewed Loyola's operations, and found inefficiency everywhere, Garanzini said.

"There wasn't an operation that wasn't inefficiently and poorly managed, from the mailroom to the Department of Anthropology," Garanzini said. "Every rock you would turn over, you would say, bad management, inefficient -- no one's thought this through."

One example was the Saturday shuttle bus service, which took students and local residents from the Rogers Park campus downtown for shopping.

To balance the budget, the new Loyola management cut as many as 500 people through faculty attrition and staff layoffs, and outsourced services like auditing, the shuttle bus and parking. Tuition went up 3.4 percent from fiscal year 2000 to 2004, Moody's said. [more]

Now ... after all that, one wonders ... can one pursue graduate studies in Classics at Loyola? It certainly isn't clear from their webpage, other than to say "All full-time professors teach at both the undergraduate and graduate levels." No indication either in the list of programs at the School of Graduate Studies site.

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:10:52 AM::

~ Victor Davis Hanson Watch

The Dartmouth Review has an interview with Victor Davis Hanson on various matters ... here's a couple of interesting excerpts:

The Dartmouth Review: How do you feel that your background in classicism and military history influences your work as a political commentator? And conversely, what impact has your work in current politics had on how you look at history?

Victor Davis Hanson: I think anybody who studies classics develops a tragic view that seems to be thematic in Homer and other classical authors, in that the nature of mankind remains constant; it’s not malleable. And therefore certain things tend to happen, such as wars, peace, and these primordial emotions such as pride, fear, anger. And when you have that constantly embedded in the literature that you study most of your life and you look at the present, you are not shocked at somebody like Saddam Hussein. You are not shocked at military action; you are not shocked at pre-emption. These all have historical precedents.

You get a sense of humility that we all age, we all die. There’s not going to be a new man created. Technology is not going to change the nature of our brain. So, in that sense, when I look at the present world, I take a deep breath before I write something and I try to ask myself, “Has this happened before in some other form?”

As far as the ancient world… I think it has been very good, I just finished a book, it’s coming out in August, about the Peloponnesian war. And it has made me think that the ancients were not just rural…I had written a lot that they were primarily rural people—local, parochial. But I think that their leaders had a lot more appreciation for the issues that we deal with, between the city-states. For instance: alliances, multilateralism, unilateralism, confederations. It’s made me think of the ancient world in a primarily political sense, and I have usually been an economic, agrarian, and military historian. I had never looked at the ancient world, in the nineteenth-century sense, as being political.


TDR: What do you see the role of Western education in the development of superior militaries as being? What specific advantages does it create, or what type of positive characteristics does it nurture?

VDH: There is a concept that we in the West keep enshrining, called “civic militarism.” It is very different than other cultures. We do not believe in the cult of the male, or the cult of the warrior. Aristotle observed the Greeks of the city-state did not put heads on their belt, or they did not have kills marked, or they did not military castes like the Carthaginians and the Spaniards.


TDR: Do you believe that the West will be able to continue its military dominance if it continues down this road that it has of late; that is, often dismissing the teaching of classics and Western thought and traditions in favor of multicultural studies?

VDH: No. There is this tendency in the West not to fear failure, but success… especially in the leisure classes. There tends to be this cynicism, nihilism, skepticism; we have seen it in the upper moneyed class for centuries. We see it in the French court, we see it after World War One in England, we see it now. It is almost as if we have failed to teach our young people why the lights go on, why have a banking system, why the water is not polluted, why we have a modicum of free time and free expression; to not understand it, that is not a natural position to man. It is only because of our hard work and Western values. [the whole thing]

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:54:37 AM::

~ Alexander Flick Still In Works

From we hear that the Baz Luhrmann Alexander flick is still a go ... meanwhile, Dino De Laurentiis has another 'ancient' project:

According to Italy's Il Corriere della Sera (via Screen Daily), producer Dino De Laurentiis has re-assured that he is moving forward with plans to film his Alexander the Great project, to be directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) and to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman.

"We will shoot the film in one year's time, and it will be the Alexander that everyone has been waiting for," De Laurentiis said, confirming the talent that was attached to the project when it was announced in 2003.

De Laurentiis's film was put on hold when Oliver Stone's rival Alexander project started in 2004. "I don't want to hit out against Oliver Stone, who merits respect. But his picture was certainly flawed, and was missing the spine of a screenplay," the Italian producer told the Milan newspaper.

He added that "epic films are difficult to do well. King Arthur was also flawed. It badly copied ideas from the third film in my schedule, which is based on Valerio Massimo Manfredi's novel, 'The Last Legion'."

The Last Legion is set during the fall of the Roman empire and tells the true story of a group of legionaries who go to Britain to save the young emperor of Rome who has been kidnapped by barbarians. De Laurentiis said that Carlo Carlei is no longer attached to direct that project and a new director has not been announced. [more]

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:46:30 AM::

~ Baddest Mom in Greek Tragedy

From the New York Times:

Clytemnestra, Helen, Medea, Phaedra: all the adulterous, incestuous, child-murdering heroines of Greek mythology have a play of their own - except Jocasta, Oedipus' mother and wife. Richard Schechner, a director known for his radical stagings of classic texts, saw in that omission an opportunity. With the Romanian writer Saviana Stanescu, and what he calls "sampling" from Euripides, Sophocles and Seneca, he has created the mostly fascinating "YokastaS Redux," a retelling of the story from the perspective of the woman whose biggest moment in Sophocles's "Oedipus Rex" is her rush offstage to hang herself. This Jocasta refuses such self-destruction, instead savoring sex with her son and ripening into a majestic figure.

Four different actresses play Jocasta at different ages, remaining together on stage most of the time. The youngest is the adolescent Yoyo (Jennifer Lim), who uses action figures to enact naïve fantasies of power and escape. Phyllis Johnson is Yoko, married at 15 to King Laius of Thebes, an "old man with foul breath" who inspires little in her but revulsion and rage. When the oracle at Delphi delivers the terrifying prophecies that turn Laius against their newborn son, Oedipus, Yoko scorns the seer as an ambitious fraud. Yono (Rachel Bowditch) is Oedipus's young, beatifically pregnant wife. And the magnificent Daphne Gaines is Yokasta, the woman who has endured it all and gained full knowledge of life. The four women take turns enacting and reacting to the story, often warring among themselves. When Yoko plays a cruel, erotic game with the deformed Laius, little Yoyo watches with horror and Yokasta looks on with contempt. Having known real desire with Oedipus, she recoils at a former self that accepted such impoverished pleasures.

The conventions of postmodern theater, many of which Mr. Schechner pioneered as founding director in 1967 of the Performance Group, are used here with unexpected power and wit. Everything backstage is open to view, from costume changes to the workings of the technical crew. When Yoko abandons Oedipus, it is into the hands of a headset-wearing stagehand. As at the movies, the arriving audience is entertained with projected bits of celebrity gossip, baby pictures of the stars, coming attractions, quiz questions ("Which of these women did not sleep with Zeus?), and "It Runs in the Family," a genealogy highlighting the incest and infanticide that repeats itself throughout Greek mythology, from its beginnings with Cronus devouring his sons. Christopher Logan Healy, who plays both Laius and Oedipus, also appears intermittently as a talk-show host interviewing Yokasta, at one point taunting her with Freud's interpretation of her story, which like that of Sophocles edges her to the margins.

This pastiche occasionally runs off the rails. A Jerry Springer parody, pitting Medea and Phaedra against Yokasta in a bid to be named "tragedy's baddest mom," goes on too long and erupts into the predictable catfight. These lapses are so rare, however, that they mostly serve to underscore Mr. Schechner's restraint. His capacity to manage multiple techniques and perspectives is compellingly displayed at the beginning of Act II. Oedipus and Yokasta sit with their backs to the audience. She speaks softly into a microphone of her desire to wash his swollen foot. In the foreground, Yoko and Yoyo wash their own feet, their bodies reacting to the eroticism of her words. At the back, a slide show unfolds of the willowy Yono bathing Oedipus in a tub. Ryan Jensen's slides are - like most carnal relations - tender, pornographic and antic: Yono tastes Oedipus' filthy flesh, arouses him, drowns him and then herself in the bloody bath, and pops alive again with a lewd grin. [more]

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:42:37 AM::

~ Reviews from BMCR

Anton Bierl, Arbogast Schmitt, Andreas Willi, Antike Literatur in neuer Deutung. Festschrift für Joachim Latacz anlässlich seines 70. Geburtstages.

Mogens Herman Hansen, Thomas Heine Nielsen, An Inventory of Archaic and Greek Poleis. An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation.

Judith M. Lieu, Christian Identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World.

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:40:39 AM::

~ JOB: Greek History @ Royal Holloway

University of London

Lecturer in Greek History
Department of Classics

The Department of Classics is looking to appoint a fixed term lecturer to meet an expansion of undergraduate numbers in the Department. The appointee will be expected to teach mainly in the area of Greek History and teach at all undergraduate levels. The appointee will be expected both to teach existing courses and to develop new courses which will add to the Departmental expertise in this area. It would be advantageous for the appointee to be able to offer expertise in an additional area of the curriculum.

The appointee will be expected to play a full and active role in the development and delivery of the Department's aims and objectives. In making this appointment, the Department is seeking to appoint an active researcher who can use their research to inform their teaching and who will continue to develop their research while at the College. The appointee will be expected to contribute to the research culture of the Department and the University. There may be opportunities for the appointee to engage in graduate teaching.

This post is available from 1st September 2005 until 31st August 2007.

Salary will be in the range £29,250 (Lecturer A Grade) and £30,123 -£38,017 (Lecturer B Grade) inclusive of London Allowance.

Further details and an application form are available from the Personnel Department, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX; fax: 01784 473527; tel: 01784 414241; web-site: Please quote  reference number KB/004351.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 1st April 2005.

We positively welcome applications from all sections of the community. 

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:38:44 AM::

~ For Teachers in Texas

 Austin College Summer Latin Institute 2005 for Texas High School Teachers

How would you like to spend a week immersed in Latin—all-expenses-paid—learning about literature, culture, and the latest technology?

July 17-22, 2005, Austin College will present a unique immersion experience for Texas high school foreign language teachers. The Austin College Foreign Language Institute offers teachers an opportunity to refresh their language skills and develop new cultural and technology resources for their students. Teachers in each language—French, German, Latin, Spanish—will participate in the one-week, residential Institute with native speakers and faculty from Austin College’s Department of Classical and Modern Languages. In Latin—due to the fact that nearly all our native speakers are otherwise occupied—we will have as our “near native speaker” Laura Veal, Latin teacher at Highland Park H.S. and veteran of many summer programs with Fr. Reginald Foster in Rome.

All teachers who complete the Institute will receive 40 Continuing Professional Education Units.

If you would like to see what we have done in other institutes, our schedules for the 2002 and 2003 programs can be found at:  and

What does the program cost? NOTHING.
The Institute is funded by a generous grant from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation to promote foreign language teaching in Texas. Everything is included except travel to and from Sherman.

The deadline for applying to the Institute is April 1, 2005 (no kidding!).
The Institute is open to all Texas high school foreign language teachers. We have had many requests from middle school teachers about previous Institutes and are glad to announce that we can consider middle school teachers for this year’s program. Please contact me for more information if you are a middle school teacher.

You may download a copy of the application and brochure at

What will we do in the workshop?
Each day’s schedule includes culture and literature workshops during the day and additional cultural activities in the evening. Activities are conducted in small groups according to language. We will also have sessions about incorporating Internet materials into the Latin classroom. Most meals will be taken together, but each language group will have one night to prepare traditional food from one or more of the countries where the language is spoken. Participants speak their target language at all times. The atmosphere is informal and highly collegial.

Where will we live?
Participants will lodge in the new $3,000,000 Jordan Family Language House. All workshops and events will take place in the classrooms and common rooms located in the House. This unique complex houses foreign language students at Austin College during the regular school year and was designed with language and culture immersion as its primary purpose. It is divided into four sections, one for each language, consisting of bedroom suites and a commons area. There is a kitchen where participants can create the culinary specialties of their countries. Two high-tech classrooms, a computer development room, and a residential computing facility support the educational activities of the House. State-of-the-art technology in the classrooms and total language immersion in the House offer an exceptional experience for participants and faculty.

How do I find out more?
Consult our website at
You may also contact this year’s Director, Truett Cates (  or 903 813-2376).

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:37:27 AM::

~ Three Ph.D. Positions

Three PhD-positions in Classics at the University of Groningen 

At the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) there will be three posts for PhD-research available in the field of Classics (Greek, Latin or Ancient History). These are fully funded positions for a period of four years (1 September 2005–2009). The research will be carried out within the framework of the interdisciplinary research project 'From Alexandria to Rome', which is concerned with the cultural dynamics of the Hellenistic and Roman world. Further description is appended below. Prospective candidates should get in touch with one of the undersigned for further information and an application format. Completed applications should be received in Groningen before 1 May. Interviews will be held in May.  

Groningen University is an internationally oriented university situated in a lively regional centre (ca. 170,000 inhabitants) in the North of the Netherlands, but at only 2,5 hours from Amsterdam Airport. The Classics Department is well-known for its many international research activities, including workshops and conferences on Hellenistic poetry, Flavian poetry, the ancient novel and the Greek post- classical city. 

In Greek the proposed research should preferably concern Hellenistic poetry (III-I BC), and the proposals may focus on individual authors or on aspects of literary theory, the social and ideological function of Hellenistic poetry or the specific character of Hellenistic poetry as reception of earlier Greek literature and object of reception in Roman poetry. 

In Latin, we would especially welcome proposals concerned with the reception of Hellenistic in Roman Poetry and/or the social and ideological functions of literature in the Roman world, preferably in the period of the Early Empire (Augustus through the second century). 

In Ancient History we shall consider proposals on any topic within the field, but we would especially welcome proposals on: 1: The Greek city in transition (300 bc-ad 300) - social, political and cultural aspects 2: Social and economic history of the Roman Empire 3: Late Antiquity. 

Annette Harder, Professor of Greek:
Ruurd Nauta, Professor of Latin:
Onno van Nijf, Professor of Ancient History:

... seen on the Classicists list

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:36:17 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HINT| The Sunken City
The ancient Roman city of Ostia was once a vital seaport. Yet it died a slow, painful death. This documentary explores the reasons for its demise and looks at the abandoned wasteland today.  

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:34:01 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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