Latest update: 3/1/2005; 5:15:47 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem vii kalendas martias

  • Traditional end of the Roman year (followed by a period of intercalation)
  • Terminalia -- a festival in honour of Terminus, the divinity who presided over boundaries. In Rome itself, Terminus had a shrine within the Temple of Jupiter beneath an opening in the roof because, it is said, when they were building the Temple of Jupiter, Terminus refused to move. What happened in the city is unclear, but the rustic version of the festival involved something like ... at boundary stones, farmer families would gather and build a turf altar; a fire would be built and one of the younger members of the family would throw grain in the fire three times. Others offered other things like honeycombs and wine, then a sheep or pig would be sacrificed and a feast would follow.
  • 155 A.D. -- martyrdom of Polycarp (traditional date)
  • 303 A.D. -- "Great Persecution" of Diocletian begins in Nicomedia

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 5:22:48 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

mellifluous @

temblor @ Wordsmith (new word to me!)


::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 5:17:01 AM::

~ Nuntii Latini

Interitus Dresdae commemorabatur  (18.2.2005)

Die Dominico in Germania commemorabatur, quomodo urbs Dresda sexaginta annis ante impetibus foederatorum aeriis deleta esset.

In illa urbe, in quam plurimi fugitivi, exercitus Sovieticos timentes, ex partibus Germaniae orientalibus confluxerant, tum minimum viginti quinque, forsitan quadraginta milia hominum biduo perierunt.

Pace facta disceptatum est, an interitus urbis, monumentis et artificiis clarissimae, Germania nazistica iam labante fuisset necessarius.

Alii credunt Dresdam propter industriam armorum et commeatum militarem delendam fuisse; alii autem censent Britannos et Americanos tantas opes in aeroplanis bombiferis collocasse, ut his uti necesse putarent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 5:10:05 AM::

~ Calvin and Hobbes

Latin teachers might find today's (sort of)  Calvin and Hobbes doorworthy ...

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 5:07:46 AM::

~ Snippets

A handful of items which caught my eye and which don't really merit a piece of their own ... first, over at, an author is taken to task for suggesting the plural of virus is virii (many of us have had this conversation before, I suspect) ... the South Dakota State U Collegian has a piece on the symbolism behind the releasing of pigeons or whatever and sez, "The Egyptians thought of them as bringing peace and innocence. The Chinese saw them as a symbol of long life. Even the Greeks and Romans saw white pigeons as a symbol for love and devotion. " ... why "Even"? ... meanwhile, a writer at the Malaysian Star admits to originally thinking (as did I, but I can't find it any more) that Constantine would be about the Roman emperor ... (by the way, Classicist David Wharton has posted a review of the movie) ...

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 5:03:58 AM::

~ Norfolk Coin Hoard Follow-up

From EDP24:

These are just some of the nearly 1000 silver coins found in Norfolk's biggest ever hoard of Roman money.

The staggering haul was found by metal detector hobbyists Pat and Sully Buckley in a field, near Dereham, just before Christmas.

But the find keeps growing, with a further 15 coins found on Friday.

As the EDP reported last week, the discovery was kept secret to allow a proper field search and yesterday was the first time the coins themselves were revealed.

The collection of 963 Roman denarii includes coins from 270 years of early British history, most of which were found in a ceramic pot buried 14 inches down.

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

Mr Buckley said: "The archaeologists were just as amazed as us at the quality and quantity of the coins as we were. [more]

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 4:53:06 AM::

~ Another Reason to Study Classics

Excerpts from a piece in the Daily Collegian:

Author of this semester's Dean's Book, Chris Hedges, will visit University of Massachusetts to deliver a lecture about his book "War is a Force that Gives us Meaning," and spend time speaking to some individual classes.

Hedges, a foreign war correspondent since 1989, will be speaking tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. Describing the lecture as "thick," Hedges tries to highlight the main themes of the book.


Hedges has been in many war-zones through out his career, starting out in El Salvador and Nicaragua, then moving on to the Middle East. He covered the civil wars in Sudan, Algeria and Yemen as well as the Persian Gulf War, at the end of which he was captured by the Iraqi Republican Guard. He was later in Sarajevo during the war in Kosovo; many examples of war used in the book were taken from Hedges time spent there.

"War has marked my almost 15 years abroad," Hedges said in an interview with PBS's "Religion and Ethics." "I've been in ambushes. I've been strafed by MIGs, pounded by very heavy artillery."

The title of the book is the manifestation of one of the major themes. "What I wanted to do was talk about how people find meaning through war, then ultimately they are betrayed by war," Hedges said.

Yet he knows that war cannot give anyone, including himself, meaning. It is "like a drug, a very dangerous addiction ... my ultimate meaning does not come with that."

Hedges wrote an article entitled, "On War" for The New York Times Review of Books, discussing two books about the war in Iraqi. He wrote that they "resist the narcissism that often infects such accounts of war." When asked if his book also avoided this pitfall he noted that "journalists will dine out on the myth of war and the myth about themselves as war correspondents." Hedges considers his book to be more of an anti-memoir, "if I bring my self into that book," he said, "it is to illustrate a fault, a personal failing."


Allusions are prevalent throughout the book, including authors such as Shakespeare, Virgil, Cicero, Homer and Catullus. Hedges used these references flawlessly to illustrate his points and show other examples though history. Homer's "The Iliad," the story about the ten-year-long siege of Troy, could have been written about the war in Bosnia, according to Hedges.

His knowledge about the classics stems from his schooling; Hedges studied Greek while receiving his Master of Divinity from Harvard University.

He immersed himself in Latin texts after the Persian Gulf War before he went to Sarajevo. The ancient writings have helped him cope - in the last pages of the book Hedges wrote that the "words give me a balm to my grief, a momentary solace, a little understanding," in reference to a poem by Catullus.


I think the seeking-solace-in-Classical-authors is becoming a somewhat common admission/confession (trope?) among various folks ... I'll keep an eye open for more examples ...

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 4:51:36 AM::

~ Interview with MV Ronnick

The Chronicle has a nice little interview with Michele Valerie Ronnick about her biography of Scarborough:

Born into slavery, William Sanders Scarborough was emancipated after the Civil War, became a university professor, published a Greek textbook for college students, and died as his era's leading black classicist. History largely ignored his pioneering career, but now Ms. Ronnick has brought the scholar's long-unpublished autobiography to light. The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough (Wayne State University Press) further marks a revival of interest in the classicist highlighted by the establishment of a Modern Language Association prize in his honor in 2001.

Q. Why did Scarborough fade from memory?

A. There is a tremendous amount of recovery work still being done in the field of African-American studies -- authors, artists, historians whose works are receiving publication for the first time. ... By the time he died in 1926, I think Scarborough was perceived as a fossil. He might have been looked at as a throwback to an earlier generation. His abiding interest in Greek and Latin might have looked positively alien at that point.

Q. Why bring Scarborough back to public attention?

A. I think it's critical for our national psyche to understand that there were men like Scarborough ready and willing and able to play a part in our common intellectual endeavors, with great courage and dedication. ... It's the kind of story we all love, the improbable circumstances that this man makes his way out of with his intellect and dedication to his ideals.

Q. How does Scarborough stand in comparison to Booker T. Washington?

A. Scarborough believed that African-Americans should have everything white students had -- the full gamut. The standard of the day was classical studies, so bring it on, let us have the same training. ... This is the way you create a strong civilization. Booker T. Washington, with his industrial program, believed in economic independence, that one needs a steady income and skills to keep independent and self-reliant. The irony is that they are two sides of the same coin. We need an economic base to live on, but we also need all the things that come from liberal-arts training ... and the creation of culture.

Q. What might Scarborough say about the state of education today?

A. I think that he would agree with a point that Toni Morrison made a few years ago, that liberal arts is an integral part of an education for everyone, not just the elites, and may be even more important for the working-class students. By abandoning or ignoring liberal arts, we are doing a disservice to all American students. ... There are humanizing elements that come from training in the liberal arts.

I think he would say, "We must not lose sight of it."

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 4:46:06 AM::

~ Where Troy Once (misunder)Stood?

Over at Classics in Contemporary Culture, MH notes the influence of all those nutty books which claims Troy was actually somewhere else ... nice little roundup

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 4:43:59 AM::

~ JOB: Generalist @ UWinnipeg

The Department of Classics at The University of Winnipeg invites applications from qualified women and men for a 12-month sessional in Classics at the rank of Assistant Professor, to commence July 1, 2005. Duties will include teaching undergraduate courses in Classical Civilization, Greek or Roman Literature in translation, and Greek or Latin. Qualifications include a complete or nearly completed Ph.D. and a demonstrated potential for excellence in teaching, research and scholarship. Interested applicants should send their curriculum vitae, and arrange to have three letters of reference sent to:

Dr. Craig Cooper
Chair, Department of Classics
University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB
R3B 2E9
Fax: (204) 774-4134

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. The deadline for applications is March 30, 2005.

The University of Winnipeg is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities.  In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, this advertisement is initially directed to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

... seen on the Classicists list

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

~ Another 'Roman Day'

From icSurrey:

TOGA-clad youngsters braved the cold to dress up in period costume as part of their Roman day.

Pupils at Reigate Priory School, in Bell Street, donned their Roman robes and enjoyed a day learning about the era.

On Thursday, February 10 Secundus (Frank Lovering) and Agrippina (Sylvia Sacks), from Legion XIIII Gemini, based in Ramsgate, Kent, gave the children an insight into the life and times of the Romans.

They heard about everything from domestic life and the army, to the significance of their costumes.

Year three student Emma Krill said: "You get to hear and learn more about the Romans. "I learnt how to play Roman games like trying to spin a top. Also how the women used to put their make-up on."

Her friend Lucy Findlater added: "It was fun to dress in a costume."

Commenting on the success of the day year three teacher Charlie Smith, said: "We try to make history exciting and dramatic.

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 4:37:39 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV today

8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Forgotten Civilizations of Anatolia
Throughout the course of history, many great civilizations have flourished in the area we now identify as Turkey, which forms a natural bridge between Europe and Asia. Join us on a virtual tour of Gordiyon (also known as Gordium), the domain of King Midas, Hattusa, the famous Hittite capital with its spectacular royal citadel, and the later cities ruled by the Greeks during the days of the Byzantine Empire. Using state-of-the-art computer technology and the latest in archaeological exploration, we walk viewers through ancient sites along with the citizens of the time.  

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Travels through Greece
By the 2nd century AD, Greece had long been steeped in myth, tradition, and a rich history that made it a major tourist destination even then. In this episode, we travel with a Roman senator as he journeys to artistic and cultural treasures of Greece, including Corinth's welcoming agora (the center of civic activity), the acoustically perfect Theater at Epidaurus, and the famous sporting competitions and chariot races of Olympia, as well as its majestic Temple of Zeus. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we explore these celebrated ancient sites and see them as only the original inhabitants could.  
9.00 p.m. |HISTC|Beasts of the Roman Games
This program tells the story of how the Romans procured and transported thousands of wild animals from every corner of their Empire to feed the blood-thirsty sensationalism of "to the death" animal fights in Rome.

HINT = History International

HISTC = History Television (Canada)

::Wednesday, February 23, 2005 4:35:37 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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