Latest update: 3/1/2005; 5:18:08 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

pridie kalendas martias

::Monday, February 28, 2005 5:14:14 AM::

~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection

incipient @ (obviously one of our favorite words)

infinitesimal @ Merriam-Webster

ebrius @ Wordsmith

::Monday, February 28, 2005 5:08:55 AM::

~ Nuntii Latini

Corea Septentrionalis arma nuclearia habet (18.2.2005)

Coreani septenrionales confessi sunt se arma nuclearia paravisse, ut se defenderent, quia Americani patriam suam a ceteris terris separare et secludere vellent.

Meridionales Coreani censent fieri quidem potuisse, ut Corea Septentrionalis unam duasve bombas nuclearias fecisset; illas autem non esse tam leves, ut missilibus portarentur.

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

::Monday, February 28, 2005 5:04:53 AM::

~ Akropolis World News

A bit of catching up to do with our friends at Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek) ... here's three sets of headlines:

Amnesty International founder dead - Roman Circus found in Colchester, U. K.
Identification of 9/11 remains come to an end - Satanic group jailed for slaying
Mass escape at Haitian prison - Bush heads to Europe

::Monday, February 28, 2005 5:03:12 AM::

~ A Return to the Classics

A site called (which I think I've mentioned before) publishes an essay advocating a return to the Classics ... here's the incipit:

The flag flies everywhere, even in the hearts and minds of Hollywood producers. An all-engulfing jingoism is fast devouring the nation and I, for one, recoil from it. It is in times such as these, with much of the world rattled by strife and stiffened by fear, that literary and artistic concerns -- rather than serving as diversions -- should become primary activities. We should turn to the classics as we do to trusted counselors whose wisdom has been proven.

The theatre has been dealing with thorny issues since its inception. For example, we know that what prompted Euripides to write The Trojan Women was not so much the losses in Troy but the Athenian invasion of Melos. Melos was a small, self-sufficient island that, as a result of its refusal to join the Athenian alliance against Sparta, was overrun, starved and thoroughly colonized by Athens in 416 B.C. Men who surrendered were put to death; women and children were sold into slavery. When The Trojan Women was performed in Athens one year later, it was clear to every Athenian that its message concerned the massacres at Melos; presumably, it gave that nation's citizens pause.

The war with Sparta against which Melos had vainly resisted, ended shortly afterward in the total collapse of Athenian civilization, (a harbinger of 21st century events -- who's to say?) Sophocles' Oedipus Rex begins with the question, "Why is a plague ravaging Thebes?" During the course of Oedipus' investigation into this horror, he discovers the answer: he himself, having unwittingly murdered his father and married his mother, is the cause of all catastrophes. Oedipus is a hero for us, not because he gouges out his eyes and endures unbearable personal tragedies but because he has the courage to doggedly pursue the knowledge that brings these things about. He peers directly into the face of disasters in order to divine their true meaning. [the rest]

::Monday, February 28, 2005 4:56:16 AM::

~ Say What?

One of those question-and-answer columns in the Bristol Herald Courier is a veritable font of misinformation about the Roman calendar:

October is the 10th month, but words that begin with "oct" mean eight, like octopus. So shouldn’t the eighth month be named October? – D.C., Bristol Virginia

October used to be the eighth month before the Romans divided a theretofore-uncalendared period of winter into January and February. That added two months and threw off the numbering.

It’s not the only month with a number association. September, as in septuplets, used to be the seventh month. November, as in nonagon, was the ninth month, and December, as in decade, was the 10th.

Other months used to have number associations.

August would have been called Sextember, had the Romans not named the month Sextilis in honor of Augustus Caesar. His granduncle and predecessor, Julius Caesar, already had named the prior month, Quintilis, or Quintember, after himself.

Well, no ... October was the eighth month because down to the middle of the second century B.C., the Roman calendar began in March. August used to be called Sextilis (not would have been)  ... Quintilis as July was a post-mortem honour, so JC couldn't have done it after himself (heck, I'm not sure even August can be said to be Octavian naming a month after himself ...). Grumble.

::Monday, February 28, 2005 4:54:07 AM::

~ More Macedonian Tombs!

From Kathimerini:

The gold of the ancient Macedonians still gleams on the soldiers’ uniforms being unearthed by excavations in the ancient necropolis of Archontiko in Pella.

Fully armed Macedonian aristocrats, gold-bedecked women in elaborate jewelry, faience idols and clay vases of exceptional beauty had lain concealed for centuries in 141 simple rectangular trench graves that were discovered recently in the ancient settlement.

For Charon

In their tombs, Macedonian officers wore armor and — in the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods — were equipped for the journey after death with coins for Charon, copper utensils made by local metalworkers, and rare incense or oil containers with the war of the giants depicted in relief.

These are not the first discoveries of gold-embroidered uniforms at Archontiko. Archaeologists Pavlos and Anastassia Chrystostomou from the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities found the first warriors in full armor four years ago while excavating the cemetery.

The contents of the latest 141 tombs to be discovered were presented recently at the ephorate’s archaeological conference.

The typical Archontiko tomb contained gold masks, gold breastplates, clothes and shoes adorned with gold strips, helmets, shields, swords, spears and knives embellished with gold strips or rosettes.

Though only 2 percent of the 20-hectare cemetery has been excavated, the harvest has already been rich.

The dozens of finds help form an image of the socioeconomic organization, burial rituals, high living standard, aristocratic origins and leading role of the families in one of the most significant urban centers of ancient Macedonia from prehistoric times until the end of the fifth century BC.

As the Chrysostomou couple explained, the ancient settlement built in the middle of the plain of Bottiaia, close to the ancient route connecting East and West — later name the Egnatia Road — was one of the most important urban centers before the foundation of the capital of Pella.

This is confirmed by the 541 tombs dating from the Iron Age, through the Classical period and up to the early Hellenistic era (seventh century BC - 280 BC). This year’s investigation of a family cluster (in the broad sense of a clan) produced rich finds, as important as those of previous years.

A trove of grave ornaments was found in the 25 male and 17 female tombs dating to the Archaic era (first half of the sixth century BC to the beginning of the fifth century BC).

The men were mostly in full armor, with helmets adorned with incised gold strips, steel swords with gold on the handles, spears and knives. Gold foil sheets with embossed ornamentation adorn the leather breastplates, clothing, footwear and hand coverings of the warriors. Apart from gold and silver jewelry, numerous other objects, such as bronze and clay vases, clay idols, metal likenesses of farm carts, furniture and spits accompanied the male burials.

These objects present the first impression of a warrior, while the other grave offerings reveal the deceased’s personal and social prestige, two centuries before the rule of Phillip II and Alexander III.

The women were bedecked in jewelry that reveals their high social status. The grave ornaments (clay and metal vases, more rarely of glass of faience, or metal likenesses of carts) are related to the funeral customs of the journey to Hades.

Impressive items among this year’s finds were large silver clasps with disk-shaped heads adorned with rosettes and an 85-centimeter braided chain decorated in a style that predates those of Ephesus, Rhodes, and Eleutherna in Crete.

The necklace went around the chest where it was fastened by pins onto the clothing. It has gilded snake heads, seated lions and the heads of the female divinity Potnia of Thera.

The funeral ornaments in the women’s graves seem to have come to Macedonia from distant places. Among them are faience idols, probably from workshops on Rhodes, and clay vases from Kerameikos in Athens and Corinthian and Ionian workshops.

A nice photo accompanies the original article ...

::Monday, February 28, 2005 4:43:49 AM::

~ Paul's Tomb Redux

Over at Ralph the Sacred River, EC cites an article from Christianity Today which notes:

Paul's monument was on the Ostian Way (Via Ostiensis), about two miles from the center or Rome. St. Paul's Outside the Walls was built on the spot Gaius mentions. The Catholic Encyclopedia reports, "Under Gregory XVI [1765-1846], the sarcophagus of St. Paul was discovered, but not opened. Its fourth-century inscription bears the words PAULO APOST MART (Paul, Apostle and Martyr)."

So, uh, is this news after all? Or is it kind of like saying "Grant said buried in Grant's tomb"?

EC similarly wonders about 'slow news days'. I'd aver that the Catholic Encyclopedia is a bit imprecise in its wording ...  in the version of the tale (still online), we read this quote:

Filippi explained that the tomb was found at the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. This basilica was erected in the 4th century on order of Roman emperor Constantine in 386 A.D. Before Constantine's rule, Rome's leaders both shunned and persecuted Christians, who were forced to hide important tombs and relics. Ancient Rome also had a decree that no individual was to be buried within the main city confines.

Archaeologists discovered the sarcophagus on what would have been the ground floor of the 4th century basilica. It was found under the altar next to a marble plaque that reads, "Apostle Paul, martyr."

"Nobody ever thought to look behind that plaque," said Filippi, who indicated that he and his team were surprised when they found the tomb.

Seems to me that what Gregory XVI found was the site of the sarcophagus, but not the sarcophagus itself ...

::Monday, February 28, 2005 4:41:07 AM::

~ Shadows in Bronze

The fourth (I believe) installment of Shadows in Bronze is available at the BBC's Listen Again page ...

::Monday, February 28, 2005 4:30:19 AM::

~ AWOTV: Delayed

Apologies to all ... as noted elsewhere, I'm up to my shingle-ridden armpit in report cards and, alas, didn't get to put the listings together yesterday ... not sure if I'll get a chance to do so this week (note to self ... remember to complain at today's staff meeting about scheduling staff and IPRC meetings during the time when report cards are due) ... apologies again.

::Monday, February 28, 2005 4:29:00 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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