Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:32:38 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

kalendae martiae

  • This was originally the beginning of the New Year for the ancient Romans (and the consuls would probably enter office on this date prior to 153 B.C.)
  • Festival of Mars, including a procession of the Salian priests around the city singing their mysterious Carmen Saliare
  • "birthday" of the temple of Juno Lucina
  • Matronalia -- a sort of 'unofficial' festival when hubbies would pray for the health of their wives and wives would entertain the slaves and serve them food (or something like that)
  • 293 A.D. -- Co-emperor Maximian adopts Constantius, who is given the title Caesar (and it is possible that Diocletian similarly adopted and conferred a similar title upon Galerius)

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:39:04 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

salubrious @

consternation @ Merriam-Webster

sitophobia @ Wordsmith

balneology @

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:31:21 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Glacies in Finnia admodum tenues (25.2.2005)

Glacies, quibus aquae Finniae hiemali tempore obteguntur, hoc anno multis locis usitato tenuiores sunt, ut e Sede circumiectali nuntiatur.

Crassitudo glacierum in meridiana et media Finnia quinque aut etiam quindecim centimetris minor est quam fieri solet.

Campi glaciales eo fragiliores sunt, quod superficies aquarum plerumque e congelationibus nivium tabidarum constant itaque pro glacie firma nonnisi crustam spongiosam habent.

Aliter res se in Lapponia habet, ubi flumina et lacus glacie amplius dimidium metrum alta concreverunt.

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

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:28:07 AM::
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~ Ephemeris

Forgot to mention yesterday ... there's a new edition of Ephemeris available ...

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:26:40 AM::
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~ Take Me Back to Constantinople

Turkish Daily News has a piece on the history of Istanbul ... here's the bit that pertains to us:

 Formerly known as Byzantion (Byzantium), the name's origin is still uncertain. After being re-founded by Constantine I during the decline of the Roman Empire (330 AD), the city was referred to as "Deut era Roma", or "Second Rome." During this era, the custom was to take the name of the city's founder and use it as the basis for the city's name. Thus, the name Constantinople was given.


 In 660 B.C., the Megarians, lead by Byzas, sought to settle where today Topkapi Palace stands, named the city Byzantion in memory of their commander. When Byzas and the Megarians asked their prophets where to set up their "home," their prophets said, "against the land of the blinds".

  During their exploration along what is now called the Bosporus, the Megarians were fascinated by the undisturbed beauty of the landscape and as the land across the river was already occupied by the Khalkhedonians, they thought that anyone who leaves such beauty uninhabited while living right alongside it, must be blind. They interpreted their prophets words to mean this land and followed the prophet's guidance with pleasure.

  A century later, Byzantion came under the control of the Persians in 513 B.C. followed soon by Athenians and Spartans. During a period of conflict between Athens and Sparta, the Macedonian Kingdom lost control of Byzantion in 340 B.C. Behind the leadership of Alexander 'the Great' the Greeks attacked and defeated the Persians, gaining control of Anatolia in 334 B.C.

  Following the death of Alexander, his victorious commanders governed the city until it was overwhelmed and destroyed by Galatian attacks after 278 B.C. During that period of transition, Byzantion eventually came under the control of Rome, who were in the process of establishing a global Empire after the defeat of the Macedonians in 146 B.C.  Byzantion became part of the Roman State of Thrace.

  Roman Emperor Septimus Severus ordered the total destruction of the Byzantion and the massacre of the Byzantines who allied with his rival Roman General, Niger. As Severus would not easily give away such a strategic city, he later had it rebuilt and changed the name of the city to Antoneinia. The walls surrounding the city were expanded, the square in front of St. Sophia Church was reorganized and the road was connected from there to Çemberlitaº. In 203 B.C., the construction of a Hippodrome began and an amphitheatre was built downhill from the Acropolis nearby Haliç.

  Following the defeat of his rival Licinius in 324 A.D., Emperor Constantinus (306-337) started the foundation and development of the city. Initially, the Roman Capital was planned to be established at Troy, in memory of mythological Trojan War, however Byzantion was preferred. The surrounding walls built by Severus, were rebuilt further away, 2.8 km west. The "Forums" (Squares) were connected to each other by roads within the walls. [more]

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:22:04 AM::
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~ What the Ancients Knew

I think I'll have to start monitoring the Science Channel in my AWOTV listings ... here's the incipit of a press release about an upcoming series:

Exploring the Roman Empire, early Egypt and the Chinese dynasties, WHAT THE ANCIENTS KNEW is a panoramic journey into the technological past that shaped our world. Host Jack Turner travels back in time to understand the motivations behind early solutions and inventions, demonstrating how ancient machines worked and explaining why they were developed. The series kicks off Monday, March 14, from 8-9 PM, with the one-hour The Romans; The Egyptians premieres the following Monday, March 21, from 8-9 PM; and the series concludes Monday, March 28, with The Chinese from 8-9 PM (all times ET/PT).

On Monday, March 14, viewers travel the globe to see sites of some of the world's earliest inventions, beginning with those of ancient Rome. Roman scientists and engineers were the first to be deployed to conquered provinces, and it was their ingenuity that linked the vast Roman Empire together with sophisticated bridges and roads, solidifying Roman rule over a swath of territory that in its heyday extended from Scotland to Syria. Masters of incorporating innovations from the cultures they dominated, the Romans spread the concepts of clean water distribution and sewer systems -- as well as the ubiquitous Roman bath -- to far-flung outposts of the empire. The Romans used the aqueduct to distribute water, the catapult to defend their cities, and the hypocaust (the first radiant heat apparatus) to heat the Roman baths. They also invented double-pane glass, public bathrooms and one of the first prototypes of industrialization -- a water-powered flour factory that could feed a minimum of 12,000 people each day. The Romans used concrete to build almost everything and made use of a drum crane for building projects, which allowed them to use a measly four pounds of lifting pressure to lift an astonishing 4,000 pounds.

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:18:02 AM::
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~ Behind the Ivory Towers

The Chronicle has a piece on what it's like to be a professor ... written by an English professor; here's the incipit:

In the 1976 BBC television series I, Claudius, the stammering, lame, and openly derided scholar of the title is dragged from behind a curtain and -- partly as a joke -- made emperor of Rome by the Praetorian Guard after the mad emperor Caligula is assassinated.

"You, emperor? Who would have thought it possible?" asks the ghost of Augustus in a dream.

It turns out that Claudius became a successful empire builder, though he continued to be subverted and mocked at home. He conquered the Britons, and a magnificent temple was built for him at a minor Roman outpost. A fool in Rome, Claudius was a god in Colchester. So-called simple people "prayed to him to bring rain and cure their father's gout."

A scenario like that happens in academe with some frequency. Our students don't know a lot about us. And professors often don't know a lot about each other's lives outside of department meetings. We're too preoccupied by our own reputations to think about what others are doing in their own little empires.

Later, we read:

I don't think I am alone in wanting people to know that I am not exactly a man of leisure. I suppose that's why I created a Web site that presents all of my publications, presentations, courses, and other relevant professional materials. Of course, because it's obvious that I created the site myself, I have to be rather modest, even when I write about myself in the third person.

Instead of just putting my CV on the Web like everyone else, I kind of think I would like someone to make a fan site for me, possibly something like the one created for Hasselhoff. Oh, yeah! Check out my experiments with facial hair in the 90s. Instead of building temples to ourselves -- which is something best left to academic administrators -- maybe professors should all have "Web shrines" developed and maintained in our honor.

Maybe our "fans" could be outsourced to India. Perhaps with some ironic detachment (at least in public), we could begin every day by checking our Web shrines and reading new and unfamiliar forms of flattery:

"Professor Thomas H. Benton is the greatest mind of his generation. His new book will redraw the boundaries of several disciplines. What's more, he's a good man, a very, very good man. I named my first son after him. His name is becoming very popular in my country."

Eager low-wage workers in the developing world could eliminate the need for sullen graduate students to stroke our fragile egos. And so, by this means (let's call it "ego-porn"), we professors could all become Gods in Colchester: at last receiving our well-deserved adulation and, in return, bestowing our blessings upon our most devoted disciples. It will be better than Warhol's 15 minutes of fame because, properly endowed, the Web shrine can go on forever.

On the other hand, something tells me that my drive for recognition could easily become a slippery slope toward narcissism and cruelty masquerading as civic virtue. Perhaps this impulse is a relic of my experience in the celebrity culture of my Ivy-League graduate school.

hmmm (there's more) ... isn't this what blogs are all about?

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:14:47 AM::
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~ Roman Oven Found

From Manchester Online:

A ROMAN oven and pieces of pottery have been uncovered beneath the site of a new shopping arcade.

Developers are building a £120 million centre, the Grand Arcade, in Wigan but because of the town's rich Roman heritage they have asked a team of archaeologists to carry out a dig on the site.

As a result the team of experts has uncovered the first Roman remains to be found in the town for more than 20 years.

In addition to the Roman oven and pottery, remains of Westerwold German stoneware have been uncovered at the shopping centre site off Station Road.

The discoveries are being examined and categorised by experts.


Wigan was the site of a Roman fort known as Coccium, which was in existence in the second century AD.

Three Roman roads have been traced in the Wigan area and researched by the Wigan Archaeological Society.

Other Roman finds in the area include hordes of coins, cremation urns and a headless statue of the Persian god Cautopates.

Tim Heatley, of developers Modus Properties, said: "We have always been aware of Wigan's heritage and we have taken great care to be sensitive to this in both the way we construct the development and also in the way the scheme will look.

"We are sure that Grand Arcade will further enhance this rich and interesting heritage from the arrival of the Romans right through to the days of Wigan Casino.

"We plan to acknowledge the broad and varied history of the site with a plaque and we are considering other ideas that will remind the shoppers of its importance."

The shopping centre and a 800-space car park are due to open in 2007 with stores including Debenhams, BHS, Marks and Spencer and TK Maxx.

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:08:29 AM::
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~ Classical Stereotype

From the Boston Globe ... an excerpt from a description of a forthcoming program about William and Whitey Bulger:

CBS's ''60 Minutes," which knows box office, has run three Bulger/Southie-related features since 1992. Stereotypes abound: William is ''the little Irishman from Southie . . . a man of simple tastes . . . the educated classicist who does not own a television," whose moral probity is defended by former Globe columnist Mike Barnicle. Whitey is the ''reputed killer, bank robber, and drug trafficker" who has led the FBI on a merry dance for decades.

So now "the educated classicist who does not own a television" is a stereotype? Heck, I've always said that stereotypes don't become stereotypes if there isn't an element of truth in them ... for my part, I can't count the number of Classicists I know who take pride in the fact that they don't have a television ... (obviously I'm not in that category).

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:05:51 AM::
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~ Antonine Wall as Heritage Site?

From the Herald:

SCHOOL pupils are to help spearhead a campaign to have the Antonine wall declared as a world heritage site.
Patricia Ferguson, culture minister, said yesterday that getting schools involved in the bid to have the 2000-year-old Roman relic recognised as a historical monument was vital to its success.
She insisted teaching children more about the history of the Roman empire would help them become more understanding and tolerant of other cultures.
Ms Ferguson was speaking at Antonine Primary School in Bonnybridge, near Falkirk, as she launched an education pack outlining the importance of the wall.
The pack, which will be distributed to every school along the route of the wall, includes a DVD detailing its history.
The wall, which winds from the Firth of Forth to the Clyde, runs past the school and is regarded as being the most important Roman relic in Scotland.
A campaign to have it join the centre of Edinburgh, New Lanark, St Kilda and the neolithic remains on Orkney as Scotland's fifth world heritage site began last year. The final bid is expected to be submitted in 2007.
Ms Ferguson, who was greeted by children armed with replica Roman swords and shields, said: "Our children represent the future and have an essential role to play if we are to protect our heritage. The Antonine wall is a superb resource for learning and teaching. A site visit can help bring alive the reality of Roman life in Scotland . . . it introduces us to a lost civilisation which still affects our culture today."
It is hoped the wall will eventually form part of an international Roman empire heritage network, linking 3000 miles of ancient frontier from Scotland to North Africa and the Middle East.

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:00:35 AM::
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~ Reviews from BMCR

David. D. Phillips, Athenian Political Oratory, 16 Key Speeches.

Markus Schauer, Gabriele Thome, Altera Ratio. Klassische Philologie zwischen Subjektivität und Wissenschaft. Festschrift für Werner Suerbaum zum 70. Geburtstag

Rüdiger Bernek, Dramaturgie und Ideologie. Der politische Mythos in den Hikesiedramen des Aischylos, Sophokles und Euripides.

Pierre-Louis Malosse, Lettres de Chion d'Héraclée.

Terry L. Papillon, Isocrates II.

Ian C. Storey, Eupolis. Poet of Old Comedy.

Günther Schörner, Votive im römischen Griechenland. Untersuchungen zur späthellenistischen und Kaiserzeitlichen Kunst- und Religionsgeschichte. Altertumswissenschafliches Kolloquium, 7.

Edward Kessler, Bound by the Bible: Jews, Christians and the Sacrifice of Isaac.

G. Anderson, The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 BC.

Linda Jones Hall, Roman Berytus: Beirut in Late Antiquity.

::Tuesday, March 01, 2005 4:58:48 AM::
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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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