Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:32:39 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem vi nonas martias

  • Festival of Mars continues (Day 2)
  • c. 55 A.D. (?) -- birth of Decimus Junius Juvenalis ... a.k.a. Juvenal
  • 258 A.D. -- Martyrdom of Jovinus and Basileus at Rome

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 5:19:55 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

fiat @ (and no ... it does not mean "fix it again Tony")

misanthrope @ Merriam-Webster

polyphagia @ Wordsmith

sociable @ OED

delitescent @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 5:12:01 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Vita urbana in annos latius patet (25.2.2005)

His duobus annis sive anno bis millesimo septimo (2007) dimidia fere pars populationis totius mundi in urbibus habitabit, si demologis ordinis Nationum Unitarum fidem attribuimus.

Ex praedictione eorum idem progressus rerum ita continuabitur, ut anno bis millesimo tricesimo (2030) iam amplius sexaginta centesimae (60%) hominum orbis terrarum in urbes et oppida conglobatae sint.

Qui modus vivendi cum qualitate cultus civilis coniunctus esse existimatur, nam quo prosperiores vitae condiciones ubique sunt, eo latius vita urbana ibidem patere videtur.

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

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 5:08:04 AM::
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~ Colossus of Rhodes Followup

The ARLT blog has an interesting followup to the story about the rebuilding of the Colossus of Rhodes ...

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 5:02:58 AM::
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~ Cottage Classical School

From the Winchester Star comes a piece which starts ideas repercolating about outreach:

Every Wednesday, about 140 children in pursuit of higher learning fill the halls and classrooms at Berryville Baptist Church.

The program, called Classical Cottage School, is a non-denominational Christian cooperative geared toward home-schoolers.

But religious studies are not taught, according to the program’s founders.

“A cottage school provides a place where your children can get the classes difficult to teach at home,” said Cindy Leahy, who started Classical Cottage School with Judy Taylor and Dana Heidelberger in fall 2003.

The program also has students who attend public school but go there for special classes in languages and writing.

Its core courses are designed to develop critical learning skills as once taught by the Greeks and Renaissance scholars.

Grammar school children can take art, music, science, literature, and introductory classes in Latin, Spanish and French. They can also learn about ancient Greece with an emphasis on Greek mythology and history.

Students ages 10-16 can take advanced Latin, Spanish, and French, as well as classes in math, computers, and sign language.

Other opportunities offered to older students include taking part in literary discussions and a course in Progymnasmatas, the ancient art and science of teaching writing skills, taught by Leahy.

To help make classes more interesting, teachers often use fun props.

On one recent Wednesday morning, Patty Lyons’ sign-language class was playing sign-language bingo, while using Gummy Bear candy to mark the squares on their boards.

“Someone signs the words, and they have to read them and see if they are on their board,” Lyons said. “If the word is there, they put a Gummy Bear on the spot. It’s a fun way to give them reading practice.”

Down the hall, Aurélie Schmid’s students were learning to speak French, while using Beanie Babies.

Schmid would tell her students to do something with one of the stuffed animals, and they would pick it up and follow her instructions.

Leahy, Taylor, and Heidelberger were inspired to open Classical Cottage School after reading Dorothy Sayers’ essay “The Lost Tools of Learning.”

“The essay said that we must study Latin,” Leahy said. “We tried to do it on our own, but we needed help.”

A year before the school opened, the three Clarke County residents sought help from Susan Schearer, a retired Handley High School Latin teacher.

“Our children started taking Latin classes from Susan,” Leahy said, “and we studied along with them.”

About halfway through the year, Leahy said, they began to see how Latin benefits other subjects, including English grammar, ancient history, mythology, classical literature, and the Roman culture.

“We couldn’t keep this to ourselves,” she said, “so we started making plans to open a cottage school in the fall of 2003.”

The school began at Boyce Baptist Church. But with 80 students coming from as far away as Aldie, Strasburg, and Martinsburg, W.Va., the Classical Cottage School outgrew the space its first year, Heidelberger said.

In fall 2004, the school taught its younger children at the church and the older ones at Boyce Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company.

“We moved to Berryville Baptist Church in January because we’re able to have everyone under one roof,” said Heidelberger, who teaches grammar school Latin and classical studies.

The school’s registration fee is $35 per student plus a fee paid to the teacher of each class they take.

“It’s roughly $150 per class in the upper school level for about 30 weeks of instruction,” Leahy said. “We also have some co-op available in the lower level to reduce costs.”

When they opened the school, the three women expected it to draw some interest but never imagined the magnitude of response it has gotten so far.

“We’re not a fit for everyone,” Leahy said. “People have to come here with an understanding of the classical schooling philosophy and a commitment to the time it takes to do the work.”

“It takes an hour of Latin study a day to be successful,” Heidelberger said.

Karen Herman of Aldie brings her 10-year-old son to Classical Cottage School.

“He loves it,” Herman said. “I’ll bring him here at least two more years.”

Sort of sounds like what in these parts of the world is called a Heritage Language Program -- every weekend, kids go to a local school and take part in language activities which are part of their Heritage (one of my kids semi-reluctantly goes to Italian school every weekend). Given the lack of Latin in schools below the high school level here (heck, in my board, even at the high school level), I've sometimes toyed with the idea of trying to set up a Latin program as a "Heritage Language" ... from the above, it looks like it could possibly work.


::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:59:59 AM::
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~ God of War

Another potentially interesting video game (although of the sort which I've never been good at) is revealed in an interview with its creator at

Remember back in school when all your teachers told you that reading about mythology would be helpful in your future? Thanks to developer SCE Studios, they were right. God of War allows players to serve the gods and do some serious damage. Recently, FileFront had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Derek Daniels to learn a little more about this upcoming action/adventure game.

Q: Could you introduce yourself for the readers? Who are you, and what is your role in the development and production of God of War?

A: My name is Derek Daniels and I’m a combat designer.

Q: For those readers who haven’t yet heard about God of War, could you give a brief overview of the game?

A: God of War is a third-person action/adventure game set in a modern take of Greek Mythology – sort of a Heavy Metal meets Clash of the Titans.

Q: What can you tell FileFront about the storyline and plot for God of War?

A: God of War tells the story of Kratos, once a captain in the Spartan army, who in a moment of great peril pledges his loyalty to Ares. As the game progresses, we learn that Kratos has committed horrible acts for the God of War, including one so terrible he cannot drive the memory of it from his mind. Abandoning Ares, Kratos is now in service to the other gods of Olympus, and is sent by Athena to defend her city, Athens, from Ares and his minions.

Q: Who is the main character in God of War? What sort of story is there behind this character?

A: The main character of God of War is Kratos, a mighty Spartan warrior who has found himself at the will of the gods of Olympus. [more]

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:52:42 AM::
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~ Biggs Lecture

Wow ... the tone of this press release announcing the Biggs Lecture at WUStL seems to suggest that Chronicle article from the other day might be on to something:

The renowned classics scholar Malcolm Schofield will give the annual Biggs Lecture in the Classics at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 17, for the Assembly Series. The event will be held in the Women's Building Formal Lounge; it is free and open to the public.

Schofield is a professor of ancient philosophy at St. John's College, University of Cambridge. He is the author of a number of definitive texts in his areas of expertise: Saving the City: Philosopher-Kings and Other Classical Paradigms, which provides a detailed analysis of the attempts of ancient writers and thinkers, from Homer to Cicero, to construct and recommend political ideals of statesmanship and ruling; and The Stoic Idea of the City, which offers the first systematic analysis of the Stoic School.

In addition, Schofield is a co-editor of and contributor to The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, the first general and comprehensive treatment of the political thought of ancient Greece and Rome ever to be published in English; and The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, which provides a full account of the Greek and Roman worlds from the last days of Aristotle until 100 BC.

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:48:52 AM::
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~ What to Read this Month

The Atlantic Monthly has a column under this rubric, and among the suggested reading material we find the following:

War and the Iliad, by Simone Weil and Rachel Bespaloff (New York Review Books). In the early months of the Second World War two brilliant and despairing Frenchwomen of Jewish background each wrote an essay on the Iliad. Weil's "The Iliad, or The Poem of Force" and Bespaloff's "On the Iliad" remain the twentieth century's most beloved, tortured, and profound responses to the world's greatest and most disturbing poem. Before the war ended, Mary McCarthy had translated both essays into English, and plans were soon made to publish them together in a book, but to no avail. Here, thanks to NYRB (one of the very few happy innovations in contemporary publishing), the two are finally between the same covers. This is an especially important service for Bespaloff's essay, which has never been as readily available as Weil's (a Quaker study center reprinted Weil's piece as a cheap pamphlet, in which form it was de rigueur in Vietnam-era Western Civ classes). Although Weil and Bespaloff explored some similar themes, the ardent Weil contrasts with the coolly Gallic Bespaloff; Weil highlights the poem's savage, pulsating energy and its violence, Bespaloff its "lucid tenderness and delicate precision," its comedy, and its celebration of Hector's civilized values and his futile attempts to protect life's "perishable joys," even as she assesses the stark Homeric world view, which "acknowledges a fall, but a fall that has no date and has been preceded by no state of innocence and will be followed by no redemption." But Bespaloff's triumph is undoubtedly her deeply sympathetic portrait of Helen, which she couples with a jaundiced appraisal of the passions that imprison her. (In a comparison of Helen and Anna Karenina, Bespaloff's judgments are epigrammatic: "They awake in exile and feel nothing but a dull disgust for the shriveled ecstasy that has outlived their hope.") As proper French intellectuals, both Weil and Bespaloff were rigorously trained in ancient Greek, but neither was a classical scholar. Their essays nevertheless were long prized as much by classicists as by writers and philosophers. Weil's piece, though, has recently been dented, which is consistent with a general revisionism regarding this—it must be acknowledged—difficult, self-centered, and somewhat self-important saint. To be sure, Weil's interpretation (famously encapsulated in the opening sentence—"The true hero, the true subject, the center of the Iliad is force") is reductive and in some ways anachronistic (the Second World War, of course, broods over her piece). But a number of academics, most notably Seth Schein (in his otherwise penetrating book The Mortal Hero), fault Weil, a pacifist, for failing "to recognize the nobility and glory of the slayers," and for thus slighting the allure of violence in the Homeric world. This misses a lot. In fact the tension between Weil's revulsion toward and attraction to violence informs, indeed propels, the essay (in her first paragraph she describes the implacable power of force in sexually submissive terms, and avers that for those perceptive enough to place violence at the center of human history, "the Iliad is the purest and the loveliest of mirrors"). Weil's essay is imperishable and unsettling precisely because, like Homer (whose similes poignantly juxtapose the brute aspects of battle and the tranquillity of domestic life), she recognized the seductive power of war's terrible beauty, and both the vicious ecstasy of subjugators and the suffering of their victims. Despite some academic carping, these essays (and Bernard Knox's masterly introduction to Robert Fagles's translation) are the key introductory critical works for general readers of the Iliad, but no one has done for Homer what John A. Scott has now done for Dante in Understanding Dante (Notre Dame). An Australian scholar, Scott is one of the world's leading Dantisti. In this summa of his career he has written a commanding, elegant overview of Dante's works, analyzing his historical context; his political, moral, and religious ideas; the structure and texture of his writing; and the state of Dante scholarship. Scott has accomplished the nearly impossible: he has married close interpretation with broad synthesis—and in clear, often vigorous prose. This is a significant and deeply satisfying book.

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:44:05 AM::
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~ New Online Books

The Public Orations of Demosthenes, by Demosthenes, trans. by Arthur Wallace Pickard-Cambridge (Volume I: Gutenberg text )

The Public Orations of Demosthenes, by Demosthenes, trans. by Arthur Wallace Pickard-Cambridge ( Volume II: Gutenberg text)

Stories From Thucydides, by H. L. Havell, contrib. by Thucydides

Tacitus and Bracciolini: The Annals Forged in the XVth Century (1878), by John Wilson Ross

... the latter is a strange little tome, claiming that the Annals were not written by Tacitus, but by Poggio Bracciolini! (or maybe it was that Italian scholar Benito Trovato ...)

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:33:28 AM::
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~ Hubris Watch

The incipit of a piece from CNN about the epitheted Heidi Fleiss:

All along the way there has been the nagging question of Fleiss' little black book and the damning information it might contain for certain Hollywood personalities. She is mum, but coy, about her secrets.

"I took the oldest profession on Earth and I did it better than anyone on Earth," she said in a recent interview with CNN. "Alexander the Great conquered the world at 32. I conquered it at 22."

... I suspect Zeus is pondering an ironic punishment even as we speak ...

Update: cf today's Agnes cartoon

::Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:30:13 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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