Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:32:50 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem viii idus martias

  • Festival of Mars continues (day 8)
  • 305 A.D. -- martyrdom of Philemon and companions
  • 1757 - death of Thomas Blackwell (Classical scholar)

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:37:43 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

ambuscade @ (not sure if this one counts)

vernissage @ Wordsmith (not sure this one counts either)

thylacine @ Worthless Word for the Day

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:31:49 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Powell occupationem reprehendit (4.3.2005)

Colin Powell, pristinus minister a rebus exteris Americanorum, res in Iraquia occupanda gestas reprehendit: Copias in Iraquiam missas minores fuisse quam opus esset, quia duces exercitus vires resistentium recte aestimare non potuissent; se praesidentem Bush praemonuisse bellum fore facile sed pacem difficillimam. Powell dixit copias Americanorum et foederatorum ad bellum gerendum suffecisse sed ad ordinem restituendum defecisse; se iam ante tres annos censuisse difficultates in Iraquia bello gesto orituras esse; moderatoribus Americanorum multum adhuc restare laboris, ut veteres cum Europaeis consuetudines recrearent.

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

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:28:31 AM::
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~ Out in the Blogosphere

Nice post by MG on Palladium over at Laudator ... At Sauvage Noble AM ponders the phrase 'ad libertum' ...

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:25:02 AM::
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~ Iliad Comparanda

Interesting item from the People's Daily:

The three major heroic epics of China's ethnic minorities have increasingly attracted international attention as the Chinese government continues collecting and studying them in an organized and programmed manner,folk epic experts say.

In the early 1950s and again since the late 1970s, the central government devoted large manpower and material resources and set up special institutions to save and study the Tibetan epic Gesar and the Mongolian epics Jangar and Kirgiz Manas, commonly hailed as China's three major ethnic heroic epics.

Saving and studying the 20-million-word Gesar, known as the Oriental Iliad after the Greek epic poem by Homer, has been a major field of study of China's philosophy and social sciences for the past 20 years.

To preserve the epic, China set up a special national group to promote and oversee the work. Special offices have been set up in the seven provincial regions in China, including Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Sichuan.

"The move is unprecedented in the history of Tibetan culture and is rare in the history of China's multinational cultures," said Gyambian Gyaco, a noted expert on the epic.

China has published more than 100 versions of the epic in Tibetan with a total of 4 million copies, one for every Tibetan adult. [more]

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:20:16 AM::
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~ Thomas de Quincey

The Edinburgh Student enlightens us about Thomas de Quincey, who I didn't realize was a Classical scholar:

Thomas de Quincey is often a little overlooked when placed next to his contemporaries William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, not least because he was only five feet two inches tall. However, his gnome-like stature did not prevent him from generating a prodigious body of work which fills a recently published 21-volume authoritative edition. The most famous of these works, Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822), of which he saw six editions published, marked him out from these other Romantic writers in matters of style and interest.

Born in 1785, Thomas Quincey (the ‘De’ was a later addition) suffered the loss of both his parents prior to his eighth birthday and was consequently raised by a set of four guardians. He showed a great facility in Greek during his early schooling and by the age of 13 could, according to one of his schoolmasters, “harangue an Athenian mob better than you or I could address an English one”. He remained a fervent classicist throughout his life and wrote numerous articles on classical culture, drama and history, as well as ceaselessly peppering his English prose with Greek allusions. [more]

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:15:21 AM::
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~ Mount Sapo

At least this piece in Newsday (unlike the following piece) demonstrates some critical thinking when considering the Classical origins of soap:

Which is a good thing, if you're looking to get clean. Since the first humans found their hands slimy with swamp muck, people have looked for something beyond plain water to clean their bodies and belongings. Soap nearly 5,000 years old has been found in containers from ancient Babylon, and the likewise-ancient Celts of Europe also made crude soap. Then there's the often-repeated Roman cleanser legend, which had soap getting its start on a Mount Sapo (Soap Mountain). After animals were sacrificed to the goddess Athena, rain carried melted fat and wood ashes down the mountain. People washing their clothes in the river at the bottom discovered the mixture was a refreshing cleaning compound - a veritable Roman Spring. Uh-huh.

The legend of Mount Sapo is all over the web, by the way, presented with varying degrees of credulity.

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:07:47 AM::
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~ Bless You!

Check this excerpt from the Mirror (a student newspaper) out:

And for the first time, I couldn't help but wonder why. We all like to think of ourselves as unique individuals, some of us are even set on not conforming to the world; but how many of us habitually bless a sneeze without knowing why?

After a few moments of silence and a furrowed brow, freshman Jimmy Storms said, "I have never thought about [why we say bless you]," he said. "But I think it is polite."

Many people today see the blessing as etiquette, and as Storms said, the polite thing to do.

According to Wilson D. Wallis in The Scientific Monthly, even Aristotle "declared the sneeze an honorable acknowledgement of the seat of good sense and genius."

However, there are three common myths about where "bless you" originated from.

"I thought is meant that back in the day, there was a lot of illness and people sneezed when they were sick," freshman Leah Schroeder said. "And since there weren't many cures, people blessed the sneezer in case they died."

This is not far from the truth. According to the Old Wives Tales website, the saying 'Bless you' goes back to 150 AD when Tiberius Caesar would say it to a sneezer. At this time, many Romans died from serious illnesses.

Wow ... going to a site called 'Old Wives Tales' for 'confirmation' ... perhaps some critical thinking problems there. The article on sneezing at the site takes it even a bit further:

However, according to Claudia DeLys in A Treasury of Superstitions, the phrase wasn't a simple "Bless you". The disease running through the Roman civilization at that time made sneezing a dreaded symptom. So when someone sneezed it was felt this warranted a short prayer to the gods. "Long may you live", "May you enjoy good health", or a simple "Jupiter, help me." Whatever variant used was uttered and offered up in hopes that it would help protect those present and, hopefully, expel the disease from the person who happened to have sneezed.

Not as romantic of an image as the one Lorie shared of an ancient Roman emperor riding around the city in his chariot shouting out "Bless you" to anyone he happened to hear sneeze. However both sources do share about the notion starting up around the time period and culture?

Staying within ancient civilizations thoughts - the old word for sneeze was sternutation. When the god Prometheus, according to mythological thoughts, stole the celestial fire from the sun to make the first man from clay. The first man started sneezing as a result of this crime - from a cold? Whatever the reason for the why behind stealing of part of the sun's fire would have the first man start sneezing - it also appears, in a way, that a sneeze was a gift from the gods?

Oh ... and it must have worked for Tiberius by the way ... earlier on it says:

 According to Peter Lorie, in Superstitions, someone saying "Bless you" in response to another person sneezing started back around 150 AD. Tiberius Caesar supposedly say "Bless you' whenever he heard someone sneeze - or "Bless you, bless you my dear" if the person sneezed a 2nd or 3rd time.

... it would certainly make memorizing lists of emperors easier.

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 4:59:32 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Ancient Clues: In Search of Warrior Women
Excavation of a series of large earthen burial mounds near the Black Sea leads to new discoveries about the role women played in defensive and offensive warfare within the ancient nomadic Sarmation culture. [DISCC's spelling, not mine]

7.00 p.m. |HINT|   Herod the Great
Explores the life of King Herod, the great builder who left behind Masada and the Temple Mount. Was he a great king or a ruthless killer?

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, March 08, 2005 4:47:12 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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