Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:32:56 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ Gods and Heroes

As if I needed another reason not to sleep ... from

As online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest II draw hundreds of thousands of subscribers, new contenders rise and fall as they vie for success. Perpetual Entertainment has announced yet another massively multiplayer game, Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising. Stieg Hedlund, the man behind the hugely successful PC game Diablo II, is the new game's designer. 

In the game, players become immortal heroes serving under the Roman gods. Along with standard content such as weapons, treasures and quests, heroes will form groups of non-player soldiers whom they will command on the battlefield.

... I'll start stocking up on the Guarano-laden beverages ...

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:33:17 AM::
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~ I Are Ever So Posh

I've always had a rather low opinion of most theater/movie critics ... they seem to have a genetic predisposition for pedantry and/or pretentiousness ... so I'm always happy to see one hoist by their own petard.  From the Advocate, inter alia:

Anyone who has even the slightest familiarity with Edith Hamilton’s Mythology may have found himself in the head-wagging know-it-all position as he watched the Los Angeles Opera production of Idomeneo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s aurally splendid recap of the aftermath of the Trojan War.

To call it a recap is actually a misnomer, because this opera—one of Mozart’s grandest efforts—concerns a little-known postscript to that conflict. Yes, we all know that Odysseus took forever to return to Sparta and his dutiful wife, Penelope; yes, we all know that for all combatants the trip home was fraught with danger and high drama involving practically ceaseless pleading for Neptune’s intercession—well, to be consistent, let’s call the old sea god Poseidon, because this war took place long before the Romans came along and appropriated everything about the Greek culture, merely giving the Hellenic gods and goddesses new monikers more suited to the ears and tongues of people living up and down the length of the boot. So Poseidon it should be, although Mozart’s librettist apparently had no such compunction as yours truly; he was only too happy to slap the Roman names on the old gods, especially, here, Neptune/Poseidon (but enough of this argument!).

... and just to be a bit more consistent, let's try to remember that Odysseus wasn't from Sparta ...

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:31:08 AM::
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~ Hadrian Flick Update

Seen at Bookstandard, inter alia:

Another biopic—this time set nearly 2000 years earlier—has found a director. John Boorman will direct Memoirs of Hadrian, which is based on Maguerite Yourcenar’s 1963 bestseller about the Roman Emperor.

This could be interesting ... Boorman was the director behind Zardoz, Excalibur, and ... of course ... Deliverance.

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:27:31 AM::
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~ Rewriting the Labours of Hercules

From the Times:

Proto Hercules slew the elusive, the invulnerable Nemean Lion, and wore its skin. His modern successor had better track down that almost mythical monster, Osama bin Laden. Instead of cleansing the Augean Stables, he can wipe the graffiti off railway stations, and pick up the discarded packaging from streets outside junk food eateries. The Golden Apples of the Hesperides are too simple for his new Labour. Modern Hercules can repair the holes in the ozone layer. The poisonous Hydra grew another head as soon as one was cut off. New Hercules can decapitate the Hydra-headed quangos. Old Hercules tamed the Horses of Diomedes. Today he can take over the management of Cambridge United Football Club, and lead it to winning the European Cup in five years.

Instead of winning the Girdle of the Amazon, Hercules shall rap a winning British entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. John Prescott is the Cretan Bull. Hercules must tame him and teach him not to charge into china shops. The Stymphalian Birds were lethal creatures that infested the woods. Today they are the “performers” in Big Sister and other pseudo-reality shows on television. Let Hercules rattle them off the schedules. The Prime Minister is the wandering Cerynitian Hind. Hercules must pursue him on his constant travels abroad from Westminster, and pin him down. Management consultancy is the Erymanthian Bore. The Cattle of Geryon are single-issue fanatics, whether animal rights or dietary activists. Finally, let Hercules descend to the Underworld of public relations parties, and bring back not Cerberus, but our modern cult of Celebrity, tied and gagged.

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:23:02 AM::
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~ Mycenean Tomb Lost

From Kathimerini:

An impressive tomb used by a Mycenaean family that ruled parts of eastern Attica over 3,000 years ago is to vanish from sight, 10 years after its discovery, due to the Culture Ministry’s straitened finances.

According to a decision by the ministry’s Central Archaeological Council late on Wednesday, the large subterranean chamber tomb — which archaeologists describe as unique in Attica — will be reburied to allow development on the plot where it was found, at Glyka Nera, on the eastern fringes of Athens.

Council members ruled that it would be too expensive to expropriate the entire plot.

The tomb was the biggest of a group of 40 chamber and cist graves found during excavations between 1995 and 2002. Its contents included a Minoan male figurine, a rare find in Attica, Minoan pottery and gold ornaments.

Hmmm ... Culture Ministry's straitened finances ... didn't they get any money because of the Olympics? And how do you rebury a tomb? Why not reconstruct the tomb in that big empty museum near the Parthenon?

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:17:56 AM::
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~ Villa of the Papyri

The Art Newspaper has an update of sorts on calls to excavate the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum:

Controversy has erupted over Herculaneum’s Villa of the Papyri and whether it should be excavated now or left untouched for future generations. The villa, which was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, was partly excavated in the 1750s, when archaeologists discovered the only intact library of texts from the Classical era. The texts already found are Greek, but the hope is that Latin texts by some of the greatest Roman authors may also be waiting to be discovered.

The 1,800 carbonised scrolls were very difficult to decipher and serious study of them only began in the 1970s. In the early 1990s further excavations at the villa were undertaken, but work was halted in 1998, when it was argued that resources should be put into the preservation of what had already been uncovered elsewhere at Herculaneum, just south of Naples.

Now some British scholars are calling for the resumption of excavations at the Villa of the Papyri, a plea was made by Professor Robert Fowler of Bristol University and some of his colleagues in the newly formed Oxford-based Friends of Herculaneum Society. Although they agree in general that there should be no new excavations until the parts of the site that have been already exposed are properly preserved, Professor Fowler believes that the Villa of the Papyri is an exception. The possibility of recovering lost texts by some of the greatest writers of antiquity means that it is vital to concentrate resources on the search, he says.

Professor Fowler warns that: “Eventually the villa could be put beyond reach by seismic or volcanic activity. As long as there is a chance of finding the rest of the library—and everyone admits there is a chance, however strong or weak they rate it—we owe it to the world to do it. Ultimately it is a problem of finding enough resources for both excavation and preservation.” Some specialists believe that an excavation could cost up to $20 million.

Outside funding for Herculaneum has already come from David Packard, whose family helped set up the Hewlett-Packard computer company. At present Mr Packard wants money to be devoted to preserving what has been found, rather than spent on new excavations. His US-based Packard Humanities Institute is backing the Herculaneum Conservation Project, which has already spent $2 million. Mr Packard says that “when the Italians decide it is time to resume excavation at the Villa of the Papyri, our foundation expects to be in a position to offer appropriate financial support”—but “for the present, conservation is the responsible priority.”

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the British School at Rome and also of Mr Packard’s Herculaneum Conservation Project, agrees. It would be “a scandal” to expose more of the villa to the daylight, “before we can guarantee that it would be saved for the future”. [more]

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:13:50 AM::
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~ Schott's Miscellany

I've mentioned Schott's Friday Miscellany before ... this week's contributions were various phobias:

Beards - pogonophobia
Fall of satellites - keraunothnetophobia
Blushing - ereuthophobia
Novelty - cainolophobia
The skins of animals - doraphobia
Gravity - barophobia

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:11:51 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

... nothing of interest

::Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:08:59 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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