Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:33:01 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

idus martias

  •  festival of Mars continues (day 15)
  • festival of Jupiter
  •  festival/rites in honour of Anna Perenna (Happy New Year!)
  • 44 B.C. -- murder of Gaius Julius Caesar
  • ca. 1st century A.D. -- martyrdom of Longinus (the soldier who is said to have pierced Jesus' side with a spear) in Cappadocia

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:49:02 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

Quotidian @

saltation @ OED

flatulopetic @ Worthless Word for the Day (I can see me using this word repeatedly)

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:43:22 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Milites in Russia male habent (11.3.2005)

In actis Russicis, quibus titulus est Nezavisimaja Gazeta, generalis Victor Buslovski rettulit nongentos triginta milites Russos anno proximo mortuos esse, ex quibus quarta pars mortem sibi conscivisset.

Numerus ille suicidarum maior quam ante fuisse dicitur, sed ex actis illis non patet, quanto maior fuerit.

Causa desperationis militum sunt condiciones in praesidiis stativis deplorabiles, molestatio tironum, mercedes miserabiles.

Buslovski censet tertiam partem officiariorum infra limitem paupertatis vivere.

Praeterea numerum scelerum, quae milites commisissent, uno anno ex sescentis nonaginta quinque casibus in octingentos septem casus auctum esse.

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

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:40:02 AM::
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~ Ides of March

Over at Laudator, MG has just posted a nice little poem by John Masefield called The Ides of March ...

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:38:30 AM::
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~ Life of the Week

Appropriately enough, the Oxford DNB's life of the week today is none other than Julius Caesar ...

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:31:04 AM::
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~ Spinario

From the Guardian:

Napolean Bonaparte liked him so much he stole him away and paraded him through the streets of Paris.

Now he is to come to Britain for the first time this week on a month-long holiday which he will spend sitting between two of the most important items in the British Museum's collection: the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles.

The boy in question is more than 2,000 years old and known as Spinario, or The Thorn-puller. Kept in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, the bronze statue has very rarely left Italy and is thought to have single-handedly helped to inspire the entire Italian Renaissance movement.

It is one of the few Roman pieces in bronze to survive from the first century BC, and the iconic image of the young boy leaning over his foot to pull out a thorn is regarded as a crucial influence on Western art. 'It was one of the first antiquities ever to be shown in a museum and it has gone on to influence 2,300 years of art,' said Thorsten Opper, the museum curator in charge of the exhibit. [more]

Somewhat oddly, I've never heard of this bit of statuary before (I probably have and forgot about it) ... here's a hint about its influence ...

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:29:18 AM::
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~ Ludi

Today's Mixed Media comic might be door-worthy ....

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:25:27 AM::
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~ On the Benefits of Latin

From the Arizona Republic:

Parents: Do you want your children to learn a foreign language that exposes them to the ancient cultures they read about in their history books or see in the movies?

Want them to improve their test scores and make themselves a little more appealing to colleges?

Valley Latin teachers think they have a way for all those wishes to come true.

Have your student take Latin.

Latin is the language of several ancient cultures, including that of the Romans and Greeks. It's the foundation for several languages, such as Spanish, Italian and French. And it's slowly gaining steam in Arizona.

About 25 schools in Arizona offer Latin classes, said Sarah Knapp, a teacher at Desert Vista High School and state chair of the Arizona Junior Classical League.

The problem, she said, is that few of those schools are public. So she's leading an effort to increase Latin offerings in the state and is encouraging parents to take up the cause by contacting local school officials. There has been a slow increase in public-school Latin classes, she said.

"It's not just a private-schools thing anymore," she said. "It's easy to spread the program; we just have to get the districts on board."

For students, studying the language is something off the beaten path.

A lot of people may know how to ask where the library is in Spanish; few know how to do it in Latin.

That's part of the reason why Riley Niles, 14, a student at Desert Vista High School, took the class.

"Spanish is pretty fun, but I wanted to get away from it," he said. "Plus, it (Latin) helps you out with other classes."

Niles, whose sister also studies Latin, said the class is a great way to see the cultures he learns in history class come to life through language. Greek mythology, for example, was much easier to learn because of his Latin class, he said.

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:23:45 AM::
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~ Bulgaria Wants to Cash In

From the Sofia Echo:

EVIDENCE that the Government is keen to make Bulgaria’s cultural and historical heritage a focus of tourism was unveiled on March 3.
Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg performed a ground-breaking ceremony for a project near Kazanluk related to the so-called Thracian “Valley of the Kings”. The ceremony took place at the tomb, found last autumn of Seuthes III, who ruled in the 4th century BCE.
Saxe-Coburg called the Thracian tombs “more than unique and incredible”, comparing them to the ancient finds in Greece.
“We should develop this sector very carefully and try really hard because competition in cultural tourism is rather stiff,” Saxe-Coburg said.
A total of 3.2 million leva has been allocated for the project, of which 1.2 million leva are a subsidy from the executive budget for 2005, and the remainder comes from the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works. The money will be used to build roads and other infrastructure needed for the easier access of tourists to the sites.
Kazanluk mayor Stefan Damyanov said the money would be spent on key communications and transport in the area, restoration and conservation of the archaeological finds, and an information centre. He said that he expected that the region would become an international hub of tourism.
Before visiting Seuthes III’s tomb, Saxe-Coburg was briefed on the plans for construction around the complex of 15 tombs.
There are remnants of numerous heathen temples and burial mounds of the great Thracian civilisation in the valley of Kazanluk. There are more than 500 around Kazanluk alone.
The only fully preserved and explored Thracian town – Seuthopolis, the capital of the Odrysian kingdom at the time of Seuthes III – is on the bottom of a reservoir near Kazanluk.
Hundreds of gold, silver, bronze and clay Thracian artefacts have been found in the area, becoming part of the world cultural heritage.
However, tourism-bound history of the Bulgarian lands might also become a reason for not so positive news, as a report in the March 7 edition of the UK’s Daily Telegraph shows.
“One of the ancient world’s most celebrated love stories has led to a modern-day argument after Bulgaria claimed that the ‘Greek myth’ of the fabled musician Orpheus is not Greek at all,” the Telegraph said.

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:19:56 AM::
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~ Racisim in Classical Antiquity

The Jerusalem Post has a review of The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity
by Benjamin Isaac ... here's the incipit:

In the world of Athens and Rome, all men were brothers. The Persians? "Impetuous, truculent, devious, and insolent." The Syrians? "Drenched in perfume." The Egyptians? "Intolerable in their wantonness." The Phoenicians? "Skilled in deceiving, and ever ready to prepare stratagems in the dark." And the Jews? "Malodorous and unmanageable."

Yes, in classical times, every week was National Brotherhood Week.

This depressing chronicle of viciousness and vituperation has a purpose. Benjamin Isaac, professor of ancient history at Tel Aviv University, delves into the sources in The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, to discover the extent to which the ancients fell victim to and promoted racism, as distinct from ethnic hatred and other forms of enmity.

Since racism as we know it is a 19th-century development, he prefers to term its ancient equivalent "proto-racism." Its distinguishing features, in brief, are a belief that geography, environment or other external force determine the nature or character of a people, and that such character is immutable. In some cases, stress was put on the purity of a people that dwelt in the same place and did not intermarry with others.

Isaac quotes chapter and verse from Aristotle and Plato, Plutarch and Cicero, to show the extent to which such doctrines held their minds captive. There were curious consequences. Trade was disapproved of because it created opportunities to come into contact with others: ports were thought of as injurious for this reason.

The Romans in particular were caught in a dilemma: the imperial enterprise enabled them to spread their influence over a wide area, but it also allowed the subject peoples to influence Rome: for the worse, they thought. Jews, Egyptians and Christians set up shop in the capital, and their presence, as well as their proselytizing, caused the more conservative thinkers grief.

Some writers come out of this well. Herodotus, in writing of the wars between the Greeks and the Persians, gave prominence and credit to the heroism and military skills of both sides. His enquiring and generous spirit never adopted the ideological constraints of later writers, who wrote of the victory of "free" Athenians over "slavish" Easterners as a foregone conclusion.

It is noticeable how this form of racism tended to paralyze thought. In discussing freedom, democracy and similar concepts, the ancients generally displayed intellectual flexibility, ingenuity and courage. Such qualities deserted them when faced with real or imaginary threats to identity and safety posed by other peoples.

Those writers most active in name-calling rarely knew much about the objects of their scorn. They were either fearful or intellectually incurious about other peoples, and used stereotypes to suppress further inquiry. Belief in the inevitability of their superiority was a way of warding off fear of the future.
Yet the common people, not the intellectuals, may have been more tolerant and accepting of the stranger. The mere presence of foreigners in Rome, such as Egyptians and Jews, and their ability to win converts, suggests that the average Roman was less constrained by ideological blinkers.

AND WERE the Jews also victims of racism, then as now? No, claims the author, surprisingly. There was certainly considerable animus against Jews, and Isaac reproduces a torrent of abuse that classical authors directed at them. But this abuse had limits. The greedy moneylender motif was unknown. The blood libel, a Christian invention, was also absent. [more]

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:17:12 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Atlantis: The Lost Civilization
Why has the legend of a continent under the sea captivated the imaginations of generations of people that have searched for Atlantis? Did Atlantis really exist, and if so, where? Plato discussed the legend in two of his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, the only known written accounts from ancient sources that refer specifically to Atlantis. Atlantis has been linked to Bimini, the Canary Islands, Santorini, and Troy, among other places. What kind of people were the Atlanteans? According to scholars of Atlantis, they developed a technologically advanced civilization that has yet to be surpassed. Did Atlantis sink to the bottom of the ocean in a day and a night? What catastrophic events may have led to its demise? Or is the tale pure fiction invented by a Plato to illustrate a philosophic argument?  

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:12:08 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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