Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:33:11 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xii kalendas apriles

  • Festival of Mars continues (day 21)
  • Quinquatrus continues (day 3) -- originally a one-day festival with rites in honour of Minerva, by Ovid's day it had been increased to five days, with the last four involving gladiatorial bouts

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:27:14 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

Stygian @

volant @ Merriam-Webster

subdolous @ Wordsmith (good word!)

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:20:15 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

Papa e nosocomio dimissus (18.3.2005)

Pontifex Maximus Ioannes Paulus II, vir octoginta quattuor annos natus, septimana vergente e nosocomio Romano dimissus est, cum ibi duodeviginti dies propter difficultates respiratorias versatus esset et ad id malum amovendum tracheotomiam subisset.

Papa, antequam in Civitatem Vaticanam revertit, peregrinos ad valetudinarium congregatos per fenestram allocutus est et eis gratias egit, quod ad se visitandum convenissent.

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

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:17:32 AM::
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~ Schiavo Case

As I was sitting in the waiting room yesterday, the thought occurred to me that the Schiavo case essentially is a 'very Roman' situation ... basically, if the marriage was cum manu, the hubby should be making the decision; if not, she's still in the potestas of her father, who should make the decision ...

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:15:50 AM::
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~ Jenkins Venus

Interesting item from the Telegraph:

The owner of a Yorkshire stately home who sold a Roman statue for a world record price of almost £8 million has spent some of the money on commissioning an exact copy of the sculpture of the goddess Venus.

The new version of the Jenkins Venus, sculpted from marble taken from the same quarry as the original, was unveiled for the first time yesterday at Newby Hall, near Ripon, North Yorks, and will go on public display on Good Friday.
Richard Compton, owner of the 17th-century house, built in the style of Sir Christopher Wren, reluctantly decided to sell the original Venus almost three years ago to pay for the restoration of the house and its stables.

The 5ft 4in statue, named the Jenkins Venus after the dealer Thomas Jenkins, who sold it to Thomas Weddell, an English collector, in 1765, became the most expensive antiquity ever auctioned when it fetched almost £8 million at Christie's in London.

It was bought by Sheikh Saud-al-Thani, the world's biggest art collector and cousin of the Emir of Qatar, who was reported last week to have been placed under house arrest by the authorities in the oil-rich Gulf state. His detention is not related to the purchase of the statue.

Although the Government temporarily banned the export of the statue, no British buyer could match the sheikh's spending power and the original Venus is now in Qatar.

Mr Compton decided before the auction to commission a replacement for the statue, also known as the Barberini Venus, which had been at Newby Hall for almost two and a half centuries.

"It was always at the back of my mind from the moment the statue left the house," he said yesterday. "We thought that we would try to keep the integrity of the collection intact."

Mr Compton has spent an undisclosed, six-figure sum on a three-stage operation combining modern technology with traditional craftsmanship. It is thought to be the first time such techniques have been used to produce a three-dimensional work of art.

First, he contacted John Larson, an expert attached to the conservation centre of the National Museums Liverpool, who took a three-dimensional laser scan of the original Venus before it went to its new home.

The scan was then sent to an Italian company, Scienzia Machinale, which used a robot diamond cutter to produce an exact polyurethane model of the Jenkins Venus, which was passed on to a sculptor, Roberto Pedrini.

Mr Pedrini, one of Italy's leading sculptors, and a team of helpers then spent six months producing a copy of the Venus using marble from the Michelangelo quarry in Carrera, from which the stone for the original was taken almost 2,000 years previously.

"It is the same size and they have reproduced it so exactly that where the arms had been jointed on the original and the nose had cracked, that has been replicated in the copy," said Mr Compton.

Mr Pedrini's team have even given the statue a patina so that it looks the same age as the remaining genuine antiquities in the sculpture gallery at Newby Hall. One of the techniques used to create this effect is to soak the marble in tea.

"It is a very exciting moment," said Mr Compton. "It is wonderful. I was almost in tears as we unpacked it and it looks fantastic. It looks 2,000 years old."

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:04:46 AM::
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~ Domitianus Redux

That Domitianus coin that was found a while back is going on display ... from the Scotsman:

A coin which rewrote the history of the Roman Empire is going on public display today, just 10 miles from the muddy field where it was dug up.

The 1,700-year-old find, part of a hoard discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast near Oxford in April, 2003, proved the existence of Domitianus, dubbed the forgotten emperor.

The discovery, which stunned archaeologists when it was made public last year, is returning to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where it will eventually form a centrepiece to a new gallery to be devoted to money.

It was to the Ashmolean that enthusiast Brian Malin first went when he discovered the stash of almost 5,000 coins from the period fused together and buried inside a Roman jar on farmland, 10 miles south east of Oxford.

Only when the coins were sent to the British Museum to be cleaned and separated did the significance of one of them become clear.

The base silver piece offers solid evidence for a long-dismissed claim that Domitianus had indeed declared himself an emperor at a time of upheaval in the Roman Empire.

A high-ranking army officer, he is now believed to have staged a short lived military coup, declaring himself emperor of a western tranche of the Roman Empire which included Britain in the second half of the Third Century AD.

But his bid for power in the so-called Gallic Empire – which included modern France, the Rhineland and Britain – is believed to have been short-lived.

Records mention a Domitianus being punished for treason under the Emperor Aurelian (AD 270-5), but give no clue that his crime had been to attempt to seize power himself.

The claim is not new. Around 100 years ago an identical coin portraying the bearded face of Domitianus was found in central France, but was dismissed as a hoax.

However the appearance of a second coin, fused inside a hoard lost for centuries is seen as proof of the long-forgotten chapter in Roman history.

The fact that he was able to have coins struck in his image provides evidence that Domitianus’s bid for power succeeded at least as far as giving him control over a mint, thought to have been at Trier in Germany.

Nevertheless, the fact that only two coins bearing his image are known to exist suggests to historians that his rule was extremely short – perhaps just a few days.

Richard Abdy, the British Museum’s curator of Roman coins, made the discovery as he was sorting the pieces for a report under the Treasure Act.

He said: “The archaeological evidence of this coin shows that he was indeed emperor and provides us with a face to go with history’s forgotten ruler.”

The collection, dated to between 251 to 279 AD, consists of 4,957 Roman coins valued at £40,000.

They have now been acquired by the Ashmolean thanks to grants from the National Art Collections Fund, the Headley Trust for Treasure, the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund, the Carl & Eileen Subak Family Foundation, and the Friends of the Ashmolean.

The museum plans to exhibit the pieces permanently in its new Money Gallery as part of a major lottery-funded development plan.

After going on show until July 24 at the Ashmolean, the collection will be loaned to Oxfordshire’s County Museum at Woodstock while development work takes place.

The British Museum has a nice page on the coin ...


::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:01:56 AM::
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~ @ CCC

Over at Classics in Contemporary Culture, MH has put up four new items of interest ...

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:59:34 AM::
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~ Stretch that Analogy

We often see Rome used as an analogy in political contexts ... this is a strange one, though ... here's the first and last paragraphs of an editorial from the Heritage Foundation about the U.S. Social Security system:

Like a Roman Legion advancing against its enemy, Social Security’s future problems approach slowly, but their arrival is inevitable. Rome’s legions lined up behind a wall of shields that moved slowly across battlefields with a discipline that few others possessed. Enemies did not know the exact moment when the legions would reach them, and the slaughter would begin, but once the process started, its outcome was seldom in doubt.


Without reform, Social Security’s future is inevitable, like it or not. We can either prepare now, or dither about what year it will happen. Wishful thinking did not stop the Romans, and it will not prevent Social Security’s problems either.

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:57:19 AM::
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~ National Shame

I was greatly saddened to hear about the actions of one of my fellow Canadians ... from the CBC:

Greek police have arrested a Canadian teenager, accusing her of removing a piece of marble from the grounds of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon on the Acropolis Hill.

The 17-year-old, whose name and hometown have not been released, was arrested Sunday after a security guard who allegedly saw her take the stone called police.

Greek law prohibits owning, buying, selling or excavating antiquities without a special permit.

When people find items accidentally, they are legally required to hand them over to authorities.

The Canadian teen was scheduled to appear before a public prosecutor on Monday.

Police didn't say how big the rock was or what part of the site it was removed from.

I was similarly saddened to see how the CBC captioned the accompanying photo (Acropolis hill, Athens, Greece) both because of its awkwardness/redundancy and the apparent need to remind Canadians that the Acropolis is in Athens and that Athens is in Greece. The photo (an AP file photo!) ain't that great either.

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:52:38 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

11.00 p.m. |HINT| The Sunken City
The ancient Roman city of Ostia was once a vital seaport. Yet it died a slow, painful death. This documentary explores the reasons for its demise and looks at the abandoned wasteland today.  

HINT = History International

::Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:46:43 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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