Latest update: 4/1/2005; 5:40:31 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem iii kalendas apriles

  • 317 B.C. -- death of Phocion (?)
  • 117 A.D. -- martyrdom of Quirinus at Rome

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:36:43 AM::
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~ Classical Words of the Day

Today's selection:

temporize @

emolument @ Merriam-Webster

antiphrasis @ Wordsmith

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:27:57 AM::
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~ Nuntii Latini

De nova in Francogallia lege (25.3.2005)

Camera inferior parlamenti Francogalliae novam legem de tempore operandi perferendam curavit.

Post hanc renovationem nihil iam impedit, quin septimana operaria, quae inde ab anno millesimo nongentesimo nonagesimo octavo (1998) in Francogallia triginta quinque horarum sit, tredecim horis longior reddatur.

Plebiscitum recens sanctum maxime ad mercatum operis privatum valet, ubi mercennarii, si condiciones convenerint, singulis septimanis summum duodequinquaginta horas laborare possunt.

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

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:24:56 AM::
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~ Philosophy Blogs

I came across a couple more ancient philosophy blogs yesterday ... Dissoi Blogoi (ancient philosophy in general (currently looking at the Phaedo, by the looks of things) and Mumblings of a Platonist, which is another product by a graduate student. They join Stoic News (which has gone quiet of late) as being among the few blogs examining ancient philosophy ...

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:14:24 AM::
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~ Pliny on the BBC Review

From a column in the Telegraph:

[...] And how is your Latin? Radio 3's Between the Ears on Saturday night gave us 20 minutes of a reading from Pliny's Naturalis Historia, set to sounds that aided the slow ear and ragged memory. I got dolphins and dogs, the owl and the elephant by noun alone, but the rest was mysterious.

The words were read by Sean Barrett and Mia Soteriou, clearly, slowly, musically. The sounds, by Adrian Lee, Simon Rogers and Sylvia Hallett were of water, trumpets, gongs, drums, cymbals, bagpipes and possibly a musical saw. Did I hear a whale? Was that an octopus? I'm sure I caught a snake, some bees and a vulture. All the animal noises (including a definite cuckoo and a possible blackbird) came from the BBC Natural History Unit.

The whole, adapted and produced by Kate McCall, was a delight. It drew a lot of pre-publicity because of its novelty, which is a bit odd seeing how many songs in even more unfamiliar languages pass by the Radio 3 listener's ear. It deserves applause for its gentle integrity. If Latin had been as much fun in my A Level days, I might have done more than scrape a pass.

You can still listen to the broadcast at the BBC site ...

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:08:52 AM::
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~ Beit She'an Venus

From Ha'aretz:

The Israel Museum Tuesday unveiled a rare marble statue of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, discovered a decade ago in excavations of the ancient city of Beit She'an. According to curators, the statue is unique because of the original coat of paint that can still be seen on it. The museum hopes the "Beit She'an Venus" will become one of the most famous statues of its kind.

The statue, dated to the second century CE, was found during the excavation of the eastern bathhouse at Beit She'an by professors Gideon Foerster and Yoram Tzafrir of the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology. It is of the type known as Venus pudica, or modest Venus, because of the way the figure's arms are crossed in an attempt to conceal her breasts and pubic area. Eros appears her side, in the form of a pudgy child riding a dolphin.

The professors think that the half-ton, 160 centimeter Beit She'an Venus was sculpted in a large workshop in the town of Aphrodisias in Asia Minor, now Turkey. The statue's head, hands and feet are missing.

Technicians at the Israel Museum and Israel Antiquities Authority laboratories have worked for years to clean and repair the statue, which was broken in several pieces and covered in hardened sediment when it was found.

The red, blue and yellow paint that originally covered the statue can still be seen in several places. Dudi Mevorach, chief curator of the museum's Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine exhibits, said the pigments are the best preserved on any Roman-era statue anywhere in the world.

Foerster said the statue stood for 400 years, including 150 when Beit She'an was under Christian rule. The city, known as Nisa-Scythopolis during the Roman period, had two bathhouses, as well as temples, paved streets and numerous public buildings. At its height during the fourth century CE, the city's inhabitants numbered some 40,000. Beit She'an was destroyed by an earthquake on January 18, 749 CE.

Two years after the initial discovery of the statue, Foerster found one of its legs nearby. He believes additional pieces may still be found.

The statue is currently on display as part of the Israel Museum exhibit, "Beauty in Holiness," the first in a series to mark the museum's 40th anniversary.

There's a small photo at Ha'aretz ...

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:03:14 AM::
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~ Peter O'Toole on Troy

From the Scotsman:

VETERAN actor Peter O’Toole has launched a scathing attack on the Hollywood blockbuster Troy, saying it was so bad it was funny.

O’Toole, who starred alongside Brad Pitt in the epic, said that the film reminded him of a Hovis television advert.

He also criticised the state of British theatre, saying that he encourages his children to go to cinema or watch television instead.

In an interview with the Radio Times magazine, the 72-year-old actor, who played King Priam in the film, said: "I call it ‘Trovis’ - after watching 50 minutes I found myself in quiet despair, and suddenly that Hovis advert came into my mind over Brad Pitt’s face. I got the chuckles and had to leave."

The film is an adaptation of Homer’s epic and follows the assault on Troy by the Greek forces, chronicling the fates of the men involved.

Despite having a budget of £111 million and starring Brad Pitt as Achilles, the film was poorly received by critics. It was dubbed "Homer-lite", while one critic described it as "utterly preposterous".

Dr Valerio Manfredi, the Italian archaeologist and historical novelist, said: "When I saw the film, I was scandalised.

"I wanted to throw red paint at the screen. I keep an open mind but - Good Lord, this is Homer, one of the geniuses of mankind, who should be treated with respect."

Such has been the level of criticism against the film, it has become a benchmark to judge other "historical dramas". When the Boston Globe wrote a highly critical review of the latest factual-based blockbuster, Alexander, it said: "The best thing that can be said is that it’s better than Troy."

O’Toole is currently playing the older Casanova in the BBC3 series and is set to star in a new Hollywood epic, Gilgamesh. He has had a highly acclaimed career in film and on stage. He received the first of seven Oscar nominations for his role as TE Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. He has also starred in Lord Jim and The Scarlet Pimpernel, and won an honorary Oscar in 2003.

He is not the first Hollywood star to be critical of a film in which he stars. In 2003, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who were a couple at the time, were heavily critical of Gigli, in which they both starred.

Before the film was even released, the star couple had admitted it was a big mistake. Affleck said: "The movie didn’t work. We tried to fix it, but it was like putting a fish’s tail on a donkey’s head."

Elsewhere in his Radio Times interview, O’Toole, who was born in County Galway, Ireland, but raised in Leeds, raged against the state of British theatre. [more]

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:00:29 AM::
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~ Ivory Sistrum

Okay ... I did have an article which was supposed to accompany this, but I can't find it for some reason ... coming up to auction at Bonham's (among other things) is a really interesting Etruscan ivory sistrum:

Details ... with additional photos at Bonham's ...

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 4:57:32 AM::
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~ d.m. Oliver Lyne

From the Telegraph:

Professor Oliver Lyne, who has died aged 60, was fellow and tutor in Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, from 1971, and professor of Latin Literature from 1999.

As a teacher Lyne was a legend: the students once organised a poll to discover (and reward) the best tutor in college, and no one was surprised to find that Lyne was voted top by a considerable margin.

The tutorial as a method of university teaching was invented by Benjamin Jowett, the Master of Balliol in the mid-19th century; it involves a close (some might say almost too close) relation between teacher and pupil through the weekly tutorial, at which the student's work is discussed and dissected in an atmosphere which rests on the assumption of intellectual equality.

In the modern classical world this arcane and optimistic approach was continued by the team of dedicated teachers at Jowett's college: for more than 30 years the most famous and successful classical school in the English-speaking world was that of Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray and Oliver Lyne, with the philosophers Tony Kenny and Jonathan Barnes.

During this period they trained some 300 classical students - among them more than 30 university professors, a dozen leading diplomats in Britain and Ireland, and as many senior figures in law, the business world and the media, in teaching and the other professions.

The secret of their success was the fact that all of the team had written books which were widely read and central to sixth-form teaching in schools. The result was a constant stream of outstanding students applying to read Classics at Balliol.

Lyne was the youngest of the permanent trio. In autumn 2004 he organised a conference in honour of Griffin and a farewell dinner for his two retiring colleagues, attended by more than 200 former pupils.

His own personality - obsessive, anxious, vulnerable and concerned, original and inventive, enthusiastic and trusting - meant that he could remain one of them, engaged in their activities and interests for far longer than any of his colleagues. He understood their problems as his own, and often welcomed students in difficulties into his home for longer or shorter stays, or helped them with his sympathy and wisdom.

Lyne's apparently relaxed style of lecturing masked the care and artistry he lavished on it. He loved poetry, above all Latin poetry, not theory. His method is best described by one of his students who invented, as a joke, a series of exam questions in which each tutor changed subject: Lyne became the Greek historian, and asked: "Is Thucydides' account of the plague intended to be funny? If so, innote, annote, denote, connote, footnote, precise and illumine, with reference to the funniest symptoms."

The careful analysis of words in their context was indeed his strength, learned from his Cambridge tutor, the scholar-poet Guy Lee; through it his pupils discovered how to love both language and Latin poetry. They loved him and his foibles - his passion for boxing and American football, his knowledge of Wagner and the Italian poet D'Annunzio, his Right-wing views and the exotic hats which he wore to protect his baldness. In his baseball cap period, they presented him with one bearing the Horatian legend "carpe diem", which he wore round college for years. Recently he had reverted to a wide-brimmed Panama, and begun to appear in uncharacteristically immaculate suits.

Richard Oliver Allen Marcus Lyne, the second son of RON Lyne, an intelligence officer and prep school Latin master, was born on December 21 1944; his brother became the film producer Adrian Lyne. After Highgate School, Oliver read Classics at St John's College, Cambridge, where he was taught by Guy Lee and John Crook, and became a fellow of Fitzwilliam and Churchill colleges, Cambridge, before being appointed fellow and tutor in Classics at Balliol in 1971.

Lyne was sensitive, intense and nervous, self-doubting and prone to crises; and the very qualities that made him so brilliant a teacher held him back in the wider world. He never developed a superficial carapace, and as a result was often overwhelmed by feelings of sympathy and frustration. Despite admitting to extreme efficiency in administration, he avoided it as far as possible, to concentrate on the quintessence of university life, teaching and research.

As a student in the 1960s he had belonged to an inseparable group composed of himself, John Bramble and Linda Rees, his future wife; all three came to Oxford and had brilliant careers as teachers, the first two at university and Linda as head of classics at St Edward's School.

Lyne was a very generous man, always pleased at the achievements of others and unassuming about his own; he worshipped his elder colleague Griffin, and otherwise remained content with his pupils and colleagues in college, his graduates (whose theses he often rewrote) and his family.

In the wider world, he developed close friendships on the basis of Latin literature with a select few - Tony Woodman, Don Fowler, and the Italian scholar Gian Biagio Conte, who was responsible for his most bizarre appointment, as Nato Visiting Professor charged with studying the militia amoris, the metaphor of warfare in Latin love poetry, in which post he found himself followed everywhere by a small red East European car. He loved America and Italy: his sabbaticals were spent at Michigan and Philadelphia, and latterly in Italy.

He seldom went to conferences; he believed the life of scholarship to be best carried on alone. After the publication of his thesis (an edition of the Ciris, a strange poem attributed to the young Vergil ), his first book, The Latin Love Poets from Catullus to Horace (1980), was a bible for generations of students. Lyne (who always wrote under the name ROAM Lyne) then published two major works on Vergil and one on Horace, concerned with "words and the poet" and "further voices" or deep contradictions within the poetry, not fashionable but rather characterised by precise reading of the individual text and strong views on the conflict between life and poetic achievement. He gained a professorship at Oxford in 1999.

Lyne died on March 16, struck by a massive seizure while clearing snow at his hideout in the Italian Marche, to which he would retire every vacation, often alone, to re-charge his energies and write.

Oliver Lyne is survived by his wife, whom he married in 1969, and by their son and daughter.

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 4:48:27 AM::
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~ Asclepius

Nice little essay (from a high school student) on Asclepius (from some Treasure Coast paper):

In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the founder of medicine. Asclepius was the son of Apollo, the god of sun and light. He was raised by the great tutor Chiron, the most learned centaur (half-man, half-horse) in the land. When he had grown, he ventured down into the towns of Greece with one thing in mind: To help the people. He became the first great physician and people rushed from all around, to see if this new man could cure their ailments.

It wasn't long before they started worshipping him as a god because of his abilities to help the sick, and they constructed temples in his honor. He put his patients' beds in his temples, creating the first hospitals. He went about from bed to bed, leaning on his staff entwined with sacred serpents. Serpents knew all of the hidden secrets of the earth and often told him the causes and cures for diseases.

Asclepius had a wife and seven children, and everyone followed in their father's wake. His sons became the assistant physicians and his daughters became the nurses. One of his daughters, Hygeia, scrubbed her patients with soap and water from morning to night and everyone marveled at the speed at which they regained their health. Before her time, it was thought that soap and water would kill the sick.

Soon, Asclepius grew rich and famous, his skills were enhanced to the point where he could bring the dead back to life. Hades, the god of the underworld, became angry because he was being cheated out of dead souls, so he complained to his brother, the most powerful god, Zeus.

Zeus had a mind to stop Asclepius' actions. Asclepius' father Apollo persuaded his father Zeus to leave Asclepius be. Asclepius took the leniency for granted and made a fatal mistake: He accepted gold for bringing the dead back to life. Zeus, enraged at this action, picked up one of his thunderbolts and hurled it at Asclepius. These thunderbolts were created by the Cyclopes, who were servants of Zeus.

Apollo was infuriated at Zeus and wanted revenge. Unwilling to raise a hand against his mighty father, he killed the Cyclopes to avenge his son's death. Zeus in turn was angry and punished his son by making him serve as a slave for one year on Earth. Apollo was lucky and found a good master, thereby suffering no hardship.

The hospitals of today still seem to follow in Asclepius' footsteps. White beds and white coats give us a glimpse into the past, where Asclepius would wander through his white pillared temple overseeing his patients resting on white beds. Asclepius' staff entwined with serpents appears on the doors of EMS.

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 4:46:39 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

8.30 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Empire in Africa
During the 2nd century AD, Roman war veterans were granted land in Northern Africa as a sign of gratitude from the politicians. This arid climate proved beneficial in the planting of vast olive groves and wheat fields. The area was prosperous and began to take on many aspects of Roman culture. We'll take a virtual tour through some of the numerous wealthy provinces, including the amphitheatre at El-Djem and the ingenious villa built to escape the hot African climate, and aided by state-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics, see them as only the original inhabitants could have.
9.00 p.m. |HINT| Great Scientists: Aristotle
Dr. Allan Chapman, Oxford University professor and historian of science, presents this humorous and entertaining series charting the life and times of some of the world's most influential scientists. Using a blend of archive footage, animation, and comedy dramatizations, Chapman presents engaging and accessible introductions to their complex theories and ideas. We begin with the Father of Science--Aristotle, a man whose ideas were so important in the foundation of science that they remained unchallenged for nearly 2,000 years. A student of Plato's Academy, Aristotle challenged commonly held--and incorrect--views of the world. Allan Chapman journeys from Oxford's lecture theaters to the sunny beaches of Greece to tell us about the man who discovered the four elements--earth, air, wind, and fire--and first established the idea that there is a logical explanation for everything.

10.00 p.m. |NGU| Atlantis
What do we really know about the lost city of Atlantis and what happened on the day it died? Legend tells us that the golden civilization became so corrupt and depraved that it was destroyed by the angry gods, but did the city ever exist at all?

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Time Team: Beauport Park, Sussex
A Roman bathhouse unearthed near a huge mound of iron slag near the golf course at Beauport Park, Sussex, England, leads host Tony Robinson (Baldrick in Blackadder) to ask: "What is a Roman bathhouse doing here completely on its own, 40 miles from the nearest Roman town?" The search for other Roman buildings is on. There could be a lost city or forgotten fort, and Time Team, aided by surveyors, geophysicists, and even a dowser, have just three days to find it.  

HINT - History International

NGU - National Geographic Channel

::Wednesday, March 30, 2005 4:39:53 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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