Latest update: 4/3/2005; 9:37:43 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ Semi ClassCon

How's this for an 'accessibility statement' ...

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 6:01:45 AM::
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~ @ the Auctions

Interesting little 1st-2nd century satyr/nymph group from Bonham's ... the heads were restored in the Renaissance:

Details ... [I couldn't figure out how this was a satyr ... it's apparently in the ears]

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 5:30:43 AM::
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~ Susan Heuck Allen on Troy

From the Daily Illini:

The epic battle of Troy was regarded as a mere Homeric fantasy until the late nineteenth century, when Heinrich Schliemann claimed to have unearthed the city. Schliemann was thought by many to have discovered the ruins of Troy - until now.

On March 9, Susan Heuck Allen, an archaeologist and visiting scholar from the classics department at Brown University, gave a lecture entitled "Finding the Walls of Troy."

The central Illinois chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America hosted the lecture. One of the main goals of the AIA is to encourage public awareness of archaeology. The AIA seems to have done just that with Allen's lecture, in which she finally put the record straight as to the real excavator and discoverer of the ancient city of Troy.

In Allen's discussion of Troy, she made the argument that it wasn't Schliemann who discovered Troy; he was actually stealing material from British archaeologist Frank Calvert. According to Allen, Schliemann, who was not even an archaeologist, deceived the public throughout history and took away Calvert's fame. Even to this day, Calvert's name isn't linked to any of the Troy excavations.

Patrick Sutton, junior in LAS, attended the lecture because he wants to minor in classics and hoped to gain a better insight into this field. He said he thought Allen's lecture was very interesting and he learned a lot more about Troy.

"Allen exposed (Schliemann) to be a businessman instead of an archaeologist," he said.

Sutton said he liked Allen's expanded discussion of the topic because it helped him find out the real truth about Schliemann.

"The lecture cast a whole new light on what I thought before," he said.

Gregory Whitt, biology professor at the University, said the lecture stimulated him to want to study the dispute over Troy in more detail since Allen presented such a compelling argument.

"Allen did a good job at communicating to a wide range of people," he said. "She caught the attention of the students as well as the professionals."

James Dengate, professor of classic archaeology at the University, said the lecture was a good opportunity for him to better understand the arguments about who really discovered Troy.

"I knew a lot of general information concerning Troy," he said. "But Allen really gave me more specific insight into the debate."

Allen agreed it is important for professors as well as students to know the truth.

"The truth about the subject of Troy is central to our understanding of Western Civilization and ancient Greece," she said.

Allen also stressed the importance of continuing the excavation of Troy. Based on the most recent excavations, she said Troy has been found to be about 10 times larger than anyone had ever imagined.

"There's so much more work to be done," she said. "Troy is a completely different picture than we ever thought, so there will always be more material to excavate. We are only at the tip of the iceberg of uncovering the entire story."

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 5:19:30 AM::
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~ Robert Garland on Tabloid Queens

Another one from Hamilton College:

Robert Garland, Professor of Classics at Colgate University, gave a lecture titled "From Media Tarts to Tabloid Queens: Attention-Seeking In Antiquity" as part of the Hamilton Department of Classics Winslow Lecture series on March 31. Garland discussed the phenomenon of celebrity in ancient Greece and Rome, arguing that a desire for fame has been a motivation for people throughout history.

Garland began by talking about the nature of celebrity status in today's culture, saying that today fame is attainable by anyone who has a little ingenuity or a sordid tale, though that fame may not last very long. The "15 minutes of fame" phenomenon Andy Warhol spoke of has come about because of the new nature of our media and technology. Never before has our desire to be celebrities and to observe celebrities been keener, Garland said.

Even in the ancient world however, said Garland, there was a desire for fame and what we might call "celebrity." The Homeric hero is consumed with the desire for immortal fame and glory, sometimes confusing these things with immortality itself. There were also many historical figures who created fame for themselves through "strategic self-presentation."

Socrates and other Greek intellectuals of his time were celebrities because of their visibility in Greek society, Garland said. Socrates is even caricatured in Aristophanes' comedy "The Clouds." His depiction in this play led to prejudice against him in his eventual trial, making him, as Garland said, the "first victim of celebrity." Athenian general and golden boy Alciabiades was also an ancient Greek
celebrity, and he played up his fame with campy apparel and constantly
changing alliances.

Alexander the Great consciously cultivated a public persona to make himself known to subjects across his empire, Garland explained. He had himself depicted as the reincarnation of Achilles in a widely disseminated portrait statue, and the public perception of Alexander, even today, is bound up in that image.

Military and political glory was also a road to stardom in ancient Rome. The cults of celebrity around Caesar and Pompeii contributed to the downfall of the republic, Garland said. In his reign, Julius Caesar learned the importance of mass appeal, holding circuses, paying attention to his public appearance, and minting his face on coins all over the empire. Garland called Caesar Augustus "the greatest super
star of the ancient world," noting that images of his face appeared hundreds of thousands of times around the world in sculptures and minted on coins. Gladiators and chariot racers in Rome had rabid fan bases and also enjoyed great fame and fortune.

There were few female celebrities in the ancient world, Garland said, with Cleopatra being the best example. Her fame (or infamy) is based not on her power and actions, but also on the propaganda of Octavian which portrayed her as a degenerate sex-kitten and capitalized on Roman prejudice towards Egyptians. Theodora, the wife of the Emperor Justinian, also gained fame by reinventing herself from a maligned actress to a regal wife in a rags-to-riches tale which Garland said would be perfect fodder for today's gossip magazines.

He also added that whereas ancient celebrities were enigmatic and rare, today's celebrities have lost that unattainable mystique. Garland concluded by saying that the topic of celebrity in the ancient world has "much to relish" in it, and also touches upon serious issues of the value systems, priorities and sense of self-hood of ancient Greeks and Romans.

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 5:16:36 AM::
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~ Latin Threatened in the UK!

From the Guardian comes a piece (beginning with a phrase in the future perfect, interestingly enough) about the imminent demise of Latin in state schools in the UK:

Latin will have disappeared from the state school syllabus in the next decade and will have vanished from the independent sector in the next quarter of a century, experts warned yesterday.

At the moment around 600 schools in the UK teach the subject including about 100 state schools. But because of an ongoing problem with a multimillion pound government scheme designed to reinvigorate interest in the subject, experts predict the numbers will dwindle and the subject will eventually die out.

Last night Will Griffiths, the director of the Cambridge Schools Classics Project, based at Cambridge University, said the failure to deliver the £4.5m software package could prove disastrous.

"The long-term future of Latin in this country rests on the successful rollout of this programme. If it does not happen, that will signal the end of Latin in the majority of the schools."

The project had been successfully piloted in 50 schools and was supposed to be ready by the end of 2002. But the scheme, which was only meant to take five months to be finalised, is still not ready 39 months later. Critics say it is riddled with errors, has no index and will not work on certain types of computer.

"The failure to deliver this will have a devastating effect on the future of Latin, especially in schools where there are no specialist teachers," said Mr Griffiths.

In 1988, about 16,000 students sat GCSE Latin. Last year that number had fallen to about 10,000 with just 3,500 entries from the state sector.

The software package offers books, CDs, study aids and email guidance and contact with Latin specialists, allowing 11- to 13-year-olds to study it without specialist teachers.

Saffron Walden county school in Essex was one of the schools that ran the pilot. Rebecca Anderson, who teaches French and German, said it had been a great success.

"A lot of the children have really taken to it, you can see they have a greater understanding of other languages after studying Latin.

"If it had not been for this programme, only pupils whose parents could afford to pay for their children to go to private schools would be able to take Latin which as a teacher in the comprehensive system is something that I find difficult."

Similiter, a piece from the Telegraph, also beginning with a future perfect:

Latin will have disappeared from state schools within 12 years because there are too few people able to teach it, an expert at Cambridge University has warned.

Take-up of the subject is in terminal decline even at independent schools, where the number of pupils taking GCSE in the subject goes down every year, says Will Griffiths, director of the Cambridge Schools Latin Project.

Last year, out of 600,000 16-year-olds sitting GCSEs, 9,886 students took Latin. Of these, only 3,758 were from state schools.

Plans to revive interest in the classical language are being hampered by the failure of the Department for Education's £4.5 million scheme to substitute interactive lessons on the computer for specialist subject teachers, Mr Griffiths says.

The money was invested after a successful pilot and the two-disc DVD set was planned for release in May 2002. However, it has not been finished because of software problems encountered by Granada Learning, the private education company developing it.

The number of pupils opting to study Latin doubled and even trebled in some of the 50 pilot schools where teachers with no training in the subject are using on-line lessons with their classes.

"We were relying on this initiative because, without something like it, Latin will disappear within 12 years in state schools and 25 years in the independent sector judging by the rate of decline over the last two decades," Mr Griffiths said.

"The delay in this project has meant another 200,000 pupils haven't had access to Latin, and we have been told not to expect the software in time for next September. So we could be looking at the last gasp for the subject in state schools."

The AQA, one of the three exam groups in England, announced last year that it would be axing the subject at GCSE from 2006.

In a joint statement, the Department for Education and Granada Learning said part one of the course had completed the final stage of testing. "Part two is at an advanced stage of testing. Both will be available shortly."


::Saturday, April 02, 2005 5:03:41 AM::
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~ Papal Ritual

As might be expected, the weekend's news is beginning to be filled with articles about the various rituals associated with the death of a pope. Folks who need a 'refresher' on the process can look to an article in the Guardian or an AP piece that will no doubt be in your local paper as well. An interesting tidbit from the latter:

MOURNING PERIOD: An official nine-day mourning period, known as the "novemdiales," follows the death of a pope. The tradition dates back to ancient Rome and a ceremony held nine days after death.

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 4:57:12 AM::
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~ Sotades of Maronea

This is one of those head-scratchers ... I've mentioned before that every Friday I receive something called Schott's Miscellany and this week's edition was devoted to palindromes. As an intro, the piece mentioned that the form is usually credited to the 3rd century poet Sotades of Maronea. I have seen this claim (on the web, of course) before, but have never  seen any mention of an ancient source. One site I found this a.m. (after an awful lot of searching) claims he rewrote the Iliad as a palindrome (I hae me doots). The various entries on the Suda are not helpful in this regard (but they do cast suspicion on his purported connection to Maronea and/or Crete) ... so can anyone find an ancient source which attributes palindromes to this guy?

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 4:49:32 AM::
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~ AWOTV: On TV Today

9.00 p.m. |SCI| The Helike: Real Atlantis
In 373 BC, the Greek city of Helike was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami and disappeared into the sea. Modern archaeologists have spent decades searching for the lost underwater city until crucial clues finally came from geology.

SCI = Science Channel

::Saturday, April 02, 2005 4:27:19 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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