Redlands has a nice overview piece on the Greek divinities which will, no doubt, be cribbed somewhere, sonetime for a first-year paper ...
From the Washington Post:

Latin is considered by many to be a dead language, but not by Marie Davis.

Davis, who teaches Latin to children at Daniels Run Elementary School in Fairfax City, is trying to develop students' skills not just in word recognition but in conversation, too.

Because Latin is not commonly spoken anywhere in the world, lessons usually are about everything except conversation.

Students generally memorize verb endings and adjective and noun declensions; translate classic Roman literature; and learn about Roman history. Some students who have trouble learning to speak modern languages -- the hardest element of language learning -- sometimes take Latin instead.

But teachers such as Davis say they are trying to revive Latin -- and that includes conversing in it. They say they are modeling their effort on how Israelis revived the ancient language of Hebrew.

Davis teaches Latin to students in grades 3 through 6 by connecting it to concrete content areas, such as science and math. Students learn to count in Latin and learn Latin adjectives to describe the butterflies they study in science.

"The best approach to language is to apply what you learn," she said, adding that it is also important to integrate language learning with other academic disciplines.

Latin lovers list many reasons to learn the language, whether or not they become conversant in it. They say that students learn about a language and culture common to people throughout the Americas and Europe and that more than 90 percent of two-syllable words in English are derived from Latin. This translates into stronger English skills, which can help on standardized tests, Davis said. And learning Latin helps students learn other languages.

Some educators, however, think teaching Latin is not the best use of time for students. "If the idea is to help with learning another language like Spanish or Russian, why not start with Spanish or Russian?" asked professor Robert M. DeKeyser, the incoming editor of the scientific journal Language Learning.

But more schools are adding Latin classes, the Harry Potter books are sprinkled with Latin words and a Finnish radio station (at ) even broadcasts in Latin.

It is, appropriately, called "Latin Alive!"
While putting up the thing on Atlantis (see below) another eMedia Press release crossed my desktop:

Plato, a Great Philosopher, or a Criminal Mind that deserves to be locked in his own Cave, and forever Forgotten.

At last someone has found the courage to come up and challenge the ideas of such a big authority, like Plato.

Plato's idea is offensive for the majority of the people in this planet. We are all borne with a mind that if equipped with the right information, can do incredible things; everybody has got the capacity to understand the principles of the Universe, as Aristotle said.

What have the Guardians got so special that they should decide the destiny of everybody else? In the last 2,500 years of recorded history, they have never produced anything.They only caused misery, destruction, ignorance and mass murder, without them, human beings would have gone to the moon 2,000 years ago and by now we would be immortal, not immortality of the soul but biological immortality.

At the end of the piece is a link to the Trial of Plato website ... nothing really new here that you wouldn't get in a first year ClassCiv class ... but is it possible this is connected somehow to something going on at Oxford? From the Oxford Student:

Czech academic Dr Julius Tomin has slammed Balliol and the University generally for their supposed reluctance to participate in open academic debate about Plato. For the second time in ten years he is to protest about his perceived exclusion. Dr Tomin will be standing outside Balliol on three successive Wednesdays this month.

His placard will read: ‘A philosopher from Prague appeals to Oxford Academics: Let us discuss Plato’, an allusion to his belief that, “Platonic scholarship has sunk into a very sorry state”. Tomin came to Britain in 1980 following an invitation by the then Master of the college, Dr Anthony Kenny. Tomin had previously invited Kenny to talk in Prague. He worked as an academic visitor before being made redundant.

Tomin intended to return to Czechoslovakia, but discovered he a had been deprived of his Czech citizenship. Tomin says he is convinced Kenny acted to undermine his academic reputation. “His assertion throughout his talk [in Prague] was that Aristotle said those who were called to study philosophy should do so, and that those who pursued it in their own time were bad men. He was trying to undermine me.”

Tomin also accuses the University of co-operating with secret police to undermine communism in Eastern Europe. He claims when he first came to Oxford he was under the impression he would be partaking in open discussion, but after arriving he stated that due to international concerns a “cloak of secrecy”developed. “It was an attempt to dismantle Communism,” he said. Vice-Master of Balliol Dr John Jones claimed the statement about Dr Tomin’s supposed exclusion was “misleading”.

Dr. Tomin has a piece in the same publication:

On May 4, I will stand in front of Balliol from 11am to 12 am, holding a sign: ‘A philosopher from Prague appeals to Oxford Academics: Let us discuss Plato’. My protest harks back to two discussions. The first I had in Prague with Dr Anthony Kenny, Master of Balliol, in April 1980, in an unofficial philosophy seminar. Dr Kenny chose to speak about Aristotle’s Eudemian and Nicomachean Ethics.

He pointed out that according to the latter, philosophy ought to be pursued by all those who aspire to true happiness, whereas the Eudemian Ethics makes philosophy an activity to be pursued only by those who have been called upon to do so: “The type of person whom many regard as the hero of the Nicomachean Ethics turns out, by the standards of the Eudemian Ethics, to be a vicious and ignoble character.”

Kenny’s own view obviously coincided with his interpretation of the Eudemian Ethics as Aristotle’s mature view on ethics.

His argument therefore surprised me, for I and my students fell into the category of vicious and ignoble characters; nobody called upon us to do philosophy – we engaged in it because it made our lives better, it gave us the strength we needed to defend the little island of freedom in the ocean of oppression in which we lived after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact countries that destroyed the aspiration of my country to create ‘Socialism with a Human Face’.

Unfortunately for Kenny, the passage on which he based his interpretation of the Eudemian Ethics spoke to the contrary, for in it Aristotle places even greater emphasis on philosophy than he does on the Nicomachean Ethics.

I opposed his views by suggesting that according to Aristotle philosophy is the key to the good life because it is the least dependent on external circumstances, and because it can make our lives better as long as we live and irrespective of the situation in which we find ourselves, and that Aristotle wrote it with Socrates in mind.

Socrates engaged in philosophy as long as he could breathe, and philosophy transformed his last day into the crowning event of his life: “This picture of Socrates is very important here in Prague. We never know when the police are going to interrupt our meeting and detain us all. It is good to know that if we remain true to philosophy, it can make our life better even in prison,” I told him.

Kenny did not oppose my interpretation of the Nicomachean passage but asked whether I would not agree with him that Socrates was a good man but a second-rate philosopher, whereas Plato was a great philosopher but a questionable character.

I replied that the Master of Balliol obviously drew such a dividing line through Plato’s dialogues that he considered all those dialogues as Socratic that do not satisfy his criterion of great philosophy, and as Platonic all those that satisfy that criterion: “I do not draw such a line through Plato’s dialogues,” I insisted. At this point the police banged on the door and took away Kenny and then all of us.

I have endeavoured to renew this discussion with Oxford dons for the past 25 years, but in vain. As a result of my reflections on the interrupted discussion with Kenny I realised to my surprise that in all my reading of Plato I did not find anything to militate against the ancient tradition according to which the Phaedrus was Plato’s first dialogue.

After I arrived at Oxford in September 1980 – I had received an invitation from Kenny in 1979, several months before his visit – with the assistance of the late Dr Kathy Wilkes I wrote ‘Socrates in the Phaedrus’. When Kathy sent it to The Classical Quarterly, the Editor replied that it was well written, but he decided not to publish it, for publishing it would destroy Julius Tomin as a philosopher.

What happens at Oxford has a profound influence on the way in which the subjects of Classics and Ancient Philosophy are pursued in other countries. I wish that Oxford University would become the centre of excellence in Ancient Philosophy, a centre where academics can be found who have the courage and academic skills that are prerequisite for discussing Plato.

From Kathimerini:

Dismayed by spiraling costs and a seemingly open-ended completion schedule for conservation works on Greece's most iconic archaeological site, the government is thinking of seeking private sponsorship to expedite the Acropolis project.

If the intention voiced late on Wednesday by Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis should materialize, it would constitute a major departure from the policy of the past three decades - the massive program started in 1975.

Then, the prime minister of the day, Constantine Karamanlis, had refused to accept private or foreign funding for the works as a matter of national pride, although this principle was later diluted to let the European Union help foot the bill.

A Culture Ministry statement on Wednesday said the ministry body overseeing works on the capital's ancient citadel - the Service for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments (YSMA) - had proposed turning to private sponsorship to help defray the costs, which in 1992-2004 alone reached 30.6 million euros in current prices.

The ministry said Tatoulis's response was «positive, in principle.»

But there is little likelihood of future visitors to the fortified hilltop, which is dotted with some of the most outstanding examples of Classical Greek architecture, facing signs where the monument's name is twinned with a corporate sponsor's logo.

«[Tatoulis] believes that sponsorship for monuments should not be allowed without a framework to lay out rules, preconditions and obligations,» the ministry said. «Publicity given to sponsors cannot overshadow the contribution of the main fund sources [i.e. Greece and the EU].»

According to the ministry, YSMA believes that the works will take at least another 16 years to finish, and will cost an additional 70 million euros - without taking into account repairs to the defensive walls or earthworks around the marble temples.

So far, since 1975, the only Acropolis monument to have been fully conserved - and partially restored - is the Erectheion temple, at the citadel's northern end. Work on the Parthenon is 36 percent complete, the Propylaea monumental gates are 50 percent finished, the Temple of Athena Nike - which has been totally dismantled - is 65 percent done, and work on the walls has advanced only 8 percent.

In December 2004, Tatoulis complained that YSMA's schedule had to be «rationalized» and rendered «credible,» and cut 4.5 million euros from the body's 10-million budget for 2005. Earlier this month, the ministry decided to charge multinational electronics giant Philips 7,043 euros for using the Acropolis in a global advertising campaign.
I've come to the conclusion that anyone can put out a press release on eMedia wire, which seems to be the source of most (if not all) of the press releases dealing with this or that guy's theory on Atlantis. Here's an update to that Canadian student with a theory:

While searching for the secrets of the Bermuda Tri-angle, Chris Shearer stumbled upon a picture of what he believes is the concentric rings and canal system where Atlantis once flourished. Finding even more pictures on the subject he then concluded that with earlier pictures of the area showed much more sedimentary sand deposits. The hurricanes and tropical storms that happened last year and some of the previous years removed some of the sedimentary sand that was on top of the parts of Atlantis which are now visible. Back in the thirties Edgar Cayce who was a world renowned psychic was quoted as saying that parts of Atlantis would rise in 68 or 69, and indeed they did. The Bimini roads were then discovered along with under water temples which are also visible.

The Bahama Islands have been over looked as being Atlantis for many years, until now. Not only was Edgar Cayce right about his readings on Atlantis he is also right about the whereabouts. Chris has done extensive research on the subject and conclude that what he has discovered is in fact the lost city and continent of Atlantis. Of course there will be controversy in the matter but his web-site will show the people that indeed, Atlantis once thrived on an island sized continent.

Not only has he discovered Atlantis, but he also has the answers to many of our age old questions, especially what happened! By looking constantly at satellite images of earth, and the continents he has concluded that the disappearance of Atlantis was brought on by the end of the last ice age and the last time the earths continents drifted away from one another. The Tsunami that was created from the Atlantic fault giving away was immensely large enough to submerse a continent, and most of the world. The great flood is even depicted in the Bible.

... nothing overly different there (it goes on to give the website etc.), but here's the headline and subtitle:

Alleged Atlantis Discovery Getting Reviews World Wide

In efforts to find funding for the Atlantis discovery in the Bahamas, Chris Shearer of Canada is seeking the help from "A man with money and a dream" for the expedition.

... heck, if all you want is money and a dream in Canada, I hear the Liberals have some sort of 'sponsorship' thing going ....

Nothing of interest ....
ante diem iii kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 2) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms

ca 65 A.D. -- martyrdom of Torpes of Pisa

259 A.D. -- martyrdom of Agapius at Citra (along with quite a few others)
Just thought I'd give Classicists a pointer to Mark Goodacre's Learning New Testament Greek Gateway (recently updated), which has a pile of resources which folks will find useful ....
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

New Airbus takes off - Farmer convicted of throwing employee to lions
Conventus annuus ALF (29.04.2005, klo 08.48)

Die Veneris (22.4.) Academia Latinitati Fovendae conventum annuum Romae habuit.

Gerhardus Freyburger in memoriam Roberti Schilling verba fecit, novi sodales diplomata acceperunt, Curtius Smolak de monumento equestri imperatoris Iosephi II locutus est. Die sequenti sodales Academiae excursionem ad villam Horatianam in montibus Sabinis sitam fecerunt.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Muccigrosso on Canali De Rossi on Muccigrosso on Canali De Rossi.

Bearzot on Rzepka on Bearzot.

Glenn W. Most, Sarah Spence, Re-Presenting Vergil. Special Issue in Honor of Michael C.J. Putnam. Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici, 52.

Néstor-Luis Cordero, By Being, It is. The Thesis of Parmenides.

Richard Hunter, Plato's Symposium.

H.F.J. Horstmanshoff, M. Stol, Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine. Studies in Ancient Medicine 27.
The latest online issue of BA is the January/February 2005 issue ... a couple items of interest include a piece by Hilary Cool on the burials at Brougham (the 'female warrior' burials get a paragraph ... I'm still not convinced) and a short item on a 1st century Roman 'basilica' reused by Anglo Saxon types down to the sixth century.
What does a Classicist do in retirement? Why, write a novel about growing old, of course ... from the Boston Globe via the IHT:

Both the task and blessing of aging is that one has the chance to cast a long light upon the past - to taste regret, to savor good luck, to bear, finally, the heretofore unbearable loss. Peter Pouncey's elegiac novel is an ode to this sorting and shifting of memory, but it is also an exquisitely realized homage to narrative itself: the fine thing molded from the lump of clay that is human consciousness.

But I have already made "Rules for Old Men Waiting" sound all high-minded and fancy-pants dull, and Robert MacIver, its 80-year-old roaring Scots narrator, would upbraid me royally for so doing. He deserves better than that - he was a top rugby player for Scotland in his day, and then a Columbia University historian of World War I, and now he has taken shelter in his Wellfleet home in winter, accompanied by Mahler and single-malt Scotch and waiting to die.

Pouncey is a 67-year-old retired classicist and former president of Amherst College; in the find-the-spin campaign of contemporary publishing, much is being made of the fact that this is his first novel, as though an old elephant had just given birth to twins. In fact it is the sensibility of an abundant inner life that defines "Rules for Old Men Waiting," so rich and reasoned that only time could have produced it.

History and ancient wisdom are the cornerstones of this story; MacIver can sip from the classics - "Let me be to my sad self hereafter kind," he thinks, invoking Gerard Manley Hopkins - as easily as he does from his glass. This easy marriage of sorrow and good sense is part of what makes the old Scot such a fine companion; so, too, does it define the beauty of the tough-minded novel that delivers him.

First lines of novels are not always telling, but this one is: "The house and the old man were well matched, both large framed and failing fast." It is the staunch, funny and dead-on voice of someone you can trust, that "failing" the only polysyllabic word in the bunch. The year is 1987, and MacIver has just lost his beloved wife of nearly 40 years; they had taken her back to the house and pond they both love for her to die. Margaret was a painter, and her visionary patience taught MacIver how to look at the world as well as how to live in it: Where he was all bluster and impulse and rage-driven passions, she knew how to watch decay give way to growth.

In the wake of his loss, fighting his own swift illness, MacIver stocks up on provisions and goes to ground for what he knows are his last days.

The "rules" of the novel's title refer to the list he devises to give himself structure and to keep the fire lighted - burning, as he notes to himself, "books of rival scholars and other trash, before good books and my own." Finest of all, for our purposes, is Rule No. 7: Work every morning.

MacIver is looking for a story to contain his fury - "Steal a march on the random images that invade you," he instructs himself - and so it is that he begins to compose a war story, drawn from his knowledge of the trenches in France and his intimacy with combat of all kinds. MacIver's father was an aviator killed in action over France, and when it came time for his own war, he chose the navy instead. He made his mark in scholarship by interviewing the survivors of poison gas from his father's war. By the time he wraps himself around his chair each morning, dressed in double socks and his old rugby cap, he is more than equipped to go mano à mano with evil.

But if the fiction that evolves from MacIver's efforts is a mud-soaked staging ground for his own grapplings at last light, it is also a stunningly rendered war story in its own right.

As MacIver, fortified by powdered eggs or fighting pain, finds his way back each day to his war-torn plot of sorrow and redemption, the story of his own long life unfolds: his abrasive, lightning-rod ways before a classroom, the captivating painter who loved and then tamed him, the great sorrow that circled them both like a wild beast and then defined their lives. This interweaving of stories is mostly seamless and mostly an even match; only once, in what feels like a hastily conceived deus ex machina where public television invades MacIver's wintry quiet, does the story feel contrived.

Throughout both stories, whether the careful horrors of the trenches or the sweet arc of MacIver's being, hovers the extraordinary sensibility that created them, which is most certainly that of a mind trained in the classics. Not for Pouncey the smaller stuff of little bruises or ironic victories. There's a resonance and force to "Rules for Old Men Waiting," and to the whip-smart old Scot at its heart.
This was making the rounds of various blogs yesterday and I was hoping for a bit more detail ... oh well, we continue to wait ... from Kathimerini:

Archaeologists in the capital’s southern coastal suburb of Palaio Faliro have uncovered what appear to be traces of ancient Athens’s first port before the city’s naval and shipping center was moved to Piraeus, a report said yesterday.

A rescue excavation on a plot earmarked for development has revealed artifacts and light structures dating, with intervals, from Mycenaean times to the fifth century BC, when the port of Phaleron — after which the modern suburb was named — was superseded by Piraeus, according to Ta Nea daily.

“This is a port associated with two myths — Theseus and the Argonauts — and an historic event, the Trojan War,” archaeologist Constantina Kaza was quoted as saying. Theseus is believed to have been a Late Bronze Age king of Athens whose successors sent a contingent to fight in Troy.

The site, some 350 meters from the modern coastline, contained pottery, tracks from the carts that would have served the port, and makeshift fireplaces where travelers waiting to take ship would have cooked and kept warm.

... we'll emit a Marge Simpson-like grumble about the glossing over of Theseus ...
GL posted this over at the latinteach list yesterday ... The Nolli Web Site presents the 1748 map of Rome created by Giambattista Nolli ... click on "launch map engine", wait for it to load, then chech off what you want to highlight ... try this: put the satellite image on then use the slider to play with the transparency ....
From Washington Square News:

Last week the Center for Ancient Studies held its annual Rose-Marie Lewent Conference on Ancient Studies, "Democracy, Education and the Classics." It took place in the Jurow Lecture Hall, unmistakably Greek with its cylindrical form and Doric columns, lending weight to the discussion, both with its centric design and milieu of antiquity. I had haughtily come to ponder the potential for the classics' return to basic education, but the education in question turned out to be mine.

The first speaker was Earl Shorris, founder of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a successful and expanding nonprofit program teaching classics and humanities to the poor and troubled, the so-called "underclass." He said he recruits ex-cons, drop- outs and single mothers for the course, teaching the virtues of morality and citizenship through the classics. The entirety of his first class went on to college, and Clemente Courses have sprung up all over the United States, with additional locations in Mexico, Canada, Australia and Argentina.

Subsequent speakers also sung the praise of the Clemente Course and the ability of the classics to teach timeless lessons of ethics, responsibility and community. However, I could not shake Shorris' examples of students who reinforced his belief that humanities are more than just distant lessons of dead white men. He mentioned a woman who would not allow her husband to beat her anymore after she read Immanuel Kant, and a woman who understood Sophocles' "Antigone" better than anyone could, because she had turned in her own daughter to the FBI.

The event ended with a Q-and-A session, with many open-ended questions: Are the classics, with their broad pronouncements, too provocative for widespread educational use in the modern world? Are they perceived as too dense and too dated to be considered relevant in popular thought? Yet the most important question was whether the current political climate was too blunt and polarized to have a place for those preferring a philosophical approach.

The panelists all answered this question in a similar way: that for the good of politics, those with a philosophical mindset should consider themselves as having the most to offer, and that the ability to contemplate is a life skill that everyone should have, regardless of political participation.

Danielle Allen, a University of Chicago professor, answered best by referring to book 10 of Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics," which reads: "And while people hate men who oppose their impulses, even if they oppose them rightly, the law in its ordaining of what is good is not burdensome. Surely he who wants to make men, whether many or few, better by his care must try to become capable of legislating, if it is through laws that we can become good."

I have spent four years engaged with democracy academically and politically, and for two years journalistically. Still, I left the event renewed, realizing that I had only started. By highlighting democracy's ties between antiquity and the present, we realize that the questions of democracy which still remain tell us that the issue will never be resolved. Beyond its basic meaning, democracy has such varied interpretations, applications and goals that it will always be in flux.
5.00 a.m. |DCIVC| The Roman Empire in North Africa

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
ante diem iv kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 2) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms

12 B.C. -- consecration of the signum et ara Vestae on the Palatine; it was a shrine built by Augustus as pontifex maximus to house the palladium (maybe) which Aeneas brought from Troy

32 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor-for-a-little-while Otho

1st century -- martyrdom of Aphrodisius and companions in what would become Languedoc

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pollio in Pannonia
Today's selection:

pusillanimous @

animadvert @ Wordsmith (an inelegant one to pronounce)

pharos @ Worthless Word for the Day

While over at the My Word! feature at the Classics Technology Centre, you can read about the muses ...

Novus papa electus (22.04.2005, klo 11.23)

"Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus papam." Haec locutio Latina traditionalis die Martis (19.4.) sub vesperum e maeniano Basilicae Sancti Petri audita est cum ingenti exsultatione centum fere milium hominum in plateam Petrinam congregatorum.

Pronuntiatio venit dimidia fere hora post, quam ad signum suffragii papalis feliciter peracti e fornace Cappellae Sixtinae fumus albus sublime latus erat et campanae Basilicae sonare coeperant.

Novus pontifex maximus, ordine ducentesimus quinquagesimus sextus, electus est Iosephus Ratzinger, vir Germanus duodeoctoginta annos natus, qui inde ab anno bismillesimo secundo (2002) officium decani collegii cardinalium curaverat. Nomen, quod novus papa sibi imponi voluit, est Benedictus XVI.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the Columbia Spectator:

Once each year, the students get a chance to do the grading.

And the results are in: Alan Cameron, Anthon Professor of Latin Language and Literature, and Andreas Huyssen, Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature, are the 2005 honorees of the Columbia College Academic Awards Committee. The recipients of these awards are determined in a process completely controlled by the CC students on the committee, making them unique opportunities for undergraduates to recognize faculty.

“I think it’s the only prize on campus that’s truly student-driven,” said Zac Frank, CC ’05 and co-chair of the 13-person committee that painstakingly attends classes and reads professors’ books to determine the winners. The two awards—one given for a newly-published book and the other for outstanding teaching—have been awarded together since the late 1980s.

Professor Alan Cameron won the Lionel Trilling Book Award for an outstanding book by a faculty member for his work Greek Mythography in the Roman World. According to committee co-chair Lauren Gerber, CC ’05, Cameron’s book was selected from an original pool of about 35.

The book was selected “for its originality as well as its meticulous research and textual readings,” Gerber said in an e-mail.

According to Cameron, his book is a specialized exploration of how Ancient Romans learned the myths that pervaded their culture’s art. The work traces the beginnings of different versions of myths—including those fabricated in ancient times, “something modern scholars haven’t appreciated,” Cameron commented wryly.

“I’m obviously delighted that he’s won,” Classics Chair Gareth Williams said. Cameron is “an extraordinarily imminent Latinist, and he’s written many books that have made a major impact on the field.”

History professor William Harris, who has known Cameron since both were in the same class at Oxford University, called Greek Mythography in the Roman World “a very imaginative piece of work.”

“What Alan Cameron does is to follow his own curiosity,” Harris added, instead of “worrying about what other people are working on.” Harris said that this is not the norm in the academic realm.

Though Frank admitted that the work was difficult to get into, he cited its innovative argument and potential impact on the classics discipline as key in the committee’s decision.

“I’ve spent nearly 30 years of my life teaching Columbia undergraduates, so I’m much flattered by the recognition,” Cameron said.

I've got to put a page together that collrcts all of these things ... a piece on a work-study program in the Tehachapi News makes this claim:

Stankorb was quick to address the long tradition and history of shoe-ing. While many people envision the American old west when they think of blacksmithing traditions, Stankorb explained that Alexander the Great was the first person in history to shoe his horses, thereby expediting his conquering expeditions.

... can't find much on this claim, even on the web.
Regular reader MK sent this one in (thanks!) ... the incipit of a piece at Counterpunch:

The wisdom of the ancient Greeks is hard to ignore. Time’s patina only heightens their maturity and prescience. One of the seminal Greek historians of the first century B.C.E., Diodorus Siculus, once said, "As for the philosophers of our time, for instance, most of them are to be seen uttering the noblest sentiments, but following the basest practices.” This statement can be easily paraphrased to reflect one’s opinion on either Republican or Democratic politicians, who vie with each other in performing below par these days . One glance at the political stage is enough to prove it. The shrinking gap between the left and the right can easily fool an amateur in politics. Who is who exactly? Which side is the moral one? Can ethics to be expected from these representatives of the people vowing to do what’s best?
From EADT:

THE rich Roman heritage of Britain's oldest recorded town has been enhanced by the discovery of a “beautifully preserved” room from a bathhouse.

A single 2,000-year-old room was discovered beneath Colchester Sixth Form College during work to build a fire access road near the college's information technology block.

A leading archaeologist said yesterday it was one of the finest finds of its kind. The room from the bathhouse may now be preserved as an attraction.

Philip Crummy, of the Colchester Archaeological Trust, said he and colleagues had been on a “watching brief” as work at the college was carried out.

Although the remains of a Roman house were discovered under the college tennis courts about 100 yards away, Mr Crummy said he had not been expecting to find anything else.

But what was unearthed last week is a “real gem” and a priceless addition to Colchester's glittering array of historical remains, which also include a Roman chariot race track, discovered to worldwide interest last year.

The 24ft by 16ft room at the college was probably one of several belonging to a Roman bathhouse in the grounds of a private house.

About 20 people would have sat naked on benches to gossip more than to wash, with women congregating in the morning and men in the afternoon.

“It was more of a social occasion for the Romans. They weren't that much interested in being washing - it's only recently that we've become obsesses with hygiene,” said Mr Crummy.

“We've suspected there are other bathhouses in Colchester, but this is the best preserved - it's beautiful.”

The walls of the room, which has a plain red tessellated floor, are of stone and unusually stand about 4ft high.

But the most exciting feature is a wooden water main lying under the floor and crossing the centre of the basin.

Mr Crummy said: “This shows that the water must have been under pressure and, therefore, either provided a small fountain or, more likely, was drawn off via a tap.

“Vents in the bench show the room must have been heated and we think it was filled in during the Roman period when it was no longer needed.

“We suspect this was one of a sequence of rooms, but we don't know which one it was. Usually, the bathhouses had a cold room, a warm room and hot room.”

Mr Crummy added it had been built beside North Hill to take advantage of one of the many springs there.

“The spring that fed the bathhouse is still active because the remains of the room partly fills with water and it is these water-logged conditions which explain why the wooden water-main has survived so remarkably well,” he said.

In the short term, the remains will be filled in as a protection, but in the longer term the college, which offers archaeology courses, hopes to preserve them for permanent view.
The lists and blogosphere appear to be abuzz with news of Google Print ... this is the project hailed as making Google into a sort of Alexandrian Library for the 21st century. Most commentators are impressed at the amount of material available from "generous publishers", and there is a lot, but perhaps a bit of curbing our enthusiasm is in order. Keeping in mind that it's still beta (does Google ever take anything out of beta?), we should note that we're not getting access to full texts. A search for Roman, e.g., brought up the curiously round 100 000 hits. A cursory look at those results caused some initial excitement: wow, Brunt's Roman Imperial Themes ... but it turns out to be just three pages of the section on Sulla. The index and TOCs are there, which are useful, of course. Newer tomes, such as Robert Turcan's The Cults of the Roman Empire provide just the TOCs. All this is useful, still, but the cynical might notice the links to various places to order the books over in the left sidebar ...

Further fiddling, however, suggests that you can get beyond three pages if you know how to fiddle with the search ... e.g., if you type brunt laus, you'll get some pages from his Laus Imperii article ... yet there is a limit; trying to go beyond that brought up this:

Thank you for using Google Print.

You have either reached a page that is unavailable for viewing or reached your viewing limit for this book.

Google protects works that are under copyright by restricting access to certain pages and restricting the number of pages you can view. You may continue to take advantage of Google Print by clicking on About this Book. Thank you for using Google Print.

... didn't see any journals ...

Lest this sound negative, I still think this is a good thing ... it's still nowhere near "Alexandrian Library" status, though ...
... nothing of interest ...
ante diem v kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 1) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms (Chloris is also mentioned ... I'm still trying to figure that one out).

4977 B.C. -- birth of the universe, according to the calculations of Johannes Kepler

399 B.C. -- death of Socrates (by one reckoning)

1753 -- birth of Edward Gibbon

1870 -- Heinrich Schliemann 'discovers' Troy
Today's selection:

detritus @

nascent @ Merriam-Webster

perpend @ Wordsmith
Quid Benedictus XVI dixerit (22.04.2005, klo 11.22)

Summus pontifex recens electus, dum multitudinem sibi maximo clamore et plausu gratulantem manibus sublatis salutat: "Fratres et sorores carissimi", inquit, "post magnum papam Ioannem Paulum II mortuum cardinales me, simplicem et humilem in vinea Domini operarium, eligere dignati sunt."

His verbis dictis Beatissimus Pater, brevi precatione facta, more translaticio benedictionem urbi et orbi dedit.

Missam sollemnem ordinationis suae papa Benedictus XVI die Dominico proxime futuro in Basilica Sancti Petri celebrabit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
As folks might be aware, I keep my eyes open for new online books etc., and yesterday I learned of the Thomas Gray Archive ... never heard of this poet, but the list of first lines began with:

Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake,

... so it caught my interest. The poem is actually prefaced with the following:

When the Author first published this and the following
Ode, he was advised, even by his Friends, to subjoin some
few explanatory Notes; but had too much respect for the
understanding of his Readers to take that liberty.

... so now the first few verses:

Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon's harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
The laughing flowers, that round them blow,
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of music winds along,
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Through verdant vales and Ceres' golden reign:
Now rowling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour:
The rocks and nodding groves rebellow to the roar.

... nice beginning to a Pindaric Ode ... then it continues:

Oh! Sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares
And frantic Passions hear thy soft control.
On Thracia's hills the Lord of War,
Has curbed the fury of his car,
And dropped his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feathered king
With ruffled plumes and flagging wing:
Quenched in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye.

From there, it wanders ever-deeper into Say-what?-land (or as would currently be said ... WTF?). Should have gone with the explanatory notes ...
Apparently I totally missed this bit of action in the Classical blogosphere (even Jupiter nods) ... Classics in Contemporary Culture alerts us to some interesting applications of Latin on the Daily Show ...
Regular reader MK sent this one along (thanks!) ... it's an editorial from the LA Times suggesting the US has become like 'late' Rome ... not sure the conclusion (below) connects to that which went before, though:

Welcome to late-era Rome, where mindless militaristic expansion is considered patriotic and where demagogues who recklessly waste taxes and young lives in empire-building are deemed valorous. Wolfowitz, for example, has been rewarded for his ignorance and arrogance with the top job at the World Bank.

It is not too late, however, for us to wake up and recall that, in the end, once militarism trumped republicanism, the glory that was Rome proved to be a hollow boast.
I think this was at ARLT too (see below), but it's also in my 'net' so ... from

Michael DiSalvo (M.D. as many call him), though a psychologist by training, now considers himself a "doctor" of a different sort. "'Doctor,' many forget, means 'teacher' in Latin," he says, with a wink of an eye. "What we really need to get these kids in shape for the New S.A.T. is a few more 'doctors.'" Michael, a resident of Broward County, believes that he has some right to speak due to recent success prepping his own students. What's the secret?

The easy answer: critical thinking. The more thought-provoking one: Latin. Though he had raised his own math scores a whopping 150 pts from college to graduate school by taking a few key classes, Michael found that the key to unlocking the verbal part of the S.A.T. was his four years of Latin. Why Latin?

"Eighty percent of the English language relates to the original Latin. If there is anything critical thinking skills allow one to do it's to get down to the roots of things. It is there one can find the keys to open up an entire new world of knowledge. But, though understanding difficult vocabulary is important, it isn't the main thing," he says. "Latin forces you to think 'outside the box.' Once you train yourself to think out of sequence, to look for patterns, you know you have that skill that is at the heart of the entire S.A.T." Tangible results?

"I remember the first time I really started teaching these strategies. Within two weeks I saw a dedicated student jump from a 1010 to a 1310, Verbal + Quantitative. Compared to the 30 points increase many are usually excited about, I knew I was onto something." His proof that ancient languages are the key?

"Just look at the great philosophers. Plato, for example, who spoke Greek, had it written over the world's first college, the Academy: 'He who does not know Geometry may not enter this place.' The fact that these famous critical thinkers had a mastery of these ancient languages and subjects like Algebra and Geometry should tell us something. The careful, ordered way of thinking that was part of their life was in the very world around them, in the very languages they spoke." His advice to those preparing for the new S.A.T.?

"Get the basics down and learn how to think. If you can take Latin, great! Give it a shot. Though you may go crazy with declining and conjugating everything in sight, you will begin to see how it all relates to the ability to think clearly. I tell my kids: learn the basics, learn the pattern, solve for the pattern. It will all come in due time with persistence and hard work if you study the principles, whether they be Math, Reading or Writing ones." So, will this "doctor" ever stop making house calls?

"I've been able to get the big numbers when I show students these skills one-on-one. I want to try to get the same results teaching classes this summer. That's what Plato did. That is the ultimate challenge."
Just the incipit of this one, from the New York Sun (which was posted to the Classics list yesterday ... the Sun used to be subscription only?):

"Some report elsewhere whatever is told them; the measure of fiction always increases, and each fresh narrator adds something to what he has heard," wrote Ovid. And he never even met a newspaperman. The recent press coverage of a reported discovery of new classical texts provided proof that journalists and scholars rarely speak the same language, to the frustration of both.

The Legio IX Hispana folk pass along this page showing their most recent creation ... their version (which looks very serviceable) of a brazier modelled on one found at Pompeii ....
From the Times:

ALBANIA’S forthcoming elections are proving perilous for the great Classical city of Apollonia, which lies near the country’s Adriatic coastline not far from the city of Fier.

A new road — intended to speed access to still pristine beaches for an electorate rapidly becoming used to Western leisure activities after half a century of drab communism — threatens to destroy important and unexplored parts of Apollonia even as Albania starts to promote archaeo-tourism as a euro-earner.

Today, Apollonia lies several miles inland from the Adriatic, but when it was founded as a colony of Corinth in the sixth century BC it was a major port, competing with Dyrrhachium (modern Durrës) for trade.

“Its zenith was in Hellenistic and perhaps Republican times, when this prominent walled hilltop was packed with monumental buildings and, in the valleys to the south, a great cemetery of tumuli was created,” says Professor Richard Hodges of the University of East Anglia.

Professor Hodges has been working at Butrint, probably Albania’s most famed Classical site and one of its first archaeological parks, and is concerned that establishment of a similar park at Apollonia, promulgated in the 2003 National Heritage Act, will be spoilt by the threatened road. Italian government funds have been promised, and their scheme would put the hitherto isolated site and the proposed park right beside the highway as it leads to the Adriatic coast at Vlorë.

“The proposed line, it is fairly certain, passes directly through the waterside limits of the ancient city as well as one of its Roman cemeteries,” he says in Current World Archaeology.

The International Centre for Albanian Archaeology, headed by Lorenc Bejko, has fielded survey teams to make a detailed study of the proposed route, and some Albanian government officials are anxious to help, but the aid funds are insufficient to divert the road a kilometre or more away from the ancient city.

“Everyone reckons the road should be diverted. No one truly believes the cumbersome state bureaucracy can be moved to achieve this,” Professor Hodges says. “The Apollonia crisis will come to a head this summer: I predict that we will get caught up in a protracted rescue excavation that could have been avoided. The Italians are not indifferent . . . but are tied to their funding, which has been slow to materialise.”

From the World Peace Herald:

Pope Benedict XVI loves to chant the mass in Latin and occasionally preach in this language that had long been sidelined even in the Roman Catholic Church.

Now scholars such as David Jones, chairman of the classics department at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich., wonder: "Is this pontiff riding a trend -- or pushing it?"

That Latin and Greek are en vogue again seems to be an international phenomenon.

"I think, therefore I do Latin," runs an axiom popular among the brighter variety of British secondary school students. It is a play on French philosopher Réné Descartes' famous dictum, "I think, therefore I am."

In some cities, such as Leeds, they band together for after-school classes in Latin to boost their analytical skills, according to the BBC.

The lack of Latin teachers resulting from the neglect of the classics in the postmodern pedagogy of the 1970s and 1980s does not seem to hamper the enthusiasm of today's high school students. These days college students are doubling as instructors. Moreover, the classics have gone high-tech. To make up for the woeful shortage of teachers, the Cambridge Online Latin Project provides digital resources including an "e-tutor."

Students can send their homework. For a fee of approximately $18, the e-tutor will mark and annotate the papers.

In Germany, once a great bastion of the classics, Internet help for Latin learners has even triggered legal battles.

A 15-year old boy has caused the ire of textbook publishers by placing his own translations of the Latin classics online to be downloaded by others.

For while Cesar's De Bellum Gallicum clearly does not benefit from copyright protection, abbreviated schoolbook versions of such texts do. And so one publisher is suing him for copyright infringements and causing his company severe economic harm.

Moreover, the publisher accused him of "advanced criminal energy" -- and threatened to have him dragged before a criminal court.

Meanwhile in the United States, the revival of Latin and Greek proceeds along more genteel lines. Christian schools, which are rapidly growing in numbers, strongly emphasize instruction in these languages said Robert Benne, director of the Center for Religion and society in Salem, Va., who serves on the board of one of these institutions.

But secular schools, too, are taken a renewed interest in Latin, according to Hillsdale's Jones, who is impressed by the skills of some of their graduates in that language.

Gone are the days when nobody in the academy wanted to hear anything about the ancient world, says Jones, who attributes the new fascination with Latin and Greek to the conservative renewal of the last 20 years.

This interest has accelerated at such a rate over the last decade that "we at Hillsdale are teaching double and triple overloads to meet the need." Every year some 100 freshmen -- more than a quarter of the first-year students -- take Latin, and some Greek as well.

The situation is similar at many other small liberal arts schools, such as St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where professors observe a growing awareness among students that classics are essential for critical analysis.

Many Hillsdale graduates with a facility to read Latin and Greek move on to pursue advanced degrees in the German or French classical traditions, or to enter seminary, Jones says.

Others immerse themselves in these languages for the same reasons their forebears did -- simply to obtain a well-rounded education.

Meanwhile back in Rome, the new German pope will doubtless continue to promote Latin as part of "a reform of the reform," as he said when he was just plain Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, meaning that he will endeavor to reverse the triviality to which the mass had descended after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

As his predecessor, John Paul II, had written, "Sacred liturgy is the highest expression of the mysterious reality" and the "culminating point toward which the action of the Church is directed and at the same time the source from which all her strength is derived."

Vatican II bungled the liturgical reform, states the Rev. john McCloskey, a Catholic priest with the Faith and Reason Institute in Chicago.

Since presiding at the first funeral Mass for John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, has shown to the world the luxuriant beauty of the old mass that has inspired some of history's greatest composers. And that mass is sung and spoken in the language kids on both sides of the Atlantic have come to appreciate once again -- Latin.

Speaking of Latin, ARLT has a plethora of recent posts (including this one, I just noticed) ... more interesting is a link to a Vatican Radio page with the ad Matutinam and other 'daily' prayers ... great way to start your day ...
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Fabulous Centers of Hellenism
Between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, many cities in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) reached unprecedented artistic levels. They were the new centers of Hellenism--the fruit of the junction of Greek and Eastern civilizations. In this episode, we visit the cities of Ephesus and Pergamum. State-of-the art technology coupled with enhanced 3D graphics allows us to view the cities as only the original inhabitants could as we take a virtual tour of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Leptis Magna, and the Altar of Zeus complex at Pergamum, which the citizens considered a symbol of the cultural supremacy of Hellenistic people over the rest of the world. Features high-end location photography and insights from some of the world's leading archaeological experts.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Visit of the Sanctuaries of Apollo
For many centuries, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and Egyptians turned to Apollo, the lunar god, in hopes of being granted good fortune. In this episode, we chronicle the sanctuaries built in Apollo's honor, and visit Delos in the Cyclades, Delphi in the region of Phocis, and Didymi in Ionia. Viewers experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we explore these celebrated, ancient sites, and state-of-the art technology coupled with enhanced 3D graphics allow us to see them as only the original worshippers could. Features insights from some of the world's leading archaeological experts and high-end location photography.

HINT = History International
ante diem vi kalendas maias

ca. 89 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cletus

121 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Marcus Aurelius

Actually, this is a past auction from Sotheby's which I came across this weekend ... it might not be obvious from the small photo, but it's a centaur ... second century ... from Ghandara (!). Details.

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek):

What must we do on St. George's Day? - Last Syrian troops leave Lebanon
Germani laetitia affecti sunt (22.04.2005, klo 11.21)

Germani, in iis cancellarius foederalis Gerhard Schröder, ubi primum concivem suum papam creatum esse audiverunt, magna laetitia affecti sunt arbitrati illam electionem suae nationi non parvae laudi fore.

Qui nuntius iis eo iucundior erat, quod iam dimidium fere millennium est, cum vir e Germania oriundus pontificatum habuit: is erat papa Hadrianus VI, qui saeculo sexto decimo ineunte sesquialterum fere annum sedem apostolicam tenuit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Random items recently spotted ... Catullus for Kids @ Classics in Contemporary Culture ... Fishers of Men @ Laudator ... Caprification ibidem (hmmm ... note to self: coprification is a potentially useful word) ... Sauvage Noble's very plausible emendation of a chunk of Livius Andronicus (at the end of the 'roundup' of POxy stuff) ... The Junior Classical League @ House of Hagen ... and, of course, Hobbyblog continues to post interesting numismatica ...
From the Pocono Record ... mostly a list of names:

Fifty-two Latin scholars from Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School have merited recognition for their performance in the National Latin Exam.

Latin III

Gold Medal, Summa Cum Laude: Jesse Ciccolella and Nicole Gabana.

Silver Medal, Maxima Cum Laude: Mary Carney, Kaitlyn McCloskey and Hannah Farda.

Magna Cum Laude: Nicholas Porter and Ronald Guenther.

Cum Laude: Christine Clark, Gerard Letendre and James Honochick.

Latin II

Gold Medal, Summa Cum Laude: Erik Schroeder, Laura Quintiliani, Michael Valenti, Carlos Rodas, James Bercier, Trung De Sa and Kelly O'Donald.

Silver Medal, Maxima Cum Laude: Robert Oldfield, David Bowen, Joseph Sumereau, Steven Lipe, James Dembinski, Shane McNamara, Michael Primiano, Samantha Kramer, Nikki Schultz, Michael Smith, Shana Wachowski and Emily Mullen.

Magna Cum Laude: Daria Koscielniak, Daniel Rusk, Sara Kramer and Ryan Gregorio.

Cum Laude: Ravenna Singh.

Latin I

Gold Medal, Summa Cum Laude: Kthleen Doherty, Hong De Sa, Carl Mattsson, Cathleen Traino and Pawel Lijewski.

Silver Medal, Maxima Cum Laude: Eric Glenn, John Claffey, Matthew Shukaitis, Brian Robbins and Kaitlin Fish.

Magna Cum Laude: Aimee Luzzi, Matthew Miele, Chris Long and Colin Chambers.

Cum Laude: Jovan Singh, Bridget McNamara, Michael Gonsky and Kevin Mink.

The American Classical League instituted the National Latin Exam in 1978 in response to the desire of Latin teachers to offer their students an instrument whereby they might measure their success in the study of Latin. Participation in the exam is increasing. The 2005 exam was taken by 131,000 students in all 50 states and eight foreign countries. The American Classical League awards scholarship to exemplary seniors who intend to pursue the study of classics in college.
From the Indiana Statesman (don't trip over those first few words like I did):

The first inaugural Latin Fest was held Friday for members of the ISU and Terre Haute communities to celebrate Latin and classical studies in the modern world.

"We want to bring together the different members of the Latin community from Terre Haute and around the state," said Angela Nicholas, president of Eta Sigma Phi, a Latin/Greek Honor society.

After the welcome and introductions, first-year Latin students gave four presentations.

"We wanted to have students more involved," said April Philpott the secretary and treasurer of Eta Sigma Phi at ISU. "They got extra credit for participating, and it was a good way for them to be a part of Latin Fest."

Hanna Burris, a freshman English major, and Adam Steele, a junior life science major, performed a skit in Latin titled "'Rufilla et Salvius':Marital Discord in Roman Britain," dressed in clothing from the era.

In the story, the wife was frustrated because she felt her husband didn't take her feelings into consideration.

"We were a Roman couple," saidBurris. "I told my husband I wanted a house in Britain because my friends had one in Britain. But then I wanted to move back to Rome because of my friends. I told him that he was a cruel man that understood nothing."

There were also three PowerPoint presentations.

The first PowerPoint presentation was titled "A Trip to Rome."

Michael Heath, a sophomore life science major, took a humorous approach to informing the audience about the historical landmarks in Rome.

One interesting fact from Heath's presentation was that Castel Saint Angelo is connected to the Vatican and is often called a "hideout for the Pope."

The third presentation was titled "The Colosseum and Gladiators Who Fought There."

The Colosseum was constructed in 80 A.D., seats 50,000 people and sits on six acres of land. Millions of people visit every year, and the price for admission is equal to about $10.

The last presentation was by Shannon Horne, a junior English and photography major. Her slideshow consisted of pictures she had taken while studying abroad in England.

Horne said she developed an interest for classical studies and culture during her freshman year at ISU.

"My freshman year I took a general honors course, and it was classical Rome and Greek history and mythology," she said. "I found it very interesting."

There was a panel discussion with guest panelists, various Eta Sigma Phi members at ISU.

The purpose of the panel discussion was to motivate students interested in classical studies.

"The purpose of the panel discussion was to find out how studying Latin influenced the panelists and get ideas on what to do after college," said April Philpott, a sophomore English education and cross linguistics major.

After the panel discussion concluded, Nicholas thanked everyone in attendance.

She was pleased with the turnout and the event.

"I think it (the turnout) was excellent. It was everything that we hoped it would be," she said. "It just started out as an idea that we threw out at a meeting, and it met my highest expectations."

Philpott agreed, "It went well. This is the start of a new tradition. Next year it will be better, but I'm very pleased."
The BBC reports on some clumsy archaeologists:

Archaeologists are to excavate what they think could be the site of a Roman lead mine dating back more than 1,000 years.

In June last year, Cambria Archaeology unearthed the best preserved example of a medieval track in Wales in a peat bog near Borth in Ceredigion.

But workers also stumbled across evidence of what they described as a Roman "industrial estate."

Next month they are going back to the village to probe the area again.

Cambria Archaeology, from Llandeilo, intends to find out the date of the site, what was happening there and who was working it.

Students from the University of Birmingham, who helped last year, have agreed to return as have specialists from Lampeter University.

The dig at Llancynfelyn, near Borth, will begin on 31 May and end on 17 June.

Cambria Archaeology director Gwilym Hughes said: "We have found debris to the south of the track which could date back to Roman times.

"We know there were lead mines in the area so there could have been a Roman mine there."

Mr Hughes said the reason for building a timber track across a peat bog had baffled experts.

"We don't know the date of the industrial origins, but it could be earlier than the medieval track," he added.

"I suspect the track had something to do with the mine."

"It's very exciting because we have the potential of finding out why the Romans thought this site was important."

Last year the team said the medieval track was made up of thick wooden beams and had been protected by a peat bog which had covered it for centuries.

Carbon dating carried out on fragments of wood from the site date back to 900 or 1020AD.

The trackway was on edge of Cors Fochno (Borth Bog). This is an area of wetland containing both tidal and freshwater marshes and it is a site of great ecological importance.
3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Warrior Women: Boudica
After her husband's death and ruthless attacks on her and her daughters, Queen Boudica took up the sword, summoned her Iceni warriors and went on a rampage against the Romans; the Iceni were eventually stopped by the more disciplined Roman legions.

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)

National Geographic has come up with what is probably the most balanced coverage of this one, so I'll reproduce it here:

Classical Greek and Roman literature is being read for the first time in 2,000 years thanks to new technology. The previously illegible texts are among a hoard of papyrus manuscripts. Scholars say the rediscovered writings will provide a fascinating new window into the ancient world.

Salvaged from an ancient garbage dump in Egypt, the collection is kept at Oxford University in England. Known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, the collection includes writings by great classical Greek authors such as Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides.

Using a technique called multi-spectral imaging, researchers have uncovered texts that include

• parts of a lost tragedy by Sophocles, the 5th-century B.C. Athenian playwright;
•sections of a long-vanished novel by Lucian, the second-century Greek writer; and
• an epic poem by Archilochos, which describes events that led to the Trojan War.

Christopher Pelling, regius professor of Greek at Oxford University, said the works are "central texts which scholars have been speculating about for centuries."

Researchers hope to rediscover examples of lost Christian gospels which didn't make it into the New Testament, along with other important classical writings.

The papyrus manuscripts were found at the site of the disappeared town of Oxyrhynchus in central Egypt more than a hundred years ago. The text in much of the collection has become obscured or faded over time.

Researchers at Oxford University are now employing a digital imaging process that's able to reveal ink invisible to the naked eye. They say the technique should boost the amount of writing available to scholars studying the collection by around 20 percent.

Deciphering Technique

Dirk Obbink, a lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature at Oxford, directs the research. He says the digital imaging process was first developed for researchers who studied Roman texts buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in the first century.

"We're applying it for the first time to non-carbonized ancient manuscripts on papyrus, which was the paper of the ancient world," Obbink said. "Most of our collection comes from rubbish dumps, so it's been in contact with soil for thousands of years and can be quite dark."

The imaging process works by using different filters to isolate the waveband to which the hidden writing responds. "Some [text] respond[s] in the ultraviolet range, some in the infrared range," Obbink said. "The technique involves finding the exact right point at which the ink reflects at maximum contrast against the slightly less dark surface so you can read it."

Obbink says the research should add to the body of known work of standard classical authors such as Homer and Sophocles, as well as that of lesser known writers "who didn't survive either through accident of time or because they weren't as popular."

Sophocles wrote 120 plays, but only seven survived, among them Oedipus Rex and Antigone. "We have samples of all the rest in these papyrus fragments," Obbink said. "We're filling in the gaps incrementally. You're never going to get each and every word of 120 plays, but you will get a slice of what was available during the centuries when these rubbish mounds built up."

The fragments may also shed new light on texts that have survived only by being repeatedly copied over thousands of years. "These older [papyrus] texts can be more accurate, or preserve completely new readings," Obbink said.

Similarly, Biblical scholars can expect valuable new material to emerge as some gospels that weren't included in the New Testament didn't survive. "The texts that are in the Bible were selected out of a much larger body of work that once circulated," Obbink said. "We have samples of that material here."

Roman Period

He says the Oxyrhynchus collection holds a lot of information about the rise of Christianity during the Roman period. (Egypt became part of the Roman Empire after Cleopatra's fleet was defeated at the battle of Actium in 31 B.C.).

"[Christianity] starts out as a small social phenomenon, then just takes over everything," Obbink said. "You can see other cultural sea changes taking place—changes in taxes, changes in rule. It's all reflected in the papyrus."

Oxyrhynchus, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of modern-day Cairo, rose to prominence under Egypt's Greek and Roman rulers. The town's papyrus-rich garbage heaps were excavated in the late 1890s by two Oxford University fellows, B.P. Grenfell and A.S. Hunt. Researchers have been painstakingly piecing together the Oxyrhynchus papyri fragments ever since.

So far 65 volumes of transcripts and translations have been published by the London-based Egypt Exploration Society, which owns the collection.

The latest volume includes details of fragments showing third- and fourth-century versions of the Book of Revelations. Intriguingly, the number assigned to "the Beast" of Revelations isn't the usual 666, but 616.

About 10 percent of the Oxyrhynchus hoard is literary. The rest consists of documents, including wills, bills, horoscopes, tax assessments, and private letters.

"It contains a complete slice of life," Obbink added. "There's everything from Sophocles and Homer to sex manuals and steamy novels. But it's in pieces, and it all has to be put back together."
ante diem vii kalendas maias

Robigalia -- an ancient agricultural festival designed to appease the numen Robigo/Robigus who caused mildew

404 B.C. -- Athens surrenders to Sparta, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end (by one reckoning)

68 A.D. -- martyrdom of Mark the Evangelist

1940 -- death of William Dorpfeld (excavator of Tiryns)
Today's Selection:

scintilla @

pristine @ Merriam-Webster

temporize @ Wordsmith

metanephros @ OED (try using it in a conversation today!)

deliquescent @ Worthless Word for the Day
Andersen ante 200 annos natus (22.04.2005, klo 11.20)

Deinde quidam e Dania nuntius: in praesenti ducenti anni acti sunt, cum Ioannes Christianus Andersen, magnus fabularum scriptor Danus, in urbe Odensia natus est.

Par est memoriam eius multimodis recoli, cum in apologis ab eo compositis fabulae celeberrimae numerentur, ut exempli gratia "Anas foeda pullastra", "Nova vestis imperatoris", "Nereis parva" et "Regina nivea".

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the Hindustan Times:

In a world encouraged to embrace differences, BC and AD are increasingly finding themselves on the wrong end of the religious sensitivity metre.

Educators and historians say schools from North America to Australia have been changing the terms Before Christ to Before Common Era and anno Domini (Latin for year of the Lord) to Common Era. In short, they're referred to as BCE and CE.

The change has stoked the ire of Christian conservatives and some religious leaders who view it as an attack on a social and political order that has been in place for centuries. Ironically, for more than a century Hebrew lessons have used BCE. and CE, with CE sometimes referring to Christian Era.

That begs the question: Can old and new coexist in harmony, or must one give way to the other to reflect changing times and attitudes?

The terms BC and AD have clear Catholic roots. Dionysius Exiguus, an abbot in Rome, devised them as a way to determine the date for Easter for Pope St. John I. The terms were continued under the Gregorian Calendar, created in 1582 under Pope Gregory XIII. Although most calendars are based on an epoch or person, BC and AD have always presented a particular problem for historians: There is no year zero. Critics say that's additional reason to replace the Christian-based terms.

"When Jews or Muslims have to put Christ in the middle of our calendar ... that's difficult for us," said Steven M. Brown, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. "They are hard for non-Jews, because they assume a centrality of Jesus ... it's not offensive, but it's not sensitive to my religious sensibilities." The new terms were introduced by academics in the 1990s in public elementary and high school classrooms.

"I started using BCE. when some of my students began asking more earnestly than before just what BC meant," said Bill Everdell, a history book editor, teaching instructor and Brooklyn history teacher in the private, formerly religious St. Ann's School. Everdell said most history teachers he knows use BCE. and CE. "I realized the courtesy was mine to extend."

He said the national Advanced Placement test in history has used the new terms since 2001.

In New York, the terms are entering public classrooms through textbooks and worksheets, but BCE and CE are not part of the state's official curriculum and there is no plan to debate the issue, said state Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman. "The standard textbooks primarily used in New York use the terms AD and BC," Burman said. Schools, however, may choose to use the new terms, although BC and AD will continue to be used in the state Regents exams, many of which are required for high school graduation.

Candace de Russy, a national writer on education and Catholic issues and a trustee for the State University of New York, doesn't accept the notion of fence-straddling.

"The use of BCE and CE is not mere verbal tweaking; rather it is integral to the leftist language police _ a concerted attack on the religious foundation of our social and political order," she said.

"Has anyone actually been oppressed by the use of B.C and AD?" de Russy said. "And do not BCE and CE implicitly refer to Christ? That is when did the common era begin, after all." For centuries, BC and AD were used in public schools, universities and in historical and most theological research. Some historians and college instructors started using the new forms as a less Christ-centric alternative.

"I think it's pretty common now," said professor Gary B. Nash of the University of California and Los Angeles and director of the National Center for History in Schools. "Once you take a global approach, it makes sense not to make a dating system applicable only to a relative few."

But not everyone takes that pluralistic view.

"I find it distressing, I don't like it," said Gilbert Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council that finds politics intruding on instruction. He said changing terms accepted for centuries because of a current social movement such as multiculturalism could threaten other long-held principles. "That's the shame of it. Though I have only seen it in isolated cases so far, wait five years and AD may disappear."

Nash said most major textbook companies have adopted the new terms, which are part of the national world history standards. But even those standards have been called into question. "Is that some sort of the political correctness?" said Tim Callahan of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, an independent group with 60,000 educator members. Georgia's Cobb County was the site of a campaign by parents to place warnings on biology textbooks stating "evolution is a theory, not a fact." "It sounds pretty silly to me," Callahan said of the use of BCE and C.E.

"Maybe we should call it herstory," he joked. In a 2000 national resolution, the Southern Baptist Convention condemned the new terms as "the result of the secularization, anti-supernaturalism, religious pluralism, and political correctness pervasive in our society."

Ben Johnson, a Latin teacher at Hampden Academy, a public high school in Hampden, Maine, finds himself in the middle of the debate. The 26-year-old sticks with BC and AD, and said so in a posting on the Internet. But he also allows students, and anyone else, to use either.

"Political correctness can sometimes go a little too far, and maybe that's what's happening," Johnson said.

Personally, I've never understood why the textbook we use for religion in Grade Seven -- Believe In Me ... put out by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops -- actually uses B.C.E. and C.E. ....
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

Militants battle in Mecca - Japanese inns take you back in time
A new issue of Ephemeris has hit the estands ....
I mentioned this one in yesterday's Explorator, but I think I forgot ever to post it here ... it's an AFP piece from the Local which relates the discovery of a prehistoric level of occupation at Pompeii:

Swedish archeologists have discovered a Stone Age settlement covered in ash under the ruins of the ancient city of Pompei, indicating that the volcano Vesuvius engulfed the area in lava more than 3,500 years before the famous 79 AD eruption.

The archeologists recently found burnt wood and grains of emmer wheat in the earth under Pompei, Anne-Marie Leander Touati, a professor of archeology at Stockholm University who led the team, told AFP.

"Carbon dating shows that the finds are from prehistoric times, that is, from 3,500 years BC," Leander Touati said. It was until now believed that Pompei was first inhabited during the Bronze Age.

The group of archeologists - part of a larger international project - were mapping a Roman neighbourhood of Pompei when they made the discovery.

"It was a real fluke," Leander Touati said, explaining that the group was emptying a well to determine its use when it made the find.

"We realized that the well was a lot deeper than we thought, and we sent a guy down into the well. He moved some of the earth and suddenly he was in prehistoric times," she said.

The Stone Age remains were covered in a thick layer of ash. On top of that a a layer of ceramic shards was found, which according to Leander Touati could be from the Bronze Age. Additional geological layers lay on top of that, and on top of it all were the ruins of Pompei.

Pompei was covered in lava when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The excellently preserved ruins have become one of the world's most visited archaeological sites.

Leander Touati said her group was now planning the next step.

"We're going down there again," she said.
From the Guardian:

The plainest, strongest and oldest of the classical orders of architecture is the Doric, developed by mainland Greeks and familiar to us all in the form of the Parthenon.

Doric columns rest directly on the ground and support the beams above with a simple cushion, called an echinus, and a square plate, or abacus. The columns are 'fluted' with vertical grooves. The drawing on the left, from a handbook by modern classical architect Robert Adam, shows a column in Selinus in Sicily dating from the 6th century BC.

The first Doric columns were short and squat, only about four times as high as they were broad. This ratio gradually increased to a height of more than seven times the diameter, but Doric has always been regarded as the column to use to denote strength, masculinity and practicality.

When the Greek style was revived in Britain in the 19th century, Doric columns were used where these robust qualities were required. They were used sometimes on the ground floor to support the whole building, sometimes to symbolise military strength in forts and barracks, and often to show strength in industrial buildings.

Folks might be interested to know that Peter James continues to maintain and update the companion website to his Centuries of Darkness tome ...
Some of the lists were discussing the Pope's Latin this past week ... here's some info from Reuters on same which sould be of interest:

The new Pope Benedict may be versed in the language of ancient Rome but the Vatican's foremost Latin lover says it's way too soon to shout "Gaudeamus Igitur" (Therefore, let us rejoice).

"He's going to be in for a sad awakening if he thinks just by giving his first speech in Latin everyone's going to jump on the bandwagon," said Reginald Foster, an American Carmelite monk from Milwaukee, WI, who translates papal documents.

Foster, 66, was among a team of Latin experts put to work on a seven-page speech that the new pontiff, the German former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, gave in Latin on Wednesday to the cardinals who elected him the day before.

That address, Sunday's inaugural papal Mass in Latin and several other Latin rites in the papal transition were broadcast live around the world to hundreds of millions of viewers.

The words "Extra Omnes" (Everyone Out), spoken when the cardinals secluded themselves in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave, and "Habemus Papam" (We have a Pope) when the new pontiff was chosen, are now familiar to a vast global audience.

Yet Foster, who also teaches young priests Latin at the Gregorian University in Rome, said Benedict would have a "Herculean task" reversing the decline of what had been the Church's lingua franca (common tongue) for nearly 2,000 years.

The Church used Latin worldwide for its services until the Second Vatican Council in 1965 ruled that Mass could be celebrated in local languages.

"People aren't studying it; we've lost a whole generation of teachers since Vatican II," Foster told Reuters before a class at the Gregorian for around a dozen seminarians and priests.


Foster had only half an hour to complete his work on Benedict's speech last Wednesday and admitted that, as a result, the Latin in parts of it was not the most elegant.

He noted, however, that Ratzinger was among the best Latin speakers of the cardinals who entered the conclave -- no doubt a comfort to a man who winces at hearing his carefully crafted Latin speeches pronounced with the wrong emphasis or accent.

He also said the new Pope had accepted the Latinists' decision to return to the tradition of referring to himself with the honorific first person plural "We" rather than "I" as his predecessor John Paul had preferred.

Foster said it was wrong to associate Latin with the conservative wing of the Church. "Latinists in the Renaissance were the most broad-minded people," Foster said. "Now they think if you love Latin you have to be old fashioned."

Foster himself can sometimes surprise his students by voicing his liberal views in the most traditional of tongues.

Speaking to his class on Friday, he wondered how the Pope would handle Spain's decision to legalise same-sex marriage.

He paused, searching for the right words, then smiled as he said the clergy could not be "strutiones in deserto".

For those whose Latin is rusty, that's "ostriches in the desert" -- heads in the sand.
11.00 p.m. |HINT| Rome: The Enduring Legacy
The final episode reveals the birth of Christianity and how this religion that the emperors initially tried to destroy ultimately passed on the empire's legacy. Highlights include: the crucifixion of Jesus; religious persecutions; rise of Constantine, the first emperor to embrace Christianity; and Justinian, Rome's last emperor.

HINT = History International
The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings and issue 7.52 of Explorator have been posted at Classics Central (plenty of jobs posted there last week too! Please don't forget to send me some items for the Calendar).
The latest issue of Archaeology has a feature by Hillary Cool on that burial in the UK which supposedly is of a female warrior from the Danube region ... there's an abstract online. Cool continues to maintain the possibility of such warriors serving in the Roman army ... I remain extremely skeptical given the traditional Roman attitude toward having women in a military camp.
This a.m.'s Explorator links to an article in the Khaleej Times about DNA testing having been done on some of China's Tarim Basin mummies. The mummies have turned out to be Caucasian but, inter alia, there is mentioned:

Meanwhile, Yingpan Man, a nearly perfectly preserved 2,000-year-old Caucasoid mummy, was only this month allowed to leave China for the first time, and is being displayed at the Tokyo Edo Museum.

The Yingpan Man, discovered in 1995 in the region that bears his name, has been seen as the best preserved of all the undisturbed mummies that have so far been found.

Yingpan Man not only had a gold foil death mask -- a Greek tradition -- covering his blonde bearded face, but also wore elaborate golden embroidered red and maroon garments with seemingly Western European designs.

His nearly 2.00 meter (six-foot, six-inch) long body is the tallest of all the mummies found so far and the clothes and artifacts discovered in the surrounding tombs suggest the highest level of Caucasoid civilization in the ancient Tarim Basin region.

When the Yingpan Man returns from Tokyo to Urumqi where he has long been kept out of public eye, he is expected to be finally put on display when the new Xinjiang Museum opens this year.

Can't find much more to say about this Yingpan Man ... he was apparently found in 1999 ... if someone can point to a photo, please do!
Some decent ClassCon in medias res of a piece from the Baltimore Sun:


That he survived is a miracle. That he came back to win the Tour de France a record six straight times is beyond that.

Now, as he races to the finish of his remarkable odyssey, millions are projecting on him their desire for a heroic conclusion -- a seventh victory -- when so many others have fallen short and cynicism is endemic.

"The idea of a hero who was given up on in a way and makes his triumphant return is a very powerful theme," says Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, who teaches classical mythology at Wesleyan University. "There is something genuinely mythological about it."

Physical prowess is always involved. Armstrong would not have such status if he were, say, a politician.

Szegedy-Maszak compares Armstrong to Odysseus, thought lost after the Trojan war, but instead put through a series of tests by the gods before returning home and regaining his rightful status, "through a combination of strength and cleverness," as he puts it.

Or Achilles, who, sulking after an insult, withdrew from fighting in Troy. "He sits out for a while and comes roaring back," Szegedy-Maszak says.

But he thinks the best comparison might be Philoctetes, the greatest of Greek archers, who was bitten by a snake while on his way to Troy and abandoned by his compatriots. Because of a prophecy, he was brought back, his wound healed by the gods, and was a key figure in the Greek victory.

"Armstrong is such a powerful figure precisely because he has lived that dream that we can find our way back from the edge of the abyss," Szegedy-Maszak says. "And not just come back to a day-to-day existence, but come back as champion of champions. Just how great is that? It doesn't get any better."

LeMond took a similar journey, nearly killed in a hunting accident after his first Tour win, sitting out two years recovering, then returning to a triumph considered the most exciting finish ever as he made up a seemingly insurmountable amount of time in the last day's time trial to win by eight seconds.

But that remained a great sports story, not a great myth. Perhaps that's because gunshots come from men; cancer comes from the gods.

From the LA Daily News:

Latin has been called a dead language, but don't tell that to Highland and Palmdale high school students who won gold medals in the National Latin Exam.

Highland produced five gold medalists this year, the most ever since the school began teaching Latin 12 years ago, and Palmdale had three gold medal winners, up from the one gold awarded last year, the school's first.

"It's pretty exciting, obviously, winning a top prize like that. It wasn't much hard work," said Johoney Lobos, 16, a 10th-grader from Palmdale High who won the gold on her first try. "You have to pay attention in class. As long as you pay attention and follow the rules, like any other subject, it's easy when you get the hang of it."

"I really wanted to take Latin because I really like word history, and I like to know the roots of words, and I know it will help on verbal SAT test scores," said Benjamin Bird, an 11th-grader and gold medalist from Highland.

"I don't use it so much as I recognize how it impacts, especially language. Like my little brothers take Spanish. I can sometimes, when reading the Spanish homework, I know what the word means because I know the Latin root," Bird said.

The annual National Latin Exam was given in March to about 135,000 students in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands by the American Classical League, which promotes the study of Latin and Greek among Americans.

About 70 students from Highland and 66 from Palmdale took the multiple-choice exam, which tests students on mythology, basic grammar and reading comprehension.

The gold medalists from Highland were Bird, RaKia Harris, Ted Jarbo, Kelly Manahan and Cory Mitschelen. Palmdale's gold medalists were Lobos, Lillia Green and Jocelyn Kasdorf.

Palmdale High has been offering Latin for six years, and students have been taking the National Latin Exam for three years.

"It's just a very good foundation for anything that a student wants to try," Palmdale Latin teacher Robert Ruckman said. "It improves test scores on SATs by 140 points. It's a good foundation for the English vocabulary. It helps students who want to go into the medical or legal areas. It teaches a lot about the foundation of our Western society."

Latin is offered at Highland, Palmdale and Antelope Valley high schools. There is a shortage of Latin teachers in the country, said Ann Robins, Highland's Latin teacher.

"It is a dead language in that no one speaks it, but it's still the official language of the Vatican. People have discovered recently that we've seen a dip in SAT verbal scores and kids who can't spell and don't understand language structure," Robins said. "Latin is good for that. It builds vocabulary. Half of the words we use are from Latin and about 90 percent of words three syllables or more are from Latin."
From the Times Argus:

Heading home in the afternoon shadows cast by the surrounding snow-clad peaks, schoolchildren throng the streets of the remote Alpine town of Scuol, chattering in what sounds like Italian spoken with a Swiss German accent.

They're actually speaking Romansch, a direct descendant of Latin. But experts fear it faces the same fate as the Roman legions that once occupied this corner of the Alps.

"It's declining even more rapidly than I thought, and that's the problem," says Jonathan Steinberg, a specialist on Swiss history and culture. "I think it's a terminal position, because they don't agree on pronunciation, they don't agree on vocabulary."

According to the 2000 census, the number of people speaking Romansch dropped 13 percent in just 10 years, to just 35,000 who said they spoke it as their first language.

Underscoring the decline, four young mothers standing in the street chat in German, and it seems unlikely their little ones in the prams will grow up speaking Romansch.

Scuol's children are taught in Romansch in school — or "scola" — and later learn German as a foreign language, but that may not be enough to save the local tongue, says Valentin Duri, a native Romansch speaker, as he closes up the pizzeria where he works after the lunchtime rush.

"It probably won't die out soon, but it's a question of time," Duri says. "In 100 years, maybe 200 ..." he continues, his voice fading away.

Romansch has links to Latin as it may have been spoken by Roman officials, soldiers and merchants who came during the days of the empire. Many words in the two languages are similar: A wheel is "rota" in Latin, "roda" in Romansch. A shape is "forma" and "furma."

Romansch was spoken all across the eastern Alps in the Middle Ages. But since then it has retreated into isolated and densely forested glacial valleys.

"Perhaps the biggest threat is encroachment of German speakers in traditionally Romansch- speaking places," says Matthias Gruenert, a Romansch teacher at the University of Zurich. "German- and Romansch-speaking people predominantly communicate in German as Romansch speakers are bilingual."

Leaning on a bar counter, the 23-year-old Duri says he speaks Romansch at home with his family, but has to speak German in everyday life with colleagues and visitors — including this interview.

"German for me is a foreign language, but with Romansch you don't get so far," he says.

Romansch is not alone in its plight. Other European minority languages — such as Scottish Gaelic and Breton in northwestern France — are also under pressure, says Davyth Hicks at the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages in Brussels, Belgium.

Gaelic is in a similar situation to Romansch, because its speakers are also divided across distant mountain valleys in the highlands of Scotland, Hicks notes.

More people speak Breton, but "they have a completely hostile government that refuses to change any of its policies to allow any kind of public funding for Breton," he says. "Their numbers are just falling and falling, and most of the speakers are over 60."

Regional autonomy or a supportive national government are vital for such languages to survive, Hicks says.

The Basque language was brutally suppressed under Spain's decades-long dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco. But it has been taught in more schools since the Basque region first won some autonomy in 1978, and the number of speakers has increased from about 500,000 to 650,000.

"You can by law, by education, by having it in the media, you can turn the corner," Hicks says.

The number of Welsh speakers also increased in Britain's most recent census, in 2001, indicating that Celtic language may also be enjoying a revival.

"What was more interesting was the amount of young speakers, so you've got a whole generation coming up where bilingualism is normal," Hicks says. "They're overcoming the stigma that was attached to the language."

Romansch speakers need to achieve something similar if they want to keep their language alive, he says.

The Swiss national government has passed laws to protect Romansch, such as requiring its use in schools and on bank notes, but the main problem is that speakers are divided geographically into isolated pockets, separated by German linguistic communities, says Steinberg, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Each Romansch area speaks its own dialect, making it hard er for speakers from two regions to communicate with each other and to agree on a common written form of the language.

The linguistic organization Lia Rumantsha has created an official umbrella language — known as Romansch Grischun — taken from the Romansch word for the Swiss state of Graubuenden, the heartland of their culture, even though a majority of its people speak German.

But many Romansch speakers stick to their own local dialect.

"Romansch Grischun nobody likes, but if you don't have Romansch Grischun, you can't put labels on a Coke bottle," says Steinberg, noting that a term in one Romansch dialect can differ completely from that used in another dialect.

The Swiss government has made Romansch one of the country's four official languages, with German, French and Italian, but that is not enough to guarantee survival, Hicks says.

"You'd have to persuade young families, young people who are going to have families, to transmit this language down to their children," he says. "That's the sort of key thing, even though you can't really legislate for that, you can't enforce that."

Duri, the pizzeria worker, doesn't see it happening.

"More people are coming in from the lowlands, so you have mixed families where one parent is German-speaking," he says. "There's so many languages that the young people say, 'I don't want to learn Romansch.' They prefer to learn German, or even English."
I'm sure most of you are aware of this already, but I came across it for the first time t'other day ... the Beazley Archive site (which I have known about for a long time) has a nice little Classical Dictionary which those of you looking at pots and things might find useful ...
Theodora Hantos (ed.), Laurea internationalis. Festschrift für Jochen Bleicken zum 75. Geburtstag.

Edward M. Harris, Lene Rubinstein, The Law and the Courts in Ancient Greece.

M. Meier, Justinian: Herrschaft, Reich und Religion.

Brian Hines, Return to the One: Plotinus' Guide to God-Realization.

Gregory Nagy, Homer's Text and Language. In the series "Traditions".

Annelie Volgers, Claudio Zamagni, Erotapokriseis: Early Christian Question-and-Answer Literature in Context. Proceedings of the Utrecht Colloquium, 13-14 October 2003.

James C. Wright (ed.), The Mycenaean Feast = Hesperia 73:2 (2004).

Beryl Rawson, Children and Childhood in Roman Italy.

Antonella Russo, Anna Santoni, SNS-Greek & Latin 1.0 for Windows (a software for consulting the data banks TLG E, PHI #5.3 and PHI #7).

Dale Martin, Inventing Superstition from the Hippocratics to the Christians.
Maaike Zimmerman and Rudi Van Der Paardt (edd.), Metamorphic Reflections: Essays presented to Ben Hijmans at his 75th Birthday
... nothing of interest
From the Italian press comes news of the discovery of a 'buried Greek city' near Monte Vecchio/San Fratello (Messina, Sicily). The most complete coverage comes from La Sicilia Web. It is believed that the city is either Apollonia or Aluntium ... the only artifacts (other than building foundations?) which are mentioned are amphorae, which are in "a good state of preservation".

This Apollonia (if that's what it is), by the way, is not the one where Octavian heard of Julius Caesar's death ... that one was in Illyria.
The Latin Certification test for Illinois teachers is raising some ire ... from the Journal-Star:

The test that future high school Latin teachers must take - and pass - before getting certification from the state of Illinois is too hard, a group of Latin instructors contends.

"The analogy we have for you is that the exam is like testing a junior in college at a graduate level," high school Latin teacher Laurie Jolicoeur told members of the Illinois State Board of Education on Thursday.

The test is supposed to determine whether someone meets "minimal qualifications," the standard the state sets, she said.

"We are looking for qualified teachers, but right now, the bar is set to not pass qualified teachers," she said later. "The bar is in the wrong place."

Prospective Latin teachers could wind up failing the certification exam in its existing form, or they might choose to skip the test for fear of failing it, Jolicoeur said.

Just four Illinois institutions have active teacher-training programs in Latin: Knox College in Galesburg, Monmouth College, Augustana College in Rock Island and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Thomas Sienkewicz, who teaches Latin at Monmouth College, has written to the State Board of Education about his concerns with the test.

"We are convinced that the test which has been written does not test entry-level knowledge of Latin," Sienkewicz said. "Even people with master's degrees in Latin would have difficulty with it."

Sienkewicz said one of his students plans to take the Latin certification test next year, and she cannot begin student teaching until she passes it.

Jolicoeur, who teaches at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, said she appeared at the ISBE meeting on behalf of the four colleges that train Latin teachers. She also represented the Illinois Classical Conference, which includes high school and college instructors, and an advisory committee to the State Board of Education.

"My students are upset that I'm here today because today is Rome's birthday, and our typical way of celebrating it is the traditional gladiatorial combat, where they research gladiators and then they act out the gladiatorial fights," Jolicoeur said. "But I said I was here for a good cause."

She urged the board to consider rewriting the test.

ISBE Chairman Jesse Ruiz asked board member David Fields, who chairs the board's Education Policy Planning Committee, to look into the matter.

Afterward, Jolicoeur said, "I'm encouraged that the conversation isn't closed."

Illinois, like the rest of the country, has a shortage of Latin teachers, she said. In some places, when a Latin teacher retires, that school's Latin program is eliminated. In other places, schools' Latin programs are growing so much that they need additional teachers.
Yesterday we mentioned a program on the Aeneid on the BBC which could be listened to via the In Our Time site ... an alert rc reader (thanks AM) has alerted me to the fact that you can download the program in mp3 format (it's about 12 megs) ... right click on this and select "save link as" (or its non-firefox equivalent).
From USA Today:

Reggie Foster is not what most people have in mind when they imagine the Vatican's chief Latin expert.

Foster, 65, a Carmelite monk, plays the role of the brash curmudgeon, especially for the 150 new students he commands each year at Rome's Gregorian University. He growls at them in perfect Latin that he mixes with mild profanities in both English and Italian.

A demanding teacher and translator, he doesn't fit the typical image of an academic steeped in a dead language. A plumber's son raised in Milwaukee, Foster governs his realm from a throne-like chair, its faux-leather cushion worn down to a thin veneer. He sits in it wearing his favored attire: a faded blue janitor-style outfit. His glasses are held to his bald head by a green rubber band wrapped around one ear piece. Between lecture points, he has been known to swig wine directly from the bottle.

But as unlikely as it sounds, Foster is the Vatican's leading expert on Latin - expert enough to be charged with the official translation of papal documents into what was until 40 years ago the official language of the church.

With new Pope Benedict XVI a strong proponent of Latin - as a cardinal he said the language should not have been completely eliminated from the Catholic Mass - Foster now may have a well-connected fellow Latin evangelist ensconced at the Holy See.

From his office inside the Vatican, Foster and the rest of the five-person team of what he calls "linguistic technicians" correct the Latin versions of various papal encyclicals and other church documents. During the period between Pope John Paul II's funeral and the selection of Benedict, Foster and the others were perfecting the Latin liturgy to be read at Sunday's installation Mass.

In addition to his Vatican duties and the courses he teaches at Gregorian University, Foster uses every opportunity to promote Latin and keep it alive.

"Without Latin you are missing out on the whole of Western culture! Without Latin you should just stay in bed!" he exclaims. "The schools don't teach it! The church doesn't use it anymore! Latin is being lost, and because of that we are losing our history!"

Foster began studying Latin at age 13 at St. Francis Minor Seminary in Milwaukee, according to the Catholic Herald, a newspaper published by Milwaukee's archbishop. He returns annually to visit his sister and the nuns who taught him, the paper reported.

Until the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Roman Catholic Mass was celebrated in Latin. Before that, generations of churchgoers could recite their prayers in Latin. Since then, Foster reports, the number of Latin students in schools has dropped.

But Foster says the language is no less relevant now. He rattles off the names of some of the great thinkers who wrote in Latin: Cicero, Galileo, Augustine, Horace, Aquinas and Ovid. Can't they be read in translation? Foster waves his hand. "That's like giving a translation of Shakespeare to a Chinese man," he says. "No doubt about it, something's going to be lost."

Although Foster has an American passport, he has lived in Rome for 42 of his 65 years. In addition to English, he is fluent in Italian. But he says he prefers Latin, the language he uses to write notes to himself and that even dominates his dreams.

He estimates there are only about 20 people in the world who speak Latin as well as he does, and only two or three of them are younger than 60.

The future of the language, he admits, does not look bright. That is one reason for his evangelism for the language. People who know Foster say the colorful, offbeat persona he has adopted makes him more approachable than he might be if he were viewed as a stuffy and famous academic.

"He makes these hilarious and irreverent comments, but there is always a premeditated point to them," says Ricardo Harris-Fuentes, 28, an artist who is taking Foster's class. "Everyone notices that Reggie is continually looking at his little pocket watch. That's because his whole day is planned out. He doesn't have time to spare."

The Rev. Gary Coulter, 32, a pastor in Ashland, Neb., and an alumnus of two of Foster's classes, says that Foster is without peer as a Latinist. "Reggie may be a little rough around the edges," Coulter says. "But there is no better teacher of Latin in the world."

Foster demurs. "I'm trying to help people who want to learn Latin," he says with a shrug. "But there is only so much one man can do."

Unless that man is the pope. Foster notes that the newly installed Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, speaks excellent Latin. "The problem comes with those under him, the bishops, the priests, the seminarians," Foster says. "They don't have a clue!"

Though he recognizes it is unlikely, Foster says the language would get a great boost if Benedict XVI used Latin more than previous popes. "Latin is a beautiful and poetic language, and people would pay attention to it if the pope spoke the language, spoke it from his heart," Foster says.

He says he would be thrilled to see the pontiff go to New York and address the United Nations in Latin. "The pope could stand there before the nations of the world and say, 'Vobiscum loquar lingua Latina! Haec mihi videntur facienda esse!' ('I am speaking with you in the Latin language! It seems to me that these things need to be done!')," Foster suggests.

His eyes sparkle, and he flashes a mischievous grin: "He could speak to them in Latin and tell them that if they don't like it, they can just go home!"
6.00 p.m. |DTC| Hannibal
No shortlist of the greatest generals in history would be complete without the name of Hannibal, who was both feared and respected by his enemies. Hannibal's tactical genius is illustrated with exciting dramatic reconstructions of his victories.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel
If you visited rogueclassicism this a.m., you'll want to scroll down to see Dr. Obbink's letter which is making the rounds and which he has kindly given permission to be posted here ...
ante diem x kalendas maias

178 A.D. -- martyrdom of Epipodias at Lyons

202 A.D. -- martyrdom of Leonidas in Alexandria

248 A.D. -- second day of celebrations for Rome's 1000th anniversary

ca 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Helimenas at Babylon
Today's selection:

atavism @

chrestomathy @ Wordsmith

Novus ordo examinum academicorum (22.04.2005, klo 11.17)

In universitatibus Finniae ut in aliis quoque scholis superioribus Europaeis ad novum studiorum et examinum ordinem intentissima cura praeparatur.

Post renovationem Kalendis Augustis in usum recopiendam progressus, quem quisque in studiis suis fecerit, singulis studiorum punctis mensurabitur.

Examina principalia erunt duo, scilicet inferius sive candidatorium et superius, quod magisteriale appellatur.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
A piece on Classics Day at the College of the Holy Cross ... probably more appropriate as a calendar item at Classics Central, but I know one of the teachers who reads rc might find this useful:

Holy Cross will hold the 34th annual Classics Day on April 25. Designed to familiarize students with the Holy Cross Classics department, its faculty and current students, the event features a variety of activities relating to the study of Roman culture.

Approximately 400 students will attend the event this year. Participants include Boston College High School, Classical High School (Providence, RI), Coyle Cassidy High School (Taunton), Holyoke High School, Lunenburg High School, St. Bernard’s Central Catholic High School (Fitchburg, Mass.), St. George’s School (Newport, RI), St. Mark’s School (Southborough, Mass.), St. Sebastian’s School (Needham) and Walpole High School.

The schedule of events is as follows:

* Welcoming Address
9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m., Hogan Campus Center Ballroom

* "The Malleable Monarch: Agamemnon from Homer to Hollywood" (Lecture by Professor Timothy Joseph, of the Classics department)
9:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., Hogan Campus Center Ballroom

* Upper and Lower Division Certamen (Certamen is Latin for "competition." Student teams will compete College Bowl style, answering questions concerning Roman history, mythology, culture and the Latin language.)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Hogan Campus Center

* Costume Contest
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Hogan Campus Center Ballroom

* Chariot Races (Student teams build their own chariots. Each team consists of a rider and student "horses.")
11:30 a.m. - Noon, Hart Center

* Lunch
Noon - 1 p.m., Kimball Dining Hall

* Final Round Certamen
1 p.m. - 2 p.m., Hogan Campus Center Ballroom

* Awards Presentation
2 p.m. - 2:15 p.m., Hogan Campus Center Ballroom
From Tandem comes a piece on carrots, in which we read this:

Carrots were known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans who, believe it or not, thought the carrot was an aphrodisiac of sorts. One believer in the carrot's ability to increase sexual stamina was Roman Emperor Caligula, who forced his Roman senators to feast on the veggie.

Hmmmm ... the first page that pops up with Google in regards to carrots and Caligula says:

Native to Afghanistan, carrots were known to both the Greeks and Romans. In fact, the Greeks called the carrot "Philtron" and used it as a love medicine--making men more ardent and women more yielding. The Roman emperor Caligula, believing these stories, forced the whole Roman Senate to eat carrots so he could see them "in rut like wild beasts."

Well, it doesn't mean that in my L&S ... this sounds like some corruption of that strange word 'philtre' that I used to wonder about as an undergrad (coffee philtres?). Another from another site, with another variation:

And a carrot fact from the 1st century: Emperor Caligula, “a renowned crazed megalomaniac given to capricious cruelty and harebrained schemes, including [making] his horse, Incitatus, a consul, ... is purported to have once fed the entire Roman Senate a banquet only of carrot dishes.”

Now comes the obvious ... does anyone have a source for this claim? I can't find anything related ...
From a review in the New York Review of Books, inter alia:

Yet, although scores of academic voices hold forth in Reclaiming the Game, only rarely do they reach beyond stale comment on camaraderie and the pleasures of physical conditioning. They have little to say about what sports can teach about the difference between mediocrity and achievement, about how athletes of superior gifts can become inspiring models, and —more broadly—about the uses of excellence. Dimness about athletic self-expression can lead to self-deprivation as pitiable as that caused by unresponsiveness to music or history or the visual arts.

The larger goal should be to moderate the obsession with rank-ordering human activities. Establishing hierarchies—athletes above thinkers, thinkers above athletes—has a long history in the West, it's true; moments have occurred when aspirations of mind were pitted against sports idolatry in absolute terms—us or them. "Spirit ver-sus sport—that is the essence of the conflict," said the classicist Werner Jaeger summing up an ancient strug-gle between ideals—between Athens's emerging rage for philosophy and old aristocratic Pindaric worship of Olympic victories as "revelation[s] of the victor's divine arete, or wisdom." (Or as Xenophanes said: "This wisdom of ours is better than the strength of men and horses.... There is no justice in preferring strength to wisdom.")
A piece from the Nation (via Yahoo) has a lengthy article on the New York graffiti-art scene in the 1970's/80's (I think that's what it's about ... I'm out of coffee!). Inter alia, the piece focuses on the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat (whom I've never heard of) and mentions:

Basquiat's heroes were black sports stars such as Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali, and jazz musicians like Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, though in terms of the number of works dedicated to him, Charles the First reigns supreme. These range from the stark Now's the Time--in the form of a black phonograph record, ninety-two and a half inches in diameter, with Parker's tune "Now's the Time" scribbled in white paint over "PRKR"--to works consisting largely of lists, like Discography, written in white against a black background, with the names of Parker's fellow bebop revolutionaries (Miles Davis, Max Roach and the others) as well as the names of pieces recorded on "NOV. 26, 1945." The use of lists is another Twomblyism. A wonderful example is Jawbone of an Ass, in which what may be a crude self-portrait as Rodin's Thinker occupies a space in the upper left corner and surveys a scroll of historical names, including Achilles, Sappho, Cleopatra, Anaxagoras, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Socrates, Alexander the Great, down to Harrison, Tyler, Transcendentalism and Perry--with, again, a crude drawing in the lower right corner of a black figure saying "Yup!" and hitting ("Bip") a white figure with "Grrr" in a thought balloon over his head. It is, in my view, less a cartoon of racial strife, or even of the black specter haunting the white imagination, than a symbol of history as a pageant of war, since the scroll lists so many ancient battles and famous heroes--Hannibal, Hamilcar, Scipio, Alexander the Great, Spartacus, Julius Caesar. These are not the kinds of names that turn up on burners.

FWIW ...
The BBC had a nice little intro type program to the Aeneid on its In Our Time program (I think we mentioned this would be coming up before; it's been mentioned on a couple of the lists too) ... you can listen again for a week or so ...
5.00 a.m. |DCIVC| Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Greece

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Trojan Horse
An ancient story tells of a mighty Greek armada of a thousand ships that sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to wage war on Troy. Bent on vengeance for the abduction of Helen by the Trojan prince Paris, the Greeks lay siege to the great city.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| First Olympian
Witness the spectacular world of the Olympics in 500 BC. The skeletal remains of Ikkos, the athlete Taranto, were studied to piece together the lifestyle of the earliest Olympic athletes. Find out how the first Olympians trained, lived and worshipped.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

DTC = Discovery Times Channel
There's an email message from Dr. Dirk Obbink making the rounds of assorted lists and he has given me permission to post it to rc (thanks Dr. Obbink!). Dr. Obbink would like to make clear that the post was a response to a Papy-l listmember's misunderstanding (from the Independent article) that the discoveries had just been made last week. It was also intended to be a "less-hyped" description of the process involved ... it isn't intended as a "denial of the Independent article". Here's the message:

Like other collections we do not normally announce our findings in advance
of publication. In this case a team from ISPART (formerly CPART) at Brigham
Young University in Utah spent last week creating MSI images (that is, at
all ranges of the light band) of papyri in Oxford as part of a project begun
in 2002. We scanned portions of the unrolled Herculaneum papyrus in the
Bodleian Library and experimented on problematic carbonised and
non-carbonised samples in the Oxyrhynchus collection in the Sackler Library
(including documents), some of them for final checks in texts scheduled for
publication in the next two volumes of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The results,
which are still under analysis, and on some of which I am reporting this
week at the Center for the Study of the Tebtunis Papyri in Berkeley and on
16 May in Oxford, were of mixed success, revealing many new readings and
confirmation of uncertain readings in some problem areas, none at all in
others, depending on settings and surface type. In some ranges and surfaces
even less writing could be read than with the eye or none at all. As usual
with the Oxy. papyri a number of new identifications emerged of literary and
documentary texts not previously made by the usual means, together with the
isolation of four or five different types of surface and obscurity that
respond well or not well to the BYU process. This process, perfected on the
Herculaneum papyri since 1999 (similar to that described by Steven Booras in
Cronache Ercolanesi and Nigel Wilson in his shortly to appear articles on
the Vatican Menander palimpsest in the Journal of the Walters Art Museum and
the proceedings of Rinacimento Virtuale), captures rapidly a series of
high-definition digital images at different ranges of the light spectrum by
means of an automated, rotating wheel containing c.15 filtres and passing
these in successing before the camera's lens. The process seemed to work
best on darkened, charred, or stained surfaces, and can image through some
surface materials, but sees nothing through mud, clay, or silt. It produced
excellent results on palimpsests, cancellations and damnationes memoriae,
and on disintegrating surfaces where the ink has settled deep into the
fibres. It was least successful on surfaces that were partially or entirely
washed out. On abraded and uneven surfaces the camera's long depth of field
elides differences in levels and aids reading by eliminating all shadows and
levelling so that all writing appears well-defined as though on a single
layer. Darkened surfaces tended to respond best deep in the infra-red end of
the wave-band (c.800-1000 nanometers), but not exclusively so: each papyrus
and surface (and sometimes parts of each) responds best (i.e. with maximum
reflectivity, contrast, and definition, so that background noise is
eliminated) at a completely different point (which must be located) in the
spectrum, including some in the ultra-violet range. Surprisingly, in one
trial the process successfully imaged through painted gesso, revealing a
previously unknown document (report to a strategos) on the papyrus cartonage
surface underneath.

The London press got wind of this (the unrolled Herculaneum papyrus of
Epicurus' Peri physeos in the British Library is being done this week) and
reported enthusiastically, if selectively. No mention, for example, was made
of the success on the Bodleian Herculaneum papyrus (P.Herc. 118), now
thereby revealed to be a Peri Epikourou or at any rate a pre-Philodemean
history of the school. The article certainly should not have said (if it
did) that all the papyri had been discovered yesterday, only that we made
significant (and sufficiently exciting) advances in reading and confirmation
of identifications with some, the same with some other pieces, while still
others were identified for the first time, some standard classical authors,
as usual, while others remain complete mysteries. Readings from some
identified from earlier multi-spectral trials since 2002 were refined. The
Oxyrhynchus texts will be published in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, beginning
with the next volume (LXIX), still scheduled for publication next month. An
article on the technical aspects is planned for Scientific American.
ante diem xi kalendas maias

Parilia (a.k.a. Palilia) -- originally a festival in honour of Pales (who protected shepherds and their flock), it eventually evolved -- in the city of Rome, at least -- into a 'birthday of Rome' celebration

753 B.C. -- traditional date for the foundation of Rome

323 B.C. -- death of Alexander the Great (by one reckoning)

323 B.C. -- death of Diogenes the Cynic

43 B.C. -- pro-Caesarian forces "under" Octavian defeat the forces of Marcus Antonius at Mutina

47 A.D. -- Claudius celebrates the ludi Saeculares (?)

148 A.D. -- Antoninus Pius celebrates the 900th anniversary of Rome

248 A.D. -- Philip Arabus celebrates the 1000th anniversary of Rome
Today's selection:

enervate @

variorum @ Wordsmith

divagation @ Worthless Word for the Day

... while the My Word feature at the Classics Technology Center dishes up a handful of 'arts' words ....

This might be the last of this feature for a while, since the auctions we've been covering are ending ... in any event. from Bonhams comes this nice Roman carnelian ring with an engraving of Athena. Details ...

... is back from hiatus. Here be the latest headlines:

Ratzinger, elected Pope with the name of Benedict the XVI - Published new Greek grammar with exercises (for Spanish speakers)
I've been neglectful of posting announcements of new editions of Ephemeris (the weekly Latin newspaper) ... apologies to all ...
Most of us have heard of the unit of measurement known as the millihelen (the amount of beauty required to launch one ship) ... folks might be interested in reading the whole 'helenic' system as it applies to beauty and ship-launching ...
This was mentioned on the Classics list ... Jim O'Donnell was on the BBC's Nightwaves t'other day, chatting about why Augustine is the greatest of Christian thinkers ... you can listen to it for a few more days (it begins around the 24 minute mark ... it's somewhat difficult to get to, but good)
... his first 'official pronouncement' was in Latin (making the rounds of various lists)! Here's the incipit:

Gratia copiosa et pax vobis! (cfr 1 Pt 1, 2). Duo animum Nostrum discordes sensus hoc tempore una simul subeunt. Nam ex una parte humano turbamento perfundimur et impares Nos sentimus officio hesterno die Nobis commisso, Successoribus scilicet Petri Apostoli hac in Romana Sede, coram universali Ecclesia. Ex altera autem parte magnopere animum gratum esse Deo patefaciendum animadvertimus, qui - sicut in sacra liturgia canimus - gregem suum non deserit sed eundem per temporum vices ducit, iis agentibus quos ipse Filii sui vicarios elegit constituitque pastores (cfr Praefatio I de Apostolis).

Dilectissimi, intimus animi grati sensus propter divinae misericordiae donum in corde Nostro praeter omnia antistat. Et id arbitramur gratiam esse peculiarem, quam Decessor Noster, recolendae memoriae, Ioannes Paulus Secundus Nobis tribuit. Eius videmur firmam persentire manum, quae Nostram perstringit; subridentes Nobis videmur eius oculos contueri eiusque verba audire, Nobis peculiari hoc momento destinata: "Noli timere!".

Summi Pontificis Ioannis Pauli Secundi obitus, et subsequentes dies, pro Ecclesia mundoque insigne fuerunt gratiae tempus. Magnus dolor ob eius excessum et vacui sensus in omnibus relictus Christi resuscitati opera extenuantur, quae per concordem fidei, amoris et spiritalis solidarietatis effusionem, exsequiarum sollemnium attingentis fastigium, diuturno hoc tempore est patefacta.

Id quidem dicere possumus: Ioannis Pauli Secundi funus experientia fuit revera unica ubi quodammodo potentiae Dei percepta est per ipsius Ecclesiam quae cunctos populos magnam familiam efficere vult, per coniungentem virtutem Veritatis atque Amoris (cfr Lumen Gentium, 1). Mortis hora, suo Magistro Dominoque figuratus, Ioannes Paulus Secundus suum diuturnum frugiferumque Pontificatum extulit, in fide christianum populum confirmans, eundem circum se congregans atque efficiens ut universa hominum familia coniunctiorem se esse sentiret.

Nonne hac testificatione Nos sustentari sentimus? Nonne incitamentum, quod ex eventu hoc manat, animadvertimus?

... the rest ...
As I listen to DW's English-language broadcast. in which they begin a piece on the pope by saying quo vadis Benedict? ... the
Hindustan Times ponders similiter inter alia:

The new man will face “a labour of Hercules,” one skeptical Rome theologian said. “It will be like Hercules cleaning up the Augean stables.”

Poking around to find out who this theologian was, I came up empty, but it's interesting how frequently this Augean Stables reference has been used in the past while by journalists. From the Globe and Mail, e.g., in regards to the sponsorship scandal which is currently filling our news:

Brian Mulroney came to power pledging to abandon the lavish public-relations spending that had marked the last Trudeau mandate. Then-opposition leader Jean Chrétien declared in 1992 that money spent on advertising and polling would be diverted to food banks and job training under a Liberal government. Both of these leaders broke their pledges, both channelled public-relations contracts to their political allies, both frolicked in the Augean stables they had pledged to clean.

From comes word of a similar sort of scandal in Benin:

The daily newspaper Le Republicain said in a front-page editorial last week that the presidential palace was "a veritable Augean stable in which most of the president's collaborators stink to high heaven of corruption and other unorthodox practices."

From Nigeriaworld (commenting on Nigeria, obviously):

Cleaning of the Augean stable appears to have begun by using a 'dirty broom.' For the cleaning to be thorough, the broom must be washed and cleansed of all dirt.

From INQ7 (a Philippine source):

And yet to apply it to a huge bureaucracy and sharing a wealth of lessons learned and successes scored are remarkable feats by themselves, considering the Herculean task of virtually cleaning up the mythical Augean stables.

And last, because I'm losing interest (and I'm sure you are too), from Pakistan:

Yes all this has served one important development purpose. Sons of ex-subedars, ex-clerks and ex-assistant political agents have done well, climbing from relatively simple life styles to grand luxuries propelled by phenomenal assets. All came to clean the Augean stables and all departed richer.

4.00 p.m. |DISCC| Pompeii: The Last Day
On August 24, AD79, Mount Vesuvius showered the city of Pompeii with ash, smoke and rock; the city lay undisturbed under volcanic debris for more than 1,500 years; follow a compelling account of the city's final 24 hours, based on the buried evidence.

5.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Most Evil Men in History: Attila the Hun

6.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii: Buried Alive
Exploration of the archaeological site of the city that was encrusted by incendiary ash when deadly Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Archaeological director Baldasarre Conticello takes viewers on a tour of Pompeii's ruins, and visits Herculaneum, which was destroyed by Vesuvius at the same time.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Roman Catapult
Find out what it takes to build a catapult capable of throwing a 26kg stone 400 yards. Modern weapons of war are awesomely powerful, but these weapons are no more terrifying than the weapons the Romans relied upon in their thrust for world domination.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canadian)
DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canadian)
HINT = History International
SCI = The Science Channel
This 'new papyrus' thing is just getting strange and I don't understand why things have been spun they way they have been. Over at Paleojudaica, JD posts a link to a discussion at Ars Technica written by a papyrology student who suggests this is a pile of hype, if nothing more ... the subsequent discussion is also worth a look. I have also just come across an interview with Dirk Obbink on NPR which I hoped would give more details than the original article from the Independent, but alas, nothing we haven't heard before. Another item at NPR discusses the technology, which again is interesting, but nothing we haven't heard before in regards to multispectral imaging (a transcript of sorts is available at Slate). Folks wondering why I'm not overly excited might want to read this article from BYU magazine four years ago on the use of the technology to read papyri from Herculaneum. Also worthy of a visit in this regard is the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religion Texts site. Now don't get me wrong ... that a new piece of Archilochus has been found is obviously exciting. That we can read a bit of Sophocles that we hadn't quite read before is similarly so. But to go from that to claims of a "second Renaissance" is one of those dogs that just won't hunt.

By the way ... the discussion at Ars Technica refers to the Papy-l list ... I thought it was defunct! Can someone give me RECENT information (i.e. post 2002) on the location of its archives and/or how to subscribe? I must have been bumped off the list at some point ...
ante diem xii kalendas maias

nothing ... not even a reasonably well-attested martyr (and no, it isn't the birthday of Marcus Aurelius as some other 'this day' sites are suggesting)
Today's selection:

cavalcade @

interlocutor @ Merriam-Webster

heteroclite @ Worthless Word for the Day
Random thought which just occurred to me as the news is on in the background while I put rc together ... it's interesting to see the (negative) spin various news agencies are now putting out about Benedict XVI ... while yesterday I was thinking the 'ancient analogy' might be the principate of Nerva, today I'm beginning to think that this is the same sort of thing which Tiberius must have had to deal with. Coming to power after a very popular emperor, his reputation was doomed from the start by the ancient spinmeisters ...
Ioannes Paulus II 1920 -2005 (15.04.2005, klo 13.57)

Missa funebri in platea Petrina celebrata, Summus Pontifex Ioannes Paulus II a duodecim sellariis apostolicis in cryptam basilicae portatus et prope eum locum conditus est, ubi apostolus Petrus sepultus esse creditur.

Die Lunae, duodevicesimo mensis currentis post meridiem, cardinales in conclave ad novum papam creandum ingredientur.

Ioannes Paulus II fuit in historia ecclesiae primus papa Polonus et post quadringentos quinquaginta quinque annos primus papa non Italicae originis.

Ecclesiam Poloniae contra regimen communisticum defendit et homines iugo communistarum oppressos hortabatur, ne timerent. Itinera pastoralia in centum triginta civitates suscepit.

Finniam visitavit anno millesimo nongentesimo undenonagesimo. Cum parkinsonismus, quo affectus erat, iam gravesceret, anno bis millesimo de munere deponendo cogitaverat, ut ex testamento eius apparet.

In quibusdam rebus ad mores pertinentibus conservativus exstitit, quo dissensiones etiam intra ecclesiam catholicam suscitabat et adversarios sibi parabat.

Cum vitam etiam foetus nondum nati defendendam esse censeret, abortum artificialem severissime damnavit.

Fecundationem artificialem vetuit, usum remediorum prophylacticorum ne in matrimonio quidem probabat, homosexualitatem et sacerdotium feminarum non tolerabat.

Erant, qui arbitrarentur ecclesiam opinionibus eius conservativis impediri, ne in aetatem modernam transiret.

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

From Christie's comes this nice Flavian-era bust of a woman. Good comments on the hair at the details page.

Folks might be interested in Up against Caesar by John Dart, currently up at the SBL Forum ... a taste:

The "kingdom" of God and "gospel" are usually thought of as terms unique to Christianity. And who else but Jesus was called not only "the son of God" but also "Lord" and "Savior"? In fact, say biblical experts, these terms and concepts were already familiar to residents of the Roman Empire who knew them as references to the authority and divinity of the emperors, beginning notably with Caesar Augustus before the dawn of the first century.

Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 BC. When a comet was later visible on July nights, Octavius, the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar, promoted the idea that it was a sign that the divine Caesar was on his way to heaven. When Roman law in 42 BC deified Julius Caesar, the status of Octavius, who took the name Augustus, was strengthened by adding the phrase "son of God." Poets celebrated the divinity associated with Augustus, and across the empire coins, monuments, temples and artwork promoted the cult of Augustus and other emperors who adopted Caesar as an honorific title. To many in the empire, Roman civilization brought stability and wealth. And the people were urged to have "faith" in their "Lord," the emperor, who would preserve peace and increase wealth. "In the Roman imperial world, the 'gospel' was the good news of Caesar's having established peace and security for the world," wrote Richard A. Horsley in Jesus and Empire.

Christians gave secular words associated with the empire a new meaning. The Greek word parousia referred to the triumphant arrivals of emperors into cities. In churches it meant the expected return, or second coming, of the heavenly exalted Christ. Churches, literally "assemblies," were the Christian counterparts to the Roman ekklesiai where Caesar was celebrated, according to Horsley, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. "Caesar was the 'Savior' who had brought 'salvation' to the whole world."

In that context, the Christmas passage in the Gospel of Luke has a subversive tone, says Horsley. Angels bring "good news" of joy "to all the people," because of the birth of a "Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord." A heavenly multitude joins the angels in proclaiming "on earth peace among those whom he favors." For the Romans, peace was the militarily imposed Pax Romana, and it was already guaranteed by Rome.

[the rest]
Craig Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries: What Jewish Burial Practices Reveal about the Beginning of Christianity

Roger D. Woodard, ed., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages

Anthony Bowen, Peter Garnsey, Lactantius: Divine Institutes. Translated Texts for Historians, 40.

Kurt Raaflaub, The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece. First English edition, revised and updated from the German, translation by Renate Franciscono, revised by the author.

Alexander Fol, Jan Lichardus (+), Vassil Nikolov, Die Thraker. Das goldene Reich des Orpheus.
Nice to see someone at Slate cringing as I did when I saw numerous news pieces last night with "Habemus papem" as the headline:

At around 12:20 ET this afternoon, shortly after white smoke began issuing from the sacramental chimney of the papal conclave, the legend on the lower third of Fox News' screen shifted from the English exclamation "We Have a Pope!" to its equivalent in Latin: "Habemus Papam!" A few moments later, when Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez took to the papal balcony to announce, in several different modern languages, the news that the new pope had been chosen, the words below him shifted without warning to "Habemus Papem!" But then, like a stern Latin teacher correcting his wayward flock, Estevez pronounced the offending words clearly: "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus papam." As if the Fox programmers had been awaiting Estevez's speech to settle the matter, the correct declension, papam, was quickly restored, this time in a kind of quasi-medieval golden typeface with drop caps, like an illuminated manuscript. Yet moments later, as Estevez exited the balcony after announcing that the new pope's chosen name would be Benedict XVI (I, for one, was still holding out hope for "George Ringo"), the original, no-nonsense capital lettering returned, along with the original misspelling: "Habemus Papem!"

Papam? Papem? Should we call the whole thing off? I'll turn over the final verdict to you classicists out there, but according to my college Latin textbook (to this day, one of the most useful language references on my shelf), papa (pope) should be a regular first-declension noun, like porta (door); its singular accusative form, as a direct object of the verb habere, should be papam with an "A." Of course, papa isn't a classical Latin word at all but a later derivative of an affectionate Greek term for "father"; it wasn't used exclusively for the Bishop of Rome until the 11th century A.D. (Thanks to Slate copy editor and resident word nerd Amanda Watson-Boles for the etymological research.)

I love imagining the harried Fox intern charged with solving this ancient grammar snafu, madly logging on to classical-language Web sites while his or her superiors slapped up first one version, then the other. The two spellings alternated randomly on-screen until, at around 12:36 ET, the legend shifted definitively back to papam, where it remained for the rest of the afternoon. (CNN and MSNBC, on the other hand, stuck to more prosaic English-language headlines: "Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger named Head of Church," or simply "New Pope Announced.")

If you're interested in how the story is being presented elsewhere, here's what Kathimerini said:

Classical scholars itching to read through a vast collection of what were hitherto illegible scraps of ancient manuscripts now have the means to do so, thanks to cutting-edge photographic technology used last week by scientists in England.

According to a report in Britain’s Sunday Independent newspaper, in four days alone last week Oxford University classicists have managed to decipher a wealth of texts from the Oxyrhynchus hoard, discovered in Egypt during the 19th century, including works by literary heavyweights such as the playwrights Sophocles and Euripides.

Other major authors, fragments of whose works have come to light, are the poets Archilochos and Hesiod, and the satirist Lucian. Scientists also hope to recover scraps of important early Christian texts, including the lost gospels.

Together with the more highbrow stuff, a vast multitude of literary junk and archival material is expected to emerge, which is good news for historians.

“The Oxyrhynchus collection is of unparalleled importance — especially now that it can be read fully and relatively quickly,” Oxford’s Dirk Obbink, head of the research project, told The Independent on Sunday. “The material will shed light on virtually every aspect of life in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt and, by extension, in the classical world as a whole.”

A British team discovered the papyri at the end of the 19th century in ancient rubbish dumps outside the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus. Totaling some 400,000 fragments, which are stored at the Sackler Library in Oxford, it is a staggering corpus of texts.

Until now, very few of the pieces had been read. Many were so faded, battered and worm-eaten as to be illegible — and it appeared that their secrets would remain forever impenetrable.

The breakthrough, according to the report, was provided by multi-spectral imaging techniques developed from satellite technology and provided by US scientists from Brigham Young University in Utah.

Texts discovered last week, including parts of Sophocles’s “Epigonoi” and 30 lines by Archolochus, are due to be published next month.

Meanwhile, a Telegraph journalist covering the election finds comfort in the discovery (go to the end of the piece), while the telephone game appears to be still being played in the Indian press. Over at Hobbyblog, EF posts a coin with Oxyrhynchus written on it (nice axe!) ...

From the Indianapolis Star:

Robust fighting legions that were revered the world over, political organizations that set an early stage for today's modern lawmakers and a penchant for food -- they're all characteristics that helped define ancient Roman society.

Last week, students at Creekside Middle School had a chance to see what life could have held for them had they been Romans some 2,000 years ago.

Presented by Legion XIIII, a historical interpretation group out of Hertfordshire, England, the preteens learned about life for rich and poor, men and women -- and came out happy they were 21st century children.

Using period costumes and props, Antonia Sabina, as a former slave woman, and Marcus Cassius -- who insists that's his real name -- representing a Legion soldier, explained the finer points of Roman life.

The gross-out factor was high, as the students learned that while ancient Romans may have had strong armies, they had some strange-by-modern-day ideas on hygiene.

Sabina explained how sea sponges were used in place of today's Charmin -- worse yet, how the sponges were rinsed out and reused.

And to kill germs and ward off bad breath, Romans would gargle their own 3-day-old urine that had been placed in glass jars until it had turned into ammonia. Rich Romans, it seems, believed Spanish urine was even more effective and so would send away for the stuff.

That gives minty fresh a whole new meaning.

Still, the presentation was a big hit with the sixth-grade class.

"I thought it was cool because you got to see how things were," said Chloe Bruckman, 12.

Tyler Hobbs, 12, who had been designated as the "slave" for the presentation, was impressed by what he learned from the interpretive group.

"I thought it was neat how they put chains around my neck," Hobbs said, though he's glad he was only acting. "I don't like serving people."

The live presentation was much better than a classroom discussion or video, he said.

"It was interesting," the sixth-grader said. "They brought it to life."

Cassius, an archaeologist by trade, started Legion XIIII about 13 years ago after a teacher friend asked him to give a presentation to a class.

The idea grew from there so that today interpreters not only represent ancient Rome, but ancient Greeks and Celtic tribes, too.

Cassius estimates the group gives about 500 school presentations annually.

In addition to classroom talks, Cassius also has been asked to consult on movies such as "The Gladiator," starring Russell Crowe.

Teacher Sheri Seifert helped bring Legion to Creekside.

She knew the show was a success when she heard from fellow teachers that the kids were chatting up the presentation.

"They were all talking about the mouthwash today," Seifert said. "By the students' reaction and that of other teachers, we would definitely have them again."
8.00 p.m. |DISCC| Pompeii: The Last Day
On August 24, AD79, Mount Vesuvius showered the city of Pompeii with ash, smoke and rock; the city lay undisturbed under volcanic debris for more than 1,500 years; follow a compelling account of the city's final 24 hours, based on the buried evidence.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Cities of the Sea and Wind
In between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, three coastal cities on the shore of the Mediterranean (Sabrata, Leptis Magna, and Oea--better known as Tripoli) comprised the rich Roman province Tripolitania. Thanks to advanced digital reconstruction, we watch the Forum of Leptis Magna come to life again. The Forum was already famous in ancient times for the Severan Bascilica, one of the largest buildings ever erected.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Secrets of the Island of Minos
Around 1500 BC, the great Minoan civilization thrived on the islands of Minos (modern-day Crete) and Thera (modern-day Santorini, for St. Irene, protectress of the island) in the eastern Mediterranean. An ancient architect conducts a virtual guided tour of the legendary sites at Akrotiri, Phaistos, Ayía Triáda, and Knossos, which culminates in a visit to the palace of King Minos, famous for its legendary labyrinth.

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)

HINT = History International
I think I ran this one before, but if I didn't, it seems most appropriate now. It's a piece from Deutsche-Welle from a couple of weeks ago:

Long one of the last places to keep Latin alive, the Catholic Church's love-affair with the ancient tongue is fading. One of the last to speak the language there is a German cardinal who might soon become the next pope.

Latin's long lost its status as the world's lingua franca, but until recently, Vatican visitors were able to hear some cardinals converse in what remains the church's official language.

But according to Reginald Foster, the Vatican's top Latinist, the sounds of Rome's days of glory can rarely be heard in the eternal city these days.

"The cardinals mostly speak Italian now," he told Reuters news service. "Most of them studied here so they're comfortable with it....I joke with cardinals in Latin...and most don't laugh."

Foster added that many church leaders also use French and German to communicate. That could make things easy for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who has been mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II.

According to Foster, Ratzinger is one of the only remaining fluent Latin speakers. The Bavarian native, however, has a clear advantage over others: Back home, people use "servus," the Latin word for slave, to say good-bye. And "Prost," the German word for "Cheers," comes from prosit, Latin for "may it become."
ante diem xiii kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 8)-- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

Cerealia -- the actual date of the Cerealia is uncertain, but it 'reenacted' Ceres' search for her daughter Proserpina, with apparently all participants and spectators dressed in white. The ludi being celebrated for the past week are obviously connected.

69 A.D. -- Vitellius is recognized as emperor by the senate in Rome

Here's a nice pot from Christie's ... it's an Attic black figure footed mastos (a 'cup') with a nice Herakles on one side and an Amazon on the other. Details ...

Today's selection:

jovial @ Merriam-Webster

feuilleton @ Wordsmith

edacious @ Worthless Word for the Day
"Sanctus, Sanctus"

15.04.2005, klo 13.55

Inter sollemnitatem papae funeralem, quae per televisionem in omnibus mundi partibus devote spectabatur, immensa hominum turba in plateam Petrinam congressa acclamationibus postulabat, ut Ioannes Paulus II ilico sanctus fieret.

Postridie cardinales in congregationem uniti solito celeriorem beatificationem eius novo papae relinquendam esse censuerunt.

Multi ex eis litteras subscripserunt, quibus papam futurum rogant, ut beatificationem Ioannis Pauli II acceleret, quantum fieri possit.

Quas litteras, Iosephus Ratzinger, cardinalis decanus, successori eius traditurus est.

Quot cardinales subscripserint, ignoratur, sed sunt inter eos, qui censeant acclamationes populi non fuisse spontaneas.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The incipit of a piece from the Concord Monitor:

As the story goes, in 490 B.C., Philippides, the first marathon runner, ran 26 miles from the Greek city of Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Athenian army over Persian forces. He delivered the news, keeled over and died. It was summer, so perhaps heat stroke felled him. Or maybe the hero had a heart attack. But it's also possible that the legendary runner drank himself to death - with water.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Philippides had run from Marathon to Sparta the previous day. If so, he would have been tired and his progress to Athens slow - slow enough to allow him time to drink more water than a human body can take in without fatally diluting sodium levels in the blood. Too little sodium and too much water and the cells of the brain can swell enough to press against the skull and interfere with the brain stem's ability to regulate breathing.

The condition, called hyponatremia, has killed more long-distance runners, hikers and others who engage in sustained physical exercise than physicians, coaches or athletes realized. [...]
The conclusion of a piece at Salon on the 'discoveries', potential and otherwise (hey GL! they mangled your name! ... it's okay ... they messed up Euripides' too)):

[...] As is usual in such cases, the initial excitement soon became tempered by cooler heads. While the discoveries are no doubt of great excitement to Oxford papyrologists, the surviving papryus is hardly an organized library. Richard Janko, chair of the Department of Classics at the University of Michigan, warned that "whole works are unlikely to come from Oxyrhynchus." Andrew Feldherr, a high school classmate of mine and fellow Latin student who went on to become a professor of classics at Princeton (and who, incidentally, never mangled his sight-read translations for Mrs. Hodges), also expressed caution at imagining the breakthrough might lead to a "second Renaissance" -- as one expert was quoted saying.

Still, the heart beats faster when one imagines fragments of any significance regained from the rubbish bins of history. If one has devoted one's intellectual life to Sophocles, just a few new lines are more than enough grist for a tidal wave of dissertations. And Janko notes that there are other sites where the same technology does hold the promise of uncovering entire works. There are wonders waiting for us.

As Ginny Lindzen, who was excitedly discussing the revelations on a mailing list frequented by classics scholars, said in an e-mail, "SOPHOCLES! When you consider the impact of just one of his plays -- Oedipus Rex -- on western civilization, how extraordinary to think we have something new from Sophocles. It would be like discovering a new Shakespearean play. Better, even. After all, when we talk about Hamlet, we speak of him having an Oedipal complex, don't we?!"

Technological discovery is usually imagined as a thing of the future: new inventions, new cures, new discoveries. But we should never forget that they can also revivify the past. The scanning technology researchers at Brigham Young University, led by Steven and Susan Booras, are my new heroes, shining a telescope into the distant sources of Western civilization.

Lindzen, an advocate for Latin teaching who chairs the Committee for the Promotion of Latin at Porter Middle School in Austin, Texas, brought the relevance of using new technology for ancient purposes all the way back around to my beloved Latin teacher, when she noted that classicists are often among "the first to grab new technology and put it toward good use."

"Latin online libraries were created so that teachers everywhere could teach not just the authors in their books, but anyone they chose whether they had a text or not. Often the first people at a school to jump on new technology are the Latin teachers, who are forever striving to keep their field from being cut."

The Internet was hardly more than a gleam in a geek's eye in the mid-'70s, when I was studying Latin, and certainly, the idea that technologies originally developed for satellite photography would discover "new" works by Sophocles or Euripedes was not something that Mrs. Hodges would have imagined. But I know exactly what she would say, if she was still around for me to tell her the news. Her eyes would twinkle, and she would intone: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever."

Elsewhere at Slate is a brief disquisition on the technology .... and just to show that the 'telephone game' still works, check out the headline of Webindia's coverage of the story ....
Bruce W. Frier, Thomas A. J. McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law. American Philological Association Classical Resources Series no. 5.

Jon D. Mikalson, Ancient Greek Religion. Blackwell Ancient Religions, 1.

Filip Karfik, Die Beseelung des Kosmos: Untersuchungen zur Kosmologie, Seelenlehre und Theologie in Platons Phaidon und Timaios. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Band 199.

Martin Bentz, Christoph Reusser, Attische Vasen in etruskischem Kontext. Funde aus Häusern und Heiligtümern, Beihefte zum CVA Deutschland 2.

Nothing of interest ...
ante diem xiv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 7)

359 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Gratian

Here's the 'other' pantheress I promised you the other day ... It's from Christie's and dates to the second century. The details page suggests it was originally part of a larger group, probably Dionysiac in nature.

Today's Selection:

masticate @

ramify @ Merriam-Webster

festschrift @ Wordsmith (not really, but it's one of those words which you'll run into if you go into Classics)

risible @ OED
Carolus, princeps hereditarius Britanniae, et Camilla Parker Bowles die Sabbati matrimonium ritu civili iunxerunt.

Postea archiepiscopus Cantuariensis Rowan Williams in capella castri Windesorensis benedictionem foederi dedit.

Propter funus summi pontificis Ioannis Pauli II die Veneris celebratum nuptiae, ne eodem die fierent, in sabbatum dilatae erant.

Neque nuptiae principis Caroli gratiam eius apud populum Britannicum auxisse videntur.

Nam ex interrogationibus publicis, ab actis diurnis Sunday Times, Observer, Sunday Mirror factis, clarissime elucet plerosque cives malle, ut William, filius maior Caroli et principissae Dianae, post reginam Elisabetham II rex fiat.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
I can't remember whether I mentioned this one before (the story first crossed my screen a couple weeks ago) ... some scholar is claiming that Michelangelo 'faked' the famous statue of Laocoon. Here's the incipit of the New York Times' version:

A scholar has suggested that "Laocoön," a fabled sculpture whose unearthing in 1506 has deeply influenced thinking about the ancient Greeks and the nature of the visual arts, may well be a Renaissance forgery - possibly by Michelangelo himself.

Her contention has stirred some excitement and considerable exasperation among art historians in the Classical and Renaissance fields. Many other challenges to accepted attributions have faded quickly into oblivion.


The scholar advancing the theory, Lynn Catterson, a summer lecturer in art history at Columbia University, presented her argument in a talk at the university's Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America on April 6. Maneuvering through a wealth of material - including Michelangelo's drawings, records of his banking activity and his acknowledged reputation as an avid seeker of renown and wealth - she said, "He had the motives and the means."

The strikingly naturalistic sculpture, 951/2 inches tall, depicts a deadly attack on the Trojan priest Laocoön and his two sons by writhing sea snakes dispatched by Athena - or, some say, Poseidon - after Laocoön warned against admitting the Trojan horse during the siege of Troy. It resides in the Vatican Museums in Rome.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Catterson cited a pen study by Michelangelo dating from 1501 depicting the rear of a male torso that resembles the back of the "Laocoön" - and Michelangelo's documented finesse at copying.

"That the Laocoön was carved by Michelangelo explains why then, and why now, its effect is mesmerizing," she said.

Richard Brilliant, Anna S. Garbedian emeritus professor of the humanities at Columbia and an authority on classical antiquities - his works include "My Laocoön: Alternative Claims in the Interpretation of Artworks" (University of California Press, 2000) - said that Dr. Catterson's contention was "noncredible on any count."

For one thing, he said, "she made absolutely no reference to ancient sculptures that could be related to the 'Laocoön,' " including a large body of ancient fragments found just before World War II at Sperlonga, a site near Rome where Tiberius had a luxurious villa, that refer specifically to episodes of the Trojan war.

Some scholars have also found fault in relating the "Laocoön" to the Michelangelo drawing of a torso, now at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.

"To my eye, the Michelangelo drawing does not bear a close resemblance to the torso of the Vatican Laocoön," said Katherine E. Welch, an associate professor at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts and an expert in Hellenistic and Roman imperial antiquities, in an e-mail message. "The latter is distinguished by a vigorous torsion or twist, which is lacking in the drawing."
With all the excitement about the announcement of finding some lost bits of Sophocles etc. (here's another report from the Scotsman. which doesn't really add any new details), folks might want to visit a set of pages BBC 4 put together to accompany a radio documentary about Oxyrhynchus (the documentary itself doesn't seem to be available, alas). Also, Oxford's Oxyrhynchus page, especially the page we mentioned a few weeks ago highlighting a new chunk of Archilochus ... hopefully some of these new readings will get similar online treatment (hint, hint).
11.00 p.m. |HINT| The Great Empire: Rome: Building an Empire
Host Joe Mantegna visits the vast territories conquered by the imperial army--by the 2nd century AD, the empire spanned three continents. The over 4,000 Roman cities were cultural melting pots, where diverse customs and beliefs blended. Features life in Pompeii, the flamboyant Emperor Hadrian, and religious revolts in Judea.
The online version of Explorator 7.51 and the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted at their new home at Classics Central (check out the job listings!)

Another one from Christie's ... this is a cusp 1st/2nd century torso of a "dignitary" with a really nice toga. Details.

From Cyprus Mail ... a bit of an update:

THE COLOSSUS of Rhodes was a huge statue of the god Helios, erected on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos in 300BC. It was roughly the same size as the Statue of Liberty in New York, which is said to have been modelled on it. The Colossus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Construction completed in 282 BC after 12 years. The statue stood for only 56 years until Rhodes was hit by an earthquake in 226 BC. Ptolemy III offered to pay for its reconstruction but a Delphic oracle made the Rhodians afraid they had offended Helios and they were unwilling to risk it..

The ruins lay on the ground for over 800 years and even in their broken state were so impressive that many travelled to see them. Pliny the Elder remarked that few people could wrap their arms around the fallen thumb and that each of its fingers was larger than most statues.

There has been much debate as to whether to rebuild the Colossus. Those in favour say it would boost tourism in Rhodes greatly, those against say it would cost a fortune. But whereas natural disaster may have literally brought the awe-inspiring statue to its knees, these days it is the more mundane considerations of financing and Greek bureaucracy that stand in the way.

Unfazed, Cypriot sculptor Nikos Kotziamanis has been at it for years trying to bring authorities round to his vision of what he calls “the new miracle of the 21st century”. Backed by a team of landscapers, structural engineers and academics, Kotziamanis is one of the driving forces behind what would be the revival of the Colossus in the new age.

“It’s all ready: the architectural designs, engineering…everything,” says Kotziamanis. “Now we’re just waiting for the final go-ahead from the Greek government. If they say yes, they won’t regret it.”

Needless to say, the new statue would be earthquake-proof so as not to suffer the fate of its ancient predecessor.

There have been several twists in the endeavour. The idea has been in the pipeline since the 1980s, when Kotziamanis first discussed it with the late Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. Unsuccessful in his first attempt, Kotziamanis tried again, proposing that the statue be built to coincide with the advent of the new millennium.

When that deadline passed, his next suggestion was that it should be launched in time for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Listening to the hyped-up Kotziamanis you’d think the hour has finally come. And that may not be entirely unwarranted, as the mayor of Kallithea – the proposed location for the statue – has openly backed the idea.

So the Colossus won’t stand at the original site of Rhode city’s harbour. Sacrilege, say scholars and classicists. They have long opposed the concept, arguing among other things that no one knows exactly what the original looked like. Moreover, how do you justify erecting such a stoic monument outside Faliraki, a summer resort with a reputation for drunkeness and promiscuity among tourists?

While these protestations may seem valid, Kotziamanis takes a different stance. “This will not be a replica of the ancient statue,” he stresses.

“Yes, it will be a tribute to Hellenism and to the glory of ancient Greece but it will symbolise more than that: it will stand for brotherhood and unity. It will be a modern-day wonder.”

The new Colossus, he says, would stand tall atop a hill (altitude 350m) overlooking Faliraki and the Mediterranean Sea.

Sure, we would have liked to build it at or near the original site, asserts Kotziamanis, but that would not be viable, as the present-day harbour is built-up and there’s nowhere to place the statue.

“Unless of course we constructed an artificial island in the sea. But that would be extremely complex and costly. We have to be practical.”

Kotziamanis pauses. “Imagine what a sight that would be. A 30m-high giant on a hill greeting sailors as far as the eye can see.” His excitement is palpable.

So what about the colossal cost? According to a feasibility study by Lloyd’s of London, the project would cost somewhere in the area of £40 million. Kotziamanis says that a number of companies have expressed interest in financing the endeavour.

That’s where the modern-day outlook kicks in. The planned project will not be just the statue: straddling its base will be a complex including a museum dedicated to the history of the Colossus, a library and an auditorium. The project would be near the location where the 1961 war classic Guns of Navarone was filmed, he points out.

Given that approximately three million tourists come to the island every year, argues Kotziamanis, charging a mere 10 euros per visit to the Colossus would generate handsome amounts of revenue.

Still, Kotziamanis is adamant that the Colossus will not be degraded into a theme park.
“No, the spectacle will be breathtaking. During the daytime the glittering bronze and its sheer size will capture the imagination. And at night the play of lights will make it magical. Visiting this place will be like having a mystical experience.”

The entire project would take four years to complete once construction was underway. Because of the scale involved, Kotziamanis would work on one section of the statue at a time and then have it shipped to Rhodes.

“It’s a difficult task,” he acknowledges. “But once finished, it will become a Greek marvel for ages to come.”

Kotziamanis’ penchant for the heroic and glorious is evident in his works. Among other things, he has sculpted the imposing statue of Makarios at Nicosia’s Archbishopric, EOKA leader Grivas and, more recently, that of National Guard Commander Lieutenant-General Evangelos Florakis, who died in a helicopter crash in 2002.

A proposal of his in the 1990s to erect the statue of US President John F. Kennedy in Nicosia became embroiled in controversy and the idea was eventually scrapped. Reports at the time said that the mayors of the Nicosia district were reluctant to place the project under their wing.

“I really admired JFK,” he says, adding: “Kennedy stood for human rights, he was anti-establishment. This is what I was trying to contribute with his statue. After all, haven’t we Cypriots as a nation been fighting for our rights for so long?”

But not wishing to “go any further into politics,” he next mentions that the statue has been finished and is just sitting there.

“I hope interest in bringing it to Cyprus will rekindle,” he offers.

Other ongoing projects include a large statue of Archbishop Makarios, sculpted for the government of Cuba and with financial backing from the Church of Cyprus. The statue is expected to be unveiled in Havana on May 15.
From a PRWeb Press Release:

Last year, Zee Ann Poerio organized an Ancient Coin Museum to promote coins and classics. At this museum, K-12 students can touch and hold genuine coins more than 2,000 years old from Greece, Rome and other ancient cultures. More than that, they act as docents and share their new found knowledge with friends. This unique museum now serves as a model for 5 other similar museums in schools across the country. It was honored at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Pittsburgh last year. The concept was presented at the American Classical League Summer Institute at Miami University of Ohio and was featured at a teacher workshop for the Augusta County Institute of Classical Studies in Virginia. It has been displayed at local numismatic events for children and adults.

The Museum will reopen at the St. Louise de Marillac Parish Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 22, 23 & 24, during National Coin Week. The school is located at 310 McMurray Road and will be open to the general public from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Sunday. The theme is "The World of Money" and will focus on coins and classics as part of a "Year of Languages" initiative by the American Classical League and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The Ancient Coin Museum is used as a teaching tool to discuss the origins of money while incorporating languages through the inscriptions of ancient coins, as well as ancient history, art, myth, and its influence on modern coinage from around the world. An ancient pottery reproduction contest for high school students and a poster contest for younger students will be held in conjunction with this year's event. Local school students will also be invited to participate by reading myths in different languages including Latin and Greek.

Cathy Scaife, an active Classicist and Latin teacher from Lexington KY will be a special guest at the event. Scaife is also an Assistant Seminar Teacher with the American Numismatic Association "Coins in the Classroom" program. In addition, she serves with Poerio as a member on the Ancient Coins for Education Board of Directors. Both of these programs encourage the use of genuine ancient coins as teaching aids in classroom environments. Scaife will speak at a Saturday morning teacher workshop on the evolution of money from barter to coins and the methods of minting ancient coins. She will also discuss an Archaeology Simulation project and present other coin-related activities.

Materials and support for the Ancient Coin Museum come from Ancient Coins for Education (ACE), US Mint, American Numismatic Association, Excellence Through Classics committee of the American Classical League, Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) and private individuals. Poerio is a Director of ACE and a member of the ACCG Education and Youth Programs Task Force.
The Independent is reporting the following, which is causing much excitement, of course, but for the most part seems to repeat announcements made a couple of years ago. If anyone has more details on this one (which is only in the Independent, so far, and destined to archival obscurity), please pass them along:

For more than a century, it has caused excitement and frustration in equal measure - a collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it could redraw the map of classical civilisation. If only it was legible.

Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.

In the past four days alone, Oxford's classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament.

The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye - decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view. Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a "second Renaissance".

Christopher Pelling, Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford, described the new works as "central texts which scholars have been speculating about for centuries".

Professor Richard Janko, a leading British scholar, formerly of University College London, now head of classics at the University of Michigan, said: "Normally we are lucky to get one such find per decade." One discovery in particular, a 30-line passage from the poet Archilocos, of whom only 500 lines survive in total, is described as "invaluable" by Dr Peter Jones, author and co-founder of the Friends of Classics campaign.

The papyrus fragments were discovered in historic dumps outside the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus ("city of the sharp-nosed fish") in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. Running to 400,000 fragments, stored in 800 boxes at Oxford's Sackler Library, it is the biggest hoard of classical manuscripts in the world.

The previously unknown texts, read for the first time last week, include parts of a long-lost tragedy - the Epigonoi ("Progeny") by the 5th-century BC Greek playwright Sophocles; part of a lost novel by the 2nd-century Greek writer Lucian; unknown material by Euripides; mythological poetry by the 1st-century BC Greek poet Parthenios; work by the 7th-century BC poet Hesiod; and an epic poem by Archilochos, a 7th-century successor of Homer, describing events leading up to the Trojan War. Additional material from Hesiod, Euripides and Sophocles almost certainly await discovery.

Oxford academics have been working alongside infra-red specialists from Brigham Young University, Utah. Their operation is likely to increase the number of great literary works fully or partially surviving from the ancient Greek world by up to a fifth. It could easily double the surviving body of lesser work - the pulp fiction and sitcoms of the day.

"The Oxyrhynchus collection is of unparalleled importance - especially now that it can be read fully and relatively quickly," said the Oxford academic directing the research, Dr Dirk Obbink. "The material will shed light on virtually every aspect of life in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, and, by extension, in the classical world as a whole."

The breakthrough has also caught the imagination of cultural commentators. Melvyn Bragg, author and presenter, said: "It's the most fantastic news. There are two things here. The first is how enormously influential the Greeks were in science and the arts. The second is how little of their writing we have. The prospect of having more to look at is wonderful."

Bettany Hughes, historian and broadcaster, who has presented TV series including Mysteries of the Ancients and The Spartans, said: "Egyptian rubbish dumps were gold mines. The classical corpus is like a jigsaw puzzle picked up at a jumble sale - many more pieces missing than are there. Scholars have always mourned the loss of works of genius - plays by Sophocles, Sappho's other poems, epics. These discoveries promise to change the textual map of the golden ages of Greece and Rome."

When it has all been read - mainly in Greek, but sometimes in Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac, Aramaic, Arabic, Nubian and early Persian - the new material will probably add up to around five million words. Texts deciphered over the past few days will be published next month by the London-based Egypt Exploration Society, which financed the discovery and owns the collection.

A 21st-century technique reveals antiquity's secrets

Since it was unearthed more than a century ago, the hoard of documents known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri has fascinated classical scholars. There are 400,000 fragments, many containing text from the great writers of antiquity. But only a small proportion have been read so far. Many were illegible.

Now scientists are using multi-spectral imaging techniques developed from satellite technology to read the papyri at Oxford University's Sackler Library. The fragments, preserved between sheets of glass, respond to the infra-red spectrum - ink invisible to the naked eye can be seen and photographed.

The fragments form part of a giant "jigsaw puzzle" to be reassembled. Missing "pieces" can be supplied from quotations by later authors, and grammatical analysis.

Key words from the master of Greek tragedy

Speaker A: . . . gobbling the whole, sharpening the flashing iron.

Speaker B: And the helmets are shaking their purple-dyed crests, and for the wearers of breast-plates the weavers are striking up the wise shuttle's songs, that wakes up those who are asleep.

Speaker A: And he is gluing together the chariot's rail.

These words were written by the Greek dramatist Sophocles, and are the only known fragment we have of his lost play Epigonoi (literally "The Progeny"), the story of the siege of Thebes. Until last week's hi-tech analysis of ancient scripts at Oxford University, no one knew of their existence, and this is the first time they have been published.

Sophocles (495-405 BC), was a giant of the golden age of Greek civilisation, a dramatist who work alongside and competed with Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes.

His best-known work is Oedipus Rex, the play that later gave its name to the Freudian theory, in which the hero kills his father and marries his mother - in a doomed attempt to escape the curse he brings upon himself. His other masterpieces include Antigone and Electra.

Sophocles was the cultured son of a wealthy Greek merchant, living at the height of the Greek empire. An accomplished actor, he performed in many of his own plays. He also served as a priest and sat on the committee that administered Athens. A great dramatic innovator, he wrote more than 120 plays, but only seven survive in full.

Last week's remarkable finds also include work by Euripides, Hesiod and Lucian, plus a large and particularly significant paragraph of text from the Elegies, by Archilochos, a Greek poet of the 7th century BC.

... my current theory is that this is actually prehype for some forthcoming documentary ...

... to Charles Jones, longtime research librarian at the Oriental Institute (and moderator of the ANE list, among other web/internet projects), who will be taking the position of Head of the Blegen Library at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens!
From Ha'aretz (photo accompanies the original article):

A 500-square-meter mosaic depicting an intricate design of flamingos, peacocks, ducks and other animals that adorned the floor of a fifth-century C.E. villa, was unearthed recently on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean near Caesarea.

Parts of the floor were first discovered in the 1950s by archaeologist Shmuel Yeivin. However, it was not fully excavated at the time due to budgetary constraints.

This time, after an initial week-long excavation by Dr. Yosef Porat and Peter Gendelman of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the authority refused to continue the dig, citing a lack of funds. The Caesarea Development Corporation has agreed to pay for conservation so the floor can be put on display.

One expert, who is not connected with the dig but visited the site two weeks ago, told Haaretz the villa is "the most impressive ever discovered so far in Israel."

The floor was apparently part of a central courtyard in the two-story villa, which covered 1.5 dunams and was destroyed during the Arab conquest in 640 C.E.

A table was discovered in one of the rooms and its glass was created using a previously unknown technique, apparently involving gold leaf. Other parts of the villa, including the second floor, also contained spectacular mosaics.

This is not the first case in which a budgetary dispute has ensued over the

excavation of a mosaic. In the 1990s, an American-Jewish donor agreed to fund restoration of a magnificent fourth-century mosaic discovered in Lod, but demanded it be transfered to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for display. The Lod municipality, however, insisted that it remain in place. When the issue was not resolved, the mosaic was covered up.

Mosaics that are not properly conserved are subject to damage by the elements and robbery, as was the fate of a mosaic depicting fish from an ancient bathhouse in Tiberias, discovered in the 1950s by Bezalel Rabani. With the recent renewal of excavations in Tiberias by Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, large parts of the mosaic were found to have been stolen.
Hopefully we'll hear more about this one ... Basilicata is reporting (in Italian) on the discovery of a rather large (15m frontage) Etruscan tomb dating from the second half of the third century A.D..
From a University of Cincinnati press release (I was scooped by Blogographos on this one!):

It took a hunch, hard work and a heck of a lot of diplomacy. But the payoff is spectacular: Archeologists from the University of Cincinnati have discovered a previously unknown Greek temple outside the ancient Greek city-state of Apollonia.

The monumental temple is "the third of its kind to be discovered at Apollonia and only the fifth in all of Albania," said Jack L. Davis, the Carl W. Blegen Professor of Greek Archaeology at the University of Cincinnati. Davis is co-director of the international team that has located the temple in a rural site in what is now modern-day Albania.

The hunch had its roots in work begun more than 40 years ago, when a farmer’s tractor uncovered terracotta figurines outside the walls of Apollonia. The site appeared to include remains of a sanctuary. An Albanian-Russian archeological team explored it, finding traces of brick walls and dating hundreds of the figurines to the 4th-2nd century BC. Their work went unnoticed, however: the rupture in Soviet-Albanian relations in 1960 kept the team from publishing much about their work

In 2002, Albanian archeologists, working collaboratively with Davis and other UC colleagues, conducted a surface survey. Measuring off a grid in the low-lying land between the ancient walls of Apollonia and the Adriatic Sea, team members walked, painstakingly searching for artifacts hidden in the dirt and vegetation.

They found more figurines, the foot of a statue, a late Greek inscription, a small stone altar – and pottery from a much earlier date. The combination of figurines, "which often point to ancient places of worship," and the older pottery led the team to believe the site was older than they first thought, Davis said.
Team co-director Jack L. Davis working at the site.

"It seemed to us that the sanctuary was already being used in the Archaic period," some 100-350 years earlier than the 1960 team had believed, he said.

Then came the kicker: a family who owns a section of the land told Albanian team leader Lorenc Bejko that they had uncovered a foundation made of large, regular blocks as they were building a new house back in 1997.

Now, the UC-Albanian team needed to dig. Evidence was mounting that a large temple, not just a sanctuary, had occupied the site. The archeologists wanted to "trace lines of (the) massive ashlar blocks" that had been disturbed during the building of the family’s house, Davis said.

Enter the need for negotiation. The Albanian family has lived on the site since 1928, building a compound of family homes and farm buildings known locally as Bonjakët, which is the family’s name.

"It is very difficult to gain their trust," Davis said. "And at the same time, they have all kinds of concerns about us being on their property. One of the gentlemen who lives in the complex was worried we might discover graves. That would make it difficult for him to live there any longer, if people were buried there.

"Another concern is that the resources that they have on their farm are potentially worth a lot of money to them," Davis said. "They’d like to have some control over them and are afraid they’ll be taken away by the state without any profit to them.’’

Indeed, the family has found, then sold or kept many artifacts since 1928. "Convincing them that they will be properly compensated, and we will be respectful of their lives, are the biggest challenges," Davis said.

Davis persuaded the family to let the team return in September 2004 and dig a total of 11 trenches within or near the family compound. In a large, continuously evacuated area in one couple’s garden, the team found parts of three layers (called "courses") of blocks consistent with those of a monumental temple.

The team also dug in a field 9/10ths of a mile away, where the 2002 surface survey had yielded many finds. "Immediately beneath the plow zone, we found part of a wall that had been constructed of spolia (plunder or materials) taken from one or more monumental stone buildings," Davis said. "Several blocks in the wall or found near it may come from the second course of the foundations of the temple."

One block with a Hellenistic type of molding had been "reused from an earlier building, flipped upside down with a door cut crudely through it. An identical block was found nearby at the edge of an irrigation wall…," he said. "It appears almost certain that the spolia, at least in part, derived from the demolition of the temple in the Bonjakët compound."

In other trenches, the team found artifacts that "document a rich history of ancient cult practice at this site," Davis said – including many terracotta figurines of two reclining figures, one male and one female, that team members had never seen before. They are "extraordinary, if not unique, in the Greek world," Davis said.

The team also found, and pieced together, a funeral plaque honoring a woman. In Greek, it "says that she was 60 years old and her son set this monument up in her honor. It also says, ‘Farewell,’ " Davis said. The team also evacuated "a head of a woman, probably from a grave relief of Late Classical-Hellenistic date," Davis said, which the Bonjakët family has kept.

The exact date of the Bonjakët temple is still unclear, and classics faculty members at UC are researching the origins of the unique figurines and other artifacts. Davis and the international team face continuing and urgent challenges, including plans by the Albanian Ministry of Transport to build a highway between the Bonjakët site and Apollonia’s original walls, an area that filled with people as the city-state grew. Davis says the highway would cause "irreparable harm" to "the antiquities of the urban center of Apollonia."

As chief negotiator for the team, Davis also must continue to work with the family. "The buck stops with me," he said. For the entire temple to be excavated, he believes it will be necessary to purchase their land and the buildings in their compound.

In addition to Davis, co-directors of the 2004 fieldwork were Sharon R. Stocker, a PhD candidate from UC; Vangjel Dimo of the Institute of Archaeology, Tirana; and Iris Pojani of the International Centre for Albanian Archaeology. They were assisted by University of Cincinnati team members Kori Duncan, Tammie Gerke, Evi Gorogianni, Kathleen Lynch and Shannan Stewart; Rexhep Halili and Genci Kotepano of the International Centre for Albanian Archaeology; and Elio Hobdari and Ols Lafe of the Institute of Archaeology. The original survey project team was represented by Skënder Muçaj.

They agree the site has "extraordinary and singular importance to Albanian archaeology and to the history of Greek colonization in the Adriatic Sea," Davis said. If the team is correct in its estimate that the temple was built in the Archaic or Classical period from the late 6th-early 5th century BC, Davis said, "the temple at Bonjakët may be one of the earliest monumental Greek temples on the shores of the eastern Adriatic, north of the borders of the modern Greek state."
From the Norwich Bulletin:

Students looking forward to taking a Latin exam?

Teachers don't hear that too often.

But that's exactly what Latin teachers and others at the Pomfret School have been hearing from some students after they received exemplary results on the National Latin Exam early last month. Students take the exam based on the level of Latin they are studying.

The students joined more than 135,000 students worldwide.

The exam has 40 questions, 20 based on grammar, 10 on culture and 10 based on the translation of a passage.

Though it is not a national requirement, all Latin students at the Pomfret School takes the exam.

Weeks after the 48 students took the exam, nine of them gathered Wednesday to talk about the experience and how they plan to score well next year.

Meredith Colwell, 15, of South Windham studied worksheets and took practice tests like the rest of her friends.

The day of the exam, though, she thought she may missed a few of the questions.

She didn't.

Colwell walked away with a perfect score, something not easily accomplished.

"I thought I did well, but I didn't think I got everything," Colwell said. "I guessed on a few."

Kaethe Kaufman, 14, of Woodstock, received a gold medal and said she liked how the test was different from most exams.

"I liked how it encompassed so much," she said. "You feel like you're getting a comprehensive grasp."

Joey Army, 16, of Pomfret said he enjoyed the exam's material. Army earned a gold medal on the exam.

"It makes you use your mind," he said.

As the students spoke of enjoying the exam, Latin teacher Beth Beriau looked like a proud teacher, along with Latin teacher Tad Chase.

"I was very pleased," Beriau said. "They worked really hard this year."
Speaking of Latin at the Vatican (see next article), folks might be wondering what Father Foster has been up to ... MMe (thanks!) has sent along a link to a brief item by our favourite Carmelite on the conclave .... Vatican Radio actually has a nice selection of programs on various matter papal that you might want to peruse ....
From Reuters:

When Roman Catholic cardinals vote in the Vatican for a new pope next week, they will swear an oath before God in Latin and then cast ballots written in the Church's official language.

Any canvassing for votes or comparing of notes between ballots, though, will almost certainly be done in Italian. Most "princes of the Church" would be lost if a cardinal sidled up to them and began sounding them out in whispered Latin.

The classical language served the Church for centuries as the link among the top Catholic clergy. The 115 cardinals who will elect the next pope come from all corners of the globe and have several dozen mother tongues among them.

But the demise of Latin within the Church, which stopped using it for Mass in 1965 and dropped it at its Rome-based universities for priests soon afterwards, has meant the Vatican's everyday language, Italian, has become the norm.

"We manage to communicate with each other. Most of the cardinals speak Italian," explained London's Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who learned the language fluently as student in Rome in the 1950s. "It would be rare to find one who doesn't."

Many other cardinals picked it up the same way after being sent to Rome for the pontifical university degree or Vatican job that signals a man on his way up the Church career ladder.

Speaking Italian has even become an unwritten requirement for the papacy. Polish-born Pope John Paul won over surprised Roman crowds at St. Peter's Square on the night of his election in 1978 by addressing them right away in fluent Italian.

"I do not know if I can express myself well in your ... our Italian language. If I make a mistake, correct me," he said.


Given their ages, all but the youngest cardinals would have said Latin prayers at daily Mass before the Second Vatican Council decided in 1965 to switch to local languages.

But reciting texts is easy, conversing off the cuff is hard.

"I joke with cardinals in Latin ... and most don't laugh," Father Reginald Foster, a Latin teacher at the Pontifical Gregorian University here, remarked with clear disapproval. "Some say they have no idea what I'm saying."

Among the few who can is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is tipped as a frontrunner in the race for the papacy. Some East Europeans have also kept up the tradition, Foster said.

Others try but their Latin "is on the spaghetti side," said Foster, meaning it sounded more Italian, which like French and Spanish developed over the centuries out of Latin. Many Italian and Latin words are so close they are easy to guess.

According to Italian media, most cardinals speaking to the pre-conclave sessions known as the "congregatio generalis" (general congregation) addressed their colleagues in Italian.

They said about one in eight speeches was held in the outside world's international language, English.

While most politicians instinctively reach for the headphones at international meetings, the men who have made it to cardinal rank in the Church are usually linguists who have spent at least several years studying in a foreign country.

Pope John Paul used to speak Polish with his personal secretary, German with main doctrinal specialist, Italian with many cardinals and English, French and Spanish with visitors.

"In Rome, you usually start in Italian," Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said when asked how he communicated with other cardinals. "But many of them speak English.

"I can speak Italian, French, Spanish and German, so I can usually get by," he said. "I really wish I knew Arabic. That would really be great."
P. J. Williams And Andrew D. Clarke And Peter M. Head And David Instone-Brewer, eds., The New Testament in Its First Century Setting: Essays on Context and Background in Honour of B. W. Winter on His 65th Birthday

... another

Joseph F. Kelly, The Origins of Christmas

... another

... all pdf
Aideen Hartney, John Chrysostom and the Transformation of the City
Malcolm Heath, Menander: A Rhetor in Context.

George H. van Kooten (ed.), The Creation of Heaven and Earth. Re-interpretations of Genesis 1 in the Context of Judaism, Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics. Themes in Biblical Narrative 8.
Nothing of interest ...

A selection of baby stuff (?) from Christie's. They're all 4th/3rd century Greek terracottas and the goat is actually a rattle. The thing in the middle is a pantheress, apparently (I've got a better example of one of these for tomorrow). Details on these two items ... The last thing, which is in a different lot, is a feeding bottle in the form of a mouse. I think I saw something similar in a display at the Sick Kids' hospital in Toronto a decade or so ago ...

I'm just about to officially switch over to Tangelo as my blog software of choice ... i.e. pay for and register it. As some folks might be aware, I was a long time user of Radio Userland but I just did not have the patience to deal with its weirdness any more. Long time readers of rc will know that I've pondered dumping Radio in the past but going to something 'obvious' like Wordpress or Movable Type both involved getting an ISP package which included mysql, which would essentially double what I'm paying right now. Blogger is inaccessible at times too (I have a blog for my math students to review lessons), so I never even pondered that one. I had initially gone with Radio because it didn't require such and happily, Tangelo is in the same category. The problem with Radio was the perpetual problem of it all of a sudden deciding not to post. I had grown somewhat accustomed to this and had learned that it would eventually publish after two or three posts (it also caused my hard drive to spin wildly and noisily from time to time, apparently), but that fateful day a couple of weeks ago it stopped doing even that. I can't be positive, but this might have coincided with some nightly update that was automatically downloaded (although the software itself hasn't really been updated (in the sense of a new version) in close to two years). What was even more maddening was that the error messages in the events log changed every time you tried to upload again. Email to the support forum went unanswered (and it was clear that others were having the same problem, hence my thoughts that it must have been connected to some nightly update. So it was time to bid adieu to Radio.

I'm not sure how I came across Tangelo ... I certainly hadn't heard of it before two weeks ago and tech geek that I am, I do try to stay on top of these things. Whatever the case, I installed it, it worked. If you have a Radio blog there is a way to import your archives from Radio (I haven't done that ... they're still available if you search via Google, so it doesn't seem a necessary/productive use of my time). It's still in development (some minor quirks, but they're not obtrsive), but its author is very responsive in the support forum. Most important, though, it works as described. If you are looking for a reasonably-priced piece of blog software with a great future ahead of it, give Tangelo a look ...
... were the subject of yesterday's Schott's Friday Miscellany:

ad lib. - ad libitum; as much as you like
ibid. - ibidem; in the same source
op. cit. - opere citato; in the work already mentioned
pp - per pro; on behalf of
sic - sic; thus, or literally
viz - videlicet; that is to say, namely

... never understood how we got from videlicet to viz ... and, of course, donning the rc apex of pedantry, we can point out that sic isn't an abbreviation (sic).
You gotta love this piece from the Telegraph:

It may be a relic from a bygone era, but there is no finer test for the intellect than classical Greek, says Max Davidson

'Daddy, guess what?" I waited glumly for the punchline. Fourteen-year-old girls have a way of springing nasty surprises on their parents. I assumed the brace position and kept my fingers crossed that nothing worse than alcopops was involved.

"I want to do Greek for GCSE."

At which point, I must admit, tears welled up in my eyes: partly out of sheer relief, but also for more primitive reasons. I felt a surge of atavistic pride, as if something in my genes had suddenly, and against all the odds, manifested itself in my child.

I read classics at university in the dim and distant days when people did read classics at university, but I felt like a dinosaur even then. Tempora mutantur, as we used to say in the beer-cellar of my Oxford college, and part of those changing times, as we saw it, was that we were a dying breed, soon to be rendered extinct by the winds of change blowing through the education world.

No way would our children plough their way through Homer, Aeschylus and Thucydides the way we had. They would be in thrall to the sciences, to social studies, to psychology, and to Spanish, Japanese and Arabic - languages that people actually spoke.

They would go backpacking around the Greek islands, but think Sappho was a pop singer. They would eat moussaka but know nothing of Menander. A pity, but there it was.

But fate, whose unseen workings so fascinated the Greeks, had a delicious surprise in store for me. Clara, my daughter, is lucky enough to attend a school - Cheltenham Ladies' College - where classics are still taught, albeit only to a small core of zealots, fewer than 10 in a class.

At 12, she took up Latin and fooled around happily with the language in an undemanding amo-amas-amat sort of way. I never imagined for a minute that she would continue with the subject, still less that she would take up Greek, an even more arcane language.

But it is the Greek - she is giving up Latin next year - that really excites me. For Greek as an academic discipline, as a challenge and a stimulus to the mind, beats Latin into a cocked hat.

The language is harder to master, as there is a new alphabet to learn; but once you have overcome that hurdle, you find yourself face to face with a civilisation that makes the poor Romans look like also-rans.

Everything the Romans did, from poetry to athletics, from vase-painting to constitutional government, the Greeks did earlier and did better. Virgil is no match for Homer, nor Seneca for Euripides, Livy for Thucydides or Plautus for Aristophanes. The whole course of European civilisation, the values we cherish and the principles by which we govern, were set in Athens in the 4th and 5th centuries BC.

It was a period of extraordinary, some would say unparalleled, creativity, when new ideas were buzzing about like flies. Nothing in my own education matched the excitement of reading the great Greek authors in the original and watching those fertile minds at work.

I was entranced by Herodotus, pole-axed by the brilliance of Aristotle and reduced to tears by the Iliad, which I devoured like a whodunnit. And to think of Clara embarking on the same journey, thrilling to the magic of rosy-fingered dawn and the wine-dark sea, makes the heart sing.

It has also sent me clambering into the attic and getting covered in cobwebs, to reach my mouldy treasure-trove of old Greek textbooks, volumes I never expected to open again. Moths had nested in the Sophocles and a column of ants was crawling down the spine of my 1882 Liddell and Scott, the Wisden of Greek scholars. But what memories the books brought back once I had run a duster over them!

They were memories not just of my own studies but of my grandfather, a man of Olympian intelligence, who studied classics at Oxford before the First World War. I inherited many of the books from him, and his neat scholarly marginalia, in faded black ink, were like the Ghost of Learning Past.

"Who was Longinus?" asked my daughter, disporting herself among the books like a lamb in springtime. "Is Ulysses the same as Odysseus? What are the Pythian Odes? Was Oedipus the one who married his mother? Which is the best translation of the Iliad?"

Question after question after question. It is so long since I studied Greek that I could barely answer half of them. I hope her teachers do better. But happy times lie ahead: father and daughter bonding over a little light Aeschylus.

When I look at her chemistry homework, I am lost - it is Greek to me. But when she comes to me with questions about genitives and datives and irregular verbs, I feel useful again, the custodian of an ancient wisdom handed down from generation to generation.

I just wish my grandfather could see me.
From the Tribune-Review:

Zee Ann Poerio has a hobby that makes cents.

Poerio, a third-grade teacher at St. Louise de Marillac School in Upper St. Clair, has a collection of a couple hundred coins, including over 100 ancient coins. Her coins span from as early as 400 BC to modern coins. The collection started when she wanted to introduce Latin lessons to her class three years ago.

"I just thought it was really interesting," Poerio says. "The reverence kids have for these coins. Something they hold in their hand is 2000 years old."

Poerio was drawn into the coin collecting world after searching the Internet for ancient coins with Latin inscriptions. That brought her to an organization known as Ancient Coins for Education.

Ancient Coins for Education is a nonprofit organization that provides 4th century AD Roman coins to classrooms for cleaning and attribution.

"The kids really enjoy it," Poerio says. "It's just that they prepared it themselves, and they get to keep it."

For her work in the classroom, Poerio has won numerous awards including the 2004 Ancient Coins for Education Harlan J. Berk Teacher Excellence Award. One of her prizes was a Brutus Gold Stater -- a gold coin from 44 BC. It has an engraving of Alexander the Great on the front, and Athena on the reverse side.

The coin was issued during the Civil War of Rome between 44 and 42 BC. It is in honor of Marcus Iunius Brutus, a Roman senator who ruled from 85 to 42 BC.

Scott Uhrick, an ancient coins expert from Danbury, Conn., says people collect coins for a variety of reasons, including the beauty of the artwork and the history behind the coins.

"I'll go into the classroom and ask who thinks history is boring. A lot of the hands will shoot up," says Uhrick, an IT worker at Oxford Health Systems. "You have to make it real. With the coins, the kids are actually holding something from that era."

Besides being a very affordable hobby, ancient coins are great for connecting history with the present, says Uhrick. He has more than 2000 coins in his personal collection.

"It really is a little handshake from the past," he says. "Coins are by far the most affordable artifact you can put in kids' hands."

Uhrick says would-be coin collectors should start out buying books about coins before buying the coins. It helps to know what you're doing, he says.

"It's a very infectious hobby," Uhrick says. "You start cheap and small, but you need a bigger and bigger fix each time."

Poerio has used her hobby to start what she calls an Ancient Coin Museum. The "museum" runs from April 22-24 at St. Louise de Marillac School, 312 McMurray Road, Upper St. Clair. Ancient Coins for Education helped get coins donated from all over the country. Poerio has even received coins from Canada and overseas.

Poerio says she is really interested in connecting "coins with Classics."

"Ancient coins have such an influence on coins today," she says. "They teach about history, art, mythology and language."

Two comments ... first make sure you give Hobbyblog a visit if you haven't been there lately (I've been pondering the carpentum thing ...); second, I'm curious whether anyone would consider paying 1000.00 $Can. for 28 Roman bronze coins (3rd to 5th century) as packaged on the Shopping Channel last night (seemed to be a major rip to me) ...
Why, start a Poker Channel in the UK of course ... from the Telegraph, inter alia:

Instead, it will share income with on-line betting companies that sponsor televised tournaments. The poker boom has been compared to the dotcom boom, but The Poker Channel's chairman and principal investor, Justin Byam Shaw, an Oxford classics graduate and media venture capitalist, does not believe interest in the card game will wane quickly. He said: "Of course the comparison makes me nervous but the coda to that is that there are many very successful large businesses that came through the crash." And Mr Nieboer says the boom has barely started. "I would expect to see four or five copycat poker channels in the next 18 months.
I've not posted many theatre reviews here (I'm posting them over at Classics Central, if you were wondering), but this production of Medea reviewed in the Houston Chronicle is interesting:

In its first attempt at an ancient Greek tragedy, Infernal Bridegroom Productions has devised not a definitive Medea, but one as funky and full of weird touches as the most hardcore fan of this avant-garde troupe could wish.

When you hear that Batman makes an appearance — yes, that Batman, playing golf — you may suspect that IBP and director Charlie Scott, who also wrote this adaptation of Euripides' classic, have gone too far.

At some points they have — particularly in a first act that frequently seems bent on outright travesty.

Yet as the grim machinations of the vengeance-obsessed heroine take hold in the second act, Scott and his cast start playing things relatively straight. And with IBP institution Tamarie Cooper bringing power and fury to her key scenes in the title role, and Scott's effective staging of her final horrific deeds, this Medea ultimately manages a potent shock-and-awe campaign. You just have to wait for it.

Nothing of interest ...
ante diem xvii kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 4)-- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.
Fordicidia -- an obvious fertility ritual in which a pregnant cow would be sacrificed to the earth goddess Tellus
421 B.C. -- Peace of Nikias brings the first phase of the Peloponnesian war (a.k.a. the Archidamian War) to an end (by one reckoning)
69 A.D. -- the forces of emperor wannabe Vitellius defeat the forces of emperor wannabe Otho
251 A.D. -- Martyrdom of Maximus and Olympiades in Persia
A couple of items of interest over at Tradicion Clasica ... first is a bit of a followup on the nomen omen piece from a couple weeks ago; second is a nice article (with English and Spanish versions) on a gladiator inscription in Cordoba.
Today's selection:

extant @

latitudinarian @ Wordsmith

antumbra @ Worthless Word for the Day

Interesting item from Christie's ... it's a portrait head from the last half of the first century B.C., which Robert Bianchi has argued depicts Cleopatra VII Philopator (i.e. the Cleopatra). Plenty of info on the details page for this one.

From the Yorkshire Post:

ANOTHER headless skeleton discovered in York is among a series of gruesome archaeological finds which could hold the key to unlocking secrets behind Roman burial rituals.
The latest discovery of human remains by archaeologists follows in the wake of another headless skeleton found shackled in a grave and a Roman mummy which was also unearthed in The Mount area of the city.
A total of 57 bodies – 50 adults and seven children – and 14 sets of cremated remains have been found during excavations, most by the York Archaeological Trust at a site in Driffield Terrace.
Archaeologists are now confident the bodies will provide perhaps the clearest indication yet on the Roman attitude to death.
It is thought the Romans could have beheaded corpses to release the human spirit, which they believed was contained in the head.
Excavations are continuing at the site which is earmarked for a new housing development and falls in the heart of one of York's most important Roman cemeteries.
Mike Griffiths, a consultant archaeologist for the developers, Shepherd Homes, discovered the 57th body – the first his team has unearthed.
"The latest finds could prove to be very important," he said.
"The last time anything was found on a similar scale was in the Victorian times, but the finds were often not recorded correctly and have been lost through the passage of time.
"Techniques have advanced a great deal since then, and we have far superior scientific analysis to examine the finds as well.
"These skeletons could provide us with the clearest indication yet as to how the Romans treated death and the passage to the afterlife."
Some Roman customs meant that bodies were buried outside the city, often at the roadside.
Archaeologists had expected to discover human remains at The Mount as it lies on the main Roman road between York and Tadcaster, but they have been taken aback by the number of beheaded skeletons uncovered.
The latest, which was discovered at the end of last week, has proved to be a departure from the previous remains.
Its head had been brutally hacked off and three or four vertebrae are missing. Other remains have had the head removed in a far more precise manner, suggesting the person was already dead.
The latest find indicates the man, who was aged in his late 30s or early 40s, could have been alive when he was beheaded.
Two deep puncture wounds were also made to his neck, with evidence of the weapon used causing damage to the remains of the spinal bone.
The latest remains are being stored in York for when paleopathologist Malin Holst returns from a trip to Germany. She will then analyse the bones to establish more about the man's death.
From the Columbia Daily Tribune:

Julius Caesar might not have recognized Toga Day as practiced yesterday by the students of Columbia Independent School.

Latin students paraded in a rainbow of homemade costumes. Some went for the gold-trimmed imperial look, while others were draped in rainbow stripes and even fabric designed with cartoon character images from "Scooby Doo."

Their march down Broadway could be called "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Harpo’s," where the group ate lunch.

Toga Day is a tradition at CIS, where all students in grades six through eight are required to take Latin.

Older students can take advanced placement Latin classes to earn college credit. They study the language, culture and history of ancient Rome, emphasizing connections to the present.

Latin teacher Sue Ann Moore wants them to see that "Latin is not a dead language."

After the parade, they returned to campus to perform skits with Greco-Roman themes for students and parents.

One class reported the news from Rome, complete with sensational chariot accidents, gladiators, ads for Medusa Hair Spray and a lottery with winning numbers in Roman numerals.

The skits played with familiar television themes. "Survivors in Hades" had to figure out how to cross the River Styx. Goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite competed on "Judgment of Paris Jeopardy." They relocated "Gilligan’s Island" to "Didonia’s Island," named for the queen of Carthage. "Scubi Du," the Latin equivalent of "Scooby Doo," solved "The Mystery of Great Caesar’s Ghost."

The performances in "Beep My Chariot" drew big laughs. The slightly sanitized title parodies MTV’s car makeover show, "Pimp My Ride," which turns rust-buckets into dream cars. In this case, a young man won an overhaul of his 2-horsepower chariot of 22 BC so he could roll down Rome’s Via Appia in style.

Sam Roland, 14, said studying Latin is useful.

"It helps with other languages, like French and Spanish," he said.

"Toga Day is always something to look forward to," Roland said. "It’s just all about fun."
From the Guardian:

On one side of the 2,500-year-old Greek wine cup, decorum rules: the god Dionysos is being handed wine in a similar clay bowl by a helpful satyr.

On the other side, things have got dramatically rowdier: a maenad is being energetically chased by two satyrs clearly the worse for drink; the one grasping her arm is lugging along a wine-skin of refreshment.

"I don't think she looks in any way threatened, she looks very well able to take care of herself," said Lucilla Burn, keeper of antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, in Cambridge, which has just acquired the cup.

The Cockerell cup is named after its last owner, the late Sir Christopher Cockerell, inventor of the hovercraft. The cup, painted by one of the most renowned Athenian pottery decorators, and in outstanding condition, was acquired by the museum, with a £50,000 grant from the Art Fund charity towards the £100,000 purchase price.

The museum already has a world-famous collection of Athenian red-figure vases, but few deriving from this late period.

The museum is a peculiarly appropriate home for the cup, because though Sir Christopher bought the vessel from a London dealer in the 1960s, his father, Sir Sydney Cockerell, was a former director of the Fitzwilliam, and himself a renowned collector.

The academic and art historian was reportedly disgusted when his son showed early genius for engineering rather than fine art. When the young Christopher chose the book The Boy Electrician instead of a biography of Rembrandt as a birthday present, his father snorted that he was "no better than a garage hand".
A brief item from Basilicata reveals the discovery of a statue of a woman at the Villa of the Quintilii excavations ...
Canali De Rossi on Muccigrosso on Canali De Rossi.
Richard B. Todd (ed.), Dictionary of British Classicists
A fellow listowner pass this one along (thanks Cami!) ... the Greek Medicine site has nice little biographies of Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen and others with some images of medieval manuscripts of their work. It reminds me of one of those sites PBS sets up to accompany a documentary ... nice intro, though.
Bit o' ClassCon in this Reuters piece:

A copper mine in Cyprus where the metal has been mined since Biblical times faces closure unless the Church of Cyprus can find a buyer, officials said on Wednesday.

The Skouriotissa mine, which produced copper ore at a site where there has been mining for some 4,000 years, suspended operations in January, leaving its workers unpaid and with debts labor unions estimate at 14 million pounds ($31.1 million).

Herod the Great, who in the Bible ordered the Massacre of the Innocents in an attempt to murder the infant Jesus, has been recorded among those having rights to mine at the site in Cyprus's picturesque Troodos Mountains.


According to the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, the ancient Romans leased the mines to the highest bidder. In 12 BC rights to mines in the area went to King Herod, who was allowed to keep half the profits.
Again we get one of these strange press releases, but this time. it's a fellow Canuck making the claims:

While searching for the secrets of the Bermuda Tri-angle, Chris Shearer stumbled upon a picture of what he believes is the concentric rings and canal system where Atlantis once flourished. Finding even more pictures on the subject he then concluded that with earlier pictures of the area showed much more sedimentary sand deposits. The hurricanes and tropical storms that happened last year and some of the previous years removed some of the sedimentary sand that was on top of the parts of Atlantis which are now visible. Back in the thirties Edgar Cayce who was a world renowned psychic was quoted as saying that parts of Atlantis would rise in 68 or 69, and indeed they did. The Bimini roads were then discovered along with under water temples which are also visible.

The Bahama Islands have been over looked as being Atlantis for many years, until now. Not only was Edgar Cayce right about his readings on Atlantis he is also right about the whereabouts. Chris has done extensive research on the subject and conclude that what he has discovered is in fact the lost city and continent of Atlantis. Of course there will be controversy in the matter but his web-site will show the people that indeed, Atlantis once thrived on an island sized continent. Not only has he discovered Atlantis, but he also has the answers to many of our age old questions, especially what happened! By looking constantly at satellite images of earth, and the continents he has concluded that the disappearance of Atlantis was brought on by the end of the last ice age and the last time the earths continents drifted away from one another. The Tsunami that was created from the Atlantic fault giving away was immensely large enough to submerse a continent, and most of the world. The great flood is even depicted in the Bible.

Check out Chris' web-site for yourself and you be the judge. Chris' web-site is online now and you can view it at

FWIW ... or maybe it's Sardinia (article in Italian) ...

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Spear of Jesus In the Hofsburg Museum in Vienna, Austria, lies a metal spearhead said to have been used to pierce the side of Christ during his crucifixion. For the first time, scientific testing will establish if this ancient relic really is the Spear of Christ.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| In Search of the Holy Grail What is the Holy Grail? A team of experts explores four intriguing items to explore: a glass bowl from England; an ancient cup from Wales; a small stone; a papal chalice in Spain; and an intricately engraved silver chalice from ancient Antioch.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel
ante diem xviii kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 3) -- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.
69 A.D. -- first battle at Bedriacum; the forces of emperor wannabe Vitellius eventually would defeat the forces of emperor wannabe Otho
73 A.D. -- mass suicide at Masada (?)
195 A.D. -- Julia Domna, wife of the emperor Septimius Severus, is given the title mater castrorum ("mother of the camp")
I think the Nuntii Latini page has changed (or they're having server problems today) ... in any event, here's something to work through:

Papa diem supremum obiit (12.04.2005, klo 16.47)

Pontifex Maximus Ioannes Paulus II postridie Kalendas Apriles (2.4.) vesperi in diaeta sua privata diem supremum obiit.

Constabat eum per aliquot septimanas morbo organorum respirationis laborasse, sed ipsa mortis causa nuntiatur fuisse cardioplegia cum sepsi inflammatoria.

Ad lectum morientis duo secretarii privati una cum nosocomis et medicis vigilabant, donec ille ?Amen? dicens ultimum spiritum reddidit.

Ex vita discessit octoginta quattuor annos natus, cum ecclesiae catholicae plus unius miliardi hominum amplius viginti sex annos praefuisset.

Morte papae urbi et orbi divulgata ianuae aeneae in porticu Basilicae Sancti Petri patentes ad signum luctus clausae et luminaria eiusdem basilicae obserata sunt.

Eodem tempore campanae ecclesiarum sonare coeperunt.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Today's selection:

obloquy @

oracular @ Merriam-Webster

hagiarchy @ Wordsmith

incarnate @ OED

Classics Technology Center's My Word feature features assorted color words in Latin ...

This is kind of interesting ... I revived this '@ the auctions' feature with an object similar to this from Bonham's. This one is from Christie's, and like the Bonham's piece, it is a vase depicting a mother monkey holding a baby. These sort of things must have been 'mass produced' ... details from Christie's

In an interesting bit of synchronicity, yesterday while we were blogging about unicorns (see post below), Jim Davila was blogging about unicorns in the Bible over at Paleojudaica ...
This one was mentioned on the Classics list yesterday ... a press release from Washington State University in St. Louis:

A piece of literary history has returned to Washington University in St. Louis, thanks to a fortuitous find in a New Orleans bookstore.
Tennessee Williams' 'blue' book

The story begins in February 2004, when Henry I. Schvey, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, directed (with Shelley Orr) the world premiere of "Me, Vashya," a one-act play written in 1937 by then-student Tennessee Williams, as part of an international symposium on Williams' early career.

"Me, Vashya," which remains unpublished, famously placed fourth in a campus playwriting contest — a bitter disappointment to the young playwright, who stormed into his professor's office before storming out of St. Louis altogether, expunging the play from his list of works and Washington University from his 1975 "Memoirs."

Yet the reception of "Me, Vashya" was not the only factor in Williams' decision to leave Washington University. As biographer Lyle Leverich reports in "Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams" (1995), the playwright was deeply concerned about his upcoming final examination in Greek.

In a May 30, 1937, journal entry, Williams complains of "Blue devils all this morning" and concludes, "Tomorrow Greek final which I will undoubtedly flunk."

Schvey — visiting New Orleans only weeks after "Me, Vashya's" debut to deliver a paper at the 2004 Tennessee Williams Scholars' Conference — was of course familiar with this background. He was thus perhaps uniquely qualified to recognize the significance of a small blue test booklet he found while perusing a collection of rare Williams-related materials at Faulkner House Books, a prominent French Quarter bookstore.

"I knew instantly what it was," Schvey said of the booklet. "It was his Greek exam."

Schvey explains that the booklet, which closely resembles those still used by students today, is plainly labeled as being sold by the "Washington University Stores" and bears the name "Th. Williams" — significant in that Williams did not adopt the nickname "Tennessee" until several years after leaving St. Louis.

Inside, Schvey found a series of Greek-to-English and English-to-Greek translations, with individual grades for each exam section: A-, C , C-, D and D. More startlingly, he also found a 17-line, pencil-written poem. Still visible is an initial title, "Sad Song," which Williams lightly erased and replaced with the more contextually appropriate "Blue Song" — a witty double-reference to the author's mood and medium.

"The poem was presumably written at the time of the examination," Schvey noted, adding that, as far as he has been able to determine, "Blue Song" has never been published and, indeed, was entirely unknown to Williams scholars.

"It is clearly the work of a young man who doesn't know his next move in life," Schvey continued. "Williams always felt uprooted in St. Louis, a feeling he describes here in very lyrical terms, in lines like 'If you should meet me upon a/ street do not question me for/ I can tell you only my name/ and the name of the town I was/ born in … .' I found it very moving."
An Explorator reader sent this one in (Thanks CO!) ... RTE's The Book on One is featuring (this week) a reading of Peter Fallon's translation of the Georgics ... you can likely listen to these for the rest of the week, but they'll start disappearing on Monday ...
Interesting opinion/review piece from OSU's Daily Barometer:

"Anyone setting out to defend what Jay Albert Nock once called 'the grand old fortifying classical curriculum' -- essentially Greek and Latin -- does so knowing that he flies the tattered flag of a lost cause." Tracy Lee Simmons begins his book "Climbing Parnassus" with this appraisal, and proceeds to raise that banner over the beleaguered barricades of classical education.

The triumph of the campaign against Western Civilization may be seen at our own school. OSU offers no courses in the languages that began our culture, preferring to spend its resources on courses like "NFM216 -- Food in Non-Western Culture," "PHL599 -- 002 -- Feminist Epistemology," "EXSS475 -- Power and Privilege in Sport," and "WS299 -- Witches, Midwives, and Healers."

Against such anti-intellectual debasement of education, Mr. Simmons sets a robust vision that challenges students to greatness. For though few students have the capacity to excel, "When aims are pitched high, even a partial failure leads to ultimate success. The climb itself builds muscles, even if we don't reach the top."

Most everyone agrees that education in America is a mess. But the solutions generally offered (from the left -- more money; from the right -- more accountability) don't consider that the problem may not lie in the execution but in the ideal.

Few today consider the radical difference between today's educational methods and curriculum and that of classical education. Many cannot even define a classical education: the study of the great languages and literature (from the poetic to the philosophical) of Western Civilization.

"Climbing Parnassus" makes its case in clear prose, and relying on authority beyond the author's own, it regularly bolsters its case by citing luminaries spanning from Plato and Socrates to T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis. Simmons' first task is to critique modern education, and in this, as he warns in the preface, "A few forbidden things."


The second supposition Simmons rebuts hails from all sides of the political spectrum: the appeal to utility that would, Emerson said, "abolish the rose and exalt in triumph the cabbage." The majority of the book is addressed to this objection to classical education.

Those portions of the university that have not been corrupted by the anti-intellectualism of subjectivism have been turned into job training programs.

Students learn a trade instead of learning.

Even if the critics are correct, and the classics have no practical value, this is no argument for neglecting them. Mankind's lot would be poorer without Homer and Virgil, Plato and Cicero, just as it would be if roses and rainbows vanished from the earth. The pure pragmatist would give us everything we need for life except a reason for living.

However, the classics are far more than a means of sating our aesthetic urges. They are not an adversary but an ally of the hard sciences, for if the classics cannot "build new roads and bridges," science cannot "explain where we want to go."

Simmons makes the case for the classics by examining the history of the study of these dead languages and their poets, philosophers, and orators. The rigor of classical learning develops minds, "No one bothered with what we call skills of 'critical thinking,' which came naturally to anyone successfully navigating this course of study."

Both Harvard and Yale, when established, required mastery of Greek and Latin for acceptance. Simmons lauds our Founding Fathers as perhaps "the wisest, best-read public servants to preside over any government since ancient times." I shudder to think what course history would have taken had they been given a modern education.

Studying Greek, Latin and their works is an intellectual exercise regime second to none. There is no need to create a new form of education that will produce intellectual, self-controlled, virtuous citizens. For the model has been "inherited from antiquity, rediscovered by men of the Renaissance, and sustained by the brighter lights of the modern world. The curriculum ... already existed ... It was classical education."

But this education provides more than a gymnasium for the intellect. "Classical education provides keys to understanding Western civilization." It imbues students with a historical perspective and a base for our culture. For instance, those who wish to understand the Federalist Papers would do well to begin their journey in Greece and Rome.

I have been convinced. My quest to provide myself with the thorough education that OSU (despite the pretensions of the bacc core) will certainly not impart has neglected the tongues in which our civilization began. However, I am now searching for a good Latin primer.

Mr. Simmons may be tilting at windmills, but this one, at least, he has unhorsed.

We've ranted before about the misuse of the term 'ides' to refer to the fifteenth of any month, despite the old mnemonic (one version):

In March, July, October, May
The ides fall on the 15th day,
The nones are on the 7th

... the rest have the Ides on the 13th, of course. So all the authors/editors of those articles today which are referring to 'tax day' in the US as the "ides" really deserve a whack with the rc thyrsus of correction ...

A while back we were pondering whether the Romans domesticated bunnies ... coverage in the Telegraph of a recent find in the UK confirms what many readers had sent to me:

Years of division among academics over whether the Romans or the Normans introduced rabbits into Britain appears to have been resolved.

An archaeological dig in Norfolk has uncovered the remains of a 2,000-year-old rabbit - by far the oldest of its kind found on these shores and regarded as final proof that the creatures are now on the list of what the Romans ever did for us.

Many believed that the Normans introduced rabbits for their meat and fur.

However, others have always insisted that the creatures were brought in by the Romans, citing Marcus Terrentius Varro (116-27BC) who wrote that the legions brought rabbits from Spain, where they were reared in walled enclosures and then served up as a gourmet dish.

The remains were found at Lynford, near Thetford.

Jayne Bown, the manager of the Norfolk Archaeological Unit, which is conducting the dig, said yesterday: "We can date the rabbit to the first or second century AD from the pottery fragments found beside it. Some of these fragments included domestic pots which could have been used for cooking.

"We could tell the bones had been butchered."

More coverage in this weekend's Explorator ...
J. Fejfer, T. Fischer-Hansen, A. Rathje, The Rediscovery of Antiquity: The Role of the Artist. Acta Hyperborea 10.

Maria Silvana Celentano (ed.), Ars - Techne: Il manuale tecnico nelle civiltà greca e romana. Collana del Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità Sez. filologica 2.

Nothing of interest ...
idus apriles

ludi Cereri continue (day 2)-- games in honour of the grain goddes Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.
rites in honour of Jupiter Victor and Jupiter Liber
150 A.D. -- martyrdom of Carpus and companions at Pergamon
303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Maximus and companions at Silistria
Today's Selection:

detritus @

catholicity @ Wordsmith

gravitas @

Today's lot is from Christies and is an early fifth century Attic black figure lekythos depicting a maenad riding a bull, with a couple of satyrs trotting along too. Can't say I've ever seen someone (other than Europa) riding a bull. Details.

Funus papae die Veneris (8.4.2005)

Die Lunae corpus pontificis in altaribus Basilicae Sancti Petri expositum est, ut multis centenis milibus hominum, summis infimis, civibus peregrinis, copia daretur ei ultimum vale dicendi.

Funus sollemne, quo ducenti primores nationum et tres miliones hominum conventuri esse existimantur, die Veneris hora undecima celebratur.

Iustis supremis confectis papa Ioannes Paulus II sepulcri locum in crypta Basilicae Sancti Petri habet, ubi etiam ossa praedecessorum eius condita sunt.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
A piece in the News-Leader about unicorns led me to an interesting page which discusses, inter alia, unicorns in antiquity. An excerpt:

The unicorn does not appear in early Greek mythology, but in Greek natural history, for Greek writers on natural history were convinced of the reality of the unicorn, which they located in India, a distant and fabulous realm for them. The Encyclopædia Britannica collects classical references to unicorns: the earliest description is from Ctesias, who described in Indica white wild asses, fleet of foot, having on the forehead a horn a cubit and a half in length, colored white, red and black; from the horn were made drinking cups which were a preventive of poisoning. Aristotle must be following Ctesias when he mentions two one-horned animals, the oryx, a kind of antelope, and the so-called "Indian ass" (in Historia anim. ii. I and De part. anim. iii. 2). In Roman times Pliny's Natural History (viii: 30 and xl: 106) mentions the oryx and an Indian ox (the rhinoceros, perhaps) as one-horned beasts, as well as the Indian ass, "a very ferocious beast, similar in the rest of its body to a horse, with the head of a deer, the feet of an elephant, the tail of a boar, a deep, bellowing voice, and a single black horn, two cubits in length, standing out in the middle of its forehead." Pliny adds that "it cannot be taken alive." Aelian (De natura. anim. iii. 41; iv. 52), quoting Ctesias, adds that India produces also a one-horned horse, and says (xvi. 20) that the "monoceros" was sometimes called carcazonon, which may be a form of the Arabic "carcadn", meaning "rhinoceros". Strabo (book xv) says that in India there were one-horned horses with stag-like heads.
An excerpt from an ANA piece, in case you were wondering:

Greece objects to the use of the name 'Macedonia' by its northern neighbour on the grounds that it might encourage expansionist policies against Greece. Greeks are also incensed by the attempts of FYROM Slavs to "usurp" the famous Greek general Alexander the Great, whose ancient kingdom lay roughly within the borders of the present-day Greek province of Macedonia, from whom they claim descent.
Just came across William Whitaker's Words program ... looks potentially useful for student purposes ....
Counterpunch has an opinion piece using Aschylus' Oresteia as a point of departure for discussion of the US Patriot Act. Here's the incipit:

The foundations of modern law lie in a play about the trial of a refugee. It is in Aeschylus's Oresteia that we find the fulcrum on which law pivots from custom and religion to become a social contract, to which, in theory, at least, we all are parties. Human beings, not the gods, rationally have created a system of dispute resolution, to which we subordinate our irrational, piratical proclivities. From law as custom, symbolized by the titan Themis, whose blindfolded statue we place atop our court houses, come the impulses we seek through law to institutionalize: and no custom is more universally observed among primitive cultures than the obligation of hospitality to strangers. When the scope of expected rights was extended to protect the alien as well as the familiar, concrete custom became abstract justice. Our attitude toward foreigners thus measures the amplitude or meanness of our political vision, and probably predicts our prospects for survival.

Aeschylus, who died in 456 BC, wrote at the pinnacle of Greek power and optimism, a time when the aliens in Athens, called "metics," were honored, and invited to participate in the major religious festivals of the city. The Athenians enjoyed a prosperous mercantile economy, powered by the genius of artisans from all over the "known" world. Like the Americans after World War II, the Athenians believed that their recent victory over the mighty Persians was more than a military victory; they felt it was also a moral triumph of civilization over barbarism. It was the time when the arts, literature, philosophy, architecture, which we now consider the glory of ancient Greece, were flowering. The Athenians, like the founding fathers of the United States (in spite of slave owning and patriarchy) loved jealously their democracy, and therefore prized debate and persuasion over raw force.

[the rest]
Congrats to the University of Toronto's Alexander Jones who is on the list of Guggenheim Fellows for 2005.
From Kathimerini:

A new search is under way to find the wreckage of an ancient Persian fleet on the seabed off the coast of Greece. In cooperation with the Center for Maritime Research that has found over 30 wrecks within five years, the Ephorate of Coastal Antiquities, with the help of American and Canadian experts, will resume their search in June in the areas of Kili and Artemisio, off Evia’s northern tip.

Despite the ephorate’s modest budget (this year’s is unchanged from last year’s at 400,000 euros), exploration will be expanded to cover the seabed off the coast of Inousses island in a pilot program on the 3D imaging of an ancient wreck.

Archaeological maritime exploration has contributed to the development of technology for preserving wrecks found in the sea and to methods of preserving antiquities.

For example, for the first time ever an archaeologist has been able to dive to a depth of 480 meters in the Aegean. Paraskevi Micha made the dive recently with the operator of the bathyscape near the island of Kythnos, where a few months ago an impressive, headless bronze statue had been recovered, possibly dating from the fourth century BC. They remained for two hours on the seabed, filming the area. Later the operator went down again in the bathyscape and brought up amphorae using two mechanical claws.

A conference on the subject was held in late March by the Culture Ministry for Greek and foreign experts. Traditional techniques and materials such as camphor and silicon have helped preserve antiquities found on the seabed, according to Wayne Smith, a professor at the University of Texas.

Dimitris Sakellariou of the Center for Maritime Research explained how sediment accumulates on the seabed in Greek waters, and how sound waves can trace the presence of wrecks. These sound waves help date the findings and enable conclusions to be drawn on the amount of damage caused by, for example, fishing.

Another effect on wrecks is the action of microorganisms, the most dangerous of which is the Terendo navalis worm that sticks to the timber of old ships and is capable of reducing it to the consistency of soap. Thousands of microorganisms thrive in Greek waters, not only because of its geographical position but its water temperatures. Another way to protect wrecks is by the use of geofibers. Anastasia Pournou of the Technical Institute of Athens described the use of this material, which was first used in Greece in 1995 on a 16th century wreck near the island of Zakynthos. Archaeologists found the hull, cannon parts, coins and pottery from this Spanish ship, which had been carrying a cargo of hazelnuts.

Two years later, it appeared that the decision to cover the hull with geofiber had been correct. In 2000 experts repeated the experiment, but the results have not yet been recorded.

Preserving an ancient artifact is something like looking after a sick patient, explained ephor Katerina Delaporta, and methods are constantly being revised, as with a Viking ship in Stockholm. For years it was thought that the methods being used were the best, but 30 years later it was found that they harmed other parts of the ship.

Greece’s seas are scattered with ancient wrecks. Mapping carried out for years by the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities, according to sources, recommendations and ancient traditions, and with bibliographic help, show over 1,000 of them lying on the Greek seabed.
8.00 p.m. |SCI| Gallo-Roman Secrets Scientists are attempting to uncover how the Romans built roads, bridges and aqueducts two thousand years. Through cutting-edge computer graphics, discover the most mythical stadium of Antiquity -the Circus Maximus.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Roman Imprint on the West In the 2nd century AD, all roads lead to Rome, and we'll follow some which connect Rome to the rich provinces of the West, including Iberia (Spain) and Gaul (France) as a Celtic gladiator takes us on a virtual tour through the streets of Nimes, Orange, Tarragona, Italica, Meridia, and more.

SCI = Science Channel

HINT = History International
pridie idus apriles

ludi Cereri (day 1) -- games in honour of the grain goddes Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.
65 A.D. -- death of Lucius Annaeus Seneca at the order of Nero
250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Vissa (or Vissia) at Fermo
300 A.D. -- martyrdom of Victor in what would become Portugal

Another one from Bonhams and another nice bit of drapery. This one is a 2nd-century Roman bronze of a youth, You've got to zoom in on the bigger photo on the details page to appreciate the, er, detail,

Back to Bonhams ... I might as well include this one since it's kind of a background piece to a long-term project still in its infancy for me. The idea is to produce a series of manga-type comics of some of Cicero's orations (initially the Catilines) to provide students with a sort of 'background'/context so I've been 'collecting' images which show how togas etc. 'drape'. This is actually a woman in a chiton with a himation over it. The details page tells us the ever-useful 'accompanied by a French passport' (which I'm now figuring must be some sort of export license).

Sententiae moderatorum mundi (8.4.2005)

Quam magni papa Ioannes Paulus II aestimatus sit et aestimetur, vel inde apparet, quid diversi moderatores mundi de obitu eius certiores facti publice dixerint.

George Bush, praesidens Civitatum Americae Unitarum, ait magnum defensorem libertatis hominum vita abisse.

Kofi Annan, secretarius generalis Nationum Unitarum, Ioannem Paulum virum pacis semper auctorem et laudatorem descripsit.

Alexander Kwasniewski, praesidens Poloniae, censuit illum papam civem Polonum omnium temporum maxime insignem esse, sine quo patria sua liberata non esset.

Tarja Halonen, praesidens Finniae, papam mortuum dolens: "Genus humanum", inquit, "fortem propugnatorem pacis amisit.

Neque enim ille intra muros Vaticanos sedere voluit, sed multis itineribus quoquoversus factis multos homines conveniebat et indefesse pro pace et cooperatione ecclesiarum oecumenica loquebatur.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Today's selection:

redoubt @

colporteur @ Merriam-Webster
From the Daily Post:

A QUEST for a missing wedding ring has helped uncover a collection of ancient treasures dating back up to 4,000 years.

Thought to be from tombs on the holiday island of Cyprus, the pricesless collection had been collecting dust in a Cheshire attic for nearly 40 years, with the belief they were old holiday trinkets.

Their historic value was discovered when Neville Davies enlisted the help of archaeologist and metal detecting enthusiast James Balme, to help track down his son-in-law's missing wedding ring.

The £500 gold ring had been lost on his land during snowy weather and was recovered in less than 30 minutes!

James, who met Neville at a Rotary Club meeting, said:"After finding the ring Neville asked me if I knew anything about identifying pottery as he had a box of pots in his loft that had been there for many years.

"He thought that they were tourist souvenirs and probably fairly modern. I agreed to take a look at what was in the box and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw ancient artefacts, some dating back up to 4000 years."

The collection consisted of 13 items, including wine flagons, a small bowl, a wine cup and an unusual clay effigy of a face, believed to be a Roman character, as well as several painted Greek vases.

Many of them still contained traces of soil indicating they may have come from a tomb or several tombs.

"It is highly likely that these vessels were deposited at the time of burial. There was a belief some 4000 years ago that they served the deceased on his or her journey to the afterlife," added James..

After discovering their historic interest Neville, who lives in Lymm, near Warrington, remembered that another box was stored away in the attic.

He recovered the box containing a further twenty four artefacts and took it to James who immediately identified many of the objects as being Cypriot vessels from the Bronze age with a date range of approximately 2500 - 1650BC.

James said: "To say that I was amazed at what I was seeing would be an understatement to say the least.

"As well as the ancient pottery, most of which is in pristine condition, I also identified a Bronze Age spear some 14 inches in length and a unique Bronze oil lamp that I believe to be very ancient dating back to the late Bronze Ago, or early Roman period occupation of the island."

Another artefact is a huge painted flagon with the head of a bull cast into the neck of the vessel.

With Egypt being only a short boat trip away there is the possibility that some of the material could have be influenced by the ancient Egyptians.

The age of the finds has been verified by Professor John Prag of Manchester Museum.

The items ended up in Neville's loft after they were given to him by his late father, Sir Ossie Davies.

Back in 1958 a Cypriot gave them as a gift to someone who brought them back to Britain. Shortly afterwards they were given to Neville's father who in turn passed them on to Neville.

There's a link in the article to a site which has more info, which doesn't seem to, actually. But it does have a collection of clippings about assorted discoveries in Warburton.
Here's a good indication that we're now in the 'slow season' ... the only thing I've accumulated in my mailbox for inclusion this a.m. is the incipit of a review of 'Sin City' from the Washington Post:

"If you would like to know what men really are," Lucretius once observed, "the time to learn comes when they stand in danger or in doubt. For then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of the heart, and the mask is torn off, reality remains."

Lucretius was an early Roman poet-philosopher who plied his trade during a time when earnest folks looked to men like him for insightful observations on the nature of the universe. Nowadays, it seems, we look to filmmakers.

And, apparently, comic book artists too. Frank Miller is both, and like Lucretius, he is quite interested in the revelations that may arise when men -- and women -- are in danger or doubt. They are constantly up to their eyebrows in such distressing stuff in "Sin City," an often intriguing, occasionally perplexing film that opened earlier this month.

And since it's such a slow news day, here's the Latin ... from book three of De rerum natura:

quo magis in dubiis hominem spectare periclis
convenit adversisque in rebus noscere qui sit;
nam verae voces tum demum pectore ab imo
eliciuntur [et] eripitur persona amanare.

... nothing of interest.
ante diem iii idus apriles

421 B.C. -- Peace of Nikias brings the first phase of the Peloponnesian war (a.k.a. the Archidamian War) to an end (by one reckoning)

90 A.D. -- martyrdom of Antipas

145 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Severus

Today's selection:

pontificate @ Wordsmith

... told you it was a slow day.

Princeps Rainerus vita functus (8.4.2005)

Denique alter mortis nuntius: postridie Nonas Apriles (6.4.) Rainerus, princeps Monoeci octogesimum secundum annum agens, in nosocomio Monoecensi vita functus est.

Ad imperium pervenerat anno millesimo nongentesimo undequinquagesimo (1949), quam ob rem in monarchis Europae maxime diuturnis numerabatur.

Successor eius erit filius Albertus, ad quem munera civitatis administrativa iam transferri coepta sunt.

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

Here's another one from Christies ... a 6th century pottery aryballos (a bottle usually used to carry oil or perfume) in the form of a warrior's head. The details page suggests it is probably of Rhodian origin.

It's a very slow news day, so I might have a couple of auction items if nothing substantial hits the mailbox in the next half hour or so. We'll begin with this piece coming up for auction at Christies ... it's a 4th century terracotta applique of a lion attacking a horse. I've often wondered about the purpose of items such as these; the details page suggests it was used to decorate a sarcophagus ... but the subject matter causes me to wonder: are the figures heraldic?

Over at CCC, MH has a number of posts of late that are worth perusing ... first is a good followup of additional info in regards to that senate committee testimony we mentioned yesterday (in regards to disabilities) ... there's also the link to a Latin 'translation' of Vanilla Ice's Ice, Ice Baby
The Times has a somewhat disturbing 'be careful what you wish for' article about the effects of Heritage status being granted to Hadrian's Wall:

HADRIAN’S WALL has survived barbarian invaders, smugglers and the 2,000-year march of history. Now its very survival has come under threat — from an army of walkers.

The erosion of the World Heritage Site is becoming so severe that the Roman wall could be placed on the World Heritage “in danger” list, experts told The Times yesterday.

Some 400,000 people have marched across the Hadrian’s Wall Path Trail since it was opened 18 months ago. They are banned from walking on the wall itself, yet many do so. One day last winter 800 Dutch bankers walked across the wall.

Although only a small fraction of the wall and its forts has been excavated, the fragile site is being eroded by heavy boots, archaeologists say. They note that only 20,000 visitors had been expected when the plans were made in the early 1990s.

Hadrian’s Wall is among 600 locations designated as World Heritage cultural sites by Unesco. Governments recognise an obligation, under the 1972 World Heritage Convention, to care for their countries’ heritage, and so only 29 of the 600 sites are considered at risk.

Peter Fowler, an adviser to the UN cultural body, said that adding a location to the list was something the World Heritage Committee took extremely seriously. “It is a very deep insult to a nation when this happens,” he said. “Were something not done to stop the erosion, Hadrian’s Wall could be added to the list. I’m surprised that this should happen in an advanced country which apparently takes the world’s heritage seriously.” Only one other developed nation has suffered such an indignity: Cologne Cathedral was included last year.

Professor Fowler was among the archaeologists who opposed the trail’s creation. They were told that the structure and earthworks would be protected, and that there would be effective management of the route. “That hasn’t happened,” he said. “There is one person responsible for the whole 73 miles. It’s unacceptable. This is not the way for Britain to meet the obligations.”

Most visitors, he said, were simply “out for a good walk”. “That’s fine, but walk somewhere else,” he said. “A fragile archaeological site should not be used. This needs more close management of the trail on the ground so that people can be moved a few yards one way or the other and to encourage people not to walk along the wall.

“The wall was never built to take 400,000 people. It was meant for economic and military purposes. Small numbers of people walked along the top, just the sentry guards.”
11.00 p.m. |HINT| Rome: Age of Emperors
After Caesar's murder, his great-nephew Augustus was victorious in the civil wars that followed, becoming the first emperor. Host Joe Mantegna explores this sensational, scandalous age when palace plots, hostile takeovers, and imperial family intrigues were humdrum. Features Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, among others.

HINT = History International

Today from Bonham's we get a 3rd/2nd century B.C. South Italian vase in the form of a buddha-like Silenus. Not much more on the details page (except for a larger photo).

From KN Times (whatever that is) comes this:

Based on similarity in geographic extent, Dr Erlingsson formulated the hypothesis that Plato based the description of the Atlantean Empire on the Megalithic Culture of Europe. He further reasoned that Atlantis then must have been Ireland. This inference he evaluated scientifically using statistical significance testing on the null hypothesis. The probability that “Plato based the geographic description of Atlantis on Ireland” was found to be 99.98%, leaving only a 0.02% possibility that the similarity is coincidental.

The rest of the book deals with archaeology and mythology. Both those fields reveal intriguing similarities between Ireland and Atlantis. For instance, archaeological textbooks confirm that Ireland features the choicest monuments of Megalithic Europe. The finest monument, Newgrange, is called Brugh na Boinne in Ireland, which means the ‘Palace of Boann’ – the river goddess of the Boyne. Plato called Atlantis’ finest temple the ‘Palace of Poseidon’, Poseidon being the Greek river god. Moreover, both temples are 85 m across, and decorated with stones of different colors.

The study is described in the book “Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective”, recently released ($16.95 hardcover, Lindorm Publishing,

Prominent scholars who have read the book have been quite appreciative, describing it as “very interesting” and “definitely worth reading”. The foreword was written by the editor of the international scientific journal Geografiska Annaler, professor Wibjörn Karlén. He endorsed the study as based on “classical scientific methodology.”

A hypothesis only survives until proven wrong. If it can not be proven wrong in rigorous tests, it is elevated to theory. A theory in science is something rather certain, whereas a hypothesis is what the general public calls a theory. Dr Erlingsson modestly called his proposal a hypothesis, but it may well be called a theory. The results make it appear virtually certain that the description of Atlantis was modeled on Ireland, and that the time was the Megalithic Culture of the Neolithic Period.

The discovery may enable us to decipher parts of a lost past. It seems that Irish mythology indeed preserves memories of historic events in the Stone Age. The mythical Thuata de Danaan, who became the fairy people, are associated with the Megalithic tombs in Irish mythology. According to Dr Erlingsson’s thesis the Megalithic tombs are Atlantean temples. This explains the book’s sub-title, “Mapping the Fairy Land”.

Even if deciphering five thousand years old historic data from the Stone Age is not deemed the most significant feat in the history of history, it is still remarkable. The monuments that are getting an explanation are the world’s oldest. They are not only the oldest monumental constructions, but the boulders themselves are of a size rarely used in later history. This suggests that they were built by a well-organized and technically advanced Stone Age society.

The thesis got widespread attention last August. However, the debate became uninformed since the book was not yet released, and too much was made of insignificant comments such as this, a statement from the National Museum of Ireland: “This theory seems to be based on geological information which we, as archaeologists, are not in a position to assess.” As a consequence, the author decided to temporarily cancel all interviews.

Now that the book has been released, Dr Erlingsson is issuing an open invitation to a debate around the thesis. The sign-up form can be found at

Somewhat strange, though ... the debate which one is being invited to sign up for took place in January ...
An excerpt from one Rud Turnbull's testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions ... the subject is health care provided to non-ambulatory persons:

This snapshot of Jay is important to you because you need to understand the world that Jay and his peers live in. You need to understand that people with intellectual and associated disabilities have always been subjected to discrimination. Often, they have been put to death or allowed to die when they might have been kept alive. The discrimination that they have experienced in education, employment, and housing are matters that you have addressed by various laws. More to the point today is the discrimination in health care that they have experienced.

The roots of that discrimination are ancient. They originate in the debates of the Greek philosophers, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Hippocrates posed the question, “Which children should be raised?”

Plato answered by writing that a state’s “medical and judicial provision” will “leave the unhealthy to die, and those whose psychological constitution is incurably corrupt, it will put to death.” He added, “… we must look at our offspring from every angle to make sure we are not taken in by a lifeless phantom not worth the rearing.”

Aristotle agreed: “With regard to the choice between abandoning or rearing an infant, let there be a law that no crippled child be raised.”

And the pre-Christian Romans’ Twelve Tables, their equivalent of our federal constitution, admonished the head of the family to “kill quickly…a dreadfully deformed child.”

One would have thought our more enlightened age would have settled the question about which individuals should be treated so that they will live.
From the BBC's weekly '10 Things We Didn't Know Last Week' feature:

5. Historian Professor Robin Lane Fox had only seen two movies before working on the Oliver Stone film Alexander.

Wow ... I've heard of plenty of Classicists who eschew television, but avoiding movies?
Check this out ... it's a report of an "object in the sky" over the Vatican while John Paul II was lying in state. Probably a bird, but the scenario is a nice little bit of obvious comparanda. In any event, it's from WISH-TV ...
APA and CAC take note ... this is from the intro to a review in the Sun about the God of War video game:

There's a reason why ancient Greece is one of the only grade-school social studies subjects that any of us remembers: Greek gods are freakin' cool.

That's got to be a t-shirt ...
Wendy Moleas, The Development of the Greek Language
I think I've missed quite a few Father Foster's in the past while, so here's a bit of a catchup:

March 26 ... “Resurgo” in the Latin language means to rise up again... Listen as our “Latin Lover”, Carmelite Father Reginald Foster speaks to us this Easter Season of waxy candles and sings to us of “The Lamb” redeeming the sheep...

March 19 ... It was once a book containing music for the entire year but its now considered obsolete. It's the “Liber Usualis” and when our “Latin Lover” brings it along he can't resist bursting into songs so moving they bring tears to his eyes...

March 12 ... Quoting from the Bible, our “Latin Lover” says 'What's new under the sun?' Meaning that as history always repeats itself translating from the Russian is an easy task, even when it comes to complicated words like “perestroika”...

I've decided the best place to post our newsletters is at our Classics Central forum ... accordingly, Explorator 7.50 is now available there as is the weekly version of the Ancient World on Television listings.

Today's piece from Bonham's is a nice cusp 1st century bust of Livia ... she looks rather less 'scary' than Robert Graves would have us believe. Details ...

From Ha'aretz:

A marble floor dating from the first century CE was unearthed during this season's excavations of ancient Tiberias.

According to archaeologist Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld, director of the three-week dig that ended yesterday, the floor is apparently a remnant of a pavement in the palace of Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who ruled the Galilee from 4 BCE to 38 CE.

"Marble from the first century CE was very rare in this area and is found only in royal palaces. Who knows, perhaps Salome danced for the king on this very floor," Hirschfeld said, referring to the New Testament story of the daughter of Herodias, Antipas' wife, who demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter in exchange for the dance.

The dig was cosponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority, and was funded by the Tiberias municipality and Brown University, Rhode Island. It revealed that in the fourth century a basilica was constructed on top of the palace. It also uncovered a street from the Roman-Byzantine period, mosaics, and coins bearing the image of Jesus.
The Scotsman's Word of the Week is 'pope':

pope: noun. 1: The bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church on earth. (Etymology: Middle English, from Old English papa, from Late Latin, from Latin, father (title of bishops), from Greek pappas, father) - WordNet.

IT WAS a week of weddings and funerals. Everyone was surprised by the staggering numbers of pilgrims who turned out for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The title of pope comes from the classical Latin, where it had taken on the connotation of tutor, but obviously goes back to the Greek for father.

It shares a common heritage with patriarch, which goes back to the Greek for the head of a clan or extended family. Patriarch was used as an honorific title of certain bishops in the early Christian Church, notably those of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome.

As the western Church developed independently, the designation pope was attached to bishops by the time of Leo the Great (440-461). But it was not appropriated exclusively by the Bishop of Rome until as late as 1073. The word bishop itself is from the Old English (bisceop), from the Vulgar Latin (ebiscopus), from Late Latin (episcopus), from Late Greek (episkopos), where it just meant an overseer of any kind.

Pontiff, the other title for the pope, is of ancient pagan origin, from the Latin pontifex, the title of the high priest in Roman times. The word was adopted for the more secular "bishop" in Church Latin, but not recorded in that sense in English until 1677, specifically then for the pope. Pontifex is probably from pont (bridge) + fex (root of facere, to make). If so, the word originally meant "bridge-maker", poetically bridging the earthly world and the realm of the gods. Alternatively, it might go back to some older Etruscan word referring to a burnt offering. To pontificate, which is my job, is first attested in 1825.

Pope John Paul II has added his own gentle mark to the language of popery. He will forever be associated with the word "Popemobile", coined in 1979 for his papal car.
L'Express (not the one from France, it appears) opens an article with this claim:

Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C , just in his 33rd year. Yet , his goals and achievements were such that, as legend has it, he was god-power meant to rule the world. Far- reaching though his territories were, his last wish before dying was something unheard-of: he had asked the courtiers to cover his whole body but to let his arms be stretched out of the shroud with his hands open. This was to show that he was carrying nothing with him from his conquests and vast possessions when he was leaving the world.

This is kind of interesting ... CSM has an article mentioning Alexander bringing back bananas from India. We've dealt with this topic before (a year ago, almost to the day), but it's interesting that Dole appears to have taken down the page which included the claim (and I can't find it via their search box, if it's been moved). Chiquita's page is still up ... I'm still skeptical about the claim ...
The Guardian seems to have the most thorough obituary ..

Oliver Lyne, who has died, aged 60, from a cerebral haemorrhage, was an inspiring teacher and an original scholar in the field of Latin poetry. For more than three decades, he was a tutor at Balliol College, Oxford, becoming a professor in 2001.

Under the name of ROAM Lyne, he wrote a sympathetic study of The Latin Love Poets From Catullus To Horace (1980); two detailed and perceptive accounts of the poetic language of Virgil's Aeneid - Further Voices In Virgil's Aeneid (1987) and Words And The Poet (1989); and Horace: Behind The Public Poetry (1995), relating the works produced for state occasions to their writer's personal experience and emotional life.

All Lyne's work is characterised by close attention to the fine detail of the text, with its linguistic and metrical niceties going hand in hand with a full and sensitive aesthetic exegesis. All too often in scholarship of the classic Latin writers, one or other of these qualities is to be found, but not both. Some Latin textual critics have disowned aesthetic comment altogether, or denied that it is possible - "I leave the gush stuff to other people," in the leaden words of an eminent Oxford Latinist of the last generation.

At the other pole, many modern critics launch into a sea of self-indulgent subjectivity, leaving philological considerations aside as too pedantic for free spirits to bother with. Lyne, a fine and sensitive critic of poetry, remained always committed to the exacting and difficult business of grounding his aesthetic judgments in the fine detail of linguistic analysis.

The constant pressure on academics to publish often conflicts with any commitment to teaching or spending time and energy on personal relations with pupils. Lyne was a devoted teacher, generous in time and effort: a highly successful lecturer, above all, he was outstanding in the close relationship of the tutorial, with one or two pupils at a time.

A man of emotional temperament, he did not reserve his knowledge and insights until the most showy occasions for their display. His relations with his pupils were very important to him, and most responded with warm and lasting attachment.

Born in Peterborough, Lyne was brought up in Highgate, north London. He went to Highgate school, where his father was a Latin master, and to St John's College, Cambridge, where he took a first in classics in 1966, and worked as a research student for two years. He then held short-term fellowships at Fitzwilliam and Churchill colleges, gaining his PhD in 1970.

His doctoral thesis was on the Ciris, a tragic love story whose heroine was eventually turned into a bird. The poem survives because it somehow became attached to the name of Virgil. Lyne's supervisor was Frank Goodyear, and his thesis, published in 1978, was a full-dress commentary, discussing the manuscripts and establishing a new text, and offering unusually full discussion, coherently worked out, of the poet's poetic and narrative techniques. Parallels are displayed in quantity, but not amassed as an end in themselves or for mere ostentation.

Lyne showed a perceptive and subtle appreciation of the merits and characteristics of a poem which, though clearly not by Virgil, has its own excellences, often overlooked or minimised by those in hasty search of more classical qualities. His judgments - that its technique was "impressionistic" and "artificial" - were thoroughly grounded in detailed and scrupulous argument. His late dating of the work stands out as persuasive, though that question may never be laid finally to rest.

In 1971, Lyne was elected to a tutorial fellowship at Balliol, and his titular chair in classical languages and literature of four years ago allowed him to continue as a college tutor. His intense style of teaching and lecturing meant that the end of each Oxford term found him drained, and he attached great importance to escaping to his house in Italy. His Italian was excellent, he had access to a university library, and he was on close terms with a number of Italian scholars.

Always disclaiming any interest in, or skill at, administration, he succeeded in avoiding the more burdensome college positions; but he was scrupulous in the writing of references and in overseeing the welfare of pupils. When he reluctantly agreeed to become secretary of the sub-faculty, he showed a crisp efficiency.

Lyne's sudden death comes as a shock to his many friends and pupils. He was a warm and responsive character, never displaying the distance or dryness which so often go with learning and scholarship. Much loved as a colleague, he was also a devoted husband and father, leaving his wife Linda, a son and a daughter.

· Richard Oliver Allen Marcus Lyne, classicist and teacher, born December 21 1944; died March 17 2005
Folks might be interested in the bits of Latin sprinkled throughout John Paul II's will (reasonably translated, too) ...
An item from Xinhua triggered the "say what" alarm in my noggin:

More than 170 Roman cultural relics arrived in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Wednesday night for an exhibition later this month, Ma Zhenzhi, deputy curator of the provincial museum, said Thursday.

The exhibition will open on April 20 and last for three months.

The museum will also stage an exhibition of cultural relics of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24) excavated in Xi'an, which served as national capital in the period.

Ma said it will be the first time cultural relics from orientaland western civilizations are displayed for exhibition at the sametime in a Chinese city.

"It's a good chance for the Chinese people to glimpse the past glory of these two ancient civilizations and feel their differences," Ma said.

Rome and Xi'an were two flourishing capitals on the ancient Silk Road.

While the Romans most definitely were on the receiving end of the silk which was transported on the "road", I don't think I've ever seen a claim that Rome was actually 'on' the road ...
This one was mentioned on the Classics list ... here's the blurb from Eisenbraun's:

Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum (ThesCRA) is a major multi-volume reference on all known aspects of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman cults and rituals. Providing both a sweeping overview and in-depth investigation, ThesCRA covers the period from Homeric times (1000 B.C.) to late Roman times (A.D. 400). A definitive work on the topic, ThesCRA is the culmination of many years of research by scholars from across the United States and Europe and throughout the Mediterranean world. Each of their texts-either in English, French, German, or Italian-is followed by a catalogue entry listing the epigraphical and literary sources cited and referencing ancient iconographical documents related to the topic. Many of these iconographical items are depicted either in line drawings in the texts or in the plate sections of each volume. On completion, ThesCRA will comprise five volumes, a book of abbreviations, and an index volume. The volumes are arranged thematically. The first three deal with dynamic elements of ancient cults, such as cultic ritual and practice, while the last two are devoted to static elements, such as cult places and their personnel.

The volume is rather pricey, but it definitely sounds like something useful. Further investigation shows the thing is being compiled by/is an outgrowth of the Lexicon Iconographum Mythologiae Classicae (similarly pricey, but similarly useful).
I was waiting for this sort of thing ... an excerpt from the Detroit Free Press' coverage of that trial:

Salas, a damaging witness, painted a portrait of Jackson and the ranch as Caligula and Rome. The son of Germanicus, called Little Boots, was known for his erratic behavior, debauchery, sexual parties and for lavishing his horse with jewelry. The son of Joseph, called the King of Pop, is known for his erratic behavior, absurd kiddie parties and for lavishing his monkey with attention.
The Daily Times of Pakistan has an excerpt from Will Cuppy's The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody dealing with Alexander. Here's the incipit:

ALEXANDER III of Macedonia was born in 356 BC... He is known as Alexander the Great because he killed more people of more different kinds than any other man of his time. He did this in order to impress Greek culture upon them. Alexander was not strictly a Greek and he was not cultured, but that was his story, and who am I to deny it?

Alexander’s father was Philip II of Macedonia... He was assassinated in 336 BC by a friend of his wife Olympias.

Olympias, the mother of Alexander, was slightly abnormal... She kept so many sacred snakes in her bedroom that Philip was afraid to go home after his drinking bouts. She told Alexander that his real father was Zeus Ammon, or Amon, a Graeco-Egyptian god in the form of a snake. Alexander made much of this and would sit up all night boasting about it. He was once executed thirteen Macedonians for saying that he was not the son of a serpent.

As a child Alexander was like most other children, if you see what I mean... At twelve he tamed Bucephalus, his favorite horse. In the same year he playfully pushed Nectanebo, a visiting astronomer, into a deep pit and broke his neck... It has never been entirely proved that Alexander shoved the old man. The fact remains that they were standing by the pit and’ all of a sudden Nectanebo wasn’t there any more.

For three years, until he was sixteen, Alexander was educated by Aristotle, who seems to have avoided pits and the edges o£ roofs. Aristotle was famous for knowing everything... In spite of his vast reputation, Aristotle was not a perfect instructor of youth...

With a teacher like that, one’s values might well become warped. On the other hand, even Aristotle couldn’t help some people. As soon as he had finished reading the Nicomachean Ethics, Alexander began killing right and left...

He was now ready for his real career, so he decided to go to Asia where there were more people and more of a variety... he declared war on Persia... to spread Hellenic civilization. The Greeks were embarrassed about this, but they couldn’t stop him. They just had to grin and bear it...
[the rest]
Another item that hit my inbox while Radio was down was the Project Gutenberg edition of Talbot Mundy's Caesar Dies. Related to this, one of the things I've had 'on the back burner' was making use of the 'categories' in Radio (now 'sections' in Tangelo) to offer 'serials' on a daily basis (or some other cycle), i.e. I'd post a chunk of some public domain text with a Classics connection (ideally, fiction) and give a different chunk every day. Mundy's piece -- which I believe originally was a serial, or at least was serialized on at least one occasion -- seems to fit the bill on this (it's all about the death of Commodus). Is there any interest in this sort of thing? (I've still to work out the 'Sections' thing ... I can apparently post to sections directly so that items do not turn up on the main page for you to wade through if you're not interested).
Okay ... today's goal is to try to completely clear the backlog ... since the pages generated by Tangelo are loading so quickly (since I haven't added Amazon stuff etc. yet), I've increased the number of items on the page to 25. We'll see how well that works. I'm also probably going to be fiddling with the overall look of the page over the course of the weekend, so you might see changes depending on what time of day you're visiting.

Anyhoo ... to start the festivities, I've got a couple of websites for you (which I may have mentioned before). The first is the Library of Ancient Texts Online (LATO), which boasts itself to be "the internet's most throrough catalog of online copies of ancient Greek texts". It doesn't actually house those texts, but links to them. A good one to bookmark alongside David Camden's Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum site.

The other site I wanted to mention is actually a book ... its Vitruvius' Ten Books on Architecture as translated by Morris Morgan (1914).
ante diem vi idus apriles

ludi Megalensia continue (day 5)

217 A.D. -- murder of the emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla)

1898 -- Birth of Maurice Bowra (The Greek Experience)

1979 -- death of E.R. Dodds (The Greeks and the Irrational)
Today's selection:

Panglossian @ (not actually specified as deriving from ancient tongues, but it obviously does)

Outside of that, we can point you to the Classics Technology Center's My Word feature, which has Latin colour words ....
Sententiae moderatorum mundi (8.4.2005)

Quam magni papa Ioannes Paulus II aestimatus sit et aestimetur, vel inde apparet, quid diversi moderatores mundi de obitu eius certiores facti publice dixerint.

George Bush, praesidens Civitatum Americae Unitarum, ait magnum defensorem libertatis hominum vita abisse.

Kofi Annan, secretarius generalis Nationum Unitarum, Ioannem Paulum virum pacis semper auctorem et laudatorem descripsit.

Alexander Kwasniewski, praesidens Poloniae, censuit illum papam civem Polonum omnium temporum maxime insignem esse, sine quo patria sua liberata non esset.

Tarja Halonen, praesidens Finniae, papam mortuum dolens: "Genus humanum", inquit, "fortem propugnatorem pacis amisit.

Neque enim ille intra muros Vaticanos sedere voluit, sed multis itineribus quoquoversus factis multos homines conveniebat et indefesse pro pace et cooperatione ecclesiarum oecumenica loquebatur.

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

Today's item is a ca fifth-century B.C. Macedonian bronze helmet from the Black Sea region. Details ....
This one comes from, but seems to stem from a press release I can't find:

CU-Boulder history Professor Robert Hohlfelder, an internationally known underwater archaeologist, said scholars have long been in awe of the engineering feats of the early Romans. A former co-director of the international Caesarea Ancient Harbor Excavation Project, he said the research effort was spurred by the stunning hydraulic concrete efforts undertaken at Caesarea Harbor in present-day Israel and elsewhere in the Mediterranean before the time of Christ.

Hohlfelder, who teamed up on the project with London architect and archaeologist Christopher Brandon and Greek and Roman Studies Professor John Peter Oleson of Canada's University of Victoria, said the writings of ancient Roman Pollio Vitruvius provided a key starting point. Vitruvius published 10 books on architecture circa 25 B.C. describing the building and engineering methods practiced during the Roman Empire, including ancient harbor construction.

"The writings of Vitruvius are a window on the engineering efforts of ancient Romans," said Hohlfelder. "But we still had a number of questions about the use of ancient hydraulic concrete, and felt the only way to answer them was to attempt our own project based on what the ancients did and the materials they used."

The three researchers formed the Roman Maritime Concrete Structure Study, or ROMACONS, in 2002, and began collecting and testing hydraulic concrete cores from early Roman structures around the Mediterranean region. In addition to analyzing the composition and strength of different cores, they also were able to trace raw materials to specific Mediterranean sources with the help of CU-Boulder geology Professor Charles Stern, illuminating ancient trading patterns.

While Vitruvius explained how to build the wooden forms for underwater concrete structures, he did not specify how they were anchored to the seafloor, how the mortar was poured, how aggregate materials like stone chunks were added or how long it took the concrete to cure, Hohlfelder said.

In 2004, the team obtained a study site through the Italcemente Group, an Italian concrete company with a marine testing station in the harbor of Brindisi, Italy, to build a free-standing concrete pier, or "pila" -- a common feature in ancient Roman harbors. They designed the pila to be small -- about two meters on a side and two meters high -- reaching just above the water's surface at high tide, he said.

In September 2004 the team drove wooden planks into the submerged seafloor to make the forms, which were reinforced with horizontal beams to form a box. "We had seen impressions of these vertical wooden planks in Roman concrete, and wondered if the cracks between planks had to be caulked to prevent concrete leakage," he said. "But the thick mix they used may have made this unnecessary."

They used the Roman recipe for concrete passed down by Vitruvius. It included seawater, lime and sand (pozzolana) and chunks of volcanic rock from the Bay of Naples -- the same source for material used in ancient construction efforts at Caesarea and elsewhere in the region. The lime powder combined with sand and water made up the mortar, which would bind the aggregate into a solid mass of concrete.

Individual loads of the mortar were plopped into the form by the team using a wicker basket rigged with a "trip-line" modeled after ancient Roman illustrations of construction scenes with similar baskets and from actual artifacts recovered by archaeologists from an ancient shipwreck site near Pisa, he said. The team used hand tools to tamp the aggregate into the mortar as the structure slowly rose from the seafloor.

The three men finished the pila in September 2004 after using 13 tons of raw material and expending 273 work-hours, capping the top with paving stones in the manner of the early Romans. "We believe this is the first structure built with these materials and techniques in at least 1,600 years," said Hohlfelder.

The team will extract cores from the pila and analyze them later this year to assess the underwater curing rate of the concrete, he said.

"We think we have a better idea now about what went on day-to-day when Caesarea Harbor and other ports in the Mediterranean were being constructed," he said.

Hohlfelder has studied ancient shipwreck remains off Cyprus, Greece and Israel and 10 ancient harbors -- including the submerged town of Aperlae in present-day Turkey -- during his academic career at CU-Boulder.

The 100-acre Caesarea Harbor, the world's first port constructed in the open sea, is considered one of the most innovative and successful engineering feats of the ancient world. Framed by two artificial breakwaters and containing a lighthouse, towers and warehouses that served ships throughout the Mediterranean for more than 1,200 years, the harbor was completed about 15 B.C.
From iBerkshires:

Antonios Augoustakis, assistant professor of Classics at Baylor University, will deliver a lecture "Mother as Makers of Same and Other in Flavian Epic," Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Stetson Faculty Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, Augoustakis will re-examine the fundamental aim of epic poetry in the late first century C.E., and argue that women come to the foreground of action simultaneously as heroines and readers.

To propagate the male ideology of the Roman Empire, Flavian poets promote the ideals of the glorious Roman past or underscore the failure of mythical heroines as mothers and wives. Despite this fact, the old male ideology is simultaneously destabilized as women assume a key role in securing and promoting their sons' prosperous future.

Augoustakis is associate director of the Baylor in Italy program. He received his B.A. from the University of Crete, Greece, and this Ph.D. in Classics from Brown University.

He is currently working on a monograph on the role of women in Latin epic poetry of the first century C.E. (Silius Italicus' Punica and Statius' Thebaid) for Oxford University Press, titled "Motherhood and the Other: Fashioning Female Power in Flavian Epic."

He is the author of articles on Silius Italicus, Statius, and Pliny the Younger. His research interests include Roman historiography (Pliny and Tacitus), late Latin poetry and historiography (Claudian, Corippus, Ammianus Marcellinus), and Renaissance Latin poetry (Petrarch, Poliziano, Vegio).

The event is sponsored by the Williams College classics department.
Forbes Magazine has a column by, well, Steve Forbes who reviews inter alia Paul Doherty's The Death of Alexander the Great: What or Who Really Killed the Young Conqueror of the Known World? Ecce:

Doherty makes an even more persuasive case for Alexander the Great's not dying a natural death. By the time Alexander reentered Babylonia after his withdrawal from India (a result of a mutiny by his army), his generals and courtiers realized that they were all increasingly vulnerable to the master's purges and that past service counted for nothing if Alexander turned against you.

Who killed him? Most likely Ptolemy, a noted warrior and Alexander's chief bodyguard. Ptolemy realized he'd climbed as high as he could in Alexander's service, and he'd seen firsthand how precarious his position--and that of everyone else--truly was. He probably conspired with Antipater, the general Alexander had appointed to run his affairs in Macedonia while he was out conquering the world. (At the time of Alexander's death, one of his armies was on its way to Macedonia to remove Antipater.) Ptolemy's position gave him access that no one else had to put poison--arsenic--in Alexander's wine. Arsenic would account for the fact that Alexander's body did not decompose in the stifling Babylonian heat. (Ptolemy had probably also poisoned Alexander's second-in-command, and rumored lover, Hephaestion, the year before.)

After Alexander's death Ptolemy went on to Egypt, where he put himself on the throne. Antipater was given a second lease on political life when the army sent to remove him was then put at his disposal.

A couple of comics of note came across my desktop during the interrogueclassicismum, but for some reason I can only find one this a.m. ... it's the Fusco Brothers from last Sunday ....
Yesterday we mentioned that Tim Spalding had set up a Wiki Classical Dictionary (the WCD), and it occurs to me that a lot of people might not what the heck a wiki is. Well, by an amazing bit of synchronicity, the Boston Herald has a piece on that very subject (with a Classical reference, no less). Here's the incipit:

Yet another word enters the lexicon by way of the Internet, and, as usual, the Bookmark Diva is here to explain it all to you.
The word is ``wiki.''It's from the Hawaiian phrase ``wiki wiki,'' meaning ``quick'' or ``very fast.'' It also is a very fun word to say, as in ``Cabin boy, bring Diva her chocolates, wiki wiki.''
Wiki has now come to refer to a Web site that allows users to add content and/or edit and add to it.
The term evolved from the chief wiki of them all: Wikipedia (, a collaborative effort launched four years ago to show that even you - yes, you - can write an encyclopedia.
Well, not the entire set. Two Web entrepreneurs, influenced by the open software model, created Wikipedia to draw on the vast knowledge of the vast (and getting vaster) Internet-surfing public.
Someone posts a definition of say, Alexander the Great, and others chime in with corrections and additions.
Wikipedia differs from other online encyclopedias or sites such as in that its ``experts'' are self-selected, and the process is self-correcting - unless of course, everyone really wants to spread lies about poor Alexander.
The Evening Chronicle has a huge article on the ongoing/upcoming dig season at Vindolanda ... here's the incipit:

Pressed down in the clay, almost completely covered by the dirt, lies an object. Could be a piece of Roman pottery, perhaps some glass. To the untrained eye it could just be a piece of ordinary rubble.

"It is ordinary rubble," says archaeologist Andrew Birley, loading it into a wheelbarrow, which will then be dumped by the side. Unlike me Andrew does have a trained eye. Indeed he has two.

They're trained in the exact art of spotting artefacts from when Roman soldiers held sway over great parts of the North East.

Former Haydon Bridge High School pupil Andrew is one of five professional archaeologists working at the Vindolanda site, near Haydon Bridge in Northumberland.

The area was home to Romans from 85AD for hundreds of years, in fact longer than America has been in existence as a nation.

"The Romans were here until about 410AD and around 150 years later it was abandoned completely," says Andrew, standing on the site. "It's very hard to say who the people were who lived here after the Romans, but we know they were a Christian community.

"We have found lots of religious artefacts and the remains of a church dating from 400AD, which is older than Hexham Abbey. We do know the name of one person who lived here after we found a tombstone. `Brigomaglos' was probably the big chief and as far as we understand was the leader with a band of Welsh raiders."

All that from a tombstone.

Andrew is overseeing a team of volunteers who have come along to Vindolanda for this year's excavation season.

Every year the Vindolanda Trust, the registered charity which owns and runs the important site, holds a six-month excavation programme, inviting volunteers to get on their hands and knees and literally scrape away the present to reveal the past.
[the whole thing]
That well-known font of historic information .-- The Mirror -- has a little timeline of the history of the papacy. Here's the section which corresponds to the period of our purview (I tend to cut things off around Constantine, if you've never noticed):

ANNUS DOMINI Birth of Jesus Christ

AD 33 Christ is crucified. He had chosen 12 apostles, including Peter, whom he told: "You are the rock upon which I shall build my Church."

36-67 Peter and his fellow apostle Paul found the church and move its headquarters to Rome. Peter becomes the first "Bishop of Rome".

37-41 Roman Emperor Caligula declares himself god. He passes sentence of death on anyone who sees the top of his prematurely bald head

64 The great fire of Rome is blamed on the Christians, who are massacred. Emperor Nero infamously played his lyre while Rome was burning.

67 Peter is executed in Rome for his faith. He requests to be crucified upside down because he feels unworthy of suffering the same fate as Christ.70 The Gospel of Mark is written in Rome, possibly by Peter's interpreter.

75-100 Other books of the New Testament and Book of Revelations written.

183 Pope Victor becomes the first African Pope.250 Rome steps up persecution of Christians, leading to martyrs becoming revered as saints

253-305 secution of Christians reaches its peak under Roman Emperor Valerian. He wrecks the church by executing all bishops, priests, and deacons.306 Emperor Constantine becomes the first Christian ruler of the Roman Empire

311-314 The reign of the second African Pope, known as Mechiades or Militiades. All three African popes were later made saints.

313 Christianity is legalised by Constantine after 300 years. The Edict of Milan banned persecution and placed Christians on the same level as pagans

Not bad ... not sure why the Caligula ref worked its way into that. Nice that they said 'played his lyre' instead of the usually anachronistic 'fiddled' in regards to Nero.
The Age speculates about who will be the successor to John Paul II and comments inter alia:

The new pope will surely bring changes, but they are more likely to be slow and incremental than dramatic. The Latin-speaking cardinals will know the dictum of the Roman historian Suetonius: "festina lente" (make haste slowly) - usually the wisest policy in church politics.

Of course, that was supposedly Augustus' favourite saying ... quoted from Publilius Syrus if I recall correctly.
During my travails, it was announced on the Britarch list that the website of the Roman Gask Project had changed ... they're studying a pile of Roman frontier fortification type things around Gask Ridge (Scotland). There's a pile of stuff there, including papers and aerial photographs. Worth a look!
This just in ... the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for today is none other than Maurice Bowra (whose birthday was today) ... I think they regenerate the urls for these things every day, so if you come here after Thursday, April 8, try accessing from the Lives of the Week page.
We're still trying to 'reestablish the blogging rhythm' (which just became a bit more complicated since we acquired a dog ... a tiny little maltipoo), so things will continue to be a bit out of whack (although we did fix the floating navigation thing yesterday with the help of Tangelo's tech support ... I'm still waiting from Radio to hear answers to my queries (as are several others with similar questions). Anyhoo, we start the festivities today with a piece from the Union Leader on a school's search for a motto:

Like universities, a school as rich in history as Manchester's Central High should have its own Latin motto, many say, and soon it will.

Central, the oldest public high school in New Hampshire, will celebrate its 160th anniversary next year.

Graduates include a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, judges and lawyers, gubernatorial candidates and politicians, ambassadors, writers, inventors, noted educators, professional athletes, movie stars and comedians.

The school also has a long tradition of providing a Classical education. One of the institution's structures is named the Classical Building.

Matt Dufour, an alumnus and third-year Latin teacher at Central, did some research and discovered that despite its Classical traditions, the school did not have a Latin motto. "An institution with this much history ought to have a Latin motto," Dufour said.

Dufour talked to his classes to see whether there was any interest in assigning a motto, and when there was, he went to Principal John Rist. They decided to have a schoolwide vote to pick one.

Dufour took Latin while a student at Central, and it spurred his interest in the Classics and the language. His Latin teacher was John "Doc" Hussey, who taught at Central for 31 years before retiring four years ago.

Hussey, a part-time sports writer at the New Hampshire Union Leader, said what intrigues him is the school never had a Latin motto, even with its Classical tradition. "In all those years and as a teacher there, I never thought about it, but Mr. Dufour did," he said.

Dufour and his students worked on ideas for the motto and settled on six. Last week, the students and faculty voted for their favorite; soon, alumni and former employees will have their opportunity to weigh in through a poll on the school's Web site.

After last week's vote, Dufour said, three of the six mottos were fairly close.

The three mottos and their translations are: Nulli Secundus, Second to None; Nihil Obstat, Nothing Stands in the Way; and Respice, Adspice, Prospice, Look to the Past, Present and Future.

The other mottos students and faculty considered were: Aude Sapere, Dare to Know; Perstare et Praestare, To Preserve and Excel; and A Posse ad Esse, From Possibility to Actuality.

Dufour said he sees more student interest in Latin recently, noting his class enrollments have gone up 50 percent in three years.

Before last week's vote, students campaigned for their favorite motto, putting up posters and trying to persuade their fellow students of their wisdom.

In the last few years, Latin students have hosted Rome Day, dressing up in togas, preparing Roman food and presenting scenes from the Classics. "We invite the other classes in to see it," Dufour said.

"The program is alive and well," he said.

And soon, Central will have its very own Latin motto.
ante diem vii idus apriles

  • ludi Megalesia continue -- (day 4)

  • 30 A.D. -- crucifixion of Jesus (one reckoning according to the astronomical estimates)

  • 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Calliopus at Pompeiopolis

  • 310 A.D. -- martyrdom of Peleusius at Alexandria
Here's the latest from Bonham's: a first/second century A.D. bust of a priest of Isis ... the provenance is incredibly useful too: "accompanied by a French passport". The full details page ...
De rebus Mongoliae (1.4.2005)

In urbe Ulan Bator, olim Urga appellata, quod caput est Mongoliae, circiter mille reclamatores maiorem democratiam flagitaverunt.

Idem, magistratus corruptionis accusantes, postulaverunt, ut res oeconomicae praesidentis Nambar Enkhbajar, quae essent obscuriores, examinarentur.

In Mongolia novus praesidens mense Maio designabitur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Fans of Lindsey Davis and her Falco novels might be a bit dismayed to learn that she's taking a break and/or 'slowing down production' ... other Lindsey Davis news at her website ...
Among the items I've been dying to yak about but couldn't because of technical difficulties is the creation of The Ancient Library site by Tim Spalding (of Isidore of Seville fame). At the site, TS has scanned in a number of useful works including (but not limited to): Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities by William Smith, Dictionary of Classical Antiquities by Oskar Seyffert, and the Classical Gazetteer by William Hazlitt. All date from the 19th century, but all are useful. The pages are .gif images, but load quite quickly and apparently will be searchable via Google once it indexes them. I also note on the page the creation of a Wiki Classical Dictionary, which is a sort of collaborative OCD (without the O) and which I hope Classical Scholars will contribute to in order to make it rather more useful/accurate than Wikipedia.
A UC Berkeley press release:

Ralph J. Hexter, a scholar of classical and medieval literature and executive dean of the University of California, Berkeley's College of Letters & Science, will become president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., on Aug. 1.

The Hampshire College Board of Trustees announced its selection of Hexter as the school's fifth president today (Tuesday, April 5).
Ralph Hexter
Ralph Hexter

Hexter joined UC Berkeley as a professor of classics and comparative literature in 1996. He served as chair of comparative literature from 1996-1998, and became dean of arts and humanities in the College of Letters & Science in 1998. He concurrently assumed the post of executive dean in 2002, overseeing financial administration, human resources, external relations and development for 800 faculty and 500 staff.

"Hampshire College has a unique place among our nation's colleges, and I am honored to join the community as its president," said Hexter. "Nothing is more important at this time than inspiring all generations of Americans to take responsibility for their own education -- to expand their horizons and to reflect carefully and critically on the information they access and receive."

Paul Gray, UC Berkeley's executive vice chancellor and provost, said Hampshire College's faculty, staff, students and alumni "will benefit enormously from Ralph Hexter's vision and leadership.

"Hampshire's gain is, however, a great loss for the Berkeley campus. Ralph has served as a Berkeley faculty member, as dean of arts and humanities, and most recently as executive dean of the College of Letters and Science with energy, vision, integrity and total dedication. The Berkeley campus is a better place because of his contributions here."

Hampshire College is a liberal arts school that was founded in 1965 and admitted its first students in 1970. It has approximately 1,300 students, a student-faculty ratio of 11 to 1 and an average class size of 17. The school's annual operating budget is $55.2 million.

It is a member of the Five College consortium, which includes Amherst, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Jerry Nunnally, chair of the Hampshire College Board of Trustees, called Hexter "a distinguished scholar and an extremely able administrator."

Florence Ladd, chair of the presidential search committee, said that Hexter's "scholarly background, administrative experience and cultural interests made him an ideal candidate for the position of president of Hampshire College."

Hexter said that it is not easy to leave UC Berkeley, especially his faculty colleagues and students, and the San Francisco Bay Area. "But the opportunity to be president of a college is a really remarkable one that I wanted to take advantage of," he said.

A resident of semi-rural Clayton, Hexter also is an aficionado of city life, especially the opera. He enjoys riding horses on Mt. Diablo with his partner of 25 years, Manfred Kollmeier. He happily noted that the Hampshire College president's home includes a stable, but that when he moves his horses to the East Coast, he "will have to invest in horse blankets!"

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Hexter holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Yale University, a B.A. and M.A. from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and an A.B. from Harvard College. Prior to joining the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995, he was professor of classics and comparative literature and director of the graduate program in comparative literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His first faculty appointment was at Yale, where he taught for a decade and was director of undergraduate studies in the humanities major, also serving for one year as acting associate dean of the graduate school.

Hexter is the author of three books on medieval and ancient literature: "Equivocal Oaths and Ordeals in Medieval Literature" (1975); "Ovid and Medieval Schooling: Studies in Medieval School Commentaries on Ovid's Ars Amatoria, Epistulae ex Ponto and Epistulae Heroidum" (1986); and "A Guide to the Odyssey: A Commentary on the English Translation of Robert Fitzgerald" (1993). He is co-editor, with Daniel Selden, of "Innovations of Antiquity" (1992). He has published widely, with articles on Vergil, Horace, Goethe, Verdi and a variety of topics in Medieval Latin in such journals as Modern Language Notes, Helios, Classical Philology, Yale Journal of Criticism and Cambridge Opera Journal.

He has been a visiting lecturer at the Folger Institute in Washington, D.C., and a fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. A grant from the German government supported his dissertation research on medieval Ovid commentaries in Munich for two years.

Four years ago at UC Berkeley, Carol T. Christ, a professor of English and former executive vice chancellor and provost, as well as a dean of the humanities, left to become president of Smith College, a leading liberal arts college for women. It is located in Northampton, not far from Amherst.
The incipit of a piece from the Media Monitors Network:

My friend Clem is, and was, a talented farmer. We grew up together as boys and then became closer in college. He was a superb student and a gifted classicist. I believed he would surely attend graduate school and become a professor of Latin or Greek. I was stunned when he told me otherwise: he wanted to return to manage the family farm.

"It's something I'm good at and like," he said, "and that's what I'm going to do."

So I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue my career, while Clem remained in Wisconsin and managed his very profitable farm. Eventually we lost touch with each other. But one day, many years after I had last seen him, he called to ask a special favor. "I need your help," he said. "I'm in a little bit of trouble. I want you to co-sign a loan. I need a little money."

I returned to Wisconsin and drove through the cool rolling countryside to Clem's home, set out just below a hill named for his family. I couldn't believe what I saw: acres of burned out farmland greeted me--and near a structure that had once been a barn he stood, hands in pockets, smiling in embarrassment.

"It's a pretty simple story," he said. "I decided that this year instead of leaving some of my land fallow I would burn out the corn husks and let the ash seep into the ground. The next Spring I would sell wild berries."

Things didn't turn out as he had planned. Clem started the fire--and burned out his fallow field, then acres of planted corn, a nearby stand of trees, the forest near the creek, then his barn, his two tool sheds and then his garage. He saved his house. As he stood, smiling sheepishly, he provided a solemn judgment: "Once you a start a fire," he said, "it's almost impossible to stop it."
From the Indianapolis Star:

Helmut Ziegert returned to the coast of Libya last year to follow up on a tantalizing discovery.

In September 2000, his colleague Marliese Wendowski was excavating what she thought was a large farmhouse when, 12 feet deep in the sandy soil, she came across a floor covered with a stunning glass-and-stone mosaic of an exhausted gladiator staring at a slain opponent.

The discovery had come too late in that expedition to pursue further, so the University of Hamburg archaeologists reburied the mosaic.

"It was well-preserved," Ziegert tells Smithsonian magazine. "I knew there had to be a lot more."

The mosaic is a window onto a thriving Roman city at the height of the empire's hold on North Africa. Set in a natural harbor on Libya's north coast, Leptis Magna was founded some 3,000 years ago by Phoenicians as a commercial trading post for the Mediterranean region.

After centuries of political turmoil, the area joined the Roman Empire around 25 B.C. Walls and gates were built around the city later, but residents retained the right to own their land and control local affairs. Leptis Magna's traders did well under Roman rule, but after the empire collapsed in the fifth century, the city's prestige and population waned. The town disappeared completely in the 11th century.

Today, the ancient settlement is nestled next to Homs, a bustling modern town that caters largely to archaeological missions and a growing number of foreign tourists.

Last June, Ziegert hired Libyan workers to lift the panels out of the ground, haul them more than a mile and cement them to the walls of the small Leptis Magna Mosaic Museum financed by Italian officials. The removal incensed some archaeologists, who claim that the mosaics were irreparably damaged.

"The beautiful Roman artwork remained well-preserved under the sand for almost 2,000 years, only to be hastily and clumsily unearthed," says Giuma Anag, a technical adviser to Libya's Department of Archaeology. "It will take a good restorer several years and a lot of money to rid the mosaic of its current steel-and-concrete base."

Luisa Musso, a specialist in mosaics and Roman archaeology at the University of Rome, and others believe that instead of relocating antiquities, officials should arrange for security guards to watch over intact archaeological sites. "It's always better to leave something where it is," Musso says. "But one of the issues is that there is a great difficulty in finding money to preserve them on the spot."

Ziegert dismisses the concerns, saying that the mosaics were damaged centuries before during an earthquake around A.D. 200. Abdallah Elmahmudi, the scientific research director for Libya's Department of Archaeology, also denies the archaeologists harmed the artifact. "It was excavated according to scientific theories," he says. "The people are very good workers and used the materials that we have in the department."

Hundreds of Americans have recently traveled to Libya on package tours to visit the ruins of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Cyrene. Among the best-preserved ancient Roman and Greek towns on the Mediterranean, the sites nonetheless show signs of neglect.

Government officials and archaeologists say they need more funds not only for excavating but also administering archaeological sites.

If the gladiator mosaics are any indication, Libya's potential as a window into the Roman Empire's past has only just begun to be tapped: Less than a third of Leptis Magna, a 1,500-acre site, has been excavated.

As archaeologists continue to work, visitors to the little museum can contemplate the Roman equivalent of an action movie. The mosaics, Musso says, "are so full of passion and drama, it's like watching a film. They are really cinematic."

I don't think an image of this one ever made it to the web ... if someone is aware of one, please send the link along!

From the Post-Dispatch, inter alia, Pope John Paul commenting on the creation of the John Paul II Foundation:

In a speech on the 20th anniversary of the foundation in 2001, John Paul drew a parallel between the work of the Roman poet Horace and the work of Wesoly and the foundation. In an epilogue to his "Odes," published a generation before the birth of Christ, Horace said of his own poetry: "Exegi monumentum aere perennius," or "I have raised a monument more lasting than bronze."

"If the foundation, after 20 years of activity, can say 'exegi monumentum,'" said John Paul in his speech, "it is precisely with a view to shaping a spiritual monument in the hearts and minds of people, of environments and of whole societies, continually, and without noise. There is no monument of our time more magnificent and enduring than this one, forged in the bronze of science and culture."
Emanuele Lelli, Critica e polemiche letterarie nei Giambi di Callimaco. Hellenica 13.

Carlo Santini, Francesco Santucci, Properzio tra storia arte mito.

Jenny Strauss Clay, Hesiod's Cosmos.

Theresa Urbainczyk, Spartacus.

Jan Stenger, Poetische Argumentation: Die Funktion der Gnomik in den Epinikien des Bakchylides.

Andrew Smith, Philosophy in Late Antiquity.

Emma J. Stafford, Life, Myth and Art in Ancient Greece.

Alexander Arweiler, Cicero rhetor. Die Partitiones Oratoriae und das Konzept des gelehrten Politikers. Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte, 68.

Robert Drews, Early Riders. The Beginnings of Mounted Warfare in Asia and Europe.

Steven Jackson, Mainly Apollonius: Collected Studies.

Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio, Ivana della Porta, The Appian Way: From its Foundation to the Middle Ages.

Luc Brisson, Jean-François Pradeau, Études Platoniciennes I.

Todd Penner, In Praise of Christian Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic History. Emory Studies in Early Christianity 10.

Barbara Goff, Citizen Bacchae. Women's Ritual Practice in Ancient Greece.

Cinzia Bearzot, Federalismo e autonomia nelle Elleniche di Senofonte.

This was posted at the Classics list ... it's from NASA's Earth Observatory (where you can find a high res version).
I'm noticing the CSS has problems with that floating thing on the right; I suspect I'll have to revert (as always) to tables, which always work ... don't particularly like the colours either, but they're tolerable for a while ...
Another little tidbit of which I was unaware about John Paul II was that he translated Oedipus Rex into Polish (according to the Washington Times)...
As might be expected, I've got a huge backlog of items to post, so our usual 'patterns' might be a bit out of whack until the backlog is cleared up. In any event, something that emerged while I was casting about for new software was that the Circus Maximus was in the news ... first I was struck by a piece that showed up in a pile of F1 racing type pages, inter alia:

The Renault F1 Team and Renault Italy, in collaboration with the City of Rome, will offer spectators a free public F1 demonstration on Sunday 10 April. Not only that, but there couldn't be a more suitable venue: a 1200m course around the exterior of one of Rome's most recognisable and historic sites, the Circus Maximus.

Of course, I couldn't help but cynically wonder how many folks would be able to recognize the Circus Maximus if it were presented to them. In any event, the demo has been postponed out of respect for the recently-deceased Pope.

The Circus also has popped up in the news because it has become a campground of sorts for folks coming to pay their respects; interestingly, it will also be the place where huge television screens will be erected so folks can watch the funeral ...

And just to make things somewhat more interesting, while pondering all these matters it struck me that if this were ancient Rome, the Circus would be abuzz with festival goers celebrating the Megalensian Games, in honour of Cybele/the Magna Mater.

One of the things I really like about Tangelo is the way it handles images. This is one of the items coming up for auction soon at Bonham's. It's a first century hollow bronze head identified as "Nero or Otto" ... unfortunately the details page at Boham's offers few more details than that.
We're back and currently putting a program called Tangelo through its paces. The only thing that I see that's 'missing' is the little calendar thing so you can access one day at a time. I also have to figure out how to import the old posts into the new format, but that might not really be an issue. So for the next while you'll see all sorts of different things happening, but at least you'll get your rc fix!