pridie kalendas quinctilis

Outside of the wedding anniversary of the rogueclassicist, the closest thing to anything 'Classical' for this date is the commemoration of the Protomartyrs of Rome (given a date of 64 A.D.) who were the Christians scapegoated by Nero for the big fire ...
abscond @

germane @ Merriam-Webster (must be a typo in this one)

crasis @ Wordsmith

temerarious @
I sometimes forget that they're still digging at Pompeii, then we get brief notices from Corriere della Sera as follows:

Nuovi reperti scoperti a Pompei nel corso di alcuni scavi. Sono stati portati alla luce un ampio cortile colonnato, tre templi, un Foro e case private risalenti a fasi precedenti all'Eta' romana. Un gruppo di trenta archeologi, proveniente da universita' australiane, americane, inglesi, canadesi e italiane e' al lavoro per una prima campagna di scavo della durata di cinque settimane.

From what I've been able to divine from another article at Basilicata, some of the finds are being made by the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia, which has a nice website (although it makes use of frames). Hopefully they'll be updating their 2005 finds page soon ....
J. H. W. Penney (ed.), Indo-European Perspectives: Studies in Honour of Anna Morpurgo Davies.

Nino Luraghi, Susan E. Alcock, Helots and Their Masters in Laconia and Messenia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures.

R. J. Tarrant, P. Ouidi Nasonis Metamorphoses. Oxford Classical Texts.

Cinzia Bearzot, Franca Landucci, Giuseppe Zecchini, Gli stati territoriali nel mondo antico. Contributi di storia antica, 1.

Francesca Rochberg, The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture.

John Bert Lott, The Neighborhoods of Augustan Rome.

Oliver Ehlen, Leitbilder und romanhafte Züge in apokryphen Evangelientexten. Untersuchungen zur Motivik and Erzählungsstruktur anhand des Protevanglium Jacobi und der Acta Pilati Graec. B.
A school project related by the Standard Examiner (you have to visit the original page to see the photo of Medusa ... I don't know about your town, but in my town there are actually non-mythological folks walking around who look not unlike this):

Shauna Smithey sat perfectly still as she waited for onlookers to clap three times, jump four times and say, "Wake up."

That ritual was the signal for the West Clinton Elementary School sixth-grader to perform a 30-second monologue about Helen of Troy during a wax museum activity Tuesday.

"It's hard to memorize the speech, but we get to dress up," said Shauna, who wore plastic leaves in her hair and pink folds of material draped around her as a dress.

Teacher Rebecca Wilkins has conducted the sixth-grade class activity for about seven years as a way to involve students in history -- particularly ancient civilizations, which is a focus in sixth grade.

"Not all kids are good at pencil-and-paper activities," Wilkins said.

By letting them research a person, create a monologue and track down a costume, each student has the potential to shine and build self-esteem, she said.

Besides, Wilkins said, the activity is different from traditional school. Students will always remember the wax museum activity, she said, but they might not remember graphing a point on a map.

"This is more of what life is really like," Wilkins explained. "They have to come through. They can't just show up and do nothing."

If students hadn't done the research and work, it would have been obvious to their schoolmates, who wandered among the various characters. The entire school was invited to see the wax museum come to life on the playground Tuesday.

Though many schools host grade-level activities, such as Colonial days for fifth-graders and frontier days for fourth-graders, not all teachers do such large-scale activities for a single classroom.

Natalie Randall, a parent, said she was happy to see her daughter, Summer, participate. Summer portrayed Marie Antoinette, wearing a long blue dress they found in a costume shop.

"It's more interesting for them to act out the characters and get a feel for who they were," Randall said.

Monica Mitchell, who played Medusa, agreed. She enjoyed everything from picking her costume, which consisted of a black dress and lots of toy snakes, to learning her speech.

"I wanted to be unique," Monica said. "I was going to be Aphrodite, but that's what people would have expected."

Others joining Monica in the wax museum included McKenzie Adams as Nefertiti and J.T. Herrmann as a Roman soldier.

Unless someone pressed a mock button on the red cardboard shield that was almost equal to his height, J.T. hid behind it, with only his eyes and the top of his helmet visible.

When the button was pressed, J.T. came to life, telling people about the intense four-month training it took to be a solider.

Like many other students who participated, J.T. said he was happy to be part of the experience.

"It's a good project," he said between performances. "I like dressing up and making stuff."

Rebecca Hoyle sent this interesting request in:

Hello. I wonder if you would be able to post a message on your site for
me? I am currently teaching Classics and Latin in a state school in
Glasgow. I have been given the opportunity to switch to the English
Dept in my school, which I am keen to do for reasons of professional
development. However, I am unable to transfer departments until I find
a replacement for myself in the Classics Dept. Is there anyone out
there who would be interested in a Classics job in Glasgow? Latin (in
addition to Classical Studies) is desireable but not essential. For
more information please e-mail me:
... nothing of interest, so I'll just link to this article which suggests that 'Empire' didn't do so hot in the ratings t'other night, although it did better in its second hour than its first -- despite the fact that a pile of Classicists on various lists are claiming to have turned it off in the first fifteen minutes ....
ante diem iii kalendas quinctilis

179 B.C. (?) -- dedication of a Temple of Hercules and the Muses (and associated rites thereafter)

29 B.C. -- restoration of the Temple of Quirinus
lineament @

apposite @ Merriam-Webster

cark @ Wordsmith (never heard this word in my life!)

onychophagia @ Worthless Word for the Day
As mentioned below, I missed the first episode of Empire, so I can't comment on it, but folks wanting to read some reviews from folks with Classics backgrounds should check out Old School (can't remember if I've mentioned that blog here before) and Glaukopidos. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see episode two.

On a totally unrelated note, I wonder if any of the blogophiles out there have any opinions as to when a blog can be declared legally dead. I realize a pile of Classics blogs are done by folks with connections to academe -- such as Martialis -- and so who might be off doing other things for a while, but I've got a huge list of blogs that I regularly check which haven't been updated in months!!!! Whither, e.g., are Ara Modus Operandi, Agnoscentia, and Classico e Moderno?
The past couple of days have (obviously) been very busy and I appear to have missed an updated of Akropolis World News, so here are two sets of headlines:

New Iran president promises moderation - 90 students abducted in Nepal

Future of Bulgaria, in the ballot boxes - Morocco crashes down revolt in Sahara
Rubio on Summers on Rubio.

Philip A. Harland, Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations: Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean Society.

Kevin Butcher, Roman Syria and the Near East.

Brian Feuer, Mycenaean Civilization: An Annotated Bibliography through 2002. Revised edition.

Paolo d'Alessandro, Rufini Antiochensis Commentaria in metra terentiana et de compositione et de numeris oratorum. Collectanea Grammatica Latin, 3.

Karl A.E. Enenkel, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, The Manipulative Mode. Political Propaganda in Antiquity: A Collection of Case Studies. Mnemosyne, Suppl. 261.
We haven't had one of these semi-coherent/poorly-translated press releases in a while, so:

Spanish Investigators Have Discovered Atlantis's Archaeological Evidences Underneath The Sea, Near The Coasts Of Gibraltar.

Atlantis Ibero-Mauretanean. Atlantis in Gibraltar. The Georgeos Diaz-Montexano's theories...

/ Spanish investigators have discovered archaeological evidences underneath the sea, near the coasts of Gibraltar, that could belong to the Atlantic civilization described by Plato with the name of Atlantis and that the Greek philosopher located exactly in front of the Columns of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar), next to the region of Gadeira (Cadiz, Andalusia) and of the Atlas (Morocco).

The first findings were made in the summer of the 2003. A report with the preliminary results was made, they consulted to great experts of reputation the International as George F. Bass and Cemal Pulak and the report were sent to the authorities and competent organisms of Spain and to UNESCO.

It has spent a year, and still no scientific institution has shown interest to study the solid evidences discovered by the team of collaborating explorers of the investigator and escriptilogo Georgeos Diaz-Montexano, intellectual author of the theories that support these discoveries on the identification of the kingdom of the Atlantis with the Atlantic towns of the coasts of Iberia and Morocco.

It is the first time in all history that is discovered architectonic rest and metal devices under the sea in a location that agrees in a 99,9% with the descriptions offered by Plato on the geographic place where it was the island and the Acropolis of the Atlantis.

Some investigators protest to have found Atlantis in other places of the World like Jim Allen, that places in a so remote place of Gibraltar as mountains of Bolivia, whereas Robert Samarst now is conceited to have discovered the Atlantis near the coasts of Cyprus, but Sarmast has still not discovered nor a single archaeological evidence, the only thing that does since it initiated his expeditions is to show pretty drawings of virtual maps recreated by knoll computers and natural geologic formation that it interprets like rest of Atlantis buried by the marine bottom.

The Spanish-Cuban investigator Georgeos Diaz-Montexano, the German Ulf Ritcher and the Swedish Jonas Berghman are the only investigators who defend with scientific rigor and adjusting to Plato's texts and many other authors of the antiquity the only possible location of Atlantis: the one that describes Plato, that is to say, near the Columns of Hercules (Gibraltar), Gadeira (Cadiz, Andalusie, Spain) and the Atlas (Morocco).

The Georgeos Diaz-Montexano's equipment of collaborator is the unique one who has shown the world submarine archaeological evidences that have been analyzed by the experts and they have still not been possible to recognize or to classify. These evidences are to depths that correspond with the old level of the sea of several thousands of years before the Solon and Plato times.

It is paradoxical that the team of Spanish investigators has still not demanded the discovery of Atlantis, in spite of being those that more scientific evidences have and that nevertheless, Robert Sarmarst does not matter to him to affirm to the world that already has discovered Atlantis when the only thing that it has at the moment is not more than a few natural hills and formation - until it demonstrates to the opposite and a few virtual maps and recreations where it is reconstructed what Sarmast thinks that must have, but that not yet exists.

Sarmast not yet has shown the world nor a single archaeological evidence that is solid and worthy to consider, whereas Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has shown to not one but several deposits with archaeological evidences "sui generis" that would have to be object of study between the scientists. Robert Sarmast has guided fundamentally by the speculations of the book pseudo-religious of Urantia, whereas Jonas Berghman, Ulf Ritcher, and in special, Georgeos Diaz-Montexano, prefers to guide itself by the scientific and philological study of the oldest manuscripts known Plato, and the scientific evidences contributed by geology, oceanography, the paleogeography, the sismology and archaeology.

Nevertheless, and against all logic, Robert Sarmast he is receiving, probably the greater advertising support at level the International that has never received a finder of Atlantis.

How can be explained these paradoxes?

Perhaps exists some false prejudice against the inhabitants of Spain and Morocco?
Interesting details from the Catholic News Service about the memorization of Latin prayers ... Father Foster must be saying "It's a start"":

Presenting the new "Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church," Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics around the world to memorize the most common Catholic prayers in Latin.

Learning the prayers in Latin as well as in one's own language "will help Christian faithful of different languages pray together, especially when they gather for special circumstances," the pope said June 28 as he distributed the Italian version of the compendium, which included an appendix with the Latin texts of many traditional prayers, including the Sign of the Cross, the Gloria, the Hail Mary and Come, Holy Spirit.

The pope said he hoped the compendium, a 200-page synthesis of the voluminous 1992 catechism, would give Catholics and non-Catholics easy access to the basic and essential tenets of the Catholic faith.

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, president of the commission Pope John Paul II named to compile the volume, signed the introduction March 20, and then -- as Pope Benedict -- signed the official document promulgating the Italian text June 28.

He said "numerous attempts" had been made around the world to compile a simplified version of the catechism, "which presented various problems regarding not only fidelity and respect for its structure and content, but also the completeness and integrity of Catholic doctrine."

The new compendium, he said, is "an authoritative, certain and complete text regarding the essential aspects of the faith of the church," and it is "in harmony with the catechism approved by the pope and destined for the whole church."

"It is not a new catechism, but a compendium which faithfully reflects the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church,' which remains the source to draw from," particularly when looking for a "harmonious and authentic explanation of Catholic faith and morals," Pope Benedict said.

Pope Benedict presented the volume during a prayer service in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. Cardinals and bishops who work at the Vatican, visiting cardinals from various parts of the world and representatives of the laity and religious orders participated in the liturgy.

In addition to U.S. prelates working at the Vatican, Cardinals Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington and Justin Rigali of Philadelphia attended the ceremony.

The text was available only in Italian. National bishops' conferences will be responsible for translating and publishing the text in their own languages.

Although using a question-and-answer format, the compendium followed the structure of the 1992 catechism with chapters devoted to the profession of faith; the celebration of the Christian mystery; life in Christ; and Christian prayer.

The only additions in the text are the inclusion of 15 works of art, an appendix with traditional catechetical formulas -- like the three theological virtues or the seven deadly sins -- and the appendix with the texts of traditional Catholic prayers in Latin and Italian. The only prayers not presented in Latin are selections from the Coptic, Maronite and Byzantine traditions.

Pope Benedict reminded those gathered for the prayer service what he had said about Latin formulations when he presented the Latin edition of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" to Pope John Paul in 1997: "Latin, for centuries the vehicle and instrument of Christian culture, guarantees not only continuity with our roots, but remains as relevant as ever for strengthening the bonds of the unity of the faith in the communion of the church."

... more Now if only we can get the Vatican to do podcasts of their Matutina etc ...
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.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| At the Court of the King of Kings During the 4th century BC, the great Persian civilization, which was the first multi-ethnic empire in history, reached its peak. In this episode, we'll tour the grand residences at Persepolis, and the imperial palaces of the omnipotent King Darius I--a sumptuous building complex for the most powerful man in the world of that era. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration and take a virtual tour with the people of Persia at the height of its civilization.

HINT = History International

... by the way, due to end-of-year-school-stuff I missed the first episode of Empire, so I can't comment on it. I just noticed, however, that Julius Caesar is being played by Colm Feore, who also, interestingly/ironically enough also played the first Canadian dictator, Pierre Trudeau (note for non-Canucks and/or people not from western Canada ... it was under Trudeau that the process of concentrating power in the Prime Minister's Office and accomplishing things by Orders in Council (not requiring parliamentary approval) began. It reached its highest point under one of Trudeau's heirs, Jean Chretien and continues under our current PM, PM ...)
ante diem iv kalendas quinctilis

4 A.D. --the future emperor Tiberius adopts his nephew Germanicus

202 A.D. -- martyrdom of Irenaeus at Lugdunum

c. 202 A.D. -- martyrdom of Potamiaena

1701 -- Death of Thomas Creech (translator of various Latin poets)
thanatology @ Merriam-Webster

Nuntii Latini ferias agunt (17.06.2005)

Nuntii Latini, qui ex urbe Helsinki iam paene sedecim annos singulis septimanis eduntur, ob ferias aestivas ad decem septimanas intermittuntur.

Quapropter auscultatores nostros certiores facimus proximos Nuntios Latinos non ante quam die vicesimo sexto mensis Augusti (26.8.) emissum iri. Restat, ut vobis omnibus gratias quam maximas agamus et aestatem optimam exoptemus.

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

... so this will be the last Nuntii Latini for a while
Very interesting piece from the Sofia Echo:

IN the past few weeks, archaeologists have discovered a Thracian temple in the Eastern Rhodope mountains which may include the gravesite of the mythical figure Orpheus.
Nikolai Ovcharov, along with his team, discovered the temple near the village of Tatul and the Perperikon settlement near Kurdjali.
Among their discoveries was a clay model of a staff of the Thracian kings, with the sun depicted at the top with a cross and triangles. They also found the wheel of the king’s chariot, also with sun images, and nine ritual fireplaces made of rock which were used for worshipping the Sun God.
The team dated the artifacts based on the numerous pieces of Greek pottery found at the site to the Crete-Mycenaean culture which also included the mythical city of Troy.
There is some evidence which suggests the temple, which included evidence of a rare Thracian custom described in ancient writings in which the king was buried on top of a hill or in a column instead of under a mound, could contain the grave of Orpheus, according to Ovcharov.
He said that this proved that the temple was actually a burial site of a Thracian king, who was deified upon his death.
Ovcharov said such rituals were used in the burials of the Thracian kings Orpheus and Rezus, though he said he was unsure whether Orpheus was an actual person or a mythical image made up of a composite of several real kings.
Meanwhile, Ovcharov’s main rival, Georgi Kitov, who discovered the two Thracian burial mounds near Kazanluk in which he found the golden treasure of a Thracian king, has received funding from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and is expected to continue his work.
Kitov said he hoped to find the body of the king and the vessels whose handles he already found the past summer.
Folks wanting to see the Greek version of the restored Sappho poem much in the news of late should visit Glaukopidos ...
As my mind wandered during various points of the day yesterday, it started to connect synapses about that 'earlier' Roman invasion theory which will be told to us by the folks at Time Team this weekend if you happen to be in the UK -- here's the story via the Scotsman in case you missed it. The Scotsman reiterates a point made in all the coverage of this thing:

Archaeologists believe that a series of military artefacts unearthed in Chichester, Sussex, and dated decades before the AD43 date will turn conventional Roman history on its head.

That tweaked something in the old noggin and I realized that one of the 'series' of artifacts is a strange sword piece found in a ditch in the Fishbourne Roman Palace excavations. At the FRP official site, there are a pile of documents on the Research page (pdf) one of which details excavations of the 2002 season. On page four of that document, you'll see a photo of the copper alloy sword thingy which, at the time of publication, was described as the "fitting from a Roman wooden sword scabbard". I've been trying off and on to figure out where on a scabbard this thing would go (where the sword goes in?), but think that, on its own, this item is rather scanty as far as evidence of an earlier invasion goes (it's apparently Augustan in date). So, now we wait to see what other items form the "series".

Even so, it seems very much a leap to go from one or two artifacts to claims of 'earlier invasion'. I don't think anyone would deny that there was probably a continuous trade presence with Rome in one form or another from the time of Julius Caesar's invasion (and one which would probably account for every artifact which Time Team will bring up). FWIW, there are also a couple of interesting conference summaries on that aforementioned FRP research page and the Sussex one includes quite a bit of info on the continuous trade with the continent ... I think it is probably salutory also to remember that we have recently had in the news research which indicates that the Vikings had access to 'German arms dealers'; just because a Roman artifact is found in a pre-invasion context doesn't mean that a Roman put it there.
A bit more info on this one from the BBC:

Three weeks of digging to excavate what could be the largest Roman garrison fort in Wales start on Monday.

The site, which dates from the first century AD, was first found at Dinefwr Park, near Llandeilo, in 2003.

Experts said the south Wales discovery could rewrite our understanding of the Roman conquest in the area.

Recent surveys confirmed the site, which is invisible from the surface, is much larger than first thought and is made up of two overlapping forts.

Emma Plunkett Dillon, archaeologist for the National Trust in Wales, said their teams would be digging nine trenches across the site.

"It is lifting the lid off selected areas of part of the site, to determine the character of what is buried beneath the soil because there is nothing to see on the surface," she said.

Excavation will provide the critical dating evidence from items such as coins and pottery
Gwilym Hughes, Cambria Archaeology

"We are all very excited about what we have discovered, and we look forward to taking the investigation a bit further.

"In work in 2003, we discovered a small fort, with sides about 100m in length - and we found just a small section - a tantalising hint - of a much bigger structure which appeared to be beneath this smallish fort."

Ms Plunkett Dillon said they think the larger fort, which underlies the smaller one, is around 3.9 hectares in size.

She said that, as well as the forts, the site also contained a civilian settlement, two roads, a possible bath house and "other enigmatic structures which we have yet to explain".

'Unique opportunity'

She added that the site could mean that the Roman conquest could be "a much more complicated story than has hitherto been understood".

"The discovery of this much larger structure really makes us all very excited, and makes us think we have discovered a different chapter, or a different interpretation into the invasion of south west Wales," she said.

Gwilym Hughes of Cambria Archaeology, which is undertaking the archaeological work in partnership with the National Trust, said the excavation was "a unique opportunity".

"Excavation will provide the critical dating evidence from items such as coins and pottery that may confirm when the forts were built and abandoned," he said.
J.R. MORGAN. Longus: Daphnis and Chloe. (pdf)
This one's making the rounds of the lists ... Greek Transcoder is a free program designed to convert texts written in those piles of Greek fonts that you've accumulated over the past decade into the (more sensible) Unicode ... the webpage for the product is also the first classics-oriented page, I think, to use the word 'deprecated' in the sense of 'obsolete' or 'on its way out of regular usage' (familiar enough to folks dealing with html and/or css). Keep praying ...
There's a new issue of Ephemeris, the Latin online newspaper, on the estands ...
Nothing of interest ...
Issue 8.09 of our Explorator newsletter is available at Classics Central ... so is the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings for the week of June 27 - July 3. Enjoy!.
Latest description:

Our “Latin Lover” may translate papal documents but he’s also been seen before on Rome’s Capitoline hill collecting awards for his scholarly writing. Dedicated on one occasion to the Clay-Frazier boxing match...

... listen
Robert Garland, Surviving Greek Tragedy
A while back we mentioned the discovery of a statue of a woman at the Villa of the Quintilii ... the latest issue of Archaeology has a little feature on it; it's apparently a life-size statue of Niobe.
From an op-ed piece in the Journal News:


Wondering if democracies of the past ever fared any better during wartime than ours is doing today, I started thumbing through my old college copy of Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian War that occurred in the latter part of the fifth century B.C. While the war between Athens and Sparta lasted 27 years, Thucydides’ account is only of a 20-year period.

The takeover of Athens’ democratic assembly by a repressive elite called The Four Hundred that followed the disastrous failure of Athens’ invasion of Sicily comes as the climax of Thucydides’ book. While this suspension of democracy did not last even a single year, it signaled that representative government in war-wracked Athens was on thin ice, which proved to be the case seven years later when Athens’ conquest by Sparta resulted in installation of a ruthless dictatorship known as The Thirty, in 404 B.C.

Thucydides shows that the world’s first democracy, the Greek city-state of Athens, simply unraveled, both as a world power and internally, during an extended period of warfare against a succession of Mediterranean neighbors, all the while becoming a society in which citizens feared to raise a dissenting call for peace. During the 160-year heyday of ancient Greece from 498 to 338 B.C. the city of Athens was at war for two out of every three years. War was considered the natural order of things.

According to historian Thucydides, what seemed like sanity and patriotism back then was to give blind, unthinking support to battles in which navies with 100 or more ships apiece would simply ram each other, then their crewmen board each other’s vessels to engage in hand-to-hand battles with knives, spears, and battle axes in the same way as land armies.

The purpose of all this warmaking was simple: to seize neighboring cities, plunder their citizens’ stores of food, resources, treasuries, and personal possessions, and put surviving citizens to work for the conquering country.

In vain, one of the Athenian generals, named Nicias, pleaded with his countrymen to hold back from what he thought was the idiotic course they seemed determined to pursue in waging war on two fronts, Syracuse and the rest of Sicily, at the same time. He warned that the Athenians would find themselves outnumbered and trapped in a land far away from home and that Sicily posed absolutely no military danger to Athens. He pleaded for the planned war against Sicily to be put to a vote of the citizens, “to allow the Athenians to debate the matter once again.”

But then as now, the momentum for war was impossible to stop, and ultimately Nicias himself lost his life, killed after being taken prisoner in what turned out to be a hideous and total defeat for the Athenians. One of the Athenian generals, Alcibiades, defects to the Sicilian side and reveals to them that the Athenians had a master plan to conquer literally the whole of the Mediterranean world. An enormous alliance against the attacking Athenians is formed, and the Athenians, overextended just as Nicias predicted, are totally humiliated.

It’s hard to read the words of Thucydides, himself a former Athenian general who had been exiled from the city as punishment for a battle lost, without suspecting that his motive in writing his history was to hold the defeat of his countrymen up to their face and say “I told you so!” He makes sure you see the irony that the defeated Athenians had once embarked on their mission in “splendour and pride” and that “they had set out to enslave others, but now they were going away frightened of being enslaved themselves.”

This is how Thucydides described the war’s chilling effect on the democratic freedoms of Athenians who suffered ridicule and intimidation if they tried to use the language of common sense against their fellow-Athenians’ delusion of invincibility as they marched to a war that was to bring them doom:

“To think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action. Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man, ... Anyone who held violent opinions could always be trusted, and anyone who objected to them became a suspect. ... As a result ... there was a general deterioration of character throughout the Greek world. The plain way of looking at things, which is so much the mark of a noble nature, was regarded as a ridiculous quality and soon ceased to exist. Society became divided into camps in which no man trusted his fellow.”

In America today, as in Athens then, the only camp to have any visibility (that is, access to the media) has been a pro-war camp in which both political parties have joined hands, leaving the camp that wants withdrawal from Iraq and opposes America’s course of war and global expansion without a political party to speak for them, and hence without existence in the public eye.

For anyone who finds security in having such a conflict-free political situation, and feels pride in the Senate’s 99-0 vote, I hope the excerpts I’ve provided from historian Thucydides will lead you to read his work in its entirety. There in his story of ancient Athens’ fall you’ll discover that even the greatest of world powers can suffer crushing defeat, and the greatest democracies degenerate into tyrannies, when absolute consensus is made the rule.
From the Independent comes an interesting bit of revisionism:

The history of Britain will have to be rewritten. The AD43 Roman invasion never happened - and was simply a piece of sophisticated political spin by a weak Emperor Claudius.

A series of astonishing archaeological findings of Roman military equipment, to be revealed this week, will prove that the Romans had already arrived decades earlier - and that they had been welcomed with open arms by ancient Britons.

The discovery of swords, helmets and armour in Chichester, Sussex, dates back to a period between the late first century BC and the early first century AD- almost 50 years before the supposed invasion. Archaeologists who have studied the finds believe it will turn conventional Roman history taught in schools on its head. "It is like discovering that the Second World War started in 1938," said Dr David Rudkin, a Roman expert leading the work.

The discoveries in Sussex will be revealed on Saturday during a Time Team special on Channel 4 analysing the Roman invasion. Tony Robinson, presenter of Time Team, said: "One of the frustrating things with history is that things become set in stone. We all believe it to be true. It is great to challenge some of the most commonly accepted pieces of our history."

Dr Francis Pryor, president of the Council for British Archaeology, said it would prove controversial. "It turns the conventional view taught in all the textbooks on its head," he said. "It is going to cause lively debate among Roman specialists."

The AD43 Roman invasion is one of the best-known events in British history. More than 40,000 Roman soldiers are believed to have landed in Richborough, Kent, before carving their way through the English countryside.

The evidence unearthed in Sussex overturns this theory. Archaeologists now believe that the Romans arrived up to 50 years earlier in Chichester. They were welcomed as liberators, overthrowing a series of tyrannical tribal kings who had been terrorising clans across southern England.

Sussex and Hampshire became part of the Roman Empire 50 years before the invasion that historians have always believed was the birth of Roman Britain.

The findings and their implications will be published by Dr Rudkin later this year. The discoveries have centred on Fishbourne Roman Palace in Sussex. Artefacts found there in a V-shaped ditch include part of a copper alloy sword scabbard fitting that archaeologists have dated to the period between the late first century BC and early first century AD.

Dr Miles Russell, a senior archaeologist at Bournemouth University who has studied the evidence, said: "All this talk of the Romans arriving in AD43 is just wrong. We get so fixated on the idea of a single invasion. It is far more piecemeal. In Sussex and Hampshire they were in togas and speaking Latin five decades before everyone else."

According to Dr Russell, it was in Emperor Claudius's interest to "spin" the invasion of AD43 as a great triumph against strong opposition. Claudius had become emperor two years earlier but his position following the death of Caligula was tenuous. A bold military adventure to expand the empire would tighten Claudius's grip in Rome and prove his credentials as a strong leader.

"Every period of history has its own spin doctors, and Claudius spun the invasion to look strong," Dr Russell said. "But Britain was Roman before Claudius got here."

Julius Caesar first tried to conquer Britain during the Iron Age in 55BC, but storms on the journey from Boulogne, in France, to Dover caused Caesar's two legions to turn back. A force of five legions tried again in May 54BC and landed in Dover before marching towards London, defeating Cassivellaunus the King of Catuvellauni in Hertfordshire. News of an impending rebellion in Gaul caused Caesar to retreat, but not before he had made his mark.

Britain at this stage in history was not one unified country, rather some 25 tribes often at war with each other. Not all tribes joined the coalition to fight Caesar. For example, the Trinovantes appealed to Caesar to protect them from Cassivellaunus who had run a series of raids into their territory.

Dr Francis Pryor said that the findings in Sussex prove that relationships between tribes in southern England and the Romans continued after Caesar's attempted invasion. "The suggestion that they arrived in Chichester makes plenty of sense. We were a pretty fierce force but the Romans had a relatively easy run. This would have been a liberation of a friendly tribe - not an invasion."

Oxford historian Dr Martin Henig, a Roman art specialist, said that the whole of southern England could have been a Roman protectorate for nearly 50 years prior to the AD43 invasion. "There is a possibility that there were actually Roman soldiers based in Britain during the whole period from the end of the first century BC," he said.

Time Team will unveil their findings in a live two-hour special on Saturday evening on Channel 4. It will form part of the biggest ever archaeological examination of Roman Britain running over eight days and involving hundreds of archaeologists at sites across Britain. The series will investigate every aspect of the Romans' rule of Britain, from the supposed invasion to their departure 400 years later.

Preliminary thoughts: if this is the case, why wouldn't Augustus have made a bigger deal of it? Why would we hear of aborted invasions by Gaius? If it were as depicted above, why wouldn't the biographers have mentioned this as just more evidence of how ineffective Claudius was? All arguments from silence, to be sure, but appropriately brought up, no?
A review from the Malaysian Star, which I'll reproduce in its entirety since I'm not sure about its shelf life:


From Athens to Alexander
By Philip De Souza, Waldemar Heckel & Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Publisher: Osprey Publishing, 285 pages
(ISBN: 1841768561)

THE Greeks at War, part of Osprey Publishing’s Essential Histories Special series, is actually a composite book that compiles previous titles from Osprey’s Essential Histories series into one volume, with new material added.

This book contains Dr Philip De Souza’s The Peloponnesian War 431-404BC and The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386BC, and Professor Waldemar Heckel’s The Wars of Alexander the Great 336-323BC. The additional materials are a foreword by the classics professor Victor Davis Hanson, and Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones’ essay on the portrayal of Greek warfare in the cinema.

Overall, this is a good book that covers most of the key events, starting with the rise of Sparta and Athens, and the conflict between the Greek city states and the Persian empires. It moves on to the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, and then the rise of Macedon under Phillip II and his son Alexander, and Alexander’s conquest of the Persian empire. It concludes with the dissolution of the Macedonian empire upon Alexander’s death.

Interspersed with the historical description are portraits of civilians and soldiers, which give the reader an idea of what it was like for the average person caught up in those times, as well as graphics and maps of key battles and campaigns. There are also numerous pictures of artefacts and ruins from the period, with explanations of their significance.

Still, the book has its limitations, one of which is that the period from 386-323BC is largely not covered. This period was when the brilliant Theban general Epaminondas developed tactics which neutralised the Spartans’ military power. With the formation of an elite group of warriors known as the Sacred Band, and their ability to incorporate their hoplites, cavalry and light infantry effectively, the Thebans won a resounding victory at Leuctra (371BC). They killed a Spartan king in battle, something which had not happened for well over a hundred years, since Leonidas perished heroically with his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae (480BC). The Thebans eventually broke Sparta’s dominance.

But they were then feared by other Greek states, and Epaminondas himself fell while fighting Thebes’ former allies at Mantinea (362BC). Ironically, while he was neutralising the threat of Sparta, the man who would eventually destroy the Theban military and establish Macedonian supremacy over Greece, Philip II, was a hostage in Thebes and learning all he could about the Theban way of war.

Thus, it’s a pity that the publishers did not ask Hanson, who covered Epaminiondas thoroughly in his outstanding The Soul of Battle, to contribute a section on this, rather than just a two-page foreword. Neither are the events surrounding Xenophon’s Ten Thousand covered in detail, nor the Greek campaigns against the Roman empire.

Both are worthy of study: the former showed how an army of mercenaries could march through the Persian Empire to safety despite Persian efforts to stop them; the latter, why the Greek phalanx tactic was not enough to counter the Roman legions, as well as the Greek King Pyrrhus’ campaign against the Romans (280-275BC), that spawned the term “Pyrrhic victory”.

One could also question Lewellyn-Jones objectivity in praising Oliver Stone’s Alexander as remarkable, considering that he was a historical advisor for the same movie! However, the rest of his essay is informative.

De Souza uses the more accurate linguistic spelling of names, whereas Heckel uses the more common anglicised spelling. Hence, Kyros instead of Cyrus, and Dareios instead of Darius, among others. Both spellings appear in the book and this is bound to confuse those unfamiliar with Greek history – a problem that could have been easily resolved with some editorial notes.
The intro to Peter Jones' latest:

The hysterical reaction of many people to the pop-singer Michael Jackson's acquittal on charges of child-abuse suggests that, where public figures are concerned, people feel the law is somehow irrelevant. This is all very Greek.

... read the rest at Friends of Classics
From the Guardian:

Pompeii: The Living City
by Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence
Weidenfeld & Nicholson £20, pp386

As the authors observe, a visit to Pompeii is often disappointing. Wear and tear, sunshine and theft have destroyed the illusion of a miraculously preserved lost world which the accounts of its first discoverers convey so strongly. This book attempts to restore meaning to the dusty ruins, with notable success. The authors are an archaeologist/historian and a dramatist: Laurence contributes up-to-date research, while Butterworth puts human flesh on dry bones.

This is not a snapshot of the city in the year of its destruction. The story begins 25 years before that, at the accession of the emperor Nero in AD54. The authors don't account for this decision in any way, though there are obvious good reasons for it: on the local level, selected individuals can be shown moving from youth to mature achievement over 25 years, via Pompeii's thousands of graffiti, and it is also useful to be reminded that the city had suffered a cataclysmic earthquake in 62 (it was still under reconstruction when it was finally destroyed).

In the Roman world more generally, this was a period which started with a certain optimism, but was racked by successive calamities - the Great Fire of Rome in AD64 was a disaster beside which the eruption of Vesuvius was merely a local tragedy. It was also a period in which a playboy emperor and a clique of irresponsible billionaires pushed the Roman economy into free fall, from which it was only retrieved by the sack of Jerusalem and a vast injection of gold and silver bullion, the temple treasure.

Though the Bay of Naples was one of the areas of Italy where rich people liked to live, and Pompeiian local worthies included relatives of both Nero and his empress, the city was not all that wealthy. The region's fertile volcanic soil was amazingly productive but not much cash stuck to the hands of the citizenry. Fewer than one in 10 Pompeiian women's bodies was found with any jewellery. The region's wealth was drained to support the extravagances of a privileged few.

... more
André Laks, Marwan Rashed, Aristote et le mouvement des animaux. Dix études sur le De motu animalium.
Stephen Bertman, Erotic Love Poems of Greece and Rome. A collection of new translations. New American Library.

Ellen Perry, The Aesthetics of Emulation in the Visual Arts of Ancient Rome.

Susan Woodford, The Art of Greece and Rome.

Stelios Lydakis, Ancient Greek Painting and Its Echoes in Later Art. Translated by John Davis.

Stephan Berrens, Sonnenkult und Kaisertum von den Severern bis zu Constantin I. (193-337 n. Chr.). Historia Einzelschriften, 185.
From Mehr:

A team of Iranian archaeologists recently began searching for the location of the ancient Greek Laodicea Temple in Nahavand, Hamedan Province, the director of the team announced on Thursday.

“On June 15, the team began excavations, which will probably last until late July,” Mehdi Rahbar added.

In 1943, archaeologists discovered an ancient inscription written in Greek in Nahavand, indicating the existence of a temple named Laodicea in the area, which dated back to the reign of Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC), the Seleucid king who ruled Asia Minor.

He was the most distinguished of the Seleucids. Having made vassal states out of Parthia in present-day northeastern Iran and Bactria (an ancient country in Central Asia), he warred successfully against the Egyptian king Ptolemy V and in 198 BC obtained possession of all of Palestine and Lebanon.

He later became involved in a conflict with the Romans, who defeated him at Thermopylae in 191 BC and at Magnesia (now Manisa, Turkey) in 190 BC. As the price of peace, he was forced to surrender all his dominions west of the Taurus Mountains and to pay costly tribute. Antiochus, who early in his reign had restored the Seleucid Empire, finally forfeited its influence in the eastern Mediterranean by his failure to recognize the rising power of Rome.
10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Caesar: Conqueror of Gaul
In 58 BC, the Roman general and statesman Julius Caesar pushed north from Rome into the wild and unruly lands of the barbarians (current-day France), and in less than eight years, extended the border of the Roman Republic's territories as far west as the Atlantic, even making raids and incursions into Britain. The key element to Caesar's victory in Europe lay not in the superiority of the Roman war machine--the Gallic cavalry, horseman to horseman, was probably far superior to the Roman legions. Rome's military superiority derived from mastery of strategy, tactics, discipline, and military engineering. And there was no master of strategy greater than Julius Caesar. According to Plutarch, Caesar's campaign resulted in 800 conquered cities, 300 subdued tribes, a million slaves, and 3-million dead on the battlefield--all this, not to mention becoming First Man in Rome.

HISTU = History Channel (US)
From Teleradioerre (in Italian, of course) comes news of a find of a rural villa associated with a branch of the Scipios, including a dining room and some sort of bathing complex:

Sono ripartiti il 13 giugno e proseguiranno fino al 5 agosto gli scavi in località Faragola ad Ascoli Satriano, dove indagini sistematiche sono condotte dal 2003, sotto la direzione scientifica di Giuliano Volpe e con il coordinamento sul campo di Giuliano De Felice e Maria Turchiano, dall'Università di Foggia, in stretta collaborazione con il Comune di Ascoli Satriano, e il supporto della Soprintendenza per i Beni archeologici della Puglia, della Provincia di Foggia e, quest'anno, della Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Puglia, che ha inserito Faragola tra i progetti culturali finanziati per il 2005. Mediamente partecipano agli scavi 50-60 studenti del Corso di laurea in beni culturali dell'Università di Foggia e di altre università italiane e straniere. Notevoli le scoperte realizzate finora presso la residenza rurale aristocratica, probabilmente appartenuta alla famiglia senatoria degli Scipioni Orfiti. L'elemento di maggior pregio è finora la sala da pranzo (cenatio) a pianta rettangolare (IV-V secolo d.C.), circondata da un portico e decorata da pavimenti di marmo e da lussuosi e rari tappeti in opus sectile vitreo e marmoreo; è dotata di uno stibadium (una sorta di divano) in muratura, dotato di una fontana e decorato con rivestimenti in opus sectile e con due rilievi figurati (una figura femminile danzante di fronte ad un altare con una cista attorno a cui è avvolto un serpente, di chiara ispirazione dionisiaca). Questo tipo di struttura costituisce quasi un unicum, considerato che sono al momento noti solo altri 2-3 esemplari al mondo, nessuno dei quali così bene conservato e decorato tanto lussuosamente. Nei giorni scorsi si è giunti anche alla scoperta del settore termale della villa, con vani riscaldati e vasche, che saranno oggetto di indagine durante la terza campagna di scavi. Uno degli obiettivi, oltre al completamento nei prossimi anni degli scavi, consiste nella realizzazione a Faragola di un parco archeologico attrezzato, con lo sforzo congiunto di Comune, Università, Soprintendenza, Fondazione CRP e, si spera, della Regione Puglia; "per questo obiettivo saranno però necessari finanziamenti adeguati - afferma il prof. Volpe - che consentano di effettuare i necessari restauri e di rendere presto fruibile una delle realtà archeologiche più interessanti della Puglia e dell'Italia meridionale".
From the Hexham Courant (gotta love the phrase 'concrete evidence'):

NEW evidence that appears to confirm the existence of another Roman road in Tynedale has rekindled the fires of controversy.

Historians and archaeologists have long argued about whether the Romans ever built a road heading due west from Corbridge on the south side of the River Tyne.

The perceived wisdom is that they wouldn’t have bothered – not when they had built another one, the Stanegate, going west on the north bank.

However, the Environment Agency has just unearthed an interesting stone structure while reinforcing Corbridge’s flood defences.

And it is thought to provide the first concrete piece of evidence that there was, after all, a road on the south bank.

Archaeologists from Tyne and Wear Museums believe the stone structure at Dilston Haugh was a length of retaining wall for a ramp that led to a long-gone Roman bridge over the River Tyne.

They say the find is of national significance, not least because stone Roman bridges are incredibly rare in Britain.

Archaeologist Terry Frain said: “Corbridge was a big bustling supply base and there was a lot of transport crossing the Tyne to Hadrian’s Wall.

“We knew of one ramp to the bridge but we did not realise there was another.

“This ramp approaches the bridge site in a completely different direction, and it will add another chapter to the very interesting history of Corbridge.”

For one person, controversial historian Raymond Selkirk, the discovery confirms a long-held belief.

“Of course there was a road on the south bank,” he said.

“There was a Mr Forster who lived in Corbridge in the late 1800s – he was a school master and a very capable archaeologist – who wrote a book.

“He reported that when the road from Corbridge to Hexham was being built, the workmen discovered an unknown Roman road at Dilston.

“That was in the 1890s.”

He added that two Roman roads crossed at Dilston, with one arm heading east to Newcastle, one going south to Baybridge, near Blanchland, and another due west to Hexham.

“The evidence (of the road to Hexham) is there for anybody to see today,” said Mr Selkirk.

“In the strip of woodland just to the south of Park Farm, near Dilston, you can see pieces of the old Roman road.

“The cobbles are sticking out of the ground in places.”

The founding member of the Northern Archaeology Group, Mr Selkirk has claimed in the past to have evidence which would force a re-interpretation of the Roman occupation of Tynedale.

Much of his evidence is gleaned from aerial photographs.

He is well-known in historical circles for his belief that Hexham was originally a Roman site and that the evidence is buried under the ecclesiastical buildings.

His claims, though, have been given short shrift by other professionals over the years.

One of Britain’s leading archaeologists and an expert on Hadrian’s Wall, Robin Birley, appeared decidedly sceptical about the latest discovery and decided not to pass comment this time.

In the past he, along with other eminent historians, have pointed to Mr Selkirk’s lack of hard evidence, and his rather unorthodox approach to research in general.
Not sure about this one, from the Cyprus Mail, which seems to be blending old news with new (or perhaps it's all old):

THE Green Party yesterday put forward a resolution in Parliament, calling on Britain to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

Party leader George Perdikis said, “a special committee is working on their return and I believe Parliament will vote in our resolution by the end of the summer. We are yet another voice calling for the Marbles to be returned.”

In Britain, a court case over art looted by the Nazis could pave the way for the Marbles to be returned to Greece. The two countries have long disputed ownership.
Britain's Attorney-general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, has asked the High Court to establish whether the British Museum – home to treasures like the Marbles and the Rosetta Stone – has a moral duty to return property obtained improperly.

The museum wants to return four Old Master drawings stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish collector in the 1930s but British law prevents it disposing of anything in its vast collection.

If the court rules that Lord Goldsmith – the Government's top legal advisor – can give his permission for the works to be returned, it could prompt demands for the museum to hand back other works.

“It would allow them to return any items in their collection if they thought there was a moral obligation to do so,” said a spokesman for the Attorney-general's office.

But final permission for any works to leave the country would always lie with the Attorney-general, he added. Lord Goldsmith has reserved judgment on whether he will allow the Old Masters to be returned once the High Court has made its ruling.
The Elgin Marbles, a series of statues and fragments, were removed from the Parthenon in Athens by British ambassador Lord Elgin in the early 19th century and sold to the British museum.

Greece has demanded them back almost ever since, most recently for last summer's Olympic Games.

The museum said at the time that returning the friezes would rip the heart out of a collection that tells the story of human civilisation.

The Times newspaper has reported that UK ministers could stop the British Museum returning the looted artworks because of fears that they might pave the way for Greece to make a legally binding claim on the Marbles.
Yesterday we mentioned the excitement about a new Sappho poem mentioned in the latest TLS (more news in this weekend's Explorator, by the way ... it's getting a huge amount of coverage) ... today I notice the same issue has a review of a couple of works about Xenophon, along with the suggestion that the Anabasis be made into a movie (and no mention of the Warriors?).
Excerpts from a piece in Ha'aretz:

Just as prostitution is not really the oldest profession in the world (a quick look at the Bible will prove that spies, priests, hunters, blacksmiths - and politicians, of course - came first), so the historical preoccupation with it is a relatively new phenomenon. In the course of the 20th century, interest broadened to include the lives of individuals and groups on the margins of society. Researchers in America and Europe have turned their attention to the mentally ill, disabled, elderly, criminals and children as subjects of historical research - nearly everyone who was "transparent" in the work of previous historians.

One of the faithful representatives of this school in Israel is the veteran historical journal Zmanim (Times), which tottered until recently on the verge of collapse. Without the vigorous intervention of a group of volunteer editors headed by Miri Eliav-Feldon, it would have been shut down or would have withered away like many cultural and academic institutions in this country. Groups of articles focusing on the fringes of society have been published in the past. The special feature this month is a collection of articles on the subject of prostitution in antiquity edited by Rachel Feig Vishnia, known for her studies of the Roman republic, the status of women in the Greco-Roman world, and the depiction of ancient Rome in the movies.

A historical study of prostitution in the ancient world is social and cultural by nature. In the absence of sufficient historical documentation, it is impossible to conduct a formal psychological survey of the motives of prostitutes in those days, let alone discuss their attitude toward life and their physical and mental health. While the theories of a non-historian - Nikki Roberts, author of "Whores in History" - are interesting, there is nothing to back them up historically. The articles in Zmanim, anchored as they are in firsthand sources, do offer us "a glimpse into the world of women who sold their bodies in ancient times," as the introduction promises.

Erotic dancing


This was not the case in Greece. Yulia Ustinova, also of BGU, writes that prostitutes and call girls played an important role in the cult of Aphrodite. In times of trouble, they were asked to act as intermediaries in seeking the goddess' help. Ustinova believes these rituals actually hailed from the Levant.

Prostitution itself was a public fixture in most Grecian cities. Visiting prostitutes was an inseparable part of a Greek male's life, immortalized (from the male perspective, of course) in many works of art. Ustinova describes several female professions that revolved around sex for pay: street whores, flute girls and hetaerae - high-class escorts who had no formal legal status, but whose work brought them into the society of high-ranking men. The attitude toward them, writes Ustinova, was more pragmatic than disdainful.

But there was a core of disdain nonetheless, as we learn from a thought-provoking article by Lesley Dean-Jones of the University of Texas, entitled "Prostitution as a Smokescreen: The Case of a High-Class Prostitute in Ancient Greece." This is one of those instances where an unemotional historical account manages to touch the reader's heart. It goes back to a speech delivered in an Athens court in the mid-4th century B.C.E. Neaira, a 60-year-old noncitizen, who had been a famous hetaera in her youth, was brought to trial in an attempt to ruin the reputation of her husband, Stephanos, who was a political rival of the prosecutor, Apollodoros. Apollodoros sought to prove that Stephanos had deceived the government by passing off Neaira's daughter as his own, without mentioning her mother's alien status. This enabled him to register her as an Athenian citizen.

Apollodoros' case was shaky, and the evidence to back it up was not very solid, but he was determined to win - if not through incriminating evidence, then by creating the impression that Neaira was a depraved woman and Stephanos was a criminal. To achieve this end, he told the story of Neaira's life. She had been sold into slavery as a young girl, and spent years in a Corinthian brothel. The portrait drawn by Apollodoros was a particularly negative one, which, of course, served his purpose. But even through the smokescreen of accusations and criticism, the sad fate of this woman comes through: Here was a woman forced to amuse men and cater to their whims even before puberty, but when she finally found a wealthy man who loved and accepted her, she ended up ruining his life.

While respectable women could not be named in court so as not to ruin their reputations, there was no such prohibition in the case of prostitutes and slave girls. Apollodoros took advantage of this to name several "bad" women with whom Neaira had kept company in the course of her life. For the jury, which had no legal education, and was not accustomed to the mention of women in court, hearing the prosecutor rattle off the names of nine prostitutes and four slave girls was a sign that this was a highly unusual case and Neaira must be a very wicked woman. The verdict is unknown, but a victory for Apollodoros would have meant selling Neaira into slavery and the loss of Stephanos' public standing.

The brothel in Pompeii, which was almost perfectly preserved in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 C.E., is a familiar sight to many readers and tourists. The erotic wall frescoes, the stone beds and the cubicles for intimate encounters no longer surprise or shock anyone - apart from a certain brand of tourist that enjoys giggling and snapping photos there.

Yifat Peleg, who is writing her doctorate in history at TAU, has contributed a fine essay on the techniques for determining which buildings in town were guest houses and "houses of ill-repute," and how the sex industry catered to clientele from the upper and lower classes. Particularly intriguing is Peleg's theory that the rich met their partners in small austere rooms at the back of villas or pubs, whereas the poor patronized establishments like the brothel in Pompeii with its erotic frescoes, which depicted scenes of the kind of "aristocratic" sex supposedly enjoyed by the upper classes.

`Sanctuary of sin'

Like any branch of commerce, the ancient sex industry needed rules and regulations. TAU's Avshalom Laniado has translated from Greek four laws of the early Roman and Byzantine empire, which clearly show who profited the most from this industry: the pimps. The passages quoted by Laniado sound like they could have been written today. For example, a letter (actually a piece of legislation) by the Emperor Justinian to the citizens of Constantinople in the 6th century C.E., in which he explains why pimps and those who help them should be harshly punished: "They journey to other countries and lure young girls, deserving of pity, with promises of shoes or some garment. In this way, they ensnare them and bring them to this fair city, holding them hostage in their taverns. They provide them with meager food and clothing, and invite others to fornicate with them. All the income generated by these bodily sufferings is taken for themselves. They draw up contracts requiring the girls to remain with them and serve in this sanctuary of sin for as long as they see fit. Some even demand guarantors."

For the most part, Laniado and the other contributors manage to stay away from gender-based thinking and anachronisms, even in cases where they could press an emotional button. It is worth remembering that in the ancient world, the status of the individual was very different from today. How a person was treate, whether the person was happy, or a person's due - these were not perceived as sacred values as they are now. In a world where most of the inhabitants were considered little more than a source of energy, a prostitute like Neaira, for instance, enjoyed a life that was considerably better than the miserable existence that awaited her in the Greek hamlet where she was born. The trial, even if it ended badly, would not have reversed the good fortune that had come her way until then.

The same is true for the prostitutes in the emperor's letter. There were many men and women who were worse off in those days, but we do not hear the emperor feeling sorry for them, despite the newfound Christian sensibilities that filled his heart.


From a column in Ha'aretz:

I know two things about the horse, Charles Laughton used to say, and one of them is rather coarse. The first thing we know about the Trojan horse is that it is a sort of digital virus that sneaks into computers and servers of individuals and companies, and creates a breach in the firewalls, allowing data to be passed to those who are supposed to be uninitiated.

But as we all chase the digital Trojan horses, it is worth our while to remember a thing or two about the original, wooden Trojan horse. Oddly enough, none of his hoof-marks are imprinted in Homer's "Iliad," and he is mentioned only briefly in the fourth book of "The Odyssey." He does, however, figure in the second book of Virgil's "Aeneid" (from 19 B.C.E.), which is the source of Laocoon's then-unheeded - but oft-quoted - admonition to "beware of Greeks bearing gifts." And that, interestingly, echoes Proverbs (15:27): "He that hateth gifts shall live."

We can enjoy the story in full in the 12th book of "The Fall of Troy" by Quintus Smyrnaeus (Greek, 4th century C.E., but he was probably quoting previous Greek poets). It was a two-tiered stratagem, devised by Odysseus in the 10th year of the siege of Troy: First a huge wooden horse was built, and 30 of the choicest Achaean warriors hid in its belly. Then the Achaean fleet sailed away, as if retreating. The Trojans found the horse, and with it one Achaean volunteer, Sinon, who even when tortured stuck to his story that the horse was a peace offering. The Trojans wheeled the creature into the city (that is why there are no marks of his hooves anywhere; he was on rollers). Cassandra tried to warn the Trojans, but like some of the media and a few politicians nowadays, although she was blessed with the gift of foresight, she was cursed at the same time, because nobody believed her. At night, while the Trojans slept off the effects of their libations, Sinon woke up the Achaean warriors in the horse's entrails, and they climbed out through a trap door in its side. Sinon also signaled to the Achaean fleet, which was waiting behind a nearby island. Troy was sacked and burned down, and its inhabitants were slaughtered. Helen, whose face had launched a thousand ships, was reunited with her husband Menelaus.

Getting the horse into enemy territory was only the beginning. It was done under false pretenses and with the willing participation of the future victims. In the original story, once the recipients of the "gift" welcome it, unawares, the gift bares its teeth (we may recall the saying that one should not look a gift horse in the mouth, which is rather strange in this case, given the circumstances) - and bites the hand that feeds it. Its digital namesake sneaks in unnoticed and is supposed to keep working undercover. Once its cover is blown, and it is unmasked as a Trojan (which is also a brand of condoms; I really wonder why), it is, however, as good as dead.

Troy was a city of riches, a paragon of prosperity and culture, and it was under siege. Paris, the prince, was fulfilling the goddess' orders when he abducted Helen, the beautiful wife of Menelaus, son of Atreus. Many Achaean tribes joined forces in order to release Menelaus' lawfully wedded wife. The two sides shed each other's blood for a long time without either of them getting the upper hand.

Israel can be seen as a sort of Troy under siege, with many surrounding tribes vying for its annihilation, claiming that it conquered something - territories - that lawfully belongs to one of them. The Palestinians' Trojan horse, in the eyes of many Israelis, is the Israeli Arabs, but also it is, mainly, the "right of return."

But one can look at it in a different way: Israel is Troy indeed, and it has swallowed up the territories and is holding onto them on the basis of God's promise to his Chosen People. The Palestinians have been claiming that the settlements are a Trojan horse in their midst from the very beginning. Many Israelis have thought, or have been led to believe, that the settlements are a peace offering - or, at the very least, something that will ensure their security. In a way Israel created its own Trojan horse, led it ceremoniously through the city gates, and now has to face the warriors that were bred in its belly and are currently threatening.

The French playwright Jean Giraudoux wrote a play in 1935 that was translated into English as "Tiger at the Gates." In one of its last scenes, there is an encounter between Hector the Trojan and Odysseus the Achaean, two disillusioned leaders on the eve of the decisive last battle. Odysseus says to Hector: "A nation doesn't put itself at odds with its destiny by its crimes, but by its faults. Its army may be strong, its treasury well-filled, its poets at the height of inspiration. But one day, why it is no one knows, because of some simple event, such as the citizens wantonly cutting down the trees, or their prince wickedly making off with a woman, or the children getting out of hand, the nation is suddenly lost. Nations, like men, die by imperceptible disorders."

Hector is willing to give Helen back in the play, against the collective will of his people, in order to avoid bloodshed. Odysseus doesn't believe it will matter in the least. Hector claims that Helen is merely a pretext on the part of the Greeks to lead a war of conquest and plunder. Says Hector: "I blush for Greece. She will be responsible and ashamed for the rest of time." Odysseus calms him down: "Responsible and ashamed? Do you think so? The two words hardly agree. Even if we believed we were responsible for the war, all our generation would have to do would be to deny it, and lie, to appease the conscience of future generations. And we shall lie. We'll make that sacrifice."

The original French title of the play was "The Trojan War Will Not Break Up." In Giraudoux's work, it does. As it did in World War II, and in the first and the second intifadas.

Maybe the only thing one can learn from history is history.
From Cumberland News:

THE discovery of fragments of Roman pottery and a wine jug on the line of the £30 million Carlisle western by-pass is unlikely to delay the building of the planned road, say Cumbria County Council.

The historic finds were unearthed at a previously-undiscovered stretch of Hadrian’s Wall on the banks of the River Eden, west of Carlisle.

Several fragments of ancient pottery, some reddish fabric and a spike fragment from a Roman wine jug – or amphora – were among the discoveries unearthed.

And remains of the three-metre wide sandstone Roman Wall and evidence of the vallum – an earthwork mound and ditch – were also uncovered.

The full findings of the archaeological dig at Knockupworth Farm were published in a report by the county council this week.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “We are still in discussion with English Heritage about the most appropriate method of conservation for the remains.

“We still do not expect that the discovery of the fragmented remains of the wall will interfere with the timetable for construction of the CNDR,” he added.

The bypass – or Carlisle Northern Development Route – is seen as crucial in relieving crippling traffic congestion in Carlisle.

The council is currently assessing bids for the contract from four companies.
Interesting feature from IOL:

The recent discovery of the remains of a shipwrecked 4th century BC vessel, nicknamed Kythnos I after the Greek island near which it was found, is the latest testimony of the archaeological riches still submerged in Greek waters.

It also demonstrates the technological advances that underwater archaeology has made in this country in recent years.

Greece has no shortage of skilled archaeologists. But when it comes to underwater research, it is only recently that the Greek ministry of culture has begun mixing academic knowledge with hi-tech wizardry.

Collaboration with the national centre for maritime research (Elkethe), and increased state funding from 2000 onwards, have enabled the culture ministry to open a broad - and still potentially untapped - archaeology frontier under the waves.

Elkethe, which operates under the development ministry, has given the culture ministry access to its specialised resources, including a 42m oceanography boat (the Aigaio), a submersible (the Thetis), two remotely-guided craft and a team of expert divers.

"This collaboration has spurred on efforts to chart underwater archaeological treasures, as did three laws on protecting such finds and preventing their pillage," ministry director of underwater antiquities Katerina Dellaporta said.

Pooling their resources, the ministry and the research centre have located more than 30 shipwrecks from Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine times, at depths that can reach 550m.

Ministry archaeologists have so far recovered objects from only a few of these wrecks.

In March 2004, two groups of amphorae were discovered at a depth of 45m off the coast of Samos, in the eastern Aegean Sea. They came from a ship believed to have sunk between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

Two days later, at a short distance to the north, the sonar picked up another pile of amphorae at a depth of 67m off the coast of Chios. The second group of storage vessels dated from between the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

In September 2004, the discovery of an ancient bronze statue in a trawler net off the island of Kythnos in the western Aegean led ministry experts to examine the area more closely.

A few months later, armed with a geophysical study carried out by a 16-strong team of experts in March, the crew of the Thetis submersible found a concentration of amphorae at a depth of 495m belonging to the ship, subsequently named Kythnos I.

Despite intensive fishing in the area, the amphorae were preserved in seabed mud and remained in good condition.

This summer, the ministry team will relocate to the waters off Evia island, in the eastern Aegean, in a bid to pinpoint the remains of the Persian fleet of King Darius, wrecked by a storm in the 5th century BC during a seaborne invasion of Greece.

The search will be carried out with the assistance of the Canadian Archaeological Institute of Athens.

Another group of researchers, the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology (IENAE), has been providing expertise in underwater archaeology for the past 30 years thanks to both state and private funds.

The institute was founded in 1973, at a time when Greece had no equivalent state authority in the field. In 1975, the centre joined the team of renowned French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau for a search of Greek waters. The culture ministry's own underwater antiquity department was only formed a year later. IENAE's most important discoveries to date include two shipwrecks from the 23rd and 13th centuries BC, found in the 1990s in the Gulf of Argolid, in the northeastern Peloponnese.
7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Antony & Cleopatra: Battle at Actium

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
dna - 'description not available'
ante diem viii kalendas quinctilis

under Servius -- dedication of two temples to Fors Fortuna (and associated rites thereafter)

1 B.C. -- birth of John the Baptist (traditional date)

79 A.D. -- dies imperii of the emperor Titus

109 A.D. -- the Aqua Traiana are officially dedicated

1741 -- Birth of Alexander Adam (Classics educator)

1989 -- death of Russell Meiggs (author of Roman Ostia, among others)
A UMichigan Press release:

The Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS) has been awarded another grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—this time $370,000 to support the organization's work during the next two years, bringing the NEH's decade of support for APIS to more than $1.6 million.

Since 2000, the University of Michigan's efforts have brought the international project to the forefront of research.

There are 13 APIS partners in the U.S. and 15 in Europe, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. The U.S. partners will now have this new grant to support their work during the next two years.

"The generous support of the NEH for nearly 10 years has made it possible to complete work on several collections in North America, many of which were neglected for several decades and were in dire need of conservation," said Traianos Gagos, U-M associate professor of papyrology and Greek and head archivist of U-M's papyrology collection.

"We hope that by 2007, all notable collections on this part of the Atlantic will be available to scholars and students worldwide. Even after 2007, work will continue on the very large collections at Berkeley and the University of Michigan, which are currently cataloging and digitizing unpublished papyri, that is, texts that so far have not been accessible to scholars outside these institutions," Gagos said.

Through the use of modern information technology, this virtual library of papyrological collections at has been attracting more non-specialists to the most ancient of communications media—papyrus—making APIS a model to be followed. APIS makes it possible for viewers to explore digital images of ancient papyrus and examine detailed library catalog records about the material.

Found among the U-M collection is a letter from a Greek husband to his wife. "So when you have received this letter of mine," he wrote, "make your preparations in order that you may come at once if I send for you. And when you come, bring 10 shearings of wool, six jars of olives, four jars of liquid honey, and my shield, the new one only, and my helmet. Bring also my lances. Bring also the fitting of the tent. If you find the opportunity, come here with good men. Let Nonnos come with you. Bring all our clothes when you come. When you come, bring your gold ornaments, but do not wear them on the boat."

The APIS database contains more than 20,000 records, about 3,400 of them from the U-M collection. Columbia University is the technological host for APIS, offering access to the database at
That image of Jesus which appeared on some guy's bathroom wall which was up for auction at Ebay fetched almost $2000.00 ... that casino with a penchant for such items was the buyer ...
commination @ (great word)

pandemonium @ Wordsmith (not specified as such, but obviously so)

hypermutability @ OED (ditto)
Remissio aeris alieni (17.06.2005)

Inter ministros octo civitatum industrialium convenit, ut duodeviginti nationes in maxima paupertate viventes aere alieno liberarentur.

Remissio debitorum, quae auspiciis Britannorum approbata est, speciatim ad terras in Africa meridionali sitas spectat.

Quo facto nihil iam impedit, quin hi populi pecuniam suam debitam in curam valetudinis provehendam et in scholas condendas impendant.

Gordon Brown, minister Britannus ait: "Iam non est tempus ignaviae sed fortitudinis neque operae pretium est secundaria sequi sed ad maiora contendere."

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The Hollister Freelance brings news of a Latin program about to be cut:

When volunteer Latin teacher assistant Pam Rocco found out that San Benito High Principal Debbie Padilla had decided to cut the introductory Latin class from its curriculum next year, she acted quickly. Rocco packed as many concerned Latin students and parents as she could find into yesterday’s school board meeting to urge reconsideration of the decision.

Maggie Ritchie, a former SBHS student, urged the board to rethink the decision to drop Latin. Ritchie now attends Columbia College in Chicago and is majoring in poetry.

“I’m aware that there are three languages at SBHS, Spanish, French and Latin,” Ritchie said during her address to the board. “And it makes sense that you’d make the dead language walk the plank.”

Padilla made the decision to drop the class last Friday while preparing a master schedule for next year. The program will be phased out over the next two years due to low student enrollment in the course, Padilla said, although students who took the introductory class last year would be allowed to continue.

The possibility of the move had been discussed throughout the year, but the decision was not made until the final enrollment numbers came in.

“I would like to see a wide-range of languages at San Benito,” Padilla said. “But we have to respond to the needs of the community.”

Latin is the root of many European languages and is still commonly used in the fields of medicine, law and science. Ritchie said that she would not have done nearly as well on standardized tests such as the SATs had she not taken three years of Latin.

Latin teacher Jane Gaylord, who has taught the course for more than a decade, will be teaching English next year in addition to teaching three upper level Latin courses.

Latin helped current SBHS school student Adriana Mariano in a very different way.

“I was born and raised in Mexico and Latin has really helped to improve my English, especially my vocabulary,” Mariano said.

Mariano said that Latin was important for all students, but particularly for those with a Spanish language background.

“They are closing a door for Spanish students,” Mariano said.

Mariano completed Latin II last year and plans to take Latin III this year. Mariano is concerned that she will not be able to finish all four years of the program before it is phased out.

“I think it’s messed up, if they let us start something, they should let us finish it,” Mariano said.

Mariano is not the only one concerned with the plight of Hispanic students at San Benito High School.

During yesterday’s meeting, SBHS district board trustee Evelyn Muro commented on the high number of 10th grade Hispanic students who had not yet passed the California State High School Exit Exam for English Language Arts. Of the 382 Hispanic students who took the test in March only 66 percent passed, compared to the 90 percent passage rate of White students and the 92 percent passage rate of Asian students. Similar statistics for economically disadvantaged students were also presented.

The school has a website, where one can find email addresses of plenty of folks to complain to.
Commercial Appeal comes through again with good coverage of a Classics event ... this time, the JCL convention in Tennessee:

Forty-one enthusiastic and loud Latin students from Hutchison School boarded a bus bound for the Tennessee Junior Classical League (JCL) Convention at Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tenn., where 780 students were in attendance.

The JCL's purpose is to promote appreciation and enthusiasm for studying Latin and the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome.

Each convention is full of academic competitions, olympika events and togas. The delegates are friendly and more than happy to admit their insatiable love for the classics.

Although it takes a while for the non-Latin students at the host school to become accustomed to the toga-clad teens, they eventually mark it down as an eccentricity and continue walking to their classes past gorgons, muses, and fully armed soldiers.

This convention proved especially successful for Hutchison, which boasted several academic and arts awards as well as two state officers.

This was posted to the Classics list yesterday ... the BBC has a little slide show thingy of the restoration work (done with lasers) done to the Parthenon marbles left behind by Lord Elgin (i.e. the west frieze). The display is put in the context of allowing people to decide whether Lord Elgin actually 'saved' the marbles, since one of the ongoing arguments has always been that if he had left them behind, they'd be in horrible condition. Not really sure if that dog hunts ...
The various lists and my email box are all aflutter with this news of a new complete poem of Sappho, presented by Martin West in the TLS:

Since classical times, Sappho has been a source of fascination and romantic construction. The ancients, who had nine books of her poems at their disposal, were unstinting in their admiration. Some called her a tenth Muse. Strabo, writing in the time of Augustus, calls her a wonder, “for in this whole span of recorded time we know of no woman to challenge her as a poet even in the slightest degree”. In modern times, with only fragments of her poetry remaining, she has remained one of the most famous and evocative names from antiquity, a figure viewed by some with narrowed, by others with widened eyes; a socio-historical enigma, a littérateurs’ Lorelei, a feminist icon, a scholars’ maypole.

It is difficult to judge her for ourselves when so little of her work remains. What we have
consists on the one hand of quotations and more general references in ancient authors, and on the other hand of torn scraps from ancient papyrus and parchment copies, mostly from the Roman period and, more often than not, so tattered that they yield only a few words or letters from any given line of verse. In modern editions the fragments are numbered up to 264. But many of these do not contain a single original word. Only sixty-three contain any complete lines; only twenty-one contain any complete stanzas; and only three – till now – gave us poems near enough complete to appreciate as literary structures.

A recent find enables us to raise this number to four. In 2004, Michael Gronewald and
Robert Daniel announced the identification of a papyrus in the University of Cologne as part of a roll containing poems of Sappho. This text, recovered from Egyptian mummy cartonnage, is the earliest manuscript of her work so far known. It was copied early in the third century bc, not much more than 300 years after she wrote.

Parts of three of her poems are represented. As usual, all are in a fragmentary state. But the second one, it turned out, had been partially known since 1922 from an Oxyrhynchus papyrus of the third century ad, and by combining the two texts we now obtain an almost complete poem.

When we had only the Oxyrhynchus portion, we had only line-ends, preceded and followed by line-ends of other poems, and it was not clear where one poem ended and the next began; the left-hand margin, where this would have been signalled, was missing. That question is now settled. We have a poem of twelve lines, made up of six two-line stanzas. The last eight lines are virtually complete. The first four are still lacking two or three words each at their beginnings. But we can make out the sentence structure and restore the sense of what is lost, if not the exact words.

Here is the poem in my own restoration and translation. The words in square brackets are supplied by conjecture.

"[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.

This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.

Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,

handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o’ertook him, husband of immortal wife."


It's probably worth tracking down the print version of this one if you want the Greek text ... more coverage of this in the Guardian.
Good news for me and fellow rogueclassicists within driving reach of the Royal Ontario Museum ... from Tandem:

The news came from President of Region Campania Antonio Bassolino on a visit to Toronto. Just one day in Ontario, but quite intense, Bassolino and his staff spent the morning and afternoon with the managers of the Royal Ontario Museum, working on an ambitious project: the exhibition that will mark the return to "normalcy" for the ROM, following the works that began last fall.
Tales from an eruption. 'Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis' is the title of this exhibition that should launch the new face of one of Canada's most famous museums, after renovation work that will be completed in another two years; the expected completion date is set for the fall of 2007. However, such things take time; Bassolino and his staff have thus kick-started the collaboration with the prestigious Canadian institution, and over the coming month technicians of Region Campania and Pompeii's Archaeological Superintendency - the two Italian institutions that organize the exhibition - will meet their Canadian counterparts very often.
A couple of items of interest from the Sofia News Agency ... first, one that I think I missed for last week's Explorator (thanks to MM for passing it along):

Archeologists working at the Orpheus Temple, near Bulgaria's Tatul village, have unearthed numerous richly ornamented artifacts graved with sun-related symbols - the largest finding of ritual ceramics from the times of Antiquity on Bulgarian land.

An unmatchable priest scepter has stunned the scientists, as such an artifact has not been seen in the material culture of Thracians.

The royal symbol is believed to have belonged to a mighty Thracian king buried at the site of the temple.

This summer Bulgarian archaeologists have renewed excavations at the Tatul village, where they believe that a unique temple of mythical royal descendant and artist Orpheus is located.

Continuing excavation works come to confirm preliminary suggestions by archaeologists that the sanctuary at Tatul has effloresced for more than two thousand years in ancient times. It is probably the largest temple after the sanctuary of Dionisos in Perperikon, also located in the Rhodopes Mountain.

Then we get news of something being found, which has clearly suffered in translation:

A ritual gold plastic was discovered by a team of Bulgarian archaeologists, it was announced.

The team, headed by Nikolay Ovcharov discovered the semi-sphere gold artifact during excavation near the village of Tatul.

The 23-carat gold dates back to 15-14th century BC, archeologists revealed.

The unique founding could be a part of a ritual leather mask or a fragment of a chest decoration.

The archeologists launched Tatul expedition a week ago. According to scientific theories this is the place where the mythical musician Orpheus was buried.

An item from the Bulgarian News Network might clarify things a bit:

Archaeologists in Southern Bulgaria, exploring what they believe to be the tomb of Orpheus, discovered fragments of a golden mask dating from the Trojan War, state TV reported.

The expedition found the gold in a 3, 500 year-old temple that has survived untouched by treasure hunters.
Archaeological team leader Nikolay Ovcharov said the mask was older than a 690-gram (24.3-ounce) Thracian gold mask that was unearthed a year ago in central Bulgaria.
The Thracians were Bronze Age peopl, who lived in the Balkans between 4000 B.C. and the seventh century A.D.
Ovcharov said the golden fragments were discovered in a perfectly preserved cultural layer from the 15 c. - 11 c. B.C. near the village of Tatul, next to the Bulgarian-Greek border.
He said the find could be linked the Ancient Greek Mycenae culture.
TOC for Classical Philology 100.2 ... full text available (for a price) via UChicago Press:

Prayer and Curse in Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes
Eva Stehle

Virgil and Tibullus 1.1
Michael C. J. Putnam

Interactions: Physics, Morality, and Narrative in Seneca Natural Questions 1
Gareth Williams

A Common Source for Jerome, Eutropius, Festus, Ammianus, and the Epitome de Caesaribus between 358 and 378, along with Further Thoughts on the Date and Nature of the Kaisergeschichte
R. W. Burgess
Military Chronicles appears to be a new magazine ... the cover story of their (initial?) issue is summarized thus at their website:

Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire

Diplomacy, the threat of force, military action, reliance on client states or tribes – all were used at different times and in different places to defend the borders of the Roman Empire. Were these merely local responses to differing local situations, or was there an overall defensive strategy – devised in Rome and continually adapted to meet the changing nature of threats and the availability of imperial resources?

... might be worth looking for next time you're at the newsstand.
IGN alerts us to the existence of a sequel to the first A & O video game for the Playstation:

Wednesday Atari announced Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission Las Vegum, a sequel to the first Asterix XXL platforming adventure -- and another interactive dose of the classic comic characters. The only drawback? So far the game is only announced for Europe.

Developed by Etranges Libellules, XXL 2 takes our heroes to Las Vegum, the "city of games." Asterix and Obelix will explore Las Vegum districts -- Little Paris, WCW, LuckSore, Little Venetia, Pirate Island, and SeizeUs Palace -- in a quest to find out why all the most renowned druids of the Roman Empire have disappeared.

Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 is planned for European release in October for PlayStation 2 and PC.
T'other day we had a multiple appendaged canine ... today, we have a three-legged human baby ... in other prodigy news, a two-headed kitten from Oregon has died ... By the way, one of my first papers written when I was doing my M.A. was on the various omens and which priests were involved in expiating said omens. It was a terrible paper, but I did have a useful chart at the end summarizing such things. Hopefully I can find it over the summer and I'll put it online ... it might be useful to someone.
10.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Pompeii
Nestling on the warm shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, glorious sunny days paint a pleasant picture of the calm slopes of the dormant volcano Mount Vesuvius. But in the shadow of this now peaceful mountain are the remains of two Roman towns, whose inhabitants died in a violent eruption buried under a sea of red hot ash and rock. The two towns are Herculaneum on the coast and further south Pompeii. Their tragic remains provide a unique snapshot of life in ancient Rome. For almost 1,700 years, until its rediscovery in 1748, Pompeii lay hidden--a city suspended in time. Now viewers can experience the streets and buildings almost as they were on that tragic day in 79 AD. Features footage of Pompeii today, detailed reconstructions and recreations, 3D graphics, and commentary from leading historians.

HINT = History International
ante diem ix kalendas quinctilis

47 B.C. -- birth of Caesarion, a.k.a Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor (son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra)

79 A.D. -- death of the emperor Vespasian

1986 -- death of Moses Finley
voluble @

advertent @ Merriam-Webster

resolute @ Wordsmith

... and I'll think I'll classify this one as 'almost Classical':

usquebaugh @ Worthless Word for the Day
Linguae in UE officiales (17.06.2005)

Unio Europaea in praesenti unam et viginti linguas officiales habet.

Ad hunc numerum perventum est, cum conventui Unionis in Luxemburgo habito placuit, ut etiam linguae Hibernicae ille status officialis concederetur.

Eodem tempore tres sermones in Hispania minores, inter eos lingua Vasconica, condicionem semiofficialem acceperunt.

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

From the Daily Pilot:

George Kennedy, a sixth-grader at Lincoln Elementary School, had a difficult task as a writer. How do you improve on a story that's been in the world for thousands of years?

This year, as part of its unit on Greek mythology, George's class read about the 12 labors of Hercules -- a series of legendary feats that include slaying a hydra, capturing a lion for its pelt and driving away an enormous flock of birds. George and his classmates had a labor of their own -- to add a 13th task to Hercules' itinerary. The 12-year-old Newport Beach resident came up with a yarn worthy of Homer himself.

"He had to fight a two-headed mountain lion and bring it back to the king without killing it," George said. "It grew stronger the more you fought it. If you made it bleed, it grew three more heads."

As with most Greek legends, George's tale ended with divine intervention. Hercules called on the sea god Poseidon to freeze the mountain lion and then brought it back to the king without a scratch.

Earlier this month at Lincoln, George and the rest of the sixth-grade class capped off their unit with another beloved part of Greek culture. On an overcast Wednesday morning that had one teacher grumbling about "the gods getting a little gnarly," the students donned tunics and wreaths to re-create the ancient Olympic games.

Sixth-grade teachers Nancy Urricariet, Judy Taylor and Claire Ratfield led their classes in javelin-throwing, discus-throwing and arm wrestling, and then they competed against one another in relay races and a tug-of-war.

The classes dubbed themselves the Trojans, Athenians and Spartans, after the three sides in the Trojan War. Historically, it was a bit of an uneven match, since the latter two armies famously walloped the Trojans in the 10-year conflict.

"We feel powerful," said Madison Vitarelli, 12, a member of the Spartans.

Of the major events in the Olympics, arm wrestling was probably the only one that didn't change much from 3,000 years ago.

The discus competition involved tossing a Frisbee into the middle of a Hula Hoop, while for the javelin throw, students hurled straws with chewing gum stuck to one end.

Students made tunics out of bedsheets from home, and one participant's Greek heritage came in handy with the accessories.

Ashley McCarthy, 12, got her mother to make wreaths for students to wear on their heads, and also to provide some of the Greek-style food for refreshments.

For Ashley, the Greek mythology unit was an introduction into parts of her culture.

"I knew a little bit -- some of the gods and a couple of the myths," she said.

As for her favorite character: "I liked Pegasus the horse. He seemed like he always saved the day."
An arts review in the Guardian ponders human fascination with the equine set, inter alia:

In 1817, 11 years after the Liverpool-born horse anatomist and painter died, a whole troop of horses went on display in London that eclipsed anything a British recorder of horseflesh might do. These horses were attributed to the ancient Greeksculptor Phidias, who probably was responsible for the design of the marble frieze taken from the Acropolis in Athens by the British diplomat Lord Elgin after paying off the Turkish rulers of Greece. Acquired by parliament for the British Museum, the frieze from the Parthenon - built at the command of Pericles in 500BC after the Persians sacked the old temples on the citadel - was regarded by Hanoverian neoclassicists as the single greatest achievement of ancient Greek art.

This judgment stands. Today, you can walk along the parade of horses in Bloomsbury and marvel. Horses have never been portrayed with more variety, character and life than they were by Greek stone carvers two and a half millennia ago. It's a cliche to call classical art "chilly", almost as cliched as calling marble "cold". The Elgin Marbles disprove both received ideas. Some horses raise their heads proudly, others blow downward furiously; one strains, another is sedate. The young men riding them - mostly robed, but some nude - turn and talk or struggle with an unruly mount. All of them, though, maintain control, finally.

Why do horses figure so largely on these stones? Why so many, in such proud array? The frieze probably depicts the Great Panathenaic procession that made its way up to the Acropolis every four years. This ideal image of the world's first democracy is typically seen as an assertion of order against the forces of chaos, the cavalcade of riders - always on the edge of breaking ranks - a triumph of hard-won harmony and balance, like the doric Parthenon itself up there in the blue sky.

I think there's a simpler explanation. The Athenians are showing off. They are boasting how well their young men can ride. The presence of these riders is a mystery - the real procession involved infantry, who are absent. The display of horsemanship seems connected to the Panathenaic games. Naked riding was an Olympic sport. There's a gratuitous, free spirit to the marble horse riders - a pride in achievement for the sake of it, just like the Greek athletic spirit the modern Olympics dimly echo. Taming and riding horses was a matter of great pride in ancient Greece. In Homer's Iliad, the hero Hector is given the epithet "tamer of horses". In his tragedy Antigone, Sophocles praises man, wonder of the world, who has tamed "shaggy-maned horses".

You see those same shaggy-maned horses portrayed, 2,000 years before the Parthenon, on the Standard of Ur. This isn't really a standard but a box, whose purpose and even original shape are unknown, discovered by British archaeologists in Iraq in the late 1920s. Its scenes, inlaid in blue lapis lazuli, red limestone and shell, are among the oldest representations of human society that exist - depicting everyday life in Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC. Horses are shown pulling chariots. No one rides them, though. The Sumerians can't make that boast.
The TOC for Classical Quarterly 55.1 (apologies for the formatting):

Arms and the Man: Euphorbus, Hector, and the Death of Patroclus
William Allan

Nestor the Good Counsellor
Hanna M. Roisman

Odyssey and Argonautica
M. L. West

The Archaic Treaties between the Spartans and their Allies
David C. Yates

Pindar's three Words: The Role of Apollo in the Seventh Nemean
Annette Teffeteller

Pindar and the Statues of Rhodes
Patrick O'Sullivan

Some Remarks on the text of Aristotle's Metaphysics
Borje Byden

Machon, FR. 5, 44-5, Gow: A Fish with a {Psi}H{Phi}O{Sigma}
Antonis K. Petrides

Unwelcome Dedications: Public Law and Private Religion in Hellenistic Laodicea by the Sea
Joshua D. Sosin

Readings of Scipio's Dictatorship in Cicero's De Re Publica (6.12)
Tom Stevenson

Epic and Epigram--Minor Heroes in Virgil's Aeneid
Martin Dinter

Virgil's Sibyl and the 'Many Mouths' Cliche (Aen. 6.625-7)
Emily Gowers

Tillius and Horace
Mark Toher

A Yoke Connecting Baskets: Odes 3.14, Hercules, and Italian Unity
Llewelyn Morgan

Milestones in the Career of Tibullus
Peter E. Knox

Narrative Technique in The Lives of the Ten Orators
L. V. Pitcher

Pausanias and Oral Tradition
Maria Pretzler

Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Cleitophon: What Happened Next?
I. D. Repath

Apuleius' Apologia in a Nutshell: The Exordium
Monika Asztalos

Porphyry and Gnosticism
Ruth Majercik

Aeschylus, Septem Contra Thebas 17-20
Nicholas Lane

Plato's Misquotation of the Poets
J. Mitscherling

Ephorus(?) on the Spartan Constitution
David Whitehead

Antipater After the Lamian War: New Readings in Vat. Gr. 73 (Dexippus Fr. 33)
Gunther Martin

The Splenetic Leno: Plautus, Curculio 216-45
Jarrett T. Welsh

Cicero, De Imperio Cn. Pompei 21
D. H. Berry

No more Slave-Gangs: Varro, De Re Rustica 1.2.20-1
Ulrike Roth

Virgil, Aeneid 10.366-7
J. M. Trappes-Lomax

War and the Sweet Life: The Gallus Fragment and the Text of Tibullus 1.10.11
James J. O'Harra

Spartan Tarentum? Resisting Decline In Odes 3.51
Llewelyn Morgan

Why didn't Constantius II Eat Fruit?
David Rohrbacher

The A Team: A Note On Anth. Pal. 11.437
L. V. Pitcher

... full text available online at the Oxford Journals site ($16.00 a pop ... for 24 hours access)
From the News & Star:

MILLIONS of people are expected to tune in to see Maryport’s Roman heritage excavated live on television as part of Channel 4 Time Team’s Big Dig.

Roman Maryport is one of nine sites around the country that will feature in the Channel 4 programme described as the most ambitious exploration of Roman Britain ever.

Archaeological excavations will start on Saturday on land next to the ancient Roman fort and the Senhouse Roman Museum.

A 30-strong film crew and a Time Team presenter will be in town at the start of July to film a live broadcast of the excavation of a Roman building found on the edge of the site three years ago. It is thought this maybe the remains of an even older fort dating back to the pre-Hadrian era.

There will also be an excavation of part of the recreation ground next to the museum, where it is believed a Roman parade ground once stood.

Pupils from neighbouring Maryport Junior School will be shown on TV helping out with the dig led by Paul Fylnn, a lecturer of archaeology at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, and organised by Maryport and District Archaeological Society.

Museum manager and society secretary Jane Laskey contacted Time Team last year to nominate Maryport for the programme and it was chosen from 500 other runners.

She said: “I thought Maryport should at least be nominated but I never thought it would make it through.”

Maryport is the northern most site in the Big Dig, which will also feature Heronbridge in Cheshire, Kenchester in Herefordshire and Charterhouse in Somerset.

Mrs Laskey said this was a major development for the town, which could potentially attract thousands of visitors. She has warned town centre bosses that Maryport should be braced for a summer invasion.

She added: “It will be brilliant for Maryport, when a small exploratory excavation featured in a national newspaper a few years ago, it attracted hundreds of people from all over the country. This programme will be watched by millions.”
A piece in Global Politician was snagged by my scans, inter alia:

History has seen men like Nero, Caligula, and Diocletian seducing themselves into historical opprobrium, by their voracious consumption of the sycophantic ego-massage; convoked by knaves of their imperial courts, and actively peddled to create illusions of omnipotence, in their broken egos. Their unrestrained consultation of this perversity spun a corrosive web of intrigue, brutality, and debauchery as dark halo forever hovering over their inglorious memories. That many Christian martyrs, as well as Roman gladiators and other colonized subjects, who dared protest their oppression, ended up as lunch or supper for hungry imperial beasts, remains a footnote to the crude and perverse achievements of god-complex. Julius Caesar was racing to usurp absolute power in the Rome of his time. He in fact had to die, when Brutus and co., felt he had overstayed his existential welcome by bestriding the empire like a colossus; through whose legs they would be compelled to pass to their insignificant graves ...

... I can't decide whether that's really good writing or someone in dire need of a thesaurus-ectomy.
The hype for the ABC miniseries Empire (which begins next week) has begun ... in case you'd forgotten about what it's all about, here's an AP piece that's kicking around (via MSNBC):

ABC is gambling that summer viewers might enjoy a Roman holiday, circa 40 B.C.

Movie theaters are dominated by various kinds of blockbusters at this time of year, “Empire” executive producer Tony Jonas figures, so maybe the same approach will work on the small screen.

“While the rest of television is doing reality shows, you’re going to have this gigantic, sumptuous epic that, hopefully, comes into the American consciousness as feature films have been doing for so long,” Jonas said.

ABC’s ratings success also affected scheduling for “Empire.” Enjoying a resurgence with newly minted hits including “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” the network kept its regular-season lineup intact.

A summer airing offered two advantages, according to Quinn Taylor, the network’s senior vice president for TV movies. The National Basketball Association finals on ABC create a strong promotional base for the series, he said.

And as one of the few pieces of original drama on broadcast TV this summer, “Empire” is counterprogramming both to reality shows and to cable’s flood of fiction that includes HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”

Billed as a six-hour limited series, “Empire” begins with the assassination of Julius Caesar and follows a dramatized version of the ascension of his nephew and heir, the teenage Octavius.

The series debuts with a two-hour episode at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday followed by hourlong episodes on four successive Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

(Cautionary note to students: Don’t attempt to base a term paper on “Empire,” which occasionally swaps historical accuracy for dramatic effect in time-honored Hollywood fashion.)

Cast is mostly British
Despite early media buzz that had its fate in jeopardy, “Empire” is a richly cinematic and impressive production. A solid ensemble of mostly British actors is at ease in togas and carrying the weight of epic storytelling.

Among the cast: Colm Feore as Caesar; Santiago Cabrera as Octavius; Vincent Regan as Marc Antony and Emily Blunt as Camane. Jonathan Cake plays the pivotal and fictional character of Tyrannus, a gladiator who becomes Octavius’ protector and mentor.

The avoidance of American actors (one exception is Dennis Haysbert of “24”) was a deliberate bid to keep well-known faces out of the drama, Jonas said. He also figures British accents help suggest an ancient and removed era.

“The idea was what can we do to ease our audience into what’s kind of a difficult buy, which is to traverse 2,000 years,” Jonas said.

Cake, who stars this fall in NBC’s new drama “Inconceivable,” drew closer to Tyrannus — a principled man and ex-slave who’s ferocious in battle — by doing his own stunt work. The athletic actor, a rugby fan, worked out with a trainer for months prior to filming in Rome last year.

“Getting a lump or bruise or cut on the hand makes you feel a little bit less like the cosseted, very spoiled actor that you are if you’re doing a production where everybody’s treating you nicely and asking if you want a cup of coffee,” he said.

There was some risk given that real swords were used in close-ups to provide authenticity. In a scene in which Tyrannus fights to free his son from kidnappers in an ancient and musty underground temple, a cut quickly became infected and required a hospital visit for Cake.

(His five months in Italy, however, ended on a high note: He and actress Julianne Nicholson were married there after filming wrapped.)

Besides positioning itself as a TV-sized blockbuster, “Empire” seems to be aping the movies by beating a competitor to the screen. HBO is bringing the 12-part drama series “Rome, “ set in 52 B.C., on in the fall.

“We were filming at exactly the same time,” recalled Cake. “We’d meet up in Roman restaurants to have a ’hands across the Tiber (river)’ evening to compare notes on our productions.”

The joking suggestion was made that he and a “Rome” actor whose character was also handy with a sword should “just go at it to settle the whole thing.”

A tale of two soldiers who become involved in the sweep of events, “Rome” is being positioned by HBO as a potential continuing series. Jonas would like to see the same for “Empire,” and is ready if viewers give it an arena-style thumbs-up.

“There’s closure in Episode 6, but there are story lines that could launch right out in more quests for power,” he said. “It’s not being tied up in a nice little ribbon.”

... I dunno ... can anyone think of any miniseries or even regular multi-episode program which debuted in summer that was successful? I wonder if there'll be a DVD ...
From the BBC:

Its subject is Magna Graecia, or Greater Greece - the name given to parts of southern Italy colonised by the ancient Greeks 2,500 years ago.

The migrations of modern Europe are nothing new.

But for the ancient Greeks, southern Italy was their America.

Long before the Roman empire flourished, they sailed west in search of new lands.

They settled around the hospitable coastline of Calabria and Sicily, dominating local tribes, building huge temples to their gods and founding Greek-speaking colonies.

However, their cities and culture were later destroyed by the Romans. Only very recently have archaeologists been able to reconstruct their history.

It is a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces still missing.

Ancient treasures

Salvatore Settis of the University of Pisa, one of Italy's leading archaeologists, has brought together in Catanzaro, Calabria's regional capital, more than 800 pieces of sculpture in marble and terracotta from Magna Graecia.

They were originally dug up or recovered from the sea all around the coasts of southern Italy, but are now scattered in museums and private collections around Europe.

There are also gold and silver coins, ancient maps, books, inscriptions and Greek vases, as well as portrait busts and votive offerings to Greek gods whose shrines once dotted the Italian landscape.

Some of Europe's finest Greek temples are still to be seen at Paestum, south of Naples.

The area around them has delivered up some stunning archaeological discoveries, including wall paintings, elaborate bronze containers for honey, wine and oil, and inscriptions which provide important clues about this now almost vanished world.

Two large sheets of bronze, known as the Tablets of Heraclea, dug up in 1732 and now in the Naples museum, are also on show in Catanzaro.

They bear ancient inscriptions on one side in Greek and, on the other, a text dating from several hundred years later in Latin.

They provided some of the first documentary evidence about the lives of the Greek-speaking ancient inhabitants of this part of the Mediterranean.

Regeneration hopes

Mr Settis told me that as a native of Calabria, he had first become fascinated by an unexpected legacy of Magna Graecia - the large number of ancient Greek words that have survived more than 2,000 years in his local dialect.

"It was English aristocrats who first became infatuated with the Greek sculptures dug up in southern Italy in the late 18th Century.

"Your consul in Naples, Sir William Hamilton, was one of the first serious collectors of Greek art from Italy," Mr Settis said.

"Italian archaeologists and collectors began to get interested during the 19th and 20th centuries. The memory of this long-forgotten world is now being resurrected."

Catanzaro, situated right down in the toe of Italy, is a rather dull and ugly provincial capital built on two sides of a deep gorge, and does not normally figure on Italian art city tours.

However, the local authorities are hoping that foreign visitors who come to visit the new exhibition may also be interested in seeing the recently uncovered remains nearby of the city of Scolacium.

That was the city the Romans built when they conquered Magna Graecia, and founded their colonies on the ruins of former Greek settlements.

The house of a former big landowner has been converted into a small museum with some fine pieces of Roman sculpture on show, dug up during recent excavations.

... some okay photos with the original BBC piece.
... nothing of interest.
ante diem x kalendas quinctilis

217 B.C. -- Ptolemy IV defeats Antiochus III at the battle of Raphia (by one reckoning)

168 B.C. -- Lucius Aemilius Paulus defeats Perseus at the Battle of Pydna, bringing the Third Macedonian War to an end

109 A.D. -- the Baths of Trajan open

ineluctable @

gratuitous @ Merriam-Webster

mendacious @ Wordsmith

retronym @ Worthless Word for the Day (I like this)

De statu fluminis Flavi (17.06.20050

Maior pars aquae fluminis Flavi, quod longitudine secundum ab omnibus Sinarum fluviis esse constat, tam male inquinata est, ut neque ad natandum neque ad potandum idonea sit.

Ita rettulit Xinhua, sedes officialis nuntiis divulgandis.

In causa dicuntur esse laetamina, eiectamenta industrialia et ingentes sordium eluvies.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Latest headlines:

Archaeological Museum in Athens reopens Santorini rooms - Islamic deputies shout against first woman minister in Kuwait
G.B. Cobbold, Vergil's Aeneid, Hero, War, Humanity
A piece in the Times alerts us to a 'contest' BBC's Radio 4 is having to vote for the greatest philosopher. They're currently in the process of weeding down the top twenty to a final few and you can listen to some guy make a case for each one and cast your own vote (I think they should have a swimsuit competition) and 'the usual suspects' from the ancient world are there, although it is surprising (maybe) to see that Epicurus is in the top 20 but there's no Stoic.
A six-legged puppy was left on the steps of a temple in Malaysia ... it also benefits from an extra appendage of a different sort (hence its name, perhaps). The Star was there (with photo).
Blogographos alerts us to Peter Sipes' new Latin blog Vir Cum Pluteo Pleno ... [note in passing to PS ... I don't think my email is making it through to you].
A somewhat vague (tantalizing?) piece from the Athenian News Agency:

Greek Alternate Culture Minister Fani Pali-Petrallia signed a memorandum of cooperation with IAAF over the weekend in Florence envisioning the founding of a World Museum of Classical Sport in Greece.

She presented IAAF with a plan for the establishment and operation of the new museum, expected to be housed at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) at Maroussi in northern Athens.

Pali-Petralia noted that "the signing of the memorandum is of particular importance to Greece, giving us the possibility to found a museum of classical sport..."

... that's all there is.
Some hype from the Sofia News Agency:

The TEMP expedition led by Georgi Kitov will resume July 5 its work in the Valley of Kings, where last summer the archeologist and his team unearthed sensational findings from Thracian times.

The tomb at the Goljamata Kosmatka site has revealed one of richest Thracian tombs known from the times of Antiquity.

It was later identified to have belonged to the mighty Thracian King Seutus III. One of the tomb's chambers contained a bronze helmet, a delicate two-handled gold drinking cup and three amphorae as well as ten spears, a sword, a round shield and leg armour.

The Thracian royal tomb will be officially opened for public visits Wednesday and it is expected that Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg will attend it as well, local municipal officials have said.

Prominent archeologist Georgi Kitov, whose findings brought him the fame of Bulgaria's Indiana Jones, plans to present his latest book "The Land of Bulgaria. Cradle of Thracian Culture" on June 30 in Sofia.
From IC Wales comes news of one of the foci of 'The Big Dig':

Ancient Welsh history has been turned on its head by the discovery of a huge Roman fort.

Archaeologists using special equipment to scan underneath the countryside have confirmed that a 2,000-year-old settlement at Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire would have been a huge centre of Roman military might.

Spanning an area greater than two rugby pitches, it indicates controlling our ancestors was far harder work than had previously been believed.

Emma Plunkett Dillon, the National Trust in Wales's archaeologist, said, 'At Dinefwr we appear to have one of the most significant Roman archaeological landscapes in Wales preserved under the turf and invisible on the surface.

'The forts are shown to be associated with roads, a civilian settlement and a possible bathhouse and the quality is remarkable.

'The site has the potential to enhance and possibly rewrite our understanding of the Roman conquest of Wales.'

Remains were initially discovered in 2003, but only now has it been brought to light just how large the settlement is.

Two overlapping Roman forts at the site almost certainly date to the 1st century AD.

The later fort was surrounded by an impressive set of defences. The earlier fort was even bigger and could be the largest garrison fort ever found in Wales.

The forthcoming dig is part of a project to restore the landscape of Dinefwr Park and Castle.

Gwilym Hughes, of Cambria Archaeology, said, 'The discovery could transform our understanding of the Roman conquest of South-West Wales and our intention is to determine the character of the buried archaeology through this work.

'Although we can tell a lot from the geophysical survey, excavation will provide the critical dating evidence from items such as coins and pottery that may confirm when the forts were built and abandoned.'

The organisation's Dr Nikki Cook added, 'We knew about the Roman settlements in the area, but this means the idea that most of the Welsh were happy about Roman occupation does not ring true.

'They wouldn't have had such a huge military facility, with the ability to contain so many legionaries, if they didn't need them.

'Most of the population were eventually Romanised, because there were a lot of benefits to it, but it may not be until a lot later than we had thought.'

Tony Robinson and the Time Team will be filming live from the excavation on July 2 and 3 as part of their 'Big Roman Dig' week.
Cinematical points us to some more coverage (with photos) of Francesco Vizzoli's trailer-for-a-non-existent-movie with Courtney Love as Caligula. Of the various photos, Helen Mirren with a near-Flavian hairstyle is kind of interesting ... actor Glen Shadix (who is cast as Claudius) has photos at his blog too (scroll down a bit ... except for the curls, he does strike one as 'Claudius-like').
8.00 p.m. |HINT| : Retracing the Tracks of Hannibal
In the 3rd century BC, the Punic Wars fought between Carthage and Rome left the ancient world in turmoil. Following the path of the fearless Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca, who lead his advancing army across the Alps--with elephants!--to sack Italy, we visit the majestic ruins from the period of the Roman Republic, and gaze upon the amazing temple of Capitoline Jupiter as it looked when it was completed--thanks to amazing virtual reconstruction.

8.30 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.

HINT = History International
ante diem xi kalendas quinctilis

546 B.C. -- death of Thales of Miletus (source?)

356 B.C. -- birth of Alexander the Great (according to some reckonings)

217 B.C. -- Hannibal deals the Romans a major defeat at Lake Trasimene
irascible @

dissemble @ Wordsmith

mortarium @ OED (no, that's not a typo)

Vaccae Delia amovebuntur (17.06.2005)

Iudicium Indicum edicto sanxit, ut vaccae a media Nova Delia amoverentur.

Existimantur earum circiter triginta quinque milia in viis et plateis urbis principis Indiae vagari ibique quotannis complures calamitates viarias efficere.

Idem decretum a summo iudicio Indiae iam abhinc duos annos factum est, sed illa lex apud populum non valuisse videtur.

Constat Hinduistas vaccis tantam sanctitatem tribuere, ut multi homines ad iura earum defendenda etiam vim adhibere parati sint.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
There's a new issue of Ephemeris, the online Latin newspaper, on the estands ....
A month or so ago, we mentioned a claim that "ancient tablets" with Linear A on them had been found in Bulgaria, according to one researcher. Over on AegeaNet, BK mentioned a website which gives some photos of the purported "tablets". Although I am far from a tyro, let alone expert, in Linear A script, it seems a bit of a leap to go from these scratches to claims of "tablets" containing "script". Even comparing the signs to a table of Linear A signs at Omniglot suggests it is quite a stretch.
From the Free Lance Star:

Most sixth-graders might find Latin difficult. But Tim Morris' recent Latin homework was a breeze for him.

He got to spend an evening playing with cardboard and tinfoil.

Tim, a student at Fredericksburg Academy, fashioned the materials into ancient armor.

"I'm really into medieval and ancient stuff," he said. "I've always wanted to dress up in armor."

Tim got his chance toward the end of the school year.

He and other classmates used their homemade armor in a competition during the Roman Festival, a field day created by their Latin teacher.

Kevin Perry began the project while interning at Fredericksburg Academy six years ago. He paired up with an English teacher to get the students behind the scenes of "The Odyssey."

He went on to student teach at Patrick Henry High School in Hanover. Five years ago, Perry became a full-time Latin teacher at Fredericksburg Academy. He set up Roman Festival Day right away.

The daylong competition has evolved through the years. Some of the events are just typical field-day competitions.

"We do a few things that are just for fun, but maybe we do them with a Latin name," Perry said.

Other features are educational. Some of the competitions are based on the early Olympics and other ancient sporting events. And some call for students to recite Latin poetry or get quizzed in Latin grammar.

Festival events include a chariot race, a javelin throw, relay races, poetry recitation, an armor race and a catapult competition.

Students break up into seven groups of families, all with Latin names. They go outside for the competition and rack up points.

After the outdoor events, they head inside to dress in togas made out of bed sheets. Students wrap each other up in the sheets and head upstairs for a Roman feast.

Each student brought food for the lunch, some toting simple fruits and boiled eggs and some experimenting with Perry's authentic Roman recipes.

After the lunch, the students have a certamen, a competition of Latin terms and grammar.

The day wears out the students, and all the behind-the-scenes work exhausts Perry.

"It's busy; it's tiring, but that's all the students talk about afterwards," he said. "It's an anticipated event."

Perry says he starts talking to the students early in the year about the festival.

All sixth-graders at the academy take Latin, and Perry had 42 sixth-grade students this year. He says that although it's unusual for sixth-graders to take a foreign language in this area, his students respond very well to Latin.

He credits that success to a good textbook and using a lot of hands-on examples of what life was like for the early Romans.

Of course, the biggest tangible lesson for kids is the end-of-the-year festival.

"You see these people in the books, but it's really fun to just do it," Tim said.
The incipit of a piece from the Australian caught my jaded eye:

A FEW years back, some barking-mad conspiracy theorists were whispering that the Fabian Society, a front for everything from Satanism to Stalinism, was running Australia. As a lifelong member of this tiny group, I knew the truth: that the Fabian Society is not a sinister secret society - it would love to be better known - but an amiable bunch of Labor supporters who would find it hard to raffle the proverbial duck in a pub.

It would be far more likely that the Salvation Army is a terrorist organisation possessing tambourines of mass destruction that are, at this moment, marching on Canberra to execute a military coup. Thousands of Salvo jackboots hammering up the Hume Highway to the tune of Onward, Christian Soldiers.

With E.G. Whitlam a Fabian and a classicist, I phoned him to ask about Fabius Cunctator, for whom the society is named. But Gough was officiating at a fundraising duck raffle.

My independent research revealed the society's inspiration to be a Roman general whose patience and cunning tactics, and his reluctance to take part in pitched battles, often secured ultimate victory. A similar strategy was favoured by the Fabians who, way back in 1883, put their faith in evolutionary socialism rather than revolution. Not for Fabians the coup or insurrection. We leave that sort of thing to the Salvation Army.

Of course I had heard of the Fabian society, but the 'Classical' connection never occurred to me before ... another one to look into to see what early Classicist involvement (which there surely must have been, given the political leanings of most of the Classicists I know) ...
Jo-Ann A. Brant, Dialogue and Drama: Elements of Greek Tragedy in the Fourth Gospel

Lloyd K. Pietersen, The Polemic of the Pastorals: A Sociological Examination of the Development of Pauline Christianity

Philippe Borgeaud, Mother of the Gods: From Cybele to the Virgin Mary

... another review of the above ...

Claudia Setzer, Resurrection of the Body in Early Judaism and Early Christianity: Doctrine, Community, and Self-Definition

Jodi Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

... all are pdf
This was mentioned (on Britarch?) the other day ... the Roman Gask Project has a weblog which documents the day-by-day activities of the excavation (note to other digs ... what a stunningly obvious way to present a 'Dig Diary'; no reason why we shouldn't see more of these). Now if only they had an rss feed -- wouldn't it be great if all digs set up blogs with rss feeds which could be funnelled into one 'superarchaeology' blog with categories and the like so people could stay on top of all the excavations?
Someone mentioned this review over on the Classics list t'other day ... the New York Times reviews a biography of Robert Byrd, and we get a tidbit about the Ku Klux Klan that I was utterly unaware of:

As a boy, he watched a parade of white hoods in Matoaka, learning years later his father had been among them. Back then ''many of the 'best' people were members,'' he says, and Byrd was vulnerable to the anti-Communism rhetoric.

He recruited 150 members, and when Grand Dragon Joel L. Baskin came to a meeting in Crab Orchard, Byrd was unanimously elected Exalted Cyclops.

''You have a talent for leadership, Bob,'' Baskin told him. ''The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation.''

As someone else mentioned on the Classics list, this adds another dimension to the Klan gathering scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (the apparent leader of the group only had one eye!). Quickly Googling things (since report cards are due), I note a pile of Klan officers betray a 'Classical' influence ... there is mention of Genii, Hydras, Great Titans, Furies ... I'll have to write this one down as one warranting further investigation.
Interesting (but somewhat vague) press release from Eurekalert:

Theological and classical studies are suffering intellectually because the academic tools used to study them have not progressed or evolved the way other scholarly subjects have, says Professor Bradley Mclean of biblical studies at Knox College.

"We think we are being so modern when we approach these disciplines but we continue to approach them fundamentally the same way that 19th-century scholars such as historians Ernst Troeltsch (German, 1865-1923) and Wilahem Dilthey (German, 1833-1911) did," he says. "While many scholars disagree, I truly believe we're using the same basic paradigm handed down to us by 19th-century historicism and romanticism without questioning this approach. We forget that the conditions, social biases and political pressure of the times that these intellectuals lived in colour the way they looked at classical and religious knowledge."

McLean goes as far as to say that one reason classical and biblical studies don't get their fair share of research dollars is because funding agencies believe today's scholars produce knowledge that doesn't matter anymore: "The reason biblical and classical studies have had difficulty attracting the curiosity of the media and the general public is that we as scholars don't realize that the way we approach these subjects was abandoned by so many other researchers in other fields of study such as linguistics, psychology and philosophy. The manner in which we study the classics and biblical texts should have died a natural death the way it did in other fields in the early 20th century but, curiously, it didn't."

McLean argues that biblical scholarship must move beyond "reverential antiquarianism" if it is ever going to make meaningful connections with the contemporary world.

A ref at the end of the release suggests that this will all be fleshed out in an upcoming issue of Phoenix (not the 'forthcoming' Winter 2004 issue, it appears). Perhaps there's a hint, though, in the abstract to a paper delivered by McLean at the most recent APA:

The discipline of Classical studies has explored many new methodologies over the past decades, following the advances in cognate fields such as linguistics, anthropology and sociology. However, the center of the discipline, as it manifests itself in university curricula, professional conferences and publishing, remains rooted in a nineteenth century approach to the text. Ancient texts are customarily treated as representing something else &endash; they are either interpreted horizontally as signs of an anterior social world awaiting reconstruction, or vertically as signs of an author's intent or psyche.

In the former approach, the historicist reads ancient texts as points of entry into an ancient world now lost. Interpreted this way, the text is reduced to a footnote of a prior history. Alternatively, these texts can be read from a Romanticist perspective as an exteriorization of the thoughts, aspirations and psychological state of great minds of the past. With either method, the text is by-passed in a rush to apprehend something believed to lie beyond it.

With the advent of Structuralism, there arose a growing appreciation of the structured nature of language, society and human mind. Ancient texts were recognized to be modes of discourse that actually constitute the worlds they represent according to the profound structures of language, culture and psyche. The Structuralists went further to argue that even modern human sciences &endash; including Classics &endash; were trapped within their own modes of discourse, and not the creators of objective knowledge. Michel Foucault redirected the structuralist strategy upon the Structuralists themselves, arguing that not even the Structuralist disciplines (linguistics, ethnology, psychoanalysis, literary criticism) were objective sciences. These disciplines, like the disciplines that preceded them, were imprisoned within their own linguistic protocols.

Moreover, Foucault argued that both the 19th century and the Structuralist approaches to text have overlooked one primary aspect, namely the text's "enunciative" function. Foucault's assertion implies that the even classical texts have been pre-selected and formed as objects of study by the Western discipline of Classical studies. This paper will apply Foucault's Poststructural critique to Classical studies using, as a test case, Classical texts dealing with ancient religion, particularly those of the Cambridge ritualists.

This analysis will proceed within the terms of reference of Foucault's two-pronged "archaeological" and "genealogical" approaches. An "archeological" analysis examines the formation of the ancient texts within Classical studies in terms of a quasi-structuralist analysis of the unconscious "rules" ("episteme"/ "archive" / "dispositif") of the discipline itself. A "genealogical" analysis examines the role of networks of institutional power and practices in constituting texts as classical texts as objects of knowledge. This paper will examine how archaeological and genealogical analyses of classical texts on Greek religion reveal their enunciative function.

Is the interpretation of Classical texts at once controlled, limited and organized according to the discursive "rules" and institutional practices of the discipline itself? If so, does recognition of the enunciative function of the text bring an end to the possibility of discussing the positivity of Greco-Roman "religion", "belief", "culture" and "history"? Indeed, are these concepts and their attendant theories really the mere abstractions of rules laid out by the language strategies of Classical studies?

hmmmm ...
Seen in a piece in Fortune (inter alia):

It's horrifying, really. If there's one thing we humans abhor, it's uncertainty. The Romans dealt with it by worshiping Fortuna, goddess of randomness. The Persians had another approach, which Herodotus recorded around 430 b.c.: "If an important decision is to be made, they discuss the question when they are drunk. The following day, the master of the house submits their decision for reconsideration when they are sober. If they still approve it, it is adopted; if not, it is abandoned. Conversely, any decision they make when they are sober is reconsidered afterwards, when they are drunk." They were mysterious, the ancients. Or maybe just loaded.
10.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Pompeii
Nestling on the warm shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, glorious sunny days paint a pleasant picture of the calm slopes of the dormant volcano Mount Vesuvius. But in the shadow of this now peaceful mountain are the remains of two Roman towns, whose inhabitants died in a violent eruption buried under a sea of red hot ash and rock. The two towns are Herculaneum on the coast and further south Pompeii. Their tragic remains provide a unique snapshot of life in ancient Rome. For almost 1,700 years, until its rediscovery in 1748, Pompeii lay hidden--a city suspended in time. Now viewers can experience the streets and buildings almost as they were on that tragic day in 79 AD. Features footage of Pompeii today, detailed reconstructions and recreations, 3D graphics, and commentary from leading historians.

HINT = History International
ante diem xii kalendas quinctilis

278 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Summanus (and associated rites thereafter); Jupiter Summanus presided over thunder which comes at night.
exigent @

onomatopoeia @ Merriam-Webster

kleptomaniac @ Wordsmith

vomit @ OED

menticide @ Worthless Word for the Day
From the Guardian:

They were hopelessly outnumbered, but even then the Greeks knew it would be the battle that could change history.

The Asian invaders had entered the Aegean. The "comeliest of boys" had been castrated; the throats of the "goodliest" soldiers ripped out.

Mounted on his marble throne, Xerxes, Persia's formidable warrior king, looked over the bay of Salamis, confident that he was about to enslave Europe. But instead of victory came defeat.

As the Greeks' triremes trapped the Asian fleet, smashing it with their bronze rams, Xerxes watched incredulously. His soldiers, he said, were fighting like women.

That was 480BC. Nearly 2,500 years later, the quest to better understand the battles that the victorious Greeks would see as a defining point in their history has reached new heights, as experts yesterday began searching for the lost fleets of the campaign in the northern Aegean.

In the world of underwater archaeology the hunt for the legendary armadas is the expedition that might, just, scoop all others.

Topping the international team's wishlist is the remains of a trireme, the pre-eminent warship of the classical age.

"This is high-risk archaeology," said Shelly Wachsmann of Texas A&M University and the team's co-leader. "Discovering a trireme is one of the holy grails. Not one has ever been found."

The Persians' defeat at Salamis is seen as one of the first victories of democracy over tyranny, a crucial moment in western history.

Without it, say scholars, there would have been no Golden Age and the world would have been a very different place.

All of which makes this week-long mission more poignant as experts try to find out how the Greeks managed to defeat a much bigger and better-equipped enemy.

Although archaeologists have discovered ancient Greek and Persian ships, they have always been cargo vessels.

For their guide around three of the five sites where Persian and Greek vessels are believed to have sunk - the Magnesian coast of Thessaly, Artemision in northern Euboea and the "hollows of Euboea" - the scholars have Herodotus.

Known as the father of history, the 5th century BC historian chronicled the wars in his masterpiece, The Histories. But while his story is a good read, few artefacts have emerged to support it.

"This is a reversal of how we usually work in that we know the history but lack the physical evidence," said Katerina Delaporta, who heads Greece's department of underwater antiquities and is co-leading the project.

Previously, she said, the search would have been impossible because of the technical requirements involved. With the passage of time and the Aegean's unpredictable weather conditions, maritime experts believe the wrecks will be buried under mud and silt. That means surveying the seabed at depths of up to 600 metres where visibility is limited. Among the team's state-of-the art equipment are sonar scanners, a two-man submersible and a remote operated vehicle capable of sending video messages to the surface.

"This is the first time such sophisticated technology is being employed," she added.

More than 1,000 of the three-tiered triremes took part in the second Persian war.

But while ship sheds and dry docks have been unearthed, scholars have had to make do with images of the galley on pottery. The discovery of a trireme, either Greek or Persian, would not only unravel the mysteries of antiquity's greatest fighting vessel but shed light on the civilisation.

"Ships throughout time are among the most complex artefacts that any culture creates," Dr Wachsmann said.

Although the sea is more difficult to explore, it has the benefit of preserving artefacts better than if they were on land. Among the assembled geologists, archaeologists, historians and oceanographers there is no doubt that the ancient shipwrecks exist.

"It's just a question of finding them," said Stefanie Kennell, the director of the Canadian Archaeological Institute.

Because triremes had very little ballast, and when destroyed were unlikely to sink but float, archaeologists have long debated the likelihood of finding one. Most have set their hopes on finding a bronze ram, or the arms and armour that went down with the crews.

"If we can find part, or even the metal fittings of a trireme, it would add immeasurably to our knowledge of military seafaring in the early 5th century BC," Dr Kennell said.

In an earlier attempt to find the lost Persian fleet of the first Persian war, wrecked off Mount Athos in a storm in 492BC, the searchers discovered two helmets and a bronze-tipped spear butt.

But around Mount Athos, the waters are much deeper.

"Here, the chances of making more finds are higher," Ms Delaporta said.

The big prize - Salamis - has been left for now. But time is of the essence. With the technological advances a new kind of menace has arrived - looters, rushing to beat the scholars to the ancient wrecks.
Novum culmen mundanum (17.06.2005)

Die Martis (14.6.) in cursu centum metrorum novum culmen mundanum ortum est: Asafa Powell, iuvenis Iamaicanus viginti duos annos natus, certamine internationali in stadio Athenarum posito hoc spatium novem secundis cum septuaginta septem centesimis (9.77) cucurrit.

Pristinus primatus, quem Tim Montgomery Americanus tribus annis ante praestiterat, centesima parte unius secundae deterior erat.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Keep your eye open for the most recent issue of Archaeology Odyssey, which includes a feature on Asklepios ...
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

EU countries don't reach agreement - Father convicted of murdering 9 of his children
Folks may have noticed that Peter Jones' Ancient and Modern column from the
hasn't been bruited about in these pages for a while ... that was because the Spectator went to a payfer service which denied access to their columnists except to subscribers (grumble). But poking around the Friends of Classics site this weekend, I found that the columns seem to be posted there on a delayed basis. So, if you want to catch up, go to the appropriate page (the most recent installment is May 28) ... I'll monitor subsequent updates, of course.
From the New Haven Register:

Under the tutelage of a single passionate teacher, Pat Schread, Wilbur Cross High School has dominated the National Latin Exam and State Latin Exam this year.

Half of the 60 Latin students at Wilbur Cross took top spots in their categories in the National Exam; 10 ranked in the highest level, with eight of those 10 earning gold medals

The gold medal is the highest award, for those who achieve nearly perfect scores.

The students competed against 134,000 students around the world who took the 28th National Latin Exam in March.

Just 396 of the 5,860 students taking the test in Connecticut earned gold medals.

The National Classical League and the American Junior Classical League jointly sponsor the National Latin Exam. The National Latin Exam Committee is based in Fredericksburg, Va.

"It didn’t surprise me that we did so well. It’s all because of the teacher," said Principal Bob Canelli.

Schread has taught Latin for 20 years out of her 37-year teaching career.

"I’m the only Latin teacher here," she said. Latin may have a low profile, but students spread the word that Schread makes Latin a great class.

She often develops a close bond with students, attending their ball games or watching them perform in school plays, Canelli said.

Kay Hill, supervisor of New Haven’s World Language program, said that she sat in on Schread’s class and immediately grasped why students learn so much and love the class.

"We were flipping from culture to grammar to government. It’s rapid-fire. It’s like basketball Latin," Hill said.

Schread credits her students’ achievement to their hard work and to a game called Latin Jeopardy, which forces students to quickly answer questions about Latin language, culture, history and government.

She also conveys that contagious enthusiasm certain teachers have for their subjects.

"I love Latin; I love words and mythology," Schread said.

The students say that since they’ve studied Latin, other classes have become easier.

More than two-thirds of the English, French, Spanish and Italian vocabulary has Latin roots.

The language also tends to help those who pursue careers in medicine and law, fields awash in esoteric, Latin-derived words.

"It’s one of the best things to help with foreign languages," said Tim Flanagan, 17, a junior who said he took Schread’s class at his sister’s recommendation.

"When you learn stuff in this class, you can use it in other classes like English," said Jonathan Nelson, 16, a junior.

"It helps with your SATs," said Aisha Bobb-Semple, 18, a senior who will attendMassachusetts Institute of Technology this fall.

All three landed at the top tier, called first place, of Level II in the National Latin Exam.

The gold medal winners at the National Latin Exam also include Laura Visochek, Zachary Chernes, Samantha Reaves, Jeffrey Hardin and Sophie Bradburn.

Roxana Blandon and Samuel Umberti took first-place certificates, the top honor for the introductory level Latin test.

Blandon and Frank Pagan also placed first in the state Latin Exam, which Schread considers much more demanding than the national exam.

The Classical Language Association of Connecticut sponsors the state exam.

The National Committee for Latin and Greek claims that Latin students score higher than other students on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test: In 1997, Latin students in the United States reached a mean score of 647 on the verbal section of the SAT, 142 points higher than the national average of 505.

Latin students achieve higher scores on the verbal section of the SAT than students of German, Russian, French and Spanish, according to the committee’s Web site at

While many consider Latin a dead language used in the Catholic church and by classics scholars, students in New Haven public schools have been flocking to study Latin.

Seventy nine students study Latin at Wilbur Cross, 44 study Latin at the Sound School, and a whopping 332 study Latin at Hill Regional Career High School.

Career High has turned Latin into a requirement.

Even students in the middle school have been learning Latin. At Jackie Robinson, 25 seventh-graders and 25 eighth-graders study Latin.

At Martin Luther King School, 103 students study Latin starting in the second grade.

Across the state, the number of students in kindergarten through 12th grade studying Latin climbed from 4,794 to 7,290 in 2004, rising steadily until 2003 when the numbers peaked at 7,597.

The decline in the number of Latin students this year resulted from a lack of Latin classes rather than lack of demand, said Mary Ann Hansen, a world languages consultant at the state Department of Education.

"Demand is going up, but there is a shortage of Latin teachers and budget problems. That’s true for all foreign languages taught in schools," Hansen said.
Folks who'd like to try their hand at reading the Anabasis will be interested to know that a Greekstudy group is forming which will do just that, beginning this week. Check the group's webpage for info.
Latest official description:

What do bow legs, glass eyes and hairdos have in common? Well nothing really apart from their connection to Martial’s epigrams which represent an entertaining reporter-like description of the Roman way of life...

... Listen
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
Issue 8.08 of Explorator has been posted ... so has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ....
The incipit of a piece from the Turkish Daily News:

An Australian excavation team has discovered five sarcophagi in two locations in the ancient city of Ephesus, situated in the Selçuk district of İzmir, reported the Anatolia news agency.

Selçuk District Governor Hayri Sandıkçı said the excavation team found the sarcophagi in the areas of the Arcadian Way and the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers. One of the sarcophagi was unearthed and taken to the Selçuk Ephesus Archaeology Museum. This particular sarcophagus was discovered near the Selçuk Ephesus Airport on the Arcadian Way, located between the ancient theater and the old port. After close examination it was determined that it belonged to the third century. Sandıkçı said the removed sarcophagus was in good condition and not damaged.

The sarcophagus had statuettes of Nike, the goddess of victory, on its sides and two statuettes of Eros, the god of love, in the center. Excavations to bring up four sarcophagi found in the Seven Sleepers area are under way.
From the Sofia News Agency:

Archeologists working at the Orpheus Temple, near Bulgaria's Tatul village, have unearthed numerous richly ornamented artifacts graved with sun-related symbols - the largest finding of ritual ceramics from the times of Antiquity on Bulgarian land.

An unmatchable priest scepter has stunned the scientists, as such an artifact has not been seen in the material culture of Thracians.

The royal symbol is believed to have belonged to a mighty Thracian king buried at the site of the temple.

This summer Bulgarian archaeologists have renewed excavations at the Tatul village, where they believe that a unique temple of mythical royal descendant and artist Orpheus is located.

Continuing excavation works come to confirm preliminary suggestions by archaeologists that the sanctuary at Tatul has effloresced for more than two thousand years in ancient times. It is probably the largest temple after the sanctuary of Dionisos in Perperikon, also located in the Rhodopes Mountain.
Robert Todd Lee, Apuleius' Florida
From the News and Observer:

That unique Angle-Irish fantasist, Lord Dunsany, expressed the feeling of many when he confessed that his youthful inability to master the ancient language left him "with a curious longing for the mighty lore of the Greeks, of which I had had glimpses like a child seeing wonderful flowers through the shut gates of a garden."

Michael Schmidt's brilliant and fascinating collection of historically connected essays, "The First Poets," will not implant a command of the tongue in the Greekless, but it will open a wider view through those shut gates.

Here is an ambitious overview of Greek poetry from the legendary Orpheus (1300 BC?) to the death of the sophisticated, pastoral Theocritus (ca. 240 BC). Schmidt travels through those 10 centuries bard by bard, examining not only such signal figures as Pindar, Sappho and Homer, but also those that have fallen into near oblivion, like Theognis of Megara, lbycus of Rhegion, and Corinna of Tanagra. In each case, he appends to the poet a place name. Local dialects and customs and flavors were important, even though many poets wandered as mercenary minstrels and the best work transcended localities.

Schmidt's point is that the lines of these poets, however mythologized in content, however fanciful in presentation, were grounded in the soil and familiar in the streets of those various cultures we refer to as "ancient Greece." Searching out the Askra, home place of Hesiod, our literature's first "personal" poet, he makes a visit. "The modern village of Palaiopanayia is as far as a car will take you on your quest. After that you need a guide, ideally a mule, patience and imagination. ... Hesiod called Askra a town 'cursed, intolerable in winter, unendurable in summer, pleasing never,' a Boeotian Lake Woebegone."

His careful research is enlivened by urbane humor and engaging style. He speaks on the page not entirely as a learned classicist but also as a genial companion who happens to know a great deal more about his subject than most of his readers ever shall. He chats with us, tirelessly and cheerfully. Anyone who might have an interest in poetry will come away knowing more and wanting to learn still more again.

A multitude of obstacles confronts the scholar who ventures upon such a project. These poets really were our first, and time has had its destructive way with their work, their landscapes and their biographies. Most of what we think about Alcman, Alcaeus, Sappho and Homer is guesswork pieced together from scraps: short passages from long poems, scattered lines and phrases, single words, even parts of words. And these shards and giblets are unreliable. "Greek scribes could be inaccurate, unlike the meticulous transcribers of Hebrew scripture whose work was judged, character by character, by God himself."

By the time there were transcribers, many of the poets were long gone. Debate continues as to whether Homer was literate or not. Orpheus and the Legend Poets Amphion, Musaeus and the others certainly were not. But then, they may never have existed at all. When the poems were committed to clay and papyrus, it was no guarantee of survival. "In AD 1204 Constantinople was sacked and our last, richest direct textual link with the classical world was destroyed."

We must strive mightily to catch the merest glimpses of these poets; we look as through a glass darkly and the glass is smudged, peeling and broken into a thousand splinters. Is it worth the trouble to try to find out what Stesichorus was up to back there about 600 BC? What can a poet from an obscure village in Sicily, of whom not 100 lines survive, have to say of interest in the 21st century?

His legacy is important, and it would seem, immortal. Stesichorus established the mode of choral verse; along with a solo poet singing with his guitar (cithara), a group of youths now provided accompaniment. The introduction of a chorus required a poetic structure that he invented. This three-part structure became the poetic form we know as the ode. Directly from the ode developed drama. Broadway, Hollywood and the grammar school tableaux in which our children act out the parts of dinosaurs and radishes descend from Stesichorus.

Yet his is not a name that often drops from the lips of even the most dedicated pedant or culture snob. Homer we know, Sappho we have heard of, now and again someone may mention Pindar in connection with the Olympic Games. But any actual acquaintance with these poets, even in translation, is restricted to the intellectually curious few who do not satisfy their inquiring minds with The National Enquirer.

Schmidt wrestled a paradox. He had to show how different in nature and purpose the ancient is from our modem poetry, and he had to demonstrate that it is still fresh, that it still bears import for us, that it is modem because it is ancient.

And so he explains technique, the importance of the different meters; he lays in sufficient historical background for us to grasp the communal nature of the work and the civic obligations placed on the poets; he shows how the words and the music were born together inseparably. The ancient poet's role was that of Leonard Bernstein, Agnes DeMille, Robert Frost, Goethe and Elvis combined.

To show how apposite to our times, how "modern," the author quotes the work judiciously. Few sentiments could be more contemporary than the opening of Pindar's Olympic ode which says, in loose paraphrase, "Best of all things is water, but money shines like a fire at night, the best kind of wealth to have." Many a political commentator nowadays makes a living by unknowingly intoning and gloomily elaborating upon the lines of Solon of Athens: "My heart pains me as I watch/ Ionia's oldest country/ Going down."

"The First Poets" is engaging, even entertaining, but it needs and deserves to be read slowly and with more of the poetry at hand than Michael Schmidt is able to supply. Best pick up a solid anthology to accompany it -- Andrew M. Miller's "Greek Lyric" or Barbara H. Fowler's "Archaic Greek Poetry" will speed appreciation.

But be sure to read it. Charming, intriguing, enlightening, "The First Poets" is, immediately upon its appearance, indispensable.
From the Savannah Morning News:

One of the cornerstones of any college survey course is the study of classical literature. The ancient Greeks and Romans produced prose and poetry that both shaped and influenced the history of Western civilization and whose body of ideas still holds sway.

To learn about the ancients, it was important to be familiar with the Greek myths - those tales of gods and heroes that provided insight into what made Hellenic culture tick.

For decades, the book that most consistently offered that insight was Edith Hamilton's "Mythology." First published in 1940, "Mythology" was praised for being a book that popularized the stories of yore. Sophisticated and urbane, the book's aims were primarily pedagogical, intent on reinforcing the importance of Greco-Roman tradition and its key place in Western civilization.

"Mythology," like the Scholastic Aptitude Test, was also meritocratic. It hoped to bring the high ideals of antiquity to the masses, which would in turn, it was thought, level the playing field of American society and defy, or at least challenge, the privileges of the upper classes.

And like the SAT, "Mythology" was something we bore bravely, instead of anticipating with shudders of delight. By reading Hamilton, you got the idea that the Greeks were a kind of rarified people living among the ethereal mists. You hardly felt they were real human beings - people who thought about sex (or Eros), much less wove the act into the tapestry of their myths and legends.

In fact, the art of ancient Greece and, indeed, the whole of Hellenic culture was saturated with reminders of human sexuality and behavior. Columns were cut in the shape of phalluses. Sex was graphically represented in painting, vases and sculptures. That includes, by the way, gay and straight sex.

Moreover, a professor of mine once scandalized his class by announcing that the Greeks statues - those paragons of classicism - were not originally made to appear as they do in pure platonic white. Instead, they were painted, with a rainbow of vivid colors that only with the passing of time took on their virtuous gleam.

The scandalous question my professor asked was this: What color do you paint certain parts of the body? What is the right shade, say, for a man's nipples or for that matter other more pronounced parts of his body? How about a woman and her anatomy? What color for that?

Hamilton's "Mythology," it goes without saying, avoided that side of Greek culture. Important as it was, it was still kind of boring. Though she writes with elegance and erudition, she did more for draining the blood out of Ancient Greece than she did for making it crackle. In today's world, in which we know more about the intimacies of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes than we do about the U.S.A. Patriot Act, Hamilton's prose does not snap like the tabloid verbiage we have grown accustomed to.

Enter Nigel Spivey's "Songs on Bronze: The Greek Myths Made Real." The tales in this new rendering jump off the page, featuring in no small amount greed, revenge, love, incest, murder and, of course, sex. It's a valuable addition to the canon of mythology. And it's one tailor-made, it seems, for American audiences. Our culture is so knowing of the ways of the flesh that Hamilton's tome seems almost quaint by today's standards. We want grit, authenticity and realism.

In a word, it's time for a more explicit retelling of the Greek myths.

Which is what you get with Spivey's "Songs on Bronze." It is a fast read. It features language rich in color and texture. It also contains a vernacular that pops with juicy TV dialogue, not unlike what you might find on "Sex and the City." In Spivey's hands, you feel dread and loss when Pandora's box is opened and all the evils of mankind are unleashed. Prometheus inspires respect and awe as the titan who first gave fire to man. Hercules, called here Herakles, is the doomed warrior, the hero who can save everyone but himself.

Theseus is the abandoned son whose defeat of the monstrous Minotaur wins him the title of king. And the young boy Perseus, my favorite, cuts off the head of Medusa - the snaked-haired Gorgon - not for fame and glory but for a little bit of wisdom.

In the story of Jason and the Argonauts, you realize for the first time that Jason was really a cad. Who was he to think that Medea, the woman who not only loved him but saved his life, would be OK with his marrying another woman?

There's more, much more. The war over Troy, the wrath of Achilles, the homeward journey of Odysseus and the tragedy of Oedipus - these all get space in this slim volume.

"Mythology" allows us to the see the ancient Greeks not as idealized figures, but as real people, like us, with real fears and desires, and a real yen for good entertainment. Spivey's fresh take on these still-riveting myths deserves a warm welcome.
An interesting item from the Jakarta Post:

When I arrived at the Gaya Fusion of Sense for Hamad Khalaf's exhibition, slightly before its the opening, I was at first puzzled. Like an archeologist's hunt, pieces of broken pottery of various dimensions were laid scattered on a table, as if waiting to be examined and re-assembled.

The pottery looked Greek, and one recognized on the splinters the typical Greek style, with classical images of mythological heroes. This assemblage occupied the center of the room. On the wall right and left hung ten big colorful paintings with minute, repetitive images evenly distributed on the canvas.

At a closer look, it soon appeared that the scenes painted on them were the same as the ones found on the pottery splinters. For what reason, I didn't know.

Yet, further inside, other surprises awaited: a single shoe, painted, again, with a mythological scene; several war helmets, also painted; an anti-gas military uniform hung as a fan; the more I saw, the closer I looked at the objects and the scenes painted on them, and the more was revealed about the fascinating way the whole world of objects came together in harmony, and evoking, destruction, war and mythology. I was looking at a highly sophisticated and personal message against war and violence. By whom, if not by a victim of war itself?

After the surprise, the deciphering. The splintered pottery consists in fact of ceramic fragments collected from the site of the Bali Bombing in 2002. The Greek-like pottery paintings made on them by the artist refers to episodes from the Iliad. Metaphorically, Hamad Khalaf intends to tell us that the Bali Bombing is an episode of a global conflict of the kind symbolically told in the great Homerian epic: the ongoing conflict between Islam and the West, with truth, like in the Iliad, being gray and belonging to none of the two sides.

All the episodes he paints on his "pottery" splinters, in paintings and on other objects are chosen by him with the intention of underlining this symbolic message, while each time adding yet another layer of meaning.

For example, one of the "Greek-looking" episodes, found on the splinters as well as on one painting, tells the story of the killing of the Trojan soothsayer Laecon by a snake sent by the Greeks. To Hamad, this killing symbolizes an endeavor, just like in today's global conflict, to prevent the truth from being known by ordinary people.

Other episodes refer to the Argonauts' search for the Golden Fleece, which Hamad associates with the contemporary rush for the control of Middle-Eastern oil.

In this story, he sees Medea's killing of her two sons to avenge her husband Jason's unfaithfulness as similar to Saddam's burning of the Kuwaiti oil wells, that is, as he puts it, a senseless "attempt to control events in the face of an unavoidable future." As for the war objects proper, their reversal from objects of violence into objects of awareness was no less interesting: the helmet became the symbol of the control of power over the soldiers' mind; the boot that of the oppression by military force; the anti-gas fatigues that of the naivete of the attackers (the allies) who deemed their enemy more powerful than he was etc... The whole exhibition is readable in an almost infinite kaleidoscope of symbols.

The way the artist came to create this symbolic anti-war world-cum-installation is no less interesting as the works themselves and is a key to their understanding.

Hamad Khalaf was born in Kuwait in a noted lawyer's family with a cosmopolitan background. When the first Gulf War occurred and his country was invaded, he was in high school on the French Riviera. He had discovered there an uncanny taste for Greek mythology. He saw Greek mythology as the embodiment of the fundamental issues faced by humans. His hatred for Saddam and his discovery of the hidden side of mythology somehow came together as an obsessive need to talk about war and injustice. This was further reinforced when, back in Kuwait and as the manager of a demining company, he came to feel compassion for the "ordinary" enemy, the Iraqi soldier.

He started collecting war objects by the hundreds, not as part of a warrior's paraphernalia, but to fight "war" with instruments of war turned into symbolic weapons. He had his first exhibition in Kuwait in 1995, which was coldly received as lacking in "nationalism" -- of course. But he was welcomed in Europe, where he held a series of exhibitions in the late 1990s, one of them at the UNESCO gallery in Paris. His works then caught the attention of Belgian and German TV execs. Arab, Kuwaiti and an advocate of peace, Hamad was, in these years, a welcome anti-hero for the media.

It is not a common endeavor to have objects of war proclaim injunctions for peace. Most of history's heroes are warriors, and when war materials are "exhibited", it is usually in the museums of war or on the battlefield. Warmongers of all ilk do not like symbols other than elementary ones. As for soldiers who use their weapons for other purposes than war, they are rewarded by punishment, not medals.

This is what happened to so many soldiers in the First World War, in Vietnam and other conflicts, who dared to pose questions through their battlefield artwork -- drawings, poetry, "weapon installations" -- the purpose of the war they were involved into.

Their artistic creations were hidden and themselves wasted on the frontline. It is only now that such soldier artists are being recognized and their art rediscovered as "Trench Art", that is "any object made by soldiers, prisoners of war and civilians, from war materiel or any other material, as long as an object and a maker are associated in time and space with armed conflict or its consequences."

Hamad Khalaf's installations are along the same inspirational lines. Referring both to reality and mythology, they are the demystification of the notions of heroism, glory of the nation, sacrifice in the name of God and the other lies spread by the powers that be.

Hamad's individual position warrants comment. He protests against the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, but also, no less strongly, against George Bush's liberation of Iraq. He is Arab and presents the Arabs as victims of international politics, but his works are not laden with any proclamation of ethnic, national or religious identity. All the more as most of his countrymen, orthodox Muslims, don't agree with his use of heathen myths to convey his anti-war message.

In fact, to explain his position, the best way is to refer to his own explanation of the myth of the bull-headed Minotaur, who was killed by the hero Theseus in the Knossos labyrinth -- yet another story painted on his objects.

"The Minotaur symbolizes the Other," says Hamad, "the one who is different, and who is always victimized for his difference. We, Arabs, are the Minotaurs of the contemporary world."

To this comment, I immediately add, considering Hamad's daring freedom of expression and the breadth of his human embrace, that he is probably himself, as a "free" artist, a Minotaur among his own countrymen.

Yet, we may want Hamad to be a little more like Ariadne with Theseus, to help us with a golden thread through the labyrinth of symbols his installation consists of. If so, he, the Minotaur, will probably survive and we will be further enriched. Why do I say so? Because Hamad's "labyrinth" is still in the making.

Some of his pieces are ready and for sale, such as his large paintings, but Hamad continues accumulating war objects and linking them to one another, through Greek mythology, in an increasingly complex labyrinth of meaning. And he indeed must go on doing so, preparing ever more structured multi-complex installations. Ariadne and Theseus will then be thankful, and the myth will have to be rewritten: Theseus, after all, did not kill the Cretan Minotaur: he became friend with him.

Meanwhile, in the swamps of Papua and the forests of Aceh, tired soldiers and guerrillas are -- who knows? -- making "trench art" from their bullets and guns, thus learning to symbolically fight war with instruments of war?

Let us hope so.
From Wood TV (no ... I won't make a comment):

A 22-year-old Detroit native and Hope College graduate has been crowned Miss Michigan.

About 13-hundred people crowded into a Muskegon theater last night to watch the contest.

Octavia Reese won the right to represent Michigan in the Miss America contest in the fall, and a seven-thousand dollar cash scholarship.

She says it's a dream.

The cellist and former Miss Wayne County recently graduated from Hope College with a bachelor's degree in classical studies and French. He hopes to become a United Nations diplomat.

In all, 29 women from across the state competed for nearly $35,000 in cash scholarships and the Miss Michigan title.

Something to think about from a column in the Naples Daily News (inter alia):

Wise, brave, resourceful Odysseus would have been a total bust in Bob Cratchit's job of clerking for Ebeneezer Scrooge. Odysseus could think up the Trojan Horse, but he couldn't read or write.

So ... were Mycenean-era kings literate?
Daniel Kah, Peter Scholz, Das hellenistische Gymnasion. Wissenskultur und gesellschaftlicher Wandel, 8.

Audrey Cruse, Roman Medicine.

Konrad Vössing, Mensa Regia. Das Bankett beim hellenistischen König und beim römischen Kaiser. BzA 193.
... nothing of interest
From the Huntsville Item:

It took Odysseus nearly 20 years to get home after fighting a great war. It took a large group of young Huntsville actors considerably less to practice a show detailing that long journey.

The cast has been set and rehearsals have been held as the Children's Theatre Festival is gearing up for its production of Homer's "The Odyssey."

The play, which is sponsored by Sam Houston State University's Department of Theatre and Dance and the Huntsville Arts Commission, is running Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the school's University Theatre Center. The show features 45 children, ages 6 to 17, from all across Huntsville.

"It details Odysseus' journey back after he goes to fight for Troy. It takes him 19 years to get back home," director Penny Hasekoester said. "He meets up with, and bests, the Cyclops, he has interventions by the gods like Zeus, Apollo and Athena and eventually he comes home to find that Penelope, his wife, has been holding suitors at bay for 19 years. There's a lot of stuff in one big show."

While the most common translation of the story can be difficult for younger children, the Children's Theatre Festival is using an alternate version adapted by Gregory A. Falls and Kurt Beattie, which is easier for younger actors and actresses to comprehend and perform.

"They do use a formal language, but it's not so formal that it's hard to follow," Hasekoester said. "It is, to some degree, in vernacular, but it's phrased so that it is very accessible to the public at large."

So far, things have been going well for the program. With opening night less than a week away, the cast and crew are beginning final rehearsals and making sure things are running smoothly.

"We're getting ready to have a dress rehearsal, where they will all be clothed in Greek garb and most of them have swords, which is exciting." Hasekoester said. "Some of the older students have just finished reading the real (version of) 'The Odyssey' in school, and also, a lot of them are familiar with the different myths, like Cyclops."

Although Hasekoester has some experience in children's theater, this is her first time with this specific program. She is taking over for Maureen McIntyre, who retired from the Children's Theatre Festival last year.

In going from dealing with college students to school-aged children, Hasekoester said most of the differences come from experience and knowledge of theater jargon, which is overcome fairly quickly.

"Some of them have never done theater before, so it's establishing a type of vocabulary so that everybody knows where upstage is and downstage, stage right and stage left," she said. "With some, though, it's no different at all. Many of them have done theater before and I feel like it's a nice, communal atmosphere, because they really work together well. They have learned how to become an ensemble and how to help one another."

Even if people do not know anybody in the production, Hasekoester encourages them to come see these children perform.

"I think they'll enjoy the story because it's a good adventure," she said. "I think it's really exciting to see students tackling this difficult of a piece and I just think it's a lot of fun and very enjoyable to watch."
Ovid (trans. P. Green), The Poems of Exile: 'Tristia' and 'The Black Sea Letters'
Idle surfing brought me to the Australian Project Gutenberg site wherein I found:

Norman Douglas, Birds and Beasts of the Greek Anthology

... which was "privately printed"; a quick glance suggests it might be useful.
From the Evening Leader:

Year four pupils at Southdown Primary School, Buckley, dressed up for the day yesterday in Roman costumes and lived the day as Romans, taking part in a range of traditional historical activities.
Deputy headteacher Andrew Wilkie said: “We thought that because the children are so interested in history this would be a way to really bring it to life for them.
“By getting dressed up it was a great way to take them back to Roman times.”
Year four has been studying the Romans in their history lessons since the beginning of term and followed on from an in-depth look at the Celts earlier in the year.
During the themed day pupils recreated a Roman debate in their very own forum to discuss some of the traditional issues of the time.
After a demanding debate the children enjoyed a feast of Roman fare, which they created themselves.
However, it wasn’t just the children who enjoyed dressing up and taking part in traditional activities.
The teachers and classroom assistants also got involved, dressing up in costume and acting as the children’s servants for the afternoon.
Staff fed the children grapes as they reclined in luxury, just like little Caesars.
Mr Wilkie said: “The children really enjoyed being fed grapes, it was something fun they could enjoy after the banquet in the forum.
“They all lay down and the teachers acted like servants for them.
“They whole day was a great success. The children really really enjoyed it.”
Something called Connect for Kids has a piece promoting fishing which includes:

Somewhere along the line of human history, fishing became more than a survival tool. Much more. Egyptian hieroglyphs portrayed fishers using short rods and lines and attired in the style of the noblemen, indicating that angling was a diversion for the wealthy. Plutarch wrote of a fishing match between Antony and Cleopatra - the first trophy tournament?

I confess to not recalling this, but I suppose they're referring to this (translation of ch. 29 via Lacus Curtius):

Now, to recount the greater part of his boyish pranks would be great nonsense. One instance will suffice. He was fishing once, and had bad luck, and was vexed at it because Cleopatra was there to see. He therefore ordered his fishermen to dive down and secretly fasten to his hook some fish that had been previously caught, and pulled up two or three of them. But the Egyptian saw through the trick, and pretending to admire her lover's skill, told her friends about it, and invited them to be spectators of it the following day. So great numbers of them got into the fishing boats, and when Antony had let down his line, she ordered one of her own attendants to get the start of him by swimming onto his hook and fastening on it a salted Pontic herring. Antony thought he had caught something, and pulled it up, whereupon there was great laughter, as was natural, and Cleopatra said: "Imperator, hand over thy fishing-rod to the fishermen of Pharos and Canopus; thy sport is the hunting of cities, realms, and continents."
In the wake of the 'Deep Throat' revelation, Contra Costa Times has a piece on other 'lingering mysteries', including this one:

Who mutilated the herms?

On the morning of June 7, 415 B.C., the people of Athens woke up to discover that all the statues of Hermes, called herms, had been obscenely disfigured.

Since Hermes was the god of travelers, the message was clear: The planned military expedition against Syracuse, scheduled to depart that very afternoon, should be called off.

For political reasons, the finger was pointed at the general in charge, Alcibiades, who was probably innocent.

The expedition sailed anyway, but Alcibiades knew that when he got back he'd be tried for treason, win or lose. So he defected to the enemy at the first opportunity, with fatal results for the expedition.

It was the turning point in the Peloponnesian War, which ended in Athens' utter defeat.
... nothing of interest
ante diem xv kalendas quinctilias

2nd century A.D. -- martyrdom of Nicander and Marcian

265 A.D. -- martyrdom of Antidius (this one doesn't really seem like a martyrdom)
altercation @

... that's it!
Novum culmen mundanum (17.06.2005)

Die Martis (14.6.) in cursu centum metrorum novum culmen mundanum ortum est: Asafa Powell, iuvenis Iamaicanus viginti duos annos natus, certamine internationali in stadio Athenarum posito hoc spatium novem secundis cum septuaginta septem centesimis (9.77) cucurrit.

Pristinus primatus, quem Tim Montgomery Americanus tribus annis ante praestiterat, centesima parte unius secundae deterior erat.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
New Classics-related blogs keep popping up on the radar screen ... first, we note the Digital Classicist, which has a few professorial types behind it, and which concentrates on use of technology in Classics and related disciplines ... We also note another student blog: Glaukopidos is the blog of one Glaukopis, who is a senior student in a small department at a large university ... I can't remember if I've mentioned Classics etc. yet, by a student of varying degrees of maturity (!) who will be pursuing a Ph.D. at UNottingham in the Fall ...
From News Wales:

The National Trust and Cambria Archaeology are looking for volunteers to help with the exciting excavation of a recently discovered Roman Fort in south-west Wales.

The outstanding site was first discovered during an archaeological survey carried out in 2003 and further investigations over the last few weeks, using geophysical survey techniques, has confirmed the existence of two overlapping Roman forts, almost certainly dating to the first century AD.

The later fort was surrounded by an impressive set of defences equivalent in size to two rugby pitches sitting side by side. However the earlier fort is even bigger and could be the largest garisson fort ever found in Wales.

The National Trust now plans to undertake a trial excavation of the site for three weeks from Monday 27 June to Friday 15 July.

Gwilym Hughes of Cambria Archaeology, which is undertaking the archaeological work in partnership with the National Trust, says: "The discovery could transform our understanding of the Roman conquest of south-west Wales and our intention is to determine the character of the buried archaeology through this work. Although we can tell a lot from the geophysical survey, excavation will provide the critical dating evidence from items such as coins and pottery that may confirm when the forts were built and abandoned.

“It's a unique opportunity for people who would like to gain some training in archaeological techniques to take part in the excitement of a discovery. We would welcome individuals who are considering pursuing archaeology as a career and would like to gain some practical experience, but would also like to hear from those already familiar with archaeological excavation who might also like to participate."

"We're looking for people to spend at least one week working with us and we're also offering the opportunity for people who just want to 'have a go' to join us on two afternoons for a 2-3 hour session but places are limited."

Emma Plunkett Dillon, Archaeologist for the National Trust in Wales says: "At Dinefwr we appear to have one of the most significant Roman archaeological landscapes in Wales preserved under the turf and invisible on the surface. The forts are shown to be associated with roads, a civilian settlement and a possible bathhouse and the quality of the results is remarkable. The site has the potential to enhance and possibly rewrite our understanding of the Roman conquest of Wales. This excavation will hopefully answer the many questions that we are now asking as a result of this remarkable discovery."

Channel 4's Time Team will be filming live from the excavation on the nights of the 2nd and 3rd July as part of their 'Big Roman Dig' week. There will also be two public open days, on Saturday the 9th and Saturday 16th of July.

The archaeological excavation is being undertaken by Cambria Archaeology in partnership with The National Trust and is part of an extensive project to restore the historic landscape of Dinefwr Park and Castle. The project is a partnership between the National Trust, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Cadw and is funded by The Welsh Assembly Government (European Objective 1 Fund), the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust.
From the Framingham TAB:

With two perfect scores on the National Latin Exam under her belt, Karen Laakko, a Framingham-resident and a student at The Rivers School in Weston, has decided it's time to move onto another dead tongue - Ancient Greek.

Laakko also started a Latin literary magazine at Rivers, and in her spare time she likes to translate her own short stories from English to Latin. Not bad considering she only reluctantly took the language when she started at Rivers.

"Originally it wasn't my choice - the school requires all students to take it," Laakko recalled. "I was upset at first. I had taken Spanish in elementary school and enjoyed that."

After a year, she said it became clear she wanted to stick with the language of the Romans.

She credits her interest in Latin and study of the Classical World to Latin teacher John McVey.

This year she was one of two students in the Advanced Placement Latin class. One of her favorite parts of the class was reading the epic poem "The Aeneid" by Virgil.

She also decided to move beyond Latin this year. Besides starting to study Ancient Greek, Laakko also dabbled into looking at some other ancient languages.

"Something appeals to me about ancient languages," Laakko said. "A friend of mine and I started an informal study of Egyptian hieroglyphics."

McVey has been impressed with Laakko's interest in Latin and studies of ancient cultures.

"Karen's enthusiasm and passion for the Classical World is unsurpassed," McVey said. "She dedicates herself to it whole-heartedly and has been a joy to teach.

"In every class she has raised the bar by her focus and attention to detail and by her sheer joyful exuberance, which has extended to speaking in Latin at every opportunity."

Her devotion to the language earned Laakko the Austin A. Chute Memorial Prize given to the outstanding Latin student, and she was inducted into the Cum Laude Society. Additionally she earned the Upper School Highest Scholar, which is presented to the student who had the highest academic average for the current year.

Laakko is choosing between attending Colby College and Dartmouth College next year, depending on which offers her the best financial package. She hasn't decided exactly what to major in, perhaps Classics or linguistics.

Over the summer, Laakko hopes to land a job with a bookstore.

"Other than that I will relax, maybe do a little Latin," Laakko said.
An opinion piece from the Pilot, apparently in response to some news items last week which pointed out that not many people were graduating with Classics or foreign language degrees:

Forget the painful intricacies of conjugating the Latin verb amare. Ditto for knowing what the Gadsden Purchase was, or who promoted the theory of nullification.

It seems that classics and languages as college majors are as dead as Socrates. At the six area colleges and universities, only a handful of this year’s graduates received diplomas in these subjects.

At Old Dominion University, a mere seven graduates majored in a foreign language. Ditto for Christopher Newport . And fewer than a dozen seniors got history degrees from Norfolk State and Hampton University, philosophy degrees from ODU, or classical studies degrees from William and Mary.

Not too long ago the study of the classics was the mark of an educated person. No more. These days, students know Homer and “The Odyssey” more as a precursor to the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” than as an epic Greek tale.

That’s a misconception.

Disciplines such as philosophy and religion help train the mind to think about significant issues or view problems in a different way. Such analytical and critical-thinking skills come in handy when jumping through graduate school hoops like the Law School Admission Test.

Majors like Latin and Greek are vocabulary building blocks with similar reading and post-graduate test-taking benefits. And thanks to the globalization of business and America’s ongoing commitments abroad, there’s a demand for employees with strong foreign language skills.

Most folks who have found success after college will give students the same words of wisdom: It doesn’t really matter what you major in as long as you do well. Indeed, philosophy majors have gone on to become lawyers, history majors have become journalists and French majors have become businessmen.

If that can’t get students reciting he Greek alphabet, consider this: A classical education makes for a formidable opponent in Trivial Pursuit. Sapere aude!
Okay ... for the past couple of days, my scans have been picking up mentions of the Gore Vidal/Penthouse Caligula connected somehow to the Venice Bennale art thingie, but they didn't seem to say anything worth repeating. But a conclusion to a piece in the Guardian adds some essential details:

Among the baffling, the stupendous and the banal, everyone was amused by a work in Italy's pavilion. By Francesco Vezzoli, it is a trailer for a proposed remake of Gore Vidal's notorious film Caligula. Very funny and camp, it features Vidal himself plus an array of stars - including Adriana Asti anointing her cheeks with freshly produced sperm, an authentically bonkers Courtney Love as Caligula, and Helen Mirren herself in the largest wig you'll ever see as "the Empress Tiberius".

Costumes were apparently done by Donatella Versace ... Vogue has a photo of Mila Jovovich clad in her apparently-Roman attire. Perhaps it's useful to temper all this with some commentary from Slate (inter alia):

Then comes the next question: "What did you like?" This year, the most buzzed-about piece was probably Francesco Vezzoli's Caligula. The young Italian artist exhibited a trailer he'd made for the 1979 film, which was originally written by Gore Vidal and then badly botched by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, who produced it. Vezzoli convinced stars such as Benicio Del Toro, Milla Jovovich, and Courtney Love to appear in the five-minute video. Oddly, the trailer's pacing and histrionic tone seemed better-suited for pumping a summer blockbuster than the more historical and literary movie Vidal supposedly intended.

Nonetheless, in a generally well-mannered show, Vezzoli's work offered a radical change of pace, an assault upon the senses laced with celebrities, orgies, and gold-plated dildos. Most people walked out smiling. At the very least, the piece was new and fun, and it stood out among works that seemed either underpowered or overexposed.

Within hours, the mobile phones of Vezzoli's art dealers were pulsing with calls from collectors wanting to buy the piece (it's not for sale). Within days, the Gagosian Gallery was rumored to have added Vezzoli to its roster.

But by then, a third question had begun to circulate: "Do we, the art world, really like it that much?" Second-guessing their initial pleasure in viewing the piece, people started to wonder if they hadn't been suckered by Vezzoli's sex scenes and celebrity wattage.
A headline from Softpedia (whatever that is ... a pile of irrelevant items emanated from that source yesterday) that turned up in my scans:

Bush's Policy Might Turn USA into Atlantis

The article is about global warming, it turns out ... I'm still trying to work through the logical implications of the headline ...

From the incipit of a piece in Arutz Sheva comes a tale which many Classicist types might not be familiar with:

In the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin (91a), we read about a most relevant story that took place in the days of Alexander of Macedonia, known as Alexander the Great (4th century before the common era).

Just after Moshe's death, when Yehoshua was about to enter the Land of Israel together with his People, there were seven tribes hostile to the Jews occupying the Land. Yehoshua offered them peace and security on condition that they would commit themselves to the Seven Commandments of Noach, the basic moral code for all humanity.

In case they would refuse, and as such ,implying that they would not adhere to civilized behavior, Yehoshua informed them that they still had the option to leave peacefully. After this, he led his People into the Land. Since most tribes refused to opt for either suggestion, war broke out. The only tribe which actually left were the Cana'anites. Tradition has it that they settled in Africa (Rambam, Melachim, 6:5).

Hundreds of years later, the Cana'anites came to Alexander's international court with a claim that the Land of Israel should be returned to them. When the court inquired into their reasons, the Cana'anites, also called "B'nai Africa" (inhabitants of Africa), said that they were forced out of the Land by the Israelites in the days of Yehoshua and that this injustice should be rectified. When Alexander asked them for proof of their claim to the Land, they responded that it was the Torah of the Jews that in fact supported it. Did it not say, "The land of Canaan with the coasts thereof"? (Bamidbar/Numbers 34:2) Since Canaan was their forefather, they had a legitimate claim to return to the Land and take possession of it.

Consequently, Alexander (who is known to have been somewhat sympathetic to the Jews) turned to the sages with a request to respond. One Jewish ignoramus by the name of Gebiha ben Pesisa, known for his great love for his fellow Jews, asked that he defend the Jewish claim to the Land against the Canaanites:

"Authorize me to go and plead against them before Alexander of Macedonia. Should they defeat me, then (you can) say: 'You have defeated an ignoramus from among us,' and if I defeat them, then say: 'The Torah of Moshe has defeated them.'"

After the sages decided to give him their approval, Gebiha ben Pesisa said to the Canaanites, "From where do you have your proof?"

"From the Torah!" they responded.

"I will also bring a proof from the Torah," said Gebiha ben Pesisa, "for it says that at the time that Cham, one of Noach's children, had uncovered his father's nakedness, Noach said, 'Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brothers.'" [Bereshit/Genesis 9:25; Canaan was another name for the children of Cham] Gebiha ben Pesisa continued, arguing that since the Cana'anites, due to this curse, became slaves to the children of Shem [another son of Noach and the forefather of the Semitic Peoples and the Jews], the Jews would, in any case, be the owners of the land: "Whatever a slave acquirers belongs to the master, since the slave is the property of his master. Moreover", he said, "you have not served us for years!"

Then Alexander said to [the Cana'anites], "Answer him."

"Give us three days," they responded. They looked, but found no answer. And they left.

When carefully studying this incident, several matters are difficult to understand. First of all, it is rather obvious that the Cana'anites were guilty of reading the Torah selectively. Had they turned the page, they would no doubt have found that the Land was already promised to Avraham in earlier days, and that the Torah keeps on making the point that God willed it to the Jews.

Even more mysterious is the defense of Gebiha ben Pesisa. Why did he use an argument that was so roundabout? Why did he not use the most obvious argument; i.e., that the Torah makes it abundantly clear that the Land was given to the Jews? He could have quoted tens of verses to back up his claim!

Maharasha, in his commentary, argues that the motivation behind the Cana'anites was much more sophisticated than one might imagine. The Cana'anites had read the Torah very carefully and were well aware of the promise that God had made to the Israelites concerning the Land. They reminded Alexander's court that they, the Cana'anites, had been forced out of the country because of their immoral behavior. The Holy Land had no longer been able to contain them and had consequently spat them out. But, continued the Cana'anites, the Israelites had become just as evil as they, the Cana'anites, had been. They had also become disobedient and had violated the moral code. Even more so, had not the Torah made it abundantly clear that the Jews would only merit the Land when they would be a holy nation as demanded by the Torah? In that case, the Jews no longer had a claim on the Land and they, the Cana'anites, having lived there prior to the Jews, had full right to claim it in return.

Many versions of this one landed in my box yesterday ... this one's from a dispatch from the Athenian News Agency:

A bronze kouros belonging to the Museum of Samos in Vathi was returned to the Culture Ministry on Thursday.

The sculpture had been bought by James Ed, a British antique dealer and president of the international antique dealers' association, who was later informed by a friend that the sculpture belonged to the Museum of Samos.

The dealer contacted the Greek embassy in London and after verifying the information turned it over to the embassy.

The sculpture, which measures 11 cm high and is valued today at 30,000 British pounds, had been stolen from the museum during World War II.

The Cultural Attache of the Greek embassy in London, Victoria Solomonidou, gave the sculpture to Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia during a ceremony on Thursday.

Among those present at the ceremony were Ed and Secretary General of the Culture Ministry Christos Zahopoulos.

Solomonidou referred to the continuous efforts the Greek embassy in London is making regarding the return of stolen antiquities.

On her part, Petralia linked the return of the sculpture to the return of the Parthenon marbles, noting that a new museum is under construction which will hopefully showcase the marbles as part of its exhibit.

There's a tiny photo accompanying the web version of the tale (the kouros itself is probably not what you think of when you think of a kouros) ... more in this Sunday's Explorator ...
6.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Monster Hunters
One-breasted female warriors; the one-eyed, man-eating Cyclops; the ferocious griffin, part bird, part lion. Were these creatures, celebrated by the ancient Greeks and immortalized by Homer, something more than myth? Join the hunt with some of today's leading paleontologists as we explore newly-translated evidence and examine remains that may link the Greek classical age with earth's prehistoric past. New data suggests that the ancients searched for, excavated, measured, and displayed massive fossils.

HISTU = History International
ante diem xvi kalendas quinctilias

212 A.D. -- martyrdom of Ferreolus and Ferrutio (not sure you can speak of 'French' in 212 A.D. ...)

1716 -- Alexander Pope's translation of the Iliad is published

1813 -- birth of Otto Jahn (archaeologist and philologist)

1937 -- birth of Erich Segal (Classicist, known to Classicists for his work on ancient comedy; known to the rest of the world as the author of Love Story)

... Happy Bloomsday
naif @ (this one never occurred to me before)

exaggeration @ OED
Dinosauri politici (10.06.2005)

Cum praesidens Jacques Chirac et cancellarius Gerhard Schröder adhuc ratificationem constitutionis membris Unionis commendavissent, Liam Fox, politicus Britannus factionis conservativae, illos dinosauros politicos appellavit, qui una cum exercitu eurocratarum se gerere pergerent, tamquam nihil accidisset. Idem flagitavit, ut constitutio, quae et Britanniae et Europae mala esset, pro mortua haberetur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
T'other day Laudator was struggling to recall the name of a certain rhetorical device ... with a bit of help from the Maverick Philosopher, MG has had his memory jarred and has come up with a nice followup post himself (the device is called klimax or gradatio, which I don't recall every having come across before.
A press release (apparently for the company that redid the Center for Hellenic Studies website):

With a mission of providing research on classical literature, and offering a variety of outreach vehicles including print and electronic publications, online courses, distance education seminars, and travel-study programs, CHS has a purpose built around content. Having so much material made the research monotonous and publications hard to find under the old Web site.

“The Web site is a crucial part of research efforts, so we want to lower access barriers to good scholarly information about Greece and present it in the best possible way,” explains Leonard Muellner, CHS’s director for IT and publications.

Siteworx started the refurbishment with a new information architecture that stores material in a more logical structure, which enables the new document- and word-search function. The Web company also created an extensive graphic library with Axiom, an open-source content management system and publishing tool. Integration with other Web sites and existing databases, in combination with a new design with subtle textures and patterns that bring to mind ancient Greek sculpture and art, have resulted in a new CHS tool with unprecedented usability.

“This project represents a new level of achievement for Siteworx because we essentially built a whole new library,” says Jeff Ellsworth, vice president of sales and marketing for Siteworx. “For organizations like CHS where content is their lifeblood, we have proven that our consulting skills and the Axiom content management platform are really a great combination.”

If you haven't seen the new -- and very attractive and easily-navigable -- version of the CHS site, check it out. Very slick and it puts a number of other Classics sites to shame (especially, ahem, those which belong to large, er, official organizations on either side of the 49th parallel). Definitely worth killing some time in the discussion series section, where one can follow/read/whatever lectures on Athenian Law, Homeric Poetic Justice, and the like ... All I can say is OMG! Here's a model on the web for outreach! OMG! Here's a model on the web for how a conference panel might be presented (even without the video). OMG! A group of Classicists recognized that the design of their website was getting in the way of access to the information! My only suggestion: add an RSS feed or something so folks (like me) will know when the site has been updated. Otherwise, well done!!!
Untimely ripped from an op-ed piece in the Khaleej Times:

It is ironic that Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian who chronicled Alexander the Great's rampage across the Persian Empire, declared Iranians to be the most open of people to foreign customs. Yet the Islamic republic, after all, was born amid xenophobia and extreme nationalism, the world's first theocratic state rejected the bulldozer Westernisation of the Pahlavi regime.

No comment necessary, of course, for the learned readers of rogueclassicism ...
Paleojudaica points us to a piece in the current Military History Quarterly:

J.E. Lenden, "The Roman Siege of Jerusalem"

While poking around the other publications at the site, I note another item of interest in Military History:

Brian Dent, "Roman Disaster at Carrhae"

... both are worth a read.
An AP piece making the rounds (via Yahoo):

A collection of priceless Minoan frescoes from the Greek island of Santorini are back on display, along with four rare wood painting fragments never before exhibited, after the Athens National Archaeological Museum underwent repairs, the museum said.

The Minoan-era, 16th-century-BC frescoes depicting two young pugilists, antelopes and floral motifs had been inaccessible to the public since 1999, when the museum building was badly mauled by an earthquake.

Although the 19th-century building underwent extensive renovation ahead of the 2004 Olympics, the entire first floor and the Bronze Collection hall missed the Games deadline of the 14.9-million-euro makeover programme, and was to open officially on Wednesday night.

In addition to the Santorini frescoes on the first floor, the completion of works will enable the display of four wood painting fragments from the 6th century BC for the first time.

Nearly half of the Bronze Collection's 1,670 items now available, covering the full scope of Antiquity, are also making an exhibition debut.

The collection's stand-out exhibit is the 'Lady of Kalymnos', a Hellenistic-era bronze statue of a woman, named after the southeast Aegean island where a fisherman discovered her in 1994.

In addition to anti-quake safeguards already effected on the building structure in the last two years, and the addition of elevators and air-conditioning, museum director Nikolaos Kaltsas said that steps were taken to improve presentation inside the newly-reopened halls.

Exhibit signs are now provided in both Greek and English, and the museum shelved a third of its vase collection to gain space.

This still leaves 2,400 items dating from the Bronze Age (second millennium BC) to Hellenistic times (4th-3rd century BC), Kaltsas told a press conference.

The ministry of culture has long studied the prospect of further expanding the National Archaeological Museum's premises.

Kaltsas was confident that by next year the museum, which is among the most prestigious of its kind in the world, will be able to exhibit new collection themes, such as ancient glasswork and jewellery, based on items currently in storage.
From the Croydon Guardian:

Roman remains unearthed from the site of a former car park in Croydon have sparked speculation that other ancient artefacts could lay undiscovered close by.

Archaeologists say the Roman dumping ground' unearthed during an excavation of a former car park in Lower Coombe Street could be an indication of an occupied settlement nearby, which may be hidden under houses or businesses.

A two-month excavation at the site in Lower Coombe Street, carried out by Pre-Construct Archaeology (PCA) and overseen by English Heritage, uncovered finds dating from the second to fourth centuries AD and is believed by experts to be a rubbish site.

During the dig, a thick layer of pottery and rubble was unearthed containing a small number of precious artefacts including a Roman dress pin and a copper alloy lion's head.

Jo Taylor, senior archaeologist, said: "All the information it had to offer, about the occupation of the area and its use 2,000 years ago, has been recorded and preserved for future generations.

"Although this site was, by and large, a waste pit, it indicates that there was an occupied settlement close by, perhaps now hidden underneath the nearby housing or commercial units.

"We are lucky to have had the opportunity to fully excavate this area which, having been only used as a car park, has known relatively little sub-surface disturbance."

The site is owned by Wandle Housing and has been handed to Mansell Partnership Housing to be redeveloped as affordable housing.

As part of the planning conditions for this development, an excavation was undertaken by PCA which predicted that, based on the history of the site, there was a high probability of archaeological remains.

PCA project manager Tim Bradley said: "In terms of the locality, it is very significant. It provides the first real concrete evidence of Roman settlements in that area."
From the Sofia News Agency:

Bulgarian Culture and Tourism Ministry plans to fund the excavation works near Kazanlak where last summer archeologist Georgi Kitov unearthed an ancient royal tomb.

A total of BGN 100,000 will be dished out from the ministry's budget to be added to already granted BGN 50,000, Culture and Tourism Minister Nina Chilova announced on Wednesday.

Yet the Regional Development Ministry will fund the construction of local infrastructure with another BGN 2 M to improve the access to the ancient historic sites at the Valley of the Kings.

The tomb at the Goljamata Kosmatka site has revealed one of richest Thracian tombs known from the times of Antiquity.

It was later identified to have belonged to the mighty Thracian King Seutus III. One of the tomb's chambers contained a bronze helmet, a delicate two-handled gold drinking cup and three amphorae as well as ten spears, a sword, a round shield and leg armour.
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.

HINT = History International
ante diem xvii kalendas quinctilias

Quinquatrus minusculae -- day 3 of a five-day festival honouring the birthday (maybe) of Minerva

Quando stercus delatus fas ("When the 'trash' is taken out") and the Temple of Vesta is closed to the public

302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hesychius

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Vitus (and companions)
antiquarian @ (I always thought antiquarians had something against water-bearers 8^))

unctuous @ Merriam-Webster

ylem @ Worthless Word for the Day
Helvetia tractatum Schengeniensem accepit (10.06.2005)

In Helvetia cives sententiam rogati sunt, an patriam ad tractatum Schengeniensem adiungere vellent.

Maior pars tractatum probavit, ex quo sequitur, ut incolae ceterarum nationum Schengeniensium liberum per Helvetiam commeatum habeant. Tractatus ille septem nationum factus est in oppido Schengen Luxemburgi anno millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo quinto. Aliis nationibus postea additis, terrae Schengenienses sunt quindecim, scilicet Austria, Belgicum, Dania, Finnia, Francia, Germania, Hispania, Islandia, Italia, Graecia, Luxemburgum, Nederlandia, Norvegia, Portugallia, Suetia. Adiunctis Helvetiis numerus est sedecim. Exceptis Norvegia, Islandia Helvetiaque, omnes sunt terrae Unionis Europaeae.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
This one just popped up with the tag Classics the Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien (TITUS) site has a pile of texts, fonts and the like for various languages, including polytonic Greek hidden amidst a stunningly annoying framed site (hey, Classics web developers ... your first question should always be: "Is this frame necessary?" ... grumble). Someone with more patience than I will probably find it useful ...
Over at Laudator, MG has a piece on bird omens following up on his piece mentioned the other day about auspicious auguries (or is it augurious auspices?).
You can see what's in the March 2005 issue of Classical Review at the Ingenta site ... of course, if your institution has access, you can read online too. Otherwise, you have to pay close to 27.00 (US) for a two page review. Now since I've obviously woken up in a cranky mood, consider this:

This is a 2-volume edition of Lucretius which will be coming up for auction at Sotheby's soon. Its estimated price is 8 000 -12 000 bucks (US). If we conservatively estimate that there are say, 500 pages between the two volumes, that works out to about 16 bucks a page if the book goes for the minimum. That's only about three dollars more per page than Ingenta is charging for reviews! Something is (hubristically) out of whack, no?

Explorator reader AM sent this one in (thanks!) ... from the Herald:

THE campaign to have a historic Scottish landmark recognised on equal terms with the Great Wall of China and the pyramids of Egypt entered a new phase yesterday.

Historic Scotland, which looks after four miles of the 37-mile Antonine Wall, is in the process of securing European funding to make the structure Scotland's fifth World Heritage Site. The 2000-year-old wall, which runs from Bo'ness in West Lothian to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire, is one of the most significant Roman remains still in existence in the UK.

Patricia Ferguson, culture minister, backed the plans yesterday and unveiled a new booklet on all the Roman frontiers throughout Europe.
Edinburgh's Old and New towns, the St Kilda archipelago, New Lanark, and Orkney's "Neolithic Heart" are already among the 600 sites which are recognised by the United Nations. Plans to add the Antonine wall to that list were first unveiled by ministers in 2003.

The Scottish bid is part of a joint international effort to have the frontiers of the Roman Empire recognised, with similar projects under way in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary.

The total cost of the joint bid would come to £900,000, with the countries hoping European funding would eventually cover about 60% of that sum.


Also worth reading is the conclusion to a related editorial:

The Antonine Wall is an extraordinary phenomenon. At a time when the North Britons lived in small crude wooden huts, along this frontier cavalrymen from Greece and archers from Syria ate from Samian bowls, played board games and compiled meticulous records to be sent back to Rome. It is time we recognised this heritage. As Leonard Cottrell once observed: "Stretches of the Antonine Wall remain, and though they lack the lonely magnificence of Hadrian's monument, they have a different type of appeal."

From the Ancient Narrative folks come a couple items of potential interest (although I find the AN site itself to be one of the most annoying things to try to figure out what's new and what isn't) ... first, the February 2005 issue of the Petronian Society Newsletter has been put up. Since there is no real way of divining this from the newsletter homepage (howzabout a table of contents???) I'll alert folks to an article by Barry Baldwin, "Happy Horace" and a summary of Steve Smith's dissertation, Discourses of Identity and Freedom: Representations of Athens in Chariton on the Articles and Reviews page. The Bibliography page is useful, as always. [I might note in passing that the Notices page consists of a pile of conferences which you have already missed ... still useful from a who's-working-on-what point of view, but surely the Ancient Narrative site itself should be advertising such talks *before* they come up?].

The AN folks have also sent out an alert which begins "Stefan Tilg, Bern University, invites you to take part in an discussion on Implicit Poetics in the Ancient Novel." The page to which you're directed says:

Many books on the ancient novel begin with a lament for the lack of ancient theories about their subject. Although the wish to have such a theory belongs more to our times, in which the novel has become the leading literary form, than to antiquity, one could argue that ancient thoughts about the novel would help our understanding of the genre. But where are these thoughts to be found? I think it could be promising to search for answers in the novels themselves. Over the past decades, critics have become more and more aware of various phenomena of self-consciousness in the ancient novels, yet nobody has embarked on examining systematically the poetological aspects implied. Up to now no comprehensive study of poetological statements in the novels has emerged. The closest - though very limited - attempt to uncover an ancient theory of the novels in the novels is to my knowledge still an article by C.W. Müller, 'Chariton von Aphrodisias und die Theorie des Romans in der Antike', A&A 22 (1976), 115-36. Besides, many good hints are scattered throughout individual studies. The lack of a systematic investigation, however, remains. My 'Habilitationsschrift' - which is at present work in progress at a rather early stage - will be an attempt to fill this gap with a collection and interpretation of the most significant poetological statements, both overt and veiled, in the ancient novels. I will ask questions like: What was the stance of the authors towards their creations? Do they convey a message about why and how novels were supposed to be written? How did they think about the status of the novel compared to other genres? As a result of my inquiry one should not expect a fully developed generic theory (the 'true poetics' of ancient novel), but rather a framework of insights. My basic assumption is that wherever the author/narrator relates self-consciously to his narration, we may be dealing with a poetological statement. This can be the case, for example, in instances of intertextuality, of mise en abyme (narrations and other stories within the narration), of role-consciousness on the part of acting persons, of auctorial commentaries, etc. Of course not every such instance is equally pertinent, and I shall have to make a careful selection. My study will be based on the fully extant Greek and Latin novels plus the fragments as far as they are published up to the present day. The so called 'fringe' of the genre will also receive consideration. Given the great diversity of texts, I do not expect to extract a single theory valid for all ancient novels. I will have to deal with fragments of particular poetological standpoints which show affinities and differences between each other. These various poetological attitudes, however, considered as the spectrum of ancient novel-writing, ought to lead on to a set of general conclusions. Although this are merely rough outlines of my study and many problems prove challenging only in detail, maybe general comments or objections will arise. So, I would be pleased to receive any notes or critique, and to discuss matters further.

Mr. Tilg's email address is at the site, but I can't help but notice that, as conceived, this really isn't a discussion. Why not make it a discussion? Open up a forum and invite AN subscribers to take part? Start a yahoo group or something. Come on guys and gals ... this is 2005. Let's start using this technology to its full extent! (and hopefully the AN folks can impose some 'order' on their webpage ... it really is somewhat cryptic for 'outsiders').
Excerpts from a piece in Kathimerini:

The European Cultural Center of Delphi has unveiled a rich program of events scheduled to take place during its annual meeting on ancient drama next month. Under the banners “The Year of Pericles” (marking 2,500 years since his birth) and “The Year of Democracy,” the center’s president Helene Ahrweiler announced the program, which is to take place from July 1 to July 25, at a recent press conference. The meeting will be held under the aegis of Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Costas Karamanlis, while this year’s cultural highlight will be the appearance of Vanessa Redgrave as “Hecuba.”


An international symposium on “The Year of Pericles: Democracy, Ancient Drama and Contemporary Tragedy” (July 2-5) will unite leading personalities from the worlds of politics, culture and the arts. Focusing on the concept of democracy, the symposium will also include a round-table discussion on “Woman: Democracy and Equality.”


The Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of Euripides’ “Hecuba,” starring Vanessa Redgrave, will be performed on July 2. The company commissioned leading theater and film poet Tony Harrison to write his own version of the tragedy. No stranger to Delphi, Harrison has already presented two of his works there in the past. “Trackers of Oxyrrynhus” and “Laborers of Heracles,” were both showcased within the International Meetings on Ancient Greek Drama in the European Cultural Center of Delphi framework.

On July 3, “Six Nights on the Acropolis” is based on the sole complete novel by George Seferis, as adapted and directed for the stage by Effie Theodorou. A European Cultural Center of Delphi production, the play was performed at the Roman Forum in Thessaloniki last year. Thucydides’ “Funeral Oration,” a musical performance composed by Giorgos Kouroupos and starring Yiannis Fertis, will open at Delphi for the first time. Created for “The Year of Pericles,” the performance is based on the ancient text by Thucydides in a translation by Eleftherios Venizelos. The National Theater of Greece will present a new production of Aristophanes’ “Acharnians” on July 8 and 9. Starring Lakis Lazopoulos (in his first collaboration with the company) the play was translated by Pantelis Boukalas and is directed by Vangelis Theodoropoulos.

Singer/songwriter Dionysis Savvopoulos continues in an Aristophanic mode, with a concert featuring his take on “The Acharnians” and “Plutus.” Savvopoulos composed and translated lyrics from both plays in 1976 and 1985 respectively. In the concert at Delphi, he will also interpret other popular tunes.
From (I think this is a press release):

Innovative digital mapping will take the UK back in time as the first phase of the most ambitious exploration of Roman Britain - Time Team's Big Roman Dig - is launched today on the Channel 4 website.

A digital mapping facility on the Big Roman Dig* site is being provided by geographical information systems (GIS) provider ESRI (UK), using data from Great Britain's national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey. It enables viewers to explore TV featured sites, Roman finds and identify the nearest 'dig' activity in which they can participate.

Big Roman Dig, which will be broadcast from 2 to 9 July, will see Channel 4's Time Team explore not just one Roman fort, villa or even city, but undertake projects covering the whole country. One main dig and up to nine other excavations will be featured in the programme, and a whole host of other activities are taking place across the UK. The ultimate goal is to create an entire People's Map to discover the truth about Roman Britain and learn about those who lived in it.

The ESRI Internet-based system contains Ordnance Survey data of the whole country at various levels of detail. An initial map of Great Britain shows where activities are taking place, symbolised by activity type - TV featured site, road show or key Roman site - as well as finds that have been uncovered. Zooming in on an activity of interest brings up more detailed map data, with the option of overlaying aerial photography and Roman mapping of the country's most important visible ancient monuments. Clicking on the activity or feature of interest displays textual data in an adjacent window, enabling users to gain a good understanding of the historic context of each site and its place in the local landscape.

"We are excited to be collaborating with ESRI (UK) and Ordnance Survey on the Big Roman Dig," comments Katie Streten, Editor, Factual New Media, Channel 4. "ESRI's technology will help us to make the Big Roman Dig a personal experience for everyone in the UK and help them to get involved in uncovering an important piece of their heritage. The mapping from Ordnance Survey allows us to interpret and understand the landscape of the past, and see how it has shaped our present."

Roy Laming, marketing director at ESRI (UK), says: "Digital maps have so much to contribute to society, both in helping to preserve our heritage and enabling businesses and public services to be more efficient and sustainable. In modern day life geographic information solutions underpin everything from our insurance premiums to our local amenities. This showcase example of GIS in action demonstrates the vital role geography plays in everyday lives."

James Brayshaw, Ordnance Survey's Director of Sales and Market Development, says: "This interactive website is an innovative use of our digital geographic information. It's also a great way to learn more about Roman Britain. The ability to visualise the different areas being excavated or investigated means we can really get a feel for what life was like at that time. "

More information on the technology behind the system can be found at:

Actually, that link really isn't that useful for our purposes. If you want to know more about the 'Big Roman Dig' itself, the Time Team folks have an interesting website in the works ...
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Empire in Africa
During the 2nd century AD, Roman war veterans were granted land in Northern Africa as a sign of gratitude from the politicians. This arid climate proved beneficial in the planting of vast olive groves and wheat fields. The area was prosperous and began to take on many aspects of Roman culture. We'll take a virtual tour through some of the numerous wealthy provinces, including the amphitheatre at El-Djem and the ingenious villa built to escape the hot African climate, and aided by state-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics, see them as only the original inhabitants could have.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Cities Bordering on Latium
Ever wonder what happened to a territory after it was overthrown by the indomitable Roman Army? Within the Roman conquered territories of Latium and Umbria (located on the Italian peninsula), we'll tour several ancient cities including Alatri, Fregellae, and Amelia, and see how the land was divided up between the defeated inhabitants and legionnaires who stayed behind to occupy the newly acquired land. We'll even take a virtual tour inside the spectacular new home of a wealthy Roman citizen! Viewers experience the cutting-edge of archaeological exploration through location photography, insights from some of the world's leading archaeologists, and state-of-the-art technology coupled with enhanced 3-D graphics.

9.30 p.m. |HINT| Meet the Ancestors: Princess of the City
In March 1999, archaeologists digging at Spitalfields in London uncovered an elaborate Roman sarcophagus with a beautifully-decorated lead coffin inside and in the soil at the end of the coffin, a set of jet objects and a very elaborate glass vessel, possibly hair decorations and a perfume jar, all clues to the identity of the person inside. Archaeologist and host Julian Richards follows up this amazing discovery--a fascinating story of wealth, privilege, and the best funeral money could buy. Spend the night in London during Roman domination as we find out as much as possible about the wealthy, highborn foreigner from her perfectly preserved skeleton and the grave goods and remnants of clothing found with her. The contents of the grave include gold thread and fragments of textile, which later analysis proves to be a garment of damask silk originally from China, elaborately woven with gold in Syria. We conclude with a reconstruction of the woman's burial in Roman London.

HINT = History International
ante diem xviii kalendas quinctilias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 2) -- a five-day festival honouring the birthday (maybe) of Minerva

287 -- martyrdom of Rufinus
peradventure @

clamour @ OED

lability @ Worthless Word for the Day
Saddam Hussein in iudicium (10.06.2005)

Saddam Hussein, pristinus dictator Iraquianorum, cum suis adiutoribus duodecim criminibus accusabitur. Delegatus regiminis Iraquiae rettulit crimina quidem plus quingenta fuisse, sed ut res accelerarentur, iudices tantum in gravissima ex eis inquisituros esse. Iudicium, in quo poena capitis Saddamo imminebit, post aliquot menses fiet.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Over at Religions of the Ancient Mediterannean, PH has a reviewish sort of thing of Eran Lupu, Greek Sacred Law: A Collection of New Documents which updates/augments Sokolowski's collections ...
Over at Curculio, MH appeals for contributions to an update of his Forthcoming Work in Classics section. It is useful, of course, to know who's working on what (for various reasons), so I hope folks will contribute!
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek):

Mississippi Burning" trial to start - French journalist kidnapped in Irak, freed
From Khaleej Times:

The sun bears down and dust swirls as Roman centurions, followed by armour-clad legionnaires and bruised gladiators, tramp out of the ancient hippodrome to the trailing sounds of a military march.

In the seats all around, 21st century spectators in modern-day Jordan cheer and applaud the spectacle before them - a one-hour show held in honour of Julius Caesar, and part of Jordan’s newest tourist attraction.

Starting mid-July, visitors to Jordan can plunge into the past, reliving in a unique location just north of the capital Amman some of the high moments that made the Roman empire.

The setting is Jerash, the ancient Roman city and one of Jordan’s better preserved archeological sites and one of the 10 great cities during the Roman golden age.

The place is the restored hippodrome located close to the South Gate just beyond the triumphal arch that was erected as a tribute to Emperor Hadrian who visited the city in 129 AD.


Much smaller than Rome’s famed Circus Maximus, the Jerash hippodrome is nevertheless endowed with 10 starting gates, original stone seats for the spectators and surrounded in the distance by olive tree-dotted rolling hills.

The show is known as “The Roman Army and Chariot Experience” or simply by its acronym RACE.

It is the brainchild of Stellan Lind, a Swede who made a career in the pharmaceutical industry, and Fawaz Zoubi, a Jordanian mechanical engineer.

The cast is made up of retired Jordanian army soldiers, special forces and policemen.

And yes, the blockbuster movie Ben Hur was the inspiration.

The show begins as trumpets blare from a loudspeaker and a Julius Caesar character shouts in Latin: “Silencium!” (Silence).

The spectators settle in as helmeted legionnaires in belted brown togas and ankle-high leather boots march up to the center of the hippodrome, one hand clutching a “pilum” or heavy javelin, and the other branding a shield.

They are preceded by a pitiless centurion, shouting commands in Latin, and a flagbearer who holds up proudly the legion’s standard: a bull with the words Leg VI.

The VI Legion Ferrata was established by Julius Caesar in 52 BC and took part in Roman civil wars on the side of Marc Antony.

In perfect harmony, the army performs offensive and defensive techniques and re-enacts battles against an unseen enemy described by a narrator as a “hoard of barbarians” who deserve no mercy.

The voice narrating the battle tells spectators how the Roman legionnaires lived, worked and fought “using the pilum only once because it would bend on impacting the enemy’s shield.”

Their battle won, the legionnaires make room for gladiators, who in real life serve in the special forces corps of the Jordanian army, and are experts in close-hand combat.

The gladiators, moving in pairs, deliver a ruthless fight with swords, kicking and punching each other until one is pinned to the ground, prompting the spectators to decide if he will live or die by giving the thumbs up or down.

The show concludes with a seven-lap chariot race around the ”spina” middle barrier that lies in the center of the hippodromes. Some chariots are pulled by two horses, others by four.

Making the ruins come alive

Lind and Zoubi left nothing to chance in striving to make their show as genuine as possible.

In 1998, almost 10 years after seeing Ben Hur in a Stockholm movie theater, Lind travelled to Rome to meet Alfredo Danesi, the man who built the chariots for the Hollywood blockbuster.

British stuntmen trained the cast and experts in classical history helped fine-tune the details.

“We wanted to make the ruins come alive,” said Lind.

Travel experts believe the effort will pay.

“Historical re-enactments are great. They give a wonderful sense of the original use of the site,” said Wendy Botham, a Texan who has been running a travel agency in Jordan for more than a decade.

“Jordan has a lot to offer but what had been missing so far was a way to animate the sites and bring them to life. Such events will extend the experience of travellers and engrave memories in their minds,” said Walid Mujaher of Travel One.

There are a couple of good photos accompanying the original article ...
Here's the latest simulacrum -- a water stain on some guy's bathroom wall -- and, of course, it's up for auction at Ebay. This one's a pretty good likeness ... then again, it might be an image of Gandalf.
There's a new issue of Ephemeris, the online Latin newspaper, on the enewstands ....
8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Lost City Of Pompeii - Secrets Of The Dead

9.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Tomb Of The Warrior Prince

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Treasures of The Ancient World: Carthage
Join us for an exploration of the wonders of the ancient city of Carthage, which stood on the northern coast of Africa, near modern-day Tunis. The earliest artifacts unearthed by archaeologists date from 800 BC. Now, we provide an unique glimpse of the "New City" (in Phoenician, Qart Hadasht; Cartago to the Romans), including the mighty walled fortress of Byrsa, which overlooked Carthage's splendid twin harbors. Some of the world's leading authorities provide interpretation and analysis, including Dr. Chris Pelling of University College, Oxford; Nicholas Purcell of St. John's College, Oxford; Henry Hurst of Churchill College, Cambridge; and Professor T. Weiderman of Nottingham University. Features new location footage, stylish reconstructions, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation sequences.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HINT = History International
idus junias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 1) -- a ritual involving a procession (?) of fluteplayers (tibicines) to the Temple of Minerva

? -- dedication of a Temple of Jupiter Invictus (and associated rites thereafter)

323 B.C.-- death of Alexander the Great after a brief illness (by one reckoning)

40 A.D. -- birth of Gnaius Julius Agricola

313 A.D. -- Edict of Toleration of Licinius

blandishment @

allege @ Merriam-Webster (one of those words that newscasters frequently misuse)

... in Classical Greek. Headlines:

Foundation "Open Catalonia" requests monument to Churchill in Barcelona - 4 skeletons found in Moscow flat
Daniil Simkin optimus ballator (10.06.2005)

In certamine internationali ballationis scaenicae, quod in urbe Helsinki iam quintum factum est, optimus omnium saltator evasit Daniil Simkin, iuvenis septendecim annorum, natione Germanus sed origine Russus, qui praemio decem milium euronum affectus est. Inter feminas palmam reportavit Iana Salenko Ucraina.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
In the latest Arethusa ... full text available online via Project Muse (if you have access, of course):

McCoy, Marina Berzins. Philosophy, Elenchus, and Charmides' Definitions of ?????????

This paper explores why Socrates' elenchic questioning of Charmides seems to fail to change Charmides' beliefs or character. Charmides offers three definitions of ????????? or moderation. Charmides' responses to Socrates show that he vacillates between unquestioning reliance upon his own beliefs and abandonment of those beliefs in favor of obedience to others. I show that both extremes cause his failure to progress in the elenchus. The dialogue suggests that an understanding of human knowledge as partial or incomplete is necessary for philosophical progress. The Charmides argues for a kind of philosophical ????????? as a condition for good inquiry.

[those question marks are 'sophrosyne' in Greek]

Glazebrook, Allison. The Making of a Prostitute: Apollodoros's Portrait of Neaira

The portrait of Neaira in [Demosthenes] 59 is the most extensive account of a historical woman from the classical period. But what can we really know about this woman? What did the Athenian jurors know of her? This paper suggests that Neaira was relatively unknown until Apollodoros delivered his speech, and it argues, through a comparison of the narrative on Neaira in [Demosthenes] 59 with portraits of women in Isaios 3 and 6, Demosthenes 39, [Demosthenes] 40 and 48, that Apollodoros constructs and manipulates Neaira's identity as a prostitute using common rhetorical techniques, carefully chosen terms, and well-known social stereotypes in an effort to convince the jurors of her status and character as a prostitute.

Behr, Francesca D'Allesandro. The Narrator's Voice: A Narratological Reappraisal of Apostrophe in Virgil's Aeneid

The ultimate effect of Virgilian apostrophe is debated. Some critics see in Virgil's apostrophe the narrator's sympathy for the victims of a war, and others, such as G. B. Conte, find that apostrophe actually helps to distance the narrator from the defeated. In this article, the argument is made that the treatment of apostrophe is tied to the problem of representing both grief and narrative closure. Apostrophe reveals another level of commentary on the suffering caused by Aeneas's war in Latium. A narratological approach to this topic shows that, in apostrophe, Virgil both confirms the importance of Roman imperium and also questions whether its cost is not too high.

Robinson, Timothy J. In the Court of Time: The Reckoning of a Monster in the Apocolocyntosis of Seneca

Seneca's Menippean satire, the Apocolocyntosis is constantly interrupted by digressions containing apparently extraneous matter about astrological and seasonal phenomena surrounding the central events—an important device known as temporal periphrasis. But the motif of time, in and of itself, is molded by Seneca to provide particular perspective to the characters of the Apocolocyntosis. Temporal transitions and periphrases are transformed into dominant narrative devices that often dwarf and tacitly critique the characters and events that they would be expected merely to frame.

The description of Claudius's final days, death, and afterlife is interrupted by numerous temporal and historical digressions, and this disjointed narrative befits the monstrous physical and moral character of the emperor. The insipid language of the central panegyric to Nero has attracted critical comment, and this study concludes with a close reading of this section, which reveals several ambiguities in the praise of the emperor. The location of the panegyric is problematic, interrupting the account about Claudius. Nero is surrounded by the scatology, monstrosity, and buffoonery connected with Claudius' life and death. Instead of being located in the satire as successor to Claudius and being praised at the end of the narrative, Nero is embedded within it. But of most significance is the employment of the imagery of temporal periphrasis in praising Nero. He is compared with stars in flight, the evening star, and the sun at dawn—all of which call to mind the stale images of Epistle 122, as well as those of the numerous temporal digressions of the Apocolocyntosis. Character has been subordinated to abrupt narrative transitions, shifts, and temporal periphrases, and the two emperors Claudius and Nero have become part of the machinery of the Apocolocyntosis and absorbed into its temporal collapse.
If I ever win the lottery, this is the sort of thing I'd do at least once ... from the Sun Herald:

Where the rushing waters of the Danube River empty into the Black Sea stands the Roman Fort at Halmyris, a small, historic Romanian town that lies in the midst of the Danube Delta.

The clanging of swords from countless battles echo throughout the Roman Fort, and the names of those who fell defending it are inscribed on a stone wall near the very place where they perished in the heat of battle.

Janet Wise, an 11th-grade chemistry teacher at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, will visit this ancient structure and participate in the archaeology dig for two weeks, beginning July 7.

Wise, a native of Pulaski, Tenn., who lives in Starkville, was one of 12 teachers statewide to receive a fellowship from the Phil Hardin Foundation to participate in the S.A. Rosenbaum Earthwatch program, a nonprofit organization that sponsors field research around the world.

"I want to learn the science of archaeology," said Wise, who taught for 14 years at Columbus High School before going to MSMS, where she's been for five years.

Awarded annually, the fellowship covers all the project costs and pays $600 for her to make the eight-hour flight to Romania. Wise will pay the rest of the travel costs.

The 28-year teaching veteran will be paired with scientists and scholars throughout the world to explore and study the area.

"There will be a team of six to eight volunteers that work with the actual research team," Wise said.

While Wise certainly will benefit, her students may have the most to gain.

"I like to travel and see other cultures, and I try to bring that back to my students at MSMS," Wise said. "I encourage them (my students) to apply for programs such as Earthwatch because there are scholarships for them."

Before the Roman Empire captured the fort, it was occupied by the Dacians, a nomadic tribe who lived north of the Danube River.

After two wars with the Dacians, the Roman Empire finally overtook the fort, providing a base from which to rule the fertile Danube Delta and a gateway to Asia. The Romans occupied the fort for 600 years, more than half of its 1,100-year existence.

In the late sixth century during the reign of the Byzantine Empire, barbaric tribes constantly trying to breach its wall finally succeeded, overrunning the fort, which remains partly erect, overlooking the final leg of the Danube River before it spills into the Black Sea.

The dig and the fort is located in an isolated area. The hotel where Wise will stay is called the Pelican Motel, something Wise began chuckling about as she explained.

"They said to be sure to bring mosquito netting and some tacks to put it up with so you can get some air," Wise said.

This year 21 teachers sent in applications, consisting of an essay and a portfolio or resume. A panel of five judges picked the best applications for fellowships.

Earthwatch has more than 300 expeditions worldwide. Teachers, in their applications, can specify their preferred expedition.

"We try to put the teacher as close as we can to their desired destination," said Nikki McCelleis, division director of curriculum and instruction for the foundation.

The judges look at experience and educational background in selecting the teachers.

Wise wants to learn more about the Roman Empire.

"I'm interested in Roman history," said Wise, who switched from a science major in college to education after teaching at a children's camp. "I've been to Rome and to other parts of Italy, and I have never been to an archaeology dig."

Several years ago Wise, who moved to Mississippi in 1979 with her husband, a professor at Mississippi State, received the Fulbright Memorial Fund Award for Teachers, which sent her to Japan.

"They take 600 American teachers a year to Japan for three weeks," Wise said. "The Japanese government pays for all of it. You are exposed to the Japanese educational system and its culture."

After returning from the expedition, Wise will be asked to write a report to Earthwatch, reflecting on the impact the experience had on her personal and professional development.
From the Times:

A SPECTACULAR Roman mosaic discovered in Libya has been hailed as one of the finest examples of the artform to have survived.

British scholars yesterday described the 2,000-year-old depiction of an exhausted gladiator as one of the finest examples of representational mosaic art they have seen — a masterpiece comparable in quality with the Alexander mosaic in Pompeii.

Mark Merrony, an archaeologist who specialises in Roman art, said: “What struck me was the realism of the depiction. It’s absolutely extraordinary.

“I have examined hundreds of mosaics across the Roman Empire, but I have never seen such a vibrantly realistic depiction of a human.

“The image of the recumbent gladiator is nothing less than a Roman masterpiece executed by the Sandro Botticelli of his day. The human expression is captured in a realistic manner hitherto unknown in Roman mosaics.”

Archaeologists from the University of Hamburg were working along the coast of Libya when they uncovered a 30-ft stretch of five multicoloured mosaics created during the 1st or 2nd century. The mosaics show with extraordinary clarity four young men wrestling a wild bull to the ground, a warrior in combat with a deer and a gladiator. The gladiator is shown in a state of fatigue, staring at his slain opponent.

The mosaics decorated the cold plunge pool of a bath house within a Roman villa at Wadi Lebda in Leptis Magna, one of the greatest cities of antiquity.

Although the discovery was initially made in 2000, by Dr Marliese Wendowski of the University of Hamburg, it has been kept secret until now, partly to ensure that the excavations were not disturbed by looters.

It was also initially difficult for archaeologists to enter Libya. But since a settlement with the families of the Lockerbie victims and the lifting of international sanctions, the situation has changed.

Libya is now keen to open the country to tourists and these mosaics are being placed on public display at the Leptis Magna Mosaic Museum.

The full story of the discovery will be told in the July-August issue of Minerva, a London-based international review of ancient art and archaeology, which is published this week.

Dr Merrony, the deputy editor, whose doctorate from Oxford University was on ancient mosaics, said: “The image of the gladiator is executed in a manner that is so convincingly realistic that it appears to have been painted.

“Works of Renaissance art by Botticelli and others are well-known for deriving their inspiration from the human form in Classical art, but to find a Renaissance image on the floor of a Roman villa is unique.”

There's a photo accompanying the original article. [I think we mentioned this back in March, no?]
Folks who have read rogueclassicism for a while are probably aware that I love stories of Classicists who don't fit the stuffy, 'Browning Version' image that Classicists often labour under, and so I can't resist posting some links that were posted to the Classics list by JO'D about T. Corey Brennan, who once was part of Evan and the Lemonheads, including a pic or two of CB in action. He now teaches at Rutgers and is an editor of the American Journal of Ancient History.
In the wake of an obvious omen witnessed by AM over at Sauvage Noble, MG at Laudator offers an interesting tidbit on the difference between augurium and auspicium.

FWIW, if I may don my apex, it seems to be a clear omen of a situation involving someone/thing powerful (government, perhaps, if the hawk was an eagle), taking something away, but then deciding to give a bit back. I assume you're getting a tax refund.
Beat Näf, et al., Geschichte der Antike. Ein multimedialer Grundkurs. CD-Rom. Version 1. Mac OS 9/X and Windows.

Johannes Hahn, Gewalt und religiöser Konflikt. Studien zu den Auseinandersetzungen zwischen Christen, Heiden und Juden im Osten des Römischen Reiches (von Konstantin bis Theodosius II). Klio Beihefte N.F. 8.

Peter T. Struck, Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts.

Willett on Noe on Lateiner.
PH has made a handle of posts of interest since the last time I checked ... Worshipping the Beast/Honoring the Emperor ... An Invitation from the god Serapis ... New edition of "Travel and Religion in Antiquity" bibliography (the latter having links, of course)
Michael Hendry has concluded his posting of all the instructions for Latin Scrabble at Curculio ... if you want to read the sections in order:

I Introduction
II Calculating Letter Frequencies
III Clarifying the Rules
IV A Special Rule to Make Things More Interesting
V Why Latin Scrabble is Even Better Than English Scrabble
11.00 p.m. |HINT| 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.

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Lost Atlantis
Did the fabled Atlantis really exist? Plato told of an advanced civilization full of natural resources, palaces of gold, exotic animals, and even a form of electricity. But according to legend, 10,000 years ago, Atlantis disappeared into the ocean in a cataclysmic event of nuclear proportions. Since Plato's time, explorers have tried to find the lost continent, buried under thousands of years of time, sand, and water. And there have been enough alluring clues discovered through the years to keep the search going. We follow five different expeditions in five separate sections of the world as they hunt for Atlantis. Deriving clues from Plato's writings, each group of explorers believes it has been the one to correctly decipher them. In the process, a bigger mystery arises. Anthropologists examining ancient unidentified Central American sculptures believe they offer evidence that will prove there were survivors of Atlantis.

HINT = History International

HISTU = History Channel (U.S.)
Issue 8.07 of our Explorator newsletter and the Ancient World on Television listings for the week of June 13 - 19 are now available. Enjoy!
Another one from Commercial Appeal (which possibly gives the best coverage of this sort of thing):

St. Mary's Episcopal School embraces all things Latin -- Tennessee Junior Classical League convention, building Roman chariots, National Latin Honor Society inductions, the National Latin Exam.

For its ninth time, St. Mary's participated in the Tennessee Junior Classical League convention at Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tenn. Fifty-four students from St. Mary's attended the convention with Upper School Latin teacher Jenny Fields and Middle School Latin teacher Dr. Patrick McFadden.

Formed in 1955, the Tennessee league and its parent organization, the National Junior Classical League, are nonprofit fraternal organizations whose purpose is to promote appreciation and enthusiasm for studying Latin and the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. This year's convention had almost 800 delegates from nearly 30 schools -- all there to celebrate the classics.

Convention competitions included all sorts of events, such as academic tests and costume, essay, and photography contests. Overall, St. Mary's took home these group awards: first place in Scrapbook Sweepstakes, first in Spirit, second in Group Costume, second in Skit, second in 880 Relay, third in Publicity, fifth in Scrapbook, and fifth in Banner. From Collierville, Christine Son won an individual award in the Vocabulary 5 competition.

As a physics/latin project, Upper School students worked with Upper School science chair Michael Volpe to construct Roman "chariots" from everyday materials such as wood, metal trash cans and old wheelchair axles.

Using physics principles, the students were able to build chariots that can hold a person weighing up to 200 lbs.

After Volpe and his students completed the project, chariot rides around the school track were offered to all Upper School students in celebration of the school's accomplishments in Latin.

In other school "Latin news," St. Mary's announced inductees to the National Latin Honor Society. From the Collierville area, new members include Neelam Khan of Collierville and Christine Son.

St. Mary's students also garnered awards on the National Latin Exam. Christine Son was a gold medal summa cum laude winner, and Neelam Khan was a magna cum laude winner.
An excerpt from a piece in the Orlando Sentinel on the history of gymnasia:

A lot of information is available on the subject. For example, did you know the word gym, short for gymnasium, goes back to the Greek gymnos, for naked?

In the South, we usually pronounce that "nekkid," an even more revealing condition for cellulite than a bikini.

The Greeks, which really means Greek men in this case, apparently exercised in the buff, according to an essay by University of Oregon historian Ian McNeely.

They also linked a healthy body to a keen mind.

"What we now regard as centers of Greek higher learning originated, in many cases, as appendages of exercise facilities," McNeely says.

In other words, there was "no divide between geeks and jocks."

When modern education was taking shape about 200 years ago, folks looked to the ancient Greeks for inspiration, without the naked part.

McNeely credits a German schoolteacher named Friedrich Ludwig Jahn for inspiring much of modern exercise and gymnastics. Humiliated by the Germans' defeat by Napoleon in 1806, "Jahn concluded that nothing less than a massive dose of manly vigor would redeem his countrymen."

German intellectuals and teachers who immigrated to the United States later in the 1800s brought with them systems of exercise, shaped by romanticized views of the ancient Greeks, and those systems had a great effect on how exercise was taught at schools and colleges in this country.

That may be why Rollins College Archives has photos of young men and women in posture classes about 1890, dressed in Greek costumes and striking statuesque poses.

In a departure from the old Greek system, physical education was by this time not seen solely as a male domain.
Simo Knuuttila, Emotions in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.

Beat Näf, Traum und Traumdeutung im Altertum.

Federico Borca, Luoghi, Corpi, Costumi. Determinismo ambientale ed etnografia antica.

Marcel Le Glay, Jean-Louis Voisin, Yann Le Bohec, A History of Rome. Translated by Antonia Nevill; preface and new material by David Cherry; additional material by Donald Kyle.

Patricia Curd, The Legacy of Parmenides. Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic Thought.
Excerpts from an Op-ed piece by John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

It isn't easy being great. Just look at ancient Rome, the most successful empire the world has ever seen, thanks to its superb military.

But the idea of an orderly Pax Romana is an historical fiction. For at the height of its power, Rome still engaged in almost constant warfare. Even the peace-loving philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius spent most of his time fighting against tribal raiders and outbreaks of terror on the frontiers. His "Meditations'' were almost all written in camp.

Sound a bit like our own situation?

[... all the threats to the U.S. ...]

We'd better come up with some other strategic options. In doing so, it may prove useful to recall how Rome, the greatest power of the past, coped with major threats.

Our own situation looks much like Rome's when the Empire was at its zenith in the second century. Rome then had no major enemies, but was beset by constant threats and warfare on the edges of its vast imperium.

At the political level, Rome sought not to alienate but to attract. It cultivated allies to share burdens, negotiated with enemies, and embraced their cultures. The 18th century historian Edward Gibbon slyly noted the Romans' intellectual suppleness in assessing all religions to be "equally true, equally false, equally useful."

Militarily, Rome's strategy was to cap the empire's commitments. With an ocean to the west, trackless deserts on the south and wide mountain ranges on the east, only the north was wide open. But instead of trying to keep on conquering in that direction, the Romans simply walled off Scotland, then drew lines at the Danube and Rhine rivers and secured the banks with forts and patrol flotillas. The system worked for centuries.

When Rome finally fell in 476, it was due to the failure to transform the legions from infantry to mounted forces capable of countering the nomadic horse archers who eventually brought down the Western Empire.

In the eastern half, though, the Byzantines did rebuild their military with heavy cavalry, and Constantinople outlived Rome by a thousand years. Not a bad payoff.

Can we now do as the Romans did? Of course we can, but we'll have to start by behaving as pragmatically as the Romans did. If we muffled our rhetoric about spreading democracy, the world would breathe a huge sigh of relief. If we focused on diplomacy and deterrence in dealing with Iran and North Korea, we could avoid war with them. Our willingness to withdraw from Iraq would be a powerful signal to the Muslim world that we do not seek a clash of civilizations.

There's no way to avoid all military commitments. The demilitarized zone between the two Koreas is the modern counterpart to Hadrian's Wall. Our navy must secure the Taiwan Strait and other critical sea passages, much as Roman flotillas once patrolled the Rhine, the Danube and the Mediterranean Sea. Even our continuing hunt for terrorists carries echoes of the occasional Roman forays outside the empire to root out bandit havens.

These are all clear-cut tasks that can be undertaken at reasonable cost. If we limit ourselves to them, rather than try to manage an essentially ungovernable world, we may be able to enjoy a Pax Americana even longer than ancient Rome's peace. If we keep pushing aggressively forward, however, we are bound to fail at ruinous cost. The choice is ours.
Those Maecenas people appear to be wanting to keep the Gospel of Judas in the news ... We've blogged on this before if you're looking for more links.
Here's the official description:

What do bow legs, glass eyes and hairdos have in common? Well nothing really apart from their connection to Martial’s epigrams which represent an entertaining reporter-like description of the Roman way of life...

Listen ...

[speaking of Martial, the Martialis blog has been on hiatus for an awfully long time ...]
Frequent Explorator contributor AS sent this one in (thanks again!) ... Elaine Fantham on NPR talking about policing in ancient Greece and Rome.
6.00 p.m. |HISTU| Heron of Alexandria
In Part 3, we travel to Alexandria, Egypt--the home of inventors and philosophers in ancient times. One of the greatest inventors was Heron of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician, geometer, and worker in mechanics, who taught at the famous Museum. His strange inventions, such as automaton theaters--puppet theaters worked by strings, drums, and weights--automatic doors, and coin-operated machines, were famous throughout the ancient world.
Robert Leighton, Tarquinia: An Etruscan City
Regular reader MK (thanks!) points us to a 'best of' type piece at Tom Dispatch, the lengthy subject of which is a comparison of the modern day U.S. with the final days of the Roman Republic.
Over at our Classics Central Bulletin Board, Petrushka (thanks!) informed me that Slashdot was also yakking about this conference at the University of Melbourne in which (inter alia) ancient myth and comics were being compared. That article led me to the conference website. Looking through the program, there's a session (which must be completed now) entitled Collisions: Classical Myth + the Contemporary. It's a slow news day, so I'll post the abstracts from this one:

Xena's Double-Edged Sword: from Sapphic Love to the Judaeo-Christian Tradition :: Ivar Kvistad

This paper analyses the particular mythical traditions that inform Xena's characterisation in the cult TV series Xena: Warrior Princess. As an artefact of popular culture, Xena caters to a mass, globalised audience, incorporating various mythical, popular, religious and cinematic traditions that are not necessarily cohesive. Most notably, the series modifies the Classical figure of the Amazon by incorporating into its narrative particular traditions of Sapphic love, Asian martial arts cinema, and an uneasy subscription to both New Age and Christian metaphysics (the final series, in particular, emphasises the latter). The world of Xena, known by fans as the Xenaverse, then, is a multi-layered and often multicultural pastiche of competing discourses that reflect the complexity of the modern, globalised world. While its heroine's ostensibly classical Greek characterisation is 'impure' (and symptomatic of the perilous enterprise of representing the past in an authentic way), this is not an inadequacy of the Xenaverse. Rather, Xena's layering of different discourses alongside each other, and its mobilisation and parodying of particular ancient and modern mythical tropes, offers a commentary on the processes of narrative production, presenting an opportunity for theorising the problems of authentic representation in a postmodern world and the libidinal pleasures - and politics - of playfulness. Thus, Xena is an example of a text from popular culture that presents a double-coded politics: it ambivalently, and simultaneously, deploys subversive and conservative strategies for its narrative production.

The paper frames its discussion through an analysis of two striking ambivalences within the Xenaverse: its representations of Sapphic love and of Christianity. It positions Xena's understated Sapphic relationships (particularly with, but not restricted to, her sidekick, Gabrielle), alongside the final series underlying subscription to ideas of epochal, religious succession - that is, Judaeo-Christian religious supremacy at the end of the 'pagan' world. Although they may seem disconnected, both the Sapphic and Judaeo-Christian elements in Xena operate within the economy of the discourses of modernity. While the series representation of Xena's Sapphic love-life is complicit with modern discourses of sexual liberalism, its Judaeo-Christian elements gesture towards cultural evolutionist ideas that raise the spectre of western cultural chauvinism in the mass media, and hence the broader issue of popular culture as a medium of modern western imperialism. Xena, finally, advocates the supremacy of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in a way that may undermine its more radically liberal, multi-layered and multi-cultural aspects. Thus, like the sword of its heroine, the politics advocated by the series Xena: Warrior Princess are double-edged.
Bio Note :: Ivar Kvistad tutors Literary Studies at Deakin University, where he completed his PhD in 2004. His thesis, ‘Radicalising Medeas,’ examined modern, anti-imperialist and feminist mobilisations of Euripides’ Medea, focusing in particular on their treatment of its signature motif, maternal infanticide. His research interests are in modern literary and cinematic representations of antiquity, especially in relation to postcolonial and feminist politics.


Hercules, Sensitivity Counselor :: Ruby Blondell

The hero of the TV show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is a devoted family man. There is little trace of the many women who, in the early mythological tradition, fall innocent victim to his violent (and often extramarital) lust. When such characters do appear, they are typically transformed into sexual predators whom Hercules must either resist or flee. The most unrestrained of Greek heroes is replaced by an icon of the self-controlled man at risk from female erotic aggression. The classical Greek Hercules is thus transformed almost beyond recognition. This is marked, among other things, by the fact that he typically carries no weapons. In Greek tradition, his array of signature weapons (bow, no lion-skin, club) mark him as the complete hero. In his modern reincarnation, the very lack of weapons makes him an icon of complete manhood.

Hercules' new identity as a model of "enlightened" late twentieth-century American masculinity is constructed via his encounter with the Amazons in the pilot movie, Hercules and the Amazon Women. In Greek tradition, Amazons are typically presented as a military threat on an equal footing with the male. It is therefore vital that they be shown as defeated or dying at the hands of heroic Greek males (including Hercules). The televisual Amazons, by contrast, pose no real threat to Hercules. Nor does he pay any of them the compliment of killing her. To do so would seem merely brutal, and brutality is no longer part of his persona. Instead, he tames them in a peculiarly late-twentieth century fashion.

The Amazons of the TV show are not, as in Greek tradition, the products of an autonomous matriarchy, but are descended from a group of women who seceded from an ordinary village because they were mistreated by their husbands. Hercules initially embodies the same patriarchal insensitivity, but after encountering the Amazon queen, he is transformed into a "sensitive" late twentieth-century male. This enables him to serve in turn as a sensitivity counselor for the village men. Their changed behavior ignites the Amazons' secret yearning for normative domesticity and (hetero)sexuality. The village returns to "normal" and its inhabitants putatively live happily ever after. The Greek Amazons are thus domesticated much as Hercules himself is, through incorporation into a bourgeois pseudo-enlightened model of the household.

In both cases, this domestication involves a rejection of what makes these mythic figures remarkable in Greek tradition. The Amazons are deprived of their exceptional power and the threat it poses to the patriarchal order. And Hercules is deprived of the promiscuous sexual energy that characterizes his Greek counterpart as extraordinary in a way that sets him outside the pale of civilized life, even as his exploits make that life possible for others. Yet despite the curtailing of his hyper-masculine energy, he is--unlike the Amazons--allowed to retain the heroic capacity for extraordinary deeds that is fueled, in the Greek tradition, by that very energy. He is thus reinvented as a bourgeois fantasy hero of late twentieth-century popular culture.

Bio Note :: I received my PhD in classics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. I am now a Professor of Classics at the University of Washington in Seattle. Major publications include The Play of Character in Plato's Dialogues (Cambridge University Press 2002); Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides (with Bella Zweig, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Mary-Kay Gamel; Routledge 1999); Helping Friends and Harming Enemies. A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics (under the name Mary Whitlock Blundell; Cambridge University Press 1989). Works in progress include Representations of Ancient Mediterranean Women in Modern Mass Media (volume co-edited with Mary-Kay Gamel).


Plato and Pop - Aquaman, Sub-Mariner and the Morality of Myth :: Djoymi Baker

According to Plato, Socrates says "our first business is to supervise the production of stories, and choose only those we think suitable, and reject the rest" (Plato 1955: ll 377c-d). Stories may contain immoral and criminal acts (many committed by gods), that have no place in Plato's ideal state (Plato 1955: ll 377d-e, 378 a-e). Mythoi becomes a means by which the state leaders, through poets creating stories under strict supervision, teach children to be proper citizens. The Republic states that "we begin by telling children stories [mythoi]. These are, in general, fiction, though they contain some truth" (Plato 1955: ll 377a). Indeed, Plato was happy to create his own myths to serve a philosophical or moral purpose. The story of Atlantis was one of Plato's invented myths, described in his Timaeus and Critias in the 4th century B.C.E.

Aquaman and his predecessor Sub-Mariner were comic book superheroes based on this Greek myth of Atlantis. Both superheroes were transferred to television in the mid 1960s. Richard Reynolds has argued that comic books borrowed from myth and legend in order "to give their disregarded medium a degree of moral and intellectual uplift" (1992: 53). However, for many cultural commentators the mythological foundations of comic book superheroes such as Aquaman and Sub-Mariner were ignored or disparaged. Variety argued that animations such as Sub-Mariner tapped into Pop art, camp, and "post-high school hippies addicted to the old comics" (1966). The morally corrupting force of comic books upon children had simply been transferred to the equally dubious effects of television on children and young adults alike.
Indeed, by the mid-1960s, "comic-strip" had become a generic, disparaging term for simplistic, children's texts, applied in reviews to television programs such as Star Trek or Land of the Giants. This attitude toward comic books was undoubtedly a debt to a long-standing controversy surrounding comic books and children, particularly promoted by Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent of 1953. Wertham argues that "Classic books, mutilated in comic-book form, have been adapted to the television screen" (Wertham 1953: 381). In other words, comic books and the television programs based on them, may rework older, "classic" texts, including myths, but in a "mutilated" form that thereby robs them of all worth. Although comic book heroes transferred to television were not to peak for nearly another decade, the heritage of the Wertham attack helps to explain why the mythological content of such programs went largely unnoticed. This paper explores the way the Aquaman and Sub-Mariner TV programs adapt and rework both Plato's myth of Atlantis and their own comic book back-story, in the context of the moral debates surrounding comic books, children's television, and myth.

Bio Note :: Djoymi Baker is a PhD candidate with the Cinema Studies program at the University of Melbourne. Her research explores the adaptation of myth on television and the changing concept of myth in popular culture. She is a sessional lecturer for The School of Creative Arts, and Cinema Studies, including Myth and Media: From Homer to Hollywood , a new subject based upon her dissertation research. Her work has been published in Refractory and Popular Culture Review.


I'm Dying for a Good Slay': Death and the Inversion of Gender Roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Medea :: Sophia van Gameren

This paper will focus on Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) and Euripides's The Medea and how traditional gender roles are re-defined. By looking at the character of Buffy, it will be argued that she usurps a role that traditionally has been occupied by males. In the horror and super-hero genres, a small framed, blonde female would often be the victim of the villain, or be saved by a male superhero. Rather than being the helpless 'damsel in distress', Buffy is the hero, complete with a 'secret' identity. As the Vampire Slayer, it is Buffy's duty to protect and save innocent people from 'the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness'. Yet, despite this power, Buffy understands that she does not have the right to kill human beings.

Although not a super-hero, Euripides's Medea, like Buffy, is no ordinary female and also assumes a traditional masculine role. Medea's a famous sorceress, who murders her children out of a passionate hatred for her husband, Jason, who has rejected her for a younger woman. Although the Athenians believed that women were dangerous and disruptive (especially foreign women like Medea), women were also supposed to be nurturing, compassionate and maternal. By murdering her children, Medea not only exits the feminine sphere, but demonstrates her association with the masculine heroic values of cleverness, honour, status and revenge. Through Medea's self interest, breaking of bonds and use of force and violence, she not only adopts traditional traits of Athenian men, but also exploits them; she fills the masculine role better than most men. Unlike other kin-killers in Greek tragedies, Medea escapes and is not punished for her murders.

Death and the punishment of murderers are important themes in BtVS and Greek tragedies. In BtVS, the conscience of the characters, and the guilt they feel, is their punishment for taking human lives. In the Buffyverse, Willow reflects the character of Medea. Willow becomes enraged when her partner Tara is murdered by Warren and begins a quest of revenge. Unlike Medea, however, Willow suffers from guilt because she committed murder. When 'evil' Willow departs, Willow 's conscience punishes her. Although Willow is not physically punished for committing murder, her conscience makes it difficult to deal with the knowledge that she took another human life. In Greek tragedies, characters are often outcast from their cities after taking a human life, especially a family member's. This can be seen through characters such as Orestes and Oedipus. Medea also leaves her home town after murdering her children. Willow is sent away to London after murdering Warren , however, she is not punished for her misuse of the black magicks but rather she learns about, and hones, her power. Willow must rehabilitate herself in London and is punished by her conscience whilst Medea chooses to leave for Athens and has no remorse for killing her children, and is not punished by the gods.

Bio Note :: Sophia van Gameren has graduated from Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) at Deakin University , Melbourne . She completed her Bachelor of Arts with Honours at the University of Melbourne in 2001. Her Honours thesis was titled "From Anxiety to Sympathy: Following the Vampire from a Monstrous and Ethnic Threat to its Transformation into a Sympathetic 'White' Figure." Sophia's academic interests include Shakespearean literature, Classical Greek tragedies, the figure of the vampire, and most importantly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


In other panels, I note the following:

Theseus Versus Hannibal Lecter: Heroic Quests Into The Labyrinth In Modern Cinema :: Paul Salmond

Modern cinema has borrowed freely from Greek myth and adapted these stories to its own dramatic needs. One tale that sits firmly in the US cinematic tradition is that of Theseus journeying into the Cretan labyrinth to slay the monstrous Minotaur who annually devoured young virgins from Athens . This mythical story has rarely, if ever, been portrayed literally on screen, but has served as a metaphor for a quest, both physical and psychological, that a hero is required to take to defeat some abominable unknown. To this end, filmmakers have tended to combine the fundamental framework of the Minotaur myth with elements of the Orpheus myth, whereby a hero is required to risk his life to rescue an imperiled maiden by journeying into the dark and hazardous underworld where a deadly monster awaits.

This paper will examine different versions of this heroic myth in modern cinema. It will look initially at how the Western attempted to use the theme of heroic rescue, and used Native Americans as the savage embodiment of a pre-civilized world where demons still reigned. This was most notably explored in John Ford's The Searchers (1956) where John Wayne's character of Ethan Edwards must rescue his niece from a marauding Comanche tribe as part of a 5-year trek that takes him on a parallel psychological journey. Here the labyrinth through which he must navigate is his own loathing of the Comanche and how this is driving an irrational desire to kill his own niece on recovering her.

In late 20th C film, the Underworld of the undiscovered continent has been replaced by the Hades of the urban landscape, as the serial killer has become the new Minotaur - a loathsome beast that preys on the young, has superhuman powers, and can only be located and killed by an exceptional hero. Three films will be examined that explore this theme, David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), George Sluizer's The Vanishing (Sporloos 1988) and Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Each film involves a hero who undergoes a purifying psychological journey, and a deadly physical journey, into the lair of the beast to rescue a woman facing death. Each film also involves a 'minotaur' - a murderous monster who represents a world where darkness and chaos reign. And each film features a labyrinth, a perilous physical zone that the hero must enter alone without any guarantee that he/she can or will return.

The paper will also look at how the iconic role of the serial killer was adapted in modern cinema in a recent exploration of a literal updating of the superhero saga. M Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable (2000) depicts the awakening of an American Everyman to the realization that he is an actual superhero - part of an heroic 'race' whose deeds were formerly immortalized, and who now have been engulfed by the mundane social fabric - and how he uses this newly-discovered power to defeat evil.

The presentation will involve a discussion of the above films and the heroic themes that link theme. This will be supported by screening of segments of the films themselves, as well as scenes from certain other productions that illustrate the central thesis.

Bio Note :: (Dr) Paul Douglas Salmond, PhD (Classics and History) Melbourne University , 1994; 2002-2004 Manager, Orchestras Review Secretariat / Film Industry Section; Department of Communication, IT and the Arts; 1995-2002 Adviser, the Department of Communication, IT and the Arts and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; 1987-1994 Lecturer/Tutor, Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Melbourne; School of Classics , Archaeology and Ancient History University of Sydney


Achilleus: Man of Bronze :: Annabel Orchard

In the Iliad, the Trojan hero Aeneas says of his Greek enemy Achilleus: "he claims to be made all of bronze (panchalkeos)" Iliad 20.102 The poet has apparently reserved a special term for this reference to Achilleus. The word panchalkeos or "all bronze" occurs in the Iliad only in this passage. Achilleus' physical identity is so closely associated with his armour that he might well be described by the Trojans as a man made of bronze. Whenever he appears on the battlefield, he is encased in armour made for him by the lame smith god Hephaistos. The bronze armour that he wears represents Achilleus' identity as a warrior and hero.

This paper examines the perceptions of the armoured body of Achilleus. It considers the effect of the armour on the person inside it and on those who view the armed figure on the battlefield. Drawing on ideas about the cyborg, it examines the enhanced power of the hero due to the technological and supernatural properties of the armour. It also considers the concept of imperfect invulnerability in this myth, and considers the significance of a physically imperfect god creating armour for a physically vulnerable hero.

Bio Note :: Annabel Orchard is a Ph.D candidate in Classical Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is currently researching the role of metal-craft in myth, and the effect of contemporary technology on mythic form and content. Other projects include the development of interactive media for education, research and entertainment. A recent project,, is an interactive website for kids 6-12 which uses digital storytelling to expand the means of retelling Greek myth. Annabel is also a co-founder of the Sword and Sandal Reading Group, an interdisciplinary group based in Cinema Studies and Classics, University of Melbourne. Further details at http://www.ahcca. CCA/People/PostGrads/A-Orchard/


Homer and Rap: the Ancient is Fresh :: Erin O'Connell

Thought to be merely a short-lived fad when they began to take hold in the public imagination, rap music and hip hop culture are now a multi-billion dollar industry and claim a central place in the contemporary representation of heroes and villains. The public identity of rap artists is developed and marketed with an eye to selling an image that figures itself along the superhero/supervillain continuum. Most successful rap singers are performing artists whose public identity spreads far beyond their role as musicians or poets, they are cultural icons after the fashion of ancient mythic characters. Popularized through a wide variety of media--the recording industry, music videos, film, advertising, and print journalism --the musical literature and visual iconography of contemporary Gangsta Rap and Political Rap music possess a sophisticated and complex ethos of idealized masculine behavior that finds its antecedents in mythic heroes such as Achilles, Odysseus, Ajax and Agamemnon.

This paper examines the ways in which the heroes and villains of contemporary hip hop culture mirror the heroes and villains of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The argument explores the cultural similarities between Homeric epic and modern rap music - in both form and content - despite the vast historical and social differences. It is shown that the contemporary heroes and anti-heroes in rap culture, such as the members of the rap groups Public Enemy, and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, or the individual figures of Tupac, or Anybody Killa, for example, serve a similar mythic and cultural function as Homer's Achilles, Hector, Ajax & Odysseus. Rappers can be seen as modern representatives of the heroic paradigm in ancient Greek popular culture. Following in the mythic tradition of the Homeric heroes, rap artists play a major role in defining current popular perceptions of extraordinary greatness and extraordinary threat. The paper explores common themes between the two mythic traditions such as the range and complexity of male excellence, the overlapping discourses between heroism and villainy, and the roles of women as both subjects and objects.

Bio Note :: Erin O'Connell is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Utah. She earned her PhD in Literature at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Her research interests include Ancient and Modern relations, ancient Greek literature and philosophy, Performance Studies, and Literary Criticism. She has published articles on Ancient Greek Drama, and has a book forthcoming from Peter Lang, entitled Presocratic Deconstruction: Heraclitus and Derrida.


Antiquities as Superheroes: (Re)Presenting the Utopian Past in the Athens Olympics :: Louise A. Hitchcock

The opening ceremonies of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens cast Greek antiquities as central and extraordinary in a parade of pageantry unfolding as a futuristic vision of a timeless, idyllic, and legendary past constructed in the midst of the concrete jungle that forms the alter-ego of Athens' post-modern present.This paper analyzes and deconstructs this parade of iconic works of Greek (and by extension European) art as a totalizing, teleological, exclusionary, evolutionary, progressive, and fictive narrative. This narrative began with an evolution of stone sculpture with a (super) heroic male form bursting from the center of a prehistoric, abstract female effigy, and continued with an unbroken linear progression of artistic styles that was tenuously linked to past and future scientific breakthroughs from celestial mechanics to the recent mapping of the human genome. Within this evolutionary framework, the human assumes mythic and superhuman stature in form (heroic nude male) and idea (revelations of science). Thus, the transformation from ordinary into the extraordinary id(ea)[o]lizes Greek antiquities as symbolic capital to be esteemed, commodified, and consumed on the world stage.

Bio Note :: Louise Hitchcock is Lecturer in Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology at the University of Melbourne, Centre for Classics and Archaeology and has numerous publications in the field of Aegean archaeology and theory.
As I was working on my sleep deficit, rogueclassicism had its 200,000th visitor according to that little counter down on the right. While I can't tell who it was exactly, I can say they are from the Pacific Time Zone accessing a block owned by Telus Corporation (which, coincidentally, I own stock in), so they're probably in British Columbia. Whatever the case, thanks to that person and everyone else who has visited rc to make this a 'reached' milestone! I won't say that someone said a Classics blog would never work -- if anyone did, I wasn't paying attention (as usual).
8.00 p.m. |HISTU|The True Story of Alexander the Great
334 BC--a 20-year-old military commander from Northern Greece set out to conquer the known world. During the next 12 years, King Alexander of Macedon led 40,000 troops more than 20,000 miles, defeated the world's most powerful ruler, King Darius of Persia, and conquered West Asia before dying at age 32. In a 3-hour special, host Peter Woodward explores the true story of Alexander the Great--a tale of conquest, love, hate, revenge, and ultimately tragedy. He visits locations of Alexander's youth, temples dedicated to Greek gods where Alexander sought divine counsel, and actual battlefields, as well as demonstrating his signature battle plans and weaponry. How could one man accomplish so much at such a young age? What led to his demise? These questions drive our analysis of Alexander's complex character, delicately balanced between genius and insanity.

HISTU = History Channel (U.S.)
This just in from the Western Mail:

THE substantial redesign of Celtic Manor's Wentwood Hills course to bring it up to scratch for the 2010 Ryder Cup may have to return to the drawing board after a discovery of considerable archaeological importance during the early stages of excavation.

Bulldozers digging into the hillside above Bulmore Road have uncovered two Roman pottery kilns where the new 17th hole had been planned.

A detailed archaeological survey is now under way at the site and may cause the hole to be reshaped on higher ground where huge hospitality tents had been earmarked to make the most of the commanding views afforded by the steep slopes.

"We've hit a slight technical hitch with the Ryder Cup golf course," confirmed George O'Grady, executive director of the European Tour which, along with the Professional Golfers' Association, runs the biennial match when it is played on this side of the Atlantic.

"We knew before work started that this was an area of great historical importance and they have found two Roman pottery kilns. The relevant archaeological authorities have been brought in and work on the course has been delayed while the area undergoes a full survey.

"In no way do we want to compromise a discovery of such major historical importance, but there is a question of needing to move a little bit quicker.

"I think the general feeling is that more people could be engaged in the survey to help speed things up, but all parties are being very co-operative."

Those parties include the Gwent and Glamorgan Archaeological Trust and Cadw, the organisation that looks after historical monuments in Wales.

The pottery kilns uncovered are thought to have been part of the civilian settlement outside the Fortress of Isca at Caerleon and may be linked to pottery found both in Caerleon and at Hadrian's Wall.

O'Grady, who took up the reins of the European Tour this season, is confident the delay will have no long-lasting ill effects on the preparation of the new course.

... more
ante diem iv idus junias

17 B.C. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 6)

38 A.D. -- death of Drusilla, the much-beloved sister of the emperor Gaius (Caligula)

86 A.D.. -- ludi Capitolini (day 5)

120 A.D. -- martyrdom of Gaetulius and companions at Tivoli

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 7)
ingenuous @

quincunx @ Merriam-Webster (one of those 'betcha can't say it ten times fast' words)

exsiccosis @ Worthless Word for the Day
I've been toying with the idea of 'featuring' an online article from FindArticles every now and then -- things which might have appeal to folks other than academics -- in the vain hope that it will help make more articles available to the public online (for free). In any event, here's the incipit of William Desmond, "Punishments and the Conclusion of Herodotus' Histories", Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, Spring 2004:

ONE MUST CONSIDER the end of every affair, how it will turn out."1 Solon's advice to Croesus has often been applied to Herodotus' Histories themselves: Is the conclusion of Herodotus' work a fitting and satisfying one? Older interpretations tended to criticize the final stories about Artayctes and Artembares as anticlimactic or inappropriate: Did Herodotus forget himself here, or were the stories intended as interludes, preludes to further narrative?2 Entirely opposite is the praise accorded Herodotus in a recent commentary on Book 9: "The brilliance of Herodotus as a writer and thinker is manifest here, as the conclusion of the Histories both brings together those themes which have permeated the entire work and, at the same time, alludes to the new themes of the post-war world."3 More recent appreciation for Herodotus' "brilliance," then, is often inspired by the tightly-woven texture of Herodotus' narrative. Touching upon passion, revenge, noble primitivism, East-West relations, the concluding stories at 9.108-122 recall the Prologue and Lydian logos, reinforce many of the narrative motifs that thread through the work as a whole, and (perhaps) offer a warning to the Athenians that with the emergence of the Delian League, a new cycle of tragic history may be beginning.4

One Herodotean motif that has not been explored systematically-either with regard to the Histories as a whole, or with regard to the conclusion-is the theme of punishment.5 The final three stories, disparate as they are, share one commonality: all record punishments-of Masistes' wife, of Oeobazus, Artayctes and his son, and the threatened divine punishment of Artembares and his descendants. This is not an incidental or unimportant fact, for much of the difficulty in assessing the conclusion's literary merit is in placing it within its proper thematic context. This context, I will argue, is that of punishments. The Histories are rife with punishments, some minor, others monstrous. Punishment, with the related themes of crime and justice, plays several significant roles: as literary spectacle, as material for ethnographic and political insight, and as vehicle for an implicit philosophy of history. All this ensures that 9.108-122 is a multi-layered and suggestive ending, offering Herodotus' final meditation on the ongoing interplay between Greece and Asia, the ambivalence of human accomplishment, the injustice and excess that constitute so much of history, the simultaneous existence of human evil and divine justice. Before coming to the concluding punishments, however, we will first examine the various functions that punishments serve in the Histories, whether as "wonders," as characteristic products of particular cultures and political systems, or as means for conveying aspects of Herodotus' historical and religious vision.

... more
Feriae aestivae inierunt (10.06.2005)

In Finnia feriae aestivae scholarum pridie Nonas Iunias inierunt. Novus annus scholasticus medio mense Augusto incohabitur.

Magistratus quidam nuper flagitaverant, ut initium feriarum duabus septimanis ulterius differretur, sed propositum eorum repudiatum est. Mensis enim Iunius in terris septentrionalibus vel ideo ad ferias agendas videtur aptissimus, quod lux solis tum abundat et natura est amoenissima.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
... another saga in progress? From the Guardian:

It is meant to be the highlight of any trip to Greece: climbing the "holy rock" in Athens to see the marvels of the ancient Acropolis. But visiting the place that Le Corbusier, the pioneer of architectural modernism, called the most "ruthlessly flawless" monument in the world is not what it used to be.

Parts of the Acropolis have been dismantled. Other areas are shrouded in scaffolding and overshadowed by a crane.

Thirty years after Greek conservationists launched the biggest restoration project in modern history, the works have become dogged by controversy, and the government in Athens has now revealed that at least 20 more years - and up to €70m (£47m) - will be needed to finish the project.

The restoration is causing political ructions in Greece, not least because nobody knows where the money will come from.

"I don't deny that there have been problems but this is the biggest renovation ever conducted on a monument in the world," the deputy culture minister, Petros Tatoulis, told the Guardian. After this, for generations to come, work will never be needed on the Acropolis again, he said.

"Technical progress is such that it will be able to withstand the most extreme weather conditions - earthquakes, you name it."

That was little consolation to the tourists visiting the Acropolis this week.

"Where is the temple of Athena Nike?" asked one woman as she looked at the empty space where the icon to Ionic art has stood since 500BC. "I can't believe they've actually dismantled it."

"You can't say it's very pretty," said Mark Rowlings, a photographer with the RAF, after making the arduous hike up the hill yesterday. "The crane and scaffolding really get in the way. It's not that it's not tremendous. It's just that I know I'll have to come back to see the real thing."

On a site that had been a prehistoric royal sanctuary, the classical monuments of the Acropolis were built by Pericles, the Greek statesman, who wanted them to be a lasting monument to the civilisation.

Because the Acropolis - which means the highest point of the town - is regarded as the ultimate monument of antiquity, the process of restoration has been mired in bureaucracy and debate.

Lengthy discussions take place over the tiniest interventions on stones that, over a span of 25 centuries, have survived fire, bombshells, looting and earthquakes.

Nikos Toganides, the engineer heading the preservation works on the Parthenon, said: "You never know what you're going to find. Things crop up. It's unpredictable work and that makes the whole process a lot slower."

But, say architects, it is the row over funding that is slowing them down most.

"If they want the scaffolding to go and us to get out of here then they have to resolve this problem," Mr Toganides said. He added that he had not been paid for the past three months.

"Nearly all of the team works on contract. Psychologically, it disrupts the flow of work and makes things a lot harder if people don't know when the next lot of money is coming."

This month, two of the Parthenon's most experienced marble carvers will retire.

But conservationists insist it is vital to keep the works going uninterrupted.

Restorers are working round the clock to replace with non-corrosive titanium rods the thousands of rusting iron clamps that were installed in an earlier misguided attempt to strengthen the temples.

"If it wasn't for the press here constantly raising the case, I'm sure the monies we requested last year and have only just received would not have been forthcoming," said Tasos Tanousas, an architect who has been at the Acropolis since the latest repair project began in 1975.

"There has been quite a bit of official indifference since the [Athens] Olympic Games."

The restoration has cost €35m so far, with at least half being funded by the European Union.

Last month, Greece's ruling conservatives agreed to inject a further €12.5m into the restoration works, but only after a period of intense haggling and once the EU had offered to contribute half the amount.

The furore has got many experts wondering whether the time has come to allow private sponsorship of the work. Until now, the idea has been rejected on the grounds that only Greek officialdom should deal with a monument of such grave importance to the country.

Mr Tatoulis, the deputy culture minister, has not ruled out private funds one day being poured into the "holy hill".

Recently, he said, the electronics group Phillips had used the Parthenon as a backdrop in an advertisement, but only after the government had agreed that as a one-off it would promote tourism.

"It can't be excluded, but if there was ever to be private sponsoring it would have to be very tightly regulated. "We couldn't have big firms defiling the Acropolis," Mr Tatoulis said.
The incipit of a piece in the New Zealand Herald:

Holy mackerel, Batman! An Australian university is hosting what it claims is the world's first academic conference on superheroes.

Hundreds of scholars, lecturers and film buffs will descend on Melbourne University today to reflect on the enduring popularity of Batman, Superman and other caped crusaders.

Speakers will argue that Superman was modelled on mythical Greek heroes such as Hercules and that characters like Captain America draw inspiration from Norse legends.

The four-day event, Holy Men in Tights - A Superheroes Conference, has attracted participants from New Zealand, Britain, Singapore, Canada and the United States.

Organisers bridle at suggestions that it is a gathering of uber-geeks, pointing out that the conference has attracted heavyweight academics from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"There have been comic conventions before but this is the first time that so many academics have got together to talk about superheroes," said conference organiser Professor Angela Ndalianis, a lecturer in film studies.

"We have classical scholars comparing Odysseus with Batman, and looking at the cross-over between the legend of the Amazons and Xena, Warrior Princess."

... alas, I can't find any more details on this one.
Since it appears to be a slow news day, here's an update from Playbill on the Helen of Troy rock musical:

Bruce Vilanch has been added to the cast of the June 13 concert reading of Helen of Troy, a new musical with a score by Brian Johnson of the Australian heavy metal band AC/DC.

Vilanch, known as a Hollywood jokeman non pareil and as the current Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, will play Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.

He joins Eden Espinosa, Alice Ripley, Cary Shields, Brandi Chavonne Massey, Klea Blackhurst, Will Swenson and Shannon Connelly at the Canal Room event.

Johnson's collaborators on the project include fellow musician, Brendan Healy, and the book writing team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, screenwriters of the film "The Commitments." The score is described as a mix of rock and roll, R&B and pop.

As the title amply suggests, the show takes as its inspiration from the classical tale of Helen, for whom a thousand Greek ships sailed to war against Troy.

AC/DC is the long-standing rock outfit known for dressing in prep school outfits, cranking up the volume to "10," and penning cheeky songs with titles like "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)," "Highway to Hell," and "Hell's Bells." The group hit a high point in the early '80s with its million-selling album "Back in Black."

His background notwithstanding, Johnson said in a statement, "I love musical theatre, especially the classic stuff, like Rodgers and Hammerstein."
Another one I can't quite see, reported in another one of those news sources that doesn't identify itself on the page:

One family considers their property priceless. They claim the Virgin Mary has appeared on one of their walls.
The Garza family was working out in their yard on Monday afternoon when they noticed what they say is the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the outside of their house.

Some say they can also see the images of an olive tree and the face of Jesus.

The news spread through town fast.

Ana Maria Garza says about 500 people have already come to see it for themselves.

"Its been pretty frantic," she says. "All those that believe and don`t believe, they come to witness it and to see if its true ... all I can say... is she`s there."

The family says they conside the images a blessing for the entire town. They`ve invited everyone to come out and see it.
... and take your laptop. According to a piece in PC Self, Rome is experimenting with a project wherein major parks will be wireless hotspots:

Dal 28 luglio, a Roma, partirà la fase di sperimentazione del progetto “Roma senza fili” che porterà alla creazione, nei principali parchi romani, di aree dove sarà possibile la ricezione di Internet in banda larga attraverso i PC portatili o telefonini di ultima generazione.

Si inizierà da Villa Borghese, dove verranno installati 15 “hot spot” ognuno in grado di gestire 50 utenti contemporaneamente. Nella fase iniziale di sperimentazione ci si potrà collegare gratuitamente, ma solamente per un’ora al giorno in modo da evitare affollamento del traffico e per escludere qualsiasi forma di abuso.

Come ha sottolineato il sindaco, il progetto garantisce la convivenza della doppia identità di Roma: città archeologica e tecnologica. La sperimentazione verrà estesa dal 28 settembre a Villa Torlonia, dal 28 ottobre a Villa Ada e dal 28 novembre a Villa Pamphili.

A fine anno prenderà il via la seconda fase durante la quale verranno coperte altre aree come il Colosseo ed il Campidoglio in modo da poter attivare anche delle “guide virtuali”.
A couple of folks sent this one one (thanks FD and 'CC') ... the Art Newspaper gives us an update on those 76 Roman statues found at Cyrene a while back:

An Italian team of archaeologists has discovered 76 intact Roman statues at Cyrene in Libya. The discovery is remarkable because the site, once a thriving Greek and then Roman settlement, has been under excavation for the last 150 years.

With a nearby coastal port, Apollonia, serving it, Cyrene was once a conurbation equivalent to Alexandria, Carthage and Leptis Magna. An important Dorian colony, founded by Greek settlers from the island of Thera in 631 BC, it was later ruled by the Ptolemies and then the Romans. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 375 AD but continued to be inhabited until the Byzantine period.

At the end of the seventh century BC, the city was not only famous for its grain and wealth, but also for a quasi-miraculous plant, silphium, which has medicinal properties. The trade in silphium, distributed all over the ancient world, was monopolised by Cyrene for at least 200 years. Up until the Roman conquest, silphium was even printed on its currency.

A sacred site in Cyrene, made up of many temples, was discovered by Italian archaeologists between the first and second world wars.

The latest discovery is the work of Mario Luni, an archaeologist from the University of Urbino, who has been working with his team at the site since 1997. Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Professor Luni said: “One morning, a collapsed wall in the Roman temple, which was discovered in the 1930s, revealed a marble serpent wrapped around a stone. We could not have known that this was only the first in a series of statues of every kind and size that we would pull from the ground. We just kept discovering them every day, for a month and a half, and found 76 in total.”

Professor Luni stressed that the excavations were “an ongoing collaboration with the Libyan department of antiquities which has agreed to gradually rediscover ancient Cyrene”.

This incredible haul brings to mind the 54 marble sculptures discovered by English archaeologists at Cyrene in the mid-19th century at the temple of Aphrodite, which are now housed in the British Museum.

At least 12 of the newly discovered statues are 20 to 35 centimetres high and show Cybele, daughter of the goddess Demeter, in different poses. These statues are linked to fertility ceremonies associated with the goddess. They were lined up along the back wall of the area inside the temple. The remaining works, some smaller and others much larger, are dedicated to other gods. All the statues date from the Severan period in the second century BC.

According to Professor Luni, these statues have remained undiscovered for so long because “during the earthquake of 375 AD, a supporting wall of the temple fell on its side, burying all the statues. They remained hidden under stone, rubble and earth for 1,600 years. The other walls sheltered the statues, so we were able to recover all the pieces, even works that had been broken”.

Also, before World War II, during the Italian occupation of Libya, a pine forest was planted which covered the ruins of ancient Cyrene, hiding the city—which Professor Luni calls “the Athens of Africa”—under a layer of earth and trees.

Professor Luni’s team has so far focused on central public areas, the heart of the monumental city, such as the forum, the public square and the scared site with its temples. But Cyrene is vast and spread out over an enormous area. The excavations, which will take decades to complete, will now concentrate on the immense Greek settlement, the most ancient part, which was home to successive generations of inhabitants until the Byzantine era and is, as yet, completely unexplored.

Professor Luni said, “Researching the pieces will take at least a couple of years. We have photographed and catalogued the pieces and are currently restoring them”.

He has made many other astounding discoveries at Cyrene. Three years ago, he discovered a large theatre carved into the stone hillside in the public square. He then started to excavate the sacred site and has so far located five temples to the south of the city’s forum. The first, a monumental temple of six columns dedicated to Demeter, was found in 1999 and is still being excavated.

The article is accompanied by a photo of some of the discoveries ....

7.00 p.m. |DTC| The Quest for the True Cross
Based on the New York Times best-seller, scholarly detective work and historical adventure draw conclusions about the remains of Christ's actual cross. This comprehensive study could overturn centuries of academic assumptions about the crucifixion.

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.

8.00 p.m. |DISCC| Celtic Sacrifice/Bodies Under the Bed
Could the Celts be responsible for 2,000-year-old ritualistic murders in Turkey; a grisly mystery is unearthed in one of humankind's earliest settlements when bodies are found under beds.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| Hannibal
No short list 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

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)
ante diem v idus junias

Vestalia -- festival in honour of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth

53 B.C. -- the Roman army under Marcus Licinius Crassus (Dives) suffers a massive defeat at the hand of the Persians under Surenas near Carrhae; Crassus dies as a result of the battle

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5)

62 A.D. -- Nero has his first wife, Octavia, killed while in exile for adultery on Pandateria

68 A.D. -- the emperor Nero commits suicide

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 4)

193 A.D. -- arrival of Septimius Severus in Rome

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 6)
durance @

emigrate @ Merriam-Webster

peccavi @ Wordsmith

roscian @ Worthless Word for the Day
Raffarin munus deposuit (03.06.2005)

Quantam vim exitus suffragii in politicam Francogalliae domesticam habuerit, inde quoque elucet, quod primus minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin iam biduo post se magistratu abdicare coactus est.

In locum eius successit Dominique de Villepin, vir quinquaginta duos annos natus et in re publica iam diu versatus.

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

The auction for all these Sotheby's item was actually yesterday. This 6th century Chalcidian helmet, according to the details page, fetched 45,000 ($US) ... paging through the items posted over the past while, everything seems to have reached much higher than its estimated sales price.

From the Crimson (of course):

For Caitlin C. Gillespie ?05, who has been selected to deliver the Latin Oration at today's Commencement ceremony, the Latin language has always had a special draw.

'I've been studying Latin since I was 11 years old,' explains the Wilmette, Il. native. 'Now, I tell people that I'm an English concentrator but in a better language,' she adds with a smile.

'Latin is beautiful. I prefer a world that is imagined in Latin'in its myths, syntax, and poetry.'

Gillespie even admits to choosing Harvard for its Classics Department and its traditional Latin Oration at Commencement.

'When I was a junior in high school, my father said, 'You should apply to Harvard. They have a Latin speech,'' she says with a laugh.

For Gillespie, who will be delivering her five-minute oration today alongside two orations in English, the idea of being the Latin Orator has been on her mind ever since.

She says that she has been thinking about possible topics for her speech all semester and making lists of the 'seminal events' of the last four years, but she did not start writing until spring break, when she came upon a theme that she deemed oration-worthy.

'I was trying to figure out what defines our class and what defines our year. Baseball seemed an obvious choice,' Gillespie says.

The oration, entitled 'The Campus Somniorum' or 'The Field of Dreams' enacts an extended conceit between Harvard's and America's athletic pastime'comparing each year of her college education to one base on the diamond.

In keeping with the light tone of the Latin oration, Gillespie says that she even may deliver hers in costume'in baseball cleats, that is.

'Harvard is a field of dreams. We can do anything here'and we have,' she says.

This Commencement, everyone attending the ceremonies will receive an English translation of Gillespie's speech and English subtitles will simultaneously be projected onto large screens flanking the stage.


With Commencement Day upon her, Gillespie says that she is beginning to feel more and more nervous. When she practiced on stage with microphones this week, Gillespie finally got a sense of the vast crowds that she would face from the podium.

'There are like a million and one chairs out there,' she says.

But Gillespie has more than prepared for her big day 'if only on account of her other passion' dance. A life-long gymnast, dancer, and choreographer, she is a veteran of the stage, even if she is a rookie to public addresses.

Gillespie spent her college years as a member of Mainly Jazz and City Step, and also choreographed and stage-managed a number of shows around campus. This summer, she also interned with the Irish Modern Dance Theater in Dublin.

'For me, dance is the ultimate form of expression,' she says.

The dancer-turned-speaker has also spent the last month rehearsing pronunciation drills 'nearly everyday,' fine-tuning her dynamics and gestures with a vocal coach at the American Repertory Theatre.

As the chosen orator, Gillespie is still somewhat self-selected; only three students applied to give the Latin oration this year.

Nonetheless, Richard J. Tarrant, Pope professor of Latin language and literature and chair of the Commencement orator competition, says that the selection process can be quite rigorous.

Applicants submitted their completed orations to a panel of eight judges earlier this spring. Judges then held two rounds of 'auditions' for the strongest applicants.

'We look for lines that will entertain the audience,' Tarrant writes in an e-mail. 'Caitlin's Boston Red Sox theme was clever and timely, and we thought it would appeal to a wide audience. But she also has a very engaging personality'one of the judges said that she has 'a smile in her voice.''

Gillespie will spend this summer at home, before traveling to Oxford, England this fall to complete a masters degree in Greek and Latin language.
... but alas, not at the Holy Rosary in my board; in any event, from the Anchorage Daily News:

"Veni, vidi, vici" goes hand in hand with ABC at Holy Rosary Academy, where students study Latin and Greek.

Kindergartners master the Lord's Prayer in Latin and seniors ponder Sophocles tragedies. Students in grades three and four study Latin in three sessions each week. It's on to Greek in grades five and six and back to Latin in grades seven and eight. Both of the classical languages, along with French and Spanish, are offered to high school students.

"It's proven by SAT scores that students who have a good basis in Latin and Greek word roots do about 100 points higher in the verbal portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test and also score higher in the critical reading area," principal Barbara Doerner said.

Greek and Latin give students an important advantage, she said, throughout the age spectrum. Latin was a common curriculum for earlier generations like the baby boomers. Now, after a waning of the practice, the pendulum is swinging back toward its use, she said.

"It's been like a big hole -- something was missing in education," she said. "This is a lifelong tool, and most students are very appreciative of it by the time they get to high school."

Holy Rosary Academy students participated in the 2005 American Classical League/National Junior Classical League national Latin exam in March. The school's 38 students scored higher than the national average in two of the three levels they attempted.

Kevin Klump, a seventh-grader, made a perfect score. Near-perfect performances were turned in by Rebecca Klump and Angela Butler, who received the gold medal. The 40-question exam covered grammar, comprehension, geography, history and derivatives.

Every year, Holy Rosary celebrates the classics with the Greek and Roman Festival, which includes plays and skits in Greek, Latin and English along with traditional ancient foods like grapes, bread and hummus. The upperclassmen create sets, costumes, programs and publicity, and parents help out too.
From the Chico Enterprise-Record:

Jerry Miller, who wrote and directed Shakespeare in the Park's 16th season premiere production, "Oedipus Rocks!" said the inspiration was none other than William Shatner.

"About 15 years ago, I saw a Canadian film of a play. It starred William Shatner. He was only 18 or 19. It was in mask! But there was no mistaking his voice. I was absolutely fascinated at this play in mask. It was such a powerful thing. And, it just would not leave my head."

Four years ago, with script royalty fees out of their price range, Miller and Marcel Daguerre, two of the foursome who adopted the summer theater company, wrote their first musical. Miller took the role of writer-lyricist and Daguerre became composer-band leader.

"In the past," said Miller, "we used '50s, '60s, '70s rock hits and created a story around them." In contrast, he said, "Oedipus Rocks!' is ... the story by Sophocles, Oedipus Rex.' It's a rock n' roll musical. Our songs are rock/pop numbers."

The plot of a classical Greek tragedy translates well into a rock musical, Miller said. "There's so much irony in Oedipus Rex' that lends itself to dark humor." Besides, he added, "Greek tragedies already incorporate a choral element."

Accordingly, in "Oedipus Rocks!" songs take the place of choral recitation and monologues to move the action along. "The text and the dialogue (of the musical) is all new but the story and the events are unchanged," he said.

Miller adapted the script from the William Butler Yeats translation used in the Shatner film, and Miller promised the audience, "tons of fun," as well as "both an eyeful and an earful. All the (ancient Greek) actors had to use masks. They worked in these large amphitheaters and you couldn't see the stage or any expression unless you were in the first couple rows, so they created masks so their qualities and their character's could be seen at great distances. They're fascinating to watch because masks create a sort of magical quality where you can see the expressions changing You project it from the voice, the body language -- You can actually feel emotions coming off the mask."

The director noted Shakespeare in the Park's presentation of "Oedipus Rocks!" is a perfect fit for the pageantry of the grand Cedar Grove setting in Bidwell Park. Also, for the second year, a castle format replaces the former "Old Globe" replica, providing more seating as well as a more flexible stage.

Finally, Miller noted that he is "proudest that the show will be so unlike anything else anybody's seen, at least in this town."

OMG ... taking inspiration from hearing William Shatner singing? Then applying it to Sophocles somehow? Yikes ... and why has all that ABBA stuff from Momma Mia suddenly pushed the Kurt Cobain earworm out of my head? gag ....
From Aberystwyth Today:

A GROUP of archaeologists re-visiting Borth bog have discovered that the area may have an industrial past that dates back to Roman times. The 18-strong team gathered on the edge of Borth bog near Talybont last week to continue work that started last summer on a Medieval timber trackway. The trackway has stood the test of time under the boggy land and is believed to be 1,000 years old. Whilst working on the timber, diggers have discov-ered a large area of industrial metal working waste that could be even older. Scientific tests on the industrial waste indicates the presence of lead smelting near to the trackway. According to Gwilym Hughes, Director of Cambrian Archaeology: “This is a fantastic opportunity to con-tinue the investigation of an outstanding discovery. “It has the potential for telling us much more about the early history of the metal mining and smelting industries in this area of Ceredigion.” Llandeilo-based group Cambria Archaeology have again linked up with specialists from the universities of Birmingham and Lampeter, with students helping discover what the boggy land has hidden under the surface. The new excavation is in its second of its three week duration and members of the public will have the chance to visit the site this Saturday and watch the dig as it happens.

The article suggests we look for updates at Cambria Archaeology but you'll have better luck going straight to their Dig Diary page (why do websites continue to use frames?).
From Sofia News Agency:

Bulgarian archaeologists have renewed Tuesday excavations at the Tatul village, where they believe that a unique temple of mythical royal descendant and artist Orpheus is located.

The team, led by renowned Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, will work at the site until the end of July.

It is thought that the temple has been used around the 5th century B.C.

Orpheus is looked upon as one of the chief poets and musicians of antiquity, whose lyre mastery could charm the wild beasts and even draw trees and rocks from their places and stop rivers from flowing.

He has also become a key figure of Greek legend, although various sources mention that Orpheus was borrowed by the Greeks from their Thracian neighbours.
From Variety:

After much negotiating, Gallic producer Thomas Langmann has received the greenlightgreenlight to make "Asterix at the Olympic Games," a third episode in France's mega-hit movie franchise.

Pic will be co-developed with Pathe, which financed the previous two films, and helmed by Frederic Forestier.

Gerard Depardieu will reprise his role as Obelix, but Langmann is looking for a new Asterix, previously played by Christian Clavier.

Langmann said cast would include Alain Delon, Jean-Claude Van DammeJean-Claude Van Damme and French actor Benoit Poelvoorde.

Langman's father, Claude Berri, produced the first two pics but abandoned the franchise two years ago after the script for the third edition was nixed by Belgian artist Albert Uderzo, creator of the Asterix comicbooks, and by the descendants of co-author Rene Goscinny.

Gerard Jugnot, who had penned the script and was to direct, moved on to other projects.

But 18 months ago Langmann, who had the initial idea to adapt "Asterix," revived the sequel idea and developed a new script based on a different Asterix story, which finally received the blessing of rights holders Tuesday.

[more ... but it doesn't seem to work in Firefox]
No, we're not talking about my Grade Seven class this past week (when the air conditioning was wonky and it was approaching 30 degrees every day) ... it's a followup post at Ralph the Sacred River on the subject of corpse removal (recall an earlier post on the stench of ancient cities ...).
MH of Curculio fame has a couple of items worth checking out today ... around noon Baltimore time, e.g., he'll be posting another Greek crossword to occupy your time (and there's a prize for whoever finishes it first); he announced it here (where there's a link to an earlier crossword in the same vein), but you'll probably be able to access the crossword best by Curculio's main page.

Also posted were parts one and two of a five-part series on how to put together and make a Latin Scrabble (R) set and the sorts of things you have to keep in mind when you do it ... Latin teachers take note (and keep your eye open at garage sales!).
Published by (March, 2005)

John Lynn. _Battle: A History of Combat and Culture from Ancient Greece
to Modern America_. New York: Westview, 2003. xviii + 431 pp.
Illustrations, notes, maps, notes, select references. $34.95 (cloth),
ISBN 0-8133-3372-5.

Reviewed for H-War by Wayne Lee, University of Louisville.

Let's get a couple issues out of the way quickly. First, I come to praise
John Lynn's _Battle_, not to bury it. In the nature of things much of the
rest of my comments will sound critical (that is after all what we do!),
but fundamentally I am deeply appreciative of this work. It is insightful,
wide-ranging, compelling, and it pushes the debate in the right direction.
Among other things, I suspect that it is the seed of many a dissertation
to come. A number of my comments are in fact "additive" or even suggested
by Lynn's analysis; they are not (necessarily) intended to point up
shortcomings. Second, anticipating the possible criticism of others, let
me suggest that one of the reasons I enjoy military history as a
profession is its generally welcoming attitude to this kind of synthetic
work. _Battle_ is not a monograph. It leans heavily on the work of others,
but brings them together in new and interesting ways. Such synthesis has
tremendous value. The point of doing detailed studies is to help reshape
broader generalizations and interpretations, and _Battle_ puts those
detailed works to excellent use.

Lynn confronts two historiographical pendulums that he feels need pushing
back. The first is the older, even long dominant, emphasis on the
determinative role of technology in military history, especially in the
story of western dominance. The best technology wins out, and the nature
of the technology shapes the battlefield. There have always been
subtleties to this line of argument, but Lynn strongly feels that
determinative technology needs to take another beating. In what is perhaps
a signature phrase, Lynn argues that "Armies made choices within menus of
possibilities consistent with necessity and technology" (p. 124). For Lynn
those choices were shaped by "culture." More specifically, Lynn defines
culture as the complex of values, expectations, and preconceptions about
war, which he sums up in the word "Discourse." While discourse may seem an
odd word choice, it is fair enough: we would _like_ to know what a
society's values were, but all we have are their texts, and thus their
"discourse." (Lynn departs from his reliance on texts in Chapter 8,
inferring conception from action).

The other historiographical pendulum in play here is that created by
Victor Davis Hanson, and furthered by John Keegan.[1] I assume that this
forum is broadly familiar with Hanson's characterization of a "western way
of war;" its popularity and influence at the moment are extraordinary.
Lynn appreciates the cultural approach taken by Hanson and Keegan--that
ideas, values, and social structures matter in shaping military
behavior--but he is vehemently opposed to the universalism and continuity
asserted in their argument. Lynn doesn't reject all of their conclusions,
only that there has been a constant "western" style opposed to a constant
"oriental" or eastern style, and that the western way has been successful
nearly universally. For Lynn culture is highly idiosyncratic--not
"peculiar," but more in the original Greek sense of the word, a blend
specific unto itself. People are creatures of their context, and thus so
is their style of war. To make his point, Lynn provides eight chapters of
idiosyncratic war-making. In the remainder of my comments I will try to
briefly summarize the thesis of each of the first six chapters, with
case-specific comments or critiques, and then at the end I will make some
more general comments about Lynn's overall model. I will leave commentary
for the two twentieth-century chapters for other commentators.

In Chapter 1 Lynn essentially accepts Hanson's argument that the
ritualized style of Greek phalanx combat was a deliberate creation
designed to fight short decisive battles, allowing their citizen-soldiers
to return home. In Lynn's terms, for the Greeks Discourse virtually
dictated Practice (rather than merely shaping it, as in later cases).
Hanson's argument has always been the most compelling for the Greeks; it
_is_ his specialty. But even for the Greeks there are problems. I will
avoid the technicalities of evidence here, but I would like to point out a
circularity in the argument. Lynn accepts and repeats the idea that the
shift to phalanx warfare begat wider political rights. The later Athenian
emphasis on the fleet begat even wider democracy. But then how did they
get to the decisive phalanx battle in the first place? Part of Hanson's
argument is that widespread citizen participation in the army meant that
battles had to be fought (to defend their farms) and that they had to be
decisive (so the war would be contained in time). Part of the evidence for
this argument are the peculiarities of the phalanx battle itself. But
without the phalanx battle (and all its peculiarities) one does not get
widespread political power, and without widespread political power, one
does not get the ability of the citizen soldiers to dictate the style of
the phalanx battle. Which came first? Who wanted short decisive battle in
the first place, and thereby empowered the citizens by making them
soldiers, who then wanted short decisive battle? Is there no sense here
that the hoplite phalanx might in part have been a calculation of military
effectiveness? I do not know the answer to this question, and the sources
will not help us much more than they already have. It is surely true (as
Lynn and Hanson point out), that the topography of Greece would seem to
make the choice of phalanx warfare an odd one from an effectiveness point
of view. I might suggest that we could push the culture argument even
deeper: the phalanx did not create political participation, rather a
profound sense of collective solidarity inherent in the _culture_, not the
political structure, of the polis, created the phalanx.

For the rest of this chapter Lynn properly questions the continuity of
Hanson's thesis past the Romans, although accepting the idea that the
Romans did inherit the "western way of war," adding to it the invention of
total war. Here of course is a major opportunity to refute Hanson that
Lynn has missed. The true inventors of total war were hardly the Romans,
but the Assyrians. For those who might question the issue of continuity
from the Assyrians, I would respond: "Exactly! and the same applies to
Greece." But the Assyrians certainly do not fit the "oriental" model of
avoiding decisive clashes through indirect strategies either.

In Chapter 2 Lynn embarks on a much more speculative exploration of early
South Asian and Chinese warfare. Here he is confined mainly to examining
discourse, having very little solid evidence on practice for those periods
and places. His main point is to deconstruct the unitary vision of an
eastern way of war. The Indian and Chinese discourse and method differed
profoundly, and the Chinese in particular developed an ability to fight
large-scale battles with disciplined close-order infantry not unlike the
supposed western way of war. Furthermore, Lynn asserts that "early"
societies progressed through "stages" of military development. Early
Greek, Indian, and Chinese conventions were very similar because they were
in the same stage. The problem comes, Lynn says, when one compares the
early Greek to later Indian (Mauryan) or Chinese (Warring States era)
discourse and practices. These are, as Lynn says, apples and oranges. The
better comparison is Vegetius, writing during an equivalent "stage" in
western military development. There is a teleological quality to this
"stage" business that makes me uncomfortable at times, especially when one
is comparing hundreds, if not thousands, of years of development and still
referring to it as "early," but it is a worthy point to note that
Vegetius's works are not unlike Chinese ideas in the advocacy of indirect
strategies. And in support of Lynn's take on Vegetius and his later
interpreters (which he deals with again in Chapter 4) I offer the comments
of Robert Monro, a Scottish mercenary commander serving in the Thirty
Years' War, who wrote, praising Gustavus Adolphus, "we see his Majesty
with clemency doth follow the example of the ancient Romans, who, of all
victories, thought that victory best, which least was stained with bloud,
having given quarters and service to three thousand Emperiall Souldiers,
without drawing one drop of blood."[2]

With Chapter 3 Lynn really begins to come into his own in the development
of his model. The basic argument is that the Practice/Reality of war in
the late middle ages so diverged from the idealized chivalric Discourse,
that an alternative, "perfected" reality was developed in the tournament.
Meanwhile the church's appalled reaction to the reality of war led them to
offer a substitute reality in the Crusades, which could be made to fit the
discourse more closely. Lynn is careful to show that even here the
discourse could shape reality, despite its frequent divergence, but the
primary causative agent in this chapter is psychological disjuncture. "The
way we fight is SO different than the way we talk about it, and fighting
is SO important to our conception of ourselves, that we must create an
alternative universe in which we can actually act out our values (rather
than actually change the way we fight)."

In chapter 4 Lynn turns to enlightenment warfare, or as he styles it:
linear war. Here he sees cultural values very strongly patterning the
nature of war, in an era where practice usually has been explained by
reference to developments in gunpowder technology. Lynn focuses on early
modern aesthetics, the theoretical literature of the "Military
Enlightenment" which advocated a scientific approach to war rooted in
universal principles, the development of international codes or laws of
war regulating behavior, and finally, aristocratic honor. This is Lynn's
home turf, and there are a lot of subtleties here; I will wrestle with
only one of them. Lynn argues that the military enlightenment avoided
battle because of its bloody indecision. Enlightenment rationalism sought
to deemphasize luck, and thus their cultural vision preferred the
engineered predictability of siege. I would suggest, however, that a
better interpretation is that there existed a kind of mental tug-of-war,
between believing in and _wanting_ decisive battle, but fearing that
achieving one was profoundly difficult to do. Battle was _believed_ to be
decisive, and for that reason was usually avoided. Risktakers like
Frederick and Marlborough tried it, and their inability to achieve
decision has convinced us in hindsight that battles were in fact not
decisive. Furthermore, Lynn hints that one preference for siege was to
avoid the heavy losses of expensively trained troops in battle. Here I
would like to see a comparison of how many troops were lost in a siege;
not just in a storm or in the approaches (although that could be bad
enough), but by dying of disease in camp.

Chapter 5 is a fascinating return to India. Lynn examines how the European
colonial powers overwhelmed native rulers, not with technology (which Lynn
argues was a tide floating all boats in eighteenth-century India), or with
a western way of war, but with a unique combination of western techniques
with Indian values of duty, loyalty and honor made manifest in the Sepoy
troops, and resting on the stability and longevity of the European
bureaucracies to whom they remained loyal. This is a very convincing
argument, but the one aspect that needs elaboration is this last phrase.
When Lynn confronts the issue of why native rulers using western style
troops continued to repeatedly lose to European administrators using
primarily Sepoys (thus both sides using native men trained in western
techniques), the difference between them, he suggests, was bureaucratic
stability. Indian rulers suffered through constant internal political flux
and thus never built up the dedicated loyalty Lynn argues for the Sepoys.
That is the crux of the question, but it gets only a short treatment here.

Chapter 6 addresses the shift from a Military Enlightenment to Military
Romanticism in the years after the French Revolution. Lynn suggests that
the French Revolution provided a kind of blank slate opportunity to impose
a developing idea of the motivated citizen soldier (modeled on antiquity)
onto reality. Here he again fronts the "menu of choices" aspect of
cultural influence (or as I have preferred to phrase it in the past: the
"horizon of possibles"). Revolution and military necessity mean change,
but what kind of change? It would be interesting to compare here the
choices made by George Washington and the American colonies in a similar
situation. They too held a mental template of the effective citizen
soldier as a replacement for the presumed ancien regime automaton, but
their enactment of it followed a very different course (also, I would
argue, for cultural reasons). The new French citizen army proved to be
tactically "freer" from relying on individual initiative, capable of huge
expansion, and also more willing to absorb the heretofore fearful
casualties brought by battle. To this patriotic mix Napoleon brought
professionalism and consequent success. Here Lynn dodges, I think, the
question of what role patriotism continued to play (or not) in French
military success under the empire. But Lynn's larger concern is how
perceptions and interpretations of Napoleon's success were colored by the
ongoing Romantic intellectual currents. He finds Clausewitz both an
exemplar of Romanticism (although not a unique one), and rising above it.
In Clausewitz's theory, heavily influenced by Romantic thinking, will,
psychology, and passion reassert their position within war. The supposed
timeless principles of war suggested by enlightenment thinkers are in fact
time-bound (I would be interested to hear Lynn's explanation of why the
"principles of war" nevertheless continue to hold such currency in the
modern military). I think this is a much better reading of Clausewitz than
Keegan's dry, state-bound, emotionless version, but it raised an
interesting question in my mind. Consider how discourse (using Lynn's
terminology) sets the level of "decision" in war. In the Enlightenment,
where all sides' discourse focused on tactics, a tactical loss had
decisive implications. Tactical failure meant overall failure. In the
maturing Romantic era (post- Napoleon), the discourse a la Clausewitz
shifted the center of gravity to a higher level: "will." Under this kind
of thinking the conflict must become more all-consuming and
all-destructive, because to destroy the will requires a great deal more
destruction than merely to destroy an army. This is the era, and the
thinking, that produces attacks on the will like that of Sherman, Grant,
and Douhet.

I have now gone on for much too long, and I have a great deal less to say
about chapters 7 and 8 (as interesting as they are), so let me conclude
with a few comments about Lynn's model. Lynn's model conceives of war as a
dialectic between thinking about war and the actual fighting of war. This
is an important insight, and keeping it in mind can help clarify
historical thought, but I would like to make a couple of suggestions.
First, it would be helpful to remember that it is a _punctuated_ or
episodic dialectic. Unlike other potentially dialectical processes
(economics, class relations, race relations), war is not continuous. In
one sense this makes his model even more functional: first we examine
pre-war discourse, then wartime reality, then post-war discourse and
voila, we can see causation at work. The model also demands, however, that
cultural analysis be very attentive to the details of "Reality." In Lynn's
formulation Reality is a little bit like a black box: discourse enters in
and comes out stunned and shaking its head. Lynn is too careful a scholar
to allow it to be a truly inexplicable black box--he shows us the details
of a medieval _chevauchee_ so we can see how it differed from discourse.
But consider as an example the debate between Gerald Linderman and James
McPherson over the nature (or question) of discourse/value shift in the
minds of Civil War soldiers during the war. For Linderman the reality of
war exerted a profound shift in soldiers' values, separating them from the
home front where values remained more static.[3] For McPherson, the
soldiers remained true to their discourse throughout the war.[4] To choose
between these arguments requires a very careful study of the ongoing
process of discourse _during_ the reality of conflict. All of which is to
suggest that Lynn is right about the dialectic process of discourse and
reality, but also to suggest that historical investigation of how it works
requires great care, and enormous archival attention. This is especially
true, as Lynn points out, because there is frequently more than one
discourse on each side, separated by class, gender, and eventually,
profession. Each discourse would then have its own influence on practice.

Furthermore, it would seem that one must ask what gives
values/discourse(s) staying power in the face of the seemingly overriding
"military necessity"? It has often been argued that calculations of
necessity lead to the discarding of pre-war conceptions and values--this
is particularly true when speaking of restraints on violence within war.
Lynn repeatedly argues, however, that values retain their ability to shape
the practice of war even within the cauldron of war. I obviously think he
is right, but we should investigate each context to determine why those
values retain their salience--surely it is more than cultural inertia? In
my own work I have suggested that the need for legitimacy provides a
practical impulse to the retention of values of restraint in war. Waging
war according to expectations (i.e., according to the discourse) helps
keep the uncommitted on your side, or at least keeps them on the fence.[5]
As Lynn himself advises in the war on terror: "the task is to defeat the
terrorists with as little harm as possible to those who are sympathetic to
their cause and to the usually far larger neutral population" (p. 327).

Finally, in the end technology may get too short a shrift here. Again, I
think Lynn is pushing the debate in the right direction, and he may be
overstating his case to make a point, but one still gets the nagging
feeling that western dominance in technology at certain key points made
the crucial difference. William McNeill's formulation in _Pursuit of
Power_ seems at least partially right: western capitalist development
accelerated technological development beyond the capacity of many
non-western societies.[6] There seems little doubt of its significance,
for example, in many of the continental conquests of the late 19th

But I had come here to praise, not bury. _Battle_ stands as a challenge to
the rest of us to work more carefully in building links from thought to
tool to action. That has always been the challenge, and Lynn has helped
provide a useful new model for the task.

[1]. Victor Davis Hanson, _The Western Way of War_ (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1989); Victor Davis Hanson, _Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles
in the Rise of Western Power_ (New York: Doubleday, 2001); John Keegan, _A
History of Warfare_ (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993).

[2]. William S. Brockington, ed., _Monro, His Expedition With the Worthy
Scots Regiment Called Mac-Keys_ (Westport: Praeger, 1999), p. 202.

[3]. Gerald F. Linderman, _Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in
the American Civil War_ (New York: Free Press, 1987).

[4]. James McPherson, _For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil
War_ (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

[5]. Wayne E. Lee, _Crowds and Soldiers in Revolutionary North Carolina:
The Culture of Violence in Riot and War_ (Gainesville: University Press of
Florida, 2001).

[6]. William H. McNeill, _The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force
and Society Since A.D 1000_ (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,

Copyright 2005 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational
purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web
location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities &
Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews
editorial staff at
The last handful ...

Hypatia Revisited


El Cid and Aristotle

The Agora
A couple of days ago we had another one of these things ... I wonder what the sudden interest is. From MPA:

Greek monuments in ancient Apollonia, Albania are being threatened with destruction because of the construction of a high-speed motorway promoted by the Albanian Transportation Ministry aimed at providing access to the Adriatic coasts for their tourist development at a time when new findings are being unearthed.

Excavation works began 3 years ago under the guidance of Cincinnati University professor Jack Davies and Lorenc Bejko from the Albanian Archaeology International Center who recently announced the discovery of a large ancient Greek temple (7th-4th century BC) possibly dedicated to ancient Greek goddess Artemis.

The region has a great significance for the history of the ancient Greek colonies in the Adriatic and during the past few years Italian, British, French, American and Israeli archaeologists are involved in excavations in Albania in sites with ancient Greek cities and monuments.
From the Democrat and Chronicle:

To anyone who didn't know her, Pauline Fritz must have lived a wonderful life.

She was 104 when she died last year. Like all people her age, she witnessed the dawn of the modern age. The automobile, the airplane, the harnessing of electricity and the atom, the space age.

But her life was firmly anchored 2,000 years ago with Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire and other wonders of the ancient world.

As we learned in class, one of Caesar's famous quotes was "veni, vidi, vici." "I came, I saw, I conquered."

Maybe we didn't conquer all the translations we were given. But we who had Miss Fritz for Latin class came to love the classics and we came to love her. She taught our mothers and fathers, our aunts and uncles.

And when she retired in 1965 after 41 years at East Rochester High School, the senior class dedicated the yearbook to her.

The dedication included a passage from Cicero: "Not only is there an art in knowing a thing, but also a certain art in teaching it."

I asked some of my classmates to reminisce about Miss Fritz. They said she imparted an indispensable knowledge of Latin and therefore of English. Petite and fragile-looking, she always had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. And even though she was old enough to be our grandmother, we never saw her as old.

How could we? Only in her class did we have happy fizzy parties with cookies. Whether it was declining a noun or conjugating a verb, she made it fun. Latin for her was not a dead language, but rather a window on a world that would serve us well all through school.

Miss Fritz was born in 1899, and in her later years she told friends she was so happy to have lived in three centuries. She also took pride in sharing a birthday with Julius Caesar and George Eastman.

Miss Fritz left us with an appreciation for Latin, a deeper understanding of English, and a feeling we're glad we didn't choose French.
... nothing of interest.
ante diem vi idus junias

215 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Mens (and associated rites thereafter)

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)

65 A.D.. -- rebels in Jerusalem capture the Antonia fortress

68 A.D. -- recognition of Galba as emperor in Rome (?)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 3)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5)

218 A.D. -- the Legio III Gallica, who had declared their loyalty for Bassianus (the future emperor Elagabalus) defeats the emperor Macrinus near Antioch; Macrinus fled

1768 -- death of Johann Winckelmann

Today Sotheby's offers provides us with a 2nd century marble of a 'weary' Asklepios. Good refs on the details page.

Apologies for forgetting about this feature the past couple of days ... one of those brain cramp things .... anyway:

glutinous @

talisman @ Merriam-Webster (interesting!)

oligopsony @ Wordsmith (use this in a sentence today!)

funipendulous @ Worthless Word for the Day

Speaking of words with Classical roots, idle surfing last night brought me to the National Spelling Bee (which really should be called 'international', now that Canadians seem to be taking part ... or is it 'national' in the same sense as National Hockey League?) just as some bright young guy was spelling fulgurent, so I paused to spell a few things to intimidate my own kids. After jabot and ptomaine, the announcer asked another kid to spell "gnaw make ya" ... the poor kid used all the options and I can't blame him. Is "gnaw make ya" how anyone really pronounces naumachia? He did spell it correctly ...
Quid moderatores dixerint (03.06.2005)

Plebiscitum Francogallorum moderatores Unionis Europaeae et ministros civitatum eius sociarum ad sententiam de nova rerum condicione proferendam elicuit.

Jose Manuel Barroso, praeses commissionis Unionis: "Unio Europaea", inquit, "in praesenti quidem magnis difficultatibus implicita est, sed hanc rem adversam aequo animo accipiamus oportet."

Jean-Claude Juncker, minister princeps Luxemburgi, negavit fieri posse, ut novae consultationes de lege fundamentali instituerentur.

Matti Vanhanen, minister primarius Finniae, cum eventum suffragii graviter ferret, tamen ait eum miserari nihil prodesse.

Nuntii Latini
, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Speaking of Jesus (see below), there's a new study out on what he technically died from ... here's the coverage from the Jerusalem Post:

Jesus died "suddenly" on the cross in Jerusalem only three to four hours after being crucified by the Romans, apparently due to a pulmonary embolism caused by the lack of movement of his limbs and not from hemorrhaging, a Technion Medical School and Rambam Medical Center expert on thrombosis suggests for the first time in the latest issue of the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Prof. Benjamin Brenner writes in a long letter to the editor published in the journal – backed up by 20 separate references from medical texts and the Christian Bible – that the 34-year-old Jesus of Nazareth may have had additional risk factors because he was Jewish.

"Born in Israel to a Jewish family, [it] is not unlikely that he had inherited a hypercoagulable state, since thrombophilia is linked to a mutation common in Israel and especially in people residing in the Galilee area," Brenner writes.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association two decades ago was only one of numerous medical journal articles that speculated about the suffering and death of Jesus, Brenner writes. The authors had suggested that he went for at least 12 hours without food and water after the "last supper." During that time, "from Thursday 9 p.m. to Friday 9 a.m., Jesus was under great emotional stress, endured beating and had to walk four kilometers to and from the sites of various Jewish and Roman trials. It is therefore clear that even before scourging [being lashed] and crucifixion, Jesus was in a state of dehydration."

The JAMA article added that the scourging on his back, buttocks and legs – which was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution – leads to significant tissue damage and causes pain and blood loss leading to a pre-shock state.

After scourging, Jesus was forced to carry on his shoulders the patibulum of the cross, which weighed 34 to 57 kilos for 600 meters to the site of crucifixion. This led to further dehydration and exhaustion.

But Brenner contends that the amount of blood he lost could not itself have resulted in circulatory failure.

Instead, he believes that multiple trauma associated with significant activation of the coagulation system, mainly by tissue factor, was what killed him. Being nailed to the cross at the wrists and ankles, wrote Brenner, led to further release of tissue factor and increased procoagulant activity. This prolonged immobilization in the upright position resulted in an increase in the risk of clots in his legs, which were likely to have traveled to his lungs.

"While on the cross, a victim experienced severe stress, prolonged sun exposure and developed rapid shallow breathing, which dramatically intensified dehydration," Brenner suggests. "Moreover, Jesus was also given wine for pain relief, probably causing increased production of urine. Experts say that crucified victims could survive on the cross between three hours to four days. But according to religious texts, Jesus was put on the cross on Friday before noontime and died at 3 p.m., thus his death was sudden. A Roman soldier stabbed him in his right chest after his death; the Romans did not, however, fracture his legs, causing death from asphyxia within minutes, even though this was done to the 'two thieves' to speed up their deaths."

From the City Times:

Rosalie and Jerry Lawson have an eye for collectibles. Their home in Shore Acres is filled with family heirlooms, holiday displays, Gone with the Wind memorabilia, reproductions of Chrysler's PT Cruiser.

They're no strangers to religious iconography. The couple are active Episcopalians - Jerry Lawson's father, the Very Rev. LeRoy Lawson, was the first dean of St. Peter's Cathedral.

One Valentine's Day, her brother found a heart-shaped potato chip, but no one in the family had ever seen what emerged from a bag of Lay's sour cream and onion potato chips a couple of weeks ago: an oval measuring roughly 11/2 inches in diameter, in which Rosalie Lawson saw the image of Jesus Christ. ..

The article is accompanied by a photo, in which the image looks suspiciously like a rather well-known 'persistence of vision' type optical illusion.
I don't usually include things from magazines which require an online subscription, but the tease for this one is good enough ... here's the incipit of a piece by G.W. Bowersock in the most recent edition of the New Republic:

The stupendous achievements of the Greeks of classical antiquity have long dazzled those who succeeded them. In philosophy, sculpture, architecture, drama, and oratory, later peoples could only aspire to the level of Plato, Praxiteles, Ictinus, Sophocles, or Demosthenes. Thucydides famously ascribed to Pericles a vision of Hellenism that instructed and encompassed the civilized world, and Athens appeared to be the first democracy on earth. Never mind that it was a democracy that depended upon slavery and excluded women. Never mind that the Greeks wrote their language in an alphabet that they borrowed from the Phoenicians. Their achievement was so irresistible that their culture overwhelmed even their conquerors, the Romans. As Horace put it succinctly in the time of Augustus, "Captured Greece took its victor captive." Generations of Western Europeans and their colonists everywhere have grown up with the idea that they are, in some profound way, the heirs of the Greeks....

... might be worth tracking down. As long as you're looking for that, you might also want to track down Mental Floss, which, as Blogographos pointed out, has a piece entitled 10 Latin Phrases You Pretend to Understand. We finally got a Starbucks within reasonable driving distance (yes, there are such places still) ... hopefully a Chapters or Indigo (or some other bookstore with a decent newsstand) will follow soon. [parenthetical rant ... I've got to drive almost half an hour to reach the first available bookstore ... it's a Smithbooks, of course, of the sort which defines 'history' as anything which has happened since 1939, unless it involves freemasons and conspiracies]
A reader sent this one in (thanks LL!) ... a piece in Education News has a nice coupla paragraphs (with links) relating the the U.S. founders' predeliction for Classics (Canada's 'Founding Fathers' had a predeliction for gin):

The Founding Fathers “were steeped in, soaked in, marinated in, the classics: Greek and Roman history, Greek and Roman ideas, Greek and Roman ideals,” says two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough. “It was their model, their example. And they saw themselves very much like the Greeks and the Romans, as actors on a great stage in one of the great historic dramas of all time, and that they, individually and as a group, had better live up to these heroic parts in which history had cast them.”

Although Greek and Roman civilizations were of the very distant past, they were vital to the task at hand. Had the Founding Fathers not been supremely literate in a cultural sense, there would have been no United States of America.

McCullough, in another context: “Historical memory is as much a necessity to the preservation of liberty and American security as is our own armed forces.” In that light America's young face coming threats unarmed. They do not read, few can write, they know little. They ignore the civic life of their communities and the nation. When their time “on a great stage” in the next great historic drama comes, they will be mute and confused.
I suspect this is one of the things which separate Classicists from much of the rest of the world ... the ability to see the big picture. For example, in a piece in the Columbia Missourian which begins full of gushing praise for the new 'natatorium' (somehow that moniker makes me think of something by Matt Groening rather than Latin), the concluding remarks come from a Classicist:

James McGlew, associate professor of Classical studies, relaxed in the hot tub in Tiger Grotto.

McGlew said his feelings are mixed about the new aquatics center.

“I think it’s a fabulous facility that with some tinkering can become a more efficient facility, especially as part of an educative institution,” McGlew said.

McGlew described empty basketball courts, hallways, and unused locker rooms with lights still on. He described jets running in empty pools.

“I just have to believe that with very little fixing, they can make this thing infinitely more energy efficient,” McGlew said.

McGlew said possible solutions to energy waste could involve installing motion sensitive lighting and shutting down the waterfall, vortex, and lazy river when the recreation pool is empty.

Personally, I've never understood why major institutions with pools don't use them in conjunction with some sort of heat exchanger to cool a building or two ....
Although there isn't a trace of ClassCon in the Reuters piece, there is something 'Roman' about it, no?:

The rousing trumpet music, the swish of the cape and the shouts of "Ole!" as the bull charges are all familiar to anyone who has seen a bullfight.

The unnerving thing in the bullring at this dusty central Mexican town is that bull and bullfighter are standing eye to eye, both about four feet high.

The Mexican "dwarf bullfighters" are carrying on a tradition born in Spain along with regular bullfighting, as well as an even longer legacy of "little people" as entertainers. But they say the ring showcases their skill and comic artistry, making them more than just a curiosity.

While the young bullocks they use are half the weight of regular fighting bulls, they are bred to be aggressive and, from a dwarf's perspective, are just as frightening as the real thing.

"It's scary when you are face to face with a bull. It hurts when you get hit. And it's dangerous if the bull falls on you," said Antonio Garcia, 40. Before entering the ring, he showed off scars on his head and dental repairs needed after run-ins with bulls.

"But I like it. I do it more for the fun than the money. I love being an artist, and, thanks to being short, I've had this opportunity to travel to lots of places," he said, grinning.

His troupe, which takes its show all over Mexico and the United States, does not fight the bullocks to the death but, like bloodless "corridas" in Portugal and France, it uses traditional bullfighting skills to lure and dodge them.

The small-statured "toreros" wear traditional gold-trimmed matador suits with pink stockings and black slippers and use pink and red capes to perform passes.

While the bullock is a constant danger, the show descends into comedy when two dwarf "picadors" enter the ring.

Instead of sitting on horses and spearing the bullock with spiked wooden pikes as in real bullfighting, the pair have fleecy pantomime-style dummy horses attached to their sides, providing padding, and their aim is to hit the animal with a squeezy plastic hammer.


Cassius Dio (67.8) mentions Domitian's penchant for gladiatorial events involving 'little people'.
Some more radio programs:

Roman Water Wheel

What Did the Ancients Eat



Ingenium Haud Absurdum

Searching for Cleopatra

Hero of Alexandria

The Pythagoreans


Linear B

... I think I've got enough for one more set of these anon ...

6.00 p.m. |DTC| Mysterious Death of Cleopatra
The daughter of an incestuous marriage, Cleopatra married and murdered her brothers, inheriting the throne of Egypt at age 17. Her life was filled with the unexplained. A team of experts reexamines the circumstances of Cleopatra's untimely death.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Ports of the Desert (From Marib to Palmyra)
Viewers meet up in the Arabian Peninsula, where we follow an ancient caravan route through the desert to Syria. Along the way, several lush oases in the otherwise barren Syrian desert come to our rescue in the form of Marib and Petra, site of the great tomb of Aaron that is carved out of a rock face, and the beautiful city of Palmyra. Join our virtual-reality tour of history's most intriguing ancient civilizations as we explore celebrated ancient sites using state-of-the-art computer technology.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Sailing with the Phoenicians
Sail with a Phoenician captain along the trade routes of the Mediterranean to the ancient ports of Byblos, Rhodes, Tharros, Motya, and the famous Roman naval base at Carthage. Phoenicians, the ancient inhabitants of modern-day Lebanon, were known to be expert sailors. State-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics allow viewers to see through the eyes of one these seaworthy Phoenicians, and insights from leading archaeology experts enhance the reality.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Great Scientists: Aristotle
Dr. Allan Chapman, Oxford University professor and historian of science, presents this humorous and entertaining series charting the life and times of some of the world's most influential scientists. Using a blend of archive footage, animation, and comedy dramatizations, Chapman presents engaging and accessible introductions to their complex theories and ideas. We begin with the Father of Science--Aristotle, a man whose ideas were so important in the foundation of science that they remained unchallenged for nearly 2,000 years. A student of Plato's Academy, Aristotle challenged commonly-held--and incorrect--views of the world. Allan Chapman journeys from Oxford's lecture theaters to the sunny beaches of Greece to tell us about the man who discovered the four elements--earth, air, wind, and fire--and first established the idea that there is a logical explanation for everything.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel

HINT = History International
ante diem vii idus junias

the 'inner sanctum' of the Temple of Vesta was opened to the (female) public

ludi piscatorii (?) -- a private festival celebrated by fishermen

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)

20 A.D. -- Nero Julius Caesar, son of the emperor-in-waiting Germanicus, dons his toga virilis; a congiarium is given to the people as well

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini -- a festival involving poetic contests, inaugurated by Domitian based on something done by Nero (day 2)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)

Today Sotheby's offers us a 2nd century head of Zeus Serapis. According to the details page, the type was created by an artist named Bryaxis (whom, I confess, I've never heard before).

Nomen Praetoriae mutatur (03.06.2005)

Magistratus Rei publicae Africae Australis propositum approbavit, ex quo Praetoria, caput civitatis, cum nova appellatione Tshwane mutaretur.

Incolae albicolores, qui mutationi adversantur, illud consilium per quandam damnationem memoriae captum esse censent.

Praetoria enim nomen accepit ex Andrea Praetorio, qui bello Burano saeculo undevicesimo mediante in Africa gesto praefectus exercitus erat.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Latest headlines:

25 die in Nepal in bomb explosion - Summer course all of it in Latin in France
Hmmm ... we seem to be witnessing some sort of campaign being mounted. From the Times:

THE discovery of a Greek temple in Albania has underlined the threat to the ancient city of Apollonia from development. A new road to the nearby coast, intended to open up the unexploited Adriatic coastline, would cut across former suburbs and divide the temple site from the city (The Times, April 25, 2005).

Jack Davis, of the University of Cincinnati, said: “A large stone temple, entirely unknown prior to our research, seems to have been built here in the Archaic or Classical period, between the 7th and 4th centuries BC.

“The temple at Bonjakët may be one of the earliest monumental Greek temples on the shores of the eastern Adriatic north of modern Greece.”

The area between the sea and Apollonia, founded as a Corinthian colony in the 6th century BC, had not been systematically explored by archaeologists until the projects begun three years ago under Professor Davis and Lorenc Bejko of the International Centre for Albanian Archaeology. Professor Davis said: “Much of the area was a vast marsh before it was drained in the last century.”

A few hummocks of slightly higher ground bear modern villages and farmsteads, one of which is owned by the Bonjakët family after whom the new site has been named. A Russian team had worked in the area in the 1950s, but the political rupture between Albania and the Soviet Union in 1960 left the work unfinished. Pottery figurines from the excavations showed that the Bonjakët site had been a shrine in the Hellenistic period between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC, but was probably founded several centuries earlier.

The shrine seems to have been isolated at first, and only in Hellenistic times did the area between the site and the walls of the city of Apollonia become filled with suburban development. Professor Davis believes that the shrine, close to the former mouth of the Vjosa River, marked the limit of Apollonia’s territory.

Professor Davis said: “It is not yet clear to whom the temple was dedicated, but there are clues.” A stele found nearby depicts Artemis with a torch, and a relief from Apollonia dedicated to Artemis Limnatis. Numerous votive figurines discarded around the temple depict reclining couples on a couch, sometimes accompanied by a figure of Eros.

Three courses of ashlar masonry were tied together with T-shaped metal clamps. Since such clamps were used from the 6th century BC onwards, they do not offer a date for the building, but several re-used Hellenistic carvings suggest a date in the late 4th century or later.

“The discovery of such significant remains emphasises the urgency of efforts to convince the Albanian authorities to redirect the new highway,” Professor Davis said. “If this road is built between the Bonjakët site and the walls of Apollonia, irreparable harm will be done.”

cf. a post from April (the link still works, I think).
We haven't had a 'Romans-invented-rugby' piece in a while, so here's one from IC Wales:

RUGBY legend Scott Quinnell as a gladiator...? Hmmm.

While the Wales and Lions legend certainly looked the part when our sister newspaper, Wales on Sunday, created this homage to the Russell Crowe epic Gladiator, it turns out that they may have been closer to the truth than they thought.

Because while they turned Quinnell into a Roman fighter before Wales took on Italy in 2001, historians are now saying that it was actually the Romans who invented the game.

Historians believe rugby may have been played by Roman legionaries in South Wales shortly after the birth of Christ.

About 2,000 years before William Webb Ellis picked up a ball at Rugby School, the Romans were playing seven-a-side.

The game may even have been played by "gwl diators" at a Roman fort.

Harpastum, a small ball game, involved touching down to score tries and tackling opponents to defend the try line.

A bladder ball was carried in the hand and passed between teammates rather than kicked along the ground.

Steven Ash, vice-president of Caerleon rugby club, found a reference to Roman rugby by legendary Western Mail rugby writer JBG Thomas.

The Roman Legionary Museum in Caerleon researched the claim and said they have found what could be a harpastum pitch in the town's ancient fort.

A spokesman for the museum said, "Excavations at the fortress baths complex have revealed a large colonnaded court yard, or palestra, for open-air exercise and games.

"Harpastum was brought to Britain by the Romans and it is very possible that it would have been practised here. Caerleon can now challenge Rugby, in Northamptonshire, for the title of rugby's birthplace."

Although Gwent-premier side Caerleon was founded 30 years ago, it may in fact be the oldest club in the world.

Mr Ash said the club's attempts to revive the Roman version of the game had floundered because it was too violent.

"We couldn't find a rugby team to play it, especially when they found out about the broken bones.

"The aim was to get the ball down over the line and you tried to stop your opponent from doing it."

Caerleon rugby club is proud of its Roman heritage. The team's crest carries a picture of the town's amphitheatre - the most complete site of its type remaining in Britain.

The club's ground - The Broadway - is opposite the Roman amphitheatre, founded in AD75 as one of the furthest outposts of the Roman Empire.

Harpastum was popular for about 700 to 800 years. It was played on a rectangular pitch with no more than 12 players.

Emperor Julius Caesar, who may even have played himself, used it to maintain his soldiers' physical fitness.

There are records of a harpastum match between the Romans and the native British, which the settlers won.

Though the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after William Webb Ellis, as is Ellis park in Johannesburg, rugby's roots are not known definitively.

Ellis went to Rugby School from 1816 to 1825. It was there that he is said to have picked up the ball during a football match.

Mr Ash said the WRU had not yet responded to his revelation that Wales is the true home of rugby, though he is hopeful the Italian rugby union might.

For an earlier item on the same subject (with some interesting links), see this post (you'll have to scroll down).
I believe this is intended to be a book review (from the Herald):

She has a demanding 16-month-old son plus two cats and a massive dog to feed, is due to attend a meeting followed by a business dinner and is set to fly to London at five in the morning for a day's filming for a TV documentary. It's a schedule fraught enough to floor any working mother, let alone a pint-sized one who is four months' pregnant. Yet 36-year-old Vanessa Collingridge refuses to crumble. In fact she's bubbling with energy and talks passionately about the subject that, just at the moment, is closest to her heart.
Boudica, the angry warrior queen who rose up against the Romans and almost ran them out of Britain in 60/61AD, has been Collingridge's heroine since childhood – and not just because they both have red hair. The Oxford geography graduate and television reporter, who first appeared as a weather girl on BBC Scotland in the early 1990s, has long admired the rebel leader's determination to challenge the status quo, and is visibly thrilled at having become the first British author to have written a non-academic account of the ancient Briton's life.
Collingridge has spent the past two years scouring the classical Latin and Greek accounts of Boudica's story by Caesar, Tacitus and Cassius Dio. But she has fleshed out the bare, and often one-sided, facts with information gleaned from recent archaeological finds and by placing Boudica in the context of other powerful women in ancient British and Roman history. First off, Boadicea is the wrong spelling: "Boud", the Celtic word for "victory", is the proper root.
"The few books that are available are written by men, and they ignore the sexual dynamic that is so fundamental to the whole story of Boudica," she says. "It is this dynamic that propels the politics, the outcome, the myth and the legend that has lasted for 2000 years.
"When I was at school I identified with Boudica's feistiness and she became my personal mascot. The other girls could have their blonde-haired Barbies, but I had my kick-ass carrot-top Queen."
The flame-haired Collingridge identifies with the sense of "otherness" surrounding Boudica. Her older four siblings and both parents all have the bright red hair of the Celtic race – her mother's family is from Scourie, Sutherland, and her father is half-Irish. Growing up in a small village in rural England, she remembers being acutely aware of how conspicuous the family were, and of being mercilessly teased at school.
Wretched though it was, the persecution Collingridge experienced was nothing compared with what the Iceni queen Boudica endured from the moment her husband, King Prasatagus, died in 60AD.
The Iceni tribe's domain covered what is today's Norfolk, north Suffolk and north-east Cambridgeshire. They had submitted to Claudius after his invasion of Britain in 43AD and Prasatagus had been a "client king" of the Romans. This meant he was allowed to keep his kingdom as long as he maintained a pro-Roman stance and paid his dues to his conquerers. In his will he left half of his estate to the Roman Emperor, Nero, and half to his two daughters.
But the patriarchal Romans were having none of it. Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped. Collingridge refers to this act as "the outrage against Boudica" and you can see her empathetic indignance shining out brightly in her eyes.
"Rome wanted to put Boudica in her place. It was bully-boy tactics," she says. "They were saying, 'women are scum, we don't respect your politics, your monarchical role and certainly not your daughters' right to inherit a treaty we made with your husband'."
Can we be sure Boudica had red hair? The only existing physical description is by Cassius Dio, who died in 235AD – 175 years after Boudica's final battle. In Colllingridge's own translation from his Greek text, he describes her as "very tall, in her demeanour most terrifying, in the glint of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mound of the tawniest hair fell to her hips".
"Tawny" has been interpreted through the ages as "red" and Collingridge contends that while this description makes for great drama, it also exposes the stereotypes and myths that abounded in the writings of the time.

Frequent Explorator contributor AS sent this one in (thanks!) ... the Antiquanova people make some really nice reproductions of coins, including ancient ones. Some coins are made of tin and are clearly affordable. It would be nice (hint, hint) if they made a teaching set or something like a Roman-history-through-coins set .... of course, if you haven't visited Hobbyblog lately, EF continues to post a (real) ancient coin a day ...
Excerpts from a press release:

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will fund sixteen new Priority Programmes from the beginning of 2006. [...]

The new Priority Programmes are:


The polis as a form of city-state in the Eastern Mediterranean is the subject of the Priority Programme "The Hellenistic polis as a way of life. Urban structures and civil identity between tradition and change". The researchers involved in this Priority Programme have set out to take a fresh look at the rather stayed view of the heyday and demise of the classical Athenian polis and to revise the prevailing stereotypes. Using a novel methodological approach, characterised most markedly by innovative networking of archaeological and historical research, they aim to demonstrate that the historical development of the Hellenistic city-state cultures and the towns at their centres needs to be seen as a process which gained increased dynamism during the Hellenistic era. The significance of this work, involving research partners from numerous Mediterranean countries, is expected to extend well beyond the boundaries of classical studies. ( Coordinator: Prof. Martin Zimmermann, University of Munich )

... it just occurred to me ... do we ever hear of Classics programs in Germany (or Italy) being threatened by cuts?
This one's a bit different ... the incipit of an article (without a photo, alas) from the Daily Southtown:

Barbara Klinkhammer is not a devoutly religious person.

But after the 55-year old Sauk Village woman awakened her 2-year old pet painted turtle from hibernation this spring, friends and family noticed something. Set against an orange background on the turtle's underside is a bluish black marking that looks like a human figure.

After having a priest look at it, Klinkhammer believes it is a likeness of the Virgin Mary, perhaps similar to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The conclusion of an item in Nature:

Baxter and his colleagues plan to use the Montserrat data to develop a computer model of an eruption of Vesuvius. A new study of the effects of such flows on the Roman city of Pompeii, by Lucia Gurioli of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Pisa and coworkers2, might aid their efforts.

Gurioli's team estimated the temperatures in Pompeii from the amount of magnetism left unmelted in rocks and building fragments. By mapping the temperatures throughout the remains, the researchers could see how the shapes and arrangements of buildings and streets set up turbulence that could have cooled the flow in some places.

The findings paint a bleak picture. The town, nine kilometres southeast of Vesuvius, was smothered in about 2.5 m of ash even before the 300 °C pyroclastic flows struck, choking life and caving in roofs. And changes in the flow swirling over walls didn't seem to reduce the temperature below about 100 °C, so survivors of the ash would have burned to death.

Civil engineers are interested in the temperature measurements at Pompeii, says Gurioli's colleague Roberto Lanza of the University of Turin, because they offer clues about how soon emergency vehicles could drive into a town struck by pyroclastic flows without their tyres melting.

An abstract of the Gurioli article is available online, with the usual links to read it online if your institution has paid for access ...
This Eureka Alert press release is turning up in various forms ... we'll see what spins off of it:

New research into the Ancient Greeks shows their knowledge of travel inspired early forms of fantasy and science fiction writing.

There is a long tradition of fantasy in Greek literature that begins with Odysseus' fantastic travels in Homer's Odyssey. Dr Karen Ni-Mheallaigh, at the University of Liverpool's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, is exploring fantasy in ancient literature, examining theories of modern science fiction writing and how these can be applied to texts from the ancient world.

Dr Ni-Mheallaigh is looking at the work of 2nd century AD writer, Lucian of Samosata, who wrote True Histories, a travel narrative that includes an account of a trip to the moon and interstellar warfare. Antihanes of Berge - who wrote about his travels in the far north of Europe, where it was so cold that conversations 'froze in the air,' - will also be examined, as well as the writer Herodotus who wrote about 'flying snakes; and 'giant gold-digging ants' in India.

Dr Ni-Mheallaigh explains: "Fantasy writing in the ancient world is still relatively unexplored from a literary perspective. What is so interesting about these fantastical journeys is that many of them are written in the form of truthful travel logs and historical texts. The Greeks had a fascination with the exotic and other worlds and some writers travelled to the north and Far East to satisfy their intrigue. The cultures they found there were so different from their own that they were inspired to fantasize and speculate about even more remote and exotic worlds.

"The Greeks seemed to have had an anxiety about writing pure fiction, and so writers who were notorious for their 'tall' tales such as Ctesias, Antiphanes and Megathenes - would write about their adventures in the form of travel logs, or back up their findings with pseudo-documentary evidence, such as 'rediscovered' texts or invented inscriptions.

"It was Lucian who was the first to admit that everything he wrote was untrue and could never occur. His writing-style is however calculated to convince his reader that all his adventures are in fact true. His writing plays a very clever game with the reader's mind, and, like all science fiction and fantasy writing today, allows the reader to ponder, what if?
Paul Niskanen, The Human and the Divine in History: Herodotus and the Book of Daniel, Review of Biblical Literature

F. Garcia Martinez And G. P. Luttikhuizen, eds., Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome: Studies in Ancient Cultural Interaction in Honour of A. Hilhorst, Review of Biblical Literature

9.00 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.

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.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Greece
It is a sad fact that many Grecian achievements were destroyed by those who subsequently conquered the land; however, those that survive are a testimony to Greek skill and ideals. We take viewers on an incredible journey to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Acropolis and the Parthenon--now and as they once were--and the majesty of the remains at Delphi, including the inspiring Temple of Zeus. Featuring new location footage, stylish period reconstructions, and groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation sequences, as well as interpretation and analysis by the world's leading authorities, including Dr. John Bennet of the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford and Dr. Chris Pelling of University College, Oxford.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel

HINT = History International
ante diem viii idus junias

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 1) -- a festival involving poetic contests, inaugurated by Domitian based on something done by Nero

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)

[*I'm still searching for info on the ludi L&G ... I'm not sure the article in Smith's Dictionary applies]
Folks with a penchant for 'The Apprentice'-type shows will want to check out ABC tonight for a show called The Scholar wherein assorted high school seniors are competing for a big scholarship. Perusing the biographies of the contestants, only one -- Amari -- seems to have Latin (and Greek!) in her background, although she intends to pursue a career in public policy.

This week we feature items from an auction at Sotheby's ... here's a nice 3rd/2nd century terracotta theatre mask depicting a slave. I'm sure most folks don't need the details page to be referred to that oft-seen mosaic in Rome for comparanda (it's in Bieber ... it's on the cover of a pile of textbooks (even an edition of Carcopino as I recall).

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

Israel frees 400 Palestinians to reinforce Abu Mazen - The Holy Family Temple will hold ceremonies in three years
A new issue of Ephemeris has hit the estands ....
Have you ever wondered who translates the Letters of Credence from Vatican City State other Heads of States into Latin? Well our very own “Latin Lover” who often gets scolded for his erudite knowledge of this ancient language...

[actually, he talks a pile about the monuments in the Forum, then gets into a nice section on the current state of Latin]

Listen ...
This one's making the rounds of assorted 'smaller' lists and also showed up in my box direct from the Vatican's Zenit news service:

It will be Latin-only for a week this July in the Abbey of Saint-Michel de Frigolet in France, even to ask for a glass of water.

A course entitled "Feriae XXIV Latinae Ferigoletenses," sponsored by the Holy See's Latinas Foundation, aims to promote Latin among people who have some knowledge of it and wish to improve their skills with it.

"Latin is an ancient language. The fact of using it as a modern language allows for better understanding of ancient texts," the organizers explained in a statement.

The course will not turn out orators like Cicero or Julius Caesar, but they will speak as the latter did in everyday life.

The sessions were started in Graz, Austria, in 1982, by Discalced Carmelite Father Suitbert de Saint-Jean. The program has had the support of Latin enthusiasts, as well as the author of the famous Assimil linguistic method, Clément Desessard.

The week is open to all, but the organizers point out that the course is offered by a Catholic organization, and that daily Mass will be offered in Latin. The homily and readings will be in French.

Singing, guided tours and informal conversations will be in Latin, supplementing the formal class instruction.

The session begins on July 27, and costs 30 euros ($37), with a special rate of 12 euros ($15) for students and the unemployed. Accommodation is separate.

For more information, in French or Latin, contact
Wolfram Hörandner, Johannes Koder, Maria A. Stassinopoulou, Wiener Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik: Beiträge zum Symposion Vierzig Jahre Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik der Universität Wien im Gedenken an Herbert Hunger. Wien, 4.-7. December 2002. Byzantina et Neograeca Vindobonensia 24.

Mischa Meier, Barbara Patzek, Uwe Walter, Josef Wiesehöfer, Deiokes, König der Meder - Eine Herodot-Episode in ihren Kontexten. Oriens et Occidens 7.

Daniel C. Snell, A Companion to the Ancient Near East. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World.
A brief item from MPA ... hopefully we'll get more details on this one soon:

A large archaeological site, dating back to the ancient Greek Marseille founded 2,600 years ago, was brought to light by archaeological excavations. The site was discovered in the Old Port at the center of Marseille, France, reports the AFP.

According to archaeologists, the site is exceptional due to the ancient ruins found there, its size (400 square meters) and its layers that go as deep as 3 meters. The oldest of the buildings that were discovered (575-550 BC) were probably residences with stone foundations and brick walls.

Around 550 BC, a large construction of 120 square meters was erected in the region, most likely a building of worship, and the objects found in the area are pieces of ancient Greek origin pottery.
More items of interest from the Engines of Our Ingenuity program (mentioned yesterday ... scroll down a bit):


The Sign of the Barber Pole
[anyone have a ref for tonsores removing brands?]

An Etruscan Wreck

Women in Mathematics



Last Days of Pompeii

A Minoan Wreck

The Pantheon

Eratosthene's Diameter of Earth

... more tomorrow
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
Issue 8.06 of our Explorator newsletter and the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings are now available ... enjoy!
This a.m.'s Explorator links to the UHouston Engines of Our Ingenuity site, which contains transcripts and audio from what appears to be an excellent radio program. A quick search turns up quite a few programs of interest to us:

Cats in Ancient Cyprus

Humanism and Feminism


Early Women Doctors

Hypatia's Mathematics

Greek War and Politics

The Iatros

Antikythera Mechanism

Delphic Oracle


... more anon
From an editorial in the Times-Union:

It's worth paying attention to the origin of words. Economics hasn't always been about the accumulation of wealth or the management of the stock market. The word economics derives from the Greek word oikodome, meaning household.

In the ancient world, economics was about the ways in which a household was shaped and managed, and how it contributed to the good of the community in which it participated. Today, the needy of our global village outnumber those who have their needs met. We may think of this as important or sad, but we forget that it's also economics.
Lengthy piece in the Kane County Chronicle:

The study of Latin used to be "sine qua non," something indispensable.

Now, well-established programs in local schools can be difficult to come by.

But Latin is far from a dead language, educators argue.

Per capita, alma mater, p.s., addenda and millennium are examples of Latin words and phrases that make their way into daily conversation.

The months of the year, planet names, classifications of animals and plants, and musical terms, et cetera, all are written in or derived from Latin.

Still, it was Swahili classes that were offered most recently at Elgin Community College, not Latin. In fact, Rick Mao, Elgin's dean of liberal arts and sciences, said he cannot remember if Latin has ever been taught there.

It is all about demand, he said, and area college students just have not shown the necessary interest in the root of the Romance languages.

However, two area school districts — Batavia and St. Charles — have found that Latin can generate a dedicated following among middle and high schoolers.

For more than 50 years, St. Charles' Latin program has been a staple for foreign language students.

Although not as favorable, per se, as Spanish, French or even German, Latin's usefulness and connection to modern English is undeniable, veteran Latin teacher Judy Vonasch said.

"It adds to a wider knowledge of your classical, western civilization and heritage," Vonasch said. "You're learning a lot about a lot of different things in the world that are still related to Latin; you can't even do the month of the year or a.m./p.m. without Latin."

Vonasch is not the only educator in the Tri-Cities with such overwhelming respect for and belief in Latin's usefulness.

"Students who master Latin have a better grasp at root words and language in general," said Jane Gazdziak, Geneva's assistant superintendent for curriculum, who believes that a rudimentary knowledge of Latin will increase English proficiency, school scores and overall understanding of Western culture.

Gazdziak said she pushed for Latin curriculum at Geneva years ago but was met with reluctance by parents and students. The district offers Spanish, French and German.

Batavia, however, has no problem filling the desks in Gilda Walls' Latin classes. Latin has been offered in Batavia for 20 years.

"We're very proud of (our Latin program), and our students are very happy having taken it," Batavia Associate Principal Fred Rasmussen said. "I don't remember the last complaint we had about Latin class other than we don't offer it at the AP level."

A waiting list for Batavia's program is expected each school year, with students taking the courses for various reasons. Students with dreams of medicine, law or other science-related fields find a Latin background helpful, Rasmussen said, but a change from the norm also can be quite appealing.

"Our students have the opportunity to take French and Spanish at the middle school level, and some of them enjoy that and move on," he said. "But for the students who aren't interested in pursuing those two, Latin is a very viable offer."

The Geneva and Kaneland school districts currently are without Latin programs, but the ball is rolling on the option in Kaneland.

The district is looking into a world cultures program for the middle school, which would build a foundation for the addition of Latin at the high school level several years down the road.

"I think it would be a good extension of a lot that we do with our social studies department already and a nice add-on to our foreign language department," Kaneland's Curriculum Director Sarah Mumm said.

Et tu, Kaneland?

Common Latin phrases

* quid pro quo — an equal exchange

* mea culpa — my fault

* caveat emptor — let the buyer beware

* sic semper tyrannus — so always to tyrants

* ad nauseam — to the point of disgust or satiety

* cogito ergo sum — I think, therefore I am

* in vino veritas — in wine is truth

* carpe diem — seize the day

* magna cum laude — with great distinction

* e pluribus unum — one out of many

* semper fidelis — always faithful

* et cetera — and the rest, and the others

* alma mater — nurturing mother

* memorabilia — memorable things

* millennium — a thousand year period
Again ... from Commercial Appeal (see below):

Cordova High School's Latin students topped last year's achievements with some of the highest scores in the school's history.

Earning perfect scores on the National Latin Exam were Vamsikrishna Vennam, Juan Dopico, Jaime Hopkins and Joel Mosny.

Also earning gold medals were Ashley Fish, Ebone Ingram, Midori Eng, Kelsey Gilliam, Nishita Baxi, Dionne Humphrey, Brad Yale, Trung Nguyen, Jennifer Tucker, Joseph Hayden and Kristyn Smith.

Earning silver medals were Meredith Joe, Jacob Burks, Meaghan Michalchuk, Danielle Rhein, Russell Powers, Jessica Tucker, Alicia Queen and Daniel Partain.

Fourteen other students received certificates of merit.

Latin students also competed in the annual Tennessee Junior Classical League Convention in Clarksville. Anchored by senior Victoria Parnell, an accomplished French student during her years at CHS, the Cordova JCL captured the third place overall trophy (middle division).

Parnell placed in Derivatives and Vocabulary. Kyle Gillespie placed in the essay contest, and Alicia Queen placed in Dramatic Latin.

In addition to Parnell and Gillespie, Michael Chang, Austin Canfield, and Jessica Tucker placed in athletics. The Cordova JCL delegation placed fifth in the state in the publicity contest.

Jason Nabors is a Latin teacher and sponsor of the Junior Classical League at Cordova High School.
From Commercial Appeal:

Germantown High School Latin students know that the so-called "dead" language is alive and well right along with its civilization, so they thought they would try it out on a sunny spring day at C.O. Franklin Park with their teacher Barbara Hardin.

The students from beginning Latin to the advanced placement level competed in a contest to see whose catapult could shoot the farthest, which could shoot with the most accuracy, and -- just for fun -- which was the "beauty queen" of catapults.

The competition was limited to "onagers," a type of catapult that shot large boulders the length of a football field in Roman times. Instead of boulders, these catapults shot small stones up to 106 feet in distance.

In the distance contest, winners were: first place, John Barger; second place, Alex Babakus; and third place, Erin Parker.

In the accuracy competition the places were first place, Erin Parker; second place, Alex Babakus; and third place, Andrew Phillips.

In the "Beauty Queen" contest, Anna Abernathy won first place, Steven Geyer took second and Jesse Edwards came in third.
From an editorial on the Felt revelations comes this somewhat strange (it seems to me) claim:

Betrayed by his own venality and paranoia, Nixon left the White House in 1974 in disgrace. That phrase and its variations - "disgraced former president Richard Nixon" being the most popular in my profession - came to define the 37th president, the only American president to resign from office. In disgrace.

He could have entered a monastery and spent 1972 translating The Iliad from the original Greek and he still would have crushed the hapless George McGovern. Instead he surrounded himself with amoralists who broke laws attempting to remove any doubt about the election's outcome.

Actually, I suspect if more politicians went to monasteries to translate the Iliad -- and didn't come out until they were done -- the world would be a better place.
POMPEII: The Living City
by Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence
(reviewed by Mary Beard)

by Peter Heather

by Bryan Ward-Perkins
According to an item posted on the Classicists list, the Classical Press of Wales is having a big sale with everything in their catalog half price until the end of the month. All you have to do is enter the promotion code X2JUNE at the checkout ... worth a look; they've got some interesting stuff.
Hagg and Rousseau, Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity

Today we have a very stern looking Flavian lady. Details.

Some interesting (counterproductive?) comments by Stanley Lombardo in this AP piece making the rounds:

To Heidi TenPas, mom is sometimes "mater." And Tiffany Kwak might jokingly call a friend "pestis" or "furcifer."

Who said Latin class was a snore? Not these Free State High students. The two are among a growing number of teens turning to Latin for an academic challenge, a bit of fun, and an edge if they ever find themselves on a television quiz show.

In the process they gain entry to a new, yet familiar language, with words like mater, which means mother, and pestis and furcifer, which mean pest or scoundrel.

"Latin is definitely a cool thing to know and to learn," TenPas said.

The number of students studying Latin is on the rise, according to the National Latin Exam. This year 135,000 students took the exam. And the numbers have steadily climbed since the test first began in 1977 with 6,000 test-takers.

"The enrollment numbers have been stronger in the last couple years," said Ruth Gibbs, a Free State High Latin teacher. But that success is relative. About 60 students took Latin at Free State in the 2004-05 school year. And Gibbs said getting high numbers often was a struggle.

Students often chose to take Latin for practical reasons. They want to up their SAT scores. They want to be doctors or lawyers or scientists, and so they want to learn Latin terms. They want to improve their vocabularies. They want to impress people.

Latin has a highbrow image.

"It makes you look smarter or something," said Kwak, who along with TenPas, deciphered the words of Cicero on the doors of Kansas University's Campanile.

But there is a better impetus than learning terminology, said Stanley Lombardo, a Kansas University classics professor.

"These are not good reasons in my opinion to undertake the rigorous study of Latin," Lombardo said. "They are little pluses. That's all they are. The only really good reason to learn Latin is to be able to read classical authors."

Nothing compares to the experience of reading important literature in its original language, Lombardo said.

"Kids are kids," Lombardo said. "They don't really come to appreciate literary and philosophical texts until they're much older."

But getting to that stage takes time. Kwak and TenPas finally are reading original texts.

Latin suffered, in part, when higher education took a more practical turn - a move that sidelined Latin studies a bit, Lombardo said. But, he said, Latin remains a valued study.

And young people continue to find new benefits to exploring the language.

TenPas watched a recent "Jeopardy!" show. One category was dedicated to questions about Latin.

"If I was on 'Jeopardy!' that day, I would have won," she said.

"It makes you feel really good about yourself when you have this completely foreign thing in front of you and you can understand it," TenPas said.
From Commercial Appeal:

Latin students proved that the classical language is alive and well at Memphis University School when they took the National Latin Exam.

All participating Dunavant Upper School students and 86 percent of Hull Lower School students who took the exam received an award.

Junior Jesse Mahautmr of Bartlett was among six students who had a perfect score.

The exam recognizes students in first, second, third, and fourth places within their grade levels.

"The lads of MUS really did themselves and the school proud with their performance on the NLE this year," said Latin instructor Trey Suddarth, also of Bartlett.

The scholars continued their winning streak at the Tennessee Junior Classical League (TJCL) Convention at Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tenn.

TJCL is an all-around Latin tournament for schools across the state. Students who attend must be enrolled in a Latin course and maintain membership in their local chapter of the JCL. Participants compete in three categories: academics, athletics (Olympika) and arts.

With 40 students competing, MUS won first place in the athletic category and second place in the academic contest. In addition, the team that included eighth-grader and Bartlett resident Brandon Parrish won the state title in the novice division of the Certamen competition, a sort of Latin quiz bowl.

Points earned in individual and team events are tallied to determine a school's final standing in the sweepstakes. MUS finished second overall and took home an additional award for outstanding team spirit.
A piece in the Guardian about a doctor in Rome who 'illegally' provided medical services to refugees and the like concludes with an interesting quote:

But, like a true Roman, Dr Morrone's perspective stretches not for centuries but for millennia. "Aeneas, whose people founded Rome, was a refugee. He fled from Troy. If we give refugees the same welcome he received, then we are continuing to add grandeur to our city".

Some noggin fodder in there ... I wonder how many folks 'on the street' would know the cultural reference.
Among the things I've always been fascinated with is the human predeliction to see simulacra -- apparent 'pictures' or 'images' in something where one doesn't expect them, like clouds or whatever. My interest caught on when I was a kid interested in paranormal stuff and read about Mackenzie King's (a former Canadian Prime Minister) habit of seeing 'things' in his shaving cream. In any event, in the past little while there has been an epidemic of simulacra sightings, most commonly of Jesus or the Virgin Mary in this or that; such sightings are, no doubt, spurred on by the fact that certain casinos have paid large amounts of money for such images and the publicity in general which seems to accompany such sightings.. Mark Goodacre was posting such things for a while at NT Gateway, but now I'll take up the gauntlet on this score since I get a pile of them in my mailbox each week. To justify their inclusion here at rc, I can say that these are the sorts of things which Julius Obsequens would have been interested in, although it's interesting that I can't find an example of an ancient divinity appearing in this manner (although I strongly suspect that the image of the Magna Mater was some sort of simulacrum).

So hic incipit what might be a semi-regular feature ... our first offering is an image of Jesus which appeared in the paint of a wall in Detroit ... another one that keeps popping up in my box is an image of Jesus in an ultrasound image ... fulfilling the scholastic rule of three, we have another image of Jesus in a Fort Worth window (I can't see this one myself) ... in a semi-related context, we might also note that Taco Bell has opened an online 'Food Sightings Museum' (which doesn't seem to work properly in Firefox, alas), although it is interesting that none of the images there are 'religious' in nature (unless you count Chewabacca).
A piece in the Sydney Morning Herald ponders the plight of the Hollywood hero, inter alia:

It has not been a good year for old-style heroes. Hector (Eric Bana), Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Paris (Orlando Bloom) all died an early death at the box office courtesy of Troy. Ridley Scott's crusader epic, Kingdom of Heaven, with a budget of $US130 million ($171 million), and Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson leading the charge, has made only $US41 million after three weeks and is fading fast.

Oliver Stone's Alexander, with an estimated budget of $US150 million and a raft of high-profile actors - including Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie - faltered at the US box office after earning a paltry $US34.3 million, even though it opened on 2445 screens.

Still, Hollywood persists. The people who control the comic and pulp fiction superhero franchises, which have served the American movie machine so well in the past, still believe they have a lucrative and responsive market. Will they succeed? By this time next year we will know for sure.


So what has gone wrong? What happened to the old-style celluloid epic hero? Is it true that in a digital age audiences are more excited by 20,000 digitally created warriors than a screen heart-throb standing tall and behaving honourably? Or have we simply become sick of Hollywood foisting upon us muscled men in short skirts uttering monosyllabic banalities?

These questions swirl around the recent epic film failures - especially Troy. If any film of this genre was going to succeed, surely this was the one that had "gold-plated" written over every spear, arrow and the naked bottoms of Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger. However, it couldn't retrieve its $US185 million budget; it collapsed at the US box office with returns of about $133 million.

The story of Troy, based on Homer's Iliad, was the archetype for nearly all western epics and the near-invincible and god-like Achilles was the quintessential hero. But Hollywood miscast Brad Pitt. "Oh dear!" audiences around the world thought, "If heroes have come to this, then maybe we're better off with boneheaded, pratfalling heroes such as Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler). Maybe we should be grateful that at least we have the spectacle of tens of thousands of spear-waving pixillated ciphers when we waste our time going to a bad costume epic."

That's the issue. Have we reached a point where the bumbling, fumbling incompetent (think of the irritating Mr Incredible in The Incredibles, which earned more than its $US92 million budget within a week of release in the US) is more attractive than the man of action? Have we, against all the persuasive marketing power of Hollywood, turned our backs on the classic heroes?

Troy and Achilles (and Brad Pitt) lie at the heart of any discussion about heroes because, as the Oxford Dictionary points out, when the word "hero" entered the English language in the 14th century it meant: "A name given (as in Homer) to men of superhuman strength, courage, or ability, favoured by the gods ... regarded as intermediate between gods and men, and immortal." A definition, interestingly, that would comfortably apply to Superman, Spiderman, Batman, the Phantom et al.

Over the next three centuries, the term broadened to include any "man who exhibits extraordinary bravery, firmness, fortitude, or greatness of soul, in any course of action, a man admired and venerated for his achievements and noble qualities". This definition pretty much includes all those monosyllabic western heroes depicted by John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott and Audie Murphy, as well as characters of great moral courage such as John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis) in The Crucible and Juror No. 8 (Henry Fonda) in 12 Angry Men.


The most widely accepted is the hero as a man of action. This is the cliched vision of the Hollywood hero. This includes Mad Max, John J. Rambo (in the later movies), Rocky Balboa, the Terminator and any Stan Lee comic hero lucky enough to make the big screen. These heroes are invariably played by good-looking actors - although how vertically challenged people such as Alan Ladd (who, according to legend, had to stand on a box to kiss his leading lady and almost needed a ladder to get on his horse) and Tom Cruise fit the definition is a mystery. Equally vexing is the presence of Arnie Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel, Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Bernstein explains this love of gleaming muscles, however, when he observes, "The hero is valorous because he stands up to every threat directed against his values." The values espoused by Rocky, Rambo and their pals are nothing more than good versus evil, which, in Hollywood terms, means anyone (communists, terrorists, international criminals, psychopaths) who dares to challenge the American way.


The modern hero is courageous and moral rather than musclebound and overactive. This is probably the culmination of a process that started in the '50s with antiheroes such as Willy Loman (in Death of a Salesman), Cal Trask (James Dean) in East of Eden and Jim Stark (Dean again) in Rebel Without a Cause.

Even at the height of Hollywood's "musclebound hero" phase, Sylvester Stallone was capable of playing that great Vietnam vet antihero John Rambo in the Rambo movies. He fought against a society that he believed had betrayed him.

So, what about the new Batman, new Superman and a new James Bond? The orthodoxy suggests that they will be little different than their old models. They will deal with contemporary baddies (no prizes for guessing that Islamic terrorists will be high on the list) and their basic modi operandi will be the same. But now they will have all those fancy digital enhancements to ensure the explosions are bigger and the enemy is capable of mustering an army of tens of thousands.

The hero has been around since Homer's time and we really don't want to tamper with him/her too much. Heroes fulfil our fantasies and ease our fears. And that always ensures that cinemas are full.
From a piece in the Guardian about John Carey (author of Down With Dons, among other things):

Much of Carey's vitriol has been deployed, over the years, against snobbery and intellectual pretension. The invective of "Down with Dons", written in 1975, was aimed not at scholarship but at the exclusive public-school arrogance of figures such as the legendary Oxford classicist Maurice Bowra, whom Carey attacked for their "unhesitating donnish assumption that the comfort and pleasure of ordinary people are of no account when set against the need to advertise one's superiority".
My mailbox is filling up with various versions of this one, from ABC:

Archaeologists have uncovered 17 ancient Celtic coins in a field in the south of the Netherlands, the first hoard of such coins found in the country.

Amsterdam's Free University excavated the site in April and will display the coins, which are made of silver and mixed with copper and gold, in the Limburgs Museum in the city of Venlo on Saturday.

They are estimated to date from 20-50 B.C., shortly after Julius Caesar began the Roman conquest of the region.

Leaders of local Germanic tribes "probably used these coins to reward their followers for loyalty," researchers said.

Similar finds have been made in neighboring Belgium and Germany.

... more in tomorrow's Explorator.
A link (posted to the Classics list) to a nice photo of a full moon rising over the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion ... the photo is by Anthony Ayiomamitis, who we mentioned a week or so ago in conjunction with his analemma photos of other Greek monuments.
ante diem iii nonas junias

Saecular Games continue (day 3)

some time after 296 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of Bellona (and associated rites thereafter)

Today's offering from Christie's -- a second century Fortuna -- includes a term I've never seen before. According to the details page, the belt you see is an example of a "Hercules knot" ...

agglomeration @

finale @ Wordsmith

Mark Felt "Gula profunda" (03.06.2005)

Iam plus triginta annos quaesitum erat, quisnam fuisset vir, "Gula profunda" appellata, qui duos redactores Americanos Bob Woodward et Charles Bernstein adiuvaret ad scandalum Watergate palam faciendum.

Quod aenigma Kalendis Iuniis solutum est, cum Mark Felt, olim director adiunctus Officii Foederatorum Vestigatorii (FBI), in publicum prodiit confitens se illum delatorem esse. Res Watergate, e parvis initiis exorta, ad extremum eo adducta est, ut praesidenti Richard Nixon mense Augusto anno millesimo nongentesimo septuagesimo quarto (1974) munus deponendum esset.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
I just quickly checked to see whether the UMI folks had an RSS feed or something, and I came across this recent dissertation in Chinese studies:

TITLE: The rogue classicist: Feng Fang (1493--1566) and his forgeries (China)
AUTHOR: Rusk, Bruce Arthur

Here's the incipit of the abstract:

This dissertation examines the textual forgeries of Feng Fang (1566?) against the background of the intellectual and cultural history of the Ming period in China. The forgeries were variant versions of several canonical texts, most of the Five Classics and one of the Four Books (collectively, the so-called "Confucian Classics"). The forgeries were part of a complex engagement by Ming scholars with a long legacy of scholarship, especially with the Song dynasty Dao Learning enshrined as state orthodoxy. [...]

... hmmm ... shades of Benito Trovato.
This was mentioned over on AegeaNet yesterday ... there's a recent ph.d. dissertation online:

Hellemans, Geert, Etude phonetique et graphique du [j] (jod) en grec mycénien

Obviously it's in French, so here's the English abstract:

Our study deals with the pronunciation and spelling of Mycenaean, the oldest Greek dialect known to man (ca. 1400-1200 BC). More specifically, it is investigated in which word positions the [j] sound occurred and to what extent this sound has been systematically recorded on the clay tablets in Linear B script. For each word position (e.g. word-initially or in intervocalic position) the relevant material is presented and interpreted, in dialogue with the literature already present. Moreover the phonetic result of Indo-European [j] in Mycenaean is reconstructed, whenever it deviates from the inherited [j] sound.
History of e.g. French, German or Dutch spelling shows the existence of variants, some ofwhich have gradually disappeared, while others have been generalized. Our study demonstrates that such phenomena are also apparent in Mycenaean spelling (e.g. in the notation of material adjectives). Originally the spelling was predominantly phonetic; gradually it became more standardized and more conservative, but never entirely uniform.
Our study aims to contribute to the description of the Mycenaean phonetic system. Special attention in this respect is paid to linguistic variation: various types of pronunciation and spelling variants are traced and commented on (the available data from Knossos and Pylos are being continuously compared; additionally the specific character of the documents from the Room of the Chariot Tablets at Knossos is studied). Our theory on Linear B as a mixed spelling system, finally, transcends the primary question of our study and may inspire other Mycenologists and language historians.

Please feel free to pass along more online dissertations that you are aware of ...
From the Scotsman:

Bomb disposal experts today detonated a 250lb World War II bomb unearthed near the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Pompeii, a police official said.

Residents and tourists were forced to evacuate the area. The archaeological site remained closed for the day, Pompeii’s archaeological office said.

The British-made bomb, discovered last week during construction works on a road near the ruins, was detonated after a wall of earth had been constructed around it to cushion the impact of the explosion, a police official in Pompeii said.

The bomb was located some 490ft from the entrance to the ruins of the Roman city, which was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79.

Authorities evacuated 120 people from the area, including a group of tourists from a nearby camp site, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Controlled explosions of WWII bombs are common in Italy.

On Tuesday, around 5,000 people were temporarily evacuated from the coastal town of Formia – 71 miles south of Rome – while experts detonated another British-made bomb dropped during the war.

What the heck were the British dropping bombs near an archaeological site for? Then I find at a U.S. Air Force history site (inter alia):


Twelfth AF

Elements of British Eighth Army enter Bari. At Salerno, US Fifth Army, throwing reserves and serv troops into line, and receiving much naval and air spt, holds off enemy onslaughts against beachhead. XII BC B-17's, B-25's, and B-26's attack highways, road j unctions and defiles, bridges, town areas, railroads, M/Y, barracks, and numerous T/Os, including several gun positions, in or near Avellino, Pompeii, Torre Annunziata, Auletta, Baronissi, San Severino Rota, Battipaglia, and Eboli. US and RAF FBs, LBs, and MBs of NATAF fly well over 500 sorties, mainly against roads, bridges, and towns in battle areas, in or around Battipaglia, Eboli, Potenza, Torre Annunziata, Benevento, Auletta, and Avellino. Troop transports drop more contingents of 82d Airborne Div S of Sele R to strengthen beachhead, and also behind enemy lines near Avellino to disrupt enemy comm.
Here's the TOC for Classical Quarterly 55.1

Arms and the Man: Euphorbus, Hector, and the Death of Patroclus
pp. 1-16(16)
Author: Allan, William

Nestor the Good Counsellor
pp. 17-38(22)
Author: Roisman, Hanna M.

Odyssey and Argonautica
pp. 39-64(26)
Author: West, M. L.

The Archaic Treaties between the Spartans and their Allies*
pp. 65-76(12)
Author: Yates, David C.

Pindar's three Words: The Role of Apollo in the Seventh Nemean*
pp. 77-95(19)
Author: Teffeteller, Annette

Pindar and the Statues of Rhodes
pp. 96-104(9)
Author: O'Sullivan, Patrick

Some Remarks on the text of Aristotle's Metaphysics*
pp. 105-120(16)
Authors: Bydén, Börje

Machon, FR. 5, 44–5, Gow: A Fish with a PsiHPhiOSigma*
pp. 121-129(9)
Author: Petrides, Antonis K.

Unwelcome Dedications: Public Law and Private Religion in Hellenistic Laodicea by the Sea*
pp. 130-139(10)
Author: Sosin, Joshua D.

Readings of Scipio's Dictatorship in Cicero's De Re Publica (6.12)*
pp. 140-152(13)
Author: Stevenson, Tom

Epic and Epigram—Minor Heroes in Virgil's Aeneid
pp. 153-169(17)
Author: Dinter, Martin

Virgil's Sibyl and the ‘Many Mouths’ Cliché (Aen. 6.625–7)
pp. 170-182(13)
Author: Gowers, Emily

Tillius and Horace*
pp. 183-189(7)
Author: Toher, Mark

A Yoke Connecting Baskets: Odes 3.14, Hercules, and Italian Unity1
pp. 190-203(14)
Author: Morgan, Llewelyn

Milestones in the Career of Tibullus*
pp. 204-216(13)
Author: Knox, Peter E.

Narrative Technique in The Lives of the Ten Orators*
pp. 217-234(18)
Author: Pitcher, L. V.

Pausanias and Oral Tradition*
pp. 235-249(15)
Author: Pretzler, Maria

Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Cleitophon: What Happened Next?*
pp. 250-265(16)
Author: Repath, I. D.

Apuleius' Apologia in a Nutshell: The Exordium
pp. 266-276(11)
Author: Asztalos, Monika

Porphyry and Gnosticism
pp. 277-292(16)
Author: Majercik, Ruth

Aeschylus, Septem Contra Thebas 17–20
pp. 293-294(2)
Author: Lane, Nicholas

Plato's Misquotation of the Poets
pp. 295-298(4)
Author: Mitscherling, J.

Ephorus(?) on the Spartan Constitution
pp. 299-301(3)
Author: Whitehead, David

Antipater After the Lamian War: New Readings in Vat. Gr. 73 (Dexippus Fr. 33)*
pp. 301-305(5)
Author: Martin, Gunther

The Splenetic Leno: Plautus, Curculio 216-45*
pp. 306-309(4)
Author: Welsh, Jarrett T.

Cicero, De Imperio Cn. Pompei 21*
pp. 309-310(2)
Author: Berry, D. H.

No more Slave-Gangs: Varro, De Re Rustica 1.2.20-1*
pp. 310-315(6)
Author: Roth, Ulrike

Virgil, Aeneid 10.366-7
pp. 315-317(3)
Author: Trappes-Lomax, J. M.

War and the Sweet Life: The Gallus Fragment and the Text of Tibullus 1.10.11*
pp. 317-319(3)
Author: O'Harra, James J.

Spartan Tarentum? Resisting Decline In Odes 3.51
pp. 320-323(4)
Author: Morgan, Llewelyn

Why didn't Constantius II Eat Fruit?
pp. 323-326(4)
Author: Rohrbacher, David

The A Team: A Note On Anth. Pal. 11.437
pp. 327-327(1)
Author: Pitcher, L. V.

Available online via Ingenta.
I'm still trying to figure out an efficient way to deal with these things [I know the Mnemosyne folks probably have no control over this, but would it really be difficult for Brill to put author, title, pages such as is demanded in Mnemosyne's own guidelines for contributors?] ... here is the TOC for Mnemosyne vol. 58.2

The Co-Operative Temper: A Third Dramatic Role in Sophoclean Tragedy
pp. 161-182(22)
Author: Carter, D.M.

The Drinking Theatre: Staged Symposia in Greek Comedy
pp. 183-217(35)
Author: Konstantakos, Ioannis M.

Abschiedsbriefe. Horaz' Und Ovids Epistolographisches Spätwerk, II
pp. 218-234(17)
Author: Korenjak, M.

Itinerarium Egeriae: L'ordre Des Constituants Obligatoires
pp. 235-261(27)
Author: Spevak, O.

Anaxippus Fr. 1.46-7 K.-A.: Awakening Nature
pp. 262-266(5)
Authors: Telò, Mario

The Victor's Prize (IG V 1.20A)
pp. 266-267(2)
Author: Pleket, H.W.

non certe in Cicero de Divinatione 2.94
pp. 268-269(2)
Author: Pinkster, Harm

Catullan Recycling? Cacata carta
pp. 270-277(8)
Author: Watson, Lindsay C.

Virgil on a Brick from Italica
pp. 277-282(6)
Authors: Herrero, R. Carande; Martínez, C. Fernández

Zum Text Der Horaz-Ode 1.4
pp. 282-284(3)
Author: Bernays, Ludwig

Further Evidence of the Original Outline of Ovid's Ars amatoria (1.771-2)
pp. 284-285(2)
Author: Nickbakht, Mehran A.

"Quantum Coniectare (non) Licet." Menodotus Between Sextus Empiricus (P. 1.222) and Diogenes Laertius (9.116)
pp. 286-293(8)
Author: Perilli, Lorenzo

Jackson, P. 2002. Verbis pingendis
pp. 294-296(3)
Author: Faber, R.

Luraghi, N. (ed.) 2001. The Historian's Craft in the Age of Herodotus
pp. 296-299(4)
Author: van Hooff, Anton J.L.

Hardie, Ph. (ed.) 2002. The Cambridge Companion to Ovid
pp. 299-302(4)
Author: Hunink, Vincent

Dusinberre, E.R.M. 2003. Aspects of Empire in Achaemenid Sardis
pp. 302-306(5)
Author: Stronk, Jan P.

Dörrie, H., Baltes, M. 2002. Der Platonismus in der Antike, Bd. 6.1-2
pp. 306-308(3)
Author: Mansfeld, Jaap

Tarrant, H. 2000. Plato's First Interpreters
pp. 308-314(7)
Author: Mansfeld, Jaap

Gaertner, H. 2002. Diogenes Laertius, Vitae Philosophorum, III: Indices
pp. 314-315(2)
Author: Dorandi, T.

... housed online at Ingenta
ante diem iv nonas junias

Saecular Games continue (day 2) -- the celebration of Rome's anniversary continues

261 B.C. -- death of Antiochus I Soter (I have not been able to confirm this date)

177 A.D. -- martyrdom of Blandina, Alexander (and others) at Lyons (a.k.a. the Martyrs of Lyons)

193 A.D. -- recently-deposed emperor-for-a-little-while Didius Julianus is murdered
timid @

ne plus ultra @ Merriam-Webster (always wondered about that one)

coda @ Wordsmith

dystmesis @ Worthless Word for the Day

Today Christie's brings us this impressive late 6th century Attic black figure column crater. The details page doesn't expand (alas) on why the horsemen are trampling that guy in the vineyard. One would think this commemorates a military victory of some sort, but it strikes me that this image is rather more 'eastern', no?

Spatium Finniae aerium violatum (27.05.2005)

Aeroplana Russiae speculatoria et oneraria, inter Russiam et Kaliningradum per Sinum Finnicum commeantia, hoc anno iterum iterumque in spatium Finniae aerium penetraverunt.

Matti Vanhanen, minister Finniae primarius, censet illos volatus vix fuisse provocatorios; necesse tamen esse, ut Russi de spatio Finniae ita violato rationem reddant.

Omnes casus, in quibus aeroplana Russica in partem Finnorum declinaverunt, per instrumenta radioelectrica et photographemata confirmati sunt.

Urbs Kaliningrad, olim Königsberg, post secundum bellum mundanum ad Unionem Sovieticam cum regionibus circumiacentibus annexa est et illa dissoluta pars Russiae separata mansit.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Yesterday we had an anecdote about Zeuxis, so it seems appropriate that today one pops up about Phidias. From Benicia, inter alia:

There's a story I like about Phidias, a Greek sculptor working on the Acropolis. As he was finishing a statue of Athena, which would stand a hundred feet high next to a marble wall, an onlooker asked, "Why are you chiseling strands of hair on the back of her head where no one will see them or even know they're there? "I'll know," replied Phidias.

I don't think this one is ancient, though -- I'll happily be corrected otherwise ....
Paleojudaica points us to ricoblog which makes an interesting connection between ancient letter-writing and modern-day blogging ....
Jewish Week reminds us of a 'ring' story that (I confess) I had totally forgotten about:

Long before Tolkien gave his ring magic powers, Plato retold the fable of Gyges, a shepherd in service to the king of Lydia. An earthquake opened a cavern before Gyges and he found a dead body with nothing on it but a gold ring. Placing the ring on his finger, Gyges rejoined the other shepherds. He soon discovered that whenever the stone of the ring was turned inside his hand, he became invisible. In the end Gyges seduces the queen and with her help overthrows the king.

Plato asks his readers if one can imagine possessing such a ring and still doing what is right? If we were invisible, would we be good? What happens when the small-town boy goes to the big city where no one knows him? Is our morality based on being seen? [...]

... or, as seems to prevail in elementary schools (even Catholic ones!), on getting caught?
Erich S. Gruen, Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans, Review of Biblical Literature (pdf)

Here's the incipit of an interesting bit of hyperbole at Tech Central Station:

In a recent meeting of the Board of Education in the city of Artichoke, Alabama, it was decided to ban the reading of Homer's Illiad and Odyssey in the classroom. The grounds given for the exclusion of these towering masterpieces of ancient literature is that reading them in a public school violated the first amendment's guarantee of the separation of church and state. Wallace Nobrainer, the attorney for the Artichoke school system, explained that "the Homeric texts are obviously designed to promote the polytheistic view of the Greeks," and hence they should be looked upon in the same light as the reading of the Book of Psalms in a public school. "We don't want taxpayer dollars being spent in order to proselyte children into praying to Zeus and Apollo," remarked Debra Klewless, the chairperson of the Board of Education. "If we forbid the teaching of one religion, we must be consistent and forbid the teaching of all religions."

Okay -- you got me. There is no Artichoke, Alabama -- at least, I don't think there is. And no one (so far) has demanded that Homer be taken out of the classroom. It is okay for our children to read stories about Hera and Athena, Aphrodite and Poseidon, all of whom were once the objects of superstitious veneration among the Greeks; but it is not okay to read about Adam and Eve, or Joseph and his brothers. In short, kids can enjoy the myths and stories that have come down to us from The Illiad, but they cannot be permitted to enjoy the myths and stories that have come down to us from The Book of Genesis.

The only possible reason for this dissimilarity of treatment is that the pagan religion is as dead as Mr. Dickens' proverbial doornail, while the religions that are associated with the Bible are still practiced by millions of people in America and the world over. True, the Greek pantheon might once have been a potent force in shaping the daily life of human beings, but today it has all the vitality of a wax museum, full of mannequin divinities, frozen in their timeless splendor, but long since unable to inspire warmth of affection or devotion.

The last gasp of the old pagan religion occurred when the Roman emperor known as Julian the Apostate attempted to reverse his predecessors' embrace of the Christian faith and to roll back the clock to the long vanished era in which men and women still worshipped at shrines dedicated to Apollo and Diana, and still heeded the artfully ambiguous oracles of Delphi. The apostate failed, and the once vibrant gods of Greece degenerated until they became mere rhetorical flourishes that permitted learned poets, like Milton, to ornament his verse with their euphonious names.

On the other hand, the myths and stories of the Bible continue to provoke not merely warmth, but a great deal of heat -- consider the role that the continuing belief in the fable of Adam and Eve has on the debate over the teaching in public schools of Darwin's theory of evolution. People still take the Bible stories seriously -- they live by them, and guide their lives by them.

So that is the explanation for the different treatment received by Homer and by the Bible. Homer's gods are dead, but the god of the Bible still breathes. We can trust our children not to be carried away by Dionysus; but the same cannot be said about Jesus of Nazareth.

There's a new issue of Classical Review out ... tocs available here (too many to include at rc!); full text too if you have an online subscription (grumble-in-passing: does OUP really think someone will pay 15.00 for a REVIEW?)
Israeli politician Aryeh Eldad comments in Arutz Sheva on escalating civil disobedience in Israel ahead of expulsion of Jews from Gaza and Samaria ... inter alia:

MK Eldad says the Jewish tradition of civil disobedience in the Land of Israel goes farther back than that of other western countries. “40,000 citizens of the Galilee blocked the roads against the Roman governors who tried to bring a statue of the Roman emperor Caligula to be erected in Jerusalem,” Eldad said.

... er, actually, the Romans had an even earlier tradition of same, no?
Today's Candorville pretty much sums up my frame of mind this time of year ....
kalendas junias

rites in honour of Carna, a nymph who was somehow associated with the health of bodily organs

Saecular Games (day 1) -- celebrating Rome's thousand-year anniversary

388 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Mars (and associated rites thereafter)

344 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Juno Moneta (and associated rites thereafter)

259 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of the Tempests near the porta Capena (and associated rites thereafter?)

37 A.D. -- the emperor Gaius (Caligula) gives the people a congiarium

165 A.D. -- death of Justin Martyr

193 A.D. -- emperor-for-a-little-while Didius Julianus is deposed; Septimius Severus is recognized as emperor at Rome

1927 -- death of J.B. Bury (History of the Later Roman Empire, among others)
Reaedificatio Iraquiae laboriosa (27.05.2005)

Incepta Iraquiam reaedificandi retardata sunt, quia ictus terroristici contra structuram terrae inferiorem et operarios officialesque cotidie fere fiunt.

Securitas identidem in discrimen vocata carissime constat, nam quindecim centesimae ex pecuniis ad incepta praestitis in mercedibus custodum aliisque rationibus tutelaribus consumuntur.

Condicionibus laboris dubiis, quas ictus usque repetiti creaverunt, effectum est, ut praestitores pecuniarum peregrini ab Iraquia deficerent.

Uno anno paene trecenti operarii aut custodes publici in Iraquia occisi sunt. Haec relata sunt a magistratu Americano, qui de securitate operum in Iraquia est responsalis.

Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
tog @ Merriam-Webster (maybe)

gamut @ Wordsmith (interesting!)

Today Christie's presents us with a cusp first century B.C./A.D. Roman bronze depicting Isis-Fortuna. The details page is home to one of the longest run-on sentences I've ever seen (and not been guilty of myself).

Regular reader JM sent this one in (thanks!) ... the incipit of an essay in the News-Journal:

I was 10, my two brothers a few years older. We were settling down in the television room to watch the last episode of a miniseries, an Italian production of "The Odyssey" with -- I have no idea why I should remember this 30 years later -- Irene Papas, the Greek actress, as the beautiful Penelope. We had watched the series once already, which made anticipating the climactic scenes that much more exciting: Ulysses finally returning home, beating up on the suitors who'd fouled up his estate then sending them to hell (literally), and reclaiming Penelope by firing his arrow through 12 axes as only he could. The bit about Ulysses reuniting with his father Laertes wasn't yet something to pull at a 10-year-old's heartstrings. My father would be dead a year later, but at that moment he was his invulnerable self in the living room, entertaining a few old friends with my mother and his baritone stories. He'd granted us a special treat. It was a school night. Television would normally be forbidden. For Homer, he made an exception.

We never made it past the opening credits. Ulysses' ship was sailing to Ithaca on the Mediterranean's bluest serenity (we had a black and white TV but I'd grown up by the same sea) when the loudest blast I ever heard shook our fourth-floor apartment and threw me off the couch. I didn't feel myself being thrown off. One moment I was watching Ulysses' ship, the next I was on all fours, bawling, my ears ringing with the sound of a train whistling in a tunnel and the rest of me paralyzed by fear as I'd never experienced fear before. I don't know what was more incomprehensible -- having been shoved to the floor without anyone touching me, or the shock of the explosion, which my brain had no way of processing as an explosion, having never known anything remotely resembling what had just happened. The world had, for a split second of black that I also remember, ended and started up again, off its hinges.

It was late spring, 1975. We were living in Beirut. [...]

Fauquier High is doing something interesting that you might want to file away in your 'ideas file' if you're a teacher (if you hadn't already thought of it):

Mrs. Lorber's ninth-grade GT English class is presenting "An Odyssey Fair" on June 6 for elementary students. The fair will take the students interactively through the adventures of Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan war.

... from the Fauquier Times-Democrat.
C. Bearzot, F. Landucci Gattinoni, Contro le 'leggi immutabili'. Gli Spartani fra tradizione e innovazione. Contributi di Storia Antica 2.

Francesca Romana Berno, Lo specchio, il vizio e la virtù. Studio sulle Naturales Quaestiones di Seneca. Testi e manuali per l'insegnamento universitario del Latino 79.

Jed Wyrick, The Ascension of Authorship: Attribution and Canon Formation in Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian Traditions. Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature 49.

Jens David Baumbach, The Significance of Votive Offerings in Selected Hera Sanctuaries in the Peloponnese, Ionia and Western Greece. BAR International Series 1249.

Wolfram Hörandner, Johannes Koder, Maria A. Stassinopoulou, Wiener Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik: Beiträge zum Symposion Vierzig Jahre Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik der Universität Wien im Gedenken an Herbert Hunger. Wien, 4.-7. December 2002. Byzantina et Neograeca Vindobonensia 24.

Mischa Meier, Barbara Patzek, Uwe Walter, Josef Wiesehöfer, Deiokes, König der Meder - Eine Herodot-Episode in ihren Kontexten. Oriens et Occidens 7.

Daniel C. Snell, A Companion to the Ancient Near East. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World.
While poking around looking for stuff related to the Zeuxis and Helen post (see below), I came across a Rembrandt self-portrait that I had seen many, many, many times before, but didn't see the ClassCon in it. The portrait, which comes from the end of Rembrandt's career, has a sort of 'ghostly figure' in the upper left. According to the Web Gallery of Art (whence the image comes), that ghostly image is probably a sculpture of Heracleitus which Rembrandt is known to have had in his studio.
The Times has a piece on the top 50 most beautiful women in the world, which includes this little tidbit:

When Zeuxis set out to depict the legendary, ship-launching beauty of Helen of Troy, he amalgamated five different faces, like some classical photofit. The finished image is now lost. This only goes to prove that no one is the most beautiful woman in the world.

I'd never read this particular story before, so (of course) I did some googlin'. The story is mentioned in the beginning of the second book of Cicero's de Inventione (thanks to BW on the Classics list for that ref) ... here's the text from the Latin Library:

Crotoniatae quondam, cum florerent omnibus copiis et in Italia cum primis beati numerarentur, templum Iunonis, quod religiosissime colebant, egregiis picturis locupletare voluerunt. Itaque Heracleoten Zeuxin, qui tum longe ceteris excellere pictoribus existimabatur, magno pretio conductum adhibuerunt. Is et ceteras conplures tabulas pinxit, quarum nonnulla pars usque ad nostram memoriam propter fani religionem remansit, et, ut excellentem muliebris formae pulchritudinem muta in se imago contineret, Helenae pingere simulacrum velle dixit; quod Crotoniatae, qui eum muliebri in corpore pingendo plurimum aliis praestare saepe accepissent, libenter audierunt. Putaverunt enim, si, quo in genere plurimum posset, in eo magno opere elaborasset, egregium sibi opus illo in fano relicturum.

Neque tum eos illa opinio fefellit. Nam Zeuxis ilico quaesivit ab iis, quasnam virgines formosas haberent. Illi autem statim hominem deduxerunt in palaestram atque ei pueros ostenderunt multos, magna praeditos dignitate. Etenim quodam tempore Crotoniatae multum omnibus corporum viribus et dignitatibus antisteterunt atque honestissimas ex gymnico certamine victorias domum cum laude maxima rettulerunt. Cum puerorum igitur formas et corpora magno hic opere miraretur: "Horum," inquiunt illi, "sorores sunt apud nos virgines. Quare, qua sint illae dignitate, potes ex his suspicari." "Praebete igitur mihi, quaeso," inquit, "ex istis virginibus formonsissimas, dum pingo id, quod pollicitus sum vobis, ut mutum in simulacrum ex animali exemplo veritas transferatur."

Tum Crotoniatae publico de consilio virgines unum in locum conduxerunt et pictori quam vellet eligendi potestatem dederunt. Ille autem quinque delegit; quarum nomina multi poetae memoriae prodiderunt, quod eius essent iudicio probatae, qui pulchritudinis habere verissimum iudicium debuisset. Neque enim putavit omnia, quae quaereret ad venustatem, uno se in corpore reperire posse ideo, quod nihil simplici in genere omnibus ex partibus perfectum natura expolivit. Itaque, tamquam ceteris non sit habitura quod largiatur, si uni cuncta concesserit, aliud alii commodi aliquo adiuncto incommodo muneratur.

... and Loeb-like, but vertically parallel, here's Yonge's translation (via Peitho's Web):

SOME men of Crotona, when they were rich in all kinds of resources, and when they were considered among the most prosperous people in Italy, were desirous to enrich the temple of Juno, which they regarded with the most religious veneration, with splendid pictures. Therefore they hired Zeuxis of Heraclea at a vast price, who was at that time considered to be far superior to all other painters, and employed him in that business. He painted many other pictures, of which some portion, on account of the great respect in which the temple is held, has remained to within our recollection; and in order that one of his mute representations might contain the preeminent beauty of the female form, he said that he wished to paint a likeness of Helen. And the men of Crotona, who had frequently heard that he exceeded all other men in painting women, were very glad to hear this; for they thought that if he took the greatest pains in that class of work in which he had the greatest skill, he would leave them a most noble work in that temple.

Nor were they deceived in that expectation: for Zeuxis immediately asked of them what beautiful virgins they had; and they immediately led him into the palaestra, and there showed him numbers of boys of the highest birth and of the greatest beauty. For indeed, there was a time when the people of Crotona were far superior to all other cities in the strength and beauty of their persons; and they brought home the most honourable victories from the gymnastic contests, with the greatest credit. While, therefore, he was admiring the figures of the boys and their personal perfection very greatly; "The sisters," say they, "of these boys are virgins in our city, so that how great their beauty is you may infer from these boys." "Give me, then," said he, "I beg you, the most beautiful of these virgins, while I paint the picture which I promised you, so that the reality may be transferred from the breathing model to the mute likeness." Then the citizens of Crotona, in accordance with a public vote, collected the virgins into one place, and gave the painter the opportunity of selecting whom he chose. But he selected five, whose names many poets have handed down to tradition, because they had been approved by the judgment of the man who was bound to have the most accurate judgment respecting beauty. For he did not think that he could find all the component parts of perfect beauty in one person, because nature has made nothing of any class absolutely perfect in every part. Therefore, as if nature would not have enough to give to everybody if it had given everything to one, it balances one advantage bestowed upon a person by another disadvantage.

The subject doesn't seem to have been fairly popular among later artists as one might think -- I only came across an example by Angela Kaufmann in the 18th century.


John Chakerian scripsit:

FYI, there have been a number of works based on the Zeuxis story. In addition to the kaufmann, there was at least a Vincent, a Beccafumi, and a sketch here, where the German might have more info about it.

From the Evening Telegraph:

YOU could be forgiven for thinking you were back in the bloody days of Rome in Peterborough yesterday.
Men battled with swords, slaves were dragged along the ground, and crowds begged for more blood.

This was the scene created by UK-based Britannia re-enactors, who returned to Flag Fen during the bank holiday to perform their interpretation of gladiatorial games as they would have been staged in Britain about 1,800 years ago.

It saw a Londinium side pitted against a strong and powerful Durobrivae team. Crowds shouted for their favourites and jeered at those they wished to meet their maker.

Rita Healands, events co-ordinator at Flag Fen, in Northey Road, Peterborough, said: "This year's performance was witnessed by more than 1,400 people.

"The crowds really got into shouting for their side and had the chance to vote for the winner in each bout.

"The weather was an added bonus, and encouraged lots of people to come along."

Visitors also had the chance to view the gladiators' hospital where losers could be seen being patched up, with plenty of fake blood in evidence.

Britannia members have appeared in numerous TV programmes and films, including Ridley Scott's Gladiator, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, First Knight, and Boudicca.

More photos from the fest have been put up at Photos Today ...
Here's a different sort of incipit to a review of the video game Shadow of Rome at

I'm not quite sure why, but of late the Roman Empire has been pretty popular. I think it's mostly due to aftershocks from the movie 'Gladiator,' but I've seen an upswing in Roman-themed entertainment being promoted. Mind you, this isn't to say that more fiction is being made about the days of the Caesars, but that more marketing is put into it. Along those lines, Capcom came along with their own revision of the tumult in old Roma, Shadow of Rome. It's Capcom's bold idea to retell history, but instead comes off as something much less.

The game takes place immediately after the Ides of March, 44 BC. As history tells us, this was when several Roman senators, including his protege Marcus Brutus assassinated Julius Caesar. The game follows two of the late Caesar's most ardent supporters: Julius' nephew Octavianus (usually just called Octavius in English) and Agrippa, Roman centurion. Agrippa's father Vipsanius is accused of the murder, and the winner of an upcoming gladiatorial contest gets the right to be his executioner. Octavianus doesn't believe it and decides to gather proof of Vipsanius' innocence, while Agrippa decides to become a gladiator to prevent anyone from killing his father.

Now, right off, let me say this: history did not happen like this at all. The various personal feelings are actually based on how the historical versions interacted. Agrippa was a really good friend with Octavianus in fact, when the latter became Augustus Caesar; he named Agrippa his successor (which didn't happen because Agrippa died first). However, the actual course of events did not happen at all like this ' if anything, this is an alternate history, which could have theoretically took place but didn't. If anybody actually plays this game to get information about a history report, then you deserve the big fat F that your paper is going to get. This is just a warning.

As for the alternate history we actually get, it's actually pretty lousy. The characters speak almost completely in cliche, and even if you don't know your history, you can quickly figure out who precisely is behind the murder of Julius Caesar. Moreover, they play up modern morality way too much. I'm sure that Capcom had to throw in a scene of Agrippa, in the midst of a gladiatorial combat, bemoaning the barbarism of his new profession in order to secure the Mature ESRB rating (trust me, I'll get into why this should have gotten an Adults Only soon enough). However, that really rings hollow when you don't have any sense that Agrippa cared about such morality before (when he was a soldier in charge of conquering new lands and securing them for Rome). I'm not saying that an 'alternate history' game is inherently bad. But it is inherently bad to speak only in cliches and to make the ending perfectly obvious with each character's introduction.

Perhaps the most egregious example is when it's revealed that the jovial gladiator manager Sextus is actually the child of Pompeius, former Roman ruler overthrown by Caesar and out for revenge by destroying all of Rome. Now, I'll grant you that the historical Sextus really was Pompeius' child and conspired to take down the Caesarian line. But because there is no historical refresher in the game, you never have any idea who Pompeius is or that his family would want revenge on Rome. Thus, it acts like an incredibly improbable deus ex machina (hey look, actual Latin!) and makes the game feel cheap. I must give Capcom credit -- it's really difficult to make actual history feel like a cheap ploy for plot advancement, but they pulled it off.

Also, just as a side note, Capcom barely even bothers with Latin at all, and what bother they do make is half-hearted at best. Sure, Octavianus is called by his Latin name, but they don't even try with the Roman general Decius Brutus (that's Shakespeare's name; his original name was Decimus Brutus). They also don't even bother with proper Latin pronunciation in the game ' the letter V as we know it is a product of Germanic languages and didn't exist in Latin. And the only actual Latin uttered in the game is the famous 'Et tu, Brute'' from Julius' death scene. But those are just the minor gripes of an amateur linguist; they really won't matter to the vast majority of the players out there.

From Egypt Election Daily News comes a somewhat vague report:

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced the discovery of grains warehouses dating back to the Greek and Romanian ages. In addition, an old house dating back to the Ptolemaic age and the remnants of a house have been unearthed in Fayoum governorate.

Dr. Zahi Hawas, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said a mission from Bologna University in Italy has discovered during excavation works some grain warehouses including nine boxes for storing wheat and cereals.

They also found some potteries and silos dating back to the Coptic era, added Hawas noting that the building had been renovated during the Coptic age.
Over at Laudator, MG has an interesting post on the concept of hereditary guilt in the Bible and assorted Greek sources (mostly tragedy, natch). I've been wracking my brains off and on for the past dozen hours or so trying to think of a Roman example of same, but can't. Anyone else?
From the Cyprus Mail:

ATLANTIS researcher Robert Sarmast has launched a members section on his official website, where those interested in updates on his findings during last year’s expedition will have to pay $20 a month to receive information.

Sarmast, who returned to Cyprus earlier this month, is gearing up for a second expedition sometime this year to launch the ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle), a robot that goes down to the depths to capture real video footage and pictures of the structures he said he found through side-scan sonar last November.

The author of Discovery of Atlantis: The Startling Case for the Island of Cyprus, Sarmast believes he located the remains of the legendary civilisation during a much-publicised expedition late last year. He says his book was based on the writings of Plato.

Throughout his last expedition, Sarmast was publishing regular updates on his website, but now he has decided to charge a monthly fee to those interested in his work.

His website says that due to an ever-increasing demand for more updates and information about the progress of the Atlantis project, it was decided to add a “member’s section” that would give interested parties “private access to the inner workings of Robert's day-to-day operations and a behind-the-scenes look at the Atlantis team as they approach the final leg of the discovery phase”.

“We will continue to inform the public about the major updates on this public updates page, but for those of you who are interested in knowing the behind-the-scenes stories and the more detailed accounts of our day-to-day progress, we have prepared a reserved section for member's only,” it says.

“We are heading toward the final stage of the discovery process and there is sure to be lots of exciting news, and we promise to inform you as much as possible about the progress. By becoming a subscribed member, you will enjoy exclusive breaking news, more detailed information, special audio and video files, high resolution animation files, and the first peek at the vestiges of Atlantis/Eden as they are released to the world.”

The fee-based membership is part of a drive by Sarmast to raise cash for the second expedition. Commenting on the disappointment of interested members of the public that the images from last year’s findings have not been published, his website says: “The images didn't come cheap and to share them with the public for free is not fair to those who have given so much for this to happen. We also need to utilise the sale of these scans of the seabed in a way that will ensure the required funding is made available for the second expedition.”

By way of praeteritio, I'd suggest a comment isn't necessary.