Finally saw it ... here's the stream of conciousness summary:

previously on Rome ... summarized all the previous episodes ...

the pompeians are offering a 'cessation of hositilities on the terms offered in your last letter' ... Cato's miffed; Cicero seems to be the smart one/realist among the group

Caesar's camp ... being shaved in camp while still 'paying off folks' for their loyalty; Caesar is avoiding dinner with Atia

Herald announcing Pompey's plans to a deserted street ... streetcleaners sweeping

Atia thinks Octavius has seduced Caesar (this is related to the epileptic fit Caesar had); Octavius won't reveal Caesar's affliction to his mother (and she's miffed at that) ... she also learns Caesar has declined her invite (miffed some more) [I'll give the source for this some time this weekend]

Pullo's asleep on Vorenus' stairs ... Vorenus decides he'll put together a proper dowry for his daughter when he sells his slaves ...

Pullo doesn't want to go to camp "It's boring" ... seems to have had a rough night and lost his slave girl ... "I just like to look at her ... it makes me calm" ... he has an outstanding bill at the taberna, so the owner was holding her till he paid; Vorenus does Pullo a favour and keeps the slave girl at his house (despite Niobe's complaints that she has 'strange eyes') ... later we find Niobe thinks he wants the slave girl to spy in her

Caesar and MA discussing whether to accept the 'truce' offered ... [I think one of the things that makes this such a good series are these little scenes where they're discussing strategy and why] ... Caesar spins it for 'hoi polloi' ... 'Pompey refuses to meet me' ... wants to wait till the time is right (MA anxious)

Vorenus' slave shipment seems to be afflicted with disease; just a boy survives (the girls are excited ... sound like kids when they get a new puppy) ...

Caesar and Servilia playing dice ... Servilia won ...

MA boring Atia with all sorts of political talk; she seems upset when he tells her that Servilia has 'unmanned' Caesar

Atia whining to Octavius ... thinks Caesar should be chasing Pompey; Pullo is to be Octavius' tutor in the 'manly arts'; Octavius doesn't seem to like fighting ("I have no soldierly stuff in me" ... "I can kill people if they're not fighting back") ... Pullo addresses him as "young dominus" ... Octavius is incredibly astute (advises Pullo not to tell of his suspicions about Niobe and another man)

Scene in a bath ... Vorenus seeking a loan in the wake of his slaves being taken by the 'black flux'; the Orestes he talks to advises against it; suggests he become the ancient equivalent of a goon/bodyguard in a protection racket sort of thing

... another scene of Pullo seeing Niobe smacking her ex-lover; then Vorenus goes out to work

nice scene of Calpurnia being borne about on a litter; she sees a pile of graffiti about Caesar and Servilia and the crowds are mocking her; Calpurnia says to dump her or give her a divorce ... again, a little scene ... a divorce wouldn't be strategically wise (need support of her family)

scene of Orestes roughing up some guy who hasn't paid for 50 pigs; orders Vorenus to break his arm; he does ... demands money, doesn't get it ... orders Vorenus to cut his throat; he refuses and walks off ... back home worrying about money

Caesar arrives at Servilia's place ... dumps her, saying he's off to pursue Pompey and will never see her again; he's dumping her because "it's right for the Republic" ... she smacks him once, then he slaps her a bunch of times

Atia's happy about something ...

Caesar off; MA left behind with the XIII to keep the peace ... MA not happy

Back to the Pompeians ... Cicero's thinking of going to his farm; asks Brutus to go ... refuses, so Cicero decides not to go because it would look 'cowardly'; he has to keep his name 'well-polished' because it isn't as old as 'Brutus'

Vorenus approaches MA ... wants to join the evocati on the terms offered before (10 000 sesterces plus rank!); MA decides he needs good men and accepts on different terms (promotion to prefect and 9000 sesterces)

Servilia has hunted down one of the graffiti types ... turns out Atia's horse-dealer-lover was behind the graffiti (nice plot twist)

Vorenus feels terrible for what he did; Niobe thanks him

Another calendar changing scene ... too close to figure out ... but Vorenus is now in full uniform moving through the city; notices beggars

Servilia ... she puts a curse on Caesar ... scraping a lead curse tablet! She also curses Atia ... rolls it up and gives it to a slave girl (she puts it in a crack in the respective houses) [I'll dig up some examples of these curse tablets ... this was a really excellent scene]

Octavius and Pullo kidnap Niobe's lover; gives him a story ... Octavius says he's lying; we have to kill you ... the manner of death is up to you ... tells Pullo to torture him, but Pullo doesn't know how ... suggests he cut off his thumbs ... the guy confesses. Pullo wants to kill him but Octavius holds him back ... wants to know more; doesn't say anything, so Pullo cuts off the guy's thumbs (on Octavius' orders)

Vorenus, meanwhile, is undergoing some sort of ceremony ...

back to Octavius and Pullo, the guy confesses to being the father of that child; Pullo kills him.

Vorenus ... daubed with blood

Pullo and Octavius emerge from the sewer ... Octavius tells Pullo that Vorenus must never know

Back to Vorenus ... seems to be an evocatus ritual (does such a thing exist?)

Caesar shows up to find the Pompeians have sailed for Greece ...
Mea anima est tamquam tabula rasa.
(Paul of Venice, ca. 1369-1429, theologian annd philosopher, Aristotle’s De
Anima 430a attributed)

My soul is as a blank page.

(pron = MAY-ah AH-nee-mah ehst TAHM-kwahm TAH-boo-lah RAH-sah)

Comment: The question in Intro to Philosophy in my undergraduate program was
this: do human beings come into life as blank pages, or do they come with
something already I tact, a divine spark, so to speak? It was a debate between
the thoughts of Aristotle and Plato that our professor was attempting to create.
I don’t remember how it turned out.

I do remember that when I was in seminary, the question surfaced again in
discussions around anthropology of theology: what does it mean to be human.
And years later, when I entered teaching, this same question came up again:
the child who enters your room, whether a kindergardener or a junior in high
school—does he/she come as a blank page for you (the teacherr) to write on, or
has this human being entered the room with something important already in place
that perhaps you (the teacher) have to learn from?

I’ve always leaned toward Plato’s side of the question, probably via Socrates.
Socratic questioning has always been intriguing to me. One cannot ask
questions of a blank page—and expect to get anything back. The teacher who
faces a room full of blank pages won’t ask questions anyway. He/she will come
prepared with full lectures—and plenty of ink with which to fill those blank
pages. The socratic teacher enters a room full of divine sparks, asks a few
well placed questions, and enjoys the light show. The reality is, though, that
we can and do leave our imprints on others--especially children, for good and
for ill. My own view is that human beings come with something already in
place--divine sparks for lack of a better term, AND that children are treated
as blank pages which the adults in their lives write all over from the
beginning. Very often, the divine spark gets lost underneath everyone else's

What difference does it make how we view others around us—blank pages or sparks
that have been there from before the beginning?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
pridie kalendas octobres

480 B.C. -- birth of Euripides (not sure of the source of this one)

286 A.D. -- martyrdom of Victor and Ursus

420 A.D. -- death of Jerome

1452 -- first Gutenberg Bible printed (?)
taupe @ Wordsmith

postulate @ Merriam-Webster

segue @ (always wondered about this one)

I can't believe I'd never seen this before ... it's a painting by Karl Briullov called 'The Last Days of Pompeii' (from Auburn). Wow!

Glaukopis points us to Patrick Rourke's new transcription of the Sappho fragment that was circulating on the web a while back, apparently with some errors.
A tease for an article in the paper version of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Herald:

AN archeological dig in Alcester has unearthed what are thought to be the remains of a Roman fort.

For many years archeologists and historians have thought that a Roman fort existed under part of modern Alcester. But it had not been possible to prove this theory until this week.

Since July, a team from Archaeological Investigations Ltd of Hereford has been digging in Bleachfield Street on the site of a proposed housing development. The excavation, funded by the developer, Laing Homes Limited Midlands, has been very productive.

Through a combination of shovel and resistivity survey, two (or possibly three) parallel, deep ditches have been located at the southern end of the site. These are likely to form part of the defences of a Roman fort and would have surrounded a rampart topped with a wooden palisade.
De venatione alcium

Die Saturni sive die vicesimo quarto mensis Septembris (24.9) venatores Finniae, quorum apud nos circiter centum milia esse aestimantur, ad alces sternendas profecti sunt.

Copia horum cornigerorum in silvis nostris iam tantopere crevit, ut venatoribus hoc anno licentia sexaginta milia alcium occidendi daretur, qui numerus decima parte maior est quam anno proxime praeterito.

Tempus alcium venandarum usque ad medium mensem Decembrem durabit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
An excerpt from a lengthy retrospective in the New Times on James Dean:

A growing anti-establishment culture, baby boomers with disposable income, growing cultural sexual consciousness, and an industry reaching out to a younger audience all combined to propel the Dean myth to almost dizzying heights, said Sharrett.

"He's kind of like Orpheus or Dionysus, the figures from antiquity who are kind of androgynous. They're challenges to a society, they're very charismatic, they die young, and they're martyrs, actually. It's an old, old myth. It's the story of the dying and reviving god. You could say Dean, in some way, without stretching the point too much, is kind of a messianic figure.

"He symbolizes the promise of eternal youth, eternal rebirth, because you've got this image after all. But the fact is the image we have of him is this blond, good-looking guy with that interesting squint, that kind of wary look as if he's skeptical of the whole world with his red jacket and his tight jeans, and that very interesting sexuality, which has not been transcended."
More mainstream sources are picking up on the story that has some folks claiming to have established that Odysseus' home was on Kefalonia ... here, e.g., is the piece from the Scotsman (more in this weekend's Explorator):

FOR centuries, scholars have puzzled over the location of Ithaca, the island home of the Greek hero Odysseus described in Homer's epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad. But now the search may be over.

In what is billed as one of the most significant classical discoveries for more than a hundred years, a team of experts led by Robert Bittlestone, a management consultant and businessman, claimed yesterday that they had found the "mystery" island.

Instrumental in the project was an Edinburgh-based academic, John Underhill, who specialises in stratigraphy - the study of geological strata or layers.

In London yesterday, Mr Bittlestone announced that the Ithaca described by Homer was not the present-day Greek island of Ithaca, as had previously been believed.

Instead, he and his colleagues have concluded that Odysseus's Ithaca was located on the western peninsula of the neighbouring island of Kefalonia - an area now known as Paliki.

In Homer's time, they argue, this peninsula would have been separated from the rest of Kefalonia by a narrow sea channel, but over the last 3,000 years that channel has gradually been filled in by a combination of rockfalls and tectonic uplift, joining the two land masses together.

However, a note of caution was sounded by Michael Wood, a leading historian and television presenter, who argues that the location of Ithaca is already well-established. According to Mr Wood, the general description of Ithaca in Book 9 of The Odyssey "matches today's Ithaca perfectly well". He also bases his opinion on archaeological evidence.

"It is what has been found on Ithaca by modern archaeologists that really clinches the identification, in my view", he said. "There have been important Mycenaean finds, especially in the north of the island, which show that the place was indeed a kingdom in the Late Bronze Age, the period on which Homer's narrative ultimately rests. No matter how much the new book denies this, the evidence is clear."

The findings of the Bittlestone study are to be published next week in a book called Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer's Ithaca, co-authored by Mr Bittlestone, James Diggle, a professor of Greek and Latin at Cambridge University, and Prof Underhill, of Edinburgh University.

Prof Underhill, who has been carrying out research on the Ionian Islands since 1982, was invited to take part in the project in 2003 after Mr Bittlestone came across his name on the internet. By studying rocks and sediment in the valley that lies between Paliki and the rest of Kefalonia, he set out to test the hypothesis that the peninsula used to be an island.

Prof Underhill found "considerable coverage" of so-called drift cover in the area - material deposited in the last 10,000 years - which supports the new theory.

The big question that still needs to be answered, however, is whether the drift cover extends all the way down to sea level.

Prof Underhill is keen to carry out more tests, including seismic acquisition - shooting soundwaves into the earth and recording the echoes that bounce back - and drilling boreholes to find out what kind of rocks are filling in the valley.

However, any such work will have to be approved by the Greek government.

In an appeal to be allowed to carry out more intensive research, Mr Bittlestone said: "The Greek authorities clearly need to evaluate the credibility of these proposals and to orchestrate what follows.

"I hope that what has been achieved so far will represent only a beginning. We shall ultimately learn the truth about Odysseus's homeland only if we have the courage and the confidence to look."

The initial signs are encouraging. In a statement issued earlier this week, the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME) in Athens described the findings published in Odysseus Unbound as "unexpected and thought provoking".

After graduating in economics from Christ's College Cambridge in 1972, Mr Bittlestone went on to found the consultancy and software company Metapraxis. He first turned his attention to the Ithaca question in 2003, when he noticed that Homer's description of the island fails to tally with the location of the present-day island of Ithaca.

In book nine of The Odyssey, Ithaca is described as "low-lying" and "furthest towards dusk [i.e. west]" of all the nearby islands. However, the island now known as Ithaca is mountainous, and lies to the east of its neighbours.

There have been various attempts to explain this inconsistency over the years, but most scholars simply concluded that Homer was ignorant of the geography of the area. Mr Bittlestone, however, wondered if this mismatch could have occurred not because of an error on the part of the poet, but due to geological changes in the landscape since the time of the Trojan War in around 1,200 BC.

In formulating the theory that Ithaca was located in western Kefalonia, a computer program was used to analyse literary, geological and archaeological data.

He also used satellite imagery and 3D global visualisation techniques, developed by NASA, to look for clues in the landscape. He then assembled a team of more than 40 geologists, classicists and archaeologists from all over the world.

Their discovery - arguably the most significant regarding the classical world since the unearthing of Troy in north-western Turkey in the 1870s - raises the possibility that important Bronze Age artefacts might be found in the area.

... the piece is accompanied by a sidebarish thing by Michael Wood arguing against the discovery:

OVER the last few decades archaeologists and textual historians have been able to prove that Homer's detailed descriptions of places are indeed based on autopsy, whether first or second-hand. I believe that it is beyond doubt that the same goes for Ithaca. Though there were big arguments in the 19th century as to whether Homer's Ithaca was today's island (next to Kefalonia) most, if not all, experts now believe Homer is describing today's Ithaca.

As William Gell first noted in his book on the island published in 1807, it is the numerous coincidences between Homer's description and the topography of the island that tend to prove the identification; and it is what has been found on Ithaca by modern archaeologists that really clinches the identification.

There have been Mycenaean finds, especially in the north of the island, which show that the place was indeed a kingdom in the Late Bronze Age, the period on which Homer's narrative ultimately rests. No matter how much the new book denies this, the evidence is clear.

Furthermore, a whole series of Homeric place names which describe natural features on his Ithaca can be identified with landmarks on the modern island, including torrents, fountains, caves, cliffs, offshore islets, bays and harbours.

It is, however, the archaeological find made by a British team in the 1930s that put any doubts to rest.

Sylvia Benton excavated a site by the sea in the north of the island, a cave shrine in which the roof had collapsed in the time of the Roman Empire. In the 1860s and 1870s locals had dug up a bronze tripod for holding a cauldron, and Mycenaean pottery turned up here in 1904. Benton found the cave had been used as a shrine from prehistory, the Bronze Age, down to the first century AD. She found a terracotta mask - a votive offering inscribed "My Prayer to Odysseus", showing that the cave had been centre of a cult to Odysseus at the time of Alexander the Great.

Even more fantastic was Benton's find of the remains of 12 more votive bronze tripods and cauldrons - magnificent artefacts with each tripod 3ft high (they can still be seen in the little museum nearby at Stavros village). When dated, they are found to be late ninth or early eighth century BC, which shows they are before Homer.

In Book 8 of the Odyssey, Homer tells how Odysseus receives gifts from King Alkinoos of Phaeacia before he sails back to Ithaca. The gifts were from "12 noble lords ... and I myself the 13th", says the king. What were the gifts? Later in Book 13 we read: "Come let each of us man by man give him a large tripod and cauldron..."

So 13 men gave Odysseus gifts, and the finds in the 1870s and 1930s add up to 13 cauldrons. When dated, they are proved to be from before Homer.

What this proves is that the story was older than Homer; that the cult of Odysseus on today's Ithaca was already in existence in the ninth century BC, and it proves too that Homer had this very cave in Ithaca in mind when he composed the Odyssey. He may even have been there.

... while I'm not sure that I'd be so 'adamantly positive' about the cave (and tripod) thing as Michael Wood suggests, he is right about the cult of Odysseus and its antiquity, which is likely the biggest hurdle the Kefalonia types have to deal with.
8.30 p.m. |HINT| What the Romans Did for Us: Life of Luxury
From bras to bridges, taxis to table forks, concrete to condoms, the Romans brought inventions and innovations that changed the world forever. They were the first mass producers, the first capitalists, who during their reign left a fascinating and complex technological legacy that forms the basis of our technological world today. Adam Hart- Davis hosts this series that explores our legacy that we inherited from the Romans. In this episode, we see how, after hundreds of years of occupation, many generations of people in Britain had grown up surrounded by Roman culture, and after a long period of stability, that culture was showing visible signs of wealth, success, and good living.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Caligula: Reign of Madness
Caligula ruled the Roman Empire fewer than four years, and was only 28 when assassinated by officers of his guard in 41 AD. His reign was a legendary frenzy of lunacy, murder, and lust. Between executions, he staged spectacular orgies, made love to his sister, and declared himself a living god. Join us for a look at this devoted son, murderer, pervert, and loving father whose anguished life was far more bizarre than the myth that surrounds him.

10.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Mystery of the Parthenon

11.00 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.

HINT - History International

HISTU - History Channel (US)

DCIVC - Discovery Civilization (Canada)

Virtus mille scuta.

Courage (virtue, strength, excellence, worth, goodness) is a thousand shields.

(pron = weer-toos mee-lay skoo-tah).

Comment: I can see two sides to this motto. Clearly, courage when it moves from
somewhere deep within a person, enables him/her to face things that otherwise
would be daunting, that would prevent him/her from living and making a good
life. Courage (or the many other things this word can mean) can shield a
person from external hindrances like undue criticism, intimidation, and that
almost invisible force of “peer pressure” which all human beings face.
Likewise, real courage can enable a person to overcome all kinds of inner
demons and self-destructive inclinations.

The other side of this motto, though, is not so positive. If courage is a face,
a mask that a person puts on, a certain way of acting or appearing or talking,
then it begins to shield that person from him/her own self. The mask of
courage prevents us from seeing who we really are, and from tapping real
strength, real excellence, real virtue.

So, of this motto and its citation, I would want to ask: whose courage? Whose
courage are we using as a shield? And, this courage—a shield from what?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem iii kalendas octobres

61 B.C. -- Pompey celebrates his third triumph in recognition of his victories in the third Mithridatic War

48 B.C. -- Pompeius Magnus, in the wake of his defeat at Pharsalus, is murdered as he steps ashore in Egypt (another possible date)

290 A.D. -- martyrdom of Rhipsime, Gaiana, and companions
glaucous @ Wordsmith (one for Glaukopis!)

frugal @ Merriam-Webster

jocund @

The Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature looks at Latin academic distinction words ....
Over at William Blathers there's a good rant with some nagging questions about Greek textbooks (and I agree ... I've yet to see a textbook -- Greek or Latin -- which really handles idioms well as part of the course of study. I've always thought that an idiom should be presented both 'literally' and 'figuratively' side-by-side) ...
From Summit Daily News:

Socrates may have never visited Summit County when he was alive, but Breckenridge resident Patrick McWilliams is resurrecting the ancient Greek philosopher today and bringing him to the High Country.

As part of the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week, Summit County libraries are sponsoring the premier performance of a one-act play, "The Trial of Socrates: A Juror Speaks," written, performed and directed by McWilliams, assistant librarian at the South Branch Library in Breckenridge. The 45-minute show will take place at 7 p.m. today in the Buffalo Mountain Room at County Commons near Frisco.

The play is based on Plato's "Apology" and several scholars' modern studies of Socrates and the trial that condemned him to death.

In 399 B.C.E., Athenian citizens charged Socrates with defying the gods of Athens and corrupting young people. McWilliams' one-man play consists of two characters: Socrates as he defends himself and a juror explaining his decision. During the performance, McWilliams distinguishes the two characters in the play through voice, gestures and his position on stage.

"What hooked me on this was that 220 of the 500 jurors voted 'not guilty,' but then (during the penalty phase) 80 of those 220 that voted for acquittal switched sides and voted for the death penalty," McWilliams said.

He said he believes the jurors' shift may be attributed to their frustration with Socrates, who continued to charge the Athenians with what was wrong with their thinking and justice system, and suggested he be given a reward instead of the death penalty. The juror in McWilliams' show conveys his reasoning for changing sides during the second phase of the trial. Audiences are also given the opportunity to hear the essence of Socrates' philosophy, as he expressed it during his trial.

McWilliams thinks the trial's principles are still relevant in today's society.

"I think we still have in every culture a propensity to think that people who don't conform to the norm should be feared," he said.

As a former literature and drama teacher, he said he's always had an interest in ancient Greece.

"Athens is the prototype of Western culture," he said. "I'm skeptical that it was the ideal democracy, but it was a democracy. Three of the greatest philosophers we've ever had - Aristotle, Plato and Socrates - came out of ancient Greece."

McWilliams has written other 45-minute plays based on ancient Greece, one of which is about a behind-the-scenes visit to an ancient Greek theater before a performance of Oedipus Rex.

He hopes to take "The Trial of Socrates: A Juror Speaks" and his other plays to colleges and schools. In the last two-and-a-half-years, he has given more than 50 performances of "The Gospel According to Mark" in churches across the country.

McWilliams' show at the County Commons today is free.
Ardle McMahon posted this on the Classicists list ... it is aimed at UK Classicists only, but Classicists elsewhere might be interested in its methodology and results:


Classics in the Market Place, which was published by CUCD in 1990, is
currently being revised. This revision is being done in conjunction with a
project on the employability of humanity graduates. It is intended to
canvass the opinion of academics, graduates and employers to build a clear
impression of how these groups view Classics as a subject and its
relevance to the future employability of its graduates in the professional
work environment.

In line with the annual statistics report in the CUCD Bulletin, a Classics
degree is here understood as both the ‘traditional’ language courses
(Greek and Latin) and the ‘modern’ variants (Classical Civilization,
Classical Studies, Ancient History, and Classical Art and Archaeology).

If you are interested in contributing to this revision, especially if you
are a Classics Graduate (within the last 15 years) or an Employer, please
contact me off list.

Further details and downloadable questionnaire are available at this

Louise Steel, Cyprus before History. From the Earliest Settlers to the End of the Bronze Age.

Marilyn B. Skinner, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture.

Guido Bastianini, Michael Haslam, Herwig Maehler, Franco Montanari, Cornelia E. Römer, Commentaria et Lexica Graeca in Papyris reperta (CLGP), adiuvante Marco Stroppa, Pars I: Commentaria et lexica in auctores; Vol. 1, fasc. 1: Aeschines - Alcaeus.

V. L. Aravantinos, M. del Freo, L. Godart, Thèbes: Fouilles de la Cadmée IV: Les textes de Thèbes (1-433): Translitération et tableaux des scribes.
V. L. Aravantinos, L. Godart, A. Sacconi, A. Sacconi, Thèbes: Fouilles de la Cadmée III: Corpus des documents d'archives en linéaire B de Thèbes (1-433).
V. L. Aravantinos, L. Godart, A. Sacconi, Thèbes: Fouilles de la Cadmée I: Les tablettes en Linéaire B de la Odos Pelopidou: Édition et commentaire.

Brad Levett, Sophocles: Women of Trachis. Duckworth Companions to Greek and Roman Tragedy.

R.V. Munson, Black Doves Speak: Herodotus and the Languages of Barbarians. Center for Hellenic Studies, 9.
Interesting tidbit over at Novum Testamentum in regards to the use of the Greek alphabet if/when they run out of names for hurricanes this year ...
Nothing of interest ...

Omnis instabilis et incerta felicitas est.
(Seneca the Elder, controversiae 1.1.3)

Every happiness is unstable and uncertain.

(pron = ohm-nis in-stah-bi-lis eht in-ker-tah –feh-lih-ki-tahs ehst)

Comment: The bad news: the things that make us happy do not last. The good
news: the things that make us unhappy do not last either. In some wisdom
traditions, this idea or those like it, is called “the middle way”. It
recognizes that the things that cause us to experience transitory states like
“happy” and “unhappy” are constantly changing. Because of that, while we can
observe them, feel them, experience them, we should not cling to them, or
despair of them, too much. In other words, we can sober ourselves and console
ourselves with the fact that “this too” will change.

I think this may come as something of a “downer” for the American psyche which
is always looking for something new, something else to make us happy.
Unfortunately, that constant search for happiness prevents us from experiencing
“happy” while we have it because we are in search of it. And, it prevents us
from the humble and real fact that “happy” does not belong to us just because
we are Americans. Today offers what is in our lives. Today may bring
“happiness” to us. Enjoy it. It will fade. Today may bring unhappiness to
us. Endure. It will pass. Somewhere between happy and unhappy, though, is
where we live—in the middle way.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem iv kalendas octobres

48 B.C. -- Pompeius Magnus, in the wake of his defeat at Pharsalus, is murdered as he steps ashore in Egypt
fuscous @ Wordsmith

adamant @ (never made this connection before)

I seem to have caught up to YLE's Nuntii Latini posts, so until the next wave, folks might want to check out the Nuntii Latini from Radio Vatikan (this stuff seems closer to 'oratory' than 'writing').
This is kind of interesting ... an online book that was just posted yesterday is a transcriptish thing of a pair of lectures given by Daniel de Leon back in 1902 under the auspices of the Greater New York Socialist Labor Party. Both lectures -- dubbed Two Pages From Roman History (pdf) take as their theme the example presented for socialists by Romans, specifically the 'struggle of the orders' and the Gracchi. A bit long winded (70 pages!), but kind of interesting to see its application to political trends at the beginning of the 20th century.
Over at Laudator, MG does a little digging into one of Bob Patrick's Latin Proverb(s) of the Day and finds a probable non-anonymous attribution ... then deals briefly with ostracism (which I just realized is what goes on in Survivor!).
Folks who can't wait to read my summary/review of the fifth episode (which I missed on Sunday, but will catch when it's repeated) might want to check out Glaukopis' ... looks like it was a great episode ... now I definitely have to watch it!
Fans of M*A*S*H will be interested in a post over at Blogographos about Father Mulcahey's real-life Greek proclivities as well as a follow up post on same over at Classics in Contemporary Culture ...
From the Telegraph:

It is with great regret that I announce that this column is severing its connection with Helen of Troy. I took this decision after my public relations advisers drew my attention to certain reports in Homer's Iliad. Needless to say, I was deeply distressed by Homer's allegations, which came as a complete shock to me.

I am aware that many young people look to this column for moral leadership and it would be quite wrong for it to be associated with the sort of scandalous behaviour which is salaciously reported in that epic poem. I might have overlooked this latest escapade if it had been a brief fling, but it is quite unacceptable for this section of the paper, which has campaigned tirelessly for world peace, harmony and utter niceness to be connected with a person who goes off and quite blatantly starts the Trojan War. What sort of example does that set?

It goes without saying that I am desperately sorry for Helen. Here is this lovely young girl, from Sparta of all places, the daughter of a simple god named Zeus, who is discovered, is taken up and finds instant fame which she just can't handle. Our association has benefited us both. We have had many successful launches: Helen's was the face used for my famous "Thousand Ships" launch to promote a new designer seasickness pill.

Quite frankly, I feel betrayed. After she failed to show up for the party for Fight Boredom Now, one of the charities I'm associated with, Helen contacted me and said she hadn't been able to come because of "this Paris thing".

I assumed she had an assignment at the Autumn Collections in Paris. You can imagine my feelings when I learnt that Paris was the chap she had run off with, abandoning her husband Menelaus. I felt personally let down and let down for all the volunteers who work so tirelessly for Fight Boredom Now.

I gather her new boyfriend is known as a bit of a Trojan hellraiser. He and Helen cannot be good for each other and I agree with the soothsayer Cassandra who predicts that it will all end in tears. It's a shame, because Menelaus is a decent bloke; he and I often meet at charity functions.

The thousands of teenagers who read this column tell me they find the Trojan War "a turn-off". Their instinct is right. By involving herself in this conflict, Helen has got in with the wrong crowd - not just Paris, but with the moody Achilles and with Hector, who is notorious for getting into fights.

And then there's that Trojan horse. Let me say at once that, without its reputation for total integrity, this column would be nothing. That is why I cannot be linked, even indirectly, with this kind of deception. It sends out all the wrong signals about what I am about.

Am I really going to tell the kids it's perfectly OK to go out and chop down rainforest trees and build huge hollow horses and fill them up with armed men, just to trick people?

This would cut across all the voluntary work I do for safety campaigns warning people of the dangers of carrying weapons in overcrowded dark spaces. With my links to the Trojan horse I would look a hypocrite. I couldn't do this and continue to be a patron of my local pony club. How could I look those ponies in the eye?

Helen says she has certain issues she has to deal with and, of course, this column wishes her well. Maybe, if she straightens herself out and stops getting her name in the epics for all the wrong reasons, we can renew our partnership.

Meanwhile I am delighted to announce that I have chosen a new beauty to be the face of this column. This one has rather less "baggage". Her name is Cleopatra and I'll be introducing her to the media at a glamorous bash next week in the Reptile House at London Zoo.

... clearly this is one of those things where those of us on this side of the pond don't have sufficient info to get the joke. Can someone fill us in?
R. Seager, Tiberius. Second edition.

Katja Lembke, Ägyptens späte Blüte: die Römer am Nil. Unter Mitarbeit von C. Fluck und G. Vittmann. Sonderbände der Antiken Welt. Zaberns Bildbände zur Archäologie.

F. Montanari (ed.), Omero tremila anni dopo. Atti del congresso di Genova 6-8 luglio 2000. Con la collaborazione di Paola Ascheri. Storia e Letteratura 210.

Christopher Gill (ed.), Virtue, Norms, and Objectivity.

Jason P. Davies, Rome's Religious History. Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods.

Carstens on Carstens.
[this is yesterday's]

Ubi peccat aetas maior, male discit minor.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 633)

When the older generation makes a mistake, the younger generation learns badly.

(pron = oo-bee pek-kaht ai-tahs mai-yor, mah-lay dis-kit mee-nor)

Comment: This proverb cuts in two directions. Certainly, when the older
generation leads the younger one in a bad direction, the younger one learns
badly. I look at the direction that the older generation of the 1940s and 50’s
(and many before that) lead in the south and other parts of the country with
their regard for African Americans. Born in 1959, I grew up in the Birmingham,
AL that was destroying itself out of that bad direction. There are people my
age who drank a deep dose of the racial hatred engendered by our elders, and
they will not recover from it.

But it is also true that when the older generation learns something and leads in
a healthy direction that the younger generation benefits from it. Far fewer
young people take up smoking cigarettes than they did 50 years ago because we
have learned very clearly that tobacco smoking kills. We have also learned
that a large number of students with a wide range of disabilities can learn and
have a right to a good education. I, like many other teachers, have students in
my classrooms right now who would never have been scheduled into a Latin class
because of their learning disabilities or because they were not stellar
performers in other academic classes 25 years ago, but we know something about
how people learn now that we did not recognize then, and so the younger
generation learns well from that good direction.

And, I might add: an older generation with an open mind often learns well from
the younger generation.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
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| 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.

9.00 p.m. |NGU| Dawn of Atlantis
Could a real island have inspired the myth of Atlantis? Forensics and modern technology join forces to piece together one of the greatest natural disasters to hit the western world a disaster so great it could have spawned the myth of Atlantis.

11.30 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.

HINT - History International

NGU - National Geographic (US)
ante diem v kalendas octobres

70 A.D. -- Romans break through the walls of the upper city of Jerusalem (by one reckoning)
incarnadine @ Wordsmith

homologate @ Merriam-Webster

halcyon @
Comitia Germanorum

Apud Germanos die Dominico comitia parlamentaria facta sunt, ex quibus factiones principales aequo Marte discesserunt, nam et Democratae Christiani et Democratae Sociales tertiam fere partem suffragiorum obtinuerunt.

lli in novo parlamento ducentos viginti quinque, hi ducentos viginti duos delegatos habebunt.

Eventus quidem comitiorum usque ad diem mensis Octobris secundum incertus manebit, quo die in regione urbis Dresdae suffragia dabuntur.

Ibi enim comitia procrastinata sunt, quia unus ex candidatis paulo ante electiones mortuus est.

Factionibus principalibus inter se litigantibus consultationes de novo regimine constituendo sunt difficiles. Et Gerhardus Schröder, cancellarius foederalis hodiernus, et Angela Merkel, dux oppositionis conservativa, cancellariatum sibi flagitat.

José Manuel Barroso, praeses Commissionis Europaeae, ait se sperare, ut novum regimen Germanorum quam primum constitueretur; Germaniam esse motrum Europaeorum, sine quo Europa non recrearetur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Claudia Wick, Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Bellum Civile, liber IX. I: Einleitung, Text und Übersetzung; II: Kommentar.

Vladimir F. Stolba, Lise Hannestad, Chronologies of the Black Sea Area in the Period c. 400-100 BC.

Daniel H. Garrison, The Student's Catullus. Third Edition.

Callie Williamson, The Laws of the Roman People. Public Law in the Expansion and Decline of the Roman Republic.

Peter Adamson, Richard C. Taylor, The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy.

Mi-Kyoung Lee, Epistemology after Protagoras. Responses to Relativism in Plato, Aristotle, and Democritus.
A brief item from AFP via Yahoo:

The short film "Cleopatra", made in 1899 by pioneering director Georges Melies and thought lost to history, has been discovered in a secret storeroom in France, his descendants said.

Lasting just two minutes, the film was the 202nd of 520 made by Melies between 1896 and 1912 and is considered a groundbreaking classic in the early history of cinema.

A designer, illustrator and Paris theatre owner, Melies gained international recognition with his film "A Trip to the Moon" in 1902.

But his career was short-lived and much of his cinematic work has been lost. He died in 1938.

... hopefully we'll get to see this soon. I've always been intrigued by this one ... the IMDB has it listed as a 'horror' movie.
I think I better get one of these (there are a pile of different versions trickling out of late) in the 'archive' for reference purposes ... from the Monterey Herald:

Lawyers for the J. Paul Getty Museum have determined that half the masterpieces in its antiquities collection were bought from dealers suspected of selling artifacts embezzled from Italy, according to a published report Sunday.

Getty officials knew as early as 1985 that several of their suppliers were selling artwork that probably had been looted, but the museum continued the acquisitions, according to hundreds of documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Italian authorities are demanding the return of 42 objects in the Getty collection they believe were stolen, including ancient urns, vases and a 5-foot marble statue of Apollo.

The Getty's attorneys found that the museum had bought 82 artworks from dealers and galleries under investigation by Italian officials, including 54 of the 104 ancient artworks the Getty identified as masterpieces, the Times reported.

Getty antiquities curator Marion True and antiquities dealers Giacomo Medici and Robert E. Hecht Jr. have been charged by Italian authorities with conspiring to traffic in looted antiquities. Medici, who was convicted last year and sentenced to 10 years in prison, remains free during his appeal. The trial for True and Hecht will resume in November in Rome.

In a statement released Friday, the Getty said that it had "never knowingly acquired an object that had been illegally excavated or exported."

Although dealers under investigation "have been discredited," the statement said, that "does not mean that any object acquired from one of them was illegally excavated or exported."

The statement added that, "Based upon the information and evidence that it has seen, the Getty continues to believe that Dr. True's trial should result in her exoneration."

In a 1985 memo, Getty officials learned from Medici that three objects the museum had amassed were taken from ruins near Naples decades after Italian law made it illegal, the newspaper said. The museum completed the purchase for $10.2 million.

A year later, an acting curator accused the museum in a resignation letter of ignoring problems in the antiquities department, writing that the Getty's "curatorial avarice" would lead to an investigation and the return of looted artifacts.

In correspondence with True, Medici and another dealer, Hecht, described artifacts they were offering in language that suggested they were illegally removed. In one letter, Hecht told True that an ancient urn was being sought by Italian police. The Getty later purchased the object.

In 1993, the Getty bought an ancient gold funerary wreath despite True's initial qualms that the piece was "too dangerous" to acquire. The museum later received a copy of an Interpol cable describing the item as having an "illicit origin," the Times reported.
Craige B. Champion, Cultural Politics in Polybius's Histories
[this is yesterday's]

Non sine causa sed sine fine laudatus.

He was praised not without cause, but without an end result.

(pron = nohn see-nay kow-sah sehd see-nay fee-nay lau-dah-toos)

Comment: My daughter and son (middle schoolers) and I got in the car on Sunday
morning to drive to church. As the radio came on I heard the voice of Jimmy
Carter talking, and then Rosalyn Carter. I asked them to listen. The Carters
were discussing the various projects tha the Carter Center, located here in
Atlanta, is and has been involved with.

I have long been an admirer of this former president who has done so much with
his life, and that since he left office. My two youngsters didn’t remain quiet
long. They wanted to know who he was, what he was talking about, and since I
have been to the Carter center and followed its work, I began to describe all
the things that he has and continues to accomplish. I talked to them about why
I admire him—a man who could simply have retired after leaving office, written a
memoir, and played golf. Instead, as I said to them, when he dies, there will
be an incredible legacy of making the world, literally, a better place.

Jimmy Carter, politics aside, is a man in my estimation whom we can praise both
for good reason now, and with plenty of good result. As the three of discussed
yesterday: he is like the tree that is identifiable by the fruit it produces.
No one has to wonder what kind of man this is. A rare life in politics these

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
Today's Frank and Ernest might be worthy of a position on your door ...
ante diem vi kalendas octobres

46 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Venus Genetrix (and associated rites thereafter)

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cyprian

1687 -- a Venetian mortar ignites a store of Turkish gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon, causing much damage.
clarion @ Merriam-Webster

omneity @ OED
Interesting editorial from Kathimerini in the wake of the accident at Akrotiri:

Archaeological sites, by definition, are places where the living wander carelessly among the concentrated shades of the dead.

They are like deep wells, where the visitor stands in the light of day and his or her imagination teems with images of how the area might have looked when its ancient occupants were alive, but underfoot run dark corridors and invisible rivers of blood.

These are places where people lived, created, loved, fought, connived, achieved, won, lost and died.

The presence of the dead is even stronger here than in cemeteries, because their shade extends among the ruins of daily life, and because today’s generations roam among walls that once sheltered dreams and murder.

The awe one feels on seeing the plaster casts of Pompeii’s dead — who fell in their vain effort to survive — is greater than that which cemeteries evoke, where the dead have been tidied up and crowned with tears and honors. Within the space where the dead have lived one feels more strongly the vanity of life, the brutality of the inevitable.

In archaeological sites, scholars poke about in the dust and ash and the unknown, looking for some sign of those who once enjoyed briefly the same light, as if we today are made of some different, tougher stuff.

Among the stones and broken artifacts — clay jars, combs, swords and works of art — we recognize fragments of life. But archaeological sites are, inevitably, investigations into causes of death, usually on a grand and violent scale.

At Mycenae, Heinrich Schliemann sought the protagonists of the bloody tale of the House of Atreus. At Troy, a few years earlier, he found a prehistoric city whose destruction in war gave humanity the greatest poem it has known.

At Akrotiri on Thera (Santorini), Spyros Marinatos looked for the roots of the destruction of Minoan civilization on nearby Crete and found an equally important world preserved in the layers of volcanic dust and detritus that destroyed but also preserved an ancient city till our days. In a double tragedy, the necessary and inspired effort to protect the antiquities for future generations caused the death of a visitor to the site on Friday, when part of the high-tech roof collapsed suddenly.

In 1979, the archaeologists Yiannis and Efi Sakellaraki made the sensational discovery of a human sacrifice on the windswept shrine at Anemospylia near Archanes on Crete. There, it appeared that a priest and priestess died when the building collapsed on them soon after they had slit the throat of a young man, in a vain effort to avert the greater harm of the great earthquake that leveled Crete in 1700 BC. Every city, every site that is dug up reveals signs of war, earthquake and fire. Man’s destiny is death, usually violent and unexpected, like that which stained the sand of Santorini with blood again. If one considers that Marinatos himself died in a fall at the site, one recalls Elias Canetti’s argument, in “Crowds and Power,” of the enmity the dead feel for the living. But perhaps the explanation is best found in Homer’s Odyssey. When Odysseus travels to the underworld, only after he has given the wretched shades of heroes blood can they muster the strength to talk to him. And so Akrotiri reminded us that though the bodies of its original inhabitants may not have been found, their city was destroyed violently and they died nearby or in exile. In our sorrow at the death of the visitor whose interest in antiquities put him in harm’s way, beyond our concern at the safety of the ruins themselves, we see that Friday’s tragedy was another episode in the long and unpredictable adventure of Akrotiri.

Today the shades of Thera tell us that we may believe that we are tourists, or that the roofs we build will last for centuries, but the rules of life and death that applied to them apply to us as well.
Excerpt from a piece in ESPN:

In the 1980's and early 1990's the club spelled in the Segunda. However, the appointment of Jesús Gil y Gil, a familiar of legendary Atlético supremo Vicente Calderón, to the club's board of directors would change all that. Born March 11, 1933 in the sleepy Sorian town Burgo de Osma, the would-be veterinarian (reportedly too squeamish to wield a scalpel) eventually found his way to property development after a stint in auto sales.

His success (and failure), not to mention his massive personality, solidified his media position. Gil, in his spare time, founded a pro-business political party Grupo Independiente Liberal (GIL) in June 1991 and became mayor of seaside Mediterranean Marbella in 1995; propelling the revitalization of the local economy with a one-two of Gil-backed redevelopment and tourism. He also adorned the town hall, funding construction of a Generalissimo Franco bust, who pardoned the fledgling magnate for his role in a 1969 construction disaster. A modern day Alcibiades-clad in businessman's get-up and wielding statistics, the incidents in his life of playing both ends against the middle in the name of self gain, while colorful, are far too vast in occurrence to even attempt listing in so modest a framing.

... I wonder how many non-Classicists would get the Alcibiades ref ...
From the Grand Forks Herald:

"Amo, amas, amat ... ."

I was trying to remember some Latin from the distant past as I walked across the quiet UND campus Monday morning. I was on my way to visit Professor Dan Erickson's Latin 1 class, which is held in Room 311 of Merrifield Hall. It's a beautiful old building with 60 steps to take you to the third floor. That building, I was thinking, probably has been there since the Roman times.

Dan Erickson was standing at his desk.

"Salve," he would say as the students began to arrive.

"Salve," they would reply.

I was there because Latin is one of my ongoing causes. I also believe in improving the appearance of Gateway Drive from the airport into the city, and building up the UND marching band. I stand four square behind requiring Mr. Goodbars in all candy machines.

I truly believe that people who take Latin stand taller and walk straighter.

Before this class started, I met Kurt Osborne, a junior, who is studying atmospheric sciences and aiming to be a meteorologist. He's following in the footsteps of his father, Leon Osborne, director of the Regional Weather Information Center at UND and founder of Meredian Environmental Technology. His mother, Kathy Osborne, is Meridian's chief operations officer.

Kurt Osborne already has taken a course in mythology, and he's interested in learning Latin. He sat back at the end of the row.

Then, I visited with Dan Schindler, who is in his first year at UND. He's taking Latin because he plans to major in archaeology and possibly work in Greece and Italy. He wants to be able to read and understand classical archaeology.

They didn't teach Latin in his high school in Albert Lea, Minn., and Schindler is in his first year of Latin at UND. The course, he says, is OK. He uses word association to help with all of the memorizing required.

Sitting right behind Schindler was Casey Schultz, who took Latin in a class of four students at high school in Michigan, N.D., last year. Now, she's continuing to take Latin because she thinks it will help if she goes into the study of medicine. She was wearing flip-flops and answering questions pretty well.

Professor Erickson had a couple of windows open to let in fresh air, and he was passing back graded quizzes from last week as the class started at 9 a.m. He told the students to prepare for their first test this coming Thursday, covering Chapters 1 to 6 in Wheelock's Latin. That's the thick textbook used by all of the Latin 1 students.

He guided his class of 20 students through a conjugation of verbs in the future and imperfect active indicative. I was glad he was asking them, not me, the questions. They were dealing with Latin words ceno, laudo, voco, monco, remanco and video.

"Learn in bite-size pieces rather than great clumps," he suggested. "Remember, repetition is the mother of memory."

Then, he explained the future active indicative of verbs, and added, "It's real easy."

I thought to myself, "Easy for him to say!"

"Cenabamus," he was saying. "I can't emphasize enough the importance of saying these words out loud and repeating them."

Professor Erickson was wearing a light beige shirt with a pen in the pocket and a striped tie. He knows the names of all of his students and calls on them frequently. He kept asking, "Any questions?" He also asked for their homework, and they passed in their assignments.

At one point, Professor Erickson pointed out the part of a Latin word that came from the Greek. During the class, he showed how a Latin word changes to Spanish. This is one of his specialties; the professor is working on a book about it.

A chart at the back of the room shows how Spanish, French and Italian words have roots in Latin. That's one reason for taking Latin. Another reason is that students of Latin score higher in tests such as the SAT. And since a decline in the 1960s and early 1970s, the study of Latin has had a resurgence across the nation as well as in North Dakota.

This, Professor Erickson says, has created a shortage of Latin teachers in high schools.

Erickson is pleased with the new classical studies major that was initiated in the fall of 1999 at UND to encompass Latin majors and minors. The broader program has brought an increase to 115 students.

Erickson teaches first- and second-year Latin, as well as an independent study of the Roman historian Eutropius. Students, he says, take Latin for a variety of reasons. Some want to fulfill a foreign language requirement. Others are curious or want the benefits gained through Latin. Some are in it because they love the subject and want a traditional rigorous liberal arts major to prepare for advanced study in various disciplines. Several of his students have gone on to professional school in theology, law or medicine.

Erickson supervised the practice teaching at Red River High School last year by David Jenson, a Latin major. Jenson now has entered law school at the University of Minnesota. Jenson says when he came to UND from Win-E-Mac High School in Erskine, Minn., he decided to be an English major. But he had no Latin background and took it as a foreign language.

On the phone last week, Jenson said, "I was hooked on the language and the culture." When he entered law school, he was told to think like a lawyer. He says a lot of what he does is to analyze, and to him that is like taking apart a Latin verb - a way of thinking. And he already has found references to Roman law in his casebook. He believes his Latin background will serve him well, because our system has roots in the Roman system.

... looks like someone didn't record the first person verb forms accurately ...
Here's one to show those students who think spelling a word 'mostly correct' (you know they wouldn't say 'correctly') is good enough ... an excerpt from Kangla Online (India):

Speaking at the function as the resource person T Pamei further exhorted the 450 strong gathering that a teacher should be a role model, a psychologist, a counselor or a parent to students as well as a moderator between education and the child.

A teacher should pass on the knowledge and the legacy, he said citing an example of Socrates, who produced a philosopher like himself - Pluto, and Pluto made his student Aristotle another philosopher and his student in turn was the world conqueror Alexander the Great.

The Disneyfication of the ancient world proceeds apace ...
Corea Septentrionalis ambigua

Coreani Septentrionales polliciti sunt se nuclearibus armis et electrificinis renuntiaturos et ad tractatum internationalem de proliferatione nucleari vetanda accessuros esse.

Consultationibus multilateralibus, quae ultra biennium duraverunt, intererant Coreani Meridionales, Americani, Iapones, Russi, Sinenses, qui contra Coreanis Septentrionalibus petroleum et energiam promiserunt.

Praeterea nationes consultationum participes ad relationes diplomaticas cum Coreanis Septentrionalibus restituendas iam paratae erant.

At postridie eius diei, quo concordia constituta est, Coreani Septentrionales nuntiaverunt se programmata nuclearia non esse deposituros, antequam ab Americanis reactoria accepissent, quibus vis nuclearis ad usus civiles apta pararetur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
There's a new issue of Ephemeris on the enewstands ... latest headline: De Novo Senatu Germanorum
Rachana Kamtekar, Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito: Critical Essays.

Roberto Petriaggi (ed.), Archaeologia Maritima Mediterranea. An International Journal on Underwater Archaeology. Volume 1 (2004).

B.P. Reardon, Chariton. De Callirhoe narrationes amatoriae.

Christopher P. Jones (ed.), Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana.

Dietmar Kienast, Römische Kaisertabelle. Grundzüge einer römischen Kaiserchronologie. Unverändert Nachdruck der 2., durchgesehenen und erw.
10.00 p.m. |HINT| Search for Troy
When Heinrich Schliemann finds the site of ancient Troy, the mythical past becomes scientific fact. Schliemann, a German grocer's son, made a fortune in California's gold fields before becoming an archaeologist. He dug for three years in modern Turkey, determined to prove that Hissarlik was the site of the Troy of Homer's ancient epic The Iliad. In 1873, he discovered a glorious horde of treasure and opened the world's eyes to the wonders of the ancient past. The mythical world of the heroes of The Iliad had suddenly become reality. Travel back in time to the Trojan War, as we reconstruct the great city's glory with exclusive in situ dramatizations, the latest historical research, and recent location photography.

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Galen, Doctor to the Gladiators
In this fascinating series, we examine ancient inventions once believed to have been created in modern times, and test the wits of ancient inventors against some of the world's great modern inventors. Part 2 uncovers the revolutionary work of Galen, the great Roman doctor to the gladiators, who was performing brain surgery 2,000 years ahead of his time. We also explore the sophistication of Roman medicine and compare it to modern techniques.

HINT - History International

HISTU - History Channel (US)
Alas, a very busy weekend conspired with my ever-growing sleep deficit with the effect that I was asleep by the time Rome started this week. Perhaps someone else will post their views this week ... I'll post mine when the program is repeated later this week. Apologies!
Susan Lusnia passes this along:

The Department of Classical Studies has re-established
its web page at There
is a link to a listing of all our faculty and their
new email addresses. At this time our university mail
system is still down; however, Tulane has a web page,, where students, faculty, and
interested persons can find official statements about
the university and its situation.

Classical Studies also has a blog page: I am trying to
keep information posted here about our faculty, the
latest on the spring schedule, etc.

We are still looking for 3 of our graduate students:
Martin Ackley, Scott Puckett, and Christopher Vacca.
If anyone out there, especially profs at the
undergraduate institutions these students previously
attended, has any info that might help us in locating
them, we'd appreciate hearing about it. Contact me at or Jane Carter at
Issue 8.22 of our Explorator newsletter has been posted as has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ....
Here's the incipit of (what I think is a somewhat suspect claim) in the Madera Journal:

The tomb of Odysseus has been found, and the location of his legendary capital city of Ithaca discovered here on this large island across a one-mile channel from the bone-dry islet that modern maps call Ithaca.

This could be the most important archeological discovery of the last 40 years, a find that may eventually equal the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann’s 19th Century dig at Troy. But the quirky people and politics involved in this achievement have delayed by several years the process of reporting the find to the world.

Yet visitors to Kefalonia, an octopus-shaped island off the west coast of Greece, can see the evidence for themselves at virtually no cost.

The discovery of what is almost certainly his tomb reveals that crafty Odysseus, known as Ulysses in many English renditions of Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” was no mere myth, but a real person. Plus, passages in the “Odyssey” itself suggest that modern Ithaca and its main town of Vathi probably were not the city and island of which Homer wrote.

Rather, this small village of Poros on the southeast coast of Kefalonia now occupies part of a site that most likely was the much larger city which served as capital of the multi-island kingdom ruled by Odysseus and his father Laertes.

Archeologists have long and often times looked for evidence of Odysseus on modern Ithaca, but never found anything significant from the Bronze Age. This led many scholars to dismiss Homer’s version of Ionian island geography as strictly a literary creation.

But two pieces of fairly recent evidence suggest archeologists were looking in the wrong place. In 1991, a tomb of the type used to bury ancient Greek royalty was found near the hamlet of Tzannata in the hills outside Poros. It is the largest such tomb in northeastern Greece, with remains of at least 72 persons found in its stone niches.

One find there is particularly telling. In Book XIX of the “Odyssey,” the just-returned and still disguised Odysseus tells his wife (who may or may not realize who she’s talking to; Homer is deliberately ambivalent) that he encountered Odysseus many years earlier on the island of Crete. He describes in detail a gold brooch the king wore on that occasion.

A gold brooch meeting that precise description lies now in the archeological museum at Argostoli, the main city on Kefalonia, 30 miles across the island from Poros. Other gold jewelry and seals carved in precious stones excavated from the tomb offer further proof the grave outside Poros was used to bury kings.

... more. I find it interesting that the Museum of Argostoli doesn't appear to be promoting this 'discovery'. Of course, Kefallonia has long promoted itself (for tourism purposes) as the home of Odysseus ...
Glaukopis alerts us to the existence/creation of a new online Classics undergrad journal dealing with women in antiquity: Pasiphae's Pants. They're currently seeking submissions, which will be reviewed by some folks at the University of Maryland.
MH over at Classics in Contemporary Culture alerts us to a project to name the world's top "public intellectuals" and notes the only Classicists on the list are Kagan and Nussbaum, although they aren't designated as Classicists. You can vote yourself, choosing from their 'top 100 list' but can also pencil in someone you think they left off the list (I pencilled in Victor Davis Hanson, but I'm not sure he meets their criteria).
They've added some earlier volumes over at the ZPE site and they've also added more recent ones as 'payfer' ... I suspect I could live with this sort of set up: paying for the most recent (say, last 5-7 years), but gaining free access to older volumes. Perhaps it's the beginning of a trend? (he said, optimistically)
Americani in lunam reversuri

Administratio aeronautica et spatialis Americanorum de novo in lunam volatu consilium cepit, qui anno bis millesimo duodevicesimo fiet.

Novum navigium spatiale maius erit prioribus, quibus duodecim homines inter annos millesimum nongentesimum duodeseptuagesimum et septuagesimum secundum (1968-72) lunam obierunt.

Sex astronautas capiet, ex quibus quattuor in lunam descendent.

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

Lost Literature
What did Cicero and friends write home to their friends when they travelled abroad? Well much the same as we do today namely politics and philosophy. Regrettably many of the writings were lost...

... listen
From the Kansas City Star:

Who says Latin is a dead language?

At Blue Valley North High School it’s alive and well.

“I love Latin. Seriously, it is really, really fun,” said sophomore Katie Bergman. “It helps in lots of other classes too, which is good.”

Bergman is not the only student who has taken an interest in the language. More than 150 students at North have signed up for Latin classes, making North’s program one of the largest in the Kansas City metro area.

It’s a growing trend not only in Blue Valley, but across the country.

“I think there’s just a move in education to get back to the basics,” said Matthew Roberts, a Latin teacher at Blue Valley North and Johnson County Community College.

Colleges and universities are becoming more and more competitive, he said, and students are searching for a way to stay ahead.

Latin offers students a way to improve their English grammar and vocabulary skills and gives them a deeper understanding of Roman history and western civilization.

“It’s really two classes. It’s a grammar class, but it is also a history class,” said junior Allyson Shaw.

She started taking Latin her freshman year after searching for something different from the Spanish classes she took in middle school. Shaw always had an interest in ancient history and thought Latin could be a perfect match.

“It is just a beautiful language,” she said.

Blue Valley North Latin teachers said they find students take the class for a variety of reasons.

One of the most common reasons students sign up is to improve or ensure high verbal scores on SAT and ACT college entrance exams, said teacher Kay Rutherford.

If students are able to learn the Latin language, she said, they often become better readers and writers of the English language.

“There’s an increasing concern nationally as well as locally for students to be better readers,” she said.

It’s also a language that is more visually based, so students who learn best by seeing often gravitate toward Latin rather than conversational languages like Spanish or French.

“I really think Latin is the only foreign language option based on visual learning rather than oral learning,” she said.

Roberts said Latin can be difficult, but once it’s mastered it can be a powerful tool to understand languages that are grammatically more simplistic, like English.

“It kind of gives you the power over language,” he said.

And it isn’t just English. Bergman said Latin has helped her understand theories in her math class and Shaw said she can even help her friends with their Spanish vocabulary.

Both students have enjoyed the language so much, they plan to continue in college. Bergman hopes to major in classical studies, while Shaw is considering a minor.

Seeing students get so excited about the language has been fun for Rutherford to watch. She has always loved the language and wanted to major in it in college in the 1960s but because of the language’s decline in popularity, she worried about getting a teaching job. She decided instead to major in English and minor in Latin.

She’s been teaching Latin at Blue Valley North for five years and taught a section of Latin for a year while working in the Shawnee Mission district before making the move.

“When I had the opportunity to come to Blue Valley North and teach Latin it was very exciting, and it is thrilling to be able to pass that interest on to the students and see them excited about the language,” she said.

Rutherford has seen that excitement not only in the classroom but in the school’s popular Latin club as well.

The Junior Classical League of Blue Valley North meets twice a month, dining at area Italian restaurants, designing club T-shirts and watching movies set in ancient times, like “Gladiator.”

“It is really fun,” Bergman said.

The club members also attend the state Latin convention once a year where North students compete against other area Latin students in a variety of areas.

Bergman was a member of the Latin quiz bowl team last year and helped the team finish first.

“It was really fun because it asked a lot of questions about mythology and just Latin words in general,” she said.

Last year, the North team finished in second place overall just behind the team from Shawnee Mission Northwest.

Some years they’ve finished in the number one spot, and they hope to regain the title this year.

Whether they’ll secure their spot at the top remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Latin is anything but dead.
The latest issue of the Friends of Herculaneum Society newsletter is available (back issues available via the same link) ...
From Radio Prague:

For twelve years, Czech archaeologists have been helping their Bulgarian colleagues in the excavations of an Ancient Greek market town in central Bulgaria. The twelve years of work has yielded valuable results, including a hoard of coins, and discovered a surprising connection between the ancient town and the Czech Lands.
Pistiros Pistiros
The river port of Pistiros was founded in the 5th century BC by a local Thracian ruler. From the excavations we know that wine from Greece was imported to the town in large amphoras. Other pottery was found in and around the remnants of houses and also a hoard of treasure was unearthed from one of the ruins. Professor Jan Bouzek was head of the team.
"Well, it was a hoard of some 561 coins. They were buried just before the Celtic invasion which came there in 278 BC. They were put into a locally made jar, just in a hurry, because the Celts were apparently already attacking the city."
Hoard of coins Hoard of coins
Over a thousand coins were unearthed on the site, minted in various Greek cities and bearing the portraits of many rulers, including Philip II, who caused considerable damage to Pistiros around the year 345 BC. The city was destroyed by Celtic invaders some fifty years later and never fully recovered. Interestingly, some of the attackers apparently came from what is now the Czech Republic.
"In the destruction we found several Celtic weapons which were partly burnt and most of them are not well preserved with the exception of one arrowhead. But we found in the ruins that at the time of the looting of the city they lost one of the typical fibulae (buckles) of the so-called Duchcov type which were especially well-known from a great hoard in Duchcov and which must have been made in this country. Some of the Celts from these parts apparently participated because they were also one of the four tribes which founded the kingdom of Galatia. They were Celts living in the northern part of this country."
Duchcov fibulae Duchcov fibulae
The fruits of the 12-year Czech-Bulgarian joint research were first presented to the archaeological community last week in Prague at the Third International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities. As Professor Jan Bouzek says the beginnings of Czech-Bulgarian cooperation in archaeology date back to the 19th century.
"Well, the history is much longer. Both my professors who did archaeology epigraphy were working in Bulgaria. And 80 percent of the founders of Bulgarian archaeology were the Czechs. They were the Skorpil family, Professor Vaclav Dobrusky - who was actually the first person who had any knowledge of our site. Vaclav Dobrusky was the founder of the Bulgarian National Archaeological Museum and he discovered the first inscription on the [Pistiros] site. It was long forgotten and only discovered much later by my friend Mieczyslaw Domaradski who was Polish-born but lived and worked in Bulgaria. He really discovered the city much later."

... photos and an audio report accompany the original article.
Brief audio piece on the decline of Greek and Latin in Ireland and plans to reverse the decline (I messed up the url in this a.m.'s Explorator on this one ... requires RealAudio) ...

A brief item from the New York Times which we'll probably be hearing more about:

The Greek culture ministry announced plans yesterday to study whether erosion is threatening the 14,000-seat ancient theater of Epidaurus, a Unesco World Heritage Site renowned for acoustics that are said to make a whisper audible in the highest of its 55 rows, Agence France-Presse reported. "I have ordered our staff to investigate the issue," said Petros Tatoulis, the deputy culture minister, who said he was surprised that experts monitoring the status of the structure, built in the fourth century B.C. in southern Greece, had failed to inform him of problems. The matter was raised on Wednesday when a member of Parliament, Fotis E. Kouvelis, submitted a question that warned that the theater, a magnet for nearly a million visitors annually, was "threatened by landslides and humidity that saps its already weakened stone structure."
Mieke Prent, Cretan Sanctuaries and Cults. Continuity and Change from Late Minoan IIIC to the Archaic Period. Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 154.

Roggen on Aveline on Roggen.

David Noy, Alexander Panayotov, Hanswulf Bloedhorn, Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis I. Eastern Europe. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 101.

Charles Matson Odahl, Constantine and the Christian Empire.

P. Gregory Warden (ed.), Greek Vase Painting. Form, Figure, and Narrative. Treasures of the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
7.00 p.m. |SCI| Seven Wonders of the World
Centuries ago, the Greeks created a list dubbed "The Seven Wonders of the World". Each work of art was the most beautiful, the largest, or the most complex. Today, only one of the Seven Wonders still stands - the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt.

9.00 p.m. |HBO/Movie Channel| Rome
The series continues ...

SCI = Science Channel
From the BBC:

The co-creator of Asterix has unveiled a new edition in the comic book series - the first for four years.

Albert Uderzo, who illustrates the famous tales of the Gallic warrior, presented the 33rd book at a special ceremony in Brussels, Belgium.

The book, which goes on sale next month, uses a reworking of the first ever Asterix cover.

Uderzo, 78, introduced the colourful character with writer Rene Goscinny nearly half a century ago in 1959.

The new Asterix book, The Sky Falls On His Head, is out on 14 October but Uderzo has steadfastly refused to reveal any plot details.

But it is believed nothing too drastic has changed. The year is still 50BC, and the small village is still holding out against the Roman conqueror.

Explaining why he had chosen to rework the original cover, Uderzo said: "This album was the first, the character was not really well built then.

"I always said that if I could redo the first album, I would, but the answer has always been it wouldn't please the readers, they prefer to keep their first feelings."

Asterix has become an institution in Europe, and a worldwide best seller, ensuring a large turnout at The Grand Place in Brussels for the launch.

The square was transformed into a Gallic village with the Manneken Pis statue dressed in blue-and-white-striped pantaloons for the launch.

While Asterix is a French hero, Uderzo told reporters that Belgium liked him more, which is why he chose that country for the launch.

The book will be distributed in 27 countries and some eight million copies are already printed and wait to be released.
Am I the only one who cringes when I read things like this (from the Maneater):

About 50 students attended an open forum Thursday in Allen Auditorium to commemorate Constitution Day. Chancellor Brady Deaton and three professors spoke at the forum.

The speakers discussed U.S. Constitutional theory, the document’s importance and some of the problems that occur when applying the Constitution today.

Law professors Douglas Abrams and Christina Wells and political science professor Rick Hardy sat on the panel. Abrams focused on the importance of an independent judiciary.


Hardy pointed out the importance of preserving the Constitution, quoting Greek philosopher Herodotus, who said, “nothing is permanent except change.” [...]

... what's probably most disturbing is trying to decide whether it was the prof or the journalist who thinks Herodotus to be a philosopher ...
Folks who might have tried to post something to Classics Central in the last 12 hours or so probably were unsuccessful; I had to hastily shut down 'public' access (by public, I mean everyone who is not me) due to a swaggering warning I was about to be spammed and a subsequent series of posts in the moderating queue suggesting the threat was genuine (it's a bunch of game developers from Ireland, by the way ... or at least those were the email addresses they registered with. Right time zone too; probably script kiddies now that I think of it). Access will be restored some time today, but I'll be approving every post (or disapproving, as the case may be) ...
Nice piece from UConn's Daily Campus:

One of the best-kept secrets in the liberal arts scene at UConn is the classics department, neatly tucked away on the second floor of Arjona. It is composed of a small group of intellectuals devoted to material which may appear boring on the surface but is, on the contrary, quite engaging and fun to work with.

Though one studies dead languages and the ramblings of old men, being a classics and Mediterranean studies (CAMS) major or enthusiast is beneficial and enlightening. When a new student begins learning a second (modern) language, the beginning translations are excruciatingly boring. "I want to go to the store to buy milk," and "Your hair is brown," are not even half as exciting as "Achilles split his head at the brow with hilted sword," or "The Cyclops smashed their heads like puppies." In addition, the works you translate in CAMS are famous works. Plato's "Trial of Socrates," "The Odyssey" and even the Bible are just a few of the works you'll likely translate in only your second year of Greek.

For those of you who do not wish to learn Greek or Latin, fear not. You can still be a classics major. There are classes that concentrate on the analysis of Plato's writings, Roman satires and Roman history, as well as a number of ancient art classes. To make it more exciting, Dr. Roger Travis is known to compare and contrast the classics with modern mediums, including "Star Wars," "The Matrix," "Star Trek" and "Lord of the Rings." We really did sit in class and discuss the philosophy of "The Maker" and Neo's choice in The Matrix Reloaded, comparing it with the decisions of Socrates in Plato's dialogues.

I wish to commend the professors for their dedication to teaching. They really want you, the student, to learn as well as enjoy the material. In professor Sara Johnson's Beginning Greek Classes, if you get below an 80 on any of the quizzes, you fail. However, the other side of this is you can retake any quiz any number of times until you get above an 80. This is something I have rarely heard of other teachers doing, not because they don't care for the well being of their students, but because they don't wish to continually make different quizzes on the same material, despite the fact this method definitely encourages the learning of the material. Having tried and tested this system, I can personally attest to the benefits, advantages and personal enjoyment of the student. I encourage all teachers to try it.

For those English majors out there, how many times have you read Romantic poetry or Shakespeare and had to glance continuously down to the footnotes to understand the background of some obscure mythological reference? Not only will classics improve your scholarly knowledge, but it will also save you time on your other homework. As one of two English/classics majors on campus (the other also writes for The Daily Campus), I know I can speak for both of us in saying classics compliments an English major very well.

A final advantage to joining the classics department is the loyalty and camaraderie of the students within it. A recent search on Facebook displayed a mere 42 students (including alumni) who are classics majors. When four or five of your classmates share two or three of your weekly classes, it is almost impossible not to become friends with them. A few of the more ambitious CAMS majors formed the Classics Club, which meets on Thursday nights in the Student Union. The club organizes trips to museums as well as miniature war game demonstrations and various other classical academic pursuits.

In addition, we're a real friendly bunch of people. Give it a shot, try some classics courses and open yourself up to a small, sharp academic community that looks to the future by studying the past.
Numerous versions of this popping up on the net ... here's the version from Kathimerini (more in tomorrow's Explorator):

A male tourist was killed and at least six people were injured when a huge state-of-the-art steel roof covering the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini collapsed yesterday afternoon.

The 1,000-square-meter steel structure caved in while workers were watering soil laid out upon it as part of plans to regulate the temperature and humidity on the site of the ancient Minoan city.

Rescue workers continued to search the rubble last night but could not say how many people were trapped. Staff at the site said all employees had been accounted for. No details were available about the dead man and those injured. The extent of damage to antiquities was unclear.

Since weather conditions were good at the time of the collapse, experts questioned the quality of the material used for the roof, whose construction began in 2000 and was due to be completed this December.

The consortium in charge of the project, J&P Avax-Impregilo-Embedos, said the construction of the roof had been carried out “subject to the highest technical standards and under the constant supervision of the Archaeological Society.” It said it would enlist experts to probe the cause of the accident.

Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, whose ministry funded the project, was flown to the site. He said an investigation would be carried out to identify those responsible for the tragedy. It was Tatoulis who approved the site’s opening in the summer of 2004, ahead of the Athens Olympics.

The prehistoric town at Akrotiri was one of the chief urban centers in the Aegean until its destruction in a huge volcanic blast in the 17th century BC.

.... there's a photo of the collapsed structure with the original article.
In anticipation (at the time) of Hurricane Rita, the Western Mail had a feature on assorted lost cities ... here's excerpts of the ones in our purview:


MOST famous for its (allegedly mythical) hanging gardens, the city of Babylon had actually existed for nearly 2,000 years before they are supposed to have been built under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar II between 605 BC and 562 BC.

This process of beautification made Babylon one of the most impressive cities of the ancient world, but its decline began after it came under the rule of Alexander the Great in 331BC. After his mysterious death eight years later, his empire was divided between his generals, who were soon at war. Babylon bore the brunt of the fighting and its residents emptied the city. By 141BC, Babylon was desolate.

Most of the existing remains lie on the east bank of the Euphrates, in modern day Iraq.


FOR many years, the existence of the city of Troy was not believed to extend beyond Homeric legend.

Then in the 1870s, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schlie-mann discovered the ruins of a series of ancient cities, dating from the Bronze Age to the Roman period, while excavating a hill at Hissarlik, in north-western Turkey.

Further exploration at the site revealed there were, in fact, the remains of at least nine cities built on top of each other. A mammoth investigation by a team of archaeologists under the direction of Manfred Korfmann, starting in 1988, found a series of Bronze Age artefacts and a deep ditch along the periphery of the ruined city.

Despite Korfmann's work, Troy's authenticity is still not universally accepted among ancient historians, with many disputing the commonly held perception that the city is Troy is synonymous with the Hittite city of Wilusa.

FOUNDED in 814BC, Carthage used its position on the western shores of the Mediterranean to become the most prominent commercial power in the region, a mantle it held for several centuries.

The city became rich through trading in silver and tin ore, but it became notorious among its neighbours for its child sacrifice rituals. Carthage's enviable position and wealth made it a target for opposing empires, and the city rulers became engaged in wars for several centuries.

Carthaginian power held out until 146BC, when Roman soldiers invaded, slaughtering many of the residents, burning the harbour and razing the city. It was rebuilt and continued to be inhabited for several centuries before eventually being overrun by Islamic forces in 698AD. It is now a popular tourist attraction in modern day Tunisia.


THE story of an affluent island sunk to the bottom of the sea was told by Plato around 360BC in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, and has sparked controversy and debate among scholars ever since.

While telling the stories, Plato repeatedly stated that the story was true, encouraging speculation that it was actually a fictionalised version of a real story.

In Plato's version, the island was the domain of the sea god Poseidon, and its rulers exercised influence beyond its shores into Europe and Africa.

The climate and power of the island produced great wealth, making the residents greedy and corrupt, leading to the city's punishment by the gods. It has since been suggested that the story was inspired by the submersion of the island of Thera in the Aegean Sea by a volcanic explosion in 1500BC.

Evidence of a sophisticated culture, probably part of the Minoan Civilisation, has been found at the site of the island.

Now considering that the context of this article is 'cities that weren't rebuilt after natural disasters', it seems somewhat strange that neither Pompeii nor Helike made the list ... but I'm probably just picking nits.
The conclusion of a piece in the Guardian on redevelopment in and around Rome, on the occasion of the official opening of the new Ara Pacis museum:

Mayor Veltroni agrees. "If you take the historic centre to mean its Renaissance core, then it ought not to be touched," he said. However, it is being touched. Mr Veltroni is promoting a contemporary development on the Capitoline hill, the oldest part of the city. Work has begun on a project that will see a glass dome put over a space to host one of the most celebrated statues of antiquity, that of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This and the Ara Pacis were "exceptions", said the mayor.

Last night, however, he was due to announced an international competition for the redevelopment of the area around the Ara Pacis where several buildings were constructed during the fascist era - none of which is generally felt to be worth preserving. The mayor said he wanted to "see if some nice, big idea comes along".

... howzabout tearing down that hideous 'wedding cake' thing ....
6.00 p.m. |SCI| Alexander the Great: Murder Unsolved
Unravel one of the strangest mysteries of ancient times, the suspicious death of history's most extraordinary leader, Alexander the Great. Experts attempt to decipher if his early death at age 32 was caused by disease, excessive drinking or even murder.

8.00 p.m. |DTC| The Three Kings
The identity of the Magi who visited the Christ child in Bethlehem is a biblical mystery. Trace their journey from Persia to Jerusalem to their confrontation with Herod. Find out why they brought their signature gifts, and how they vanished from history.
Dotata mulier virum regit.

A dowered wife rules her husband.

(pron = doh-tah-tah moo-lee-air wee-room ray-git)

Comment: Well, of course she does! She came as part of a deal, and deals
always cut in two directions, always have conditions, and establish a kind of
pendulum that is always swinging.

In ancient Greece, the dowry a woman came with became part of the husband’s
estate, and it was a deal that their father’s (or other male relatives) had
created for them. The woman became a part of the husband’s family and so did
her dowry. She was there to provide heirs to the husband’s familial line.
However, if he decided for any reason to divorce her, the deal might have
included that the dowry had to be returned. A shrewd father might have added
“with interest”. So, her position in the new family was secured with an
investment in real estate. While she might have been the “deal” between two
fathers, the deal came with conditions which gave her the potential for a
significant amount of control over her husband and her new family. Her dowry,
for instance, might have come with a large amount of money, or with that
significant piece of property that the husband’s family had been seeking to

In any relationship, an uneasy question that probably ought to be asked is: what
is the interest in this relationship? What is the pay-off? Relationships that
are cast in polarities are particularly worth looking at. The controller and
the controlled will always yield some interesting ways in which the controlled
controls the controller. Years ago, some colleagues wanted me to spend my
lunch break and prep time at school standing in the hall writing up students
for uniform violations. They were going to show students, once and for all,
who was in control. And yet, this control would cost me all of my “free” time
needed to prepare good lessons for my students. The controllers were
controlled by the their relationship with students that they wished to be in
charge of. I declined the invitation. This "deal" cost me too much and the
payoff was getting to be king of a mountain that I didn't want to be on in the
first place.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem ix kalendas octobres

rites in honour of Latona at the Theatre of Marcellus

Mercatus -- those cupboards must have been really empty!

484 B.C. -- Birth of Euripides (?)

480 B.C. -- Athenian naval forces under Themistocles defeat Xerxes' Persian force in the narrows of Salamis (one reckoning)

63 B.C. -- birth of Octavius, the future emperor Augustus

25 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Neptune (and associated rites thereafter)

23 B.C. -- restoration of the temple of Apollo in the Campus Martius (and associated rites thereafter)

117 A.D. -- martyrdom of Thecla
anonym @ Wordsmith

shambles @ Merriam-Webster (interesting, even if I am skeptical)

modicum @

... and be sure to check out the Classics Technology Center's My Word feature, which looks at 'latin study words'.
Latest addition to the APA site is a statement on Hurricane Katrina, the gist of which is that three grad students in Classics are still unaccounted for, to wit:

Martin Ackley
Scott Puckett
Christopher Vacca

If anyone knows of their whereabouts, they're asked to contact Adam Blistein (mail link in the Statement itself), who will pass on the information to those needing to know.

Nice to see that the 'exemplary teacher' feature in the Ontario College of Teachers' magazine is about a Classics/Latin Teacher: Mary McBride in Aliston, Ontario (something to read other than the 'blue pages' !).
We first mentioned the Digital Classicist blog back in June, and recently mention has been made of it again on various lists. However, for reasons I can't fathom, the announcment making the rounds linked to a main page which really doesn't elucidate anyone on the projects which the Digital Classicist project is 'gathering together'. What is missing -- and really what people should be directing their caerulean gazes toward -- is the wiki (need a link on the page guys!).
Simon Wiesenthal obiit

Simon Wiesenthal, pertinax persecutor nazistarum nefariorum, annos natus nonaginta sex Vindobonae diem supremum obiit.

Confecto secundo bello mundano Wiesenthal plus mille centum apparitores et satellites Adolphi Hitler, inter quos notissimus erat Adolphus Eichmann, in iudicium arcessendos et damnandos curavit.

Quattuor annos et dimidium in campo concentrationis fuerat, unde cum coniuge vivus evasit, etsi prope nonaginta propinquos amisit.

Tarja Halonen, praesidens Finniae, res a Wiesenthal gestas laudavit et monuit magni esse ad conscientiam generis humani, quod atrocia scelera in abscondito non manerent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Christian Stock, Sergius (Ps.-Cassiodorus) Commentarium de oratione et de octo partibus orationis Artis Secundae Donati. Überlieferung, Text und Kommentar. Sammlung wissenschaftlicher Commentare.

Giovanni Colonna (ed.), Il santuario di Portonaccio a Veio. I. Gli scavi di Massimo Pallottino nella zona dell'altare (1939-1940). Accademia nazionale dei Lincei, Monumenti Antichi, serie miscellanea, vol. VI:3 (LVIII della serie generale).

Clemente Marconi (ed.), Greek Vases: Images, Contexts and Controversies. Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition, 25.

Randall Lesaffer, Peace Treaties and International Law in European History. From the Late Middle Ages to World War One.

Matthias Steinhart, Die Kunst der Nachahmung: Darstellungen mimetischer Vorführungen in der griechischen Bildkunst archaischer und klassischer Zeit.
From the BBC:

Historians have appealed for help in solving the decades-old mystery of a missing one-tonne lead statue at a castle in north Wales.

Mars, the Roman God of war, used to guard the entrance of Chirk Castle but disappeared sometime after 1911.

He stood with counterpart, Hercules, for 50 years until they were separated.

Hercules was found in a nearby wood in 1983 and brought back to the castle by helicopter. Experts have now renewed the hunt for the 12ft tall Mars.

Mars was taken and put on a plinth in what became known as, and still is, Mars Wood
Emma Hegarty, Chirk Castle

Historian Nigel Davies said: "When you think of the sheer size of it and the weight, and that it has gone for a walk without anyone noticing. But this is within living memory so someone may know something."

Mr Davies said it was possible the statue of the god of war was used to help in another confrontation - as scrap metal in World War I or II.

"But then why take one (statue) and not the other? If by some miracle it was found, it would be absolutely fantastic."

The appeal to the public is being made as part of Chirk's Castle at War events. Visitors to the National Trust property will be told the statues were first erected almost 300 years ago.

Mars and Hercules were copies of classical statues from Greece and Rome. They were removed in 1770 after standing next to each for half a century.

Statues separated

The steward at the time recorded: "Hercules and Mars driven out of their Court and turned Back to Back... they have been very near neighbours to each other upwards of 50 years, and have not in all that time had an angry word with one another, a rare instance of friendship indeed."

Hercules, which was found in 1983, can be seen in the lime avenue to the east of the castle.

Chirk Castle property manager Emma Hegarty said: "Mars was taken a reasonable distance from the castle and put on a plinth in what became known as, and still is, Mars Wood."

Mrs Hegarty said Mars was still there in 1911 but there was no other record of him until 1960, where it is stated, he was missing.

The only remnants which exist of Mars are the original 1770 plinth and a rubbing of an engraving.

"We are appealing to anybody for any information they can give us on the whereabouts or fate of Mars," said Mrs Hegarty.
Seems appropriate to have news about Augustus' Horologium on his birthday ... from

When the autumnal equinox peaks at 3:23 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday, Sept. 22, a University of Oregon team working to reconstruct one of the world's most famous solar clocks will savor - and record - the moment by making another observation at a test site on campus.

Historian John Nicols and physicist Robert Zimmerman have joined with architects James Tice and Virginia Cartwright to lead a group of scholars and students seeking to create a replica of the Horologium / Solarium of Augustus, a 60-foot granite obelisk erected at Heliopolis in the seventh century B.C. by Psammetichus II and brought to Rome by Augustus in 10 B.C. The obelisk was to be used as the "gnomon" (the staff against which the shadow is projected from the sun to the ground) of a new solar calendar and "clock."

"It was a momentous event in the history of time, for it marks the revolutionary shift in time-keeping from the lunar to a solar-based system we now use," said Nichols, who specializes in ancient history and the history of science.

"What makes the Augusti solarium so significant is that it was the first attempt in the West to display the hours of the day and the days of the month - as well as the months and the seasons - in an astronomically correct way. Previous calendars were based primarily on the lunar cycle which created a 355-day year."

The obelisk was toppled in late antiquity, rediscovered in the Renaissance, and set up again - without the face of the dial - in front of the Italian Parliament in Rome. About 20 years ago, a team of German archaeologists located the "face" of the sun, which measures roughly 300 by 200 feet, 18 feet below the current street level of Rome. Nicols said the scholars and students hope to lay out the gnomon, or obelisk, for the solarium on a half-scale model. Hours of the day, days of the month, and the seasons will all be clearly marked.

"There is nothing like this monument anywhere in the world," Nicols said.

Sandra Penny, an undergraduate student in physics, has worked out the mathematics of the solar time-keeping system with Zimmerman. Students from many departments have helped to paint in the grid on the test site at McKenzie Plaza, 1101 Kincaid St., Eugene, Ore.

The project is a byproduct of an award from the university's Williams Fund allowing a number of scholars in physics, history and humanities to develop a set of courses dealing with the process of culture and scientific discovery.

When completed, the replica will represent the shared creative work of astronomers and physicists, historians, literary scholars, classicists and archaeologists.

Cost is estimated at $100,000, though it may not be an exact replica in one respect. Plans call for building it of green granite rather than the original reddish black stone, as a nod to the university's school colors.

Nulla dies maerore caret.

Not a day lacks its own grief.

(pron = noo-lah dee-ays mai-roh-ray cah-ret)

Comment: Just scanning the last 24 hours: I have progress reports due for the
150 students I teach. Grief. A plane load of people must make an emergency
landing on landing gear that is not working in the LA airport (and do, safely).
Grief. The third largest hurricane in recorded history is aiming its fury at
Texas—millions evacuating. Grief. A colleague reports that in some circles on
the internet these daily proverbs and what I write are deplored by those who
learned Latin “the right way.” Grief. Refugees from Katrina are now double
refugees, fleeing Rita. Grief. Senators must now vote for the confirmation of
a supreme court chief justice. Grief. My students will take home their
progress reports today. Grief—for them, perhaps, for their parents, perhaps.
Some will hide them or throw them away. Grief—delayed.

You get the point. It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we do, or where we
live—life will present some struggle today, and it will be relative to all of
the above. And, relatively speaking, some grief seems hardly worth mentioning
compared to other griefs. I am reminded of what James Hillman said, again:
don’t hope. Hope won’t help. Struggle with what is. That is what makes a
difference. So, today’s grief becomes the stuff of life that we have to work
with. My stuff is all that I can work with. I cannot work with your stuff,
nor you with mine. Could be a great bumper sticker: my stuff—my gift. Choose
other descriptive nouns for “stuff” if you like. The stuff my life churns up
to work with is what makes my life, or anyone else’s interesting and worth

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
Very brief item from the Cyprus News Agency on the wrap-up of the dig at Idalion:

Excavations in the Lower City of the ancient city-kingdom of Idalion this year brought to the surface workshops as early as the 13th century BC, as well as limestone female sculptures, lamp fragments and terracotta figurines, while other findings indicate that the occupation of the site of ancient Idalion probably began in the Lower City North in the 15th century BC.

According to the Department of Antiquities, the 2005 season of excavation was carried out by the Lycoming College Expedition to Idalion under the direction of Dr. Pamela Gaber.
... nothing of interest.
ante diem x kalendas octobres

Mercatus -- the Romans continue the shopping spree

479 B.C. -- the Persian general Mardonius is killed in the Battle of Plataea (source? ... seems a little late)

36 B.C. -- the triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus agrees to retire after losing all his military support to Octavian

19 B.C. -- another (less likely) date for the death of Virgil

130 (129?) A.D.-- birth of Galen (still not sure of the ultimate source for this date)

259 A.D. -- martyrdom of Digna and Emerita at Rome

287 A.D. -- martyrdom of Maurice and companions

1999 -- death of Chester Starr
Speaking of Done With Mirrors (see below), there's also an item on the Miss Seamline beauty contest (ostensibly something to promote tolerance) with some connections to the Lysistrata ...
charactonym @ Wordsmith

simpatico @ Merriam-Webster

breviate @ OED

adventitious @

It being Thursday, it's also the day to check out Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ....

The preliminary program (and other materials) for the upcoming AIA meeting in Montreal (held side-by-side with the APA, of course) is up ... some panels look very interesting, although we're still waiting for abstracts. Gotta get to Montreal ....
Demetrios A. Chrestides, Loukianos: Satira philosophias kai philosophounton. Arkhaioi Syggraphes 65.

Gerard Naddaf, The Greek Concept of Nature.

Christian Zgoll, Phänomenologie der Metamorphose. Verwandlungen und Verwandtes in der augusteischen Dichtung. Classica Monacensia 28.

Benoît Jeanjean, Bertrand Lançon, Saint Jérôme Chronique. Continuation de la Chronique d'Eusèbe années 326-378. Suivie de quatre études sur les chroniques et chronographies dans l'Antiquité tardive (IVe-VIe siècles). Actes de la table ronde du GESTIAT, Brest, 22 et 23 mars 2002.

Steven Weitzman, Surviving Sacrilege. Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity.
Over at Memento Vivere, Rob has a post on the potential for podcasting in academe in general and Classics in particular ... just to expand on his 'guest lecturers' suggestion, I still think that entire conferences and/or panel sessions can/should be made available as podcasts. The technology required to do this sort of thing is readily available and the only problems I could see with it would be dealing with questions afterward (i.e. microphone set up) ...
From Driffield Today:

THE remains of a Roman settlement, complete with pottery and jewellery, has been uncovered in Driffield.
A copper ring, an iron hair pin and clues to the ways of life of the Romans and the earlier Bronze Age were unearthed at Southwood Park, off Auchinleck Close.

They were discovered during an archeological investigation which is part of an ongoing programme of work by Peter Ward Homes to record the deposits within the whole of the housing development.

Ed Dennison, of Beverley based Ed Dennison Archaeological Services, said: "This work confirms similar finds from other development sites in the area, which reflect the region's Roman past. Although the site is not considered to be sufficiently important to merit protection, the work at Southwood Park will help build a clearer picture of the history and origins of Driffield."

Before developing the land, the house builders commissioned the dig and have spent thousands of pounds to assess its potential.

An initial geophysical survey and trial excavations of the area revealed a series of ditches and enclosures, suggesting the site was part of a small Roman settlement. And as they investigated further the team of workers found a number of Roman artefacts dating back as far as the second and third century, as well as earlier Bronze Age material. The finds include pottery, flints, metal objects such as an iron hairpin and a copper ring. Animal bones and oyster shells have also been found, an indication of the diet of the times.

Mr Dennison said the area around the River Hull was fairly densely occupied during Roman times and it was digs like this which gave archaeologists the chance to uncover information about their lives. The finds were similar to those unearthed at other digs in the area and their real significance could not be calculated until the other investigations at the development were carried out.

Another dig will start next week with further ones planned as Peter Ward Homes develop the area.

Mr Dennison explained: "It is a bit like a jigsaw, we have only done a corner so far so we cannot see the overall picture."

Peter Ward, the home builder's managing director said: "As we get development underway in Driffield, it is fascinating to consider the history of the immediate area. Our work with the archaeological team will ensure that our findings feature as part of Driffield's rich past."

The finds have now been removed and will eventually be stored in Sewerby Hall at Bridlington by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Museum Service.
[this was yesterday's]

Nigrum in candida vertunt.
(Juvenl, Satires 3.30)

They turn a black thing into white things.

(pron = nee-groom in cahn-dee-dah wher-toont)

Comment: This is a snippet from a line in Juvenal’s third satire. Juvenl writes
at a time when speaking directly one’s thoughts about the “current
administration” could get one killed at worst, or at best, exiled. Rather than
direct criticism, Juvenal refers here to the Rome of an earlier time. It was a
time when men like Catulus could take what was black and turn it into what was
white. Juvenal seems to be saying: look at the twisted place that we call

I spent 3 hours last night at Emory University listening to James Hillman, noted
Jungian analyst, Jean Huston, noted anthropologist, and Deepok Chopra, noted
physician and bridgebuilder of western and eastern philosophies discuss “War,
Peace and the American Imagination”.

Here are three snippets from them: Hillman: we are addicted to ignorance (to
the willingness not to know about anything that disturbs our little world).
Huston: I travel this country and do not ever find stupid students, but I often
enough find stupid school systems that do not allow for the development of the
imagination. Chopra: We are suffering from the illness of separation (the
belief that I am somehow not at all related to the world around me, and that I
can do whatever I want, take whatever I want without ill effect).

In so many words, these wise people of our time were asking us to consider how
it is in our own time that we turn what is black into white, and fail to
imagine what it is like to experience another person’s life. As Hillman put
it: we plan and do numbers very well. We fail to imagine what it is like to
live out the existence of another. We say: evacuate the city, and fail to
imagine what this means for the desperately poor. We say: bomb the enemy and
fail to imagine what this means for ordinary families who live in the bombing
area. At one riveting point, Hillman thundered: I don’t want you leaving here
tonight hopeful! Hope will get us nothing. Instead, I want you to leave here
struggling with what is—struggling to deal with what really is right now.

So much easier to pretend that black is white.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
6.00 p.m. |DTC| Letters from the Roman Front
Rome's legions met their match in the highlands of Scotland. At the archaeological dig of the Roman garrison at Vindolanda, countless artifacts help recreate the life of Roman armies - from their aqueducts to their slaughterhouse.
ante diem xi kalendas octobres

Mercatus -- still stocking the cupboards after the ludi Romani

490 B.C. -- battle of Marathon (yet another reckoning)

490 B.C. -- the Athenian polemarch Callimachus dies during the Marathon campaign (contingent on the above, obviously)

19 B.C. -- death of Publius Vergilius Maro (more likely than yesterday)

37 A.D. -- the emperor Gaius (Caligula) is given the title pater patriae
ananym @ Wordsmith

volcano @ OED

capitulate @
This just popped up at the APA site ... it's Elaine Fantham's presidential address entitled "Liberty and the People in republican Rome" ... (why isn't 'republican' capitalized?)
Christopher S. Mackay, Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History.

Giorgio Brugnoli, Studi di filologia e letteratura latina, a cura di Silvia Conte e Fabio Stok. Testi e studi di cultura classica, 30.

M. Andreassi, Le facezie del Philogelos. Barzellette antiche e umorismo moderno.

Richard Bayliss, Provincial Cilicia and the Archaeology of Temple Conversion. BAR International Series 1281.

Richard Talbert, Kai Brodersen, Space in the Roman World. Its Perception and Presentation. Antike Kultur und Geschichte, Bd. 5.
Mubarak electionum victor

Hosni Mubarak, praesidens Aegypti septuaginta septem annos natus, moderator civitatis suae in quintum sexennium electus est.

Qui exitus comitiorum in Aegypto habitorum exspectatissimus erat, quamquam hoc anno primum accidit, ut populo facultas daretur praesidentem e pluribus candidatis creandi.

Votis computatis Mubarak victor manifestissimus repertus est, quippe qui e suffragiis duodenonaginta centesimis (88%) potitus esset.

Id tamen dolendum est, quod nonnisi quartus quisque civis iure suffragandi usus est.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
I'm sure some folks on various lists might like this idea for their Latin class ... from the Indy Star:

Spray-painted lettering on colored sheets of butcher's paper makes little sense to an observer in the 21st century.
If the signs were hanging along the streets of ancient Rome, the pronouncements written in Latin would be understood as the election placards they are.

The project is designed, in part, so that students in Rebecca Bush's Latin class at Hamilton Southeastern High School would see the parallels between the Roman constitution and that of the United States.

It also makes reading and writing Latin -- a key goal of the course -- more fun.

"These are just basically like campaign signs today," said Kelsey Bidwell, 16.

"Mine is making fun of her," she said, referring to her friend and classmate Sarah Etter, 16. "It says 'All ugly people vote for her.' "

"Thank you, Kelsey," Sarah replied.

Bidwell also took a jab at herself, making a sign that said only ugly people would vote for her campaign.

Bush said giving students a grasp of the culture and historical time frame of ancient Rome is important, because they spend a lot of time reading stories and poems written in Latin.

The spray-painting project is one way to make the writing element of the course a bit more interesting, while incorporating that historical reference.

"It's pretty fun," admitted Fred Pai, 16. "Usually you don't get to work with spray paint at school."
Here's the latest news from the Sofia News Agency:

Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Thracian city and a royal residence, the National Museum of History announced.

The first two floors of the palace, spreading over 104 square meters are preserved and the archaeologists, led by Ivan Hristov, have found many artefacts confirming royal presence.

The most indicative - a short two-face ritual iron axe, called labris is a well-known symbol of royalty in the ancient Thracian culture. A number of coins have also been discovered, depicting the Thracian kings Tereus, Kotis and Amatok among others.

The artefacts found at the excavation site help date the city and palace to the end of the 5th century B.C. The archaeologists assume that they have found the capitol of the Odris King Amatok, described by ancient Greek authors as standing twelve days away from the White Sea, nowadays Aegean Sea.

The excavation site is situated near the city of Hisar in Central Bulgaria, close to the Starosel village where a temple-tomb was discovered in 2000. Archaeologists believe that both discoveries are part of an ancient settlement, one that could become unique and thus extremely attractive to tourists if unified through good infrastructure.
From ANSA:

The first-ever image of a soldier in the Ancient Roman navy has surfaced at a major imperial naval base at Ravenna .

The armour-clad, weapon-bearing soldier was carved on a funeral stone, or stele, in a waterlogged necropolis at Classe (ancient Classis), the now silted-up Ravenna port area where Rome's Adriatic fleet was stationed .

Previous finds at the site have only shown people in civilian garb .

An inscription on the soldier's funeral slab says he was an officer on a small, fast oar-powered ship ('liburna') used to catch pirates .

Although the stele is small - about one metre (yard) long - the detail of the carving is intricate .

The soldier has the bowl haircut and delicate, child-like features typical of carvings from the 1st-century AD Julio-Claudian era .

He wears anatomically shaped body armour with shoulder strips and a leather-fringed military skirt, above the light but tough military sandals called 'caligae' (from which the notorious emperor Caligula got his name). He is carrying a heavy javelin ('pilum') and has a short stabbing sword called 'gladius' on his decorated belt .

Over his armour there is a band which experts think could be a military decoration .

Part of the inscription is missing. The soldier's name is thought to be Monus Capito. His ship was called 'Aurata' or 'Golden' and the man who put up the stele, probably a fellow soldier, was named Cocneus .

The stele was found in three metres of water by divers helping archaeologists trace a large tunnel from late Imperial times .

The stone had been taken from the burial ground and used to prop up a part of the tunnel that had collapsed .

Experts said the find would have pride of place in a Museum of Archaeology being set up at Classe .

'Classis' in Latin means 'fleet' but was also local shorthand for the fleet's base. Rome had two Mediterranean fleets, one based at Ravenna and the other near Naples. Piracy was a major problem for Roman merchant ships and the navy frequently launched punitive expeditions against raiders from Cilicia, now southern Turkey .

In one of these, Julius Caesar caught and killed pirates who had captured and held him for ransom .

Then Pompey the Great, Caesar's one-time partner and eventual rival, smashed the Cilician pirates in a famous whirlwind campaign .

The Roman navy was an extension of the army and used army fighting methods. Ships rammed and hooked enemy vessels so that soldiers could board and attack .

There's a small photo accompanying the original article. I wasn't aware that a sailor would have a pilum ... doesn't seem to be the sort of weapon which would be effective in a naval situation.
Excerpts from the Chronicle:

At a prestigious university like Duke, one would not expect academic departments to find themselves in a faculty shortage of unusual proportions—but such has been the case this fall.

Multiple departments have struggled finding instructors for classes as a large percentage of faculty members from certain departments are on leave.


But smaller departments, such as the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature and the Department of Classical Studies, have minimal cushioning to soften the blow of faculty departures.


The Department of Classical Studies has taken a hit as well, with seven of 11 professors away or teaching a reduced load.

“All of these leaves happened for good reasons, and we are happy to have faculty getting recognized for their achievements,” said Peter Burian, professor and chair of classical studies. “We’ve felt the loss of professors quite a bit, but we’re doing our best with limited flexibility.”

Despite the classics department’s best efforts, many students are feeling restricted as a result of fewer courses being offered. “The number of professors on leave really made it difficult planning my schedule for the fall,” senior Andrew Blackburne wrote in an e-mail. “This semester there were only two 100-level classes that I had not taken, and because of a few scheduling conflicts, I was effectively prohibited from taking a single upper-level classics course.”

Frustration with the limited courses has been rivaled by students’ disappointment that they are missing opportunities to learn from seasoned professors.

“The grad students are very good, but not personally interacting with faculty in the department has made me re-evaluate declaring for a classical studies major,” sophomore Gregory Westcott wrote in an e-mail. “I can only hope that the course offerings will increase next semester... or I face the risk of declaring for a major in a department from which I’ve never had a professor.”

I wonder how often this scenario is played out in other departments ... someone with a pile of time on their hands should correlate the rise and fall of numbers of majors in Classics to the 'leave' schedule ...
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.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Plumbing: The Arteries of Civilization
Each day, billions of gallons of water flow through cities into homes and back out again in a confusing mess of pipes, pumps, and fixtures. The history of plumbing is a tale crucial to our survival--supplying ourselves with fresh water and disposing of human waste. From ancient solutions to the future, we'll plumb plumbing's depths.

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.

HINT - History International

HISTU - History Channel (US)
Omne initium est difficile.

Each beginning is difficult.

(pron = ohm-nay ih-nih-tee-oom ehst dif-fik-ih-lay)

Comment: Each beginning is difficult to the degree that it requires a force.
This proverb reminds me of physics lessons long years ago. Objects at rest
remain at rest. Objects in motion remain in motion. Both statements assume
that the object is contained in a vacuum, and, alas, nothing in my world exists
in a vacuum.

So, sometimes, things “begin” without my initiating them. And sometimes things
end without my choice. But, within the complex world that each of us lives in,
there are times when a new project, or a new idea, or a new relationship stands
before us, and we have to decide whether to apply the force of our lives to
beginning it.

All this is known by another name: change. The changes we face are difficult
to the degree that we are convinced that things don’t change. In other words,
if we are living our lives as if they took place in a vacuum, then change,
beginnings, and endings will be very difficult. We don’t acknowledge all of
the other forces that are in a dance with us. Life is a cosmic dance. The
music is always playing. There are plenty of others to dance with. Do we
enter the dance, or sit on the side, watching?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem xii kalendas octobres

Mercatus -- after the completion of the ludi Romani, a few days were given over to restocking the cupboards

480 B.C. -- battle of Salamis (one reckoning)

356 B.C. -- birth of Alexander the Great (one reckoning)

91 B.C. -- death of the orator Lucius Licinius Crassus (one author of the Lex Licinia Mucia which aggravated Latin sentiments and contributed to the outbreak of the Social War)

19 B.C. -- death of Publius Vergilius Maro (maybe)

ca. 220 A.D. -- martyrdom of Theodore, Philippa, and companions
extrinsic @ OED

deliquesce @ (what a great word)
Comitia in Norvegia habita

In Norvegia die Lunae comitia parlamentaria legatis in commune Norvegorum concilium creandis instituta sunt.

Post certamen de principatu politico pari Marte consertum apparuit coalitionem partium mediarum et sinistrarum electionibus superiorem discessisse.

Ex ea re sequitur, ut Jens Stoltenberg, praeses factionis operariorum, novus princeps minister Norvegiae fiat et Kjell Magne Bondevik, qui civitati quadriennio proxime praeterito praefuit, locum suum relinquere cogatur.

Inter ambitum maxime id quaerebatur, utrum uberiores petrolei reditus potius ad tributa minuenda an ad ministeria publica melioranda adhiberentur.

Eventus comitiorum ostendit posteriorem optionem civibus gratiorem fuisse.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The APA has updated its info page for their Annual Meeting ... the index of abstracts appears to have grown quite a bit. It looks like it will be a good one ... I've got to figure out a way to get to this one.

They've also put up the August newsletter (as a pdf), which is full of the sorts of things folks like to read in 'society' newsletters (e.g. the list of who got which job and the dissertations in progress, amongst other things).
There's a nice summary of ancient boxing showing up at a couple of Boxing sites ... here's the incipit of one from East Side Boxing:

Unarmed combat was most likely practiced by humans since before we were humans. In Western culture it is the Greeks who are first credited with taming the practice for sport. Known as “Pygmahia” or “fistfighting”, the ancient Greeks asserted that the sport was invented by Apollo, the sun god. In this tradition, the first mortal Champion Of The World was a prince named Forvanta. He represented mankind in the first recorded Championship; a match between man and god. Forvanta challenged Apollo and for this outrage Apollo killed the human Champion during their match.

Other victims of Apollos were Phorbas, a mortal boxer who challenged travellers wishing to pass through Delphi (he was also killed) and none other than the god of war Aries, who fell victim to the sun god at the mythic first Olympic games but lived to tell the tale. Other mythological practitioners of the sport included Herakles, Tydeus, Polydeusus and Theseus.

The first known boxing artifacts derive from ancient Crete, dating 1600 BC. The sport receives its first literary mention in Homer’s “The Iliad” (circa 800 BC), in the 23rd chapter, wherein Epeus (builder of the Trojan horse) and Euryalus (a Captain of the Argonauts) hold a contest at the funeral of Patroclus.

Patroclus was Achilles’ squire and had met his end in his master’s armour at the hands of Apollo and Hector during the Trojan War (1200 BC). The passage presents the sport of boxing as having already achieved a near modern sophistication - complete with rules and even seconds - and as with today’s version of the sport, the jaw is ever the target.

The Olympic games were reputed to have been founded by the gods, and were brought to this mortal coil by one Aethlius (from whose name is derived todays word “Athlete”) as a challenge to his sons. After a period wherein their practice was ceased, they were ‘revived’ by Iphitus and Lycurgus, two descendants of Herakles, in 766 BC as a means of replacing war with sport in the ancient world. These games featured only one event: The Stadion (chariot) race. Further events were added as the centuries passed. It wasn’t until 688 BC, at the 23rd Olympic games, that mankind first officially practiced the sport of boxing at an international level (as the Olympic games were open to all Greek-speaking males and one needed not be Greek by birth).

The ideal boxer at the time was aggressive and the bouts - fought naked save for hands wrapped in hard leather thongs called “cesti” - went until one of the two contenders signalled submission by raising his opened hand, or by taking a knee. An umpire was on-hand to ensure that the winner recognised this surrender. The first recorded Champion was Onomastos of Smyrna. He won the title in the 23rd games and thereafter set the rules for the sport, which were the first in recorded history.

Boxing did not take place in a ring, which meant there was no opportunity for cornering - rather, the Greeks placed portable barriers such as ladders or sticks on the ground to set the boundaries. These objects could be moved closer until fighters were forced to stand toe-to-toe. Because all fights were outdoors, a common tactic was to gain an advantage by standing so the sun was in an opponent's eyes.

There were no weight classes, no rounds and no time limit. Some fights lasted for days. If both fighters agreed, they could end the fight by “klimax’ whereby each fighter took turns striking the other, without pretense of defence by either, until a winner was decided. Athletes were selected by their city-states to represent their people, and although there were no weight classes it was obvious that size, height, weight, reach and strength were all advantages, therefore it was normally only the largest men who were chosen to represent their city-states in this sport.

The punching of the time was crude, and did not feature the straight punches normally seen today, but instead consisted mainly of wild hooks and hammer-like blows, mostly to the head. When defending, style and grace of movement were highly valued. Greek boxers trained for months before the games, because encounters between athletes armed with such terrible weapons as the cestus were bound to result in very serious injuries. In the days of Onomastos, courage was also valued and it was said that a fighter of the time named Eurydamas swallowed his own broken teeth rather than show that he was hurt. His opponent, disheartened that his best punches were having no effect, signalled defeat.

The rules of Onomastos were strict: No wrestling, grappling, kicking nor biting were allowed, and the contest ended when one combatant was knocked out or signalled submission It was this last rule, according to Plutarch, that had boxing banned in Sparta by its philosopher-king Lycurgus, since Spartans never surrendered. It was also strictly forbidden to intentionally kill an adversary, on pain of losing the match. Rhodes, Aegina, Arcadia and Elis produced most of the Olympic victors in boxing.

Onomastos held his title until 672 BC, when, in the 27th Olympic games, Diappos from Kroton was named Champion. The title changed hands again in 648 BC, when Komaios from Megara took the title. There were many great champions in the years that followed, but only one – Tisandros – was able to match Onomastos’ record 4 consecutive Olympic titles, and it was not matched again until the modern era.

Later, brutality gave way to technique and defence was valued more highly than attack. Matches became more lengthy, and records exist of some bouts lasting two days time. The zenith of this philosophy was reached in Melankomas, of whom Dio Chrysostum wrote in the 1st Century:

“Although he met so many antagonists and such good ones, he went down before none of them, but was himself always victorious… He won all his victories without being hit himself or hitting his opponent, so far superior was he in strength and in his power of endurance. For often he would fight throughout the whole day, in the hottest season of the year, and although he could have more quickly won the contest by striking a blow, he refused to do it, thinking that it was possible at times for the least competent boxer to overcome by a blow the very best man, if the chance for making it were offered; but he held that it was the truest victory when he forced his opponent, although uninjured, to give up because of his whole body, and not simply the part of his body that was struck…”

When Sulla plundered Olympia in 80 BC, the Greek Olympic tradition effectively ended, although boxing was evidently in vogue in very ancient times in Italy, and Greek or ‘provincial’ athletes were taken to Rome to compete. During the Republic, boxing was cultivated as a gentlemanly exercise, but contests increased in violence and depravity at the dawn of the Empire. Tacitus wrote that the emperor Caligula imported the best Campanian and African pugilists for the gladiatorial games. The sport remained popular in Italy throughout the reign of Nero but eventually boxing fell by the wayside in favour of more brutal pursuits.

... this is followed by a list of Olympic victors in the sport.
On the border of our period of purview, perhaps, but a rather firmer claim of a mosaic than the item below ... from the Jerusalem Post:

The remains of a lavish Byzantine mansion with pictorial mosaic flooring and a rare table with gold-encrusted glass platelets have been uncovered in the coastal city of Caesarea during an archaeological excavation, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

The 16 X 14.5 meter rectangular colorful mosaic -- part of the main central courtyard of the palace -- located just off the shorelines of the Mediterranean Sea, had been buried under sand dunes for the past 50 years, since 1950, when an Israeli army unit undergoing
training in the area accidentally stumbled on a section of the impressive mosaic flooring when digging trenches, excavation director Dr. Yosef Porat said.

After being covered over for the next half a century, the Antiquities Authority carried out an excavation at the site last year, in cooperation with the Caesarea Development Corporation, which invested NIS 600,000 in the development of the project.

The epicenter of the site, which was inaugurated on Monday, is the impressive open-air mosaic paved courtyard, which, in an unusual move, visitors are allowed to walk freely on.

According to the director of the excavations, the 6th century mansion likely belonged to one of the richest Christian families in Caesarea, possibly the aristocracy, although no inscriptions have been found
at the site to date.

The palace was destroyed by fire near the end of the Byzantine Period (324-638 CE) when the Arabs conquered the strategic harbor city, and set fire to any building outside the city walls, he said.

The mosaic-lined courtyard is composed of a series of animals, including lions, panthers, wild boars, dogs elephants, antelopes, and bulls, all enclosing 120 medallions, each of which contains a single bird, causing archaeologists to dub it "the bird mosaic."

During the excavations surrounding the central courtyard, archaeologists uncovered a unique table inlaid with a checkerboard pattern of gold-encrusted glass platelets in various shapes. Each square glass platelet in the table, which was found lying
upside-down on the pavement, bears a flower or cross stamped into the platelet after its production was completed, an unusual process that required reheating the glass.

With its unique decorative glass design, the table -- deemed "priceless" by Antiquities Authority conservation specialist Jacques Neguer -- is thought to be the only one its kind found in the excavation of a late Byzantine structure.

The 1,500-year-old table will be transferred to the Antiquities Authority Jerusalem laboratories for conservation.

The site is open to visitors free of charge.

... some photos accompany the original article.
From the BBC:

North East experts are to investigate reports that a mosaic from Roman times is buried 15ft underground opposite the site of a former Sunderland brewery.

Archaeologists are now hoping to search for the ancient relic on the Vaux brewery site before it is redeveloped.

If they find the mosaic, it would confirm long-held suspicions by some local historians that there used to be a Roman settlement in the city.

The brewery closed in 1999 and will not be redeveloped until digs are complete.

Generations of people from Sunderland have grown up hearing stories of a Roman outpost that used to stand high above the River Wear.

Seven trenches

David Heslop, is the county archaeologist for Tyne and Wear, and said a thorough dig at the site would have to be carried out.

"I am convinced of reports that there was a Roman settlement in the city as coins have been found all over Sunderland.

"But we do need direct evidence which would mean extensive excavation work.

"Across the road on the Vaux brewery site seven trenches have been dug and evidence of even older settlements have been found such as the Stone Age."

... but what are these reports of a mosaic based on?
... nothing of interest.
Quis dives? Qui nil cupiet. Quis pauper? Avarus.

Who is rich? The individual who will desire nothing. Who is poor? The one who
is greedy.
(Pseudo-Ausonius, 1.1.3)

(pron = kwis dee-ways? Kwee nihl koo-pee-eht. Kwis pow-pehr? Ah-wah-roos)

Comment: This is an ancient and, it seems to me, fairly universal distinction.
It is designed to catch the reader off guard. Ask a group of Americans the
first question: who is rich? The list would include movie stars, corporate
excecutives, professional athletes, career politicians, distinctive families,
etc. Then falls the blade: the rich man or woman is the one who is free of
desire for things, and who will continue to be. The proverb uses the future
tense. It implies this ongoing condition of richness.

Who is poor? Perhaps right now in time we think of those who have lost
everything to hurricane Katrina. The blade falls again: the poor individual is
the one who, regardless of what he/she has, still wants more (which, by the way,
is an American cliché in itself: how much do you need to be rich—more!).

I listened to an interview on NPR yesterday with the daughter of a now deceased
American water-colorist who lives on the Mississippi coast where her father’s
prolific water-color paintings and ink-drawings are (or were) kept. She
descirbes in some detail the damage done to her father’s paintings, many of
which were saved or can be salvaged without much damage after the hurricane.
She describes all that they had done to protect them; all that they are doing
to save them from the water. And then in one telling moment she admits that
really, having lost everything of the museum and personal belongings, she feels
suddenly “free of the past and its constraints”. For a moment, she spoke of a
new lease on life to be herself. All the things she was bound to, attached to,
anxious about, were gone.

I suspect this is the wealth and poverty that this proverb speaks of. Buddha
taught the same. So did Jesus and Lao Tsu.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem xiii kalendas octobres

ludi Romani (day 15)

86 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Antoninus Pius

208 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Diadumenianus

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Januarius (there will probably be news coverage of this)
assorted -nyms @ Wordsmith (although the Greek origins aren't specifically mentioned)

immure @
Here's some highlights from the Classical blogosphere ... over at Classics in Contemporary Culture, MH points us to a more extensive piece comparing the position of Taiwan in relation to China to that of Melos or Pylos in Thucydides ... Done With Mirrors celebrated 'Opinion Day' with a disquisition on the Revolutionary French calendar and a nice section on the Roman one as well (today, by the way, is 'Talk Like a Pirate Day', so be sure to use those subjunctives! Alun over at Archaeoastronomy is in the spirit ... click here to see Rogueclassicism in pirate speak (I like the Seneca quote)) ... Novum Testamentum points us to the Virtual Rome site (which I don't think I've mentioned before) featuring some nice photography of various Roman monuments (ancient and otherwise) ... assorted tidbits of interest at Laudator ...
You know Classics is 'hot' (or at least warm to the touch) when the Lycian League is mentioned in the New York Times ... here's the incipit:

Alexander the Great was here, and so was Saint Paul, on his way to Ephesus.

Centuries later, the drafters of the American Constitution took the ancient Lycian League, which was based here, as an early example - in fact, it was history's earliest example - of the form of republican government they envisaged as well.

The Lycian League was mentioned twice in the Federalist Papers, once by Alexander Hamilton, once by James Madison, so it could safely be said that it entered into the history of the formation of the United States.

Now, after centuries of neglect, teams of Turkish and German archaeologists have been working under the hot sun of this small Mediterranean seacoast town, uncovering some of its treasures.

Among them, liberated from the many hundreds of truckloads of sand that covered it, is the actual parliament building where the elected representatives of the Lycian League met. It has rows of stone seats arranged in a semicircle, the same arrangement used in the chambers of the American Congress. Its stone-vaulted main entrances are intact, and so is the thronelike perch where the elected Lyciarch, the effective president of the League, sat.

The discovery has excited the archaeologists, and some others as well.

"It blew my mind to find out that the parliament building of the first federation in history, which served as an inspiration for the framers our own Constitution, was being excavated 15 minutes from my house on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey," said Stephen J. Solarz, the former congressman from Brooklyn.

Like a few hundred other foreigners who are attracted to this relatively undiscovered spot of turquoise waters, rocky coves and cerulean skies, Mr. Solarz and his wife, Nina, built a house in town nearby and spend a couple of months of the year there. They have become informal patrons of the archaeological project, and hope to persuade the United States Congress to sponsor a celebration here in 2007, the 220th anniversary of the framing of the American Constitution.

But other things make Patara important besides the inadvertent role it played in the creation of the United States. It is often said of Turkey that it has more Greek ruins than Greece. But Patara is a Greek ruin, a Roman one and a Byzantine one as well, which is what makes the site, buried in sand for centuries, an important newcomer to the Turkish archaeological scene, likely to take its place alongside Troy, Pergamon or Ephesus as one of the most important ones.

"It's very exciting," said Fahri Isik, a professor of archaeology from Akdeniz University in Antalya who is in charge of the dig. In fact, Mr. Isik is hopeful that further excavations will not only increase knowledge of the Lycian League but also help illuminate what are often referred to as the "dark ages" of early Mediterranean history, the 12th to the 8th centuries B.C., about which very little is known.

"It's nice to have beautiful buildings," he said, drinking mint tea a few hundred yards from the ancient Patara parliament, "but we hope that we'll be able to learn some new things as well."

Mentioned in the "Iliad," Patara was a port city that was used by the Persians in the fifth century B.C. during the Persian Wars, written about by Thucydides. One of the archaeological expedition's major findings so far is the impressive ruins of an ancient lighthouse, which guided ships crossing the wine-dark sea to harbor two millennia ago.

The Lycian League itself had some 23 known city-states as members, which sent one, two or three representatives, depending on the city's size, to the parliament, or Bouleuterion, as it was called. Inscriptions recently uncovered at the site provide the names of the various Lyciarchs who sat in special seats about midway up the semicircular chamber.

Later, Lycia was a province in the Roman Empire. An inscription uncovered by archaeologists at the ruins of an immense granary, which has also been dug out of the sand in recent times, indicates that the Emperor Hadrian and his wife, Sabine, visited Patara in the spring of 131 A.D. Lycia ceased being a federation in the fourth century A.D., when it was taken over by the Byzantines.

... the rest
Interesting tidbit about the Emmys (which were apparently awarded last night ... always thought this was a rather spurious awards show) ... from the Journal Sentinel:

In one of the evening's highlights, David Letterman, making a rare Emmy appearance, delivered a graceful and unexpectedly serious tribute to Johnny Carson, quoting both the late New Yorker writer Kenneth Tynan and the Greek playwright Sophocles. Carson, who died in January, was one of Letterman's mentors.

... anyone catch the Sophocles quote?
Not sure why, but Classicist Tom Palaima's columns rarely seem to get picked up by my various alerts ... in any event, here's his latest column from the Austin-American Statesman:

Three and a half years ago, when U.S. soldiers were only fighting in Afghanistan, I wondered in a column when we would finally have an American "Iliad," a work that would reveal the costs, necessities and realities of war.

Natural disaster in New Orleans and Mississippi has pushed the wars our troops are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan off the front pages, except when suicide bombers rack up large numbers. And we focus now on the dodge or half-accept-the-blame game for the poor response of our down-sized and out-sourced federal and state governments to this large-scale crisis.

We also have been seduced into believing that a down-sized, all-volunteer army — recruited by sophisticated advertising appeals to patriotic fervor or to military service as the one possible route to college funding, job skills and a better future — can win wars most of us really don't want our own loved ones to fight.

Ironically, prominent historians of classical Greek warfare such as Victor Davis Hanson and Donald Kagan have argued for preemptive warfare and unilateral assertion of power, in direct contradiction to the lessons that most thinking human beings derive from the fate of classical Athens in the second half of the fifth century B.C.E. And they, like us, have not addressed what damage an all-volunteer army — something tantamount to a mercenary force and rightly unimaginable in the ancient Greek city-states — will eventually do to our country's social and political fabric.

We really do need an "Iliad" to bring us back to reality. The movie "Troy" held promise, but its director thought that the key to understanding the meaning of the quintessential Western story of war was that Achilles is Superman and Hector is Batman. So "Troy" gave us entertaining costume epic and soap-opera emotions and special effects.

A few years back, some of us hoped "Saving Private Ryan" would be our "Iliad." Steven Spielberg had laudable intentions. "I didn't want to make something it was easy to look away from," he said. And indeed the opening scenes fulfilled this promise.

But the movie soon swung around to a typical John Wayne script. So much so that World War II veteran and war writer Paul Fussell said, "I'd like to recommend the retention of and familiarity with the first few minutes of Steven Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan' depicting the landing horrors. Then I'd suggest separating them to constitute a short subject, titled 'Omaha Beach: Aren't You Glad You Weren't There?' — which could mean, 'Aren't you glad you weren't a conscripted working-class or high school boy in 1944?' The rest of the Spielberg film I'd consign to the purgatory where boys' bad adventure films end up."

"The Iliad" gave the Greeks war and made it unforgettable. In fact, the Greek word for "truth," alethes, means just that. Whatever it modifies "cannot escape notice," "cannot be forgotten."

"The Iliad" gives an honest picture of all aspects of warfare: betrayal of "what is right;" egotistical high command foul ups and their consequences for the common troops; a wide range of behaviors, from cowardice to courage; the tragedy of war for civilians in a city under siege and ordained to be taken and destroyed; "berserker" rage; fellow feeling for the enemy, most famously in the private "truce" between the Trojan ally Glaucus and the great Greek warrior Diomedes; the truly human affections of a king named Priam and a queen named Hecuba for their son Hector, affections that are publicly displayed in gut-wrenching personal terms with no thought for political delicacy or spin; the love of Hector, whose very name means "holder" or "preserver" of his city, for his son Astyanax and his wife Andromache — and her fierce attachment to Hector; the gory, clinically accurate violence of over 200 detailed combat deaths; war for less than noble purposes; betrayal by the gods and the ineffectuality of piety; the joyful pleasure battle can give some men; the role of blind luck in combat; and even what von Clausewitz, more than two millennia later, called the "fog of war."

"The Iliad" is the quintessential myth of war, even if it doesn't have Brad Pitt. It is not propaganda. Achilles, the noblest Greek warrior, is alienated by his commander-in-chief Agamemnon and withdraws himself and his men from the Greek coalition.

And the noble Hector admits to feeling public shame for having squandered a good part of the Trojan army through his own mistaken strategy. And when Hector finally faces Achilles, he runs as fast as he can and only stops running when he is deluded by the goddess Athena. Ironically, none of this truth ever stopped Greek citizens from fighting bravely for their city-states.

We do not have an "Iliad." So why not come and hear master translator and scholar Stanley Lombardo perform from Homer at 7 p.m. today in Jessen Auditorium, Homer Rainey Hall, at the University of Texas? It will be unforgettable, I promise.

Palaima is Dickson Centennial Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. See
Filippomaria Pontani, Sguardi su Ulisse. La tradizione esegetica greca all'Odissea. "Sussidi eruditi" 63.

Heinz Bellen, Heinz Heinen, Bibliographie zur antiken Sklaverei. Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, Beiheft 4. Two vols.

Christopher A. Frilingos, Spectacles of Empire: Monsters, Martyrs, and the Book of Revelation. From the "Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion" series.

Orna Harari, Knowledge and Demonstration: Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. The New Synthese Historical Library, 56.

Claude Calame, Masks of Authority. Fiction and Pragmatics in Ancient Greek Poetics. Translated from the French by Peter M. Burk.
Sessio Nationum Unitarum

Principes centum septuaginta fere civitatum postridie Idus Septembres (14.9.) Novum Eboracum sive in urbem New York concurrerunt, ut sexagesimum Nationum Unitarum annum conventu sollemni celebrarent.

Ex Finnia huc venit praesidens Tarja Halonen. Qua in sessione participes documentum amplissimum comprobaverunt, quod rerum periti e diversis nationibus oriundi ante conventum generalem conscripserant.

Agitur in hoc libello de summis rebus ad totum globum terrestrem pertinentibus, quarum in numero sunt progressus, iura humana et rationes ad periculum terrorismi avertendum.

Restabant tamen aliquot themata, de quibus non convenerat, ut dearmatio nuclearis et quaestio, quomodo notio terrorismi definiretur.

Neque impedimenta mercaturae internationalis amoveri potuerunt, quamquam tale consilium iam diu in votis populorum egentiorum est.

Reijo Pitkäranta (?)
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
There's a news issue of Ephemeris on the enewsstands ... latest headline: "Comitia in Afganistania"
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Hidden Cities of the Etruscans
A look at the fascinating people who ruled Italy centuries before the Romans. Explores the contradictions in the character of the Etruscans, who embraced both art and slavery, technology and sensuality.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Alexander the Great: Murder Unsolved
Unravel one of the strangest mysteries of ancient times, the suspicious death of history's most extraordinary leader, Alexander the Great. Experts attempt to decipher if his early death at age 32 was caused by disease, excessive drinking or even murder.

HINT = History International

SCI = Science Channel
The summary:

Opens with a scene in the Pompeian camp ... Pompey, Cato, Cicero, Brutus discussing things while someone's being tortured under the supervision of Pompey's son (apparently about the missing gold). Seem to think Caesar will need violence if he doesn't have gold

"Martial Law in effect ..." in Rome; curfew, no gatherings of more than three people; Caesar obviously in possession of the city.

Caesar enters temple to chants of Jupiter Optimus Maximus; identifies himself to some augurs (wearing the right hat!) asking for signs that the gods approve of his acts. "Auguries will be taken ..."

Graffiti "Caesar tyrannus" (with a nasty doodle)

Caesar's slave and Atia's slave arranging a dinner party

Atia doesn't know why Servilia is on the guest list; Antony explains it to her ...

Atia forcing Octavius to eat some animal testicles to grow up big and strong

Octavia asks whether Octavius knows if Atia had her hubby killed; Octavius swears she didn't (even though he knows better)

Interesting how the streets are pretty much abandoned ...

Vorenus is also putting together some sort of feast ... praying before an image of Janus; interrupted by Vorenus being summoned to Marcus Antonius who's being scraped down with a strigil. Vorenus claims he did not desert (when he crossed the Rubicon he became a civilian) ... plans to import stuff from Gaul. MA tells him that MA needs him (and Caesar needs him); offer him a prefecture ... with a 10 000 sesterces "signing bonus" ... Vorenus says he has chosen his path; "Vorenus! Next time I see you I may not bee so kind."

Niobe consulting some soothsayer examining a liver of some sort ... tells her her hubby will be "rich as Croesus" [I just noticed that Niobe has an almost Cockney accent (i.e. a different accent than Atia and Servilia).

Servilia's nervous about seeing Caesar again (after eight years)

Caesar is busy 'buying allegiance'; his slave warns him he is running out of money ... Caesar refuses proscriptions ...

Caesar and Calpurnia (my, she's a dreary lady) ...

Vorenus seems to be inviting people to set up business connections ... among the guests are Niobe's sister and her 'husband' (who is the father of Niobe's child)

Back at Atia's party ... obvious tension between Atia and Servilia (heavy duty cattiness)

Very nice scene of Caesar being escorted by lictors (with axes in the fasces) and arriving; pounding on the door like the 'Gentleman of the Black Rod' (Canadian parliamentary image)

Awkward scene between Caesar and Servilia ... C. wishes Brutus was there

Back to Vorenus discussing business (awkward scene as the baby starts crying)

Caesar and Mark Antony schmoozing with the chief augur ...

Atia trying to get Octavius and Octavia to take part ... Octavius doesn't 'talk small' ... Octavia recites a dreary poem about death ...

[this is very nice how the parties differ between the two groups]

Back at Vorenus' party ... Niobe's sister is making a scene ... big pot gets broken as her hubby tries to control her

Back to Caesar's party ... nice hint of his slave acting as nomenclator (to remind Caesar of the augur's wife's name); Caesar and MA offer a gift to the augur's wife (100 000 sesterces ... "she eats oysters for breakfast" ... eventually the augur thinks 200 000 is a good idea). Slave comment "He thinks he's Midas, the loon".

Cleaning up after Vorenus' party ... Vorenus banned Niobe's sister

A bunch of rabble with Pompey's son come to Vorenus' looking for the gold ... have V and N at knifepoint ... meanwhile Pullo shows up on a litter ... Pullo and Vorenus kill Quintus Pompey's retinue; Vorenus tells Pullo he has to give the money back to Caesar (with Pompey's son as a 'sweetener') ... eventually agrees, but asks Vorenus to come with him ("This is your mess")

Atia's party is still going on ... Pullo shows up; Caesar demands an explanation ... Pullo tells Caesar he's buried the gold; Caesar thanks the gods ...

Quintus is a little brutish fellow; Caesar says he's sending him back to daddy with an offer of "truce on good terms"

Meanwhile inside, there's some sort of live sex show/pantomime going on; Octavius leaves ... Calpurnia doesn't get into Atia's cattiness (very strict sort of woman, Calpurnia)

Caesar rewards Pullo ... 100 gold pieces.

First sign of a split between MA and Caesar ... Caesar scolds him for questioning his judgement; Octavius (who was observing) thinks MA was right ... in the midst of explaining his position, Caesar has an epileptic seizure! "No one must know! No one will follow a man whom Apollo has cursed with the morbus!" Caesar makes Octavian vow never to speak of it.

Calpurnia seems to know; gives Caesar an excuse to leave ... they 'leave' but Caesar says he won't accompany Calpurnia home because he has to take care of some business ... the party breaks up

Meanwhile, Pullo has shown MA where the gold is ... Atia's crying because she's "all alone" when the party ends ... Caesar's 'business', of course, was Servilia

Back with Pompey and crew ... they're dealing with the offer of truce; Cicero thinks the truce is a good idea ... Cato not; Brutus points out Caesar's clementia. Pompey thinks they're idiots ...

Back with Niobe and ex-lover/sister's hubby; she is dumping him as Pullo shows up (with his girl in tow ... he hears everything) ... seems to snicker that the guy's name is Evander ...

Nice scene of augury (set up, of course) which confirm that the gods approve of Caesar's actions (augurs normally did this sort of thing in a tent, no?)

A very good episode, fast paced and full of nice little details ... no nagging questions arising from this one.
The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted as has issue 8.21 of our Explorator newsletter ... don't forget to visit our Classics Central forum every week or so; a pile of updates there this week in various sections.
Rerum in Guantanamo status

Quarta fere pars captivorum, qui in statione navali Guantanamo de terrorismo accusati tenentur, inediam voluntariam suscepit.

Illa actio, cui centum duodetriginta homines intersunt, die octavo mensis Augusti (8.8.) initium cepit, et res iam eo gravitatis venit, ut duodeviginti captivi in nosocomium deportati per vim nutriantur.

Cum cibum sumere recusant, de ea iniuria sibi allata queri volunt, quod in vinculis iam per multos annos esse cogantur occasione causam dicendi nondum data et ne accusatione quidem ad iudices delata.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The incipit of a piece from the Palm Beach Post (not Accent, as claimed in this a.m.'s Explorator):

To fall on one's sword is the price one pays for having great power, then losing it. This form of noble suicide is a way of having the last word, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. It works, sometimes, but it is getting rarer and rarer nowadays, and the gesture is usually symbolic.

Bush is a Texan, not a Roman. It was the Romans who set us this stark example.

Prominent Greeks occasionally committed suicide, usually by poison, like Themistocles who supposedly killed himself by drinking bull's blood in 460 B.C. rather than make war on his native city of Athens. Cleopatra and her asps are another non-Roman instance of suicide.

But the Romans were the great self-extinction artists of antiquity, and they offer a lurid gallery of very public suicides over a relatively short period of time — a little over a century — that still resonates through history.

First there was Mettius Curtius, a Roman knight associated with an early miracle in the Roman Forum. A chasm opened up, and an oracle said Rome was doomed unless the best things the Romans possessed were cast into it. Curtius mounted his horse and galloped into the abyss, sacrificing his life for the city.

Next: the consul Regulus, who was captured by the Carthaginians in the first Punic War and sent back to Rome to urge peace. Regulus not only did the opposite, inciting the Romans to keep fighting; he returned voluntarily to Carthage and was tortured to death, supposedly by being rolled downhill in a nail-studded barrel.

But the heyday of Roman suicide falls between about 50 B.C. and 70 A.D.

Among the most famous are Brutus and Cassius, who were part of the plot to kill Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. A civil war broke out, Brutus and Cassius were defeated at Philippi and both fell on their swords rather than be taken alive. Shakespeare immortalized their deaths.

"Come now, keep thine oath; Now be a freeman, and with this good sword, That ran through Caesar's bowels, search this bosom," Cassius tells Pindarus, his slave. "Stand not to answer: here, take thou the hilts; And when my face is cover'd, as 'tis now, Guide thou the sword. (Pindarus stabs him.) Caesar, thou art revenged, Even with the sword that kill'd thee."

Brutus dies shortly afterward:

"I prithee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord. Thou art a fellow of a good respect; Thy life hath had some smatch of honor in it. Hold then my sword, and turn away thy face, While I do run upon it. Wilt thou, Strato?"

STRATO: "Give me your hand first. Fare you well, my lord."

BRUTUS: "Farewell, good Strato. (Runs on his sword.) Caesar, now be still; I kill'd not thee with half so good a will."

This isn't just theater. Plutarch confirms this really happened. Yet both deaths are overshadowed by that of Cato of Utica who, having lost the final battle for the Roman Republic to Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., stayed up all night reading Plato's Phaedo, the dialogue on the immortality of the soul, then stabbed himself in the morning.

It wasn't an easy demise.

"His thrust, however, was somewhat feeble, owing to the inflammation in his hand," Plutarch relates. Attendants rushed in.

"They saw that he was smeared with blood, and that most of his bowels were protruding, but that he still had his eyes open and was alive; and they were terribly shocked. But the physician went to him and tried to replace his bowels, which remained uninjured, and to sew up the wound.

"Accordingly, when Cato recovered and became aware of this, he pushed the physician away, tore his bowels with his hands, rent the wound still more, and so died."

The transition from Republic to Empire in Rome caused a wave of suicides, spread out over about a century, from the death of Cato to the suicide of the emperor Nero himself in 69 A.D. Prominent senatorial families found themselves targeted for treason and execution, for their opposition to imperial rule.

There is a common thread through some of these deaths. When certain people cannot accept a new order of things, they choose to die instead.

Latest description (I think this is a repeat ... as was last week's, as several folks informed me):

Pius II is our “Latin Lover’s” favourite pope. I suspect rather for his linguistic talent than for his building of a fortress to protect Rome against the Turks who he describes as really gung ho! An expression Pope Pius would have had translated at a glance!...

Listen (mp3)
[I missed posting this one on Friday]

Facile est imperium in bonis.
The power of command over good people is easy.

(Plautus, Miles Gloriosus 611)

Comment: This statement has a double edge to it. In Plautus’ play, three
characters are plotting together a secret plan against an “enemy”. This
statement is made by the clever slave (who always shows up in Plautus’ plays as
the one who really knows what is going on). He has summoned his
co-conspirators, and one answers that he is responding obediently (an ironic
thing to say to a slave). The slave then says that it is easy to command good

One the one hand it is obvious: obedience to authority is one valued trait of
“good people”. They are good because, among other things, they do what their
superiors tell them to do. On the other hand, such “good” people are perfect
patsies for deceptive and misleading leaders.

The slogan that at one time in this country was faily common on bumper stickers
seems the antidote to this proverb: question authority. It’s a good thing to
ask good, probing questions of authority. Good leaders will welcome good
questions. Leaders who simply love their authority will call those who ask
good questions impudent, trouble-makers and unpatriotic.

In this same scene of Plautus’ play, the same clever slave notes that a good
plan is a bad plan if the enemy finds it out and uses it against you. If your
plan that you were so convinced is so good, then it ought to have good effect
for your people. If the effect turns out to be a bad one, then it was not a
good plan. This old comedy might just have some wisdom for good people when
considering what questions they want to ask of their leaders.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
JMM sent this one in last week and I forgot to post it (sorry and thanks)! Excerpts from an item at LiveScience:

Klotho, a gene in both mice and men, has a definite effect on aging, according to Dr. Makoto Kuro-o. Stimulating the Klotho gene seems to delay many of the effects of old age, like weakening of bones, clogging of the arteries and loss of muscle fitness.


The desire to live forever, and the belief that it will never quite work out, of course predates science fiction authors. The ancient Greeks wrote about the goddess Eos, who fell in live with a mortal man, Tithonus; she asked Zeus to grant him immortality. Zeus does so, but Eos forgets to ask for eternal youth; Tithonus lives on and on, eventually withering into a shrill grasshopper.

And, as it happens, the name "Klotho" is also derived from the Greek myths about the three Fates. Klotho combs and spun the thread one's life, Atropos wove the thread into the fabric of one's actions, and Lachesis snipped the thread at death.

Hopefully we'll hear more about this ... AP via Yahoo:

Greek archaeologists have discovered the "well-preserved" remains of a large Bronze Age town dating from at least 1,900 BC on the Cycladic island of Andros, the culture ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Archaeologists found at least four "well-preserved" buildings - one of them retaining its ground floor walls - in the remains of a quarter, and a graded road believed to lead to a square.

A variety of mainly ceramic objects was discovered inside the buildings, including large decorated storage jars, pots and vessels, and stone tools, many of them intact.

Researchers also found a number of rock drawings on the edge of the town, which lies on the south-western Cape Plaka near the fortified site of Strofilas, a Neolithic settlement that dates from 4,000 BC.

The drawings portray boats and a combination of other symbols -- a human head surrounded by a pair of arms with open palms, a pair of feet and a circular symbol believed to represent the sun -- that archaeologists suspect corresponds to a divinity worshipped by the town dwellers.

The symbols are similar to sketches found at Strofilas, suggesting that the fortified community's inhabitants moved their lodgings closer to the sea at the end of the Neolithic period, around 3,300 BC.

The still-unnamed coastal town, which provides a "strong link" between the end of the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age in the Cyclades, is suspected to have suffered repeated damage from earthquakes, the ministry said.
This was originally sent to Explorator by 'Duke Jason', but seems more appropriate here ... Anduril has a review of Bakker, Egbert J. "The Making of History: Herodotus' History ..."
An excellent suggestion has been made in our forums in regards to folks who are tired of all the political chatter on Classics-l. It has been suggested (by encanto, seconded by cw) that folks vote with their feet, as it were and turn to Ancien-l, which is rather quiet right now, but has the same purview (in theory) as Classics-l and moderators who are much more proactive in regards to off-topic discussions. To subscribe to Ancien-l, send an email to :

LISTSERV@LISTSERV.LOUISVILLE.EDU with the command (paste it!):


Their archives are available, and you can see that they've been pretty quiet for a while. Part of this (I think) is due to the list configuration being set to reply to sender rather than the list itself. Folks should ensure that when they reply that it is going to the list.

For those of you who will miss Explorator and/or RC update posts, I do post them to Ancien-l (I've been only posting rc updates to Ancien-l when there's an item of archaeological interest, but if there's a desire, I'll do the daily think I once did at the Classics list).
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.

9.00 p.m. |HBO/Movie Network| Rome
... the series continues.

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

11.00 p.m. |DTC| Alexander the Great: Murder Unsolved
Unravel one of the strangest mysteries of ancient times, the suspicious death of history's most extraordinary leader, Alexander the Great. Experts attempt to decipher if his early death at age 32 was caused by disease, excessive drinking or even murder.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel
Interesting Classical connection in regards to the Falun Gong sect ... an excerpt from the Epoch Times:

The group of attorneys dedicated to bringing Jiang to justice includes a variety of specialists. What brought these attorneys together? There are many rarely known stories behind their uniting. Here we will only cite one example.

Terri Marsh, the attorney in the Chicago lawsuit against Jiang, has earned a number of degrees. Her dissertation was on Socrates. Her training included the study of Greek and Latin, and extended even to include Pali.

After earning her Ph.D., Terri taught at the University of California San Diego, mainly teaching comparative literature and classics. The courses she taught were on Socrates, St. Augustine, Homer, and ancient Greek women. At the time she lived only two minutes away from the sea. Her life was comfortable, relaxing and carefree.

However, Terri seemed not to be satisfied. She began studying law and politics. After hesitating for several years, she was drawn to law, but had not quite decided whether to continue to be a professor or to go to law school.

On June 4, 1989, she watched on TV the young students in China being run over by tanks and shot by soldiers on Changan Street (Tiananmen Square). Tears came to her eyes and she thought to herself, “What can a teacher do when students are being killed?” She had hoped that one day she could help and protect those innocent people. On that very day, she made up her mind to go to law school. She accepted an offer of admission to law school and started her new life’s journey.

Terri craved knowledge about Socrates because she felt deeply drawn to Socrates’ wisdom. In ancient Greece, to be a good man (“agathos”) meant that one had a high social status. Those who defeated the greatest number of enemies were considered the best people. The concepts of morals and obtaining power were totally mixed up. The people with the most power were considered to be the best people. The Greek people could not simply cultivate and develop the notion of good ethics since that was something treated as only belonging to the weak and women. The lifetime contribution of Socrates was teaching people the difference between morals and reputation, social status, wealth and the ability to dominate. In Socrates’ teachings he said that human beings have a natural disposition and divine characteristics, and those things make up a person’s true being. If we remained faithful to our true selves, he said, then we can become better human beings.

In Western academic circles, Socrates is considered to be the father of ethics and philosophy. His concept of ethics was not based on status, rank, wealth, or reputation, but rather on achieving moral transcendence through understanding of self (or through finding one’s own shortcomings), and by finding one’s own true nature. He taught by the method of asking and answering questions, which was dubbed “the Socratic Method” by later generations. Socrates was poor and his appearance was common. He did not have magnificent attire, but possessed superb wisdom.

Though common Greek people widely accepted Socrates’ teachings, the upper echelon of society in Athens started to fear and envy him. Finally, Socrates was officially charged with poisoning Athens’ young people by publicizing heresy and propagandizing Gods different from what Athens worshiped. Afterwards he was convicted and forced to commit suicide by drinking poison.

In his conversation with his student, Plato, in Socrates’ Defense, Socrates responded to all accusations against him, saying that if the men agreed to let him off on the condition that he no longer teach others, he would respond, “Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him, saying: O my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this?” “… either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.” [7]

When Terri read an essay entitled “Some Thoughts of Mine” by Mr. Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong, her tears welled up and she thought, “My goodness! It’s as if the same person wrote these two articles. They’re so similar. Why does history have to repeat itself this way? Why don’t people accept historical lessons?” In order to prevent Socrates’ tragedy from repeating, Dr. Marsh decided to sue Jiang on behalf of Falun Gong.
There's reissue DVD of Ben Hur out ... from the San Jose Mercury come some interesting details:

It's hard to believe, I know, but in the '50s, ``Ben-Hur'' -- the film that cleared the way for such intimate epics as ``Spartacus'' and ``Gladiator'' -- was considered a bad idea. Movies were taking a drubbing at the time by television, and MGM, which held the rights to the Lew Wallace source novel, was on the verge of bankruptcy.

So as far as the industry was concerned, 1958 was the worst time possible to lavish a then-record $15 million on ``A Tale of the Christ'' (the book's subtitle), starring Charlton Heston, massive Judean sets and a real-time chariot race. But then, a year later, director William Wyler and producer Sam Zimbalist, who died during production, were vindicated: the almost-four-hour epic opened to raves, a then-record 11 Oscars (including best picture and best actor) and lines that wound around Times Square.

``Ben-Hur'' was, and remains, the quintessential Hollywood epic.

The new four-disc Collector's Edition does the biblical drama proud. It's in restored color and widescreen Panavision, with enough extras to accommodate a master's class in pre-CGI (computer-generated imagery) filmmaking. Discs 1 and 2 contain the movie, with separate-track commentary recorded years ago by the now-ailing Heston; Disc 3 holds the 1925 silent version with Ramon Novarro and pre-Code nudity; Disc 4 has both a new documentary on the film's legacy (``Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema'') and a superior 1994 documentary narrated by Christopher Plummer (``Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic'').

Also included on this disc: promotional ``newsreels'' of various openings (``Japan's Emperor Goes to the Movie''), original and re-release trailers, and highlights from the April 1960 Academy Awards, wherein Wyler keeps it brief and Heston bounds up onto the stage, three steps at a time.

The older documentary tells the story of the 1880 novel and subsequent stage play, the troubled silent adaptation (which may have cost more than one extra his life) and Wyler's decision to oversee his first ``Cecil B. DeMille picture.'' (His previous credits included ``Jezebel,'' ``The Big Country'' and ``The Best Years of Our Lives'' -- all Oscar winners.) It also includes comments from Gore Vidal, who was brought in to rewrite dialogue. Though Wyler would deny it to his dying day, Vidal says he was given the OK to make the pivotal scene between Ben-Hur and the Roman Messala (Stephen Boyd) ``a lovers' quarrel.''

The new 60-minute documentary concentrates on the film's lasting influence on set design, movie music, costumes and action sequences, including the car chase in ``Bullitt.'' Ridley Scott and George Lucas make a solid case for the film as template for every modern screen epic from ``Malcolm X'' and ``Aviator'' to ``Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace.'' Indeed, Lucas, who would restage the chariot race with pods in ``Phantom Menace,'' recalls second unit director Andrew Marton visiting the University of Southern California and breaking down the chariot race, shot by shot.

Caleb Deschanel, cinematographer on Mel Gibson's ``The Passion of the Christ,'' also discusses the film's influence. He steers clear, however, of politics and church doctrine. Though ``Ben-Hur'' appears to end with the hero's conversion to Christianity, it was painstakingly meant, in Wyler's words, to be ``acceptable to people of all walks of life.'' Given the fallout that attended ``The Passion,'' this is a lesson that at least one of Wyler's heirs chose to ignore.
Excerpts from a piece in Seacoast online (ultimately hailing from Wikipedia, it seems) on chickens in history and literature:


In ancient Greece, the chicken was not normally used for sacrifices, perhaps because it was still considered an exotic animal. Because of its valor, chickens are found as attributes of Ares, Heracles and Athena. The Greeks believed that even lions were afraid of chickens. Several of Aesop’s fables reference this belief.

In the cult of Mithras, the chicken was a symbol of the divine light and a guardian against evil.


Chickens in Ancient Rome

The Romans used chickens for oracles, both when flying ("ex avibus") and when feeding ("auspicium ex tripudiis"). The hen ("gallina") gave a favourable omen ("auspicium ratum"), when appearing from the left, like the crow and the owl.

For the oracle "ex tripudiis" according to Cicero, any bird could be used, but normally only chickens ("pulli") were consulted. The chickens were cared for by the pullarius, who opened their cage and fed them pulses or a special kind of soft cake when an augury was needed. If the chickens stayed in their cage, made noises ("occinerent"), beat their wings or flew away, the omen was bad; if they ate greedily, the omen was good.

In 249 B.C., the Roman general Publius Claudius Pulcher had his chickens thrown overboard when they refused to feed before the Battle of Drepana, saying "If they won’t eat, perhaps they will drink." He promptly lost the battle against the Carthaginians and 93 Roman ships were sunk. Back in Rome, he was tried for impiety and heavily fined.

In 161 BC, a law was passed in Rome that forbade the consumption of fattened chickens. It was renewed a number of times, but does not seem to have been successful. Fattening chickens with bread soaked in milk was thought to give especially delicious results. The Roman gourmet Apicius offers 17 recipes for chicken, mainly boiled chicken with a sauce.

The Roman author Columella gives advice on chicken breeding in his eighth book of his treatise on. agriculture. He identifies Tanagrian, Rhodic, Chalkidic and Median (commonly misidentified as Melian) breeds, which have an impressive appearance, a quarrelsome nature and were used for cockfighting by the Greeks. For farming, native (Roman) chickens are to be preferred, or a cross between native hens and Greek cocks. Dwarf chickens are nice to watch because of their size but have no other advantages.
... you are actually including stuff like this from the Chester Chronicle:

A CHESTER city councillor has denied launching a tirade against archaeologists working at the Chester amphitheatre dig.

An official complaint has been lodged against city Cllr Michael Poole (Con, Curzon & Westminster) by English Heritage archaeologist Tony Wilmott who is working in conjunction with the city council team.

It is alleged Cllr Poole was shouting through the fence claiming the project was a waste of money. The incident on the afternoon of Friday September 2 took place in front of volunteers and also Mike Morris, head of the Chester Archaeology Service.

But Cllr Poole has strongly denied the accusations and believes he is being targeted because as head of a city council committee he challenged the amphitheatre budget figures.

He said: 'I got chatting with one of the guys through the fence and was asking how it was going. At the end of the conversation I said I was a councillor on the council and I think he was a little bit uncomfortable . He thought I was a tourist.'

Cllr Poole claims: 'no-one said anything to me' and was surprised to hear a complaint had been lodged. He was alleged to have claimed the amphitheatre was a waste of money during the incident and denied this was his position. 'It's attracted a lot of tourists,' he said.

Cllr Poole said as chairman of the corporate and district services committee he had queried the budget figures for the amphitheatre project.

'It was 75% over budget. I asked why through the committee and response was 'That's phasing. It's within budget over the two year cycle'.'

He added: 'Sometimes as councillors we are in the firing line. May be it's as I was asking it to go before the committee and asking whether it was on target.'

Chester City Council spokesman Mike Mc-Givern said: 'We have received a complaint and it is being looked into.'

Seems to be a very slow news day, although I have a bit of catching up to do as I was hit with a major wave of spam yesterday and spent most of yesternight trying to sort it out. In the meantime, folks might be interested in this 'diary-like' thing from the Australian wherein Tom Wright recalls his process in turning the Odyssey into something for the stage.
... nothing of interest.
ante diem xvi kalendas octobres

ludi Romani (day 12)

253 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cornelius at Rome
hauteur @

Well, once again I have left the Classics list. Once again it has become clear that the topic of that list is 'bash George Bush', with some forays into bashing anyone who doesn't agree with the left-leaning politics of some of the more vociferous types on that list. Once again, I tried to get list members to see how silly it was by injecting Canadian politics into the discussion. Once again, a Canadian list member took that as an opportunity to bash the province I come from. Once again, folks who you would otherwise admire for their thinking with their heads turn to ad hominems as the preferred form of argument. And once again, the list owners have refused to step in and stop it (other than to censure me for strong language ... it's okay for someone else to question my humanity, but if I dare utter a four-letter word, well ...). Once upon a time, the listowners could use the excuse that they have to uphold free speech because the list is hosted by a university. Don't eat that Elmer ... Free speech isn't free if some participants fear having their metaphorical heads bitten off if they happen to disagree with what seems to be the majority (in that milieu) view, especially if the topic of discussion has nothing to do with the topic of the list. No one would complain about 'free speech' if some jerk came into a movie theatre, yelled 'fire' and was subsequently charged. Why should off topic discussions be tolerated on the Classics list? If other folks are tired of it, I cordially invite them to use the 'general Classics' area of our Classics Central forum. I'm very tempted to set up a yahoo list where Classics can be discussed via email in a civil fashion (if there's interest in this, drop me a line).
Orna Harari, Knowledge and Demonstration: Aristotle's Posterior Analytics.

Claude Calame, Masks of Authority. Fiction and Pragmatics in Ancient Greek Poetics. Translated from the French by Peter M. Burk.
Over at Iconoclasm, TM has an interesting post on an example of same from Dura Europos ....
... very slow newsday today; in case you haven't heard, Google now has a beta Blogsearch facility which some folks might find useful .... oddly, however, typing 'classics blog' into the blog search box on this gives fewer 'front page' hits for classics blogs than typing classics blog into google itself.
Calamitas Novaurelianensis

Tempestas verticosa nomine Katrina regionibus circa fauces fluminis Mississippi iacentibus calamitatem ambitalem attulit, quae maxima in historia Americae septentrionalis esse iudicatur.

Perruptis vi tempestatis aggeribus, quibus urbs Nova Aurelia muniebatur, regiones infra superficiem maris sitae diluvio coopertae sunt. Minora erant damna in parte urbis altiore, a Francogallis condita. Greges latronum armati, qui per urbem grassabantur, anxietatem et metum hominum auxerunt. Iam plus decies centena milia hominum ex regione calamitosa in alias civitates Americae septentrionalis confugerunt aut evacuati sunt.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
... nothing of interest.
Nemo sua sorte contentus.

No one is content with his/her own lot in life.

(pron = nay-moh soo-ah sohr-tay kohn-tehn-toos)

Comment: What if I were to accept myself, in this moment, just the way that I
am? No “ifs” and “buts” allowed, since acceptance precludes both. I take a
breath. Here I am. This is how I am, right now, in this moment. My own
mental stance toward how I am right now in this moment sets me up for what I
will do with myself in the next moment.

If I do not accept myself in this moment, then, in the next moment, I have
become my own enemy.

Consider: I walk into a room, let’s say at work or at home, and the other person
in the room turns and looks at me and in one shot of verbage tells me that I am
unacceptable. In the next moment, this person and I have become instant
enemies. Hostility becomes the defining attitude of our relationship. From
now on, every time I see this person, my gut will rage with this hostility
because “he/she says I am unacceptable.”

We do this to ourselves every time we pass a mirror. Or, we have given up
passing mirrors altogether lest we run into our enemy. This is not some new
self-blame game. Most of us learned very early in life from parents and other
adults who were doing their best (even if it was crummy), that something about
us was not acceptable. We bought the message and have been repeating it to
ourselves every minute of every day since.

So, no one is content with his/her lot in life, largely I think, because on some
level we, as children, did not satisfy all the needs of our parents. Something
about us was "unacceptable", and we bought that package. What choice did we
have? We were children. Despite how it may sound, this is not an ugly
indictment of parents. I am just acknowledging the reality of that dynamic.
Parents do the best they can--I am completely convinced--and most of us as
parents were/are also needy human beings who did not heal all our wounds before
we had children of our own.

But, in the next moment, with the next breath, I can accept myself in this
moment just the way that I am. I can. It’s a choice. It can happen on the
next breath. And it will define the relationship I have with myself in the
next moment. And the next And the next.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem xvii kalendas octobres

ludi Romani (day 11)
quorum @


Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies

Classics Technology Center's My Word feature (memory words)
Novae tempestates imminent

Investigatores Universitatis Coloratensis censent verisimile esse, ut altera verticosa tempestas magnae ferocitatis in oram orientalem Americae septentrionalis mense Septembri aut Octobri incidat: cum tempus, quo vertices ventorum ferorum oriri soleant, nondum ad finem appropinquaverit, verisimilitudinem novae tempestatis verticosae quadraginta trium centesimarum esse.

Frequentia turbinum exceptionalium ab eo originem habet, quod Oceanus solito calidior est neque venti mitiores et variationes temperaturae, quibus vires tempestatum leniuntur, his mensibus occurrerunt. Sunt, qui arbitrentur insolitas proximorum annorum tempestates, diluvia siccitatesque calefactioni climatis longinquae deberi, quam actiones hominum effecerint.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the Sofia News Agency:

The ruins of the largest on the Balkans area amphitheatre emerged from beneath the ground in Sofia making Bulgaria's capital the third in Europe perched on such ancient building.

So far, only Madrid and Paris have had large amphitheatres within the city's boundaries.

An ancient amphitheater was unearthed in centre Sofia last year, while an excavator machine was digging up for the fundamentals of an eight-storey hotel in downtown city.

The building company Fairplay has immediately redrafted construction plans with view of including the unearthed parts in the hotel's interior, which is about a fourth of the whole ancient building spreading under the city centre.

The gladiator arena, with address at Sofia's Budapest Street, has so far revealed the "menians" - the seats for noble Roman patricians - while the poor plebeians' seats will probably remain undisclosed, as they are placed higher and excavations means would not provide for those.

Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of bronze and one gold coin with the image of Emperor Constantinos the Great.
Hey ... they're throwing Latin at John Roberts during his confirmation hearings ... an excerpt from the transcript:

LEAHY: I think you were more than just a lawyer on the brief. You were one of the most sought after jobs, picked because of your position. I was very impressed when I talked with you about your use of Latin, for example, and French.

And I'm always impressed with somebody with that facility. There is a Latin phrase. And this is not a (inaudible). I'll translate it: (SPEAKING IN LATIN). He who acts through another acts for himself. And that's not the case in Herrera?

ROBERTS: He who acts for another acts for himself? Well, it's the client acting through the lawyer and it's the client who is acting for themselves...

If you're wondering, the phrase must have been
Qui facit per alium facit per se
... one of those maxim things.
A tantalizingly short/vague piece from Mare in Italy:

Scovato da un cercatore di spugne ben 21 anni fa al largo delle coste turche (Kas) ad una profondità tra i 40 e 60 metri! E’ uno dei relitti più antichi del mondo e ancora le operazioni di recupero non sono terminate, con una avvicendamento di centinaia di sub. L’imbarcazione è in cedro, lunga 15 metri e con un carico variegato, in alcune sue parti, prezioso: lingotti di rame cipriota, lingotti di vetro (blu cobalto, turchese, color lavanda), avorio intarsiato, denti di ippopotamo. Da aggiungere gusci di tartaruga usati come strumenti musicali, ceramiche ciprioti, gioielli di origine cananea e uno scarabeo sacro di origine egiziana.

The headline says it's from the 14th century B.C. ...
Check this item from Nature out:

Using satellite images from Google Maps and Google Earth, an Italian computer programmer has stumbled upon the remains of an ancient villa. Luca Mori was studying maps of the region around his town of Sorbolo, near Parma, when he noticed a prominent, oval, shaded form more than 500 metres long. It was the meander of an ancient river, visible because former watercourses absorb different amounts of moisture from the air than their surroundings do.

His eye was caught by unusual 'rectangular shadows' nearby. Curious, he analysed the image further, and concluded that the lines must represent a buried structure of human origin. Eventually, he traced out what looked like the inner courtyards of a villa.

Mori, who describes the finding on his blog, Quellí Della Bassa, contacted archaeologists, including experts at the National Archaeological Museum of Parma. They confirmed the find. At first it was thought to be a Bronze Age village, but an inspection of the site turned up ceramic pieces that indicated it was a Roman villa.

"Mori's research is interesting in its approach," says Manuela Catarsi Dall'Aglio, an archaeologist at the National Archaeological Museum of Parma. He says the find may be similar to a villa the museum is currently excavating at Cannetolo di Fontanellato, which was found during the construction of a high-speed rail network. "Only a scientific, archeological dig will tell," he adds.

The local authorities will have to approve any archaeological digs before they can take place.

I find this really interesting ... just tried to look for a place I think is a site (probably Neolithic) near the town in Sicily whence hails my wife; alas, Google Earth doesn't seem to have Sicily labelled very well, so it'll take a bit more work on my part ...
I think we've mentioned this project before ... From ANSA:

History enthusiasts will be able to see Ancient Rome as it would have looked to the likes of Julius Caesar, Nero and Constantine thanks to an exciting exhibition that opens here Friday .

Immaginare Roma Antica (Building Virtual Rome) features some 50 works that use computer technology to create 3D models showing archaeological sites as they were in their imperial prime .

"Our image of ancient sites is tainted by films like Ben Hur and Cleopatra," said City of Rome Culture Superintendent Eugenio La Rocca .

"I can assure you that things were different in the ancient world - narrow streets, walls so high the sun could hardly get through. Virtual archaeology enables viewers to have a complete image of the urban landscapes of ancient times." The pieces on show are the winners of an international competition run to encourage innovation in this field .

The results are fascinating. Among the places to have been rebuilt in 3D are the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Via Appia - the 'queen' of Roman roads - and the magnificent Domus Aurea ('Golden House'), the residence Emperor Nero built after the great 64 AD fire. The building was so called because its façade was supposedly coated in solid gold .

Another part of the show looks at works devoted to Roman-era sites outside the Eternal City. These include reconstructions of the port of Pompeii before it was destroyed by the 79 AD Mt Vesuvius eruption and of monuments in Turkey and Spain. There is also a section for multimedia models of historic sites that are not of Roman origin, such as the 5th-century BC Parthenon of Athens, a symbol of Greek civilisation. Visitors will be loaned special 3D glasses to be able to get the most from the reconstructions. They will also be able to meet 'virtual characters' from Roman times, a feature that is sure to be a hit with children .

The Rome Online section, meanwhile, puts the spotlight on good websites dedicated to the Roman Empire .

The exhibit is hosted at Trajan's Markets, a crescent-shaped multi-layered structure which used to be a sort of imperial shopping centre. As the name suggests, it dates back to the reign of Emperor Trajan, 98-117 AD. It was part of the forum the emperor had built to celebrate the conquest of Dacia (modern-day Romania) .

Over the forum towers Trajan's Column, bearing reliefs depicting moments from the victorious campaign .

The venue is in the heart of Rome's main area of ancient sites. So after a walk around the exhibition, visitors can compare what they have seen with the actual ruins that many of the works reconstruct .

Organizers say the show, which runs until November 20, is a "rehearsal" for the setting up of a museum of 3D reconstructions devoted to Ancient Rome in 2007 .

City Culture Councillor Gianni Borgna predicts Building Virtual Rome will be one of the "top attractions" at Saturday's White Night, when Rome's shops, bars, restaurants and museums will stay open until dawn .
I'll have to remember to put this in the tv listings ... a press release from PBS:

Classical historian Bettany Hughes (THE SPARTANS) travels across the eastern Mediterranean on an epic journey to find out the truth about Helen of Troy, once called the most beautiful woman on earth. Known as "the face that launched a thousand ships," she has been blamed for causing the Trojan War, a conflict that caused countless deaths. HELEN OF TROY premieres on PBS Wednesday, October 12, 2005, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). Hughes holds a bachelor's and master's degree, with honors, in Ancient and Modern History from Oxford University and her first book, "Helen of Troy, Goddess, Princess, Whore," published by Knopf, is due in bookstores across the U.S. on October 4. During her own voyage in Helen's wake, Hughes separates the reality from the romantic myths that have been told about Helen. She travels from the city where Helen is said to have been born, Sparta in the mountains of Greece, to the archaeological site in modern Turkey that will be forever linked with the war fought in her name: Troy. On the way, Hughes discovers some fascinating facts. In a small tourist hotel in Mycenae, the "Belle Helene," the powerful and famous from more recent times have left their mark. Author Virginia Wolfe and other members of the famous literary circle, the Bloomsbury Group, stayed there, as did leaders of the Nazi party, among them Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels, perhaps in search of the origins of the Aryan race. Hughes notes their faded signatures, now framed on the hotel's walls. Hughes also follows the path of Henry Schliemann, the man who put Mycenae on the map in 1876 and who, when he unearthed a cache of ancient jewels, adorned his young Greek wife with them. Says Hughes, "Helen's story is important and irresistible because it deals with that strange and worrying combination of pleasure and pain, sex and violence, love and hate. However, it is not just a story. Helen and the Trojan War have become epic and iconic, retold again and again over the centuries. But if you look at them closely they're not all fantasy; they are very human, too. "The drama starts with a messy love affair and it ends up in a bloody and disastrous conflict," she adds in the introduction to HELEN OF TROY. "I think that Helen's tale is rooted in 3,000-year-old reality and that if you look for her in the eastern Mediterranean, you'll find that many of the ancient stories are closer to history than they are to myth." So many images of Helen, says Hughes, from Hollywood movies to romantic paintings and literature, have gotten her all wrong, drawing on later fantasies rather than the truth of the Late Bronze Age world Helen inhabited more than 3,000 years ago. In the course of her journey, Hughes discovers just what a real woman like Helen would have looked like in the sumptuous and mysterious royal courts and cult centers of ancient Greece, heavy with religious rituals dominated by powerful women. Hughes travels by boat across what Homer called "the wine dark seas" in pursuit of Helen, who sailed that route with Paris, her Trojan lover. While Hughes explores the Late Bronze Age reality behind the story of Helen, she takes in some of the most beautiful scenery of the ancient world, from the magnificent citadel at Mycenae to the spectacular site of the shrine to Helen, high in the hills above Sparta. She also tastes the food of the ancient world -- based on the latest archaeological research -- and discovers how the conflict in Helen's name would really have been fought. Working with weapons experts and accurate replicas of chariots pulled by local gypsy horses, Hughes experiences firsthand how chariots and archers battled beneath the still looming walls of Troy. Bettany Hughes' previous documentary for PBS, THE SPARTANS, charted the rise and fall of one of the most intriguing and extreme civilizations of the ancient world. HELEN OF TROY is the result of her lifelong fascination with the story of Helen and the influence it has wielded on both men and women for more than three millennia.
Turns out that statue of Anahita that was supposedly found in Prague last week was a hoax/fake ... from Czech Radio:

Czech archaeologists are keeping a very low profile this week after it emerged that a find which they claimed to be the statuette of a Persian Goddess dating back to the fifth century was nothing but a five year old fake allegedly created by teenagers for fun.
'Persian goddess Anahita', photo: CTK 'Persian goddess Anahita', photo: CTK
The find made international headlines last Friday when Czech archaeologists announced they had found "a unique seal" in the form of the Persian fertility goddess Anahita. The "precious find" was unearthed near an ancient burial ground dating back to the period of the movement of nations in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and specialists in the field speculated that the object may have been brought to this country from Iran by a high ranking officer of the Roman or Byzantine army.
That was until a Czech pensioner told journalists that the Persian goddess everyone was admiring was not a Persian goddess but a kitsch plaster figurine of a nun seeming to meditate, but if you look under her skirt, she is actually doing something completely different... Moreover it had not come here from far away Iran but had only crossed a few miles from his own back yard.

Needless to say journalists arrived on his doorstep within the hour and the 72 year old retired craftsman brought out his mould and produced an identical replica before their eyes. He said he had created the mould in 1968 from a figurine left to him by his brother who worked in a ceramics factory. The figurine of a nun with an erotic motif was an instant hit among his friends so he used the mould to make statuettes for them. The statuette that came into the hands of Czech archaeologists was one that his teenage grandchildren had attempted to make - and because they weren't happy with the way it came out they threw it into the council skip.
So the Persian Goddess - turned naughty nun - has once again made headlines and the entire nation is enjoying the joke. There's just one more thing that our esteemed archaeologists should know about - originally the figurine of the nun had a twin -in the form of a meditating monk. That's just in case they should come across something else of immense archaeological importance.
Sofia Mattei, La materia e il vuoto. Una nuova lettura della hyle tón gignomenón di Plotino.

Sarah Annes Brown, Ovid: Myth and Metamorphosis. In the series 'Ancients in Action'.

Patrick Bowe, Gardens of the Roman World.

Diskin Clay, Archilochos Heros: The Cult of Poets in the Greek Polis. Center for Hellenic Studies.

Günther Wille, Akroasis. Der akustische Sinnesbereich in der griechischen Literatur bis zum Ende der klassischen Zeit. Tübinger Phänomenologische Bibliothek.
6.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Earthquake: Sunken Cities

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Foot Soldier: The Greeks
Story of the brave Greek warriors who adorned themselves in gold, fought under Alexander the Great, and became a virtually unstoppable ancient war machine. Host Richard Karn.

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Ancient Evidence: Who Killed Jesus?

DCIVC - Discovery Civilization (Canada ... dna - 'description not available')

HINT - History International
ante diem xviii kalendas octobres

ludi Romani (day 10 )

equorum probatio -- the official cavalry parade of the equites (in conjunction with the above)

23 A.D. -- death of Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Younger), son of the emperor Tiberius and Vipsania Agrippina

81 A.D. -- official dies imperii of Domitian (recognition by the senate)

208 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Diadumenianus?

258 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cyprian
Aliud vinum, aliud ebrietas.

Wine is one thing. Drunkenness is something else.

(Pron = ah-lee-ood wee-noom, ah-lee-ood ay-bree-ay-tahs)

Comment: This proverb has many expressions: balance in all things; avoid
extremes; the middle way; vital balance; don’t throw the baby out with the

My first professional career was as a Methodist minister. In 8 short years, I
came to see my own share of those whose lives were devastated by alcohol. In
that short time, I noticed a pattern that most church folks might find
surprising. The individuals that I encountered with the worst problems with
alcohol were those who grew up in homes that made alcohol the most taboo.
Given one extreme, they found the other. In other words, teaching children
“don’t ever drink alcohol—it’s wrong!” almost seems to insure that they will,
and to excess.

If I go back far enough in my own family history, I find alcoholism. What I
find in the next generation is strong prohibition against any use of alcohol as
if it were the root of all evil. And what I find in the next generation is a
propensity toward . . . alcoholism. We intergenerationally trade one extreme
for another, and never seemed to find moderation.

It makes me wonder what else we careen through life smashing up with our
imbalances. The use of alcohol is just one example. Taken in moderation,
medical studies indicate that certain wines and beers are actually
health-positive. It makes me wonder what else might be a salve to our lives if
taken in moderation.

Work and play? Do those themes represent balance or extremes? In our culture,
those two are so out of balance that many only have one alternative
left—drinking! I am not one to preach here. I don’t play enough. A friend
just sent me a little reflection that included: “we work so hard to earn lots
of money that we get sick, and then we spend all of our money to get well.”
Work is one thing. Working ourselves to stress/death is something else.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
prodigious @ Merriam-Webster

afflatus @ (doesn't it look like it should mean something else?)
Nice post on ancient bandits (with a link to an article) over at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean ...
The APA is still looking for an assitant editor for Amphora ...
A while back on the Classics list we were discussing various tv/film portrayals of Classicists ... here's the Guardian obituary of Michael Sheard, whose portrayal wasn't mentioned:

The actor Michael Sheard, who has died of cancer aged 65, will be remembered by younger viewers as the abrasive and terrifying Latin teacher Maurice Bronson from the TV series Grange Hill, which was set in a London comprehensive. His stern countenance, barked orders and ill-fitting toupee made him a television icon in the programme between 1985 and 1989.

... folks unfamiliar with the series might recall this, though:

He was delighted when George Lucas cited his demise, choked to death as Admiral Ozzel by the menacing stare of Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), as his favourite ever movie death scene. He embraced the cult status that Mr Bronson, and his brushes with science fiction gave him, appearing at conventions with gusto. Sheard was, in reality, a convivial and friendly man who was popular on set, earning the gratitude of the younger Grange Hill actors by demanding that the children were treated no differently from the adults.
The University of Chester has purchased a ceremonial mace, and a piece in the Evening Leader includes the following:

The use of ceremonial maces dates back to when they were carried at the head of legionnaires marching across the Roman Empire.

University of Chester vice-chancellor, Prof Tim Wheeler, said: “Maces have been used through the ages to mark the opening and closing of official business and to this day are an essential part of the pageantry of a university.

“It is particularly appropriate that a university associated with a Roman city is represented by a legacy of that ancient civilisation for ceremonial purposes and we are delighted MBNA has chosen to support this tradition so generously.

... are they saying that maces derive from Roman military standards? A webpage on the mace in the U.S. House of Representatives sez:

The design of the Mace is derived from an ancient battle weapon and the Roman fasces.

None of the official pages of the Canadian Parliament that I looked at give any details about the history of the mace (e.g., this one).
Circuses have certainly evolved from those that we used to get free passes for back in elementary school ... an excerpt from a review in the Sun-Times:

Now comes the world premiere of "Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Tale," which may just be its most seamless, ingenious and altogether stunning mix of circus arts, music and theatrical storytelling to date. Co-written and co-directed by Tony Hernandez (who also plays the title role) and Heidi Stillman, the show easily could sell tickets on the basis of just the breathtaking series of acts performed by the local and international circus artists who comprise the cast. And not even under the most intimate big top do you ever find yourself just inches from an acrobat as she swings over your head, or so close to a tightrope walker that you can see the curve of her arched foot, or so near a contortionist that you can watch the tendons in her steely if wraithlike arms.

But ultimately what makes this 70-minute show so magical, so powerful and so monumental in its emotional impact is the brilliant way in which a series of individual acts have been integrated into the whole. "Hephaestus" is a story of primal emotions and mythic proportions. And just as each particular specialty act on view gradually builds in its level of risk, danger and difficulty, the creators of this show have seen to it that the overall accrual of these acts -- each meticulously woven into the plot -- builds to a climax that leaves you with sweating palms, white knuckles, palpitations of the heart and an all-around sense of awe.

The show is framed as a bedtime story narrated by a tiny child frightened by her parents' arguments. (She is played by the beguiling, sweet-voiced Lia Lankford, a 9-year-old Chicago Lab School student.) Hers is the only voice we hear throughout the piece as she recounts the Greek myth of Hephaestus (Hernandez, on tightrope and trapeze).

The deformed, unwanted child of Zeus and Hera (the latter played by Lijana Wallenda-Hernandez, Tony's real-life wife, and a seventh-generation member of the world-renowned Wallenda circus family), Hephaestus is tossed off Mt. Olympus by his mother. And his descent and watery landing are beautifully evoked with the help of acrobatic sea nymphs who unspool on silk panels.

Skills of an artist

Hephaestus' legs may be crippled, but he has the hands and imagination of an artist. And from his giant forge (conjured with light and the pounding sound of Kodo drums and other percussion), he shapes his own crutches and leg braces as well as remarkably lifelike silver sculptures (embodied by Lauren Hirte, Rick Kubes, Brent Roman, Nikolas Wallenda and Rani Waterman, who work on everything from half-stilts and bungee cords to the trapeze) and gorgeous jewelry (Dallas Zoppe, a human bangle who can spin 20 iridescent hoops around her tiny body until they become a perfect metallic blur).

Hephaestus' artistry does not go unnoticed by his haughty mother, who sends her various messengers to Earth: Iris (Erendira Wallenda, the high-flying slack-rope artist who swings from the rafters); Ares, god of war (Almas Meirmanov, a small, airborne gymnast who surely is made of steel), and Aphrodite (the equally steely contortionist Olga Pikhienko). Hera wants her son to build her a throne, and so he does. And in the show's terrifying climactic act, she rides that throne as part of a human pyramid that makes its slow passage across a tightrope. It's an act of the most extreme physical and mental concentration (and one that would be just as nail-bitingly tense -- and far more enjoyable -- were the performers wearing safety wires).
From a fashion magazine come these excerpts:

In Gothenburg, Sweden, from November 20, Panos Emporio has a new concept for its spring 2004 line of swimwear: Unlimited Love. The focus for the range is on the boundless and all-embracing ideas of love.

The new line is a fresh expression of the sometimes mysterious and often sensual ideas behind love, largely inspired by the work of the lyrical poet Sappho.*


* Sappho was a female poet from the Greek island Lesbos. Sappho, relating to Greek antiquity, intensified her poems with strong feelings of love, desire, longing and suffering. The poems where originally created as a tribute to the private sphere of a woman, which was not common in Greek literature. The love poems of Sappho are, considered, by many, to be the most vital ever created.

... but how does that translate into swimwear?
Maria Pia Pattoni, Longo Sofista, Dafni e Cloe.

Margherita Catucci, Lorena Jannelli, Lucia Sanesi Mastrocinque, Il deposito dall'Acropoli di Cuma, Corpus delle stipi votive in Italia XVI. Archaeologica 138.

Georg Gerster, The Past from Above: Aerial Photographs of Archaeological Sites.

Raymond Schoder, Vincent Horrigan, A Reading Course in Homeric Greek. Book 1, revised with additional material by Leslie Collins Edwards.

Eva Cantarella (ed.), Scritti in ricordo di Barbara Bonfiglio.
At the risk of being the kiss of death (why is it when I mention a new blog here they suddenly stop publishing?), I'd like to draw folks' attention to the existence of the Ave blog, which appears to be run by a Classics student in British Columbia ...
Two more Ancient and Modern columns have made their way from the Spectator to the Friends of Classics site ...
Pretium petrolei maximum
Cum insulae terebratoriae Sinus Mexicani tempestate Katrina damna gravissima cepissent et ita productio petrolei Americanorum deminuta esset, petrolei pretium ubique auctum est.

Gasioleum et benzinum nunc pluris constant quam umquam ante, quod sumptus calefactionis et commeatus notabiliter auxit. Ideo homines, quorum condiciones vitae auctis pretiis artiores fiunt, in variis orbis terrarum partibus reclamitaverunt. In Gallia vectores autocarrorum stationes petrolearias obsidentes distributionem benzini et gasiolei impedire conabantur. In Nigeria sodalicia opificum longas reclamationum series fore minitantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Here's the incipit of a touristy piece on Carthage from IOL:

We can't wait to set off on a long cross-country trip across Tunisia. "What time tomorrow?" I ask our guide.

"Oh, about 800 BC," replies Ahmed Fezai, talking about Carthage, the first call on our classical itinerary.

"Boy, that's an early start," I quip.

I idly study the classical image of Hannibal, the first hero of Tunisia, on a five-dinar banknote. We are travelling back in time to the Africa of antiquity. For 1 000 years, Carthage was one of the great cities of the ancient world. The metropolis of the Mediterranean was the stronghold of Hannibal, the legendary military leader who led an army of men and elephants across the Alps and brought the Roman Empire to its knees.

Dido, a modern pop icon, is playing on Radio Tunis on the short trip to the coast. Now that's what you call synchronicity. Her namesake, Queen Elissa Dido (meaning the wanderer), fled King Pygmalion in Lebanon and founded the great Phoenician city of Carthage.

Coming to Carthage triggers long-forgotten memories of my cultural-history studies and the tragic romance of Dido and Aeneas, Virgil's version of Romeo and Juliet, which ends in the suicide of the lovelorn Queen of Carthage in The Aeneid.

What's left of antiquity? Ravaged by time, Carthage, now a Unesco World Heritage site, lies in ruins today. The marble rubble on Byrsa Hill overlooks the quiet harbour that sheltered the Phoenician fleet during the lengthy Punic Wars. A falcon shackled to the remains of a Roman column poses sadly with the tourists for a few dinars.

If you studied Latin at school, you too may recall the epic rise and fall of Carthage. We were following in the footsteps of Major Grenville Temple, a scholar who wrote in 1832: "I walked to the site of great Carthage, the mistress of powerful and brave armies, of numerous fleets and of the world's commerce - to whom Africa, Spain, Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and Italy bowed in submission as to their sovereign."

Standing on the cypress-treed summit, our guide spins a wonderful tale. When the inhabitants said Dido could take as much land as could be covered with an ox-hide, the wily queen cut the hide into long, thin strips and wrapped them all the way around the hill of Byrsa (which means ox-hide, though historians say it derives from bosra, the Phoenician word for "fortress").

Fact or fiction, we are spellbound by the myths of Dido who ruled the world as Queen of Carthage long before her modern namesake became the Queen of Pop.

Today a seaside suburb of Tunis, Carthage is littered with modern villas and classical ruins. The sculpture of a boozy Silenus (companion of the Greek wine-god Dionysus) stands among the many marble statues and mosaics in the modern Carthage museum.

We walk among the postcard-sellers in the abandoned amphitheatre where 40 000 spectators watched gladiators in mortal combat with wild beasts. (I wonder if they could stage re-enactments with the occasional busload of tourists?)

We are impressed by the colossal Antonine Baths, the third largest in the Roman Empire, watered by the 132-kilometre-long Zaghouan aqueduct.

... more
Here's some of a piece from IranMania inspired by that Achaemenid exhibition at the British Museum:

I believe that society should prioritize the present, the future and the past in exactly that order. I am put off by some of my own fellow citizens who consistently harbour back to our ancient past at every crossroads to leisurely forgo the much more challenging path of dealing with present realities and planning future possibilities.

Try conversing with them about the answers for today and you will only hear of the glories of two and a half thousand years ago.

* Mention poverty: and you are told of: The great wealth in our Persepolis Treasury
* Human rights: Invented by Cyrus on his Cylinder
* Traffic jams: The crisscrossing roads of Cyrus and Darius
* Instability on our border with Iraq: The swift invasion of Babylon
* Tourism: The tribute procession bas-reliefs
* Visas & Immigration: Did you know we used to own the world?
* The Internet and e-mail: Our postal system was very fast
...ok perhaps that's going too far!

But I think most Iranians reading this know the attitude I am referring to. Maybe we did invent paradise but many of us haven't come back down to earth yet. We are all too eager to close our eyes to the present and dream of a past which may or may not have been. How our ancient Kings would have disapproved of such excessive and lavish escapism at the expense of much needed attention to the here and now.

So, the question is, at the present time, do we really need an exhibition about our Achaemenid ancestors? Well, I believe we do. The reason is that this exhibition doesn't focus on the pomp and circumstance of the empire, as it is far easy to do with the Achaemenids, but tries to get to the essence of the dynasty's principles and motives, its raison d'être. All too frequently the Achaemenid dynasty is characterized only by the golden wealth of its treasury, the splendour of its palaces and its military prowess.

But their main legacy according to Shahrokh Razmjou, is that "they showed the world how an empire should be ruled."

Shahrokh Razmjou, is a curator at the Tehran National Museum, and has helped to organize the exhibits in London.

"The Achaemenids displayed a sense of religious tolerance, a respect for people of other nations to practice their own cultures and keep their own customs, a kind of code for human rights. Far from the image portrayed by a few ancient Greek writers and skewed further by some 19th century Western historians that the Persians threatened civilization, they were in fact one of its main proponents and contributors."

He went on to tell me that there is ample evidence, from Greek sources, that

"The Persians never wanted the Greek states to be part of their territory, but merely wanted no aggression to arise from them, and in the most part lived happily alongside most of their Greek neighbour states. They viewed the Greek states as lying outside their domain."

He disputes the view that the Persians were after Greek gold and wealth.

"They [Persians] already had plenty of it, and if they had wanted more they would have expanded to the East, where the gold would have been more plentiful."

The Achaemenids did not want to expand the empire beyond a certain point, "they understood that over expansion would lead to disintegration."

Shahrokh Razmjou indeed believes that it's not really the Ancient Greeks who should get the blame when recounting our history, but rather it is the misinterpretation and skewed story telling of later historians, which has given the Persians at best a bland and at worst a barbaric image in the West.

He certainly has a point. Going by my own experience, as a 14 year old in one of the supposedly best schools in London, we were taught 'ancient history' by none other than our school's headmaster, who to this day I greatly respect and admire. However, the only reference to the Persians in our textbooks were their constant defeats at the hands of the heroic Greeks and the final extermination of the Achaemenids by Alexander the 'Great', who had an army of 'Poets and Artists' unlike the Persian army whose sole purpose was 'to fight'. Now I know why we lost, those Persian soldiers should have been recounting poetry at Alexander.

The sacking and burning of Persepolis, by the way, was of course not intentional, but came about during "a momentary lapse of drunkenness", we were taught. Alexander's Greatness so untouchable in Western minds that story telling has skewed history to safeguard legendary heroes. Sir Henry Rawlinson, would have surely disapproved of such tuition.

As you can imagine, as an Iranian listening to such a version of my own history wasn't exactly confidence boosting. In our modern schooling of ancient history, everything positive seems be associated with the West and all negatives come from the East.

* Poems, Prose & Art: the Greeks - the Persians didn't have time for stories and art, they only spent their days fighting
* Mathematics and Astronomy: the Greeks - the Persians must have guessed the angles at Persepolis and guessed the new year rather luckily, every year
* Courage and Humanity: the Greeks - Persians seem to always be numbered in the millions committing massacres on their chariots, and avenged eventually by thousands of courageous Greeks
* Organization and Strategy: the Greeks - the Persian administrative systems, coinage and records of transactions must have all been unplanned and random
* Inventions & Innovations: The Persian road system, surely we can mention those as a positive. Apparently no, the first mention of roads in my class came along when we got onto the Romans. Roman Roads, the phrase is indisputable! Persians merely anticipated what the Romans would do later in history, and copied them first, so we can't give the Persians credit for it.

Indeed, years later when I read Xenophon and Herodotus, they almost seemed Persian Partisans compared to the modern schooling I had received.

My tone is getting too emotive! Don't get me wrong, I don't want to belittle Greek achievement, which I admire greatly or exaggerate Achaemenid innovation, much of whose feats can be traced back to Assyrian and other preceding dynasties.

But there is a need to start setting the record straight, for the benefit of both the East and West. How many young British students of ancient history know of the Canal which Darius restored and completed joining the Nile to the Red Sea, or that the inscription on the New York post office "Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is Herodotus describing the Persian postal system, or of the great amount of day to day trade and business the Greek States and Persians conducted while living, the vast majority of the time, peacefully alongside each other. These bits of knowledge can bring future generations closer together and make them less suspicious of the motives of other cultures, rather than my generation which had to swallow the usual bitter East versus West fodder.
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Foot Soldier: The Romans
Host Richard Karn looks at the Roman legionnaires, who conquered and dominated most of the known world for 500 years, and left behind a legacy of language, culture, architecture, and government.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Athens: Western Splendor
Discover why Athens became the preeminent city during the Golden Age of Greece on this virtual tour of the cradle of Western civilization. Travel back to the time of Pericles, the noble statesman who led the revolution that touched all fields of knowledge. We visit the amphitheaters that were home to the famous tragedies of the day, tour the site of the ancient Olympic Games, and see the ornate temples of the Gods, including a bird's-eye view of the architectural masterpiece of its day--the Acropolis.

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.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Meet the Ancestors: Malaria and the Fall of Rome
What caused the fall of the Roman Empire? Was it the armies of barbarians--or could it have been the microscopic bacterial armies of an epidemic so virulent that it killed unborn babies in the womb and caused locals in a Christian country to resort to black magic in an attempt to protect themselves? The result of a trail that started with an excavation at Lugnano in northern Italy may have provided the solution. There was clearly an epidemic in the region at the time--but of what? Join the search for answers with host and archaeologist Julian Richards.

HINT = History International
In fuga foeda mors est; in victoria, gloriosa.

When one is in running away, death is wretched; when one is victorious, death is
(M. Tullius Cicero, Philippics 14.12.32)

(pron = in foo-gah foy-dah mohrs ehst; in wik-toh-ree-ah, gloh-ree-oh-sah)

Comment: I can work with the metaphor. Cicero is saying that sacrifices are
really lousy when they only come to loss, but that the same sacrifices are
badges of honor when they produce something valuable.

Few can disagree with that. His comments can certainly be applied to war.
Cicero lived in a time of frequent Roman warring, and sadly, civil war that
nearly destroyed "the Roman Thing". His own death came at the hands of fellow
Romans who killed him and displayed his dead body parts in the public arena as
a warning to those who got in their way. Cicero was also a politician, and so
his comments might also be applied to politics.

This proverb can offer us a very practical way of viewing things, a practical
ethic. Underneath it is the question of what I am investing my energy and
resources in. If the investment of my time and resources (my sacrifices, so to
speak) are being channeled toward ruinous things or activities that will end in
loss, sadness, illness, pain, shame, or just a plain old dead end, then my
investment seems wretched. If my investment of time and resources will end in
something positive, helpful, will open doors, simply put, then my investment
seems a good one. Sometimes, we don’t know until we are partially given to a
course of action before we can see what the end will be. And sometimes, our
course of action and its effects are just almost stupidly plain.

Where is this action of mine leading? This applies to students and their work,
adults and their careers. It applies to parents and how they work with their
children, and employers and how they work with their employees. And, as for
Cicero, it still applies to wars and to politics. In all, a life given for the
sake of ruin is wretched. A life given for the sake of real achievement is

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 9)

epulum in honour of Minerva and others (connected to the ludi Romani)

ritual of the 'driving of a nail' by the Pontifex Maximus/Rex Sacrorum into the Temple of Jupiter (likely connected to the above and below entries)

509 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (and associated rites thereafter; also incorporated into the ludi Romani, it seems)

490 B.C. -- yet another reckoning for the Battle of Marathon

16 A.D. -- revelation of the conspiracy of Lucius Scribonius Libo, leading to the first of the maiestas trials which characterized the emperor Tiberius' principate

81 A.D. -- death of the emperor Titus; his brother Domitian is acclaimed as emperor

122 A.D. -- construction of Hadrian's Wall begins? (I'd love to know the source for this claim)
covey @ Wordsmith

assay @ Merriam-Webster (really?)

biblioclasm @ Worthless Word for the Day

officious @
The first weeks of school and a father having a heart attack (he's fine) have conspired to make me fall hopelessly behind in my blog reading, so here's a bit of a roundup of items which I've briefly scanned ... @Archaeoastronomy there's an interesting post on the possible connection between Delphi and Dolphins ... over @ Laudator, MG has given us a pile of posts on the usual various subjects (after claiming blogging would be reduced!) ... Hobbyblog's coin collection continues to be put up for all to see (a 'two-headed' coin posted there causes me to wonder whether Romans 'flipped' coins ... 'ships or something' I recall, but I'm not sure if that was ancient or modern adaptation) ... Iconoclasm continues his thesis-in-progress (a couple of particularly interesting posts are the ones on Magic in Ancient Rome and the review of Ward-Perkins) ... Classics in Contemporary Culture seems to be slowly coming back to life ... Glaukopidos disagrees on some points of my views on the latest episode of Rome (and answers some of my questions ... I forgot to mention the nice scene of the imagines of the ancestors in Atia's house) ... on a related note, I see brief murmurings on the web that Rome has been picked up for a second season (12 more episodes), but I'll wait till I see it mentioned in a news source for confirmation ...
We've already mentioned a couple of times (I think) the revival of chariot racing in Jordan; even so, there's a really nice article (the longest and most detailed on this so far) in the Telegraph (with a couple of nice photos) that folks might want to check out.
Jacco Dieleman, Priests, Tongues, and Rites: The London-Leiden Magical Manuscripts and Translation in Egyptian Ritual (100-300 CE). Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 153. Leiden: 2005.

Worthington on Marincola on Jacoby's FGrH.

Erasmo on Cowan on Erasmo.

Antonella Borgo, Retorica e poetica nei proemi di Marziale.

Charles Martindale, Latin Poetry and the Judgment of Taste. An Essay in Aesthetics.

Alan Cameron, Greek Mythography in the Roman World.

José María Candau Morón, Francisco Javier González Ponce, Gonzalo Cruz Andreotti, Historia y mito. El pasado legendario como fuente de autoridad. Actas del Simposio Internacional celebrado en Sevilla, Valverde del Camino y Huelva entre el 22 y el 25 de abril de 2003. Málaga: 2004.
Saddam crimina commissa confitetur

Jalal Talabani, praesidens Iraquiae hodiernus, rettulit pristinum dictatorem Saddamum Hussein, de actis suis interrogatum, multa crimina confessum esse, quae commisisset, cum patriam moderaretur; quin etiam eum concessisse se suppliciorum sumendorum participem fuisse. Talabani censet Saddamum dignum esse, qui vicies singulis diebus laqueo suspendatur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
... nothing of interest.
Amor magister est optimus.

Love is the best teacher.
(Pliny the Younger, Epistulae 4.19.4—adapted)

(pron = ah-mohr mah-ghee-ster ehst ohp-tee-moos)

Comment: There is teaching which is technically and objectively “correct”, and
there is teaching that makes a connection. It is difficult to put into words
what the difference is, but students know when they encounter this difference.
We rarely use the word “love” in education to talk about this difference, but it
is not a bad word to use.

There are days when I’m pretty sure that I’ve covered all my bases, and
therefore covered my own backside—just in case anyone has been looking. I
could successfully argue that I’ve done my job and that any deficit belongs to
the student. There are other days when something human happens in my
classroom, when I have shifted a bit from what I had planned so that what I had
planned connects with the people who are actually in front of me. Such a
connection feels different. There is an electricity around what we are doing.
There is an energy coming from students that says—hey, I get this! (student
lingo for “I am understanding and intelligent—I know what I am doing!).

I like to think I am always aiming for the latter. I don’t think aiming for it,
though, takes me there. I am finding that the only thing that can make me a
more loving, humane teacher and human being is to practice this humanity on
myself, first. Then, I know what it looks like, and I can offer that in my
classroom. It’s a slow process. On the days when I know I have missed the
mark, I missed it long before any lesson started. Something, that day,
interfered with my own ability to look in the mirror and accept myself wholly.
So, I have already come to my classroom withholding the acceptance that is
necessary for real learning to take place. And on those days, it just does not

So, as strange as it may sound, the most important part of any lesson that I
plan is that moment each morning when I first look in the mirror. It all flows
from there.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
pridiem idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 8)

490 B.C. -- battle of Marathon (another suggested date)
obverse @

apophasis @ Merriam-Webster

siderate @ Worthless Word for the Day

ostentation @

ignivomous @ World Wide Words
Over at, NSG has an interesting feature on the origin of Roman numerals. [speaking of Roman numerals, is anyone out there getting obsessed with Sudoku? It's something which a Latin teacher could easily adapt with Roman numerals, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to solve same!]
From SwissInfo:

Augusta Raurica, the first Roman colony to be built on the Rhine, receives 140,000 visitors every year and offers fascinating insights into the way the Romans lived.

In addition to a treasure chamber filled with precious silver, the museum contains a selection of the most important finds from the archaeological site, including a life-size bronze bust of the goddess Minerva.

The adjacent Roman house is a careful reconstruction of a Roman dwelling and workshop showing life as it would have been 2,000 years ago.

Founded in 44 BC in the vicinity of modern-day Basel by Lucius Munatius Plancus, a military commander and friend of Caesar, the original purpose of the Colonia Raurica was to defend Rome's new frontier along the Rhine, following the conquest of Gaul.

The earliest evidence of Roman settlement at Augusta Raurica dates back to 15BC, when the Emperor Augustus incorporated the area which is now Switzerland into the Roman Empire.

From a military base, Augusta Raurica soon developed into a vital staging post and trading centre in a great single market which stretched from Britain in the north to Africa in the south, from the Iberian peninsula in the west to Asia in the east.

Just a few decades after its foundation, a building boom transformed the military encampment on the Rhine into one of the continent's major cities. Wooden fortifications and houses were replaced by a grid layout of broad avenues fronted by imposing constructions in bricks and mortar.

Peaceful co-existence

"In the second century AD, Augusta Raurica had a population of at least 20,000, while today only 800 people live in the area," explains Karin Kob, the archaeological site's public relations manager.

"The Colonia Raurica is an excellent example of the 'romanisation' of the Empire: the natives co-existed peacefully with thousands of Roman legionaries, who after 20 years' service were pensioned off and, as colonists, granted plots of land to farm.

A previously undreamed-of urban lifestyle, evidenced by luxurious villas, theatres, amphitheatres, public baths, markets and inns, opened minds and brought new pleasures to the Celtic peoples of these upland areas.

There was a dramatic leap forward in the standard of living: paved streets, drainage, clean running water for domestic use, under-floor heating. And even then the Mediterranean diet was gaining ground.

"The Romans had established an incredible trading and transport infrastructure. Amphorae of olive oil and wine brought from the islands of the Mediterranean have been found at Augusta Raurica. As have remains of fish, oysters, fruit and vegetables originating thousands of kilometres away," explains Kob.

Craftsmen and gladiators

Buried for centuries following the invasion of "barbarian" Germanic peoples, Switzerland's Roman heritage was not unearthed and given due prominence until fairly recent times.

Now at least 140,000 people visit Augusta Raurica each year. More than 15,000 visitors take part in the now traditional Roman festival, held in August, which enables them to rediscover the Roman way of life and customs.

"We have observed that the general public, accustomed to seeing only finished articles, are really fascinated by the opportunity to discover manufacturing techniques and know-how employed 2,000 years ago," says archaeologist Max Zurbuchen.

Festival events including circus games, gladiatorial combat, chariot races, music and dance, also make visitors aware of just how much the Romans enjoyed spectacle and entertainment.
Wow ... I can't believe all the 'looking back to Rome' that seems to be going on these days ... here are some excerpts from a piece at WorldNet Daily:

For 216 years, the Roman Republic adhered to a custom that eventually became a law. No senator was permitted to serve as consul twice in succession because extended command over the legions might cause the soldiers' loyalties to shift from Rome to their general – a shift that might well tempt an overly ambitious man. (M. Claudius Marcellus was elected to a third consular term in 214 B.C. immediately following his second term, but that second term he had only served as a suffect consul, selected to replace a predecessor who had died in office.)

In 152 B.C., this custom was made explicit, as ex-consuls were required to wait 10 years before running again for election to their former office.

And yet, less than 50 years later, in 103 B.C., the Roman Senate elected Gaius Marius consul for the third time, the second time in succession. The reason, of course, was a national emergency. This emergency was not the flooding of a small town representing less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the Roman population, but the emergence of two powerful German tribes that had invaded the Roman province of Spain and were threatening to invade Italy proper after defeating no less than three Roman armies and slaughtering more than 80,000 Roman soldiers.

Although he was a demagogue, Marius was also a military genius who ended the 5-year Jugurthan war in 18 months and is credited with making the Roman legions more effective by organizing them into cohorts. He soon had occasion to put that genius to the test, as the situation became even more dire when the Teutoni and the Cimbri allied with the Tigurini, a Celtic tribe that had defeated a Roman army four years before, and began a three-headed invasion of Italy.

Gaius Marius was elected consul four more times, and deservedly so. He defeated both the Teutoni and the Cimbri, killing some 165,000 Germans, and in doing so intimidated their Celtic allies into retreating from Cisalpine Gaul. Rome was saved, but at the price of its liberties. Within 20 years, Rome fought a civil war, was invaded twice by its own legions and endured two reigns of terror at the hands of its purported leaders. And 59 years later, Gaius Julius Caesar was not only elected consul for the fifth time, but dictator-for-life, effectively bringing an end to the Roman Republic after 466 years.

Americans have been told that the Constitution which guarantees their unalienable rights is a living document, which changes over time depending on the current meanings of the words it contains. Recently, we have also learned that it is a water-soluble document, which dissolves any time a federal or state official declares a national emergency or even a hypothetical threat to your life. These officials are, of course, interested in nothing but helping you. The mere notion of the concept that such Constitution-overriding declarations might happen to increase their own power has never even begun thinking about entering their petty, bureaucratic little minds.


Gaius Marius, Alcibiades, Adolf Hitler and Margaret Thatcher ("We had to learn the hard way that by agreement to what were apparently empty generalizations or vague aspirations we were later held to have committed ourselves to political structures which were contrary to our interests." – Lady Margaret Thatcher, "The Downing Street Years") were all freely elected individuals who nevertheless betrayed their countrymen.


... the whole thing ...
Interesting item at Bella Online:

The scytale (also skytale) may be the earliest encryption device in recorded history. Several web resources credit the Greek historian Thucydides and biographer Plutarch with the earliest recordings describing a scytale.

Basically, a scytale was a wooden cylinder around which a strip of paper, fabric or leather was wound. The message was written lengthwise along the strip and then unwound. Several instances have described the strip as a piece of leather worn by a soldier as a belt to the delivery destination. The belt was then wrapped around another scytale of equal diameter for translation.

Making such a device at home is simple, and great rainy day activity for kids. What do you need? To start, some writing device to compose the message, some fabric or strips of paper, some tape and single cylinder (or a pair of cylinders). For a cylinder, a pencil will suffice, but something a bit larger in diameter, like a broom handle or soda bottle might be easier to work with. Also, I've found that long strips of paper (like from the edge of a newspaper page) are more fun, as are longer cylinders (like broom handles or dowel rods).

Secure the end of the strip to the rod, and wind it around the cylinder along the length. Write your message, one or two letters per strip width along the length of the cylinder, leaving spaces between words (or not!). Continue down the length, rotating to start a new row as needed.

I wrapped a length of news paper around a plastic water bottle. Where the strip began and ended, it circled the bottle three times, but in other places, it only wrapped around twice. I wrote my message and then removed the strip. From top to bottom (with a "#" to represent a space, it read:

I M U E L R A I G A B O # Y T D W L I M # # # R N Y E D N # # O K B # A # I L A S # A C R T

Which, when wrapped around a bottle of correct diameter reads:


This method can implemented in many ways, by combining different color combinations, skipping letters, substitutions, writing on both sides of the strip, etc. The links below are to articles about the history of the scytale and pictures of home made scytales.

more ... could be something a Latin teacher might do in class.
The incipit of an oped piece in the Jerusalem Post:

New Orleans's inadequate levees were disasters waiting to happen, as numerous learned forecasts attest. Warning signs aplenty existed yet scientists who highlighted them were regarded as bothersome doomsday-mongers, out to rain on Big Easy's merry Mardi Gras parade.

Nothing new here. Tacitus already documented this syndrome in antiquity.

Commander of Rome's imperial naval base at the Bay of Naples and one of the foremost scholars of his day, Pliny the Elder was unimpressed by the clouds of smoke and incandescent ash which Mount Vesuvius belched 1,926 years and five days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana.

As Pompeii townsfolk began fleeing in horror, Pliny bathed, dined and allayed the fears of his companions, assuring them that Vesuvius's leaping flames were nothing but bonfires left by ignorant panicky peasants.

Nowadays supercilious Pliny knockoffs – cocky military types and prolific know-it-alls – dictate Israel's agenda and, like their precursor, persistently downplay all that should profoundly alarm us. They too accuse benighted commoners of disturbing their peace.

Pliny's spiritual heirs and their ever-obedient media mouthpieces not only dismiss the significance of the portents of danger that our Vesuvius ceaselessly spouts, they deliberately divert attention from and deny resonance to its thunderous retching, misrepresenting it as inconsequential minor hiccups.

... more.
I don't think I've ever seen anything Classical mentioned in Dear Abby, so when something is, we make note of it:

Dear Abby: I have often heard the saying "That would be like opening Pandora's box." Where did that phrase originate?
Yvonne in Norlina, N.C.

Dear Yvonne: It refers to a story from Greek mythology. The box was a gift to Pandora from the gods, but was given with the warning that she should never open it. When curiosity got the better of Pandora and she opened it anyway, a swarm of evils was loosed upon mankind.

... but what was left in the box, Abby?
Societates aeriae dubiae

Parlamentum Europaeum flagitat, ut in Unione Europea index omnium illarum societatum aeriarum componatur, quae fidem non meruerint.

Regulae strictiores praecipue illis societatibus postulantur, quae itinera pretiis vilioribus venditant. Hodie nationes Unionis Europaeae argumentis inter se differentibus utuntur, quibus negotia societatum dubiarum vetant.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Father Foster is back! Here's the latest description:

Love Story
Did you know the first best selling love story at a European level was written by the second of the Renaissance popes, Pius II ? Well to put it that way is kind of cheating because he wrote it long before his election to the papacy but it does make a good story...

I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but unless anyone objects, I'll start linking to the mp3 version rather than the RealAudio version ...
There's a new issue of Ephemeris on the enewsstands ... This week's top story: de suffragiis in Aegypto habitis.
There's a new article up at Ancient Narrative:

Martha Habash. "Petronius' Satyrica 24.7: Quartilla's asellus"

The abstract is free ... again I appeal to the editors to make their webpage more user-friendly; the link to this new material is a little past half-way down the page, with no indication that it is, in fact, new.
MK sent this one in (Thanks!) ... over at TomDispatch, there's an interview with James Carroll about the post-9/11 world. The concluding words are very interesting:

We're not sufficiently attuned to the fact that we of the West are descended from the Roman Empire. It still exists in us. The good things of the Roman Empire are what we remember about it -- the roads, the language, the laws, the buildings, the classics. We're children of the classical world. But we pay very little attention to what the Roman Empire was to the people at its bottom -- the slaves who built those roads; the many, many slaves for each citizen; the oppressed and occupied peoples who were brought into the empire if they submitted, but radically and completely smashed if they resisted at all.

We Christians barely remember the Roman war against the Jewish people in which historians now suggest that hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed by the Romans between 70 and 135 CE. Why were the Jews killed? Not because the Romans were anti-Semites. They were killed because they resisted what for them was the blasphemous occupation of the Holy Land of Israel by a godless army. It would remain one of the most brutal exercises of military power in history until the twentieth century. That's the Roman story.

We Americans are full of our sense of ourselves as having benign imperial impulses. That's why the idea of the American Empire was celebrated as a benign phenomenon. We were going to bring order to the world. Well, yes… as long as you didn't resist us. And that's where we really have something terrible in common with the Roman Empire. If you resist us, we will do our best to destroy you, and that's what's happening in Iraq right now, but not only in Iraq. That's the saddest thing, because the way we destroy people is not only by overt military power, but by writing you out of the world economic and political system that we control. And if you're one of those benighted people of Bangladesh, or Ghana, or Sudan, or possibly Detroit, then that's the way we respond to you. We'd do better in other words if we had a more complicated notion of what the Roman Empire was. We must reckon with imperial power as it is felt by people at the bottom. Rome's power. America's.
I was very disappointed with this episode; when it was over, I actually said out loud "Well that sucked!", so I thought I had better sleep on it to ensure I wasn't being rash. But sober second thought has only mitigated that opinion slightly ... first of all, the episode was extremely short. To this point, episodes have been fifty minutes long (clearly building in time for when it hits commercial tv); this one was forty minutes (tops) and prefaced with the same good (but lengthy) intro and a "previously on Rome" segment. Actual action in this one was in the area of 30-35 minutes.

Perhaps what made it worse was that there were no real questions which arose from it (but a few interesting details) ... here's the stream-of-conciousness:

The opening scene has Atia mad at Caesar for 'ruining us', and she's taking it out on her favourite slave by whipping him; meanwhile, Caesar is marching on Rome with one legion while Pompey's troops are being 'gathered'

Nice detail: mounted soldiers do not have stirrups! They're all doing that 'pigeon-toed'-squeeze-the-horse-so-you-don't-fall-off-thing. (I want to see someone do that at full gallop).

The plot thickens: the father of Niobe's baby (aha!) shows up! She dumps him out of fear of patria potestas (i.e. Vorenus will kill her).

The ongoing thread in this episode is Vorenus seeking 'love advice' from Pullo; turns out Vorenus is ultimately worried about having descendents to tend to his rites when he's gone (seems to be a very Roman sentiment).

As Caesar's army approaches, Atia decides to throw a party; her horse trader friend (and crew) are to be the bouncers/security.

Meanwhile, Pullo and Vorenus are part of an advance party to deliver Caesar's proclamation to Rome ... they are to advance until they meet resistance. They never do meet resistance; the first group of Pompeians they find are a group of raw recruits (most seem to be boys) who all flee at the sight of seasoned troops.

The optimates meet: Pompey has three legions made up of raw recruits and veterans from Gaul (i.e. potentially loyal to Caesar); Pompey reveals that he and his supporters are going to retreat to Orfinum (I think); Cato is not pleased [note in passing -- the guy playing Cato is great and the portrayal pretty much hits him dead on]

Back to the party ... there seems to be chaos growing in the city and Atia and crew seem 'besieged' by a rowdy gang of Pompeians. Atia's despairing, but Octavius seems to realize what a weak position Pompey is in.

As the optimates are preparing to leave, Cornelia reminds Pompey about the treasury ... he sends some soldiers who fill up a bunch of crates with gold bars (they seem a bit small to be talents); of course, those soldiers ultimate abscond with the treasure (it's on a wagon) ... they steal a slave girl on the way out for good measure.

Cut to scene of Vorenus telling Pullo how to talk to women: "Pretend you're putting a saddle on a skittish horse".

Back at the party, Atia's being a complete idiot, making arrangements for who kills whom (according to "appropriateness") so they aren't taken by the mob outside. While all this is going on, Octavius is calm and realizes the mob isn't there any more. They check outside and everyone is gone ... nice graffiti on the walls (a large CINAED across the door ... I saw a ATIA AMAT OMNES and an ATIA FELLAT too)

Next day scene has a herald (who, quite frankly, isn't loud enough ... but that might be my town crier bias showing) saying "Pompeius has left the city", sending me into paroxysms of giggles -- Pompey as Elvis.

The next few scenes are actually quite good as they show how the events of this time tore not just Rome, but families apart as well. Brutus, e.g., is very conflicted ... he doesn't want to take sides but ultimately chooses Pompey. His mother (who has been waiting for Caesar to return) decides to stay in Rome and wait for Caesar (Brutus not pleased). Octavia sneaks out of the house to meet Glabius ... he's joining the Pompeians.

[Note in passing: a plot line which is not here that I really wish was would be to see what happened with Cicero's family ... according to letters, they were left behind as he went out of the city; his son-in-law sided with Caesar ...]

Quick scene where Vorenus and Pullo get suspicious of an oxcart driven by men who are supposedly 'traders' but wearing soldiers' caligae; V and P drive the soldiers off; Pullo wants the slave girl but Vorenus wants to fulfill the mission they've been given.

Back to Rome where we find Glabius has been killed; Octavia upset ... wants to know if mommy had something to do with it (she did, I think); Atia swears she didn't ... Octavius seems to know better.

Vorenus and Pullo make it to the senate door where they nail Caesar's proclamation (other proclamations are there posted too ... very nice detail); the proclamation is a fine example of Clementia

Which things having been done, Vorenus deserts (despite Pullo's protests "What about the Thirteenth?"). We next see him at a streetside shrine to Venus where he offers his own blood for Niobe's love. Then we see him apologizing to her for being such a brute. She comes close to confessing about the child, but never actually says it (he seems to know). Then we get the cliche which seems to tie this whole episode together: "The past is gone, we start again."

The closing scene has Pullo going back to get that slave girl that was with the oxcart. He finds her and the cart abandoned outside Rome. Of course he checks the contents of the crates ... scoops up the slave girl, gets the oxcart going and heads off at a right angle to the approaching forces of Caesar.

No real questions arising from this one; seems ultimately to be a 'transition' episode.
3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Superweapons of the Ancient World: The Claw
History says that Archimedes created a terrifying secret weapon that plucked Roman warships from the sea and smashed them against the rocks; could such a devastating weapon have been built using available technology in 213 BC?

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.

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)

HINT = History International
Issue 8.20 of our Explorator Newsletter has been posted as has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ... don't forget to check out our Classics Central forum too (it's been updated a couple times this week; I'll be doing some more later today)
A brief item from the Art Newspaper:

The refugee camp of Chati near Gaza rises on top of the ancient Hellenistic city of Anthedon, which has been under excavation by a joint French-Palestinian team since 1995.

The five-hectare site is one of the “greatest classical towns still to be fully excavated in Palestine”, says Jean-Baptiste Humbert, co-director of the dig.

Now archaeologists have unearthed a Greek house of around 200 BC with wall paintings that are a unique survival for this date, according to a report in Le Monde newspaper.

Archaeologists are concerned for the future of sites in Gaza as there is huge pressure to build in this narrow ribbon of land (365 due to the annual 3% growth of the population.
From the Boston Globe:

On congested, dusty Alexandras Avenue, the secrets of the sea seem a world away. But in Room 625, on the sixth floor of Greece's gargantuan police headquarters, the watery world of ancient shipwrecks and other archeological riches occupies the attention of Giorgos Gligoris.

The veteran officer oversees the Hellenic Police Force's antitrafficking unit, battling smugglers bent on snatching treasures from the seabed.

Traffickers have caught on to the fact that there are more than 12,000 shipwrecks in Greek waters. Many of the submerged gems date back to the Golden Age of the fifth century BC. Armed with archeological service maps acquired on the black market, burgeoning numbers of international smugglers have made it their mission to locate the wrecks, authorities say.

''In the United States and Europe, ancient Greek artifacts are, sadly, very fashionable," Gligoris said. ''Unfortunately, nouveaux riches like them because they're not only pretty and look good in their sitting rooms, but happen also to be a great investment."

Gligoris said some looters are coming to Greece and posing as wealthy tourists on yachts. ''They arrive, supposedly on a cruise, when their real intention is to locate wrecks and whisk gold and bronze antiquities out of the country," he said.

Criminal gangs, emboldened by the explosion of Internet auction houses, have come to see the acquisition of antiquities as a way to launder ill-gotten gains.

Faced by rising threat of piracy, Greece's center-right government has made locating and protecting historic wrecks a top priority. In the past five years, state-employed underwater archeologists have discovered 30 ancient wrecks -- compared with five wrecks in the decade before that -- at depths of up to about 1,970 feet, dispatching coast guard officials to protect the finds.

But the advances of technology, not least the ready availability of powerful search equipment, often mean that the modern pillager gets to the vessels before the country's overworked archeologists.

While high-tech wizardry has helped academics better understand the boundaries of deep-sea archeology, it has also allowed amateur treasure hunters to illicitly tap into Greece's vast underwater heritage. Increasingly, looters can afford to buy the sophisticated sonar equipment needed to locate potential treasure troves on land and sea.

''Technology has no principles," said Katerina Delaporta, who heads the Department of Marine Antiquities at the Greek Ministry of Culture. ''Looting has become a big danger because the development of diving techniques, and equipment is being used very effectively by people to plunder undersea archeological sites."

With shipwrecks scattered around the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, patrolling them is practically impossible, Gligoris said.

Once looters bring the artifacts to the surface, authorities have a difficult time proving that the items have been stolen without previous photographic or archival evidence of their existence, he explained.

''Greece has the longest coastline in Europe. The Mediterranean is a very big place," Gligoris said. ''We would need millions of archeologists and divers to police these waters, and the fact of the matter is there are only 15 of us who work in the country's antitrafficking department."

Thanks to the Romans's penchant for original classical and Hellenistic statues, thousands of sculptures are believed to have been spirited out of Greece by Roman invaders. Specialists also believe the Aegean seabed is littered with masterpieces that went missing in storms.

Many of these priceless pieces are thought to have ended up in the hands of antiquities smugglers after fishermen accidentally netted them. Invariably, the works are whisked out of Greece in fruit and vegetable trucks, according to police who have successfully stopped many such vehicles at frontier checkpoints.

Once trafficked, antiquities can change hands as many as five times before ultimately reaching the display room of an auction house or museum.

''It's not just this new breed of looter. The fisherman's trawler, also, has been the curse of underwater archeology for the past 200 years," said Harry Tzalas, a leading maritime expert and a specialist in the reconstruction of ancient ships. ''Evidently, there is a market out there, and the way we should deal with the problem is not with diver-policemen but by offering rewards that make it attractive for fishermen to hand over their finds as soon as they are discovered."

In the past seven years, four masterpieces, including a statue of the Roman emperor Octavius, have been delivered to authorities by fishermen in return for rewards, Ministry of Culture records show.

Another 'borderline purview' one, this time from the Sofia News Agency:

Archaeologists have found a church pulpit at the peak of the Thracian rock sanctuary Perperikon.

This is the first of the kind finding in Bulgaria, the team's chief Nikolay Ovcharov said. According to him, the pulpit was built at the end of the 4th century AD or the early 5th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Honorius and coincided with the period of the christening the Thracians in the Rhodopes area.

It has the form of one-ship basilica of 16.5 m length, which is the most typical form of an early christen religious temple.

The pulpit, which is almost untouched by time, is richly decorated with stone-carved ornaments. An eagle with largely spread wings is clearly seen on the rock.

It also bears five inscriptions in Greek, which are yet to be explained but which archaeologists suppose are liturgical writings.

One hypothesis suggests the church existed until 12 century when it was erased from earth's face by barbarian invaders. At about that time it was probably sealed up and abandoned to the oblivion of time.
The Radio Praha version of this story includes content which brings it within our purview (sort of ... maybe a bit late):

2005 seems to be a remarkably lucky year for Czech archaeologists. After several discoveries in Prague, including the original burial chamber of Emperor Charles IV, and a thousand-year-old bronze hoard of treasure uncovered two weeks ago in the town of Mlada Boleslav, archaeologists have unearthed another precious artefact just outside Prague. It is a small statue believed to depict the ancient Persian fertility goddess Anahita.
The statuette, which originally served as a seal, is made of white gypsum and portrays a kneeling woman dressed in a green cloak and wearing a gold chain. Also, what you see under her skirt, so to speak, is very explicit. All those features suggest that it is a rendering of the ancient Persian goddess of water and fertility, and patroness of women, Anahita. It is believed to have been made in Iran in the 4th or 5th century A.D. at the time of the Sasanian dynasty. Archaeologist Petr Charvat.
"The object was brought to this country from Iran most probably via the countries around the Black Sea sometime in the 5th century by a high-ranking officer of the Roman or Byzantine army who could have been of Iranian descent."
The seal was unearthed near an ancient burial ground dating back to the period of the movement of nations in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. Archaeologists are hoping that in the vicinity they might find a rich person's grave from that time. The nearest place where similar finds have been uncovered is neighbouring Germany.
"It is a piece of evidence proving there was a cultural interchange, as some previous finds had suggested. It is another argument for the hypothesis about the arrival of Slavic tribes in the Czech lands. So far one hypothesis says they came from the Northeast and the other suggests the Southeast. This find suggests that the Slavs came from the Southeast and their arrival had been preceded by some influences and contacts with those regions."
Many archaeological finds in Europe date back to the period of the great migration in the 4th and 5th centuries. They include weapons, jewellery and harnesses and also pieces of soldiers' equipment. Similar artefacts have been found all around Europe, from the Caucasus to the Atlantic.

... and in case you weren't aware, Sally Winchester and I moderate a scholarly list called Anahita (originally started by Ross Scaife)... here's the official description:

ANAHITA-L is a scholarly list for the discussion of women and gender in the ancient Mediterranean world. Discussion topics include: women's work, legal status, social roles -- both public and private, intellectual life, religious activities, and men's views on women. The discussions should be based upon historical, archaeological, linguistic, literary and other evidence from the ancient world and the various interpretations of this evidence. There are many interpretations of the source material and we encourage a variety of approaches, including controversial authors such as Stone and Gimbutas. These latter authors may be discussed critically but they are not to be taken as the 'final word' on any topic. Some familiarity with original source material is expected.

It's been quiet of late ... it would be nice to see some more Classics-oriented discussions there. Check it out!
AK sent this one in (thanks) ... I'm not sure if it was ever mentioned before, but the Theater of Pompey folks have a blog called Diurna Acta which has some stuff worth checking out.
Richard Hingley, Globalizing Roman Culture: Unity, Diversity, and Empire
An excerpt from some Katrina coverage in the Times:

Among the streets of empty houses in the elegant Garden District, stopped only now and then by soldiers who inspect your press pass and cheerfully wave you on, you get an uneasy sense of what the Vandals must have felt like as they picked over Rome’s ruins, or what the first explorers may have seen as they stumbled into Alexandria’s library.

Say what? ... and that got past the editors. Meanwhile, the New York Times also ponders New Orleans in relation to the Library at Alexandria (inter alia):

What will happen to New Orleans now, in the wake of floods and death and violence, is hard to know. But watching the city fill up like a bathtub, with half a million people forced to leave, it has been hard not to think of other places that have fallen to time and the inconstant earth.

Some of them have grown larger in death than they ever were in life.

Take the library in Alexandria. If anyplace might have had justifiable pretensions of permanence it would have been the library, founded sometime around 300 B.C. It grew under the early Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt into an enduring symbol of culture and knowledge before disappearing into the sand and sea less than 1,000 years later.

"This was the library," said Roger Bagnall, a historian at Columbia. "It influenced everybody who ever thought about building a library."

Nobody, Dr. Bagnall complains, knows how large it was - estimates range from 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls - or what was actually in it. The library's demise is equally shrouded in myth. One legend says the books burned during Caesar's conquest of Alexandria in 47 B.C., but the library was still around in the fourth century, according to historical accounts.

Dr. Bagnall thinks that simple neglect killed the library. "Books rot," even acid-free papyruses, he said, noting that there are no records of any investment in maintaining the library after the early Ptolemies.

By the time Christian mobs sacked the library and museum at the end of the century as a pagan institution, there was probably little left to destroy. "The palace quarter was pretty well wrecked by that point. Whatever had survived the rotting didn't make it past that," Dr. Bagnall said.

Later, in 642, the Arabs moved Egypt's capital to the Cairo region and Alexandria shrank into obscurity.
8.00 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.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Spear of Jesus
In the Hofsburg Museum in Vienna, Austria, lies a metal spearhead
said to have been used to pierce the side of Christ during his
crucifixion. For the first time, scientific testing will establish if
this ancient relic really is the Spear of Christ.

9.00 p.m. |HBO/Movie Network| Rome
... the series continues
From Lynn News:

Research into Sedgeford's past looks set to enter an exciting new phase with news that SHARP archaeologists have uncovered what they believe could be a Roman farm.
And although only a small section of the potential area has been excavated this summer, early indications suggest that settlement on the site could have spanned at least two centuries.
Pottery found in the corners of adjoining fields first prompted project archaeologists to take a closer look at the area.
And a geophysics survey last Easter – which shows areas where there have been deep disturbances to the soil through their differing magnetic fields – revealed what looked like several square "enclosure" areas.
The word enclosure refers to any specially-designated area, surrounded by ditches. These can include areas set aside for uses such as orchards and paddocks.
Site director Matt Hobson said in the trench they had found two ditches – one from the early Roman or late Iron Age period, around the first century AD, and a second from around the third century AD – showing the area remained in use.
He said excavations had also uncovered an area packed with flint and chalk which looked like the surface of a yard and could perhaps have been sited next to a farm building.
While it was too early to make predictions about the size of the farm, Matt said the kinds of pottery shards found indicated the farm had been "fairly affluent".
And although SHARP believes the site could have been a farm, rather than villa, Matt said it could have been "only one step down from a villa", with links to other settlements in North West Norfolk.
"These could have been the people who were the grandchildren of the people wearing the Sedgeford torc," he said.
Evidence of burned corn from a pit in the trench shows the farm was growing crops, while cow and sheep bones provide proof that farm-holders were also keeping animals.
Unusually for a rural site, two coins have also been unearthed.
Although one was too corroded to date, the other came from the time of Emperor Carausius (286-293AD), perhaps indicating the farm's status, as coins are more commonly found in hoards and obtained through links with the army, as is believed to be the case with the Sedgeford hoard uncovered in 2003.
But more important than the objects found is the opportunity for archaeologists to focus on a smaller Roman farm, of the type often overlooked in favour of the more visually impressive villa excavations.
"It's quite a unique thing to look at one of these less affluent sites," said Matt.
"We can follow a community and find out how it gets affected by the invasions of Caesar (55 and 54 BC) and Claudius (43AD). Some other sites just seem to stop in the Iron Age.
"We can see if we have subjection or continuity here. Are we seeing Roman control or are the people here just getting richer and building a bigger farm?"
The next step is further geophysics work to calculate the extent of the site and find areas to target in future.
But while the area is being considered as one of the possible focuses when work on the "old trench" on SHARP's original "boneyard" site comes to an end in the next few years, this season work in the boneyard continued unabated.
True to its name, archaeologists and volunteers have lifted further skeletons from old trench, bringing the number to around 274 in the project's ten-year history.
And on a new trench, alongside an old trench, evidence of a building – first mentioned after a dig in Sedgeford in the 1950s – has been been uncovered. Sited close to the Saxon cemetery, SHARP spokesman Chris Mackie explained it looked to be quite a substantial structure, but it was not yet clear if it was some form of communal hall or religious building.
To keep up to date with all SHARP's news, see the project's website at:
Tom Holland, Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Dan Simmons, Olympos
A column in the Telegraph on a DIY program has this bit in passing:

Guy, 33, great-grandson of Alfred Dunhill, founder of the tobacco and pipe company, and his 30-year-old Irish wife bought their house three years ago. The previous occupant had been squatting there with his family for 15 years.

There were holes in the roof, the windows were rotting and covered with plastic sheeting, the lovely old terracotta floors were warped and dangerous and the ground floor was still the old animal stalla.

"It took months to clear the place out," says Kerry, recalling the rats' and scorpions' nests, layers of animal dung and years of household rubbish that included bits of at least two old cars.

There were some nice surprises - when they cleared away the 6ft-high brambles in the garden, for example, they uncovered a small lake that they hadn't known was there, as well as two Etruscan tombs.

The house is near Orvieto, so I guess there's probably piles of such tombs in the area ...
Movie City News alerts us to the release of a DVD I don't think we've mentioned before:

Nero (a.k.a., Imperium: Nerone) represents the second in a six-part series of long-form historical (more or less) dramas made originally for European television. It didn't find a whole lot of traction in the marketplace there, but it could attract takers in its DVD incarnation here, if only among those younger viewers whose parents won't let them watch Rome, on HBO. (Who knew that bikini waxing was so popular among Caesar's gal pals?) Made at a fraction of the cost of that epic mini-series, Nero is pretty much your standard period soaper, and really isn't in the same league as Rome, I, Claudius, Empire or Gladiator, which begs the question of why anyone still would bother to try. The Imperium series will continue with Titus, Marcus Aurelius, Costantinus and The Fall of the Roman Empire. Clearly, there's still a lot of life left in the sword-and-sandals genre.

There's a DVD at Blockbuster that came out a while back dealing with Augustus ... is that part of the same series?
6.00 p.m. |HISTU| Rome: Engineering an Empire
For more than 500 years, Rome was the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever known, ruled by visionaries and tyrants whose accomplishments ranged from awe-inspiring to deplorable. One characteristic linked them all--ambition--and the thirst for power that all Roman emperors shared fueled an unprecedented mastery of engineering and labor. This documentary special chronicles the spectacular and sordid history of the Roman Empire from the rise of Julius Caesar in 55 BC to its eventual fall around 537 AD, detailing the remarkable engineering feats that set Rome apart from the rest of the ancient world. Featuring extensive state-of-the-art CGI animation, and exclusive never-before-seen footage shot on a diving expedition in the water channels underneath the Colosseum.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Celtic Causeway
Buried beneath the farmlands on the east coast of Britain lie clues about a mysterious civilization: the Celts. Archaeologists have uncovered sections of a wooden causeway, or raised walkway, that Iron age people built over the Witham river in 456 BC.

HISTU - History Channel (US)
SCI - Science Channel
Alas, I'm afraid that rewatching the second episode of Rome has confused me a bit more. As I mentioned in my initial summary of the episode, we appear to be in 50 A.D.; we've mentioned the chronological problems with Cicero, but the big chronological problem is they still have Pompey as consul. I'm not sure whether Caecilius Metellus Scipio is his colleague in this episode, but he's the guy who makes the proposal that Caesar be declared an enemy (I had assumed Curio until in the reviewing I noticed that Pompey mentioned that "Scipio" would be making the proposal). And, of course, we possibly should expect a proposal that Pompey set down his legions too, but I guess that doesn't fit into the plot development.

Another area I was wondering about was the ceremony by which Marcus Antonius was being made tribune. I have not been able to find anything associated with this, but as portrayed, there is a prayer to Jupiter Fulgor and assorted rituals done by females with some strange apparatus on their heads (I have seen this somewhere before but can't remember ... it's like an anthropomorphic vase). The ceremony appears to be presided over by an augur (so the prayer to Jupiter Fulgor makes sense).

I'm still not clear on the thing I referred to as an "Indian" looking statue. I did notice, though, that there's a somewhat-average-endowed Priapus (?) there as well.

Other quicky observations: the slaves' feet weren't chalked (although one slave did get branded) and the calendar had no connection to reality (the old guy changing the day was in the middle of the calendar ... no way you could make that scene a 'changing the day in December' thing) ... Octavia has a lararium in her bedroom (not quite right) ... Caesar has one in his headquarters ...
Magna civitas magna solitudo.

A large city is a great place to be alone.

(pron = mahg-nah ki-wee-tahs mahg-nah soh-li-too-doh)

Comment: If you find that being in a crowd is a very lonely place, then this
proverb probably speaks to you immediately. It can imply, I suppose, that
large cities are so cold and impersonal that they become urban deserts, so to
speak. But, it may also be that large cities have structured life is such a
way that the individual can depend on them for a certain amount of support.

In large cities, one can get on a subway and read, or write, or be reflective,
even be left entirely alone while sharing very small space with a lot of
people—because the routine of the subway is predictable, and relatively secure.
I am amazed when visiting New York City, for instance, how I can walk block
after block in the city, and never really have to look at traffic lights, or
think about when to walk and when to stop. The crowd on the street does that
for you. You just have to be there. It’s crowded, but fairly securing.
Walking the streets of New York can almost become meditation.

All the more reason why the sudden unexpected destruction of a city is so
devastating. All of the structure and predictability that make life feel safe
are gone, leaving hundreds of thousands of people who knew how to live in small
space together scattered, frightened, and confused.

I am not at all impressed by the making of today a National Day of Prayer. I
learned, growing up as a Methodist, that in times like these, the best
“prayers” are those we put our feet on. With that, I am out the door to
Wal-Mart before school starts today. I will buy diapers—something I have not
bought in 9 years. They will go in the collection that my high school is
making to Katrina victims. My feet and my few dollars will make some baby and
some mom and dad feel safer for a few minutes. Right now, we have to
re-constitute the “large city” for the people devastated by Katrina, and help
them rediscover their solitude.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem v idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 5)

490 B.C. -- battle of Marathon (by one reckoning)

3 A.D. -- Gaius Caesar, adoptive son/grandson of the emperor Augustus, is wounded at Artagira

9 A.D. -- Quintilius Varus loses three legions (and his life) in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (a.k.a. the clades Variana)

1st century -- martyrdom of Felix and Constantia

1850 -- birth of Jane Ellen Harrison (author of Themis, among others ... more info below)
thaumaturgy @ Merriam-Webster

simian @

... and the Classics Technology Center kicks off a new school year of My Word with Latin 'Word Words'
Not sure how long this one will last ... MK sent in a notice (thanks) that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 'Biography of the Week' is none other than Jane Ellen Harrison, the author of Themis (among other things).
Over at, NSG has a feature on that Mommsen guy ...
Frans de Haas, Jaap Mansfeld, Aristotle: On Generation and Corruption, Book I. Symposium Aristotelicum.

Alain Bresson, Anne-Marie Cocula, Christophe Pébarthe, L'écriture publique du pouvoir. Études 10.

M. Patillon (ed.), Anonyme de Séguier. Art du discours politique.

Berislav Brckovic, Odysseus' Ithaca.

The incipit of a piece in the Blairsville Dispatch:

After 1,500 years, Aphrodite hasn't lost the ability to turn heads. According to ancient Greek myth, the goddess of beauty and love came to life on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

And that's where three area scholars gazed once more upon her image, while dusting off the rich legacy of a vanished city.

Allison Hastings of New Flor-ence, Jordan Haines of Indiana and Alesha Shumar of Mt. Pleasant, all IUP juniors, were on a team which flew to Cyprus this summer to catalog pieces of the past.

After her first trip overseas, Hastings said the excursion whetted her appetite for more.

"Just being there opened your eyes to the whole world," she said. "Now we have the disease: we want to go out of the country and travel."

The team, co-sponsored by IUP and the University of North Dakota, was charged with collecting and documenting artifacts at the site of a settlement that was thriving in the seventh century.

In their third year of work at the site, near the modern city of Larnaca, the university teams have yet to turn a spade of dirt. They've had only to scratch the surface to uncover a treasure trove of artifacts.

The team surveyed both larger items, such as cut stone blocks, and smaller ones, including pottery and tiles.

"It appears to be one of the largest single-site surveys from the Roman period in the eastern Mediterranean," said Dr. Scott Moore, a professor at IUP and director of the archeological project.

Moore pointed out, aside from farmers' plows, the site has been largely undisturbed for centuries.

Among the most interesting items discovered this summer was the miniature goddess image--likely that of Aphrodite, dating from the Hellenistic phase of Greek art, according to Moore.

He noted the study area includes "a small Hellenistic site and a very large site from the (later) Roman period."

Though the team was able to place the ancient artwork chronologically, the original purpose of the fragmentary piece remains open to debate.

Rather than an ordinary pottery shard, Moore and his students argued that the item may be a portion of a wall relief, or even "the top of a Hellenistic lamp."

Whatever, Moore said, "It's sort of an amazing find." "I probably found it and didn't know what it was," said Haines.

Despite temperatures in excess of 90 degrees, his preferred assignment was joining team members on a "landscape survey," walking over the ground at set intervals to document smaller artifacts they found.

Haines manned a GPS (global positioning system) unit, pinpointing the location of each item.

Most days, the students reported at 7 a.m., to get in as much work as possible before the sun became too intense. Still, Haines said, "A lot of people didn't like it because it was so hot."

On the other hand, his two classmates "liked washing the pottery and seeing what was underneath" the dirt, Shumar said.

It was a time-consuming process, requiring care to make sure the broken pottery pieces weren't further damaged.

Hastings explained, "We had a big tub of water and toothbrushes," to free the objects from obscuring soil. Then, "We set them out in the sun to dry."

"I liked dating the pottery," Hastings added. "We had a chart of all the (known) types, and we would categorize them as close as we could."

In three weeks of work, the team identified and cataloged more than 4,000 pieces of pottery and about 500 features--that is, any artifact other than ceramic ware.

"How much was there was amazing," Haines said of the wealth of artifacts to be found.

Shumar pointed out the artifacts were "so much older than anything we've seen here at home. We think of 200 years as being old."

"It's a very developing area," she added of Cyprus, a popular get-away destination for European vacationers. "We got to the site before there was a hotel on top of it."

Moore returned to the site with students after working there as a graduate student, in 1995.

With two colleagues, William Caraher of the University of North Dakota and Jay Noller of Oregon State, Moore has a working relationship with Dr. Maria Hadjicostia of Cyprus' Department of Antiquities.

He explained Hadjicostia family has leased the land for many years, though ultimate control of the area is more complicated.

"It's a very delicate situation," said Moore, with the Department of Antiquities and the British government both claiming rights to the property.

Cyprus was a British colony from 1925 until 1960. As a result, most of the island's natives speak English, and road signs a re in English as well as Greek.

Another holdover from colonial days: two British military bases, not far from the archeological site.

Over the centuries people from many nations have been attracted to Cyprus, due to its strategic location between Europe and Asia.

"It was an ideal stop for traders," Moore said.

Then there were accidental tourists like the English king Richard the Lionheart, who tradition says was shipwrecked on Cyprus. The British monarch then made war on his hosts.

Richard soon gained control of the island--and promptly turned it over to a French knight, Guy de Lusignan.

An earlier Arab incursion, in 649, may have contributed to the demise of the coastal community the IUP team is studying.

That's one of the theories Moore wants to explore through continued work at the site, including future excavation.

So far, in addition to the Roman influence, the teams have found evidence reflecting the early arrival of Christianity on the island.

Previous excavations have uncovered the foundations of a basilica, along with "painted plaster, gypsum and even a little marble," Moore said--an indication of wealth, since the marble was imported.

Comparing the site to similar communities on the island, Moore concluded, "The basilicas were out front on the coastline, to be shown off, to reflect the wealth."

Recalling signs of other structures, Haines said, "The stones we were coming across were...worked; they had distinct features to them. Some were so big we couldn't move them."

Moore theorizes another exposed foundation was from a guard house, which would have protected a path inland.

Other previous finds at the site have related to the island's traditional production of olive oil: a large stone press that was used to crush the olives and jars to store and transport the resulting oil.

According to Haines, the team also found a cut stone they believe might have been an anchor, fitting in with his professor's theory that the site once was a port.

"We have what we feel is an in-filled harbor," Moore said of one of the topographical features.

The overall goal of the archeological project is to place the site in context, comparing the remnants of its culture with that found at other similar sites on Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean.

... more.
Stephen Miller will open the Conley Lecture series at Fresno State:

Intellectual and Artistic Exploration,” the 2005-06 lecture series sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Fresno, will open on Sept. 22 with the Phebe McClatchy Conley Lecture.

Dr. Stephen G. Miller, former director of the Nemea Excavations in Greece and a retired faculty member from UC Berkeley will speak on "The Ancient Stadium of Nemea and Greek Athletics." The presentation will be from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Music Building.

The discovery of the ancient stadium at Nemea has provided much new information about details of Greek athletics, and has provided the basis for a revival of the ancient games such as the workings of the starting mechanism in the foot races, the cheering sections in the stands and organization of the athletes and their facilities, and much more.

Miller earned his A.B. in Greek at Wabash College and Ph.D. in classical archaeology at Princeton University. He is recently retired from the University of California at Berkeley and from the directorship of the Nemea Excavations in Greece - positions he held since 1973 - but continues to work in both capacities as teacher and research scholar.

He was director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens from 1982 to 1987, and excavated before Nemea at Morgantina in Sicily, Olympia, and the Agora of Athens.

He is the author of dozens of articles and several books, including “Nemea II: The Early Hellenistic Stadium” and “Ancient Greek Athletics.” His work has been recognized on several levels including: honorary citizenship of the town of Ancient Nemea, honorary doctorate from the University of Athens, ABC's “Person of the week” (Aug. 20, 2004) and decorated by the Republic of Greece as Commander of the Order of Honor.

The Conley Lecture is in conjunction with the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures and the Classical Studies Program. For more information, call 559.278.2386.
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Rome: Engineering an Empire
For more than 500 years, Rome was the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever known, ruled by visionaries and tyrants whose accomplishments ranged from awe-inspiring to deplorable. One characteristic linked them all--ambition--and the thirst for power that all Roman emperors shared fueled an unprecedented mastery of engineering and labor. This documentary special chronicles the spectacular and sordid history of the Roman Empire from the rise of Julius Caesar in 55 BC to its eventual fall around 537 AD, detailing the remarkable engineering feats that set Rome apart from the rest of the ancient world. Featuring extensive state-of-the-art CGI animation, and exclusive never-before-seen footage shot on a diving expedition in the water channels underneath the Colosseum.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Chaos
In the 3rd Century AD, the Roman Empire faced its greatest threat--as the world's superpower. A combination of plague, bloody civil war, and imperial debauchery tore the Empire apart and brought it to its knees. This is the story of how the crisis came about, and it is the tragic tale of the unknown Emperor who pulled Rome back from the brink of disaster.

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Doom?
After 600 years as rulers of the world, the Roman Empire faced annihilation. At the start of Fifth Century even the ultimate city of Rome was under siege. This episode uncovers how it all went wrong for the world's first superpower. We see how after centuries of domination, barbarian tribes overturned Imperial power and seized control of Western civilization. And we reveal the extraordinary story of Rome's ultimate legacy to the 21st Century.

HISTU - History Channel (US)
Richard Hingley, Globalizing Roman Culture: Unity, Diversity, and Empire
Aestimatio has put up five new reviews (as pdfs) on the 'recent reviews' portion of its website (I think this is a new way of organizing) ....
Ieiunus raro stomachus vulgaria contemnit.
(Horace, Satires 2.2.38

Rarely does a hungry stomach turn away ordinary food.

(pron = Yay-yoo-noos rah-roh stoh-mah-khoos wool-gah-ree-ah kohn-tem-nit)

Comment: Just previous to this line, Horace has questioned why the reader/hearer
of this satire might have strong dislike for wolves. He notes that nature has
its way with them (and implicitly with us all?): that the hungry stomach rarely
turns away any sort of food.

As with yesterday’s proverb, this one probably gives us different pause after
the devastation of hurricane Katrina. What many of us might dismiss as common
in the way of food, clothing and housing we can now take a second look at, even
if only through the eyes of those who have no choice.

Everywhere organizations are moving into action to collect needed items for
victims of the hurricane. It is a time for us as human beings to act out of
the best of our nature. So it was with some disappointment that I have seen
some schools rally their students into response by turning the collection of
goods into contests with prizes for the classes who bring in the most for the
hurricane victims—pizza parties, or candy, or some other enticement. Some
teachers are so accustomed to manipulating student behavior like this, that
these contests were put in place without thought. While I understand the
desire to collect as many goods as possible, I also think that we fail young
people or any people when we do not allow them the full human response to human
crisis. It is natural for human beings to take care of those who suffer—no
prize required. What is by definition “inhuman” is refusing to respond to

How good can goodness be if its only motive is a prize? So, despite this
blunder that some educators have made in turning human kindness into another
contest, students will respond, and the prizes will have little to do with it.
Students can imagine the empty stomach, the ruined clothes, and the lost homes.
They can imagine parents searching for lost children, and children for lost
parents. They will respond. No prize required.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem vi idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 4)

ca 15 B.C. -- traditional date of the birth of Mary, mother of Jesus
mellifluous @

demagogue @

... and, it being Thursday, we also can visit Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies
From the Daily Post:

IT HAS remained a mystery for almost 150 years but yesterday the face of the region's only Roman skeleton was revealed for the first time.

Leasowe Man was discovered by a worker digging a ditch in 1864 and had lain in storage at the Natural History Museum in London ever since.

But facial anthropologists have now rebuilt his head with technology used by police forensic teams.

They took laser images of the fragile skull to make a cast then built up the muscle tissue layer by layer from clay.

Yesterday it went on display to the public at the Museum of Liverpool Life.

Dr Caroline Williamson, who led the reconstruction team at the University of Manchester, said: "It's fascinating to be able to put a face to a piece of history.

"The face of Leasowe Man is very striking.

"We created a replica skull from laser images and then began to build up the muscles one by one before putting the skin layer on.

"We all have the same muscles so we know the points of origin of them.

"It's the skull shape that makes faces different. From all the research that has been carried out, we can work out the length of the nose and the position of the eyeballs.

"What we have more difficulty with is the shape of the ears and the upper lip.

"His skin tone and hair colour were worked out by the archaeologists, using their knowledge of what would be most likely at the time of his death.

"The model itself was made out of clay and took about two days to complete. It's been a very exciting project."

Leasowe Man was discovered by labourer Thomas Wilson who was working on an embankment near Leasowe Castle in Wirral.

He thought he had found a rusty saucepan and continued to hack away with his pick and shovel, damaging the skeleton.

But once he realised what he had discovered, he told his supervisor who informed castle owner Sir Edward Cust.

He had the remains taken to London where they eventually ended up in storage at the Natural History Museum.

Experts believe he dates back to the third or fourth century AD and worked outdoors, most likely dying in his 30s.

His remains and the reconstructed head have now gone on display as part of the museum's Living with the Romans exhibition, which runs until December.

Dr Rob Philpott, exhibition curator, said: "He is our oldest resident and the only Romano-British one so we really wanted to bring him back for the exhibition.

"Because he is so important, we wanted to really show his character and personality.

"Most skulls look the same unless you are an expert so we wanted to personalise him.

"We can work out a lot about him from the marks on his bones. He would have worked outside and was not a rich man.

"He will be returned to the Natural History Museum once the exhibition ends.

"It is 141 years since he was last here but we hope to bring him back sooner than that next time."

... a photo accompanies the original article.
An all-too-brief item from Sana:

Department of Jableh Ruins, northwestern coastal province of Lattakia, started the excavation works at the site of Nibal summit ( Jib al-Bir), east of al-Boudi area when some archeological stones were unearthed by accident during the building of an agriculture road.

"All technical works in the area was stopped… and we formed an excavation team….. The first survey works in the area shows that the archeological milestone dates back to a Roman religious temple of the Classical Ages", Head of the Ruins Department in Jableh Ibrahim Khir Beek said Tuesday.

Works of diggings uncovered some huge lime stones with some ornaments and engraves on them.
Bob Bethune posted this to the Classics List and gave me permission to post it here:

In the course of a project I'm working on, I've been visiting dozens of
college and university departmental websites. It's amazing how few of them
do the basics well.

Does your department's website make it easy to find:

1. The postal address? The street address if different?

2. The phone number?

3. The area code?

4. The departmental email, if there is one?

5. Which faculty members teach/research/publish in what areas?

Try this: Start at your school's base ULR,
Empty your mind of all prior knowledge. See what it takes to find the above
five basics. Then try that at four or five other schools.

You may find you can substantially improve your ability to do outreach via
the Web if a few basic points are taken care of well.

... I'll extend the questions to Classical organizations and add a couple of important (I think) considerations

6. If you put out a journal, does your website give at least the TOC of the latest issue

7. Do you regularly inform your members of talks etc. via the website?

8. Do you have an RSS feed for that information?
Since I know most Classicists are inveterate bookmongers, folks might be interesting in Tim Spaulding's (tip o' the pileus to Novum Testamentum) online personal library cataloging thing called, appropriately LibraryThing. The first 200 books are free ... the cost after that is clearly designed to get TS out clubbing with Bill Gates ...
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Western Philosophy, Part 1
"For it is owning to their wonder that men now begin and first began to philosophize." So wrote Aristotle in the 4th century BC, and man continues to search and wonder. The first episode of this 3-part series peers into the world of our ancient forefathers as it seeks to define philosophy itself. Examine the lives and beliefs of some of the greatest thinkers of that or any other age: men such as Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. This episode looks at the effect their thinking had on the world during their lifetime and how it continues to affect us in modern times.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Real Spartacus
Long before Stanley Kubrick's film starring Kirk Douglas, Spartacus had unwittingly become a mythological icon of resistance against oppression worldwide. We'll look at the real Spartacus, focusing on his struggle against Roman forces, his time as a gladiator, and his role in the infamous slave revolt against Rome in 73 BC, which convulsed the great empire for two years before the uprising was put down and 6,000 slave rebels were crucified along 150 miles of the Appian Way.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Colosseum
Nothing symbolizes the Roman Empire at its height or Rome in magnificent ruins more than the Colosseum. Built in 70 AD, it seated 80,000 people, boasted a retractable roof, underground staging devices, marble seating, and lavish decorations. It still serves as the prototype for the modern stadium. The complexity of its construction, the beauty of its architecture, and the functionality of its design made it the perfect place for massive crowds to congregate for the bloody spectacles it contained.

10.00 p.m.|HISTU| Sex and the Imperial City
Though Rome was a city built by men, behind them were many equally powerful women. This episode looks at the Empire's wives and mothers, its prostitutes and priestesses, and the conventions that controlled all their lives. We discover how sex shaped their day-to-day experiences and we tell the tragic story of Cornelia, a priestess in the cult of the Vestal Virgins for whom sex meant death.

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Gladiators and Slaves
Ancient Rome--history's ultimate city--had a dark side. It was run on slave labor. In this episode's cheeky look behind the pillars and togas of Rome, we follow the lives of a gladiator, a slave girl, and their master--and discover just how mad the "Gladiator Emperor" really was!

HISTU - History Channel (US)
HINT - History International
Multa docet fames.

Hunger teaches us many things.

(Pron = mool-tah doh-ket fah-mays)

Comment: Certainly, on the heels of hurricane Katrina and the horrors left in
her path, this proverb awakens several connections for us. Even if, we
ourselves, are not hungry, we are seeing and hearing about those who are, and
the association to hunger and thirst and lack of shelter has the potential to
teach us many things.

My own learning seems to happen around questions, and questions seem to always
imply their answers. And so in the aftermath of Katrina, questions arise: Even
as citizens of the world’s superpower, how strong and how fragile are we? Many
nations have responded to our own cry for help—as many as 90, the news services
say. Many nations are surprised that the great superpower needs their help.
Nigeria, for instance, has already given one million dollars to aid in our
suffering, a nation of people who live in the soup of suffering on a daily

Our own experience with hunger, thirst, lack of shelter and medical aid has
brought response from all over the world. At least momentarily, various walls
that often go up so fast and firm, come down. Hunger and thirst and
homelessness on this level seems to override religion, politics, race, language
and national boundaries. It leaves me wondering how much we will really learn
from Hunger when she has finished teaching us her lessons. As any teacher
knows—just because something was taught doesn’t necessarily mean that anything
was learned.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem vii idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 3)

15 A.D. -- possible birthdate of the future emperor Vitellius (?)

70 A.D. -- Roman forces under Titus occupy and plunder Jerusalem (one reckoning)

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Anastasius the Fuller
politesse @ Merriam-Webster

farrago @
I note that Scott Oden, author of Men of Bronze (historical fiction) has a blog ... might be useful to collect fiction authors' blogs/websites together (note to self).
Clades naturae Americana

Civitates Americae Septentrionalis prope oram Sinus Mexicani sitae septimana ineunte tempestate horribili, cui nomen Katrina inditum, gravissime afflictae sunt.

Quot homines illa clade interierint, nondum exacte constat, sed numerus mortuorum iam multorum centenorum esse existimatur.

Regio calamitate pessime vastata ab Ludoviciana usque ad Floridam extenditur.

Nova Aurelia, urbs maritima, quae iam ante tempestatis ortum iussu magistratuum tota fere incolis evacuata erat, etiam maiora detrimenta cepisset, nisi procella cursu mutato eam paululum praeterisset.

Biduo post tamen novum periculum apparuit: aggeres enim, qui ad tutelam Novae Aureliae infra superficiem maris iacentis exstructi erant, vi ventorum multis locis fracti sunt, quo factum est, ut massae aquarum e lacu Pontchartrain in urbem influerent et quattuor huius partes obruerent.

Ita cives, qui ibidem remanserant, fluctibus circumdati in tecta domuum et in alia loca editiora confugere coacti sunt.

Multitudo autem hominum circiter viginti milium in magnam palaestram constipata est, ubi inopia omnium rerum necessariarum laborans auxilium exspectat.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Giovannangelo Camporeale (ed.), The Etruscans Outside Etruria.

Anthony T. Edwards, Hesiod's Ascra.
Over @ Iconoclasmd, TM has some comments on that recently-discovered statue of Niobe from the Villa dei Quintili (not sure if this made it into the English press other than the Archaeology magazine referenced by TM)
Over @ Laudator (which, sadly, is slowing down production, but congrats to MG on the new job), there's an update to an interesting post from a year or so ago on the effects of not wearing sunscreen.
Interesting piece from the Guardian:

Present-day US fears about an Iranian-dominated super-state embracing southern Iraq and the Gulf have a basis in historical fact, according to an exhibition charting the exploits of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian empire, which opens at the British Museum on Friday.

Cyrus and his successors, Xerxes and Darius, created the world's first superpower in 550BC, ruling territories from central Asia and the Indus valley to Arabia and north Africa. But the Persian kings appear to have had better luck in Iraq than President George Bush has had.

When Persian forces overran Babylonia in 539BC, the inhabitants surrendered peacefully. According to contemporary accounts, Cyrus was greeted as a liberator because of his just policies - and tough attitude to terrorists.

"When I entered Babylon I did not allow anyone to terrorise the land," a text known as the Cyrus Cylinder quotes him as saying. "I strove for peace in Babylon and all other sacred cities. I put an end to the inhabitants' misfortune."

John Curtis, the curator of the exhibition, Forgotten Empire: the World of Ancient Persia, said: "Cyrus was no despot, more an enlightened autocrat. He was surprisingly tolerant. He made no attempt to establish a state religion. He is said to have freed the Jews from captivity, allowing them to return to Jerusalem."

There are other historical echoes for modern-day empires to ponder. Even the poorest subject had the right to a royal audience, Mr Curtis said. The Persians developed an early form of federalism, governing through client rulers and provincial governors, known as satraps. Darius built a canal linking the Nile to the Red Sea - a forerunner of the Suez canal; introduced the first dollar-like global currency, the darik, and tax and communications systems; and created an empire-wide postal service whose "we always deliver" motto and emblem were supposedly imitated more than 2,000 years later by the US Mail and Pony Express.

Technologically, the Persian military machine was state of the art. Its elite troops were known as the Immortals, equivalent to US special forces. And pre-emptive wars and regime change were all in a day's work for the great kings.

The pre-Islamic Achaemenid dynasty was toppled by Alexander the Great, who burned the great palaces of Persepolis, some of whose surviving artefacts are on show for the first time at the British Museum. But its influence was long-lasting, Mr Curtis said. Christianity, Judaism and Islam were all influenced to a discernible extent by the original Zoroastrian concept, adopted by Mr Bush's "war on terror", of perpetual struggle between good and evil.

Despite the aspersions of Greek historians, the Persians' political, administrative, cultural and artistic legacy formed "a linear link" via the Greeks and Romans to subsequent European and north American civilisation, he added.

"It was very advanced, very sophisticated, progressive and tolerant, although not democratic," Mr Curtis said. "It was the largest empire at that time."

The organisers say the exhibition "challenges the myths that have portrayed the Persians as despotic and ruthless people" and aims to promote greater understanding of the Middle East, where modern Iran is seen, at least in the west, as a potential threat.

An Iranian diplomat admitted that Tehran's image, tarnished by anti-western ayatollahs, US hostility and nuclear tensions which may climax later this month, could be better.

"There is a lot of ignorance about Iran," the diplomat said. "We hope that the exhibition will give a different perspective."
Saw this on the Latinteach list:


For over five years, Ascanius: The Youth Classics Institute has worked to expose elementary school students to the joys and benefits of learning about the classical world. Now, the Institute is pleased to announce another initiative that will benefit these students – the Classical Promise Scholarships.

As Latin flourishes in both elementary and secondary schools, we must endeavor to ensure that as many students as possible are afforded an introduction to Latin and the classical world. In creating this scholarship fund, we aim to spur growth of Latin and the Classics at the elementary school level, and to help create and strengthen foreign language partnerships between elementary and secondary schools. The Classical Promise Scholarships allow enterprising students to engineer programs using both the organizational and financial support of Ascanius: The Youth Classics Institute.

These scholarships are available to high school or college students who wish to create or maintain a Latin/Classical Studies program in partnership with an elementary school. Scholarship recipients will be responsible for creating or maintaining an exploratory program centered on fun and interactive lessons about the culture and language of the Roman world.

Mentors will be available to guide recipients in the creation, selection and teaching of the lessons. In addition, to help them plan and organize their program, scholarship recipients will receive free access to the hundreds of lessons and activities developed by Ascanius: The Youth Classics Institute. At the conclusion of their program, recipients will be required to write a summary for Iter Ascanii, a publication of Ascanius: The Youth Classics Institute.

Students may apply for scholarship funds at any time, but preference will be given to early applicants. Scholarship funds are available in amounts ranging from $50 to $200.

For more information and an application, please consult the website of Ascanius: the Youth Classics Institute at or contact S. Stuart Davis, Administrative & Instructional Assistant at
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Colosseum
Nothing symbolizes the Roman Empire at its height or Rome in magnificent ruins more than the Colosseum. Built in 70 AD, it seated 80,000 people, boasted a retractable roof, underground staging devices, marble seating, and lavish decorations. It still serves as the prototype for the modern stadium. The complexity of its construction, the beauty of its architecture, and the functionality of its design made it the perfect place for massive crowds to congregate for the bloody spectacles it contained.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Real Attila the Hun
No ruler in history represents the unbridled rage and brutality of the barbarian as much as Attila the Hun. In the 5th century, Attila swept through Europe, effectively extinguishing the classical Roman Empire. And for a time, he held the destiny of all of Western Europe firmly in his grasp. But in the end, it was Attila who unwittingly secured the future of the civilized world and Christian Europe. After his death, the Hun Empire began to break up, and the marauding Huns "scattered to the winds."

8.30 p.m. |HINT| A Place to Call Eturia
Go on a journey to the ancient cities Volterra, Populonia, and Cervetari, and see why Etruscan civilization was famous for its extravagant wealth, fine ceramics, handicrafts, and bustling trade, and how it was all lost in battles with the Greek colonies in southern Italy. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we take viewers on a virtual tour of these ancient sites.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Julius Caesar's Greatest Battle
In an eight-year campaign through what is now France, Julius Caesar killed one million people, took a million more hostage and destroyed more than 800 cities. Follow in the footsteps of Caesar and the leader of the Gallic uprising, Vercingetorix, as the bloody conflict in Gaul reaches its climax. In 52 BC at Alesia, Caesar and Vergingetorix lead their armies into one of the greatest sieges in the history of warfare: a battle that will decide the fate of Gaul and shape the future of the entire Western World.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Capital of the World
This provocative new series takes us back 2,000 years to an Ancient Rome you have never seen before. Our time-traveling guide (Neil Stuke) penetrates the heart of history's ultimate city as we reveal the extraordinary lives of real Romans and see how they lived, loved, and conquered the world. We discover a surprisingly modern place that gave us many things we take for granted--and see how the Romans turned murder into mass entertainment. In this hour, we follow three lads as they struggle to succeed. Two just want to make some cash and chase girls, but the third wants to be the first emperor and ruler of the world. Meanwhile, his daughter gives new meaning to royal sex scandals!

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Legions
The true-life action-adventure story of the life and career of Maximus, a Roman soldier who fought in Rome's very own version of the Gulf War against a rogue state called Dacia. We see how the Imperial Legions ruled the world for centuries--and follow Maximus's training and service in Rome's bloody war on terror.

HINT - History International
HISTU - History Channel (US)
DVDActu has a really good interview with Ridley Scott about the new version of Gladiator that just came out ... here's one of many possible excerpts:

Q: What would you say that the extra footage in the DVD illuminates in terms of the story?
A: It illuminates a little more of Commodus’s (Phoenix) anger at and love of his father. Again, there’s a lot of Joaquin and I don’t like to use the phrase ‘twisted nature,’ but the complex nature of Commodus. There is an execution scene where he drags it up from the past, in the first act. If you remember, they were meant to go off and execute Maximus and of course Maximus dealt with everyone, but in so doing there were two officers involved who hadn’t reported that Maximus had got away because they were afraid of the Emperor. So this comes up at the end of the second or beginning of the third (act), where Commodus walks into the arena and sees Maximus alive. He is so stunned by that and goes back and says ‘somebody knew, somebody must have known that he was alive. Why wasn’t it reported to me?’ and for that reason he executes these two characters. And there’s an execution scene with a firing squad, basically, of 12 archers , and he demonstrates a certain amount of craziness there because he stands in front of the archers with fully drawn bows and says ‘one moment’ when they have their arrows fully drawn back. Of course the weight of each bow is tremendous so he is crazy enough to walk in front of 12 arrows while he talks to the men who are about to die, and while he brings forward Quintus (Thomas Arana) who is the treacherous one in all of this, the man who you believed was Maximus’s friend and supporter right at the very beginning and then turns. I think one of the successes of Gladiator is how we manage to turn on a dime the character from one thing to another where you believe he is one thing and he is something very different. You know it’s a very modern, contemporary view of ancient Rome and because of that it doesn’t become a history lesson. I think people were drawn or even sucked into the world and enjoyed it, enjoyed everything they saw. Not just the story, they enjoyed what they saw – the food, the clothing, the environment. I always try and create worlds that you would like to visit. You’d like to go on holiday there (laughs). I’d would have liked to have gone there on holiday, actually – I wouldn’t have wanted to be one of the slaves but I’d love to have visited Rome at that time.

... the whole thing.
New Classical presences in the webosphere ... Classics New South Wales ... and the Institute of Classical Studies ... both worth a look, and maybe a bookmark.
Leonem mortuum et catuli mordent.

Even puppies are brave enough to bite a dead lion.

(pron = lay-oh-nehm mohr-toom eht cah-too-lee mohr-dehnt)

Comment: Puppies, I suppose, know that they are supposed to be fierce and
ferocious in order to fend off any threat to their territory. At least, when
they are grown dogs that will be one thing they do. And, as long as they are
puppies, we can smile as we watch them practice on a predator that is no longer
a threat, because, the lion is dead.

When, however, a grown dog is still only willing to bite a dead lion, this is no
longer funny. Now, it is just pathetic, for the grown dog is not being what it
is. It is now putting on an act, pretending, and only doing what any weakling
will do.

Human beings really struggle with this. Whatever instincts and intuitions we
come with for who we are, or what we are to develop into are often muted by the
messages that adults feed us from our births. For example, while I may have an
inner muse inspiring me to write music or farm the earth, my parents might be
telling me to be an architect or be a doctor. I may end up playing doctor for
the rest of my life, and feeling very inauthentic for it. Indeed, I am the
puppy playing at attacking the dead lion.

I can only play brave if I have never explored my true self. So, puppies, the
proverb is saying: consider who you are. Practice on a dead lion if you will,
but grow into your own best self. Nothing less will do.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem viii idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 2)

81 A.D. -- martyrdom of Onesiphorus

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Faustus in Alexandria

1956 -- death of Michael Ventris, who deciphered Linear B (the ancient script used by the Myceneans)
riposte @ Merriam-Webster

cavil @ [interesting bit of synchronicity ... in yesterday's 'Labour Day Classic' between the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos (Canadian Football), Edmonton has a wide receiver named Kwame Cavil ... I was waiting to see if he'd live up to his name and argue with the referee]
Over the summer I mentioned the existence of another Nuntii Latini -- this one is put out by Radio Vatican and is a Latin translation of assorted official reports or whatever. Here, e.g., is the latest (which I've been sitting on for a week), which I include primarily because of the way they handle dates, which might be of interest to the teachers in the audience:

Die XXVIII mensis augusti MMV: Pontifex maximus recepit superiorem generalem confraternitatis Pii X

Sancta Sedes Confraternitasque Pii X, quae ob schisma in excommunicationem incucurrit, via unitatis restituendae processerunt. Pontifex Maximus Benedictus XVI in Arce Gandulfiana (vulgo: Castel Gandolfo) Confraternitatis superiorem generalem, Bernardum Falley nomine, auditurus allocuturusque recepit. Ecclesiae amantes atque plenam communionem exoptantes eos convenisse Ioachim Navarro-Valls, qui pro Sede Apostolica loqui solet, postquam unus alium audivit ac allocutus est, affirmavit adens utramque partem sibi hac in re difficultatis consciam tamen in animo habere gradatim spatioque temporis rationi congruente procedere. Confraternitas Pii X ut cum Summo Pontifice his diebus in Arce Gandulfiana commorante colloqueretur petivit, nam cum Josephus Cardinalis Ratzinger creatus fuisset Summus Pontifex hoc signum aestimaverant contra eos, qui fidem rebus huius temporis conformandam iudicant.
Lex fundamentalis Iraquiae

Praesidens Iraquiae Jalal Talabani nuntiavit novam legem fundamentalem Iraquiae iam ita praeparatam esse, ut ad suffragium populi, quod Idibus Octobribus (15.10.) institueretur, deferri posset.

Textus legis promulgatae, de cuius forma per multas septimanas acerrime disceptatum erat, coram parlamento tandem recitatus est, quamquam legati Sunnitarum etiamtum recusaverunt, quominus rogationem approbarent.

Metuunt enim, ne expertes copiarum petrolei reddantur, cum hae opes maximam partem in finibus Curdorum et Shiitarum inveniantur.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Check out this Classically-inspired 'graph from a piece from CMAQ:

Baghdad and New Orleans represent the external and internal Janus-Face of world, fascist imperialism, of "democracy" ... whose death trails can be followed from Draco to Bush, from Nero and Caligula to Rumsfeld and Rice, and whose ominous grimace only reflects its own language of endless suffering, pain, terror and violence.

... wow.
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries
Lurking beneath the blue waters of Lake Nemi lay the titans of Roman naval engineering--the Nemi Ships. These titanic luxury liners of the ancient world held inventions lost for thousands of years. But why were they built? Were they Caligula's notorious floating pleasure palaces--rife with excess and debauchery? Flagships of a giant sea force? It took the obsession of Mussolini with all things Roman to finally prise the two huge wrecks from the depths of Lake Nemi near Rome. Using an ancient Roman waterway, he drained the lake and rescued the ships, an accomplishment captured on film that we access to illustrate this astounding story. Sophisticated ancient technology was discovered in the boats that transformed the understanding of Roman engineering overnight--the Nemi ships were a breathtaking find. Yet by 1944, the adventure had turned sour and the retreating German Army torched the boats. We reveal the mysteries of the Nemi Ships and the ancient technology that made them possible.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Roman Vice
The flowering of the Roman Empire saw incomparable power and civilization - and at the same time corruption, cruelty and depravity on an unparalleled scale. Emperors from Augustus to Tiberius and Nero built the biggest empire the world had ever seen, while presiding over a way of life riddled with violence, deviancy and excess. This special visits the archaeological sites of ancient Rome, talks to leading historians world-wide and uses stylish reconstructions to describe and explain how good and evil went side by side.

HISTU = History Channel (US)
Interesting post on the reuse of assorted antiquities in later monuments over at Iconoclasm ...
Mary English, 'The evolution of Aristophanic stagecraft' (pdf)
Nero keeps popping up in the news of late ... the 'interesting' one first ... from Mercury News:

Arsonists have descended on Rome, and no one knows quite how to stop them. Nearly every night for the past two months, they have set fire to parked cars and motor scooters throughout the city, leaving close to 260 incinerated metal carcasses. On many mornings, the television news programs run apocalyptic images of firebombed vehicles.

The police say the vandals, whose identity and motives remain a mystery, usually douse tires and car hoods with gasoline or oil, ignite the fire, then slip away into the darkness. The Italian press calls them pyromaniacs and ``nerone,'' a nod to the mad Roman emperor Nero, who, legend has it, ``fiddled'' while his city burned on another summer night in the year AD 64. Many people say the culprits are wanton young hooligans.

Meanwhile, the events along the Gulf Coast and subsequent slow response and a much-circulated photo have caused some to compare George Bush to Nero ... e.g., from the Boston Phoenix:

Disbelief. Horror. Outrage. Shame. Those are words, marks on paper. They are insufficient to capture the emotion and intellectual revulsion that arise from the national government’s incompetence and President Bush’s utter failure to take charge and lead in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the worst national disaster to savage the nation, devastating the Gulf coast and threatening to turn New Orleans, a historic and soulful city, into a 21st century Pompeii. Nero at least fiddled while Rome burned. As Katrina roared, Bush vacationed.

... which got me to actually rereading both Tacitus' and Dio's account of the fire. Here's Tacitus' from book 15 of the Annals:

A disaster followed, whether accidental or treacherously contrived by the emperor, is uncertain, as authors have given both accounts, worse, however, and more dreadful than any which have ever happened to this city by the violence of fire. It had its beginning in that part of the circus which adjoins the Palatine and Caelian hills, where, amid the shops containing inflammable wares, the conflagration both broke out and instantly became so fierce and so rapid from the wind that it seized in its grasp the entire length of the circus. For here there were no houses fenced in by solid masonry, or temples surrounded by walls, or any other obstacle to interpose delay. The blaze in its fury ran first through the level portions of the city, then rising to the hills, while it again devastated every place below them, it outstripped all preventive measures; so rapid was the mischief and so completely at its mercy the city, with those narrow winding passages and irregular streets, which characterised old Rome. Added to this were the wailings of terror-stricken women, the feebleness of age, the helpless inexperience of childhood, the crowds who sought to save themselves or others, dragging out the infirm or waiting for them, and by their hurry in the one case, by their delay in the other, aggravating the confusion. Often, while they looked behind them, they were intercepted by flames on their side or in their face. Or if they reached a refuge close at hand, when this too was seized by the fire, they found that, even places, which they had imagined to be remote, were involved in the same calamity. At last, doubting what they should avoid or whither betake themselves, they crowded the streets or flung themselves down in the fields, while some who had lost their all, even their very daily bread, and others out of love for their kinsfolk, whom they had been unable to rescue, perished, though escape was open to them. And no one dared to stop the mischief, because of incessant menaces from a number of persons who forbade the extinguishing of the flames, because again others openly hurled brands, and kept shouting that there was one who gave them authority, either seeking to plunder more freely, or obeying orders.

Nero at this time was at Antium, and did not return to Rome until the fire approached his house, which he had built to connect the palace with the gardens of Maecenas. It could not, however, be stopped from devouring the palace, the house, and everything around it. However, to relieve the people, driven out homeless as they were, he threw open to them the Campus Martius and the public buildings of Agrippa, and even his own gardens, and raised temporary structures to receive the destitute multitude. Supplies of food were brought up from Ostia and the neighbouring towns, and the price of corn was reduced to three sesterces a peck. These acts, though popular, produced no effect, since a rumour had gone forth everywhere that, at the very time when the city was in flames, the emperor appeared on a private stage and sang of the destruction of Troy, comparing present misfortunes with the calamities of antiquity.

At last, after five days, an end was put to the conflagration at the foot of the Esquiline hill, by the destruction of all buildings on a vast space, so that the violence of the fire was met by clear ground and an open sky. But before people had laid aside their fears, the flames returned, with no less fury this second time, and especially in the spacious districts of the city. Consequently, though there was less loss of life, the temples of the gods, and the porticoes which were devoted to enjoyment, fell in a yet more widespread ruin. And to this conflagration there attached the greater infamy because it broke out on the Aemilian property of Tigellinus, and it seemed that Nero was aiming at the glory of founding a new city and calling it by his name. Rome, indeed, is divided into fourteen districts, four of which remained uninjured, three were levelled to the ground, while in the other seven were left only a few shattered, half-burnt relics of houses.

It would not be easy to enter into a computation of the private mansions, the blocks of tenements, and of the temples, which were lost. Those with the oldest ceremonial, as that dedicated by Servius Tullius to Luna, the great altar and shrine raised by the Arcadian Evander to the visibly appearing Hercules, the temple of Jupiter the Stayer, which was vowed by Romulus, Numa's royal palace, and the sanctuary of Vesta, with the tutelary deities of the Roman people, were burnt. So too were the riches acquired by our many victories, various beauties of Greek art, then again the ancient and genuine historical monuments of men of genius, and, notwithstanding the striking splendour of the restored city, old men will remember many things which could not be replaced. Some persons observed that the beginning of this conflagration was on the 19th of July, the day on which the Senones captured and fired Rome. Others have pushed a curious inquiry so far as to reduce the interval between these two conflagrations into equal numbers of years, months, and days.

... 10 out of 14 regions destroyed, and yet we don't have a casualty count. Does anyone know of a source which does give casulaties for this event?
Toscana Oggi reports on the discovery of a seventh century Etruscan tomb at Cortona:

C'erano alcune tombe e i resti di un articolato complesso edilizio in un sito archeologico ancora inviolato che è stato scoperto a Cortona e che sembra risalire al VII secolo a.C. Il ritrovamento è stato fatto durante i lavori di realizzazione del Parco Archeologico di Cortona, un'area piuttosto vasta che custodisce il grandioso Tumulo Melone II del Sodo. Il sito deve essere esplorato ed è costantemente sorvegliato dalle forze dell’ordine per evitare furti e danneggiamenti da parte di 'tombarolì.

Gli scavi, eseguiti sotto la direzione della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, hanno portato alla luce la necropoli che si trova ad alcuni metri di profondità. Sono visibili per il momento due tombe 'a circolo', del diametro di circa sette metri, collassate o spianate, che contengono ognuna 4 o 5 casse di deposizione (che in media misurano 120x75x85 cm.) rivestite da lastre litiche. All’interno di ogni cassa c'è una grande urna cineraria più ricchi ed integri corredi ceramici databili al VII sec. a. C. Tra gli oggetti ritrovati ci sono brocche, calici, ciotole di bucchero ed una lancia in ferro appartenuta ad un guerriero. Trovato anche uno scheletro, in una cassa riutilizzata in epoca romana. In totale, comunque, sono un centinaio gli oggetti recuperati finora.

Nello stesso punto sono stati trovati i muri di un ampio complesso edilizio impostati gli uni sugli altri e sistemati fra sè per linee parallele e ortogonali. La struttura appare imponente visto che uno dei muri misura più di 24 metri di lunghezza.

«La scoperta - ha dichiarato il viceministro per i Beni Culturali, Antonio Martusciello - è destinata a far riscrivere la storia di Cortona etrusca». «Ritrovamenti come questo - ha proseguito Martusciello - dimostrano non solo la ricchezza del nostro patrimonio artistico ma anche la grande capacità professionale e scientifica delle nostre Soprintendenze che, pur nella oggettiva ristrettezza di risorse, riescono a conseguire risultati di grande rilievo confermando il nostro primato scientifico nel mondo»
An excerpt from a touristy thing in the Vancouver Courier:

I am on a slow-moving motor launch sailing up the mysterious Acheron River, symbolized in Greek myth as the River Styx. There are no corpses aboard this boat, their eyes sealed shut with gold coins.

The ferryman is not Charon, but a jovial old salt, Captain Kostas, who has kept the passengers entertained as he navigated the boat up the river from the port of Parga. I am on my way to visit the Oracle of the Dead, the Necromanteion, a mystical sanctuary that the ancient Greek believed to be the entrance to the Underworld. Hades!

Captain Kostas moors the boat by a reedy embankment from where the passengers must walk two kilometres to the site. I trudge up the gravel road, through the corn fields to the small village of Messopotamo.

On a hillside behind the village, protected by cyclopeon walls and an inner circuit of polygonal masonry, dark passageways lead to the mouth of an underground cavern which was believed to be the entrance to the realm of Hades and Persephone. Ancients came here to consult the souls of the dead who, on leaving their bodies, acquired knowledge of the future.

The Necromanteion near the beautiful town of Parga on Greece's west coast belonged to the ancient Bronze Age city of Ephyra, the ruins of which are located nearby. The site had been inhabited since Mycenaean times judging from the finding of several shards and a bronze sword dating to the 13th century BC. The labyrinth and buildings, which include store rooms, priests lodgings, dormitories, baths and a courtyard, were discovered in 1958.

The Necromanteion was the most famous sanctuary of its kind in antiquity. Many pilgrims visited there including Odysseus, who attempted to conjure Achilles' ghost. The ancients believed that a person's soul was immortal after its freedom from the body, and that a mortal's contact with the dead, with a view to predict the future, demanded special sacrifices and rituals. Offerings of milk, honey and the blood of sacrificed animals were made in the hope of conjuring the spirits of the departed.

The pilgrims were subjected to three stages of physical and spiritual tests, during which they were isolated in the dark rooms of the Oracle. Obliged to follow a special diet of beans and various hallucinogenic substances, they prepared to meet the souls of the dead.

After several days of magical rituals, prayers, invocations, and questioning by the priests, the supplicants were led down the dark, smoke-filled corridor of the labyrinth to the entranceway of Hades, having faith that the apparitions of the dead would appear to them. An underground vault, thought to be the dark palace of Persephone and Hades, was the meeting place of the dead and the living.

I descend into the cold, musty crypt by a narrow stairway. The chamber is carved in the rock with 15 stone arches supporting the roof. It dates to the end of the 4th century. It is here that the pilgrims were believed to have communed with the dead.

As I stood in the gloom of the stone cavern I try to conjure a few ghosts of my own.

It is an eerie place, not impossible to imagine how the pilgrims, disoriented and under the influence of potions, could be fooled into believing the dead were really there communicating with them.

During Roman times, in 167 BC, the Oracle was proven to be a hoax when pulleys were discovered in the chamber, which apparently had been used to hoist up the priests who simulated the departed and answered the questions of the pilgrims.

The walk through the hallucinogenic smoke of the labyrinth, the isolation and rituals they had performed during their stay, prepared them for accepting the appearance of the "dead" person as "real." After this discovery, the Necromanteion was destroyed and lay hidden until it was excavated in 1958 and restored by the Archaeological Society of Athens.

After visiting Hades, I board the launch to return to Parga, cruising downriver to the Acheron delta, then out to the open sea. A brisk wind has blown up and Captain Kostas navigates the boat through the choppy water sailing precariously close to the rocky shoreline. Great jagged rocks loom out of the sea like giant sea monster's teeth. The limestone cliffs are riddled with caves where pirate ships used to hide.

We sail past secluded coves with dazzling turquoise water, stopping to anchor at one of the pristine white-sand beaches, to spend the afternoon luxuriating in Paradise until it is time to board again and head back to Parga.

... interesting stuff, and much better written than the press release which appears to have spawned it.
Ortwin Knorr, Verborgene Kunst. Argumentationsstruktur und Buchaufbau in den Satiren des Horaz.

Nino Marinone (ed.), Cronologia Ciceroniana. Seconda edizione aggiornata e corretta con nuova versione interattiva in cd-rom, a cura di Ermanno Malaspina.

Vyacheslav Tsypine, Sergey Lebedev, Vassily Lebedev, Antiquarium 2.0. A search engine for the TLG #E and PHI 5/7 CD-ROMs.

Timothy Hill, Ambitiosa Mors. Suicide and Self in Roman Thought and Literature.

Daryl Hine (trans.), Works of Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns.
nonae septembres

ludi Romani (day 1)

146 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Stator and associated rites thereafter

1908 -- birth of Arnaldo Momigliano
timorous @ Merriam-Webster

deride @

... I note the OED has now put its 'word of the day' feature behind a subscription login. Alas.
As often, the bibliobloggers show us how it should be done ... a number of them attended and blogged the British New Testament Society Conference ... links to relevant posts are conveniently collated over at The Stuff of Earth
I just realized this as I was thinking about Cicero's portrayal in last night's episode ... for much of the action in this one, presumably in 50 B.C., Cicero would have been on his way home from Cilicia ... he did not enter the city until the first week of January because he was waiting for a triumph (!) or something. An excerpt from letter Cicero wrote to Atticus (7.8 ... dated December 26) at this time presents a somewhat different picture of the politics at the time:

What you thought would be the case--that I should see Pompey before arriving at Rome--has happened. For he caught me up near the Lavernium on the 25th. We came together to Formiae and from two o'clock till evening had a private conversation. As to your question whether there is any hope of making peace, as far as I could gather from a long and exhaustive discourse of Pompey's, he hasn't even the wish for it. His view is this: if he becomes consul, even after dismissing his army, there will be a bouleversement of the constitution. 5 Besides, he thinks that when Caesar is told that preparations against him are being pushed on energetically, he will throw aside the consulship for this year and prefer retaining his army and province. But if Caesar were to act such a mad part, he entertained a low opinion of his power, and felt confident in his own and the state's resources. The long and the short of it was that, although intestine war " 6 was often in my thoughts, yet I felt my anxiety removed while I listened to a man of courage, military skill, and supreme influence, discoursing like a statesman on the dangers of a mock peace. Moreover, we had in our hands the speech of Antony, delivered on the 21st of December, which contained an invective against Pompey, beginning from his boyhood, a complaint as to those who had been condemned, and a threat of armed intervention. On reading this Pompey remarked, "What do you think Caesar himself will do, if he obtains supreme power in the state, when his quaestor---a man of no influence or wealth-dares to talk like that ?" 7 In short, he appeared to me not [p. 231] merely not to desire the peace you talk of, but even to fear it. However, he is, I think, somewhat shaken in his idea of abandoning the city by the scandal it would cause. 8 My chief vexation is that I must pay the money to Caesar, and devote what I had provided for the expenses of my triumph to that. For it is "an ugly business to owe money to a political opponent." But this and much besides when we meet.

... translation via Perseus. Also worth reading is a letter from January 12, written to Tiro ... another excerpt from Perseus:

I arrived at the city walls on the 4th of January. Nothing could be more complimentary than the procession that came out to meet me; but I found things in a blaze of civil discord, or rather civil war. I desired to find a cure for this, and, as I think, could have done so; but I was hindered by the passions of particular persons, for on both sides there are those who desire to fight. The long and short of it is that Caesar himself--once our friend-- has sent the senate a menacing and offensive despatch, 1 and is so insolent as to retain his army and province in spite of the senate, and my old friend Curio is backing him up. Farthermore, our friend Antonius and Q. Cassius, having been expelled from the house, though without any violence, left town with Curio to join Caesar, directly the senate had passed the decree ordering " consuls, praetors, tribunes, and us proconsuls to see that the Republic received no damage." 2 Never has the state been in greater danger: never have disloyal citizens had a [p. 235] better prepared leader. On the whole, however, preparations are being pushed on with very great activity on our side also. This is being done by the influence and energy of our friend Pompey, who now, when it is too late, begins to fear Caesar. In spite of these exciting incidents, a full meeting of the senate clamoured for a triumph being granted me: but the consul Lentulus, in order to enhance his service to me, said that as soon as he had taken the measures necessary for the public safety, he would bring forward a motion on the subject. I do nothing in a spirit of selfish ambition, and consequently my influence is all the greater. Italy has been marked out into districts, shewing for what part each of us is to be responsible. I have taken Capua. That is all I wanted to tell you. Again and again I urge you to take care of your health, and to write to me as often as you have anyone to whom to give a letter.

Now I've got to get my coffee in me and try to recall when it was that Antony did neglect to impose his veto when he was supposed to. I vaguely recall that happening, but clearly it was not in connection with these events.
It just occurred to me that the old guy who seems to be presiding over the senate is probably Appius Claudius Pulcher, the censor (brother of the Clodius), but I might be wrong (a second viewing is necessary, I think).
Ruth Breidel mentioned this little film at AbleMedia made by one students as a Latin II assignment.
Well, it's a slow news day (absolutely nothing in my mailbox of interest!), so I'll have to reach into my pile of things I've saved for such occasions ... one that appeared on one of the lists I'm on is the Grabble game, which is a Greek variation on Scrabble aimed at students learning koine Greek. Of course, Curculio still has its Latin version/rules for Scrabble available ...
Proventus in Finnia malorum

Proventus malorum in Finnia cultorum hoc autumno tertia fere parte uberior fore exspectatur quam fieri solet.

Quam rerum condicionem non mireris, si respicias hanc aestatem pluviis et serenitatibus variantem horticulturae admodum idoneam fuisse.

Corbes iam pleni sunt malorum rubrorum, quae celerius quam reliqua horum pomorum genera maturuerunt. Species autem hiemales non ante quam mense Septembri exeunte de arboribus in vasa colligentur.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
There's a new issue of Ephemeris on the enewsstands ... this week's big story (obviously): Turba in Aloisiana Saeviit
3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Superweapons of the Ancient World: The Ram
The team, including top military engineers from the U.S. military academy at West Point, re-creates a Roman tortoise ram and tests it by trying to demolish a specially re-created replica of an ancient six-metre-high, 3.5-metre-thick city wall.

6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Odyssey of Troy
What is it about the legendary city that more than 3,000 years after its fall, we still try to unravel Troy's mysteries? Scholars attempt to answer the question by researching the Greek poet Homer, possibly one of the greatest poets in Western Europe's history, and his epic tale of love and war, and comparing his text to archaeological sites.

8.00 p.m. |SCI| What the Ancients Knew: The Romans
Backed by the legions, military and engineering skills, the Romans built one of the largest empires in human history. Technology helped shape the ancient world and reverberates in our western lifestyle and amenities today.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU|Rome: Engineering an Empire
For more than 500 years, Rome was the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever known, ruled by visionaries and tyrants whose accomplishments ranged from awe-inspiring to deplorable. One characteristic linked them all--ambition--and the thirst for power that all Roman emperors shared fueled an unprecedented mastery of engineering and labor. This documentary special chronicles the spectacular and sordid history of the Roman Empire from the rise of Julius Caesar in 55 BC to its eventual fall around 537 AD, detailing the remarkable engineering feats that set Rome apart from the rest of the ancient world. Featuring extensive state-of-the-art CGI animation, and exclusive never-before-seen footage shot on a diving expedition in the water channels underneath the Colosseum.

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)
HINT = History International
SCI = Science Channel
HISTU = History Channel (US)
As last time, I'll begin with a sort of stream-of-consciousness thing and answer some questions that arise during the week.

Episode is called "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic" ... there's some compression of events perhaps ... we're now in 50 B.C. or thereabouts

- opens with Caesar sitting in Cisalpine Gaul, dealing with desertions ... we learn that Caesar financed Antony's campaign to be tribune of the plebs

- back in Rome, MA seems rather arrogant and already is dismissive of Octavian (repeatedly refers to him as 'boy')

- Atia proves to be quite the b**ch when she finds Octavia cavorting with the hubby she was forced to divorce

- very interesting (and somewhat incongruous) scene when Octavius returns with Vorenus and Pullo and invites them to dine; Atia doesn't want to because it's not socially proper for a woman of her standing to dine with soldiers (I guess it's okay to sleep with horse traders though); Octavius proves to have a handle on the protocol and the dinner takes place. At dinner we get interesting details -- Octavius clearly has a popularis streak; Vorenus is pro-Republic, Pullo seems pro-revolution

- Vorenus comes home to find wife holding a child obviously not his; after initial anger, we learn it belongs to his 13-year-old daughter (this is an interesting 'thread' in the drama as it turns out)

- several scenes of the installation of the tribune (MA) ... very long and MA is obviously bored. Do we know of this ceremony?

- back at Vorenus' house there's an interesting detail that he's walking around with a Suebian penis in his purse

- interesting brothel scenes; very reminiscent of frescoes from Pompeii

- late night meeting of the various factions at Atia's house (Cicero, Pompey, Antony, Cato) ... Antony is quite the charmer and still wearing his military cloak (which Cato objects to, of course) ... Antony says "che bruta figura!" (interesting use of Italian) ... Antony says says wants imperium in Illyria and one legion; Pompey thinks Caesar is bluffing and wants him declared a public enemy

- cut back to the Subura and the brothels ... Pullo passes a very strange shrine which looks almost Indian ... what's up with that? (I might have to wait until the repeat to get this one)

- Pullo's gambling; loses to a guy with loaded dice ... goes 'postal', then gets his head smashed

- meanwhile, Antony is sleeping with Atia!

- interesting shot of the calendar being 'changed' ... another one I'll have to watch again, I think

- surgery scene: Pullo getting a good trepanning by a Greek (by his dress) doctor on Vorenus' table

- passing scene in a slave market; slaves were chalked with numbers but I couldn't see their feet

- Pompey and Cicero meet at what appears to be a gladiator school (or a small demonstration); Cicero wants to 'do the right thing' but seems very much a middle of the road guy (meaning, of course, he's going to be hit with traffic in both directions) ... Pompey assures Cicero that Antony will impose a veto on a proposal (from Pompeians) to declare Caesar a public enemy

- scene of Vorenus meeting his daughter's 'hubby' ... he threatens to use his patria potestas and kill him (not sure he could actually; he would have to have caught them in flagrante delicto); when he finds the 'hubby' might come from a lower-class-but-potentially-well-off family, he approves the marriage but expects an "appropriate dowry".

- senate meeting ... who is presiding? Is it the princeps senatus or the pontifex maximus? Really old guy

- the proposal is made ... Cicero and his group 'cross the floor' (parliament style, again), causing a near riot in the senate ... Cicero has to yell to Antony to veto the motion, but it appears to have been done too late [was Cicero set up?]

- repeat meeting set for the next day; Antony wants a pile of soldiers in support

- meanwhile, Antony dines with Atia, Octavia, and Octavius and there's a Roman version of "I'll have what she's having"

- on the way to the senate meeting, there's a major brawl ... Pullo kills a Pompeian supporter who tried to stab MA (and, coincidentally, was among the gamblers whom he was brawling a few days earlier); Vorenus was stabbed in the melee ... not a bad depiction of this aspect of late Republican politics

- Caesar's declared an outlaw; MA runs to Caesar who seems genuinely angry

- nice scene of Caesar addressing his troops from horseback ... a very simple, but effective speech which probably could easily be translated into Latin

- crosses the Rubicon ... a tiny stream (good) ... a little kid fishing in it; MA winks at the kid (I've seen this scene before in a more modern context)

- guy runs through the city shouting 'Caesar is in Italy' ... closing scene of Vorenus' wife (Niobe) holding what was ostensibly her granddaughter ... then she starts nursing it. Hmmmmmmmmm ....

A very good episode with a good pace to it. Where last time the focus largely seemed to be on Atia and her machinations in regards to Octavius, this time around we saw more of the plebeian life via Vorenus and his familia. Mark Antony's 'sleazy' side is being developed as is Cicero's almost-indecisiveness. Overall, though, it is clearly building up a confrontation between classes, with the optimates being clearly defined so far. Not sure whether Caesar and MA can really be called populares yet ...
We've just propositaed the latest weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ... and issue 8.19 of Explorator. I'll be updating various sections of our Classics Central forum over the course of the day as well. Enjoy!
Foster on Verbrugghe on e-LSJ.

Roger Wright, A Sociophilological Study of Late Latin. Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, 10.

Elaine Fantham, The Roman World of Cicero's De Oratore.

Inge Nielsen, Cultic Theatres and Ritual Drama: A Study in Regional Development and Religious Interchange Between East and West in Antiquity.

Andrew S. Jacobs, Remains of the Jews: The Holy Land and Christian Empire in Late Antiquity.

T. P. Wiseman, The Myths of Rome.
Incipit of an article from the Jewish Exponent:

An important archaeological discovery made in Israel could shed more light on the ancient culture of the Philistines, a seafaring people that left the area of Greece in about 1200 BCE and landed on Israel's shores. At a dig in late July at Tell es-Safi, a site approximately halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon, a young woman found a pottery shard inscribed with what appear to be ancient Hebrew letters, though it also records a Greek name.

While the initial stage and later stage of Philistine settlements are well-represented in the field of archaeology, the middle stages - in which the Grecian Philistines began to assimilate with the local Semitic people and customs - remain more of a mystery. The find at Tell es-Safi may illuminate that intermediary period.

"There are very important aspects of this dig that are helping us learn things that we didn't previously know," said Linda Meiberg, a Connecticut-born Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania who joined teachers and students from Tel Aviv's Bar-Ilan University working at the site.

Beneath the hard-packed soil is believed to be the ancient city of Gath, one of the five cities of the Philistine Pentapolis, home to such biblical figures as Goliath and Achish. Settlement at Gath ended at about 1000 BCE; the Philistines, likewise, disappeared from recorded history in 600 BCE.

According to Meiberg, the discovery of the inscription supports her group's working hypothesis that after the Philistines settled in southern Israel, they began using the local language as part of adopting some of the area's culture.

"During the process of assimilation, they at some point, perhaps, began speaking the native Semitic language," she explained. "We believe they would have also adopted the writing system. They wouldn't be speaking a Semitic language, but using Indo-European writing."

As for finding artifacts of her own, Meiberg, who did her undergraduate and graduate work at Tel Aviv University, got off to a rough start.

"We weren't finding anything, and I was getting very discouraged because the deeper we would go, it just seemed to be nothing coming out," said Meiberg, who's currently writing a dissertation on the Philistines. "Then to start finding whole vessels, it was such an uplifting feeling, like there's really a point to what I'm doing here."

As she started finding more and more, Meiberg began to notice that she was digging on two sides of a wall, because one side yielded loom weights - used in ancient times to make linens - while the other side was rather bare.

"We found a total of 110 loom weights, which is a fantastic find," said Meiberg.

Because there were so many in one structure, she believes that it may be have been an industrial site, or a perhaps a private residence.

... more

In this a.m.'s Explorator I mentioned a review in the Courier Journal of an exhibit of Jan Debray's work which includes this ... it's Odysseus and Penelope (Odysseus is Debray himself). I've never understood the appeal of anachronistic pieces like this personally ...

The New York Daily News reveals an interesting side of Peter Weller that I wasn't aware of ... he's got an MA in Romand and Renaissance Art!

Tomorrow night at 9, actor Peter Weller will appear at the Colosseum and other monuments of ancient Rome in the History Channel documentary "Rome: Engineering an Empire." The former RoboCop is one of the experts sharing his knowledge in this superb two-hour companion piece to the current HBO miniseries "Rome."

Weller, 58, who holds a master's degree in Roman and Renaissance art and is working toward a Ph.D., has become one of Syracuse University's most popular professors.

"My fascination with ancient Rome started as a kid back in Texas when my father turned me on to Robert Graves, who wrote 'I, Claudius,'" says Weller, speaking from the South African set of the adventure movie "Prey." "I was always reading about the great emperors of Rome and then I started collecting first-century coins."

Part of Weller's obligation for his M.A. was to take eight students a year to Italy.

"When you do that, you have to study Rome again because the Renaissance is such a rebirth of antiquity," he says. "So during 2001, 2003, 2004 I was doing these field trips to Rome, and then the dean of the Fine Arts Department asked me to teach my own class at Syracuse, ad hoc."

Last year, Weller taught a course called "Hollywood and the Roman Empire."

"It's a classics course posing as a film course," he says. "Eighty kids signed up thinking they'd get an easy A from RoboCop. When they saw the reader was 450 pages, including Homer and Suetonius, a quarter of the class dropped out. Those that stayed had a blast reading a portion of the reader, taking a quiz to be sure they'd read it.

"Then I'd show the corresponding movie, one movie a week for 15 weeks, including 'The Odyssey,' 'Troy,' 'Ben-Hur,' 'Julius Caesar,' 'Spartacus,' 'Gladiator.' Then they'd write a paper on how the movie compared with the history. There were 20-year-old kids who thought Marlon Brando was just some fat old actor until they saw him walk on screen as Marc Antony. Then their world cracked open and they rushed to see all his movies."

Halfway through the course, the dean told Weller to take the 15 best students to Italy to show them the places where the history occurred.

Weller, who lives in Manhattan and has a second home in Italy, can often be found holding forth about ancient Rome in restaurants like Northwest. On one occasion, an art director friend named Kevin Boyle told Weller that Vinny Kralyevich, who runs KTI Productions, was making a History Channel documentary about ancient Rome.

"He told me to put on a suit and go downtown to the old Bowery Bank - because it has neo-Roman architecture - where they'd like to interview me on tape about Rome," Weller says. They ended up interviewing him for an hour and a half. Last year, the film's producers brought Weller from his Positano home to do a walk-and-talk in the footprints of the ancients in Rome.

In the documentary, he and other experts and historians tell entertaining stories about the Romans' feats of engineering: building a 1,000-foot bridge over the Rhine to invade Germania, constructing aqueducts that delivered 200 million gallons of water per day into Rome, inventing waterproof concrete used to build a sewer system that's still in use today, and building the Colosseum (capacity: 70,000) in seven years.

Is anyone at Shea Stadium listening?

"Julius Caesar built that bridge over the Rhine in 10 days," Weller says. "Ten days! They've been trying to fix the Van Wyck since I moved to New York City in 1971. Twenty years and $20 billion later and we still don't have a subway to JFK."

Weller is proud of his contribution to the documentary.

"Please, I'm a small and honored part of it," he says. "It's a remarkable film and I urge people to see it. I can't wait to show it to my next class of students."
American Legion Magazine interviewed Victor Davis Hanson (the whole thing is available at VDH's site) and included this interesting excerpt:

TALM: Twain is credited with saying that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes. What’s the best historical parallel for America’s efforts in Iraq?

VDH: In terms of sheer military efficacy? People wonder how Rome could conquer all of northwest Europe with nothing more than four or five legions. The answer is the Romans had a very similar policy to our own: They looked at the most retrograde, bloodthirsty, nationalist leaders—the bin Ladens of the ancient world — and took them out, but with precision and with a lesson. They then offered Roman citizenship and technology to those who sided with them —everything from the benefits of habeas corpus to aqueducts.

The idea of Roman citizenship was not predicated on race or national origin, but inclusive, in the same manner the U.S. military does not represent a particular race or religion, but an idea, a notion of Western inclusiveness and egalitarianism, that can encompass everything from free markets and voting to equality under the law and free speech.

What America has done, then, is take out and discredit these bad guys and then offer Western opportunity and inspiration that can foster popular culture — an internship at Harvard, a web-log in Iraq, a call-in radio show. In other words, people can become “Westerners in spirit” without losing their own pride of religion and nationality. Institutionalized freedom is not predicated on race or nationality. It’s an inclusive notion predicated on ideas, and the Arab world is beginning to see that it can remain Muslim and Arab and yet free and prosperous.
7.00 p.m. |NGU| Atlantis
What do we really know about the lost city of Atlantis and what happened on the day it died? Legend tells us that the golden civilization became so corrupt and depraved that it was destroyed by the angry gods, but did the city ever exist at all?

9.00 p.m. |HBO/Movie Channel| Rome
The miniseries continues ...

9.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Conquests
Although Caesar invaded it in 54 BC, Britain wasn't conquered until 43 AD when Claudius established Roman garrisons at Lincoln, York, and Chester. Viewers go inside this savage period of British history and enter the battlefield from an unique perspective--of those who fought and died there. And a bloody period it proved to be for the Romans had not reckoned on the ferocious campaign mounted against the all-powerful Legions under the leadership of the legendary Queen Boudicca.

NGU = National Geographic (US)
HINT = History International
From the Hexham Courant:

THREE intriguing Roman finds are to be unveiled at Corbridge Roman Site.

The three stones have advanced the knowledge of historians about the Roman occupation of Tynedale.

“The stones are pretty hideous in that they are all quite damaged,” said English Heritage curator Georgina Plowright, “but it’s because of the importance of the information they give us that we are putting them on display.

“The three of them together enlarge the knowledge we have of the Roman settlement of Corbridge.”

The largest and most intriguing stone was unearthed last year by Tyne and Wear Museums during the excavations of the Roman Bridge at Corbridge.

The octagonal stone finial was found amongst the collapsed stones of the road running up to the south end of the bridge.

This stone would have crowned a large octagonal column or drum and stood at the approach to the bridge, or on the bridge itself.

Despite its weathered appearance, the crispness of the monument is still apparent from the moulding at the base of the finial, although what was originally placed underneath it is yet to be determined.

The Roman bridge at Chesters had pillars spaced along its parapet and therefore, the octagonal finial may have formed part of a similar architectural feature.

Another possibility being researched is that the stone is from a rather exceptional and elaborate milestone.

The second stone was discovered during the 1906 excavations at Corbridge, and was published the following year.

Having been lost became lost, the stone was recently rediscovered in a local farmyard.

It was originally one of a pair, re-used in a Roman building to the south west of the English Heritage site. A voussoir, the stone is thought to have formed part of an arch.

The third stone to go on display was found lying on the side of an excavated trench during the installation of a new water main, north of Corbridge.

Two freshly made light-coloured scars on the stone’s two longer edges show that it originally had raised sides, which have subsequently broken off. The excavation is therefore thought to be an aqueduct stone.
Check out the incipit of this one from the automobile section of the New Zealand Herald:

Volkswagen reckons its new coupe/cabriolet will lure people from their slumber, throwing open windows to embrace the day.

Something like that, anyway. The new model is called Eos, after the Greek goddess of the dawn. The Romans called her Aurora. Her tears are the morning dew.

Think of her as a working mum. Each day, Eos rose with her horse-drawn chariot from the depths of the sea to bring daylight to the world. That was after she got the morning star out of bed and told the wind to get a move on. The Greek gods had her down as mother of the star and wind, too.

She fixed breakfast, got the kids off to Homer's study group, and asked her husband Tithonus (she was stuck with a mortal man; it was Aphrodite's fault) to pick up the bread on his way home.

Then the day was hers. Washing, ironing, worming the dog, afternoon coffee with fellow goddesses, some gossip ...

At dusk, in the kitchen, Eos would crank up another light in the sky. Yep, she was mother of the evening star, too. She would watch it soar into the blue yonder while watching over dinner: roast goat over coals with lentils. Followed by bedtime stories from the Iliad for the kids. They liked the way Homer called their mum beautiful.

Then it was time for the man in her life. Tithonus was a waxmaker/repairman for the fledgling Icarus airline. There were problems with the wax-and-feather wings on trips to the sun. Next morning, Eos would start over again ...

The VW press release says the Eos cabriolet "evokes associations with an idealised cabriolet driving situation in the early minutes of a summer day".
Here's the incipit of a touristy piece from the Telegraph on a visit to Lazio , which is mostly about the Etruscans:

The Etruscans were scaredy-cats. That was all I knew about them, after taking in regular schoolroom doses of Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome, including these stirring words:

But all Etruria's noblest
Felt their hearts sink to see
On the earth the bloody corpses,
In the path the dauntless Three:
And, from the ghastly entrance
Where those bold Romans stood,
All shrank, like boys who unaware,
Ranging the woods to start a hare,
Come to the mouth of the dark lair
Where, growling low, a fierce old bear
Lies amidst bones and blood.

We boys were all for brave Horatius and his faithful chums, and all against the beastly Etruscans and their king Tarquinius Superbus with his underhand tricks and ridiculous name.

In ensuing years it never occurred to me to change that childhood view. All the greater delight, then, to have my eyes dazzlingly opened to the colourful, life-loving, deeply spiritual and sensual civilisation the Etruscans developed between 800 and 300 BC in the lands between the Arno and the Tiber, before the Romans moved in to crush and subdue them.

The Etruscans in Latium, the little black book I picked up from the Italian Tourist Board, had a map showing all the Etruscan sites in the Lazio region - town remnants, temples, cemeteries and associated museums - and spoke of "that air of mystery and refi nement … characteristic of this mysterious people".

Its photographs showed delicate bracelets and pendants of beaten gold, black pottery goblets, beautifully carved statues of recumbent, smiling men and women, wall paintings of feasts and battles, and the extraordinary necropolises in which these objects lay forgotten for nearly 3,000 years.

All the Etruscan sites in Lazio can be reached from Rome within a couple of hours. They can be reached even more easily from La Posta Vecchia, an elegant 17th-century hotel near Ladispoli, 20 miles north of Rome, which stands with its feet in the Tyrrhenian Sea and its fl ank butted up against the 15th-century Castle of Palo.

The first site I visited was the nearest to the hotel, and easily the most spectacular. In the vast necropolis at Cerveteri , the Etruscans buried their dead throughout the rise, flourishing and decline of their civilisation.

They buried them in clusters of round stone buildings, each tomb 70 or 80 yards in circumference, or in long barrack-like streets of terraced stone houses.

In chambered rooms the dead were laid to rest on beds of tufa or marble. Some were placed in stone sarcophagi, their own effigies lying above them on the coffin lids, each statue propped up on one elbow and staring intently towards the doorway of the tomb.

The places they lay in were replicas of Etruscan domestic rooms, giving me the eerie feeling that I was paying calls on people who had either just popped out or were hiding from me.

The Tomb of the Reliefs gave the best glimpse into the lives of these dead. Painted stucco relief mouldings on the walls and pillars showed warlike preoccupations - weapons, helmets, shields, swords - as well as domestic items such as axes, flails, griddles and a coil of rope, with sinuous cats depicted slinking among them.

Real cats were catching lizards on the sunlit walls. It wasn't until I got to the up-country museum in the black-stone Castello d'Abbadia at Vulci that the Etruscans themselves began to come alive.

Here were pottery deer with long ears, vases decorated with lively boar hunters, dancers with tails, battling heroes, a perfume jar cunningly shaped like a sandalled leg. A sense of a humorous people came through - people who danced wildly and observed nature lovingly.

With a young archaeologist, Sylvia, I walked a circuit of the rough tufa walls and wheel-worn flagstone roadway of the town they built on a nearby plateau.

Where did the Etruscans arrive from in 800 BC? "Some think they were Greeks, or from Asia Minor," Sylvia said, "but probably they came in gradually from around the Mediterranean. They were the overlords, dominating the peasants here. They founded 12 cities, and they became great traders and very rich. That's why the nobles could afford to be buried so splendidly."

Next day I came up to Tuscania, not far from Vulci, with permission to explore the rock-cut tombs in the cliffs around the town. These chambers were cut square into the tufa, with carved benches running round their walls. Best of all was the Tomb of the Queen, reached by a long passageway - a great chamber deep in the cliffs with a honeycomb of passages around and below it.

Through holes in the floor I glimpsed shadowy tunnels and byways running off to unknown destinations. Two museums really shone a light on the Etruscans for me - the one at Tuscania, and its sister museum down the road at Tarquinia.

The sarcophagus-lid effigies had faces carved in portraiture of the deceased: a grinning man with a tip-tilted nose, an old woman lined and sunken-cheeked, a magistrate with a pinched, sour mouth.

At Tarquinia many were named in backwards-running Etruscan writing: Larth Alvethna in a fancy cap, Laris Partunus the priest with one hand raised in blessing, Velthur Partunus with his feet on a horned river god.

The names bestowed personality, almost an intimacy. There were rooms full of pottery, of bronze helmets and goblets, of jars painted with vivid, cruel battle scenes: men grabbed by the hair, speared, forced to their knees, humiliated.

The Etruscans were engaged from around 400 BC in a long struggle with the Romans, and echoes of the pain of their long defeat reverberated in those violent scenes. I wanted an antidote to the gloom and - unsurprisingly, among such death-obsessed people - I found it underground in the fabulous painted tombs of the Tarquinia necropolis.

Here in vivid frescoes were the Etruscans of the glorious 6th century BC in all their vigour and liveliness: courting, feasting, hunting birds and deer, making love and making merry in the woods and fields of Lazio.

The Romans and their jackboot sandals cast no shadow for these delighted and delightful folk, celebrating the pleasures of life at the very gates of the Underworld.

... more (if you can get past that gratuitous swipe there) ...
In one scene in the series, there's a night scene of some drama being performed which I thought was an Atellan Farce. Watching the program again, it seems more likely to be an early pantomime, the genre of which was becoming very popular at this time. Or perhaps it was somewhere between the two ... as far as I know, they did not have masks in pantomime (although they did in mime, but that was more of a solo dance performance) ...
This one took a while, but was aided by the fact that the movie channel reprised the first episode of Rome last night and I happened to catch this bit while surfing. One of my questions about the senate scene revolved around some guys banging sticks at the entrance. I just figured out that they must be lictors and what they're banging are the fasces without any axes in them. Nice detail: they only bang the bundle of rods when Pompey and his supporters are being criticized (especially by Cato).
7.00 p.m. |HINT| 480 BC--The Battle of Salamis
In 480 BC, the Golden Age began when the Greeks expelled the invading Persians at Salamis Bay, sinking 200 Persian ships while losing only 40 of their own. But as sphinxlike Greek politics go, the naval commander Themistocles is not only not rewarded for his victory, but is removed as Athens' leader for accepting bribes and hubris--or in other words, for being too arrogant and tempting the Gods. Step back in time and live amongst the ancient Greeks as we recreate this momentous point in history. Featuring exclusive in situ dramatizations and the latest in historical research.
Numen, lumen.
(Motto of Wisconsin)

(pron = noo-men, loo-men)

Divine energy, light.

Comment: This motto of Wisconsin is elsewhere translated “God and Light”. I
will not make comment on the motto of Wisconsin, but on the varying meaning of
the words. For the ancient Romans, numen did not mean “God”. That is a
later, Christinization, and change in the meaning, of the Latin word. Numen
refers to a way of viewing things that is all but lost to us in American
culture. Numen refers to the energy that the Romans found in everything. They
were like other ancients: the Celts to the north of Rome, and the Greeks to the
East, Africans to the south, each in their own way. Numen was that divine
energy, that quality that infused rocks and water, the earth herself which for
the Romans was a divine being, lightening, wind, trees—oh especially trees, and
all animals, particularly when animals moved with observable patterns.

The ancient Roman knew to look and watch and listen for the energy, the numen,
in things. The ancient Roman knew that this energy was powerful, and that the
best approach was to work with the energy, to honor it, and to avoid working
arrogantly with it. This energy could support life, and the farmer and
fisherman knew it. This energy could bring one’s life to an end if crossed, as
the sailor knew. So, the real “light” was not some Being out on a cloud, or a
mountain, or in heaven. Light came from realizing the ever present power in
all things, working together all the time, in everyone, everywhere. Light was
honor and respect for this power, and never taking it for granted.

As we in this nation struggle to find a way to help our suffering brothers and
sisters in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, we struggle in a great deal of
darkness. We have not paid close enough attention to each other, nor to the
numen in the sea, in the river, in the delta, in the wind and in the wave.
After the tragedy, we can begin to do so. Numen also exists in every human
being, and many are hurting now. And when rebuilding comes, light will be in
respecting the numen in the earth, and working with it.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem iv nonas septembres

31 B.C. -- Octavian defeats Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra at Actium

490 B.C. -- Pheidippides runs to Sparta for help against Persians at Marathon (one traditional date)
styptic @ Wordsmith

conflagration @

trammel @ (hmmm)
Novum culmen mundanum

Denique res quaedam athletica. Kenenisa Bekele, cursor Aethiops viginti tres annos natus, in cursu decem milium metrorum novum culmen mundanum fecit.

Certaminibus enim in stadio Bruxellensi positis illud spatium viginti sex minutis, septendecim secundis et quinquaginta tribus centesimis (26,17,53) percurrit.

Qua egregia re cum maximo spectatorum gaudio gesta pristinum primatum, quem ipse antea consecutus erat, tribus fere secundis meliorem reddidit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The APA has put up a preliminary program and links to abstracts for their next annual meeting, this year in Montreal! (They're awaiting some electronic abstracts ... hint, hint)
I know that a pile of folks have difficulties accessing rc at their place of employ (why schools block this site, I don't know) ... if bloglines or some similar service doesn't work for you, Lifehacker just had a piece on a couple of services which let you get rss feeds (i.e. your favourite blogs) via email. I have no idea how well or how poorly they work, but they might be an option ....
Scott Carson has an interesting post on his growing appreciation for the Mass in Latin ... if you want to get into the act with your daily prayers in Latin, you can get them in realAudio format from Vatican Radio ... a very calming thing to accompany your drive to and from work (if you convert them to mp3s, I suppose).
Cool ... ClassCon in a piece on the Jubilee Auditorium renovations in my old stomping grounds of Calgary. From the incipit Globe and Mail:

A heap of discarded brass light fittings lay near the front doors of the Jubilee Auditorium, a few metres from the quotation from Suetonius that has greeted every visitor during the past 48 years: "He found the city built of brick -- left it built of marble."

That motto, installed in raised brass letters on travertine, was right in tune with the cult of progress raging in Alberta in the mid-fifties. Nobody seems to have noticed the oddity of affixing the phrase (initially written about Caesar Augustus) to a building that was mostly finished in brick and precast concrete.

... better yet, I can't ever remember seeing this motto -- or any marble -- at the Jubilee. And this is the place where we had our high school graduation, where I saw Split Enz and Peter Tosh (and had purchased the entire front row for the Pretenders, then the drummer put his hand through a window or something so it was cancelled). Heck, if I knew it was there, I would have taken a photo of it during our stay there this summer. Oh well ... (the other 'anomaly' about the Jubilee auditorium is the statue of Robert the Bruce outside it ... I can't remember the story behind it).
Some interesting details are emerging in the Marion True case ... from the LA Times:

The J. Paul Getty Trust, which has said it was fully cooperating with an Italian investigation into the antiquities trade, did not disclose a series of letters and photographs showing that its chief antiquities curator maintained close relationships with dealers suspected of selling looted art, according to documents and interviews.

The Getty's antiquities curator, Marion True, is facing trial in Rome this fall on charges that she conspired to traffic in ancient artifacts stolen from Italian ruins and smuggled out of the country. Italian authorities have identified 42 objects — including some of the most prized antiquities in the Getty's collection — as stolen and have demanded their return. The authorities are also investigating other American museums.

The Getty and True maintain her innocence.

According to a confidential memo written in 2001 by the Getty's criminal defense lawyer to Chief Executive Barry Munitz, an internal review of Getty files had turned up a handful of letters from the suspect dealers and True, as well as Polaroid photographs of artifacts.

The letters indicated that the dealers were offering objects "which appear to be from illegal excavations," and the Polaroids showed the artifacts "in an unrestored state" that suggested they were recently looted, according to the memo from attorney Richard Martin, a copy of which was obtained by The Times.

Martin advised Munitz that the Getty was "not presently under an obligation to provide the attached correspondence or any photographs," because Italian authorities had not specifically asked for them.

"It is obvious we should not offer to produce what has not been asked for," Martin wrote.

He concluded: "We should point out that, while these letters are troublesome, none of them amounts to proof of Dr. True's knowledge that a particular item was illegally excavated or demonstrates her intent to join the conspiracy."

Reached Thursday by telephone, Paolo Ferri, the Italian prosecutor in the True case, said he had not seen the correspondence or photos, despite repeatedly asking Martin for all material in Getty files relating to True's relationship with the dealers.

"It is very surprising to me that they didn't give me these very important documents," Ferri said, adding that, in a face-to-face meeting and subsequent telephone conversations, Martin personally guaranteed the Getty's "full cooperation."

"When Dick Martin said he wanted to cooperate, I thanked him," said Ferri, adding that he now believes the trust acted in bad faith.

Because Ferri's requests were not made formally through the U.S. attorney's office, it is unlikely that the Getty's failure to produce the documents violated any law. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles declined to comment.

The Getty, in a statement, said The Times' article is based on "privileged documents that have been stolen from the Getty."

Trust officials, True and Martin's law firm, Heller Ehrman LLP, "have acted appropriately at all times in their dealings with the Italian prosecutor. Any suggestion that the Getty, Dr. True or their lawyers improperly withheld any documents is untrue," the statement said.

The trust added that the Italian prosecutor never issued a subpoena for all documents and had agreed instead to "voluntary discussions with the Getty to obtain copies of specified documents."

The trust provided all documents requested by the prosecutor, the statement said, adding: "All other documents in the Getty's possession that could in any way be relevant to the Italian investigation have been retained and preserved by the Getty."

In a letter to The Times' lawyers, Martin said Thursday that the Getty and True were "prepared to seek a court order" to prevent publication of the contents of his memo, which he described as "a confidential and privileged memorandum prepared by our firm."

Publication of the memo would interfere with True's "right to unfettered representation by counsel in an ongoing criminal matter," he wrote.

Getty board Chairman John Biggs, former chairman and chief executive of TIAA-CREF, the investment fund for education professionals, said he had viewed relevant documents from the internal review.

"I've seen them myself, and I think there's no merit to what you're trying to write a story about," Biggs said. "It's all part of a systematic effort that the L.A. Times has undertaken to write stories about the Getty."

... more.
The caffeine just hit and I remembered that it was two years ago today that we officially launched this thing (and happy blogday to MG's NT Gateway blog too, which incipited feliciter on the same day). A year ago on this day, we were approaching 78,000 visitors ... as I write this, we're just over 234,000 (with some 120 or so folks reading it via bloglines, which probably swells the count even more). Not bad ... thanks for coming out!
Over at CCC, MH has a nice little roundup post on the state of production of the Last Legion, a flick based on Valerio Manfredi's novel of the same name set during the days of Romulus Augustulus ... a bit out of our purview, but we'll watch it, of course.
11.30 p.m. |HISTU| Rome: Engineering an Empire Behind the Scenes
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the upcoming History Channel documentary production. Through on-location interviews with the producer, director, special effects coordinators, reenactors, make-up artists, stuntmen, and actors, we tell the story of how an epic docu/drama is produced.
ante diem kalendas septembres

rites in honour of Jupiter Liber

392 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Juno Regina on the Aventine (and associated rites thereafter)

22 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans (and associated rites thereafter)

69 A.D. -- traditional date for the sacking of Jerusalem

118 A.D. -- martyrdom of Terentian in Umbria

1987 -- death of Arnaldo Momigliano
fomites @ Wordsmith

unicameral @

rubric @ Merriam Webster (I never have figured out how this transformed into the use of 'rubric' used by teachers)

omnist @ Worthless Word for the Day (not sure this definition works)

capacious @

... and don't forget to check out Done with Mirrors Carnival of the Etymologies (this one comes with a 'profanity' warning ... it's the 'f word') ...
Alun over at Archaeoastronomy has a feature on Aristophanes' Knights ....
Coloniae Gazenses vacuefactae

Regio litoralis, qui tractus Gazae appellatur, a militibus Israelianis evacuata est.

Fuerunt ibi omnino una et viginti coloniae Iudaeorum, quae post bellum sex dierum conditae erant. Hac evacuatione occupatio regionis duodequadraginta annorum finita est.

Coloniae ab Israelianis ita relictae Palaestinensibus post unum fere mensem tradentur.

Milites Israeliani etiam duas colonias in ripa occidentali fluminis Iordanis sitas vacuefecerunt, etsi coloni nationalistae saepimentis tumultuariis et filis ferreis aculeatis eos aditu prohibere conabantur.

Duas alias colonias ibidem conditas incolae sponte sua antea reliquerant. Restant in ripa occidentali adhuc centum viginti coloniae.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Finis coronat opus.

(pron = fee-nihs koh-roh-naht oh-poos)

How a project ends is its crown.

Comment: This proverb is a slippery slope. It is not far from: How something
ends is what everyone looks at; the most important thing; what really matters.
And from there: how a thing ends justifies whatever you have to do to get
there—otherwise known as, “the end justifies the means”.

There are too many examples of how focusing only on the end of a process
corrupts the process or at best makes the value of every step along the way
invisible. In my work world of classrooms, students, learning and for me the
creativity of designing learning in ways that work for all kinds of learners,
that “how a thing ends which is its crowning moment” is called a “grade”. What
our society (read: educators + parents stirred often with desperate politicians)
has done is to turn the entire, complex and ongoing process of learning (which
best practices say is a life-long, ongoing process) and turn it into a
photographic moment where students are judged on a letter or number or score.
Now, entire school systems which deal with processes more complicated than most
non-educators can imagine, are being judged on the scores of 4th graders and 8th
graders, for instance.

A proverb cannot dig us out of that quagmire, but this proverb and reflecting on
it might shed some light on those places where we focus on the crown and forget
that all a crown does is sit there. It rests on a head. The head rides on a
neck, balanced between two shoulders which cover and protect a beating heart
and working lungs. These center working pieces of the human being who wears
the crown are encased in a torso that rides on two legs. The legs sit atop
two, mostly ignored, often made fun of feet that move that body wearing a crown
around so that people can see it. These feet are the moment by moment reality
of a human life in contact with the earth. This is where, at least
metaphorically, each step of a journey happens. Each step matters. Remove
one, and the journey stops. Everyone looks at and wants the crown, while
ignoring what two things are much more important—their own two feet.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
Radio Bremen has updated its Nuntii Latini site for the months of July and August ... if you weren't aware of this site, it differs from YLE's in that it only has a handful of articles for the month, but does provide vocabulary for many of the modern terms in translation. I notice they have an archive too (which I've never noticed before). Worth checking out ...
The UK's Channel Four has an excellent video report (eight minutes) on Bulgarian finds past and present that is definitely worth viewing ... (requires Windows Media)
... and other regions ravaged by Katrina. The end of Aeneid II keeps running through my mind ... it started when there was repeated play (on Fox and various other news agencies) of that poor man who had lost his wife and was wandering the streets with his two kids. It continues now with the scenes of looting ... meanwhile, my box keeps filling up with news reports comparing the New Orleans first to Pompeii, and now we're reading Atlantis ...
Interesting UPI reviewish/opedish piece from Monsters and Critics ... here' s the incipit:

As President George W. Bush presses on with his series of speeches to troops and veterans, reaffirming why we are fighting in Iraq, the recent book "Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity," by J. E. Lendon reminds us of the surprisingly similar Roman army who came to a grim fate in the same land.

Lendon starts surprisingly with the U,S, Marines in Vietnam. He takes his readers to Quang Tri in 1967, as Kilo Company took casualties and new dead, in order to bring out old dead from a previous firefight.

"Soldiers explain the imperiling of live soldiers to bring in the bodies of their dead comrades as fundamental to morale and unit cohesion," Lendon wrote. "American concern for the prompt recovery of soldiers` dead bodies is hardly unique, but it places Americans in the company of peoples with whom they might be surprised to be classed: the Homeric and Classical Greeks, for example"

He continued: "From the perspective of several thousand years in the future, an observer might conclude that our contemporary methods of fighting are scarcely less ritualized than those of the Greeks..."

Toward the end of Lendon`s narrative, in what we call Late Antiquity, Rome`s Republican model of great popular armies was centuries` dead and gone. Lendon described the late Roman army as a much smaller professional force, yet still "in some respects superior" even to the legions that had won an empire. But, he wrote: "The late Roman Army had difficulty recovering from defeat."

Thus, he wrote: "The army of the fourth century needed to be treasured, to be commanded with care and circumspection, not risked unnecessarily. It needed to be used with calculated finesse, like a rapier: its tragedy was to be commanded by emperors like Julian and Valens, men who used it like a mace, as Roman commanders always had. Julian used it so because of his conscious relationship with an admired past. Valens and other aggressive late-antique commanders were also lashed on by history, even though they may have been less conscious of it.

"What commanders knew is that leading their armies boldly at the enemy was expected and admired behavior -- the legacy of Roman virtus mingled with the Greek legacy of Alexander. There was, in short, a dangerous mismatch between the capabilities of the Roman army of the fourth century and the culture of its commanders, visibly or invisibly guided by the tradition in which they fought."

Comparing America today with Rome is easy. Left and Right, Liberal and Illiberal embrace it. A vigorous war hawk like Victor Davis Hanson, for example, relishes Punic War analogies: "The Romans lost 60,000 at Cannae and came back to win!" If we want to equal Rome`s virtus, he wrote, we should welcome the handsome opportunity for sacrifice history offers us in Iraq.

Yet we have come very, very far from the virtuous nation-in-arms like Republican Rome. If anything we look more like Rome`s mature imperial enterprise.

Like late Rome, the pool of our defenders shrinks while soldiering societies themselves become more monastic: soldiers marry soldiers, and soldiers` sons become soldiers. Americans in the main do not even think military service is an option. Our soldier-to-civilian ratio is almost exactly that of fourth century Rome. Like theirs, our army is also divided between an active and reserve force, also in about equal measure. We also deploy field armies of the same campaign size, proportionately, as those of Julian, who was kileld and his army defeated in Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, or Valens, who lost his army totally at Adrianople in the Balkans.

More pointedly however, our army`s leadership is as swept up with American virtus and glory as any Roman emperor.

Not the field commanders, mind you, nor the uber-HQ, but the Generalissimo himself: the president, and his circle. The American president has in our lifetime become as much the war leader as any chieftain of classical antiquity.

His martial homilies are full of reminders of the glorious deeds of our ancestors -- in fact the speeches of our current war leaders are steeped in the rhetoric of legend and myth. In this sense they are like battle speeches from Xenophon or Thucydides or Caesar -- especially when President Bush, as he so often does, delivers his orations before assembled troops.

Emotive metaphor and allusion makes clear what war`s ritual means: it is the celebration and reaffirmation of America`s very identity. It is through our struggle to become worthy of our ancestors and through our sacrifice to join them that American identity itself is reaffirmed.

... more.
From AGI:

One of the most famous mosaics found in the Pompeii excavations, the one depicting the 'Battle of Alexander', is back, though as a copy, in its place of origin, the 'Casa del Fauno' of the ancient Roman city. The copy is faithful in its form, materials, size and colours to the original, and was made by the Ravenna International Mosaic Study Centre, who used 3 million mosaic pieces and thousands of support panels. The 'clone' will soon return to furnish the pavement of the building. Superintendent Piero Giovanni Guzzo explained: "The placing of the mosaic's copy will be part of a larger programme to appreciate areas around the Vesuvius, especially Pompeii. We intend to make visitors see the original look of the furnishing of the ancient buildings, also inviting them to visit the original decorations at the Naples Museum. [...] The 'Battle of Alexander' can be considered the most famous museum from ancient times. The original was a painting attributed to Philoxenos of Eretria for King Cassandrus at the end of the IV century BC. The mosaic was made in Pompeii following the 'opus vermiculatum' technique, and depicts a decisive moment in the Persian campaign which saw Alexander the Great against King Darius III. The original is in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples".

MF sent me a photo of this which I can't track down on the web (it's rather large ... if I can't find it on the web, maybe I'll shrink it down) ... it's very weird seeing this on a floor (which, of course, is where it would have been).

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.

... there are a couple more paragraphs that don't really add much; hopefully we'll get some more details.
10.00 p.m. |SCI| Enigma of the Etruscans
The Etruscans were re-known among ancient civilizations for their dominance of the sea. A recent expedition located a centuries old Etruscan ship, the first ever found, lying off the coast of Southern France.

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

SCI - Science Channel
NGU - National Geographic Channel