I note from a post at a site related to Curculio that comment spam apparently continues to be a problem for various blogs powered by Wordpress and the like. If that's true, this is an open invitation to Classics sites who want to avoid such spam to have a 'comment area' at Classics Central -- the Forum is, it appears, rather immune to spamming as I've set it up and works well for comments. I'll set up a section just for comments for your particular blog and figure out how to make you a moderator for it. Just a thought ...
This one appears to be another unreported coin hoard from the UK ...
Wow ... we seem to be awfully Toronto-centric this a.m. (which is very difficult for a native Calgarian ... they plant a hate-Toronto chip in our brains at birth; I had mine removed, though, ... don't tell anyone ... I'll have to start paying sales tax) ... the Toronto Star's astrologer has a lengthy column with some interesting Classcon ... excerpts:

The sky reflects life on Earth. All heavenly objects mirror our activities. In fact, even the weather does it. In Homer's The Iliad, Zeus was depicted as controlling the weather over the embattled Greeks and Trojans. Today, we are witnessing dramatic meteorological events.

This climate change may very well be due to the greenhouse effect, but it does, at the same time, reflect the increasingly unstable state of human affairs, which are hurtling out of control just like the weather. Hurricanes, cyclones and tornadoes have been whipping up with frightening ferocity. The weather is communicating a message. We are all part of one being, one whole organism. And the madness of human behaviour has disrupted the delicate balance.

It feels as if the weather is venting its rage. The Tetrabiblos, written by the great astrologer Ptolemy almost 2,000 years ago in Alexandria, circa AD 100 holds exciting clues to the timing of severe weather. My study of this work suggests there are certain complex configurations producing days of severe weather and heightened seismic activity. These cosmic signatures occur frequently, but some pack a bigger punch than others, depending on many cosmic variables.

In the past year, the Earth's crust has been rattling its warning with destructive and deadly severity. The tsunami of Boxing Day 2004 and the continued earthquakes in South Asia all occurred on these important days. And hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma each whipped up in accordance with these planetary configurations.


Another planetary event I'll monitor closely concerns the Jupiter-Saturn cycle. The ancient Greeks regarded this as the master cycle. Nostradamus may have also used it as a guide to write his prophecies. This cycle has moved into a square alignment (when two planets form a right angle) and will hold sway over the entire year. This normally spells a downswing in the economy. Jupiter (expansion) is in Scorpio, a sign in financial astrology that indicates debt. So the growth of debt leading to bankruptcies could be a problem. Err on the side of caution in your borrowing level and financial risk-taking.

Alignments of Jupiter (justice) and Saturn (institutions) also pertain to major developments in law and the courts. There is the trial of Saddam Hussein catching world attention in Iraq. Here in the West, the corporate world has a slew of trials coming up, with the case of Conrad Black heading the list. And the moral debate on same-sex marriage will most probably intensify.

Among the New Year's jokes at icHuddersfield:

AFTER a battle with the Romans at Hadrian's Wall, Big John the Red said: "Why wis Boadicea no fightin' wi' us the day?"

And Wee Shug replied: "She wisna' Pict."
I must have missed when this originally happened ... from a 'silly things that happened this year' piece in the Toronto Star:

Monumental ego: Steve Stavro erects a giant bronze statue of Alexander the Great astride his horse on a patch of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where the former owner of the Maple Leafs will at some point reside for eternity.

Here's a photo of the monument ... gack.
Militantes medicamentis utuntur

Iuvenes, qui in exercitu Finniae munus militiae faciunt, plura medicamenta consumere solent quam aequales eorum, ut ex dissertatione in Universitate Helsinkiensi conscripta patet.

Ex viris militantibus tres fere partes nuntiaverunt se duabus superioribus septimanis aliquod remedium sumpsisse. Tertia autem pars eorum aperuit se inter tres septimanas etiam trinis diversis pharmacis usam esse. Tantum materiae medicae usum admodum copiosum aestimaveris, si respicias de iuvenibus agi, quorum valetudo inspectione medicinali non ita pridem peracta bona reperta sit.

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

... in addition, Ephemeris appears to have been updated ... latest headline: De cruore in Aegypto effuso
ante diem iii kalendas januarias

39 A.D. (?) -- birth of the future emperor Titus
trajectory @ Guru.net

dyspepsia @ Merriam-Webster

effusion @ OED

peneplain @ Wordsmith

perquisite @ Dictionary.com
About.com's N.S. Gill points us to the existence of an Oxford University Press blog, which in recent days has included a dialogue of sorts between Bryan Ward-Perkins and Peter Heather about the fall of Rome ... here's part one of the discussion ... here's part two.
A third-century mosaic depicting Dionysus ... not private, but no provenance given.
Semi-touristy thing from Kathimerini:

Children play in the dirt between humble abodes with tin roofs, as carts, donkeys and farm vehicles pass by. We assure the owner of the yard where we know there is an inscribed stone that we have the permission of the Culture Ministry.

He warmly welcomes us with tea as the neighbors gather. I try to persuade him that it is not necessary to cut down the rose bush and the tree growing in front of the tombstone bearing a relief of a youth’s head. The children want to know the language of the inscription, carved in Ancient Greek about 18 centuries ago.

We are in ancient Cibyratica, at the site of the ancient city of Bubona, at an altitude of about 1,000 meters, less than 100 kilometers from the southwest Turkish coast, in the village of Ibecik. It is here that a group of beautiful bronze statues was discovered, the only group of its kind ever to be found dating from Roman times. Unearthed during illegal excavation, they are now exhibited in foreign museums. We — a research team from Heidelberg and Athens — are the only visitors to the area, and we come every year.

To reach there, one has to climb the final 400 meters on foot, but the area is strewn with bases of statues with Greek inscriptions dating from the Roman Empire, as well the ruins of countless buildings.

The ancient city, a self-governed community of citizens usually linked with the Classical Age and the Athens of Pericles, was not abolished by the Romans, who encouraged the autonomy of Greek cities. Although it did not maintain troops or wage wars, it was a center of intensive political and economic activity. The Greek intellectual tradition cultivated in these centers was imposed and maintained as the prevailing ideology with the agreement of the representatives of Rome.

About 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Fethiye is the village of Incealiler, where there is a path leading to ancient Oenoanda. It has not been systematically excavated nor developed as a tourist destination, yet it is comparable to Ephesus before the restoration work. The city’s walls are still impressive and in its marketplace the bases of statues are still standing or lying where they fell centuries ago.

It is worth visiting Oenoanda simply for the clarity of the atmosphere, the scent of the pine forest, and the view of the mountains on the horizon. Yet the site offers some of the most important monuments in the history of Greek epigraphology. Even the untrained eye can discern Greek script on ruins scattered everywhere.

Oenoanda, as well as Cibyra and Bubona, belong to the northern section of the area, which in antiquity was known by the name of Lycia. No populations from mainland Greece ever settled there, but the Greek language flourished in these lands as much as in Ionia and Aeolis. The local population had already ceased using Lycian from the fourth century BC but never stopped emphasizing their origins and traditions. The Lycian people, as they called themselves, considered themselves part of Hellenism, but unique thanks to their Lycian characteristics. The Mediterranean once favored composite, cosmopolitan identities.

Times change, however, and when during my studies in Athens I decided to delve into ancient Lycia, the easiest way seemed via Germany. I often visited Turkey as a member of research teams from Tubingen, Zurich and Heidelberg. I never balked at declaring myself a Greek, but I always represented third countries and for most of the locals I was simply a European, although they sometimes singled me out as a “neighbor.” I wondered what would happen if I went as a representative of a Greek organization — whether I would have a problem getting a work permit or whether the Turkish authorities would treat me with suspicion.

Nothing like that happened, but there were other problems of an entirely different nature. It cost almost double to travel from Athens to Lycia as from Germany or Switzerland, since there were no direct flights to the nearest airport (Antalya). Moreover, there was no financial support from any Greek organization. The finances of the National Research Foundation are another sorry story typical of Greek state institutions. So I received only moral support.

As on previous missions, we were guests in a village house. They served us tea and fruit as before. From the outside, the house looked like an old manor, well-built of stone and timber; inside, doors, windows, cupboards and dividing walls were all skillfully carved in timber. The lady of the house, a slim woman of around 45, was taken aback to hear that I was Greek. She was silent for a while, and we exchanged worried looks. She then got up and brought us a silver jug and asked us to read the inscription on it. It was a Greek name. When the house had been abandoned in 1922 (by its Greek inhabitants) her grandparents had found silverware that had been left behind. The woman felt truly ashamed. I told her that we can’t change the past, but that it is we who will write the future.
Here's a nice bit of trivia to drop when you're trapped in an elevator with the head of the department ... from the Sun:

SIR Elton John's middle name is Hercules, his "marriage" certificate revealed today.

The written confirmation of the singer's civil partnership to David Furnish, pictured right, also recorded his original name as Reginald Kenneth Dwight - Sir Elton changed it by deed poll in 1972. [...]
... here's another spin ... from the Philly Inquirer, inter alia:

Toasting's origins are shrouded by the proverbial mists of antiquity. Ancient Greeks and Romans hoisted their chalices to ward off divine hissy fits and pay tribute to egomaniacal emperors. Early Christians were wont to clink glasses to keep Satan at bay.

... makes more sense than the 'burnt toast' theory ...
From the South Lyon Herald (I think):

Richard Grieves' teaching methods are not new. In fact some of them are very old, but that doesn't mean they aren't effective.

Grieves, a language arts and classical literature teacher at South Lyon High School, relies on the Socratic Method to challenge his students, and many of them have responded strongly, making Grieves the Herald's December Teacher of the Month.

Grieves was nominated for the honor by Sandy Santilly, the mother of one of his students, who said Grieves has revolutionized the learning process for her daughter Angela.

"With Angela, he's made her more interested in learning," Sandy Santilly said. "He teaches in a way that excites her. He's wonderful."

Angela is in Grieves' classical literature course, which examines the historical and philosophical importance of great works like Homer's "Iliad," Virgil's "Aeneid" and Dante's "Divine Comedy."

Grieves has been fascinated by philosophy and the classics throughout his academic career. His knowledge of Latin helped him found the school's Latin Club, which meets after school.

By using the probing methods of Socrates, Grieves said he tries to highlight for students the brilliance of the classics and their philosophical wisdom. Needless to say, students must be prepared to work hard if they hope to keep up with the complex works.

"Students enjoy not having things watered down, " he said. "They enjoy the engagement of being asked what they think. They thank me for not having any fluff."

Grieves said that many of the students who sign up to take his classics course — an upper level elective — do so for the challenge involved. But even in his other courses, some of which are compulsory, Grieves said he does not back down from engaging his students.

Opinions and debate are encouraged in a true classical fashion, but Grieves' students had better be prepared to back up their opinions with facts.

"My constant comment to (students) is this: I refuse to lower my expectations," Grieves said. "But I will help you build a ladder to the highest level. It's up to you to climb it."

Grieves has been an educator for 25 years. He taught in private schools for a number of years before landing in South Lyon. And in spite of his old-fashioned techniques, he said he's open to new ways to educate students and to appeal to their interests.

For example, a pair of aspiring artists in his classical literature course are constructing an ancient map of the Mediterranean basin on the wall in Grieves' classroom to build their portfolios, highlighting the journeys of Aeneas in Virgil's work. Next, they'll map out the travels of the Greeks as laid out in the Iliad.

Grieves said he's always encouraged when students jump so eagerly into the great works.

"I'm always looking for whatever ways I can to challenge them," he said.
From the Southern Berks News:

Julius Caesar's immortal dictum, "Veni, vedi, vici," would be a fitting motto for some local Latin students.
With their canned-goods collection drive this holiday season, the Exeter Township Senior High School Latin Club came, saw and conquered, dwarfing all previous counts.
"We started the drive after the Thanksgiving Holiday with the hopes of beating last year's impressive total of 4,500 cans of food," said Michael J. Kitsock, advisor for the club.
"The number kept growing and growing until we smashed our previous record with a grand total of 14,483 individual items," Kitsock said. The club is also led by Exeter senior Christopher Birch.
Kitsock, known to his students as "Magister" (Latin for teacher), has spearheaded the club's holiday canned-goods collection for 16 years. It benefits the Greater Reading Food Bank through the Berks County chapter of the Salvation Army.
Last week numerous volunteers swarmed to room N114, or "pick-up central," with donations collected throughout the pledge period that ended Dec. 21.
Kitsock said his club members received an enormous amount of help and cooperation from the student body, teachers, supportive staff members and the Exeter Township School District's administration.
He especially wanted to recognize the efforts of fellow colleague Terry A. Lorah, who secured the use of the Exeter Band Truck to repeatedly transport the donated cargo to the food bank.
Kitsock also applauded the publicity that district Vice Principal Marc P. Bellettierre repeatedly gave to the drive.
"This was an awesome effort by everyone," Bellettierre bellowed during dismissal announcements last Wednesday.
"You all can be very proud of your efforts. It's awesome. Your generosity and kindness will help a lot of people in need this holiday season."
Bellettiere praised Adrianne Cusmowski's group, who collected 2,500 cans and set the single homeroom record.
A lifelong native of Schuylkill County, Kitsock said the inspiration for the food drive comes from his experiences as a boy growing up in the dying coal regions.
"There was a lot of poverty and suffering as the mines were closing, with an unemployment rate of more than 40 percent," he said.
Kitsock, the Latin Club and the administration also wanted to acknowledge the cooperation of many parents and family members of the participating students.
Quid praesidens Bush dixerit

Praesidens George Bush hac septimana ineunte nationi suae orationem televisificam habuit, qua suis persuadebat bellum Iraquicum nequaquam amissum esse, quamquam in eo gerendo etiam aliquot errores facti essent.

Cives Americanos appellavit, ut pro libertate pugnare pergerent neve propter res adversas in desperationem venirent.

Idem quidem praedixit evitari non posse, quin illa victoria Americanis multis sacrificiis staret.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
ante diem iv kalendas januarias

280 A.D. -- martyrdom of Trophimus of Arles
ascetic @ Guru.net (somewhat appropriate for the site)

bonhomie @ Merriam-Webster (via French, of course)

quiddity @ Dictionary.com
Britarch (and other places) was all abuzz yesterday over an auction on eBay of 1000 Roman coins purportedly from the Royal Society of British Exploration. While the auction has been withdrawn as of this a.m., it's worth noticing that the controversy about this one stemmed from a number of suspicious claims within the auction description, not least of which was that no one had ever hear of the RSBE. The coins themselves supposedly came from the Roman excavations at Wroxeter and were excavated by the "Wroxeter Archaeology team", which, if true, meant that this was an unreported hoard. Adding to the suspicion was the fact that the seller seems to change his/her eBay ID every two months or so ... in addition to the current theroyalsocietyofbritishexploration, this seller has used the monikers *metal*detectorist, canterburycoins, and 4598jason. Even with his current moniker, he has sold some items (indicated in green).

Now even though this auction has been withdrawn, I think it is worth drawing folks' attention to something else which disturbs me about a number of eBay auctions, especially when it comes to antiquities (although I have seen this from time-to-time in relation to items as mundane as Yugioh cards): the fact that buyers are kept 'private' and/or that an entire auction may be designated private. For example, there is currently an auction of a piece purporting to be a ca 100 A.D. Roman statue ... in this auction, the identities of the bidders is "private" (even though bidding began at 0.99 ... as of this writing it's $3350.00 and the reserve has not yet been met) and, even more disturbing, the provenance is listed as a "privet" auction back in 1978. [I won't comment on how the drapery doesn't look quite right] The same source in the past sold a similarly-dated piece (also purporting to depict a Roman general), with similarly-listed-as-private bidders. The provenance was listed as the annual Byblos antique show "and said to be excavated at Makner in the Beckaa Valley 1972". [again, I won't comment on how the piece doesn't look quite right]

And just to show that I'm not picking solely on this particular dealer, another auction (from a New York-based seller) is currently offering a large red-figure patera as a 'buy it now' item (i.e. it isn't really an auction) listed at $950.00. The description:

South Italian, c. 350 BC. a Large Red-Figure lady of Fashion Patera. A Shallow plate with an offset rim and ring foot. in the interior a large female head facing left, wearing kekryphalos, earrings. a strand necklace and a radiate sephane. Size 9 1/2 inches diameter.(24 cm diameter). Condition.chiped on the edges. Uncleaned as found. Guaranteed Authenticity.

It almost sounds like it does have a provenance, doesn't it? But what does "uncleaned as found" mean/imply? The same source uses the same phrase in another auction ....

I could go on and on ... perhaps I should have a regular 'questionable auction of the week (day?)' feature here ...
The fashion world gets involved in the efforts to save Allianoi ... from the Turkish Daily News:

Fashion designer Esin Y'lmaz introduced her new dress design, 'Su Perisi' (Water Nymph), on Tuesday in I.zmir, created as part of broader efforts to prevent the ancient city of Allianoi from being flooded by the waters of Yortanl' Dam.

An ancient nymph statue that was unearthed in the old city of Allianoi, located in Bergama, has attracted the attention of archaeologists and provided inspiration for Y'lmaz's designs.

Y'lmaz tried out her new dress on State Opera and Ballet performer Siner Gönenç and disguised Gönenç as a nymph by decorating her in silk tulle, chiffon cloth, acrylic dye, raffia and powder.

Y'lmaz said she had always felt aware of current events happening around us as an artist as well as a human being. She noted that, although we are living in a more prosperous world, the world's ecological balances were being destroyed and resulting in poverty.

'I contribute to the struggle for the preservation of our culture through my designs and fashion shows. Thus, I designed 'Su Perisi' to raise awareness that the ancient city of Allianoi is about to be submerged by the waters of the dam. This is my way of doing something as a fashion designer,' Y'lmaz said.

Allianoi, founded during the Hellenic period and was popularized by Roman Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), was discovered during construction of a State Waterworks Authority (DSI) dam in 1995. However, the city is in danger of being submerged and lost forever to the encroaching waters of Yortanl' Dam.

Salvage excavations are being carried out at the site while national and international initiatives continue with efforts to save the unique archaeological site of Allianoi.

As part of these efforts, Europa Nostra, the pan-European federation for heritage, has sought Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's help in saving the ancient city of Allianoi from flooding.

A photo of the 'nymph' accompanies the original article ... a photo of the nymph statue is available at the Europanostra site ...
Another one to track down ... yesterday MH mentioned on the Imperial Rome list this claim, from the Star:

The term “toasting” was said to have come into being during the Roman era. The Romans customarily dropped a piece of toasted bread in wine to make it more palatable – in those days, wine had only just been discovered and could not have been very good; the carbon in burnt bread would have absorbed some of the harsher elements and would have been discarded after soaking.

The Star originates in Malaysia and, as an aside, it's one of the news sources I look at but generally avoid for Explorator because the editorial standards often seem suspect. Still, it is clear that this particular claim is well-bruited about the web. It's mentioned, e.g., in an article about toast at Interesting Thing of the Day (which is generally well-researched ... generally) and at Intowine.com, among numerous other places.

Whatever the case, this explanation doesn't seem to 'get' the non-sequitur aspect of this supposed origin tale (how do you go from putting burnt bread in a cup of wine to praising the guest of honour and raising the glass?), but can anyone cite a source for this 'custom' of putting burnt bread into wine? I mean we're already cutting the wine with water in ancient times ... when did we start putting stuff in it?
This was mentioned on a couple of lists yesterday and seems worthy of mention here ... Rick Lafleur and Mark Miner have put together a 4 cd set called Readings from Wheelock's Latin ... from Bolchazy.com's description:

A 4-CD audio package, with recitation (in Restored Classical Pronunciation)of all vocabulary and paradigms for the 40 chapters of Wheelock’s Latin, as well as dramatic readings of Sententiae Antiquae and narrative passages in the 40 chapters, and lively performances of brief representative selections from the Loci Antiqui and Loci Immutati. Wheelock’s Latin is America’s best-selling introductory college-level Latin text, with sales for the Series package (basal text, Workbook, and Reader) totalling over 50,000 copies per year; production of the proposed audio CD package is timed to coincide with release of the new 6th Edition, Revised, of the text, which, with its new hardback edition, online audio for vocabulary, and online teacher’s guide, will likely experience further growth in sales, including an expanded secondary-school market.
It's a very slow news day so here's one of the most jarring -- indeed, I wanted to put the internet acronym WTF in the subject -- howler I've seen in a while. From a piece in the Rock River Times about walnuts:

Ancient Mesopotamians planted walnut groves and harvested the wood and the nuts. In Greek mythology, the goddess Dionysus was transformed into a walnut tree after she died. And the name of the walnut comes from the ancient Romans.

Here's a better account of the story (which in the above case seems to be a case of a reporter taking notes rather carelessly) ... from the Ancient Library's online version of Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology s.v. Dion [sc. Apollo has already visited Dion and gave his daughters the gift of prophecy, with conditions, of course]:

Afterwards Diony­sus also came to the house of Dion; he was not only well received, like Apollo, but won the love of Carya, and therefore soon paid Dion a second visit, under the pretext of consecrating a temple, which the king had erected to him. Orphe and Lyco, however, guarded their sister, and when Dionysus had reminded them, in vain, of the com­mand of Apollo, they were seized with raging mad­ness, and having gone to the heights of Taygetus, they were metamorphosed into rocks. Garya, the beloved of Dionysus, was changed into a nut tree, and the Lacedaemonians, on being informed of it by Artemis, dedicated a temple to Artemis Caryatis.

On the etymological side of things, Botanical.com's page is rather more accurate ...

With all the foregoing in mind, how would one render WTF in a Latin acronym?
Father Foster has been updated early this week:

Holy Smoke!
How did the Romans celebrate the New Year? Well by holding sacrificial ceremonies on the Capitoline hill to obtain the blessings of the gods rather than by making resolutions! And exclusively to request the essential things in life such as health, prosperity and peace...

... listen
Finnia et Nationes Unitae

Postridie Idus Decembres (14.12.) quinquaginta anni acti erant, cum Finnia ad societatem Nationum Unitarum accessit.

Ad memoriam huius rei historicae celebrandam Ministerium a rebus exteris et Societas Finniae a Nationibus Unitis in urbe Helsinki caerimoniam semisaecularem instituerunt, quam inauguravit Erkki Tuomioja, minister negotiorum exterorum.

Orationem autem sollemnem fecit praesidens Finniae Tarja Halonen.

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

Also in the world of news in Latin, Ephemeris has been updated ... headline story: Benedictum XVI. ad nativitatem Christi benedictionem Apostolicam 'Urbi et Orbi' impertivisse
ante diem v kalendas januarias

? -- traditional date for Herod's massacre of the Holy Innocents

217 A.D. -- the emperor Macrinus is coopted into all the priestly colleges
masticate @ Guru.net

proclaim @ OED

couloir @ Wordsmith

cynosure @ Dictionary.com (and the name -- which continues to puzzle me -- for my father's high school's yearbook)
T'other day I was trying assorted plugins etc. to deal with Firefox's apparent problem with embedded video of various types (at this point, it seems best to open such items in IE, alas), and I found myself at Google Video doing random searches and there are some, er, interesting approaches to the ancient world out there. First (and probably best, although finding stuff on the site is less-than-intuitive), the Celebrate Greece site has a pile of stock footage that might be of use to someone .... after that, we see DeathProductions admittedly low budget dramatization of Roman Politics, which was a project for a Latin III/IV class .... Our Basement Studios has an interesting little flick called Caesar: Man, Myth, Legend which reminds me, for some reason, of the approach of many of the 'documentaries' on various channels (click on Our Films) ... last, and possibly least, is Ful-de-Saq Studios' extremely low budget Battle of Marathon: Judgement Day ...
From ninemsn:

Italian police have seized nearly 9,000 ancient artefacts from a 74-year-old pensioner who sold looted antiquities at a flea market in Rome.

Police stopped the man on Monday night and found three bags full of Etruscan and Roman pieces in his car. They also searched his house where they discovered a laboratory to clean and restore the antiquities, as well as what they described as the classic tomb raider's kit, including three metal detectors.

Among the 8,972 pieces seized were ancient terracotta vases, amphorae, masks, clay and bronze statues and parts of marble columns.

The man, whose name was not given, used to sell bric-a-brac at Rome's popular Porta Portese market. But customers in the know were offered much more prized samples from a collection "worthy of an archaeology museum", police said.

Italian police are cracking down on tomb raiding - a crime that has gone largely unchecked for centuries, with thieves regularly ransacking some of the country's most famous open-air archaeological sites.

A former curator at the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is on trial in Rome for allegedly buying and knowingly receiving dozens of looted Italian antiquities.

This just in: much more extensive coverage of the 74-year-old's capers in the Guardian.

Meanwhile, there's a HUGE article in the LA Times which is the most extensive (outside of Suzan Mazur's stuff) coverage of 'the other players' ... here's just a sidebar thing with some new (to me) names:

An elaborate network

This chart was created by J. Paul Getty Trust attorneys after a review of the museum's transactions with antiquities dealers. The diagram shows how objects originating in Italy passed through dealers and into private collections. The Getty acquired some objects from those collections and others from the dealers and their galleries. The three main dealers are highlighted:


Private collectors: Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman, along with Maurice Tempelsman, bought antiquities from Symes and Hecht, among others. The Getty acquired Tempelsman's collection in 1985 and the Fleischman holdings in 1996.


Robin Symes: London dealer who with partner Christo Michailidis courted the world's wealthiest clients.

Giacomo Medici: Convicted last year in Rome of trafficking in looted art. Italian authorities called him the mastermind of a criminal network.

Geneva's Duty-Free Zone: Xoilan Trading, an offshore firm used by antiquities dealer Robin Symes, shared a Geneva warehouse address with two of Medici's companies, Gallerie Hydra and Edition Services.

Robert Hecht: American antiquities dealer, based in Paris, whose memoir chronicles 50 years in the trade. It is now being used as evidence against him in his Rome trial.

Hecht's partners: Fritz Burki, a Swiss restorer used by Hecht and Medici, admitted to authorities that he acted as a straw man through which the dealers sold looted objects. Hecht also worked with Bruce McNall, owner of the now-defunct Summa Gallery on Rodeo Drive. The dealer later worked with Jonathan Rosen, who owned the Manhattan gallery Atlantis Antiquities.

Gianfranco Becchina: Swiss dealer who sold the Getty its famous kouros (a marble statue of a Greek warrior), believed to be a fake, and several other antiquities from his Basel gallery, Antike Kunst Palladion.

Nicolas Koutolakis: A dealer, now deceased, who worked with Becchina.

The whole thing is definitely worth reading ... it's interesting how Bruce McNall's name keeps coming up lately too ...

Sources: Getty records, Times reporting
Sigfridsson clavicen victor

Bonnae, in urbe Germaniae, certamen clavicinandi Beethovenianum positum est, cui amplius triginta iuvenes huius artis periti e diversis orbis terrarum partibus oriundi interfuerunt.

Victor huius certationis evasit Henricus Sigfridsson, clavicen Finnus unum et triginta annos natus.

Ille autem non solum palmam principalem e decreto celeberrimorum arbitrorum tulit, sed etiam praemium auditorum sibi paravit et remuneratione speciali pro musica camerali exhibita affectus est.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
ante diem vi kalendas januarias

... nothing; not even a reasonably-well-attested martyr
vitriol @ Guru.net

snivel @ Merriam-Webster (maybe/sort of)

fumarole @ Wordsmith

farinaceous @ Worthless Word for the Day

apposite @ Dictionary.com
Some time in the past couple of days, issue 4.2 of Amphora , the APA's outreach publication, was posted (pdf) ... great stuff, but still not reaching out very far methinks.
From the Chicago Tribune:

A towering statue of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius decked out in a Santa hat has become part of the festive scenery in Spring Grove.

The improbable story started a few years back when Mary Bychowski noticed the statue on a lawn in neighboring Solon Mills.

Toga clad. Mounted on a horse. And big. A good 12 feet tall.

"We'd think, what is that doing there?" said Bychowski, who lives in Spring Grove. "It was so huge. But you got used to it."

Then she returned from vacation in the summer of 2001 and found Marcus on her front lawn.

Turned out the fiberglass statue had been acquired by Neil Anderson, a longtime friend of the family, who carefully positioned the statue to look like a suitor for another of Bychowski's lawn decorations--a female figure named Caroline.

"He just gets that twinkle in his eye, and you know he's up to something," Bychowski said of Anderson.

The Roman emperor came to be known as Sir Studphen.

Love letters began appearing in Caroline's basket.

The statue finally was moved to a plot owned by Anderson in the middle of town, at Main Street Road and Blivin Street.

Now, it's become a holiday tradition for Bychowski and Anderson's wife, Patty, to dress up the emperor appropriately for the season.

... no photo, alas. Perhaps someone in the area can send one in?
Yesterday was Boxing Day in a pile of Commonwealth countries, including Canada, of course, and here's a piece which claims the holiday has Roman origins!:

By what specialty this name indicates boxing? Literal sense it is in box, let me view how this meaning came into existence.

Boxing Day celebrated or takes place on December 26th or the following Monday if December 26th falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Boxing Day, also known as the feast of St. Stephen (first Christian Martyr), also know as St. Stephen Day, who achieved eternal fame by being the first Christian to be martyred for his faith, and he met his death by stoning. Boxing Day is so called because a way for the upper class to give gifts of cash or kind deeds to those of the lower class. It was the customary for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good service throughout the year. Also, it included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, and the needy. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts given in boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to people in cheerful and great full expressions. These gifts were given in boxes, and gave the holiday, called “Boxing Day”.

St. Stephen is the patron saint of horses, so Boxing Day became associated with horse-racing and hunting. Other sports are also held on this day like football and rugby.

Saint Nicholas of Myra, the fourth-century bishop known for his boundless kindness and generosity.

Also related to the origin of Boxing Day is the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in the churches over the Christmas season. The contents of these boxes were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas.

Some say the tradition stems from Roman times when money was collected in boxes to pay for the poor in general. Amongst the ruins of Pompeii, boxes made out of edge with two slits in the top full of coins have been found. Later the Romans brought collecting boxes to Britain, and monks and clergy soon used similar boxes with money for the poor at Christmas. On the day after Christmas, the priests open the boxes and distribute the contents to the poor of the village. Thus this act is called Boxing Day.


... something seems to have been lost in translation on this one, but has anyone ever the equivalent of 'alms boxes' from Pompeii?
From the Republican:

As the war in Iraq continues, so does the stream of soldiers returning home.

With that in mind, and remembering how many Vietnam War veterans were given a cold greeting by the American public on their return from duty, Hampshire College professor Robert E. Meagher is organizing a four-week program of speakers, film documentaries, a play and photo exhibit beginning at the end of March. It's called "Nostoi - Stories of War and Return: From Troy to Iraq."

"As a society, we have to listen to our veterans and find how to create a community that unites a community that is divided by the war," Meagher said Friday. "We can't be a community divided over welcoming the veterans who fought in the war."

Meagher, who teaches ancient epic drama and religion, is using ancient literature, particularly stories from the Trojan War, as a central theme in the project. He said Homer's "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad" have been used by therapists and others to help war veterans talk about their experiences, with "The Odyssey" addressing the return home from war and "The Iliad" about war itself.

"What I have found is that ancient stories can provoke our stories," Meagher said.

Veterans from Iraq are not only returning home to families and jobs, they're returning to local college campuses. Meagher said there are about 200 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts attending classes at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In many cases, these students are shunned by other students because they've gone to war, Meagher said.

"We're facing this issue right now," he said. "What we need in the valley is compassion to endure this together. Only by listening will we understand."

At least a dozen national speakers are scheduled to participate in the program, which should begin the last week in March and continue for about four weeks. Speakers will include veterans, educators, a psychiatrist, a poet, military professionals, a journalist, an author and a playwright. Six documentaries dealing with veterans returning from war will also be shown, along with a play performed by Hampshire College students, and an exhibit of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos of Iraq.

Hampshire is collaborating with the Veterans Education Project, the other four colleges in the Five College system, the American Friends Service Committee, Five Colleges Incorporated, Greenfield Community College and Holyoke Community College.

Sponsorships for the project are being sought. Anyone who would like to contribute to the program can contact Meagher at rmeagher@hampshire.edu

A partial list of speakers is available at www.hampshire.edu

"This is completely nonpartisan," Meagher said. "The aim is to get people together, no matter whether they're pro-war or anti-war, and to bring them together into the same room and discuss how we can get this right."

... and yes, Jonathan Shay is among the speakers listed at the (non-Firefox friendly) website.
From AGI:

The latest success of the Carabinieri team in charge of the protection of artworks: the return to Italy of the Renaissance bust of Traiano in white marble and two paintings by Andrea Appiani from 1784. The sculpture and paintings were presented today by Carabinieri on occasion of the annual budget of thefts and recoveries of artworks. The bust, stolen from the Capitoline Museums in Rome, was recognized by Carabinieri in the catalogues of the New York auction house Christie's. It was on sale as an archaeological find from the Imperial era for a value of between 250 and 300 thousand dollars, almost ten times its value as estimated by experts, entrusted to the house by an Austrian collector. The two canvases had been located in the Brancaccio castle in the San Gregorio da Sassola municipality near Roma, and depict "Veneus and Adonis" and "Venus and Mars". They had been stolen during restoration work in the castle between 1994 and 1999 and retraced also in the catalogue of Christie's, on sale for between 30 thousand and 50 thousand dollars from a Californian collector. Among the most important recoveries from 2005, a special mention goes to the valuable antiquarian furniture in the royal palace at Stupinigi in Turin, hundreds of findings from an operation called Mozart in honour of the Country (Austria) where bona fide illegal museums were found, and thousands of items found in Nervesa della Battaglia, including a bronze disc from the III century B.C., as well as the findings restored in November from the Getty Museum in Malibu', the crater of Asteas, a funerary stela and a bronze Etruscan candelabra.
... of St. Andrew's is the latest scholar to be featured at MH's Roman Scholars site ...
Interesting (and lengthy) post about Yourcenar's views of Hadrian over at the Livejournal Classics blog ...
The incipit of a piece in the International Herald Tribune:

The question is simple enough: Which wine did you serve on Christmas Day? But the answer is far from straightforward, for your choice of wine is laden with meaning. Is it from the Old or New World? Does it emphasize fruit over terroir? Did you have to put your name down on a boutique winery's exclusive waiting list to get hold of it? And, of greatest importance to many wine buffs, what score did Robert Parker, the world's most influential wine critic, give your chosen bottle on his famed 100-point scale?

Most of us don't worry like this about our choice of beer or coffee. But wine is the king of drinks and the drink of kings, unique in its association with status. A wine's rank is expected to correspond to both drinker and occasion: An inappropriate choice of wine reflects badly upon the host, and an apparently straightforward choice thus becomes a social minefield.

But do not blame Robert Parker; blame the Romans. The contemporary obsession with obscure grape varieties, arcane vocabulary and suspiciously precise numerical scales is merely the latest incarnation of a tradition with deep historical roots. Millenniums ago, in beer-drinking Egypt and Mesopotamia, scarcity and high cost limited the consumption of wine to the elite and made it a status symbol. But by the Roman period, production of wine had so increased that even slaves could drink it. That meant that simply drinking wine was no longer a sign of status, so distinctions among wines became far more important.

The Romans were the first to use wine as a finely calibrated social yardstick - and thus inaugurated centuries of wine snobbery. Drinkers at a Roman banquet might be served different wines depending on their positions in society. Pliny the Younger, writing in the late first century A.D., described a dinner at which the host and his friends were served fine wine, second-rate wine was served to other guests, and third-rate wine was served to former slaves.

Falernian, a wine grown in the Italian region of Campania, was generally agreed to be the finest wine of the Roman period. Parker's Roman predecessors decreed that its best vintage was that of 121 B.C.; it was served to the emperor Caligula in A.D. 39, though by then it was probably undrinkable. In the second century A.D., Galen of Pergamum, personal doctor to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, prescribed Falernian for medicinal use, on the ground that the finer the wine, the greater its curative properties.

... the rest goes on to talk about later wine snobbery ...
Not technically a Classicist, but I was struck by this Telegraph obit of Harold Lawton for various reasons ... excerpts:

Professor Harold Lawton, who died on Christmas Eve aged 106, was an authority on 16th- and 17th-century literature in France, and is thought to have been the last surviving Allied soldier captured on the Western Front.

Lawton crossed the Channel in March 1918 and was sent to join the 4th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, in reinforcing the line at Bethune after a Portuguese battalion had been overwhelmed by a German artillery barrage at Armentières.

When he arrived the situation was chaotic, with the trenches little more than shallow scrapes, so that he and the other new arrivals had to dig in. When the Germans infiltrated their lines, outflanked them and swept past, Lawton and six comrades were cut off for several days without food, ammunition or orders. Eventually the Germans returned, and they had no option but to surrender.

That night, the seven prisoners were put in a wire cage, and taken through Lille. The townspeople were hungry themselves, but they came out and tried to give them bread. It was a kindness that Lawton never forgot. He was incarcerated in a fortress known as the Black Hole of Lille, where hundreds of men were crammed into cells, and had to sleep on wooden shelves. The sanitary conditions were appalling, and many died from wounds, dysentery and influenza.

Lawton was reported missing, believed killed, and it was some time before he was able to write home. Eventually, he was moved to Limburg, Westphalia, and then to a PoW camp at Minden, from which he was released after the Armistice was signed in November. Even then he did not feel entirely safe. During the return to England, in a captured German vessel, the captain told Lawton that there were still mines in the North Sea, and that if the ship was hit, the passengers were to assemble on deck - assuming that it was still there.


On being discharged he studied French at the University of Wales, Bangor, and after obtaining an MA (Honours) in 1921 was granted a fellowship two years later. Lawton then went to the University of Paris, where he prepared a doctorate on Latin and French Renaissance literature under Henri Chamard, one of the first teachers of Renaissance French literature in France, just as Lawton was himself to become one of the first in England.

His thesis, Térence en France au XVIe siècle: éditions et traductions, was on the diffusion and influence of the Second-century BC Latin playwright Publius Terentius Afer. Describing and analysing all the surviving printed editions of Terence's comedies, this was an example of the massive doctoral dissertations then expected. Much later he discovered that a continental reprint house had reissued it in 1970 without his permission, on the specious excuse that he was probably dead; he was then able to have printed the previously unpublished second volume, studying the imitation of Terence in France.


When hostilities broke out again in 1939, Lawton became a special constable while continuing his work at the university and beginning a series of talks to British soldiers and airmen on the French people and customs. As a result, he later discovered that his name was on a Nazi "wanted" list.

Lawton's first major publication after the war was his Handbook of French Renaissance Dramatic Theory (1949), an anthology of essential texts in Latin and French. Later, following Chamard's publication of the collected poems of Du Bellay, he also produced a valuable student edition of selected poems for English undergraduate use (1961), including a selection of the Latin poems (students were still expected to be competent in Latin).

From 1950 he held the chair of French at Sheffield University, where he remained until his retirement, becoming increasingly involved in university administration as dean of Arts and pro-vice-chancellor. A keen composer of occasional limericks, he would while away duller moments at committee meetings doing vivid caricatures of those present, such as Sir Hugh Casson.

As well as his continuing interest in classical antiquity and its revival in the Renaissance, Lawton also had a strong Anglican commitment, and his unpublished output included sermons delivered in French in the French church at Southampton. His ability as a public speaker and lecturer in French and in English, as well as his skill as a competent committee man with a subversive sense of humour, are brought out in the introduction to his festschrift Studies in French Literature, presented to be him in 1968.

After retiring in 1964 Lawton spent 15 years on Anglesey where he and his wife enjoyed beachcombing, walking and sketching. They travelled frequently to France, where his love for the French, their language and cuisine was reciprocated by the granting of the Médaille d'Argent de la Reconnaissance Française, and his appointment as an Officier d'Académie and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

Bessie Lawton died in 1991. After moving to Kent and, most recently, to Rutland, to be near his daughter, Lawton retained a strong interest in current and local affairs. He was reading Harry Potter in French at 103, and continued to do The Daily Telegraph crossword and drink a glass of malt whisky daily.
Piles of stuff about the Museum Case and matters spinning off therefrom over the past few days ... First, a piece from Reuters :

Italy is close to a deal with New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art on the return of disputed antiquities in the latest chapter of a saga that has turned a spotlight on the international trade in stolen art.

Italy's Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione said on Friday that talks with Met Director Philippe de Montebello about an ancient bowl and silverware that Italians say were looted had taken a significant "step forward".

"An agreement with the Metropolitan is reasonably likely," Buttiglione said at a news conference.

"The museum's board is due to give us a reply by January."

The Met's negotiations with Italy are being closely watched by the international art world because authorities have accused another eight U.S. museums, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Los Angeles' Getty Museum, of owning stolen antiquities.

Buttiglione unveiled on Friday the three latest looted works returned from the United States: a giant head of Roman Emperor Trajan, dating from the 15th century, and two 18th century paintings by Andrea Appiani. Both were seized by U.S. customs officials at Christie's auction house in New York.

To date, the Getty has felt the fullest force of Italy's assault on the illegal art trade with a former curator, Marion True, standing trial in Rome on charges she conspired with dealers trafficking in stolen antiquities.

Buttiglione said he wanted the Met to return to Italy two of the most prized works in its antiquities collection: 3rd century B.C. silverware from Sicily's Morgantina site and the Euphronios krater, a red-figured vase from the 6th century B.C.

The Met's de Montebello has said he is ready to return the art works if they were found to have been looted. He had requested proof of the Italian provenance of the pieces and said the board also needed to approve the decision, Buttiglione said.

For many of the other disputed works in the Met's collection Italy has suggested an extended loan of longer than a decade.

"We recognise that the United States is poor in terms of antiquities," Buttiglione said.

Tomb raiders have looted antiquities in Italy for centuries but Buttiglione has spearheaded an aggressive campaign to have returned art works stolen after 1939. Italy passed a law in that year stating that ancient artefacts from digs belong to the state.

Antiquities excavated after 1939 can only leave the country on loan. Italy had recovered 27,000 stolen artefacts in 2005, including three disputed works from the Getty Museum, an increase of 50 percent on the previous year, Buttiglione said.

Meanwhile, Suzan Mazur continues her excellent series in Scoop with an interview with Oscar White Muscarella, who clearly has an ax to grind with the Met ... the New York Times reports on Italy's "going on the offensive" with antiquities ...
The incipit of Vox Day's column at WorldNet Daily:

Men do not rest content with parrying the attacks of a superior, but often strike the first blow to prevent the attack being made. And we cannot fix the exact point at which our empire shall stop; we have reached a position in which we must not be content with retaining but must scheme to extend it, for, if we cease to rule others, we are in danger of being ruled ourselves. Nor can you look at inaction from the same point of view as others, unless you are prepared to change your habits and make them like theirs."

– Alcibiades before the Athenian Assembly, 416 B.C.

It is written that there is nothing new under the sun. Some 2,421 years ago, a politician convinced a powerful democracy that in order to defend itself from an enemy that had attacked it, it was necessary to attack an enemy that had not attacked it. In the event that the analogy I am drawing here is not immediately apparent to the reader, the relevant comparisons are Athens to America, al Qaida plus Saudi Arabia plus Iran to Sparta, and Iraq to Syracuse.

Like Alcibiades before him, George Bush has staked his entire strategy on the idea that Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis are all burning to breathe free, assuming that breathing free is equivalent to a strictly limited democracy subject to constitutional power-sharing enforced by foreign arms. That the current situation is vastly preferable to living under a murderous dictatorship is undeniable, however, this is not to say that any of the so-called Iraqis who identify with one of the three major factions – or others, such as the various nomadic tribes and so forth – will be content with the new order established by America and her willing coalition.

... the rest
From the Standard-Times:

Bruce Cobbold claims that he decided to translate Vergil's "Aeneid" "just for the fun of it."
The "Aeneid," the Roman epic poem that takes up where Homer's "Iliad" leaves off, isn't often considered a walk in the park. But Mr. Cobbold, who was raised and schooled in England and is the chair of the Classics Department at Tabor Academy in Marion, likes a good story and the Aeneid, he says, is a real "yarn."
"I wanted the translation to maintain a feeling that the 'Aeneid' is a story," says Mr. Cobbold, who has taught Latin and Greek at Tabor for some 30 years.
And that's why, he adds, he thought he would treat the epic about the founding of Rome "as though it were a novel."
What he knew from the start, however, is that if his translation were to read like a real page-turner, it would have to be written in prose, albeit a prose that uses poetic devices, like alliteration, whenever appropriate.
The result is a handsome paperback that includes an outline of the story, a timeline of significant events in Roman history, family trees, and lists of discussion questions and main characters. The book is also nicely illustrated throughout with contemporary drawings.
Although Mr. Cobbold has published a couple of books before -- on Greek and Roman history -- for Tabor freshmen, "Vergil's Aeneid" is his first crack at translation.
"Every generation needs its new translations," he said, explaining that translation is more than a matter of looking up words in a dictionary and then finding their equivalent, as he makes clears in the book's introductory Notes on the Translation.
For example, he explains in that essay that he "tried to use language that is up-to-date without being colloquial."
Most of all, however, translation takes time and, thanks to his returning to the classroom a few years ago after a stint as director of academics at Tabor, he was once again free to pursue his own projects in the summer.
The translation may have begun with his just "wanting to see what would happen" if he tried his hand at his own version, but it wound up taking two full summers and parts of the winter. Nonetheless, it was clearly a labor of love.
The "Aeneid" begins with the fall of Troy and recapitulates some of what happened in the "Iliad," but Vergil adds a good deal, Mr. Cobbold says, like the wonderful relationship between Aeneas, the leader of the Trojans, and Dido, the Carthaginian queen who commits suicide when the hero abandons her.
That tragic relationship alone, he notes, has spawned operas and plays that have made the the duo known to poetry lovers around the globe.
Vergil's tale follows Aeneas and the Trojans as they wander the Mediterranean in search of a new homeland in Italy, where they are destined to found the state that later will become Rome.
Mr. Cobbold enjoys all of the epic's digressions and its many sketches of individual characters, as well as Vergil's flashes of humor now and then -- "even though he's a Roman."
Mr. Cobbold, who also directs one play a year at Tabor, likes to introduce students to the pleasures of classical literature and drama. In the past, he's directed student productions of Aristophanes, an adaptation of "Medea" as a Japanese Noh drama, and a version of "Antigone" by Jean Anouilh, the 20th century French dramatist.
"I've always been interested in how you do Greek drama," Mr. Cobbold says, explaining his eclectic choices.
"The classics are more alive here than in England," he adds, pointing to the growing numbers of students taking courses in Greek and Latin at Tabor. "In England now you don't have to study Latin," he said, amazed at the changes in the curriculum.
Students at Tabor, he thinks, "enjoy the mechanics of the language because its so logical." And the numbers seem to support his contention that the classics are alive and well here on the SouthCoast. Ten of his former students have gone on to major in classics at the college level in the last 15 years.
One particularly outstanding example is the young lady who, after four years of Latin and one semester of Greek, did a double major in classics and biology at Colby College, and then went on to earn her Ph.D. in classics at Oxford University.
Now that "Vergil's Aeneid" is in the bookstores, Mr. Cobbold was asked by his publisher to work on a new edition of "Tales from the Greek Drama," a book of extended plot summaries of three tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and two comedies.
Excerpts from a piece from the LA Times:

When Saddam Hussein was in power, Adil Kadhim would rise at 6 each morning in his cramped apartment, set a pot of water on the stove for tea, and begin writing.

His work, like that of all authors, had to pass regime censors. One of his television series was an allegory about power, and made it to the screen by being set in 1950s Baghdad rather than in the later Baathist era. A television movie sang the praises of the Iraqi army, and another script used Julius Caesar rather than Hussein to describe the life of a dictator. These innocuous and popular shows made Kadhim one of the best-known theatrical writers in Iraq.

But the work dearest to his heart he stuffed into drawers. Much of it drew together figures from East and West, a motif viewed with suspicion by the regime. In one play he put on trial several notorious figures, including Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden, who in the name of purifying humanity commit heinous acts. In another, an Iraqi woman who murdered her husband shares a prison cell with two heroines of Greek tragedy, Electra and Antigone, and the three discuss the men who led to their ruin.


In one case, he was compelled to transform one of his antiwar short stories into a glorification of the Iraqi army.

"In the original story, I told of a little boy of 3 or 4 years old. His whole village, in a mountain valley, was killed in the Iraq-Iran war but he survived and … was raised by wolves.

"Both sides of the valley were planted with land mines, because both the Iraqis and the Iranians were trying to protect their territory. But this little boy knew the location of the land mines, so he destroyed them by throwing stones at them so that they wouldn't kill the wolves….

"All day long the Iraqi and Iranian helicopters were growling up and down the valley. And both … saw the child as their enemy because he was detonating the land mines they had set up to protect themselves.

"I wanted to concentrate on this symbolism — that even the wolves rejected the state of war. And the valley was the property of the wolves, it was their nation."

Hussein's regime had something else in mind. The government wanted a movie about a boy who becomes an orphan when the Iranian army raids his border village. He survives in the company of wild animals until an Iraqi army unit finds him and adopts him as a mascot.

Kadhim looked away as he spoke. "They made me adapt my story to … give the Iraqi army humane motivations. The Iraqi army was involved in producing the film, and they shot it somewhere near the Iraq-Iran border," he said, shrugging as if to disown the revised tale. He then added: "I was so relieved that it was never shown on television. It was only given a private screening. It was such a big dose of propaganda."

The story's original version was never published. It remains as relevant as ever, Kadhim believes, because it reaches across the East-West divide.

Versions of the story date to the 12th century in North Africa and Persia, he said, and "you in the West have this story too: In Roman mythology, the twins, Romulus and [Remus] are raised by wolves and then they found the city of Rome."


Now, Kadhim has turned to inventing his own heroic figures. The play he has just finished writing, one that he started years ago and stuffed into a drawer, takes a classic story and reshapes it to illuminate Iraq's latest trauma: an American invasion that echoes so many others in this ancient land.

'Tragedy of War'

The play adapts the legend of Don Juan, bringing him together with three other characters from East and West, past and present: Abu Nuwas, a Muslim poet of the 8th and 9th century, known for his romantic writing; a present-day Iraqi soldier, who is an uneducated everyman; and the ancient Greek mythological figure Pygmalion, who fell in love with a statue he carved of a beautiful woman and wished it would come to life.

In Kadhim's play, the four men fall in love with the same woman. Each man sees her as the center of his life. In the second act, the beautiful woman is pregnant and about to deliver.

"She begins to scream in everyone's face … all the men try to help her deliver the infant. But to what does she give birth? She gives birth to soldiers' helmets: first a German soldier's helmet with a swastika; the second helmet is British with a British flag from the time that they ruled Iraq; and then the old helmet of the Roman Empire; and then another helmet, with an American flag; and then one with the Iraqi flag," Kadhim said.

"She is giving birth to helmets, which are symbols of war, as if this beautiful woman was not there for love but to create war.

"In all my recent stories, both the attacker and the people attacked are living the tragedy of war and are trapped. The American soldier is here for months; he dreams of going back to his family. And also the Iraqi people wish the Americans would leave them — so in a way they are dreaming the same dream," Kadhim said.
Interesting tome which was just put online: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (trans. by Maximilian A. Müggearly), Early Greek Philosophy and Other Essays. (there are a lot of blank pages at the beginning ... it's not your computer). Lots of little essays, prefaces, and 'fragments' of unfinished work ...
The incipit of a piece from the Jerusalem Post:

Four senior scientists will be admitted on Tuesday to the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities at a ceremony in Beit Hanassi. Over Hanukka, new members are inducted by the president of Israel, who formally appoints them.

The academy is the most senior body in Israeli science. Established in 1961, it serves as the government's science adviser and aims to promote scientific research and development in the natural and social sciences.

The new members are: Prof. Margalit Finkelberg, head of classical studies at Tel Aviv University. Born in Minsk in 1947, she came on aliya in 1975 and received her Ph.D. at the Hebrew University. She has an international reputation in the fields of literature and religion in ancient Greece.


Lots of refs to MF on the web of course ... an interesting article by her She turns about in the same spot and watches for Orion': Ancient Criticism and Exegesis of Od. 5.274 = Il. 18.488
from GRBS 44 (2004).
Latest official description:

Our “Latin Lover” is never at a loss for words even when it comes to translating that familiar ho!ho!ho! that Father Christmas was so fond of muttering. But what he really enjoys during this festive season is the sound of a good Gregorian chant. One he regales us with over the “undas aereas”...

... listen ...

[as an aside, our Grade Eights rewrote 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and performed them in front of the school just before the break ... they rewrote them with the idea that each teacher they had in the past had given them 'something' ... "On the fifth day of Christmas Mr. Meadows gave to me ... five weeks of monk music" ... love Gregorian Chant in the classroom]
De moribus nataliciis Europaeis

Mores sollemnnia natalicia Christi celebrandi in diversis Europae terris aliquatenus inter se differunt.

Germani calendaria antenatalicia in deliciis habent, in quibus viginti quattuor munuscula insunt.

Britannorum magni interest, ut, priusquam pace natalicia frui incipiant, orationem reginae decem minutas durantem audiant.

Quod ad Nederlandiam pertinet, multae familiae vigilia nativitatis Domini in ecclesiam proficiscuntur et die natali Christi ad cenam sollemnem congregantur.

In Italia, ubi tempus natalicium inde a die octavo mensis Decembris usque ad festum trium regum extenditur, maximum symbolum festi nativitatis Domini est praesepe, quod variis figuris manu factis refercitur.

Puer in Bethlehem natus ibidem ultimus ponitur idque paulo post mediam noctem sacram fieri solet.

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

... and for more Latin news, be sure to check out Ephemeris!
... as the subject says, posting will resume tomorrow ... I might get Explorator out tomorrow as well, but will (more likely) have a double issue next weekend ... piles of stuff to wade through this a.m.. Happy holidays!
JS sent this one in (thanks!) ... a possibly doorworthy episode of Frazzz:

As folks might suspect, posts to rc will be somewhat erratic for the next couple of days ... I'll post when I can, but plan to be away from the computer quite a bit.
4.00 p.m. |DISCU| The Real Mary Magdalene
As a reformed prostitute, Mary Magdalene has become an icon for the virtues of forgiveness. Experts peel away the layers of mistaken identity and explore the role of women in Mary's lifetime to show that she may not have been a prostitute at all.

5.00 p.m. |DISCU| King Herod: Madman or Murderer?
Herod's role in the birth of Jesus is fleeting. In a fit of anger over the purported birth of the "King of the Jews," texts say that he ordered the slaughter of all boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and younger. Scholars examine recent evidence.

7.00 p.m. |HISTU| The History of Christmas F
ascinating story of how the bawdy Roman Saturnalia, a week-long festival of food and drink that culminated on December 25, became the centerpiece of the Christian year, and why the holiday is known as much for shopping as the birth of Christ. Interviews with experts, harried bargain hunters, and excited children round out the program.

7.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Early Years
Explore the strange fables that surround Jesus' birth. Follow the childhood and early adult years of Jesus using a first century living museum newly opened in Nazareth. Find out why Jesus began his mission and why he chose to live his life the way he did.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Lost Youth of Jesus
Thousands of Christians make pilgrimages to the Holy Land yearly to visit sites connected to Jesus. But are they authentic? The search for the historical Jesus began with the first pilgrim--Constantine the Great's mother Helena Augusta. Scholars have been trying to prove--or disprove--her amazing claims ever since. Traveling to Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Sepphoris in the footsteps of Jesus, we run into heated debate about where he was born, baptized, and grew up, and reveal startling new discoveries.

8.00 p.m. |DISCU| The Mission
Learn how Jesus carried out his ministry as a healer and exorcist and how his taste for parties with undesirable guests became an attack on religious authorities. Follow him to Jerusalem and see how dangerous it was for him during the Passover Festival.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| From Galilee to Jerusalem
Following in the footsteps of Jesus, we dig for the truth behind "accepted" Holy Land sites and review archaeological controversy about these important religious places. We examine: an Israeli scholar's 1987 discovery of the lost city of Bethsaida, where Jesus called his first disciples, healed a blind man, and fed the multitudes; a boat on the Galilee's shoreline dating to the time of Jesus; a house in Capernaum that may have belonged to St. Peter; and the possible grave of Lazarus.

9.00 p.m. |DISCU| The Last Days
Look at the last days of Jesus' life: the Last Supper; the Mount of Olives where he prayed and sweat blood; and the trial where he is condemned for blasphemy. Explore what may have accounted for his resurrection and find out what he may have looked like.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Way of the Cross
The search for evidence of Jesus's life moves to Jerusalem and the traditional sites associated with his final days. Deep beneath the city, we explore the buried remains of Herod's temple and tread a pavement where Jesus may have walked. Delving into the mysterious histories of the Cenacle Room, Gethsemane, and the Roman Praetorium, we investigate the latest archaeological theories concerning probable sites of Jesus's last supper, arrest, and trial. Does science support or refute biblical accounts?

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Mysteries of Golgotha
Recounting the final footsteps in the life of Jesus, we explore the traditional sites of his crucifixion and burial. Does the Church of the Holy Sepulcher truly contain the Rock of Calvary and the tomb of Jesus, or could the Garden Tomb be the authentic site? We investigate the most recent archaeological evidence and learn how it may finally answer this fascinating question.
ante diem x kalendas januarias

Saturnalia continues (day 7)

Larentalia -- a funerary ritual at the purported tomb of Acca Larentia, who was the wife of the shepherd who found Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she-wolf.

rites in honour of the Tempestates, which seems to be a Latin translation of the Punic divinity 'Ba'al of the skies' (i.e. this was a divinity taken over by the Romans, probably during the Punic Wars)

179 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of Diana and A Temple of Juno Regina in the Campus Martius by M. Aemilius Lepidus

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of the Ten Martyrs of Crete
resuscitation @ OED

vociferous @ Dictionary.com

... and of course, it's always worth paying a visit to Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies feature ...
From the Athens News comes this interesting piece:

How degraded is public discourse in America?

Badly enough that a comedian, Jon Stewart, has to be the one to warn us about it.

And badly enough that Ohio University is working on a grant-funded plan to teach students how to discuss hot issues without hollering insults.

In the proposal that won OU a $100,000 "Difficult Dialogues" grant from the Ford Foundation, the authors cite with approval the October 2004 appearance by Stewart, host of the political spoof program "The Daily Show," on CNN's "Crossfire."

The comic made headlines when he politely informed the show's reigning pundits that their bellowing, finger-jabbing travesty of political discussion was "hurting America."

David Descutner, OU associate provost and dean of University College, agrees. OU's new Difficult Dialogues program, he said, will help teach students a model for discussing tough political and social issues that's better than the one employed on pundit shows.

"Right now, it's name-calling," Descutner said. Many undergraduates report that when they discuss sensitive topics with other students, he added, they feel inhibited from open conversation, fearing that they may trigger an angry response.

"They don't say what they want to say, they don't ask the questions they want to ask, and consequently they don't learn from each other," he said.

OU's grant proposal laments that many students "have never in their lives participated or even witnessed a spirited public discussion of a disputed topic in which participants treated opposing ideas with serious intellectual respect," or tried to learn something from their opponents' arguments.

Instead of taking this approach, the proposal maintains, students today tend to either mimic the "unproductive rhetorical gamesmanship" they see on TV, or wash their hands of public dialogue as a nasty business altogether.

Enter Steve Hays, associate professor of classics and world religions. Hays will act as "principle investigator" in OU's version of the "Difficult Dialogues" initiative. Along with colleagues from his own department, African-American Studies and University College, he will try to teach students a more productive way to argue about the things that really count.

Not surprisingly for a classics professor, Hays looks to that timeless moderator, Socrates, for guidance. In dialogues recorded by Plato, Socrates prods the members of group discussions to explain their opinions, and then subjects every argument to deep inspection with the aid of the group. Hays said this approach provides an alternative to "the model of discourse as combat, in which the point is to vanquish the opponent."

The whole point of the Socratic method, he added, is that it helped the philosopher himself -- who was forever insisting on his own ignorance -- to a better understanding of the issues he raised.

"It sharpened his own thinking," Hays noted. "The primary challenge is to persuade people that the purpose of dialogue is to make progress towards intellectual clarity. And that requires a willingness to change your own views."

Hays argued that if the academy doesn't teach people how to conduct a productive, civilized debate, they probably won't learn it anywhere else. He warned, however, that for civilized discussion to take place, participants do have to accept a few ground rules, one of the most important being that no established authority can be invoked to trump the findings of rational debate.

The university, he noted, is "a historic institution," which came into existence partly to challenge the intellectual status quo, and the academic's working attitude should be one of open-minded skepticism.

"From the very beginning, universities have always refused to say, "Well, if the pope says it, it must be,'" Hays argued. "Everything is open to challenge on the basis of reason. If you don't want that, don't come to a university."

Without any particular method, Hays has been pushing the gospel of flexible, rational discourse for years. He learned by doing, in the course of teaching classes with titles like "Love in Antiquity" and "Human Aspirations Among the Greeks and Romans."

In the former, his students had to grapple with the implications of the fact that for Socrates, the beautiful concept of "Eros" often seemed to entail a strong attraction to comely young men. In the latter, they had to learn to approach the Christian Bible -- whatever their personal religious beliefs -- as one more historical text, with no special claim to divine authority.

What he hopes students can come to realize, Hays said, is that the reason discussion of important topics tends to get heated is that the topics are important, and trying to understand them can be frustrating.

"The reason we get so angry talking about justice is, none of us knows what it is," he suggested.

Hays admitted that, while militant certainty can be a major obstacle to discussion, timidity disguised as civility can kill a debate just as dead. "This is what I grew up with in the South -- and oh, I hated it -- 'It is always polite to agree with the other person,'" he recalled.

As part of its involvement in the two-year Ford project, OU will offer a three-day camp to show incoming freshmen how to argue in a civilized, productive way, and will also create "diverse residential learning communities" where students can put these new skills into practice. In addition, the university will develop three new permanent courses specifically designed to impart the intellectual skills that help such dialogues happen.

These are skills that are always useful, Hays suggested, and may be needed now more than ever.

"I think it's just a feature of American life, and maybe just of all human life, that there are difficult topics to talk about," he said.
There seems to be an historical Jesus debate/trialogue between Larry Hurtado, John Kloppenborg, and Alan Segal going on over at Slate ....
The latest image of Jesus appearing in an incongruent context appears to be one in a "nacho warming pan" in Florida ... actually, it kind of looks like a garden gnome.

... as long as we're talking simulacra, About.com's News and Issues guide has a lengthy piece on Veronica's Veil, which includes the following:

According to Catholic Online, Veronica kept the veil and discovered its curative properties. It’s said that she cured Emperor Tiberius (of what it doesn’t say) with the veil, then left it in the care of Pope Clement (the fourth Pope) and his successors. Supposedly, it’s been in their hands ever since, kept under lock and key in the Basilica of St. Peter. It is listed among the Basilica’s many treasured relics.

Heinrich Pfeiffer, professor of Christian art history at the Vatican’s Gregorian University, says that the veil in St. Peter’s is only a copy, however. The original, he says, mysteriously disappeared from Rome in 1608 and that the Vatican has been passing off copies as the original to avoid disappointing pilgrims who come to see it at its annual display. It is Pfeiffer who claims to have rediscovered the authentic veil in a Capuchin monastery in the tiny village of Manoppello, Italy.

Not sure how I missed this story before, but it does appear to be all over the web ... Inside the Vatican has a lengthy report ... another source suggests the find was actually made back in 1999, so I guess I'll be forgiven for missing it.
My fellow Canucks will be familiar with Don Murray's bearded mug on the CBC ... today he has penned at that selfsame CBC site the following (and I'm not quite sure what the inspiration is; it sort of hints at issues which are being mentioned in the current Canadian election but never actually mentions it) under the headline Carpe Diem:

We are talking about Rome, where the concept of the halftime show was not only developed but almost immediately reached the heights of gruesome bad taste, and where even poets knew the value of money.

Forget the hockey game: a mere three hours and very little blood. How pale that looks in comparison to a day, a whole day, of carnage at the Colisseum. The morning began with warmup bouts between, say, a bull and an elephant, followed, perhaps, by a match between a rhinoceros and a buffalo. Then hunters entered the arena to slay herds of gazelles while spectators chatted under the sun.

Midday was intermission – time for the Roman equivalent of a hot dog and a beer. No insipid cheerleaders and marching bands for these halftime shows. Instead, the authorities chose this time to organize public executions in the arena, often dressing up the condemned criminals as famous villains or doomed characters from mythology – just to add an artistic touch.

Then an exciting afternoon watching the gladiators in single combat. A long, satisfying day but not yet over. Under the Emperor Domitian there was more blood to be spilled even after the sun set. Female gladiators did battle with dwarves by torchlight. The Romans could hardly complain they didn't get their money's worth.

But, of course, they did. The Romans were just as obsessed with getting and spending as we are. The poet Horace laid down the golden rule about money: 'si possis recte, si non, quocumque modo rem.' If you can, get it by fair means. If not, by any means at all.

Let us not get the wrong idea about Horace. He was not a grasping, Scrooge-like soul. He wasn't even particularly ambitious; he turned down a well-paid job as the emperor's secretary. He did, however, understand the customs and desires of the time. And he wasn't hesitant about offering advice: 'sapias, vina liques, … carpe diem, quam mininum credula postero.' Be wise, strain your wine…seize the day, trusting as little as possible in tomorrow.

But few were wise at this time of year in Rome. It was the winter solstice, the time of Saturnalia. And the winter solstice, under the old Julian calendar, fell on Dec. 25. It was a time for sacrifices and feasting. The sacrifices were to the god Saturnus, the patron of seed and sowing. The harvest was in and the new crop had been planted. Now it was time to enjoy oneself.

And so, as far back as 217 BC, after a sacrifice at the temple of Saturn, there was a public banquet. A century and a half later, the public banquet had become a seven-day blowout. The first emperor, Augustus Caesar, tried to limit the festival to three days. Caligula caved in to public demand and extended the partying to five days.

It was the most popular holiday among the Romans, although it provoked differing reactions among the intelligentsia. "The best of days", one pleasure-loving poet wrote. "The whole mob has let itself go and is devoting itself to pleasure", sniffed a philosopher.

It was a time for parties, visits to friends and gift-giving. Public gambling was tolerated, even by slaves. And they weren't required to work. Indeed, in many families the social order was temporarily inverted. A so-called Lord of Misrule was chosen, slaves treated as equals, allowed to wear the clothing of the masters and mistresses, and even waited on at meals. All this was designed to recall a golden age ushered in by the rather democratic god.

In this time of good cheer, the customary greeting was "Io, Saturnalia". ('Io' was pronounced 'Yo').

Thus it went, down through the years. "For how many years shall this festival endure!," cried the happy Roman writer Statius. "Never shall age destroy so holy a day. While the hills of Latium remain and father Tiber, while Rome stands, it shall continue." That was in the first century AD.

By the fourth century, with Christianity the dominant religion in the Roman world, there were other rites to celebrate – the birth of a child in Bethlehem. And there was a made-to-order period in which to celebrate it. Saturnalia was quietly dropped from the schedule and Christmas seamlessly took its time slot.

Yo, Saturnalia.
From the ANA comes this:

Greece's first overseas archaeological institute, set to operate in Rome, will open its doors in late January 2006, the government reiterated on Thursday.

Similar state-supported institutes are planned for Cyprus, the Ukraine, Albania, Alexandria and Romania, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis said on Thursday, during a briefing of reporters.

Meanwhile, in response to a relevant question, Tatoulis referred to a second letter received by the government from the US-based Getty Museum, following Athens' demand for the return of four ancient artifacts held by the museum, items believed to have been illegally excavated and shipped out of the country.

He said Athens' next steps in its case for the artifacts will be determined next month.

I've always wondered why Greece (and Italy) never seemed to have such institutes (does Italy have such things in South America?).

Some site called andPop has a piece with this as the incipit:

With the wrap of HBO’s first season of Rome comes the inevitable debates over historical accuracy vs. Hollywoodized storytelling. In the rhetoric over Julius Caesar’s looks, mannerisms, and political acuity, one key scene near the end of the series has been consistently overlooked: the gladiator games. Once again, costumers and production designers won out over the reality of arena combat and fighters. As with Ridley Scott’s brilliant, yet historically flawed, masterpiece “Gladiator,” the pairings, equipment, and battles within the arena were woefully wrong.

Here are five of the most common misconceptions about gladiators that should, perhaps, be required reading by all feature film directors. ...

... the answers to those questions are actually pretty good; written by someone who has written a novel about gladiators.
The incipit of Peter Jones' Ancient and Modern column:

The principles behind ‘synthetic phonics’, the latest educational reading nostrum, have been around for thousands of years. Heaps of papyrus exercises, exercise-books (and a primary school text-book) have been found, dating from the Greek world of the 5thC BC.

The first thing to be learned was the Greek alphabet, by means of a metrical, chanted song: est’ alpha, beta, gamma, delta, t’ ei te kai / zêt’, êta, thêt’, iota, kappa, lambda, mu etc. Useful hint for teachers: King Herod had a dim son who could not remember the names of the letters, so had 24 slaves of the same age brought up with him, each named after a letter. Then came syllables, each learned in full, and in order: ba, be, bê, bi, bo, bu, bô; ga, ge, gê etc; and they were spoken before they were pronounced (‘bêta alpa ba’). Then came words: first monosyllables, then disyllables and so on, printed e.g. O:dus:seus, Le:on:to:me:nês, including tricky words to test pronunciation, like knaxzbrikh (apparently an illness). There is a ‘quick brown fox’ equivalent (and even more meaningless): bedu zaps khthôm plêktron sphinx, each letter used only once. ...

... the remainder is available (with earlier columns) at the Friends of Classics site.
Gotovina deprehensus

Generalis Ante Gotovina, natione Croata, de criminibus belli accusatus, in insulis Canariis deprehensus et Hagam transportatus est, ubi iudicium exspectaret.

Suspectus est in Krajina ante decem annos minime centum quinquaginta Serbos interficiendos curavisse.

Condicio, sine qua consultationes de Croatia in Unionem Europaeam asciscenda non incoharentur, fuit, quod Gotovina deprehenderetur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
6.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Real King Herod
One of the most fascinating and appalling biblical figures, King Herod remains an enigma--the cruel king portrayed in countless Christmas plays as the monster that slaughtered hundreds of babies in an effort to kill the infant Jesus. But who was Herod? We draw physical evidence from current excavation of Herod's magnificent port Caesarea, written accounts of Josephus, and scrolls newly unearthed at Petra. In a startling development, a reexamination of historical texts shows that in old age, Herod suffered from chronic kidney disease. Was his "evil" life a physical manifestation of the illness that tormented his body? Did he order the murder of children in a paranoid attack? And why did the Romans create the title "King of the Jews" specifically for him?
ante diem xi kalendas januarias

Saturnalia continues (day 6)

179 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of the Lares Permarini (and associated rites thereafter); these Lares protected sailors

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Zeno of Nicomedia

1848 -- birth of Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf
elocution @ Guru.net

solatium @ Merriam-Webster

epos @ Wordsmith

manso @ Worthless Word for the Day

querulous @ Dictionary.com
Over at Laudator, MG has an interesting post on the Latin suffix -aster, which, in fact, I didn't know was Latin nor did I know was used in any other word than poetaster (which I believe I first saw as a wee wee tot in a Pogo comic) ...
A claim ripped out of a piece on graphology on CNN:

The word graphology comes from the Greek meaning the theory of writing. The Roman historian Suetonius analyzed the script of the Emperor Augustus and wrote: "He does not separate his words, not carry over to the next line any excess letters -- this is the writing of a man whose mind is ruled by his heart."

Googling around a bit, the Internet Health Library makes a semi-analogous claim (which is repeated verbatim all over the internet):

As early as the 2nd century, the Roman historian Suetonius Tranquillus stated that the handwriting of Augustus Caesar was not separated sufficiently and that he was therefore mean.

A site called the Mystica claims (also repeated verbatim all over the internet):

Suetonius claimed that Emperor Augustus did not separate his words which led him to conclude that the Emperor did not pay attention to detail in forming a picture of the whole situation.

Then we get an excerpt from a book called A Practical Guide to Handwriting Analysis:

The next piece of documented historical evidence of graphology is from the year AD 120, when a Roman historian of the first twelve Caesars, Suetonius Tranquillus, distrusted the Emperor Augustus based on a sample of his writing. Tranquillus was quoted as saying: "He doesn't separate his words--I do not trust him."

What Suetonius actually wrote (v.A. 87-88 ... via the Latin Library) was:

Notavi et in chirographo eius illa praecipue: non dividit verba nec ab extrema parte versuum abundantis litteras in alterum transfert, sed ibidem statim subicit circumducitque. Orthographiam, id est formulam rationemque scribendi a grammaticis institutam, non adeo custodit ac videtur eorum potius sequi opinionem, qui perinde scribendum ac loquamur existiment. Nam quod saepe non litteras modo sed syllabas aut permutat aut praeterit, communis hominum error est. Nec ego id notarem, nisi mihi mirum videretur tradidisse aliquos, legato eum consulari successorem dedisse ut rudi et indocto, cuius manu "ixi" pro "ipsi" scriptum animadverterit. Quotiens autem per notas scribit, B pro A, C pro B ac deinceps eadem ratione sequentis litteras ponit; pro X autem duplex A.

Translation (via the Ancient History Sourcebook):

I have also observed this special peculiarity in his manner of writing: he does not divide words or carry superfluous letters from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, but writes them just below the rest of the word and draws a loop around them. He does not strictly comply with orthography, that is to say the theoretical rules of spelling laid down by the grammarians, seeming to be rather of the mind of those who believe that we should spell exactly as we pronounce. Of course his frequent transposition or omission of syllables as well as of letters are slips common to all mankind. I should not have noted this, did it not seem to me surprising that some have written that he cashiered a consular governor, as an uncultivated and ignorant fellow, because he observed that he had written izi for ipsi. Whenever he wrote in cipher, he wrote B for A, C for B, and the rest of the letters on the same principle, using AA for X.

No comment about economics/meanness ... no comment about trustworthiness ... insert disparaging comment of your choice about graphology/graphologists here.

The incipit of a piece from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Although no one knows for sure how the fruitcake became associated with the holidays, the custom dates to the Roman Empire. The Romans' recipe for fruitcake included pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. Honey, spices and preserved fruits were added during the Middle Ages.

... an awfully long time to make a cake ... and as long as we're blaming the Romans for foods we don't quite like, an excerpt from Food and Drink:

Meanwhile the unchanged hardy perennial Brussels sprouts – surely every child's favourite – date back to 1587 where they were first cultivated in Belgium.

Although the strain is thought to originate in Roman times it was not until their migration further north that they started to plague our festive spreads.

... but I actually like Brussels sprouts.
Erythrea tutatores pacis expellit

Moderatores Erythraei decreverunt, ut tutatores pacis occidentales, limitem inter Aethiopiam et Erythraeam custodientes, expellerentur. Kofi Annan, secretarius generalis Nationum Unitarum, hoc decretum damnavit et Consilium Securitatis flagitavit, ut aboleretur.

Sunt inter custodes limitis Americani, Canadenses Europaeique, qui intra decem dies abire debent. Finni ex eis sunt septem.

Si tutatores pacis abierint, verendum est, ne novum bellum inter Erythraeam et Aethiopiam exardescat.

In illo bello, quod aliquot annis ante inter Aethiopiam et Erythraeam gestum est, circiter septuaginta milia hominum mortui esse aestimantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The CBC is the latest to tell us that the renovations of the Acropolis will soon be done:

A decades-long restoration of Greece's famed Acropolis monuments is nearing its end, culture officials announced Wednesday.

The extensive repairs to the Acropolis site will be completed by 2009, according to project architect Haralambos Bouras.

After that time, the restorers and conservationists will be able to move onto smaller, secondary projects, he said.

Greek Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis said completing work quickly and on schedule is a priority, so that the scaffolding currently blocking the famed monuments can be removed.

"We want to have as little scaffolding up as possible, as this creates an aesthetic problem," he told media Wednesday. "The visual pollution will be at a minimum."

Tatoulis also said that a budget of $16.6 million US had been set for work done in 2005 and 2006.

Begun in the mid-1970s, the ongoing project has involved painstaking repairs on major monuments, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and Athena Nike temples, and the Acropolis walls. The famed architectural masterpieces suffered from both pollution and a flawed restoration attempt in the 1930s, when workers used iron clamps in their repairs that eventually rusted and cracked the marble.

"We have removed the old iron, we have seen to the cracks," Bouras said, according to the Associated Press. "From then on, all the rest will be to improve the visual aspect of the monuments."

Restoration experts have drawn marble from the ancient quarries on Mount Pendeli, the site north of Athens where the ancient Greeks originally found the marble used to build the Acropolis monuments.

Officials estimate that all secondary work on the monuments will be complete by 2020 and are planning to commemorate the lengthy restoration process with a new website, a photo exhibition and a documentary film.
Denizen of the Latinteach list, Ginny Lindzey has been nominated (congrats!) for a Disney Teaching Award:

Ginny Lindzey, who teaches Latin at Porter Middle School, has been nominated for the 2006 Disney Teacher of the Year Award in recognition of her creativity and success in bringing a dormant language to life in her classroom.

Four honorees will be announced as outstanding teachers in late spring and honored at a red-carpet awards ceremony in July. At the ceremony, one teacher will be named 2006 Disney Teacher of the Year.

All four honorees will receive $10,000, a $5,000 grant for their schools and a six-day retreat with their principals at the Walt Disney World Resort, where teachers will share and refine their teaching approaches and work to build a collaborative teaching culture at their schools.

The Disney Teacher Awards have been presented annually since 1989.

... via the Statesman. In case you weren't aware, Ginny also started up a blog a few months ago -- the Latin Zone -- all about her thoughts on Latin pedagogy.
6.00 p.m. |HISTU| The History of Christmas
Fascinating story of how the bawdy Roman Saturnalia, a week-long festival of food and drink that culminated on December 25, became the centerpiece of the Christian year, and why the holiday is known as much for shopping as the birth of Christ. Interviews with experts, harried bargain hunters, and excited children round out the program.

8.00 p.m. |SCI| The Real Disciples of Jesus
Experts investigate the disciples of Jesus, examining new information about their backgrounds and their relationships to each other and to Jesus. Find out what Judas' role was among the Twelve; was he truly a traitor, or just a scapegoat?

9.00 p.m. |SCI| Who Killed Jesus?
Explore the figures, events and political climate surrounding the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Experts examine the motivations and methods of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the temple priests, the judicial system and the crowd calling for Jesus' death.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Mary: Mother of Jesus
Investigate the life of Mary, the mother of the man believed by many to be the Son of God. Take a closer look into living conditions at the beginning of the first century; what life would have been like for a Jewish girl growing up under Roman rule.

10.00 p.m. |NG| 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.
ante diem xii kalendas januarias

Saturnalia continues (day 5)

Divalia Angeronae -- Angerona was a goddess named for the disease angina (she apparently had remedies for it) who also represented the 'secret name' of Rome, which presumably could not be uttered out of fear it would give Rome's enemies the opportunity to 'call out' Rome's own gods (i.e. to get them to abandon the city). Secret rituals, of course, would honour her on this date ...

69 A.D. -- Vespasian is officially recognized as emperor by the Senate

253 A.D. -- martyrdom of Themistocles
hyperborean @ Merriam-Webster

verso @ Wordsmith

murmuration@ Worthless Word for the Day

confrere @ Dictionary.com
Erythrea tutatores pacis expellit

Moderatores Erythraei decreverunt, ut tutatores pacis occidentales, limitem inter Aethiopiam et Erythraeam custodientes, expellerentur. Kofi Annan, secretarius generalis Nationum Unitarum, hoc decretum damnavit et Consilium Securitatis flagitavit, ut aboleretur.

Sunt inter custodes limitis Americani, Canadenses Europaeique, qui intra decem dies abire debent. Finni ex eis sunt septem.

Si tutatores pacis abierint, verendum est, ne novum bellum inter Erythraeam et Aethiopiam exardescat.

In illo bello, quod aliquot annis ante inter Aethiopiam et Erythraeam gestum est, circiter septuaginta milia hominum mortui esse aestimantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
AM over at Sauvage Noble alerts us (via Stephen Carlson ... of Hypotyposeis fame?) to the existence of Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics (yay! I've been hoping for something like this to appear on line for years!) ... the official description:

The Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics is a collaborative project of the Classics Department of Princeton University and the Classics Department of Stanford University. Its purpose is to make the results of current research undertaken by members of Princeton and Stanford Universities in the field of classics available in advance of final publication.

Currently there are nine or ten papers online (pdf) ...
Very interesting item in Newsweek in light of recent events in Italy and, especially, in light of some of the implications of the Museum Case:

In A.D. 64 Nero built his palatial golden palace, the Domus Aurea, sparing no expense in the most elaborate display of decadence Rome had ever seen. Frescoes adorned the walls of its 150 rooms, inlaid with precious gems and exotic seashells. The ceilings were of carved ivory, and guests who attended his orgiastic feasts were showered with rose petals and misted with perfume. After Nero took his life in 68, Romans pillaged its riches. The famed Colosseum and the palaces of succeeding emperors arose on its ruins. But to this day, the remnants of the Domus Aurea have epitomized the excesses—and glories—of the Eternal City.

Lately, they've also come to symbolize the shortcomings of modern Rome. On Dec. 13, the ruins of the Domus Aurea were closed after authorities discovered that a neglected water leak had so undermined the structure's foundations as to endanger the entire edifice. Italy's Culture minister, Rocco Buttiglione, pointed an accusatory finger. The Italian government's indifference, he said, is jeopardizing many if not most of the country's archeological treasures. The chief problem? Money. "Rome is a huge open-air museum," Buttiglione proclaimed. "We are managing it with reduced personnel and budget constraints, and Italy must decide. Do we want to preserve our immense cultural heritage, or not?"

With so rich an archeological legacy—the underpinnings of Italy's immense tourist industry—cutting budgetary corners on historic preservation might not seem smart. But over the last five years, Silvio Berlusconi's center-right government has done just that. Its proposed 2006 budget calls for a 35 percent cut in funding for arts and architectural preservation, from 464 million euros to 300 million euros. The Domus Aurea, likely to be closed for at least two years, is not the only casualty. Rome's archeological superintendent, Angelo Bottini, warns of similar problems at other neglected sites. He points specifically to the Palatine Hill, where a 10-meter chunk of an ancient wall slid down a slope into the Roman Forum last month, as well as to the Baths of Caracalla, where one segment of the ruins is on the verge of collapse. Emergency repairs to the Domus Aurea are projected to cost 5 million euros. But Bottini, who spends his time juggling potential disasters, estimates that he needs an additional 260 million euros to shore up other sites. "We don't even know what surprises are next," he adds.

Cleary, Italy's cultural finances are a shambles. State aid has grown so scanty that many heritage sites must pay for themselves through ticket sales. The Colosseum and Palatine Hill, among Rome's most popular sites, receive more than 3.5 million visitors a year at an average 8 euros a ticket. But last year's 21 million euros in revenues went almost entirely to paying salaries and utilities, with little left for general maintenance. The Domus Aurea was Rome's third most-visited paid site last year, receiving 155,000 visitors. Like it, the Baths of Caracalla, drawing 211,000 visitors a year, may also soon close for safety reasons growing out of an inability to fund repairs. In desperation, Bottini is urging the Culture Ministry to start collecting an entrance fee for free sites like the Roman Forum, which has charged no admission for the past eight years in an effort to open the city's history to those on restricted incomes. "There's no choice," says Bottini, explaining that without raising visitation charges "we can't afford to keep sites safe."


The government says it has little choice but to stick to its proposed budget. Berlusconi has to eliminate 16 billion euros in spending in order to trim the country's deficit from 4.3 percent of GDP in 2005 to 3.8 percent in 2006, still above the 3 percent guideline set by the European Union. But arts supporters claim the cuts are distributed unfairly. Otherwise profitable soccer teams and national TV stations (in which the prime minister holds personal stakes) will continue to receive generous subsidies under the new budget. That's especially angered Buttiglione, who threatens to quit if arts aren't made a priority. "The resources are totally insufficient," he complains.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, dismisses such protests as "absolutely useless—a tired old ritual that will have no impact whatsoever." How apt. According to legend, Nero fiddled (playing his lyre, actually) as he watched the fire of A.D. 64 that cleared the quarter where he intended to build his Domus Aurea—deaf to the calls of Romans begging him to save the city's treasures. Who's fiddling now?

... so, I guess the plan to keep museums in Italy stocked up via the courts is simply an economic measure.
This one from Xinhua is interesting, but I can't help but think of many of the utterances of Checkov on the original Star Trek series for some reason (or the father from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, for those of you too young to remember the original Star Trek):

The construction of the Roman Limes was quite possibly influenced by the concept of the Great Wall in China, though the two great buildings of the world are far away from each other, said archaeologists and historians.

Although there is no evidence that the two constructions had any direct connections, indirect influence from the Great Wall on the Roman Limes is certain, said Visy Zsolt, a professor with the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology of the University of Pecs in Hungary.

Visy made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua as he attended an international conference in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province recently, and his opinion was shared by some Chinese and foreign scholars.

The Roman Limes are Europe's largest archaeological monument, consisting of sections of the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD.

All together, the Limes stretch over 5,000 kilometers from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.

Vestiges include the remains of the ramparts, walls and ditches,close to 900 watchtowers, 60 forts, and civilian settlements which accommodated tradesmen, craftsmen and others who served in the military.

The long distance and the great number of different peoples and cultures in Central Asia made any connections between the two ancient Roman and Chinese empires almost impossible.

However, curiosity and the challenge of covering great distances and seeing remote lands excited people in the past, Visy said.

"Indeed, more information about each other could be gained exactly in times as the one or the other became stronger and could start some programs toward the other," Visy said.

As for the Roman Empire, the silk trade started during the reign of Augustus. The trade became intensive both on the Silk Route and in the sea.

The Chinese chief commander Ban Chao led an army up the Caspian Sea in the 1st century AD and sent a delegation to the west to get information about Rome (called Daqin in Chinese).

Visy noted that there are a lot of similarities between the Roman Limes and the Great Wall. Both empires wanted to launch a strong barrier against "barbarians" and to prevent their invasions. In doing so, the Han Dynasty (226 BC-220 AD) built a continuous wall, but Rome built a wall only in special cases.

"It was an important point in both systems to build a military road along the limes, as well as a row of beacon towers in a strict sequence. Also the military centers and bigger forts are similar in the Roman and in the Chinese constructions," Visy said.

Archaeologists have found almost the same methods were used for providing signs at the Great Wall and the Roman Limes.

Visy said another factor that should not be neglected is that the western most sector of the Great Wall was built in the last decades of the 2nd century BC, during the strong rule of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty.

"The Chinese Empire seems to be interested in Western connections, at least in Central Asia," Visy said.

The trade connections between the two empires were quite intensive in the first century and at least in the first half of the second one. "It is worth noting that the north line of the Silk Road was opened also at the beginning of the 1st century AD,"Visy said.
Actually, I have a greater fear of the editors who let this bit from Greater Kashmir Online, with the headline Rabbits Can't Read Greek, get past them:

‘Timeo donas et dona feremtis’
I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts. (Iliad)

In case you haven’t guessed already this is the point at which Greeks have left the Trojan horse at the gates of troy. Welcome to modern Troy. Only there is no Helen here. All you will find is something greater then the face that launched a thousand ships. You will find the land that made a thousand nuclear war heads.

Now the Iliad is centuries old. And there are quite some people who would question the morality of the epic. But These Five words of archaic Greek has more wisdom then all the rhetoric that we have had to endure in last centuries from our leaders.

In other words all we have had in the Last Century as leaders have been, In Political Terms, Rabbits. The rabbit is a cute looking creature. It is always hungry. It grows exponentially. And of course it is also one of the stupidest creatures on Earth. You can always catch a rabbit in a box by putting a simple carrot and stick Policy. Take a carrot of power, Use a stick of black mail and capture in a box of luxury.
From the Turkish Daily News:

Two sculptures of Hercules are to be erected in the Cehennemağzı Cave located in Zonguldak's Ereğli district.

In mythology the cave is believed to be the place from where Hercules went to the “land of the dead” (Hades), from which no mortal can return, where he encountered monsters, heroes and ghosts in order to bring back the vicious beast, Cerberus.

Hercules is the archetype for bravery and proof that "might makes right." His endeavors made Hercules the perfect embodiment of the Greek concept of “pathos,” the experiencing of virtuous struggle and suffering that leads to fame and, in Hercules' case, immortality.

Cehennemağzı Cave is popular with tourists because of its interesting story, in which, as part of his sentence, Hercules is obliged to enter the cave to undertake the last task of 12 ordered by Eurystheus, the king of Argolis.

Hercules manages to bring Cerberus from Hades to Eurystheus by using the cave, with guidance from the gods Hermes and Athena, although Hercules later returns Cerberus to the land of the dead due to King Eurystheus' fear of Cerberus, who is usually depicted with three heads, a dragon tail and snakes writhing from his body.

The sculptures are to be completed by the end of 2006 and are expected to contribute to tourism, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Zonguldak's Provincial Culture and Tourism director Zekai Kasap said the cave receives a great deal of attention from both Turkish and foreign tourists due to its connection with the mythological character, Hercules. “The cave, one of the first places of worship when Christianity was banned, is also important for religious tourism. One sculpture of Hercules will be erected inside the cave and the other outside,” he said.
An excerpt from the Times:

IT ASSAULTED viewers with rape, nudity and animal sacrifice in the opening episode. Yet the BBC series Rome is not pornographic but an accurate representation of the ancient world, the broadcasting watchdog has ruled.

Ofcom rejected viewer complaints about the £60 million BBC Two series, which has been described as “I Claudius on steroids”. Viewers complained that the US co-production, depicting the violent power struggle between Julius Caesar and Pompey, was pornographic and unacceptable viewing at 9pm. Even Michael Apted, who directed some episodes, accused the BBC of sensationalism by re-editing episodes to emphasise sex and violence.

The regulator, however, described the series as an accurate reflection of the morality of its age. Rome’s opening episode featured a rape committed by a victorious Roman soldier in Gaul and graphic scenes of Atia, Julius Caesar’s calculating niece, bathing nude in front of her son. But Ofcom said that the drama displayed a “matter-of-fact attitude to sex of the ruling class as, in some cases, sex was used to further political or social aspirations ”.

Atia’s sex scenes were “frank, but not overly explicit for this time of evening”. The rape scene was placed in the context of the brutality of war and the regulator noted that the focus was on “the other soldiers’ impatience to return to Rome”. When Atia sends her son to battle a bull is sacrificed above her head, covering her in blood. Ofcom approved the scene, which was “presented in the context of a religious ritual.” The BBC was praised for warning viewers to expect “strong language, sex, violence and scenes of ritual animal slaughter” before the programme.

Twenty-five viewers complained out of an audience of six million. Officials at RAI, the Italian state television company, will censor scenes from the first episode before it is shown there next year. Ray Stevenson, who plays Titus Pullo, the warrior-soldier responsible for the rape, said: “The Romans had a real degree of tolerance about sex and nudity, a true sense of liberalism. People would be having sex and their slave would be standing in the corner.”

The co-production with HBO picked up two Golden Globe nominations. Filmed near Rome, the series has been praised for showing the ancient city as a squalid metropolis.

Bruno Heller, the writer, said: “The great thing about the Romans is that they were a people with the fetters taken completely off. You were allowed to murder your neighbour or covet his wife. Whether or not an action is wrong would depend on whether people more powerful than you would approve.”
The conclusion of a piece from PopPolitics definitely caused me to linger a bit longer than normal on a completely non-ClassCon-laden article:

If you tune in to watch the game, which features perennial football power Northwestern against UCLA, be sure to catch the Helen of Troy Halftime Show. It should make this game a Classic even without the USC Trojans.

Wow ... we knew that Helen could do colour commentary (a.k.a. the Teichoskopia), but a whole half-time show? Next I suppose she'll be promoting the All-Helen team ...
The incipit of a business opinion piece in the Times Leader:

THE famous Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “The responsibility for a martial host of a million lies in one man. He is the trigger of its spirit.” The best historical example is probably the Battle of Issus, in which Alexander the Great faced an enormous army of Persians.

Alexander knew, however, that he didn’t have to defeat all the Persians to win; he could win by defeating only one, as long as that one was the enemy king. He therefore orchestrated a cavalry charge against King Darius who lost his nerve, turned his chariot, and fled from the battle, thus telling his entire army that he thought the day was lost.

When any general — or the chief executive officer of a modern corporation — shows that he does not know how to handle a crisis, the organization’s morale collapses quickly. Any insider or even outsider with training in organizational psychology, meanwhile, knows that it is all over for the military or business entity in question.

I first saw this phenomenon at IBM during the early 1990s, when its CEO blamed the company’s problems on “too many employees standing around the water coolers.” Whether true or not, this was hardly the root cause of the company’s declining performance and this statement painted a devastating picture of a leader who simply did not know what to do.

The statements and actions of General Motors’ executives are now painting an equally bleak picture. CEO Rick Wagoner’s “A Portrait of My Industry” (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6) shows that the company lacks the proactive leadership it needs to survive.
I haven't seen this mentioned among any of the usual subjects, but since I know we have so many grad and proto-grad students who read rc ... Lifehack points us to a two part article from Inside Higher Education all about things which grad students looking for jobs should be aware of. Part One is mostly about the Ph.D. itself, the implications of dissertations, and finding a job. Part two looks at teaching, service, etc..
7.00 p.m. |DTC| The Quest for the True Cross
Based on the New York Times best-seller, scholarly detective work and historical adventure draw conclusions about the remains of Christ's actual cross. This comprehensive study could overturn centuries of academic assumptions about the crucifixion.

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mystery of the Persian Mummy

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Real Family of Jesus, The - Part One
Little is known about Jesus' family who they were and what role they played in his public life. Uncover evidence from the gospels and archeology that reveals Jesus as a part of a large extended family that spearheaded the spread of Christianity.

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. |NG| Birth of Jesus
Next to the Crucifixion, the birth of Jesus is the best known story in the New Testament. Almost everyone is familiar with the classic Nativity scene. But only two of the four gospels in the Bible provide an account of JesusÂ’ birth and a closer look at them reveals some surprising inconsistencies. In order to peel back the layers of a two millennia-old story, Science of the Bible travels to Israel to examine the archeological evidence.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Sailing with the Phoenicians
Sail with a Phoenician captain along the trade routes of the Mediterranean to the ancient ports of Byblos, Rhodes, Tharros, Motya, and the famous Roman naval base at Carthage. Phoenicians, the ancient inhabitants of modern-day Lebanon, were known to be expert sailors. State-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics allow viewers to see through the eyes of one these seaworthy Phoenicians, and insights from leading archaeology experts enhance the reality.

9.00 p.m. |NG| Jesus: The Man
Who was Jesus and how did a boy from rural Galilee grow up to become one of the world's greatest spiritual leaders? Did he grow up in a traditional Jewish family? Did he have brothers and sisters? How did he dress? There are few details about his youth inthe Bible. But newly discovered archeological evidence will shed light on both the social influences that shaped Jesus' young life, and his encounter with John the Baptist, the man many scholars believe was the mentor of Jesus.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Real Family of Jesus, The - Part Two
The traditional image of the Holy Family includes Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but Jesus lived in a society in which the extended family was the norm. Find out how Jesus' network of relations inspired and supported his work as founder of Christianity.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| The Real Mary Magdalene

10.00 p.m. |DTC| In Search of the Holy Grail
What is the Holy Grail? A team of experts explores four intriguing items to explore: a glass bowl from England; an ancient cup from Wales; a small stone; a papal chalice in Spain; and an intricately engraved silver chalice from ancient Antioch.
ante diem xiii kalendas januarias

Saturnalia continues (day 4)

69 A.D. -- supporters of the Flavians capture Rome; murder of the emperor-for-a-little-while Vitellius
sequacious @ Merriam-Webster (great word)

peregrinity @ Worthless Word for the Day

... and I can't help but wonder whether digerati (at Dictionary.com) really should mean 'people knowledgeable about fingers' ...
... or at least 'getting better'. From the Skagit Valley Herald:

Latin may be a dead language, but at Mount Vernon High School, Julie Wilson’s second-year Latin classroom is very much alive.

On a Tuesday morning before Christmas break, her students translated English into Latin aloud. In the corner of the classroom sat Leslie and Carlie Crawford, multi-talented twins, who, on their own initiative, have progressed to the third level of Latin. Wilson said they are the two best students she’s ever had.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life,” Wilson said. “They’re just brilliant. And they’re interesting because they love grammar.”

For nearly two decades, Mount Vernon High had the only Latin program between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Then, several years ago, Marysville added its own Latin program.

Latin appears to be making a comeback in some parts of the country, though not by leaps and bounds. In 1962, about 700,000 high school students took Latin, according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. By 1976, the council said, the number had fallen to 150,000.

In 2000, the last year for which the council has figures, the number of students taking Latin was at 177,000.

Marty Abbott, the council’s director of education, said it’s difficult to vouch for the accuracy of the statistics because not all states collect such data.

Abbott said the popularity of Latin at any particular school usually depends upon the quality of the teacher.

“Where we see steady or increases in enrollment is where we have dynamic teachers,” she said.

Mount Vernon High Principal Dave Anderson said the high school is lucky to have a Latin program and a teacher of Wilson’s caliber.

“Even more important is that a program have a quality teacher,” Anderson said. “Julie Wilson is universally respected by students, staff and our community.”
Wilson knows how to keep her students focused. In Tuesday’s class, when the students’ minds started to drift — it was, after all, the week before winter break — Wilson won back their attention with a trick. She stood at the front of her class, and, at a clipped pace, recited every Latin pronoun. When she finished, her class gave her enthusiastic applause.

Wilson’s love of Latin is immediately apparent. On her classroom wall hangs a sign that reads, “Latin is beautiful.” Her students adopt names like Romulus, Venus, Prometheus and Artemis.

Among those students are the Crawford twins, whose scores on the National Latin II Exam confirm their placement among the top Latin students in the country.

Last March, Leslie was among 227 students who earned a perfect score on the exam. The level 2 exam, sponsored by the American Classical League, was taken by 34,000 students.

Leslie’s twin, Carlie, missed the perfect score by one point.

Julie Wilson started the Latin program when she arrived in Mount Vernon in 1987. She had studied Latin in high school and college, largely because of an enthusiastic teacher’s influence.

Wilson says Latin is a boon to her students. She says it improves their SAT scores and their grades and helps them learn the two other languages taught at the high school, Spanish and French, whose linguistic roots are in Latin.

On her first day teaching of each year, or semester, Wilson asks her students why they’re taking Latin. They always have a variety of responses, she said.

Leslie and Carlie said they like studying Latin for several reasons.

“I have an affinity for dead languages,” Carlie said, to which Leslie challenged, “What other dead languages?”

“Anglo-Saxon,” Carlie said. “It sounds gorgeous. It’s mostly just alliteration.”

“Latin impresses people,” Leslie said. “My softball team is always saying, ‘Say something stupid in Latin and make it sound profound.’”

And, she added, “It’s for people who like history.”

Carlie contended that Leslie is the stronger Latin student, the stronger student overall, even though their grade point averages are almost identical. Leslie has a 4.0, while Carlie has a 3.99. In Latin competitions, Leslie has fared better as well — she got first place in level 2 Latin grammar. Carlie earned second place in Roman history.

“I’m jealous of course,” Carlie said, “but I have other talents.”

“She can beat me at arm wrestling,” Leslie offered.
Excerpts from Columbia News:

Columbia University announces the ten recipients of the first annual Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards. The awards honor exceptional teaching in the Arts and Sciences, recognizing faculty who demonstrate unusual merit across a range of professorial activities, including: scholarship, University citizenship and professional involvement. The awards place a primary emphasis on the instruction and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.

The Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards are made possible by a $12 million donation from Columbia Trustee Gerry Lenfest (Law '58). Lenfest is a longtime supporter of the University, who donated $15 million to the Earth Institute in May 2004 and previously contributed $15 million toward the construction of Lenfest Hall, a residence for students at Columbia Law School.


Gareth Williams is an authority on Latin literature of the early empire. Williams is the Theodore Kahan Associate Professor in the Humanities and currently the chair of the Classics department. He has written major studies of Ovid's exile poetry and of Seneca's philosophical writings. Williams is an especially engaged scholar committed to undergraduate education and to a central course of the undergraduate curriculum, "Literature Humanities," serving as a mentor for teachers who are new to this core course. For his own teaching, he has been called, by a former student, "one of Columbia's gems." His conspicuous achievements as a teacher earned him the Mark Van Doren Teaching Award in 2003, and in 2005, The Annual Great Teacher's Award presented by the Society of Columbia Graduates. Williams has been selfless in his service to the Arts and Sciences, as a two-term chair of the Classics department, and as a valuable and trusted voice on crucial committees concerned with academic excellence and faculty governance.
The New Yorker has a lengthy piece about Philip Pullman, his novels, and beliefs which includes this excerpt:

Pullman refined his own storytelling gifts orally, by recounting versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey to his middle-school students. He estimates that he’s told each epic at least thirty times. Indeed, he once caused a scene in a restaurant when he was retelling the Odyssey to his son Tom, then about five years old. “Every time we went out to dinner, I’d tell it to him in serialized form while we waited for our food to come,” he said. “I’d just gotten to the part where Odysseus has come back home in disguise as an old beggar. Penelope has taken Odysseus’s old bow down and told the suitors that she’ll marry whoever can string it. They all try, but none of them can do it. Then Odysseus picks it up, and he feels it all over—to make sure it’s still good, which it is—and then in one move he strings it. Of course, we know what’s going to happen next—he’s going to use it to kill the suitors—but just before that he plucks it just once, to hear the tone. Tom was so taken with the tension of the moment that he bit a piece out of his water glass. The waitress, who was coming toward us with our food, saw him do it, and she was so startled that she dropped her tray. There was food everywhere! It was chaos.”
Suzan Mazur continues her series of articles in Scoop about Bob Hecht's role in the Museum Case ... the latest includes the text (and photos) of some very interesting letters, plus a pdf of the list of antiquities the Italian government has accused him (and True) of being associated with ...
From Ha'aretz:

Two Israelis are likely to stand trial for illegally trading in antiquities after Antiquities Authority investigators found hundreds of artifacts from the Roman and Byzantine periods in their possession on Thursday.

The investigation started with an intelligence tip indicating that an Ashdod resident was smuggling antiquities out of the country and selling them abroad.

An undercover probe netted evidence against both this suspect and others.

Based on this evidence, investigators raided the residences of both the Ashdod resident and another suspect, who lives in Holon, on Thursday.

They found hundreds of antiquities, including ancient weapons, rings and seals at both locations.

The search also uncovered evidence that the Ashdod resident had offered antique weaponry for sale via public auction sites on the Internet.

To attract buyers, he claimed that the weapons came from Masada.

Once a sale was clinched, he would send the artifacts overseas by mail.

According to the Antiquities Authority, both men have admitted their guilt. The evidence has been passed on to the prosecution so that indictments can be prepared.

If convicted, the two men could be sentenced to up to three years in jail and face a hefty fine.

... let me add Israel to the list of countries which should establish some Portable Antiquities Scheme-style legislation.
There's a very lengthy article by Classicist J. Rufus Fears over at the Heritage Foundation all about the lessons the 'fall' of Rome presents for the modern-day U.S. ...
Reclamatores Sinenses interfecti

Testes oculati narrant custodes publicos in vico Dongzhou provinciae Guangdong Sinarum meridionalium contra turbam reclamantium sclopetavisse.

Secundum vici incolas, qui rem telephonice ordini cui nomen Amnestia Internationalis, palam fecerunt, viginti homines, secundum magistratus tantum tres, in illo conflictu mortui sunt.

Causa reclamationis erat, quod magistratus agricolas proprietate terrae spoliare volebant, in qua electrificinam pneumonicam aedificarent.

Sinenses conflictum in vico Dongzhou factum confessi de hominibus a custodibus publicis occisis inquisitionem agere constituerunt.

Custos, qui contra reclamatores sclopetare iusserat, comprehensus est.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Io Saturnalia!
(Greeting at the Roman festival of Saturnalia)

Hail the Rites of Saturn!

(pron = yoh sah-toor-NAH-lee-ah)

Comment: The Romans celebrated one of their most enduring festivals from
December 17-25. It was called ?Saturnalia?. Listen to a bare bones
description of the festival, and see if much of it does not sound familiar.

You have the dates which have as their center point the Winter Solstice. Romans
decorated with ever greens. They gathered in the evenings around fires, sharing
food and drink. Everyone wore the red hat known as the pilleus. It was red,
conical, and in some drawings, flopped over to one side or another. It was the
hat of freedom, given to slaves who were freed in regular life, but becomes the
symbol of universal freedom shared by all during the festival of Saturnalia.
Roles were reversed, and in a gesture of human kindness, masters served slaves.
One slave was elected as the Princeps Saturnalicus?the Saturnalian Emperor,
and become the king of the party. Small gifts were given, usually a candle to
symbolize the light that was being re-kindled in the darkness after the
Solstice. Children were given small statues called sigillaria that represented
family members.

The festival centered on three divine beings who are among some of the oldest
deities honored in Italy: Saturnus, the father of the sky who looked favorably
on the land. He was often portrayed as an old man with long white hair and
beard. Ops was the goddess of the fertile fields; and Consus was the god of the
grain-bin loaded with the harvest. You do hear this don?t you?father,
mother and child in a grain bin? The three celebrated as one? The three that
came from the two that are the one? Part of the ritual included a song
chanted: hail Sun Unconquered, born for us this day.

Saturnalia was a festival of many things wrapped into these 9 days (which, by
the way, makes a Roman ?week?). It was a time of thanksgiving at the end
of harvest. It was a time of marking darkest dark and kindling new light. As
it was the end of harvest, it was also, in a sense, the beginning of new
spring. The same blessings of fertility that brought them to harvest would be
needed for the next crop. It was a celebration of family and of human kindness
symbolized in feasting and gift giving.

Long after the Christianization of Rome began, the Romans held on to this
wonderful festival. Finally, after many failed attempts to do away with
Saturnalia, the Church of Rome, sometime in the 5th century, declared the birth
of Jesus to be on December 25. Saturnalia was a most beloved festival that
tapped into deep human longing and meaning. That?s why I think we still
celebrate it, under cover of different names. And in some churches on
Christmas day, you will hear: Hail Son Unconquered, born for us this day. The
greenery will be hung, food prepared, candles lit, gifts given, and family and
human kindness celebrated. There will be a crèche somewhere with mother and
father looking on a child lying in a grain trough.

Happy Holidays?whatever you wish to call them, everyone!

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
... nothing of interest.
ante diem xiv kalendas januarias

Saturnalia (day 3)

Opalia -- unknown rituals in honour of Ops, the wife of Saturn

rites in honour of Juventas (=Hebe?) -- a somewhat mysterious festival, probably connected to Roman 'coming of age' rituals

69 A.D. -- a major fire on the Capitoline hill in Rome

307 A.D. -- martyrdom of Nemesius of Alexandria and Thea
circumscribe @ Merriam-Webster

mogigraphia @ Wordsmith (I bet one could get sick days for this!)

megalophonous @ Worthless Word for the Day

sub rosa @ Dictionary.com (interesting ... almost a year to the day ago, this was the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster)

... in the etymological vein, folks might also want to check out Beth Kraemer's Etymological Dictionary of Classical Mythology ...
Some interesting posts over at Curculio of late, including the travails of a Scotsman reporter who found Curculio blocked (from Scotsman eyes!) ... fwiw, rc apparently is blocked at a number of schools stateside, even though I try to avoid 'salacious content' during the school week; I've never had a report of it being blocked in Canada yet.
Over at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, PH has another installment in his series about ancient humour ....
We haven't heard about the Maecenas Foundation and the Gospel of Judas for a while ... here's a major update from Christian Century:

The heresy-fighting bishop Irenaeus of Lyon, France, mentioned the Gospel of Judas about 180 AD, linking the writing to a Gnostic sect. Some two centuries later, Epiphanius, bishop of Cyprus, criticized the Gospel of Judas for treating the betrayer of Jesus as commendable, one who "performed a good work for our salvation."

Until recent years, no copy of the text was generally known to exist. It was not among, for instance, the 46 different apocryphal texts of the Nag Hammadi Library discovered 60 years ago this month in Egypt. Other fragmentary texts, such as the Gospel of Mary, were discovered well before that.

But in 2004, Rodolphe Kasser of the University of Geneva announced in Paris that by the end of 2005 he would be publishing translations of the Coptic-language version of the Gospel of Judas. As it turned out, the owner was a Swiss foundation, and the torn and tattered papyrus text had been hawked to potential buyers in North America and Europe for decades after it was found at Muhazafat Al Minya in Middle Egypt.

The "Judas" saga was confirmed in detail last month at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Philadelphia. Retired Claremont Graduate University professor James Robinson, general editor of the English edition of the Nag Hammadi Library, said he was first contacted in 1983 about negotiations to buy certain texts, including the Gospel of Judas. Many years later, he saw blurry photographs of part of the text.

Robinson said that early in November he learned that Kasser and several European, Canadian and U.S. scholars had signed agreements with the National Geographic Society to assist with a documentary film and a National Geographic article for an Easter 2006 release and a succession of three books.

Robinson was critical of the secrecy and inaccessibility surrounding the document—a recurring academic problem that delayed for decades the publishing of translations of some Dead Sea Scrolls and many Nag Hammadi codices. In his talk, Robinson called the practice "skullduggery"—with a glance at fellow panelist Marvin Meyer of Chapman University, a longtime colleague in the field and one of the contracted authors.

Meyer refused to describe the text's content, but he essentially confirmed the basic publishing arrangements to Robinson and to the Century at the Philadelphia meeting.

In amended remarks to his speech, Robinson said Meyer told him that he was sworn to secrecy—not by the document's owner but by the National Geographic Society, a procedure Meyer said was justified by the organization's large financial investment.

A spokeswoman for the National Geographic headquarters in Washington declined to comment. But Meyer said in a brief interview, "It will all be out for everyone to see by the spring." He added without elaboration, "It will be good. It will be good."

Hardly anything is known about the document's contents "other than a few personages" it names, said Robinson, identifying them as the mythological figure Allogenes (literally, "the stranger") known from some Nag Hammadi texts, and Satan, Jesus and Judas.

Another scholar, Charles Hedrick, who recently retired from Missouri State University, saw photographs of six damaged pages from the gospel in 2001. Hedrick agreed with Robinson that the original Gospel of Judas was probably written in Greek in the second century AD. Scholars also agree that the scribal hand used in the Coptic translation would date that text to the fourth or fifth century.

"I don't think it will unsettle the church," Hedrick said in an interview. "I mean we are not talking history here. We know very little about Judas from the New Testament, and some people have even challenged whether Judas was a historical person."

The Coptic texts, owned by the Maecenas Foundation, consist of 62 pages and also contain "The First Apocalypse of James" and "The Letter of Peter to Philip"—two texts also found at Nag Hammadi. How many of the 62 pages contain the Gospel of Judas has not been disclosed.

Hedrick said the last six pages of the Judas document describe a heavenly scene in which Allogenes is being tested and tried by Satan, followed by an earthly scene in which Jesus is being watched closely by scribes. At one point Judas is told, "Although you are evil at this place, you are a disciple of Jesus." The last line of the text says, according to Hedrick: "And he [Judas] took money and delivered him [Jesus] over."

So, Hedrick said, "it appears that Judas is working at the behest of God when he betrays Jesus as part of the divine plan." When translations of the Gospel of Judas are released with accompanying analyses, Hedrick expects that "there will be a lot of sensationalism, but it will dribble out, leaving only the scholars interested."

Yet, in academic and religious circles, the text may stir excitement for years, according to a scholar from the University of Ottawa. "It is a major discovery not only for Coptic, Gnostic or apocryphal studies, but also for ancient Judaism and early Christianity," said Pierluigi Piovanelli in an e-mail to colleagues in 2004 when the first plans to publish were announced.

Some scholarly discussions will focus on whether the document was produced by a branch of the Sethian Gnostics called Cainites by church leaders. The Cainites were said to have glorified Cain and other disgraced figures in the Bible because, according to Gnostic viewpoints, they were doing God's work.

Church discussions conceivably could revolve around the extent to which New Testament Gospels present events in Jesus' life and passion as ordained from the start. Judas Iscariot, depicted minimally by the Gospel of Mark, receives elaboration in Matthew, Luke and John. The latter Gospel says Satan entered Judas at the Last Supper just before Jesus told the disciple, "Do quickly what you are going to do."

For Robinson, the significance of the Gospel of Judas has to do not with first-century history but with second-century mythology. Still, he offered these half-serious reflections in his closing remarks last month: "Where would Christianity be, if there had been no Judas, and Jesus—instead of dying for our sins on the cross—had died of old age?" he asked. "So: Thank God for Judas? Even the most broadminded among us would call that heresy!"
Cursus electronicus crebrescit

Cursus electronicus magis magisque crebrescit et in dies diutius observatur.

Operarii et opifices apud eum in medio binas horas singulis diebus agunt atque trini ex quaternis aliquatenus cursui electronico addicti sunt.

In Finnia usus eius forsitan est etiam frequentior quam aliis in terris Europaeis.

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

... and for more Latin news, check out Ephemeris!
David Braund (ed.), Scythians and Greeks: Cultural Interactions in Scythia, Athens and the Early Roman Empire (sixth century BC - first century AD).

Ra'anan Boustan, Annette Yoshiko Reed, Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions.

Christopher B. Krebs, Negotiatio Germaniae: Tacitus' Germania und Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Giannantonio Campano, Conrad Celtis und Heinrich Bebel. Hypomnemata 158.
I thought this sounded familiar (which is why it took me so long to post it) ... back in October we mentioned this discovery of a pottery sherd with an image of a g-string clad gladiator (or so we were told) ... Discovery News has picked up the story and provides some additional details:

Divers exploring a river near a former Roman Empire fort and settlement in Britain have found a piece of pottery that depicts the backside of a rather buff gladiator wielding a whip and wearing nothing but a G-string, according to British researchers.

The image represents the first known depiction of a gladiator in such revealing attire. It adds to the evidence that ancient Romans viewed gladiators not only as fearless warriors, but also as sex symbols.

Philippa Walton, who analyzed the object and is a finds liaison officer for the Cambridgeshire County Council, described the artifact to Discovery News. "The find is a small shard of pottery possibly from a drinking beaker made in Britain in the 3rd century A.D.," Walton said. "It depicts a man wearing a G-string and possibly holding a whip and is likely therefore to represent a gladiator."

She added, "There are parallels for depictions of gladiators on drinking beakers — some quite pornographic! — but I cannot think of any depictions where the gladiator in question wears nothing but a G-string."

The shard was located in the River Tees in the town of Piercebridge, County Durham, England. Its discovery was announced by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is a British project that encourages members of the public to report archaeological finds.

Gladiators were trained warriors who fought to entertain the ancient Romans. Whips represent only one type of weapon that they used. Gladiators also wielded short, curved swords, nets, two-foot-long "stabbing swords," three-pronged spears and other weapons.

Most of the warriors were war prisoners, slaves and criminals, but some were freemen desiring fortune and fame. At a time without movie stars and pay-per-view, gladiators filled the public's desire for action, adventure and sex.

"A lot of film stars and celebrities like to show a bit of bum, so the Romans were no doubt the same or worse," Rolfe Hutchinson told Discovery News. He discovered the object with diving partner Bob Middlemass. "After all, they were the celebrities of the day."

On a wall in Pompeii, the phrase "the girls' delight" described one gladiator.

Although gladiator games were under state control, the entertainment format often gave popular warriors the chance to display not only their physiques, but also their power that could, at least in isolated moments in the arena, rival that of emperors and other state leaders.

At least one emperor, Commodus, decided in 192 A.D. to step into a gladiator-like role. Dressed in skimpy Hercules attire, the emperor scared away most of the viewing public, who thought he would re-enact the myth of the Stymphalian birds by shooting arrows into the crowd. The historian Cassius Dio (164-235 A.D.) documented what happened next.

"Having killed an ostrich & cut off its head, he came up to where we (senators) were sitting, holding the head in its left hand & in his right hand waving aloft his bloody sword; and though he spoke not a word, yet he wagged his head with a grin, indicating that he would treat us in the same way."

The ancient Romans may have relished such dramatic displays of beefcake and power, but they also could be quite practical.

Near the site of the pottery shard, Hutchinson and Middlemass also found a copper razor handle, dating to approximately the same period. The handle was modeled into the shape of a Roman soldier leg and foot, the two-inch-high foot wearing a heavy wool sock stuffed into a sandal.

A photo accompanies the original article ... I think 'thong' is a better description than g-string ....
In case you missed it in yesterday's Explorator, here's the incipit of a piece in Cyprus Weekly all about the excavations at Pyrgos:

DISCOVERIES at the ancient site of Pyrgos Mavroraki, near Limassol, are revolutionising knowledge of the Bronze Age and have been described as ‘incredible’ by the archaeologist carrying out the work.

Maria Rosaria Belgiorno says that Pyrgos is probably the most important ancient site yet found in Cyprus and has produced evidence for the first time that olive oil was used as a fuel in copper production.

Belgiorno told a meeting in Nicosia that four different architectural units had been uncovered during five seasons of excavations at Pyrgos/Mavroraki, a site that spans the period from around 2350BC to 1850BC.

The site, Belgiorno said, was an industrial complex producing luxury items such as perfumes and textiles dyed with purple and blue indigo.

The excavations were carried out by a team of scientists from the National Council for Research under Belgiorno’s direction.

"Around 2,000 copper slag and bronze objects, stone tools and moulds have been found," she said, noting that many had been chemically analysed and that copper, tin, lead, zinc, arsenic, silver, nickel, iron, sulphur, and silicon had been found.

The analysis confirmed archaeologists’ beliefs that the primary and secondary processing of raw copper were undertaken at Pyrgos.

"Of particular interest, it is evident from the room distribution of the building, that the copper workshops were arranged around a large olive pressroom," she said.

The scarce presence of carbons in a number of small furnaces and forges point to the fact that olive oil and the waste remains from its processing had been used as fuel in copper production.

Bechi analyses of burned oil from an oven in unit B (excavated at Pyrgos during 2005), treated with chemicals, also revealed the presence and the use of olive oil as fuel.

This evidence, Belgiorno says, means that a rethink must take place regarding Cypriot copper technology.

"Of special interest are also the stone swage anvils to shape daggers and the clay moulds for axes found still in the ovens. Both of them testify to the creative talent of the Cypriot coppersmiths in casting and forging bronzes. But it is the evidence of the olive oil as fuel that opens a new window on the ancient history of metallurgy," she said.

According to Belgiorno, later evidence of a possible connection between olive oil and metallurgy comes from Greek mythology, with the myth of Eryctonios, son of Athena and Ephaestos.

"Overall, the evidence underlines the significance of Pyrgos/Mavroraki as the most important archeological site discovered in Cyprus, not merely for the Bronze Age itself but for a better understanding of the role-played by the production and the use of olive oil in Early Middle Bronze Age Cyprus," said Belgiorno.

"We are still working on the site. It is incredible what we are finding here. It is a very large court, we find malls, and jars etc. and an Italian expert confirmed the use of olive oil as fuel for melting copper.

"We will continue with the excavations probably for another year because what we are finding is incredible stuff, revolutionising archaeology and the ancient history of metallurgy.

"It had so far been believed that Cyprus in ancient times was wanted by foreigners for its forests to make carbon. But if this were the case, by the Roman period, Cyprus would have been a desert.

"The evidence we found at Pyrgos, showing olive oil being used for copper metallurgy explains it. Italian experts who were here have confirmed this evidence.

"It was really olive oil, which meant less work and not having to go to the forests and cut the trees," Belgiorno told The Cyprus Weekly.

Earlier this year, Belgiorno and her team of scientists found evidence at Pyrgos of a whole industrial complex, with its own perfume industry, producing perfumes earlier than Egypt, medicine and cloth production with coloured cloths for export. There was also evidence of silk production and an olive press.

"It’s amazing. The metallurgy objects are all arranged in a room near the olive press room with a door connecting them," said Belgiorno.

Excavations carried out, also this year, under Belgiorno’s guidance at Erimi, showed that Cypriot wine was the most ancient in the entire eastern Mediterranean, produced 3,000 years before Greece.

At Vounos, in occupied Kyrenia, archaeological excavations showed Cypriots were the first in Europe to use a horn as a wine glass- a trend still prevailing across Europe with crystal horns being produced and popular to this day in a number of northern European countries.

... the whole thing ...
5.00 p.m. |DTC| Lost City of Pompeii: Secrets of the Dead
Journey to the playground of the Roman aristocracy, Herculaneum. Buried by the same volcanic eruption that leveled Pompeii, this city of luxurious villas, magnificent arcades and extensive library collections holds clues to the Roman's riches.

6.00 p.m. |DTC| In Search of the Holy Grail
What is the Holy Grail? A team of experts explores four intriguing items to explore: a glass bowl from England; an ancient cup from Wales; a small stone; a papal chalice in Spain; and an intricately engraved silver chalice from ancient Antioch.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Relics of The Passion
Relics of the Passion of Christ are sacred objects supposedly scattered around the globe. Are they what the faithful believe them to be? We do the detective work to track down where these relics originated and where they can be found today, explain their meaning, and often question their authenticity. The Passion of Jesus Christ encompasses the violent end of a martyr, an unsolved forensic puzzle, and the start of a worldwide religious movement. In this hour, we use the Passion as a focus to begin tracking the most important relics of the Christian faith, including: the True Cross; the Crown of Thorns; the Holy Nails of the Cross; the Titulus, a small sign stating Christ's name and crime atop the Cross; the Spear of Destiny; a mysterious burial cloth called the Sudarium; an image of Jesus that appears on the Veil of Veronica; and the Holy Grail.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel

HISTU = History Channel (US)
Issue 8.34 of our Explorator newsletter has been promulgated as has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ... both available at our Classics Central Forum, of course (which I also updated today) ...

That's all for tonight folks ... more tomorrow a.m.
I note that PTR has set up a blog for the Classics list to deal with assorted FAQ type things ...
Latest official description:

In his “Confessions” Augustine may have admitted to the sin of stealing pears but he was none the less a super guy. Our “Latin Lover” selects this adjective with a vengeance convinced this saint was the “omnium supremum” with a broader and deeper intellect than his contemporary Jerome...

... although, in fact, as MMe alerted me (thanks) that really isn't much of the focus of this one, although it is largely about Augustine. Kind of strange this one ... listen.
Dies Sanctae Luciae

Sancta Lucia fuit femina Syracusana, quae inter persecutiones imperatoris Diocletiani anno trecentesimo quarto mortua est.

Dies eius festus est tertius decimus mensis Decembris, qui fuit ante Kalendarium Gregorianum brevissimus dies totius anni.

In terris septentrionalibus dies Sanctae Luciae duodevicesimo saeculo celebrari coeptus est. In Finnia ille dies praesertim a Finno-Suetis iam septuaginta annos observatur.

In urbe Helsinki puella, quae inter complures candidatas Sancta Lucia creatur, in ecclesia cathedrali coronatur atque veste candida vestita et coronam candelis ardentibus ornatam capite gerens processione sequente per urbem vehitur.

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

... and for more Latin news, check out Ephemeris!
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

The German who was to bomb New York - Multimillionaire MIT teacher shot in ambush
The conclusion of a lengthy piece in the Telegraph about the Museum case suggests:

For Ms True, a formidable scholar, fluent in Greek and Latin, the case is a personal tragedy. Married to a French architect, she is described by colleagues as both vivacious and businesslike. "She is a person who has devoted most of her life to doing the right thing," says her former colleague Karen Manchester, now a curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. "I'm at a complete loss to understand what is going on."

Under a deal worked out between the museum and the Italian authorities, the $18 million Aphrodite, the prize of the Getty's collection, is expected to be returned to Italy. And like Ms True, if she is found guilty, the statue could be there for a long time.

... by the sounds of things, this might turn into something more akin to a Greek tragedy rather than just a personal one. I've always wondered how anyone can fault museums that acquire antiquities of possibly questionable provenance. Better for the thing to end up in a museum than languishing in some collector's basement where it will never be seen. We also should make note of a letter that Dorothy King wrote to the New York Times in the wake of their coverage of the Shelby White Collection last week; the letter is available at Dr. King's blog, but she has also given me permission to post it here:

Dear Sir,

Re. Doubts on Donors' Collection Cloud Met Antiquities Project (10 December 2005)

The article the Times printed on Shelby White and her collection is rather surprising for such a great institution as the New York Times – it is neither news, nor was the innuendo fit to print.

Performing 'due diligence' before buying or selling works of art to check on their provenances – that they are neither looted not stolen - sounds like a wonderful idea, and so very easy. I wish it were.
A collector (not Mrs. White) asked me to look at a Roman copy of an Erechtheion Kore in an auction at Christies New York in May 2004. Although listed in the catalogue as Hadrianic, I felt the sculpture was Julio-Claudian, and by a sculptor from Reggio One (the area around Rome). This particular type of sculpture tends to come in sets of six, but the sets all differ in the execution of details such as drapery, and therefore each group is unique. I have seen the examples around the world, and published and lectured extensively on the type. The details of the carving of the Christies figure would have been enough to identify it, if it was a missing figure from a partial set we know. In theory I know every example of these Erechtheion Kore anywhere in the world, and I am one of the best people alive to have undertaken 'due diligence' on this statue.
I emailed photos of the statue to everyone I knew who had excavated similar figures in Greece, Italy and Albania; I received no answers. I emailed photos to everyone I knew who had similar figures in their museums or store; I received no answers. I emailed photos to a colleague highly placed in the Greek Archaeological Service; again, no answer. I made repeated efforts to ring the Italian Cultural Attaché in London, leaving my cell phone number and messages; nobody bothered to ring me back. I know many people who work on this type of Kore, and many people in archaeology, but I couldn't get a single reply out of them.
I told the auction house that no-one was objecting to the sale. The staff at Christie's could not have been more helpful, and had been as keen as I had been to check that the piece was not stolen. They gave me free access to the piece before it went on display, and I was enthusiastically accompanied by a student of Jack L. Davis. The student included the statue in her Ph.D., which he approved, so the piece was presumably did not "have anything to do with looting, however indirect".
If I cannot perform "due diligence" on a figure type I know so well and specialize in, I do not understand how anyone else can be expected to do so. Did the collector buy the sculpture? No. Although I know of no other antiquity on which greater due diligence has been attempted, and although it was a fabulous piece that we wanted to buy, we also knew that the lack of long-term history meant that this copy of an Erechtheion Kore would be open to spurious allegations. Had I know at the time that we would have the approval of Jack L. Davis, we might well have bought it.

Your article seems to be suggesting, through the juxtaposition of the paragraphs, that Jane Waldbaum is saying that Mrs White has "hot items". If this were true, I'm sure she would have said specifically which items were 'hot'. Your article then goes on to claim that several items in their collection "appear to have been smuggled out of Italy" – the use of the word 'appear' clearly covering you against defamation. When it comes to art collectors, we seem to have waived the presumption of innocence, and are presuming everyone guilty without a trial. Provenance seems to be a term bandied about freely and poorly understood. There are very few antiquities that have a secure provenance anywhere, and that includes Italian museums; we tend to know where 'great' works come from, but rarely know specifically where anything else originated.

Although UNESCO and the UNESCO Convention are often bandied around by Restitutionists, who would like all art anywhere to go back to wherever they claim it originally came from, UNESCO itself is rapidly becoming a joke. Their refusal to help save art in Afghanistan is well known, preferring to see it destroyed by the Taliban because "it is not our policy to remove cultural property from its country of origin". I know of several other examples of this UNESCO policy that would rather see art destroyed than temporarily exported, and so by now they are the last group I would bother to contact for help.

Mrs. White and her late husband did and do a great deal of good in archaeology. I should at this point admit that I am one of the many scholars who have benefited from help from Mrs White. Although I have not received one cent towards research or publication, Mrs. White has always been very generous with her advice and offers of assistance in the many campaigns I have been involved in – if I knew of cultural heritage in danger, I would ring Mrs. White before I rang UNESCO or anyone else, because I know that she would offer concrete help rather than platitudes.
Mrs White and her late husband were and continue to be generous benefactors in the field of ancient art, and I have had the privilege of knowing them for many years. As with many collections, there have been the odd problems with a couple of objects, but Mrs White has always been exemplary in sorting these problems out immediately. The quote from Mrs White that she makes her collection available to scholars, and would be more than willing to resolve the situation should anything she bought turn out to be suspect, is one I can vouch for. Later in the same article you confirm this yourselves, making it clear that Mr Levy and Mrs White have done their best to resolve the few cases where items in their collection have been proven to have been smuggled by dealers (not the collectors themselves).

Although some archaeologists have criticized the Levy-White collection - as well as all art collections – others, such as myself, have done the opposite. It is all too easy to criticize anonymously. There seems to be a lot of innuendo about the collection harming the Met in discussions with the Italians, but no clear facts, and all the accusations of wrong-doing your article mentions seem to be specifically directed at the Met and not at Mrs White.
I am a little confused how your writers have made a leap between the new Roman court at the Met, generously funded by Mr Levy and Mrs White, and this now suddenly becoming one of "one of the Met's biggest headaches". I would love to know your source for this strange statement, as I cannot understand how having so much additional exhibition space would suddenly became a problem. As far as I understand, based on models and plans in the Department of Greek and Roman Art at the Met, the Courtyard will be used to display the Met's collections, and not become some sort of private fiefdom for Mrs White as your article seems to imply.

I know most of the great antiquities collectors, and Mrs White is the most intelligent, most generous, and most honest. She shares her collection with scholars, lends it to museums, and promptly attempts to resolve any issues that might arise. The article you printed smears her unfairly, and it is a sad comment on the Times' journalism.

Claims are regularly made these days that art collecting funds terrorism, and earns more for the Mafia or other dubious groups than drugs. During a recent visit to New York I noticed that public drug-use – particularly cocaine – seems to have become acceptable, but that collecting art now makes one a pariah. At a Benefit at the Met, the seats in the women's lavatories were covered in white powder – I find that unacceptable, but your authors clearly worry more about the contents of the display cases which thankfully most of the revellers were ignoring.


Dr. Dorothy King

author "The Elgin Marbles" (Random House, 19 January 2006).

The big problem, as I see it, is that the various governments are going after the wrong folks -- to elaborate on Dr. King's drug comments, this whole museum case thing is not unlike a police department spending a disproportionate amount of its resources putting drug addicts in jail while doing nothing to deal with the sources of the supply. Personally, I think the various museums around the world should take a stand and refuse to return anything until the countries demanding the return (especially Greece and Italy) pass legislation along the lines of the U.K.'s Portable Antiquities Scheme to provide 'legitimate' way for antiquities to reach the market (and, by extension, the scholarly world as well).
Apologies for the late update today, folks ... I'm having one of my can't-focus-on-anything-for-much-longer-than-seven-minutes days ... by way of 'make up', here's a doorworthy Get Fuzzy cartoon sent in by JS (thanks!):

It's that time of year again:

Rudolphus rubrinasus fulgentissimo naso,
vidisti et si eum dicas quoque candere.
Omnes tarandi ceteri ridebant vocantes nomina;
non sinebant Rudolphum interessa ludentes.
olim crassa nocte Christi, Nicolaus it dictum:
“Rudolphe, naso tam claro, agesne traham meam?”
Qui tum tarandis amor conclamantibus eum,
“Rudolphe, rubrinase descendes historia!”

... hear it performed the gang at St. Bart's ... And if you need Jingle Bells:

Consuli manu
Mappa decidit,
Acer cum curru
Equus exsilit.
Pone nos sonant
Carcerum valvae.
Quam circenses delectant!
Quam gaudent aurigae!

Tinniunt, tinniunt
Usque phalerae.
Quam libenter audiunt
in cursu aurigae!

Illic meta stat;
Flecte quadrigas!
Qui non evitat,
Frangit is rotas;
Concurrunt equi,
It caelo fragor;
Ruunt currus commixti,
Ubique fit cruor.

Tinniunt, tinniunt
Usque phalerae.
Quam libenter audiunt
in cursu aurigae!

(lyrics via ingeb.org)

... or Silent Night:

Sancta nox, placida nox!
Nusquam est ulla vox;
Par sanctissimum vigilat,
Crispo crine quieti se dat
Puer dulcissimus.

Sancta nox, placida nox!
Certior fit pastor mox
Angelorum alleluia;
Sonat voce clarissima
Iesus salvator adest.

Sancta nox, placida nox!
Nate Dei, suavis vox
Manat ex ore sanctissimo,
Cum is nobis auxilio,
Christe, natalibus.

(also via ingeb.org)

Some additional and/or alternate versions of Christmas songs in Latin at KET ... Harry Maynard's page is also full of useful stuff ... About.com Ancient History Guide N.S. Gill has some of the more 'traditional' offerings of the season ... I note that Bolchazzy-Carducci carries a cd of Latin Christmas Carols
In the past week we mentioned Mary Harrsch had used the Hot Potatoes software to put up a Crossword which would be of interest to Classicists ... there's a couple of interactive quizzes that have been put up in the sidebar of the same page (one with suggested readings) ...
Just in time for Christmas comes an image of Mary on some guy's laundry room floor (with photo ... it actually reminds me of a well-known Minoan fresco)
From the Mercury News comes one of a handful of updates on the Museum Case:

Prosecutors on Friday showed a court written proposals for antiquities they contend bolster their case that a former Getty museum curator knew that the artifacts were being illegally acquired.

Thank-you letters and even an apology were also among the correspondence that Prosecutor Paolo Ferri displayed to the court in Rome where Marion True, an American who was antiquities curator at the J.Paul Getty Museum in California, and Robert Hecht, an American art dealer, are on trial.

Ferri contended that that the correspondence is evidence that True made numerous deals with Giacomo Medici, an Italian art dealer who was convicted in Rome a year ago of conspiring to deal in illegally acquired antiquities.

True and Hecht are accused of receiving and conspiring to deal in illegally acquired antiquities. The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

One of the letters shown to the court was an apology from True to Medici, in 1987, for a decision by the Getty not to buy a batch of 20 Etruscan ceramic plates.

"I do hope that you understand that the decision was not mine," read the letter that the prosecutor said was sent from True to Medici.

Ferri told reporters after the session that the apology was evidence of the extensive dealings between the two.

An excerpt from the New York Times coverage gives some more hints about the correspondence:

In one letter cited by Mr. Pellegrini, Ms. True thanks Mr. Medici for donating the head of a kouros (a statue representing youth) to the Getty, and for providing information on the provenance of three fragmentary proto-Corinthian olpai, or pitchers, in the museum's collection. Ms. True wrote that it was "helpful" to know that the pieces "came from Cerveteri and the area of Monte Abatone," an area in central Italy rich in archaeological sites. "The fact that Medici was able to be so specific about the provenance of the pieces means he's been in contact with the robbers who raided the tomb," the prosecutor, Paolo Ferri, said. "And it shows that True knows of these contacts."
From the Jerusalem Post comes a nice followup piece:

Two remarkably well-preserved wooden anchors more than two millennia old, discovered recently on the shores of the Dead Sea, are now on view opposite the book shop at the Israel Museum, on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Over the last few decades, Israel's diversion of water from Lake Kinneret into the national water carrier has caused the progressive drop in the level of the Dead Sea, reducing its size by nearly half. The receding waters uncovered the two wooden anchors, which were spotted by archaeologist Dr. Gideon Hadas during a stroll along the shore.

The first anchor, approximately 2,500 years old, was found where the Ein Gedi harbor was once located, and may have been used by the Jews of biblical Ein Gedi. The later anchor, some 2,000 years old, was constructed according to the best Roman technology and probably belonged to a large craft used by one of the rulers of Judea. As the sea recedes further, we may yet get to see the ship to which this anchor belonged.

The 2000-year-old anchor, which originally weighed a massive 130 kg., is made from a Jujube tree and was reinforced with lead, iron and bronze. While the wooden parts are very well-preserved, its metal parts have disappeared almost entirely. Their traces have survived only in the crystals encasing the anchor. The design of the anchor is surprisingly modern: there are two flukes which were reinforced with a hook joint and a wooden plate fixed with wooden pegs, and a lead collar. The anchor also had a tripline, which was used to haul it out of the water.

The ingenious earlier anchor, with some of its ropes still attached to it, is in an astonishing state of preservation. The oldest Dead Sea anchor known, it was made from the trunk of an acacia tree, with one of its branches sharpened to a point and originally reinforced with metal, to engage the seabed. Amazingly enough, most of the trunk is still covered in bark. The 12.5 meter-long ropes were made from date-palm fibers, each fashioned from three strands and lashed into grooves in the wood. Both anchors were weighted with a heavy stone lashed laterally.

So it appears that the Dead Sea was once very much alive, a bustling trade route in ancient times. Ships carried salt, asphalt and agricultural goods, says David Mevorah, Curator of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods and curator of the special exhibit, who avers that it was the lack of oxygen in the Dead Sea water that preserved the wood of the anchors. In contrast, all that remains of ancient anchors found in the Mediterranean is their metal parts; the wooden elements rotted away.

On display with the anchors are some local natural resources like a huge lump of pitch/asphalt and some salt - both expensive materials of the ancient world; in the days before refrigeration, salt was a necessity for preserving food. Also on view are 1,400 tiny Hellenist bronze coins from 80 BCE, probably dropped from a Hasmonean ship near the edge of the Dead Sea; and a copy of a mosaic map depicting ships sailing the Dead Sea. The original mosaic, with its clear plan of the Cardo in Jerusalem, decorated the floor of a 6th-century Byzantine church at Madaba in Jordan.

The tiny coins on view are a reminder that the trade routes also had to be defended. The coins were found near the naval complex of towers and slipways constructed near the northern end of the sea during the reign of Alexander Yannai. They are just part of a hoard of tens of thousands that may have been intended to be payment for mercenaries defending the area against the Nabateans, who were menacing the eastern and southern shores of the Dead Sea. Each coin sports a two-armed anchor and the Greek inscription Of King Alexander. The reverse side has an eight-rayed star and the words Jonathan the King (the king's Hebrew name was Yonatan).
10.00 p.m. |SCI| Nero's Golden House
Step back into the Roman empire with a virtual tour of Emperor Nero's golden house. Examination of the ruins, underneath the Roman Coliseum, offer insight into the power, propaganda and trade networks of a notoriously evil ruler.

SCI - Science Channel
Neque enim omnia deus homini facit.
(Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones 7.30.3)

For the divine does not do everything for humanity.

(Pron = NEH-kweh EH-nim OHM-nee-ah DAY-oos HOH-mih-nee FAH-kit).

Comment: The notion of a “god” out there is one that I have become very
suspicious of, and it is a suspicion that I have developed very carefully over
the years.
I have been very religious and spiritually inclined all of my life, even as a
child and teenager, and in ways that are probably not “normal”. In other
words, I’ve done a lot of time with the idea of “god” and have two degrees to
go with it!

I have come to the conclusion that belief in a “god out there” is, for me, very
unhealthy. The word “god” is used, in English, to create the belief in a power
that is up, over, above and beyond us, and, most importantly, SEPARATE, from us.
It is this separation that is most harmful. I could write chapters on the
damage done by various religionists who capitalize on this notion of the
separation of that which is supposed to be the ALL-GOOD and ALL-KNOWING from us
as human beings. The result, in my own life and observations, are disastrous.

If there is a divinity that is the core and essence of what is, then it is shot
through everything that exists—trees and rocks, streams and oceans, the wind
and air and storms, lightening and fire and volcanoes, AND you and me.

Seneca’s stoicism participated unwittingly in this Great Separation. He had to
affirm that god did not do everything for human beings in order to get
followers to follow the Stoic Rules. In so doing, he also had to add to this
western perversion of spirituality that the divine was separate from being

I’d write it another way: we do everything. And we are one of millions (or
billions or trillions) of beings through which the Great Divine flows, moves
and works.

For me, it is a good time of year to reflect on this Great Separation, and to
acknowledge that I don’t accept it anymore. If we can allow that the divine is
shot through all that is, then the tree in my living room (and the forest in my
back yard), the baby in the manger, the stars in the sky, the full moon that is
about to blossom over the next few nights, the kindling of new fire at the
Winter Solstice next week, the lights of Hanukah, the candles and virtues of
Kwanza, the wonderful, smiling and laughing faces of those who gather at
parties with us—all reveal the same thing. The divine is in us, with us,
through us, around us and is us (pardon the grammar!). And it always has been
here. Not out there. Nothing to seek. Only something to accept, be,
participate in.

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

ca. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Albina at Formiae
antipathy @ Guru.net

ailurophile @ Merriam-Webster

sacrosanct @ Dictionary.com

... also worth checking out: Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Not sure if I've ever linked to this rather neat animated gif which shows the evolution of our alphabet ...
From a longer column in Ha'aretz comes an interesting followup to that Megiddo Church story:

"I found it is all mosaic floor," Yehuda Batir says in his broken Hebrew. He is 25, born in Uzbekistan, has been in Israel only two and a half years and is already serving time in Megiddo Prison for domestic violence. Now he is working there as part of a "rescue dig" organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which is uncovering what turned out to be a mosaic of perhaps the oldest church ever found anywhere, dating back to the fourth century C.E.

"First I found corner," Batir continues. "I go, dig with hoe, saw here a little, 10 centimeters, and I think to myself there is something here. There was plaster, shards, no pictures. After that I saw fish and I know it is Christian."

The excavations began nine months ago. In February 2005, Megiddo Prison was transferred from the auspices of the Israel Defense Forces to the Israel Prisons Service (IPS), which decided to build permanent structures on the premises to replace the tents there. Of the four areas in which excavation has taken place, the IAA has already released three for continued construction. The fourth area turned up a treasure.

"I am very happy that I found," Batir boasts. "I told my friends, they did not believe what is here. After, they saw on television."

For working at the dig, from 4:45 A.M. until 1:30 P.M., each prisoner gets NIS 30 a day. "Before this I sewed shoes, more money," says Raphael Yohai, 38, divorced and the father of two daughters, aged 18 and 19, who is doing five years for an armed robbery, during which someone was shot and afterward "turned dead in the hospital," as he puts it. He came to Israel 18 years ago from the Caucasus and will be freed in another three months. He is serving his time in Hermon Prison, from which he comes to Megiddo every morning at 6. After his release he is going to Amsterdam. He has lunch with his buddies in the staff mess hall, a meat meal with side dishes. After work he takes a shower and works out.

The dig is being supervised by Yotam Tepper. Clad in a hat that protects the back of his neck as well as his face from the sun, and dark sunglasses of an unusual design, Tepper, 38, describes the educational nature of his job.

"We are teaching work to people who have never worked or who worked at illegal things. Some of them are enthusiastic and are learning excavation management, becoming professionals. I am not interested in who did what I don't want to hear about or get entangled personally with them. I would definitely prefer to work with people who are trained in archaeology, but I accept the circumstances. They are the ones doing the work, and there is an attitude of respect and fairness toward them."

Between 30 and 40 prisoners are working in a huge army tent that covers the site and the mosaic floor. Tepper also talks to them about history and archaeology. Do they take an interest in things? "Absolutely," he replies. "They ask me where I am from in Israel, what kind of car I have, what I studied."

The IPS official in charge of the group is Ossam Kiezel, 41, from the village of Maghar, the commander of a wing in the prison, whose rank is the equivalent of a police chief inspector. He has been with the service for 20 years and is married and the father of five. He too is enjoying the joint initiative with the IAA.

Kiezel: "It is very nice because, first of all, it is a new sphere in the service. You learn a lot and enrich your knowledge. We learned about different periods, how pottery is made. A prisoner who gets used to working - that is part of his rehabilitation, a road to good citizenship. To sit in the barracks is degenerating; you get used to not working. At first the prisoners didn't want to work at this, but now they are asking me to stay in the excavations."

Yohai confirms this. "Before I did not want, when I found church I wanted," he says. Since joining, he has been "looking for all kinds of old things, coins, ceramics, cups." Would he dare - excuse the question - take a souvenir home? "If Israel gives souvenir, good, but not to steal, no way. This is history of State of Israel. Better to take bank and not things like this. You get a blow from God. This belongs State of Israel," he says emotionally, then adding, "What take? It is nonsense, it is dead. What I do with it?"
An interesting little item from the Times which folks might like:

A great tree attracts awe as well as wind and caterpillars. The great tree in the main railway station at Rome attracts orisons. For the Romans are sticking their prayers and thank-you messages on their principal civic Christmas tree. So it is covered with more rolled-up msgs than candles. The requests are to do with lifestyle in the changes and chances of this wicked world: “Please may I get a new job in the new year”; “May my wife never find out about my mistress.” These are an older form of public self-expression than weblogs. They are implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, addressed to Father Christmas, the presumed guardian of the tree.

Are we here witnessing the birth of a new folklorist tradition? Or irony? No. Pinning one’s hopes on a tree represents a much older and stranger tradition than sending one’s wish list to Santa Nikolaus, the Disneyfied patron saint of wishful thinking. In As You Like It Orlando hangs his verses of love for Rosalind on the trees of the Forest of Arden. The giant redwood trees of California represented the oldest native tradition for the settlers in the New World. They became virtual religion. People still leave their written requests in churches around the Mediterranean. They have been doing so since trees were churches. The poet Horace claimed to have hung up his dripping clothes to the gods as a prayer that he had been cured of the shipwreck of love for Pyrrha. Old trees were rooted before the temples. The modern Romans are merely following the tradition of our ancestors. And the ancient practice of pinning one’s hopes to a tree is still a mortal way of comfort — and of procrastination.
That famous statue finally has a home ... from ANSA:

A renowned statue of Marcus Aurelius, considered a symbol of Rome, has found a permanent home after 26 years of wandering .

The massive equestrian bronze will be on view starting next Thursday in a special glassed-in section of the Villa Caffarelli gardens on the Capitoline Hill, designed by the architect Carlo Aymonino .

"Aymonino's project beautifully blends both old and new, creating a stunning sight for everyone," said Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, at the opening ceremony for the new museum wing which will house the statue .

The statue was removed from its longstanding place of honour at the centre of Michelangelo's Campidoglio Square following an attack in 1979. Combined with the effects of pollution, this convinced authorities that the national treasure would need a more permanent form of protection .

A nine-year restoration returned it to its former condition but it was decided to replace the original with a perfect bronze replica .

The original was moved to the Capitoline Museums, just a few steps away from Campidoglio Square, as a temporary measure in 1990 .

There was initial uncertainty over where it should be placed, and for a while, authorities considered using both the original and the replica in the square in alternating shifts .

But in the mid-1990s, Rome city council decided to extend the Capitoline Museums, which house many of Rome's treasured antiquities, by glassing in the neighbouring garden .

"This investment is helping make the Capitoline Museums lovelier than they've ever been before," remarked Veltroni, explaining that the new section extends the museum space by a third to 11,000 metres .

As well as providing a home for the statue, which is housed in a climate-controlled, bright and airy central room, the construction produced a surprise bonus: the discovery of the remains of an enormous temple dedicated to Jupiter, dating back to the 6th century AD .

The careful excavation work, which considerably lengthened the planned construction times, has revealed that the temple was built at the order of Rome's fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus (617-579 BC) .

In ancient times, the Romans would carry out rituals at the temple before setting off on wars. This was also where triumphal processions concluded .

At the presentation of his work, Aymonino explained that he had modified his original design for the glass room to include a seven-metre stretch of the temple's original wall .

In its heyday, the temple walls stretched for 60 metres by 52 metres, and housed sanctuaries for Jupiter, Juno and Minerva .

The statue, which dates back to the latter part of Marcus Aurelius's reign (161-180 AD) is considered particularly valuable as it is the only large bronze work to survive from this period .

Archaeologists believe it was spared during the Middle Ages as it was mistakenly thought to represent the Christian emperor, Constantine .

Marcus Aurelius Antonius (121-180 AD) came to the throne in 161 AD and was the last of the 'five good emperors' in the two-century period of Roman peace. He was also a stoic philosopher and is remembered for his work written in Greek 'Meditations' .

When Marcus Aurelius died of the plague in 180 AD, the throne was handed over to his son Commodus .

I'm not sure how to respond to this excerpt from the Georgia State University student newspaper, a.k.a. the Signal:

Before attending any Jewish events, it is important to understand the roots and basis of Hanukkah. Hanukkah dates back to 165 B.C.E., when the traditional Jews overcame the Hellenistic, immoral Syrians. In the mid-300s B.C.E., Alexander the Great and his Grecian cohorts had already overtaken Jerusalem, and the often pedophilic, murderous ways of the Greeks began to permeate parts of Jewish society. Traditional Jews resisted these changes. Over time, various other forces attempted to take over Jerusalem, but by 165 B.C.E., the Jews had endured enough. With an army smaller than those they were fighting against, a group of Jews led by Judah Maccabee won the war against their invaders.
I've mentioned my obsession with Sudokus before, I think, (and I'm hoping for a snow day so I can do one ... haven't had time for a while), but as we wait to see whether today is going to be declared a snow day, the incipit of piece from the Star suggests:

THE root of Sudoku lies in an 18th century brainteaser called Latin Squares invented by a mathematician named Leonhard Euler who hails from Basle, Switzerland.

Further surfing suggests Euler Squares (as they are also known) might also be called Graeco-Latin squares. But, alas, it appears that name arises from a practice of using Greek and Latin letters in alternate squares when figuring it out.

... we'll find something Classical about these eventually (perhaps a tie to SATOR-AREPO things) ...
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Goddesses and the divine feminine: a western religious history.

Diana E. E. Kleiner, Cleopatra and Rome.
Dies independentiae Finniae

Die sexto mensis Decembris (6.12.) Finni duodenonagesimum anniversarium independentiae suae ritu sollemni et translaticio celebraverunt.

Sollemnitates iam primo diluculo initium ceperunt vexillo nationali publice proponendo. Pompa militaris, cui amplius mille milites et circiter centum vehicula et currus cataphracti interfuerunt, in urbe Lahti instituta est.

Meridie autem in ecclesia cathedrali Helsinkiensi officium divinum oecumenicum curabatur. Sub vesperum cives candelas domi suae accenderunt ad diem festum illuminandum, quo facto plerique in stibadio assederunt in televisione spectaturi, quos hospites praesidens Tarja Halonen in palatium praesidentiale diei insignis agendi causa invitasset.

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

For more Latin news, check out Ephemeris
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek!):

Tim Montgommery, banned for two years - Iran president says holocaust is a myth
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Hidden City of Petra
Story of the Nabataeans, a desert people who carved the city of Petra out of the Jordanian mountains some 2,000 years ago. Their culture flourished, then disappeared. We visit the site of the amazing sculpted city, which included temples and colonnaded market streets.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| What the Romans Did for Us: Ahead of Their Time
Adam Hart-Davis rediscovers the innovations and inventions the Romans brought to Britain. In Roman times, 176 days a year were public holidays. Adam looks at the entertainment that the Romans laid on to keep the citizens of the Empire content including the Hydraulis--the first ever keyboard instrument. He also tries out an automaton--a forerunner of today's robots. Adam discovers drawings for some farsighted ideas and recreates an inflatable portable bridge--similar to those used today by rescue services. But, as we see, the most lasting innovations were in the buildings--the Romans introduced concrete that has survived 2,000 years!

HINT - History International
Nil homini certum est.
(Ovid, Tristia 5.5.27)

Nothing is certain for the human being.

(Pron = neel HOH-mih-nih KEHR-toom ehst)

Comment: Admittedly, this is not a cheerful thought. But, if we work with what
it represents, it can be fairly freeing. It will disturb us first, though.

I work in an environment (education) where the majority of the adults do what
they do based on an expectation of certainty. I could write pages of examples
of the expectations that teachers bring to their work every day—expectations of
certainty—but suffice it to say that the majority of things that teachers are
upset about on a given day all boil down to how that expectation of certainty
did not work out!

I suspect this dynamic is found among other professions as well, and among
adults in general. Children learn this expectation from adults quickly.
Children will work very hard to supply the adults around them with the expected
certainty. Those who pull it off become neurotic students. Those whose lives
overwhelm them, who cannot pull it off, become skeptical children who
frequently check out of the process.

Ovid, once the charming poet if not mischievous poet of the imperial court,
found himself, at the end of life, in exile for having offended the emperor.
Rather than spending his retiring years in the Rome that he loved, he spent it
in a foreign city writing “sad things”. He understood that nothing is certain
for human beings.

Because nothing is certain, we can choose to begin every day with an openness to
what will come. The day will take its shape around what comes. We can be
certain of nothing but the surprises! The students who walk into my room today
bring the universe with them. Lesson plans are what I have prepared, but the
students are who I have to work with. The alternative is to insist that my
lesson plan rules the day (that certain is mine because I have planned well),
and to insist that students, regardless of what is happening in their lives,
conform to my lesson plan. It can be a pretty cruel process, but it is one
that happens thoughtlessly in millions of school rooms every day.

Even as I write this, I have had to place a bucket by the front door—heavy
rains, and an unexpected leak in the roof! Today’s activity includes, now,
calling a roofer! Hmm. Not in my lesson plans.

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

Consualia -- a festival in honour of Consus which likely involved a similar celebration held on August 21 (i.e. horse races, chariot races, and garlanding of the steeds)
337 B.C. -- death of Timoleon (according to one reckoning)
19 B.C. -- dedication of the Ara Fortunae Reducis
37 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Nero
130 A.D. -- birth of the future co-emperor Lucius Verus
lese majesty @ Wordsmith (can't believe this one never occurred to me before)

philology @ Guru.net

... and this week's My Word! feature at the Classics Technology Center looks at 'increasing terms' in Latin
Over at Classics in Contemporary Culture, there's an interesting post (emerging out of the Tookie Williams thing) on how the Colosseum has become a symbolic thing whenever an execution is commuted in the world ...
Mary Harrsch has a number of online bloggish things (which were misfiled in my bloglines setup) which I have been rather negligent in mentioning. Today I'll try to rectify that by directing folks to an online crossword (made with Hot Potatoes) she's just put up at Roman Times. I've also been meaning to mention her Roman Scholars page, the latest installment at which is all about Penelope Allison (who got coverage for her women-in-Roman-military-forts research t'other day).
From the Colorado Daily:

Greek philosopher Aristotle wasn't always the biggest fan of money. If he only knew how much his writings are bringing to one CU-Boulder classics professor.

Eckart Schütrumpf has earned a $75,000 German research award called the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award for his work compiling some fragments of Aristotle's little-known writing into an “authoritative” volume, to be published in Greek with German and English translations.

“Aristotle is without doubt one of the greatest philosophers of all time, and he was a very productive author,” said Schütrumpf in a CU news release. “However, it has been calculated that only one-fifth of what he wrote has survived.”

According to CU, Schütrumpf is considered one of the world's foremost experts on Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher who lived from 384 to 322 B.C.

Schütrumpf earlier this year published the last of four volumes of commentary on Aristotle's politics, according to the University.

Schütrumpf said the new edition of Aristotle's “fragments” would provide a more comprehensive of understanding of his philosophy.

“Previous editions of the fragments of Aristotle's works exist, the best being from 1886,” he said in a press release Wednesday. ”It is desirable that this edition be replaced because we now have a greater knowledge of literature from late antiquity, which allows us a better understanding of the indirect tradition of Aristotelian influence.”

The Humboldt Foundation's research award intends to honor scholars who have achieved the highest level of accomplishment in their field over an entire career and to further cooperation between these experts and scholars at German universities, according to CU.

Eminent scholars from Germany must nominate candidates.

External evaluators selected by the Humboldt Foundation are then asked to assess the international scholarly reputation of the nominee and the quality of their proposed new research, according to CU.

Because scholars from all countries are nominated, the award is extremely competitive.

Only about 10 percent of Humboldt research awards are given to scholars in the humanities.
Laurels seem to be creeping their way into a number of news articles lately ... an excerpt from the Star-Ledger:

Indigenous to Asia Minor, bay leaf has been grown since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region. According to Greek mythology, the earth goddess Gaea transformed the nymph Daphne into a laurel tree to help her escape the unwanted advances of the god Apollo. To this day the Green word for laurel is "dhafni."

Since Apollo was the patron of poets, in ancient times it was customary for poets and other scholars to be crowned with laurel wreaths -- hence, the terms poet laureate and baccalaureate. "A victorious general did not pin medals on his toga; he wore a crown of bay leaves and carried a branch of laurel in his hand," wrote food historian Waverly Root in "Food" (Konecky & Konecky, 1980). Similarly, victorious Olympians and other athletes were honored with crowns of laurel. Because the Romans believed that the laurel was the only plant never struck by lighting, the emperor Tiberius always wore a wreath fashioned from bay laurel leaves during thunderstorms.

... not sure about that reference to Tiberius ... sounds a bit more like Gaius (Caligula) to me.
Fittingly, from Rome News too:

For Romans who make the trip to Athens, tailgating means much more than simply drinking and watching football.

... I hope I wasn't the only guy who quickly read that and immediately had an image of a bunch of toga-clad guys gathered behind a chariot with a brazier on it, snarfing down dormice ...
I suspect we're going to hear/read more in the wake of this one (from Arezzo Notizie):

Un anfora di epoca romana, reperto di estrema rilevanza archeologica, è stata scoperta e sequestrata dagli uomini della Guardia di Finanza di Arezzo.

L’anfora era esposta all’interno di un ampio salone nella villa di un facoltoso aretino, noto amante e collezionista di pezzi d’antiquariato. All’arrivo dei finanzieri il collezionista non ha saputo fornire alcuna giustificazione plausibile sulla detenzione del prezioso reperto e a quel punto è scattato il sequestro, mentre continuano le indagini per accertare in quale modo l’aretino fosse riuscito ad averlo e da dove esso provenisse.

La Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici della Soprintendenza di Firenze ha confermato l’autenticità del reperto, con una perizia che ha attestato che si tratta di un’anfora da trasporto, risalente alla fine del II° / metà I° secolo A.C. Da alcune tracce rinvenute sembra che l’anfora per lungo tempo sia rimasta depositata in un fondale marino.

... interesting how they really don't give any idea about where the amphora was actually found ... looks like it might come from a shipwreck.
Moreschini on Dyck on Moreschini.

Chamberland on Aronoff on Mahoney.

Paolo Monella, Procne e Filomela. Dal mito al simbolo letterario.

Eberhard Sauer, Coins, Cult and Cultural Identity: Augustan Coins, Hot Springs and the Early Roman Baths at Bourbonne-les-Bains. Leicester Archaeology Monographs 10.
New online book that just popped up on Project Gutenberg ... J. A. MacCulloch, The Religion of the Ancient Celts (1911) (a quick glance suggests this guy is firmly in the James Frazer view of things)

For those of you wanting to throw together a Christmas card, this image from Kathimerini might give you some inspiration (but it's small!)

Merkel Germanis acceptissima

Angela Merkel, cancellaria foederalis Germaniae nuper electa, brevi tempore admodum magnam civium suorum gratiam inisse videtur.

Ex demoscopia enim recens facta patet undesexaginta centesimas Germanorum eam munere suo bene fungi putare.

Huc accedit, quod dimidia fere pars populi aestimat novam coalitionem administratricem, quae ex democratis Christianis et democratis socialibus constat, opus suum magna cum laude aggressam esse.

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

For more Latin news, check out Ephemeris
... nothing of interest.
Rex est qui metuit nihil, rex est quique cupit nihil; hoc regnum sibi quisque
(Seneca, Thyestes 388-390)

A king is he who fears nothing; a king is also he who desires nothing; each
person gives this kind of kingdom to him/herself.

Comment: To fear nothing, to desire nothing—each person gives this sort of gift
to him/herself.

Seneca was a Stoic, and a Stoic at a time when it was not politically correct to
be a Stoic. Stoics valued knowing what things in their lives they had any
control over, and then making their choices in light of that.

For instance, I may fear that some day I will be killed in an automobile
accident. For the Stoic, it is clear that I have no control over what
accidents may happen to me other than attempting to be a safe driver myself. I
can give myself the kingdom of no fear about being in a car accident because I
have no control over that.

I may wish to own a multi-million dollar mansion. A Stoic would observe that I
have no control over the kind of money it would take to buy such a mansion, and
so, I give myself the kingdom of no desire for such a house because I have no
control over it.

Finally, for me, the Stoic approach has some good ideas, but the application
falls short. It does not take long to notice that just because I don’t have
control over something does not change my feelings about it. In fact, that
might just intensify the feelings.

Seneca’s words might give us this, though: I can give myself the gift of
looking squarely at what I fear and what I desire, and allow that they are
running me. Notice them, allow them, talk to them, ask them where they come
from, learn from them. Rather than being driven by my fears and wants, I can
begin to learn from them, and perhaps, allow them to move on.

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

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Heron

283 A.D. -- martyrdom of Justus and Abundius
frisson @ Wordsmith

collachrymate @ Worthless Word for the Day (poss. collacrimate?)

paladin @ Dictionary.com
The Stoa has just announced an interesting project involving 'text movies' of some bits of Erasmus -- basically, you can read along as it is read out. It requires you to have quicktime installed and, at this point of the morning, does not appear to be Firefox friendly (Firefox appears to have problems with embedded movies), but perhaps that's just me.
A handful of interesting posts over at Alun/Archaeoastronomy, including a no-longer-available story from the Independent saying the Italians have cut a bunch of scenes from Rome because it was too violent/racy (!). There's also a very nice extended post/essay on Naxos (in Sicily), enhanced with all sorts of Google images ...
Well, this is genuinely a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slow news day. All that I have is a notice that -- in the wake of the closing of the Domus Aurea to tourists -- the museum housing the Pisa ships will be opening next week.
De comitiis in Venetiola habitis
In Venetiola comitia parlamentaria habita sunt, quorum victores se professi sunt socii praesidentis Hugo Chavez.

Partes enim ei faventes nuntiaverunt sibi contigisse, ut omnibus centum sexaginta septem sedibus parlamenti nationalis potirentur.

Causa eius rei mirabilis videtur esse, quod factiones regimini oppositae recusaverunt, quominus comitiis interessent.

Censebant suffragari operae pretium non esse, quod omnes fere curatores electionum in asseclis praesidentis Chavez numerarentur.

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

For more Latin news, check out Ephemeris
Barbara Graziosi and Johannes Haubold, Homer: The Resonance of Epic. Classical Literature and Society
3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Marathon: The Long Road to Democracy
Go behind the story of the Olympics' most punishing race; in ancient Greece, the original marathon was part of an epic battle; legend tells of the herald Pheidippides collapsing and dying after winning; did he really die as a result of his arduous run?

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.

10.00 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.

DISCC - Discovery Channel (Canada)

HINT - History International

DTC - Discovery Times Channel
Taciturnitas homini stulto pro sapientia est.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 627)

For the foolish person, silence stands in for wisdom.

(pron = tah-kih-TOOR-nih-tahs HOH-mih-nee STOOL-toh proh sah-pee-EN-tee-ah ehst)

Comment: The fool just keeps running his/her mouth. It’s non-stop chatter,
gossip, event at times intelligent sounding, parroting always what someone else
says, thinks, and writes. It is largely senseless chatter.

The one with a glimmer of awareness at some point stops and, remembering a
particular moment around a particular set of words says to him/herself: if I
had only kept my mouth shut!

The apprentice to wisdom keeps silence as a discipline.

The wise woman/man speaks out of that silence.

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

Rites in honour of Tellus, the earth goddess which perhaps included a lectisternium (a 'dinner party' at which images of the god(s) would 'dine' with participants) in honour of Ceres.

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Lucy of Syracuse

1783 -- Death of Samuel Johnson
... one of those rare days when we don't have one!
Check this out from the Courier-Journal:

While reciting a prayer in Latin, teacher Joyce Aspatore flubbed some words.

One of her second-graders patted her arm and said, "Don't worry, you'll get it."

"I'm still learning," Aspatore said of teaching at The Highlands Latin School after about 30 years with the Jefferson County Public Schools. "The difference is night and day."

Highlands Latin School bases its entire curriculum on Latin, with many of its teaching materials written by faculty. The school is housed at Crescent Hill Baptist Church but is not affiliated with a particular church.

Its founder, Cheryl Lowe, tutored home-schooled students in Latin for years before opening the school in 2000 with about 50 students. It has grown to 200 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Lowe's son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Leigh Lowe, helped her open a publishing house, Memoria Press, for the Latin curriculum she had developed.

The school's "classical Christian education" follows a style more popular 100 years or more ago. It's based on "real books" from the earliest grades, writings that have withstood the test of time, Lowe said.

Those books include "King Arthur," "Farmer Boy," "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" and "The Trojan War" for students in grades three through six. The upper grades read a lot of Shakespeare and works by Cicero, Plato and Dante.

Unconventional even in scheduling -- students go to class only three days a week -- the school scored in the 99th percentile earlier this year on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. That means the school scored higher than 99 percent of the schools that took the standardized achievement exam, which tests students in grades K-8 for skills in reading, language and math.

Highlands Latin School had one National Merit finalist and one Governor's Scholar in its 2005 graduating class.

Cheryl Lowe said students can't truly understand English or American history unless they have a basis for comparison. Latin, and the study of ancient Athens and Rome, gives them that comparison, she said.

Latin classes begin in second grade and help students understand the roots of many words they encounter. It also helps them grasp the basis of Western civilization, which gives more meaning to American history, Lowe said.

From there, Latin relates to everything, including the seven skills traditionally considered the "liberal arts": grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. It's the basis of science and law.

"I always tell kids that after Latin, everything else is easy," Lowe said.

Studying Latin "actually is pretty fun," said Johnny Sweeny, a fourth-grader who attended public school last year.

"If you start Latin in ninth grade, you have to cram everything into four years," said Steven Lang, who teaches Latin and Greek at the school and also is pastor at Hope Lutheran Church.

If you start in second grade, where Lang's daughter is, he said, "… they're language sponges. They just soak it up."

Aspatore said she didn't appreciate the value of memorization when she started at the school, but her second-graders love it.

"They're so proud of themselves," she said. "They'll get up in front of people" to recite.

The Latin School embraces memorization, not only of verb forms and math facts, but of scripture and poetry.

She said one of the differences from her experience at public school is "we don't have to cram so much in."

At this school, she said, she can ensure students have a firm grasp of subjects before moving on: "What they know, they know very well."

Lowe said that she has decided that students need more time to absorb what they're being taught. So starting next year, students in grades three through 12 will attend classes four days a week instead of three.

This year, Monday has been a "reading day" at home for students to prepare for the week's classes. It's also a day for orthodontist appointments and all those things that interfere with class time, Lowe said.

The current schedule means two less days of hectic school mornings, said Laurie Graybeal, whose daughter Brittany is in ninth grade.

Brittany also can be heavily involved in her church because she doesn't have to spend Sundays on homework, her mother said.

Tuesday through Thursday are academic days, and a Friday program of sports and other "extras" is optional.

The trade-off for the shorter class time is a huge load of homework.

"It (the amount of homework) is so much like college that when they get there, college should be easy," said Ann Sweeney, mother of Johnny; Harry, a third-grader; and Nora, who's in kindergarten.

Graybeal said Brittany's homework involves papers and projects "that will take up all the time you're willing to put into them," she said. "Most middle-school kids would be shocked at the amount of homework."

She said Brittany loves it, though, and enjoys having peers to challenge her academically.

"Who she is fits very well with the school," Graybeal said.

Lowe admits the school isn't for everyone. Students there "are kids who want to work hard," she said. "Someone who's in it only for the social activities is not going to be happy here."
Nice to see something that supports (somewhat) a contention I made in a chapter of my never-completed dissertation ... from ABC:

Women lived and worked in Roman military forts, according to a telltale trail of lost hairpins and beads.

This dispels the notion the forts were male-only domains, says archaeologist Dr Penelope Allison of the Australian National University.

She presents her analysis of the archaeological record at the Australasian Archaeometry Conference in Canberra this week.

"These were not segregated communities," says Allison, who has been studying evidence from 1st and 2nd century forts on the western frontier of the Roman Empire.

"They would have had a lot of women involved, possibly as wives, possibly running shops, possibly involved in craft, inside the fort."

Ordinary Roman soldiers were not legally allowed to have wives, says Allison, and it has generally been thought that the only women allowed in the forts were wives of commanding officers.

"Any other women, whether they be wives or concubines or prostitutes or tradespersons, were not thought to live within the fort," she says.

This belief was reinforced, says Allison, by what she describes as the "elitist attitude" of 19th military historians that Roman forts would be segregated because women disrupted military life.

"That's been projected back onto the Roman world," she says.

But, says Allison, although Rome decreed ordinary soldiers could not marry, the reality was quite different away from the front.

In a unique study, Allison has been analysing patterns of objects found throughout the forts that support the presence of women.

"The distribution of lost and abandoned objects, tells us quite a lot of about where people go and how they use a space," she says.

Using computer software, she has mapped the distribution of over 30,000 artefacts.

She found objects used by women, such as hairpins, beads, perfume bottles and spindle wheels scattered in buildings and along the streets of the forts.

"They all tend to group together in different parts of the fort," she says.

The location of these objects suggest women often played an active life in the fort, says Allison, which might be better described as a functioning town with a market rather than a sterile male-only province.

She says women were well and truly integrated into the forts, playing "helpful" non-combatant roles of wives, mothers, craftspeople and traders.

Buried babies
Allison says her conclusion is also supported by the remains of about 11 babies buried beneath the fort barracks.

Some historians who favour the idea the forts were segregated have attempted to "explain away" this discovery by arguing the babies' remains were accidentally brought into the fort in soil. But Allison rejects this.

She says evidence, such as that from tombstone inscriptions, record the fact that men left property to women they'd formed long-lasting relationships with.

FWIW, the point made in my dissertation was that the supposed 'ban' on legal marriage of soldiers, usually ascribed to Septimius Severus, was not necessary nor was it ever necessary in most situations. Until a soldier had Roman citizenship, his marriage wouldn't have been recognized under the normal stringencies of conubium anyway (to say nothing of the spouse, who was most likely a foreigner). But lack of conubium does not mean there was a lack of 'marriage' ...
A brief (as always) item from Adnkronos:

Nuova e straordinaria scoperta archeologica a Lucca: sono tornati alla luce mosaici e decorazioni pittoriche di quasi 2000 anni fa, presenti nei resti di un palazzo di eta' romana. Le intense ricerche condotte nel sottosuolo della chiesa di San Quirico dalla Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, in collaborazione con l'impresa Barsotti Costruzioni, sono emerse, alla profondita' di tre-quattro metri, strutture di epoca tardorepubblicana e imperiale fra le quali spicca un palazzo ornato con mosaici geometrici e singolari pitture parietali riferibili al I secolo dopo Cristo.
A piece on John Heywood in the News-Miner (isn't that awfully close to 'nose miner'?) includes this excerpt on the origin of the well-known phrase:

Accepting gifts has its own pressures, especially if it is Greeks bearing gifts. Many well-read people believe Homer is the author of the famous story about Odysseus devising a hollow horse to allow the Greek invaders to slip in and capture Troy. Hyde Flippo, a linguist writing for About.com, notes that Homer's "Iliad" ends before Odysseus comes up with the Trojan horse deception. "The Odyssey" takes place after the fall of Troy.

It is Virgil's "Aeneid," written in Latin, that fills the gaps between those two events. Publius Vergilius Maro, known to his fans as Virgil, was commissioned to write a national epic of Rome by none other than Caesar Augustus, which certainly carried a variety of incentives.

As Heywood pointed out, "Nothing is impossible to a willing heart." Homer spoke to Virgil in a way that really resonated, so when Augustus offered to pay Virgil to do something he ached to do, he aligned with Heywood, who wrote, "No man ought to look a gift horse in the mouth."

Gifts come in all forms, and the opportunity to spend years researching and composing in verse the history of Rome was perhaps the best gift Virgil ever received.
Speaking of Caesar (see below), yesterday I came across a handy little program for Windows users (freeware) called Brutus, which allows you to shut down your computer with one click (I know you can do this on the Mac ...). Useful (I used to have something like this back in my Win98 days ... things were so much simpler then) ...

An excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor ... perhaps a harbinger of the sorts of info we'll be regaled with over the next few weeks:

The Greeks made wreaths of olive or laurel leaves, and gave them as prizes at the original Olympics. That's where the expression "don't rest on your laurels" comes from. (It means, don't stop striving to do better.)

When Julius Caesar became emperor of the Roman Empire, his generals placed a laurel wreath on his head as a crown. In fact, our word "crown" comes from the Latin word "corona," which means "wreath" or "garland." Eventually this custom evolved into crowns of gold and jewels.
Eventus certaminis fidicinandi

In urbe Helsinki septimana proxime praeterita certamen artis fidicinandi a Jean Sibelio appellatum ordine nonum institutum est.

Palmam eius tulit Alina Pogostkin, femina Russa viginti duos annos nata, quae hodie in Germania vivit.

Secundum locum obtinuit Jiafeng Chen, artifex Sinensis, cum praemium tertium duabus fidicinis ex aequo daretur; quarum una erat Hyun-Su Shin e Corea Meridionali oriunda, altera erat Wai Wen, violinista Sinensis.

Omnino octo fidicines in certamen finale approbati erant, et unusquisque eorum etiam praemio pecuniario ornatus est.

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

For more Latin news, check out Ephemeris (whose publishing schedule seems to be undergoing changes)
Over at the Archaeology Channel, they've put up a little video called Herod: the Builder King ...
Different versions of this one are trickling in ... (and remember, this is coming on the heels of that collapse of a wall in the Forum a month or so ago) ... AFP via Yahoo:

The Italian government announced the immediate closure of the Domus Aurea, a large palace built by the Roman Emperor Nero in the first century, because recent flooding raised fears the underground villa could collapse.

"We can't guarantee public safety," Culture Minister Rocco Buttilgione told reporters in Rome after experts warned that water infiltration had weakened the walls and roof of the historic villa.

"We need a minimum of two years' work and five million euros in order to make the site secure," the minister said.

The announcement follows the recent collapse of an ancient wall on the nearby Palatine Hill, and "serious problems regarding the Caracalla baths, where visits have already been restricted," said Buttiglione, mentioning two other historic sites under threat.

He said concerns over the degradation of Rome's historical sites put in perspective recent government cutbacks in its allocation to culture, which he opposed.

"It's a political question, Italy must decide if it wants to look after its cultural heritage," said Buttiglione.

The Domus Aurea, or Golden House, and its mosaics have drawn an average 1,000 visitors a day since it was partially opened to the public in 1999.

Nero had the sumptuous villa build in 64 AD after most of Rome was destroyed by fire while he himself, according to historians, played his fiddle.

The extravagance of the villa became an embarrassment to Nero's successors and they had it covered over by earth to make way for later Roman landmarks -- like the Colosseum -- but in doing so, ironically ensured its survival for the admiration of later generations.
... nothing of interest.
Inopiae desunt multa; avaritiae, omnia.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 236).

Poverty lacks many things; greed lacks everything.

(pron = in-OH-pee-aye DAY-soont MOOL-tah ah-wah-RIH-tih-ah OHM-nee-ah)

Comment: When students are new to my classroom and to me, they have to go
through detox (so to speak!). I do not assess students with “points”, and so
in the beginning, I am assaulted with: “how many points is this worth? Will I
lose points? How can I get some extra points? Are you going to take off
points because it’s late?”

So, I have to respond: “none, no, you can’t, no I won’t”.

“Points” and how we have used them traditionally in classrooms turn students
into greedmeisters for points, constantly and everywhere looking for and
hording “points”, and in the process, they miss something—like learning. In my
class, they miss Latin, stories, literature, great ideas, disturbing ideas,
culture comparisons and contrasts, the ability to take time to reflect.

So, to re-write this proverb from within my teaching experience: some students
will struggle with certain things; but those who are obsessed with getting
their points will miss everything.

It translates to the “adult” world. What obsesses me? Must I always be in
control? Do things always have to be my way, about me? If so, I am missing my
life and the life of the world as it goes by.

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

404 B.C. -- death of Darius II 'Nothus' (according to one reckoning)

Rites in honour of Consus on the Aventine Hill; this possibly relates to a restoration of a temple of Consus by Augustus.
tmesis @ Dictionary.com

oblivionize @ Worthless Word for the Day
A very slow news day to start the week, so I'm perusing assorted links accumulated over the past while ... I don't think I've ever mentioned the very useful page at UNC (especially for you budding Classicist types) which is a handy dandy list of abbreviations used for various ancient authors and their works. No longer will you have to sheepishly approach someone and ask them what the heck Men. Pk., while wondering what Menloe Park has to do with Classics ...
Over at Laudator (which I haven't been reading sufficiently lately because I had it misfiled in my bloglines thing ... fixed), MG seems to be knocking at the door ...
Optima pellicula cinematographica

Pellicula Francogallica tensionis psychologicae, quae Caché inscribitur, optima huius anni fabula cinematographica Europaea iudicata est.

De hac electione nuntiavit Academia artis cinematographicae Europaea sollemnitate Berolini die Saturni vesperi acta.

Eodem tempore Michael Haneke, vir Austriacus, quo duce illa taeniola victrix facta erat, statunculum moderatoris praestantissimi accepit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

Violence increases in Irak as polls approach - Air crash in Nigeria kills 107
Angelos Chaniotis, War in the Hellenistic World. The Ancient World at War
4.00 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
The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted, as has issue 8.33 of Explorator ... both at our Classics Central forum, natch.
After struggling with tech problems at blogger (which is one reason why I've never seriously considered using it for rogueclassicism), PH has managed to get a couple of interesting posts up ... one on ancient humour and another in the epigraphy series, this time relating to Eleusis.
Official description:

It seems Shakespeare drew inspiration from Latin playwrights such as Plautus. Certainly many of the characters in his plays bear Roman names. To mention but a few: Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus and Julius Caesar! Could it be that our Latin Lover is accusing Shakespeare of literary theft

... listen
There's a new issue of Ephemeris on the enewsstands ... top story: Saddam ante iudices
Forgot to include this one in Explorator (sent in by GF ... thanks!) ... a radio program from Radio National's Lingua Franca about the use of similes in Homer (there's a bit of the previous segment included at the beginning).
The endless (it seems) coverage of the death of erstwhile presidential-hopeful Eugene McCarthy all include this little bit (from All Headline News):

The former college professor and author came out of seclusion in 1992 to run for president again, citing Plutarch, the ancient Greek historian: "They are wrong who think that politics is like an ocean voyage or military campaign, something to be done with some particular end in view."
Over at Abecedaria, there's another installment in SM's series about an inscription from Delphi ...
Excerpts from a piece in the Telegraph:

In the draughty furniture workshop of a small Italian town, Salvatore Mancini is preparing himself for a run on wardrobes. "I imagine more people will begin to ask me for them," he says, shrugging his shoulders. "But when you live in Narnia, what can you expect?"

Neither Signor Mancini, nor the other 20,000 inhabitants of the real-life Narnia, can quite understand the outside world's sudden fascination with their sleepy corner of Umbria, 50 miles north of Rome. Since being conquered by the Romans in 299 BC, they have pretty much been left to their own devices.


Lewis might also have come across references to Narnia in a series of classical texts, although it is thought that he never actually visited the town. Tacitus and Livy both mention Narnia, while Pliny the Younger sent a letter to his mother-in-law complimenting her on the beautiful baths in her Narnia villa.

Pliny the Elder comments on Narnia's unusual weather in his Natural History - not that it was covered in snow year-round, but that it became drier in the rainy season.

But could the Sunday Telegraph establish any real-life connections between the hilltop town and Lewis's books?


And what about Aslan, the Christ-like lion king who ensures that spring returns to Narnia?

"Yes, we have many lions," says Anna Laura Bobbi, the cultural affairs representative for Narni. "There is one carved stone lion in our town hall, two more on the cathedral steps and one dating from Roman times." She adds: "We also have a stone table, of the sort on which Aslan was killed. It dates from the Neolithic period."

... the whole thing
An excerpt from a lengthy piece in the New York Times about the Met's Levy-White collection:

In many ways, Ms. White is the profile of an ideal trustee, and not just for her financial largess. Beginning in the late 1980's, she and her husband, along with several other collectors like the Fleischmans, brought enormous energy to a Greek and Roman department that had for years been known for its lack of exhibition programming and its dry display of Greek vases, lined up neatly in rows. She has also been active on the board, serving on the acquisitions committee. (Another member of that committee is Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, chairman emeritus of The New York Times Company.)

In 1990 the major Levy-White show at the Met established the couple's collection as one of the most spectacular of its kind. But by bringing it to world attention, the show raised serious questions in many quarters about how it was acquired.

The Turkish government contended that one object in the exhibition, part of a statue known as "Weary Herakles," was stolen in 1980 from an excavation site in southern Turkey. In 1993, the couple reached a legal settlement arranging the return of a group of Roman bronze objects that had been taken from a private farm in England before Mr. Levy and Ms. White bought them from a New York dealer.

In a lengthy study in 1999, two prominent British archaeologists, David Gill and Christopher Chippindale, determined that 93 percent of the objects in the Met's Levy-White show had no known provenance.

Unlike collectors whose interest in such objects is strictly aesthetic, Ms. White and Mr. Levy were also passionate about scholarship and research about the ancient world. In 1985 they began financing a major archaeological excavation in Israel that continues today. And a fund they established at Harvard to support publication of archaeological work has so far distributed $9 million to more than a hundred scholars.

Defenders of Ms. White say her support of archaeological work is an important resource and note that plenty of archaeologists, including Ms. Waldbaum of the Archaeological Institute, have participated in Levy-White-sponsored projects.

But such efforts have long been overshadowed by the couple's collecting activities, which many scholars say have contributed to the destruction of the archaeological record.

"They had a voracious desire to collect, and some of the pieces they have are extremely important," said Martha J. Joukowsky, a Brown University archaeologist and former collector who resigned from the board of the Levy-White publication fund to protest the couple's approach to acquiring antiquities. "But when you are collecting things that have not seen the light of day and are illicitly traded, then that's where I have a problem."

... so we've seen the auction houses being used to 'legitimize' sales of illicit antiquities (whether they were aware of it or not); you've got to wonder whether funds for archaeological publication might not similarly have been used. I wonder how long it's going to be before we see the names of some Classical archaeologists dragged into this.
From Kathimerini:

Ever since the 1960s, the site where the hill of Aghia Petra rises between the Evros and Erythrpotamos rivers has been identified with the city of Plotinopolis. The Roman Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117) founded the city 2 kilometers from the Evros in honor of his wife Plotina.

In 1965, soldiers digging a trench in the area discovered a beaten gold bust of Septimus Severus, the Roman emperor who reigned from AD 193 to 211. That find is now in the Komotini Museum. In 1977, Georgios Bakalis and Dimantis Triantofyllos began systematic excavations, bringing to light new finds including mosaic floors.

Mathaios Koutsoumanis from the 19th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities will speak about the progress of the excavation on Monday at the Archaeological Society during his talk “The Archaeological Treasures of Plotinopolis.”

Since Koutsoumanis undertook the dig in 1996, he has unearthed many impressive finds, including the remains of mosaics from a large building complex, ceramics, coins (the most remarkable of which depicts Antiochus II of Syria), and inscriptions which show that the site was in use from the second to the sixth century AD.

Koutsoumanis will talk about the clay slabs from the paved floor of the building, the pipe and all the details associated with a public bath or a bath in a luxurious house. He says it is now certain that there was an organized Neolithic settlement on which the city was later built.

In 2003 the mayor of Didimoteicho offered support to keep the excavation going. A year later the dig uncovered part of a pipe, bronze objects and a fourth-century-BC inscription on the base of a drinking vessel. Among the other finds were oil lamps, loom weights, an inscribed potsherd, an inscribed fragment of marble with ivy leaves, part of a piece of gold jewelry and inscribed amphora handles.
Over at Iconoclasm, TM has a nice piece on evidence of slavery in the archaeological record ...
9.00 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
From the Telegraph:

Frank Stubbings, who died on October 29 at the age of 90, was the last of a distinguished group of British scholars who began a lifetime's work in Greek Bronze Age archaeology before the Second World War.

Vincent Desborough, Vronwy Hankey and Helen Waterhouse were fellow students with Stubbings at the British School at Athens; all were taught or influenced by Professor Alan Wace, the excavator of Mycenae, to work on the Mycenaean civilisation, primarily its highly attractive and widely exported pottery.

Frank Henry Stubbings, the closest to Wace, lived his whole academic life in Cambridge. He was born on March 8 1915 and educated at the Perse School before going up up to Emmanuel College in 1933 to read for the Classical Tripos. There he won the Porson Prize for Greek verse composition and the Chancellor's Medal for Classics.

After graduation (with a First) he was admitted as a student at Athens in 1937, taking part in excavations on Ithaca and at Mycenae. His researches were interrupted by the war, through which he served on the staff of the legation in Athens and at the embassy to the Greek Government in Cairo.

Returning to Cambridge in 1945, he took up a fellowship at Emmanuel, where he was director of studies in Classics, before being appointed a University Lecturer in the Classics Faculty in 1949, to teach Prehellenic Archaeology to many generations of students in the old Ark (Museum of Classical Archaeology) in Little St Mary's Lane.

Quiet, modest, always kind and generous with his time and his command of the subject, and of the Classical world and its languages, he was liked and appreciated by everyone.

Alongside his teaching, major publications soon emerged, beginning with The Mycenaean pottery of Attica in 1947. It had been written in 1939 as his research in Greece.

Notwithstanding the publication of Arne Furumark's fundamental Mycenaean pottery volumes in 1941, Stubbings's paper was - and remains - basic for its region.

Meanwhile he had turned to the extraordinarily prolific export of Mycenaean wares to the Near East; his study was completed in 1947, became his doctoral dissertation and was published in 1951 as Mycenaean Pottery from the Levant (CUP).

Although more has been discovered since and much further work was done by Hankey and, more recently, by Professor Albert Leonard, Stubbings's fine study remains a sine qua non. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1955.

In the 1950s Homeric archaeology, essentially arguments that the material culture and geography of the Homeric poems find real life correspondence in Late Bronze Age Mycenaean civilisation, received expression in a prolific series of books. A Companion to Homer, edited by Wace and Stubbings (1962), formed a large climax to this approach.

Later he published an elegant little book, choicely illustrated, on Prehistoric Greece (1972). In parallel with his Mycenaean life, meanwhile, Stubbings devoted himself to his college.

From 1959 he was Librarian, in 1965-1969 Vice-Master, and subsequently a Life Fellow. After (formal) retirement in 1980 he became Honorary Keeper of the College Library's special collections, an unstinting and widely known source of help to users. In 1993 the college printed his study The Graham Watson Collection of Colour-plate Books at Emmanuel College Cambridge.

On the wider Cambridge scene he served as University Orator from 1974 to 1982, continuing the traditional delivery of orations in Latin. At a somewhat less elevated level there appeared in 1991 Bedders, Bulldogs and Bedells, a glossary of Cambridge words and usages. Stubbings had published this at his own expense: four years later Cambridge University Press reissued it, at their request.

The Cambridge Bibliographical Society was a natural home too. Stubbings published a number of articles in the society's Transactions and was president from 1981 to 1991.

While at the British School at Athens, Stubbings met Joan Laing, who was studying the ivories from Humphrey Payne's wonderfully productive excavations in the Sanctuary of Hera at Perachora overlooking the Gulf of Corinth.

They were married in 1945. His wife and their two daughters survive him.
Seems to be a slow news day, so here's a lengthy column from the Guardian about assorted 19th century artists and that Frazer guy:

A uniform hangs in the shadows inside the ruined temple, the name printed on it KURTZ. Water drips from somewhere, a voice recites TS Eliot, books lie in bronze light and you notice that this jungle library includes The Golden Bough. Of course it does. It's a book to read at the end of the river.

First published in 1890 by the Scottish anthropologist JG Frazer, The Golden Bough has had a more powerful influence on modern literature and cinema than Freud or Marx. A vast essay on comparative religion, it traced the roots of Christianity in folklore, of science in magic, and did so with the vulgarity of a bestseller. To know that Kurtz, in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, is a reader of The Golden Bough is to see him as a priest-king whom Martin Sheen's assassin must ritually slaughter, himself to become the new King of the Wood.

The chief literary source for Apocalypse Now is Eliot, whose 1925 poem "The Hollow Men" Marlon Brando recites for Dennis Hopper:

"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece stuffed with straw. Alas!"

Three years earlier, Eliot had acknowledged his debt to Frazer in "The Waste Land", writing of a "work of anthropology ... which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough". Eliot's generation - the modernists - were all victims, survivors or fortunately distant witnesses of the mass sacrificial slaughter of European youth of the first world war. And there is a startling image in The Golden Bough that casts new light on the war's resonance for this generation.

In his central discussion of the ancient near-eastern deity Tammuz, worshipped by the Greeks as Adonis, a corn god ritually mourned on his descent into death each year just as the corn "dies" and is reborn annually, and whose blood stains the ground, Frazer mentions the eerie appearance of the landscape after a terrible European conflict: "In the summer after the battle of Landen, the most sanguinary battle of the 17th century in Europe, the earth, saturated with the blood of 20,000 slain, broke forth into millions of poppies, and the traveller who passed that vast sheet of scarlet might well fancy that the earth had indeed given up her dead."

Frazer makes you see in the poppies of Remembrance Sunday an image of nature bleeding. Over his book hangs a deep pessimism about history. "If mankind had always been logical and wise," he comments, "history would not be a long chronicle of folly and crime." That sentence is key. Frazer sees human thought as capable of leading itself, through the false logic of magic and religion, to devastating cruelties.

Frazer begins his anthropological study looking at a single work of art. "Who does not know Turner's picture of the Golden Bough?" he asks in the first chapter. "The scene, suffused with the golden glow of imagination in which the divine mind of Turner steeped and transfigured even the fairest natural landscape, is a dream-like vision of the little woodland grove of Nemi - 'Diana's Mirror', as it was called by the ancients ... "

In fact, Turner's 1834 painting The Golden Bough, owned by Tate Britain, depicts Lake Avernus in Campania, with the Cumaean Sibyl, but no matter. Turner did also depict Lake Nemi, beside which in ancient times stood a sanctuary of the goddess Diana Nemorensis, Diana of the Wood; votive offerings left there can be seen today in the British Museum. The shrine, explains Frazer, was next to a sacred grove. And it's what took place inside the grove that concerns him.

Why does he invoke Turner? To answer this question is to discover the true nature of Frazer's book, The Golden Bough's golden bough.

Frazer started his book in the 1880s; Turner had died in 1851. Over the course of the book's successive editions (published in two volumes in 1890, it was expanded to 12 volumes by 1915, and condensed to a mere 714 pages in the author's own abridged version of 1922), the very identity of Turner as an artist changed. In his lifetime Turner had been controversial; people were constantly disparaging his "mustard" yellows and "harsh" light. He was famous as a painter of myth and history: a perspective on Turner of which we've almost lost sight. In 1905, the Tate Gallery exhibited a selection of some of the works left by Turner to the nation that had previously been considered unfinished; in the light of Monet it suddenly looked as if Turner had secretly invented impressionism, yet been unable to make this public in the culture of Victorian England.

Frazer was a Victorian and his view of Turner predates the modern preference for form over content. For him, Turner is a painter of stories set in landscapes: a grandiose mythologist. Visit the Clore galleries at Tate Britain and you see Frazer's Turner in paintings whose very titles, such as Apollo and Python, or The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides, are relics of a classical culture we've almost lost.

Gods and monsters populate Turner's art, and for his first audience, his great achievement was to visualise, in a modern, disturbing way, the ancient myths. In the greatest of all his mythological paintings, Ulysses deriding Polyphemus - Homer's Odyssey (1829) in the National Gallery, the ship representing intelligent, rational human aspiration sails away from the towering, formless mountains where the vague, shapeless giant Polyphemus rages in the clouds. Yet the sea is an unhealthy, fiery colour - the location of this adventure was said to be the Sicilian coast below volcanic Mount Etna - and the sea itself might be about to erupt in fire, anticipating the vicissitudes, the deaths, yet to come.

Turner is a doom-laden Romantic - he wrote an epic poem he called "The Fallacies of Hope" - and his vision of Greek myth is darkling. In his painting of Jason, the tiny hero faces a dragon too immense to be depicted, that lurks in a dreadful, ruinous mountain cleft. In his painting of Apollo and Python, the hideous broken body of the snake is more impressive than the god who is associated with reason and order.

In citing Turner at the very beginning of his book, Frazer might simply be announcing the kind of book it is. For Turner already had a history of inspiring baggy books. The biggest and most bonkers of all Victorian non-fiction tomes, John Ruskin's Modern Painters, takes Turner as a departing point for a rollicking journey through art history, aesthetics and even geology, much as The Golden Bough spins off a Turner painting into diffuse realms of folklore. Nor was Ruskin's the only big book inspired by Turner's big art. As if the sublime scale of his imagination were infectious, he fascinated Herman Melville. One of his paintings of whaling ships inspired the mysterious image that hangs on the wall at the Spouter Inn in Moby-Dick.

Just as Ruskin and Melville had found something they needed in Turner, so did Frazer. In late-Victorian Britain, the avant garde in art was "symbolism", the movement across Europe that looked beneath appearances, to the inward self. Classical mythology was seen in a new way by symbolist artists. In France, the painter Gustave Moreau imagined the world of Greek myth as a melting, pustulating psychic domain of febrile desire. If this shocking modernity is visible in Moreau it is still more explicit in Gustav Klimt's Pallas Athene (1898), a castrating goddess painted in Sigmund Freud's Vienna.

British artists not only participated in this movement - they got there first. As early as 1874, Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Jane Morris, with those mythic lips, as Proserpine, the girl sentenced to spend part of the year in the Underworld and claimed by Frazer as yet another manifestation of the annually dying nature god. And just as Rossetti feasted on the twilight of myth, so does Frazer.

Frazer begins with art because he is an artist. The Golden Bough may be disguised as a sombre work of science but in reality it is a vast prose poem, whose images were to shape 20th-century culture. Frazer's images - of trees, fire, mannequins and slaughtered gods - hang above his pages. He begins with Turner in order to paint a landscape of his own: in deliberate contrast to the golden glowing Italian scene he remembers in Turner's painting The Golden Bough, he paints a grove of darkness:

"In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy ... In this sacred grove there grew a certain tree round which at any time of the day, and probably far into the night, a grim figure might be seen to prowl. In his hand he carried a drawn sword, and he kept peering warily about him as if at any instant expected to be set upon by an enemy. He was a priest and a murderer ... "

Frazer is an astonishing figure who connects our own culture with that of late-Victorian England. Transcribing his words I can hear the Doors' deceptively gentle guitar in the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now. The lesson of his debt to Turner is a fundamental one about the "soft" sciences, as physicists and biologists dismiss the human sciences - anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis - invented in the late-19th century. The lesson, and this is what gives Frazer's book its enduring value, is that they really are soft. Frazer doesn't pretend to be a scientist delivering data; he makes it explicit from his first sentence that he is a human being who lives inside, not outside, culture. This is why, before leading us into the forest where culture begins, he reminds us that somehow humanity's path leads to the divine Turner.
... nothing of interest ...
Homo homini aut deus aut lupus.
(Erasmus, 1466-1536)

One human being to another is either a divine being or a wolf.

(pron = HOH-moh HOH-mih-nih out DEH-oos out LOO-poos)

Comment: We treat each other badly or we idolize each other—that seems to be the
implication here. I tried to find more context for this statement of Erasmus’
but found nothing in my search. This pictures seems to leave us with very
dichotomous experiences in how we treat each other. The stereotypical meanings
of the divine and of the wolf seem to imply that human beings are, on the one
hand, like great perfect beings out there in the sky somewhere, not really
human, never down to earth, always with perfect vision and perfect actions.
The exception is, of course, all the exceptions. Every religious tradition,
including our own favorite one, involves images of the divine doing less than
divine and perfect things. Our images of gods are flawed and often contain
contradictions of divinity.

On the other hand, the wolf images seems to imply that human beings are low-down
creatures who skulk around in the dark and kill and steal and ravage innocent
lambs for their lair. The exception is, of course, the exception. Remember
Romulus and Remus, the famous twin brothers who founded Rome. They were the
victims of an evil uncle (let’s see, was this man acting as a god or a wolf)
who killed their mother and threw the newborn infants in the river so that his
throne would have no rivals. The waters washed the babies ashore, and a
she-wolf found them, took them to her lair, and nursed them along with her
newborn pups.

I’ll take the wolf.

Actually, I see the whole range within the human experience. We are divine,
wonderful, contradictory, hypocritical beings, capable of great good and great
harm all at once. We are lowly, down to earth creatures, concerned most often
with what it takes to get through life today, and trampling on others to do it,
capable in the flick of an eye of becoming intense care-givers, nurturers,
creatures of compassion.

So, watch out for the gods and the wolves today. And, don’t forget, you and I
are divine wolves, too.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem v idus decembres

297 A.D. -- martyrs of Samosata

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Leocadia

1667 -- birth of William Whiston (translator of Josephus, although better known for other reasons)

1717 -- birth of Johann Winckelmann
voluptuary @ Dictionary.com

That's it for today, other than to mention that the Classics Technology Center's My Word feature looks at growing terms in Latin ...

... and I've always wondered about (and continue to do so, alas) the possible Latin origin of the term poindexter

There are a pile of pots coming to auction (today) at Christie's, and most of them are rather nice. This one, according to the official description, is a late sixth-century black figure neck amphora with a nice scene of a couple of cavalry types fighting over a fallen hoplite. Since the auction is today, you might want to browse the rest of the catalog (the Greek and Roman stuff begins with glass on page 5) ... I'm very curious as to whether the Museum Case will impact on the projected prices.

I usually save New York Times reviews for Explorator, but this one -- about Fik Meijer, The Gladiator: History's Most Dangerous Sport seems noteworthy:

As everyone knows, gladiators entering the arena in ancient Rome faced the emperor and shouted, "We who are about to die salute you." Defeated combatants would have their fate decided by a thumbs up or a thumbs down from the crowd, or by the emperor himself.

Not really, says the Dutch historian Fik Meijer in "The Gladiators." It was not gladiators who uttered the immortal salute, but 9,000 prisoners about to engage in a mock sea battle on Lake Fucino organized by the Emperor Claudius, and described by Suetonius. The sentiment made no sense for gladiators, who expected to vanquish their opponents and live. The pollice verso, or "turned thumbs" signal, remains ambiguous. Historians do not know exactly what the gesture looked like.

Mr. Meijer, a professor of ancient history at the University of Amsterdam and the author of "Emperors Don't Die in Bed," understands exactly what readers want to know about gladiators and anticipates their every question in this admirable little study. He explains who the gladiators were; how they were trained, fed and paid; what weapons they used; and what rules governed combat in the arena. One chapter reconstructs a full day's program at the Roman Colosseum and, as a bonus, Mr. Meijer looks at two films, "Spartacus" and the more recent "Gladiator," to see just how well Hollywood captured the flavor and the period detail of Rome's most popular sport.

The elaborate, theatrically produced entertainments associated with the Colosseum and hundreds of smaller amphitheaters throughout the empire had their heyday in the first and second centuries A.D., but for many centuries before that, gladiators had engaged in hand-to-hand combat during funeral rites for important Romans. In so doing, Mr. Meijer writes, they illustrated "the virtues that had made Rome great, virtues demonstrated by the deceased himself during his lifetime: strength, courage and determination."

Over time, the increasingly elaborate private rites evolved into lavish public spectacles intended to boost the prestige of the emperors. The sport became professionalized, with managers, a fixed schedule and training centers, where gladiators developed expertise in one of the dozen or so weapon specialties on offer. Under Augustus, the games achieved a variety and splendor never before seen. In his political will and testament, he boasted that in the eight gladiatorial contests he had held, 10,000 men had fought to the death.

The gladiator was a contradictory figure. Socially, he was a despised outcast, the lowest of the low, but the warrior code and the unflinching courage displayed by most gladiators made them, in a sense, ideal Romans. Recruits were generally prisoners of war, like Spartacus, or slaves charged with crimes, but former soldiers, lured by the prospect of prize money, or well-born Romans entranced by the allure of the arena, often signed contracts to fight as gladiators. Even emperors occasionally took up sword and shield, descending into the arena for a bit of carefully staged combat. Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix in "Gladiator") regularly appeared as a gladiator under the stage name Hercules the Hunter.

Not surprisingly, gladiators captured the public imagination. They were celebrities. Young women left amorous graffiti on the walls of the gladiator schools, or wore hairpins shaped like swords or spears. Even the wives of the emperors, it was rumored, occasionally enjoyed secret liaisons with gladiators. Some women became gladiators themselves, fighting regularly in shows staged by Nero. The emperor Septimius Severus, unamused, banned female combat in A.D. 200 as an affront to military dignity.

Fame came at a heavy price. Mr. Meijer estimated that most gladiators, fighting two or three times a year, probably died between the ages of 20 and 30 with somewhere from 5 to 34 fights to their names. One gladiator, Asteropaeus, notched 107 victories, and exceptional gladiators fought on into their 40's and 50's, sometimes retiring as free men. But these were the exceptions.

The "sport" was appallingly brutal, and many gladiators faced the arena with fear and trembling, especially those who were assigned to square off against wild animals. On one occasion, 20 gladiators committed group suicide, killing one another one by one, rather than enter the arena.

Even successful gladiators lived an exceptionally hard life. Like modern boxers, they were exploited by their managers. Victory usually brought an olive branch or wreath, plus a few small coins. Only a few shows offered the kind of prize money that could guarantee a comfortable life. Lucky gladiators found work as bodyguards for noblemen, but more often, those past fighting age took menial work at the gladiator schools and eventually ended up destitute, begging for alms.

Historians have very little specific information about gladiator fights. There were rules, and a referee, but the rules remain unknown. Some of the gladiatorial specialties remain obscure. The dimachaerus, or "man with two swords," is mentioned in two inscriptions, but there are no pictorial images of him, so it is impossible to know how he fought. Nevertheless, Mr. Meijer, relying on snatches of verse, historical passages, mosaics, sculpture and funeral inscriptions, manages to summon up the savage thrills of the Colosseum.

A few things we do know. Kirk Douglas should not have faced off against a gladiator with trident and net in "Spartacus," since that form of combat would not appear for another 60 years. Russell Crowe, in Roman times, would not have fought a gladiator and a tiger simultaneously as he does in "Gladiator." Even in Rome at its most barbaric, there was a right way and a wrong way to throw a man to the beasts.
Carlo Natali, L'Action efficace. Études sur la philosophie de l'action d'Aristote.

L. C. Lancaster, Concrete Vaulted Construction in Imperial Rome. Innovations in Context.

Cesare Questa, Sei Letture Plautine.

Peter Schreiner (ed.), Byzantinische Zeitschrift. Bibliographie. 2nd ed.: vols. 83 (1990)-94 (2001), Suppl. I-III. CD-Rom Edition.

David Noe, Tres Mures Caeci.
Optima pellicula cinematographica

Pellicula Francogallica tensionis psychologicae, quae Caché inscribitur, optima huius anni fabula cinematographica Europaea iudicata est.

De hac electione nuntiavit Academia artis cinematographicae Europaea sollemnitate Berolini die Saturni vesperi acta.

Eodem tempore Michael Haneke, vir Austriacus, quo duce illa taeniola victrix facta erat, statunculum moderatoris praestantissimi accepit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek):

Anchor 2,000 years old found in Dead Sea - New symbol for Israeli Red Cross
8.30 p.m. |HINT| What the Romans Did for Us: Edge of the Empire
Adam Hart-Davis rediscovers the innovations and inventions the Romans brought to Britain. Following in the footsteps of the advancing Romans, Adam reaches Hadrian's Wall--the monument that marked the northern edge of the empire for 300 years. Here he shows how communications were key to the success of the Roman military machine. 2,000 years before mobile phones and the Internet, soldiers used codes similar to today's digital signals to send messages utilizing flags and beacons. In a remarkable experiment, Adam shows how they did it. He also reveals the Roman equivalent of postcards in extraordinary writing tablets found at the fort of Vindolanda. They give a glimpse of life in the north--from shopping lists to party invitation--and Adam tries to find out why the ink didn't smudge on the delicate wooden tablets.

HINT - History International
Okay ... this is one of those ideas I have to write down because I'll forget about it in the a.m. ...

Background: one of the little personal organizational tools I use is something called a Pocketmod ... it's a flash application (i use the standalone version) which will generate a minibooklet of various type pages (e.g. checklist pages, note pages, etc.). It prints onto a single page and then there's a special way of folding it to get the eight page mini booklet.

Recently, the developer of the Pocketmod (which is free, by the way) came out with a thing to convert pdfs to a pocket mod format, which allows you to create custom pages as long as you have something to output to pdf (and there are plenty of freebie things to do this if you don't). Anyhoo, tonight I finally started playing around with this pdf to pocketmod converter and did lots of fun things, including printing the latest issue of Amphora as a pocket mod (actually three pocket mods ... very tiny type, but still legible, although the yellowish text is hard to read ... not a criticism ... it obviously wasn't meant to be printed like this) ... An article from the AJA was eight pages of pdf ... so that got me thinking ...

Whenever I go to a major conference (which isn't often, admittedly), I really do not like having to thumb through a seventy page program on the days of the conference. What I'd love to have is a little pocket thing for the sessions I plan to attend on that day ...

So it occurs to me that some techie guy could come up with something like this:

1. Make individual pdfs of each session at the APA/AIA meeting
2. Create a facility on the web whereby someone could check off the boxes for the sessions they plan on attending on a given day and generate a pdf of all those sessions 'on the fly' (I know this can be done because there are tons of sites on the www which generate pdfs on the fly; I use one all the time, e.g., to generate graph paper)
3. Adapt the pdf to pocketmod converter to an online facility (or direct people to download it)

and voila! People can generate custom programs for a specific day of the meeting ... empty pages could be left blank or perhaps have note pages yadda yadda yadda.

Forti et fideli nihil difficile.

For the brave and trustworthy, nothing is difficult.

(pron = FOHR-tee eht fih-DEL-ee NEE-hill dif-FIK-ih-leh)

Comment: Finally, this proverb is probably right. In the end, for a human
being who has not been turned back in life by his/her own fears, and who has
proven that he/she can be trusted (and this includes that he/she can trust
him/her own self), life would not seem to be difficult.

But, I think it’s the appearance that we are judging. By definition, a brave
person is one who is not turned back by his/her own fears. That does not mean
that they are not afraid. And so, in their experience, life is as difficult as
it is for anyone else. Fear can be paralyzing. We call “brave” those who find
a way to keep moving in the face of their fears.

By definition, a trustworthy person demonstrates some qualities of stability, of
responsibility and accountability that are so predictably present that others
can count on him/her. More importantly, I think, the person has come to learn
that when she gives her word she knows that she will follow through. He knows
that when he makes a commitment, he is going to show up for it. That does not
mean that when the alarm clock rings, or when the deadlines loom just ahead, or
when it’s show time that the trustworthy person doesn’t also feel the stress,
the nausea, the sweaty palms. It just means that they produce, anyway.

Here’s the real secret, as I see it. When I have been able to pull off bravery,
or being trustworthy (and I don’t often), it has only come AFTER I can say to
myself—I am really frightened. I really don’t know if I can do this. But,
there is something important about doing this (for myself and for others), and
so, let’s try. The end result may appear that this was easy. Moments of
bravery and being trustworthy, though, come very often after long nights spent
in hell.

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

Another highlight from the upcoming auction at Christie's. As the official description tells us, we have here a nice Antonine-period sarcophagus depicting Lapiths and Centaurs trashing the wedding of Hippodameia and Perithoos.

ante diem vi idus decembres

Rites in honour of Tiberinus and Gaia -- not a lot is known about these rites; Tiberinus had a temple on the Tiber island and presided over the Tiber (of course); Gaia seems to have originally given the Campus Martius (a.k.a. Campus Tiberinus) to the Roman people.

65 B.C. -- birth of the poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
sylvan @ Dictionary.com

Somewhat bizarrely, almost every 'word of the day' site I monitor is timing out this a.m. ... nevertheless, Done With Mirrors will tide us over with its usual Thursday offering of Carnival of the Etymologies.
From the Sofia News Agency:

The European Commission will allocate EUR 145,000 for the improvement of infrastructure at the ancient sanctuary of Perperikon, in the heart of the Rhodopes.

The funds, to be doled out under PHARE pre-accession program, envisages the construction of a sewage a system and electricity facilities. A part of it will be used for restoration works of the unique Thracian archeological monument and probably visitors will be able then to reach the top of it along cobbled paths.

Expectations are that the project is finalized in two years, but the road leading to the skirts of the Perperikon hill is to be ready with the opening of coming tourist season next spring.

The Fortress of Perperikon is located 20 km north-east of the city of Kurdzhali, south Bulgaria. The fortification, which was built in antiquity, had been continuously developed and reconstructed through the Middle Ages.

Latest excavations have confirmed the main version of archeologists that Perperikon was largely worshipped sanctuary in Ancient times as the most important sanctuary of God Dionyssos.

In ancient Greek history the Perperikon sanctuary was as important as that of Apollo at Delphi.
From a piece in the Palm Beach Post:

But wine traditions are so rooted in European society that they'll be difficult to change, he said.

"There's so much tradition associated with Port, and sometimes, that really can be a hindrance," he said.

A vaguely "historical" tradition says that Port should be passed from the host to his or her left around the table — clockwise. Research by George Sandeman's relatives showed that it's likely based on Homer's Iliad, in which a mention is made of Hephaestus pouring wine from right to left for the gods.

Sandeman laughs at this. "What difference does it make? Absolutely none! The thing of it is, however, that most people are right handed, and it's simply convenient to pour from the right hand and offer the decanter to the next person's right hand as well."
Thank whatever divinity (ies) you worship that Michael Kimmelman has written this oped piece on all the hypocrisy involved in the Museum Case for the New York Times ... here's a very pertinent excerpt:

The answer to all three questions is yes. But the Italians are also to blame. For years Italy was notoriously lax in enforcing its own export laws. Officials on the local level often turned a blind eye to the activities of scavengers. Italy has recently poured money into the policing of ancient sites, border control and bureaucratic reform, but the looting goes on.

One proposal put forward during the Met's talks with Italy could serve as a template for other American museums: the Italians would reclaim ownership of disputed treasures in return for long-term loans, a fair compromise. Yet going after American museums won't prevent looters from turning to Japanese or Chinese or Russian collectors who don't care about international law.

That's partly because Italian law, a function of cultural nationalism, encourages criminality. It requires Italians who discover an antiquity on their property to inform authorities. The authorities can then seize not just what was found, but also the ground where it was discovered, for excavation, without compensating the owners. All sorts of treasures are now dug out of the ground illegally or shepherded quietly from villas out of the country. Before the law was enacted in 1939, it was at least easier to learn where the objects came from. Sellers and buyers dispensed information about provenance without fear of prosecution.

Britain (never mind its problems with the Elgin marbles) has a less draconian system for its own heritage. If you find something, you come clean. You're free to sell. Should the government want what you unearthed, it can block export and then match the price. A couple of years ago in a field in Oxfordshire, an Englishman named Brian Malin, hunting around with a metal detector, came across a rare silver coin bearing the head of an obscure Roman emperor, Domitianus. Only one other coin like it had ever been found. Mr. Malin took it to the Ashmolean Museum, which wanted it. An independent panel was formed to assess the value and pay him.

Better that artifacts remain buried, Italian archaeologists may argue, because treasures will be safe for legitimate excavation in the future. The standard comparison is to legalizing drugs. Illegal art trafficking is often talked about alongside drugs and arms dealing.

But drugs and arms kill people. Art doesn't. Nudging the antiquities trade from the shadows into the light, while it may not stop all the criminals, won't do them good, either.

Typical of today's inconsistent enforcement policies is the recent decision by the Greek Parliament to open up 10,000 miles of coastline for pleasure divers to scour ancient shipwrecks. The law, intended to increase tourism, is really a windfall for looters and comes just when Greece is also pressing claims against the Getty for illegally exported art.

... the whole thing.

I continue to marvel that the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme hasn't been picked up in other countries ... then again, I cynically observe that it means that unearthed stuff has to be paid for; I guess some countries figure they can get it for free. (I wonder how much money is spent on recovering antiquities)
From the Cyprus Mail:

EXCAVATIONS at the Lower City of Amathus brought to the surface an inscription on a limestone slab that refers to Emperor Theodosius, pottery, Byzantine and Roman coins, wall painting fragments, inscribed handles of Rhodian amphoras, terracottas and a copper bell, as well as a large amount of stone tools.

The findings were uncovered during the fourteenth season of the new series of excavations in the area conducted by the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Communications and Works, which lasted six weeks and were directed by the Director of the Department of Antiquities Dr Pavlos Flourentzos, who was assisted by Kyriacos Kapitanis and Demos Theodorou, both members of the technical staff of the Department of Antiquities.

According to an official press release, since the goal of unifying the area of the ancient Agora with that of the Administrative Building had been accomplished in the past, this year's primary aim was the excavation of the floors within the areas of various building complexes.

There were more interesting results from the excavation of the floors in rooms of the Administrative Building that were located at a higher level. Rooms 18 and 19 were revealed as having been in use as a metalworking workshop during the 4th cent. BC, as well as during the Early Byzantine period. An iron anvil was discovered as well as moulds and other copper objects; room no. 19 was paved.

''The movable finds from this year's excavation period were plentiful with a lot of pottery, Byzantine and Roman coins, wall painting fragments, inscribed handles of Rhodian amphoras, terracottas and a copper bell, as well as a large amount of stone tools. Worthy of mention is an inscription on a limestone slab that refers to Emperor Theodosius,'' the press release notes.
This one brings together a couple of recurring threads at rc ... the 'what to do with a Classics degree' thread, and the 'Classics and comics' thread ... from the Citizen Patriot:

Nostalgia, Ink is 20 years old today, but owner Leonard Litteral isn't getting all nostalgic about it.

Litteral said he isn't throwing a party but he's happy he's still in business. "I've got a lot of good, loyal customers," Litteral said. "It's nice to have survived this long."

Nostalgia, Ink which features comic books and hobby games like "Magic: The Gathering," opened at the corner of Cortland and Mechanic streets in 1985 and moved to its present location at 135 E. Michigan Ave. in 1990.

To mark his 20th anniversary, Litteral is taking 20 percent off all back-issue comics this month and will have an anniversary sale the third week of January.

Reading isn't as popular as it used to be, so Litteral said he stocks fewer paperback books and more games now. "I try to keep up on the new things, especially the cutting-edge things," Litteral said.

But Litteral, a comic book collector when he was a kid, said comics will continue to be a store mainstay.

Litteral, who has a bachelor's degree in classical studies from Michigan State University, said if you think about it, the heroes of comics today have a lot in common with the heroes of ancient mythology.

"Popular culture is an extension of classic culture," Litteral said. "There's probably a master's thesis in there somewhere."
Ann Raia, Cecelia Luschnig, Judith Lynn Sebesta, The Worlds of Roman Women.

Alex Butterworth, Ray Laurence, Pompeii. The Living City.

Cecilia A.E. Luschnig, Latin Letters, Reading Roman Correspondence. Illustrated by Dona Black. Focus Classical Commentaries.

Ruurd R. Nauta, Annette Harder, Catullus' Poem on Attis. Texts and Contexts.

B.J. Hayden, Reports on the Vrokastro Area, Eastern Crete: Volume 3: The Vrokastro Regional Survey Project: Sites and Pottery. University Museum Monographs 123.
7.00 p.m. |HISTU| Modern Marvels: The Arch
Join us as we explore the vast and varied world of the arch, one of the strongest and most versatile structures made by man. Deceptively simple, an arch can support tremendous weight because its structure is compressed by pressure, and it provides a much more spacious opening than its predecessor--post and lintel construction. Although ancient Egyptians and Greeks experimented with the arch, the Romans perfected it. Medieval Arabs incorporated it into stunning mosque architecture, soon followed by Europe's great medieval churches. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the steel arch became a favorite of architects and structural engineers. Dam builders employed it horizontally, using the water behind the dam to provide the pressure to compress it. And tomorrow, the arch will continue to serve mankind in every form--from nanotechnology to domes on Mars and beyond.

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Atlantis? - Mystery of the Minoans

HISTU - History Channel (US)

DCIVC - Discovery Civilization (Canada)
Mortuo leoni et lepores insultant.

Even rabbits jump on a dead lion.

(pron = MOR-too-oh lay-OH-nee et leh-POH-rays in-SOOL-tahnt)

Comment: Rabbits jump, so taking the more literal meaning of “insultant” seemed
like a fun thing to do. It literally means “to jump on”. Insulting someone is
a kind of jumping on them. But, this verb probably more regularly means to
attack, to make fun of, to insult.

What is more interesting to me here is that this proverb catches another
dynamic—not only the insulting or making fun, but that it is done only when it
is entirely safe for the mocker. Rabbits don’t stand a chance against
lions—unless they are dead.

So, this proverb reminds us that anyone can be critical, derogatory, or
insulting to those who cannot defend themselves. Usually that means making
such remarks about people behind their backs. For a moment such silly rabbits
seem bold, daring and brave—until we notice that the lions are dead.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem vii idus decembres

43 B.C. -- death of Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) as he half-heartedly fled the proscription of Marcus Antonius et al.

1985 -- death of Robert Graves (I Claudius, among others)
arbiter @ Guru.net (ultimately of Phoenician origin!)

antemundane @ Worthless Word for the Day

assiduous @ Dictionary.com

... folks might also like the definitions of humanist at the OED ...
Over at the APA site, they've posted the October newsletter (pdf) as well as the bumpf about the Annual Meeting ... just as a comment, I note the following in the outreach section in regards to Amphora:

We are starting a new column in Amphora called “Ask
a Classicist.” These would be questions, with short answers
by the board. The first will be a question about
the relationship about despondent and despondeo. Other
suggestions: How does one say “fear of cats”; Has anyone
yet cracked the Etruscan language?; What were
Julius Caesar’s last words?; Is there any truth in the
idea that Vergil was murdered? The answers would be
very short (200-250 words). Questions are welcome.
Some concerns have been raised by the Amphora Board
members (which in turn raise larger concerns around
Outreach endeavors): Wouldn’t it make more sense to
do a column like this somewhere other than Amphora,
such as The Chronicle of Higher Education or an
alumni magazine, where it reaches mostly non-classicists?
We could do more than one version of this column—
one in Amphora that involves more specialized
material, and one that’s aimed at a wider, more general
audience elsewhere. The issue of audience is all-important.
The circulation of Amphora is still largely to classicists,
and even if we extend our reach more broadly in
this area, a lot of people in the profession will still be
reading this and might not fully understand the “outreach”
intent of such a column.

Er ... come on folks. You want to reach non-classicists, you have to do it via the web ... (and if you want to do it by your own website, you have to bring that website into this millennium). This is pretty basic. Do you honestly think that you do outreach via the Chronicle of Higher Education (the mind boggles) or an alumni magazine (which lucky institution gets the column)???? Come on gang ... you're like a bunch of actors putting on a performance behind the curtain. The audience is there, but they don't know YOU are there. Why do you continue to avoid taking full advantage of the web (and, if I may be so bold ... Amphora would be a GREAT publication to take advantage of the print-via-CSS thing I mentioned the other day)? And if you REALLY want to be innovative, why not include a section in that online version that is aimed at kids???? I've decided I won't comment on the final comment in that excerpt, and the implications it has for the committee's beliefs in the intelligence of Classicists nor will I comment on the confusion caused in my own pea-sized brain on the necessity of an 'outreach column' in a publication with a sole purpose of outreach.
I can't believe this wasn't mentioned on any of the lists I monitor ... from the Michigan Daily:

The University community will remember Prof. David Roy Shackleton Bailey for his wealth of knowledge and contributions to the field of Latin literature.

And he will also be remembered for his colorful quirks.

In between translating some of the world’s greatest works of literature, the Greek and Latin professor read aloud to his 12 cats.

He even went as far as to dedicate one of his best-known translations to his cats.

“He loved his cats,” Greek and Latin Prof. Ruth Scodel said.

Bailey died at the age of 87 on Nov. 28.

“As a person he was legendary for a lot of reasons,” Scodel said.

Many call him the best Latinist in the world. Born in Lancaster, England, Bailey earned a doctorate in literature at Cambridge University and taught at Harvard University.

From 1968 to 1975, he taught at the University of Michigan and returned in 1988 to become an adjunct professor in the classics department.

Up until his death, he was still doing what he did best — editing Latin texts and publishing books on Latin translations.

“He was the kind of legendary English eccentric academic that you don’t find very often anymore,” Scodel said. “He knew Latin very well, and he had an amazing feel for the language.”

Bailey is recognized for his published translations of difficult texts, such as Cicero’s letters, which Greek and Latin Prof. H.D. Cameron calls a “masterpiece.”

He won the British Academy’s Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies, an award given every two years to an accomplished author of classical literature.

“His translations of Latin are superb in that they are usually very accurate and also just very readable and elegant,” Scodel said. “He had great style.”

Former students from Bailey’s 2002 seminar on Latin textual criticism reminisced about his personality.

“Shack just had a kind of aura, mystique about him,” University alum Steven Benjamin said.

Benjamin also characterized him as having an “old-school British personality.”

“He was a real character,” Benjamin continued. “Everybody who met Shack had Shack stories.”

Bailey’s mystique included other habits, including his use of a walking stick and daily afternoon strolls, which he took clad in shabby gray suits and tennis shoes.

Rackham student Sanjaya Thakur commented on the privilege of being in Bailey’s class:

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a class with him,” Thakur said. “His major works have been tremendously influential in the field of classics. He had the unique ability to translate ancient texts in a very modern way.”

[and I continue to marvel that I haven't seen an obituary for Naphtali Lewis]

This is one of the highlights of Christie's antiquities auction which will happen in the next couple of days. The official description identifies it as a bronze of Antoninus Pius (I can't recall ever seeing a portrait of Pius outside of coins); interesting that it has that 'upward gaze' that we usually associate with later near-Christian contexts.

It must be Italian news day or something ... from Interforze comes this one:

Vasi in ceramica, lastre di marmo epigrafate, statuine, ampolle, vasetti per la cosmesi, gioielli e sculture zoomorfe, per un totale di 270 reperti archeologici recuperati appartenenti al periodo romano tardo repubblicano e classico. Questi i risultati delle operazioni condotte dal Nucleo Regionale Polizia Tributaria del Lazio che hanno riportato al patrimonio culturale dello Stato reperti considerati dispersi.

L'organizzazione criminale operava nell' Italia Centro Meridionale e ricettava il 'bottino' derivante dall'attivaità dei 'tombaroli'. Sono state due le operazioni portate avanti dalle Fiamme Gialle che hanno permesso di debellare un'organizzazione criminale dedita al commercio illegale di reperti archeologici e di individuare collezionisti non autorizzati di opere appartenenti all'eta' classica.

L'operazione ha permesso, inoltre, di monitorare alcuni contatti con operatori del Lazio ricostruendo una fitta rete di trafficanti e collezionisti e di intervenire nei confronti di un residente dell'Agro capitolino che aveva collezionato nel tempo decine e decine di oggetti appartenenti alla società romana arcaica.

Updating the story from yesterday (but still in Italian; although see below ... from Quotidiano Nazionale):

Roma non finisce mai di stupire: due ipogei contenenti cinque sarcofagi marmorei decorati, un tracciato viario privo di pavimentazione basolata e una necropoli costituita da tombe a fossa con copertura alla cappuccina sono i resti venuti alla luce in seguito allo scavo eseguito dalla sovrintendenza archeologica di Roma in via di Tor Cervara, tra la via Tiburtina e la Collatina, durante gli accertamenti archeologici preliminari richiesti dalla stessa sovrintendenza ai fini della verifica di fattibilità dell'intervento urbanistico previsto nellazona.

Uno dei due ipogei è a pianta rettangolare e contiene un solo sarcofago di marmo già lesionato nei tempi antichi, mentre l' altro, a pianta circolare, profondo circa due metri e ottanta rispetto all'attuale piano di campagna e completamente scavato nel tufo ha riservatola sorpresa più eclatante: al suo interno si aprono quattro nicchie ognuna delle quali contiene altrettanti sarcofagi, ad eccezione di quella occidentale che ne contiene due, uno dei quali di ridotte dimensioni probabilmente appartenente a un bambino.

Il sarcofago conservato nella nicchia principale, quella orientata verso nord, spicca per la sua monumentalità: si tratta di una cassa marmorea con angoli arrotondati e decorati da maschere leonine, con una decorazione a strigliature sulla fronte ed il coperchio con la rappresentazione di due defunti, una coppia di coniugi distesi su di un letto.

Si tratta di una particolare categoria di sarcofagi, diffusa in epoca imperiale nel mondo romano, ma che rimanda come archetipo al mondo etrusco. 'E' davvero raro trovare un ipogeo con cinque sarcofagi integri e mai profanati come dimostrano le grappe di piombo di chiusura completamente intatte - ha detto il responsabile dello scavo Stefano Musco - si datano intorno al II sec. d.C. e questa necropoli dovrebbe essere legata ai proprietari della villa rustica e residenziale che sorgeva proprio nelle vicinanze'.

'Questi sarcofagi saranno oggetto di scavo da parte degli specialisti del Museo Nazionale Romano alle Terme di Diocleziano - ha detto l'antropologa della sovrintendenza archeologica di Roma Paola Catalano - speriamo di trovare all'interno dei sarcofagi, che ancora non sono stati aperti, dei reperti scheletrici o degli oggetti appartenenti al corredo funerario. Questo potrebbe darci utili informazioni sugli antichi rituali funerari, sulle caratteristiche demografiche del defunto e sui suoi modi divita, anche se la pioggia e l'acidità del terreno hanno corroso il marmo e probabilmente anche i resti fossei'.

'Questa scoperta - ha concluso Musco - è di grande valore anche perchè ha dato un momento di fama a un angolo poco conosciuto della periferia romana che ritornerà nel dimenticatoio non appena saranno portati via i ritrovamenti. Quest'area diventerà una zona verde e la costruzione dei palazzi previsti dal piano di zona C26 Tor Cervara sarà spostata in una zona limitrofa'.

... a photo does accompany the article. And now this just popped up, from ANSA:

Italian archaeologists have found a remarkable trove of five untouched Roman sarcophagi in a burial vault outside Rome .

"It's really rare to find so many sarcophagi that have never been profaned or even opened - as can be seen by the intact lead clasps on their edges," said the head of the dig, Stefano Musco .

He said the sarcophagi dated from the II century AD and probably contained the remains of the wealthy residents of a villa that once stood in the area - now a building site on Rome's north-eastern outskirts .

All the sarcophagi are marble and all decorated, leading archaeologists to suppose they could have been made for a prominent aristocratic family .

One of them is much smaller than the others and believed to contain the remains of a small child .

The largest sarcophagus is decorated with lion's head masks and a central relief showing a reclining couple - a motif that dates back to Etruscan times .

Rome anthropologist Paola Catalano said she hoped the skeletons and funerary objects would provide information on burial rites and the lifestyles and social position of the dead, "even though the acidity of the terrain and rainwater has already corroded the marble." The sarcophagi will be moved to the Museo Nazionale Romano at Diocletian's Baths, while the burial site will be preserved as a green area .

The apartment buildings that were to have gone up over the tombs will be moved to a nearby site .

... a different photo accompanies this one. I see now there's also a Reuters piece kicking around and a collection of photos at Yahoo ...
ANSA (via Basilicata) brings us this brief report on the discovery of five Hellenistic sarcophagi, one of which contained bones and a mirror:

Cinque sarcofagi, probabilmente risalenti al periodo ellenistico (III secolo a.C.), sono stati scoperti in Turchia. Il ritrovamento e' avvenuto durante la costruzione di una nuova strada lungo il mar Egeo. Uno dei sarcofagi, aperto dagli archeologi subito sopraggiunti sul posto, conteneva le ossa di una ragazza (che saranno presto esposte al museo di Efeso), uno specchio e altri oggetti sepolti con lei. Un altro era invece gia' stato saccheggiato dai tombaroli.
I wish they'd put this thing on TV rather than the shenanigans I've been seeing every a.m. in the Saddam (et al) trial ... from the LA Times:

Italian prosecutors in the trial of a former curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum on Monday presented dozens of photographs and documents seized from art dealers that they said would prove that the curator knowingly trafficked in looted antiquities.

Marion True, forced to quit the Getty in October, is being tried here on charges of criminal conspiracy to receive stolen goods and the illicit receipt of archeological objects. Her co-defendant is Robert E. Hecht Jr., an American art dealer based in Paris. Neither was present in court Monday, and both have asserted their innocence.

Prosecutors on Monday also described the system in which Getty suppliers allegedly used world-famous auction houses and private collections to launder artifacts unearthed and smuggled out of Italy.

The trial, which has implications for antiquity-collecting museums worldwide, has been proceeding in fits and starts since the summer. Monday's hearing included the first presentation of evidence in open court.

Most of the photographs and documents displayed Monday were seized at Hecht's Paris home in 2001 and at a warehouse in Switzerland in 1995. The warehouse was owned by Giacomo Medici, a dealer who was convicted last year on the same charges that True and Hecht now face. He is appealing a 10-year sentence.

Lead prosecutor Paolo Ferri said the evidence showed that objects looted in Italy ended up at the Getty and other prominent institutions such as New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He said that True, Hecht and Medici conspired to make that happen.

Among the material confiscated in the raids were thousands of Polaroid snapshots and other photographs. The prosecution presented slides of some of the pictures, showing cracked Etruscan vases, fragmented marble Roman statues and pieces of Greek urns, all apparently freshly excavated. Some were still caked with dirt, others wrapped in Italian newspaper or stacked in Italian boxes.

Each of the dozen or so Polaroids was paired with what prosecutors said was the item in its eventually restored state and on display at the Getty or featured in Getty catalogs.

Maurizio Pellegrini, an archeological consultant to a regional ministry who testified on behalf of the prosecution, narrated the comparisons. Using a red-laser pointer, he indicated similarities between an item in a Polaroid and what he said was the same item at the Getty.

These included a black, 2,500-year-old amphora, or jug, with red athletic figures; a kylix, or decorative cup, attributed to the Greek painter Euphronios; and a series of frescoes believed to have been taken from Pompeii.

True's main defense attorney, Franco Coppi, agrees that many of the objects may have been taken out of Italy illegally. But he said his client made her acquisitions "convinced of their legitimate provenance."

Pellegrini also showed pictures of pages from a journal that he said Hecht had kept. It described meetings with reputed smugglers and plans to obtain new items. Defense attorneys objected repeatedly to Pellegrini's interpretation of the journal entries, but Judge Gustavo Barbalinardo allowed the testimony.

In the journal, Hecht recounts flying to Rome at the urging of a reputed smuggler and driving to Cerveteri, a site rich in looted tombs, to inspect a newly discovered psykter, a jar used to cool wine.

"I immediately sent photographs to M. True at J.P.G.M.," the journal entry says. "Her first reaction was enthusiastic…. She said to bring it to Malibu as soon as it was cleaned, and she did not find unreasonable the price of $700,000."
Conventus Barcinonensis

Moderatores Unionis Europaeae et terrarum circa Mare Mediterraneum iacentium Barcinone conventum habuerunt, in quo de programmate quinquennali et de cooperatione ad terrorismum arcendum consenserunt.

Praefuit conventui Tony Blair, minister Britanniae primarius. Praeter membra Unionis Europaeae, affuerunt per delegatos Israel et octo terrae musulmanorum atque regimen Palaestinensium.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ...
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Fabulous Centers of Hellenism
Between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, many cities in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) reached unprecedented artistic levels. They were the new centers of Hellenism--the fruit of the junction of Greek and Eastern civilizations. In this episode, we visit the cities of Ephesus and Pergamum. State-of-the art technology coupled with enhanced 3D graphics allows us to view the cities as only the original inhabitants could as we take a virtual tour of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Leptis Magna, and the Altar of Zeus complex at Pergamum, which the citizens considered a symbol of the cultural supremacy of Hellenistic people over the rest of the world. Features high-end location photography and insights from some of the world's leading archaeological experts.

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

10.00 p.m. |NGU| The First Christians
The story of how the early followers of Jesus spread a new faith across a vast geographical region and diverse cultures is one of the great mysteries of the Western World. Today, the city of Rome stands as a living icon of the power and reach of the church that was founded on the teachings of Jesus. NGC explores how this essentially under-funded religion galvanized so many people into action and investigates how the faithful triumphed over the mighty Roman Empire.

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)
Suum cuique pulchrum est.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes 5.22.63)

To each person what is his/her own is beautiful.

(pron = soom KWEE-kweh POOL-kroom ehst).

Comment: I have a horrible time looking at anything I’ve recently written and
seeing typographical errors, or in seeing how any sentence that I’ve written is
not sensible! (Those of you who read my meanderings every day can stop here and

My political and religious ideas are so clear, and right!. I am not sure why
others don’t see that.

And then every once in a while, I see a photograph taken of me by someone else
without my knowledge (usually one of my children), and I do a double take—is
that me? Or, I overhear one of my students repeating what they heard me say,
or telling someone else about my class, or, every once it a great while, a
student stops by to tell me what being in my class means to him/her. Sometimes
that is very consoling. Sometimes that is very painful.

The point is this: I can become blind to my own thing because I live and
breathe in it all the time. But, when I let go of my own thing, even for a
minute, and allow myself to see or hear or feel from another perspective, my
own thing is just another thing. Not necessarily beautiful or ugly, just
another thing.

I am coming to see that there is a larger Thing that we are all microcosms of.
When I can let go of my tight fisted grip to my thing, I begin to see that.
Frightening and beautiful, all at once.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem viii idus decembres

... nothing; not even a reasonably well-attested martyr ... so to tide you over, it is the feast day of St. Nicholas of Myra, who's just a bit out of our period of purview (yep ... that St. Nick).
homonymous @ Merriam-Webster

intent @ OED

historicity @ Worthless Word for the Day

logorrhea @ Dictionary.com
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 'life of the day' today is none other than Claudius ... the url may change over the course of the week, so you might have to access it via this link.

Today from Christie's we get a chalcedony portrait of Commodus (I can never tell him apart from Marcus Aurelius, personally). As the official description tells us, even though Commodus did undergo damnatio memoriae, we do have a fair number of portraits of him due to his 'undamnatio' by Septimius Severus.

A brief item from AGE which will hopefully show up somewhere else with more details (and perhaps in English):

Un ipogeo contenente dei sarcofagi marmorei, tutti decorati e intatti, con ancora integre le grappe di chiusura in piombo secondo una tipologia diffusa in epoca imperiale nel mondo romano e' il ritrovamento fatto dalla soprintendenza archeologica di Roma. Lo rende noto la stessa soprintendenza, che domani mattina ha organizzato un sopralluogo in Via di Tor Cervara, nel V municipio, in presenza del direttore responsabile dello scavo Stefano Musco.
From the Palm Beach Daily News:

All of the food may have not gone down easily, but the games were fun.

Sixth-grade pupils at Rosarian Academy were dressed Friday in tunics and togas as they spent "An Afternoon in Ancient Greece."

"Ick" was the general reaction of Lyle Swift to grape leaves stuffed with rice. But the 12-year-old pretty well cleaned his plate of fresh grapes, spinach pie and hummus.

The three-month study of ancient Greek cuisine, drama, athletics and mythology culminated in the parochial school's social hall, where about 40 parents gathered to see what lessons were learned.

"It's fun to see how they researched everything," said Cynthia Gardner of Palm Beach Gardens. She said she and her daughter Caroline, 12, worked together on a flowing blue toga gown, tied at the waist with a thick, white upholstery braid.

"She really knew what fabrics and what colors the Greeks used," the mother said. "A lot of it was really challenging. This [required] an advanced way of thinking, rather than memorizing."

A series of skits threw the pupils and their teacher, Arlene Colavito, into fits of giggles as the pupils acted their way through the maze of mythology.

Pandora, played by Carly Michael, 11, of West Palm Beach, could not resist opening the forbidden chest, convinced it contained all the jewels in the world.

"Whatever I want, I get," was her character's justification.

When warned against it, lest she unleash all evil and disease in the world, she retorted: "Is that bad?"

Mary Rooney, 12, of Palm Beach, let out a wicked "Ha, ha, ha, ha" as her character, Minerva, transformed Arachne into an arachnid.

"Now you're a spider, and a spider you'll be forever," she told her enemy, played by Alexandra Michael, Carly Michael's twin.

Colavito called fouls on several pupils during Friday's Olympic games for throwing their paper plates like a Frisbee rather than a discus.

Drinking straws became javelins and cotton balls were used in the shotput competition.

The broad jump was equipment free, with the city-state of Corinth winning over Sparta and Athens.

Colavito said she learned how creative her pupils can be.

"Given the chance, children can reach any goal," she said.

... togas ... Minerva ...
Archaeologists have found another Roman brick factory ... coverage from ANSA:

An Ancient Roman brickworks in near perfect condition has been discovered in Emilia Romagna .

The complex, the largest anywhere in the region and one of the biggest in Italy, was unearthed near a canal in the central Italian town of Ronta .

"This is a truly extraordinary find," said a culture ministry spokesman. "It is so well preserved that with minimal restoration it would still work perfectly today." The site is of such importance that the consortium carrying out work on the canal has agreed to deviate its route in order to preserve the remains and allow for further excavations .

So far, archaeologists have uncovered two large rectangular ovens for baking bricks, a tiled floor that was once part of a production vat, a large terracotta tub and the remains of the walls .

The largest oven-room is 4.2 by 5 metres and has a hole in the centre showing the cavern underneath for lighting the fires. This had two-metre-high walls supporting a layer where the bricks were laid to bake .

Experts say that the room was extended on three occasions, presumably coinciding with a period of general expansion for the brickworks .

The brazier in the second oven-room, which is 3.8 by 3 metres, is constructed from a series of arches and small walls, allowing larger pieces to be placed directly over the flames .

The walls of the room are made of soft clay tiles that were gradually baked solid by the heat .

The complex, which dates back to the 2nd century BC, is the second oldest brickworks uncovered in Emilia Romagna. An earlier structure in Ca Turci Cesenatico has been dated back to the end of the 3rd century BC, which was when the Roman first occupied the area .

The Ronta site was built during a later era, by which time the Romans were well established and in need of a complex able to work faster and produce larger pieces .

Despite the extent of the site already uncovered, archaeologists are convinced that a great deal more remains to be unearthed, which is why the council and consortium have agreed to shift the route .

"A complex of this kind, which is almost industrial, usually had at least three ovens, so they could be used in tandem - while one was being loaded up, the other was cooking and the third was being emptied," one of the archaeologists explained .

"It's therefore possible that this excavation has many more surprises still in store." Although bricks had been used by previous civilizations, the Romans popularised and spread their use .

Brick was so common in Rome that Suetonius reported Augustus as saying "I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble" .

But underneath Rome's marble surfaces, brick was the chief material used in construction .

Romans distinguished between bricks dried by the sun and air (lateres crudi) and those fired in a kiln (lateres cocti). Whitish or red clay, often mixed was straw, was usually used .

The bricks were kept for two years before being used and were much thinner than ones used today, looking more like modern tiles .

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the art of brick manufacturing was lost in most of Europe, surviving only in Italy itself. Central Europe didn't rediscover the skill until the 18th century and England until the 1100s .
Project Gutenberg has just listed its edition of the six-volume Antiquités d'Herculanum by the Piranesi brothers (the text is in French). The zipped html version includes the plates (a bit grotty, but still okay). So here's where to get vol. I, vol. II, vol. III, vol. IV, vol. V, and vol. VI.
De carceribus clandestinis

Sunt, qui autument Americanis in Europa esse carceres clandestinos, in quibus homines de terrorismo suspecti interrogentur.

Condoleezza Rice, ministra Americana a rebus exteris, excitationem ex hac re ortam sedatura monuit Europaeos in communi contra terrorismum bello interesse; territores capiendos esse, antequam ictus facerent, ne multa milia hominum innocentium perirent.

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

... for news in Latin, see also Ephemeris, which seems to be changing content on a daily basis now ...
Hot on the heels of the resumption of the Museum Case comes this piece from the Guardian about the newly-enacted Greek diving legislation:

When it was first proposed, it seemed like a good idea: open up the Greek seas to divers and create a paradise for tourists underwater. Those who backed the law never thought of it as a windfall for looters, nor did it occur to them that it might put the acquisition policies of museums under further scrutiny.

But the Greek parliament's unprecedented step last month to allow divers access to the once forbidden coastline has raised fears that archaeological riches preserved in an untouched world will be taken by ruthless thieves.

"There are treasures in our seas," says Dimitris Athanasoulis, president of the Archaeologists' Association. "This will open the floodgates to smugglers. It'll serve to encourage them at a time when evidence shows the trafficking of antiquities is on the rise."

Last month, as Athens announced legal action against California's Getty Museum to reclaim an array of antiquities whose rightful owners, according to authorities, died at least 2,000 years ago, the row reached a new pitch. At issue are thousands of shipwrecks believed to be buried in the Mediterranean. Greece is thought to host most of these submerged gems, with an undisclosed number, say experts, dating to the golden age of the 5th century BC. And, like later vessels from the Roman, Byzantine and early modern periods, those ships sank with priceless cargoes intact.

"If you think of at least one ship going down a year then there would be at least 6,000 of them down there now," says Katerina Delaporta, who heads the department of marine antiquity at the ministry of culture. "There could be double that," she says. "What is really bad is that this legislation not only contradicts constitutional laws that go back to the foundation of the Greek state on how our archaeology should be protected, but it also allows people to dive at great depths with the latest technology."

Previously, divers were given access to just 620 miles of the 10,000 miles of Greek coastline. Under the new legislation, however, they will be able to explore vessels and "archaeological parks" along the entire seabed freely. Until now, Greek authorities have gone out of their way to locate and protect historic wrecks. In the last five years, state-employed underwater archaeologists have found 35 ancient ships - compared with five in the decade before that - at depths of up to 600 metres. In total, a thousand have been catalogued.

But technological advances often mean modern pillagers get to such jewels before overworked archaeologists. While hi-tech tools have helped specialists better understand the boundaries of marine archaeology, they have also allowed amateur treasure-hunters to tap into Greece's vast underwater heritage, says Dr Delaporta.

"The sea is not like a museum. It can't be guarded round the clock and unfortunately technology has no principles," she says. "Looting is a big danger." It is not only wrecks that are attractive to looters. The Aegean is also thought to be littered with masterpieces lost in storms, thanks to Roman invaders' penchant for classical and Hellenistic statues. Since 1997 four statues, including a magnificent rendition of Roman emperor Octavius, have been delivered by fishermen to the state in the hope of rewards.

The problem of undersea plundering is part of the much wider problem of looting. Net profits from the global trade in antiquities are now on a par with those from smuggling humans and drugs, according to culture ministry officials in Greece. Emboldened by the explosion of internet auction houses, an increasing number of looters, they say, are linking up with criminal gangs seeking to launder ill-gotten gains through the international art market.

Nobody knows this better than Giorgos Gligoris. As head of the police squad set up to combat antiquities trafficking, the detective frequently dons the sharp suit of a collector to infiltrate art smuggling circles. From his cramped sixth-floor office in Athens's gargantuan police headquarters, he explains that, Europe-wide, the "bad economic climate" has spurred a proliferation of looters. This year alone, his 12-member team has seen a huge rise in valuable Byzantine icons being filched from monasteries.

"Put simply, profits are phenomenal and looters are running riot," he bristles, cigarette ash flying as he raises his hands in despair. "In the US and Europe ancient Greek artefacts are, sadly, very fashionable. Nouveau riche like them because they're not only pretty and look good in their sitting-rooms, but they also happen to be a great investment." For Greece there is the added problem of the country being "like a museum without any guards or doors".

"And now Europe is border-free and there are far fewer checkpoints, it's even easier for traffickers," he sighs.

Experts believe that often antiquities are whisked out of Greece in fruit and vegetable trucks. Destination reached, they can change hands up to five times before arriving in the display room of an auction house or museum.

The apparent ease with which smugglers have learned to move has given birth to a new type of menace in the form of looters posing as tourists, Mr Gligoris says. Last summer his unit stopped a yacht in broad daylight brimming with valuable amphorae, or jars, as it pulled out of port on the remote island of Mytilene.

In 2004, he says, his department confiscated 1,401 ancient artefacts in 24 raids throughout the country. "A lot of smugglers are coming here posing as wealthy tourists on yachts," he explains. "They arrive, supposedly on a cruise, when their real intention is to locate wrecks and whisk gold and bronze antiquities out of the country."

The work of anti-traffickers is made harder because of the near-impossibility of being able to prove that an artefact is stolen without previous photographic or archival evidence of its existence, he says. Last year, Greek officials discovered this to their cost when 17,000 stolen antiquities - enough to stock 10 museums - were found in the collection of the disgraced British art dealer Robin Symes. The unearthing of the hoard, the decision to take legal action against the Getty - after years of abortive diplomacy - and the dispute over allowing diving have all reinvigorated the campaign to stop Greece's heritage being spirited away.

For Mr Gligoris, there are times when he feels he is winning. "We do have moments of light when we catch smugglers. And when that happens, there's a lot of dancing and singing in this office."

Case study

'He was counting the money'

Two years ago officer Giorgos Gligoris was tipped off about a "hot sale" in the province of Epiros. A retired civil servant conducting illegal excavations outside Ioannina had unearthed two 4th century BC statues - an Aphrodite and a gorgeous youth. He had stashed them in the basement of his block of flats and was looking for a buyer. He was prepared to sell them for £280,000. The detective filled his briefcase with cash and drove up to the north-western city. Members of his team would shadow him but until the mission was over he would use his alter ego: a Greek gallery owner who lived and worked in Switzerland. "We agreed to meet in a cafe and the trafficker took me to the building in question to show off the pieces," Mr Gligoris said. "They were beautiful, and I instantly said I would buy them but suggested have lunch first." When they got to the restaurant the detective alerted his team. "The old man was counting the money when they nabbed him. It was brilliant," said Mr Gligoris. "It took us two years to win the trust of the men who tipped us off and we were lucky because it wasn't dangerous. Other times it's been hairy. One guy, a trafficker in the army, kept his fingers on a grenade in his pocket the entire time we were negotiating. You can't show fear because if you do, you've lost the game."
The Museum Case resumed yesterday ... here's what happened (via Forbes):

Prosecutors in the trial of a former curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum on Monday displayed photos seized from the warehouse of a convicted art trafficker they claimed were proof the Getty and other U.S. museums acquired stolen art from Italy.

Maurizio Pellegrini, an archaeological expert and a consultant testifying for the prosecution, compared about a dozen of the pictures with photos of what he claimed were the same pieces after they had been prepared for display in the Getty.

He said the photos showed that artifacts bought by the California museum had been smuggled out of Italy by Giacomo Medici, convicted in December and sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy in international trafficking in antiquities.

Former Getty antiquities curator Marion True and art dealer Robert Hecht are accused of receiving and conspiring to deal in illegally acquired antiquities. The defendants, both Americans, deny wrongdoing.

Franco Coppi, one of True's defense lawyers, said he did not contest that some of the artifacts at the Getty may have been smuggled, but he said True didn't know about their alleged illegal origin.

"We don't have to explain how these objects arrived at the Getty, our problem is to prove that Mrs. True was convinced of their legitimate origin when she acquired them for the Getty," he said.

The trial, seen as a warning from Italy to the art world, followed a 1995 raid of Medici's offices in Geneva where police found 10,000 photos, some of which depicted artifacts they deemed of "uncertain origin."

The case against True involves about 35 artifacts acquired by the Getty museum between 1986 and the late 1990s - including bronze Etruscan pieces, frescoes and painted Greek vessels.

In one case, Pellegrini compared a photo of a restored 5th century B.C. Etruscan statuette and another photo that allegedly shows the unrestored piece just after it was dug up from the Cerveteri archaeological site near Rome.

Using a laser pointer Pellegrini pointed to identifying marks in the two photos, including a burn mark on the base of the statuette.

"It's the same one, 100 percent sure," Pellegrini said.

He also showed a photo seized from Medici depicting a fragmented and dirty statue wrapped in Italian newspaper - which he said was additional proof the object had been looted from Italy - alongside another of what he said was the same piece after it was bought by the Getty.

Another photo confiscated from Hecht in Paris showed a vase Pellegrini said was from Puglia that was bought by the Boston Fine Arts Museum in 1991.

Neither True - who made a surprise appearance at the trial last month - nor Hecht was present in court Monday. In Italy defendants are not required to attend their trials.

Italy - rich in ancient history - has strict laws stipulating that antiquities belong to the state and cannot leave its territory, except on loan for exhibition, and it is hoping the trial will help it recover many artifacts that it contends were illegally excavated or exported. The Getty recently returned three ancient pieces.

See also the coverage from the New York Times (includes a photo of one of the disputed objects). The Scoop's Suzan Mazur also has a new piece up, on the background of Bob Hecht ...
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Arms in Action: Slings and Spears
Produced in partnership with England's Royal Armouries located in the Tower of London, this series action-tests weapons and armor through the ages. We construct an ancient slingshot and see why it survives as a street-fighting weapon in the Middle East, and follow the unbroken history of the spear from mere stick to Roman pilium to bayonet.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Hadrian's Wall
For the Ancient Romans, Hadrian's Wall marked the very edge of the civilized world. Completed in 128 AD, the remarkable wall, built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian, marked the northern border of the Roman Province of Britain. Possibly inspired by traveler's tales of the Great Wall of China, it began as a single wall but evolved in the building, and by the time it was finished, it had become a complicated defensive system. The wall runs over 115 miles from the east to the west of England and provides a fascinating glimpse of military life during the Roman occupation. Vivid, authentic reconstructions, 3D graphics and animation, recent location footage, as well as interpretation, analysis, and commentary by leading authorities allow viewers to witness how the wall might have looked in its glory.

HINT = History International
Quod in iuventute non discitur, in matura aetate nescitur.
(Cassiodorus, Variae 1.24)

What is not learned in youth is not known in later years.

(pron = kwod in yoo-wen-TOO-tay nohn DIS-kih-toor, in mah-TOO-rah aiy-TAH-tay

Comment: Sayings like these make me want to go out and put that old bumper
sticker on my car: “QUESTION EVERYTHING”. I suspect that if you ran this
saying quickly by most people, it would get nods of approval. It just sounds
right. How can adults who were not taught certain things know them later in
life? Likewise, good, solid citizens in adult life were those who received
good educations and were taught the difference in right and wrong as children.

What if, as a child, you were taught that white skinned people were superior to
dark skinned people? According to this proverb, you have no chance as an adult
of knowing how to be tolerant and accepting of all human beings. You will
simply be a racist.

What if as a child, you were taught that sharing what you have with others is a
virtue that you ought to practice all your life? According to this proverb,
you won’t ever struggle with selfishness.

Question everything.

The real question that I have of this proverb is regarding the childhood
learning. What sort of limits were placed on the child’s learning? Whose
limits? Whose prejudices? Whose experiences informed the child’s learning?
Was the child encouraged to discover, seek, question, reflect, ponder,
experience, feel and observe for him/herself? If so, then adulthood will be no
different from childhood. It will continue to be one continuous journey of
wonder and awe at the universe. If not, then, still, there is a chance, as an
adult, that he/she may open a door and break out of the barriers that were
placed around him/her as a child.

What were you taught as a child, that needs to be questioned today?

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

The Museum Case doesn't seem to have put a damper on auctions ... we should be able to bring you a pile of images from Christie's over the next week or so, including this 1st century B.C./B.C.E. portrait of some guy. As the official description suggests, it's a good example of the 'warts and all' style which we all learn about in our first year ClassCiv courses.

nonas decembres

Rites in honour of Faunus: essentially a rural ritual involving an offering of wine and a kid on a turf altar to mark the end of the year's toil and ensure the continued protection of the sheep.

302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Gratus and companions
Occlusion @ Merriam-Webster

nullibiquitous @ Worthless Word for the Day (fantastic word!)

panache @ Dictionary.com
Over at Campus Mawrtius, DMM has posted a handy little place-value chartish thing for understanding Greek numerals ... useful.
Interesting that the first I read of this is in the Peninsula (a daily from Qatar):

Regarded with suspicion and sometimes hostility by a state that had mixed feelings about their presence from the start, Greece’s foreign archaeology schools and institutes are now being thanked for a contribution to antiquity research spanning nearly 160 years.
From Heinrich Schliemann’s Mycenaean discoveries to the reconstruction of Knossos by Sir Arthur Evans and the laborious French excavation at Delphi, archaeologists from 17 foreign schools have been instrumental in breaking new ground in the fields of Greek and Roman antiquity on Greek soil.
By way of paying homage, the Greek culture ministry on November 30 gave honourary awards to the directors of the French, German, American and British schools, which have the longest tradition of excavation in the country.
A first-ever exhibit of foreign school finds from around 50 excavation sites across the country is currently on display at the Athens Concert Hall, until January 8.
“This is the first time that we are all here together,” Dominique Mulliez, director of the French School at Athens, said.
“We’re becoming aware of the amount of our work,” he said. Working on what was essentially still virgin territory, the schools turned up one amazing discovery after another in the late 19th century — the marble statue of Hermes by the ancient master Praxiteles, the gold burial mask attributed to king Agamemnon of Mycenae, the bronze charioteer of Delphi. But even though they brought much-needed expertise and equipment to the task, the visitors were often seen as near-colonials by the Greek authorities, who resented the pressure brought to bear by their respective governments.
Past controversies regarding theft allegations at Turkish and Egyptian sites likewise did little to help the early profile of foreign experts.
The French were the first to create a archaeology outpost in Athens in 1846, 17 years after French general Maison had led an expeditionary force to assist the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman Empire.
The German Archaeological School followed suit in 1873, at a time of intense rivalry for European supremacy among the Great Powers of the continent.
Competition between Paris and Berlin manifested itself almost immediately, with the Germans obtaining permission to excavate Ancient Olympia — birthplace of the Olympic Games — in 1875. Mortified, the French lobbied the Greek government for a concession of equal importance. But it would take them another 17 years to secure rights to Delphi — location of a sacred oracle to the sun-god Apollo and one of the focal sites of Greek antiquity. By this time, other suitors had arrived in the form of the American School of Classical Studies (1881) and the British School at Athens (1885).
The Austrians and Italians would come next, establishing their own institutes in 1898 and 1909 respectively. Today, experts from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are also present. The relationship has not always been smooth, even in recent times.
In October, the culture ministry had a run-in with the Italian school after a Roman-era statue of Hera, senior goddess of the ancient Greek pantheon, fell and broke soon after its discovery at the Minoan city of Gortyn, on the island of Crete. On the other hand, the schools not only help maintain over a dozen key sites across the country, but continue to foster interest in Greece and its antiquity.
In addition, the American School is the custodian of the Gennadios Library, an extensive collection of Greek and Balkan history which includes the private papers of Schliemann, Nobel poet laureates George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, and celebrated Greek conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos.

... I hope there were representatives from (and acknowledgement of) the Canadian Archaeological Institute at Athens there ...
Cimices Novum Eboracum invaserunt

Cimices lectularii urbem New York, etiam deversoria eius lautissima invaserunt.

Hodie tam frequentes etiam in asylis liberorum, scholis domibusque privatis occurrunt, ut iam de vera epidemia agatur.

Causa invasionis cimicum esse putantur immigrationes ex nationibus egentioribus et peregrinationes hodie frequentiores quam ante atque prohibitiones recentes insecticidiorum efficacium.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

Oxford beats Cambridge in varsity Race - 1,000 bottles of champagne at Onassis wedding
Somehow in my meanderings last night I came across this ... it's a page devoted to a two-act musical comedy called A Greek Slave. The page has links to the libretto and includes an mp3 recording of one of the songs from a cylinder recording made in 1899 (!).
... nothing of interest
A couple more of Peter Jones' Ancient and Modern columns have been put up at the Friends of Classics site ...
Vestes ex canibus cattisque

Britanni indignati sunt, cum pellicula documentaria Sinensis in televisione monstrata esset, in qua de pellibus canum cattorumque ad vestes pelliceas adhibendis agebatur.

Animalia ibi tam crudeliter tractata esse, ut quaedam ex eis adhuc viverent, cum degluberentur. Sinenses se excusant dicentes tales pelles apud occidentales magni haberi.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The Radio Bremen version of Nuntii Latini for the month of November is up ...
Official description:

One never thinks of Latin as a language the Chinese had to deal with. Yet when Matteo Ricci went to China his mathematics and astronomy texts were all in this ancient language. And some of his and fellow Jesuits accounts of the East still survive today...

... listen
There's a new issue of Ephemeris out ... with, of course, its new look too (I have to pay attention to see if it's being updated more frequently now)
Alas, I was about to thank Glaukopis for pointing us to a video called How the Greeks Roll -- a rap version of the Odyssey -- bit the link from the page provided comes up as server not found. Maybe it will be working by the time you see this ...
From WebIndia:

Gaulish heroes Asterix and Obelix are all set to descend on India speaking fluent Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, not to forget Hindi.

The newest film based on the popular French comic strip titled Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra' will be released in the country in the four languages besides English.

The English and Hindi versions will hit the screens across India during Christmas but the Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi versions will have to wait a little more.

"The film will be released in India around Christmas," says Inderjit Singh, whose company has bought the distribution rights for the film in the Indian sub-continent, including Pakistan.

Though the dubbing work for the Hindi version is being completed, it was yet to be done for Tamil and Telugu, says Singh who had also distributed the first Asterix film, 'Aserix and Obelix Takes on Caesar' in India three years ago. The Tamil version of the film was a huge success in Tamil Nadu.

"We are also planning to dub the new film in Punjabi," says Singh, who was inspired by the success of Hollywood films dubbed in Punjabi in Pakistan.

According to him, the jokes and punches in the film will be enhanced by the flavour of the Indian languages. In the film, its director Alain Chabat (who has written the script and also acts as Roman Emperor Julius Caesar) makes fun of modern lifestyles by taking swipes at mobile phones and discotheques. One of the film's characters is called Cellularis, whose dialogue is interrupted by a mobile phone call in the 50 BC Egypt.

"It is very very special for us to see the Hindi release of the film," said Michelle Darmon, the head of communications for Asterix director Chabat, who could not attend yesterday's screening after he fell ill in Los Angeles.

The Hindiversion is part of the beach cinema at IFFI.

"Humour goes through boundaries so that everybody can laugh," she said. Super model Noemie Lenoir, who plays a courtesan in the film, agreed: "I like comedy films. I want everybody to be happy and enjoy themselves." The film, which is about a friendly fight between Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Caesar, will be helped in its distribution in India by the French government, which has kept aside a special grant for the purpose, according to French Ambassador Dominique Girard, who was present when the English version of the film was screend at the Cinema of the World section of the Goa International Film Festival of India (IFFI) last evening.

The French government will bear half of the dubbing costs while the state-run Centre National de la Cinematographie will share up to 30 per cent promotion costs.
Here's something which might have an application in bridging the gap between print and web (I could, e.g., see an online journal suddenly gaining legitimacy because it was also available in print) ... from one of my favourite web design blogs, A List Apart describes how to use CSS to print a book ...
For the next couple of days (I think) you can 'listen again' to Barry Cunliffe on the BBC talking about Pytheas the Greek ...
From Bloomberg:

The J. Paul Getty Museum will consider Greece's request to return four antiquities to the country after its new director takes up his position next year.

Greece has received a letter from Michael Brand, who becomes museum director in January, the Culture Ministry said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The letter said the possible return of the four antiquities would be discussed after he took over as head of the museum.

``There wasn't a positive response to our request that the artifacts, which are at the museum illegally, be returned,'' said the statement. ``The ministry will retract its case only when the Getty truly decides to return the artifacts in their possession, which belong to us.''

Greece's Culture Ministry said on Nov. 21 that it would take legal action to recover the four antiquities, which include a gold funerary wreath, an inscribed tombstone and a marble sculpture of a woman's torso dating to 400 B.C. Greece claims the items were illegally smuggled from the country.

Three pieces were bought by the Getty in 1993 for $5.2 million and J. Paul Getty himself purchased the fourth item, a votive relief, in 1955, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Marion True, the former chief antiquities curator for the museum, is on trial in Rome on charges she acquired looted artifacts for the Los Angeles museum. She denies any wrongdoing.

The Getty Museum handed over three antiquities that the Italian government says were stolen, days before True's trial began, the Italian Culture Ministry said Nov. 10.
I don't think we posted this one earlier this week ... from the New York Times:

Archaeologists in northern Greece have uncovered traces of two prehistoric farming settlements dating back as early as 6,000 B.C., the Culture Ministry said Monday.

The first site, located on a plot earmarked for coal mining by Greece's Public Power Corporation, yielded five human burials, as well as artifacts including clay figurines of humans and animals, sealstones, pottery and stone tools.

The ministry said the one-acre site near Ptolemaida, some 330 miles northwest of Athens, had been inhabited for a short period during the early Neolithic era -- between 6000 and 5500 B.C.

''(The discovery) will help us solve problems regarding prehistoric social structures ... as the area saw a gradual introduction of farming techniques over at least five millennia,'' the ministry said.

Some 25 Neolithic settlements have been discovered in the area.

The ministry said a second, smaller site, also dating between 6000-5500 B.C., was excavated near Grevena, some 260 miles northwest of Athens. Archaeologists found a number of rare figurines in the settlement, which contained a workshop for producing stone tools.

The first traces of human settlement in Greece date to at least 40,000 B.C.
Issue 8.32 of Explorator has been posted as as the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ... both at our Classics Central forum, of course (which was also updated today) ...
Apologies for the late update today ... it's been a real hectic one ...
Just saw this in one of the humor groups I monitor:

Charon Cruise Lines
Interesting little tidbit from an article on renovations at Stanford's stadium:

Forget about three yards and a cloud of dust. The first big play in rebuilding Stanford Stadium will involve 100,000 cubic yards of dirt.

The ground game will start in earnest after Dec. 10, when the two-week demolition of the 84-year-old stadium is scheduled to be finished. Even if shards of the old stadium are still around, the dirt will come.

"It'll be enough where we can get in and start making grade with our dirt," said construction project manager Tim Stitt of Vance Brown Builders in Palo Alto.

So begins a race to have the new stadium ready for the Sept. 9, 2006, home opener against San Jose State. And the game might be on real grass, not a synthetic surface as had been expected.

Moving, excavating and compacting the dirt will take about six weeks, Stitt said. About one-fourth of the dirt will come from around the stadium, with another 65,000 square yards coming from an excavation to make way for a physics building at Stanford, and the final 10,000 coming from land being cleared for a parking garage.

Preservationist Gail Woolley, a former Palo Alto mayor, said dirt was a big part of the original stadium's history and design. Three Stanford engineering professors, inspired by the architecture of amphitheaters in Pompeii, Italy, sunk the stadium into a berm of earth.

"They realized that if they designed the stadium by digging down and putting the dirt on the side, they wouldn't need much of a structure," Woolley said.
An excerpt from Maine Today which has set off numerous skeptalarms in the old noggin':

In ancient Rome, the physicians of Tiberius and Caligula prescribed Guaranum, the Vino Novello of its day for their illustrious patients. Ancient Romans had a preference for older wines, finding the robust flavors more to their liking than the rough simplicity of Guaranum, the ancient Roman version of Novello. It is important to note that today’s Vino Novello is not your dead emperor’s Guaranum. The modern Novello is softer, rounder, and fruitier than the new wine of even just a few decades ago. These wines have less to do with geography, varietal, or terroir, and everything to do with the essence of the vintage, the unadorned soul of the harvest; if the Novello is great, so the reasoning goes, then the wines of that vintage should hold great promise.

I cannot find any reference to this 'guaranum' in my dictionaries or online (other than in this article) ... it doesn't even look like a Latin word (and is suspiciously close to one of my favourite stimulants, guarana) ... has anyone seen it before?

UPDATE: See now MG's response over at Laudator ...
I'd love to more regularly highlight items from the Hellenic News of America, which frequently has items of interest, but I have a difficult time justifying because almost every article there starts out fine, but then goes in bizarre directions, either editorially or in terms of formatting (which comes from photos being left out?). Here's an example (about daily life in Athens) ....
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| 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)
Not sure how I missed the annoucement of Dr. Brunt's death (I can't imagine a Roman history course without mention/consultation of many of his works)... a list of obits was just posted on the Classicists list, of which this one comes from the Telegraph:

Peter Brunt, who died on November 5 aged 88, was an important Roman historian and Camden Professor of Ancient History at Oxford from 1970 to 1982.

His contributions to Roman history were distinguished by very wide knowledge, logical clarity, a highly developed critical sense, and above all an intellectual integrity which found no place for display. Instead, as he himself would say, he was a penetrating critic who would not accept claims that the evidence supported claims which it did not.

Peter Astbury Blunt was born on June 23 1917, the son of a Methodist minister, the Rev Samuel Brunt, and of Gladys Eileen Brunt. His mother, whom his friends remember as a warm, cultivated and lively person, was important to him throughout his career, and died only after his retirement. He was educated at Ipswich School and Oriel College, Oxford, where he took a First in Mods in 1937, and in Greats two years later. Both the nature of these undergraduate courses and the dates were highly relevant to his intellectual development and academic record. Mods was devoted to reading the works of the Classical canon, and Greats to a combination of Ancient History, studied through the major narrative writers, and Philosophy, in which Plato and Aristotle played a large part. His eventual predecessor in the Camden Chair, Ronald Syme, who had been Examiner in 1939, was to recall later that PA Brunt's translations had been of exceptional quality.

During the war Brunt served in the Ministry of Shipping, then re-named War Transport, since weak health debarred him from military service. With his immense capacity for absorbing and digesting information and setting it out clearly, he could have stayed on and carved out a distinguished Civil Service career; and, eternally self-critical, he would later observe that the excellence of his Latin and Greek never fully recovered from this enforced five-year gap.

Both remained at a very superior level, however, and he carried with him always the critical sense imparted by tutorials in Philosophy, and a deep engagement with ancient philosophical writing, later to be shown in his work on Roman Stoicism. After the war he returned to Ancient History in Oxford, as a Demy (graduate scholar) at Magdalen under the supervision of the influential and formidable Camden Professor, HM Last. But before completing a doctorate, he went for four years (1947-51) to St Andrews as a lecturer, and always retained a deep attachment to the university.

In 1951 he came back to Oxford as Fellow and Tutor at Oriel, of which he was later an honorary fellow, and then, after a two-year spell in 1968-70 as Bursar of Caius College, Cambridge, he was elected to the Camden Chair and a fellowship at Brasenose, and played important roles in the university and outside it: as a member of the General Board; as chairman of the committee which reviewed the working of the Ashmolean Museum and laid the basis for its present structure; as a delegate of the University Press; and, outside Oxford, as president of the Roman Society in 1980-83 and as a member of the council of the British School at Rome.

What was important, however, was, first, the power and clarity of his lectures and his devotion to tutorial teaching, and second the formidable range and quality of his academic writing, which included a substantial group of papers on Greek History, later collected in Studies in Ancient Greek History and Thought (1992).

But his major impact, even today not yet fully absorbed or sufficiently acknowledged, was in Roman history. A number of major studies, later collected in Roman Imperial Themes (1990), analysed the working of the Empire.

His greatest originality lay in the Republic. At Oriel he had written two fundamental works, of contrasting types, both published in 1971: his massive Italian Manpower, and a slim paperback, Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic, whose title implicitly asserted that the prevailing view of Republican politics, as a mere struggle for pre-eminence between individuals, families or "factions", simply did not correspond to the evidence. While personal ambition was of course important in Roman society, political strife related to major social and constitutional issues.

This theme, or set of themes, was more fully argued in the papers, whether new or re-printed, collected in perhaps his most important work, The Fall of the Roman Republic and Related Essays (1988).

This volume includes fundamental papers such as The Army and the Land in the Roman Revolution; but it was the four concluding chapters, Libertas in the Republic, Amicitia in the Republic, Clientela and Factions, which systematically demolished the interpretation of Republican political history which had reigned for most of the 20th century.

Peter Brunt was the embodiment of the individual scholar whose work was based on his own independent analysis of the evidence. Quintessentially English, he confessed to an aversion from speaking (as opposed to reading) foreign languages. With a deep scepticism about intellectual pretension, and a profound reserve which meant that he did not enter easily into social exchanges, he nonetheless formed strong and abiding friendships.

His tutorials could be eccentric. He liked to tell the story of how he had once dozed off in the presence of an undergraduate, and woke to hear himself declaring: "No, that cannot be correct." He quickly asked his student to repeat the last two sentences of his essay, and was relieved to discover a flagrant error.

He always suffered from ill-health (retiring two years early in 1982) and distrusted his capacity for inspiring others. A life-long bachelor, he lived quietly in Oxford for the remaining period of more than two decades, enjoying going often to Brasenose for lunch, but otherwise adding to his already enormous range of reading in history and in English literature, preparing the three major collections of 1988-1992, and then drafting papers on Roman Stoicism which it is hoped will be brought together in a book, along with some already-published articles.

Mildly teased on one occasion for his instinctive counter-suggestibility, he firmly rejected this idea too. It was perhaps only very near the end that he began to grasp the loyalty and affection which his unalterable intellectual and moral integrity had inspired.
Os, oculus, vultus produnt quod cor gerit intus.

The mouth, the eye, the face—they all reveal what the heart bears on the inside.

(pron = ohs, OH-koo-lohs, WOOL-toos PRO-doont kwod kohr GER-it IN-toos)

Comment: This proverb will likely ring true with many of our experiences and
observations. We look at a friend, family member or colleague, and we read
their faces, their eyes, the way they hold their mouths. We conclude that all
is well; or we know that something has happened, and we ask: are you okay?

The face reveals the life. And then, there are times when it does not. The
individual has “mastered” the cover up. Probably learned it at an early age.
It was about survival. With these individuals, we wonder after the fact: how
did I not know (that he was lying; that she was dying; that he was in pain;
that she was being abused).

This is another invitation to go to the mirror. Looking at my own face: to
what degree does my face reveal the inner workings of my life? And, if it does
not to some degree—why? What stands in the way? Where did I learn to
disconnect from myself like this? Can I allow for a reconnection? Look at the
faces that you see today—even they can become a mirror that shows us ourselves.

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

c. 255 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hippolytus

c. 256 A.D. -- martyrdom of Aurelia and Paulina

259 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pontian

... a little cluster from the persecution under Valerian
bogus @ Merriam-Webster (actually, not Classical at all ... but just in case you were wondering)

somnific @ Wordsmith

geomancy @ Worthless Word for the Day

redivivus @ Dictionary.com
Hey ... I just checked out Ephemeris and they seem to have done a bit of a makeover of the front page ... a bunch more news and many more 'sections' (or so it seems). I'm not a big fan of 'crawls' on websites, but it's still worth checking out the 'new look'
Phys.org has a lengthy article (of which this is the incipit) on the CHLT project, which seems to have something to do with making ancient manuscripts more available/readable (can't find what CHLT means in the article ...):

With funding from the IST programme and the US, the CHLT project developed morphological analysers, citation databases, visualisation and clustering tools, and combined them with dictionaries to aid experienced scholars, students and the general public alike.

It also unified several important digital library collections – such as Isaac Newton's manuscripts in the Newton project - and early modern scientific texts, as well as creating new digital library collections of Old Norse sagas. It's a vast achievement.

In addition to providing access to primary source materials that are often rare and fragile, the project developed a series of tools and applications that will make it possible for people with no knowledge of the language to translate ancient manuscripts, albeit painstakingly.

CHLT used leading edge techniques from computational linguistics, natural language processing, and information retrieval that enables researchers to conduct new types of scholarship.

"It was a remarkably successful project between the National Science Foundation in the US and EU institutions. It generated results beyond expectations, and illustrated how essential it is to work together to create an integrated global infrastructure for scholarly research," says CHLT’s European coordinator Dolores Iorizzo from the Newton Project and the London e-Science Centre.

Successful collaboration responding to users’ needs

"This collaboration meant that we were able to integrate new technologies into our results that could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the project."

The team wanted to find the most effective ways to use technology to interpret digitised, historic manuscripts. CHLT responds to the challenges faced by teachers, students and scholars who are working with texts written in Ancient Greek, Mediaeval and Early-Modern Latin, and Old Norse.

The number of primary texts – arguably the most important resource for historians and linguists – is staggering. Hundreds of important texts and manuscripts, consisting of millions of words have been integrated into the CHLT open access repository that can also be viewed within the oldest and largest cultural heritage database in the world at the Perseus Project in Tufts University, Boston.

CHLT created new text collections written in Early-Modern Latin and Old Norse. It integrated those new books and manuscripts with well-established digital texts, and it created a digital library environment that allows for high-resolution images of pages from rare and fragile printed books and manuscripts. These are presented alongside transcriptions so that the originals can be viewed alongside diplomatic and normalised versions of the material.

... more
From the Sofia News Agency:

Bulgarian police busted three treasure-hunters as they were trying to sell 61 ancient coins.

Two men from Silistra tried to sell the coins to a man from Razgrad in a vehicle parked at a street in the city. The police moved in and apprehended them on the spot.

Afterwards, during a raid in the two apartments owned by the "buyer", who is unemployed, the officers found more gold, silver and bronze coins from different eras, a bronze ornament, two bronze brooches and a pottery item from the Thracian times.

The three have been indicted and the confiscated coins and historical items will be appraised by experts.
The incipit of a piece from the Times sports pages:

NEXT time we win at anything, keep the victorious team away from Trafalgar Square. Keep them away from Downing Street. Keep them away from Buckingham Palace. And keep them away from the Parkinson studio. To judge from the calamities that have overtaken England’s World Cup-winning rugby union team, the Great Britain Olympians and now the England cricket team, it seems that we are unable to fête our sporting heroes without it going to their heads. It is the new British disease.

The ancient Greeks had a word for it: hubris. This concept was well understood by Sophocles, the Athenian playwright, who spent his time writing tragedies unified by the theme of divine retribution meted out to those with their heads up their backsides. In the dramatic competitions of the Festival of Dionysus, he won a succession of first prizes by building his narratives around the saying: “Those whom the gods would destroy they first make proud.”

British sportsmen do not need the gods — they are able to destroy themselves unaided. The problem is that they buy the hype. After a few days of post-World Cup limelight, the England rugby boys were strutting around like matinee idols for whom hard training — the very thing that had brought them success — was a distraction from the real business of being lionised by the media.
Okay ... this one's a bit more bizarre than usual ... from NBC comes news of an image of Jesus in a dental X-ray ...
Typhones anno proximo imminentes

Meteorologi Americani etiam in annum proximum feras tempestates praedicunt.

Tempore typhonum, quod mense Iunio iniit et hac septimana finiit, plures quam umquam ante, scilicet viginti sex, tempestates tropicales fuerunt.

Ex his tredecim in typhonas creverunt, inter quos tres summum sive quintum feritatis gradum consecuti sunt.

In urbe Montreal Canadae his diebus fit conventus meteorologicus Nationum Unitarum, in quo adsunt decem milia delegatorum centum undenonaginta nationum.

Propositum est deliberare, quid faciendum sit, postquam tempus tractatus Kiotensis anno bis millesimo duodecimo exierit.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From Bloomberg comes the latest:

The J. Paul Getty Museum will consider Greece's request to return four antiquities to the country after its new director takes up his position next year.

Greece has received a letter from Michael Brand, who becomes museum director in January, the Culture Ministry said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The letter said the possible return of the four antiquities would be discussed after he took over as head of the museum.

``There wasn't a positive response to our request that the artifacts, which are at the museum illegally, be returned,'' said the statement. ``The ministry will retract its case only when the Getty truly decides to return the artifacts in their possession, which belong to us.''

Greece's Culture Ministry said on Nov. 21 that it would take legal action to recover the four antiquities, which include a gold funerary wreath, an inscribed tombstone and a marble sculpture of a woman's torso dating to 400 B.C. Greece claims the items were illegally smuggled from the country.

Three pieces were bought by the Getty in 1993 for $5.2 million and J. Paul Getty himself purchased the fourth item, a votive relief, in 1955, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Marion True, the former chief antiquities curator for the museum, is on trial in Rome on charges she acquired looted artifacts for the Los Angeles museum. She denies any wrongdoing.

The Getty Museum handed over three antiquities that the Italian government says were stolen, days before True's trial began, the Italian Culture Ministry said Nov. 10.
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News in Classical Greek:

German archaeologist kidnapped in Irak - Beethoven work sells for $1.7M
8.30 p.m. |HINT| What the Romans Did for Us: Arteries of the Empire.
Adam Hart-Davis rediscovers the innovations and inventions the Romans brought to Britain. The Romans are known for their dead-straight roads that still criss-cross the countryside. Using ancient surveying tools, Adam discovers how they constructed their roads with such precision over such long distances. The Romans came to Britain to exploit the natural resources, including Welsh gold. Adam discovers the evidence that reveals their dramatic mining techniques. He tests out a giant water wheel, made to a Roman design, which prevented flooding in the mines.

HINT - History International
Qui sua perpendit, mea crimina non reprehendit..

The one who reflects on his own faults does not condemn me for mine.

(pron = kwee SOO-ah pehr-PEN-dit MAY-ah KRIM-ih-nah nohn rep-reh-HEN-dit).

Comment: This is the compassion that I wrote of yesterday. This medieval
proverbs illustrates what it means to practice on oneself before practicing on
another. In fact, it goes further than that: it illustrates what effect
practicing on ourselves will have on the relationships we have with others.

Weighing our own crimes—reflecting on our own faults—really means having a good
look at ourselves. And it means learning to practice compassion. Take note.
If I look at my own faults and condemn myself, I simply will find it all the
easier to condemn the faults of anyone else who gets in my way. And this works
backwards beautifully. If we see someone who is always finding fault, then we
are looking at someone who cannot and has not ever really looked at themselves,
seen their faults, realized that in those moments they were doing the best they
could, and then allowed themselves to learn and move on.

That’s what compassion means. That’s what reflecting on our faults mean. If
you really look at a “failure”, I challenge you to find one of your own in
which you weren’t, at that time in your life, simply doing the best you could.
Your best may have, at that time, included quite a bit of ignorance about
something. You were doing the best you could in your ignorance. Did you
learn from that experience? All the better! Allow yourself that, and move on.

Once we begin to really see ourselves this way, the self-condemnation ceases.
And, behold, the judging of others does, too. It’s not about forgiveness. It’s
about really seeing, and allowing life to move and grow.

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

rites in honour of Neptune (connected with an altar rededication or a temple dedication?)

rites in honour of Pietas near the Circus Flaminius (not much known about this one, apparently)

147 A.D. -- Annia Galeria Faustina, wife of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, is given the title of Augusta
stratum @ Guru.net

nival @ Wordsmith (rhymes with rival)

And ... it being Thursday, be sure to check out the Classics Technology Center's My Word feature, which this week has a handful of Latin exploration terms (but no Explorator!) ... and of course, y'all have to also pay a visit to Done With Mirrors for their Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Yay Benedict! The ARLT blog points us to this one from Catholic World News (and the Toronto Star article in the next item):

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the use of Latin in the Church, and the study of Latin by young people, as he met on November 28 with the members of the Latinitas Foundation, a group dedicated to the promotion of Latin.

Latin should not merely be conserved, the Pope said; its use should be encouraged and spread, particularly among the young. He explained that "the great treasures" of the language must not be lost, nor should Catholics lose the habit of using Latin as the official language of the Church. The Latinitas Foundation was instituted in 1976 by Pope Paul VI to encourage the study of both classical and Church Latin, as well as the use of Latin in ecclesiastical life. In his apostolic constitution Veterum Sapientia of 1962, Pope John XXIII confirmed the role of Latin as the international language of the Catholic Church. Latin is also the official language of the Vatican city-state.
The incipit of a piece at the Toronto Star:

It looks like I'm just going to have to go cold turkey.

Last Sunday night, when Brutus and his bunch turned Caesar into a pasta colander, Rome resolved its history-driven plot line for the season — and perhaps forever, as HBO now seems to be seriously rethinking its hasty second-season pickup of the $100-million epic, shutting down production in Italy last week.

I can't find anything more on this other than the Google summary of an article from a newspaper in Singapore, which may or may not suggest the production shut down was for artistic reasons ... If it does turn out to just be an unfounded rumour, well, that's just another reason not to believe the Toronto Star ...
De comitiis praesidentialibus

In Finnia anno proximo comitia praesidentialia habebuntur, quibus decernetur, quis rem publicam sexennio insequenti recturus aut rectura sit.

Factiones suos candidatos iam proposuerunt. Democratae sociales praesidentem hodiernam Tarja Halonen iterum in hoc munus creari volunt, cum factio centralis id agat, ut princeps minister Matti Vanhanen novus praesidens fiat.

Ambitor autem partium conservativarum est pristinus minister Sauli Niinistö. Huc accedunt quattuor petitores partium minorum.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
AM over at Sauvage Noble points us to (and comments on) a post at Tenser/Tensor all about Claudian letters ... interesting stuff.
From the Times-Courier:

Five Classical Cottage School students took top honors at the Virginia Junior Classical League Convention.

More than 1,300 Latin students from middle schools and high schools across Virginia were at the convention, which met in Richmond, Nov. 20-21.

The five students brought home 57 awards, including six best-in-show medals and the top awards for academic excellence, graphic arts and overall achievement at the convention.

Max Heidelberger placed first in other media among ninth graders with his scratch art "Thracian Gladiator" and fifth on the mythology test among Latin Three students.

Sarah Mickahail's quilt, based on a Roman mosaic in Ravenna, placed first among eleventh grade entries. She also captured first-place among Latin Two girls in Dramatic Interpretation of Latin. Her presentation in Latin oratory ranked second, and she placed ninth on her level on the Roman daily life test.

David Herman edged Sarah for first place in level two Latin Oratory, and his presentation was judged best-in-show among all levels of oratory. Some of his other awards include capturing first place among Latin Two boys in dramatic interpretation of Latin and first place among sixth-eighth grade delegates in storytelling and games. David won the fourth place overall sweepstakes ribbon among delegates in grades six through eight.

Ingrid Heidelberger shared a best-in-show medal with Emma Leahy in the couples costume contest. Her other awards in creative arts include, among others, fourth in dramatic interpretation of Latin prose and sixth in advanced Latin oratory. Her sculpture won second place among students in grades six through eight in graphic arts. Ingrid won the seventh place overall sweepstakes ribbon for delegates on her grade level.

Emma Leahy brought home the “gold,” with the first-place ribbon in sixth-eighth grade overall sweepstakes, four best-in-show medals, the Hugh Himwich Award for overall top achievement in academics, the Mary Julia Pomfrey Award for overall top achievement in graphic arts, and the Annie Aldridge Award for placing as the top winner among all delegates to the convention, among many other awards.

The CCS delegation won first place in the small-chapter division of the JCL-spirit contest, third place for its 2004-05 scrapbook, and fifth place for publicity.

Excerpts from the Times:

A BRITISH engineer claims to have solved a puzzle that has counfounded some of the world’s best brains since the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Ted Clarke, 79, believes that he has devised the largest acrostic square — ten letters by ten, spelling out the same words horizontally and vertically — in the English language.

However, his claim to have come up with the “best yet” solution to the conundrum of the ten-square puzzle does not satisfy some experts. They say that because one of his words does not appear in any dictionary it should be disallowed.

Like the immensely popular numbers puzzle, Su Doku, which The Times introduced to Britain, the acrostic word square is based on a grid. The words must read the same horizontally and vertically and there must be no misspellings or leftover letters.

One of the most famous acrostics was found scratched on a wall in the ruins of Pompeii. It reads:


It is unique in that it not only reads the same up and down and left to right, it also spells out a passable Latin sentence translated as “The sower Arepo holds the wheels at work”.


Roger Millington, author of The Strange World of Crosswords, who has traced the origins of the acrostic to Ancient Greece, wrote that the creator of the first accepted ten-letter square would achieve “a lifetime of immortality”. Mr Clarke said: “I am not claiming immortality yet, but this is the closest we’ve got to solving this puzzle.”

... a good summary of a Classics-l thread on the SATOR-AREPO thing is available ...
Yesterday we commented on how Bloomberg seemed to be providing the best coverage of the Museum Case ... to be fair, we should also add the work of Suzan Mazur (writing for Scoop), who is focussing on the role of Robert Hecht in all this and who today has an excellent column on the role of Sotheby's in regards to the Euphronios Krater ... we'll link to the article because it has a pile of relevant photos.
From the Cyprus Mail:

THE Association of Cypriot Archaeologists said yesterday it was calling on President Tassos Papadopoulos to rewrite the law relating to archaeology and antiquities in Cyprus, saying the situation was a mess.

Andreas Demetriou, president of the association, told a news conference in Nicosia that the law, dating from 1945, was hopelessly inadequate. He said he had written a letter to Papadopoulos, which has not yet been sent, calling for a review of the entire sector.

Demetriou said excavations were in many cases being carried out without due scientific methodology, and that that necessary professionals other than archaeologists, such as civil engineers and architects were not being used on digs.
He also said there was far to much digging going on, between foreign missions and local ones, which resulted in damage to archaeological sites and possible valuable material been thrown away due to lack of space and facilities.

Showing photos at the Ayios Athanassios site in the Larnaca district, Demetriou said two metres of soil had been removed, leaving the columns exposed and in danger of collapse. The columns were being held up by two pieces of wood. He said if a civil engineer had been employed at the site, he could have advised archaeologists of the best way to go about ensuring the safety of the columns.

He was also angered by the amount of material being dumped, and displayed a number of fragments, which, if they were collected and analysed, might reveal something interesting.

“These pieces of stone with paint were thrown away as debris,” he said.
“They should have been analysed to see what colours and type of paint were being used. If they kept them all, they could be put together and you could perhaps come up with a full figure.”

He also displayed pottery shards found near Mitsero, which were glazed, indicating that they dated from mediaeval times. “There are hundreds of piece and tiles. They can’t throw things away, no matter how humble a find may seem,” said Demetriou.
“We dash everywhere in Cyprus to dig and then we dump things. If you don’t have space, don’t dig. And if we don’t have suitable persons, there should be no excavations. If you don’t have the right personnel on excavations, it’s better to leave the things in the earth. They are better protected there.”

Demetriou said the number of digs per year was a contributing factor to the waste involved. He said nothing was being left for future generations and suggested the number of digs per year be limited.

“It’s not only Cypriot teams that often leave a mess,” he said.

Demetriou said the association was alerted to the fact that scientific means were not always used, when a retired archaeologist on a recent dig admitted to not keeping a daily diary, which under archaeological rules is sacrosanct and is a requirement of law.

“There are ways to write a diary as long as its left in such a condition that anyone coming afterwards can understand it,” said Demetriou. He said the association had since attempted to secure copies of the diaries written on various digs, but said he received the brush off from the Antiquities Department.

“For all we know, we may have people digging for 23 years and there is no diary,” he said. “We don’t have any proof that this has happened but we want to find out.”
Glaring gaps in the current law, according to Demetriou, show that there is no clear government policy on the protection of archaeological sites.

He said the 1945 law was inherited from the British and adopted as it was, even though it passed to a legitimate government Ministry, whereas under British rule the Director of the Department was autonomous.

He said the law was amended in 1973 in a negative way, because it allowed anyone in the possession of antiquities a lengthy period of six months to register them.

“This gave many tomb robbers the time and freedom to destroy much of the archaeological riches on the island,” he said. “This is how big collections were made. People should be made to register finds within seven days so that proper excavations can be done. The law is outdated. Being in the EU, we have to see how other Mediterranean countries deal with archaeological issues. Even Greece changed its laws in 2002. There is no government policy on archaeology. There is no strategy on antiquities at all.”

In his letter to Papadopoulos, Demetriou said provision should also be made under a new law for the protection of underwater archaeological sites off the island’s coast, the rights and non-rights of owners of antiquities, the import and export of artifacts, and penalties for breaking the law.
From AGI:

Police in Porto Torres have recovered an imperial roman women's head inside private premises, described as being a "fine item". Experts believe the item was stolen from a museum, as indicated by the presence of pedestal marks on its base. The bust was recovered as part of a batch of 71 items. The remains were recovered in two parts of the city and are ascribable to two distinct settlements. Nuragic remains (2000 BC) including millstones, pestles and farming tools which would seem to prove the presence of a large organised settlement, and are seen to bear the scars of industrial farming; a fact which is at odds with the area's being subject to heritage listing which in theory bars farmers from using the land. The second batch of remains were the marble friezes of a imperial roman temple, coins and tombstones.
If you're not aware, Didaskalia is an online resource/journal devoted to the study of Greek and Roman theatre ... they now have their own domain, so if you have the 'old' site bookmarked, it's time to visit the 'new' one and make the necessary adjustments.
... nothing of interest.