pridie kalendas februarias

36 B.C. -- birth of Antonia ("Minor"), daughter of Marcus Antonius and Octavia and future mother of hope-to-be-emperor Germanicus and emperor-to-be Claudius

c. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Metras/Metranus in Alexandria

c. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Saturninus, Thrysus, and Victor in Alexandria
phoenix @

consanguineus @

precess @ Worthless Word for the Day

tokology @ Wordsmith
Russi Britannos speculationis accusant

Servitium Securitatis Russiae (FSB) diplomaticos Britannos speculationis accusat.

Accusationem programma televisionis statalis palam fecit, in quo relatum est Britannos informationem clandestinam ab adiutore Russo per emistrum electronicum in saxo absconditum accepisse.

Praeterea dictum est unum ex illis diplomaticis relationes cum compluribus ordinibus Russiae civilibus habere.

Ministerium a rebus exteris Britanniae omnes de speculatione accusationes negavit aitque Britannos illis accusationibus improvisis sollicitari; constare quidem ordines civiles Russorum a regimine Britanniae adiutos esse, cum de iuribus humanis et rebus socialibus ageretur, sed illud auxilium datum esse aperte, ut societas civilis sano modo in Russia excoleretur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Here we go!

Classics in Contemporary Culture points us to an opinion piece about Aristotle and Hamas ... there's also something about a 'modern day' Thales ...

Campus Mawrtius has a second installment in its series on the survival of Classical texts ...

A couple of coins from Hobbyblog ... an antoninianus of Valerianus with some sort of quadriga-topped monument ... a tetradrachm of Gallienus with a very nice eagle ...

I can't connect to Curculio this a.m., but my various backups suggest the January joke file has been updated to bring the month to an end ...

Bread and Circuses comments on the term graeculus ...

Sympotica Graecolatina gives us some different names of ancient beer ...

Tropaion comments on an (online) interview with Christopher Faraone about Greek curse tablets ...

We also notice that the quote of the day over at runs as follows:

"A desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy." – Guy Fawkes, on the Gunpowder Plot, using the words of Hippocrates
From a church door in Indiana ... seems a bit of a stretch (with photo)
I know we have a pile of readers who teach/take AP classes ... although the ClassCon in this piece from the Tennessean is less-than-a-passing-comment, folks might want to be aware of this:

The mother of a Battle Ground Academy senior filed a lawsuit against the private school last week in hopes that a judge will force school officials to reverse their decision to charge her son with an honor code offense.

Michael "Andrew" Cornwell had a strong chance at being BGA's 2006 valedictorian until officials at the Franklin school accused him of "gaining an unfair advantage" in preparing for an essay exam.

Cornwell and three other students in an Advanced Placement class viewed a document-based essay question hours before an exam. The question, and documents that go along with it, were found at a classical studies Web site from an out-of-state high school. No answers were provided.

"He did not think there was anything wrong with looking at it," said Janna Eaton Smith, the attorney for Andrew Cornwell and his mother, Cathy.

School officials and BGA's student-run Honor Council determined that this gave the AP students an unfair advantage. They received a zero on the question, were assessed 20 demerits and have been placed on "probation."

With a zero on the exam, Andrew Cornwell earned a B in the class, Smith said, and his chances of having the highest grade-point average at BGA "are over." She said the honor code offense could also "hurt his chances of getting into (the University of North Carolina) and getting a scholarship."

Andrew Cornwell claims that another senior who also was in the running for valedictorian told on the students who looked at the downloaded question and documents.

"I think he was probably third in line," Smith said. "He's now going to be the valedictorian."

School officials refused to discuss the academic ranking of their seniors and said the valedictorian is not chosen until the end of the school year.

"BGA does not comment on any issues regarding specific students. However, in this case or any case, BGA fully stands behind our honor code," BGA President Bill Mott said in a written statement. "The foundation of our school is built upon the Honor Code and we will fully defend it in any case."

Students at BGA are required to write the words "I pledge" on tests and work they turn in. According to the school's Web site, this signifies that a student has pledged their honor to refrain from cheating, receiving or giving aid on a test or homework assignment, or disobey a teacher's instructions.

Smith said Cornwell didn't break the honor code and had no reason to cheat.

According to the lawsuit, Robert Walker, who teaches AP Modern European History, handed out the essay question and documents to the class Dec. 8, a day before the exam. He gave them 15 minutes to look at the information and take notes. Walker gathered their notes, the question and documents and told students they could have everything during the exam.

Smith said the last two essay exams given by Walker were take-home problems. Smith said Walker's instructions to the class were "very ambiguous."

"He never said you can't look at these again or you can't study for this," Smith said.

The lawsuit states that on Dec. 9, Andrew Cornwell was in the library during a study hall and found a classmate with a downloaded copy of the essay question. Andrew Cornwell began writing a general outline for his essay. Two other students also obtained copies of the question.

On Dec. 12, during an Honor Council meeting, of which Andrew Cornwell was a member, BGA Upper School Principal Larry McElroy reported that a student was suspected of downloading the question before the exam. Andrew Cornwell told McElroy that he and some classmates also had looked at the question.

Andrew Cornwell was called before the Honor Council and explained what had happened, the lawsuit states. McElroy later informed Andrew Cornwell that he had been found guilty of an honor code offense.

Cathy Cornwell, Andrew Cornwell's mother, tried to appeal the school's decision by going to BGA Headmaster John Griffith. In a letter dated Jan. 12, Griffith told Cathy Cornwell that the school would not change its position to charge her son with a honor code offense.

"We just want to be treated fairly by BGA and want the school to be honest with what happened," Cathy Cornwell said.

Bill Ozier, attorney for BGA, said the school had "bent over backward" to help explain the ambiguities behind the situation so as not to hamper Cornwell's chances of getting into a good college.

In Griffith's letter to Cathy Cornwell, he stated the term "warning" could be used instead of "probation" for colleges that ask if students ever received disciplinary action from their high schools.
Nice piece from the LA Times:

PYTHAGORAS' theorem changed the life of the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Until he was 40, Hobbes was a talented scholar exhibiting modest originality. Versed in the humanities, he was dissatisfied with his erudition and had little exposure to the exciting breakthroughs achieved by Galileo, Johannes Kepler and other scientists who were revolutionizing the scholarly world.

One day, in a library, Hobbes saw a display copy of Euclid's "Elements" opened to Book I, Proposition 47 — Pythagoras' theorem. He was astounded, exclaiming, "This is impossible!" He read on, intrigued. The demonstration referred him to other propositions, and he was soon convinced that the startling theorem was true.

Hobbes was transformed. He began obsessively drawing figures and writing calculations on bedsheets and even on his thigh. His approach to scholarship changed. He began to chastise philosophers of the day for their lack of rigor and for being unduly impressed by their forbearers. He compared other philosophers unfavorably with mathematicians, who proceeded slowly but surely from "low and humble principles" that everyone understood.

In books such as "Leviathan," Hobbes reconstructed political philosophy by establishing clear definitions of terms, then working out implications in an orderly fashion. Though Hobbes' mathematical abilities remained modest, Pythagoras' theorem had taught him a new way to reason and to present his conclusions persuasively.

Pythagoras' theorem is important for its content as well as for its proof. But the fact that lines of specific lengths create a right-angled triangle was discovered in different lands long before Pythagoras. Another pre-Pythagoras discovery was the rule for calculating the length of the long side of a right triangle (c) knowing the lengths of the other sides (a and b): c2 = a2 + b2.

Indeed, a Babylonian tablet from about 1800 BC shows that this rule was known in ancient Iraq more than 1,000 years before Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century BC. Ancient Indian texts accompanying the Sutras — from between 100 and 500 BC, but clearly passing on information of much earlier times — also show a knowledge of this rule. An early Chinese work suggests that scholars there used the calculation at about the same time as Pythagoras, if not before.

But what we do not find in these works are proofs — demonstrations of the general validity of a result based on first principles and without regard for practical application. "Proof" was itself a concept that had to be discovered. In Euclid's "Elements," we find the first attempt to present a more or less complete body of knowledge explicitly via proofs. Euclid does not mention Pythagoras, who lived about 200 years earlier, in connection with Proposition 47. We credit it to Pythagoras on the authority of several Greek and Latin authors, including Plutarch and Cicero.

Pythagoras' theorem is unique for the peculiar way in which it has become a challenge to devise new proofs for it. These proofs are not necessarily any better; most rely on the same axioms but follow different paths to the result. The Guinness Book of World Records website names someone who, it is claimed, has discovered 520 proofs.

What is gained by proving a theorem over and over in different ways? The answer lies in our desire not merely to discover but to view a discovery from as many angles as possible. But what is it that is so fascinating about Pythagoras' theorem in particular?

First, the theorem is important. It helps to describe the space around us and is essential not only in construction but also, in modified form, in equations of thermodynamics and general relativity. Second, it is simple. The Hindu mathematician Bhaskara II constructed a proof using a simple diagram — and instead of an explanation wrote a single word of instruction: "See!"

Third, it makes the visceral thrill of discovery easily accessible. In an essay, Albert Einstein wrote of the "wonder" and "indescribable impression" left by his first encounter with Euclidean plane geometry as a child, when he proved Pythagoras' theorem for himself.

In Plato's "Meno," Socrates teaches it to an illiterate slave boy. And in his memoirs, novelist George MacDonald Fraser writes of proving it to a war-weary but delighted comrade, tracing outlines in the sand with a bayonet, in a break during the fighting against the Japanese in World War II.

For Hobbes, Socrates, Fraser and countless others, Pythagoras' theorem was far more than a means to compute the length of hypotenuses. It shows something more — the idea of proof itself. It reveals more than a bare content but a structure of reasoning. It is a proof that demonstrates proof.
Amidst all the coverage of the Getty reopening comes this interesting piece from the LA Times:

Bathed in natural light, a larger-than-life Roman statue of Empress Faustina greets the public in a gallery devoted to images of women and children at the Getty Villa. About 1,850 years old, she's a bit worse for the wear, but she has a new nose and chin.

Long before J. Paul Getty purchased the marble figure, in 1951, a restorer had replaced broken parts of her face with newly carved marble. The process involved cutting away damaged areas to create flat surfaces and drilling holes for metal pins to hold the additions in place. Those restorations were later lost or destroyed and replaced with plaster, but when the Getty's antiquities conservators prepared the collection for its new installation at the villa, they decided that Faustina needed help.

Purists advocate removing old restorations to reveal an unadulterated ancient core, said Jerry Podany, head of antiquities conservation at the villa, but what's left is often so damaged that the remaining artistry is difficult to appreciate. That was the case with Faustina. The early restorer's mechanical cuts and holes were probably far more distracting than the original damage. Even after the holes were filled, the sculpture looked like a victim of bad surgery.

"We wanted to bring some unity back to this important portrait statute," Podany said.

That required reconstructing the nose, chin and surrounding area. He made a plaster cast of the face and used it to model a clay nose and chin section based on ancient portraits of Faustina in stone and on coins. They indicate that she did not have a dainty nose, but visual evidence triumphed over today's notions of beauty.

"Sculpting a nose is fun," Podany said, "but for me the interesting thing was making sure we were in the ballpark of the right nose, even if we didn't quite like it." When satisfied, he cast the modeled clay in an acrylic resin mixture resembling marble and affixed it to the marble head.

Philosophies and practices of art conservation have changed considerably over the years, Podany said, and that fact can be seen at the villa. Labels for some sculptures contain images of the works with restorations from different periods outlined and color-coded. The gallery known as the Temple of Herakles, in particular, is a mini history of restoration as well as a spectacular showcase for three Roman sculptures. The dominant statue of Hercules and the smaller "Leda and the Swan" and "Satyr Pouring Wine" have undergone significant changes since they were created, as labels explain. The restorations are part of their history.

Conservators in spotlight

With a mandate to help conserve the world's artistic heritage, the J. Paul Getty Trust has had a high profile in the field for many years. But the reopening of the villa has focused attention on the antiquities conservators' particular role. While staff members of the Getty Conservation Institution pursue projects around the world and conservators at the Getty Museum in Brentwood minister to collections of European art and an international holding of photographs, Podany's crew concentrates on ancient art at the villa in Pacific Palisades.

The staff of six conservators, including Podany, and three mount makers work in facilities that doubled in size during the renovation. Two refurbished labs, for stone and ceramics, are in the ranch house originally used as a part-time residence by the museum's founder. Two new labs, for metal and organic materials, are housed in a separate two-story building. Another new building, attached to the ranch house by an archway, was designed for a fledgling master's degree program on the conservation of ethnographic and archeological materials run by UCLA and the Getty.

All three structures face a square courtyard in a complex on the north side of the campus. With views of surrounding trees and — from a few vantage points — the Pacific Ocean, it would appear to be conservators' heaven.

"We have been living in an incredible pressure cooker," Podany said, reveling in the view while recounting years of labor on the new installation and other projects that had to be done in cramped, temporary quarters. "Now we're back home. It's time to do great work at a pace that is sane."

The agenda includes collaborative ventures involving antiquities from other museums that will go on view at the villa after treatment. And that work is already underway. Seated at a microscope in a new lab with floor-to-ceiling windows and toxic-fume-removing hoses suspended from the ceiling, Marie Svoboda examines an ancient Greek lekythos. Clumsily pieced together a century or so ago, it was recently dismantled at the villa. The slender ceramic vase, on loan from the Antikenmuseum in Berlin, will go on display at the villa in "The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases," an exhibition opening June 8.

But first it will get a makeover. The astonishingly detailed figurative painting on the lekythos has been obscured by shellac-like adhesive that turned brittle and yellow. Wielding a thin metal blade in one hand and holding a fragment of the vase in the other, Svoboda scrapes away tiny bits of adhesive from a fractured edge. After excising the old shellac, she will reassemble the vase with an acrylic substance that can be easily removed if the need arises.

On the opposite side of a long table, Janis Mandrus is at work on a Greek krater, a ceramic bowl adorned with a scene attributed to an artist known as the Pourtales painter. On loan from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the krater is also undergoing treatment in preparation for "Colors of Clay." Getty conservators have replaced the vessel's improperly restored foot with a new plexiglass model shaped like the original. Now Mandrus is removing excess crack filler applied in the 18th or 19th century. Wearing magnifying eyeglasses and disposable purple gloves, she dips a cotton swab in distilled water and lifts off the offending material, grain by grain.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Maish is wrapping up an enormously complicated project involving an object in the Getty's collection. Effectively solving a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with little to go on, he has reconstructed an unusually large krater that is missing about two-thirds of its surface area. Improbable as it may seem, artwork on the existing fragments and other ceramics of the period offered sufficient clues for Maish to make a drawing of the battle between Greeks and Amazons envisioned by an artist known as the Altamira painter. After plotting the scene and filling gaps, Maish re-created the shape of the krater in epoxy and spackle, putting the fragments in their proper places. Too little of the original krater remains for the reconstruction to be displayed with the permanent collection, Maish said, but it may appear in an educational exhibit.

Collaborative projects

Works undergoing conservation for "Colors of Clay" will be part of a 100-piece loan show on decorative techniques applied to Athenian vases. A major mosaic that has seriously deteriorated will be restored for a show of Tunisian mosaics. Another project, in final stages of negotiation, will reconstruct the Baksy krater, a monumental ceramic vessel that has languished in a fragmentary state at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

"As phenomenal as the Baksy krater is, it has only been reconstructed on paper," Podany said. "The drawing is just to die for. The fragments have been put in groups. It's not all there, but the pieces that exist create enough references that I'm sure we can reconstruct the form." When the work is done, the krater will appear in an exhibition of vases from the area around the Black Sea.

Such projects serve the field of conservation while enriching the villa's exhibition program, Podany said. Like collaborative projects at the Getty Museum in Brentwood, conservators from some of the lending institutions will work with Getty staff at the villa.

"We do have wonderful resources," he said. "what comes with that is a responsibility to do something good with them and, beyond that, to share it."

Still, the collection based at the villa is the primary responsibility of his department.

In the early stages of the villa renovation, the conservators and mount makers worked with architects and engineers to make sure the environment for the artworks would be appropriate, in terms of temperature, humidity, lighting and seismic stability. In the museum's reincarnation, display cases can be set up as discrete microclimates — relatively dry for metals and wet for organic materials. Windows filter out harmful ultraviolet light, and a dust filtration system catches pollutants. Reinforced walls and floors can hold much more weight than in the past. Some fragile objects likely to fall during an earthquake are mounted on seismic isolators; others are tied down or attached to pedestals or cases by custom-designed mounts.

As their titles indicate, conservators care for artworks; mount makers design and construct unobtrusive devices to display them safely. But divisions of labor dissolve under pressure at the villa, and every member of the department is much more than a technician. Unlike many of their peers, Getty antiquities conservators do not specialize in particular materials.

"Everyone does everything," Podany said. While the Roman-style museum was under renovation, "every piece considered for exhibition was treated, re-treated, re-restored, improved," he said. "Every piece got a new mount." About 1,200 objects from the 44,000-piece collection eventually went on display.

"It was a huge amount of work to get the collection ready," Podany said, "but it was a chance we won't have again."

Nonetheless, the job is far from finished. Many pieces in storage await attention; so do objects on display.

"As we would move pieces or make a new mount," Podany said, "we would observe something we hadn't noticed before. Marie Svoboda got very interested in Fayum portraits," he said of the Getty's Romano-Egyptian mummy portraits. "We have launched a project to characterize our portraits and understand how they are made. We have a long list of things to go back to and questions to answer."
Very brief item from the Jerusalem Post ... hopefully we'll hear/read more about it:

In a scene out of the Hollywood blockbuster 'Indiana Jones,' three Israeli children stumbled upon an ancient Second Temple cave in the Beit Shemesh area filled with skeletons and ossuaries inside, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

The boys, aged 11-13, who discovered the heretofore unknown cave during a hike were awarded a certificate of recognition for reporting their find to the Antiquities Authority.

The cave was subsequently sealed by Antiquities Authority inspectors.
From Scholia:

John T. Hamilton, Soliciting Darkness: Pindar, Obscurity, and the Classical Tradition. Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature 47

From Review of Biblical Literature:

Richard A. Burridge, What Are the Gospels?: A Comparison with Greco-Roman Biography

Richard A. Burridge, What Are the Gospels?: A Comparison with Greco-Roman Biography

[they're two different reviews]


Expecting another review of the Penelopiad, my spiders caught this review of a collection of stories by MA called The Tent ... the brief passing comment of interest:


You open The Tent and enjoy the story, Plots For Exotics, where an unidentifiable character is told that “as an exotic” there are only limited roles he or she could play in a plot; exotics can only be comical servants, the best friend who never gets the girl or the next-door neighbour.

You are able to understand that the story, Chicken Little Goes Too Far, reflects the current day ambivalence to the state of the environment and that Tree Baby was written as a reaction piece to the heartbreak of tsunami survivors.

You appreciate Atwood’s recreation of the myth of Helen of Troy as a story about a girl named Helen who, as a child, used to sell Kool-Aid in It’s Not Easy Being Half Divine.


John Prevas, Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's Ill-fated Journey Across Asia (Palm Beach Daily News)
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.
[I might make this part of the ClassiCarnival]

Dictum sapienti sat est.
(Plautus, Persa 729)

A pointing finger is enough for the wise woman/man.

(pron = DIK-toom sah-pee-EN-tee saht ehst).

Comment: I am playing with words again. Dictum can mean: a word, a saying, a
witticism, a proverb, something said or spoken.

In all, there is the common thread of just very basic direction being given. A
word is not a full discourse. A saying, proverb and witticism are all short
sentences that come loaded with meaning and are subject to application in the
present. They are often without context and take on various meanings when
interpreted in various contexts. If nothing else, this daily exercise of mine
in reflectinng on Latin proverbs is that.

The "pointing finger" is actually a metaphor from Buddhism. The Buddha is said
to have admonished his followers not to confuse the pointing figer for what it
points to. In other words, he advised them early on to avoid literialism and
fundamentalism of any kind. As in all religions, some Buddhists have forgotten

We all forget this. No words from anyone or anywhere are, finally, anything
more than poinntinng fingers. Words are not what they point to, not what they
communicate, not what they mean. People bring meaning and understanding to

This is a humbling reminder to those of us who work so much of the day with
words--ours and others. And likely, some of us came to the work we do because
we thought printed words of whatever tradition is sacred to us would give us
some safety and security. Lots and lots of books give the false impression of
absolute security.

Plautus says the wise (or can we infer those would like to be wise) only need a

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

58 B.C. -- "official" birthday of Livia, wife of Augustus

9 B.C. -- dedication of the Ara Pacis

133 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Didius Julianus

228 A.D. -- martyrdom of Martina (?)

311 A.D. -- martyrdom of Savina of Milan
athenaeum @ Wordsmith

genie @ OED (sort of) [n.b. the online version of the OED appears to be free for the next while, coinciding with some television documentary]

obliterate @ Merriam-Webster
Wow ... an incredibly slow news day. Hopefully there's enough here to keep us occupied till we finish our coffee ...

Over at ARLT there's a review of the Boris Johnson documentary thing on BBC ... sounds like something we should look forward to coming across the pond ...'s N.S. Gill alerts us to her lengthy list of resources about the ancient Olympics ...

Campus Mawrtius posts in response to a reader seeking bibliography about public finances in fourth-century Athens ... perhaps some rc readers can help ...

Curculio has caught up with the Ioci Antiqui file, adding six more jokes ... we should also alert you to the existence of a couple of posts which I may or may not have noted before ... A Founding Father of the Oral Latin Movement ... there's also a nice translation of Pliny's letter about the murder of Larcius Macedo ...

Elginism quotes a letter from the Times suggesting a 'sharing' arrangement for the Marbles ...

Laudator has a couple of excerpts on that starting off with the right foot thing ....

Sympotica Graecolatina tells us about wine-making in Eastern Europe (a sorb is some sort of fruit) ...

Troels over at Iconoclasm shows us all the goodies he bought at the book display at the APA ...

The TOC for the Winter 2005 issue of the American Journal of Philology is up at Project Muse .... there might also be something for Classicists in the Winter 2005 issue of the Journal of Early Christian Studies ... ibidem.

Over at Roman Army Talk, there's an interesting discussion on the abandonment of the pilum in favour of the hasta ...

At Forum Ancient Coins, there's an oldish (but interesting) discussion on coins of mythological interest ....

At UNRV, there's an incipient conversation (in need of some spellchecking!) on the ideology of the Domus AureA ...
Filii inter difficultates nati diutius vivunt

Filii temporibus difficilibus nati diutius vivunt quam illi, qui inter pacem et prosperitatem nascuntur.

Femina enim gravida condicionibus vitae opprimentibus saepius prolem masculinam quam femininam abortat.

Ex abortibus prolium masculinarum sequitur, ut filii debiliores eliminentur, fortiores sint superstites. Haec investigatores Americani nuperrime rettulerunt.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
10.00 p.m. |SCI| The Riddle of Pompeii
Explore life and society in Ancient Rome through recent archaeological excavations and cutting edge science. Discover what really happened during the eruption in AD 79 that destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
We'll start today's romp through the sideshow world of Classics with Father Foster's latest ... he relates the trials and tribulations of translating Deus Caritas Est into Latin for the Pope ...

Dennis over at Campus Mawrtius has an admirable New Year's Resolution (it is Chinese New Year today) ... more folks should make the same (8^))

Bibliodyssey has some nice woodcuts with Latin in a feature on Nova Reperta ...

Classical Archaeologist has part two of their Health in the Ancient World series ...

Hobbyblog has a provincial issue of Gallienus, sporting an image of Pergean Artemis in her temple ...

Memorabilia Antonina (got the name right, this time) has a review of the 1954 epic Sign of the Pagan (personally, I've never understood why Jack Palance ever made it into any sword and sandal flicks ... not sure if The Silver Chalice counts in that category, though) ...

There's another convivial Latin quote at Sympotica Graecolatina ...

Novum Testamentum is googling 'love conquers all' and finding interesting results ...

A question at Ask Metafilter is seeking recommendations for books about ancient Rome ....

Via Abzu, we note that the papers from Cabinet of the Muses: Rosenmeyer Festschrift are all available from the eScholarship Repository ...

Also via Abzu, an online thesis: Rebekah Whiteley, Courtesans and kings : ancient Greek perspectives on the hetairai

... and another thesis via Abzu ... Alexandra Lesk, A Diachronic Examination of The Erechtheion and its Reception

A news report that is almost a review of Roger Bittlestone, Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca points us to the official website of the book, which has some potentially interesting stuff ...

Last, but not least (or maybe it is), we've posted the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings, as well as issue 8.40 of our Explorator newsletter, both at our Classics Central Forum ...
From the Times:

Boris Johnson, The Dream of Rome
Nuntii Latini:

Electiones praesidentiales

In Portugallia praesidens creatus est Anibal Cavaco Silva, qui post conversionem rerum anni millesimi nongentesimi septuagesimi quarti est primus praesidens factionis dextrae.

In Bolivia autem Evo Morales, primus praesidens ex populo indigena oriundus, munus suscepit. Apud Finnos altera suffragia comitiorum praesidentialium die Dominico (29.1.) fient.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ... latest headline: Ioannem Rau virum praesidialem Germanum mortuum esse

Akropolis World News in Classical Greek has also been updated ... latest headlines: Israel's Prime Minister will not talk with Hamas - 20 years later, families remember Challenger
From the Capital Times:

When more than 400 enthusiastic young Latin lovers packed Great Hall of the Memorial Union this week, their whoops and cheers were loud enough to, well, awaken a dead language.

Hailing from both public and private high schools, the exuberant students were attending the annual Wisconsin Junior Classical League Convention, which began Thursday and ends today. The unlikely object of their enthusiasm was the study of Latin, which was, repeatedly, described as awesome, amazing and life-altering.

Carolyn Briggs, a Madison West junior who is president-elect of WJCL, said, "When I first went to the national convention, I fell in love. Not with a person, but with a language. Now my devotion to Latin, and to WJCL, borders on an obsession."

Briggs, dressed for the Spirit (pep rally) portion of the convention, was wearing boxer shorts emblazoned with the legend LATIN KICKS across the back.

"This convention, and the national convention, is an incredible way to meet the most wonderful, zany friends," she said.

Carolyn Hill, also from West, is a senior and outgoing WJCL historian. A beginning student in Greek, she said she intends to become a classics major.

"I really want to be a Latin teacher, and I think I'd like to teach in a public high school. Latin has been an amazing class, a great thing to study. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archeologist, so maybe my interest is an extension of that.

"But it's conventions like these that really get you going," she added. "I mean, where else would you find people willing, or able, to sing 'Yellow Submarine' in Latin?"

Aaron and Caleb Burr, a senior and freshman brother duo who are part of a 33-student convention delegation from Edgewood High School, are also Latin fans. Aaron, who is taking Advanced Placement 4th year Latin, finds the ancient history compelling, and he loves a competition called Certamen that poses tough Latin questions in a Jeopardy-style format.

Caleb, a freshman in his first year of studying the language, confessed he wasn't very good, but that he liked the challenge. He keeps at it because, rugged or not, he enjoys it. "I also like the mythology," he said.

West is Madison's only public high school that still maintains a Latin program.

According to Gale Stone, West's Latin teacher and convention co-chair, there are about 100 Latin students in any given year at her school. A Latin teacher for 25 years, 18 of them at the high school level, she brought 67 of her students this year to the state convention.

In addition to the deafening Spirit competition on Friday morning and Certamen, events included a war machines competition, memorized and impromptu oratory, testing in Latin proficiency, a costume contest, a Roman banquet and an impromptu art competition. Part of the JCL creed promises "to hand on the torch of classical civilization in the modern world."

Eight public schools and seven private schools, including a home school association, were represented at the convention. "I try to make my classes fun, and a little different," Stone said, explaining the devotion her students show toward Latin.

"The language is extremely difficult, and it takes at least a couple of years for students to get much of a sense of proficiency. It's important for them to be able to find their own passion," she said.

"It's kind of like checking in at a hotel. There are lots of different rooms to capture the imagination, from mythology to military history to engineering feats to how they made their underwear," she laughed.

"Another great thing about Latin is that it's a great leveler of backgrounds for the students. Very few kids come in with an advantage. It doesn't matter whether you come from a professorial household, or a janitorial household. At the outset, it's unfamiliar to everyone," she said.
From the Weekly Standard:

I JUST WANT TO MAKE clear that I am not a Straussian. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Some of my closest friends are Straussians, and I have long admired the work of Allan Bloom, Harry Jaffa, Harvey Mansfield, and Thomas Pangle--though not, I must say, Leo Strauss himself, since I have never understood a word the political philosopher wrote. I mean not a single word. Nor have I been very good at understanding his disciples, really, and Pangle, from whom I once took two courses, can back me up on this.

I feel the need to set the record straight because I am routinely called a Straussian by students of what is known as neoconservatism, and at the very least this is an insult to true Straussians, who presumably do understand what they're talking about. There isn't room here to list all the places where I have been called a Straussian--a Google search for "Robert Kagan" and "Leo Strauss" turns up 16,500 hits. Suffice to say that the immensely erudite Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has referred to me as a "student" of Strauss and Bloom, as has the columnist William Pfaff, and a half dozen other equally learned folk. A professor somewhere named Anne Norton has written a whole book assuming that I am a Straussian. You may ask why didn't she call me, just to confirm. But that would have been journalism, not scholarship. Then there are the followers of Lyndon LaRouche (see their "Children of Satan" pamphlets), left-wing and right-wing bloggers, as well as Arab, Asian, African, and, of course, European journalists and academics.

In recent years the discussion has achieved a new level. I am now frequently accused of being not just a Straussian but a bad Straussian, because some scholars have pointed out that my foreign policy views do not really accord with Strauss's thinking. So I have been charged with distorting and even betraying Straussianism. I'm prepared to believe this is true. But as I mentioned, I don't understand Strauss, so it's hard for me to evaluate.

Again, I don't really care. But I see that courses are now being taught in some American colleges urging students to delve into the significance of Straussianism in shaping my foreign policy views. And I think it's a shame if students write entire papers based on a simple factual error.

It is true that I have known Straussians almost all my life. And the one thing I was taught about them from the earliest age is that they are wrong. The person who taught me this was my father, an ancient historian who spent a good portion of his time at Cornell University in the 1960s arguing with Allan Bloom. As a youngster of eight or nine I got to witness many of these arguments in the faculty lunch room at the Statler, where my father would take me on summer days. They were fun. For one thing, Bloom was an incredible character, though to my youthful eye he acted, talked, and dressed a bit silly. I remember being absolutely enthralled by his famous stutter. He would start a sentence by saying, "The-ah, the-ah, the-ah, the-ah, the-ah truth that Socrates was, ah, seeking . . . " Something like that. Also, whenever I saw him he would practically squeeze the life out of me with a bear-hug. It was actually painful. And he once accidentally stubbed a cigar out on my hand at a poker game.

But that's not the reason I never became a Straussian. It was because my father explained to me, as well as to Bloom, of course, that Bloom did not understand Plato. This may seem a bit outrageous to many people today, given Bloom's reputation. But I still think my father was right, and at the time I had no doubt that he was right. My father was and is a great arguer, and as a boy I was inclined to believe that he was right about practically everything. So to me, the Kagan-Bloom debates always looked like a complete wipe-out.

As best I can recall, their biggest point of contention was whether Plato was just kidding in The Republic. Bloom said he was just kidding. I later learned that this idea--that the greatest thinkers in history never mean what they say and are always kidding--is a core principle of Straussianism. My friend, the late Al Bernstein, also taught history at Cornell. He used to tell the story about how one day some students of his, coming directly from one of Bloom's classes, reported that Bloom insisted Plato did not mean what he said in The Republic. To which Bernstein replied: "Ah, Professor Bloom wants you to think that's what he believes. What he really believes is that Plato did mean what he said."

Anyway, my father said Plato was not kidding. The argument would go back and forth for hours, and in my memory it always ended with Bloom saying, "We'll have to look at the text," which was a great way of ending the discussion because there was no ancient Greek text of The Republic available in the Statler's lunch room. So, as I saw it, and as my father saw it, that was sort of a surrender.

I learned from my father that the problem with Straussians was that they were ahistorical. They were consumed with the great thinkers and believed the great thinkers were engaged in a dialogue with one another across time. This made Straussians slight the historical circumstances in which great thinkers did their thinking. Indeed, my father, the historian, taught me to mistrust not only Straussians but also political philosophy in general, and I have pretty much done so--though, again, I have to admit it's partly because I find it hard to understand.

The irony was that my father, who never agreed with the Straussians, spent a good deal of time defending them from attack at the university. In the late 1970s, he tried to save Tom Pangle from getting chased out of Yale by the political science department, many of whose leading lights declared Pangle's views intolerable. (They didn't even know at the time that Straussianism would prove to be the main cause of the Iraq war three decades later--although they may have suspected it.) My dad tried to help not because he agreed with everything Pangle thought but on grounds of academic freedom.

That episode may explain why even my poor father sometimes gets called a Straussian. But I sometimes fear he is being tarred by his association with me, his Straussian son. Being a gentleman of the old school, he has never felt it necessary or appropriate to correct the record. But I thought I'd better, because this is a different world, one where factual errors whip around the Internet, and no one is ever kidding.
From the Guardian:

Deep in the soft black earth beneath the cleared slum tenements of old Istanbul, Metin Gokcay points to neatly stacked and labelled crates heaped with shattered crockery. "That's mostly old mosaics and old ceramics," said the Istanbul city archaeologist. "And over there we found bones and coins."

Looking at huge slabs of limestone emerging from a depth of more than 7 metres (25ft) below ground, he adds: "That's late Roman, this is early Byzantine. This tunnel here is very interesting. Perhaps Constantine's mother had her palace over there."

Article continues
The archaeologist is making mischief. For more than a millennium this city bore the name of Constantine, but whether the emperor's mother lived at this spot called Yenikapi, a powerful stone's throw from the Sea of Marmara, is a moot point. Mr Gokcay is intrigued and baffled by the subterranean stone tunnel which, measuring 1.8 metres by 1.5 metres, is too big to have been used for sewage or as an aqueduct.

But if Mr Gokcay remains in the dark as to the function of the ancient tunnel, his excavations have led to a stunning discovery that could jeopardise Turkey's most ambitious engineering project - a new rail and underground system traversing the Bosphorus and connecting Europe to Asia via a high-speed railway.

Mr Gokcay has uncovered a 5th-century gem - the original port of Constantinople, a maze of dams, jetties and platforms that once was Byzantium's hub for trade with the near east.

Cemal Pulak, a Turkish-American, from Texas, and one of the world's leading experts in nautical archaeology, said: "The ships from here carried the wine in jars and amphorae from the Sea of Marmara. The cargoes of grain came in from Alexandria. This was the harbour that allowed this city to be."

In a mood of barely suppressed excitement, armies of archaeologists and labourers have been scraping away silt and rubble for the past year and revealed a vast site the size of several football pitches. It is slowly giving up its secrets and its treasures.

Seven sunken ships have already been found buried in mud at Yenikapi, a few hundred metres inland from the Sea of Marmara and a 10-minute stroll from the mass tourist attractions of the Grand Bazaar and the Topkapi Palace.

Mr Pulak is thrilled that one of the ships, a longboat, may be the first Byzantine naval vessel ever found. All of the boats appear to have been wrecked in a storm. There are 1,000-year-old shipping ropes in perfect condition, preserved in silt for centuries. There are huge forged iron anchors, viewed as so valuable in medieval Byzantium they were highly prized items in the dowries of the daughters of the wealthy.

Treasure chest

But if the discovery of the ancient port of Constantinople promises a treasure chest of riches for historians and archaeologists, it also brings its problems. The old harbour straddles what is to become the biggest railway station in Turkey, a gleaming modern temple connecting the city's new high-speed rail and metro.

"It's a phenomenal site. But it opens a can of worms," said Mr Pulak. "This is to be the biggest station in Turkey and they'll be wanting to put huge shopping malls on the top."

The Yenikapi site is the linchpin of what the Turkish government dubs the "project of the century". The $4bn (£2.2bn) Marmaray transport project is being built by a Japanese-led consortium. There will be tunnelling under the Bosphorus for the first time ever, with high-speed trains going through the deepest underwater tunnel in the world in the middle of a high-risk earthquake zone. The tunnel itself will be built to withstand quakes of 9.0 on the Richter scale in the area of the North Anatolian Fault, which runs below the Sea of Marmara nearing the walls of Istanbul. Seismologists say a large earthquake and a mini tsunami are almost inevitable within a generation at the latest.

The ambitious new transport system is to shift 75,000 passengers an hour and to put Istanbul behind only Tokyo and New York in the global league table for urban rail capacity.

There is no doubt the Marmaray is needed urgently. In a city of 12 million, which seems to grow by the week, the traffic congestion is a nightmare and the Bosphorus bridges are gridlocked semi-permanently. So the engineers, transport officials and urban planners are in a hurry to get the infrastructure built by the end of the decade. That puts Mr Gokcay and his teams of experts under immense pressure to finish their dig.

"The transport guys say they are losing a million a day because of the archaeological delays," said one expert. "But it's ridiculous - when they were building the Athens metro the excavations took seven years. Here they want it finished in six months."

Ismail Karamut, the director of the city's museum of archaeology and a leading expert on the history of Istanbul, refuses to be intimidated by the urban planners. "This city is 2,800 years old and here we're digging right in the middle of a living city. It's not like excavating on a mountainside. The transport people can't start until we're finished. And maybe they'll have to change their project depending on what we find. We've told them we can't give them a deadline."

It is perhaps logical and fitting that the same spot that provided the shipping hub for 5th-century Constantinople should become the rail nexus for 21st-century Istanbul. But the dilemmas thrown up by trying to secure the future without destroying the past are a headache.

Ottoman gardeners

The discovered artefacts fall into the easy bit. The ships can be rebuilt using computer simulations; the anchors, ropes and coins can all be housed elsewhere. But you cannot move the ancient port - believed to be Portus Theodosiacus, in use from the 4th to the 7th centuries, after which it started silting up, then became useless for shipping. In later centuries it served just as fertile vegetable plots for Ottoman allotment gardeners.

One idea is to cordon off the old port area creating an "archaeological island" that would be an exhibit in the new transport complex. But that is a tricky solution because of the underground shafts and the vast scale of the station.

The doyen of archaeology for Constantinople, the late German researcher Wolfgang Muller-Wiener, predicted 30 years ago that the old port would be found at Yenikapi. But the site was covered in illegal tenements and could not be explored. It was the modern transport project that made discovery of the old port possible, since the site had to be cleared to make way for the railway station.

Mr Karamut said: "We knew from the ancient documents and records that there was some kind of port around there. But we didn't know exactly where. We didn't know that it could be Constantinople's first harbour."
7.00 p.m. |DTC| First Olympian
Witness the spectacular world of the Olympics in 500 BC. The skeletal remains of Ikkos, the athlete Taranto, were studied to piece together the lifestyle of the earliest Olympic athletes. Find out how the first Olympians trained, lived and worshipped.

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.

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.
This appears to be something we can do daily ...

Hobbyblog presents a silvered antoninianus of Gallienus, with a spear-bearing Venus ...

Over at Laudator, MG ponders the non-connection between liber and lIber ...'s N.S. Gill has a Julius Caesar Study Guide ...

Memorabilia Antoniniana alerts UK fans of Classics to Boris Johnson and the Dream of Rome on BBC2 tomorrow...

Classico e Moderno returns from a long hiatus to offer us a 'definition of blog' from Cicero (with an English translation)...

A post from Dennis (who clearly doesn't read rc) over at Campus Mawrtius on the Athenian-Typhoid thing also points to an interesting article suggesting the same from quite a while ago at the Asklepion ...

Over at phDiva, Dorothy King posts a translation of the firman which gave Lord Elgin permission to remove the marbles ...

Sympotica Graecolatina tells us why smoked Velabrum cheese is the best ...

We note the existence of the Tropaion blog (announcing its newsletters) for fans of Hellenic religion ...

From the FWIW department, a press release (!) point me to The Idiocy and the Oddity, which is an online eBook parody of some Classical thing involving cats ...

Last, and certainly not least ... the Telegraph has a touristy thing about Roman sites written by Robin Lane Fox and loosely connected to the Rome television series ...
From the Mercury:

It served first as a notebook for ancient painters and then as part of a mummy's wrapping. Now, a first century B.C. parchment believed to contain the earliest cartography of the Greek-Roman era will be on display next month in the northern city of Turin.

The Papyrus of Artemidorus tells a tale of more than 2,000 years of art and culture.

Egyptologist Alessandro Roccati, of the University of Turin, said the parchment was "extraordinary" in that it "conserves direct and ancient testimony that helps reconstruct history." Roccati was not involved in the project.

The parchment's story begins around the mid-first century B.C., when a copyist in Alexandria, Egypt, began working on a blank parchment to copy the second of 11 books by Greek geographer Artemidorus of Ephesus.

"This papyrus is returning the most ancient geographic map of the classical world and helps write new pages of ancient history," said Claudio Gallazzi, a professor of Papirology at the University of Milan who has studied the parchment since the 1990s.

During the transcription, the copyist left room in the Greek text to insert drawings of maps, and later took it to a painter's studio to have them drawn. Yet the painter designed only a partial map, which appears to be what Artemidorus believed was the shape of the southwestern Iberian peninsula.

"The painter must have drawn the wrong map and as soon as he realized it, he stopped (working)," said Gallazzi, who also directed the papyrus' restoration. The map has no names and looks incomplete. He probably should have painted a generic map first, instead of a specific one. By then, the papyrus was ruined and it was useless to go on."

A few years later, scholars began using the blank spaces on the nearly 10-foot-long parchment for rough drafts and to keep a catalog of drawings for clients. The drawings include pictures of real animals, such as giraffes, tigers and pelicans, as well as mythical ones, such as the griffin, marine snake or a dog with wings, Gallazzi said.

He added that the drawings were used as an index of mosaics and frescos that the painters would offer to their customers. At least two scholars also used the papyrus for practice and drew heads, feet and hands until there were no blank spots left.

"After using it for decades as a catalog, the papyrus was later ... sold as pulp paper," Gallazzi said.

The parchment surfaced again in the Nile Valley, where it was used as a wrapping for a mummy, lying in the ground for 1,800 years, Gallazzi said.

In the early 1900s, local excavators recovered and sold the wrapping - known as cartonnage - to an Egyptian collector who owned it for around 50 years. After passages around Europe, a German collector bought it, opened the cartonnage and recovered the fragments of the papyrus.

The parchment looks scrappy and has holes. But the papyrus had yet another surprise.

"At some point, somebody wet it. Where there are holes, the ink was stamped upside down on the other side of the parchment," Gallazzi said. Because of that, even though parts of the paper were lost, the drawings on those parts were not.

The papyrus - which was bought by a foundation for $3,369,850 - will be put on display at Turin's Bricherasio Palace starting Feb. 8 for three months.

Organizers said they were planning to lend it to other museums in Europe and the United States before placing it in Turin's Egyptian Museum.
A couple of brief notices of finds ... first, from AGE comes news of a find near Agrigento:

Frammenti di ceramica di epoca imperiale romana, muretti a secco venuti fuori da un crollo per l'erosione della costa lasciano pensare ad un possibile approdo per imbarcazioni della città romana di Allavam, a Ribera, in provincia di Agrigento. La scoperta è avvenuta nei giorni scorsi durante i lavori di scavo per la realizzazione degli alberghi del Golf resort di Rocco Forte, in contrada Verdura. La presenza del porticciolo si aggiunge ad un'altra scoperta fatta nell'estate scorsa, nella stessa area, dal medico chirurgo riberese, Domenico Macaluso: una diga foranea davanti la torre di Verdura lunga 365 metri e larga 36 che serviva per l'attracco delle navi che commercializzavano lo zucchero del 'trappeto' di Verdura.

Then there's a Roman villa from near Pozzuoli, according to Basilicatanet:

Trovati a Pozzuoli i resti di una villa imperiale romana, piccoli riquadri di mosaici e una scala, durante lavori di scavo dell'Enel. Il ritrovamento potrebbe portare all'individuazione di una palestra tipica dei tempi imperiali che consentiva agli atleti di prepararsi alle gare. La struttura potrebbe essere di notevole rilevanza perche' avrebbe potuto ospitare i giochi di 'Eusebia' istituiti da Antonino Pio in memoria dell'imperatore Adriano.
From a column in the Star Tribune about the origins of assorted (non Classical) words:

Word: Dunce. From: John Duns Scotus (c.1266-1308). Derivation: The followers of Scotus, a theologian and philosopher, were called "duncemen," after his birthplace (Duns, Scotland) and middle name. They opposed the revival of Classical studies in the Renaissance, and thus the word "dunce" came to mean an uneducated person.

... hmmm ... I've never heard about this 'opposition to Classical studies' thing ... I also never bought into the Straight Dope's thing on the origin of the dunce cap ...
Another claim about what Alexander 'brought back' ... from Saanich News:

The plum has been cultivated longer than any other fruit with the exception of the apple. It’s believed Alexander the Great introduced plums to Greek society after his triumphs in Persia and Syria.

... can't really find much on this one. So we'll set that aside and look at this, from Euro Weekly:

Another, and by far the longest, is about the Indian sub-continent where Stivers draws on his historical knowledge to enlighten the reader. In Afghanistan, he prompts us to recall the time when it was the gateway between Persia (today’s Iran) and China. He climbs on to the shoulder of a giant sandstone Buddha in Bamian that was built by Alexander the Great, a magnificent statue later destroyed by the Taliban.

... pehaps he should prompt us to recall our sense of anachronism (we're at least 600 years off here, no?). And speaking of anachronism, I don't think the editor of the Times read down to the last paragraph of this book review:

Imperial correspondence goes back to Roman times. Augustus kept up a lively correspondence with the younger Pliny, then a governor in Asia Minor, advising him to turn a blind eye to the activities of the Christians.
... nothing of interest
Nulli est homini perpetuum bonum . . . )
(Plautus, Curculio 189)

There is no such thing as unending good fortune for anyone.

(pron = NOO-lee ehst HOH-mih-nee pehr-PEH-toom BOH-noom)

Comment: A friend frequently enough reminds me that it would not be normal to
wish for the ocean waves to stop coming in, or to stop going out. At first the
reminder always seems a little absured, but he's just pointing a finger a larger
phenomenon. Life is by its nature rhythmic. The tide comes it, and the tide
goes out. To put a halt to that would mean death, literally. That rhythm of
the movement of water keeps the planet alive, affects sea creatures, the
movement of air, weather, climate, etc.

There is a rhythm to the blood flowing through my veins. Does anyone want the
rhythm to stop? Probably no takers today! There must be rhythm for life.

And so it is with "good" fortune. It's part of the rhythm. We just,
unfortunately, put labels on these rhythm. Imagine saying that a heart beat
was a bad thing and that the space in between the beats was a good thing. How
absurd. Both are required, equally, to make blood flow.

The character in Plautus' Curculio is coming to this realization when he says
these words, and it follows that the fortune called "good" heretofore is about
to change to "bad".

But, in theater, as in life, if there is no rhythm to the fortune of the
characters, there is no story.

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

6 A.D. -- dedication of the Temple of Castor and Pollux by the future emperor Tiberius

98 A.D. -- death of Nerva (?)

ca. 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Devota

1887 -- birth of Carl Blegen, future excavator of Pylos (etc.)
delapsation @ Worthless Word for the Day (sort of)

homage @ Merriam-Webster
What better way to wind down the week than with a trip to the Classics funhouse?

Classical Archaeologist begins a promised series on health and nutrition in the Greco-Roman world ... (this one's on the Athenian typhoid thing) ...

Classics in Contemporary Culture points us to another example of the 'Betty and Veronica' (as I call it) approach to the ancient Greeks and Romans ...

Elginism continues to round up articles dealing with the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles controversy ...

Nvgae Ciceronianae links to a very well-done (student made) movie about the Second Punic War which makes good use of clips from Rome: Total War ...

The convivial Latin quotes continue at Sympotica Graeco-Latina ...

The Stoa has a report on the Digital Philology Conference in Hamburg ...

Hobbyblog features a provincial issue of Valerian ...

From the Papy list comes word that the Geneva Papyrus Collection website has been updated ...

I haven't checked this one out very thoroughly yet, but a post at the UNRV forum points to a database of images of ancient art (from Russia, with some strangeness of translation in the search page)

... and not really Classical in our sense, but doorworthy nonetheless, is a Rubes comic sent in by MMe ...
The incipit of a piece from the Huntsville Times:

Gov. Bob Riley will visit a Latin class at Bob Jones High School today, but the teacher will be in Sheffield.

The Latin class is part of a pilot program using videoconferencing and the Internet to let students get class credits in courses their school could not otherwise offer.

Bob Jones was chosen last fall as one of 24 pilot sites for Riley's Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide program. The school received about $100,000 of the $10 million that Riley included in the state education budget for the program.

"This is going to revolutionize the way we teach children in Alabama," Riley said in a press release. "By making the right investments in our classrooms, we've put the latest technology to work for our students and teachers, and it's opening up whole new worlds of opportunity to children who would otherwise not have the chance to take these courses."

Bob Jones Principal Robby Parker said Wednesday that Riley should be impressed with the entire school, not just the long-distance Latin class. He said 14 students are taking the Latin class, which began with the second semester two weeks ago.

Parker said the class is about "98 percent as good" as having a teacher in the classroom teaching the students.

The students are able to ask questions of Adina Stone, the Latin teacher at Sheffield High School, Parker said. The students and teacher can see each other via cameras.

"I think it's a whole lot better than not have the class," Parker said.

Parker said it would not be feasible for the Madison school system to spend $50,000 to hire a teacher to teach Latin to a few students. A Bob Jones teacher uses her planning period to sit in the room to chaperone the students.

Along with Bob Jones, the Latin class is simultaneously taught to students at Alma Bryant High School near Mobile.
From BMCR:

Mary Beagon, The Elder Pliny on the Human Animal. Natural History Book 7. Translation with introduction and historical commentary.

Frank J. Frost, Politics and the Athenians. Essays on Athenian History and Historiography.

S. Montiglio, Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture.

Douglas R. Edwards, Religion and Society in Roman Palestine. Old Questions, New Approaches.

Giuseppe Squillace, Basileis ê tyrannoi: Filippo II e Alessandro Magno tra opposizione e consenso. Società Antiche, 6.

Victoria Emma Pagán, Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History.

Jasper Gaunt, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Great Britain, fascicule 21. Harrow School. With the collaboration of Thomas Mannack.

Zetzel on Schlegelmilch on Zetzel, Marginal Scholarship and Textual Deviance.

Jon Steffen Bruss, Hidden Presences. Monuments, Gravesites, and Corpses in Greek Funerary Epigram. Hellenistica Groningana X.


IHT has a review of Stuart Kelly, The Book of Lost Books


ANSA has a (p)review of Pompeii: Stories of an Eruption (headed for Tokyo)

La Domus del Gianicolo e i suoi marmi (review from Tandem, in English)


The Odyssey (Dowling College)

The Romans in Britain (UK)
The incipit of a piece from Bloomberg:

The J. Paul Getty Museum's new director, Michael Brand, will hold talks in Rome tomorrow with Italian Culture Ministry officials who are demanding the world's richest art institution return 42 allegedly looted antiquities in its collection, ministry lawyer Maurizio Fiorilli said.

The meeting will take place the day before the Getty reopens its Roman-style villa in Malibu, California, after a nine-year, $275 million renovation. The museum's former antiquities curator, Marion True, 57, is on trial in Rome on charges she acquired illegally excavated ancient art for the Getty.

Brand, who was named to the post last year as the Getty began an internal review of its antiquities-acquisition practices, will lead a delegation at the meeting, said Fiorilli, who said there is no room for compromise.

``They should return all the objects,'' he said, including 2,500-year-old vases and marble statues. ``The new director is taking a good initiative.''

True, who denies the charges against her, says she acquired the objects in good faith. True obtained many of the disputed objects for the Getty in 1996 in a combined sale and gift by New York collectors Barbara Fleischman and her late husband, Lawrence.

Barbara Fleischman resigned from the Getty board yesterday, the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times reported today. Fleischman, who joined the board in 2000, didn't respond to earlier requests for comment on her collection and the Getty.

Neither the museum nor Fleischman is charged with any wrongdoing. Getty officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the Rome meeting.

... the rest of the article repeats stuff we already know.
Followup piece from the Maroon about a young Classicist's success on Jeopardy:

For nearly two weeks, 6 p.m. in Kevin Marshall's home meant that it was time for another party. Not even Katrina-related renovations could put a halt to this tradition.

"Even with our whole downstairs gone, we would still have parties," Marshall said. "We would just move them to different locations."

The Marshall family wasn't going to let the lack of a fully-functioning kitchen stop its celebrating. Beginning Jan. 10, Kevin, 19, was on his way to becoming a defending "Jeopardy" champion. He ended his seven-day stint on the show last Wednesday, with a total of $105,701 in winnings.

Remodeling was the last thing on the Marshall's minds.

"Parents tend to be happy when you're winning 50,000 dollars a day," Marshall said.

Things have come full circle for Marshall, who discovered his love for "Jeopardy" at home and is now celebrating his wins there. Marshall has watched the show for as long as he can remember and has often played against his parents.

"I would beat them all the time," he explained.

He traveled to "Jeopardy" auditions in Atlanta with hopes of fulfilling his life-long dream. After taking a test and playing a fake match against other potential contestants, he found out that he would appear on the show. Taping began in October.

For about four months following the taping, Kevin had to live his life both as a Loyola classical studies junior and a secret "Jeopardy" champion. Keeping this part of his life secret, according to Kevin, wasn't difficult.

"I didn't really let anyone know that I was on the show, so people weren't too curious," he said. "It was harder for my mom not to tell people than it was for me."

Even after becoming a semi-celebrity and $105,701 richer, post-"Jeopardy" life for Marshall isn't drastically different than life before it.

"People don't act too differently around me," he said. "They just ask me for money."

But Marshall has other plans for spending his winnings. A theatrical enthusiast, he hopes to buy theatre equipment and start a theatre company. He'd also like to become a "real estate mogul" and vacation at Cedar Park in Ohio.

"I have a lot of ideas, but I'll probably run out of money before I get to all of them," Marshall said.

Although he didn't become the new Ken Jennings, Kevin Marshall couldn't be happier about his game show success.

"I'm lucky that this experience was worthwhile, and I'm happy with the amount of money I got," he said. "This is what I had been waiting for."

Next up for Kevin is a possible spot in the upcoming "Jeopardy" Tournament of Champions. Looks like the Marshall family might be having a few more evening parties.
The issue seems to be heating up again ... from Reuters:

Britain should not return the Elgin Marbles to Athens because Greece has a lamentable record of caring for its Parthenon treasures, a leading archaeologist says in a new book.

"I think they have to start looking after what they have," said Dorothy King. "Most of the Parthenon sculpture in Athens isn't on display and hasn't been cared for."

Britain's refusal to give back the treasures, known in Greece as the Parthenon marbles, has been a contentious issue in Anglo-Greek relations for nearly 200 years.

The series of statues and fragments were taken from the Parthenon temple in the early 19th century by British ambassador Lord Elgin who sold them to the British Museum in London.

Greeks see Elgin as a sinister figure, who bribed the then Ottoman authorities to raid the Acropolis and whisk away part of Greece's identity. Archaeologists restoring the Parthenon say his rushed operation caused great damage to the marble temple.

Since its independence in 1832, Greece has repeatedly requested the return of the marbles.

Recent attempts to get the marbles back, initially revived by Greek actress turned culture minister Melina Mercouri in 1982, have gathered support with such vociferous backers as Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave.

King, interviewed by Reuters in the run-up to publication of her book "The Elgin Marbles," said of Mercouri: "She believed in a cause and fought for it and you have to respect someone who believes in something."

In her book, King says Mercouri once turned up at the British Museum with a camera crew in tow.

Flinging herself to the floor in one sculpture gallery, Mercouri proclaimed her love for the Parthenon.

The dramatic impact was somewhat diluted when a museum curator whispered to her: "These are beautiful sculptures, Mrs Mercouri, but the Elgin Marbles are in the next room."


King is firmly opposed even to loaning the marbles exhibit to Greece. "It is not an option. What are we going to do -- send in the SAS to bring it back. If we loan it, it is not going to come back."

King, who studied classics at King's College, London where she did her PhD on Greek architectural sculpture, rejects the argument that Britain's refusal to return the marbles is an arrogant echo of its imperial past.

She says the marbles are well preserved, well cared for and accessible to all free of charge in the British Museum.

In contrast, she says the Parthenon sculptures in Athens are mostly in poor condition, continuing to disintegrate and accessible only to specialists.

The Greeks refute such charges, saying they are well capable of caring for their own antiquities.

King is also implacably opposed to the building of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens on the site of an early Christian site. The museum, long delayed and expected to finish in 2008, is being especially built to house the marbles.

"I am not being rude about the Greeks," she insisted. "But I think various Greek governments have made it into a political issue which they shouldn't have.

"I have objections to the way the Greeks are very nationalistic about it. I don't like the way they have become this symbol of Greek superiority. The world has become multi-cultural."
Electiones praesidentiales

In Portugallia praesidens creatus est Anibal Cavaco Silva, qui post conversionem rerum anni millesimi nongentesimi septuagesimi quarti est primus praesidens factionis dextrae.

In Bolivia autem Evo Morales, primus praesidens ex populo indigena oriundus, munus suscepit. Apud Finnos altera suffragia comitiorum praesidentialium die Dominico (29.1.) fient.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
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!
Magnas inter opes inops.
(Horace Odes 3.16.28)

(pron = MAHG-nahs IN-tehr OH-pays IN-ohps)

Resourceless in the midst of great resources.
Poor in the midst of great riches.
Lost in a sea of directions.
Foolish in the house of wisdom.
Unsatisfied in a world of choices.
Living month to month on a higher than average income.
Alone in a crowded room.
A stranger to nature while living on planet Earth.
A slave in the land of the free.

These few little words from the great poet, Horace, speak too loudly to me as
poetry to write about them. So, I just offer up a few other ways of saying
them, poetically. I suspect you either get this or not, and that one or more
of these speaks in some particular ways.

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

Sementivae or Paganalia (day ?) -- Sementivae was a festival of sowing which was actually a moveable feast (although I'm not sure of the moveability criteria; I'm guessing that the first day falls between January 24 and 26). By Ovid's time it appears to have been coincident with Paganalia, which also obviously has some rural aspect to it. It appears to have been a two-day festival with an interval of seven days between (corrections on this welcome ... my sources seem muddled on this one)

66 A.D. -- perihelion of what would eventually be called Halley's comet (possibly mentioned in Josephus; less possibly mentioned in Suetonius)

97 A.D. -- martyrdom of Timothy
grandee @

superhumerate @ Worthless Word for the Day (maybe)

basin @ OED

ossify @ Merriam-Webster

This week's My Word! feature at the Classics technology is a handful of sine phrases ... and of course, there's a new installment of Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
A bit of a quiet day:

Sauvage Noble offers us the text of an Oscan funerary stone ....

Classics in Contemporary Culture ponders a quote on the relevancy of Gibbon ...

Not sure if I've ever mentioned Nvgae Ciceronianae before ... the 'young academic' who runs it announces a Latin pedagogy workshop for grad students at the upcoming ACL convention ....

A couple of items from Hobbyblog ... one is a (fake) Republican issue which sports an image of Pegasus ... then we have one of Gallienus' 'Zoo' coins, sporting a panther ...

Over on the Classics list, DW alerted us to a major update to her page of Homeriana ...

If you're looking for the latest papal encyclical -- Deus Caritas Est -- it's already online in Latin (and English, too)... I like the date formula at the end ...

Bread and Circuses reminded me that Abzu is adding a pile of Classics stuff to its database ... and also reminded me that there seems to be a new 'texts of early Christianity' site out there: the Digital Christian Library has put up a whack of stuff over the past couple of days, including the Loeb Apostolic Fathers ... most texts are pdf ...

The NYT has a review of a production of Hecuba (in New York) ...
The incipit from a piece in the Telegraph:

The gowns were called "Sophocles", "Aphrodite", "Sappho" and "Athena" and even the seating areas had Greek names. No surprise, then, that Jean-Paul Gaultier's spring/summer haute couture collection was inspired by ancient Greece.

With 4ft ponytails, floral head-dresses and fluttering draperies, the models did at times evoke a tableau from a Delphic temple.


The photo accompanying the article makes one wonder at the inspiration ... the collection of photos at Yahoo don't seem very 'inspired' either ....
Not hearing much about the Museum Case of late ... here's a bit, though, from the Mercury:

A trustee of the J. Paul Getty Trust, whose donated collection to the museum included a stolen ancient Roman sculpture, has resigned from the board of trustees, officials said.

The board announced Wednesday that it had accepted the resignation of wealthy art collector Barbara G. Fleischman, who had been a board member since 2000.

"It has been my pleasure to work with the gifted and dedicated people in the Research and Conservation Institutes, the Getty Foundation and the Museum elements of the Getty Trust. Their work is splendid and significant, and I salute them," Fleischman said in a statement.

The board thanked Fleischman for her support of the J. Paul Getty Trust and for substantial contributions made by Fleischman and her late husband, Lawrence, to the museum.

"Barbara Fleischman's contributions in time and energy to this institution have been significant and selfless," said John Biggs, chairman of the board of trustees.

The Los Angeles Times reported in November that the Getty's former antiquities curator borrowed $400,000 from the Fleischmans in 1996, just days after finalizing a deal to acquire their 300-piece collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts.

The Getty paid $20 million for 32 of the pieces and received the rest as a donation. Neither Fleischman nor True disclosed the loan to museum officials in annual conflict-of-interest statements.

Fleischman told the newspaper last year that the loan arranged by her late husband had nothing to do with the couple's business dealing with the Getty.

True used the loan to repay money she had borrowed in 1995 to buy a home on the island of Paros that was owned by an antiquities dealer with whom she also did business with on behalf of the Getty.

True retired in October 2005 after Getty officials confronted her about the initial 1995 loan.

She is on trial in Rome on charges that she conspired with dealers to traffic in looted antiquities.

She has maintained her innocence.

In 1999, the Getty returned some ancient works to Italy after determining they were stolen. One of the returned items was an ancient Roman sculpted head of an athlete, which was part of the Fleischman collection obtained in 1996.

The Fleischman collection included objects dating from 2600 B.C. to 400 A.D. and featured bronze and marble sculptures and vessels, frescos and gold jewelry.
I was casting about for photos of the Acropolis in the snow (we Canucks are weird that way), and National Geographic has come through with a nice one:

Latest news in Classical Greek: Annan's son to repay duty on Mercedes - 10 French life-sentenced prisoners want to die
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Foot Soldier: The Greeks
Story of the brave Greek warriors who adorned themselves in gold, fought under Alexander the Great, and became a virtually unstoppable ancient war machine. Host Richard Karn.

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC|Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Greece

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Computer?
Journey back in time for an eye-opening look at the amazing ancient roots of technologies we like to think of as modern. New research suggests that many of the inventions of the last 200 years may, in fact, have already been known to the ancients. In this hour, we explore the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient machine that was discovered deep in the Aegean Sea. Could it perhaps have been an ancient computer? Could Archimedes have had a hand in its creation?
Cineri gloria sera venit.
(Martial 1.25.8)

(It is a) late glory (that) comes to ashes.

(pron = KIH-neh-ree GLOH-ree-ah SAY-rah WAY-nit)

Comment: These are the words of Martial to another writer whom he urges to take
off the kid gloves, so to speak, and write the "good stuff" for intelligent
people who will appreciate it while he (the writer) is still alive. We all
know, he seems to say, that glory comes late to dead poets.

Because Martial's work is an epigram, and sometimes I miss just exactly how
deeply his tongue is inserted into his cheek, I hesitate to say too much more
about this line than this. It's a blunt way of saying, "Do your best work now,
because it's your best work." Perhaps you will be remembered well when you die.
Perhaps glory will come late to your memory, but, do your best work now and
enjoy what that brings.

Ashes don't get to enjoy much.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
I have just realized/noted/found out that today is not only Robbie Burns day, but it is also the traditional day to celebrate the conversion of St. Paul. For quite a while, St. Paul's Day was supposed to be a 'groundhog day' sort of thing, which forecast the upcoming year on the basis of the weather ... so here's something you can assign your Latin students to work out (a bit of medieval verse associated with the day) ... shouldn't be too difficult:

Clara dies Pauli bona tempera denotat anni;
Si nix vel pluvia, designat tempera cara;
Si fiant nebulae, pereunt animalia quaeque;
Si fiant venti, designat praelia genti.'

... this is the version from Chambers Book of Days ... glossing tempera as tempora and praelia as proelia might help.
ante diem viii kalendas februarias

Sementivae or Paganalia (day 2) -- Sementivae was a festival of sowing which was actually a moveable feast (although I'm not sure of the moveability criteria; I'm guessing that the first day falls between January 24 and 26). By Ovid's time it appears to have been coincident with Paganalia, which also obviously has some rural aspect to it. It appears to have been a two-day festival with an interval of seven days between (corrections on this welcome ... my sources seem muddled on this one)

41 A.D. -- recognition of Claudius as emperor by the senate

98 A.D. -- death of Nerva (?)
rejoinder @ Wordsmith

deuteragonist @ Merriam-Webster (see if you can drop that one into casual conversation today!)

Let's see what the ClassiCarnies have for us today:

Over at Memorabilia Antonina, TK ponders the Wikipedia article on Claudius and points to a useful one which he has written as well ....

Eric of Campus Mawrtius fame has an informative post on the transmission of Classical texts ...

At Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, PH continues a series on Satan with an interesting piece on Robert Johnson (the blues guy), with just enough ClassCon (and SimpsonsCon) to warrant mention here ....

In light of recent press coverage, N.S. Gill at usefully points to some info on the Kerameikos ...

Classics in Contemporary Culture reflects on some 'Makeup Moments' in Plautus (and ancient metrosexuals!) ....

BibliOdyssey posts a number of interesting images (with Latin captions) from the Orbis Sensualium Pictus (I won't hotlink to any since it didn't seem to work last time) ...

Bread and Circuses looks at Roman Inflation ...

Sympotica Graecolatina enlightens us as to the health benefits of raisin wine ...

Over at the UNRV forum, there's an incipient discussion of Alexander's policy in the East ...

Also on the Alexander front, at Roman Army Talk there is a very interesting conversation going on about the Alexander Mosaic ...

The forums at have an interesting thread on Roman colloquialisms ....
From the Daily Item:

Classical hockey falls to Latin Academy
From Greek News:

Girded with copies of the Iliad, an army of interested parties of all nationalities, ages, descriptions, and talents hunkered down in the auditorium of the Dahesh Museum at 57th and Madison Avenue in New York on January 14. With water and coffee, and swathed in fresh plaid blankets supplied by Olympic Airways, some dozed, others were alert, as they listened to descriptions of war. Was this a beautiful bivouac?

Not really. It was an all-day reading of one of the most enduring poems of all time, Homer’s Iliad, about the depths of human experience in that most ancient war in Troy that was triggered by the abduction of a gorgeous queen.

From 10 am to 10 pm two hundred participants took turns reading pre-assigned passages of the Iliad from Robert Fagle's translation and in ancient and Modern Greek. The reading, held by The Readers of Homer, was an adjunct program to the exhibition The Legacy of Homer: Four Centuries of Art from the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, which ran at the Dahesh Museum from October 8, 2005 through January 22, 2006.

Punctuated by lunch and coffee breaks with live Greek music, the marathon reading had a festival-like atmosphere of community. Further relaxation was encouraged by the unique invitation from Kathryn Hohlwein, the founder of The Readers of Homer, to grab a bit of shut-eye during the continuous reading. “I encourage the readers to sleep if they are tired. Sleep and wake up and you hear poetry going on and it's a wonderful continuity, which is a communal thing.”

Ms. Hohlwein retired after three decades of teaching a course titled The Homeric Imagination at California State University in Sacramento and in 1998 established the non-profit organization with her daughter Laura, giving the public an opportunity to share her passion for Homer in a new way, worthy of the ancient bard.

Ms. Hohlwein told The Greek News that she has that what excites people “is when they get to read . . . even if they don't think they know poetry, don't like poetry, or if they're afraid, or nervous because they don’t know what they’re doing, participating in this way is exciting, and it challenges them," she told The Greek News.

Yiannis Simonides, actor, writer, producer, (former director of Hellenic Public Radio - COSMOS FM) and director of the Greek Theater of New and of Mythic Media International, a performance lab, corroborated Ms. Hohlwein’s observation on the wide variety of personalities Involved in the event.

“I think that what attracts us to the readings aside from the great story and how relevant it still is, is that we can all participate; you don’t have to be an actor, an academic, or anything like that . . . we can come together and listen to this story, listen to each other; our only obligation is to be heard.

Simonides paraphrased the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, saying that the Iliad is the most just and impartial of all human inventions. “You read the Iliad and you think Iraq, Afghanistan, and you think terror and anything you want . . . it’s all RIGHT THERE. But more than anything is how impartially Homer gives it. The Greeks and the Trojans, the simple man and the hero, they’re all there in all their folly, greatness, wisdom, courage, and cowardice. A reading like this brings us all together in one room and we hear one of the greatest works of human society . . . it’s very moving.”

Listening to Mr. Simonides and his thirteen year-old son Ion, Mr. Theodossis Demetracopoulos, the Greek Press Counsellor to the UN, and others among the approximate thirty-person Greek contingent that read in ancient and modern Greek, it seemed from their deliveries that Homer is bred-in-the-bone. And there is nothing to compare with the poignant nuance of the Greek language; even non-Greek listeners felt its poetic power.

For Mr. Demetracopoulos, “The Iliad is diachronic, it has had relevance through the ages. How do you resist an indignity like the kidnapping of Helen, and gain back your honor and self-respect? And it’s about how several Greek nations got together an army to fight an enemy. Perhaps sometimes nations place too great an emphasis on their importance in the field of war; we have those things happening today as well.” For Mr. Demetracopoulos, who was required to memorize whole passages of the Iliad and the Odyssey in ancient Greek in high school, the reading was second nature.

Thirteen-year old Ion Simonides, who read in Modern Greek as well as in English and has always liked the Iliad, gave a comment on Homer’s skill. “My dad taught me that reading poetry is different than reading text; learning how to read it so that it’s clear and not boring . . . that took a little while. He’s a really good teacher because he was the head of the Yale Drama Department, so he knows what he’s talking about.” What were his father’s hints? To enunciate every word, have fun with it, and take your time. What impressed Ion particularly is that an entire paragraph, instead of just a couple of sentences, can be used to describe one thing. “In the part I read Homer is describing the hearts of the Achaeans as torn in their chests, and how they’re so lonely. It was just so interesting seeing how well one thing can be described.”

Peter Trippi, Director of the Dahesh Museum, said that it was important to remind visitors that the stories depicted in the paintings of the Legacy of Homer show were “first communicated through speaking, that Homer was singing poems that were ultimately written down. The spoken word gives a sense of the sweep of the story from beginning to end, so we’re thrilled about it and want to do this again and again when it’s appropriate to the exhibition.”
We've mentioned the Mythbusters episodes relating to trying to replicate Archimedes' 'death ray' before ... now we get this very interesting 'tease' from the Arizona Star:

For pay, Mike Bushroe analyzes data from Jupiter's largest moon; for fun, he designs solar death rays.
The day job, as senior software engineer for the Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer (DISR) on the Huygens space probe that landed on Titan last January, is the second-best job a guy could have, Bushroe said.
His dream job, though, is to join the "MythBusters" team on the Discovery Channel, something he managed to do for a week after he designed a solar "death ray" that Archimedes could have used to set the Roman fleet afire during the siege of Syracuse in 213 B.C.
Bushroe's design came in response to a challenge issued by the show to its viewers: Design a full- or reduced-scale model of a device allegedly used to focus enough sunlight on the invading Roman fleet to set it afire.
It's a feat attributed to mathematician Archimedes, who also employed levers and pulleys to build better catapults in defense of Syracuse, the city-state on the island now called Sicily.
Bushroe found two versions of the Archimedes myth and decided to build both.
His scale-model was predicated on the story that Archimedes made polished shields for 100 soldiers who directed sunlight to a single spot.
Bushroe figured he would need 240 soldiers, represented by wooden posts arrayed on six levels, each with a 1-by-3-inch polished-brass shield.
For the full-scale model, Bushroe said he "couldn't afford a giant bronze mirror. I did a modern material substitution of sheet metal on plywood."
He used a silver coating to give the metal a reflective surface after discovering that the Romans used similar techniques in antiquity.
Bushroe spent 12 to 14 hours a day on the project and took two weeks' vacation to complete it. It was worth it, he said. "It's been a really exciting ride."
Did it work? Stop reading if you plan to watch.
No, really, stop.
Bushroe can't answer that question because of a nondisclosure agreement he signed, but reports published during the filming of the show indicate that none of the devices tested by "MythBusters" lived up to the name "death ray."
Very interesting press release from the Israel Antiquities Authority (sent in by YS -- thanks!):

The archaeological site at the Megiddo Police hill is identified as the Jewish village Kfar Othnai, mentioned in written sources. The camp of the Roman Legion VI Ferrata and a city named Maximianopolis, mentioned in historical sources, were erected next to it.

The Roman Period site represents a rare cultural grouping of Village-Camp-City in a limited geographical space, which is located near the biblical Tel Megiddo that is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeological excavations at the Megiddo Prison revealed a building dated to the third century CE, based on the archaeological finds both below and above its floors.

The building has a rectangular hall with a mosaic floor bearing geometric patterns, a medallion decorated with drawings of fish, and three Greek inscriptions. One inscription mentions an army officer who contributed toward the paving of the floor. The second inscription is dedicated to the memory of four women, and the third inscription mentions a woman who contributed a table (altar) to the God Jesus Christ. All the inscriptions are related to Christian community ritual activities that took place in the building.

The incorporation of the three inscriptions in the third century CE mosaic floor, that link a Roman army officer to Christianity in a building that dates prior to the recognition of Christianity as an official religion, is rare and unique and very important toward the understanding of early Christianity.
Yotam Tepper, the IAA excavation's director, reports that findings of the excavation are significant for research of the Roman Army in the Eastern Roman Empire, for theological-Christian issues including the formation of Christian ritual and its place before the Byzantine period, and of mutual cultural influence in light of the close proximity to the earlier Jewish community at the site.

A consultation with top experts, initiated by the Antiquities authority, has given scientific validation to the importance of the findings from this excavation, despite that the research is only in its initial stages.

The Antiquities Authority recommends moving the prison and places utmost importance on preservation of the archeological assemblage uncovered in the excavations. This preference stems from the magnitude of these finds and their significance for culture and heritage not only of Israel, but for the whole world, and will enable the preservation and display of the site and the mosaic floor, in their original context, integrated with their environs.

More coverage in the Jerusalem Post ....
De comitiis praesidentialibus

Die Dominico in Finnia comitia praesidentialia habita sunt. Suffragiis vesperi computatis apparuit praesidentem hodiernam Tarja Halonen, cui iterum eligendae partes sinistrae operam navaverant, sententiarum quadraginta sex centesimas (46%) accepisse.

Ab ea secundus evasit pristinus minister Sauli Niinistö, candidatus factionis conservativae, quippe qui votorum viginti quattuor centesimis (24%) potiretur.

Tertium locum obtinuit princeps minister Matti Vanhanen duodeviginti suffragiorum centesimas (18%) consecutus. Reliqui quinque ambitores successu parum prospero certaverunt.

Neque studium civium ad ius suffragii adhibendum laudaveris, nam eorum nonnisi septuaginta quattuor centesimae (74%) ad urnas adierunt. Quia autem nemo ex octo candidatis maiorem sententiarum partem sibi acquisivit, necesse est duabus septimanis interiectis sive die undetricesimo mensis Ianuarii (29.1) alterum suffragium ineatur.

Tum decernetur, uter ex duobus primae creationis victoribus praesidens rei publicae proximo sexennio futurus sit.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ... latest headline: Causam dici ab antropophago [!]
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Foot Soldier: The Romans
Host Richard Karn looks at the Roman legionnaires, who conquered and dominated most of the known world for 500 years, and left behind a legacy of language, culture, architecture, and government.

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Antony & Cleopatra: Battle at Actium
The Roman navy, led by Octavian, defeated the formidable fleet of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, sealing their fate and creating the Roman Empire. Some say the victory was merely the creation of Octavian's propaganda.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Travels through Greece
By the 2nd century AD, Greece had long been steeped in myth, tradition, and a rich history that made it a major tourist destination even then. In this episode, we travel with a Roman senator as he journeys to artistic and cultural treasures of Greece, including Corinth's welcoming agora (the center of civic activity), the acoustically perfect Theater at Epidaurus, and the famous sporting competitions and chariot races of Olympia, as well as its majestic Temple of Zeus. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we explore these celebrated ancient sites and see them as only the original inhabitants could.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Greek Legacy in the West
During the 4th century BC, Sicily, once a stopping point for the seagoing Phoenicians, became the "new Greece" of the west. Our journey takes us to the various cultural centers that dotted the island, such as Syracuse, Agrigento (with the exquisite Valley of the Temples), and Selinus (modern-day Selenunte). Our trip highlights the theater in Syracuse, visits the Villa del Casale and Villa Filosofiana, both with typical Roman mosaics, and Agrigento with its numerous temples possibly built by Theron's slaves. Features 3D graphics to illustrate Syracuse's theater, the Temple of Concordia at Agrigento, and the temples at Selinus.

9.00 p.m. |NGU| The Crucifixion
Do films like "The Passion of the Christ" accurately portray the death of Jesus Christ? The Crucifixion takes viewers to the Holy Land with experts who investigate the details of this barbaric method of execution. Why was it used by first century Romansand how did it originate? What exactly happens during a crucifixion? Uncover new insight that challenges conventional wisdom about this ancient practice as experiments are performed on virtual models and real people to measure how the body reacts.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Meet the Ancestors: At the Sign of the Eagle.
When developers moved in to dig up the car park behind the Eagle Hotel in Winchester, England's ancient capital, they found much more than they bargained for. Julian Richards joins a team of archaeologists as they unearth part of Roman Winchester's pagan past. The Roman cemetery includes Christian burials from the 4th century, the end of the Roman period, aligned in their traditional East-West graves. But, just as the investigation is coming to a close, an older burial is discovered in the chalk pit. An enormous lead coffin is revealed, only the second ever to be found in Roman Winchester, containing the complete skeleton of a tall male who died in the prime of life. This was clearly someone of wealth and status, originally buried in a fine oak coffin, lined with valuable lead. His pagan grave is aligned North-South and in his hand he clutches a single coin, bearing the face of Emperor Constantine. This was his fare to pay the ferryman, taking his soul across the River Styx to Hades.

10.00 p.m. |NGU| The Last Supper During the Last Supper, Jesus shared bread and wine - symbolically passing on his powers to his followers. In the centuries that followed, this act - now called Holy Communion - was to become the central ritual of the Catholic Church. Less than a week before he was crucified, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate a Jewish holiday called Passover. If the Last Supper was a Passover dinner, what would that tell us about his final night? Where was the dinner, who were the guests, and what was served?
ante diem xi kalendas februarias

Ludi Palatini (day 4)

Sementivae or Paganalia (day 1) -- Sementivae was a festival of sowing which was actually a moveable feast (although I'm not sure of the moveability criteria; I'm guessing that the first day falls between January 24 and 26). By Ovid's time it appears to have been coincident with Paganalia, which also obviously has some rural aspect to it. It appears to have been a two-day festival with an interval of seven days between (corrections on this welcome ... my sources seem muddled on this one)

41 A.D. -- murder of Gaius (Caligula); Claudius proclaimed emperor by the praetorian guard

76 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Hadrian
alimony @

predeliction @

ad lib @ Wordsmith
Nullus agenti dies longus est.
(Seneca, Epistulae Morales 122.3)

No day is long for the one who is really living.

(Pron = NOO-loos ah-GEN-tee DEE-ays LOHN-goos ehst)

Comment: I have taken liberty with the Latin word "agenti". It means, more
commonly, "living, doing, spending". No day is long for the one who is doing,
or working. I choose to interpret that as "really living".

What is really living? It is something that engages the whole of me. And by
this definition I understand that I spend too many days when I am not really
living, but more likely passing time, doing "stuff", or "working". There are
days, though, when I am at work, and time vanishes. I am so wholly into the
interaction with my students that the time dimensions ceases to be. The school
day ends, and I am tired but invigorated. Other days, I have a "plan", and I
work it. And the day creaks on. I am exhausted at the end.

I experience this timelessness more regularly when I paint. I begin working on
a canvass or piece of paper, and before I realize it, 3 or 4 hours have passed.
I have been completely, body and mind, one with the working, the living, the
doing, in front of me.

There is no way to figure out how to do this. We can only give ourselves to an
event, a moment. We can only jump in and see how it goes.

When I was a lifeguard working in inner city pools in Birmingham, often little
children would stand outside the gate of the pool while we were cleaning and
preparing the pool for the day. They would yell: why don't you jump in?

I often recall that child's voice, that invitation. Why don't you jump in--to
this, right here, right now? When I do, the day is not long.

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

'New' online book at Project Gutenberg: A.H.J. Greenidge, A History of Rome During the Later Republic and Early Principate (Volume I: From the Tribunate of Tiberius Gracchus to the Second Consulship of Marius, B.C. 133-104.)

Alun responds to that lecture by J. Rufus Fears ....

Classics in Contemporary Culture alerts us to some classically-inspired stuff from Racine ....

Glaukopidos points us to (among other things) a video of Maria Callas as Medea from a performance at La Scala back in 1961 ...

A couple more jokes in the Ioci Antiqui file ... this time from Macrobius and the Philogelus

Hobbyblog presents us with a rather worn/grotty -- but apparently unpublished -- coin of Gallienus ....

Over at Laudator, there's a number of posts of interest ... Samuel Johnson on Suspirius the Screech Owl ... a chunk of Erasmus which proves the continuity of human behaviour .... and another lengthy chunk inspired by Erasmus and love of pedantry ....

The convivial quotes continue over at Sympotica Graecolatina ....

This one's interesting ... Mark sent in an alert (thanks) about the existence of the AudioStoa, where someone is podcasting Epictetus' Discourses (in translation)....

We also note the existence of some sort of computer word game called Acropolis, although it doesn't appear to be Classical in anything but name .....

I came across a touristy sort of thing on Lanuvium, which might be of interest ...

There has also been a huge wave of articles repeating that story identifying Athens' plague as typhoid fever ... LO posted a link to the abstract of the original paper to the Classics list yesterday .... here's the original press release for the story ... I'll round up all the others in this weekend's Explorator, of course.
From AGI:

The "Gianfranco Merli" national environment prize was awarded to the Dianae Lacus foundation, the organization that works in the Lake of Nemi area in the Rome province. The organization has the task to rebuild one of the two roman ships that were destroyed during World War II. The prize, promoted by the environmentalist association Movimento Azzurro in collaboration with the European Foundation of Environmental Education, Bandiere Blu Italia, Libertas and Associazione Mare e Marinai, was awarded to the chiefs of Dianae Lacus with this motivation: they supported the initiative to rebuild the two roman ships that were found in the Nemi lake and that are part of the patrimony of the humanity. The prize was delivered in Rome in the premises of the Luigi Sturzo institute. The prize was awarded before Nemi mayor, lawyer Alessandro Biaggi, Diane Lacus association chiefs and Movimento Azzurro chairman Rocco Chiriaco. Dianae Lacus's project has already built a part of the first ship in the area outside the entrance of the museum of the Roman ships in Nemi. They have exposed a reconstruction of the central keel of the ship. Mayor Biaggi during today's ceremony stressed the importance given by the municipality to the valorisation of the area.

The project does have a website of long standing ...
An excerpt from a history of necklaces in Yemen Times:

In Greek mythology, Harmonia, (daughter of the Goddess Aphrodite and God of storms Ares), was gifted with a necklace made by Hephaestus on her wedding day. The necklace bestowed irresistible beauty upon the wearer. In ancient Greece, priestesses wore beaded amber necklaces because it was believed that these necklaces were the repositories of exalted energy. It is believed that Eurymachus, an Ithacan nobleman and one of the many suitors of the beautiful Penelope, had presented her a gold necklace entwined with amber.

The necklace bit in the Odyssey is in book 18 ... Pisander the son of Polyctor also gave Penelope a necklace. On who 'gifted' Harmonia, see Carlos Parada's page (scroll down to 'the wedding present').
A couple of snippets from the obituary of Telegraph columnist Michael Wharton (a.k.a. Peter Simple):


On the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Artillery, under his mother's maiden name of Wharton. After obtaining a commission, he was sent to India, where he became an intelligence officer, eventually being attached to the General Staff and rising to the rank of acting lieutenant-colonel.

Since the threat to India from both Germany and Japan was largely theoretical towards the end of the war, Wharton's restless imagination came into play. He invented the Thargs, a sect of redheaded tribesmen in the Sind Desert, descendants of Alexander the Great's soldiery who were in wireless contact with Hitler's High Command.


He reviewed a few books, but otherwise had little to do with other departments of the paper, seeming to most of his colleagues a stout, shy man who offered commonplace remarks when encountered waiting for the lift.

Nevertheless, "Peter Simple" began to build up a loyal and diversified readership, which ranged from members of the Conservative Monday Club to the Labour MP Tom Driberg, as well as those who, like his character Lt-Gen "Tiger" Nidgett of the Royal Army Tailoring Corps, were incapable of spotting the most obvious leg-pull.

A paragraph on a book called The Naked Afternoon Tea by Henry Miller prompted complaints that it was impossible to purchase. An advertisement "Learn Etruscan the Way They Did" produced a host of orders which eventually led to an announcement that the Etruscan records were sold out but that there were still stocks of Old Prussian, Aztec and Pictish; several requests inevitably followed.

A press release with some interesting info:

Secondary school students and adults looking for new perspectives on the Greek and Roman world can now learn from experienced archaeologists online. A live, online 4-week workshop that examines the origins of the Olympics is just one of several workshops that will be offered when The Lukeion Project begins its Spring session in February.

The Lukeion Project targets college-bound high school students and adults who are seeking enrichment courses on the Classical world. Its offerings fit easily into a home school education program, but are equally appropriate for traditionally schooled students, adults and hobbyists who want to explore the ancient world in a new way. The live online classroom makes use of ancient literature, images of ancient art and iconography, interactive media, and archaeological discoveries.

Regan and Amy Barr, founders of The Lukeion Project, received an interdisciplinary education that combined history, archaeology, ancient languages and literature. Together they have a combined 20 years of excavation experience at archaeological sites in Jordan, Greece and Turkey. One of the highlights of their archaeological work was participating in the joint German/American excavation at the venerable site of Troy for three seasons. Each has published articles on artifacts from Troy in the journal Studia Troica.

One thing that makes The Lukeion Project unique among online offerings is its philosophy of education. “We aren’t trying to be a one-stop shop for curriculum,” says Amy Barr. “Many online education providers start with a diverse list of subjects they want to teach and then try to find someone on their staff to teach them. We’re only about the Classical world. We focus on topics that we’re passionate about teaching, and where we have advanced degrees and first-hand experience. I don’t think you’ll find anything like this on the web without paying for accredited college courses.” Another unique feature is the library of more than 5,000 personal slides taken during the Barrs’ professional and educational pursuits over seas. Many of these images showcase sites or artifacts that are not publicly available.

Although you couldn’t tell it today, they weren’t always passionate about the ancient world. “I didn’t really enjoy history when I was in high school,” says Regan Barr. “My teachers weren’t excited about it, and they made very little reference to archaeology, art history, ancient literature, or other related disciplines that really bring history to life. It wasn’t until I’d been in college for several years that I overcame some of those early prejudices and my love for the ancient world really blossomed. We want to teach in a different way.”

The 4-week workshop format allows learners to select courses that fit personal tastes or educational paths. In addition to the workshop on the Olympics, other spring workshop topics include ancient city sites like Athens and Rome, bigger-than-life personalities like Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, and mythological characters like the Olympian gods and the Greek heroes. A full semester introductory Latin course is also available.

For additional information on The Lukeion Project, visit
Merkel et Bush convenerunt

Angela Merkel, cancellaria foederalis Germaniae nuper electa, iter statale in Civitates Americae Unitas suscepit, ut relationes politicas cum Americanis intercedentes meliores redderet.

Eo cum venisset, in Aedibus Albis cum praesidente George Bush arbitris remotis per unam fere horam de variis rebus colloquebatur.

Sermone finito ambo moderatores diurnariis confirmabant se et capaces et paratos ad cooperandum esse. Quae quamvis ita essent, tamen dissentire videbantur, quid de ergastulo Guantanamo faciendum esset.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
10.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Empire in North Africa
Journey back in time to the fertile territories of Northern Africa, which inevitably became part of the Roman Empire after the Punic Wars. Using stylish period reconstructions, location photography, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation, and commentary by leading authorities, we take viewers on a tour of what remains of the major Roman cities in the region, including the underground city of Bulla Regia, the city of Dougga, and the Colosseum of El Jem, and cover many aspects of Roman life in the colonies.
Adulatio quam similis est amicicitiae.
(Seneca, Epistulae Morales 45.7)

How similar is flattery to friendship!

(Pron = ah-doo-LAH-tee-oh kwam SIH-mih-lis ehst ah-mih-KEE-tee-ai)

Comment: I was taught very early to seek the approval of those around me,
especially the adults around me. I am confident that I am not alone in this
unfortunate dimension of my development. It meant that my only sense of self
came from outside of me, and that I had, for a long time, a difficult time with
any internal locus, little sense of a center.

This unfortunate dimension of human development (when we perpetuate it on our
children) will mean, sooner or later, that we must "find ourselves". Those who
make fun of this dimension, that is, "finding myself" are those who either have
not yet ever found themselves, or who had a fairly easy time of it. For some
of us, finding ourselves is/was hell, and we often re-visit hell as an annual

It is a worthwhile hell, though, this business of finding oneself. Without it,
every relationship, every friendship will be narcissistic. That is, every
other human encounter will only be the unformed, centerless self looking for a
mirror that will reflect back a pretty image. Every relationship will be a
quest for flattery. And that quest will produce a host of flatterers who can
only maintain the practice for so long.

A real friend will be one of those many others who become mirrors to us.
Finally, I am convinced that the whole universe can act like a mirror. Real
friends show us who we really are, and if we have found ourselves (or are at
least on the way), it's nice to have friends who stick around while we deal
with what we see!

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

ludi palatini (day 3)
incommunicado @

repartee @ Wordsmith (one of those words you rarely see in written form)

inimical @ Wordsmith
Today's thrilling ride around the roller coaster that is the Classical Blogosphere:

Over at Sauvage Noble, AM is pondering the Oscan alphabet via graffiti at Pompeii ...

Curculio has caught up with the Ioci Antiqui file, adding a couple of squibs from the Philogelos, a bit of Martial, and something from the Greek Anthology ....

Sympotica Graecolatina advises us how to keep our beer from going sour ...

Hobbyblog posts an antoninianus of Gallienus sporting an image of Laetitia (why does she have an anchor?)

We note that Classical World has been added to the collection at Project Muse ... here's the TOC of the Fall 2005 issue ...

Over at Classics Central, Deleilan answers my question about the 'Pompey' connections with Portsmouth ....

At Roman Army talk, there's an interesting discussion just getting under way on the origins of stirrups ....

Just working through the piles of discussions at Forum Ancient Coins, there's an interesting one on an AE20 of Maximianus which sports a 'beehive' or 'omphalos' and another (which points to a fuller article) on whether Caligula was the first emperor depicted with a radiate crown ....
From the Sofia News Agency:

Italy's restorers have unveiled the secret hidden in the eyes of King Sevt III's unique bronze mask discovered in Bulgaria, archeologist Georgi Kitov has said.

The sculptors who have worked on the mask probably knew a lot about chemistry too, Kitov was quoted as saying by

Italian restorer Edilberto Formili has discovered that the eyes of the unique Thracian mask were made from a glass paste mixed with alabaster and iron, which produced the brownish tint in Sevt III's look. The bottoms of the eyeballs were painted in red, which was also restored so that they look more natural, Kitov added.

Before the restoration, archaeologists in Bulgaria thought that Sevt III's eyes were made of ivory, but that turned out wrong, Kitov said.

The unique bronze head will be displayed in Italy from February 14 until mid-May. Upon its return, Bulgarian restorers, who have taken up the bronze parts, will complete the renovation.

The work of the Italian masters that took about three months has cost Bulgaria EUR 66,000 according to media reports.

The head is believed to portray King Sevt III, whose vault was found by Bulgarian archaeologists in 2004.

Back then, the oldest and largest Thracian tomb disclosed so far on Bulgarian land emerged from beneath the Golyamata Kosmatka mound.

The archaeological team's head Kitov, called also Bulgaria's "Indiana Jones" explained that the excavations have revealed a 13-metre long passage and two halls walled up with stones behind the facade.

The tomb has amazed archaeologists with its first-of-the-kind doors made of marble and decorated with human figures, iron nail imitations and blue-and-red sculptural ornaments.
From BMCR:

Giuseppe Squillace, Basileis ê tyrannoi: Filippo II e Alessandro Magno tra opposizione e consenso. Società Antiche, 6.

Victoria Emma Pagán, Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History.

Jasper Gaunt, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Great Britain, fascicule 21. Harrow School. With the collaboration of Thomas Mannack.

Zetzel on Schlegelmilch on Zetzel, Marginal Scholarship and Textual Deviance.

Jon Steffen Bruss, Hidden Presences. Monuments, Gravesites, and Corpses in Greek Funerary Epigram. Hellenistica Groningana X.

Monica Berti, Fra tirannide e democrazia. Ipparco figlio di Carmo e il destino dei Pisistratidi ad Atene. Fonti e Studi di Storia Antica, 8.

Sarah Bassett, The Urban Image of Late Antique Constantinople.

Lukas de Blois, Jeroen Bons, Ton Kessels, Dirk M. Schenkeveld, The Statesman in Plutarch's Works, Volume II: The Statesman in Plutarch's Greek and Roman Lives. Mnemosyne Suppl. 250/II.

And I think we'll begin including Theatre Reviews too:

Hecuba (New York)
A piece in the Sydney Morning Herald all about the history of guidebooks has a few paragraphs about Pausanias:

Guidebooks have undoubtedly been around for millennia - what were the Ten Commandments if not a travellers' guide to Mount Sinai? - with the oldest surviving guidebook written by a peripatetic doctor named Pausanias in about AD 160. Believed born in present-day Turkey, Pausanias travelled extensively around the Mediterranean, through Jerusalem, Jaffa, Cairo, Macedonia and Italy but it was a decade spent in Greece that resulted in Descriptions of Greece.

Written for wealthy and erudite Romans as both travelogue and guidebook, Descriptions of Greece was no 20-countries-in-200-pages handbook. Stretching across 10 volumes, it was as detailed as an instruction manual. It trawled through every moment in Greek history bar toilet stops and contained virtual brick-by-brick descriptions of Peloponnese towns, indulging especially in the sights of Delphi and Olympia.

"To modern readers, it's pretty eye-glazing stuff - reading the Description is like wading through a swamp," says Australian-born author Tony Perrottet, who followed Pausanias' trail in his book Route 66 AD. "There are fascinating gems of information in there but they get lost in the endless digression on mythological themes, and the stultifying and arcane asides on the minutiae of Greek history."

But unlike modern guidebooks, which might have a shelf life of a year or two before rising hotel and admission prices render them obsolete, Descriptions of Greece would continue to serve as a valuable guide for centuries. The Romans travelled with it; German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann used it in 1876 to uncover the ruins of Mycenae; and Perrottet, who followed it in 2000, thought it more useful than contemporary guidebooks.

"I found Pausanias a revelation. Modern guidebooks tend to take their information about the ancient world third hand, or from other guidebooks, and it has no reality, no human context. It's simply boring. You can actually follow Pausanias step by step through the greatest wonders of Greece - up the steps of the Acropolis, or through the streets of ancient Corinth - an amazing imaginative link back to antiquity."

While Descriptions of Greece has little resemblance to a modern guidebook - its bulk wouldn't get it past the mailbox of a publisher - it bears some similarity to the book that would become the genre's unlikely progenitor.

Not sure whether Strabo's Geography would be considered a guidebook in the touristy sense ...
Latest headline from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek): Chirac: "We would use nukes" - A whale in London ...
Snellman ante CC annos natus

Hoc anno ducenti anni acti sunt, cum Ioannes Guillelmus Snellman, qui philosophus Finniae nationalis appellari solet, natus est.

Haud mirum est memoriam eius bisaecularem apud nos multis sollemnitatibus per totum annum celebrari, si respicias, quantam vim ille vir ad historiam Finnorum habuerit.

Die Martis in Bibliotheca Finniae nationali expositio inaugurata est, quae inscribitur ?Ioannes Guillelmus Snellman ? cogitator Europaeus?. Proximo autumno haec eadem monstratio Berolinum transferetur in Instituto Germanico Finlandiae aperienda.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ... latest headline: Pontificiam Cohortem Helveticam quigentesimum annum ab ea condita celebrare ...
... nothing of interest.
This is interesting ... finally we have some apparent forensic evidence (as opposed to diagnosing via description) that Athens' plague was typhoid fever. From Kathimerini:

Recent findings from a mass grave in the Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos in central Athens show typhoid fever may have caused the plague of Athens, ending centuries of speculation about what kind of disease killed a third of the city’s population and contributed to the end of its Golden Age.

Examined by a group of Greek scientists coordinated by Dr Manolis Papagrigorakis of Athens University’s School of Dentistry, the findings provide clear evidence that Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi was present in the dental pulp of teeth recovered in remains from the mass grave.

The plague that decimated the population of Athens in 430-426 BC was a deciding factor in the outcome of the Peloponnesian Wars, ending the Golden Age of Pericles and Athens’s predominance in the Mediterranean.

It broke out during the siege of the city by the Spartans in the early summer of 430 BC; after a brief hiatus in 428 BC, the epidemic returned in the winter of 427 BC and lasted until the winter of the following year. It is assumed that one-third of the Athenians, including one-fourth of their army and their charismatic leader, Pericles, perished in the epidemic.

All data pertaining to the disease’s outbreak and its clinical characteristics were until now based on the account by the fifth-century-BC Greek historian Thucydides, who himself fell ill with the plague but recovered. In his famous history of the Peloponnesian Wars, Thucydides gives detailed descriptions that have formed the basis of several hypotheses regarding its nature. However, researchers had never managed to agree on the identity of the plague due to the lack of definite microbiological proof in the absence of paleopathologic evidence. Several pathogens have been putatively implicated in the emergence and spreading of the disease.

In recent decades, molecular biology tools (DNA PCR and sequencing techniques) have made it possible to detect and, furthermore, specifically identify microbial DNA fragments in ancient human skeletal remains, thus making possible the retrospective diagnoses of ancient diseases.

In 1994-1995, under the supervision of archaeologist Effi Baziotopoulou-Valavani for the Fourth Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Ephorate, excavations of a mass burial pit unearthed in the Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos in Athens provided the required skeletal material for the investigation of ancient microbial DNA.

The grave yielded the remains of about 150 individuals and were dated, through archaeological site documentation, to around the time of the plague outburst between 430-426 BC. The remains were found piled up in a manner that indicated a hasty burial without the usual care dictated by the respect that ancient Greeks usually showed for the dead.

Dental pulp was the material of choice in this research, as its good vascularization, durability and natural sterility has proven to be an ideal source of ancient DNA, also providing for the recovery of adequate genetic material of specific septicemic microorganisms which after death remain trapped in the dental pulp and become mummified.

Using modern laboratory methods under strict sterile conditions at the molecular neurobiology laboratory at Athens University’s medical school, the research team first found the existence of microbial DNA in the dental pulp. This DNA was then separated and subjected to successive tests to identify which of the possible microbes was linked in the past with the Athens plague.

Teeth from three different skeletons were examined. After six negative results from six candidate microbes, a positive reaction was found for Salomonella enterica serovar Typhi, which is responsible for the appearance of typhoid fever.

The correspondence with the genes examined in the ancient DNA with known sequences of the contemporary form of the microbe was as high as 99 percent.

This evidence allowed for a definite conclusion regarding the microbes found in the teeth of the three bodies from the mass burial pit — the presumed victims of the Athens plague.

Typhoid fever almost certainly played a part in causing the Athens plague, either exclusively or in combination with another — and so far unknown — infection.

Even today, typhoid fever is a major health problem on a global scale. Every year there are about 20 million new cases that lead to about 600,000 deaths in the developing world where overpopulation, inadequate water supplies and hygiene, as well as poor access to health services, allow epidemics to spread with tragic results.

Overcrowding and resultant public health problems — as well as standards of personal hygiene — in the besieged city of Athens in 430 BC as described by Thucydides would have been sufficient to allow the disease to appear and then develop into a deadly epidemic.

The scientifically documented diagnosis of typhoid fever is in accordance with many of the clinical characteristics of the Athens plague as described by Thucydides. The differences in the modern form of the disease from Thucydides’ references pose another challenge for the Greek research team.

Studying the historical aspects of infectious diseases can be a powerful tool for several disciplines to learn from. We believe this report to be of outstanding importance for many scientific fields, since it sheds light on one of the most debated enigmas in medical history. Archaeology, paleontology, history, paleopathology, certain fields of medicine, anthropology and even genetics, molecular biology and studies on evolution are clearly implicated in such matters and can benefit from relevant studies.

The results of this particular study are extremely important as they shed light on one of the greatest mysteries in world history. Also important is the fact that the research was organized, carried out and completed by Greek scientists at Greek research centers, under the aegis of Athens University.

(1) Dr Papagrigorakis is an assistant professor at Athens University’s School of Dentistry.

The other authors of the study, published today in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, are geneticist Christos Yiapitzakis, orthodontist Philippos Synodinos and archaeologist Effi Baziotopoulou-Valavani.
Issue 8.39 of our Explorator newletter has been posted ... as has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ... both at out Classics Central Forum, of course ...
Blogographos points us to a piece on the Rolling Stones use of boustrophedon ...

ARLT has a couple of posts ... one ... two ... on the ongoing controversy over Tottenham's decision to take its Latin motto off its crest ...

There's another coin of Cornelia Salonina at Hobbyblog ...

Laudator has a couple of posts of interest ... one on Cena Dubia and the other on the Knight of Cheerful Countenance ...

Sauvage Noble presents the prayer from Macrobius which is used in the evocatio ritual ...

Project Gutenberg appears to have updated its version of Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome ...
From Kathimerini:

Earthquakes were responsible for the destruction of a Minoan settlement on the island of Karpathos. That was the conclusion drawn following excavations conducted last year at Fournoi Afiatis on Karpathos under the direction of Manolis Melas, a professor of archaeology. The dig was part of a research program by the Dimokritio University of Thrace.

The ceramic fragments scattered about the fields facing the buildings and stratigraphic data showed that the area to the northeast of the settlement was first used in the Minoan palatial era.

But the excavation revealed that some 2,000 years later, at the end of the Late Roman period, the area was again in use.

The dig began in 2001 and uncovered the remains of stone foundations and the floors of two houses and also of farm walls from the same period.

As the excavator said: “It was a low, even elevation running northwest of a compact fallen stone roof, opposite which was built a light, ellipse-shaped, inclined supporting wall. The sides of the flat area meet a supporting wall made of carved rocks that was probably part of a rectangular surrounding wall.” In the breach running lengthwise at the front of the roof can be seen an area used for multiple purposes in the Minoan palatial age. Among the finds is a section of cobbled area and paved area with part of the ancient dirt floor.

There were also two or three millstones, dozens of stone fragments of different sizes but the same texture as the fallen roof which, according to Melas, “indicates the processing of building materials.”

The first phase of the settlement is estimated to have come to an end somewhere near the end of the palatial period, probably during the course of a major earthquake, possibly the same one that caused the rock to fall on the roof of the house that was discovered last year, making the roof fall suddenly, crushing the remaining structures and equipment.”

The second phase seems to have started with some work to protect and adapt the area facing the fallen roof, where the one-sided wall was built. The foundations of another wall and two more transverse walls show they belong to a plan to surround the area with stone walls, probably to cater to new activities.

“The area below and to the southwest of the roof is one of the most suitable in the settlement for residence and everyday activities,” said Melas.

The presence of humans is confirmed by the infrastructure and the floor surfaces as well as the ceramics.

The excavators have discovered interesting architecture, including some evidence of a Minoan structure, possibly roofed. A low rocky wall stretches from the southern corner of the site and in front of a later post, where it seems to form the base of a main wall, a row of plaque-shaped stones fitted on top of one another.

The dividing wall, which intersects the others at right angles, is an interesting way of supporting the roof that is familiar from traditional architecture of the area and the Minoan building in the center of the settlement. The surrounding wall, which appears to have been used to fence in animals, is well built and ends with a massive conglomerate post which evidently served as entrances in the Roman era and seem to have been “implanted” into the Minoan foundations, Melas explained. The transverse wall which meets it and the fallen roof fell during an earthquake, probably in the late Roman period.
Yesterday's Frank and Ernest:

From ANSA:

Archaeologists working in Sicily's Valley of the Temples have found traces of a settlement thought to pre-date the famous Greek temples built there in around 600 BC .

The valley near Agrigento on Sicily's southern coast is one of Europe's most important archeological sites. It marks a sacred area built when Greeks landed there to start the civilisation of Magna Grecia in southern Italy .

The discovery of a structure possibly built before the Greeks arrived came during preparatory work ahead of a project to shore up the ground near the Temple of Hera. Archaeologists uncovered a mysterious walled structure on top of which ancient Greeks had apparently built a shrine and a burial ground .

Until now it has been thought that Agrigento was settled by the Greeks soon after they began starting colonies in much of the Mediterranean in the 7th century BC .

"It has not yet been possible to establish precisely when these remains date back to," cautioned Pietro Meli, head of the agency which administrates the Valley of the Temples archaeological park .

Meli said fixing a date would be possible if and when archaeologists found pieces of clay vessels or ceramics, which would provide clear evidence .

He noted that the settlement appeared to have been built along the line of the ancient road to Gela, a town about 70 km southeast of Agrigento .

Several finds dating back to ancient Greek and early Christian times were also made recently. Experts found what appeared to be a Christian burial ground and an earlier Greek temple, digging up small statues, incense holders and lanterns .

There are eight temples, most of them well-preserved, in the Valley of the Temples. In the 5th century BC, at the height of Agrigento's power and wealth, there are said to have been 21 temples there .

"I'm sure there's still a lot waiting to be discovered," Meli said .

The present site, which draws thousands of tourists a year, was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 .
Novum lexicon Latinum editum

Die Iovis in urbe Helsinki novum dictionarium Latinum, cui nomen ?Lexicon hodiernae Latinitatis Finno-Latino-Finnicum?, palam factum est.

Hunc librum sumptu Societatis Litterarum Finnicarum editum composuerunt Tuomo Pekkanen et Reijo Pitkäranta.

Prima glossarii parte continentur amplius decem milia vocum in sermone moderno Finnico obviarum cum interpretamentis earum Latinis.

In secunda autem voluminis parte haec eadem vocabula ordine verso exhibentur. Huc accedit index nominum geographicorum maximi momenti.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ... latest headline: Osama bin Laden novas caedes praenuntiare
Official description:

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences grew out of the “Accademia dei Lincei”. A tough title to translate as the Italian word “lincei” refers to lynxes. But if you know Latin you'll connect that word to a well-known proverb which links sharpness of wit to this wild beast...

... listen
7.00 p.m. |DTC| Colosseum: A Gladiator's Story
In ancient Rome, Verus fights his way out of slavery to train as a gladiator. He is chosen to fight in the inaugural games at an extraordinary amphitheatre. The games of the Colosseum involved killing and torture and they lasted for hundreds of years.
I'm not sure whether this will be a regular feature on Saturdays, but we'll try it for a couple of weeks:

Classics in Contemporary Culture returns with a Classical excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s last speech ...

At Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, PH has an interesting post on Maps, perception of geographical space, and the study of cultural life in the Roman world

Hobbyblog presents a sestertius of Gallienus sporting an image of Felicitas ...

N.S. Gill presents us with a handful of quotes -- attributed and genuine -- from Alexander the Great over at ...

The Stoa announces the availability of xml versions of a pile of neo-Latin colloquia scholastica ...

A 'new' online book: Mary Mills Patrick, Sextus Empiricus and Greek Scepticism (1897 thesis at Project Gutenberg)

This was mentioned all over the place last week and I was saving it for a slow news day, but I think the ClassiCarnival thing overrides that strategy ... the Mystereis of Eleusis site at Cornell has a whack of images of inscriptions and the like. (Firefox users will probably want to make use of their 'open in IE' extension to look at this; it uses popups) ...

... today we're going to try to figure out if we can find an efficient way to alert folks to interesting forum conversations and the feasibility of including links to tocs/abstracts from journals ...
From the BBC:

A Roman grave has been uncovered during building works at a school in Cheddar in Somerset.

Construction of the new IT block at the Kings of Wessex School was paused when the skeleton was found during digging of a gas main.

Experts believe it be of a man aged about 50, who was buried in a coffin and was probably a pagan.

County council archaeologist, Steven Membery, described the discovery as a "really significant find."

"Although we think he was probably buried in the late Roman period, about 1600 years ago it is possible that he actually lived in the Dark Ages in the 5th or 6th centuries AD," he said.

"We are sending off a bone for radio-carbon dating to discover exactly when this individual died."

The man is thought to have been buried fully clothed as shown by the preserved hobnails from his boots and a copper alloy earring found near his skull.

Archaeologist Heidi Dawson, who recorded and excavated the skeleton, said: "He had been buried orientated north-south which indicates he was a pagan, as Christian graves are normally east-west."

Experts are continuing to monitor the construction work.
Excerpt from a piece in the Independent on the history of brothels:

The first brothels proper seem to have been in ancient Egypt. Some historians suggest prostitution was not common until the influence of Greek and Mesopotamian travellers took hold. But, in the times of the later Pharaohs, dancing women and musicians were used to recruit men into brothels. Herodotus said a Greek prostitute called Rhopopis was so successful in Egypt she built a pyramid from her takings.

But certainly it was the Greeks who first put the brothel on an official footing. The celebrated Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon founded state brothels and taxed prostitutes on their earnings in the 5th century BC. They were staffed by hetaerae (companions) who ranged from slaves and other lowclass women to those of the upper ranks. The cost of sex was one obole, a sixth of a drachma and the equivalent of an ordinary worker's day salary. For that you got intercourse but nothing oral, which Greek women had a distaste for, although hetaerae were commonly beaten for refusing.

The Romans were keen on sex. There can be few languages richer than Latin in the pornographic, with dozens of terms for prostitutes and different sexual acts. Waitresses in taverns usually sold sexual services. Prostitutes set themselves up at the circus, under the arches (fornices - hence fornication). Official prostitutes were registered by the police and their activities were regulated. Rent from a brothel was a legitimate source of income for a respectable man.

Not all brothels were the same. Those in the Second District of the City were very dirty but the brothels of the Peace ward, were sumptuously fitted. Hairdressers stood by to repair the ravages of amorous combats. Aquarioli, or water boys, waited by the door with bidets for ablution. The superior prostitutes had immense influence on Roman fashions in hair, dress and jewellery.

To attract trade, the houses had an emblem of Priapus in wood or stone above the door "frequently painted to resemble nature more closely" as one ancient historian delicately put it.

Several such advertising standards have been recovered from the ruins of Pompeii where a large brothel was found called the Lupanar - lupae (she-wolves) were a particular kind of sex worker known to be skilled with their tongues.

Among the fossilised ruins were what our delicate historian called "instruments used in gratifying unnatural lusts" which "in praise of our modern standards of morality, it should be said that it required some study and thought to penetrate the secret of the proper use of several of these instruments".
Nice weekend reading from the Times:

BRONZE COINS from the 3rd and 4th centuries, found at the site of a dried-up stream near Bromley in South London, merited a small item in The Times this week because the chap who found them, an archaeologist with Thames Water, said they suggested that the Ancient Romans threw coins into the water for luck.

Yes, my first thought, like yours, was: “Fat lot of blooming good it did them, seeing as by AD430 the Roman administration in Britain had collapsed and we were back in the Iron Age.”

And, yes, my second thought, like yours, was: “How is it evidence that they threw coins in the water for luck? If anything, it is evidence that it was as dangerous to go out with cash in your pocket in South London in the 4th century as it is today, and these coins were the by-product of a clumsy mugging.”

And then my third thought was of some poor Roman pitching up at the Forum in his chariot thinking he had change for the meter but realising all he had was a hole in his toga pocket.

And then my fourth thought, obviously, was: “Hang on, an archaeologist with Thames Water? An archae-bleeding-ologist? What is Thames Water doing having archaeologists? No wonder my £350 annual bill gets me little more than a hosepipe ban all summer and water pressure in the upstairs bathroom like an old man’s fifth widdle of the morning.”

But then I paused, and took a breath, and thought more deeply about the implications of the find. And I decided that I was rather disappointed.

I had thought that Roman Britons were locked in a theological struggle to reconcile old polytheistic traditions with the Christianity that was sweeping the empire. I thought that when seeking after supernal consolation our Latinophone forefathers were torn, at this point in history, between prostrating themselves before their lares and penates and accepting the literal transubstantiation of the Host. I had no idea that the best they could do in times of great stress or hardship was to lob their spare shrapnel in the river.

(In using the term Roman Britons, by the way, I am aware of the terminological sensitivities of mixed-culture communities in this country, and mean also to include those who consider themselves British Romans, or, indeed, Brito-Romans or Romano-Britons, and also Britons of a Roman Persuasion.) The thing is that only very, very dim people chuck money in water. Which is why it happens mostly around fountains and ponds at theme parks, out-of-town shopping centres and Trafalgar Square. Rather than, say, in the urinals at the British Library, or in the River Cherwell (except in the long vac when Oxford is turned over to American students for the summer).

In fact, only very dim people are superstitious at all. It’s why footballers make a big deal out of which boot they put on first, whereas theoretical physicists looking for ever more symmetrical ways of describing the natural world in the form of a mathematical model, generally speaking, do not. It’s why the Daily Mail employs an astrologer, and The Times doesn’t.

So what this find actually proves, when you bring it down to basics, is that, for all their roads and their plumbing and their jurisprudence and their epic poetry, the Romans were actually extremely dim.

Or, more likely, the Romans arrived in Britain fairly bright, but after three or four hundred years of living in close proximity to the British, they gradually became dim.

They arrived on these shores saying things like Veni, vidi, vici and In hoc signo vinces and Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes but after a century or two in Bromley could manage nothing better than: “Werl, you ask me, it’s VI of one and half a XII of the other.”

They no doubt imported the principals of the Circus Maximus from Rome but as time wore on gradually gave in to British demands for “reality circus”, which involved putting a dozen members of the public in the ring for a month and watching them call each other slags. And when this got boring they presumably started doing it with “celebrities”, including former gladiators, oracles, actors and orators — giving rise to a kerfuffle over what that Visigoth-loving senator Georgus Gallowus was doing in there.

In the early years of the occupation I imagine they were still reading their Virgil and their Horace and their Herodotus but within a generation had given in to the local preference for children’s books about schoolboy wizards, and were saying to each other: “I never knew reading could be so much fun.”

I dare say that, as the decades passed, they began to fritter all their money away on a national lottery despite odds on even a small win being MMMMMMMMMMMMM- MMMMMMMMMMMMM to I. And when their friends tried to explain to them that that meant the sky was more likely to fall on your head they weren’t in the least bit put off, because they thought that was pretty likely.

And so we learn that the decline and fall of the Roman Empire came about not because of corruption or deflation or incipient softness or military weakness or orgies or buggery, but because they were just too thick to go on living. Either that, or they didn’t throw enough money in the river.
Excerpt from a piece on WorldNet Daily:

Suicide or euthanasia, under extenuating circumstances had no early philosophical opposition. It was advocated by Pythagoras, Plato, Cicero, Epictetus and Seneca. Suicide was committed by Hannibal, Diogenes, Socrates, Cleopatra and Aristotle, who like Seneca chose the lesser of two evils. It seems foolish to brand all of these leaders as either insane or cowardly.

Hmmm ... I had forgotten that Hannibal committed suicide ... I'm not sure which Diogenes they're talking about ... Socrates is debatable ... Cleopatra yes ... I'm not sure how many people buy the Aristotle suicide thing ... Seneca yes ...
The incipit of a piece from the Guardian:

Tottenham have been criticised for their decision to drop the Latin signature from the club badge. The logo "Audere est Facere", which translates as "to dare is to do", has been left off the new badge in favour of a retro design.

Dr Peter Jones, joint founder of the charity Friends of Classics, said: "I wonder whether David Beckham would appreciate it as he's covered in Latin tattoos. It strikes me as a shame to lose it. It seems pointless to me and sums up the contempt football clubs have for their fans.

"The point is that in the 19th century a Latin signature gave status and quality to a club. I suspect that football clubs now regard it as an anomaly, not as something that gives a status to it. A logo in another language is something of great importance."

The Tottenham captain Ledley King, meanwhile, has said Sven-Goran Eriksson will be backed by his squad despite his comments regarding a number of England players to an undercover journalist. ...

Just for the record, a few years ago (I believe), Arsenal removed their Latin motto (Victoria Concordia Crescit) ... other FA Premier League that I managed to track down this a.m., which I'm not sure are still being used: Queen's Park Rangers (Ludere causa ludendi) ... Manchester City (Superbia in proelio) ... Blackburn Rovers (Arte et labore) .. there's a pile too at, but I'm not sure of the 'professional' level of many of these teams; looks like a lot of Latin mottoes were dropped in the '90s.

On a semi-related note, I learned that Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompey and one of the chants they sing (which, by the way, are as mysterious to all North American ears as they are to me) is the Pompey Chimes. Can't find the origin of the nickname ...
I'm trying to figure out a way to include pointers to various conversations going on in various fora in my ClassiCarnival feature ... does anyone know of a program or (ideally) a firefox extension that would efficiently check the 'your new messages' section of forums you're subscribed to?
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Gaugamela
Return to the scene of one Alexander the Great's most decisive battles, where he wrested control of the Persian Empire from Darius III. Using cutting-edge computer gaming technology, we recreate the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. Host Matthew Settle (Band of Brothers) travels to an area north of Babylon, handpicked by Darius for his cavalry-led army. But Alexander created a typically brilliant plan of attack, marked by speed and superior discipline, to win one of the finest victories of his illustrious career.

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

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece
The ancient Greeks built the first theatres, staged the first sports events and worshipped in some of the most spectacular temples ever built. From prehistoric palaces to bold symbols of victory, explore the wonders of this ancient civilization.
ante diem xiii kalendas februarias

ludi palatini (??)

175 A.D. -- Commodus is enrolled in all the priestly colleges

225 A.D. (or 226) -- birth of the future emperor Gordian III

c. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pope Fabian at Rome

c. 288 A.D. -- martyrdom of Sebastian at Rome
frisson @

sussuration @

pauciloquy @ Worthless Word for the Day

trepid @ Wordsmith

reconciliation @ OED

... and one will want to take the weekly trip to Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
woohoo! ... the term 'ClassiCarnival' now appears in Google ... here's today's calliope ride around the Classical blogosphere:

Bread and Circuses alerts us to the fact that the Last Legion -- a movie about Romulus Augustulus' days -- is now in production ... there are also some musings about the Bay of Naples as an ancient holiday destination ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Eric has come across a reference to the Aeneid in Proba's Cento ... (by the way, you'll find refs in Pliny and Plautus, among other places)

Hobbyblog has another antoninianus of Salonina ... with Salus holding a snake on the other side .... a coin of Valerian has also just been posted a second or two ago

Roman Scholars has a feature on Dr. John Patterson ... MH's Roman Archaeology page also points to an interesting controversy about some pots which might hail from J.R.R. Tolkein's (!) dig at the Lindsey Park Estate ...

Sympotica graecolatina has an interesting Latin quotation on Japanese hospitality ...

Whither Martialis? ... and Classics in Contemporary Culture?
Explorator reader HC sent this one in (thanks!) ... the article is from An-Nahar and in Arabic, which I don't read, but it has a pile of photos from an excavation in Beirut of a Roman Gymnasium and villa ...
From USA Today:

Archaeologists digging beneath the Roman Forum have discovered a 3,000-year-old tomb that pre-dates the birth of ancient Rome by several hundred years.

State TV Thursday night showed an excavation team removing vases from the tomb, which resembled a deep well.

Archaeologists were excavating under the level of the ancient forum, a popular tourist site, when they dug up the tomb, which they suspect is part of an entire necropolis, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

"I am convinced that the excavations will bring more tombs to light," ANSA quoted Rome's archaeology commissioner, Eugenio La Rocca, as saying.

Also found inside the tomb was a funerary urn, ANSA said.

State TV quoted experts as saying the tomb appeared to date to about 1,000 B.C., meaning the people who constructed the necropolis pre-dated the ancient Romans by hundreds of years.

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god of war, Mars.

Last year, archaeologists who have been digging for some two decades in the forum said they believed they found evidence of a royal palace roughly dating to the period of the legendary founding.

A photo accompanies the coverage of the same story via the Sydney Morning Herald ... we'll keep our eye open for more details. I wonder if something like this is the origin of the 'mundus' (the gate to the underworld) which was opened during Lemuria ...
A piece from Science on how humans are 'hardwired' for geometry will probably be popping up all over the place ... it includes this bit:

For thousands of years, people have wondered if the basics of geometry came naturally to all humans or if they were something you had to learn through instruction or cultural experiences. According to Plato’s writings, Socrates attempted to determine how well an uneducated slave in a Greek household understood geometry, and eventually concluded that the slave’s soul “must have always possessed this knowledge.”

While a slave in a Greek household would have been introduced to aspects of geometry through the Greek language and culture, the Mundurukú villagers who participated in the new study did not have this head start. Nevertheless, the 14 Mundurukú children, as young as 6 years old, and the 30 adults who were quizzed by anthropologist Pierre Pica from Paris VIII University did well on the basic geometry test.

... not sure what test Plato used, but I doubt anyone will seriously consider the test they did do (examples in the whole article) 'geometry' in anything except a very loose sense.
I didn't see this in the Globe and Mail yesterday, and, alas, any further comment on it is behind a subscription thing, but FWIW:

Liberal Odysseus not able to keep suitors at bay

Come election day, we voters will string our bows like mighty Odysseus and massacre the suitors now crowding our houses.

... and they say Canadian elections are boring ...
An image of Mary has appeared on the wall of a Maine house after a house fire ... interesting photo ...
Fodinae in Sinis periculosae

Regimini Sinarum est propositum claudere quinque milia ducentas nonaginta fodinas carbonis.

Iam antea moderatores Sinenses praeceptis monitisque contenderunt, ut securitas fodinarum melior redderetur, sed haud multum effecerunt.

Fodinae Sinensium periculosissimae in toto orbe terrarum sedes operis adhuc sunt. Incendiis, explosionibus aliisque calamitatibus in fodinis factis plus quina milia operariorum singulis annis moriuntur.

Magistratus dicunt maiorem partem calamitatum in fodinis parvorum vicorum fieri. Nunc autem consilium captum est, ut condiciones securitatis plus duodecim milium fodinarum carbonis accuratius examinarentur et inspicerentur.

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

... and for news in that other Classical language, Akropolis World News has a new entry ... latest headline: Olmert, in control of Israel's "nuclear briefcase" - Museum loses 38-ton sculpture
Interesting piece from Holy Cross Magazine about folklore associated with the college -- specifically, the 'Fenwick Exorcism' -- the whole article is worth a read, but the conclusion (a visit to the 'exorcism room') is interesting:

Unlocking the door at the top of the "Stairs to Nowhere" reveals a flight of six steps leading to yet another door. A sign, in red, reads: Only Authorized Maintenance Personnel Allowed Beyond This Point. One thinks of Dante and Virgil at a similar portal.

The "Exorcism Room" is tall and surprisingly bright and airy, about 35 feet long and 25 feet wide—with windows on two sides, through which one sees a sweeping view of Worcester. In one corner is a small storage loft. The varnish on the hardwood floor has been worn down to the bare wood in places, and the walls are cracked with age. On one side, an electrical conduit, torn from its moorings, hangs limply.

These days the Exorcism Room falls under the aegis of the alumni and development offices, and most of its contents reflect the work of that department. There are Holy Cross T-shirts, Holy Cross banners and Holy Cross hats. There are pamphlets and brochures extolling the benefits of giving to the College. There are boxes upon boxes of fancily packaged tchotchkes bearing the Holy Cross colors and insignia to be handed out to generous alumni: tie-tacks, name-tag holders, Christmas tree ornaments, silver bowls and knights' helmets.

With the opening of every box of knickknacks, the color purple glows warmly from within. But there are two items—a bag of balloons marked "purple" and a Holy Cross tie—that stand out from everything else. They have both turned inexplicably and profoundly black.

Just off the Exorcism Room, beneath the storage loft, is a smaller room filled with the mustiness and genteel friability of an antiquarian's den. There are disposed-of filing cabinets containing lesson plans, worksheets, class records and even student recommendations dating back to the 1960s. The walls are lined with books, mostly by classical authors. The giants of the classical pantheon are well represented, including Homer, Euripides and Aristophanes in the original Greek, and Virgil, Horace and Juvenal in the original Latin. There are countless copies of Harkness' First Greek Book, a hugely popular introduction to the language that was first published in 1850. The only artifact in the room even suggesting modernity is a hefty Webcor tape recorder that was in use during the late 1950s.

But in this room, this sanctum sanctorum (or rather, this impium impiorum) of Holy Cross' most enduring legend of the Dark Side, one may indeed find the handiwork of Old Nick.

On the floor, among the yellowing grammars and readers and lesson plans generations old, is a book with a bright scarlet cover. No, it is not a text on demonology, nor a record of the horrific exorcism that took place within those walls. Worse, it is a vocabulary to aid in the reading of Demosthenes' Orations. Worse still, its publisher—cue shrieking Hitchcockian violins, the cackling of devils and the groans of the damned—is Boston College.

Classics -- gets the demons out.
From the Arts Briefly column in the New York Times:

A sweeping United States ban on the import of Etruscan, Greek and Roman artifacts from Italy has been extended for five years, the State Department said yesterday. The ban, part of a broader agreement between the countries on protecting Italy's cultural heritage, has come under scrutiny in recent months as Italy pursues an aggressive campaign to retrieve antiquities from several top American museums. Archaeologists and cultural property experts hailed the original accord, which took effect in 2001, as an effective tool against the looting of archaeological sites. In announcing the extension, the State Department commended recent initiatives by Italy to lend more archaeological material to American museums for longer terms. Its also cited Italian police reports indicating that archaeological looting in Italy remains "a severe problem" and that much of the looted material is destined for the United States. Art dealers have argued that the ban blocks legitimate trading in artifacts that are already well represented in Italian collections. And some museum officials assert that Italy has not increased its cultural cooperation as called for in the pact, known as a memorandum of understanding.
Dorothy King's book is definitely drawing media attention to the Marbles again ... from the BBC:

Archaeologist Dorothy King, who breaks the mould of the dusty academic, is an outspoken critic of Greek demands to take back the Elgin Marbles from the UK.

"I think she sounds fun," Dorothy King says of Melina Mercouri, "I wish I could have been friends with her - a bit of a drama queen, but aren't we all?"

Ms Mercouri was the Oscar-nominated actress and Greek culture minister who demanded that the UK return the Parthenon sculptures - the Elgin Marbles - "in the name of fairness and morality".

But standing firm against her is Dr King, who argues in her new book against repatriating the Marbles. Like Ms Mercouri, she is a colourful character. She is irreverent and feisty, with a blog called PhDiva, and she speaks her mind on a range of issues in newspaper columns and on TV.

Not that she absolutely rules out the return of the Parthenon sculptures, removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th Century, although her book keeps up her attack on the Greeks' ability to look after their archaeological treasures properly.

"When the Greeks can demonstrate that they too have done an admirable job of caring for the Marbles in Athens then, perhaps, we can discuss a loan.

"Should Greece ever sort out a suitable museum display, it might be possible to appreciate them [the Marbles] there fully one day," she says in her book.

New home for old treasures

Her stance - that a loan might be possible one day - is not what those who want the Marbles to stay in London want to hear. "I think a lot of the people who want them to stay are not happy because they thought I'd be firmer," she says.

Design plan for the New Acropolis Museum
The controversial new museum
The Greeks are building a new museum in which they want to unite their own Parthenon sculptures with those held in London and around the world at the foot of the Acropolis - within sight of the Parthenon temple itself. And they have been praised for the recent cleaning of the slabs taken down from the Parthenon's west frieze in 1983.

So does this mean the Greeks have met the conditions she sets in her book for "perhaps discussing a loan"? Not at all, says Dr King, who hates the new museum.

"I don't think it should have been built," she says, pointing out that distinguished Greek archaeologists have protested at the destruction of archaeological remains to build the museum.

But the Greek authorities and their supporters insist that the museum's plans have been altered precisely so as to preserve early Christian remains underneath - and to enable them to be seen by visitors through transparent panels in the floor.

This cuts little ice with Dr King, who says there are eight or nine layers of remains under the museum.

Left: Marbles in the British Museum, and right, the west frieze in Athens (photo S Mavrommatis©)
Parts of the frieze in London, left, and in Athens
And as for the cleaned frieze, she says: "Anyone who saw the condition of the west frieze in Athens next to the Elgin Marbles in London would immediately decide that the Marbles in London should stay there."

But when the museum finally opens, surely we will know then that whatever has happened in the past, the London carvings will be safe in Athens?

"Three months of 'let's look after our Marbles v 50 years of 'let's ignore them and damage them' does not add up to a good track record," she says.

Patina or whitewash?

On no subject is she more scornful than what supporters of their return lovingly call the "honey-brown patina" formed on some of the Parthenon carvings in Greece. They say the patina forms naturally as marble ages and it contains precious surface details of the carvings - and lament the fact that it was lost on many of the London sculptures during a controversial cleaning in the 1930s with metal tools.

Virtual reconstruction of the Parthenon sculptures
Dr King calls it "brown sludge", and says it is almost certainly a whitewash that the Ottomans applied to the Parthenon when they turned it into a mosque, and which has turned brown over time.

As for the 1930s cleaning, the Greeks used similar techniques for much longer, she says: "It happened a long time ago and I think it's very hypocritical of the Greeks considering how white and shiny their own sculptures are."

As for the book, it is a wide-ranging romp through the history of Athens and the temples of the Acropolis, spoiled a little by a few mistakes that have enabled some of Dr King's opponents to make fun of her.

Is she confident that the British will resist calls to send the marbles back to Athens? "Who knows what's going to happen in the future? I like Athens so if they did go back it would just be an excuse to go."
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.
Tam deest avaro quod habet quam quod non habet.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 628)

The greedy person lacks as much of what he has as what he does not have.

(pron = tahm DAY-ehst ah-WAH-roh kwohd HA-bet kwam kwohd nohn HA-bet)

Comment: What do you have? How often do we ask ourselves that question?
Aren't we inclined to focus more on what we do not have?

Where did that pattern insert itself into us? This is not a rhetorical
question. Take some time today. Consider (if this even applies to you) when
it was and from whom it was that you first learned to focus on what you lack
than on what you have.

Whatever and whomever you come up with, the point is not to blame anyone else,
but to identify where the pattern came from and to acknowledge that it does not
really belong to you.

If you are willing, let it go. Let it go back to where it came from. Now, what
are you left with? What do you have? That was the original question.

A greedy person usually has quite a lot, and never, ever sees that. And so, he
or she is as destitute in his/her riches as in his/her losses.

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

Ludi Palatini (day 3)

c. 155 A.D. -- martyrdom of Germanicus in Smyrna

169 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pontianus

c. 251 A.D. -- martyrdom of Messalina
ergo @

evitable @ Merriam-Webster

... and this week's My Word! feature at the Classics Technology Center looks at 'Ad Words in Latin' ...
We opened this series with some items from Byblosantiques, a dealer operating out of Lebanon and today I return to an item from them for a couple of reasons. First, there appears to be some effort to include more details about provenance, although 'from the collection of Mr. Dagher in Beirut' seems to me to be on par with 'from the collection of Mr. Smith in Toronto'. I also continue to be disturbed that all these sculptures -- which seem to be all dated 100 A.D. -- just don't look right. And they all have the identical patina. In addition to today's, for example, there are these past auctions (you might have to be a registered eBay user to look at these) ... a head 'from 100 AD' (which PTR drew our attention to last week), which ended up going for 510.00 ... a similarly-dated female head ... a similarly-dated male head ... another head ... I'm not sure if it's my imagination, but the lips on all these pieces are identical. There is some variation in the treatment of the eyes, although some of the eyes strike me as being more appropriate for something a 'couple of hundred years later'. Of course, all the bidding on these is private ...
Around the Classical Blogosphere today:

Over at ARLT there are a couple of posts of note ... first is a reaction to that paper by J. Rufus Fears which we mentioned (again) in yesterday's ClassiCarnival ... next, ARLT points us to a review in the Independent of a controversial drama (also using the ancient world for modern purposes) called The Romans in Britain (not sure how long the review will stay available) ...

Alun has posted a lengthy summary of a talk he is going to give on the role religion plays in social order and the like (includes images of slides!) ...

Hobbyblog posts a nice silvered antoninianus of Diocletian which has some great detail (I always picture the folks in the coin doing a 'victory lap' around the field with the Nike they're being presented with)...

The Stoa announces that 'repairs have been made' which allows the 'missing' material on Homer and Olynthus to be accessed again ...

Today's quote at Sympotica Graecolatina is on the perfect sauce for moray eel ...

Over at PhDiva, Dorothy King points out one of the difficulties with Hillary Clinton's (and many others, I suspect) stance on the Elgin Marbles ...

Another joke has been added to the Ioci Antiqui file for January over at Curculio (I think) ...

Humbul's Classics Resources page has added the online version of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum ...
From the Lariat:

The classics department welcomed its first guest professor from overseas as a visiting scholar for the spring semester.

Dr. Peter Arzt-Grabner is an assistant professor at the University of Salzburg in Austria, where he specializes in papyrology, the study of documents written on paper made from the papyrus plant.

During his 2004 visit to the Pruett Memorial Symposium, Arzt-Grabner met Dr. Alden Smith, chairman of the classics department, who later offered the invitation to Baylor.

Smith said a visit from such a distinguished scholar is a unique experience for students.

"We are very gratified and honored to have Dr. Arzt-Grabner among the faculty and students," Smith said. "It's great because students get to meet a famous scholar who shows such a deep interest in his work."

Arzt-Grabner arrived in Waco on Jan. 6 and began his seminar Jan. 12.

As a visiting scholar, Arzt-Grabner will teach one seminar, readings from Greek Literature, in which he will cover the impact of papyri on the New Testament in comparison with today's life.

"These papyri give a deeper insight on what was going on in everyday life and how people in those days might have understood the New Testament text," Arzt-Grabner said.

Arzt-Grabner teaches a similar course at the University of Salzburg.

Arzt-Grabner said his goal as a visiting scholar this semester is for students to enjoy studying documentary papyri, where he said he hopes they find similarities between their lives and the lives of people in the New Testament.

"Of course, we have computers now and technology is much different, but they had almost the same problems in their families: relationships, taxes, financial debts and solving problems. All of this is documented in the papyri," Arzt-Grabner said. "It also includes a very deep insight on the problems in today's pupils in school."

Since his arrival, Arzt-Grabner has noted distinct cultural differences between Salzburg and Baylor.

In Austria, there are no campus universities. There are buildings for courses, but the majority of students live outside the university.

"Campus life here is much closer than the life of students in our university," Arzt-Grabner said. "It seems ... students are open-minded here, much more than Austria or Germany."

Outside of the Baylor campus, Arzt-Grabner said, he immediately recognized cultural differences between Austrians and Americans.

"When I first came to the U.S., I noticed that so many people say 'hello' and 'how are you doing today?' In Austria, you greet with 'hello,' but you would never say 'how are you doing?' Arzt-Grabner said.

Working alongside Arzt-Grabner is Dr. Jeffrey Fish, assistant professor of classics, who said he feels honored to work with an expert in documentary papyri.

"We didn't have any idea he would say yes to our invitation," Fish said. "He's a very distinguished professor in Austria, but I guess you never know until you ask someone."
From ANSA:

Part of a massive wall started in around 600 BC around the central Italian town of Amelia collapsed on Wednesday morning for reasons still unclear .

The so-called Polygonal walls around Amelia are famous not only for their age but also their size. Built out of huge polygonal stones, they are 8-10 metres high and about 3.5 metres thick .

The 20-metre section of wall which collapsed was undergoing restoration work in recent weeks although activity had been suspended for a few days because of bad weather .

Central Italy recorded record rainfall in December, a fact which experts are taking into account as they study the broken section .

Police and fire services confirmed that no one had been hurt by the collapse. Scaffolding set up for restoration was destroyed and a car parked nearby was slightly damaged .

Located some 55 miles north of Rome in Umbria, Amelia was in ancient times called Ameria. The city was said by Latin author Pliny to have been founded at least three centuries before Rome .

Archaeological experts were expected to examine the rubble on Wednesday in efforts to see whether the collapsed section of wall could be rebuilt .

The 800-metre long wall, which now has a breach in the section to the right of the old city gate, has always impressed archaeologists for the skill with which it was built .

According to local legend, it was constructed by the Cyclops, the one-eyed monster encountered by Greek hero Ulysses .

Amelia was founded by Umbri king Amero who gave it his name .
From BMCR:

David Sider, The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum.

B. Seidensticker, Über das Vergnügen an tragischen Gegenständen: Studien zum antiken Drama. Edited by J. Holzhausen.

V. Hunink (ed.), Tertullian, De Pallio.

Claudia Rapp, Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition. The Transformation of the Classical Heritage, 37.

Jon R. Stone, The Routledge Dictionary of Quotations: The Illiterati's Guide to Latin Maxims, Mottoes, Proverbs, and Sayings.

Simon Hornblower, Thucydides and Pindar. Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry.

A. Bencivenni, Progetti di riforme costituzionali nelle epigrafi greche dei secoli IV-II a.C.

P. Habermehl, Perpetua und der Ägypter oder Bilder des Bösen im frühen afrikanischen Christentum. Second edition.

Gottskálk Jensson, The Recollections of Encolpius: The Satyrica of Petronius as Milesian Fiction. Ancient Narrative Supplementum 2.

Loren J. Samons II, What's Wrong with Democracy? From Athenian Practice to American Worship.

Michael Share (trans.), Philoponus. Against Proclus's "On the Eternity of the World 1-5." The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle.

From Scholia:

Hans Van Wees, Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities
Morbus aviarius in Turcia vagatur

Grippa aviaria, quam efficit virus, cui nomen H5N1 (ha, quinque, en, unum), in Turcia vagatur.

Numerus hominum affectorum in dies crescit et casus morbi iam in quindecim ex una et octoginta provinciis Turciae occurrerunt.

Primae contagiones hominum anno ineunte in partibus Turciae orientalibus confirmatae sunt. Ibi enim gallinae contagionem ab avibus ex oriente commeantibus ceperant.

In homines morbus ex contactu gallinarum transiit, sed nullus casus est repertus, in quo contagio inter homines facta esset. Unio Europaea importationem plumarum, quae non sunt tractatae, ex terris Turciae orientali vicinis vetuit. Interdictio importationis spectat ad Armeniam, Azerbaidzaniam, Georgiam, Iraniam, Iraquiam Syriamque.

Turci ad morbum coercendum de lege ferenda deliberant, qua educatio altilium foris vetetur. Id enim causa principalis habetur, quae efficit, ut anseres gallinaeque morbo aviario per aves migratorias contaminentur.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ... latest headline: Battutricem sectionis cosmeticae causâ esse dimissam
ME Times has a few more details on what happened with the University of Heidelberg (and more):

Greece is conducting "sensitive discussions" to secure the return of two 2,500-year-old frieze fragments from the Acropolis held in Italy and Germany, with talks focusing on which items might be offered in exchange, a culture ministry source said on Tuesday.

The two marble fragments removed from the Parthenon, the fifth-century BC temple atop the Athens Acropolis, are respectively held by the archaeology museum in Palermo, Italy, and by Heidelberg University in Germany.

The Greek authorities in 2003 offered a rare bronze helmet to the Palermo museum in exchange for a foot from a statue of an ancient Greek divinity.

The culture ministry has offered no explanation for the delay in making the exchange, but is nevertheless hopeful that the affair will be concluded during a scheduled visit to Rome later this month by Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

The second item in question is the heel of a male statue, which the culture ministry last week declared that Heidelberg University would return in 2006, though without referring to an item exchange.

"Officially, the university did not ask for anything in exchange, but Greece wants to make a goodwill gesture," a ministry source said on condition on anonymity, when asked to comment on related press reports.

The successful conclusion of these negotiations would enable the Greek government to increase pressure on the British Museum for the restitution of the Parthenon's eastern frieze, better known as the Parthenon Marbles.

Greece has spent over 20 years seeking the return of the temple frieze, which was removed in 1806 by agents of Lord Elgin, the British government's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
... nothing of interest.
Meus mihi, suus cuique est carus.
(Plautus, Captivi 400)

(The one who is) mine is dear to me, (the one who is) another's is dear to

(Pron = MAY-oos MEE-hee soos KWEE-kway ehst KAH-roos).

Comment: These few words of exchange caught between two characters in one of
Plautus' plays capture why it is that we human beings, finally, cannot be lone
individualists. We know how each other feels. It is also probably a strong
element in the success of Plautus' plays (or any good theater/drama)--it taps
common human experiences.

Who is dear to you in life? It is difficult to be human, draw breath and not
have a response to that question. If you can connect with the feelings and
experiences associated with having people in your life who are dear to you,
then you also know, approximately, what I experience with regard to my dear
ones, too. You know what being connected to others is like, so you know,
approximately, what my life is like, too. And I know yours, approximately.

Which is why war and violence are never just someone else's problem, and why
every religion and ethical system that human beings say we believe in all have,
without exception, some version of: do unto others as you would have them do
unto you.

It is because we know each other. We know each other's experience. We know how
the heart feels when it is broken. And one would have to be inhuman to ignore
that experience.

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

Ludi Palatini (day 2) -- the theatrefest continues

52 B.C. -- murder of Publius Clodius Pulcher near Bovillae

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Moseus

1898 -- death of H.G. Liddell (Greek lexicographer and father of Alice-in-wonderland)
splenetic @ Merriam-Webster

vincible @ Wordsmith

hecatomb @ Worthless Word for the Day (couple of hecatombs away from 500,000!)

quondam @ (always wondered about this one)
Okay ... this fourth century Appulian (sic) skyphos comes from what appears to be a dealer, but again, no provenance and anonymous bidders. I personally am not convinced of 'legality' by claims like "This Item Has Been Thoroughly Checked By Experts And Comes With Unconditional Guarantee Of Authenticity". Who are the experts? Are they folks like the one tracked down by DA in regards to those gladiator rings (as noted in a post at Classics Central)?
Today in the Classical Blogosphere:

Sympotica Graecolatina tells us (via quotes, of course) of the difference between silphium and asafoetida ...

I can't seem to get through to Dr. Weevil or Curculio this a.m. except via Bloglines, but on the chance that it's working later, it appears today's installment of Ioci Antiqui is at Dr. Weevil ...

N.S. Gill at has some enlightenment from Epictetus about training for the ancient Olympics ...

Res Publica et Cetera makes known the existence of a new blog written in Latin -- Commentarium meum -- which appears to have been around for a while (it has a medieval/ecclesiastical bent, it appears) ...

Again, a bit out of our time period, but interesting nonetheless, Bread and Circuses points to a number of links associated with an exhibition of the Ravenna mosaics at Dresden ...

Stepping a bit further out into the internet, at our Classics Central Forum, ED has posted something with a couple of announcements of interest ... first is a call for participants for future performances/readings at the APA/AIA; there is also mention of an announcement list for things having to do with ancient drama.

Still further out, various lists have been abuzz with word that there was some Latin on NPR's Prairie Home Companion ... it's Robert Sonkowsky reading Horace Odes 1.22 and is roughly eleven minutes into the first segment. GK talks about his first Latin class in the minute or so preceding the reading. And as long as you're there, it was mentioned on the Latinteach list that there's a reading of a chunk of the Odyssey in the archives from 2002 at the PHC too. I thought I had mentioned a couple others at rc in the past few years, but I can't seem to find them right now ...

We also note (and understand the reasons for) Classicist David Wharton is shutting down his A Little Urbanity blog ...

And a couple of 'marginal' news items:

... Stars and Stripes has a touristy thing on Herculaneum, if you're into reading that sort of thing ...

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned a paper presented by J. Rufus Fears presented to the Heritage Foundation which compared the U.S. to Rome ... a video of the conference is now available (I haven't watched it, so I can't comment)
From the BBC:

A handful of ancient Roman coins have been dug up in a playing field in West Wickham, near Bromley, south London.

The artefacts may have been thrown into water for good luck by superstitious Romans, an archaeologist suggested.

They were discovered at the Sparrow's Den field during work by Thames Water to reduce flooding risk from sewers.

The low denomination coins, two of which depict Roman emperors Constantine and Diocletian, are said to date back to the Third and Fourth Centuries.

The artefacts were found together with two Georgian coins, a medieval silver penny and military badges from World War Two.

They were discovered alongside the route of a dried-up stream that used to flow into the nearby River Ravensbourne.

"This cluster of coins suggests that travellers along the road used to throw their loose change into the stream to bestow their journeys with good luck or, perhaps as an offering to the gods," said archaeologist Geoff Potter.

A Thames Water spokesman said the coins will be cleaned and are expected to be placed on display at the Bromley Museum later this year.

A photo accompanies the original article, but it's not clear whether the photo is of one of the coins actually found.
From the Financial Mirror comes this bit, which will possibly lead to some more announcements in the future:

The Department of Antiquities has announced that the South Mathiatis Mine Excavation Project has been "a full success on the archaeological side."

The excavation projet was carried out within the framework of an educational research programme in cooperation with Inter Community School Cyprus Project 2005, under the direction of Dr. Walter Fasnacht,

The goal of the project was to excavate all evidence of copper working threatened by erosion at the edge of South Mathiati Mine.

Students participating in the programme had the opportunity to excavate, learn about archaeological techniques in excavation and survey and visit other archaeological sites and monuments.

The participants from the staff of the Department of Antiquities were archaeologist George Georgiou and technician Elias Christophi.

According to the Department of Antiquities, the South Mathiatis Mine Excavation Project was a full success on the archaeological side.

The reward of 10 days of excavation was the base of a copper smelting furnace with its last charge of slag still in situ, a unique find in Cyprus and particularly in the whole Eastern Mediterranean.

The first was treated and restored in the conservation workshop of the Cyprus Museum and now exhibited in one of the Cyprus Museum galleries.

Many samples of slag, metal, ore and furnace material were exported and are now in the Swiss Federal Labs of Materials Testing (EMPA Dubendorf). Some 20 samples analysed so far show that most finds were copper matte and not slag or metal.

The excavated furnace is, therefore, associated with an intermediate step of the smelting of copper ores rather than with the refining of raw copper to the final product.

About 300 charcoal samples were exported for wood species identification in order to reconstruct vegetation and climatic changes in the first millennium BC on Cyprus. Over 90% turned out to be olive wood (olea europaea), mainly branches. This is a unique result, because it means that olive wood was specifically harvested for the production of copper.

In addition, soil samples from inside and around the furnace were exported and will be analysed to define the dynamics of trace element migration in the ground.

Besides digging, all members of the team were involved in surveying the area around the two modern mines of Mathiatis, the gold mine and the copper mine of the 20th century. Only in and around the gold mine, where they were excavating, did they find ancient copper working evidence, in three areas, on the North, South and East face of the open cast mine.

The evidence consists of scattered slag and furnace lining and up to 20 ancient galleries exposed by modern mining activities. No other furnace could be detected.
From Kirkus Reviews comes this incipit:

"This classics stuff," sputters an uncomprehending sportscaster Tank McNamara in the cartoon strip of the same name, "can you bet on it?" Surely not, at least not if you're a studio; for every antiquity-informed wonder like Andrei Konchalovsky's 1997 version of The Odyssey, there's a dog like last year's Alexander. Alas, classics-inspired films as a rule haven't made much money since Sophia Loren's bodice heaved in The Fall of the Roman Empire, the mighty Gladiator being a rare exception.

Which might mean only that it's time to make better, more vigorous movies set in antiquity, movies in which the past is ever present, just as it is in real life. (Said that eminent screenwriter William Faulkner, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.") The HBO series Rome makes a good start, and classicist Victor Davis Hanson's A War Like No Other (Random House, $29.95) suggests another avenue. The war in question is the 30-year-long Peloponnesian War, fought 25 centuries ago, a bloody civil conflict among "Greek speakers who worshipped the same gods and farmed and fought in the same manner." Such leaders as Lysander, Alcibiades and Pericles allowed their nations to bleed nearly to death in the name of the empire, while democratic ideals gave way to massacres, famine and plague—and lots of treachery. There's room for a dozen epics in the struggle, and Hanson does a fine job of scene-setting.

The ancient Greeks liked their wine, of course. And so does the rest of the world thanks in large measure to the efforts of various classical Romans and their generations of offspring across Western Europe. One of the great heroes of winemaking—and of Don and Petie Kladstrup's Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times (Morrow, $23.95)—is the great Dom Perignon, who didn't really invent champagne ("it invented itself") but did wonders for the world's happiness quotient by tinkering with various exquisite and potent blends of juice. In the best of all worlds, the part of the good monk would belong to Johnny Depp, suitably cowled; he wandered most effectively across grapy terrain in The Ninth Gate, and he was Gilbert Grape, after all. There are plenty of other stories of vinous intrigue and mystery in the Kladstrups' pages, enough to keep a large cast of characters busy; the set-piece scene of a drunken German retreat in World War I, for one, begs for a camera.

Well worth a feature all its own is George Taber's lively Judgment of Paris (Scribner, $25), which chronicles an unusual competition. In 1976, Steven Spurrier, an English wine merchant transplanted to Paris, tried some new California varietals and organized a blind tasting with a panel made up of France's best-known wine experts. A superb Chateau Montalena 1973 chardonnay took top prize, grown in the rich soil of Calistoga, far from the prized terroir of Burgundy or Bordeaux. Taber's cast of characters is a fascinatingly mixed lot: a Chicago classicist (the classics again!) who took up winemaking; a Croatian refugee who helped prove that zinfandel originated in his homeland; and the children and grandchildren of Italian immigrants who insisted, against the suspicions of their Protestant neighbors, that drinking wine was a good thing. It's a tale with as much dramatic promise as Seabiscuit and with an outcome well worth cheering.
In India partitio sexuum depravatur

In India his viginti annis circiter decem milia fetuum abortati sunt, ne filiae nascerentur.

Ex investigatione recens facta quingena fere milia abortuum propter selectionem sexus quotannis fiunt.

Abortus selectivi sunt causa, cur pro singulis milibus puerorum septingenae sexagenae puellae in India nascantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
... nothing of interest
Omne solum forti patria est.
(Ovid, Fasti I.493)

Every land is a homeland for the courageous.

(pron = OHM-neh SOH-loom FOR-tee PAH-tree-ah ehst)

Comment: When I was in seminary at Emory University, we were all required to
participate in a hospital chaplaincy program. Each week, we would go to our
assigned hospitals and spend at least two hours visiting with patients as
student chaplains. My intitial and abiding struggle as I went each week was
feeling like I was bothering people who were already uncomfortable and
suffering, and yet, so I was told, I was there to be of some help and comfort
to them.

The late Henri Nouwen wrote in his book The Wounded Healer that the minister
must be so at home with him/herself that the minister becomes the host
welcoming guests into their place of healing. In other words, the minister has
to be so at home within him/herself that he/she can put others at ease where
they are.

This is the kind of courage that I hear Ovid describing. It is a courage within
the self that makes any place one is home.

Nouwen's advice has never left me. I try to transfer it from the hospital room
to the classroom. There is a certain courage required for showing up in the
classroom each day so that the teacher can make the students--all
students--feel welcome, especially those who do not want to be there in the
first place. It's a courage that begins by looking in the mirror. If I cannot
choose to be at home in this ground called my body, then no ground will feel
like home.

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

Ludi Palatini (day 1)

38 B.C. -- Octavian marries Livia

6 B.C. -- dedication of the ara Numinis Augusti in Rome

42 A.D. -- consecration of Livia as divine

[for the record, I'm still trying to track down why I wrote 'duo laurae' yesterday]
chandler @

comity @

apostrophize @ Worthless Word for the Day (approaching its 500 000th visitor!)

pervious @ Wordsmith

arbiter @ Merriam-Webster
Around the Classical Blogoshpere:

William Blathers posts Simonides 29 with some commentary ... (the text itself and some initial commentary in pdf)

Hobbyblog has another coin depicting Cornelia Salonina ...

Curculio is posting today's installment of Ioci Antiqui to the 'regular' part of the blog (sans accents for now) as technical problems are preventing the upload of the pdf ...

Forgot to mention t'other day that Eric over at Campus Mawrtius is reading Wilkinson's Golden Latin Artistry and provides a bit of a summary ...

Alun has added some photos to his Greek album ...

Bread and Circuses points us to some nice video footage of a fifth-century (a bit late for us) Roman mosaic in Austria ...

Dr. Weevil is beginning a new thing called Ancient Text of the Week, and the first installment is Pliny's letter on the murder of Larcius Macedo ...

Laudator posts on assorted breaches of manners ....

The ancient convivial quotes have resumed at Sympotica graecolatina ...

[now that we have a carnival, maybe we should render it into Latin ... Feria Classic-something]
Suddenly, Herodotus is everywhere ... first, in a piece on race in the Sunday Herald:

Thankfully, scientific tests of racial superiority never took the form of my novel’s imagined experiment. Even by past standards, such a planned neglect of the human subjects would most likely have been considered abhorrent and unethical. Yet, scientists have flirted dangerously with the idea of a “pure” test, pitting two types (races, language groups, genders) of humans in a contest. Herodotus wrote about the Egyptian emperor Psammetichus, who wished to discover which race was older than the other, the Egyptians or the Phrygians. He ordered two infants to be raised as feral, with a herdsman spying on them to determine which language they’d utter naturally. Two years later, the herdsman found the children wandering around with the word “becos” on their lips – “becos” is bread in the Phrygian tongue. In consideration of the experiment’s findings, the Egyptians conceded the greater antiquity of their rivals.

Then ... in the health section of the New York Times:

These dilemmas bring to mind the ancient Greek belief that three Fates measured out the length of each human life, and that oracles foretold the future. But the predictions of the oracles were rarely either simple, or what was sought. Misinterpretation was always a danger.

The Oracle at Delphi predicted that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus thought he could escape this destiny. But in the end, he willingly performed both these acts, without knowing at the time that he was doing so. Herodotus tells of King Croesus in Asia Minor, who, when consulting an oracle, was told that if he mounted an invasion, a mighty empire would fall. He attacked, and in the end, as Herodotus writes, "the Oracle was fulfilled; Croesus had destroyed a mighty empire - his own."

Since the Renaissance, literature and art have presented the Greek fates ambivalently, either as divine beings fulfilling the work of God or old hags mercilessly dashing human hopes.

Then the (ever-questionably-accurate/motivated) PRWeb press release on auctions:

The history of auctions extends back to 500 B.C. when Herodotus used auctions to sell women under the condition that they be married following purchase. Reports indicate that less attractive women were sold with monetary compensation given to the bidder.

Someone doesn't quite get the marriage practices of the Babylonians quite right. Oh well, two for three ...
... and Classicist Barbara Gold has her shingle out for journalists seeking info on the Hallmarkiday ... er, holiday ... from an AScribe press release:

Be mine. Yours forever. You hold the key to my heart. True Love. Hamilton College Classics Professor Barbara Gold can't help but notice the difference between modern Valentine's Day cards filled with sentimental sayings and ancient Romans' wrenching expressions of love.

Today's valentines focus on sharing, caring, love and friendship. The beloved is portrayed as gentle, sensitive, tender and compassionate, says Gold. The ancient Romans had quite a different take on love.

"Love for them was interesting, both to live and to write about, because it was painful, like a disease," Gold says. Roman lovers described themselves as "wounded, wretched, enslaved by their lovers, having their bone marrow on fire and suffering from double vision."

"They melded coarse obscenities with deepest expressions of sexual, erotic longing," she says. "Above all there was no sharing or caring and no real idea of a friendship of equals."

For example, the love poet Catullus writes to his lady love, "I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask why I do that? I don't know but I feel it happening and I am tormented." (Catullus 85) Gold notes, "The dream couples of ancient love poetry are hardly the stuff of today's romantic. They inhabit a world of playful and elegant poetry far removed from the false sincerity of contemporary Hallmark romance. But the depth of the feelings expressed by the ancients is also far removed from the superficial and hyperbolic lovebites found in contemporary commercial expressions of love."

Gold's research interests are Greek and Roman literature, feminist theory, and women in the ancient world. She is the first woman editor of The American Journal of Philology, the oldest classics journal in the U.S. She has written several books, including "Vile Bodies: Roman Satire and Corporeal Discourse"; "Sex and Gender in Medieval and Renaissance Texts: The Latin Tradition"; and "Literary and Artistic Patronage in Greece and Rome."

More on Gold from Hamilton College ... I'd really like to see some debunking this year of the claims of Romans choosing sexual partners 'out of a hat' on Lupercalia or thereabouts ...
The Montreal Gazette has a nice feature on Michael Bogdanos (which probably won't last beyond this morning ... the Gazette is really random), but it begins with this quote which folks might want to file away/print out/frame/get tattooed with:

"When you read the classics, you begin to see where you fit in."

- Matthew Bogdanos
From BMCR:

Loren J. Samons II, What's Wrong with Democracy? From Athenian Practice to American Worship.

Michael Share (trans.), Philoponus. Against Proclus's "On the Eternity of the World 1-5." The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle.

From the Independent:

Dorothy King, The Elgin Marbles

John M Wilkins & Shaun Hill, Food In The Ancient World
In India partitio sexuum depravatur

In India his viginti annis circiter decem milia fetuum abortati sunt, ne filiae nascerentur.

Ex investigatione recens facta quingena fere milia abortuum propter selectionem sexus quotannis fiunt.

Abortus selectivi sunt causa, cur pro singulis milibus puerorum septingenae sexagenae puellae in India nascantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
... nothing of interest.
ante diem xvii kalendas februarias

27 B.C. -- Octavian is given the title "Augustus", the clupeus virtutis and duo laurae

9 B.C. (?) -- the future emperor Tiberius celebrates an ovatio for his victories in Pannonia

10 A.D. -- dedication of a Temple of Concordia

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Fusca and Maura

1794 -- death of Edward Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

1907 -- birth of Philip Vellacott (translator of the Oresteia and various other works)
officinal @ Merriam-Webster

spheral @ OED

sipid @ Wordsmith

circumjacent @ Worthless Word for the Day

capricious @ (I think we've mentioned this before)
Saw this stuff in the Classical Blogosphere:

Dr. Weevil posts a review of his first (!) viewing of Spartacus (by an interesting bit of synchronicity, I've never seen all of Quo Vadis either) ...

Hobbyblog posts a nice silvered antoninianus of Gallienus sporting an image of Aesculapius ...

At Curculio, the file of Ioci Antiqui expands with a squib from Suetonius ...

Thoughts on Antiquity has a post on the ten lost works he'd like to see recovered ... (for comparative purposes, there was a flurry of activity such as this in the closing days of last summer ...)

Also saw an interesting post at Howe Street -- which I think we've mentioned before -- which ponders the question of why democracies become empires, with Athens at the time of the Peloponnesian Wars as its example. It has a really nice map ...

[it just occurred to me that this 'blogwatch' feature is almost a Daily Classical Carnival]
Idle surfing took me to the Cliopatria blog last night, which has announced the winners of its history blog awards, as it turns out. Nothing for rc (although Alun did nominate us ... thanks!) but in the 'best new blog' category, the winner was the very interesting Bibliodyssey, which seems to be devoted to engravings, illustrations, and the like from various books. Of especial interest to us is a lengthy illustrated post on Emblema Politica. An integral part of the 'emblema' is the motto (usually? in Latin) and you know a Classics type like me would love this one:

Check out the whole post ... give your students a Latin proverb or saying and have them illustrate it like this!
From a review in the Tribune-Review of The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants, by Anna Pavord:

Until the Middle Ages in Europe, plants were defined by their usefulness, for food, medicine, magic. The earliest attempt at classifying was by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, schoolmate and colleague of Aristotle, who described 500 plants, of the 422,000 species identified today.

Theophrastus began with the concept of a plant as an animal with its feet in the air and its mouth in the ground, and he followed the prevailing notion that plants, like tadpoles or caterpillars, could transmute -- wheat and barley, for example, into worthless darnel. That idea remained common through the end of the 17th century.

Theophrastus wrestled with a problem that would daunt herbalists for the next 1,500 years: The same plant would wear many different names, "a great tangled knot of competing synonyms," complicated when writers attempted to compile knowledge from other countries and languages. (The widespread marsh marigold, for example, has 60 names in France, another 80 in Britain, and at least 140 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.)

Ironically, Theophrastus' name was lost to the west for 1,500 years, his work "shamelessly plagiarized and regurgitated" by the Roman Pliny, who for centuries remained for Europe the towering ancient authority, while Theophrastus was preserved in Muslim libraries, circulating back into Europe during the Renaissance.

This gives me the opportunity to mention the Theophrastus Project, based at UCL ... the site is mostly 'announcement' type stuff, but the project itself looks interesting.
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News ... in Classical Greek:

Japan snow death toll rises to 90 - Ali Agca has been freed
Sharon in extremis

Ariel Sharon, minister primarius Israelis, ante decem dies propter haemorragiam cerebri in valetudinarium Hierosolymorum portatus est, in quo tres operationes passus adhuc est in comate.

Rarissimi sunt, qui credant illum ad ministerium reverti posse. Itaque moderatores politici Israelis tempus post-Sharonianum praeparare coeperunt.

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

The online Latin newspaper Ephemeris has also been updated ... latest headline: Iranianos capitis damnare mulierem, quae se defenderit a viro constupraturo
11.00 p.m. |HINT| Heaven on Earth: Christianity
Christy Kenneally explores the art and architecture of Christianity and visits some of the earliest outposts of Christianity. He begins his journey on Ireland's Island of Inishmurray, where Celtic monks took sanctuary in beehive-shaped stone huts built to survive both the extreme climate and Viking attacks. Some of the other spectacular locations he visits include the monolithic rock-hewn cave churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia, Santa Sophia (Hagia Sophia in Greek) in Istanbul, and the spectacular Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona.
From BMCR:

Birgitta L. Sjöberg, Asine and the Argolid in the Late Helladic III Period. A Socio-Economic Study. BAR International Series 1225.

Laurent Gourmelen, Kékrops, le Roi Serpent. Etudes Anciennes.

James E. G. Zetzel, Marginal Scholarship and Textual Deviance. The Commentum Cornuti and the Early Scholia on Persius. BICS, Supplement 84.

Maria Teresa Sblendorio Cugusi, L'uso stilistico dei composti nominali nei Carmina Latina Epigraphica. Quaderni di "Invigilata Lucernis", 25.

Tobias Fischer-Hansen, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek fasc. 1, Denmark fasc. 10.

Anthony J. Spalinger, War in Ancient Egypt.

From RBL (pdf):

John Riches And David C. Sim, eds., The Gospel of Matthew in Its Roman Imperial Context

From the Post and Courier:

M. Gwyn Morgan, 69 A.D., The Year of Four Emperors.
The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted ... as has issue 8.38 of our Explorator newsletter ... both at our Classics Central Forum (which I've also just updated with a bunch of calls for papers, calendar events, and a handful of jobs).
Elsewhere in the Classical Blogosphere:

The January file of ancient jokes at Curculio continues to grow ...

More convival quotes at Sympotica Graecolatina ...

Laudator expands (at length) on a recent post about Martial's recipes for happiness ...

Hobbyblog has an Antoninianus of Gallienus and one sporting an image of his wife too ...
An interesting translation of Tibullus' Elegies by Theodore Williams (1908) has been put up at Project Gutenberg (I think this was up before, but has been changed somehow) ... rhyming couplets ...
Latest official description:

Ben Hur

Well, on the surface of it, Ben Hur may not have a lot to do with Indianapolis but in this conversation focusing on chariot racing we do find some loose links. Get listening... Ready, steady, go!...

... listen
Annus calidus 2005

Annus praeteritus 2005 fuit in Finnia unus ex omnium calidissimis.

Praesertim Finnia septentrionalis tempestatem insolitam habuit, nam ibi temperatura media mensibus Ianuario et Novembri fuit sex gradibus calidior quam assolet.

In orbe terrarum calor caeli octo decimis gradus Celsiani (0,8) his centum annis auctus est.

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

The online Latin newspaper Ephemeris has also been updated ... latest headline: De praesidente Chiliae eligendo
The Romans-invented-golf thing is in the papers again, in response to a similar claim being made for the Chinese. Here's the incipit of a piece in the Times:

THEY came, they saw, they played a neat chip shot onto the edge of the green. More than a millennium before golf is said to have been invented in Scotland, Roman soldiers were playing the game, according to experts.

Trumping recent claims that the game was being played in China in AD943, academics have chipped in with a theory that the game was actually imported to Scotland by the foot soldiers of Emperor Severus.

The Roman version of golf was called paganica, and was first recorded in 30BC as a generic ball game. However, by the time of the Roman invasion of Scotland, it was played with a curved stick used to strike a feather-filled leather ball. The ball was hit towards a predetermined target such as a tree, the aim being to strike the “mark” in the fewest strokes.

Michael Whitby, a historian at Warwick University, said: “Legionaries were in Scotland from the AD140s. The Emperor Severus was on the Fife Peninsula and, significantly, there was an important marching camp near St Andrews.

“A legacy of games, such as paganica, would have been left. The roots of golf would have passed through the 8th century to the medieval university folk and aristocrats.”

Malcolm Campbell, a leading golf writer, agreed: “Paganica is the earliest form of a game we could recognise as golf. After the Romans left, it evolved and in the 15th century the Scots uniquely formalised it. The game was truly ‘invented’ in Scotland, with a little help from the Romans.”

Of course, we mentioned this claim on rogueclassicism before ... Amyntoros added some useful links in a followup post to Classics Central
A political blog with the Classical label The Return of Scipio has a piece suggesting that Ted Kennedy is the U.S. version of Ptolemy VIII Physcon ...
Mary Beard has written an interesting piece for the Guardian:

The best way to judge a modern recreation of ancient Rome - in film or fiction - is to apply the simple "dormouse test". How long is it before the characters adopt an uncomfortably horizontal position in front of tables, usually festooned with grapes, and one says to another: "Can I pass you a dormouse?"

The basic rule of thumb is this: the longer you have to wait before this tasty little morsel appears on the recreated banquet, the more subtle the reconstruction is likely to be. On these terms Rome, the new joint HBO-BBC series, does not do badly. It is not until at least 30 minutes into the first episode that anyone pops the dormouse question.

It is a cliche among modern critics that public fascination with ancient Rome is driven by politics and imperialism. Rome now equals America, as once it equalled Britain. So in watching the rise and (crucially) fall of the Roman empire, we can enjoy some entertaining analysis of contemporary superpowers - as well as indulging in the gratifying thought that their dominance too will one day end.

Occasionally, this is very obviously the message. Robert Harris was clear enough that his Pompeii had something to say about the modern United States. American viewers in the 1970s certainly took the seedy court politics on display in the BBC adaptation of Robert Graves's I Claudius as an allegory of Nixon's White House - a parallel which may possibly have been in the mind of the film-makers, but hardly of Graves himself (who wrote the original books in the 1930s). Certainly too, though with a different political tinge, Mussolini invaded Abyssinia against a backdrop of Italian movies celebrating the ancient Roman conquest of Africa and the heroic exploits of Scipio Africanus.

But as the dormouse test hints, it is not only geopolitics that is on the agenda of our recreations of Rome. There are dietary habits and the rules of consumption, for a start; but also sex, religion, luxury and cruelty - in short, cultural difference in all its many forms. For more than 200 years we have read about and watched make-believe Romans eating strange unpalatable delicacies in a position we associate more with sleeping; making themselves sick between courses in order to stuff in yet more (the old vomitorium joke); killing human beings for sport; and enjoying indiscriminate sex on the lines of a modern goat.

Alma-Tadema's marvellously decadent Victorian painting The Roses of Heliogabalus captures this nicely. A group of typically prostrate diners (guests of the emperor Heliogabalus) is surrounded by the usual Roman cuisine, and all the while is being smothered to death - literally - by a vast shower of rose petals. The message is not simply that Roman luxury was a life-threatening vice, but that the Romans ate the wrong things in the wrong ways, with disastrous consequences.

Why do we choose the Romans for these cultural displays? Partly because they are sufficiently familiar, and like ourselves, to be manageable; but sufficiently unlike us to be interesting. Not to mention the fact that, thanks to the Roman invasion of Britain, they even have a foot in our own home territory and can almost play the part of our own ancestors. This is where they score over the ancient Greeks. It is simply impossible to imagine what those white-robed intellectuals did at home, or that they were ever like us at all.

The answer is partly too, of course, that the classical world has always offered a convenient alibi for enjoying sex and violence. To have two actors on primetime television indulging in prolonged and (almost) full-frontal sex would normally be classified somewhere on the spectrum between titillation and pornography. Take exactly the same actors doing exactly the same thing, but pretending to be Romans - and it suddenly becomes legitimate, educational even. At the very least it is clothed in the respectability of classical culture. Many a 19th-century gentleman's study paraded a raunchy Alma-Tadema nude, safe under the fig-leaf of classicism. The new Rome series has an awful lot of bonking dressed up as "an authentic glimpse of the ancient world".

But there is also, I suspect, a particularly 21st-century imperative behind the rash of recent "Romes", from Gladiator on. In the world of publicly sanctioned multiculturalism (excellent, in many ways, as that is), popular representations of cultural difference have become increasingly dangerous and heavily policed. All the old ways of celebrating "our" identity against the peculiar habits - often the eating ones - of the outside world now seem a bit risky.

A BBC series which presented the French as garlic-reeking gluttons, tucking into frogs' legs and snails, or the Germans as a load of jack-booted cabbage eaters, might not end up with a prosecution but it would certainly prompt an appearance from the relevant ambassador on the Today programme, lamenting our dependence on these worn-out stereotypes.

This game of defining ourselves against the habits of the "Other" is a very old one indeed. The Romans did it against the Greeks (a load of over-perfumed intellectuals), the Greeks against the Persians (effeminate despots). We are now finding it much safer to look to the remote past - the recent past is, of course, another matter - for our anti-types. For that past cannot answer back, has no government machinery on its side (or not usually), and you can do what you like with it. If they were portraying a modern religion, the lurid, blood-soaked representations of Roman paganism in the new Rome would probably end with the director up before the beak on a charge of "incitement to religious hatred". As it is, it's only Rome, so it doesn't count.

But what of the dormouse test? Did the Romans themselves pass it? Did they actually eat them? There is here an uncomfortable historical truth for many a modern film director. Unsuccessful and temporary as the ruling almost certainly was, the Roman senate banned the eating of dormice in 115 BC. And as for the vomitorium, it was not a handy place for Roman over-consumers to make room for another course: it is the name given to a passageway through which the audience "spewed out" of the amphitheatre.
Here's the latest incipit from the New York Times ... things are heating up:

Robert Hecht, an American art dealer charged in Italy with trafficking in illegally excavated antiquities, spoke out indignantly in his defense here on Friday, saying he had been unjustly accused.

Citing a Roman bronze figure of the god Pan that he said he had bought from Sotheby's auction house before it turned out to have been stolen from the National Roman Museum, Mr. Hecht said he had always acquired such objects in good faith. (That object is not at issue at the trial and has been removed from the market.)

Prosecutors, Mr. Hecht said, seemed intent on casting him as a villain. "Why don't they go after Sotheby's?" he asked. "It's because they want to smack me."

Mr. Hecht, 86, spoke during a recess in a long trial hearing. Inside the courtroom, a Rome prosecutor, Paolo Ferri, continued to build his case, detailing a web of connections among dealers who he said traded in freshly dug-up artifacts by routing them through Switzerland or prominent auction houses and into the collections of museums and private individuals.

Mr. Hecht is on trial with Marion True, the former antiquities curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, who is also accused of having traded in illegally exported antiquities.

On Friday, an expert witness for the state continued to match several artifacts in the Getty's collection to photographs of those objects - often in a fragmentary state - found in a Swiss warehouse rented by Giacomo Medici, a dealer who was convicted in 2004 on charges of trafficking in illegally excavated artifacts.

The expert, Maurizio Pellegrini, a document and photography analyst with the Italian Culture Ministry, testified that fractures in ceramic pottery could be smooth or rough. Smooth fractures suggest that the broken edge has worn down over time, he said, while jagged or rough fractures suggest a new break resulting from a clandestine dig.

On some photographs shown in court, Mr. Medici had scribbled "v. BO" - a shorthand, the prosecution contended, for "via Bob," which they said indicated that the works had been traded through Mr. Hecht.

"Why can't that mean 'visto Bob'?" ("Bob saw it"), asked Mr. Hecht's lawyer, Alessandro Vannucci, pointing out that his client was an expert in ancient art.

The Italian authorities have portrayed the trial of Ms. True and Mr. Hecht as a warning to dealers, museums and private collectors that illicit trafficking in antiquities must come to an end.

But on Friday, Mr. Vannucci said that his client was a scapegoat and that the wrong defendant was on trial. "The real culprit is Italy, which consented for many years to its territory being sacked," he said, pointing out that some of the objects cited in the prosecution had been sold decades ago.

"What this trial is showing is that Italy was indifferent for years," Mr. Vannucci said. "No one cared,"

... the rest
From a tongue-in-cheek retrospective of the past year's events in a piece from Spero:

Late in May Egyptian archaeologists made the discovery of the millennium when they located the "lost" tomb of Alexander the Great at a dried up oasis in the western desert. The quantity of treasure found in the tomb caused immediate diplomatic tension throughout the region as the Greek Government reclaimed both his body and his autographed copy of the "Iliad". Every modern state from Greece to India has now laid claim to some part of the discovery. Alexander died in 323 B.C. on the 13th of June after a brief illness. He was five feet two inches tall.

Obviously not serious, but what WOULD happen if the tomb of Alexander were to be found in downtown Alexandria? Can you imagine the court case that would follow?
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Cannae
Cannae, Italy, August 216 BC. In a classic example of double-envelopment maneuver, Hannibal inflicts the greatest ever defeat on the forces of Rome. A mighty Roman army, eight legions strong, marches out to crush the Carthaginian general on an open battlefield. Though Hannibal has far fewer men at his disposal, and none of his famous elephants, he manages to surround and slaughter the superior Roman force. See why Hannibal's military genius is still being lauded and taught in academies today. Hosted by Matthew Settle (Band of Brothers).
Quid caeco cum speculo?

What (benefit is there) for the blind man with a mirror?

(Pron = kwid KAI-koh koom SPEH-koo-loh)

Comment: This question reveals some simple logic, and perhaps even the
narrowness of our catagories.

Questions: What is the fat girl doing in the cheerleading squad? What is the
deaf boy doing in the foreign language class? What is the autistic girl doing
in a math class? What is the black man doing in the pharmacists coat? What is
the woman doing behind the judge's bench? What is the homosexual doing as a
teacher? These questions all hit nerves, and they hit different people's
nerves differently.

Answers: cheering, speaking, computing, filling prescriptions, rendering
justice, teaching.

Our questions always reveal something that we already know, and beliefs that we
already harbor, whether we are conscious of them or not. Simple logic, so
called, always includes judgements about catagories.

So, today, at the end of the week, let's pretend for a while that we are blind
folk carrying around a mirror and see what we can reflect, turn the catagories
around a bit. Though the blind man may not be able to see what's in the
mirror, all those around him can see what he reflects.

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

86 B.C. -- death of Marius

27 B.C. -- Octavian "restores the republic" and receives the corona civica

ca. 101 A.D. -- birth of L. Aelius Caesar, future adoptive heir (never realized) of the emperor Hadrian

235 A.D. -- martyrdom (?) of Andrew, bishop of Trier
Yesterday we wondered about what identified a particular ring as being a 'gladiator ring', which led to some useful commentary by SM in our forum ... today we have another (from the same seller), though, which is doubly mysterious as being identified as a gladiator ring and, we are told, bearing an image of Sol Invictus; actually, it's triply mysterious because it's also claimed to be "Early Christian". Looks like a ring with an X in a box to me.
prototype @

bombinate @ Merriam-Webster

sesquipedalian @
Here's what's happening in the Classical blogosphere:

Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean has a post on Alexander the Great and Christian Origins ... (interesting question in the comments)

Laudator Temporis Acti has a trio of posts (not much ClassCon today, but always worth reading)

Hobbyblog has an Antoninianus of Gallienus ...

Curculio's January file of ancient jokes continues to grow ... (I'm assuming; I can't get the file to open this a.m. for some reason)

Sympotica Graecolatina offers us a quote from Cato on how to salt a ham ...
AM has another -- presumably the last -- installment of his reportage from the APA meeting ...
From the State News:

Patrick Deja has always enjoyed ancient history, and that led him to register for a new major available to undergraduate students this spring — classical studies.

"Classics is a lot of our fundamentals," said Deja, a junior. "Our core values are based on stuff from back then, so it's good to have an idea of where our government comes from."

The new major in the College of Arts & Letters will prepare students for careers in law, medicine or teaching, said John Rauk, associate professor and chairman for the Department of French, Classics and Italian.

Classical studies junior John Breen said he plans to use the major to either attend law school or become a professor of classical studies.

"A classical education — it's very prestigious," Breen said. "It's very versatile for getting into different graduate schools."

Although the new major has been planned for some time, most of the work in creating it came in the past year, Rauk said.

The classical studies major was created to combine the former ancient studies and Latin majors into something that would "reach out to a larger audience of students," Rauk said.

Students were able to officially declare a classical studies major at the start of this semester. The number of students enrolled could not be determined by press time, said Pamela Horne, director of admissions and assistant to the provost for enrollment management.

Rauk said a benefit of the program is its focus on the professor-student relationship — the program employs just three faculty members and no teaching assistants.

"We get to know students very, very well with their time with us," he said. "They do indeed get a much more collaborative faculty experience than some other majors, because that's the way we are."

Requirements for the major cover a variety of courses — including history, philosophy, classical studies, history of art and the Latin and Greek languages.

Students also have the opportunity to earn a Latin teaching minor.

Several new courses — including Roman Law and Ancient Novel in English Translation — were created to help accentuate the classical studies major, Rauk said.

Horne said it is too soon to tell whether this new major will affect enrollment for the college.

"It takes time to build up a reputation," she said. "My sense is that there will always be students interested in majors that don't necessarily have a direct career path."

But the program has already received a strong response from students, Rauk said.

The first students to complete the classical studies major will graduate in May, because they have already completed the prerequisites for the major, he said.
The New York Times has info on the 'deal' the Italian government is offering the Met:

The Italian government has relayed a formal proposal to the Metropolitan Museum of Art that would grant the museum special access to long-term loans in exchange for the return of 20 works of Greek and Roman art that the Italians say were illegally removed from their country. The proposed accord, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times, would specifically absolve the museum of any knowledge of wrongdoing and avert possible legal steps against the museum by the Italian government.

Over the past few months, Italy has pursued a campaign against American museums to recover stolen antiquities. It includes a criminal trial in Rome of Marion True, formerly a curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A co-defendant in that case is Robert Hecht, an art dealer who has sold numerous works to the Met over the years, including a fifth-century B.C. vase painted by the Greek artist Euphronios, which Italian officials maintain was stolen from an Etruscan tomb in Cerveteri.

At the heart of the proposal is an arrangement that would allow Italy to retrieve the fifth-century B.C. vase and a set of 15 pieces of Hellenistic silver. Both the vase and the silver would remain on loan to the museum through the end of 2007 with a label identifying them as belonging to the Italian state, the proposed pact says.

The objects would then go back to Italy in exchange for a series of four-year loans of an alternative work or group of works "of similar value," according to the Italian-language document provided to The Times. In the case of the silver, the proposal also calls for the objects to be made available again to the museum in 2012 for a four-year loan. Maurizio Fiorilli, a lawyer for the Italian Culture Ministry, said the proposed pact was sent to New York this week through a courier service. Harold Holzer, a spokesman for the Met, said that the museum has not yet received the proposal and that it would not comment until the museum had "received and reviewed" the documents.

But a written summary of recent talks between the two sides, also provided to The Times, indicates that the proposal is closely based on a concept that Philippe de Montebello, the museum's director, discussed with Italian officials in November. The proposal also calls for the unconditional return of four terra cotta vessels, among them a wine jug, decorated with horsemen, and an Apulian mixing bowl depicting scenes of Greek mythology in the red-figure style. The forfeiture of these items, which were cited in a 2004 case against an Italian art dealer convicted of antiquities smuggling, does not include a provision for special loans.

... more.
Interesting item from Zenit:

The year 2006 represents a great Jubilee of sorts for art historians. This Saturday marks the 500th anniversary of the rediscovery of the Laocoon group, one of the most renowned sculptures of the ancient world.

Virgil immortalized Laocoon in the "Aeneid." The Trojan priest of Neptune, Laocoon, when faced with the great wooden horse left by the Greeks outside the walls of Troy, issued one of the most famous warnings in the history of literature. "Men of Troy, trust not the horse! Whatever it be, I fear the Greeks, even when bringing gifts," later shortened to the popular dictum: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Laocoon paid dearly for his acumen. As he performed the ritual sacrifice at the altars accompanied by his two young sons, a pair of huge sea serpents "with blazing eyes suffused with blood and fire" rose out of the water and attacked the family. Before the eyes of the horrified Trojans, they all died as Laocoon "strains his hands to burst the knots" and "lifts to heaven hideous cries."

His sculptural representation, as well as his literary personage, amassed great fame. Pliny the Elder, Roman statesman and scholar, wrote about the work in Book XXXVI of the "Natural Histories." He described a statue of Laocoon from the first century A.D., carved by three Greek sculptors, Hagesander, Polydorus and Athenodorus, in the house of Titus in Rome. He lauded the work as "superior to any painting and any bronze."

Renaissance artists were familiar with Pliny's book and knew the names and descriptions of some of the most important works of the ancient world. The statue itself had been lost long centuries past and only Pliny's encomium kept its memory alive.

Until 1506. Francesco da Sangallo, son of Michelangelo's close friend Giuliano da Sangallo, was eyewitness to the events of Jan. 14. Francesco recounts that Pope Julius II sent his father to look over some recently unearthed statues and "since Michelangelo Buonarroti was always to be found at our house, my father wanted him to come along, too."

When they arrived at the hole in the ground where the work lay semi-buried in leaves, roots and dirt, Giuliano exclaimed, "That is the Laocoon, which Pliny mentions."

Hailed throughout Europe as the most exciting find of the era, the statue attracted many potential buyers. Pope Julius succeeded in purchasing the work and then made an unusual but momentous decision. Instead of bestowing the work on his own family, the Della Rovere, he gave Laocoon to the Vatican so as to enrich the patrimony of the Church. For most of 500 years now, it has graced the octagonal courtyard of the Vatican Museums.

For Michelangelo, the rediscovery of Laocoon was earth-shattering. Fresh from his groundbreaking work on the "Pietà" and the "David," the 31-year-old Florentine sculptor was in Rome for the most promising commission of his career. He was to build a tomb for Julius II: a free-standing, three-story monument, covered with 40 sculptures by Michelangelo's hand.

Michelangelo, sculptural prodigy, was profoundly moved by the sight of Laocoon. He called it "a singular miracle of art in which we should grasp the divine genius of the craftsman rather than try to make an imitation of it."

Although he would never complete the papal tomb, Michelangelo used that revolutionary triumph of sculpture as inspiration for his greatest painting, the vault of the Sistine Chapel, begun two years after the finding of Laocoon.

Close observers can see the form of Laocoon represented several times in the ceiling, seen from different perspectives. One more reminder of the Greeks' deep impact on Rome.

... which reminds me ... I haven't heard/read any scholarly reaction to that theory by Lynn Catterson about the sculpture having been faked by Michelangelo.
Elisabeth Meier Tetlow, Women, Crime, and Punishment in Ancient Law and Society. Vol. 2. Ancient Greece.

Andrea Follak, Der "Aufblick zur Idee". Eine vergleichende Studie zur Platonischen Pädagogik bei Friedrich Schleiermacher, Paul Natorp und Werner Jaeger. >

John J. O'Keefe, R. R. Reno, Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible.

Davide Susanetti, Favole antiche: Mito greco e tradizione letteraria europea.

Stephan Schmal, Tacitus. Studienbücher Antike, Band 14.

Michael Peachin, Frontinus and the curae of the curator aquarum. Heidelberger althistorische Beiträge und epigraphische Studien, Bd. 39.

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, Catalogue of the Etruscan Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

A. Keaveney, Sulla: The Last Republican.
Another new ebook (or rather set of same) at the CCEL ... J.E. Renan, History of the Origins of Christianity (8 vols.)
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.

8.00 p.m. |DISCU| Mysterious Death of Cleopatra
The daughter of an incestuous marriage, Cleopatra married and murdered her brothers, inheriting the throne of Egypt at age 17. Her life was filled with the unexplained. A team of experts reexamines the circumstances of Cleopatra's untimely death.

8.30 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.

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

The highest seat (of authority) does not hold two (people).

(pron = SOOM-mah SEH-days nohn KAH-pit DOO-ohs)

Comment: A quick search of the web shows a man using this quotation to say that
this expresses the real nature of power. I have heard this sentiment expressed
all through my life, especially within any organization where there is conflict
over a decision. The idea is usually expressed because those present want
someone to make a decision and impose it on others. The assumption is that
this is the only way that power can work, even if you don't like it.

Many years ago, I was introduced to a way of decision making that I was told
belonged to the Quaker tradition. In short, when a decision must be made, the
community gathers, sits in silence with the question, and waits on eneregy to
move people to speak. As individuals are so moved, they stand and simply state
the direction they sense. The decision is only made when the entire gathered
community is of one mind on the right decision. No decision is ever made by
vote, by committee or by decree. It slows down the initial decision making
process, but it gains so much more in the end because everyone involved in the
community becomes the decision-maker, is responsible, and owns the direction
and results of the decision.

As I see it, real power never belongs in the hands of one over the many. That
is an illusion we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better, and to remove
the tension of having to work out a common way. Real power resides everywhere,
in every person, in all of creation, and it is a collective move. Damage is
done when power is mistaken for force and decisions are made by force. In that
respect, it is easy to see where force has been used. Simply observe where
something, or someone, has been destroyed.

The seat of highest authority is not something to be held. It is something to
be shared.

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

49 B.C. -- Caesar crosses the Rubicon (yet another suggestion).

c. 230 A.D. -- martyrdom of Tatiana in Rome

c. 302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Arcadius in Mauretania
I've been trying to figure out an efficient way to point folks to some of the sites which are updated daily or nearly so, and this is what I've come up with:

Ioci Antiqui ... another joke (from the Greek Anthology) added to the January file

Sympotica Graecolatina ... another convivial quote

Hobbyblog ... a nice Republican denarius

Laudator Temporis Acti ... another selection of snippets and commentary

... maybe this should just be the 'Blogwatch' feature ... (need more coffee to make a decision!)

On a totally unrelated to anything note, here's a question that's been bugging me (he he) ... why don't spiders stick to their webs?
renascent @

fratultery @ Worthless Word for the Day

... also be sure to check out Done With Words Carnival of the Etymologies feature ... the Classics Techology's Center's My Word! feature this week focuses on Ex Words ...
So ... can anyone tell me how one identifies this item as a gladiator ring? Or tell me what the "military symbols" or "many marks for kills" are?
I. Sluiter, R. M. Rosen, Free Speech in Classical Antiquity. Mnemosyne, Suppl. 254.

Claude Mossé, Alexander: Destiny and Myth. Translated by Janet Lloyd.

Barbara Nevling Porter (ed.), Ritual and Politics in Ancient Mesopotamia. American Oriental Series 38.

Luc Brisson, Jean-François Pradeau, Plotin. Traités 27-29.

Glenn W. Most, Doubting Thomas.
Saw this on Live Journal's Ancient World of Greece and Rome community:

Interesting (and sometimes offensive) sense of humour from the originating Wulfmorgenthaler site ...
... another installment by AM of Sauvage Noble fame ...
The CCEL has put up the 1897 translation by John Parker of the Works of Dionysius the Areopagite ...
Latest headlines from Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek):

Birgit Nilsson, the best Wagner performer, has died - The White House warns Iran
... nothing of interest.
Vulgoque vertas iam attributa vino est.
(Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia 14.141)

And the truth is commonly attributed to wine.

Comment: I have come to see (for myself) that when human beings lie, there is
really only one cause (apart from mental illness which makes the lying a
symptom). That cause is fear of being hurt.

Don't take my word for it. See if you can think of a single instance of lying
where, at the root, the fear of being hurt for telling the truth is not
present. When this occurred to me a few years ago, it really rumbled through
my little world of ethics. Liars, so called, are then on some level trying to
protect themselves. And, it turns one's attention to the cause of the threat
and what might be done to alleviate the threat that has forced the liar, so
called, into this self-defensive posture.

Wine, of course, like any form of alcohol, temporarily eases the anxieties that
we feel, and loosens the tongue, among other things.

There is a healthier method of creating truthful environments than hauling
everyone down to the pub for drinks, and that is to cultivate trust. The real
issue with truth telling and lying is trust. We will be honest to someone whom
we trust. We will lie to one we believe is going to hurt us with the truth.

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

Carmentalia begins (day 1) -- a two-day festival (with a three day break between the days) in honour of the deity Carmenta, who was possibly a goddess of both childbirth and prophecy.

49 B.C. -- Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon (by another reckoning)

?? B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Juturna in the Campus Martius

29 B.C. -- Octavian closes the doors of the Temple of Janus, signifying the Roman world was at peace
ebullient @ Merriam-Webster

pugilist @
Forgot to mention these two yesterday, so there's a double dose to catch up on: Ioci Antiqui has continues to add to the January file of ancient jokes ... Sympotica Graecolatina has more convivial quotations from ancient times ...
Blogographos points us to an interesting post (in Spanish) on the Classical origins of the phrase Apres moi, le deluge ... turns out the post (at a new blog) is by Gabriel Laguna, of Tradicion Clasica fame.
Here's an all-too-common (I suspect) blooper from News 24's 'On This Day' page ... this sort of thing always makes me smugly smile:

49 BC - Roman emperor Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon river and moves his troops into an offensive position in the war against Pompeii.
Another installment by AM of Sauvage Noble fame ... the panels attended mostly reflect his linguistic interests, of course ...
This was mentioned on the Classics list yesterday ... there's a piece from the Sun-Sentinel (now picked up by the Eagle) all about insomnia and its cures ... it includes this:

Neal Nay, manager of the sleep disorders center at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Fla., agrees that lifestyle changes can be very effective in treating insomnia. He recommends simple approaches, such as getting out of bed and reading until you're drowsy, to get a good night's sleep.

"We encourage (insomniacs) to read something kind of boring, not a romance novel or a suspense novel," he said. "Teach yourself Latin. That should make you drowsy."

I won't mention that Mr. Nay isn't a doctor ... he's a polysomnographic technologist. I wonder if Mr. Neal knows the origins of the very long word used to describe his profession. It also appears that Mr. Nay has failed Latin (or was forced to take Latin -- and didn't have much success at it) in the past. But -- given that I myself am a chronic insomniac (who knows that stress and interrupted sleep is the primary reason for same, in his own case, anyway) -- I can't help but wonder whether Mr. Nay seriously believes and promotes that an activity that requires intellectual acuity and concentration is really the sort of thing one should do to help fall asleep. And let's not (like Mr. Nay) put on our prejudicial hats and focus solely on Latin -- trying to teach yourself ANYTHING is not the sort of thing that will contribute to drowsiness! Now if he had suggested that you bring in certain teachers/professors to lecture you to sleep, I might agree, but I still doubt I could fall asleep in my bedroom with some guy or woman trying to teach me something.

On the JFKMC website it appears that Mr. Nay has lectured on this topic before ... I would like Mr. Nay to cite a research paper that demonstrates that actively trying to learn anything at bedtime will contribute to a healthy sleep pattern.
Suzan Mazur has contributed another lengthy installment in her ongoing series in Scoop on the particulars in this case ... this week's bit looks at the purchase of the Euphronios Krater (very interesting 'behind the scenes' sort of thing).
The incipit of a speech transcript at the American Enterprise Institute (the speaker is Robert Louis Wilken):

It is a conspicuous, if seldom noted, historical truth that during the first millenium of Christian history the Church attracted many of the most gifted minds in the ancient world. The parade of luminaries is quite astonishing: Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Cyprian of Carthge, Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzen, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor; and of course the four Latin doctores ecclesiae, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great. Yet, Augustine towers over all. It is not hyperbolic to say during his lifetime he was the most intelligent man in the Mediterranean world. Between Plato and Aristotle in ancient Greece and Thomas Aquinas in the high middle ages, he has no peer.

Augustine surpasses measurement. More than any other thinker from antiquity he is a world. He lived very long, seventy-six years, wrote more profusely, and thought more deeply than any other early Christian thinker, and his imagination moved across a much larger canvas. He pondered all the great questions debated by thoughtful men and women in ancient Greece and Rome: freedom and determinism, how does one know, what is the highest good (summum bonum), what makes human beings unique, what kind of a being is God, how did the world come to be, how does one account for evil, what is the place of the affections in the virtuous life. He was fascinated by two of the most mysterious and elusive aspects of human experience: memory and time.

“Great is the power of memory, an awe-inspiring mystery. . . a power of profound and infinite multiplicity.” With its huge cavern filled with mysterious and secret nooks and crannies memory eludes our understanding. In the “vast hall of my memory,” wrote Augustine, I meet “all the sensations I have experienced . . . and there I also meet myself and recall what I am, what I have done, and when and where and how I was affected when I did it.” He recognized that memory has to do not only with recalling what one has experienced, but discovering what was already there buried deep within the recesses of the mind “even before I learned them.”

Of time he wrote: “What is time? . . . Who can comprehend this even in thought so as to articulate the answer in words? Yet what do we speak of, in our familiar everyday conversation, more than of time? We surely know what we mean when we speak of it. We also know what is meant when we hear someone else talking about it. What then is time? Provided that no one asks me, I know.”

... more.
Oratio praesidentis Halonen

Oratione Kalendis Ianuariis habita Tarja Halonen, praesidens Finnorum, monuit prosperitatem inter cives aequaliter divisam et dispertitam non esse; differentias redituum crescere coepisse et novum genus paupertatis cum exclusione sociali ortum esse; quaestus inopiam adhuc esse nimiam, etsi novae operis sedes creatae essent.

Structuram societatis civilis praesidens censebat rectam esse; curandum tamen esse, ut institutio publica, securitas socialis, cura valetudinis et circumiacentium efficaciter fungerentur; id non sufficere, ut Finni ad mutationes orbis terrarum se adaptarent, sed necesse esse, ut mutationibus dirigendis interessent.

Oratio, quam praesidens Halonen habuit, fuit ultima praesidentatus eius, nam comitia praesidentialia medio mense Ianuario fient.

De illis quidem Halonen, quae ad alterum praesidentatum est candidata, omnino tacuit, sed hortata est, ut Finni iure suffragii uterentur, quod centum annos habuissent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Helen Morales, Vision and Narrative in Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon
From the Independent:

Alexander John Graham, ancient historian: born Lowestoft, Suffolk 9 March 1930; Assistant Lecturer in Classics, Bedford College, London 1955-57; Assistant Lecturer in Ancient History, Manchester University 1957-59, Lecturer 1959-70, Senior Lecturer 1970-77; Professor of Classical Studies and Allen Memorial Professor in Greek, University of Pennsylvania 1977-95 (Emeritus), Chairman, Department of Classical Studies 1982-95; married 1963 Jenny Fitter (two sons); died Cambridge 26 December 2005.

A. J. Graham was one of the foremost authorities on the colonisation movement in the ancient Greek world. His pioneering first book, Colony and Mother City in Ancient Greece (1964), went through a second edition in 1983 and is still in print. His Collected Papers on Greek Colonization, gathering all the papers published by him on the subject over 40 years, appeared in 2001.

Alexander John Graham was born in 1930 into an old Quaker family in Lowestoft, Suffolk, where his father, Michael Graham, was Director of HM Fisheries Laboratory and an author of books on ecology, agriculture, and human behaviour. Conforming to family tradition, like his father before him and his sons after him, he was educated at Bootham, the Quaker school in Yorkshire, where he counted Victor Ehrenberg and John O. Burtt among his teachers. These were the men who gave his life the decisive direction to a scholarly career in Classics and Ancient History.

After National Service in the Army, Graham went up to King's College, Cambridge, on a scholarship, in 1949, and after graduating with distinction in Ancient History worked for a PhD under the watchful eye of Professor Sir Frank Adcock at Cambridge, also spending time at the University of Munich and at the British School at Athens.

In 1956, while he was still assistant lecturer at Bedford College, London, he was awarded the Cromer Greek Prize of the British Academy for his essay on the authenticity of the foundation decree of Cyrene. He developed this essay into Colony and Mother City in Ancient Greece.

After two years at Bedford College, in 1957 Graham accepted a teaching post at Manchester University, where he stayed for 20 years. There, despite a demanding teaching load, he produced 31 articles and reviews, establishing his standing as one of the leading historians of Greek colonisation in the Mediterranean, and also adding an expertise in Roman imperial history, especially under the Severi.

He contributed articles on "Colonization, Greek", "City-Founders", "Cleruchs" and "Cyrene" to the second, 1970 edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary and essays on colonisation to the new, second edition Cambridge Ancient History. And he co-edited a volume, Polis und Imperium, in honour of his teacher Victor Ehrenberg in 1965.

Graham's most productive period began in 1977, when he accepted a call to the University of Pennsylvania as Professor of Classical Studies, and when the modern authority on Greek colonisation became himself - a Quaker by origin and upbringing - an oikistes (coloniser) in what had been colonised three centuries earlier by British Quakers.

This appointment presented for Graham an opportunity he had long coveted. Membership in a department of Classical Studies afforded him more of an opportunity to teach and study classical texts in the original languages, and the presence of a distinguished historian in what had been primarily a department of languages and literature gave a tremendous impetus to the Graduate Group of Ancient History, recently established by Graham's predecessor, Professor Michael H. Jameson. It enabled Graham to give full rein to his interest not merely in Greek and Roman political history, but also in its religious and cultural dimensions, and in its relations to other ancient cultures. Students were required to choose dissertation subjects that spanned at least two ancient cultures (Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian etc, in any combination and with proficiency in the languages, literatures, and religions of each).

John Graham's interests were tailor-made for this kind of programme. In both his teaching and his numerous publications he could draw on his expertise in the interpretation of literary texts and inscriptions, as well as on his profound knowledge of archaeology and of the social, political, and religious institutions of the lands penetrated by the Greeks and the Romans.

His sharp historical acumen, his intellectual clarity and his compassionate nature found resonance both with students and colleagues. He inspired dissertations on a great range of subjects - including studies of the role of the founder and of religion in the foundation of Greek colonies; of government in colonial states; of Persian coins; of the defences of Attica; of Attic phratries; of diplomatic terminology in the Hellenistic Age; of the chronology of Delphi; of the history of Miletus; and of textual problems in Thucydides.

Despite his stubborn refusal to surrender to the use of e-mail, few students and colleagues regarded that as an obstacle to staying in touch with him, even after he withdrew to his native England upon his retirement in 1995.

A number of his former students expressed their esteem by publishing, under the editorship of Vanessa B. Gorman and Eric W. Robinson, a collection of 18 papers in his honour, Oikistes: studies in constitutions, colonies, and military power in the ancient world (2002).
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Roman Imprint on the West
In the 2nd century AD, all roads lead to Rome, and we'll follow some which connect Rome to the rich provinces of the West, including Iberia (Spain) and Gaul (France) as a Celtic gladiator takes us on a virtual tour through the streets of Nimes, Orange, Tarragona, Italica, Meridia, and more.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Greek Cities in Italy
Nearly 2,800 years ago, a group of Greek settlers landed on the coast of Italy, an event that marked the start of the process that created Magna Graecia--(Latin for Greater Greece)--Greek colonization of Southern Italy and Sicily. Explore the computer-recreated streets of the original Greek colonies as we walk through Cumae, Pasteum, Puteoli, and Neapolis, reconstructed using the most advanced computer graphics.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Friends, Romans, or Countryman?
An ancient secret, lying deep beneath a school playing-field in Bristol, England is unearthed when bulldozers move in to clear the land for a new housing development. The diggers uncover a large block of unusually shaped stone, which turns out to be part of a lidded box--a Roman sarcophagus dating back to the 4th century AD. It's a delicate and difficult operation to move the one-ton coffin without disturbing its contents. Once opened, there's a surprise in store. The coffin contains not one, but two bodies--a man and a woman. It's the first double burial ever found in a sarcophagus in Britain. But who are the mystery pair? What was their relationship? Husband and wife? Or mother and son? And where did they come from? The team of expert archaeologists, historians, medical artists, and forensic scientists piece together the clues.
Etiam instanti laesa repugnat ovis.
(Propertius 2.5.20

Even a sheep, when it is wounded, fights back against the one who is threatening

(pron = ET-yahm in-STAHN-tee LAI-soh re-POOG-naht OH-wis)

Comment: What causes you to act outside your normal nature? For the poet,
Propertius, it was the wounds of love and the broken heart. My own experience
is that the broken heart, or anything that causes "internal bleeding"
metaphorically speaking, will show us a different face on ourselves.

I take this proverb for a very simple reminder of a very important lesson in
being human. When we see others acting outside their normal manner, we must
know that they are wounded. Wounds require care, or, ultimately, the wounded

That's all. Wounds require care. Some wounds do not heal easily.

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

49 B.C. -- Caesar crosses the Rubicon (according to some sources)

69 A.D. -- emperor-for-a-little-while-and-not-much-longer Galba adopts Lucius Calpurnius Piso
ad hoc @

redound @ Merriam-Webster

rident @ Wordsmith

detritivore @ Worthless Word for the Day (perhaps could be used of tabloid journalism?)

dubiety @
Just so I don't appear to always be dwelling on the negative and/or anti-eBay, today I'll highlight a couple of auctions that caught my eye because they seem to be doing things 'right' (for the most part). As it turned out ... both came from the same source (and I won't specifically mention the name because I don't want to appear to be advertising for them). One is a nice late Roman mosaic of Venus; the other is a Greek hoplite helmet. In addition to providing a number of decent photos, both have at least some indication of provenance (even if the ultimate source of same is possibly 'questionable') -- with enough info, I think, to protect the interests of the buyer. I still don't like the identities of buyers being kept private, though ...
... alas, AM at Sauvage Noble has a different (and not too atypical, from a grad student point of view from what I've heard, double alas) experience at the APA meeting this year ...
From AP (via Yahoo):

British and Greek archaeologists are preparing a major excavation on a tiny Greek island to try to explain why it produced history's largest collection of Cycladic flat-faced marble figurines.

Artwork from barren Keros inspired such artists as Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore but also attracted ruthless looters. Now experts are seeking insight into the island's possible role as a major religious center of the enigmatic Cycladic civilization some 4,500 years ago.

Excavations will run April through June.

"Keros is one of the riddles of prehistoric archaeology," said Peggy Sotirakopoulou, curator of the Cycladic collection at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.

Of the more than 1,400 Cycladic figurines that have survived, only 40 percent are of known origin, as looters destroyed all evidence on the rest. But more than half the documented artifacts are from Keros.

"What is particularly impressive is not just the bulk of the finds, which is larger than the total from the rest of the Cyclades, but also that they were intentionally broken during ancient times," Sotirakopoulou said. "Therefore, this is a very important, a unique site."

The Cycladic culture — a network of small, sometimes fortified farming and fishing settlements that traded with mainland Greece, Crete and Asia Minor — is best known for its elegant artwork: mostly naked, elongated figures with their arms folded under their chest. The seafaring civilization was eclipsed in the second millennium B.C. by Crete and Mycenaean Greece.

Currently inhabited by a goatherd and his flock, Keros lies near the eastern rim of the Cyclades island chain — which includes the humming resorts of Mykonos and Santorini — between the larger islands of Naxos and Amorgos.

Keros was extensively pillaged during the 1950s and 1960s for its marble figurines, hundreds of which were illegally exported to fill museums and private collections in Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan.

Evidence from excavations in the '60s and 1980s failed to explain why the barren islet was so much more important in the 3rd millennium B.C. than its bigger, more hospitable neighbors.

"The prevailing explanation is that this was a sacred repository, a sort of pan-Cycladic sanctuary where people left objects within the framework of rituals which included their intentional smashing," said Sotirakopoulou.

She will participate in the summer's excavation together with Cambridge University professor Colin Renfrew and other experts.

Past digs — legitimate or otherwise — were carried out on the islet of Dhaskalio, just off Keros, and the Kavos area opposite. This year's work will focus on virgin ground.

"We hope the forthcoming excavations will clarify further the nature of the occupation and activities at Dhaskalio and Kavos," Renfrew said.

"It is clear Kavos was an important site where high prestige artifacts were deliberately broken and left. It is possible, but not yet certain, these were ritual actions relating to ceremonies in honor of the dead."

Experts agree that the elegant marble figurines were highly prized in the early bronze age Cyclades but still don't understand for what purpose they were made.

The figurines have been variously interpreted as depicting gods or venerated ancestors, serving as replacements for human sacrifice — or children's toys.

One thing is certain: They were not abstract works of art pared down to the barest representational essentials.

"Visitors say, 'Oh how pure, how white the figurines are,'" Sotirakopoulou said. "But in fact they had details_ hair, eyes, eyebrows, jewelry — painted on. In most cases, the paint has vanished."
Interesting development ... from the Houston Chronicle:

A German university plans to give back a fragment of the Parthenon sculptures, marking the first time any piece of the statues held outside Greece has been returned to Athens, the Culture Ministry said Monday.

The vice-rector of Heidelberg University, Angelos Chaniotis, informed Greek Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis of the decision during a meeting Monday in Athens, the ministry said.

"This is a highly important symbolic gesture," a ministry announcement said.

The 5th century B.C. sculpture from ancient Acropolis, which depicts a man's foot, belongs to the north section of the Parthenon frieze, a nearly 500-foot-long strip of marble slabs decorated in relief with figures from a religious procession.

Greece has waged a long campaign to win back the Elgin Marbles, a large collection of Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum in London.

Parts of the Parthenon sculptures also are held in the Louvre, and in museums in the Vatican, Vienna, Munich, Copenhagen and Palermo.

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom, was built between 447 and 432 B.C.

With Dorothy King's book coming out, this debate will likely heat up much in the coming days ...
Colin Austin, S. Douglas Olson, Aristophanes. Thesmophoriazusae.

Eric Shanower, Age of Bronze. Vol. 2: Sacrifice.

Ludwig Bernays, Ars poetica. Studien zu formalen Aspekten der antiken Dichtung. Prismata. Beiträge zur Altertumswissenschaft, IX.

Helen Rhee, Early Christian Literature. Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries.

Gillian Clark, Christianity and Roman Society.
Praesidium Unionis Europaeae

Anno vergente praesidium Unionis Europaeae ex Britannia in Austriam ad sex menses translatum est.

Res inter praesidium Austriae principales sunt lex fundamentalis, oeconomia, amplificatio Unionis. Colloquia de Turcia in Unionem asciscenda continuabuntur et de Bulgaria et Romania in societatem comprobandis constituetur.

Mense Iulio, cum praesidium in Finniam translatum erit, Finni operam dabunt, ut securitas, incrementum oeconomicum, facultates laborandi, iustitia socialis prosperitasque tam hominum quam naturae circumiacentis promoveantur.

Sicut Finnis anno undebismillesimo praesidentibus, ita etiam inter alterum praesidium Finnicum Conspectus rerum Europaearum Latinus ex Finnia septimanatim interretialiter transmittetur.

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

The daily online Latin newspaper Ephemeris has also been updated ... latest headline: Ali Agca liberandum esse
The question I asked yesterday about that intaglio were answered in the forum by JMM and offlist by WA ... just so we have it available here though (and to answer the queries of those wondering too), it transliterates as:


... the 'Q' is a theta for those of you who aren't familiar with beta code; in 'English' it would be Iao Sabaoth Adonai(e)Whatever the case, it does point to the owner either being Jewish or (more likely, given the accompanying image of Janus) a proponent of Gnostic mysticism/magic. So -- as JMM pointed out -- it ain't 3rd/2nd century B.C.. More likely late(r) Roman.
I note that frequent Explorator contributor AM has started up a blog of his own devoted to the Later Roman Empire ... Bread and Circuses is definitely worth a regular visit ...
... nothing of interest.
Ira perit subito quam gignit amicus amico.

The anger which a friend bears for a friend dies quickly.

(pron = EE-rah PEH-rit SOO-bih-toh kwam GIG-nit ah-MEE-koos ah-MEE-koh)

Comment: We might also note that fights between friends can be some of the
loudest, bloodiest, vicious AND longest-lasting. I think this is true for the
same reason that such fights (or anger) may also clear up rather quickly.
Anger between friends is like anger between any two other people except that
there are also the structures of friendship involved, such structures as
emotional attachment, intimacy, vulnerability and access. Someone who is not
my friend will pull fewer emotional strings in a disagreement with me (fewer,
not none); will know far less about me than will a friend; will not know my
tender places; and likely will not know my home phone number or be a member of
the club or church with me.

Friendship is really no assurance that anger will be less of a problem, but it
is the foundation for that possibility. Anger between me and a friend will
only perish quickly if I mind how my friend feels, if I guard and do not attack
my friend's tender places; if I take good advantage of my access to my friend
(which can include honoring my friend's space). But then, anger would perish
quickly between me and anyone if I would do those things! Being angry with
someone almost requires a certain level of intimacy unless it is something like
public invective at a public figure. Once I am angry at someone, I have entered
a deeper place with him/her. I may not have wanted that, but that's what anger
gets me. And so, the quesiton is: what to do with that new found intimacy. It
is very difficult for me to get closer to someone and not notice their humanity.

Works every time. It is very difficult to stay angry (very long) at someone
whose humanity reminds me of me.

Do you have a friendhip in your life right now that began with anger?

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

Agonalia -- one of four dies agonales during which the Rex Sacrorum would sacrifice a ram in the Regia; on this occasion apparently in honour of Janus.
250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Felix and companions in Africa
302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Julian and companions at Antioch
c. 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Marciana at Caesarea (Mauretania)
umbrage @ Merriam-Webster

fussbudget @ Wordsmith (never even suspected this one ... I've never even seen the word outside of a Peanuts comic)

ineffable @
It's kind of interesting that some of the bigger items without provenance have suddenly disappeared from eBay's Roman section of late. So today we have something from the Greek section, but I'm not questioning this one on the basis of provenance or anything (although I probably could). What I'm wondering is whether anyone can make heads or tails out of the inscription on this jasper intaglio ... it's in Greek (apparently), but I can't make sense of it ... (and it will bug me all day).
Nice feature on Tulane Classicist Susan Lusnia in the News Record:

Though the circumstances were unusual, Susann Lusnia, a professor in the Classics Department at Tulane University, felt lucky to be back at the University of Cincinnati.

"I had been teaching at Tulane University since the fall of 2000," Lusnia said. "When we heard Hurricane Katrina was coming, my husband Bert and I, along with a colleague who had just arrived from Italy, left the day before the storm hit and went to Memphis."

It was in Memphis that Lusnia realized she would not be returning home or teaching at the university for a while.

"We went to Virginia, where my family lives and stayed there for a while," Lusnia said. "I had been in touch with old professors of mine and people I knew in Cincinnati. They offered me a place to stay and an office to work in if I wanted to come and spend the fall."

Lusnia was given a place to stay in the Tytus Fellow housing and several weeks later awarded a Tytus Fellowship.

"I felt it would be the best thing that I could do because the classics library is so wonderful," Lusnia said. "I knew the department really well since I had done my graduate work here."

Lusnia earned a master's degree and PhD. at UC before joining the faculty at Tulane.

"I haven't been doing any teaching, just research," Lusnia said. "I do most of my work in Roman art and archeology. What I'm doing is taking the dissertation I wrote here at UC on the building program of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus and turning it into a book. It's the sort of thing I need to submit for tenure."

Along with her research, Lusnia has had the opportunity to lecture and participate in a Classics Department mini-symposium on natural disasters past and present.

"I actually talked about the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii. It's interesting because I teach a course on Pompeii at Tulane starting with the history and then the destruction," Lusnia said. "I think our discussion from now on will be the destruction and natural disasters in the ancient world. All of us at Tulane are going to look at things a little differently after what's happened."

Odd is the word Lusnia uses to describe the whole experience.

"I have to admit, as much as I have enjoyed being able to use the library here in the Classics Department and having the time to work on the book, I'd much rather be teaching my classes," Lusnia said. "I feel very lucky. For me, things have worked out really well. I've been able to do some things I normally wouldn't get to do in fall semester and there are still a few friends here from when I was a grad student. It has been good."

About a month after Katrina, Lusnia and her husband went home to New Orleans. Unlike so many others, they discovered that their house was in the small part of the city that had not flooded.

"We have an old, single shotgun style house that has slate on some parts of it," Lusnia said. "Some of the slate roof shingles were blown right off by the wind. And now, four months later, we are still trying to get it fixed."

Lusnia returned home around Christmas and will resume teaching Jan. 17 when classes begin again at Tulane.
Troels came through with another excellent and interesting post about day three at the APA meeting ... if you missed the previous ones, click here and work your way back.
Vox Day over at WorldNet Daily ponders Victor Davis Hanson and the idea that America is heading down the road Athens did ... (not sure the point he makes in this one is 'complete' ... you might have to read his previous column comparing George Bush to Alcibiades for this one to make sense). Haven't seen the George-Bush-As-Alcibiades theme in over a year, otherwise ...
Among the daily-updated sites out there, Ioci Antiqui has continued to add to the January file of ancient jokes ... meanwhile, Sympotica Graecolatina has more convivial quotations from ancient times ...
Some interesting excerpts from a lengthy piece in the Sydney Morning Herald about Freud and Vienna:


Unlike the leisurely, pleasure-loving Viennese who considered it ill-mannered to rush, Freud stormed around the Ring's six-kilometre length at such a cracking pace that it reminded Martin, his eldest son, of a soldier. Passing Freud on his daily walks was Adolf Hitler, a young artist of meagre talent, embittered by his failure to study at the Vienna Academy of Art. Hitler spent his days wandering the Ring because it had "a magic effect upon me, as if it were a scene from The Thousand and One Nights". The Ring's windswept plazas can be inhuman places, dwarfing the individual. No wonder Hitler admired them: his taste for triumphalist architecture was nurtured there.

Freud's regular destination was the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where he viewed its treasure trove of Egyptian, Greek and Roman art. Then he bustled back through the Inner Stadt, the labyrinth of medieval streets at Vienna's heart, where he stocked up on cigars and surveyed the shops of antiquities' dealers. If he saw an item he desired, some brisk bargaining took place, then Freud hurried home with a new prize - perhaps mummy bandages from an Egyptian tomb or an elegant Greek vase depicting Oedipus and the Sphinx or a Roman intaglio ring. At Berggasse 19, Freud would sit gazing at his new toy, before carefully arranging it alongside the others in his collection. By 1938, Freud was the proud owner of more than 2000 antiquities. "I must always have an object to love," he told Carl Jung.


While writing The Interpretation of Dreams in the last years of the 19th century, Freud developed another passion - an obsession with antiquity, myth and archeology that lead him to amass a private museum of statues, vases, reliefs, busts, fragments of papyrus, rings, precious stones and prints. When he fled Vienna for London in 1938, Freud, near death from cancer, declared "a collection to which there are no new additions is really dead". Patients were stunned when ushered into his rooms at Berggasse 19. Sergei Pankejeff, the "Wolf Man", felt he was not in a doctor's office but an archeologist's study surrounded by "all kinds of statuettes and other unusual objects, which even the layman recognised as archeological finds from ancient Egypt". For Pankejeff, the art works from "long-vanished epochs" created a sense of sanctuary, a "feeling of sacred peace and quiet."

Today Freud's magnificent collection is on view at the Freud Museum London (20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead), the house where Freud died in 1939. Freud's apartment at Berggasse 19 is also a museum. When it opened in 1971, Anna, Freud's youngest daughter and a pioneer of child psychoanalysis, donated a selection of Freud's art works, as well as original furniture from his waiting room.

Freud was a tomb raider, complicit in the often illegal trade in antiquities that accompanied the grand era of archeological discoveries. Freud did not care how he acquired his antiquities nor was he averse to trading on the black market. "For I am actually not a man of science" he wrote, "not an observer, not an experimenter, not a thinker. I am by temperament nothing but a conquistador - an adventurer, if you want it translated - with all the curiosity, daring and tenacity characteristic of a man of this sort." He eagerly followed the latest archeological discoveries, such as Arthur Evans' discovery of Minos on Crete. His hero was Heinrich Schliemann, who in 1871 had discovered the site of Troy.

Antiquities were relatively cheap and Freud did not need much cash to buy up big. Robert Lustig, his favourite dealer, was visiting a junk shop in the countryside near Vienna, when he saw a bronze Egyptian statuette. When he asked the price, the shop owner put the statue on the scale to weigh it and Lustig bought it for the price of the metal. Isis suckling the infant Horus (Egyptian, Late Period, 664-525 BC, Freud Museum London) is one of the main works in Freud's collection. Though the devotional image of Isis as madonna was popular in Egyptian art and similar statues can be seen in many galleries, including the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria, Freud's example is better. Not for the first time, Freud had gained a first class, museum-standard work.

Vienna has an archeological past. A Roman colony, founded in 14 BC and named Vindobona, it was the last outpost before the barbarian territories of the north. The Romans built a large fort in central Vienna. Today, in Michaelerplatz, excavated ruins show the walls of Roman houses. Marcus Aurelius arrived in 180 AD to battle the Teutons and died there from the plague, making Freud remark that in death the emperor "became a Viennese". It was the civilising influence of the Romans that brought winemaking to the region. Vienna is Wien - wine.


I'm sure most folks have seen bits and pieces of Freud's collection before ... if not, here's a useful 'summary'.
De pretio gasi discordia

Cum Gazprom, societas Russiae gasaria, pretium gasi Ucrainae vendendi quincuplicavisset, ut idem esset atque in mercatu mundiali, Ucraina recusavit, quominus tantum solveret.

Tum Gazprom gasi in Ucrainam translationem interrumpere decrevit. Qua re nationes Europae occidentalis sollicitabantur, nam etiam illis gasum ex Russia per Ucrainam ducitur.

Iamque pressio gasi in ductibus occidentis diminuebatur, cum Gazprom Ucrainenses accusavit, quod gasum alio destinatum furto abstulissent.

Tandem concordia in quinquennium restituta est: Ex Russia gasum Ucrainae ducenis tricenis dollaris, ex Kazakstania et Turkmenistania praeterea nonagenis quinis dollaris pro millenis metris cubicis suppeditabitur.

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

In addition, the online Latin newspaper Ephemeris has been updated ... latest headline: Infortunium fodinale: Valedictiones abyssales
As we head back to work after the break ourselves, we note that Akropolis World News (in Classical Greek) is back as well ... latest headlines:

Catalan swimmer swims 110 km. in 26 hours - Earthquake shakes Peloponnese
3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Who Built the Catacombs
Host Leonard Nimoy takes viewers on an exploration of the mysterious catacombs beneath Rome.
The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted ... so has issue 8.37 our Explorator newsletter ... both at our Classics Central Forum, of course ...
While we're focussed on the APA/AIA thing, the AHA is also having its annual meeting. The folks at HNN used to blog the heck out of this, but this year they're reducing the blogging and adding a different sort of thing: podcast interviews with scholars about their work (scroll to the bottom of the page). Obviously nothing 'ancient' here, but someone might get some inspiration from it (will someone please do a conference and podcast the whole thing?).
From the Daily Press:

Nearly two dozen trophies are displayed in Ann Graham's Latin classroom. Students have won them in Junior Classical League competitions since Graham started the club at Smithfield High School in the 2003-04 school year.

"These are the kids who will latch on to a love of learning and carry it with them," said Graham, 24, who came to Smithfield High three years ago, after studying Latin and classics at the University of Georgia.

Stuart Robertson, a 33-year-old former archaeologist from Britain, started teaching Latin at Windsor High School last year. Graham and Robertson teach all levels of the language. They've had an effect at their schools, boosting enrollment in Latin classes and spreading their enthusiasm for the language to students.

"I love the challenge," said Graham, who calls herself a strict grammarian. "You're not going to walk down the street and hear (Latin). You have to memorize it."

Locally and nationally, Latin saw an upsurge in recent years, in part because of pop-culture elements such as the movie "Gladiator" and the magic spells of fictitious young wizard Harry Potter. About 68 percent of Virginia school systems offer Latin, the state Department of Education reported. A higher percentage of schools offer Spanish and French - both of which have roots in Latin.

At Smithfield High, 121 students are enrolled in Latin classes this school year, up from about 90 in the 2003-04 school year. At Windsor High, 113 students are taking Latin this year, up from 86 two years ago.

Both of Isle of Wight's Latin teachers said they're happy that their classes attracted minority students. Multicultural classrooms better reflect the Roman Empire, which included black and Arabic leaders, Robertson said. "It was a very diverse society," he said.

Students say Latin improves their grammar and vocabulary, which helps them in other classes and on the verbal section of the SAT. Teachers say learning the difficult language instills discipline in students. Advanced students read passages by classical authors such as Virgil, Cicero and Ovid. "They have to think very precisely about sentence structure," Robertson said.

But Latin class isn't just about language. Students learn about ancient mythology and Roman history. They study Venus and Neptune, Hannibal and Caesar.

"I like introducing high schoolers to a different world - of art, history, grammar, culture," Robertson said. "I try to give them a broad exposure to beliefs, ideas and understandings of all the peoples in the ancient world."

Many Latin students also enjoy the camaraderie of Junior Classical League, a club with about 50 active members at Smithfield High.

"You make a lot of good friends," said Caleb Holland, a Smithfield High junior and first vice president of the state's league.

Students say their teachers make Latin fun and interesting.

When Graham teaches, she likes to sit on a desk facing students. Despite her petite frame, she possesses a powerful voice that keeps students' attention.

Graham's students exercise creativity by crafting posters and videos that illustrate aspects of Roman culture. Some students are creating "Law and Order: Roman Victims Unit," telling the story of a young girl turned into a cow by Jupiter.

Robertson's students give speeches and PowerPoint presentations and even translate pop songs into Latin. He engages students with his dynamic teaching style and constant movement around the classroom.

"I swear he gets a full-body workout," said Evan Callaway, a Windsor High sophomore. "People call (Latin) a dead language. That's not the case with a teacher like" Robertson, he said.

To cover travel costs for coming competitions, Smithfield High Junior Classical League students are conducting a fundraiser Jan. 14 in the school auditorium. The Miss Winter Wonderland Pageant will feature male students dressed in drag. The $4 event is open to the public.

The school will soon host its first Certamen, a sort of Latin quiz bowl, which Graham hopes will draw Latin students from throughout Hampton Roads.

Smithfield High students started offering a "Romapalooza" last year to introduce third-graders to mythology and Latin. Graham wants to expand the event and would like to see a Latin class start at the middle school. She said, "We hope the kids will grow up in the school system knowing Latin is a choice."
Here's one for the word mavens out there ... Mirabilis points us to the Etymologic online game ... here's the official description:

In this etymology game you'll be presented with 10 randomly selected etymology (word origin) or word definition puzzles to solve; in each case the word or phrase is highlighted in bold, and a number of possible answers will be presented. You need to choose the correct answer to score a point for that question. Beware! The false answers will often also seem quite plausible, and some of the true answers are hard to believe, but we have documentation!

It bills itself as the "Toughest Word Game on the Web" and it is quite the challenge!
Can't say that I'm really disappointed in this, for some reason ... the incipit from a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The fall of the Roman empire is nigh in South Lake Tahoe. Caesars Tahoe's new owners are refashioning the landmark hotel-casino from a vision of ancient Rome to a contemporary French Alps theme that will be renamed MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa next month.
Not sure when this was added to the Center for Hellenic Studies site (please put dates on your 'What's New' items!) ... all the papers from a conference entitled Women and Property in Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean Societies have been made available as pdfs. Here's a cut and paste of the various items available:

I. Women, Property, and the Ideology of Gender
Hans Van Wees : The Invention of the Female Mind: Women, Property and Gender Ideology in Archaic Greece (529Kb)
Deborah Lyons : Dangerous Gifts: Ideologies of Gender and Exchange in Ancient Greece (594Kb)
Naomi Steinberg : Romancing the Widow: The Economic Distinctions between the´alma-nâ, the ´iššâ-´alma-nâ and the ´e-šet-hamme-t (353Kb)
Cheryl Cox : Women and Property in Ancient Athens: A Discussion of the Private Orations and Menander (291Kb)

II. Women’s Property in a Legal Framework
Sophie Démare-Lafont : Inheritance Law of and through Women in the Middle Assyrian Period (279Kb)
Cornelia Wunsch: Women's Property and the Law of Inheritance in the Neo-Babylonian Period (218Kb)
Raymond Westbrook: Penelope’s Dowry and Odysseus’ Kingship (366Kb)
Stefan Link: “..., but not more!” Female Inheritance in Cretan Gortyn (320Kb)
Annalisa Azzoni: Women and Property in Persian Egypt and Mesopotamia (460Kb)
Lin Foxhall: Female inheritance in Athenian law (219Kb)
Stephen Hodkinson: Female Property Ownership and Status in Classical and Hellenistic Sparta (462Kb)

III. Women’s Property in the Material Record
Betsy Bryan: Property and the God’s Wives of Amun (322Kb)
Stefania Mazzoni: Having and Showing: Women’s Possessions in the Afterlife in Iron Age Syria and Mesopotamia (286Kb). Manuscript Images, Figures 1 - 18 (2.7MB)
Susan Langdon: Views of Wealth, a Wealth of Views: Grave Goods in Iron Age Attica (473Kb)
Diane Harris-Cline: Women and Sacred Property: The Evidence from Greek Inscriptions (238Kb)
I just noticed yesterday that Troels is at the APA meeting and doing a fine job of blogging it ... Day One ... Day Two ... more to come, I suspect.
Interesting lesson plan aimed at grade 8-university types at the AIA site ... students create (and learn about, obviously) Greek Red and Black Figure pottery ... I might have to try this with my Grade Sevens ... be nice to see the AIA (and APA) come up with more stuff like this.
7.00 p.m. |HINT| 31 BC--The Battle of Actium
If Antony and Cleopatra had won the Battle of Actium, there would have been no Roman Empire. Yet Octavius Caesar's victory in 31 BC led to an absolute dictatorship that sparked one of the greatest imperial and cultural expansions the world has ever known. Each turning point in history is backed by a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. Join us for a trip through time as we recreate the Battle of Actium, featuring exclusive dramatizations and the latest historical research.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Colosseum: A Gladiator's Story
In ancient Rome, Verus fights his way out of slavery to train as a gladiator. He is chosen to fight in the inaugural games at an extraordinary amphitheatre. The games of the Colosseum involved killing and torture and they lasted for hundreds of years.
Okay, I realize the APA/AIA meeting is only a day or so old (and I'd love to be blogging it, but it just didn't fit into the schedule), but again I can't help but wonder why I haven't seen any media coverage of the APA side of things. The blogbit following this one is a UCincinnati press release about a Greek Temple discovery in Albania. There was also a Canadian press release on the AIA side of things from the University of Montreal. The report about the Albania thing is gradually appearing in news sites around the world.

So where's the APA side of things? Why aren't they even mentioned as being part of the same conference? Where are the press releases (hey, if nutbars writing about finding Atlantis in their backyard can put one out, why can't the APA?)? I mean, if the problem is with the 'philological' side of things, why not take advantage of piggybacking with the AIA in, e.g., the session marking the 75th anniversary of the excavations in the Athenian Agora? Or better, given the constant comparisons in newspapers of the U.S. to ancient Rome, the session on Classical Drama as Political Drama? I mean, this year's APA has 'something for everyone' (as it usually does) and yet we don't see any promotion of Classics as being the ultimate inclusive university discipline. We'll see if the CAC handles things better in May.
From a UCincinnati press release (which has photos, by the way):

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati’s Classics faculty are preparing to make their first public presentation of details surrounding their find of one of the earliest Greek temples in the Adriatic region north of Greece.

The UC researchers, along with colleagues from the International Centre for Albanian Archaeology and the Institute of Archaeology, Tirana, will be presenting on their new work on Friday, Jan. 6, 2006, in Montreal at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.

"This is a case where a hunch about the potential of a site is paying off in the discovery of a temple that has extraordinary and singular importance to Albanian archaeology and to the history of Greek colonization in the Adriatic Sea region," says Jack L. Davis, the Carl W. Blegen Professor of Greek Archaeology at the University of Cincinnati and co-director of the international research team working at the site. "We are gaining the tools for an understanding of religious life in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., a part of the early history of Apollonia of which little is known."

Presenting with Davis will be UC colleagues Sharon R. Stocker, Kathleen Lynch and Evi Gorogianni, along with Albanian researchers Iris Pojani and Vangjel Dimo.

The temple they have discovered, located in coastal Albania, is only the fifth known stone temple in Albania. It stands out both because of its age and its size.

The site is just outside of the ancient Greek city-state of Apollonia, and dates back to the late 6th century B.C. That would put its use in the Archaic and Classical periods, a time from which little has been recovered from inside the acropolis of Apollonia.

So far, in addition to remains of sacrificial meals and broken fineware pottery, substantial numbers of Classical and Hellenistic figurines have been found, although the principal deity of the sanctuary remains undetermined at this point.

"It now seems likely that the life of the sanctuary began not long after the founding of the Apollonia colony," Davis says. "What we discover here will contribute much to our understanding of religious life in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., a period that is hardly known from previous excavations inside the borders of Apollonia itself."

The researchers suspected the temple was large, but only recently determined its approximate proportions: 14 meters by 40 meters.

The history of excavations on the site, located on a farm known by the family name of Bonjaket, dates back more than 40 years ago, when a farmer’s tractor uncovered terracotta figurines outside the walls of Apollonia. The site appeared to include remains of a sanctuary. An Albanian-Russian archeological team explored it, finding traces of brick walls and dating hundreds of the figurines to the 4th-2nd century B.C. Their work went unnoticed, however: the rupture in Soviet-Albanian relations in 1960 kept the team from publishing much about their work

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

They found more figurines, the foot of a statue, a late Greek inscription, a small stone altar – and pottery from a much earlier date.

The combination of figurines, "which often point to ancient places of worship," and the older pottery led the team to believe the site was older than they first thought, Davis said.

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

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

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

After careful negotiations with the Bonjaket family, major work began in 2004 to unearth the true scope of the apparent temple. After two seasons spent at the site, momentum continues to build that many details about the religious history of the temple and the Apollonia colony are about to be determined.

The abstract of the paper presented at the AIA meeting is online of course ...
Last week we mentioned this group which is supposedly putting together a new lists of 'wonders of the world' ... since that time, various countries have been going through paroxysms of, well, whining because something in their country didn't get nominated. The latest whines come from down the road in Toronto, in a piece in the Toronto Star (whining about the lack of inclusion of the CN Tower), and it includes this:

The first reference to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as an itinerary concept, is found in the works of the historian Herodotus, which place the idea in the 5th century B.C. But it wasn't until some three centuries later that a Greek engineer known as Philon of Byzantium formally compiled the list, in what was essentially a Fodor's guide for the well-heeled Athenian traveler.

The wonders were described as a celebration of "religion, mythology, art, power and sciences'' — humans changing the landscape by building massive but beautiful (note: few would describe the CN Tower as a beauty) structures that would stand the test of time.

They didn't.

Gone are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built by Nebuchadnezzar II along the banks of the Euphrates; the Statue of Zeus at Olympia; the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. All were built between 2500 BC and 200 BC.

Notice that the Greek list contained the wonders of their empire, or at least what they knew of the world. Philon didn't know from the Great Wall of China.

I'm sure most Classicists will balk at the idea of Herodotus coming up with the idea of Seven Wonders ... there was a good piece in Archaeology Magazine a few years back on the subject; the abstract is online and useful in this regard ...
We're starting up a new section of Atrium Latin (using Wheelock) ... even if you're not interested in the (free) course, check out the new page layout for the Atrium at the same time (css be drivin' the rogueclassicist crazy lately).
The incipit of a piece in Nature:

Thanks to political tensions easing in Lebanon, archaeologists have finally managed to locate the sites of ancient Phoenician harbours in the seaports that dominated Mediterranean trade thousands of years ago.

By drilling out cores of sediment from the modern urban centres of these cities, geologists have mapped out the former coastlines that the sediments have long since buried. From this they have pinpointed the likely sites of the old harbours, and have marked out locations that, they say, are in dire need of exploration and conservation.

The modern cities of Tyre and Sidon on the Lebanese coast were once the major launching points of the seafaring Phoenicians. They were to the ancient world what Venice, Shanghai, Liverpool and New York have been in later times: some of the greatest of the world's ports, and crucial conduits for trade and cultural exchange. From the harbours of the Phoenician cities, ships carried precious dyes and textiles, soda and glass throughout the Mediterranean and beyond.

Both cities still carry the same name, but the coastlines on which they sit have been reshaped by silting since the time of the Phoenicians, about 3,000 years ago. Sidon has extended out to sea through the build-up of silt. And Tyre, which was once an island, has been joined up to the mainland by silting, while much of the old land has sunk beneath the waves.

But whereas these major geographical changes were roughly known, no one knew the exact shape of the old coastline, which would in turn reveal the positions of the ancient harbours themselves.

... more
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Thermopylae
Using cutting-edge computer gaming technology, we recreate conflicts that shaped the ancient world and witness great battles like never before. Hosted on location by Matthew Settle (Band of Brothers), we return to Thermopylae in 480 BC, where 300 Spartans occupied a mountain pass and held off the colossal army sent by the Persians to avenge their defeat at Marathon. The Greeks held the pass for over a week in one of history's greatest displays of military heroism--and died to the last man rather than surrender.
ante diem viii idus januarias

1822 -- birth of Heinrich Schliemann (excavator of Troy, Mycenae)
bimester @ Wordsmith

recondite @

... and not Classical, but one which I'm sure most of my readers will identify with (and which I vow to use at least once in the next week):

paperasserie @ Worthless Word for the Day
Remember that broken statue of Hera from the theatre at Gortyn? Here's a followup from ANSA:

An Italian archaeological team is patch together an ancient statue from Crete, restoring it to its original condition and helping smooth over political tension sparked by the breakage .

The statue of the goddess Hera, unearthed on the Greek island of Crete by the Italian Archaeological School, was broken last September while under Italian care, attracting extensive media coverage and resulting in parliamentary questions in both countries .

"The problem of the statue from the Roman Theatre in the town of Gortyn has now been resolved," said Anna Maria Reggiani, the head of the Italian Culture Ministry's archaeology department .

"The plan has already been approved by the Greeks, much to the satisfaction of both governments." The incident occurred in September, while the newly unearthed statue was being transported. Although technically under Italian supervision, the archaeology team had hired local Greek workers for the move .

However, the breakage itself was the result of a freak gust of wind, which knocked the artefact to the ground, cracking it in two .

Some initial reports suggested the statue had been reduced to smithereens but it soon emerged that there was only a single break .

According to the co-director of the dig, Francesca Ghedini, the damage is "95% repairable" .

Ghedini, whose brother Niccolo Ghedini is Premier Silvio Berlusconi's lawyer, also suggested the incident had been used by the opposition for political purposes .

In an interview with daily Il Mattino di Padova, she denied that the breakage had caused any diplomatic problems, implying that the media coverage had been a storm in a teacup .

"Relations with Greece are excellent, just as they've always been," she said. "We still have a great many projects under way." Reggiani echoed these sentiments, stressing that "ties with our Greek colleagues are excellent" and explaining that both side were working on plans to open a Greek archaeological school in Rome .

Vassily Avarantinos, the classical antiquities superintendent of Viotia, a site near Athens, said the Greek authorities were satisfied .

"The Italian Archaeological School is a highly prestigious body," he explained. "I'm a superintendent, I've seen the excavation in Gortyn and I know that what happened to the statue of Hera can happen to anyone working on digs .

"The only real mistake is when people sit back and do nothing about such accidents. What's important is that a solution has been reached." The reconstruction work will be carried out by the Culture Ministry's archaeological team, headed by Giovanna Bandini. Work will start this month .
Squeeeee! has finally recovered from technical difficulties and is back to posting!!!!
From the Kurdish Media comes this interesting piece:

Obviously, Plato had a brilliant image for the false beliefs and illusions from which we the Kurds nowadays suffer quite often. Plato’s allegory of the cave is perhaps the most famous of his philosophical works. It is written and interpreted at the beginning of the Book VII of The Republic.

In addition to the way Plato depicts the cave, it can also be depicted as an image of the current Southern Kurdistan’s situation.

The allegory depicts a cave in which people exist as prisoners, chained since childhood deep inside of the cave. Not only their transitioning movement is immobilized, their heads are as well to focus their attention to a certain direction. Behind the prisoners blazes an enormous fire.

Between the blaze and the prisoners (i.e., behind the prisoners) locates a road, designed for men to carry shapes of various animals, plants and other materials. Possibly, signs portraying democracy, human rights, women rights, rule of law, freedom of press and free-market are also carried along the road. The blaze, however, is casting the shadows of the carried shapes on the wall, and that is with what the prisoners’ attention is preoccupied. The residents of the cave, the prisoners, equate the shadows with the illusion reality in which they live (e.g., naming them, talking about them and linking sounds from shape-carriers’ voices to their movements.) This is basically the only “reality” that prisoners experience, seeing merely shadows of images.

Basically, the above situation can be described as a theater, where people are forced to indulge themselves with a show of illusions: A show playing fabricated footages about democracy, human rights, women rights, rule of law, freedom of press and free-market.

This situation in the cave is circled until the day a prisoner manages to break free of his chains, realizes reality of the shadows (i.e., shadows depicting democracy, human rights, women rights, rule of law, freedom of press and free-market), and escapes the cave to the real world. At first, he would be blinded by the glare of the sun, portrayed through the blaze of the fire in the cave which he escaped, and will be incapable to see the brighter objects of his surrounding. He will only be capable to distinguish the darker objects. But after a while, his eyes would begin to adjust to the real daylight and will start to distinguish the nature around him.

The brave man who managed escaping Plato’s cave of illusions was Dr. Kemal Sayid Qadir. His eyes are still blinded by the glare of the sun, and he is incapable to see any bright objects. He is, however, capable to distinguish the darker objects in the mean time.

Eventually, realizing the difference between the real world outside of the cave and the fabricated shadows inside the cave where he had been imprisoned, he is no longer able to live in a dark world fabricated by shadows: He prefers to live free and can not accept a totalitarian system.

The free man returns back into the cave to convince his people who share him a single fate to break their chains as well and climb into the reality, originally fabricated by the shadows in the cave. No doubt he would find difficulty in convincing his people to break their chain and step to world of reality. In addition, if he were to prove the reality of fabricated democracy, human rights, women rights, rule of law, freedom of press and free-market with them, to them, they would still prefer to live in a dim world!
From ANSA:

Turin is to uncover the world's oldest surviving map as part of the rich programme of cultural events accompanying February's Winter Olympics .

The 1st-century-BC Papyrus of Artemidorus, which contains the map, will go on display for the first time ever at the city's Palazzo Bricherasio from February 8 to May 7. The parchment, which is over 2.5m long and 32.5cm wide, was found by chance at the end of the 20th century. Its importance has been compared to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It features the account of a trip to Spain of a previously obscure Greek geographer, Artemidorus of Ephesus, and the map, which is unfinished and impossible to relate to any particular region .

But what counts is that it shows roads, rivers and settlements in an attempt to depict realistic spatial arrangements; something which makes it the first example of the kind of map used today .

Older 'maps' have been found - like the scratched-on-ceramic Soleto Map, which shows towns in the southern Italian region of Apulia and dates back to the 5th century BC - but they do not have the characteristics we would associate with a modern topological map. Most existing classical maps are Roman and date from the period after Christ's birth. The Papyrus, which was restored by Turin's Egyptian Museum, has had an eventful life. The map and the accounts of Spain were etched on it in Alexandria, Egypt, after Artemidorus - who is known to historians mainly because he was cited by a fellow Greek geographer, Strabo - completed his travels of the Mediterranean. But the project was never finished and the rear of the parchment was later used for sketches of real and mythological animals. The parchment, along with other documents and letters, later formed part of the material used to prepare a mummy. This made sure it was preserved for posterity .

Experts have pieced together the various fragments and filled in missing parts with their reconstructions. The Palazzo Bricherasio exhibition also features a series of ancient Roman and Greek mosaics, sculptures and paintings, on loan from around 30 different museums. The aim is to recreate the artistic, cultural and scientific context in which Artemidorus produced the map .

There are sections on the use of papyrus scrolls in ancient times and on the history of cartography too .
Father Foster was posted early this week:

The word magi conjures up a world of magic and wonder, inhabited by wise men from afar who once followed a star... But how did Pope Leo the Great, one of the most outstanding Latinists of all time write about this journey?...

... listen
Novae leges tabacariae

Apud Hispanos, qui acerrimi fumificatores sunt, lex lata est, quae fumificationem in sedibus operis et in cauponis vetat.

In Cechia fumificatio hoc anno in omnibus locis publicis vetita est.

Statim post mediam noctem Kalendarum Ianuariarum vir quidam Pragae deprehensus est, cum in statione autoraedarum fumificavisset.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Stat sua cuique dies.
(Vergil, Aeneid 10.467)

A person's own day is established for each one.

(Pron = staht SOO-ah KWEE-kway DEE-ays)

Commentary: "One's own day" is a eumphemism for "one's death day". This short
line from the Aeneid expresses the belief that everyone's days are numbered,
and that there is an appointed day when we each shall die.

I don't know if that is the case, or not. I do know that in western culture and
religions, this is a popular notion, and it has the effect of keeping us, at
leas subconsciously, anxious about the future, and I have come to see that such
anxiety is unhealthy. It unduly takes my attention off of what and who is right
in front of me, in the present moment, even if unconsciously.

I am also fairly certain that each of us will come to a moment when it will be
"our day", whether or not it has be pre-established as such. What will make
that moment particularly difficult or not, it seems, is how much practice we
have at letting go, for in that moment, we will engage in some serious letting

I have been fortunate in that I have witnessed many people in that moment, or in
the last few moments leading to their "own day". Regardless of their life, it's
length, its quality, or its station, I have seen each person become tender,
reflective, and very aware of the present moment. They become clear that they
do not have control over much of anything, and so they hold things and people
tenderly, see each much more clearly, and let go. I have also seen the misery
innvolved in individuals and their families, who were unwilling to enter this
tenderness, reflectivity, and present-moment awareness. They are alive, but it
is hell on earth as they grasp and pretend to be in charge. I watched a woman
once try to rule her entire extended family from her nursing home bed. She had
been there for over ten years.

Here's the point. Today, we can choose to practice tenderness, reflection, and
living in the present moment. Each day can be a full life. It's a little
hokey (to me), but there's a popular country song out right now whose chorus
proclaims: I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.

Here's wishing us all a tender, reflective, in the moment Friday.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
8.30 p.m. |HINT| What the Romans Did for Us: Building Britain
Host Adam Hart-Davis rediscovers the innovations and inventions the Romans brought to Britain--in this episode, hi-tech farming methods and the creation of our first cities. The Romans brought new crops such as cabbages and turnips, as well as ingenious tools like. the original Swiss-Army knife. Adam tries out a reaping machine that was the forerunner of the modern combine-harvester, and finds modern crops are a tougher proposition than ancient wheat. In York, Adam discovers remains of the original Roman city. Beneath the streets, he finds a Roman sewer that is still working and marvels at the design of the best-preserved lavatories in the country. Adam discovers how Romans made glass windows and tests-out a specially built replica of the world's first fire engine.

11.00 p.m. |DISCU| Mysterious Death of Cleopatra
The daughter of an incestuous marriage, Cleopatra married and murdered her brothers, inheriting the throne of Egypt at age 17. Her life was filled with the unexplained. A team of experts reexamines the circumstances of Cleopatra's untimely death.
nonae januariae

ludi compitales -- day three of a moveable festival which might occur anytime between Saturnalia and January 5. It was largely a rural occasion involving woollen dolls being made to represent each free member of the household (simple woollen balls would be used to represent slaves) being hung up on the eve of the festival, presumably as offerings to the Lares. There would also follow more formal sacrifices at the compita (places where two farm paths crossed).

1906 -- birth of Kathleen Kenyon (excavatrix of Jericho)
verisimilitude @

emeritus @ Merriam-Webster

jargonaut @ Worthless Word for the Day

exegete @

Meanwhile, the Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature makes its New Year debut with 'sub words' ... and, of course, Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies is always worth a look ...
Not sure if I've ever mentioned this one ... Woodhouse's English-Greek dictionary is available online at UChicago .... useful
Forgot to mention yesterday that Sympotica Graecolatina continues to post a convivial ancient quotation a day ... meanwhile, the January file of ancient jokes at Curculio continues to grow, today with a bit of Martial.
Well, it's definitely a slow news day and I've been saving this one for such an occasion ... back in 1801, a certain William Hutton (related to a former denizen of the Classics list?) decided he was going to walk (and write about) the entire length of Hadrian's Wall. Alun has been excerpting the work, illustrating it with some modern photos and adding appropriate links. Now it is one of the features of blogging that things end up being archived 'backwards', so if that's not a problem, you can begin with the intro on the bottom of this page, work your way up, then proceed to the bottom of this one and work your way up. If that sort of thing bothers you, ecce:

Introduction to William Hutton
Station I - Segedunum
Station II - Pons Aelii
Station III - Condercum
Station IV - Vindobala
Station V - Hunnum
Station VI - Cilurnum
Station VII - Procolitia
Station VIII - Borcovicus
Station IX -- missing?
Station X - Aesica
Station XI - Magna
Station XII - Amboglanna
Latest image of Mary and baby Jesus comes from a basketball backboard in Miami (insert comment about the Heat here?) ... photo accompanies the original article.
I seem to have caught up to Nuntii Latini, so there's no update there today ... Ephemeris, however, continues to add to its front page content with the headline: Hwang Woo Suk clonurgum celebratissimum esse fraudatorem
Nihil . . . semper floret: aetas succedit aetati.
M. Tullius Cicero, Philippics 11.15.39

(pron = NEE-hill SEHM-per FLOH-ret AI-tahs sook-KAY-det ae-TAH-tee).

Nothing lasts forever: one age succeeds another.

Comment: Cicero makes his observation about big time periods and perhaps larger
than life issues. His beloved Roman Republic was about to pass away, and the
Roman Empire would, eventually, succeed. The Roman Republic has taken birth at
the end of a troubled monarchy, and itself had gone through a number of
experimental or evolving stages to reach the form that it had when Cicero
defended it.

But, Cicero's observtion is true of this moment as well. No moment, no
experience flourishes forever. Each moment is succeeded by another. In
observing that, it is easier to allow each moment its glory, and to enjoy each
moment, but, also to let go of each moment.

I recently read a quotation from a Zen master giving advice along these lines:
clinging to the moment means you have a problem and a very narrow way.. Let go
of the moment; let go of ideas and experiences that are passing. Concern
yourself only with this: what is good for other people.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
... nothing of interest
pridie nonas januarias

ludi compitales -- day two of a moveable festival which might occur anytime between Saturnalia and January 5. It was largely a rural occasion involving woollen dolls being made to represent each free member of the household (simple woollen balls would be used to represent slaves) being hung up on the eve of the festival, presumably as offerings to the Lares. There would also follow more formal sacrifices at the compita (places where two farm paths crossed).

1785 -- birth of Jacob Grimm
orthography @ Merriam-Webster

anachronism @ Wordsmith

illeism @ Worthless Word for the Day (cool word)

sine qua non @
The incipit of Peter Jones' latest from the Spectator:

The British are about to replace the Americans in Afghanistan. Let us hope they take a good life of Alexander with them – Arrian or Quintus Curtius Rufus will do – because conditions for military campaigns have not changed much since then.

When Alexander finally defeated Darius III and his Persian army in 329 BC – the purpose of his expedition – he pushed into Bactria/Sogdia, as it was then, to pursue the leader of the Persian resistance, Bessus. Bessus was duly turned in by his treacherous Bactrian lieutenant Spitamenes. But Alexander needed to feed his army and secure his rear, and did so by plundering widely and garrisoning the main villages. Further, he refused to allow the locals to do what they had always done in relation to their war dead, i.e. leave their bodies in the field for vultures to consume. All this raised the locals to revolt, and when Alexander decided to turn to Spitamenes for suggestions about how to deal with it, found that Spitamenes was the ring-leader. The furious Alexander immediately sent 2000 troops to Samarkand to sort him out. Knowing the terrain, Spitamenes laid an ambush. It was a massacre. Alexander at once mustered 7,000 elite troops and raced 180 miles across the desert in three days (!) to take revenge. He searched up and down for him but found, precisel

... the rest is available at the Friends of Classics site ...
Interesting how knowledge of Latin seems to be a 'journalistic' indication of qualification to be a U.S. Supreme Court Judge ... the passing incipit of an AP wire piece (via Yahoo) making the rounds:

Samuel Alito's ninth-grade Latin teacher still swoons at how beautifully he conjugated verbs. A fellow judge admires him as someone who won't use five words when two will do.


"I remember right where he sat: first row, second seat," says 91-year-old Grace Bolge, who taught him Latin at Reynolds Junior High in Hamilton Township outside Trenton. Alito easily nailed the nuances of verbs and the subtleties of proper translation, but never held himself out as better than the others, she recalls.

Further poking around finds this from the Washington Times:

Judge Samuel Anthony Alito Jr., the son of two public-school teachers and prominent members of the Italian community surrounding nearby Trenton, was never the sort to draw attention to himself, unless it was praise for his perfect grades in school.
"He was painstakingly perfect," says Grace Bolge, who taught the Supreme Court nominee Latin in ninth grade and has long been a friend of his mother, still a resident of this quiet township 50 miles south of New York City.
"He was a wonderful student," she said. "However, I have to say this he was never a rah-rah cheerleading type of student. If anything, you could call him humble. He could have shown off because the kids knew he was bright, but he was not an attention-grabbing person at all."

So kiddies ... do well in Latin and maybe thirty or forty years from now one of the Ginnies, Mme, DD, or any of a zillion others will be out stumping for your candidacy!
The A.V. Club alerts us to the fact that the Last Days of Pompeii (the silent movie by the folks who brought you the original King Kong) is out on DVD ...
MH continues to add to the January file of the Ioci Antiqui ... today's joke comes from the Eclogues ...
From the Turkish Daily News comes this interesting item:

One of two surviving golden coins stamped during the period of the foundation of the Kingdom of Pergamon is being exhibited at the Eregli Archaeology Museum in Konya.

Eregli Archaeology Museum Director Mehmet Bilici said the golden coins' importance is down to their potential for providing valuable evidence about the economic and social conditions of the Kingdom of Pergamon.

The other coin is still on display at the Bergama Museum in I.zmir.

Pergamon was an ancient city founded on the Aegean coast of Anatolia at the site of the present-day city of Bergama. Located 100 kilometers north of I.zmir in the Bak'rçay River basin, Bergama is one of Turkey's oldest civilized settlements, inhabited from pre-historic times through the periods of the Ionic, Roman and Byzantine civilizations.

Noting that Pergamon was a city-state of the Roman Empire around 120 B.C., Bilici said that after establishing the realm the king stamped the coins as proof of the kingdom's independence from the Roman Empire. He added that they were also meant for commercial purposes to allow trade.

'The stamped coins were then released for public use," Bilici said. "The independent Kingdom of Pergamon was founded in this way. There's a stylized statue relief of the goddess Artemis on the backside of the 24-carat gold coin, and the goddess' head is depicted on the front. … The coins are very valuable in terms of world archaeology and art history,' he added.

How did the coin travel to central Anatolia'

Stressing that only two golden coins remain from that time, Bilici said the one exhibited in the Eregli Archaeology Museum was unearthed from a tomb on a hill located five kilometers east of Eregli during excavations in the region in 1974.

'This golden coin, along with some other finds from the same tomb, is being exhibited at our museum. It'll be worthwhile to put these coins and the other unearthed items under comprehensive technical observation, as according to the age's religious beliefs coins were put into tombs for the dead as a gift to be given to the keeper of the Sirat Bridge,' he said. 'However, it's a great secret as to how the coins came from Bergama to a central Anatolian settlement.'

Bilici said Eregli will also be a place of major interest for archaeologists and art historians from all around the world if the body found in the tomb is proven to be one of Alexander the Great's commanders, as some archaeologists presume.

A photo accompanies the original article.
Memoria tsunami anniversaria

Die Lunae, id est die festo Stephani protomartyris (26.12.), unus annus praeterierat ex illa ingenti clade naturae in Asia facta, quod tsunamum appellatur.

Memoria hominum ea calamitate mortuorum, quorum numerus circiter ducentorum triginta milium esse existimatur, in diversis orbis terrarum partibus recolebatur candelis accensis, silentiis tristibus actis et precationibus effusis. Regimen Thailandiae magnam peregrinorum multitudinem in suam terram invitaverat ad caerimonias memoriales celebrandas. Hospites, qui ex Finnia venerant, officio divino in urbe Phuket habito interfuerunt.

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

The online Latin newspaper Ephemeris has also been updated ... latest headline: Californiam esse inundatam
Nihil dificile amanti.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Orator 10.33)

Nothing is difficult for the one who loves.

Comment: Cicero has just said previous to this line??let us attempt the
great and arduous work entirely?. You have to love his zeal. He then
follows with this comment that he think nothing is difficult for the one who
loves?that is, loves what he/she is doing.

For me as an educator and as a human being, this is the crux of activity, of the
things I do and the things I ask students to do. Does the work have my
attention? Does the work engage me? Is the work worthy of my time? Is the
work necessary? This last one is trickier than it seems. Necessity is a
personal experience, and usually fails to translate when it is imposed on
another. In other words, I may feel the need for someone else to do some work,
but imposing my necessity on the other is very likely not to translate in their
own sense of necessity in doing the work!

We spend little time in educational models asking students what has their
attention. Instead, we have demanded their attention be on what we consider
necessities, and then feel dismay when they distract themselves with what we
consider to be shallow activities. The bottom line is that they often leave
our high schools as lost from what they really love to do as they could be, and
our educational process has helped them become that way.

What if we discovered that a student really loved work with his/her hands, and
seemed to have a genius for it? Could we recommend plumbing, carpentry,
sculpting, or sewing (just to name a few examples) over Trigonometry, Advanced
Language Arts, Physics, or (dare I say it) Latin IV? What is necessary for
this student? What does he/she love to do? Whatever it is, he/she will
approach it with more energy, ardor and zeal than if we impose our necessities.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
JS sent this one in (thanks! ... and it appeared on a pile of lists yesterday too):

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Retracing the Tracks of Hannibal
In the 3rd century BC, the Punic Wars fought between Carthage and Rome left the ancient world in turmoil. Following the path of the fearless Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca, who lead his advancing army across the Alps--with elephants!--to sack Italy, we visit the majestic ruins from the period of the Roman Republic, and gaze upon the amazing temple of Capitoline Jupiter as it looked when it was completed--thanks to amazing virtual reconstruction.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Athens: Western Splendor
Discover why Athens became the preeminent city during the Golden Age of Greece on this virtual tour of the cradle of Western civilization. Travel back to the time of Pericles, the noble statesman who led the revolution that touched all fields of knowledge. We visit the amphitheaters that were home to the famous tragedies of the day, tour the site of the ancient Olympic Games, and see the ornate temples of the Gods, including a bird's-eye view of the architectural masterpiece of its day--the Acropolis.
ante diem iii nonas januarias

ludi compitales (day 1) -- really a moveable festival which might occur anytime between Saturnalia and January 5. It was largely a rural occasion involving woollen dolls being made to represent each free member of the household (simple woollen balls would be used to represent slaves) being hung up on the eve of the festival, presumably as offerings to the Lares. There would also follow more formal sacrifices at the compita (places where two farm paths crossed).

106 B.C. -- birth of Marcus Tullius Cicero at Arpinum

1943 -- death of F.M. Cornford (translator and commentator of Plato, among other things ... quote: "Every action which is not customary either is wrong, or if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time.")
perennial @ Wordsmith

crassitude @ Worthless Word for the Day (?)

gastronome @
Charles Jones announces at the Stoa that Abzu -- an online resource associated with Chicago's Oriental Institute and formerly having a primary focus on the Ancient Near East -- will now expand to include more Classics and Mediterranean Archaeology resources. Definitely worth bookmarking and/or adding to your bloglines feed ...
Sympotica Graecolatina appeared just as 2005 was coming to a close ... it presents a food/dining related quotation in Latin on a daily basis ....
... post on same over at Laudator ... I think of that Martial epigram every time I see my own dog licking someone ...
From the Middle East Times:

Greek authorities have arrested three Iranians attempting to sell three ancient Greek coins for €17,000 ($20,000), the finance ministry inspection squad said on Monday.

The inspectors who conducted the arrest also confiscated pictures of hundreds of similar coins from the detainees, a ministry statement said.

Two of the Iranians were found to be in possession of an army knife, a hatchet and a small quantity of hashish.

The Iranians were taken to the Athens prosecutor, the statement said.

With an archaeological wealth dating back to prehistoric times, Greece has long been a target for smugglers attempting to remove valuable items for sale abroad.
Very interesting critique of VDH in Asia Times ... here's the incipit:

In Jules Dassin's 1960 film Never on Sunday, an American tourist tries to redeem the Piraeus whore Illia by showing her the treasures of classical Greece. At Athens' ancient amphitheater, they see Euridipes' tragedy Medea, in which the eponymous heroine murders her two sons by the faithless Jason. As the actors take their final bow, Illia laughs and claps, for she innocently believes that the play is still in progress. The presence of the live actors proves that no one really has died, she insists to her exasperated host, concluding, "And then they all go to the seashore."

Illia's understanding of Greek tragedy reminds me of Victor Davis Hanson's understanding of Greek history. The mind of this popular military historian, purveyor of White House bedside reading and Internet apologist for US foreign policy, turns in tight circles around a single thought: Why did Athens invade Sicily in 415 BC? The Sicilian disaster sent Athens down to defeat in the 27-year Peloponnesian War, and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest of Greece and the end of Athenian democracy. "That has been troubling us supporters of democracies these past 2,400 years," he concedes [A War Like No Other]. It was all a matter of bad luck, Hanson concludes, and might as well not have happened.

... the rest.
Nulla fides inopi.
(Ausonius, Epigrams, 19.23.4)

There is no trust for the poor.

(Pron = NOO-lah FEE-days in-OH-pee)

Comment: I do not have access to the full text of Ausonius? epigram, so I
also have no context. (heads up: that was the disclaimer!).

My soon to be 14 year old daughter asked me yesterday why ?people? say that
Gwinnett County, GA (where we live) is ?the ghetto?. I asked her who
?people? are who say this? As it turns out, after having spent a weekend
with friends who live in a more rural county in GA, this comment had been made
to her.

I asked her what she thought ?ghetto? meant to these friends of hers. Mind
you, while we were having this conversation, we were driving through Gwinnett
County on our way to the YMCA that we belong to. Finally, she was able to
articulate that to her friends, ?ghetto? is a negative term, and that it
means a place where ?black people live?.

The Latin term ?inops? in this epigram is actually an adjective with a wide
range of meaning that covers many kinds of ?lack?. If you lack money, you
are ?inops?. If you are bald, you are ?inops?. If you have a poor or
deficient vocabulary, you are ?inops?. If you are destitute of, stripped
of, or without, lacking in, deficient in or poor in any regard, you are
?inops?. That covers most of us!

To the point: if you are not accorded respect and human dignity, then you are
considered ?inops?, and this lack of trust for the ?poor? is largely a
problem that reflects as much on the one not trusting as on the poor. I would
say that it reflect more on the ?not trusting one? (which, by the way, in
Latin is ?infidelis??the root of our word ?infidel?).

My daughter and I talked about the historical use of the word ?ghetto?, that
it once included Jewish people rounded up by the Nazis and forced to live in
neighborhoods designated by them, and so, ?ghetto? meant no choice,
coercion, and ultimately, genocide. Those Jewish ghettos, though, included
many wealthy and not so wealthy persons. It had nothing to do with financial
poverty. We also talked about how ghetto has also meant economically poor
neighborhoods, which could be ethnicity related or not. In those cases, people
were limited by their financial means.

I asked her to look around as we drove through Gwinnett County. Did she
generally see people being forced to live here? (no). Did she see vast
amounts of poor neighborhoods (no?though, Gwinnett county has poor
neighborhoods like any place). What we do see, in our neighborhood, at our
YMCA, in our schools, in the malls and stores we frequent, are people from all
over the world. We do not live in a lilly-white world. And then for a few
minutes we talked about having a ?ghetto-mind?, one based on ignorance,
fear, and racism. It was the ignorance, fear and racism that were not to be

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
Moles (and Time Team) have discovered a Romano-British Villa ... from Ananova:

Burrowing moles have led archaeologists to the discovery of a grand Romano-British villa.

Researchers found farm buildings and an ornate bath house while investigating mosaic tiles brought to the surface by a colony of Cotswold moles.

They were particularly surprised to find the 3rd or 4th century settlement because it is only 300 yards from another sizeable villa from the same period. It is highly unusual for two to be so close together.

Experts working for Channel 4's Time Team programme made the discoveries after Roger Box, a former forensic archaeologist, tipped them off about the Roman mosaic tiles in a field at the end of his garden.

Mr Box believes that the complex could be comparable in size to the Chedworth villa, which the National Trust runs as a tourist attraction three miles away.

He first began to suspect that the moles that were digging up his garden had made an archaeological discovery after moving into his 19th century cottage near the village of Withington eight years ago.

He said: "The moles can be a real pain. Those that wreck my garden are sworn enemies but those on the other side of the river have turned out to be amateur archaeologists and, as such, are my friends."
An abstract from the latest online issue of Archaeology Magazine points us to the very nice website of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei which has virtual tours of Pompeii and Herculaneum, sections aimed at the younger ones, a nice feature on the Alexander Mosaic itself, and more ...
Another ancient joke has been added to the January file over at Curculio ...
De copiis Americanis in Iraquia

Americani copias suas in Iraquiam missas septem milibus militum anno proximo deminuturi sunt. De ea re narravit Donald Rumsfeld, minister defensionis, dum Iraquiam visitat.

"Praesidens Bush", inquit. "mihi auctoritatem dedit hoc consilium aperiendi, quo populo Iraquiano fidem tribuimus, quippe qui iam tanto successu suam rem publicam sibi administrandam susceperit." Rumsfeld negavit Americanos in animo habere stationem militarem permanentem in Iraquia constituere.

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

The online Latin newspaper Ephemeris has also been updated ... latest headline: Praesidem Persiae rursus Israëlem iniuria affecisse
From the Times of London comes this:

AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.

The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.

Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ’s historical existence.

Yesterday Gaetano Mautone, a judge in Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month and ordered Father Righi to appear. The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was “abusing popular credulity”.

Signor Cascioli’s contention — echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites — is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.

Signor Cascioli’s one-man campaign came to a head at a court hearing last April when he lodged his accusations of “abuse of popular credulity” and “impersonation”, both offences under the Italian penal code. He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived “after the time of the hypothetical Jesus” and were therefore not reliable witnesses.

Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of “substitution of persons”.

The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention a “Christus” or “Chrestus”, but were writing “well after the life of the purported Jesus” and were relying on hearsay.

Father Righi said there was overwhelming testimony to Christ’s existence in religious and secular texts. Millions had in any case believed in Christ as both man and Son of God for 2,000 years.

“If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not,” Father Righi said.

Signor Cascioli said that the Gospels themselves were full of inconsistencies and did not agree on the names of the 12 apostles. He said that he would withdraw his legal action if Father Righi came up with irrefutable proof of Christ’s existence by the end of the month.

The Vatican has so far declined to comment.

#The Gospels say that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, preached and performed miracles in Galilee and died on the Cross in Jerusalem

# In his Antiquities of the Jews at the end of the 1st century, Josephus, the Jewish historian, refers to Jesus as “a wise man, a doer of wonderful works” who “drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles”

# Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet. Many Jewish theologians regard Jesus as an itinerant rabbi who popularised many of the beliefs of liberal Jews. Neither Muslims nor Jews believe he was the Messiah and Son of God

# Tacitus, the Roman historian who lived from 55 to 120, mentions “Christus” in his Annals. In about 120 Suetonius, author of The Lives of the Caesars, says: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome.”
6.00 p.m. |HISTU|Ancient Discoveries: Machines II
How did the ancients harness power? Did Archimedes use solar power to defeat the Romans? Was he the first to concentrate the power of the sun? Early historical accounts of the battle of Syracuse in 212 BC claim that Archimedes used polished shields to focus light onto the sails of the invading Roman ships and set them ablaze. We investigate this and other intriguing and incredible objects. An earthenware jar about the size of a man's fist sits in the National Museum of Iraq. Its existence could require history books throughout the world to be rewritten. The jar appears to be an electric battery pre-dating Christ. Did the ancient world master electricity nearly two millennia before the modern world? A recent discovery of a flour mill in Barbegal in southern France contained 16 waterwheels that operated the mill. Is this one of the first examples of Roman industrial-revolution technology--1,800 years before our own?
ante diem iv nonas januarias

43 B.C. -- Octavian is granted propraetorian imperium and admitted to the senate

17 A.D. -- death of Publius Ovidius Naso ... a.k.a. Ovid

18 A.D. -- death of Titus Livius ... a.k.a. Livy

69 A.D. -- dies imperii of Vitellius

1866 -- birth of Gilbert Murray

... interesting entry in the lists of martyrs I consult ... The Many Martyrs Who Suffered in Rome, commemorated today.
hesternal @ Wordsmith

sophrosyne @ Worthless Word for the Day

plenary @
Here's a "Collosal [sic] Apulian Redfigured Lekythos with Eros" ... no reserve ... no provenance ... bidders are private. Photos are somewhat blurry, but it does look like a very fine piece
Over at Curculio, MH has revived (yay!) his joke of the day project ... from the 'teaser post' over the weekend:

Each day I will post an ancient joke, with Greek or Latin text, English translation, and (when necessary) brief explanatory notes. The original series, which ran from November 1st, 2000 through January 1st, 2001, can be found under Ioci Latini in the left margin, and new jokes will be added there. In order to make the accented Greek readable on any machine, I put the texts into PDF files, with a separate file for each month and a single page (or sometimes two) for each joke. Each day’s joke will be posted just after midnight Eastern U.S. time. I may also try posting them right here as ordinary WordPress posts, but that depends on whether I can come up with some easy way of displaying Greek so that all my readers can read it.

The latest joke (and 'yesterdays') is available as a pdf. Of course we'll be linking to any and all updates as they arise ...

Now if only the Martialis page would similarly revive ...
Nice television news segment about a diadem at the Toledo Museum of Art ....
From Ha'aretz:

Recent archaeological excavations near the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem indicate the existence of a Jewish community in Jerusalem after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.

The findings - said to be the first indication of an active Jewish settlement in the area of Jerusalem after the city fell in 70 C.E. - contradict the common wisdom that no Jewish settlement survived the Roman destruction of the city. However, some Israeli archaeologists have argued that Jewish settlement revived and continued to exist even after the destruction.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) began a salvage dig at the site, on the main road from Ramallah to Jerusalem, within the Jerusalem city limits, in 2003, in preparation for the construction of the light-rail system in the capital.

Situated on what was the main road to Nablus 2,000 years ago, and located three Roman miles (or four kilometers) from the city walls of those days - according to Roman records - the site featured spacious dwellings with facades of dressed stone and well-planned lanes between the houses. Signs of the wealth of the inhabitants are evident in the amphoras that were found, which contained wine imported from Italy and Greece. Cosmetic items were also discovered, along with glass rings. Two bathhouses were also unearthed, as well as a large public building whose purpose is still unknown.

Scholars usually say that there were no Jews living in Jerusalem after their Great Revolt against the Romans, which was cruelly repressed by the army headed by Titus, which destroyed both the city and the Temple.

The main indication that the settlement was a Jewish one is the assemblage of stone vessels found there. Such vessels, for food storage and serving, were only used by Jews because they were believed not to transmit impurity. Archaeologists believe stone basins discovered at the site were used to hold ashes from the destroyed Temple.

Dig director Debbi Sklar-Parnas said the settlement was abandoned during the Bar Kochba Revolt in around 130 C.E. While the settlement is believed to be Jewish, she added that she could not be certain since no remains of ritual baths were discovered.

Prof. Amos Kloner of Bar-Ilan University, who is not involved with the dig, said the finds are in keeping with his theory that up to the period of the Bar Kochba Revolt, "there was a solid Jewish majority from Samaria in the north to Be'er Sheva in the south." Kloner added that he believed that even in Jerusalem itself there were a few hundred Jews who made their living providing services to the Roman army, but that so far no proof of this had been found. However, he was unable to explain the existence of the bathhouses in the settlement uncovered near Shuafat.

Dr. Gideon Avni, a senior IAA archaeologist, said he believes the residents of the community operated the bathhouses for the Roman soldiers who plied the nearby road. "We knew of the existence of farms around Jerusalem," Avni said, "but the farms that we have found so far, for example in Pisgat Ze'ev, were all destroyed during the Great Revolt."
The incipit of piece in the Scotsman enlightens us thusly:

A PANEL of experts has drawn up a shortlist to identify the new seven wonders of the world.

People from around the globe can vote for their favourites from 21 suggested landmarks, including the Colosseum in Rome, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

The only British entry is Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House and the Statue of Liberty are also on the list, which has been put together following a five-year campaign by the New Seven Wonders Foundation.

The Swiss group aims to alert the world to the destruction of man-made heritage and will announce the winners on 1 January, 2007.

Members include Professor Federico Mayor, the former director-general of UNESCO, and several leading architects.

According to the rules, the new seven wonders must be man-made, completed by 2000, and in an "acceptable" state of preservation.

The seven ancient wonders of the world were all man-made monuments selected by the philosopher Philon of Byzantium in about 200BC.

His choices essentially make up a travel guide for Athenians and were located around the Mediterranean basin.

They were built between 2500BC and 200BC, but just the Great Pyramid at Giza remains.

The 'panel of experts' have a website of course (which is somewhat disappointing) ... Classics types will probably want to vote for the Acropolis, Colosseum, Hagia Sophia, and Petra ...
From the Herald-Dispatch:

The word Latin conjures up different images for different people. Some may think of gladiators in all their glory, a Roman emperor on his throne or even the USA's motto of e. pluribus unum.

The image for those who have studied the subject is probably quite contrasting, however, as a favorite teacher will often come to mind, Charles Lloyd, professor of classical studies at Marshall, said.

"The teaching of it is what has made it survive," Lloyd said.

When Lloyd was in the ninth grade, he first took Latin, and the way his instructor taught the language helped him make up his mind about his future profession.

"I was fascinated with words. I was fascinated with the relationship between English words and Latin words."

He has now been teaching Latin for 34 years, and Lloyd said he thinks the way Latin is thought of in academia now is very similar to how it was thought of a century ago, when it was the center of the curriculum.

"It's seen as a way to think critically -- that's being valued now," Lloyd said. "It makes your mind flexible; it gives you ways of seeing different sides of an argument."

Even words that are translated into English do not mean the same things, Lloyd said. For instance, today's idea of a book, leather-bound with hundreds of pages, is much different than an ancient Roman's idea of a book, which would be stone tablets.

"The culture has changed so dramatically -- the word, what it refers to, is remote. I think for that reason it is fascinating."

Even in Huntington, the pull of Latin was more visible a century ago. Lloyd said the classics department at Marshall has in its possession almost a decade's worth of records from the early 1900s, when a group of dignitaries, including the city mayor, would meet at Marshall to discuss all things ancient, for example Roman literature, on a regular basis.

Even though members of the general public may not be as educated about ancient times as they once were, Marshall's classical studies department is stepping up their program this year. The department is offering a master's degree in Latin for the first time starting this year. The degree is designed to be completed in two to three years, with a focus on researching Roman literature. Marshall is the only university in the state that offers an undergraduate or master's degree in the subject.

Although about 80 students are currently taking Latin at Marshall, there are only about eight students majoring in the subject.

"So many of the Romantic languages have their roots in Latin," Justin Near, a music and Latin major, said. "Even today we see Latin everywhere -- on schools, churches, buildings, our constitution, and yes, sometimes even in everyday business transactions. For me, the coolest part of Latin is the word order is not only very different from our own, it can change -- so it's like trying to figure out a puzzle every time you translate."

John Skeans plans on teaching the language when he graduates.

"Latin is fun," Skeans said. "It's really rewarding to interpret. It's tricky, but once you get the translation down, it puts a warm feeling in your heart."
Quid Benedictus XVI dixerit

Pontifex Romanus Benedictus XVI, cum suam primam salutationem nataliciam et benedictionem urbi et orbi daret, genus humanum praemonuit, ne moderno progressu technico et intellectuali ita occaecaretur, ut officia humanitatis oblivisceretur.

Vires colligeret et consociaret ad paupertatem, terrorismum et pollutionem naturae avertendam. In ea orationis parte, in qua de variis discriminibus orbis terrarum loquebatur, regionis Darfuriae mentionem fecit, ubi condicio humanitaria pessima esset.

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

The Radio Bremen version of Nuntii Latini has also been updated, with summaries of the news of December.
10.00 p.m. |HINT|31 BC--The Battle of Actium
If Antony and Cleopatra had won the Battle of Actium, there would have been no Roman Empire. Yet Octavius Caesar's victory in 31 BC led to an absolute dictatorship that sparked one of the greatest imperial and cultural expansions the world has ever known. Each turning point in history is backed by a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. Join us for a trip through time as we recreate the Battle of Actium, featuring exclusive dramatizations and the latest historical research.
A big double issue of our Explorator newsletter has been posted, as have the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ... both at our Classics Central forum, of course.
Morales praesidens Boliviae

Novus praesidens Boliviae electus est Evo Morales, vir ex stirpe Indianorum oriundus, cum suffragiorum quinquaginta quattuor centesimas acciperet.

Quam manifesta victoria eius fuerit, vel inde apparet, quod praesidens hodiernus Jorge Quiroga, qui secundus ab eo erat, tantum undetriginta votorum centesimas sibi conciliavit. Morales, fautor partium sinistrarum, ius iurandum praesidentiale mense Ianuario dabit.

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

For more news in Latin, Ephemeris has also been updated ... latest headline: Ucrainae methanum deesse
Interesting item from the Turkish Daily News that I missed last week:

Archaeologists claim that an ancient lighthouse located in the ancient city of Patara on Antalya's Mediterranean coast might have been destroyed by a tsunami that hit the region in ancient times.

The ruins of the lighthouse were discovered two years ago during excavations that are still under way in Patara.

Professor Havva Iskan Isik, head of Akdeniz University's archaeology department, which is conducting studies in the ancient city, said they believed the lighthouse was destroyed by a tsunami since a human skeleton was found among the ruins.

Isik said the skeleton could belong to a lighthouse keeper who was trying to escape a tsunami but was crushed under the lighthouse's stone blocks.

The excavations in Patara are proceeding under the supervision of Professor Fahri Isik, a lecturer at Akdeniz University. His wife, Havva Isik, indicated they had come across the skeleton under a mountain of sand.

Noting that they had unearthed what they believe is the oldest lighthouse in the world, Havva Isik said a bronze inscription the team discovered indicated that the lighthouse was built by the Roman Emperor Nero between A.D. 64 and 65.

"Likewise, the structural characteristics of the lighthouse demonstrate that it is the oldest lighthouse in the world. Our impressions support the idea that it was destroyed not by an earthquake but by a tsunami. The skeleton we found in the doorway to the lighthouse also points to this idea. Stone blocks resting on top off the skeleton indicate his struggle to get away just before the disaster struck. I believe this skeleton belongs to the lighthouse keeper," said Isik.

However, Isik says they believe only the lighthouse was destroyed during the tsunami. "We found no other traces of tsunami damage to other structures," she said.

Isik also said there was one more lighthouse in Patara according to an inscription they found to the east of the city.

Of course, the Pharos of Alexandria is older (and I don't think we have any remains of Claudius' lighthouse from Ostia) ... I don't think this lighthouse of Nero is mentioned in any of the usual ancient sources ... please correct me if I'm wrong.
Let's start the New Year with another Get Fuzzy cartoon (again sent in by DS ... thanks!):

Get Fuzzy January 1
where does this go?