Imperat aut servit collecta pecunia cuique.
(Horace, Epistulae 1.10.47)

The money each one is able to lay hold of either rules or serves each.

(pron = ihm-PER-at out SER-wit cohl-LEK-tah peh-KOO-nee-ah KWEE-kway)

Comment: So, money problems are not new. I either become a slave to whatever
money I have, or my money becomes a slave to me, serving my life.

What intersts me here is that money, even two thousand or so years ago, was a
symbol of power, and that this very intelligent Roman, Horace, conceives of
that power in terms of slavery.

His father had been a slave. He later gained his freedom and apparently some
modicum of wealth, able enough to own a farm. The farm was confiscated during
the civil wars and given, likely, to soldiers returning from battle as "pay"
for their service. The farm, the love of the countryside remained an endearing
image in Horace's love poetry. One might say that the countryside remained the
image of some very tender place in Horace's heart.

And that tender place was connected to how power had been used over it, and in
his family that power had its roots in how slaves, or former slaves, were
treated. Never quite safe.

My daughter and I had a conversastion recently about "affirmative action" which
came up in one of her classes. Affirmative action is about power and how it is
used in the workplace. One might say that affirmative action exists because of
a realization in our culture of what power and its abuse through slavery and
subsequent racism have done to the lives of so many Americans. The tender
places in human lives are very deep, and yet, one does not have to go far to
find them.

Money, power, how they are used: is it over others that we use them, or with

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

rites in honour of Luna at her temple on the Aventine

c. 130 A.D. -- martyrdom of Balbina

250 (?) A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Constantius I Chlorus

307 A.D. -- Constantine marries Fausta, the daughter of Maximian

1596 -- birth of Rene Descartes (author, of course, of that bit of Latin which a pile of folks know)
edacious @

decussate @ Worthless Word for the Day
De praenominibus infantium

Ex statistica onomastica nuper facta cognoscitur, quaenam praenomina parentes Finni liberis suis anno praeterito natis libentissime indiderint.

Ex nominibus puerorum primum locum obtinet Veeti, cum in puellis praenominandis Emma apud familias tam Finnice quam Suetice loquentes plurimum gratia valeat.

Nomen Emma a suo pristino favore nihil recessit, nam etiam anno superiore ceteris aura populari antecellebat.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Strolling down the midway ...

ARLT beat me to pointing out that Septimius Severus is one of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography lives of the week ... (there's a bit on Caracalla at the end too goes to the ODNB main page, since they change the url every day) ...

ARLT also points us to a talk in the Times by Boris Johnson on why the Roman Empire worked and the EU doesn't (and it's available as a podcast!)

Eric over at Campus Mawrtius adds to his Aquinum post with a well-known bit of Horace ...

Bread and Circuses tells us of a 'sign' seen by Attila at Aquileia ...

Ginny Lindzey gives us an outreach anecdote on card-playing in Latin ...

Pro magistris' MK tells us why he is a teacher ...

Hobbyblog exhibits a possibly posthumous AE30 of Valerian with an image of Tyche ...
The University of Western Ontario has made an interesting appointment:

No stranger to the Olympics and its remarkable history, Classical Studies Professor Nigel Crowther has been appointed as the new director of Western's International Centre for Olympic Studies (ICOS).

For almost 30 years, Crowther has taught a course on Sport in Ancient Greece and Rome, forging a sterling publications record on sport themes relating to Greek and Roman antiquity.

"I am excited and honoured to be the Director (elect) of the oldest and most prestigious Olympic Centre in the world," says Crowther, who begins his new position July 1, taking over from interim and founding director Bob Barney.

"I feel that an appointment from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities will add an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to the centre that will be of benefit to all involved."

Although the Centre's primary focus will still be the Modern Olympic movement, Crowther says one should not forget that the Ancient Games in Greece lasted for more than 1,000 years, ten times longer than the Games of today.

The spectacle of the Ancient Olympics was brought to life in a 2004 CBC hour-long documentary/drama produced by Crowther. Ancient Olympics: Let the Games Begin revealed a pivotal moment in the early history of this ultimate sporting event - a time when the purity of the great Olympic ideal was just beginning to be tainted. Crowther spent more than 160 hours on the project, which appeared again this past February during the Winter Olympics.

Crowther says his predecessors, Barney and Kevin Wamsley, "have given so much to the centre" and he is happy they will remain a part of it in the future.

"I especially look forward to organizing an International Conference in Beijing in 2008 at the time of the Olympic Games and editing the Centre's world-class journal Olympika," says Crowther.

Crowther, a long-time board member of the ICOS, will continue with his teaching duties in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
Interesting followup from the Times Argus:

It's supposedly a dead language, but a Latin course at Harwood Union has stirred up a very live controversy.

A Harwood Union High School Latin teacher appears to have been suspended and then reinstated — administrators will not confirm whether she was disciplined or not — for presenting her class with what one parent called "mildly risqué" quotes of graffiti from the walls of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

The disciplinary action, and the ensuing lack of public information from administrators about the issue, is drawing fire from some community member and has raised issues of academic freedom.

"This is not a personnel issue, it's about who gets to decide what is taught in the classroom," said Susan Taub of Waitsfield, whose children recently graduated from Harwood, and who is herself a teacher.

According to John Cluett of Fayston, whose daughter attends the Latin class, language arts teacher Tami Munford was suspended in early March after she had distributed to her students quotations of ancient graffiti in Latin and English, instructing them to match the originals to the translations. Cluett said one of the students in the class was disturbed by the off-color nature of the quotations and went to the principal to com-plain.

Cornelia Cluett, 16, who attends Munford's class, said, "The graffiti was pretty mild. You could find the same thing on Comedy Central after midnight." She said some of the students in the class commented afterward that the material was "a little 'iffy,'" but no one seemed very offended at the time. "I think it was an addition to the class," she said. "It keeps the students interested."

Her father, John Cluett, said, "This material has academic value. What will we not allow next? Huckleberry Finn because it uses the word 'nigger?', Romeo and Juliet because it deals with premarital sex? Classical painting because the subjects are naked?"

Z. Phillip Ambrose, the chairman of the classics department at the University of Vermont, defends the use of the quotations, arguing they have academic value. Ambrose said he was on the national board that established the standards for teaching Latin in secondary schools under the Clinton administration, and that "the consensus of the report was that the full range of the literature of antiquity, everything we can read, from high literature to everyday vulgar material, should be used."

He added, "Anyone who has taken even French 1, and not learned something off-color, has been deprived."

Ambrose described Munford as "an important teacher," and called her "outstanding."

Although parents of Harwood students have remarked that the disciplinary action against Munford seemed heavy-handed, their concern is also raising a discussion about what should and should not be taught. "This is something the public needs to know about and discuss. It has to do with academic standards," said Cluett.

Principal David Driscoll, Washington West Supervisory District Superintendent Bob MacNamara, and school board chairman Scott Mackey all declined to comment on the situation, even to confirm that Munford had been suspended, saying they could not discuss personnel issues. However, Cluett said that Driscoll did discuss the issue of the suspension with him on Wednesday.

Munford also did not return calls.

Parents and students report that Munford had been missing from the class during the week of March 13, and that she had been reinstated the following week. They said explanations about the teacher's absence were offered to neither parents nor students. Parents report they learned from their children in the class that Munford had been temporarily removed.

Cluett said he attended a regularly scheduled Harwood school board meeting the day after Munford was removed and asked to discuss the issue with the board.

"Some board members wanted to discuss it but the chairman told them not to because they might have to deal with it later as a personnel issue, and he did not want their view tainted," said Cluett. He added that he could understand that position if it was a "… 'he said, she said' type of issue, or if they were a jury in a trial, but this was about what she chose to teach."

Cluett then wrote a letter to the Valley Reporter about the issue, and the paper carried an article about the alleged suspension on March 15.

Jim Boylan of Waitsfield, whose daughter attends Munford's class, said, "The principal got a lot of response supporting Tami."

Boylan said he could not understand why a teacher would be suspended for using the graffiti quotations from Pompeii. "I went to a Catholic high school, and I remember those quotations. Brother Shannon put them out there, we all had a laugh, and we moved on," he said. Boylan added that Munford "is known as a very good teacher."

Angelo Dorta, president of the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association, said the administrators' silence on the issue could very well have been appropriate.

"There's no clear bright line here," said Dorta, who said he did not want to second-guess the administrators' and school board chairman's decision not to discuss the issue.

"Inquiries on school protocol are okay," he said, "… but would they have opened themselves up to criticism and possibly legal action? Wherever the law looms it affects the public's right to know."

After consulting with department attorneys about whether discussion of the suspension should have been allowed on the grounds that the suspension constituted a curricular decision, Vermont Department of Education administrator Richard Armitage referred the question to the Washington West School District's attorney. Subsequent inquiries directed through the superintendent's office to the school's attorney received no immediate reply.

Silence from the administration about that suspension was named as a cause of the public outcry. Harwood parent Robert Yerks was quoted in a Feb. 2 article from 2004 as saying, "Essentially (it's) not knowing why he was asked to leave the school, the complete silence that shut everyone out that was completely upsetting to everyone."

Taub said that the school administration's refusal to discuss the incident reminds her of the controversial suspension of popular Harwood guidance counselor Peter duMoulin in 2004, which resulted in a tumultuous public meeting attended by 300 community members and ultimately the resignation under pressure of principal Robin Pierce.

But Cluett sees the current situation as being very different from the duMoulin affair. "In the duMoulin case no one knew what he was accused of doing. In this case everyone knows what she did, because the kids told the parents," he said. "This is a question of academic freedom. They teach Huckleberry Finn, and Romeo and Juliet, and no teacher is strung up because of that," said Cluett.
Qualis vir, talis oratio.

However the man is, so also his speech.

(pron = KWAH-lis weer, TAH-lis oh-RAH-tee-oh)

Comment: Both Seneca and Publilius Syrus have written this same line, almost
identically, so it is not really anonymous. And, one can easily amass quite a
long list of quotations about the correspondence between a human being's life
and speech--or the lack of such correspondence. An internet search produced
such a list within 10 seconds, and as I read those quotations, the word
"integrity" kept coming to my mind.

Really, if we are honest, there is only a correspondence between our lives and
our speech if we have some degree of integrity--some wholeness--to us. One
quotation from an Anglican Bishop of the 17th century (Bishop Robert South)
proclaimes that speech was given to ordinary folks in order to proclaim their
minds, but to wise individuals in order that they might conceal their minds.
He seems to identify the ability to separate one's language from one's life as
a virtue.

I think there may be some real value in knowing when to keep silent. I fail
often enough at that one! I have also often enough experienced the power of
knowing when to keep silent and the power of those occassions when my words do
aline with my life. Speech, which for me is so easy to pump out of my face in
almost any occassion, really only has strength and power when it consults my
life first. And, when my speech has been otherwise, it is either the waste of
breath, or damaging.

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

317 B.C. -- death of Phocion (?)

117 A.D. -- martyrdom of Quirinus at Rome
multifarious @

diadem @ Merriam-Webster

toxophilite @ Wordsmith

apothegmatic @ Worthless Word for the Day

begnignant @

The Classics Technology Centre's My Word! feature looks at some Greek and Roman Novels ... and, of course, one must check out Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Here we go:

AM at Bread and Circuses comments on the Independent piece on Constantine (which we reproduce below) ...

Laudator's MG has dug up some Latin mnemonics for remembering prepositions ... he also has an addendum to his tooth and nail post ... (see also the Join Nothing post ... very little ClassCon, but an amusing excerpt from the Devil's Dictionary)

I'm following the press coverage of this with eye askance, but Paleojudaica is pondering coverage that says our image of crucifixion is wrong ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius has found some more fifth-foot spondees ...

Curculio continues to post some pithy thoughts from Palladas ...

Hobbyblog has a coin of Salonina with an image of Pudicitia (whose lap appears to be on fire) ...
From Nature comes this interesting bit:

An ingenious counterfeit-coin scam has been rumbled by scientists in Italy. But no one is going to jail, because the forgers lived more than 2,000 years ago.

Giuseppe Giovannelli of the University of Rome 'La Sapienza' and his colleagues took a close look at what seemed to be a silver coin minted in southern Italy in the third century BC. It turned out to be a lump of lead with a thin silver coating.

This is not the first example of counterfeiting in the ancient world, but the researchers say that in this case the silver coating seems to have been created by a sophisticated chemical process.

"We are not yet aware of any other counterfeit coins like this one," says Giovannelli.

Tainted trove

The coin is part of a hoard that was stashed in a pottery vessel and uncovered in 1948 near the town of Parabita, which is near Gallipoli. For years it was thought to be a regular silver coin. But in 2003 an investigation by researchers at the University of Lecce, near Parabita, revealed that under the remaining patches of silver the piece was made of lead.

Giovannelli and colleagues think that the coin was minted with deception in mind. The Italian researchers have used modern techniques to study the structure and composition of the metals, and have tried to work out how the fakery was done.

A couple of simple counterfeiting methods have been spotted before. Old forgers could cover a metal lump with thin silver foil and heat it to fuse the foil on to the surface. They could also fake the look of a coin by chemically treating the surface of an alloy (which may or may not have contained precious metals) to give it a silvery or golden sheen.

But the microscopic structure of the silver layer in this case differs from that produced by either of these methods. Instead it looks like something generated by a much more modern electroplating process, say researchers. Metallurgists of the time are not thought to have known about this technique.

Copy of a copy

To solve the mystery, the Italian researchers devised a treatment that produces an effect similar to electroplating, using only materials known to be available in the third century BC.

They immersed a lead object first in copper acetate (a compound made by letting vinegar corrode copper), and then in a silver solution created by dissolving silver chloride in dilute ammonia (which ancient chemists made from urine). This gave a film with "a cauliflower-like microtexture, with close similarities to that of the residual metal coating of the coin", says Giovannelli.

Would the fakery have fooled merchants of the time? Metalsmiths knew how to detect forgeries of precious metals by measuring their density, using Archimedes' method of submersion in water to measure volume. But few would have gone to such extremes for coins handed over in a busy market, says Giovannelli.
From the Sofia News Agency:

The author of a book unveiling the secrecy of Thracian letters has been publicly accused of cribbing from a publication.

At a press conference on Wednesday Bulgaria-born Dr Stefan Guide was critisised by a Bulgarian journalist that quotes and statements in his book do not meet the reality.

The US-residing linguist, who is also a specialist in cryptography and transcendent analysis, claimed that a Bulgaria-found plate - dating back to the times of Mesopotamia civilization - has provided the code for reading the ancient letters of Thracians.

According to him, the decoded alphabet showed terms such as "Thracia" and "territory of Thracia" to have existed seven centuries before Christ.

This makes it the oldest known human letters in the world, the Bulgarian scientist said.

The culture of Palaeolithic tribes living on the territory of today's Bulgaria is believed to hide the roots of ancient Orphic mysteries.

Signs of sound alphabet have been discovered on the localities: Lepeneski Vir and Vincha in Serbia, Karanovo, Gradeshnitsa and Sitovo in Bulgaria, Tartaria in Romania as well as many localities in Macedonia.

More information on the findings - which, if true, will give an entirely new direction of the sciences of Thracians - will be held March 29, Wednesday, in the BTA press club in Sofia, archaeologists announced.

... we'll try to find some coverage of that, of course.
The Independent has a lengthy piece on Constantine, and since these typically disappear within hours, here's the whole thing:

A decision reached almost 1,700 years ago by Constantine the Great is a source of inspiration to any who despair of lasting religious tolerance in the world. On the eve of an improbable battlefield triumph in Rome, AD312, the young Roman emperor saw a vision of Christ and converted to Christianity, joining the ranks of those who had been persecuted by his predecessors for centuries.

Most self-respecting emperors would force their subjects to follow suit - so what was he to do? Constantine's answer arrived in the edict he issued at Milan the following year. "I grant both to Christians and to all men, freedom to follow whatever religion each one wishes," it stated. His words were the touchstone of modern Christianity, ending centuries of persecution for Christians. But they are also the first known articulation of religious tolerance, permitting the co-existence of Jews, Christians, British Pagans and those who worshipped the traditional Roman gods such as Eros and Jupiter.

The modern Church's debt to Constantine, who also introduced the architecture on which the St Peter's Basilica in Rome and Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre were later built, is recognised in one of the most important Roman exhibitions staged in Britain, which opens tomorrow in York.

"Constantine the Great, York's Roman Emperor" marks the 1700th anniversary of his coronation in the city and is staged in association with the British Museum, which has loaned scores of artefacts. The exhibition is designed by Ivor Heal who, with finely carved sculptures and cameos and brilliantly coloured mosaics, recaptures Constantine's lavish Roman world with the same panache he showed in the Royal Academy's two huge successes The Aztecs and The Three Emperors.

Only Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, rivalled Constantine's achievements in a reign that lasted until 387, according to Elizabeth Hartley, the exhibition's creator.

He rescued the failing empire, continuing work started by his father, Constantius. But he also reinvented the empire. He restored peace, stability and security by promoting harmony and tolerance, abandoned Rome to establish a more easily defensible capital at Constantinople. "He created a new world without upsetting the old and creating conflict," says Ms Hartley.

York, which erected a statue to Constantine outside the Minster in 1998, cannot be accused of underplaying its part in the story of the great emperor. In addition to the exhibition, which includes exhibits from 36 museums and private collections from across Europe, it will stage a service of commemoration at York Minster on 25 July - the 1700th anniversary of Constantine's proclamation here, and will stage a three-day international conference on the man in the same month.

Yet the city's important role in the emperor's story presented itself by chance. Constantine was far away at Nicomedia in the east of the Empire, being trained to accede to his father's position as one of the caesares (junior emperors), by Diocletian when news arrived that Constantius was facing a spot of bother from the Picts, in Scotland. Constantine headed west, met his father at Boulogne, crossed to Britain before winter set in and proceeded into a battle, which they won. Both then returned in December 305 to York - then called Eboracum, one of the regional capitals and home to the Romans' northern military command.

No one is sure why father and son lingered in York but they were still there on 25 July 306 when Constantius died. With the support of troops stationed at York, Constantine took the throne, possibly in a service held at the city's imperial residence. Coins issued for his imperial visit suggest he returned to York at least once in the first 10 years of his reign and he described his coronation there in a handwritten testimony, fragments of which are on display at the exhibition.

It seems he may also have ordered a rebuilding of the Roman northern command HQ in York, at the spot where a magnificent head of Constantine was unearthed in the 19th century. It too is being exhibited.

The event which was to assign Constantine his part in Roman history occurred in 312 on the eve of the Battle of Milvian Bridge on the outskirts of Rome which, if troop allegiances were anything to go by, Constantine was expected to lose. In a dream, Constantine saw the Chi-Rho - the Christian symbol that combines the Greek letters X and P (the first two letters of the name of Christ) in front of the sun with the words "in this sign you will conquer". He was told to paint this sign on the shields of his soldiers and, after doing so, won the battle.

Whether Constantine really had the dream or invented it as a shrewd political move to endear him to Christians and win support is a matter of enduring conjecture.

Boris Johnson, the Tory MP, a huge enthusiast on the subject of Constantine after coming across him during work for his BBC series on the Romans, has some suspicions. "It may have been a stunt. He was a supreme political operator and the conversion might have had its advantages. It's difficult to establish," he said.

Perhaps Constantine's mother, Helena, played a role in the conversion. She was probably born a Christian, though virtually nothing is known of her background, save that her father was a successful soldier, a career that excluded overt Christians. Either way, Constantine immediately granted restitution to the Christians, creating an unprecedented tolerance of the previously minority religion, and initiated the building of a Christian basilica at the Lanteran in Rome, the first Christian church. The emperor also legislated Sunday as a day of rest, banned gladiatorial games and promoted Christians to high office. At the Council of Nicea in 325, he saw to it that Christianity was fully legalised in the empire for the first time; a move considered integral to the development of the religion. The Nicene Creed, still used by Christians as the fundamental expression of their faith, also emerged from that council. Constantine's reputation as the "first Christian emperor" has been promulgated by historians from Lanctitius to the modern day, though he was only baptised on his death bed.

Constantine's pursuit of tolerance may have stemmed from his time in Diocletian's court, before he met up with his father in Britain, Ms Hartley believes. "He saw persecution under Diocletian and its disastrous consequences and was probably very distressed. By contrast, there was almost no persecution in his father's western empire."

York's exhibition provides a true sense of the creative power which Constantine's endorsement and appreciation of new modes of thought unleashed. He modelled himself on both Augustus and Alexander the Great - a clear expression of his determination to be one of the great figures of history - but ushered in a golden age of creative, Byzantine arts while allowing the classical traditions to continue. Among the more memorable examples on display at York are a youthful head of Mithras, never before loaned from the Museum of London; a collection of wall mosaics recovered in the 1970s from Roman villas in Dorset, and a mosaic illustrating Ovid's Metamorphoses, recovered in Somerset. There are sculptures, textiles, silverware, games, weapons, coins and jewellery - all reflective of the magnificence of the emperor's age. Few examples of the artistic endeavour that Constantine helped create have been located by archaeologists in York, though one of those in the exhibition is an extraordinarily well-preserved bun of auburn hair with two hairpins intact.
From Bloomberg comes the latest in the trial of Marion True:

British journalist Peter Watson, whose investigations sparked Italian crackdowns on the illicit antiquities trade, testified against the J. Paul Getty Museum's former antiquities curator in a Rome court today, linking her to an Italian smuggler.

Watson said Marion True, the ex-curator accused of buying looted artifacts, spoke fondly of convicted smuggler Giacomo Medici during a 2001 dinner the Getty hosted in Los Angeles.

While the other guests referred to Medici by his surname, ``Marion True referred to `Giacomo' in a very tender way,'' Watson said of the Roman art dealer who was convicted in 2004 of illegally exporting and receiving antiquities.

``I said, `Marion, do you know Giacomo Medici?' And she blushed and said, `No, no, no, it's just a matter of speaking.'''

True, 57, has denied the charges and her lawyers say she bought the antiquities in good faith.

The trial of True and her co-defendant, Paris-based American dealer Robert Hecht, is part of Italy's effort to win the return of stolen antiquities from museums and collectors and stem the looting of tombs and other archaeological sites.

Watson, 62, a journalist and researcher at the University of Cambridge's Illicit Antiquities Research Centre, has been at the center of those efforts.

His 1997 book, ``Sotheby's: Inside Story,'' and an accompanying television documentary used company documents and hidden-camera reporting to show how the auction house facilitated smuggling and sold antiquities known to have been stolen from tombs.

Sotheby's Sales

In response, Sotheby's stopped holding regular antiquities sales in London. Watson then helped Italian prosecutors build cases against Medici, True, Hecht and others who are under investigation.

Watson gave Italian investigators three suitcases of documents he'd obtained from a former Sotheby's employee. He also testified in the trial of Medici, 67, who is free while appealing his conviction and 10-year prison sentence.

Watson's next book, ``The Medici Conspiracy,'' goes on sale this year, according to the Web site of its publisher, PublicAffairs.

``The narrative leads to the doors of some major institutions: Sotheby's, the Getty Museum in L.A., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among them,'' the Web site says.

Metropolitan Museum

Last month, Italy and the Metropolitan resolved a three-decade dispute when the New York museum agreed to return a 2,500-year-old vase painted by the Greek artist Euphronios and 20 other disputed antiquities. In exchange, Italy agreed to lend objects of equal importance and beauty to the Met, the Western Hemisphere's biggest art museum.

The vase, known as a krater, and four other pots the Met agreed to return were among the objects that led to Medici's conviction. The other pieces, which made up a set of Hellenistic silver, are included along with the krater in the charges against Hecht.

Hecht, 86, denies the charges.

A related piece in the New York Times focuses on the role of Robin Symes (a London antiquities dealer) ....
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Sgt. Rustin Kilburg sat in the patient’s chair, his head down, his anguished face perched between his hands.

He told the three medics before him of sleepless nights — he was angry with his commanders for putting him “out there,” exposed to suicide bombers and roadside bombs day after day.

The anger within was consuming. He was miserable. He was afraid it would interfere with his soldiering abilities.

The medics attempted to convince Kilburg that he should not dwell on what he could not control. Rather, he should focus on what he could do to make the circumstances less troubling to him.

The training session borrowed heavily from the discourses of Greek philosopher Epictetus: “Of things some are in our power, and others are not.”

Call it armor for the soul.

Soldiers in Iraq are finding that the basic tenets of Greek and Roman stoicism can help relieve stress in the combat zone. That self-control and detachment from distracting emotions can allow clear thinking and levelheadedness.

The soft-spoken Kilburg, who serves in a Gainesville-based infantry unit, was acting the part of a distraught soldier in one of Camp Liberty’s medical centers during a training session for medics who counsel their peers in the war zone.

In the end, Kilburg said, the principles of stoicism — character, strength and resilience — form the essence of a modern American warrior.

Five months ago, Kilburg, distraught over problems with his girlfriend, went to see Capt. Thomas Jarrett, an Army therapist with the 602nd Area Supply Medical Company based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Jarrett, 44, a longtime student of philosophy, turned Kilburg on to the stoic philosophers, who first appeared in Hellenistic Athens around 300 B.C.

Kilburg became a student and then a peer counselor in the Stoic Resilience Training program, interweaving the principles of stoicism into words of advice for his fellow soldiers in the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Brigade Combat Team.

“Our beliefs are what affect our emotions,” Kilburg said. “And most emotions are needless suffering which comes from distorted beliefs.”

In the past few weeks, soldiers in Kilburg’s unit, Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, have been frustrated over the changes in their timeline to go home. Kilburg, however, has remained calm.

“You’ve got two choices,” he said. “Be frustrated or understand that you cannot control it.”

He said stoics believe there are only four things a person can control: their own actions, emotions, thoughts and desires.

“I cannot control the fact that I am in Iraq right now,” Kilburg said. “I can be miserable, or I can take the view that this is some sort of test that will strengthen me.”

“I came to a war, but this is one of the better things that has happened to me,” said Kilburg of his exposure to philosophical thought.

New career path in mind

He now thinks of returning home and pursuing a degree in philosophy.

Kilburg joined the military in 1998 and has been in an out of college since then. His superiors here call him one of the toughest soldiers in the company; the soldiers on his team respect him and have at one time or another been enlightened by Kilburg and Jarrett and their passion for philosophy.

Stoicism is not new to military culture. The teachings of Epictetus, Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius dovetail well with the military ethos.

Retired Adm. James Stockdale, perhaps best remembered as Ross Perot’s vice presidential running mate in 1992, was a student of philosophy who leaned on stoic beliefs to keep himself sane during the seven years he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Author Nancy Sherman interviewed Stockdale for her book, “Stoic Warriors,” a look into how stoicism helps soldiers get through the psychological hardships of war.

Kilburg said some people mistake stoicism for the “suck-it-up” and feel-nothing mentality of the Army.

“It’s the Army’s motto, but there’s no method for people to do it,” Kilburg said. “It’s not like [stoicism is] telling you to not feel any emotion. The idea is that there is a bandwidth of emotions.

“The stoic approach would be to say, ‘Hey, I know it’s difficult’ but the level of difficulty depends on how I see the problem. You can put me in the trench lines for 72 hours, but I can be stronger for it. It can be a true test for our souls.”

A calming factor

The No. 1 problem Kilburg hears about is marital woes. He tells his soldiers they cannot control the actions of a spouse back home.

“You can either accept it, or you can move on with your life,” he said.

Kilburg is known to be high-strung at times, a man “who can fly off the handle,” a description he dismisses as a façade.

The study of stoicism has helped calm him, he said. And he has become much more tolerant of people and circumstances.

“Sure I’d love to go home and see my family, but ultimately what benefit is there to get frustrated about it?” he asked.

Kilburg lives by the rule that a true warrior prays for peace but trains for war.

Inner strength and resilience are often lost in today’s military establishment, Kilburg said

“I don’t think we train warriors anymore,” he said. “We’ve completely lost the spirit of a warrior and glorified all the ugliness of war.”

The incipit from a Duke University press release:

After four years of sleuthing by one of its curators, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University announced Wednesday it has confirmed that an anonymous work in its collection dated 1787 was painted by the young Francois Gerard.

The Nasher Museum of Art is a major new arts center on Duke’s campus that serves the university, Research Triangle area and surrounding region with exhibitions and educational programs.

Anne Schroder, the museum’s associate curator, knew she had found an important painting and solved the mystery by hunting down clues about the painting and its “F.G.” signature in France, New York and Boston. One important clue surfaced in 2004, when conservator Ruth Cox removed the canvas from its original stretcher and discovered “Mr. Gerard” scrawled in pencil more than 200 years ago on the wooden framework for the unlined canvas.

Schroder and Cox will announce their findings in Montreal on Saturday at a meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

“It’s a curator’s dream,” says Schroder, who oversees the NasherMuseum’s permanent collection. “I have enjoyed the puzzle of it.”

Francois Gerard (1770-1837) was a student in the studio of French neoclassical painter Jacques Louis David from 1786 until 1790. He is perhaps best known for his 1798 painting “Cupid and Psyche.” On April 6, another early Gerard painting bearing a similar “F.G.” signature will be on the auction block at Christie’s in New York.

Gerard was a prodigy, Schroder says, and just 17 when he painted the NasherMuseum’s work. The museum calls the heretofore unnamed painting “Clytemnestra Receiving the News of Iphigenia’s Impending Sacrifice,” based on Schroder’s research.

Schroder discovered the painting in November 2001 in the Paris gallery of French art broker Etienne Breton of Blondeau and Associés. The artist’s name was not known, the Greek scene in the painting was unidentified and the painting’s varnish had yellowed with age.

At Schroder’s recommendation, the Duke University Museum of Art (DUMA) bought the painting for an undisclosed price. “We paid one-third or half the price of an attributed Gerard painting,” she says.

The painting was never on view in the former museum space on DukeUniversity’s East Campus because it required cleaning and conservation. DUMA closed in May 2004 and the restored painting moved to the new Nasher Museum of Art, where it has been on display since October.

“I wanted a good history painting for the collection,” Schroder says. “The tradition of historical and literary subjects in painting goes back from the Italian Renaissance until the Impressionists. This painting is a marvelous example of the neoclassical style, of David’s impact on his students and of Gerard’s early style, which has been poorly understood and of which few examples survive. The artist is best known for a more serene style, developed later in his career, and his portraiture.”

The painting, like other French neoclassical paintings of the late 1700s, represents a story from history and mythology. Schroder consulted with Duke classical studies professor Keith Stanley to identify the painting’s subject. Last month, at HarvardUniversity’s Houghton Library, Schroder located an 18th-century French opera libretto that likely influenced Gerard’s interpretation of the Greek myth.

The story behind the painting is that Mycenaean king Agamemnon offended the goddess Artemis. The goddess retaliated by stopping the winds in the Athenian harbor and stranding the Greek navy on its way to fight Troy. To appease the goddess and allow the navy to sail, Agamemnon was ordered to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia. The painting captures the moment when the girl and her mother, Clytemnestra, realize the horrible truth. Agamemnon enters the room with a band of men to seize Iphigenia, who, with a terrified sister, clings to her mother.

... rather than trying to figure out the somewhat byzantine path to find a photo of the painting, try clicking on this ...
Longe fugit quisquis suos fugit.
(Petronius, Satyricon 43)

Each who tries to escape his own flees a long way.

(pron = LOHN-gay FOO-git KWIS-kwis SOO-ohs FOO-git)

Comment:A group of men are discussing another man who has died. His various
traits that helped him live long and successfully by most standards are
rehearsed. It is noted that he was the worst lecher any of them had seen until
the very end. (For Romans, this could be excused if other things were in
place--like being successful at business, or war, or politics, especially if
one had a great deal of influence among the wealthy, the military and the

What they are not willing to excuse is that at his death instead of leaving his
fortune to his brother, that is, his next of kin, he left it to someone outside
of the family. This was going too far. For whatever reasons, this man had
wanted to "escape his own", that is, had wanted to avoid leaving his wealth to
his brother, to his own family. And so, he stepped out of what are considered
normal Roman boundaries, at least as this is displayed in the Satyricon.

The Satyricon and what we know about it is complicated for reasons that would
take a paper and not a daily reflection to explain. But in one sense it is
asking a very simple question: what is important? Is anything, finally
important? How far do I have to go to find what is important? A close read of
the Satyricon rattles the reader a bit. All the social lines are blurred there.
The reader may be left asking what is of value. It's not a bad query to take
into the day.

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

119 -- martyrdom of Secundus at Asti

ca. 311 -- martyrdom of Pastor, Victorinus, and companions at Nicomedia
invidious @

redux @ Merriam-Webster
Bellum Iraquicum iam triennium

Bellum Iraquicum iam tres annos geritur. Primi ictus aerei in Bagdatum ab Americanis die vicesimo mensis Martii anno bis millesimo tertio facti sunt.

Causa esse dicebatur, quod Iraquiani arma interneciva praepararent, quae tamen nusquam repertae sunt. Conflictus sanguinei tertio die anniversario continuabantur. Gratia, qua praesidens Bush antea valebat, apud Americanos corruit.

Ille autem se bonam de re Iraquiana spem habere affirmavit, cum die belli anniversario Clevelandiae orationem habuit: "Saddamum Hussein", inquit, "ex potestate expellere iustum fuit. Si bellum in Iraquia non gereremus, in nostra terra gerendum esset". Addidit democratiam ad hostem profligandum optimam viam esse, sed quaerentibus, an bellum in Iraquia civile esset, non respondit. Ex rebus Iraquianis ad Iraniam transgressus praesidens explicavit ambitiones nucleares Iraniae et Americanis et paci orbis terrarum imminere. "Si necesse erit", inquit, "socios nostros Israelianos vel vi defendemus".

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Another little stroll today:

Bread and Circuses gives us a bit of info about Romulus Augustulus ...

DW from the Classics list points us to NASA's Earth Observatory pic of the day (or whatever it's called) ... a nice clear satellite pic of Vesuvius ...

The LiveJournal classics group has an interesting discussion going on the nature of translation ...

Laudator expresses an opinion on the naughty bits that Classicists translate ... then there's another post on panacea ...'s N.S. Gill is looking at solar eclipses in various ancient cultures ... there's also an essay on book VI of the Aeneid ...

Assorted tidbits of interest in Alun's 'seen elsewhere' posting ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Dennis is wondering where the ACL website went (it's up again, by the way)

Classics in Contemporary Culture alerts us to a production of The Nero Conspiracy ...

Hobbyblog has a nice follis of Severus II sporting an image of Genius ...

Potentially doorworthy?

From ANSA:

The Roman past of Lucca has been revealed by a striking new discovery in the heart of the Tuscan walled city .

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of a Roman presence long before the traditonal date of Roman settlement in 180 BCE - corroborating Roman historian Livy's account of the great Carthaginian general Hannibal passing through Lucca in 217 BCE .

"We've found pieces of wall that are certainly datable to a period before 200 BCE," said lead archaeologist Michelangelo Zecchini .

He said evidence of three successive "rings" of the city's development had been discovered, as well as a trove of small artefacts and other objects .

The discovery came after other finds last year which highlighted how Lucca thrived because of its strategic position on the main road that led towards Gaul .

Among the treasures turned up were the remains of a well-preserved 2nd-century BC Roman house .

Other digs have traced Lucca's beginnings under the Etruscans, a people who once ruled much of central Italy including Rome .

Lucca's foundation by the Etruscans became official last March when experts found the first Etruscan find made inside the area of the ancient acropolis .

The relic, a ceremonial goblet dating to the VI century BC, clinched Lucca's claims to Etruscan ancestry .

It has long been known that there were Etruscan settlements around the famous walled city but this was the first time an Etruscan object had been found at its heart .
Brief hint in the incipit of a vague article that RAI is putting together a new miniseries on Pompeii ... I can't find anything with more detail, alas.
A while back we mentioned how NYU had received a big endowment to establish an Institute for the Study of the Ancient World ... believe it or not, there's some 'backlash' ... from Science Now:

When New York University (NYU) officials announced last week the creation of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, it was widely seen as a major coup. The new Ph.D.-granting research institute, devoted to the art, archaeology, history, literature, and geography of ancient societies, was made possible by a private gift of $200 million in cash and real estate, one of the largest donations the university has ever landed. Yet some NYU faculty, along with outside archaeologists, are aghast that the school accepted the money. One leading NYU archaeologist has already resigned from the university's existing ancient studies center to protest the decision.

The fracas stems from the source of the new institute's funds: The Leon Levy Foundation, named after the late Wall Street investor and philanthropist. Levy and his widow Shelby White, the foundation's trustee, have for years been at the center of controversies surrounding their antiquities collection, which some archaeologists believe includes objects that had been looted and illicitly traded. Indeed, several institutions, including Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, have adopted explicit policies against accepting funds from the foundation. "I wouldn't touch a gift from Shelby White with a barge pole," says archaeologist Colin Renfrew of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

But other scholars argue that the Levy Foundation has been a positive force, spending millions for archaeological digs (Science, 2 July 1999, p. 36). The foundation also funds a program based at Harvard University that supports the publication of archaeological findings. "The foundation has done a power of good," says Baruch Halpern, an expert in ancient history at Pennsylvania State University in State College. And Christopher Ratté, a classical archaeologist at NYU, whose publications have received Levy-White support, says that "it is very difficult to argue with this kind of generosity."

White herself takes strong issue with the criticisms leveled by some archaeologists. "We have always collected in good faith, and we have always exhibited our collection publicly," she told Science, referring to herself and her late husband. White adds that the items in the collection were not purchased in "obscure places" but at public auctions and from leading dealers. "If it turns out that there are objects that I should not have bought, then I will deal with them."

Some NYU faculty began questioning the wisdom of accepting the donation in January, when the advisory committee of NYU's existing Center for Ancient Studies was asked to review the proposed Levy donation. "We wanted to be sure that NYU administrators were aware of concerns in the archaeological community about the problem of safeguarding cultural property," says Laura Slatkin, an NYU classicist and advisory committee member. Still, center director Matthew Santirocco says there was a "majority consensus" in favor of accepting the donation among committee members. The funds are a "truly transformative gift," he says, that will "lead to a more holistic understanding of the ancient world."

Those benefits weren't enough to sway archaeologist Randall White. In a letter delivered to Santirocco last Friday, White resigned his membership in the school's ancient studies center, arguing that accepting money from the Levy Foundation could have negative consequences for NYU scholars. "The gift will promote suspicion that objects would be ripped from their archaeological context by looters," he says.

Most opponents of the donation assume, however, that the institute will go ahead. Says NYU archaeologist and center member Rita Wright: "It remains to be seen whether this donation, and the institute it will create, will be in the best interests of research into ancient cultures."
ante diem v kalendas apriles

37 A.D. -- arrival of Gaius (Caligula) in Rome

193 A.D. -- murder of the emperor Pertinax; recognition of Didius Julianus as Augustus

364 A.D. -- elevation of Valens to the rank of Augustus

... in the early Church, this was one of the days claimed as the day of Jesus' birth ...
trepidation @

ataraxis @ Worthless Word for the Day (this is what David Allen should have used instead of 'mind like water' to describe the effects of his GTD system)
Comitia praesidentialia Belorussiae

Comitiis in Belorussia habitis Alexander Lukashenko tertium praesidens creatus est.

Ut tertium creari posset, suffragia popularia, quae ab observatoribus fraudulenta iudicabantur, autumno anni bis millesimi quarti habita sunt. Ordo a Securitate et Cooperatione Europae comitia praesidentialia Belorussiae nec libera nec proba fuisse rettulit. Fautores oppositionis captos et arbitrium conveniendi et loquendi circumscriptum esse, cum regimen competitionem politicam non ferret.

Unio Europaea sanctiones moderatoribus Belorussiae imponendas praeparat. Germania nuntiavit se oppositioni Belorussiae politicae subsidium, sicut ante, laturam esse. Russia et alia membra Unionis Civitatum Independentium comitia legaliter facta censent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Holy cats ... March is almost over already ... checking out the blogs today:

ARLT tells us about a student Latin Newspaper project which some folks might want to get involved somehow with ...

Laudator's MG appreciates all the bits of Palladas that have been showing up at Curculio, and adds some useful comments of his own ....

Curculio responds by posting some more Palladas ...'s N.S. Gill makes an interesting suggestion about a (possibly anachronistic) image of Greek philosophers holding a book ... there's also an item on the dating of Easter ...

If you can work through some Portuguese, Roma Antiga reviews the Osprey series of tomes on Roman soldiers ....

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus from Augusta Traiana (in Bulgaria) ....

Roman History Books bemoans the disappearance of footnotes (as I go increasingly to a Cornell notes style of notetaking myself, I can't help but continue to wonder whether sidenotes might be the best way to go in print as well as on the web) ...
From the Shorthorn (UT at Arlington):

Monsters, sirens and nymphs will invade the University Center mall Wednesday as students, faculty and community members perform Homer’s The Odyssey.

The Homerathon is a day-long recital of the epic poem written by the Greek poet Homer and will be read from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. by anyone interested. The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus as he makes his way home through trials set before him by the god Poseidon and of his wife and son as they deal with his absence.

Interdisciplinary studies senior Molly Hoffman plans on participating in the event for the third year. She likes to hear the words brought to life, and the story sucks her in, she said.

“It’s adventure, love story, horror and monsters,” she said. “All the stuff you see on TV, the basic plot lines and stereotypes come from The Odyssey.”

Charles Chiasson, philosophy associate professor and classical studies director, said epic Greek poems like The Odyssey were written to be performed, not read. The event is intended to recreate the experience people would have had during ancient times, he said.

There will be props and goofy hats available for those who want to participate, and Dr. Chiasson encourages people to dress as a favorite character from any piece of literature.

“It’s the kind of goofy college thing that there needs to be more of at this campus,” Chiasson said.

Political science junior Amanda Hobbs went to the event last year for the first time and spent most of the day there. She considered the event a way for people to get together for something that is worthwhile and educational.

“It’s an interesting event,” she said. “It’s a way to get out the word about the classics program.”

Chiasson said he would love to see students come by and read. The text is broken into 60 parts that are about 15 minutes long. Individuals can sign up for blocks at the Web site or just show up. Scripts are provided and are available in the Philosophy and Humanities Office at 305 Carlisle Hall.

“In years past, there have always been surprises,” he said. “Someone will show up who you didn’t quite expect. We’ve had high school teachers bring their classes and staff members who gave — arguably — the best performances.”
The Daily Princetonian tells us what the University Art Museum at Princeton has:

Several pieces of Italian art might have said "arrivederci Roma" under illegal pretenses.

In early April, four University Art Museum representatives will meet with Italian authorities to discuss four Italian artifacts in the possession of the Univeristy that might have been acquired illegally.

Though the number of artifacts in question is relatively small, the investigation reflects a growing trend nationwide. Earlier this month, the Peruvian government announced plans to sue Yale for possession of thousands of artifacts from Machu Picchu. And in February, the Metropolitan Museum of Art returned 21 of its antiquities to Italy, settling a decades-long dispute.

Italian authorities have been in discussion with the University since December 2004 regarding the artifacts, which include two Greek vases dating from 510 and 330 BCE, a Roman silver cup and a fragment of a black Etruscan plaque.

The Italians have not yet provided information on the origin of their concerns or evidence that the acquisitions were illegal, University spokeswoman Cass Cliatt '96 said.

"A search of the museum records finds no indication that there was anything improper in the acquisition," Cliatt said, noting that the University follows acquisition guidelines from the American Association of Museum Directors.

This isn't the first time, however, that the University art museum has heard from Italian authorities.

In September 2002, the University returned a portion of a second century marble funerary monument. The Daily Princetonian reported then that the curator, Michael Padgett, discovered the indiscretion and reported the "dubious exportation" to the Italian authorities. The University returned the piece, which it had purchased from a New York art dealer in 1985.

"We have a history of cooperating with the [Italian] authorities," Cliatt said.

By Italian law, artifacts found at an archeological site in the country belong to the state and cannot leave the country except on loan.

"We returned an item in the past that had not been obtained appropriately, and if we discover something similar with these items, we would return the items or explore the possibility of some kind of loan," said Robert Durkee '69, Vice President and Secretary of the University.

The Greek vases — a mushroom-shaped 12-inch psykter and a 22-inch Apulian loutrophoros, both used for ancient ceremonies— are the two artifacts under the most suspicion, Cliatt said.

Susan Taylor, director of the University Art Museum, could not be reached for comment on the details of the four artifacts' acquisition, but Cliatt said she will be attending the April meeting in Rome.

All four artifacts are on exhibit at the museum. Cliatt said in an email that the psykter is currently off-view because it is about to be used in a class but will return to display in a few of weeks.
News of this one is starting to trickle in from various sources ... here's the IOL version:

Greek archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an ancient palace associated with Ajax the Great, a legendary warrior-king cited by Homer as a key participant in the Trojan War, the senior archaeologist supervising the project said Monday.

Dating from the 13th century BC, the Mycenaean-era palace found on the small island of Salamis, west of Athens, is part of a four-level complex extending over 750 square metres, supervising archaeologist Yiannos Lolos said in a statement.

"This is one of the few cases where a Mycenaean-era palace can be attributed to a famed Homeric hero...with every possible certainty," he added.

'Travellers and archaeologists have been seeking this city from the early 19th century'
The city, named 'Kychreia' on an epigraph found on the Athens Acropolis that dates from the first century BC, is mentioned by the ancient geographer Strabo. Its geographical location also concurs with writings by ancient poets Hesiod and Sophocles, Lolos said.

Working on the island hilltop of Kanakia for the past six years, the archaeological team found an entire ancient citadel with at least 33 rooms and other buildings.

The team also found a variety of items of Cypriot and Anatolian origin, testifying to the city's contact with the eastern Mediterranean basin.

Among the discoveries were part of a Cyprus-made bronze talent, an ancient heavy unit of coinage, and a rare piece of armour stamped with the royal mark of Ramesses II the Great, an Egyptian Pharaoh of the 13th century BC.

The island of Salamis was also the site of a 480 BC Greek naval victory over the Persians which effectively ended their invasion of Greece.
Post naufragium maria temptantur.

The seas are tried (tested, distressed) after a shipwreck.

(pron = pohst now-FRAH-ghee-oom mah-REE-ah tehmp-TAHN-toor)

Comment: I am not sure at all what this proverb means. After a shipwreck, it
would seem to me that the ship itself is what has been tested, what has been

The only implication that I can draw from this is perhaps from a nuministic
approach--that ancient view of the world that everything is charged with living
energy, that everything is alive and responsive to everything else.

>From such a view, a ship load of people that has wrecked in the sea has left the
sea, which is itself a divine energy, grieved or, as the proverb says,
distressed at the event.

Imagine that the clouds were moved by our pain. Imagine that the trees felt
compassion toward us as we passed them by on our way to work today. Imagine
the sun laughing at our jokes, the wind catching our thoughts. And imagine
that we began to feel the distress of wildlife recently displaced by clear
cutting for another subdivision of homes, or that our bodies resonated with the
earth as she finds another segment of her skin buried under asphalt.

Actually, I sense that all of these interactive responses do happen. It's just
not a popular view.

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

Addenda 03/28/06:

This is a note revisiting the proverb for March 27. I received more than one
email from individuals who identified this proverb as part of a longer
quotation from Seneca's Epistulae Morales. In context, of course, as always,
it makes much more sense and has a very different meaning than I gave it

In short--if at first you don't succeed (or have a shipwreck--or do a poor job
writing about a Latin Proverb!!!) try the sees again.

My thanks to those who wrote in, and especially to John Muccigrosso of Drew
University Classics Department who sent the reference below.


>> Post naufragium maria temptantur

L. Annaeus Seneca iunior. Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (L. Annaei
Senecae ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales. Vols. 1-2, ed. L. D.
Reynolds, 1965). (1017: 015)

letter 81, section 2, line 4
ante diem vi kalendas apriles

47 B.C. -- Gaius Julius Caesar is victorious in Alexandria

47 B.C. -- Ptolemy XIII drowns while trying to cross the Nile (related to the foregoing event?)
foment @

confluence @

limacology @ Worthless Word for the Day

Parthian shot @ Wordsmith (no Classical connection!)
Pactio primae conductionis

Dominique de Villepin, minister primarius Francorum, legem promulgavit, ex qua operarii minus viginti sex annos nati inter primum operis biennium quandovis sine causa dimitti possent.

Illa lex, quae "pactio primae conductionis" appellatur, reclamationes et tumultus in multis Galliae oppidis peperit. Fautores legis credunt illam conductores operis ad novos operarios conducendos incitare, reprobatores autem dicunt legem iuvenes velut mucinnia tractare, quae post usum inter purgamenta reiciantur. Inopia quaestus est apud Francos quaestio difficillima. Pessimae sunt condiciones iuvenum, ex quibus circiter viginti tres centesimae quaestu carent.

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

For more news in Latin, check out Ephemeris :
De reclamatione in Alba Russia
Apologies for the lack of updates yesterday ... I was wrestling with computer problems all day (my kids' computer) and never did solve things (too many versions of xp at this house and, of course, the right disk isn't here) ... so I'm going to be in catchup mode for a couple of days ... anyhoo, the ClassiCarnies were busy:

We'll start with this rather strange cover of an edition of the Bacchae (is this serious?), which was mentioned in a Live Journal Classics post ...

Last week, Alun was wrestling with a problem related to what might be a constellation depicted on a pot sherd ... he appears to have come up with a reasonable method for testing his hypothesis ....

Laudator's MG has an interesting bit on the phrase 'tooth and nail' ...'s NS Gill is looking at Justinian ...

At Campus Mawrtius, Dennis is pondering a Latin inscription on an arch at Bryn Mawr ....

Curculio posted a handful of epigrams over the past few days ... here ... and here ....

GL address the question Why Play Cards? in the Latin Zone ...

I think I forgot to mention this phDiva post about elephants last week ....

Father Foster's latest: It’s “pilium rubrum” time again here in the Vatican. Time to find out more about the origin of words like “Cardinals” “Consistories” and also why we should use the word creation to appoint the Pope’s closest advisors...

The Stoa is looking at the Suda entry on epoipoi ....

Hobbyblog has an interesting item from Gallienus' zoo ... with some interesting Roman numerals ...

Roman History Books tells us all about the cursus honorum ...
A brief update on various matters pertaining to HBO's Rome from UPI:

Italian TV viewers are staying away in droves from the HBO/BBC series "Rome," it was reported Sunday.

As the second season of the lusty drama prepares to start filming at Rome's Cinecittà studios, a PG-version of the series' first season is airing on Rome's RAI2, Daily Variety reported Sunday.

Italian media blasted the watered-down version -- minus all nudity and violence -- and challenged the historical accuracy of the series, as well as its use of British actors to portray Romans.

"Watching British actors playing Romans rubs a lot of people the wrong way and prompted the press to find fault with the historical accuracy," an RIA spokesman told Variety.

So far, the epic has drawn a disappointing 10 percent audience share, only half the number of viewers who watched Woody Allen's 1983 comedy "Zelig" at the same time on the Mediaset channel, Variety said.

Filming of "Rome's" season two is scheduled to start April 10. The only major change leaked so far is Max Pirkis will not be back as Octavian, as the character will be aged.
A lengthy piece from the Sunday Times hyping an upcoming television program:

Like nobody else before or since, Caracalla had it coming. On April 8, AD217, four days after his 29th birthday, appropriately on his way to a Moon Temple in modern-day Turkey, this irredeemable lunatic dismounted from his horse, pulled down his breeches and surrendered to the demands of diarrhoea. It was one of his own bodyguards who stepped forward and stabbed him to death.

Even for an emperor of Rome, it took some doing to inspire that kind of loyalty. The sculptors of his portrait busts found him as difficult to idealise as historians have done since, his face fixed in a stony scowl, prematurely aged by a lifetime of hate. He is chiefly remembered now for the Baths of Caracalla, the opulent bathhouse outside Rome that so inspired the imagination of the Victorian painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. To confront the true, unique awfulness of the man, however, it is necessary to do as Caracalla himself did in AD208, and make the journey northwards to York. It was here, in August 2004, that archeologists made one of the most disturbing finds in the entire Roman world. Beneath the former garden of an 18th-century mansion in Driffield Terrace, in the exclusive Mount area just outside the city wall, they dug up a large Roman cemetery of early 3rd-century date.

This in itself was no surprise. The site bordered an important Roman road, still the main route into York from the southwest. The existence of graves in the area was well known, and – though the cemetery was evidently of considerable size and importance – it was a routine sort of a dig, ordered by City of York Council to map the site and remove archeological finds before new houses were built. It did not stay routine for long. Ordinarily, Roman cemeteries are much like any other kind. They hold a roughly equal mix of men and women, with infants, children, adolescents, young and older adults all in their natural proportion. It soon became clear that this one was very, very different. Fifty-six skeletons or part skeletons were recovered, of which only seven were adolescent or younger. The rest were all prime-of-life adult males, none older than 45. More than this: by the standards of their time, they were giants, mostly around 174cm (approximately 5ft 10in) tall, at a time when the average was 5cm less. They were powerfully built, too, with arm bones showing evidence of extreme physical exertion. And they were not locals. Isotope analysis of minerals in their tooth enamel showed that they originated from every corner of the Roman empire – a couple from Britain, several from the Mediterranean, one from the Alps, one even from Africa. How could this be explained?

Legionaries killed in battle? But then you would expect their skeletons to show the imprint of war – shattered skulls, severed limbs, defence wounds on hands and arms where they had tried to ward off sword or axe. All these were conspicuously absent. For all the evidence to the contrary, you might suppose that they had died in their beds. Except…

More than half of them had had their heads cut off. In some cases the skull had been put back more or less where it came from. But in many others it lay in the shallow grave beneath its owner’s arm, between his knees or beside his feet. One had heavy iron bands forged around his ankles and lay alongside another man with whom he had exchanged heads. A couple had been buried face down. Others were crumpled as if they had been tossed or hastily crammed into the ground. Only a small minority had been accorded the dignity of coffins.

Although headless burials were not unknown, there was no precedent for so many to be found in the same place. And neither was this the end of it. Just a few yards away, in the summer of 2005, another 24 graves were found in a garden. All contained the remains of young or middle-aged men. Fifteen of these definitely, and another three probably, had been decapitated. Nothing like this had been found anywhere in the entire, intercontinental span of the Roman empire. Who were these men? What had befallen them?

One early theory, outlined in a BBC2 Timewatch programme due to be shown later this month, was that they had been subjected to some kind of pagan burial rite. A common belief at the time was that removing a person’s head would release magical powers that would speed them into the afterlife, or perhaps would prevent them rising to haunt the living. But there was a problem. Ritual beheading happened after death, using a thin blade that would cut down through the front of the neck and slice between the vertebrae. The result was surgically neat.

But the York bodies were not like that at all. The work on and around the necks looked more like the efforts of a lumberjack than of any kind of anatomist. Even a butcher would have done a tidier job. The executioners hacked again and again until, through sheer persistence, they smashed through the bone and the head rolled free. At the York Archaeological Trust’s (YAT’s) conservation laboratory near York Minster, bone expert Katie Tucker shows me their handiwork. One man has a deep, V-shaped slice missing from his jawbone. One had a molar sliced in half as the blade carved through his face. Another has had the back of his head lifted off like a lid. Others have cuts in as many as five of the seven neck vertebrae, with blows delivered mostly from behind but at varying angles as the victims twisted away from their killers. Most seem to have been face down on the ground, presumably held there, when they were killed, and one seems to have been felled by a swipe at the knee. In one case it took 13 blows to get the head off.

Archeology is often a matter of matching familiar evidence to known facts. The stuff that comes out of the ground is exactly like lots of other stuff that’s come out of the ground before. You know what it is. You can work out how, when and why it got there. If you’re lucky it may be a new chapter, but it’s seldom a whole new book. As the man in charge of the dig, YAT’s head of fieldwork, Patrick Ottaway, points out, these burials neither conform to precedent nor easily submit to analysis. Whatever happened here was driven by something stronger than the ordinary disciplines of army life. Humanity was set aside; calculation subsumed by fear or hatred into something close to derangement. Who would have ordained such an atrocity? And why?


Caracalla was not his real name. He was born Septimius Bassianus, later changed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, at Lyons (Roman Lugdunum) on April 4, 188, though for reasons of his own he would later lie about his age. His father was the North African-born senator and future emperor of Rome, Lucius Septimius Severus. His mother, Julia Domna, came from what is now Syria. Eleven months after the birth of Antoninus, and with consequences that would ultimately horrify her, Julia gave birth to a second son, Publius Septimius Geta.

It is fair to say that the Roman military and political classes were not unaccustomed to the sight of blood. Spilling it was no big deal – in context, it was no more than the ultimate step in a recognised process of hard bargaining. Young Antoninus took to killing as naturally as others might have taken to poetry or music. By the time he made his fatal comfort stop in 217, he would bear direct responsibility for upwards of 20,000 deaths. He started young. At 14 he was pressed into marriage with a girl called Plautilla, daughter of a powerful friend of his father’s. “But,” says Professor Anthony Birley, a biographer of Septimius Severus and expert on the Romans in Britain, “he hated her. Not only did he refuse to sleep with her but he wouldn’t even eat with her, and he particularly hated his father in law.” His remedy, aged 16, was to frame the man on a false charge of plotting against the emperor and to have him killed by guards. The unwanted bride was then banished. If one were to plead mitigation on the young man’s behalf, one might point to the influence of his father, Septimius Severus, whose idea of statesmanship was to fight anyone who opposed him. He executed 29 political opponents in the senate and replaced the old praetorian guard with a new 10,000-strong elite unit recruited largely from the Balkans and the Danube. In 208, aged 60, he decided it was time to visit the north of his empire and kill the resistance of Caledonian tribesmen north of the Forth and Clyde.

Prominent among the imperial retinue were his sons Antoninus, then aged 20, and Geta, 19. No two brothers have ever hated each other more than these two. As the contemporary Roman historian Cassius Dio put it: “The sons of Severus… went to all lengths in their conduct. They outraged women and abused boys, they embezzled money and made gladiators and charioteers their boon companions, emulating each other in the similarity of their deeds, but full of strife in their rivalries; for if the one attached himself to a certain faction, the other would be sure to choose the opposite side…”

Always, up ahead, lay the ultimate point of collision – their father’s death and the inheritance of an empire. By the time they reached York, the gap between ambition and destiny was narrowing fast. Severus was in poor health, gout-ridden and unable to walk. To his sons nevertheless he continued to offer the same malevolent example. Enraged by the hit-and-run tactics of an enemy that would not engage his army, he resolved to make Scotland unliveable, destroying its crops and slaughtering without mercy. Cassius Dio records him quoting Homer: “Let no one escape sheer destruction, No one our hands, not even the babe in the womb of the mother…”

Unsubtle though he might have been, Severus well understood the basics of human nature. He knew where the raw enmity between his sons was leading, and tried to bring peace by making them co-emperors with himself. Yoking them in power, however, served only to sharpen their rivalry. It was at about this time that the elder son, Antoninus, became known by the nickname that would stay with him throughout history – Caracalla. It derived from the local style of hooded tunic – a bit like a duffel coat – that he wore while in Britain and later made fashionable in Rome. He also began to exhibit the behaviour that would forge his reputation as a monster. It began with a failure – failure, that is, to assassinate his own father, against whom he drew his sword while they were riding to negotiate the Caledonians’ surrender. Alerted by his guards, Severus faced the young man down.

For the younger son, Geta, however, there was to be no such escape. Severus’s last words before he died in 211 were to his sons: “Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers and scorn all other men.” Caracalla evidently took to heart the second and third of these injunctions but stopped his ears to the first. The flames from Severus’s pyre had barely died down before both heirs were heading back to Rome. For some time Caracalla had been lying about his age, advancing his birth date by two years to exaggerate the superiority of his birthright over Geta’s. But he was not going to rely on primogeniture alone. Within a year, Geta was dead. There was no subterfuge; no plot or alibi. Offering neither excuse nor apology, Caracalla chased his brother through the palace and stabbed him in the arms of their mother. The new emperor also put to death his estranged wife, Plautilla, and her brother, and continued as he had begun – purging the high command of everyone who had ever told him “no”.

In the Timewatch programme, Anthony Birley argues that the bloodshed began even before Caracalla left York, and that the cemetery at Driffield Terrace was the resting place of his victims. Among the first to go was his father’s chamberlain, Castor, who had made the mistake of barring him from the imperial chamber. His childhood tutor Euhodus – formerly his accomplice in framing his father-in-law – was killed for the crime of promoting harmony between the brothers. Even Severus’s doctors were murdered, for having denied Caracalla’s request to shorten the old man’s life. Also unwanted on the journey home, Birley suggests, were other courtiers and officers who had favoured Geta.

This would explain various things – the choice of an important burial place on high ground next to a main road; the method of execution (beheading was the privilege of Roman citizens, while lesser breeds were crucified, burned or thrown to animals); and the hasty disposal of the bodies. The executions would have been in public and, says Miranda Green, an expert on Celtic Britain, would have been “extremely theatrical”.

“The idea would have been a kind of performance, where maybe the entire community was there to see it happen. It would have been very bloody, but you mustn’t just think about things being highly visual. Sound and smell would have been very important as well.” One’s imagination here begins to do peculiar things to the stomach, especially when Green suggests that spectators would have made a day out of it with a picnic. A number of things still need explaining, however – most obviously the male exclusivity of the cemetery, the narrow age range and physical size of its denizens. There is also the awkward fact that many of the burials overlie each other, thus making it unlikely that the deaths all occurred in the same incident.

I try a theory of my own. Where in the Roman empire, outside the battlefield, might you find unusually large, physically fit young men being killed in batches? Is it possible that they were victims not of the executioner but of each other, as gladiators? Surprisingly, Birley does not dismiss the idea out of hand – funeral games, he says, might well have been staged after the old emperor’s death and, as Patrick Ottaway acknowledges, there must have been an amphitheatre somewhere in the city, though nobody knows where. In the end, however, Birley rejects it on the same grounds that Ottaway and Katie Tucker rejected the idea of deaths in battle – the absence of fresh bone fractures.

“All our sources, so far as I know them, ive the impression that gladiators were killed by the sword or in some cases trident of their opponents, or being gored by wild beasts, and the impression is that there was horrific wounding and lots of blood. So it seems to me very unlikely that they would have just soft flesh wounds. Besides, I can't think of any cases of gladiators being given the coup de grâce with the axe, let alone a few dozen of them.” Nevertheless, it is a subject that gives insight into the character of the new emperor. “For what it’s worth, Cassius Dio says that Caracalla killed large numbers of the elite at Rome after disposing of his brother Geta, then ‘veering from murder to sport, he showed the same thirst for blood in this field too. It was nothing, of course, that elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers etc were killed in the arena, but he took pleasure in seeing the blood of as many gladiators as possible. He forced one, Bato, to fight three men in succession on the same day, then, when Bato was killed by the last one, he honoured him with a brilliant funeral’.”

Miranda Green’s theory is that the executions might have been punishment for a military unit found guilty of cowardice, when “every 10th man is killed in front of their fellows”. It offers, too, an alternative explanation for the beheadings. “Their bodies might well have been treated in a humiliating way so that they wouldn’t actually enter the spirit world.”

Timewatch continues to favour Birley’s picture of an irascible and possibly unbalanced young dictator slaying his father’s favourites. Given that nothing is known of these people’s ages, and that their privileged diets would have made them tall, there is no reason why they should not have conformed to the physical pattern of the Driffield skeletons. Nevertheless, Birley proposes an alternative theory of his own. Given that pottery dating is accurate only to within ten years or so, it is entirely conceivable that the deaths occurred at a slightly later date – not in February 211, as everyone has assumed, but some time during 213 or 214. The Roman governor of Britain then was Gaius Julius Marcus, a self-proclaimed loyalist who advertised his devotion to Caracalla in numerous inscriptions along Hadrian’s Wall. Tellingly, however, he seems to have been worried that he and his men were suspected of having favoured Geta in 211, and his fears may have been justified. “This mass protestation of loyalty didn’t work,” says Birley, “since Julius Marcus’s name was systematically deleted from the inscriptions. But in some cases it is still legible, and they forgot to delete his name from a milestone. Clearly he copped it.”

In this scenario, the bodies in York are those of Julius Marcus and members of his bodyguard or singulares, an elite troop. “Roman history,” says Birley, “is full of examples of men who had fallen foul of an emperor being disposed of, usually by a centurion sent for the purpose. Equally, Julius Marcus’s successor could have turned up with a secret commission to kill him off.”

From a distance of nearly 1800 years, the truth lies tantalisingly half in and half out of our grasp. Some things are certain – the reality of these men’s horrible deaths; their age and stature; the chaos of their burials; the mix of nationalities. Some things are highly probable – that they were victims of execution; that they belonged to an elite group of some kind; that the group itself was military. Other things are educated guesses – that they were killed for disloyalty or cowardice; that they were loyalists of Geta. All are consistent in their depiction of nihilistic cruelty in the service of a man whose own murder was his only experience of justice.
From Al jazeera:

A country of amazing archaeological wealth that is both a blessing and a curse, Greece has for decades sought to keep its antiquities out of the hands of smugglers.

But even as pressure grows on museums in Europe and the US to return disputed objects to their countries of origin, police in Greece warn that the looting of ancient sites shows no sign of abating.

George Gligoris, head of the Greek police force's special department against antiquity smuggling, said: "It's a complete free-for-all, the situation is very hard to control.

"And in some parts of the country, the spread of illegal digs is simply explosive."

Gligoris heads a team of 19 officers who cover all of Greece, a country with untapped archaeological wealth still hidden in its soil and sea depths.

In major cities such as Athens and Salonika, construction routinely runs into ancient graves, temples and homes.

Monitoring is tougher in the Greek countryside, where farmers often stumble upon archaeological finds while working their fields.

Antiquity smuggling

According to police figures, 89 people were arrested on charges of antiquity smuggling in 2005, and over 800 objects of various types and sizes were confiscated in the greater Athens area.

In 2004, the equivalent numbers were 90 arrests and over 2800 objects.

"The first thing Greeks think of when they find an ancient object in their field is how to sell it abroad," says Gligoris.

The price of an ancient object depends on age, rarity and volume.

According to recent press reports, a Roman-era statuette can fetch around 15,000 euros ($18,000), while a life-sized Classical Greek bronze statue from the 5th century BC recently sold for seven million dollars (5.8 million euros).

Moving through clandestine channels, illegally procured antiquities from Greece frequently end up in private collections outside the country, and have even been known to grace the displays of European and American museums.

And of late, the police have found out that robbers have also acquired a worrying taste for Byzantine-era religious masterpieces, which are both abundant and readily available at churches and monasteries across the country.

One 16th century Byzantine icon stolen from a monastery in the northern peninsula of Halkidiki was estimated to be worth 1.5 million euros, Greek press reports said.

Wholesale robbery

"The robbers even dismantle entire sculpted icon screens," says Gligoris. "Church icons have turned from objects of faith to objects of art that some people collect."

The current trend governing the trade of antiquities, however, could be moving in Greece's favour.

Last month, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art signed with Italy a deal on the return of disputed antiquities, including a 2500-year-old Greek vase that has been the centrepiece of the museum's holdings for decades.

With a number of repatriation cases of its own now pending, including four items sought from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Greece is keen to follow Italy's example.

George Voulgarakis, the new Greek culture minister, recently announced his intention to meet his Italian counterpart Rocco Buttiglione and Philippe de Montebello, the director of the Metropolitan Museum.

"We are currently working together with the Italians on a number of objects," says Gligoris, who has visited Rome on several occasions in the past months along with the senior Greek prosecutor investigating the illegal trade in Greek antiquities.

Gligoris argues that the Italians "have things well in hand. Prosecutor Paolo Ferri, with whom we are co-operating, has spent 20years battling this issue. Now, he is reaping the fruits of an excellent effort."
The incipit of a piece from Al-Ahram:

A chance trick of the light has provided proof that the town of Al-Qasr in the Dakhla Oasis was once a Roman fortress. Jenny Jobbins witnessed the evidence

The town of Al-Qasr, otherwise known as Qasr Dakhla, lies in Dakhla Oasis deep in the Western Desert 450kms due west of Luxor. Despite its remote setting it has had a colourful history: Romans exploited the oasis for agricultural produce; Libyans, including the Sanusi, made conquering raids; and it was not far from the infamous Darb Al-Arbain slave route. In the picturesque mediaeval section of the town narrow, partly covered streets wind past heavy ancient doors topped with elaborate lintels, and here and there through an open doorway can be glimpsed old grinding stones or a staircase leading to a crumbling roof.

Al-Qasr is the older of the two towns in Dakhla -- the other being Mut -- and was built on top of a tell, that mound of crumbled debris that marks the site of an ancient structure or settlement and which over time, since any collapsed buildings are composed largely of mud brick, settles into the natural landscape.

Archaeologists have long supposed that beneath the foundations of Al-Qasr are the remains of a Roman citadel. Fred Leemhuis, professor of Islamic Studies at Groningen University and field director of the Qasr Dakhla Project -- part of the Dakhla Oasis Project (DOP) -- told this author two years ago: "Undoubtedly there was a fortress there in Roman times, or even a Ptolemaic one. The Romans probably built a structure to surround the well, and I would be surprised if there was nothing Roman. But we have simply not found any evidence."

Leemhuis said then that a good quantity of datable potsherds or coins at a lower level would be enough to determine a Roman provenance. "Al-Qasr is the only tell in Dakhla. It has at least three levels of occupation," he said. "There might have been something before that, but we can only hazard a guess. Some time I'm going to excavate, but right now I'm too busy."

In the end, by a quirk of fate, he didn't need to. It happens to most of us: the mislaid glasses you find have been wearing all along, the lost car keys which were under your nose. Like those keys, the evidence was right before his eyes. "Archaeologists had been walking past it all the time," Leemhuis said this week. "They just didn't notice it."

What caught his eye was an outcrop of what had always been thought -- if any thought was given to it at all -- to be an outcrop of dried mud beneath a disused mosque on the edge of the old town. One morning this February Leemhuis was walking past the "rock" when he noticed that the sun caught a distinct line that appeared to be a course of brickwork. He called in the project's chief restorer, Rizq Abdel-Hay Ahmed, and local inspector Affaf Saad Hussein, and together they examined it more closely. Under the veneer of sun-baked mud they could distinguish several such courses. Far from being hardened earth this was mud-brick, and, moreover, the size of the bricks -- each 8x16x33 cms -- corresponded exactly to bricks in other Roman fortresses in the Western Desert. Since then other experts, including Roger Bagnold of Columbia University -- who has also walked past it many times -- have agreed the wall is Roman.

The brickwork continues on the other side of an open street which was at some point driven through it, and it went on again behind the mosque. This last piece of the wall, which still stands more than four metres high, was evidently a gateway and abuts what appears to be a circular or hexagonal tower. The wall has proved to be six metres thick and the stone foundations to have been dug down one metre. "Now we know it's there we can't think how we missed it," Leemhuis says. "And we didn't have to do anything."

Further excavations will have to be carried out before the wall can be dated with accuracy, but one historical conundrum now appears to be solved. Agricultural accounts from the Roman town of Kellis, the site of which lies between Al-Qasr and Mut, show records of grain and wine being sent to a place named, in Greek, "Takastra". Up to now no one has known where this might be, but now it can be surmised that Takastra, "the camp" from the Latin castra (military camp), later became Qasr, making its etymological link with the Arabic qasr (fortified town) obscure.

The discovery sets the seal of what has been a successful season for the Qasr Dakhla Project, which has also seen the completed restoration of the second of two adjoining houses at the centre of the town: the Beit Al-Qureishi, which belonged to a prominent local family. Unlike its neighbour the Beit Al-Qadi (the house of the judge), which was restored two years ago, the Beit Al-Qureishi was a ruin with only the façade left standing. Both houses have now been rebuilt using the traditional methods of the original construction: mud bricks with wooden supports and with roofs of palm logs and fibres. The window frames and doors are made of acacia wood. The houses have steep staircases -- two in the case of the Qureishi house -- leading to the upper floors. These stairwells have niches for oil lamps to compensate for what might be a gloomy interior, the main source of light being the small upper windows.

... the rest.
This was in Explorator yesterday, but seems worth repeating here ... the incipit of a piece from ANSA:

A flaming-red robot will soon be guiding tourists round a Sicilian archaeological collection .

The 1.5-metre-high robot, named Cicerobot by his creators, is kitted out with wheels, a keyboard, a monitor, video camera and sensors, enabling him to steer visitors safely through the rooms of Agrigento's Regional Archaeological Museum .

... alas, no gloss on the name.
Interesting excerpt from the NY Review of Books reviewing a couple of biographies of Christopher Marlowe:

David Riggs's The World of Christopher Marlowe and Park Honan's Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy both concern themselves centrally with Marlowe's secret life as a spy. Neither has very much new documentary evidence to add to the tangled web of fact and speculation that Charles Nicholl expertly wove in The Reckoning. For sheer narrative pleasure, Nicholl's book remains unrivaled, but its focus is sharply on Marlowe's murder. Nicholl has very little to say about the plays and poems that make this murder seem a catastrophe for literature comparable to the killing of Pushkin. Both Riggs and Honan, by contrast, have a specific interest in literary lives—Riggs has written a fine biography of Ben Jonson; Honan of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and others —and both are determined, as Nicholl is not, to tease out the relation between Marlowe's espionage and his art. "Marlowe's work as a spy," Honan writes, "has to be seen in the light of his devotion to his art."

But what does this actually mean? At moments it is simply a reminder that Marlowe had more on his mind at Cambridge than betraying his friends. He continued the passionate engagement with literature, and particularly with classical literature, that he must have begun as a student at the King's School in Canterbury. Shakespeare characteristically makes fun of the years in which he was himself a "whining schoolboy, with his satchel/And shining morning face, creeping like snail/Unwillingly to school." But Marlowe's encounter with the classics, though it must have included its share of mind-numbing tedium and routine beatings, was life-transforming: "It may be that no discovery he made," Honan remarks, "and no love he ever felt, affected his mind and feelings so terribly, so unsettlingly, as the writers of ancient Rome."

Riggs is particularly acute on the syllabus that an ordinary Elizabethan schoolboy would have slogged his way through: Lyly's introductory Latin Grammar, Susenbrotus's Epitome of Schemes and Tropes, with its practical instruction in paraphrase, contrast, comparison, example, and vivid description, Aphthonius's Progymnasmata, with its guide to organizing thoughts into a continuous argument. Out of such dry bones, and out of an astonishingly intense reading of Terence and Lucretius, Virgil and Ovid, the young Marlowe fashioned his own poetic voice, a voice that had never before been heard in English. "For his peers," Riggs writes, "Marlowe's great achievements were an English blank verse line that stood up to Virgil's stately measures, and a rhymed English couplet that reproduced the elegance and wit of Ovid's love poetry."
A quick jaunt today:'s N.S. Gill has a feature on Apollo ...

Laudator has some quotes from Nietzsche on the importance of antiquity ...

Hobbyblog has an interesting Gallienus sporting a she wolf and twins ...

Curculio has another (rather morbid) epigram of Palladas ...

William Blathers ponders an orphan Eros ...

We note the eruption of a new blog, which is apparently called Omnia or perhaps Bestiaria Latin Blogs ... in any event, it's associated with the Bestiaria Latina Latin reader site ...
From Kathimerini:

Worship of the 12 gods of Mount Olympus associated with ancient Greece could, thanks to a decision by a first-instance court in Athens, become part of the country’s contemporary culture.

In a ruling made public yesterday, the court allowed the formation of an association whose members claim to worship Zeus and the other 11 gods.

“I support everybody’s right to practice their faith, whichever it may be, without hindrance,” said Apostolos Vrachiolidis, a journalist and one of the founding members of the association. Members of the group deny that they engage in idolatry. “We simply want to worship the gods of our ancestors freely,” a member who preferred to remain anonymous told Kathimerini.

The Church of Greece takes a dim view of this type of worship, linking it to New Age practices.
I think we've had op-ed pieces by 'Cicero' in the Huntington News before ... here's the incipit of the latest:

If you look at it, history has an astonishing semblance to a treadmill that seemingly moves forward but actually just keeps on repeating itself. After the destruction of Carthage at the conclusion of the Third Punic War, Numidia became the most important kingdom in North Africa.

Its ruler, Jugurtha was a brilliant and ambitious young man who had served under Scipio in the Spanish Numantine war. Serving in the Roman Legions he had gained a deep knowledge of Roman military tactics. A number of factors led to the eventual war (112 -- 107 BC) of Rome with the Kingdom of Numidia and the defeat of Jugurtha, reducing the country to nothing more than a vassal and then a province of the Roman Empire.

On the Roman side, the leaders of the successful war against Numidia, Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, both became dictators of Rome later on and interestingly, both were related to the young Gaius Julius Caesar whose hunger for power eventually led to destruction of the Republic. What we see in there is a definite pattern of ruthless people in families who stop at nothing to gain and retain power for themselves and their families and associates.

In today’s America, we have a similar family of the President George W. Bush, and his brother, both seeking fame and historical recognition – it looks like we are stuck with another Marius and Sulla. And who knows what may come after, another Caesar perhaps. It is our own fault if such individuals are allowed to perpetuate themselves and their families in positions of power that can influence all our lives. Whatever freedom is still left in our hands, we should use it to try and keep these individuals - no matter what party they belong to - from taking long-term political office and perpetuating themselves and their families. One is already more than enough!

... the rest.
Interesting news from the Times:

BRITISH and Italian archaeologists have recovered for the first time a painted Roman statue with its colours preserved.

The head of a female Amazon warrior, shown exclusively to The Times, was retrieved this week from the debris of a collapsed escarpment at Herculaneum, the seaside resort for the rich and powerful of ancient Rome that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79.

Domenico Camardo, the archaeologist who dug the head from the volcanic rock, said that when a workman first alerted him to the discovery, he “hardly dared hope” that the bust would be intact. “Only the back of the head was visible, and I was afraid the face would have crumbled,” he said.

The nose and mouth were missing, but the hair, pupils and eyelashes were “as pristine as they were when Herculaneum was overwhelmed by the eruption”, Monica Martelli Castaldi, the restorer of the team, said.

“Those eyes are alive, looking at us from 2,000 years ago,” she said. “To find this much pigment is very, very special.” Although it had been known that Roman statues were painted, only faint traces of pigment had been found before now. It had also been assumed that classical statues were painted brightly. In fact, the colouring on the head is a delicate shade of orange-red, which, although faded, indicates that classical colouring was subtle and sophisticated, Jane Thompson, the project manager, said.

Herculaneum was buried in the same catastrophic eruption that overwhelmed nearby Pompeii. Whereas Pompeii was buried in volcanic ash, Herculaneum became entombed in molten rock.

The site was excavated in the 18th century and again in the Fascist period but was then neglected for decades, until the British School in Rome and the Superintendency of Pompeii started the Herculaneum Conservation Project, funded by the Packard Humanities Institute, of California, in 2004.

Since then restorers have patched up flaking frescoes, brought in falcons to chase away pigeons, whose droppings corrode the ruins, and tackled humidity caused by rain and rising damp.

Areas closed to visitors for years are gradually being reopened to the public, and lost treasures are being found.

The collapsed escarpment where the Amazon head was found was close to the great Basilica, which has been partially excavated. The Basilica — the law courts — was linked to the cult of Hercules, who, as part of his labours, had to fight Hippolyte, the Amazon Queen.
6.00 p.m. |SCI| The Mummies of Rome
The discovery of two Roman-age mummies in a tomb outside Rome was a shock to the scientific community, since there is no record of mummification in Rome's annals. Trace the ongoing steps being taken to unravel this mystery.

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.
Ne Juppiter quidem omnibus placet.
(Translation of Theognis)

Not even Juppiter pleases everyone.

(pron = nay YOO-pih-tair KWEE-dehm OHM-nih-boos PLAH-ket)

Comment: I drank deeply and early at the well of "pleasing others". That
drought is so potent that for many years in my life I could not see that
"pleasing others" was not exactly how we were all supposed to be. It works out
so well . . . for a while.

Pleasing others earns parental and familial approval which feels so good (and it
signs you up for more parental and familial obligations as well, but that is
easy to slip in while you are basking in the glow of a recent pat on the head).

Pleasing others earns good grades. It simply does. Do whatever the teacher
wants you to do, and you will get a good grade. It's those non-conformists who
challenge teachers and who do not do their homework who fail, and it's so easy
while under the influence of this poison that people who please others are
simply more intelligent than those slaggards who do not. Besides, those who do
not please others are simply selfish. So, people who please others are not only
more intelligent, they are also people of high moral fiber.

Pleasing others earns good jobs, promotions, and higher pay. People who are
successful at their work and who make a lot of money are those who do as they
are told and please their bosses (it never occurs to one who is on the juice
that people pleasers are never the bosses).

And finally, pleasing others, or rather, pleasing the Other, earns you a place
in heaven. Those who do not please the Other go to hell.

It's a simple universe, this pleasing others. And it's all delusional. Not
even Juppiter himself could please everyone--even if he wanted to, and quite
frankly, Juppiter was too busy being himself (Mr. Lightening Bolt Thrower of
the Year) to bother with pleasing others.

And that's the rub. We can choose to devote the short lives we have to pleasing
others for the occassional pat on the head, or we can live the one life we have
been given, explore it for its own gold, let it's uniqueness be what others
find delightful or damning about us, but we cannot do both.

I suspect that there are others like me who spent a goodly part of their early
lives trying hard to please everyone. And then they ran into that someone who
simply could not be pleased. What a wonderful, awful moment. It jolts us
awake to realize that this business of pleasing others ONLY serves the petty
interests of others and enslaves us. Do you remember that one you ran into one
day who simply could not be pleased?

WE are likely to run into some of those folks today. When we do, let's quietly
thank them for the reminder: we do not exist to please them, but to live the
one life we have been given.

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

Festival of Mars (day 24)

Quando Rex Comitavit Fas -- a somewhat obscure entry in the Roman calendar which seems to hearken back to the days of the monarchy. A plausible explanation connects this with the fact that this was one of the days when the ancient Comitia Calata would 'witness' wills, and so other legal matters could not take place until the king had dismissed the comitia.

Happy blogday to Jim Davilia's Paleojudaica ...
postulate @

stolid @

supinity @ Worthless Word for the Day

spoliation @ Wordsmith
Gasiductus ex Russia in Sinas

Inter Russos et Sinenses praeliminariter convenit, ut gasiductus ex Sibiria in Sinas duceretur.

Oeconomia crescente usque maior copia energiae Sinensibus opus est, quam ob rem et oleum et gasum terrestre ex Sibiria desiderant. Praesidente Putin hac septimana Sinas visitante de cooperatione etiam in energia nucleari paranda consultatum est.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Let's see what the ClassiCarnies are barking about today:

Curculio offers us an epigram from Palladas ...

Glaukopidos has a rant about the possible implications of Florida high school students having to declare majors ...

WS at Ancient Coin Collecting has a good rant on claims that ancient coin collectors are funding terrorism ...

DW at Classical Coins has a feature on forgeries ...

AM of Sauvage Noble fame has put up a very nice page of his research interests with links to papers, abstracts, and the like ....

Although Eric was pondering concessive clauses t'other day, for some reason he's pondering causal clauses today ...'s N.S. Gill is collecting examples of betrayals in ancient myth ...

Pro magistris is pondering the relevance of daVinci ...

The 2005 excavation report from the Roman Gask Project is available ...

Folks may remember us mentioning the Roma Victor online game in the past ... turns out they have an interesting punishment for those folks who don't 'play properly' (apparently known as "ganking")
From ANSA:

Italy has recovered a precious statue from Roman poet Horace's famed Sabine farm .

The herm, or archaic head on a square block, was stolen from the farm near Rome in 1977 and turned up on the German antiquities market in the 1990s .

It was acquired by a German regional museum in 2000 for just 10,000 euros - a fraction of the price it would have fetched if its provenance had been known .

Experts recently identified it and informed Interpol and Italy's art cops, who took it off the museum's hands on Friday .

The herm takes its name from the Greek god Hermes but in this case it bears the head of a Maenad .

It will be back on display at Horace's beloved villa next month .

Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione said the return of the herm marked another victory in Italy's crackdown on art theft .

Also on Friday, the Carabinieri art police swept across Sicily and other parts of Italy to recover some 9,000 ancient gold coins, vases and bronze artefacts from the ancient Greek civilisation in Sicily, which had been put up for sale on eBay .

The items had already received bids from all over Europe and the Americas, the police said .

Italy has stepped up its fight to recover lost treasures and recently sealed a groundbreaking deal with New York's Metropolitan Museum to secure the return of some of its finest Ancient Greek pieces - in exchange for a future loan of equivalent value .

Italian authorities have also launched a landmark trial of a US antiquities curator, accused of knowingly buying looted artefacts for the Getty Museum in California .
10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Caligula: Reign of Madness
Caligula ruled the Roman Empire fewer than four years, and was only 28 when assassinated by officers of his guard in 41 AD. His reign was a legendary frenzy of lunacy, murder, and lust. Between executions, he staged spectacular orgies, made love to his sister, and declared himself a living god. Join us for a look at this devoted son, murderer, pervert, and loving father whose anguished life was far more bizarre than the myth that surrounds him.
Omnis enim res, virtus, fama, decus, divina, humanaque pulchris divitiis parent.
(Horace, Satires 2.3.94-96)

For everything, virtue, fame, honor, divine things and human things fall subject
to beautiful riches.

(pron = OHM-nis EH-nim rays, WEER-toos, FAH-mah, DAY-koos, dih-WEE-nah,
hoo-mah-NAH-kweh POOL-krees dih-WEE-tees PAH-rent)

Comment: This line is lifted from a section of Horace's Satires which he begins
by inviting all who are suffering from some malady of the mind to come near (he
offers examples: you grow pale with ambition, or love of money, or passion), so
that he can convince them that they are insane.

He offers a variety of examples of individuals whose particular mental obsession
has them doing absurd or extreme things. This one fellow was so obsessed with
having money, was so convinced that poverty was the ultimate evil, that he left
it in his will that what he left each of his heirs should be carved on his
tombstone. That way, even in death, no one would think him poor. Imagine a
tombstone in your local cemetary with all of the heirs' names listed and dollar
amounts next to them! In our culture, such a stone would be a local attraction
to go and see and laugh at, take pictures of, etc. Surely this old man was
crazy. Horace says that for a man or woman like this, everything in their
lives becomes subservient to money.

He offers many more examples. They are all examples of things that people
become too focused on in their mind, and everything else in their lives becomes
subservient to that thing. Of course, none of us reading this, nor he who
writes it, is so obsessed, but if we were . . . what thing would it be that we
were tempted to make everything else in our lives subservient to?

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

Festival of Mars continues (day 23)

Tubilustrum -- as part of the general military preparations which are associated with the festival of Mars, the 'war horns' (tubae) were ritually cleaned

Quinquatrus (day 5) -- final day of the gladiator fest

1606 -- Death of Justus Lipsius
esculent @ Merriam-Webster

paterfamilias @

stentorian @ Worthless Word for the Day

polemology @ Wordsmith

This week's My Word! feature at the Classics Technology Center looks at some Roman Poets ... and it being Thursday, of course, one must check out Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Slobodan Milosovic mortuus

Slobodan Milosevic, pristinus praesidens Iugoslaviae sexaginta quattuor annos natus, die Saturni (11.3.) in urbe Haga mortem obiit.

Inventus est exanimis in lecto carceris sui, ubi in custodia praevia tenebatur.

Pathologi, cum autopsiam postridie eius diei fecissent, causam mortis impetum cardiacum fuisse nuntiaverunt.

Iam quintus annus agebatur, cum Milosevic apud tribunal Nationum Unitarum criminibus belli cognoscendis de variis et multis sceleribus contra genus humanum commissis accusabatur.

Efferetur die Saturni (18.3.) in patria sua natali, cui nomen Pozarevac.

Reijo Pitkäranta

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

More Latin news at Ephemeris : ETAm arma deponere statuisse
Not a lot of news today ... let's see if the bloggers pick up the slack:'s N.S. Gill reviews the 12 Labours of Hercules ... there's also a brief item on Clodia/Lesbia

Laudator tells us about he-men and girlie-men ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius reviews concessive clauses ... there's also an item on Mussolini's palace being opened to the public (it has some Christian tombs beneath it, apparently ... I'm waiting to find an article with more details on this aspect) ....

Hobbyblog offers us a Gallienus with a very nice image of Pax Aeterna ...

Roman History Books' focus today is Pliny the Younger ...
We had a brief item in Italian on this the other day ... ANSA has come through with a more detailed bit in English:

A very rare example of surviving pre-Greek settlement in southern Italy is to be excavated and explored. The site, at Molpa in the hills above Palinuro south of Naples, is believed to contain the remains of a large village of the Enotrians, the earliest known inhabitants of Calabria and southern Campania. The Greeks who settled across southern Italy from 700BC to create Magna Graecia had an idealised vision of the Enotrians ("wine lovers") as coming from the Eden-like land of Arcadia .

In reality, they probably came from eastern Europe and moved down into a large swathe of southern Italy from 1000 BC .

Most histories of Italy, based on ancient Greek texts, portray southern Italy as virgin territory .

Recent discoveries about the Enotrians have exploded this myth .

A dig at another Enotrian site, in Campania, has uncovered evidence that the Greek colonists owed their wealth to exploiting prosperous native villages. The settlement, on a hill called Timpone della Motta, had a large necropolis and a monumental sanctuary .

The finds from huts, graves and the sanctuary of the Enotrians point to the organized production of bronze cauldrons, decorated pots made on the potter's wheel, olive oil and wine long before the arrival of the Greeks. The Greek colony that came later, Sybaris, became a byword for sensual excess and has given us the word sybaritic. One of the last kings of the Enotrians, Italo or Italos, is said to have changed his kingdom's name from Enotria to Italia - the name eventually adopted for the whole peninsula .
From Ohio Wesleyan's Connect2:

If you're searching for an epic event on campus, look no further than "The Virgil Vigil." According to Donald Lateiner, professor of humanities-classics, "The Virgil Vigil" promises to be an evening of epic love, epic death, epic defeat, and well, epic glory.

"The Virgil Vigil" begins this Friday at 9 p.m. in Sturges 009. It is the third installment in a series of marathon readings of great poetic texts from the ancient world sponsored by the Department of Humanities-Classics. The series began in 2004 with Homer's Odyssey and continued last year with Ovid's Metamorphoses. This year's reading will be of Virgil's Aeneid.

The marathon reading will continue long into Saturday morning. Readers will be fueled by epic amounts of food and drink. "There will be opportunities for guest drop-ins to participate in the reading of the many omniscient narrator portions of the poem, and to enjoy our majors' and minors' performances as they (at times theatrically) act out classic passages from the epic," says Lateiner.

Lateiner thinks those who attend the vigil will get a fresh perspective. "Reading start to finish gives the audience a different perspective on a long work," he says. "With an oral epic, such as Homer's Odyssey or Beowulf, you get to hear and see as well as move eyes across the page. With literary epic such as Virgil's or Ovid's, you recreate the experience that the ancients had of hearing a performance. Solitary, silent reading is a relatively recent development."

Lateiner, who plans to wear his toga and bring a Roman pillow to the vigil, says approximately 50 people have attended the last two readings. For those who might not understand the draw of staying awake all night to read and listen to an ancient text, Lateiner offers a simple explanation—nourishment of the soul.

"Why eat?" he asks. "To nourish the body. Why listen to, read, and recite Virgil's poetry? To nourish the soul. Virgil digs deeper than most poets. It is a chance to hear and read aloud one of the world's most moving stories—one of homeless wanderers, energetic nation-builders, tragic losses, and moments of satisfaction."

... there's a nice photo of a togatus DL accompanying the original ...
7.00 p.m. |HINT| 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.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| 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?
Ingrata sunt beneficia, quibus comes est metus.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 270)

The benefits (of a thing) are not welcome to those for whom fear is a companion.

(pron = in-GRAH-tah soont beh-neh-FIH-kee-ah KWIH-boos KOH-mays ehst MAY-toos)

Comment:This proverb makes me think that on this note Publilius Syrus has
anticipated Maslowe. Maslowe created a model of how he saw human needs and
their effects on a human being's happiness. It is called a hierarchy because
each level depends on the previous on. The first human needs are physical
(food, water, shelter) followed by needs for safety, followed by needs to
belong and be accepted. After that the needs include esteem and

What strikes me is that on any one of these levels fear can insert itself and
paralyze the human process. Someone has noted that in Maslowe's hierarchy the
first three are needs that come from outside of one's self. To a certain degree
that is true of physical needs. At least food and water come from the
environment, but fear is something that we experience inside ourselves. So,
even if I have adequate food and water, but fear that I do not or will not, the
fear interferes with my ability to enjoy, to welcome these basic necessities.

Fear seems to me to be the "companion" that is always forced on us from the
outside by others or by circumstances. When a person or circumstance forces
itself on us, our reaction, if not processed, becomes the expeirience of fear
that will keep repeating itself, over and over again. Fear becomes our
companion. So, finally, fear becomes this internal merry-go-round that we are
caught on. And we are unable to enjoy, to welcome very little.

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

Festival of Mars continues (day 21)

Quinquatrus continues (day 3) -- originally a one-day festival with rites in honour of Minerva, by Ovid's day it had been increased to five days, with the last four involving gladiatorial bouts
eutrophic @

succor @

stertorous @ Worthless Word for the Day

fetial @ Wordsmith
Lennart Meri e vita excessit

Pridie Idus Martias (14.3.) multo mane Lennart Meri, praesidens quondam Estoniae, in nosocomio Tallinnensi e vita excessit morbo longinquo et periculoso oppressus.

Constat eum patriae suae inde ab anno millesimo nongentesimo nonagesimo secundo usque ad annum bis millesimum primum (1992-2001) praefuisse cum optima omnium gratia et existimatione.

Praesidens Finniae Tarja Halonen nuntio lugubri audito populo Estoniae dolorem suum declaravit dicens excessum tanti viri non solum Estoniae, sed etiam Finniae et toti orbi terrarum amissionem gravissimam fecisse.

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

For more news in Latin, Ephemeris offers: Lukashenko se vicisse adfirmat, adversariis de ambitu incusantibus ...

And on the Greek side, Akropolis World News: Demonstrations in Belarus against Lukashenko - The Little Prince is 60 years old

Let's see what's happening in the Classical Blogosphere today ...

Adrian Murdoch is looking at what Diocletian did for Split ...'s N.S. Gill is pondering some commonly-seen myths about the ancient world ...

Laudator has a couple of posts of interest ... one on the Loeb Classical Library ... one on sonnets by Keats about Homer ... and one on what is 'missing' from Latin ....

Hobbyblog offers us an Achaemenid issue, which is interesting even if rather grotty ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Dennis is pondering the value of ancient coinage ...

MH at CCC is collecting references comparing GWB to Marcus Licinius Crassus ...

Atriades has some fun photos from Classics Day ... (takes a while to load)

Curculio relates a funny comment made in one of his AP Vergil classes ...

Roman History Books has a feature on the Villa of the Papyri ...

There appear to be a couple more papers at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics site (these folks need to flag 'new' items ... I believe the two at the bottom of the list are new ...)

Ginny Lindzey has some useful model sentences ...

The APA has put up its February Newsletter ...

Alas, AudioStoa is no more ...
AP via Yahoo:

New York University is getting up to $200 million to create a new institute offering a multidisciplinary approach to studying the ancient world, the school said Tuesday.

The gift from the Leon Levy Foundation is one of the largest in NYU's history, school President John Sexton said in a telephone interview.

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, expected to welcome its first doctor students in late 2008, will cover Central and East Asia along with Europe and the Mediterranean. The multidisciplinary approach will encourage students to cross boundaries between fields including art history, geography, economics and sociology.

Leon Levy, who died in 2003, was a longtime collector of ancient art and a vice chairman of NYU's Institute of Fine Arts.
For some reason, this bit from the Sofia News Agency is setting off alarm bells in my noggin' this a.m.:

A plate unearthed in Bulgarian land, which is dating back to the times of Mesopotamia civilization, has provided the code for reading the ancient letters of Thracians.

The sensational breakthrough was announced to be made by Bulgaria-born Dr Stefan Guide, residing in the US. He is an expert in linguistics, cryptography and transcendent analysis.

According to him, the decoded alphabet showed terms such as "Thracia" and "territory of Thracia" to have existed seven centuries before Christ - even before the civilizations of Egypt and Shumer.

The culture of Paleolith tribes living on nowadays Bulgarian land is believed to hide the roots of ancient Orphic mysteries.

Signs of sound alphabet have been discovered on the localities: Lepeneski Vir and Vincha in Serbia, Karanovo, Gradeshnitsa and Sitovo in Bulgaria, Tartaria in Romania as well as many localities in Macedonia.

More information on the findings - which, if true, will give an entirely new direction of the sciences of Thracians - will be held March 29, Wednesday, in the BTA press club in Sofia, archeologists announced.
From Reuters:

After years of delays, legal wrangles and cost overruns, Greece hopes to open its Acropolis Museum by the end of 2007, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said on Tuesday.

"It is our ambition that by 2007 the museum will be open to visitors," he told journalists after touring the half-finished building near the ancient hilltop temples of the Acropolis.

Greece had hoped to open the museum before the 2004 Olympics to push its claim for the return of the 5th-century BC Parthenon marbles, widely known as the Elgin marbles, from the British Museum.

But after decades on the drawing board, the museum is now three years behind schedule and, at a projected final cost of 129 million euros ($156.6 million), 25 percent over budget.

Construction was held up partly by the discovery of early Christian era ruins on the site. Another delay was caused by residents who challenged the construction of the museum, citing zoning laws in the city center.

The building itself has faced engineering challenges. Because of the risk of earthquakes, the four-story museum is built on 94 shock absorbing supports to allow it to sway during tremors.

Once it is finished, the museum will house artifacts from the temples of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, as well as serving as a hoped-for future home for the disputed Elgin marbles.

Since independence in 1832, Greece has pressed Britain to return the sculpted blocks of the frieze that were cut from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which occupied Greece at the time.

The frieze depicts a procession of horses and people through Athens during a festival and is a masterpiece of ancient Greece.

A brochure for the new Acropolis museum says "nearly half of the frieze is currently at the British Museum in London and its restitution is the object of major political struggles."
7.00 p.m. |HINT| 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. |DCIVC| The Seven Wonders of the World: The Magic Metropolis

11.30 p.m. |HINT|Sailing with the Phoenicians
Sail with a Phoenician captain along the trade routes of the Mediterranean to the ancient ports of Byblos, Rhodes, Tharros, Motya, and the famous Roman naval base at Carthage. Phoenicians, the ancient inhabitants of modern-day Lebanon, were known to be expert sailors. State-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics allow viewers to see through the eyes of one these seaworthy Phoenicians, and insights from leading archaeology experts enhance the reality.
I haven't checked for a while how people got to rc via a search engine ... today there were two interesting search terms, though: vin diesel's hairstyles ... the other was hellenistic travelling coiffure
Qui culpae ignoscit uni, suadet pluribus.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 535)

The one who excuses one fault ends up encouraging it in many others.

(pron = kwee KOOL-pai ig-NOHS-kit OO-nee SWAH-det PLOO-ree-boos)

Comment: The Roman ethical "system" (for lack of a better term) was
hierarchical. In fact, one might say with some accuracy that everything Roman
was hierarchical. Social, religious, political, and cultural relationships were
all considered in terms of who was superior or inferior to whom. Thus,
Publilius Syrus can offer within that system which expects there to be some
superiors and many inferiors this warning. If a superior goes about excusing
faults in his inferiors, he will only breed more of it among them. The
implication is that it is incumbent on the superior (in fact his duty as a
moral person) not to let his inferiors get by with their faults.

Apply this notion to any of the descendents of Roman culture, and you can see
its application within numerous examples. I see some of those descendents as
including Christianity (particularly Western churches), the University, school
systems in general, and economic systems that emerged from the Feudal system
just to name a few.

If one accepts this view of power and human relationships, then there is little
else to say besides "know who your inferiors are, and do not extend any
leniency towards them when they make mistakes". Also, "know who your superiors
are, and make sure that they never see you make a mistake". (Of course, this
encourages deception in a variety of forms, but Publilius Syrus did not seem to
anticipate that).

This proverb leaves me wondering if there are any relationships that I have in
which I act as either a superior or an inferior, and if so, just how necessary
that really is.

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

Festival of Mars continues (day 21)

Quinquatrus continues (day 3) -- originally a one-day festival with rites in honour of Minerva, by Ovid's day it had been increased to five days, with the last four involving gladiatorial bouts

1766 -- death of Richard Dawes (Classical scholar)
pernicious @ Merriam-Webster

casus belli @ Wordsmith

theologaster @ Worthless Word for the Day (maybe)

aubade @
De energia pneumatica Suetiae

Regimen Suetiae ad energiam pneumaticam valde augendam paratum est, cum pecuniam amplius quinque miliardorum euronum in hoc consilio perficiendo collocare decrevit.

Propositum enim est, ut copia electricitatis ex energia pneumatica ortae in Suetia ad annum bis millesimum quintum decimum (2015) decemplex redderetur.

Hoc inceptum etiam eo civibus Suetis prodest, quod eis magnum numerum novorum operandi locorum praebet.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Today's trip down the midway:

ARLT has some interesting photos of a 'shield of Achilles' at Chatsworth (with photos) ... it also points us to a program from the BBC on Sappho, which you can listen again to for the next week ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Eric takes us on a brief tour of Aquinum and ponders the evidence for it being the birthplace of Juvenal ...

Phil Harland has an interesting post on fetus magic in Roman Egypt ..

N.S. Gill tells us all about the nymph Maia ...'s Military History guide has a piece on the Battle of Munda ...

Hobbyblog offers us an AE23 of Salonina ...

Bread and Circuses tells us about Attila's treaty with Rome ...

Roman History books enlightens us about Atellan farce ...

Another Roman-sim game on the horizon: CivCity: Rome ...
A couple of things in the Italian press yesterday, which I doubt will make it to the English press ... first comes news of the restoration of frescoes in the House of Augustus (from Roma One ... there's a small photo that accompanies the original):

E' stata scoperta negli anni Sessanta sul pendio meridionale del Palatino, quello che affaccia sul Circo Massimo: è la Casa che Augusto, il primo imperatore di Roma, volle costruire nell'area coincidente con la "Roma Quadrata", il primo nucleo della città fondata da Romolo, vicino ai templi dedicati a Cibele e alla Vittoria. E ad un nuovo tempio, in onore di Apollo, Augusto volle collegare la sua dimora, come un ex voto della vittoria ottenuta nella battaglia di Azio contro Marco Antonio (31 a.C.).
Ora è proprio nel settore che collega la Casa di Augusto con il Tempio di Apollo che sono stati recentemente rinvenuti nuovi e straordinari affreschi, restaurati dai tecnici della Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma: l'ambiente, denominato "Sala della Rampa", insieme ala "Sala dell'Oecus" ha restituito pitture murali ridotte a frammenti, a piccole porzioni di intonaco, che sono stati riassemblati e ricomposti dai restauratori su una base di sabbia e poi ricollocati sulle pareti. Il risultato è straordinario: rossi e gialli di straordinaria intensità, decorazioni vegetali, geometriche e architettoniche arricchite da uccelli.
Un tesoro inedito che va ad arricchire la già nota serie di ambienti che costituivano la residenza dell'imperatore: la Stanza delle Maschere, in cui una perfetta prospettiva riproduce la struttura lignea di un palcoscenico teatrale con sipari, quella dei Festoni di pino, dipinti come se fossero sospesi tra pilastri di legno che aprono e "sfondano" illusionisticamente le pareti, e ancora lo "studiolo" dell'imperatore, in cui una raffinatissima pittura, forse opera di un artista alessandrino, riproduce cigni, grifi alati, candelabri, calici, fiori di loto su straordinari fondi rossi, gialli, neri o su bianchi elementi architettonici ravvivati dalla vegetazione.
Tra un paio d'anni anche gli affreschi ora ricomposti potranno essere ammirati con visite guidate organizzate dalla Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma.

AGE (somewhat vaguely) tells us about the discovery of Molpa:

Tornerà alla luce, a Palinuro, l'antico abitato della Molpa, rarissimo esempio di insediamento realizzato dalla popolazione italica degli enotri. La Soprintendenza archeologica per le province di Salerno, Avellino e Benevento ha infatti redatto il progetto definitivo per il recupero del sito che sorge sul colle della Molpa, presso Palinuro, risalente al VI secolo a.C. Dopo la redazione definitiva del progetto, risultato di un protocollo d'intesa siglato tra la Soprintendenza e il Comune di Centola per la valorizzazione, la messa in sicurezza e il ripristino ambientale del sito, si attende adesso il decreto di finanziamento dell'opera con fondi del POR Campania per una cifra di circa un milione di euro. Il piano di recupero rientra nel Progetto integrato del Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano. L'avvio dei lavori per il recupero dell'area è previsto già entro la fine dell'anno.
From BMCR:

Girolamo Arnaldi, Italy and Its Invaders. Originally published as L'Italia e i suoi invasori (2002). Translated by Anthony Shugar.

From RBL:

Andrew Arterbury, Entertaining Angels: Early Christian Hospitality in Its Mediterranean Setting


Bacchae of Baghdad

A number of different versions of this one are filling up my mailbox ... here's the version from ABC:

A 2,500-year-old sarcophagus with vivid color illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said Monday.

Construction workers found the limestone sarcophagus last week in a tomb near the village of Kouklia, in the coastal Paphos area. The tomb, which probably belonged to an ancient warrior, had been looted during antiquity.

"The style of the decoration is unique, not so much from an artistic point of view, but for the subject and the colors used," said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of the island's antiquities department.

Only two similar sarcophagi have ever been discovered in Cyprus before. One is housed in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other in the British Museum in London, but their colors are more faded, Flourentzos said.

Flourentzos said the coffin painted in red, black and blue on a white background dated to 500 B.C., when Greek cultural influence was gaining a firm hold on the eastern Mediterranean island. Pottery discovered in the tomb is expected to provide a precise date.

Experts believe the ornate decoration features the hero Ulysses in scenes from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey both hugely popular throughout the Greek world.

In one large painting, Ulysses and his comrades escape from the blind Cyclops Polyphemos' cave, hidden under a flock of sheep. Another depicts a battle between Greeks and Trojans from the Iliad.

Archeologists think the scenes hint at the status of the coffin's occupant.

"Why else take these two pieces from Homer and why deal with Ulysses? Maybe this represents the dead person's character who possibly was a warrior," Flourentzos said.

Other drawings depict a figure carrying a seriously injured or dead man and a lion fighting a wild boar under a tree. These are not believed to be linked with Homer's poems.

Reflecting a long oral tradition loosely based on historic events, Homer's epics were probably composed around 800 B.C. and written down in the 6th century B.C.

The tomb was found in an area containing several ancient cemeteries which belonged to the nearby town of Palaepaphos, 11 miles inland from modern Paphos.

First settled around 2800 B.C., Palaepaphos was the site of a temple of Aphrodite the ancient goddess of beauty who, according to mythology, was born in the sea off Paphos.

Here's a link to all the photos which seem to be accompanying this one (via Yahoo).
10.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii
Nestling on the warm shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, glorious sunny days paint a pleasant picture of the calm slopes of the dormant volcano Mount Vesuvius. But in the shadow of this now peaceful mountain are the remains of two Roman towns, whose inhabitants died in a violent eruption buried under a sea of red hot ash and rock. The two towns are Herculaneum on the coast and further south Pompeii. Their tragic remains provide a unique snapshot of life in ancient Rome. For almost 1,700 years, until its rediscovery in 1748, Pompeii lay hidden--a city suspended in time. Now viewers can experience the streets and buildings almost as they were on that tragic day in 79 AD. Features footage of Pompeii today, detailed reconstructions and recreations, 3D graphics, and commentary from leading historians.
Quod cibus est aliis, aliis est acre venenum.

What is food for some is a harsh poison for others.

(pron = kwohd KIH-boos ehst AH-lees, AH-lees ehst AHK-ray weh-NAY-noom.

Comment: What things do you find indigestible? We could speak here of things
both literal (food items) and metaphorical (ideas, practices, habits, beliefs).

In either case, there are things which you enjoy or depend on or at least simply
take for granted that I find unpleasant or repugnant or downright dangerous.
This works in reverse as well about some things that are positive for me and
negative for you.

If we listed all those things, even if we debated the metaphorical things in an
attempt to pursuade each other to change our views, I am fairly confident that
in the end our lists would remain essentially unchanged.

This proverb points out that we are the way we are for a variety of reasons both
complex and simple. For me, this proverb reminds me that acceptance is the
path. And, I am learning, acceptance begins with me. When I accept the way
that I am, then I have space within myself to accept you the way you are. When
I do not accept myself the way that I am, then I find it easy to turn my
scrutiny and judgment on you. In fact, I might find it easier to do so, for by
making you the object of my judgments, I take the heat off of myself!

And honestly, if anything is going to change, it always happens after the
acceptance--total, complete, nothing-held-back, acceptance.

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

Festival of Mars (day 20)

Quinquatrus (day 2) -- second day of a five-day festival (although the name originally came from the fact that it came five days after the Ides, apparently) sacred to Mars but also somehow connected to Minerva; it was also apparently a 'school holiday', so no doubt we'll soon be reading about how the Romans invented Spring Break

43 B.C. -- Birth of Ovid
paragon @ (always wondered about that one)

pyrrhic victory @ Wordsmith

lido @ Merriam-Webster (another one I've wondered about
Dies festi cinematographici

In urbe Tampere dies festi cinematographici celebrati sunt. Palmam certaminis internationalis tulit Jean-Gabriel Periot Francogallus pellicula sua, quae inscribitur "Fortasse facinus commisit".

Haec taeniola experimentalis, ut ab ipso moderatore describitur, in materia ex archivis hausta consistit et de altero bello mundano agit.

Quo opere spectatoribus monstratur, quomodo feminae Francogalliae, quae post patriam a Germanis occupatam amores hostium furtivos habuissent, palam punitae sint.

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

For more news in Latin, check out Ephemeris : Lukashenko se vicisse adfirmat, adversariis de ambitu incusantibus

And on the Greek side of the page, there's Akropolis World News: Gates says plan for 100$ computers won't succeed - Huge protests across France
Alas ... March Break has come to an end and so we take a melancholy stroll down the midway ...'s N.S. Gill glosses a couple Latin abbreviations ...

Laudator is looking at tales of Golden Apples ... he's also revisiting the asyndetic privative adjectives ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Eric is pondering some Classical references in the Pope's Deus Caritas Est ...

Peter Jones has put up a couple more Ancient and Modern installments at the Friends of Classics site ...

For reasons unknown, I forgot to check Roman History Books these past couple of days ... of course, there have been quite a few posts, so I'll just point y'all to the main page to get 'caught up' with items on Mithridates Eupator, a book review about Hannibal, and the Battle of Chaeronea (the 86 B.C. one)

Pro magistris offers up an interesting poem from Edward Goodwin about the founding of Rome ...

William Annis offers a translation and comments on a gloomy bit of Anacreon ...
Something for the 'to track down later' file ... an excerpt from the LA Times:

For centuries, many believed the bugs spontaneously generated from human skin; were caused by strange diets, habits, heat or moisture; or were sent by divinities to punish bad behavior. Plato, Socrates, King Herod and the Roman dictator Sulla were all accused of having lice, and an ancient Greek proverb stated that a beard signified lice, not brains.

The early Christians spread rumors that lice had killed many a Roman emperor, capitalizing on a by-then widespread belief that the bugs were sent by God to smite the corrupt.

A response (posted with permission) from TS:


Your excerpt from the LA Times on Lice misstates that Sulla "was accused of
having lice." Plutarch's description of his final illness (Life of Sulla,
36ff) states that he suffered from "ulcerated bowels", and that his lifestyle
aggravated this condition so that, "This disease corrupted his whole flesh
also, and converted it into worms." In that same passage, Plutarch goes on to
note that, "in very ancient times, Acastus the son of Pelias was thus eaten
of worms and died, and in later times, Alcman the lyric poet, Pherecydes the
theologian, Callisthenes of Olynthus, who was kept closely imprisoned, as
also Mucius the jurist."

Plutarch (Life of Alexander 55.9) mentions Callisthenes' death by parasite
infection as one of several stories of his end. Arrian (4.14.3) attributes
the tale of his death "by disease" to Aristobulus.

In the "Dryden" translation of both Plutarch's Life of Sulla, and of
Alexander, the term is translated as "lice". However, the Loeb editions of
Plutarch translate it as "worms", and I, personally, favor rendering it as

In any event, Sulla was definitely not "accused" of harboring lice. Instead,
his death is said to have been hastened by a parasitic infection that early
English translators misattributed to lice.

Thom Stark
From the Chichester Observer comes this interesting tidbit:

As a major archaeological dig continues on the former Shippam's factory site, it has emerged that a Roman road crossing the area – its existence was unknown until the excavation started – was no less than 10m wide, and two-way.
But the vehicles on it would have been ox-carts and chariots, rather than today's Volvos and Fords.
Discoveries are being made every day on the extensive site, which is to be developed for housing and shops by the Kier construction company, but the archaeological work still has a long way to go.
More than 100 Roman coins, mostly extremely small in size, are among the finds made by two local metal detector users, Donald Mountford and Seamus Lavery, who are helping the operation.
9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Troy: Of Gods and Warriors
The Iliad is one of the most famous literary works of the Western world. It's an epic tale of Greek gods, earthly soldiers, and a decade-long fight over the most beautiful woman in the world. Could The Iliad actually be based on fact? Could the Trojan War really have happened? Josh Bernstein travels to Greece and Turkey in search of ancient Troy. Along the way, he'll learn what it took to live and fight on the coasts of the Aegean in the late Bronze Age. He'll test the tools of the Trojan warriors, and he'll uncover a city in northern Turkey that just might prove The Iliad was far more than a simple work of fiction.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| The Mummies of Rome
The discovery of two Roman-age mummies in a tomb outside Rome was a shock to the scientific community, since there is no record of mummification in Rome's annals. Trace the ongoing steps being taken to unravel this mystery.
AM at Bread and Circuses tells us all about Ardoch Roman Fort ...'s N.S. Gill enlightens us about Persephone ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius is working on elisions in Lactantius ...

Novum Testamentum is pondering the origins of the Etruscans ...

Nvgae Ciceronianae points us to a movie about Oedipus ... performed by vegetables ...

Father Foster's latest: A favourite debate among Romans centres around the exact spot where Julius Caesar was murdered. But while many will tell you it was in the Roman forum our Latin Lover puts us on track indicating a theatre dedicated to Pompey...

Pro Magistris alerts us to the existence of, for all your Roman doodad needs ... (they need to fix their css) ... there's waaaaaaaaaaaay too much fun stuff here ...

A missive on the SCA group alerted us to the existence of a Black Adder script in Latin ...

Issue 8.47 of our Explorator newsletter is out and about ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings are too!
From BMCR:

R.T. Wallinga, Xerxes' Greek Adventure: the naval perspective. Memnosyne supplement 265.

Thomas Kazen, Jesus and Purity Halakhah: Was Jesus Indifferent to Impurity? Coniectanea Biblica New Testament Series 38.

Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre, Gordion Seals and Sealings: Individuals and Society. Gordion Special Studies III, University Museum Monograph 124.

Bernhard Linke, Die römische Republik von den Gracchen bis Sulla.

From the Times:

Loeb Classical Library Reader

From the LA Times

Peter Green, The Poems of Catullus


My Deah

From Kathimerini:

One of the two funerary monuments discovered in Aptera, Crete. Right, the staircase leading to the antechamber. The monuments are thought to date from the 1st or 2nd century AD, although the underground chamber was probably constructed in the Hellenistic period.

Two large funerary monuments, one with an underground burial chamber, have been discovered by archaeologists in the Fortress of Ancient Aptera, in the prefecture of Hania, Crete.

The final stage of the work, being carried out by the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, is aimed at highlighting the site in general and, more specifically, at stabilizing the very tall architectural structures and uncovering the wall. The discovery of these graves, along with other smaller findings, is important partly insofar as they are easily accessible from the town of Hania.

The excavations revealed the total length of the fortress (3,480 meters), which dates from shortly after the middle of the 4th century BC. Work has focused on the western side of the fortress, where the town’s western cemetery begins.

The excavations, directed by archaeologist Vanna Niniou-Kindeli, first came upon one of the city gates and a rectangular tower. Strata bearing traces of battles during the Hellenistic period were found, along with traces of the graves of newborn infants in the second half of the 4th century, near the tower.

Next to the heroes’ monument discovered during work carried out under the European Union’s Second Community Support Framework, two large grave monuments were found in good condition.

The more impressive of the two, according to the experts, has a well-constructed underground mausoleum accessed by a staircase and antechamber. It is constructed of large stone plinths. Nails are still fixed in the walls for hanging lamps. In the main chamber are four stone graves which were partly looted in the 6th or 7th century AD, when other graves on the site were dug.

The two monuments probably date from the 1st-2nd centuries AD, although the underground monument might have been constructed during the Hellenistic period.

Other items found include slabs, pots, lamps, pellets for catapults and coins. The project, directed by Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, will cost 880,441 euros.
The inicipit of an MSU press release provides an interesting approach (at the university level) to history:

University and college faculty and administrators will have the chance to learn about “Reacting to the Past,” an innovative teaching tool, during a two-day conference in April. Participants will engage in a series of elaborate games in which they are assigned roles with victory objectives informed by classic texts in the history of ideas.

The Department of French, Classics, and Italian at Michigan State University will sponsor the conference on Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on MSU’s campus. Participants will learn to lead two games, "The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 BC" and "Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791" by playing shortened versions of the games.

“The conference provides a great opportunity for faculty from MSU and other institutions to learn about “Reacting to the Past” and ways it can be incorporated into an undergraduate curriculum, especially in the areas of general education and honors programs,” says John Rauk, chairperson of the Department of French, Classics, and Italian. “Mark Carnes, who developed “Reacting to the Past,” will also be on hand to share his experiences.” Carnes pioneered the tool at Barnard College.

In the classroom, a game takes place over several class periods. In the first few sessions of a game, the instructor provides guidance on the issues and historical context on which the game is based. In the second or third session, the instructor gives each student a role assignment, which is based on a historical figure. Early in the third session, the class breaks into factions as students with similar roles meet together to accomplish their objectives. By the fourth or fifth session, the class meets again as a whole. Students whose characters function in a supervisory capacity – for example, as president of the Athenian Assembly – preside over what transpires next. The instructor steps in only to resolve disputes or issue rulings on other matters.

The heart of the game is persuasion. As members of factions, students must persuade others that “their” views make more sense than those of their opponents. Students’ views are informed by important texts cited in the game’s objectives and are expressed both orally and in writing.

“'Reacting to the Past’ engages students in ways that no other type of course can,” Rauk says. “They come to appreciate the forces, motives and contingencies that shaped the past and that form the world in which they live.”

A summary of each game follows.

* “The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.” recreates the intellectual dynamics of one of the most formative periods in the human experience. After nearly three decades of war, Sparta crushed democratic Athens, destroyed its great walls and warships, occupied the city, and installed a brutal regime, the Thirty Tyrants. The excesses of the tyrants resulted in civil war and, as the game begins, they have been expelled and the democracy restored. But doubts about democracy remain, expressed most ingeniously by Socrates and his young supporters. Will Athens retain a political system in which an Assembly of about 6,000 citizens makes all decisions? Will leaders continue to be chosen by random lottery? Will citizenship be broadened to include slaves? These and other issues are sorted out by a polity fractured into radical and moderate democrats, oligarchs and Socratics, among others. The debates are informed by Plato’s “Republic” as well as by excerpts from Thucydides, Xenophon, and other contemporary sources. By examining democracy at its threshold, the game provides the perspective to consider its subsequent evolution.

... more
RomanGirl sent this one in (thanks)... it's a photo from the movie Jarhead with actor Jake Gyllenhaal reading Julius Caesar (kind of tough to see, but it is ... I haven't been able to figure out whether it's a Loeb or a work of Shakespeare, though) ... [link fixed]
From the Nevada Appeal:

The University of Nevada, Reno is marking the 100th anniversary of former classics professor James E. Church's snow sampling. He developed the science of snow-sampling techniques, used worldwide today to predict seasonal water flow from mountain snowpacks.

Church arrived at Nevada in 1892 as a young professor of the classics and an enthusiastic mountaineer. He braved the snow in June 1905 and climbed to the 10,800-foot summit of Mount Rose for pleasure, but soon began his life's most rewarding work. That year, Church established one of America's first high-altitude, meteorological observatories.

"The notion of incorporating the classics with science is at the heart of why Nevada has decided to establish the Academy for the Environment," said Jen Huntley-Smith, academy executive assistant. "Church truly embodied the spirit of linking the humanities to science; a philosophy that Nevada is continuing today."

Church began studying snow in all of its phases in June 1905. He began laying the first western snow course that would be used to obtain temperature readings when he offered to climb Mount Rose, every month for a year.

In the following months, the Mount Rose Weather Observatory was established as a department at the university and the Agriculture Experiment Station. This marked the birth of snow sampling for forecasting water runoff in the West.

Church originally focused on mountain weather and climate because he wanted to better understand how to measure the depth and water content of snow in order to make accurate predictions about the quality of snowmelt runoff that would be available for irrigation during the coming season.

In the succeeding 10 years, Church developed the Mount Rose Snow Sampler along with other equipment that was used to record water content in extreme depths of snow.

Church's snow-sampling instruments obtained records of pressure, temperature, humidity, wind movement, precipitation and sunshine. In 1935, Congress established the Federal-States Cooperative Snow Survey based on Church's method. The practice continues today.

"Church was truly a man before his time," said Dave Walker, research assistant to the state climatologist. "Today's snow samplers are using nearly the exact equipment that Church developed at this university 100 years ago."

Church had an office at the university until his death in 1959. The Church Fine Arts building on campus is named in his honor.

"Church's snow-sampling research is important today because it gives scientists an idea of how much moisture is stored in mountain snow, helping to better understand water management in the West," Walker said.

"Snow provides 50 to 80 percent of the year's water supply."
Seems pretty quiet newswise and blogwise today; I think I'll save the two or three carnival items for tomorrow ...
From Discovery News:

Egyptian queen Cleopatra used her hairstyles in calculated ways to enhance her power and fame, according to a book published recently by a Yale art history and classics professor.

Statues, coins and other existing depictions of the queen suggest Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) wore at least three hairstyles, according to Diana Kleiner. The first, a "traveling" do that mimicked the hair of a Macedonian Greek queen, involved sectioning the hair into curls, which were then often pulled away from the face and gathered into a bun at the back.

The next was a coiffure resembling a melon, and the third was the regal Cleopatra in her royal Egyptian headdress, complete with a rearing cobra made of precious metal.

Cleopatra did not invent any of these styles, but she used them to her advantage, Kleiner indicated in her book "Cleopatra and Rome."

"From the time of (Egyptian King) Ptolemy I, the Ptolemaic queens wore the 'melon hairstyle' with its segmented sections resembling a melon or gourd," Kleiner told Discovery News. "When Cleopatra followed suit, she was more traditionalist than trendsetter. These same Ptolemaic queens were also depicted in art with the usual Egyptian wigged headdress that had its origins in Pharaonic times. Cleopatra did as well, so again she followed tradition and did not innovate when it came to hair."

"But," Kleiner added, "Cleopatra appears to have worn different coiffures in different circumstances, playing to her audience, so to speak, in life and in art."

Kleiner explained that when the queen was in her homeland, her likely objective was to look like a traditional Egyptian ruler — since she was in fact Greek — and to legitimize the Ptolemaic dynasty by linking it to the time of the Pharaohs. A group of Egyptian statues recently has been linked to Cleopatra, although the identification cannot be proved since there are no accompanying inscriptions.

"These show her with the customary Egyptian wig and the triple uraeus (rearing cobra)," she said. "This Egyptian coiffure is the one we most often associate with Cleopatra today. Think Elizabeth Taylor!"

The uraeus was associated with a cobra goddess Wadjyt, the sun god Ra and the goddess Hathor, so wearing it signified that the individual had taken on the attributes of a divinity.

Cleopatra also probably often wore the melon hairstyle in Egypt, where she had many slaves to attend to her appearance, including some that were responsible for maintaining the royal wigs.

The Egyptian queen extensively traveled, and did so in style. Not unlike film depictions, Cleopatra would arrive via elegant barge with her attendants catering to her every need.

In Rome, Kleiner believes Cleopatra wore her "Hellenistic traveling coiffure" in places where it would be seen and "gossiped about at cocktail parties." At about the same time, Kleiner notes the melon hairstyle turns up in Roman portraiture, which suggests Roman women admired Cleopatra and attempted to copy her.

Roman leaders Octavian and Antony both seduced the Egyptian queen. Kleiner theorizes that Octavia, Antony's wife, invented a hairstyle called "the nodus" to compete with Cleopatra. The nodus featured a roll over the forehead that Kleiner suggests mimicked Cleopatra's well-known rearing cobra ornament.

The nodus was the height of Roman fashion in the 30s B.C., just before Cleopatra's death by suicide at the age of 39.

Karl Galinsky, distinguished professor of classics at the University of Texas at Austin, told Discovery News that he agrees Cleopatra wore different looks, including calculated hairstyles.

Galinsky said, "Hairstyles weren't just left to Supercuts; they conveyed a message — Alexander's portraits are a great example — and therefore Cleopatra may well have had different hair days in different countries. Sure, most of the motivation may have been political, but isn't it fun for any woman to engage in such reinventions periodically?"

Both Galinsky and Kleiner indicated that Cleopatra was not very conventionally attractive, but that her entire persona captivated her subjects and admirers.

Galinsky said, "Here's how one major ancient source, Plutarch, put it, and Cleopatra's portraits on coins and in sculpture by and large bears it out:

'Her beauty was not in and for itself incomparable, nor such to strike the person who was just looking at her; but her conversation had an irresistible charm; and from the one side her appearance, together with the seduction of her speech, and from the other her character, which pervaded her actions in an inexplicable way when meeting people, was utterly spellbinding.'"
ante diem xvi kalendas apriles

Festival of Mars continues (day 17)

Liberalia -- a festival of general merriment and wine drinking in honour of Liber Pater (another name for Bacchus)

Agonalia -- the rex sacrificulus would offer a ram to various deities

45 B.C. -- Julius Caesar defeats Pompey's sons and Labienus at Munda

136 A.D. -- the future emperor Marcus Aurelius dons the toga virilis

180 A.D. -- death of Marcus Aurelius at Bononia

461 A.D. -- death of Saint Patrick (traditional)
verdant @

clinomania @ Worthless Word for the Day (great word)

unciary @ Wordsmith

... and semi-classical only in my own mind is doch-an-dorris @ Merriam-Webster ... I distinctly recall sitting in a first year Classical Art and Archaeology class and hearing the phrase 'stirrup jar', but processing it as 'stirrup cup' and wondering how archaeologists knew it was for 'farewell drinks' ...
Hiems in Finnia continuatur

Hiems in Finnia primo dimidio mensis Martii solito frigidior fuit, ut ex statisticis Instituti meteorologici apparet.

Temperatura enim duabus septimanis proxime praeteritis plus quinque gradibus Celsianis inferior reperta est quam compluribus annis superioribus fieri solebat.

Imprimis regiones Uloae et Caianeburgi his diebus frigoribus durissimis vexatae sunt, cum in Lapponia eodem tempore saevitia caeli iam paulatim mitesceret.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The Live Journal Classics page has an incipient page of recommendations of historical fiction (pardon the awkward sentence) ...

Laudator has been blessed with even more Classical dog names ...

I join AM of Sauvage Noble fame in expressing regret at the pending closure of Bane's Demesne -- AM replies with a good guide for folks intending to get into academic blogging (all I'd add to the list would be to have a life 'outside the blog' from the beginning; the typical pattern of new blog start ups seems to be an initial flurry of posts, lots of time spent blogging because of the new-found attention, then a dramatic drop in posts as the real-life you've neglected sets in ... note that most of the successful blogs tend to be published at the same general time: the blogger has a time to blog and a time to play ... very important).

Meanwhile, Lady Bane bids us all farewell with a translation of Sappho 16 ...

Curculio is still thinking in Heracleitian terms and has a poem of Callimachus in that vein ...

Hobbyblog has a very much mistruck Gallienus ...

Roman History Books tells us all about the leges Corneliae (i.e. Sulla's) ...

Abzu points us to Chloris: An Aegean Bronze Age Bibliography ...
Illa placet tellus in qua res parva beatum me facit.
(Martial, 10.96.5-6)

That land is pleasing in which a small piece of land makes me happy.

(pron = IHL-lah PLAH-ket TAIL-loos in kwah rays PAHR-wah bay-AH-toom may

Comment: Roman poets often make the "land" an object of their poetry in direct
or indirect means. For Horace, it was the leisure of the country, under a
tree, next to the stream with a glass of wine that became almost synonymous
with his poetry. For Ovid the earth becomes the context for all of the changes
that he describes in the Metamorphoses as well as the juncture of time and place
in the Fasti. For Vergil, New Troy, or Rome itself becomes the raison d'etre
for the hero, Aeneas, and his journeys.

Martial describes that spot on the earth that makes him happy. There is still a
spot in my childhhood memory, a place in the woods, at the foot of a huge pine
tree, a spot on top of a large rock mostly buried in the earth that provided a
place for me to sit and watch the small stream that flowed nearby. I used to
go there when I was 10 and 11 and 12 and 13. The spot no longer physically
exists, now transformed by progress into a subdivision of relatively ugly
houses and scraped earth. But, in an instant, I can be there in my body's

I suspect that all human beings are attached to a piece of earth somewhere, an
original piece of earth where they were born. And I also find in my own
experience that there are many other pieces of earth that transform us if we

At the school where I work, I park at the bottom of a hill, and each morning, at
dawn, I walk up that hill to the school building. It has become a wonderful
walk. Day light is just birthing. Lately, trees are blooming. There is a
stream of humanity walking up that hill, and there are small gestures of
greeting and welcome. Construction workers are arriving to work on our new
building. Sometimes stars still twinkle; or the moon shines; or the sunrise
makes for a color show. I look forward to that hill each morning. It's my
last wake up call for the day. What pieces of earth do we touch today--which
ones touch us?

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

[in southern Alberta, there's a place called Head-Smashed-In, which was a cliff where those who came before us used to drive the buffalo prior to processing. There's a museum there now, but before there was such, we went on a field trip there when I took a class in North American Archaeology ... the site is also dotted with 'Vision Quest' sites. I sat in one of these, which was 'aimed' at a particular mountain in the distance. But as one sat there and saw the mountain in the distance and the prairie that otherwise surrounded you, you became aware of how 'insignificant' you were in the grand scheme of things. I've often thought that what most middle-schoolers need is a day or two sitting all alone in that site down at Head-Smashed-In ... might do their hyperinflated sense of self-esteem some good. -- dm]
An interesting item from the opinion pages of the Times:

There was a curious debate this week on the Today programme about whether “tragedy” was an appropriate word to apply to jump racing — specifically, to the death of Best Mate at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. No, said the classicist Peter Jones. Yes, said the racing writer Robin Oakley.

It is true that “tragedy” is a word carelessly applied by headline writers to every passing inconvenience. But having spent the week gripped by the drama of Cheltenham, I can’t help feeling that Professor Jones, who is usually right, is mistaken in this case.

All shades of emotion are encapsulated in National Hunt racing. In what other area of contemporary life is so much complexity mixed with so much drama? Glued all week to the telly, I am struck by the way in which the impenetrable code of the commentators’ judgments lurches at the off into violent, naked emotion — from the noisy hilarity of Sky’s The Limit’s connections, roaring out a victory jig, to my hero Ruby Walsh’s thunderous face on his second unseating of the day. So much hope, so much spirit, so much courage and exertion — what is that, if not classical high drama?

Here's the Googloss for those not in the know ... Best Mate was a horse; the three-time champion of the Cheltenham Festival which is that curious brand of UK horse racing which we North Americans usually subsume under the generic term Steeplechase. Last year Best Mate had to withdraw from defending his crown because of a burst blood vessel, which was the eventual cause of his demise. The exceptionality of the horse is clear when one realizes they've just erected a statue of him.

So, to return to the definition of tragedy which Peter Jones is no doubt adhering to. Unless by some chance Best Mate was capable of hybris this isn't "tragedy" in the Classical sense. And the fact that an audience at a racecourse -- or football field, or hockey arena, or tiddlywinks pitch -- might evince the whole gamut of emotions from A to B, that doesn't make what they are watching 'tragic' in the Classical sense. One of the big things to look for: there is no human 'winner' at the end of a Greek tragedy; if there is, they tend to be dead.
According to ANSA ... the House of Flying Cupids at Pompeii has reopened to the public:

One of Pompeii's most famous houses is reopening after more than ten years .

The Casa degli Amorini Dorati (House of the Flying Cupids), one of the supreme examples of the refined taste of the age of the Emperor Nero, will open its doors again after long renovation on April 3 .

The house was built in the III Century BC and restyled on several occasions up to the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius that buried the city in smouldering ash .

It has a charming rural air, according to the vogue of its last incarnation, with a little temple, water-spouting statues and bas-reliefs of Maenads and Satyrs .

One corner of the large house holds a shrine devoted to the cult of Egyptian deities, while the stucco ceilings of two little rooms are unusually fine .

In the eastern colonnade there is a large room with paintings of Thetis and Vulcan, Jason and Pelias, and Achilles in his tent with Patroclus and Briseis. The House of the Flying Cupids gains its name from the flying, gilded Cupids that once adorned its walls .

To keep them safe from the ravages of wind, rain and pollution they are now in Naples' Archaeological Museum along with a host of other statues, frescoes and adornments from Pompeii .

The house is believed to have belonged to a relative of Nero's second wife Poppea Sabina .

The house is open by online reservation only at .
Interesting post from long-time-denizen Dr. Daniel Tompkins on the Classics list yesterday (reproduced with permission):

Two of the more haunting quotations in Wallace Stevens' essay, "Relations between Poetry and Painting," (delivered at the Museum of Modern Art, 1951) are attributed to Cezanne:

"I see planes bestriding each other and sometimes straight lines seem to me to fall."

"Planes in color. . . . The colored area where shimmer the souls of the planes, in the blaze of the kindled prism, the meeting of planes in the sunlight."

(The essay is in The Necessary Angel, and in the Frank Kermode Library of America collection, inter alia.)

These lines came back during a visit to the wonderful Cezanne show at the National Gallery in Washington. (It's free! and not very crowded, a nice contrast to the big Philly show some years ago. On the other hand, they're not selling Cezanne baseballs.)

Where did Cezanne make these wonderful remarks? None of the editions of Stevens I have tell us. They could be from the letters, which I've not yet checked. But looking around, I came across this essay by the art historian Kathryn Tuma, based on a recent Ph.D. dissertation:

"Ce´zanne and Lucretius at the Red Rock" Kathryn A Tuma Representations, Spring 2002, Vol. 78, No. 1, Pages 56-85

Tuma has written some related pieces as well. Her dissertation concerned Cezanne, Lucretius, and the Late 19th Century Crisis in Science. In the Representations essay, which I've not worked through with care, she focuses on a late Cezanne painting of rocks at the Bibemus quarry near Aix, not quoting the lines I began with (though hinting that they may be in his comments to Emile Bernard), but mentioning that "There are no lines in nature" for Cezanne, while "color" has mass. She also mentions the possible importance of Lucretian atomism for Cezanne, which is the pretext for writing to this list. It turns out that he was in fact an accomplished Latinist. Here is a summary of Tuma's summary of her Representations essay, perhaps of some use to others:

"IMAGINE THAT THE HISTORY OF the world dates from the day when two atoms collided, when two whirling eddies, two chemical dances combined. These great rainbows, these cosmic prisms, the dawn of man over the void -- I see these things rising. In reading Lucretius, I saturate myself by them." This is Paul Cézanne sometime during the late 1890s according to Joachim Gasquet.… Cézanne aligns his conception of landscape painting with a speculative physics, and a curious natural history. "To paint a landscape well," as Cézanne explains, "I must first discover its geological foundations."… Cézanne asks us to imagine landscape painting in overtly mythopoetic terms-terms that involve the origins not only of nature and mankind but also of time and history. At its deepest core, this mythic geohistory also depicts the very origins of formalization itself, for what this passage ultimately describes is an allegory of the origins of picturing, one figured around some imaginary, primordial moment when nature's invisible elements spin and dance, and collide to constitute a world of phenomenal color.

Gasquet is an unreliable source but Emile Bernard also reports on conversations he had with Cézanne during later years, and he likewise refers to Cézanne's appreciation of Lucretius. Reminiscing about his youth spent with Emile Zola on the banks of the Arc River in recitation and composition of verse in French and Latin, Cézanne complains to Bernard about modern education's neglect of the classics and turns to recite lengthy passages from Horace, Virgil, and Lucretius to round off his point. He had a remarkable memory for verse, and his proficiency in Latin was also high.

There is one more reason to pause before dismissing the passage from Gasquet’s memoir entirely: Not only is the language not originally Cézanne’s, it is not even authentically Gasquet’s. It derives, rather, from the young Zola, whose early essay of 1865, ‘‘La géologie et l’histoire,’’ begins with the line: ‘‘The history of the world dates from the day when two atoms collided.’’6 By the time in the late 1890s when Gasquet’s Cézanne ventriloquizes it, in other words, this proposition about the atomic origins of the world is already three decades old. Whether we should surmise from this that Gasquet turned to Zola’s critical juvenilia or that Cézanne kept his friend’s notion in mind for so long remains open to question. Both possibilities suggest, however, that a certain version of materialism mattered in some way to Cézanne during the last decade of his life, and quite possibly had mattered for some time.

ante diem xvii kalendas apriles

Festival of Mars continues (day 16)

37 A.D. -- death of the emperor Tiberius at Misenum

284 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hilarius and companions

1900 -- Arthur Evans purchases the land around Knossos
theiform @ Worthless Word for the Day

duodecimal @ Wordsmith

nugatory @ Merriam-Webster

megalomania @

The Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature has some words pertaining to Greek Poetry ... and it being Thursday, one must check out Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Pecus volatile intus tenendum
Ministerium agriculturae et silviculturae Finnorum decrevit, ut pecus volatile usque ad finem mensis Mai intus teneretur, ne morbum aviarium caperet.

Veri simile enim est virus H5N1 etiam in aves in Finniam primo vere migrantes transiturum esse, quamquam nullus morbi casus adhuc repertus est.

Decretum ministerii ad trecenta municipia spectat, in quibus periculum contagionis maius est quam alibi propterea, quod elevatio volatilium est frequens aut aves aquatiles migrantes in illis congregantur.

Interdictio ad omne genus volatilium pertinet, sed elevationem biologicam gallinarum maxime afficit.

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

On the Greek side, we have Akropolis World News: China agrees to rural reform - "Da Vinci" author says he is astounded at allegations
As we slowly make a dent in the big to-do list that accumulated during our horizontalization, we still have to check out what's happening in the Classical blogosphere:

Alun has a post on the importance of astronomy for the 'average guy in the field' in ancient Greece ...

Laudator has a great post with a great list of Classical dog names ...

Classics in Contemporary Culture had a pile of posts yesterday, including one on Julius Caesar in Latin and a number of other tragic items ...

Curculio alerts us to a little snippet from that 'other' Heraclitus ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus with a 'saving Jupiter' ...

Pro magistris pondered the Ides of March ... I also forgot to mention a mnemonic device for remembering the kings of Rome ...

Roman History books tells us all about amphyctions ...

'New' online book at the Baldwin Project: Alfred Church, Callias: A Tale of the Fall of Athens
Yesterday we pointed to the ARLT blog, which tells us about a case where a high school teacher was suspended for using Pompeiian graffiti in class ... I tried to post a question to the ARLT blog comments, but forgot my user name/password or was having sausage finger problems, so here's what I would like to know:

1. Do we have some details of which graffiti were supposedly presented?

2. I note that the teacher in question in female and I know from experience that male teachers 'get away' with more in terms of 'language' than females in school settings. Is this one of those situations? (i.e. if a male teacher had done this, would we have heard of it?)
From Scholia:

Olimpia Imperio, Parabasi di Aristofane: Acarnesi, Cavalieri, Vespe, Uccelli. Studi e commenti

From RBL:

Hans Dieter Betz, The "Mithras Liturgy": Text, Translation and Commentary, Review of Biblical Literature

Hans Dieter Betz, The "Mithras Liturgy": Text, Translation and Commentary, Review of Biblical Literature


Margalit Finkelberg And Guy G. Stroumsa, eds., Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World

Margalit Finkelberg And Guy G. Stroumsa, eds., Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World



Aliud aliis videtur optimum.
(attributed to M. Tullius Cicero)

Something is seen as best to everyone.
Everyone has their own opinion about what is best.

(pron = AH-lee-ood AH-lees whi-DEH-toor OHP-tih-moom)

Comment: My source says that this is attributed to Cicero, but I have not
attempted to prove or disprove that. If it is from Cicero, I am not sure that
he would offer this observation as a necessarily good thing. Cicero presided
over for a time and participated in for a longer time, a Roman government that
was in it's last days. The Roman Republic was gasping for breath when Cicero
was elected consul. Rome was reeling from a civil war, and civil warring was
not finished yet. When it was done, Cicero would be dead. Caesar would be
dead, and Rome wold have what would become the first of many emperors.

I talk with my students about political labels and how they both reveal and
confuse what is important to people. We talk about the Latin roots of
"liberal" and "conservative". Each of those groups has its own opinions about
what is best. In Cicero's day, there were various factions, conservative,
reformative and revolutionary. And there was civil war. Some would say in the
end, something genius was lost (the Republic). Others would say something
necessary was created (the Empire). Most would agree that it was violent.

What I find myself reflecting on these days is how to hold my views, express
them with some integrity; how to listen to the views of others, especially
those I disagree with, and honor them and their integrity; and how to do all of
this without violence. How to do this without violating the integrity of
individuals--it seems to me requires some better understanding of how deeply
connected we all are. We share a common life, those of us who breathe oxygen
on this planet. We breathe the same oxygen, and we die the same death without
it. And we can and do hold very different opinions about a plethora of topics.
How do we breathe and opine without violence? Perhaps by focusing on our

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
A tantalizingly brief item from Divernet:

Archaeologists are reported to have examined a 4th century BC wooden merchantman in the eastern Aegean.

The wreck was discovered in 2004 during a sonar survey near the islands of Chios and Oinoussia. February's two-day survey, a joint exercise by Greek and American experts, was carried out by ROV and sonar to build up detailed photographic and computerised images.

The wreck lies at around the air-diving limit, at 61m.
MSNBC brings us the latest gossip on Vin Diesel's Hannibal flick ... such as it is:

Look out Mel Gibson. Vin Diesel is following in your footsteps.

Gibson raised eyebrows when his “The Passion of the Christ” was done entirely in the archaic language of Aramaic. Now Diesel has revealed that he wants to make a three-part swords and sandals epic based on the life of Hannibal. And he wants to do the films all in Punic, the language that was spoken by the Alps-crossing conqueror, but not by anyone for 2,000 years.

The star of “The Pacifier” tells the April issue of Details that his production company has set up offices in Spain, where the actor has spent months retracing Hannibal’s steps, hiking into the Alps, and visiting the ruins in Cartagena and Saguntum.

Diesel didn’t want people to know out that the film will be a three-parter. “You can’t say anything — you’ll ruin me!” he told the mag. “If Hollywood finds out I’m planning a trilogy I’ll be buried! It’ll be like, ‘you mother[bleep]er!’ Whack! Whack! WHACK!”

I wonder if he thinks the ruins in Cartagena and Saguntum are 'Punic' ...
The final installment ...

Consider your view of the future of the discipline, based on how you see its present state, and your place in it. How would you promote/have you promoted the study of Greek/Latin/Classics in your professional and non-professional spheres?

Although AM later recast this question (to emphasize promoting teaching) I think the original is better for my purposes. To paraphrase dead white male's tombs: Si promotio requiris circumspice. Everything I do online is about promoting Classics. I have long, long, long felt that professional organizations such as the APA and CAC long ago dropped the ball and totally missed the impact of the internet on the promotion of Classics to 'the next generation'. Sure, they have their websites and their outreach publications like Amphora, but I'm willing to bet that far more 'non-professionals' know about their existence from MY efforts than the APA's. But we should be realistic, I suppose, and recognize that the folks who run the big professional organizations tend to be those who do not, e.g., watch the Simpsons three or four times a day. They are not 'in touch' with the constituency they would like to reach out to and in such cases, it is necessary for those of us on the outside to pick up the ball. That's what rogueclassicism is all about. That's what Explorator is all about (although it grew beyond the Classical world). That's what my Ancient World on Television listings are all about. That's what teaching Latin online via the LatinStudy list is all about.

The latest 'evolutionary' phase of this personal outreach program has been the ClassiCarnival. As folks have probably noticed, rogueclassicism generally isn't about me (thank the gods) and you really don't know how much self-absorbed posts such as this one make me want to gag. As folks have probably also noticed over the past while, Classics-related blogs are popping up regularly and piles of new Classics resources are hitting the Internet and really were not being made aware to the Classics community (this, I would have thought, would be what the APA or CAC sites would have been doing). And so, while I was pondering updating my blogroll (which will actually disappear in the next day or so), it occurred to me how silly blogrolls are -- they are much akin to my students' bragging about how many addresses they have in their MSN Messenger address book. But hardly anyone ever goes to a blog or website from a blogroll (those of you with blogs who analyse the logs will probably confirm this). People will, however, go somewhere if they know why they're going there ... that's the whole idea behind Carnivals (collections of the best posts), and so the promotion via rc continues.

Now as mentioned above, AM recast the question to have it take into account teaching as opposed to study. I don't think, however, that there is necessarily a distinction to be made in the case of my promotion efforts via rogueclassicism. I know for a fact that piles and piles of teachers at every level are making use of material from rogueclassicism, whether it be the daily features, some snippet of an archaeological discovery, or whatever. I'd like to think that knowledge that there are resources such as rc available (along with other things like the LatinTeach list, of course ... I'm not claiming exclusivity by any means) which provide things which are useful if you are a teacher help contribute to making teaching (and studying) Classics/Latin an attractive prospect.

Now I think it's time for a trip to the vomitorium (no ... not really, but you get the point).

How has training in Greek/Latin/Classics been of use and value to your professional and/or non-professional life?

Like Angelo, I found this question to be one of the most difficult in the series (and it was even harder as one descended into the morass of a nasty flu bug -- both situations account for the lateness of this post, obviously). As many rc readers know, I am a Grade Seven teacher -- mostly math and science. There is very little Classical material in my 'professional' life, according to the official ministry expectations but that does not mean my Classics background never is expressed at school. At least once a year, e.g., I will be forced to tell the Grade Sevens the story of Cassandra in the context of how they never believe me about certain things (usually related to wasting class time) and how they will end up paying for it when it comes to report card time. Other tales from mythology will pop up as the circumstances dictate. Of course, when the Grade Fives are doing their Ancient Civilizations unit, I'll get teachers asking me for info (usually the date, interestingly enough) and I'm constantly babbling about the etymology of various words when it seems a useful way to help students remember things.

But I genuinely believe that my training in Classics has had a rather deeper, more evisceral effect on me as well. As mentioned above, I teach math. When I was in school, I really wasn't what you'd call great at math. At best, I was average. That was one of the reasons, incidentally, I turned down teaching Calculus at the high school level (which is what I was initially offered). But when I started teaching math (at three levels -- Grades Six, Seven, and Eight) I found I had acquired/developed an 'attention to detail' which I didn't have when I was a kid. I honestly don't know whether that can be attributed to my training in Classics (I've asked in the past whether folks have noticed a connection between performing well in Latin and performing well in math; the jury's still out on that one), but I like to think it does. I can definitely say, though, that the rigorous analysis involved not just in dealing with ancient texts but with all the research involved in theses and dissertations HAS become internalized and I automatically seem to analyze events, situations, etc. in a much different (and usually far more effective/authoritative) way than those around me (I don't want that to sound egotistical -- it isn't meant to). I freely admit that I am an intellectual snob and fervently believe that my Classical training is far superior to anything most of my colleagues have had. When I see what passes for an MA thesis in Education, e.g., and realize that on the scale of rigor, it's probably on par with a senior undergraduate paper in Classics, I feel justified in that snobbery. I also find that I have very little patience for speakers and/or people in positions of authority who primarily use buzzwords and abbreviations to show off their 'knowledge' while saying nothing of substance. (By way of praeteritio, I won't comment on the generic annual speaker who reminds us that most people have an attention span of 30-40 minutes and then proceed to yak at us for close to three hours without a break). Of course, in such situations Juvenal is running through my head ...

Outside of that, in my non-professional life I -- as I assume most of you who are reading this -- am constantingly seeing/making allusions to things Classical in the everyday world around me. Interesting words are automatically etymologized, architecture analyzed, news stories analogized, and on and on.

Tough question ...
idus martias

festival of Mars continues (day 15)

festival of Jupiter

festival/rites in honour of Anna Perenna (Happy New Year!)

44 B.C. -- murder of Gaius Julius Caesar

ca. 1st century A.D. -- martyrdom of Longinus (the soldier who is said to have pierced Jesus' side with a spear) in Cappadocia
dodecagon @ Wordsmith

ides @
Unionem Sovieticam papae caedem temptavisse

Commissio investigatoria parlamenti Italici credit moderatores Unionis Sovieticae caedem summi pontificis Ioannis Pauli II anno millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo primo molitos esse, quia papa, qui illo tempore motum Solidaritatis Poloniae patriae suae fortiter confirmaret, periculum imperio Sovietico imminens ab illis haberetur.

Mehmet Ali Agca, natione Turcus, contra papam in platea Petriana mense Maio sclopetavit, sed causa, qua impulsus id fecit, adhuc latet. Iam diu praesumitur eum consuetudines cum servitio secreto Bulgariae habuisse, illud autem ex Unione Sovietica mandatum pontificis occidendi accepisse.

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

For more news in Latin, Ephemeris ... latest headline: Milosevic cordis ictu periisse (re vera?)

... while on the Greek side, we have Akropolis World News: Smoking ban: Life without shisha - Milosevic dies in prison

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.
(Julius Caesar, Gallis Wars, 3.18.2)

Generally human beings freely believe what they want (to believe).

(pron = FAY-reh lih-BEN-tehr HOH-mih-nays id kwod WOH-loont KRAY-doont)

comment: Today is the Ides of March. The Ides of the Roman month came to be
the 13th or the 15th day of the month. In March it was fixed on the 15th day.
Early on, the Ides was associated with the appearance of the full moon as the
Romans followed a lunar calendar. Occassionally, like this week, the lunar
cycle coincides once again with these days that are now fixed in the calendar.

For the Romans the fixed days (The Kalends--new moon and then first day of the
month, the Nones--half moon, and then 9th day before the Ides) were
inauspicious days, that is, they were considered to be unlucky days. If they
could, they avoided making important decisions or businness deals on one of
those days. Marriages were never planned on these days. In face, the days on
both sides of one of these days were considered to be a bit tained, too.

Do you believe that? Generally, human beings believe what they want. But I
don't really accept this idea. The vast majority of students that I work with
walk in the door with some sort of belief system in tact, and for very few if
any of them it is a belief system that they have arrived at freely. They are
the belief systems that their parents have handed them and to some degree
insisted that they accept. For others, they are the belief systems that come
with playing on the team and being a member of the Fellowship of Christian
Athletes. In other words, if the beliefs have not been insisted on by parents
for membership in the family, they have been insisted on by friends for
acceptance in the clique.

Young Republicans and Young Democrats are typically those young people who have
old Republicans and old Democrats influencing their beliefs. The same is true
for most adults--their belief systems are rarely those that they have arrived
at as a result of free inquiry into the nature of things. Polls report that
the majority of Americans believe in God. I'd like those polls to ask how many
of those same Americans have any nagging doubts about that same belief. My
guess--they all do.

The words of this proverb are those of Julius Caesar who for quite a while acted
in Rome as if he could do whatever he wanted to. He apparently believed that he
was free to act apart from Roman mores and beliefs. He violated Roman sacred
space by bringing troops into Roman territory. He formed an illicit power base
with two other men, and then for a while ruled Rome as a dictator, casting aside
the Roman Republic which had been in place for nearly 6 centuries. The Roman
Republic never recovered.

Julius Caesar was killed on this date in 44 BCE by some of his "friends" who
likely felt that Caesar's beliefs had gotten out of hand. "Beward the Ides of
March" might be a call to somemthing more subtle: "beware beliefs that are
unexamined and unexplored."

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
After being cooped up with a very nasty flu bug for the past few days, it'll be nice to stretch the old legs with a stroll down the midway ... much of this will be 'catching up' of course:

ARLT alerts us to a situation where a Latin teacher was suspended for using Pompeiian graffiti in class ... a followup piece gives the address of the person to complain to ...

Need to catch up with all the coins at Hobbyblog ...

... and it's easier to point to the main page of Laudator to get caught up as well ...

Homo Edax has suddenly been posting plethorically on various subjects ...

Paleojudaica points us to the Midrash Le-Justin blog, which/who is currently blogging about the Babatha Papyri ...

PhDiva has a nice selection of photos of the Parthenon Frieze in the new Acropolis Museum ... has a list of resources for the Ides of March ...

Over at Bread and Circuses, AM alerts us to the fact checkers at the NYT going after Marcus Aurelius ...

William Blathers ponders a cyclopean question ...

Ginny Lindzey has a good rant about AP Latin and whether Latin is a language at all ...

Issue 4 of the Herculaneum Archaeology newsletter is now available (pdf) ...

Here we go rending the fabric of time again ... Alun is hosting Carnivalesque XIII, which compiles a pile of excellent blogposts about the ancient and medieval worlds (and is certainly one of the 'best looking' carnival posts I've seen ... very magazine-like)

There's a new supplementary volume out for the Journal of Roman Studies: Supplement 61: IMAGING ANCIENT ROME: DOCUMENTATION - VISUALIZATION - IMAGINATION (Proceedings of the Third Williams Symposium on Classical Architecture, 2004), edited by Lothar Haselberger and John Humphrey ... a TOC for this (and earlier) volumes is available ...

A number of buildings have been added to the Topographical Dictionary page at the Ostia Antica site ...

For all you gamers, Sony is working on God of War 2 ...

... that should hold you for a while
From BMCR:

Paolo Fedeli, Properzio: Elegie, Libro II. Introduzione, testo e commento. ARCA Classical Texts, Papers and Monographs 45.

Stephan T.A.M. Mols, Eric M. Moormann, Omni pede stare. Saggi architettonici e circumvesuviani in memoriam Jos de Waele. Studi della Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei 9.

John G. Younger, Sex in the Ancient World: From A to Z.

Benjamin Bennett, All Theater Is Revolutionary Theater.

Philippa Lang (ed.), Re-Inventions: Essays on Hellenistic and Early Roman Science. Apeiron 37.4.

Giancarlo Giardina, Properzio. Elegie. Edizione critica e traduzione.

Christopher H. Hallett, The Roman Nude: Heroic Portrait Statuary 200 BC-AD 300. Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture and Representation.

Monica Gale (ed.), Latin Epic and Didactic Poetry: Genre, Tradition and Individuality.

Rak on Fisher on Sarah Ruden (trans.), Homeric Hymns.

From Digressus:

Raia, Luschnig and Sebesta, The World of Roman Women: A Latin Reader

From Daily Yomiuri:

Valerio Manfredi, Empire of Dragons (fiction)

From Monsters and Critics:

Stanley Bing, Rome Inc.


Jason and the Argonauts

Today's the Ides, of course, and there has been a smattering of news attention (this is, of course, the one ancient date which newspaper editors seem to know). So among all the boring stuff, NPR had this interesting thing which, I'm sure, will now become a standard 'commemoration' in every Classics/Latin class on this date in the future:

Though you may not have noticed, today is the 2050th anniversary of Julius Caesar's assassination.

Most of us have a vague sense of what happened that day. Caesar was, of course, a great conquerer. He was very popular with the ordinary folks in Rome, but not so popular with a small group of senators who feared that at any moment he would make himself an absolute dictator.

The senators, including his friend Brutus ("Et tu?"), conspired, invited him to the Senate, gathered round and stabbed him over and over. Caesar, mortally wounded, exhaled and died.

And it's not like Caesar hadn't been warned. Soothsayers had told him to "Beware the Ides Of March" -- "ides" meaning the middle of the month. But he paid no heed.

That's what most people know.

The Chemistry Angle

Here's what chemistry students know: For some reason, Caesar's dying breath, his last exhalation, has become a classic teaching tool in high school and college. When Caesar exhaled, he released an enormous number of "breath" molecules, mostly carbon dioxide. It's a very, very big number says Dan Nocera, chemistry professor at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT). By Nocera's calculation: .05 x 6 x 10 to the 23rd.

"10 to the 23rd" all by itself looks ridiculously large. It's 10 followed by 23 zeros:


Over the years, a number of scholars have tried to figure out what typically would happen to all those molecules. They figured some were absorbed by plants, some by animals, some by water -- and a large portion would float free and spread themselves all around the globe in a pattern so predictable that (this is the fun part) if you take a deep breath right now, at least one of the molecules entering your lungs literally came from Caesar's last breath.

That's what they say.

If you look around the Internet, you will find professors who say we take in three of Caesar's molecules per breath, or eight, or 10. It all depends on your assumptions about the size of a breath, the size of the atmosphere, the location of the breather (on a mountain, or at sea level?)

To Commemorate Caesar's Demise...

But bottom line?

Even though these calculations apply to any breath exhaled long ago -- Shakespeare's, Cleopatra's, Lincoln's, your great-great-grandma's -- you may still want to take a moment today to share with Caesar. Just breathe in and share his molecule.

Reminds me of that old Charlie Brown comic where Charlie and Linus were speculating that Pigpen carried on him the dust from the building of the pyramids ... Outside of that, check out TechRepublic for a surprisingly good media explanation of the Ides and all that goes with it ...
I've been hanging on to this one; I had hoped something in English would have turned up by now (of course it will the second this goes out) ... from Basilicata:

Recuperate dai Carabinieri a Guidonia (Roma) in casa di un collezionista, 276 monete di epoca romana.Denunciato per ricettazione, il possessore, al quale sono stati sequestrati altri 22 oggetti di epoca romana, si e' giustificato dicendo che il monetario l'aveva ricevuto in eredita'. Nell'ambito della stessa operazione e' stato denunciato anche un anziano di Mentana che conservava in giardino un sarcofago, un'ara e delle iscrizioni di epoca imperiale.
Here's the latest from the Met's deal with Italy ... from the New York Times:

Acting on an accord reached last month, the Italian government is offering to lend the Metropolitan Museum of Art an array of artifacts recovered from graves in the ancient region of Etruria, in west-central Italy, to reciprocate for the Met's return of objects that Italy claims were illegally excavated from its soil.

In exchange for a Laconian kylix, or ancient Greek drinking cup, that the Met is returning under the agreement, Italy is prepared to send a comparable sixth century B.C. kylix from the necropolis of Bufolareccia, along with a selection of artifacts found in the same tomb.

A second choice would be a kylix from Etruria attributed to the followers of the Naukratis Painter from the Etruscan necropolis of Monte Abatone in Cerveteri, north of Rome, and 13 other artifacts from that tomb.

Maurizio Fiorilli, a lawyer for the Italian state, said that Italy's offer of the funerary sets was a show of "good will" toward foreign institutions that agree to return illegally excavated booty. "It's a generous offer," he said.

The decision of what to accept now lies with the Met, which is parting with some of its finest artifacts in the face of evidence that they were probably looted. Four items are to be immediately returned to Italy. As the Met only had one Laconian kylix in its collection, Italy agreed to a four-year renewable loan of a comparable artifact to "ensure the optimum utilization of the Italian cultural heritage," the agreement reads.

A Met spokesman, Harold Holzer, said the museum was "grateful" for the letter from the Italian Ministry of Culture, but needed time to study it.

The agreement calls for the return of 21 objects over all, including the so-called Euphronios krater, a rare 2,500-year-old Greek bowl that the Italians believe was taken from a tomb in Cerveteri, and of a set of Hellenistic silver that Italy contends was looted from Sicily.

The accord with the Met has been hailed here as a blueprint for future negotiations with other museums that own artifacts with a disputed provenance. Talks are already under way between Italy and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, whose former curator of antiquities, Marion True, is on trial in Rome on charges of dealing in stolen antiquities.

In April, Italian officials are expected to meet with delegations from the Princeton University Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Paolo Ferri, the Rome prosecutor pursuing Italy's wide-ranging investigation of antiquities smuggling cases, said that neither museum had been officially accused but added that he would not rule out legal action in the future.

Although both the Met and Italian officials have saluted the accord as a model for cooperation, Philippe de Montebello, the museum's director, has emphasized in recent statements that the importance of ancient objects' exact historical context had been overstated.

"Ninety-eight percent of everything we know about antiquity we know from objects that were not out of digs," he said in an interview last month.

Mr. de Montebello and several other museum directors have also lamented the shift in thinking that lends weight to nationalist arguments for the recovery of cultural property.
[yesterday's ... I should be 'back to normal' some time today]

Fortuna favet fatuis.

Fortune favors fools.

(pron = fohr-TOO-nah FAH-whet FAH-too-ees)

comment: In many esoteric systems (Tarot, for instance) The Fool is an
interesting character. The Fool is the one who has given up all attempts at
controling his universe. The Fool is the one who dares to risk it all. The
Fool has, in a sense, already died and is living beyond death, or at least
beyond any fear of death. The Fool is the Child. The Fool is the adult who
has become the Child again. The Fool is willing to look at anything, consider
anthing, try anything, be open to everything, and enjoy the moment as it
happens. The Fool is not worried in the least if others laugh at her. The
Fool laughs with those who laugh at him and really enjoys the laughter.

The Fool is the one who experiences, in the present moment, the whole universe,
the joy of what is, eternal life. The Fool can do all of this because she
understands that right now is all there is.

How could Fortune not favor the Fool?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
I think we've had something on this before ... from UPI:

The ancient Phoenician city Motya, believed destroyed by ancient Greeks, has been found to have been inhabited long after that supposed event.

Maria Pamela Toti, the head of an Italian archeological team, said researchers have found cooking pans, Phoenecian-style vases, small altars and numerous other items at the site.

Those artifacts "show Motya had a thriving population long after it is commonly believed to have been destroyed by the ancient Greeks," she told the Italian news agency ANSA.

Some scientists previously suspected Motya had not been destroyed, but no proof had been found. However, early this month archaeologists reported discovering rooms of a new house at a previously unexamined part of one of the city's siege walls, ANSA said.

The artifacts found at the site post-dated the periods after the city's documented destruction by the Greek tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse in 397 B.C.

Motya -- which means "wool-spinning center" -- was founded in the eighth century B.C. The area is now the location of the modern day city Mozia.

One of the better accounts of Motya and what's there (or what was found there before this) is at the Livius site ...
I suppose this works ... an excerpt from a piece on road rage in the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

Tempers flaring on the road are nothing new.

It was common enough in

430 B.C. that the philosopher Sophocles wrote that his fictional hero, the tragic Oedipus Rex, killed his father during an unfortunate “chariot rage” incident.
If you need a translation and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...The T Team [cue music]. From UPI:

A group of eight students at Loyola College in Baltimore spent a semester translating the prison diary of a Roman woman martyred for her Christian faith.

Loyola had decided to use "What Would You Die For? Perpetua's Passion" as a theme for its humanities classes because it raises questions about conflicting obligations and choices, the Baltimore Sun reported.

But professors felt that existing translations were too stilted.

The solution was to assembly an elite class of eight students with a simple assignment -- translate "Perpetua's Passion." Each student prepared 90 lines of translation for each class, and they then spent the class discussing the alternatives.

When the group got behind schedule, they started meeting three nights a week.

"It was a great experience, although we didn't sleep much for a couple months," said sophomore Irene Murphy.

The book has been published by Apprentice House, a student press at Loyola.

,,, just came across a more detailed version in the Baltimore Sun ...
From the Sofia News Agency:

Prominent Bulgarian archaeologist Professor Nikolay Ovcharov called for legalizing trade in antiquities in a bid to remove the strong incentives for the pillage of archaeological sites.

"Trade in antiquities should be strictly regulated by the state and should take place at auctions only," Professor Nikolay Ovcharov said at a press conference on Monday. He spoke of the huge interest that the ancient sanctuary of Perperikon, in the heart of the Rhodopes, and the tomb near the village of Tatul drew at the International Tourism Bourse in Berlin.

"It is not only by legalizing private collections, listing all objects and publicly following their discovery that we can limit treasure-hunting," said Professor Ovcharov.

He expressed discontent with the sluggish pace at which the current government is moving to adopt legislation on the acquisition, trade and granting of concessions of monuments of culture.
Interesting idea seen in the Post-Crescent:

Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" and Virgil's "Aeneid" are page-turners for members of Appleton Classical School's Mythology Club.

They can expound for hours on such characters as Poseidon, Zeus and Aphrodite, and don't let them get started on the Gorgons, Harpies, Perseus slaying Medusa and those nymphs of the north.

Not to mention American Indian and African myths and legends.

Every Thursday, 18 children in grades three through six meet after school to read stories, draw self-portraits as gods and goddesses, play games, do crossword puzzles and chomp on popcorn while watching movies starring "mythical monsters."

"I love everything about it," said sixth-grader Johanna Wang, 11. "I like the monsters and stories, and it's a lot more fun than it sounds. I will stay in this club until I can't anymore."

Fourth-grade teacher Sondra Chen started the club last school year to build on mythology taught in Classical's curriculum and immediately drew a crowd. "They just seem to be drawn to these weird creatures, and I found they knew a lot more than I did."

Mythology clubs are not standard fare in this area, said Chen. The only other area school participating in the League is the Academy, a private school in Appleton.

But it sure has gone over well here. "It has been more successful than I thought, and more fun as well," said Chen.

"I'm surprised at how much the children already know from our curriculum, and how they still want to absorb more stories, and with such enthusiasm. They seem fascinated by this world of ancient people, and how characters interact in unbelievable ways. The stories are packed with action that holds the children's attention."

"I wanted to participate and my mom encouraged me, too," said John Ahn, 9, a fourth-grader who thinks what he learns in the club could help him with his SATs (college entrance exams) someday.

"They teach you a lot, but in a fun way," said classmate Anna Sieracki, 9. "I joined because I like to learn about new things. When those people didn't have a logical explanation, they'd just make up a myth and a god or goddess to explain it."

Sieracki said she likes sharing the stories with friends. "I use my imagination, but it's nice to do it live with other people who are imagining the same things."

Chen finds that her pupils often understand an obscure reference to something mentioned in a book because of how it connects with mythology. "Some of these unusual references I've never heard of and I wish I had been offered the opportunity to learn this as a child."

On March 2, the Mythology Club took the National Mythology Exam given by the American Classical League. Last year five children, including Wang, won a national award.

Dressed up in green and white sheets, the group presented a mythology production Thursday for families.

"We're lucky to have it," Sieracki said of the club. "I feel pity for the people who don't."

Chen is pleased, too. "It's fantastic to see so many kids join a club that they already have as a subject in their curriculum because they want to investigate more about this unusual world."
From the BBC:

A 2000-year-old carving of a so-called "northern god", adopted by the Romans for protection and good luck, has been uncovered in Northumberland.

The 40cm high figure, holding a shield in one hand and spear or sword in the other, was discovered near Chesters Fort on Hadrian's Wall.

Experts say the find is exciting as it helps shed light on how people used local idols for protection.

The carving is thought to be that of Cocidius, a Romano-British warrior god.

Rock art expert Tertia Barnett said: "This is a completely unexpected discovery.

"It shows how much there is still to discover about Northumberland's ancient past."

The carving was uncovered by a team of volunteers looking for prehistoric rock art as part of the Northumberland and Durham rock art project.

The rock has now been covered again to protect it.

Research by the volunteers is on-going.

... a photo of the petroglyph accompanies the original article.
[yesterday's ...]

Iustitia omnibus.
(motto of the District of Columbia)

(pron = yoo-STIH-tee-ah OHM-nih-boos)

comment: My daughter and I had a conversation recently about what is "fair". We
disagreed. Her definition of fair was identical treatment in two different
situations (I buy her a car when she turns 16 just as I bought her sister a car
when she turned 16). My definition of "fair" was a response that fit the

Car buying and parental angst side, our conversation reminded me of this
phrase--justice for everyone, and how even that phrase can mean so many things
to different people.

I must confess that I have been deeply influenced by several strands of wisdom
that are with me to this very moment on the meaning of "justice". As a
seminarian at Emory University in the 1980's, I read the works of H. Richard
Niebuhr whom I will not try to quote perfectly, but from whom I learned to
think about "responsibility" as the ability to respond authentically to a
particular set of circumstances.

>From the still revolutionary documents of the Second Vatican Council,
particularly The Church in the Modern World (though, I fear, terribly ignored
these days by the Church and others), I learned that justice means that
everyone gets what he/she needs not only to survive, but to thrive.

>From the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, I saw the insistence that
this same idea, getting what individuals need to survive and thrive, could be
articulated in very concrete terms: a right not only to food, clothing and
shelter, but to an education, to adequate health care and the freedom to move
across borders in order to pursue justice.

>From Buddhism, particularly the work and teachings of Thich Naht Hanh, I learned
that we are not isolated individuals, but that finally we are all part of a
connected web. To reach out and offer comfort and aid to another is to brinng
comfort and aid to myself, because, we are not separate selves.

>From modern environmental and neo-pagan groups, I have learned to view the earth
as a living organism, and all that grows on her as part of her body. What is
justice for a tree that kept the air clean and the soil in place for 100 years
when a new strip mall goes in? What is justice for fish whose rivers our lawn
fertilizers runs into? What is justice for the family who sits down to a fish
dinner tonight?

Justice work--it can literally begin anywhere we want it to. And it is never
too late.

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

Over at Laudator, MH ponders some lines of Horace ...

AM at Sauvage Noble completes the series for NLTRW (I'll hopefully get to mine today ... got sidetracked yesterday and have awakened to a coffeeless home) ...

promagistris also tells of his efforts to promote NLTRW ...

Humbul points us to Kevin Clinton's excellent collection of images called Mysteries at Eleusis ...

Tony Keen has made some adjustments/revisions to his article on Claudius, Nero, and the Imperial Succession at Memorabilia Antonina ...

'New' online book at Project Gutenberg: H.L. Havell's translation of Longinus (with commentary by Andrew Lang) ... from 1890
Interesting essay from the Guardian:

The Duke of Wellington saw Napoleon naked every day. The perfect muscular chest of his former enemy must have become, over time, as familiar to him as his own ageing flesh. Antonio Canova's nude colossus of Napoleon Bonaparte stands to this day in the spiralling stairwell of No 1 London, the house at Hyde Park Corner that belonged to the general who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. In Apsley House you can still see the Duke's art collection - the equestrian portrait by Goya and early paintings by Velázquez. And you can see the godlike Napoleon, presented to Wellington by a grateful nation as a joke on the defeated French emperor.

Napoleon himself commissioned Canova's statue. He was proud to secure the services of the Venetian sculptor who was renowned across Europe as an exponent of neoclassicism, the style that aspired to recreate not just the appearance of ancient Greek art but its ethos - "the Greek ideal". In Rome in the 18th century, the German scholar Johann Joachim Winckelmann had shown that most of the statuary to be seen in the great collections - of the Farnese family, the Duke of Tuscany or even in the Vatican - was mere Roman hackwork, a copy of Greek art whose originals were purer and nobler. He identified what he claimed was the true character of the best, or "classical", ancient Greek art. At its moral heart stood the nude male body: the body of Apollo, of the athlete, the soldier, the citizen.

Napoleon might have done well to read what Joshua Reynolds, theorist as well as painter, had to say on the subject in his Discourses: Greek statesmen were idealistic enough to have themselves portrayed naked, he wrote, but moderns lacked that innocence. Even in France, where the paintings of David had given a classical authority to revolution, a naked statue of Napoleon was going too far.

Today, probably nothing so alienates us from the high art of the European past as its most prestigious subject - the male nude. Visit any old European museum, from Naples to Bloomsbury, and they have more marble statues of disrobed gods and heroes than they can reasonably display. Once these nudes were considered the apex of European culture. Today we don't really know what to do with them, and the reason for this was anticipated when parliament presented Canova's Napoleon to the Duke of Wellington as a ludicrous example of imperial art. Let's face it: the male nude is embarrassing.

Centuries of European artists and art lovers depicted and looked at naked men in what was supposedly a disinterested and entirely cerebral way, as the embodiment of an athletic, spiritual and even political ideal. This purportedly had nothing to do with sex. But it is impossible for us to accept that nude images can be asexual, so it is impossible for us to take seriously this lost aesthetic.

And yet we're more neoclassical than we think we are. To see this, you have only to open a fashion magazine. In fashion in the past few years, the male nude has been re-exposed. Think Calvin Klein underwear or Gucci and, most of all, consider a current advertising campaign for Dolce & Gabbana, in which young men stand around in a straw-spattered photographer's studio while an older man - the artist figure - directs the scene: in each image, nudity is at the tense heart of a visual drama involving a body splayed naked on the ground, or posed with legs cocked as if astride someone.

These photographs quote Caravaggio, of course. Caravaggio is the one master of the male body with whom our culture feels happy, because we know he's in on the joke. He is clearly not an artist of the "ideal", not a noble and disinterested celebrant of the muscular stomach. In his painting of Bacchus, in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the god of wine is a Roman street urchin with black eyes and black - apparently made-up - eyebrows, looking back at you as you contemplate a chest pale as marble: a statue come to dangerous life. Bacchus proffers a glass of blood-red wine and, as its surface ripples, Caravaggio acknowledges the sensuality disavowed by the collections of nudes in Roman cardinals' palaces.

The Dolce & Gabbana ads cite Caravaggio, a painter whose memory was almost entirely suppressed in the 18th and 19th centuries when the "Greek ideal" of the male nude was at its loftiest. Yet look closer and these images offer a key - or rather Caravaggio offers a key - to the classical tradition of the nude. Take the curious pose of the model with his legs apart, as if straddling someone. It echoes Caravaggio's Victorious Cupid, his most unambiguous image of the god of love as a street kid wearing black wings, crushing learning, art and culture beneath his foot. Yet his painting is itself a quotation: the boy stretches and strains to achieve the pose of the young man bestriding an older man in Michelangelo's sculpture Victory. With Victorious Cupid, Caravaggio slyly mocks the biography written by Michelangelo's pupil Condivi in the 16th century, which claims that the great man's lifelong love of the male body was purely Platonic. But it is homage, too.

We like to think of the past as an icy monolith - as cold as Canova - from which we romantically escape. In reality, it is as full of tensions as a torso sculpted by Michelangelo. And the fact is, sex never was very far from the art of the male nude.

In the entrance hall of the British Museum, a vast, monumental staircase ascends to a landing whose empty expanse sets off a single masterpiece of classical sculpture: the Discus Thrower. Chest at an angle, sides creased in the moment before hurling his flat disc, this Olympic athlete is the poised epitome of the Greek ideal. And yet, like the vast majority of the works by which we know classical Greek art, this is a Roman copy. It belonged to the emperor Hadrian and comes from his villa at Tivoli, near Rome.

Only in the rare originals that survive of Greek art - paintings on vases, a handful of bronze statues, the Elgin marbles - can we know Greek images of nudity directly. Mostly, we encounter this art through Roman collectors for whom it was already experienced at one remove. Romans displayed Greek nudes, but thought of them as exotic; they themselves would usually pose in armour.

The most passionate Roman collector of Greek art was Hadrian, who enjoyed not just Greek art but Greek love. His fascination with Greek culture was inseparable from his cult of his male lover, Antinous.

It would be so easy to "deconstruct" the tradition of the male nude by telling stories like this: in the British Museum, the Discus Thrower arcs in smooth motion, the quintessence of an athletic ideal worshipped by Victorian men who aspired to be physical specimens worthy to rule an empire - yet this pristine example of the classical body was, in reality, used by the emperor Hadrian as part of a personal homosexual cult.

The deconstruction, however, is redundant. Such ironies never were lost on the artists and intellectuals who revived the Greek nude, again and again, across millennia - not on the Romans, nor on Renaissance artists, nor on Winckelmann, who died, it was said, in a homosexual encounter. How could anyone miss the reality of what Greek art was? Sex between men was endorsed by naked sports, all-male dinner parties and the comradeship of citizen armies. The Greek appetite for portraying the naked male body was a direct expression of a culture we would call homoerotic. The complexity comes when later Europeans emulate the Greek nude.

The question is - why did they want to? Why did European artists, again and again, turn to the classical depiction of the male body that had reached its apogee in Athens and other Greek city states in the 5th century BC, not merely as one interesting artistic theme, but as the single most serious subject in art? It was because the Greeks turned the body into philosophy.

Look at Greek depictions of the masculine figure and you soon see how regular, systematic and abstract they are: look at a nude torso painted on an Athenian vase, the black lines that define pectoral muscles with a crisp idealism. The same bold summary of the way a man's body should look - rather than any attempt to convey how a specific one looks - gives Greek statues a noble unreality. If you had to find a modern analogy for the oval definition of the groin in a statue by the 5th-century BC sculptor Polykleitos, it would not be any real body, but Action Man. This insistence on the true and permanent "ideal" body parallels the Greek philosophers and scientists, from Pythagoras to Plato, who sought the truth beyond visible appearances.

The Canon of Polykleitos - a book in which he analyses the correct proportions of the body - is lost, but the belief in a set of ideal proportions for the head, torso and limbs of a man survived into the Renaissance in the writings of the Roman architectural theorist Vitruvius. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci drew his famous diagram of "Vitruvian man", arms and legs spread in a star shape, revealing that he fits inside a geometrical figure: there is a secret geometry in the human design.

Suddenly we can see, after all, what artists and art lovers in the past so revered about Greek statues and what they were talking about when they spoke of a classical ideal. They weren't just covering up unacknowledged desires. Leonardo's Vitruvian man does not strike us as erotic at all, but cosmological. The star shape the man assumes makes us see humanity on a mind-expanding, astral scale.

The strain - and it has been highly productive - in depicting the nude comes when it is revived by cultures nothing like as relaxed about the male body as Greece had been. The Greeks were well aware of the potential dangers of nude art - but this worried them only when it came to portraying women nude. When Praxiteles sculpted a fully naked Aphrodite, it was a sensational event. Pliny the Elder reports that visitors to her shrine couldn't contain themselves, and the stains of one man's encounter with the statue could still be seen in his day.

In Renaissance Italy, Plato's writings, in which male desire for men is a noble part of philosophical culture, were translated and revered, yet this was, nevertheless, a Christian society in which you could be burned for sodomy. Instead of making Renaissance artists timid before the male nude, the added frisson of sinfulness and punishment seemed to incite them.

Excitement still hangs in the air, like a fierce perfume, around Donatello's David in the Bargello Museum, Florence. This was a revolutionary work when it was cast in bronze in the middle of the 15th century, and it lives to this day as a confounding image. David wears leg armour that sets off his nudity. His buttocks are emphasised. The bronze of an adolescent, hand on hip, huge sword in his hand, is mounted on marble and you walk right around him, painfully aware of the sensuality of the polished metal.

The reason this is a far more troubling object - challenging you to account for your own response, whatever you think your sexuality is - has to do with style. Greek athletes are abstract. Donatello's David is vividly and unmistakably studied from a living model: instead of being regularised in Action Man contours, his body is supple and animated, a real body, from bellybutton to kneecaps.

Donatello's nude stood in the courtyard of the Medici Palace, announcing the spectacular return of the nude to art after a millennium of Christian guilt. Its naturalism inaugurates a completely new cult of the nude that takes inspiration from the classical ideal yet is aggressively realistic. This earthiness gives the Renaissance nude a passionate charge. Italian Renaissance art, as was once said of Burt Lancaster, is neither homosexual nor heterosexual but sexual, period. And this hypersexuality is intensified by Christian fear.

Renaissance nudes meet that fear with violence, as if punishing the male body to chastise the sin of looking at it: Saint Sebastian is a favourite - speared by arrows. And Christ crucified. In Caravaggio's Deposition in the Vatican, the naked flesh of Jesus is lowered into the tomb. The nude has become unheroic, pitiful, and human.

In one of Steven Meisel's photographs for Dolce & Gabbana, a naked man lies on the floor as if hurled down. In fact, this nude is taken from Caravaggio's painting of the conversion of Saint Paul, in Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, the saint thrown on to his back by the force of divine truth. In the Dolce & Gabbana ad, this image of anguish and revelation becomes more provocative than harrowing. The tensions that were so creative in Renaissance art fade.

The modern urge to define and map sexuality, to make knowledge of sex specific and categorical in a way it simply was not for Donatello, may have made us happier. It has not made us more imaginative. The unresolved way in which previous centuries contemplated the male body produced (to quote Orson Welles in a different context) "Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance". What have we produced? The thong.
From local 6 comes our latest ... Jesus apparently has appeared as some burnt cheese in a bit of manicotti ... the guy who found it is claiming a cure as well. I 'almost' see the image, but it's a stretch ... (as often)
From the Review-Atlas:

Mark Golden, professor of classics at the University of Winnipeg, will deliver the 21st annual Bernice L. Fox Classics Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on March 15 in the Whiteman-McMillan Highlander Room of Monmouth College's Stockdale Center.

The lecture, entitled "Olive-Tinted Spectacles: Myths in the History of the Ancient and Modern Olympics," is free and open to the public.

The 2004 Athens Olympics brought new reminders of the links between the ancient Olympic festival and the modern games, which were conceived by the French baron, Pieere de Coubertin, in 1896. According to Golden, however, many of these links are imaginary or misleading, and the modern games were first conceived and celebrated by Greeks before Coubertin's birth.

"These facts are well known to specialists but still fail to make any impact on contemporary media or popular culture," said Golden. "The reason? We use the past mainly to provide lessons or make arguments about the present. The result is not only bad history but a limitation on our choices of action today."

Golden, who received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Toronto, is the author of a number of books on ancient sports, including "Sport and Society in Ancient Greece" (Cambridge, 1998) and "Sports in the Ancient World from A to Z" (Routledge, 2003).

Established in 1985, the lecture honors the late Bernice L. Fox, who taught classics at Monmouth from 1947 until 1981. The goal of this series is to illustrate the continuing importance of classical studies in the modern world and the intersection of the classics with other disciplines in the liberal arts.
ante diem vi idus martias

Festival of Mars (day 10) ...

241 B.C. -- Romans are victorious against the Carthaginians in the naval battle of Aegusa, bringing the First Punic War to an end

15 A.D. -- Tiberius becomes pontifex maximus

ca. 172 A.D. -- martyrdom of Alexander in Phrygia

ca. 258 A.D. -- martyrdom of Codratus of Corinth and companions
persevere @

ululate @

libricide @ Worthless Word for the Day

fictioneer @ Merriam-Webster (sort of)

The Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature this week is all about Roman Historians ...
Glacies Antarctidis opinione citius dissolvitur

Propter mutationem climatis ingens glaciarium Antarctidis notabiliter deminui videtur.

Ex investigatione Americana campus glacialis circiter centena quinquagena bina chiliometra cubica glaciei singulis annis perdit.

Antarctis, quae magnitudine bis tanta est quam Australia, duodeoctoginta centesimas aquae dulcis totius terrarum orbis continet.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
... we're still in catch up mode ...

Memorabilia Antonina is stumbling into/promoting BBC 4's In Our Time Archive ... looks like there's quite a bit of stuff there of interest ...

AM at Sauvage Noble keeps up the pace with the NLTRW posts (mine will 'catch up' some time today) ...

Christian News pointed us to an interesting post at the Presbyterian Polis on What Every Student Should Know ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus sporting an image of the Tyche of Antioch ...

MK at pro magistris highlights his activities during National Foreign Language Week ...

Bread and Circuses has a little feature on the Patching Coin Hoard ...
Interesting (if unprovable) claim opens a piece on demographics in Aberdeen News:

Hannibal of Carthage ranks as one of the most successful generals ever to lose a war. He invaded ancient Rome and by brilliant stratagems destroyed one Roman army after another - all to no avail. The Romans kept producing new armies, and Hannibal was ultimately forced to retreat back to North Africa where, years later, he chose suicide over submission to Rome.

The Romans did not defeat Hannibal on the field. Instead they defeated him in the nursery. The matres and patres of the eternal city begat larger litters than the Carthaginians or Greeks or any other ancient peoples they had to contend with. Demographics turned out to be destiny.

... more.
Many versions of this one kicking around ... this one from the BBC:

Paul Flack, who had recently started metal detecting, discovered the find of more than 600 copper alloy coins in a field last October.

Experts say the find was of the usurper emperors Carausius (287-293 AD) and Allectus (293-296 AD).

At an inquest, the find was declared treasure. The finder will be compensated for its value.

John Newman, of Suffolk County Council's Archaeological Service, said: "This appears to be the largest hoard of legitimately-minted coins of the two usurpers from Britain to date.

"The coins are made up of 258 of Carausius, and 347 of Allectus, minted at London and possibly Southampton or Colchester, which was the first time official mints were set up in Roman Britain."

The coins are currently being kept at the British Museum, where they will be cleaned for valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Mildenhall Museum hopes to buy the treasure.
An interesting item from al jazeerah about an exhibition at the Met:

An exhibition of a sumptuously illustrated manuscript of the Khamsa (quintet of tales), completed for Mughal emperor Akbar the Great in 1598, is enthralling New Yorkers, and art connoisseurs from around the world . This exhibition at New York’s famous and authoritative Metropolitan Museum of Art remains open to the public up to mid-March.

Visitors are fascinated by the Islamic calligraphy and intricate motifs on items in the exhibition. Some visitors observed the contrast in atmosphere at the exhibition, in comparison to the recent cartoon rage elsewhere, including at the United Nations, where Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that "free speech is not a license: it does entail exercising responsibility and judgement".

The Metropolitan Museum exhibition of the Khamsa features illustration and calligraphy executed by some of the most important artists in the service of emperor Akbar at the imperial court in Lahore—in present day Pakistan.

The text of the Khamsa manuscript was copied court in nasta’liq script by Muhammad Husain al-Kashmiri, a renouned calligrapher from Kashmir known in the Mughal court as Zarin Qalam (who writes with a golden pen).

Amir Khusrau Dehlevi (1253-1325), the famous Persian language poet of the Delhi Sultanate, wrote the text of his Khamsa on the model of the earlier manuscript of the same name by the Persian master Nizam-ud-din Ilyas Ibn Yusuf, popularly known as Nizami. Khusrau’s manuscript was incorporated into Akbar’s imperial library, more than two centuries after Khusrau’s death.

Khusrau describes epics and legends in his Khamsa as "pearls", spilling from his lips— invoking the bird that symbolized eloquence in the Indian-Persian tradition.Thus,he refers to himself as the tuti-I-hind (parrot of India).

"The showing of this spectacular Islamic Art manuscript in galleries that are usually reserved for the presentation of Asian art, allows us to present this extremely important exhibition, while our galleries for Islamic Art are under construction,"stated Phillipe de Montebello, Director Metropolitan Museum.

"Due to the encyclopedic nature of our collections, this placement will by enable viewers to draw their own cross-cultural connections," he added.

The five epic and legendary narratives in Amir Khusrau Dehlevi’s Khamsa,include the A’ina-yi Sikandari (Mirror of Alexander), Matla ‘al-Anwar (The Rising of the Luminaries), Majnun va Laila, Shirin va Khusrau and Hasht Bishist(Eight Paradises). Khusrau’s text gained such wide popularity that it has been copied in other parts of the world since the late fourteenth century

Among the items exhibited which Americans find particularly intriguing, are illustrated pages from the Khamsa’s section entitled, Aina-yi-Sikandari. One manuscript folio depicts Alexander the Great visiting the philosopher Plato, who offers words of advice on how to rule. Another folio depicts Alexander the Great on an exploratory voyage, that included the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and shows Alexander being lowered into the sea in a diving bell. In other items of this section, Alexander’s portrait as a warrior and philosopher are depicted in epic poetic tales about his various exploits—including his quest for the elusive Aab-I-Hayat—or the Fountain of Youth.

... more. No photos, alas and the Met's page for the exhibition doesn't have any of the Alexander images.
Non nobis solum.

Not for ourselves alone.

(pron = nohn NOH-bees SOH-loom)

Comment: We don't do things for ourselves alone, otherwise we are just selfish
boors. That's how this motto is often taken, I am afraid. There is so much
more here, though, and it has little to do with selfishness. In fact, like so
many proverbs, it cuts in two directions.

First, it recognizes that there is an interconnection between all of life. I am
not an isolated individual, and the things that happen in my life today reflect
back to me what is going on within me. Most specifically, the people and
situations that I find myself most reactive to have the most to show me about
myself. The universe is an interconnected weave. We are not isolated. We are
not separate. What is happening to Iraqis is happening to Americans, for
example. Eventually, our drinking water will be dirty, too.

Second, if we fall into the trap of "self denial", and always doing everything
for others, we will turn every event, every act, every thought, every gesture
of kindness into martyrdom (I am suffering for someone else's good). Our
ultimate death becomes a sentence of guilt on those for whom we have "given our

The best gift we can give others around us is to find the center of our own
lives, live them fully, with compassion for ourselves first. And, because all
things are deeply connected, others will experience good benefits from the fact
that we honored and cared for our own selves.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
Apologies for the late update ... a combination of a power failure last night and sleeping in this a.m. (it's March Break! yee haww!) have combined to make me have to wade through a huge backlog of email (spam mostly) ... I'll also be catching up with the NLTRW stuff over the course of the day ...
Vicina sunt vitia virtutibus.
(St. Jerome, Adversus Luciferem 15)

Vices are near to virtues.

Comment: This is a revealing comment from the man who brought the Jewish and
Christian scriptures into the Latin speaking world. St. Jerome is crediting
with translaing the Hebrew and Greek scriptures into Latin, known as the Latin
Vulgate. For this he is hailed as a great man, as a saint.

He was also known to be a very difficult man to get along with, impossible, mean
and vicious by some accounts. He and St. Augustine eventually parted company
over some issues that apparently had to do with his disagreable attitudes.

Vice and virtue--posed as opposites like this they betray a dualistic world
view, and in ethical systems where things are all lined up as opposites in the
universe of good and evil, they will also always be linked, very closely. It
cannot be otherwise. In a dualistic view of things, one cannot have a good
without a corresponding evil. In such a world view the more engergy one puts
into being or acting or speaking "the good", the more one also creates the
reality of "the evil". They will always be linked.

This can sound very complex, but there are very common, often overlooked
examples. When certain nations of people are labelled "evil" that
automatically implies that other nations are "good". In fact, no nation is
either good nor evil. At any given moment one can point to almost any nation
and find examples of things that aid and nurture life, and other examples that
are destructive--coming from the same place.

And so it goes. It seems to me that we can stand back and play the judgment
game, lining everyone up into these two catagories of virtuous and vicious, or
we can see life--life happening, exploring, erring, hurting, healing, becoming.

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

ante diem vii idus martias

Festival of Mars (day 9) which included another procession of the Salian priests around the city

320 A.D. -- martyrdom of Candidus and the other "Forty Armenian Martyrs"
contradistinction @

... and there is another installment of Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies to satisfy your verbophilia ...
Halonen alterum praesidentatum iniit

Tarja Halonen, mense Ianuario praesidens rei publicae Finnorum suffragio populari iterum designata, Kalendis Martiis alterum praesidentatum iniit.

Coram parlamento affirmavit se in praesidentatu suo sincere et fideliter constitutioni et legibus obsecuturam et omnibus viribus prosperitatem populi Finnici promoturam esse.

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

For news with a Greek font, there's Akropolis World News: Trial for 11-Sept. begins - Airport evacuated after jet robbed
Looking for the brass ring ...

Campus Mawrtius revisits the Cento (with regard to Prudentius) ...

Glaukopis alerts us to a couple of songs which are useful for remember some Latin word endings ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus antoninianus which sports a 'typo' ...

Sauvage Noble continues (as did I) with a post for NLTRW ...

Pro magistris ponders tempus fugit ...

The Latin Zone is reflecting on teaching datives ...

Roman History Books has added a couple of more posts about Sulla ...
A couple of items in the 'paper' today about the Museum Case ... first, the New York Times gives some info from the actual case going on in Italy. Here's the incipit:

As before-and-after images go, the slide projected in a darkened courtroom here on Wednesday was striking. On the left, two dirt-encrusted fragments of a terra-cotta figure, one of them darkened by smoke; on the right, a complete version of the figure, a dancing woman and satyr that was once part of a roof ornament of an ancient Etruscan building.

Italian prosecutors at the trial of Marion True, a former curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles charged with trafficking in looted antiquities, said the first photograph was taken moments after the fragments were unearthed. The other photo depicts the sixth-century B.C. "Maenad and Silenus" ornament — whose lower section bears identical traces of smoke damage — which the Getty acquired in 1996 from the collectors Lawrence A. and Barbara Fleischman.

Investigators at the trial suggested that the images were nothing short of an antiquities "smoking gun." Another slide depicted the shattered remains of an identical "Maenad and Silenus" photographed in front of the chicken coop of a known tomb robber in Montalto di Castro, near the ancient Etruscan city of Vulci, northwest of Rome.

As the trial of Ms. True and her co-defendant, the American dealer Robert Hecht, enters its fifth month, prosecutors also called on Italy's art theft police to explain the web that they say links the defendants to tomb robbers and unscrupulous dealers.

Gen. Roberto Conforti, the retired head of the art theft squad, testified that he wrote a letter in 2000 to hundreds of museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and museums in Boston and Cleveland and at Princeton University, seeking their aid in tracking down works of art that could have been looted in Italy and illegally exported.

A copy of General Conforti's letter was found among the papers confiscated from Mr. Hecht's home in Paris, other investigators said Wednesday, speculating on how it might have made its way there. Over the decades, Mr. Hecht, 86, has sold dozens of antiquities to museums in the United States and abroad.

The photos mentioned above accompany the original article (which also has a few more paragraphs) ... Meanwhile, the New York Sun gives us a tease (they're a subscription thing, so we only get the first couple paragraphs) that Greece is going after the Getty:

Seizing on a historic accord between Italy and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Greece is gearing up to renew claims for four antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, a spokeswoman for the Greek Cultural Ministry confirmed yesterday.

Greece had threatened legal action against the Getty in November after ministry officials said they were frustrated with the museum's unresponsiveness to their claims. The case had been put on hold while new leaders took the helm at the museum and the ministry. Now the Met's agreement to send prized antiquities to Italy in exchange for long-term loans has spurred the new Greek culture minister, George Voulgarakis, to step up its efforts against the Getty, a ministry spokes woman, Eugenia Middou, said. The ministry plans to contact the museum in the next few days, she said.

This one's kind of strange in that Greece has been claiming 'it's going after the Getty' for quite a while now ... see, e.g., an artiticle at PND from October 2005 ... an article archived at the CBC from November 2005, the Telegraph from January 2006 (annoying audio ad) ... these all might ultimately stem from a piece in the LA Times from October (with photos of one of the pieces) ...
The World Peace Herald has a piece on the avian flu which mentions this in passing:

The rooster has been the country's unofficial symbol since Gallic warriors fought Julius Caesar's Roman legions some 2,000 years ago.

The French Embassy site doesn't take the symbol that far back ... do we have an ancient source suggesting the symbology?
From BMCR:

Sara Raup Johnson, Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity: Third Maccabees in Its Cultural Context. Hellenistic Culture and Society, 43.

Denis Feissel, Jean Gascou, La pétition à Byzance. Centre de Recherche d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Monographies 14.

Rebecca Bushnell (ed.), A Companion to Tragedy. Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture.

Jennifer Wright Knust, Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity. Gender, Theory, and Religion Series.

Michael Maas (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian.

Sophia Papaioannou, Epic Succession and Dissension. Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.623-14.582 and the Reinvention of the Aeneid.

D. Sedley (ed.), Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Volume XXVI, Summer 2004.

From Scholia:

Robert Hannah, Greek & Roman Calendars: Constructions of Time in the Classical World

From TLS:

Le tre vite del Papiro di Artemidoro – The Three Lives of the Papyrus of Artemidorus. (I think that's what's being reviewed)
Interesting Reuters piece making the rounds on the fuel used in ancient Cypriot smelters ... here's the version from RedOrbit:

It is praised for its culinary and health properties by any cook worth his salt, but long before olive oil made it into the Mediterranean diet Cypriots used it as fuel to melt copper, archaeologists say.

Italian researchers have discovered that environmentally friendly olive oil was used in furnaces at a site in southern Cyprus up to 4,000 years ago, instead of the fume-belching charcoal used in industry for hundreds of years since.

Described as "liquid gold" by the ancient Greek poet Homer, olive oil has long been associated with grooming, pampering and the religious rites of the ancients, but not - at least in the Mediterranean - with heavy industry.

"We know that olive oil made it into our food around 1,000 BC, but it is the first time we have laboratory evidence that it was used in smelting as a fuel," archaeologist Maria Rosaria Belgiorno told Reuters.

Cyprus was famed in antiquity for its copper and is believed to have given its name to the Latin term for the metal, Cuprum.

The find by Belgiorno's team suggested mankind might be returning to its roots, at least in terms of energy.

"It is the first time this has been discovered ... and in Europe it's only recently that industry has turned to biofuels. This oil burns like benzene," Belgiorno said.

Today's Cypriots might, however, think twice about pumping this precious commodity into their petrol tanks instead of drizzling it over their meals.

Average annual production of about 13,500 tones just about meets local demand and olive oil now sells for around $6 per liter, compared to around 55 cents for regular fuel.


The smelting site known as Pyrgos Mavroraki is thought to be part of a larger industrial unit dating from 2,000 BC, when Cyprus was in its early to mid bronze age.

Lying some 90 km (60 miles) southwest of the capital Nicosia among sprawling villas, the complex includes copper smelting works, facilities for textile weaving and dyeing, a winery and an olive press.

"The olive press and storage facilities were in the middle of two areas where copper was worked. It shows that for sure they used olive oil. Can you imagine building an olive press in the middle of a metallurgy plant. Why?" said Belgiorno.

Tests carried out by the Italian Institute of Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage, for whom Belgiorno works, have discovered olive oil residues in ovens on the site.

Belgiorno said researchers were puzzled by the fact that no charcoal -- the fuel most widely used at the time -- was found. Charcoal remains intact despite the passage of time, she said.

"There were no storage areas for charcoal. We have discovered that to melt copper you need five kilos of olive oil, compared to 80 kilos of charcoal."

Dark marks on the hard-packed earth in the complex might escape the untrained eye. But these are stains from the oil used in the furnaces, traces which also do not fade.


Belgiorno said metallurgy sites have been found close to olive oil production areas in Egypt and Jordan, so Cypriots could not lay claim to being the first to use biofuels.

It was, however, the first time science had conclusively proven that olive oil was used as a fuel, she said.

The highly prized commodity was a key ingredient of perfumes and ancient geographers noted the abundance of olive groves and copper mines in Cyprus.

"I suspect the technology came from abroad, most probably through contact with Palestine and Jordan," said Belgiorno.

Last year at the same site, Belgiorno's team found what they described as the world's most ancient perfumery, which used olive oil infused with local herbs.

The site's textile dyeing facilities also suggested Cypriots had a fashionable flair with their fabrics, using tiny veins painstakingly extracted from Mediterranean sea snails to dye their clothes indigo.

"Nobody can really speak about prehistory without mentioning Cyprus. It was a filter, it took technology from the Middle East and redistributed it to the western world," said Belgiorno.
From Huntington News comes an OpEd piece from Cicero, who seems to be having problems choosing a metaphor:

Below the Capitoline in the Roman Forum before the Curia, the assembly of the Roman Senate stands on the Rostra or Rostrum, a platform from which the leaders of Rome addressed their citizens. The Latin word rostrum means beak or ship’s prow.

When the Romans won a naval victory, they would cut off the prows of the enemy’s ships and mount them on their own ships. These prows, usually made of bronze, were the most expensive and dangerous part of the enemy’s ships. So by doing this, Romans basically believed they could reduce any potential threat from an enemy and gain some of its power. However, there were also times the Romans showed their arrogance by mounting some of the rostra for public display rather than reusing them, as Octavian did after the naval battle of Actium when he defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra.

The Roman Rostrum was also used to exhibit heads of enemies. Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138-78 BC), the uncle by marriage to Julius Caesar, and a dictator of Rome before Caesar, mounted numerous heads on the Rostrum. Obviously dictatorship does not happen overnight but develops in stages as people allow their leaders to slowly chip away their freedom, like what is happening today under the various administrations.

With military strength and petrifying tyranny, Sulla easily managed to bring the Senate and the Comitia (the people's Assembly) to pass laws that materialized his own wishes, and any individuals or groups that happened to disagree with his administration.

It may sound a bit hair-raising but the current leadership of this nation also seems to be following Sulla’s dictum, and as a result, we see disagreement with the administration more often than not leads up to disgrace and professional destruction. One does not have to look beyond the daily newspaper to see the tip of this destructive process, which was demonstrated particularly audaciously before and after the beginning of the Iraqi War, when various individuals were despoiled and in the case of various members of the military ostracized.

Even within the administration, those appointees who uttered just a few words of disagreement with the Triumvirate of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were blatantly cashiered, disgraced, thrown out in cold. Many members of the Congress also seem to bend to this form of persuasion, which all but underscores the fact that “head taking” in and out of government is still prevalent.

In the meantime, the Triumvirate continues to make serious mistakes while executing its own wish with impunity, and its sycophants in and outside of the government still shower praise on it, making believe it is doing the best for all. Such mistakes occurring both on the domestic and international fronts will inevitably be recorded in history, and hopefully the future leaders will learn something from them. But unfortunately – based on past experience – we know that history can also be disputed.

It is indeed unnerving to watch how arrogance coupled with inflexibility is leading the nation down the path of loss of freedom, economic downfall and isolation from all but a few other governmental sycophants. Indeed, our leaders have now gone so far as to labeling any country that holds a different stance from ours as a potential enemy, economic or political, unwilling to admit that they are not the sole player in the game, do not have the right answers to all questions, and that very likely only “God” is on their side.

I certainly agree that this nation does have enemies, both internal and external, but nevertheless cannot bring myself to believe that we should treat all those who hold different viewpoints from us as our enemies. It is crucial that we start to differentiate between “true” and “fictitious” enemies, that is, enemies who indeed seek our physical destruction versus those who merely disagree or compete with us economically. Like those of any nations, our leaders do have an obligation to protect our soil from any physical perils, natural or imposed by others. But as indicated by several recent incidents, this Administration apparently lacks in competence to deal with physical dangers even when forewarned, so what makes us confident that it is capable of handling threats from our “true” enemies?

In a sense, we have progressed somewhat since the time of Sulla in ancient Rome – at least we no longer take physical heads of our enemies. But in terms of inflicting disgrace and professional destruction, the current Administration who can not seem to handle natural enemies are not doing essentially anything different from what Sulla used to do, but just picking their enemies a bit more carefully by going mainly after smaller individuals, since they do not have a Rostrum that is big enough.

Instead of “taking heads,” it is perhaps advisable for the Administration to start learning how to use their “heads.”

Editor’s Note: In the 1952 movie “Five Fingers,” James Mason played the valet of the British ambassador to neutral Turkey during World War II. He was a German spy who went by the code name “Cicero.” His intelligence information – including the date of D-Day – was excellent, but fortunately for the Allies, the Germans didn’t believe him, thinking him a double agent. The film was based on real events. The alternate title of the movie is “Operation Cicero.” The Roman political figure, orator and philosopher Cicero was a champion of the traditional institutions of the Roman republic and the enemy of autocracy, including the politics of Julius Caesar and Pompey.
Discuss a memory or memories of something(s) cool you taught in a Greek/Latin/Classics class.

Teaching is the 'dirty little secret' about Classics. Anyone who has ever been in academe or frequented academic discussion groups knows the omnipresent plaints about how teaching isn't valued when it comes to tenure committees and the like. But as most anyone who has ever donned a Classicist cap -- rogue or otherwise -- teaching is one of the greatest things about Classics. The material is inherently interesting, inherently applicable (for the most part) to some modern comparandum, and inherently prone to launch you into digressions which are of interest to both you and your students. For my lectures I always had five pages of (handwritten!) notes ... I knew that they would take roughly 40 minutes and the rest I could count on filling with whatever digression the class led me to ...

At the university level, I did most of my teaching at McMaster, with a couple of stints at Brock and Wilfrid Laurier. Most of my memories -- good and bad -- come from McMaster, where the administration was very positive and encouraging and actually gave me the freedom to develop and/or put my personal stamp on a number of courses. I did teach some of the standard Roman Civ courses ... I always loved my Ben Hur lecture in which we showed the chariot scene and compared it with images from mosaics and the like. And, of course, we made a point of pointing out where Hollywood didn't quite get it right. Students always seemed to like that sort of thing. Another 'nice' moment came during the last class of 1st year Latin (you know, the old 'those who can't do, teach' thing ... now I can do, I guess) when I decided to show some images of Roman inscriptions and as a class we worked through them. Students suddenly went from the somewhat artificial world of Wheelock's sentences to the misspelled and not-always-perfect world of 'real' Latin written by 'real' people (as opposed to some famous dead guy).

Another class taught at McMaster was actually the genesis of a feature you read here daily at rogueclassicism: This Day in Ancient History. I was teaching the second-year social history class and I wanted to emphasize the 'religiosity' of the Roman people by pointing out that on practically every day of the year there was a festival or observance of some sort going on. I'd begin each class with a bit culled from Scullard or Ovid and, as the class schedule turned out, I think there were only two days in the entire term where I didn't have something to say in this regard.

As mentioned above, the administration at Mac were very supportive and gave me quite a bit of freedom when it came to developing courses. They let me put together my "Images of Claudius" course, e.g., in which we read the I, Claudius series, then compared it to Tacitus, Suetonius, and a pile of other primary material. What was unique about this class, though, was I was allowed to put a pile of the course material on the departmental website and it was among the first (if not the first) courses at McMaster to have a 'required web component'. Given my computer obsessions, they also paid to have me trained in AutoCad with an eye to developing a course called 'AutoCad for Archaeologists', which was also a bit of an innovation at the time.

Another (good) memory of teaching came when I was in teacher's college. I was doing a practice teaching round at a school in Ancaster (and it was a great experience) and one of the Grade Eight teachers found out I had all these degrees in Classics. They were just starting a unit on Shakespeare's Tony and Cleo, and the teacher asked me if I wanted to give the students an intro to Roman life and culture -- of course I did. I yakked for close to two hours off the top of my head, just answering questions about everything they wanted to know about (most if it was about gladiators and chariot racing but they were also fascinated to learn about what kids their age would have been doing). Somewhat similarly, at the school I'm currently at, a teacher was away and there was no supply so we had to use our planning times to cover for the teacher. As it happened, the teacher was teaching the Ancient Civilization curriculum and the students were doing some math in Roman numerals. By the time I got to the class, though, most of them were finished (or close to it) so I had to fill some time. That class (which I think is this year's Grade Eights) learned all sorts of handy phrases in Latin. It was kind of fun.

That said, I can't help but relate the one bad memory I have of teaching at the university level. I was teaching a Classical Civ course at Mac (I think I was Classical Civ) and the class was in a room designed for projection. The teacher (i.e. me) had a desk and overhead projector on a stage that was roughly four feet off the ground. The desk had a sort of 'pop up' lectern built into it. A big screen loomed behind. Students sat 'theatre' style. A great room for teaching and one which I had taught many a class in. Well, class is starting, so I fire up the overhead projector ... the bulb blew. Fortunately, every projector at McMaster had a spare bulb attached to it, so I changed the bulb. The second bulb blew too. Okay, no problem, we'll just have to improvise tonight ladies and gentlemen. I put the lectern up and start lecturing. About five minutes in, the lectern collapses and nearly emasculates me in the process. To make matters worse, the momentum of the lectern slamming down caused the whole desk to flip right off the stage and land just a few feet from quite a few startled folks in the front row. As a group we decided the gods didn't want us to lecture that night, so we all went for coffee instead.

Despite this, I think that teaching Classics was possibly the most rewarding/fulfilling thing I've ever done. It is one of the things I miss most about academe. I honestly don't think there are other subjects at the university level which offer the *teacher* so many opportunities to learn themselves and digress where necessary (as opposed to say, 'teaching the party line' or whatever).
Maximo periclo custoditur quod multis placet.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 326)

What is pleasing to many is guarded at great risk.

(pron = MAHK-sih-moh peh-RIK-loh coos-toh-DIH-toor kwod MOOL-tees PLAH-ket)

Comment: Like other collections of proverbs, the sayings of Publilius Syrus
don't offer much context for understanding. They may, in some way, be taken as
popularly understood sayings of his day, and so local culture supplies context.
That allows such proverbs to be understood in different ways over time.

This particular saying is preceeded by one that seems to be in contrast to it,
and so that, to me, offers a way to reflect on its possible meaning. The
preceeding proverb says: "It is an evil pleasure to become accustomed to what
is strange." Then: "What is pleasing to many is guarded with great danger/at
great risk."

What he seems to be saying is that we should avoid anything that is new or
different from what we already know, and defend to the point of great danger
those things that are already important to us. It is a conservative policy.

To the frightened individual, this must sound very plausible. It was a way of
thinking, though, that urged the Old South to enact Jim Crowe laws, that urged
Fascists in Italy and Nazis in Germany to try and "clean out" those perceived
to be "alien" from Europe. It allows Americans right now to simultaneously
complain about illegal immigrants, pass legislation that would make it
impossible for children of such aliens to go to school or get medical care and
at the same time enjoy the less expsensive services of the same illegal
immigrants who do manual labor that they (said Americans) do not wish to
perform. We want to frown on what is "alien" and defend what we already enjoy.

Imagine this "wisdom" in the hands of medical researchers? Imagine telling this
to Gallileo or Columbus or Signers of the Declaration of Independence. King
George was just avoiding something new and different, and defending with great
danger what he already enjoyed!

Don't give any attention to what is new, different or strange, but defend with
every last resource you have what you already enjoy. This is wisdom for the
frightened, and it will never anticipate what happens the day when one becomes
the stranger, the alien, the one on the outside looking in in need of someone
to notice one's plight.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem viii idus martias

Festival of Mars continues (day 8)

305 A.D. -- martyrdom of Philemon and companions

1757 - death of Thomas Blackwell (Classical scholar)
complacent @

perambulate @ [a friend of mine once walked through a patio door ... I've often wondered whether that was technically perambulation or defenestration]

divinate @ Worthless Word for the Day

advocate @ Merriam-Webster [but they don't mention Latin!!!]
Olympia hiberna finita

Olympia hiberna anni bis millesimi sexti finita sunt. Conclusio ludorum vespere diei Dominici in stadio Olympico Taurinorum multis cum caerimoniis et spectaculis celebrabatur.

Burgimagister Taurinensis vexillum Olympicum collegae suo Vancuveriensi tradidit, nam proxima sive XXI Olympia hiberna Vancuveriae, in urbe Canadae occidentalis, anno bis millesimo decimo fient.

Ultimum Olympiorum certamen fuit ludus hoccei glacialis, in quo greges Finnorum et Suetorum conflixerunt. Finnorum grex, qui in his Olympiis omnes adversarios, ut Russos, Americanos Canadensesque vicerat, in finali certamine acerbissimam cladem accepit, cum a Suetis punctis tria ad duo superatus est.

Quod certamen circiter duo miliones quadringenta milia Finnorum per televisionem spectabant, nam in ludo hocceio fuit ultima spes nomismatis aurei, quod athletae Finni in his Olympiis non obtinuerant.

Consecuti tamen sunt sex nomismata argentea et tria aenea. Plurimas victorias reportaverunt Germani, Austriaci, Americani.

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

[how does one say "sucked", as in Team Canada's performance in hockey, in Latin?]
Somewhat quiet morning ... or maybe not ...

Laudator has a bunch of Gibberish ...

Hobbyblog has a very nice Republican issue with a somewhat mysterious image associated with the Cloulius family ...

NSG at found an article which my own spiders missed on the utility of Classics degrees (at least in the UK) ...

At Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, PH posts again on associations and Roman Law (a very interesting post ... the idea that laws were not as consistent as our ingrained scholarly assumptions suggest was also a point I made in my ill-fated dissertation in regards to "legislation" on the marriage of soldiers; some day I'll write that one up too)

Roman History Books has some stuff about Sulla in Opera ...

Sauvage Noble posts his second installment for NLTRW (mine was posted last night -- see below ... another will come this evening)

Over at Campus Mawrtius, there are examples of fifth-foot spondees in Prudentius ...

Ancient Coins ponders Cultural Property Law ...

Some interesting papers-in-progress for January have appeared at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics site ...

JM alerts us to an interesting-looking article in Astronomy and Geophysics ... alas, just an abstract online, but possibly worth tracking down: Ioannis Liritzis and Helen Vassiliou, "Were Greek temples oriented towards aurorae?"

More quotes at Sympotica Graecolatina ...

New computer game (I assume ... the platform isn't specified) announced: Glory of the Roman Empire

Elsewhere, the Stoa points us to an interesting blogpost at Infocult on trying to learn from podcasts ... what I find interesting about this is the apparent changing paradigm of 'learning' (that isn't so much of a change) -- the need/ability for the student to immediately respond to what is being presented ...

Also elsewhere, Codex posts a warning about bad Hebrew Tattoos (i.e. with errors in them) ... it includes photos ... if folks are aware of bad Latin or Greek tattoos, perhaps they could send them along and I'll do a similar type post ...
The Advertiser has a feature on Bettany Hughes:

BETTANY Hughes could feel a bit prickly about being introduced as "the Nigella Lawson of history". She has decided not to. She has decided to take it as it is meant, as a compliment.

"The feminist in me told me I should get upset about it," says Britain's glamour historian at Writers' Week.

"But when I sat down and thought about it, well, the fact is that Nigella is a very intelligent woman. She is very good at what she does. She has made a great success in communicating her passion for a certain subject to a wider audience and, in fact, she is quite similar to me and what I like to do.

"And I am lucky to have hit a time when people have realised how important the past is."

Bettany Hughes, 38, has become the new television face of history. As a specialist in ancient history with a lively tome on Helen of Troy just out on the shelves, she has been making history documentaries for the BBC - on the Spartans, the Minoans and, most recently, Helen of Troy.

There's a small thrill of spite in her television success. Hughes loves to relate the tale of when, fresh out of Oxford with a BA MA Hons in Ancient and Modern History, she approached a television executive with a proposal for history documentaries.

His response was: "One. Nobody is interested in history. Two. Nobody watches history programs. Three. Nobody wants to be lectured by a woman, especially a lovely, pretty woman like you."

"And then he put his hand on my knee," she says.

It was television from which Hughes's history passion arose - she recalls, aged only four, the epiphany of realising from a program on Tutankhamen that "princes and golden tombs were not fairy stories but reality".

And she sat down to write about Tutankhamen. Her first book, aged four. "Ever since, I have been totally in love with history and research," she says.

Her instinct for performance Hughes attributes to her father, actor Peter Hughes - "he's not famous but he crops up on screen a lot".

"My brother, Simon Hughes, was a cricketer for Middlesex and now does the cricket commentary," she says. "It is interesting that we both ended up being specialists and taking our specialties to television."

Hughes says she has "the perfect life" in being able to continue researching history, often in the landscape. She has just followed the footsteps of Helen of Troy through Turkey, Greece, Italy and Sicily.

"Sometimes I take my children on these trips," she adds.

Hughes is married to arts producer Adrian Evans, director of the Southbank Festival in London, and they have daughters Sorrel, 9, and May, 5. Her book on Helen of Troy has been 15 years in part-time research and, declares Bettany with incredulity, "it is the first book on Helen of Troy ever written".

It is deliberately light with short chapters because, "as a working mum", Hughes is very aware of the time constraints many have for the pleasure of reading. "You can read a chapter and go off and do the washing," she says. "As a woman, I know about multitasking."

She has been doing books tours and writers' events and on this, her first visit to Australia, she effuses with praise about how well organised is the Festival Writers' Week.

Hughes is not mixing in on the debates about Australian history at Writers' Week, but says she is most impressed by the way the event encourages debate and intelligent participation from audiences.

The Australians she met as a girl were all cricketers.

Discussing history's application to politics at Writers' Week, Hughes advised politicians of the moment that the best way to solve problems was "by looking at the problems of civilisations of the past".

"George Bush, with Iraq, had clearly never opened a history book because if he had, he would realise he had to treat the Middle East with foreknowledge. You simply cannot blunder in and expect it to work. If you look at a map, the boundaries in Europe are all wiggly. In the Middle East, they are straight lines because they are entirely a construct made by the British and the French. That is what you have to realise you are inheriting. All our great leaders should pay a lot more attention to the lessons of history.

"The journey of humanity through time is important in learning how to live our lives today."
Here's what Robert Greene did with his ... from the Advance Titan:

From a UW-Madison graduate in classical studies to consultant of some of the wealthiest corporations in America for leadership skills, Robert Greene is not the typical image of a strategist. However, once one reads any of his books, which now include “The 33 Strategies of War,” one will soon think differently.

Greene has done it again by publishing a sure-to-be classic book on war. His book draws upon the great strategists of the past, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz, Napoleon to Hannibal and a host of other lesser-known but equally valuable contributors..

Greene’s premise for the book is that even though our society is becoming less overtly war-like on the whole, daily interactions are mini-stages of warfare whose resolution comes largely through strategy.

Greene formulates this as: “The problem for us is that we are trained and prepared for peace, and we are not prepared for what confronts us in the real world – war.”

While “War” concentrates on the strategic element of the “real world,” his previous books contain significant overlap to this idea. Greene’s “The Art of Seduction” compares seduction to a campaign of small battles, and “The 48 Laws of Power” dealt with the common elements in both of the other works under the auspices of power – power to seduce, make critical decisions and adopt strategies to overwhelm your target.

“33 Strategies of War” thus completes a trinity of useful topics applicable to the seducer, strategist, charismatic and all those interested in the workings of power and self-improvement.

Greene’s book sets itself apart from the host of books on self-improvement by using educated, classic examples to illustrate the principles discussed, thus educating the reader in the principles and colorful history from the past. He has taken the useful strategy Dale Carnegie used in his books such as “How to win Friends and Influence People” that made it a perennial work as readable today as when it was first published, modernized and made interesting for reader. One hopes Greene’s books get it as much field testing as Carnegie’s.

Much of what characterizes Greene’s writing is its clarity and ability to deal with ideas in a very readable, memorable fashion.

He is able to take the essence of many classical texts on the subject and distill them into a more palatable form to read than the original.

The usefulness of his book doesn’t stop at his brevity, but can also be used as a touchstone to discovering the original texts to get their personal voice instead of the morsels that Greene intersperses in his text from chapter to chapter.

Greene divides the book’s contents into five parts which cover self-directed, organization, defensive, offensive and unconventional (dirty) warfare, each of which is composed of several chapters on specific strategies that would fall under the heading.

Each chapter is structured so that the principle is clearly stated at the beginning, like showing failure from ignorance. He then provides several examples of how the strategy works in real life through historic situations. Each chapter then finishes with a visual and textual memory device and a brief discussion of the strategy’s reversal.

“The 33 Strategies of War” is worth every penny you spend on it since it illustrates better ways to deal with everyday life, the accumulation of leadership skills essential to leading others, and its rich history packaged in an entertaining and educational form leading readers to what is best in life – according to Conan the barbarian: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.”
Discuss a memory or memories of something(s) cool you learned in a Greek/Latin/Classics class.

This was a tough one -- especially on the Greek and Latin side. Greek and Latin did not come 'easily' for me (still don't if I'm not well-caffeinated; I can't do languages first thing in the a.m.) so a lot of the time (especially in first year) I was struggling just to grasp the languages and wasn't cognizant of anything 'cool'. After the first year stuff, we went into Virgil -- I found the Aeneid dull at the time, but love it now. I'm still not a big fan of the Eclogues or Georgics. The 'cool' did come, however, later on when we started dipping our collective brains into Catullus and started thinking about things like what Lesbia's sparrow really represented. Then later (at Queen's), when I still was struggling with Latin, it was amazing to sit in Ross Kilpatrick's class reading Horace's Satires and Epistles and pondering how they provided pretty good guidelines for 'how man should live' today. And we could all identify with poor Horace when he had to deal with that guy in Satire 1.9. What I mostly remember, though, about all the Latin and Greek classes at Queen's was how talented all the undergrads were at translating -- grads and undergrads sat in the same classes but had different 'expectations' (I suppose that's the word). I often wonder what happened to all of them (and my fellow grad students -- I know that at least one went on to pursue another degree and is at some university in the U.S.). The other thing I remember about Latin at Queen's was Dr. Kilpatrick's tests -- we'd be in the room writing the exam, and he'd come in and write more questions on the board! He was (in)famous for that, but they were good tests.

On the Classics side of things, there were just too many cool things to mention -- they are, of course, the main reasons I pursued the degree(s). I remember Dr. Heckel talking about the Odyssey (this was a first year course ... I took it after the second year course, oddly enough) and part way through the lecture he says, "Hold on" and he ran down the hall. We were all wondering what the heck was going on, of course, then he reappeared with this giant eye pasted to the middle of his forehead and told us the story of the Cyclops! I also remember one of Heckel's exams -- this was for his Alexander the Great course and he gave us a copy of something which was supposedly found left behind in a washroom somewhere (it was actually a translation of the Metz Epitome) and we had to do all the source criticism stuff on it and figure out what its sources were etc.. It was a take home exam and was probably one of the most unique learning experiences I ever had in university (yes, I learned from the exam). Another cool memory was writing a paper implicating Claudius in Caligula's murder (for John Humphrey ... this was before Barbara Levick's book came out) and being told it was the best undergrad paper he had read -- that was pretty heady stuff for a guy trying to get into law school.
Fortibus est fortuna viris data.
(Ennius, Annales 247)

Fortuna has been given to brave men.

(pron = FOHR-tih-boos ehst fohr-TOO-nah WEE-rees DAH-tah)

Comment: My source says that this comes from Ennius' Annales 247. Another says
that it is 257. I can find it as neither in the only text I have of Ennius.
With that disclaimer, let me note that Ennius holds the position as the
acclaimed "father of Latin poetry" and this particular work, the Annales, is an
epic poem of the history of Rome focusing on Aeneas. Most people are more
familiar with the same kind of work known as The Aeneid written by a later poet
of the Empire, Vergil.

That context is important. An epic writer would indeed want to affirm that
heroes are those men who are brave, and to the brave who will do epic kinds of
things, Fortune gives double portions of herself. This makes sense in a world
view where heroes manifest as those famous few who belong to a community,
through whom the community lives and has claim to fame. In other words,
through their heroes, communities establish a self-understanding. The gods

Those kinds of heroes are fine for epic understandings, for metaphorical meaning
both for a community and for individuals who are asking themselves "whom am I".
It becomes burdensome, even deceiving and dangerous, when these kinds of stories
are taken literally. These days, communities don't understand themselves
through heroes so much anymore. However, the practice does still survive--the
practice of trying to gather meaning through a life story--in the way that
parents often try to craft meaning for themselves out of their children's
lives. As I see it, there is a very important, even dangerous, fine line to
walk here.

If parents can look at their children as reflections of stories and meanings
that they need to work on IN THEMSELVES, then the work can be powerful,
healing, and lifegiving. If, however, parents look at their children as
literal stories to be shaped and crafted IN ORDER TO gather meaning for
themselves, then this work becomes oppressive and destructive for the child as
he/she tries to grow and become him/herself. It becomes simply dishonest for
the parent. We are not our children. Our children are not the source of
meaning for our lives. Their successes and failures are not ours.

Fortune? It is given to the brave. And the brave are those who cultivate
meaning out of the center of their own lives. No greater bravery is required
than when we look at ourselves, and journey into the mystery of who we are.

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

Festival of Mars continues (day 7)

rites at the temple of Vediovis on the Capitoline

322 B.C. -- death of Aristotle (maybe)

149 A.D. -- birth of a daughter, Lucilla, to the emperor Marcus Aurelius

161 A.D. -- death of Antoninus Pius; dies imperii of Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius

203 A.D.-- martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity
expropriate @

sesquipedalophobia @ Worthless Word for the Day (it's gotta be)

derogate @ Merriam-Webster
Leones in Africa interituri

Nisi quid remedii quam primum inventum erit, leones proximo decennio in Africa omnino exstirpabuntur.

Sunday Times, acta Africae Meridianae, rettulerunt numerum leonum ex ducentis milibus in triginta milia proximis viginti annis deminutum esse.

Quod factum esse imprimis in Angola, Sambia, Zimbabuia, Botsuana. Exempli gratia ex centum tribus catulis leoninis, natis his sex annis apud fauces Okavango fluminis Botsuanae, hodie tantum decem superstites restare dicuntur.

Numerus leonum deminuitur morbis atque variis hominum actionibus et conflictationibus, quibus spatium vivendi animalium coartatur et circumscribitur.

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

For more news in Latin, there's Ephemeris : Sodalem Milosevic manu suapte sibi mortem conscivisse
Strolling down the midway ...

AM has his first installment for NLTRW (that's National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week, in case I never made that clear) ... [my own contribution for day 2 will come later today]

N.S. Gill gathers together various tales on the founding of Rome ...

Hobbyblog posts an AE21 from Miletus ...

Memorabilia Antonina responds to a review of one of AK's works ...

Eric over at Campus Mawrtius tells us all about the camleopard ...

The TOC for the March issue of Antiquity is now online, with some items of interest to Classicists ...

The AudioStoa has a couple more chapters of Epictetus for your aural pleasure ...

Tropaion points us to an online version of Mikalson, Jon D. Religion in Hellenistic Athens.

A 'new' online book at the Baldwin Project: Alfred John Church, A Young Macedonian in the Army of Alexander the Great

Jennifer Romanic (from the Latinteach list) has posted her list of 'Best Picture' winners translated into Latin (it's set up as a translation/roman numeral exercise) ...

I came across this very useful guide to abbreviations you see in the Apparatus to a Classical Text (print this out grads!)
From BMCR:

The Royal Shakespeare Company, The War That Still Goes On.

A.F. Garvie, The Plays of Sophocles.

From the Post and Courier:

Norman F. Cantor, Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth

From Newsday:

Cathy Gere, The Tomb of Agamemnon and William J. Broad, The Lost Secrets and Hidden Message of Ancient Delphi
Tis the season, I guess ... first we get word of an image of Jesus appearing in a 'decoration' in a church in P.E.I. (haven't been able to find a photo of this one yet) ... further south, a woman claims to have an image of Mary and Jesus in a rock she found in Tennessee (and it's not for sale!) ... there is a photo, but I don't quite see the image myself.
From the New York Times:

Machteld J. Mellink, an archaeologist and authority on ancient sites in Turkey, who became a forceful voice for ending the international trafficking of looted antiquities, died on Feb. 23 in an assisted-living home in Haverford, Pa. She was 88.

Dr. Mellink's death was announced by Bryn Mawr College, where she taught in the department of classical and Near Eastern archaeology for five decades.

In scholarship that bridged Greek and eastern Mediterranean cultures, Dr. Mellink helped excavate sites in central and southeastern Turkey and reported on archaeological finds throughout the country, in the wider region known as Anatolia.

In the 1960's, she was an early explorer of the Elmali plain, where she and others unearthed two tombs with vivid interior paintings of hunting and domestic scenes that have been dated to the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. The rich finds of the area quickly became targets of looters, prompting Dr. Mellink to plead for a halt to a "subversive assault upon the antiquities of Anatolia by ignorance and greed."

In 1968, she wrote in The American Journal of Archaeology, "International legal action is needed because technical progress and the 'archaeology explosion' will destroy a major part of the ancient record in a frightening tempo."

The Elmali tombs were subsequently protected and, in the 1970's, Unesco and other organizations took steps to regulate the traffic of ancient artifacts worldwide.

Earlier, Dr. Mellink participated in digs near Tarsus, on the Mediterranean coast, and Gordion, near Ankara, in central Turkey. She wrote monographs on the Neolithic pottery uncovered at Tarsus and the University of Pennsylvania's excavation of a Hittite cemetery at Gordion.

James C. Wright, chairman of Bryn Mawr's department of classical and Near Eastern archaeology, said Dr. Mellink became known for her "integrated and holistic approach to the larger classical world and the ancient Near East, and was able to make connections between cultures that were widely separated, and show they were actually in contact with each other."

From 1955 to 1994, Dr. Mellink chronicled those connections and developments at many Turkish excavations, also in The American Journal of Archaeology. The notes became an annual and authoritative account of research advances in Asia Minor, said Jayne L. Warner, an archaeologist with the Institute for Aegean Prehistory in Greenwich, Conn.

Late in her career, Dr. Mellink turned her attention to the Trojan War and Troy, Dr. Warner said, "as a site that everybody in the field eventually thinks about, a site of monumental architecture that links the Aegean and central Anatolia."

Machteld Johanna Mellink was born in Amsterdam. She received her doctorate from the University of Utrecht in 1943.

She arrived at Bryn Mawr in 1949, became an associate professor of classical archaeology in 1953 and was appointed chairman of the archaeology department in 1955, a position she held until 1983. She retired in 1988.

From 1980 to 1984, Dr. Mellink was president of the Archaeological Institute of America.

She was also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1991, the archaeological institute gave her its Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement.

She is survived by a sister, Dr. Johanna Pel-Mellink of the Netherlands; and by nieces and nephews.
From Zaman comes word of a different attitude towards this 'return of the altar of Pergamum' thing that has been percolating in the Turkish press for a week or so:

The Turkish Culture Ministry will erect a replica of the Bergama (ancient Pergamum or Pergamon) Zeus Altar, which is now on display in the Berlin Pergamon Museum, and attach a sign indicating the original is held in Berlin.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc told The New Anatolian that he is deeply saddened about the artifacts lost by being smuggled out of Turkey and that their return must not be compromised.

Koc informed Turkey signed a related international agreement, but does not work retroactively. "There is no chance of having the altar returned from Germany, because we have no legal right. But now we have a new project. The exact copies (replicas) of those historical artifacts will be built on the original sites. We will erect signs that read for example, 'The original of this replica is now in the Berlin Museum."

Koc said they will meet with foreign authorities and suggest similar signs attached to the original artifacts in their museums; for the Bergama Altar a notice for example, it should read, "This altar was brought here from Bergama, Turkey."

The Zeus Altar was built in the third century B.C. by the founder of Antalya (ancient Attaleia) Attalos to commemorate the victory over the Galatians.

The engravings and motifs on the Zeus Altar are renowned as the masterpiece of the Hellenistic world.

Germans began excavations to find the artifacts in Bergama between 1878 and 1886.

The excavations conducted by a German archeology group led by Carl Humman discovered the legendary altar.

The Ottoman administration presented the Zeus Altar and many other artifacts to the German Empire.

Many archeologists believe Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II saved numerous priceless artifacts by sending them abroad.
There are various versions of this one filling my mailbox ... this one is the incipit of a piece in the Times:

VESUVIUS, the volcano that obliterated Pompeii in AD79, has the capacity to make that event look like a sideshow, volcanologists have found.

Nearly 4,000 years ago it erupted far more violently, destroying the area of present-day Naples and sending a Bronze Age population fleeing for their lives.

Michael Sheridan, of the University of Buffalo, and a group of Italian colleagues investigated the remains of the eruption, called the Avellino catastrophe after a village that bore the brunt of it.

They studied the well-preserved remains of Nola, another village about ten miles (16 km) northeast of Vesuvius, where volcanic deposits overwhelmed the settlement 3,780 years ago. They also found evidence that thousands of people fled as the eruption began, leaving footprints solidified in cooling ash.

Most apparently escaped. Close to Nola the scientists found skeletons of a man and a woman under a metre-deep bed of volcanic debris. The ground was littered with fragments of rock up to 4 in (11 cm) in diameter that showered down at 150 mph in a lethal hailstorm.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team say that before the eruption the population of the area would have been low — only a few tens of thousands, compared with today’s millions. The fact that thousands of paths can be traced in the ash, all travelling north-northwest away from the eruption, indicates that most had time to make an escape.

Some people returned later and tried to set up settlements again, but the lack of archaeological evidence indicates that they failed, and that the land proved to be uninhabitable for hundreds of years.

A similar eruption today would bring extreme devastation, extending into the densely populated areas of Naples, according to the team. Within the city, they report, there is a bed of ash up to 9 ft (3m) deep, the result of the eruption 4,000 years ago.

Computer modelling shows that the same event today would be capable of overrunning Naples and causing total devastation in a region up to eight miles from Vesuvius.

... more. I'll gather all the versions in this weekend's Explorator, of course ...
I wasn't going to include this bit from the Sofia News Agency, since the mention is so very passing, but I can't help but wonder:

Customs officers from the Danube Bridge checkpoint prevented an attempt to smuggle antiques out of Bulgaria on Sunday. Among the precious pieces they discovered an officer's sabre from the nineteenth century, a medieval sword, Roman metal spear gads as old as the second century A.D. and other items. All the items were discovered in a truck traveling from Bulgaria to Germany. The truck that had German license plates was transporting textile fabrics.

... what are 'spear gads'?
Est pueris carus qui non est doctor amarus.

He is dear to children who is not an unpleasant teacher.

(pron = ehst poo-EHR-ees KAH-roos kwee nohn ehst DOHK-tohr ah-MAH-roos)

Comment: This is not a difficult concept, but sad to say, not all teachers
necessarily feel this way. I was advised by more than one older teacher when I
began teaching "not to smile until Thanksgiving". Their concern was that if I
come across as friendly "they will take advantage of you." Their advice,
however, seemed to be that by not smiling, I could take advantage of my
students' inability to figure me out for at least a few months. The
arrangement was adversarial at best.

Teaching, though, is not an arrangement. Teaching and learning comprise a
relationship. The Latin word "amarus" can be translated "bitter", or "shrill".
Those are much better images. Who wants to spend time with a bitter or shrill
person? And in the context of learning, if students don't want to be in my
room, it matters little what I am teaching.

Larger than teaching, this proverb suggests that any person is dear to others
who is not unpleasant to be with.

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

Festival of Mars (day 6)

12 B.C. -- Augustus becomes pontifex maximus

ca. 251 A.D. -- martyrdom of Conon in Pamphylia
epistolary @

countermand @

ekistics @ Worthless Word for the Day

clerisy @ Wordsmith

saltation @ Merriam-Webster
Running a bit late this a.m. ... there's not much news and not much going on in the Classical blogosphere either, it seems:

Over at Laudator, MG adds some useful ancillary material to my suggestion a few days ago on the 'assisted vomiting' image he had presented (the conversation about this on the Classics list appears, alas, to be over) ... there's a paper in this I think.

Meanwhile, over at Curculio, MH adds some commentary to MG's Rabelais post from the other day ...

Hobbyblog offers a Valerian Venus Victrix ... (say that ten times quickly!)

Sauvage Noble kicks off National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week with a Prolegomena of interest ... (my first contribution to the 'Carnival' is below, by the way)

Forgot to mention Father Foster's latest yesterday ... The visit of Benedict XVI to Vatican Radio provides his very own Latinist with a welcome opportunity to share with us scholarly knowledge of the universal language of the Catholic Church. As used in that first inaugural speech broadcast by Pius XI seventy five years ago!
[This is the first installment of my responses to AM's suggested questions for National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week]

How did you get started in Greek/Latin/Classics? What influenced you to pursue more than one course?

I came to Classics rather late (comparatively speaking) ... All through high school I had intended to go into the sciences, but had kept my options open by taking courses rather than 'spares' whenever possible -- none of those courses had anything to do with Latin or Ancient History. Indeed, the only real exposure I had to the ancient world had been back in Grade Six when we did a unit on Ancient Greece. I still remember tracing a picture of some Greek kid doing the long jump with those weights in his hand and thinking a) how stupid it was and b) how physically impossible it would be for him to jump in the position depicted (both arms and legs were going impossibly forward). During that unit, coincidentally, I fell from the top of the rope ladder during a physed test and mashed my leg up badly -- I got right up (trying desperately not to cry in front of my friends of course), and the teacher (after checking that I hadn't broken anything) decided to turn that into a teaching moment about the toughness of Spartan kiddies. But I digress ... by the time I was done Grade 12, I basically had enough credits in everything to get into practically anything I wanted in university ... the University of Calgary considered first year to be a sort of 'feeling out' year anyway, so one could keep one's options open there too.

I had grand ideas of going into law, so I initially entered university with the idea of taking Political Science. As I worked through various courses, however, I became fascinated with the idea that the political thought I was studying actually had some 'history' behind it and I enrolled in some history courses which had a political bent. As I took those, I learned that there were things that had 'gone before' in the ancient world, so I started thinking about taking an ancient history course. By this time, though, it was the end of the first year and you had to declare a major, so I declared History.

I decided to take a Classics course over the summer -- an Ancient History course would count towards my History credits -- and I somewhat naively took a second year Greek History course with Waldemar Heckel. Even though I performed miserably in that class, it did sort of presage everything which I have found is attractive about Classics. Heckel was (and still is, I assume) an excellent professor whose knowledge of 'broad issues' beyond Classics was impressive. As I took more courses, I found that without exception, the men and women who were teaching Classics were 'different' from the other profs I had. Sure, they had their eccentricities, but they were all excellent teachers. You always had the impression that they felt what they were teaching was important for you to know, even if you didn't realize it. I didn't get that impression from most of my History profs, although I remained a History major for a while. I certainly didn't get that from my Poli Sci profs (who are mostly known now as the 'Calgary School' and are lumped in with Leo Strauss). The Classics profs also would make appearances in the student lounge and would actually stop and chat about things which weren't necessarily connected to Classics, but connections could be found -- I think I could count on one hand the number of appearances a History prof made in the History lounge.

Outside of the teachers, what REALLY hooked me into Classics were the readily-available primary sources. Almost all the reading involved reading (in translation, of course) someone who had written thousands of years ago and it was supremely fascinating to see people labelled as 'historians' who were engaging in presentations which we might more associate with the National Enquirer or some other tabloid. It was even more fascinating to learn the techniques of determining what could be trusted and what couldn't, and how taking snippets from three or four different authors could be used to confirm or deny an argument.

As might be suspected, reading those authors in translation eventually led to a desire to read them in their original language, and so I took some Latin courses (from John Yardley and John Humphrey), and tried some Greek too. I wasn't a prodigy -- or anything approaching stellar -- at languages (especially Greek), but I did plug along. Whatever the case, by the time I was in fourth year, I had a double major -- History and Classical History and Civilization -- and it was time to apply to law school. I didn't get accepted, while many of my colleagues with similar marks and LSAT scores did (they had different chromosomes and 'connections' to the legal community). I decided to try another year at the U of C, and figured out I could get a degree after in Latin if I took a couple semester's worth of courses. So I did. I tried applying to law again and again was shut out, so I decided to apply to grad school. I was accepted at Queen's, took an MA and also met my future wife. Subsequently I was accepted at McMaster where I did all the coursework for my Ph.D., as well as three or four chapters of the dissertation, but realized -- after having two kids -- that if Classics were going to support my family, I probably wouldn't be in the same city as them. Spinoff events from an incident on the Classics list also suggested a level of politics going on in the 'background' that I didn't really want to be a part of. So I had to make the difficult decision to go to Teacher's College and get a B.Ed. and 'leave' my beloved Classics.

Of course, I didn't really leave. I thought I might find a gig teaching Latin somewhere. But here's where 'politics' got into the mix again. I entered Teacher's College (at Brock University) at the time when the Ontario government was imposing the College of Teachers as an overseeing organization on the teachers in the province. The way they had set themselves up, if you were in Teacher's College, you had to declare a 'teachable' subject. Those 'teachables' were based largely on the 'new curriculum' documents which were in the process of being created. If you wanted to teach in high school (where Latin was), you had to have two 'teachables' -- a certain number of courses in a particular subject area. Imagine my shock/horror when I learned that all my Classics courses did not count for anything. Nor did my PoliSci courses. Nor did my Latin. Nor did my Greek. Not one of them was considered 'teachable'. The only thing I had that was teachable was history. One teachable, though, meant that you could only declare elementary/middle school.

Man was I miffed! I was even more miffed the next year when Latin and Classics WERE declared teachables by the College of Teachers. Of course, being a bureaucracy, they would not allow me to retroactively declare the teachable unless I took more courses. I already had a job, though, so I never went down that path. Ironically, the first job I was offered was actually in a High School -- teaching Calculus! (That shows you how important -- not -- the 'teachable' subject actually was).

Whatever the case, throughout all this I maintained my Classics connection -- it was clearly part of me. I was still an obnoxious presence on the Classics list and was putting out my AWOTV listings and Explorator. Of course, I eventually got this blog going too. Classics is kind of like chronic fatigue ... once it's in you, you never really can get rid of it. If you forget about it for a day or two, you will definitely have a flare up when you least expect it.
Interesting item from AFP (via Yahoo):

Archaeologists carrying out conservation work on Greece's most prized monument have hit on a new extreme sport, one unlikely to feature in visitor tours anytime soon - rappelling down the walls of the Acropolis, the ancient citadel overlooking Athens.

Part of an operation to determine the condition of the walls -- which are over 2,300 years old -- the stunt teamed up conservation experts with veteran mountaineers enlisted to place electrode sensors onto the citadel's southern side, a senior archaeologist said Sunday.

Maria Ioannidou, the senior archeologist in charge of conservation work on the Acropolis, said the sensor readings would be used to compile a geological scan of the walls, and detect possible damage caused by centuries of soil erosion and water seepage.

"The original surface of the citadel was much higher, what we see today is the result of several excavations," Ioannidou told AFP. "As a result, there is the possibility of water seeping into the walls. But there is no reason for concern, we are just inspecting the wall's condition at this stage," she added.

The climb down the 18-metre (59-foot) southern wall was completed last week, with assistance from Greek mountaineers Michalis Styllas and Vassilis Naxakis, who were brought in by the geophysics department of the Salonika-based Aristotelio University.

Styllas was part of a Greek team that placed the flag of the Athens 2004 Olympics at the summit of
Mount Everest in May 2004.

"We had to place the electrodes properly," he told NET state television. "I'm really curious to see the results."

This is the first time that archaeologists will have access to a vertical reading of the Acropolis walls, as all past scans were conducted on the citadel's surface, Ioannidou said.
The old midway be crowded this weekend:

Another new blog: Ancient Coins is a venue for the thoughts of an ancient coin dealer on matters relating to his profession ...

A pile of posts have appeared at Classics in Contemporary Culture ... (MH always finds the stuff I miss!)

Some interesting zeugmata over at pro magistris ...

Roman History books has a feature on Sulla ... and another on Mommsen ...'s N.S. Gill tells us all about Perpetua ...

Sympotica graecolatina continues with the convivial quotes ...

A number of interesting posts pertaining to Greek Religion over at Tropaion ...

MG over at Laudator finds a Classical source for a word which didn't make the cut in my weekday Classical Words of the Day feature ... there's an interesting bit on Rabelais and Pliny too ...

A trio of posts by Eric and Dennis on various matters over at Campus Mawrtius ...

Memorabilia Antonina has a bit on John Barton's take on Thucydides ...

Another source for Plutarch texts online is at Stark Realities (scroll down a bit) ...

The TOC for Classical Quarterly 55.2 is available (as are the articles, to those who subscribe) ...

Ditto for Classical Review 55.2 ...

Some reviews of interest, perhaps, in the latest Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences ...

Issue 8.45 of Explorator has been posted at Classics Central ... AWOTV listings will come later today (gotta finish report cards!)

Profs will probably want to be aware of the study guide (and essays) for Medea at Bookrags ...

There's also some excerpts (?) from Winnie Ille Pu online ....
Dies Kalevalensis

Pridie Kalendas Martias dies Kalevalensis in Finnia celebratus est. Illo enim die, anno millesimo octingentesimo tricesimo quinto, Elias Lönnrot, auctor operis Kalevalae, prologum primae editionis subscripsit.

Kalevala, carmen epicum nationis Finnorum, est fabula de deis et heroibus, quae originem in carminibus popularibus habet.

Carmina, quae Lönnrot compluribus itineribus factis collegit, in disco compacto Kalevala Canora intitulato etiam Latine hodie auscultari possunt.

Textus carminum, qui in illo disco melodiis translaticiis ab optimis huius generis expertis Latine canuntur, excerpti sunt ex versione operis Latina, quae anno millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo sexto primum divulgata est.

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

More news in Latin at Ephemeris : Italiae detrimenta colonici aevi Libyae sarcienda esse

And on the Greek side of things, there's Akropolis World News: Russia wants Hamas to accept Israel - Bush signs nuclear agreement with India
From BMCR:

Laurent Pernot, Rhetoric in Antiquity. Translated by W.E. Higgins.

Karina Ukleja, Der Delos-Hymnus des Kallimachos innerhalb seines Hymnensextetts. Orbis antiquus, 39.

Sarah Ruden (trans.), Homeric Hymns.

Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard, The Colosseum.

From the Guardian:

Mary Beard and John Henderson, Classics: A Very Short Introduction


Dido, Queen of Carthage

The Greeks

It appears Italian attention is now turning to some items in the Princeton University Art Museum ... from the Times:

Italian authorities' suspicions that the Princeton University Art Museum owns antiquities allegedly plundered from Italy are broader than museum officials first revealed in November, The Times has learned.

The Italians requested documentation from the Princeton museum in December 2004 for ownership history and related information on four objects in its collection of about 60,000 items, Princeton Vice President and Secretary Bob Durkee disclosed in an interview Friday.

Last November, museum officials said in a statement that only two objects in their collection -- each originating in ancient Greece more than 2,300 years ago -- had drawn the attention of Italian investigators looking to reclaim antiquities allegedly smuggled from Italy, primarily from legally protected archeological sites.

At the time, the museum indicated in response to questions from The Times that "Italian authorities investigating an alleged violation of the laws of Italy requested details about the (museum's) acquisition in 1989 of two ancient Greek painted ceramic vases."

The museum's November statement made no mention of any other of its items falling under Italian suspicion as being looted art or pillaged archeological treasure.

But it indicated the museum complied with Italy's request the month after receiving it, had bought the vases in good faith and had no knowledge of wrongdoing associated with their acquisition despite recent press accounts suggesting the Italians have evidence the two vases left Italy illegally and should be returned.

On Friday, Durkee said museum officials only mentioned the Italians' inquiry into the two vases, without a word about the other two disputed objects, because they had concluded from press reports that Italy was focusing the Princeton angle of its antiquities-looting investigation on the vases.

The other two objects are a small Roman silver cup and a small fragment of an Etruscan terra-cotta plaque, he said.

Durkee had no information immediately available regarding details about the cup and the plaque -- such as their age or when the museum obtained them -- he said, explaining that museum Director Susan Taylor was traveling and unable to provide him those specifics.

Italian criminal investigators reportedly have tracked more than 100 prized items of antiquity allegedly looted from Italy since 1939 to eight major U.S. museums and to galleries, private collections and museums in Europe and Asia -- including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The long-running looting investigation has netted the Italians convictions against Roman antiquities dealer Giacomo Medici and brought criminal charges against two of his alleged high-profile co-conspirators: Marion True, the Getty's former antiquities curator, and American art dealer Robert E. Hecht Jr., who lives in New York City and Paris.

Medici, True and Hecht have denied wrongdoing, but publicity about the criminal campaign against them has helped the Italians pressure the museums ensnared in the dragnet to return looted antiquities.

In February, the Met became the first major U.S. museum tied to the investigation to strike an accord under which it will return some long-disputed treasures -- 21 in all -- from its collection that Italy claims as antiquities stolen from its soil.

The objects include the crown jewel of the Met's Greek galleries -- a 2,500-year-old vase known as the Euphronios krater that the Met bought for a reported $1 million in 1972, according to The New York Times.

In exchange, the Met, which reportedly initiated the negotiations that led to the agreement with the Italian government, will get long-term loans of prestigious objects from Italian collections.

Whether Princeton or other museums will work out similar arrangements with Italy remains to be seen, though analysts have described the Met's pact as a breakthrough other museums might emulate.

Taylor, the director of Princeton's art museum since 2000, said via e-mail that she commends the Met for "reaching an agreement with the Italian government that best serves the public interest."

But she said that agreement doesn't change Princeton's stance in its dispute with Italy. "We have sent a clear message to the Italians that we are prepared to consider any evidence they have and to discuss these matters with them," she said.

So far, though, Princeton has had no direct communication from the Italians since their December 2004 inquiry about the silver Roman cup, the Etruscan plaque fragment and two vases, Durkee said Friday.

One of the vases is a 12-inch-tall psykter, a mushroom-shaped vase for cooling wine from about 510 B.C. in the Attic region of Greece.

The other is a 22-inch-tall Apulian red-figure loutrophoros from about 330 B.C. in Italy's southeast region of Apulia. Oxford University describes a loutrophoros as a kind of ceremonial vessel that held bridal-bath water for weddings or was placed in the graves of single women.

An Italian law in place since 1939 stipulates that ancient artifacts subsequently found in a dig on that country's soil belong to the state.

That law also forbids antiquities excavated after the law took effect from leaving Italy except on loan, according to The Associated Press.

The Times' repeated requests for comment on the Princeton specific to the Princeton objects -- placed both with the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and with Maurizio Fiorilli, legal adviser to the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Rome -- have gone unanswered.

In a brief phone interview last week, Fiorilli did say Italy in the near future will "ask many museums if they are open to a discussion about the cultural items that are in their collections. This is in a framework of a culture of collaboration."

Princeton has been and remains willing to discuss the matter with the Italians, Taylor and Durkee said.

So far, though, the university says it has received no information from them -- or anyone -- disproving its museum's position that the four disputed objects have a smuggling-free ownership history.

But Durkee said some of the disputed pieces have gaps in their documented ownership histories, which both he and Taylor said shouldn't be taken to mean they passed through the hands of antiquities smugglers.

Just because "we can't say we can trace (some) piece every single step of the way . . . doesn't mean there was something improper," Durkee said.
This one turned up on the LatinStudy list ... the BBC's Afternoon Play on Friday was a version of Daphnis and Chloe ... you can 'listen again' (until next Friday) ... (Realplayer required ... I wish these things were mpegs)
From Turkish Daily News comes this (amazing) item:

There are 115 ancient theaters either completely unearthed or are still being excavated, said Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koç on Thursday during a visit to the Kartepe Skiing Center located in the province of Kocaeli.

In response to questions from reporters, Koç said that archaeological and excavation work continues to unearth the cultural and natural wealth of Turkey.

"Some portion of tourism revenue is utilized for this purpose. Around YTL 9 million was allocated for excavation work last year," he said.

"We will unearth them completely and later restore them. There are still around 2,600 unexcavated tumuli. This is an extraordinary situation that can't be seen in any other part of the world."

"We will gather all local excavation teams in April and discuss the problems of excavation work. Excavation and unearthing processes are not enough. We will want teams to excavate provided they later restore what is found," he said.

"However, we are open to serious proposals from Europe and Japan," the Anatolia news agency quoted the minister as saying.
Yahoo! Movies has a page set up for the upcoming production of 300. If you're patient, you can download a movie/preview of the training the actors are going through so they look like Spartans. There are also production stills and the like ... looks like it has potential.
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Cities Bordering on Latium
Ever wonder what happened to a territory after it was overthrown by the indomitable Roman Army? Within the Roman conquered territories of Latium and Umbria (located on the Italian peninsula), we'll tour several ancient cities including Alatri, Fregellae, and Amelia, and see how the land was divided up between the defeated inhabitants and legionnaires who stayed behind to occupy the newly acquired land. We'll even take a virtual tour inside the spectacular new home of a wealthy Roman citizen! Viewers experience the cutting-edge of archaeological exploration through location photography, insights from some of the world's leading archaeologists, and state-of-the-art technology coupled with enhanced 3-D graphics.

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

The seventh annual Classics Bee was conducted at Monmouth-Roseville Junior High School in Roseville Thursday, March 2. The Bee was open to fifth through eighth graders who did well on a written exam created by the Monmouth-Roseville High School Latin Club and given by their teachers.

According to the Brian Tibbets, advisor of the Monmouth-Roseville Latin Club, the Classics Bee was "sponsored by the Latin Club at Monmouth-Roseville High School in order to give students in grades 5 through 8 an opportunity to demonstrate their general knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome."

Tibbets also took time to thank Don Daily; superintendent of the Monmouth-Roseville Public Schools; Richard Kucharz, principal of Monmouth-Roseville High School; Don Farr, principal of Monmouth-Roseville Junior High; Doug O'Riley, principal at Lincoln Intermediate School; Kathryn Bennett, principal at Immmaculate Conception School; and administrators, teachers, and staff at MRJHS, Lincoln, Roseville, and ICS. He also thanked the members of the Latin Club at MRHS for their time and effort in organizing and running the Classics Bee. "The Classics Bee is an entirely student-run event," he said.

Thirty-three students were chosen from Monmouth-Roseville Junior High School, Immaculate Conception School, and Lincoln Intermediate School. They sat in random order in chairs marked by Roman numerals. The judges were Mrs. Jackie Urban, former MRHS Latin teacher; Dr. James Betts, Professor of Music at Monmouth College; and Dr. Tom Sienkewicz, Professor of Classics at Monmouth College. The presiding officer was HaNa Yu, president of the MRHS Latin Club, and questioners were HaNa Yu and Seth Richardson, vice president of the MRHS Latin Club.

Round one consisted of simple questions with two choices of answers. Round two had increasingly difficult questions with three choices of answers. Round three had very difficult questions with four choices of answers. Round four was a free response round with no choices of answers given. The final round, with three students remaining, consisted of answers written on an answer sheet and graded by the judges.

During the final round, the three students remaining were Elizabeth Myers, an eighth grader in Mrs. Heaton's class at MRJHS; Travis Martin, a seventh grader in Mrs. Thomas' class at MRJHS, and Patrick Fasano, a sixth grader in Mrs. Mahoney's class at ICS.

Taking home the first place trophy, a book translated into Latin and a $25 savings bond was Elizabeth Myers. The second place trophy and a book translated into Latin were presented to Patrick Fasano. Travis Martin received the third place trophy and a book translated into Latin.
ClassCon towards the end of this ... quite frankly I can't believe this sort of thing happens at Harvard (or maybe I can) ... from the Crimson:

History 10a, “Western Societies, Politics, and Cultures: From Antiquity to 1650,” could soon be ancient history itself.

An expected change to history concentration requirements would abolish a long-standing pillar of the department, according to a professor who has taught the course in the past. But the decision hasn’t been finalized by the department.

“No one is willing to defend ‘Western Civ’ and lots of people want to abolish it,” said Baird Professor of History Mark A. Kishlansky, who has taught History 10a twice since 2002. “I think the department will vote this change.”

Kishlansky predicted that the department would eliminate History 10a and its counterpart, History 10b, “Western Economies, Societies, and Polities: From 1648 to the Present,” in response to ongoing student and faculty opposition.

Concentrators currently have the option of substituting History 10b with History 10c, “A Global History of Modern Times,” or bypassing History 10b or History 10c with a score of five on the Advanced Placement European History or World History exam.

But concentrators currently must take History 10a.

New “long ago” and “far away” requirements would replace these mandatory survey courses, Kishlansky said.

The “long ago” component would require students to take a premodern course about a “civilization at a different stage of development than the one you know of,” Kishlansky said.

But he said the department has yet to determine the exact dates that this “premodern” period would encompass.

The department also plans to implement a “far away” requirement that would have students take a course on a subject geographically removed from their area of interest, Kishlansky said.

A student focusing on Africa, for example, could fulfill this requirement by taking a Western history course, Kishlansky added.

“We don’t want people graduating just with an American history background,” Professor of History James Hankins said. Three-fourths of undergraduates focus on American history, he said.

Rather than being limited to History 10a and History 10b, concentrators would have several course options within these two newly defined categories, Kishlansky said.

Instituting these “long ago” and “far away” requirements will not be difficult since the department already offers courses that fit within these two categories, Kishlansky said.

The proposal to eliminate History 10a comes as a response to student and faculty complaints, according to Kishlansky.

Faculty members prefer to teach courses in their field of speciality rather than broad survey courses, Kishlansky said.

“People do it with a sense of volunteerism,” Kishlansky said. “There is no one in the department who stands up and says, ‘I want to teach this until the day I die.’ Our lives would be a lot easier without it.”

Regardless of broader curricular review changes, new History Department requirements could still go forward, according to the department’s chair, Andrew D. Gordon ’74. These changes could be implemented in the fall 2007, Gordon said.

Possible changes to History 10a have been discussed for years, but recent curricular review proposals to push back concentration decisions have motivated the department to look more closely at their requirements, Gordon said.

In spite of plans to eliminate History 10a, some faculty members say they still strongly support the longstanding requirement.

McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History Steven E. Ozment, who has taught History 10a in the past, wrote in an e-mail he was opposed to the idea of eliminating the History 10a requirement.

“If we let courses like this go, our love of ourselves and our present-day culture will deprive faculty and undergraduates alike from a long perspective on their place in the world,” Ozment wrote.

Associate Professor of the Classics and of History Eric W. Robinson, one of three History 10a professors this fall, also wrote that he was opposed to “simply eliminating” the History 10a requirement.

In an op-ed published in The Crimson last September, students voiced vehement opposition to History 10a, with Social Studies concentrator Amelia E. Atlas ’06 calling it a “disorganized course that watered down 2,000 years of the past into an unrecognizable mess.”

But history concentrator Mark D. Hoadley ’07-’08 wrote in an e-mail that it would be “foolish” to eliminate such a crucial “grounding in the important events of history.”
From AZoM:

An archaeologist at the University of Liverpool is examining more than 1,000 Roman silver coins from museums around the world in order to establish their true economic value.

Dr Matthew Ponting, from the University’s School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, is investigating the chemical composition of the coins to further understanding of how and where they were made. Dr Ponting believes that analysis of the coins will also shed more light on the political and economic issues of the Roman Empire.

Dr Ponting and his colleague Professor Kevin Butcher from the American University of Beirut, are using unique analysis techniques to examine the make-up of the coins and establish their silver content. The analysis will also identify particular chemical elements which will help the archaeologists establish where and how the coins were made.

Dr Ponting said: “For the first time we are able to use a combination of chemical and isotopic analysis on these coins. Chemical analysis will give useful trace element ‘finger prints’ telling us about the type of ores exploited and the technology used in smelting and refining the metal.”

The team is analysing the coins by drilling a small hole in their outer edge to get beneath the treated surface and investigate their different layers.

Dr Ponting added: “By measuring the isotopes of lead in the coins it is often possible to ascertain where that metal came from. This is done by comparing the isotopic ’signature’ of the silver coin, with isotopic ‘signatures’ of known Roman silver mining regions. In this way I hope to be able to investigate where Rome was getting its silver from.”

Silver coins formed the backbone of currency in the Roman Empire. Roman emperors manipulated the silver content of the coins to solve short-term financial problems frequently caused by government overspending. For the most part, this manipulation involved the reduction of the silver content of the coinage in conjunction with a drop in weight.

Dr Ponting said: “In the 1970s a study documented the silver contents of Roman Imperial silver coins by analysing their surface. Until recently this was the principal reference for economic historians on the monetary policies of the Roman Empire.

“During the 1990s, however, historians realised that many Roman silver coins were deliberately treated to remove some of the copper from their surface, giving impure coins the appearance of being pure and disguising the debasement of the currency. Analysis of the coins’ surface had therefore overestimated their silver content.”
From the Yorkshire Post:

A LOST Roman palace lies beneath a forgotten wartime bunker in York and could contain priceless treasures, according to a leading archaeologist.
Paul Bidwell, who is an expert in reconstructing Roman remains, has spent a year studying sites in York in preparation for a major exhibition on Emperor Constantine which opens in the city's Yorkshire Museum at the end of this month.
The display marks the anniversary of Constantine being proclaimed emperor in York in AD306.
The transfer of power to Constantine on the death of his father was believed to have taken place at the legionary headquarters near the site of a statue by the south wall of York Minster.
But Mr Bidwell, head of archaeology for Tyne and Wear Museums, believes it actually happened at the lost governor's palace by the ramparts of the Bar Walls facing York railway station.
Three bunkers were dug into the ramparts in 1939 for air raid shelters and workmen unearthed what was thought to be the remains of a Roman bath, but no further excavations took place due to the war.
Mr Bidwell, who was involved in reconstructing part of Hadrian's Wall, is convinced the 1939 finds are from a huge palace which may have covered up to 10 acres and stretched to the Ouse.
"There could be untold treasures lying here," he said
City Archaeologist John Oxley said: "The south west bank of the Ouse was highly developed in the Roman period.
"There hasn't been any significant development there in the past 15
years which we could target to get an archaeological excavation carried out."
7.00 p.m. |HINT| The Colosseum
Nothing symbolizes the Roman Empire at its height or Rome in magnificent ruins more than the Colosseum. Built in 70 AD, it seated 80,000 people, boasted a retractable roof, underground staging devices, marble seating, and lavish decorations. It still serves as the prototype for the modern stadium. The complexity of its construction, the beauty of its architecture, and the functionality of its design made it the perfect place for massive crowds to congregate for the bloody spectacles it contained.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Spartacus
Spartacus is one of the Ancient World's most famous figures. A Thracian soldier, Spartacus was captured by Romans and sold as a slave for training as a gladiator. With 70 other gladiators, he escaped and hid on Mount Vesuvius, where he raised an army of rebel slaves and defeated two Roman legions. But Roman vengeance was soon delivered by Crassus, who put an end to Spartacus's desperate bid for freedom and crucified over 6,000 men along the Via Appia as warning to other slaves in 71 BC.

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

Various things are pleasing to different people.

(pron = AH-lee-ah AH-lees PLAH-kent)

Comment: I suppose that this proverb tells us nothing that we don't already
know. (But then, do any of them? don't we already know this wisdom at some
level, each day?)

It is the variety of interests that keep things, well, interesting. While I am
pleased or drawn to certain things that are, perhaps, so varied from what you
are drawn to, we both know the delight of delighting in something.

This weekend, I am really looking forward to: some pre-spring gardening, reading
an historical fiction novel I have on ancient Ireland, watching a DVD series I
bought on the history of Rome, and spending some time with my children.

Others are looking forward to a party they have planned to go to, a concert or
ball game, baking some cookies, writing letters to friends, taking a car engine
apart and putting it together again!

Some things on your list would leave me cold. Some things on my list would
drive you out of your mind.

But, we both have lists of things we want to do, love to do, delight in.

What we should do, as I see it, is really delight in those things. I have this
sense that delight is transferrable. If I really allow myself to delight in
the things I enjoy, the effect is larger than me. Somehow the joy I get from
gardening this weekend transfers to others--even others who do not enjoy

On this Friday, the vigil to a weekend, may you delight in the things that
please you. It will make for a more delightful world.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem v nonas martias

Festival of Mars (day 3)

262 A.D. -- martyrdom of Marinus and Asterius at Caesarea
dilettante @
Morbus aviarius in Europa
Morbus aviarius iam in Germaniam et ad Mare Balticum pervenit, nam cygni mortui hoc virus portantes et his locis et in aliis Unionis Europaeae partibus inventi sunt.

Magistratus multarum civitatum, cum metuerent, ne illa pestilentia contagione avium migratoriarum latius serperet, publice edixerunt, ut pecus volatile inde a Kalendis Martiis sub tecto teneretur.

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

Radio Bremen has also updated its version of Nuntii Latini, with a summary of news from February ...
Not much happening today ...

Hobbyblog has a well-worn Valerian with an image of Hercules/Melqart ...

There's another installment of the Epictetus podcast at the Audiostoa ...

Pro linguae Latinae ponders umbrella pines and Pliny ...

Interesting idea over at the NT Gateway in regards to Jesus having a house in Capernaum ...

Paleojudaica updates us on the Gospel of Judas ...

Sympotica Graecolatina presents an epigram of Martial (with translation) on bathing ...
Classicist Tom Palaima is taking on a rather large opponent -- college athletics. From the American Statesman:

As a scholar of early Greek culture and writing, Thomas Palaima knows well the story of the plague that the god Apollo visits upon the Greek army in Homer's "Iliad."

Greek king Agamemnon's insulting treatment of a priest is to blame, but nobody has the courage to explain this to Agamemnon. Only when the warrior Achilles promises to provide protection from Agamemnon does the prophet Calchas agree to speak up.

It's still true today: Most people are reluctant to question power. Palaima, 54, a professor of classics at the University of Texas, is not one of them.

He is challenging a new university president, UT's governing board and a sacred institution — Longhorn sports — in a campaign against what he regards as the outsized role of intercollegiate athletics.

Among his beefs are the following:

The low graduation rates of some athletes. About 61 percent of freshman student athletes entering UT in the 1998-99 school year graduated, according to NCAA statistics; 74 percent of UT freshmen overall graduated.

The practice of charging fans up to $75,000 for a stadium suite, with 80 percent of that amount considered a charitable donation for income tax purposes. The free seats given to regents and other VIPs at a value of more than $1 million a year. The policy allowing athletic programs to retain the vast majority of more than $80 million in annual revenue instead of contributing more for academic purposes.

That a lawyer, rather than an academic, oversees athletics. A culture that insists upon first-rate performance in athletics but seems satisfied with a No. 52 ranking among national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Especially galling to Palaima — pronounced pahl-EYE-muh — were decisions by the regents last month to approve a raise of more than $390,000 in salary, now $2.6 million, for football coach Mack Brown, and to authorize a $149.9 million expansion of the stadium.

Those actions came a few weeks after the Longhorns won the Rose Bowl, securing their first national championship in football in more than 30 years.

Palaima doesn't buy the explanation that athletics pays its own way without consuming any taxes or tuition money. "I'm a sports fan. I played baseball all my life," Palaima said. "But the athletic programs have grown into a monster."

It's largely a one-man campaign, fought in e-mails, in various campus settings and in opinion columns written for the Austin American-Statesman and other publications.

When Palaima questioned UT President William Powers Jr. at a faculty council meeting last week on the role of athletics, no other professors spoke up.

Powers said Palaima raised worthwhile questions but defended the university's policies. Powers, who took office Feb. 1, also promised to provide a more detailed analysis of male athletes' academic performance.

The lack of public support from colleagues doesn't thrill Palaima.

"It's very easy to marginalize a single voice," he said.

On the other hand, it's not hard to understand why even tenured professors might be reluctant to get involved.

"Anytime you make waves, you're not making friends. You're viewed as an oddball," said Michael Granof, an accounting professor and friend of Palaima's. "For most of the faculty, athletics does not affect their vital interest. They've come to the University of Texas knowing what it is, and they expect it."

Palaima might have a point on whether athletics is truly self-funded, Granof said.

"If you were to full-cost it, taking into account all of the benefits athletics gets that are not included in the budget, most notable of which is land, I suspect virtually all programs in the country would be in the red. On the other hand, what's very hard to measure is the goodwill athletics brings."

Edwin Dorn, a professor and former dean of public affairs, said Palaima reflects the views of a substantial portion of the faculty.

"To some extent, he's beating his head against the wall because it is very hard to envision a major change in the relationship that big public universities have with athletics," Dorn said. "He can, however, have some influence at the margin. It's very important that athletics programs are held accountable for the academic performance of their students."

Palaima said he learned his sense of right and wrong from the Roman Catholic Church in Cleveland, where he grew up the son of a postal worker. Although he transferred his emotional and intellectual devotion to the study of humanities in college, a certain reverence and piety stuck.

Like many classicists, Palaima has broad interests. He is equally comfortable quoting Euripides and Dylan. One of the courses he teaches is titled "Myths of War and Violence, Ancient and Modern."

He said he replies to every e-mail he receives in response to his commentary pieces, often copying the exchange — after deleting the sender's name for privacy — to more than 300 people on his e-mail list.

His honors include a Fulbright fellowship and teaching awards from UT's alumni association and honors program. But it was the announcement of his MacArthur fellowship, nicknamed the "genius grant," that prompted the university to recruit him 21 years ago, shortly after turning down his application for a faculty position.

"That gave me a sense of the whimsy of life," he said.
In the wake of the Museum Case and the Met's recent deal, the AIA has come out with a timely statement ... and it's getting press coverage, e.g., from the Plain Dealer:

The global debate over the black market in ancient art is heating up.

At issue is whether art museums encourage looting of ancient sites when they buy works without detailed ownership histories, such as the large bronze statue of "Apollo the Lizard Slayer," bought in 2004 by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Tuesday, the Archaeological Institute of America criticized guidelines on collecting of antiquities issued by the Association of Art Museum Directors, of which the Cleveland museum is a member.

"The need for museums to adopt acquisitions policies that recognize the connection between their acquisitions and the problem of looting of archaeological sites is pressing," Patty Gerstenblith, chairwoman of the institute's Cultural Property Legislation and Policy Committee and a law professor at DePaul University, wrote in an e-mail. The antiquities debate is sharpening, thanks to a current trial in Rome, in which Marion True, a former curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, faces criminal charges of collaborating with smugglers.

Separately, in a pathbreaking accord, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York agreed to return objects allegedly looted from ancient sites in Italy in exchange for long-term loans of objects of equivalent artistic value.

The Met's example sets a strong precedent for all other American museums.

Nevertheless, last month, the Association of Art Museum Directors released a survey stating that antiquities purchases by art museums represent less than 10 percent of the global trade in antiquities, suggesting that museums are not driving the black market in antiquities.

The association has stated that it deplores illicit excavation of ancient sites but advises members to make decisions on a case-by-case basis regarding purchases of ancient objects or exhibitions of loaned works.

The Archaeological Institute doesn't believe the association guidelines are strict enough. It wants museums to refuse to buy works that lack, among other things, legitimate export documentation from the country of origin.

"A great museum like the Cleveland Museum of Art needs a policy of this kind," said Malcolm Bell III, a professor of art history at the University of Virginia and the Archeological Institute's vice president for professional responsibilities.

Michael Bennett, the Cleveland museum's curator of ancient Greek and Roman art, could not be reached for comment.

For the official AIA policy statement (and related documents), click here! (haven't written that in ages)
Yesterday we pondered an idea that the Turkish government would be seeking the return of the Altar of Pergamon from Berlin ... From the New Anatolian comes an excerpt from a related interview with Atilla Koc, the Turkish Minister of Tourism:

TNA: Hundreds of Turkish historical artifacts, either stolen by foreigners or granted to them by Ottoman sultans, are kept in various museums all over the world. For example there's the breathtaking Great Altar of Pergamon in Berlin and many artifacts in the British Museum. Is there any chance of getting them back? How do you feel about this as a Turk and, as a state minister, what's your policy?

KOC: As a Turk I'm certainly deeply sorry but such kinds of international issues need compromises. Through such a compromise, an international agreement has been reached, Turkey has also signed it, but it doesn't work retroactively. So it's a shame that there's no chance of getting the altar back from Germany; we have no legal right to do so. But now we have a new project to make replicas of these historical artifacts and place them in their original locations and in front of them we'll put signs saying something like, "The original is now in the Berlin Museum." We'll also ask our German colleagues to place similar signs saying something like, "This altar was brought here from Bergama, Turkey." Even though it breaks my heart, I think that the important thing from now on is not to lose them; if these artifacts hadn't been stolen from Turkey, maybe we wouldn't have been able to preserve them as they have been.

... there's a bit more, but that's enough to get the gist.

On a semi-related (reallllllllly semi) note, phDiva's Dorothy King passes along a note (and Bread and Circuses mentions this as well) about a campaign by a Greek Orthodox group to return Hagia Sophia to its former function as a church and -- get this -- to make such a change a necessary precursor to Turkey's admission to the EU!
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Rome: Engineering an Empire
For more than 500 years, Rome was the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever known, ruled by visionaries and tyrants whose accomplishments ranged from awe-inspiring to deplorable. One characteristic linked them all--ambition--and the thirst for power that all Roman emperors shared fueled an unprecedented mastery of engineering and labor. This documentary special chronicles the spectacular and sordid history of the Roman Empire from the rise of Julius Caesar in 55 BC to its eventual fall around 537 AD, detailing the remarkable engineering feats that set Rome apart from the rest of the ancient world. Featuring extensive state-of-the-art CGI animation, and exclusive never-before-seen footage shot on a diving expedition in the water channels underneath the Colosseum.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Monster Hunters
One-breasted female warriors; the one-eyed, man-eating Cyclops; the ferocious griffin, part bird, part lion. Were these creatures, celebrated by the ancient Greeks and immortalized by Homer, something more than myth? Join the hunt with some of today's leading paleontologists as we explore newly-translated evidence and examine remains that may link the Greek classical age with Earth's prehistoric past. New data suggests that the ancients searched for, excavated, measured, and displayed massive fossils.

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

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Roman Vice
The flowering of the Roman Empire saw incomparable power and civilization - and at the same time corruption, cruelty and depravity on an unparalleled scale. Emperors from Augustus to Tiberius and Nero built the biggest empire the world had ever seen, while presiding over a way of life riddled with violence, deviancy and excess. This special visits the archaeological sites of ancient Rome, talks to leading historians world-wide and uses stylish reconstructions to describe and explain how good and evil went side by side.
This morning I mentioned a curious image of 'affection' presented at MG's Laudator ... as MG has suggested, this image is generally taken as an image of some reveller vomiting on a courtesan's feet. In between totally unrelated thoughts just this very instant however, it occurred to me that the image can't be one of vomiting; neither person is in a position conducive to either vomiting (I challenge anyone to stand like the depiction and attempt to vomit) or 'calming' a vomiting person. The facial expressions also don't really fit (although that doesn't mean anything). And then it hit me, and I checked the more detailed image at Perseus. If you look at that image, it looks like she might be helping the guy tie his fillet on his head -- i.e. she is helping to wrap whatever the 'thongs' are around his head. Looking at the other images from the cup (also at Perseus), it is readily apparent that the fillets around all the revellers heads are somewhat elaborate wrapped/woven things, with a bit of 'tail' even ... see especially this guy by the handle (who could, arguably, be the same guy who is claimed to be 'vomiting').

There ain't no vomiting going on here ... I can't believe this is the 'canonical' interpretation.
Flumen confusum reddit piscantibus usum.

A stirred up river gives to fisherman an advantage.

(pron = FLOO-men kohn-FOO-soom REHD-dit pis-KAHN-tih-boos OO-soom)

Comment: I see two angles on this proverb. What if I were the fish? If I were
the fish, this proverb would be telling me that when my space is all cluttered
and confused it allows others to take advantage of me. So, keep things clean!

If I were the fisherman, however, this proverb would be telling me that when
something turns the tables, so to speak, on a status quo situation, it may
actually be an advantage to me. So, look for opportunity in the unexpected!

So, I could play the fish, keep my space clean, and hope not to get caught. Or,
I could play the fisherman, looking for an opportunity today in the unexpected
disturbances I encounter.

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

Festival of Mars (Day 2)

c. 55 A.D. (?) -- birth of Decimus Junius Juvenalis ... a.k.a. Juvenal

258 A.D. -- Martyrdom of Jovinus and Basileus at Rome
largess @

cerebrotonic @ Worthless Word for the Day

bagatelle @ Wordsmith (maybe)

sui generis @ Merriam-Webster

It being Thursday, there's a new installment of Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ... and the Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature looks at Greek Historians ...
Meridiatio in Hispania sublata

In Hispania lex perlata est, quae eis, qui in negotiis publicis versantur, meridiatione una hora longiore interdicit et eos prandium intra primam horam postmeridianam sumere iubet.

Hispanis fortasse difficile est huic renovationi assuescere, cum eis semper moris fuerit post meridiem ad duas aut etiam tres horas a labore intermittere et domum redire, ubi cibum meridianum caperent et deinde paulisper requiescerent.

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

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris ... latest headline: Sollicitudo in Freto Formosano ...

And for news on the Greek side, Akropolis World News: Blair proposes educational reform - Berlusconi to withdraw troops before end of year
Bit of a slow day ...

Bane's Demesne translates a bit of Callimachus ...

AM of Sauvage Noble fame presents some nice photos from a recent trip to the Met ...

MG at Laudator presents one of the strangest images of 'affection' you'll ever see on a piece of Greek pottery ...

Hobbyblog presents an antoninianus of Valerian which, interestingly enough, demonstrates why I thought yesterday's coin sported a guy carrying a wreath rather than a patera (scroll down to compare the two)...

Roman History Books has some links to material on Plutarch ...

Alun ponders the most recent issue of Sky at Night magazine (which I've never seen on the newsstands before) and a tale in Herodotus ...

Sympotica tells us how to prepare caviar ...

Some new items at the Classics Technology Center include a piece on Jeeps and Hummers in Antiquity ... Teaching Ancient Biography ... The Latin Teacher: A Primer for Survival and Success ...

... as I type this, some doctor on Cavuto is warning about bird flu becoming a 'pandemonium' ...
From Kathimerini:

The excavation of ancient Argilos, an important commercial center in the Archaic and Classical periods, reveals a little-known side of colonization by people from Andros in the northern Aegean.

The remains of buildings in the ancient city may not be as striking as other finds from Macedonia, but they are a part of a larger complex of great significance illuminated by recent excavation.

Hundreds of artifacts, including large ones such as island-style houses and a two-story mansion on the acropolis, are included in the site of the Andros colony that flourished 2,650 years ago at the mouth of the Strymonas River.

The finds give insight on the Thracians’ approach to life as well as the organization of a Greek colony set up to exploit the rich mineral resources of the Thracian hinterland in the mid-seventh century BC.

Archaeologist Zisis Bonias of the 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, in collaboration with the University of Montreal and under the aegis of the Canadian Archaeological Institute, has added another important find to the long list from the area.

It is a metal oven dating from the sixth century BC, possibly the oldest found in northern Greece, which confirms that mining activity was carried out in the colonies founded by people from Andros.
Let's see what happens when we run Caligula through the metaphor/simile/hype machine ... first, from Tennis World:

Celebs today have figured out that as long as they keep finding ways to stay in the public eye, they can do—or not do—anything they want. I’ve written about this before, calling it the Caligula Complex.

.... and Common Conservative:

Hollywood, like any other marketplace, is bound by the law of supply and demand. If there is a demand for a particular type of film, television show, or actor, Hollywood will respond with that particular type of film, television show, or actor, often to an excess that would make Caligula look Amish.

... and the Post Gazette:

The College of Fine Arts, where students study architecture, art, design, drama and music, was founded in 1906 as the School of Applied Design. Such carved-in-stone fact pales beside the lushly costumed history of this bash, which, at times, was so bacchanalian that one reveler said it would have made Caligula blush.

A blushing amish Caligula ... no wonder he has a complex ...
So ... last week I pondered how long it would be before we see demands being made for the return of the Pergamon Altar ... check out the conclusion of an Op-Ed piece about the Euphronios Krater in the Turkish Daily News:

Every year over 10,000 works of art are reported stolen around the world, adding to a total that hovers around the 100,000 mark. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that the market in stolen art is worth around $5 billion. The biggest profits, which reach up to a 98 percent markup, are made by the intermediaries -- a lot of whom are respectable art dealers all over the world. The big museum lobby does not want to return ancient artifacts to their countries of origin. They claim that universal museums are for the good of the world. They protect and disseminate culture. At the same time, though, in their pursuit for enriching their collections they have frequently found themselves succumbing to illegal practices.

Maybe the deal with the Euphronios vase will give impetus to finding a way to repatriate some important pieces of cultural heritage and keep the world museums happy. The Euphronios vase case may show the way back home for the Parthenon marbles from London or the Pergamon Altar from Berlin.

... perhaps things are 'heating up'? (There are scattered mentions on the web here and there that Turkey has been demanding return of same, but we don't get many details)
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Cities of the Underworld
Istanbul is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic and exotic cities in the world. Once the capital city of three of the world's most powerful empires--The Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman--its strategic location made it the perfect spot for empires to rise, fall...and rise again. Today Istanbul's residents are walking on top of remnants of these fallen civilizations...literally. Taxis drive over parts of Constantine's Lost Great Palace; children play on cobblestone streets concealing a massive Byzantine dungeon; a high school sits on a 3rd century wall leading to the bowels of a 100,000 seat ancient Roman Hippodrome; and basement's of old Ottoman homes lead to subterranean tunnels and secret cisterns. Join host Eric Geller as he leaves the buzz of the city streets behind and follows the pull of the past. Teamed with leading archeologists and experts, Eric peels back the layers of the past--to reveal a hidden history that hasn't seen the light of day for ages.
Commune naufragium omnibus est consolatio.

A shipwreck that is common to everyone is a comfort.
A common shipwreck is a comfort to everyone.


(pron = cohm-MOO-neh now-FRAH-ghee-oom OHM-nih-boos ehst cohn-soh-LAH-tee-oh)

Comment: Misery loves company, too. I can verify in my own experience this
proverb. When I am caught in a shipwreck of some sort, it is comforting to
find that there are others so desperate and confused as I. Why is that? I can
only make sense of that against a backdrop of judgment.

It stands to reason that if I am caught in a bad situation and am suffering for
it, I would want to find that no other human being was suffering like this,
also. In our American culture, however, always playing in the background is
this "ethic" known as the Protestant/Puritan work ethic which has been coated
with a healthy covery of Calvinism which says that if I am in a bad situation
it is finally, somehow, my fault. I have either been irresponsible on some
level, not worked hard enough on another, or am simply manifesting the overt
evidence of my destiny to be damned. In any case, I ought to be ashamed of my
misfortune. The short version: if something bad happens to me it is because I
AM bad, and everyone who is not caught in my little boat of misery is good--or
at least not as bad.

So, to find others susffering as I am means that there are at least a few others
who have been just as irresponsible, just as lazy, or just as damned as I. I am
not alone. I may be bad, but I am not alone. I need others to suffer, in other
words, so that my suffering doesn't seem so bad.

Or, I could drop the judgment--refuse to accept it as a real view of the world
anymore. Then, when my ship wrecks it will be because I didn't see the rock
underneath the water,or because I still do not control the weather. It will be
what has happened in my life. I will be better able to ask for help from those
on shore or those in passing boats. And I won't need others to suffer so that
I can feel better. I might just need others to offer a helping hand. No
shame. Just help.

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

This was originally the beginning of the New Year for the ancient Romans (and the consuls would probably enter office on this date prior to 153 B.C.)

Festival of Mars, which included a procession of the Salian priests around the city singing their mysterious Carmen Saliare

"birthday" of the temple of Juno Lucina

Matronalia -- a sort of 'unofficial' festival during which it was customary for hubbies to pray for the ongoing health of their spouses and give them presents; for their part, the wives apparently served the slaves (sort of like Saturnalia and Mother's Day rolled into one)

293 A.D. -- Co-emperor Maximian adopts Constantius, who is given the title Caesar (and it is possible that Diocletian similarly adopted and conferred a similar title upon Galerius)

2005 -- birth of our dog, named by the rogueclassicist at Tyche, but misheard by the liberi as Tyke ...
doula @ (I always suspected this one)

palisade @ Wordsmith

quintessence @ Merriam-Webster
Expeditio Finnorum Pompeiana

Grex investigatorum Finnorum, cui praeest professor Paavo Castrén, inde ab anno bis millesimo secundo (2002) archaeologiae Pompeiorum examinandae operam dat, cum domum M. Lucretii media urbe sitam et aream ei circumiectam diligenter pervestigat.

Operi, cui nomen ?Expeditio Pompeiana Universitatis Helsingiensis?, propositum est non solum historiam aedificandi huius loci archaeologici enucleare, sed etiam varias constructiones ad tempora nostra servatas documentis probare. Huc accedit descriptio picturarum parietariarum.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
A quick jaunt today:

Laudator is in a debate with the Maverick Philosopher on the subject of objective and subjective genitives ...

Hobbyblog has a very nice follis of Constantius Chlorus with a very clear image of the Genius Populi Romani (not sure that's a patera in his hand, though ... it looks like a wreath to me)...

Roman History Books has some nice links to matters Eleusinian ...

Paleojudaica points us to a daVinci Code type thing called The Last Cato ...

Alun presents us with a press releasish sort of thing which summarizes his research on Delphi and Apollo Delphinios ...

Sympotica presents a quote on Tiberius' parsimony ...

Abzu just filed an interesting online paper: "Analysis of Roman Silver Coins: Augustus to Nero" by Matthew Ponting and Kevin Butcher
From ANSA:

An ancient Phoenician temple unearthed in Sicily is "unique" in the West, the head of the Italian dig team claims .

"You have to go all the way to Amrit in Syria to find a similar one," said Lorenzo Nigro of the Rome University team .

The temple came to light last year after a portion of a lagoon surrounding the Phoenician city of Motya (present-day Mozia) was drained .

The pool began to fill up again and a fresh-water spring was found - a fact Nigro believes proves it was used as a holy place .

"The Phoenicians placed their cities on the coast near water springs, which for them meant that there was a divine presence there." Digs at the site, on the westernmost tip of Sicily near Marsala, have brought to light the ruins of a "monumental" temple including columns of a type used by the Phoenicians on Cyprus - as well as fragments of an obelisk .

"The similarity with the Temple of the Obelisks at Byblos, Lebanon, is clear," Nigro said .

Nigro believes the pool flanking the temple was used for water rituals and offerings to Baal, the Phoenician god of the sea and the underworld .

However, other Italian archaeologists do not agree with him .

"The pool is without doubt merely a dock used for repairing ships," said Sebastiano Tusa of Naples University, head of marine archaeology for the Sicilian regional government .

Motya - whose name means "wool-spinning centre" - was founded in the 8th century BC, about a century after the foundation of the most famous Phoenician colony in the ancient world, Carthage in Tunisia .

Greeks also began to colonise Sicily at the same time as Motya's foundation and conflicts broke out between Greek and Phoenician settlements. The Greek tyrant ruler of Siracusa, Dionysius I, destroyed Motya in 397 BC. Half a century later, Rome's intervention in the Greek-Carthaginian conflicts led to the Roman conquest of Sicily, which became Rome's first province .

The Phoenicians were a trading people who formed a massive commercial empire across the Mediterranean from their bases in modern-day Lebanon .

Among the Italian cities they founded is today's capital of Sicily, Palermo .

Other colonies included Cadiz and Malaga in Spain, Tangiers in Morocco and Tripoli in Libya .
From one of those q and a columns in the Arizona Republic about sneezing comes the passing comment:

As to the bless-you part, nobody seems to know where that came from either.

It's been going on forever. Pliny mentioned it in his Natural History in A.D. 77.

Poking around the net finds something at Sacred Texts which says:

But the true story of the sneezing superstition is told by Professor E. B. Tylor, who says:--

"In Asia and Europe the sneezing superstition extends through a wide range of race, age, and country. Among the passages relating to it in the classic ages of Greece and Rome, the following are some of the most characteristic: the lucky sneeze of Telemachus in the Odyssey; the soldier's sneeze and the shout of adoration to the god which rose along the ranks, and which Xenophon appealed to us a favourable omen; Aristotle's remark that people consider a sneeze as divine, but not a cough; the Greek epigram on the man with the long nose who did not say Zeu Soson when he sneezed, for the noise was too far off for him to hear; Petronius Arbiter's mention of the custom of saying 'Salve' to one who sneezed; and Pliny's question 'Cur sternutamentis salutamus?' a-propos of which he remarks that even Tiberius Caesar, that saddest of men, exacted this observance.

A quick search of Pliny for this 'question' points to NH 28.23 ... there's also an interesting whack of ancient refs in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica ...
Okay ... this is now getting out of hand ... first we get word (but no photo) of someone in Ohio seeing Jesus AND Satan in a piece of driftwood in their garden (somewhat appropriate for Ash Wednesday) ... then we get some guy in Texas with another image that he said he first saw three years ago (it's a video report; I don't quite see it) ... then, fulfilling the scholastic law of three, we get one of those PR Press Releases (which are popular with the Atlantis set) from someone claiming to see Elvis in an Office Depot receipt (with photo) ... the latter, of course, is now on eBay ...
From BMCR:

Ian Morris, Barry Powell, The Greeks: History, Culture, and Society.

Michael Paschalis (ed.), Roman and Greek Imperial Epic. Rethymnon Classical Studies 2.

Tim Whitmarsh, Ancient Greek Literature.

Philipp Brandenburg, Apollonios Dyskolos. Über das Pronomen. Einführung, Text, Übersetzung und Erläuterungen.

Harvey Yunis (trans.), Demosthenes, Speeches 18 and 19. The Oratory of Classical Greece, vol. 9.
9.00 p.m. |DTC| First Olympian
Witness the spectacular world of the Olympics in 500 BC. The skeletal remains of Ikkos, the athlete Taranto, were studied to piece together the lifestyle of the earliest Olympic athletes. Find out how the first Olympians trained, lived and worshipped.

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Cities Bordering on Latium
Ever wonder what happened to a territory after it was overthrown by the indomitable Roman Army? Within the Roman conquered territories of Latium and Umbria (located on the Italian peninsula), we'll tour several ancient cities including Alatri, Fregellae, and Amelia, and see how the land was divided up between the defeated inhabitants and legionnaires who stayed behind to occupy the newly acquired land. We'll even take a virtual tour inside the spectacular new home of a wealthy Roman citizen! Viewers experience the cutting-edge of archaeological exploration through location photography, insights from some of the world's leading archaeologists, and state-of-the-art technology coupled with enhanced 3-D graphics.

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