Love what Kirk Summers does ... from the Crimson White:

As they watched the sacrifice take place, the crowd of students chanted in Latin. "Volvere aestus volvere!" they said. Or, in English, "Roll, Tide, roll!"

The football season is about to begin, and Classics 222 is busy ensuring a victory for the Crimson Tide against Hawaii.

Before them is their leader and teacher: "Kirkules." The sacrifice for this weekend is a symbol of their enemies: a pineapple.

"The pineapple was the most appropriate gift for the gods before the Hawaii game," said Kirk Summers, an associate professor of classics and leader of the sacrifice. "We believe that out team can't win unless we make the sacrifice and do it properly."

Summers has activities such as this to keep his Greek and Roman mythology class both interesting and informative.

"I don't do anything in my myth class that is gratuitous or merely for entertainment," Summers said. "There is an educational purpose behind everything I do."

Much like Alabama, Summers said, the Greeks put a heavy emphasis on sports. The Olympics, the ultimate sporting event of the time, was even held in honor of the gods.

His teaching style is unique when compared to other classes.

"It's straight lecture," said Zac Simon, a sophomore majoring in political science and history. "But the term 'lecture' is misleading. It's like story time."

That style has students flocking to his class, which is always full to its 267-student capacity and usually has a waitlist.

"It's pretty much the most 'ballinest' class ever," said Alonso Heudebert, a sophomore majoring in philosophy.

The class does not have an attendance policy, but Caroline Chick, a sophomore majoring in English, said the class is packed every day.

"I laugh throughout the entire class," Chick said. "It's one of those classes that make you want to go to class."

He also teaches a Roman religion course, an honors class on Alexander the Great and an upper-level Latin class.

Summers' teaching style was influenced greatly by a mythology professor at the University of Illinois, he said, where he earned his Ph.D. in classical philology.

"He was theatrical and varied and surprising, and students did not want to miss one of his performances," Summers said.

Summers went on to say that he did not want to be strictly a storyteller. He wants to discuss the archetypes of human thinking with his students, so they must be familiar with the material before they get to class.

"Myths tell us something about how the human psyche works, regardless of time or space," Summers said.

Summers' interest in Greek intellectual history stemmed from the influence of one particular teacher.

"When I arrived at college, I was having a difficult time finding any subject that caught my interest," Summers said. "I took a Greek class from professor Mark Clark at USM [Southern Mississippi] and found his enthusiasm infectious."

Later on, as a graduate student at the University of Nebraska, he found his niche in teaching mythology after a shortage of professors resulted in him teaching the large class.

"I was lost and petrified for the first two weeks," Summers said. "Suddenly, I calmed myself, sat down on the edge of the stage, and just began to have fun with the class."

Originally from Gulfport, Miss., Summers graduated from USM with a bachelor's degree in classics and history. He followed that up with master's degrees in biblical studies and Latin before getting his Ph.D. in classical philology.

He taught at Loyola University at Chicago as a visiting assistant professor for two years before coming to the University.

His wife, Tatiana Tsakiropoulou-Summers, is also an assistant professor in the department of modern languages and classics.

Together, they work with the Academy Club, which focuses on the ancient world. Summers said they typically have activities such as visiting the Pompeii exhibit that's coming to Birmingham in a month.

The club also sponsors the annual Latin Day, which brings in high school students from Alabama for competitions and other activities.

But it's his Greek and Roman mythology class that has won him so many fans amongst the student population.

"If I could, I would fail the class just so I could take it again," Heudebert said.

... we assume the pineapple went willingly ...
I think we reported on this one last year, so why not this year? From the IHT:

Scott Jurek won the Spartathlon ultra-marathon on Saturday.

The American finished the 246-kilometer (152-mile) annual race from Athens to Sparta in 22 hours, 52 minutes, 18 seconds.

Sekiya Ryoichi was second in 24:14:11, and fellow Japanese Masayuki Ohtaki was third in 25:19:12.

In the women's race, Japan's Inagaki Sumie won in 28:37:20.

The race takes runners over highways, dirt roads and mountains — a route followed 2,500 years ago by the legendary messenger Pheidippides.

The 260 runners from 32 countries set out early Friday on a course that winds through rugged terrain to the finish line at the Statue to ancient King Leonidas in Sparta, in the southern Peloponnese.

The athletes, who share a strong camaraderie, run through vineyards, mud, olive groves and up Mount Parthenio — a 1,200-meter (3,900-feet) ascent — in the middle of the night.

"They are coming here just for the difficulties (of the course)," Spartathlon chief organizer Panagiotis Tsiakiris said.

Participants must run the course in under 36 hours and only a third usually finish, Tsiakiris said.

"It's a great experience," said American runner Mark Williams before setting out on his 14th Spartathlon on his 41st birthday.

Williams, from San Jose, California, said he had run marathons before and "felt like he had lots left at the end." The Spartathlon is about eight kilometers (five miles) short of six consecutive marathons, and its history intrigued him.

The Spartathlon course is based on Herodotus' historical account of the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger, was sent to summon troop reinforcements against the invading Persians and arrived in Sparta "one day later."

In 1982, British Royal Air Force officer John Foden tested the ancient tale and finished the course in 36 hours, proving the feat was possible and laying the groundwork for the annual race.

Participants are required to pass certain prerequisites. Each athlete must have finished a 100-kilometer (62-mile) race in less than 10 hours and 30 minutes, completed a 200-kilometer (125-mile) race, or finished or reached a certain checkpoint in a previous Spartathlon.

The Spartathlon has an official website of course ...
The opening graf from a bit at New York Arts Magazine:

For more than 3,000 years farmers have been using scarecrows to protect their crops from hungry birds. The Greeks carved wooden scarecrows to look like Priapus, the son of the god Dionysus and the goddess Aphrodite. Priapus, who was quite ugly, played in the vineyards, scaring the birds away and protecting the grapes for a good harvest. As farmers picked up on this, they carved wooden statues in the likeness of Priapus, painted the figures purple and put a club in one hand to make the statue more menacing and a sickle in the other for a good harvest.

... personally, I've always wondered about the claims that statues of Priapus were thought to frighten thieves (as mentioned in passing in the Wikipedia article); I think that's one of the only Roman divinities I've ever read of whose statue is 'active' (in the sense of doing something other than 'passively' protecting ... something to be prayed to).
From NRO comes this excerpt from an op ed piece:

The narrative of Western civilization can be told in different ways, but a useful paradigm has often been called “Athens and Jerusalem.” Broadly construed, “Athens” means a philosophical and scientific view of actuality and “Jerusalem” a spiritual and scriptural one. The working out of Western civilization represents an interaction — tension, fusion, conflict — between the two.

Both Athens and Jerusalem have a heroic, or epic, phase. For Athens, the Homeric poems are a kind of scripture, the subject of prolonged ethical meditation. In time the old heroic ideals are internalized as heroic philosophy in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

For Jerusalem, the heroic phase consists of the Hebrew narratives. Here again, a process of internalization occurs, Jesus internalizing the Mosaic Law. Socrates is the heroic philosopher, Jesus the ideal of heroic holiness, both new ideals in their striking intensity.

During the first century of the Christian Era, Athens and Jerusalem converge under the auspices of Hellenistic thought, most notably in Paul and in John, whose gospel defined Jesus by using the Greek term for order, Logos .

Athens and Jerusalem were able to converge, despite great differences, because in some ways they overlap. The ultimate terms of Socrates and Plato, for example, cannot be entirely derived from reason. The god of Plato and Aristotle is monotheistic, though still the god of the philosophers. Yet Socrates considers that his rational universe dictates personal immortality.

In the Hebrew epic, there are hints of a law prior to the Law of revelation and derived from reason. Thus, when Abraham argues with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham appeals to a known principle of justice which God also assumes.

Thus Athens is not pure reason and Jerusalem not pure revelation. Both address the perennial question of why there is something rather than nothing.

From the prehistoric figures in Homer and in Genesis — Achilles, Abraham — the great conversation commences. Thucydides and Virgil seek order in history. St. Augustine tries to synthesize Paul and Platonism. Montaigne’s skepticism would never have been articulated without a prior assertion of cosmic order. Erasmus believed Christianity would prevail if only it could be put in the purest Latin. Shakespeare made a world, and transcended Lear’s storm with that final calmed and sacramental Tempest. Rousseau would not have proclaimed the goodness of man if Calvin had not said the opposite. Dante held all the contradictions together in a total structure — for a glorious moment. Katlca could not see beyond the edges of his nightmare, but Dostoyevsky found love just beyond the lowest point of sin. The eighteenth-century men of reason knew the worst, and settled for the luminous stability of a bourgeois republic.

By any intelligible standard the other great civilization was China, yet it lacked the Athens-Jerusalem tension and dynamism. Much more static, its symbols were the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, not Odysseus/Columbus, Chartres, the Empire State Building, the love that moves the sun and the other stars.

... the whole thing ...
Seen at Spiked:

Appignanesi thinks it is a problem that less commercially lucrative films only ever reach the ‘art house ghetto’. He explains how a teacher of his compares Greek and Roman theatre, explaining the former as ‘a cathartic and emotional journey that refreshes the audience’s moral sense and place in the community’, while the other ‘was a spectacle of sex and violence pitched to the lowest common denominator of entertainment. The Greeks were art house, the Romans were multiplex.’

... yes ... I've always found the farting in Aristophanes to refresh my moral sense ...
Litterarum radices amarae, fructus dulces.
(Ascribed to Cato by Diomedes)

The bitter roots of (work in) literature (produce) sweet fruits.

pron = lit-tehr-AH-room RAH-dee-kays ah-MAH-rae FROOK-toos DOOL-kays.

Comment: Waldo Sweet attributes this proverb to Cato as quoted by
Diomedes. Others attribute it to Cicero. I can find no reference to
it beyond this.

Regardless of its source, it does provide teachers and parents with
something interesting to consider. What is it about work in
literature that is "the bitter roots"? What is the outcome of that
bitter work that is a "sweet fruit"? Those of us who love to read
understand the "sweet fruits" part without hesitation. But, bitter

When our son was in early elementary school, he was in a gifted
program for reading, language arts and math. The teacher for the
program was all that was left in a school system devastated by state
politics. She served 14 schools! That meant that rather than having
time to work with students, she had time to give orders and demand
output. In reading, that meant completing so many "readers" each
month. We watched our son, who had been reading books with delight
since he was 3, begin to say things like: I hate reading, I hate
school. We got notes fromt the gifted-ed teacher about how many
readers he was behind in his "monthly quota".

Literture becomes "bitter" when it becomes a forced feeding. This is
just as bitter as being forced to talk and listen to someone that one
has not chosen to talk and listen to. Literature is another form of
communication between people, and the communication part only really
works when the communication is fairly stress free (choice is involved
and there is no compulsion), is understandable, and is engaging
(read--slightly challenging). (see Stephen Krashen's work)

Add compulsion, incomprehensability, and no personal engagement or
challenge, and the work of literature becomes bitter. Very few
students get past the bitter part to a sweet outcome.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

ante diem iii kalendas octobres

106 B.C. -- birth of Gnaeus Pompeius

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

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

290 A.D. -- martyrdom of Rhipsime, Gaiana, and companions
As September too-rapidly draws to a close:

Michael Gilleland comments on the fate of captives in the ancient and modern worlds ... there's also some additional stuff on epiphanies ...

Debra Hamel has found a modern parallel (it does appear) to the Athenian voting system ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Homonia ...

Irene Hahn has been googling and found some interesting timelines for Roman art ... she's also posting on Thrasea Paetus and Helvidius Priscus ...

Roger Pearse is commenting on thefts from the British Library ...

Adrian Murdoch has found an interview with Bryan Ward-Perkins ...

Laura Gibbs has a round up of Latin educational materials recently-posted ...

N.S. Gill is pondering Book IV of the Iliad ...

Joel Morrison continues (with his class) looking at the Aeneid ...

Mischa Hooker has found some commentary on Benedict's recent speech ... and Hugo Chavez recently cited Aristotle! ...

The Latin poetry podcast this week is a bit of Martial ...

In the latest AJP:

Putnam, Michael C. J. Horace to Torquatus: Epistle 1.5 and Ode 4.7

This article documents and explores the relationship between Horace Epist. 1.5 and Ode 4.7, one a verse epistle, the other one of Horace's most magnificent odes, both addressed to a certain Torquatus. It first analyzes each poem individually in detail and then goes on to examine the overlap between the two in search of Horace's purposes behind the interaction. The epistle, an invitation to a convivium at the speaker's home on the evening before Augustus' birthday, deals with the importance of self-discovery in a private setting where confidentiality is crucial. The ode pits this individuality against far larger spatial and temporal universals, and it reminds us of our mortality and of the loss of self that accompanies death.

American Journal of Philology 127.3 (2006)
prevenient @ Wordsmith

monomania @
From YLE:

Nasrallah in publicum processit
28.09.2006, klo 10.54

Hassan Nasrallah, moderator ordinis Hizbollah Libanensis, post bellum cum Israele gestum fautoribus suis, quorum complura centena milia Berytum convenerant, haec fere nuperrime locutus est: Ordinem Hizbollah ab Israele victoriam divinam, historicam, strategicam reportavisse et adhuc viginti milia rochetarum habere; nullum exercitum tam validum esse, ut illum ordinem armis exueret.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Iraquia occupata, extremus mentis habitus exaltatus est
From the Petersfield Post:

Archaeologists excavating a Roman settlement in Liss believe they have unearthed the remains of a dog over 1,600 years after it fell down a well.
The curious incident of the dog from the fourth century has led to a modern day investigation in a field at the village.

The ill fated mutt came to a sad end at the bottom of a well.

More than 1,600 years later, its skeleton has been recovered by amateur archaeologists carrying out excavation work on the settlement.

The remarkably well preserved remains are currently being analysed by an expert in animal bones.

Meanwhile, the dog has been given a suitably Roman name by the archaeologists – Brutus.

"The guy who actually found him said: 'This is a brute of a thing' – hence the name," said Mike Jordan, publicity officer for the Liss Archaeological Group.
This is kind of weird ... the incipit of a piece from the Times:

A DISPUTE between two “Roman soldiers” in a 1st century bath house ended up in court when one man accused his rival of threatening to kill him with a replica helmet.

Keith Mulhearn, who is fond of dressing up as a legionnaire called Maximus Gluteus, was forced to defend his reputation after it was claimed that he had run amok in a quiet York museum.

Mr Mulhearn, 40, the former curator of the city’s Roman Bath Museum, lost his temper with his successor, Graham Harris, because he believed that Mr Harris, 58, had stolen some of his replica Roman artefacts, York Crown Court was told.

He was said to have marched into the museum and aggressively brushed aside Mr Harris’s daughter before shouting: “I’m going to kill you” as he confronted her father, who was dressed as a Roman soldier.

Mr Mulhearn, his face “full of hate”, was alleged to have brandished a heavy metal Roman helmet above Mr Harris’s head before picking up a stabbing sword and storming out of the premises.

The incident was said to have taken place last November inside the small museum, which lies underneath the Roman Bath pub on the site of a former Roman bath house in the centre of York.

Remains of a steam bath and a plunge bath are visible and visitors can also see a selection of Roman artefacts and replica articles of everyday life in Eboracum, as York was known under Roman rule. The pub lies just south of the site of the porta principia sinistra, the south-eastern gateway of the Roman legionary fortress.

In addition to having been the museum curator for three years until he was succeeded by Mr Harris, Mr Mulhearn also ran an organisation called Lost Legion, a group of enthusiasts who re-enact battles from the Roman era.

... the rest.
From ANSA:

The Vesuvian villa of Poppaea - the notoriously promiscuous and ruthless mistress and wife of Roman Emperor Nero - is set to be restored .

The year-long project will "polish up and preserve the villa's colonnades and other structural parts," said the director of excavations at the surrounding Ancient Roman town of Oplontis, Lorenzo Fergola .

It will also clean famous frescos like the Fruit Vase and the Cassata, which depicts a Roman dessert similar to the noted Sicilian delicacy .

"We'll be working on the foundations and flooring too," Fergola went on. "The work is essential to ensure the safety of the site," he added. However, the other parts of the ample villa will remain open during the restoration, Fergola stressed. Work will begin on October 2 and last about a year, the digs chief said .

The villa was owned by Nero but used by his second wife Poppaea Sabina as her main residence when not in Rome. At the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, archeological evidence suggests that the villa was empty for rebuilding and redecoration, possibly in the aftermath of an earthquake in 62 AD .

The frescos decorating the walls are among the best preserved, both in form and in colour, of all Imperial Roman art works .

According to stories told by various Roman historians, Poppaea urged Nero to kill his mother, Agrippina the Younger, and to divorce and later murder his first wife, Octavia. She is also said to have persuaded Nero to kill the philosopher Seneca, who had supported Nero's previous mistress, Acte Claudia. Poppaea is believed to have stirred Nero to attack Christians after the Fire of Rome .

Nero kicked her to death when she was pregnant in 65 AD, ancient authors relate. After her death, Poppaea was honored as divine. Her life inspired a 17th-century opera by Monteverdi .
From ANSA:

The Trojan War has come to the Colosseum with a major new show on Homer's legendary account of the conflict .

Achilles, Ulysses, Hector, Paris, Agamemnon and Priam are just some of the figures depicted in mosaics, frescos, sculptures and vases showing scenes from the Iliad, brought to the Roman amphitheatre from Italy's leading museums .

The poet Homer - now believed to be a mythical composite of Ancient Greek bards - is shown in three marble heads, a IV century AD portrait and a two later Hellenistic paintings .

Verses from the epic poem are posted around the monument under the figures they refer to, including the gods who took Greece's side, Mars and Minerva, and those protecting Troy, Venus and Apollo .

Among the gems included in the show is a wall painting from Pompeii showing The Rape of Iphigenia, the daughter of Greek leader Agamemnon who was sacrificed to appease the gods .

Another is what curator Mario Torelli of Perugia University called "an extraordinary micro-sculpture", the Tabula Iliaca, a bas-relief from Rome's Capitoline Museums which shows the most dramatic events in the war .

"For other cultures, war was normal. Only Ancient Greece produced such a momentous account of its drama, destruction and sorrows," Torelli added .

The exhibit - the latest in a series at the Colosseum including a sell-out show on gladiators - has been geared to the general public and not the specialist, co-curator Angelo Bottini of Rome's archaeological superintendency said .

"We aimed to show the importance of the Homeric epic in ancient times, how it ran through various civilisations and still has lessons for us today," he said .

... from the Boston MFA ... Bloomberg reports:

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts surrendered 13 works of ancient art to Italy today after hearing evidence from officials in Rome that the antiquities had been looted from archaeological sites around the country.

The trove includes a marble statue of the Roman empress Sabina that towers over 6 1/2 feet, 11 vases dating back 2,500 years and a carved marble stand depicting Greek gods.

The agreement is part of a broader effort by Italy to repatriate looted antiquities from foreign museums and prevent further pillaging of ancient sites. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art handed ownership of 21 antiquities to Italy in February, and the Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Museum has agreed in principle to relinquish antiquities to Italy.

``When we acquired these objects, we acquired them in good faith,'' Museum of Fine Arts Director Malcolm Rogers said at a handover ceremony in Rome. ``More evidence has come to light.''

Italian government negotiators have presented U.S. museums with evidence gathered for a series of antiquities trials. Police found photos of the Sabina statue, seemingly covered with a layer of dirt, in a 1995 raid on the Geneva warehouse of Roman art dealer Giacomo Medici, who is appealing a December 2004 smuggling conviction.

Rogers wouldn't say whether the museum had determined that the antiquities had been looted or what evidence he'd seen.

``We determined that the proper home for these objects was Italy,'' he said.

In return, Italy will loan ``significant works'' to the Museum of Fine Arts, and the museum and Italian government will cooperate on scholarship, conservation and archaeological investigation, according to the agreement.

Statue Unveiled

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Francesco Rutelli, who is also minister of culture, said he would bring such a loan -- as yet unnamed -- with him to Boston in November.

At the ceremony in the Ministry of Culture, Rutelli pulled a white sheet off the Sabina statue, revealing it to a phalanx of TV cameras. The other objects stood on a nearby table.

They will all go on public display for a week, starting Oct. 10, at the Museo Nazionale Romano di Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome. The government then plans to distribute the works to museums in the territories where they are believed to have been illegally excavated.

The Getty's former antiquities curator, Marion True, is on trial in Rome for conspiracy and handling looted antiquities. She denies the charges. Some of the objects returned today came through True's co-defendant, Paris- and New York-based dealer Robert Hecht, who denies charges that he sold stolen art.

The Boston museum initiated the talks with Italy after Bloomberg News reported on Oct. 31, 2005, that at least 22 items from the museum's collection were named in the Rome antiquities trials as being looted or coming from smugglers.

Rogers said there were no plans for the museum to return more.
Amicorum sunt communia omnia.
(M.Tullius Cicero, Greek Proverb Quoted in De Officiis 1.16.51)

Friends hold all things in common.

Pron= ah-mee-KOH-room soont kohm-MOO-nee-ah OHM-nee-ah.

Comment: What kinds of things do friends hold in common? Modern
Americans don't subscribe to the notion that everything they own also
belongs to their friends. Certainly among close friends there might
be a sharing of possessions, but even then, it is very clear who the
owner is, and who the borrower is, and many a friendship has
deteriorated over how the possession was treated between them.

Romans, certainly wealthy Romans, owned many possessions, and they did
among their friends share and enjoy hospitality of home and property,
but they did not have a notion of communism or the common ownership of

Cicero not only quotes this Greek proverb, but he cites in this same
passage an example from Ennius. Ennius offers the metaphor of a man
who helps another who is lost to find his way. He observes that if
the helper lights the lost man's lamp, his own lamp (and really light)
is not diminished by giving flame to the other's lamp.

Certainly the one man could say--here, friend, let me give you my
light. And the other would gladly take and receive the light from the
friendly man's lamp. And yet, no one would really want to claim that
the friendly man "owned" the flame. And yet, he did have a lamp; he
did have fire; he did share the flame and helped the other find his
way. He could also have refused to share something that he really did
not own.

What kinds of things do we hold in common as human beings that really
cannot be diminished by sharing them and by giving them away?
Further, what kinds of things do we hold in common as human beings,
that we can share, but which we refuse to share? Do we have light
that we are not sharing?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

ante diem iv kalendas octobres

48 B.C. -- Pompeius Magnus, in the wake of his defeat at Pharsalus, is murdered as he steps ashore in Egypt
Anyone else discover that gmail seems to have started flagging a pile of legitimate mail as spam? A bunch of stuff relating to our ClassiCarnies was lurking in my spam filter (hence the 'slow news days' of the past couple of days) ... this is a bit of a catch up:

Joel Morrison has been off to see The Lost Echo (an Ovid adaptation) ...

Adrian Murdoch has found a piece by Gore Vidal comparing George Bush to Romulus Augustulus ... there's more about the Ara Pacis too ...

Latest proverbial teaching materials from Laura Gibbs ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Gryphon ...

Eurylochus had a close shave under the walls of Troy ...

Nathan Bauman is up to book VI of the Odyssey ... (and he's solved his Greek font problem, it appears) ...

Stephen Carlson is working with bishop lists and Eusebius ...

While waiting for a Google Book to download yesterday, I came across a page of downloadable teaching kits ... if you scroll up ten items from the end of the page, there's a teaching kit for the HBO series of Rome (haven't looked at it in any depth); right above that one is one for the History Channel's Rome: Engineering an Empire ...

A couple of items of interest in the October issue of Geology (culled from a press release):

The geological links of the ancient Delphic Oracle (Greece): A reappraisal of natural gas occurrence and origin
Guiseppe Etiope, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Section Rome 2, Rome, Italy 00143; et al. Pages 825-828.

The prophetic powers of Pythia, the woman of the ancient Delphic Oracle, at the Temple of Apollo in Greece, are said to have been induced by hydrocarbon vapors, specifically ethylene, rising from rock and producing neurotoxic effects, including trance and delirium. This study by Etiope et al. completes a trilogy of papers on the link between geology and archeology in Delphi. Gas occurrence, though not ethylene, was confirmed on the basis of detailed surveys of gas flux from soil, gas in groundwater, and isotopic analyses of spring scales. Etiope et al. provide evidence that little methane, ethane, and carbon dioxide are released from a thermogenic (catagenetic) hydrocarbon-prone environment. However, the possibility of significant ethylene emissions is not obvious. In neither the present nor the past could the deep carbonatic rocks of Delphi produce sufficient amounts of ethylene (hundreds of ppmv) to produce smelling vapors or generate neurotoxic effects on humans. The Temple of Apollo may have been the site of increased degassing of methane in the past. If gas-linked neurotoxic effects upon Pythia need to be invoked, they should be sought in the possibility of oxygen depletion due to CO2-CH4 exhalation in the indoor temple. Alternatively, a possible geological explanation behind the natural presence of sweet scents at the temple could be aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzene, dissolved in the groundwater spring, the production of which in the Delphi rocks is theoretically possible, but remains to be experimentally proved.

Magma chamber recharge at Vesuvius in the century prior to the eruption of A.D. 79
D.J. Morgan, Université Joseph Fourier, LGCA, Domaine Universitaire, Saint Martin D'Hères, Isère 38400, France; et al. Pages 845-848.

The events that led up to the historically important eruption of Vesuvius volcano in A.D. 79 have been investigated and may assist in understanding the volcano in its current dormant state. By analyzing chemical variations within crystals found in A.D. 79 pumice, Morgan et al. have discovered that fresh hot magma rose into the Vesuvius system in at least four pulses before the eruption. These happened about 80 years, 40 years, and then twice around 20 years before the eruption. Morgan et al.'s method is likely to be applicable at other volcanoes and has the potential to reveal the timing of events that can potentially trigger volcanic eruptions.
From YLE:

Comitia in Suetia parlamentaria
22.09.2006, klo 10.07

Die Dominico in Suetia comitia parlamentaria habita sunt, quorum eventum omnes intenti exspectabant, cum scirent potestatem socialistarum per duodecim annos continuatam in discrimine versari.

Sententiis computatis patuit confoederationem partium mediarum et dextrarum ex democratis socialibus et prasinis victoriam reportavisse: illa coalitio enim ex suffragiis duodequinquaginta centesimas (48%) sibi paravit, cum russati et prasini ex votis nonnisi quadraginta sex (46%) centesimis potirentur.

Quae cum ita sint, proximus princeps minister Suetiae erit Fredrik Reinfeldt, praeses factionis conservativae moderatae unum et quadraginta annos natus.

Göran Persson, dux socialistarum, de clade sua certior factus nulla mora interposita nuntiavit se non solum praesidatum factionis suae deponere sed etiam a negotiis publicis omnino recedere.

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

... a while back, we mentioned that while Finland held the EU presidency, it would be doing press releases in Latin; I (erroneously) thought that they were just going to be doing the Nuntii Latini thing (as above) ... turns out there's a site for all these things (hat tip to David Parsons) and here's an example of what's there:


Ministri Unionis Europaeae de agricultura responsales conventui inofficiali triduano in urbe Oulu habito finem fecerunt. In eo, dum maxime ad pericula rei rusticae imminentia animum intendunt, exemplar agriculturae Europaeae considerabant et aestimabant. Disceptationes in libello a Praesidentia iam antea praeparato positae erant. Juha Korkeaoja, minister agriculturae et piscationis Finniae, qui conventui praesidebat: "Res rustica Europaea", inquit, "magnis periculis obiecta est, quam ob rem nobis ad ea superanda viribus unitis laborandum est. Quae quamvis ita sint, certo stabilitatis gradu opus est, neque prudentis est politicam nimis saepe mutare."

... not sure if I'll put these items in regular rotation, but if something catches my eye ...
ruminate @ Merriam-Webster

radiate @ OED

theriac @ Wordsmith (I've never figured out how words go from 'wild beast' to 'antidote')

aesthete @

The Classics Technology Center has Latin words for swimming ...
From KFVS:

As children, most of us at one time or another, pretended to dig for dinosaur bones or fossils in our backyard. We call adults who do that for a living, archeologists.

Kenn Riehn, of Cape Girardeau, considers himself an amateur archeologist, and recently returned from a trip to Israel.

"We were looking for the actual site where the crucifixion took place," explains Riehn, "They've already figured out the hill called Golgotha is where it happened, we're just looking for the exact spot."

Riehn and the crew didn't find it, but they did come across some pretty impressive artifacts.

"We were digging down about 35 feet and found four or five chambers," says Riehn, sorting through several pieces of pottery, "We came across these, and authorities with the Israeli Antiquities confirmed they were dated 2nd Temple Period, meaning the time of Jesus."

Riehn says the group also received congratulations on a great dig, and were told they found some interesting items, which baffled the Israeli Antiquities officials.

"It's really awesome to be out there digging in the soil in this historic and religious area," says Riehn, "It's just unbelievable."

Even though Riehn was in Israel just days after the cease fire with Lebanon, but tells Heartland News he wasn't too worried about his safety.

35 feet???
From Jewish World Review:

If archaeologist Yizhar Hirschfeld has his way, the ancient Essenes, generally believed to have authored the Dead Sea Scrolls, will be changing their address and abandoning claims on authorship of the scrolls.

Dr. Hirschfeld, of Hebrew University, recently invited reporters to Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea coast, 35 kilometers south of Qumran where the scrolls were found half a century ago, to announce discovery of an Essene settlement. If his thesis is upheld it would strengthen the hand of those scholars who argue that the Essene settlement known to have existed on the Dead Sea coast was not Qumran and that the scrolls found at Qumran had no connection to the sect. Mainstream scholarship believes that the ascetic Essenes had a critical influence on early Christianity, citing passages from the Qumran scrolls as evidence.

Hirschfeld's contention, which threatens this link, hangs mainly on a single, literary thread -- a Latin preposition whose interpretation is the subject of scholarly debate.

The Roman historian Pliny, in describing the Dead Sea area in the First Century, wrote about a strange sect that dwelt alongside the inland sea. "Out of range of the noxius exhalations of the coast is the solitary tribe of the Essenes, which is remarkable beyond all the other tribes in the whole world, as it has no women and has renounced all sexual desire, has no money, and has only palm trees for company ... Lying below the Essenes was formerly the town of Ein Gedi."

What Hirschfeld found on the slopes 200 meters above Ein Gedi, a Jewish farming village in antiquity and today the site of an Israeli kibbutz, was a cluster of 22 tiny stone "cells" which he believes constituted individual habitats. Pottery sherds date the site to the First Century. Hirschfeld found no direct link to the Essenes except for Pliny's comment about Ein Gedi being "below" the Essenes. "Without Pliny I wouldn't have made this claim," he says.

However, scholars have pointed out that the Latin word for below, infra, was often used by writers, including Pliny himself, in the sense of downstream or south. "Moreover," wrote Prof. Menahem Stern of Hebrew University, "the impression one gets from reading Pliny is that he describes the Dead Sea by starting from the north and that Ein Gedi, which is mentioned after the Essenes, should therefore be mentioned south of the Essene habitation" (at Qumran).

In antiquity, the terraced slopes of Ein Gedi were planted with balsam which produced an expensive perfume highly valued in the Roman world. Balsam, now extinct, was grown only at Ein Gedi and Jericho. Hirschfeld uncovered a spring whose waters were used for irrigation of the balsam groves.

Asked whether the stone cells might not have simply been seasonal shelters used by villagers from Ein Gedi during the harvest to spare themselves the trek up and down the hills, Hirschfeld acknowledged that it was a possibility.

Archaeologist Gabriel Barkai of Tel Aviv University, who visited the site, said he was "very unconvinced" by Hirschfeld's contention both because of the reading of Pliny's infra and the absence of any hard archaeological evidence. Another archaeologist, Prof. Dan Barag, said he was not convinced either "but I can't rule it out."

The reculusive Essenes, who attempted in antiquity to detach themselves from a fractious world, have proven once again their ability for stirring scholarly conflict ages later.
An additional spin to put on Roman interest in Jerusalem ... from the Jerusalem Post:

Unusually high concentrations of silver have been found during excavations in Jerusalem's Old City by Bar-Ilan University researchers in samples of different types of pottery from late Second Temple period some two millennia ago.

It was the first study ever conducted on the silver content of archeological ceramics, said the BIU team, which worked with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They published their results in the latest issue of the University of Oxford journal Archaeometry.

The research team, consisting of Prof. David Adan-Bayewitz of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at BIU in Ramat Gan and guest at the Berkeley lab, and Dr. Frank Asaro and Robert Giauque of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the California lab studied silver concentrations in 1,200 pottery vessels from 38 sites in Roman Judea, which is present-day Israel, dating from between the late first century BCE and 70 CE.

The major finding is that samples of pottery from late Second Temple period Jerusalem had anomalously higher concentrations of silver, as compared to samples from all other non-urban sites dated to the same period of time.

Many of the samples from Jerusalem and other rural and urban sites were otherwise indistinguishable in date, shape and chemical composition.

Anomalously high silver abundances were also detected in pottery found at other urban sites (Sepphoris, Dor and Beit She'an). But many of the Jerusalem samples had higher silver values (above 5.5 parts per million) than any of the samples from the other cities.

The geographical distribution of the samples with high silver cannot be explained by natural causes, said the researchers, who deduced that the origin of the silver is related to human activity. The team also concluded that silver was washed into the pottery by the action of groundwater - but it is possible that in some cases the high silver may have been related to the use of the pottery in antiquity.

The researchers suggest that the anomalously high silver concentrations they found in the Jerusalem pottery samples may be analytical evidence of the wealth of the city during the period. The findings from this study also suggest that the measurement of silver in pottery may be a useful tool for evaluating archaeological remains and patterns of urban contamination in antiquity.

The research team notes that Jerusalem and its Temple was the religious and national focus of Jews throughout the Roman Empire during the period, leading to substantial growth and accumulation of wealth by the city's inhabitants.

The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, who lived during this time, called Jerusalem "by far the most famous city of the East." Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem contributed to the city's wealth, and continual donations to the Temple made it a target for plunder. The archeological remains unearthed in the Upper City, today's Jewish Quarter, also attest to the wealth of the inhabitants in this period.

"Our findings," says Adan-Bayewitz, "showed that the silver concentrations in many of the late Second Temple-period Jerusalem samples are distinctly higher than those from all other sites, as well as Jerusalem samples of a later date."

The team developed a new analytical method for measuring silver concentrations in archeological pottery that they found is more reliable than available techniques.

This new method was used to check the results obtained with two other techniques employed by the team for silver measurements.The research was funded in largely by the US National Science Foundation and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation.
From the Cavalier:

While the University is home to 72 academic departments, the classics department has the honor of being one of Jefferson's original 10 academic disciplines. Initially known as the School of Ancient Languages, the department has since changed its name -- and much more -- while still maintaining consistencies with the past.

"In Jefferson's time, [the School of Ancient Languages] taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew," Classics Department Chair John Miller said. "Today, we offer courses in Greek, Latin and various aspects of classical civilization."

In addition, Miller mentioned that, in the University's early years, students were required to study Latin.

"Obviously, the percentage today is somewhat lower," Miller said. "But nevertheless, hundreds of students take courses in classics every semester."

One of these students, second-year College student Will Killmer, said his interest in classics stemmed from high school.

"It had a lot to do with my Latin teacher in high school," Killmer said. "He was really excited about the material and energetic about it. He got me into it and encouraged me to get into it and go a step further."

Killmer said the classics department faculty at the University has continued this trend for him.

"The professors really like what they're doing," Killmer said. "They're enthusiastic and like interacting with the students, and that carries over. It makes it a more fun learning environment and motivates people to get into the material."

Miller also mentioned the classics faculty: He said one of the continuities the department has maintained since its inception is employing faculty who have been leaders in the profession.

We have "a world-class faculty which has a broad range of interests within the classical world -- in fact, it extends chronologically from Archaic Greek to the Latin Middle Ages."

Reflective of this broad range of interests, the classics department offers a wide range of courses. Another offering of the department, according to both Miller and Killmer, is a strong sense of community.

The classics department "is a little smaller than some of the other departments, so you really get to know all the professors after you've taken three, four semesters of classes," Killmer said. "And they can know you better too. You get to know the other majors pretty well, so it's like a sub-community. I like it a lot."

There are also other facets of the department that draw students to classics.

"I would say that I think students are attracted, in the first instance, by an interest in languages," Miller said. "Secondly, many would be intrigued by the challenge of studying rigorous languages or just learning in the original language what the ancient authors -- like Homer or Virgil -- have to say."

Miller said another attractive feature of the University's department in particular is the recent changes. The department has just moved into the renovated Cocke Hall, where the new facilities include a departmental library.

"The study of classics at the University continues on the upswing," Miller said. "I'm happy to be a part of it."
Seditio civium hostium est occasio.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 621)

The dissension of the people is an occasion for the enemy.

pron = seh-DIH-tee-oh CIH-wee-oom HOS-tee-oom ehst ohk-KAH-see-oh

Comment: This is the general sentiment when views that are alternate
to the status quo arise--in almost any setting. The voice of the
status quo warns: the dissenters, the trouble-makers are just
destroying our unity, and without our unity we are vulenerable to our

I always marvel at this phenomenon when it crops up in our own
culture. Certainly Viet Nam protesters were told this, as were civil
rights protesters. One Sunday after delivering a very pointed homily
to my congregation about the vestiges of racisim in our community, a
"committee" of four elderly women approached me after the service to
say: why do you want to go and stir things up?

Dissension always stirs things up, and often changes things. The
question to reflect on is whether the change is worth the trouble that
the dissension will cause--and then, worth it, to whom?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem v kalendas octobres

70 A.D. -- Roman armies break through the walls of the upper city of Jerusalem (by one reckoning)
Another slow news day, alas ... seems the ClassiCarnies are taking a break too ...

N.S. Gill offers a piece on the Roman Senate ...

Irene Hahn writes about Agricola and the intellectual conquest of Britain ...

Roma Antiga has a third installment (in Portuguese) on the Jewish Wars ...

In the latest AJP:

Edmonds, Radcliffe G. (To Sit in Solemn Silence? Thronosis in Ritual, Myth, and Iconography

To explain Strepsiades' initiation in Aristophanes' Clouds, recent scholars have referred to a thronosis ritual at the Eleusinian mysteries to describe the process wherein the initiate sits on a stool with head covered. The term thronosis, however, properly belongs to Korybantic initiation ritual, not to the Eleusinian Mysteries. Not only are the terms employed to describe the rituals different, but the iconographic representations of the ritual and the mythic paradigms are different as well. The purificatory silent sitting of the Eleusinian initiate should not be confused with the bewildering and terrifying treatment of the enthroned initiate in a Korybantic initiation.

American Journal of Philology 127.3 (2006)
corollary @ Merriam-Webster

diacritical @ Wordsmith
From YLE:

Rerum conversio in Thailandia
22.09.2006, klo 10.07

In Thailandia conversio rerum facta est, cum summus dux exercitus sibi potestatem arripuit et legem civitatis fundamentalem abrogavit.

Eodem tempore Thaksin Shinawatra, princeps minister Thailandiae, qui diu de corruptione accusatus erat, a munere amotus est.

Usurpatores nuntiaverunt se summum imperium usque eo obtenturos esse, quoad civitati administrandae novus primarius minister eligeretur.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the News and Star:

SOME of the most important people to have lived in Cumbria were the Romans, who occupied the land that became Cumbria from about 72/73AD to 500AD.

Hadrian’s Wall is the biggest and most famous Roman archaeological feature, but there are lots of other things that the Romans left behind in Cumbria – some of which can be seen at Tullie House.

From today you can find out all about the Romans in Carlisle (which they called Luguvalium) on a new Tullie House interactive website.

The website – – is an informative, fun and entertaining resource for pupils and teachers and includes fun activities and useful information that you can use on school projects. Your guides are Rufus the Archaeologist and Roman squirrel.

An interactive map details what the Romans were doing in relation to modern Carlisle. As well as a Roman-style game of snakes and ladders you can reconstruct a skull found at an excavation site at the north end of The Lanes shopping centre.

Richard Clark, a teacher at Stanwix Primary School (which is on the site of the Roman fort Uxelodunum) says that: “The Tullie House Roman website is full of useful information and facts of Roman life in Carlisle. Being able to show children where the Romans lived in comparison with today’s Carlisle is a great way of getting them to learn the history of our city.”

Julie Wooding, Tullie House learning and access officer says the Roman website has taken a lot of hard work and creative skills to get right

“The interactive tools and games ensure the website is fun while still retaining the valuable information needed to help teachers educate children on such an exciting and significant period within Carlisle history,” she says.

The new website is part of the Renaissance project, a national scheme to transform England’s regional museums.

The original article is accompanied by a picture of a Roman squirrel for some reason ... it appears to be a character from the Tullie House website (which has a neat little feature on a Roman murder victim facial reconstruction) ...
From the Connecticut Post:

"Tantum eruditi sunt liberi."

It's a Latin axiom from the ancient Roman period written about 50 A.D. by Epictetus, a philosopher enslaved in Greece by Rome's conquering armies.

Know what it means?

Most people would be stumped by this high-minded slogan from the classical world, but students and educators in the Stratford public schools had better find out fast.

It's the school system's new motto, unanimously approved Monday night by the Board of Education.

"I think some of our Latin students might know what it means or could figure it out," said board Co-Chairman Tom Malloy. "That's part of the challenge, for them to figure it out."

But, Malloy said, officials plan to print the new motto in both the original Latin and an English translation on school board letterhead, publications and other as-yet-undetermined printed materials, as well as the front of the annual education budget proposal.

Malloy said while it is "very unusual" to adopt and print Latin mottoes for public school systems, "it's done all the time at the higher levels of education and government."

Malloy said while he preferred using the motto in Latin only, "I think my colleagues on the school board feel it makes more sense to provide people with the translation."

While it won't ease the annual education budget problems or help improve students' grades or calm the controversies over fixing school properties, Malloy said he believes it will spark school spirit and even encourage a growing interest in Latin by students. Malloy said with four Latin classes at Bunnell High School, and two new classes this year at Stratford High, "There has been a resurgence in interest in the ancient language among young people. Having a Latin motto can only further that trend.

"Young people are becoming more interested in the roots of our language, and at least half if not more derives from Latin," he said.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the new motto means "Only the Educated Are Free."

Supt. of Schools Irene Cornish said having an official school system motto could "instill a feeling of pride as well as the value of education in students, teachers and administrators. "This motto is particularly appropriate at this time given how crucial education is in our global society," Cornish said.

Malloy agreed, adding, "It's amazing you can go back to ancient times and find writings like this one that are universal and timeless, still so perfectly in tune with the 21st century."

School Board Vice Chairman Robert David praised Malloy for suggesting the idea.

"I love that the motto is Latin," David said. "It's a great idea that will boost morale and encourage school spirit."
Totus mundus deorum est immortalium templum.
(Seneca, De Beneficiis 7.7.3, adapted)

The whole world is a temple of the immortal gods.

Pron = TOH-toos MOON-doos day-OH-room ehst ihm-mohr-TAH-lee-oom TEM-ploom.

Comment: What place in the world have you been that simply takes your
breath away? What places have you seen where suddenly you felt that
looking at the natural creation opened you wide, so wide that the
universe was inside of you and outside of you all at once so that you
could no longer tell the difference? And have some of these moments
taken place in what could not be more than mere seconds?

I can focus my comments here in the form of questions because I am
fairly confident that most people will be nodding, and saying yes, and
remembering the places and the moments when encounter with this
universe, whether in gazing at the expanse of the stars or peering
into a child's dirty hand which has discovered rolly-polies on the
ground, became transcendent.

And so, we each have our own commentary on this proverb, our own way
of understanding why Seneca could write that the whole world is an
temple of the immortal gods.

More the reason to take care of it.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem vi kalendas octobres

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

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cosmas and Damian

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cyprian

1687 -- a Venetian mortar ignites a store of Turkish gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon, causing much damage.
Slow news day ... here's was the ClassiCarnies are up to:

Adrian Murdoch is wondering about the term 'Shadow Emperors' ...

Laura Gibbs has a useful roundup post of her recent updates at the Bestiaria site (proverb, crossword, etc.) ...

Ioannis Georganas points us to a version of the Odyssey in Linear B ...

Mischa Hooker looks at a review of a production of the Elektra ...

Ross Scaife post about a project to make an online Companion to the Worlds of Roman Women ...

Archaeology Magazine has put up an abstract of an article on the Tomb of the Roaring Lions (with a nice little photo) ...

Ed Flinn posts an interesting coin of Valerian ...

Manolo of the Agora writes about a dramatic performance of Ovid ...

Gregg Schwender has started up a new blog devoted to papyrology ...

Bibliodyssey has the usual assortment of interesting pix from old tomes ... today's come from a 'friendship album' and of interest to us are some Flemish pix depicting Actaeon and, further down, Caesar at Alexander's tomb ...

In the latest AJP:

Sider, David. The New Simonides and the Question of Historical Elegy
In this paper I question the validity of the notion of "historical elegy" as a genre of classical Greek elegy. My approach is to view elegy as a whole in order to understand first how the Greeks themselves used the term "elegy" and then what we can learn of the contents of other classical elegies that touched upon historical subjects. I show that the Greeks never attached any descriptive label to "elegy," whether "historical" or otherwise, and that an elegy that included historical matters could also incorporate myth and look forward to the future, while including as well themes now thought of as sympotic.

American Journal of Philology 127.3 (2006)
senectitude @ Wordsmith

ostensible @
From YLE:

Quid papa Benedictus XVI dixerit
22.09.2006, klo 10.06

Papa Benedictus XVI ait se graviter dolere, si verba sua de islamismo facta animos musulmanorum offendissent.

Arbitrabatur sibi talem pronuntiationem edendam esse, postquam audivit orbem islamistarum valde iratum esse propter orationem suam in Germania habitam.

Citaverat enim in sermone suo dictum cuiusdam imperatoris mediaevalis, ex quo propheta Muhammed effecisset, ut varii generis mala per orbem terrarum manarent.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Very interesting item from the Times (actually, it's hype for a book which will come out next week):

A COLLECTION of sacred artefacts looted by the Romans from the Temple of Jerusalem and long suspected of being hidden in the vaults of the Vatican are actually in the Holy Land, according to a British archaeologist.

Sean Kingsley, a specialist in the Holy Land, claims to have discovered what became of the collection, which is widely regarded as the greatest of biblical treasures and includes silver trumpets that would have heralded the Coming of the Messiah.

The trumpets, gold candelabra and the bejewelled Table of the Divine Presence were among pieces shipped to Rome after the looting in AD70 of the Temple, the most sacred building in the ancient Jewish faith.

After a decade of research into previously untapped ancient texts and archaeological sources, Dr Kingsley has reconstructed the treasure’s route for the first time in 2,000 years to provide evidence that it left Rome in the 5th century.

He has discovered that it was taken to Carthage, Constantinople and Algeria before being hidden in the Judaean wilderness, beneath the Monastery of Theodosius.

Dr Kingsley said: “The treasure resonates fiercely across modern politics. Since the mid-1990s, a heated political wrangle has been simmering between the Vatican and Israel, which has accused the papacy of imprisoning the treasure.

“The Temple treasure remains a deadly political tool in the volatile Arab-Israeli conflict centred on the Temple Mount [the site of the Jewish Temple and the Muslim Dome of the Rock].

“The treasure’s final hiding place – in the modern West Bank . . . deep in Hamas territory – will rock world religions.”

Emperor Vespasian ordered the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem after a Jewish revolt and Roman forces took about 50 tons of gold, silver and precious art to Rome.

The Arch of Titus, built a decade later, depicts Roman soldiers bearing the sacred spoils on their shoulders. The Jews were expelled from Jerusalem and dispersed throughout the world.

Between AD75 and the early 5th century, the treasure was on public display in the Temple of Peace in the Forum, in Rome.

The Vatican has told Dr Kingsley that there is no evidence in its archives that the treasure resided in Rome from the medieval period onwards.

He said: “One thing is for sure – it is not imprisoned deep in Vatican City. I am the first person to prove that the Temple treasures no longer languish in Rome.”

Dr Kingsley’s sources include Josephus, a 1st-century Jewish historian who sometimes exaggerated but is an authority on Roman and Jewish history. Dr Kingsley also found evidence in, among others, the works of Procopius, a court historian of the Emperor Justinian, who died in AD562, and from Theophanes Confessor (c760-817), a Christian monk from Constantinople.

In Chronographia, which spanned AD284 to 813, Theophanes recorded that Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, loaded the treasures that “Titus had brought to Rome after the capture of Jerusalem” on a boat to Carthage in Tunisia in AD455.

In the first holy crusade in AD533, the Byzantine Belisarius seized the treasure from a royal ship fleeing the Algerian harbour of Hippo Regius. It was then shipped to Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium.In the 7th century, Persians sacked Jerusalem, killing thousands of Christians, and dragging the Patriarch, Zacharias, to Persia. Dr Kingsley believes that his replacement, Modestus, spirited away the treasures to their final hiding place in AD614.

Interesting idea, although I know of no one who thought the treasures were still in Rome. I also wonder why -- other than for hype purposes -- this is something which will 'rock world religions'. And no mention of the Ark of the Covenant?



David Schaps writes:

With regard to your wonder about why the Ark of the Covenant is not mentioned in the alleged Temple treasure:

The second temple was built after the return from the Babylonian exile, with materials provided by the King of Persia. The Ark of the Covenant, being irreplaceable, was not in the second temple.

rogueclassicist replies:

Interesting ... way back when I was an undergrad, some prof (not a Classics prof) suggested the Ark was part of the Treasure. That was back in the days of the first Indiana Jones movie, though, so I suspect someone must have been just trying to tie pop culture to the subject matter of the course ...

Bert Ricci writes:

I have always thought the most likely fate of the gold from the sack of Jerusalem was melted down for coinage by the financially strapped, post-Neronian regime of Vespasian. The whole of the hype I'm responding to sounds like it is from medieval fairy tales. Right up there with Stonehenge having been built by Merlin and Cicero being a wizard. Or was that last Seneca?
Historia est testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memoria, magistra
vitae, nuntia vetustatis.
(M. Tullius Cicero, De Oratore 2.36)

History is the witness of the times, the light of truth, the life of
memory, the teacher of life, and the messenger of antiquity.

Comment: Last week I made an egregious error in my comments on
American slavery. Cicero gives me an opportunity to admit it and own
it. I wrongly assumed that the invention of the cotton gin would have
had a negative effect on the institution of slavery, but that the
injustice of human slavery stood in the way of the imagination for how
a machine might function. A couple of members of this list emailed
me, very kindly, to point out that, in fact, the cotton gin enabled
slave holders to increase their produce of cotton, and only entrenched
the use of human slaves more deeply.

I consulted with a friend and American historian who noted that the
injustice of human slavery did not hinder imagination, but
demonstrated how perverted imagination can become. How true!

History, if we listen to it, is a witness of the times. It is a
light, if we pay attention to it, of the truth. It can be the life of
memory if it has been known to remember in the first place. It can be a
teacher of life and a messenger of antiquity if we have ears for it.

And, as my error has demonstrated, history's message and light and
instruction can be easily distorted by our assumptions! I apologize
to those who read my comments for this misuse of historical information.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem vii kalendas octobres

2nd century A.D. -- martyrdom of Herculanus

233 A.D. -- the emperor Severus Alexander celebrates a triumph for his victories over the Persians

1808 -- death of Richard Porson

1931 -- death of Ulrich von Wilamovitz-Moellendorff
A handful of items today ...

Joel Morrison (he of the audio video disco blog) and his class are beginning the Aeneid ...

Adrian Murdoch has a tidbit on interest rates ...

After a long hiatus at Sauvage Noble, we welcome DOCTOR Angelo Mercado back to the blogosphere ...

Ben Smith has a lengthy post on the Origenic Canon ...

N.S. Gill comments on a blogpost comparing antiquity and American politics ... there's also a guest review of Mysteries of Eleusis ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Victoria ...
prelapsarian @ Wordsmith

militate @
From YLE:

Colloquia Indiae et Pakistaniae
22.09.2006, klo 10.05

Pervez Musharraf, praesidens Pakistaniae, et Manmohan Singh, primus minister Indiae, consenserunt, ut consultationes pacis a ministris utriusque civitatis denuo susciperentur.

Colloquia enim ad territorium Casmiriam pertinentia mense Iulio ad irritum ceciderunt, cum ducenti fere homines ictibus bombicis in India factis vitam amisissent.

Indi hunc impetum separatistis ex Pakistania agentibus crimini dederunt.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Pontificem Benedictum sororis Italicae in Somalia enectae dignitatem agnovisse
From Bloomberg comes this:

A convicted antiquities smuggler has offered to return a previously unknown ancient masterpiece known as ``Object X'' to Italy in exchange for reducing the jail time and fines he faces for supplying loot to U.S. museums.

A famous artist from the ancient world whose work compares to that of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci created Object X, says the convicted art dealer, Giacomo Medici, who is free while awaiting appeal. The object, which may be a statue, vase, or something else -- he's not saying -- is worth millions, he says.

``It's something they can only dream about,'' Medici, 68, says of the Italian officials with whom he's negotiating to cut his 10-year prison sentence and 10-million euro ($12.8 million) fine. ``And only I can bring it to them.''

Medici's case is part of a broader prosecution that includes Marion True, the former antiquities curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, who is on trial in Rome for conspiracy and receiving smuggled art. She denies the charges.

The mystery masterpiece, if it exists, risks never coming to light if Medici and prosecutor Paolo Ferri fail to reach an agreement by Oct. 4, when a Rome court is scheduled to hear Medici's appeal. Italian law bars plea bargaining after an appeal starts, Ferri says.

A sticking point is that Medici wants a guarantee that the market value of the work, referred to as Object X by both sides in the talks, will wipe out his fine. The prosecutor says he wants to see the object before making promises.

Dubious Prosecutor

``It could be a bluff,'' says Ferri, who says he'd rather lose Medici's masterpiece than get duped. ``I'm sorry if it's important.''

Medici, describing the proposal over a lunch of grilled calamari in Rome, refuses to say where the object is or how quickly he can get his hands on it. ``It could be a flight from Australia or three hours by train from Naples,'' he says.

The Getty, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts agreed this year to return antiquities to Italy based in part on evidence from Medici's December 2004 conviction for conspiracy, smuggling and receiving stolen antiquities.

Among the objects Medici was convicted for smuggling is a 2,500-year-old krater vase for mixing wine, painted by the Greek artist Euphronios, purchased by the Met in 1972 for $1 million. The Met agreed in February to give the pot and 20 other antiquities back to Italy.

Medici, a stocky, balding man, says the object he's offering is worth as much as the Euphronios krater, which the Met considered the finest Greek vase in its collection.

Ancient Goddess?

He says he's leaving Italian officials to wonder if Object X is another painted vase or a bronze by Lysippos, the personal sculptor of Alexander the Great, an ivory head or a 2,300-year- old goddess carved by the Greek master Praxiteles.

Equivalent objects have been valued at more than 10 million euros in the international antiquities market. Such a masterpiece has eluded Italian police who've searched Medici's homes over the past decade, breaking down walls in search of hidden compartments.

On Sept. 20, prosecutor Ferri offered to reduce Medici's sentence to six years and to use Object X to offset the 10- million euro fine, but he wouldn't guarantee that it would wipe out the whole debt, Medici says. In return, Medici would drop his appeal, letting the conviction stand.

Ferri says he can't comment on details of continuing talks but doesn't dispute Medici's general account. A six-year sentence would likely result in probation with no jail time, Ferri and Medici say.

Medici's Appeal

For Italy, such a deal would eliminate the risk of the court overturning Medici's conviction and endangering future talks with museums and other smuggling prosecutions.

Medici's lawyers have filed a 78-page appeal at the Rome Tribunal that says the evidence doesn't prove Medici handled the objects or that the antiquities were stolen from archaeological sites in Italy. The appeal, obtained by Bloomberg News, also says procedural violations should lead to the case's dismissal.

Ferri has filed a point-by-point rebuttal of the appeal, which by law he cannot make public, he says. The prosecutor says Medici's appeal is based mostly on technical issues and not on the substance of the charges.

Medici argues that he'll be exonerated by a rational look at the case, which consists mostly of photographs seized from his Geneva warehouse. The photos depict antiquities in various states of restoration before they arrived at the Met, Getty and other museums.

He says people often sent him photos of objects to appraise as an art expert.

``It's unjust to convict someone for trafficking in an object just because he has photos,'' says Medici, who traveled the world buying and selling antiquities before the court seized his passport in 2004.

The prosecutor says Medici's latest promise to come up with a masterpiece shows the conviction hasn't kept the Roman dealer from the antiquities trade.

``It means he's continuing to traffic,'' Ferri says.

So what do you suppose he has?

Last week Suzan Mazur was writing about Cornelius Vermeule and Robert Hecht, in the course of which she mentioned the 'flying Medea' vase, which Italy wants back from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts ... turns out it is now in Cleveland ...
From the Sofia Echo comes this strange bit:

Bulgarian archaeologists and criminal groups were in a race to find ancient treasures first, an article in The Guardian named Bulgaria Fights to Save its Golden Past from the Curse of the Gangsters said.

A number of Thracian treasures have already been found on the territory of Bulgaria, the report said. These artifacts were about to disprove claims that the Thracians were “barbarian race whose greatest contribution to history was Spartacus, the slave who rebelled against Rome.”

At the same time, criminal groups proved sometimes more skillful and faster than archaeologists and managed to unearth ancient treasures first, The Guardian said.

Some Thracian treasures could even rival findings from ancient Troy, the report said. Among the most impressive pieces were a solid gold mask and a platinum dagger found recently.

“We have 15,000 Thracian burial mounds, and 400 ancient settlements - but it is terribly hard to protect them all. Looting has boomed since the end of communism 15 years ago”, Bulgarian archaeologists said.

To meet EU accession criteria Bulgaria has tightened border control and busted a number of criminal groups. But because of the low standards of living archaeologists said they feared criminal groups would remain in power.

... is it just me, or does it sound like the Guardian article was 'news' to the editors of the Sofia Echo?
From YLE:

De mutatione climatis
22.09.2006, klo 10.05

Investigatores Americani mutationem climaticam iam evolutionem afficere putant.

Nonnullae enim species animalium propter novum caeli statum genetice mutari coeperunt.

Hodie in Terra Nova (Newfoundland), provincia Canadae, culices etiam mense Augusto sanguinem exsugere pergunt, cum antea mense Iulio id facere desierint.

Mutationes evolutionis praesertim in partibus orbis terrarum septentrionalibus conspici possunt, quarum clima iam simile fere sit ac in regionibus meridianis.

Maija Ketoluoto-Nurminen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Georgius Bush est "diabolus", dicit Chavez coram generali Nationum Unitarum consilio
This was Friday's ... but I didn't get around to posting it:

Mater artium necessitas.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

pron = MAH-tair AHR-tee-oom neh-KEHS-see-tahs

Comment: Just yesterday, I had a discussion with students about this
very saying (not knowing that it was about to come up on this list).
What provoked the discussion was the fact that ancient Rome had a
working steam engine, but it never was for them anything other than a
toy for the wealthy. How is it that something like a working machine,
powered by steam, would have to be lost to human memory and discovered
again hundreds of years later?


A civilization that had pervasive slavery in place to do heavy labor
had no need for machinery to do that. As I offered to the class, when
institutionalized injustice prevails, a people's imagination is
hindered. Need is not seen as universal when those who hold power
over others see themselves as radically other than them. There is no
universal need to motivate new ideas, new invention, creativity for
the common good. In the house of pervasive injustice, good is not
seen as common.

We whisked ahead to American slavery. Why use a cotton gin to
separate seed from cotton pods if you have human slaves to do the
work? Why even imagine a machine that can do such things? Why use
such a machine if it is already available? Who would think of it with
the injustice blinding the need that all humans held?

We moved ahead to my own life time. Just 40 years ago, judges,
doctors, lawyers, scientists,police officers, fire-fighters and clergy
were all men. Women were housewives, laborers, waitresses, cooks,
nurses and teachers. The institutionalized injustice of gender
discrimination impeded the imagination: of how a man might make a good
and capable nurse or teacher; of how a woman might make a strong and
inventive attorney or scientist or member of the clergy.

Sometimes, need forces a crack in the walls of injustice, and
imagination has its way. Art, skill, invention, work,
technology--they hinge on the things that all creation needs to
survive and thrive.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Once again, we find our inbox in need of a major cleanup:

The Latin IES Bunol blog has a couple of items in Spanish of interest ... here's some more .... (who owns this blog?)

A bit of Asterix and Obelix in Greek at the Carpe Diem blog (not sure who owns/runs this one either) ...

Adrian Murdoch is pondering hangovers via Pliny ...

Bibliodyssey (another mystery owner) has some interesting 16th century illustrations designed to accompany the tale of Jason, the Argonauts, Medea and all that ...

Roma Antiga (Portuguese) posts on Roman religion ...

N.S. Gill tells us about ancient Asia Minor ...

Ginny Lindzey is doing film scenarios with her class ... she's also ranting about the importance of oral Latin ...

Atriades' 3rd form Latin class has been making defixiones ...

Laura Gibbs posts a sort of roundup of what she's put up at various sections of her site (including a Latin Sudoku!) ...

Glaukopis is wondering about the Monty Python requirement of profs (I think there's a Simpsons requirement too ... if not, there should be) ....

Nathan Bauman has some thoughts on book five of the Odyssey ...

Ed Flinn had a nice Cornelia ...

Nikolaos Markoulakis posts about the Temple of Diana at Nemi ... there's also a hymn to Hygeia ...

Michael Gilleland has a bit of Johnson-imitating-Juvenal ... he's also dug up some more ancient dog names ... and more on King of Kings ... someone likes Homer ...

Phil Harland writes about tensions between Romans and Jews in 1st century Judaea ...

Irene Hahn is beginning a discussion on Tacitus and the barbarians (sounds like a good name for a band) ... there's some background info on Tacitus ... there's also a bit of ethnography from Julius Caesar ...

David Parsons has a page collecting reviews of the new docudrama about ancient Rome from the BBC ... there's also word of a game associated with the series ...

The Fall edition of the CSA Newsletter is now available online ...

... so is the Fall newsletter of the New Jersey Classical Association ...

Folks might be interested in this page devoted to the ancient city of Aptera (on Crete) ...

Some theatre reviews:

Persians ... NY Times ...

Chariot of the Sun (Greek myth through puppetry) ...

Issue 9.22 of our Explorator is up in the Yahoo archive (I'm avoiding the spam-ridden Classics Central) ... the Ancient World on Television listings for this week should be up shortly as well (well, by 8.00 p.m.)
Interesting item from AFP via Yahoo begins:

"In the second year of the Zhongping reign period, in the 10th month, on a Guihuai day, a 'guest star' emerged within the Southern Gate," says an ancient Chinese journal of record, referring to an awesome celestial event that occurred on December 7, 185 AD.

"It ...(had) scintillating, variegated colours, and it then grew smaller, until in the sixth month of the hou-year [July 5 to August 2, 186 AD] it disappeared."

The "guest star" so vividly portrayed almost 2,000 years ago in the Astrological Annals of the Houhanshu has now been confirmed as the world's oldest recorded supernova.

... which tweaked in my mind a page put up by MF on astonomical symbols on ancient coins, in particular, a coin of Commodus dating to A.D. 186 which includes a star-and-crescent motif which has often been referred to as referring to an eclipse (which has never made sense to me) ... could this be a Roman (sort of) depiction of the celestial event recorded by the Chinese? [a quick look at the wildwinds page of Commodus has a star featuring prominently in a pile of coins after this date]
With so-called 'National Pancake Day' coming, you'll probably see this one a lot ... this version from the Sacramento Bee (but it's all over the web):

It's National Pancake Day. The ancient Romans ate them and called them "alita dolcia" (meaning "another sweet" in Latin), and Shakespeare served up some lines about them in two of his comedies ("All's Well That Ends Well" and "As You Like It").

Even if we give them a pass on the 'dolcia' thing (which doesn't look like something an ancient Roman would say ...), alita must be from alitus, -a, -um, no? (i.e. "nourishment, sustenance" ... from alo)
We regularly post items from the Sofia News Agency telling of the latest spectacular finds from Bulgaria ... here's an item from the Guardian which puts their discovery into a somewhat different light:

Luck is only sometimes on the side of Bulgaria's archaeologists, as they race gangsters to unearth the treasure of the ancient Thracians.

It was with Daniela Agre last month when she came across a Black Sea hotel owner flattening a 2,000-year-old burial mound and found a horde of gold and silver jewellery that she thinks belonged to a Thracian priestess. Another archaeologist was served in a remote rural shop by a woman wearing a string of 5,000-year-old gold beads, found by her husband in sunflower fields where a large Thracian treasure trove was later discovered.

Famed for their ferocity and horsemanship, the Thracians - who lived between modern-day Ukraine and Turkey - were long considered a barbarian race whose greatest contribution to history was Spartacus, the slave who rebelled against Rome. But just as a series of spectacular finds is deepening their understanding, academics fear the violent mafia that has dogged Bulgaria's bid to join the European Union are beating them to vital pieces of the historical jigsaw.

Gavrail Lazov, head of archaeology at Bulgaria's National History Museum, is celebrating another remarkable find while lamenting his country's failure to crush crime. Last month, his colleagues unearthed 20,000 Thracian ornaments, one a dagger made of platinum and gold.

'It is 5,000 years old and still so sharp a man could shave with it. Perhaps it belonged to a king, but it is too early to be sure,' Lazov said.

Indeed the riches of Thracia may rival those of ancient Troy. The most spectacular find is the 2,500-year-old burial mask of a Thracian ruler, a solid gold visage more than 10 times heavier than the Mask of Agamemnon, which is the centrepiece of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

'Bulgaria has more ancient artefacts than any European country except Greece and Italy,' said Lazov. 'We have 15,000 Thracian burial mounds, and 400 ancient settlements - but it is terribly hard to protect them all. Looting has boomed since the end of communism 15 years ago.'

Under pressure from Brussels, Bulgaria has tightened border controls and pledged to crack down on crime. It is expected to find out on Tuesday whether it can join the EU in January. But in a country where the average monthly wage is £120, Lazov fears the criminals will always prosper. 'Right now, it would be easier to catch bin Laden than all these thieves,' he said.
The incipit of a piece in the Turkish Daily News:

Athenian tragic drama was the precursor of Athenian moral philosophy. Dramatists were an important element in a major intellectual awakening in ancient Greece during the fifth century B.C., along with philosophers. It was then when the word justice started being communicated to people via ancient tragedies.

All the dramatic scripts revolved around this central word, or theme. People and gods were living with justice, acting according to justice and even justifying justice. This ancient world gave us the word ?justice,? the meaning of justice and a symbol for justice. Thanks to her high sense for fairness, the Greek goddess Athena was held in great esteem. She also demonstrated her apt attitude towards justice in many Greek tragedies.

In Aeschylus' "Oresteia," for example, it is Athena who votes in favor of the acquittal of Orestes, who killed his own mother. Both she and Apollo, who told Orestes to kill his mother in revenge for the death of his father, find a justification for their pardon in a peculiar and new argument.

In attempt to defend past wrongdoings, the "younger gods" asserted that a mother is less important than a father, hence excusing her murder. As evidence they put forward the ?fact? that a mother is only a carrier of a child but it is the seed of the father that counts.

This was the belief of a group living 2,500 years ago. However, this nonsense was programmed so well in their minds that even after so many years and after advances in genetic medicine have proven the opposite, we still face the consequences of this perverse logic.

Since the time when Orestes was tried by the Furies, Europe has developed into a complex and highly tuned machine, a community based on law. It derives its spiritual identity partially from ancient Greek philosophy and it solves almost all-current disputes within its borders via legal actions.

Thanks to the highly technical and methodological construct of the European judicial system, justice has become much more predictable.

... the rest (but that's it for ClassCon) ...
From Reuters:

For the ancient Romans it was an enormous arena for "Ben Hur"-style chariot races, but for modern-day Italians it's little more than a big, dusty field. Until now.

Rome's city council has decided to spruce up the Circus Maximus whose history predates the nearby Colisseum by 600 years but is sometimes overlooked by both locals and tourists as the often trash-strewn site bears few signs of its former glory.

In ancient Rome, a circus was a large, usually oval arena for horse racing and public events and Circus Maximus -- "the big circus" -- was the original.

"It was the biggest circus for horse racing in the ancient world and was the model for all the others," said Eugenio La Rocca, in charge of cultural heritage at Rome city hall.

Hundreds of thousands of people still occasionally gather at one of the biggest open spaces in modern Rome. It was the scene for mass celebrations after Italy won the soccer World Cup and it was the venue for the Rome leg of the Live 8 concert in 2005.

But few would guess that a scrubby patch of ground at one end of the field, fenced off by rusty chicken wire, witnessed one of the most infamous events in early Roman history.

It was to that spot, according to La Rocca, that Rome's founder Romulus brought women abducted from a nearby tribe to populate the new city in the so-called "Rape of the Sabines".

"It's a little bit rotten. You need a lot of imagination to have a picture of what this place could have been in former times," said Ute Kluener, a German tourist.

A piece of marble column lying abandoned behind the chicken wire is one of few visible remnants of a triumphal arch that Emperor Titus erected at the circus in the first century AD.

As part of the 3 million-euro (2.6 million pounds) renovation, the fence will be replaced by a more elegant wall to give a better view of the site and archaeologists will further explore where 10 metres of earth that now cover the ancient track.

They will also dig along a 500-metre "spine" down the middle of the circus forming two hairpin bends for the chariot races.

Now a grassy knoll frequented by bongo players and frisbee fans, in the days of the Roman empire the spine was decorated with statues and the world's tallest Egyptian obelisk, which now stands outside the St. John Lateran basilica close by.

For now there are no plans to restore the circus to its former glory. Even the relatively smallscale excavations planned will be tricky as the water table is now above the level of the ancient track and the digs will need to be constantly pumped.

... well, it's a start, if nothing else.
NPR has an interview with Barry Strauss, along with excerpts from this latest tome ... here's the tease:

Homer first wrote of the Trojan war in The Iliad, a story filled with enduring characters: Helen, Paris, Achilles, Hector and Odysseus, to name but a few. And it ends with one of the great misdirection moves in the annals of martial affairs.

How much of this fabled conflict is true and how much is myth?

Author Barry Strauss, who previously impressed the critics with his book Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece and Western Civilization, revisits the classic material in The Trojan War: A New History.

... worth a listen ...
Okay ... this one's weird ... I did see this at Boing Boing but didn't notice (as JH did ... thanks!) that there is some ClassCon here ... a couple of artists specialize in "beheaded dolls' depicting famous historical victims, among whom are Julia Agrippina (not beheaded, obviously) and Julius Caesar (who clearly has too much hair). Once upon a time I pondered the viability of making Julio-Claudian bobbleheads ... I still think that would be a good idea (as well as other folks from ancient history, mythology, etc ...)
Happy Rosh Hashanah to all our friends who follow the "Jewish calendar" ... let's party like it's 5767!
From icWales:

Our interest in ancient Rome shows no sign of abating, as a major new programme starring Michael Sheen as the Emperor Nero begins tonight. Here Duncan Higgitt looks back at the Romans' influence in Wales - and how this country played a large part in bringing their wrath down upon the Britons

IT was 42AD and a tribesman who would soon become a Welsh hero was sitting uncomfortably in the thoughts of the Roman emperor.

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known just as Claudius, was stuttering and spluttering his way through his indignation, the disabled administrator - whom many had underestimated to their cost - apoplectic with rage, an anger directed at the head of relatively unremarkable Essex tribe dwellers known as the Catuvellaunis.

Their chieftain, Caratacus, whom some have since said most closely resembles legendary Welsh warrior Caradog in history, had set his face against Roman rule. His campaigning in southern England had forced the Roman vassal Verica to flee to Rome, and had thrown the British Isles into anarchy.

To Claudius, who was succeeded by his adoptive son Nero, there was only one answer to this upstart: invasion. He dispatched four battle-hardened legions - II Augusta, IX Hispana, XIV Gemina and XX Valeria Victrix - totalling some 20,000 men, to bring the rebellious isle back under boot.

The legions, who included commanders such as future emperor Vespasian, landed in 43AD, probably in Kent, and won a memorable victory near Rochester, pursuing the remnants of the British army to the Thames and the Essex marches, where it was destroyed. Claudius subsequently took the surrender of 11 British tribal chiefs.

Vespasian pushed west into England, and the task of capturing Caratacus and subduing Wales was handed to the new governor of Britain, Ostorius Scapula, who began his campaign in 47AD.

Despite the relative ease with which successive invaders have pushed into Wales, owing to the direction in which rivers flow, with the exception of the Severn, the Romans found stiff opposition in the Marches.

At the time, there were five tribal groupings in Wales, all of them speaking Brythonic, which would later develop into Welsh. There were the Ordovices in the north-west, the Demetians in the south-west, the Silurians in the south-east, the Cornovii in the central borderlands, and the Deceangli in the north-east.

It was the Deceangli that would meet them first. In a successful attempt to divide the mountains of Wales from the highlands of England, the first Roman set foot in Wales after crossing the River Dee. It did not take the legionnaires long to win the submission of the Deceangli.

The following year, they attempted the same in the south, dividing the Silurians, whom Caratacus had joined with, from tribes in south western England, by establishing a major fortress in Gloucester. But it wasn't plain sailing. The South Walians' hit-and-run tactics caused immense problems for the Romans and led to the defeat of a legion in 52AD.

It was already all over for Caratacus. In AD50, at a place near the Severn which historians now believe is the Iron Age fort of British Camp, at Herefordshire Beacon in the Malvern Hills, he was defeated handing all of southern Britain to the invaders.

Caratacus fled to the Brigantes in the Pennines. Their queen, Cartimandua, already had a truce with the Romans and handed him over in chains (this action would later lead to a revolt against her rule by her own tribesmen).

Caratacus was sent to Rome, with plans that he would be executed. However, he was allowed to address the Roman senate. Senators were so impressed that they pardoned him.

Ostorius died in 52AD, and his successor Aulus Gallus eventually subdued the Welsh borders. He made no further move into Wales because, it is thought, the country was not considered to be a prize worthy of the effort of taking it.

However, that all changed in AD54 when Nero succeeded Claudius. He appointed Quintus Veranius, a man with experience in subjugating the warlike hill tribes of Asia Minor. He was dead within a year, but both he and his successor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus mounted a new campaign against the Silurians and their Welsh allies, using, it is claimed, up to 30,000 troops.

Legionnaires infamously destroyed the renowned druidic centre at Mona on Anglesey. But they were unable to conquer the Silurians until 76AD, more than 30 years after landing on British soil. This is partly because the legions were called away to deal with Boudica and her rebellion.

New governor Sextus Julius Frontinus was credited with the successful campaign, and it was he who established Isca Silurum beside the River Usk at Caerleon, near Newport, for Legio II Augusta.

Caerleon was one of three major garrisons, each capable of housing a legion of 6,000 men. The others were situated at York and Chester.

Outposts included sites at Abergavenny, Usk and Monmouth in Monmouthshire, Loughor in Glamorgan, and Castle Collen near Llandrindod Wells.

It did not take long for the Silurians to get used to Roman rule, and many of the forts based around South Wales were soon unnecessary. The Silurians were rewarded with Venta Silurum now known as Caerwent, a provincial capital close to Caerleon and the first ever town in Wales.

But the Romans never settled in North Wales. The spirited Ordovices put up such a fight that, if you visit the Forum in Rome today, the vast mosaic map of the Roman Empire there does not show what is now Gwynedd as part of the territories.

Tiring of attacks and the disruption of supplies, the Romans built Segontium fort in Caernarfon in AD78, and it would remain in use until 410AD.

The Romans also built a tribal capital for the Demetae at Maridunum, or Carmarthen. In fact, it had more in common with the fortifications at Segontium than the country villas around Caerwent, as well as those found at Llantwit Major and Ely, in Cardiff.

Despite over a dozen villas across Wales, there were far more forts here, at places like Llandovery and Y Gaer, near Brecon. The Romans also exploited the country's gold reserves such as those at Dolau Cothi Gold Mine near Pumsaint in Carmarthenshire.

The Romans also had a go at persuading the Welsh to follow their gods instead of the Celtic deities. But they had much more success in converting heathens here after Christianity was adopted as the official religion of the empire in the 4th century.

Rome's grip on Britain began to dissolve as early as 192 when, following the death of the tyrant Commodus, a civil war ensued. British governor Clodius Albinus became a front runner for the purple and his rival Septimius Severus offered to support him if he helped him deal with a third claimant, Pescennius Niger. However, once Niger was out of the way, Severus reneged on the deal and won a battle over Albinus in Gaul in 196, leading to the latter's suicide.

A number of militarily-skilled governors tried and failed to bring order to the isles, with one, Lucius Alfenus Senecio, reporting in 207 that barbarians were "rebelling, over-running the land, taking booty and creating destruction".

Severus led an imperial expedition, but his presence ultimately led to the loss of Scotland. However, his dividing of the rest of the country into Upper and Lower Britain led to a century of what was called the Long Peace.

But by 250, the entire empire was being picked apart by barbarian invasions, rebellions and breakaway countries that Britannia, on the edge, could not fail to become caught up in.

It was briefly part of the Gallic Empire, and was invaded by Vandals and Burgundians on the orders of the emperor Probus after half-Brythonic usurper named Bononus led a rebellion here.

Then a naval commander called Carausius established himself as emperor in Britain and northern Gaul, and remained in power until he was murdered.

There was a further imperial mission here in 306, again aimed at the north. A successful campaign would put Constantine I on the throne in Rome, but the country faced increasing attacks from the Saxons and the Irish. It led to the building of large defence walls around Caerwent.

Another usurper, Magnus Maximus, began his revolt in Segontium in 383, and took much of the western empire. But he drew troops away from Britain, which allowed the Irish to settle in North Wales.

Some 30 years later, and the Britons were fighting by themselves against the Saxons, as much of the higher levels of government within the empire had disappeared. Saxons took an invitation from Brython chieftain Vortigern to help him fight the Picts and Irish as an excuse to revolt once they arrived, establishing a firm foothold once and for all. And, while many leaders may have once been loyal to Roman rule, there were no longer any legions capable of throwing out the North Germans. It was the beginning of modern Britain.

I join David Parsons in wondering about the spin on this one, but it does remind me of (what turned out to be) an old joke, told to us in John Yardley's Latin class (I believe it was Wheelock) ... Yardley, of course, is of Welsh extraction ... in any event, here's the version of the joke I found told in Aussie land (change the nations involved):

A bunch of GIs were drinking in a bar in far north Queensland.
A tired and emotional Aussie Digger (soldier to you pomms) climbed up on the bar and started to shout. "You Septic Tanks (Yanks) are useless, one Aussie can beat the c__p out of any five Yanks!"
He keep it up increasing the odds to 10 Yanks.
The US Colonel in the bar said to a Corporal: "Take four men and quietly put him oner the top of that hill to sleep it off."
Away they went, but after half an hour they had not returned.
A little jumpy the Colonel lined up a platoon of thirty, go and bring back their mates.
A hour went past and they did not return either.
The Colonel was about to send the whole rifle company out when a lone GI came staggering down the hill.
His face was bloodied, his gear torn and his weapons gone.
"Son," the Colonel shouted. "What's going on?"
The soldier flapped his arms at them. "Go back." he screamed.
"Go back - it's a trap - there's two of them!"

I'm back ... as usually happens when real life intrudes, the first opportunity for a lengthy crash on the sofa is involuntarily taken ... I'll get caught up with news items today and we'll have our giant carnival tomorrow ... here's an item from AFP (via yahoo) on an ancient food expo:

Visitors to dozens of museums across Greece will sample a taste of antiquity in an exhibition series this weekend on cuisine, cooking and food trends from 3,000 years ago to the modern age.

Held in Athens, Salonika, Mycenae, Crete and other locations, the exhibitions will showcase ancient recipes, cooking utensils, and food prices compiled by the country's leading museum experts.

"Though no written sources from the Bronze Age exist, we have been able to analyze residue left in ancient vessels to make the recipes," said an official at the ministry's department for museums, exhibitions and educational programmes, which has overall responsibility for the initiative that opens Friday.

"I actually cooked a few of these recipes myself, from the subsequent Classical Age," she said.

"The figs with almonds, and the balls of honey with sesame seeds were particularly tasty."

"Some meat soups eaten by the ancients are similar to the ones Greeks cook today, but there is also a Bronze Age recipe for wine with barley and sprinkled cheese that I wouldn't want to try," the ministry official added.

In the capital, the Numismatic Museum -- based in the Athens home of 19th century German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, founder of Troy -- will track the cost of food through the centuries, from the price of grain in ancient Athens and eggs in Rome to apples in the Byzantine Empire.

"The cost of food has been a basic concern for centuries, and remains so today," says museum director Despina Evgenidou.

"This is also an opportunity for us to provide information on the daily earnings of a builder on the Parthenon or a Roman legionary ... and show how much of that money was spent on food, a home or a plot of land," she told AFP.

In the central Greek city of Volos, the local archaeological museum will be hosting a workshop on the diet of athletes in antiquity, while the Mycenae archaeological museum will inaugurate a display of ancient utensils.

The Jewish Museum in Athens will offer recipes from the Greek Jewish community, while the Maritime Museum in the port of Piraeus tracks the sea routes that brought now-staple foodstuffs such as potatoes, spices, tea and cocoa to Europe.

"We will also be talking about the legends surrounding these foodstuffs," says exhibit organizer Haris Tortorelis.

Elsewhere, Kaisariani Monastery near Athens will give a glimpse into the dietary habits of the Byzantines, while across town a private exhibition venue invites children to a workshop themed on the cuisine of the Minoans, the mysterious Bronze Age civilisation that flourished on the island of Crete over 3,000 years ago.

The exhibitions and shows are part of the European Heritage Days (EHD's), an annual celebration from August to November organized in 49 countries under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the
European Commission.

Adding a modern-day twist, an Athens school is also scheduled to screen "Super Size Me," a 2004 US-made documentary on the health risks of fast-food eating that slammed the McDonald's chain.
Apologies ... Curriculum Night (last night) combined with technological problems which took waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long to work out have put me a bit behind in real life stuff, so I have to use this a.m.'s time to get caught up again. I'll try to get some items up this evening.
Ex ore parvulorum veritas.

From the mouths of children--truth!

Pron = eks OH-ray pahr-woo-LOH-room WHER-ih-tahs

Comment: I am reading a book right now by Alfie Kohn called The
Homework Myth. It is his latest work, and he is an educational
researcher whose work I respect. I had the book on my desk this week
and students saw it. They wanted to know what it was about (they had
sniffed out that there might be something not quite right with
homework years ago).

I explained that while I was still reading the book, Kohn seems to be
making the case--by analyizing data and research--that there is no
evidence that homework provides students with anything really
positive, and that there is mounting evidence that it has negative
effects. Further, in spite of the anecdotal and clinical research to
the contrary, parents, teachers and educational institituions continue
to BELIEVE that daily homework is necessary in order to learn and be

Cheers went up in the room. Another student had another question:
Does this mean that you are going to stop giving homework? I told him
that I wanted to finish the book first, to see what the research
concludes, but that yes, that was my serious consideration. For years
now I have limited homework to 20 minutes and have a standing 20
minute rule--after 20 minutes of effort, a student may stop homework
for me, so I was already headed in the direction of homework not being
always positive--and certainly not hours of it.

Finally another student muttered under his breath--yeah, that will
happen in about 30 years. I got his attention and asked very
directly--why do you say that? His response: that's how adults
work--they say things and never follow through. I made a promise to
him and the class that if the evidence is laid before me that homework
is no good, that I would stop giving homework--immediately.

This last young man with the overdose of cynicism has learned his
cynicism well. As a young person, he sees the truth pretty clearly,
and has a reputation for saying it out loud. He has a history of
getting burned for it, too. By adults--the perfect formula for

On this issue of the truth about homework, Kohn documents the case
well--what little ones have known forever, what their parents find out
and then deny, what many teachers realize but feel powerless to stop
doing--homework is not necessary for learning, and it often interferes
with much more important things.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

ante diem xi kalendas octobres

Mercatus -- still stocking the cupboards after the ludi Romani

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

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

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

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

1st century A.D. -- martyrdom of Iphigenia
Happy Equinox eve!

Javier Santa Isabel blogs in Latin today to welcome some new blogs to the blogosphere ....

Laura Gibbs has a proverb, a word jumble, and a passage from Hosea ...

Adrian Murdoch is beginning to collect examples of prices in Rome ...

Dorothy King has some links about ancient fishing (I'll post my own photos of the 'fishing cupids' from Piazza Armerina when I'm caught up with other stuff) ....

Nathan Bauman turns to Classical Greek today ...

Michael Gilleland ponders a grievous passage from Hesiod ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Annona ...
From YLE:

Osama bin Laden adhuc quaeritur
15.09.2006, klo 09.15

Paene tria milia hominum illo die mortui sunt, cum aeroplana a terroristis abducta contra turres geminas Centri Mundi Commercialis (WTC) urbis New York et contra Pentagonum volaverunt; quartum aeroplanum similiter abductum in Pensylvania cecidit.

Osama bin Laden, auctor sceleris, adhuc ab Americanis quaeritur.

Praesidens George W. Bush die ictuum anniversario orationem televisificam habuit, qua monuit bellum terrorismo illatum esse certamen pro cultu et humanitate; cladem in illo certamine acceptam terras Proximae Orientis in potestatem dictatorum extremistarum, qui arma nuclearia haberent, tradituram esse.

Idem affirmavit Osamam bin Laden ab Americanis repertum iri, ut ad iudicium duceretur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
fortuitous @ Merriam-Webster

ludibrium @ Worthless Word for the Day

solace @

The Classics Technology Center has Latin words related to swimming ...
From an MU press release:

At the University of Missouri-Columbia, modern technology is being used to promote and share information about an ancient practice - oral tradition.

MU, through its Center for Studies in Oral Tradition, recently launched an online version of its academic journal, Oral Tradition. The Web site, which includes the center's current issue and 10 other previously published issues, went live Sept. 18. The center, founded in 1986, collaborated with MU's Center for eResearch. The project took nearly two years to complete, and plans are currently underway to make all of the center's published issues -- a total of 30 more -- available on the Internet. The journal is published twice a year.

John Miles Foley, who is the director of the center and Curators' Professor of classical studies and English, said the online version will provide greater access to subscribers and improve the ability of researchers and scholars to share information about past and current oral traditions. He said in the past there had been problems with the distribution network and payment methods, and some subscribers had been unable to afford the journal. Other than Europe and the U.S., Foley said print versions sent via mail sometimes never reached their destinations in third-world countries and remote parts of Asia and Africa where the practice of oral traditions remains popular.

The center, however, will continue to publish hard copies of the journal through the end of 2006.

"The Web site provides universal, free access," Foley said. "For example, somebody in South Africa can go to the site and use any browser to download information. All of the barriers for communication are gone. The print version has become virtual, and now everybody can participate on a greater scale."

To celebrate the achievement and promote the Web site, e-mails were sent worldwide to researchers, organizations and universities which study the tradition of how information, cultural history and ancestry are passed via word of mouth from generation to generation to share information.

The Oral Tradition Web site is available at: Downloadable articles are available as PDF using Adobe Acrobat.
Domina omnium et regina ratio.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Tuscalanae Disputationes 2.21.47)

Reason is the mistress and the queen of all things.

Pron = DOH-mih-nah OHM-nee-oom et reh-GHEE-nah RAH-tee-oh

Comment: Cicero engages in some exploration of the human psyche, in
psychology, as we would call it centuries later. In this segment of
his Tusculan Disputations, he says that the human soul is divided into
two parts, one of which participates in reason and the other part
which does not. He describes reason as the mistress of the house, the
queen, in fact, who through struggle and progress finally becomes
virtue perfected.

This little snippet of a much longer work can be deceiving. It's not
that reason of itself is so grand. It's the struggling that reason
must do, if reason does that at all, within the human being. The
struggle produces courage (the other meaning of the Latin word
"virtue"). And, I suspect, whether Cicero says it or not, that this
struggle happens in the spaces between those two parts that make up
the human being: the part that participates in reason and the giant
silent one that does not.

We might notice that there is an inner dialogue, an inner struggle, a
swinging of the pendulum within us between a place that "reasons" and
a place that does not. There is no clean break between the two,
however much we might like to think that there is or could be. As
much as we might like the "clarity and cripsness" of reason, the
pendulum swings again into the irrational, dark, non-verbal parts of
us, and what it encounters there, it takes right back to reason. And
the inner conversation goes on.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xii kalendas octobres

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

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

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

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

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

ca. 220 A.D. -- martyrdom of Theodore, Philippa, and companions
Around the Classical blogosphere today:

Irene Hahn is writing about romance novels set in ancient Greece (and/or subplots of same) ...

N.S. Gill has a handy list of works of Classical interest which are in the public domain (mostly) ... (note in passing: does anyone know if Warde-Fowler's Roman Festivals is public domain?)

... which reminds me, a while ago JM-Y posted on the Classics list about the existence, online (wow), of Cook's Zeus (yes... the whole thing) ... the same site has de Coulanges' Ancient City as well ... and I just noticed Anthon's Latin-English (and vice versa) dictionary there too ...

Adrian Murdoch comments on a review of Robert Harris' Imperium ... he also has found an interesting piece from Newsweek on the 'obsession' we have with Ancient Rome (I haven't had a chance to read this yet) ...

Juanvi Santa Isabel has another roundup of goings on the the Classical blogosphere from a Spanish perspective ...

We mentioned the audio video disco blog yesterday (would the owner please identify him/herself?) ... today there's a guest post by his/her class about Catullus ...

Nathan Bauman is looking at hospitality in books I-IV of the Odyssey ... I note also a post on continuity and discontinuity between the Odyssey and the Iliad ... and some miscellaneous thoughts on Odyssey IV ...

Eurylochus is smitten by (with?) Aegle ...

Mary Beard is writing about the fiddling Nero ...

Laura Gibbs offers us a Latin crossword, a proverb, and a passage from Hosea ...

Mischa Hooker comments on that Greek Ode to Stalin which William Annis posted t'other day ...

The Stoa alerts us to an interesting project for researchers called Zotero ...

Phil Harland writes about diversity in Second Temple Judaism ...

Ed Flinn has a coin of Theodosius ...
insuperable @ Merriam-Webster

revelation @ OED

cataract @
From YLE:

Osama bin Laden adhuc quaeritur
15.09.2006, klo 09.15

Paene tria milia hominum illo die mortui sunt, cum aeroplana a terroristis abducta contra turres geminas Centri Mundi Commercialis (WTC) urbis New York et contra Pentagonum volaverunt; quartum aeroplanum similiter abductum in Pensylvania cecidit.

Osama bin Laden, auctor sceleris, adhuc ab Americanis quaeritur.

Praesidens George W. Bush die ictuum anniversario orationem televisificam habuit, qua monuit bellum terrorismo illatum esse certamen pro cultu et humanitate; cladem in illo certamine acceptam terras Proximae Orientis in potestatem dictatorum extremistarum, qui arma nuclearia haberent, tradituram esse.

Idem affirmavit Osamam bin Laden ab Americanis repertum iri, ut ad iudicium duceretur.

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

Archaeologists are shedding new light on the archaeological past of Thesprotia. New finds and a productive three-way collaboration have revealed information about some prehistoric and historic periods of which little was previously known, particularly those of the Mesolithic and early Iron ages up to the Early Classical era.

Excavations by the Finnish Institute in Athens, the Eighth Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the Byzantine Ephorate have all contributed to the new picture.

In Mastilitsa, for instance, on the border with Albania, the Eighth Ephorate found and examined a temple and tombs dating from the 7th to the early 5th century BC. Other finds from the Geometric and Archaic periods were documented at Paramythia, where researchers found the first examples in Thesprotia of imported Geometric and Archaic ceramics that bear witness to trade with southern Greece.

Experts received a first impression of the work being done in the area by the ephorates and the Finnish Institute at a conference in Thesprotia.

“Thesprotia was believed to have been deserted,” the director of the Finnish Institute, Dr Bjorn Forsen, told Kathimerini. “In recent years, that picture has changed a bit. That’s what we tried to show at the conference.”

The Finnish Institute’s mission in Thesprotia began in 2004 under Forsen’s direction. The Culture Ministry’s book “Foreign Archaeological Schools in Greece: 160 Years” explains: “This is an interdisciplinary program aimed at reconstructing the continuous history of the Kokytos Valley in Thesprotia from the Paleolithic to the modern era by means of archaeological and geological research and the collection of ancient, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman written records.”

The Finnish Institute isn’t very big, as the director explained. “We work on the border of Greece because we are new compared with the other schools.” (The official opening was in 1985.)

The aim is to publish the finds which shed light on the area’s past. Among the aspects they provide information about, Forsen said, are “the organization of housing in the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods, the fortifications along the river crossings, especially on the Kalamos River, which played an important role in the historical and political development of the area, the organization of the fortified settlement of Elea, which was the first capital of Thesprotia when it was founded in the first half of the 4th century BC.”

And there are indications of subsequent events. “In contrast to earlier theories, Thesprotia does not seem to have been completely destroyed by the Romans in 167 BC, even though the large settled areas were abandoned. People continued to live there in large villages and on farms and, later on, in the Roman colony of Fotiki.”
An AP piece in the Chronicle has a few more details on recent damage to monuments in Lebanon:

Three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Lebanon, including some of the Middle East's most significant ancient ruins, are in urgent need of repairs after a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, the U.N. agency said Monday.

In one case, frescos in a Roman-era tomb in Tyre were shaken to the ground when a building 500 feet away was bombed, said U.N. experts, who visited Lebanon and reported on their findings. Some of the paintings were destroyed.

In the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos, ruins were stained by an oil spill. In Baalbek, another Phoenician city which has some of the finest examples of imperial Roman architecture temples may have suffered structural damage, the experts said.

"Although it was not directly hit and did not suffer any major visible damage, cracks in the stone were probably widened by the shaking caused by nearby bombings," said Mounir Bouchenaki, who headed the mission.

Bouchenaki added that further investigations, using sophisticated photographic measurement technology, would be needed to determine the extent to which Baalbek's colossal structures were damaged.

Byblos grappled with a massive oil spill caused by the bombing of a power plant in mid-July. It has been described as Lebanon's worst environmental disaster, and UNESCO said Byblos was the most seriously damaged of the heritage sites.

"While the Lebanese army had in large part cleaned up the oil spill before our arrival, the Heritage-listed site was directly affected," Bouchenaki said. "The stones of the two ancient towers at the port's entrance, and all the archaeological ruins, are very stained. The site is in immediate danger."

Bouchenaki warned that the site would have to be cleaned before winter to prevent permanent devastation.

"These stones can't be cleaned mechanically," he said. "The cleanup will have to happen manually, with brushes and specially formulated detergents."

He said it would take 25 people up to 10 weeks to complete the cleanup, and that they would need a week of training first. The operation in Byblos was expected to cost around $100,000, he said.

Most of Lebanon's heritage remained intact during the fighting, the experts said. Lebanon has six World Heritage sites in all. The other three are the city of Anjar, the Holy Valley and the Forest of the Cedars of the Gods.

Francoise Riviere, the assistant director-general of UNESCO's cultural branch, said repairing cultural treasures could have psychological benefits in a country proud of its history.

"We want to use culture to heal the trauma which was felt, especially by the children of south Lebanon who survived the war," she said. "It is something we experienced after the tsunami in Indonesia — culture can give meaning to those who have lost everything."
Excerpt from a piece at EDP24 ... looks like it might be one to keep one's jaded eye out for:

The Alexander Cipher is a fast-paced modern-day story about the search for the tomb and treasures of Alexander the Great, who died in 323BC having ruled an empire that stretched from Greece to the Indus Valley and Thrace to Egypt.

Mixing historical fact and fiction, the book was inspired by a backpacking visit to Egypt in 1995 and Mr Petre described it as being reminiscent of the adventures of Indiana Jones.

Luigi Bonomi, of literary agents LBA Associates in London, spotted the book among the hundreds of manuscripts he receives each week and said he was “bowled over” by it.

“As soon as I picked it up, I thought, this is really good. It needed a bit of work, but not much.

“The phones haven't stopped and I've got film companies ringing me up as well as US publishers. He's going to make a lot of money.”

Wayne Brookes, senior commissioning editor at HarperCollins, bought the book just a day after receiving the manuscript from Mr Bonomi.

Last night he hailed Mr Petre as “the king of pace”, saying it was the best he had read of this type of book in a long time.

“The key to this particular type of novel, which is very big at the moment, is it's historical, you fell you are learning a lot.

“I thought, this guy really know his stuff. He's taken his time to get it right and it shows.

“The pace is fantastic and that's another key thing. It has to be pacey, people need to turn the pages and come back for more.

Mr Brookes added: “It's also very filmic. I wouldn't be surprised if the film rights went very quickly.

“It's so nice that it's happened to someone who was about to give up. I am really pleased for him.”

It is expected that The Alexander Cipher will be published in November 2008.

... the whole thing.
From the BBC:

A closure-threatened museum commemorating Scotland's Roman heritage is to be improved and better publicised following calls to keep it open.

Falkirk Council had proposed that Kinneil Museum, on the outskirts of Bo'ness, be moved to a different site.

However, a survey carried out by the authority stated that 89% of respondents wanted to see it retained.

Councillors decided to undertake more work on options for its future, but warned there were limitations.

The council said it had already acted on suggestions to improve the museum but warned that the site suffered from development constraints.

The authority will now hold talks with heritage agency Historic Scotland and other bodies to consider developing leisure facilities on the wider Kinneil Estate.

'Improve visitor numbers'

Environment and heritage convener Robert Spears said: "We will continue to look at ways to improve visitor numbers at Kinneil, which have tended to remain on an average of 4,000 per year.

"But we believe there is potential for improving on this. The rich heritage of Bo'ness has a huge amount to offer in terms of bringing visitors to this area and the benefits to the local economy."

Adrian Mahoney, chairman of The Friends of Kinneil, which led the campaign to keep the museum open, said: "I'm pleased to hear the very positive comments coming from councillors on the future of Kinneil Museum. They clearly see a potential to boost visitor numbers.

"However, some council officials are still concerned about the long term viability of Kinneil Museum. We hope that they will work with the community and groups such as The Friends of Kinneil to secure a positive future for the museum.

"The museum and historic Kinneil Estate - at the eastern end of the Antonine Wall - has huge potential. Let's build on this."

Bo'ness is at the eastern end of the Antonine Wall, which was the Roman empire's most northerly frontier.

The wall runs 37 miles from Bo'ness to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire.

The Kinneil Estate is also the site of a Roman fortlet.
From Khaleej Times:

Robbers of an archaeology museum in the eastern Croatian town Vinkovci ran off with six-kilos-worth of priceless golden artefacts, the Vecernje Novosti daily reported on Tuesday.

The collection stolen over the weekend, including golden coins from the pre-Roman and Roman period, as well as a 5000-year-old medallion, was locked in the museum safe and was never shown to the public because of security concerns, the report said.

“The robber knew what he was looking for and he took what was the most valuable,” said Stjepan Jozic, the director of the museum in Vinkovci, some 150 kilometres east of Zagreb.

Police virtually sealed the building for the investigation. The same museum has been already hit twice by robbers, in 1971 and 1976 - but the perpetrators were never found.

UPDATE: The Raw Story says police have made an arrest ...
Stultorum plena sunt omnia.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Ad Familiares 9.22.4)

Everything is full of fools.

Pon = stool-TOH-room PLAY-nah soont OHM-nee-ah.

Comment: Cicero is not pleased with the stupid things people say and
do in and out of the court, in and about giving their word of "honor".
He speaks as the attorney par excellence, and we would not expect
him to be very patient with foolish people saying foolish things.

Most of us probably find ourselves in those situations where we have
some appreciation for how a thing should be--because of our education,
experiences, responsiblities, etc. We can identify foolish actions
and behaviors in our realm of expertise, and can be fairly justified
in not entertaining such fools.

There is another take on the "fool" though, that is a good balance for
us when we take ourselves too seriously. He is the Fool of the court,
the Jester, the eternal child, the one who is free to play and take
risks and laugh out loud. He shows up in people all around us every
day, reminding us that sometimes it is just better to let go and
laugh, to try something new and out of the ordinary. This kind of
Fool gets us out of our heads, off our self-righteous mounts, and
invites us to climb mountains, set sail, jump off a cliff into the
water below, and to laugh.

The whole universe is full of fools, some to beware, some to befriend.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xiii kalendas octobres

ludi Romani (day 15)

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

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

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Januarius (read about the ritual associated with him in the Catholic Encyclopedia)
cameraderie @ Merriam-Webster

exemplum @ Worthless Word for the Day

improvident @ (what? no quotation from Mr. Burns?)

And yarr ... it be Talk Like a Pirate Day for all ye who would like to overuse the subjunctive in English .... ye can translate all of rc into piratese here ...
Saw this on the Classics List:

The Perseus Project has recently received a planning grant from the
NSF to investigate the costs and labor involved in constructing a
multimillion-word Latin treebank (a large collection of syntactically
parsed sentences), along with its potential value for the linguistics
and Classics community. While our initial efforts under this grant
will focus on syntactically annotating excerpts from Golden Age
authors (Caesar, Cicero, Vergil) and the Vulgate, a future
multimillion-word corpus would be comprised of writings from the pre-
Classical period up through the Early Modern era. To date we've
annotated a total of 12,000 words in a style that's predominantly
informed by two sources: the dependency grammar used by the Prague
Dependency Treebank (itself based on Mel'cuk 1988), and the Latin
grammar of Pinkster 1990.

While treebanks provide valuable training data for computational
tasks such as grammar induction and automatic syntactic parsing, they
also have the potential to be used in traditional research areas as
well. Large collections of syntactically parsed sentences have the
potential to revolutionize lexicography and philology, as they
provide the immediate context for a word's use along with its typical
syntactic arguments (this lets us chart, for example, how the meaning
of a verb changes as its predominant arguments change). Treebanks
enable large-scale research into structurally-based rhetorical
devices particularly of interest to Classicists (such as hyperbaton)
and they provide the raw data for research in historical linguistics
(such as the move in Latin from classical SOV word order to romance

The eventual Latin treebank will be openly available to the public;
we should, therefore, come to a consensus on how it should be built.
To that end we encourage input from the linguistics and Classics
community on the treebank design (including the syntactic
representation of Latin) and welcome contributions by annotators (for
which limited funding is available). Interested collaborators should
contact David Bamman (David.Bamman -AT- at the Perseus Project.
A variety of items today:

Adrian Murdoch is 'thinking out loud' about Julian, Marcus Aurelius, and Ammianus ...

Alun comments on how America really isn't the new Rome ... (presumably referring to the United States) ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Athena ...

N.S. Gill has some notes on Book III of the Iliad ... she also commemorates Trajan's birthday (yesterday) ...

Ioannis Georganas provides us with a report from the Greek press on the discovery of the harbour of Knossos ...

Laura Gibbs has her usual triposterate of Latin game (a crossword), proverb, and Bible passage (from Daniel) ....

Michael Gilleland has a poem by Palladas ...

I note there's a new blog out there ... audio video disco seems to be a team blog from a Latin teacher (jm) and robin (whose profile comes up as an error) ... interesting stuff there which seems to parallel what's going on in jm's classroom ...

Project Gutenberg has put up Foster's translation of Cassius Dio ... as Adrian Murdoch notes, it's probably better to stick with the Cary translation at Lacus Curtius, if you need it online ....

Three more papers up at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers page:

From “Socratic logoi” to “dialogues”: Dialogue in Fourth-century Genre Theory
Andrew Ford, Princeton University
This paper argues that we can only have a just appreciation of the rise and early development of philosophic dialogue in Greece by bracketing the immense influence that the Platonic version of the form has exerted and turning instead to tracing how “Socratic logoi” came to be recognized as a new prose genre in fourth-century Athens. A consideration of the early terms used to name the form suggests that dialogue should not be derived from fifth-century mime or drama but should be understood in the context of the burgeoning rhetorical literature of the period; in particular, dialogue will be shown to be one of many innovative kinds of fictional speech-texts that were proclaiming new and special powers for written prose.

THE GENRE OF GENRES: Paeans and Paian in Early Greek Poetry
Andrew Ford, Princeton University
Abstract: This essay considers recent monographs on the paean as a significant, if problematic example of the return of genre as a critical category in Greek lyric. I then consider why the peaen remains resistant to neat classification and finally suggest, through reading a series of early paeanic texts, that we can better understand the elusive form if we put aside the quest for a timeless, ideal pattern and notice instead certain religious and rhetorical dynamics that the paian-cry itself entails.

Herodotus and the Poets
Andrew Ford, Princeton University
Abstract: This is an attempt to describe Herodotus’ relation to Greek poets, both as historical sources and as “cultural capital.” It is a brief discussion (1500 words) written for a general audience; but it may be of interest as raising a matter not often considered outside of the excellent and long study by Ph.-E. Legrand in Vol. 1 of the Budé Hérodote (pp. 147 ff.).
From YLE:

Saddamo nihil cum al-Qaida
15.09.2006, klo 09.14

Commissio explorationis senatus Americani relationem divulgavit, ex qua patet Saddamum Hussein nullas cum ordine al-Qaida consuetudines habuisse.

Immo vero Saddamum recusavisse, quominus illum ordinem adiuvaret, eundemque regimini ipsius inimicum habuisse. Saddamum etiam, licet re infecta, operam dedisse, ut ducem ordinis Abu Musab al-Zarqawi deprehenderet.

Regimen praesidentis Bush causam belli Iraquici interposuerat, quod Saddam consuetudines cum al-Qaida et al-Zarqawi haberet.

Itaque democratae Americani, qui oppositionem politicam faciunt, praesidentem fraudis accusaverunt.

Etiam altera causa eiusdem belli, scilicet quod Saddam arma interneciva paravisset, iniusta et falsa esse apparuit.

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

From the Australian:

TO visit Rome's premier training school for gladiators – the Gruppo Storico Romano, or Roman Historical Group – it helps to have had a stiff drink first: just finding the place is an obscure test of nerve. Or so it seems one moonless night when a taxi driver drops me on an empty stretch of the Via Appia Antica, the ancient Appian Way, points grimly down a muddy side alley and speeds off into the fog. Groping my way through the nebulous darkness, I am quickly surrounded by a pack of barking dogs that eagerly follow my every step.

After stumbling into several abandoned yards, I spot a dimly lit paddock full of promising-looking debris, including a full-sized catapult and sinister items such as tridents, nets and helmets. As the door to a corrugated shed creaks open, I am relieved to see six students in tunics, ready for blood.

"Salve," roars the teacher, Carmelo Canzaro, a burly figure with a close-shaven head. (The Latin greeting is still commonly used by Italians.) By day, Canzaro runs a clothing store, he explains, but by night his name is changed to Spiculus and he teaches the cut and thrust of the arena.

The Gruppo Storico is one of a dozen amateur groups in Rome catering to history-loving Italians who want to learn the arts of the gladiator. The students are everyday Roman citizens such as bank clerks and truck drivers. Aiming at authenticity, they want nothing to do with the cheesy Roman legionnaires who hang around the Colosseum, bumming tips from tourists in exchange for photo ops. This is a serious business.

"There's nothing in ancient texts that describes gladiators' training techniques, so we have to improvise, using later information," Spiculus admits as he presents me with my wooden training sword. The school offers occasional theory lessons on hand-to-hand combat, but I have arrived for the more practical training, so I dash into a back room to change into my tunic (a fetching little number in rough white cotton). As I begin to go through the combat routine – we move through a dance-like set of movements, chanting – Spiculus adds ominously: "You have to pay attention. One lapse and you can be caught off balance."

He is sitting the evening out, since he's recovering from a broken ankle. (The injury occurred while battling with an iron sword, Spiculus tells us; even so, I hope my fellow students won't become overly enthusiastic with their wooden versions.)

During the rest period, a wiry young computer programmer, Massimo Carnevali, whose gladiatorial name is Kyros, explains the school's appeal.

"It combines history with physical exercise," he enthuses. "I love the discipline." An American Latin student living in Rome agrees: "I loved this stuff before, but to have the opportunity to come here and chop at people with swords is a dream come true."

I spend a good 1½ hours swinging away with my toy weapon and feel as if I am getting the hang of it, although my co-ordination leaves something to be desired. "None of us is Russell Crowe," one of my sparring partners admits, as we down weapons. As the group disbands, I slip out into the darkness and pass Spiculus constructing a large wooden box. "The difficulty with modern students is to convey the mentality of the gladiator, the idea of fighting to the death," he says. "Many students start off with a casual attitude, but they soon learn what it was like to be in the arena."

I ask Spiculus what he's building: a gruesome battle device from antiquity? He shakes his head. "No, this is where we're putting the Nativity scene."

THE enthusiasm of the bank-clerk gladiators may be a little extreme, but it is hardly rare in Rome these days. Indeed, Romans are basking in a new golden age of interest in the classical past, which was kick-started by the city's year 2000 Grand Jubilee. This energetic new spirit, and influx of hard euro currency, can still be felt at all Rome's classical sites, once notorious for their apathetic staff, erratic schedules and eerie absence of display labels.

Arguably, Roman museums are now among the most elegantly designed, and its archeological sites the most user-friendly in the world.

"Compared to Rome in the mid-1980s, the improvement is incredible," Nicola Laneri, a Roman archeologist, tells me over pizza in the shadow of the Colosseum. "And there is another big change: it's not just foreign tourists who are taking advantage of the cultural improvements. A huge number of Italians are now visiting them."

The popular enthusiasm is such that Rome's archeology department cannot keep up with demand. A roster of fringe attractions is open one day a month for Italian language-only tours, on a calendar that is erratic enough to discourage all but the most persistent. I stumbled on the schedule by accident years ago when I picked up a nondescript carnet di viaggio at a museum store and noticed the page titled Archaeologia Nascota (Hidden Archaeology) whose prime objective is to reveal otherwise off-limits tombs, temples and sanctuaries for Roman aficionados.

So, on a sunny Saturday morning, I found myself the only foreigner in a crowd of 50 Italians standing outside one of Rome's most intriguing landmarks: the pyramid of Gaius Cestius, an Egyptian-style tomb built by a Roman nobleman in the Augustan age. It was a genially chaotic affair; only 30 people in the crowd had reservations and, after much heated discussion, the lucky ones were allowed through an iron gate, down steps to a lush green grove, crowned with poplar trees and prowled by a dozen cats. Then we filed into the pyramid, hunching through the entrance like grave robbers. ("Last one in close the door!" the guide yelled out. "If those cats get in, we'll never get them out!")

There was a heady sense of privilege inside the humid inner chamber as we gazed at frescos of four winged figures on the ceiling and one enigmatic piece of graffito from the 1600s: Antonio.

Meanwhile, all across Rome, urban planners have been trying creative new ways to blend ancient and modern. The Markets of Trajan, created in the 2nd century AD as a multistorey shopping mall, now double as a gallery space for contemporary art. In the maze of vaulted arcades, where vendors once hawked Arabian spices and Red Sea pearls, and where fish were kept fresh in salt water pumped 16km from the coast, the ancient shops arefilled with metal sculptures, videoinstallations and mannequins flaunting Dolce & Gabbana suits as minimalist harmonies twang through the corridors.

Equally effective is the Montemartini Museum, which was opened as a temporary exhibit in 1997 and became so popular with Romans that it has been made permanent: sensuous marble sculptures stand among the soaring metal turbines of an abandoned 19th-century electrical plant.

Meanwhile, the dark corridors inside the Colosseum have been turned into an exhibition space using the latest modern audiovisual techniques, projecting films on to scrims, while the nearby Crypta Balbi Museum uses sleek chrome and glass passageways to allow visitors into the bowels of a building that has been occupied almost continuously for 2000 years, tracing Rome's layered history back to 100BC on this one spot. There are even vaguely sci-fi plans for transparent walkways to link the various forums in the city's heart.

Other adventures into the ancient-meets-modern design world have been more contentious. In April, Italian officials unveiled a new museum pavilion designed by US architect Richard Meier to house the magnificent 9m-high Ara Pacis, or altar of peace, a sacrificial altar dedicated by the emperor Augustus in 9BC to celebrate the advent of Pax Romana.

The first new edifice in Rome's historic centre since the days of Mussolini, it has been criticised for its starkly angular travertine and glass design, which many Romans feel violates the traditional ambience of the old city. In one notorious attack, the vocal undersecretary to the Ministry of Culture, Vittorio Sgarbi, compared its boxlike form with a petrol station in Dallas and burned the building in effigy at a demonstration; others have mourned the Los Angelisation of Rome. But such attacks are rare: most of the experiments have been warmly embraced by Romans and have quickly become part of the city's fabric.

ON my last night in Rome, still nursing bruises from my session at the gladiator school, I decide to visit the most successful of Rome's recent renovations, the Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill. The site is thick with symbolism: throughout antiquity, this was the most sacred of the city's seven hills, crowned by the golden-roofed Temple of Jupiter. Inside, an immense statue of the god presided over magnificent artworks from across the Roman world. Today, the site is occupied by the newly buffed Capitoline museums, twin renaissance palaces whose gleaming hallways are lined with ancient masterpieces. But the most beloved corner of the museum – a modern sacred site for Italians – is the new outdoor cafe. It is located on the precise spot where ancient travellers once came to gaze out on Rome, the eighth wonder of the ancient world, whose marble buildings, gushed Greek orator Aelius Aristides, covered the horizon "like snow".

That ancient euphoria is not hard to recapture. Emerging on to the expansive cafe terrace at dusk, cradling a glass of prosecco, I gaze across Rome's terracotta roofs turning pink in the sunset and silently congratulate myself on being in the most beautiful city on Earth, just as I might have done 2000 years ago. And nobody is chopping at me with a wooden sword.

If you haven't visited Gruppo Storico's website (it's in Italian but has a pile of photos), you probably should ...
This looks like it might have promise ... from ABC:

Researchers say Australia is to be part of a major three-nation archaeological survey of the Gallipoli battlefield.

Associate Professor Chris Mackie, from the University of Melbourne, says the survey will be conducted by researchers from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.

It will combine conventional mapping with electromagnetic surveying to produce the most comprehensive historical and archaeological study ever conducted at the site.

"Most of the attention in the post-war period has been on the cemeteries," he said about studies of Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula.

"One of the things we'll be spending a great deal of time on is the mapping of the trenches to see how they cohere with surviving maps of the trenches and exploring what lies beneath."

Professor Mackie says there is a "distinct possibility" that a wealth of material dating back to the days of antiquity lies buried beneath the battlefield.

"Records from sappers dating back to 1915 mention ancient pots, ancient remains and so forth, so there could be material there," he said.

"Because we'll be using electromagnetics you're coming up with all sorts of possibilities, everything from material left behind in the battle itself to much older stuff."

Professor Mackie says many people are unaware of the historical importance of the region, which includes the nearby site of the ancient battle of Troy.

He says because of the historical and cultural sensitivity of the site "there's no intention to embark on any excavation".
Folks might be interested in this one from the Grand Rapids Press:

Grand Rapids now has two Latin-teaching classical schools after a messy divorce split up custody of the kids.

Now each side is looking toward the future and trying to keep things amicable.

Trinitas Classical School is embarking on its first year with optimism and 25 students. It rose out of a dispute between parents and the principal at North Hills Classical Academy that prompted nearly half the 100 students to leave this year and attend either Trinitas or schools in Forest Hills.

North Hills, in operation since 1998, became mired in controversy in the spring when the board of directors resigned after a dispute with Headmaster Peter VandeBrake.

VandeBrake's financial decisions came under fire, as did what many parents described as his autocratic style of running the private school.

Now the school has about 60 students, with teachers holding classes with fewer than a dozen students each.

Meanwhile, Trinitas puts kindergartners through sixth-graders in classrooms borrowed from NorthPointe Christian Elementary on the Northeast Side while leaders search for a new site.

"It's all been very positive," said Doug Poortenga, vice president of the Trinitas school board and a former parent at North Hills. "We really want to move forward."

Trinitas shares the classical teaching philosophy of North Hills. It combines Christian values instruction with a curriculum based on a rigorous ancient model of education called the Trivium -- including the teaching of Latin starting in elementary grades.

This will mean Grand Rapids will have two of the three Michigan classical academies, but VandeBrake said there is room for both to succeed.

North Hills charges a tuition of between $3,750 and $5,950, depending on the grade, while Trinitas has a rate of $3,000 for kindergarten and $5,000 for other grades.

"We're starting to see classical education permeate our society," said Tom Walsh, business manager at North Hills. "We need this option in Grand Rapids."

But the dispute did prove costly for the school.

Frederick Stingle had his children at North Hills and looked at Trinitas, but decided to send his children to public schools, even though he liked the classical teaching model.

"It's a good curriculum," Stingle said. "I'm sure everything will work out with both their schools."

Poortenga said the challenge of starting a school is daunting, but believes parents are committed and they have hired a qualified staff, including Headmaster Peter Marth.

Marth, who was a Lutheran pastor in Wisconsin, has taught in the classical curriculum at other schools. He also taught Greek at Concordia College.

"We've hired a staff that has experience and has a joy of teaching," said Jennifer Hascall, a board trustee and former North Hills parent.

With the concerns at North Hills in mind, the Trinitas board also plans to make sure it is in charge of school finances and policy decisions. North Hills bylaws were hazy about who had final authority and the dispute came to involve teachers who sided with VandeBrake. Eventually the school board was replaced by people hand-picked by VandeBrake.

But VandeBrake said North Hills is moving past old problems. He said the school is debt-free and the bylaws are being changed to be more clear about who is in charge.

North Hills has fewer teachers this year, but they left on their own, and no one had to be laid off, VandeBrake said.
Distringit librorum multitudo.
(Seneca, Epistulae Morales 2.3)

A multitude of books is distracting.

Pron = dihs-TRIN-git lihb-ROH-room mool-tih-TOO-doh.

Comment: Seneca's thought actually goes on to say:

itaque cum legere non possis quantum habueris, satis est habere quantum legas.

"And so when you are not able to read as much as you have, it is enough
to have as much as you read."

This really can be an anecdote to our drivenness in this culture.
Ever feel like you are being absolutely driven by "all that I have to
do"? I know that I do, and when I become aware of that kind of
thinking running me, it has usually coalesced into some pretty
frightening and panicky feelings.

But, we can stop in that driven moment and also say, back to ourselves
(outloud helps): I can be driven by all I have to do, or I can do all
that I have. In other words, what I have done today is
enough--satis--as the Latin said. And what I have done today is
enough. It is not all that I wanted or had to do, but it is what I
have done. It is enough.

We can decide that. We can allow that. And breathe. This kind of
freedom already resides within us.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xiv kalendas octobres

ludi Romani (day 14)

31 A.D. -- execution of Sejanus (not sure about that one)

53 A.D. (?) -- birth of the future emperor Trajan

96 A.D. -- murder of the emperor Domitian; dies imperii of the emperor Nerva

1709 -- Birth of Samuel Johnson
From YLE:

Principissa Kiko filiolum peperit
15.09.2006, klo 09.13

In familiam imperialem Iaponiae primus post quadraginta annos filiolus natus est.

Parentes sunt Akishino, filius minor imperatoris, et coniux eius Kiko. Puero, qui in successione imperii tertium locum habet, nomen Hisahito datum est.

Heres imperii est Naruhito, filius imperatoris maior, secundum locum tenet frater eius Akishino.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Premitur lenitas iudicis, a quo S. Hussein iudicatur
The return to work edition ... actually, I think some updates for today were included in yesterday's giant edition (in case you missed it), but here's what's kicking around this a.m.:

Michael Gilleland offers a poem from Robert Frost on the iota subscript ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Fides ...

Troels has posted some very nice amphitheatre photos (Pozzuoli and Lecce) ...

Adrian Murdoch tells us about Liberius ...

Laura Gibbs offers us another Latin Proverb Game ... some Daniel from the Vulgate ... there's also a proverb which I've always thought applied to us Canadians ...
delectation @ Merriam-Webster

code @ OED

operose @ Worthless Word for the Day

commodius @

... I note that last week, the Classics Technology Centre featured Latin Running words ...
This was from Friday:

Repetitio est mater studiorum.

Repetition is the mother of learning.

Pron = reh-peh-TEE-tee-oh ehst MAH-ter stoo-dee-OH-room.

Comment: This anonymous line has probably been used in more Latin
classrooms than one can imagine--taught to Latin students as the
reason for why they must memorize their "endings". Like so many
things, it sounds so right--especially if we keep repeating it, and
especially if the "experts" keep repeating it. I suspect that it has
also been used in other classes over the years: math classes, English
classes, social studies classes (multiplication tables, vocabulary and
definitions, states, capitals, presidents, etc).

With language study, repetition does help if what is being repeated is
comprehensible--that is, understandable, meaningful and that which
communicates. Otherwise, repetition simply creates a meaningless set
of structures that can actually get in the way of learning the
language. If I had a dime for every person I run into who can chant
Latin verb endings from their 3, 4, 5, or 6 years of Latin study, but
who cannot read a meaningful sentence of Latin literture, I would
retire tomorrow. What's worse, they think that knowing all those
endings means that they know some Latin.

There is a life lesson here. Very often in relationships and simply
living life, we repeat patterns, attitudes and activities because
someone of some authority told us that we should. Nevermind that
these patterns don't work for us, are not very meaningful, and
actually get in the way of living a fulfilling life. Repetition can
be the mother of learning, if we are repeating meaningful,
comprehensible patterns. Otherwise, it's just another name for

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Somewhat strange/forced analogy in this one from the Free-Lance Star:

There's a war on in the Middle East. The struggle is long and frustrating. Although the Western coalition wins every battle, victory is elusive. The public is losing its patience. Prominent supporters have quit the war effort. The opposition demands withdrawal. The commander in chief turns to religion for comfort.

You know, of course, what war I am referring to. No, not that war: I mean the Trojan War. The mythical conflict between Greeks and Trojans over the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, has a lot in common with the war in Iraq today.

And, as archaeology increasingly reveals, the Trojan War probably really did take place, around 1200 B.C., although there was a lot more at stake than a runaway bride. Freedom, security, and control of resources were all in the balance.

George Bush should brush up on his Homer. The blind bard knew all that a poem can say about a weary war. In "The Iliad," in fact, he founded western literature with the story of an army on the verge of a breakdown.

Homer is a classic poet. The epic sweep of the Trojan War flows in his words, just as the tragic grandeur of the heroes underlies his lines. But Homer's real greatness is something simpler: He is never wrong about suffering. The old masters never forgot to say how hard things once were and, in the cycle of human events, they will be again. All we have to do is read them.

Take the plot of "The Iliad." This epic poem begins after nine long years of war. For all this time the Greeks have camped at Troy, hoping to sack the city, loot its wealth, and bring back Helen, who had run off with a Trojan prince. In spite of various successes they seem no closer to their goal.

In a public argument, the Greeks' leader, Agamemnon, humiliates his best general, Achilles. The hotheaded hero comes close to killing Agamemnon in return. (Fortunately, American Gen. Eric Shinsekei went more quietly when his pre-war advice was derided.) Achilles deals Agamemnon a crushing blow nonetheless: He pulls himself and all his men out of the war. Today's defections from the war party by William F. Buckley and George Will are nothing in comparison.

After Achilles storms out, Agamemnon decides to test his men. He expresses doubt about whether the gods are on the side of the Greeks after all; maybe it's time to give up and go home. He expects his men to shout "no!" but Agamemnon is in for a shock. The Greeks practically stampede each other in a rush to the ships.

By comparison, the president's current doldrums in the polls are minor. But his resources are less than Agamemnon's. The Greek king had the day saved by Odysseus (aka Ulysses), who represented a heroic triple-threat of cunning, eloquence, and prowess. Almost single-handedly the hero stems the tide of retreat.

Dick Cheney is a good man, but he is no Odysseus, and neither is Don Rumsfeld. Yet the president can learn lessons from Agamemnon's example even so. Two things stand out.

First, it is perfectly normal for a free people to feel frustrated by a long and indecisive war. What was true of the Greeks is even truer of Americans. The reason is that we look at war completely differently than the ancients did.

For the Greeks, war was a god. War was Ares (the Roman Mars). That is, war was personal and glorious. Nowadays, war has become business. We Americans in particular tend to approach war as a business problem, if a bloody and awful one. And that is why Americans are so good at war. We don't let glory, status, or grandeur get in the way. We prefer to operate like engineers, manufacturers, and accountants.

This approach worked brilliantly in such past conflicts as World War II or the Cold War. We out-produced Hitler and Tojo. We spent the Soviet Union out of existence.

Suitably modified, it will, I think, work in the end in the current conflict as well. But it doesn't look that way in much of today's press. Signs of progress--democracy in Iraq, the rout of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the thwarting of major terror plots--are often overshadowed by the red ink in the ledger.

Which is the downside of our businesslike way of war. Business does not find it easy to think about the long term. Lengthy, frustrating campaigns without a quick, clear and profitable bottom line are a hard sell to the shareholders.

The same is true for Americans at war. We want a favorable bottom line and we want it fast. Both Vietnam and Korea lost popular support--and destroyed presidencies--because they were drawn out and inconclusive. The public was more steadfast during World War II, but Americans began winning big only six months after Pearl Harbor, at Midway in June 1942. The Civil War, with all its disappointments and slaughter, nearly lost the support of the Northern public. For that matter, the Revolution itself brought Tom Paine's warning about "the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot" who might abandon the long, hard cause.

This brings us back to Homer and his second lesson for the Bush administration. The Greek generals did not restore the men's morale simply by preaching patience, recalling the enemy's crimes, or appealing to the national sense of honor. Instead, they did something else that was much more effective: They fought. Here is what happens:

Odysseus turns on the leading Greek dove. He is a man named Thersites, whom Homer calls "the ugliest man who came to Troy" (sorry, Jack Murtha). Odysseus tears him apart verbally and then beats him with the royal scepter. The Greek troops break up laughing.

Meanwhile, Agamemnon loses no time in taking advantage of his men's changed mood. He immediately calls them out to battle. Roaring approval, they rush to arm themselves and to march on the enemy. A hard day lies ahead for Troy.

Now, the Bush administration should not lay a glove on its domestic opponents. Rather, it should debate them with arguments, facts, and yes, with humor. As for the enemy, they require the same thing as the Trojans: a good fight.

If the American people are turning against the war in Iraq it is not from fear of fighting. It is because they know that counting the bomb victims in Baghdad is no way to win a war. Americans are willing to do battle. But if the government offers nothing but patience while the enemy is on the march, the public will call it quits.

To be sure, Agamemnon's offensive failed to take Troy. And a single American push is unlikely to yield victory in Iraq. But unless American troops take the offensive, public support will not be there when the day comes to build a Trojan Horse.
Somewhat baffling news from Globes:

The tourist development venture at a Christian altar found at the Megiddo Prison, considered the world’s oldest church dating to the third of fourth century CE, has been halted because of a lack of money. The Israel Antiquities Authority financed the excavations and preservation of the site for years, but says it can no longer bear the cost.

Since the relevant authorities have not allocated the necessary resources to dedicate the site and develop it into a global tourist attraction, the Antiquities Authority has had to cover the ruins with sand and a tarpaulin in order to preserve them. The purpose is to prevent natural or human-induced damage to the uncovered mosaic. The decision is reversible, and if and when money is found to continue development of the site, the Antiquities Authority can continue activity at the dig to prepare it for visitors.

The discovery of the ruins within the prison last year caused a global sensation. The discoveries included the oldest mention of Jesus in Israel. When the pope announced his intention to visit the site, it raised great hopes of turning the site into a global tourist attraction, but it appears that these plans have been literally buried, at least for the time being.

Wow ... if ever there was a site in Israel which you'd think would have tourist potential ...
A few versions of this one kicking around ... this one from IOL:

A replica of Argo, a mythical Greek ship believed to have sailed 3 000 years ago on a heroic quest from Greece to modern-day Georgia, set sail on Sunday from the central Greek port of Volos on a trial run.

Built with Bronze Age tools to the specifications of a Mycenaean-era vessel, the 28.5m wooden ship sailed into the waters of Pagasitikos Bay - the legendary expedition's original starting point - after a four-year construction project.

According to Greek legend, the expedition headed by Jason and featuring 50 other heroes - including Hercules and Peleus - sailed to the Black Sea kingdom of Colchis in a mission to retrieve the Golden Fleece, the skin of a divine ram.

Equipped with a ram of its own, the 14th century BC ship was of similar design to the vessels that later carried the Greek armies of the Trojan War described in Homer's Iliad, the organisers said.

In 2003, Greek shipbuilders also created the replica of a 3 500-year-old Minoan ship that sailed in the Aegean Sea the following year.

In the Argonaut legend, Jason returned from Colchis to Iolkos (near modern-day Volos) with the Fleece and the daughter of the local king, Medea, as his wife.

According to a tale dramatised by Classical-era Greek tragedian Euripides that bears her name, Medea later became insane with jealousy after Jason left her for another princess and killed their two children in reprisal.

The modern Argo will sail on its two-month maiden voyage to the Black Sea with a crew of 50 rowers - representing every country in Europe - next year.

UPDATE: see also Ioannis Georganis' post on this, which has a photo, links to a German article in Spiegel (with more photos), and Greek coverage as well ...



Alexandra Pierce scripsit:

Of course, the author/explorer did a very similar thing a few years ago, as recorded in his book _The Jason Voyage_ -- to, and including, building the Argo out of the same stuff that Jason might have, and using the same equipment. It's a fantastic book, and a really interesting look at what might have inspired the legend.
From the Guardian:

The Acropolis will soon become the backdrop for a big-screen comedy after Athens gave the green light for the glory that was Greece to be used by Hollywood for the first time.

Breaking with a no-go policy, applied without distinction to the great and good of modern cinematography, Greece's powerful archaeological council (KAS) has permitted the classical masterpiece to feature in the movie - known for the moment as My Life in Ruins, and produced by Tom Hanks.

Filming of the comedy, a life-long dream of its star, Nia Vardalos, who shot to fame with the autobiographical hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, is expected to begin in Athens next month. Ms Vardalos, who plays an archaeologist tour guide whose groups get entangled in comic situations among the ruins, struck lucky after convincing KAS that the movie would strengthen Greece's appeal abroad.

Despite persistent requests from some of the world's most acclaimed directors, Greek officials had always rejected the idea of the site, dating from 500BC, being filmed - on grounds it would degrade a monument regarded as sacred.

The actor reportedly spent months explaining the fine details of the comedy.

The movie will be produced by Play Tone, the firm run by Hanks and his half-Greek wife Rita Wilson, and will also feature Delphi, Epidaurus and ancient Olympia. An official at the Greek culture ministry said the 2004 Athens Olympics' successful impact on tourism had "most definitely" helped win the deal. "Ultimately it was decided that a Hollywood film shot in situ after the Olympics would promote ancient Greek civilisation and have long-term benefits for the country."

Hanks, who with Ms Wilson did much to promote Vardalos, a stand-up Los Angeles comic before she was discovered by the Hollywood couple, has a holiday home in Greece and regularly visits.

The decision is all the more startling since My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a low-budget film that became the highest grossing independent feature ever released, also irritated many Greeks who were unhappy at the way they, and their ethnic cousins in the US, were portrayed.
I think I've finally caught up on everything such that I can finally catch up with all the ClassiCarnies ... some of what follows is a bit old, but still worth a look, of course:

Adrian Murdoch tells us of the Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite (with a link) ... there's also a post about John Chrysostom (with a really nice photo) ...

Alun has posted his Carnival (entitled Vidi) ... elsewhere, he's put up a pile of photos from the British Museum ...

David Parsons gives us an update on the status of Iris Magazine ... teachers will be interested in the notes to the Pro Milone ... there's something on the revival of Latin in UK secondary schools ...

Dorothy King has a pile of interesting stuff ... an item from Minerva on the restoration of the Croatian Apoxyomenos ... a piece on that two-faced mosaic from Pomezia ... photos and commentary on items in the Casa Buonarotti ... another ... a piece on the Kaunos theatre and its rotating stage ... the 'annunciation metope' on the Parthenon (how did I miss this post?) ...

Ed Flinn has, of course, also had a pile of interesting stuff ... it seems easiest just to do a main page link in this case ...

Francese has posted the latest installment of the Latin Poetry Podcast ...

Also on the podcast front, the Military History Podcast looks at Ancient Accidents, Modern Consequences (haven't had a chance to listen) ...

Ginny Lindzey is explaining her assessment methods ... there's also something on oral Latin ...

Irene Hahn tells us about Lucius Appuleius Saturninus ... there's also an item on Roman knowledge of Britain ... Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi ...

Laura Gibbs has had a pile of stuff which Latin teachers would be interested in ... again, a link to the main page seems most efficient ...

Some posts from Mischa Hooker which caught my eye include one on the 'Platonic' George Bush ... Frank Lloyd Wright and Alcibiades ... a somewhat strange Herculean speech by Al Gore ... an antecedent (maybe) to 9/11 ...

Another plethora from Michael Gilleland, from which I cull ... on sponges on a stick ... an interesting Classicalish scene from Moliere ... the iconography of Cupid ... burial of parents ... a followup to that one ... Milton and Euripides ... hostile laughter in the Medea ...

Catch up with the Quintiliana from Eric ...

Eurylochus tells us of a minor battle ...

N.S. Gill has been her normal prolifically-posting self, including a guest post reviewing Poison in Athens ... an item on Gnosticism ... a post on Apollo ... a very interesting item on Book II of the Iliad ...

Juanvir Santa Isabel has another roundup (in Spanish) of Spanish Classics stuff ...

Jona Lendering has been writing about the limes Tripolitana ...

John R. Hale is the latest to get the Roman Scholars treatment ...

Nathan Bauman has had a number of thoughtful posts on the Iliad (19-22)... books 23 and 24... some final thoughts ... Odyssey (book I) ...

Nikolaos Markoulakis writes on Martha Graham and Greek mythology ...

Tyler Williams had a fun post on Dr. Suess learning Greek (or not) ...

William Annis has found an Ode to Stalin in Homeric Greek ...

A number of bloggers (and others) have mentioned this interview with Robert Harris comparing Tony Blair's current situation with Cicero's ...

Albinus wrote in to tell us of Sherlock Holmes in Latin at the Ephemeris site ...

I can't remember if we've mentioned this short film of Oedipus, performed by vegetables ...

History Carnival 39 is up at the Cliopatria blog ... there's some ancient stuff ...

I haven't decided yet whether this journal devoted to Sparta should be regularly trolled ...

The APA's August newsletter is online ... so is that of the North Carolina Classical Association ... (if your Classical association puts out a newsletter that's available online, drop me a line and tell me about it so I can add the page to my list of 'watched' pages) ...

Three papers by Edward Champlin posted at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers site:

Tiberiana 1: Tiberian Neologisms
Abstract: This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. “Tiberian Neologisms” examines several words that seem to have been invented or given new meanings during his reign, often by Tiberius himself.

Tiberiana 2: Tales of Brave Ulysses
Abstract: This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. Tiberius was intensely interested in the deeds and character of the hero Odysseus, to the extent that sometimes he seems almost to have been channeling him. “Tales of Brave Ulysses” considers the evidence for this obsession and suggests something of the fresh insight into the emperor’s character which it evokes.

Tiberiana 3: Odysseus at Rome - a Problem
This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. “Odysseus at Rome” is an appendix to the previous paper on Tiberius’ obsession with the Greek hero. It draws attention to some startling evidence for Odysseus’ unpopularity in the Roman world.

... there ... between the foregoing, issue 9.20-21 of Explorator, and our recently-revived Ancient World on Television listings, there should be absolutely no reason for anyone to think that nothing Classical is happening in the world ...

... I'll get caught up with book reviews sometime during the week ...
From WTLX:

When the coins come out of the cash drawer, they all sound the same. And when Lynn Moore picked up her change and walked out of a Sumter Bi-Lo last November, she had no reason to believe her coins were any different.

Boy, was she wrong.

“It's definitely not a penny," said Lynn.

It wasn't until she emptied her change that she noticed.

“I threw it in a vase right next to my kitchen table," said Lynn. She continued, "I dumped it out into my hand and noticed that one coin was very odd looking."

For 10 months, she kept it to herself. Then, Ken Lyles saw it. Ken has collected and studied coins for 50 years, and says this one is definitely not American.

“My research on it would tell me that it (was made in) approximately 132 to 135 A.D."

Mr. Lyles says the shape, uneven edges, and weight of the coin means it definitely pre-dates modern mints. According to his reference books, the coin is from ancient Hebrew society.

But as for value, there's no telling what it's worth.

“It's hard to really put a price on it until you find somebody who wants it,” said Ken. “Then you could very easily put a price if they'll tell you what they'll give you for it."

As for now, Lynn doesn't care how much it's worth. She's happy with the value that Mr. Lyles has placed on it:

“You have tangible evidence in your hand of ancient history," he said.

Lynn Moore doesn't know what she'll do with her coin. For now, she's happy holding on to it, but says she might consider selling it later.

... a photo (not great) accompanies the original article ... it looks like a Bar Kokhba denarius

UPDATE: see the comments appended to Jim Davila's post on this at Paleojudaica ...
The incipit of Suzan Mazur's latest piece in Scoop ... some interesting names in this one:

With Boston's Museum of Fine Arts nearing an accord with Italy over its collection of classical art acquired primarily from Italy both before and after the1983 UNESCO curb on antiquities trafficking - I thought it might be interesting to revisit a conversation I had with Cornelius Vermeule III, MFA's "swashbuckling" curator of classical art for almost 40 years (1957-1996).

Vermeule has also shared a long friendship with Bob Hecht, the dealer now on trial in Rome for antiquities trafficking, and he's acquired important antiquities from him as well -- like the beautiful statue of Sabina -- in which Hecht acted as "agent" for the November 1979 transaction. Hecht also sold an oil flask (lekythos) to MFA in November 1989, and in 1991, a South Italian amphora that he first owned was sold to the museum, depicting the murder of Atreus.

Other Hecht MFA sales, are less clear and the museum prefers to be mum about such acquisitions.

However, Hecht did tell Walter V. Robinson of the Boston Globe, that in mid-1997, shortly after Vermeule's retirement, he sold MFA a skyphos, an ancient silver cup valued at more than $400,000. Asked its origin, Hecht responded: "What does it matter?"

Vermeule like a good friend wrote an introduction to Hecht's 1988 Atlantis Antiquities Greek & Roman Archaic art show catalogue of mostly unprovenanced pieces, recently discussed here. [See… Add NYT To Bob Hecht Antiquities Ring Organigram?]

One of the stars of that show, an Etruscan terracotta votive head of a woman from 500 BC, Hecht described as "one of the finest pieces to have survived in clay". Its whereabouts are now anyone's guess.

Vermeule was also in the middle of the MFA's acquisition of the top half of the Herakles statue looted from Turkey (the bottom half is still in the Antalya Museum) and he authenticated priceless Athenian coins looted from Turkey that were sold to oil magnate/MFA trustee William Koch.

The coins have all now been recovered by the Turkish government, according to Larry Kaye, whose law firm has represented the Turkish government on various disputes involving ancient art, including the Lydian Hoard, which went back to Turkey in the early 1990s after a quarter century in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's basement.

Vermeule's late wife, Emily, was a Harvard archaeology professor who taught former Getty museum curator Marion True. Marion True is now Hecht's co-defendant in the Rome trial.

... the rest ...
Looks like Gnaeus is on the move again ...

Pompey aiming for Europe

... and he's had some success:

LuaLua Hands Pompey Victory

No doubt LuaLua is someone Pompey found in Egypt ... even so, the pundits are already analyzing the victory:

Secret to Pompey success

We anxiously await the response of Octavian and/or Marcus Antonius ...
A week or so ago, some folks (Jim Davilia, Dorothy King) were expressing doubt over a National Geographic report about how various sites had come out of the recent hostilities in Lebanon unscathed. Interestingly, those doubts were followed by journalistic reassurances of same. Today, however, we read in the Observer:

Monuments in two of the world's most important heritage sites are in need of 'urgent repair' as a result of the recent conflict in Lebanon, a United Nations mission to the region has discovered.

A Roman tomb in Tyre and a medieval tower in Byblos have been significantly damaged by the war, the official leading a survey of Lebanese archaeological sites told The Observer late last week.

Unesco, the educational, scientific and cultural arm of the United Nations, is set to announce the results of its damage assessment mission tomorrow. The survey was launched after the international archaeological community, including the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, urged the organisation to investigate the effects of bombing on one of the planet's most heritage-rich countries.

The head of Unesco's mission, Mounir Bouchenaki, said that the most extreme damage had been seen at the world heritage sites of Tyre and Byblos.

At Tyre some of 'the finest examples of imperial Roman architecture in the world' had suffered direct damage, including the collapse of a fresco on a tomb only a few metres from the site's core. The official said that he intended to propose the commencement of urgent repair work in the area.

At Byblos the effects of an oil spill - which occurred after the Israeli government bombed a depot in Jiyeh, 15 miles south of Beirut - are more obvious. Bouchenaki said some of the archaeological remains from the Venetian period near the city's harbour were dramatically stained and would be difficult to clean. He said that a 'medieval tower' from the time of the Crusades had also been affected.

A strike by Israeli warplanes caused the oil spill at Jiyeh, where millions of gallons of oil gushed into the sea. Not since Saddam Hussein deliberately pumped crude oil into the Persian Gulf in 1991 has an act of war caused so devastating a maritime environmental crisis. The Temple of Bacchus in the city of Baalbek, another world heritage site, is also suffering from widening cracks in its structure. Bouchenaki added that further investigation would be needed to ascertain whether these had been exacerbated by the war.

His comments came after MacGregor and the British Museum's expert on Middle Eastern archaeology, John Curtis, expressed concern that vibration had caused irrevocable damage to the temple. Curtis described Baalbek as 'quite possibly one of the most important Roman period sites in the East Mediterranean', and said that he would be 'very surprised' if Unesco did not report some war damage there. The cracks are purportedly the result of vibrations arising from explosions nearby, and not from direct hits.

Two other historical sites, at Bint Jbeil and Chamaa, while not on the world heritage register, have also been 'extensively damaged'. At Bint Jbeil a medieval wall has been seriously hit.

The damage assessment mission to the Middle East was announced earlier this month by Unesco's director general, Koichiro Matsuura, who expressed the organisation's intention to visit the world heritage sites of Tyre, Baalbek and Byblos. Byblos, located north of Beirut, bears testimony to the earliest stages of the Phoenician civilisation and early 'urban organisation' in the Mediterranean world. The Phoenicians first settled in Lebanon five thousand years ago.

Bouchenaki added that a team of French experts were to be flown to Lebanon by the French government to instruct 15 to 20 Lebanese youths in the archaeological clean-up operation necessary at Byblos.

UPDATE: Dorothy King adds some pertinent comments ...
From the Sofia Echo:

Bulgaria's recent archeological triumphs continue with the discovery of over 100 ancient spearheads and arrowheads near the southeastern village of Konush.

Famed archeologist Georgi Kitov an his crew have unearthed a Thracian tomb that dates back to the beginning of the fourth century BC, shedding some more light on ancient Thrace's belief in the afterlife.

The grave was built by well-moulded stone blocks, connected with metal joints. The whole tomb was covered in red lines, the symbol of Thracian god Zagreus, believed to be the archetype of Dionysus.

Once all artifacts of interest are excavated the tomb will be closed and buried again.
From the Journal-Pilot:

Greek mythological gods and goddesses were at work in Michelle Bavery's eighth grade class at Carthage Middle School.

“We've been studying Greek mythology and have focused on the Olympians in the past weeks,” Bavery said. “The students' project this week was to pick a Greek god or goddess that we've studied and create a throne that would be fitting to them, based on the stories they've read.

“After the student presented their throne, the audience guessed which god or goddess the throne represented.”

While some students chose to draw their thrones on paper, some created elaborate thrones, adorned with anything from blades of grass to crystals. One group of students chose Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, and brought in a basket of fruit, filled with bananas, apples and grapes, to share with the audience.

“We've been reading plays rather than reading out of the book,” Bavery said. “The students seem to like that better.”

Bavery's students are going to study mythology through October and have more interactive projects to learn with.

“So far they have mainly been learning about how the Greeks believed the world began and the Olympians, such as Zeus and Hera; Poseidon, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Ares, Apollo, Artemis, etc.,” said Bavery.

“In the next few weeks, they will continue learning about Greek mythology by reading many more myths in play version, and then by creating games to be played by their classmates. This is a unit that has really grown over the last few years because of the students' interest in the topic and activities.”
Brief item from the Guardian:

Substantial remains of an octagonal Roman bath house, probably reused as a Christian baptistry, have been uncovered during a student training excavation near Faversham in Kent.

The central cold plunge pool was five metres (16ft) across, and stood within a structure which also had underfloor heating and hot pools, probably originally under a domed roof.

Bits of painted wall plaster, blue floors and multicoloured mosaics were found by students from Kent Archaeological Field School.

Paul Wilkinson, who led the excavation, called the find "unique and magnificent".
From Kerala:

Kodungalloor Ministers, leading historians and social activists in the state visited the various historical sites and monuments in Kodungalloor and nearby areas and discussed the course of action to be taken to preserve the rich historic legacy of the ancient town, known in ancient times as Musiris.

The historians- K.N. Panikkar, Rajan Gurukkal, Michael Tharakan, P.J. Cherian and M.R. Raghava Varrier,Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran and the former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University B. Ekbal were among those who teamed up to take the first step for the unique initiative as a sequel to an announcement made in the State Budget, which had set apart Rs.50 lakh for working out a comprehensive plan to protect the historical heritage of Kodungalloor.

A committee with Dr. Panikkar as chairman was formed to prepare a plan of action and the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) chosen as the nodal agency and the committee would prepare a plan within two months.

The project aims to develop areas of ancient historical importance such as Kodungalloor Bhagavathi temple, Cheraman Masjid, Azhikkode Mosque, Kodungalloor Kovilakom, Kottappuram fort, archeological area of Pattanam and the Jewish synagogue in Chendamangalam, and will be implemented with the help of the Union Government.

Kodungalloor was a critical trade link in India's ancient maritime history. It was known as Musiris to Pliny the Elder, who describes it as "primum emporium Indiae".

Roman gold and silver coins bearing impressions of Roman Emperors Tiberius and Nero were discovered in the village of Parur near the town during 2000.

The town was nearly completely destroyed by the Portuguese on September 1, 1504 in retaliation for the Samoothiri Raja's actions against them.

AP via Yahoo:

An Egyptologist who investigated two hills in central Bosnia believed by some to be ancient pyramids on Wednesday recommended that archaeological digs be carried out there.

After investigating the two hills for a week, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Ali, a professor of Egyptology in Cairo, said nobody should be jumping to conclusions but having in mind everything he had seen in Visoko, his recommendations would be that "it is worth digging here."

"You have to be patient. This might take decades," he said.

No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.

However, the theory that at least two oddly shaped hills near the central Bosnian town of Visoko might be ancient pyramids covered by dirt and vegetation was proposed by an amateur researcher last year.

Semir Osmanagic, who has been investigating Latin American pyramids for 15 years, organized excavations on the Visocica and Pljesivica hills, about 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo, in April.

His team — made up mostly of volunteers — found that the 2,120-foot Visocica hill has 45-degree slopes pointing toward the cardinal points and a flat top. Under layers of dirt, workers discovered a paved entrance plateau, entrances to tunnels and large stone blocks.

When digging at the neighboring, smaller hill of Pljesivica, the team discovered pavements on various levels of the hill.

The theory has been disputed by a number of local and international experts, who claim that at no time in Bosnia's history did the region have a civilization able to build monumental structures.

In June, a British archaeologist rejected claims that Visocica is a man-made structure. Professor Anthony Harding, who is president of the European Association of Archaeologists, visited the site and said the formation was natural.

This did not discourage Osmanagic's team, which meanwhile excavated more pavement and stone blocks and sought help from Egypt.

Ali said Osmanagic's findings raise many questions, and the answers are worth looking for.

He said he could claim with certainly that the pavements on the Pljesivica hill "cannot be naturally composed."

"What we are missing here are artifacts, organic material. But this kind of work should continue until facts are found," he said.

However, Bosnia has little archaeological expertise. Teams of experts should be working on the hills simultaneously but the country does not even have an archaeological institute and should first establish one, he recommended.

"Start now! This is the time. You are just scratching the surface. There is a lot to do here. Egypt can help you with experts," he said.

Nice bit of ambiguity there in the fourth 'graph from the end. You know and I know that the 'he' is Osmanagic. How many folks will read that as coming from Dr. Ali? In case you haven't visited it yet, see Archaeology Magazine's coverage of the whole Bosnian thing ...
... comments on a miniseries currently running on the BBC:

The series producer of the BBC’s new docudrama Ancient Rome – the Rise and Fall of an Empire is no doubt an honourable man. He claims previous films “have tended to ignore the real history and chosen to fictionalise the story”. He overlooks I, Claudius, first shown in 1976, recycling now on BBC Four — and still the benchmark for source-based historical drama on TV.

This new series is certainly keeping teams of fine British actors in work, not to mention craftsmen in Bombay who made 100 swords, and other producers of fabric, dyes, shoes, prosthetic moulds and fake blood “of various degrees of thickness and colour” (yes, yes!). They also filmed in Morocco and Bulgaria, places chosen for the light, for Roman ruins that can be excitingly computer-enhanced and for cheap, pre-existing film-sets. Thus Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven set is used to re-create ancient Jerusalem; Roman Jerusalem was unavailable because Vespasian’s son Titus destroyed it — “accidentally”, said he — when zealots were infighting bitterly, while trying to massacre the Roman invaders who wanted to rule the world . . . Sounds familiar? It is fashionable to draw comparisons between Ancient Rome and modern politics; to its credit, this series lets us notice the parallels for ourselves.

The episodes were produced by different teams. It shows. Gracchus (episode 3) and Vespasian (episode 4) work better than Nero, Caesar and Constantine (episodes 1, 2 and 5).

(I was not sent the last episode, but I want to watch it. Can’t say fairer than that.) The producers avoid the talking-heads style, though they use literature and the advice of modern historians. Once they fill up with battle and crowd scenes, the formula of self-contained one-hour dramas doesn’t give enough scope. Although the BBC-HBO drama series Rome was fiction, for all its nudity and dormouse canapés, it gave a clearer depiction of the Caesar-Pompey rivalry.

Here, the premise is six key moments of Roman history. As with all TV lists, you can quibble about their choice. The I, Claudius emperors are omitted, probably on grounds of over-familiarity. It is assumed that we know the Romans were Top Nation; the least successful episodes merely show people fighting to be Top Man.

They insist on starting with Nero. Here, revisionist modern historians are fighting the sensationalism of the old Romans. The moderns soon lose. Without even suggesting that Nero was a troubled kid from a dysfunctional family, he’s in there wanting art to triumph over power; hauling buckets in the Great Fire of Rome; rebuilding the city. The Romans themselves said Nero started the fire to grab space for his Golden House; that’s not mentioned. This is Nero the Hero. O dearo.

Fortunately, the evil genius Tigellinus corrupts him, then the writers throw themselves happily into mad-eyed megalomania.

Chronologically, we should begin with the rocky moment in the Republic when Tiberius Gracchus first used the mob in a struggle to undermine Senate corruption and introduce land reforms. It is the start of politics-by-assassination (necessitating from Props “six fake daggers for stunts and stabbing, of both the retractable-blade and rubber variety”). The Gracchus episode makes the best attempt at showing Roman life — siege, villa, perfume bottles, hunting, a wedding — all delicately incorporated. But the weakness of the approach comes out sharply. Tiberius Gracchus was the first man over the walls of Carthage — the battle is good visual TV, with one breathtaking moment when the young tribune stands, momentarily alone in enemy territory, his jaw dropping as he gazes over the doomed city. But Tiberius’s equally famous younger brother, Gaius, is ignored, though ten years after Tiberius’s reforms ended with his murder, Gaius again tried to bring in reforms, and himself died violently. If history hands you some suspenseful repetition, why waste it? And then there is their mother: Cornelia was a Roman heroine for the exemplary way she, as a widow, gave her sons education, military training and moral rigour. Her contribution to their subsequent eminence was recognised. This is important. That the Romans had heroines is a revealing aspect of their psyche — and surely part of their appeal. I gently suggest it is one reason why the Romans, rather than other ancient people, have such an enduring appeal.

We don’t see many women in this series. The producer claims Nero’s relationship with his wife Poppaea, whom he kicked to death while pregnant and replaced with a castrated slave, is a “kind of love story” . . . (Tunisian sunstroke?). Love gets short shrift, as do trade, slavery, art, engineering, and much else that we generally see as Roman achievement.

What the Empire was and how it worked for most inhabitants are inadequately addressed. However, because we know so much about Roman domestic and working lives, as well as their politics, people relate to the Romans, their lifestyle and their civilisation. This series concentrates on adventure, intrigue and characters, but the largely forgiving audience for anything Roman will find the “stories” as gripping as the makers claim.

There is pleasing material here. The filming is good, the dialogue sounds real, the sets work, the military scenes will delight many. But if they stick with their eccentric programming, we’ll be jerked about maniacally: AD64, 54BC, 154BC, AD69, AD312, Fall of Rome. Nero wants to destroy war and power before we have seen them. Carthage falls and Gracchus lays foundations for empire when three episodes have established it so decisively that the Judaeans have rebelled against it. The historians who advised are sensible women, so do the men who produced and wrote this series have some evil genius controlling them? This is history on the Eric Morecambe principle: all of the moments — but not necessarily in the right order!

Not sure when this one is on (or going to be) ... it doesn't seem to be mentioned at the BBC site.

UPDATE: A piece from the Independent gives a few more details on when this one's on, an (perhaps) about the slant one can expect to see:

America's entanglement in Iraq bears a striking resemblance to ancient Rome's Punic wars, according to the author of a new book on the Roman Empire.

Simon Baker, who also produced BBC2's forthcoming series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, on which his book is based, claims the decision by the greatest civilisation in the ancient world to attack its Mediterranean rival Carthage mirrors America's actions in the build-up to the second Gulf War.

He said yesterday: "You have hawkish Roman neo-conservatives saying that Carthage was a menace to democracy, 'weapons inspectors' being sent over, cooked-up dossiers exaggerating the threat, and huge debate at home about the wisdom of war.

"The arrogance of power... has a strong resonance with America today... And just as with America before the second Gulf War, there was a real argument about the best way of extending political control."

The television series, which airs next week, took two years to make. The action was so gory that on the first day of shooting 20 litres of fake blood were used.
From Ha'aretz comes another Israel-Carthage comparison ... sort of:

Sometime after the cease-fire following the second Lebanon war took effect, somebody asked me, while we both sipped our morning espresso at our neighborhood cafe: "Who was that Cato the Elder, whom people quote so often?" I answered that he was a Roman senator (234-149 B.C.E.) who, prior to the third Punic War, made it a habit to conclude any speech of his, on whatever subject (remember, we are talking 150 B.C.E.), by saying: "Carthago delenda est" - meaning "Also, Carthage, methinks, ought utterly to be destroyed" (as translated by John Dryden).

I then went to check whether Cato the Elder's saw is still being quoted. And, indeed, many contemporary politicians and commentators, here and abroad, make use of this historical rhetorical ploy, by concluding their pontifications on any given subject with this formula: "Also" - here you take your pick from a long list: Al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, terror, Islam, Israel, Arabs, Palestinians, Americans or any "other" - "methinks, ought utterly to be destroyed."

Come to think of it, Cato should have patented that formulation; it is unbeatable. When you repeatedly call for the destruction of something or someone and it actually happens, you can say "I told you so." When the sought-after destruction occurs, but you also are destroyed in the process, chances are that nobody will feel like remonstrating with you. If he, she or it are not utterly destroyed, but you are (and are still able to talk) - aren't you fully justified in saying, "Didn't I tell you so?" You can't lose with Cato's ruse.

Incidentally, Cato was not his name; it was Marcus Porcius Priscus. The Romans called a skillful or experienced man Catus. The person in question was nicknamed "the Elder" to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Philosopher. Plutarch, writing in 75 C.E., tells us that he was an able warrior and farmer, who fought with his soldiers and worked with his slaves, sharing their food and their lot. He was a man of impeccable personal qualities, a man of real Roman values, much admired by his contemporaries. A gifted orator, Cato served his fellow citizens in many public offices, achieving his fame as censor - a sort of state comptroller for public morals. Plutarch extols his virtues, but even he finds fault with Cato's excessive capitalism: He would buy his slaves young, healthy and cheap, and sell them the moment they were of no further use to him.

Public nuisance

Cato the Elder was thus respected in his time, but it is doubtful if he was popular. He used to harangue the Romans by saying things like: "It is a difficult task, O citizens, to make speeches to the belly which has no ears." He was an adamant critic of Greek philosophy, which - in his opinion - had a demoralizing effect on Roman morals and values. With his constant harping on "Carthago delenda est," he (probably intentionally) made himself a public nuisance.

Fifty years after Rome achieved its complete victory over Carthage, at the end of the second Punic War, Carthage, disarmed, was paying a huge yearly ransom. Also, there was a line marked in the sand by the Romans, and if the Carthagians crossed it, that would be a provocation leading to immediate war. But Carthage managed to recover economically. It's neighbors, the Numidians, aware of the limitations imposed on Carthage's military might, kept provoking them. The Carthagians complained to Rome, and rearmed themselves. It was their bad luck that Cato the Elder was dispatched by Rome to broker a truce between them and the Numidians.

Plutarch writes that "Cato realized that Carthage was too weak to overcome Rome, but he thought it was too great to be despised by them." But he also saw that "his countrymen were growing wanton and insolent, obstinate and disobedient." What better way to rally the people than to unite them in a patriotic call to arms? Plutarch writes that Cato thus sparked the third Punic War. Many historians see it as a most unjustified, cruel and senseless slaughter of a civilian population, unparalleled until the world wars.

Rome declared war on Carthage in 149 B.C.E. Carthage surrendered immediately and unconditionally. It complied with a demand to send 300 of its best youth as hostages, and to disarm the city totally. Luckily for the Romans, Carthage was indeed heavily armed, so Rome did have a formal excuse for war. But even the contemporary Greek historian Polybius, writing in the Roman camp, goes to great lengths to include in his formal history of the war comments (cunningly attributed to the Greeks) critical of Rome's treacherous ways of conducting that war.

The Romans did not think disarming and surrender was enough. They demanded that the Carthagians abandon their city, and relocate at least 10 miles from the seashore - a death sentence for a world trade power dependent on the merchant marine. When the Carthagians balked, Scipio Aemilianus ordered the destruction of the city by fire, and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were slaughtered by Roman soldiers.

Polybius, the tutor of Scipio Aemilianus, was by his side when he ordered (in 146 B.C.E.) the attack on the town. "Scipio burst into tears ... grasped me by the hand and said: 'O Polybius, it is a grand thing, but, I know not how, I feel a terror and dread, lest some one should one day give the same order about my own native city' ... In the midst of supreme success for one's self and of a disaster for the enemy, to take thought of one's own position and of the possible reverse which may come, is the characteristic of a great man."

Cato the Elder was a great man. But on the whole, I think that Scipio's words are worth quoting more than Cato's, preferably before giving an order to annihilate a city - and ideally before even considering such an order. But history teaches us that nobody ever learns anything from history.

The headline to this has a nice ring to it: Pen Ultimate ... sounds like a great name for a blog. Whoops ... already exists. Howzabout Auntie Pen Ultimate?



Alexandra Pierce writes:

I'm a history teacher, and someone told me a great joke the other day - Why does history keep repeating itself? Because we weren't listening the first time.
From DNA:

The marine branch of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered Roman artefacts dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries from the inter-tidal zone (the area between the high-tide and low-tide lines) of Elephanta Island.

The find, made last winter, includes artefacts like wine amphorae (vases), pot sheds, storage devices, and stone anchors.

The discovery shows that trade between Rome and India continued much later than previously thought.

Historians believed that the trade, which was conducted via Arabia in the early period of the Roman Empire, declined by the turn of the first millennium.

The discovery indicates that contacts between India and Rome flourished well into the late Roman era.

Alok Tripathi, ASI’s head of underwater archaeology, said, “The entire Maharashtra coast has evidence of Roman contact on a large scale. We are particularly interested in Elephanta, Sindhudurg, Malvan, and Vijaydurg. The Roman artefacts that we have found in Elephanta include some that have survived in excellent condition. The find points to robust trading contact in the late Roman period. This is a first-of-its-kind find on the West Coast.”

The ASI underwater unit plans to carry out fresh excavations in November with the navy. The joint effort will look at sites in Gujarat and Mahabalipuram, besides Elephanta. Come winter and the Indian seas could yield more surprises.

UPDATE: I notice Adrian Murdoch has some useful links related to this ...

UPDATE: See also Dorothy King's comments on Romans in India and China ... Adrian Murdoch has dug up some interesting stuff from Elephanta (metaphorically, not archaeologically, speaking) from last year ...
From the MidSussex Times:

HISTORY fans are worried that 600 homes on fields and woods north of Burgess Hill would ruin the remains of a roman road.
They are also concerned about the environmental impact of the proposals on fields dating to medieval times.
A total of about 600 new homes has been suggested on various sites by developers on land to the east of Isaacs Lane and west of the Bedelands Nature Reserve.
Part of the site includes the northern end of Freaks Lane, where remains of a Roman road that ran through part of Burgess Hill are marked.
The future of the land will not be decided until next year, when final lists of sites in the so-called small-scale housing allocations are considered by councillors and an inspector at public hearing.
But people are already sending responses in time for the October 2 deadline to Mid Sussex Council, which will draw up the final list of sites after consultation. Details were published recently in the Mid Sussex Times.
A smaller development of 45 houses north of Faulkners Way has already been rejected but now the much larger proposals, which are not from the council, have been put forward.
The land was also included in the Atkins study, a feasibility document looking at possible land use in the Burgess Hill area.
The Atkins study looked at the period 2016-2026, but the latest proposals by developers would bring the building forward about ten years to 2006 if accepted because the small-scale housing list covers the period 2006-2016.
Burgess Hill Local History Society Ann Phillips, of Coopers Close, said: "The road will be obliterated. It's something that obviously worries us. I will be contacting the county archaeologist to make sure he is in the picture.
"The other concern is for the small fields and the woods and for the general ambience of the area. Everyone knows the rubbish areas, the old sewage works and the refuse tip, but in the fields nearby the wildlife is fantastic. We are just aghast about it all."
The Friends of Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve has urged its members in a newsletter to send comments quickly to the council. Chairman Roy Ticehurst said: "This will bring forward the development by 10-15 years, so this complete surprise to us needs instant action."
From the People's Daily comes this tantalizingly short report:

Romanian archaeologists have unearthed an unknown Roman stronghold dating back more than 2,000 years in the southwest Mehedinti County, Romanian Rompres news agency reported on Wednesday.

The archaeologists discovered that the fortification, in the Izvoarele locality, was from the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian, showing that it was built after the Romans withdrew their armies from Dacia (271-274 BC). The fortification was one of the strongholds in the defence system built by the Romans along the Danube.

Manager of the local Iron Gates Region Museum Ion Stanga said the discovery was very important for Romanian history, "as it proves that even after Roman emperor Aurelian's withdrawal, the territory north of the Danube continued to be ruled by the Romans, countering theses that question the Romanian people's ethnogenesis."

Part of the Agri Decumantes?

UPDATE: Adrian Murdoch has some related links ...



Renato Piva notes:

«... an unknown Roman stronghold dating back _more than 2,000_ years in
the southwest Mehedinti County, Romanian Rompres news agency reported on
Wednesday was built after the Romans withdrew their armies from
Dacia (271-274 _BC_)»

It's been _only 1732_ years, as the Romans withdrew their armies 271-274
An otherwise non-Classics-related review in the Washington Post begins:

In the middle of one of the most gripping action sequences in the Aeneid , Virgil deliberately calls attention to the artificiality of the story he is telling. It occurs in Book II, in the account of the sack of Troy. Virgil first says the Trojan horse is made of fir; a hundred lines later, he says it's made of maple; next it turns to oak; and, still later, it's pine. Not only does the horse's protean essence function as a metaphor for the inherent deceptiveness of Greek gifts, it serves to remind us that we are hearing a tale told to the Carthaginians by one very interested participant -- Aeneas -- thus alerting us to the presence of more subtle fabrications

I'd never heard that explanation before for the 'varying wood thing', but it sounds like the sort of thing at least one Classicist would come up with. What always stuck in my mind from my undergrad dalliances in Virgil is Williams' comment (ad. 2.16), "... this may be taken as a sign of lack of revision or lack of special interest in carpentry."
From the Greenwich Time:

Colin Van Lang does not dream of becoming a classicist. The 18-year-old recent Brunswick School graduate will probably major in engineering when he gets to Stanford University this fall.

But when admissions officers asked him which teacher had the most profound effect on his life, he said it was his high school Latin teacher, the Rev. Richard Cipolla.

"He stretches your mind," Van Lang said. "The course was much more challenging than any other AP (Advanced Placement) course. Most of my motivation to stay with Latin was because of the teacher."

Van Lang's response was among those that recently earned Cipolla a place on the National Honor Roll of Outstanding American Teachers, and is typical among students of Latin, according to both school officials and national experts who have been watching the language gain popularity in recent years.

"What kids are drawn to is teachers who love what they teach," said Tom Philip, Brunswick School's headmaster. "And there is no debate that Cipolla loves what he does."

This enthusiasm has helped inspire more students to study the dead language, and to follow it through the two levels of AP courses the school offers to juniors and seniors, he said.

"The numbers have been rising slowly every year," Philip said. "It's been uniquely popular, and that has not always been the case. Six years ago, we only had a few sections of Latin classes. Now we have three Latin teachers in (the Upper School of) Brunswick."

Partly to help better prepare the many students who want to sign up for Latin as freshmen, and partly to keep up with peer institutions who are requiring that students start studying the language at an earlier age, the school has decided to make Latin mandatory for sixth-graders for the first time this year.

In the past, seventh- and eighth-graders were only required to take Latin a few days a week. After students pass these requirements, they can choose between continuing with Latin exclusively, studying Latin and a modern language like French, Spanish or Chinese; or switching to a modern language exclusively.

Latin has been a "flexible requirement" for students at Greenwich Academy, Brunswick's sister institution, beginning in sixth grade for almost a decade, according to Jill Riverain, head of the languages department.

"Ten years ago, interest in Latin really started to wane, and we felt it was too important to lose," Riverain said. But recently, she said, "the pendulum has been swinging back."

Enrollment in the National Latin Exam has grown steadily in recent years, according to Jeri Dutra, director of the American Classical League, which sponsors the test. She believes the biggest reason for the rise is that Latin teachers are unusually passionate about what they teach.

"A lot of times, I put the interest on the teacher, because they are definitely really into their subject and into their students, so they have the kids really interested."

Cipolla, 64, a Catholic priest who got his first doctorate degree in chemistry and his second in theology, believes the resurgence of interest in Latin has several sources.

"I think that our parents are so conscious of the SAT scores of their sons, and of course their daughters at Greenwich Academy, and all the statistics indicate that those kids who have had Latin do better," he said. His courses are open to students at both Brunswick and Greenwich Academy.

He also thinks the language's notorious difficulty scores points with college admissions officers, but believes the reasons it grips students run deeper. A knowledge of Latin is an opening to the very foundations of Western culture," he said. "In a multicultural age, there is a renewed interest in what does it mean to be Western? What does it mean to have a European background? I would hope that that driving force is at least as important as SAT scores and the value of Latin in the eyes of the college admissions officials."

Getting to commune directly with the founding texts of Western civilization, from the Bible to the Aeneid, was what turned on recent Greenwich Academy graduate Isabelle Schless, 18, but she doesn't believe having advanced Latin courses on her transcript hurt her application to Dartmouth College, where she plans to major in either classics or international relations.

She noted that her classmates in her advanced Latin class all seemed to be going to the country's top colleges.

"Classics majors have the highest acceptance rates into medical and law school because of the way it helps you think and memorize," she said. "It's a very methodical language."

But also a very beautiful one, she added. "It has the aspect of puzzle-solving, but it also has the most unbelievable literature that went with it," she said. "It appealed to both sides of my brain."

That said, she added there were times when the homework was so frustrating she would run around her house screaming, "The Romans killed it for a reason!"

But in the end, the difficulty of the language is its allure, Cipolla said.

"I believe strongly that be-cause of the difficulty of Latin, and the very nature of the language, it forces students to think more," he said. "I tell my kids, I have been to many schools, and gotten all these degrees, but where I learned to think was in high school Latin."
Can't remember if we've had a version of this story from the Turkish Daily News or not:

Colored, stereoscopic images of the ancient city of Zeugma, located near Belkıs in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, will be featured on the Internet.

Kutalmış Görkay, head of the team excavating Zeugma, told the Anatolia news agency that the entire ancient site was scanned by laser. "In short, we immortalize the actual layout of the ancient city. Even after many years, people will be able to see the ancient city's current layout," he said.

"We will also use the colored and stereoscopic images in restoration work. It will also be possible to use the images to publicize the existence of Zeugma," he added.

The ancient city of Zeugma will become an archaeological park through restoration. The study to realize the project started on Aug. 1 and will end on Oct. 30. Scientists from France, the United States and Sweden are taking part in the project.

Zeugma was founded by one of Alexander the Great's generals, Seleucia Nicator, and prospered during the Roman period as part of a trade route stretching east across Asia to China.

The city's wealth was reflected in the homes of its inhabitants. Rich merchants and Roman noblemen and officers vied with one another to adorn their houses with the world's loveliest mosaics, ceramics, statues, and frescoes.

Zeugma has been dubbed the "second Pompeii" in international literature.

The people of Zeugma enjoyed a magnificent lifestyle in their city on the banks of the Euphrates River until the Sassanid invasion in A.D. 256, when the city was burnt and destroyed. A violent earthquake a few years later turned the city, which had extended over an area of 2,100 hectares, to rubble.
From a Pastor's column in the

Whatever his 'nationality', I don't think Cicero even said that ...



Al Schlaf writes:

If Pastor Mark Driscoll is going to appeal to ancient history to make a point (article of 9/16/06), is it too much to ask that he at least bother to do his homework?

He wrote:
The ancient Greek philosopher Cicero, who died before Jesus was born, asked that decent Roman citizens not even speak of the cross because it was too disgraceful a subject for decent people.

Cicero was most assuredly not a Greek philosopher, despite some of his later writings of a philosophical nature, but a Roman orator, lawyer and statesman. Additionally, the passage Pastor Driscoll is alluding to is dealing with the illegal crucifixion of a Roman citizen, not crucifixion in general. The passage can be found in the latter part of his second oration against Gaius Verres, the Roman governor of Sicily. The Romans used crucifixion against slaves, foreigners and non-citizens. It was forbidden to be used against a Roman citizen. See In C. Verrem II, 158-170.
I've seen this a couple of times now ... this time from a Delta College press release type thing:

The ancient Greek statesman Pericles once said, "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you."

That sounds a bit 'free', if it's genuine at all.
Well ... we actually made it through the night without coughing fits ... time to catch up on the backlog. Lots of versions of this one, from EITB:

The lonely rock at the edge of the solar system that caused Pluto's downfall has been dubbed Eris after the Greek goddess of strife, astronomers said on Thursday.

"Eris caused strife and discord by causing quarrels among people and that's what this one has done too," said Mike Brown, the California Institute of Technology researcher who discovered the object in 2005.

Brown's discovery, larger and farther from the Sun than Pluto, set off a heated debate about what should be considered a planet. The 2,500 members of the International Astronomers Union decided last month to downgrade Pluto to a "dwarf planet," leaving only eight full planets in the solar system. Many scientists have refused to accept the change.

Eris, pronounced EE-ris, is considered a dwarf planet as well. The most distant known solar system object from the Sun, it takes 557 years to complete an orbit. Unlike Pluto, its orbit does not cross paths with Neptune, the most distant full-sized planet.

Dignified celestial body
The body was dubbed UB313 after it was discovered. Brown nicknamed it Xena, after the television warrior princess, but said he didn't consider that to be an appropriate formal name for a celestial body. "Then the next one would be Spock or something, and that wouldn't be quite so dignified," Brown said in a telephone interview.

The astronomers' union accepted Eris on Wednesday. The group also accepted Brown's proposed name for Eris's moon, Dysnomia. Dysnomia is Eris' daughter in Greek mythology, and the word means "lawlessness" in Greek. "It sounds like a disease. But in any case we all liked it," said Ted Bowell, an astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Arizona who heads the division of the astronomers' union that deals with planets.

In Greek mythology, Eris started the Trojan war after she was excluded from a wedding on Mount Olympus, home of the gods.

To get revenge for the snub, she tossed an apple inscribed "to the most beautiful one" into the party, causing a squabble among the goddesses.

Paris, the prince of Troy, was forced to settle the dispute by picking one goddess as most beautiful, earning the spite of the others and the ultimate defeat of his city in the Trojan war. Brown said he plans to study Eris and Dysnomia further to figure out the dwarf planet's mass and density.
According to the headlines:

Mustangs match Hercules (a.k.a revenge of the Augean stables)

But the divinity giveth:

New iPod accessories from Hercules, as well as two DJ consoles

... and taketh away:

Hercules Raising Paint Thickener Prices (Nessus aftermath?)
From Wanted in Rome:

The Latin poet, Horace, wrote in rapturous terms of the country retreat in the valley of Ustica, which his millionaire patron, Maecenas, had given him: “A shady valley, hidden amongst mountains... where the generous plum trees give flowers and fruit... there’s a spring which pours out a stream of water that is more limpid and fresher and purer than the Ebro that runs through Thracia…” was how he described the spot in a letter to his friend Quintius. He went on to remark on the good health he was enjoying there. It was September and in ancient Rome September was notorious for bringing ’flu and fevers.
The remains of Horace’s villa are situated on a wooded hillside above the river Licenza, which joins the Aniene as it flows on to Tivoli. What is believed to have been the fons Bandusiae – the spring he praises so highly – gushes out of the undergrowth just above the villa. However, the poet would no longer recognise it because the noble Orsini family, who became the overlords of Licenza in the 12th century, transformed it, in the 17th century, into a picturesque nymphaeum. The nymphaeum, a copy of an ancient Roman garden feature dedicated to the nymphs, was greatly in vogue during the baroque period and the Orsini strove to improve on nature by hollowing out a fern-filled rocky niche where the water cascaded down a three-metre drop into a semi-circular stone basin. It is still there, more or less as they created it.
Horace, or Quintus Horatius Flaccus, to give him his full name, was the leading poet of his day and he continued to influence European poets right up to the Romantic period. Nowadays, however, his works are little read and tend to be relegated to dusty back shelves in public libraries frequented by shrinking numbers of classical scholars. However, a dedicated little group of residents of the nearby towns of Licenza and Civitella work constantly to keep his memory alive.
The Centro Studi Oraziani (Horatian Study Centre), founded in Licenza in 1996 on the model of an earlier association dating from the 1970s, organises special events in honour of its poet. These include debates, theatre performances and readings of the works of Horace and other poets, as well as a biennial poetry competition, where unpublished works by contemporary poets, centred round a particular theme chosen by the study centre, are presented to the public. The association president Arturo Foschi – a lively 87-year-old former mayor of Licenza – is flanked by poetess Annelen Josten, who is responsible for much of the organisation. German-born Josten came to live in neighbouring Civitella 20 years ago and says she was inspired to start writing her own poetry when she came into contact with “this great poet and the majestic scenery all around us here.”
The big event of the year is the annual “Arte a Palazzo Oraziana”, a day-long happening staged in Licenza. Previous years’ editions have centred round themes such as “Horace and Women” (he was a notorious womaniser), “Horace and Nature” and, in 2005, “The Secret Horace”, where the writer and Latinist Luca Canali presented a tongue-in-cheek dialogue with the poet lying on a psychiatrist’s couch confessing his fears and phobias to his personal doctor, Antonius Musa.
The programme always includes a guided tour of the remains of Horace’s villa, now clearly visible after a meticulous excavation campaign carried out by the University of California and Los Angeles, as well as a visit to the museum inside the baronial castle of the Orsini at the top of the old town of Licenza, where the finds from the villa are on display.
Despite the poet’s oft-repeated protestations that he yearned for a simple life, he nevertheless surrounded himself with every refinement and luxury in his country retreat. In the museum, you can admire the Rosone Lacunare, a splendid marble ceiling-rose, carved with acanthus leaves, little frogs and crabs, the pride of the collection and the symbol chosen as the logo of the study centre. “The exquisite workmanship of what must have been a relatively minor architectural feature of Horace’s home shows us just how splendid his villa must have been,” Josten remarks, as she shows us around. Unfortunately, only fragments of the decor – in the stylish Pompeiian tradition – have survived, along with the remains of what must have been a magnificent statue of a warrior, one of the souvenirs the poet would have brought back from his travels.
Nonetheless, thanks to the meticulous research carried out by Angelo Pasqui, director of excavations of Rome and ancient Lazio between 1911 and 1915, and, subsequently, by Bernard Frischer of the University of California and Los Angeles, we have a pretty clear picture of what Horace’s hideaway must have looked like. The plan bears a remarkable resemblance to the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, where Horace is known to have stayed as a guest of the owner. The visual effect of the long garden flanked by arcades, where the poet could stroll and admire the central fountain, also inspired the modern-day millionaire, J. Paul Getty. His museum at Malibu, California, in fact, is also modelled on the Villa dei Papiri.
As long as we're reading lengthy reviews (see next item too), here's an excerpt from the New York Observer review of Daniel Mendelsohn's The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million:

The rhapsodizing about the death of young beauty and about the beauty of young death that had sounded a repetitive theme in The Elusive Embrace is here silenced by the awful nature of the truths uncovered. The aestheticization of death is obscene in the face of genocide. There is no beauty to be found in the degradations to which these Nazi-slain were subjected, no aesthetics in these lives reduced to the sheer animal instincts for elemental survival: hiding in haystacks, in holes dug with fingers in the earth. Though I’m not certain the author would agree, it seemed to me that the story he works toward in The Lost gradually renders him less a Hellenist, enthralled to an image of heroic, beautiful death, and more Hebraic, cherishing life for life’s sake and seeing death as defilement.

One can, of course, imagine the effect on an imaginative boy of being linked in the tears of his relatives to his murdered great-uncle. The epitaph to the book is the poignant response of Virgil’s Aeneas, the young Trojan prince who is one of the few survivors of the destruction of Troy, when, wandering far from the city, he visits a temple and sees a mural depicting the Trojan War. What is material for Carthaginian decorative art is the stuff of tragedy for the Trojan Aeneas, a deep truth that Virgil gives utterance to in the immortal line Sunt lacrimae rerum, which the author translates as “There are tears in things.”

There is a brief, lovely passage in which Mr. Mendelsohn links the story of Aeneas to his own quest in The Lost, and this linking reminded me, too, of the use that Louis Begley made of the Aeneas myth in his celebrated first novel, Wartime Lies. As it happens, Louis Begley plays a part in Mr. Mendelsohn’s book, but mostly for being the son of the indomitable “Mrs. Begley,” with whom the author, in the service of his recovery project, comes to share a quirkily loving relationship. Mrs. Begley had come from Stryj, a town neighboring Bolechow, and she helps the author to grasp her lost world. She accuses him—both dismissively and indulgently, he says—of being a “sentimental person.” She was—she died in 2004—the very opposite of a sentimental person. The survivors’ “amazing stories” elicit her leveling response: “If you didn’t have an amazing story, you didn’t survive,” she tells the author coldly.

... the whole thing ...
The New York Sun has a(n accessible) lengthy piece by UPenn's Emily Wilson on Anne Carson's Grief Lessons .... here's the incipit:

Anne Carson is a literary scholar, an original and striking poet, and the author of several previous imitations of ancient Greek poets, including a recent translation of Sappho, "If not, Winter." Her latest work, "Grief Lessons" (New York Review Books, 312 pages, $19.95), is a version of four plays by Euripides, "Alkestis," "Hekabe," "Herakles," and "Hippolytos" — an eclectic selection that provides an excellent introduction to Euripides's range.

Ms. Carson's Euripides is bleak, moving, and provocative, offering a painful reminder of the resonance of these ancient plays with our own times. Aristotle called Euripides the "most tragic"of the three great Athenian tragedians — more so than Aeschylus or Sophocles. For Aristotle, as for most subsequent readers, Euripides was the tragedian who had the most immediate and devastating impact. You cannot read these works without intense emotion, although what you feel may be a strange and confusing mixture, which includes not only pity and fear, but also horror, titillation, and even amusement.

Euripides was also the most controversial of the three great Athenian tragedians in his own time. Aeschylus presented the Trojan War as the scene for grand, elemental, necessary conflicts between opposing systems of value. Euripides offers sympathetic portraits of characters who have come off poorly in earlier versions of Greek myths (such as Helen), while showing many of the respected heroes (Agamemnon, Achilles, Herakles) as either cynical opportunists or weaklings. Euripidean characters often find it impossible to be sure of keeping hold of dignity, sanity, or a sense of self. They are conscious of their own inability to live up to earlier tragic models.

... the rest ...
We'll be sporadically posting today ... here's a giggle (maybe) from Speed Bump:

Not quite sure I get it ...
From the Guardian:

Forget the days of rows of youngsters chanting "amo, amas, amat". Children at the vast majority of secondary schools that do not teach Latin are being offered an opportunity to learn the language for the first time using a live video link, as part of a new drive to revive interest in the language announced today.

Following a successful pilot, the Cambridge Schools Classics Project (CSCP) is employing a full-time staff member who will teach Latin to schools which do not have specialist teachers. Lessons will be beamed into classrooms around the country, using state-of-the-art video-conferencing equipment, teaching pupils face-to-face without ever necessarily meeting them.

It hopes that the approach will rewaken an interest in Latin in the hundreds of schools where it is no longer taught on the syllabus. A decline in the popularity of Latin and Greek has led to a slump in the number of specialist teachers. In 1988, about 16,000 students sat GCSE Latin, but this year the number had fallen to less than 10,000, with only one-third of entries from state schools.

The proportion taking A-level is even lower - last year, fewer than 1,000 took it - which has also reduced the pool of potential teachers. Last year, the biggest exam board, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), dropped both GCSE and A-level Latin and Greek after a sharp downturn in entries, leaving just one exam body offering the course: OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA).

The CSCP - part of the University of Cambridge's faculty of education - says the move into new technology is key to its aim of making the classical world accessible for as many students as possible, whatever their type of school, age or social backgrounds. The video link can be used to teach schoolchildren at all levels, from basic Latin during lunchtime and after-school clubs through GCSE and up to A-level standard.

The CSCP's project director Will Griffiths - a classicist himself - said: "We are not doing lectures; it's just like a normal class. The children are fully involved, and the whole thing works both ways in real time. This isn't about reintroducing Latin into posh schools in leafy surburbs. We will be working with youngsters in some very challenging areas in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Greenwich."

The collaboration with Lawrence Sheriff school in Rugby has already been successful, with "fast-track" GCSE Latin now being offered from scratch in just four terms, based on three hours teaching via video link every week.

Staff say the method has met with a positive response from pupils during the pilot, with whom they have struck up a good relationship.

Mr Griffiths continued: "We would always say that a specialist teacher in the classroom is prefereable, because they will know the students better and can therefore make Latin more exciting, interesting and relevant to the particular students in that school.

"If we can use this to build up enough interest to justify the appointment of a full or part-time Latin teacher in the school, then that is good news. And if we can help set up a Latin department where there has never been one before, that is a real success story."
From Washington Square News:

Distinguished classics professor Paul Cartledge received an NYU professorship, created in part by the Greek Parliament, on Wednesday night at an event held at NYU’s Silverstein Lounge.

The event featured the inauguration of NYU’s Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professorship, which the university created with the Greek Parliament to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Greek constitution. Cartledge, a former Greek history professor at Cambridge University, called the position “an immense professorship of the very imaginative kind.” He will hold the new professorship, which aims to open more discussion on the state of global democracy, for two years.

“This is the first time I know of that a European parliament established a chair at a university,” NYU Hellenic studies professor Phillip Mitsis said at the event.

College of Arts and Science Dean Richard Foley and Greece’s first female head of parliament, Anna Benaki, said at the event that NYU was a natural choice for the professorship, as it is situated in a city known for global interaction, change and diversity.

A lecture portion of the event focused on the trial of Socrates and the large political implications of its verdict. Cartledge said the Athenians were right top order the philosopher’s execution for ideas then deemed too radical.

Cartledge also dispelled other “common misconceptions” by stating that Athens was a comparatively abnormal and radical Greek city in crisis and that there were actually 501 members of the jury, which is much larger than originally thought.

“My point is to defend the ancient Athenians against their critics,” Cartledge said. “Some people think the Athenians were completely stupid. ... Their democracy was different, and under it, Socrates was guilty.”

Third-year graduate student Kyle Johnson said that whether or not one agreed with Cartledge, the lecture was still worthwhile.

“It was stimulating and provocative,” Johnson said. “Beyond agreeing with the message, the explication was insightful.”
From the Guardian:

First he turned the torments of France's great leader into an interactive stage spectacular called De Gaulle, the Man Who Said No, then he tackled the lives of Jesus and the beheaded queen Marie Antoinette. Now the veteran French impresario Robert Hossein, who once acted alongside Jean-Paul Belmondo and Brigitte Bardot, is undertaking his most ambitious show: a re-enactment of Ben-Hur in France's biggest football stadium.

The sword-and-sandal epic in which Charlton Heston swept to victory after cinema's most famous chariot race is to be staged on an epic scale at the arena where France won the football World Cup in 1998. A cast of several hundred will recreate naval battles between the Roman fleet and Mediterranean pirates, and stage ancient Roman gladiator fights and a live chariot race.

Hossein's stage shows, including his interpretation of the life and times of French revolutionaries Danton and Robespierre, have often been frowned upon by highbrow Paris critics.

When he set a crowd of gladiators in horse-drawn chariots rampaging past the Eiffel tower last month to publicise his latest offering, commentators reserved judgment. But others are in awe of his ability to draw huge audiences in a city whose mainstream theatre scene is dominated by slapstick comedies and bedroom farce.

Hossein's epic A Man Named Jesus was seen by 700,000 people and he wants Ben-Hur to pack the Stade de France in Paris for five nights later this month. Among the techniques used to pull crowds is a plan to sell more than 1,000 "m-tickets" which spectators can download by mobile phone.

Hossein, almost 80, the Paris-born son of an Iranian composer and a Russian pianist, places himself in a long tradition, stretching back to vaudeville and popular melodramas of 19th century Parisian théâtres de boulevard.

Ben-Hur, the story of the Jewish Prince Judah Ben-Hur's triumph over his Roman persecutors, based on a novel by American civil war general Lew Wallace, has been the subject of a huge publicity campaign rivalling the hype around another big theatre piece of the autumn, Sam Mendes's Tony-winning production of Cabaret in a French language version at the Folies Bergère.

Jean-Christophe Giletta, of Stade de France Productions, which is putting on the show, said: "Ben-Hur is universal, it's international, everyone knows what it is. But no one had dared to put it on up to now." He said negotiations had begun to send the show abroad, including to the US and Asia.

Training the horses for a 14 minute chariot race in which Ben-Hur's enemy, the Roman Messala - played by Alain Delon's son, Anthony - must fall from his chariot and be dragged along in the dirt, has taken nine months at a special equestrian centre outside Paris. "It's not like in the cinema, where if you miss a shot you can do it again. Here, it's going to be a live chariot race every evening," Mr Giletta said. "Horses... you can train them all you want, they're still horses. "

That is seriously cool ...
Interesting item from ANSA:

Archaeologists have unearthed the largest Neolithic female figurine ever found in Italy, according to a press report .

The 7,000-year-old stone statuette, discovered during excavations of a burial site near the northern Italian city of Parma, is over 20 centimetres tall, the archaeological monthly Archeo reported .

It depicts a woman with an oval face, slit eyes, a prominent nose and long hair. Her arms are bent at her elbows, sticking out at right-angles to her body .

Although such statuettes are fairly common, it is rare to find figurines this old in Europe, and the majority represent a mother earth divinity with a swelling belly symbolizing fertility .

Archaeologists have instead linked this female to the goddess of death and rebirth, who is usually represented as slender, with a large, beak-like nose and rigid posture .

In addition to these characteristics, this statuette has a small triangle similar to an excision between her breasts. The lower half of her body is much larger, with no distinction between her feet and her legs .

Her back is perfectly vertical, leading experts to conclude that she was probably originally carved to sit on a some kind of throne or support made of a material that has disintegrated over the centuries, such as wood .

The figure was unearthed in a tomb that is part of a larger Neolithic burial site outside Vicofertile, a town around 10km southwest of Parma .

The grave, which belonged to a middle-aged women, contained a number of pottery bowls in addition to the statuette, which was placed in front of the deceased's head on top of her raised left arm .

The burial site dates back to a period in northern Italian history known as the "square-mouthed pottery" era, corresponding to between 5,000 and 4,300 BC .

Neither the containers nor the statuette in the grave were properly fired, suggesting the items were not in everyday use prior to the burial .

The statuette joins a list of important female figures dug up across Europe, which archaeologists believe indicate some of the earliest concepts of divinities .

The first such figures date back to the 9th millennium BC and were found in the Near East. They then spread across the area that is now eastern Turkey and gradually through the Mediterranean, to Crete, the Cyclades Islands, Malta and Sardinia, before moving up through mainland Europe .
Cosgrove, Charles H. Clement of Alexandria and Early Christian Music

Studies of early Christian music often mention Clement of Alexandria, but a comprehensive examination of Clement's statements about music has not yet been offered. This article treats Clement's literal references to music comprehensively by considering them from the perspective of ancient Greek music and the philosophical traditions of Greek music theory. His musical metaphors and allegorizing of musical terms in the Bible are taken up only as they illumine his understanding of music. Subjects include music and education, the relation of the idea of Christ as the "New Song" to the Greek musical tradition and to Christian musical practice, Clement's view of instrumental music, the connection he makes between the Greek scolion and the Hebrew psalms, his uses of the terms Ψαλμός, Ψάλλειν, and Ψαλμώδία, his understanding of musical modes and genera, his comments on Christian song in everyday life, and the hymn that closes the Paedagogos.

Journal of Early Christian Studies 14.3 (2006) [Project Muse]
Harold Innis was Canada's pre-McLuhan public intellectual and seems to be rarely mentioned except in upper-level university courses any more (although his name does seem to get dropped a lot). In any event, a recent biography of him reviewed in the Tyee has some interesting stuff about him that I didn't know (not that I knew much) ... First some intro:

Early in his life, Innis took one enormous step beyond that parochial view: he stayed home. Once taken, that step led him farther than most of us have dared to go.

He had grown up in rural Ontario, a farm boy who graduated from Woodstock Collegiate Institute (now McMaster University). He then enlisted in the army in 1916. As a signalman he often worked beyond the safety of the trenches, and he suffered a shrapnel wound that took seven years to heal.

Convalescing in England, Innis completed his master's degree through Khaki University, and returned to Canada before the war's end. He thought of a career in law, but decided he needed to know more to qualify himself. So he went to the University of Chicago for a PhD in economics, and returned to Canada as a young professor in the University of Toronto's department of political economy.

... another Mac alum! ... continuing:

His research taught Innis that empires acquire provinces, and the provinces in turn supply the resources to sustain the empires. What's more, empires become blinded by their own success. Their vision of the world seems self-evidently correct and the source of their achievement.

Innis thought the real insights come from the provinces, from the margin. Canada should therefore understand itself and the world in Canadian terms -- not in terms of some ideology imported from Europe or the U.S.

This was not the daydream of a jingoistic nationalist. As Innis read history, the marginal societies have always had a clearer understanding of the world than their imperial neighbours.

The marginal Greeks rejected imperial Persia, and founded western civilization. The marginal Macedonians conquered Greece and Persia, and in turn fell to the marginal Romans. On the margins of medieval Europe and imperial Spain, England rose to greatness around the world until marginal America became the new empire.

... knew about the 'marginal provinces' side of things; didn't know it had Classical thought-roots ...

The Second World War led to countless academics leaving the universities for military service or work in the bureaucracy. Innis stayed where he was, defending liberal arts programs when they might have been cut to help the war effort. Looking beyond immediate problems, Innis ensured that veterans had a university to return to.

While he fought for university autonomy, Innis fully supported the idea of the scholar-advisor to the state. Despite an enormous workload, he also served on three royal commissions. His standards, says Watson, made him "the royal commissioner from hell" -- rigorous, uncompromising, and determined to tell the government exactly what he thought.

As he moved beyond orthodox economic history, it was to larger issues that "dirt research" couldn't illuminate. Instead, Innis plunged into classical studies, using other scholars' work to understand the origins of empires and how communications sustained those empires.

That last 'graph seems somewhat out of place ... whatever the case, the whole review is worth a read and it might be worth looking for the book as well.
From its context in the Yorkshire Post untimely ripped:

Zeus was attracted by the leisure travel market and impressed by Dixon's track record. It set up a shell company, Titan Move, in order to make acquisitions.

Nice to see that Zeus and the Titans have reconciled ... we all know why Zeus would be attracted to the leisure travel market ...
I guess I'm coherent enough to start posting stuff again ... just a short one to start: Dark Horizons reports that Oliver Stone is making yet another cut of Alexander ... here's the concluding paragraph:

During that interview, Stone said "I'm doing a third version on DVD, not theatrical. I'm going to do a Cecile B Demille/Oliver Stone three hour forty five minute thing, I'm going to go all out, put everything I like in the movie. He was a complicated man, it was a complicated story and it doesn't hurt to make it longer and let people who loved the film and see it more and understand it more".

... or to milk another forty or so bucks out of them.
From the Record:

Last year, as Ki-Woong Jin was thumbing through the list of foreign language courses offered at Fort Lee High School, he knew he'd struck Midas gold.

The high school offered modern Greek.

"I'll likely be taking Greek for four years," said the sophomore, who hopes to pursue a career in medicine or theology. "I don't think the first year is enough to make me understand reading a passage in Greek, but a year or two more would help me understand completely."

Jin speaks Korean at home and studied Spanish in the lower grades in the Fort Lee school system but was eager to study such an uncommon language in high school.

"It's good for my college application," Jin said.

Unlike Latin -- which in the past decade has experienced resurgence in public schools -- modern Greek is taught primarily through private instruction. Fort Lee High School has offered Greek for more than 30 years but is one of a minute number of public schools that offer it in the state, say state education officials.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that just under 60,000 Greeks live in New Jersey. Children of Greek descent either attend Greek-language schools under the wing of a church or are aware of where to enroll for lessons. There are Greek Orthodox Christian churches in Tenafly, Wyckoff, Clifton, Fairview and Paramus, all with Greek language programs.

Elena Nicolaou, 12, studied Greek for about seven years at an afternoon school at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Wyckoff. It has played an integral part in her public education at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Fair Lawn.

"It's helped me in both science and math," Elena said. "If you've studied the language you already walk in knowing the meaning of words like hexagon, octagon. And on a test, if you blank out on a word, you have a chance if it has Greek roots."

Elena's mother, Lisa, isn't Greek, but she married a Cypriot who doesn't miss a trip back to his homeland. Lisa Nicolaou speaks Spanish and Italian, and studied Greek at The New School in Manhattan. She is embedded in the Greek culture and religion.

"When you study a language like Greek and really know it, it's part of your foundation," Nicolaou said. "You have to be brave and use it. ... Everything my children learned -- from the music to the religion -- does enrich them."

Francesco Perrulli, founder of the 19-year-old Princeton Latin Academy, said Latin and ancient Greek are part of his school's K-8 curriculum.

Perrulli stresses the importance of offering the language to students at an early age.

"Sixty percent of your English words come from Latin and Greek," Perrulli said. "What's beautiful is the root languages are still in the books and also in the liturgy of both [Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox] religions. All the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the whole New Testament was written in Greek -- all of it -- Mark, Matthew, Luke, John -- and all the Letters of Paul. It's all in Greek, right to the Revelation."

More than 40 students are enrolled in basic to advanced Greek this year at Fort Lee High School, said Anna Megaris, who has taught modern Greek at the school for a dozen years, and who is also fluent in ancient Greek.

"If Fort Lee is not the only district that offers Greek, it's certainly one of the only districts that comes to mind," said Rich Vespucci of the state Education Department.

Half the students who have signed up for the basic modern Greek course do not have a Hellenic background, Megaris said.

"When you see students at the high school level who are not Greek studying the language, you can be sure they're putting in the time to study," Megaris said.

"Both Latin and Greek are classical languages," Megaris said. "The difference is the Greek is a spoken language; Latin is not."

Its ancient and historic roots keep the language thriving in everyday life, Megaris said.

"Thank goodness it's a program that is still alive at the high school," Megaris said. "By the fourth year, students will be reading Homer, poetry and other literature in [modern] Greek. Students studying medicine are aware that 70 percent of medical terms are from the Greek, so knowing it is quite an asset."

Jin said his parents wondered why he enrolled in Greek when he had other options such as French, Spanish or Italian.

"When I told my parents that Greek would help if I became a ministry leader, they accepted it," Jin said.

Jin is an "A" student in class and has devised a flash card method to learn terms. First-year words typically include "onoma" or name -- as in the literary term onomatopoeia. Other words such as holocaust and holograph can be broken down into the Greek terms "holo" or whole, "kaustos," or burning, and "graphos" or write. Microphone and megaphone break into "micro," or small and "mega" or large, and "phono," the Greek root for voice.

"The most difficult thing is keeping up with students who are actually from a Greek family," Jin said. "Two of my friends in class are not Greek and we all decided to take it together."

Megaris is also the principal of the Greek afternoon language school at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly, where enrollment is about 200 students this fall in the two-day-a-week, Grades pre-K-8 program.

"We also have adult classes, which are well attended by interfaith couples," Megaris said.

Tammy Spiropoulos, the coordinator of the Grades K-8 Greek language program at St. Nicholas in Wyckoff, said enrollment has grown slightly or remained steady at the church since 2002.

Of the 116 children enrolled in the 2005-06 school year, about 70 are from interfaith marriages.

"The other 46 children came from parents who are both of Greek origin," Spiropoulos said.

The Rev. James Moulketis, pastor of St. Nicholas, said many of the 800 families in his congregation participate in Greek cultural activities such as the September four-day festival, which ends late today on church grounds.

Learn Hellenic history and the language and you can even master Greek dance, some youth members say. The language complements the culture.

"When I took the SATs, Greek certainly helped because some of the prefixes were of Greek origin," said Evi Katsantonis, 17, a senior at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, whose parents are Greek.

Helen Foukas, the Greek language teacher for 24 years at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Clifton, said parents of Greek and interfaith marriages are diligent about sending children to classes.

"So many parents work, but the children are in Greek language school not only so they may be together, but to share the culture so it may flourish," she said.
I don't care if I'm sick ... I have to share this one:

Looks like the cold the rogueclassicist picked up in Italy decided to turn into pneumonia when he returned to Canada ... I'll probably be sleeping a lot over the next week, so updates won't follow their regular format for a while ... I'll do what I can when I can ...
Nullius hospitis grata est mora longa.

A long delay on the part of any guest is not pleasing.

pron = NOOL-lee-oos HOS-pih-tays GRAH-tah ehst MOH-rah LOHN-gah

Comment: I remember as a child the first time I heard an elder say:
after three days, fish and company both smell the same. I laughed
until my sides hurt. The relative in question had stayed far longer
than 3 days, and she smelled--and not just as a metaphor!

Our psyches may just work a lot like our armpits. Are we aware of our
own body odor or not? Are we aware when we give offense to others or
not? Do we know when we've stepped over some boundaries? Do we
realize when it's time to "go home"? That's what this proverb is
asking. My own self-observation after some bad time when I
"overstayed" my welcome was that I really knew, somewhere within me,
that it was time to "go" long before I did. Staying after I began to
"smell" was purely selfish. We learn from those moments, or we become
real stinkers.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem vi idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 4)

ca 15 B.C. -- traditional date of the birth of Mary, mother of Jesus
Sorry ... I'd totally forgotten about this feature for some reason (and no one noticed!) ...

vitriolic @ Wordsmith

notaphilist @ Worthless Word for the Day

The Classics Technology Center offers us a list of walking words ...
Bit of a quiet day ...

Troels Myrup has an interesting piece on the Entremont Oppidum ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Romae Aetern ...

Mary Beard talks about Et tu, Brute ...

Laura Gibbs has yet another Latin game, this time involving nouns ...

Mischa Hooker is looking at reviews of an Aeschylus adaptation ... Orestes ... Interrogating Antigone ...

I'm not sure about this Associated Content site, but it has this piece on the Antigone which I'm sure is going to get cribbed ...
From YLE:

Violentia in Iraquia non desinit
31.08.2006, klo 20.05

Ictus terroristici et conflictus violenti in Iraquia usque continuantur, etsi tam praefecti exercitus Americani quam Nuri al-Maliki, minister Iraquianorum primarius, securitatem meliorem fieri et violentiam deminui affirmaverunt.

His quattuor mensibus in variis Iraquiae regionibus circiter decem milia civium per violentiam perierunt.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
See ... this is what happens when Classics isn't part of the curriculum in Canada ... from the Canada Free Press:

It's like the myth of the ancient Greek goddess Medusa, whose hair was made of many living venomous snakes, the minute one was killed another took its place.

Medusa ... hydra ... whatever.
This time in Laodicea ... from the Turkish Daily News:

A villa dating back to the late Roman era has been unearthed in the ancient city of Laodicea, located close to the Aegean village of Eskihisar, announced Associate Professor Celal Simsek, head of excavations at the site.

Simsek, of Pamukkale University, said the villa had been unearthed near a railway line to the south of the ancient city, reported the Anatolia news agency.

Illegal excavations had been carried out in the region some time ago, added S,ims,ek, and his team of archaeologists were able to make out some mosaics through the resulting hole. "Therefore, we launched excavations in this area, although it's not a part of our program. And we discovered a villa there," he stated.

The courtyard of the villa contains mosaics, and these along with other factors suggest that the villa, situated in the Lycus Valley, might have belonged to a rich farmer. Simsekalso said broken pieces of glass were found in the villa. "A part of this building might have been used as a glassware workshop," he proposed.

Laodicea is situated south of the Lycus River, six kilometers north of Denizli. Some ancient sources say the city was called "Laodikeia" meaning "on the side of the Lycus." According to others, the city was founded by Antiochos II in 263-261 B.C. and named after his wife.

The city was at its most famous and important in the first century B.C., with most of the remains of the city dating from this era. Coins were minted in Laodicea during the reign of Roman Emperor Caracalla. Many monumental buildings were also constructed via donations from local residents. One of the famous seven churches mentioned in Revelations was located in Laodicea, which shows that Christianity became widespread here in later years. Laodicea was eventually almost completely destroyed by an earthquake and subsequently abandoned.

Two theaters of different sizes, a stadium and gymnasium, a nypheum, council building, a temple to Zeus and the large church mentioned above are the most notable ruins in the ancient city.
Amicus noster AS-M sent this one in (thanks) ... Salon's Audiofile Daily Download is a 'sung' version of Catullus' Odi et Amo, arranged by Johann Johannson; I'm not sure how long it will survive, but if it isn't there any more try this direct link.
Satis eloquentiae, sapientiae parum.
(Sallust, Catilinne 5.4)

(He has) enough eloquence, but not enough wisdom.

Pron = SAH-tis eh-loh-KWEN-tee-ah sah-pee-EHN-tee-ah PAH-room

Comment: Sallust says this in description of Catiline, a young noble
in Rome who, according to some, would have been the ruin of the
Republic if he had been elected to office. As an aside, we must note,
that the Republic fell anyway!

This proverb has worth all by itself, and it rings true of one earlier
this week. Too much talk and not enough wisdom makes for ruin--anyway
you slice it.

Wisdom, in my book, is not something you can learn. You come with it
already loaded on the hard-drive, in a way. It is finding your way in the mids of the life that you have been given. So, in a sense, wisdom must finally be your own. No one else can live your life. Silence is required to access it.
Silence is completely contrary to "too much eloquence". As I read
this, then, if I give up a little of my "eloquence", I might be able
to access and actually hear the wisdom within.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem vii idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 3)

15 A.D. -- possible birthdate of the future emperor Vitellius (?)

70 A.D. -- Roman forces under Titus occupy and plunder Jerusalem (one reckoning)

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Anastasius the Fuller

1709 -- Birth of Samuel Johnson (O.S.)
First week almost done ...

N.S. Gill has some useful notes about the first book of the Iliad ...

Ed Flinn has a Gratian/Vot (I think I'm a day behind) ...

Juanvi Santa Isabel gives a good rundown of the Spanish (and other) blogs and websites ...

Not sure if I've mentioned the Carpe Diem blog before (it's put together by a number of Spanish-speaking folks) ... today there's a bit of Plato's Phaedrus there ...

Laura Gibbs offers yet another Latin word game ...

Eric's latest bit of Quintilian ...

Mischa Hooker comments on an appeal to return to something more Classical from 'McPoems' ... he's also found someone using Lycurgus as a precedent/example (!) ...

Hat tip to Ioannis Georganas, who points us to an article (available online) in this month's Geoscientist on the search for Ithaca ...

Eurylochus is still killing time under the walls of Troy ...

Over at Livius, I notice Jona's put up some new/updated pages on damnatio memoriae and the Peloponnesian War ...
From YLE:

De bello in Libano gesto
31.08.2006, klo 20.04

Cum ordo Hizbollah mense Iulio in confinio Israelis et Libani tres milites Israelianos occidisset et duos deprehendisset, Israeliani in Libanum invaserunt.

Neque tamen his contigit, ut milites deprehensos liberarent. Bello per unum mensem gesto circiter centum Israeliani et plus mille Libanenses vitam amiserunt.

Auctoritate et decreto Nationum Unitarum bellum ea condicione compositum est, ut tutatores pacis internationales confinium Libani et Israelis custodirent.

In colloquio televisifico Hassan Nasrallah, moderator ordinis Hizbollah, dixit se suis imperaturum non fuisse, ut milites Israelianos deprehenderent, si praesagire potuisset tantum bellum inde oriturum esse.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De balaena comedenda
Amicus noster TE sent this one in (thanks!) ... from the Hunstville Times:

Latin is no longer a dead language at Bob Jones High School, where Raymond Congo is showing its vitality by teaching grammatical structure, history and problem solving.

Congo is teaching Latin I and will add a Latin II class to his schedule next semester.

While teaching in Lexington, Ky., he learned that Bob Jones wanted to start a Latin program. A Huntsville native and anxious to return home, Congo e-mailed Principal Robby Parker. "Within 15 minutes, Mr. Parker replied and said he was very interested in meeting," Congo said.

During his spring break, Congo met with Dr. Anne Davidson, the former assistant principal. Although Latin was available by distance learning, "They wanted a teacher in the classroom," Congo said, but had to wait to see if enough students requested Latin. "Luckily enough, students signed up and Mr. Parker offered me the job in July."

Congo's class has no prerequisites. "Everyone can learn Latin," he said. "Most students excel in either math or English. Both types do great in Latin."

Those with English aptitude grasp vocabulary and word associations with modern derivatives, while math students adapt to problem solving.

Compared with other languages, Latin focuses more on structure, less on oral communication. But Congo requires "an oral component to help auditory learners and reinforce content."

"Throughout the years, Latin has fallen in and out of public favor," he said. Schools now emphasize "modern languages so students may communicate in the business world."

However, understanding Latin is a valuable skill, he said. "After taking Latin, most students have a better understanding of English grammar and can then study other languages with a new perspective." Latin's structure simplifies the usage of verb tenses ... "the difference between imperfect, perfect and pluperfect."

He recommends two years of Latin before students "step into another language class." Bob Jones' block schedule accommodates this approach.

Because Latin hasn't been spoken for so long, fewer irregularities exist in the language. "Translating is nothing more than solving a large word puzzle," Congo said. "If you know the rules, it's simple."

Congo jokes with students about announcing that they have studied Latin. "People will automatically accept (you) as brilliant. They'll have responses like, 'Really?! Wow, that must have been difficult.'"

Studying Latin exposes students to ancient culture. "They learn origins of our government, philosophy, artwork and architecture. We have fun looking at the similarities between Roman culture and our own," Congo said.

After the first year of Latin, students can "read simple Latin texts (using a Latin/English dictionary), such as Julius Caesar's "Gallic War" or the Vulgate (the Bible)," he said.

Congo received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. He taught college classes while studying for a master's degree in classical languages and literature from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He earned teaching certification from Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky.

He has taught at Millersburg Military Institute in Kentucky. His wife, Heather Congo, is an English professor at Wallace State College in Hanceville.
From IOL (I think this one's new):

Archaeologists in southern Bulgaria have located remains of a completely preserved Thracian domed tomb decorated with murals, the daily Trud reported on Monday.

The tomb, near the town of Haskovo, 234km southeast of Sofia, is made of big stone blocks and has two chambers forming a dome at the top. There are paintings of horses and Thracian armed warriors on the walls.

The Thracians were Bronze Age people, whose civilisation thrived in the Balkans from 2000 BC until the invasion of the Slavs in the sixth century AD.

This is only the second Thracian tomb with murals of humans discovered in Bulgaria and one of the most significant in Thracian archaeology in this century, experts say.

The first Thracian tomb of this kind was unearthed in 1944 in the town of Kazanlak, 200km east of Sofia.

Earlier this year, archeologists discovered a palace and tomb of Thracian rulers, which is next to the biggest Thracian remains found to date in Bulgaria, about 161km south of the newly discovered painted tomb
The incipit of a semi-tongue-in-cheek post at Wired:

While blogging has only reached prominence in the last few years, it was actually invented by the ancient Romans who built a majestic blog in 200 BC from marble, granite and links they stole from the Greeks.

I'm sure if we looked into it, we'd probably find it was something Alexander the Great began in India, typing with his left hand, of course, commenting on his lifestyle and the swell bananas he was bringing back to Aristotle.
From the Cambridge Evening News:

DEVELOPERS have found they are not the first builders at a site in Bottisham - the previous work was done by the Romans.

Excavations have uncovered archaeology dating back nearly 2,000 years at the site at Tunbridge Lane.

Kate Nicholson, of Archaeological Solutions which is carrying out the dig said: "The archaeology at this site is potentially of national significance.

Excavations at nearby sites have revealed features typical of the outlying parts of a villa estate or large farmstead.

"Preliminary archaeological work at the new site suggests it was the focal area of the Roman settlement. It's not unlikely that the walls seen during preliminary work represent the villa building itself."

She said that because the site had been under pasture for at least 200 years, the remains had not been disturbed by deep ploughing.

A geophysical survey is to be carried out to identify walls, floors and ditches.

The first phase of Land Charter Homes' development of 45 apartments and houses is expected to be released for sale by Bidwells next spring.
This keeps popping up in my box in one form or another, so I better put it out:

With the launch of a hot-air balloon over the ancient Acropolis, the campaign to select the new seven wonders of the world reached its final countdown in Athens.

More than 2,200 years after the naming of the seven wonders of the ancient world, people across the planet are to be given the chance to choose the new seven wonders.

All structures built or discovered before the year 2000 are eligible.

Last January, former UNESCO head Federico Mayor short-listed the 77 nominations to 21 finalists.

Voters around the world are to be given the chance to place their ballots until July 7, 2007 when the monuments that have been named the new seven wonders are scheduled to be announced in Lisbon.

Among the contestants are the Ancient Acropolis in Athens; Hagia Sophia in Istanbul; the Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow; Roman Colosseum; Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany; Eiffel Tower, Paris; Stonehenge, Britain; The Alhambra, Spain; The Great Wall of China; Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto; Sydney Opera House; Angkor Wat, Cambodia; the Taj Mahal, India; Timbuktu, Mali; Petra, Jordan; the Pyramids ofGiza; the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro; the Easter Island Statues; Machu Picchu, Peru; Chichen Itza, Mexico; the Statue of Liberty, New York.

In case you want to vote, there is the new7wonders website. You have to register to vote, alas, and I see nothing to suggest it won't result in even more junk mail for you.
Causa paupertatis plerisque probitas est.
(Q. Curtius Rufus 4.1.20)

The cause of poverty for many is honesty.

Pron = KOW-sah pow-pair-TAH-tis play-EES-kweh PROH-bih-tas ehst.

Comment: Curtius Rufus uses this line as a momentary reflection in
the middle of a story about a man many deemed to be most powerful, but
who had no money. His honesty was the cause of his poverty.

At first glance, perhaps, in a culture built on the Protestant
(Puritan, Calvinist) work ethic, this must be a mistake. If one is
honest and upright, the smile of divine blessing will be evident in
prosperity. It is a message still alive and well. Moral virtue
equates material prosperity to many. It's an easy message that many of us learned long ago: behave, and you will get candy.

What the ancients understood all too well was that wealth was a
product of two things: the luck of birth, and one's ability to
manipulate power for one's financial gain. With that view of things,
an honest man could only be one thing: poor, for it is difficult to manipulate others for one's own benefit and be honest at the same time.

Luck of birth is still a factor. Those born into any kind of
affluence enjoy a headstart in life. An inheritance doesn't hurt, either.

When, and where, and to whom, one speaks the truth still has a
powerful effect on whether one is allowed into the flow of wealth in
modern society. One would think that those who tell the truth in a society that claims to be moral would be honored. We call them "whistleblowers", a grown up term for "tattle-tale".

Consider Salman Rushde. Or, the Dixie Chicks. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or Mahatmas Ghandi. Or Jesus. Or the Buddha (who was poisoned to death). Or Socrates. Or someone you know in your own community who has been a little too honest a little too often a little too publicly. We don't often allow such honest people to thrive. Their honesty keeps them "poor".

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

ante diem viii idus septembres

ludi Romani (day 2)

81 A.D. -- martyrdom of Onesiphorus

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Faustus in Alexandria

1956 -- death of Michael Ventris, who deciphered Linear B (the ancient script used by the Myceneans)
The first day of school went reasonably smoothly ... let's see what happened in the Classicoblog world:

N.S. Gill has a timely piece on the Ludi Romani ...

Laura Gibbs has another Latin proverb game ...

Michael Gilleland analyzes some translations of Catullus 43 ... he also ponders the perennial question of how to say 'yes' in Latin ... and there's an interesting use for three stones (in Aristophanes, anyway)

Ross Scaife joins the chorus of laughter over a recent Microsoft Patent ...

Mary Beard is visiting Tunisia and pondering empire ...

Durandir is thinking about Roman Grrl Power ...

Mischa Hooker comes up with a better title for a drama based on Sophocles ... there's also a belated Labor Day post ...

Here's Eric's offering from Quintilian ...

Michael Pahl has an interesting piece on the early Christian community at Thessalonika ...

Andrew Criddle (via Hypotyposeis) is looking at the early Church fathers' attitude towards Prometheus ...

Eurylochus is wasting time looking for wine for Epieus ...

I think I missed this one the other day ... Dorothy King has a post on archaic predecessors to the Parthenon sculptures ...
From YLE:

De bello in Libano gesto
31.08.2006, klo 20.04

Cum ordo Hizbollah mense Iulio in confinio Israelis et Libani tres milites Israelianos occidisset et duos deprehendisset, Israeliani in Libanum invaserunt.

Neque tamen his contigit, ut milites deprehensos liberarent. Bello per unum mensem gesto circiter centum Israeliani et plus mille Libanenses vitam amiserunt.

Auctoritate et decreto Nationum Unitarum bellum ea condicione compositum est, ut tutatores pacis internationales confinium Libani et Israelis custodirent.

In colloquio televisifico Hassan Nasrallah, moderator ordinis Hizbollah, dixit se suis imperaturum non fuisse, ut milites Israelianos deprehenderent, si praesagire potuisset tantum bellum inde oriturum esse.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The question comes up from time to time about what a Classics Club actually does ... here's an example from the Daily Vidette:

There is more to classic literature than just reading and discussing it according to the Classics Club.

"It's a group of students who are interested in the classics which are Greek and Latin ancient culture, language and history," senior history major, Sam Cyrkiel said.

The RSO of over 20 students meets on Mondays in Stevenson 113 at 8 p.m.
The organization's activities range from fundraising to field trips.

"We do a lot of different stuff and most of it depends on the year, like what is going on in the community," David Schauer, President of Classics Club, and a senior English education major, said.

Last year was filled with many field trips to downtown Chicago.

"Last year we took a trip to Chicago for the Pompeii exhibit and King Tut. This year we have a couple plays in downtown Chicago in mind like Shakespeare or Helen of Troy," Schauer said.

The club has a new faculty leader this year.

"Classics Club is meant to promote interests in Greek and Roman literature, culture and history, and what better way to do that than by means of taking trips to Chicago," Brighton Hammer, a professor of languages, literature and culture, said.

The RSO welcomes any student who is interested in the classics and membership fees are $15 to cover the cost of transportation to field trips.
"The atmosphere is very laid back and relaxed. There's not a lot of pressure," Schauer said.

Classics Club is also linked to the national fraternity, Eta Sigma Phi.

"We just started Eta Sigma Phi which is a classics honor fraternity and it's just that you have to have taken a Latin or Greek class and gotten a B in it," Cyrkiel said.

"We don't have a classics minor or major at ISU and this gives people the opportunity to discuss their interests even though they can't focus on it in school," she added.
Besides reading classical texts, the club is very active.

"We lead discussions, we watch movies, and we try to go on a lot of field trips," Cyrkiel said.

They are also active on-campus.
"We do a lot on-campus as far as fundraising and anything somewhat classic related, we get out there," Schauer said.
Classics Club had been on ISU's campus for several years, but faded. Last year it was revived to make it what it is today.

The club is also looking to volunteer locally to find out more about Bloomington-Normal's history.

"We are looking at volunteering at the local museums and historical societies," Cyrkiel said.

"We really just go out and have fun and meet people," Cyrkiel added.
From the Canadian Classical Bulletin (with permission):

In Memoriam

James Lawrence Peter Butrica

Jim Butrica died on July 20, 2006, after a year-long struggle with cancer.

Jim was born in 1951 in Camden, New Jersey. He studied at Amherst College (B.A. 1972) and the University of Toronto (M.A. 1973, Ph.D. 1978), where his doctoral research was supervised by Richard Tarrant. From 1977 to 1979 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Victoria, and from 1979 to 1981 a member of its Department of Classics. He joined the Department of Classics at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1981, where he spent the rest of his career. His professional milestones included the President’s Award for Outstanding Research from Memorial in 1986, promotion to Professor in 1994, and appointment in 2000 to the Accademia Properziana del Subasio.

The subject of his doctoral dissertation was the Propertian manuscript tradition. This study formed the basis of his book The Manuscript Tradition of Propertius (Toronto 1984), which remains the standard work on the highly corrupt text of this author. Throughout his career he continued to refine his often controversial beliefs about Propertius’ text and its transmission (e.g. ICS 21 [1996] 87–158, CQ 47 [1997] 176–208), and he worked for many years on a commentary on Book 3, even as his interests and publications spread far into other areas. Some of these were related closely to Latin and Greek poetry — not only elegy but epic, tragedy, and comedy as well — others were very different from those subjects, including (among others) ancient medicine, the ancient book trade, and medieval and Renaissance literature and culture. He was a prolific and industrious scholar, and only in the last months of his disease did he begin to slow. Numerous substantial works will appear posthumously, including two volumes in the University of Toronto’s Collected Works of Erasmus (vols. 67 and 68) and a chapter in the Brill Companion to Propertius.

The curiosity Jim had about Greek and Roman civilization and the clarity of his thought were apparent to the students who attended his classes at Memorial, to the scholars who heard his papers on many occasions in North America and Europe, and to all who read his articles and book reviews. The wide range of his interests grew from a drive to understand ancient people from all angles, but his knowledge ran deep in areas as diverse as opera and classical music, television, radio and film, visual art and popular literature, modern languages, and not least the game of Bridge, which he played with considerable success. In recent years his learning was on display in his many entertaining and edifying contributions to the Classics-List, a medium ideally suited to his knowledge of culture both high-brow and popular, as well as to his unique wisdom and wit and his lack of pretension.

From 1994 until the time of his death he served as co-editor of one of the CAC’s two scholarly journals, Echos du Monde Classique/Classical Views, renamed Mouseion in 2001. The editorial standards he set were very high, and although he had a low tolerance for jargon and fad, he always took pains to ensure that submissions to the journal received a fair hearing and were assessed by referees who did not have disciplinary or personal axes to grind. He had patience for the efforts of good young scholars in particular and would often spend much time helping contributors to improve their articles for publication. He worked hard to attract the best submissions possible and to find the right reviewers for books. He was, in short, devoted to the job of editor and brought just the right temperament to it.

As a teacher Jim deplored intellectual laziness and sought to challenge his students’ easy assumptions. To those who responded to the challenge he gave his time without reserve, teaching many overload courses throughout his career. He had a special affinity for his younger colleagues, for whom he provided an exacting but humane model. His learning was widely known across his Faculty and elsewhere in the University, and his non-classical colleagues frequently went to him for help of many kinds. He was justifiably proud of the service that he gave to his Department and University, and to the cause of Classics in Canada, including a year as Head of his Department in 1996–97, terms as council-member of the CAC and as editorial board-member of Phoenix in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, his organization of the CAC conference in St. John’s in 1997, a CAC-sponsored lecture-tour in Ontario and Quebec in 2000, and many memorable talks to the MUN Classics Society. Some of his more remarkable studies trace their origin to these latter presentations, including his discussion of ancient uses of cannabis, now recognized as authoritative on this subject.

Although Jim’s untimely passing is marked with profound sadness by his colleagues in Canada and abroad, we take comfort in the memory of his friendship and in his impressive scholarly legacy.
The BBC has a piece on Punch and Judy which makes an interesting claim:

The famous British puppet Mr Punch could have been made foul tempered as a result of a medical condition, according to new research.

University of Derby's David Bryson said the icon famed for beating wife Judy with a stick could have been suffering from acromegaly.

The teaching fellow said the puppet, who can be traced back to Roman times, resembles a sufferer of the condition.

... scattered references to 'Roman clowns' all over the web, but does anyone know of a genuine link to ancient Rome for the famous puppet?



I'm not a scholar, but it's pretty well understood that "Punch", both
the character and the name, derive from "Punchinello", the usual English
form of "Pulchinella", one of the characters of the Commedia dell'arte,
and it is a commonplace (I know not how well founded) that the Commedia
has a heritage going back to classical times. (The grotesquery certainly
strikes me as more characteristic of the Roman than the medieval or
early modern aesthetic.)

John W. Kennedy
Haven't seen this one in a while (seen in the Citizen-Times):

Believing the deliberate withholding of flatus to be unhealthy, Roman Emperor Claudius legalized the breaking of wind at banquets.

Of course, that's not what Suetonius (the source) said ... Divus Claudius 32:

Dicitur etiam meditatus edictum, quo veniam daret flatum crepitumque ventris in convivio emittendi, cum periclitatum qvendam prae pudore ex continentia repperisset.

"He is even said to have considered an edict ...". I'm sure even Suetonius recognizes tongue in cheek ... we should also point out that it never was illegal to fart at a dinner party ... still isn't (I hope).



In discussions on good manners, one should refer to Erasmus' 'De civilitate
morum puerilium' I have not yet read through to see what he has to say on
this particular point, although he deals with snot and sneezing.

Brennus Legranus

FOLLOWUP: anyone know of an online version? I can't seem to find one ...
From Kathimerini:

Two monuments at the archaeological site of Delos in the Cyclades will be restored and maintained with European Union money, after the Greek Central Archaeological Council (KAS) approved two studies for the relics’ upkeep earlier this summer.

Delos, which mythology says is the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Cyclades.

The project will be funded by the EU’s Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII) and will focus on repairing damage caused by bad weather and a lack of maintenance.

The two monuments of the ancient sanctuary, the House of the Diadoumenos and the peristyle of the House of the Lake, date to the 2nd century BC and were destroyed in 88 BC, during the Mithridates Wars. The so-called Diadoumenos House is at the northern end of the site, northwest of the lake. It is an impressive complex which consists of rooms facing a central atrium. The atrium used to have a mosaic floor, under which two cisterns existed - the smaller one was a well.

The studies that were carried out revealed structural problems, including issues with the walls, parts of which have collapsed into one of the two cisterns.

Experts also detected some damage - limited, fortunately - due to the overgrowth of vegetation. Damage has also been caused by archaeological excavations.

Humidity, strong winds and a lack of any upkeep have caused bits of plaster to fall into the structures. KAS approved the initial studies and it is now hoped that experts will seriously tackle Delos, since the two monuments are now on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list.
Plenty of versions of this one ... from the Irish Examiner:

A German university today returned a small sculpture taken from the 2,500-year-old Parthenon – a gesture the government said would bolster efforts to regain the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.

The 3-by-5 inch relief sculpture of a man’s foot was handed back to Greece by the University of Heidelberg, in Germany, which Greek Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis visited yesterday.

“This is a major symbolic gesture … a new page in the previously deadlocked debate for the return of all (Parthenon) sculptures from museums abroad,” Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said.

Greece is seeking the return of a much larger collection of Parthenon sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles, from the British Museum in London, arguing that they are an integral part of a temple on the Acropolis hill.

The marbles were removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.
In nullum avarus bonus, sed in se semper pessimus.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 234)

The greedy individual is good to no one, but to himself he is the worst.

Pron = in NOOL-loom AH-wah-roos BOH-noos sehd in say SEHM-per PEHS-sih-moos

Comment: In other words, we can only treat others the way we hold
ourselves. The flip side of that is that we cannot help others with
something (wisdom, advice, skill, etc) that we have not cultivated for
ourselves. While we often may make judgements about how individuals
treat others, at its core, a moral defect is most often a wound that
is killing the individual from the inside out.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
From Wanted In Rome:

During work on the pavements along Via Veneto in readiness for the Rome film festival which opens on 13 October, a slab of Egyptian granite, over three metres long, has been found just below the surface inside the Aurelian walls at the top of the street.

The use of Egyptian granite, such as that of the columns in front of the Pantheon, was a sign of great wealth in ancient Rome. According to Mariarosaria Barbera, a state archaeological inspector, the slab could therefore be part of the northern monumental entrance to the Horti Sallustiani. These were the immense gardens which in imperial times stretched from today’s Via Veneto as far as Via XX Settembre and up to the Porta Pia, where there was a sumptuous villa. The gardens belonged to the historian Sallust and on his death (20 BC) the gardens passed to his heirs and then into the hands of the emperors.

Many emperors, such as Vespasian, Hadrian and Aurelian, were particularly fond of this semi-rural retreat, which was embellished with the finest statuary of the time.

Most of the area eventually became the property of the Ludovisi family, which built famous villas and various other charming casinos over the site, before the whole area was developed more or less as seen today in the last decades of the 19th century.

Some of the ancient statuary, known as the Ludovisi collection, which was found on the site during the 19th century development, can be seen today in Palazzo Altemps, close to Piazza Navona.

... hopefully we'll get some more details ...
nonae septembres

ludi Romani (day 1)

146 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Stator and associated rites thereafter

c. 180 -- martyrdom of Herculanus

1908 -- birth of Arnaldo Momigliano
The back-to-school edition (for me, anyway ... I know a pile of you have been at school for weeks):

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Fortuna Aug ...

N.S. Gill is looking at Niobe ... folks might also be interested in the annual Origins of Labor Day post ...

Troels Myrup has a very interesting piece on a sculpture of Hercules, the two halves of which are in different museums ... he's also been looking at Flickr photos dealing with Late Antiquity ...

Tony Keen is pondering Robert Graves' Claudius ...

Eric's Quintilian excerpt today is about metonymy ... (I still have problems with that one) ... meanwhile, Dennis is wondering about the use of jargon in education ...

Laura Gibbs has a Latin Crossword for you ...

Language Hat points us to a blog called the Varieties of Unreligious Experience which has a lengthy post on the Latin words for kissing ...

Not sure if I've ever mentioned before ... today Mattheus is writing (in Latin) about a passage from Petronius ...

Also in Latin, the Lingua Latina blog (I've misplaced the owner's name ... apologies) is commenting on the Pluto thing ...

From the Imperial Rome list comes word that Hannibal Barca has started up his own MySpace thing ...
From YLE:

Campus petrolei in Mari Baltico inventus
31.08.2006, klo 20.04

Societas petrolearia Polonica, cui nomen Lotos, nuntiavit se campum petrolei in regione maritima Poloniae invenisse, qui maximus in Mari Baltico esset.

Ille campus centum triginta quinque chiliometra in septentrionem a litore distat et mille sescenta metra sub superficie maris iacet.

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

The Radio Bremen version of Nuntii Latini has also been updated, with news from July and August ...

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: U.S.A. ductoribus migrantium insidiatur
The Washington Post has an appropriate (for us) back-to-school piece:

Along with the Star Wars Legos and Pokémon trading cards that litter the Cleveland Park bedroom of 10-year-old Noah Nash, the wooden desk where he sometimes does his homework holds an Oxford Latin dictionary.

Noah happily cracked open the thick hardcover during his summer break, learning phrases such as c ave canem , which means "beware of the dog." He assigned himself the summer reading in anticipation of starting fifth grade at the Washington Latin School. The new public charter school in Cathedral Heights will open today as the first public school in the District with a humanities and classical curriculum as its focus.

"I just can't wait for the new knowledge to flow into my head," Noah said as he played with his best friend, Skylar Lovett, 10, who will attend the school, too.

New schools open all the time, especially in the District, where the proliferation of public charter schools since 1996 has led to 55 operating on 69 campuses this year. But for parents who are nervous about making a long-term commitment to the troubled D.C. system -- and have the financial means to consider other options -- the arrival of Washington Latin is being heralded as a welcome alternative to taking a chance on public schools or paying private school tuition to gain peace of mind.

"This gives us another choice," said MaryAnn Nash, 44, a lawyer who is the mother of Noah and two other children: a daughter in third grade at Sidwell Friends School and a daughter in first grade at John Eaton, a D.C. public elementary school in Cleveland Park. Last year, Nash and her husband Rick, 46, also lawyer, enrolled their three children at a private Montessori school, which they had attended since they were 18 months old.

The new charter school also provides a choice for those parents who can't afford private education but want a more rigorous curriculum than they think the D.C. public schools offer. Headmaster T. Robinson Ahlstrom said, "It would be easy to go out and get a bunch of Northwest parents," but school officials recruited throughout the city to find an economically and racially diverse student body.

Washington Latin, in the 3800 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW, will have 192 students in grades 5, 6 and 7 and will eventually run from grade 5 to 12. Students will don uniforms and be required to study six years of Latin, four years of modern foreign language, and learn about old-school Greek and Roman humanities heavyweights such as Socrates and Cicero.

Parents from Anacostia in Southeast to American University Park in Upper Northwest have enrolled their children. The student population will be about 50 percent white, 30 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic and the remaining, Asian American, Ahlstrom said.

But not everyone welcomes Washington Latin to the city's educational landscape. Capitol Hill parent Gina Arlotto, a co-founder of the public school advocacy coalition Save Our Schools, said that she supports a rigorous education but that Washington Latin caters to elite parents, making it easier for them to abandon their local public school and, by extension, their community.

"It allows people to opt out of a system where its strengths are that it could be a diverse school with all different kinds of kids," said Arlotto, whose three children attend public schools.

The school originally had 176 spaces but proved so popular that Ahlstrom got permission from the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which authorized the school, to increase its enrollment cap by 16 students. It has a waiting list of more than 20 families, Ahlstrom said. Charter schools are publicly funded and open to all students citywide but have different focuses and criteria in selecting students.

The Washington Latin model is based on Boston Latin, a public school in Massachusetts founded in 1635 that includes Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin among its alumni. That school has 2,400 students, who take an entrance exam as part of the admissions process.

Ahlstrom said Washington Latin will be smaller, about 800 students when it has all grades. District students will be required to take two more years of Latin than Boston's students and won't have to take an entrance exam, he said.

"I look for that intangible spark," said Ahlstrom, who spent the summer interviewing children and families. "A child who is eager to learn, willing to work -- that they have that something, that intellectual curiosity. "

Washington Latin will serve an academic void among the nearly 200 public schools and public charter schools. Among the 141 public schools, there is one full-time Latin teacher, at Woodrow Wilson High School in Tenleytown. Students can take a full sequence of classes that prepares them for the Advanced Placement exam in Latin, said Claudia Bezaka, D.C. schools world language coordinator. The charter board has no cumulative database of curriculum offerings at all of its charter schools, but officials said that Paul middle school offers an introductory Latin course.

D.C. School Superintendent Clifford B. Janey wants to shore up the system's Latin curriculum. Janey, a Boston Latin graduate, plans to turn Eastern Senior High School in Capitol Hill into a Latin school and hired a former Fairfax County principal to lead the transition, which is being planned. The low-performing school was once known as "the Pride of Capitol Hill," but the building is so dilapidated that it was recently featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Ahlstrom said he welcomes the competition.

"Janey has my 35-page education plan, and I hope he runs the play," Ahlstrom said. "I think every high school in D.C. should teach Latin."
Scary item from USA Today:

As the devout among the ancients knew well, nothing spices up a boring sermon like having your own sacrifice pit parked in front of your church. Throw in a secret tunnel to the death chamber, and you've got a churchgoing experience that no suburban mega-church, no matter how many good parking spots it offers, could ever match.

An ancient Temple of Apollo located amid the ruins of Hierapolis, the "sacred city," in Western Turkey suggests such attractions may have been something of a franchise among temples during the Roman era. Hierapolis was a Greek city famed for its hot springs that the Romans took over in 133 B.C. Apollo, the Sun god, was the chief deity of the city, and Italian researchers from the University of Lecce reveal some of the inner workings of the temple there in the current Journal of Archaeological Science.

The temple's ruins rest on a plateau running along the eastern side of the Menderes River, which itself runs along a geological fault. The fault produced Hierapolis' hot springs, popular with the bath-loving Romans, and also poisonous gases. Those poisonous gases, in this case it seems suffocating quantities of carbon dioxide, appear to be one of the secrets of the Temple of Apollo.

The temple, dating to the 3rd Century A.D, sat atop a monumental staircase and "near it there is an underground cavity called the Plutonion," says the study. A hole nearly 30 feet wide, surrounded by a fence, the Plutonion was "covered by a thick mist, making it impossible to see inside," study co-author Giovanni Leucci said by email. "The air outside the fence is quite clear, and when no wind is blowing there is no danger in approaching it, but any living creature that enters the hole dies instantly."

A tough place to do research, in other words. But starting in 2001, a team led by Leucci and his colleague Sergio Negri, along with the late Ivo Richetti, undertook a series of ground-penetrating radar and electrical resistance studies of the Plutonion and the temple. "The Plutonion was used in the past to perform animal sacrifices and only the eunuchs of the Temple of Cybele were able to spend time within the cavern without being affected," Leucci says. (Cybele was an Earth Mother-type goddess associated with caverns whose most devoted followers castrated themselves and were regarded as belonging to a third gender by the ancients. Cybele's cult also revolved around a theme of death and rebirth, which may explain the attraction of going spelunking in a poisonous death trap.) The eunuchs likely covered their heads with four sacks of cloth, Leucci says, which held a pocket of air that allowed them to survive for few minutes inside the Plutonion.

The Plutonion, named after Pluto, the god of the underworld, was known to widen as it descended. The researchers hoped to learn whether it was connected to the temple itself.

It does. "The survey carried out of the Temple of Apollo clearly suggests the presence of a man-made structure," Leucci says, namely a tunnel about 8 to 14 feet under the temple. And a room about 13 feet across seems to lie at a similar depth beneath the temple. The find suggests that priests likely retrieved sacrifices from the pit, prepared them in an underground room, and displayed them in the temple above as part of a religious ritual that may have resembled an elaborate stage magician's trick.

The search also turned up that an unsuspected geologic fault runs under the temple grounds. Such faults may be a hallmark of Apollo's temples, as well as the famed Oracle of Delphi, whose visions some suspect came from underground fumes. Other temples of Apollo in Turkey were home to oracles and they were built over active springs, such as those at Didyma and Claros.

So the key to temple success way back when may have rested on a rather earthly concern, access to a geologic fault, something even harder to find than a good parking spot is today.

Never knew about this thing ...
From SNA:

Bulgaria's National History Museum has prepared a special treat for its visitors - a display of the priceless treasure unearthed recently.

The 160 gold and silver objects that have probably accompanied a priestess on her trip to the underworld were exhibited for the first time in Sofia on Monday.

Archaeologists date the exquisite treasure back to the 3rd Century B.C. and are astonished by a tiny golden plate engraved with the cryptic words "Demetrius made..."

Such a plate has never before been unearthed in Bulgaria and experts have only seen a piece that resembles it on the grave of Alexander The Great, hence their excitement of the fresh findings.

The priestess has most likely been ritually burned to death, Daniela Agre, head of the excavation team revealed. Archaeologists believe that the ceremony may have been in honour of Dionysus.

A very nice photo accompanies the original article ...



". . .experts have only seen a piece that resembles it on the grave of Alexander The Great, hence their excitement of the fresh findings."

Huh? Someone needs to point out to them that Alexander's grave has never been found!

"The priestess has most likely been ritually burned to death . . . "

Again I say, huh? Surely this is a translation error and they mean "burned after death"?

Amyntoros (from Pothos)

UPDATE: this just in from the IHT:

A 2,200-year-old set of gold jewelry was unearthed from a Thracian burial mound on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, the archaeologist who led the excavations said Monday.

Daniela Agre said her team in late August found dozens of tiny jewelry pieces in the tomb of a woman, most likely a Thracian priestess, near the resort of Sinemorets, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of the capital, Sofia.

The discovery included two earrings, crafted like miniature chariots, as well as parts of gold necklaces, one decorated with a sculpture of a bull's head.

A tiny plaque that appears to be the necklace's fastener bears a Greek inscription, saying "made by Demetrius," Agre said, suggesting this could have been the name the nobleman who ordered the jewelry.

The artifacts were unearthed Aug. 25-27 during urgent recovery works at the Sinemorets mound, which was half destroyed, allegedly by a local hotel owner who thought the pile of earth was an ugly sight for tourists.

Most of the more than 160 finds, including gold and silver accessories and pottery, were badly damaged because the woman's body had been cremated, an unusual practice for this region, Agre said.

The Thracians were an ancient people that inhabited the lands of present day Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Romania between 4,000 B.C. and the 6th century A.D., when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

About 10,000 Thracian mounds — some of them covering monumental stone tombs — are scattered across Bulgaria.
Very slow Labour Day ... here's some headlines which made me look twice:

Roman Gladiator with Butts (a title of a bizarre still life?)

U.S. team was Troy for Greeks (I'd be scared to go home if I were the captain of the Greek squad, no?)

Kanu Explains Pompey's Success (well it certainly wasn't that little boat he used to land in Egypt)
While I largely ignored that whole Pluto kerfuffle, amicus noster TP sent in this astronomical bit from the Australian (thanks) and we should give it some attention:

GREEK astronomers had appealed to the world's top astronomical body to maintain a tradition of naming planets after Greek mythological figures, the Athens Observatory said today.

The Greeks were riled when a new planet-sized object discovered in 2003 was unofficially called Xena in homage to the main character of the American fantasy television series Xena: Warrior Princess.

"This provisional name ... is at the origin of this initiative taken by the observatory," the institute's astronomy department director Christos Goudis said.

Observatory chairman Christos Zerefos wrote a letter to the International Astronomical Union on August 20 proposing the names of a number of Greek mythological figures to replace Xena, Mr Goudis said.

"The last five years have seen a new interpretation of the solar system and we have to avoid giving off-hand names to newly-discovered stars," Mr Goudis said.

"Astronomy has deep roots ... we must preserve this historic tradition," he said.

A team led by US astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology discovered Xena, a frozen object some 15 billion km from Earth, in 2003.

A fan of the popular television series, Mr Brown has nine years to think of a permanent name for the orb, originally designated as 2003 UB313.

Boy ... all these astronomers seem to be getting pushy lately ...
An excerpt from an obituary in the LA Times:

For Doris Tennant Westcott, class of 1930, was the school's first Helen of Troy.

Westcott, who died May 16 at age 98, will be honored Wednesday at a memorial service at the university, where she made national headlines in 1928.

An active presence on the USC campus, Westcott was elected Helen of Troy in 1928 and again the next year.

As Helen of Troy, she represented the school at social functions and was queen of the annual women's Hi-Jinks program, which was sponsored by the school's YWCA and part of the annual homecoming festivities, said Claude Zachery, an archivist at USC.

The Hi-Jinks was an evening of song, dance and dramatic sketches presented by sororities and women's organizations, and staged at Bovard Auditorium.

Assisted by the Amazons honor society, she took part in the program's prologue by opening the gates of Troy. She also would ride on a float in the homecoming parade.

Years later, she remembered that when she needed a costume for her debut as Helen, someone "took the green velvet draperies from the Elisabeth von KleinSmid Residence Hall and made me a robe for the affair."

USC's teams are, of course, the Trojans ... now, while trying to figure out whether she might have attended the Rose Bowl when it involved chariot races (I don't think it's mathematically possible), I came across this very interesting (and expensive) poster (click on it for a larger version) ...
From Deutsche Welle (I think we might have mentioned this one before):

A UN construction site in Bonn was converted to an archeological dig when a 2,000-year-old Roman village was discovered. Jugs, plates, remnants of a public bath and a paved street reveal a surprisingly modern people.

The mass of dirt directly across from the plenary hall in Bonn's former government quarter looks like the surface of the moon. Deep pockets have been dug out in several spots and three excavators are boring their way deeper into the ground.

Nora Andrikopoulou-Strack is standing on one of the other-worldly dirt mounds, with clay-smeared boots on her feet and a broad smile on her face. She is responsible for turning this construction site into an archeological dig.

"This dig site is, technically speaking, the greatest coherent window into the history of a Roman vicus that we've ever had in Germany," she said.

Converted UN construction site

When it came to floor heating systems, the Romans were well ahead of their timeBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: When it came to floor heating systems, the Romans were well ahead of their time

Construction workers were in the middle of building a new UN convention center when they quite literally ran into the vicus, that is, a Roman village. The building project has now been put on hold while archeologists uncover the plates, pots, bones and other historical treasures that lie three meters (10 feet) underground.

Excavators and shovels are used for the rough work before rakes are brought in for the parts of the process that require a finer, more detailed touch.

"Actually it's a garden tool," said an assistant in the dirt-coated overalls, referring to the rake. "We can use it to clean off parallel surfaces."

Everything that the 50-person team has uncovered in the past several weeks -- cups, jugs, pottery shards, hair pins and bones -- has been cleaned up, numbered and carefully stored. Some 300 boxes have already been filled with artifacts discovered in the ancient apartments, hidden for so many years underground.

Thermal baths and paved roads

Some 2,000 people probably lived in the Roman villageBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Some 2,000 people probably lived in the Roman village

"This plate is a particular highlight. It really looks as if it just came from the potter's workshop. After more than 2,000 years the quality is still excellent," said head archeologist Peter Hendrick, holding up a piece of porcelain.

In addition to Claudius Secundus, whose name is on one of the plates, around 2,000 people must have lived in the village. They made their homes in stable houses with shops at the front and gardens out back.

The village boasted a paved street, a temple and a brick oven, and apparently also had a public bath with floor heating.

Civilizations shared the same space

The artifacts Hendrick and his team have found are not limited to Roman times, however. More recent items, from the 19th and 20th centuries, have also been discovered.

The numerous bottles and caps that have surfaced offer insight into the history of Bonn's breweries, for example. A rusted American helmet from World War II -- with a bullet hole -- was also among the finds.

Some photos accompany the original article ...
Around the web this weekend:

Ross Scaife tells us of some major funding for the EDUCE project he's involved with ... see also this page ...

Laura Gibbs announces her Latin via Proverbs book ...

Durandir is enjoying distance education grad school ...

Irene Hahn tells us about pontifex and pontifex maximus ...

Eric spots a couple of Classical references in the Philadelphia Inquirer ...

Nathan Bauman is reading Homer again ...

Mary Beard comments on recent (and upcoming) docudramas about Rome ...

Troels Myrup gives us a top ten list of Mediterranean sites (with photos) ...

Mischa Hooker comments on a review of a recent Helen novel ... there's also an interesting Boone editorial ...

Chris Weimer translates Catullus V ...

David Parsons comments on Isidore of Seville as patron saint of the internet ...

From the Imperial Rome list comes an interesting link: The Rome Map ... you click on the map and it shows you a photo from the site ...

From Abzu comes notice of:

Fortified Military Camps in Attica

Homer and Dorothy Thompson, Hellenistic Pottery and Terracottas

F. Nicholas Jones, Public Organization in Ancient Greece

New papers up at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics page (pdfs):

Socrates and democratic Athens: The story of the trial in its historical and legal contexts.
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Abstract - Socrates was both a loyal citizen (by his own lights) and a critic of the democratic community’s way of doing things. This led to a crisis in 339 B.C. In order to understand Socrates’ and the Athenian community’s actions (as reported by Plato and Xenophon) it is necessary to understand the historical and legal contexts, the democratic state’s commitment to the notion that citizens are resonsible for the effects of their actions, and Socrates’ reasons for preferring to live in Athens rather than in states that might (by his lights) have had substantively better legal systems. Written for the Cambridge Companion to Socrates.

From epistemic diversity to common knowledge: Rational rituals and publicity in democratic Athens.
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Abstract - Effective organization of knowledge allows democracies to meet Darwinian challenges, and thus avoid elimination by more hierarchical rivals. Institutional processes capable of aggregating diverse knowledge and coordinating action promote the flourishing of democratic communities in competitive environments. Institutions that increase the credibility of commitments and build common knowledge are key aspects of democratic coordination. “Rational rituals,” through which credible commitments and common knowledge are effectively publicized, were prevalent in democratic Athens. Analysis of parts of Lycurgus’ speech Against Leocrates reveals some key features of the how rational rituals worked to build common knowledge in Athens. This paper, adapted from a book-in-progess, is fortthcoming in the journal Episteme.

Natural Capacities and Democracy as a Good-in-Itself
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
Abstract - A paper on moral and political philosophy, arguing on Aristotelian grounds, that democracy is not only an instrumental good, but a good-in-itself for humans, because the exercise of constitutive natural capacities is and end, necessary for true happiness (understood as eudaimonia), and democracy (understood as association in decision) is a constitutive natural human capacity of humans. Forthcoming, winter 2006 in Philosophical Studies.
From the Victoria Times-Colonist:

SMITH, Peter L. March 31, 1933 August 29, 2006 Died suddenly following a stroke. Born in Victoria, Peter graduated from Victoria High School in 1949 before going on to earn degrees at Victoria College, UBC and Yale. A long-time classics professor and administrator at the University of Victoria, he continued to stay involved with the university even after his retirement. As well, he participated in numerous community activities and undertook various literary endeavours. He is survived by his wife Mary Jean, daughters Cindy Cullen (Tom) and Sarah Smith, son Dan Hinman-Smith, sisters Winsome Oliver and Barbara Peterson (Ben), grandchildren Dallas and Kelsey, mother-in-law Marjorie Levirs, and many other relatives. The family would like to thank the doctors and nursing staff at VGH 6B for their compassionate care. A memorial service open to all will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 10, at the University Club on the UVIC campus. Those who desire to do so may contribute to the Peter L. Smith Scholarship in Greek and Roman Studies at UVIC or to a favourite charity.
From BMCR:

Coulter H. George, Expressions of Agency in Ancient Greek.

Nancy Thomson de Grummond, Erika Simon, The Religion of the Etruscans.

Simonetta Grandolini, Lirica e Teatro in Grecia. Il Testo e la sua ricezione. Atti del II incontro di Studi. Perugia, 23-24 gennaio 2003.

Sheila Dillon, Katherine E. Welch, Representations of War in Ancient Rome.

Elisabeth Herrmann-Otto, Unfreie Arbeits- und Lebensverhältnisse von der Antike bis in die Gegenwart. Eine Einführung.

Stefano Medas, De rebus nauticis: L'arte della navigazione nel mondo antico.

From Scholia:

Henry Hurst and Sara Owen (edd.), Ancient Colonizations: Analogy, Similarity & Difference

Frank L. Holt, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions. Hellenistic Culture and Society XLIV

Frank L. Holt, Into the Land of Bones: Alexander the Great in Afghanistan


Constantine (hat tip to Troels Myrup ... who doesn't have an 's' on the end of his surname, as I've mistakenly thought for well over a year!)
From the Tennessean:

Henry Lloyd Stow
The son of Henry Jared and Ida Shulte Stow, was born on July 31, 1909 in Park Ridge, Il and died peacefully on August 26, 2006 at the Woodcrest Health Center of the Blakeford in Green Hills. He received his B.A. (1930) and Ph.D. (1936) degrees in Greek from the University of Chicago. While he was a Ryerson Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece (1932-33) he met fellow student and classicist Hester Harrington, whom he married in 1937. In the same year he was appointed to the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, where he became head of the Department of Classical Studies. He accepted the Chairmanship of the Classics Department at Vanderbilt in 1952 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1976. He taught at the American School in Athens in 1959-60 and in the summers of 1966 and 1970. He held membership in many professional organizations and served on numerous university committees. In 1976 he was awarded the Sarratt Cup for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Vanderbilt. He was a popular lecturer, and he and his wife traveled widely, leading several trips to Greece in connection with the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. Dr. Stow was predeceased by his wife in 1997 and is survived by his children, Stephen Harrington (Jeanie) Stow of Knoxville and Cynthia Stow (John) Yancey of Nashville; granddaughters, Jennifer Stow of Nashville and Lauren (Joe) Simpson of Knoxville; three great grandchildren; and by several granddogs. The family would like to express deep appreciation for the uncommon care and friendship provided by Dr. David Heusinkveld, M.D. and his Nurse Practitioner Chrissie McClure, and for the dedication and support of the entire Blakeford facility, especially the nursing staffs at Burton Court and Woodcrest Health Center.
From the Inquirer ... the conclusion of a piece on a visit to the studios where HBO is shooting Rome:

HBO, in partnership with BBC, has been filming the $100 million toga-and-sandals series within the walls of this studio, the largest in Europe. “Rome” may be set in the era of Julius Caesar (played by Ciaran Hinds) but it is anything but stuffy. There’s plenty of sex, nudity, action, power struggles and drama involving historical figures aside from Caesar, such as Mark Antony (James Purefoy), Cleopatra (Lindsey Marshal), Atia of the Julii (Polly Walker), Servilia of the Junii (Lindsay Duncan) and Marcus Junius Brutus (Tobias Menzies).

In addition, two Roman soldiers, Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), who were mentioned in Caesar’s real-life journals, are creatively drawn in this series to provide a point of view from which we can see the power struggles, battles, sex and intrigue (nothing much has changed, really).

The funny thing was, there we were in the Eternal City and yet we were visiting the ersatz version inside a movie studio, quite solemnly listening to the trivia and factoids recited by “Rome’s” affable historical consultant, Jonathan Stamp. But we didn’t mind, since Jonathan’s prattle was often funny and irreverent, in contrast to the bland monologue of our tour guide when we visited the actual sites seven years earlier. Although this portly guide’s habit of saying “Alora” (Italian for “and then” or “therefore”) and pulling up his sagging pants at the same time had kept us amused as we tramped through the ruins.

Vestal virgin

Our day-long visit to Cinecitta began on an open plaza at an impressively re-created ancient Roman Forum. Even the olive trees are over 200 years old. Jonathan emphasized that “Rome” shows a vibrant, colorful city as it must have been, not a staid, sterile place populated by white toga wearing denizens—the cliché served up in those old Hollywood movies. In the course of our tour of the sets, the Brit, with his encyclopedic knowledge of ancient Rome, presented a city with about a million residents, who scribbled graffiti and lived in slums or magnificent homes.

The summa cum laude graduate from Oxford pointed at a replica of the Temple of Vesta, which housed a virgin girl whose job was to maintain the sacred flame. The Romans believed that as long as the flame burns, their city would endure. Jonathan said that a virgin girl as young as nine years old was recruited to serve in the Temple of Vesta for 30 years (hence the origin of the term, vestal virgin).

What happened if a vestal virgin broke her vow of virginity? Or, as Madonna’s song goes, “Like a virgin” na lang siya? She was buried alive, according to Jonathan. Food was given to the girl when she was buried to sustain and let her live a bit longer, and therefore, suffer longer. One perk, though, of being a vestal virgin was that she got the best seat in the Colosseum, right next to the Emperor.

As we continued our walking tour, Jonathan revealed that the Italian crew, used to the practice of dialogue being dubbed later in post-production, had to be told repeatedly to be quiet during a take. He narrated how once, the cell phone of a gaffer, who was high up on a crane, rang in the middle of a take. This crew member answered the phone and proceeded to talk on the phone for five minutes, unmindful of the consternation he was causing among the cast and crew on the ground.

We stopped by a set of Rome’s poor section. A place where fabrics were dyed in those early days was painstakingly built. We learned that poor Romans earned money by selling their urine, which was then used to help extract dye from the skin of animals.

Phallic symbols

No one could avoid staring at a huge painting of a phallus on one of the set walls. It turns out that the ancient Romans, who were a superstitious lot, believed that phallic symbols brought good luck and warded off evil spirits. So they painted phalluses on their front doors, displayed statues and wore amulets that depicted the erect male member. These were in abundant display throughout the set. Everyone was suddenly grinning at this point in the set tour.

Jonathan next took us to the public latrines. He explained that back then, only the rich had running water and toilets in their lavish homes. The masses—men and women—paid to relieve themselves in rows, in full view of each other, and shared a brush and a bucket to wash and wipe themselves. Jonathan shared that one time, when American International School students whom he was guiding finally understood the concept of a public latrine, a collective “Eeewwww!” sprang forth from their mouths. The disgusted scream could be heard all the way to downtown Rome, he smilingly told us.

On the walls of this re-creation of a public latrine is graffiti which apparently was all over then—in Latin nga lang.

We were asked to be quiet as we approached the set where actual filming was taking place. A scream of “Silencio!” and “Cut!” signaled the beginning and end of a take. In this scene that’s going to be in an episode titled “Death Mask,” James Purefoy and Polly Walker flirted with each other as they attended the wedding of the characters Posca and Jocasta. Polly’s striking eyes were very expressive.

Incidentally, James and Polly have done their bit in sexing up “Rome.” James’ full frontal nudity in season one created a lot of buzz. Our introduction to Polly’s character in the series was as she rode naked a lover with her slaves also in the room.

Shades on the lot

In between takes, men in togas wore anachronistic sunglasses to walk from the indoors set out into Rome’s hot summer sunshine. Costumed women strolled in as goats were also being herded in to add color to the scene.

After a leisurely lunch break (the largely English cast said that they enjoy the Italian lifestyle of appreciating the good life and not rushing through meals), it was time for interviews at the lavish villa of Polly’s character. Red rose petals adorned the foyer. We were split into groups in an indoor garden with real plants.

The principals on the set this afternoon—James, Polly, Ray Stevenson, Lindsay Duncan and Kevin McKidd—are distinguished actors, with impeccable theater acting credentials. Lindsay alone, who plays Servilia, twice won the Olivier Award for Best Actress for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and “Private Lives.”

James shared our enthusiasm for Cinecitta. “This studio is a piece of European film heritage,” said the actor who starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in Mira Nair’s “Vanity Fair.” “I never get bored of the drive to work, going past the Colosseum in that pink light of dawn, past the Forum and then arriving at our own version of the Forum.”

Of course, someone brought up his full frontal nudity and the sex scenes in the series. “In ancient Rome, they had a very different moral code,” he explained. “They would have people in the room while they were making love. The slaves were just like furniture. A slave would be there to give you something, if you wanted water at the end of it (sex). I had one scene last year where there was full frontal nudity. I was being exfoliated by a slave while having a conversation with McKidd’s character. It had nothing to do with sex. It just said a great deal about my character, Mark Antony, and about that time.”

Socks for his ...

With a smile, he revealed the surprise effect of his full frontal, the morning after that episode was aired. “It was an amusing experience,” he shared. “I took my boy to school the following morning and all those ladies in the playground who have been terribly nice to me were suddenly unable to look me in the eye at all.”

Ray Stevenson, literally a towering presence at 6’4”, also had an amusing tale about his nude sex scene with Lindsey Marshal. Before he did the scene, Ray walked into his dressing room and found wind socks that he was supposed to wear on his privates and nothing else. The actor recalled saying, “Oh, this is ridiculous. I put one on. I thought, this is never going to work. So I went out of my dressing room and walked up to Lindsey. I said to her, ‘I’ve got to show you this before we go on.’ When she finally picked herself up from laughing so much, she said, ‘Please don’t wear that!’ ”

We didn’t see wind socks when we toured the wardrobe and prop departments. Instead, we saw hundreds and hundreds of costumes on hangers at a hangar-like room presided over by Oscar-nominated costume designer April Ferry. Recovering from a fall, April had created a fashionable sling for her injured arm out of a black scarf.

April had the daunting task of supervising the creation of 4,000 pieces of wardrobe for the first season. Beaming, she cited James from among the hundreds she has to dress up: “He is an absolute peacock.” What did men wear under those togas in those days? “Perizona,” she replied, which she likened to diapers.

“The sandals are more comfortable this season,” April cheerily announced. Well, at least for Ray and Kevin who wanted something more comfy. Her secret? Birkenstock soles.

Emmy Awards

There was an air of nostalgia in the room where Augusto and Giampaolo Grassi created the leather costumes for the principal actors. Their father fashioned the body armor for “Cleopatra” in 1963, which was filmed right here. That epic’s stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, fell in love on this lot as they made the movie.

Several weeks after she regaled us with her stories, April, along with Augusto, won the Emmy Award for Best Outstanding Costumes for a Series. The meticulous attention to detail paid off—“Rome” also romped off with the awards for Best Hairstyling for a Series, Best Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series and Best Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.

“Rome’s” second season begins in January 2007. We note with sadness that there won’t be a third season although that may still change. But HBO’s recent release of an impressive six-disc DVD set of the first season should delight long-time fans and win new ones. Thanks to its production values, “Rome” comes across as a very good extended movie, not a television series.
From Turks:

The artifacts on display at Gaziantep Archeology Museum, home to the world’s second largest mosaic collection, are now available for viewing on the museum’s web site at

The web site shows the living quarters where Zeugma’s symbol, the Gypsy Girl, and other ancient mosaics are displayed, and gives valuable information about noteworthy mosaic findings and details on the mosaics lost to smugglers.

The virtual museum was setup to enter Europe’s Museum Award 2007 competition, and to give all those who have not had the opportunity to visit Gaziantep a chance to see what the museum has to offer.

To see the mosaics, first click on the English version, then Muzeums (sic), then Archaeology Museum, then Zeugma Eserleri ... you should be able to figure it out from there (can't believe websites still use frames).
From the BBC:

An archaeological dig in Kent has turned up a Roman bathhouse described as "totally unique" for the county.

The remains of the 5th Century building were uncovered in a field in Faversham by students working with the Kent Archaeological Field School.

Dr Paul Wilkinson said the Roman baths came to light during a number of excavations for Swale Borough Council.

He claimed the octagon-shaped bathhouse was a "very exciting" find and a first for the South East.

Dr Wilkinson said: "There's unique shapes in it, there's a hexagon plunge bath in the centre, there would have been two storeys, there's a fountain in the centre of it.

"This really is very exotic and sophisticated architecture."

Dr Wilkinson said the dig had also unearthed Roman coins, an old cheese press and a hairpin made from bone.
A piece from the Herald on Helen ... in the print edition, it might be associated with the thing that follows:

WHAT is it about Helen of Troy that still fascinates us, thousands of years after her story was first told? The face that launched a thousand ships belonged to a woman for whom men were willing to die in their thousands, or so the tale goes. Simple, really: boy gets girl and an entire city is razed to the ground.

Scholars and archaeologists have argued long and hard about whether Troy really existed, and by extension, whether Helen herself was just a figment of Homer’s imagination. But both Margaret George and Bettany Hughes, while producing wildly different books, take essentially the same line: that Helen of Troy was a real, living breathing woman.

George’s expansive novel begins with baby Helen in Sparta and ends 600 pages later, with an elderly woman being reunited with her young lover in the afterlife. The author gives us a highly sympathetic account of her heroine, sticking in the main to the history and the literature.

This Helen – whose father is the god Zeus, who raped her mother Leda in the guise of a swan – grows up forbidden to look in mirrors, lest she see how beautiful she is. Neither can she leave the environs of her home, lest that beauty bring misfortune to her family. By the time she is old enough to choose a husband, she is desperate for independence, but her partner, Menelaus, after a promising start, soon neglects her and takes a servant woman as a lover.

So when Paris comes calling, Helen is more than ready for an affair, and soon she has left Sparta with him. George inevitably gives her protagonist a 21st-century sheen. Helen largely takes responsibility for her own actions, something the Ancient Greeks and then the Romans were notoriously reluctant to do. If they could blame their bad behaviour on the gods, they would.

Helen experiences with Paris what would today be characterised as ideal love. He is a far better catch here than Homer would have us believe. In this way, George lets Helen off the hook almost entirely: Menelaus wants his wife back but it’s really Troy’s trading position that the Greeks covet. That is the real reason for the war and its subsequent atrocities. George’s Helen is never entirely blameless but she is sensitive, proud and appealing, and it is testament to George’s storytelling abilities that we want to believe her story.

More convincing, however, and far more complex, is historian Bettany Hughes’s excellent examination, not just of Homer’s Helen, but all the many configurations of her that have persisted throughout the centuries. Hughes’s argument – that Helen was a poetic incarnation of a real-life Bronze Age princess – is never less than fascinating. Like George, she sees a much more independent Helen than we are used to, a woman who came from a society where it was customary to be trained as a warrior from an early age, to inherit the throne and to choose one’s own husband (sometimes more than one at a time).

While Hughes acknowledges that no remains have yet been found of a Bronze Age Spartan princess, she finds other telling pieces of wreckage to persuade us. Amassing her disparate evidence, Hughes manages to argue powerfully for her real-life version of Helen, a woman who would not only have been highly educated but also extremely strong and athletic. The origins of the tales of Helen’s almost divine beauty are not to be wondered at: it is likely, Hughes argues, that a very powerful woman did indeed exist at that time, and power always elevates the mundane to the godly. What she doesn’t labour is the point that, if, as a Greek poet, you want to find an excuse for the appalling razing of an entire city, a woman is a good device.

Hughes is careful not to toe too rigid a feminist line on history’s appropriation of Helen as the cause of it all, but she is hard on those subsequent stories and paintings that have gloried in Helen’s misfortune. If Helen is an innocent victim then she was raped by Paris, prompting lurid and pornographic depictions of her abduction; if she is guilty of abandoning her husband and daughter, Hermione, then she is a she-monster, more deadly than Medusa.

And yet, in Homer at least, Helen was described as Paris’s equal partner. Aphrodite was the real mischief-maker, pulling the strings. The Ancient Greeks, for all their abdication of responsibility to the gods, were perhaps kinder to Helen than we are today, with our need to fill her with our own desires and neuroses.
This is one of those annoying book reviews that doesn't look like a book review ... from the Herald:

THE quest for Troy is more than a rake through ancient ruins for archaeological veracity. It’s about heroes, gods and omens, and beneath that it’s about seductive and dangerous narrative. Ackroyd’s anti-hero, Herr Obermann, is ultimately the victim of stories both ancient and his own. His determination to dig up Troy sees him buried in half-truths and fabrication to the point one seriously doubts he knows the difference.

Although Obermann’s story is heavily modelled on the story of Heinrich Schliemann, the self-proclaimed discoverer of Troy, Ackroyd, the master biographer, has given us a fiction, which permits him the licence to go further in depicting a man murderously intent on proving fiction as fact. Obermann is convinced The Iliad is an accurate historical record; he believes in it in the way others swear on the Bible; those who disagree with him or Homer’s epic are called “heretics” with no obvious trace of humour.

Obermann is fat, short, and bald, aggressive and overbearing – “a real Teuton” as he’s later branded. And despite a physique that could hardly be called classically Greek, he is in the process of marrying a beautiful Greek woman 30 years his junior. In search of someone who read Homer and could share his labours, he placed an ad in the papers, picked her from a photo and negotiated with her parents. Deal done, he sweeps her off to Hisarlik in Anatolia, to a site he’s convinced was Troy.

Obermann at first seems mainly guilty of the sin of credulousness. Otherwise, the locals respect him because he respects their beliefs. He dispenses some basic medicine when his workmen fall ill and encourages Sophie to work beside him, something she comes to relish. It soon becomes apparent however that Obermann is a fanatic who views archaeology not as an objective process but as a means for providing ballast for his classically derived theories.

“Are theories not sometimes beautiful?” he asks. “Not if they get in the way of facts,” answers an American rival come to check up on him. So convinced is Obermann, he resorts to the practice of “salting” – placing faked artefacts in the ground. “What is the truth?” Obermann blithely replies when his evidence is challenged. “The story is more important, Professor. Stories brought me to this place. What would happen if the world were without stories?” One might reply that the world would be a duller if happier place without narrative nagging us, a constant reminder of the untidy and inconclusive quality of our lives that books and films cannot or will not replicate.

We have in modern times seen the consequences of fanatics who wish to make literal the ideas contained within ancient texts. Ackroyd is far too subtle an author to flag up obvious contemporary resonances, but they’re there, waiting to be excavated. Troy, at least in the popular consciousness, saw the first major clash of East and West – although Obermann dismisses mounting evidence that the Trojans were an Asiatic people because he opines, in a Kilroy-esque moment, that they have contributed nothing to world culture.

Obermann, despite friendliness to the locals, is racist, and one can’t help noticing the homonymic similarity between Obermann and überman. Not far beneath his surface is a ranting Nietzschean. “We are gods in our ambitions. The will is god.” When a piece of pottery appears decorated with “sauvastika” – Sanskrit for swastika – it appears as a portent. In fact, Schliemmann’s discovery of a similar artefact ultimately led to the swastika’s popularisation in Europe in the early 20th century as a good luck charm. Schliemann downgraded evidence that the symbol was Hindu in origin to insist that the swastika was the invention of Aryan peoples, clearing the way for its adoption by the Nazis as their corporate logo.

Telescoping even further, one can see in Obermann’s personality the same manic energies that inspire “Islamists” to peel back modernity or Christian evangelicals to deny the fossil record and therefore evolution. The Fall Of Troy then is a marvellous, subtle read. How ironic that in digging into the past, both Obermann and his creator should discover in fact a map of the modern world.

... it's Peter Ackroyd, by the way.
... brief item from the Observer:

The sixtysomething Mick Jagger is currently bringing tears of nostalgia to all eyes as he relives his glory days ... singing pop songs. In one respect, at any rate, Cicero would have applauded him, as he explains in his essay 'On Old Age' (44BC). 'De senectute' is an imaginary conversation staged in Rome in 150BC. The main speaker is the revered Elder Cato, who would have been 84 at the time ... all that leaping about on stage would certainly have met with approval in this respect: the fight against bodily decline. Here, Cato recommends moderate exercise and food enough to strengthen, but not overburden, the body. Cato also applauds 'the old man with the touch of youth' - another plus for Sir Mick. But most of all, Cato adjures, one must keep the mental faculties taut as a bow ... let Sir Mick take up ancient Greek to become the perfect role model for the nation's oldies.
... to us! Amidst doing a pile of stuff for my online Latin courses and school prep, I suddenly realized today is the third anniversary of rogueclassicism's official launch! And if it's our blogiversary, it's NT Gateway's too! Depending on which of the tickers you believe down there, we're either approaching or have surpassed 400,000 views in that time, which is pretty darned good either way (generally speaking, in 'high season' there are 400-600 folks visiting a day). We're just the 'little Classics blog that could'.

What lies in the future? Well, as hinted at previously, I'm trying to deal with spammers at Classics Central and am thinking I might just set up separate blog feeds for the most useful sections of that forum (i.e. the jobs listings, calls for papers, conferences). I'm also going to be setting up a separate feed for 'This Day in Ancient History' (which is often requested). All that should be happening by the end of September.

On rogueclassicism will be back to full publication, with 'This Day', the daily links to news in Latin, etc. ... hope y'all will continue to stop by and thanks for coming out!
Since it's Saturday and much of my readership will be indoors watching the aftereffects of assorted storms/hurricanes, here's a claim someone might want to track down (I did ask on the Classics list ... didn't get far) ... in any event, the Register has an item on tickling which makes the claim, inter alia:

Tickling was used as a torture by the ancient Romans.

... this comes up semi-regularly. Has anyone ever seen (outside of Asterix) that the Romans did use tickling as a method of torture?
The first was mentioned on the Latinteach list ... it's a facility to allow you to make a Spongebob calendar which has the Roman names for the months and Roman numerals for the day numbers ...

The second is something I found via Lifehacker ... the Official Seal Generator is an online facility to generate (and print ... you can even order fridge magnets) your own 'official seal'. If you've always wanted to put your Latin motto on something official looking, this is a good way (I could see this being used as an activity in a Latin class too, obviously) ...
A writer in the Boston Globe begins a lengthy piece on the Agassi-Baghdatis match waxing Homeric:

Phantasmagorical. In a word, that's what it was.

Homer, the old Greek scribbler, would have relished this 3-hour-48-minute rewrite of his ``Odyssey." Though only a tennis match, the wandering of two combatants called Andre and Marcos through a variety of perils along the treacherous way to the third round of the US Open was high melodrama in five acts that seduced countless viewers. They watched across the globe via the electronic Cyclops, TV, or were eyewitnesses in the amphitheater honoring an earlier battler, Arthur Ashe.

Those in the immediate Flushing Meadows audience formed a Greek chorus of 23,736 voices -- but they were not there to praise the young Greek Cypriot , Marcos Baghdatis. Far from it. Their hero was the ancient one, a wielder of a gut-strung scepter, the Armenian-blooded Andre Agassi. They let Baghdatis know it every sneakered step of the way from Thursday night into yesterday morning.

Such a loud and raucous clamor of feverish adulation and hero worship hadn't been raised here since 1991, when another beloved ancient, James Scott Connors, 39, was bashing his way improbably to the semifinals. Jimmy, like 36-year-old Andre, was a midnight man, forcing his foes to toil -- fruitlessly -- from one day into the next, winding up the faithful like cuckoo clocks.

But at the juncture of midnight, the chorus was wary and worried because the Greek had just struck one of his 23 aces and another of his 12 service winners to pull even, 3-3, in the climactic fifth act. Baghdatis, the bearded belter, seemed the killjoy who would take down Agassi like the whirlpool, Charybdis, that threatened Homer's main man, Odysseus.

The beguiling nail-biter, twisting and turning like Charybdis, and changing directions often, suspensefully lurched toward Baghdatis three games before the curtain. He was one point from virtual victory four times. But the Greek gods -- Zeus & Co. -- must, curiously, have turned their eyes away from Baghdatis and gleamingly onto Agassi, the triumphant: 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5.

How else could anyone explain that what began as a runaway for last-gasping Agassi, the goodbye guy, almost went instead to the wounded Greek. Baghdatis had collapsed on the court in the fifth and writhed with a cramped left leg, but kept fighting and firing incredibly.

``I would have died out there to win," he said .

It was a win to die for, all right. And once the gallant No. 8, Baghdatis, had been safely put away, extending Agassi's announced farewell performance by at least one more gig, he was rightfully embraced by the chorus for his fortitude, and making it a shoot-'em-up-with-rackets worthy of Homer.

Homer, fond of the Greek warrior Achilles (he of the famed vulnerable heel), might have put Andre and Marcos in the same class: Achilles' back and left thigh, respectively. Throw in a damaged left wrist for Baghdatis that needed medical attention after a tumble in the second act.
September already ...

Troels Myrups tells us of the reopening of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (with a nice photo) ...

Stephen Carlson is hosting Biblical Studies Carnival IX ... a good way to catch up with the Bibliobloggers ...

Laura Gibbs is beginning a series on Latin proverbs in State mottoes ... there are also some proverb word jumbles which Latin teachers might find useful ...

N.S. Gill tells us about a French vineyard which is replicating Roman wine-making processes ...

Eric has an interesting excerpt on the cost of sea-travel in ancient Greece ... the Quintilian bit today is about synecdoche ...

David Welsh has a very long post about fake ancient coins on eBay and his start up of an email list to discuss the issue ...

Phil Harland is looking at claims of cannibalism in the early Church ...

Ed Flinn has a nice Cornelia/Eagle ...

Mischa Hooker finds Bob Dylan referring to Ovid ...

Ioannis Georganas has a list of cool excavation websites ....

Nathan Bauman is looking at Medea and the Merchant of Venice ...
Seen on the Classicists list:

Dear Classicists,

This is to confirm that the new Classics magazine, iris, will be out
on 18th September and is available to order either through me or the
website at

iris magazine is part of a wider project to promote access to Classics
in state schools across the country, and half of all copies printed
will be sent to state schools free of charge. This is funded by sales
of copies, advertising in the magazine and donations to the project.

If you would like to be sent a contents poster for the first issue, or
have any questions about the project generally, then get in touch at

Macte esto!
Corriere della Sera brings news (in Italian) of the discovery of an Etruscan sanctuary near Orvieto:

Il bello è che di tutta questa romanzesca storia, il ministro competente — ovvero Francesco Rutelli — non sa ancora assolutamente nulla: la scheda tecnica per informarlo sarebbe partita solo a fine settembre dall'università di Macerata. Comunque la notizia, per gli etruscologi, è di straordinario interesse.
Dopo sei anni di scavi e di ricerche, il Dipartimento di scienze archeologiche e storiche dell'antichità dell'università di Macerata è sicuro di aver individuato ai piedi di Orvieto, nella spianata di Campo della Fiera, il fantomatico Fanum Voltumnae, cioè il santuario federale ( Fanum significa luogo sacro, concetto ben più ampio d'un singolo tempio) delle dodici città etrusche, una sorta di Vaticano in cui ogni anno i capi politici e religiosi della Lega etrusca si riunivano in «concilium», come racconta con precisione Tito Livio, per fare il punto politico della situazione civile e militare e per pregare gli dei comuni.
Un evento grandioso, oggi si direbbe «di massa», che coinvolgeva migliaia di persone: sacerdoti, politici, militari, una folla di fedeli, atleti impegnati in gare, mercanti e venditori che davano vita a una gigantesca fiera commerciale di cui si parlava anche a Roma da cui partivano molti venditori. Un movimento di popolo, sempre in primavera, che serviva a rinsaldare le radici e la stessa identità etrusca. La ricerca etruscologica del Fanum Voltumnae risale al XV secolo, allo studioso Annio da Viterbo e alla sua Historia Antiqua. Mille le ipotesi lungo i secoli, mai nessuna certezza.
Il direttore dello scavo, la professoressa Simonetta Stopponi, ordinario di etruscologia e archeologia italica a Macerata, per prudenza scientifica sostiene che la certezza assoluta arriverà solo dopo il ritrovamento di un'iscrizione dedicata al dio Voltumna, principale divinità della terra e patrono del popolo etrusco. Ma, dice, «le caratteristiche di un grande santuario, di quel preciso santuario, ci sono tutte». Così elenca la professoressa, un autentico vulcano di passione archeologica: «L'ampiezza dell'area complessiva, la sistemazione urbanistica con i pozzi e le fontane, la presenza di un edificio templare e di una zona sacra molto articolata, la continuità dell'uso religioso del luogo che parte dal VI secolo avanti Cristo e prosegue addirittura fino al XV secolo dopo Cristo, i resti di attività cultuali come gli ex voto in bronzo del II secolo a.C. e i frammenti di piccoli vasi attici di eccellente fattura del VI-V secolo a.C. che poi venivano distrutti e quindi seppelliti per tradizione dopo l'uso».

L'idea di scavare proprio lì non è nuova. L'università di Macerata (che opera in regime di concessione ministeriale) ha seguito le tracce dei primi archeologi che, alla fine dell'800, trovarono alcuni resti murari e molte terrecotte, materiali poi venduti al Pergamon Museum di Berlino e che coincidono con quelli trovati oggi. Gli scavi sono cominciati nel 2000 su un'area di proprietà dell'Opera del Duomo di Orvieto che l'ha concessa per vent'anni al Comune per permettere le ricerche.
E sempre il Comune di Orvieto ospita ogni anno i cinquanta studenti di Macerata, di altre università italiane e straniere (americane, spagnole, messicane) impegnati con picconi, palette e spazzole. Il tutto è possibile grazie ai finanziamenti del Monte dei Paschi di Siena e di Mps Asset Management Sgr ma anche ad alcuni fondi dell'Unione europea e del Parco archeologico e ambientale dell'Orvietano.

I risultati, alla fine della campagna 2006, sono più che incoraggianti. Ora la pianta del tempio principale (12 metri per 6) è ben visibile, con fondamenta e un grosso podio in conci di tufo (VI-IV secolo avanti Cristo) e il pavimento romano del II secolo a.C. in «signino» decorato. Poi è ben leggibile un'ampia porzione del muro di cinta dell'area sacra (lunga diciotto metri), sempre in tufo (datazione ancora da confermare, comunque tra il VI e il IV secolo a.C.) Ha rivisto la luce l'intero impianto di fondamenta della chiesa di San Pietro in Vetere del XII secolo, costruita su una delle aree sacre del complesso etrusco, come testimonia il primo strato in tipico tufo, forse del IV secolo: quindi un primo pavimento cristiano del IV d.C. e un secondo in mosaico bianco e nero del V-VI secolo d.C. e infine la struttura della Chiesa del XII secolo poi affidata ai Frati minori francescani e quindi ai Servi di Maria. Edificio poi abbandonato e caduto in rovina, non si sa bene in quale secolo. Sono stati ritrovati le aperture dei due pozzi necessari alle attività di culto.

Soprattutto sono emerse due imponenti strade basolate, entrambe etrusche. Una, larga cinque metri e disposta di fronte all'ingresso del tempio principale, collegava sicuramente Orvieto a Bolsena. La seconda, larga sette metri, secondo Simonetta Stopponi rappresenta un'altra prova dell'importanza del complesso religioso e quindi della probabilissima individuazione del Fanum Voltumnae: «Si trattava di un percorso sacro, infatti il tracciato si trova nel retro del tempio e porta dal piano verso l'alto della collina. Ben oltre l'area che stiamo scavando abbiamo già trovato altre due grosse strutture in grandi blocchi di tufo, tipicamente etruschi. Lì dovrebbe trovarsi il luogo sacro conclusivo di quel tracciato. Infatti abbiamo individuato un terzo pozzo». E sui blocchi dell'ultimo ritrovamento sono passati i segni del tempo e dell'agricoltura del posto: sui tufi sono chiari i passaggi degli aratri, chissà mai a quale secolo risalgono.
Ieri sera il gruppo dei ragazzi ha festeggiato con una gran cena nel verde di Orvieto, presieduta dalla professoressa Stopponi, la campagna di scavo 2006. Ma molti obiettivi sono ancora in sospeso (e ovviamente tutti da finanziare): le ricerche sui nuovi ritrovamenti a Nord, la possibile individuazione a Ovest dello stadio per i giochi sportivi, addirittura la probabile esistenza di alcune tombe lì sulla collina. La scommessa del Campo della Fiera dura da sei anni. Ma forse, chissà, è appena cominciata.

UPDATE: The Times came through with a shorter version:

Archaeologists believe that they have found the ruins of the religious and political centre of the Etruscan civilisation.

The Etruscans lived in the area between Rome and Florence from the 8th century BC until they were absorbed by Romans about 600 years later.

The heads of Etruria’s 12 city states would meet to discuss their affairs every spring at a holy place called the Fanum Voltumnae. It was never clear where the Fanum was but archaeologists from Macerata University believe they have found it at a site near the hill town of Orvieto, 60 miles (96km) north of Rome.

Extensive digs at the site revealed the walls of a central temple, two important roads and part of the perimeter wall of a major shrine, all built in the tufa stone used by the Etruscans. “It has all the characteristics of a great shrine, and of that great shrine in particular,” said Simonetta Stopponi, Professor of Etruscan studies at Macerata University.

So far the team has not found an inscription referring to the Etruscan god Voltumna, which would confirm the site of the shrine.
From Caboodle:

The world's only working Roman galley is currently traveling down the Danube towards Budapest, where it will stop this weekend for a brief but memorable set of events celebrating the Danube's ancient river maritime heritage.

Built by history students from the University of Regensburg in southern Germany, the 20-meter-long wooden ship is a perfect copy of a 1,600-year-old galley of the sort used when Hungary was a Roman-ruled province known as Pannonia. From 35 BC, Aquincum - the capital of Pannonia - was the center of the Roman's Danube fleet, which patrolled the river from Regensburg (then known as Raetia) to Belgrade (Moesia).

The aim of the traveling exhibition is to show people that, while few physical remnants of ancient maritime life exist, traffic on the Danube was lively during this period. The galley carries a crew of 20 German and Austrian university students, who will build a Roman camp during their stay.

While the exact timetable for the ship's arrival and travels in Budapest are not fixed - there are tentative plans for a stop at Batthyány tér in downtown Budapest - the highlight of the visit will be a "field" exhibit organized by the Aquincum Museum, the repository for many of Hungary's Roman-era artifacts. "The program will include handicraft workshops, the building of boat models, presentations on the 'water lifestyle' of the Romans and a lecture on water archeology," said Katalin Lengyelné Kurucz, organizer of the event. Programs begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, and at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, and will also include opportunities for visitors to take trips on the Regensburg boat, as well as two smaller, Hungarian-built replicas.

Note that the events will not take place at the Aquincum museum itself, but on the grounds of the nearby Graphisoft IT Park (behind the Óbuda Auchan), which today produces technology as advanced as the ancestors of the visiting galley were - just before they were swept aside by the low-tech but high-energy Huns.

A photo accompanies the original article ...
An excerpt from a press release advertising a 'rare Roman torso' on sale at Medusa Art:

An Aug 20th article in the Wall Street Journal mentioned that "The heightened appreciation for art as an investment is driven largely by rising prices at auctions." As prices continue to climb, wealth managers have become bullish on the art and antiquities market for their clients. With the increased value, the volume of quality pieces on the market is diminishing, driving prices even higher. Over the past 5 years prices better quality antiquities have doubled, leaving dealers scrambling to find new inventory.

Fine art & antiquities merchants such as ( are working diligently to find new objects to fulfill the growing demand. "We were quite lucky to recently acquire a beautiful, rare, Roman Torso of a young God from the 1st century AD, published in 1926 in the Hagop Kevorkian Collection of Antiquities, founder of The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University" said Allan Anawati President of "Five years ago this piece would have sold for around $25,000. In today’s market, a piece of this quality is evaluated at about $60,000-$80,000 and will probably continue to appreciate in value as the demand for antiquities grows beyond the available inventory."

Interesting ... at the beginning of summer I wrote that this is exactly what would be happening because of all the repatriation cases ... QED ...
The lesson ... always check with the Classics Department (or your 12-year-old) ... from WFTV:

Thousands of Gator T-shirts are going back in the box because of a mix up. Roman numerals meant to denote the year "2006" on the University of Florida shirts actually translate into "26."

Pepsi paid for the shirts. It has an exclusive contract with the school.

According to UF's athletic association, neither Pepsi nor the school discovered the error before distribution. But those handing out the free shirts and the students who got them noticed.

Over 20,000 shirts were printed, and those that have not been distributed to students will be returned to Pepsi.

A Pepsi spokeswoman said it's not clear what they will do with the shirts that are returned, but that they apologize for the error. Pepsi will pay for another set of shirts to be distributed in late September before the Alabama game.

This isn't a first for the University Athletic Association. In 2003, it published media guides that featured a crocodile on the front cover instead of an alligator -- the school's mascot.

A suggestion -- just to get some totally-off-topic CanCon in this one -- Pepsi can give the shirts to the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University, which will be celebrating a 26th anniversary competition next year ... ain't google wunnerful?
We've heard this rumour before ... now it's coming from Digital Spy:

Ridley Scott has admitted that he is considering making a sequel to his hit film Gladiator, despite the fact that the ending of the film seems unquestionably definite.

The director originally attempted to get a follow-up to the epic Roman drama in production in 2003, but after failing once he now seems ready to try again, provided he can get the original actor to return to the role of general Maximus Decimus Meridius.

According to Contactmusic, Scott commented: "I will probably do a sequel to Gladiator. The only problem is Russell Crowe was such a powerful presence and, of course, Maximus dies at the end. We'll have to get Russell back somehow."
From the Advertiser:

TWO treasure hunters in Oldham are to be investigated by police after a unique 2,000-year-old Roman ring, which they claimed to have found in a field, turned out to have been bought on eBay.

Friends Colin Hilton and Gary Moore say they found the ring buried six-inches deep in a field near Daisy Nook Country Park, Failsworth, on November 26 last year.

The pair had permission from the elderly landowner to use their metal detectors on the farmland.

Mr Hilton, from Limehurst, said: "I was getting grief from the missus and just wanted to get out of the house for half an hour. I wish I’d never gone out now.

"We were standing next to each other and we picked up the same tone from both detectors. I was the one who actually picked it up."

After cleaning the mud from their find, they say they realised it could be valuable and handed it in.

According to the law, when valuables like this are discovered they must be handed to the district coroner within 14 days, who then informs the British Museum and decides if what was found qualifies as ‘treasure’.

A treasure trove inquest is held and, if the museum wants to buy it, the finder receives a reward.

In the case of the Oldham ‘find’, X-ray analysis revealed the ring was 84 to 86 per cent gold, 11 to 13 per cent silver and one to two per cent copper.

Dr Richard Hobbs, curator of Romano British collections at the British Museum, said: "It is a Roman filigree gold ring, made from a drawn strand of wire. There are no exact parallels with this item. It looks more likely to be a finger ring. The date is first or second century AD."

An inquest in Oldham on Thursday decided the ring was indeed 'treasure', and Colin Hilton was questioned as to how and when it was found.

However, the coroner then stunned those present by revealing evidence that the ring had actually been listed for sale on the internet auction site eBay on November 12, 2005, and sold seven days later.

It attracted 13 bids and sold for £42.23, plus £1.85 postage and packing.

The seller has since stated he bought the ring from a third party in Austria.

The coroner said: "Given that this item was clearly bought and sold on eBay prior to the date it was found I am not satisfied that a criminal act has not been committed, therefore I am proposing to involve Greater Manchester Police. I know from the British Museum that this is the first circumstance of this type nationwide."

The police are expected to investigate whether the two local men are guilty of fraud and whether they had actually bought the ring and then pretended to find it, hoping that they would get a reward greater than the sum originally paid for the item.

After the inquest was adjourned, Colin Hilton said: "I have been shafted. I didn’t want to make money or get in the papers."

Gary Moore, who has since been unanimously voted out of the North West Metal Detecting Club (NWMDC), said: "I did everything according to the law and look what I got for my troubles."

Mr Moore claims someone he knows has since admitted hiding the ring in the field as a prank.

Cyril Askew, chairman of the NWMDC and a metal detector with 20 years’ experience, said that he thought the ring was worth hundreds of pounds, and poured scorn on the Oldham men’s claims.

He said: "I just hope this does not bring the hobby into disrepute."
From the Collegian:

Stuart L. Wheeler, a professor of Latin and classical studies, died Aug. 25 of lung cancer. He was 68.

Wheeler, who joined the University of Richmond faculty in 1967, once served as chairman of the classical studies department and was recently the program director for the Urban Practice and Policy program.

Students and colleagues remember Wheeler as a professor who was deeply committed to his teaching style and the classics. He was a stickler for correct Latin pronunciation and often made his students sing Latin poetry. He took students to Greece each year and proudly shared his personal stories and photos with his classes.

"He was old-school," senior Bart Natoli said. Natoli took three of Wheeler's classes and is the founder of the "Stuart Wheeler is My Dawg" Facebook group. Natoli said Wheeler's "Bill Cosby sweaters" and dry humor amused many of his students.

Natoli and other students said Wheeler was passionate about his political opinions but always willing to listen to students' perspectives.

"I never agreed with anything Professor Wheeler said," Natoli said. "However, I never once doubted his motives, and even though I disagreed with him, I always could see his point. He always was trying to better me as a student and as a person in his own eccentric way."

"Stuart Wheeler had a great deal of devotion to his students," classics Professor Walter Stevenson said. "He had a personal connection to them."

His colleagues said Wheeler constantly tried to be in tune with students' needs and he designed the classics library with their comfort and study habits in mind. He furnished it with plush couches and antique study desks from Ryland Hall. Wheeler was an advocate of merging education and aesthetics, Classics Department Chair Dean Simpson said.

"Professor Wheeler connected with students as they were," Simpson said. "He believed students could be moved aesthetically in the room."

Wheeler also provided many of the artifacts for the department's Ancient World Gallery. He found an ancient mummy in the 1970s and stored it in his car for a year before it could be displayed in the gallery.

The late professor was also an authority on University of Richmond architecture and former President Frederic Boatwright, Simpson said. He completed an unpublished book, "Beyond the Sun Door: Emanations of Beauty from the Parthenon to the University of Richmond."

Sparked by his interest in architecture and historic preservation, Wheeler became active in efforts to improve the City of Richmond when he served on the city's Commission of Architectural Review from 1972-1982. At the university, he saved and revised the urban practice and policy program because he believed it was a necessary academic option for students studying in a metro area, political science professor Dan Palazzolo said. Palazzolo is the interim director of the urban practice and policy program.

"Professor Wheeler never stopped evolving," Simpson said. "His view of things was always aesthetic. It all had to do with the way environments need to be nurtured to foster culture."

Before coming to Richmond, Wheeler attended the College of William & Mary as an undergraduate and pursued graduate degrees at Vanderbilt University and the Johns Hopkins University. A native of Bedford, Va., Wheeler was a passionate singer, and during college, he performed an Irish song on a television talent show. He also owned a popular antiques shop in Richmond.

Funeral plans are pending, and the classics department intends to memorialize Wheeler through his work in creating the Ancient World Gallery, Simpson said.
Like Glaukopis, I rarely participate in these online quizzes, but as she found, the Greek Mythology Personality Test was a good one. Here's my results:

My score on The Greek Mythology Personality Test:


(33% Extroversion, 86% Intuition, 27% Emotiveness, 23% Perceptiveness)

"You are most like Prometheus, and you probably knew that before you even took this test. You probably aren't deliberately altruistic, but you still tend to do things that benefit everyone, even at great expense to your health and personal relationships. You aren't ruled by your emotions, but you still have a strong sense of justice. You make good descisions, but they can sometimes backfire (and this isn't due to a flaw in your reasoning, but due to faulty premises instead).

You are very reasonable, you understand systems, you can quickly pinpoint flaws and you know how to correct them. You pride understanding and knowledge above everything else, and your greatest fear is to appear to be incompetent. You tend to be contemptuous of authority, but you don't accept leadership roles yourself until everyone else has demonstrated their own incompetence.

You've built a very specific skill set. You know exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are, and you pride yourself on this kind of self-knowledge. You distrust tradition, which you see as arbitrary, and you rely instead on your own judgements. You also pride yourself on your pragmatism. You're also a very private person.

Most of all, people think you're arrogant, but screw them! They're the ones who benefit from your ideas and discoveries, and if they took the time to understand why it is that you say and think the things you do, they'd realize that you only appear arrogant because you are exactingly precise when it comes to your area of specification, and most of all because, when you don't know something, you don't have an opinion about it (unlike most of the loudmouths that you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis).

Relationships are your kryptonite. It isn't that you don't want them -- in fact, you would very much like a very close relationship with someone who understands you. They're just the one thing in the world that you're naturally bad at.

Famous people like you: Niels Bohr, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Werner Heisenberg, Issac Newton, John Maynard Keynes, Erwin Schrodinger
Stay Clear of: Apollo, Icarus, Hermes, Aphrodite
Seek out: Atlas, The Oracle, Daedalus"


There are some folks who know me who would probably think that was a pretty accurate description. Take the test yourself ...
Ever notice how whenever there's an 'ailment' (for lack of a better term), Alexander is claimed to have had it? First we have left-handedness, then there was that sexual orientation thing, then epilepsy, and now -- from a piece at WFIE:

Let's dispel some myths.

First, there's the myth that hyperactivity is a mental disorder.

If hyperactivity is a mental disorder, then so is being artistic or athletic or genius or musical. Hyperactivity is a personality type, and one which has given the world some of its finest moments. Guess who was hyperactive? Here's a list:

Columbus, Alexander the Great, St. Paul, Joan of Arc, Johnny Appleseed, Marco Polo, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Theodore Roosevelt, Lewis and Clark, Geronimo, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Lancelot - if he existed - the Wright brothers, Van Gogh, and the list goes on.

Another one to add to the useful page at ...
Sermo datur cunctis, animi sapientia paucis.

The capacity for speech is given to everyone, but wisdom of mind to
only a few.

Pron = SEHR-moh DAH-toor KOONK-tees AH-nih-mee sah-pee-EHN-tee-ah POW-kees

Comment: Or, so it would seem. It might be more accurate to say that
while all human beings seem to have figured out how to make words come
out of our mouths, we don't always master, equally well, some internal
guiding mechanism.

It strikes me that it is the "internal" part that so illudes us.
Forces have worked on us most of our lives to convince us that
guidance and direction come from somewhere outside of us--in an
authority, in a book, in laws, in rules, in relationships. And when
we depend entirely on any of those things, we end up doing really stupid things.

I subscribe to the possibility that all human beings come with the
capacity to find inner guidance. That does not mean that we do, but
that we can. In order to find it, though, we have to tire of the
sound of our own voice. Then, we get quiet, and we discover the
voice-more-real inside. The voice that is really who we are. My own
experience is that my capacity to hear this voice comes and goes, that
I am still often taken with making noise come out of my face. And
then I grow tired of that again, and I hear the voice again--deep

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
RMB sent this one in (thanks!) ... it's a little video checking to see who has learned the lessons of history (it's funny ... some potentially offensive language).