Ibi potest valere populus ubi leges valent.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 291)

Pron = IH-bee POH-test wah-LAY-reh POH-poo-loos OO-bee LAY-gays WAH-lent.

The people are strong in that place where the laws are strong.

Comment: "valere" means to be strong, not in the sense of force, but in the sense of health. The typicial Latin way of saying "goodbye" is to say "vale"--be well, be strong, be healthy.

So, our proverb might also be translated: the people are healthy in that place where the laws are healthy.

What does it mean for our laws to be healthy? Do healthy laws give power to officials, or do they protect the rights and freedoms of the people?

There have been frequent news accounts of late detailing how loopholes in the law have been used to allow the president and his assistants to search the mail of Americans; to appoint federal district attorneys without congressional approval, and statements by the attorney general indicating a belief that habeas corpus was never protected by the constitution.

For the first time in my life, as an American citizen, I fear that the protections of law that I have enjoyed all my life are being manipulated by those who would seize more power for themselves regardless of what that means to human and civil rights.

I know this won't be a popular commentary for some who receive this.
My intention is not to cause discomfort--at least--no more than those who make our laws weak.

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

pridie kalendas februarias

1000 B.C. -- temple of Hercules at Tyre completed (according to one 'traditional' reckoning)

817 B.C. -- death of Anchises (according to the same reckoning)

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

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

c. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Saturninus, Thrysus, and Victor in Alexandria
From the Northern Echo:

DWELLINGS dating back to the Iron Age and Roman eras have been uncovered during work on a major road improvement scheme in the region.

The half-dozen round houses, including paddocks and fields, were uncovered along the A66 during work to create a dual carriageway.

The scheme is focused on the stretch between Carkin Moor and Scotch Corner and Greta Bridge to Stephen Bank.
Advertisement continued...

And it was while excavations were being carried out at Scotch Corner, near the junction of two Roman roads, that the discoveries were made.

Highways Agency project manager Lynne Biddles said: "It's fantastic weve been able to uncover all these settlements and artefacts ahead of these dualling schemes. We can now piece together the history of this area and preserve it for the wider community to enjoy."

The site is close to the Melsonby crossroads and other features include a circular house, square structures, pits and field ditches. These are thought to be associated with a larger settlement close by on the other side of the A66, near Rock Castle Farm.

The finds, to be handed to a local museum, were discovered with the help of a team of archaeologists who have been carrying out detailed excavations in four areas on the Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner stretch, in advance of the major works.

The existing A66 follows the line of an important Roman road, dating back to the 1st century AD. Potential sites were discovered in 1999 and these helped to influence the early design of the road schemes.

Archaeologists were given the green light to begin the excavations last May.

The road scheme has enabled archaeologists to carry out the first excavation of Scots Dyke, a large ditch running for 14km through North Yorkshire, in modern times.

Experts now believe to be 1,000 years older than was previously thought and is provisionally dated to the 1st century AD.

The site is considered of such importance that an unexcavated section will be preserved intact under the new A66 carriageway.

Metal detecting near Black Plantation has also revealed another insight into the way communities lived in the 17th and early 18th centuries with the discovery of objects such as a small silver christening spoon.
Victor Davis Hanson writes in the New York Sun:

There is something incongruous about the study of Greek and Latin and the dirty life of the farmer. The former requires pouring over obscure texts with complicated syntax and forgotten vocabulary — the latter hours riding a smoky tractor or shoveling dung out of a barn.

But beyond the modern dichotomy that so separates the world of the academic from the larger muscular one outside, there shouldn't necessarily be a divide in the case of classics. After all, nine out of 10 ancient Greeks were rural people. The majority of them were farmers. And that truth is reflected in many of Homer's similes in his "Iliad" and "Odyssey," Hesiod's "Works and Days," Aristophanes' "Acharnians," or the vast treatises of Theophrastus, where so often Greek thought is expressed through the life of agriculture.

The late David Grene's small memoir (University of Chicago Press, 169 pages, $30) tries to explain how, at least in the case of one exemplary life, farming and classics enhanced each other. At the outset, we should note that this is an atypical autobiography by a distinguished classicist. So there is nothing on the evolution of the field, turf battles won or lost, and books written or not — of the sort that we read in the long lives of a J.K. Dover, E.R. Dodds, or Gilbert Murray.

Other than brief sketches of those who taught the young Grene at Dublin — J.G. Smyly, George Mooney, and Sir Robert Tate—there is little here about the nature of Grene's own research and scholarly interests. There is almost nothing offered about his two wives, children, or family life in general, or the nature of his own intellectual development once he began his long career at the University of Chicago. And Grene was, in modern terms, hardly a successful, or even a typical, farmer. He seems to have lost money raising small herds and flocks, tending to his pasturage, avoiding machines when possible, and lamenting the steady mechanization and corporatization of agriculture while tending the three farms he acquired over his 88 years in both Ireland and Illinois.

Most of the labor, as he describes it, was dirty and back-breaking — and one could argue came at the expense of scholarly publication. Today we associate Grene's legacy with fine translations of the Greek playwrights and a few incisive articles and short books, but not with any magnum opus of classical scholarship, or even doctoral training of the great classicists or shaping of the public intellectuals who passed through Chicago over the more than half century of Grene's tenure there.

There is no index, only a brief bibliography of Grene's work, and a few abbreviated eulogies from his peers and colleagues. Dust jacket blurbs rightly describe the author or the book's contents with words like "quirky," or "idiosyncrasy."

Grene's memoir focuses mostly on his early education in Ireland. There are nice reflections on the nature of his work with animals and his efforts to foster broad general education, especially during the stormy tenure of Robert Maynard Hutchins at the University of Chicago and the creation of the Committee on Social Thought. There are some good asides on Allan Bloom, Harpo Marx, and others he met — though nothing on Richmond Lattimore, with whom Grene edited the Chicago translations of 5th-century Athenian drama. His worry over the end of shared knowledge of great texts and ideas dovetails neatly with a similar lament of the decline of small farming.

There is a reasonable defense of fox hunting ("Long may it flourish — and I believe it will"), castigation of the Chicago Stock Yards, vignettes about actors and directors that reflect Grene's love of the theater, and a balanced sketch of the great strengths and frailties in the Great Books approach at Chicago. Throughout shines his understated love of America that befriended him at an early age, "After all the years in between, this my beginning sentiment of admiration and awe about America has never entirely faded."

In all this, Grene reminds us of two crucial aspects of modern life exemplified by this rare individual. First is the symbiosis between the life of contemplation and action — and just how it is that hard physical and dirty work offers real value in rediscovering nature, bringing with it a certain pragmatism that permeates reading and thinking: "Small farming as an attractive job depends on the possession of a mind not now common." By the same token, what prevents this labor from devolving into drudgery is often the ability to frame the banal activities of the day into some abstract wisdom of the ages through the reading of the Greeks.

Second, Grene reminds us of what constitutes success in life. It surely wasn't nice homes, large farms, distinguished titles, or top salaries. Indeed, we are told in a fine introduction by Robert Pippin that Grene in his 80s taught for a time without compensation. He surely had the talent (his recall of Greek was phenomenal), common sense, and energy to have been materially successful and well-off had that been his focus.

Rather, as we read here, Grene was more interested in students, and above all in imparting some wisdom gained to others that neither Greek nor farming alone might bequeath, but could in concert.

I confess a prejudice in empathizing with Grene. I have tried to farm and study Greek and Latin for most of my life — albeit in the more brutal world of both California agribusiness and the near open admissions of the California State University system. After rereading this short but memorable autobiography, I realized that it wasn't all as preposterous as it too often seemed. And I thank the late David Grene for explaining why that is so.
From the BBC:

Historic marble busts of Roman emperors are being returned to pride of place at a national trust property after 50 years on the ground floor.

The busts, including Claudius, Augustus and Nero, at Powis Castle, in Welshpool, were bought by the Herbert family in Italy in the 17th Century.

They were taken from the castle's Long Gallery in the 1950s amid fears their weight was too much for the wood floor.

The gallery's floor has been strengthened to take the eight busts.

A team of four National Trust "conservators," a structural engineer, an architect, a team of builders, and a crane are taking three weeks to complete the £20,000 project.

The busts each weighing 150kg (330lbs) are being lifted from a courtyard up to the gallery through a window.

Floorboards in the Long Gallery had been reinforced with steel joists and bearer plates to take the extra weight of the busts.

The Herbert family, who have lived at Powis Castle since Elizabethan times, bought a total of a dozen busts as souvenirs during their trips to Italy.

Moving each bust and its pedestal takes about half a day

The collecting of such busts became popular in the 18th Century for people on a "grand tour" of Europe.

Italy was one of the main destinations, and marble sculpture was very much sought after by the wealthy art collectors.

Margaret Gray, the National Trust's House Manager at Powis Castle, said: "The intention is to make this yet another reason to visit Powis Castle.

"It is not just a matter of restoring a historical scheme, but it will introduce a greater sense of symmetry and rhythm to the gallery, and render it more individual and idiosyncratic given the contrast between the scale of these splendid, heroic-sized sculptures of the Caesars and the gallery itself."

Powis Castle opens to the public from 17 March.
The incipit of a lengthy piece in the New York Times ... I hope some of the dynamic profs in our field are paying attention:

Fourth period on a midwinter Thursday, Christmas vacation a fading memory by now, and Lars Brownworth took his accustomed place in front of an American history class at the Stony Brook School here. He had been guiding these seniors through the Gilded Age lately, and for this session he planned to personify the era in the form of the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller.

For 45 minutes, Mr. Brownworth deftly orchestrated lecture, discussion and archival photographs to evoke Rockefeller in both his rapacious capitalism and social conscience. When the bell rang, out shuffled the audience, a dozen teenagers who might or might not remember any of this material beyond the next exam. In its satisfactions and its limits, such was the life Mr. Brownworth, the son of teachers, had gladly chosen.

That night, though, Mr. Brownworth, 31, set to work in his own apartment, writing an essay about Alexius I Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. After revision and rehearsal, the text would become the script for the latest installment of Mr. Brownworth’s podcast. And if form held, something like 140,000 listeners from Afghanistan to White Plains would hear it.

In barely 18 months, Mr. Brownworth’s podcast, “12 Byzantine Rulers” (at http://www.anders.com/lectures/lars_brownworth/12_byzantine_rulers/), has become one of the phenomena of the podcasting world. A survey of 1,200 years of rather abstruse history, starting with Diocletian in 284 and finishing with Constantine XI Palaeologus in 1453, “12 Byzantine Rulers” routinely ranks in the top five educational podcasts on iTunes, and in the top 50 of all podcasts.

In the digital era, this self-taught amateur has emerged as a figure somewhat akin to Will Durant in books or Jacob Bronowski on public television, an effective and engaging popularizer. Mr. Brownworth’s podcast competes favorably with far more conventional and credentialed online fare — university courses in beginning French or Psychology 101, test-prep drills for the SAT. Even the other highly rated personal podcasts, like “Word Nerds” and “Grammar Girl,” appeal to dependably large audiences for etymology and grammar.

“It’s a slightly frightening idea to think there are so many people,” Mr. Brownworth said. “But without question it’s the most exciting part of my professional life. We’re in the middle of a revolution, and I feel incredibly blessed to be part of it.”

While listeners address him in their e-mail messages with the respectful honorific “Professor,” Mr. Brownworth, in fact, holds only a bachelor’s degree in history, from Houghton College in upstate New York. He started teaching at Stony Brook, an independent school, only in 1999, and his initial assignment was in the science department. To the extent that he had any specialty as an undergraduate, it was the Battle of Hastings, a long way from Constantinople.

What Mr. Brownworth always possessed was a sweeping intellectual curiosity about antiquity, which inspired him while he was growing up on Long Island to learn to read hieroglyphics and sound out the Greek inscriptions in the ruins of Herculaneum. He also had a talent for dramatizing himself, whether donning the set of armor owned by family friends or imitating characters from a firefighter to a gorilla in a series of home movies called “Lars’s World.”

Still, Mr. Brownworth had fallen into the passive assumption that between Rome’s fall and the Renaissance there existed nothing but barbarism. It took a casual mention of a Byzantine empress in a book about Charlemagne that he read a few years ago for Mr. Brownworth’s curiosity to be kindled. He followed it into such standard texts as “A History of the Byzantine State” by George Ostrogorsky and “The Fall of Constantinople” by Steven Runciman. On a school trip to Turkey, he walked into the very church where every Byzantine emperor had been crowned.

“There was something mysterious about the Byzantine empire to me, this sense that it was lost history,” Mr. Brownworth recalled. “America is very much a Protestant country, and we really don’t feel like we’re connected to the Eastern world, that we don’t share values. But it’s not a coincidence that the Renaissance kicks off after the fall of Constantinople. A lot of those Greek-speaking intellectuals fled to the West, bringing their knowledge of the classics. That knowledge had been kept alive with the Byzantines.”

... the rest
From YLE:

De curribus electricis
: Nuntii Latini

25.01.2007, klo 17.33

Currus electrici post septuaginta annos in vias Parisiorum reverterunt.

Ultima ferrivia urbana anno millesimo nongentesimo tricesimo septimo Parisiis clausa est, cum commeatus electricus usu autocinetorum demoveretur.

Hodie autem currus electrici propter ipsa autocineta in pristinum statum redacti sunt magistratibus prohibere conantibus, ne aer urbis emissionibus autoraedarum nimis pollueretur.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris:
D. Asheri (ed.), Erodoto, Le Storie. Libro IX. La battaglia di Platea. Commento aggiornato da P. Vannicelli. Testo critico di A. Corcella. Traduzione di A. Fraschetti.

Maria Wyke, Julius Caesar in Western Culture.

This one was on the Classics list t'other day; not sure how I missed it ... from the Toronto Star:

WINDSOR–Max Nelson earned his PhD in classical studies through pioneering scholarship and 10 litres of the oldest beer ever produced in Canada.

"The beer recipe reflected what they were doing in Egypt millennia ago," says Nelson, a University of Windsor professor and beer history guru.

He describes the ancient beer, called bouza in Arabic, as intensely sweet-sour in taste and a beautiful ruby red in colour – once the heavy sediment settles.

Nelson served the bouza to the PhD examiners in 2001 to drive home the key finding from his exhaustive delving into old monastery records and classical literature – although the first beer was produced in Egypt or Mesopotamia 3,000 years ago, the suds consumed around the world today stem from much more recent European beer-making.

"And so does all the cultural baggage," Nelson adds. That cultural baggage is the lingering prejudice against beer as a second-class tipple in contrast to the snobbery, pretence and inflated prices surrounding wine.

"There appears to be no limit to what people will pay for a bottle of wine but you can't imagine handing over more than $10 for a bottle of beer in a store," Nelson says. "How can something possibly taste thousands of times better than something else?"

It doesn't, of course, but blame the ancient Greeks and Romans for a lingering anti-beer tilt in our culture (which we inherited from Europe). And credit the Germans for softening that stigma after the Roman Empire fell to beer-loving Goth invaders in the 5th century.

The Romans called the Goths barbarians and Nelson's detail-rich book tracing the history of beer in Europe up to 1000 is titled The Barbarian's Beverage (Routledge, 2005).

The 34-year-old scholar obviously lives and breathes classical studies. Nearly every surface in his office displays some ancient artifact, such as oil lamps, coins and vases.

A tall stand holds a replica breastplate and helmet of a Roman legionnaire and nearby are a shield and sword ("The proper term is actually legionary, if it matters"). For a photograph, Nelson volunteers to don a Roman toga and down pints in a campus pub.

"Why divorce pleasure and work? I flew through my PhD because I loved the topic," he says.

In scouting a doctoral topic at the University of British Columbia, Nelson discovered that no writer had seriously tackled the history of beer in ancient Europe. Yet he uncovered a wealth of revealing information from sources as varied as the writings of Aristotle to parchment records from monasteries in France.

"There were a lot of things that no one had ever looked at before because they hadn't been translated from the Latin. But if you see hops and barley listed together, it has to be for beer."

Such dogged detective work led to several key insights about Europe's contribution to modern beer culture and technology, including:

# Actual "brewing" of beer by adding malt to boiling water was born in Europe, around the 4th century, even through beers had already been produced by other means for millennia.

# Hops were used as a preservative and flavouring in beer at least by 822 in Europe, a full five centuries before the previously accepted date.

# The ancient Gauls of France introduced barrels to beer-making, which could be rolled for easy transportation and were less liable to break than the pottery jars used previously.

"The beer we drink today is a European drink even though the Pharaohs in Egypt also drank beer, and that would have been pretty good beer, too," Nelson says.

Yet, while beer was good enough for the rulers of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Greeks dismissed it as fit only for foreigners, who were by definition inferiors. Nelson says this bias probably arose because the Greeks weren't very good scientists where booze was concerned.

"They understood that different drinks were intoxicating but they didn't understand that they were intoxicating because of alcohol."

Aristotle suggested that beer and wine must cause intoxication by different means because drunken beer-drinkers collapsed on their backs while drunken wine-imbibers fell in all directions.

Greek thinkers classed wine as a hot and dry substance and beer as a cold and wet one. And since they equated hot and dry with being manly and cold and wet with being effeminate, beer was shunned.

"The Greeks are the first people we know of who avoided making beer, even though they had an abundance of cereal and knew how to make it. It's very odd, because they were surrounded by people drinking beer," Nelson says.

Along with many other cultural influences, the Romans incorporated this anti-beer bias from the Greeks and spread it throughout their empire.

By the second century BC, the Gauls had come to regard beer as lower class and enriched the Roman economy by importing vast quantities of wine.

That wine arrived by sea in twin-handled pottery jars called amphora. Mounds of amphora shards at southern French cities like Toulouse are mute testimony to this cultural imperialism.

But then along came the barbarians, the Goths from Germany and farther north.

"The barbarian attitude was: it tastes good and makes you drunk, then you might as well drink it."

But while the German tribes rejected the notion of beer as unmanly, Nelson's research shows they still bought into the concept of wine as the elite drink.

Something worth considering as you order that next round.
Many versions of this kicking around ... this one's from the Herald Sun:

THOUSANDS of students joined hands to form a human chain around the Acropolis today, demanding the return of the marbles ripped from the Athens monument more than 200 years ago.

Wearing bright orange jackets reading "Parthenon Marbles - Reunification Now", about 2000 students and teachers formed a long line around the classical monument, calling for the British Museum to give the marbles back.

The Parthenon and other 2500-year-old marble temples on the Acropolis are seen as the epitome of the Golden Age of Athens.

Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece at the time, removed sculptures from the Parthenon and Greece has long pressed for their return.

"If you give youngsters a vision then they can turn it into a reality," said Giorgos Hasiakis, secretary of the Athens tutors' union, who helped organise the event.

"The marbles belong in their rightful place and the students will continue with such actions until they return."

He said campaigners had collected 65,000 signatures and sent 900 letters of protest to the head of the British Museum.

The late Greek actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri spearheaded a fiery campaign for their return in the 1980s, describing them as looted national treasures.

"It was Mercouri's dream to have them back home and we will make her dream come true," said Piraeus prefect Yannis Michas, who joined in the protest.

The British Museum has turned down all requests, saying the marbles are in better care in London, safe from the Athens pollution that has damaged those left behind.

Mr Hasiakis said campaigners would soon stage a similar protest in London outside the British Museum.

... as a teacher myself, I'm always disturbed when I see children being exploited in this way, even if they do appear to be high school age. I would have preferred to see their parents out there ....
From the Western Mail ... I'm sure some Classics prof will ant this:

It may not be the latest fashion but for Richard Burton fans the opportunity to buy this outfit could be too good to pass up.

The Roman breast-plated uniform and cape - made of brown leather with brass buckle and studded detail, gilt embossed sun motif and white leather skirt - was worn by the Welsh actor in the 1963 epic Cleopatra.

It is one of several pieces which will go under the hammer at the world's largest auction of film and TV costumes at Bonhams auction house in March, and looks set to fetch between £500 and £600.

It will feature alongside a yellow polka dot two-piece suit and cardigan worn by Catherine Zeta- Jones in The Darling Buds of May.

The suit is stamped inside with the name Mariette, the role which Catherine played in the television series, which ran between 1991 and 1993.

A velvet black coat worn in the series, edged with braid and ribbon will also feature in the auction, which is due to take place on March 6.

More than 350 items, all supplied by Angels The Costumiers, will be available to collectors and amateur fans alike, with prices ranging from £150 to £50,000.

In recognition of the popular appeal of the items, Bonhams' saleroom will be turned into a star's dressing room, allowing interested customers the opportunity to try on selected costumes.

Other lots in the Bonhams sale of Angels outfits include costumes from films such as Braveheart, Titanic, Elizabeth, Indiana Jones, Highlander, Robin Hood
‘ Roman art: where is it at and where is it going?’


Saturday March 24 2007 at The Open University, Milton Keynes (Christodoulou Meeting Room 15)

Everyone involved in teaching and researching Roman art in British universities is welcome to this Subject Day (funded by Classics in the Subject Centre, The Higher Education Academy). The aim is to meet and share discussion of current issues in the subject.



Coffee available from 10.30 am

Chair: Robin Osborne

11.00 am– 1. 00pm

Welcome (Janet Huskinson)

Some ideas for the agenda: suggested by Amanda Claridge, Katharina Lorenz, Sam Moorhead, Peter Stewart, and Caroline Vout

Followed by open discussion


1.00 pm to 1.45 pm   Lunch (Buffet lunch including vegetarian options)


1.45 pm  to 2.30pm  Small discussion groups on:

1.       Teaching strategies for undergraduates new to visual material 

2.       Postgraduate and research students (e.g. MA courses, recruitment, training of PhDs etc.) 

3.       New technologies in teaching (including sharing digital resources, copyright issues etc.) 

4.       ‘endangered specialisms ?’: subjects such as Roman architecture, Romano-British and Etruscan art (undergraduate teaching and postgraduate training needs) in the face of interdisciplinary courses..


2.30 pm -3.45 pm Open discussion:

Reports from groups. Where to go from here? Possibilities of setting up some kind of subject-network (e.g. via an email list). 

 3.45 Tea

4.00 Departure


There is no charge for this event but as places are limited booking is essential  (by the form below) by March 12 2007.

Travel directions to the Open University can be found at  http://www3.open.ac.uk/contact/locations.aspx. The Meeting Rooms are at the centre of the campus behind Walton Hall itself. There is plenty of car parking. The OU is about 15 minutes by taxi from Central Milton Keynes Station which is also the best stop for the X5 Oxford-Cambridge coach (cost around £10).



Roman Art Subject Day: March 24 2007


Please email to Bronwen Sharp, Departmental Co-ordinator, Department of Classical Studies, The Open University : B.M.Sharp AT open.ac.uk  by March 12 2007.


Title and position……………………………………………………

University and Department…………………………………………

Email address (for contact)…………………………………………

(Please indicate if you do NOT wish this to be made generally available)…………….

I would prefer to join discussion group 1, 2, 3, 4         (Delete numbers as applicable)

Any particular dietary requirements………………………………

A one-day event will be held on Saturday 2 June to mark the publication of R. O. A. M. Lyne's Collected Papers on Latin Poetry, and to commemorate the work of an outstanding and much-loved scholar.

The conference will consist of talks, followed by discussions, on passages of poets who were particular favourites of Oliver's. This seemed a suitable way to remember a critic so involved in close reading.

In the evening there will be a drinks party to launch the book (ISBN 978-0-19-920396-3). Both the events will take place in the new Classics Centre, 66, St Giles', Oxford.

The programme will be as follows:

11.00-11.30 arrival; coffee; introduction

11.30-1.00 first session; chair: Claudia Strobel
Llewelyn Morgan: ‘Round two with Lyne's Hercules: the communis deus in Aeneid VIII’
Jasper Griffin: Homer (title to be confirmed)

1.00-2.00 lunch

2.00-3.30 second session; chair: Peter Brown
Tony Woodman: ‘Double-speaking from Horace’
Stephen Heyworth: ‘Catullus 62’

3.30-4.00 tea

4.00-5.30 third session; chair: Bob Cowan

Hans Peter Syndikus: ‘Propertius on his poetry: Elegies 1-5 of the third book.’
Matthew Robinson: ‘Swallows, Silence and the Return of Spring (Fasti 2.853-6)’

6.00-7.00 drinks reception to launch R. O. A. M. Lyne, Collected Papers on Latin Poetry (Oxford, 2007)

There will be no charge for the event. Booking is essential; the first 66 to apply will be accepted. To book, please send an email to helen.mcgregor AT classics.ox.ac.uk . Vegetarian fare will be available at lunch; please mention any other dietary requirements. For any queries, please contact gregory.hutchinson AT exeter.ox.ac.uk



Department of Classics & Ancient History, University of Durham

Wednesday 17 January, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Dr Katie Fleming (Queen Mary, University of London)
‘The factory in the fields’: Cecil Day Lewis’s translation of Virgil’s

Wednesday 24 January, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Dr Stephen Heyworth (Wadham College, Oxford)
A typical Propertian sequence? 2.29-30

Tuesday 30 January, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Professor Olivier Hekster (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Medium and message: ideology in the Roman empire

Wednesday 7 February, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Professor Barbara Borg (Exeter University)
The impact of Roman occupation on Athens and its concept of identity

Wednesday 14 February: NO seminar in Durham
instead, in Newcastle, organized by the Classical Association, at
Dr Martin Dinter (Exeter University)
Epitaphic gestures in Latin verse

Wednesday 21 February, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Dr Livia Capponi (Newcastle)
Martyrs and apostates: the books of Maccabees and the Jews of Egypt

Wednesday 28 February, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Professor Stephen Halliwell (St Andrews)
Antidotes and incantations: what is the cure for poetry in Plato’s

Thursday 8 March, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Professor Fergus Millar (Oxford University)
The Emperor Julian (CE 361-3) and the Restoration of the Jewish Temple

Wednesday 14 March, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Dr Vanda Zajko (University of Bristol)
[a joint paper with Dr. Aleka Lianeri (Darwin College, Cambridge)]
Translation and the Classic

For more information, please contact Ted Kaizer (ted.kaizer AT durham.ac.uk)



All lectures are at 4 p.m. in HUMSS 128, unless otherwise stated.
For maps and directions, please see: http://www.rdg.ac.uk/maps/
24 Jan 2007
‘Colonial Matters: exploring the material dimensions of colonial cultures past and present’           
Peter van Dommelen, University of Glasgow

31 Jan 2007
‘Iambic caricature and self-representation: an interpretation of internal references among red-figure vase-painters of the Pioneer Group’            
Guy Hedreen, Williams College

7 Feb 2007   HUMSS 125
‘The Origins of/at Art History: Baron d’Hancarville and Sir William Hamilton’
Daniel Orrells, University of Warwick

14 Feb 2007
‘Rome in Red, Green and Blue: Classifying Classicism in Video Games’           
Dunstan Lowe, University of Reading

21 Feb 2007
‘Medicine and Empire in the Roman World’
Rebecca Flemming, University of Cambridge

1 March 2007  HUMSS 175
‘Hearing Voices: Winckelmann, the Library of Herculaneum, and the History of Classical Scholarship’
James Porter, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

7 Mar 2007
Michael Squire, University of Cambridge

14 Mar 2007
‘The Odyssey Continued: Patrick Leigh Fermor in the Caribbean’           
Emily Greenwood, University of St Andrews

For further information, please contact Phiroze Vasunia at p.vasunia AT reading.ac.uk.


Call for Papers
10th Annual University of South Carolina Comparative Literature Conference
Sponsored by the Departments of Languages, Literature, and Cultures, Philosophy, and Political Science
Plato and Platonisms: The Constitution of a Tradition
March 20-23, 2008
Directed by: Mark Beck, Jill Frank, Jeremiah Hackett, Paul Allen Miller,
Matthew Kenney and Heike Sefrin-Weis
Plato is in many ways a very contemporary author.  The Platonic texts and the traditions they initiate remain at the center not only of analytic and continental philosophy, but are also founding moments in the history of political and literary theory, aesthetics, poetics, rhetoric, and law. In numerous dialogues, Plato revealed himself to be a literary craftsman of the highest caliber with a flair for dramatic presentation and psychologically refined portraiture.  All of these factors combine to make Plato and Platonism endlessly rich resources calling for continuous exploration, interpretation, and a broad interdisciplinary perspective to do justice to the various texts and contexts in which Plato has had and continues to have a formative impact. In this spirit, the University of South Carolina announces an international and interdisciplinary conference on Plato and Platonisms from antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the present.
Plenary Speakers:        Luc Brisson, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
                                    John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin
                                    Mary Louise Gill, Brown University
                                    Stephen Halliwell, University of Saint Andrews
                                    Richard Kraut, Northwestern University
                                    Steven Shankman, University of Oregon
In addition to these plenaries, there will be panels exploring the development of Platonic tradition(s), Plato and his predecessors, literary aspects of Platonic dialogues, the reception of Platonism, Aristotle and Plato, Middle Platonism, and Neoplatonism. To this end, we invite papers that explore particular Platonic dialogues, themes across dialogues, works of authors claiming or disavowing a debt to Plato, as well as studies on other topics that touch on any of the myriad manifestations of Plato’s influence.  In particular, we desire papers that pinpoint a connection, anchor it explicitly in Plato and show us how a certain motif, idea, doctrine etc. is a 'Platonism', rooted in a tradition and founded on a dialogue with Plato.  We also invite papers that problematize the very traditions in which we have been trained to read Plato.  What are they?  Where are they located? How are they constituted?  To what extent do they dictate our response to Plato and to what extent do they provide the means to think differently?
250 word proposals for twenty-minute papers, or 750 word proposals for three paper panels, should be sent to pamiller AT sc.edu by September 1, 2007.

Day Colloquium at the Institute of Classical Studies, London, March
28, 2007.
Katerina Oikonomopoulou (Merton College, Oxford)
Frieda Klotz (King’s College, London)

Plutarch’s twin obsessions of philosophy and biography are normally
thought to be discrete, so sequestered from each other that the
popularity of the moral works has traditionally been far eclipsed by
that of the Lives. As one of the Moralia, the Quaestiones Convivales
is emblematic of both these interests but it has yet to feature as
the centre-piece of any large-scale investigation.

This colloquium aims to begin to redress the imbalance and to
stimulate discussion of the text. The following questions will be
asked: On what level(s) do the historical, educational and scientific
topics count as philosophy? Are some answers to the problems being
tackled given more weight than others? How does the meandering form
of the QC facilitate the reader’s learning?

By engaging with these problems we shall address the larger question
why the QC has been so neglected. We hope that the papers will lead
to a deeper understanding of the ways in which its (pseudo)-
autobiographical format problematises the role of biography, while
its content embeds this biography in a philosophical context.

Confirmed speakers: Christopher Pelling (Oxford), Jason König (St.
Andrews), Frances Titchener (Utah State), Frieda Klotz (King’s
College London), Katerina Oikonomopoulou (Merton College, Oxford).

We hope to attract the interest of Plutarchists, scholars of the
Second Sophistic, and researchers working more broadly in the areas
of ancient philosophy, education, and medicine. Postgraduate students
in any of the above fields are particularly welcome. Thanks to the
generous support of the Hellenic Society, we will be able to offer to
two postgraduate bursaries to facilitate attendance.

Potential participants are encouraged to contact the organisers
(frieda.klotz AT kcl.ac.uk, or
aikaterini.oikonomopoulou AT merton.ox.ac.uk) stating their interest.
The conference programme and other participation details (including
how to apply for the bursaries) will be circulated in due course.


Ph.D Studentship

The School of History at the University of St Andrews is in a position to offer a fully funded AHRC Ph.D studentship for a suitably qualified candidate.  The Scholarship will cover full fees, and a maintenance grant at the standard AHRC rate. 

In addition the successful applicant will be able to apply for an additional St Andrews scholarship of £3000 per annum, which may be held in addition to the AHRC studentship.

This studentship forms part of an AHRC grant funding an ongoing bibliographical project under the direction of Professor Andrew Pettegree and Dr Malcolm Walsby. The successful applicant will be required to work on the Parisian book trade in the period 1500-1540.  They should therefore have serviceable French, and a willingness to work with Latin materials (additional tuition in French and/or Latin will be available if required in the first year of the studentship).  The successful applicant will be required to work in St Andrews for the first year of the studentship, and may expect to be based in Paris for some part of the three years of the grant.

The studentship is available for three years from 1 October 2007.

All enquiries should be directed to Dr Malcolm Walsby at mnw AT st-and.ac.uk (01334 462924).  The closing date for enquiries is 31 March 2007.  A longer description of the subject of study follows. 

University of St Andrews, School of History
Ph.D Studentship
Latin books published in Paris, 1500-1540

It is a commonplace of work on early printed books that the Reformation brought a transformation in the book world.  With the works of Luther and his contemporaries, authors and publishers reached out to a new audience in the literate laity, and popularized a new type of book, pamphlets or Flugschriften.

Yet examination of the statistics of book production suggests that the Reformation may have had much less overall impact than is commonly assumed.  An overview of the statistics of production suggest that Latin continued to dominate the output of most major publishing houses right up until the end of the 16th century.  In this respect the triumph of the vernacular, often seen as a direct consequence of Luther's engagement with a mass audience, was much more muted.  Despite the increased demand for religious polemic, and for other categories of vernacular literature (news books, royal edicts, almanacs), Latin continued to dominate output in many classes of learned and technical literature, and even in theology.

The project will investigate these issues through an examination of the Paris book world in the first four decades of the 16th century.  Paris was one of the major centres of book production in the whole of Europe.  Its printers worked closely with the local authorities to supply both the official bodies of the capital, and a growing reading public.  They were also the centre of an extended export trade for high quality and large format books that demanded a high level of expertise and capital investment.

Paris was pre-eminently a centre of learned print, with an established reputation in the fields of law, theology, and editions of classical authors.  This dissertation will examine, through a comprehensive analysis of the output of Paris publishing, how the new intellectual and religious movements of the first half of the sixteenth century impacted on this established and respected industry. 

This project will take as its starting point Brigitte Moreau's Inventaire chronologique des éditions Parisien du XVIe siècle, 1500-1540.  It will focus on the activities of a handful of representative printing houses, both houses well established in the trade in academic books, and those that found a specialist niche in other types of literature (medical, architectural, technical handbooks or music).  It will examine how each of these printers faced the temptations and opportunities of the vernacular trade, or whether this was resigned to younger, more entrepreneurial houses that seized this opportunity to make their way into the crowded and highly controlled Paris market.

This project will make use of the established analytical method of the St Andrews French Book project and introduce new criteria specific to Latin books.  That is, it will take an established, published but essentially flawed resource (Moreau) and refine it through the use of a vast repertoire of new information available through on-line catalogues. This dissertation can therefore be expected to increase substantially our knowledge of Parisian print in this era.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Jesus: The Early Years
The Gospels sometimes contradict each other in their descriptions of
Jesus' early years and not much is known about how he spent his
childhood. Now archaeology can help uncover some clues about his
early influences and even his birth.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| John The Baptist
He was the son of Zachary, baptizer and cousin of Jesus. New
archaeology has revealed what may be the cave where St. John baptized
new converts to Christianity. Simcha Jacobovici checks out the cave
and learns more about this major Christian saint. He also discovers
why, in the Church of St. John the Baptist, there is a painting by a
Canadian artist complete with beavers carved on the frame.

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Buried Chariot Mystery
November 2003: A major highway is being built through West
Yorkshire, North England when one of the workers spots something in
the soil. Archaeologists are called to the scene and deduce they have
found a chariot from the Iron Age, but as they dig deeper they find
more than a chariot--they find a skeleton. Iron Age expert Miranda
Aldhouse-Green is now on a hunt to discover who this person was and
why was he buried in a chariot. Other burials found around this area
tell Miranda this was not a battlefield but an area that held sacred
properties for the Iron Age tribes.

HINT - History International
Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto.
(Terence, Heauton Timoroumenus 77)

Pron = HOH-moh soom hoo-MAH-nee nil ah may ah-lee-AY-noom POO-toh.

I am a human being; I think that nothing human is separate or "other" from me.

Comment: It might be a revealing thing to ask ourselves: is there anything that is human that not a part of me?

It might be more fun to put the question to a crowd and watch them attempt to answer the question, listen to the things "human" that they would reject for themselves.

It would be more like wisdom to ask the question of ourselves. It is easy for me to look at an individual that has angered or hurt me and find in him/here qualities that are so "deplorable". Not like me at all. Except for this nagging little thing: I cannot recognize the deplorable condition in another unless--well--I recognize it.

The difficult truth is that we find in others ALL human qualities, and they all belong to us--the marvelous things that are human, and the painful things that are human. They are all ours.

The real question: what we do with who we are.

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

405 B.C. -- death of Sophocles (by one reckoning)

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

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

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

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

311 A.D. -- martyrdom of Savina of Milan
From YLE:

Opera omnia Topelii
: Nuntii Latini

25.01.2007, klo 17.33

Societas litterarum Sueticarum Finniae amplum opus litterarium instituit, cum omnia, quaecumque Zacharias Topelius, fabulator ille celeberrimus, olim scripsit, publice divulganda esse decrevit.

Editio nova, quae tam apparatu critico quam variis adnotationibus instructa erit, non solum in formam libri redigetur, sed etiam ex versione digitali constabit.

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

Mary Stanley Low, political activist, poet, linguist and classics teacher: born London 14 May 1912; married 1937 Juan Breá (died 1941), 1944 Armando Machado (died 1981; three daughters); died Miami 9 January 2007.

Mary Low was a poet, linguist and classics teacher who, as a 24-year-old Trotskyist, vividly described the revolutionary fever that gripped Barcelona in the months following the military uprising against the Spanish Republic in July 1936. The era ended in May 1937 when the Republican authorities suppressed the city's anarchist and dissident Communist movements.

Low's Red Spanish Notebook: the first six months of revolution and the civil war (1937) was jointly written with her Cuban husband, the Surrealist poet Juan Breá, with a foreword by the Marxist historian and critic C.L.R. James. Her contribution consisted of 11 snapshots of mostly everyday life in those extraordinary times - when, as she reported, street barrel-organs played the "Internationale", shoeshine boys carried an anarchist union card, waiters refused tips and notices were hung in brothels urging the clientele: "You are requested to treat the women as comrades - The Committee (by order)".

George Orwell praised the book in a review for Time and Tide on 9 October 1937: "For several months large blocks of people believed that all men are equal and were able to act on their belief. The result was a feeling of liberation and hope that is difficult to conceive in our money-tainted atmosphere. It is here that Red Spanish Notebook is valuable . . . it shows you what human beings are like when they are trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine."

This was the scene that Low found in Barcelona's central thoroughfare of Las Ramblas:

"Housefronts were alive with waving flags in a long avenue of dazzling red. Splashes of black or white cut through the colour from place to place. The air was filled with an intense din of loudspeakers and people were gathered in groups here and there under the trees, their faces raised towards the round discs from which the words were coming."

She brought a perceptive outsider's - and Anglo-Saxon - eye to convey the quirks of life in "red" Barcelona, avoiding the heavy-handed heroics of some of her contemporaries. She notes, for example, the bureaucratic culture of the politicians and functionaries of the Catalan government in contrast to the egalitarian mood on the street. She visits the deserted suburb of San Gervasio, its fountains still playing in the gardens of the locked villas where the city's rich families once lived.

There is no pomposity or romanticisation in her account of the burial of the anarchist leader Buenaventura Durruti, killed in November 1936 leading his militia in the defence of Madrid. His funeral, attended by tens of thousands of supporters, was delayed because alterations had to be made after it was discovered that the tomb for his coffin was too small, as was the pane of glass for viewing his embalmed corpse.

Newly arrived in the Catalan capital, she was horrified to find that the siesta was still being practised. "Do you mean to say that you shut up everything and go to sleep from one till four during the revolution and civil war?" she and Breá asked one inhabitant incredulously, only to note: "He stared at us from large languid eyes as if the sun had struck us." Equally dispiriting for her was the continuing enthusiasm of the locals for the lottery - "the eternal lottery, like a veil of illusion still preserved for Catalan eyes".

Born in London in 1912 to Australian parents - her father was a mining engineer and her mother a former actress - Low was educated in France and Switzerland. She mixed in circles frequented by left-wing political activists and avant-garde artists in Paris, where she met Breá in 1933. Among their friends were André Breton, Paul Eluard, René Magritte and Yves Tanguy. They travelled around Europe and to Cuba, eventually making their way to Barcelona in August 1936, where General Francisco Franco's revolt had been crushed by workers' militias and elements of the armed services loyal to the Republic.

Like Orwell, Low and Breá joined the quasi-Trotskyist POUM (Workers' Party of Marxist Unity). Low worked on the English-language broadcasts for the party's radio station and helped finance, co-edit and translate its fortnightly English newsletter, The Spanish Revolution. She was also the POUM's representative in the press office of the Catalan government. But by the end of December - shortly after Orwell's arrival in the city - she and Breá fled to France amid rising tensions between parties on the left and with Breá saying that he feared for his life after he had nearly been run over by a car on leaving a POUM meeting earlier in the month.

Low and Breá were married in London in September 1937, shortly before the publication of Red Spanish Notebook, for which Low translated Breá's seven chapters from Spanish into English. Following interludes in Cuba and Paris, from early 1938 the couple lived in Prague, where they had several Surrealist friends, until July 1939 when they were forced to leave in the wake of the Nazi invasion.

Low's poetry first appeared in a joint compilation with Breá, La Saison des flûtes, published in Paris in 1939. Again displaying her skills as a linguist, the poems were written in French and, in "La Chauve-souris visite Marseille" ("The Bat Visits Marseilles"), contain the apparently self-referential lines:

Type standard de l'aventurière internationale
cheveux roux
regard fatale, longue
robe blanche, accent onomatopé
aux surprenantes ambiguïtés harmoniques.

In 1940, Low and Breá boarded a transatlantic liner in Liverpool and made their way to Cuba, where she would remain for the next 25 years. Breá, however, was already ill and died just over a year later. In 1943 in Havana Low published a selection of essays, La verdad contemporánea, on political and cultural themes which featured a foreword by the French poet Benjamin Péret, whom she had known in Paris and Barcelona. The essays were edited versions of talks which she and her late husband had given at the city's Institute of Marxist Culture in 1936 under titles such as "The Economic Roots of Surrealism" and "Women and Love from the Perspective of Private Property".

In 1944 Low married Armando Machado, a Trotskyist Cuban trade-union leader, with whom she would have three daughters. At the same time she acquired Cuban citizenship, keeping her dual British-Cuban nationality for the rest of her life.

More poetry collections followed: Alquimia del recuerdo ("Alchemy of Memory") in 1946, illustrated by the Cuban-born Surrealist Wilfredo Lam, and Tres voces - Three Voices - Trois voix in Spanish, English and French in 1957, for which the Cuban artist José Mijares provided illustrations. In 1948 she also translated El rey y la reina, as The King and the Queen, by the exiled Spanish novelist Ramón Sender.

Low and Machado welcomed the 1959 Cuban revolution. She taught English and Latin at the University of Havana and both of them became leading members of the re-formed Trotskyist POR (Revolutionary Workers' Party). However, the party soon fell out of favour with the new regime. Indeed Machado was on one occasion arrested and only freed following the personal intervention of Che Guevara. Low moved to Sydney in 1965 and in 1967 she and Machado settled in Miami. She taught Latin and classical history at some of Florida's élite private schools, having been barred from any public-sector teaching posts on account of her background in left-wing politics. She continued her writing and poetry, which were published in In Caesar's Shadow (1975), Alive In Spite Of - El triunfo de la vida (1981), A Voice in Three Mirrors (1984) and Where the Wolf Sings (1994).

She retired from teaching in 2000 and, until wheelchair-bound in her final year, continued to travel, regularly visiting and making new friends in Europe, with whom she enjoyed telling anecdotes from her eventful life. She also retained an interest in the politics of the Spanish Civil War and in 1999 was a signatory of a manifesto drafted by a group of historians and political activists from Spain and other countries which complained that the war was now seen largely as a struggle between Fascists and anti-Fascists and not as a war between classes.
From UKTV comes this (presumably good?) news:

The government has announced that the Temple of Mithras in London is to receive a Grade II listing.

Located on Queen Victoria Street in the heart of the city, the third century AD Roman temple is the only known Mithraeum from Roman London and one of the most important in Britain.

Discovered and excavated in the 1950s as part of the redevelopment of the City of London after the German bombing raids of the Second World War, the temple was later reconstructed at his current site at Bucklersbury House in the 1960s.

The future display of the Temple of Mithras is currently under review and it may well be moved back to its original site in Walbrook.

Culture minister David Lammy said: "Listing is a tool for management of the historic environment not a tool for its absolute preservation and the proposal to relocate and reconstruct the temple in its original site can now be considered in that context."

Dedicated to the worship of the ancient god Mithras, the temple was constructed around AD 240-250 and fell out of use in the late fourth century. It was excavated by Museum of London director, WF Grimes, who discovered a number of white marble statues of various gods and other artefacts.

... the Museum of London has some nice pages on the Temple and finds from the area ...
From a St. Olaf press release:

James M. May, provost and dean of St. Olaf and professor of classics, recently has published two articles in important volumes dedicated to teaching and scholarship in classics.

In the first article, "Ciceronian Scholarship in the Latin Classroom" (in A Concise Guide to Teaching Latin Literature edited by Ronnie Ancona, Oklahoma University Press 2007, pp. 71-90), May joins four other teacher-scholars (from CUNY, Bowdoin, Cambridge University and Harvard University) in providing accessible information about recent scholarship on the Latin authors Catullus, Horace, Ovid, Cicero and Vergil, the official Advanced Placement Program Latin authors whose works are standard reading for college and advanced secondary students of Latin. The book is aimed specifically at keeping teachers current on recent developments in Latin scholarship by showing how an awareness of current academic debates can enhance their teaching in the classroom.

In the second article, "Cicero as Rhetorician" (in A Companion to Roman Rhetoric edited by William Dominik and Jon Hall, Blackwell 2007, pp. 250-263), May joins an international team of 30 scholars known for their expertise in ancient Roman rhetoric and oratory. As a leading authority on the Roman orator Cicero, May was commissioned to write an essay on Cicero's work, specifically as a rhetorician. May focused on Cicero's masterpieces De oratore, Brutus, and Orator, -- treatises that exerted a profound influence not only on subsequent Roman rhetoric and oratory, but also on humanistic studies into the modern era.

This has made the rounds of several lists and several folks have sent it to me as well:

As many of you know, the United States and Cyprus have had a bilateral
agreement for almost five years that restricts the import into the
United States of undocumented archaeological materials from Cyprus.
The Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) in the U.S. Department
of State considered extension of this agreement on Thursday and
Friday, January 25 and 26 (see the AIA's letter in support of this
request on its website: www.archaeological.­org). A large delegation
from Cyprus and from the Cypriot Embassy was in attendance, including
*Andreas Kakouris, *the new Cypriot ambassador to the U.S., and Pavlos
Flourentzos, Director of Antiquities.

The question of whether coins should be included in the new agreement
arose, and the Committee is now seeking public comment on whether
coins should be included. Cyprus has asked that coins be included
because it considers coins to have considerable archaeological
significance when found in context, and, like other such materials,
they are vulnerable to pillage and illegal export. The proposal is to
include in the new bilateral agreement coins found in Cyprus that are
more than 250 years old.

CPAC Is now accepting letters supporting (or opposing) the inclusion
of coins. The deadline of Monday, February 5, for them to receive
letters is very short. We urge those who care about this issue to
email or fax letters supporting the inclusion of coins.

Your letters should address some or all of the following points:

1. Are coins part of a country's cultural patrimony and does the
looting of coins jeopardize a country's cultural patrimony?

2. Is scientific excavation of coins important to archaeology and the
reconstruction of social, political, and economic history?

3. Does the search for coins to sell on the market destroy sites and
archaeological context (and therefore jeopardize the country's
cultural patrimony) through metal detecting and other looting activities?

4. Specific points based on personal experience and specific examples
involving Cypriot coins would be particularly helpful.

The deadline for submitting a letter is Monday, February 5. Letters
must be either faxed or sent by email to the Committee at the address
below. Please take a minute and communicate your thoughts to them.

Cultural Property Advisory Committee
Cultural Heritage Center
U.S. Department of State
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547
E-mail: culprop AT state.­gov
Fax: (202) 453-8803

For the record, the AIA's letter of support doesn't mention coins, but they do have a version of the above letter online (that page also has links to some useful past articles on Cypriot archaeology) ...

Personally, I think the AIA should be looking at the success of the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme and start rethinking their zero tolerance policy ...
From BMCR:

Howard D. Weinbrot, Menippean Satire Reconsidered. From Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century.

W. Heckel, Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great.

Heinz-Guenther Nesselrath, Platon: Kritias. Platon Werke VIII, 4 (translation and commentary).

J. M. Hall, A History of the Archaic Greek World ca. 1200-479 BCE.

From Scholia:

Justina Gregory (ed.), A Companion to Greek Tragedy. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World.
Department of Classics & Ancient History
University of Manchester

Research Seminar, SECOND SEMESTER, 2006-7

 All seminars take place in Humanities Lime Grove Building, Oxford
Road, Room S1.7 and begin at 5pm.
All welcome. For more information, contact ruth.morello AT manchester.ac.uk

1 February
Jamie Wood (Manchester), "Isidore of Seville and the history of Rome"  

 8 February
A.R. Birley (Emeritus, Duesseldorf) , 'Religion at Vindolanda'  

 15 February
Bella Sandwell (Bristol), 'Libanius and the Strategic Use of Religious

 22 February
Ursula Rothe (Manchester), Clothing and identity in the northwest of
the Roman Empire

1 March
Liz Potter (Bristol), "Ideas and Ideals of Athens in 19th-c. Britain"

 8 March
Julia Shear (Glasgow), 'Polis, Demos, and Revolution: Responding to the
Four Hundred'

 15 March
Henrik Mouritsen (KCL), 'The power of the Roman people revisited'

 22 March
Ibrahim Amin (Manchester), "Spears & Suplexes: Grappling from the
Palaestra to the Battlefield"

19 April
David Fearn (Corpus Christi College, Oxford), 'Dithyramb, Paean, and
Epinician: The Politics and Diversity of Choral Performance on Greek
Islands of the 5th Century BC'.

 26 April
Serafina Cuomo (Imperial), 'A Roman engineer's tales'

 3 May
Esther Eidinow (Manchester), 'Magic on Trial'

10 May
Bill Allan (University College Oxford), 'Tragic politics: some myths
and some answers'

17 May
Emily Gowers (Cambridge), 'Trees and Family Trees in the Aeneid'

24 May
Guy Bradley (Cardiff), 'Romanisation: the end of the peoples of Italy?'

31 May
Tony Woodman (Virginia), 'A Covering Note: Catullus 65'
Leeds Classics Department Research Seminar

Wednesdays at 3pm
Room 101, Parkinson Building
University of Leeds

Meetings of the Classical Association (Leeds and District branch) are also included below, marked ‘CA’. Please note that their times and days of the week vary.

January 23rd (CA - Tuesday at 5 for 5:30)
Vivian Nutton University College London
Healers and Healing in the Roman Empire

January 24th
Malcolm Heath University of Leeds
Aristotle’s Theory on Natural Slavery

January 31st
Sybille Haynes Formerly British Museum
New Light on the Etruscans of Chiusi (with slides / powerpoint)

February 8th (NB on Thursday at 5pm)
Peter Liddel University of Manchester
The decree-cultures of ancient Greece

February 14th
Christy Constantakopoulou Birkbeck College, London
Aegean networks and island identities

February 21st
Roger Brock University of Leeds
Did the Athenian empire promote democracy?

February 28th
Emma Stafford and Regine May University of Leeds
E. Stafford: Fair-ankled Hebe: Youth and the female in the cult of Herakles
R. May: Form and function of poetic quotations in Apuleius

March 6th (CA – Tuesday at 5 for 5:30)
Charlotte Roueché Kings College London
Entertainments in the ancient city

March 7th
Guy Hedreen Williams College, Williamstown Mass.
Iambic caricature and self-representation: an interpretation of internal references among red-figure vase-painters of the Pioneer Group

March 14th
Matthew Nicholls Queen’s College, Oxford
Public libraries in the Roman world (powerpoint)

March 21st
Stefan Tilg University of Bern
Rough talk, charming whispers, and white horses:
Apuleius' "Golden Ass" looking in the mirror

March 28th
Roger Brock and Katie Bell University of Leeds
R. Brock: The end of the Histories revisited, or, does Herodotus warn the Athenians?
K. Bell: Two-way traffic: Viewing the Parthenon Frieze in both directions


April 18th
Verity Platt University of Chicago
Epiphany and Mimesis

April 25th
Filippo Battistoni Scuola Normale in Pisa
Roman use of kinship diplomacy

May 2nd
Rosalind Thomas Balliol College, Oxford
Title TBA

May 3rd (CA – Thursday at 5 for 5:30)
Emma Stafford University of Leeds
A cock to Asklepios: Sacrificial practice and healing cult

May 9th
Stephen Harrison Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Horace and the Victorians

For any further information about the series, please contact Drs. Roger Brock (r.w.brock AT leeds.ac.uk), Regine May (r.may AT leeds.ac.uk) or Penny Goodman (p.j.goodman AT leeds.ac.uk).

Lectureship in Greek Literature and Philosophy
School of Histories and Humanties
University of Dublin, Trinity College
Status: Permanent

Closing Date: 12 Noon on Friday, 23rd February, 2007

Salary: Lectureship scale: €34,678 - €69,985 / €72,317 - €79,489 per annum

The appointee will have a PhD in Classics, will be actively engaged in research and will have an
established publication record. S/he will be expected primarily to teach Greek language, literature
and culture courses at all levels in the undergraduate programmes of the Department and to
undertake supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations up to PhD level. In
addition, the appointee will be expected to participate in the administration of the Department.
The ability to contribute to the research activities of the Centre for the study of the Platonic
Tradition will be desirable.

The post is tenable from 1st September 2007 , or as soon as possible thereafter.

Informal enquiries may be made to Christine Morris, Head of Department, cmorris AT tcd.ie.

Further information about the Department of Classics can be found at http://www.tcd.ie/Classics/

Candidates should submit a full curriculum vitae, to include the names of three referees, to:

Recruitment Executive
Staff Office
Trinity College
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 896 8489
Fax: +353 1 677 2694
Email: christine.devlin AT tcd.ie

We welcome applications by e-mail. Please note there is no application form to be completed.

The Department of Classics at the Florida State University is accepting applications for a newly authorized position in Greek literature at the Assistant to Associate Professor level.  This position is in addition to those previously announced.  We seek a scholar in any area of Greek poetry or prose to complement our current strengths.  We would hope that the successful candidate could begin in August 2007, but in any case no later than January 2008.  Applicants who applied for our previously announced assistant professor position will automatically be considered for this position, unless they inform us otherwise.  Dossiers, including a c.v., three letters of recommendation, and a short writing sample, should be sent to: Greek Literature Search, Department of Classics, 205 Dodd Hall, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1510.  Review of applications will begin February 15, and candidates should ensure that all materials are received by February 26th, 2007.  The Florida State University is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer, committed to diversity in hiring, and a Public Records Agency.  Additional information about the department may be found at www.fsu.edu/~classics.
8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| First Olympian

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Rome: The Caesars & the Arch of Titus
In this host-driven series that presents history in a thoroughly
entertaining and thoughtfully engaging manner, Dave Stotts travels
around the world for a fast-paced encounter with the people, places,
and events that have shaped the world as we know it today. Our host
in the driver's seat, Dave Stotts, is a guy who knows not to take
himself too seriously as he humorously interacts with different
people, cultures...and cars of our world. He'll drive you down roads
less traveled to bring you face to face with history like you've
never seen it before. In the first episode, we begin our look at the
history of Western Civilization with an exploration of the ancient
Roman Empire. From its early legendary beginnings, to the glory days
of the Roman Republic, to the rise of the Caesars, we'll overview the
establishment of the greatest Empire the world has ever known.

DCIVC - Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HINT - History International
Cum infirmi sumus, optimi sumus.
(Pliny the Younger, Epistulae 7.26.1)

Pron = koom ihn-FEER-mee SOO-moos, OHP-tih-mee SOO-moos.

When we are sick, we are at our best.

Comment: Odd, isn't it? Actually, Pliny says that he learned this little gem from a friend who was recently sick. He goes on to explain that when one is sick, one is not "bothered" by the various passions that come with be a healthy human being.

I am not convinced, as Pliny was, that human passions are a particular problem. In fact, I am fairly convinced that Stoicism, inserted in various forms of Christian morality, have created a rather unhealthy disregard for otherwise natural human emotions, feelings and sensations, of body, mind and emotion, and that seeing them as a problem or a "sin" only creates more disease.

However, my disagreement with this Stoic-Christian view is no reason to throw away the basic idea here. When we are sick, we can, momentarily, find some clarity that we don't have when all is well. I say momentary, because the ego can create quite a fortress out of illness. However, an illness can clear the deck, so to speak, and allow us a clarity about what is important, what is honest, what is real.

The same thing is possible for perfectly healthy folks. This is the great benefit, in my view, of a daily practice of meditation--however you define it. A time to get clear on how life is unfolding, be brutally honest, strip the facade off that our egos have layered on, in privacy and silence. In my own experience, we either choose to get quiet, or we get sick. Either way, we get a glimpse of wisdom that makes us better people.

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

164 B.C. -- death of Antiochus Epiphanes (according to one reckoning)

1 B.C. -- departure of Gaius Caesar to the east (?)

275 A.D. -- death of Aurelian (according to one reckoning, which doesn't seem right)
From YLE:

De oleribus consumptis
: Nuntii Latini

25.01.2007, klo 17.32

Consumptio olerum apud Finnos nonnihil aucta est, si respicias singulos cives quinquagena quina fere chiliogrammata huius generis cibi anno bismillesimo quinto (2005) edisse.

Victus olitorius tamen Finnorum generatim nonnisi in lycopersico, cucumere carotaque consistit.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De caede Peshawaris

Alas, it appears that Akropolis World News is no longer in business ... pity.
Seen on Classics-l:

CAM Spring Meeting

The Classical Association of Massachusetts will hold its spring meeting on
March 31, 2007 at Smith College in Northhampton, MA. The exact times, fee
and location will be announced soon.

We are looking for teachers and classicists who would like to share their
knowledge and expertise at this meeting. If you have a project, strategy or
other idea, and would like to present it to a warm, welcoming group, we
would love to have you! Please contact Deb Heaton at dheaton AT comcast.net.

Membership information may be found at our website, massclass.org.

Maximas Gratias!

Debra Heaton
President, CAM
From BMCR:

A.J. Boyle, Roman Tragedy.

Doherty on Calder on David Grene, Of Farming & Classics: A Memoir.

S.P. Oakley, A Commentary on Livy Books VI-X. Volume III. Book IX.

Leif Carlsson, Round Trips to Heaven: Otherworldly Travelers in Early Judaism and Christianity. Lund Studies in History of Religions, 19.
Special Issue: Reshaping Rome: Space, Time, and Memory in the Augustan Transformation
Guest Editor: Beth Severy-Hoven

Severy, Beth. Introduction
Roman artistic works from the Augustan period begin to use the bodies of women, but also of men and children, to represent the empire as a household with Augustus as its head. Such representations manipulate developing metaphors of family loyalty and paternal control to express the transformative power of Augustus's imperial policies that made former enemies into subjects or cooperative participants in Roman society. The poetry of Ovid reveals the pervasiveness of this imagery and the range of interpretations placed upon it by a member of the elite now subject to an emperor.

Milnor, Kristina. Augustus, History, and the Landscape of the Law
One way in which Augustus both represented and attempted to effect his vision for the future of Rome was through the "social legislation" that regulated marriage and family life. This paper argues that authors such as Tacitus and Horace, who directly represent the Augustan laws, and Livy, who addresses the same issues in his reconstruction of the debate over the marriage ban in the Twelve Tables, see them as connected to ideological (re)formulations of both space and time. The metaphor of landscape, which is used repeatedly to represent the laws, is thus both an acceptance of and challenge to the terms of the new social landscape that was being drawn in Rome under Augustus.

Lesk, Alexandra L. "Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum": Pliny, Vitruvius, and the Semiotics of the Erechtheion Maidens at Rome
Copies of the maidens from the south porch of the Erechtheion on the Athenian Akropolis were employed extensively in Augustan monuments in Rome, most famously in the Forum of Augustus. This paper examines the origins of the conflation of Vitruvius's term "caryatid" and the Erechtheion maidens as well as the semiotics of their employment as part of Augustus's iconographic vocabulary of triumph. By using a contextualized diachronic approach to evidence and adopting Broucke's argument that the copies of the Erechtheion maidens found in 1952 at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli were salvaged from the Domitianic Pantheon mentioned by Pliny as being "caryatids in a class of their own," this problematic conflation of terms can be traced back to the first century A.D.

Ramsby, Teresa R., Severy, Beth. Gender, Sex, and the Domestication of the Empire in Art of the Augustan Age
Roman artistic works from the Augustan period begin to use the bodies of women, but also of men and children, to represent the empire as a household with Augustus as its head. Such representations manipulate developing metaphors of family loyalty and paternal control to express the transformative power of Augustus's imperial policies that made former enemies into subjects or cooperative participants in Roman society. The poetry of Ovid reveals the pervasiveness of this imagery and the range of interpretations placed upon it by a member of the elite now subject to an emperor.

Orlin, Eric M. Augustan Religion and the Reshaping of Roman Memory
This paper argues that the Augustan period witnessed a dramatic reconception of Roman religion—a reconception that played a vital role in the emperor's efforts to create a unified sense of identity that included both Romans and Italians. Instead of a religion of place tied to specific historical developments, both Virgil in the Aeneid and Augustus in his rebuilding of the eighty-two temples emphasized religious practices ordained by a single authoritative figure and connected to pre-Roman Italy. The reconstruction program reshaped Roman memory as well as the physical city, because Roman temples served not only as religious sites, but also as monuments in which Roman memories and Roman history resided. This reordering of Roman topographical and chronological space thus linked Roman identity not to the history of expansionist Rome over the previous 500 years, but rather to Augustan Rome and its fuller inclusiveness of Italy.

Riggsby, Andrew M. Response

Articles available via Project Muse.
Conference: 27-28 March, 2007, Leeds University.
Booking details below.

Jean-Louis Labarriere (CRNS and Oxford) - on Phantasia (title tbc) Malcolm Heath (Leeds) "Aristotle on Natural Slavery"
Peter Adamson (King's London) - "Plotinus on Astrology"
Eleni Kaklamanou (Trinity College, Dublin) - "The scepticism of the New Academy and Rhetoric."
Jean-Louis Hudry (Edinburgh) - "Aristotle on Time, Plurality, and Continuity"

The meeting will run from early afternoon 27th March to lunchtime 28th March.
Venue: Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied CETL, Fenton Street, Leeds University.

£70 full board (en suite)
£30 covering dinner (27th) and lunch (28th) for those making their own accommodation arrangements

Please book in the first instance via Jamie Dow (j.dow AT leeds.ac.uk), 0113 343 7887.
You will then be sent a full booking form. Payment and confirmation of details will be required by the end of February.
Any other inquiries also should be directed to Jamie Dow.

We hope to make available postgraduate bursaries to support postgraduate attendees. These would be made available on a first-come-first-served basis. The finances to support making these available have yet to be confirmed, but postgraduates are encouraged to (1) book for the conference, (2) apply to their own institution for financial support, and (3) apply for these bursaries on the assumption that we will be able to provide them. Applications by email to Jamie Dow. j.dow AT leeds.ac.uk
Lectureship in Greek History
School of Histories & Humanities
University of Dublin, Trinity College
Status: 3 year post

Closing Date: 12 Noon on Friday, 23rd February, 2007

Salary: €34,678 - €69,985 / €72,317 - €79,489 p.a.
(Appointment will be made between points 1-8 i.e. € 34,678 - € 48,931 p.a.)

Preference will be given to candidates with an expertise in the classical period. An interest in
epigraphy and/or material culture would be an advantage. The successful candidate will have a
PhD in Classics or Ancient History, will be actively engaged in research and will have an
established publication record. S/he will be expected to teach courses at all levels in the
undergraduate programmes of the Department, and to undertake supervision of undergraduate
and postgraduate dissertations up to PhD level. In addition, the appointee will be expected to
participate in the administration of the Department. The ability to contribute to the research
activities of the programme in Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies will be desirable.

The post is tenable from 1st September 2007 , or as soon as possible thereafter.

Informal enquiries may be made to Christine Morris, Head of Department, cmorris AT tcd.ie.

Further information about the Department of Classics can be found at http://www.tcd.ie/Classics/

Candidates should submit a full curriculum vitae, to include the names of three referees, to:

Recruitment Executive
Staff Office
Trinity College
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 896 8489
Fax: +353 1 677 2694
Email: christine.devlin AT tcd.ie

We welcome applications by e-mail. Please note there is no application form to be completed.

Details at the APA site ...

The relationship between ancient Greek writers and the Egyptian literature
and discourse of the Graeco-Roman period is emerging as an area of intense
debate, stimulated by two factors. First, there have been a series of
stunning new discoveries, e.g. a Demotic Egyptian text published by Kim
Ryholt which is close to the story of Pheros in Herodotus' history Egypt,
or the Demotic Book of Thoth which provides an Egyptian equivalent to the
Greek Hermetica - both of which appeared in 2005; and secondly, a number of
important new interpretations have been published, e.g Phiroze Vasunia's
Gift of the Nile (2001), Susan Stephens' Seeing Double (2003) and Jacco
Dieleman's Priests, Tongues and Rites (2005).

In this context, the Classics Department of the University of Reading will
host a conference on September 17th-19th of 2007, with the aim of exploring
the transmission and translation of literature between Egypt and the
Graeco-Roman world, covering the period 700BCE- 300CE. Central issues that
it is hoped will be addressed include the following:

a. THE SCOPE OF BILINGUAL LITERATURE. Conceived narrowly, "Graeco-Egyptian
literature" comprises texts that circulated in both Greek and Egyptian
versions, including narratives (such as the Sesostris-novel), prophecies
and magical texts; in a broader sense, it covers texts of either language
which seem to engage with the texts or discourses of the other. Key
questions here include: which specific texts are we talking about? And how
can it be established that a relationship exists between texts or
discourses from different languages or cultures? What terms and categories
are appropriate to describe such relationships? And how do they change over

understand transmission between the cultures as taking place? Who carried
out the translation? What was the role of bilingual priests (cf. e.g. P.
Derchain in RdÉ 41 (1990), 9-30 on Greek echoes in the Papyrus Jumilhac).
Can the direction of the translation be determined in every case? Do texts
show traces of linguistic interference or code-switching? If Egypt's
relation to the Greco-Roman world in the Hellenistic and Roman periods
resembles one between a colony and an imperial power, can the process be
illuminated by the contemporary model of postcolonial theory?

c. THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONTACT. What results for either tradition did
interaction with the other bring about? For example, it has been argued
that contact with Greek culture may have led to radical changes in late
Egyptian literature, or even to the development of entirely new forms and
genres, such as the heroic narratives of the Inaros Cycle (cf. J. Quack,
Die demotische und gräko-ägyptische Literatur (2005), 171-5); or satiric
poetry (H.-J. Thissen, SAK 27 (1999), 369-387); conversely, Manetho's
Aegyptiaca has be seen as an innovative fusion between native Egyptian
forms of chronology and narrative with Greek historiography (cf. John
Dillery, ZPE 127 (1999) 93-116).

Papers are invited which address interactions and engagements between Greek
and Egyptian literature and discourse, including narrative-texts,
religious-texts and magical texts, and the underlying issues of translation
and transmission. Those interested in participating should send an abstract
of 300-500 words as soon as possibl an at any event by February 16th 2007
to GraecoAegyptica AT reading.ac.uk. For further information about the
conference and updates, visit the conference website at
The Department of Classics at the Florida State University has been authorized to make the appointment beginning in August 2007 of a new 12-month Assistant in Classics (lecturer) position whose primary assignment will be classroom teaching.  This is a non-tenure track position, renewable upon satisfactory performance.  The Ph.D. must be in hand by July 1, 2007.  The Assistant will teach two large-lecture sections of comparative mythology as well as a third course, usually in Latin or Greek at the undergraduate level, in both Fall and Spring terms; in addition, the Assistant will teach the comparative myth course as an on-line course during one of the six-week summer terms.  Salary will be at least $35,000, plus benefits.  Applications, including a c.v., evidence of teaching, and three letters of recommendation, should be sent to: Assistant in Classics Search, Department of Classics, 205 Dodd Hall, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1510. Review of applications will begin March 15th, 2007, and will continue until the position is filled. For information about our department, see our website at http://www.fsu.edu/~classics.  The Florida State University is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer, committed to diversity in hiring, and a Public Records Agency.
Busy week, it seems:

N.S. Gill leads us off with a discussion of whether Hades was considered an Olympian ...

Adrian Murdoch has some more Synesius ... here's some more ... he also ponders an op-ed piece on Rome, Scotland and the Philippines ... there's also a couple of items on the Pope's thoughts about Julian here ... and here ...

Dorothy King reproduces a WSJ article on recent finds in Rome ... she also glosses one of Adrian Murdoch's posts on Synesius ...

Mary Beard had some comments on the recent goings-on at the Temple of Zeus in Athens ... the treatment of Shilpa Shetty also led to some thoughts on racism in Ancient Greece and Rome (and a lively post discussion)

Peter Stothard was checking out the reputation of some of Martial's racier poems ...

Michael Gilleland has some thoughts from Quintilian on sleep ... an interesting item on the Wheel of Fortune ... Hesiod on origins ... and various clippings from Seneca on life as punishment ...

Kristian Minck continues to look at reliefs of Roman wagons ... including a Desert edition ...

Philip Harland gathers together some books and reviews about associations in the ancient world ...

Both Eric and Dennis have been profusely posting on various topics at Campus Mawrtius this week ... again, a link to the main page seems the best way to get them all in ...

Nathan Bauman was looking at Euripides' Electra ...

MJD posts about the Persian Wars over at Classics Reloaded ...

Troels Myrup has a report on what he saw at the AIA meeting ...

Nicholas at Nestor's Cup looked at Lycophron of Chalcis ... and execution techniques among the ancient Greeks ...

David Parsons notes the beginning of another Latin mass ...

Laura Gibbs continues her posts of useful Latin education materials ...

Ed Flinn continued posting his collection ... my pick of the week is a Gallienus/Moesia ...

Ed Snible has some useful links on legal and ethical issues for ancient numismatics ...

... and in the interests of tearing the fabric of time again, we'll point you to Tony Keen's hosting of the latest Carnivalesque, dealing with Ancient and Medieval items ... Phil S. also has a roundup of Patristics stuff ...

Father Foster has a repeat this week, looking at the influence of Thomas Aquinas on the Pope ...

This week's comparison of the USA to the ancient world comes from the Daily Targum,

Some reviews of the second episode of Rome are here and (more extensively) here ...

Elsewhere, Blogcritics was pondering who Alexander the Great's father was ...

Issue 9.40 of our Explorator newsletter has been posted ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings should be up later tonight ...
From BMCR:

Heinz Heinen, Vom hellenistischen Osten zum roemischen Westen. Ausgewaehlte Schriften zur Alten Geschichte. Historia Einzelschriften 191.

Kleopatra Ferla (ed.), Priene. Second edition.

Nikos P. Bezantakos, Christos C. Tsagalis, Mousaon archometha: O Hsiodos kai h archaike epike poiese.

... at the APA site ...
The Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics invites applications for one limited-term appointment in Classics, in the area of Latin language and literature. Applicants must have a PhD or ABD status in Classical Studies or a related area, and proven excellence in teaching and research. The successful candidate will be expected to teach undergraduate courses in Latin language and literature. Teaching assignments may also include Greek language courses at all undergraduate levels, History, and Archeology.
The above position is a full-time, limited-term appointment, beginning August 15, 2007. Hiring is subject to budgetary approval. This position is normally at the rank of Assistant Professor. Applications should consist of a letter of intent, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a statement of teaching and research interests, and three letters of reference. Review of applications will begin March 1, 2007 and continue until the position is filled.

Contact: Dr. Brad Nelson, Chair, Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics

Email: bnelson AT alcor.concordia.ca

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin
The Department of Classics at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, invites applications for two (2) one-year, non-renewable appointments effective September 1, 2007. Rank and salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.  We seek outstanding and enthusiastic scholars who have demonstrated excellence in both teaching and research. The successful applicants will have their Ph.D. or be very close to receiving the degree. They should expect to teach a full course load (2.0) at the undergraduate level in introductory courses in Greek, Latin, Greek and Roman civilization, or ancient literature in translation.

A letter of application (with current CV, a statement of research and teaching interests and any other materials candidates wish to submit for consideration) should be sent to Professor Caroline Falkner, Head, Department of Classics, John Watson Hall, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada. Phone 613-533-2745; fax 613-533-6739; email classics@post.queensu.ca . Candidates should also arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to the above address under separate cover. Consideration of candidates will commence on March 5th, 2007 and continue until successful candidates are selected.

Queen's is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.  The University invites applications from all qualified individuals; however, Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority.  The academic staff at Queen's University are governed by a Collective Agreement between the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA) and the University which is posted at http://www.qufa.ca .

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin
British Epigraphy Society Spring Meeting 2007
The University of Edinburgh, School of History and Classics
May 5th 2007

The BES spring meeting 2007 will be held at the University of Edinburgh
on May 5th, 2007. The Meeting is organised by the School of History and
Classics at Edinburgh University, and will take place in the David Hume
Tower Conference Room. The Meeting will concentrate on epigraphic
manifestations at the borders of empire - in both a geographic and an
ideological sense.
The Meeting will be preceded by the Gordon MacKay Public Lecture on May
4th 2007, to be given by Prof. Paco Beltran (Zaragoza).
A complete programme and the booking form will be availabe shortly at:


May 4th 2007, 18.00:
Prof. Paco Beltran (Zaragoza), 'The first epigraphies in Spain: 2nd to
1st centuries BC'

May, 5th, 2007, 10.00:
Prof. L.J.F. Keppie (Hunterian, Glasgow), 'The distance slabs from the
Antonine wall: an introduction'
Prof. David J. Breeze (Historic Scotland), 'The distance slabs in their
international setting'

Dr Eberhard Sauer (Edinburgh), 'Milestones: misunderstood stone monuments?'

Short reports

Dr Bjorn Paarmann (Fribourg), 'Editing and commenting on the Athenian
Tribute Lists in 2007'


For further information and a booking form please contact the organiser,
Dr Ulrike Roth (U.Roth AT ed.ac.uk) or visit our web-site:
http://www.shc.ed.ac.uk/classics/index.htm (from December 1st)
Call for Participants
Symposium: Graeco-Roman Philanthropy and Christian Charity
DePauw University
Greencastle, IN 46135
March 17-18, 2007
Contact: Dr. Jinyu Liu, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies
Email: jliu AT depauw.­edu

Ever since Paul Veyne's seminal work Le pain et le cirque (1976), the
nature of ancient euergetism (benefaction)­, which is widely attested
in all kinds of ancient sources including inscriptions from the first
three centuries CE, has been extensively explored. Scholars have
reached consensuses that benefactions in the Graeco-Roman cities were
not directed at the poorer segment of the society but at the citizen
body at large and that the benefactors were not motivated by
altruistic goals but by the desire of self-promotion. There has been a
general tendency to emphasize the discontinuity between ancient
euergetism and Christian charity. Recently, Susan Holman (2001) and
Peter Brown (2002)'s works have lent further support to this
differentiation by bringing into focus such topics as the development
of Christian rhetoric concerning poverty, invention of "the poor" and
their acquisition of cosmic significance in late antiquity.

Despite these superb contributions to a profound understanding of the
rise of Christian charity, there are still many missing links in our
understanding of the transition from ancient euergetism to Christian
charity particularly on the micro-level. How, for example, did
different ideas and practices meet, clash, or mutually influence each
other in the transitional period of the fourth century CE? To what
extent were the changes in the honorific languages and practices
embedded in the change of beliefs or the structural change of the
Roman society? How did socio-economic elements such as inflation, or
the evolving "epigraphic habit" factor into the changing forms of
benefactions and honorific practices in local contexts?
This symposium will attempt to explore these questions from a number
of angles. We welcome the insights of ancient social historians,
historians of late antiquity, epigraphists, philologists, Biblical
scholars, philosophers, Medievalists, anthropologists and sociologists.
Areas of interest include but are not limited to:
• Forms of benefaction in the Ancient World
• The beneficiaries
• Motivations of public and private benefactions
• Honorific languages and practices
• Attitude(s) towards poverty and the poor
• Philanthropy and economy

The event is free and open to all. Grants are available on a First
Come, First Serve Basis to the participants to underwrite travel
expenses, and lodging.
If you wish to present a paper or volunteer as discussants/­moderators
at the symposium, please submit a brief abstract or statement of
interest (Max. 300 words) with your affiliation and contact
information before February 28, 2007 by mail or email to:
Jinyu Liu
303 East College
DePauw University
Greencastle, IN 46135

jliu AT depauw.­edu
The Classics Department at the University of Arizona in Tucson would like to
introduce you to our Classics M.A. program, which has enjoyed remarkable
growth since its inception in the 1980s and continues to expand. It is now
regarded as one of the premier M.A. programs in the United States. To
complement its well-established program in Classical Archaeology and
Classical Philology, the University of Arizona has recently implemented M.A.
degree tracks in Ancient History and Latin Pedagogy.

* Students may emphasize Classical Philology, Classical Archaeology, Ancient
History, or Latin Pedagogy. For specific program requirements, please visit
our website, http://www.coh.arizona.edu/classics/default.html, and click on
Graduate Program.

* Qualified Graduate Teaching Assistants may teach their own sections in our
Basic Latin and Summer Intensive Latin Programs. Qualified students may also
serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants in the Modern Greek Program.

* M.A. students are encouraged to participate in summer fieldwork directed
by departmental faculty in Italy, Greece, Tunisia, and Egypt.

* Our graduates have gone on to top ranked Ph.D. programs in both Classical
Archaeology and Classical Philology. Graduates whose emphasis is Latin
Pedagogy have taken appointments in secondary schools and community colleges
throughout the country.

* A number of Graduate Fellowships, Teaching and Research Assistantships, as
well as waivers of tuition and fees, are available.

The Department of Classics normally has about twenty-five graduate students
in residence. These students enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Tucson and its
surrounding mountain ranges, its benign desert climate ("it's a dry heat"),
and a relatively low cost of living. Interested students are invited to
visit the department, or to contact any of our faculty or student

Applications for fall 2007 are due February 15; the deadline for
international students is January 15. For more information, please get in
touch directly with Professor David Christenson, Director of Graduate
Studies (christed AT email.arizona.edu / 520-621-5326).

M.A. in Classics with Emphasis in Latin Pedagogy

(33 credit hours)
1. Proficiency in French, German, or Italian.
2. 3 units of Methodology.
3. Qualifying examination in Latin (translation) and in either Greek
(translation) or Roman Archaeology.
4. 18 units of Latin author courses including 3 units of Latin Pedagogy.
5. Minimum of 3 seminar units.
6. 6 additional units in Classics/History, Greek, or Latin courses.
7. Comprehensive examinations in Latin Literature and in Greek Literature or
Roman Archaeology or Ancient History.
8. 23 units in the College of Education and 12 units of student teaching
(all undergraduate units).
9. 3 units of Action Research Project.

M.A. in Classics with Emphasis in Ancient History

(33 credit hours)
1. Proficiency in French, German, or Italian.
2. 3 units of Methodology.
3. Qualifying examination in Greek and Roman History.
4. Graduate level proficiency in one classical language, upper-level
undergraduate proficiency in the other.
5. Minimum of 6 seminar units.
6. 21 units in Classics/History, Greek, or Latin courses.
7. Comprehensive examinations in Greek History, Roman History, and one in
either Greek or Roman Archaeology OR in
Greek or Latin Literature
8. 3 units of thesis credit.

M.A. in Classics with Emphasis in Classical Archaeology

(33 credit hours)
1. Proficiency in French, German, or Italian.
2. 3 units of Methodology.
3. Qualifying examination in Greek and Roman Archaeology.
4. Graduate level proficiency in one classical language, upper-level
undergraduate proficiency in the other.
5. 18-21 units of Greek and Roman Archaeology courses.
6. Minimum of 6 seminar units.
7. 9 units may be applied to a secondary (i.e. minor) area, including Greek
and Latin languages.
8. Comprehensive examinations in Greek Archaeology, Roman Archaeology, and
Ancient History.
9. 3 units of thesis credit.

M.A. in Classics with Emphasis in Classical Philology

(33 credit hours)
1. Proficiency in French, German, or Italian.
2. 3 units of Methodology.
3. Qualifying (translation) examination in Greek and Latin.
4. 12 units of Greek author courses and 12 units of Latin author courses.
5. 3 units of additional graduate-level work in Archaeology, Greek, or
6. Comprehensive examinations in Greek Literature, Latin Literature, and
Ancient History.
7. 3 units of thesis credit.

For more detailed information see:
From Fortean Times Special Issue 200 (2005):

"If there never has been a natural explanation of anything, everything is, naturally enough, the supernatural"-Fort, Books, p655.

FT190:8 reports female rice farmers in India and Nepal ploughing in the nude to persuade rain god Indra to accelerate the monsoon - it worked.

This bare fact (a Greek expression - Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Art of Rhetoric, ch lO para6) both enhances and is enhanced by a couple of ancient poets. Hesiod (Works & Days, w391-2) deposes: "Strip to sow, strip to plough, strip to reap," Latinised by Virgil, Georgic 1, v299.

Hesiod's adjective is 'gymnos' (whence 'gymnasium'), Virgil's 'nudus'. At school, we were solemnly assured that they did not really mean 'nude', but 'wearing a single garment'.Yeah, right.

A 'Victorian value', obviously, insisted upon by (e.g.) JEB Mayor (1881) in his note on Juvenal, Satire 4, v49. But, his contemporary TE Page (1898), writing on the Virgil passage, scorns the notion, emphasising the word must be taken literally. True, Mayor produced a single ancient Virgil commentator who gave 'nudus' the toned-down sense. However, Suetonius (Life of Virgil, ch44) mentions a Roman wag who capped his advice with the verse-ending 'habebis frigore febrem' - "You'll catch your death of cold." As Page remarks, "the story has no point if 'nudus' means what editors desire."

Given all the protrusions from ancient ploughs, fully described by our two poets, I'd not fancy working one en deshabille-its dangly bits might meet mine, with unfortunate consequences.

The bowdlerisers ignore other ancient evidence, artistic and literary. Illustrations in ASF Gow's 'The Ancient Plough,' Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol34,1914,pp49-75, show naked ploughmen. A character in Aristophanes, Lysistrata, v1173, proclaims "I want to undress and get back naked to my farming." When called from his plough to save Rome, Cincinnatus (Pliny, Natural History, bkl8 ch 4 para20) is 'nudus' and told 'vela corpus'- "Cover up your body." Plutarch (Life of the Elder Cato, ch 1) asserts that this most Roman of Romans farmed 'gymnos' in summer.

One ancient commentator on Hesiod had a practical explanation: "Work without your cloak so that it will not tangle you up." However, despite Arthur Fallowfield in Round The Horne, the answer may lie not in the soil, but higher up. The best modern writer, KD White, Roman Farming (Thames & Hudson, London,1970, p471n2), whilst ignoring our topic, stresses the preponderance of magical formula in ancient agricultural writers: "They reflect the farmer's reliance on supernatural aid in an operation where success or failure seemed to occur through the working of arbitrary forces."

Hesiod's most distinguished editor, ML West (Oxford, 1978, p258) thinks "perhaps originally there was a religious basis to the mile.," Hesiod and Virgil both issue their bare instructions in the name context of Ceres/Demeter, the goddess of fertility who (Homeric Hymn 2,w273-4 & 470-82) demands both cultural and agricultural rituals in her service. Hesiod's father was a peasant immigrant from Acid Minor; he might well have imported native religious notions. Athen,&vs (Learned Men at Dinner, bkl4 para631d) alludes to boys dancing naked to encourage a grape-laden vintage. Petronius (Satyricon, ch 44 paral8) tells how women went barefoot into the fields to pray to Jupiter for rain - "It did so in bucketfuls, they came home soaked." Finally Pliny (bki8 ch35 para3l) says the best turnips occur when their seed is ploughed in between the festivals of Neptune and Vulcan by a farmer who goes 'nudus' with the prayer "I sow for myself and my neighbours" - Quite a turnip for the book.

Largely for fun, I Googled 'Nude Farming' and was given 225,000 sites - I couldn't be (bare)arsed to plough trough them, but(t)...

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
DH sent this one in to Explorator (thanks!) ... from ANSA:

Italian archaeologists have unearthed temples attesting to the strength of fertility rites in prehistoric Italy.

The discoveries were made at a major site in Puglia (ancient Apulia) which has recently been recognised as an archaeological area "of significant importance," dig chief Anna Maria Punzi Sisto told reporters.

The new dig at Trinitanapoli has uncovered a huge well used for sacrifices to an unknown fertility goddess, Punzi Sisti said.

"This is a major discovery which shows the importance of these rites to Bronze Age peoples, around 3,500 years ago," she said.

"It should enable us to decode the ritual of this ancient religion," she added, revealing that traces of sacrificed animals and offerings of corn and other plants had been found.

As in other such rites, these offerings presumably asked the goddess to bless crops as well as keeping communities well supplied with fresh hands, Punzi Sisti explained.

Tombs have also been found, spanning out from a central religious area which is believed to have been used as a full-fledged temple, she said.

"The purpose of the site is unmistakable. Its opening architectural lay-out is similar to a vulva and the corridor that leads to the inside is narrow, like a birth canal".

"There is no image of the fertility goddess inside, but the temple itself, in its very shape, is an icon of fertility".

Two years ago the site yielded a remarkable find, the skeleton of a man - carbon-dated to 1,600 BC - which was taller than the average height of modern men, at 1.85m.

The media was quick to declare that a race of giants walked the Earth in Italy in prehistoric times. Scientists explained the Trinitanapoli giant as a product of unusual cross-breeding with tribes from the Balkans.

Okay ... I'm going to have to be the first to say "Don't eat that Elmer" about this one ... sacrifices to an unknown fertility goddess ... no image of said goddess ... and we build a whole theory on the entrance and corridor of a temple ... sorry; don't buy it. It's just a bit too Gimbutasesque for my liking.
Missed this one by Michael Elliott in Time:

At school, I loathed Latin, in general, but I detested Virgil in particular. After you'd spent hours wading through conjugations and declensions and ablative absolutes and gerunds and pasts perfect, imperfect and pluperfect, there was the pointless torture of learning and then reciting lines of dactylic hexameter about this bloke wandering aimlessly around the Mediterranean at the whim of a perpetually pissed-off goddess. I mean, even Milton was more fun than that.

Imagine my surprise, then, to open Robert Fagles' new translation of The Aeneid and discover that it's, you know, pretty great stuff. Here's the demise of Euryalus: "He writhes in death/ as blood flows over his shapely limbs, his neck droops,/ sinking over a shoulder, limp as a crimson flower/ cut off by a passing plow." Fagles published terrific translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey a few years ago, so maybe I shouldn't have been gobsmacked by his Virgil. They're all quite popular too, part of a renewed passion for the classical world. The culture has lately offered up for mass consumption two new histories of the Peloponnesian War, a whacking great biography of Julius Caesar, a film on Alexander the Great (plus a book lauding his business strategy), the current bbc-hbo series on Rome, Robert Harris' recent novel Imperium and a book (with a film to come this year) on the battle of Thermopylae.

In this enthusiasm, the usual biases seem to be absent. Old fogies like me are reaching for the classics and so are young guns; 300, the film about Thermopylae, is based on a graphic novel. Conservatives sup at the classic cup; Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar of ancient warfare, is Dick Cheney's favorite historian. (One of the lessons of the Peloponnesian War, Hanson writes, is that "resolute action" brings "lasting peace." Ah, yes.) And liberals seek succor from the ancient texts too; it is easy to read Harris' novel on political intrigue in Ciceronian Rome as a critique of the idea that external threats justify politicians taking extraordinary power. But why this sudden thing for the toga-and-sandals set? Quid donat?

We reach for the classics, I think, when we are uncertain of our own bearings. We imagine that the Greeks and Romans knew what stars to steer by, that virtues such as honor and bravery, nobility and loyalty, guided their behavior. We think that the classical world was sharply defined, immune to the little cowardices of doubt. We would like the comfort of thinking that our times can be like that too. "This administration ... divides the world into friends and foes, and the foes are incorrigible and not redeemable," veteran Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross told the New York Times recently, which sounded to me like a description of a bunch of people who just love reading the classics.

I do too. I like the fact that in our small-bore times, we can look back and see rock-jawed men (rarely women, I fear) like Caesar and Mark Antony, heroes who bestride the narrow world like colossi. There's much to be said for hero worship--a lot more, in any event, than for its opposite, which is the cynical assumption (distressingly common among journalists) that nobody but liars ever entered public life. But we can misuse the past too, especially if we look back to what we think was a time of moral clarity and of actions based upon it--and then use that supposed lesson as a way of beating up our miserable selves for lives of tentative compromise.

In truth, life has always been a shades-of-gray thing; there's something dishonest about cherry-picking the past as if it was always nobler than the present. The Greeks were indeed cultured and eloquent. They were also the most frightful pederasts, but you don't hear much of that from their conservative admirers today, nor that stoic, law-giving Romans spent 200 years figuring out really, really bad ways to kill Christians.

There's nothing especially venal about the ancients in this regard; nobody's perfect or ever was. The classical world knew crosshatching as much as bands of white and black; the Greeks and Romans had their moments of doubt. Here's Virgil's Aeneas in the underworld, catching sight of his erstwhile lover, Dido, Queen of Carthage, whom he had deserted as she climbed onto her funeral pyre: "Oh, dear god, was it I who caused your death?/ I swear by the stars, by the Powers on high ... I left your shores, my Queen, against my will ... Stay a moment. Don't withdraw from my sight." That sounds like a man distressed, confused, lost, uncertain, indecisive: a man like us and none the worse for that.
From the Hindu:

A Chera coin made of silver, with the portrait of a Cheraking wearing a Roman-type bristled-crown helmet, acquired by R. Krishnamurthy, has come into focus for its potential significance. Dr. Krishnamurthy is the Editor of Dinamalar, a Tamil daily.

While the portrait is found on the obverse side of the coin, its reverse shows traces of "bow and arrow," the symbol of the Chera dynasty. The coin is highly corroded but the portrait is clearly visible. It has a diameter of 1.6 cm and weighs 1.8 gm.

Dr. Krishnamurthy procured it a year ago from a coin collector named Veeramani who belongs to Krishnagiri in Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Veeramani was said to have obtained it from a gold-panner working on the sands of the Amaravathi riverbed in Karur.

The obverse side of the coin has the portrait of a king, facing left, wearing a Roman-type helmet. With a flat nose and protruding lips, he has a wide and thick ear lobe but wears no ear-ring. The person depicted appears to be elderly.

There is no legend above or around the portrait. There are traces of "bow and arrow," the symbol of the Chera dynasty, on the reverse.

Dr. Krishnamurthy, a numismatist of repute, said: "Probably this coin is an important discovery. The importance is due to the portrait, which may represent a Chera king.

Unlike other Chera silver portrait coins, the king's portrait on this coin faces left."

Earlier, several Sangam Age Chera coins including one with a portrait and the legend "Mak-kotai" and another with the legend "Kuttuvan Kotai" had come to light. These were discovered from the Amaravathi riverbed.

The coin in Dr. Krishnamurthy's possession is more or less similar to these two, which have a portrait with a legend above it. The reverse side is blank.The latest coin points to Romans having had trade contacts with the Chera kings.

Dr. Krishnamurthy said: "There are so many proofs to show that the Romans had trade contacts with the Tamils, especially with the Chera country. From the later part of the first century B.C. there was a big trade contact between Romans and the Chera kings. This [coin] clearly establishes that the Roman soldiers had landed in the Chera country to give protection to the Roman traders who had come there to buy materials. A Chera king with a Roman helmet is important. This especially has bristles."

Dr. Krishnamurthy added: "Praetorian guards wore helmets with bristles.It was generally believed that the Satavahanas were the first indigenous monarchs to issue silver portrait coins. That has been disprovedby the discovery of Mak-kotai and Kuttuvan-Kotai coins belonging to the first century A.D. or a little later. But the coin under consideration may beearlier to the previous portrait coins already published. This coin maybelong to the first century B.C. and may be earlier to Mak-kotai andKuttuvan-Kotai coins."

Silver coins issued by Augustus and Tiberius, the Roman emperors, have over a period of time been discovered in large numbers from the Coimbatore-Karur tract which formed part of the ancient Chera country.

... a photo of the coin (the image rather like that of a mohawked punk rocker, actually) accompanies the original article ... obviously there's a bit of anachronism if we're trying to get praetorian guards connected with this coin if it is B.C. (maybe not?) ...
From the Guardian:

Go tell the Spartans, passer-by, That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.'

So reads the epigram carved into a commemorative stone, appropriately spartan, on a Greek hill. The tale behind it thrilled generations of schoolchildren educated in the classics. Hollywood is now praying it can breathe new life into the genre of the ancient historical epic with the help of a British-led cast.

The Battle of Thermopylae is regarded as one of history's pivotal moments, a doomed yet heroic last stand in 480BC with nothing less than Western civilisation at stake. Led by King Leonidas, an elite force of 300 Spartans, backed by around 7,000 Greeks, was vastly outnumbered by King Xerxes' invading Persian army, which has been estimated at between 80,000 and more than a million. For three days the Spartans stood firm at the 'Hot Gates', the main pass into central Greece, and inflicted appalling losses before being outflanked and killed. The sacrifice inspired all of Greece to unite and drive out the Persians and is therefore seen as enabling the seeds of Western democracy to flourish.

Article continues
The story has faded from the school curriculum along with Greek and Latin, but a dark and violent £30m film dramatisation, named 300, receives its world premiere next month at the Berlin Film Festival. British actors take leading parts, with Gerard Butler, who played the title role in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera, as Leonidas, rising star Lena Headey as his wife, Queen Gorgo, and Dominic West as the warrior Theron. But cinema-goers will also be assailed by computer-generated special effects featuring monsters, battlefield carnage and superhuman acrobatics - this is no literal interpretation.

Hollywood is pinning hopes on 300 to rediscover the kind of success enjoyed by Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Gladiator in 2000. Since then the ancient epic has suffered setbacks with Troy, starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, which was derided by critics as a travesty of Homer, and Alexander, with a bleached-blond Colin Farrell, which flopped at the box office and earned director Oliver Stone some of his worst reviews. Both films were made by Warner Brothers, as is 300. Another turkey could destroy studios' willingness to invest in the genre, just as in 1963 when the Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor version of Cleopatra killed such productions for decades.

'Gladiator was such a huge success in 2000 that a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon,' said historian Paul Cartledge, a Sparta expert who advised the makers of 300 on ancient Greek pronunciations. 'I thought Troy was quite good but my colleagues did not agree. Alexander was a lumbering, shapeless failure, historically and artistically. It's put the notion of making ancient movies back, so there is a lot riding on 300.'

300 is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller and uses the same technology that brought his comic book Sin City to the big screen. Miller was inspired by Thermopylae when, aged six, he saw the film The 300 Spartans, starring Ralph Richardson. 'It was a shocker, because the heroes died,' Miller recalled. 'I was used to seeing Superman punch out planets. It was an epiphany to realise that the hero wasn't necessarily the guy who won.' Miller researched the battle, interviewed academics and visited the site in Greece but has admitted that he occasionally used artistic licence at the expense of accuracy.

300 has been described as 'the goriest ever film' and its director, Zack Snyder, says it possesses a 'hysterical weirdness'. He reportedly enlisted an extreme fitness trainer and sent the actors and stuntmen to a 'boot camp' for two-and-a-half months, forcing them to endure punishing workouts and live off meat, leaves and berries. Snyder said: 'I told everyone, "You guys have got to be in crazy shape, in superhero shape."' He issued them with T-shirts that read, 'I died at Thermopylae'.

The film recreates the moment when the Spartans were warned that enemy arrows would darken the sun and one soldier replied, 'Then we will fight them in the shade.' Cartledge, author of Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World, said he was not surprised the battle retains its fascination. 'It's one of those iconic moments, like Dunkirk, a defeat but a glorious defeat that marked the turning point towards victory. All 300 Spartans took part on the basis that they had sons so they knew their bloodline would not die out. They had about 7,000 Greek allies, and I think it's reasonable to estimate they were up against 200,000 Persians. Had the Persians won the overall war, where would we be? We can't say democracy in the Athenian manner would have happened in the way it did.'

Winners and losers in ancient tussle

Gladiator (2000)

Based on ancient Rome under emperor Marcus Aurelius

Director Ridley Scott

Stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

Budget $103m (£53m)

Worldwide box office $456m

Critics said 'Just when we thought the day of the sword-and-sandal spectacular was a distant memory, along comes a Roman epic to rival classics such as Ben Hur'

Troy (2004)

Based on Homer's account of the assault on the city by the Greeks

Director Wolfgang Petersen

Stars Eric Bana, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom

Budget: $175m

Box office: $481m

Critics said 'In Troy, and in overreaching, underachieving productions like it, digital imagery is fast becoming both a Trojan horse and an Achilles heel'

Alexander (2004)

Based on the life of Alexander the Great

Director Oliver Stone

Stars Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins

Budget $155m

Box office $167m

Critics said 'Turkeys don't come any bigger'
I know I said I wouldn't be posting more US-as-Rome stuff, but this one's interesting (I thought I had posted something similar before, but can't find it right now)... an excerpt from the Houston Chronicle:

The Roman coins, replicas of currency used during the 4th century, jingle in Rep. John Culberson's pocket — a tangible reminder to him of how a powerful empire can sow the seeds of its own downfall.

The Houston Republican believes the demise of the Roman Empire holds important lessons for the United States, particularly when it comes to securing its borders.

So Culberson has a plastic bag full of copies of coins minted during the reign of Valens, the Roman emperor who allowed the Visigoths to cross the Danube and settle in imperial territory. Exploited and mistreated, the Goths rebelled against Roman rule and defeated Valens at the battle of Adrianople in 378, setting the empire on course toward its eclipse.

While Culberson didn't equate illegal immigrants with the Goths, he believes the Southwest border is dangerously porous and posing a threat to national security. To drive home his point, he intends to share the coins with like-minded House members and explain what he sees as their historical significance

"I am deeply concerned that Homeland Security's failure to secure our border coupled with a looming debt crisis ... could collapse the United States as we know it," the four-term veteran said recently.
DC sent this in for Explorator, but they seem appropriate here as well (Thanks!). The Financial Times seems to be the latest arena for the debate on studying Latin. Beginning with a piece by Matthew Engel:

When I was about 14, I was on a (compulsory) school cross-country run when the grey skies suddenly cleared, a golden light shone in the wintry skies – illuminating the muddy fields – and an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and spoke unto me.

“You hate this, don’t you?” the angel said. “Yes.” “Well, a few decades from now, cross-country running will be the height of fashion. Marathons even more so.” “Yeah, sure,” I replied.

The angel went on: “The very plimsolls that you wear will become the height of fashion. Some smartypants will rebrand them as ‘trainers’ or ‘sneakers’ and make squillions. It could be you, y’know.” “Huh,” I said.

“Hearken unto me,” he persisted. “In future, people will spurn perfectly good free water from the taps and pay a fortune just because it comes in nice bottles.” The predictions were coming in torrents now. “Verily, men will shave their chests and think it manly; tattoo their bodies and think it smart; wear silly goatee beards like your music teacher and think it cool”

Then came the clincher. “And in the year 2007 learning Latin will be distinctly chic and trendy . . . ” I had heard enough now. “Look, angel, put your head in a bag and boil it, will you.” This was and is the only phrase used by my Latin teacher, Mr Crosthwaite, that ever made any impression on me. So the angel vanished, never to re-appear.

But Latin has reappeared. The “surprise” bestseller in British bookshops this winter is Amo, Amas, Amat And All That (Short Books) by Harry Mount, a former Daily Telegraph leader-writer. This follows the success of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, the Lynne Truss punctuation primer, and is based on the same principle. The British public love the idea of old-fashioned scholastic rigour, provided you present it in a sufficiently jokey way.

Mount slips in David Beckham on page 9, Angelina Jolie on 10, and Cameron Diaz just after that. Like Truss, he has very shrewdly ridden a wave. Or in this case, a wavelet, or maybe a ripple.

Every few days now, there is some new story showing that classics are making a comeback in schools. Inner-city children in Chicago and the East End of London have joined in. The Potters, Harry and Beatrix, have been translated into Latin. In Finland, there is even a Latin radio station. According to Gene Edward Veith, co-author of the implausibly-titled Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America: “Classical education is breaking out all over. It’s hard to keep up with it.”

Really? I think what we may be seeing here is the equivalent of what’s known on the stock exchange as dead-cat bounce: dead-language bounce. The study of classics has collapsed to such an extent that even the tiniest flicker of life seems like a revival.

Less than half a century ago in Britain, 60,000 pupils sat Latin O-Level, then the standard 16+ exam. Now barely 10,000 take the modern, easier equivalent GCSE. Just one-third of those come from state schools. And even that number can only be maintained by using the Cambridge Latin Course, which steers clear of nasty medicinal concepts like the fifth declension and the gerundive. Critics like Mount regard that as dumbing-down. Amid the hype, The Times reported earlier this month that Latin is on the brink of entirely disappearing from the state sector in much of the country.

On matters of academic rigour, I am definitely with Mount. I had to learn the fifth declension (and forgot it well before the exam) so why shouldn’t this generation suffer? And whenever I hear of an 18-year-old en route to uni to take a degree in tattooing and sandwich-making, I mention my friend the Cambridge classicist who is now a professor of media studies.

The point is that it’s somewhat harder to do a degree in media studies and become a professor of classics. And, yes, I wish I could hop on the train to read Herodotus in the original. And I do sometimes wish I could remember the definition of the ablative absolute.

But the question we asked each other when we were 14 still stands. (I’d have asked the angel had he hung around.) What’s the point? The Anglophone world is now so incapable of learning modern foreign languages that the British can barely order a beer in their favourite Spanish holiday resorts, and American intelligence can’t find any recruiting speakers of Arabic or Farsi who might be of some use in the current crisis. The advantages of learning Latin – let alone Greek – seem tiny by comparison.

Was Britain that much better governed when all the senior civil servants could converse in Latin? Most classicists usually seemed to end up teaching classics, which is hardly much of an investment in itself. Do we need more of them when university chemistry and physics departments are closing through lack of demand? Do we really need more Telegraph leader-writers? Or professors of media studies, even Latin-speaking ones who can beat me at Scrabble?

Pace Mount, cui bono? Learning Latin was ghastly. Hinc illae lacrimae.

Folks might be interested in reading some of the responses to the piece here, here, and here ...

From the Telegraph:

For years it was derided by unwilling schoolboys for being "as dead as dead could be". Now, despite the Vatican's best efforts, the Pope's top adviser on Latin has reluctantly joined them by saying the language of St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas is almost extinct.

"It is dying in the Church. I'm not optimistic about Latin. The young priests and bishops are not studying it," said Fr Reginald Foster, 68, a Carmelite friar who was appointed the Papal Latinist 38 years ago by Pope Paul VI.

He said priests were no longer compelled to study Latin at seminaries, and now found it impossible to read vital theological tracts.

"You cannot understand St Augustine in English. He thought in Latin. It is like listening to Mozart through a jukebox," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "We still speak Latin in the elevators and around the house in my monastery at San Pancrazio, just like 45 years ago. But nowadays the students don't get it, and I don't blame them – it's not their fault."

Yet even though Fr Foster, who has translated speeches and letters for four popes, says he can see no future for the language, he has just launched a new Latin Academy in Rome, near the Pantheon, in his final effort to prevent it from dying out. He hopes to attract 130 students a year, though he will not say how the new school is being funded.

Originally from Milwaukee, Fr Foster is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Latin scholars and until recently taught a hugely popular course at Rome's Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

He spends his mornings at the Vatican, in an office just along the corridor from Pope Benedict. Outside his door, he has reprogrammed a Vatican cash machine to display instructions in Latin: "Inserito scidulam quaeso ut faciundum cognoscas rationem" - which, translated loosely, means: "Insert your card so that the account may be recognised."

He said: "I'm not the boss, but I'm the oldest. I translated Deus Caritas Est, the last encyclical. We do bishops' appointments, which are still written on papyrus in Latin, and letters of congratulations from the Pope."

Although Pope Benedict grew up with Latin, and is fluent in the language, Fr Foster said he did not "have time" to compose and translate the hundreds of documents that the Vatican issues. Paul VI insisted on greater use of Latin within the Vatican, but Fr Foster said more junior members of the Catholic hierarchy were less enthusiastic now.

"I'm worried that if one Cardinal makes one or two decisions it could all go," he said. "Already, we are sending congratulation letters to some Cardinals and they say can we please provide a translation. They want to read them out in the church and so on. Of course, I won't provide translations. We might as well be writing in Mandarin."

He said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope's desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose." In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."

He condemned the loss of Latin teaching in schools across most of Europe, and said that as a result students were missing out on important elements of history. "Like classical music, Latin will always be there. If we cannot understand it, it is we who are losing out."

Italy is, however, different: all schoolchildren, except those who attend technical colleges, must be taught Latin for at least four hours a week until they are 18. But Fr Foster said the techniques used to teach Latin were outdated. "You need to present the language as a living thing," he said. "You do not need to be mentally excellent to know Latin. Prostitutes, beggars and pimps in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us."

Last year Fr Foster was fired from the Gregorian University for allowing too many students to study without charging them.

"I was not going to play the policeman," he said. "I was happy to teach anyone who wanted to learn. Many of my students studied for three, four, five years -without -paying a single cent."

He argued that the only solution to the decline of Latin was for the Pope to lead by example. "Instead of a siesta, he should announce that from 2pm to 4pm every day he will read Latin at the Vatican."

He added with a twinkle: "People who come will get assignments. You will be picked on to answer questions, and if you mess up, the Pope will make you disappear. He can do that, you know."
From the Cornell Chronicle:

Gordon MacDonald Kirkwood, the Whiton Professor of Classics emeritus and a renowned scholar of the ancient world, died at his Ithaca home Jan. 16. He was 90 years old.

Kirkwood played an instrumental role in shaping Cornell's Department of Classics, which he joined as an instructor in 1946. "In addition to being a world-renowned scholar of Greek literature, influential teacher and pioneer of courses in translation, as department chair Gordon was the first to conceive of classics as embracing archaeology, historical linguistics and contemporary approaches to literature," says classics chair Jeffrey Rusten. "Our department today is unthinkable without his vision."

Kirkwood chaired the classics department from 1963 to 1972. During his tenure he worked to establish an endowment in honor of Prescott W. Townsend, a classicist and Cornell alumnus, that today brings distinguished scholars to campus to lecture and supports predoctoral fellowships and travel grants for classics graduate students.

Kirkwood's 1958 book "A Study of Sophoclean Drama" won the Goodwin Award of Merit from the American Philology Association, an organization that elected Kirkwood president in 1981. He won Cornell's Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1978 and held fellowships from the Ford and Guggenheim foundations, the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was a member of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States and Phi Beta Kappa.

After his retirement in 1984, Kirkwood wrote a history of his department, "The Classics at Cornell," published in 1999. His other works include "A Short Guide to Classical Mythology" (1960) and "Early Greek Monody" (1974). He edited "Poetry and Poetics from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance: Studies in Honor of James Hutton" (1975) and "Selections from Pindar" (1981).

Kirkwood is survived by his wife, Patricia M. Frueh '38, A.M. '39, and three children.
From Daily India:

It was known that a she wolf nursed Remus and Romulus, the twin brothers who founders Rome. Now, archaeologists claim to have unearthed Lupercale, the sacred cave where, according to legend, the she-wolf nursed the two and where the city itself was born.

The long-lost underground chamber was found beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine, a 230-foot-tall hill in the centre of the city.

Archaeologists from the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Rome Municipality came across the 50-foot-deep cavity while working to restore the decaying palace.

"We were drilling the ground near Augustus' residence to survey the foundations of the building when we discovered the cave. We knew from ancient reports that the Lupercale shouldn't be far from the Emperor's palace, but we didn't expect to find it. It was a lucky surprise," National Geographic quoted Irene Iacopi, the archaeologist in charge of the area, as saying.

"They show a richly decorated vault encrusted with mosaics and seashells, too rich to be part of a home. That's why we think it could be the ancient sanctuary, but we can't be sure until we find the entrance to the chamber," she said, however adding, "we didn't enter the cave but took some photos with a probe".

According to myth, Lupercale is where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the war god Mars and mortal priestess Rhea Silvia. The children had been abandoned in a cradle on the bank of the Tiber. The cave's name also comes from the Latin word for wolf, lupus.

The brothers are said to have later founded Rome on April 21, 753 BC, at the same site. The two however, fought for the leadership of the new city, in which Romulus killed his brother.

Later the Palatine Hill became the residential area of the most affluent Roman citizens, beginning 500 BC.

When the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire in the first century BC, Augustus built himself and his wife Livia palaces on top of the hill. Later emperors followed his example and built larger and larger homes on the same spot.

Archaeologists say now the whole hill is a honeycomb of buildings and tunnels extending far underground.

Andrea Carandini, a historian and archaeologist at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, said, "archaeological findings were providing more and more evidence that the tale of Rome's foundation wasn't a later legend but originated from historical facts".

"The tale of the birth of Rome is part myth and part historical truth. The story of the twins reflects the previous tradition of the Lares, the twin deities protecting the area, but there was indeed a historical founder who constituted the Palatine Hill as the sacred heart of the city around 775 BC," he said.

"The remains are now crumbling due to atmospheric agents and lack of funds for maintenance. Most of the buildings are closed to the public for safety reasons. It's a real pity. Archaeologists are doing what they can to restore and stabilize the ruins," Iacopi added.

"Now we have to find the entrance and study the chamber. In the meantime we are going to finish the restorations in Augustus' palace.

We hope to open part of the emperor's residence to the public in a few months," she said.
From the Independent:

A macabre 1,700-year-old mass grave of people and horses, discovered in Normandy, poses perplexing new questions about the Roman conquest of France. Was there a small part of ancient Gaul which refused, Asterix-like, to surrender for 300 years?

The grave site, from the 3rd century, which was discovered by French state archaeologists at Evreux, appears to contain ritual arrangements of human and horse remains. In one, a human skull is clasped between two horse's skulls, like the two halves of a giant shell.

In Gaullish times, 300 years earlier, graves containing both horses and people were common. No such grave has ever been found from the Roman period, and even in the previous era, the remains were kept carefully apart.

In the recently discovered grave, about 50 miles west of Paris, the bones appear to have been intentionally mixed. The skeletons of 40 people and 100 horses have been found so far.

Was this a local - or maybe more widespread - survival of the Gaullish cult of Epona, the goddess of horses and warriors? Sylvie Pluton is leader of the dig for the |Institut National de Recherches Arcéologique Préventives (Inrap). She is also an expert on the Gallo-Roman period.

"With the Romans, you usually know what to expect," she said. "They were very organised. Their graves were very orderly. Not here. The bodies point in all directions ... Above all, there is extraordinary mingling of humans and horses. We could be looking at a cultural survival, previously unknown, such as a worship of the goddess Epona."

Roman graves often contained offerings of food, but Romans did not eat horse flesh. Nor can this have been a warriors' grave. Many of the human skeletons are those of children or women or old men.

Some Gaullish practices and beliefs did survive deep into Roman times, but there have been no previous finds as striking. One of the visitors to the site was Professor Christian Goudineau of the Collège de France, the foremost expert on the period. He said: "Personally, I am reluctant to believe in some kind of cultural survival, such as a cult of the goddess Epona. Why would it survive for so long? And here, on the edge of what we know was a large Roman town?

"Perhaps these were slaves and horses which died in an epidemic and were just thrown here in a hurry and became mixed up," he added.

The problem, as Professor Goudineau himself pointed out, is that some of the remains seem to have been carefully arranged. Further digging on the site in the next two months, before it is covered by a new bungalow, may help to unlock the mystery.

There's an interesting discussion on the Classics list in regards to this. JMP noted, e.g., that Romans are thought to have traditionally shut down human sacrifice in the Gallic provinces. But ages ago I wrote a paper (which I'm struggling to find!) about the suggestion that the Martyrs of Lyons were actually human sacrifices (as, perhaps, were the mysterious category of gladiator/damnati known as trinqui) and JMP also mentioned (in jest/passing) that the Romans put up an amphitheatre instead. I'd be very interested to know whether there is an amphitheatre near this site because this might be another hint that the Romans of the 'Christian' era allowed human sacrifice, but only if it were done in a Roman sort of context (i.e. all these folks were actually slaughtered in an arena).
Laura Gibbs sent this one along (but it got caught in my spam filter!)(thanks!)(to Laura, not my spam filter) ... Wired has a piece on Peter Weller of Robocop fame and his ancient proclivities:

THE CELEBRITY SECOND ACT HAS BECOME a staple of pop culture. The press releases almost write themselves: Comedian becomes reality TV host, reality TV host becomes actor, actor releases mediocre rap album. But those second acts don’t always sink to the level of cliché. Take Peter Weller. He’s had a long, meandering Act I. After a vibrant movie career in the 1980s that included playing the lead in cult hits like RoboCop, he fell into the far less glamorous world of direct-to-video and straight-to-cable. Then last year, he came back big, in a riveting turn as a bad guy on 24.

In the interim, though, Weller started getting into character for Act II. He spent much of the past two decades in Italy and, on a lark, enrolled in classes at the Syracuse University program in Florence. He soon discovered he had a thing for the aqueducts of long-dead civilizations, and now he’s working toward a PhD in Italian Renaissance art history from UCLA. This is no vanity degree; Weller teaches courses, writes papers, and is doggedly climbing the academic ladder. Buckaroo Banzai, the polymath who was arguably Weller’s most famous character — acclaimed neurosurgeon, race car driver, particle physicist, and, of course, rock star — would be proud. “I’ve always followed my passions,” Weller says, “even when it didn’t seem to make much sense.”

It’s hard to imagine what freshmen think when they wander into Professor Banzai’s lecture hall. Weller reports that he loses a lot of students after the first class. “They thought they were going to get the easy A from old RoboCop,” he says with a laugh. The 450-page course reader tells them otherwise. Those who stay get a view into Weller’s two worlds. For example, his class at Syracuse on Hollywood and the Roman Empire requires watching toga-and-sandal epics (Ben Hur and The Last Temptation of Christ among them) and reading primary-source Roman authors in an attempt to reconcile big-screen Rome with the real thing. “The Romans were an unbelievably complex people, and we are an unbelievably complex people,” Weller says. “We can learn so much about why things are the way they are by looking at what they did.” He goes on to explain how the absence of the concept of zero in Greek antiquity laid the foundation for Western philosophical thought.

All this boning up on the ancients has paid off for Weller professionally, too. He hosts the History Channel’s Engineering an Empire series, which investigates Mayans, Egyptians, and other ancient peoples. And his latest acting gig is on stage as the brilliant but troubled architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the play Frank’s Home, which opened in Chicago before heading off-Broadway. For an architecture buff, it’s a dream role. “Wright is the one who burst things wide open, really created modern architecture,” Weller says, and then he’s off and running, explaining the connections between Renaissance buttressing, the power of the Church in the Middle Ages, and ancient heathen ritu als still practiced on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The curtain rises on Act III.


Not really a gloss, but an interesting bit of synchronicity, is the post by Dennis at Campus Mawrtius ...
Socrates "Quam multa non desidero," inquit.

Pron = SOH-krah-tays kwahm MOOL-tah nohn day-sih-DAY-roh IHN-kwit.

Socrates said: How many things there are that I don't want!

Comment: This saying suggests what I think is a good exercise sometimes. It is easy to be swept up in the mental habit of "I want this, I want that." As a kind of meditation exercise, sit for a moment and list the things you don't want.

It won't take many to shift the inner attitude from feeling anxious and a sense of lack to gratitude, or at least relief.

Thich Nhat Hanh makes the observation that we all notice when we have a toothache. How often do we notice that we have a "not toothache"?
So often things seem to sweep us up, to victimize us, but we have to be willing victims. Otherwise, we have some choices to make--like what we don't want, or noticing what is not hurting.

In another powerful observation, Thich Nhat Hanh says: Sometimes our joy is the cause of our smile, but at other times our smile may become the cause of our joy.

Many times, even in the midst of a mess, or a disaster, we can still choose where we want to start.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Students of ancient religion might want to watch this one develop ... from the Guardian:

It's official - Tom Cruise is divine

In a week in which we hardly need reminding that religion is the answer, not the problem, there is excellent news for imbeciles, or "Scientologists" as the sect's leaders euphemistically insist on referring to its followers. Specifically, Tom Cruise is the new Jesus. Right backatcha, Richard Dawkins!

If you believe reports, the deeply sane Mission Impossible star has been told by church bigwigs that he is the "chosen one", and destined to spread the word of Scientology around the world. Cynics are instructed to put aside the image of Terry Jones squawking, "He's not the Messiah, he's a very disturbed man!" and just acknowledge how much more resonant the whole water-into-wine thing would have been if Jesus had been able to do cool bar tricks like Tom's character in Cocktail. Or, perhaps, like Tom's commanding officer in Top Gun, you believe Jesus's ego was writing cheques his body couldn't cash, and that the whole Messiah myth will be reinvigorated by an entertainment personality with a better understanding of the need for an "up" ending.

Whatever your hopes, expect Biblical throngs to congregate from Reno to Rwanda, as Tom explains that we're all surrounded by evil alien spirits exiled to this planet by the galactic tyrant Xenu 75 billion years ago. And then bills them $30,000 each for the information.

According to an unnamed source in the Sun (which is pretty much the same thing as according to a magic pixie): "Tom has been told he is Scientology's Christ-like figure. Like Christ" - stay with this - "he has been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right."

The counter-theory, of course, is that believing that Tom is the Messiah will result in future generations having to live under the earth's scorched crust, distilling drinking water from their own urine. But it has to be worth a punt, doesn't it?
ante diem vii kalendas februarias

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

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

97 A.D. -- martyrdom of Timothy

1721 -- death of Pierre Daniel Huet (editor of the Delphi Classics)
immix @ Wordsmith

(there's a contest there about what this week's words have in common ...)
From YLE:

Nicolas Sarkozy candidatus praesidentialis
: Nuntii Latini

19.01.2007, klo 12.19

Nicolas Sarkozy, minister a rebus interioribus Francorum, candidatus praesidentialis a factione UMP (Unio ad motum popularem) officialiter et unanimiter investitus est.

Adversariam principalem in comitiis die vicesimo secundo mensis Aprilis futuris Ségolènem Royal ex partibus socialistarum habebit.

Altera suffragia, si necessaria, die sexto mensis Maii fient. Sarkozy oratione habita monuit Turciam intra Unionem Europaeam nullum locum habere.

Si Unio usque amplificaretur, vim eius politicam perituram esse. Europa confiteretur, quales limites haberet, ne omnes nationes membra eius fieri desiderarent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
Catching up ...

From Scholia:

Irene J. F. de Jong, Narrators and Focalizers: The Presentation of the Story in the Iliad.
From BMCR:

Christer Bruun (ed.), Interpretare i bolli laterizi di Roma e della valle del Tevere: produzione, storia economica e topografica. Atti del convegno all'Ecole franc,aise de Rome e all'Institutum Romanun Finlandiae, 31 marzo e 1 aprile 2000. Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae, 27.

Bruno Currie, Pindar and the Cult of Heroes. Oxford Classical Monographs.

He/le\ne Cuvigny, Ostraca de Krokodilo^. La correspondence militaire et sa circulation (O. Krok. 1-151). Praesidia du de/sert de Be/re/nice II.
Fouilles de l'IFAO 51

Frederick W. Clayton (trans.), The Comedies of Terence. Introduced by Matthew Leigh.

Vincent Farenga, Citizen and Self in Ancient Greece: Individuals Performing Justice and the Law.

Barbara Weiden Boyd, Vergil's Aeneid 8 & 11: Italy & Rome.

Linda Jones Roccos, Ancient Greek Costume: An Annotated Bibliography, 1784-2005.

Randal S. Howarth, The Origins of Roman Citizenship.

Carol Lawton, Marbleworkers in the Athenian Agora. Excavations of Athenian Agora: Picture Book 27. Agora color photographs by Craig A.

Margherita Facella, La dinastia degli Orontidi nella Commagene ellenistico-romana. Studi ellenistici 17.

Anthony R. Birley, Hadrian. Der rastlose Kaiser.
Form and Function in Roman Oratory
The University of Edinburgh
9-11 March 2007

The School of History and Classics at the University of Edinburgh is
pleased to announce a three-day international conference on “Form and
Function in Roman Oratory”, to be held at the University of Edinburgh from
9 to 11 March 2007. Papers will address issues relating to speeches in
any Latin prose genre: in particular, the conference will bring together
specialists in Roman oratory and historiography, with papers on Cicero,
Sallust, Caesar, Livy, Tacitus, Pliny, Apuleius and the late Roman
panegyrics. The theme of the conference, “form and function”, is one
which is fundamental to the genre of oratory, and embraces topics such as
structure and argument; rhetoric and persuasion; narrative and
description; and style, colometry and prose rhythm. Papers will also be
presented on the visual and performative aspects of oratory, and on the
use of speeches in philosophical treatises.

The speakers will include many of the world’s leading specialists in Roman
oratory and historiography. They are, with the provisional titles of
their papers: Professor Dr C.J.Classen (Göttingen), “The philosopher as
rhetorician: Cicero’s De natura deorum”; Professor Anthony Corbeill
(Kansas), “The function of written texts in Cicero’s De haruspicum
responsis”; Professor Christopher P. Craig (Tennessee), “Means and ends of
indignatio in Cicero’s defense speeches”; Dr Glenys Davies
(Edinburgh), “Togate statues and petrified orators”; Professor William
Dominik (Otago), “Tacitus’ and Pliny’s views on the state of imperial
oratory”; Dr Bruce Gibson (Liverpool), “Unending praise: Pliny and ending
panegyric”; Professor H.M.Hine (St Andrews), “Form and function of
speeches in the prose works of the younger Seneca”; Professor Christina S.
Kraus (Yale), “Speech and silence in Caesar, Bellum Gallicum”; Dr Regine
May (Leeds), “The function of verse quotations in Apuleius’ speeches”;
Professor Roland Mayer (King’s College, London), “The form and function of
oratory in Tacitus”; Professor J.G.F.Powell (Royal Holloway), “Procedural
influences on the structure of the argument in Cicero’s defence speeches”;
Professor John T. Ramsey (Chicago), “Sallust’s editorial hand in the
speeches of Caesar and Cato”; Dr Roger Rees (St Andrews), “The function of
narrative in panegyric”; Professor Andrew M. Riggsby (Texas), “Local vs.
global motivation in rhetorical strategy in Cicero’s Second Catilinarian”;
Professor C.J.Smith (St Andrews), “Rhetorical history: the struggle of
the orders in Livy”; Dr Catherine Steel (Glasgow), “Physical presences and
oratorical strategies: contional oratory in the late republic”; Professor
A.J.Woodman (Virginia), “Aliena facundia: Seneca in Tacitus”.

The conference will run from 4.15 p.m. on Friday 9 March to 2 p.m. on
Sunday 11 March 2007.

Further information and a booking form may be found at:

Five Classical Association bursaries of £100 are available for students at
either undergraduate or postgraduate level with an interest in Roman
oratory. Applications should be made to Dr Andrew Erskine, Classics,
University of Edinburgh, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JX (tel. 0131 650
3591; email Andrew.Erskine AT ed.ac.uk). Applicants should outline why
attendance would be useful to their studies and ask one referee,
preferably their head of department or supervisor, to write briefly in
support of their application. The closing date is 22 January 2007.
The American Society of Papyrologists

Call for Papers for the January 2008 Meeting in Chicago

The American Society of Papyrologists invites proposals for papers
for a panel on “t” for the
2008 APA in Chicago, January 3-6, 2008. Although the scope of
papyrological studies is wide, submissions for this panel must meet
at least one of the following criteria:

(a) they must make use of evidence for ancient cultures and literatures
preserved in papyri, ostraca, or wooden tablets (in Greek, Latin, Coptic,
Demotic, Arabic, or other appropriate languages);

(b) they must investigate aspects of the history, cultures, textual
productions, or material culture of Graeco-Roman Egypt broadly
understood, i.e., from the Hellenistic to the early Arab period.

While submissions from scholars at both junior and senior levels are
welcome, colleagues near the beginning of their academic careers are
especially encouraged to submit proposals. Prospective speakers
must be members in good standing of the APA (American Philological

Please send abstracts to mparca AT uiuc.edu by February 5, 2007.
Abstracts should not exceed 600 words (one single-spaced page)
and should not include the author’s name to ensure anonymous

If sent by regular mail, abstracts should be postmarked by February 5,
2007 and addressed to: Maryline Parca, Program Committee ASP, 505
E. Holmes St., Urbana IL 61801.
The Department of Classical Studies at Tulane University has been approved
to make an appointment for 2007-2008 at the rank of lecturer, a member of
the faculty whose primary assignment is instruction. This is a non-tenure
track, renewable position. All requirements for the Ph.D. must have been
completed by July 1, 2007. The area of specialization is open, but a
commitment to teaching introductory and intermediate Latin courses is
essential. In addition, the position involves teaching courses in
translation in classical literature and culture, depending on the individual
candidate’s specialty. If you are interested please apply to Prof. Dennis
Kehoe, Department of Classical Studies, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
70118-5698; phone (504) 862-3082. To avoid problems with the mail, we
strongly urge you to email your c.v. and letter of application
(kehoe AT tulane.edu; please include your name in the title of all documents
sent as attachments). We also invite you to see our website:
http://www.tulane.edu/~classics/  We will begin reviewing applications
February 15, 2007, but we will consider applications until the position is
filled. Tulane University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Digging For The Truth :Atlantis: New Revelations

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries: Siege of Troy
For 3000 years the Siege of Troy has remained steeped in mystery.
Journey with us to the site in Turkey believed to be the location of
the real Troy, as we analyze one of the world's greatest historical
battlegrounds for new clues. This program takes us behind the Troy
celebrated by Hollywood to uncover fascinating evidence in regard to
Achilles' duel against Hector, the sailing of the vast Mycenaean
fleet and the wooden ship of Troy. Watch as we apply modern
technology, archaeology and engineering to uncover the real story
behind the legend of Troy.

HISTU - History Channel (US)

... apologies ... these are the listings for Sunday, not Friday
From the News & Star:

HISTORIANS hope to unearth evidence that Roman emperor Hadrian once stayed in a fort along the magnificent wall bearing his name.

Archaeologists will be digging along Hadrian’s Wall this summer in an attempt to confirm speculation about why and when it was built.

They hope their work at Vindolanda in Northumbria will prove that the emperor once stayed there on a visit to the wall, as well as unlocking secrets about the Roman army and people’s political and social lives.

The 73-mile stone barrier – stretching east to west from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth – stood as the empire’s most imposing frontier for 300 years.

Now a BBC documentary will question the wall’s purpose and whether it was designed to keep people in or out.

And those who live and work along its path say producers of Timewatch: Hadrian’s Wall were amazed by what they found.

Vineet Lal, director of branding and communications for Hadrian’s Wall, said: “The Timewatch production team admitted that they had only previously scratched the surface where Hadrian’s Wall was concerned.

“They were genuinely surprised by some of the beautiful scenery in Cumbria and North East England and their filming has captured perfectly the landscapes that surround Hadrian’s Wall with stunning aerial photography.”

Among the places featured in the documentary, which will be screened on BBC Two at 9pm on Friday, is Tullie House museum in Carlisle.

Timewatch will use state-of-the art graphics to bring the wall and its people back to life while detailing the preservative and forensic processes used to reveal astonishing Roman treasures.

Producers say an extraordinary collection of archaeological findings bring a unique understanding – not just about those who build and defended the wall – but of the Romans whose empire dominated Europe for half a millennium.

Even almost 2,000 years after Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of the wall, opinion remains divided about its purpose.

It was presumed to have been a defensive wall to keep warring barbarians out, but historians have argued that it was built in peaceful times and that its real purpose was as a customs frontier.

An earlier dig at Vindolanda found 1,500 Roman letters written by the commanders, soldiers, slaves and their families on the northern frontier.

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, the organisation responsible for the marketing and preservation on the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, has put together a Timewatch itinerary which will assist visitors inspired by the programme who want to visit the wall and find out more.

... I guess they'll be looking for the 'adrianus hic erat' graffiti ...
From a UBuffalo press release:

"The Omen of the Eagles and the Hooe of Aeschylus," an article by John Peradotto, Ph.D., of Amherst, emeritus SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and former faculty member in the Department of Classics at the University at Buffalo, has been included an anthology of 13 of the most important articles on the Greek playwright Aeschylus published in the past 50 years.

The 1969 article by Peradotto, also an internationally recognized Homeric scholar, is an analysis of Aeschylus' trilogy, the Oresteia, a principal subject of Peradotto's writing for more than 30 years. In its original form, it was published in the journal Phoenix.

It has been included in "Aeschylus" (Oxford University Press), a 422-page anthology edited by Michael Lloyd that will be published next month as part of the series "Oxford Readings in Classical Studies."

The plays of Aeschylus have a strong moral and religious emphasis, and concentrate on man's position in the cosmos in relation to the gods, divine law and divine punishment. The Oresteia trilogy consists of the plays Agamamnon, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides.

"Aeschylus" gives roughly equal coverage to the playwright's seven surviving plays and places them in the context of his work as a whole. It includes three articles translated into English for the first time, and other articles have a fresh foreword or postscript by the author. Greek quotations have been translated for the benefit of those reading the plays in English.
From the Messenger Post:

The first blow to Latin came over the summer when letters were sent home to parents with students at Bay Trail Middle School, informing them that Latin was being discontinued.

A shortage of certified Latin teachers was to blame, according to the letter. The news left some 45 eighth-graders with one year of Latin already under their belts in a lurch. Their option was taking Spanish 1 instead.

After parents spoke out, a part-time teacher was secured and those eighth-graders were able to continue their Latin sequence. Now the saga continues.

The Board of Education plans to discuss the future of the ancient language offering in Penfield at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30. Those with comments, concerns or input are encouraged to speak.

"The point of discussion is to look at all the options," said Nancy Bradstreet, director of information for the district. "We haven't made any final decisions yet."

According to Bradstreet, 35 eighth-graders are taking Latin I at Bay Trail. At Penfield High School, 11 students are taking Latin I, 17 students are taking Latin II and 13 students are taking Latin III. Other languages offered in a full Regents sequence at the high school include French, German and Spanish.

A number of parents and students spoke at last week's school board meeting in support of continuing to offer Latin to middle and high school students. They say they fear the program will be phased out.

Jeri Kanzler urged the board to hire another Latin teacher in the upcoming budget cycle.

"Let's enhance our languages other than the English program by complementing, not diminishing and destroying our highly successful Latin program," Kanzler said.

Camille Rutan reminded board members that there are many parents interested in seeing the Latin program continue.

"Please know that rather than letting the Latin program quietly disappear, the students and parents you see here tonight are ready and willing to help the district find the resources to help keep Latin alive in Penfield."

... I believe this is somewhere in New York State ....
Haven't heard about Allianoi in a while ... here's an update from Nature:

The Allianoi archaeological site could soon be under water if authorities carry out their plans to flood a newly constructed reservoir. Located in western Turkey, the site is a well-preserved example of an ancient Roman health spa.

Archaeologist Ahmet Yaras, head of the Allianoi excavation team, is spearheading a campaign to save the site from being submerged. They are trying to rally international support to pressure the authorities to move the reservoir — or at least delay the flooding for another five years so that they can finish the excavations.

Allianoi is a hot-springs area 18 kilometres northeast of the ruins of ancient Pergamon that was used as a spa in Hellenistic times. It was constructed during major public works done under the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian during the second century AD. In addition to the spa, the Allianoi site includes public squares, streets, gates, bridges, fountains and buildings. Together, they encompass about 50,000 square metres, and they could all end up in the middle of the reservoir.

About 20% of Allianoi has been excavated, yielding some 10,000 artifacts, including ceramics, coins, glass and statues. "Allianoi is in an absolutely astonishing state of preservation," says Felix Pirson, head of the Istanbul branch of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). "It gives you the impression of a modern Baden-Baden."

The reservoir would be created by the 700-metre-long Yortanli Dam, part of a massive irrigation project proposed by the Turkish State Waterworks Authority (DSI) in the 1960s to provide water for more than 70 square kilometres of farmland along the Ilya River.

Construction of the dam began around 1993, and it was scheduled to start operation in 2005. But protests over Allianoi have postponed the planned flooding, says Mark Snethlage, policy and campaigns officer for Europa Nostra, the pan-European federation for cultural heritage.

Attempts to find technical solutions to save Allianoi, such as putting up a protective wall around the site or convincing the DSI to move the dam, seem to have come to an end. Snethlage says that Turkish members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe confirmed at a 23 January meeting that "it seems very likely that Allianoi is lost, and will soon be flooded." No official date has yet been set.

"One should not forget that a considerable amount of money has been invested in the construction of the dam," Snethlage says, "and that local farmers have been asking for the irrigation water."

In addition to support from archaeologists and preservationists around the world, Turkish activists also have the support of Olli Rehn, the European Union commissioner who oversees enlargement of the EU. The Turkish government has actively lobbied Brussels for EU membership. A spokeswoman for Rehn says that the commissioner has communicated with the Turkish authorities, "noting that that there appeared to be different technical solutions possible which would avoid the flooding of Allianoi while allowing for the irrigation project to be realized".

Archaeologists discovered Allianoi in the 19th century while documenting sites in the area. After more than a century in which little work was done, Yaras — of Trakya University in Edirne, Turkey — began the current excavations in 1998. The site's spa has marble floors and walls that still reach the ceiling.

Experts say that Allianoi is also located intriguingly close to Asklepion, an ancient medical centre named after Asklepios, the god of healing. But no one is sure of the exact connection between the two sites, says Pirson. "In this context, Allianoi is an important element," he says.

Not sure there has been any progress since last October ...
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Corner Brook, NL
Tenure Stream Positions at the rank of Assistant Professor commencing August 1, 2007.

Classics : Applicants must have the ability to teach across a broad range of Classics courses at all levels of the undergraduate program in Humanities, ranging from introductory surveys to fourth-year, special topics, offerings (specializations open). Applicants must demonstrate commitment to teaching and research. Preference will be afforded those with a strong teaching record. The successful candidate will be required, in the first instance, to teach survey courses in Greek and Roman History, as well as in Greek and Roman Civilization. In addition, he or she will be expected to be versatile and, over time, develop a variety of offerings in areas such as classical languages, literature, art and architecture, religion, mythology, philosophy, women's studies, or some combination of these. VPA GRAR 2006-001

We encourage potential candidates to visit the website for Classics at Grenfell College to see the list of courses currently being taught: http://www.swgc.mun.ca/classics

We seek candidates who are or who show promise to be exceptional teachers and scholars and who will become engaged in our community.

A completed earned doctorate is required for the appointee to receive the rank of Assistant Professor and to be in a tenure-track position. If a successful candidate has not completed an earned doctorate, he or she shall be appointed to a regular term, non-renewable three-year appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor. If the candidate completes all the requirements for the doctorate during the first 24 months of his or her term appointment, he or she shall begin a tenure-track appointment following completion of the requirements of the degree.

All positions are subject to budgetary approval.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Memorial University is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from qualified women and men, visible minorities, aboriginal people and persons with disabilities.

Deadline for receipt of applications is February 15, 2007.

A letter of application along with a curriculum vitae, teaching dossier, and the names of three references should be sent to:

The Vice-Principal
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Corner Brook, NL
A2H 6P9

Phone: (709) 637-6231, Fax: (709) 637-6218; Email vice-principal AT swgc.ca

Sir Wilfred Grenfell College is a small (1300 student) liberal arts and science institution and the Corner Brook campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland. At Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, our emphasis is on a small-class environment and teaching excellence in distinctive multi- and interdisciplinary programs with four-year Bachelor's degrees in Arts, Fine Arts, Science, and Nursing.  We are currently working to increase enrolments, build new degree programs, acquire new infrastructure and enhance our research profile and activities.

Corner Brook (population 22,000) is a safe and friendly city with excellent recreation and cultural facilities, situated in an area of great natural beauty. The city is some 80 kilometers from Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 10 kilometers from Marble Mountain, one of Eastern Canada's premier downhill ski resorts.

We encourage potential applicants to visit the Grenfell College website: http://www.swgc.mun.ca

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin
The Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Saint Mary’s University invites applications for a tenure-track appointment in Classics in Roman Studies and at the assistant professor level. Preference will be given to candidates with research interests and teaching experience in Roman History and Roman Archaeology. The successful candidate will participate in a programme with a wide range of courses in civilization and ancient languages, including Latin and Greek, Ancient History, Classical Myth and Literature, Women in Antiquity and the History of Ancient Art. 

Saint Mary’s University is uniquely committed to internationalizing its curriculum to prepare students to live and work in a global community. The Department of Modern Languages and Classics is a multidisciplinary unit of which the classical Mediterranean heritage is an integral part. In addition, Classics has close ties to the Departments of History, Anthropology and Religious Studies, facilitating individual faculty members to join research projects and share teaching duties with colleagues in those departments.

The appointment will commence on July 1, 2007. Applicants must have a Ph.D. or show proof of its near completion, and demonstrate promise in teaching, research and scholarly publication. Applicants should forward a letter of application, an up-to-date curriculum vitae, a one page statement of approach to teaching Classics, a sample of scholarly writing and the names of at least three professional referees to the Chair of the Selection Committee for Classics, Department of Modern Languages and Classics, Room 409A, McNally Building, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3C3.

The closing date for applications is February 2,2007. Although candidates of all nationalities may apply, Canadian immigration requires that priority consideration be given to qualified Canadian citizens and permanent residents. This position is subject to budgetary and programme considerations. Saint Mary’s University is committed to the principles of employment equity. Visit the Saint Mary’s website at www.smu.ca

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin   

The College of the Humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, invites applications for a one-year limited term appointment in Classics, at the rank of instructor or assistant professor, to begin July 1, 2007.  The B.A. in Classics is housed in the College of the Humanities (see www.carleton.ca/chum/ or http://www.carleton.ca/classics). We seek an outstanding scholar with a PhD and a record of demonstrated excellence in both teaching and research. The successful applicant will be committed to undergraduate teaching including introductory survey courses. Applicants should be able to teach one and preferably both the Greek and Latin languages and to offer literature courses in translation. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. However, the applications of Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. Carleton University is committed to equality of employment for women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities. Persons from these groups are encouraged to apply. A letter of application (with CV, samples of recent research, and evidence of excellence in teaching) should be sent to Professor Farhang Rajaee, Director, College of the Humanities, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6. In addition, candidates should arrange for at least three letters of reference to be sent under separate cover. Consideration of candidates will commence on February 15, 2007 and continue until the position is filled.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin
BEING PELOPONNESIAN:Cohesion and Diversity through Time
University of Nottingham, The Arts Centre
31 March-1 April 2007

Details of the conference can be found at:


This is the first conference sponsored by the University of Nottingham's
newly founded Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies. Its central
theme looks at developments of Prehistoric, Classical, Roman, Byzantine
and modern times that promoted or hindered the cultural and economic
integration of the Peloponnese and its inhabitants' sense of a shared
identity. Competing centripetal and centrifugal tendencies operated
alongside the influence of external forces to make Peloponnesian
identity of greater or lesser significance within larger political
worlds. Through papers focused on all or most of the region, the
Conference will explore how a sense of the Peloponnese developed, was
transmitted, and fluctuated through time. This meeting will bring
together leading authorities with expertise in different periods and
intellectual domains.

... seen on AegeaNet
Violent Commensality:
Animal Sacrifice and its Discourses in the Ancient World
Friday, May 11th 2007 Department of Classics University of Reading

Animal-sacrifice was the central activity of ancient Greek religion, as well as the other religions of the ancient Mediterranean. It is attested through texts of various sorts (epigraphy and literature) and through material culture, especially zoo-archaeology. Some of the most provocative discussions by scholars of ancient religion over the last few decades have been about sacrifice, e.g. Walter Burkert's thesis of ritual violence, or the Paris Schools stress on the social ("commensal") function of sacrifice.

This conference will provide a unique opportunity for these issues to be discussed afresh by an international team, including both established experts and junior scholars, who will look at a wide range of evidence, including both texts and material culture. The aims of the conference are to examine both the reality of animal sacrifice, as revealed by archaeology and epigraphy, and also discursive representations of sacrifice in literature; to explore the relationship between literary representations and reality; and to test the evidence against the prevailing theories of sacrifice.

The provisional list of speakers and titles is as follows:

Mathieu Carbon: "The Equal and Unequal Division of Sacrificial Animals"
Gunnel Ekroth: "Bare Bones" Barbara Kowalzig: "Fish Sacrifice" Fred Naiden:
"Sacrifice and Self-Interest" Robert Parker: "Eating Unsacrificed Meat"
Richard Seaford: "Sacrifice in Athenian Tragedy" Oliver Thomas: "When is a Sacrifice not a Sacrifice? The Case of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes"
Respondents: Emily Kearns and Scott Scullion

A full programme and further details will be posted soon on the webpage:

This conference will be open to the public.
There will be a registration fee of £10 to cover refreshments and lunch.

All enquiries should be addressed to either Sarah Hitch at s.s.hitch AT reading.ac.uk or Ian Rutherford at i.c.rutherford AT reading.ac.uk

... seen on the Classicists list
The Crake Doctoral Fellowship

The Crake Foundation and the Department of Classics at Mount Allison University are pleased to announce the Crake Doctoral Fellowship in Classics for the academic year 2007-2008.

The Crake Fellowship is non-renewable, open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who at the time of taking up the fellowship have completed all course and residential requirements for the Doctorate in Classics, passed all preliminary examinations and completed the research for the thesis, and who can reasonably be expected to finish the doctorate during the year of the fellowship.

The holder will be asked to teach one course in each of the Fall and Winter terms, give a public lecture, and be in Sackville from September to the end of April.

In 2007-2008 the holder of the Crake Fellowship will receive $24,000 (CDN), with an allowance of up to $3,500 (CDN) to cover moving and other research-associated expenses.

Applications should include official transcripts and three letters of reference. The thesis supervisor should be asked to write concerning the subject of the thesis and the expected date for its final submission. Applicants should also send a statement regarding the progress of their doctoral studies, including their schedule for completion, and a 1-2 page synopsis of their thesis.

Completed applications should be sent to:

Dr. Ivan Cohen, Head
Department of Classics
Mount Allison University
63D York Street
Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1G9

The deadline for receipt of applications is March 2, 2007.

Mount Allison University welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified women and men, including aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin
The Department of Classics and Ancient History invites applications for a permanent lectureship in Classics, from September 2008. Candidates will be expected to have completed their PhD and to have a strong commitment to research. Applicants will be considered from any field of classics, but the successful candidate will be expected to teach a range of subjects within the central areas of Latin literature and contribute to postgraduate teaching and supervision at MA and PhD level. Preference may be shown to candidates with research interests in Latin.

The starting salary will be circa #29,139.

Application packs available from www.exeter.ac.uk/jobs; e-mail d.brown AT exeter.ac.uk;. Answer phone (01392) 263100 quoting reference number 6733. Closing date for completed applications is Friday 9th February 2007

Informal Enquiries
Before submitting an application you may wish to discuss the post further by contacting Stephen Mitchell, Head of Department, telephone (01392 264201) or email S.Mitchell AT exeter.ac.uk.

... seen on the Classicists list
Seen on the Classicists list:

Given the lively take-up we have had for the Digitial Classicist [http://www.digitalclassicist.org/] panels at the Classical Association (see http://www.ca2007.bham.ac.uk/programme.pdf) it seems appropriate to suggest we attempt a parallel session for the APA/AIA conference in Chicago, January 3-6, 2008.

The idea is for a Digital Classicist panel (or more than one) containing four or five papers on the theme of new research in the classics with a digital component. In specific terms this means that each paper should present a research project or question that (a) would be recognised as asking a valid academic question by traditional classical scholarship in the broadest sense possible, and (b) that uses computing technology in some innovative way to help ask, approach, or answer this question. If tighter themes emerge as a result of papers submitted, we may group the panel or propose more than one panel.

Would anyone interested in participating in proposing this APA/AIA panel in Chicago please send a one page abstract to me, preferably by email, at the address below, as soon as possible. Any other suggestions or comments gratefully received, preferably on the Digital Classicist list [http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/digitalclassicist].


Dr Gabriel BODARD

Inscriptions of Aphrodisias
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
Kay House
7, Arundel Street
London WC2R 3DX

Email: gabriel.bodard AT kcl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980

Divitiae sunt causa malorum.

Pron = dee-WEE-tee-ai soont KOW-sah mah-LOH-room.

Riches are the cause of evil things.

Comment: If I were to poll the 300 or so people who get this proverb each day about their reactions to this statement, I imagine a general disagreement about its accuracy. Some would agree. Some would disagree. And all would have excellent arguments, reasons and anecdotes to support their position.

Christianity has in its scriptures a saying that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Buddhism teaches that attachment to money (or
anything) creates suffering. Neither affirms that money is the cause of evil, and yet, not doubt we could trace some pretty tragic events to riches and some pretty wonderful events to money. ANd this only intimates the evils that could be documented from the lack of money in various situations.

My own view is that riches symbolize power, real energy, real power.
This power is neither, by itself, evil or good. Electricity is neither evil or good, but stepping on a live high voltage power cable is destructive, just as the same cable, properly connected lights my house and powers this computer that I write on. The connection to power and the choices about how to use that connection result in various outcomes.

So, I end up disagreeing with the proverb to say this: it is not the power nor the riches that cause evil things. It is the connections we make to it and the choices we make with those connections that may cause evil or good or neutral outcomes.

How are we connected to money today? What are we doing with it?

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

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

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

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

275 A.D. -- murder of Aurelian (according to one reckoning, which I don't think is correct ... comments welcome)
chivalry @ Merriam-Webster

dissimulate @ Dictionary.com

The Classics Technology Centre's My Word feature looks at 'peace' words ...
From YLE:

Poettering praeses parlamenti Europaei
: Nuntii Latini

19.01.2007, klo 12.18

Hans-Gert Poettering, democrata Christianus natione Germanus, praeses parlamenti Europaei creatus est, qui Josepho Borrell, socialistae Hispano, succederet et in praesidatu usque ad annum bis millesimum nonum maneret.

Poettering pollicitus est se pro Europa unita operaturum esse, in qua singulae civitates, independenter a magnitudine, potestatem haberent.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Propositum Georgii Bush a senatu forsitan reiectum iri
Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, WI, seeks a second full time Latin
teacher to start in the fall of 2007. Wayland Academy is an
independent, coeducational, boarding and day school with a mission of
college preparation. Job responsibilities include four to five
classes each semester, coaching, and dorm supervision. For more
information please contact Keely Lake, Latin and Greek, at
klake AT wayland.org or Joseph Lennertz, Academic Dean, at
jlennertz AT wayland.org.
Assistant Editor Sought for Amphora

Amphora, the APA's outreach publication, is seeking a classicist with
a university or high school affiliation to serve as Assistant Editor.
The initial term of appointment will be for three years with the
possibility of renewal and the expectation that the Assistant Editor
may become Editor in the future. The Assistant Editor will receive a
modest annual honorarium of $500. The appointment will take effect in
January 2008.

Amphora is a publication sponsored by the Committee on Outreach of
the American Philological Association that aims to convey the
excitement of classical studies to a broad readership by offering
accessible articles written by professional scholars and experts on
topics of classical interest that include literature, language,
mythology, history, culture, classical tradition, archaeology, and
the arts, and by featuring reviews of current books, films, and Web
sites. Sponsored by the Committee on Outreach and supported by the
APA, Amphora is for everyone interested in the study of ancient
Greece and Rome. Engaging and informative, this publication is
intended for a wide audience of those interested in and enthusiastic
about the classical world: teachers and students, present and former
classics majors, administrators in the field of education, community
leaders, professional classicists, and interested academics and
professionals in other fields.

The Assistant Editor will work closely with the Editor to determine
the direction and content of future issues and assist in the final
editing and proofreading stages of each issue, especially in its
final stage. In addition, the Assistant Editor will help in
soliciting and generating articles, in finding referees for articles,
and will take over the responsibility for editing reviews after the
first year of appointment. Approximately five articles, five book
reviews, a Web site review, and a film review appear in each issue.
Amphora is published twice each year, in June and December.

Editorial experience and experience with technology and desktop
publishing tools are desirable, and enthusiasm for the outreach
mandate of Amphora is essential.

Those interested should send a letter outlining their qualifications
plus a curriculum vitae to Dr. Adam Blistein, Executive Director,
American Philological Association, 292 Logan Hall, University of
Pennsylvania, 249 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304, to
arrive by March 9, 2007.

... seen on various lists
Congrats to ABC in Chicago for being first this year with the annual Superbowl-and-Roman-Numerals thing:

Super Bowl 41 is now just a week and a half away. Just as in all previous Super Bowls, the game is designated with Roman numerals. Why?
Roman numerals have been around for almost 3,000 years and occasionally they are a timely --but small part -- of our lives. Then, of course, the Super Bowl comes along and the Roman numerals are everywhere.

Ask the average Chicagoan how old he or she is in Roman numbers, and chances are he'll have to think. Hard.

"XXIV, I think," said one Chicagoan.

"I don't know what fifty is," said another. "Hey! You made me tell the world my age."

ABC7's Frank Mathie is LXV. But that doesn't make any sense in everyday numbers. So why are they used in the Super Bowl and Olympics? Are they really superior?

"Well, I suppose, ah, Roman numbers have a certain grandeur to them. Both because they're foreign and they're associated with an ancient empire," said Prof. Clifford Ando, Classics Professor University of Chicago. "The Super Bowl is the culminating event of the year. It's the biggest game of the year."
From Zenit:

Benedict XVI received as a gift to the Holy See one of the most ancient manuscripts of the Gospels, an artifact that demonstrates Scripture's historical actuality.

The Pope was given the 14-15 Bodmer Papyrus (P75), dated between A.D. 175 and 225, on Monday by Frank Hanna and his family, of the United States.

"The papyrus contains about half of each of the Gospels of Luke and John. It was written in Egypt and perhaps used as a liturgical book," explained Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, during the audience.

The manuscript previously belonged to the library of the Bodmer Foundation in Cologny, Switzerland, and is now in the Vatican Apostolic Library.

"The Pope's library possesses the most ancient testimony of the Gospel of Luke and among the most ancient of the Gospel of John," added the cardinal.

The Bodmer Papyrus contains 144 pages and is the oldest manuscript that contains the text of the two Gospels in one papyrus.

The Lord's Prayer

L'Osservatore Romano commented that "almost certainly it was destined for a small community, a Greek-speaking Egyptian 'parish' that, as is habitual in all Christian liturgies, read the Gospel during the Eucharistic celebration."

The oldest transcription of the Our Father, as recounted by Luke, is found in this papyrus.

Participants in the meeting explained that experts see the joining of Luke and John in one papyrus as a demonstration that for the first Christians communities, the Gospels formed a unity.

The document agrees with the Codex Vaticanus, a fourth-century edition of the Bible. The Bodmer Papyrus demonstrates, therefore, that the oldest versions of the New Testament that are preserved in their totality correspond with the Gospels that already circulated among the Christian communities centuries earlier.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, Bishop Raffaele Farina, prefect of the Vatican Library, and Gary Krupp, founder of the Pave the Way Foundation, which worked to bring about this gift, were present when the papyrus was donated to the Vatican.
From Kathimerini:

Seekers of lost or hidden treasure in Greece can now exchange news on the Internet. They may share experiences and opinions, cross-check and collect information about the mountains of Macedonia, the caves in central Greece and Thrace and the highlands of the Peloponnese.

Some of the sites advertise books about forgotten treasures, legends and stories of people who got rich quick. Most of the sites that refer to hidden treasures in Greece and present methods of locating them also carry advertising for metal detectors that can be ordered online.

Other side of gambling

“Treasure hunting in Greece is the other side of gambling,” said a former official in a prosecutor’s office, who worked for many years in Western Macedonia, where tales of hidden treasure abound.

Given that Greece is a front-runner when it comes to legal gambling, it’s easy to believe what metal detector sales staff claim, that “half of Greece is hunting for treasure.”

Moreover, more than 3,000 metal detectors are sold in Greece every year, while in Ptolemaida a local newspaper reported that an unofficial treasure-hunting office is in operation.

Armed with metal detectors, secret maps or “reliable information” from relatives and the descendants of resistance fighters or left-wing partisans who went to the Soviet Union and never returned, today’s treasure hunters set off for the mountains and gorges of Greece – often after spending considerable sums; a metal detector costs 4,000 euros – in search of fabled treasures, cargoes of gold sovereigns, Ottoman hoards and pirates’ loot.

But the hunt is not always bloodless. Treasure seekers often come to grief. Many have lost their lives (30 since 1988), been injured or encountered serious danger in search of some treasure.

Recent examples include the case of three youths who were trapped in the Bareta shaft at Mount Pangaio in November 2006 and had to be rescued by a special team, as well as the death a month later of another treasure seeker, aged 45, at Nigrita in Serres.

The most deadly site for treasure hunters has been Mount Pangaio, where four friends who were hunting for treasure died in a shaft eight years ago.

There are thousands of would-be Indiana Joneses in northern Greece. Since the 1960s, the fever has spread so much that in some villages in the prefectures of Kilkis, Kozani, Grevena, Pieria, Pella, Halkidiki, Kavala and Serres, half the inhabitants have taken part in treasure hunts.

The main sites they explore are old bridges, church and chapel floors, monastery courtyards and walls, ruins of old buildings which used to house public offices, abandoned mills, labyrinthine caves and the hideouts of partisans and bandits that are associated with stories and myths about pirates and Jews from the time of Turkish rule and the German Occupation.

After Pangaio, the mountains that have been most often excavated are Vermio, Paiko and Bourinos (in Kozani), at the peak of which treasure hunters blew up caves and extracted tons of rock only to conclude, as they often do, that “someone else beat us to it.”

Contemporary treasure seekers walk a fine line between legality and illegality. In hundreds of areas, illegal excavations have caused irreparable damage: The wall paintings of Kavala, the stone bridges of Zagori, the Lamp Cave on Mount Parnitha, Chryssi in Pella, and the Moutsialis Monastery in Pieria are just a few examples.

As police officers and archaeologists say, treasure hunting is very close to antiquity theft. Two recent cases are typical. During a legal search at Ermakia in Kozani last November, three treasure hunters discovered a Byzantine tomb. While searching at night, another treasure hunter found 100 significant antiquities, which he later confessed to the village priest.

Most groups of treasure seekers only request excavation permits from prefecture or archaeology authorities when they have no other choice. Almyros in Vilos, Gonnoi in Larissa (where hunters had to remake the square they destroyed while searching for treasure), Diavata and the Phoenix Turkish baths in Thessaloniki, Ermakia, Myriofyto in Kilkis and Margariti in Thesprotia are some of the areas that have been legally dug up by excavating machines in recent years.
From Kathimerini:

New and interesting information on the proliferation of Pax Minoica (the Minoan Peace) has come to light from a Thrace University mission to the Aegean which examined a number of newly found settlements of Minoan character, built and destroyed by earthquakes during the so-called Palace period (circa 1800-1500 BC).

Some of these settlements are located near the sea and may have served as ports, while the others are located 400-800 meters from the coast but maintained complete visual contact with the sea. “This illustrates – beyond the maritime activities (fishing and commercial) and the contact with Crete – the security the Minoans felt, probably because of King Minos’s legendary victory over piracy,” said Associate Professor Manolis Melas, who headed the excavations.

The research, which began a year ago, is part of a program run by the University of Thrace and is estimated to last for four more years. The focus is on the systematic examination of the ground surface in Afiarti, a lush plain in southern Karpathos. “Other than archaeology, the program also focuses on geology, geomorphology, ecology and ethnography,” explained Melas. “It is looking to examine a particular type of island environment where we can map changes over time in a number of areas, such as the natural environment, history and the material aspects of a civilization.

“The central aim of the investigation is to study the relationship between the natural and human environment, especially during the Minoan period.” This is necessary, says the professor, in order to understand why the settlements were built as they were and where they were, in relation to the use they made of the natural resources at their disposal, the strategic positions of the settlements and their sociopolitical organization.

The Afiarti Plain, says Melas, can be separated into three ecological zones, all more or less parallel to the coast and facing east. Evidence suggests that the area was constantly cultivated for farming, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on what crop was being grown and the availability of water.

“Fertile land was a very valuable asset and this is why its use for anything other than farming was avoided,” said Melas.

Land use, according to the archaeologist, was always worked out in advance and human habitation on it was almost always limited – especially during the Minoan period – to rocky, arid areas of the land that were normally located on a rise (low hills or on amphitheatrical ridges), so that they would have solid foundations and a wide view that would ensure control over the area and safety. Evidence of this has been discovered in two zones in Minoan, Roman and earlier settlements.

What does Melas think the future holds? He says he expects several more similar settlements to come to light, which will “establish in a more solid way the mythical, historical tradition of the Minoan civilization’s domination of the sea and the peace it brought to the Aegean.”

A one-day colloquium on working with literary fragments from early Rome will be held at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, organized by Gesine Manuwald (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) and Costas Panayotakis (University of Glasgow) under the auspices of the Corpus Christi College Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity on Saturday 10th March 2007.

The purpose of this conference is to highlight the problems scholars are confronted with when working with literary genres partly preserved in fragments, to demonstrate the importance of including fragmentary works into the study of the respective genre and thus of Roman literature, to look at the advantages and the dangers in comparing authors whose text survives in fragments with authors (of the same genre) whose text survives in complete form, and to discuss what may be established for the works surviving in fragments and for the whole genre despite the fragmentary nature of the evidence.

Speakers will either discuss the problems which a literary genre or an aspect of this genre presents for interpretation in view of the extant fragmentary evidence, or deal with the general question of working with fragments with regard to their respective genre or author.

Papers should last for 30 minutes at most, allowing 20 minutes for discussion.

The programme is as follows:

10:15 Coffee and Registration
10:45 Opening Remarks
10:50 Adrian Hollis (Keble College, Oxford): on fragmentary Hellenistic and Roman didactic poems
11:40 Matthew Leigh (St Anne’s College, Oxford): on tragic fragments and Roman comedy

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Sander Goldberg (UCLA): on Roman epic
14.20 Anna Chahoud (Trinity College, Dublin): on Roman satire

15:10 Tea

15:40 Christopher Smith (University of St Andrews): on Roman oratory
16:30 Tim Cornell (University of Manchester): on Roman historiography
17:20 – 17:45 Concluding discussion led by Elaine Fantham (Princeton) (followed by drinks)

The colloquium is open to all. There will be a small charge of £12.50 (not applicable to graduates of Corpus Christi and to speakers): this will contribute to the cost of lunch and refreshments.

We shall also book a table for a meal at a local restaurant afterwards. If anyone would like to come to this dinner, please let Costas (c.panayotakis AT classics.arts.gla.ac.uk) or Gesine (gesine.manuwald@altphil.uni-freiburg.de) know in advance. Those wishing to make a booking for the conference should write to Professor Stephen Harrison, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, OX1 4JF, UK (stephen.harrison AT corpus-christi.oxford.ac.uk), enclosing a payment of £12.50 if appropriate (UK bank cheque preferred; overseas visitors can pay in cash on the day). Cheques should be made payable to Corpus Christi College, Oxford'. Bookings should be made by February 28th 2007.'

... seen on the Classicists list

The Classics Society, in conjunction with the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, will be hosting an undergraduate conference on the 16th and 17th of March, 2007. 

We are welcoming papers from all students of Classics and Classical Studies as well as from students of any discipline within the Humanities.  Topics should be related to the Classical World.  Presentations should be about ten to fifteen minutes in length. 

The 16th will consist of one afternoon session with a keynote address by a visiting professor in the evening.  The second and third sessions will be held on the morning and early afternoon of the 17th.  A reception will follow the keynote address, and a combined luncheon and presentation-skills workshop will follow the final session on the 17th.

The registration fee is $10, payable at the conference.

Abstracts should be around 300 words and should include a name, address, e-mail address, phone number and the university affiliation.  The deadline for submissions is February 9, 2007, and all accepted undergraduates will be notified by February 19th, 2007. Abstracts (preferably as a word document) should be sent to Chelsey Young t33k2 AT unb.ca, as should any questions.  All undergraduates are welcome and encouraged to submit an abstract regardless of experience.   

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin

The Loukidelis Foundation and the Department of Classical Studies at Thorneloe College of Laurentian University are pleased to announce the Loukidelis Doctoral Fellowship in Classics (Greek or Roman studies) for the academic year 2007-2008.

The Loukidelis Fellowship is non-renewable and open to individuals whoeither
--have obtained their Doctorate in Classics less than a year before taking up the fellowship; or

--at the time of taking up the fellowship have completed all course and residential requirements for the Doctorate in Classics and who have passed all preliminary examinations and completed the research for the thesis, and who can reasonably be expected to finish the doctorate during the year of the fellowship.

The holder of the Loukidelis fellowship will be asked to teach a total of three term courses (9 credits) over the Fall and Winter terms and give a public lecture. She/He will receive $22,000 with an allowance of up to $2000 to cover research-associated expenses and an allowance of up to $1000 to cover moving. Applications for the Loukidelis Fellowship should include official transcripts and three letters of reference.

When applicable, the thesis supervisor should be asked to write concerning the subject of the thesis and the expected date for its final submission. Applicants should also send a statement regarding the progress of their doctoral studies, including their schedule for completion, and a one- or two-page synopsis of their thesis. Completed applications should be sent by May 11th, 2007 to:

Dr Guy Chamberland, Chair
Department of Classical Studies
Thorneloe University
Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 2C6.

Further inquiries about the position may be directed to Dr Chamberland (gchamberland AT laurentian.ca). Additional information about the department and the university is available at http://thorneloe.laurentian.ca. Thorneloe College is committed to employment equity. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be considered first for this position.

... seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin
From the Stanford Daily:

The University of Chicago lost its top academic administrator this year when Stanford announced that Richard Saller, a history and classics professor and a former provost at that school, will replace Sharon Long as Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences on April 1.

Though the details have not yet been finalized, Saller’s faculty appointment at Stanford, will most likely be another joint appointment in history and classics. He is a self-described Roman historian, and his forthcoming book, “The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World,” was a collaborative effort with Stanford Classics Profs. Ian Morris and Walter Scheidel. At the University of Chicago, he teaches a course on Roman economic history.

According to Long, Saller will have to overcome “several major opportunities and challenges” as her replacement. After serving a five-year term, Long is leaving the position to return to teaching.

“I really loved being Dean,” Long said, “but what brought me here in the first place was Stanford as a wonderful place to do science and to work with students.”

“I think the School [of Humanities and Sciences] is ready for a strategic planning effort to look at the direction forward for the departments and programs,” she added. “I think this is an attraction for Professor Saller as he decided to come to Stanford.”

“I think there are some opportunities to improve on some of the [Stanford] programs,” Saller told The Daily.

At the University of Chicago, students said that the feeling on campus is that Saller is leaving for a more attractive administrative appointment, despite the fact that he is currently provost.

“[Stanford has] more sunshine and pretty people,” joked Derek Russell-Kraft, a University of Chicago senior.

Chicago senior Andrea Arntsen-Harris said students speculate that Saller’s new job at Stanford will be “less stressful” than the role he is leaving behind.

Saller said that he doubted the Chicago students “had much evidence” for their claims. Although he will watch over approximately 500 Stanford faculty members rather than the more than 1200 he oversaw as University of Chicago Provost, some of the issues he will have to tackle at Stanford, such as the recruitment of minority faculty, are highly controversial.

Stanford continues to struggle with recruiting and keeping minority faculty on staff, as evidenced by the impending departure of Political Science Associate Prof. Luis Fraga, who announced in December his decision to leave for the University of Washington. As provost, Saller worked closely with faculty and students on discussing and resolving minority issues.

In the 2002-2003 academic year, he commissioned the Provost’s Initiative on Minority Issues. The Initiative indicated in its 2002-2003 annual report that “faculty recruitment is essential for minority students.”

Despite this, he said, the progress made at Chicago was not sufficient.

“There is no easy quick solution to [the problem of recruiting minority faculty],” Saller told The Daily. “There are very few things that I spent more time on as dean and provost at the University of Chicago.”

He also said that he will encourage students to break out of the “Stanford Bubble.”

“If the whole college career is cloistered, I think that’s really too limiting,” he said, adding that the freedom to experience the world in new ways is an important aspect of the college experience. Saller became interested in classics after taking a course in Roman history as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois. He emphasized that opportunities to do community service and to study abroad are equally important.

Saller will be joined by his wife, a professor of anthropology, whose academic appointment at Stanford is also in progress. Both spent a year at Stanford from 1986 until 1987 as visiting faculty members at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. They will be leaving behind their two grown sons and close friends in Chicago.

Saller, an enthusiastic cyclist, said that part of what convinced him to come to Stanford were the “fun memories” of his year spent here.

“Chicago isn’t really a bad place to cycle,” he said, “but Stanford is much better.”

... er, what are the implications of the phrase "self-described Roman historian"?
The Department of Classics at Yale University invites applications for a one-year lecturer position in Greek and Latin language and literature commencing July 1, 2007. The position is renewable on a yearly basis for up to a total of 3 years. Candidates should have a Ph.D. or be near completion of the degree. The successful applicant must be able to teach courses at all levels in Latin and Greek, as well as Classics courses in translation; will be an effective undergraduate teacher; and will be able to supervise graduate teaching. The teaching load is three courses per semester.

Send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, a writing sample, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and three letters of recommendation BY FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007 to Christina Kraus, Classics, Yale University,
344 College Street, P.O. Box 208266, New Haven, CT 06520-8266 (email Christina.Kraus@yale.edu).

Yale University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. It values diversity in its faculty, staff and students and strongly encourages applications from women and underrepresented minorities.
From Kathimerini:

Most teachers believe that Ancient Greek should be taught at all levels of junior high school to help students strengthen their knowledge of the modern language.

According to the results of a study by the Pedagogic Institute, 79.7 percent of teachers said that Ancient Greek offers students a stronger grasp of Modern Greek and particularly helps those who go on to study physics and mathematics.

Just over 68 percent replied that Ancient Greek also helps boost critical thinking and mental skills.

The study questioned 350 junior high school teachers across Greece.

Survey results indicate that teachers would like to boost their teaching hours – a request they have made in the past, without success.
From the Daily Mail:

Italian police have unearthed the hidden cache of a group of grave robbers, recovering ancient Roman marble reliefs depicting stunningly lifelike gladiators locked in mortal combat.

The 12 panels were found buried in the garden of a private home near Fiano Romano, 25 miles north of the capital, and officials hailed the recovery as a major archaeological find and a blow to the illegal antiquities market.

The relief dates back to the late 1st century B.C. and is believed to have decorated a tomb, yet to be located, in the nearby Roman settlement of Lucus Feroniae, said Anna Maria Moretti, the superintendent for antiquities in the area north of Rome.

The pieces, made of high-quality Carrara marble, are notable for their size and age, and are among the finest examples from their period depicting one of Rome's favorite blood sports, Moretti said.

"The attention to detail is incredible," she said at a presentation of the finds at Rome's Villa Giulia museum.

The panels show bare-chested fighters, armed with swords and shields, engaged in duels while surrounded by trumpet and horn players who accompanied the phases of combat in the bloodied arena.

In one of the most dramatic scenes, a gladiator steps on the wrist of a downed opponent who raises a finger in a traditional plea for mercy.

The reliefs will undergo study and restoration before being shown to the public at Villa Giulia, officials said.

Prosecutor Paolo Ferri said no one had been arrested during the three-year investigation that led art squad police to the cache 10 days ago.

An unspecified number of people have been charged with archaeological theft, but Ferri declined to give further details on the accused.

A very nice photo of one of the reliefs accompanies the original article ... another photo via yahoo ...
Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 28)

Pron = ah-lee-AY-nah NOH-bees, NOHS-trah ploos AH-lees PLAH-kent.

Others' things please us, and our things please others more.

Comment: This is the Roman version of "the grass is always greener on the other side, with perhaps a little nationalistic pride thrown in (but they like our things more than we like their things).

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a man who told me he envied me. I asked him why. He said: because you are doing the things you want to do. What made this an even more significant comment for me was that I knew that he was very wealthy, and I had often found myself wondering what it would be like to have that kind of wealth--to travel where and whenever I wanted, to make repairs and renovations on my house as I wanted. We had spent 12 years renovating our old house. It took that long not because it was in such horrible repair but because we could not afford (two teachers in Alabama) to do it any quicker. We were raising three small children, both teaching, and I had a massage therapy practice. We were always tired, always short of the money we would have liked to have had, and always in the middle of a project (or four).

The man's comment gave me pause to reflect many times after that day.
I really was doing the things I wanted, just not always as fast, or with the flare that I might have with more money. He and I talked that day about our individual paths, and how they unfold differently for everyone, but that each of us has some basic insights to receive from the path we are on. I know that to be true of my path. I believed it to be true of his. What was puzzling to me, and not really my observation to make about his path was that with his wealth, he was as free as anyone to do what he wanted to do. But, it would mean making changes. And that's where we all face the difficulties and joys of our own paths in very similar ways.

We all face change. We all face change whether we choose to engage our lives and our paths or not. Changes are always--changing.

Thinking that the other's things are better are momentary distractions from the next step. And that all.

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

Ludi Palatini (day 4)

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

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

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

inscrutable @ Dictionary.com

A Celebration of the Life and Work of Peter Brunt
Oxford, 23-24 March 2007
Supported by Oriel and Brasenose Colleges and the Faculty of Classics

Provisional Programme:

Friday, 23 March, 2007, 1.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m. The Roman Republic
1.30 – 2.30 p.m.
Professor William Harris (Columbia University): “When and How Did Italy Come to be Called Italy”

2.30-3.30 p.m.
Dr Jonathan Prag (Merton College, Oxford): “Non-Italian Manpower: auxilia externa under the Republic”

3.30-4.00 p.m. Tea

4.00 – 5.00 p.m.
Dr Valentina Arena (University College London): “Roman liberty after Brunt”

5.00-6.00 p.m.
Professor Christopher Smith (University of St Andrews): “Brunt and the Roman plebs”

6.15-7.15 p.m. Reception  (venue t.b.a.)
7.30 p.m. Dinner (Oriel College, only for those who have pre-booked)


Saturday, 24 March, 2007, 9.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. The Roman Empire

9.30 – 10.30 a.m.
Professor Tim Parkin (University of Manchester): “Augustus’ marriage legislation and Italian Manpower”

10.30 – 11.00 a.m. Coffee

11.00 a.m.  – 12 noon

Dr. Roger Tomlin (Wolfson College, Oxford): Julian the Apostate
12 noon – 1.00 p.m. Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (British School at Rome): Title t.b.a.


2.00 – 5.30 p.m. Politics and Philosophy

2.00 - 3.00 p.m.
Professor Malcolm Schofield (St John’s College, Cambridge): “Virtue and happiness: Cicero vs Brutus”

3.00-4.00 p.m.
Dr Ingo Gildenhard (University of Durham): “The politics of Cicero’s perfecta philosophia”

4.00-4.30 p.m. Coffee

4.30-5.30 p.m.
Dr. Miriam Griffin (Somerville College, Oxford): “Stoicism and Roman Political Life:  why Brunt matters” 

All the lectures will take place in Oriel College. Details of the final programme will be announced in a later circular.
Insulae Canariae immigratione laborant
: Nuntii Latini

19.01.2007, klo 12.18

Insulae Canariae, in Oceano Atlantico positae, olim insulae Deorum vel Fortunatae dictae sunt, quia caeli temperie commendantur.

Hodie meta sunt amata viatorum septentrionalium, qui illas aeroplano facillime petere possunt.

Etiam ex Finnia complura millena feriantium praesertim mensibus hiemalibus in Canarias insulas volare solent.

His annis immigratores illegales ex Africa, ubi paupertate premuntur, illuc navigiis venire coeperunt, nam iter trans Fretum Gaditanum in Hispaniam propter custodiam diligentiorem factum est difficilius.

Anno proxime praeterito unum et triginta milia immigratorum ex Africa in Canarias venerunt, sex milia in itinere maritimo perisse aestimantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The latest contributor to the ongoing utility-of-Latin debate in the Guardian comes from a student:

Last week the government's latest plan was to extend compulsory schooling to 18. Good idea. My worry though is that any educational progress for disengaged youngsters will be undercut by Victorian ideas about what counts as suitable education. The much maligned "meedja studies", a massively popular post-16 subject, is a case-in-point.

It seems odd, but some of the biggest unconscious snobbery towards media studies A level and other subjects like it is found among the liberal, education-loving elite. Many dinner-party intellectuals are comfortable decrying the "easy" subjects on offer in schools today as they long for a return to compulsory foreign languages and the classics. Mary Beard in these pages last week talked up Latin as a good social leveller due to its intellectual rigour. Teachers are even worse: in a week when a discerning eye towards the moving image would have been advantageous, colleagues berated media studies as "pointless" and "a sure-fire way to push up the school figures". That's quite some disapproval for a subject that is the most popular and successful in our sixth form.

Media is a testing subject; statistically it is one of the hardest to get an A in. It mobilises useful skills and combines intellectual stretch with competencies that students (and our economy) need for the future. Comparing it to Latin is informative. Whereas media students are asked to write a mini-dissertation (the only A level subject to require this) and use cutting-edge software such as Adobe Premier, my sixth form Latin teacher asked me to memorise long chunks of Virgil's Aeneid. I can still recite the verses now: "It was that time of the night when sleep first begins for suffering mortals." My memory was thoroughly tested. But did I learn any of the skills necessary for success in all workplaces? Was I thoroughly stretched? Did I even write an essay? Receiving an A in Latin A level is statistically more likely than almost any other subject. Not because it is only selected by a bright few who are privately educated, but because if you have a good memory, you can score well. To achieve in media (and in life), you need more than a good memory.

I observed a media lesson last Wednesday. First, every student's technical vocabulary was excellent and higher-level thinking skills were being utilised constantly. Secondly, critical research was well advanced with many students building on a good grasp of theory with practical examples. One student was even referencing her work in a sophisticated, undergraduate way. Most impressive of all, however, was the fact that these students were highly motivated and engaged in an intellectual and practical capacity. I have observed many other A-level lessons, but none have taken students so far out of their comfort zones.

We all have a stake in ensuring that young people are engaged in education. So perhaps we should start by respecting the subjects that students are engaged in. We claim to support choice, but underneath pour scorn on the choices students make. Ben in 13T summed it up well: "People should not talk until they have tried it."

I am not saying we should scrap Latin A level, I am saying we should support students and their academic successes instead of assuming that only traditional subjects have intrinsic and intellectual value. If we do this, we may just be able to make a go of compulsory post-16 education.

Personally, I'm always disturbed when debates which evolve into an either-or situation when they don't really have to (e.g. endless arguments with one or both of my kids that it's okay to be a fan of both CFL and NFL football). It's interesting to see the 'practical' subject here being the 'underdog' though ...
From Wanted in Rome:

In Greek mythology the Medusa was a creature who was so frightful you could not look at her. If you did, she turned you to stone. Perseus, before he fell in love with Andromeda and freed her from her sea guardian, slew the Medusa while looking at her reflection on his shield instead of directly at her.
The Medusa image was used throughout history as a symbol of the power to scare off the enemy and any evil. Athene wore it on her breast. In painting it on a ceremonial shield, Caravaggio depicted a face with horribly rolling eyes and screaming mouth, distended in a nasty grimace. In all other images too the drive of the expression goes outward, not inward as in the cleaned head in the Capitoline Museums.
After undergoing years of state-of-the-art restoration, the marble sculpture called Medusa and doubtfully attributed to Bernini went on show in December in the centre of a hall of the Capitoline Museums in all its ancient horror and enigmatic beauty.
The carving first surfaced in 1731 in a collection given to the museum by the Sienese marchese Francesco Bichi. His brother Alessandro was a papal nunzio and his other brother Celio, who had been Bichi’s secretary, was a cardinal; all were intellectuals and fervid art collectors. Why the sculpture was installed in the papal audience hall in the Capitoline or who inscribed its pedestal with the legend “the head of the Medusa in antiquity placed on Roman shields to terrify the enemy… shines with the glory of a most famous master” without mentioning any name, is not known. Only in 1817 one Agostino Tofanelli in his catalogue of the antique statues in the Capitoline Museums suddenly made a splash and astounded the public by revealing he had found “Medusa, testa di Bernini” written on the base. Scholars have been vociferously discussing this attribution ever since.
Some conjecture the statue might very well be a companion piece to Bernini’s bust of Costanza Bonarelli, his girlfriend, sculpted between 1636 and 1638, similar in size and conception. Others contend it was an expression of Bernini’s disenchantment. He had been the most successful sculptor and city planner of any papal court. Urban VIII Barberini let him create the Baroque as we still see it around us today: St Peter’s colonnades, Piazza Navona, Piazza Barberini, etc. After Urban’s death in 1644 Bernini suddenly fell from grace under his successor, Innocent X Pamphilj. Living in a hiatus, it was thought he fashioned the bust in a moment of spite and unhappiness, wielding the mastery of the tools at his command as an expression of disgust and defiance, showing he was ready to smite his enemies.
As we look at the sculpture we see a fine noble face of an anguished woman in white marble, crowned by the most astounding hairpiece in the world: a nest of marble snakes carved into a slithering, hissing meander of curlicues, some biting each other, in an impenetrable writhing and knotting thicket – her fright-wig.
It is a tour de force of sculpture. The wild and imaginative head is made in the style and craftsmanship and taste of the period, and it is certainly by the hand of a master. But what makes it stand out from any other representation of the malevolent Medusa monster in art history is its expression. All other Medusas ray out, they grimace out with as much ugliness and fierce will as they can muster. But by a perverse trick, this Medusa has suddenly perceived her own face in the glass. She doesn’t scare you, but in mortal panic she has scared herself. She has turned herself to stone.
The head, most painstakingly restored, resides in the museums’ Sala degli Arazzi in its new glory. It will soon be reinstalled in its original site, the Sala delle Oche. This is not far from the hall in which stands the patroness of our city, La Lupa, or She-wolf, in all her splendour. A sleek dark animal in fierce attitude guards two plump babies happily reaching up to her. We know Romulus and Remus were added by a sculptor of the baroque period. But the animal in bronze, its head jutting forward with grace, its pelt modelled in regular rows of ringlets, is beautifully Etruscan. Recently someone has tried to make a sensation by declaring it mediaeval. But here is an elegance and stylisation that could only be the Etruscan will.
However, both these outstanding symbols, the Medusa and the Lupa sculptures, whoever their master, whatever their period, are great achievements of the human imagination, wonderful to contemplate.

An annoyingly small photo accompanies the original article ...
Since Adrian Murdoch is changing the channel on this soap opera, he's asked me to post it (it is getting tiresome/disheartening reposting this every year). From the BBC:

A landmark representing the most northerly walled frontier of the Roman Empire has become the UK's official nomination for World Heritage status.

The Antonine Wall runs 37 miles from Bo'ness, near Falkirk, to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire.

The announcement was made by UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

Conservation body Unesco, which is responsible for the scheme, will examine the proposal and make a final decision at a future date.

The bid has been supported by five local authorities throughout central and the west of Scotland.

'International dimension'

The wall was built in about 140 AD to keep Pictish warriors out of the Roman Empire after the conquest of southern Scotland.

It became a monument to the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius but was abandoned after just a generation, in about 165 AD.

Ms Jowell said: "The Antonine Wall is one of the UK's most important Roman monuments and a fascinating part of our European heritage.

"It is this international dimension that is most exciting to me."

If accepted by Unesco the wall will join the list of 27 UK World Heritage Sites.

Scottish Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson said: "The Antonine Wall is significant not only as a visible reminder of one of the most powerful states that the world has ever seen, but also as part of a great network of frontiers which the Roman Empire constructed in order to protect itself."
KINHMA: "Gladiatrix! Fighting Women of the Screen"

Hanna M. Roisman and Martin Winkler, organizers

This final panel of KINHMA will deal with a frequently neglected aspect
of the modern representation of ancient Greece and Rome: the portrayal
of female arena fighters, for whom there is ancient evidence and of
whom Ridley Scott's Gladiator included some fictionalized examples, and
of other kinds of heroic women, most prominently Xena, the warrior
princess. We are looking for papers that address the ways in which
usually male screenwriters and directors show (or show off) their
female stars, especially in their interactions with heroic males.
Abstracts must be submitted anonymously and should not exceed one page
(double-spaced) in length.

Send abstracts via e-mail only to both organizers by February 15, 2007,
at hroisman AT colby.edu and mwinkler AT gmu.edu.
The Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at the
George Washington University in conjunction with the Departments of
Anthropology and History seeks an archaeologist/historian for a tenured or
tenure-track position as associate professor specializing in the study of
the ancient Mediterranean. Teaching responsibilities: courses in the
archaeology and history of the ancient Mediterranean region and in
introductory and general archaeology. Advising responsibilities: students in
our interdisciplinary archaeology major and in Classical Studies.

Basic Qualifications: PhD in ancient history, ancient studies, archaeology,
or related field, demonstrated teaching excellence, substantial record of
scholarly publications, and an active field research program in the ancient
Mediterranean that involves student training in archaeological field

Preferred Qualifications: At least one ancient language, teaching experience
in archaeological theory and field methods, experience in public outreach,
and prior administrative experience.

To Apply: Send letter of application, a dossier including current CV, and
statement of research plans; a sample publication; and three letters of
reference to Prof. Elizabeth Fisher, Chair of the Ancient Studies Search
Committee, Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures--
Phillips Hall 345, George Washington University, Washington DC 20052. Review
of applications will begin on February 19, 2007, and will continue until the
position is filled. Only complete applications will be considered. The
George Washington University is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity

... seen on AegeaNet
10.30 p.m. |HINT| Princess of the City
In March 1999, archaeologists digging at Spitalfields in London
uncovered an elaborate Roman sarcophagus with a beautifully decorated
lead coffin inside, and in the soil at the end of the coffin, a set
of jet objects and an elaborate glass vessel, possibly hair
decorations and a perfume jar, all clues to the identity of the
person inside. Archaeologist and host Julian Richards follows up this
amazing discovery--a fascinating story of wealth, privilege, and the
best funeral money could buy. Spend the night in London during Roman
domination as we find out as much as possible about the wealthy,
highborn foreigner from her perfectly preserved skeleton and the
grave goods and remnants of clothing found with her. The contents of
the grave include gold thread and fragments of textile, which later
analysis proves to be a garment of damask silk originally from China,
elaborately woven with gold in Syria. We conclude with a
reconstruction of the woman's burial in Roman London.

HINT = History International
Somewhat strange one from the ANA:

Culture Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday reiterated Athens' volition to block a Christie's auction in London this week featuring objects belonging to an early 20th century Greek monarch.

"The culture ministry is systematically and methodically trying to protect the cultural heritage, namely Greek history," Voulgarakis told reporters on Tuesday amid the uproar over the auction.

He underlined that the objects in question are indisputably part of modern Greek history.

"In spite of the fact that the list of objects is long and detailed, their exact origin and the way they reached the auction house has not been made public," Voulgarakis said, while adding that the Greek state will notify auction participants that it reserves all legal rights.

Voulgarakis issued an "extrajudicial protest" a day earlier to the Christie's Auction House, calling for the withdrawal "of cultural goods appearing to belong to the collection of the King of the Hellenes, George I". The auction has been scheduled for Jan. 24-25 in London.

The protest was also conveyed to Britain's ambassador in Greece.

A culture ministry underlined that "from the list of the auction and from the investigation being conducted, it arises that the auctioned goods constitute part of the history of the modern Greek state and of our cultural heritage, resulting in the issue being raised of illegal export of cultural goods from Greece."

... what I find strange is that there is nothing ancient here (some nice Faberge stuff and piles of 19th century silver) ... maybe I missed it in the catalog ...

From Chandigarh Newsline:

Jacques Louis David, a neo-classicist, felt that it was the artist’s moral duty to paint elevated subjects and that these subjects should be rooted in ancient notions of virtue. The compelling nature of David’s paintings is sometimes considered as propaganda for the cause of the French Revolution.

The present painting, “The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons” done in 1789, speaks of self-sacrifice for a higher cause. It narrates the tale of King Brutus (not the assassin of Julius Caesar) who rid Rome of the tyrannical king Tarquin. But his sons allied with Tarquin and conspired against Roman liberty. So Brutus had his sons killed. The picture depicts the body of one of his sons being brought to him after the assassination.

For the grim and terrible event depicted in the painting, David adopted a radical compositional format. The main character, Brutus, is placed at the extreme left, plunged into a deep shadow. His body is tense and knotted as he broods over the consequences of his act, the death warrant clenched tightly in his hand. On the other side of the image, the inconsolable women are brightly illuminated. David skillfully illuminated the grief and allegorized the suffering, fear and pain of his figures. He shows the mother, accusing and suffering; her daughter beside her, hands raised defensively; and finally the younger daughter sunk down in pain at her impotence. Another figure at the right edge of the painting personifies grief.

In the shadow sits the “hero” with the dark mien of a thinker. His features are stoic and harsh,his left hand is holding the written accusation in a claw-like grip, and he is seated in the shadow of a Roman statue, the symbol of the state to which the sacrifice is being made. Behind him, the son whose life has fallen victim to the requirements of the state is being borne in. A column strictly divides the theatrical arrangement into the representation of the dark force of destiny and the obvious emotional effect of the event.

This isn't one of my fave Davids (all the women's heads are too small; the mother's arm, clutching her daughter, has no tension in it) ... for an image ...

AP via Yahoo:

Work on Rome's Palatine Hill has turned up a trove of discoveries, including what might be the underground grotto where ancient Romans believed a wolf nursed the city's legendary founders Romulus and Remus.

Archaeologists gathered Tuesday at a conference to save crumbling monuments on the Palatine discussed findings of studies on the luxurious imperial homes threatened by collapse and poor maintenance that have forced the closure of much of the hill to the public.

While funds are still scarce, authorities plan to reopen some key areas of the honeycombed hill to tourists by the end of the year, including frescoed halls in the palaces of the emperor Augustus and of his wife, Livia.

After being closed for decades, parts of the palaces will be opened for guided tours while restoration continues, officials said.

It was during the restoration of the palace of Rome's first emperor that workers taking core samples from the hill found what could be a long-lost place of worship believed by ancient Romans to be the cave where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the abandoned twin sons of the god of war Mars.

Irene Iacopi, the archaeologist in charge of the Palatine and the nearby Roman Forum, said experts used a probe to peer into the 52-foot-deep cavity and found a vaulted space decorated with frescoes, niches and seashells. It is too early to say for sure whether the worship place known as "lupercale"_ from "lupa," Latin for wolf — has been found, but Roman texts say that it was close to Augustus' palace and that the emperor had restored it, Iacopi said.

"It was a very important symbolic place and we believe that it was well preserved," said Giovanna Tedone, an architect leading the work at the palace. Archaeologists are now looking for the grotto's entrance, she said.

Other finds to have emerged recently from the Palatine's largely unexplored palaces and temples include an ancient Roman sewer, insignia believed to have belonged to the emperor Maxentius, terra-cotta statues and an alabaster tiger striped with gray marble.

Officials said the resurfaced treasures highlight the importance of a hill so favored by the rich and powerful that its name is at the origin of the words "palace" in English, "palais" in French and "palazzo" in Italian.

Today rainwater seeps through stones, roots bore through bricks and retaining walls crack under layer after layer of construction, from the eighth-century B.C. remains of Rome's first fledgling huts to a medieval fortress and Renaissance villas.

Only a quarter of the Palatine's nearly 500 buildings are above the ground and just 40 percent of the hill's 67 acres can be visited.

The latest closure came in November 2005, when a 16th-century wall collapsed one night in a well-visited area near the emperor Tiberius' palace. No one was hurt, but the collapse prompted authorities to study the stability of the hill and its monuments.

Experts said Tuesday they are considering restoring the ancient Roman sewage system to help drain rainwater.

Each year, 4 million people buy a ticket granting access to the Palatine and the nearby Colosseum, but 90 percent of them just go to the ancient arena, said Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli. The minister said that $9 million will be available in 2007 for more restoration on collapse-prone areas such as Tiberius' palace.
The Department of Classics at the Florida State University has been authorized to make the appointment beginning in August 2007 of a new 12-month Assistant in Classics (lecturer) position whose primary assignment will be classroom teaching.  This is a non-tenure track position, renewable upon satisfactory performance.  The Ph.D. must be in hand by July 1, 2007.  The Assistant will teach two large-lecture sections of comparative mythology as well as a third course, usually in Latin or Greek at the undergraduate level, in both Fall and Spring terms; in addition, the Assistant will teach the comparative myth course as an on-line course during one of the six-week summer terms.  Salary will be at least $35,000, plus benefits.  Applications, including a c.v., evidence of teaching, and three letters of recommendation, should be sent to: Assistant in Classics Search, Department of Classics, 205 Dodd Hall, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1510. Review of applications will begin March 15th, 2007, and will continue until the position is filled. For information about our department, see our website at http://www.fsu.edu/~classics.  The Florida State University is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer, committed to diversity in hiring, and a Public Records Agency.

... seen on AegeaNet
*XVII International Congress of Classical Archaeology*
*Meetings of Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean*

The 17th meeting of the quinquennial conference of the Associazione
Internazionale di Archeologia Classica will be held in Rome in September
2008 on the theme of 'Meetings of Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean'.
This represents the 50th anniversary of the first conference organised
by AIAC in Rome in 1958.

The conference will be organized strictly around a single theme, but a
broad one, of the meetings and interactions of cultures across the
Mediterranean world in antiquity. The conference will seek to approach
this theme from the widest possible range of angles, embracing all
archaeological disciplines, from landscape archaeology to urbanism to
art history to study of ceramics and material culture; and covering all
areas of the Mediterranean, extending to the areas under the control of
or in closest contact with Mediterranean powers (including all provinces
of the Roman Empire). The official Languages of the Congress will be
English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Proposals are invited for sessions, consisting of up to 6 short papers
on closely related themes. Each sessions will last 2 hours, including
10-15 minute presentations of each paper, and a 15 minute discussion by
a nominated discussant. Proposals for sessions should include the name
of an organiser who will take responsibility for contacting other
session members, a theme, an abstract of no more than 200 words
describing the theme and its relevance to the theme of the congress, and
names and paper titles of at least two and not more than six speakers.
The AIAC Organising Committee in Rome may add further speakers to a
session where the number is below six. Each session will have a
discussant; names of suitable discussants may be proposed by the
organiser. Proposals should be received by 31 May 2007; notification
will be sent of acceptance or rejection by 1 August 2007. Proposals will
be assessed by members of the AIAC Directive Committee in Rome; those
not bearing a clear relationship to the theme of the conference will not
be accepted. The following suggested topics are intended to be
illustrative; proposals need not be limited to them. Themes which
compare aspects of the same topic in different periods or geographical
areas are encouraged.

Theoretical approaches to cultural exchange
• culture and identity
• imperialism, colonialism and cultural hegemony
• hybridisation and multiculturalism
Exchanges of technologies
• metallurgy
• ceramics & plastic arts
• building technologies
• water management
• agriculture
Trade and economies
• organization of trade
• domination of markets
• traders as cultural mediators
Migration and culture
• migration and ethnicity
• migrant and itinerant craftsmen
• mercenaries
• slavery and culture
• armies and culture
Ritual, cult and beliefs
• sanctuaries and territory
• death and burial
• ritual and celebration
• assimilation of deities
• ‘oriental’ religions
• philosophies
Text, image and communication
• writing and scripts
• image as language
• coinage as communication
• style and identity
Global and local
• the idea of a koinè
• limitations and resistance to exchange
• exchange versus local production in ceramics
• inclusion and exclusion in material cultures


Landscapes of exchange
• islands, coasts, rivers, mountains
• ports and exchange
• landscape survey
• multicultural metropoleis

East and West: ancient ‘orientalism’
• ‘orientalism’ in art
• Greek and Asian
• Greek and Egyptian
• Greek and barbarian
Colonial experiences
• Greek and native
• Punic and non-Punic
• the Hellenistic East
• the Hellenistic West
The Romanization and Hellenization of Italy
• changing landscapes
• urbanisation
• architecture: building techniques and styles
• production and consumption
The Roman Provinces: assimilation, resistance, and dialogue
• conquest and culture
• becoming Roman in the west
• ‘provincial’ art
• Greek, Roman and other identities in the eastern Mediterranean
Margins of the Mediterranean World
• multicultural identities
• Near East
• Sub-Saharan Africa
• Barbarian and non-barbarian
The City of Rome and the meeting of cultures
• Romulus’ asylum
• Rome and Etruria
• Hellenism in Rome
• ‘Oriental’ religions in Rome
• Imperial Rome and ethnic diversity
• Christian and pagan in Rome

Proposals for individual papers may be submitted at the same time,
though the Committee will accept proposals for individual papers up to 1
July 2007. Where these proposals are accepted, the Committee will assign
papers either to sessions already accepted, or put together new ones.

In order to secure precirculation and publication, complete texts of all
papers must be received in digital form by 31 July 2008. These will be
made available electronically to all registered participants on the AIAC
website. For further information, please contact
AIACCongress2008 AT gmail.com or visit www.aiac.org

you will find any specific information concerning the Congress at both the websites:
http://www.aiac.org/ing/congresso_2008/home.htm (English version)
http://www.aiac.org/ita/congresso_2008/home.htm (Italian version)
Dum fata fugimus, fata stulti incurrimus.
(Robert Williams Buchanan, 1841-1901, English novelist, playwright and poet)

pron = doom FAH-tah FOO-gee-moos FAH-tah STOOL-tee ihn-KOO-ree-moos.

While we flee from the fates, we, like fools, run right into the fates we were trying to escape.

Comment: This is a principle of attraction stated in the negative. The principle of attraction may be expressed something like this: we will attract into our lives the people and situations that will reflect to us, like mirrors, those things we need to see in order to grow and develop as human beings.

There are a couple of caveats.

First, these people and situations will often enough be those that we don't want to see. They force us to look at those personal issues we'd prefer to ignore, and that, when forced, we will project onto others. If we deem someone else "lazy", the fates are at work. Who first called us lazy? What fear, anxiety, or repressed anger do we have toward being "lazy"? When was the last time we were "lazy"?

Second, because it is so easy to project onto others the things we don't want to see, it is even easier to dismiss this whole principle of attraction. It is based on an understanding that all things are somehow intimately connected. Can it be true that my life, and the lives of others, are magically, spiritually, meaningfully connected?
Some people call this connect "God", others "The Universe", others "The Cosmic Web", others "Quantum Reality" and so forth. It doesn't matter what we call it. Can we recognize the inter-connection of all things?

Bottom line: what are we searching for? What are we running from?
Likely, they are the same thing, and the answer is who we are. We are what we search for. We are what we flee from. And one day, the part of us searching and the part of us fleeing will run right into each other.

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

ludi palatini (day 3) -- the theatrefest continues
vim @ Wordsmith

supine @ Dictionary.com
Grethlein, Jonas, The Manifold Uses of the Epic Past: The Embassy Scene in Herodotus 7.153-63

In the Syracusan embassy scene (Hdt. 7.153–63), both the Spartan and the Athenian envoys invoke the epic past to buttress their claims to the chief command; against this, Gelon pits the youthful vigour of his recent superpower, calling his army the "spring of Greece." However, intertextual links undermine the claims of all three and evoke the later fights for hegemony. This analysis sheds light on the way Herodotus uses the widespread juxtaposition of the Trojan and Persian Wars and helps to assess the relation of his Histories to non-historiographical genres.

American Journal of Philology 127.4
Insulae Canariae immigratione laborant
: Nuntii Latini

19.01.2007, klo 12.18

Insulae Canariae, in Oceano Atlantico positae, olim insulae Deorum vel Fortunatae dictae sunt, quia caeli temperie commendantur.

Hodie meta sunt amata viatorum septentrionalium, qui illas aeroplano facillime petere possunt.

Etiam ex Finnia complura millena feriantium praesertim mensibus hiemalibus in Canarias insulas volare solent.

His annis immigratores illegales ex Africa, ubi paupertate premuntur, illuc navigiis venire coeperunt, nam iter trans Fretum Gaditanum in Hispaniam propter custodiam diligentiorem factum est difficilius.

Anno proxime praeterito unum et triginta milia immigratorum ex Africa in Canarias venerunt, sex milia in itinere maritimo perisse aestimantur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
The Globalist has a lengthy comparison ...
The programme for Semester 2, 2006/2007 is focused on the theme of Violence in the Ancient World, to include warfare, crime, and much more...

6 Feb
Philip Sabin (KCL)
Lost battles: reconstructing the great clashes of the ancient world

13 Feb
Duncan Kennedy (Bristol)
Dismemberment and the critics: the case of Seneca's Phaedra

20 Feb
Joanna Paul (Liverpool)
'Are you not entertained?': arena violence in epic literature and film

27 Feb
Susanne Wilbers-Rost & Achim Rost (Kalkriese) Research on the battlefield of Varus (AD 9): archaeological results and historical aspects

6 March
Edward Harris (Durham)
Who enforced the law in classical Athens?

13 March
William J Dominik (Otago NZ)
Geopolitics in Virgil

20 March
Kai Brodersen (Mannheim)
An overdose of love potion or a case of malicious poisoning? Antiphon, Against the Stepmother

27 March
Philip De Souza (UCD)
Why was piracy a problem in the ancient world?

The seminars, unless otherwise stated, take place at 4:30pm in the Bosanquet Seminar Room, 12 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool.
All are welcome!

For further information or inquiries please contact Dr Alexei V Zadorojnyi at avzadoro AT liverpool.ac.uk

... seen on the Classicists list.
7.00 p.m. |NG| Atlantis
Ever since Plato first described the existence of an island paradise
populated by an advanced civilization, the myth of Atlantis has
captured the human imagination. Join NGC on a quest that traverses
the globe in search of the ever elusive lost civilization of
Atlantis. Visit Egypt with an "investigative mythologist" for an
unconventional look at the pyramids and sail to the Greek island of
Santorini with a geologist to investigate an active volcano that may
have destroyed Atlantis.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries: Siege of Troy
For 3000 years the Siege of Troy has remained steeped in mystery.
Journey with us to the site in Turkey believed to be the location of
the real Troy, as we analyze one of the world's greatest historical
battlegrounds for new clues. This program takes us behind the Troy
celebrated by Hollywood to uncover fascinating evidence in regard to
Achilles' duel against Hector, the sailing of the vast Mycenaean
fleet and the wooden ship of Troy. Watch as we apply modern
technology, archaeology and engineering to uncover the real story
behind the legend of Troy.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Alexander the Great and the Devastating Catapult.

NG - National Geographic
HISTU - History Channel (US)
The incipit of a piece from the New Yorker:

The first meeting of the Athanasius Kircher Society, held in the CUNY Graduate Center, on Fifth Avenue, last Tuesday evening, was billed as a contemporary wonder cabinet. Not the least of wonders is the revival of interest in Kircher, a seventeenth-century German Jesuit priest. A human search engine, Kircher published dozens of volumes on matters both large—astronomy, Egyptology, cryptography, botany, geology, geography, magnetism, and linguistics—and small, such as the real size of Noah’s Ark. Travellers from all over Europe came to see his collection of marvels and oddities in Rome, at the Museum Kircherianum.

By the end of the century, however, modern methods of scholarship had proved many of Kircher’s assumptions wrong, and his reputation sank to that of a gifted charlatan. According to Anthony Grafton, of Princeton University, who spoke at the meeting, a Kircher resurgence began in academic circles in the late nineteen-seventies. Kircher’s popularity is also growing among the general public, at least with a certain type of self-consciously twee New York hipster (the event sold out a month in advance), for whom YouTube is a modern-day Museum Kircherianum.

Joshua Foer, a twenty-four-year-old freelance science writer, called the meeting to order. Foer is the founder of the Kircher Society, which consists mainly of a Web site that draws attention to subjects (hair museums, blind photographers, thousand-year-old pieces of popcorn) that Kircher might find inspiring. Then Grafton invoked the spirit of Kircher by reading, in Latin, a description of his descent into the crater of Mt. Vesuvius in 1638, undertaken in order to gather data on volcanism.

... the rest (no more ClassCon) ... the society has a blog ...
First we heard of mafiosi types using Latin ... now it's football/soccer types ... from the Scotsman:

IT is the kind of KGB-style intrigue that you might expect to find in the pages of a spy novel.

Cryptic notes to Hearts boss Vladimir Romanov have been appearing in the personal messages columns of the Capital's newspapers.
Click to learn more...

So far two messages - partly written in Latin - have been published, each one running for a week in the Evening News and the Scotsman.

Heart of Midlothian supporters have scrambled to decipher the mysterious notices, and posted various explanations as to their meaning on a fans' website. The Evening News today can reveal that the mystery man is the director of a property firm who wishes to remain anonymous.

He is a lifelong fan who backs the Hearts owner and claims to be working together with several supporters' clubs.

The first message said: "Vladimir, sometimes the monkeys write letters, noli illegitimi carborundum."

It was followed this week by: "Vladimir, remember the emperor's new clothes, pessimum genus inimicorum landantes."

The first Latin phrase translates as: "Don't let the b******* grind you down". The second, where the last word should read "laudantes", is a famous quote from Roman historian Tacitus meaning: "Flatterers are the worst kind of enemies."

Comments have been flying back and forth on the jamboskickback website from fans desperate to discover the meaning behind the messages.

The man who placed the ads would only allow the News to reveal that he is the director of a property firm and that the cost of the adverts was being split between several supporters' clubs. He said they were a reaction to an open letter to Vladimir Romanov posted by the Heart of Midlothian Supporters' Trust on their website last month.

In it, supporters claimed that the Lithuanian businessman's actions over the last two seasons had made the Gorgie outfit a laughing stock.

"Mr X" said many Hearts supporters disagreed with the sentiments in the letter and wanted to show Mr Romanov their backing in a way he would appreciate. He said: "It was a childish and poorly written letter and didn't mention any of the positive things Vladimir has done for the club.

"We don't have the platform the Supporters' Trust do and wanted to let him know he has the support of the rank and file. We know he is fond of cryptic messages so we thought it was something that he would appreciate."

Regarding the reference to the Emperor's New Clothes fairy tale, he said: "All the people beside the emperor were scared to tell him he was naked. There are people who do that to Romanov - they won't tell him his mistakes.

"He has definitely made mistakes, but he admits them and learns from them."

He added that the messages would run until the end of the season and would eventually link together to form a story with a conclusion.
The VII International Meeting of Greek Linguistics will be held at the University of Cagliari on 13th-15th September 2007. The meeting is entitled: Greek morphology between typology and diachrony.

Call for papers

There will be 20 talks of 20 minutes plus 10 minutes question time. The talks will be held every morning and on Thursday afternoon. Submissions with running title and relative abstract should be sent to Prof.Ignazio Putzu at the following address: papers@linguisticagreca.it
Submissions must be received no later than 28 February 2007.
The reviewing of papers arriving within the deadline will be carried out by the academic committee. The members are Pierluigi Cuzzolin, Luigi Leurini, Ines Loi Corvetto, Patrizia Mureddu, Gianfranco Nieddu, Giulio Paulis and Ignazio Putzu.
All authors will be notified of acceptance decisions by 31st March 2007.

Round table

On Friday afternoon a round table session will be held with the title of : “Do linguists have a different morphology to philologists? Linguistics and philology in the study of the ancient languages”.

Poster session

During the meeting a poster session displaying the work of young scholars will also be held. The aim of running a “poster session” alongside the VII International meeting of Greek Linguistics is to give young researchers the chance to exhibit their work within the context of an important scientific event.
Contributions may be submitted not only on the main theme of the meeting, i.e. “Greek morphology between typology and diachrony”, but also on other aspects of Greek linguistics. The presentation deadline is 28th February 2007.
Submissions complete with abstracts should be sent to Dr.Nicoletta Puddu or to Dr. Stefano Novelli at the following address posters@linguisticagreca.it Participants will be notified of acceptance for the poster session by 31st March 2007.
For more information, please visit the website:

... seen on the Classicists list
Elephantum ex mure facis.

pron = eh-leh-PAHN-toom eks MOO-reh FAH-kis.

You are making an elephant out of mouse.

Comment: Anonymous has for us who are walking around on a Monday some good advice. Don't make elephants out of the mice you encounter today.

It's that simple. We are all going to run into what is otherwise just "Monday stuff" and on Tuesday or better, next Friday, they will seem like little mice. Today, though, they can loom large, into what seems to be elephants.

Laugh. Be willing to laugh at yourself, and the elephant will shrink back into the mouse that it is.

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

Symposium: Graeco-Roman Philanthropy and Christian Charity

DePauw University
Greencastle, IN 46135

March 17-18, 2007

Contact: Dr. Jinyu Liu, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies

Email: jliu AT depauw.edu

Ever since Paul Veyne’s seminal work Le pain et le cirque (1976), the nature of ancient euergetism (benefaction), which is widely attested in all kinds of ancient sources including inscriptions from the first three centuries CE, has been extensively explored. Scholars have reached consensuses that benefactions in the Graeco-Roman cities were not directed at the poorer segment of the society but at the citizen body at large and that the benefactors were not motivated by altruistic goals but by the desire of self-promotion. There has been a general tendency to emphasize the discontinuity between ancient euergetism and Christian charity. Recently, Susan Holman (2001) and Peter Brown (2002)’s works have lent further support to this differentiation by bringing into focus such topics as the development of Christian rhetoric concerning poverty, invention of “the poor” and their acquisition of cosmic significance in late antiquity.

Despite these superb contributions to a profound understanding of the rise of Christian charity, there are still many missing links in our understanding of the transition from ancient euergetism to Christian charity particularly on the micro-level. How, for example, did different ideas and practices meet, clash, or mutually influence each other in the transitional period of the fourth century CE? To what extent were the changes in the honorific languages and practices embedded in the change of beliefs or the structural change of the Roman society? How did socio-economic elements such as inflation, or the evolving “epigraphic habit” factor into the changing forms of benefactions and honorific practices in local contexts?

This symposium is intended to be a roundtable forum, which brings together the insights of ancient social historians, historians of Late Antiquity, epigraphists, philologists, Biblical scholars, philosophers, Medievalists, anthropologists, sociologists and scholars of philanthropic studies.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

· Forms of benefaction in the Ancient World
· The beneficiaries
· Motivations of public and private benefactions
· Honorific languages and practices
· Attitude(s) towards poverty and the poor
· Philanthropy and economy
· Artistic representations of philanthropic scenes

The event is free and open to all. Grants are available on a First Come, First Serve Basis to the participants to underwrite travel expenses, and lodging.

If you wish to present a paper, or to share your work in progress, or to volunteer as discussants/moderators at the symposium, please submit a brief abstract or statement of interest (Max. 300 words) with your affiliation and contact information before February 28, 2007 by mail or email to:

Jinyu Liu
303 East College

Department of Classical Studies
DePauw University
Greencastle, IN 46135

jliu AT depauw.edu

DePauw University (www.depauw.edu ) is located in Greencastle, Indiana, c. fifty miles from Bloomington or Indianapolis.
The Mitrou Archaeological Project (MAP) is seeking an instructor
with expertise in the archaeology of the Bronze Age Aegean to
serve as faculty for our basic field school in archaeology this
summer. The instructor's duties include designing evening lectures,
leading weekend trips for 16 students with little or no field
experience, and working on site with the students most days.

We are also seeking someone who speaks Modern Greek and can drive a
stickshift to act as camp manager. The camp manager's duties include
shopping, accounting, errand-running, and the overseeing of sleeping

We expect the faculty director of the field school to be present from
June 9-August 12 to allow for orientation at the start of the project
and grading at the end. The camp manager would need to be present from
June 7-August 13.

To find out more about MAP, see our website:


To learn more about the duties and remuneration for either position or
to submit an application (including a letter, CV, and the names of 2
references), please contact the MAP director, Aleydis Van de Moortel:
avdm AT utk.edu

... seen on AegeaNet
... I might make this a regular feature ... from recent journals when available; from older ones when not ... some Greek characters likely won't survive:

Prauscello, L. (Lucia) Sculpted Meanings, Talking Statues: Some Observations on Posidippus 142.12 A-B (=XIX G-P) Και εν Προθυροις Θηκε Διδασκαλιην

The aim of this paper is to contextualize Posidippus' Kairos epigram (=142 A–B) within the discursive strategies of representation enacted by Hellenistic ecphrastic poetry. From this perspective I will focus on the much-debated line 12 of the Kairos epigram, arguing for a possible metaphorical interpretation of καί ν προθροιc θκε διδακαλίην. This interpretation of line 12 sheds light also on Posidippus' involvement in the broader intellectual debates of his time and allows us to contextualize his epigram against the roughly coeval Epicurean reflection on the "right time."

American Journal of Philology 127.4
Exercitatio ossa confirmat
: Nuntii Latini

19.01.2007, klo 12.16

Exercitatione corporis ossa confirmantur, sed aliter atque antea credebatur, exercitationibus finitis effectus positivi admodum celeriter evanescunt.

Quod apparet ex dissertatione academica in Finnia nuper divulgata. Etiam ossa hominum seniorum fiunt motu firmiora.

Antea putabatur ex motu corporis feminis nullum post menopausim usum futurum 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 diurnarii Armeni caede

On the Greek side, Akropolis World News' latest headlines: La Gioconda's grave found, Litvinenko's assassin identified, journalist killed in Turkey
... for the late update. allergies at night, rogueclassicist sleeps tight ...
Around the Classical Blogosphere:

N.S. Gill starts us off with a feature on Lycurgus ... there was also something about Theodosius and his accession ...

Adrian Murdoch was also marking the accession of Theodosius ... and giving details about his death ... there were also a couple of posts about Synesius of Cyrenehere and here ...

Ed Flinn continues posting a coin a day at Hobbyblog ... my pick of the week is a Gallienus/Aesculapius ... (interestingly, given our post during the week on the caduceus/staff of Aesculapius confusion, it's interesting Ed also featured a coin with a caduceus) ...

Also on the coin front, Ed Snible had links to an auction catalog here ... and a different sort of catalog here ...

Kristian Minck continued his look at reliefs of wagons and other transport thingies ... there were some modern comparisons too ...

Dorothy King had a nice feature on Hellenistic sculpture from Ai Khanoum ...

Troels Myrup attended a talk at the Getty on Late Antique sculpture ...

Glaukopis begins her reviews of the new series of Rome (I didn't have time to watch, alas ... will miss it again tonight) ....

At Campus Mawrtius, Eric has had a series of posts about the early books of Livy ... we'll just link to the main page so you can take it all in ...

David Parson had links to some teaching aids ...

David Derrick was enlightening us about the Hyperboreans ...

Laura Gibbs continues to post piles of useful instructional materials ...

Michael Gilleland found a modern asyndetic privative adjective use ...

Mary Beard was busy this week, blogging about Seamus Heaney and Latin ... on exams getting more difficult ... the launch of the new term and her History of Roman Britain course (which has some fun links) ...

Nikolaos posts a nice video about Vespasian and the Jewish revolt ...

... while Nicholas was showing us some interesting stuff from Callimachus ... and another item on the birth of Aphrodite ...

A number of posts from Eurylochus this week, in anticipation of moving that horse into Troy ... preliminaries ... the plan ... but there's a hitch ...

There's a new look to Debra Hamel's Summer Classics pages ....

Ioannis Georganis continues posting at Mediterranean Archaeology ...

Father Foster was talking about Pliny and the Christians ...

New Biblioblog: Scripta de divinis ...

Christianity Today had a feature on Antony of Egypt ...

On another note, Ginny Lindzey sent me an interesting hallmark ecard last week, which I'm sure Classicists the world over can make use of ...

I also keep forgetting to mention the Puellagirl site sent in by popculch observer VJ (thanks!) ....

On yet another note, as you will see below, I'm going to stop my experiment with separate blogs for jobs, conferences, etc. ... my work habits just don't get to them if they're 'elsewhere'. I'll experiment with the 'sections' feature of Tangelo for a while, but all items should appear on the main page.

Finally, issue 9.39 of our Explorator newsletter is up ... the Ancient World on Television listings will follow much later tonight ....
The Department of Classics at the Florida State University has been authorized to make the appointment beginning in August 2007 of a new 12-month Assistant in Classics (lecturer) position whose primary assignment will be classroom teaching. This is a non-tenure track position, renewable upon satisfactory performance. The Ph.D. must be in hand by July 1, 2007. The Assistant will teach two large-lecture sections of comparative mythology as well as a third course, usually in Latin or Greek at the undergraduate level, in both Fall and Spring terms; in addition, the Assistant will teach the comparative myth course as an on-line course during one of the six-week summer terms. Salary will be at least $35,000, plus benefits. Applications, including a c.v., evidence of teaching, and three letters of recommendation, should be sent to: Assistant in Classics Search, Department of Classics, 205 Dodd Hall, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1510. Review of applications will begin March 15th, 2007, and will continue until the position is filled. For information about our department, see our website at http://www.fsu.edu/~classics . The Florida State University is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer, committed to diversity in hiring, and a Public Records Agency.
ER sent this in for Explorator (thanks), but it seems more appropriate here ... from Science Daily:

Homer's Cyclops might be myth, but a disorder that can cause babies to be born with only one eye is very real. Scientists from Cleveland, Ohio, and Paris, France, reached an important milestone in understanding one of the molecular causes of a rare, but serious birth defect, Holoprosencephaly.

In a study to appear in the February issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers describe findings that help explain why and how some fetal brains fail to develop two lobes, as well as why and how the related skull and facial defects occur. Using the information from this study, researchers will be able to pursue better approaches toward detecting, preventing, and treating this serious disorder.

The authors describe how a known mutation of the TG interacting factor (TGIF) gene, called TGIF.P63R, causes Holoprosencephaly, which affects brain and skull formation. In particular, researchers found that this mutation not only does not produce the protein necessary for healthy fetal development, but the mutant protein may actually destroy the small amounts of the normal protein that is needed.

"The name 'Holoprosencephaly' is a mouthful, but the syndrome is awful. This is a devastating condition that has lifelong effects, both for the child and the parents," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "The new information in this study sheds much-needed light on the complex molecular processes involved in this disorder and allows researchers to identify new areas of intervention."

Holoprosencephaly occurs when the embryonic forebrain fails to divide into the two lobes that make up the cerebral hemispheres. As a result, people with this disorder have a single-lobed brain structure and severe skull and facial defects. In most cases, the disorder is so severe that fetuses die before birth. In relatively "mild" cases, babies may be born with near-normal brain development, but they usually have facial deformities affecting the eyes, nose, and/or upper lip.
Check out the latest Photoshopping contest Revenge of the Statues over at Worth1000 ... plenty of Classical statuary in new contexts ... fave one ... fave two ...
Suzan Mazur has part two of her interview in Scoop with Bruce McNall (who really isn't Canadian at all ... he seemed to be a wannabe Canadian there for a while) on the Bronze Boy and the antiquities trade ... if you missed part one, it's here too ...
We first reported on this case a couple of days ago ... AFP via the Tocqueville Connection brings us the verdict:

A courtroom battle in London over ownership of an ancient section of carved limestone relief from an archaeological site at Persepolis in Iran ended Friday in favour of an 85-year-old French widow.
Iran had hoped to persuade the High Court to rule that Denyse Berend, who bought the fragment at a public auction in New York in 1974, should hand back the artefact which had been displayed in her Paris living room for 30 years.
But after a week of legal argument, judge David Eady -- who had to decide who had "title" or ownership of the piece -- said there would be a judgment for the defendant Madame Berend, who was in court to hear the decision.
Eady said only that the defendant "succeeds". His reasons for finding against the Islamic republic and a decision on costs will be given on a date to be fixed.
Madame Berend, a specialist coin collector, was said to be "happy" at the ruling and awaited the judge's reasons "with interest", one of her legal team said afterwards.
The court was told the fragment was originally part of a wall frieze, forming part of the Northern Facade of the Eastern Staircase of the Apadana or audience hall at Persepolis, one of the ancient capitals of Persia.
Persepolis was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BC and from then until 1931 much of it was buried under its own ruins.
In November 1932 the Eastern Staircase was excavated. It is thought the fragment, worth between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds (304,000-457,000 euros, 395,000-592,000 dollars), was removed after that date, the court was told.
Iran brought proceedings after learning that Madame Berend had put the fragment up for sale at auction house Christie's in April 2005. The claim was based on historic title and Iranian statutory law.
Berend's legal team argued she had bought the 23.8- by 31.1-centimetre (9.4- by 12.2-inch) fragment in "good faith" and had rightful ownership or "good title" of it under French law.
From the Capital Times comes another QED moment (referring to my years of saying on the Classics list that television and film -- no matter how good or bad -- puts butts in seats):

Writer Robert Harris recently appeared on the popular "Today Show" on NBC-TV to discuss his latest historical novel "Imperium," which is about Cicero's rise to power in ancient Rome.

"It definitely seems that popular culture is taking a bigger interest in classical things, and references keep popping up," Rous said. "I saw the movie 'Troy' and enjoyed it as entertainment. You just have to overlook the historical inaccuracies, but those inaccuracies also open up the question of what really happened and get people interested in the classics."

Rous' professors at the UW-Madison say that both the popular media and current political and military events - which have raised discussion of an American empire and also highlighted the history of the Middle East - may have helped to reawaken the public's appetite for the classics.

"We certainly are in a boom right now," said Laura McClure, head of the UW classics department and a teacher of Greek and Latin language and literature. "And we're certainly glad for the interest in the classics."

McClure said her department has the highest enrollment in the 15 years she has been teaching in Madison. The number of students taking Greek courses has doubled, and enrollment in Latin courses is up by 20 or 30 percent.

"We've never had more majors," she said, noting that some 80 UW students are choosing to major or double-major in classics.

Over in the UW art history department, the same phenomenon is occurring.

"It is happening here and nationwide," said Professor Nicholas Cahill, an archaeologist and art historian whose spring semester course on Roman art filled up two days after registration opened and has been expanded twice. His fall semester course on Greek art also was packed to capacity.

"I've had to turn a lot of people away," said Cahill. "I could easily double the enrollment, and the courses would still fill. There is a boom going on in classical art as well as in classical languages and literature. I hate to get into the psychology of students and why they take the classics. But for me, (the classics are) extremely relevant."

Why the newfound interest in ancient history, art and culture?

"I don't know if it's because of books, TV shows and films about ancient Greece and Rome," McClure said. "But nationally there has been more interest in the media. I see coverage touching on the classics every day.

"I don't know if it's cyclical," she added. "And I don't know if the resurgence of interest might be connected with the Iraq war and our connection to the Middle East. But they are hard languages - especially Greek - and not something that you do on a lark.

"The revival is coming from different angles," she noted, citing such popular culture events as the HBO series "Rome" (which she calls "excellent"), now in its second season, and popular movies like "Troy" with Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, "Alexander the Great" and "Gladiator" with Russell Crowe. She also pointed to poet Anne Carson's "Grief Lessons," which is a new translation of four tragedies by Euripides, and best-selling historical fiction by Robert Harris such as "Pompeii" and his current title "Imperium." Biographies of Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus have just been published. And this spring, "300," a movie based on a graphic novel about Spartan soldiers at the battle of Thermopylae, will be released.

"For the most part, these are not bad," said William Aylward, a colleague of McClure, about these movies and books, some of which have benefited from advice from Harvard classicists. "The works all try hard to tell a good story. If that's what they achieve, it's not a bad thing for the classics. They help to raise awareness of the past, which has lessons for today."

Universal stories: McClure said, "There's always interest in the classics. There's something so ancient and mysterious about them, they're fascinating to every generation. Periodically, pop culture gets interested in them."

Still, it's not clear if the popular culture is driving the interest in the classics or vice versa.

"I don't know if students are going to the classics because of this, but I hope they come away from a study of the classics with a better understanding of the relevance of the classics to today," said Cahill. "It goes both ways. Hollywood responds to popular interest and, in turn, creates it."

But some credit, Cahill added, must go to the subject matter as well as to the mass media and to newly published translations and histories that are accessible yet scholarly.

"These are great stories," Cahill said. "They are thousands of years old, so there must be something of interest in them. It's a testament to the universality of these stories that they translate into all these different media. They're not always great, but they're fun and they make you think."

That opinion about the relevance of the classics is shared by Aylward.

An archaeologist, Aylward has been teaching at the UW for six years. He has worked for the Discovery Channel on a show about the Roman city of Zeugma, which was covered by water when the Euphrates River - which also flows through Baghdad - was dammed in western Turkey. He also spent more than 10 years excavating at Troy and consulted with Wisconsin's best-selling biographer and historical fiction writer Margaret George on her current book, "Helen of Troy."

The classics appeal for many reasons, the professors say.

Some students want to know more about the languages, Aylward noted, because it is knowledge that helps them with the etymology and meaning of words in English, especially in medical and legal terminology and in rhetoric or oratory.

Others want to know more about the ancient roots of Western culture.

"When students read the classics in the original language, it helps to enhance the experience," McClure said. "It makes learning the original more exciting."

Ancient fascination: Aylward said there is a fascination with the ancient world.

"You saw it in the last Olympics in Athens," he said. "These things capture the imagination of Americans. That's what I hear from the students."

Students, he said, also like the chances to travel and study abroad that the classics offer.

"Students are extremely enthusiastic about the classics," McClure said. "They're a great mental discipline, even if you don't major in them. The trend is for interdisciplinary studies - like combining women's studies or history with the classics - and not pursuing a single track."

The renewed interest in the classics will continue, the professors predict.

"There's a lot going on in classics right now," McClure said, citing recent news about the Getty Art Museum in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City agreeing to return antiquities to their homelands. "And it's bubbling up into popular culture and media.

"Movies, books and TV have fed student interest - perhaps not for the reason we would like," Aylward said. "But it gets them in the classroom, and I mention these things in class. I try to get them to think critically about portrayals of antiquity in the popular media and to see what they get wrong.

"In many cases, these movies do the best job they can with the sources we have," Aylward said. "There are a lot of unanswered questions about the past. We try to convey the idea that Greek and Latin are not dead languages and that Greece and Rome aren't forgotten civilizations. These civilizations of the past are alive and well today. Students just need a little bit of direction to see that they are looking at the same things today."
From the Daily News:

Fun and the Battle of Thermopylae would seem to be opposing notions, given that the last-stand engagement between 300 Spartans and 1 million invading Persians in 480 B.C. doesn't exactly end well for the Greeks.

But with "300," director Zack Snyder aims to put a little looseness back into the sword-and-sandals genre, much in the same way that Frank Miller ("Sin City") did with his graphic novel of the same name.

"Swords-and-sandals is a deadly serious genre," says Snyder, who directed the successful 2004 remake of George Romero's classic zombie movie "Dawn of the Dead."

"Don't get me wrong. There's some heavy material here — 300 Spartans fighting against a million Persians, death, grief, inspiration. But Frank Miller's novel has an unapologetic wit and sarcasm that's a breath of fresh air. I wanted to show that swords-and-sandals is not always history on steroids, but about having fun at the movies."

Snyder worked hard to maintain the look of Miller's graphic novel, filming many shots as frame-by-frame re-creations of the book's panels. The movie, due March 9, was filmed almost entirely on a Montreal soundstage with Snyder going back later to fill in the missing pieces with digital effects.

"The Internet crowd has labeled it 'Sin City' meets 'Gladiator.' "

Snyder says, "I think Ridley Scott reintroduced the sword-and-sandals movie to a new generation. It was a modern film — melodramatic, sure, but fresh.

"But after 'Troy' and 'Alexander,' you have to ask the question: 'Now what?' " Snyder continues. "And for me, the answer was all about tone. Frank Miller told me he remembered seeing (1962 movie) 'The 300 Spartans' and asking his dad midway through, 'Are the good guys going to die?' 'Yes, son, they are.' That changed what he thought a hero was.

"When I hear a story like that, it's my responsibility not to get in the way of the experience he had."


Athenaion notes:

The outcome of these movies is always unpredictable as unfortunately I deem all those misconceptions,misrepresentations and above all simplifications must be considered as side effects of the too easy and light divulgation approach that characterises these Movies and often TV productions as well as some easy semi-historical literature so much in fashion nowadays.

Nevertheless I do not completely condemn this phenomenon, since - to a certain extent, though – hopefully it stimulates interest and optimistically it spreads love for Greece, Rome and the Ancient world in general to a wider audience.

The question is how then these new adepts will be able to satisfy their awakened scientific curiosity on the origins of our civilisation. Some - I guess few - might really go to the library and/or search the net for sites like ours, or some other – may be the majority - will probably end up buying some trifle semi-historical Roman background romance novel...

Nonetheless, if attention and love for ancient history and literature are arisen in many, I would probably trade even a bad movie for it.
From the Boston Globe:

Genialinius Gennatus was one fine duck hunter.

In the third century , he recorded his prowess in high Latin on a stone tablet that he dedicated to Jupiter. That and a hefty donation probably ensured that the tablet won display in the temple to the Roman god in the settlement then called Colonia.

Five or six centuries later, Cologne's early Christians, perhaps offended by the tablet dedicated to a pantheist god, chucked it into the silting channel between the Rhine river port and a small island on the Rhine, unknowingly ensuring the hunter's immortality.

Historians now know the ordinary man named Gennatus hunted ducks and prayed to Jupiter because of Cologne's decision to punch 2 1/2 miles of new north-south light railway tunnel through the silt and sediment that lie beneath one of Germany's oldest cities.

"It would not have seemed valuable to anyone at the time," said Bernhard Irmler, one of scores of researchers mucking through damp tunnel s beneath Cologne in Europe's largest ongoing archeological dig. "But for us it's another small window into a long-ago time."

The $1 billion cost of the rail project includes $194 million for 100 archeologists to dig, sift, and probe the depths in front of the giant, boring machines and other equipment that will chew out the subway tubes .

And what a fine mess archeologists and diggers alike are making. Great swaths of downtown Cologne are cordoned off for the scientific sleuths working against construction deadlines -- the dig started two years ago and subway trains are supposed to be zipping from Breslauer Platz to Market Strasse in 2010.

In a sense, that's lightning speed by local standards: the landmark Cologne Cathedral was more than 630 years in the making, from conception in 1248 to consecration in 1880.

"Modern Germans are a bit more impatient," Irmler, an associate archeologist with Cologne's famed Romano-Germanic Museum , said in an interview by the site. "Almost the instant the archeologists finish [searching] a section, the construction crews are right behind us."

More than 10,000 artifacts have been unearthed from the site, from the duck hunter's tribute to Jupiter to lumpy-looking rejects from a 15th-century pottery maker.

"The finer flagons would have been exported to centers across Europe," Irmler said. "The ones we are finding are flawed vessels that were probably sold cheap locally for use as chamber pots."

At an average depth of 50 feet below the surface, the tunnel is too deep to disturb the ruins and relics enshrined beneath Cologne, even though the line will pass directly under the center of the old city.

But the eight entrances to planned subway stops will plunge through more than 20 centuries of history.

That's why Germany sent in the archeological brigades first -- to ferret out what can be saved and to record what will be destroyed.

Not everything in the path of the construction can be preserved.

For example, the rediscovered foundations of all-but-forgotten St. Katherine's Church -- a medieval house of worship that according to legend was coated with solid gold -- will be blasted away to make room for the Severin Strasse station.

But fragments from the church's ornate columns have been rescued.

"Look closely, and you can see flecks of gold," Irmler said.

None of the discoveries so far will set archeology on its ear. Cologne's history is well recorded. But researchers are excited to find substantial remnants of the ancient Roman harbor wall, constructed of thick oak timbers almost perfectly preserved through the centuries.

The harbor lay in a long-lost channel between Cologne and the small island in the Rhine, both covered for more than 1,000 years by the expanding city.

"Every day we find something that may not change history, but helps us better understand the past of this specific place," said Irmler .

Among the other yields: amphorae, two-handled jars with a narrow neck used by the Romans to carry wine or oil, strewn everywhere.

Shells from oysters carried from Normandy as a delicacy. Burial urns. Old fortifications and sewage systems. Hair combs made of wood. Intriguing scraps from a workshop where crystal minerals from distant mountains were carved into religious displays for the cathedral.

"We find the stories of the city written in debris," said the archeologist, noting that scientific crews will scrutinize more than 20,000 cubic meters, about 706,000 cubic feet, of excavated material . "Every scoop is a new page from the past."


Adrian Murdoch notes some discrepancy in the name of the hunter in different news reports ... I think we need to see a photo of the stone.
From a press release:

Leading Antiquities Gallery Showing Rarely-Seen Collection of Exotic Ancient Art at the 52nd International Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique, in Brussels, from 19-28 January

Phoenix Ancient Art, one of the world's leading dealers in rare and exquisite antiquities from Western civilizations, today unveiled its latest exhibition, "Exotics of the Classical World," to the delighted crowd at the 52nd International Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique, in Brussels, Belgium. On display through 28 January, Phoenix will display rarely-seen works of ancient art featuring representations of dancers, actors, Africans, grotesques, those with unusual physical maladies and house servants -- all of whom were vital and often overlooked members of ancient society.

"The popularity of antiquities has been growing significantly the past several years, with most collectors clamoring for vases, portraiture and mosaics," said Ali Aboutaam, president of Phoenix Ancient Art. "Now, we believe that exotic representations of these unusual but important figures of ancient times will introduce yet another type of antiquity to people who appreciate and love their timeless beauty."

Usually on the fringe of modern perceptions of the ancient world, the incredible range and artistry of these exotics are finally brought into the light. A charming terracotta vase from the 3 rd century B.C. is molded in the shape of a young slave who has fallen asleep curled up against the wine jar that he was carrying. His nude form is painted black and his short, tightly curled hair indicates that he is of African origin, a reflection of the cultural diversity of Hellenistic society.

Physical diversity was also closely observed and represented in antiquity, like in a wonderful Roman cameo ring with a head of a grotesque, a figure of an older man with exaggerated features such as a large, domed skull, jutting brows, a pronounced hooked nose and wide mouth. It is extremely unusual to see frontal representations of grotesques, and this ring is carved with great sensitivity, giving the face a sweetly melancholy look.

A fourth century B.C. Greek bronze statuette of an actor displays a dramatic pose that one could easily imagine on a modern stage. Wearing the exaggerated open-mouthed mask commonly associated with ancient theater, this figure is probably one of a street performer who would entertain crowds with his comedic routines.

Perhaps the least documented category of exotic is that of individuals with physical illnesses. As astute observers of the world around them, the Hellenistic craftsmen responsible for this genre of figures were able to represent the various maladies that they saw with near scientific precision. A 2nd century B.C. bronze of a nude dancer in the exhibition displays an emaciated physique and the telltale signs of being a hunchback. The details of his skeleton and musculature are rendered with exceptional precision, indicating that the Greeks must have possessed intimate knowledge of human anatomy by this period.

Phoenix Ancient Art's Hicham Aboutaam is proud of the attention that the show has been receiving. "With 'Exotics of the Classical World,' our intentions were to present these unusual and rare subjects to the public while showing that they could be wonderful objects in and of themselves, displaying the same high level of artistic quality that Phoenix is known for, from the smallest cameo to large marble statuary."

The show also has on display a selection of works from other areas of antiquity to supplement the main exhibit of exotics, including an incredibly beautiful, rare and important Egyptian black granite head of a woman in a double wig from the Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1080 - 721 B.C.), formerly from the private collection of the Wertheimers, the owners of the House of Chanel.

The 52nd International Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique is being held at the Tour & Taxis exhibit Center at Avenue du Port, 86C / B - 1000 Brussels, Belgium. The show runs from 19-28 January.


With galleries in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland, Phoenix Ancient Art (www.phoenixancientart.com) is one of the world's leading dealers in rare and exquisite antiquities from cultures that make up the essence of Western Civilization. Its works of art have been purchased by world-class museums around the world, as well as by private individuals. Formally incorporated in 1995, Phoenix Ancient Art is a second-generation family business that was founded by Sleiman Aboutaam in 1968 and continues today under the leadership of his sons, Hicham and Ali.

Some folks might recognize the Aboutaam brothers as the frequent targets of Michael van Rijn's attentions. A visit to Phoenix Art's website, interestingly, demonstrates what increased attention of various kinds seems to be having on these auction houses ... every piece is listed with a provenance (all collections, of course) ... among the things displayed on the website, check out this interesting head of Augustus (which strikes me as one of the more 'realistic' portraits of the emperor) ...
Not really an update, but it is in the news again ... from the Independent Record:

After all these centuries, Zeus may have a few thunderbolts left. A tiny group of worshippers plans a rare ceremony Sunday to honor the ancient Greek gods, at Athens' 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greece's Culture Ministry has declared the central Athens site off-limits, but worshippers say they will defy the decision.

"These are our temples and they should be used by followers of our religion," said Doreta Peppa, head of the Athens-based Ellinais, a group campaigning to revive the ancient religion.

"Of course we will go ahead with the event ... we will enter the site legally," said Peppa, who calls herself a high priestess of the revived faith. "We will issue a call for peace, who can be opposed to that?"

Peppa said the ceremony will be held in honor of Zeus, king of the ancient gods, but did not give other details. The daily Ethnos newspaper, citing the group's application to the Culture Ministry to use the site, said the 90-minute event would include hymns, dancers, torchbearers, and worshippers in ancient costumes.

Greece's archaic religion is believed to have several hundred official followers, mainly middle-aged and elderly academics, lawyers and other professionals. They typically share a keen interest in ancient history and a dislike for the Greek Orthodox Church.

Ancient rituals are re-enacted every two years at Olympia, in southern Greece, where the flame lighting ceremony is held for the summer and winter Olympic games. But the event is not regarded as a religious ceremony and actresses are used to pose as high priestesses.

Last year, the Culture Ministry, fearing damage to monuments, blocked an initiative to hold an international track meet at Olympia. A panel of ministry experts ruled against Sunday's ancient ceremony at the ruins of the Temple of Zeus on similar grounds.

"Ancient sites are not available for this kind of event," ministry official Eliza Kyrtsoglou said. It was not clear whether the government had plans to block the worshippers.

Peppa's group, dedicated to reviving worship of the 12 ancient gods, was founded last year and won a court battle for official state recognition of the ancient Greek religion.

Those who seek to revive the ancient Greek religion are split into rival organizations which trade insults over the Internet. Peppa's group is at odds with ultra-nationalists who view a revival as a way to protect Greek identity from foreign influences.

They can't even agree on a name for the religion: One camp calls it Ancient-Religion, another Hellenic Religion.

The worshippers also face another obstacle: Greece's powerful Orthodox Church.

About 97 percent of native born Greeks are baptized Orthodox Christian, and the church regards ancient religious practices as pagan. Representatives of the church in the past have not attended flame ceremonies at Olympia because reference is made to Apollo, the ancient god of music and light.

Christianity took hold in Greece in the 4th century after Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion. Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in 394 A.D. The modern revival of the Olympiad maintains a slender link to ancient ceremonies.

"Christianity did not prevail without bloodshed," said Peppa, a novelist and historical writer. "After 16 centuries of negativity toward us, we've gotten something in our favor."

Ellinais is demanding government approval for its downtown offices to be registered as a place of worship _ a move that could allow the group to perform weddings and other ceremonies. They threaten further court action unless that permission is granted.

"There should be respect for people who want to express their religious feelings in a different way, that is not the typical Orthodox or Christian way," Peppa said. "We should not be stopped or denied our rights."
From Kathimerini:

Those who lived on ancient Thera often attributed the island’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to the wrath of the gods. But this mythmaking that arose from the need to explain the chronic destruction also contributed greatly to the creation of the island’s culture, a leading archaeologist said last week.

“The volcano of Thera was a permanent challenge to local residents, to which they came up with various responses,” said Professor Christos Doumas, director of the Akrotiri excavations on Santorini, in a lecture last Thursday at the Archaeological Society.

Doumas noted that the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri suffered numerous earthquakes in the course of its 3,000-year history, which shaped it both physically and socially.

“Many of [the tremors] were of moderate intensity, merely jolts, and they left no visible signs,” he said. “Other more powerful ones caused damage we can still trace today amid the successive layers of ruins.”

Archaeologists who have examined the ruins on Santorini, Thera’s modern name, say that there’s every indication that residents knew what to do in case of an earthquake.

After a tremor, they would clear the roads of rubble and pull goods from the wreckage. This is why objects such as furniture, household goods and even food have been found outside the ruined city in temporary camps. Excavators have discovered beds and a sack of rye, and even a jar of fish has been found.

“We now find them buried under pumice,” he said.

The Therans reacted to earthquakes in an orderly, disciplined and coordinated manner, he added.

“They didn’t consider deserting their island, even if it did flatten their houses from time to time,” he said. “On the contrary, immediately after the earthquake, they got to work rebuilding, of which there is archaeological evidence; piles of stones and soil, materials that were separated by the ruined walls, have often been found buried under the pumice, as have the goods that were pulled from the ruins.”

They would rebuild using material from their ruined houses.

“The fact that similar piles of stones have been found at deeper Middle Cycladic strata, that is, from the 18th or the early 17th century BC, shows that this practice had been used much earlier and had become standard,” Doumas said.

They didn’t leave matters to fate, but “rebuilt their houses while seeking ways and means, if not to neutralize the earthquakes, then at least to improve the resistance of their buildings.”

Doumas cited examples: “Beneath a Middle Cycladic-era building, on which what is known to us as the Western House was built, was found a layer of fragments of porous lava, 4-6 centimeters in diameter. These fragments, known to the people of Akrotiri today as adralia, are to be found in abundance on nearby Mavros Rachidi hill. It might seem like chance; if we hadn’t also found one beneath the foundations of a second building of the same age, Xestis 3.”

The layer of adralia acted as a cushion, absorbing the seismic tremors. The wooden webs used to reinforce walls in multistory buildings were another form of protection.

Thera was first settled in the middle of the 5th millennium BC. Recent geological surveys show that at the center of the island there was a caldera with water in it, which had a single outlet to the sea, “between where the lighthouse is now and Aspronisi.” There was an islet in the northern part of the caldera.

“This means that the early inhabitants had access to both the lava which it was made of and to the interior of the caldera. So the volcanic stones were almost the sole raw material both for building houses and making vessels and tools,” Doumas said.

They used malleable lava from Mavro Rachidi and Mesovouna to build the first huts as well as objects such as pestles and mortars for processing food.

Doumas mentioned a 1.30-meter stone jar dating from the third millennium BC, and a stove made of andesite which was probably mined nearby. Given its dimensions, the jar may have been one of a kind, and it is the most tangible evidence of how man met the challenges of the environment.

If we take into account the tools that the artisan had to hand to carve it, we can assume that this was a lifetime’s work.

Santorini and its volcano still produce material and intellectual culture, Doumas noted. He reminded his audience how it contributed to the construction of the Suez Canal, when for years it furnished factories with pumice stone and Theran soil. The local residents made their houses from those materials, the superb flavor of the local wine is attributed to the volcano, and writers and visual artists have been inspired by its beauty and civilization.

Doumas paid tribute to the residents who fought to meet the challenges of the volcano which helped cultivate this intriguing Aegean civilization.
Facile omnes, cum valemus, recta consilia aegrotatis damus.
(Terence, Andria 309)

Pron = FAH-kih-leh OHM-nays koom wah-LAY-moos REHK-tah kohn-SIH-lee-ah ai-GROH-tees DAH-moos.

All of us give righteous counsel to the sick when we are healthy.

Comment: This proverb is a call to perspective, to self-awareness, to awareness of what the other guy or gal may be experiencing. On the basic level, Terence is saying that it is easy to give advice when there is nothing at stake for us. There are multiple versions of this:

We all give good advice on losing weight when we are not overweight.

We all give good advice to the grieving when we have lost no one.

We all give good financial advice when we have plenty of money.

We all give good advice to the love-lorn when we are not wanting for love.

You see how this goes. It is easy to pontificate what someone else should do when we have little if any sense of what our advice may cost, or what the one we are advising may have already "paid" in their struggle.

The very best adviser is one who listens well--who simply closes his/her mouth, and listens. This kind of counsel offers the one who is working on his/her journey a place to sound things out, to test the path, to say out loud what it feels like to be in this place, to make the work real.

Silence, and acceptance can be very powerful.

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

ante diem xiv kalendas februarias

Ludi Palatini (day 3)

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

169 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pontianus

c. 251 A.D. -- martyrdom of Messalina
Gordian knot @ Merriam-Webster

... and since it's such a slow day all around (which began for us with the panic that accompanies waking up realizing there's a power outage), I might as well go on record as saying that I've always hated this image of Alexander and the knot incident, painted by Jean-Simon Berthelemy ...
From YLE:

Annus festus Agricolae
: Nuntii Latini

12.01.2007, klo 09.34

Hoc anno quadringenti quinquaginta anni acti sunt, cum magister et episcopus Michael Agricola, fundator linguae litterariae Finnorum appellatus, mortuus est.

Quamquam dies ille memorialis mense Aprili demum erit, res gestae Agricolae in Finnia toto anno variis eventibus institutis recoluntur.

Festum inaugurale iam die epiphaniorum (6.1.) in paroechia Perno Nylandiae orientalis actum est.

Caerimoniae in vetere ecclesia Pernoensi celebrari coeptae sunt, ubi officium divinum procurabatur.

Quo facto participes ad epulas in modum mediaevalem instructas transierunt.

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

Kathryn Hohlwein may be 76 and retired, but that hasn't stopped her from continuing to spread the gospel of Homer.

After 30-plus years of teaching college students about the mysterious Greek poet famous for the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," Hohlwein is enjoying something of an epic second act.

In 1998, when she retired from California State University, Sacramento, the professor discovered she still had a loyal following. She couldn't seem to stop talking about Homer and her students wouldn't let her.

After teaching a six-week Saturday Homer class through the Sacramento Poetry Center, Hohlwein (pronounced hole-vine) sensed there was enough enthusiasm for a group reading of Homer's major poems.

She hosted a 10-hour overnight event at Gibson Ranch Park, complete with torches and bonfires and 80 readers following along with flashlights. She edited the "Iliad" to fit the time frame, and assigned parts to eager participants.

"It was one of those experiences that you feel is so far removed from everyday existence. I remember it to this day," says George Spanos, a lawyer with the state attorney general's office who opened the reading by reciting his lines in Greek. "You have to live through the experience to really understand it."

The event was a hit and had an unlikely ripple effect. Hohlwein has hosted more Homer readings in Sacramento, another in New York City and has major events scheduled in Egypt and Greece.

She has formed a nonprofit group to oversee the readings, with the potential to raise money for communities that host future Homer gatherings. Post-Katrina New Orleans, for example, is a likely site for reading Homer and raising money.

"In the age of the quick and the easy, I propose the long and the difficult," writes Hohlwein in the Readers of Homer brochure.

As success stories go, this was anything but a sure bet.

For one thing, it was all about Homer, the blind epic poet who hasn't been on anyone's "hot" list in recent centuries. Scholars can't even agree on who he was or if he even existed as advertised back in the seventh or eighth century B.C.

Reading aloud in a group, Hohwlein says, makes Homer more accessible and poignant. "In the presence of shared great art, you cannot help but learn something," she says.

The success of the readings is hardly an accident. Hohlwein's passion and knowledge, participants say, guarantee a special experience.

"She's quite an amazing creature," says Kathleen Lynch, a Sacramento writer and poet.

"She is one of those people who, when you meet them, you say, 'Oh, this is really somebody.' She has an enormous sense of empathy, a stunning intelligence and a mind that can work on 20 different levels at once."

Born and raised in Utah, Hohlwein was not an obvious candidate to become a college professor, much less someone whose life would be shaped by Homer. Her dad was an insurance salesman, her mother a pianist.

Though she had a gift for writing early on, Hohlwein didn't plow through books in her childhood.

She studied philosophy, English and dance at the University of Utah and did her graduate work at Middlebury College in Rutland, Vt., where she got to know the town's most famous resident, poet Robert Frost.

While studying in Europe through the Fulbright Scholar program, Hohlwein met the man she would marry, a German painter and printmaker who couldn't speak English. She couldn't speak German, so they conversed in French.

In three weeks, they were married. The couple had three children and divorced years later after moving to Sacramento in 1966 and taking jobs at Sacramento State.

Hohlwein began teaching Homer prior to that at the request of her boss when she was at Ohio State University. There was just one problem.

"I had never read Homer or taken a class," she says. "I just knew it was like the Bible -- you were supposed to know it."

But Homer soon became part of her life. Her lectures, she says, got better every year. At Sacramento State, Hohlwein eventually became known for her graduate-level seminar, "The Homeric Imagination," which was popular for years.

"I revere him because he's deep in history and the poems are so magnificently structured," she says.

These days, the public readings she began after leaving the university have taken on even more meaning for Hohlwein. The readings are of either the "Iliad" or the "Odyssey," never both in the same session.

"What I am doing with these readings is a kind of political activism," she said. (The 'Iliad') is an unflinching vision about the folly and brutality of war. Therefore, I think it is an anti-war poem."

Hohlwein is gearing up for two major readings overseas. The first will be on the Greek island of Chios where Homer -- if there really was such a man -- is said to be from. There will be two readings, one of each epic poem, over two weeks in August.

In October, she will host a daylong reading of the "Iliad" at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.

For Hohlwein, it promises to be a long -- and epic -- second act.
From a Q&A column in the Arizona Star:

Question: What is the origin and meaning of the caduceus, the winged staff and entwined snakes that is the symbol of the medical profession?
Answer: It is not the caduceus, but the staff of Asclepius that is the symbol of the American Medical Association and many other professional medical groups.
For many years, the staff of Asclepius has been confused with the caduceus, a symbol that generally features two snakes encircling a rod topped with wings. According to mythology, the caduceus represents the wand of the Greek god Hermes and is associated with commercial endeavors.
The single snake of the staff of Asclepius is a symbol dating to antiquity, and represents its namesake, the Greek god of healing. In the biblical book Exodus, Moses is told to erect a brass pole with a serpent. Whoever looked upon it was healed.

That last bit doesn't quite fit, but it is usually appended to such discussions somewhere. A reasonably good webpage with some good images of the staff and caduceus ...
Insanus medio flumine quaeris aquam.
(Propertius 1.9.16)

pron = ihn-SAH-noos MAY-dee-oh FLOO-mih-neh KWAI-ris AHK-wahm

You insanely seek water in the middle of the river.

Comment: It would be crazy to see a person looking for water in the middle of the river. Surely that person doesn't know water when he sees it.

And then Propertius' words urge me to ask what it is I am looking for?
Do I know it when I see it? Would I? What if I am standing in the middle of what it is I am looking for?

In fact, this is what I am discovering over and over. I am, most often, standing in the middle of what I am looking for. More outrageous? I am what I am looking for. That can be a pretty startling discovery. What if it's true?

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

Ludi Palatini (day 2) -- the theatrefest continues

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

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Moseus

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

vendition @ Worthless Word for the Day
From YLE:

De oleiductu clauso
: Nuntii Latini

12.01.2007, klo 09.41

Septimana vergente Russi finitimis suis Belorussis petroleum suppeditare intermiserunt discordia de vectigali inter utramque partem coorta.

Illud decretum etiam multis civitatibus Unionis Europaeae detrimento fuit, quippe quae in energia consumenda ex petroleo Russorum multum penderent.

Tubus enim petrolearius, quem Russi in aliquot dies clauserunt, in finibus Belorussiae bifariam dividitur ac quidem ita, ut ramus superior per Poloniam in Germaniam extendatur, inferior autem per Ucrainam usque ad Hungariam et Croatiam pertineat.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Iraquiana iustitia proximis S. Husseini administris mortem administrat

On the Greek side, the latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Historians discover another Ithaca, executed both Saddam's "right hands", two journalists condemned in Rabat
They always seem to find stuff when they dig in this area ... from the Bury Free Press:

Coins and pottery, as well as a cooking vessel, all believed to date from Roman times, have been unearthed at The Street, Beck Row.

Suffolk County Council archaeologist Jo Caruth said they hoped to make further significant finds.

She said: "It is an interesting find and an indication that the site could be examined further.

"We are now in discussion with Mansells, the property developer working for the MoD, to decide how we will progress."

Artefacts found include pottery dating from the late Iron Age or early Roman period and a coin from the late Roman period. A copper buckle, of medieval origin, has also been unearthed at the site, as well as animal remains.

Ms Caruth said: "What we have found demonstrates the potential of the site and we would very much like the opportunity to look at it more closely."

They were found a short distance from the site where the remains of a high-ranking Anglo-Saxon warrior was discovered, buried with a horse, at RAF Lakenheath in 1997.

Thirty-four pieces of Roman silver, known as the Mildenhall Treasure and the subject of a short story by Roald Dahl, were found nearby in 1943. They are now on display in the British Museum.

There are plans to eventually build eight new homes for use by officers based at RAF Mildenhall on the Beck Row site.

However, these plans may have to be altered if it is decided further significant discoveries could be made at the site.

Ms Caruth said it would be unusual to stop building work at a site because of archaeological finds, but it may be delayed to allow a full excavation to take place.
Interesting synchronicity of items in my box today ... start with this bit from Boston University's Daily Free Press:

After almost two years at the helm of the smallest college at Boston University, Bruce Redford will step down as director of the University Professors Program in June 2007, university officials confirmed last December.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jeffrey Henderson said Redford, who joined the BU faculty in January 1998, will continue to work with both UNI and CAS after he leaves his post.

"Effective leadership of the University Professors requires not only administrative skill, but a rare combination of scholarly stature, intellectual breadth and commitment to a highly personalized curriculum," Henderson said in an email. "He will be a hard act to follow."

Redford, who became director in January 2005, said he plans to work on a book and collaborate on a related exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. The exhibition will focus on the Society of Dilettanti, a group of 18th-century British connoisseurs and collectors who "played a major role in the rediscovery of classical antiquity," he said.

... on the Society of the Dilettanti, see the Wikipedia article for a basic intro; I've often wondered how many items in museums and private collections now came as a result of their efforts (their society also has an unfortunate abbreviation, no?).

After thinking about this, wrap your head around the Sideshow Pietro post below ...
Italy and Greece should take note ... from the Times:

Members of the public unearthed 57,566 ancient objects last year, according to the British Museum — an increase of 45 per cent on 2005. The items included a spectacular Viking hoard of 20 silver bracelets.

Two reports published yesterday show how finds by people walking, gardening, farming or actively searching for treasure provide a wealth of information about our past.

David Lammy, the Culture Minister, described metal detector users as “the unsung heroes of the UK’s heritage”.

The Treasure Act 1996 requires the reporting of all gold and silver objects more than 300 years old, and groups of coins that are more than 300 years old and found on the same site.

The number of treasure cases has risen from 79 in 1997 to 506 in 2004, according to the Treasure Annual Report by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This has led to a huge increase in the material offered to local museums. The second report was by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary scheme managed by the British Museum to record archaeological objects found in England and Wales.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said that museums across Britain were acquiring important material. He said: “This huge increase in finds is testimony to the success of the Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of our past.”

The bracelets were discovered by Steve Reynoldson, a metal detector user in Huxley, Cheshire, and reported to his local finds liaison officer.

They belong to an Hiberno- Scandinavian type produced in Ireland during the second half of the 9th century and the first half of the 10th.

Barry Ager, curator of the British Museum’s early medieval collection, said: “This is a very significant find, one of the largest hoards found outside Scandinavia or Russia.”

Although mostly complete, the bracelets had been folded in half and flattened — perhaps because the bullion was to be used in trade or as payment for military service.

The hoard is all the more significant for having possible associations with the famous hoard from Cuerdale, Lancashire, deposited around AD905 and held by the British Museum. The two hoards may have formed part of the same war chest or could be booty.

The British Museum said that the burial of both hoards for safekeeping suggested a troubled period when the Vikings, driven outby the Irish, settled in the Wirral, Lancashire and Cumbria in the early 10th century.

The find was valued at £28,000 and jointly acquired by National Museums Liverpool, the Grosvenor Museum in Chester and Cheshire Museums Service, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Also unveiled yesterday was a charming 4th-century Roman copper-alloy figurine of a hound — possibly a votive gift — found in Newchurch on the Isle of Wight, by Alan Rowe, using a metal detector. He told The Times that he went searching for treasure twice a month. He was surprised to find the Roman artefact because he had searched the same site ten years earlier, unearthing Iron Age objects.

He believes the hound may have risen closer to the surface because rabbits had dug up a corner of the field. The piece is valued at about £600 and he hopes to sell it to the local museum.

A photo of the little hound accompanies the original article.
From the South Coast Today:

A man convicted of looting Italy's archaeological treasures allowed a rare glimpse into the world of art smuggling when he testified yesterday in the trial of a former J. Paul Getty Museum curator.
Pietro Casasanta recalled a half century of plundering archaeological treasures, benefiting from what he said was a free-for-all environment that allowed smugglers and merchants to make a fortune by selling antiquities in Italy and abroad.
Italian authorities say top European and U.S. museums took advantage of that atmosphere to acquire looted Roman, Greek and Etruscan artifacts.
As part of their efforts to recover the lost treasures, they have placed former Getty curator Marion True and American art dealer Robert Hecht on trial in Rome, accused of knowingly trafficking in stolen artifacts. True did not attend yesterday's proceedings, but Hecht was in court. Both defendants deny wrongdoing.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts have agreed to return antiquities, but negotiations with Los Angeles' Getty museum over 47 contested artifacts have been stalled for months.
Casasanta said he had never met or made business with the defendants, but was testifying for the prosecution to present a broad look on how the illegal antiquities market functioned in Italy. Most of his discoveries were sold to local antique dealers in Rome although he said he could not rule out that some had been later passed on to international merchants.
Casasanta, 68, has served time in jail for art trafficking and is still on trial over some of the thousands of artifacts he uncovered during illegal digs. The raider defended his actions, saying that the underground antiquities trade was tolerated for decades until authorities started the recent crackdown. He also said he had saved art that would have been otherwise destroyed in development projects.
"From one day to the next we went from art experts to criminals," he said. "I saved thousands of artifacts that would have been ground into cement. ... It's a shame that they don't make me a senator for life."
Although security may have been more lax in previous decades, prosecutor Paolo Ferri noted that rules against art trafficking were well in place, including a 1939 law making all antiquities found in the country state property.
Casasanta told the court he would poke around construction sites and find treasures in piles of earth that had been dug up. But he also organized his own vast excavations — largely the ruins of ancient Roman countryside villas — working in daylight with two or three people using bulldozers over thousands of square yards.
He also explained how he and other looters would give their finds a clean record by selling them to themselves at international auction houses through dummy companies or straw men.
"This allowed me to legalize the piece and put a price on it," he told the judges.
The art squad of Italy's Carabinieri paramilitary police has recovered some of Casasanta's greatest discoveries, including a statue depicting three Roman gods and a fourth century B.C. ivory mask representing the Greek god Apollo.

Meanwhile ... in the courtroom down the hall:

Bob: Lies, lies, lies, I did it! I did it all! (crowd gasps) There, is that what you wanted you smarmy little bastards?
Bart: We want the truth!
Bob: You want the truth?! You can't handle the truth! No truth handler, you! Bah, I deride your truth-handling abilities!
Judge: But why, Bob?
Bob: Because you need me, Springfield! Oh I know your consciences force you to vote Democratic, but deep down you want a cold-blooded Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals and rule you like a king! That why I did it! To save you from yourselves.

Nec habeo nec careo nec curo.

pron = neck hah-BAY-oh neck kah-RAY-oh neck KOO-roh

I do not have; I do not lack; I do not care.

Comment: I have translated this proverb very (if not too) literally. So, let's look at what these words can also mean.

I do not have (anything) can also mean that I don't hold onto anything. I don't cling. I am not attached. I don't possess things such that things possess me.

I don't lack anything BECAUSE I don't cling to things. I can let things go without anxiety because I don't cling to them.

I don't care can also mean that I don't worry. I am not anxious.
Anxiety comes when I feel that I am being depleted. So, a looser but perhaps more revealing translation might be:

I don't cling to anything, and so, I don't really feel the loss of anything, therefore, I am not worried.

And, we could turn these into questions:

What things do I think I have? Do they really have me?
What is it that I believe I lack? If I had them, would my life be complete?
What do I worry about? Why?

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

Ludi Palatini (day 1)

86 B.C. -- death of Marius (or possibly on the 13th)

38 B.C. -- Octavian marries Livia

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

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

[I notice no one commented on 'duo laurae' yesterday ...]
consanguineous @ Merriam-Webster

miserabilism @ Worthless Word for the Day
From YLE:

Quid Chavez dixerit
: Nuntii Latini

12.01.2007, klo 09.36

Hugo Chavez, praesidens Venetiolae mense Decembri iterum electus, dum patriam suam ad formam socialisticam redigere in animo habet, societates civitatis electricas et telephonicas publicare vult.

Itaque a parlamento petiturus est, ut legem sciscat, quae sibi auctoritatem ad eam renovationem faciendam det.

"Iam", inquit, "ad socialismum versus progredimur, quam ob rem lex Venetiolae fundamentalis penitus mutanda est."

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the Sofia Echo:

Georgi Kitov, one of Bulgaria's most prominent archaeologists, would explore Thracian tombs to the east of the town of Sliven, Sliven Regional Museum of History director Georgi Kyupchukov said.

Kyupchukov and Kitov agreed recently on joint scientific exploration of the area, Kyupchukov told Focus news agency.

A co-operation contract would soon be signed, Kyupchukov also said.

Sliven municipality, Sliven Regional Museum of History and Thracological Expedition for Tumular Investigations will grant the money for the excavations.

Kyupchukov also said that the excavations would probably begin in July 2007 and would last three months.
Hmmm ... not sure how much credence to put in this item from African News Dimension:

Christian gravesite found in Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery. Christian researchers were invited to Mount Olive Cemetery, just outside the walls of Jerusalem. This sacred site made infamous by the biblical story of Jesus last spot on earth, before leaving on a cloud for heaven.

Summoned by archaeological scholars from Egypt, Rome, Greece and Tunisia, the Christian Scholars are excavating a site which may hold clues to some of the burials of those left behind after Jesus departure. Although the bible doesn’t specifically state the disciple’s place of interment, Mount of Olives is a reasonable place to expect them to be buried. The mainly Jewish graveyard is where the Jews wait until the Messiah comes to take them home.

The finding of a Christian Cross type headstone is what all the fuss is about. This is so unusual, and had gone unnoticed for so many years; until a visitor noticed a stone hidden by an olive tree at the site. When they carefully moved the olive tree, they found a white cross with the Greek inscription, To The God Jesus Christos. This same inscription was found in a ruin adjacent to Megiddo prison in Israel, where a mosaic floor also had written in ancient Greek, “To the God, Jesus Christo.” Some say it may be the burial grounds of the rabbi Jesus himself, but the Christian scholars were quick to point out, that it couldn’t be, as Jesus left on a cloud, as witnessed by Peter, and possibly other disciples, and this was collaborated by two strangers who were present at the time of Jesus passage from earth. YX is the Ancient Greek Inscription for Jesus Christ.

The Christian scholars are interested in the find, but both agree that the finding of the possible prepuce of Jesus is a much greater find. Jesus, being Jewish, and of devout parents would have had his ritual circumcision on the 8th day after his birth. The prepuce would have been expected to be kept by his Mother Mary, as only she knew for sure he was the son of God. They surmise she may have buried Jesus prepuce in a ritual box, and in a location where Mary felt it would be safe. This only remnant of Jesus left on earth, is a subject of great interest to scholars. What will the DNA reveal and what does this mean for Christian’s worldwide?
I think with all the different prosecutions/attempts at getting stuff back going on, my subject lines have to be a bit more specific. With the resumption of the Marion True trial, the Telegraph provides a useful 'where we are' sort of thing:

The trial of a former official of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles resumes today as Italian authorities campaign to retrieve antiquities they believe have been stolen and sold to some of the world's leading collections.

Marion True, 57, is charged in Rome with buying antiquities from Italy which she knew were stolen.

The outcome of her case may force art galleries and museums around the world to reconsider their exhibits. Already, the case has given the Italian government the confidence to demand the return of hundreds of statues, bronzes and plates from museums in New York, Boston, Cleveland and Japan. The Greek government has followed its cue, launching its own court case against Miss True and winning back prizes including a million-dollar golden funerary wreath.

On Monday, Miss True, the former head of antiquities at the Getty, was released from a Greek prison, after posting a £10,000 bail. However, she is not expected to appear in court in Italy. If she is convicted in either country, she faces up to 10 years in jail.

Her trial, which began in July 2005, has exposed a murky European trade in antiquities, with stolen goods from Italy and Greece being labelled by dealers and given false histories before being shipped out to American museums. Greek prosecutors have revealed a letter from Miss True, telling the board of the Getty Museum that the funerary wreath was "too dangerous for us to get involved with". She changed her mind four months later.

The Getty Museum, one of the biggest buyers of antiquities thanks to its enormous endowment from John Paul Getty, the oil magnate, has been asked to return 42 items to Italy.

So far, it has agreed to give up 26. The two sides are discussing the remainder.

Francesco Rutelli, the Italian culture minister, said the Getty's evidence of ownership was "crumbling".

However, the museum, despite Miss True's trial, insists that it has "rightful ownership". Many of the contested antiquities were smuggled out of Italy after being looted from Etruscan sites north of Rome.

Between 1949 and 1973, about 400 of the 550 tombs at the Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri were ransacked.

The Italian government, after years of pleading for the return of the artefacts, recently started an aggressive campaign, led by the lawyer Maurizio Fiorelli.

Artefacts on display in the Getty Museum
Some of the artefacts on display in the Getty Museum, which Miss True has been charged with buying, knowing they were stolen

Last week, military police raided the villa of a goldsmith in Abruzzo, seizing several "museum-standard" pieces.

At the beginning of this year, Mr Fiorelli requested the help of authorities in Japan to track down 100 pieces spread across the country's museums. He is also targeting a museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

"We offer loans of long duration for those who return the objects we seek, and there is no damage to culture or to the museums," he said.

"Our goal is to sever clandestine excavations and illegal international traffic."

As the head of the Getty's acquisition programme from 1986 to 2005, Miss True recommended items from private dealers and auctions.

However, she has denied all wrongdoing, and has even accused the museum of abandoning her during her trial.
Cum . . . docemus, discimus.

pron = koom doh-KAY-moos, DIS-kih-moos.

While we teach, we learn.

Comment: I read an essay a few years ago (the author of which I have forgotten) which played further on this truth that every teacher knows. The essay claimed that when we teach, in fact, there are three things we are teaching, and the degree to which we are aware of this is the degree to which our teaching can be truly helpful, or really destructive.

1) We teach a subject matter--the obvious.

2) We teach human beings--what should be obvious,but which is often forgotten in the zeal, or burden, or comfort of teaching our subject matter.

3) We teach our own lives. This is the piece that, perhaps, teachers are least aware of. Just as our students come in the door with entire lives that exist outside of our classrooms, so do teachers. Teachers can try to shed all of that at the door, or conveniently "forget" that at the door, but it will silently follow us in. Whatever issues we are running from, or repressing, or afraid of will show up in our classrooms in some pretty consistent ways. LIkewise, what we have embraced, faced and truly know about ourselves become vehicles of our own teaching.

So, when we teach a subject, we are learning it. When we teach other human beings, we are learning something more about what it means to be human. When we teach our lives, we are learning more about the mystery of who we are.

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

27 B.C. -- Octavian is given the title "Augustus", the clupeus virtutis and duo laurae

9 B.C. (?) -- the future emperor Tiberius celebrates an ovatio for his victories in Pannonia

10 A.D. -- dedication of a Temple of Concordia

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Fusca and Maura

1794 -- death of Edward Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

1907 -- birth of Philip Vellacott (translator of the Oresteia and various other works)
perceptible @ Merriam-Webster

epenthesis @ Worthless Word for the Day

imprecation @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

Flumen Ganges inquinatum
: Nuntii Latini

12.01.2007, klo 09.35

Flumen Ganges, ubi septuaginta fere miliones Hinduistarum his diebus peccatorum remittendorum causa lavantur, tot et tantis sordibus inquinatum est, ut complures sacerdotes Indi recusaverint, quominus illum lustrandi ritum omnino subirent.

Qua re audita magistratus Indiae se curaturos esse polliciti sunt, ut ostiolis aggerum apertis aqua pura in Gangem deduceretur.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the Jerusalem Post:

An immense bedrock cliff uncovered opposite Jerusalem's Temple Mount may help explain why it took the Romans so long to capture what is now known as the Jewish Quarter almost two millenia ago, an Israeli archeologist said Sunday.

The cliff, uncovered during a year-long excavation at the western edge of the Western Wall Plaza, was one of several important finds that include the remains of a colonnaded street called the Eastern Cardo, dating from the Roman-Byzantine period; a section of the Lower Aqueduct that conveyed water from Solomon's Pools to the Temple Mount; and a damaged rock-hewn and plastered Jewish mikve (ritual bath) that dates back to the Second Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced at a press conference.

The dig, which was conducted in an area that had not been excavated before due to plans for construction, also served to clarify the height of an immense bedrock cliff that separated the Upper City from the Temple Mount area. It in itself is "the most impressive" find, said Shlomit Wexler-Bedolah, the excavation director.

Wexler-Bedolah said the cliff's topography could help explain the slow Roman conquest, noting that it took the Roman army an entire month from the time they destroyed the Temple Mount on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av until they captured the ground of today's Jewish Quarter on the 10th day of the following month.

"This could have been a natural obstacle for the Roman army," she said.

Jerusalem regional archeologist Jon Seligman focused on the significance of the road that was uncovered at the foot of the cliff - an elaborate colonnaded street known as the Eastern Cardo.

The street, which began at the Damascus Gate, ran the length of the Tyropoeon Valley channel. Sections of the street had previously been uncovered in the northern part of the Old City, on Rehov Ha-Gai and west of the Dung Gate.

Wexler-Bedolah said the current excavation exposed for the first time the full 11-meter width of the original road, which had been paved in the Roman manner with large flagstones set in place diagonally, probably to prevent wagons from slipping. A drainage system had been installed below the flagstones, she said.

A complex of shops and buildings constructed on the spot in the Middle Ages continued to exist through the Ottoman period and constituted part of the Mughrabi Quarter that stood at the site until 1967.

"This excavation allows us to learn an important chapter in thousands of years of history, stage after stage and period after period in the existence of this city," Wexler-Bedolah said.

The newly found remnants of the capital's past will be preserved underneath the new Western Wall Heritage Center, which is slated to be built at the site and whose planning sparked the "rescue (or salvage) dig." The center, whose construction is expected to take several years and is being underwritten by US media mogul Mort Zuckerman, will include an educational center, a video conference room, a VIP lounge and a police station, said Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch.

There have never been any archeological excavations on the Temple Mount itself due to the site's holy status for both Jews and Muslims.

Interesting editorial from Kathimerini on the recent attacks on the American embassy:

One can only wonder at the persistence of some extreme left-wing groupuscules that never tire of attacking American targets in Greece. Where does this unquenchable rage come from, and how does it keep raging over 30 years after the collapse of the military dictatorship widely seen as having enjoyed US tolerance if not support? The answer is complicated and depends only partially on the fact that in recent years the United States' policies have given new life to the «anti-imperialist» struggle, whose protagonists feel justified by the huge mistakes made by America and by the sense of insecurity born of the effects of globalization.

But there is another factor that does not depend so much on America's behavior, deriving instead from the need some people have to maintain the myth of heroic opposition to the mighty. The Greeks are not unique in this, as most nations create myths to explain incidents and patterns of behavior. But in our case, it is most impressive to see how the creation and maintenance of myths can carry on in the face of reality, even when the result is that our perception of reality is distorted and national interests harmed.

Since prehistoric times, the people of this small corner of the earth have been creating myths and narratives to record the important stages of their journey. Hesiod wrote his Cosmogony as a coalescence of stories whose origins were lost in an ageless past. More recently, the national uprising of 1821 is traditionally tied to the raising of the banner of revolution by Bishop Germanos on March 25, 1821, even though many other dates and incidents could have been chosen instead, as the Greeks had been mobilizing for a long time and the country was on the boil. Other heroic moments in the national memory include the campaign against Italian forces in 1940 and the student rebellion that centered on the Athens Polytechnic in November 1973.

The creation of these myths around events does not undermine the importance of the events - on the contrary, it shows just how important it is to codify and condense these moments in order to pass them on to the next generations.

This is useful in that it helps a nation learn from the past and gives it courage and endurance when it faces new difficulties with the resolution and heroism of its ancestors (and God knows, Greek history has more than enough heroic incidents to supply many nations). But when these myths cause a nation to see things in a distorted fashion and this then affects their present behavior, they become dangerous, they undermine their perception of reality and they dictate forms of behavior and relationships that might have developed in a healthier way. If the myths concern - let's say - Rome's founding by the descendants of the Trojan hero Aeneas, this helps the Romans establish a heroic past, filling in the gaps of a time of which no one had any recollection.

This benefits the Romans, does no harm to the Trojans and creates an unavoidable rivalry between Greeks and Romans. When, in another form of myth-making, a country tries to usurp the history of another, as our northern neighbors continually keep trying, then that country should expect the just reaction of those affected by its myth-making.

Often, of course, these so-called «foundation myths» cannot but be born of the antagonism with another nation in the continual push and shove for territory and influence that is the basic ingredient of history. The victory of one nation implies the defeat of another.

But every now and then we face a myth which is kept alive by certain groups only so as to make themselves appear heroic.

This is the case with Greece's «domestic terrorists,» who appear to be inspired by the resistance to the dictatorship even though the dictatorship ended 33 years ago. (Also, the fact is that the dictatorship collapsed under the weight of its own criminal incompetence which led to the Cyprus tragedy, rather than because of any urban guerrilla group.)

However many sins the Americans may have committed during the dictatorship and in previous decades (with their intervention in domestic affairs), the obsession with «dynamic» forms of resistance against the United States displays an obsession with a fairy tale that has no place in the Greece of today.

On the contrary, while some play games with symbolic attacks, the country is looking for the way forward in a world that is difficult and far from the world of fairy tales.
More details coming out ... from the Daily Yomiuri:

Italian prosecutors have obtained records and photographs that they claim show the head of an international smuggling syndicate that was behind the illegal excavation of antiquities in Italy had dealt with a Japanese antique art dealer, it has been learned.

The Italian prosecutors suspected that a number of antiquities housed at some museums or owned by individual collectors in Japan might have been illegally dug up at Italian archaeological sites.

The prosecutors named Gianfranco Becchina, an Italian art dealer, as the head of the antiquities smuggling syndicate.

One of the prosecutors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Becchina is from Sicily and is suspected to have links with the Mafia.

The prosecution searched a warehouse owned by Becchina in Basel, Switzerland, in 2002 and 2005 on suspicion he smuggled illegal items. The searches found 10,000 photographs of items believed to have been illegally excavated or stolen, and about 200 bundles of receipts, according to prosecution sources.

One of the receipts, which detailed a transaction made in April 1991, bore the names of Becchina and a Japanese antique dealer, leading the prosecutors to believe the two engaged in trade.

From about 1970 to the end of the '90s, when sales of antiquities were brisk worldwide, looting was rampant at ancient Roman ruins and elsewhere in Italy.

The prosecutors believe Becchina had been buying items from looters and selling them to dealers around the world.

Illegally excavated items are known to have been auctioned in London and New York, and some have been purchased by museums and individuals in various countries, including Japan, they said.

The Japanese antique dealer in question is based in London and trades extensively in Europe.

The Italian prosecution sources said they suspect the Japanese dealer sold items to the Miho Museum in Koka, Shiga Prefecture, which was earlier cited by Italian prosecutors as having contraband Italian antiquities in its collection.

The Japanese dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity over the phone with The Yomiuri Shimbun, said he has had business relations with Becchina since 1989.

The Japanese dealer denied he knew that the items offered by Becchina might have been illegally excavated, noting, "I trusted Becchina completely when I bought items from him."

He declined to go into the specifics of his relationship with the Miho Museum, which opened in 1997, but said he "bought some pieces on behalf of several Japanese art collectors, who assisted the Miho Museum with its collection." The dealer declined to say whether those pieces included ones sold by Becchina.

The Italian prosecution sources, however, said some Polaroid photos seized in the raids depicted items the Japanese dealer bought for Miho Museum.

Another Italian antiquities dealer, Giacomo Medici, who was a business rival of Becchina, was arrested in January 1997 and sentenced by a district court in Italy to 10 years in prison for smuggling ill-gotten artworks.

During investigations into Medici's smuggling charges, photos showing items that were displayed at the Miho Museum also were found, the sources said.

... for those who didn't buy a program, Becchina is the guy who sold the Getty their controversial kouros ...
Outside of her blog, Mary Beard wades in on the Latin/Classics debate going on in the Guardian:

Imagine an evening at the theatre listening to words like this. "Thine arms were gyved! Nay, no gyve, no touch, was laid on me. 'Twas there I mocked him, in his gyves..." It's hardly a thrilling prospect. But if the study of Greek and Latin in this country had been quietly stopped after the first world war (as nearly happened), this is how we would now all be experiencing Greek tragedy, for that was a quote from Gilbert Murray's translation of Euripides's Bacchae, published in 1904. It's the leader of the chorus talking to the god Dionysus, who's just escaped from prison - a "gyve" is apparently an old-fashioned word for a chain. In a Greek-less world, that would be about as close to Euripides as we could get.

There are many good reasons for fostering the study of classical languages. Will Hutton recently wrote powerfully in the Observer about how important Roman history is to our own political culture. And what would be lost if we lost our direct links to ancient literature in the original tongue?

Over the past few decades, classical drama has been one of the jewels in the crown of British theatre, from Diana Rigg's wonderful Medea to Tony Harrison's Oresteia. This has been possible precisely because we still have that link to the original words. Tony Harrison knows Greek. Even Diana Rigg would have failed to move an audience with Gilbert Murray's translation.

Murray was not a dud. In the early 20th century his translations seemed up to the minute, and they were politically influential. His translation of Euripides's Trojan Women (a devastating exposure of the after-effects of armed conflict) was performed in Chicago in 1915 as part of the campaign to keep the United States out of the war. If it now seems hopelessly archaic, that's because every generation rediscovers and retranslates the classics for themselves, re-engaging with the original texts.

If we do decide to keep the classics, there's still the issue of who should learn the languages, and how. For centuries Greek has been an exotic minority option. This debate centres on Latin and on the question of whether it is too difficult. In particular, should its GCSE be made easier so that more children, across the ability range can enjoy it?

This is to miss the point. Learning Latin properly is very hard. That is part of the pleasure and the challenge, and it does no one a good turn to pretend otherwise. It's not that the Romans were cleverer than us, but the writing they left behind (which is why, after all, most of us want to study them) is difficult, complex and highly literary. Reading the Roman historian Tacitus is probably best compared to getting to grips with Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

We should not be confusing social exclusivity with an intellectually elitist subject. All bright children, no matter how wealthy or privileged they are, should have the opportunity to learn classical languages. One of the biggest crimes of the national curriculum is having eased Latin out of the maintained sector (though not entirely, I'm pleased to report). But it is no more sensible to put Latin on the curriculum of the less academically able than it is to put Mandarin Chinese or quantum physics there.

In fact, paradoxically, it is the sheer difficulty of Latin that makes it something of a social leveller, and a route to intellectual upward mobility. Questioning my colleagues who teach classics at Cambridge (a university in which roughly 40% of undergraduates across the board still come from the private sector), I found that only about 20% had attended independent schools.

The good news is that, whatever its posh image, Latin is a hard subject in which the academically able thrive. It's rather like maths: money alone can't make you good at it.
Not directly within our purview, but the mention of Alexander the Great gives me an excuse to include this interesting bit from the Telegraph:

A stone carving of the head of a guardsman from the ancient palace of Persian kings at Persepolis is at the centre of a High Court battle that could have worldwide repercussions for museums and art collections.

For more than 30 years, the 5th century BC relief has been in the possession of a Frenchwoman who bought it at an auction in New York in 1974 and displayed it on her living room wall.

When Denyse Berend, 85, tried to sell it through Christie's auction house in London in 2005, the Islamic Republic of Iran claimed it as stolen and launched a legal attempt to get it back.

Now Mr Justice Eady must decide who is the rightful owner in a case that one expert has described as having the potential to act like a "nuclear bomb" on the antiquities market.

If Iran wins this case, the Iranians will not stop there and will begin targeting private collectors and museums around the world, said Michel van Rijn, an art dealer and antiquities expert.

"If the High Court goes the direction of Iran it will send shivers down the spines of art collectors and museums," he said. "It could set a precedent and Iran could claim many more pieces worldwide."

Mrs Berend bought the relief "in good faith" at a public auction in New York and she is its rightful owner, the High Court was told yesterday.

The relief depicts the bearded head of a spear-carrying guardsman, wearing a feathered head dress and with his hair and beard arranged in tight curls.

Iran says it was originally part of the eastern staircase of the audience hall at Persepolis which was the ceremonial home of Persian kings until 330BC when, according to ancient sources, it was sacked and burned to the ground by Alexander the Great after a drunken revel.

The ruined palace was not excavated until 1932, by Prof Ernst Herzfeld, and Iran says the relief must have been removed after that date.

Under Iranian law, dating back to before the fall of the Shah, the republic says it remains the property of the state as part of a national monument.

The relief surfaced in the Christie's Faces from the Ancient World sale in 2005, but was withdrawn and has remained in legal limbo.

Michael Lazarus, for the republic, told Mr Justice Eady that Mrs Berend consigned the fragment from her home in Paris to Christie's in January 2005 for the auction.

He said Iran learned that the fragment was included in the sale catalogue and, in April 2005, successfully applied for an interim injunction restraining Christie's from selling it. Mr Lazarus added: "Christie's has retained the fragment pending the resolution of the dispute."

He told the judge: "The principal issues in the case are first, whether the court should determine the question of title according to the substantive law of France or of Iran and, secondly, if the applicable substantive law is French law, whether Mrs Berend acquired title under French law thereby extinguishing Iran's prior title."

Iran based its title to the fragment on two sources —historic title and Iranian statutory law. However, Paul Lowenstein, for Mrs Berend, said she bought the fragment through an agent and took possession of it in "good faith".

The barrister also argued that the collector obtained "good title" to the relief "by proscription" under French law as it was in her "continuous and open possession for a period of over 30 years" before she sent it to Christie's for sale.

Mr Lowenstein urged the judge to dismiss Iran's claim and order an inquiry into the damage Mrs Berend had suffered as a result of the Republic's application for the injunction.

The hearing continues.

... which leads to an obvious question: why aren't Greece and Italy going after the private collectors? Or are they?


Al Schlaf writes:

It just seems to me increasingly silly the multiple claims of return of stolen patrimony by various countries.

In this case, I wonder if Iran can document exactly the spot on the relief where this piece was stolen and whether it post-dates the applicable statute on when this constituted "property of the state." IOW, if they can conclusively prove the removal of this was after the enactment of the statute (to say nothing of the founding of the modern state of Iran), fine, they may very well have a case. However, if they cannot, then, to put it bluntly, they need to shut the hell up and live with it.

I support the right of countries to enforce the theft of their cultural patrimony/treasures/artifacts by statute in the present, but to cast back to times pre-dating such statutes or even the modern political existence of said countries to lay claim to objects obtained decades or centuries before that is ludicrous in the extreme. By the same logic, Greece should have claim to art works looted by the Romans now in modern museums.
ante diem xviii kalendas februarias

carmentalia (day 2) -- an annual festival in honour of the nymph Carmenta (a divinity associated with prophecy and childbirth; also the mother of Evander) celebrated primarily by women on the 11th and 15th of January

69 A.D. -- murder of Galba and his adopted son Piso; dies imperii of Otho
... a very slow news day ... and no 'Classical Words' either ... and I also didn't get to my AWOTV listings yesterday ... and not a snow day ... not a good start to the week ...

From YLE:

De vivariis Romaniae
: Nuntii Latini

12.01.2007, klo 09.35

In Romania, quae anno vergente ad societatem Unionis Europaeae accessit, multa vivaria claudenda sunt, utpote quae legibus Unionis de re zoologica perlatis non satisfaciant.

In illa civitate omnino triginta sex horti zoologici sunt, quorum iam paene decem aut clausi sunt aut mox claudentur.

In causa est, quod magnae ferae bestiae, e. gr. ursi et leones, in caveis nimis parvis et sordidis tenebantur.

Curatores vivariorum etiam obligati sunt, ut non solum animalibus condiciones vivendi satis bonas praebeant, sed etiam operae investigatoriae intersint civesque de rebus zoologicis certiores faciant.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Amhadinejad Americam Latinam visitat

On the Greek side, Akropolis World News is back: Polish bishops to be inspected, USA embassy in Athens attacked, 300 years of union England-Scotland
Suzan Mazur's latest interview is with (semi-Canadian) Bruce McNall, erstwhile owner of the Bronze Boy ... in Scoop, of course ...
The before-the-big-snowstorm-hits edition:

As often, N.S. Gill starts us off, this week with features about Octavian's 'first settlement' (note in passing: the second series of Rome, which begins tonight, has a different/older guy playing Octavian) ... and one on Crossing the Rubicon ... she also links to an interesting Latin tutorial aimed at folks who who are looking at assorted document type things ....

Kristian Minck was looking at some 'carvings' of land transportation vehicles here and here ...

Adrian Murdoch tells us about a British sitcom called Chelmsford 123 (set in Roman Britain ... opening credits on YouTube) ... he also had comments on the Rome as USA analogies that are taking up too much space in newspapers of late ...

Glaukopis had a number of media-related items to note (including a reading of I,Claudius)

Michael Gilleland was his usual busy self, blogging on such various topics as the Sphinx and the Sphincter ... Classical Bravery ... various translations of Catullus 31 ... the Law of the Increasing Members (which isn't what it sounds like) ...

In a pair of posts, Irene Hahn was tracking down info on Agrippina the Younger ... and here ...

Similarly, Mary Beard ...

Nicholas Swift (at Nestor's Cup) comments on Callimachus' views on Quality v. Quantity ...

The Antiquarian had a very nice sardonyx cameo of Athena ... and some photos of a Roman bronze from the Toledo Museum of Art ...

Andrew Criddle guest blogging at Hypotyposeis had a post on Epiphany and Polycarp (am I the only one who thinks of Pokemon cards when he hears 'polycarp'?) ...

Mark Goodacre had a roundup of recent press coverage of the Gospel of Judas and books related thereto ... in a different vein, he also pondered the question of academics using blogs for pre-publishing purposes ...

Philip Harland has made available a couple more articles on religions in the early empire ...

At the Stoa, Tom Elliott informed us of the online existence of his APA paper on the Pleiades Project ... there was also an interesting item on the Integration Proclamation ...

Nikolaos at Tropaion writes about a BBC documentary about Nero (with a clip, of course) ...

Also on the Biblioblogging front, Tyler Williams put together an incredible carnival of the best of the Biblical Studies blogs' posts from the past year (yes, year) ...

Elsewhere, over at LanguageHat there was a post on a translation dispute from 404 A.D. ... also on the linguablog front, Language Log noted the word of the year is plutoed ...

The second issue of Iris is now available apparently (I hope there are plans for making some real content available online ) ...

Explorator 9.38 has been posted at Yahoo ... we'll get to our Ancient World on Television listings later today ... and hopefully we'll get a snow day to do these sorts of things at a more leisurely pace tomorrow a.m.!
From Fortean Times 199 (August, 2005):

"Eyes are the windows of the soul" (Cicero, Orator, ch18 para60). What did. Shelley see via the female acquaintance with (the story went) eyes instead of nipples - a womb with a view? Greek mythology is polyopthalmic. The Three Grey Sisters shared one eye between them. Blind Homer's (Odyssey, bk9) monocular Cyclops had his brogged out. Argos had 100. Lynceus's sharp pair could spot subterranean objects.

"A library-myth that irritates me most is the classification of books under `fiction' and `non-fiction"' -Fort, Books, p863). Herodotus (Histories, bk3 ch116) reports widespread belief in the one-eyed tribe of Arimaspians. The Roman Julius Obsequens (Book of Prodigies, ch24) records a boy born (136BC) with four. In Herodotus's Athens, draft-dodgers feigned opthahnia to evade military service (Aristophanes, Frogs, w190-2).

"The most warlike and successful generals have been one-eyed men," declared Plutarch (Life of Sertorius, chl para4), adducing with his Roman hero the Macedonians Philip II (Alexander's father) and Antigonus (dubbed `Monopthalmos' by historians). Hannibal was half-blinded in his famed Alpine-elephantine transit; not so Ian Botham in his re-creation.

Pliny (Natural History, bk7 ch2l para85) and Aelian (Historical Miscellany, bkll ch13) mention a fellow, nicely called Strabo ('Squintyeyed'), who could count the ships leaving Carthage from Sicily 123 miles away. Pliny (bkll ch54 pass 142.4) credits Tiberius with the ability to wake in the night and see things clear as day, adding two gladiators who never blinked. He further (bk7 chll paral2) attributes extraordinary night-vision to Albanians, perhaps some consolation for their being bald from birth.

Living B(efore) P(olitical) C(orrectness), Nero (himself visually defective -- that Quo Vadis monocle is authentic) was able poetically to lampoon Clodius Pollio as `The One-Eyed Man' (Suetonius, Life of Domitian, chl paral), while Juvenal (Satire 4 vv113-5) ridiculed a notorious blind politician as "burning with desire for a girl he'd never seen" - step forward, David Blunkett. John Malalas (Chronicle, ch392) says emperor Anastasius (AD 491-518) had one grey eye and one black one. A later Byzantine ruler, Theodore Lascaris, had similar disparity (George Acropolites, Chronicle, ch34).This attribute was often thought to denote supernatural powers, though one anonymous ancient physiognomist (Codex Parisianus 2991) thought it betokened insubstantial character. For more mundane diagnoses,

`Google' the term Heterochromia. It had earlier been shared by (e.g.) the legendary bard Thamyris, Hector of Troy,Alexander the Great (Malalas, ch195), and Nysia, wife of Lydian king Candaules, who acquired it from a mysterious snake-stone (Ptolemy Chennus, in Photius, Library, ch190 para150b). Anastasius was nicknamed `Dikoros', a rare word meaning rather 'Double-pupilled', a condition implied by its equally uncommon cognate nouns in the anonymous medico-magico treatise Cyranides (chs 34,75). Pliny (bk7 chll parasl6-8) quotes sources for double-pupilled tribesmen with the evil eye, also Scythian women double-pupilled in one optic, the likeness of a horse in the other-what was their pupil-teacher ratio?

Elagabalus (Historia Augusta, Life of E, ch29 para3) threw a party for eight monoculars, an example of this teenaged ruler's morbid humour. The Byzantines held legalised blindings, the vilest case being Basil II ('The Bulgar-Slayer') who (Gibbon, ch55) "Inflicted a cool and exquisite vengeance on the 15,000 captives.They were deprived of sight, but to one of each hundred a single eye was left, that he might conduct his blind century to the presence of their king, Samuel, who expired of grief and horror" - prefiguring Erasmus: "In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king".

"Detectives... were searching for a glass-eyed man named Jackson. A Jackson, with a glass eye, was arrested in Boston. But he was not the Jackson they wanted, and pretty soon they got their glass-eyed Jackson in Philadelphia" - Fort, p847

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)

dm adds:

On the double-pupilled folk -- I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought of Pliny's account when visiting any one of many Ripley's museums ...
From NASA Spaceflight (not sure if this is affiliated with NASA or not) ... this one appears to be almost a year old; not sure why it showed up today:

Sources have revealed the latest list of the names NASA has given to its new fleet, with a Greek goddess, a Roman mythological god, and a near-by star winning through as the identities of the new ships that will send America back to the moon and on to Mars.

In the next decade, Altair, Artemis and Ares (I and V) could well become space community household names, as NASA returns to exploration past our own orbit.

A huge step up from NASA administrator Mike Griffin's 'Apollo on steroids' tag, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) has been christened 'Altair' - named after a variable double star in the constellation Aquila.

Homage is made to the Apollo vehicles, with Altair rooting from the Arabic phrase 'the flying Eagle.'

Greek mythology comes into play for the LSAM (Lunar Surface Ascent Module), which receives the name 'Artemis' - the virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon. Fittingly, Artemis is also the twin sister of Apollo.

Artemis is also a small lunar impact crater located in the Mare Imbrium region of the moon.

The Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) gains the name 'Ares I' - as NASA's name choices move into a historical parallel with the previous launch vehicles to take astronauts to the moon.

In Greek mythology, Ares is the Greek god of war; son of Zeus and Hera, but more relevantly, Ares is identified with Mars in Roman mythology. ARES is also the name of a Mars Scout mission, proposed by NASA Langley Flight Research Center.

The relation to the launch vehicles of old became more apparent when the naming of the CaLV (Cargo Launch Vehicle) was revealed to be 'Ares V' - with sources claiming this was a direct result of wishing to have an identification with the Saturn V.

Strangely, if 'Ares I' was named as such because of its single SRB booster, then the 'Ares V' name is related to the CaLV's five SSMEs (Space Shuttle Main Engines).

Other - more assuming reasoning for the names - could be from a NASA HQ that is full of Stargate SG-1 fans, as Artemis is also the name of a 'Goa'uld' in the television series, and 'Artemis II' was the lunar lander that was attacked by General Zod and his sidekick villains in the Superman movie.

Some of the names have already been used internally by NASA as titles for working projects. The above notional names are from new information that shows NASA is closing in on deciding the names for the new fleet.


Walter scripsit:

Your year-old 'NASA Naming' post reminded me of this 2005 discovery.

I don't believe you ever posted about it and you didn't have the 'Comment on this post' option then so I never sent it.

What is really amazing is, the large asteroid was named '87 Sylvia' after Rhea Sylvia in 1866.

And then in just the past few years it was discovered that '87 Sylvia' had 2 smaller asteroids orbiting it, making it the 1st triple asteroid system ever discovered. What are the odds in that?

And I assume naming the 2 smaller asteroids was pretty much a 'given' for the astronomers :).
9.00 p.m. |HBO/TMN| Rome
Series Two begins ...

... appears to be the Cleveland Museum of Art ... from the Plain Dealer:

The Cleveland Museum of Art is next on the list of American museums from which Italy will seek the return of ancient treasures it says were looted from Italian soil.

Maurizio Fiorilli, the Italian government lawyer leading negotiations with American museums, confirmed Friday that he has been trying to open discussions with the Cleveland museum as part of an international campaign to halt the trade in illegally excavated antiquities.

He said three e-mails to the museum have gone unanswered, although he acknowledged that the e-mails may not have been addressed properly and may be missing.

In the latest message, sent Dec. 20, Fiorilli said he proposed that the museum send representatives to Rome in February for a discussion about how the Cleveland museum could return ancient works in exchange for long-term loans from Italian museums.

"We are available to sit around a table to examine in complete serenity the basis of our requests," Fiorilli said Friday, speaking by phone from his office in Rome.

Timothy Rub, director of the Cleveland Mu seum of Art, was in New York on Friday and could not be reached for comment.

As recently as Tuesday, how ever, Rub said that he had received no communications from Italy regarding works in the museum's collection. In recent months, he has said that the museum is willing to speak with Italian officials once official contact is made.

Italian authorities say evidence unearthed in a police raid on a warehouse in Switzerland in 1995 exposed direct links between tombaroli -- tomb robbers -- and art dealers who then restored the works and later sold them. The authorities say the dealers provided each work with a fake ownership history, or provenance, to cover up its origin.

American museums check with agencies that monitor art thefts, such as the International Foundation for Art Research, before buying such works to see if they were stolen. But because no prior records exist for looted works, it is impossible to know their exact origins. Museums say that in such cases, it is better to buy and exhibit antiquities than to pass them up.

Over the past year, however, Italy has used public pressure and evidence from the raid in Switzerland and other investigations to persuade the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston to return dozens of ancient treasures.

"We offer loans of long duration for those who return objects we seek, and there is no damage to culture or to the museums," Fiorilli said. "Our goal is to sever clandestine excavations and illegal international traffic in antiquities from Italy."

Fiorilli declined to specify which works Italy wants returned from the Cleveland museum's permanent collection, saying that it was a matter of delicacy and that he wanted to preserve space for negotiation.

"It's not great numbers," he said.

Evidence from the 1995 police raid is at the core of Italy's criminal trial against Marion True, a former curator at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles; and Robert Hecht, an art dealer based in Paris and New York.

Attorneys for both have said their clients are not guilty of any crime.

The Cleveland museum bought eight works from Hecht between 1951 and 1990, although it is not known whether those are the specific objects that will be sought by Italy.

"We know that we can't take all of the collection," Fiorilli said.

"We are interested in working on this side by side."

Folks wanting to engage in speculation, can check out this item from back in October ... and, of course, the Cleveland Apollo is still 'up in the air' provenance-wise
[I seem to be a bit behind]

Stultitiam simulare loco prudentia summa est.

pron = stool-TIH-tee-ahm LOH-koh proo-DEHN-tee-ah SOO-mah ehst.

To pretend stupidity at the right time, in the right place, is the highest kind of wisdom.

Comment: To feign such "stupidity" means that one has been able to discern, in a given situation, that pretending docility and acting like one needs "guidance" from another, dangerous, or truly foolish, individual will actually invite him/her to reveal things that otherwise would be concealed. In a variety of forms, this is Socrates simply asking questions.

That is a rare wisdom, a special discernment. Otherwise, the ego likes to speak, to be in charge, to defend itself as important. And when it does, the fool becomes an adversary like a mirror--reflecting back the show, but revealing little to an ego that simply revels in its own image.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
For those of you who want to learn Latin on your own, we're starting up another LatinStudy group -- Atrium Latin Themis. Check out the group's page for details ...
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Celts
In the First Millennium BC, the tribes known as the Celts were the
dominant force on the continent of Europe. In fringe regions like
Ireland, the Celtic people continued to flourish long into the
Christian Age. These were warriors with a unique way of life, as this
fascinating episode reveals. Dark religious rituals and a love of
bloody fighting were a vital part of their life, and classical
writers condemned what they saw as a barbarian lifestyle. But we now
know that Celtic culture was rich and sophisticated. Buried Celtic
treasures have revealed their achievement in crafts such as jewelry,
while the great legends of Irish literature confirm that epic
storytelling was also part of the life of this still-mysterious
ancient people.

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Real Family of Jesus: Part 1

HINT - History International
DCIVC - Discovery Channel Civilizations (Canada)
Apologies for the unannounced hiatus ... our Internet service inexplicably went down the other day and after much sleuthing, it was the phone company's fault (not my ISP, not mine) ... and, of course, a pile of interesting things show up just when I can't get to it ... accordingly, today we're in a bit of catchup mode ...
Many obituaries are in the box ... this one is by Oswyn Murray in the Independent (more in this weekend's Explorator):

Jean-Pierre Vernant, wartime resister and classical scholar: born Provins, France 4 January 1914; Director of Studies, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes 1958-75; Director, Centre de Recherches Comparées sur les Sociétés Anciennes 1964-75; Professor, Collège de France 1975-84; married 1939 Lida Nahimovitch (died 1992; one daughter deceased); died Sèvres, France 9 January 2007.

Towards the end of his long life Jean-Pierre Vernant was asked whether he saw any connection between his wartime exploits and his work as a scholar. Surprised by the question, he reflected briefly, and replied that perhaps his later obsession with the figure of Achilles and the concept of the youthful heroic death (la belle mort) did indeed reflect the experiences of himself and his friends in the Resistance.

Vernant was born in 1914, the son of a father who was killed in the First World War; in 1937 he passed out top in the agrégation in Philosophy for the whole of France, shortly after his brother had achieved the same distinction. Discharged from the army after the fall of France, the two found themselves in Narbonne in August 1940 at the height of the anti-British feeling caused by the destruction of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir with the loss of 1,300 French sailors; their first known act of defiance was to paste the walls of the city with the slogan Vive l'Angleterre pour que vive la France ("Long live England that France may live").

In 1940 at the age of 26 Vernant was appointed philosophy teacher at the main boys' school in Toulouse; his pupils did not guess the other life of their young professor. He helped form the Armée Secrète in 1942, and by the end of the Second World War, as Colonel Berthier of the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur, was commander of the entire Resistance movement in Haute-Garonne, organising the liberation of Toulouse on 19-20 August 1944.

His ability to unify the many independent groups made Toulouse a centre of the Resistance and one of the most active theatres of clandestine warfare in France. Assisted by sympathisers in the railways, the police, the factories and local government, from among the refugees from Fascist Italy and the Spanish Civil War and French Jewish refugees from the north, with the help of military supplies spirited away from the army at the fall of France or dropped by the British SOE, their operations included disrupting railway and road supplies, sabotaging factory production, executing collaborators and organising the main escape route to Spain for Allied pilots who escaped or were shot down.

A potentially disastrous police raid on their headquarters in October 1943 led to the capture of five members and the movement's records. A message was sent to the prefect of police that if any of these records were transmitted to the Germans he would personally be executed on the orders of London: the records disappeared. Three agents were sprung with the help of a technique subsequently used often again, involving the fabrication of orders for their immediate release written on genuine official paper, and sent by official courier precisely at the last moment on Saturday before the closure of all offices for the weekend, when no telephone message could be sent to query the order. A forged official confirmation arrived on Monday; and the operation was repeated for the other two people arrested. So successful was this method that after the war the French government refused the title of member of the Resistance to one of Vernant's team, because his record showed that he had been officially declared to be a collaborator.

Vernant himself escaped arrest partly because (as he later discovered) his government dossier had become inextricably confused with that of his brother: when finally in spring 1944 he was about to be "dismissed" by the Vichy education authorities and handed over to the French Fascist organisation known as the Milice, he received two anonymous letters (both misspelling his name in different ways) warning him not to trust the headmaster or the school inspector, and went into hiding.

After the war he was surprised to find that there was no record of any decision to dismiss (or reinstate) him in the archives, and finally concluded that, though a decision had indeed been taken, it had not been recorded because the authorities had postponed action over the holidays, being unwilling to commit themselves to anything at this stage of the war. Instead, when the war was over, he received promotion and a letter of commendation for his "professional qualities and civic courage" signed by the very same inspector whom he suspected of denouncing him.

Otherwise he was given little recognition, since, in their efforts to re-establish conservative control of France, the Allies, General Charles de Gaulle and the French establishment united in refusing to recognise the populist Resistance movements, which were dominated by the left. Vernant himself was a member of the Communist Party from 1932 intermittently until 1970; but his independence from the Party line dates from the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, and he was often publicly critical of the Party, regarding himself as a Marxist rather than a Party member.

His experiences in Vichy France taught Vernant that official history and official records were a worthless farrago of falsehoods; and the memory of his fellow fighters in the hour of victory was scarcely more reliable. The success of the Resistance had been due to the fact that it had created an alternative structure of "reality" that ran alongside the structures of the Vichy regime; the only truth was the psychological experience of the group, as Tolstoy had understood it - mes copains, Vernant called them.

Returning to academic life, he began a thesis on the notion of work in Plato, and pursued a form of research into Greek civilisation inspired by the social psychology of his colleague in the Resistance Ignace Meyerson: he sought to understand the specifically Greek conceptions of those general ideas common to all human experience, like labour, value, time, space, memory, the will and the person, imagination and sacrifice, or the difference between us and them, Greeks and barbarians (altérité).

Between 1948 and 1962 he followed the seminars of Louis Gernet, veteran sociologist and pupil of Emile Durkheim. From these two influences he developed one of the first and most successful approaches in the histoire des mentalités. He was always open to new ideas, being editorial secretary for the Journal de Psychologie in the Fifties, and later embracing anthropology and structuralism without becoming imprisoned by them.

His first book ran to only 130 pages - he was never a man to waste words - but Les Origines de la pensée grecque (1962, translated as The Origins of Greek Thought, 1982) changed the history of Greek studies: in the wake of the decipherment of Linear B it asked the simple questions, what was the relationship between the newly discovered Mycenean world of palace bureaucracies and the invention of rationality by the Greeks, and how did Greek rationality relate to modern ideas?

To him the answers lay in the democratic political experience of archaic Greece, and the forms of verbal exchange developed in relation to civic duties. In this book he posed the fundamental questions which have been the starting-point for all studies of ancient Greece for the last 40 years. His later work concentrated on the place of religion in Greek society and the evidence of literature and art for Greek social forms - his books including Mythe et pensée chez les Grecs (1965; Myth and Thought among the Greeks, 1983), Mythe et tragédie en Grèce ancienne (1972-86, with Pierre Vidal-Naquet; Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece, 1990), Mythe et société en Grèce ancienne (1974; Myth and Society in Ancient Greece, 1979), Entre mythe et politique ("Between Myth and Politics", 1996), Mortals and Immortals: collected essays (1991) and La Traversée des frontières ("Crossing Frontiers", 2004).

In 1948 Vernant entered the CNRS and in 1958 joined the group around Fernand Braudel in the VIe section of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (later the EHESS). In 1964 he established his own research centre in the house of Auguste Comte, devoted to "comparative research on ancient societies". Initially the group included experts not only on ancient Greece and Rome but also on Assyria, Egypt, India, China and Africa, and a number of anthropologists. Religion was treated as a central aspect of all societies, which must be studied for their unifying principles.

The centre became the focus of intellectual activity in comparative history throughout Europe and the United States: everyone would make the pilgrimage to the cramped collection of rooms in Rue Monsieur-le-Prince. Slowly, and to the regret of Vernant himself, the pressures of academic life and the interests of enthusiastic young researchers pushed the focus of the centre towards the classical world, until by the time he handed over its direction to his friend and collaborator Pierre Vidal-Naquet, it had emerged as the centre for a new type of Greek and Roman history.

Once again, as during the war, he had created an alternative structure of subversion alongside the official academic cursus: when the events of 1968 arrived, it was members of the centre who took over control of classical studies in the universities, and the Centre Louis Gernet is now the most important institution in the world for the study of Greek civilisation.

Vernant was proud of having established what an outsider called the "Ecole de Paris":

neither my work nor my life nor my personality can be separated from the team . . . may the centre continue. A living research team is an institution and a sort of family, with all its tensions.

Although he remained closely connected to the centre, from 1975 to 1984 Vernant was Professor at the Collège de France in the comparative history of ancient religions, where his lectures were famous for the clarity and elegance of their French style.

The charisma of "Jipé" (as he was called by his disciples) rested on the warmth of his personality: he always used the "tu" form and recognised you as a fellow worker whatever your age; in seminars he had an uncanny ability to understand what the speaker really meant, and to formulate it afterwards to the speaker privately. As an orphan he had built his life on friendship: it was easy to understand how people could have risked their lives for him.

Once he told the story of how he came to acquire a holiday house on the exclusive island of Belle-Ile. For many years he and his adored wife Lida (the daughter of Russian émigrés, whom he had met in 1932 when she was 14, and married in 1939) had rented the house for holidays; one day the owner came to him to say that he had to sell. Regretfully Jipé said that he could not possibly afford to buy it. "You don't understand," the owner said, "I want to sell it to you. Tell me the price."

Jean-Pierre Vernant was a very private person, who refused to write his memoirs, and accepted the honours heaped on him simply as the gifts of friends. He retained his mental and physical powers until the end, and was a champion swimmer able to outpace all rivals even in his late eighties.

He nursed his wife until her death from Alzheimer's in their idyllic Russian-style house at Sèvres outside Paris; their only daughter died soon after. But he continued to retain his positive attitude to life, looked after by his son-in-law and surrounded by disciples and friends, the most loved and revered classical scholar of his age.
Barbara Gold has hung out her Valentines expertise shingle again; hopefully some news services will take her up on it:

Be mine. Yours forever. You hold the key to my heart. Hamilton College Classics Professor Barbara Gold can’t help but notice the difference between modern Valentine’s Day cards filled with sentimental sayings and ancient Romans’ wrenching expressions of love.

Today’s valentines focus on sharing, caring, love and friendship. The beloved is portrayed as gentle, sensitive, tender and compassionate, says Gold. The ancient Romans had quite a different take on love.

“Love for them was interesting, both to live and to write about, because it was painful, like a disease,” Gold says. Roman lovers described themselves as “‘wounded, wretched, enslaved by their lovers, having their bone marrow on fire and suffering from double vision.”

“They melded coarse obscenities with deepest expressions of sexual, erotic longing,” she says. “Above all there was no sharing or caring and no real idea of a friendship of equals.”

For example the love poet Catullus writes to his lady love, “I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask why I do that? I don’t know but I feel it happening and I am tormented.” Gold notes, “The dream couples of ancient love poetry are hardly the stuff of today’s romantic. They inhabit a world of playful and elegant poetry far removed from the false sincerity of contemporary Hallmark romance. But the depth of the feelings expressed by the ancients is also far removed from the superficial and hyperbolic lovebites found in contemporary commercial expressions of love.”

With the big Vday on its way, it will be interesting to see if we see repeats of the 'Aphrodite's buttocks' theory ... and the usual 'picking names out of a jar' thing ...

gag ... no sooner do I post the above than the following lands in my mailbox (the egods are cruel) ... from the same press release source that Barbara Gold uses comes this:

Planning any stories on the innocent romance of Valentine’s Day? Feel free to contact Dr. Galdino Pranzarone, professor of psychology at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., and an excellent source on the real meaning of the holiday.

Some examples of the origin, history and symbolism of Valentine's Day:

February: “February has been the traditional time of year when, after the winter solstice and during the apparent lengthening of daylight period, many animals – with us humans among them – begin the yearly frenzy of spring mating and reproduction,” says Pranzarone. But there’s more to it than just spring fever. “The Romans held love and fertility celebrations in February. These were called the Lupercalia, a time of love, eroticism and sexual license,” he says. But it’s not as romantic as it sounds, he adds. “Enthusiastic revelers were paired up by public raffle.”

Cards: “During the Lupercalia party in Rome, young men chose their sexual partners by a drawing of ‘billets’, small paper cards, with women’s names on them,” he says. “Christians later denounced the use of these cards as lewd and pagan custom. The Church tried to substitute the exchange of prayer and sermon cards at this time of year, but the people reverted to hand-made love notes. The commercialization of the Valentine card occurred in recent history at the end of the Victorian Era.”

Hearts: According to Pranzarone, the origin of the heart symbol was probably the shape of human female buttocks seen from the rear, and not an actual heart. Again, thank the Greeks and Romans. “The Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, was beautiful all over, but was unique in that her buttocks were especially beautiful,” he says. “Her shapely, rounded hemispheres were so appreciated by the Greeks that they built a special temple to Aphrodite Kallipygos, which literally meant, ‘Goddess with the Beautiful Buttocks’. This was probably the only religious building in the world that was dedicated to buttock worship.”

Cupid: Cupid – the Roman god of love, desire and lust -- is the son of Venus. “So we see here that the goddess of beauty gives birth to the little god of love, desire and lust,” he says. “Ain’t that the truth? This Cupid was no innocent kid, either. Even though he was a cute cherub, he flew about naked shooting people in the heart with arrows. His relationship with his mother was not particularly wholesome, either. Several paintings from the Renaissance show a rather incestuous relationship existing between Cupid and Venus.”

Cupid’s Arrow: “Do I really have to explain the obvious symbolism inherent in Cupid’s arrow?” asks Pranzarone. But there really is some interesting historical background on Cupid’s archery. “In India, where Cupid was known as Kama, represented passionate, lustful sexual desire,” he says. “The famous sex manual of India, the Kama Sutra, was named after him.”


Saint Valentine: There is genuine question as to whether this person ever really existed, says Pranzarone. “Several contradictory biographies exist for him,” he says. “One describes him as a handsome Roman youth who was executed the moment that his lover received his ‘billet’ of love. Some say he was a tutor to young ladies who was martyred for his faith.” While there was some attempt to deny his existence and suppress the celebration, his myth persisted and he became the patron saint of lovers.”

So ... if you were a responsible journalist, who would you consult about the Roman connections to Valentine's Day ... a Classicist? or a Psychologist? Sadly, I suspect we all know which one will get more press ...


N.S. Gill glosses with some info about and quotes from Catullus ...
From the BBC:

A piece of metal uncovered in a field in Cheshire has been revealed as an ancient Roman bracelet.

Amateur archaeologist James Balme, from Glazebrook, near Warrington, uncovered the artefact in a field in the nearby village of Warburton.

The bracelet, which is in the shape of a serpent, was declared as treasure trove by Stockport Coroner John Pollard at an inquest on Thursday.

It means the 2,000-year-old bracelet now belongs to the Crown.

The coroner recommended the bracelet go on display at Warrington Museum.

Mr Balme said: "There are many days I've been out and spent seven or eight hours and found nothing, absolutely nothing.

"But within an hour of arriving on this field this came out of the ground.

"What happens now is the snake will be valued and obviously there is a reward for finding it."

The British Museum will value the item and split the money, which could run into thousands of pounds, between the archaeologist and the landowner.

Mr Balme has spent about a decade researching the area around the village of Warburton, uncovering evidence of a Roman settlement.

English, Welsh and Northern Irish archaeological finds which constitute "treasure" must be reported to the local coroner under the Treasure Act 1996.

Metallic objects made up of at least 10% gold or silver which are at least 300 years old are classed as treasure.

A photo of part of the object accompanies the original article ...
From Forbes:

It took a feisty amateur to wrest the classics from the grip of professional historians.
Robert B. Strassler calls himself a "scholar without credentials." He doesn't read Greek or Latin, nor does he have a tenured job at a university. He retired 20 years ago after a prosperous couple of decades running an oil drilling equipment business. Yet this amateur scholar may turn out to be one of the bestselling classicists of all time.

Ten years ago Strassler, 69, published The Landmark Thucydides (Free Press), a desk-whomping 713-page edition of the Greek historian's account of the Peloponnesian War. Strassler worked on it for seven years--without a publisher's advance. His goal: to unlock antiquity's most intricate, difficult narrative for a modern audience. He succeeded brilliantly: 114 detailed maps in line with the text, hundreds of margin notes, a header on every page showing time and place, and 11 appendixes that illuminate military, economic and political concepts of the time.

The book was a smash (as classics go), selling 30,000 copies in hardcover and 40,000 in paperback, even though the cost of that edition ($25) was twice that of the mass-market Penguin paperback. "I would never use the Penguin again," says Joshua D. Sosin, associate professor of classical studies at Duke University.

Now Strassler is expanding his project across the bookshelf. There are four more Landmark editions in the works: A new translation of Herodotus by adjunct professor Andrea Purvis of Duke University, with 21 appendixes and 123 maps, will appear in late 2007, to be followed by reader-friendly volumes of Xenophon's Hellenica, Arrian and Polybius. "The work he's doing is monumental," says Edward Kastenmeier, Strassler's editor at his current publisher, Pantheon. "Bob put it together on his own."

Strassler's father made a bundle in the wake of the Depression, running syndicates that bought and fixed up liquidated companies. Strassler was introduced to the classics at Fieldston, a prep school in the Bronx, and again as a history major at Harvard. In his junior year there he pestered the deans into assigning him a former Oxford don to tutor him three hours a week in the history of ancient Greece. Says Strassler, "It was the best thing Harvard ever did for me."

Later, after graduating from Harvard Business School in the top 5% of his class in 1961, he went into the family business. His father told him to revive or dump a Tulsa company that made equipment for oil rigs. "My dad told me, 'Get in earlier than everyone and stay later. Open up every piece of mail. Anything you don't understand, you call the addressee and get them to explain,'" he says.

Strassler handled the business well through an oil boom, but when a bust came, in 1983, he was worn out. His bond portfolio seemed like a better place for his and his family's money--no employees or regulations to worry about. So he lit out for the Berkshires and joined the board of Simon's Rock College, a liberal arts school in Great Barrington, Mass. At the request of the provost he taught a class in ancient Greek literature in translation, sympathizing with students who found Thucydides impenetrable: The Modern Library edition has one map of the entire Hellenic world, with 180 labels on it. Students must constantly flip back and forth to figure out where they are. The Penguin edition has no margin notes, no glossary and an index Strassler deems "useless."

In 1989 he drew up a proposal for a much more inviting version and cast around for a professor to do the work. Some said they were busy; others couldn't understand why Strassler would bother making Thucydides accessible to the lay reader. That got Strassler steamed. "These people would rather write about how the letter sigma changed over 200 years. That's what you get points for," he says. "Then they cry in their beer that no one reads the classics anymore."

So he put together his own sample edition, with roughed-out maps, margin notes, an index and a list of appendixes, and sent it out again. Yale historian Donald Kagan, an expert on the Peloponnesian War, was enthusiastic and introduced Strassler to his book agent, Glen Hartley. The proposal went out to a dozen publishers. Only one, Simon & Schuster's Free Press, agreed to take it on--but without an advance. Strassler had to finance the entire project himself. Fine, he said; but give me veto power over every change. Strassler, a perfectionist, would periodically call his editor, Adam Bellow (son of Saul), and run down a list of dozens of items that needed discussing. Strassler hated the initial index the publisher had put together. He wrote a 100-page letter detailing all the errors. In the end, he did the index himself. "Bob's a very nice man," says Bellow. "But underneath there's a skeleton of steel."

In 1997, before the glow faded from the raves over Thucydides, Strassler started work on the new translation of Herodotus. He scored a big advance from Pantheon, using that money to fund a classics factory, of which he is chief executive officer. He expects his future costs to run higher than what he paid for Thucydides: $30,000 for the designer, $20,000 for the cartographer, and $500 per appendix to professors.

He will be chief editor on Herodotus and Xenophon, but the volumes following will be shepherded by well-credentialed scholars. Strassler's role will be reduced to series editor. Not having tenure, he says, has worked to his advantage: "It makes me nonthreatening. Scholars can help me without fear of my stepping on their toes."

In light of his success, he is surprised not to have engendered competition. "I thought I would be copied," he says, "but no one picked up on it." That strikes him odd, since the classics remain the underpinning of Western philosophy: "We are the heirs of the Greeks and the prisoners of their thought."
Marion True can't get a break ... from the LA Times:

Greek authorities ordered Marion True, former antiquities curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, to post about $19,000 bail, two sources familiar with the case confirmed.

True's appearance Wednesday before a Greek magistrate and prosecutors, first reported by the New York Times, was the latest step toward a criminal trial on charges that the former curator conspired to buy an ancient golden funerary wreath that Greek authorities say was illegally excavated.

The Getty returned the golden wreath to Greece in mid-December, days before True was formally charged with the crime. True's attorneys have denied that she is guilty of the charges.
... this time from the periphery of our purview ... from news.com:

RUSSIAN archaeologists have uncovered the 2000-year-old remains of a warrior preserved intact in permafrost in the Altai mountains region, the official Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily says.

The warrior was blond had tattoos on his body. He was wearing a felt coat with sable fur trimmings and was buried in a wooden frame containing drawings of mythological creatures with an icepick beside him, the paper said.

Local archaeologists believe the man was part of the ruling elite of a local nomadic tribe known as the Pazyryk. Numerous other Pazyryk tombs have been found in the area.

“This is definitely a very serious discovery. It's incredibly lucky that the burial was in permafrost so it was very well preserved,” Alexei Tishkin, an Altai archaeologist, was quoted as saying.

The Pazyryk people are connected (somehow) with the Scythians ... see the Wikipedia article for some familiar material ...
Alas, from the student newspaper at my alma mater University of Calgary ... from their so-called 'sexpert', inter alia:

Pliny and Dioscordes, ancient greeks in the first century, are known to have documented aphrodisiacs as substances that by nature represent "seed or semen," such as bulbs, eggs and snails.

Sadly, at a university where there is a fine department where such things could be checked, the writer appears to have preferred the Food Network (maybe) as a source ... actually, folks might be interested to see how often P and D are paired as "greeks" ...
I was wondering when this sort of thing would happen ... from Taipei Times:

Italian authorities suspect that some Roman antiquities in Japanese museums may have been looted, a news report said yesterday amid efforts by Italy to recover relics of its rich past it says were smuggled out of the country.

The Italian government plans to put together a catalog of about 100 ancient treasures and ask the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency to cooperate in recovering them, Japan's largest daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported from Rome, citing unnamed Italian prosecutors.

About 50 of the 100 allegedly smuggled items currently reside in the Miho Museum, a private museum in Shiga, western Japan, that is renowned for its collection of antique art, Yomiuri said. The antiquities in question at Miho include a sculpture and fresco painting from ancient Rome.

The report did not say when the suspected items were taken to Japan.

Japanese officials, however, said yesterday they had not been contacted by Italian authorities and had no idea whether any of the Roman artifacts in Japanese museums had been looted.


Hiroaki Katayama, the head of Miho's cultural department, said the museum does not know which items are suspected of having been looted, adding that the number of items believed to be from the Roman period is less than 50.

"We believe our collection does not include anything that was dug up illegally. We don't know what kind of proof they have. We would like to know the details [of the allegations] as soon as possible," Katayama said.

Cultural Affairs Agency official Rio Higuchi said officials did not know if any looted antiquities had been smuggled into Japan.

Italy has been cracking down on antiquities trafficking and campaigning to recover artifacts it contends were stolen or illegally exported from the country and sold to European and US museums.

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty Museum have agreed to return antiquities.

We've mentioned the Miho Museum before (in passing) ... interesting cast of characters associated with it (e.g. the Maecenas Foundation, the folks behind the Gospel of Judas, that Japanese religious sect we've mentioned before ...)
Legere et non intellegere est tamquam non legere.

pron = LEH-geh-reh eht nohn in-tel-LEH-geh-reh ehst TAHM-kwahm nohn LEH-geh-reh.

Reading and not understanding is the same as not reading.

Comment: I am never more aware of the truth of this proverb than when I am teaching in a second language. When my Latin students and I have read something--at whatever level, whether a beginner's story or a poem of Catullus, for example--I have learned to ask: intellegitisne?
Do you understand? Quae quaestiones mihi habetis? What questions do you have for me? And then, I allow them to ask me questions, in Latin, about the text we have just read. They usually ask about a word, or phrase. Sometimes, they try to restate something they've read to see if they understand correctly. If they do not, then "Quaestiones vobis habeo--I have questions for you--I tell them. And I begin asking about details of the story, or the poem. I ask them to restate things for me in their own Latin words.

Recently, I asked my Latin 2 students to write a short piece, in Latin, from the perspective of the spider on the ceiling who was watching the scene that we read. Their piece had to begin: Aranea sum. E tecto, video . . . "I am a spider. From the ceiling, I see .
. . " It was clear to me, when I read their pieces, whether they had read and understood.

For me as a reader, and for me as a teacher of language, the crux of the matter is time to reflect, to question, what we have read. So, I might amend this saying: Legere et considerare est intellegere. To read and to reflect is to understand.

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

Sorry ... but for some reason this bit from the Politics Weblog resonated with me:

A review of a new translation of the "Aeneid" in the current New Republic (subscription only) nicely illustrates the obsessions of academia. University of Pennsylvania classicist Emily Wilson spends most of her review commenting on the translator's success in conveying the subtleties of Virgil's epic poem, but she can't help breaking into her analysis with the occasional comment on President Bush's Iraq policy.

Thus this passages from her review: "At this moment in American history, we are all conscious that imperialism has a price. President Bush, who was certainly speaking without Virgil in mind . . . " Or this: "This is perhaps the most disturbing end of any great epic poem. You could say, with Bush, that Aeneas is simply adapting to the danger posed by Turnus, just as the president's administration 'is taking new steps to help secure Baghdad, and constantly adjusting our tactics across the country to meet the changing threat.'"

The image that comes to mind in reading passages such as these, so clumsily inserted in a commentary on a Latin epic poem, is that of Dr. Strangeglove, who just can't get his restless arm to stay down.

... just as political commentary on the Classics list invariably leads to Dr Strangelovesque 'blowups' ...
Piles of coverage of this one ... here's the stuff from the Scotsman:

IT WAS the home of the hero of Troy. Odysseus, the Greek warrior who tricked the Trojans with a wooden horse, hailed from "bright Ithaca", according to the poet Homer.

The identity of the fabled island emerged from the mists of time yesterday, when a geologist at Edinburgh University produced evidence to support the theory that Ithaca is part of the Greek island of Cephalonia and not, as was always believed, the neighbouring island of Ithaki.
Click to learn more...

The theory, put forward by a British group including a classical scholar and a geologist, is that an area called Paliki, linked to Cephalonia by a strip of land, was an island at the time of the Trojan war, believed to have taken place in around 1200BC.

The results of a geological survey, carried out by Professor John Underhill, a geologist at the University of Edinburgh, reveal that the connecting strip of land has no solid limestone bedrock and is instead composed of loose rockfall and landslide material, supporting the idea that it was once a waterway that was filled in as the result of rockfalls triggered by an earthquake.

A second marine survey of the bays at each end, carried out by Prof Underhill in partnership with the Greek Geological Institute, found an offshore marine valley which lines up with where the ancient waterway would have run, while micromarine fossils point to the incident taking place in the last 5,000 years.

The results have been seized upon as clear evidence that supports the theory put forward by Robert Bittlestone, a British businessman, James Diggle, a professor of classics at Cambridge University, and Prof Underhill, in their book, Odysseus Unbound.

Last night, Prof Underhill said: "I have always been the sceptic of the group, and I would have expected the geological studies to have disproved our theory by now, but they have not; they have supported it."

The oral histories of the Iliad, which recounted the Trojan war, and the Odyssey, which chronicled Odysseus's long journey home, have always been treated as works of fiction. However, today academics believe the stories, while embellished with gods, refer to an actual war.

Homer wrote of Odysseus's home: "Ithaca itself lies low, furthest to the sea / Towards dusk: the rest, apart, face dawn and sun."

Over the past 200 years, a number of digs have taken place on the island of Ithaki in search of the city of Ithaca and the palace of Odysseus. Last night, Mr Bittlestone said: "I believe they have been looking in the wrong place and that if our later research concludes that Paliki was once an island, then we now know where to look."

Paul Cartledge, a historian and writer , said: "The evidence is very strong that Palki is Ithaca. I'm delighted that geological methods are being used, but I don't think we should go looking to prove every aspect of Homer as if it was a work of fact."

Bettany Hughes, the historian and TV presenter, who has written a book on Helen of Troy, said: "This is very exciting news."

More links in Explorator this weekend, of course, but folks definitely should check out the article in this month's Geotimes along with its 'web extra' bit ...
Interesting one from Kathimerini:

As children, we were all taught that Odysseus was one of our national heroes, the resourceful traveler who even declined immortality for the sake of his homeland.

We know that Odysseus was the first scrimshanker in mythology, the first to try and get out of military service. He pretended to be crazy, yoked an ox and a horse to his plow and began sowing salt. If Palamedes had not discovered his ruse by putting little Telemachus before the plow, Odysseus would not have gone to the war in Troy.

Those who would use similar methods today would have even more cause to invoke the hero’s example.

It is well known that what happens during wartime happens even more often in times of peace.

The claim by succeeding defense ministers that “all are equal before the law” does not mean that our democracy has more substance than a phantom.

At a hypothetical military court, which will never convene, many thousands of our excellent compatriots who served their country from afar or at some border army headquarters could claim that they they got “lost in translation” and misinterpreted “duty to their country” as “the country’s duty to them.”

As to who these shirkers (and the patriotic officers who helped them) actually are, we will probably never find out, and not only because that would be forbidden by the Personal Data Protection Authority. The most likely outcome is that the declared “catharsis” of the military conscription system will be no better than that the similar “catharsis” of the judiciary and the Church.

Let us sincerely hope that the government’s much-vaunted “zero tolerance” policy will not be limited to a postdated prosecution of Odysseus.
Lots of hype for the upcoming second season of Rome (which begins Sunday) ... here's one from the Weekly Standard:

The second season of HBO's sword-and-sandal series Rome picks up right where the first season left off: drenched in blood, Julius Caesar lays dead on the floor of the Senate. With the death of the tyrant, the Republic teeters on the edge of chaos. Marc Antony and Octavian, the newly adopted heir of Caesar, face off against the patriarchs of the Senate, each vying to rally the mob to their side.

The strength of Rome, however, lays not so much in the power struggles of the wealthy landed class, but in the day to day struggles of soldier Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo. Vorenus mourns for his dead wife, who has taken her life rather than live with the shame she would incur for birthing a child by a man other than her husband. Vorenus and Pullo stumble around the empire like a pair of ancient Forrest Gumps, rubbing elbows with the most famous Romans of their day. Through their eyes we are privy to a totally alien world: Christianity will not be invented for another 60 or so years, but religion rules the day. The pagan masses will do anything to please their Gods and avoid maladies. (When Vorenus is charged by Marc Antony with bringing the various criminal bosses under control he refers to himself as a son of Hades so as to inspire fear in his enemies.)

The first four episodes of the new season also seem to herald an examination of Judaism in the time of Augustus Caesar. Hired
goon, Timon, was the only prominent Jewish character from the first season, and the arrival of his overtly religious brother provokes a crisis of conscience in the murderous henchman.

While Rome tries to stick reasonably close to historical events, facts are sometimes sacrificed for the sake of the narrative. Consider the portrayal of Octavius' mother, Atia: Instead of a remarried, religious woman who doubted that her son should accept Caesar's wealth (Suetonius tells us that Octavian "entered upon his inheritance, despite his mother's doubts and the active opposition of his step-father"), she is portrayed as a power-mad matriarch who will do anything to assure her position in Roman society. But, generally speaking, the characters are true to their historical images and the basic events remain largely intact, if somewhat streamlined. (This streamlining can be bothersome--sometimes months or years can go by without any narrative explanation. In the fourth episode of the season, for example, a new, slightly older actor takes over the role of Octavian without warning.)

MINOR INACCURACIES aside, Rome is a fascinating show. One of the more interesting themes it touches on is the ancient society's social hierarchy. In the first season, while Pompey speaks with Brutus, the younger man goes out of his way to remind the consul that, even though he holds the highest office in the land, he's still no aristocrat. As such, Pompey enjoys the rougher things in life, like gladiatorial combat. This season, when Vorenus is addressing a den of thieves who inhabit Rome's main marketplace, the Avantine, they note that he is a man of great "gravity," and ask for his respect in return. Knowing that doing so would lower him to the level of his enemies, Vorenus offers the criminals cash instead.

It would be nice if Rome's producers would examine pay this theme a bit more attention. Those interested in more about life in an honor-driven society should read J.E. Lendon's Empire of Honour. It makes an excellent reading companion for Rome.

While Rome isn't the best historical drama produced by HBO (that honor goes to the network's now-cancelled western, Deadwood), it is still more interesting than almost anything on network television.

Another good one in the NY Sun ... and Bloomberg ... more in this weekend's Explorator. Meanwhile, I seem to have received an official bit of email hype from the folks that make it:

As one tragic chapter ends, a new, more ruthless one begins. Don’t miss the premiere of Season Two of “ROME” on Sunday, January 14 at 9PM/ET on HBO!

In the wake of Caesar's murder, allegiances are tested, fortunes are gained and lost, and families and political factions find themselves in an elaborate power struggle. From public slander, to adultery, to back stabbing and murder, “ROME” sets the stage for modern politics in an ancient land and chronicles the epic times that saw the fall of a Republic and the creation of an empire.

Caesar’s life ruled the first season but now that Rome is without a leader the mayhem that proceeds is just the beginning of what’s to come for its citizens.

To see the trailer and behind the scenes clips from season two of Rome visit: http://www.hbo.com/rome/?ntrack_para1=insidehbo3_text


Be sure not to miss the drama and turmoil that is bound to occur in the new season of ROME premiering on Sunday, January 14 at 9PM only on HBO!

I'll try to do my as-it-happens/stream-of-consciousness review again, but I don't think it's possible this first week ...
Qui vult caedere canem, facile invenit fustem.

pron = kwee woolt KAI-deh-reh KAH-nem FAH-kih-leh in-WAY-nit FOOS-tehm.

The one who wants to kill a dog easily finds a stick.

Comment: This proverb deftly articulates the difference in what is really going on within us, at times, and how we craft that dynamic to appear to the outside world.

Want to kill a dog? Make it look like the stick fell into your hands and compelled the killing. IN other words, it's never about the stick. It's always about the "wanting" and what, at an even more secret level, moves us to want to kill the dog.

So, for me, this is the hard message: when I am inclined to blame my circumstances on anything outside myself, I am doing that SO THAT I won't see what is really at stake, what is really moving me, what I really feel. It's a very difficult place to be in. It is difficult because what I am inclined to blame outside of me (the stick) is so very convenient and it feels so right to blame the stick. And, it is difficult because I really already know that it's NOT the stick. And, it's difficult because, really, all I have to do is stop and ask the "deep-within" what it is, really, that is disturbing me. ANd, it is difficult, because if I ask my "deep-within" it will speak to me, almost immediately. And finally, it is difficult, because I have to choose to accept the answer that comes.

Why do I really want to kill the dog?

If I don't ask my "deep-within" what the true answer for my wanting to kill the dog is, then I will find the next convenient stick and kill the dog.

The dog will suffer, surely. And so will the person I use as the stick. And finally, I will suffer immensely, because I will remain a prisoner of myself.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Hidden Cities of the Etruscans
A look at the fascinating people who ruled Italy centuries before
the Romans. Explores the contradictions in the character of the
Etruscans, who embraced both art and slavery, technology and

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient City: Found and Lost
Explore the history of one of the most opulent cities of the ancient
world--Zeugma, located in what is now known as Turkey. Built during
the heady days of the Roman Empire, Zeugma thrived for hundreds of
years, then vanished when Rome fell. Its magnificent ruins and
mosaics were recently discovered and unearthed, only to be lost again
when a newly-built hydroelectric dam flooded the entire valley.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| The Lost Atlantis
Did the fabled Atlantis really exist? Plato told of an advanced
civilization full of natural resources, palaces of gold, exotic
animals, and even a form of electricity. But according to legend,
10,000 years ago, Atlantis disappeared into the ocean in a
cataclysmic event of nuclear proportions. Since Plato's time,
explorers have tried to find the lost continent, buried under
thousands of years of time, sand, and water. And there have been
enough alluring clues discovered through the years to keep the search
going. We follow five different expeditions in five separate sections
of the world as they hunt for Atlantis. Deriving clues from Plato's
writings, each group of explorers believes it has been the one to
correctly decipher them. In the process, a bigger mystery arises.
Anthropologists examining ancient unidentified Central American
sculptures believe they offer evidence that will prove there were
survivors of Atlantis.

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

HINT = History International
8.30 p.m. |HINT| What Killed Herod?
One of the most brutal and brilliant leaders of ancient times, the
first century King left a disconcerting legacy. And, he died a
gruesome and mysterious death, with worms crawling from his flesh
before he expired. On the one hand he was famous for impressive
public works and architecture; on the other, for the Biblical
slaughter of the firstborn sons of Israel and extraordinary cruelty
including murdering his own family. Was he mad or sick, suffering
from disease that affected his judgment? Modern science gives us
clues about why he behaved the way he did and archaeology gives us a
lasting picture of his fantastic accomplishments.

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

HINT = History International
Non sentire mala sua non est hominis, et non ferre, non est viri.
(Seneca, De Consolatione ad Polybium 17)

Pron = nohn sehn-TEE-ray MAH-lah SOO-ah nohn ehst HOH-mih-nis, eht nohn FEHR-ray, nohn ehst WEE-ree.

It does not belong to the human being not to feel one's own troubles, and it certainly does not belong to the man not to bear them.

Comment: Karl Jung distinguished qualities that were masculine and feminine. These did not necessarily align with male and female.
There is a process of understanding one's journey known as "The Transpersonal" which sees things related to the body as "feminine" and to the mind as "masculine". Clearly, then, all human beings have a masculine and feminine aspect.

Understood in those terms, Seneca's words make a good deal of sense to
me: It is deeply human for us all to feel our troubles. We all have bodies, capable of feeling. Our bodies are the instruments through which we feel the truth deeply--if we are willing to listen to it.

As for bearing our troubles being "manly", I understand this to be every human being's way of making sense of the troubles we bear. We all have that capacity, if we are willing to see, and say.

In the last few months I serendipitously came across the work of Alice Miller. You can check out her work at http://www.alice-miller.com/index_en.php. For Christmas, I got one of her latest books: The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting. Seneca's words are a good description of what Miller outlines in bold detail:

What the human being endures through the body, and how the body and mind can work together to tell the truth of it. I strongly recommend
her work.

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

ante diem v idus januarias

Agonalia -- one of four dies agonales during which the Rex Sacrorum would sacrifice a ram in the Regia; on this occasion apparently in honour of Janus.

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Felix and companions in Africa

302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Julian and companions at Antioch

c. 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Marciana at Caesarea (Mauretania)
oxymoron @ Merriam-Webster

os @ Wordsmith

extirp @ Worthless Word for the Day

uxorious @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

Mensis December calidior quam umquam
: Nuntii Latini

04.01.2007, klo 17.00

Institutum meteorologicum Finniae aestimavit mediam temperaturam mensis Decembris fuisse in Finnia sex - octo gradibus maiorem quam assolet.

Similem temperaturam tantum bis in millenio evenire. Nisi emissiones, quibus calor caeli augeretur, significanter circumscriptae essent, in fine saeculi calidissimos menses Decembres fore usitatos.

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

"Begin at once to live," Seneca.

What is your first impression of this quote? When I first read it, I thought, "This sounds like another New Age feel good admonition." Then I remembered, Seneca was a Roman dramatist who lived from 3 B.C. to A.D. 65. Actually, I did have to look up his exact dates. This realization brought about an interesting chain of thoughts. If he could live fully, it should be easier for us to do it. Why? Consider these facts.

(1) Seneca lived without plumbing, electricity, air conditioning or refrigeration. Could you do that and live fully each day?

(2) Seneca probably walked everywhere; perhaps he rode a horse, or rode in a carriage. There were no cars, buses, trains or airplanes. He could not travel as far or as fast as we can. Still feel you could live fully?

(3) Seneca lived without mass circulation media, no newspapers as we know them. He had no magazines, probably few books, no television, no telephone, no computers, no faxes and no e-mail. I know many people who long for a simpler world and say they want to go back to "the good old days." However, could you go back as far as Seneca's time?

(4) Seneca had a limited diet, little knowledge of the benefits of various types of exercise. Granted, the rigors of daily life would have presented many opportunities not to be sedentary. Since Seneca lived for 68 years, he enjoyed a very long life for his time. How well do you take advantage of the basically unlimited array of healthy foods and the opportunity to exercise according to science?

(5) Seneca lived in a time of poor hygiene and a primitive medical system compared to what we have available today. If he had what we have available, do you think this would have allowed Seneca to live more fully? Does it allow you to?

(6) Seneca did have some of the same challenges we have today. He had politics to contend with. The Emperor Caligula once suggested that Seneca's health would be better outside of Rome. Seneca took the hint and went into exile until Caligula's death.

(7) Seneca did have a sense of purpose. He wrote plays. Several that are still famous and widely read like Agamemnon and Oedipus.

(8) Seneca was an intellectual who sought to discuss and answer the major questions of life. These questions are still common to all of us. Why are we born? Where do we come from? What happens after death?

Seneca urges us to live fully now. Not tomorrow, but immediately. We can have glimpses of how he did it through his writings and biographies. We also know that he had few of what we consider necessities. Aren't many of them luxuries beyond the imagination of the greatest thinkers who lived 20 centuries ago?

How alive are you right now? How involved in the present are you? How focused are you on your goals? How much responsibility do you take for your current situation? How much do you feel others are responsible for? Think seriously about the difference between life in ancient Rome and your life today? Is there anything that you are thankful for? Are there other parts of your life you should be thankful for?
8.00 p.m. |HINT|The Celts
In the First Millennium BC, the tribes known as the Celts were the
dominant force on the continent of Europe. In fringe regions like
Ireland, the Celtic people continued to flourish long into the
Christian Age. These were warriors with a unique way of life, as this
fascinating episode reveals. Dark religious rituals and a love of
bloody fighting were a vital part of their life, and classical
writers condemned what they saw as a barbarian lifestyle. But we now
know that Celtic culture was rich and sophisticated. Buried Celtic
treasures have revealed their achievement in crafts such as jewelry,
while the great legends of Irish literature confirm that epic
storytelling was also part of the life of this still-mysterious
ancient people.

HINT = History International
Ebrietas mores aufert tibi, res et honores.

pron = eh-BRIH-eh-tahs MOH-rays OW-fehrt TIH-bee rays eht hoh-NOH-rays.

Drunkenness carries away your character, property and reputation.

Comment: This is pretty straightforward, and still very practical.

Alcohol is very powerful.

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

13 A.D. -- consecration of the signum Iustitiae Augustae by the future emperor Tiberius (can someone point me to some information on this (i.e. the signum)?)

ca 175 -- martyrdom of Apollinaris
cognoscible @ Merriam-Webster

diversivolent @ Worthless Word for the Day (great word!)
From YLE:

Saddam suspensus
: Nuntii Latini

04.01.2007, klo 17.01

Saddam Hussein, pristinus dictator Iraquiae, postquam appellatio patronorum eius, ut supplicium differretur, repudiata est, die Sabbati (30.12.) multo mane Bagdati laqueo suspensus est.

In locum supplicii ductus recusavit, quominus cucullum acciperet, quo caput tegeretur, atque brevi oratione dicta Coranum manu tenens vultu tranquillo supplicium subiit.

Corpus Saddami ab Americanis in vicum Awja, in quo ille natus erat, helicoptero portatum et ducibus sunnitis sepeliendum traditum est, ut ante diluculum postridie mortis diei sepeliretur.

Nationes Unitae, Unio Europaea, Russia, Civitas Vaticana atque multi ordines a iuribus humanis supplicium Saddami Hussein vehementer reprobaverunt.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De episcopo Polono, qui munere se abdicavit

There's also Radio Bremen's version of Nuntii Latini, with news from the month of December ...

Here's the most recent Conspectus Rerum Latinus from the EU ...
From, well, USA Today:

As a new Congress gets to work, one venerable tradition seems likely to continue: Mocking politicians goes back a long way, at least as far back as the foundation of democracy in ancient Athens.

A report in the American Journal of Archaeology considers the case of Cleon, an Athenian statesman who is credited with victory over the Spartans in 425 B.C. Cleon earned immortality as a villainous demagogue in the playwright Aristophanes' Knights, which was produced a year after the victory.

A new translation and archaeological discussion from Emory University classicist Mike Lippman and colleagues offers a different view of the play's comic enmity from one offered by historians.

After capturing 120 knightly Spartans, legend has it, Cleon and his generals presented the Spartan shields as war trophies and placed them in the Agora, the center of Athenian government.

In Knights, a villain representing Cleon faces off with a rival for the favor of Demos, a character representing the Athenian people.

Lippman and colleagues investigated a curious series of lines in which the Cleon character brags about the shields he captured. The rival turns this bragging against Cleon by pointing out to Demos that the shields still have their handles, unnecessary for display, and could be used in a coup.

Demos is warned that Cleon's followers will seize "the gates to our daily bread," which historians have taken to mean seizing the granary used to feed Athens.

But there are a few problems with this idea, Lippman suggests, not the least of which was there was no granary. Another is that the display area in the Agora was too small to hold 120 Spartan shields.

Instead, the study suggests that Aristophanes meant Athens' citizens were in financial, rather than physical, danger, and the shields were a plot device inspired by where they were actually displayed in the ancient city.

The researchers point to "24 pairs of very unusual cuttings preserved in three rows" on the face of the Temple of Athena Nike, which overlooked the ramp leading to the gate of the Acropolis. Athena Nike was the goddess of victory and her temple was likely visible to play-goers seeing Aristophanes' work.

Scholars have disagreed over the purpose of the cuttings for more than a century. Lippman argues they held hooks for ceremonial displays. Each cutting is big enough for precisely placed hooks that could have held a Spartan shield with its handle attached, the Lippmann team says. "With a single stroke, the Nike temple bastion was transformed into a gleaming tower of bronze — a spectacular trophy," they write.

If the handles were left on the shields for display rather than functional purposes, the study proposes that Aristophanes was talking about cash (or to Athenians, "obols") when he warned about the theft of bread — chiefly the pension handed out from war coffers atop the Acropolis to old men (such as Demos) who served on juries. "The joke is not that Demos is worried about the seizure of the city," they conclude, "but that he groans over the loss of his three-obol daily jury allowance!"

Well, it was funny to the Greeks. "Cleon's shields were a perfect target for his comic critics, Aristophanes first among them," the study authors conclude.

If you're interested in the AJA article ...


J. Brandeis scripsit:

I'm all for supporting classical scholarship, but I have to draw the line at far-fetched attempts at sensationalism by coming up with startling new twists on 2500-year-old material, achieved by resort to non sequiturs and stretching points beyond reason. In this piece on Cleon, the takeoff point to get Lippman and his colleagues where they want to go is that "the gates to our daily bread" can't mean a granary, as has been assumed, because there was no granary in ancient Athens, and from there they reason that the danger facing Athens in Aristophanes' play was not physical but financial, backing this up with some archaeological evidence that has nothing to do with a work of comic fiction. The trouble with all this is that "the gates to our daily bread" does not have to refer to a granary building but just means "our access to food" in general. It is a shame that interest in the classics has declined to such an extent that those seeking to make a living as educators in the field of classical civilazation have to resort to such acrobatic intellectual contortions in order to attract attention.
Suzan Mazur passed this one along from Joseph B. Stahl (who has authorized the posting):

January 4, 2007. New Orleans. This is a true story. It really happened, today and to me, in fact.

I live in a large building with approximately 230 apartments in it, and it has parking for about 300 cars, on ground level underneath the building. The parking spots are delineated with yellow divider lines. For years, my parking-spot neighbor has periodically parked her SUV---not straight and between the lines of her spot, but---crooked and either on or over the line on my side, posing all kinds of problems for me when trying to get in and out of my spot and to remove grocery bags and other packages from my car.

In response to this I began taping a series of ever more irate notes on her driver window whenever this would happen. For a few weeks after each message she would park straight and between her lines, and I even saw her once and thanked her for this. But invariably she would lapse and I would have to leave her a note of escalated wrath. Finally, about a month ago, her SUV was crooked and well over the line on my side. That did it. The gloves were off. I printed out my most caustic note yet, a tirade of abusive vitriol that I hoped would dissolve her in a bath of sulphuric acid, and I went downstairs to leave it on her SUV, but it was gone, and it hasn't been back since (evidently she has another residence elsewhere and only visits her place in my building off and on, as periods of as long as a week or two go by without my seeing her vehicle).

This time, in order to preclude her getting away again without a reprimand for such a severe infraction of the laws of decency, I left the note in my car with a roll of scotch tape for immediate plastering on her window whenever her next offense should take place---even including a few extra copies of the note in case it might come in handy to spread ill will in supermarket and drugstore parking lots as well. The note, in large boldface block capitals, fully covers a whole letter-size page and couldn't possibly be missed on a driver window by anyone getting into a car.

Here's the note (but keep reading after it):


"HOW LONG . . ."









The pile of unused notes and the scotch tape were still on my back seat when I pulled into the garage of the Magazine Street Whole Foods Market today. There, next to the only available parking space, was a tomato-red BMW convertible parked aslant of the lines with its right rear tire well into the empty space next to it that I was barely able to ease my ('68 Eldorado) behemoth into. Aha(!), what a perfect opportunity to use my note(!), I reflected with delight, and I forthwith plastered it onto the BMW's driver window. I then went inside the store and shopped long enough to have completely forgotten the note by the time I returned to my car. By then the red BMW was gone and I saw that the note I had left on it was now taped onto my driver window. It wasn't until I got up close to it that I saw, handwritten in small cursive script in the space just below the "HOW LONG . . ." line of my note, the following quoted material:

"Do you mean 'Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra.'?"

Ever yours,


P.S. Don't forget, this happened in New Orleans, which I have always insisted is the moron capital of the universe. I mean, this is a perfectly accurate Latin quotation of the opening line of Cicero's speech in the Roman Senate 2,070 years ago denouncing Catiline ("How long, O Catiline, will you abuse our patience?"). Maybe I'm wrong about New Orleans. JBS


Al Schlaf scripsit:

This is always a quote that lends itself to a variety of situations.

This summer, we had the start of a local political scandal involving tow member of the Des Moines city council. I was one of those repeatedly showing up at city council meetings to speak for their removal/resignation from office. In one speech, I used/borrowed that line. I was pleasantly surprised to turn on the evening news to find that sound bite with that quote ("How long, Mr. Vlassis and Mr. Brooks, will you abuse our patience? How long will it take for you to do the honorable thing and resign from this council?") led off the headlines. Further, it also made it to the lead in the morning paper the next day.

Behold the continuing power of the Classics!
10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Lost Worlds: the Pagans


HISTU = History Channel (US)
As the holiday break draws to an all-too-soon close (as always), things seem to be picking up a bit:

We'll start off with N.S. Gill's interesting little feature on Pompey's wives ...

Kristian Minck had an interesting item on wagon types in the Roman Empire ... there was also a very interesting post on the relationship between measurements of wagon tracks on Roman roads and wagon construction ... there was also some comparative material from Iron Age Denmark discussed ...

David Parsons came across a number of items I missed, including Virgil's impending starring role in a musical ... there was also an interesting piece on the GSCE Latin exam (which seems connected to all the recent editorials and the like on matters Latinical (I love making up words) ...

Adrian Murdoch comments on the upcoming new series of Rome ... there's also more on Sedulius (who must certainly be becoming much more widely known after a few weeks' worth of blogattention) ... oh, and happy belated bloggiversary (Hallmark or their online equivalents really need to come up with a card for this sort of thing) ...

Michael Gilleland was collecting references to children looking like their fathers (hmm ... no mention of the Anna Nicole Smith paternity thing?) ... a post arising from an interesting package ... Pitfalls ... a timely quote from Sophocles ...

Saddam's execution got Mary Beard thinking about Cicero's death ...

Irene Hahn had an eclectic selection this week ... on Paul of Tarsus ... Anthony Burgess ... tied together, of course, with the latter's Kingdom of the Wicked ... there was also a bit on Juvenal from Google Books ...

Troels Myrup had an interesting photo of some fakes in a museum ... he also had some news from the Zea Harbour Project ...

Glaukopis visited that Bible exhibit at the Sackler ...

At Classics Reloaded, MJD is looking at the Antigone ...

Nathan Bauman finished off the Odyssey comments with a series of posts on ... 20 ... 21 ... 22 ... 23-24 ... final comments ...

Ed Flinn had his usual assortment of good stuff at Hobbyblog (was that Providentia walking her dog?) ...

New (to me, at least) blogs of note this week: Sacred Antinous ... and of course, we cannot fail to mention Judith Weingarten's Zenobia blog (which was very well-publicized over the course of the week) ... I also became aware of the Romans Go Home blog, which, alas, now appears defunct (?) ...

Elsewhere on the www, Ginny Lindzey has updated the NCLG Website ...

There's also a new issue of Anistoriton up ...

My spiders don't seem to be timely in picking up updates to Fr. Coulter's site and additional stuff from Father Foster, but we can point to an archive of a bunch of Latin Lover files from 2005 ... this google link picks up others (scroll down a bit) ...

I've also decided that the comparing-today-to-ancient-Rome posts are more of a Carnival thing than an everyday thing (I'll admit I'm growing increasingly bored of reading them) and those that caught my jaded eye this week include one by Robert Fisk at ZNet (taking its impetus from classes with Malcolm Willcock) ... R. Bragg sent in this one (thanks!) from Real Clear Politics (which I don't really find clear) ...

Issue 9.37 of our Explorator newsletter has been posted at Yahoo ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings will be similarly posted by the end of the day (and what a busy day lies ahead!) ...

For those of you who were wondering, we return to 'normal' posting tomorrow a.m. (i.e. with This Day in Ancient History, Nuntii Latini, etc.) ...
From Fortean Times 194 (March 2005):

For those who disrelish Classical Corner ("Tedious subject, odious author" - AE Housman on himself), this one's for you...

Several classicists ended up in loony bins, e.g. Rudolf Prinz (1890), Franz Umpfenbach (1885), and Michael Rostovtzeff (1952). Roman schoolboy victims of the flogger Orbilius (poet Horace was one) will have relished his senile dementia (Suetonius, On Grammarians, ch9).

Watery graves claimed top Russian Byzantinists Alexander Kazhdan (Washington DC) and ZV Udal'Cova (Moscow) in the 1990s; there was speculation of foul play apropos the latter. Similar coincidence attended a pair of 19th-century Australian classicists. John Woolley (1864) came job-hunting to England, failed, and returning, drowned in the Bay of Biscay. Going the other way, Henry Rowe (1855) expired of seasickness - on his honeymoon.

A third antipodean, Christopher Brennan, died of drink, having been sacked for adultery with Violet Springer, who fell under a tram just before his dismissal (1932).

Richard Porson's life was also (1808) shortened by the bottle. Two younger brothers died "of a decline" at 22 and 34. A similarly bibulous sister did better - she sensibly married a brewer.

Some fates were poetic. Veteran Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos (1974) was crushed under a wall while excavating - dig that! Kenneth Rose, an expert on Petronius's racy novel Satyricon, choked on his own vomit after a debauch (1967). Hermann Koechly (1876), on his first visit to Greece, had a fatal horse-fall at Marathon. When Michael Marullus (1500) drowned with his steed, a copy of his favourite poet Lucretius was found in his pocket.

Virgil died of sunstroke (19BC). So also Gregor Nitzsch (1861), running home to get a forgotten book, and Karl Ottfried Mueller (1840, excavating at Delphi) - autopsy revealed his brain was "completely soft and decomposed".

Just as Leonard Rossiter and Sid James collapsed on stage, so Albrecht Dieterich (1908) died on the podium, having just announced his intention to biographise classical father-in-law Hermann Usner. At Galway, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1902), expert on Greek fishes and birds, fell off his perch directly after lecturing on Thucydides, whose famous phrases included (Histories, bk3 ch8l para5) "death in all its forms".

Leontius Pilatus (1367) was struck by lightning aboard ship; Petrarch hastened to plunder his luggage for valuable manuscripts.

Reflecting (Books, p701) on King Tut's curse, Fort opined: "It may be that, telepathically, human beings have been induced to commit suicide." Eduard Fraenkel took his own life the day (5 Feb 1970) his wife died. A daughter had already killed herself. Eleven years later, Colin Macleod, his most brilliant pupil (Fraenkel's own estimation) laid his head on the Oxford railway line. Five weeks before, another contemporary, Robert Ogilvie, had shot himself at St Andrews. There was speculation that Linear B decipherer Michael Ventris's mysterious car crash (5 Sept 1956) was not an accident.

Most recently (11 March 2003), South African Bert van Stekelenberg fell overboard four miles from shore returning from an expedition to observe a rare Patagonian penguin. As far as I know, the bird is fine. So, at the time of writing, am I...

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
Another 'flight of fancy' (?) from Armando Ianucci in the Observer/Guardian:

I have for some time now been considering the situation in Iraq and how best to come up with a new course of action that will help bring an end to the deep religious factionalism that divides this deepest religiously factionalised land. After considering various military options, I have decided the only way to bring harmony to the situation is by replacing Islam with the worship of the system of ancient Greek gods.

The worship of the god Zeus and his brother Poseidon, god of the sea, as well as of Zeus's extended family of gods and goddesses, up to and including his daughter Artemis, is the only way we can bring the problems of Iraq to a sensible conclusion. The split between the Sunni and Shia Muslim communities is so deep that worship of the one god is clearly never going to be enough for that most deeply fractured of deeply fractured countries. Accordingly, I am asking Congress to set aside $450bn to build a network of temples and oracles across Iraq.

I am proposing the Kurds in the north worship Aphrodite, goddess of love and desire, who rises from the waves of the sea, enchanting anyone who sees her. The myrtle is her tree and the Kurds will be granted $43bn to develop extra myrtles.

For Bagdhad, I'm placing Poseidon in charge, whose mighty trident can shake the earth. Brother of Zeus is he, whose command of the ocean is unequalled in all the annals of ancient mythology and to whom the populace should pray for a crackdown on suicide bombing in urban areas.

The Shia majority can specifically worship Hera, wife and sister of Zeus, whose sacred animal is the peacock. (I'm proposing 43,000 peacocks be airlifted into the area by US forces), while the Sunnis will have their minority rights protected by being granted direct access both to Apollo and my favourite god, Athena, goddess of agriculture and handicrafts and who invented the bridle, the trumpet, the pot, the flute and the rake.

I know many of you will argue this move ignores various other options such as the strategic military withdrawal recently recommended by the Iraq Study Group's report. I've read that report from cover to cover, again and again, and nowhere does it recommend not imposing a system of ancient Greek gods. I believe we must do everything we can to rebuild Iraq, this most messed-up thing of all things messed-up, and I have come to the conclusion that everything in this case means telling them to worship the family of Zeus. I have thought and thought about this for many weeks now and it's reached the stage where I can think of no other thing to think.

Later this evening, I will answer your questions, but only if they are brought to me courtesy of the winged sandals of Hermes. In the meantime, I'm away to get some sleep.
From the Guardian:

The Rubicon is being approached. The study of classics looks soon to cease in Britain. It is a trend that is more than a generation old, but if it continues, no state school will be teaching Greek within five years and within 10, Latin will have virtually died out. Only a few doughty private schools will continue the tradition, but even their candidates for Latin and Greek GCSEs are falling in numbers.

The question is whether we should care. Unlike the closure of university physics and geography departments that attracts so much criticism or the self-evidently disastrous collapse in the number of schoolchildren studying modern languages, the classics have no obvious contemporary resonance or usage. They are dead languages from a dead culture. Nobody in Britain studies rhetoric any longer as once they did in the Middle Ages. The world moves on and sometimes subjects just disappear for want of viability.

That has not prevented a passionate debate among classicists who naturally want to preserve a subject close to their hearts. Last week, Bob Lister, former director of the Cambridge Schools Classics Project, trailed his forthcoming book, Changing Classics in Schools by insisting that the classics must be more accessible and easier to assimilate. Today's students do not need to master the rigours of Latin grammar.

Yes, they do, counters former Westminster schoolboy, fogey and journalist Harry Mount, author of Amo, Amas, Amat... . He thinks that teachers must hold the line and that the discipline of Latin is the point of learning it. Teachers must get smarter at teaching a tough subject because therein lies not only its value but why students come to love it.

His book engagingly and amusingly spells this out how, even if he ignores some basic issues, such as timetabling and the impact of the national curriculum, that so concern Lister.

But this is a debate that has little appeal for most people today. The reason why classics were so central in British educational life throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th is not because declining verbs represented a powerful means of grooming young minds. It was that the British keenly felt that the Greek and Roman civilisations informed their own.

They could see, in a way that we do not, how the values of Greece and Rome came through the Renaissance and Enlightenment into the experience, culture and aspirations of Victorian Britain. These were not dead words from a dead culture, but the fountainhead of what the British (and the West) should be. They should be studied and venerated as part of our account about ourselves.

It was Julius Caesar, for example, who coined the phrase 'the die is cast' and the brilliant Roman poet Ovid who in one line summed up the practical scepticism with which most of us approach religion: 'It is convenient that there be gods and, as it is convenient, let us believe there are.'

Reading Ovid as I researched this column, I could see why both Chaucer and Shakespeare were such devotees. It is poetry that understands and celebrates the frailty of the human condition with a humanity and insight that is breathtaking - and it is 2,000 years old. Everybody understands that the biology of their parents and grandparents is important in understanding how their own bodies are likely to work. There is no such readiness to want to get to grips with our past when it comes to culture, politics and values.

Yet the establishment of republican Rome in 509BC, its rise to dominate most of Europe, Asia Minor and the near Middle East, its transmutation into an imperial system in 27BC, its collapse in the West in 476AD and in the East, with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, is at the heart of the story of the West. The Chinese rightly boast about the antecedents of their civilisation, going back to 1030BC; part of Mao's political success was his knowledge of China's good and bad emperors, what had worked and had not and his capacity to relate it all to communism. Europeans and Americans have just as much to boast about. The reason they don't is ignorance.

The chief explanation for Rome's phenomenal rise and greatness is that it was a vibrant republican democracy. To stand today in the ruins of Rome's republican forum is an awesome experience; this is where Roman citizens came to hear the speeches of their senators and tribunes pitching for their votes, at a time when the rest of the world's political organisation was based on primitive, authoritarian, divinely ordained monarchs like China's.

There are many explanations for Rome's subsequent decline and fall - overstretch, disease, the embrace of the unmartial values of Christianity, the unstoppable rise of the German tribes in the north and Persia in the east - but essentially I am with Arnold Toynbee. The transmutation of Rome from republic to empire was progressively to undermine the civic dynamism and, within its terms, commitment to liberty, political and social progress that had made Rome great. Republican Rome could trounce Carthage; late imperial Rome had no such energy.

Rome's debates - and earlier debates by the Greeks - about the best form of political organisation, about ethics and morality, about love and human relationships made us what we are. Without republican Rome, there would have been no Magna Carta, no tradition of civil scrutiny of government, no Shakespeare, no Christianity, no liberalism and no republicanism.

China's weakness I argue in my new book (see the extract here) is that it has too fragile traditions on which to build the institutions of accountability and scrutiny necessary for successful capitalism. The West has, for which it has to thank Rome. Until recently, this was understood by our politicians, intellectuals and educators. There will only be a renaissance in Latin and Greek - and in the inspiration with which it is taught - when this is understood again.


See the letters of reaction ...
We haven't heard about this one in a while and I don't think there's anything new in this one from the Times, but just to have it on rc's 'record':

Conservationists are campaigning for the return of a unique Etruscan “golden chariot” which is due to form the centrepiece of a new exhibition this Spring at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The chariot, found in 1902 by a farmer at Monteleone near Spoleto in Umbria, and sold to the Met the next year, dates back to the 6th century BC. It is the star attraction in a collection of antiquities to go on show at the $155 million (£80million) Leon Levy and Shelby White Court at the museum.

Villagers in Monteleone (population 651), say that it was exported illegally. The campaign comes as Italy is stepping up its battle to regain a number of allegedly looted antiquities from institutions including the Met and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The farmer who found the chariot sold it — for two cows, according to some accounts — to dealers who allegedly smuggled it to New York.

Tito Mazzetta, a lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, whose family came from Monteleone and who has taken up the case, said the Metropolitan Museum had so far refused to return the chariot, although it “has not produced any documentation to prove its legal provenance”.

Marion True, a former curator of antiquities at the Getty Museum, is currently on trial in Rome for allegedly acquiring stolen artefacts.

... this one will be interesting to watch, if only because all the events of its finding, sale, and export predate that magic 1939 year when Italy passed legislation about such matters ... noteworthy that the government doesn't seem to be involved in this one.


Kristian Minck posts a nice photo and some links about this particular chariot ...
From the Olive Press:

Cádiz village also plans to build golf course near natural park land

PLANS to build 170 houses and a hotel close to the ruins of a second century Roman settlement have been slammed by environmental groups.

Prado del Rey town hall amended its PGOU urban expansion plan to allow for construction on 58 hectares of land in Los Alcornocales Natural Park in the Cádiz province. Forty four existing illegal homes in the park, mainly built during the 1970s, are also set to be legitimized under the plan.

Although the project has yet to be cleared by the Junta de Andalucía regional government, environmental groups are pressuring officials not to green light the plans, which could see construction work metres from the ruins of the Roman settlement of Iptuci – an important second century fortress.

Juan Clavero of Ecologistas en Accion said: “This project is unsustainable. It is only explained by the construction boom that may have grave consequences on the future of the Sierra de Cadiz mountain range.
Not a Classicist, but I suspect there aren't many rc readers who can't say they don't owe a 'debt' of some sort to Momofuku Ando ... from AP via Yahoo:

Momofuku Ando, the Japanese inventor of instant noodles — a dish that has sustained American college students for decades — died Friday. He was 96.

Nissin Food Products Co., the company Ando founded, said on its Web site he died after suffering a heart attack.

Born in Taiwan, Ando founded his company in 1948 from a humble family operation. Faced with food shortages in post-World War II Japan, Ando thought a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses.

In 1958, his "Chicken Ramen" — the first instant noodle — was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company added other products, such as the "Cup Noodle" in 1971.

"The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum" opened in 1999 in Ikeda City in western Japan commemorating his inventions.

Ando gave a speech at the company's New Year ceremony and enjoyed Chicken Ramen for lunch with Nissin employees on Thursday before falling ill, Japan's largest daily Yomiuri reported.
Here's something I've never seen before ... letters to the editor of the New York Times about a book review in our purview ... in this case, Fagles' translation of the Aeneid:

To the Editor:

Brad Leithauser’s review of Robert Fagles’s new translation of the Aeneid (Dec. 17) flattens out the complexities of Virgil’s epic. Leithauser suggests that the gods control the world of the Aeneid and that “relatively little malice and unreasonableness and rapacity seem innate to our kind.” Yet Virgil has one of his characters in Book 9 question whether his internal lust for war is prompted by the gods or whether people simply deify their own desires. Virgil’s epic is full of these hints that Aeneas’ god-given mission might be prompted by his own deified desires and that the epic gods are an allegorical, literary device. In addition, Leithauser states that “Virgil was wrong” to suggest that Rome’s glory “will never fade,” but it’s Virgil’s characters who suggest this — not Virgil. As Edward Rothstein put it in a recent New York Times column: “The argument has been made that Virgil’s project was actually ironic, anti-Augustan: he showed how civilization itself is drenched in blood, with self-celebratory history being written by the victors.”

Leah Kronenberg

New Brunswick, N.J.

The writer is assistant professor of classics, Rutgers University.

To the Editor:

“Arms and the man I sing.” Oops, or is it “Wars and a man I sing”? Darn, or is it something or other else?

Why should one read Robert Fagles, or any other middleman, instead of actually reading Virgil? Why anything but “Arma virumque cano”?

If one is too lazy to learn Latin, it is surely a waste of time to read Fagles under the illusion that one is reading Virgil. Try Shakespeare instead.

John Winkler

Arlington, Mass.
Seen on Romarch:

Mediterranean Archaeology GIS now on-line (MAGIS 1.0)

The Collaboratory for GIS and Mediterranean Archaeology (CGMA) is pleased to announce the release of its on-line, browser-based GIS inventory of regional archaeological surveys in the greater Mediterranean area. Viewable by spatial (interactive map) search or database query, this resource intends to serve as an essential reference for information about completed and ongoing regional archaeological surveys. Hundreds of surveys have been undertaken since the development of this technique over four decades ago.
However, MAGIS is the first attempt to catalog their metadata, such
as: project name, researchers, methodologies, geographic coordinates, chronological coverage, special studies (e.g., lithics or epigraphy), bibliography, and the environmental characteristics of the study areas. MAGIS will be a valuable tool for archaeologists, ancient historians, anthropologists and sociologists interested in comparing long-term historical trends and research techniques over broad areas of the ancient Mediterranean. It also has ancillary uses as a basic mapping resource for the Mediterranean world; the CGMA team will add further useful layers (e.g., ancient cities, Roman provinces) to the GIS in future releases. Also, many projects provide links to satellite imagery of the survey areas via Flash Earth. The map topography is currently at 1 km. resolution, but in the next release we plan to be able to use 90 m. data.

MAGIS is located here:

It supports these browsers (check the on-line Help file for details):
Internet Explorer 6.0+, Mozilla FireFox 1.5+, Safari 1.3+ Please ensure that pop-up windows are NOT blocked, and that JavaScript is enabled.

MAGIS is a component of the CGMA project (http://cgma.depauw.edu/), a joint teaching and research initiative of DePauw University, Millsaps College, Rhodes College, and the College of Wooster, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and now sponsored by NITLE (http:// www.nitle.org/). The Principal Investigators are:
P. Foss and R. Schindler (DePauw). The Co-PIs are: M. Galaty (Millsaps), K. Morrell (Rhodes), and P. Nick Kardulias (Wooster). Our programmer is M. Beth Wilkerson of the GIS Center at DePauw University.

Most of the metadata for the survey projects has been entered by our undergraduate students. Currently there are 272 entries. We know that there are errors and gaps, in part because we have not been able to access all relevant publications; in part because some information (particularly the bounding coordinates of a survey), are not always specified in a publication; in part because we have not yet investigated all the relevant countries. Some are just our fault. We will work to fix them, and we welcome comments and suggestions.

We have also not included any surveys from the British Isles, because of the sheer volume of material, and because many projects there are listed by the Archaeology Data Service (http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/). We may do so in the future.

We would like to ask the scholars responsible for their survey projects to check and correct (or enter) the information about their project(s). An extensive on-line help file explains how to navigate and use the site, as well as exactly what we mean by our metadata categories (for example, how we characterize various survey methodologies or environmental variables).

A large, detailed and up-to-date database will help all of us involved in Mediterranean survey. How can you help?

(1) Researchers may send in corrections or additions for a project already in the database to: cgma@depauw.edu

(2) Those wishing to enter metadata for a project not yet listed can register to do so through the Data Entry page at: http:// cgma.depauw.edu/MAGIS/DB_Admin/db_submit/register.php
Metadata entered in this way will be stored in a holding database until vetted and released to the online database by CGMA personnel.
This is primarily a way to protect the core database.

(3) Comment on any aspect of the resource that you think could be
improved: cgma @ depauw.edu

• Remember: MAGIS does not include any project _data_; only project _metadata_ (information about a project, its area, its aims, and its studies). It does not constitute 'publication' of a project in any way.

• If you are interested in adaptation or development of the open- source code we have used to build CGMA, please let us know at cgma@depauw.edu.

• This spring, P. Foss of DePauw University will be available to demonstrate the system to colleagues at universities and governmental agencies across Europe. Look for a forthcoming email about scheduling a visit to your institution.

• Finally, CGMA is also open to partnerships with graduate programs and graduate students to facilitate the further development, testing and use of this resource. Please contact us at cgma@depauw.edu if you would like to know more, or if you have comments, questions, or criticisms.

Please spread the word about this new research tool, and thanks for your patience, as our servers and programming experience their first large-scale test of operability.

Thank you.

Pedar Foss and Rebecca Schindler

[interesting synchronicity on this one as I am about to depart to pay respects to our school's priest, who passed away a couple of days ago]

Est quaedam flere voluptas.
(Ovid, Tristia 4.3.37)

pron = ehst KWAI-dahm FLAY-reh woh-LOOP-tahs

There is a certain pleasure in weeping.

Comment: Ovid wrote this in exile. We don't know, finally, for sure why Augustus sent him away from his beloved Rome to die in a foreign land, but it is likely that he wrote something that reflected on Augustus and his family and his "plan" for Rome that didn't sit well with the first Emperor of Rome.

What we know of Ovid suggests that he was a man of "the city" and he was forced to spend the rest of his life banished from the city of Rome. While in exile, he wrote the Tristia (Sad Things) from which this quotation comes.

No one in his/her right mind takes pleasure in sad things. And yet, there is a certain physical and emotional release in being able to weep, to let go of the pent up emotional energy that we all bear from difficulties, of one kind or another, in our lives. That release certainly could be called "pleasure". Relief is relief, regardless of what we call it.

In some arenas of mind-body work, it has been suggested that sinus infections, frequent colds, allergies that focus on the eyes, nose, ears, and throat, may be related to a life long suppression of grief--the tears not cried, expressing themselves as "a cold" or "a sinus infection".

It might do us an occasional good to ask ourselves, our bodies, what grief has gone unexpressed--what weeping needs to be done in us. And allow it.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Finally had a chance to track down this one from the Times (which was mentioned on the Classics list by MFD):

Detectives have asked the Vatican to help to decipher cryptic biblical messages published by the new Mafia Godfather in Latin.

Matteo Messina Denaro, a ruthless killer noted for his designer clothes and playboy lifestyle, is widely regarded as the new boss of Cosa Nostra after the arrest last April of Bernardo Provenzano, 73, who had been on the run for more than 40 years.

Messina Denaro, who has also been on the run for half of his life, represents the “new generation” of computer-literate Mafia bosses, running organised crime as an efficient multinational operation.

He was better known for his love of PlayStations, Porsches and glamorous women than his learning. But each year Messina Denaro places in a local newspaper a memorial notice to his father, Francesco, who died in 1998. Police noted that this time it takes the form of an amended Latin passage from the Old Testament.

The first part is a familar passage, very loosely based on Chapter III of Ecclesiastes. Investigators reading Il Giornale di Sicilia spotted that the second part, after the word “sed” (but), is not in the Old Testament at all. It means: “Only he who wants to will fly, and your flight has forever been sublime.”

Antonio Ingroia, the anti- Mafia prosecutor in Trapani, said that it was not known where Messina Denaro had learnt Latin, or why he used it to convey a message. “It might seem far fetched that a ruthless murderer should be apparently well versed in sacred texts,” he said. “But anyone who thinks today’s mafiosi are illiterate shepherds who sit in their huts making ricotta cheese is profoundly mistaken.”

Mafia bosses, many of whom profess to be good Catholics, have often used the Bible to construct coded notes, known as pizzini, that are used to communicate with underlings.

Police are re-examining Messina Denaro’s previous memorial notices for hidden clues. Denaro is wanted for at least 50 murders, the first of which was committed when he was 18. He was given a life sentence in absentia in 2002 for his role in the murders in Sicily in 1992 of the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

In memorium

“Spatium est ad nascendum et spatium est ad morendum

based on III Ecclesiastes 1-2

. . . sed solum volat qui voluit et perpetuo sublimes tuus volatus fuit”

Messina Denaro’s message

“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die

. . . but only he who wants to will fly, and your flight has forever been sublime”
Denise Noe ponders the question in Men's News:

Author’s note: A sketch leading to this essay was published in Exquisite Corpse and that sketch appears elsewhere on my blog.

The ancient Greek myth of Narcissus — he who fell in love with his own reflection in a river and pined to death from unrequited love — has, of course, come down to us as a parable about vanity. His name is synonymous with conceit. However, I believe that there are other, equally plausible, modern interpretations of the meaning of Narcissus.

In the version of this tale described by Pausanias, Narcissus fell in love with an image HE DID NOT KNOW WAS HIMSELF. Believing he saw a “beautiful waterspirit,” he was disappointed because the loved one fled when he tried to kiss it/him. Thus, in this version of the myth, it was not love of self but a delusion of otherness that caused Narcissus to pine to death from what he imagined was unrequited love. Pausanias comments incredulously that, “it is utter stupidity to imagine that a man old enough to fall in love was incapable of distinguishing a man from a man’s reflection.”

Perhaps not. The failure to recognize oneself, or parts of oneself, is a symptom of several illnesses. In dissociative identity disorder — formerly known as multiple personality disorder — it is the defining symptom. This very rare mental illness is, of course, easily sensationalized and readily lends itself to drama. Most of the public is familiar with it through the Joan Woodward movie The Three Faces of Eve and the best-selling book and equally famous made-for-TV film starring Sally Field, Sybil.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Fourth Edition Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, “the essential feature of Dissociative Identity Disorder is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that recurrently take control of behavior.” The sufferer’s conviction that her/his own personality states belong to another is strikingly akin to Narcissus’s belief that his reflection is another person.

Narcissus’s delusion of “otherness” may also be also analogous to physical illnesses of the autoimmune system in which the “biochemical substances in your blood that normally protect you from infection, attack a part of your body” because it “believes” those parts to be foreign. The fatal heartbreak which killed Narcissus could be seen as his soul’s “attack” upon a self which could not recognize itself.

The crisis of the Narcissus story as depicted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, is diametrically opposed to that in the legend known to Pausanias. In Ovid’s masterpiece, Tiresias prophesies that, “if he but fail to recognize himself, a long life he may have.”

Even here, however, Narcissus fits the diagnosis of narcissist quite imperfectly. The diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include a tendency to “exaggerate achievements and talents” and to “require excessive admiration,” as well as being “envious of others.” Ovid’s Narcissus does not exaggerate his own beauty but knows correctly that he is beautiful. Far from “requiring excessive admiration,” he is annoyed by the admiration he gets. Knowing himself so loved and admired, he is hardly “envious of others.”

Narcissus does meet one of the diagnostic criterion for narcissism. He certainly “lacks empathy for others,” as shown by his cold rejection of Echo. She “strives to wind her arms around his neck. He flies from her and as he leaves her says “Take off your hands! you shall not fold your arms around me. Better death than such a one should ever caress me!” Similarly cruel rebuffs of other suitors of both sexes lead Nemesis to put the curse on him which causes him to fall in love with his own reflection.

At his moment of epiphany, Ovid’s Narcissus recognizes himself, telling himself that, “this that holds your eyes is nothing save the image of yourself reflected back to you.” This knowledge plunges him deep into despair for Narcissus cannot be content with admiring himself, hugging and touching his own body, and masturbating while viewing his own loveliness. He wants that special sense of intimacy that comes from loving and being loved by another.

Pausinias knew the tragedy of Narcissus as stemming from a crazy kind of ignorance; Ovid described it as the fruit of sad self-knowledge. However, neither depicted with exactitude what we now call a “narcissist.”
Brief item from Dutch News (hat tip to Adrian Murdoch):

Remains of the limes or road, which marked the border between the Roman empire and Lower Germany in the 1st century AD, have been found by builders expanding the railway near Houten. The road connected the Roman forts of Fectio (Vechten) and Traiectum (Utrecht). Work on the railway has been stopped while excavations are carried out.


Better coverage now pouring in from various people (all variations on an AP story) ... here's the version from Physorg:

Archaeologists in the Netherlands have uncovered what they believe is part of the military road Roman soldiers patrolled nearly 2,000 years ago while guarding against hostile Germanic tribes at the Roman Empire's northern boundary.

Known in Latin as the "limes," the road was in use from roughly A.D. 50 to A.D. 350, before it fell into disrepair and eventually disappeared underground, said archaeologist Wilfried Hessing, who is leading the excavations in Houten, about 30 miles southeast of Amsterdam.

The stretch of road discovered in Houten is believed to have connected two forts - Traiectum, which gives its name to the modern city of Utrecht, and Fectio, modern Vechten. Wooden poles were discovered at the site that were used to protect the roadsides from erosion, and experts hoped to use tree-ring counting techniques to determine the exact date they were cut, Hessing said.

"It was used for trade, but it was first and foremost part of a military strategy to guard the border," he said. With a road "you can respond more quickly, so you need fewer troops, just like today."

The road was discovered by the Dutch train company Prorail during preparations to add extra rail lines in the area. Hessing and Prorail will complete excavations of a short stretch in the coming weeks, then carry out exploratory digs to determine the road's route farther to the east, the city of Houton said in a statement.

"It's in very good condition," said city spokeswoman Marloes van Kessel.

Excavations of other parts of the limes are also being conducted in other European countries, and the United Nations is considering declaring it a world heritage site.

Hessing said the road was built of a sloping mound of sand and clay, interspersed with layers of gravel and smashed seashells, which would have stood about a yard above nearby fields. The top layer of hard-packed gravel is unusually well-preserved at the site.

Pottery shards were used as filler material and will help experts in dating the road, Hessing said. The road was also flanked by drainage channels, and the wooden poles were used to shore up the foundation.

Hessing said examinations of a cross-section of the road indicated it had been repaired several times. "It will be interesting to see if we can tell whether those repairs correspond with known military campaigns or were just part of standard maintenance," he said.
Explorator reader DJ Critchley sent this one in (thanks!) ... a letter by one Peter Lloyd to the editor of the Times:

Sir, Translation between Latin or Greek and English provides strenuous exercise for the mind, as PE does for the body. It vigorously exercises both short and long-term memory, analytical skills, problem-solving, synthesis, creativity and mental discipline. English speakers gain, as a bonus, a useful insight into the vocabulary, structure and use of their mother tongue. Latin is an excellent work-out for all minds, while the more demanding alphabet, complex grammar and syntax of Greek provide a mental triathlon for training naturally academic students.

Educationists have known this for over a thousand years, but only recently has the physical reason been revealed by neurological research. The neuron networks in the relevant parts of a developing brain grow more complex when strong demands are made on them and the adolescent brain has been shown to be still developing between 14 and 18 years old. The proposal to dumb down the language content in favour of cultural studies is, therefore, clearly counter-productive.

Grammar schools in England and their equivalents throughout continental Europe have always taught Classics and have produced thousands of talented scientists, engineers and industrial managers, many of whom have led the world in their various disciplines. It is no coincidence that the withdrawal of Classics from the curriculum has been accompanied by a drop in general educational standards and a shortage of suitable university candidates for the “hard” sciences, such as physics, chemistry and engineering. We cannot afford this wastage of our best young minds.
From the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

Carlo Cirilli didn't think his request stood a chance.

After all, the Latin and Italian teacher had just written to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, asking if the court's newest member could pay a visit to his Latin language club at Columbia Middle School in Berkeley Heights.

Alito did grow up in New Jersey -- Hamilton -- and has an affinity for the ancients -- he took Latin at Steinert High School -- but it was still a long shot.

In mid-October, one month after mailing the letter, a decision was handed down: Alito had accepted the invitation with a signed note.

"What are the chances?" Cirilli said. "Faith and the hope that the dream came true."

Yesterday, Alito stood at a microphone in Columbia's gymnasium, in front of more than 600 students, teachers and parents. He accepted the school's award for extraordinary achievement, named in his honor, then urged students to consider Latin.

Far from a dead language, Latin is a language that lawyers can utilize. They would be lost, he said with a smile, if banned from uttering Latin phrases like "ex parte" and "pro se." Latin helps students with their writing skills and even "the dreaded SAT," he said.

Alito, 56, described his own boyhood ambitions, which mirrored those of his friends. He told the mostly preteen crowd that he wanted to become a baseball player but fell short after discovering he couldn't hit a curveball. Then he aimed to become an Olympic runner, but just didn't have the speed.

It was only until later in life that Alito considered serving in government, becoming a judge and reaching the Supreme Court.

"When I was in college, as a joke, in my college yearbook I wrote that I dreamed of one day warming a seat on the court," he said. "I never thought that would actually happen. It's an incredible irony, I think, that that dream did come true for me."

Goals may change, he told students, but, "I certainly encourage you to have high ambitions, to have dreams, and to work to make those dreams come true."

Alito had met earlier with the Latin club's 50 members, telling the group he still remembers his high school Latin teacher, who was something of a character. She believed the Romans invented the airplane 2,000 years ago, he said, though those plans were somehow lost. The justice, clad in gray suit and red and blue tie, got a chuckle from students.

As he spoke, Alito's wife, Martha-Ann, and mother, Rose, a former school teacher, looked on. So did Cirilli, who was beaming.

This is the first year Columbia Middle School has offered Latin to its students and Cirilli wanted to bring someone in to "give students an inspiration point, someone they can connect with."

The justice's words did just that for 13-year-old Katherine Ganger, who is the Latin club's secretary. "This was really big. What he said will help us in the future," she said confidently.

A short time after the justice had left, Cirilli still couldn't believe what had happened. Proudly displaying the letter Alito had sent him -- on U.S. Supreme Court stationery -- Cirilli shook his head in disbelief.

"No way he was coming. Come on, please. It was just a dream," he said, adding quickly, "the dream did come true."
Just poking around I came across the Lone Star Times, which has an interesting post beginning thusly:

No, this isn’t the beginning of a bad joke…

During this morning’s radio appearance of Rep. John Culberson with Edd, Pat and Sean, Culberson mentioned a coin he gives fellow members of Congress. It is a Roman Emperor Valens coin.

... the rest
Cattus amat piscem sed non vult tangere flumen.

pron = KAHT-toos AH-maht PIS-kehm sehd nohn woolt TAHN-geh-reh FLOO-mehn.

The cat loves fish but does not want to touch the river.

Comment: Isn't this the crux of the matter on so many levels (I think it is for me)? It's not, really, that the cat "loves" the fish. The cat loves the taste of fish. The cat does NOT love fishing. Or cooking.

I want the product. Am I willing or able to produce? I want the outcome. Can I endure the process? I want to be in a certain place.
Am I willing and able to make the journey?

You cannot have the one without the other. So, what does a satisfied cat look like? Wet paws, full tummy, and a smile on his face.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Nothing in my mailbox this a.m. other than an abbreviated version of that LA Times thing about the Getty Aphrodite from the Guardian (there's an awkward sentence). If you're bored, you can page through the program of the APA meeting, which gets under way today, of course ... we'll keep our eye open for some press coverage, but suspect that will come from the AIA side rather than the APA side (I'm really curious about the Poster Session). I wonder if there's any noses-out-of-jointing going on by the Mediterraneanocentric nature of the AIA meeting this year ...
please ignore
Nec mortem effugere quisquam nec amorem potest.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 433)

pron = neck MOHR-tehm ef-FOO-geh-reh KWIS-kwahm neck ah-MOH-rem POH-test.

No one is able to escape either death or love.

Comment: If you have lived more than a few years, you know for truth that no one is able to escape death--in our relationships and ultimately, in our own journey. And either joyfully or painfully, or more commonly I suspect, in some combination of the two you have discovered that there is no escaping love. In the name of love we can experience devastating torture and transforming transcendence. Most of us do not escape without some roller-coaster ride including both extremes.

And sometimes, some individuals find that in the same unspeakable moment, they cannot escape death and love simultaneously. Just moments before considering this proverb and what I would write, a friend emailed me that friends of hers had just been in a car accident, and one of their children was killed.

I've walked to death's door with two different families as their children died. It was many years ago, now, but those experiences changed my life forever. They made my life much, much more tender.
They made my vision broader, and my experience of mystery deeper. I presided over the funerals of these two children at a time when I had a child the same age. I did not need to imagine the pain. I did not need to imagine the love. And I only had to imagine for a moment the excruciating pain of the two combined--death and love at the door together.

Those events strike us hard and blindingly, but I would suggest to us all that today, right now, there are those in our lives whom we can touch, listen to, support, and respect. They are our beloveds. Some of them have caused us pain. Some of them have brought us joy. And in this moment, we need only be grateful that we have had the wordless experience of their love--and humble enough to know that death will come soon enough.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Lots of versions of this one filling my mailbox .... might be peripheral to our interests, but we're still in holiday mode for the next few days, so ... from the Houston Chronicle:

Researchers say their discovery of a 2,000-year-old toilet at one of the world's most important archaeological sites sheds new light on whether the ancient Essene community was home to the authors of many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In a new study, three researchers say they have discovered the outdoor latrine used by the ancient residents of Qumran, on the barren banks of the Dead Sea. They say the find proves the people living here two millennia ago were Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect that left Jerusalem to seek proximity to God in the desert.

Qumran and its environs have already yielded many treasures: the remains of a settlement with an aqueduct and ritual baths, ancient sandals and pottery, and the Dead Sea Scrolls _ perhaps the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century.

The scrolls, which include fragments of the books of the Old Testament and treatises on communal living and apocalyptic war, have shed important light on Judaism and the origins of Christianity.

Thanks to an Israeli anthropologist, an American textual scholar and a French paleo-parasitologist, researchers can now add another find: human excrement.

The discovery is more significant than it may seem. The nature of the settlement at Qumran is the subject of a lively academic debate.

The traditional view, supported by a majority of scholars since the site was first excavated in the 1950s, is that the settlement was inhabited by Essene monks who observed strict rules of ritual purity and celibacy and who wrote many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The second school says the people living at Qumran were farmers, potters or soldiers, and had nothing to do with the Essenes. The scrolls, according to this view, were written in Jerusalem and stashed in caves at Qumran by Jewish refugees fleeing the Roman conquest of the city in the first century.

The researchers behind the latrine finding, which is being published in the scholarly journal "Revue de Qumran," say it supports the traditional view linking the residents of Qumran with the Essenes.

A description of Essene practice by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius in the first century notes that Essene rules required them to distance themselves from inhabited areas to defecate and "dig a trench a foot deep" which was to then be covered with soil.

Joe Zias, a Jerusalem-based anthropologist, and James Tabor, a Dead Sea Scrolls expert from the University of North Carolina, decided to look for the Qumran latrine. If it was far from the settlement ruins and if the excrement was buried, it would offer evidence the people living at the site were Essenes.

Zias and Tabor identified an area behind a rock outcropping, took soil samples and sent them to Stephanie Harter-Lailheugue, a French scientist specializing in ancient parasites. The samples tested positive for pinworms and two other intestinal parasites found only in human feces. Samples from locations nearer the settlement tested negative.

The excrement traces were found underground _ meaning the feces had been buried, as required by Essene law _ a nine-minute walk uphill from the settlement.

"A lot of people were concerned with what went into the body, but the Essenes were perhaps the only group in antiquity concerned with what came out," Zias said. "No one else would have gone to the trouble of walking this far."

Still, there is no way to date the fecal parasites, which could have been left by Bedouin who are known to have inhabited the area. To counter this, the paper quotes a Bedouin scholar as saying the nomadic tribespeople do not bury their feces.

Another problem is that archaeologists have already identified a toilet at Qumran _ inside the settlement. But Zias believes it was for emergencies: In some cases, divine commandments notwithstanding, nine minutes outside the camp was too far to go.

Norman Golb, a history professor at the University of Chicago and a critic of the link between Qumran and the Essenes, called the new paper "an outrageous claim."

"There's no plausible connection between what they found and the conclusion that the Essenes lived at Qumran," Golb said. "Anyone living at the site would have done the same."

Golb maintains that Qumran's residents had nothing to do with the Essenes or the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those who claim a connection do so because "they're committed in their writings to it," Golb said.

Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Stephen Pfann, of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said questions about the parasites' age have to be cleared up, but the find is potentially significant.

Qumran, he says, could have been inhabited at different times by different groups: first by Jews of the Hasmonean dynasty in the second century, then by a monastic group of Essenes who left after an earthquake and were replaced by a lay group of Essene date farmers, then again by Essene ascetics, before being finally taken over by Jewish rebels fighting the Roman legions and abandoned when Judea fell.

"Qumran isn't one thing, it's many things," Pfann said. "This makes it more exciting, but also more complicated to understand."
The incipit of a very lengthy piece in the LA Times:

Liberated from its shipping crates, the ancient statue drew a crowd of employees when it arrived in December 1987 at the J. Paul Getty Museum's antiquities conservation lab.

The 7 1/2 -foot figure had a placid marble face and delicately carved limestone gown. It was thought to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Some who came to see it believed that the sculpture would become the greatest piece in the museum's antiquities collection.

One man, however, saw trouble.

Luis Monreal, director of the Getty Conservation Institute, saw signs that the object had been looted. There was dirt in the folds of the gown, and the torso had what appeared to be new fractures, suggesting that the statue had been recently unearthed and broken apart for easy smuggling.

"Any museum professional looking at an archeological piece in those conditions had to suspect it came from an illicit origin," Monreal recalled in a recent interview.

He said he warned the museum's director not to buy the statue and asked him to test the pollen in the dirt, which might indicate where the work had been found. The test was never done.

Today, the 2,400-year-old Aphrodite, the best-known work in the Getty's antiquities collection, is at the center of a showdown with Italy over looted ancient artworks.

Since buying it in 1988 for a Getty ancient-art record of $18 million, the museum has defended the statue's legality, relying on the dealer's assertion that it came from a Swiss collector. That collector has said it had been in his family since 1939, the year it became unlawful to excavate and export antiquities from Italy without government permission.

To claim the object, Italian officials would have to establish that the statue had been found in their country and removed sometime after 1939, something the Getty says the officials have never convincingly done.

A Times investigation has found new information that undermines the statue's official history, bolsters claims that it was illicitly excavated in Sicily and shows that the museum bought the Aphrodite despite repeated warnings that it had been looted.

Members of the Swiss collector's family recently told The Times that they had never seen or heard of the Aphrodite before its purchase by the Getty attracted widespread publicity.

Two Italians have said they saw parts of the Aphrodite in Sicily in the late 1970s, decades after it became illegal in Italy to remove antiquities without government permission.

Their accounts also suggest that the goddess now on view at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades could be a recent composite — a possibility the museum's own experts wrestled with soon after the statue arrived.

Today, the Getty has conceded doubts about the statue's origins. The Aphrodite, which once promised to set the Getty's collection apart, has become an icon of the museum's troubled past.

The goddess surfaces

Marion True, the Getty's antiquities curator at the time, says she first saw the Aphrodite in an art dealer's London warehouse in 1986.

The goddess was a rare example of a relatively intact cult statue, a larger-than-life representation of a deity that once stood in a Greek sanctuary.

The statue combined a marble head, arm and foot with a limestone body. Such "acroliths" have been found in the ruins of Greek colonies in Sicily, the southern Italian mainland and occasionally North Africa, where marble was scarce. True later wrote that the artwork was one of the few surviving monumental sculptures from the 5th century BC — the pinnacle of Greek culture.

"The proposed statue of Aphrodite would not only become the single greatest piece of ancient art in our collection; it would be the greatest piece of classical sculpture in this country and any country outside of Greece and Great Britain," True wrote in her report to the board.

The statue had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, at an opportune moment.

True had just taken over the antiquities department, with a mandate to build the museum's collection by buying the best on the market. When she saw the statue in the London warehouse of Robin Symes, then considered the world's leading antiquities dealer, she had little doubt it was authentic and had been created on the southern Italian mainland or in Sicily.

As for whether the statue had been legally excavated and exported, True and other Getty officials relied on the word of Symes. The dealer said he had good legal title and had purchased it from the collection of an unnamed "supermarket magnate" in Switzerland.

During negotiations over the statue, True received an anonymous note warning her not to buy it because it had been illegally removed from Italy, possibly Sicily, according to the testimony of Swiss dealer Freida Tchakos Nussberger in an unrelated looting case.

Nussberger said she learned of the warning from Symes and his partner, who were her friends. True's attorney said in a statement to The Times that the curator never got such a note.

True asked several outside experts to issue opinions on the statue's significance and authenticity.

One of them, Nikolas Yalouris, former director general of the Greek Archeological Service, said in an interview that he and a colleague who examined the sculpture "had the impression it had been quite recently found."

True assured the Greek experts that the statue was "quite legal," Yalouris said.

She also showed photos to American archeologist Iris Love, who has dug at prominent sites around the Mediterranean.

"I said, 'Do not touch this!' This was really dangerous," Love recalled recently. "I said, 'I beg you, don't buy it. You will only have troubles and problems.' "

True's attorney said neither Yalouris nor his colleague "expressed any concern." The attorney also disputed Love's account, saying the archeologist never warned True against acquiring the Aphrodite.

... the rest (worth checking out as well if you want to see what passes for a 'receipt' in this case)
Monsters and Critics pointed me (indirectly) to this item in the Independent from a week ago:

For film students with a passion for archaic languages awaiting the release of Mel Gibson's bloodcurdling Mayan adventure Apocalypto next week, 2007 could prove to be something of a vintage year.

Following in the footsteps of the controversial star comes another movie tough guy with the desire to be treated as a serious artist.

Vin Diesel is hoping to replicate the success of Gibson's Aramaic-language film The Passion of the Christ and to a lesser extent the Yucatec Maya-scripted Apocalypto by starting production of his own adaptation of the life of Hannibal Barca in the original Punic.

The Hollywood rumour mill has been abuzz with talk of the forthcoming historical epic for months. But many have dismissed as little more than a bad joke suggestions of Diesel recreating the life of the man considered by many to be the greatest military strategist of all time.

However, the shaven-headed star with the gym-buffed physique insists that he is deadly serious. Having recruited the same academic who translated Passion for Gibson, he spent much of this year scouting Spain for suitable locations. Diesel has said that he will direct and star in Hannibal the Conqueror, which is expected to go on general release in 2008.

Industry jokes are already flying that Diesel, who got his big break courtesy of Stephen Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan, has learned to ride an elephant in imitation of the third-century general, who led an invasion force of pachyderms across the Alps. Although nearly all his 37 war elephants died on the journey from Carthage, Hannibal occupied large parts of what is now Italy for nearly a decade.

"It's been a passion project," said Diesel. "If you do something like that, you want to go all the way. Usually, you want to go all the way when the subject matter or topic speaks to you so much that you have these scenes playing out in your head all the time. That's usually a pretty good indication that you need to find a way to make it."

While Diesel may be best known for his role in questionable action movies such as Pitch Black and The Fast and the Furious, he has been building a reputation as a more serious artist since starring in Sidney Lumet's Find Me Guilty this year.

Diesel's fans point out that he started as a stage actor, self-financing his early film work and securing warm reviews at Cannes and the Sundance film festival.

Hannibal has long captured film-makers' imaginations. The Italians twice sought to remake the legend of their old foe. In 1937 Mussolini commissioned Carmine Gallone to make Scipione l'Africano. Although Il Duce intended it to be an exercise in propaganda, it was hailed by some critics as an artistic masterpiece.

An ancient tongue

* Punic is a late form of spoken Phoenician, once commonplace in southern Europe, north Africa and the Middle East.

* A Semitic language closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic, it remained in everyday use in Carthage - close to latter-day Tunis - into the time of St Augustine of Hippo.

* Pockets survived the Arab conquest of North Africa and it continued to be spoken in the city of Sirt in Libya long after its written use lapsed.

* Punic is said still to influence the language used by the Tuareg of the Sahara.
From an OpEd piece in the Times :

In Actis Diurnis hodie nuntiamus, O Quirites, scholas Britannicas nostras, praecipue in Mediis Terris Occidentalibus Brummi et Urbis Luporum, linguam Latinam docere velle, sed magistros eius studii deesse. (We report that schools in Birmingham and Wolverhampton want to teach Latin, but cannot find teachers.) O Tempora, O Mores! (good grief!) Quod di omen avertant! (Heaven forbid!). Nam Internexus www magister et facundissimus et novissimus praestat. (Yet, the Internet has emerged as the latest and most persuasive tutor, which can teach thousands for every single pupil flogged into Latin by Orbilius.) Cursus Cantabriensis Latinus viget. (The Cambridge Latin Course is brilliant.) Id quod est praestantissimum maximeque optabile omnibus sanis et bonis et beatis in Mediis Terris Occidentalibus, cum dignitate otium et lingua Latina. (The best treasure for all upstanding citizens of the West Midlands is respect and a knowledge of Latin literature).

We also report today a further reason for studying Latin. A Mafia gangster is leaving coded messages in Latin. Latin as the secret language for crazed lovers of The Da Vinci Code?

The elitist reason for studying the Classics, as preached by a Dean of Christ Church, namely: “It not only elevates above the vulgar herd, but leads not infrequently to positions of considerable emolument”, is dead. But Latin is still a bedrock of English and the inspiration of a surprise Christmas bestseller, Amo, Amas, Amat. More than 70 per cent of our words are derived from Latin. It opens the window into the secret garden of Milton and Shakespeare and Virgil and Horace. Et prodesse volunt et delectare magistri. (Brummi teachers would offer delight and advantage.)
From the Guardian:

Like many treasures from antiquity, they were chance finds, but a fabulous hoard of more than 50,000 pieces unearthed during excavations in Athens has also provided a window on to the ancient civilisation of Greece. The treasure trove, discovered during excavations to build the New Acropolis Museum in the capital, includes relics ranging from a near perfectly preserved marble bust of Aristotle to cooking utensils, children's games and figurines of little known deities.

"Thanks to the New Acropolis Museum we were able to conduct the biggest ever dig within the walls of Athens' ancient city," archaeologist, Stamatia Eleftheratou, said. "The excavation yielded artefacts that told us a lot about people's habits, the way they worshipped and their day to day lives."

Some of the treasures, such as an ornate statuette of the eastern deity Zeus Heliopolites, are unique - providing evidence of a cult of a god hitherto unknown - and extraordinarily well preserved.

The £94m three-storey museum, designed by the Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi to house the 5th century BC Parthenon marbles, is by far the most significant edifice erected so close to the Acropolis. The decision to build on a site so archaeologically rich was roundly criticised, but the excavations have brought to light a densely built area of ancient Athens inhabited from the golden age of the 5th century BC to the mid-Byzantine period in the 12th century AD.

Archaeologists claim the discovered ruins - the remains of villas, workshops, bathhouses, courtyards, cisterns and sewerage networks - say more about the historic evolution of the birthplace of democracy than any other find to date.

"We learned that through all these periods the inhabitants of this historic area were rich people with the economic means to lead comfortable lives," Ms Eleftheratou added.

Some of the finds, such as a Roman copy of an original 4th century BC bust of Aristotle - found amid the debris of an archaeological trench near the museum's entrance - were announced only recently. With its aquiline nose, protruding forehead, floppy hair and minute eyes and mouth, the bust is regarded as one of the best likenesses of the Greek philosopher.

"From written descriptions we know that Aristotle was famous for his hooked nose and short hair and beard," said Alkestis Choremi, the former director of Athens' prehistoric and classical antiquities department. "This comes closer to resembling him than anything ever discovered here. It offers a rare depiction of how he looked."
My internet connection is up and down like the Assyrian Empire this a.m. ... hopefully this one will get through. From the City Paper:

Nashville’s Parthenon will soon have closer relations with its much older Greek sibling, if city officials have their way.

With the upcoming completion of a new Acropolis Museum in Athens, officials at both Parthenons are in talks to create linked exhibits, cultural performances and Webcams and blogs linking the two facilities. Some of these developments could be seen as soon as within the next year.

Nashville’s Parthenon is the world’s only full-scale replica of the ancient structure in Athens.

Those connected with the project describe it as a “win” for both Nashville and Athens. The internationalization of the Parthenon with ancient exhibits from the Acropolis could take Centennial Park to a new level of visibility. And visitors to Athens stand to benefit from seeing a replica of the Parthenon, complete with a statue of Athena, just as it looked when the original structure was built for worship.

“Every time you talk to a competitor – and every city is a competitor – it has to make sense,” said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We can both reach new and different audiences with our message [with a partnership].”

Susan Jones, chair of the Metro Park Board, said there is an opportunity to have a “real connection from Nashville to Athens.”

“Athens is considered the birthplace of European civilization,” Jones said. “You really can’t estimate the cultural and tourism impact of that kind of relationship.”

Talks between the two Parthenons were formalized in December, when a delegation of Nashvillians including Jones and Spyridon, as well as other Parks Department and Metro representatives, traveled to Athens for a three-day trip to meet with the Greek minister of tourism, secretary general of the Ministry of Culture and museum officials. Also on the trip were George Anderson of Friends of Centennial Park & The Parthenon, Mayor Bill Purcell and Barbara Tsakirgis of Vanderbilt University’s Classical Studies Department.

“They were very receptive,” Anderson said. “It really turned out to be more than we expected.”

In addition to cultural and educational benefits of shared exhibits with the Acropolis and links to the people of Greece, the project could help market Nashville as a tourist destination. International visitors currently make up 3 percent of Nashville’s 10,000,000 visitors annually, or approximately 300,000 people, Spyridon said. With valuations of the Euro currently making U.S. travel relatively cheap for Europeans, it’s a good time to market Nashville overseas.

While the Nashville Parthenon alone, even after it is enhanced with links to Athens, might not draw the bulk of Nashville’s tourists, Spyridon said the project stands to enhance the city’s international profile, diversify the music industry brand and extend the stays of visitors.

“I think the contributions are immeasurable, because it is such an urban, iconic park for Nashville and speaks to the city’s educational heritage,” Spyridon said. “We won’t stray from our brand, but we’ll broaden the perception of our brand.”
Nothing in my mailbox this a.m. ... updates as I check throughout the day ...