JOB: Generalist @ Union College (one year)

The Department of Classics at Union College seeks to appoint a classicist for a one-year visiting appointment at the rank of instructor or assistant professor. This is a one-year sabbatical replacement that will begin in September 2009. The area of specialization is open, but we look for evidence of successful beginning language instruction as well as an area of research that could serve as the basis for interdisciplinary contributions to the curriculum more widely (examples include, but are not limited to, ancient technology, art, archaeology, science, women’s studies, religion). Union employs a trimester system, and the normal teaching load is two courses per term. Teaching competencies must include ancient Greek and Latin at all undergraduate levels as well as general courses in translation. For higher rank and salary, the Ph.D. must be in hand by August 2009. Visiting faculty are eligible for travel and research support, and our salaries are competitive. Further information about Union College may be found at http://www.union.edu. Applicants should send a standard dossier, including cover letter, writing sample, c.v., and three letters of recommendation. The committee will interview selected applicants either by phone or at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South in Minneapolis, MN. Applicants should indicate whether or not they plan to attend this meeting, and how they may be contacted most easily. Applications should be directed to the attention of Hans-Friedrich Mueller, Department of Classics, Union College, Schenectady, New York, 12308. Inquiries are welcome at muellerh AT union.edu. Review of applications will begin on March 16, 2009, and will continue until the position is filled. Union College is an equal opportunity employer, and is strongly committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce.

This Day in Ancient History

ante diem vii kalendas martias

  • Traditional end of the Roman year (followed by a period of intercalation)
  • Terminalia — a festival in honour of Terminus, the divinity who presided over boundaries. In Rome itself, Terminus had a shrine within the Temple of Jupiter beneath an opening in the roof because, it is said, when they were building the Temple of Jupiter, Terminus refused to move. What happened in the city is unclear, but the rustic version of the festival involved the following: at boundary stones, farmer families would gather and build a turf altar; a fire would be built and one of the younger members of the family would throw grain in the fire three times. Others offered other things like honeycombs and wine, then a sheep or pig would be sacrificed and a feast would follow.
  • 155 A.D. — martyrdom of Polycarp at Smyrna
  • 303 A.D. — “Great Persecution” of Diocletian begins in Nicomedia

The Atlantis Stuff

I’m sure everyone who reads this blog has already read the silliness about Google Earth and Atlantis, so I won’t comment on it’s don’t-eat-that-elmer quality directly, but the whole thing is instructive for a couple of reasons. First, from a rogueclassicism-blogging point of view, I now know that when my spiders fetch a pile of similar articles from news sites I have never heard of, there’s likely something nutty behind it. Second, it is clear that some folks really shouldn’t be allowed to have writing implements because it is clear they are reading much below grade level. For example, the Daily Mail coverage of this stuff included the following quote from a Google spokesnerd:

‘It’s true that many amazing discoveries have been made in Google Earth – a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to previously unknown species, a fringing coral reef off the coast of Australia, and the remains of an ancient Roman villa, to name just a few.’

By the time the story was filtered through something called eFlux, that became:

Google Earth may have been used to find the remains of an Ancient Roman villa in Mozambique, however, Atlantis is yet to be found.

There’s a lot more, but you’ve probably seen it …

Another Roman Ghost Story

From All News Web, and as with our previous ghost stories, FWIW:

A hotel in Romania recently became a site of interest for ghost hunters after a local photographed what appears to be a female spirit standing above its lobby stairwell. The hotel, named the Decebal, is situated in the mountain spa resort of Baile Herculane.
Local, Victorian Loval aged 33 and her boyfriend snuck inside the hotel which has been closed for five years for renovations. While inside she snapped the photo, but only saw the ghost later, when she developed the film. The hotel is said to stand on an ancient Roman ruin and the ghost appears to be wearing the white robe of an ancient Roman priestess.
Some have dismissed the photo as an illusion caused by irregular stonework in the lobby however others have been in the hotel since the event and swear that they saw the ghost. One group of students fled the building in fear after being confronted by the apparent spirit. Another man called friend from inside the lobby in a panic after claiming to have seen its ghostly resident. Some have commented that she might be guarding something of ancient importance.
Now it appears that the owner of the site is worried that this non-paying resident might be bad for business when the establishment re-opens. It is being reported in the Romanian press that the hotel management is planning to bring out a medium to make contact and ask the spirit why she remains and on what conditions she might ‘check-out’.

I don’t know what’s more amazing … that someone saw a ghost, or that someone is still using a film-based camera to take photos of  a not-particularly-photogenic stairwell … I have  (grade seven) students who could photoshop this after about five minutes of training. Don’t eat that Elmer …

Roman City Found in Algeria

A tantalizingly brief item from l’Unita reports the discovery of a Roman City in Algeria:

Alcuni resti archeologici sono stati scoperti a Zerdaza, a sud di Skikda, nell’est dell’Algeria. La scoperta e’ stata casuale, durante la costruzione di una casa. Secondo le prime analisi i resti appartenevano alla citta’ romana di Tabsus, che sorgeva sulle rive del fiume Safsaf. Tra i reperti ritrovati: colonne in marmo, alcuni torchi e una grande vasca per la raccolta dell’olio d’oliva, e una pietra di dimensioni importanti.

I’m completely out of my element on this one … I’ve never heard of Tabsus or of a Safsaf river. Is this a known Roman site or is this the sort of thing, say, that might have come to light in the wake of the recent arrest of an Australian antiquities dealer?

A Different Parallel/Analogy

Every week (it seems) I wade through piles of editorial flotsam and jetsam which claims the U.S. is like the Roman Empire, yadda yadda yadda, so it’s semi-refreshing when one reads a parallel like this incipit from Investor’s Chronicle:

The situation of Lloyds Bank puts one in mind of Greek tragedy. For instance, Aeschylus’ “The Supplicants”, in which the plot rest on the forced marriage of the 50 daughters of Danaus – the Danaides – to their cousins, the Aegyptians. To escape this fate, the Danaides flee to Argos, where King Pelasgus eventually agrees to protect them. But lo, the Aegytians turn up and threaten a blood bath. King Pelasgus is killed. Danaus takes his place but cannot resist the Aegyptians. The Danaides are duly married, but follow their father’s instructions to murder their husbands on their bridal beds. 49 do so. The husband of the fiftieth kills Danaus.

Direct parallels with Lloyds are hazy, but the essential commonality is there. Supplication by HBOS to be saved. Pelasgus – that’s Gordon Brown – offers to help but to no eventual avail. Like Lloyds, the Aegyptians achieve their improbable desire but are immediately decimated by it. There are a few more scenes to run yet… I fear the Lloyds body count hasn’t started.

Don’t know enough about the situation to comment on how close the analogy is, but it’s certainly different …