CONF: Writing Science: Mathemateical and Medical Authorship …

The NYU Center for Ancient Studies presents the annual Ranieri
Colloquium on Ancient Studies, WRITING SCIENCE: MATHEMATICAL AND
MEDICAL AUTHORSHIP IN ANCIENT GREECE, Thursday, April 23rd and Friday,
April 24th.

The conference will take place in Hemmerdinger Hall, Room 102, Silver
Center for Arts and Science, 32 Waverly Place or 31 Washington Place
(wheelchair accessible), New York, NY. The event is free of charge and
open to the public, and seating is by general admission. There will be a
wine reception after Thursday?s evening session.

For more information about the event, please see details below, visit
http://ancientstudies.fas.nyu.edu/page/events#WS, or contact the College
Dean’s Office at 212.998.8100; kenkidd AT nyu.edu

*****Thursday, April 23, 2009
5:30 P.M. Welcome
MATTHEW S. SANTIROCCO, Seryl Kushner Dean, College of Arts and Science,
and Angelo J. Ranieri Director of Ancient Studies, New York University

5:45 P.M. Keynote Talk: Authorship in Science, Ancient and Modern
REVIEL NETZ, Classics, Stanford University
MARIO BIAGIOLI, History of Science, Harvard University

7:00 P.M. RECEPTION

*****Friday, April 24, 2009
9:00 A.M. GREEK MEDICINE
Writing the Animal
HEINRICH VON STADEN, School of Historical Studies, Institute for
Advanced Study, Princeton

Ways of Organizing (Medical) Knowledge and Questions of Authorship in
Late Antiquity: Synopsis, Synagoge, Paraphrase, Epitome
PHILIP J. VAN DER EIJK, Classics, Newcastle University

Chair: DAVID SIDER, Classics, New York University

11:00 A.M. GREEK MATHEMATICS
Hellenistic Introductions to the Science of the Heavens: Three
Definitions of Astronomy in the First Century BC
ALAN C. BOWEN, Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and
Science, Princeton

Who Were the Authors of the Athenian Accounts? Between Authorship and
Anonymity
SERAFINA CUOMO, History, Birkbeck College, London University

Chair: ALEXANDER JONES, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World,
New York University

12:30 P.M. Lunch Break

2:00 P.M. SCIENCE WRITING AND/AS LITERATURE
In Strange Lands: Situating Knowledge in Odyssey 10 and Airs, Waters,
Places
BROOKE HOLMES, Classics, Princeton University

The Name and Nature of Science
PAUL KEYSER, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

Chair: MARKUS ASPER, Classics, New York University

CONF: Wealth in the Ancient World

Wealth in the Ancient World

Gregynog Classics Colloquium
Gregynog Hall, Gregynog
21-22 May 2009

with the support of UWICAH
and the Research Institute of Classics, University of Wales, Lampeter

Organisers: Errietta Bissa (Lampeter) and Federico Santangelo (Lampeter).

Thursday 21 May 2009

1.30-2.30 Registration
2.30-2.35 Welcome

2.35-3.00 J. Davies (Liverpool), Wealth and the Power of Wealth in Classical Athens Revisited

3.00-3.25 S. Lambert (Cardiff), Wealth and the Attic Gene

3.25-3.40 Discussion

3.40-3.55 Coffee Break

3.55-4.20 C. Taylor (Dublin), Wealth in Fourth Century Athens

4.20-4.45 B. Keim (Cambridge), Non-Material but not Immaterial: Demosthenes’ Reassessment of the Wealth of Athens

4.45-5.00 Discussion

5.00-5.20 Coffee Break

5.20-5.45 I. Petrovic (Durham), Wealth and the Greek Gods

5.45-6.10 M. Plantinga (Lampeter), Wealth in Roman elegy

6.10-6.25 Discussion

7.00-8.00 Dinner

Friday 22 May 2009

9.15-9.40 M. Cobb (Swansea), Eastern ‘Luxuries’ and Roman Society

9.40-10.05 C. Greenacre (London), Rome in the Provinces: Private Citizens and Imperial Expansion

10.05-10.20 Discussion

10.20-10.35 Coffee Break

10.35-11.00 R. Evans (Cardiff), Tacitus Annals 1.15 and Wealth Regained

11.00-11.25 K. Verboven (Ghent), Ad exemplum rei publicae: the wealth of Roman collegia

11.25-11.40 Discussion

11.40-11.55 Coffee Break

11.55-12.20 J. Paterson (Newcastle), The eye of the needle: the morality of wealth in the ancient world

12.20-12.45 M. Humphries (Swansea), Elites, status and wealth in late antiquity

12.45-13.00 Discussion
1.15-2.15 Lunch

For further information see the webpage http://www.lamp.ac.uk/ric/conferences/wealth_ancient_world.html

Those who wish to attend should contact email Errietta Bissa (e.bissa AT lamp.ac.uk) or Federico Santangelo (f.santangelo AT lamp.ac.uk). There will be a fee of £ 72.50 covering accommodation, dinner, breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks; students of Welsh institutions are entitled to a subsidised rate of £ 32.50.

CFP: The Family in the Ancient Greco-Roman World

OIKOS – FAMILIA:

THE FAMILY IN THE ANCIENT GRECO-ROMAN WORLD.
Framing the discipline in the 21st century

5-7 November 2009
University of Gothenburg & University of Birmingham

The fifth ARACHNE conference is organised collaboratively by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. The conference will take place at the University of Gothenburg 5-7 November 2009. The conference aims to bridge some of the gaps in the study of the family in antiquity: from Archaic Greece to the later Roman world.

The conference will focus on :

· Family structures and relationships 500 BCE to 500 CE (betrothal, marriage, divorce, parents and children, step-families, dynastic families, grandparents, gender roles within the family, family economy etc)

· New directions in the study of the family in antiquity

Sessions will run on thematic and chronological lines and we welcome papers from all disciplines: classics, ancient and early medieval history, archaeology, art history.

An abstract of a maximum of 300 words should be submitted preferably by email attachment to the conference address arachne At class.gu.se or to:

Arachne, University of Gothenburg, Department of Historical Studies, Box 200, SE 405 30 Gotheburg, Sweden.

The deadline for abstracts is 15 June 2009. Papers should be limited to a maximum of 20 minutes and decisions of acceptance will be made in July.

The official language of the conference is English.

Registration fee is 70 euros for non-speakers, 60 euros for speakers, and 30 euros for students. The fee includes coffee Thursday-Saturday and dinner on Saturday night.

Organizing committee:
University of Birmingham: Mary Harlow, Ray Laurence
University of Gothenburg: Lena Larsson Lovén, Agneta Strömberg

CONF: Public Images in Augustan Rome

The Classics department at Leeds is pleased to announce the Leeds International Classical Seminar for 2009. The theme for the conference this year is ‘Public images in Augustan Rome’, and our programme of papers will explore the negotiation, display and maintenance of public images both of and within the city of Rome.

The conference will take place on Friday May 15th between venues in the department of Classics and the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (see programme for details). Directions to the University of Leeds and campus maps may be found at the following address: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/visitors/getting_here.htm.

The meeting is open to all academic participants; postgraduate and undergraduate students are especially welcome. The conference fee, which includes tea / coffee and a buffet lunch, is £15 (or £10 for students and unwaged), payable on the day. Participants are requested to notify Penny Goodman (p.j.goodman AT leeds.ac.uk) of their intention to attend at least a week in advance in order to secure lunch.

A full programme of papers follows. Do please circulate it to interested parties who may not see it here.

Programme for LICS 2009 – ‘Public images in Augustan Rome':

10.30 – 11.30: Registration in the Department of Classics
(1st Floor, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds)

11.30 onwards: Papers in Seminar Rooms 3 and 4 of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI)
(29-31 Clarendon Place)

11.30 – 12.15: Diana Spencer (University of Birmingham)
Towards a new (space) syntax: Varro’s de Lingua Latina
12.15 – 13.00: Stephen Harrison (Corpus Christi, Oxford)
Horace and Augustan monuments

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
(Room 119, Dept. of Classics, 1st Floor Parkinson Building)

14.00 – 14.45: Stratis Kyriakidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
Rome and the fata Asiae, (Manilius, 1.512)
14.45 – 15.30: Andrew Zissos (University of California, Irvine)
Terra sub Augusto est: Augustan Rome and Ovid’s Metamorphoses

15.30 – 16.00: Coffee (in LHRI)

16.00 – 16.45: Amanda Claridge (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Augustus’ house on the Palatine
16.45 – 17.30: Alison Cooley (University of Warwick)
Contextualising Augustus’ Res Gestae

CONF: After Demosthenes

After Demosthenes: Continuity and Change in Hellenistic Oratory
2nd – 3rd July 2009, London.

Organisers: Christos Kremmydas (Royal Holloway) and Kathryn Tempest
(Roehampton).

The conference will take the form of an international, inter-disciplinary
forum that proposes to bring together scholars with different
specializations in order to stimulate discussion on the development of
oratory in the Hellenistic period. By looking for common elements of
performative speech in literary as well as documentary and epigraphical
evidence, it is hoped that this two-day conference will lead to a broader
understanding of Hellenistic oratory, assess its debt to the Classical
oratorical paradigms and examine its impact and influence upon the emerging
rhetorical culture at Rome

Thursday 2nd July

Mike Edwards (ICS) ‘Dionysius and Isaeus’
Laszlo Horvath (Budapest) ‘Hyperides and Hellenistic Oratory’
Thanasis Efstathiou (Corfu) ‘The virtue of clarity (σαφήνεια) in
hellenistic oratory and rhetoric: the case of [Demetrius] On Style.’
Christos Kremmydas (Royal Holloway) ‘The evidence of early Hellenistic
rhetorical exercises’
Lene Rubinstein (Royal Holloway) ‘The use of written documentation in real-
life orations, delivered in connection with embassies.’
Angelos Chaniotis (Oxford) ‘Theatricality and emotion in Hellenistic
decrees: rhetorical strategies in the popular assembly’
Efrem Zambon (Venice): ‘Tyrants and Pirates: two topics for the Hellenistic
orator’
Gunther Martin (Oxford): ‘Praise and persuasion: rhetorical technique in
Theocritus’ poetry’
Eleni Volonaki (University of Peloponnese, Kalamata) ‘The art of persuasion
in Jason’s speeches: Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica’

Friday 3rd July

Edith Hall (Royal Holloway) ‘Hellenistic oratory and the Hellenistic
tragōidos’
Christopher Carey (UCL)‘The evidence for oratory in Hellenistic Drama’
Gesine Manuwald (UCL) ‘Oratory on the stage in Republican Rome’
Jonathan Powell (Royal Holloway) ‘The embassy of the three philosophers to
Rome in 155 BC’
Kathryn Tempest (Roehampton) ‘Hellenistic oratory at Rome: Cicero’s Pro
Marcello’
Jula Wildberger (Paris) ‘Stertinian Rhetoric’
Stanley Porter (McMaster Divinity College, Canada) ‘Paul and the
Rhetoricians.’

Full Conference fee: £20
Day rate: £10.

The deadline for registration is Monday 15 June 2009

Thanks to a limited amount of funding from the Classical Association, we
are pleased to be able to offer some bursaries for postgraduate students.
Please contact Dr Kathryn Tempest(k.tempest AT roehampton.ac.uk) explaining
how attendance at the conference will advance your research plans.

The full programme, abstracts and a booking form are available at the
following webpage:

http://www.rhul.ac.uk/classics/news-and-events/HellenisticOratoryConference/index.html

New From Herculaneum – A Depiction of the Oschophoria?

Tip o’ the pileus to Francesca Tronchin for alerting us to a post at Blogging Pompeii about a new item installed at the National Museum of Naples’ Herculaneum section. For a full description, visit Blogging Pompeii, which includes this image (which is also available in much larger format there):

The official description suggests this is a Dionysiac scene, although they really aren’t very specific about it. It is much more interesting than the official description suggests, I think. When I first saw this (via my iPod), I wondered whether the two figures on the left were actually males in women’s garb (as does FT), and it is now clear that they are. The figure’s hair is clearly male hair cut close to the head (compare it to the dancing woman to the right), and they sport male cloaks over their female dress (and I’m not sure they are even Greek cloaks; they look rather Roman/Gallic to me). Whatever the case, men dressed as women in a Dionysiac context enables us to be rather more specific with the identification of what this scene depicts … the Oschophoria. Here’s what William Smith’s Dictionary says about this:
Text not available
A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities By William Smith, Charles Anthon

Text not available
A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities By William Smith, Charles Anthon

If you’re not a fan of reading clips from googlebooks, the same info (with appropriate links) is available at Lacus Curtius. But even if you don’t want to go to Lacus Curtius for an explanation of that, you will want to read there the excerpt from Plutarch’s life of Theseus, which adds a bit more explanation to the scene:

Whence it is, they say, that to this day, at the festival of the Oschophoria, it is not the herald that is crowned, but his herald’s staff, and those who are present at the libations cry out: “Eleleu! Iou! Iou!” the first of which cries is the exclamation of eager haste and triumph, the second of consternation and confusion.

So the mysterious thing in the hand of the individual on the left is likely a herald’s staff, although it seems rather short. A nice piece …

ADDENDA (09/21/09): just to clarify, the key elements identifying it as the Oschophoria are the two youths on the left (males in the guise of women) and the two on the right (Dionysus and Ariadne dancing). The Priapus seems Dionysian as well …

Whining about Wine

As I clean up my mail backlog, I find I am risking a serious injury from all the mind boggling claims of the past few days … an excerpt from a piece about the history of wine from the Jefferson Post:

Engel shared with wine aficionados that the ancient Egyptians were the first to reserve wine for only special occasions. Following the Egyptians were the Greeks, who Engel feels, provided more positive innovations for wine than any other culture. It was the Greeks who were the first to preserve wine in airtight clay vessels.

Despite the leaps and bounds made by the ancient Greeks in the evolution of wine, it almost went for naught as the early Romans nearly wiped wine from all of recorded history. Engel described the early founders of Rome as similar to early American Puritans. For the first 600 years of the empire, wine was forbidden for consumption as ancient lore compelled the citizenry to adopt milk as the official drink of choice in the empire. It was not until the advent of wheat and bread production that wine began to rise in popularity with the ancient Romans.

The person doing the lecturing is one Elliot Engel, who is elsewhere billed as a ‘much-sought-after’ lecturer … his background is also given:

Originally from Indianapolis, Ind., Dr. Elliot Engel now resides in Raleigh where he teaches courses at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. Engel earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA, he won the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award. In addition for his scholarship and teaching, he has received North Carolina’s Adult Education Award, North Carolina State’s Distinguished Outreach Professorship and the Victorian Society Award of Merit.

It appears Dr. Engel’s background is actually English literature. While I can’t be sure that he is making the claims suggested in the aforementioned quote or whether it has been misfiltered by a reporter, it’s clearly silly to think the Romans had nothing to do with wine.

Classical Epistles

I’m never quite sure whether I should bother to mention  when folks bring up Classical matters in letters to the editor — nine times out of ten, there is some glaring factual error — but here’s a trio of mentions which might be of interest. First, a letter to the Times advocating operating in imitation of Tiberius in regards to the financial crisis at Lloyd’s Bank:

Then there was a response (in the same newspaper) suggesting Solon’s seisactheia would be more appropriate:

Finally, we read in the Herald of plans to scrap Classics at Trinity High School (in Renfrew, Scotland) … haven’t heard any more about this, but perhaps a letter writing campaign is in order:

Poseidon’s Back?

A few weeks ago we mentioned a post by Poseidon in the World Weekly News in which he claimed responsibility for what was going on in Australia. It seems that Poseidon has a regular column in that now-web-only publication, so if you want to catch up with the divinity-o-the-deep’s resurgence, here be his three columns (most recent first):

In the accompanying photo, Poseidon is depicted as a ‘merman’, FWIW …

Champions League Roma ‘Finale’ Ball Unveiled

from the UEFA site

from the UEFA site

If you look very closely at the official ball for the Champions League final, you will see a number of figures on the ‘mosaic stars’ (as they’re being referred to).

Mosaic figures representing key sporting and Roman values such as speed, teamwork, justice and power are featured in each star – honouring European club football’s blue-riband event.

The ball was revealed in front of the Colosseum, so I’m assuming the Roman values (justice and power?) are ancient ones?

Santorini Update

A bit of a mindboggler from Kathimerini:

More than three years after the roof over the ancient Akrotiri site on Santorini collapsed, killing a British tourist, the project to build a new structure appears to have completely stalled, prompting local officials to demand a meeting with a government minister to resolve the situation.

Cyclades Prefect Dimitris Bailas yesterday requested a meeting with Culture Minister Antonis Samaras to discuss the latest delay, which has arisen because a presidential decree forbids construction at the archaeological site and this means the new roof cannot be erected.

It appears that the government will have to pass an amendment suspending the effect of the law before the work on building a new roof can begin. The huge steel roof covering the remains of the ancient Minoan settlement collapsed in September 2005 as workers were watering soil laid over it. Six people were also injured in the accident.

We should note that the roof which collapsed back in September of 2005 was under construction itself …

  • Disaster on Santorini (Kathimerini coverage from September 2005; includes a photo of the collapsed roof)

The Spectacle of Earth Hour

A brief item from GR Reporter:

This year the Earth Hour will start from Greece, which managed to get ahead of Australia and will be the first one to turn off all lights on March 28th as symbol protest against climate changes. All together 270 municipalities and 18 thousand citizens will participate in this protest. The third country after Australia is Canada. “We want to show that we are many and we are ready for action, in order to prevent climate changes,” said Georgios Velidis from the Greek branch of the ecological organization WWF. The Greek participation in the Earth Hour will not only be on a mass scale but it will also be spectacular.

Some of the most famous archeological landmarks will join the campaign, in order to add glamour and finesse. With a solid vote the central archeological council decided to turn off the lights of all Greek landmarks, which are of utmost world significance, from 08:30 pm to 09:30 pm on March 28th. Among them are the Parthenon, Poseidon’s temple on cape Sounio, Hephaestus temple, which is under the Acropolis, and the beautiful hanging bridge Rio-Antirio near Patra.

So we’ll attract attention to the fact that the monuments are lit up at night by turning the lights off … are the lights really necessary outside of Earth Hour?

Alexander the Great’s Tomb … In Australia?

When I first read this I had to double check the calendar and make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day … it wasn’t, but apparently it was a very slow news day for the ABC folks … or perhaps it was a very busy day for something so freakin’ bizarre to make it past the editors’ desks … whatever the case, my mailbox is being filled with this thing and the incipit should be enough … gentlemen (and ladies), start your gag reflexes:

Alexander the Great, whose tomb has been missing for nearly 2,000 years, could be buried in Broome in Western Australia, a Perth man says.

Macedonian-born Tim Tutungis told ABC Kimberley that he first heard the ‘Broomer’ from his old mate, Lou Batalis.

“We just got onto the subject of Alexander The Great’s tomb, and he said, ‘They’ll never ever find it, no matter where they look, because Alexander the Great is buried in Broome, in Western Australia’,” Mr Tutungis said.

“Approximately 50 years ago, some guy went into a cave in Broome and he saw some inscriptions in there and they looked like ancient Greek.

“He reported it to the government, then the government went and saw it and they confirmed there were some inscriptions there.

“They went to the Greek community and they asked the community, ‘Is there anyone here who can read ancient Greek?’

“Naturally Louis Batalis put his hand up and said, ‘Yes, I went to school in Egypt, I got educated, I can read it’. So they took him up there and he defined the inscriptions as saying, in ancient Greek, ‘Alexander the Great’.

“The government did say to him at that time, ‘You didn’t see this, OK, this never happened’.”

I don’t know what’s more bizarre here: that a Macedonian’s bona fides for reading ancient Greek is that he went to school in Egypt or the implication that the Australian government is involved in some sort of coverup of the ‘true’ location of Alexander’s burial … Oh what the heck, here’s the conclusion to the piece (I’ve skipped the bit where they give some traditional “stories” about what happened to Alexander’s body):

Mr Tutungis says he is 99 per cent convinced Mr Batalis told him the truth, because people “have looked everywhere” for Alexander’s grave, to no avail.

He says his friend is a very old man now and has virtually lost his memory, and others who heard the story had dismissed it.

But he says Mr Batalis was “a man of substance” who was very educated, and the story stuck with him.

“I drew my own conclusion because the war of the Macedonians ended up in India and I assumed that some of the soldiers went back to Macedonia on foot,” Mr Tutungis said.

“Some of the soldiers must have caught a ship. Why can’t we say that Alexander did catch a ship; they lost their way in the treacherous ways up there.

“Look where India is, look where Broome is; a ship could easily get wrecked in Broome.”

Mr Tutungis says a new documentary suggests that when the war ended, Alexander the Great ordered thousands of ships to built.

He takes that as further evidence to support his theory and has written to a detective from Scotland Yard who is looking for Alexander’s grave.

“Nobody ever, ever suspected that Alexander could have died in Broome,” he said.

The sound you hear is the minds of hundreds of rogueclassicism readers’ minds boggling …

This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xv kalendas apriles

  • Festival of Mars (Day 19)
  • rites in honour of Minerva (obviously connected to the above)
  • 11 B.C.E. — Herod dedicates his renovated Temple in Jerusalem
  • 363 A.D. — fire destroys the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine

This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xvi kalendas apriles

  • Festival of Mars continues (day 17)
  • Liberalia — a festival of general merriment and wine drinking in honour of Liber Pater (another name for Bacchus)
  • Agonalia — the rex sacrificulus would offer a ram to various deities
  • 45 B.C. — Julius Caesar defeats Pompey’s sons and Labienus at Munda

Disambiguation

I am not the Rogue Classicist who has a MySpace page (although I am of similar age and musical taste!) … nor am I the author of the Rogue Classicist blog (who might be the same guy) … I am on Twitter (as rogueclassicist) and Facebook (as David Meadows … one of seven or eight; shouldn’t be difficult to figure out which one). FWIW, I’ve been using the epithet (originally as Rogue Classicist, then, when I got tired of pressing shift keys and spacebars, as rogueclassicist) since before 1999 …

Exhibition: Pompeii and the Roman Villa

rogueclassicist’s note: I have long thought there was a need for some sort of ‘repository’ of information about ongoing exhibitions, with links to appropriate websites, reviews, etc. (and I’m hoping rogueclassicism readers who have visited the exhibition will want to add their own reviews in the comments). This is my first attempt at such, although the exhibition itself will soon be moving to a new venue.

Pompeii and the Roman Villa

National Gallery of Art: October 19, 2008–March 22, 2009

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: May 3–October 4, 2009

Website: Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples (National Gallery — an excellent exhibition page, which includes a feature on the exhibition, videos, brochures, student guides for Latin classes, podcasts, and much more — clearly setting a standard for other exhibitions of this sort to follow)

Website: Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples (LA County Museum — ‘upcoming’)

Reviews of the National Gallery installation:

rogueclassicism review: Hannibal the Annihilator

Title: Hannibal the Annihilator

Series: Battles B.C.

Network: History Channel

Capitidicentes (epithets):

  • Richard Gabriel, PhD (Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario)
  • Mark Schwartz, PhD (Anthropology, Grand Valley State University)
  • Steve Weingartner (Author: Chariots Like a Whirlwind:The Saga of Chariotry and Chariot Warfare )
  • Matthew Gonzales (Assistant Professor of Classics, St Anselm College)
  • David George (Director, Institute of Mediterranean Archaeology)

Researchers:

None credited

Official description of episode:

Hannibal’s merciless attacks on Roman soil dealt a near fatal blow to the soon-to-be Empire. Sworn by his father to a blood oath against the Romans, Hannibal of Carthage does the unthinkable… he marches 40 war elephants and a massive army over the Alps to gain an element of surprise. In three key battles–Hannibal uses terrain, intimidation and his iron will to annihilate the Roman Legions, killing every Roman soldier that he possibly can.

Summary:

The program begins in medias res with the Seige of Saguntum, then proceeds to give a good overview of the seeds of that conflict (i.e. Punic War I) and some background to Hannibal (how he came to power and that famous oath) and life in the Carthaginian army. There is a good presentation of Hannibal’s crossing of the Rhone and how Hannibal was pretty much forced to go across the Alps, elephants and all. After a digression on Gallic treachery and the ethnic makeup of Hannibal’s army, we get into the three big battles (i.e Trebia, Trasimene, Cannae).

Comments:

As this is my first review, I should explain that I usually classify television programs about the ancient world into two categories. In the one category are those programs where the producers set things up as a conflict of opinions, usually between an “author” and one or more scholars with “conventional” views. In the other category are programs where no such “conflict” is set up, but the producers try to sensationalize it by focussing on salacious details or some other way (sometimes with good effect, sometimes without). In the case of Hannibal the Annihilator, we have a program which leans toward the latter category, with good effect and very good information. In this case, the ‘sensation’ is caused by making the visuals very 300-like and the comic book influence is also clear in the fonts used on the maps which depict battle formations and the like. That is not to say that it shouldn’t be taken seriously, although more than once I guffawed at the very buff Hannibal riding/walking shirtless through the snow. Outside of that, the information is very good and could be very usefully used to give a decent introduction to Hannibal and Punic War II. There are good comments  by folks who clearly know what they’re talking about on conflicts between commanders and on Hannibal’s military tactics and the graphics are combined in a useful way to explain how the battles unfolded. Definitely worth watching.

Papal Ovidiana

Interesting excerpt from an item at the BBC:

Standing on a balcony during his visit to Rome’s City Hall, built over the site of a long vanished temple, Benedict sympathised with the plight of modern Romans who are losing jobs and suffering from the economic downturn just like everyone else.

The “Scholar-Pope” was unable to resist the temptation of quoting a line written in Latin, not from the Bible, but by the Roman poet Ovid 2,000 years ago: “Perfer et obdura: multo graviora tulisti.”

“Endure and resist,” he urged. “In the past you have overcome much more difficult situations.”

That’s Tristia 5.11.7 for those of you keeping score at home …