Popculch: Classical Cricket

For the past few days there have been posts on Facebook about some major Australia-England cricket series going on … turns out, there are some ads with a Classical bent for same … the first seems inspired by a certain Russell Crowe film:

… another features Australian cricketer Shane Warne as a Roman emperor, but it doesn’t seem to be online yet … if it shows up, I’ll post it.



Post-Hellenistic Shipwreck Near Nea Styra

I can’t find that we’ve mentioned this one before at rogueclassicism … from ANA/MPA:

Excavation works on a sunken vessel dated to the post Hellenistic era off the resort town of Nea Styra, in the southern Evoikos Gulf separating the mainland and large Evia (Euboea) island, were concluded for 2010.

The ancient vessel was loaded with amphorae, considered extremely interesting, as the cargo, along with wooden remnants. The latter’s presence indicates that the vessel also transported high-value products, possibly sculptures in whole or in parts.

Amphorae Brindisi and vases filled with foods and wines, bronze and iron nails and small parts of copper statues of natural size, along with two legs of a day-bed, were collected and lifted from the vessel.

The wreck was located in 2007 at a depth of 40 to 45 metres. Thirty-six divers, researchers, archaeologists, photographers, architects and other experts took part in the underwater excavation.

The research was organised by the Maritime Antiquities Ephorate and the Institute of Maritime Archaeological Research.

Excavation works will continue and in 2011.

Numina in the News

The incipit of one of those science articles with plenty of Latin  words … this time, though, there’s also a reference to ‘Etruscan’ divinities:

Mildew infections not only cause unsightly vegetable patches, they can also result in extensive crop failure. Interestingly, the processes involved in infections with this garden pest are similar to those involved in fertilisation. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and the University of Zurich have identified two proteins in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana that are necessary for both fertilisation and infection with powdery mildew. This explains why mildew-resistant plants, in which these genes are mutated, are infertile. (Science, Vol 330, p 968-971)

Pollen tubes and hyphae, the filamentous structures of which fungi are formed, not only look very similar, they also require similar proteins. The two proteins in question, which have just been discovered, are named after the Etruscan fertility goddesses Feronia and Nortia. The scientists discovered that these proteins are both beneficial and harmful to plants. They link the capacity for seed formation with the absence of resistance to mildew infection. […]

Feronia was a divinity associated with fertility; Nortia with time (she was the one who was associated with the ritual ‘driving of the nail’ in the Capitoline Temple of Jupiter). Is it just me or do others think ‘Robigo/us’ might have been a better name for at least one of these proteins? Volutina might be another one ..

Father Foster’s Back!

Reginald Foster gives a lesson on the ablative...
Image via Wikipedia

Another one that was making the rounds this week. From Fox6:

Father Reginald Foster is trying to resuscitate something most people consider dead; the old language of Latin.

Years ago, Foster spurned the family business for a higher calling. He joined the priesthood. Foster soon learned he excelled at one of the tools of the trade. He spoke Latin like a Roman emperor. That talent was noticed and needed at the Vatican where Latin remains the official language.

For the next 40 years, every official document that came from the Vatican was either written by Foster’s hand or approved with his eyes. That includes the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II, the mass heralding the ascention of Pope Benedict, even the document certifying Jerome Listecki as Milwaukee’s Archbishop.

Foster is an affectionate but strict teacher. He says Latin demands discipline and dedication. He makes all of his students sign a tough contract.

“I tell the students, you can take off your shoes or clothes or bring beer or wine in class, I don’t care if you make one stupid mistake, you’re out!” said Foster.

Foster wants Latin to survive. Yet, he laments the long, slow death of the language. That begs the question: If Latin is dead, which is to say it’s not really spoken anywhere anymore, then why is it still important?

Foster says, “Relevant! Because it’s about three quarters of our western civilization, for one. All of our thoughts, ideas, prayers and all this other stuff has come through Latin!”

Anyone interested in taking Fr. Foster’s class should mail a short note of interest to Reginald Foster at 3553 S. 41st St. in Milwaukee. He’ll send you a contract and you can take the class for free in Milwaukee.

… the original post has a nice television news segment on Foster as well. Definitely worth a look; I’m sure Father Foster would cringe at the voiceover’s use of ‘begging the question’   … also nice to see a Latinist using a document camera (sorry … I can’t embed it).

Vatican relies on Milwaukee man for his expertise in Latin | Fox

Seating Arrangements: Ancient and Modern

One of the things that was being passed around the past week (during which occurred American Thanksgiving, of course) was this humourous item on Thanksgiving seating arrangements, as interpreted by College Humor:

via College Humor

… which was very interesting from a Classics point of view when one thinks about Roman triclinium seating arrangements. Here’s Pedar Foss’ diagram of same (via uSydney) … AGE, GENDER, AND STATUS DIVISIONS AT MEALTIME IN THE ROMAN HOUSE: a synopsis of the literary evidence is definitely worth a look if you’ve never visited:

Now, given that lectus imus #1 is the place of  the host, that would correspond, presumably, with ‘dad’ above, putting grandpa in the locus consularis, which makes sense. Beside grandpa comes grandma, then the tipsy mom, who is pretty much the furthest away from the host (no comment). Beside dad is the creepy uncle, who is presumably only there because he is dad’s brother. The locus summus is presumably reserved for the various kids, legitimate and otherwise … not much has changed!