Tip o’ the Pileus

Since I say the phrase so much in these ‘pages’, it seems appropriate to point out a photo of an “iridescent pileus cloud’ which was the Astronomy Picture of the Day a couple days ago:

Of course, it clearly gets its name from the fact that is a sort of ‘cap’ on another cloud, but if you need a bit more detail, the Wikipedia article: Pileus (meteorology) is as good a source as any. If you’re wondering what an ancient Roman pileus looked like:

Cheesy Claims About the Romans

Illustration of a cheese wheel.
Image via Wikipedia

Okay … this is a strange item of TV hype for a Food Network show which (the hype) is being picked up by all sorts of papers in southeast Asia right now … the incipit  from the Indian version of Yahoo:

Food writer Troy Johnson has revealed that cheese is not only one of the tastiest foods invented by man, but it was also one of the greatest weapons of war in the ancient world.

Johnson is the host of a new show called “Crave” debuting August 29 on the Food Network that explains the bizarre origins of some popular foods.

“The Romans invented the cheese wheel and used to roll them along with everything else when they were doing battle,” AOL News quoted Johnson, as telling HuffPost Weird News.

“They think this is why the Romans were able to kick everyone’s asses in Europe.

“Since cheese doesn’t spoil very easily, they always had a hunk of protein-and-fat-jammed energy source tucked up their man-skirts. Other armies’ food would spoil, leaving them weak and hungry. The cheese-eating Romans kicked their ass,” he revealed.

Yes, the Romans had cheese, but that they “invented” the cheese wheel, well, I’d need some evidence for that. And as for the claim that they rolled them around while on campaign, well, I’d definitely need some evidence for that. And that ‘the enemy’ wasn’t as well-prepared, food-wise? Definitely need evidence there too. Then again, I tend not to go to the Food Network for history shows (heck, I don’t even expect history on the History Channel or History Television anymore) … we’ll put this in the “Don’t eat that Elmer” category.

Circumundique ~ August 24, 2011

In and around the Classical blogosphere t’other day:

Why Study Classics?

Tip o’ the pileus to Adrian Murdoch who pointed the Twitterati to an item at Jonathan Knott’s blog (now added to the curated blogroll) with the above title. The post includes a link to a pdf version of the article (which is also by Jonathan Knott) from the July 2011 edition of Club UK Magazine. Those with access to a decent colour printer might want to find a way to print this one out for bulletin board purposes:

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem viii kalendas septembres

Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th Century p...

Image via Wikipedia

ante diem viii kalendas septembres

  • Opiconsivia — rites in honour of Ops, an old Italian earth deity and usually considered the spouse of Consus
  • 79 A.D. — death of Pliny the Elder in the wake of the eruption at Pompeii
  • 325 A.D. — Council of Nicaea comes to an end, having come up with the Nicene Creed, the ‘Twenty Canons’, etc..


E.S. Posthumus ~ Pompeii

It being the traditional day for the eruption of Pompeii (I don’t think I’ve blogged yet about the alternate day theory), here’s something a bit different I found while poking around looking for Classics-inspired music t’other day:

… it’s just audio, so sit back, relax, and imagine August 24, 79 to get in the gloomy, epic mood of the day …

Circumundique ~ August 23, 2011

Around the Classical blogosphere (and environs) yesterday:

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem ix kalendas septembres

Computer-generated imagery of the eruption of ...

Image via Wikipedia

ante diem ix kalendas septembres

  • rites in honour of Luna at the Graecostasis
  • mundus patet — the mundus was a ritual pit which had a sort of vaulted cover on it. Three times a year the Romans removed this cover (August 24, Oct. 5 and November 8) at which time the gates of the underworld were considered to be opened and the manes (spirits of the dead) were free to walk the streets of Rome.
  • 72 A.D. — martyrdom of Batholomew at Albanopolis
  • 79 A.D. — Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae
  • 410 A.D. — Alaric sacks Rome
  • 1971 — death of Carl Blegen (excavator of Pylos)
  • 1997 — death of Philip Vellacott

Saving Classics?

Singling out a thought-provoking (hopefully)  blogpost over at Wopro: More Reader Mail: How Do We Save Classics?

… you’re invited to join the convo … for the record, I’m a big proponent of the ‘promotion’ side of things (obviously … I’ve been ranting about the lack of same from the ‘big organizations’ on that score for years) and I think much of Dr Krauss’ subsquent points all connect to that …