This Day in Ancient History: pridie kalendas septembres

Emperor Caligula, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Image via Wikipedia

pridie kalendas septembres

  • 12 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Gaius (Caligula) at Antium
  • 40 A.D. — Gaius (Caligula) celebrates an ovatio after his attempted military campaigns in Gaul and Britain
  • 161 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Commodus (and his twin, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus)


Zeus and Hera Have Left the Building!

From AFP:

A sculpture depicting Zeus and Hera, king and queen of the ancient Greek pantheon of gods, has been permanently removed from the Acropolis in Athens for safe-keeping, a project supervisor said Saturday.

The sculpture — one of the last of the original decorative pieces adorning the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple — will be showcased in the Acropolis Museum in Athens and will be replaced by a copy, architect Vasso Eleftheriou said.

“This is the same method followed for other Parthenon sculptures that have been removed or are to (be removed),” Eleftheriou told state television NET.

The Parthenon metope, or decorative frieze space, removed this week had been defaced by early Christians during the fall of pagan worship in Greece, and further damaged in later centuries by acid rain.

Another five metopes are to removed in the coming months, the Ethnos daily reported this week.

The Parthenon has sustained significant damage in its long history. It was bombarded during a 17th century Venetian siege of Ottoman-held Athens and underwent modifications that turned it first into a church and then a mosque.

In the early 19th century, workers employed by British ambassador Lord Elgin tore down a large number of decorative friezes from the Parthenon.

They were shipped to London and were eventually put on display at the British Museum where they remain to this day.

The British Museum has turned down Greek calls for their return, arguing that the Marbles are part of a world heritage and are more accessible to visitors in London.

Inaugurated in June 2009, the new Acropolis Museum includes a section reserved for the disputed Parthenon Marbles.

It was Greece’s top tourist draw last year, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors, compared to some 990,000 people who visited the Acropolis ancient citadel itself.

… raising, of course, the obvious question: why can’t they put some copies of those things in the British Museum up on the Parthenon???

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: