Catching Up With the Ancient Olympics

Another thing my email box has been filling up with over the past while are articles and blog posts dealing with the ancient Olympics in some capacity, so just in case you’re trapped inside on a rainy day like I am today, here are a few things to occupy your time:

The newest item is kind of interesting; it’s an article about which ancient empire would have cleaned up at the Olympics this year (follow the links inside the article to the page that’s compiling this (the Romans, ca 100 A.D. apparently would be sitting sixth):

Possible comparandum for the foregoing:


There has been some coverage of the associated arrival of the Motya Charioteer in London:

A couple of editorials trying (vainly, I think) to use ancient precedent to comment on modern society:

Some general items:

This one I only include because it suggests ancient Greeks ran clockwise … I thought they ran in straight lines?:

Comparing Olympic art, ancient and modern:

An interview with Chris Carey:

Self-explanatory … by David Potter:

Self-explatory … by Roger Pearse:

Self-explanatory … at the Ancient and Modern Olympics blog:

And last, but not least, some Pindarica:

Also Seen: Greek Roots

We don’t often see newspaper articles acknowledge the contribution of ancient Greek to the English language — especially in a Canadian newspaper … a taste in medias res of an item in the Globe and Mail:

[…] In the unlikely event that you are asked to strip naked in a gym by a philologist, don’t freak out. The word “gymnastics” descends from its Greek parent gumnazo, which means “train naked” and comes from the word gumnós – “naked.” In ancient Greece, exercises were often performed in the nude, and at one time Olympic track meets were run in the buff because it was believed that the sun was soothing to the nerves of the back. While in practice sessions, the modern gymnast performs calisthenics, vigorous exercises to improve muscle tone and fitness. This term blends the Greek stem kalli, which means “beauty,” with the Greek word for strength, sthenos.

The Greek word for contest is athlon, and this has bequeathed to us four Olympic sports: the decathlon (10 events), the heptathlon (seven events), the pentathlon (five events) and the triathlon (three events). The pentathlon, in which contestants compete in shooting, fencing, swimming, riding and cross-country running, has an interesting history. The choice of these sports was based on the legend of a warrior who, having to convey a message to the rear of the fighting forces, had to battle on horseback with his pistol and sword. However, because his horse was killed in the struggle, he had to swim and run to complete his mission. […]

… we appear to have been given license to tell people to strip naked; use it responsibly! ;)

iTunes U for Classicists and Those Who Aspire to Be

I’ve been meaning to blog about some of the online, free courses (I’m not concentrating here on individual lectures, although there are a couple below; I might do more individual lectures some other time … I’m trying to figure out the best way to present them) which are proliferating at iTunes U which should be of interest to readers of rogueclassicism … here’s a few that I’ve come across lately:

LaTrobe University offers:




University of Warwick:

… and not so much a course as a conference which was held at the Yale Divinity School (wish we had more conferences on iTunes … the technology isn’t that difficult!):

… and a lecture from UCL that did catch my eye:

… just a taste, perhaps. After all these years iTunes still hasn’t created a facility to alert you to things you might be interested in this sort of area (as opposed to alerting you when the latest Lady Gaga release is out)

Some Online Projects of Interest to Classicists

A few items that are ‘project related’  have been laying in my mailbox for various lengths of time and it seems useful to gather them together in one post.

First, a tip ‘o the pileus to Charles Jones for alerting us (via his AWOL blog today) of this very interesting and potentially useful (French) web project dealing with cataloging curse tablets from various parts of the Roman world.  The Tabella Defixionis Project seems to be a work in progress, and not every entry has a photo, but there is some very useful bibliography for each one. Some areas of the greco-roman world have better coverage than others (Israel seems a bit scant). Whatever the case, check it out at:

Next, we have the Online Coins of the Roman Empire project, which was actually announced a couple of weeks ago (and plenty of people have nudged me about it), but I was unable to connect to it for ages for reasons unknown. Its goals are to publish every type of Roman Imperial coin out there and link to images of them whenever possible. It has search capabilities and is very clearly laid out. It’s definitely off to a good start, with over 8000 items already cataloged:

Fulfilling the scholastic rule of three, Stephen Jenkin of Classics Library fame tweeted about UPenn’s Vergil Project, which actually began years ago (before the turn of the millennium, in fact) but which seems not to have had much publicity along the way. Here’s their official description:

The Vergil Project is a resource for students, teachers, and readers of Vergil’s Aeneid. It offers an on-line hypertext linked to interpretive materials of various kinds. These include basic information about grammar, syntax, and diction; several commentaries; an apparatus criticus; help with scansion; and other resources.

… and what you get is the Latin text on the left side, with numerous useful linked things in the sidebar, including commentaries (including Servius), a concordance, translations (both ‘nice’ and ‘literal’) and other things of use. Definitely worth a look and possibly the sort of thing that should be emulated for other works (it seems to make use of Perseus’ materials, but I might be wrong with that). All that’s missing (in my view) would be a continuously-updated bibliography and/or comment facilities (but given the nature of the internet, comments might not be a good thing).

That said, perhaps some central agency could organize a project whereby a particular Classics department did one or two authors, perhaps based on the interests of some senior academics, in a similar format? Might be a good project for some upper level undergraduates … just sayin’. In any event, here’s the link: