ED: Summer School in Latin Language – Bologna 29.06-17.07.2009 (extended deadline)

… seen on the Classicists list:

Bologna University Summer School in Latin Language and Classical Culture (29th June – 17th July 2009)

The Department of Classics (http://www.classics.unibo.it) of Bologna University is pleased to announce that it is still possible to enrol to the second Summer School in Latin Language and Classical Culture.

The teaching will be focused both on language and on literature; further classes will touch on moments of Roman history and history of art, supplemented by visits to museums and archaeological sites (in Bologna and Rome).

The course will be held in Bologna from 29th June to 17th July 2009 for a total of 60 hours. On the basis of their previous knowledge of Latin, the participants will be divided into classes of different levels (beginners and intermediate). Students must be aged 18 or over.

All tuition will be in English.


For further information and to enrol, please visit:


E-mail: diri_school.latin AT unibo.it

Recreating the Lituus

Although the BBC article only mentions Rome in passing, some folks have done the computer thang and have recreated what the Lituus might have sounded like, at least in the context of one of the last pieces written (by Bach) for the instrument which fell into desuetude a few centuries ago. Listen to it here (perhaps to recover from the Death Metal mentioned below …).

UPDATE (a little later): make sure you read Ajax’ comment …

Classical Effects

The incipit of a piece by Jonathan Tepperman in Newsweek:

In 1942, a little-known Michigan-born journalist living in Europe decided to write a cookbook of sorts. Her name was M.F.K. Fisher, and the result, How to Cook a Wolf, was less a collection of recipes than a guide to, and a fierce defense of, eating well when the world was at war, food was scarce and the proverbial wolf was “snuffling at the door.” Fisher was adamant that, whatever the circumstances, one must try to exist as richly as possible. As she later told an interviewer, “One has to live, you know. You can’t just die from grief or anything. You don’t die. You might as well eat well, have a good glass of wine, a good tomato.”

I’ve been thinking about Fisher a lot lately. While the wolf has not yet reached the threshold again, she’s been sighted in the neighborhood and can be heard baying up the empty canyons of Wall Street. Which makes advice like Fisher’s as important now as it was 60 years ago. For her point was not just that we should struggle to live well for the sake of the struggle. It was that, when conditions are rough, finding comfort—whether in a tomato or a lovingly prepared meal—is especially important, both to salve our wounds and to remind ourselves of our humanity.

It’s a lesson I first learned about a decade ago. The circumstances were far less astringent and romantic than occupied France, but the grub was almost as bad. I was a student living on a narrow budget in England, before Cool Brittania made the U.K. part of Europe again, bringing cappuccino and tapenade even to remote academia. Back then the dorms were cold, the plumbing erratic and the dining-hall food comically bad, either gray or beige and fat or starch. Albion was still the land of dishwater coffee, the chip butty (a french-fry sandwich) and bacon dinners. I’d come to study law and was overwhelmed by the course load and losing weight so rapidly I was eating two chocolate bars a day to keep my pants up. And then I fell in love, and everything changed.

She studied Latin poetry and was strong-willed, beautiful and brilliant—and a maniacal cook, who fed me candied ginger the first time we had tea (who knew there was such a thing?) and soon started serving me elaborate, exquisite meals. Then the rules shifted and I soon found myself drafted into twice-weekly shopping trips and nightly kitchen duty. At first, panicked at the library hours I was losing, I resented this drudgery deeply; not helping never seemed an option. But it wasn’t long before I realized, over a forkful of wild Scottish trout, a plate of orrechiette with rapini and sausage or a post-dinner glass of vin santo, that this extraordinary food and the time spent preparing it wasn’t undermining my work—it was enabling it. Left to my own devices and an institutional menu of mushy peas, I wouldn’t have lasted a full term. The classicist showed me how to slow down and live better. I succumbed to it and Oxford’s other eccentric charms—like inkwells in the libraries, the white-tie ensemble we wore for exams or the bicycles we rode everywhere (often while wearing white tie). I made room and time for the Good Life, and the Good Life saved me.

The classicist is long gone, despite my obedient kitchen servitude and the stock-pot I bought her for Valentine’s Day (which she took with her). But her lesson sticks with me. […]

Sound like a Classicist I know, but then again, what do I know …

Ex Deo: Romulus

Even if you’re not a fan of Death Metal, classicist types should find the imagery of the title track of Ex Deo’s latest Roman-themed project of interest:

Exclaim (to whom I tip my pileus) also includes a list of tracks on the album (do they call them albums any more?):

1. “Romulus”
2. “Storm the Gates of Alesia”
3. “Cry Havoc”
4. “In Her Dark Embrace”
5. “Invictus”
6. “The Final War (Battle of Actium)”
7. “Legio XIII”
8. “Blood, Courage and the God’s That Walk the Earth”
9. “Cruor Nostri Abbas”
10. “Surrender The Sun”
11. “The Pantheon (Jupiter’s Reign)”

Seasick Seneca

Not sure why this is in the Guardian‘s weather pages, actually … perhaps it’s a sidebar to something:

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, mentor to the boy emperor Nero, had let himself be persuaded to travel by sea. "The sea was quite calm when we set off. The sky was certainly heavily overcast, with the kind of dark clouds that generally break into a squall or downpour," he writes in Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics 1969).

"I thought it would be perfectly feasible to make it across the few miles from your Parthenope to Puteoli. And so, with the object of getting the crossing over quicker, I headed straight for Nesis over the open water to cut out all the intervening curves of coastline. Now when I had got so far across that it made no odds whether I went on or turned back, first of all the smoothness which had tempted me to my undoing disappeared. There was no storm as yet, but a heavy swell was running by then and the waves were steadily getting rougher. I began asking the helmsman to put me ashore somewhere. He kept saying the coast was a rugged one without a haven anywhere and that there was nothing he feared quite so much in a storm as a lee shore. I was in far too bad a way, though, for any thought of possible danger to enter my head, as I was suffering the torments of that sluggish brand of seasickness that will not bring one relief, the kind that upsets the stomach without clearing it." The great Stoic settled his queasiness by diving overboard and swimming across the squally waters to the shore.

The letter is Epistulae Morales 6.53, for those of you scoring at home. It actually goes beyond what is quoted above and includes some snippets from the Aeneid