Classics Confidential | Gail Holst-Warhaft on Penelope’s Confession

The official description:

In this interview, Professor Gail Holst-Warhaft of Cornell University joined CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni to discuss her love of Greece (both ancient and modern), and to share with us how this life-long love affair found a creative outlet in her poetry collection Penelope’s Confession (Cosmos Books, 2007).


The Trilithon Stones of the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek … No Aliens Required

Interesting item over at PaleoBabble … not sure I’ve ever read of alien involvement in this context, but it doesn’t seem unlikely (i.e. that someone has suggested aliens had to do it because the stones are so darned big):

On the Roman Diet

Interesting item from the Independent in the last couple of days … here’s the incipit:

Whatever your Classics teacher said to wake up slackers at the back of the class, the Roman diet in ancient times was not always a blow-out of tender larks’ tongues and roasted flamingo followed by a medicinal visit to the vomitorium.

Standard fare came from whatever was available in the larder or by handing over a few sestertii coins at their equivalent of our local chippy or burger bar.

“Baked dormice and roast parrot were occasionally found on the menu,” says Mark Grant, who has spent a lifetime researching the everyday food of the Roman Empire. “But only a few wealthy and bored Romans indulged in such excesses, and even then only on high days and holidays.

“This gave moralists and satirists something to moan about. It was headline stuff which they wrote about at great length. Reading these accounts today is a bit like eating a TV snack while watching Heston Blumenthal on the telly, concocting something extraordinary out of jellyfish that we’d never dream of cooking at home.”

That’s one of the reasons why Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum, the sell-out exhibition at the British Museum, is so absorbing. It’s a snapshot in time, when Mount Vesuvius erupted AD79. Clouds of ash poured down from the sky, engulfing thousands of citizens in a tremendous blast of heat, fixing them at the moment of death.

Grant, 52, author of Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens, says: “The gold bracelet in the form of a coiled snake or the marble sculpture of the god Pan having sex with a she-goat are show-stoppers. But I go straight to the culina, or kitchen, with its equipment such as a colander or the pottery bottle for fish sauce. There are frescos showing a panel of fish, or a loaf of bread and two figs. […]

… by the way, I’ve reread that intro a thousand times and still am not sure if the journalist believes in the ‘vomitory’ interpretation of Roman banquets … just in case you’re keeping score at home, here be the comparanda

The National Archaeological Museum in WWII

Tip o’ the pileus to June Samaras on the Classics list who posted a very interesting link to an article about what the National Archaeological Museum did to protect all that wonderful stuff during World War Two … plenty o’ pix too (there might be some ‘inappropriate’ links to other articles):

Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews

  • 2013.04.55:  Edward McCrorie, Homer. The Iliad. Johns Hopkins new translations from antiquity. bmcr2
  • 2013.04.54:  Nils Rücker, Ausonius an Paulinus von Nola: Textgeschichte und literarische Form der Briefgedichte 21 und 22 des Decimus Magnus Ausonius. Hypomnemeta, Bd 190.
  • 2013.04.53:  Jacqueline de Romilly, The Mind of Thucydides (first published 1956). Cornell studies in classical philology.
  • 2013.04.52:  Marco Beretta, Francesco Citti, Lucia Pasetti, Seneca e le scienze naturali. Biblioteca di Nuncius. Studi e testi, 68.
  • 2013.04.51:  Marco Rocco, L’esercito romano tardoantico: persistenze e cesure dai Severi a Teodosio I. Studi e progetti.
  • 2013.04.50:  Yelena Baraz, A Written Republic: Cicero’s Philosophical Politics.
  • 2013.04.49:  Adeline Grand-Clément, La fabrique des couleurs. Histoire du paysage sensible des Grecs anciens (VIIIedébut du Ve siècle av. n. è.). De l’archéologie à l’histoire.
  • 2013.04.48:  Basil Dufallo, The Captor’s Image: Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis. Classical culture and society.
  • 2013.04.47:  Benjamin Fourlas, Die Mosaiken der Acheiropoietos-Basilika in Thessaloniki. Eine vergleichende Analyse dekorativer Mosaiken des 5. und 6. Jahrhunderts (2 vols.). Millennium-Studien 35.
  • 2013.04.46:  Nicolas Monteix, Les lieux de métier: boutiques et ateliers d’Herculanum. Collection du Centre Jean Bérard, 34.
  • 2013.04.45:  Henry Maguire, Nectar and Illusion: Nature in Byzantine Art and Literature. Onassis series in Hellenic culture.
  • 2013.04.44:  Christopher A. Faraone, F.S. Naiden, Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice: Ancient Victims, Modern Observers.
  • 2013.04.43:  Ray Laurence, Roman Archaeology for Historians.
  • 2013.04.42:  Christian Mann, Peter Scholz, “Demokratie” im Hellenismus: Von der Herrschaft des Volkes zur Herrschaft der Honoratioren? Die hellenistische Polis als Lebensform, 2.
  • 2013.04.41:  Anna Bonifazi, Homer’s Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-Making. Hellenic studies, 50.
  • 2013.04.40:  Erika Manders, Coining Images of Power: Patterns in the Representation of Roman Emperors on Imperial Coinage, A.D. 193-284. Impact of empire, 15.
  • 2013.04.39:  Jolivet on Sewell on Jolivet on Sewell, The Formation of Roman Urbanism.
    Response by Vincent Jolivet.