#Thelxinoe ~ Weekend Edition November 24, 2019

Hodie est  VIII Kal. Nov. 2772 AUC ~ 28 Maimakterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

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Crossover time! We’re joined by Scott Lepisto, of the Itinera Podcast, in a conversation at the SoundEducation podcasting conference in Boston. We talked about the conference itself, the use of podcasting in classrooms, and the importance of public-facing scholarship in Classics and Medieval Studies. And please check out Scott’s podcast, in which he interviews classicists about their work and their journey to and through the field!

Ubi Sum Hodie? In urbe quadam mirissima antiquissima pulcherrima!

The Athenian historian Thucydides observed and chronicled the greatest military conflict of his day: the epic contest between Athens and Sparta known as the Peloponnesian War (431-404BC). Much more than just a straightforward history, his work is a study of the struggle between democracy and oligarchy, as well as a meditation on the dangers of populism and political polarization. Perhaps for this reason, Thucydides’ work has experienced a surge in popularity over recent years as polarization and civil strife have spread throughout the developed world.

In this episode we are joined by Emily Greenwood, professor of classics at Yale University and author of Thucydides and the Shaping of History. Our conversation covers Thucydides’ historical context, his ambition and purpose in writing his history, his insights and blindspots, and his relevance to our world.
Stick around at the end of the episode for a chance to win an autographed edition of Thucydides and the Shaping of History.

Landscape Modery

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Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends that a security post will uncover enemy incursions for the state.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

Barry Baldwin ~ Herodotean Hat-Trick

Reprinted with kind permission of Barry Baldwin himself, who years ago had to endure yours truly as a student. Errors in transcription naturally accrue to the latter.

Justin Marozzi’s splendid The Way of Herodotus, 2008 (potted version, Spectator, 21 Nov 2009) inspires updated expansion of my previous (FT179:16, 180:18) inspections. Further impetus from the Herodotus-loving character in Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient, and the film thereof.

(Page references to Penguin translation; Herodotus (below) is abbreviated to H).

80-1: H’s claim, often doubted, that the Etruscans were descended from Lydia (Turkish Anatolia), is vindicated by geneticists’ studies of mitochondrial DNA from Tuscan residents and cattle.

214: H’s previously unattested story that Persian King Cambyses’s army was engulfed by a sandstorm as they picnicked in Egypt’s Western Desert is allegedly confirmed by the recent excavations of Italian archæologists Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni (FT261:22-23).

246-7: H’s gold-digging Indian ants are explained by French anthropologist Michel Peissel as the Himalayan marmots that dwell in Pakistani Kashmir, from whose burrows the locals gather gold [FT97:9); cf. ER Bevan, ‘India in Early Greek & Latin Literature, in (ed. EJ Rapson) Ancient India (CUP, 1922), pp396-424 for rationalisation of similar Indian stories.

275: H accepts Aristeas’s poetic account of the Griffins that guarded Northern tribes’ gold (a commonplace in ancient literature and art – FT170:50-55), a tale now explained as folklore preserving the memory of some indigenous prehistoric beast.

332: A spring at Siwa is strangely cold by day, extraordinarily hot by midnight, a claim repeated by many authors down to Augustine (City of God, bk21 ch5), not realising that it was the desert air that underwent such dramatic temperature changes.

Herodotus would have enjoyed the local tourist come-on that Antony and Cleopatra bathed naked in it. Likewise, the modern claim that Queen Artemisia (she built the Mausoleum) sprinkled hubbie’s ashes into her wine before fucking, to have his dead body inside her.

221: Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, flung a valuable ring into the sea, only to discover it in the belly of a fish served at dinner. Fort (Books, p864) concedes: “It could be that once upon a time somebody did get a ring back fishwise.”

Herodotus himself frequently rationalises guides’ yarns. For instance, he (280-1) explained the supposed thick falls of feathers in Scythia as simply heavy snow – a winter in Canada would have reinforced this conclusion.

So far, so sober. FT readers’ thoughts on the following are invited:

112: Athene’s priestess at Pedasus thrice warned inhabitants of impending danger by growing a beard.

403: Many of the 20,000 Persian sailors wrecked at Athos were devoured by local sea monsters – perhaps ancestors of the famous modern monks.

241-2: Darius was elected King when his horse neighed at the spot it had previously mounted a mare, this portent enhanced by thunder and lightning from a clear sky.

536: Coming to loot the Temple at Delphi, Xerxes’s soldiers were frightened off by sacred weapons moving spontaneously, a strange cry from within the shrine, a hail of thunderbolts, and for good measure two crushingly huge boulders from Mount Parnassus.

Lots of sex in Herodotus: Nasamonian brides gang-banged before wedding (329); Babylonians fumigate their genitals after sex (121); Cheops’s prostitute daughter (179) builds the second Giza pyramid from bricks, one per customer – considering its size (447 feet high, 690 square footage), she was a busy girl.

“There is a fictional coloration to every body’s account of an ‘actual occurrence’, and there is at least the lurk somewhere of what is called the actual’ in everybody’s yarn” – Fort,  p864.

Classical Corner 144: Fortean Times 282 (December, 2011), p. 19.

#Thelxinoe ~ Your Morning Salutatio for November 22, 2019

Hodie est  X Kal. Nov. 2772 AUC ~ 26 Maimakterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

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… slow day

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In this chapter of Season 2, we’ll meet the women who lived amid this ancient-world juggernaut. Many are Roman citizens: the wives and daughters and sisters of influential men who use every tool at their disposal to leave a lasting mark on their fast-changing world—and to survive its cutthroat rules about what women were allowed to do and be. Others are foreigners who refuse to bow to the ever-expanding Empire, fighting against it with both cunning and spears. We will explore the events and laws they had to navigate, the intrigues and wars in which they had a hand. And as always, we’ll try to understand what life was like in ancient Rome for women: what did it look like through their eyes? Lucky for us, we have some expert time traveling companions. 

“Hi. I’m Dr. Rad. I’m a specialist in all things Spartacus and historical films. And I am Dr. G. I’m an expert on ancient Rome, particularly ancient priestesses. And then even more particularly, the Vestal Virgins. And together we host a podcast called The Partial Historians.”

By all accounts, Caligula was extremely popular with the people, as his father, Germanicus, had been. Suetonius reports that Caligula was “the emperor most earnestly desired”. When he entered Rome, the celebrations are said to have gone on for almost three months, and more than 160,000 animals were sacrificed—and eaten.

Book Reviews

Dramatic Receptions

Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a year of prosperity.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

#Thelxinoe ~ Your Morning Salutatio for November 21, 2019

Hodie est  XI Kal. Nov. 2772 AUC ~ 25 Maimakterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

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Public Facing Classics

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Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends death for mice and an abundance of both grain and pasture fodder, and plenty of fish.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

#Thelxinoe ~ Your Morning Salutatio for November 20, 2019

Hodie est  XII Kal. Nov. 2772 AUC ~ 24 Maimakterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Classicists and Classics in the News

Public Facing Classics

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Fresh Podcasts

Enjoy this bonus episode of the Endless Knot with Aven McMaster and Mark Sundaram recorded at Sound Education 2019!

Hello everyone! Despite the title of the episode we will wrap up the lives of Germanicus, Maroboduus, and Arminius.  Three important characters who played a significant role in the reestablishment of the Roman Northern border and only one of them will live 10 years afterwards.  We will be discussing the price paid by these three and the immediate aftermath within Germania after the Roman threat is no more.

Tres amici de signis hiemis advenientis colloquuntur.

Book Reviews

Dramatic Receptions

Professional Matters

Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a brief famine.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)