#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for December 11, 2020

Hodie est a.d. III Id. Dec. 2772 AUC ~ 26 Maimakterion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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Who would literally get cheese or die trying? Who thought that walls were for wimps? Which crazed military society was the best place to be for an ancient Greek woman? It’s surprising Sparta! Strap on your armour of inquiry and join our phalanx!

In this episode, I recount the causes, battles, and effects of the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans from 66 to 70 A.D. I will describe, in detail, the siege of Jerusalem, and the subsequent bloodbath that followed.

This week’s episode starts off with an update on a enigmatic Latin-Punic inscription mentioned a few weeks ago in the Sulcis episode. Then we dive into the site of Complutum, located near Madrid in the town of Alcalá de Henares. The remains here include…

‘I’m Spartacus!’ In the field of epic film making, the 1960 historical drama ‘Spartacus’, is legendary. Directed by Stanley Kibrick, adapted from the Howard Fast novel by Red Scare blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, and starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov and Jean Simmons; it is a classic. But how much of the plot has emerged from the true story of a Thracian gladiator and slave who escaped his Roman captors and led an unsuccessful but impressive rebellion against their oppressors? How much of the film’s message was formed by the personalities involved in its creation, and the context in which it was made. In her own words, Dr Fiona Radford devoted years of her life to the man with the most memorable chin cleft in the world – Kirk Douglas, specifically as Spartacus. Her thesis traced the production history of this film, examining in particular the effect that the turbulent process had on the portrayal of female characters. Having taught at Macquarie University, ANU and the University of Sydney, she currently teaches history at secondary school level, and her conversation with Tristan in this episode is an eye-opener to 1950s film making as well as the legend of Spartacus.

A sturdy set of walls is a powerful deterrent: that’s why ancient empires devoted so much time to understanding how to best build (and break down) these defensive structures. The team discuss the vol.XIV-3 of the magazine, Breaking Down the Walls: Fortifications and Siege Warfare.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a hot summer and plenty of imports from foreign countries.

… 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)

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