#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for February 18, 2021

Hodie est a.d. XII Kal. Mart. 2774 AUC ~ 6 Anthesterion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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This rant was inspired by an unfortunately and timely experience in my own teaching. Have a listen, and a think. I only hope I’ve done this topic justice. (There’s a lengthy reading list for this episode on the website, to continue discussion of the topic.)

In this episode, we discuss Troy: Fall of a City episodes 4, 5, and 6, and how they handled THE ENTIRE PLOT OF THE ILIAD. Yes, in only three episodes of television. Spoilers: it was pretty bad. Feat. translation theory, Julia’s continued strong opinions about Achilles, and Allison’s favourite piece of pottery!

Dramatically placed on a plateau with drops of 400m to the east and 90m to the west, Masada translates from Hebrew as fortress. It became just that when Herod the Great built a magnificent palace complex upon it between 37 and 31 BC, the remains of which are in fantastic shape today. But the site isn’t only notable for its connection to the bible-famed King of Judaea. Masada was also the stronghold of some of the survivors of a Jewish revolt and, in response, the locus of a Roman siege in the early 70s AD. For this first of two parts, Tristan, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, spoke to Jodi Magness from the University of North Carolina. Jodi co-directed the 1995 excavations of the Roman siege works at Masada, and in this episode, she tells Tristan about the archaeological findings at the site, many of which are still visible to the untrained eye.

Palmyra features in headlines today as a casualty of IS destruction, but during its heyday it was a monumental city set on an oasis in the Syrian desert. First mentioned in the second millennium BC, it gained wealth from the caravan trade which moved goods across the desert. What makes it unique, however, is not its wealth but its multicultural, multilingual nature. Buildings in Palmyra featured inscriptions in Greek and Palmyrene and, after becoming a subject of the Roman Empire in the first century AD, Latin. To find out more about this beautiful site, Tristan spoke to Ted Kaizer from Durham University. Ted is Senior Lecturer in Roman Culture and History, and takes us through the growth of Palmyra, its position on the crossroads of cultures and whether or not it was really subject to Roman rule.

The living at Hadrian’s Wall wasn’t as austere as you might think for those stationed there–especially in the beginning. Merchants flocked from all over the Empire to sell their wares to soldiers with regular paychecks. But conditions changed drastically in the decades and centuries after Hadrian died. New Emperors–Antoninus Pius, Diocletian, Septimius Severus, and others–would all leave their mark on the Wall and its territory. This week, we’re going to talk about what became of the Wall—and those who lived there—after Hadrian’s death.

The First Decemvirate was a big success, so much so that Rome opts for a Second Decemvirate! The decemvirs were popular figures in Rome and during 451 BCE they produced the Ten Tables. This initial set of law codes was positively received by the population, but there was something missing… MORE LAWS! But it isn’t too long before some red flags appear… Episode 110 – The Mask Comes Off Wait a Second… Decemvirate Appius Claudius campaigns hard to get himself re-elected, along with some of his patrician buddies. There are also some new and unusual names that appear in the list for the Second Decemvirate – we might have some plebeian magistrates on the team. Gasp! As soon as they are confirmed in their positions, the charismatic, approachable and charming Appius reveals his true self and his real intentions. Tyranny! Life in Rome quickly becomes extremely unpleasant for everyone as the decemvirs and their thugs flex their muscles, but it’s especially tough if you are one of the less privileged persons in the populace. This a dark time for Rome. Join us to find out how they deal with the infamous Second Decemvirate!

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a heavy wind and the appearance of boils on humans.

… 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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