#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for February 27, 2021

Hodie est pr. Kal. Mart. 2774 AUC ~ 16 Anthesterion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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Throughout the three centuries of Ptolemaic control over Egypt, their dynasty can be best described as having a split identity. Ruling from Alexandria, the new intellectual and cultural capital of the Greek-speaking world, the Ptolemies were very much Hellenistic kings and queens. But Egypt was an ancient land, and they needed to come to terms with the pharaonic tradition that had dominated Egyptian life for the better part of 3,000 years. As the longest reigning dynasty in Egyptian history, the Ptolemies adopted the role and iconography of the pharaoh to great success. They were also capable of developing new ways to project their power, whether through the establishment and promotion of royal cults and new deities like Serapis, or incorporating the image of splendor and abundance as part of their propaganda. In this episode, we will see how the Ptolemies successfully legitimized their rule in the eyes of both Greeks and Egyptians alike.

Toby Wilkinson, author of A World Beneath the Sands, gives a lecture on the men and women whose obsession with Egypt’s ancient civilisation drove them to uncover its secrets in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He reveals how their work helped to enrich and transform our understanding of the Nile valley and its people, and left a lasting impression on Egypt, too.

Shushma Malik discusses some of the most admired and reviled Roman emperors, and considers whether the legends surrounding them stand up to scrutiny In the latest in our series tackling the big questions on major historical topics, historian Shushma Malik responds to your questions on some of the most admired and reviled Roman emperors, and considers whether the legends surrounding them stand up to scrutiny.

Are we all living in ancient Rome? Because it kind of feels that way to us. We’re joined by Jenny Williamson, co-host of Ancient History Fangirl, to dig into how weirdly familiar gender and sexuality were 2 millennia ago in ancient Rome, and how a lot of those ideas were passed down to use today (hint: it was colonization). Along the way, we hit a lot of questions about public bathrooms and underwear, why the Roman public was so nosy about sexual positions, and dark foundational myths that kept Roman women “in line.” We visit gender-bending religious cults and their roles in slave uprisings, a mermaid goddess and feminist ducks, and our favorite Roman women: Vulvia and Cervixia. And, hey, if you don’t want to live in constant fear of slave revolts, maybe don’t build a colonial empire on slavery? Just a thought.

304 – 232 BCE – One of history’s most profoundly affected emperors who would have to turn to religion in order to combat his guilt.  Find out how Ashoka affected Buddhism and how Buddhism affected Ashoka.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends abundance, but also the arising of a disease-bearing wind.

… 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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