#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for July 6, 2021

Hodie est pr. Non. Jul. 2774 AUC ~ 26 Skirophorion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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A day after Independence Day in the US, we investigate the history of the name “America” and two related cocktails, with some side trips into the sack of Rome in 410 CE and the use of the Fall of Rome as a historical parallel for the United States. This episode completes our mini series on country names, in the season of national holidays in north America.

Socrates thinks that poetry is like candy: delicious but bad for us. If we consume too much, it’ll rot our souls. That’s because the poets just pander to our passions with no concern with or knowledge of the truth. But pandering poets aren’t the problem. It’s us. Socrates thinks that humans have a poetic sweet tooth that makes certain kinds of stories irresistible to us. We let ourselves get carried away by them and start to believe that they’re true. Following our natural taste for art undermines reason and makes us into worse people. So how do we live if we can’t trust our taste?

Honorary Research Fellow at Durham University, Dr Kathryn Lomas, joins the show again to discuss what occurred with Rome during the interregnum between the First and Second Punic Wars (241-218 BCE).

Dividing Sicily from Italy, the Strait of Messina is a small stretch of water with an incredible history that stretches back to ancient times. It was likely here that the mythical sea monsters of Scylla and Charybdis were supposed to have wreaked havoc on Odysseus’ crew. It was an area of the ancient Mediterranean renowned for its whirlpools and vicious currents. And it was also on either side of this strait, that two ancient cities enjoyed a long and connected history: Rhegium and Messana. To shine a light on this waterway’s importance in antiquity, Tristan was delighted to be joined by Dustin Mackenzie from Macquarie University.

It is often the case that it is assumed that it was in ancient Greece and the eastern Mediterranean that was host to the foundation of European politics, culture, economics and engineering. But in fact, the development of sophisticated civilisations, writing cultures, complex technologies and sciences occurred over millennia in the fertile crescent in the ancient civilisations of Assyria, Sumer, Babylon and the Akkadian Empire. These are the crucible of our world today to champion this often-underappreciated part of human history Moudhy Al-Rashid an Assyriologist from Oxford University. She takes Dan through the history of this vitally important region, how and why writing developed, and why she thinks this part of history has often been neglected.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends fatal diseases affecting enslaved persons.

… 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)