#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for November 25, 2021

Hodie est a.d. VII Kal. Dec. 2774 AUC ~ 21 Maimakterion in the first year of the 700th Olympiad

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This is simultaneously an excavation of both Imperial Rome and late 60’s Italian cinema. Joined by the amazing Sarah E. Bond and Gregory Hays, we dig into Frederico Fellini’s dreamlike, even frenetic, adaptation of the Satyricon by Petronius. This is a film which has a lot of offer when it comes to classical reception. In lieu of ‘historically accuracy’ (if we care about such things), Fellini presents us with a fantastical and at times unnerving vision of ancient Rome. In some ways, Fellini Satyricon is the true embodiment of how we receive both Petronius’ work and the ancient world at large: fragmentary, perplexing and often unknowable. Final Verdict (courtesy of SEB): Watch more movies! Care less about accuracy!

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of Plato’s most striking dialogues, in which he addresses the real nature of power and freedom, and the relationship between pleasure and true self-interest. As he tests these ideas, Plato creates powerful speeches, notably from Callicles who claims that laws of nature trump man-made laws, that might is right, and that rules are made by weak people to constrain the strong in defiance of what is natural and proper. Gorgias is arguably the most personal of all of Plato’s dialogues, with its hints of a simmering fury at the system in Athens that put his mentor Socrates to death, and where rhetoric held too much sway over people.

Despite inspiring desire of all kinds in people of all genders, Aphrodite herself is often depicted as a cisgender woman. But not always. Ancient writers tell us of mystery cults that worshipped Aphrodite as a transgender woman–or perhaps as nonbinary or intersex. And when you delve into her most ancient roots, there’s an even older tradition of worship led by transgender priestesses.

What happens when a bunch of archaeologists start drinking bourbon and let their graying hair down? It’s an after hours edition with the one and only Professor James Hardin, who rather charmingly, can’t stay on script. He takes us to some surprising places, including some related to archaeological storytelling.

Classical Greece and Rome have long been intertwined with colonialism. India was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and there were extensive trade and cultural contacts between South Asia and the Mediterranean region. When British colonial rule began in India, one of the frames through which Britons viewed the region was that of Greek and Roman antiquity: they imagined themselves following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great or legendary Roman conquerors. In this episode, Shivaike Shah speaks to Professor Phiroze Vasunia from University College London about the rich and fascinating connections between antiquity, Britain and India in the era of modern colonialism. Their discussions range from Macaulay’s ‘Minute’ on Indian education, to Gandhi’s interest in Greek philosophy and the British scholarly obsession with Indian cultures.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a dangerous war.

… 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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