#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for July 21, 2022

Hodie est a.d. XII Kal. Sex. 2775 AUC ~ 23 Hekatombion in the second year of the 700th Olympia

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In 128 B.C., an explorer and diplomat named Zhang Qian had arrived in the Ferghana Valley in modern Uzbekistan. As the first known Chinese visitor in Central Asia, he was originally tasked by the Han Emperor Wudi to seek an alliance with the Yuezhi nomads, who migrated to Bactria in the 130s and contributed to the collapse of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Though the alliance fell through, Zhang’s reports on the wealthy lands of “Daxia” and “Dayuan” tantalized the Emperor’s political ambitions, resulting in waves of Han embassies and armies being sent to the so-called “Western Regions”. A burgeoning trade network soon arose as East Asia and the Mediterranean worlds became ever closer, prompting expeditions by the Chinese to make contact with the mysterious Da Qin (Roman Empire), whose aristocrats demanded the goods produced by the equally mysterious “Seres” (“Silk Peoples”).

Known as the Eternal City, ancient Rome was one of the greatest civilisations in human history, but how did it come about? With a turbulent history of Kings, civil wars and imperial desires – Rome has an incredible history. But who founded it? Were Romulus and Remus real brothers fighting for their kingdoms, or did a Trojan hero found one of the mightiest Italian states? Recent archaeological discoveries indicate a far more complicated picture of Rome’s beginnings – but where does its mystic past fall into this new story? In this episode Tristan is joined by Professor Guy Bradley from Cardiff University to discover more about the origins of Rome around the 8th century B.C.

When you think of Artemis, what springs to mind? Perhaps it’s a fierce huntress with a bow and arrow, a sort of female Peter Pan—wild and untamed, haunting forests drenched in moonlight—a goddess who’s taken a stern vow of chastity, and refuses all company save that of her nymphs. That’s one version of Artemis—the Classical version. But there’s an older, wilder version that pulls back the curtain on a more ancient way of life in Greece. Join us as we explore who Artemis was, how she was worshipped, and how she evolved into a goddess who fit into the Classical Athenian idea of what an ‘eternal maiden’ should look like.

It is already become clichéd to say that the humanities are quickly losing in popularity around the world. For Eric Adler, steeped in the American academic environment, this discussion hits particularly close to home. He recounts a short anecdote that is symptomatic of the way the humanities are treated today:  an economics professor disparages them whilst a humanities professor flounders in finding an appropriate apology. In this domain, Adler concludes, the consensus seems to be that the humanities are not doing very well, to say the least. He laments, however, that various apologists of the humanities have been particularly short-sighted. Those wishing to cement the role of the humanities have rarely paid any attention in hindsight to the period before the 1960s. In contrast, Adler’s suggestion is to go further back in history and draw upon a highly relevant event of the late-19th century: the so-called Battle of the Classics. The term ‘Battle of the Classics’ refers to an intellectual dispute that took place in the US between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. It concerned the role that Ancient Greek and Latin played in American higher education at the time. While the traditionalists were trying to preserve the curriculum based mainly on the classics, their opponents were striving to enrich it with different subjects, from sciences to modern languages.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a brief disagreement among the common people.

… 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)