Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for October 13, 2022

Hodie est a.d. III Id. Oct. 2775 AUC ~ 18 Pyanepsion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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In July 1799 a group of French soldiers stumbled upon a stone that was set to change our understanding of the ancient world. The iconic Rosetta Stone, a stela or inscribed slab, was dug up in the foundations of a fort in the town of Rasheed – a port city east of Alexandria. The Stone was central in kickstarting antiquarians such as Jean-Francois Champollion and Thomas Young down the path of unlocking ancient Egypt’s enigmatic language within just c.20 years of the Stone’s rediscovery. Today, it ranks amongst the most famous artefacts in the world. So what exactly is it? And what does it say? To explain the Rosetta Stone and so much more, Tristan interviews Dr Ilona Regulski, curator of the British Museum’s new exhibition ‘Hieroglyphs Unlocking Ancient Egypt’. Looking at the hieroglyph script and how it was deciphered, alongside key figures in the race to decipherment, such as Jean-Francois Champollion, Thomas Young, William Bankes, it’s an event not to be missed.

We return to the year 437 BCE and the exploits of Aulus Cornelius Cossus. Cossus came to our attention in the aftermath of the colony of Fidenae’s decision to switch their allegiances from Rome to the Etruscans. In this stressful time, the Romans had appointed Mamercus Aemilius as dictator. He led the Roman forces into battle, and it was here that the military tribune of the hour, Cossus, distinguished himself.

In 1942, a forest ranger was hiking on an isolated trail deep in the Himalayas. Rising over 16,000 feet in elevation, he climbed a ridge that looked down a steep-sided funnel of ice and boulders. At the bottom was a small, perfectly circular glacial lake, frozen in a solid blue lens. And there, strewn about the icy, rocky beach, lay skeletons. Hundreds of skeletons. Nobody knew whose bones they were. Theories and folklore would proliferate over the years, but the mystery would remain—and the more scientists found out about Skeleton Lake, the more the mystery deepened.

Andreas, Clara et Ilsa de anno integro praeterito, de rebus novis deque “imposter syndrome” colloquimur anniversarium nostrum huius seriei celebrantes! Suntne episodia nostra quae praecipue vobis placuerunt? Suntne episodii genera quae audire vultis? Vosne etiam patimini eadem ac nos quod ad nobis minus credendum pertineat? Fac nos certiores per ligamina quae infra describuntur! Gratias maximas vobis agimus quod nostris inceptis per unum integrum annum favetis!

In this episode, I’m exploring the beautiful and powerful Ara Pacis.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends successful business and commerce with prosperity as a result. If someone controls the government with a heavy hand, they will not be strong for very long.

… 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)