Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for December 5, 2022

Hodie est Non. Dec 2775 AUC ~ 12 Poseideion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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In this story, inspired by Homer and Sophocles, Benjamin Howell introduces us to Diomedes and Odysseus who are en route to visit an old acquaintance – his name is Philoctetes… The Fox Who Charmed The Snake was narrated by the University of Edinburgh’s Professor Douglas Cairns, Chair of the Classical Association Council and a Fellow of the British Academy.

The princeps is dead, long live the princeps. The year is 54 C.E. The emperor Claudius has just died, and a new Claudius has come to take his place – a fictional Claudius straight from the pages of Seneca the Younger’s Apocolocyntosis Divi Claudii, whose boundless cruelty is rivalled only by his own mind-numbing obliviousness. What is Seneca trying to achieve? How does this reflect on Nero? And most bafflingly of all, what’s with all the gourds?

Join Anna and Amber on a tour of third millennium BCE Mesopotamia, where they explore the Royal Tombs of Ur. It has everything: musical instruments, very extra jewelry looks, a Great Death Pit (!), a famous excavator with a flair for the dramatic, even a surprise find nearly a century later in a museum basement. Who was buried there? What makes these tombs so special? What did Sumerian music sound like? How great was that death pit?

Anna and Amber rummage around on the floor of history’s closet to bring you a brief history of shoes from around the world! Learn why caves in the southwestern USA are full of shoes. Find a shoe museum near you for some sole-searching. Enjoy a description of Anna’s favorite goofy historical fashion statement. All this and more!

Kick off Women’s History Month with a show all about some of the earliest representations of women in art! Anna introduces us to the Venus of Willendorf and her curvy comrades, and shares a research study with very modern take on ancient art. Meanwhile Amber bursts our bubble about the matriarchy and goddess religions in Old Europe, and discusses goddess worshippers of past and present at Çatalhöyük in present-day Turkey. Or, as Amber would insist we call it this month, Her-key.

Here at The Dirt, we talk a lot about the things that people leave behind, but we’ve not spent much time talking about what’s left behind of the people themselves. That changes this week, when Anna and Amber discuss excavating, storing, studying, and selling archaeological human remains, and take a look at some of the legal and ethical challenges involved. Content note: this episode contains descriptions of violence done to deceased people and discussion of trafficked human remains.

Most famously known as the birth place of Jesus, Bethlehem has been immortalised in texts, carols, and imagery across history. But prior to the arrival of Jesus and the nativity, Bethlehem had a vibrant, and unexpected history. Located south of Jerusalem in the West Bank, Bethlehem was home to famous figures such as King David and was eventually a favourite spot of Roman Emperor Constantine I. But how do we know about all these figures – and what else is there left to learn? In today’s episode, Tristan is joined by Professor Joan Taylor to help illuminate Bethlehem’s hidden past. Looking at what the archaeology can tell us about this noteworthy settlement, and helping to separate fact from fiction – Joan offers a new take on this ancient village.

How did gladiators take hold in Rome? Where did they come from and how was their use moulded by the big political events of the 1st century BC? In this episode I get into this and other aspects such as a few myths and their fighting stats.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends mangy diseases.

… 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)