Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 9, 2023

Hodie est a.d. V Id. Ian. 2776 AUC ~ 18 Poseideion II in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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This week Jeff and Dave launch into the fascinating, often misunderstood world of Rome way, way back before there were Romans. As Aeneas readies for battle in the idyllic landscape, he needs some allies. So it’s off a-paddlin’ to Arcadia, where the rustic Greek king Evander and his momentous son Pallas make ready allies. While enjoying some old-fashioned hospitality, Evander tells our hero the long, digressive backstory of Greece’s mightiest avenger: Hercules. On the way back from rustlin’ Spanish cattle, Hercules got rustled himself by the smoke-belching Cacus. This troglodytic monster must be killed. But what does this mean for the epic as a whole and for Vergil’s view of the Pax Augusta? Well to find out, warm up your jerri-can of coffee, chill your bucket of Diet Coke, and tuck in for a classical repast past its prime not at all.

This episode contains references to sexual assault and terms for groups which were classified that way at the time. Hephaestus, son of Zeus and Hera, is the God of fire and foundry in Greek mythology. He is the only god with a disability, a part of his identity that becomes a double-edged sword. Often treated disparagingly by the rest of the Greek pantheon as a result, chiefly by his own mother, Hera, who in some versions of mythology throws him off Mount Olympus she’s so ashamed of him, it also becomes a key component of his wisdom and creativity, using his blacksmith powers for both good and bad. In this episode, Tristan Hughes is joined by University of Oxford’s Dr Steve Kershaw where together they discuss Hephaestus’s origin story, his controversial marriage to Aphrodite, and why in Dr Kershaw’s words, he is “the god that should never be underestimated”.

Egypt was a valuable province to Rome, with natural wealth and successful agriculture. Thanks to an arid climate there’s also a number of preserved papyri from that era, providing modern scholarship with an invaluable paper-trail on the administration at the time. One papyri has led to the belief that Augustus confiscated lands of the Egyptian temples, and ultimately the decline of Egypt’s religions. Andrew Connor is the author of Confiscation or Coexistence: Egyptian Temples in the Age of Augustus published by University of Michigan Press.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends danger for a king in the east.

… 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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