Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for February 1, 2023

Hodie est Kal. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 11 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

In the News

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Fresh Podcasts

The Iron Age Mediterranean’s new density of connections between people and places was about more than the economy and trade; it also remade the culture of the whole region, bringing new ideas and practices – such as wine-drinking and the alphabet – across its entire expanse. Professor Tamar Hodos is one of the world’s leading experts on the Iron Age Mediterranean, and she joins me to talk about archaeology, globalization, and the tools we can use to understand the past.

“The Nineveh Wall has been restored and all the commercial developments surrounding it have been stopped.”

This is the city, Uruk. I was working the day shift out of the Eanna Temple when the call came in about a missing sheep and tunic. We picked up the perp pretty quickly and he started to sing, so we rolled up 39 of his pals. But word came down that the great and the good were putting up bail. That’s when the king got involved and things got interesting.

This week, Anna has some big questions about the Pleiades, a group of bright, beautiful stars also known as the Seven Sisters. The myth of seven sisters that were turned into stars is remarkably consistent across multiple cultures. Also, it’s always seven sisters, even though you can really only make out six with the naked eye. So what’s going on? IS IT ALIENS?? No, of course not. It’s much more interesting than that. Tune in to learn just how long humans have been telling each other stories under the stars.

In this episode we talk to the authors of two new books on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Latin epic poem he wrote in 8 CE. Stephanie McCarter has published a new translation of the poem, and Gareth Williams has written a short interpretive introductory work on the epic to go with the Columbia Core Curriculum. We talked with both of them about the way Ovid fits into contemporary society, what considerations there are when teaching this epic, and the joys and difficulties of engaging with Ovid’s poetic brilliance.

How does the presence of a cultural heritage site on the battlefield change wartime decision making? In 1944, as Allied generals postponed an attack on an Axis stronghold—located at the culturally important Catholic abbey Monte Cassino—they had to consider the potential for loss of life, the cultural significance of the abbey, the negative propaganda they would face for attacking a religious site, and the possible strategic alternatives to an all-out attack. Political scientists Ron E. Hassner and Scott D. Sagan make the case that the presence of cultural heritage sites is always an important consideration for troops in both offensive and defensive positions—even in cases where those sites are ultimately destroyed. In this episode, hosted by former Getty President Jim Cuno, Hassner and Sagan discuss battles from WWII through the current war in Ukraine to explore how politicians and military officials think about cultural heritage sites during times of war.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends war and the downfall of wealthy men.

… 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)