Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for February 13, 2023

Hodie est a.d. Id. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 23 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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Cleopatra VII is one of the most famous individuals from the ancient world. The final Queen of Ancient Egypt, and a woman who used her position to directly influence Roman politics and society, there’s more to her than Shakespeare plays would suggest. And while Cleopatra’s story ended in tragedy, what about her children who survived? Cleopatra Selene, named after her mother, is a story lost to history – the true, final ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, what do we know about her today? In this episode Tristan is joined by Dr Jane Draycott from the University of Glasgow, to learn about the astonishing life of this other Cleopatra. Cleopatra Selene II grew up during the last days of Ancient Egypt, and in Rome during the first years of its new Empire. She would go on to rule as Queen of Mauretania, becoming one of the most important women of the Augustan age. So what can we learn from Cleopatra Selene, and is it time she’s recognised as a giant of the ancient world?

“He was trapped – he couldn’t get up. There was blood everywhere. The faces were coming closer, the knives rose and fell. And then, to his relief, he saw Brutus.” One of the most iconic deaths in history, Caesar’s assassination is the brutal climax to an impressive series of victories: from triumphing during the First Triumvirate, to outlasting Pompey and Cato, gaining Imperator status and becoming dictator for life. How did it all come to such a gory end?

In this second episode on perhaps the most notorious assasination in world history, Tom and Dominic look at the bloody and chaotic aftermath of the death of Julius Caesar. They discuss the fate of the senators turned assassins, their failure to restore the institutions of the republic, and the ensuing civil war that brought about the first emperor of Rome.

The Lupercalia was literally run on on the 15th February in ancient Rome. Apart from the nudity, running and goathide thongs there’s a lot going on here. Indeed the Roman writers seem unsure of how it all started and in this episode I play detective in trying to work out how it started and what this tells us about Rome. I also talk about the festival itself and how it manifested as well as one famous instance involving the Lupercalia.

With Antiochus II’s death, it’s time for a recap episode! For the third time in our series, we’re sat around the metaphorical campfire, just as we did when we said our goodbyes to Seleucus I and Antiochus I. The empire may be transitioning from the third generation of Seleucid royalty to the fourth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a minute to reflect on the last fifteen years…

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends both abundance and political unrest.

… 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)