Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for February 17, 2023

Hodie est a.d. XIII Kal. Mart. 2776 AUC ~ 27 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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In this episode we hear about three fascinating research projects on wrecks discovered under the Mediterranean. Presented as part of the Under the Med conference in Malta these projects include a Roman cargo ship, the remains of an ancient sea battle off the Egadi Islands, and a 16th century merchant ship off Croatia. The team delve in to the archaeology and the archives to tell the stories of our ancient past.

This episode contains graphic references. Aphrodite is the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology. Her origin story is one of the more colourful ones, being born from the foam of Uranus’s castrated genitals. Her life is no less dramatic, and one where love and war are intimately connected. She is unhappily married to the son of Zeus and Hera, Hephaestus, yet carries on her affair with Ares, God of War, and her competitive relationship with Hera and Athena results in the beginning of the Trojan War. In this episode, Tristan Hughes is joined by host of the Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! podcast, Liv Albert. Together they discuss Aphrodite’s origin in both myth and what she shares with warrior goddesses from other ancient cultures, as well as her most famous myths, and how she’s become one of the most iconic deities history has ever known.

“Alexander’s Companion cavalry seemed to be the premier cavalry of its age, and was instrumental in the battles against the Persian empire. Why is it then, under the Successor Kingdoms’ Generals, that they faired so poorly when confronting the inferior Roman cavalry? Was it due to the lack of Alexander himself, poor training, or just the professionalism of the Roman Legion?” Murray gives us his thoughts…

Americānī rēs sibi ignōtās dīsiciunt

Thermopylae. The title is synonymous with a bygone age of glory, bravery and defiance. It is an event entirely pivotal to the Spartan story and indeed, of this podcast as well. The events at the hot gates were one of the few natural places a chronological history of the Spartans would assuredly cover. It would be fair to say I dragged it out for as long as possible, well we are here now. I’m joined by Professor Paul Cartledge who is without a doubt the greatest living expert on Sparta, there could be no one more fitting to discuss this topic with. With his customary eloquence, breathtaking knowledge and passion for Laconia he takes us through those 3 fateful days that saw Leonidas and his brave 300 write their Polis’ legend into the annals of history. There were of course others who stood with the Spartans at the pass, but although mentioned, this isn’t the podcast for their story. With the Professors help we zero in on the facts and the myth making that has made Thermopylae one of the most recognizable events of all those that have come down to us.

Liv speaks with fellow podcaster Julia Perroni about the (possibly) Spartan poet Alcman and his poem dedicated to the young women of Sparta, the First Partheneion.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a very fruitful summer.

… 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)