#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 21. 2021

Hodie est a.d. XII Kal. Feb. 2774 AUC ~ 8 Gamelion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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17. Strahil Panayotov: Assyrian eye medicineStrahil explains how Assyrian medicine worked. Who were the doctors and what did they do? Would their treatments have been effective? He discusses the problems caused by taxonomy. Different ideas about the…

For centuries, arguably the greatest external threat the Roman Empire faced came from the East. From the Sasanian Persian Empire. With its nucleus situated in Iran, at its height the Sasanian Empire was one of antiquity’s most formidable kingdoms, controlling lands that stretched from the Hindu Kush to the River Euphrates. Like the Romans, the Sasanians had to deal with various potential threats. From the north, from the lands of the steppe east and west of the Caspian Sea, nomadic peoples such as the Huns would become renowned for descending on Roman and Sasanian territories and wreaking havoc. And so, on the edges of their empire, the Sasanians constructed frontiers of various forms. For military purposes, yes. But also for economic and political purposes as will be explained. In this podcast, we’re going to look at some of these Sasanian frontiers. From a dominating fort a ‘top an alpine gorge in the Caucusus to a barrier that makes Hadrian’s Wall pale in comparison. To talk through this incredible topic, I was delighted to be joined by Dr Eve MacDonald from the University of Cardiff. Alongside her research on the Sasanian Empire and its frontiers, Eve has also done work surrounding the ancient history of Carthage and of North Africa. She is the author of ‘Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life’.

Hadrian’s Wall is a jaw-dropping engineering achievement stretching 73 miles across hundred-foot-high escarpments and rushing rivers, its earthworks dug deep into unforgiving igneous bedrock. It’s the largest Roman artifact in existence, and yet we still have no idea why it was built. It’s barely mentioned in the ancient sources, but in its rise and fall, you can trace the rise and fall of Roman Britain as a whole.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the plague that broke out in Constantinople 541AD, in the reign of Emperor Justinian. According to the historian Procopius, writing in Byzantium at the time, this was a plague by which the whole human race came near to being destroyed, embracing the whole world, and blighting the lives of all mankind. The bacterium behind the Black Death has since been found on human remains from that time, and the symptoms described were the same, and evidence of this plague has since been traced around the Mediterranean and from Syria to Britain and Ireland. The question of how devastating it truly was, though, is yet to be resolved. With John Haldon Professor of Byzantine History and Hellenic Studies Emeritus at Princeton University Rebecca Flemming Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge And Greg Woolf Director of the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends that the king who is hated by many will be the subject of a fatal plot.

… 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)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 20, 2021

Hodie est a.d. XIII Kal. Feb. 2774 AUC ~ 7 Gamelion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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Late August, 480 BC. The tension in the pass finally gives way to violence and for the first two days of battle the Persians learn their wicker wear can’t match Spartan discipline. Xerxes gets throne-hopping mad until a local traitor (Ephialtes – boo!) tells him of the mountain pass that will allow him to outflank the Greeks below. Leonidas has excruciating choices to make and resigns himself to death, but not before dropping a series of action hero one-liners that had Schwarzeneggar taking notes. So molon over, don’t linger in the labe, and rest easy—the bon mots in this one fly so thick you’ll be listening in the shade.

The Aeneid, by Virgil, is one of the great world epics. Inspired by, and modeled after, the Odyssey, it’s the story of Aeneas’s journey from burning Troy to found the Roman empire, and all bleeding ground, sad Cyclopes, and bellybutton-wolves he encounters along the way.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends an abundance of imports but also of respiratory 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)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 19, 2021

Hodie est a.d. XIV Kal. Feb. 2774 AUC ~ 6 Gamelion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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The life and deeds of the Persian king Cyrus the Great were recorded by awestruck ancient historians. Cyrus’s life was an inspiration to Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar … and he was praised in the Bible as ‘the anointed one’ for liberating the Jews of Babylon from their captivity. Today, some Israelis and evangelical Christians in the United States see fresh relevance in Cyrus’s story and have declared Donald Trump to be a modern-day ‘anointed one’

The Menaechmus Brothers is taken from a Greek new comedy original and via this version by Plautus was used by later dramatists, most notably Shakespeare. In the first half of this episode I summaries the plot that features identical twins and gets quite complicated and confusing for all concerned. I then discuss the weaknesses in the play and it’s more cynical outlook than seen in other plays by Plautus. A look at he naming of stock characters and some thoughts on the problematic female characters is followed by a look at the influence of the Saturnalia festival on the play. The theme of the identical twins is strong in the play and supported by other semantical elements in the structure and the Roman ideas of industria and voluptas.

Neoptolemus betrays Eumenes in Cappadocia, while the Coalition prepares to crush Royalist resistance in Asia Minor.

From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, history is littered with the building of barriers aimed at keeping people out, and sometimes in. Do they work? Are they ever a good thing? Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook climb walls and explore borders as they investigate the history of separation.

Tractantur quidam mores qui propter coniunctionem hiemis et coronaviri mutati sunt.

In this episode of Accessible Art History: The Podcast, I venture into the world of Neoclassical art. 

The first of a four part series on the Netflix original series Troy: Fall of a City, covering episode one of that show.   Two small corrections to things we said in this episode: first, women did sometimes give birth lying down. Second, there is some evidence to suggest that the Greeks did know about India as early as the Classical period (roughly the 500s BCE), but Alexander was the first substantial contact between the Mediterranean and India.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends victory for the king and the people will get the upper hand.

… 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)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 18, 2021

Hodie est a.d. XV Kal. Feb. 2774 AUC ~ 5 Gamelion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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Gosh, what a year this week has been! Don’t know about you, but we’re ready to Inception ourselves into wonderland, and live out our days in an idyllic ancient dreamworld That’s why today, somewhat hilariously, we bring you What A Wonderful World. Tune in to hear about ancient mythological places, and how the ancients used utopian worlds (anachronism, we know – apologies) to imagine their best lives and scrutinise their real ones. We take you on a whistlestop tour – thanks to a request from one of our listeners – of Atlantis, Cloudcuckooland and Arcadia before joining some surprising dots between the old and new. Who knew that Atlantis, Hobbiton, Stranger Things and Harry Styles all had something common? Same – we can’t tell you how often we’ve thought about that exact group of completely unrelated miscellaneous things!

At the Battle of Cannae, 2 August, 216 B.C., Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca administered one of Rome’s most crushing military defeats. Depending upon the ancient source, Roman losses on the Apulian battlefield numbered anywhere from roughly 50,000, as Livy relates, to around 70,000, as Polybius insists. Hannibal had enacted a double envelopment of the Roman army, a maneuver widely considered to be a tactical masterpiece that is to this day studied in war colleges around the world.

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Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends that foreign affairs will lead to a popular uprising.

… 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)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 17, 2021

Hodie est a.d. XVI Kal. Feb. 2774 AUC ~ 4 Gamelion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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This is the story of Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. Known to us as Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Or just “Nero”. On this episode, we ask – how is it possible that a man tutored and guided by one of the most famous Stoic philosophers, Seneca, would end up with the reputation as one of history’s worst tyrants?

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Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends the outbreak of non-fatal 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)