Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 30, 2023

Hodie est a.d. III Kal. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 9 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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“Who drives us to outrageous action? Is it some god, or does each man make of his own desire a god, which then drives him furiously to a violent end”? This is the question we consider this week as we turn to the final quarter of the epic (books 9-12). And we are treated to two surprising events: first, how the ships of the Trojans are transformed into mermaids, shocking Turnus and his gathered Rutulians. Juno is up to her old tricks, and sends along Iris the messenger to tell him not to worry, the Trojans will be trapped in Italy where they can be easy prey for the indigenous hero and his assorted forces. Aeneas is off-scene, still wandering through the regions of Arcadia, securing alliances with Evander and company. The second episode is the midnight raid of Nisus and Euryalus. In a nod to – or perhaps improvement upon – Homer’s Iliad 10 and the gruesome death of Dolon at the hands of Odysseus and Diomedes, Vergil here tells his own tragic story of two friends overtaken by greed and a desire for bloodlust. It’s not all grim, however. Along the way you can spot silos of Pringles™, the grit of Fig Newtons™, a brief excursion to the admittedly grim Battle of the Little Big Horn, and some Uncrustables™. One might say that mixing the serious with the silly has become Jeff and Dave’s ™. So tune in!

In the third installment of my Greco-Persian war series we take a look at the Interbellum. The years between Marathon and Thermopylae.  A pivotal decade for both Greek and Persian alike. Alliances were an incredibly shaky proposition in ancient Greece but they would need something rock solid if they were to resist the coming enemy. We look at the Athenian naval build up during the period, the result of the visionary called Themistocles. Fortunately for the allies, Sparta had at her command the Peloponnesian League but the city of Lycurgus had two very new kings, with unstable thrones, in power at the time. They missed Marathon, Greece could not afford for them to miss what came next. Lastly, we’ll head east and go into the detail around the build up of Xerxes’ forces in Persia. He assembled a mighty army and navy, and the steps he took to get them to Greece were nothing short of astounding.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends an abundance of deaths.

… 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 28, 2023

Hodie est a.d. V Kal. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 7 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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Brendon asks why the Macedonian phalanx at the Battles of Issues and Gaugamela suffered such a low casualty rate from arrows fired by archers? Murray gives us his opinion.

The various dynasties that rose from the ashes of Alexander’s empire proved to be a lucrative source of income for aspiring poets. Ptolemaic Alexandria hosted some of the influential artists of the day, such as Callimachus of Cyrene and Theocritus of Syracuse. Euphorion of Chalcis would move to Seleucid Antioch, and Aratus of Soli would compose his famous Phaenomena under the auspices of Antigonus II Gonatas. These figures would re-define the art of poetry for the next several centuries, and set the standards for literary culture for the entire Hellenistic period.

Liv speaks with Owen Rees, a professor and founder of Bad Ancient, about ancient Sparta, that Mirage, and how Sparta is viewed today by some of the most dangerous groups around. Follow Owen and Bad Ancient on Twitter and find some fascinating Bad Ancient articles on Sparta here.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

[Saturday] If it thunders today, it portends and abundance of fish from the sea, but ruinous death for the flocks

[Sunday] If it thunders today it portends an oppressive atmosphere and a pandemic.

… 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 27, 2023

Hodie est a.d. VI Kal. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 6 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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Tony sent this in for Murray to think about, ‘can you tell us anything about the difference in style of combat when comparing late medieval pike vs ancient Sarissa?’

The various dynasties that rose from the ashes of Alexander’s empire proved to be a lucrative source of income for aspiring poets. Ptolemaic Alexandria hosted some of the influential artists of the day, such as Callimachus of Cyrene and Theocritus of Syracuse. Euphorion of Chalcis would move to Seleucid Antioch, and Aratus of Soli would compose his famous Phaenomena under the auspices of Antigonus II Gonatas. These figures would re-define the art of poetry for the next several centuries, and set the standards for literary culture for the entire Hellenistic period.

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Alia

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends an outbreak of harmless 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 26, 2023

Hodie est a.d. VII Kal. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 5 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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One of the most famous cities in history – Babylon is shrouded in mystery and myth. Located in ancient Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, it was one of the epicentres of ancient culture, architecture, and the home of famous figures such as Hammurabi. But what do we actually know about Babylon – and what can we learn from ancient sources and modern archaeology? In this episode, Tristan is joined by Oxford scholar Stephanie Dalley who helps us separate fact from fiction. Looking at famous sites such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Ziggurat of Ur – what can we learn about Babylon, and what legacy has it left behind?

This episode originally appeared on our Patreon! We’re releasing it on our main feed because we also include Atargatis in Women of Myth. We hope you enjoy! The Spartacus of the First Servile War–a man named Eunus–was a worshipper of Atargatis, an ancient goddess of the sea often depicted as a mermaid. Atargatis was one of the most important goddesses of ancient Syria–with roots that went all the way back to the Bronze Age. Her temple in Hierapolis had a lake hundreds of fathoms deep, filled with fantastical fishes, and a bejewelled statue of the goddess whose eyes followed your every movement. But in Rome, Atargatis’ religion was one of underdogs, foreigners, and the marginalized–much like the religion of Dionysus. And, like the cult of Dionysus, it threatened the Roman status quo. Find out what made this Syrian mermaid goddess so phenomenal, powerful, and dangerous to the Roman aristocracy.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends many being killed by a man in power, but in the end he will get his come uppance.

… 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 25, 2023

Hodie est a.d. VIII Kal. Feb. 2776 AUC ~ 4 Gamelion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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Imagine an ancient Greek or Roman body, and the first picture that pops into your head is probably made of marble or stone – perhaps an austere bust, or a gleaming, musclebound sculpture, polished, cold and pale. But what about the experience of living in a real body, in all its pleasure, pain and flaws, during antiquity? Speaking with Elinor Evans, Caroline Vout presents the flesh and blood realities of life – and death – in ancient Greece and Rome.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends unrest among the enslaved people.

… 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)