#Thelxinoe ~ Weekend Edition for September 15, 2019

Hodie est pridie a.d. XVII Kal. Octobres 2772 AUC ~  17 Boedromion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

Public Facing Classics

Greek/Latin News

Fresh Bloggery

Bingeworthy Past Podcastery

Legendary:

Landscape Modery

Book Reviews

Dramatic Receptions

Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it should thunder today, it portends a period of wet weather and prosperity.

… 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)

Advertisements

Barry Baldwin ~ Top This

Reprinted with kind permission of Barry Baldwin himself, who years ago had to endure yours truly as a student. Errors in transcription naturally accrue to the latter.

(Partly inspired by an essay on modern literary suicides posted by Alastair McCartney, 24 September 2009, the Ready SteadyBook website. For other ancient self-toppings see FT154:21. Otherwise, Yolande Grisé, Le Suicide dans la Rome Antique (Paris, 1982) and Miriam Griffin in Greece & Rome 38, 1986, pp64-77)

The propriety of doing yourself in as much debated in Greece and Rome. Some big names condemned it, e.g.,  Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, bk5 para 1138a4f, and elsewhere, and Virgil (Aeneid, bk6 vv434-9). Others advocated or condoned, such as Plato Laws, bk9 paras 873C-D) and Seneca (Letters, no. 70). Ambivalences also attend. Socrates havers in the Platonic Phaedo (para 61C), the reading of which inspired one Cleombrotus  to leap to his doom (Callimachus, Greek Anthology.,bk7 no471) — trust this column will not thus affect any FT reader. Epicurus was said to have disapproved  (Seneca, The Happy Life, ch19), yet Diogenes Laertius  (Lives of the Philosophers. bk10 ch15) says he eventually committed suicide, as did his most famous Romain follower the poet Lucretius (the Eusebius-Jerome Chronicle for 54 BC), thereby giving Tennyson a lurid poem.

Suicide sometimes approached morbid cult status among eggheads. Ptolemy banned Hegesias’s enthusiastic lectures on it, fearing population decline (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, bk1 ch83) – Auden’s denial that poetry influences anything does not apply here. Roman jurist Ulplan (Digest, bk 28 ch3 sect6 para7) deprecated the “self-glamorising suicides of certain philosophers”.

Ulpian was thinking chiefly of Stoics, whose founder Zeno (Diogenes Laertius, bk7 ch.28) had suicided by holding his breath. Seneca’s self-immolation (Tacitus, Annals, bk15 chs 61-4) was high on theatrics (right). Having severed his velns (along with wife Paulina, who was forcibly saved on Nero’s orders; Arthur and Cynthia Koestler), he chafed at the delay, vainly (after veinly) drank hemlock, then entered a sauna where he suffocated. His nephew, the poet Lucan, expired reciting verses on a dying soldier from his Pharsalia epic (Tacitus, Annals, bk15 ch72).

Stoics had no monopoly on this sort of thing. Some (Diogenes Laertius, bk8 chs 67-74-various versions competed) said poet scientist Empedocles (a proto-Darwin) jumped down Mt Etna to encourage belief in his divinity by vanishing — a theme for Matthew Arnold’s Empedocles on Etna. The Cynic Peregrinus (details in Lucian’s pamphlet), whose variegated career included writing some now unidentifiable Christian texts, barbecued himself at the Olympic Games of AD 165 — this would enliven our modern dreary spectacles.

Romans fall monotonously on their swords in Shakespeare.  Not that easy . Cato Plutarch’s biography ch70 para6) had to complete the job by manually digging out his own entrail.

Other public finales include Sappho’s jump from the Leucadian Rock (Greece’s Lovers Leap) through unrequited love, and the orator Demosthenes’s (Plutarch’s Life, chs 29-30) special poisoned pen or venom concealed in his belt — prefiguring modern cyanide capsules.

Some went out quietly, self-starvation the favourite method: Atticus (literary friend of Cicero – Nepos’s Life chs. 21-2) and poet Silius Italicus (Pliny, Letters, bk 3 no7 para1), both suffering from incurable diseases;  also historian Cremutius Cordus (Tacitus, Annals, bk4 ch 35 para5).

Petronius (Tacitus, Annals, bk 16 ch 19) tops the grand guignol parade, having his velns cut, sewn up, and re-cut during a sumptuous last supper, smashing a precious goblet coveted by Nero, and composing for that emperor a lubricious account of his debaucheries.

Though the was neither philosopher nor writer, I can’t leave out Pontia, possibly Petronius’s daughter, who after conviction for filicide opened her veins at a drunken party and danced herself to death — puts a new meaning to The Last Waltz.

“There are data of strange suicides that I shall pass over” -Fort, Books, p653, teasingly.

 

Classical Corner 139: Fortean Times 278 (August, 2011), p. 23.

#Thelxinoe ~ Your Morning Salutatio for September 13, 2019

Hodie est  Id. Septembres 2772 AUC ~  15 Boedromion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Greek/Latin News

Public Facing Classics

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcasts

Augustus decides to invade Germania and Romanize it as he did with Gallia. Family drama and an insurrection give the Germans a chance to revolt. What follows is one of Rome’s greatest tragedies and a history-defining moment for Gallia, Rome and Europe.

Emma joins David to talk about her work as Public Engagement Fellow at the ICS, including some of the projects she’s been involved in, the growing realisation among university departments that outreach is a vital, and how its important to engage with people with a wide variety of skills in developing such projects. Emma also discusses her work on Xerxes and his reception in the Roman World (and in 300), her current research on military wives in ancient Greece and their modern counterparts, how meeting a classics teacher at sixth-form open evening sent her on the path to studying the ancient world, and how it would be interesting to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge try her hand at adapting ancient myth.

Today we talk with Dr. Jane Draycott @JLDraycott and Andrew Reinhard @adreinhard about the epic game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. We discuss the overall gameplay, how AC uses historical references to create more vibrant gameplay, and if this even worked. We talk about the use of real archaeology and pseudoarchaeology in the game storyline, and how that affects the overall game’s enjoyability, or not.

Book Reviews

Professional Matters

Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it should thunder today, it portends a serious famine.

… 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 ~ Your Morning Salutatio for September 12, 2019

Hodie est  pridie Id. Septembres 2772 AUC ~  14 Boedromion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Public Facing Classics

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcasts

The Vestals were an order of priestesses who were sacred to Rome, and were respected and referred as symbols of a safe and stable empire. They had the all-important duty of maintaining the sacred flame, and if it were extinguished, it would be a sign of impending disaster.

Guest:

Dr Peta Greenfield (Public Historian, co-host of ‘The Partial Historians’ podcast)

We’re back with another Ancient Warfare podcast. In this episode we’re going to be discussing tropes; what we know, what we thing we know and where it all goes wrong!

 

Book Reviews

Professional Matters

Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it should thunder today, it portends a rainy harvest and there will be famine.

… 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 ~ Your Morning Salutatio for September 11, 2019

Hodie est  III Id. Septembres 2772 AUC ~  13 Boedromion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Public Facing Classics

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcasts

We talked to Winston Black about his new book, The Middle Ages: Facts & Fictions, which addresses the most common myths and misconceptions about the Middle Ages. And we touch on video games, D&D, and Game of Thrones in the process!

Book Reviews

Dramatic Receptions

Professional Matters

Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it should thunder today, “the underlings of the well born will foment revolution in the state”.

… 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)