Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Panayoti Karoussos

Panayoti Karoussos' poem Pneuma ths Eleutherias (Spirit of Liberty)
written in fine Attic Greek, classical in style, he has set into music
for full symphony. He has also composed a cycle of operas in a
Classical Greek spirit.




Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Tertium Quid is regarded as a 'Late Latin' expression.

Much used in the Christian religious controversy of the Fourth Century A.D., it is defined as 'a third something or way that escapes dichotomy categorization'.

Cicero in 'Fam.'9.22.1' wrote: "nihil esse tertium." meaning "There is no third possibility."

In the early Nineteenth Century there was a Tertium Quids political
movement, seemingly resurrected in the Twenty First Century:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

[ autoLogos ]

"The tools and those pale men and nations that are the slaves of tools will no doubt disappear in time;

such arts have probably been invented and lost many times before.

But there is a lusty core in the human animal that survives all revolutions; and when the conflagration is past,

I seem to see the young hunters with their dogs, camping among the ruins."


Friday, December 19, 2008

Crowd Control & Human Relations

I was pleased to find a couple of old classics that I've been meaning to read for years available free online:


Looking into these authors led me onward to 'Human Relations' and 'Public Relations' pioneers such as Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays who wrote Propaganda from which comes this excerpt: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." --Edward L. Bernays

criticism by Stephen Bender: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/bender2.html

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ganymeda (Juventas to Romans, Hebe to Greeks) Goddess of Youth


Juventas Flamens

The contemporary 'Flaming Youth' has become more revolutionary than that of the early 20th Century, when this literary term first caught public attention, but it seems to me an evolutionary development of the anarchic and hedonistic spirit of the 'Roaring Twenties".


As the [bourgeois] 'Ah Youth!' virus spread to Greece around 1973:

And continues to thrive:

'Youth' as a Nationality or Collective Identity?

Physis kai Paidea:

But 'anarchy' already had a 'black & red' previous history in Greece:

"Our democracy is self-destructing, because it abused the right to freedom and equality, because it taught people to consider impudence as a right, illegality as freedom, rudeness as equality and anarchy as happiness." - Isocrates


LAR, 'daimwn' (guardian god) of the family and household




Friday, December 05, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

'new chronology movement'

I seem to vaguely remember Josef Stalin periodically commanding rewrites of world history to justify his totalitarian regime. Any connection of the 'new chronology' movement, Russian mathematicians' conspiracy, or whatever it may be with Marxism or Communism has been flatly denied, however.


It would be no more surprising for them to say that the world was created in 1917 A.D. Or have they already alleged that?


An answer from the Toelzer Knabenchor circa 1942 :

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cannabis Indications in Ancient Xinjiang

Nigh unto three millenia ago, near Turpan, a stash of Mary Jane's favorite herb was allegedly placed in a burial, quite possibly of a shaman; no arrests have been made, reports the news media:

latest marihootchie update [id est, as of January, 2007]:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros, who some of us first discovered with their uncannily mystic song 'Staralfur', are thriving still but seem to have come back to Earth, especially their homeland. The passing years years seem to have made them more youthful, but experienced.
Staralfur with a fan's video :

Sigur Ros - Live in Iceland, their homeland - Heima Finale, June 2006:

Hear their new album tracks here :

I've found Sigur Ros and similar music provides a perfect background soundscreen for reading Classics, etcetera, so I often listen to 'Sigur Ros Radio' (enter in 'Search') in the Slacker Personal Radio site:

Mercedes Club : another side of Icelandic Music

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rammstein, tATu, and Saint Seia

What a delightful combination! The Japanese Anime's heroic images adapted from ancient myths and the music of of the German band, Rammstein, sometimes in collaboration with the young maidens of the Moskau duo, tATu. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8imr9imi9H4 Rammstein "Sacrifice" and t.A.T.u. -- Saint Seia - Zeus

Rammstein "Ein Kleine Mensch"--Saint Seia - Asgard

http://nekkidass.blogspot.com/2006/09/now-yin-now-yang.html my previous Rammstein post

'"Amerika" live' from Nimes, France :

"Moskau" by Rammstein and tATu with fan video:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Athena Temple, Assos on the Adramyttian Gulf

"... ascendentes autem navem hadrumetinam incipientem navigare circa Asiae loca sustulimus perseverante nobiscum Aristarcho Macedone Thessalonicense...."
Biblia Sacra Vulgatam, Act. 27, 2.

Assos was a port city with the only good harbor on the north shore of the Adramyttian Gulf, situated on a seven-hundred-foot volcanic hill, facing south to the island of Lesbos.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ruins of Alba Longa, painted in 1600 by Adam Elsheimer

Alba Longa was founded by AEneas' son, Ascanius, and housed the fire of Vesta, that Trojans had brought from Troy when they were displaced by the Trojan War of which Homer sang. Formerly head of a league of cities, it was destroyed by Rome in the time of the kings, under Tullus Hostilius (according to tradition), but the Temple of Vesta remained.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tenebras Aduersus Mouisse

Approaching the heart of the darkness which grows stronger day after
day, Thomas Hardy's "In Tenebris" seems to me at least to amplify the
heart of this world and time.


First published in 1901, this is a sequence of three dark meditations,
divided into six quatrains in poem #1, four in #2, Five in #3.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Eques


Thomas W. Africa, "The Opium Addiction of Marcus Aurelius", Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 22.1 (1961) pp. 97-102
Edward Witke, "Marcus Aurelius and Mandragora", Classical Philology, Vol. 60.1 (1965), pp. 23-24 )

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Philosopher, Emperor ... and Junkie?

"The problem is ... that too many ancient texts have been translated through the prism of modern morality."

"Classical antiquity is a construct of modern scholarship," says Ruck. "We've made them into something they weren't really. Scholarship has chipped away at it. Suddenly, after the feminist movement, people became aware that women had a strange role in [ancient] society. There are frescos showing people having opium parties. [Classicists] don't want to admit Greeks had this kind of experience."

Exemplar 20th Century construct of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Imperator & Augustus:

Thomas W. Africa, "The Opium Addiction of Marcus Aurelius", Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 22.1 (1961) pp. 97-102
Edward Witke, "Marcus Aurelius and Mandragora", Classical Philology, Vol. 60.1 (1965), pp. 23-24 )

Friday, November 07, 2008

Eutropius' 'Breviarum Historiae Romanae'

This M.A.T. thesis announcement contains some interesting material concerning the classic text : Eutropius''Breviarum Historiae Romanae':

B.B. is coordinator and collator of the 'JACT Reading Greek' Study Groups.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Cicero Denouncing Cataline in the Roman Senate

Fresco by Cesare Maccari, 1882-1888


the former, the latter

This frequent pairing of demonstrative pronouns, especially when they are used substantively, seems to be a frequent source of confusion to the reader. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary tells us that 'the former' refers to the "first mentioned or in order of two things mentioned or understood..."; other English dictionaries agree with this sense of "first or first mentioned of two". If one were to keep this definition in mind when reading or hearing English, there ought not be any misprision.

In Latin, the HIC forms are used for "what is near the speaker (in time, place, or thought).... It is sometimes used for the speaker himself; sometimes for 'the latter' of two things mentioned in speech or writing; more rarely for 'the former,' when that, though more remote on the written page, is nearer the speaker in time, place, or thought. Often it refers to that which has just been mentioned. ILLE is used of what is remote (in time,etc.).... ISTE is used of what is between the two others in remoteness... It especially refers to one's opponent ... and frequently implies antagonism or contempt." --Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, Dover edition, 2006, pp.177,8.

As for Ancient Greek, these distinctions appear to be the same as for the Latin equivalents: HODE for HIC, HOUTOS for ISTE, EKEINOS for ILLE according to GREEK GRAMMAR by Herbert Weir Smyth, Rev. Messing, Harvard University Press, 1920, 1956, 1984, pp. 307-309, #1240-1261.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, a model Latinist in almost all respects, seems to have been especially inconsistent with how he used these demonstratives. Perhaps he used this as a rhetorical device to keep his listeners or readers somewhat uncertain and consequently giving his words closer attention?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Celtics

The Celts, like the Spartans, can claim descent from Herakles (Hercules):

"Celtic Literature Collective"
[Greek and Latin texts on left, translations to the right]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia by R. Campbell Thompson, 1903.
Containing commentary and original texts with translations, this may very well be the perfect preparation for the Hallow'een Season. H.P. Lovecraft, methinks, must have found this tome a treasure trove.

"The early Semitic people of Babylonia, whoever they may have been or wherever they may have migrated from, found a theology ready to their hands in their adopted country, which they took over from its primitive inhabitants, the Sumerians, doubtless grafting to it many of the beliefs of their forefathers. To the latest times, down to a century or two before the Christian era, they retained the doctrines in their original language, making interlinear translations of them for use in the temples and among the doctors, and it is owing to this that we can speak with tolerable certainty on many points of the early religion of Babylonia...." R. C. Thompson, 1903




Friday, October 17, 2008

Atalanta wrestles Peleus - painted circa 550 B.C.


By bringing the heroine Atalanta into his first elegy, doesn't Propertius imply that his Cynthia also is such a strong, dominant woman, whom he longs to subdue?

Latin Elegies

Continuing my apolaustic approach to Classicism, I purchased today the Oxford text Sexto Properti Carmina (A.S. MCMVII), containing the four books of Propertius' elegiac poems. (Michael Gilliland, in his entry today in 'Laudator Temporis Acti' explains 'apolaustic'. Look for the link on the right side of this page.)

How pleased I was, then, to find an excellent introduction to the Latin Elegies available on the internet, courtesy of Jon Corellis:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

3rd Century B.C. terracotta statuette

A dancing woman -- possibly a religious enthusiast such as a Maenad or priestess or a professional entertainer (hetaira).
Statuette made in the Greek colony of Taranto, situated in Italy.

Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo by Andrew Balet.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86KP94wSehc Umrao Jaan : Salaam

A Failure to Apocalypse

NASA reports of another failed Apocalyptic panic:


Well there's still the possibility of the 'magnetic reversal' apocalypse:

cf. http://nekkidass.blogspot.com/2008/09/apocatastasis-apokatastasis.html

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Vetustissimam Inscriptionem Linguae Latinae


Harryo Pottero gratias agamus.

Kudos to Harry Potter for his assistance in the revival of Classical Latin.


Spin Doctors

The term, spin doctor -- originally a 'DJ' or 'MC' who selects, edits, and distorts the music for an event -- seems more frequently now to be applied to newscasters and journalists and/or their managers and editors, who it is said, are not unlike the sophist rhetoricians and poets, whom Plato regarded as dangerous enemies of civilization and truth.

This Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy essay is, I feel, helpful in lending us some understanding of the classical roots of this phenomenon:

Monday, October 06, 2008


"One has a nose, the nose scents and it chooses, an artist is simply a kind of pig snouting truffles." Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

"I have become convinced that of all that human language has produced truly and simply beautiful, I knew nothing before I learned Greek.... Without a knowledge of Greek there is no education."
"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."
Lev Nikolaevich (1828–1910)


Saturday, October 04, 2008

U.S. Troop Re-enlistment Ceremony, Baghdad - July 4, 2008

This event seems to have been ignored by the newsmedia;
the free pizza got mention, but not the occasion for it.

"Optumus quisque rei publicae cura maerebat; multi odio praesentium et cupidine mutationis suis quoque periculis laetabantur...."
Tacitus: Anales III : XLIV
Translated at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/tacitusannals/

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Subtext is one of those things that professional philosophers and academics seem to make more obscure in their writings rather than to clarify it's nature and use. I find it a very important element in reading Ancient Greek classics such as Plato's Euthyphro dialog in which Socrates is quite ironical. Apuleius' Metamorphoses and Juvenal's Satires are Ancient Latin classics where the subtext is also vital, although they are not as subtle as Socrates in the Platonic dialogs.

The best explanation of subtext I have found is from the dramatic actor's training:


The professional philosopher's approach:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Death's Jest Book

As a counterbalance to my Classics studies I read more modern works; currently, Death's Jest Book, a quite sophisticated and highly literate English 'who dunnit' by Reginald Hill. Here's a professional review:

The Dalziel & Pascoe novel sequence:

There was a 19th Century Death's Jest Book begun in Oxford University by Thomas Lovell Beddoes, which receives literary criticism as well as many allusions in Hill's 21st Century Death's Jest Book. The illustrations in the newer book are the old woodcuts in the earlier also.



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Teresa Teng

Teresa Teng is a deservedly famous Chinese songstress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPdSGA6JQOM Asian Love Song

Rainy Night Flower

Friday, September 19, 2008

Physiology and Politics Correlations?

Could one's political position be due to one's physiology?

Scientific data suggests that physiological reactions may help predict variations in political beliefs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Emily Bronte's Poems (or otherworld portals)

Famous even among the unread moviegoing public for her gothic fictions, Emily Bronte is an enthralling lyric poet as well.


Emily's inner Heathcliffe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehmUqIxgjU

"Ἐν νυκτὶ λαμπρὸς, ἐν φάει δ' ἀνωφελής."
--Nekkid translation: "Brilliant in the darkness, but of no use by day."

"The School of Athens" by Raphael

Apocatastasis (Apokatastasis)

Of late I have been enjoying the 'secular' Latin of Juvenal's Satires and Apuleius' Golden Ass; now I feel drawn to the heterodox theology of apocatastasis as found in Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and the contemporary Christian Universalist Movement. I consider this may be my inherent homeostatic mechanism manifesting. But, as I already have a rather full load of Greek and Latin Classics studies, I shall defer this theological interest to some later time, or perhaps even some other metempsychosis. For the present, my current delights quite nicely suffice.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

White Priestess of the Old Yoruba Gods

This story seems like it might have come out of some Edgar Rice
Burroughs novel or Henry Rider Haggard's novels such as 'SHE'


The old Yoruba gods are said to be identical to the orishas who are 'fed' in Voodun, Hoodoo, and Santeria, more recent syncretisms.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sextuple Coordinating Conjunctions among the retired

Recent posts in my senior colleague's blog http://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.com/
about "Triple Coordinating Conjunctions" have induced me to peruse my copy of John Dewar Denniston's The Greek Particles in which I found on pp. 504 & 507 that our very senior colleague in classical curmudgeonry, viz., Xenophon, had been making quite free with those 'te's and 'eite's during his retirement.

Tiptoe thru the kaleidoscopix

Might the future be perhaps a cut-up reassemblage (a la Billy Burroughs) of the past?




Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Democritus (circa 438 - 370 BC)

"The cheerful man, who is impelled towards just and lawful actions, rejoices by day and by night, and is strong and free from care. But the man who ignores justice, and does not do what he ought, finds all such things disagreeable when he remembers any of them, and he is afraid and torments himself.... The right-minded man is he who is not grieved by what he has not, but enjoys what he has. He is fortunate who is happy with moderate means, unfortunate who is unhappy with great possessions.... If your desires are not great, a little will seem much to you; for small appetite makes poverty equivalent to wealth." Democritus

Democritus, we are told, was "highly esteemed by his fellow citizens" but deliberately overlooked or perhaps actively ignored by 'mainstream' philosophers of his era, such as Plato. Being a cheerful sort myself, I have experienced instances of shocked amazement on the part of some upon beholding my cheerfully radiant countenance. They are prone to ask, "What do you have to be so happy about?" or "Why is he so damn happy?".

'haec scripsi raptim' -- nekkid

Monday, September 01, 2008

Saotome Taichi

Saotome Taichi, a young Japanese man, is a superb dancer and actor and 'Onnagata Geisha'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taichi_Saotome


He has the ability to be convincingly feminine, or masculine -- or spectral as in Syabake or a more traditional Japanese dance:

or in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC7xhEP0iXs

A sort of review of Syabake by 'sleepycat':


The Samurai Sword

The Samurai Sword is a practice of moving meditation and high art founded in mediaeval Japan.

A documentary on the Samurai Sword: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9HR7TTOReE

and as exquisite art by Saotome Taichi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Hpmk7RpqQ

Kendo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jNHRlh4FCo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"On not knowing Greek"

Virginia Woolf's awesome criticism of the Greek Classics, among her other essays:

G. Anthony Gorry's contemporary essay (not quite as awesome but a sequel after a sort):


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meter & the relevance of Homer (Forward )

From: Louis Sorenson
To: greekstudy@nxport.com; menander@letsreadgreek.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 10:02:39 PM
Subject: Menander Monostichoi and Homer Meter

Hello all,

I want to mention of thanks to Beth Piepenburg for her consistent and longstanding leadership in regards to the Homeric Iliad/Odyssey group. I can't encourage new-comers and New Testament students enough in regards that YOU NEED TO READ HOMER. The Iliad and the Odyssey color all subsequent Greek literature. At some point, YOU NEED TO READ HOMER. It is one of the most fascinating and intuitive works on human nature that exist in all of literature. That said, why would the coordinator of one group encourage people to read another group?

After learning New Testament Greek at a Bible college, I began my studies in classical Greek starting with a class on the Odyssey taught by William MacDonald at the University of Minnesota. William MacDonald had led the University of Minnesota's Mycenaean archaeological expedition and was a scholar on Homeric literature. I had come from a New Testament background where Erasmus's pronunciation was used, but there was no emphasis on reading aloud. When I first came to the class, Dr. MacDonald was sitting in the class smoking a pipe (politically incorrect in today's world), along with the textbook he had written on Mycenae and the red volume 1 of the Odyssey by Stanford. There were both graduate and undergraduate students in this class. It was obvious from the start that nobody had previously learned to read aloud Greek poetry.

Right from the start, Dr. MacDonald insisted that we read Homer aloud, and that WE LEARN THE METER OF HOMER: Dactylic Hexameter (_ .. _.. _.. _.. _.. _.. with variations). As a New Testament student this was totally foreign to me. The New Testament has no concept of Greek verse and meter - it is simply not part of the mix. But if you want to read any Greek comedies or tragedies (Euripides, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Menander ((DID I SAY MENANDER?)) and many other writers - half of the artistry and elements of Greek literature will pass you by if you ignore THE METER (METRE). If you have read Emerson, Sanders, Shakespeare, Dickinson, etc., you know that you cannot read the poetry without reading it aloud and in meter. So I encourage you students of Homer - don't just do the reading, but learn the meter and try reading it aloud. Dr. MacDonald would be proud of you.

And while Menander's Monostichoi is written in Iambic trimeter (not dactylic hexameter), this is a good chance to get a handle on how to understand the elements and prosody of Greek verse - what makes a long syllable (scansion) long and a short syllable (scansion) short(?) - it is not just the vowel length. The Menander group which is starting sometime in August is a one-line-a-day group. One of the optional elements is sending in your analysis of the meter. (I know that somewhere out there - the University of Chicago's site? - the meter of Homer is available on the internet).

Can you define these terms: synapeia, metron, prosody, iambic, iamb, trochee, spondee, dactyl, dimeter, trimeter, pentameter, hexameter, colon, caesura...? These elements of Greek verse are one of the things that make learning Greek fun. Trying to 'figure out the meter' works wonders on the 'right side of the brain' (or is it left?). Greek meter stopped being based on the length of the syllable in about the 7th century A.D.; after that time, the stressed syllable (as in English poetry) became the basis of meter. But during the previous 1200 years of Greek literature, the length of syllable pronunciation was the basis of Greek meter.

So how about it? Can you take time for a line each day - or a line one day or two days a week? The upcoming Menander group is an open group; anyone can do a line any day - you can even do only one line a week. (There is a possibility that the Line-a-Day could continue longer than 12 weeks (There are about 700+ lines of the Monostichoi). So if you are interested (Don't forget to learn your Homeric dactylic hexameter), send an email to llsorenson@hotmail.com or menander@letsreadgreek.com. I will put you on the interest list for the Menander group and keep you updated on what's ahead.

The home page for the Menander GreekStudy group can by found at http://www.letsreadgreek.com/menander/index.htm . You can also send a email to llsorenson@hotmail.com to be put on the Menander interest list. (The web page and listed resources is changing daily; make sure to stop back often).

I hope to hear from you soon,
Let's Get Reading!

Louis Sorenson [upcoming Menander Monostichoi GreekStudy Coordinator]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Antebellum Japanese Songs

There is a beauty that touches one's heart in many of the Japanese songs before World War Two. Here is a pair of those lovely songs:


Monday, August 18, 2008

Confucius (Kung Fuzi)

Confucius is one of the greatest ancient philosophers. One might even consider him the Chinese equivalent of Aristotle.

Confucius is said to be returning to popularity in P.D.R.C.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Alcibiades (Alkibiades)

Reading John Dryden's translation of "Alcibiades" by Plutarch, I was struck by the similarity of Socrates' relationship to Alkibiades with Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene [according to the scriptures] and the misperception of both by 'scandalized', envious and/or randy others. Were they gay? No way, Jose!
I want to read the Greek text some not too distant time; perhaps after I've finished Apuleius' Metamorphoses (Golden Ass) , which I have only just begun with a happy group of internet 'latinists'. For as ancient Romans reputedly said: "Qui duos insecatur lepores neutrum capit."

fictional character???

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Wouldn't it be 'cuil' to have a search engine that quickly and efficiently finds what you want and presents the info with easy access? The very best I have found in that category isn't Cuil: http://www.cuil.com/

I still prefer www.dogpile.com

Friday, August 08, 2008

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

I've read several of Charles Bukowski's poems in his many books, but never found
anything cogent until today when I happened upon this gem in U2b, (worthy of
William Burroughs himself!):

What B. thought socially valuable:


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Clay Sanskrit Library

The Clay Sanskrit Library has published several volumes of the Mahabharata and Ramayana with the Sanskrit text transliterated in Roman characters and facing 'fresh English' translations. The plan is to have the whole of both scriptures available for the first time in this format eventually. These volumes are designed very much like the Loeb Classics Library of Greek and Latin. Publication commenced in 2005. Thirty or more volumes are available currently with more being issued each year.

View sample page in:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

"...non avem me sed asinum video."-Metam.III.25



C.S. Lewis' Apuleius connexion

Although most of us know Lucius Apuleius only through his novel Metamorphoses (even better known as his Golden Ass}, C.S. Lewis seems to have been influenced most strongly by his other works such as De Deo Socratis and Florida.


text of De Deo Socratis

text of Florida :

: about his apology

The Golden Asse, Adlington's 1566 Englishing: http://books.eserver.org/fiction/apuleius/

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eleusinian Mystery Initiation

Reading the Todd Swanson essay, "WOMB OF FIRE: A Study of the Eleusinian Mysteries",
I was struck by a flash of 'en-lightning': How similar his description of the crisis that some have claimed catalyses the healing in the Eleusinian Mystery initiation to what happens with James Neubauer, an adolescent character in the movie, A Rumor of Angels!

James's psychopomp (representing the goddess Demeter) is Maddy Bennett, played exquisitely by Vanessa Redgrave, an old widow thought mad by most of the local down-easters; that is, those who don't account her an evil witch. Great movie! It was spun off the book, Thy Son Liveth by Grace Dufffie Boylan (1919).
'At death the soul leaps forth gladly, like a schoolboy when school lets out.'


"Now, all these myths that you have heard and that resonate with
you, those are the elements from round about that you are building
into a form in your life. The thing worth considering is how they
relate to each other in your context, not how they relate to
something out there - how they were relevant on the North American
prairies or in the Asian jungles hundreds of years ago, but how they
are relevant NOW - unless by contemplating their former meaning you
can begin to amplify your own understanding of the role they play in
your life."

- Joseph Campbell
'Pathways to Bliss'



This topic came up just today in the Latinstudy Digest in the discussion of long vowels and syllable weight.

Gratias ago
a Johannes Patruus


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Abundance sur le pont Mirabeau

Amor floret in rerum abundantia,
mox moritur autem in egestate.

Les Pogues

Adulescentes studiosi aliqui

Saturday, July 26, 2008

James Joyce: Finnegans Wake

"What is clear and concise can't deal with reality, for to be real is to be surrounded by mystery." -- James Joyce

One anime fan's views: [Quite the reverse of mine; I'm a fan of Cowboy Bebop and Bleach animes, but also of Finnegans Wake.]



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mercier's watercolors for Ovid's METAMORPHOSES

Jean A. Mercier's watercolor illustrations for Les Metamorphoses d'Ovide, choix de seize fables, tr. l'Abbe Banier, Paris, 1946



Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (lived 203-222 A.D.)

Better known as Heliogabalus, he became Emperor Augustus of the Romans as a young teenager in 218 A.D., but was never august at all. His lifestyle was like that of a modern rockstar or 'gaylib' celebrity. He was very religious and made the fatal mistake of trying impiously to make his personal deity superior to Jupiter.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adolf Friedrich Bonhoeffer online

Adolf Bonhoeffer's Epiktet und das Neue Testament, which compares the Koine Greek vocabulary of Arrian's Dialogs of Epictetus and Enchiridion with that of the Greek New Testament is now available online.
I have not yet had the time to look into it myself, but hope to soon. Many thanks to Louis Sorensen for this information.


Monday, July 21, 2008


"Cui dono lepidum novum libellum
arida modo pumice expolitum?
Corneli, tibi; namque tu solebas
meas esse aliquid putare nugas
iam tum cum ausus es unus Italorum
omne aevum tribus explicare chartis
doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis.
quare habe tibi quicquid hoc libelli,
qualecumque; quod, o patrona virgo,
plus uno maneat perenne saeclo."

Which I, nekkid, read as,
'To whom am I dedicating my amusing
new book, honed as with dry pumice?
To yourself, Cornelius, to be sure for
you alone think my absurdities, some-
thing; you, an Italian, even dared explain
our era in three learned, well-writ scrolls,
by Jove; so have, for whatever value it may
hold for you, this little book, which, I pray my
Lady Patron, may perdure beyond a century.'

Although I take exception to his 'obscene' labeling,
I think Paul Monk has an excellent Catullus introduction page:


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Acerrima Odia

"Acerrima proximorum odia" - Tacitus
I read this as,
'The most bitterly hostile hatred is that of those who are closest.'

"...atque interim unaetvicensima legio Vindonissa, Sextilius Felix cum
auxiliariis cohortibus per Raetiam inrupere; accessit ala Singularium
excita olim a Vitellio, deinde in partis Vespasiani transgressa.
praeerat Iulius Briganticus sorore Civilis genitus, ut ferme acerrima
proximorum odia sunt, invisus avunculo infensusque." - Tacitus, Hist.4:70

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/tac/h04070.htm translates this
passage: "Meanwhile the 21st legion, by way of Vindonissa, and
Sextilius Felix with the auxiliary infantry, by way of Rhaetia,
penetrated into the province. They were joined by the Singularian
Horse, which had been raised some time before by Vitellius, and had
afterwards gone over to the side of Vespasian. Their commanding
officer was Julius Briganticus. He was sister's son to Civilis, and he
was hated by his uncle and hated him in return with all the extreme
bitterness of a family feud."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

'Emperor Julian attempting to make peace between Christian sects' painted by Edward Armitage.

"[In 361 A.D.]...he summoned to the palace the Christian bishops, who were far from being of one mind, together with their flocks, who were no less divided by schism, and warned them in polite terms to lay aside their differences and allow every man to practise his belief boldly without hindrance.... Experience had taught him that no wild beasts are such dangerous enemies to man as Christians are to one another."-Ammianus Marcellinus, XXII, 5.

Flavius Claudius Julianus, Imperator Augustus, Pontifex Maximus

Must it not be an act of God that resulted in a Christian website making available to us an English translation of Libanius' Eulogy for him whom they revile as 'the Apostate'?

Vide infra: an annotated biography of Julian (with a definitely Christian bias) and links for Ammianus' History (which seems much fairer to Julian).


Wikipedia clearly depicts the Christian bias:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Commander X Presents

Could 'Star War' weapons and other 'delusions' indeed be real?


Remember Dr. Robert Lindner's "Jet Propelled Couch" in The Fifty Minute Hour?



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reading Greek/Latin versus Translating

Recently I have begun increasing my efforts to read Ancient Greek and Latin more nearly fluently, rather than painstakingly parsing and translating.

I am not about to burn my grammars behind me however!



Monday, July 14, 2008

by Jove!

Back in the distant days of my high school Latin initiation, I acquired the 'certain knowledge' that the name or title, 'Iuppiter', was formed from a synthesis of 'Ius' (Law) and 'Pater'(Father). I suppose that this 'certain knowledge' was based on Faith (or perhaps adolescent naivete). Now I am not even sure whence 'Ius' cometh.
iubeo, iubEre, iUssi, iUssum = to order, command (capitals signify long vowel here)



Sunday, July 13, 2008

The American Stick House

The stick house style, in its heyday in the 1880's, is an American 'Victorian Era' residential housing style influenced by the Gothic Revival movement. In 1842 A.J. Downing and A.J. Davis published their book, Cottage Residences. Quickly becoming a best-seller, it spread the gospel that catalyzed the building of the picturesque stick houses across the USA.
Here in Portland, Oregon 'gingerbread victorians' were constructed as early as 1884 as well as the 'stick houses'.






Saturday, July 12, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bubo bubo - Eurasian Great Horned Owl

"Pallada bubo vehit, sed eam rota nulla figurat.
Bubulat horrendum ferali murmure bubo.
Humani generi tristia fata ferens. Anth.Lat.939,762,37."
quoted in The Birds of the Latin Poets by Ernest Whitney Martin

Posterity of the 'Silent Generation'

Will the generation now grasping at the rheins of political control be known to posterity as 'that whining generation of nightmare visionaries'?
Or perhaps 'the pathetic generation'?


I was surprised to find the words 'rhein' and 'rheins' absent from the 'Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary'. Considered too 'cavalier' perhaps?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A new AEneid translation with original rhythm & idiomata

"What distinguishes this 'Aeneid' is Ahl's use of Virgil's original
meter and his line-by-line restoration of the poet's wordplay, an
element often lost in translation."

Speaking of wordplay, Byzantines wrote 'Elefanta ek muias poieis.',the Greek equivalent of "Elephantem ex musca facis." [from Apostolio, "Paroimiai", 8.14]
Horace wrote, "Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus."
And our American idiom is "You're making a mountain out of a molehill."
And then there's TV's 'Monk', if you want to expand your understanding
of the significance of these 'idiomata'.

Friday, July 04, 2008

American Independence Day, July 4, 2008

Presidential Message, Independence Day 2008:

I myself can think of no finer celebration of
what our American national heritage means than
this poem of Walt Whitman which touches our
hearts with its emotions and symbols:


Some Roman Catholic right-wingings:

Greek proverb for July Fourth

'Lukos exavev', Latin: 'Lupus hiavit'. English: "The wolf gaped [in anticipation]."

Here's an explication of the present tense version:


'Lukos oin humenaioi': 'Lupus se cum oni matrimonio coniunget': "The wolf is marrying a sheep." is a 'bon mot'from Aristophanes. More classics:



The Wolf and the Kid:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Today's Greek Proverb

Today's Greek Proverb, transliterated in Betacode: "Glukei=a o)pw/ra fu/lakos e]kleloipo/tos," is quite interesting. The Latin translation, "Jucunda poma, si procul custodia.", I read as, "Fruit trees are delightful if their custodian is away."

The Greek has three words in the genitive case, one of them being a perfect active participle, and 'opwra' in the dative case. The last two words in the sentence appear to constitute a 'genitive absolute' syntax: "..., while the custodian is away". It is not clear to me why 'opwra' should be dative (perhaps 'dative of respect?), nor why 'Glukeia' genitive. How wonderful it would be if someone more expert at Byzantine Greek would post a helpful comment!

In the meantime, my reading: "There is more delight with the fruit tree of high Summer, if the custodian is away." The LSJ Greek Lexicon indicates 'opwra' hss a metaphorical use as "life's summer, the time of youthful ripeness" and "ripe virginity". One may find a 'carpe diem' sense here like Robert Herrick's lines:
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Mayhap some hamadryad has her eye fixed on you


pray that she may not transform you into a Gecko gecko


or what the Gubernator calls a 'girlie man'



Monday, June 30, 2008

Agdy Centennial

It's been a 100 years since the mysterious event near the Tunguska in Siberia, which the 'indigenae' reportedly attributed to the divine 'Ogdy' or to the 'agdy' thunderbirds.

Kulik who first investigated the event (1927) died in a Nazi stalag in 1942.

NASA reports the centenary.

J.K. Rowling : Harvard Commencement

J.K.R., in her 'gay wizard' role, speaks ironically to what Laozi and other Daoist masters would likely have called "investing in loss".


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Plane Trees and the Artemis of Ephesus

Among my favorite sights in Portland, Oregon are the plane trees in Laurelhurst Park.

One may discern the form of Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians in these trees.

Here are pictures of some Portland plane trees; the form is not as pronounced in them.

Ephesian Artemis images:


Thomas Cahill & the 'hinges of history'

"Full of surprising, often controversial, insights, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea is a remarkable intellectual adventure—conducted by the most companionable guide imaginable. Cahill's knowledge of his sources is so intimate that he has made his own fresh translations of the Greek lyric poets for this volume."


You would do well not to miss the 'Photo Gallery' linked below.
(Please pardon the periphrasis; not sure which Muse possessed me.)


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Outside the box thinking

Should we have had to go outside the USA to find out the
fundament of this so very American phrase?




Ampersand Mountain takes it name from Ampersand Lake which takes its name from Ampersand Creek which is said to have a & shape.

President Teddy Roosevelt was fond of these mountains.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You Tube de lo Habitual

You Tube is terribly addictive, I've found. But most entertaining nevertheless.

Angelo's Aoide [instrumental]

Julee Cruise "Falling"

You'd best skip the next two.., unless you're a true horror fan.


Dario Argento, supreme master of cinematic horror; bittersweet music by Goblin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmsq1jr8NMw "La Terza Madre" trailer

Daemonia succeeded Goblin as the main band for D.A. in his later films including his most recent movie. You can hear them at:


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ludwig van Beethoven's Grosse Fugue

I've found that for me the Grosse Fugue is a most excellent recreator after a lengthy intensive session of studying Ancient Greek. I usually precede it with Ludwig's Opus 130 String Quartet performed by the Leipziger Quartet on CD.

Grosse Fugue, part one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti0SdqhsXws and part two

Tonight I discovered Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The Sky is Crying" to be a fitting caboose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI9TS4O5Ww4 Solo version

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVlsMLOejH0 Way Deep Ellum

G.D. "Deep Elum Blues"

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Talos is a 'bronze man', or robot-like fighting machine, a MECHA built by
Hephaestus and set by Zeus as the guardian of Europa & Crete. Different Greek
myths offer variations, but this seems the main theme. He is honored as a minor
god associated with a spur of the Cretan mountains.


In Hindu mythology there is Garuda, who shows some similarities to
Talos, but even more similar is his opponent in his quest to obtain the
Amriti energy of the gods, described as a mechanical contraption with
rotating saw blades in place of arms.


Then there is the pogrom champion, the Golem, created by Hebraic
kabbalistic magic out of clay, sometimes of metal, but a powerful
fighting automaton in any case.


The most modern manifestation of this archetype, other than the rather
unsublime industrial robots, is the Mecha -- a very popular creation of
Japanese anime.


Like the 'monster' in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, all of these MECHA
'creatures' seem to have a lot of human qualities, especially of the
'Shadowy' sort.

Monster Summer Solstice Moon at Poseidon's Temple on Attica's Cape Sounion:


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Horace, an unworthy attempt at an introduction

Horace and his friend, Vergil, seem the very epitomes of the Augustan
litterateur. Vergil preceded and helped Horace gain his foothold and
patronage in his rise from postbellum impoverishment.

Horace says of himself, in his epistle, 'Flore, bono claroque fidelis
amice Neroni', "I had the good fortune to be brought up in Rome, and
to learn of the wrath of Achilles that brought such ruin upon the
Greeks, and to have added a little more education from the treasures
of Athens, and to have sought Truth in the groves of her Academe."

A big fan of Archilochus, Horace likely picked up the story of
throwing away his shield and fleeing the battlefield from
Archilochus' famous ancient poem. No doubt but that 'unvirile' tale
would have been more pleasing to the conquerors of Brutus and his
army than any honorable military service. Professor William Harris
seems to agree on this.




p.s. "maculas in facie oesypum cum melle Corsico, quod asperrimum habetur, extenuat, item scobem cutis in facie cum rosaceo inpositum vellere — quidam et butyrum addunt —, si vero vitiligines sint, fel caninum prius acu conpunctas, liventia et suggillata pulmones arietum pecudumque in tenues consecti membranas calidi inpositi vel columbinum fimum." from
http://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.com/ in his truly funny "Cosmetic Treatments" post of Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008


A pataphor is an extended metaphor...

Or perhaps a scholarly obsession?


"I am pleased to announce the official online release of a project
that it has taken me more than three years to complete: a compilation
of the Book of Current Focus (BCF) discussions from the email digest
groups The Ozzy Digest, Nonestica, and Regalia examining all of the
original 40 Oz novels by L. Frank Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson, John R.
Neill, Jack Snow, Rachel R. Cosgrove, and Eloise Jarvis McGraw and
Lauren McGraw....Reading through the BCF discussions is the
equivalent of taking a sprawling college literature course on the Oz
books. And who among us has never wished that such a class were
available somewhere? ...(L. Frank Baum would have been astonished at
the sheer magnitude of the analysis of his work and that of his
successors. I hope that this resource will prove
useful as a scholarly tool."


I happened to see something similar to (or a part of?) this footage on the BBC America World News tonight:


PLEIADES (1885) painted by Elihu Vedder


Monday, June 09, 2008

Natural Organic poison honey?

I've been reading books IV and V of Xenophon's Anabasis recently with a Classical Attic Greek study group and came upon a passage where Xenophon describes the death agonies and madness of his comrades when they had eaten of the honeycombs in the Pontus (Black Sea area)during their return from a military adventure in the Baghdad area. Today I came upon this excellent explanation of the phenomena:


Kalmia angustifolia, 'sheep laurel' or 'mountain laurel' is more likely to blame than 'rhodies', as it is richer in toxins according to what I've read elsewhere. nekkid

"Wolves rule!"

" 'Most everywhere wolves rule in the city." --nekkid (21st Century)

"Hi regnant qualibet urbe lupi." --Walter of England (12th Century)




"Everything that is thought and expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth; it all lacks totality, completeness, unity. When the Illustrious Buddha taught about the world, he had to divide it into Samsara and Nirvana, illusion and truth, into suffering and salvation. One cannot do otherwise, there is no other method for those who teach. But the world itself, being in and around us, is never one-sided. Never is a man or a deed wholly Samsara or wholly Nirvana; never is a man wholly a saint or a sinner. This only seems so because we suffer the illusion that time is something real." Herman Hesse, Siddartha (1922)
"In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole creation suffers, in each one a Saviour is crucified....
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us." Herman Hesse, Demian (1919)


"Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto." Terence (190-158 B.C.) , Heauton Timorumenos line 77


Friday, June 06, 2008

from the Codex Tudela

Self-Mutilation and Sacifice

"Wisdom says that one should beware of perfect people. In order to remain perfect such a person is prone to use his neighbour as a scapegoat. A perfect and narcissistic man happens to tread in a puddle of water. This mistake is a sin which he experiences as insulting to his perfect and controlled ego, and his 'unit status' has been questioned. The stain must now be transferred onto his wife, who is made to suffer from his bad mood. Comparatively, the flagellant's longing to be free of sin evolved into scapegoat psychology and victimization of innocent people.

Pathological self-laceration, as a misguided initiation rite, obtains among youths. What's even more disturbing is the mobbing and bullying at schools. Instead of lacerating themselves, youths can find a substitute victim. Young people often lack the strength to endure the ambiguity of their own nature when confronted with a diversity of painful and confused experiences. They want to be in control and to be "cool". Hence they resort to the destructive form of ego emancipation....
What does it mean when Western teenagers are practicing self-mutilation? Young men and women are cutting themselves, using razor blades or knives to wound their limbs and bodies. Eliade notes that 'patterns of initiation still survive, although markedly desacralized, in the modern world' (Eliade, p.188).
By damaging themselves, it seems, they aim to destroy the natural wholeness of childhood, and relieve themselves of the anxiety that goes together with a consciousness not yet amputated off its mother, namely the unconscious. As in the Tezcatlipoca sacrifice, an uncontrolled passion must be curbed. In order to conform to the monotony of social and societal life, it is necessary to cast off the ambivalency of primary wholeness. The impression of a young woman's wholeness is wrecked when she puts an ugly tattoo on her beautiful skin. It's like knocking out a tooth."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

City of London, U.K. gets a fine new mayor

Sometimes those leftists across the great water do something very intelligent. This mayor seems one of their better moves.


about classics studies:


Mortality of blogs (shelf-life of digital info)

Computer data has an intrinsic rate of decay apparently.

If not archived within a limited period the information may be lost.

Will my blitherings live forever in the New Library of Alexandria archives?



Web Archive in the New Library of Alexandria, Egypt


STAY making no sense

Worlds of dead and of living in collision

May stop making sense: I see dead people

On Saturday June twenty-first in the IFC



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Red Roses and Petrol

With a title reminiscent of a Pogues album, this Irish 'indie' film looks to be a mighty fine cinema that I, for sure, want to see.

Malcolm McDowell, no longer the young tough of Clockwork Orange, plays the not so Altvater to the 'Johnny' played by Max Beesley, who is very like his younger self.
The music is of the rowdy Flogging Molly variety.


Behind the scenes with Malcolm McDowell:


a live flogging:


Dubliners & Pogues as they once were:


Sunday, May 25, 2008

from Discourse 3.1.24-50 of Epictetus as in Arrian's lecture notes, circa 100 A.D.

"Young man, whom do you wish to beautify?
Learn first who you are and trick yourself out in this way.
You are a human; that is, a mortal animal life-form;
one that knows how to deal with mental impressions [phenomena] by means of
logical reasoning. but what is [the meaning of that]'by logical reasoning'?
It is [the process of] considering the nature of phenomena [mental impressions] and judging them in the manner of an absolute monarch.
So then, what excellency do you possess? Your life? Not so special.
Your mortality? Not so special. Knowing how to deal with mental
impressions? Not so special. It is your logical reasoning that is
your excellent quality. Refine and embellish that but leave your
hair to Him who made it as He wanted. Come on now; what other
appellations do you have? Are you man or woman? A man. eh. So groom
yourself as a man, not as a woman. This feminine prize is born to be
delicate in her nature and if she has much body hair, is a monster,
and is exhibited with the freaks in Rome. But it is the same [sort
of monstrosity] for a man not to have it, and if it is in his nature not
to have it, he is a monster; but if he should shave his body hair off himself or
should pluck it out, what would we make of him? Where should we
exhibit him? What kind of circus poster should we design for his
show? "I shall show you a man who wishes to be a woman rather than a
man."? What a dire spectacle! There is no one at all who will not
be amazed at the notice. By the Great Spirit, I suppose that even
the fellows who pluck out their own body hairs do what they do
without realizing what it means. Hey man, why are you indicting your
own nature? Because it made you a man? Why then? Is it necessary
that it make everybody women? And what would be the advantage then
of prettifying yourself? For whom would you be tricking yourself out
if all humans were women? This little creation [i.e., your body]
doesn't please you? Then make yourself into a woman outright.
Why ever do that? [To get at] the root of your hairyness.
Make yourself a woman in all respects, so that we may not [longer] be deluded;
not [this affair of] on the one hand, half a man, but on the other, half a woman. Whom do you wish to please? Dainty little women?
Then please them as a masculine man.
"Yes, but they delight in smooth-skinned, beardless lads."
Don't blow me away!
So if they were delighting in lewd *catamites, would you become a lewd catamite?
Is this the work for which you were born?
That licentious women should be delighted with you?
-- tr. by nekkid, Eve of Memorial Day, 2008


-explicates kinaidos*
(Latin kinaedus)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Seeking Buddha Scriptures in the West

Painting in walkway of Summer Palace, Beijing, Peoples' Republic of China.

Left to Right: Sun Wukong (Monkey King), Xuanzang (Monk), Zhu Wuneng, and Sha Wujing

About the Myth: