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. 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:


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