I came in on the last part of Friday's programme, and was immediately hooked. After I'd adjusted to a young, slim Cicero, so different from the bust we know and – love? – I felt the political tensions and the personal danger that Cicero was putting himself into. But I didn't get the full picture. I'd welcome full reviews or shorter comments. Over to you.
Here's a site that gives you a lot more than at first appears – a kind of Tardis. From the page linked above you can choose any of 15 historical periods between the stone age and contemporary Greece.
Say we choose the obvious – the Classical Period. We then choose between Society, Economy, Politics and Culture. Let's go for Politics. We have 29 fairly short illustrated pages covering, first, the outline political history of the Classical period, and then the institutions of Athenian democracy, a page to each.
Links from key words to other pages, or, in the case of 'demagogue' for instance, to a pop-up definition, are frequent, and there are links to biographies of the leading men. Clicking on pictures brings a pop-up which not only enlarges the picture but also provides additional information.
I have not explored the whole site, but what I have looked at suggests that you could safely add it to the 'reading list' for essays on most Greek civilisation topics.
Thanks to Explorator for providing the URL.
News that the Scottish Culture Minister is campaigning to have the Antonine Wall recognised as a world heritage site, and is enlisting school children in the campaign is excellent. This is from The Herald.
Pupils form vanguard for Antonine campaign
BILLY BRIGGS March 01 2005
SCHOOL pupils are to help spearhead a campaign to have the Antonine wall declared as a world heritage site.
Patricia Ferguson, culture minister, said yesterday that getting schools involved in the bid to have the 2000-year-old Roman relic recognised as a historical monument was vital to its success.
She insisted teaching children more about the history of the Roman empire would help them become more understanding and tolerant of other cultures.
Ms Ferguson was speaking at Antonine Primary School in Bonnybridge, near Falkirk, as she launched an education pack outlining the importance of the wall.
The pack, which will be distributed to every school along the route of the wall, includes a DVD detailing its history.
The wall, which winds from the Firth of Forth to the Clyde, runs past the school and is regarded as being the most important Roman relic in Scotland.
A campaign to have it join the centre of Edinburgh, New Lanark, St Kilda and the neolithic remains on Orkney as Scotland's fifth world heritage site began last year. The final bid is expected to be submitted in 2007.
Ms Ferguson, who was greeted by children armed with replica Roman swords and shields, said: “Our children represent the future and have an essential role to play if we are to protect our heritage. The Antonine wall is a superb resource for learning and teaching. A site visit can help bring alive the reality of Roman life in Scotland . . . it introduces us to a lost civilisation which still affects our culture today.”
It is hoped the wall will eventually form part of an international Roman empire heritage network, linking 3000 miles of ancient frontier from Scotland to North Africa and the Middle East.
Thanks to Explorator for finding this news item.
Before they throw out their motto as meaningless, can any learned reader explain it? Here's the situation, as explained by the Free New Mexican:
SANTA FE – It's displayed on the outside of the Capitol, etched into the giant state seals in the legislative chambers, and inlaid in brass on the floor of the rotunda.
But one lawmaker says it's time to jettison New Mexico's state motto.
“Crescit Eundo” doesn't sound half-bad in Latin, but the English translation – “It Grows As It Goes” – leaves New Mexicans and visitors alike scratching their heads.
State Sen. Joseph Carraro says when he has recited it to visiting school children, he's been met with blank stares.
Carraro says New Mexico needs to “jazz it up a little bit.”
His proposal: “Antiqua Suspice, Crastina Accipe,” or “Respect the Past, Embrace the Future.”
That sounds a bit like ARLT's own motto, 'respice, prospice'. (Or is it the other way round?)
Whether genuine or not, those letters are a good read, as a reading group at an ARLT Summer School found not long ago. The issue of their genuineness has surfaced again here:
Medieval love letters ignite war of words in France
05 March 2005
PARIS: Two star-crossed medieval lovers, Abelard and Heloise, are again stirring passions in France as a literary controversy rages nearly 900 years after their affair.
At the heart of the drama is an obscure Latin text that some scholars say contains the long lost love letters written by the ill-fated pair. Others say the correspondence is fake.
(Use the link above to read more)
DW-World speculates on whether Cardinal Ratzinger might be the next Pope. He is a fluent speaker of Latin, apparently. The article follows:
Long one of the last places to keep Latin alive, the Catholic Church's love-affair with the ancient tongue is fading. One of the last to speak the language there is a German cardinal who might soon become the next pope.
Latin's long lost its status as the world's lingua franca, but until recently, Vatican visitors were able to hear some cardinals converse in what remains the church's official language.
But according to Reginald Foster, the Vatican's top Latinist, the sounds of Rome's days of glory can rarely be heard in the eternal city these days.
“The cardinals mostly speak Italian now,” he told Reuters news service. “Most of them studied here so they're comfortable with it….I joke with cardinals in Latin…and most don't laugh.”
Foster added that many church leaders also use French and German to communicate. That could make things easy for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who has been mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II.
According to Foster, Ratzinger is one of the only remaining fluent Latin speakers. The Bavarian native, however, has a clear advantage over others: Back home, people use “servus,” the Latin word for slave, to say good-bye. And “Prost,” the German word for “Cheers,” comes from prosit, Latin for “may it become.”
So this article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette claims.
The web site in question provides audio files of someone saying the Latin name of the plant. I think that this link should get you to the page. Then you have to type in a plant name (Latin or English) and click on the 'Hear the scientific name' link.
By DOUG OSTER, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Published: Friday, Mar. 4, 2005
Can you say Crataegus phaenopyrum? Or would you rather stick with the plant’s common name, Washington hawthorn? Maybe you’d just settle for calling it a pretty tree.
Latin names are an important tool in properly identifying garden plants, but it can be intimidating to try to say them in front of other gardeners, especially smart ones who are practiced in the finer points of horticultural Latin.
Well, now you can relax. No matter how you said it, you were probably right, and that comes from someone who knows.
Elaine Eberlin spent an entire summer recording 1,100 plant names for Ohio State University’s Web site, WebGarden (webgarden.osu.edu).
“There are several pronunciations for most names. There is no correct single way,” she said.
I always thought one of my favorite plants, corydalis, was pronounced co-RID-alis. But on the site, Eberlin pronounces it cora-DIL-is.
She rates Elaeagnus angustifolia as one of the tougher names to say. I think her performance of Hunnemannia fumariifolia “Sunlite” is pretty impressive.
Currently a systems specialist for horticulture and crop sciences at the university, Eberlin graduated in 2001 and two years later worked with Dr. Tim Rhodus on the project. She researched pronunciations by consulting other plant experts, but in some cases was unable to find any help.
What sets OSU’s site apart is the audio quality of the file and the skill with which Eberlin pronounces the names. She says she loves plants but didn’t want to spend 14-hour days out in the field. She enjoys the challenges the Web provides and is happy to be warm and dry when it’s the opposite outside.
“I was happy to be able to work in horticulture but in a different way than most people think of, not out digging in the dirt or running a nursery.”
Rhodus launched the OSU horticulture site in 1994. It’s a huge site filled with information and receives between 3 million and 5 million hits a month.
Plant junkies can spend hours searching and learning on the site, which includes a downloadable plant database called Pocket Gardener for handhelds. The Plantfacts area has illustrated garden questions, a glossary, image database, video database and Internet search engine.
“It’s just like Google, but if you type in ‘apple,’ you’ll never get Apple computers,” Rhodus said.
He wants everyone to be able to benefit from the Web, though he understands the intimidation some older gardeners might feel about computers.
“It’s not passing you by. The friendly librarian can go a long way in easing you over that first hurdle,” he said.
One benefit of the OSU site is that it is unbiased, sponsored by a university rather than a commercial enterprise.
To find the pronunciations, go to webgarden.osu.edu and click on Plant Facts. Search for a plant by name or scroll down to Images. Clicking on the name of a plant will bring up a button that says, “Hear the scientific name.”
It’s good to know that if you say CLEM-a-tis and I say clem-A-tis, we’re both right.