New York Times reviews the two books on Latin

Another review of Carpe Diem and Ad Infinitum is here.

Extracts:

Latin might be dead, but it continues to twitch. Long after its
disappearance as the common tongue of Europe, it survives as a
remarkably successful brand, exuding dignity and permanence.

Latin nevertheless suffered from an inferiority complex in its
adolescent years. One of Mr. Ostler’s most fascinating chapters deals
with the self-conscious program undertaken by Latin writers to
replicate the achievements of the Greek philosophers, playwrights and
poets

“When the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, an almost immediate reform (in 1920) was to eliminate Latin in schools.”

“Carpe Diem” is a trifle with an astonishing amount of filler for such
a short book. The passion is genuine, though, and Mr. Mount quite
rightly takes the high ground in making his appeal.

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Roman shoes found in Wessex coffin

I find the shoes particularly fascinating, having done a little research on Roman shoes many years ago.

From 24 hour museum

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum is to take
delivery of a spectacular Roman stone coffin unearthed by Wessex
Archaeology in 2007.

The limestone coffin, weighing three metric tonnes was discovered as
part of the excavation of a Roman cemetery containing over 200 burials
next to a substantial Roman settlement on Boscombe Down.

When archaeologists lifted the lid off the coffin they were
surprised to discover that it had not filled with soil. Instead, they
looked down on the skeleton of a woman who was cradling a young child
in her arms.

A unique environment had been created inside the coffin, which had
slowed down the processes of decay so that, even after 1,800 years, the
woman’s deer skin slippers still survived. The slippers had cork insoles and a fur lining and are the
best-preserved examples in Britain of this sort of luxury shoe, which
was imported from the Mediterranean. The child was buried wearing
calfskin shoes, which are unique in Britain.

More …

Asterix fans will like this – inscription to Toutatis found

Thanks to Explorator for this.

Toutatis – ou Teutatès – est un dieu discret. On en trouve une première et brève mention au milieu du Ier siècle de notre ère chez le poète latin Lucain puis… dans les aventures d'Astérix. Entre les deux, rien, ou pas grand-chose.

La
principale divinité du panthéon gaulois vient de sortir de ce long
silence : l'archéologue Bernard Clémençon a découvert cinq fragments de
céramique où figure l'inscription “TOTATUS”, le “u” étant la graphie du
“e” celte. Sur l'un de ces fragments, d'environ 8 cm de longueur,
l'inscription est parfaitement lisible, émouvante par son tracé
malhabile.

suite …