Modern Versus Ancient Expressions of Love

From Newswire Ascribe – the opening only.

Be mine. Yours forever. You hold the key to my heart. Hamilton College Classics Professor Barbara Gold can't help but notice the difference between modern Valentine's Day cards filled with sentimental sayings and ancient Romans' wrenching expressions of love.

Today's valentines focus on sharing, caring, love and friendship. The beloved is portrayed as gentle, sensitive, tender and compassionate, says Gold. The ancient Romans had quite a different take on love.

Read the rest.

Paul Johnson in the Daily Mail on Boudica

Opening of a long piece in the Daily Mail.

Britain's history is rich in fiery queens, and the first such heroine, tall with red hair down to her waist, commanding and brave, was Boadicea, warrior leader of the ancient Britons.

She lived at the same time as the emperors Claudius and Nero, and led a surprisingly successful British revolt against Roman rule in AD60-61 (which, for reference, was when St Paul was writing epistles and St Mark composing his Gospel).

She was a notable orator. Her enemies, the Romans, said her voice was strident, but, as Margaret Thatcher found, any woman seeking to establish authority over an assembly of men is open to this accusation.

Pontefract Roman exhibition and events, Feb – March 2008

From Pontefract and Castleford Express

ROMAN culture will invade Pontefract Museum in a series of free workshops

A temporary exhibition – featuring Roman armour, mosaics, jewellery and clothing – is on display at the museum on Salter Row, which is also hosting several historic sessions through February and March.

Centurion Maximus will be telling townsfolk about life in the Roman army on Tuesday February 12, while families can cook up a storm with food historian Sally Grainger on Friday February 15.
On Saturday March 8, bloodthirsty Roman battles will be re-enacted by Wakefield and Ossett Wargamers and their model armies.

A session on armour making takes place on Tuesday March 18 and budding linguists can learn Latin, with Roman writing methods, on Wednesday March 26.

For more details, or to book a place on a workshop, telephone 0845 6018353.

'Oldest Roman lighthouse' claim in Turkey

From the New Anatolian. I don't know the date of the Dover lighthouse – possibly part of the Saxon Shore defences and therefore late. I'd like to see a photo of this Turkey one. It might be interesting for those teaching Alexandria.

Turkish archaeologists unearthed a 2000-year-old lighthouse at the ancient Roman port of Patara, near southern town of Kas, Antalya, discovering probably the oldest such structure that managed to remain intact.

The 12-meter-high lighthouse was built under the reign of Emperor Nero who ruled from 54 to 68, Professor Havva Iskan Isik, head of the excavation team reported.

“The oldest known lighthouse is the one in Alexandria but there is nothing left of it. So, the lighthouse at the Patara port is the oldest one that has remained intact,” she said.

Isik said there might be a second lighthouse at the other edge of the port under a huge debris of soil, which she said was to be excavated at a later time.

Caroline Lawrence interview

This is from way back in November 2007, but I've only just stumbled across it in the Independent.

Caroline Lawrence, 53, has written 14 novels about ancient Rome, which have been made into the BBC's most expensive children's TV series (currently being repeated on CBBC on Saturdays at 2pm). The second series of The Roman Mysteries will be transmitted in spring 2008. The Roman Mysteries Treasury and The Beggar of Volubilis came out last month (see

In year four at “elementary” (primary) school in Bakersfield, California, Mrs Eckhardt used to give us eucalyptus sweets and read us books such as A Wrinkle in Time, a fantasy story by Madeleine L'Engle. Bliss. It made me love school.

When I was nine, we moved to Stanford University in San Francisco so that my father could do a PhD. I went to Terman Junior High in Palo Alto. It was terrible, because my hormones were all over the place and I became an ugly adolescent full of rage and loathing. At 13, the only clique that would let me hang out with them were the hippies and I had to smoke marijuana with them in the graveyard across the road from the school. I actually got arrested at school for possession of marijuana.

At 16, when I was at Henry M Gunn High School, I had a crush on the English teacher and my grades improved dramatically. This great school had only 400 students, mostly children of Stanford professors, and it was more usual to have classes under one of the oak trees dotted around the campus than in the classroom.

Read the rest.

Updated guide to Classics and Class Civ degrees

The Independent's guide to degree courses includes this page on Classical subjects. The writer Neda Mostafavi makes the case well. You might like to print this out and have it handy to give to pupils.

Spot your friends in this paragraph:

Where are the stars? At Durham, Professor Christopher Rowe, an expert on Plato, and Professor Edith Hall, who specialises in ancient cultural history. At Cambridge it is Professor Simon Goldhill, an expert on the sex lives of the ancients and Dr. Mary Beard for Roman and cultural history and Professor Robin Osborne in the area of Greek history and art. Oxford's new chair of Latin Professor Phillip Hardie, for Latin literature. Professor Greg Woolf for Roman history at St Andrews. If you like movies, Reading's Professor Maria Wyke is an expert on the Greeks and Romans in cinema. At Warwick Professor Simon Swain for his expertise of Greek culture during the Roman empire; Professor Michael Whitby for late antiquity and ancient history and James Davidson for his book “Courtesans and Fishcakes” and specialisation in Greek social history. Professor Richard Alston for his A level text book and expertise in Roman history; Professor Jonathan Powell who is known for his work on Cicero and Latin poets and a recent addition to the department Professor Ahuvia Kahane who specialises in Greek epic poetry.

Venice exhibition on the end of the Roman Empire

A thoughtful piece in the Independent muses on the relationship of the successor nations to the Roman empire.

The end of imperial Rome is no great mystery. The empire was brilliant, proud and cultivated, an elaborately complicated society capable of great cruelty, great beauty, and technical genius of every sort: a society in which we see our own far-away mirror. But it grew rich, fat, decadent, lazy and too big to defend. After slow centuries of decline, in the 5th century the defences crumbled and the barbarian hordes – the opposite of everything the Romans stood for, their dreadful Other – poured in.

Why it happened is a matter of endless scholarly debate. Edward Gibbon started it, and while still revered for the scale of his research (and by many for his diagnosis), dozens of others have added their own interpretations.

But now a vast new exhibition in Venice's most important museum, Palazzo Grassi, at the opposite end of Piazza San Marco from the Duomo, asks us to look at the cataclysmic end through a new pair of spectacles.

For the rest of the article and notes on the Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths etc see here. Independent articles may not be available free for very long.