Now We Are Rome – Ancient Roman torture on film, and modern American torture in the news.

“The torturer controls all proceedings. Arbitrary fallacies distort. Hope is corrupted. Fear debilitates. And with all of the constraints these things force upon the proceedings, there is no place left for the truth.” –Cicero

tortureHollywood has a long history of using the Romans to comment, often simplistically, about America. Traditionally, one aspect that has been presented in film as incompatible with American ideals is torture. It was always the purview of the brute, barbarian, and tyrant– the activity of a cruel, pre-Christian era. When characters from antiquity resorted to torture, the film makers consistently made the point that coercive violence was historically irreconcilable with a modern, enlightened democracy.

Read the full article by Gary Devore

The Carmenta Online Latin School

The Carmenta Online Latin School (which is now 6 years old) is the world’s largest online Latin school, with live audio/video Skype classes and tutoring in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Classical Literature. Highly qualified,most of their teachers also work at top American universities and prep schools. Students of all ages and with a wide variety of educational backgrounds could benefit.
Check out these websites – For students interested in online Latin classes, – For students interested in online Ancient Greek classes, and – For students interested in online Latin tutoring.

The Carmenta Blog, to which all of these three sites are directly linked, contains original and reposted articles and videos on the classical languages as well as classical culture, history, and archaeology. For an interesting and entertaining collection of scholarship and reportage about classical languages, history, and culture, with all original material produced by top academics go here:

Latrines, sewers show varied ancient Roman diet

Having myself worked with archaeologists, I know just how excited they get whenever a latrine turns up. Excitement assured, then, with this headline.

— Archaeologists picking through latrines, sewers, cesspits and trash dumps at Pompeii and Herculaneum have found tantalizing clues to an apparently varied diet there before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed those Roman cities in 79 A.D.

Much of what residents didn’t digest or left on their plates went down into latrine holes, became remnants in cesspits built up over the centuries or was thrown away in local dumps. At a three-day conference ending Friday in Rome, archaeologists discussed their discoveries, including gnawed-on fish bones and goose eggshells that were possibly ancient delicacies for the elite……………..


a latrine entry shaft into a sewer with calcium phosphate build-up on the side.

get ready for the Saturnalia

English Heritage are putting on talks on the Festival of Saturnalia, to be held at Corbridge Roman Town on 20th December

Join English Heritage’s Curator of Roman Collections, Frances McIntosh, as she brings the story of the Roman festival, Saturnalia, to life.

Booking essential.


Latin lovers revive the language

LATIN is showing distinct signs of life in Italy as students flock to Rome to learn it and a new Italian magazine publishes the world’s first Latin crossword.

Hebdomada Aenigmatum, or Weekly Puzzles, a free online Latin language publication launched this summer, now has 3000 subscribers, including about 100 in the UK.

Besides a crossword, it offers Sudoku and join-the-dots puzzles using Roman numerals as well as news reports featuring personalities such as Baracus Obama and Robertinus Williams.

For light relief, the magazine runs the cartoon Insuperabilis Snupius, also known as Snoopy, while recipes include tubus Siculus, or Sicilian cannoli, and assata bovilla, or roast beef.

“The success of the publication proves Latin is still very much alive,” said Luca Desiata, 42, an engineer with the Italian energy company ENEL, who invented Latin word games at school and now runs My Latin Lover, an organisation that promotes the use of the language.

“Readers are writing in to say that the magazine helps them go on practising the language they love,” he said.

Mr Desiata said he used a Latin dictionary updated with modern terms such as jet plane — aeronavis retroversus impulsus — to write his articles, including reports on the World Cup: Poculum mundanum pedifollicum.

The revival has been reflected in the translation of Harry Potter into Latin, but there is more concrete proof in Rome, home to an educational institute where all conversations must be carried out in Latin………..

read on

Sex slaves, public executions – yet

glorious art like this: A majestic Roman eagle, newly unearthed in London, believed to be the best-preserved ever in London

and a gripping account of life in AD100

At a cemetery on the eastern fringes of Roman London in AD100, a sombre, yet grand ceremony was taking place.

A prosperous citizen was being buried just outside the city boundaries – no Roman, however rich, could be buried within the city walls to prevent the spread of disease.

Mourners muttered prayers to the sun god, Mithras, as the body was laid to rest in its dark mausoleum.

Overlooking the body, at the far end of the tomb, loomed a majestic stone sculpture of a Roman eagle clutching a writhing snake in its beak. This noble eagle would guarantee the protection of Jupiter, king of the gods, in the afterlife. ……

Read more from Harry Mount

Greek Studies on Site 2014

 Greek Studies on Site is a center for the study of Classical literature and culture. It offers a series of seminars in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute at Athens. Its programs are open to students of Classics, Philosophy, History, and related disciplines, as well as adult learners with an interest in Ancient Greek culture. All seminars meet both indoors and out, with many sessions taking place in archaeological sites and museums.

Explore topics such as  Love in Greek Antiquity, Greek Mythology in Athens and Follow in the Footsteps of Socrates.  Find out more from the Greek Studies On Site website


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.