Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 27

On January 27, was the festival of Castor and Pollux, Greek demigods who were patrons of cavalry, athletes and sailors

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24

January 24 marked Sementivae. On thie day, Romans gave offerings to Tellus and Cerus (agricultural goddesses) to protect the spring sowing. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bobba Fet Spartan Warrior

Bobba Fet Spartan Warrior: "

awesome photos  - Bobba Fet Spartan Warrior

Submitted by:


submitting a LOL that makes it to the homepagesubmitting 50 LOLs.Adding 25 Friends


Colosseum sofa

Italian furniture maker Tappezzeria Rocchetti has attained a new zenith in tatty representations of glorious antiquities with this sofa based on the Roman Colosseum:
This sofa is the perfect example of an exceptionally manufactured sofa that offers both the comfort of a sofa and the unique feeling of visiting a historical monument like the Colosseum in Italy, Rome. The manufacturer, Tappezzeria Rocchetti is actually famous for its craftwork upholstery that already has over sixty years of tradition. This sofa is a mix of antique history and also modern features - comfort and modern materials, being perfect for the little hostels in the city of Rome , offering the tourists a taste of the ancient Rome while still inside or in front of the TV set.
Colosseum Sofa from Tappezzeria Rocchetti

Another Mai Tai

Monday, January 17, 2011

Teleconference Lecture Tomorrow : "The Persian Version: What did the Battle of Marathon look like from the Persian side?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
1:00 PM ET/ 10:00 AM PT (90 minute lecture and Q&A) 
Marathon2500 Lecture #4: "The Persian Version: What did the Battle of Marathon look like from the Persian side?"
The Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, Professor Harrison’s research on the Achaemenid Persian empire will be discussed (he has a forthcoming book on the topic) and, based on those insights, he will address the Battle of Marathon from the perspective of the Persians.
Location: Teleconference from anywhere in the world
Free registration:

January 17

On this day in 69 AD Otho committed suicide after a night of meditation in his tent.

Roman Racism, Or Lack Thereof (ca. 200 AD)

Roman Racism, Or Lack Thereof (ca. 200 AD)

By: The Scribe on October, 2007

This is one of only 3 “head flasks” found from Rome, designed in the head of an African man. Evidently, Africans were living and working at Hadrian’s Wall alongside the Romans!A study done at Newcastle University in the UK revealed something about the Romans that was previously unheard of: it appears that the Romans had no qualms about Africans holding various positions within Roman society, regardless of whether that position was the Emperor of Rome or a domestic slave. Judging by the evidence… it appears that Romans were colorblind when it came to people with differently colored skin.

The University holds a rather substantial collection of what has been termed ‘Romano-African’ artifacts, and these objects point quite blatantly at the presence of Africans on Rome’s military frontier, especially along Hadrian’s Wall. One of the objects was a blue, mould-blown glass vessel that was shaped like the head of an African man – and while there are have only been three of these found thus far, the fact that it was made from a mould suggests that these kinds of vessel may have been popular items.

According to historical documents, out of all the people who helped to build Hadrian’s Wall, there were actually very few “Romans” involved – there were plenty of Spanish, Gallic, and Germans working on the project, while a number of auxiliary units that were stationed on garrison duty actually came from North Africa.

Aside from the privileges of thorough military training, well-known Africans in the Roman Empire included a man named Victor, who was a freed slave from Morocco, and even the Emperor Septimius Severus, who came to Rome from Lepcis Magna in Libya! Evidently, color and country of origin were moot points when it came to social participation in the Roman Empire.

Skin color aside, what the Romans were well known for was their deep-seated prejudices against a whole host of other kinds of people, such as those they called ‘barbarians’ – ie. anyone outside of the Roman Empire’s control – and… they weren’t particularly fond of men who wore earrings. But prejudices based on color? The Romans were far beyond that.

Want to read more?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ides of January

On this day in 69 AD, the Emperor Galba was murdered in the streets of Rome.

Also, this day marked the Carmentalia. Festival to honor Carementis, river nymph and goddess of prophecy.

Another ceremony held on this day was the Feast of the Ass. 

Orientis partibus
Adventavit Asinus
Pulcher et fortissimus
Sarcinis aptissimus.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12th

The Carmentalia was celebrated to honor Carmentis January 11th-15th.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10th

On this day in 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and invaded Italy, beginning a civil war. He had been ordered to disband his army three days earlier on January 7th. Pompey and his supporters fled to Greece.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Today is Family Day at SAMA

Family Day at SAMA
January 9, 1p-2p
Interactive family tours of the "To Live Forever" exhibit at SAMA.
Free with museum admission, or with UTSA ID.


On this day The Agonalia was held. It was held onJanuary 9th, March 17th, May 21st, and December 11th. On each day a ram was sacrificed, probably as an offering to Janus.

Festival to Janus, god of gates and doorways. There seem to be many different legends about the history of Janus. One has him the son of Uranus and Hecate. Another says he had a son named Tiberinus whose accidental drowning named Roma's river. According to another he was a son of Apollo and the first king of Latium. His colony near the Tiber is supposed to have given the name to the Janiculum Hill. Another story says that Janus welcomed Saturn to earth after the latter was driven out of Olympia by Zeus.

Janus was very important in Rome because the weakest point in any building or municipality is its doorway. Anything from human enemies to evil spirits could enter via that route. So strong was this feeling that Romans always carried corpses out of buildings feet first so that the departed spirits would be less likely to find their way back in.

In 260 BC the Romans built an important gateway temple to Janus after a victory against the previously unbeatable Carthaginian fleet. This was left open in times of war and closed when the armies had returned to the city.

This seems puzzling since one would think that during war the gate would be closed for protection and left open for peacetime. But the meaning of this can be seen in that the gateway was not used on a regular basis, but only for generals marching out to war and when returning in a triumphal procession. During the time the gateway was open, Janus was out fighting for Rome while when it was closed it meant that the god would not abandon Rome.

Januarius was not always the first month of the year. Earlier it had begun, perhaps more sensibly, in March (Martius) with the onset of Spring. Januarius and Februarius were added by Numa Pompilius, one of Rome's kings in the pre-Republic days. He also moved the beginning of the year to Januarius and set the number of days equal to 29 because Romans considered odd numbers lucky. Notice that all of the festivals are held on odd-numbered days. Centuries later Julius Caesar set the length to 31, as well as adding days elsewhere to fix the problem of the months no longer corresponding to the seasons, a result of the fact that the Roman year was shorter than the actual solar year.

If the first month is seen as the gateway to a new year, naming it after Janus (the -ary means "pertaining to") actually makes sense. His most common depiction is of a head with two faces, one looking back, the other forward.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 6

January 6 was the festival day for Proserpina. 

Venus, in order to bring love to Pluto, sent her son Amor also known as Cupid to hit Pluto with one of his arrows. Proserpina was in Sicily, at the Pergusa Lake near Enna, where she was playing with some nymphs and collecting flowers, when Pluto came out from thevolcano Etna with four black horses named Orphnaeus, Aethon, Nycteus and Alastor[4]. He abducted her in order to marry her and live with her in Inferi, the Roman Underworld, of which he was the ruler. Notably, Pluto was also her uncle, being Jupiter's (and Ceres's) brother. She is therefore Queen of the Underworld.
Her mother Ceres, the goddess of agriculture or of the Earth, went looking for her in vain to every corner of the earth, but wasn't able to find anything but a small belt that was floating upon a little lake (made with the tears of the nymphs). In her desperation Ceres angrily stopped the growth of fruits and vegetables, bestowing a malediction on Sicily. Ceres refused to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a desert at every step.
Worried, Jupiter sent Mercury to order Pluto (Jupiter's brother) to free Proserpina. Pluto obeyed, but before letting her go he made her eat six pomegranate seeds, because those who have eaten the food of the dead could not return to the world of the living. This meant that she would have to live six months of each year with him, and stay the rest with her mother. This story was undoubtedly meant to illustrate the changing of the seasons; When Ceres welcomes her daughter back in the spring the earth blossoms, and when Proserpina must be returned to her husband it withers.
In another version of the story, some people believe that upon her abduction, Proserpina ate only four pomegranate seeds, and she did so of her own accord. When Jupiter ordered her return, Pluto struck a deal with Jupiter, saying that since she had stolen his pomegranate seeds, she must stay with him four months of the year in return. For this reason, in spring when Ceres received her daughter back, the crops blossomed, and in summer they flourished. In the autumn Ceres changed the leaves to shades of brown and orange (her favorite colors) as a gift to Proserpina before she had to return to the underworld. During the time that Proserpina resided with Pluto, the world went through winter, a time when the earth was barren.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Nones of January

Today in history:
  • The rex sacrorum would appear on the steps of the Capitol on this day and announce to the people what days of the months would be holidays. The Nones mark the ninth day before the Ides.
  • It was on this day that the water of a spring by the temple of Dionysos on the Greek island of Andros was supposed to taste like wine. It continued to do so for one week. If the water was taken out of sight of the temple, then it would loose its taste. (Blackburn)
Major Happenings:
  • In Greece, this day was the Festival of Kore.
  • This day marked the birthday of the shrine of Vica Pota at Rome.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Viva Roma No. V

Octopuses vs octopi vs octopodes

Great Moments in Pedantry: Octopuses, octopi, octopodes: "

Merriam-Webster editor Kory Stamper explains the fascinating history behind my favorite hair-pulling, knee-capping Internet debate. Two surprising lessons here. First, all three plural forms of octopus can be considered correct. That's right, everybody. We can stop having this argument now.

Second, and more embarrassingly, it turns out that I've been mispronouncing 'octopodes' for years. Whoops.

Via Nerdy Christie


Air Force names new drone after Greek she-monster Gorgon: what could go wrong?

From BoingBoing...

Air Force names new drone after Greek she-monster Gorgon: what could go wrong?: "gorgon.jpg

In Greek mythology, the Gorgon was a terrifying female sacred monster with venomous snakes growing out of her head. Her unblinking eyes turned to stone all humans who gazed upon her. How scary was she? Her name derives from gorgós, the Greek word for 'dreadful.'

But make way for rebranding! Now, she's the inspiration for a multimillion dollar project the Air Force has just deployed to Afghanistan, 'a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town.' Snip from Washington Post:

The system, made up of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, can transmit live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements. It can send up to 65 different images to different users; by contrast, Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a 'soda straw' area the size of a building or two.

With the new tool, analysts will no longer have to guess where to point the camera, said Maj. Gen. James O. Poss, the Air Force's assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. 'Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we're looking at, and we can see everything.'

With Air Force's Gorgon Drone 'we can see everything'
(Washington Post)

More about the system at It was formerly known as the Wide Area Airborne Surveillance System WAAS, and a diagram showing how it works is below.