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I’ve just stumbled onto Dan Carlin’s podcast Hardcore History and have enjoyed his episode on The Macedonian Soap Opera, i.e., the Diadochi. I don’t know if it’s hardcore (I can’t hear that word without thinking of Minor Threat or Bad Brains) but it’s entertaining and well-produced.
And it makes cleaning a lot easier to deal with. Next go around I’ll start in on
Punic Nightmares Pt. I, Pt. II, & Pt. III.
I’m really looking forward to his discussion with Victor Davis Hanson. And episode 12, Steppe Stories, sounds great if the introduction is anything to go by:
Blood-sucking Scythian warriors, tattooed ice mummies, Amazons killing so they can mate, pot smoking head-hunters, scalp-taking, koumiss-drinking Mongols, Turks, Huns, and Aliens. What’s not to like?
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The latest issue of TAPhA is out and this piece caught my eye:
Malevolent Gods and Promethean Birds: Contesting Augury in Augustus’s Rome
Steven J. Green
The well-known mythological basis for augury (by which I mean in this paper the specialist consultation of various antics of birds in flight) is that there exists a positive interaction between gods and birds, whereby beneficent gods send reliable signs to expert mortals by means of certain birds, which act as the gods’ messengers.
The aim of this paper will be to demonstrate that Augustan writers (Livy, Vergil, and Ovid) engage in a lively debate about the hallowed mythological underpinning for augury, a debate which is all the more surprising (and potentially contentious) in light of the Emperor’s own promotion of this most ancient religious institution.
I haven’t read it yet. (Is it possible for APA members to access the online edition without some other institutional affiliation?) But as a teacher who tends to spend a fair amount of time in advanced courses dealing with Augustan literature, and as a teacher who thinks genuine Roman cultural practices get short shrift in the classroom (generally in deference to a misplaced and incongruous focus on Greek myth), this kind of article is certainly welcome. I’m looking forward to the print edition landing on my doorstep.
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I’m so happy to see that someone in Classics finally seems to get the concept of a podcast. (Briefly, a recording of a poem is not a podcast. It’s a recording of a poem.)
The Warwick classics department has followed its previous effort with a 22 minute discussion of Homer and Vergil (though I notice they use the traditional spelling, Virgil). I’ve just begun to have a listen, and so far the audio quality seems much-improved. Sound quality plagues many an academic podcast without the resources of, say, the BBC which does an excellent job with In Our Time (which occasionally touches on the Classics with fantastic results).
I’ll reproduce the intro here to entice you to download and perhaps, as I have, to subscribe to the feed:
David Fearn and Andrew Laird of Warwick’s Classics department discuss the vagaries of epic poetry.
War and peace, love and longing, and a hero’s home-coming—these are epic themes. We have all encountered them somewhere: on the big or small screen, in books, or perhaps even ourselves. Epics tell great tales of immortal gods and mortal men, of whole civilisations rising and falling. And yet, they also team with the many facets of the human condition, with grief and guilt, bereavement and betrayal, passion and persecution, death and desire.
Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey mark both the end of oral poetry and the beginning of literature. In the Aeneid, Virgil continues the tale of Troy and recounts the epic events leading to the foundation of Rome.
But what are these epics really about? How is the ambient social and political order reflected in these great classics? And how do small people feature in these grant narratives?
KUDOS to Warwick for not only getting it right, but for giving me something to listen to and to recommend.