Tag Archives: Latin literature

Ancient Vesuvius Scrolls Read with X-Ray

Posted on 31. Mar, 2016 by in Roman culture

In the recent news, scientist and historians are working together to attempt to read some the ancient scrolls preserved by Vesuvius.

Mt_Vesuvius_79_AD_eruption_3_svg

For those of you who do not know the story of Pompeii and Herculaneum: Check out some previous blogs (here and here)! So, for the short and sweet version, two entire cities were well preserved in ash which means artifacts and people were preserved.

ANCIENT SCROLLSPompeii_Garden_of_the_Fugitives_02

“The papyri have been burnt, so there is not
a huge difference between the paper and the ink,” Mocella told Live Science. That made it impossible to decipher the words written in the documents.

Papyrus discovered at the Villa of the Papyri. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Papyrus discovered at the Villa of the Papyri. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Though eventually metallic inks made their way into the mix, it was assumed that this happened well after 79 AD. But when the scientists took fragments of the scrolls and put them in a particle accelerator, the technique revealed quite a lot of lead in the ink. Lead is something that X-rays, if sensitive enough and calibrated the right way, can pick up on. The scientists have plans to X-ray the scrolls in Naples this year. This method has left many historians hopeful for the potential information and even library under the Villa of Papyri.

Villa of the Papyri.Courtesy of WikiCommons & Eirk Anderson

Villa of the Papyri.Courtesy of WikiCommons & Eirk Anderson

For more information and news, check it out here.

The Fugalia Festival

Posted on 25. Feb, 2016 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Festival Time!!!!!

In ancient Roman religion, Regifugium or Fugalia (“King’s Flight”) was an annual observance that took place every February 24. The Romans themselves offer varying views on the meaning of the day. According to Varro and Ovid, the festival commemorated the flight of the last king of Rome,

Tarquinius Superbus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, depicting the king receiving a laurel; the poppies in the foreground refer to the "tall poppy" allegory (see below)

Tarquinius Superbus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, depicting the king receiving a laurel; the poppies in the foreground refer to the “tall poppy” allegory (see below)

,[ Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (died 495 BC) was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome, reigning from 535 BC until the popular uprising in 509 that led to the establishment of the Roman Republic.

He is commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, from his cognomen Superbus (Latin for “proud, arrogant, lofty”) ] in 510 BC. Plutarch, however, explains it as the symbolic departure of the priest with the title rex sacrorum.

Statue of Ovid Courtesy of Wikimedia Common and Author Kurt Wichmann

Statue of Ovid Courtesy of Wikimedia Common and Author Kurt Wichmann

In his Fasti, Ovid offers the longest surviving account of the observance:

Now I must tell of the flight of the King, six days from the end of the month. The last of the Tarquins possessed the Roman nation, an unjust man, but nevertheless strong in war.

Nunc mihi dicenda est regis fuga. Traxit ab illa sextus ab extremo nomina mense dies. Ultima Tarquinius Romanæ gentis habebat regna, vir iniustus, fortis ad arma tamen.

Plutarch holds that the rex sacrorum was a substitute for the former king of Rome here as in various religious rituals. The rex held no civic or military role, but nevertheless was bound to offer a public sacrifice in the Comitia on this date. The “flight of the king” was the swift exit the proxy king was required to make from that place of public business. It may be that the two versions are to be reconciled by taking the “flight” of the rex sacrorum as a reenactment of the expulsion of Tarquinius.

 

Make an Ancient Roman Dessert..I Challenge You

Posted on 04. Feb, 2016 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

Oh how I have missed writing! I am sorry that I have written in a while, but I’m back. Today we are going to ease back into the Roman world and Latin. I am trying something new for 2016. I will be posting bucketlist post every once in a while to inform readers and followers of unique things they can do to really live up 2016!

Today, February 3, is also National Carrot Cake Day! So, I decided that today’s blog should be one about a dessert.

SO I CHALLENGE YOU…….

The following recipe is from Apicius’ De re coquinaria (“On the Subject of Cooking”)

The Apicius manuscript (ca. 900 CE) of the monastery of Fulda in Germany, which was acquired in 1929 by the New York Academy of Medicine

The Apicius manuscript (ca. 900 CE) of the monastery of Fulda in Germany, which was acquired in 1929 by the New York Academy of Medicine

Patina  de piris* [ Pan/Stew/Cake of Pears; literally pan /stew/cake from pears]

Pear Mosaic

Pear Mosaic

Pira elixa et purgata e medio teres** cum pipere, cumino, melle, passo, liquamine, oleo modico. Ovis missis patinam facies**, piper super aspargis**et inferes**.

Boiled pears and having been purged or cleaned from its middle (i.e seeds, pit, etc.) you will grind with pepper, cumin, honey , wine, broth, and a little oil. Having been mixed with eggs, you will make a pan/stew/cake, spread or sprinkle with pepper and serve.

*piris is an ablative as evident from de, but it could be debated the type of ablative. Ablative of origin, source, means, etc.

** Great examples of the 2nd singular future that you don’t see that often, but this make sense for a directions. It is interesting that it isn’t an imperative.

Thoughts:

Well, in all honestly, this is more like a custard or pudding made out of pears. While this recipe is very simple, but it doesn’t say anything about cooking, time, amounts, etc.. That doesn’t really work well for our modern day thinking…so I have provided everyone with a up-to-date recipe (here) with directions.