Wednesday, March 19

What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?


One of the strange things about religions is how territorial they are. Pretty much every religion has borrowed from some other religion or customs. Which is perfectly fine but then that invites charges of hypocrisy when they turn around and say it's the literal words of god. Well, god seems to have this habit of changing his mind eh? 

Personally speaking I like Gods who change their minds. It's more fun. Can you imagine having a God whose mind doesn't change? How boring. You might as well as forget the laws of physics anyway. Even gods are subject to laws of physics, thermodynamics and entropy eh? 

Anyway a nice little history lesson here. As you know kannu we took you to Rome when you were 3. Far too young to appreciate the wonders of Rome. And now that I'm studying Roman architecture I'm minded to take you two to Rome and Florence and Venice and and and again. Shall we? Couple of weeks? Of sun, sea, sand, lovely food, mouldy buildings and get you kids a bit of a refresher course in the horrible history of Italy? :) 



What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us? Christmas Edition

Nice little feature on Classical elements in Christmas … according to Matthew Nicholls at Reading (so it’s got a scholar behind it!) … via the University of Reading:

When opening your presents or enjoying a night out this Christmas spare a quick thought for the Romans. We owe much of our festive fun to them.The Romans celebrated the winter festival of Sigillaria on 23rd of December, part of their Saturnalia¹ festivities. Just like on Christmas Day, Sigillaria saw presents exchanged. So how does Sigillaria compare to a modern day Christmas? And can we say that the Roman’s invented Christmas?Dr Matthew Nicholls, a senior lecturer of classics at the University of Reading, has explored the work of Martial² and Seneca, writers of the time, and found striking similarities including gifts of ugly but warm ‘jumpers’, ‘Kindlesque’ portable storage for books and even a Roman bah-humbug!Dr Nicholls is the creator of Virtual Rome, an ambitious digital model of the entire ancient city of Rome.
GiftsThat’s just what I always wanted“The poet Martial’s work indicates that gift recipients would have faced similar ‘reaction’ issues to our own. Quality of presents varied enormously. The traditional present for the Saturnalia was some nuts – not unlike old fashioned handful of walnuts in a Christmas stocking. Martial mentions ‘gifts given and received’ some of which sound rather familiar.“Fish-sauce, jars of honey, bottles of wine, toothpicks, a pencil case, perfume, a flask encased in wicker-work and clothing – even an item that sounds like an ugly but warm Christmas sweater…a ‘shaggy nursling of a weaver on the Seine, a barbarian garment … a thing uncouth but not to be despised in cold December … that searching cold may not pass into your limbs … you will laugh at rain and winds, clothed in this gift’. (Ep. 4.19)The Roman Kindle that could store the entire

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