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Andrew Dalby

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  1. Andrew Dalby

    Gaius Caligula - help needed

    LacusCurtius has some original latin/greek texts, and you probably could easily find the rest at any university library. If I understand the original question correctly as far as the source documents that we have are concerned I believe that they are probably all later copies (at best 5th or 6th century AD) of the original hand written Latin documents which were mostly discovered between about 1300 to 1500 in various monastic [(Edit) or Islamic (Edit)] libraries. Some parchments contained only part of particular documents and/or were compiled with other documents, be incomplete or even simply only survived in precis versions so some authors have tried to interpolate back to what was originally written. In some instances more than one copy was found of particular texts and academic arguments have since raged over which version is the most accurate (or at least is closest to the 'original' source document) and what the correct sequence of copying may have been. The 'original' parchment copies may no longer survive having had another six or so centuries to rot or ain a few instacnes early printed copies exist which have become the only generally available sources. The Loeb and most other 'academic' translations will probably list the various source documents including where they were found and when as well giving an indication of how complete they may have been. However you are unlikely to be able to see the original copies unless you are a recognized scholar as they now tend to be deemed too precious to allow general access to them and are kept in a variety of academic libraries. Obviously there are translations available in different languages and often transcriptions of the surviving Latin text as others have already indicated. Let me just add: as Melvadius rightly says, no originals ("autographs") of classical historical texts survive. But there are printed editions ("critical editions") whose aim is to show the variants in the surviving manuscripts and to get back where possible to the author's original, or as near as possible. For Suetonius, for example, an edition by M. Ihm, published in Germany in 1908 (I have a reprint), is or was the best critical edition. Most of these aren't available on line, I don't think, but good libraries have to have them. What you usually get on line is the text as someone has worked it out, without the notes and variants. Unless you are doing really detailed study of the text and its variants, it isn't usually very productive to try to puzzle out a single manuscript version -- even when the rare books librarians will let you get your hands on it! Medieval handwriting is hard work. It probably pays better to look at a printed Latin/Greek text, and, certainly, if the edition you have shows variant readings, study them too. Original ancient documents do survive -- but not usually in the form of historical narratives. There are stone inscriptions from the early Empire, some of them long and very informative. There are also papyrus documents (mostly relating to Egypt) and occasional finds of documents elsewhere (e.g. Vindolanda). Those are real originals. And if medieval handwriting is difficult, believe me, ancient handwriting on papyrus and wood is much more difficult still!
  2. I haven't heard this one, I must admit. Nearly all the views I've encountered are that Troy is the site close to the Aegean coast, in northwestern Turkey: a majority, I think, identify that same place with the place mentioned as Wilusa in Hittite records. So does Strauss, it seems. There's one little detail in that very interesting summary that doesn't ring true. No one (I think) has shown, or even seriously argued, that they spoke Hittite at Wilusa. There was a find of a Luwian seal at the Troy site, and that suggests that at least some people there could speak Luwian (which was apparently the everyday language of communication in the Hittite domains; Hittite was rather a local or historic language in the Hittite capital).
  3. Andrew Dalby

    Norse influence in the English Language

    I have to chip in on this as well. First to take up Sonic's point: "Welsh children are now being forced at school to learn two languages - English and Welsh." Well, maybe to some it feels like force. But they are the lucky ones, if they end their schooldays "owning" two languages instead of one. The world needs more bilingual people, not fewer. Children in English-speaking countries tend to be the really unlucky ones: nobody takes seriously the idea of them learning extra languages, so they reach adulthood not only less able to communicate, but also less able to comprehend how different languages can be structured and how there can be different ways of viewing and classifying human experience. And that's the beginning of my comment on the Augusta's point, as well. Augusta, what you said about Welsh is what British educationalists were saying about Welsh (and Irish, and Scottish Gaelic) in the mid nineteenth century. Their views led to a whole century during which teachers thought it was right to punish and humiliate children -- serious child abuse, we would call it now -- for daring to speak their own languages in the school classroom or playground. Same in the US with children speaking Native American languages; same in Australia, and until even more recently. I know you're not recommending such treatment, but the idea -- "that language, that culture, is nearly over now. Let's just forget it, and regret it, and move on" -- is part of the same complex of attitudes. And those are not the attitudes that we human beings need for our future. Sorry to rant! But this is one of the issues I feel really strongly about, I must admit. I've written about it too: this is the subject of my book "Language In Danger".
  4. Andrew Dalby

    Why the confusion on Caesar's DOB?

    It would have been interesting to know what Suetonius said about Caesar's date of birth, and whether there was already controversy about it among historians in his time. But (someone will correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think his full views on this issue are known, because the first few sections of his life of Caesar don't survive. The text begins abruptly.
  5. What would the 20 non-combatants be doing? Keeping count of the casualties on the battlefield, in true Civil Service style? -- Nephele I believe it is accepted numerous non-combatants were attached to the legions, so I was asking if it was possible the same were in turn attached to the centuries and taking care of soldiers needs eg, repairs to the equipment, carrying supplies, foraging etc. But not counted as part of the real-or-notional 100, I think. Words change meaning: the term "centurion" would be a record of the fact that there once used to be 100 soldiers under a centurion's command. To take a different example, the word "denarius" means "x 10". Because, originally, a denarius was worth 10 asses (no jokes here) and the as had originally been the basic unit of currency. In 133 BC (according to my handiest source) there was a reorganization of the currency after which the denarius was worth 16 asses. Much later still, in the 2nd century AD I think, with inflation etc., the as dropped out of use. The name of the denarius eventually didn't make much sense, but it wasn't renamed.
  6. Andrew Dalby

    Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and the doctrine.

    OK, this is is one of the pages by John S. Romanides. On the basis of this page I would say that Romanides uses ancient sources cleverly but often arrives at conclusions that are completely mistaken. There are three ways in which he could improve. First, he needs to learn something about archaeology, linguistics and ethnology: he is making arguments that would depend, for their validity, on these sciences, and he writes as if they scarcely existed. (In fact, material rather like his was written in the 17th century, before these sciences had developed.) Second, he needs to use his common sense about evaluating ancient source material. To use any written source you need to say to yourself, before accepting an assertion as fact, "What made the author say that? How did he know? Could he have known, in fact? Is he guessing? Is he repeating someone else's information? Is he pushing an argument? Is he building a hypothesis to see if others can knock it down? Is he making hidden assumptions that might be false?" Third, Romanides needs to say to himself, "Am I interpreting sources in a particular way because it suits my theory?" We all do that: we just have to know and admit that we are doing it. So, to get anything useful out of this page, one would have to look at every cited source afresh, apply those sciences where relevant, and apply common sense.
  7. Andrew Dalby

    Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and the doctrine.

    This page is basically correct. (I haven't checked all the details, just the main points.) People in what we call the Byzantine Empire called themselves "Romans" (Romaioi, Romei) and thought of their Empire as Roman. In medieval times the name Romania meant "the territory of this same eastern Roman Empire, especially the southern Balkans and Greece". Added later: I notice that this is a different author from the other three pages. This page is by Clifton R. Fox, and his stuff looks OK to me.
  8. Andrew Dalby

    Lucius Vorenus And Titus Pullo - Who Were They?

    I think the mention in Wikipedia is a version of the same story you referred to above. It seems at that later period Pullo fought against Gaius Antonius, and therefore for Pompey; that is, assuming it's the same person (since the spelling of his name varies). If it is the same person, I think it's a bit too easy to say "that would have sucked". It was a civil war; you might well decide to oppose in a civil war a general for whom you had once fought in a war of conquest. For all sorts of reasons, from noble principle all the way to personal advantage.
  9. Andrew Dalby

    UK Meet 2008

    Those dates are fine for me, as far as I can foresee! Look forward to it (and that's putting it mildly) Andrew
  10. Andrew Dalby

    Diocletianus price edict.

    Salve, K. From amazon.com, Diocletian and the Tetrarchy and The Edict of Diocletian. From JSTOR, Graser, E.R. (1940), "A text and translation of the Edict of Diocletian", quoted at the review of An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, Vol. V: Rome and Italy of the Empire by Tenney Frank . The edict is textually transcribed at "The Roman World: A Sourcebook" By David Cherry, partially accessible at Google Books. Anyway, it appears doubtful that it was ever completely enforced. Valete. The Google Books link is nice, but -- very cleverly -- the available extract stops just as Diocletian gets down to the interesting detail! Let's remember what the exact purpose was: not to prescribe prices for everybody, but to lay down the highest prices that the army would pay. The army must have been by far the largest client for most of these goods. What's interesting, if you get a chance to look through the list, is to see what supplies the army needed (including, of course, what the commanders needed for their fancy dinners) and what kind of quantities these goods were normally measured and priced in. It seems to be true that it never worked, or at least, not for long.
  11. Andrew Dalby

    Opium Smoking in Ancient Rome/Egypt???

    Sorry I didn't see this at the time, Nephele. Another resurrection, therefore. The proper English for "Cretic wine" (Latin "vinum Creticum", Greek "Kretikos oinos") is Cretan wine. Meaning that it was made in Crete, and exported to Rome and elsewhere. It was very good, and very sweet -- it was a distant ancestor of Malmsey, the sweetest and richest kind of Madeira -- but it was pure grape. No opium, no laudanum.
  12. Andrew Dalby

    UK Meet 2008

    And so would I. I have been unusually quiet, I'm afraid. But I do definitely want to come to the Wall (can you believe that I have never seen it, me an Englishman and all?) I leave to others the exact choice of date because I just have to come to England from time to time so I can probably make it fit. And I certainly hope to see WW again. It soulds to me as though excavating at Vindolanda ought not to be totally incompatible with a meeting on the Wall ...
  13. Andrew Dalby

    Translation issues...

    Lynda, the best Latin would be "Amor aeternus" (eternal love) -- or, if you prefer, "Amore aeterno" (in eternal love, with eternal love).
  14. Andrew Dalby

    Exhibition of Saucy Art

    Others can put it in a museum if they want. We just get on with it.
  15. Andrew Dalby


    Indeed. The same migration that 'created' the Hebrews created the Phoenicians. That's right; on the other hand, the migration was a long time ago. Hebrew and Phoenician had already grown some way apart, at the time when the Phoenician settlement of Carthage and other north African colonies began; and it was after that time that Carthaginian (Punic) began to differentiate from Phoenician. The evidence is incomplete, because although SOME Carthaginian (Punic) inscriptions have been found, the texts don't amount to very much. However, the Romans certainly didn't eliminate the language. The emperor Septimius Severus was said to be a better public speaker in Punic than in either Latin or Greek. And the Punic script survived: a form of it even survived to modern times, as Tifinagh ('the-Punic') script used by some Berber peoples. The best evidence I can think of to answer GO's point is this. St Augustine tells us a lot -- in his voluminous writings -- about himself and his studies. He was bilingual in childhood, speaking Punic and Latin. At school he learned Greek (he didn't like it: see Augustine, Confessions 1.13-14). Later, when he became interested in religion, he chose to learn Aramaic and Hebrew. Aramaic he found easy, because it was very close to Punic. Hebrew he found difficult, in spite of the linguistic relationship. This is evidence that, as we would expect from history, Carthaginian (Punic) was very close to Phoenician and therefore Aramaic; not so very close to Hebrew.