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Everything posted by Pertinax

  1. Pertinax

    Empire Of Pleasures by Andrew Dalby

    well -after the Solstice feasting has subsided and no more mistletoe can be found for the golden sickle's blow, I will take courage and review a book written by one of our Forum members.This is going to a nervy process as Mr Andrew Dalby is an esteemed author and man of wide learning,(actually frighteningly wide),nothing daunted I hope to deliver reviews on his most recent work and my long overdue commentary on Galen.If I am struck down in the Forum by assassins in the New Year, look for a pensive gent, carrying apples, with a blood stained toga. I think he will explain the apples soon I was very pleased to find this book as I was aware of Mr Dalby's previous works, and it is evident that his sources are well researched and his excellent eye for language digs out subtle interperative nuances that may be lost to the monolingual. The thing that strikes me about this book is that it benefits from being "read" in the Roman manner, ie: out loud - to savour cadences and phrases like rich foods, indeed that is both a compliment and a type of critiscism. The difficulty with this work is, that if one sits and reads, without the slow discipline of speaking and proper phrasing, the detail of the text is actually almost too rich. That of course is a critiscism that most people would consider a compliment , my point is that it was apt for me to read this book over the Xmas period as its density mirrored a festive meal. ...continue to the full review of Empire Of Pleasures by Andrew Dalby
  2. Ursus has already written a perceptive review on this book, but I felt compelled to add some comments.. The narrative style is excellent ,your attention is held and you will find that you have progressed deeply into the text with little mental effort. The style makes the story unfold like a thriller with good historical detail, I think that the written word in this form achieves via the imagination what only the cleverest of films or theatre can do. Despite the fact that I was aware of a great deal of the "storyline" I found that I was drawn to the protaganists and found them to be conjured before me with vivd phrases and descriptive technique... ...read the full review of Rubicon by Tom Holland
  3. Pertinax


    Vanity , I fear, leads me to post this shot -the original has a much higher pixellation count. These two were getting some much delayed sunshine...

    © Pertinax &copy 2003- 2006

  4. Pertinax

    Using the Strigil

    I suggest that the use of hot oil after a steam bath is a cleanlier and more sympathetic method of cleaning the skin than using soap.
  5. Pertinax


    Tomorrow we have the Christian "festival" of Valentine's Day. I suppose I should say media-marketing frenzy. The origin of the day is in the honouring of Lupercus, He who guarded the shepherd and his flocks from the commonplace wolves that inhabited the early Republican countryside, the festival being timed for the birth of early lambs.Meantime Juno as Juno Februarte was receiving homage as a promoter of romantic assignations, by way of the drawing of lots with the name of a suitable female persons.... The suppression of these two heathenish rites in the Christian era required a substitution of persons and festivities , the rather elemental Lupercalia (by virtue of its coincidental timing with a more sentimental ceremony ) was neatly submerged by the practice of drawing (at random) the name of a Christian saint (avoiding St Jesus as Northern Neil foolishly failed to do as new Governor of Homuncvlvm), and "emulating" the virtues of that saint for a whole year . No wonder that didnt catch on. Later we have a transmutation back to the Junoesque ceremony as the Holy Catholic Church was unable to deflect its flock from productive carnality. There are several potential Saint Valentine's , does anyone have a clue as to who might be the "best fit" for the re-branded festival?
  6. Pertinax


    Only in the Sun "Newspaper" http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006240149,00.html
  7. Pertinax

    Ludus Gladiotorus!

    Salve ! Welcome Citizens to the lead post for those seeking out Gladiatorial re-enactment information and photographs.I will shortly build a gallery of gladiatorial images to get the ball rolling, so watch this thread for further info. Please do not hesitate to upload and link your own Gladiatorial items into this thread, I know Lost Warrior probably has some interesting things to share! Post Scriptum: here we have a start on the pictorial side: http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?automo...m&album=117
  8. The work put into series one of "Rome" is enormous , those possessing the box set will be aware of the "Historical Advisor" who was employed to ensure veracity of the "world" of Rome. As can be divined from the commentaries some things "slipped the net" , some were unavoidable and others were open to interpretation. A couple of my favourite things were : the "stunt dog" ie: the labrador/cross that spent a lot of time eating scraps of food (when Pullo and Octavian emerged from the sewer for example) offset from main camera shot,but you can see him often if you look hard! Also the non-Roman parrot in Attia's house, how did he fly from Australia? These are minor geek things , what of more obvious difficulties? The disciplinary lashing of Pullo is a case in point , 10 lashes in the Legion were a serious punishment, and the light cuts he suffered were not anywhere near the reality of this severe punishment: http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?act=mo...si&img=1271 That Pullo could walk away from such a punishment seems unlikely. On the other hand there are "creative ideas" that may not be verifiable, but that give flavour to the narrative: http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?act=mo...si&img=1273 Cleopatara's hair may be outrageous, but is it an unreasonable conceit?
  9. Pertinax

    Dedication to Vulcan

    from the people of Vindolanda
  10. Pliny tells us that the womb is better if there has been a miscarrige rather than a normal birth. The first of these wombs is called ejectitia the second porcaria. It is best after the second pregnancy and least tasty when weakened by several normal births,After the sow is slaughtered the womb becomes pale and thin quickly-one must act with dispatch.The wombs of older animals are better especially if not completely cleaned . After a misscarriage one day from that date is tastiest. The udder is also tastiest when piglets have not yet drunk from it. recipe: remove ovaries and soak in salt water. Wash and stuff ( with leeks ,pepper,cumin, rue and garum.Add fine pork mince ,pine kernels ).Make sure you sew the womb up tightly ,cook with plenty of dill and olive oil over a low heat. When cooked reduce the cooking liquid and use as a sauce. Delicious! Later we will peruse the recipe for fat puppies.
  11. Pertinax


    Arbeia (present day South Shields) was at the Eastern extremity of Hadrian's Wall. The modern town could be described as "post industrial" , with the re-created fort gate and barrack blocks of the fort sitting on a dig site within a late victorian townscape. At Arbeia A T Croom (of Tyne and wear Museums) has worked on the re-creation of Roman furniture , and indeed published a work of that name which i am presently annotating. I would like to show some interesting items that may elicit comment and questions. Firstly we have a baby couch/bed (best to use these terms interchangably in all references to Roman "beds" as the purpose was nearly always twofold)with a simple restraining rail to prevent rolling: http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?automo...si&img=2152 We move along to a more prosperous rom with a substantial couch , enclosed to protect the user. Do not forget that the Romans did not use backed chairs in any quantity , either one reclined or sat upright on a stool: http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?automo...si&img=2153 Thirdly ,wardrobes and chest storage..looking very modern indeed. Again the rich were the only people with storage problems for clothes , the relative cost of clothing meant that ordinary folk had little choice and of course other household ephemera (childrens toys as a prime example ) were a virtual unknown in Roman times, so putting the kids stuff into a cupboard would be unheard of (or falling over train sets and barbies). http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?automo...si&img=2154 There is more to say on the buildings as well.Please check my msn blog for an Arbeia entry.
  12. Pertinax

    Myrrh salve

    and you could rub a little on your gums if they were sore.
  13. Pertinax

    Roman Furniture by Croom

    A T Croom has written a very useful piece on furniture in the Roman World. She is curator of the Tyne and Wear Museums (being the eastern extremity of Hadrian's Wall if you are not familiar with the UK). The work ties into the items I posted in the gallery (and related to a blog for "Arbeia") , and I will add a couple more new images to help appreciation. The majority of the evidence for re-construction is from Pompeian and Ercolanian survivals (either actual items or pictorial evidence) , with a lesser body of evidence from Britain and Germany.The work is perhaps a little too specialised for general enjoyment , but to give sensible understanding to quotidian reality it is a useful reference. http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?autoco...si&img=2154 http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?autoco...si&img=2355 Several general themes are evident, the relative lack of material goods in the roman household (abundance is of course skewed severly towards wealthy households and is also relative to our modern plethora of furnishings and material goods). Secondly the relative absence of clothing storage (as the cost of garments of quality was again highly skewed, only the rich would need storage, ordinary persons might be wearing nearly all they owned), this is not to say items were not stored, but a reliance on semi-portable chests rather than wardrobes is notable. The careful storage of scrolls in wardrobe-like items is noted. The relative absence of chairs with backs as we recognise them (usually if whicker high backed items are available they are for "weaker" persons ie:females and the elderly), the folding stool is the sine qua non of the Roman Citizen/Soldier and no person of rank was ashamed to be so seated . Children had very few toys of any type, so the modern headache of toy clutter was near totally absent. Decorative use of quality woods (citron in particular) was the apex of wealth and taste , the key being the display of intricate natural grain (unpainted). The less wealthy would use available woods and if they lacked displayable grain a red colouring seems to have been long fashionable . The poor would use whatever materials were available (woven willow for beds ). There are useful notes on the triclinium as a sumptuary item of conspicuous consumption (more regarding its drapery than intrinsic finish, though that was important). An informative work, especially for those concerned to re-create an appropriate backdrop for film or book.
  14. Pertinax

    Review of "Conversations in Tusculum"

    "Cato didnt appear in the play as he was dead", that is as good a line as I have read in a long time.Thats a very neat little review (neat in the English sense, not the American vernacular), pithy and amusing. I dont think pig hunting is very far away from the world of Roman aristocratic culture at all.
  15. Pertinax

    UK Meet 2008

    Thats fine , thank you.
  16. Pertinax

    Roman roundhouse in England

    Very , very interesting (and not too far from myself and NN) , this ties into the suggested "lost" route across Morecambe bay towards the Southern lakes.
  17. Pertinax

    Hbo Rome Second Season

    Most enjoyable review Ursus. The DVD is falling in price all the time , I saw it in ASDA the other week (blushes in shame) , im sure it will fall further in price and I will hang on till it hits the bargain bins. Shame, I bought series 1 as soon as I could get it. I do have to add though I think that the props and sets are tremendous, the veracity is not disturbed by the inanimate parts of the series (no quips regarding the actors please).
  18. Pertinax

    UK Meet 2008

    Have PM from The Augusta saying "meeting is on" so thats good news.
  19. Pertinax

    Roman Furniture by Croom

    Thank you MPC, I hope to see some of the original finds in situ or re-created locally. I will certainly photograph any examples I see. I always feel that this "everyday" work makes the past come alive in a very direct way. I would like to add that , as one might expect, the fashions in furniture tended to radiate out (in time) away from the Italian heartland so that what was fashionable in Rome might appear near 20 years later in Germany say. However some regional fashions do appear to exist , probably it is suggested due to use of local materials and a local craft approach (notably in Britain the use of shale as a material and decorative finish for the legs of tables and "chairs". The Arbeia collection seems to hint at direct import from Rome given the Commanders status.The decrative finish of the rooms is referenced directly to Pompeii , so it is hypothetical for britain (but not wholly unreasonable). I would also reiterate that we should use the words couch and bed as interchangable descriptions , and assume also that "chair" means "camp stool" (though this might be of a highly ornate or plain nature). The sella curulis is of course an item of status , but it might be best considered as belonging to the "camp stool" idiom , the "masculinity" of its shape and nature do I believe make this a valid sugestion. The literary references to stool and curule make plain the solidarity of citizenship/hierarchy that they represent to soldier and citizen. This shot exemplifies the decorative context. http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?autoco...si&img=2358
  20. Pertinax

    UK Meet 2008

    Ive been otherwise engaged myself, but im still ok for the trip.
  21. Pertinax

    UK Meet 2008

    Hello everyone, are we still marching North?
  22. Pertinax

    Water supply Vindolanda

    apart from the terrain , utilised as a strategic tool, why Vindolanda as an initial Flavian base? plentiful water all year is the answer, here we see the sluice gate of one of several wells.
  23. Vorrenus didnt die on screen as has been noted above, McKidd and Stevenson arent a pairing that any commercial producer would really want to break up.Shame alll the heavyweight actors died off due to historical accuracy.
  24. Pertinax


    Ive put a blog entry in regarding furniture at Arbeia (South Shields), the couches may be of interest. http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?automo...;blogid=19& I read in Croom: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roman-Furniture-T-...6466&sr=8-4 that the use of wardrobe and storage space was minimal save for the wealthy (given the relative cost of garments) and that the poor "would adorn their meagre couches with any clothing possible as additional blankets".
  25. Pertinax

    Happy birthday GO!

    Slightly belated greetings to the Exalted One.