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How Many Ships Can Your Face Launch?: Gorgias’ “Encomium of Helen” and the Delayed Punchline” (Ad Navseam, Episode 47)

How Many Ships Can Your Face Launch?: Gorgias’ “Encomium of Helen” and the Delayed Punchline” (Ad Navseam, Episode 47)

July 27, 2021

Jeff and Dave bring the first show from Vomitorium West, where they take a close look at the sophist Gorgias (483–375 BC). When he wasn’t hitting the Olympia/Delphi orators circuit for some cool drachmai, Gorgias was in Athens claiming to be able to answer any question anyone one might put to him. Who was this guy? Did he actually believe his own press? In this work, G defends Helen of Troy so convincingly you’ll be fist-pumping. That is, until he pulls the rug out from under the whole project with the work's final word. Oh, and make sure you know your millihelens from your terahelens before you wander down to the harbor with Robertson Davies and Isaac Asimov. Then again, you probably don’t exist (G says nothing does), so don’t sweat it. Finally, check out Jeff's smoove beatbox.

“From there we travelled to Philippi”—Talking Archaeology with Dr. Ken Bratt (Ad Navseam, Episode 46)

“From there we travelled to Philippi”—Talking Archaeology with Dr. Ken Bratt (Ad Navseam, Episode 46)

July 20, 2021

This week the Vomitorium is graced with the presence of Dave and Jeff’s friend, former colleague, mentor and professor, Dr. Ken Bratt. Join us as Dr. Bratt shares his vast knowledge of the ancient Roman colony of Phillipi--site of game-changing battles, crossroads of culture, and where the first European converts to Christianity (including Lydia) were made. Ken walks us through the archaeological remains, connecting them to biblical narrative and dispelling a few likely legends along the way. Is that really “Paul’s Prison” there in Phillipi? Bonus feature:  learn what shenanigans Jeff got up to as a sophomore on a trip to Greece with Ken in the ‘90s. Also, what can we do to get Dave to loosen up? This episode is packed!

A Conversation with Ross King (Ad Navseam, Episode 45)

A Conversation with Ross King (Ad Navseam, Episode 45)

July 13, 2021

This week Dave and Jeff sit down with New York Times Bestselling author Ross King whose works such as Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling have set the gold standard for erudite, popular history over the last twenty years. We cover Ross’ career from academia, to novel writer, to his latest book, The Bookseller of Florence (2021). Come along as we walk the streets of Renaissance and contemporary Florence where one might have a life-altering epiphany atop a red-tiled dome or discover a long lost copy of Quintilian moldering in the dusty corner of some far-flung scriptorium. Can Jeff and Dave keep it together long enough to refrain from geeking out and going all “fan boy” on Mr. King? Just barely.

Fathers’ Foundings: Classics and the American Revolution (Ad Navseam, Episode 44)

Fathers’ Foundings: Classics and the American Revolution (Ad Navseam, Episode 44)

July 6, 2021

Oh say can you see where this one is going? Many people have heard about the influence of the Roman Republic on the shaping of the American government but are perhaps unaware how much deeper the ancient underpinnings go. This week, with Carl Richards' The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment, as their guide, Jeff and Dave take a star-spangled look at the Greeks and Romans read, revered, and almost rejected by the founders of the United States. From the earliest days of the revolution Washington, Adams, and Jefferson (and others) saw themselves and each other through the prism of many an ancient great, both historical and fictional. What did it mean that Sam Adams was the "Palinurus" of the Revolution? Why did Washington see himself as Cato?  Why does Benjamin Rush (boo!) come along and try to pour cold, stale ale over the whole classicy enterprise? And perhaps most importantly, if you don't have busts of your friends in your personal library are they really your friends?

 

Ten Things We Hated about Grad School (Ad Navseam, Episode 43)

Ten Things We Hated about Grad School (Ad Navseam, Episode 43)

June 29, 2021

Dear Starry-Eyed Undergrads, you know that dream of your future grad school you have where you’re strolling through a leafy quad on your way to share a bottle of port with a kind, nurturing mentor, as you scoop up tray parfaits? Well, in this episode Dave and Jeff take those notions, drop them into the Cuisinart, and hit frappe. Take a trip with us down this pothole-ridden memory lane where you’ll find cutthroat politics, failed airport pickups, doomed lectures, lucubrations and excoriations, and sartorial disarray. So grab a repurposed pillow case (wait for it) and pull up a chair for this freak show. Rated R for “Regret”?  Nah, it’s just that sometimes the only way out is through.

Major programming announcement: https://www.gofundme.com/f/latinperdiem-launch


Paul, Barnabas, Baucis, and Philemon in Lystra — Acts 14 and Ovid (Ad Navseam, Episode 42)

Paul, Barnabas, Baucis, and Philemon in Lystra — Acts 14 and Ovid (Ad Navseam, Episode 42)

June 22, 2021

This week Dave and Jeff take a close look at a well-known passage from ch. 14 of the Lukan history of the early church. As the apostles extend their preaching ministry into the Lycaonian region of Anatolia, they are mistaken for the gods Zeus and Hermes because of a miraculous healing Paul performs. The priest of Zeus wants to gin up a sacrifice, but the apostles risk life and limb, barely averting the ceremony. This story bears some interesting resemblance to a famous account in Ovid’s Metamorphoses VIII of the old woman Baucis and her husband Philemon (and throw in the Christmas goose). Tune in for wide-ranging literary analysis of ξενία and more, possibly the worst pun Jeff has ever dropped, and a major programming announcement at the end. https://gofund.me/ad60e4a2

“We Bulled This City”—the Mysteries of Mithras (Ad Navseam, Episode 41)

“We Bulled This City”—the Mysteries of Mithras (Ad Navseam, Episode 41)

June 15, 2021

This week Jeff and Dave do some spelunking to try figure out what the strange mystery rites of the Persiany cult of Mithras were all about, and why they were so popular during the Roman Empire. We begin with a breakdown of what exactly a “mystery cult” is, and then move on to Mithras himself, a hero whose myths do not survive in any written form. What do we make of the strange iconography that does survive, such as the bull-slaying motif (tauroctony)? Was this some kind of death-killing, solar cult? What is that scorpion up to? And can we take Mithras seriously in that hat? So, wander down into the Mithraeum, have a snack or two, and peek into that mysterious box. Might just change your life.

 
 
 
How to Tell a Joke—a conversation with Michael Fontaine (Ad Navseam Episode 40)

How to Tell a Joke—a conversation with Michael Fontaine (Ad Navseam Episode 40)

June 8, 2021

Join us for a lively discussion with Dr. Michael Fontaine (Classics, Cornell University) as we talk about his new book—How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor—a translation and analysis of ancient Roman treatises on humor from both Cicero and Quintilian. Along the way we tackle such questions as “How can a politician or a lawyer use humor to win a room?”, “Is one born funny or can it be taught?” and “Did Cicero seal his own fate by telling jokes that went too far?” Tune in for the laughs, guffaws, and occasional snickers, and be sure to share your own opinion on this all important query: “Is it possible for really attractive people to be funny?”

U Can’t Dutch This - Daniel Heinsius and the Dutch Renaissance (Ad Navseam Episode 39)

U Can’t Dutch This - Daniel Heinsius and the Dutch Renaissance (Ad Navseam Episode 39)

June 1, 2021
This week Jeff and Dave take a trip to the Dutch Renaissance with a look at prolific Latin poet, theological secretary, Dutch patriot, and Greek scholar Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655). After a whirlwind introduction to leading Italian, French, and Dutch luminaries, we get right into the vita and opera of this amazing scholar. Heinsius served as secretary at the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) and also wrote some incredible Dutch poetry (sampled for us by Utrecht scholar Aron Ouwerkerk). He also tried his hand at a wide array of genres: emblems, love elegies, epithalamia (poems for weddings), funeral orations, tragedies like "Herod Babykiller" (Herodes Infanticida), and a 4-book hexameter poem "How to Despise Death" (De Contemptu Mortis) modeled on Vergil's Georgics. Be sure to stay with us until the end for the couplet Danny spoke to his foot. Fresh new kicks and pants!

A Literary Archaeology—Sallust and the Invention of the Monograph (Ad Navseam Episode 38)

A Literary Archaeology—Sallust and the Invention of the Monograph (Ad Navseam Episode 38)

May 25, 2021

Today Jeff and Dave dive into the oeuvre of Roman historian Gaius Sallustius Crispus (known as “Sallust” or “Crispy” to his friends), particularly sections 6-13 of his Bellum Catilinae. Dave argues that with this work Sallust invents the “monograph”, zeroing in on a narrow subject as his “hook” rather than trying to “do it all” more broadly and blandly. In the eight chapters referenced above Sallust zips through about 1200 years of Roman history, from Aeneas to the 1st century BC, highlighting the moral apex of the Republic down to the money-grubbing, wine-chugging, disco-clubbing depravities of his own day. Will you agree with Jeff that Sallust is a bit of a hypocrite, thundering against luxuries from the terraces of his lavish Quirinal gardens, or will you side with Dave and give old Sally a break?

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