This week Dave and Jeff take a break from Vergil (well, kinda) and fast forward a few centuries to Augustine of Hippo. Now, here’s a guy that a lot of our audience should be able to relate to—openly hated learning grammar as a kid, beat his head against the wall trying to master Greek, pushed back against things his teachers forced him to do. But as an older man looking back through his life in his Confessions Augie feels guilt for loving the Aeneid so much and not appreciating, say, the foundational aspects of the dative of reference, as well as not weeping for his own flagrant dalliances. But were those tears for Dido really wasted? Can good art channel our emotions in a healthy direction or does it always take us off the path toward God? And why can’t Jeff just keep it together at the end of Pixar’s Cars? Tune in to find out.
Here's your chance, dear listener, to add some famous Latin quips and sayings to your memory storehouse and repertoire. In this Gvrgle we teach you how to assimilate and regvrgitate some bon mots from Cicero, Solomon, Urbano Appendini, King David, Vergil, Terence, and more. If you want to join the project, become a LatinPerDiem patron (patreon.com/latinperdiem) for $1.99/mo or sign up for Dr. Noe's LLPSI class (latinperdiem.com/llpsi). This will get you the master document of the 20 sayings with translations, plus two high quality audio files (Latin only, and Latin with English translation). Quid expectatis?
In this episode the guys make their way through the rest of Book 3 where we find more regressive pulls back to the old Troy as well as Homeric tags and Odyssean cameos. At the first stop Aeneas is stunned to find a remarried Andromache still alive in Epirus, but also still obsessed with the past and her dear departed Hector. And even more things are off—she seems to be living in a low-rent, Euro Disney, knock-off “Tiny Troy” with a mini Simois, scant Scaean gates, and paltry Pergamum. It’s like we’ve entered Vergil’s version of the Upside-Down or some other referent to a show Dave hasn’t seen. Aeneas hightails it out of this creepy place and heads for (at last!) Italy, the land of murses and selfie-sticks. Now there's some solid Homeric “fan service”—crowd pleasing walk-ons by Scylla, Polyphemus, Achaemenides, and Bill Murray. Oh, and Aeneas’ dad dies. Blink and you'll miss it.
At the urging of mom (Venus) Aeneas finally decides to bolt from Troy, but not before encountering a cowering Helen lurking in the shadows. His instinct is for bloody vengeance, but once again Fate has other ideas and dust brooms our hero out the gates. Aeneas is able to save his dad and son (and meet other haggard Trojans by the ol’ cypress tree) but discovers his wife as a ghost. Creusa tells him her heart will go on and then gives him the “Hesperia” prophecy (for about the zillionth time). Then its on to Book 3! Aeneas now has a vague kind of destiny but where will it lead? Hey, Thrace! Let’s offramp here! NO. Delos? UH-UH. Oh Crete, then, right? TRY AGAIN. And is this Book killer or filler (like that 4th track on every Bon Jovi album)? As the Trojans slowly shed their past, brace yourself for the creepiest gardening you’ve ever encountered, stanky bird-women, and the culinary oddity of “eating one’s tables”. What is that, some kind of ancient bread bowl? Dardanian Flatizza?
As Dave and Jeff plow deeper into Book 2 it is clearly getting worse for the Trojans. They didn’t Sinon for this! Those wily Greeks have set the trap and now it begins to spring. First, coiled, creepy snakes come writhing out of the sea to put Laocoon and his two unlucky sons into a suplex and drag them to watery graves. The Trojans read this omen in exactly the wrong way, and think that this is the perfect time to slap some roller skates on that huge wooden equine and surf it into the city. And, well, we all know what happens next. Greeks storm the citadel, horrors multiply. Pyrrhus murders old Priam at Minerva’s altar. Aeneas is frozen in indecision—what should he do? Go down swinging? Run for it? Take Dave to task for his irrational opposition to R.E.M. and Michael Stipe?
After a few parting remarks and summations to Book 1, Jeff and Dave wander through the dense undergrowth near the shores of Carthage and make their way to the palace of Dido and Book 2. Here we meet the big set piece, the longest account of the fall of Troy in Greco-Roman literature. How does Jupiter's promise of endless empire for the wolf-pelted Romans get started? How does it feel for Dido to wear that souvenir T-shirt, “I’m with Cupid”? How do we feel about ethnic profiling? Are all Greeks really as evil as the actor left on the shore, or is he just a Sinon the times? What kind of a sound should a spear make when it hits a horse? And finally, should Laocoön get some comeuppance for being the only one who sees the truth? These and more questions will be answered, and you will be treated to a lovely clip from that war on bureaucracy, the ’80s British comedy series Yes, Minister. And don’t miss the extended discussion of scrimshaw and relish.
Well we have finally arrived at the full-scale treatment of the Aeneid. In this episode we take a close look at the first half of Book 1, the causes of the storm with King Aeolus, Roman pietas, and all that goes into Vergil's brilliant, epic tour de force. What made the gods so angry? Why did Paris choose Venus instead of Juno? What kind of a bribe will lull Aeolus out of his breezy cavern to stir up the placid sea? And what kind of a hero is Aeneas? Is he pale, wan, and uninspiring, or is there some divine purpose lurking beneath? Be sure to tune in for our brand-new, hot-popping sponsor, and make sure your floors are epoxied.
In this burst of classical interest, Dave and Jeff discuss the graffito discovered on the Palatine Hill in 1857. Does it depict Christ Jesus crucified, mocked in the shape of a donkey? What is onolatry? Who was Alexamenos and why is he being ridiculed? What about the early evidence from apologists Tertullian and Minucius Felix? What can they tell us about how the Romans viewed their Christian and Jewish neighbors? Tune in as we discuss these questions and more, and don't forget to check the link for the image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexamenos_graffito
In this surprise premier, Jeff and Dave plow new ground with a 15 minute huggable portion, a bite-sized podcast for those on the go. Here's your chance to wolf down some Classics in a short, digestible format. In this episode we take apart the first seven lines of the Vergilian classic. So tuck in your napkin, pull up a chair, take out your fork - nah, forget it. Just shove your whole mouth in the dip and enjoy!