Phoebus Apollo


DDbDP transcription: o.bu.njem.25 [xml]
IIIspc Golas

̣ ̣ ̣ ̣ n(umerus) xḷịịịị[ -ca.?- ]
ẹx̣ ịṣ libṛ(arius) i
[optio] i
p̣ṛ[o]culcator i ̣ ̣ ̣ ̣
[ad b]alneuṃ iii
quintanari xiiị
stationari iiii
egri ii
Pacciụs Max(imus) Iul(ius) Secundarius iị
rel(iqui) repungent s(umma) xviiii balneus
accipit xii fornarius vii

There's a website full of these creatures waiting for translation. It seems like there's one ostrakon for each day. This one is in pretty good shape compared to the rest, but they seem to have basically the same formula. Some words are oddly spelled, some I'm extrapolating a meaning for based on extant words. They're counting stuff up and divvying it out: the question is, what? I think this example might help us out.

There's something, the number is 44.
From these, the secretary gets 1.
the second in command gets 1.
the scout gets 1.
three go to the bath.
the guys posted on the central street get 13.
the guys posted on the look-out posts get 4.
the sick get 2.
(Paccius Maximus and Iulius Secundarius, that is, get 2.)
The rest punch back in and the sum is 19.
The [slave who heats the bath?] gets 12.
The slave who heats the oven gets 7.

My main problem is the meaning of 'repungent,' which, over and beyond the fact that I keep wanting to write 'repugnant,' is only listed in the dictionary once, to poke or pierce a second time. pungo by itself can mean any number of poking activities, including voting by making a mark or scratch in something. So: IF Paccius Maximus and Iulius Secundus are in fact the sick people (I saw another where the sick people were listed), then their 2 is the same 2 as the 2 in the sick people line, and the sum total of units distributed is 25, which is 44 minus 19. So maybe after they're done distributing units, they count the remaining units and make a poke hole in something or a scratch for each unit they count. Possibly a process they did at the beginning to get a number to start with, so the leftovers make the hole the second time. Thus my 'punch back in' translation.

So what are they? How about pieces of firewood? All the important people get their own, plus the scout who might be out... scouting. In other examples instead of "to the bath" it's "to the water of the bath," which would need warming. The people posted in the street that runs through the center of the housing units can distribute the bulk of them to the soldiers. The look-outs need fires to keep warm. The sick obviously need warmth. And that's the only thing I can come up with that makes sense with the slave who heats the oven getting seven at the end of the day. balneus, by the way, not a word, but if I can construe it alongside fornarius (also not a word, but easily contracted from fornicarius), it makes sense. What would need more heating than the ovens but the bath?
Phoebus Apollo

New Blog

Since poor LJ seems to be going the way of the dinosaur, I've been thinking for a while of putting up another blog. I finally did, though it's not just a 'what's going on with me' type of blog. It's kind of a mix between a blog and this book that's been percolating in my brain for a while, the Greek Mythology Survival Guide, a kind of take-off on the Zombie Survival Guide throwing a spotlight on the most common tropes of Greek Mythology in the form of advice to one trying to get through the world 'unmurdered, unmolested, and unmutated."

Tone is supposed to be casual/funny/approachable rather than high erudite, so the grammar is purposefully loose and colloquial. Advice on whether it's too hokey/too fake/too forced, or really any other feedback would be appreciated. Otherwise, I don't know how often I'll be able to update, but I hope it'll end up being pretty regular and at least mildly entertaining.


Writer's Block: Subtitles please

What is your favorite foreign film? Do you think there should be an American remake?

It's strange that this thing popped up a couple of days after I went and watched Delicatessen on Hulu's Days of Summer series. I don't usually click on random films, but this one looked intereting, and definitely delivered. From the clownish, Chaplin-esque antics of the main character (the bed-bouncing scene made me smile more than anyone should smile at a scene of two people bouncing on a bed) to the slow unfolding of the darker elements in the plot, it was just about perfect. I can't imagine it could be re-done any better.

If I could pick a foreign film to be remade into a movie in English, I'd pick Oblomov.

So I'll sing this song from Ruddigore...

... but it really doesn't matter.

I'm glad I didn't get a chance to read through the whole libretto before going to Ruddigore. The 'punchline' of the play was hinted at just enough in advance to make the moment really gel, and the surprise twisted my mind around in all the right ways.

Of course, by intermission I had already devised how I hoped the action would resolve itself. And of course nothing of he sort happened. Mad Margaret's end especially left me hoping for something more for her. I almost hoped she'd be carried away on a cloud of wordplay and end up married to Robin, since 'he' was the one who hadtrifled with her. Then he and she could have waltzed off into a Bedlam all their own made of dead roses and the state of constantly being prepared for death. Holy crap, someone needs to write that play. And I need to go to bed.


Thought of the day...

If Achilles from the Iliad had married Katisha from the Mikado, they would have had the most perfect child ever.

Also, since we're on Gilbert and Sullivan, if anyone is around/has interest in being around the Leesburg area on Friday, Oct 29, the Loudoun Lyric Opera is putting on Ruddigore. And the next morning, proverbially bright (but not actually bright, since the sun probably won't be up yet) and early, I'm planning on taking off to DC for the festivities there.

Also also, I feel like I've turned a corner at work. A week ago an e-mail from one of the assistant principles asking for a meeting got a 'sure, on my way up' reply. Now it's all, well, I've got a student coming in at seven thirty and a student coming in at eight thirty and a parent coming in at nine and I've got re-takes to administer during study hall...

Yeah. I have work. :)

Phoebus Apollo

Cincinnatus Sunday

I spent half my Sunday with my hands covered in pig shit and the other half shaking hands with politicians, and am now relaxing watching burly men assault one another in the arena. I feel like such a good Roman. Except for the part where I went all fangirl all over Tom Perriello. I spent the car ride practicing what I'd say if I got to meet him, but when we got face to face all I could manage was ZOMGI<3U!!! I am a regular Demosthenes (among the Macedonians).

Happy birthday, dad.


Sharing a moment with J.C.

I was listening to Ulysses (ALT) today... nothing new, I love that poem, I listen to it often enough. But today I cried. It was so pretty. I don't think I could ever write something so perfect.
Phoebus Apollo

In Which It Was Supposed To Be The Other Way Around

I have a bad case of the Poor. And so when I lost track of my poor red headphones I was looking for a place to get a set on the Cheap. The Green Zebra suggested Big Lots, and so today I betook myself there. Holy crap. I have never seen so very many Cheap As Free things. Of course, I went for a ten dollar set of headphones and came out with seventy dollars worth of EVERYTHING EVER. And the only bummer was the new flashlight I bought which... doesn't work. I should take it back later today. But I've got some cleaning to do first.

I bought two new pillows (16$) and four new pillowcases (12$). This is the first step on a path to getting myself an actual bed.

Phoebus Apollo

Fiat lux...


A fuse blew in my apartment, and I all, found the fuse box, and figured out which one it was, and made the light go again.

That was at once terrifying, exciting, and... masculating? Is that a word?


EDITS: I've also noticed that Conan O'Brian says 'This Is True' and other various affirming statements a lot... when he actually means that something is true (he then goes on to add something that is, contrariwise, NOT true). You know you've been reading too many Roman Historians when the phrase 'This Is True' automatically makes you think 'This Is Not True.'
Phoebus Apollo


I'm not really listening to the radio, but I thought it just said that Pres./Michelle Obama ate at the Corner last night.