Weekend Reading: the Dog Days of Summer

What caught my eye this week

Like everybody else in the UK over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the weather. It’s hot. You might not think that there’s much to say about high temperatures in the summer; but every news outlet in the country is churning out stories, charts and dire predictions.

Since I do like a bandwagon, here’s my contribution. Take a look at the Wikipedia page  on ‘Dog days’ or dies caniculares, the hottest part of summer which ancient writers blamed on the dog star, Sirius (interestingly, the rise of Sirius was dated at around the 19th of July, which fits our own current heatwave quite nicely!). This takes you on a whistle-stop tour through Homer, Hesiod, Alcaeus, Aratus, Aristotle, Virgil, Seneca and Pliny. The Wikipedia verdict is that there’s no scientific evidence that Sirius brings fever, mad dogs and bad luck as well as heat, drought and sudden thunderstorms; but if you’d prefer to follow Pliny, I suggest carrying some chicken manure in your pocket to deal with any mad dogs that cross your path.




Of course, the hot weather has brought some unexpected benefits to archaeologists, in its effect on the British landscape:


From Classical Studies Support

No new material this week!

From the archives: Being an adaptable student – Classical Studies Support 



LenguasClásicas IEDA‏ @clasicasIEDA  Jul 21 Latin Family terms. Usando a los Simpson. #ieda



New discoveries at a Roman vineyard – Archaeology News Network 

A Hellenistic temple found in Turkey – Archaeology News Network 

… and more on Turkey – A Don’s Life 

Ancient stuff in Rome’s subway – National Public Radio 


Comment and opinion

Guilt, race and heritage in Classics – Eidolon 

The wanderings of Aristotle – Classical Wisdom Weekly 

Plastic gloves and sentimentality – A Don’s Life 

Ferris Beuller and Euripides’ BacchaeSociety for Classical Studies 

Mount Hymettus and Plato’s Cave – Res Gerendae 

An American review of CivilizationsHyperallergic

Everybody loves a Greek mashup – Mountain View Voice 

Constantine and Christianity – Classical Wisdom Weekly 

On Romans, Greeks and hysteria in the news…


Podcasts and videos

‘Ask a classicist’ – That’s Ancient History 

Baths in Pompeii –  When in Rome 

Q and A IV – Emperors of Rome 

On Lysistrata – Let’s Talk about Myths, Baby! 

Readings of Homer – Greek and Roman Verse

Roman cooking, with dramatic soundtrack – Classics 3000 

What do ancient Greek and Chinese poetry have in common? – Institute for the Study of Western Civilization

For all those who love a Greek rap – DJ Jazzy J 


And finally…

And once when he passed a puppy which was being whipped they say he took pity on it and made this remark: ‘Stop, do not beat it; for it is the soul of a dear friend – I recognised it when I heard its voice’.

Diogenes Laertius on Pythagoras (Lives of the Philosophers)

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