Ted Cruz and Marcus Cicero

O tempora, O mores! (Oh the times! Oh the customs!)
Ted Cruz, a republican senator from Texas, made a daring move Thursday—and put a good classical education to work! In a speech against what Cruz perceives as Obama’s overreaching policies and unconstitutional moves, Ted Cruz adapted a famous speech delivered by Marcus Tullius Cicero in 63 B.C. Cicero, a Roman statesman (whose work you get to read in Old Western Culture: The Romans!), discovered a plot by Catiline to overthrow the government and ignite a general insurrection in Italy. Cicero delivered a series of speeches, now called the Catiline Orations, exposing Catiline’s plot and calling him out. The first speech, which is the most famous of the series, was addressed to the Roman senate—while Catiline was in attendance! Here’s an article that compares the two speeches, comparing the speeches word-for-word.

Regardless of your political convictions, you have to agree that Senator Cruz certainly has talent for integrating the great men of old into the present day’s issues! However, he apparently decided against using Cicero’s advice to “slap one’s thigh and beat one’s head” in certain speaking situations.
Cicero delivers his speech to the Roman senate.

Cicero delivers his speech to the Roman senate.

Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

We’re thrilled that the Old Western Culture curriculum will be included in Cathy Duffy’s upcoming book “102 Top Picks“!

You can read Cathy Duffy’s online review of Old Western Culture here: HERE.

102 Top Picks by Cathy Duffy - Old Western Culture

Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween

All_Hallow's_Eve_jack-o-lanternThe origins of Halloween are often confusing, but there is evidence of some clear influences. Traditionally, Halloween is thought to have arisen from three sources:
– The pagan celtic holiday Samhain
– The Roman festivals of Pomona and Feralia
– Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day.

Let’s look at each of these festivals.

Celtic Samhain

Samhain was something of a combination of a harvest festival and a day of the dead for the Celts of Britain and northern France. As counterpart to the May festival, Bealtaine, which ushered in the summer months, Samhain announced the coming of winter, and thus a kind of death as the tribes gathered in the harvests. Sacrifices and bonfires to the dead were also a part of the rituals. Some say that this is where our tradition of dressing up comes from—the celts would disguise themselves, though why they did so is not certain. Possibly it was to hide from evil spirits, or to appease them, or to steal the gifts meant for the spirits.

Roman Festivals of Pomona and Feralia

When Roman influences began to reach the Celts, festivals were combined. The Romans already celebrated two festivals around the same time: Feralia and Pomona. Feralia was dedicated to dead ancestors, while Pomona, the Latin word for orchard fruit, was more like a harvest festival. It is believed that Pomona gave us the tradition of bobbing for apples (whoever successfully bit an apple out would supposedly be the next to marry). Can’t you just picture all the toga and stola-wearing youths bobbing for apples in Rome and in the provinces? Perhaps the Celts thought their invaders rather eccentric at first—but that didn’t stop them from adopting the game, and passing it on to our generation, nearly 2,000 years later!

All Hallow’s Eve

halloweenSoon a different kind of influence was coming out of Rome as the Gospel spread out from the Roman world and transformed pagan nations and cultures. Pope Gregory III, in the mid 8th century, moved the feast day called “All Saints Day” to November 1. Hallow is another English word for holy, and so this holy day was preceded by what became called All Hallow’s Eve, later morphing into Halloween. It is said that children would dress up and do a “Danse Macabre” in gruesome outfits as a way of mocking death.

Now that is a different approach! Halloween is not celebrating death, it is mocking death! Here fabulous video explaining all this: (click HERE for the script). (Thanks to the folks at 10ofthose.com for creating this fantastic video!)

Time to find a Noah costume

There is one element in the history of Halloween that has been overlooked. As Answers in Genesis points out, there were multiple festivals at this particular time of the year all over the world, even the southern hemisphere, that all seem to reference death in a significant way. What if, behind all the festivals which morphed into Halloween, there was a single festival? And what if that festival was not pre-Christian, but even pre-pagan? Bodie Hodge and others suggest that the true origins of Halloween and its parallel festivals around the world actually commemorate a time of death from before the dispersion of Babel.

“Because the celebrations call for the remembrance of the dead and have sacrifices, it is reminiscent of the large sacrifice that Noah and his family performed after the Flood. This would also explain why many other cultures have a variant of this regular sacrifice. When Noah and his family exited the Ark, they offered sacrifices to God (Genesis 8:18–9:1); of course, deviations in the manner of this sacrifice over the years and its meaning would have varied down through the ages. Based on the evidence, this seems to be the most likely explanation.”

What a thought! Halloween may not simply be tied to a Christianization of pagan festivals, but to one of the great events of Genesis, and a time both of God’s judgment and covenantal faithfulness! As new creatures in Christ, we should be going forth and taking dominion not just over the wild land of a new world post-flood, as Noah and his sons had to do, but we should be taking dominion over traditions and cultures, redeeming what has been corrupted!

It is because of this that we can mock death in our celebrations of Halloween! Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Death is swallowed up in victory! Therefore, as Christians, don’t be afraid of Halloween – rather join Christians past and present, and mock death, for it has no hold over you. 1 Corinthians 15:55

More resources:
The Holy, Horror, and Halloween (Pastor Douglas Wilson)
– Kirk Cameron, Halloween, Christmas, Oh my! (Dr. Joel McDurmon, American Vision)

Valerie FoucachonValerie grew up in France where her father Francis Foucachon was a church planter with Mission to the World. She studied under Wes Callihan in high school through Schola Classical Tutorials, and then attended Logos School where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is currently a Senior at New Saint Andrews College, and an official Latin Nerd. She shows her love for the classics by quoting from the Aeneid at random times (in Latin of course). 

7 Ways Henry the V was a Christian King

King Henry the VThe Mirror of a Christian King

Was Henry the V a “Christian King?” William Shakespeare, in his play Henry V, seems to say “yes!”.

There is a famous line in the play which calls Henry “the mirror of all Christian kings.”What does Shakespeare tell us about his ideals of kingship through Henry V? Let’s look at some examples:

He is valiant. We began to see this in Henry IV Part One, when Henry is wounded, he keeps fighting. In Henry V, he courageously leads his men, both at Harfleur and Agincourt. He sends away the French herald who has come to arrange ransom in advance, telling the herald that he would rather die than be captured and ransomed.

He is just. Henry wants to be sure that his claim to the French throne—and therefore the war he is raging—is just, asking for the sincere advice of the bishop of Canterbury in a long conversation (Henry V, 1.2). Later, during the campaign, his old tavern companion, Bardolph is caught stealing. The king upholds the sentence of hanging, and then declares that “we give express charge that…there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful language…” (Henry V, 3.6)

He is merciful. Though he uses strong threats when addressing the besieged Harfleur, he tells his aide to be merciful to them when they surrender. He does not prosecute the man who challenged him unknowingly to fight.

He is honor-driven. In the famous “St. Crispin’s Day Speech,” when his cousin wishes they had with them more of the men they left in England, Henry replies “…I would not lose so great an honor as one man more, methinks, would share with me, for the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!” (4.3) How different from another of Shakespeare’s characters, the inimitable Falstaff! Falstaff disdains honor as a mere word that can do nothing to help the soldier who died in its name. (Henry IV, Part I, 5.1). Henry, on the other hand, cares not whether or not he dies so long as he has honor.

Non Nobis

Non nobis Domine, non nobis,
sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
but to Your name give glory.

He is humble. More so than one would typically expect of royalty—and certainly more so than his cocky French enemies! He sees the king as another man with an extra load of responsibility, not as a god among men. After the battle, he refuses to take glory for the incredible victory, or to let his men do so. Instead, he orders that the Non Nobis and Te Deum be sung. When he engages in a different kind of campaign, the campaign to woo a princess’ heart, he is self-deprecating about his ability to woo either with words (“I am glad thou canst speak no better English, [Kate,] for if thou couldst, thou wouldst think I had sold my farm to buy my crown.”) or with good looks (“If thou canst love a fellow…whose face is not worth sunburning, that never looks in his glass for love of anything he sees there…”)(Henry V 5.2).

He is devout. His piety is not simply put on for the show—in his most intimate moments, it is what shapes him. Before the Battle of Agincourt, he muses alone and then prays a heartfelt prayer for help and forgiveness for his father’s sin. In the opening scene of the play, the Bishop of Ely calls Henry “a true love of the holy Church” (Henry V 1.1)

He is crowned. The crux of his development as a character lies in taking up the royal crown and scepter. If “the mission makes the man, ” by extension, there is a sense in which the crown makes the man. A crown is a symbol of responsibility. It is a mission and covenant. It is a great privilege, but one that can be misused.

King Richard II, the shallow and unjust king whom Henry V’s father deposed, took this mission and the concept of divine right in the wrong sense and perverted it, using his position for license. Henry V understood this mission and divine right (hence his guilt over his father’s murder of Richard) in a much truer sense than Richard.

Crowned King Henry the VThe crown, he realizes, is not a tool that he can use; rather it represents a higher authority that will turn him into a tool to serve others. He must decrease in order for his people to increase. In fact, perhaps a better description of this relationship would be “divine covenant.” By taking up the crown, Henry has sacrificed his own desires, put away “the old man,” and become a new creation of sorts. Henry discusses some of these sacrifices in his pre-battle musings on the nature of ceremony, saying that the peasant little knows “What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace, whose hours the peasant best advantages” (Henry V 4.1)

It is not inappropriate to say that coming into the kingship required a kind of conversion on Henry’s part. This is where Richard II failed. Richard was under the same set of covenantal obligations as Henry V, but rejected those obligations. As a result, he was pruned from the tree of royalty, cut off from the kingly covenant. This does not excuse Henry V’s father, Henry IV, from the responsibility of having done the deposing, but it does help us understand Henry V in contrast to his predecessors. Called to the kingship, he has become something greater and nobler than himself.

Valerie FoucachonValerie grew up in France where her father Francis Foucachon was a church planter with Mission to the World. She studied under Wes Callihan in high school through Schola Classical Tutorials, and then attended Logos School where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is currently a Senior at New Saint Andrews College, and an official Latin Nerd. She shows her love for the classics by quoting from the Aeneid at random times (in Latin of course). 

Can I use your DVDs in another country?

We have received several questions about whether our video courses will work in other countries.

The short answer is: YES!

For many of us in the USA, this question seems absurd, since DVDs are digital. For various reasons, mostly surrounding distribution of major motion pictures, MOST movies distributed on DVD and Blu Ray are region coded. DVDs in the US are from region 1, DVDs from Europe are region 2, etc. See the map below to see how the 6 regions are divided.

DVD-Region-mapThe DVDs released by Roman Roads Media, including the Old Western Culture series, Grammar of Poetry, Introductory Logic, and Intermediate Logic, as well as those from our partner Compass Classroom, are REGION 0. This means they will work in EVERY region of the world. We did this very intentionally since we want to make sure our overseas clients have no issue playing our DVDs!

 

Fashion in Ancient Rome

In many aspects, ancient Rome was a modern state. They had city planning, sewage, hot baths, heated floors, elaborate customs, traditions, and a rich culture. After the fall of Rome, there was a brief “dark ages” in which much of the technology and culture of Rome disappeared. That period is not as long as some would have you think (a subject discussed in the Old Western Culture curriculum), but there was a decline.

But when we think back to Rome’s height, we normally think of its technology, conquests, or even its debauchery as it declined. But what about ancient Rome’s fashion?

A Little introduction to Roman Fashion

Pompey: fresco of a market

togaMen: The basic garment was a tunic, often belted. On top of this was worn the well-known toga–but not as universally as we might think. Togas were a sign of status, and could only be worn by Roman citizens. Social classes were strictly defined, and clothing reflected this. A thin red stripe on your tunic indicated that you were from the equestrian class, and not of the common rabble. A broader red stripe indicated the senatorial class. Except for certain special instances, togas were always white. Cleaners even used urine to bleach them! Togas were not practical to wear, though, and gradually became more ceremonial rather than an everyday social garment. Hair became more complicated under some emperors, and Nero is said to have made curled hair popular among men. Beards were popular later on in the empire.

ChitonWomen: The basic garment was a tunic, either in the Greek style of a chiton, or a peplos. Both of these were simple, loose-fitted, long dresses attaching at the shoulder, often with brooches. Once a woman married, she began to wear a stola, a long, draped garment. Respectable women under the empire, however, never wore togas–to do so meant you were either a prostitute or adulteress. Hair was a platform for a great deal of opulent creativity, and could give our most elaborate modern stylists a run for their money. Piles of curls, wigs, gold hairnets, coils of braids, finger waves, and more were common, and women were expected to spend a great deal of time on fixing it. They even had special servants, called ornatrices, to fix their hair for them.

 

To give a fun, imaginative, (and anachronistic) peek into what Rome’s fashion was like, here is what a Roman “fashion magazine” might look like. Volgo means “everywhere” in Latin, and is from the verb “to publish.” And now you know where Vogue magazine got their name.

Volgo: The Roman Matron’s Fashion Magazine

Engraved Weekly in the Central Quarries. Also available for wax tablet.
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Sold wherever Latin is spoken.

Fashion Report:

This hot off the chisel from our Rome correspondent, who’s been attending the Rome Fashion Week. Rumor has it the event was so huge, it spilled into the Forum! It’s as busy as a market! Delegates from all over the empire attended. At times, there were so many tribes present, it felt like a barbarian invasion! The Parisii(1) of Gaul were the featured delegation premiering their new collection, which included striped braccae, or breeches.

Soldiers (probably barbarian) wearing breeches, or braccae

Soldiers (probably barbarian) wearing breeches, or braccae

Though popular around the Gaulish and Germanic provinces, these were not well-received in our Roman patria. Some conservative patricians expressed concern over the moral laxity of allowing breeches at the exposition, but we believe there is no cause for alarm at these avant-garde fashions. The traditional, masculine tunica and toga will always prevail against these effeminate barbarian fad fashions.(2)

Dress:

Woman in chiton and woman in stola

Woman in chiton and woman in stola

Word has it that the peplos tunic is giving way to the Greek chiton tunic! Of course, the married matrona(3) already wears a draped stola over her tunic, so this is hardly big news, but for the singles ladies who can’t wear the stola yet, this is a big step! Many chiton advocates claim it is much more flattering than the looser folds of the peplos, and has a more elegant sleeve.

Hair:

Various imperial hairstyles, with Empress Iulia Domna at the bottom

Various imperial hairstyles, with Empress Iulia Domna on the right.

Gone are the days of our grandmothers’s simple tresses. Volume is the key word in our modern day! It may take more than one servant to help you put it up in coils and curls, but it is worth the elegance! Why should men have all the fun of curling irons for their carefully arranged locks? Here are some of our favorite styles, one of which is said to be inspired by empress Julia Domna. Just be sure to set aside a few hours to work on them!

Epistulae(4) to the Front:

Salvete(5), ladies. So your man is off to fight in the empire’s service. Here are some ways you can help your miles’ morale as he helps to keep the barbarians across the Rhine.
— Sew him some braccae! Yes, I know Emperor Honorius banned them in Rome, but it’s different in the North. Out there, across the frozen wastelands of beer-drinking barbarians, breeches are a necessity of life. Don’t worry, it’s not as though the whole empire would ever start wearing them!
— Weave a scarf to protect his neck from chafing under the armor.
— Don’t forget to save metal scraps for shield and greave repairs!
— Write him often! With the new Roman road network leading across Gaul, sending letters to the front isn’t the ordeal it used to be!

Sartorial Police:

The Aedile(6) arrested three men this week for unlawfully wearing the senatorial stripe on their togas, and another for wearing the equestrian class stripe. This, of course, is a grave offense, as only the equestrian and senatorial ranks are allowed the stripe on their togas. The way these plebians get above themselves! Later in the week, a campaign began to eradicate female-toga wearers from public places. If a woman wants to wear a toga in a red-light district, fine–but let us respectable matrons set the tone with our stola in the forum.

CLASSIFIEDS:

Laundry got you down? Live like a patrician, and try Marcus’ Fuller Service! Located near the entrance to the Forum Bovarium, near the Portus Tiberinus. We offer the best bleaching services for togae and stolae in the seven hills!

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:

The editorial staff would like to apologize for the lateness of the Alexandria fashion report–a miscommunication in hieroglyphs occurred. Interpreters at Rosetta in Egypt are working to crack the code and teach Latin to the Egyptian correspondent, as we’re all very eager to know what Cleopatra was wearing when she hosted Marc Anthony.

*NOTES:
1. The Parisii were the tribe of Gauls who gave their name to the city then called Lutecia and now known as Paris.
2. Breeches, called braccae, were worn by Gauls and German tribes, and were viewed as effeminate for Romans to wear. The emperor Honorius banned them in the 4th century AD. However, Roman soldiers fighting in their mediterranean uniforms in the northern climates found them very practical in braving the cold weather, and they became an accepted part of military gear.
3. Matrona is equivalent to our English “matron,” a married woman.
4. Epistulae - Letters
5. Salvete – (salve in the singular) was a common Latin greeting.
6. The Aedile – Aediles were elected officers who helped maintain public order.

Valerie FoucachonValerie grew up in France where her father Francis Foucachon was a church planter with Mission to the World. She studied under Wes Callihan in high school through Schola Classical Tutorials, and then attended Logos School where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is currently a Senior at New Saint Andrews College, and an official Latin Nerd. She shows her love for the classics by quoting from the Aeneid at random times (in Latin of course). 

The Chrysler Motor Company and Classical Art

The Benefits of a Classical Education for…Car Design?

We can see the influences of ancient classical art all around us, from the symmetrical lines of early 19th century architecture and the imposing columns on government buildings, to the classically inspired clothing of Jane Austen’s day.

But have you ever heard of a classically-inspired car? I certainly hadn’t! However, while doing work for a project, I came across this 1929 Chrysler car advertisement:
Chrysler: Tracing from the origins of classic art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, in the 1920s, Chrysler decided to look forward by looking back to the classical age for inspiration in the design of their elegant new Coupe. In this and its related ad, we find references to the Parthenon, Egyptian lotus leaf, and “wave border.” Rather than start from scratch with designers’ ideas, Chrysler, in good twentieth century spirit, has applied a “scientific” approach to finding the best aesthetic ideals from the “canons of ancient classic art.” And this is not an isolated case! Other car ads from this era reflect the same classical references, though some come across as comically contrived and forced.

But men in togas and ancient stone temples hardly seem to fit with the relatively-recent development of the automobile. Were the car marketers simply trying to make any possible appeal to an intellectually elite audience? Or cultivate a more rooted image ethos in the fast-growing market? Or was there something more widespread going on?

The clue lies in the popular artistic developments of the 1920s and 30s, the Art Deco movement. We can often pick out Art Deco by its iconic combinations of clean-cut lines, swirled curves and jagged straight lines that influenced architecture, interior design, and fashion after World War One. Car design rhetoric reflected the influences on the art of the time. Art Deco represented a bold new step away from the florid and busy Art Nouveau of earlier decades, yet “symbolically referenced ancient civilizations.” It seems that automobile customers were so aware of Art Deco’s classical connections that even the Vestal Virgins helped make some car sales!

Watch Chrysler trace the early history of man as it pertains to the development of the car, from a day when engineers were classically educated!

Next Week’s Friday Foray: What the Well-Dressed Roman-About-Town is Wearing

Valerie FoucachonValerie grew up in France where her father Francis Foucachon was a church planter with Mission to the World. She studied under Wes Callihan in high school through Schola Classical Tutorials, and then attended Logos School where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is currently a Senior at New Saint Andrews College, and an official Latin Nerd. She shows her love for the classics by quoting from the Aeneid at random times (in Latin of course). 

Psalm 13 & G. F. Handel’s Suite No. 4 in D Minor

handelDr. David Erb recently composed a new setting to Psalm 13 influenced by Handel’s Suite No. 4 in D Minor (HWV 437) Sarabande, and it’s beautiful!

Hear Dr. Erb explain how this came about in this little out-take from the recording of Psalm 13.

And here is rendition of the original piece by G.F. Handel:

(If audio player does no appear, click HERE)

Now listen to Dr. Erb’s Psalm 13 recording:

YouTube version HERE.

If you would like to hear Psalm settings by Dr. Erb, click here: www.romanroadsmedia.com/learning-the-psalms