Monthly Archives: April 2009

Ancient fashion show, gladiatorial combat thrill crowds at April 25th Rutgers Day


“Some 50,000 people braved Route 18 traffic and funneled onto free buses for the first-ever ‘Rutgers Day,’ an event that folded the already popular New Jersey Folk Festival and Ag Field Day into one massive, multi-campus event, adding hundreds of activities, from sports and cooking classes to science demonstrations and cultural programs.” So reports yesterday’s Star-Ledger, of the 25 April Rutgers Day mega-event.

And of course, Rutgers Classics was (quite literally) at the center of it all, on the steps and lawn of Brower Commons on the RU College Avenue Campus.

For the occasion, NYC designer Jessica Deschamps created from scratch a drop-dead line of Mycenaean, Greek & Roman couture for Rutgers student models. Plus a number of RU students, alumni/ae and friends rocked their own creations on a scarlet runway extending a full 60 Roman feet (some of those feet being vertical).

rdstudent1A sampling of original ancient designs by Jessica Deschamps

And that was just for starters. The men and women of the amazing Ludus Magnus Gladiatores, the planet’s top gladiatorial reenactment team, also more than made the scene, performing all day on the runway and-fully armed and swinging—in a makeshift arena. Members of Legio XX (Washington DC) and Legio XXIV (Philadelphia) further pumped up the authenticity factor.



An astonished crowd viewed five shows in all—including a jaw-dropping 1 PM gladiatorial “Live Steel” match, all in 84 degree weather. DJ Korenelius (a.k.a. Rutgers Classics acting chair T. Corey Brennan) spun the tunes and emceed the proceedings. The only thing missing, as one spectator observed, was a lion or two.


Thanks especially to the Sisters of the Rutgers Theta Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority; NYC designer Jessica Deschamps; RU Classics assistant professor (and Undergraduate Director) Timothy Power and Administrator Kathryn Neal; Mr. Brian Beyer and the Latin students of Montgomery (NJ) High School, who made all the props for the day; RU Classics grad student Amy Bernard and the students of Green Brook (NJ) Middle School; Creative Director William Whelan (d-stroy advertising); and John J. Ebel Esq. plus each of the other men and women of LVDVS MAGNVS GLADIATORES.

Representing Rutgers (directly or indirectly) on the runway: Nicholas and Samuel Brennan; Victoria Carey’11; Diane Cerulli’09; Stephanie Chevanne; Alissa Coyne’09; Anastasia D’Amico’09; Rosemary Devine’12; Shayna Faraday’11; Cherrie Francisco’10; Ashley Garrison’09; Nathan Goldin’11; Mehreen Ismail’11; Stephanie Johnson’10; Robert Jordan’11; Jad Kaado’09; Niki Kothari’11; Avantika Khullar’10; Christen Marcinek; Kathleen Mullen’09; Rowena Errazo Naeseth’95 with Allen, Emma and Tyler Naeseth; Jennifer Perez’10; Christen Rafuse’10; Alexandra Sigona; Etel Sverdlov’10; Lirra Tolentino’10; and Mariame Zaid’11.

All these and many others were wonderfully helpful in making happen this fashion show and gladiatorial exhibition—a combination perhaps unique in world history.



For more images—and a three minute video—of the RU Classics Throwdown at Rutgers Day, look further…

Continue reading

It’s Rome’s birthday AVC MMDCCLXII—with Rutgers Day coming at you this weekend!

It was 2762 years ago today…well, at any rate, according to the great Roman antiquarian Varro.

He stated that Rome had been founded on 21 April 753 BC. Between 8 and 9 AM, to be exact. This coincided with the festival of the Parilia, a spring fling related to the solar agricultural calendar.

certosadipavia1Romulus and Remus, post-wolf and pre-wall vaulting. From the Certosa di Pavia. Credit: LIFE

Flash forward to 21 April of the year AD 121—1888 years ago to the day.

To honor the birthdate of Rome, the emperor Hadrian inaugurated a new, much more elaborate festival, marked by chariot races in the Circus Maximus. Here is the commemorative type Hadrian issued (in this case, a gold aureus). On the reverse is the Genius (i.e., personification) of the Circus. He holds a stylized chariot wheel and wraps his arm around one of the two turning posts of the Circus, known as the metae. [Hey, did you know this type bears the only true year date ever to appear on a coin struck in the ancient mint of Rome?—Ed.]

consusavcngCredit: Classical Numismatic Group

Then just two days ago a bunch of nutters [on this Blog, that’s a compliment—Ed.] on bikes from the Seven Hills were celebrating Rome’s birthday with, ummm, a revival of those chariot races in the Circus Maximus. For the glorious details, see what is indisputably the world’s greatest website on the Eternal City,


Meanwhile, back in the States…

This weekend—Saturday 25 April to be specific—there will be a massive Rutgers Classics throwdown on the steps of Brower Commons on New Brunswick’s College Avenue.

It’s the Rutgers Classics Greek & Roman Fashion Show. Rutgers’ Top Ancient Models, tag teaming with the Ludus Magnus Gladiatores, the premiere gladiatorial reenactment troupe on the planet.



Five shows in all, each lasting 20 minutes or so. And we’ll have a minimum 20 people on stage per show, with the gladiators mixing it up in between, and the inevitable DJ Korenelius on the wheels. So it’s going to be dynamic from start to finish. Current prediction for the weather is 79 degrees and sunny….




Thanks especially to the Sisters of the Rutgers Theta Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority; NYC designer Jessica Deschamps (see her creation in magenta above); Mr. Brian Beyer and the Latin students of Montgomery (NJ) High School, who made all the props for the day; Creative Director William Whelan (d-stroy advertising); and John J. Ebel Esq., Al Barbato (pictured above as retiarius), and each of the other men and women of LVDVS MAGNVS GLADIATORES. All these have been amazingly helpful in making this event happen.

The full Rutgers Day program book is available online here. Plus program books will be distributed widely on Rutgers Day at information tents, parking lots, student centers, etc. For continual Rutgers Day streaming news see the right-hand side of this blog!

sumeriangladiatorsDon’t miss breaking news about Saturday’s event—sign up for the RU Classics Greek & Roman Fashion Show Facebook group!

Newark newsflash: Kaitlin Moleen’10 wins prestigious AIA prize, will dig in Italy at Gabii

This just in.

The Archaeological Institute of America has awarded Rutgers-Newark junior Kaitlin Moleen a Jane C. Waldbaum Field School Scholarship for summer 2009. Just five of these prestigious fellowships are awarded annually, from a large applicant pool of college juniors and seniors and first year graduate students.


Kaitlin Moleen is an Ancient and Medieval Civilizations/Art History major at Newark, set to graduate in spring 2010. After Rutgers, she plans to attend graduate school concentrating on Roman Art and Archaeology.

This summer Moleen takes her fellowship just 12 miles east of Rome—to the field program of the Gabii Project, an unusually promising new (since 2007) major archaeological campaign.

The Gabii Project is an international, multi-institution initiative under the direction of Nicola Terrenato of the University of Michigan and with the patrocinio of the American Academy in Rome.

The last two years saw exciting field survey work; this summer marks the first actual season of excavation. The 5-week program will run from 21 June through 25 July 2009. The weblog of the Project can be found here while the Project’s photostream can be found here. The Facebook group is here.


The AIA Waldbaum Field School scholarship will help Moleen pay for her expenses in Italy. Plus she will be profiled on the AIA website, and have the report of her Italy experience published in its fall newsletter.

Kaitlin Moleen hails from Union NJ, and graduated from Union High School. The Ancient and Medieval Civilizations major at Newark is part of the History Department and focuses on the history and cultural development of ancient Greek and Roman civilization. Two highlights in the upcoming fall semester include a course on Roman Monuments and Spectacle, taught by Rutgers Scholar/Teacher (and Classics grad student) Kathleen Shea, and a course on Alexander the Great, taught by Professor Gary Farney, the program’s director.

Buon lavoro—e complimenti!

gabiibeckerThe ‘area urbana’ of Gabii. Credit: Gabii Project Managing Director Jeffrey Alan Becker

Rutgers Summer Session 2009: still time to register for great Classics courses


It may seem hard to believe, but Rutgers Summer Session 2009 is almost here. Still, it’s not too late to register for the traditionally great slate of offerings that Rutgers Classics provides for all three summer terms.

But you’d better hurry—depending on your student status and preferences, registration can close as early as 11 May.


Now, here’s what Rutgers Classics has on offer—or download the whole Classics program here as a .pdf:

Greek & Roman Mythology
MW (6-9.55 PM)
05/26 to 07/02

Greek Civilization
MW (6-9.55 PM)
05/26 to 07/02

Word Power
TTH (6-9.40 PM)
05/26 to 07/02

Medical Terminology
W (6-10 PM)
05/26 to 07/02

Literature & Culture in Augustan Rome
MW (6-10 PM)
07/06 to 08/12

Elementary Latin I
MTWTHF (10 AM-12 PM)

Elementary Latin II
MTWTHF (10 AM-12 PM)

And with all those night classes you still can spend all day at the beach…

hadriansvillaRemains of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli in a reflecting pool. Credit: Gjon Mili/LIFE

Intense schedule of events @RU Classics for late April, early May


A full schedule of events at Rutgers Classics before Commencement 2009…

THURSDAY 16 APRIL @ 5 PM Wolfgang Haase (Boston University and Director of Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt),  “Marc-Antoine Muret: The First Political Commentator on Tacitus.”  Graduate Student Lounge at 126 College Ave., New Brunswick.

FRIDAY 17 APRIL Latin Fest 2009 @ 10.30 AM-5.30 PM: [Seneca], Octavia, with graduate student participants from Columbia, NYU, Penn, Princeton, Rutgers. New York University, 19 University Place, ground floor seminar room

THURSDAY 23 APRIL @5-7 PM. Senior Undergraduate Honors presentations; Eta Sigma Phi initiation. New location: Ruth Adams Building 003 (131 George Street), New Brunswick.

SATURDAY 25 APRIL @10AM-4 PM. Rutgers Day, featuring Rutgers Classics Greek and Roman Fashion Show, also LVDVS MAGNVS GLADIATORES reenactors. Steps of Brower Commons, College Avenue, New Brunswick.

THURSDAY 30 APRIL @5 PM. Eric Kondratieff (Temple University), “Virgil’s Heldenschau (Aen. 6.752-892): Pompa Funebris or City Walk?”.  Geology Hall, Old Queen’s Campus (85 Somerset Street), New Brunswick.

THURSDAY 7 MAY @4.30 PM. Markus Dubischar (Lafayette College), “Political Imagery in Solon”. Ruth Adams Building 003 (131 George Street), New Brunswick.

FRIDAY 8 MAY 1 PM. Cultural critic Lee Siegel (author, Against the Machine), “Brother, Can You Seize a Diem: The Precious Worth of Useless Knowledge in Desperate Times”. Ruth Adams Building 207 [note new room number] (131 George Street), New Brunswick.

saturnTemple of Saturn in Rome. Credit: Gjon Mili/LIFE

Rutgers Classics in the news, for better or worse

stekelvarken“It was 20 years ago today…” Lemonheads pseudo-bootleg from 1989

The story will have to speak for itself….from the 13 April 2009 Daily Targum, “Professor journeys from classics to punk rock“, by Michael Schwab / Contributing Writer.

“A song by alternative rock band the Lemonheads debuted entitled “Li’l Seed.”

But many do not know the song was written about 20 years ago by Chair of the University’s Department of Classics T. Corey Brennan, an associate professor at the University.

Although the song is his self-proclaimed one good song, Brennan of late has plenty to be happy about. He was appointed in December to a three-year term beginning July 1 as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome.

“As the name suggests, the job [description] literally goes on for pages,” Brennan said. Continue reading

It’s tRUe! April 25th Classics Greek & Roman Fashion Show combines forces with LVDVS MAGNVS GLADIATORES

0rudaybannerActually, this ain’t no toga party…this is historically accurate merch

Rutgers Day is now less than three weeks away—Saturday 25 April to be specific, in New Brunswick. It’s billed as a free “family, friendly, fun exhibition of all of the things we do at Rutgers–our teaching, our research, and our service to the state of New Jersey.” Learn all about Rutgers Day here.

goldinOn 25 April, all roads  lead to Rutgers. This legionary (RU’11) is already here.

As everyone in the Garden State should know by now, Rutgers Classics is hosting a Greek and Roman fashion show for that day. It’s set to dominate the very center of the College Avenue Campus, on the steps of Brower Commons—with a red carpet runway extending 60 Roman feet.


Designer Jessica Deschamps has been working around the clock on a drop-dead line of Roman couture. And at a recent fitting, some of Rutgers’ top ancient models practiced their fiercest runway moves to a thumping DJ Korenelius soundtrack. On Rutgers Day itself there will be four five shows in all: 10.30 11.00 AM, and 12.00, 1.00 (gladiator gala!), 1.30 2.00, and 3.00 PM.


But hold onto your seat. Also featured that day will be none other than—Ludus Magnus Gladiatores. For a glimpse into their story (and an amazing video by James Duffy) click here.


The Ludus Magnus Gladiatores is an AD 87 Roman reenacting group based mostly in NY and NJ. There are only a few such gladiatorial units in America. But these folks also happen to be the best in the nation, perhaps in the world. [I’m hardly going to argue with that—Ed.]

Founded in 2003, the members of the Ludus Magnus Gladiatores are all heavily invested in creating near-perfect reproduction Roman arena gear. And then they fight each other in full combat, with impeccable gladiatorial technique. The swords are wooden—just like in the old Roman Ludus Magnus, or gladiatorial training school. Everything else is very real.


“When we dress and engage, we are from the first century AD”, says Summus Palus (and founder and leader) John J. Ebel, Esq. of East Hampton NY. “Our civilian ladies and ‘Vestal Virgins’ are also perfect in impressions, as are the younger children, who also participate, in clothing appropriate to the time….All of my gang are coming [to Rutgers Day], and I mean full attendance.”

The Ludus Magnus aims—as it says on its daunting Membership Application Form—“to educate the public about the reality of gladiatorial combat, training, and lifestyle, as well as dispel many of the widely-held myths and misconceptions about this fascinating aspect of antiquity”. Oh, and put on a jaw-dropping show that will complement and enhance the high fashion event of the last two millennia.


It’s probably never happened before in history, ancient or modern. A blazing Greek & Roman fashion show matched with hyper-authentic gladiatorial combat. Excited? Intrigued? Click here to join the Facebook group RU Classics Greek & Roman Fashion Show @ Rutgers Day 4.25.09. And stay tuned to this blog for more details as they emerge in the (few) weeks to come.

9facebookgroupinvite[OK, but that jewelry looks distinctly Sumerian to me—Ed.]

RU Classics grad student Kathleen Shea wins 2009/10 appointment as Rutgers-Newark Scholar/Teacher

Kathleen Shea has been selected as a member of the second annual class of the Rutgers Scholar-Teachers at Rutgers—Newark for the academic year 2009-2010. The Scholar-Teachers program was developed to place some of the very best advanced doctoral students in the Humanities at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus in classrooms in Newark. There are just five such positions awarded this year.

Kate’s appointment will be in Classics, which at Newark is administered by the Department of History. There over the course of the year she will teach a combination of four introductory and elective courses in the field.

After receiving her BA in Classics from the University of Oregon, Kate worked briefly in the corporate world before starting the Classics PhD program at Rutgers. Her interests lie mostly in Latin literature, especially Catullus and the erotic poetry of the Augustan age, all against the Hellenistic background. Kate’s dissertation project is on Ovid’s Amores and spectacularity in the urban fabric.

An unusually experienced and gifted teacher, Kate last year served as head Teaching Assistant for Rutgers introductory Latin, with supervisory responsibilities for five sections and over 100 students.

This past fall there appeared as a stand-alone issue of the American Journal of Ancient History an edition of the (previously unpublished) autobiography of T.R.S. Broughton (1900-1993), for which Kate served as co-editor. Plus, for two years, while continuing her studies at Rutgers, Kate served as a full time head college librarian—namely, as Librarian of the Glorious People’s Library at Deep Springs College (California).

Rutgers Classics has seen its students win a Scholar-Teacher award for each of the two years of the Program’s existence. Currently teaching at Newark as a Scholar-Teacher is Classics graduate student Liz Gloyn.

800px-rutgers-newarkCredit: Wikipedia Commons

Serena Connolly receives 2009/10 Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors at Institute for Advanced Study

Serena Connolly, who is now in her second year on the faculty of Rutgers Classics, will spend academic year 2009/10 as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Connolly has received a Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors in the School of Historical Studies at the IAS. Connolly is just one of three scholars from North America to receive this highly competitive Fellowship for next year.


Connolly’s IAS project is “Cato’s Dicta: Roman Society and the Individual”. This is the first book-length examination of the Disticha Catonis—an Imperial collection of Latin aphorisms—in their classical context.

“They were a fundamental text for medieval schoolchildren,” writes Connolly, “when they, and the name of Cato along with them, became a byword for wisdom. Translated into at least fourteen languages between the tenth and fourteenth centuries, the Dicta were not only one of the earliest texts to be printed by Caxton, but also the first Classical work in translation to be printed in North America.”

But beneath the surface—and this new analysis is Connolly’s contribution—“they offer us a rare opportunity to explore how Romans thought an individual should live in Roman society on the threshold of the ascendancy of Christianity”.

Serena Connolly is a graduate of Cambridge (BA 1998) and Yale (PhD 2004), where she taught for three years before coming to Rutgers Classics in 2007. She currently serves as the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies.

In 2009 Connolly will see the publication of her first book, Lives behind the Laws: the World of the Codex Hermogenianus (Indiana University Press). In this she explores the social, political and legal significance of the system of petition and response.

Next month Connolly appears at the Association of Ancient Historians’ Annual Meeting in Vancouver BC (14-16 May) , speaking on “Trouble and Strife in Roman Marriage”.

fuldhall2Fuld Hall at the IAS in 1947. Credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE