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Leo Tepper
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Apuleius: Eternal isis.
One
of the most interesting novels from Antiquity is Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. Apart
from it literary merits, it is also one of the few literary sources about the
cult of Isis. Mystery cults were highly popular from the Hellenistic time onwards,
as they prom...
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Petronius: in vain.
While reading Raby’s A History of Secular poetry in the Middle
Ages , I came across this poem by Petronius. Petronius is of course not a
mediaeval poet, but Raby starts with examples from classical poetry. Petronius
is most known for his Satyricon , but
the...
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Pseudo-Matthew: the birth of Mary.
In
the course of the first centuries of Christianity, Mary rose to the status of
almost a goddess, especially in popular devotion. No wonder that her birth must
also have been special. Indeed, her birth was also virginal. It is to some
extent a copy of Mary...
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Magnificat
Last Sunday I was at a church at which Bach’s Magnificat
was performed. As usual there was a booklet with the order of the service and
the text of the Magnificat. It suddenly occurred to me that I had never really
studied this text: for a theologian – thoug...
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Legenda aurea: Diana expelled.
Tomorrow December 5, the
feast of Saint Nicolas will be celebrated here in the Netherlands and part of
Flanders. As a child I was a firm believer in this holy man and was convinced
that it was he who brought presents himself in my shoe placed near the heati...
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Ovid: iron bulls tamed.
When Jason wanted to
obtain the Golden Fleece, he had to perform various deeds, including taming two
iron bulls, made by Vulcan. Medea provided him with magical herbs for
protection and taming the bulls. At this time she was still deeply in love with
Jason....
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Lactantius: why the earth is not round.
It is nonsense to think that the idea of a flat earth was
refuted by Columbus, when he tried to find a route to India through a western
passage.   Still, the idea of a round
earth was far from universally accepted and one of those who could not believe
it w...
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Augustine and history.
Augustine
had a different concept of history than the Roman historians had: for him time
and thus history has a beginning and an end. History happens sub specie aeternitatis . This gives a
different perspective on historical events. When Augustine wrote his...
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Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs
The earliest Latin
document of the Western Church is the Acts
of the Scillitan Martyrs . It describes the trail of a number of Christians,
which took place at Cartage on July 17, AD 180. For an overview see this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scillitan...
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Cicero: Hunger makes hard beans sweet.
Romans loved extensive
meals – as far as they could afford it and most could not – but when you are
really hungry or thirsty, anything tastes. In his Tusculanae Disputationes , Cicero gives various examples of this.
They serve as illustration for the stoic ...
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