A copy of a Antonio Conova bust

My wife and I were in Restoration Hardwire.  Everything was half off because this particular store was clearing out its inventory and was moving to a ‘better’ location.  This did not mean much for half off at Restoration Hardwire means a $2000 item is now a $1000 item…whoopie [sarcasm] Anyway most of the stuff already had a SOLD sign on it.   I happened to notice that on top of this large piece of furniture was a bust of a man wearing a laurel and the shoulder straps of a lorica segmentata.   Nancy saw where I was staring and said, “I bet you can tell me who that is.”

OK, a challenge.   Before we left the store I was going to figure it out.  It was NOT Caesar.  I would know that face anywhere.  It was NOT Pompey.   Pompey’s bust usually has the feel of looking at a photo of good old Uncle Fred.  It was not the youthful visage of Augustus.  To my understanding Augustus was depicted as youthful even into old age.  For some reason I stopped concentrating on the face.  The Laurel around his head seemed slightly stylized, and the straps on his shoulders seemed more ‘cloth-like’ than made from metal.  I went back to the face and imagined it with black hair.

“Nancy,” I called out.


“It’s Napoleon.”

After all, the guy wanted to rule the world didn’t he?  Why wouldn’t he be depicted as a Caesar?

Title – “Caesar By Any Other Name is Still a Caesar.” Mr. Cain travels to the time of Alaric the Visigoth. This warrior chieftain sacked Rome and we explore the temptations of Rome and whether he would of considered the ‘imperial purple.’ Mr. Cain has a rant about the symbols of empire and modern day Neros. After he calms down he interviews Mark Schauss of the podcast RUSSIAN RULERS HISTORY on connections between the Czars and the Caesars. Listeners call in and are highlighted on the show. Archaeologist William Glover tells us about the Ninth Legion that mysteriously disappeared.

MP3 File

In response to BAE Systems attempting to defame former Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer Ancient Rome Refocused awards him with the CORONA CIVICA.  It seems his former employer wanted to sell better equipment to Pakistan then the ‘outdated’ equipment being offered to our own troops.  He sent an email to his supervisor expressing his ‘disapproval.’    For that they  attacked his character. 

In ancient times the CORONA CIVICA, a crown of oak leaves, were awarded to public figures who had been of great service to Rome.  Quite often on my podcast I talk about how we have fallen into the failings of empire, but Dakota Meyer has shown all the strength and ‘backbone’ of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.  Meyer is of the old vein; a time when a Roman’s word was his bond. 

He is the type of Roman, the type of AMERICAN that shows virtue. 

However, it seems BAE Systems are the type of individuals that would have opened up the gates for Alaric the Visigoth if there was enough GOLD in their pocket.     

BAE can’t touch Meyer, they never will.  Meyer respects God, Country and his fellow servicemembers.  

BAE only worships…GOLD.

BAE you owe him an apology.  Give it to him, pay him damages, and decide which side you are on.


More to the story.  ARR contributor Fred Kiesche provided this tip.

Meyer drops defamation lawsuit against BAE

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Dec 16, 2011 9:45:14 EST

  SAN ANTONIO — A Medal of Honor recipient has dropped a lawsuit against his former employer in which he accused the defense contractor of ruining his chances of landing work at another company by saying he was mentally unstable and a poor worker.

Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer said in a statement Thursday that he is dropping the defamation claim against BAE Systems OASYS and a former supervisor, Bobby McCreight, because they settled their differences amicably.

The company says it is pleased the matter is resolved. No terms were disclosed.

Meyer filed the lawsuit in San Antonio last month alleging the company undermined him after he expressed disapproval that it had pursued selling certain weapon components to Pakistan.

Meyer received the Medal of Honor for his actions during a 2009 battle in Afghanistan.

Rob Cain’s Commentary:

Good.  I mean it — good.  In the article its says they “settled their differences.”  I will make the following assumptions.  BAE told this so-called supervisor to “apologize” and shut his ‘flapping’ mouth.  Dakota Meyer by dropping the suit has once again proved himself the better person.   They don’t call it the Medal of Honor for nothing.

To my Italian and American Friends

Ai miei amici italiani ed americani,

vi prego di perdonare questa traduzione approssimativa nella vostra lingua.

Ho intenzione di fare un podcast per il perso pittura ad encausto di Cleopatra.

Speravo che qualcuno in Italia potrebbe aiutarmi a trovare le seguenti informazioni.

L’ultima persona ad avere proprietà che sembra essere stato il Barone De Benneval a Sorrento, e c’è un modo per individuare la sua discendenza?

Chi ritiene che migliori arte antica Roma?

Se state cercando informazioni su questo dipinto, quale persona o istituzione potrebbe chiedere?

Essere un detectivo nella mia ricerca, e nessuno che mi può aiutare MI presenta una corona civica virtuale sul mio sito, intaglio il tuo nome nel mio blog in sito grazie per il vostro aiuto.

Se vuoi ulteriori informazioni, vedere il suo libro (sul web) LA SCOPERTA ANTICA IMMAGINE DI CLEOPATRA AD ENCAUSTO.

Email: rob@ancientromerefocused.org

To my Italian and American friends,

Please forgive this rough translation into your language.

I intend on doing a podcast on the lost Encaustic Painting of Cleopatra.

I was hoping someone in Italy would help me find out the following information.

The last person to have owned it seems to have been the Baron De Benneval at Sorrento, and is there a way to locate his descendents?

Who do you consider that best ancient art authority in Rome?

If you were looking for information on this painting, what person or institution would you ask?

Be a detective in my quest, and anyone that can assist me I shall present a virtual civic crown on my website, carving your name into my blog site in thanks for your help.

Email: rob@ancientromerefocused.org

If you want additional information see the book (its on the web) THE DISCOVERED ANTIQUE PICTURE OF CLEOPATRA IN ENCAUSTIC.

History for the Brave!

Have you seen this painting?


Painting of the Queen Cleopatra. 

"Cleopatra engraving in steel after the Encaustic Painting of Sorrento." John Sartain (c.1880) Illustration from the book "On the Antique Painting in Encaustic of Cleopatra Discovered in 1818"




















Found in the ruins of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s villa outside Rome.    The queen is depicted as Macedonian.  The last recorded location was with Baron de Benneval in Sorrento in the 18th Century.    If found this painting might settle the debate on what the queen actually looked like.

Check basements, wine cellars and attics.  If you see it in the collection of an Arab prince please report its location to this web site.  This might be hanging in a  Japanese business man’s apartment right now, or  sitting in a farm house boxed and stored away.  It might be hanging on YOUR wall, and you had no idea what you possess.   Did your granddad or father bring it home from the war? 

Clues can be sent to:  rob@ancientromerefocused.org

Be part of the search!

New Podcasts Coming soon!

OK, I am now working on the next podcast (Season Two, Episode Nine).  This will feature Mark Schauss of Russian Rulers History Podcast.  Mark will make the case that there are connections between the Russian Czars and Ancient Rome, what’s more we will find out a little about Mark in a personal interview.  The title of this podcast is: “A Caesar By Any Other Name Is Still A Caesar.”   This podcast will also include listener calls, and a dramatic narration of a man that could have been a Caesar but felt there were just too many Caesars for him to be confortable with the title. 

In addition, Season Two, Episode Ten will feature the author and comedian Natalie Haynes who has written the book The Ancient Guide to Modern Life.  It is a comedic treat and intellectual feast of comparing the knowledge of the classics to the issues we struggle with today.  The title of this podcast is apt:  “Nothing New Under the Sun.  Get over it.”   This episode will include a dramatic narration of a chicklit with a familar Aeneid twist.

 I keenly aware that its been a while since the last post.  Both interviews will be posted just a week apart.  So expect to see Episode 9 & 10 soon.

Favorite Sword and Sandal Movie?

(The Senate convened on Facebook and the subject was YOUR favorite Sword and Sandal movie.  Be part of the Senate and leave a comment here on the blog or go to Facebook.)  

Christopher Ferndedez Packham — Just watching the original BBC I, Claudius for the first time. It is so good. Makes everything done since look like high school project TV in comparison. The portayal of Livia is astonishing, and TIberius is genuine a monster of a man. Grim and brooding.

So what is everyone elses favourite screen (Big or small) depiction of Rome?

Jimbo Bretney likes this.

Richard Combs — Always love HBO’s Rome

Adem Koci — “Rome”, no question. It kindled my whole interest in ancient Rome

William Glover — I found Graves Books before the series, but “Rome” and “I Claudius” make a great pair to watch then it helps put faces to the names in the books (both fiction and non-fiction)

Matt Huxley — Spartacus for it’s realism (including the annoyingly gratuitous sex and violence). I Claudius for pure entertainment (and the book is even better). Rome for it’s attention to visual details although was very hit and miss. Cicero, Cato, Servilia, and Brutus were convincingly portrayed but Ciaran Hinds made an unconvincing Caesar and their portrayal of Cleopatra was criminal.

Christopher Ferndadez Packham — How can sex in Ancient Rome ever be gratuitous? This was before the deadly repressive hand of St Paul. I think HBO Rome suffered from the cancellation in series two.

Jimbo Bretney

Jimbo Bretney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2LS-dMyJVsI, Claudius and Kirk Douglas inspired me


Universal Empire – Episode1 – My Father’s Legacy: The Story of Creticus http://w…ww.facebook.com/pages/Universal-Empire-Episode-1-My-Fathers-Legacy-The-Story
Christopher Fernandez-Packham — Oh, I love that!  
Matt Huxley — That was a massive disappointment. Series 2 had a lot of promise. It seemed like the producers took note of the shortcomings of the first season only to cut it short. Shame.
 Rob Cain — I have always liked the movie THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964) with Stephen Boyd, Sophia Loren and Alec Guiness. Except only the first part of the movie when they are holded up in a mountain fort in Germania. The rest of the movie was a little disappointing. If anyone looked like Marcus Aurelius it was Alec Guiness. I don’t know what it was, the legion holed up in a mountain redoubt and trying to bring out an attack from the deep woods, seemed oddly familiar with the whole Vietnam thing that was going on. See the scene where Commodus takes a column into the forest while the hero waits to arrive with reinforcements…is great. The score is fantastic, by the way. Dimitri Tiomkin is the composer. Go to itunes to get a copy. It’s worth it.

I am enjoying the book THE ATTACK ON TROY by Rodney Castleden.  One particular paragraph caught my eye.  It was a story about a man who claimed to have lived another life during the time of Troy.

It’s on page 143.

“Pausania emphasized what a great honor it was to the Arcadians, land-locked and shipless, even many centuries after the event, to have taken part.  it was a part of proto-history that gave the kingdom its national identity and was a great source of pride, as well as a rich brew of other emotions.  There is a strange and telling story about Pythagoras staying in Argos in the sixth century BC, and being overwhelmed with emotion when he saw, nailed to the wall of the temple at the Argive Heraion, a shield that had been brought back to Greece as part of the spoils of Troy.  The Argives who were with him at the time asked him why he was weeping, and he said that he himself had carried that shield in the land of Troy, as Euphorbus.  The Argives thought he was mad, but he told them that if they took down the shield from the wall they would find an inscription inside it — ‘of Euphorbus’.  They did, and Pthagoras was right.”

Mr. Castleden attributes it to a form of hysteria.  The type of feeling where you want to be part of a certain event in the past.  I believe Patton himself claimed to have lived past lives, and saw himself at the fall of Carthage.    If we approach this skeptically, we could say that Pthyagoras was tipped on what was on the back of that shield by a goodly bribe to a local.    We could also wonder if the story was true at all.  In other worlds why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?  I refer to the story of the 1945 Avenger Torpedo Bombers that were lost off the coast of Florida.  Much has been made of them being lost to the interference of UFOs.  Supposely there were radio transmissions, but a NOVA documentary interviewed the radio operators who were present that day, and UFOs and “strange lights” never entered the conversation  — the planes were found under the ocean even if they did turned up unexpectedly in the 70s movie E.T.    Thank you ARGOSY Magazine — why let a good story stand in the way of the truth?

Do I think Pthagoras actually took that shield to Troy in another life?  


You weren’t expecting that answer were you?

Well, I do love a good story.

(No one can say that I don’t like a good what-if scenario.  There are a group of people I have named ‘The Senate’ for their contributions to the blog.  On FaceBook Jesse Walker has provided us with a thread of a very interesting perspective.  What if a modern military unit wound up in the time of Augustus?  Is this history?  No.  Is this a good intellectual exercise?  As far as I’m concerned it is.   Why not?  There are a series of books taking history down the what-if scenario.  The question is…are you brave enough to go there.  Real history is scary enough, but what-if…?  Thank you Prufrock451.)

Jesse Walker – Saw this interesting Reddit thread and thought i’d share.

 This is an appeal to James Erwin or Prufrock 451.  I read your story and I think its great.  Please be a guest on Ancient Rome Refocused.  Unfortunately, I have no idea on how to contact you to even ask if you are interested.  I would like to interview you for the show, and I just want to ask you a few questions about how you started on this story idea, and what is your background.  I will even send you the questions a head of time for you to review.   Please contact me at:   rob@ancientromerefocused.org.  I am a big fan of yours,  and will give the work the respect it deserves. 

(My wife and I love to sit in the stacks of Barnes and Noble on weekends.  She takes notes for her psychological thriller, and I hit the Ancient History section.    Vente Green Tea latte, two pumps for her, and for me an Awake hot tea.  This blog entry has notes and interesting things I came across. )

Note*  Looking for a  book on Troy.  I found a B&N employee with a shaved head and big smile.  I will call him Tri-pon.    He looked up several books on the subject on his computer, and asked if I wanted real history or science fiction

“No, real history.  Though the sci-fi writers do a good job with alternate history.”   Why did I say that…true…but why did I say it just the same?

He takes me 3 or four shelves over and can’t seem to find what he was looking for.   “We got a shipment in back…let me check.”

While he is gone, I scan the shelves and find an interesting book.  It is a Time travel…NOT to ancient Troy, but time travel of a different sort.  The title of the book was Q by Evan Mandery.  I am intrigued, the dust jacket tells me it’s about a man who wants to marry a girl named Q and his future self comes back in time to tell him not to do it.  I want to read it, and take a copy.   If anyone wants a review ask me on FACEBOOK.

Tri-pon comes back and hands me a copy of THE GATES OF TROY by Glyn Iliffe.  Nice.    A story told from the perspective of Odysseus.  Looks interesting and I decide to put that on my list as well.

He frowned and said: “Are you interested in a new translation of the Iliad?”

For some reason in a book store, anything NOT on the shelf sounds mysterious and magical. 

“Sure.  That sounds great.”  And then  spouted out such names as: “Is it Fitzgerald?  Fagles?”  I’m not sure if I got the names right, but I remembered these guys translated something…at that particular moment I could not remember and I was never very good with instant recall.  What’s more were any of those guys still alive? 

“I’ll be right back,” he said with a big smile.

Note*  A Google search later that day tells me I was right on the names…25 points and I move on to the bonus round.

Cover of Stephen Mitchell's book

He comes back with a book, The Iliad Translated by Stephen Mitchell.

Now, this is different.  The cover says it’s a NEW translation.  I have to admit something; I have a hard time with reading The Odyssey and the Iliad, especially translations.  No…I am not saying I prefer reading it in the original Greek, for I would fail miserably at it.  I am saying the language (even if it is in English) always seems a little stilted, and I admit my patience has been taxed by making my way through various versions.

You can try Pope:

The man for widom’s various arts renown’d,

Long exercise din woes, O Muse! Resound;

Who, when his arms had wrought the

Destined fall

Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall,

You can try Fitzgerald:

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story

Of that man skilled in all ways of contending,

The wanderer, harried for years on end,

After he plundered the strong hold

On the proud height of Troy.


Why couldn't a scene like this have really taken place? A warrior walking with two young people on a spring day. Found this photo on a Chinese web site.

It’s not to say translating something is easy.  In Homer’s time poetry was sung in a dactylic hexameter beat…six beats in every line, each measure a triplet of syllables with the beat on the first line:

For all you drummers out there…




This sounds GREAT in Ancient Greek (which I consider fluid and a beautiful).  What language could have a word meaning… singer of words, a bard, with something that sounds as flowing, as musical, as deep down from legend and myth as the word:


Many English words are barbaric when you compare it to a language that could sing out a word as:  Rhapsodoi.

However, Mitchell decided to take it on, and I admit I had an easier time of it.  It seems he eliminated many of the speed bumps that slowed my reading down like “swift footed” that came up every time Achilles name was mentioned, or “Bright-eyed” upon every mention of the Goddess Athena.    In addition, he added modern words like “sissy” and “son of a bitch.”

Is it the right thing to do?  I don’t know, and I worry about the poetry disappearing from the text, but I never heard the Iliad sung about the campfire like in the days of the rhapsodoi either. 

Note*  Do not read the above paragraph as meaning I do not like the Iliad, for that is not true.  I have read and seen a myriad of books and movies on this subject.  The story of Troy holds a particular fascination for me, and don’t even get me started on the Odyssey.

In the introduction Mitchell brings up some interesting points on how the Iliad still speaks to people – even today.   From an Australian in the outback, a counterman serving lunch who has the first word of the Illiad tattooed on his arm, Rage [Me nin], to the towns people in a Columbian village who refused to give back the Illiad to a traveling library because it reflected their own story.

“It told of a war-torn country in which insane gods mix with men and women who never know exactly what the fighting is all about, or when they will be happy, or why they will be killed,” was the explanation of the theft

It still has the power ‘to move’ people, as if the feelings and words are ‘hard-wired’ into the brain.  Even Alexander slept with it under his pillow.  Note*  It’s not hard to imagine why: 15,600 lines are devoted to graphic descriptions of battle – wonderful bedtime reading for a future conquerer of the known world.

How could one not be moved?  How could one not be taken in by the words, the poetry, no matter the age and the times?

Listen to the following.  Don’t read it.  SPEAK IT!  Speak it out loud to yourself while looking in the mirror.  Play the part of a rhapsodoi and let the words fill the room.

“And as soon as the flush of dawn appeared in the heavens,

They boarded the ship and launched her.  Apollo sent them

A favoring breeze and they raised the mast, and

They hoisted the white sail aloft, as it bellied out with the wind,

And on either side of the ship’s prow, the deep blue water

Sang out as the ship flew over the waves to her goal.”

The words in bold and larger point size were the phrases and words that gave the passage ‘particular’ imagery for me as I read the passage.   

Do we need a new translation?  I don’t know, there’s been 5 or 6 already, and more than likely more.  Why shouldn’t there be, each version readied to speak to a new generation? 


 Tolstoy called the Iliad “a miracle”


Geothe said the Iliad threw him into a state of astonishment. 

Tri-pon, there you are.  What other books do you have hidden in back of the shop?