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319162.  Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:05 am Reply with quote

I'd say that drummers would need a better sense of rhythm, but then I don't play drums. I can play guitar perfectly well, but I'm not convinced of my rhythmical skills; I find it incredibly difficult to sing one beat while strumming another for instance.

Actually, if you'd heard me sing, you'd probably suggest I concentrate on strumming anyway.

332116.  Wed May 07, 2008 8:38 am Reply with quote

Perhaps one for Fred to have a think about, but maybe:

Question: What did Romans usually wear?

Forfeit: Togas

Answer: Tunics.

The idea is that most Romans didn't really wear togas; they were just for very formal occasions.

At least that's what I think.

332156.  Wed May 07, 2008 9:45 am Reply with quote

Depends on when you're talking about, I think; they got worn less as time wore on, from what I can make out, but I'll have to check that properly. Certainly, Suetonius quotes Augustus as having got very irate on the subject in a "things aren't what they used to be" sort of way:

He desired also to preserve the ancient fashion of dress, and once when he saw in an assembly a throng of men in dark cloaks, he cried out indignantly "Behold them 'Romans, lords of the world, the nation clad in the toga,'" and he directed the aediles never again to allow anyone to appear in the Forum or its neighbourhood except in the toga, and without a cloak"

(Life of Augustus, XL, 5; Augustus himself is quoting Vergil, Aeneid, I.282 Possibly links to trousers being illegalised in the city in the late empire).

So they clearly weren't worn much by his day, at least. I think it was essentially a national symbol much like a kilt, and worn, in the periods people think of as Roman, about as often.

Other possible toga nuggets include the fact that women and foreigners (non citizens) were forbidden to wear them; the only women who did habitually sport the things (illegally) were prostitutes, hence togata being a Latin word meaning prostitute. Must be one of the few cultures where the distinguishing fashion choice of ladies of negotiable affection was being wrapped in a 20 foot long piece of thick wool. Which also raises the point of what people who live in central Italy were doing with such an impractical and, particularly, hot garment. Its impracticality meant that it had particular associations with peace, because soldiers didn't wear them.

It is, of course, not a Roman garment at all looked at in the right light; while it was iconically Roman, as Augustus and Vergil show, they had nicked it, as they did so much else (like writing, several of their kings, possibly the fasces, most of their religion, various means of looking at birds or entrails to predict the future), from the Etruscans.

S: Early Rome and the Etruscans, R.M. Ogilvy
Cassell's Latin Dictionary

Last edited by 96aelw on Wed May 07, 2008 10:03 am; edited 1 time in total

332167.  Wed May 07, 2008 10:02 am Reply with quote

That all sounds great Alf. Maybe a goer in the Foreigners show?

332199.  Wed May 07, 2008 10:38 am Reply with quote

I looked into this as possible Mythconception once; checked with a professor of classics, who wasn’t very keen on it. He reckoned it needed too many ifs and buts to make it accurate.

332225.  Wed May 07, 2008 10:56 am Reply with quote

Asking where togas came from and klaxoning "Rome" in favour of "Etruria" would work, though, I think, and the "usually" in the question as posed covers a multitude of sins. The date may be the tricky bit, in that how widely they were worn varied quite a lot over time, I think, but that can be got round by specifying a date in the question. Tying the question to a specific Roman might be one way to do that (although famous Romans include a high proportion of magistrates, who did wear togas rather more, so maybe not a very good one). One could even specify someone like Romulus, who (quibbles about his non existence aside) was probably pre-toga. I'll check this all a bit more tomorrow.

332345.  Wed May 07, 2008 1:43 pm Reply with quote

Were the Romans ethnically distinct from the Etruscans? (That's not a quiz question, I just wonder what the answer is.)

332530.  Thu May 08, 2008 4:32 am Reply with quote

If the detail of the answer is interesting enough, then how about simply asking
Q: “What did the Romans wear?”
and not bothering with a forfeit at all. Trying to pummel the question into a shape where it could support a forfeit would ruin it.

I can’t find my notes on this, but I seem to remember my source telling me that it was similar to asking “What do the British wear?” and claiming that “suits” is the wrong answer; it is the wrong answer, because most of us don't wear suits most of the time, but that doesn't mean it’s the wrong answer ...

So I don’t think it works in the narrow, somewhat binary confines of Mythcon/GenIg, but it could be quinteresting as a discussion starter.

332731.  Thu May 08, 2008 10:06 am Reply with quote

Mat, have you ever looked into the etymology of the word "jeep"?

332735.  Thu May 08, 2008 10:14 am Reply with quote

For a toga question, I wondered whether it would be better not to treat it as a trap at all but go with something like

How do you get ready for a toga party?

Re the jeep, I would have said "General Purpose". The wiki article suggests that it might not be that but nobody really knows.

332737.  Thu May 08, 2008 10:18 am Reply with quote

Yes, I thought general purpose too, but like you say, it's a bit fuzzy - I thought it's something Mat may have nailed.

332738.  Thu May 08, 2008 10:18 am Reply with quote

Oh. And I forgot you were an expert at toga-parties Flash.

332739.  Thu May 08, 2008 10:20 am Reply with quote

Yes indeed. Toga! Toga! Toga!

332772.  Thu May 08, 2008 11:19 am Reply with quote

"Jeep" is more interesting than it looks actually. For a start, there are two main theories about the etymology. Probably the correct one is that it was named after a cartoon character named Eugene the Jeep, who made no sound other than "jeep". The same strip (Thimble Theater, created by Elzie Crisler Segar), gave the world a spinach eating mariner named Popeye.

The Marine-turned-historian R Lee Ermey does not believe that American soldiers ever routinely referred to a particular vehicle as a "GP". While the designation GPW was used in the manual, that wasn't a document that most drivers of the thing would have read. What's more, those letters didn't stand for "General Purpose".

The designation GPW was given to the vehicle by Ford, one of the two maufacturers of the things during WWII. G stood for Government, P meant that it had an 80 inch wheelbase (the various wheelbases possible were represented by a letter code), and W stood for Willys.

Willys, a Toledo OH based company, had submitted the approved design of the vehicle but couldn't produce in the numbers required, so Ford was also invited to make vehicles to the Willys specification. Near identical vehicles actually made at the Willys works were designated Willys MB (M for Military, B because the design adopted was the second attempt).

(The second is light on quoted sources, but looks OK. The first is from a university website, which in general makes it automatically citable at undergraduate level.)

332789.  Thu May 08, 2008 11:45 am Reply with quote

This was in today's Times:

New Jersey Popeye may have been right about the muscle-building properties of spinach, research by US scientists suggests. A team from Rutgers University found that a steroid in spinach can enhance protein production in the muscles of mice. When the phytoecdysteroids were placed on human muscle tissue cultures the growth rate increased by 20 per cent, New Scientist reports. However, the steroids would not allow one to bulk up like Popeye. To replicate the study effect it would be necessary to eat 1kg of spinach a day.


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