Know Your Rites: Haruspicy is a Violation of University Conduct

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Gerry Visco, Bwog’s favorite classicist and “keeper of the flame,” sent out another memorable e-invitation to Saturnalia. “Those of you who are scared of me or anyone else here belongs in the suburbs with the Stepford Wives,” Visco wrote in a Bwog comment. Read on and wish your professor were this adorable:

Please join us in celebrating the holiday season and the end of the term this ThursdayDecember 9th 5 to 8 PM or so at the Kellogg Center, 15th floor of the International Affairs Building (after 7 PM, you’ll need to enter through the entrance at 420 West 118th Street between Amsterdam and Morningside). We invite you to eat, drink, and be merry — but NO on-premise sacrificial rites will be permitted under ANY circumstances and will be strictly enforced (haruspicy is a violation of university conduct). Significant others are welcome — and for those who can only stop by briefly, please do!

Gerry Visco
Keeper of the Flame, Vestal Virgin, etc.
sacerdos Vestalis
Department of Classics
617 Hamilton Hall

Full email (with pictures!) below:

A typical Department of Classics party

Welcome to the Saturnalia! The Circle of the Year is cut in fourths, and in the ancient lands of Greece and Rome the darkening time from autumn equinox to winter solstice was the time to plow and plant the ground, to store away the seeds.

You gracious Gods: Saturnus, Consus, Ops,
accept our thanks and look on us with love.
And let us see that seed corn must be saved,
that we need light to bring our seeds to fruit.
As we have done this day, so every day!

Department of Classics staff

Seneca the Younger wrote about Rome during Saturnalia around 50 AD:
It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a
bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear
the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between
the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business….Were you here,
I would willingly confer with you as to the plan of our conduct; whether we
should depart from our daily routine, or, to avoid singularity, both take a
better supper and throw off the toga.

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  1. Know your rites  

    is a much better title than holiday hop.

  2. CC14  

    Classicists are the best. They are.

  3. wow

    judging on ms. visco's life outside of the Classics Department, this party might actually be the best on campus. if only all administrative staff at Columbia could be this cool.

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