Sheldon muses on the dissimilarites between Greek and Roman culture and there certainly are such. Maybe the Etruscans did more to westernize the refugees from Troy who landed on their shores than we generally think.
My first conflict with this topic came when Eldest Son was in third grade and remarked upon how strange it was that the Greeks and Romans came up with so many of the same myths and legends. I said that it wasn't all that remarkable, since the Romans were, culturally, essentially Greeks and that Italy had been colonized by Greeks.
To which he responded that I was wrong, that they lived at opposite ends of the Nile and never met, to which I responded that no they didn't to which he responded that that was what his teacher said to which I responded that she may very well have said it but that I majored in that stuff.
To which he responded, "Yes, but she has a master's degree and you've only got a bachelor's."
At which point we experienced a sudden and dramatic shift in topic.
Anyway, fast forward thirty years or so. I had recently written a children's version of Perseus for use in Newspapers in Education programs and feedback from teachers was very positive, so I wrote a children's version of Theseus and the Minotaur, which I had to shift into a story about Ariadne since Theseus was such a complete jerk.
And feedback was very positive, but now teachers began asking for Roman mythology since they were required to teach that as well.
So I dug out Ovid and wrote a collection of stories which I called "Tales of Ancient Rome."
And feedback was very positive for two or three years, until I got a call from the NIE director at a major daily that shall not be named, but had a daily circulation of 681,415 including one gentleman from Greece who was threatening to picket the paper and mount an advertiser boycott because the stories were not Roman but Greek in origin.
The frantic NIE person put me in touch with the fellow's priest who went on at some length about the injustice of cultural appropriation and I said that I not only understood but had addressed the origins of these stories at some length.
In the teacher's guide, which readers of the paper never saw.
And a few months later, I got a similar call from a similarly distressed NIE director at another paper and so I changed the name of the collection to "Tales of the Ancient World" which seemed to solve the problem.
I still only had a bachelor's degree, but I felt like I had earned a doctorate in culture clash.
And Speaking of Roman Culture
Today's Agnes made me smile. I like it when cartoon characters have actual, specific cultures, and, besides, it makes perfect sense, given that, if you meet someone named "Agnes," RC is a good guess.
In fact, I think if you're Protestant and you want to name your daughter "Agnes," you have to pay royalties to the Pope.
It reminded me of this Arlo & Janis from 1999, though Arlo is clearly Protestant, since Catholics don't refer to priests as "preachers."
However, I could certainly relate, since I had spent many hours in the pew in less than rapt fascination with what was going on.
It also reminded me of this 2002 Shirley and Son, which is clearly Protestant since Catholics never, ever, ever, ever get divorced.
Or at least, if they do, they don't ever, ever, ever show up at Mass again.
(Note to forestall angry responses: That was a comic technique called "kidding on the square.")
(Note to forestall supportive responses: That was in no way connected to the fallen-woman-goes-to-church scene in "Zorba the Greek." We're talking about Romans now. Different culture entirely)
It also reminded me that I had meant -- but forgot -- to bookmark "Francis" at the National Catholic Reporter" site, since there are strips there that don't run at GoComics, mostly because they are too insider for a general audience.
The wisecrack at the time was that the two institutions were separated by 400 yards and 200 years, and it wasn't so far off.
The one next door had guitar masses and social outreach and a pretty good folk combo that played secular tunes at the coffeehouse from time to time.
The one I was living in kicked out a sem who had a cleft palate because "infirmities in the body lead to infirmities in the soul."
In defense of the Church, that's why one seminary was relatively full and the other was renting out rooms, and, in further defense, it's why the seminary I was living in shut down completely a short time later.
But the funny thing was, they kicked out the kid with the cleft palate but not the two seminarians who would still be kicked out today, if not for their orientation (probably), for their lack of celibacy (definitely).
Apparently, the ol' Torquemadas running the place didn't notice what was obvious to everyone else in the building.
Which reminds me of one more sem who didn't return the next fall.
He was home for the summer and one morning bright and early, his dad woke him up to say "My car won't start. Can I take yours to work?" and, having gotten the keys, went down to My-Son-The-Soon-To-Be-Priest's car where he found a note taped to the steering wheel.
From a spurned lover.
Describing what she missed about him most.
And it wasn't his ability to translate Latin.
Anyone I haven't offended yet? This ought to do it: