From the monthly archives: September 2011

Capt. Bill McGinn was a first-responder at the World Trade Center in New York City at the attacks on September 11, 2001.  He perished in his rescue duties there.  A summer study scholarship for a qualifying graduate student is endowed in his name by the generosity of the McGinn family.  For more information, and to learn more about the Goldman and Sollman awards, see the information at Application to the Classical Summer School at the American Academy at Rome must also be submitted, and that information can be found at


The ancient Romans were “superstitious” — they believed in werewolves, ghosts and the undead, prophecy.  We like to think that we are very advanced; but are we?

The legend of the founding of Rome itself settled the dispute between twin brothers Romulus and Remus by bird augury, namely, based predictions on the flight patterns and behavior of birds in the sky.  Remus, from the Aventine Hill, sighted 6 vultures flying overhead; but when Romulus, from the Palatine, sighted 12 vultures, it seemed obvious to the early Roman settlers that Romulus was the chosen one. (Livy auc 1)

Raptors are impressive creatures, and I’ve seen quite a few this summer as I have been on the roads of Loudoun County.  The photo at the right shows a turkey vulture perched on top of Crossroads Baptist Church this morning, on Edwards Ferry Road.  Can you see why it caught my attention?  Based on the scale, what do you reckon it weighs?  Why, do you think, this vulture has selected this particular spot to rest?