Seaquence arrived back in March of this year. It’s an interesting idea and in many ways it reminds me of Electroplankton from way back in the days when the DS platform was starting to show promise in terms of making music. The update to Seaquence brings some fixes and new features, the most important of these being audio and video recording. I can see that being really useful.
Here’s what’s new in 1.1:
• Built-in audio AND video recording/export using Apple Replay-Kit. Export audio and video to other apps.
• Enhanced MIDI support: Sources/Destinations can now be selected individually.
• Settings are now accessible in-app! No more iOS settings panel
• Tweaks to compressor settings resulting in larger dynamic range when lots of voices are playing. Experience greater fidelity in complicated mixes!
• Faster session loading
• Pinch Zoom
• New filter control which allows you to morph between the 4 different filter types dynamically, allowing for more expressive spectral control
• BPM and Transpose are now included in the free download
• Tap Tempo on BPM
• Play Audio in Background (option)
• Max Active voices — set how many voices can play at once (option)
• Showing/hide note names in sequencer (option)
• MIDI Enable/Disable (option)
• More accurate and consistent MIDI clock / note timing
• MIDI latency adjustment
• Improved IAP purchase flow and messaging
• Updated graphics / icons
• UI Tweaks
• Various Bug Fixes
We all know the phrase “all roads lead to Rome”. Today, it is used proverbially and has come to mean something like “there is more than one way to reach the same goal”. But did all roads ever really lead to the eternal city?
The power of pavement
There was a close connection between roads and imperial power. In 27 B.C, the emperor Augustus supervised the restoration of the via Flaminia, the major route leading northwards from Rome to the Adriatic coast and the port of Rimini. The restoration of Italy’s roads was a key part of Augustus’ renovation program after civil wars had ravaged the peninsula for decades. An arch erected on the via Flaminia tells us that it and the most other commonly used roads in Italy were restored “at his own expense”.
And road paving was expensive indeed – it had not been common under the Republic, except in stretches close to towns. Augustus and his successors lavished attention on the road network as roads meant trade, and trade meant money.
In 20 B.C., the senate gave Augustus the special position of road curator in Italy, and he erected the milliarium aureum, or “golden milestone”, in the city of Rome. Located at the foot of the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum, it was covered with gilded bronze.
According to the ancient biographer Plutarch, this milestone was where “all the roads that intersect Italy terminate”. No one quite knows what was written on it, but it probably had the names of the major roads restored following Augustus’s instructions.
The centre of the world
Augustus was keen to foster the notion that Rome was not just the centre of Italy, but of the entire world. As the Augustan poet Ovid wrote in his Fasti (a poem about the Roman calendar):
There is a fixed limit to the territory of other peoples, but the territory of the city of Rome and the world are one and the same.
Augustus’ right-hand man, Agrippa, displayed a map of the world in his portico at Rome which contained lists of distances and measurements of regions, probably compiled from Roman roads.
The Roman road network bound the empire together. Senators had begun to erect milestones listing distances in the mid-third century B.C., but from the first century A.D., emperors took the credit for all road building, even if it had been done by their governors.
More than 7000 milestones survive today. In central Italy, the milestones usually gave distances to Rome itself, but in the north and south, other cities served as the node in their regions.
Augustus also established the cursus publicus, a system of inns and way-stations along the major roads providing lodging and fresh horses for people on imperial business. This system was only open to those with a special permit. Even dignitaries were not allowed to abuse the system, with emperors cracking down on those who exceeded their travel allowances (Bronwyn Bishop would not have fared well in the Roman empire).
The association between empire and roads meant that when Constantine founded his own “new Rome” at Constantinople in the fourth century A.D., he built an arch called the Milion at its centre, to serve as the equivalent of the Golden Milestone.
Many Roman itineraries have survived because they were copied in the medieval period. These record distances between cities and regions along the Roman road network. The “Antonine Itinerary”, compiled in the third century A.D., even helpfully includes shortcuts for travellers. These types of documents were uniquely Roman – their Greek predecessors had not compiled such itineraries, preferring to publish written accounts of sea voyages.
The Roman road network had prompted the development of new geographical conceptions of power. This is nowhere more prevalent than on the Peutinger Table, a medieval representation of a late Roman map. It positions Rome at the very centre of the known world.
Since antiquity, the phrase “all roads lead to Rome” has taken on a proverbial meaning. The Book of Parables compiled by Alain de Lille, a French theologian, in the 12th century is an early example. De Lille writes that there are many ways to reach the Lord for those who truly wish it:
A thousand roads lead men throughout the ages to Rome,
Those who wish to seek the Lord with all their heart.
The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer used the phrase in a similar way in the 14th century in his Treatise on the Astrolabe (an instrument used to measure inclined position):
right as diverse pathes leden diverse folk the righte way to Rome.
The “conclusiouns” (facts) Chaucer translates into English for his son in the treatise come from Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin – and all came to the same conclusions on the astrolabe, says Chaucer, much as all roads lead to Rome.
In both these examples, while the ancient idea of Rome as a focal point is invoked, the physical city itself is written out of the meaning. Neither de Lille nor Chaucer are actually talking about Rome – our modern “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” would work just as well.
A return to Rome
When the proverb started to become popular in 19th-century newspapers and magazines, however, the spectre of the city returned. Rome as the Eternal City struck a chord with this audience, which was reading and hearing about the exciting excavations taking place in Italy and Europe. Accordingly, the phrase took back a semblance of its original sense – Rome as the imperial metropolis – while retaining its proverbial import.
For example, in July 1871, the Daily News’s Special Correspondent for the Times in India watched Victor Emmanuel II enter Rome in triumph as the King of (United) Italy:
“All roads,” says the old proverb, “lead to Rome,” and the proverb rose up with a strange force to my mind to-day … By what various paths has he at length reached the Quirinal [Hill].
Just as the King took various roads into the city, so his route to monarchy had been arduous and chequered. The Special Correspondent, on seeing the entrance of Emmanuel II, uses Rome as both an imperial city and an end point for achievement – the King both literally enters the city and takes a number of “roads” to achieve monarchical power. The double use of the proverb is perfect and irresistible.
For other commentators, Rome remained the spiritual centre of the western world. Katherine Walker, writing for Harper’s Magazine in 1865, described her journey from Livorno to Rome with a German Roman Catholic priest.
“We are inclined to think of the old proverb true that ‘All roads lead to Rome’,” she wrote. While the priest delighted in the city as the home of Pope Pius IX, Walker herself objected that her priestly guide could only see the Pantheon as the church Santa Maria ad Martyres, and not as Agrippa’s temple to the pagan gods.
While both ancient and modern Italian roads all lead to Rome, to Walker the city itself had drastically mutated from the home of Augustus and Agrippa to that of Catholicism and the Pope. She finds this disappointing.
The idea of Rome
The expression “all roads lead to Rome” is a correct reflection of both the sophisticated Roman road network and its visualisation in Roman monuments and documents.
Later, however, the way in which Romans boasted of the centrality of their metropolis transformed into a proverb that had nothing necessarily to do with real roads or, for a time, the real Rome. In the 19th century, travellers revived the phrase as a way of melding the ancient past with their modern viewing experiences.
Why is this conception of Roman power accurate, when compared with other myths in this series? We assume that Romans were gluttonous or their emperors were crazy because such myths feed into our prejudices, which are then reinforced by popular culture.
Roads are a much more mundane aspect of Roman life compared to Nero’s alleged excesses, which makes them a less obvious way to think about imperial power. But when we hear the phrase “all roads lead to Rome”, we do not think of paving stones, but of the larger Roman road network – with Rome, its characters, and its history at the centre.
Caillan Davenport receives funding from the Australian Research Council.
Shushma Malik does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
A generation earlier, John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767–February 23, 1848) — another man of introspective genius and uncommon wisdom — dug at the heart of modernity’s foundational disconnect between efficiency and effectiveness: our tendency to pour tremendous energy into doing things, with little reflection on whether those are the right things to do in the first place.
His journals, now published as John Quincy Adams: Diaries 1779–1821 (public library), offer an exceedingly insightful record of one extraordinary man’s reflections on his own nature, haloed with luminous wisdom on the universals of human nature. Throughout them, the sixth President of the United States examines the paradox of how even the most industrious self-exertion can fail to attain a worthwhile result and why unfocused ambition is a guarantee of frustration rather than fulfillment.
Every day starts new game to me, upon the field of my duties; but the hurry of the hour leaves me no time for the pursuit of it, and at the close of my Career I shall merely have gone helter skelter through the current business of the Office, and leave no permanent trace of my ever having been in it behind.
Years earlier, in observing his own habits of mind in the course of his voracious self-education, Adams had become aware of the meager correlation between effort exerted and results obtained when a clarity of purpose is lacking — even the mightiest discipline, after all, is wasted without a clear direction. In a diary entry penned on the final day of 1804 — a year he considered distinguished by “its barrenness of Events” — the thirty-seven-year-old Adams laments his tendency to lose himself in rabbit holes of what may be interesting but is not relevant to his larger aims:
My studies were assiduous and seldom interrupted. I meant to give them such a direction, as should be useful in its tendency; yet on looking back, and comparing the time consumed with the knowledge acquired, I have no occasion to take pride in the result of my application — I have been a severe Student, all the days of my life — But an immense proportion of the time I have dedicated to the search of knowledge, has been wasted upon subjects which can never be profitable to myself or useful to others — Another source of useless toil, is the want of a method properly comprehensive and minute, in the pursuit of my enquiries — This method has been to me a desideratum for many years; I have found none in books; nor have I been able to contrive one for myself. From these two causes, I have derived so little use from my labours, that it has often brought me to the borders of discouragement, and I have been attempted to abandon my books altogether — This however is impossible — for the habit has so long been fixed in me, as to have become a passion, and when once severed from my books, I find little or nothing in life, to fill the vacancy of time — I must therefore continue to plod, and to lose my labour; contenting myself with the consolation, that even this drudgery of Science, contributes to Virtue, though it lead not to wealth or honour.
Several years later, finding himself so absorbed in learning logarithmic calculation that a whole day had fled, he chastises himself for an unfocused curiosity that flits from subject to subject, unbridled by poor time-management, lacking focused commitment to deeper study of any one discipline:
I find it easy to engage my attention in scientific pursuits of almost any kind, but difficult to guard against two abuses — the one of being insensibly drawn from one to another, as I now have from Chronology to Astronomy and from Astronomy to Logarithms — the other of misapplying time, which is essential to the business of life; public and private.
And yet life affords Adams a counterpoint to this harsh self-criticism — it is by such kaleidoscopic curiosity that we arrive at what we don’t know we didn’t know and gradually broaden the shorelines of our knowledge amid the ocean of our ignorance. The following November, finding himself confined indoors by inclement weather and short days, his eyes wearied by long hours of reading by candlelight, Adams writes in his diary:
I this day discovered a new particular of my own ignorance of things which I ought to have known these thirty years — One clear morning about a fortnight since I remarked from my bed-chamber windows a certain group of stars forming a Constellation which I had not before observed and of which I knew not the name — I marked down their positions on a slip of paper with a view to remember them hereafter and to ascertain what they were — This day on looking into the Abridgment of La Lande’s Astronomy, one of the first figures that struck my eye in the plates was that identical Constellation — It was Orion — That I should have lived nearly fifty years without knowing him, shews too clearly what sort of an observer I have been… I am ashamed at my age to be thus to seek for the very first Elements of practical Astronomy.
Two weeks later, Adams records his daily routine and its higher purpose:
I rise on the average about 6 O’Clock, in the morning, and retire to bed between ten and eleven at Night — The interval is filled as it has been nearly two years, more particularly, as since I placed Charles at school — The four or five hours that I previously devoted to him I now employ in reading books of Science — These studies I now pursue, not only as the most delightful of occupations to myself, but with a special reference to the improvement and education of my children.
Alluding to the dying words of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe — “Let me not seem to have lived in vain,” memorably immortalized by Adrienne Rich a century and a half later in her sublime ode to women in astronomy — Adams add the closest thing to a personal mission statement he would ever commit to words:
I feel the sentiment with which Tycho Brahe died, perhaps as strongly as he did — His “ne frustra vixisse videar” was a noble feeling, and in him had produced its fruits — He had not lived in vain — He was a benefactor to his species — But the desire is not sufficient — The spark from Heaven is given to few — It is not to be obtained by intreaty or by toil — To be profitable to my Children, seems to me within the compass of my powers — To that let me bound my wishes, and my prayers — And may that be granted to them!
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We’re never standing still here at HODINKEE. Every day we work to bring you new and better things, whether that means a whole new video series, an in-depth, 5,000 article, or an improved app experience. Today we’re excited to share some big news with you on that front: Jon Bues will be joining the HODINKEE team as our Senior Editor.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably already familiar with Jon and his work. He has more than a decade of experience at the helms of various watch publications and is a fixture in the industry scene, with outstanding access and perspective. Over the years, Jon has served as the managing editor of International Watch magazine, the editor-in-chief of WristWatch magazine, the watch editor of Surface magazine, and the editor-in-chief of Watch Journal. He has also contributed to Elite Traveler, The Hollywood Reporter, and other international publications. As you can see, he’s a mainstay in the watch world, and many of us here at HODINKEE have known him for quite a long time.
Jon’s areas of expertise are extremely diverse. He’s just as comfortable writing about a vintage 35mm Calatrava as he is offering insight into the latest steel sports chronograph. He’s also very familiar with the actual business side of things and the culture of watch collecting, so he’s much more than just a product guy. We’re excited to see the stories and perspectives that Jon is going to bring to HODINKEE and the ways he’s going to impact our editorial mission at large.
Stay tuned, Jon’s first stories for HODINKEE will be coming soon. For now, give him a follow on Instagram at @jonbues.
The word “cute” is woefully insufficient in describing the squee-inducing impression of these needled felted wool sculptures by Ukraine-based designer Hanna Dovhan (previously here and here). Her latest pairs of hand-made mustachioed donuts, mushrooms, croissants, and veggies are all designed to rest in a tender embrace or to simply hold hands. You can see more by following her on Instagram or in her Etsy shop Woolsculpture.
Its pretty early around these parts, 4:03 am to be exact but I just woke up with a very distinct impression that I need to put together a time-capsule for the Merc and you guys need to be part of it!!!
I hadn’t really thought of doing one and there were definitely other places we could’ve stuck it (helloooooo massive trenches in the foundation) but before the walls get closed up I’m going to get 1 or 9, you know, depending on participation enthusiasm, pulled together.
So will you send me something??!?
This is what I want: Please print off one picture from your life today. It can be a selfie of you, your family, your dog, your house, your city, your favorite DIY project, your favorite meal, really ANYTHING (…well not anything, keep it PG) and write on the back of it:
Your Location (doesn’t have to be an address, just the city you’re from)
And then write about your life. What do you want someone long in the future to know? I mean, hopefully like reallllly long into the future cause these are going in the walls of my favorite place ever so…to be opened when I’m dead and gone? I feel really strongly that it needs to be about recording the good things that are happening in our lives right now. This world is becoming increasingly darker and who knows what the future is going to hold, but I want our capsule, (whenever its found) to be a giant ray of sunshine!
The deadline for submission is a week from today, August 23rd. So you’re going to have to act really fast, especially those that are international. That is when the sheetrock is scheduled to start and the walls are being sealed. I would love to have a physical picture from you, but if you can’t make that happen with our tight turn around I still want you to be part of it! Shoot an email with the above info to email@example.com with TIME-CAPSULE in the header.
Mail your pictures to:
Mandi Gubler GENERAL DELIVERY Santa Clara, UT 84765
Love you all and I can’t wait to have you be part of this!
Later this week Dark Hall Mansion will have their latest release by Dave Perillo in the shop. “The Year Without a Santa Claus” is available as a set of two 12″ x 12″ giclees, with an edition of 280, and costs $65 per set. The banner edition is a 12″ x 24″ giclee, has an edition of 50, and costs $75. These will be available Thursday, August 17th at 12:30PM PST. Visit DarkHallMansionStore.com.
Emek will have his latest concert poster for Metallica in the shop later this week. It is an 18″ x 24″ screenprint, has an edition of 60, and costs $150. These will be available Thursday, August 17th at 12PM PST. Visit EmekStudios.com.