Friday, January 16, 2004
NUNTII: More Fallout from Christie's
A while back we mentioned how folks were reported at how little the recent Antiquities Sale at Christie's brought in. Now we hear that one item which was sold might have been of questionable origin:
The U.S. government says it has seized a marble portrait of a Roman emperor stolen from Rome's Capitoline Museum in 1998 and sold at a Christie's auction last month for $276,300 (151,600 pounds).
Federal prosecutors said Italian authorities asked them to recover the piece, identified as "A Colossal Roman Marble Portrait of the Emperor Trajan." According to court papers, the work was consigned to Christie's by a collector in Linz, Austria.
The portrait was sold at Christie's December 11 antiquities auction in Manhattan, but prosecutors asked Christie's to keep it at the auction house until the matter was resolved.[more]
CHATTER: Seen in Passing
Here's a nice gig if you can get it ... seen in passing in the coverage of the various amenities on the Queen E II:
Still, many others on board have nothing but praise for the ship. Ben Right, 60, of Hopkinsville, Ky., raves about the lecture series by Oxford professors, which is new for Cunard.
"When you're 25, you want to party on a cruise, but when you get to my age you want a little more intellectual stimulation," he says after a lecture on Atlantic ocean myths by Oxford archaeologist Barry Cunliffe.
NUNTII: Peter Jones in the Spectator
Here's the incipit from Peter Jones' latest:
The Tory leader Michael Howard has published a list of his ‘beliefs’. If this was a political move, Athenians would have found it baffling.
The 5th-century bc thinker Protagoras defined ‘excellence’ as ‘proper management of one’s own business ... and of the city’s too, so that one can make the most effective contribution to its affairs both as a speaker and man of action’. Socrates interjected, ‘I assume you are describing the art of politics and promising to make men good citizens.’ Protagoras agreed that was exactly what he had in mind.
To us it is surely an extraordinary idea that one of the main duties of the politician was to make men ‘good citizens’. But ancient Athens was a different world, never more so than in its political arrangements. It was, of course, a direct, participatory democracy, in which all political decisions were taken by the vote of male citizens over the age of 18, meeting in Assembly once every eight days.
Further, citizens could easily find themselves, willy-nilly, in positions of considerable executive authority. Socrates, for example, was (by rotation) foreman for one day of the steering committee that prepared all state business; for that day, Socrates held the keys to Athens’ treasury and archives, and would also have chaired any meeting of the Assembly that took place — a responsibility that nearly half Athens’ citizens must have shouldered at one stage or another. [more]
AWOTV: On TV Today
3.00 p.m. |HINT| Cleopatra: Destiny's Queen
She was Egypt's greatest queen, but not a drop of Egyptian blood
flowed through her veins. The Romans regarded her as a dangerous
seductress, but for almost half of her adult life she remained
celibate. A profile of this exceptional woman who used all her talent
to become one of the most feared rulers of her time.
8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Moments in Time: Antony & Cleopatra: Battle at Actium
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Attila: Scourge of God
Bloodthirsty barbarian or benevolent ruler? Our profile portrays
Attila the Hun as he really was: shrewd, tough, and at times even
thoughtful. A man who, through intelligence and sheer force of
character, forged a loose confederation of nomadic tribes into the
most fearsome military machine of its time.
8.00 p.m. |DTC| Building the Dream
Travel from Rome to Byzantium and listen to the stories of
Byzantium's beginnings, the change from the classical pagan world to
a Christian one, the people, architecture and sculpture.
9.00 p.m. |DTC| Envy of the World
Visit the marvelous material culture of medieval Byzantium--
including everything from ivory and silk to blue fish sauce and
golden bezants. Also, discover how this fabulously rich city was
10.00 p.m. |DTC| Heaven on Earth
Examine the period of Iconoclasm, when lethal debates concerning
sacred images were conducted inside Byzantium. Also: the rise of
Islam and the Arabs.
HINT = History International
DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
DTC = Discovery Times Channel (U.S.)