Latest update: 9/1/2004; 6:23:53 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ Classics List Down

It appears the Classics list is having technical difficulties this fine Friday ... nary a message from a list that usually fills your box repeatedly ... (figuratively speaking)(er, writing). Friday, August 20, 2004 2:50:43 PM

~ Thracian Gold Find

Reuters reports on a very interesting find in a Thracian tomb (I've been waiting for something 'linkable' on this all a.m.):

A Bulgarian archaeologist has unearthed an ancient gold mask and a ring featuring an "Olympic" rower in what he called an unrivalled find in the study of classical antiquity.

Georgi Kitov told Reuters on Friday the artifacts likely belonged to a fifth century B.C. leader of the Thracians, the dispersed tribes who once lived in parts of what is now modern-day Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, and Greece.

"The mask is a portrait of a Thracian king, from what I believe is the tomb of Teres," Kitov said.

He said the portrait, found on Thursday, may be a more significant find than the so-called Mask of Agamemnon, one of the most famous images of Greek antiquity and centerpiece of the National Archeological Museum in Athens.

"It is sensational and has no comparison in the world," he said. "The Mask of Agamemnon was made of gold foil and weighs only 60 grammes (2.1 oz), while this mask weighs 690 grammes (24.3 oz) and is of solid gold."

Kitov said the ring, found near the mask, featured what looked like an Olympic rower in mid-stroke -- a good omen for Bulgarian rowers poised to compete in the Olympic Games (news - web sites) in Athens on Saturday.

"I think it's an Olympic rower. The relief is so dynamic and striking," he said of the 15 gramme, solid gold band. [more]

I've also tracked down a photo of the ring:

Friday, August 20, 2004 2:25:46 PM

~ Pindar on Larry King

The New York Times has a nice little parodyish thing which has the ancient Olympian poet appear on he-of-the-obviously-padded-shoulders. Here's the incipit:

LARRY KING Tonight on "Larry King Live": he goes by one name, Pindar, like Cher, Madonna and Prince. He's the amazing lyric poet of the ancient Olympics whose great tradition is carried on today by Yanni. Pindar knew Zeus and wrote odes to the Michael Phelpses of his day. They ain't writing odes to athletes anymore, eh, Pindar?

PINDAR Well, I like Rick Reilly.

KING Great writer, good friend, frequent guest. Pindar, NBC took us back to Olympia the other night, where you sat in the poet's box for many, many Olympics.

PINDAR Yes, they called me the Jim McKay of the ancient Games.

KING How did old Olympia look to you?

PINDAR A wreck. Nothing was standing anymore. Dusty, no foam fingers, no prostitutes, no bookmakers. The Temple of Zeus? Used to be quite a place. I did some of my best writing and canoodling there. But now it's a mess. It's barely standing. There's no pride today. It looks like the Olympia Chariot Committee invited the Vandals to buy a time share and didn't demand a security deposit.

KING The writing in that piece on Olympia was a real beaut.

PINDAR You want writing, Larry? Listen to my little ode to Asopichos of Orchomenos, a gold medal sprinter:

Go now, Echo, to the black walls
Of Persephona's house
And bring the fine news to his father;
See Kleodamos and tell him
How his son
In the famous valleys of Pytho
Has crowned his young hair
With the wings of a glorious triumph.

Eat your heart out, Bob Costas.

KING Great broadcaster, good friend, frequent guest. Say, Pindar, when you saw that old stadium, where you reigned like Red Smith, were you even a little weepy?

PINDAR Larry, we didn't invent nostalgia. It wasn't like your Ebbets Field with real seats, hot dog vendors and someone named Pee Wee, Brooklyn boy. It was just a place to run a lap or two, jump around and sprint with a helmet on your head and armor under your knees while carrying a shield.

KING Sounds like running with scissors.

PINDAR I was the first to write a verse about the competition committee's rejection of a petition by the Scissors Sports Federation to enter its event in the Olympics.

KING How'd you like the ladies tossing the shot-put at Olympia?

PINDAR Don't get me started, Larry. Let's just say I didn't get voted into the Dead Poets Society by writing about ladies. Zeus wouldn't have tolerated it. Believe me, I knew Zeus, and this Jacques Rogge fella, he's no Zeus.

KING You knew his wife, Hera?

PINDAR Nice girl, but not much with the shot-put. But she was murder at badminton. You may not know this, but the first birdies were made of granite.

KING Ouch! Let's take a call, Walla Walla, Washington. Speak to Pindar.

CALLER Yes, Pindar, I know the ancient athletes competed naked, but did you have to watch without any clothes on?

PINDAR If you had ever seen a sports-poet, you wouldn't ask the question. [more]

Friday, August 20, 2004 2:11:44 PM

~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xiii kalendas septembres

  • 2 A.D. -- death of Augustus' grandson/adoptive son Lucius Caesar in Massilia
Friday, August 20, 2004 10:51:01 AM

~ JOB: UofT (Miss.) -- Roman Historian (tenure track)

The Department of History and Classics at the University of Toronto in Mississauga is soliciting applications for a tenure-stream position in Roman History at the rank of Assistant Professor. The successful applicant will have demonstrated excellence in research and teaching and be expected to contribute to a thriving undergraduate program in Classical Civilizations on the Mississauga campus and to a growing research-intensive doctoral program in the Graduate Department of Classics on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto. Classical Civilizations at Mississauga is a transdisciplinary program in a department that integrates History, Classics, and Religion. The successful candidate will help develop this program further and contribute to its success in an interdisciplinary environment. Ability to teach all periods of Roman history and primary sources in their original languages at the graduate and undergraduate levels is required.

The appointment will begin July 1, 2005; an appropriate doctoral degree must have been earned by that date. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applications should include: a curriculum vitae, a sample of academic writing, a teaching portfolio, a short description of current research plans, and arrange for three letters of reference to be submitted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to send these application materials electronically to: Professor Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Chair, Roman History Search Committee, Department of History & Classics, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Rd., Ontario, Canada, L5L 1C6 at Application materials could be also mailed to the above address.

The search committee will begin considering applications immediately, and hopes to begin interviewing candidates in early November; the formal deadline for application is October 15, 2004.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Any enquiries about the application should be sent to the Chair of the Search Committee, Professor Tavakoli-Targhi.

... seen on various lists

Friday, August 20, 2004 10:29:53 AM

~ Stoa Image Gallery

Just saw this one on AegeaNet (posted by RS):

What it is...

This machine,, is a dedicated image-server maintained by the Stoa Consortium for the use of scholars who would like to share, on an Open Access basis, their digital photographs and digital videos related to Classics, Classical Archaeology, and the classical tradition. To that end we have installed Gallery image-management software. "With Gallery you can easily create and maintain albums of photos via an intuitive interface. Photo management includes automatic thumbnail creation, image resizing, rotation, ordering, captioning, searching and more. Albums can have read, write and caption permissions per individual authenticated user for an additional level of privacy." The web interface is extremely simple and includes numerous alternative methods for uploading images and videos. Even more efficient methods allow direct exports to Gallery albums from within OS X iPhoto or from a Windows XP album.

Open, open, open...

The Gallery software bears the GNU General Public License, and that allows us to implement it (and even modify it, as needed) without charge. In that same spirit of unfettered collaboration, we ask that any publically available images archived here carry a Creative Commons license so that others may freely reuse them for non-commercial purposes related to their teaching and research. In making this request we are following the fine example set by Kevin Glowacki for his Ancient City of Athens publication, which is entirely covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 license.

Getting started...

If you wish to publish images and/or video here, please contact one of the Stoa co-editors, Ross Scaife or Anne Mahoney, for a user ID and password that will permit you to log in to the system and begin setting up your album(s). We have plenty of storage space and we can get more as needed but for the sake of the audience we suggest that you exercise reasonable selectivity in what you choose to archive. What that means for a given collection you can best judge for yourself.


Note that the Gallery software allows users to search the captions and keywords so the more information you can put into those descriptions, the more likely it is that users will find the images and videos they want. The owner of any given album may add as many fields for description as he or she chooses, via the "Properties" menu. The priority for this project lies in collecting and preserving high-quality images and video with at least minimal metadata, more than in setting the bar for metadata acquisition so high that people who might otherwise contribute are put off.

Where it is...

You will find the gateway to the Stoa Image Gallery at

Friday, August 20, 2004 10:20:49 AM

~ Cleopatra on the Web

Tim Spalding over at has just put together a very nice Cleopatra On the Web page. If you've never been to yet, Tim also has a good page on Alexander the Great (which, no doubt, will be much consulted in the days leading up to the movie), Herodotus, and various other things Classical (and not-so-Classical as well). Friday, August 20, 2004 9:39:17 AM

~ ProtoClassicist on the Rise

A report in the Times lauding assorted kiddies who did well on their A-level exams finishes up with the following:

However, while the twins excelled in maths, the prime candidate for the title of Britain’s brainiest student is a classicist. William Wheeler, who was the country’s top GCSE student with 16 A*s two years ago, appeared to have held on to his crown at A level with eight top grades in Latin, Greek, history, English, maths and general studies.

He is off to read classics at Magdalen College, Oxford in October.

Hopefully we'll be seeing another Wheeler among the ranks of Classicists in the future ...

Friday, August 20, 2004 9:28:13 AM

~ Cyprus, Politics, and Archaeology

A brief item from the Cyprus Mail relates a situation which seems baffling to yours truly:

THE ANTIQUITIES Department has made representations through the Foreign Ministry to UNESCO and the World Archaeologists Association over excavations being carried out at the ancient sites of Salamis and Akanthou in the occupied north.

Pavlos Flourentzos, Director of the Antiquities Department, said that Cyprus had repeatedly made representations to UNESCO over the excavations particularly at ancient Salamis, north of the occupied town of Famagusta. A project is currently under way there involving students from Ankara University, led by the director of the Department of Classical Archaeology, professor Ozgur Ozguner.

The House subcommittee on cultural heritage will next month re-examine the issue of the excavations, chairman Christodoulos Taramountas said.

Taramountas said that despite the fact that Ozguner was on the World Archaeologists’ Association black list, he continued to excavate in the north.

The Salamis excavations began in 1999. Prior to the 1974 Turkish invasion Cypriot and French archaeologists were digging at the site.

Outside of this World Archaeologists Association, which I've never heard of and which does not seem to have a website, this seems very much like using archaeology for political purposes. Back in 2001, it appears, the issue was actually brought up at the U.N. General Assembly (via a letter), an excerpt of which seems to provide the central issue:

The illegal excavations at Salamis first started in August 1999, under the direction of Professor Ozguner with the assistance of Turkish architects and students. The team occupied the dig houses of archaeologic missions that had been excavating in Cyprus before the Turkish invasion of 1974, namely, the Cyprus Department of Antiquities (1952-1974) and the French mission of the University of Lyon (1964-1974). All archaeologic activity at Salamis came to an abrupt end in the summer of 1974, when the Turkish army invaded Cyprus and occupied 37 per cent of its territory, including the archaeologic site of Salamis. The dig house of the Department of Antiquities, where documents and archaeologic materials had been kept, was plundered. The dig house of the French mission, where documents, plans and photographs, as well as archaeologic material had been stored, became inaccessible to its rightful owners.

Regarding the recent excavations and according to the same Turkish Cypriot press report, Professor Ozguner had asked the French University of Lyon to collaborate with him, but he did not receive an answer. It should be noted that the French University of Lyon, despite the reported calls to collaborate with the Turkish team, refused to engage in this illegal exercise.

A piece about ancient Cyprus written by a former director of the Cypriot Department of Antiquities fills in a few more details and seems to add a bit of spin:

The region of Enkomi-Salamis is no doubt one of the  most important archaeological areas in Cyprus.  An English archaeologist, called Salamis the most important archaeological site of the East Mediterranean.  Before the Turkish invasion there was much archaeological activity there; one French Mission was excavating at Enkomi, another at Salamis and the Department of Antiquities was busy almost throughout the year with repairs and restorations of monuments and was engaged in excavations at Salamis.

The Turkish occupation put an end to all activity and made both sites inaccessible for archaeologists who had laboured for many years to unearth the monuments and to study their history.  The Turkish invasion did not only bring disaster to the population of Cyprus but also "imprisoned" monuments and left them to the mercy of the weather.

Important archaeological collections were kept in Famagusta town.  In the District Archaeological Museum there were marble statues from the gymnasium and the theatre of Salamis, Mycenaean pottery and jewellery from Enkomi and other objects representative of the rich archaeological heritage of the whole district.  When an UNESCO representative visited the Museum a few years after the invasion he noticed that the show-cases which had contained small valuable objects were empty.

The richest archaeological collection in Cyprus was that of Mr Chr. Hadjiprodromou.  It included masterpieces of Cypriot art from the Chalcolithic to the Mediaeval period.  Most of the objects in the collection were unique.  Soon after the invasion some of them were detected at an auction in London and were reclaimed by their lawful owner.  Others were bought on the black market in France.  Photographs of other objects were circulated in Europe and America for prospective buyers.  No doubt the collection was thoroughly plundered.  Fortunately every object had been described and photographed before 1974 so the archaeological world has some information at least.

The Cyprus Press Information Office has also added to the spin, reporting on thefts of statues from the site in 1998,  in 2000, 2001 (another report from the same year mentions finds of a Roman house), 2002, and  2003 (another report on finds). There's probably more of the same out there, but it's a darned shame that politics seems to be taking precedence over the importance of the archaeological finds. Yet another saga ...

Friday, August 20, 2004 9:23:26 AM

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

6.00 p.m. |HINT| Monumental Statues
What inspires societies to create sculptures on a superhuman scale?
We'll examine gigantic statues and the monumental commitment of time,
money, and talent needed to complete them. We'll study the Sphinx,
Colossus of Rhodes, Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, Brazil's Christ
the Redeemer, Russia's Motherland, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. 
8.00 p.m. |DTC| Mystery of the Minoans
The latest computer modeling techniques combine with fossil records
to reveal the fate of the 17th century Minoan civilization of Crete.
Tidal waves and torrents of burning ash from a massive volcano may
have altered the course of Western history.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| The Grasp of Empire
Rome's legacy of trade, roads and architectural and psychological
infrastructure relied on a fragile alliance of slaves, peasants and
the provincial. The glory years of the Roman conquest led to the
longest period of peace the world has ever known.

9.00 p.m. |HINT|  Foot Soldier: The Romans
Host Richard Karn looks at the Roman legionnaires, who conquered and
dominated most of the known world for 500 years, and left behind a
legacy of language, culture, architecture, and government.
9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Spartacus and the Slave Revolt
Spartacus is one of the Ancient World's most famous figures. A
Thracian soldier, Spartacus was captured by Romans and sold as a
slave for training as a gladiator. With 70 other gladiators, he
escaped and hid on Mount Vesuvius in 71 BC, where he raised an army
of rebel slaves and defeated two Roman legions. But Roman vengeance
was soon delivered by Crassus, who put an end to Spartacus's
desperate bid for freedom and crucified over 6,000 men along the Via
Appia as warning to other slaves.

Channel Guide

Friday, August 20, 2004 8:25:31 AM

1. n. an abnormal state or condition resulting from the forced migration from a lengthy Classical education into a profoundly unClassical world; 2. n. a blog about Ancient Greece and Rome compiled by one so afflicted (v. "rogueclassicist"); 3. n. a Classics blog.

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