7.00 p.m. |SCI| Gallo-Roman Secrets Scientists are attempting to uncover how the Romans built roads, bridges and aqueducts two thousand years. Through cutting-edge computer graphics, discover the most mythical stadium of Antiquity -the Circus Maximus.
8.00 p.m. |DTC| True Gladiators Just outside the city walls of ancient Ephesus, the remains of the largest gladiator graveyard ever discovered have been excavated. This find gives new insight into the Roman Empire's bloody sport. Find out how gladiators lived, trained, fought and died.
9.00 p.m. |DTC| Lost City of Pompeii: Secrets of the Dead Journey to the playground of the Roman aristocracy, Herculaneum. Buried by the same volcanic eruption that leveled Pompeii, this city of luxurious villas, magnificent arcades and extensive library collections holds clues to the Roman's riches.
SCI = Science Channel
DTC = Discovery Times
This is the post I've been semi-dreading because, of course, the second you go away somewhere, lots of interesting stuff seems to happen. I didn't get to follow the blogs as much as I would have liked because I was on dialup (and I've got Firefox set up to open all the blogs I follow in separate tabs all at the same time -- obviously that doesn't work well on dialup), although I do give a tip of the had to Glaukopis
for trying to 'fill the void' (and Laudator
for bemoaning my absence). In any event, hopefully you've already seen most of these which have caught my eye over the past couple of days ... in no particular order:
First of all, however, The Stoa
appears to have been hacked by some script kiddies ... time to update wordpress ... [note in passing ... Michael Shanks
might be in the process of being hacked too]
Bane's Demesne had a cute post about a less-than-enthusiastic Latin student ...Campus Mawrtius
has recently resurrected from its post-second-term hiatus (if that's the right word) with a semi-flurry of posts.
Over at Sauvage Noble, AM has been blogging the Linguistics Society of America's
meeting (note in passing, we need more meetings blogged!!!!)
PH at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean has put up a couple of useful epigraphical posts, one on the inscriptions of Pergamum
online and now on the inscriptions of Aphrodisias.
NS Gill over at About.com has consistently blogged about a pile of things, too numerous to mention here but worth checking out
MH over at Laudator similarly had a pile of good posts, but these in particular caught my jaded eye ... Plautus and Wodehouse
... Latin in Buffy and Angel
... Rousseau and Latin
The Digital Classicist alerts us to the Eton Greek Software Project
paid a visit to the county museum in Taunton and took a pile of photos of the Low Ham Mosaic (and other things) which are definitely worth looking at ...Pompilios
has posted the first three chapters (in Spanish) of his book on the theory that Greek architecture is nautically-derived ... (alas, my Spanish is not sufficient to handle this)Hobbyblog
, of course, continues to impress with the sheer volume of his collection ...
... and dare I mention that Ginny Lindzey has started up a Live Journal thing called the Latin Zone
, documenting her preparations for the upcoming school year?
Related to this (I still have a few more blogs to cover ... my bookmarks need some cleaning up), I note that the Cranky Professor
will be doing an Ancient/Medieval Carnival of blog posts (someone sent me or a list notice of this but I deleted it ... I think it was mentioned by Alun somewhere) ... essentially you nominate your favourite blog posts (note, not blogs ... rc doesn't really qualify, I don't think, for the Carnival format) ... details can be found (among other places) at Early Modern Notes
Possibly more updates throughout the day today, but probably not.
While I was away watching the bulls get the better of some cowboys, the APA put out its June Newsletter
and election insert
. I note that in that newsletter, Amphora is looking for an assistant editor ... something I wouldn't mind doing, given my rants in the past about Amphora (especially in regards to layout), but I'm not a member of the APA so I probably don't qualify. Heck, they didn't even give me a second glance when they were looking for a webmaster lo those many years ago.
In any event, they also have put up the abstracts for the forthcoming issue of TAPA
... Leah Kronenberg's paper looks interesting:
Mezentius the Epicurean
This paper argues that Mezentius, the contemptor divum (“scorner of the gods”) in Virgil’s Aeneid , can be read as an allegorical Epicurean. His Epicurean element helps to explain his dramatic transformation from a symbol of impietas to one of pietas in Books 7–10, as well as pius Aeneas ’ reverse transformation into an impious Giant-figure. These transformations parallel the inversion of the traditional meanings of pietas and impietas in Lucretius and other Epicurean writers; in addition, the Giant-like Mezentius evokes the subversive Gigantomachy of Lucretius, which celebrates the archetypal scorners of the gods as positive symbols of Epicureanism. The “redeemed” Mezentius allows for an Epicurean reading of the Aeneid , in which impietas is redefined as true piety.
I've debated whether to bother including this here, but now that I've caught up with past items, it's wandered into the 'why not' category. We begin with a piece Arianna Huffington wrote a week or so ago ... here's the incipit as presented in the Arizona Daily Star
My summer vacation has taken me to Sicily, and on my way over to Palermo, I decided to brush up on my Sicilian history. That meant delving into Thucydides and his epic chronicle of the disastrous Sicilian Expedition.
Of course, I had been forced to read all that as a Greek schoolgirl. But oh, what a difference the passage of many, many years and one Iraq war have made in my reading of the great Athenian soldier-historian!
The parallels between his rendering of the Sicilian Expedition - a case study in imperial power gone awry - and our current situation in Iraq are inescapable and chilling … and Santayana's old saw about those unable to remember the past being condemned to repeat it kept leaping to mind.
Or as Thucydides himself put it back in the day: "It will be enough for me, however, if these words of mine are judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or another and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future." Boy, are they ever.
For those of you who slept through Ancient History 101, here's a quick refresher, courtesy of Wikipedia: "The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian trek to Sicily from 415 B.C. to 413 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War. It was an unmitigated disaster for the Athenian forces. As Thucydides recounts wryly in his 'History of the Peloponnesian War,' the generals leading the campaign had scant knowledge of Sicily, or of its population, and thus the forces marshaled for its conquering were woefully inadequate."
Sound familiar? But that's just the tip of the hubris iceberg when it comes to ancient analogies to the modern mistakes being made in Iraq.
For starters, the Athenian warmongers, led by Alcibiades, were convinced that conquering Sicily would be a cakewalk, leading to easy control of its grain and trade routes - and would serve as a great warning to other enemies of Athens. Those on the other side, led by Nicias, argued that the resources needed to conquer Sicily would be much greater than the hawks were advertising (perhaps Nicias was an ancient relative of Gen. Shinseki).
Nicias also correctly predicted that the ancient equivalent of the coalition of the willing wouldn't be all that willing (or, rather, about as willing as they were almost 25 centuries later).
The invasion of Sicily was part of a larger war - against Sparta - which was the first great "clash of civilizations," and it, too, was sold as a war of liberation. But instead of rolling over, the invasion drew the previously divided and ethnically diverse Sicilians together and attracted anti-Athenian forces from throughout the region.
In the end, Athens' ill-fated invasion of Sicily helped bring about the end of the Athenian empire, proving historian Arnold J. Toynbee's dictum: "An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide."
... it goes on, of course
There is much wrong (I think) with Huffington's analogy (especially as it continues), but Victor Davis Hanson cuts to the quick in an aside in his most recent column ... here's the salient bit from the Mercury News
On July 21, Arianna Huffington, on her Huffington Post blog, drew on her Greek heritage to warn us that Iraq is like the Athenians' 415 BC disastrous attack on the Sicilian city of Syracuse. So, she huffs, ``Maybe someone should send Karl Rove a copy of Thucydides.''
She should, instead, carefully reread her own copy of the historian's work. The Athenians attacked a democracy larger than their own. Yet Thucydides implies that Athens still could have taken Syracuse had its generals and the people back home not bickered among themselves. Perhaps if the United States attacked India and lost, Huffington's analogy might make sense.
A roundup of sorts of news about Atlantis over the past couple of weeks ... we begin with the incipit of a piece in Nature
"There occurred violent earthquakes and floods. And in a single day and night of misfortune... the island of Atlantis disappeared in the depths of the sea."
This account, written by Plato more than 2,300 years ago, set scientists on the trail of the lost city of Atlantis. Did it ever exist? And if so, where was it located, and when did it disappear?
In a recent paper in Geology, Marc-Andre Gutscher of the European Institute for Marine Studies in Plouzané gives details of one candidate for the lost city: the submerged island of Spartel, west of the Straits of Gibraltar.
The top of this isle lies some 60 metres beneath the surface in the Gulf of Cadiz, having plunged beneath the waves at the end of the most recent ice age as melting glaciers caused the sea level to rise.
Geological evidence has shown that a large earthquake and a tsunami hit this island some 12,000 years ago, at roughly the location and time indicated in Plato's writings.
Gutscher has surveyed this island in detail, using sound waves reflected off the sea floor to map its contours1. His results bring mixed news to Atlantis hunters.
. The article definitely has to be read in conjunction with Kris Hirst's (About's Archaeology Guide) cogent comments
and Gutscher's response therein.
Elsewhere, the World Peace Herald
has a bit on that Atlantis Conference:
Researchers are no closer to finding the location of the lost city of Atlantis, saying they are confused by Plato's account of its disappearance.
Plato, more than 2,300 years ago, wrote Atlantis disappeared into the ocean in just one day after violent earthquakes and floods.
During a conference of Atlantis researchers held earlier this month in Malta, Marc-Andre Gutscher of the European Institute for Marine Studies, noted Egyptians who told Plato the Atlantis story may have used a different definition of "years," meaning the destruction of Atlantis occurred more recently than thought.
The conference reached no firm conclusions. But researchers did agree on 24 criteria a geographical area must satisfy to qualify as a site where Atlantis could have existed.
The criteria include the existence of: hot springs, northerly winds, elephants, enough people for an army of 10,000 chariots and a ritual of bull sacrifice.
Geologist Floyd McCoy of the University of Hawaii-Kaneohe said most of Plato's description of Atlantis is ambiguous and open to interpretation, Nature reported.
McCoy told the conference, "With the information we have from the ancient text, it may never be found -- if indeed it ever existed."
And, alas, the poorly-translated press releases
continue ... here's just the incipit:
The expedition is directed by specialist the investigating outstanding and in languages and writings of the antiquity, Spanish-Cuban Georgeos Diaz-Montexano(1), President Founded Emeritus of the rising "Scientific Atlantology International Society" (S.A.I.S.), and creator of the Proto-genesis project. Between his objectives it is the confirmation of revealers and enigmatic data found in several texts of the antiquity.
The old authors and the Atlantis
The Spanish-Cuban investigator and scriptologist Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has made very revealing discoveries that they allow to guarantee his thesis on the possible existence of an historical substrate in the story of Plato on the Island or Atlantis Peninsula or Atlantis, the one that would be according to Georgeos Diaz, in some point between the Straits of Gibraltar, the Gulf of Cádiz, the coasts of Morocco, and the Madeira Islands like possible more remote point. In their intellectual effort for to decipher definitively the enigma of the Atlantic civilization that Plato denominated with that same name, Diaz-Montexano has been able to find several references of other authors classic, previous to Plato, who give to faith of the existence of an island or peninsula that like the Atlantis Island was located just in front of the Straits of Gibraltar between Gadira or Gades, the present Cádiz, and the Atlas or coasts of Morocco.
At least 3,000 youths and 60 priests of a group supportive of the Latin Mass of Pope Pius V plan to attend World Youth Day in Cologne, an official says.
Armand de Malleray, of St. Peter's Fraternity, who is delegate general of the Juventutem association, announced the news to ZENIT.
The first Juventutem group was made up of followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who met in Brazil. For the past three years, Juventutem has been in full communion with the Church of Rome. Its members will attend the Aug. 21 Mass presided over by Benedict XVI.
In the preceding days, at 7:30 a.m. the Juventutem group will attend a Mass celebrated in Latin in the old rite, in the Church of St. Antonius in Duesseldorf, which, together with Bonn and Cologne, is one of the three areas in which World Youth Day events will be held.
The church was assigned to them by the Pontifical Council for the Laity with the approval of Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne.
Three cardinals and eight bishops will preside at vespers or lead times of prayer and reflection which Juventutem members will attend.
De Malleray added that Juventutem's objective for World Youth Day is to "get to know one another, knowing that we have a common tradition within Holy Mother Church."
There were quite a few items from Bulgaria in the last week ... here's the first cull (in chronological order). Our first item comes from the Sofia News Agency
, and unfortunately doesn't include the dates of the artifacts:
The grave of a noble figure from the times of proto-Bulgarians that archaeologists uncovered near Shumen in eastern Bulgaria may be that of a woman.
Archeologists made the conclusion after they came across a second golden earring and do not rule out that the woman could have been the wife of a nobleman or ruler.
They may be on their way to unearth the valley of the Bulgarian khans to emulate the valley of the Thracian rulers.
The golden earrings with glass ornaments are the most spectacular find so far, along with bronze and ceramic relics.
July 22 from the Sofia News Agency
Renowned archeologist Georgi Kitov has come upon the first findings at another Thracian mound near Kazanlak.
A ceramic jug, probably used for essential oils storage, was discovered at the Chasova Mogila.
Kitov's TEMP expedition plans to explore 14 mounds this season.
TEMP is famous for discovering some of the most sensational Thracian finds over the last several years. The team of Georgi Kitov has uncovered several Thracian tombs in the Kazanlak Kettle, which gave it the name Valley of Thracian Kings.
Last summer, the expedition discovered the sepulchre of King Sevt III, a mighty Thracian ruler.
On July 23, the SNA announced the discovery of the grave of Orpheus
Bulgarian archaeologists say that they have discovered Orpheus' grave near the village of Tatul.
The archaeologists unearthed the entry to the Thracian temple in the Tatul sanctuary. The temple preserved the remains of a ruler that has been deified after his death.
For a second year now the team of Professor Nikolay Ovcharov continues its work at the Tatul sanctuary. It is believed to be a unique temple of mythical royal descendant and artist Orpheus.
Continuing excavation works come to confirm preliminary suggestions by archaeologists that the sanctuary at Tatul has effloresced for more than two thousand years in ancient times. It is probably the largest temple after the sanctuary of Dionisos in Perperikon, also located in the Rhodopes Mountain.
Then came a big discovery with a pile of coverage ... here's some from the Telegraph
(which includes photos):
Archaeologists have unearthed 2,400-year-old treasure in a Thracian tomb in eastern Bulgaria, the director of the country's history museum said yesterday.
Professor Daniela Agre, who led the team of 15 from the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute, said the finds, made on Saturday, provided enormous clues to understanding one of Europe's most mysterious ancient people.
"The Thracians are one of the founders of European civilisation, this is important for all of us, not just Bulgaria," she said. "The period of the grave is exceptionally important. It was a peak moment in the development of Thracian culture, statesmanship and art. They had very strong contacts and mutual influences with Greece, Anatolia and Scythia."
Among the objects found were a golden laurel and ring, rhytons - silver drinking vessels shaped like horns, Greek pottery and military items including weapons and armour.
The tomb in Zlatinitsa, 180 miles east of the capital Sofia, is also extraordinary in that it has remained unopened since, Prof Agre estimated, the 4th century BC. Most Thracians tombs were looted in antiquity and those that remain untouched are vulnerable to sophisticated looters.
"This is the only way we can learn from artefacts, when they are in their original context," said Prof Vassil Nikolov, director of the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute. Prof Agre said it was the tomb of an upper-class lord or similarly powerful and wealthy leader, perhaps a governor.
"The used weapons and the arrow wounds in the bones of his horse indicated that he was a warrior. He was buried in the biggest burial mound in the region," said Prof Agre. "This was like a province of England, such as Kent, and he was the leader.
"Most of what is known about the Thracians, a nation of illiterate and loosely organised tribes, comes from the written accounts by the ancient Greeks who called them barbarians."
Scientists said the highly advanced artistry of the finds and architecture of the tombs made the Thracians more sophisticated than was thought.
Yesterday, the SNA
gave us a bit of an update:
The unique Thracian treasure, discovered on Sunday in Bulgaria, was transported Tuesday to the National Historic Museum in Sofia.
Archaeologists came across the grave of an ancient ruler, believed to be a Thracian king, near the village of Zlatinitsa. The team from the National Historic Museum, headed by Prof. Daniela Agre, discovered 50 gold, silver and bronze funeral gifts.
The ruler was buried fully accoutred - with helmet, chain armor, sword and six spears. He also had a gold wreath on his head and a gold ring on his hand - symbols of king's power, Prof. Bozsidar Dimitrov, Museum's Director said.
The Thracian king was also a very tall man - approximately 190 cm of height, Prof. Agre said.
The astounding find dates back to 4th century BC and is believed to be the richest of its kind discovered so far in Bulgaria.
The treasure will be displayed to the public in the end of October, archaeologists announced.
H-NET BOOK REVIEW
Published by H-Italy@h-net.msu.edu (February, 2005)
Nathan Rosenstein. _Rome at War: Farms, Families and Death in the Middle
Republic_. Studies in the History of Greece and Rome. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 2004. x + 339 pp. Tables, figures,
notes, bibliography, index. $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8078-2839-4.
Reviewed for H-Italy by Jonathan P. Roth, Department of
History, San Jose State University.
New Perspectives on Rome's Farmer-Soldiers
_Rome at War_ is a traditional monograph, which is very much a good thing.
In this age of obfuscating postmodernizing, it is refreshing to see a
scholar challenge a generally accepted thesis, systematically and
creatively question the evidence and reason supporting it, and then
propose a more viable model. Rosenstein's work is characterized by clear
writing and an insistence on engaging all the evidence, even (in fact,
especially) that which might undermine his own thesis. More historians
need to get back to this tried and true method. However, that is not to
say _Rome at War_ is old-fashioned. The core of the argument revolves
around a sophisticated use of recent advances in demographics, and
although a background in statistics is useful, Rosenstein does an
excellent job of making the discussion clear.
The book focuses on the relationship between Rome's small holding farmers
and the increasing rate and burden of warfare in the third and second
centuries BCE. This association went both ways--the Roman military system
depended on the conscription of these farmers and, of course their
military service affected the farms themselves. The traditional view of
this relationship was that the small farmers found it more and more
difficult to survive economically because of long absences due to military
service during the Second Punic War. This led to smallholdings being
increasingly replaced by large, slave-run plantations. The reliance on
slavery supposedly made conscription more difficult, and swelled the ranks
of landless proletarians.
Archaeological evidence, primarily large-scale surveys, have thrown doubt
on this view, though such evidence is ill-suited for following economic
and social changes over a period spanning a few decades. Therefore,
Rosenstein uses contemporary demographic theory models as well as the
latest in archaeology to skillfully interpret the literary sources.
Clearly some guess work is involved in this sort of approach. For example,
casualty lists apply almost exclusively to major battles. The casualty
rate for smaller engagements and skirmishes is a mere guess, as is the
rate of death from disease. Fighting was not equal among all units--some
did not fight at all. Rosenstein's careful critique, however, raises
confidence in his method, and using numbers, as opposed to "many" or
"some," allows him to use statistical modeling to great effect. In
addition, he makes good use of comparative material throughout, drawing on
important studies of the Prussian military and of conscription in the
Confederate South, one of the only slave societies to go through the sort
of military mobilization that Rome did during the Second Punic War.
Rosenstein is scrupulous in making clear that his numbers are approximate
and generally meant to refer to the order of magnitude, but his model does
ultimately depend on the reliability of the numbers we get in ancient
sources, especially Livy. While this is, in the final analysis,
unverifiable, Rosenstein presents a powerful case that such numbers are
more reliable than is generally thought. There were accurate sources
available to the ancient historian, for example pay lists and records of
triumphs, and Rosenstein notes that Livy, despite his poor reputation, at
times seems to have been more critical of numbers than Polybius. It does
seem that especially high and low figures are the most remembered and are
over-represented in the sources, but the sort of conventional figures that
Walter Scheidel found in economic inscriptions do not appear in casualty
figures. Differences in numbers reflected in our sources may have other
explanations than inaccuracy, for example they could reflect differences
in the status of casualties (citizen vs. non-citizen). One element that
comes through strongly is that we should not be hypercritical of Livy's
account of fourth and third century Rome.
The book's powerful arguments undermine the traditional explanations of
Rome's agrarian crisis. In the first place, conscription did not lead to
the abandonment of farms due to lack of labor because ancient farms
suffered from chronic over-employment and could afford to send young men
into service. A key element in Rosenstein's argument is the effect of late
marriage on Roman warfare. During the Republican period (and later) Roman
men normally married in their late twenties and early thirties to women in
their late teens. This meant that Roman men normally married, and
established farms, after their military service was over. The importance
of slave-run plantations in the second century is also analyzed.
Rosenstein advances a number of compelling critiques of the traditional
view. For example, it is clear that Rome's slave population did not grow
as rapidly as had been thought by P. A. Brunt. Rome was already a slave
society before 200 B.C.E, with widespread use of slaves on relatively
small farms. Large-scale plantation slavery, however, relied on the sort
of Mediterranean wide market for Italian goods that did not exist until
the first century B.C.E. There are certainly references to enormous
numbers of slaves being brought in by second century wars (e.g. 150,000
from Epirus) but Rosenstein's in-depth analysis shows that the overall
numbers were much smaller than such passages suggest.
If the traditional view, that the economic and social problems of the late
Roman Republic are incorrect, then what does Rosenstein propose? His model
is complex and nuanced, but compelling. Rosenstein's demographic modeling
is very convincing, showing, for example, that a post-Punic War baby boom
likely occurred. He does not rely completely on modeling, however, and
always looks to both the literary and archaeological evidence, to see if
it is in congruence with his theories. He notes, for example, that many
colonies were established in the years after the Second Punic War
ended--consistent with the idea of a rising citizen population. It is not
that constant war had no effect, but that counter-intuitively, the normal
societal limits to population growth were "turned off" by the Punic Wars.
Thus there was a rapid growth of population, a post-war "baby boom" that
let to too many young men competing for too little land. The effect of
this was that smallholdings were subdivided too much to be
sustainable--thus forcing population into the cities, increasing the
proletariat. Roman writers attributed the crisis to under population
caused by conscription, but the very real rural crisis was caused by
overpopulation. Thus the Gracchan solution of distributing land was doomed
to failure; there was simply no surplus land to distribute. The problem,
Rosenstein concludes, was only solved by the massive population losses in
the Civil War and the subsequent overseas migration.
In the course of his arguments, Rosenstein makes many points important to
the military historian. His discussion of casualties and death rates is
valuable to anyone wanting to reconstruct the ancient battle. He considers
the effect of legionary armor in reducing wounds, that many diseases that
affected later armies (such as measles, plague, cholera and smallpox)
probably did not exist in Roman times. In addition, the infection rate of
wounds was lower than in gunpowder warfare. Rosenstein makes the valuable
point that the high age for men and low age of women for marriage resulted
in the Romans being able to conscript an enormous number of small-holding
farmers without negatively effecting the agricultural economy. This was a
major, if not the major, factor in thei
r imperial success. This remained
the case even when the Romans were conscripting up to 70 percent of the
free adult population for war, a number not equaled until the experience
of the Confederate States in the American Civil War.
Although the focus of the book is military history, it is also valuable
for a more general reader. In particular, the discussions of the patterns
of agriculture are illuminating. It is remarkable that so little attention
is paid to the mechanics of ancient farming, considering that it was not
only the principal activity of the vast majority of the population, but
also drove the economy of ancient states. Rosenstein is focused of this
issue for a specific reason, that is, to investigate the impact of
military conscription and service on the Roman family farm. In doing so,
however, he presents an extraordinarily clear and concise model of the
ancient farm. Students of ancient history (and others) would greatly
benefit from reading this section. Rosenstein discusses, for example,
Roman law of wills and inheritance; the agricultural calendar; and, the
point--made clearer by mathematical modeling--that ancient family
economics suffered from underemployment. Rosenstein explores other
non-military issues, for example, the ratio of marriageable men to women
in the Roman population, the types of crops planted, and the function of
both paid and unpaid labor in the ancient farm economy. Non-paid labor was
vital to the ancient farmstead and included both relatives and neighbors.
Indeed a "neighbor-helping-neighbor" labor exchange system existed, which
relied both on custom and on the exchange of gifts and services among
local farmers. Also thought provoking was the importance of public land
(_ager publicus_) to small farmers.
The traditional monograph uses appendices to present in-depth discussions
of issues relevant to the subject, but which would interfere with the flow
of the argument if included in the text. The serious student often finds
these short studies to be gems, and particularly good ones are often cited
in their own right. These appendices are generally as useful, or more so,
than short articles, and Rosenstein's are no exception. Since appendices
are not separately listed in bibliographies and databases, they are
sometimes overlooked. _Rome at War_ has seven. "The Number of Roman Slaves
in 168 B.C.," argues that the slave population at this time was smaller
than is generally assumed, namely fewer than 10 percent. "The Accuracy of
the Roman Calendar before 218 B.C.," argues that the Romans regularly
intercalated the lunar calendar to keep it in line with the seasons.
"Tenancy" is a remarkable mini-essay on the unusual nature of the
Greco-Roman citizen republic and how it effected the institution of tenant
farmers. Unlike the more normal monarchical systems of the Mediterranean
region, Rosenstein argues, there was little tenancy in Republican Rome.
"The Minimum Age for Military Service" slices through the confusion over
"inclusive counting" and shows that, for all intents and purposes, the
Romans calculated age exactly as we do. "The Proportion of _Assidui_ in
the Roman Population" shows that Brunt's estimate of only 50 percent of
the Roman adult males being _assidui_, with the rest being proletarians,
is way off. According to Rosenstein, 90 percent of Romans qualified for
military service. Here I have to take some issue--Rosenstein's figure
seems too high as Brunt's is too low. If so many qualified for service,
why even have a category of proletarians? Nevertheless, his arguments need
to be considered by anyone dealing with this issue. "The Duration of
Military Service in the Second Century B.C." is an argument that
Polybius's figure of sixteen years of service was indeed normal, as is
generally accepted, but has recently been challenged. "The Number of
Citizen Deaths as a Result of Military Service between 203 and 168 B.C."
concludes that, as a rule, generals tried to spare Roman citizens and use
Italian allies whenever possible. These appendices are truly gems of
scholarship. The reader also should not neglect to consult Rosenstein's
excellent notes, which also serve up mini-essays on important points. The
bibliography is comprehensive and up-to-date, something that cannot always
be taken for granted nowadays.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Rosenstein is the finest
practitioner of the "New Military History" in the United States. He shows
brilliantly in this, and his other books, the sorts of insights that a
fresh and open approach to Roman warfare can bring to all aspects of
ancient societies. I wish that more Romanists would abandon the sterile
acrobatics of postmodernism and return to the tried and true methods of
rigorous analysis and creative thinking that Rosenstein so ably practices.
While aimed at the scholar, _Rome at War_ is certainly appropriate, and
very useful, for graduate and upper division undergraduate courses.
. Walter Scheidel, "Finances, Figures and Fiction," _Classical
Quarterly_ 46 (1996): pp. 222-38.
. P.A. Brunt, _Italian Manpower_ (London: Oxford University Press,
1971), pp. 91-130.
Copyright 2005 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational
purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web
location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities &
Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews
editorial staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're back and I'll just apologize for the lack of posts ... I was in a dial-up situation and simply downloading email was a major problem (for three days I couldn't even do that until I figured out that someone had sent me a pile of photos which were preventing downloading the hundreds of other things). That said, I'm pretty zonked and won't be posting any 'real' posts until the a.m. ... I've got a pile of catching up to do, so I'll probably do 20 or so posts at a time until I'm caught up (or I might group a bunch of related posts together ... whatever the case, it'll require far more Starbucks than I have at hand ...).
10.00 p.m. |HINT| Hadrian's Wall
For the Ancient Romans, Hadrian's Wall marked the very edge of the civilized world. Completed in 128 AD, the remarkable wall, built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian, marked the northern border of the Roman Province of Britain. Possibly inspired by traveler's tales of the Great Wall of China, it began as a single wall but evolved in the building, and by the time it was finished, it had become a complicated defensive system. The wall runs over 115 miles from the east to the west of England and provides a fascinating glimpse of military life during the Roman occupation. Vivid, authentic reconstructions, 3D graphics and animation, recent location footage, as well as interpretation, analysis, and commentary by leading authorities allow viewers to witness how the wall might have looked in its glory.
HINT = History International
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Odyssey of Troy
What is it about the legendary city that more than 3,000 years after its fall, we still try to unravel Troy's mysteries? Scholars attempt to answer the question by researching the Greek poet Homer, possibly one of the greatest poets in Western Europe's history, and his epic tale of love and war, and comparing his text to archaeological sites.
HINT = History International
Other blogs have already noted this, but I filed it away and forgot about it until a couple of days ago ... Pompilos
is a sort of 'book in progress' sort of blog for a work entitled The Nautical Origin of Greek Architecture and Sculpture
. Although the book is in Spanish, there is an English 'plan of the book' available. It's an interesting idea -- that Greek temples and the like got their start from boats being stored upside down; I'm not sure the ancient Greeks ever stored boats this way, but the work apparently deals with that objection.
I can't remember if I mentioned back in March the publication of Labyrinth 85
; here's the online articles:
Roman Portugal, L.A. Curchin
Greek has a Word for it: "Hairache" and Other Useful Terms, R. Faber
The Ancient Spice Trade, Part IV: Rome and the Early Middle Ages, C. Mundigler
Resource Depletion, Despotism and the End of Empires, Part I, D. Porreca
Scapegoat Ritual in Ancient Greece, C. Vester
... all available online and for free
9.00 p.m. |HINT| Line of Fire: The Roman Conquests
Although Caesar invaded it in 54 BC, Britain wasn't conquered until 43 AD when Claudius established Roman garrisons at Lincoln, York, and Chester. Viewers go inside this savage period of British history and enter the battlefield from an unique perspective--of those who fought and died there. And a bloody period it proved to be for the Romans had not reckoned on the ferocious campaign mounted against the all-powerful Legions under the leadership of the legendary Queen Boudicca.
HINT = History International
I have a weakness for the trash one gets regularly in the Weekly World News and, as it happens, this week's cover story is full of ClassCon. It's not online, so I've actually taken the time to type up some excerpts (I'm waiting for my dog ... he's broken, so we had to get him fixed). In any event, the cover story is about the discovery of a second Noah's ark. According to Professor Adam N. Deeve [snicker], the second ark was piloted by Noah's son Japheth and ended up in the jungles of the Faroe Islands ... Japheth, of course, conveniently carved his name in the ship's hull. Some quotes from Professor Deeve (my comments are in square brackets):
" There was even a massive crow's nest ... We believe this is where a cyclops was stationed, using his great eyesight to watch for dry land. There is a big red 'no' circle with Sinbad written in the center -- pretty conclusive evidence as far as we're concerned. " [hmmm ... I guess that explains how they ended up in the Faroe Islands ... do you really want someone with no depth perception as your lookout?]
" This section appears to be the stables ... We believe this is where Japheth kept unicorns, centaurs and winged horses. There are impressions of very large feathers in the mud that hardened to stone. In the centaur's stall are hoofmarks and extensive damage to what's left of the door. Being half human, the centaurs apparently resented being thrown together with pure equines." [hmmm ... more likely they got drunk and trashed the place, as is their wont]
There was also a level for birds, apparently, including a phoenix ... Dr. Deeve continues:
"As far as we can reconstruct the events, it seems that the phoenix went ballistic and while the crew was putting out the fire, the smoke seeped up through the floorboards and soon reached into the stable, upsetting the horses. The unicorn instinctively rammed his horn through the wall to allow air inside. Unfortunately the stable was below sea level and the ark began to flood."
The article concludes thusly:
"Deeve explained that the last artifact he discovered was the statue of a man in ancient robes. According to historical descriptions, it looks like the son of Noah."
"' We suspect he may have made a wrong turn at some point and wandered into Medusa's cabin,' Deeve said. 'The poor fellow could not have done much after that. This may be the first accident in history caused by a captain who was stoned.'"
If you purchase a copy, the 'Weird Picture Search' also has a Medusa/Perseus theme, by the way ...drawn by Sergio Aragones (remember him from Mad Magazine kiddies?).
ludi Apollinares (day 2)-- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
feriae Ancillarum -- a festival in honour of the "maids" who helped save Rome from a Latin attack in the days after the Gallic sack
rites in honour of Juno Caprotina -- rites possibly associated with the above in which Latin women offered sacrifices to Juno Caprotina under wild fig trees (the branches of the tree were also somehow used ... the old canard of 'fertility ritual' is usually mentioned in this context)
rites in honour of Consus in the Circus Maximus -- 'public priests' offered a sacrifice to Consus (possibly in a role of presiding over grain which has been stored underground) at his underground altar (was it uncovered for this?) at the first turning point in the Circus
eighth century B.C.? -- death/disappearance of Romulus
267 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Pales (and associated rites thereafter)
175 A.D. -- the future emperor Commodus
dons his toga virilis
c. 200 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pantaenus
1586 -- birth of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel
(amasser of the Arundelian Marbles
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Egypt According to Cleoopatra
Walk the streets of Alexandria, during the time of the Ptolemies, alongside its citizens as their pharaoh, Cleopatra, serves as virtual tour guide of Egypt. From the exotic yet cosmopolitan capital, built by her ancestor Alexander the Great, to the Sanctuary of Dendera to the magical Isle of Philae, we explore her empire by land and sea. And, we follow Queen Cleopatra as she sets sail for Italy on a visit to Caesar and end our journey within the city walls of Rome, where an Egyptian temple is being erected for Cleopatra's deity protector, Isis.
HINT = History International
... I can't believe I missed Empire *again* (we got in the door just as it ended)
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Hidden City of Petra
Story of the Nabataeans, a desert people who carved the city of Petra out of the Jordanian mountains some 2,000 years ago. Their culture flourished, then disappeared. We visit the site of the amazing sculpted city, which included temples and colonnaded market streets.
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Arms in Action: Slings and Spears
Produced in partnership with England's Royal Armouries located in the Tower of London, this series action-tests weapons and armor through the ages. We construct an ancient slingshot and see why it survives as a street-fighting weapon in the Middle East, and follow the unbroken history of the spear from mere stick to Roman pilium to bayonet.
HINT = History International
Over the next few weeks we'll be going on some navel-gazing expeditions from time to time, so I thought it might be a good time to experiment with some formatting changes of a sort. As regular readers of rc might be aware, I generally update rc first thing in the a.m., then send out announcements of what has been updated. This 'habit' was largely due to me being at work and not being able to update during the day conveniently, but now that I'm home (and using Tangelo), a different regime might attain. So, for the summer months I'll be updating things as they come (probably two or three times a day when I'm not navel gazing); I'll figure out how to announce things to the lists later.
Not much in the box (as you can see below), so I might be updating throughout the day. What I am hoping to find online somewhere is an excellent documentary thing that was on the BBC radio (via WNED) last night at 11.00 p.m. (EDT). It was all about the illegal antiquities and art trade in Italy ... if anyone comes across it in their webtravels, please drop me a line ...
TOC for the latest Classical Philology, available online
from the UChicago Press site if you are fortunate to have access:
Prayer and Curse in Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes
Virgil and Tibullus 1.1
Michael C. J. Putnam
Interactions: Physics, Morality, and Narrative in Seneca Natural Questions 1
A Common Source for Jerome, Eutropius, Festus, Ammianus, and the Epitome de Caesaribus between 358 and 378, along with Further Thoughts on the Date and Nature of the Kaisergeschichte
R. W. Burgess