Here's what the bloggers have been up to this weekend:

Laudator is pondering the etymology of prayer ...

Poetry Month continues at with a feature on Ovid ... there's also one on Aeschylus ... I don't think we mentioned Aristophanes on Friday ...

Ginny Lindzey reveals one of her election projects in the Latin Zone ...

Bestiaria Latina has a Latin account of Peter Martyr ...

Over at the Live Journal Classics page, they're translating some Pink Floyd into Latin and/or Greek ....

ARLT is telling us about panem et circenses, American style ... there's also a (somewhat strange) opinion piece linking Marius and Donald Rumsfeld ...

Curculio has the last of Timon's last words ...

Mediterranean Archaeology has a nice little feature on 'the runner's ring', which has been the subject of discussion on Aegeanet of late ...

Father Foster's had a couple of installments this week ... the first: “You do not steal Roman flags” cried the Roman Emperor Augustus as he pranced around the Palatine hill tearing his hair out in despair, when he learnt he’d been betrayed by a former German Ally... ... the second: It was 1930, the Pope was Pius XI and the time had come to canonise two illustrious men from the “Island of Saints” who had shone forth like stars. Their names Cardinal John Fisher and the Chancellor of England Thomas More ...

We've started our ninth volume of Explorator (meaning we're in our ninth year!) ... available at the Classics Central, as always ...
DD sent this one in (thanks) and indirectly reminded me I haven't checked out eBay's antiquities section lately ... in any event, the auction of this "Roman Republican Gaelic Helmet" has ended already (it sold for 6500 'buy it now'):

The find place is listed as "Illyria -- the Balkans". The seller also has a pile of Roman coins for sale which are rather startling in terms of the 'uniformity' of their condition when viewed together. Other than that, I notice that there are still items from the Marcel Gibrat collection surfacing on eBay (here's another, and another, ... again, I'm not implying anything, but just keeping a file of such items (there's an Olmec head, too, and a 'Cosmic Monkey').

There is also a mosaic head of Medusa from a "private collection" -- a description which doesn't inspire confidence ...

I see Byblosantiques continues to sell stuff all dated to 100 A.D. and with amazing consistent patinas ... there's also a mosaic of a peacock which apparently comes from Tripoli ...

Artemission is another eBay dealer who doesn't seem to give provenances ...

I'm also starting to wonder about these 'Roman Colonial Period' pieces here and here from Malter Galleries

... and while not ancient, I can't help but point out this "rare" statue of the "Greek god Moses" ...
Nice piece in the New York Times (especially when contrasted with the piece which follows):

When the French look back today, they generally trace the stirrings of national glory to François I in the mid-16th century or perhaps to Louis XIV 150 years later. And when Parisians look around, they see mainly the city reshaped into broad avenues by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the 19th century.

This week, they were reminded of a far earlier Paris, one that was still called Lutetia. On a Left Bank hillside, which carries the name of Sainte-Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, French archaeologists have found remnants of a road and several houses dating back some 2,000 years to when Rome ruled Gaul.

In one sense, it was not a surprise. Other Roman vestiges have been uncovered, notably those of a theater that could seat 15,000 and Roman thermal baths found beneath the 15th-century Abbey of Cluny.

Yet the area of the new find, half a mile to the south, was so heavily built up in the early 20th century that it is hard to imagine space for excavation.

In this case, however, the Pierre and Marie Curie University decided to replace a temporary structure with a research building. And, by law, construction in central Paris cannot begin until archaeologists have had a chance to investigate.

They started digging in early March and almost immediately made one of their best finds in recent years.

As it happens, the Convent of the Visitation covered the 4,400-square-foot plot from the early 17th century until 1910, when it was demolished. One long-buried wall of the convent has been uncovered. Further, the site is crossed by a large drainage pipe, confirmation that interest in preserving ancient ruins is fairly new.

However, now quite visible is a 20-foot-wide road, as well as the walls and floors of at least three houses. In one house, archaeologists have been able to identify an under-the-floor thermal heating system. And across the site, coins and ceramic shards have been found.

Further, this area was inhabited long enough for stone walls to replace earlier adobelike clay-and-wood building material.

The significance of such finds, of course, is what they reveal about earlier times. It is known that early settlers around the Île de la Cité burned their houses before they were conquered by a Roman legion under Labienus in 52 B.C. But in the decades that followed, a new town was built on the Left Bank, which eventually had a population of 12,000 to 20,000.

Then, after the first barbarian incursions in A.D. 253, the population apparently withdrew from the hill of Sainte-Geneviève and sought refuge behind new walls on the Île de la Cité, which was called Paris, borrowing the name of the ancient Gallic Parisii tribe. Thus, because the archaeologists have found no traces of occupation of the site between the 4th and 17th centuries, they have been able to confirm that even an area little more than a mile from the Seine was long considered insecure for habitation.

"It was a neighborhood of the Augustan period," explained Didier Busson, the architect in charge of the dig. "It may have been founded by Gauls who had been in the Roman army and settled here, bringing with them their experience of building."

Today, the Rue Saint-Jacques follows the path of the Cardo Maximus, the north-south road that crossed the district.

Still, for all the attention stirred by this find, archaeologists have only until late June to complete their studies because, after that, construction will begin on the site. But Mr. Busson is nonetheless satisfied with what has been achieved.

"Thirty years ago, this site would have been destroyed even before we had a chance to excavate it," he said. "Maybe in 20 years it will be possible to preserve things as we find them."

Some photos of what's been found accompanies the original article.
I've never understood why, in battles between major archaeological sites and parking lots, the parking lot always seems to win. From the Times:

THE archeologists could barely hide their excitement. Beneath the main square of Ecija, a small town in southern Spain, they had unearthed an astounding treasure trove of Roman history.

They discovered a well-preserved Roman forum, bath house, gymnasium and temple as well as dozens of private homes and hundreds of mosaics and statues — one of them considered to be among the finest found.

But now the bulldozers have moved in. The last vestiges of the lost city known as Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi — one of the great cities of the Roman world — have been destroyed to build an underground municipal car park.

Dr Sonia Zakrzewski, a senior lecturer in archeology at Southampton University who has worked on the site, said: “It is a real shock when things like this happen. I am surprised it has gone ahead. There is no doubt this site is of fundamental importance to archeology.”

Much of the site has been hurriedly concreted over: the only minor concession to archeologists and historians, is to leave a tiny section on show for tourists. The rest will be space for 299 cars.

The Roman city has proved to be one of the biggest in the ancient world. Its estimated 30,000 citizens dominated the olive oil industry. Terracotta urns from Ecija have been discovered as far away as Britain and Rome.

The region produced three Roman emperors — Trajan, Theodosius and Hadrian — and the research has shown that Ecija was almost as important in the Roman world as Cordoba and Seville.

The socialist council says that had it not dug up the main square, Plaza de Espana, to build the car park in 1998, the remains would never have been found. But it insists the town must press ahead with the new car park.

“Nonsense,” says the town’s chief archeologist, Antonio Fernandez Ugalde, director of the municipal museum. “For some reason, the politicians here think it is more important to park their own cars. It simply does not make sense.”

But despite opposition from numerous other archeological groups and the Spanish Royal Academy of Art, there is now no possibility of restoring the 2,000-year-old Roman town.

The most exquisite discovery was a statue, known as the Wounded Amazon, modelled on an ancient Greek goddess of war. Only three other such statues are known to exist. The one in Ecija is in by far the best condition with some of its original decorative paint intact.

Juan Wic, the mayor, who is responsible for the car park project, said he was happy to have kept one of his main election pledges. He said it was “essential for the commercial future of the square and city”.

From BMCR:

Lee T. Pearcy, The Grammar of Our Civility: Classical Education in America.

Christopher L.H. Barnes, Images and Insults: Ancient Historiography and the Outbreak of the Tarentine War. Historia Einzelschrift, 187.

Christopher Stray (ed.), The Owl of Minerva: the Cambridge Praelections of 1906. Reassessments of Richard Jebb, James Adam, Walter Headlam, Henry Jackson, William Ridgeway, and Arthur Verrall.

Colin Sydenham, Horace: The Odes. New verse translation with facing Latin text and notes.

Thomas Habinek, The World of Roman Song: From Ritualized Speech to Social Order.

Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The History of Time: A Very Short Introduction. Very Short Introductions, 133.

C.A.J. Littlewood, Self-Representation and Illusion in Senecan Tragedy.

J. den Boeft, J.W. Drijvers, D. den Hengst, H.C. Teitler, Philological and Historical Commentary of Ammianus Marcellinus XXV.

Thomas McCarthy, Nunc Loquâmur: Guided Conversations for Latin.

Mary T. Boatwright, Daniel J. Gargola, Richard J.A. Talbert, The Romans from Village to Empire.

Karanasiou on Mahoney on Argyri G. Karanasiou, Die Rezeption der lyrischen Partien der attischen Tragödie in der griechischen Literatur.

Geoffrey Thorndike Martin, Stelae from Egypt and Nubia in the Fitzwilliam Museum.


Phaedra (London)

Lysistrata (New York)

Persians (Washington)

Hecuba (Chicago)
7.00 p.m. |HISTU| Relics of The Passion
Relics of the Passion of Christ are sacred objects supposedly scattered around the globe. Are they what the faithful believe them to be? We do the detective work to track down where these relics originated and where they can be found today, explain their meaning, and often question their authenticity. The Passion of Jesus Christ encompasses the violent end of a martyr, an unsolved forensic puzzle, and the start of a worldwide religious movement. In this hour, we use the Passion as a focus to begin tracking the most important relics of the Christian faith, including: the True Cross; the Crown of Thorns; the Holy Nails of the Cross; the Titulus, a small sign stating Christ's name and crime atop the Cross; the Spear of Destiny; a mysterious burial cloth called the Sudarium; an image of Jesus that appears on the Veil of Veronica; and the Holy Grail.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Time Machine: Ancient Computer?
Journey back in time for an eye-opening look at the amazing ancient roots of technologies we like to think of as modern. New research suggests that many of the inventions of the last 200 years may, in fact, have already been known to the ancients. In this hour, we explore the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient machine that was discovered deep in the Aegean Sea. Could it perhaps have been an ancient computer? Could Archimedes have had a hand in its creation?

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries: Warfare
Warfare was a way of life in the ancient world. The technology of war drove ancient inventors and engineers to ever-greater lengths to defeat their enemies. They were, perhaps, the greatest masterminds of the battlefield-- yet who were they, and how did they make their sophisticated lethal machines more than 2,000 years ago? Ancient warfare was every bit as technical and lethal as today's warfare. Just witness the colossal and lethal Helepolis ("city taker"), history's most sophisticated siege machine. From the sinister machines that could bring a city's wall crashing down to Greek Fire, the napalm of the ancient world--warfare was as terrible then as now. The sheer ingenuity and complexity with which these war machines were created proves that the people of the ancient world were great inventors, mathematicians, and engineers.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries Ships
Lurking beneath Lake Nemi's blue waters lay the titans of Roman naval engineering--the Nemi Ships. Titanic luxury liners of the ancient world, they held inventions lost for thousands of years. But why were they built? Were they Caligula's notorious floating pleasure palaces--rife with excess and debauchery? Flagships of a giant sea force? It took Mussolini's obsession with all things Roman to finally prise the two wrecks from the depths of Lake Nemi near Rome. Using an ancient Roman waterway, he drained the lake and rescued the ships, an accomplishment captured on film that we access to illustrate this astounding story. Sophisticated ancient technology discovered in the boats transformed the understanding of Roman engineering overnight. Yet by 1944, the adventure had turned sour and the retreating German army torched the boats. We reveal the mysteries of the Nemi Ships and the ancient technology that made them possible.

11.00 p.m. |HISTU| Time Machine: Galen, Doctor to the Gladiators
In this fascinating series, we examine ancient inventions once believed to have been created in modern times, and test the wits of ancient inventors against some of the world's great modern inventors. Part 2 uncovers the revolutionary work of Galen, the great Roman doctor to the gladiators, who was performing brain surgery 2,000 years ahead of his time. We also explore the sophistication of Roman medicine and compare it to modern techniques.
I've decided that the regular ClassiCarnival feature is best skipped on Saturdays and made into a 'weekend edition' ClassiCarnival on Sundays. As possibly might be expected, Sunday (and Monday) are the busiest days at rogueclassicism and for 'promotion' purposes, it seems salutary to showcase as many blogs as possible on those days (if I do it on Saturdays, it often scrolls off the main page). So ... to all you ClassiCarnies out there, if you plan on blogging on the weekend, if you post something between, say, 6.00 a.m. Friday and noon Sunday (Eastern), there's a good chance it'll make it into the weekend edition.
Interesting op-ed piece in the Guardian by Mary Beard:

In 427BCE the people of Athens voted, democratically, to put to death the entire adult male population of the town of Mytilene and to throw into slavery the women and children - thousands in all. As a punishment for changing sides in the great war between Athens and Sparta, this was brutal even by the permissive rules of ancient warfare. The next day the voters got cold feet.

Meeting again, they reversed the decision, and sent a second message to their commander in the field, cancelling their earlier orders. With good luck, incentive payments and favourable winds, this arrived just in the nick of time, before the mass slaughter had been carried out. Under the new ruling, the number of executions barely reached four figures - a selective cull of the leading insurgents.

Most ancient writers used this kind of incident not, as we might, as an indictment of Athens's ruthlessness, but of the incapacity and fickleness of its democratic decision-making process. And they had plenty of other examples to choose from - whether the disastrous invasion of Sicily, which effectively lost Athens the war with Sparta, or the execution of the dissident Socrates. Needless to say, all these writers were the equivalent of the ancient rightwing. They were acerbic, sometimes nasty critics of the power of the people, and at the same time victims - from Plato down - of the odd delusion that an intelligent autocrat or an elite cabal was less likely to make military or political blunders than a democracy.

All the same there is a stark contrast here with our own modern political fetish, from both left and right of the spectrum, for Athenian democracy. The more that "democracy" becomes an empty slogan - all too often the west's convenient alibi for intervention in non-western politics (a bubble pricked only when our new democratic converts vote in some regime we don't much like) - the more we hark back to its ancient pedigree. Think, for example, of the self-congratulatory celebrations a decade or so ago of the 2,500th anniversary of world democracy, which fixed on some murky and probably self-serving reforms in 508BCE as the originary moment.

It was for this occasion that Bush Sr penned, or presumably had penned for him, a gushing introduction to a US exhibition catalogue celebrating The Greek Miracle ( ). But the Athenian democratic allure extends beyond the Bush-Blair axis. As far away as the Pacific island of Tonga there is a university parading its intellectual credentials with the title "Atenisi" and with a mission to embrace the "democratic ideals" of ancient Greece (

This fetish casts ancient democratic Athens as the foundation of modern political virtues: one man one vote, freedom of expression, communal decision-making, the sovereignty of the law and equality before it, and so on. At the same time, it deftly airbrushes out the less appealing aspects of Athenian democratic culture. The well-known exclusion of women and slaves from any form of political action is one factor, but not the only one. And to be honest, even if Athens operated a more thoroughgoing repression of its female population than any other Greek state we know, no ancient culture would score highly here.

The Athenian democracy which we so admire was, in reality, a short-lived and violent political experiment; it lasted 50 or so years in its most radical form, a half-century that saw the assassination of one of the most influential democratic reformers and numerous attempts by the enemy within to betray the city to the undemocratic Persians or Spartans. During its almost equally short-lived empire in the fifth century BCE, it imposed democratic government on its satellites with as much ruthlessness (and probably as little understanding) as George Bush and his allies. It was also a tiny community, with perhaps some 30,000 full male citizens, making its political nucleus roughly the same size as the student population of the modern University of Manchester, or, to put it another way, half the size of Kidderminster. And their citizen rights were fiercely guarded. With a strategy that would endear it to the BNP, it made sure that only those born of both Athenian mothers and Athenian fathers would qualify to be part of the exclusive club of citizens. No political integration of migrants or asylum seekers here.

It goes without saying, of course, that there were, and are, many attractive and important features in Athenian democratic politics. For a poor, free, male and ambitious citizen, over a short period in the fifth century, it was surely the best Greek city in which to live: with a chance of playing a full political role (thanks to the selection of most political office-holders by lottery) and of being adequately compensated financially for time taken up with political duties. Pay for taking on public responsibility was anathema to the noblesse oblige attitudes of the rightwing, but a central plank in the sharing of power. Equality of political opportunity between the male citizens was as close to being a reality as it ever has been in history.

Classical democracy also launched (thanks, ironically, to ancient theorists who were deeply opposed to it) the whole tradition of western political analysis, from Plato and Aristotle on - as well as giving a kick-start to numerous 19th century movements for political change. Most of us in the UK have reason to be very grateful that those behind the 1832 Reform Act, such as the historian George Grote, rejected the idea that democratic Athens was a dreadful warning of the dangers of mob rule and saw in it instead a model for the extension of the vote and electoral change.

But is it a model for us now? To be fair, very few people still imagine that we can draw directly on the Athenian experience - except a few crackpots who would like to have the members of the House of Lords selected, Athenian style, by lottery (and even they have come to seem less crackpot over the past few weeks). The danger of Athens's example is more insidious than that. By choosing - or clinging to - a tiny community with a narrowly restrictive idea of citizen rights and of nationality as our founding democratic myth, we are in a sense turning our back on the central political issues that face us now. Not so much "democratic myth", more "head in the sand".

The big problem for the 21st century is surely how to redefine the notion of "people power" (Greek demokratia) so that it can work for vast political conglomerates from which almost everyone feels alienated, and in which power has moved decidedly away from the "people" in any meaningful sense. There is also, as Paul Cartledge hinted in some recent discussions of Greece on Radio 4's Westminster Hour, the need to reconfigure ideas of the rights and obligations of citizenship in the new context of a global political economy that transcends the boundaries of the nation state. In projects of this kind, the founding myth of a small city, the size of a large student union - and with a decidedly unglobal and unmulticultural agenda - is more of a hindrance than a help.

It's worth noting, of course, that it is always journalists who seem to be making claims about this or that administration being 'just like' ancient Athens or Rome ....
From This is Hertfordshire:

Archaeologists hope to uncover a glimpse of the mysteries of cult worship in Roman Britain by excavating a vast religious complex in Ewell, writes Kevin Barnes.

A series of deep shafts found cut into chalk bedrock at Hatch Furlong gave researchers the clue that a ritual site existed there about 1,900 years ago.

Over the next fortnight an expert team led by Harvey Sheldon of Birkbeck College, London, intends to unearth the sacred stone building lying near the Ewell bypass.

Although similar temple complexes have been discovered in Britain, the dig may provide new evidence about Roman religion.

Ewell was the largest Roman settlement in Surrey, divided by Stane Street, a mayjor flint road between Chichester and London.

It is believed that weary travellers would refresh their spirits at springs in Ewell before making offerings to native deities.

In the 1840s evidence for a cult centre emerged as pottery vessels, wares, coins and dog bones were retrieved from the 30ft shafts. Many of the finds are exhibited now at the Museum of London.

The latest project will ensure the National Trust can manage effectively land given as a wildflower area not "a lost Roman ritual site full of votive gifts".

Caroline Thackray, the trust's territory archaeologist, said: "This is a great opportunity for us to learn more about the mysteries of this place using modern techniques."

"What is its meaning and importance? Who were Ewell's earlier inhabitants? And what was the reason for the chalk shafts that seem so bizarre to us today?

"We look forward to sharing a greater understanding and interpretation of our site with the local and wider academic community."

The excavation is supported by Surrey County Council, Epsom & Ewell History and Archaeology Society, Surrey Archaeological Society and the Council for British Archaeology South.

Local people can tour the site during two open days on May 5 and 6. Talks and an exhibition are planned at Bourne Hall Museum in Ewell later this month, from where leaflets with directions to the site are being distributed next weekend.

In September, Birkbeck College will run an archaeology course at Ewell Court House.
From Fife Today:

The university's classics department is to hold a 12-hour back-to-back performance of Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey at All Saints Church Hall, starting at 10 a.m.
The idea was conceived by lecturer Dr Rebecca Sweetman, and has taken over a year to come to fruition.
The ambitious event aims to raise money for the Africa Educational Trust, a charity dedicated to restoring formal educational structures to children in areas torn apart by conflict, and Avert — a charity predominately concerned with the treatment of HIV and AIDs sufferers, and working towards prevention of infection.
Lucy James, in her fourth year studying ancient history and Latin, is one of the organisers behind the event and says it's through her work as branch head of Theatre Odyssey - a group that promotes Classics in schools in and around St Andrews - which has made education such an important issue to her. She believes it is a right that should be enjoyed by those in the Third World also.
The marathon performance is based on a child-friendly adaptation by Padraic Colum, entitled 'the Children's Homer.'
Lucy told the Citizen that, published in 1918, it is the most concise adaptation which could be found and, with lots of flowery language, it promises to be quite fun.
Asked how the performers were going to manage an epic 12 hours on stage, Lucy explained that they have broken it down into 10 sections.
Each section has its own director and five performers and lasts for just over an hour.
A 15-minute interlude between each section will feature songs by a-cappella group, the 'Accidentals,' and there will also be a raffle.
Asked if they were apprehensive about the event, Lucy said: ''I don't think that there's much in the way of nerves, it's going to be relaxed and impromptu.
''We're excited — it's going to be quite interactive and there are some fighting scenes, so it's quite an active performance.''
Performers will be in Greek costumes, and there will be highlights including a recital on a Greek instrument, similar to a mandarin, known as a bazuki.
The event is free although those who wish to attend are encouraged to join in the raffle. Performers have been given sponsorship forms.
5.00 p.m. |HISTU| Tomb Raiders: Robbing the Dead
Tomb raiders have been digging for as long as man has buried the dead. Following the trail of these robbers of the dead, we crawl through hidden passages deep within Egypt's pyramids to witness evidence left by ancient looters. Prowling Jerusalem's dark alleyways, we probe the black market antiquities trade and talk to a tomb thief about his motives and methods. At auction houses in London and New York, we learn smugglers' secrets and discover why Interpol estimates that the trade in stolen artifacts annually brings in as much as 4-billion dollars! And back in Egypt and Israel, we ride along with the antiquities police in pursuit of these illusive criminals.

5.00 p.m. |DTC| Lost Temple to the Gods
In 20 BC, the lost city of Heracleion was famous for its beaches, palatial villas, sexually charged rites and miracle cures. Its crowning jewel, the Temple of Hercules, lay at the gateway to Egypt's Nile River ruled by Egypt's last pharaoh, Cleopatra.

5.00 p.m. |SCI| The Greeks
Our Western world is built on the wisdom and traditions of the ancient Greeks. And while they didn't seek solutions for practical applications, they tackled the big picture with a scientific approach.

6.00 p.m. |DTC| The Quest for the True Cross
Based on the New York Times best-seller, scholarly detective work and historical adventure draw conclusions about the remains of Christ's actual cross. This comprehensive study could overturn centuries of academic assumptions about the crucifixion.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Secrets of the Acropolis
With a thrilling combination of dramatic reconstructions and 3-D animation, we step back in time to the Golden Age of Greece and the birth of democracy, to an era of unparalleled human creativity that produced the magnificent architecture on the Acropolis. Powerfully evoking the pagan rituals that made the Acropolis the heart of Athenian life, we explore all four key buildings: the Propylaia, the Erectheion, Athena Nike, and the Parthenon--the most influential buildings in Western civilization.
ante diem iv kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 2) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms

12 B.C. -- consecration of the signum et ara Vestae on the Palatine; it was a shrine built by Augustus as pontifex maximus to house the palladium (maybe) which Aeneas brought from Troy

32 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor-for-a-little-while Otho

1st century -- martyrdom of Aphrodisius and companions in what would become Languedoc

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pollio in Pannonia

Floralia update: yesterday I was wondering about the connection to Chloris ... an rc reader (Elspeth) emailed me via the forum (thanks!) to say: In his "Fasti", Ovid tells the story (through an interview of Flora) of how she was once a nymph called Chloris who was loved by Zephyr, the west wind, who gave her power over flowers. Her name became Flora in Latin. I think this is in book five of the Fasti ...
contemporaneous @

provenance @

theophany @ Wordsmith
De mulieribus Iranianis

Mulieribus Iranianis rursus licentia data est ludos pedifollicos et alia certamina athletica spectandi.

Neque tamen una cum aliis spectatoribus sedere sinuntur, sed in separata caveae parte. E revolutione enim islamica abhinc triginta fere annos facta secutum erat, ut feminae in theatrum camporum lusoriorum adire vetarentur. Causa interdicti erat, quod mulieribus dedecori esse putabatur athletas bracis brevibus indutos intueri.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Not too much today:

Bread and Circuses is looking at a new book about Julius Caesar ... there's also part three of the series on the Vindolanda Tablets ...'s N.S. Gill continues Poetry Month with a look at Menander ...

I notice a new blog: Roman Coin ...

I also see a new Yahoo Group: Coinstudies is devoted to issues and formal study of ancient and medieval coinage ...

There's another editorial by 'Cicero' up at Huntington News (hmmmmm) ...
Very interesting item from MSNBC:

Compared to the well-studied world of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the civilizations that flourished in the eastern Mediterranean just before Homer’s time are still cloaked in mystery.

Even the basic chronology of the region during this time has been heatedly debated. Now, a resolution has finally emerged -- initiated, quite literally, by an olive branch.

Scientists have discovered the remains of a single olive tree, buried alive during a massive volcanic eruption during the Late Bronze Age. A study that dates this tree, plus another study that dates a series of objects from before, during and after the eruption, now offer a new timeline for one of the earliest chapters of European civilization.

The new results suggest that the sophisticated and powerful Minoan civilization (featured in the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur) and several other pre-Homeric civilizations arose about a century earlier and lasted for longer than previously thought.

The new timeframe also downplays Egypt’s role in the region, suggesting that the cultures of the Levant, the stretch of land that includes Syria, Israel and Palestine, may have been a more important outside influence.

The pair of studies appears in the 28 April issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

During the Late Bronze Age, large building complexes appeared on Crete and later on mainland Greece as part of the Minoan “New Palace” civilization. At its high point, this civilization seems to have been the dominant cultural and economic force across the region, as the result of trade rather than military strength.

On Santorini, a major prehistoric settlement called Akrotiri was buried by the Minoan eruption, preserving what’s often called “the Pompeii of the Aegean.” Archeologists have uncovered three- and four-story houses and many other finds there, including an extraordinary collection of wall paintings that offer a glimpse into Minoan life. Women apparently played important civic and religious roles, including joining men in the sport of “bull-leaping,” which seems to have been religiously significant and as dangerous as the name implies.

The people of the Shaft Grave culture on mainland Greece, meanwhile, are known for burying their rulers with an eye-catching array of weapons, tools, pottery and other gold-rich ornaments. One grave contained a face mask that was originally identified as that of Agamemnon, the legendary king of Mycenae who led the Greeks against Troy in the Iliad.

The new findings suggest that it belonged to an earlier chief or king instead.

Also around the same time, major new coastal political systems were growing on Cyprus, fuelled by the island’s important copper industry that supplied the metal-hungry civilizations in the east Mediterranean.

Rethinking the timeline
It’s generally thought that these cultural developments in the eastern Mediterranean occurred during the 16th century B.C., along with the New Kingdom period in Egypt, when Egypt expanded its influence into western Asia.

The new studies suggests that these developments probably took place instead during the preceding “Second Intermediate Period,” when Egyptian power was weak and a foreign Canaanite dynasty even conquered northern Egypt for a while.

According to the new chronology, the Late Bronze Age civilizations in the Aegean and on Cyprus may have developed in association with 18th- and 17th-century Canaanite and Levantine civilizations and their expanding maritime trade world. These cultures were very different from the Egyptians’ in terms of culture, language and religion.

“If the papers published this week in Science are correct, then a critical new historical context may explain aspects of the development, languages, literature, religion and mythology of the Aegean and the later Classical worlds,” said Sturt Manning of the Cornell University and the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, who is the lead author of one of the studies.

The great debate
For more than a century, archaeologists have developed the chronology for this region by painstakingly comparing the various civilizations’ artifacts and artistic styles, such as how spirals were painted on pots or how metalwork was done. To pin the cultural periods to calendar dates, they then linked them to the accepted dates for the Egyptian pharaohs.

Since the 1970s, scientists have been measuring radiocarbon dates from the same areas, which don’t match with this artifact-based timeframe. Because of uncertainty about the dating methods, however, the radiocarbon results haven’t been convincing enough to overturn the archaeologists’ conclusions.

“It’s probably the biggest controversy in eastern Mediterranean archeology,” Manning said.

There has also been an inertia factor. Manning noted that if the existing chronology were wrong, it would mean rewriting the dates in museums and textbooks. And, it would have a more far-reaching effect, requiring a rethinking of some of the basic assumptions about the origins of European history.

“You would have a concertina effect, since you can’t move one part without upsetting the whole apple cart. Thus, it has been said that rewriting the chronology is impossible,” Manning said.

The 'Pompeii of the Aegean'
During the Minoan eruption, the volcano on what is now Santorini spewed ash and rocky debris up to hundreds of kilometers around. It was one of the largest eruptions in recorded history, and some researchers have even proposed that it was the basis for the legend of Atlantis.

The widespread volcanic ash layer offers a reference point that could potentially help line up the ages of various sites in the eastern Mediterranean, but researchers have not been able to date the layer precisely enough until now.

A remarkable solution to the problem emerged when Walter Friedrich and his graduate student Tom Pfeiffer, both of the University of Aarhus in Denmark, found the branch of an olive tree that was buried in its living position by the ash. The remains of the tree’s bark, leaves and twigs showed that the tree was still alive at the time of the eruption.

“I’ve been working on Santorini for 30 years and this is the first time I have seen such a thing,” Friedrich said.

By analyzing and dating the tree rings, Friedrich’s research team was able to pinpoint the age of the eruption more precisely than ever before, since the outermost ring was formed in roughly the same year that the volcano erupted.

The new timeframe for the eruption is between 1627 and 1600 B.C., a century earlier than archaeological studies have suggested.

“This was one of the biggest eruptions known to mankind, and now we have a precise date for the first time,” Friedrich said.

Before and after the eruption
The new age for the eruption fits in neatly with a much larger series of radiocarbon dates put together by Sturt Manning and his colleagues.

Manning’s team collected a large number of seeds and some tree-ring samples from a 300-year time span that included the Minoan eruption. They put together sets of data in a known sequence from before, around, and after the eruption and used sophisticated statistical methods to define new, more precise dates than before.

Given past controversy, they took a number of precautions, such as analyzing the seeds at two separate labs, to reduce the uncertainty of the earlier radiocarbon studies. The picture now from the radiocarbon seems fairly clear, according to Manning, but in conflict with the established dates and history.

Overall, the radiocarbon results indicate that the formation and high point of the New Palace period of Crete, the wall paintings of Akrotiri, the Shaft Grave period of the Greek mainland, and the political changes on Cyprus all occurred before approximately 1600 B.C. This is not only about 100 years earlier than thought; it also implies that the overall cultural era involved lasted much longer than researchers had assumed.

The new chronology makes the world of New Palace Crete even more important and interesting, Manning said, turning the later 18th and 17th centuries B.C. into an exciting new “cultural cauldron” from which significant elements of European history may have originated.
This one came out of the blue from the Art Newspaper:

The Art Newspaper can reveal that the Turkish government has made a claim for a decorated stele in the British Museum (BM). This happened after a Turkish diplomat in Japan spotted the antiquity on loan to an exhibition on “Alexander the Great: East-West Cultural Contacts from Greece to Japan”, which was shown in Tokyo in 2003. It was not until last September that a letter was sent by the Turkish embassy in London. Although there is much talk of restitution claims against the BM, official requests are comparatively rare.

The basalt stele, dating from the first century BC, depicts a relief of Herakles greeting the sun-god, with a Greek inscription on the reverse. It was later reused as an oil-press, and hence the hole in the middle. The stele was excavated by Leonard Woolley in a field at Samsat, near the Turkish-Syrian border, probably in 1917-20. It was purchased by the BM from the Carchemish Exploration Fund in 1927.

BM director Neil MacGregor discussed the case with Turkish ambassador Akin Alptuna last autumn. Mr MacGregor is surprised that the claim had been made after nearly 80 years. He also believes that Woolley, a distinguished archaeologist operating with full Turkish authority, would almost certainly have the proper consent to excavate and export. No documentation had been produced to suggest the stele had been excavated or exported illegally. Nothing further has been heard from the Turkish embassy.

Because of the refurbishment of the BM’s Ancient Near East Galleries, the stele went into store on its return from Japan. On 12 April it went on display in room two. It will be moved to the refurbished galleries early next year.

A photo of the stele accompanies the original article; I'm pretty sure I've seen this in some textbook on eastern influences in Greek art ...
9.00 p.m. |DISCC| Colosseum: A Gladiator's Story
Revealing the true life of a gladiator in all its grit and glory, this spectacular dramatized documentary reveals the truth about the events that took place inside the arena.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| Lost Temple to the Gods
In 20 BC, the lost city of Heracleion was famous for its beaches, palatial villas, sexually charged rites and miracle cures. Its crowning jewel, the Temple of Hercules, lay at the gateway to Egypt's Nile River ruled by Egypt's last pharaoh, Cleopatra.
In casu extremae necessitatis omnia sunt communia.

In the case of extreme necessity, all things are common.

(pron = in KAH-soo eks-TRAY-mai neh-kes-sih-TAH-tis OHM-nee-ah soont

Comment: If more things were considered common to us all, fewer human beings
were reach the point of extreme need.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem v kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 1) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms (Chloris is also mentioned ... I'm still trying to figure that one out).

4977 B.C. -- birth of the universe, according to the calculations of Johannes Kepler

1737 -- Birth of Edward Gibbon (he wrote some sort of book apparently)
resilient @

viaggiatory @ Worthless Word for the Day

philography @ Wordsmith

Classics Technology Center's My Word! Feature: Legendary Greek Men 2

Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies
Rumsfeld reprehensus

Complures generales Americani, postquam rude donati sunt, Donaldum Rumsfeld, ministrum defensionis, vituperaverunt, quod imperitus et superbus esset, et flagitaverunt, ut munus deponeret.

Est in his etiam Wesley Clark, olim summus imperator NATOnis, qui nuper dixit ministrum Rumsfeld una cum vicepraesidente Dick Cheney auctorem esse belli Iraquici.

"Illi urgebant", inquit, "ut bellum susciperetur, quamquam colloquia diplomatica adhuc continuabantur. Is fuit error tragicus."

Addidit occupationem Iraquiae nullo modo ad bellum contra terrorismum pertinere.

Donald Rumsfeld autem recusat, quominus discedat, et asseverat se tamdiu in munere mansurum esse quam praesidens Bush velit.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : Viginti post annos cladis Chernobilianae effectus latentes durant
Happy dies natalis to mater mea (who doesn't know how to use a computer, let alone read a blog), but what the heck:'s N.S. Gill is alerting us to some photos of Constantine's Arch ... the Poetry Month post is about Euripides ...

Laudator is talking about the facial hair of philosophers ... he's also pondering pagan myth in Milton ...

Curculio offers us a somewhat strange (to me) funerary epigram (the ancient equivalent of telling someone not to look at a car accident) ...

Hobbyblog offers us a coin dedicated to diva Mariniana sporting a peacock on the reverse ...

Roman History Books is looking at Herodian ...

ARLT is following the Audere est facere kerfuffle ...
From the Times Leader:

“No other language has its own convention. … And when people ask what language you’re taking, you say Latin, and it makes them think.”
Audree Riddle Elgin High School in Illinois

Erin Flynn looked around the hotel ballroom, where about 400 high-schoolers were studiously working.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” she asked. “These are kids, on their day off, taking tests.”

Of course, these aren’t just any kids. They are Latin students — “Latin geeks,” as some refer to themselves — and they were attending the Illinois Junior Classical League convention at the Holiday Inn Select and Convention Center in Tinley Park, Ill.

Sure, there were exams — eight written tests over two days, testing their Latin skills and knowledge of ancient Rome — and there were workshops, oratory contests and the election of officers. But there were also spirit and talent competitions, a re-enactment of a Roman wedding, a Latin-flavored version of “Jeopardy!” called a certamen (“a conflict, rivalry, engagement”), a Roman banquet where a toga was the required dress, a costume contest (the Tantalus outfits killed), and an art show (when was the last time you saw a diorama of Germanicus and Arminius duking it out at the Battle of Idistaviso?).

“If someone isn’t social and likes to compete, there’s the contests,” explained Ava Caffarini, from Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, Ill. “If you like to have fun, there’s that too.”

A lot of that.

Caffarini is one of more than 700 students from 17 chapters — that’d be DCC and XVII, respectively, for those who prefer Roman numerals — in the Illinois Junior Classical League. As of January, the National Junior Classical League ( had 34,140 members in 45 states and around the world. Not bad numbers for a supposedly dead language that no one cares about.

“I’ve been involved in it since I was a student,” said Jennifer Draper, the state chairman for the IJCL and a Latin teacher at Notre Dame High School in Niles, Ill. “Back in those days it was one day at a high school.”

Now it’s three days at a convention center (the group outgrew last year’s venue, a west suburban hotel) and an increase of about 100 students in the past three years. Impressive in that at some schools, Latin is a dead language.

“The problem is more Latin programs are getting closed out,” said Laura Cassil, a student who is the national first vice president of the Junior Classical League. One of her duties is publicizing the group to other schools.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get the JCL message out there. … It’s just a case of telling them, hey, this is the JCL. This is who we are. This is what we do. We wear togas in public places.”

Not a bad selling point.

“My best friends are in Latin,” said Sarah Ferro, from Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, Ill. “A couple of others who took German wish they took Latin, because we have a lot of fun.”

Often, the kids don’t need much convincing. Their parents do.

“We had a freshman open house,” said Andy Mollo of Lincoln-Way East, “and a lot of parents … you’d say to the kids, ‘You interested in taking Latin?’ And the parents, they’d … “ — here he made a laughing, snorting noise — “and they’d walk away. ‘Wait! Wait!’ And the kids, they’d want to take it.”

And lest you think Latin is a one-way chariot ride to The Land o’ Nerds, guess again.

“We have football players, we have cheerleaders,” said Flynn, who teaches at Lincoln-Way Central. “I have the sophomore valedictorian. We have all kinds of kids.”

Maybe best of all, the kids want to be there.

“They didn’t have to take Latin,” Flynn said. “They could have taken wood shop and gotten the same credit.”

But they have good reasons for their interest.

Ferro took it because it’s closest to Italian, which she speaks. Caffarini wants to be a doctor, and knowing Latin will help her in her studies. Cassil also has an interest in science, and because Latin is the basis of all the Romance languages, she said it helps her vocabulary. Mollo said it’s the basis for Western civilization, so we should study it.

It also has a certain cachet to it.

“Not a lot of people take it,” said Audree Riddle, from Elgin High School in Elgin, Ill. “No other language has its own convention. … And when people ask what language you’re taking, you say Latin, and it makes them think.”

The original article is followed by a brief quiz ... while I could guess vesperna (which is only attested once, no?), I had never heard of andabata (interestingly enough).
From icCoventry comes this bit of hype:

AN historic tale of incest, murder and cannibalism is being revealed at a Warwickshire museum this summer.

The amazing story is told on coins found at sites across the county and is now on display at the museum, in Warwick town centre.

Dating from as early as the 1st Century BC, the cash includes Greek and Roman coins brought back by Sir Roger Newdigate of Arbury Hall, Nuneaton from his grand tour of Europe in the 18th Century.

Dr Stanley Ireland, of the University of Warwick and the museum's former honorary numismatist, then late Wilfred Seaby catalogued the coins.

One tells the story of the insane Roman Emperor Caligula who, believing he was the son of a god, had incestuous relations with his sisters, murdered and then ate the offspring.

He was later assassinated after getting on the wrong side of the government.

Dr Ireland said: "Some of the so-called Roman coins are actually fakes created in the 17th Century and every bit as fascinating as the real thing.

"One Roman coin which shows Caligula on one side, and his sisters on the other is in fact a story of incest, murder and cannibalism.

"It is one of the renaissance copies, but it is an extremely good one. In fact, after Caligula was killed his coins were called in.

"If you fell foul of the government name removed from monuments and coins taken in.

"So what was left is in fact extremely rare. They were either coins that were lost or deliberately buried. They had gone out of circulation."

Incest -- we know where that comes from. But cannibalism?
Again, I wonder when this is going to hit the non-print media ... from the Mercury:

Italian prosecutors on Wednesday named a New York art gallery as a key link in what they say was a vast conspiracy to market stolen artifacts that allegedly involved a former J. Paul Getty museum curator on trial here.

Prosecutor Paolo Ferri presented documents and testimony he said proved Manhattan's Merrin Gallery served as a conduit for artifacts smuggled out of Italy by a Swiss-based dealer and then resold to various U.S. museums, including the Getty in Los Angeles.

Calls seeking comment from the gallery were not returned Wednesday.

Former Getty antiquities curator Marion True and art dealer Robert Hecht are accused of receiving and conspiring to deal in illegally acquired antiquities. The defendants, both Americans, deny wrongdoing.

The case against True involves about 35 artifacts acquired by the museum between 1986 and the late 1990s - including bronze Etruscan pieces, frescoes and painted Greek vessels.

The Rome trial is part of a wider effort by Italian authorities to crack down on antiquities trafficking and recover artifacts they contend were illegally stolen or exported from Italy and sold to European and U.S. museums.

Taking the stand in Wednesday's session was prosecution witness Giuseppe Putrino, a Carabinieri paramilitary police officer who took part in the investigation into Gianfranco Becchina, a Basel, Switzerland-based art dealer.

Putrino presented documents seized in Becchina's offices that discussed what he said were Merrin's purchases of various ancient artifacts, including a sarcophagus and a marble head of the 2nd century Roman emperor Commodus. The statue and the sarcophagus were later bought by the Getty, he said.

"Of all these objects there is no trace, no documents of their export from Italy," Putrino said, indicating he believed the objects were illegally smuggled out of the country.

"This is the prosecution's theory: Becchina equals Merrin and from there the artifacts left for various museums," including the Getty, Ferri said.

Ferri didn't address whether there was any direct link between Merrin and True or Hecht. However, he said the Becchina-Merrin relationship was part of a broader conspiracy to traffic in artifacts that involved the Americans on trial.

Putrino also showed judges a 1993 fax from the Merrin gallery to Becchina's gallery requesting that photos of artifacts sent to be shown to potential customers not be marked with the initials "BEC."

"Our deduction was that they were asking not to put the name Becchina because the customers could have understood the origin of these artifacts," he said.

Ferri has asked that Becchina be indicted in the same trial and said he had been convicted in a separate case for receiving and trafficking in stolen art.

Asked by reporters during a break in the session if he would seek the indictment of Edward and Samuel Merrin - identified in court as the father and son principals of the Merrin Gallery - Ferri said a decision had not yet been made.

Calls placed to the home of Edward Merrin were referred to the gallery; there was no listed phone number in the New York area for his son.

Last year in an unrelated case, the two were indicted in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on conspiracy and wire fraud charges for allegedly defrauding major gallery customers out of millions of dollars over a 10-year period.

Lawyers for True and Hecht said that Wednesday's testimony in the Rome court was a broad look on the world of art dealers and had no bearing on their clients.

Efforts by authorities to fight art trafficking go well beyond the Rome court. In February, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return 21 looted artifacts to Italy in exchange for loans of other treasures.

Greece, meanwhile, is demanding the return of four ancient artifacts from the Getty it claims were looted. In a series of raids earlier this month, police found nearly 300 unregistered antiquities in an Athens house and a villa on a remote Aegean island.
A brief item from Basilicata:

I resti di una via romana e di quattro abitazioni dell'antica Lutezia sono stati trovati in pieno centro di Parigi. L'annuncio e' stato dato dagli studiosi dell'Istituto nazionale delle ricerche archeologiche preventive (Irep). Il cantiere ha portato alla luce una via di 6 metri con i marciapiedi e quattro case costruite in epoche diverse. Le piu' antiche risalgono al I secolo d.C. In una abitazione sono state rinvenute terme private.
From ANSA:

A spectacular series of ancient ships unearthed near Pisa and the city's vanished past as a thriving port are the subject of a new exhibition in Rome .

Pisa, Un Viaggio nel Mare dell'Antichita (Pisa, A Journey Into The Sea Of Antiquity) features the reconstructions of two ancient ships and numerous finds testifying to Pisa's long maritime history and its links with the Mediterranean over 2,000 years .

The exhibit was inspired by the unexpected discovery of Pisa's ancient harbour in 1998, when workmen uncovered the remains of an ancient boat while digging the foundations of a new State Railways building .

Since then, an astonishing 20 ships have been unearthed in the area, as well as a host of other items, including navigational instruments, human and animal bones, ropes, incense burners, oil lamps, and writing implements .

The exhibition features a selection of these finds, as well as reconstructions of two of the boats, displayed in the order in which they were uncovered .

The first of these is the Alkedo ('The Seagull'), a six-person rowing boat that sank when the River Arno flooded in around 10AD .

Archaeologists uncovered over 90% of the original structure, now kept underwater in a special wood preservation centre in Pisa .

The next vessel is a river canoe, nearly half of which was still in perfect shape when it was dug up .

This is followed by the reconstruction of a fishing hut from the 1st century AD, displayed with a selection of the plates, pans, oil-lamps, amphorae and terracotta jars that were found inside .

After looking at the flora and fauna from the area, the exhibit then features a series of sections exploring different archaeological aspects to emerge from the digs .

These first of these, "Life On Board", showcases a range of cooking equipment and baggage uncovered from the boats, while "River Life" includes a selection of baskets, fishing equipment and wickerwork .

The next two sections look at items imported and exported by Pisa during its maritime heyday, including amphorae that archaeologists believe contained sparkling wine, as well as a variety of pottery products, in which Pisa did a brisk international trade .

The final section looks at the process of unearthing the finds and explains a project to build a permanent museum in Pisa, expected to open by 2009 .

'Il Porto delle Meraviglie' (the Port of Wonders) as the archaeological site has been dubbed, lies some ten kilometres inland, near the Tuscan town of San Rossore .

Although the cache of boats dates back to between 200BC and 500AD, archaeologists have also found an Etruscan-built stone pier and wooden breakwater from the 5th century BC. Other remains suggest the port may even have been operational as much as 300 years earlier .

From this, experts have deduced that the Pisan port was operational for about twelve centuries, acting as a gateway for routes to Naples, southern Italy, Marseilles and Carthage .

This was a particularly surprising discovery given that scholars were completely unaware of its existence before the ships were unearthed. The port is not in fact mentioned in any surviving documents .

The other remarkable aspect of the Porto delle Meraviglie is the excellent condition of the boats .

Although hundreds of wrecked Roman vessels have been found over the years, only sections buried under cargos of amphorae are usually protected from decomposition. More often than not this leaves only the base of the ship, which tends to yield little new information .

This has also meant that scholars usually only have mercantile vessels to work with, as warships or fishing boats rarely carried the pottery jars .

However the situation at the Porto delle Meraviglie is unique .

In the 5th century AD, devastating floods repeatedly swept the area - once a harbour connected to the sea by river - silting up the site so rapidly that the ships were preserved in outstanding condition .

The conservation process was further aided by the mineral content of the damp sand in which they were buried, together with several strata of clayey soil. These prevented oxygen from reaching the wrecks and triggering decomposition .

The show will run in the San Michele a Ripa Grande complex, where the Culture Ministry is also housed, until May 31, after which it travels to San Sebastian in northwest Spain .
From Kathimerini:

The prosecutor leading the probe into the seizure of hundreds of illegal antiquities at a villa on the island of Schinoussa will travel to Italy soon to exchange information with Italian authorities, sources told Kathimerini yesterday.

The visit of Yiannis Diotis to Italy is considered vital to the investigation as he is expected to gather vital information about the possible involvement of Christos Michailidis, an antiquities dealer who died in 1999, and his British business partner Robin Symes in the affair.

Sources said that some 2,500 numbered photographs of antiquities signed by Michailidis and Symes have been found at the villa. The fact that each photograph has the price of the item and the name of an antiquities dealer written on the back makes the find particularly significant for the probe.

I wonder when this story will break beyond the 'print' media ...
Interesting piece from CSTV:

It's never happened to Hubert Martin, but he's studied it in different forms and knows it well.

Albert Einstein seemed aware of it, but not in the athletic realm.

Events unfold, like a lucid dream, as the universe centers on an athlete for a fleeting few fragments of time. Space is created and consolidated with a whim. Sound stops. Vision fades to black; all you can see is the field of competition, the space you will bend to your own means to achieve your end.

You will crush your blocker, catch the pass, and dash on feet that will scarely touch the ground. You will smash the pathetic offering from the opposition into the gap. Or the wall above it, if you feel like it.

It's your call. You run the show. You run the universe, if for just a spark's lifespan.

"It's a feeling you get where you can't hear nobody," Burton said. "You only see the field. It's like I'm playing me in a video game. I can do what I want to do. It's just me and the person on me.

"I can't hear the fans, I can't see them," he said. "You're at complete ease."

The ancient Greeks had a word for it. They called it "aristeia," which translated means a warrior's prowess or excellence.

They used it to describe the point in a battle when a warrior would reach or exceed the apex of his potential. It was documented on several occasions in Homer's "Iliad," as well as Virgil's "Aeneid." Not that going to war has many commonalities to competing athletically, but competition parallels remain.

"It's as though an individual gets absorbed in an activity, he enjoys what he is involved in," said Martin, a UK professor of classical studies who teaches mostly Greek and Latin literature and language. "There's something moving in him that controls him."

Martin called aristeia "a battlefield rage." He used the death of Achilles' best friend Patroclus in the Iliad as an example of Achilles' aristeia.

"(Achilles) moves into the battlefield rage; he operates in a way that would be totally unthinkable in other human context," Martin said.

Martin likened the warrior's lack of concern for human life, as they kill everything that moves, to an athlete's battling against someone he has a close personal relationship with off the field.

"There is some parallel to the behavior of an athlete where they're competing against their best friend. For a moment, that individual ceases to be their best friend and becomes their enemy or competitive rival," Martin said. "But there are rules to the game in athletics, whether it be football, basketball, soccer, or whatever. Rules that control, if you will, the game-time rage."

The feeling is the same when an athlete incorporates all the hours of abuse he puts on his body, all the battling in practice, all the drills he's run, to the one time when everything is attainable, when the athlete steps briefly outside the sport and becomes for a fleeting moment what all athletes wish to become.


"When you're in the Zone, your routes are perfect," Burton says. "The ball is soft, it looks like a beach ball. It's like no other feeling."

Though the game is the same, the rules are the same, time for everyone else is the same, all the problems for you just melt away and you concentrate on what matters most: beating the person in front of you.

"It's all moving the same speed," Burton said. "You just think ahead to what they're going to do."

It seems like it would be easier in battle or basketball, where the action is fast-paced. A shooter can stay in the Zone for minutes at a time, a la Patrick Sparks' six-for-six 3-point shooting against South Carolina Feb. 18.

"In basketball, I could do anything I wanted to anybody," Burton said, referring to the Zone during his illustrious high school career at Louisville's duPont Manual High School. "The shot goes up, I know I'm gonna get that rebound. It's a different feeling because it's so fast-paced."

But even those experienced with the Zone, like Sparks, lost the feeling from time to time.

Therein lies the one pain in the pleasure of the Zone: how can an athlete bend the game to his will for a period of time, then completely lose it? How close are the parallels between ancient Greek warriors, the most celebrated non-political figures of their time, to present-day athletes, the most celebrated non-political figures of our time?

"The thinking isn't utterly different from some soldiers in combat," Martin said. "Within ancient literature, it's a sense of one's reputation, what others think. Shame is heavier than guilt as a motivating factor."

Is it the same on the athletic field?

"(Athletes are) motivated by the reaction of people on the field, people such as (journalists)," Martin said. "I've read lots of reports on the shame culture operating on the athletic field."

So the answer seems to be that athletes, who are competing on a smaller scale than Greek warriors, stand to lose less than they do, but still can take some damage to their reputation.

Burton said the reason his Zone dissipates is a lack of confidence caused by one mistake.

"You might drop a pass, or miss an assignment," Burton said. "All the confidence in everything you had just gets thrown away when you make one mistake."

There's also the factor that we're talking about an almost paranormal event occurring during such a non-life-defining venture as athletic competition. Why is the Zone the same on the gridiron as it would be on a field of battle?

That's the wrong way to look at it. It doesn't matter if one Zones in during a basketball game, football game, fight to the death or scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins for six bucks an hour. Anything that one trains consistently enough at for a period of time can get repetitive, but if you keep working at it and getting better and better, it gets to be like a video game, like Burton said.

Time slows. No matter what your opponent does, you see it coming and know the right buttons to push, whether on a controller on a PlayStation 2 or within your own body to move your arms and legs, to beat him before he can react.

Burton put it best: "When you're in the Zone, you can do anything you want."
I notice piles of news sources are latching onto the 'Alexander the Great did not found Alexandria' research which is based on lead levels in the harbour. Here's the abstract of the actual study:

It is generally accepted that Alexandria ad Aegyptum was founded ex nihilo in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, rapidly growing into one of antiquity's most opulent economic and intellectual centers. However, ancient texts by Strabo (17.1.6) and Pliny (NH 5.11.62) suggest the existence of a pre-Hellenistic settlement named Rhakotis. This literary evidence has fuelled contentious scholarly debate for decades. Here we present new geochemical data from Alexandria's ancient bay sediments, elucidating unequivocal proof for pollutant lead (Pb) input into the harbor during the Egyptian Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC). A second contamination peak is detected during the Iron Age (1000–800 BC), at the end of the prosperous Ramesses reigns. These findings evidence thriving pre-Hellenistic settlements in Alexandria. During the Greek and Roman periods, we expound the largest Pb pollution ever encountered in ancient city sediments with Pb levels twice as high as those measured in contemporary industrialized estuaries.

Now I know that no serious Classicist will suggest Alexandria was created ex nihilo (and the arguments will continue over the pre-Alexander existence of a library there), but can someone tell me how these researchers can distinguish lead from 'pre-Alexandria Alexandria' and lead from places further up the Nile?
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii: Buried Alive
Exploration of the archaeological site of the city that was encrusted by incendiary ash when deadly Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Archaeological director Baldasarre Conticello takes viewers on a tour of Pompeii's ruins, and visits Herculaneum, which was destroyed by Vesuvius at the same time.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Marvels Part 2
Conquest, lust, murder, revenge--and the power of unrivalled technology. These are the cornerstones in the foundation of the Roman Empire. Yet Rome wasn't built in a day--but in this 2-part special we rebuild it all in just two hours! Extensive state-of-the-art CGI animation helps viewers see Rome's greatest structures the way the ancient Romans saw them. With insights from engineers, archaeologists, and historians from around the globe.
ante diem vi kalendas maias

ca. 89 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cletus

121 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Marcus Aurelius
Ignorantia legis neminem excusat.

Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

(pron = ig-noh-RAHN-tee-ah LAY-ghis NEH-mih-nehm eks-KOO-saht)

Comment: I heard this a lot when I was growing up, especially after I began to
drive. One day while riding with my cousin on a rainy afternoon, his
application of the breaks resulted in very little slowing down on the wet
street. We shot through the intersection and smashed into another car.
Fortunately, no one was hurt beyond bruises. Two cars were totaled.

My father and my cousin's father, brothers, had plenty to say, and while we had
broken no "laws" this saying was quoted more than once in the aftermath. What
my father wanted me to know, as I defended my cousin's driving, is that
"everyone knows that when it's raining you cannot drive the speed limit!" The
speed limit on that street had been 40 MPH, and that's pretty much what my
cousin was doing when we slid through the stop sign.

Laws, both those on the books and those that "everybody knows" (except for 16
year olds)in their best light serve the common good. "Everybody knows" because
everyone has a stake in being safe (road rules), or in building infrastructure
and maintaining services (tax laws), or in protecting the vulnerable (child
protective services, immigration laws, descrimination laws).

What I don't know not only may hurt me, but it may hurt you, too. I love my
individual freedoms as a free citizen of one of the freest lands on the earth.
But, my freedom, what I know and don't know, touch your life--and yours, mine.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
equipoise @

onychophagia @ Wordsmith
Evangelium secundum Iudam

In USA divulgatus est textus in papyro scriptus, quod Evangelium secundum Iudam dicitur.

Ille textus, quarto p.Chr.n. saeculo ortus, transscriptio habetur scripturae, quae iam undevicesimo decennio nota erat. Evangelium secundum Iudam ante triginta fere annos in Aegypto repertum est.

Ex illo evangelio Iudas Iscariotes non fuit proditor, sed egit, sicut Iesus petiverat, et fuit solus ex discipulis, qui Iesum vere intellexit.

Ex Novo Testamento Iudas triginta argenteis acceptis Iesum principibus sacerdotum tradidit, postea autem, paenitentia ductus, argenteis in templo proiectis, laqueo se suspendit.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : Iraniana Res Publica non paret Concilio Securitario de re nucleari
Today's gleanings:

AM at Bread and Circuses continues his look at the Vindolanda tablets ...

Alun has some (semi?)final thoughts on that Bosnian pyramid ...'s N.S. Gill has a feature on Horace ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius presents us with an interesting manuscript portrait of Vergil ...

Hobbyblog has an AE3 of Crispus ... very 'different' looking ...

Troels at Iconoclasm has a really interesting post on inscriptions mutilated by Christians ...

DK at PhDiva has a post on the Panathenaic Games ...

Troels, incidentally, also passed along this Danish cartoon:

Translation: "Werner discovers the gym, where Greek statues work out."
We could be entering silly season ... a press release:

In 2004 a geographer demonstrated the similarity between Ireland and Plato's Atlantis. He suggested that the tale of the island that sank came to Ireland from the North Sea. New geological data may confirm the hypothesis.

By comparing Plato's description with 3-dimensional seismic data from oil exploration, and archaeological analyses of paleoenvironments, a plausible location has been found in the Silver Pit meteorite impact crater. If so, it is not just under the sea, but under the bottom of the sea. This would explain why it has not been found yet: 3D seismic studies is something quite new.

The original hypothesis was presented by Dr. Ulf Erlingsson in the book "Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land." The foreword was written by W. Karlén, professor emeritus in Geography and editor of a scientific journal.

In the book he concluded that "beyond reasonable doubt, Plato based the geographic description of Atlantis on Ireland." However, he also pointed out that the story of the island that sank must have come from elsewhere, and suggested Dogger Bank in the North Sea as a possible source.

Plato wrote that the city of Atlantis was located inside three concentric lakes created by the god Poseidon. Seismic data indicate that such a location may exist on the correct side of Dogger Bank. Furthermore, it is at the correct depth for having sunk at the time Plato claimed--at the very end of the ice age.

Apart from studying a possible historic origin for the Atlantis tale, Erlingsson has recently published an article on the risk for a jökulhlaup from East Antarctica, a prediction that was confirmed by an article in Nature only weeks later. He has also got an article in preparation that proposes a novel explanation for why and how the ice age ended. It is his geographic research into dramatic natural events that has led him to suspect that the tale of Atlantis may have a background in reality.

The new details of the Atlantis hypothesis are presented in a video, which is available for free at

I can read a map ... that doesn't make me a geographer. Why is it always folks who aren't Classicists who are given credibility (it seems) by the media in regards to what Plato wrote?
Yikes. As I wade through stuff, I've got the FoxNews channel on (as is my wont) and Michael Baigent is on the O'Reilly Factor, promoting his new book and claiming to be a historian. If he says "As a historian ..." again, I'm going to gag. For the record, he really didn't say anything of interest other than he rejects references to Christianity in Josephus (with the inflated claim that 'no historian believes them') on the basis that the earliest manuscript is from the 1200s. While one could contest that claim alone, the logic doesn't quite work insofar as he does accept Tacitus, whose manuscript tradition isn't signicantly (for the purposes of this argument) different. By the way, Baigent's degree is in psychology ... I realllllllly resent that people are allowed to claim themselves to be 'historians' just because they look up something old. Putting together something from IKEA doesn't make me an engineer ... heck, even teaching mathematics at the grade school level doesn't make me a mathematician ...
From a column in the San Bernardino Sun comes a somewhat unlikely claim:

To determine the origin of this mirror-breaking business, I first consulted the Old Farmers Almanac. The superstition about breaking mirrors began with the ancient Romans, who supposedly saw their souls while looking at themselves in gazing pools, states the long-trusted resource. If someone threw a stone into a pool, breaking up a gazer's image, it meant seven years of bad luck for the gazer.

Anyone have a source for this?
From KVOA:

The University of Arizona religious studies professor accused of academic fraud has been cleared, school officials said.

Alexander Nava didn't arrange for a student athlete to take an independent study course, according to a redacted report by UA's athletics department released Monday.

The report also said Nava didn't ask the student's other professors to avoid dropping him from a classics course and the student didn't need prerequisites to take other graduate-level classes.

The document will go to the Pacific-10 Conference for a review. The conference may accept UA's findings or conduct its own investigation.

The allegations were revealed after eight UA classics department faculty members signed a vote of no-confidence in Nava, questioning how he handled his classes and asking that he be removed as the interim head.

Nava stepped down but said he did so because of tensions in the classics department, not because of the allegations.

... hmmmm ... to an outsider, it looks like departmental politics is lurking in this somewhere ...
A brief item from Kathimerini, which provides some more things to think about in regards to the illegal antiquities trade:

Following the discovery of hundreds of illegal antiquities at a villa on the island of Schinoussa, the policeman leading the investigation explained to Kathimerini how organized networks are able to turn their plunder into legal ancient artifacts on the international market.

Giorgos Gligoris, the head of the Illegal Antiquities Department of Attica Police, has been leading the probe into how hundreds of unregistered artifacts ended up on the island, south of Naxos. The discovery was made on April 13.

He told Kathimerini that illegal antiquities mainly find their way into collectors’ hands in two ways. The first is when the artifacts are dug up by chance, usually by farmers or shepherds who then try to sell the finds.

The second method involves a more organized operation when international rings, often working to fill requests from collectors, will assign tasks to local illegal antiquities traders.

The rings supply their local collaborators with equipment, money and lists of the types of items they want to sell to collectors, the high-ranking policeman said.

He added it was no coincidence that the largest collection of Minoan artifacts outside Greece belongs to a private collector in Switzerland.

Greece is not the only country where these rings operate but it has particularly stringent antiquities laws. Anyone owning an artifact dating to 1830 or earlier must declare it to the Culture Ministry. Collectors must provide guarantees that they will look after the antiquities. They are also obliged to maintain a list with photographs of the artifacts in their possession. The list must be updated every six months and submitted to the ministry.

Gligoris said most illegal antiquities are taken to Switzerland, where the “laundering” process takes place. This involves either a third party registering the artifacts as objects they inherited or an antiquities dealer declaring that he bought the items from a private collector who prefers to remain anonymous. From that point on, Gligoris said, it is extremely difficult for authorities to trace the loot.

The thing I've never quite understood is the 'fill requests from collectors' aspect, especially as described above. It would be very interesting to know how 'quickly' a request can be filled ...
The incipit of a piece from icSurrey:

BONES of dozens of dogs offered to the gods in Roman times and unearthed in Ewell 30 years ago is an archeological find that has triggered further investigation.

Leading archaeologists are in the village recovering the secrets of lost Roman shrines.

The team of excavators, digging at Hatch Furlong on the Ewell bypass, is being led by Harvey Sheldon of Birkbeck College, University of London, and Jon Cotton of the Museum of London and president of the Epsom and Ewell Local History and Archaeology Society.

The first finds were made in the 1840s in a series of deep ritual shafts cut down into the chalk.

But today's archaeologists will be seeking to uncover more of a stone building and a further deep shaft found in 1977. Shafts like these have been found containing pottery vessels, coins and the bones of many dogs.

Ewell lies on Stane Street - the main Roman road from London to Chichester - and the discoveries in and around Hatch Furlong suggest that a religious complex once existed on the higher ground over-looking the settlement.

Bourne Hall Museum curator Jeremy Harte said: "This is a very exciting opportunity.

"We are looking at one of the most mysterious aspects of life in Roman Ewell - the cult centres where offerings were made to native gods."

The dig is being supported by Surrey County Council, Epsom and Ewell Local History and Archaeology Society, Surrey Archaeological Society and the Council for British Archaeology South East.

"This is a great opportunity for us to learn more about the mysteries of this place using modern techniques," said Caroline Thackray, territory archaeologist in the Conservation Directorate of The National Trust.

... hopefully we'll be hearing more about this one. As far as I can recall, dog sacrifices are pretty rare in the Roman world (associated with Lupercalia, of course, but also somehow associated with the Lares, Pan, and Geneta/Hekate).
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Pompeii: A City Rediscovered
On August 24, in the year 79 AD, the apocalyptic eruption of Vesuvius relegated the memory of the wealthy Roman city of Pompeii to the realms of legend and myth. Take a virtual tour of this vital and fantastic ancient city as we explore its mysteries. Now, new excavations, sound scientific evidence, and extraordinary computer graphics recreate the magnificent city and the cataclysmic eruption that silenced its inhabitants.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Empire in Africa
During the 2nd century AD, Roman war veterans were granted land in Northern Africa as a sign of gratitude from the politicians. This arid climate proved beneficial in the planting of vast olive groves and wheat fields. The area was prosperous and began to take on many aspects of Roman culture. We'll take a virtual tour through some of the numerous wealthy provinces, including the amphitheatre at El-Djem and the ingenious villa built to escape the hot African climate, and aided by state-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics, see them as only the original inhabitants could have.
Bonae mentis soror est paupertas.
(Petronius, Satyricon 84)

Poverty is the sister of a good mind.

(pron = BOH-nai MEHN-tis SOH-rohr ehst POW-pehr-tahs)

Comment: This line comes in the middle of a discussion in the Satyricon about
how making lots of money and being educated or virtuous are so at odds with
each other. The hinge in the argument seems to be that when a person sets out
to live a virtuous life, it's difficult for those around him/her to approve of
it when they are still interested in just having lots of money.

By the end of the discussion, it seems settled: it's much better to have lots
of money. Just another example of the "fun" Petronius is having at his reader's

There's an interesting tension here (which the Satyricon is not intersted in
exploring) between living a good life and having lots of goods. I suppose this
line from the Satyricon might raise the question: where in my own life is my
integrity at stake?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem vii kalendas maias

Robigalia -- an ancient agricultural festival designed to appease the numen Robigo/Robigus who caused mildew

404 B.C. -- Athens surrenders to Sparta, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end (by one reckoning)

68 A.D. -- martyrdom of Mark the Evangelist

1940 -- death of Wilhelm Dorpfeld (excavator of Tiryns)
cadre @ (always wondered about that one)

sporadic @

ombibulous @ Worthless Word for the Day

syncretism @ Merriam-Webster
ALF Romam convenit

Academia Latinitati Fovendae (ALF) in urbe Roma hodie sessionem annuam habet, in qua duo novi sodales, Vibeca Roggen ex Norvegia et Reijo Pitkäranta ex Finnia, inter academicos cooptantur.

Acroasim ?De Latii idea? habet professor Heikki Solin. Praeterea de XI Conventu internationali Academiae agitur.

Conventus ille in duabus urbibus Hispaniae, Alcannizii in Aragonia et Ampostae in Catalonia, mense Iulio habebitur. Argumentum praecipuum erit activa linguae Latinae institutio.

Constat enim linguae usum vivum, qui colloquiis habendis, operibus legendis opusculisque scribendis exercetur, esse viam omnium efficacissimam, qua sermo sive antiquus sive recentior doceatur. (Vide nexum: ALF Conventus XI)

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
A handful of items ...

DK at PhDiva has posted some photos from the excavation of that site at York which was the subject of a recent Timewatch episode (and which I think might be an example of decimation) ... interesting stuff about which I'll hopefully have time to comment on later this week ...

The Poetry Month post by N.S. Gill at today is devoted to Terence ... there's also a feature on the ludi Florales ...

Laudator is pondering the Roman Conquest of Britain ...

I seem to have my 'timing' off with Hobbyblog, so here's a link to the main page ... should be coins for yesterday and today by the time you get to it ...

Bread and Circuses is looking at the Vindolanda tablets ...

Dr. Weevil has an interesting excerpt of a missive from Housman to Gilbert Murray ...

I keep forgetting to mention there's been an update to the Centuries of Darkness site, specifically in regards to the dating of the Ulu Burun shipwreck ...

At the Archaeology Channel, there's an online film about Plovdiv (ancient Eumolpis/Philippopolis/Trimontium) which might be of interest: At the very heart of ancient Thrace, in modern Bulgaria, lies the equally ancient town of Plovdiv. Occupied since the end of the seventh millennium BC, the city has risen from the ashes many times in more than 8000 years. This video tells the remarkable story of Plovdiv from Neolithic to recent times. Captured by King Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, the city became a Roman capital, was devastated by Attila the Hun, rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian, captured by the Bulgars in AD 831, destroyed by Crusaders, and captured by the Turks in 1364.
Somewhat surprisingly (to me, anyway), there wasn't a spate of 'Jesus sightings' during the height of Easter (although the season does continue) ... the latest appears to be an image on a wall in Colombia ...
The erstwhile owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs has died, and as might be expected (for those who know about him) there's ClassCon being mentioned in the reports about his death ... e.g., from the Toronto Star:

Stavro was a guy who grew up the hard way. Worked hard. Got up early in the morning and kept his hands on his businesses. Understood and appreciated the handshake and the back-room deal. Had a reverence for, if not a fixation on, Alexander The Great, as some Macedonian-born persons did (and do). For all the in-person joking you could do with the guy referred to here as the Honest Grocer, his angriest reaction, in our dealings, came when asked if he'd seen the story that historians had uncovered evidence suggesting Alexander The Great was a little light in the sandals. The Grocer definitely didn't want to go there.

Now, he'll spend eternity beneath an image of his hero; his recently finished grave monument in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, one he was proudly describing to friends at a breakfast just this past Saturday morning, has a 22-foot-tall statue of Alexander The Great on horseback atop the mausoleum. There are Maple Leafs, Raptors, Air Canada Centre, horse racing and soccer motifs, as well as four guardian lions and they definitely aren't girl lions. He has the bases covered.

We've mentioned this fixation and grave monument before ... in case you missed it, there's still a photo online ...
From BMCR:

Anne Mahoney, Morice's Stories in Attic Greek

From Scholia:

Jeffrey Rusten and I. C. Cunningham (edd. and trr.), Theophrastus, Herodas, and Sophron: Characters, Mimes, Mime fragments. Loeb Classical Library 225

From RBL:

John T. Fitzgerald And Thomas H. Olbricht And L. Michael White, eds., Early Christianity and Classical Culture: Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe

From the Times of London:

Frederic Raphael, Some Talk of Alexander: A Journey Through Space and Time in the Greek World

Not sure whether this is a review or press release:

Marie Bolchazy (ed.), Classical Considerations, Useful Wisdom from Greece and Rome.




... nothing of interest.
Silentium est signum sapientiae et loquacitas est signum stultitiae.
(Petrus Alphonsus, Disciplina Clericalis, 2)

Silence is a sign of wisdom, and talkativness is a sign of stupidity.

(pron = see-LEHN-tee-oom ehst SIG-noom sah-pee-EN-tee-ai eht loh-KWAH-kee-tahs
ehst SIG-noom stool-TIH-tee-ai)

Comment: If I say much here, I'm just stupid! Surely this is another case of
balance. Silence can be deadly if danger is afoot and I say nothing. Silence
can be cruel if another suffers and my words would alleviate the suffering.
Silence can be a sign of ignorance if I cannot respond because of what I do not

Likewise the opposite. Speaking is so often in our culture just noise that
drowns out the wisdom that would surface if we would be quiet, turn off the
t.v., be still, stop reading, and listen.

My own sense is that there is a rhythm of silence and speaking that we can fall
into with enough practice.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem viii kalendas maias

Vinalia (day 2?)

27 B.C. -- the future emperor Tiberius dons his toga virilis

rebarbative @

oniomania @ Wordsmith

nidus @ Merriam-Webster
Hiems cessit

In Finnia ursi ex somno hiemali experrecti sunt, nam multis in partibus vestigia illorum apud cubile hiemale iam observata sunt.

Post somnum ursis mos est aliquamdiu loco manere antequam longius vagari incipiunt. Densissima est populatio ursina in Carelia septenrionali, ubi ducenti quinquaginta ursi habitare aestimantur.

Certissima signa veris et appropinquantis aestatis sunt aves migratoriae in septentrionem revertentes.

Propter tempestatem solito frigidiorem migratio verna huius anni fuit primum lentior, sed inter ferias pasquales maximi avium aquatilium greges in maris litoribus observati sunt.

Etiam prima hirundo in Finnia meridionali visa est.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, check out Ephemeris : Bellum Christianorum contra Islamicos coeptum esse: hoc censet Osama bin Laden

On the Greek side, there's Akropolis World News: Disturbances in Nepal go on - Muhammad VI sets free 48 prisoners
As April draws to a close ...

Bread and Circuses' AM points us to some mp3 audio guides for Rome and Athens from the Guardian ... there's also some links to things about the new Ara Pacis museum ...

At, N.S. Gill continues the Poetry Month features with one on Lucretius ...

Alun, who appears to have officially (re)named his blog to Archaeoastronomy, has a good post on the damage being caused to medieval artifacts by that guy claiming there's a pyramid in Bosnia ...

DK at PhDiva has a feature on the Artemidorus Papyrus ... there's also a (perhaps cautionary) tale of what happens to things repatriated by museums (specifically, the 'Croesus Treasure') ...

Forgot to mention Father Foster yesterday: It’s a well known story, a she-wolf comes trotting out from the Palatine hill and discovers twins abandoned in a basket on the shores of the Tiber River. She saves them and many years later they found the city of Rome. Our “Latin Lover” spins the tale...

Pro Magistris' MK is also revisiting the foundation of Rome ...

Roman History Books is tied up a bit, but does give some online background links to Gibbon, for those participating in the book chats ...

Various folks are addressing an AIA statement on unprovenanced antiquities ... see, e.g., Paleojudaica (see also this response from the AIA), Thoughts on Antiquity, and the Biblical Archaeology Review people (who have a petition up). [I have to digest all this before I comment on it]

[update: see now the 'official version' at the AIA site]

I think a couple of papers have been added to the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics page (at the bottom, alas; if they're not going to add new material to the top of the page, could someone at least alert them that putting a 'date added' note would be very useful?)
Some nice photos of assorted reenactors celebrating Rome's birthday are available at Yahoo ... a particularly nice one is at Tiscali ...
From Johns Hopkins comes word of what appears to have been an interesting performance by the JHU Classical Club:

The JHU Classical Club certainly had authenticity in mind when they staged a production of Euripides' Cyclops last Saturday in the Mattin Center Courtyard. The play, attributed to Euripides, is the only intact satyr play that has survived to this day. These plays get their name from their chorus of satyrs. Vase paintings and statues show performances of these plays, and here is where the authenticity might ruffle a few feathers. Among other things, a satyr is characterized by flowering garlands, raucous dancing, bacchanalian alcoholism and enormous phallic props. In other words, not a family-oriented sort of outing.

Senior classics major Leigh Lieberman translated the play with her Greek class last year, and added some modern touches to maintain the integral abandon of the play -- expletives and so forth that don't translate directly. The performance was partially a reading, but it tied well into the theme of intoxication (who can remember their lines with a liter of wine in their belly?)

The play is set within the framework of Homer's Odyssey. Greek audiences, much like the literate university students of today, would be familiar with the plot of the epic and appreciate the departures and embellishments therein, a tradition that continues today through works like O Brother, Where Art Thou? Odysseus comes to Polyphemus' island from Troy and finds a dysfunctional family of satyrs enslaved by the Cyclops. Far from emphasizing the peril and tragedy that befalls the hero and his men, the play moves along swiftly through the main action, garnering laughs with clever wordplay and ridicule.

Elwood Wiggins, known about campus as a well-to-do German instructor, takes on the role of Silenus, the old satyr patriarch and slave of Polyphemus. Wiggins easily surpasses his fellow satyrs when it comes to outright depravity, but we forgive him his faults later when the drunken Polyphemus (played by sophomore Lisa Carey) drags him into some farther corner of the cave, calling him his Ganymede. The yelps which echo from offstage leave little to the imagination. Nor do we have much to ponder when the limping, bow-legged Silenus comes back onstage from his rough treatment clutching at his hindquarters.

At one point of the play, as Odysseus plots to burn out his captor's eyeball with a burning spit, it began to rain, in spite of the clear skies. For those in an antique mood it seemed as if the gods themselves desired more debauchery. Or maybe they wished to keep the crowd cool. In any case, the rain was gone as soon as it had come (and as soon as more phalluses began flapping), but it would not be the first instance of the environment playing into the performance. Using the surrounding architecture of the Mattin Courtyard was a good move, as it engaged the audience's perception of distance and height in ways that most stages do not. As Odysseus triumphantly shouts back at the blind Cyclops his true name, his voice is a true shout, defiant and safely away from his captor, and the audience.

However, the audience was often sharply reminded that the performance was in a public
place; more than once, pedestrians sauntered across the whole stage, through the mouth and walls of the Polyphemus' cave, defying stage-physics and common courtesy alike. Sometimes helicopters or sirens drowned out the voices of the actors, but gestures and intonation usually carried the meaning clearly enough.

On the whole the play was exactly what it was meant to be; a good time. It ran the right length of time, the jokes hit home in rapid succession, and there was never a dull moment. All this from the same people who brought us the heart-pounding reading of the entire Odyssey last year on the upper quad (who can forget the steaminess of Odysseus getting with Circe, the fiery chills of digging into Hades, the adrenaline rush of outrunning Scylla and Charybdis?). Okay, it wasn't much for an attention-grabber. Maybe `Cyclops' picks up where last year's noble, if not ill-fated, homage to antiquity leaves off, namely, where it gets boring.

Let's hope these amateur symposiarchs keep up the good work in the coming years. They've taught us something that most Hopkins students fail to realize in their entire lifetimes--that even the Attic Greeks knew partying was an essential aspect to living. After seeing `The Cyclops' I put the ancients' theory to the test, and wouldn't you know? I had a lot of fun, or I think I did, and that's what counts. Now I need some water and an aspirin.
From the (Rutgers) Targum:

Twenty-two students will be initiated today into Eta Sigma Phi, a National Classics Honors Society. The University's chapter is called, "Zeta Epsilon."

To qualify for initiation, prospective members must earn a B or better in a Greek or Latin language course.

The society's purpose, according to its constitution, is to "further the spirit of cooperation and goodwill among members of classical departments and to stimulate interest in the study of the classics and to increase our knowledge of the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome."

Leah Kronenberg, associate professor and undergraduate director of the Rutgers Department of Classics, said local chapters that have been chartered by the society, elect members.

Eta Sigma Phi was founded at the University of Chicago in 1914 and has 182 chapters in the United States.

The initiation will take place between 6 and 8 p.m. in Meeting Room B of the Douglass College Center.
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.

7.00 p.m. |NG| Dawn of Atlantis
Could a real island have inspired the myth of Atlantis? Forensics and modern technology join forces to piece together one of the greatest natural disasters to hit the western world a disaster so great it could have spawned the myth of Atlantis.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Masada
Perched on a plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada is a lonely mountain fortress with a complex meaning and importance to Jewish history. There in 73 AD, according to ancient historian Josephus, a band of Jewish rebels defied the Roman Army. When besieged, they chose mass suicide over surrender. But the incident is subject to wide debate. In a 2-hour special, host Peter Woodward explores the ruins and the latest archaeological polemics on what really happened.

9.00 p.m. |SCI| The Greeks
Our Western world is built on the wisdom and traditions of the ancient Greeks. And while they didn’t seek solutions for practical applications, they tackled the big picture with a scientific approach.
A pile of stuff today:

N.S. Gill points us to some fun/useful materials to celebrate Rome's birthday ... there's also a Poetry Month post devoted to Plautus ... and one on Catullus

Also on the Roman birthday front, a comment to a post at Glaukopidos points us to the Official Blog of PCPB, which might be of interest to the ailurophiles out there ...

CW at Thoughts on Antiquity is also celebrating ...

TM at Iconoclasm celebrates by giving us a personal view of the new Ara Pacis Museum ...

Laudator returns from a brief hiatus with a post about a miser ... and a Latin translation of the Descent of Man ... and something on Halitosis

AM of Bread and Circuses fame overheard a humourous exchange t'other day ...

MG has updated his page of references to the Historical Jesus at NT Gateway ...

In the Latin Zone, GL gives us the titles of some of her student helpers (I might steal some of these) ...

Both TK at Memorabilia Antonina and at DK at phDiva are pondering the Timewatch episode about headless Romans (which I think might be connected to a decimation, but that's just a guess at this point)

DK is also looking at ancient cookery utensils and ancient wine branding (personal note in passing: I've been recently drinking wine mixed with water ... it does change the flavour substantially and makes less-than-palatable wines (the kind your students usually regift you with at Christmas) rather more palatable)

The Stoa points us to a scholarlyish (sorry) review of Rome: Total War ...

William Blathers has something on localization of hexameters ...

Some new mailing lists which I have come across of late: the Stoic Voice newsletter (and related publications) and a Google group devoted to Plato's Apology of Socrates

Tropaion translates something from the Greek version of Kathimerini on the Sacred Society of Ancient Religionists ...

We've posted the last issue of volume 8 of our Explorator newsletter (don't worry, there will be the first issue of volume 9 next week) ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have also been posted ... some other items have also been posted at our Classics Central Forum ...

... and last, but not least, a Dilbert cartoon for all you fans of intercalation:

From Reuters via Yahoo:

Shipbuilders in this small Greek port are struggling with handmade tools and methods used millennia ago to recreate the Argo, the legendary vessel of Jason and the Argonauts.

The absence of modern resources such as electricity and machine tools makes it an exhausting task, but authenticity is an essential part of this experiment in ancient shipbuilding.

"It's extremely laborious work," said builder Stelios Kalafatidis. "We don't have large, proper, modern tools, only our hands and wooden mallets and chisels."

In one of the most popular tales of Greek mythology, Jason and his handpicked crew of Argonauts sailed from Volos, named Iolcos in ancient times, on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the ancient city of Colchis in modern Georgia.

Aided by heroes such as Hercules and Orpheus, Jason overcame monsters and hostile kings on his lengthy mission to snatch the fleece of the sacred golden ram from the dragon guarding it and run off with Medea, the sorceress and daughter of Colchis' king.

The Naudomos Institute, a group of shipbuilders and historians heading the project, is using ancient Greek tools and techniques to build the new Argo, and plans to retrace the mythical journey when the ship is ready.

The team had to ignore everything they knew about modern boatbuilding and employ the same wood and iron tools used by Jason's warriors more than 3,000 years ago.


In Greek myth, 50 Argonauts built the Argo in three months with the aid of the goddess Athena, who placed a magical piece of timber in the prow that could speak and prophesy.

The three modern-day builders say they could use some divine help in recreating the 14th century BC vessel. In 15 months' hard work, they have built only one quarter of the 28-metre (92-foot) ship.

Wooden pegs and wedges hold together the ship's frame and planks. In ancient times, the gaps between the planks were caulked with resin, but the modern builders have mixed the resin with glue to preserve the ship for future generations when it is housed in a museum after its journey.

Whole trees were placed in the hull, said project director Apostolos Kourtis, who searched for days in the same forests as Jason's men to find long, straight trees for the purpose.

"They used whole trees that were bent into shape. We don't do that today," Kourtis said. "Ships were without frames, there was no metal."

Veteran shipbuilder Yannis Perros, one of the team, said he had doubts when he first saw the plans.

"We were saying 'how are we going to build it with entire trees?'" he said. "But it's a durable structure, it will float and travel miles."

In recreating the myth, there were few facts to go on. The story was first written down by Apollonius Rhodius about 11 centuries after the voyage is thought to have taken place.


To design the ship, the modern shipbuilders pieced together images from ancient vase paintings, wall frescoes and references to ships from around the same period, gathered from museums and libraries around the world.

Kourtis said the appearance of the ship was easier to determine than how it was built -- although it helped that shipbuilding methods changed little in ancient times.

"This is experimental archaeology, an investigation, in order to come as close to the original version as possible and say, this is how it most likely was," he said.

The idea of copying ancient ships is not new. A 4th century BC Athenian trireme was replicated by a British scholar in the 1980s, as was the Greek merchant ship Kyrenia, from the same period, by Greek professors.

But their task was easier because the original Kyrenia, very well preserved, was raised from the seabed off northern Cyprus, and ample descriptions of the trireme existed in the literature of the time.

The Naudomos Institute first experimented with ancient shipbuilding in 2004 by completing a smaller Bronze age Minoan transport ship.

Once the Argo is complete, citizens can volunteer to crew the 50-oar ship on Jason's journey across the Aegean, through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea and on to the coast of Georgia.

They face an arduous test, rowing for 10 to 15 hours a day, Kourtis said. "I have no doubt about the ship. The question is whether the rowers will be able to find the strength needed to complete the journey," he said.

This seems somewhat strange ... the Myceneans were using oared vessels of the sort described 3,000 years ago (FilmGreece, which has the rights to film the thing, mention that what is being built is a Mycenean pentekonter (scroll down))... I do wonder about 3,000 year old Greek shipbuilding techiques given that our oldest Greek shipwreck dates from the 4th century or so (i.e. the Kyrenia wreck), as far as I'm aware.
For those of you tired of trying to get bittorrents, the first season of HBO's Rome will be coming out on DVD in August ...
From the News Virginian:

Andrew Key finds the language of Latin both logical and challenging.

“Sometimes Latin is just plain frustrating,’’ said the Waynesboro High sophomore. “Cicero has some long, enormous sentences.”

Latin poetry also has its moments, Key said.

“The poetry has some wonderful things. You would be surprised,’’ he said.

Key has persevered, continuing to absorb the difficult foreign language at a young age and learning as much as he can about Cicero, who is considered the greatest Latin orator and prose stylist.

Key’s scholarship in Latin has drawn the notice of his teacher, Rick Heatley, and has earned Key appointment to the Governor’s Latin Academy, scheduled for this summer in Richmond.

“Andy has phenomenal skills in comprehending Latin,’’ said Heatley, who has been teaching the language for the past four decades.

Heatley said Key’s appointment is prestigious, considering only 45 Virginia high school students are chosen each year for the Governor’s Latin Academy from high schools across Virginia.

The program is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education.

Applicants are evaluated by a committee of Latin teachers based on a Latin grammar test, an essay in English on a topic relating to Latin, and the overall application, said Helen Small, a specialist for foreign languages with the Department of Education.

Key’s teacher said he is only the seventh student in the history of Waynesboro High School to receive an appointment to the Governor’s Latin Academy.

“It’s nice for someone to go from Waynesboro and represent the school along with students from the most prominent high schools in Virginia,’’ Heatley said.

The nearly three-week academy will be held at Richmond’s Virginia Commonwealth University starting June 25.

During the academy, students will be introduced to classical Greek, and study important literature and philosophy.

Heatley said the students also would enjoy Roman banquets and learn from knowledgeable professors.

Key plans to continue his study of Latin although he says he will concentrate on music in college. He is also a member of the Waynesboro High Concert Choir.

He says the challenge of learning Latin helps him in other subject areas.

Heatley looks forward to having one of his prize students in class the next couple of years.

“He will be able to take Latin 4 and Latin 5. Those are the pinnacle of Latin studies, when we look at the greatest poets,’’ Heatley said.
Misfiled this one a couple days ago ... very brief item from SANA:

Homs Ruins Department discovered three Roman caskets in ‘al-Sham Road’ area in the Syrian central city of Homs during digging to build sewage networks, Syrian daily newspaper of al-Thawra said Wednesday.

The Department stressed that the three coffins were covered by stone lids dating back to the Roman period.

It added that these stone covers were put aside and the caskets were replaced by pottery lids, indicating that the caskets were used again for burying at another time in the Byzantine.

I guess we can assume we're talking 'sarcophagi' here ...
From the Evening Mail comes a very strange story:

EXPERTS are pouring scorn on the findings of an archaeologist who says he has discovered a Roman fort in Furness.

Eight specialists wrote a joint letter to the magazine British Archaeology rubbishing Steve Dickinson’s claims about his dig at Urswick.

One of them, archaeologist Ben Johnson from Newcastle University, was site manager during last year’s Furness dig and has not been paid his wages.

Mr Johnson said: “There is no evidence that there is a Roman fort on the site at all. There are no walls, trenches or ditches — nothing.”

Mr Dickinson says his finds are significant and are still being processed.

But other experts signing the critical letter, include Cumbria’s county archaeologist Dr Richard Newman and Lake District National Park Authority’s chief archaeologist John Hodgson, brand Mr Dickinson’s claims as “fanciful”.

Mr Dickinson, who runs the First Light Heritage Agency in Ulverston, organised the dig at Urswick’s Glebe field last year.

As well as claiming to have found a Roman fort he said the site could be Bannaventa Berniae, thought to be where Ireland’s patron saint St Patrick was born.

In the damning letter, published in the current May/June issue of British Archaeology, the experts say: “We do not lightly criticise a colleague’s work, but our passion for the archaeology of the North West has left us with little choice.

“The site has produced very few Roman or other finds, and there is no evidence of Roman structures or military presence.”

They add that the St Patrick theory is currently without substance.

The letter states: “We cannot accept a situation in which the public is being misled by somewhat fanciful interpretations, rather than informed by solid evidence derived from reputable fieldwork.”

Mr Johnson revealed Mr Dickinson owes him more than £3,500 for unpaid work.

An employment tribunal in Newcastle last December gave Mr Dickinson until February 24 to pay Mr Johnson £3,509.34 in outstanding wages or face paying interest.

The money is still unpaid and Mr Johnson is considering taking the matter further.

He said: “He owes me £3,500 and counting. I feel like I’ve been taken for a ride.”

University students and local volunteers also helped on the dig.

Mr Johnson said: “He charged students £100-a-week plus accommodation.

“I know the volunteers also felt let down.”

Mr Dickinson maintains that the dig produced some worthwhile finds.

He said: “We showed about 1,000 visitors — many of them local — around the 2005 excavation.

“Of course not everyone had, or will have, the same take on the Urswick site and project as myself. But the majority of visitors were intrigued, asked thoughtful questions, and were very supportive of our work.

“Large archaeological projects produce large amounts of evidence — all of which takes a lot of time to process through scientific analyses, illustration and writing.

“We aim to produce a report on our 2004/5 projects later this year, or in 2007.

“Our income from UK student volunteers amounted to approximately £4,500. This sum was spent on project administration, equipment, and services, including food for students.

“As part of their training we completed personal assessment forms — confirming their tuition and their capabilities — for their university departments. If their departments were not satisfied with our tuition we would have received a rocket from them.”

Despite the tribunal judgment, Mr Dickinson denied that he was late in paying Mr Johnson.

He said: “Ben Johnson worked for us last summer, having first signed a contract agreeing that his salary would be paid in installments in arrears.

“The balance of his outstanding salary will be paid by mid June.”
From the Leaf Chronicle:

About 900 students dressed in togas and laurels poured into Rossview High School Friday morning to participate in a contest of academic and physical spirit at the state's Junior Classical League annual convention.

Students from middle and high school competed in events ranging from spirit chants, costume and oratory contests and the certamen — a Jeopardy!-like game centered on Latin history.

The convention, hosted for the second consecutive year in Clarksville, is the group's 50th annual celebration.

Ninth-graders Alex Park and Hunter Keane were attending the convention for the first time. They represented Southern Baptist Education Center, a South Haven, Miss., school attending the Tennessee state conference because the Mississippi conference was canceled following Hurricane Katrina.

"It's just cool to come here and see other Latin students," Alex said. "We're not the only ones around."

Hunter said he just plain likes Latin.

The two were excited to see a fellow student compete in the 200-meter track race.

Seventh-graders Eleanor Hudson and Caroline Allen, from Harpeth Hall in Nashville, also were participating in the convention for the first time.

"We just got started taking Latin," Eleanor said. "It's been fun — it's been really different."

Eleanor decided on Latin — rather than French or Spanish — because it's the base of much of the English language.

"I chose it because I wanted it to help me with vocabulary in English," she said.

Shannon Sloan, a league volunteer and event co-chair, said the event is educational and a good opportunity for socializing.

"We believe — because our laws are based upon classics — it's important for students to know about and learn about classics," she said. "It's hard to find clubs that are doing good things."

Sloan said the Junior Classical League is the second-largest national organization.

Thirty-four schools were represented at the convention, and students from Austin Peay State University's Eta Sigma Phi classics fraternity also helped supervise the events.

"It's something to see all these kids here," said Kaye Warren, Rossview High School Latin teacher who was participating in the event for the 41st time.

"A lot of future teachers come out of here."

Tennessee will host the league's national convention in 2007 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Interesting press release:

Network, an eye-opening DVD documentary that focuses on the illicit trade of Greek antiquities is distributed in the US and Canada exclusively through Safe/Saving Antiquities for Everyone. Produced in 2005 by Ioannis Kaspiris, The Greek Film Center, ERT and Anemon Productions, Network mirrors the deeper crisis facing our shared global cultural heritage. The DVD is now available on Safe’s website,

“Network is an ideal means for understanding the illicit antiquities trade and a timely tool to further our mission to raise awareness about the perils to cultural heritage,” says Cindy Ho, president of Safe.

Network’s unique behind-the-scenes look has received acclaim from Archaeology Magazine which highly recommends it, and Roger Artwood, author of Stealing History, said: “From tomb to saleroom, Network is the most hard-hitting account of the illicit antiquities trade I have ever seen on film.”

The film takes viewers from locations in Greece, Southern Italy, and Turkey, straight through to the auction floor at Christie’s. It also highlights important cases such as the Robin Symes affair (linked to antiquities recently seized on the island of Schoinoussa), the Marion True and Giacomo Medici prosecutions, the Euphronios krater, and the Corinth Museum theft.

Network presents revealing interviews with key representatives from the museum world, the collector and dealer communities, academia, journalism and law enforcement: Thomas Hoving, former director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jerome M. Eisenberg, director of the Royal-Athena Gallery, Lord Colin Renfrew, the former director of the Illicit Antiquities Research Center, Richard Ellis, the Former Chief of Scotland Yard's Art and Antique Squad, and Patrick Gildea, an FBI Special Agent, and many others.

The website is worth browsing too ...
... nothing of interest.
Philip Pullman in the Times:

ABOVE ALL, AN EPIC IS BIG. It is about big things — death, courage, honour, war, shame, vengeance. It is about large and public matters — the fate of a nation, the return of a king, the success of an army, the origin of a people. Its principal characters are larger than human beings, and perhaps simpler too: they are heroes. The preservation of an epic is a matter not of private dilettantism but of national importance. It is less precious than literature, but more valuable.

An epic is independent of the identity of its author. Oh, someone eventually transcribes an oft-told tale, sometimes in a highly wrought style, sometimes as a masterpiece of poetry, sometimes in a rough and clumsy version full of repetition or jumbled with contradictions or riddled with gaps; and sometimes a name is attached to it and sometimes that name is, like Homer’s, meaningless, because who composed The Iliad? Homer. Who was Homer? He who composed The Iliad. Perhaps.

And sometimes there is no name at all: Gilgamesh does not even have a Homer.

These days, the author is everything: the book tours, the media profiles, the online interviews, the literary festivals, the signing sessions, the panel discussions promoted by cultural organisations — they could all take place just as happily in the absence of the literary work altogether, because the author as celebrity is all that matters.

But with a great tale of the epic kind, all we need to do is accept the work of the scribe with gratitude, and edit the scattered remains as well as we can; the absence of an author and all the attendant personal appear- ances and lifestyle features and PR ballyhoo is wonderfully clarifying, like the wind from the desert that smells of nothing.

Perhaps the epic is, in some ways, the very opposite of the novel, which began on the page and really came into its own in the era of printing, as a domestic romance enjoyed most happily in solitude and in silence. The oldest epics have something of the declamatory about them: they are more suitably experienced through the ear, perhaps, and in company, than through the eye and in private.

Like theatre, epic is an arena for the hero. Great heroes are uncomfortable in the novel, where the point of view is too close, too familiar, and the lens has exactly the right focal length to pick up the little flaws, the “spots of commonness”, in George Eliot’s phrase. No man is a hero to his novelist. A hero has flaws, to be sure, but they are not on a domestic scale. To see heroes in the frame that best fits the greatness of their nature and their actions, we need to be at some distance from them.

Epic heroes seem to be at some distance from themselves. This realisation lies behind the crazy and yet tantalisingly rich idea of Julian Jaynes who, in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Allen Lane, 1976), puts forward the bizarre suggestion that human beings became conscious in the modern sense only during the past 4,000 years; that until then they heard the promptings of conscience, or temptation, or inspiration, as the voices of gods, coming apparently from elsewhere, with no sense that their own minds were responsible.

He uses the instance of Achilles in The Iliad, experiencing his reluctance to strike Agamemnon as the goddess Athena seizing his golden hair and pulling him back.

Similarly, Jane Smiley, talking of the Icelandic sagas, points out that “they seem far removed from modern literary subjectivity, and yet the gossip and the comments of other characters supply a practical and readily understandable psychological context. Characters speak up, they say what they want and what their intentions are. Other characters disagree with them and judge them. The saga writer sometimes remarks upon public opinion concerning them. The result is that the sagas are psychologically complex and yet economical in their analysis.” (introduction to The Sagas of Icelanders, Viking, 2000).

The human interactions in epic stories are out in the open, where all can see them, with the fresh air blowing through them; there is nothing enclosed, nothing stale, nothing stuffy.

Finally, the epic vision is tragic. Jasper Griffin, discussing a translation of Gilgamesh in The New York Review of Books, recently remarked: “There is no happy ending, even for mighty heroes who are close to the gods . . . This is the true epic vision . . . An older wisdom, and a truer poetry, sees that the highest nobility and the deepest truth are inseparable, in the end, from failure — however heroic — from defeat, and from death.”

So Beowulf dies in the moment of his triumph against the dragon, and King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table go down to defeat in their final battle, and as Hjalti says in Sagas and Myths of the Norsemen in the Penguin collection, “it is not possible to bend fate, nor can one stand against nature”.

Odysseus, safely returned home at last after his 20 years of battle and wandering, will not stay in his cleansed and peaceful palace for good; a time will come when he will want to move on again, although he knows that, as Tennyson has him say, “death closes all”. even Sindbad, that peerless traveller in the realms of wonder, has to succumb in the end, when “there came to him the Spoiler of worldly mansions, the Dark Steward of the graveyard; the Shadow which dissolves the bonds of friendship and ends alike all joys and all sorrows”.

The epic is not a place where anyone lives happily ever after; it obeys a mightier realism than that.

But everything I can say about the epic is instantly and effortlessly contradicted by a list such as this, so rich and so varied. Stories are always wiser than their commentators, as Isaac Bashevis Singer said. In the 60th anniversary year of the first Penguin Classic, it is wonderful to see the old stories as vigorous and as fresh as they ever were.
The plot continues to thicken ... from the IHT:

Prosecutors are investigating whether nearly 300 antiquities seized from a villa on a remote island are connected to a dispute between the Greek government and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the culture minister said Tuesday.

The discovery last week was one of the biggest cases involving antiquities in recent years, and the police suspect that international smuggling rings were involved, Giorgos Voulgarakis, the culture minister, said. He said, however, that there was no evidence supporting media reports of a link between the police raids and a dispute between Greece and the Getty Museum. Greece is seeking the return of four items from the museum, arguing that they were illegally exported.

"It is too early to draw conclusions," Voulgarakis said. "Greek prosecutors are investigating the possible illegal acts linked with the presence in the Getty of the Greek antiquities."

He said this was "one of the most complex cases in recent years" and involved pieces from the Mediterranean and elsewhere. He said many of the items appeared to have been bought at the Christie's and Sotheby's auction houses but none had been declared to national authorities, as Greek law demands.

"There are seals and packaging which indicate that there was commercial trafficking going on," Voulgarakis said.

Police on March 12 confiscated an estimated 280 artifacts during raids at the villa on Schoinousa, in the Cyclades island chain, and at a house in Athens. A Culture Ministry statement said the properties belonged to the Papadimitriou shipping family.

Police made no arrests and said the owners were in London during the raids. Voulgarakis said ministry officials would evaluate the seized artifacts, which included modern copies, before charges could be pressed.

"This may work as an international signal that will sensitize many more people to the problem of the illegal trafficking and possession of antiquities," Voulgarakis said.

The artifacts include a headless marble statue of Aphrodite dating from Roman times; a marble sarcophagus decorated with sculpted human and animal masks; three marble busts; and two granite sphinxes. There also were dozens of marble architectural fragments, many of which were built into a modern chapel on the estate surrounding the villa.
From the New York Times:

In 1983 thieves hacked off the head of an ancient statue of Dionysus that had rested in Mussolini's old villa in Rome and carted the piece away. It turned up in a Japanese museum, and later in a Christie's auction catalog. Yesterday, in New York, the Italian government got it back.

The head of a first-century statue of Dionysus, right, which was looted in 1983 from the grounds of the Villa Torlonia, once a residence of Mussolini.

A consular official swept away an Italian flag to reveal the head, about the size of a large grapefruit, to reporters. Raymond W. Kelly, New York City's police commissioner, and Antonio Bandini, the Italian consul-general, presided over the event at the Italian consulate on Park Avenue.

"On behalf of the New York Police Department, I'm pleased to bring you the head of Dionysus," Mr. Kelly said. Given the popularity of Italian wine among New Yorkers, "it's fitting now we bring Bacchus to where it belongs," he said, using the Roman name for the god of wine and revelry.

Mr. Bandini alluded to Italy's recent stepped-up efforts to recover looted artifacts, most notably a watershed agreement it reached with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In February, reversing a position it had held for more than 30 years, the Met relinquished ownership of a 2,500-year-old Greek vase, considered one of the world's finest, to Italy, along with several other antiquities. The Italians had long contended that the vase was stolen from an Etruscan tomb near Rome and smuggled from the country.

"We are very encouraged to see how there is a new sensitiveness and attention to illegal exportation of artifacts," Mr. Bandini said. "For a long time this has been a contentious issue."

The case was straightforward. On Nov. 30, 1983, according to the Italian government, the sculpture's head and other items were stolen from the old stables of the Villa Torlonia, a 19th-century villa that was a former residence of Mussolini and sits atop Jewish catacombs. The villa and its grounds were acquired by the city of Rome after World War II but suffered from considerable neglect, partly because of a willful attempt to ignore Italy's Fascist legacy. After a lengthy renovation the villa itself was opened to the public just last month.

Lt. Col. Ferdinando Musella, an official of the art squad of Italy's paramilitary police, the carabinieri, said that the thieves undoubtedly removed the head because it was easier to sell on its own. At least 10 other pieces were stolen from the villa around that time, including a marble statue of a robed woman from the first century B.C. or first century A.D., a Roman copy of a fourth-century B.C. Greek statue of Hercules and a marble head probably depicting the emperor Constantine.

The head of Dionysus, which is badly worn and has a garland of flowers, dates from the first century A.D. Colonel Musella said it appeared not to have suffered any further damage. It was acquired sometime before 1990 by a Japanese museum that went out of business several years afterward, Mr. Kelly said. He did not identify the museum.

The head then appeared in the Christie's catalog. Kate Swan, a spokeswoman for Christie's, said the marble head was consigned to the auction house in September 2002 and was scheduled to be sold on Dec. 12, 2002. It was estimated to bring between $15,000 and $20,000. Ms. Swan said Christie's had a policy of not identifying consigners.

Before the sale Christie's received information that the item might have been stolen, and it was withdrawn, she said. Christie's then contacted the police, who began a long inquiry. After they alerted Rome, the carabinieri checked their roster of stolen items and made a match.

"This was a case where the system worked," Ms. Swan said.

Mr. Kelly said the New York police struggled to trace the statue's provenance but initially had no luck, only closing the case last month after laborious efforts. Of the 23 years since the theft, he said, "It's a mere blink of an eye for a guy whose likeness goes back to the first century."

A photo accompanies the original article ...
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Treasures of The Ancient World: Carthage
Join us for an exploration of the wonders of the ancient city of Carthage, which stood on the northern coast of Africa, near modern-day Tunis. The earliest artifacts unearthed by archaeologists date from 800 BC. Now, we provide an unique glimpse of the "New City" (in Phoenician, Qart Hadasht; Cartago to the Romans), including the mighty walled fortress of Byrsa, which overlooked Carthage's splendid twin harbors. Some of the world's leading authorities provide interpretation and analysis, including Dr. Chris Pelling of University College, Oxford; Nicholas Purcell of St. John's College, Oxford; Henry Hurst of Churchill College, Cambridge; and Professor T. Weiderman of Nottingham University. Features new location footage, stylish reconstructions, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation sequences.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Decisive Battles: Birth of the Roman Empire
In 197 BC, the classic military conflict between the ancient world's two dominant military systems took place in a chain of hills called Cynoscephalae (Greek for "Dogs' Heads") in Thessaly, Greece. King Philip V led the Macedonian phalanx, the fighting force that conquered the world under Alexander the Great. Titus Quinctius Flaminius led the Roman Legion, the classic mobile heavy infantry unit that was to hold the Pax Romana for centuries to come. The two sides met in the fog in a battle that ended the Second Macedonian War.

8.30 p.m. |HINT|Command Decisions: Battle of Alesia
In a bold move for political power, Julius Caesar invades Gaul. Using a strategy of divide and conquer, Caesar's army marches through Gaul and seems unstoppable. But then, a young Gallic warrior named Vercingetorix rallies the Gauls together to drive Caesar out of their land for good. Armed inside the Gallic fortress at Alesia, with thousands of warriors, it seems that Vercingetorix has the advantage when Roman and Gallic forces face off. But Caesar will not give up. He orders his troops to surround the fortress with a massive barrier. When the armies finally clash, it's a showdown that will determine the fate of Gaul.

9.00 p.m. |NG| The Gospel of Judas
Discovered by chance in the 1970s, a document that lay hidden for nearly 1,700 years emerges today as the only known surviving copy of "The Gospel of Judas." The Gospel of Judas traces the incredible story of what has happened to the document since it was found, the recent authentication process, and key insight gleaned from its translation and interpretation. The research will reveal fascinating details contained within the document as well as key sections translated from its ancient Coptic script.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Chariots of War
The city state of Assyria regained its lost empire. With a formidable army of chariots they rapidly dominated the Near East. Experts attempt to recreate the chariots of the Assyrian military machine, following the changes in design over 300 years.
ante diem xi kalendas maias

Parilia (a.k.a. Palilia) -- originally a festival in honour of Pales (who protected shepherds and their flock), it eventually evolved -- in the city of Rome, at least -- into a 'birthday of Rome' celebration

753 B.C. -- traditional date for the foundation of Rome

43 B.C. -- pro-Caesarian forces "under" Octavian defeat the forces of Marcus Antonius at Mutina

47 A.D. -- Claudius celebrates the ludi Saeculares (?)

148 A.D. -- Antoninus Pius celebrates the 900th anniversary of Rome

248 A.D. -- Philip Arabus celebrates the 1000th anniversary of Rome
coronation @

caveat @

lychnobite @ Worthless Word for the Day

magnum opus @ Wordsmith

stentorian @ Merriam-Webster
Comitia Italiae parlamentaria

Septimana vergente in Italia comitia parlamentaria habita sunt. Quorum victor evasit Romano Prodi, praeses coalitionis factionum mediae et sinistrae, cum Silvio Berlusconi, princeps minister Italiae hodiernus, et fautores eius cladem acerbam acciperent.

Eventus electionum tam aequalis erat, ut discrimen suffragiorum ambabus partibus distributorum nonnisi viginti quinque milium fuerit.

Victoria tamen Romani Prodi, cum diu filo tenuissimo pependisset, die Martis vesperi officialiter confirmata est.

Prodi ipse, dum se victorem comitiorum clamat: "Hodie", inquit, "pagina vertitur. Hic est triumphus democratiae Italiae, eo magis, quod cives tanta frequentia ad urnas ierunt sententiam suam laturi."

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Sine doctrina vita est quasi mortis imago.
(Dionysius Cato 3.1)

A life without learning is almost the image of death.

(pron = SEE-nay dohk-TREE-nah WEE-tah KWAH-see MOHR-tis ih-MAH-go)

Comment: Someone whose life and work I deeply respect often reminds me: "The
true teacher cannot teach you anything ... but can only remind you of what, on
some level, you already know ..."

This would seem to go against what I do as a teacher in a classroom apparently
teaching students things they don't know yet. That is what I do.

And, it's not. I am finding, the longer I teach, that I really am not teaching
students things about Latin (or other dimensions of life, communication,
culture, etc) that they don't know anything about. When we all, the so called
"teacher" and the so called "students" sink deeply into who we are and what we
are gathered to do, we begin to have "aha" moments. I am learning to read
these aha moments not so much as that the student has learned something new,
but that "getting it" (as middle schoolers call it) means that they have
finally connected and "re-membered" this thing they already knew.

Consider this: can we really recognize anything that we don't, at some level,
already know? What does "recognize" mean? From the Latin, of course it means
to "know again". So, when I teach a student that Latin direct objects are in
the accusative case and that often means an "m" on the end of the word, and the
student "gets it", have I taught him/her something new, or have I simply
assisted in his/her re-membering?

I am asking questions only rhetorically. This is the conclusion that I come to
over and over again. And from this view point, a life without learning, that
is, without erudition (drawing things out of your raw, undeveloped self, from
your beginnings), we really are dead.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
Happy birthday Rome!

N.S. Gill continues her poetry month posts with a look at Juvenal ... there's also a brief item on the legendary origins of feta ...

MG at the NT Gateway wades in on the 'dis-integration of Biblioblogdom' conversation (I'm having problems connecting this a.m. ... I hope this link works) ... EC's comments at Ralph might also be of interest ...

AM at Bread and Circuses has another post on the Ara Pacis ...

Curculio has a pair of epigrams about Timon (again, I'm having problems connecting ... there must be a hub down somewhere in the northeastern U.S.)

GL posts her Latin Week cheat sheet in the Latin Zone ...

Over at Memorabilia Antonina, TK clarifies that whole theatre-amphitheatre-Colosseum thing which many media outlets seem to have problems with ...

Since it's such a slow news day, folks might want to visit BibliOdyssey and look at the latest example of illuminated manuscript posted there (which links to more!)
This one almost caused my breakfast to be spewed all over my computer screen ... from the Palatine Countryside comes this excerpt on the origin of coloring Easter eggs:

According to her own religious research, Wicklund said the custom of coloring eggs began with biblical figure Mary Magdalene when she presented Roman emperor Tiberius a red egg in Rome to announce Jesus Christ had arisen.

"She may have been aware that the Romans would know the meaning of the egg as something that brings forth life from a sealed chamber," said Wicklund, referring to the sealed tomb Christ was placed in.

"It was an intelligent choice because it was something the Romans would have understood," she said.

... this appears to be a traditional view in Orthodox circles, according to a quick glance at Google ...
I think we've mentioned this one before ... this gives a few more details (especially for those of us who can't seem to get the TV program on it) ... from the Yorkshire Post:

EVEN to experts in ancient mystery, it was a shocking Cold Case File.
The complete skeletons of dozens of men – many of them beheaded – were found buried in a Roman cemetery under Driffield Terrace, near The Mount, York, two years ago.
Most were discovered by York Archaeological Trust during investigations before houses were built in the area.
More were found under a nearby back garden where a patio was to be laid.
From the moment they were found archaeologists knew there was something strange about them.
Removed heads were placed in odd positions – between knees, on chests, or down by feet.
Further investigations revealed they were all men – aged 20-40 – who had been in good health. None was local. Dental examinations confirmed they came from as far afield as Africa, Europe, and the Mediterranean.
Could the men have been decapitated post mortem in a ritual, experts wondered? The dead would often have their heads removed to prevent them returning to haunt the living.
But now a painstaking investigation by a team of experts for the BBC's Timewatch has established that the men were beheaded while still alive.
Martin Stockwell, Field Work Manager for York Archaeological Trust, said 56 skeletons had been recovered from the house-building site, and more than half of them had their heads removed. In the back garden, they found 24 skeletons, 15 decapitated.
Evidence by York based pottery expert Vivien Swan suggested the graves dating from the early third century AD.
Mr Stockwell added: "It looks like a cemetery for some specific purpose. But whether they were gladiators, or early Christians, or troops I doubt we will ever know.
"They were not buried with any particular grave goods.
"One had iron shackles around his ankles, indicating they were prisoners. It was not a mass grave.
"They were individual skeletons in individual plots, and not all in supine positions."
The wounds of those beheaded were terrible.
"It was done very messily in some cases with multiple cuts to the vertebrae and did not look like the precise ritual beheading of Roman cults," he added.
The next theory was the decapitated bodies were casualties of a war being fought at the time by Emperor Septimius Severus against the Scots.
However, bone specialists did not think the injuries were caused by war.
The latest idea – by historian Anthony Birley – is the men were the victims of a blood feud between Emperor Severus's sons, Caracalla and Geta, who both wanted to be Caesar after his death in York in AD211.
Mr Birley, whose brother Robin runs the Vindalanda site on Hadrian's Wall, notes that Roman historian Cassius Dio records that Caracalla went on a killing spree, executing even members of the Royal household including doctors, a chamberlain, and the family tutor.
For the programme, Prof Charlotte Roberts, a leading osteoarchaeologist with many years of experience in analysing human remains, confirmed what Kate Tucker, bone specialist for York Archaeological Trust, already suspected, that the men were executed.
Prof Roberts, based at Durham University, said: "This is an amazing site because there were so many decapitated.
"Usually in a cemetery site you only get one or two.
"It was quite clear from the cuts to the neck, vertebrae, and parts of the skull they seemed to have been beheaded from behind.
"People can have their heads cut off after death but the fact they had been done from behind suggested they were still alive at the time."
She added that the techniques used in the investigation had been similar to those used by forensic scientists on murder victims.
"So it will be a pretty gruesome programme and I expect it will get a lot of viewers," she added.

I wonder if anyone has suggested that this is an example of decimation ...
From the Daily Star:

A pair of beetle-shaped gold earrings, finger-sized glass flasks, glass and bronze rings, scattered gold leafs - some twisted into the shape of a mouth or eyes - iron nails, and remains of skeletons were just some of the "treasures" recently unearthed in Baalbek from Roman-era burial caves - each piece carrying its own tale from the past.

Burial sites and the artifacts found within have been the "most critical records of the past," - shedding light on long lost practices and traditions.

"We just keep dipping into a paradise of treasures from the Roman-era," said archaeologist Khaled al-Rifai, who heads the archeological team sent by the "General Antiques Department" to accompany the construction company working on a sewage network in Baalbek because of its archaeological importance, and who have been making headlines this month with their series of discoveries of Roman-era treasures dating from the 2nd or 3rd century AD.

The latest find was announced on Wednesday, where a "5-by-4-meter rectangular shaped Roman tomb" near the north entrance of the city was unearthed.

"Each burial site has its own story, and there is no uniform design, in the same way each person designs his home to his own preferences, people in the past designed their tombs according to their status and location," said Rifai, explaining that this tomb had a "pillar" in the center, indicating that the building blocks in that location were weak and needed support.

Like the Greeks and Egyptians before them, the Romans commonly used bronze. It comes as "no surprise" to find bronze accessories and artifacts in Roman burial sites.

In this particular excavation a pair of bronze earrings, bronze rings, and bronze coins, along with broken and corroded bronze pieces were found scattered about the tomb.

"The coins discovered are very significant as they will have a date on them and will help us pinpoint the exact date the tomb" was built, said Rifai.

Besides the treasures, several skeletal remains were found, indicating the tomb was used "more than once," contrary to the more "exclusive underground tomb" found earlier this month in Kayal 4 kilometers from the Baalbek ruins in northeastern Lebanon, and 100 meters underground, unearthed by laborers working on the infrastructure of a sewage canal network.

"It is the first time we find an intact and closed Roman tomb that appears untouched by notorious grave robbers who have stolen pieces of our history," said Rifai in regards to the underground tomb where most of artifacts found were made of gold.

"This particular burial place is rare in its structure as it lacks the usual arches that are common in graves of that era, and it is more like a perfectly squared box," he said.

The team also unearthed two skeletal remains, apparently remnants of bodies buried in a wooden Roman sarcophagus of which only the iron nails survived. Rifai wouldn't elaborate anymore on the skeletons until they have been further analyzed in specialized DNA labs.

"Romans loved gold, and one of their burial practices was to be buried with some golden artifacts, and the more gold found in their grave, the wealthier the deceased was in life," he said.

Seventy-nine gold leafs - thin circular sheets of gold - were found fashioned into various shapes, such as a mouth, eyes and nose, and placed "almost like a mask" on the deceased's face as an "honorary gesture of the person's most cherished senses," along with placing the head upon a pillow of gold leafs in the shape of plants and flowers.

A pair of gold earrings shaped like beetles - thought to be "lucky" if not "holy" insects - were also found, implying perhaps one if not both of the skeletons found belonged to a female.

"The Romans, like many of the former civilizations, placed great importance on how one "looked" as one passes on to the afterlife, and hence many decorative artifacts were buried along with them," said Rifai.

The Romans apparently didn't just like to "look" nice, they also liked to "smell" nice during their passage.

"There were 11 finger-sized glass flasks found that may have contained ointments or perfumes to accompany the deceased on their journey," said Rifai.

But there is also another possibly, added Rifai, where there is a myth that the flasks contained "tears" collected during the funeral from the attendees, and "the more flasks, the more people cried and well, the more the person was loved."

Missing from the grave are coins usually used symbolically as the means for "paying for the journey to the afterlife."

One of the more unusual discoveries was the glass ring, which, while not as valuable as the gold artifacts, is a rare find and "remains a mystery."

"It is of white glass and it is the first of its kind as rings are usually made of bronze, and I suspect there is a nice story behind it that we still have to discover," said Rifai.

As for the scandal of an archeological basin being stolen from Baalbek, Rifai said it is all a misunderstanding.

"The basin in question is a cultural Arab piece from one of the old houses near the cave, and is not an antique as it is not even a 100 years old. There are hundreds of them in Baalbek used as flower pots or even in washrooms," he said, criticizing the media for misleading the readers and for "making a fuss over a common piece of pottery."

Nonetheless, Culture Minister Tarek Mitri, vowed to "search for the stolen basin, along with extra security to be stationed at the burial site."

In addition to the burial site, three 8-meter-long colorful Mosaic floors from the Arab conquest era were also found nearby within days of the burial site's discovery, in the Khaleel Mitran Saha.

Mitri said the find is "well guarded" will eventually be turned into a "special archeological open garden for tourists."

"We are lucky to have an almost abundant wealth of treasures in Lebanon, and have to do everything to protect and preserve them all," said Mitri.
From the Tucson Citizen ... fallout from that 'favouritism' case at the University of Arizona:

A top UA administrator is reviewing independent study courses after several classics department professors complained of preferential treatment for a Wildcat basketball player.
Jerry Hogle, University of Arizona's vice provost for instruction, informed classics and religious studies professors he will determine how such courses are typically handled.

The review comes one week after UA's athletic department began investigating accusations that religious studies professor Alexander Nava allowed a student-athlete to enroll in a graduate-level independent studies course without proper prerequisites.

The student has not been named, but only basketball guard Chris Rodgers fits the description of the student referred to in a letter of complaint.

Eight classics professors signed a letter questioning the way Nava has handled classes.

Nava stepped down as interim classics department head last week. He said the resignation has nothing to do with alleged favoritism or concerns about his courses, and that he's done nothing wrong.

UA Provost George Davis asked Hogle to complete the review, Hogle wrote in a memo dated Tuesday.

As the memo states, Hogle will try to answer questions such as:

● Does "great variation" exist in ways UA policies are followed?
● Do all such courses demand the same workload per credit hour as regular courses "as our policy says is supposed to happen?"
● How many independent courses do classics professors typically teach each year, and what is the normal amount of units for each?

UA and state Board of Regents policy indicates that students must commit 45 hours of work for each unit granted.

The student and faculty member must specify how many hours will be devoted to the course per week and how often the two will meet. They also must describe the project the student will complete.

Beginning with records of this year's independent studies courses, Hogle will have individual meetings with faculty.

Hmmm ... maybe I'm biased (of course I am), but shouldn't these questions be asked of ALL departments, not just Classics?
10.00 p.m. |DTC| Mystery of the Persian Mummy
Encased in a gilded wooden coffin inside a stone sarcophagus, a Persian princess mummy over 2,600 years old was found. Follow the discoveries that turned this archaeological treasure into a murder hunt.
Mens et animus et consilium et sententia civitatis posita est in legibus.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Pro Cluentio 53.146)

The mind and soul and purpose and feeling of the state have been placed in our

(pron = mehns et AH-nih-moos et kohn-SIH-lee-oom et sehn-TEN-tee-ah
kih-wee-TAH-tis POH-sih-tah ehst in LEH-gih-boos)

Around this sentence from Cicero's speech on behalf of Cluentius, he argues for
the necessity of law. He is responding to another who has suggested it
scandalous when the law is followed for one person but bended or ignored for
another. He rejects that to say what is even more scandalous is the departure
from the law in the very state whose existence depends on the law. Just prior
to our excerpt from Cicero, he says:

"(The Law is) the bond of this dignity which we enjoy in the republic, this is
the foundation of our liberty, this is the source of justice."

And in our quotation--the very mind, soul, heart and purpose of the Roman
poeple, he claims is embodied in the law. To depart from the law would then be
likened to self-destruction.

Cicero makes a very strong case, and it is difficult to argue with it. I will
point out, however, that he wrote at a time when there was very little sense of
individual rights in comparison to the state. The Romans whose mind, heart,
soul, and intentions are emobodied in the law included only men (and largely
wealthy men). It did not include women (even women who were citizens). It did
not include slaves who at times were as numerous as citizens. It did not
include children. It did not include foreigners living in Rome. In fact, that
same law kept all of these groups under the control of the men whose ideas it
did protect.

Rule and law can be a vehicle that helps people live and work together--if they
work for all people.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem xii kalendas maias

ca 117 -- martyrdom of Servilian and Sulpicius
ab initio @ Merriam-Webster

conspectus @ Wordsmith

paradiastole @ Worthless Word for the Day

patina @

The Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature this week looks at legendary Greek guys ... and Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies is always worth a look ...
De sanctionibus Unionis Europaeae

Ministri Unionis Europaeae Alexandrum Lukashenko, praesidentem Belorussiae, aditu in fines Unionis prohibuerunt, cum ei syngraphum denegarunt.

Huc accedit, quod etiam undequadraginta ministris et curatoribus comitiorum Belorussiae interdictum est, ne terras Unionis obirent.

Talis poena eis ferenda est pro electionibus praesidentialibus, quippe quarum fides valde dubia sit.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

On the Greek side of things, Akropolis World News has some new headlines: Half of Rio inhabitants would leave the city - F. C. Barcelona beats A. C. Milan
As April rapidly slips away ...

Bread and Circuses gathers some links about the Domus Valeriorum ... there's also an interesting post on the possibility of Varus ille being depicted on the Ara Pacis ...

N.S. Gill is talking about Sappho ...

This is kind of interesting ... Jim West suggests the Biblioblogging community is dis-integrating ... Thoughts on Antiquity has some good thoughts on the matter ...

Glaukopidos has some info on the Medea Project ...

Laudator highlights some errors in Hendrickson's Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus with a very nice image of Fides (of the military variety)

... Alas, we note the demise of Beneath the Ruins ...
Must be followup day ... my box is filling up with Bosnian Pyramid news ... here's a brief report from the Scotsman (more in this weekend's Explorator, if not before):

RESEARCHERS in Bosnia yesterday unearthed the first solid evidence that an ancient pyramid lies hidden beneath a massive hill.

A series of geometrically cut stone slabs that could form part of the structure's sloping surface were found yesterday at the mysterious hill near the central Bosnian town of Visoko.

"These are the first uncovered walls of the pyramid," said archaeologist Semir Osmanagic.

"This is the crucial proof that we are talking pyramids."

Yahoo has a slide show accompanying their coverage. Although the slabs possibly do look cut, I'll remain skeptical until they can show me a 'corner' (i.e. where two faces of the 'pyramid' come together). But as long as we're identifying 'geometric slabs' as man made, we should point out the existence of an apparent pyramid in Oregon; heck, we might as well suggest there must be a pyramid on Mars ... or we can all just say 'columnar jointing' and get it over with.
Another story involving the fine folks from ACE Coins ... from the Enquirer:

A group of Hartselle High School students is using elbow grease and research skills to unearth pieces of Roman history.

Beth Chittam's Latin II classes are currently participating in the Ancient Coins for Education (ACE) project to attribute and study 50 ancient Roman coins. Students have scrubbed, soaked and polished away more than 1,600 years of grime to be able to identify their coins and begin the research phase of the project.

"This is a very valuable project," Chittam explained. "This is our first year to work with ACE and the kids have lots of questions. I'm learning with them."

According to ACE, the coins come from a period of the Roman Empire when inflation was rampant and emperors resorted to mass production of small bronze coins. The coins were an affordable means for students to experience a direct connection to an ancient civilization.

"By identifying their coins, students are studying Roman grammar, culture and history," Chittam said. "This is such a good way to bring history to the students from somewhere other than a textbook."

Students use a resource CD and online discussion groups to aid in their research of the emperor, inscriptions and reverse images on their coins. All data is recorded and sent to ACE at the end of the project.

Sophomore Leah Craft was the first student in Chittam's class to identify her coin.

"It's the Falling Horseman and its date is 348 A.D.," Craft explained. "The inscription means 'A restoration of happy times.' I was excited to identify it."

ACE, a non-profit charitable organization, is supported by dealers and private numismatists who were concerned about the future of classical education. Last year, ACE distributed coins and study materials to more than 100 schools across the U.S., Canada and England.
The followups continue ... here's one about the stadium at Olympia (from News24) which strikes me as interesting for what is isn't saying as much as what it is:

An archaeological committee has denied permission to hold an international athletics meet at Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic games, authorities said on Wednesday.

The Culture Ministry's Central Archaeological Council ruled late on Tuesday that the event, planned for May 21, and arrangements to accommodate 15 000 spectators could damage the historic site.

"We have approved that a medal awards ceremony can be held at the site but the games must be held outside the archaeological area," said Christos Zachopoulos, general secretary of the Culture Ministry.

Officials from the Hellenic Olympic Committee hope to hold an annual track event at Ancient Olympia after the successful staging the shot put contest there during the Athens 2004 Olympics - for the first time in 1 600 years.

... so how come this event might damage the site and the Olympics didn't? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm ....
Another plot is thickening ... from the Beacon Journal:

A lawyer charged with raising money to pay off the bankruptcy debts of an art and antiquities dealer offered a glimpse Wednesday of several small, brown bits of papyrus that may be part of the ancient Gospel of Judas.

Potential historical and religious significance aside, R. Scott Haley's court-appointed task is to pay Ohio collector Bruce Ferrini's creditors. Whether the fragments that ended up in a bank vault in downtown Akron are genuine remains in question.

Haley said he has no immediate plans to go through a time-consuming, expensive authentication process. He also said he wants to draw attention to Ferrini's assets, but hopes the fragments will not have to be sold and can be returned to him.

"I think there is obviously enormous historical interest in these items," Haley said, displaying a few of the fragments, some with text visible, in a law office conference room.

A roughly 1,700-year-old text about Judas, one of several such documents found in the Egyptian desert in 1970, was preserved and translated by a team of scholars, then made public by the National Geographic Society about two weeks ago.

The announcement drew worldwide attention, telling a far different version than that in the four Gospels in the New Testament. It portrays Judas not as a sinister betrayer but as Jesus' confidant, chosen to be told spiritual secrets that the other apostles were not.

Haley said a National Geographic photographer who saw the Gospel of Judas pieces also saw the ones in Akron and made the link. National Geographic spokeswoman M.J. Jacobsen, however, was not willing to draw any such conclusion.

"The fragments (in Akron) would have to be authenticated, and I don't know if that's happened, so I don't really have a comment," she said Wednesday.

Haley took control of Ferrini's properties in order to pay creditors, including FirstMerit Bank, where the fragments are stored. He said he can't try to sell them until a tug-of-war over ownership is resolved. The Geneva, Switzerland-based Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art also claims ownership.

Mario Roberty, who leads the Maecenas Foundation, said he was informed about the bank vault discovery Tuesday. It was unclear if any of the fragments corresponded specifically, but a number of the fragments clearly came from a volume of papyrus documents sold and later recovered from Ferrini, Roberty said.

Roberty promised to fight any attempts by Haley to sell the fragments, saying Ferrini had agreed to a complete return of his purchase to a Zurich, Switzerland-based art dealer who worked with the Maecenas Foundation.

"We have immediately announced a claim," he said in a telephone interview.

At issue is whether Ferrini returned all the materials he had in his possession. Ferrini contends the fragments in Akron are from another source, not the foundation, Haley said.

Roberty said Haley had cooperated in allowing photographs to be taken of the fragments. He said translators are examining those photographs to see where they might fit in as missing pieces to the gospel.

If the fragments are sold, Haley said their worth could be enormous.

"It would be the kind of thing that you would see a private collector or museum show interest in, and as you know, in the antiquities market that value is only determined once you start obtaining offers," he said. "It certainly could be in the millions of dollars, if we got to that point."

Some additional info in a piece in the Plain Dealer ...
From an FSU press release:

This summer, Nancy Thomson de Grummond is heading back to Italy—just as she has done nearly ever year since 1983. Although she will be spending plenty of time in the sun, this is no vacation: De Grummond, the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics at Florida State University, will be leading another group of FSU students into the Tuscan countryside to learn more about the region's ancient residents, the Etruscans.

De Grummond serves as director of excavations at an Etruscan archaeological site, Cetamura del Chianti, under the auspices of the FSU Archaeology Programs in Italy. Currently she is sharing much of what she has learned about the Etruscans in two new books. "The Religion of the Etruscans," published this spring, was written and edited by de Grummond and Erika Simon, another expert in classical archaeology who served as the Langford Family Eminent Scholar in Classics at FSU in 1999. The second book, "Etruscan Myth, Sacred History and Legend," will be published later this year.

"The Etruscans are fascinating to me in part because they left so few clues behind," de Grummond said. "We know a great deal about the ancient Greeks and Romans because so many of their texts were preserved. However, no Etruscan texts have survived.

"For a classical scholar, this poses a wonderful challenge. Much of what we now know about these people comes from digging into the ground and making sense of bits and pieces of pottery and other artifacts."

In their time—which was roughly between 1000 and 100 B.C.E. ("Before the Common Era")—the Etruscans were the most prominent culture in Italy, controlling virtually the entire peninsula. Along with the ancient Greeks, the Etruscans developed the first true cities in Europe. They also taught the alphabet to the Romans—and, ironically, gave them what are now known as "Roman" numerals. In addition, highly advanced temples, roads and sewers were built by the Etruscans at a time when their Roman neighbors still were considered savages.

From bits and pieces of inscriptions on mirrors, pottery and other artifacts, researchers have developed a convincing picture of the Etruscan religion. In "Religion of the Etruscans," de Grummond and her co-editor, Simon, have compiled that body of knowledge into a single volume—a significant step in understanding who the Etruscans were and how they influenced our world.

"We know that the Etruscans recognized many gods, who lived in 16 regions of the Etruscan heaven," de Grummond said. "A number of these gods have definite parallels to those from Greek and Roman mythology. For example, the highest Etruscan god, known as Tinia or Tin, roughly equates to the Greek god Zeus and the Roman god Jupiter."

Other archaeological clues indicate that animal sacrifice was practiced, and that soothsaying priests, known as haruspices, closely examined the livers of the animals to divine the will of the gods.

"The ancient Etruscans haven't gotten their due," de Grummond said. "In literature, in government, in architecture, they influenced all who came after them. I'm proud that my research is helping to increase awareness of this once-great civilization."

For more information about FSU's Archaeology Programs in Italy, please see

In addition to her Etruscan research, de Grummond will take several students to Ukraine later this year to continue her archaeological work on the Scythians, a nomadic people who lived at about the time of the Etruscans—and about whom even less is known.

"Now, the Scythians are a real mystery," de Grummond said. We know that they produced bronze and iron implements, and that they traded extensively with the ancient Greeks on the Mediterranean. But we don't know exactly what became of them."
I knew there was something about Novak that I liked ... from the News Democrat:

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak has established a $1.25 million chair in Western civilization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the hope that students at the school can learn the kinds of things he learned there more than half a century ago.

The 75-year-old conservative columnist, who said he regularly draws on the subject for his column, suggested creating the position as a way to emphasize the influence of classical thinking throughout history.

"Although certainly the non-Western cultures have a lot to offer, I think that our country owes so much to its straight-line descent from the culture in all fields, starting with the ancient Romans and Greeks and through the European civilizations," said Novak, whose column appears in 150 newspapers around the nation.

According to the university's description, the chair will advance "the understanding and appreciation of major figures, works, and ideas important to the development of Western civilization and culture."

The first to hold the position will be classicist Jon Solomon. Solomon, who was at the University of Arizona before he was hired by Illinois last fall, is a highly regarded scholar who has won 11 teaching awards, said Kirk Freudenburg, who heads the Classics Department at Illinois.

Solomon will be honored as the first Robert D. Novak endowed chair Thursday at an investiture at the Urbana-Champaign campus.
The last chunk of a piece in Forbes calling for the return of 'honest' blood sports:

The ancient Greeks had it right. In his book Combat Sports in the Ancient World, classicist Michael B. Poliakoff describes how sports like wrestling, boxing and stick fighting arose to take the place of actual warfare:

"Not long after Homer's time, it became virtually impossible for anyone to excel in war the way Achilleus and Ajax had done, as the era of heroic single combat yielded to the superior power of the tightly organized and unified phalanx," he writes. "Thus the battlefield was no longer a proving ground for maverick skill and honor, and the city became the arbiter of glory and reward."

Is it unreasonable to expect, in our age of increasingly impersonal, remote-controlled-bombing wars, that we find our heroes in the realm of combat sports instead?

What the Greeks understood is that consuming violence as a spectator can be a healthy and positive experience. By watching highly trained, willing participants hack and slash at each other, we're able to explore aspects of our own personalities in a safe environment. Fear, anger and rage are essential human emotions—better that we experience them vicariously and come to understand them through the actions of others than to deny them and have them spill out on unwilling victims.

"Although frustration and anger may not be eliminated at the ballpark, other emotions can and do get a vigorous workout," wrote D.L. Wann, a psychology professor at Murray State University, in a 2001 paper on violence in sports. "To the extent sports fans choose to express their emotions, freely and openly, they and society are the better for it."

So to what end does this all lead? Should we encourage fights to the death? Perhaps. Allowing willing participants to risk life and limb should be accepted if it is the informed decision of all participants. There's a legal principle called volenti non fit injuria—"to a willing person, no injury is done." It holds true for athletes as well. If a person wants to risk death in the pursuit of fame, they should be allowed to do so.

And of course, they already do. Every time a boxer enters the ring or a quarterback faces 300-pound linebackers, they are taking their lives in their hands. Gladiatorial combat is simply more honest about the risks the competitors are taking.

Two thousand years ago, the philosopher Philo wrote, "I know wrestlers and [fighters] often persevere out of love for honor and zeal for victory to the point of death, when their bodies are giving up and they keep drawing breath and struggling on spirit alone, a spirit which they have accustomed to reject fear scornfully. ... Among these competitors, death for the sake of an olive or celery crown is glorious."
The plot thickens ... from the Mercury:

Charges are expected to be filed against the caretaker of a Greek island villa where authorities confiscated part of an illicit collection of nearly 300 antiquities, police said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities are investigating whether the artifacts are linked to the illicit trade in unregistered antiquities that is behind a dispute between Greece and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said Tuesday there was no evidence to back media reports of a link to Getty, and the museum said it has no connection to the items that were seized.

Greece is demanding the return of four ancient artifacts from the Getty, claiming they are among thousands believed to have been illegally exported as part of a booming trade in the country's priceless archaeological heritage.

Costas Grispos, a former mayor on the tiny island of Schoinoussa, was arrested Tuesday and is to be charged in connection with four ancient vases found in his house, police said.

Authorities said the pieces had been fished out of the sea, probably from a shipwreck.

Grispos is the caretaker of a shipping magnate's villa on the remote Aegean Sea islet where an April 12 raid found unregistered ancient artifacts. A raid on a house in Athens also turned up antiquities. Authorities said they recovered about 280 items in all.

The artifacts - some more than 3,000 years old - include a headless marble statue of Aphrodite, the ancient goddess of love, dating to Roman times; a marble sarcophagus decorated with sculpted human and animal masks; three marble busts and two granite sphinxes.

Police said an additional 36 artifacts were found at the sprawling villa Tuesday and Wednesday. They included three sections of wall-paintings from medieval churches, prehistoric stone tools and a late Roman column capital.

The search also uncovered 17 albums with photos of artifacts, police said.

Police started transferring the seized items to Athens museums Wednesday.

An official at the Byzantine Museum said eight crates had arrived with an undisclosed number of artifacts. "They will remain here until the case comes to court," deputy museum director Evgenia Halkia said.

Greek authorities are investigating whether the artifacts are linked to the illicit trade in unregistered antiquities that is behind a dispute between Greece and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said Tuesday there was no evidence to back media reports of a link to Getty, and the museum said it has no connection to the items that were seized.

Greece is demanding the return of four ancient artifacts from the Getty, claiming they are among thousands believed to have been illegally exported as part of a booming trade in the country's priceless archaeological heritage.

Grispos doesn't appear on the web anywhere other than in news items relating to this ... we might be at the 'next layer' here.
New Scientist seems to be inventing a controversy here:

ALEXANDER wasn't quite so great after all. Sure, he conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks, but he didn't found the Egyptian city of Alexandria - he just rebranded it. It now seems that this part of the Nile has been settled for at least 4500 years, pre-dating Alexander's arrival by a good two millennia.

Alain Véron from the Paul Cézanne University in Aix-en-Provence, France, and colleagues made the discovery by measuring the variations in lead concentration in a mud core from Alexandria's ancient harbour. They determined how lead levels had changed over time by carbon-dating seashells found in the core.

Clear pulses of lead contamination occurred between 2686 and 2181 BC and then again from 1000 to 800 BC. The researchers conclude that these peaks were associated with human activities such as plumbing, fishing, building and ship-building. This is supported by ancient texts, which mention a settlement named Rhakotis (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2006GL025824).

Lead levels rocketed around 330 BC when Alexander the Great arrived, and got higher by the time of the Roman empire about 400 years later. The work should settle a long-running debate over the founding of the city based on literary evidence.

... folks will want to check out the excellent article in Al-Ahram from a few years ago on the subject of 'pre Alexander Alexandria' (although I'm not sure about the claims of a library are warranted) ...
6.00 p.m. |DTC| Antony & Cleopatra: Battle at Actium
The Roman navy, led by Octavian, defeated the formidable fleet of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, sealing their fate and creating the Roman Empire. Some say the victory was merely the creation of Octavian's propaganda.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Rome: Engineering an Empire Part 1
For more than 500 years, Rome was the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever known, ruled by visionaries and tyrants whose accomplishments ranged from awe-inspiring to deplorable. One characteristic linked them all--ambition--and the thirst for power that all Roman emperors shared fueled an unprecedented mastery of engineering and labor. This 2-part special chronicles the spectacular and sordid history of the Roman Empire, detailing the remarkable engineering feats that set Rome apart from the rest of the ancient world. Featuring extensive state-of-the-art CGI animation, and exclusive never-before-seen footage shot on a diving expedition in the water channels underneath the Colosseum.
Equi donati dentes non inspiciuntur.
(St. Jerome, Epistulae ad Ephesios)

The teeth of a donated horse are not inspected.

(pron = AY-kwee doh-NAH-tee DEHN-tays nohn in-spi-kee-OON-toor)

Comment: This is the more proverbial "don't look a gift-horse in the mouth."
The emphasis, as it is used in English, is that gratitude is the only response
one can have for a gift. If one accepts that generosity only flows downhill in
a hierarchical fashion, there may be no response left when one is given a gift
but gratitude--or feigned gratitude.

Herein is the problem. When the focus is always on the response of the
recipient of the gift, one forgets that there are almost always motives that
prompt the giver. This proverb might provoke another question: why would
anyone give a sick horse to someone who was in need? Have they not now
compounded the recipients problems? Ah, unless keeping the recipient beholden
to the giver is the key, such a gift makes no sense, and regardless, is really
more an insult than a gracious act.

One need not look a gift horse in the mouth when it is given by someone who
gives out of pure generosity. Add to that: if one has no expectations of
anyone at anytime, one can display gratitude for everything that comes one's
way even a sick old horse. If I am given a sick old horse by someone
pretending to be generous to me, I can be grateful that this person has shown
me his/her true self at the moment. And, I can begin looking for a retirment
home for old horses who have bad teeth!

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem xiii kalendas maias

ludi Cereri (day 8)-- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

Cerealia -- the actual date of the Cerealia is uncertain, but it 'reenacted' Ceres' search for her daughter Proserpina, with apparently all participants and spectators dressed in white.

69 A.D. -- Vitellius is recognized as emperor by the senate in Rome

... we also note today is the commemoration of an (undated) Roman soldier saint Expeditus
avenge @ (always wondered about that)

implacable @

sevocation @ Worthless Word for the Day

... and surely there's Latin lurking behind acceptation @ Merriam Webster (although not acknowledged) ... and perhaps some Classical root lurks behind amphigory @ Wordsmith?
De instituto Finniae Benelux
13.04.2006, klo 17.19

Institutum Finniae culturale nomine Benelux suam novam sedem in media urbe Bruxellis aperuit, cum domicilium eius antea Antverpiae situm esset.

Quod institutum abhinc tredecim annos conditum eo tendit, ut varios eventus praestantes culturam et scientiam Finniae illustrantes in Belgio, Nederlandia et Luxemburgo edendos curet et cum civibus harum terrarum novas relationes culturales coniungat.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : Pretium petrolei denuo maximum
... strolling down the midway:

N.S. Gill points us to an interesting article in the current Harvard Business School newsletter on the Ancient Roots of Today's Financial Tools ... she also offers us a timeline of Greek Poets ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Eric provides some examples of opus sectile ...

Paleojudaica (I just noticed) adds some articles to the Bruce Ferrini thing I mention below ...

phDiva has an interesting tale derived from an inscription of 'Rome's Worst Handyman' (to paraphrase the title of a Canadian television show) ... there's also a section on saving Allianoi ...

Bread and Circuses is announcing the impending arrival of Rome's Greatest Defeat ...

A plethora of posts on various subjects have surfaced at Classics in Contemporary Culture ...

Curculio presents us with an aphorism and a couple of epigrams ...

Hobbyblog displays a republican denarius of Mn. Cordius Rufus ...

Memorabilia Antonina briefly (p)reviews a documentary about Mary Renault ...

Thoughts on Antiquity gives us a bit of a preview of the upcoming SBL conference ...

Seoul Hero is pondering Euripides' Ion ...

Not sure whether I've mentioned the Life of Antoninus Pius blog before ... ditto the Mediterranean Archaeology blog ...

From Harborough Today:

Jack Lucas, of Carlson Gardens, Lutterworth, spent four decades excavating and writing about the Roman town of Tripontium on the A5.
And in 2004 the voluntary group won a national archaeological award for its efforts.
Mr Lucas had been housebound with a liver and heart condition since last December and died on March 28, leaving behind wife Marion, son Jonathon and daughter-in-law Lesley and granddaughters Rebecca and Melanie, who live in Rugby.
Mrs Lucas said: "He was a very kind man."
Born in Earl Shilton in 1921, Mr Lucas became a painter and decorator after leaving school, and his love of archaeology was kindled during wartime travels of the Mediterranean and North Africa, where he worked as an aircraft fitter.
His love of historic remains never left him and he joined Rugby Archaeology Society in 1966, spending most weekends directing excavations at the former gravel pit and Tripontium site, which was occupied from the Roman invasion in 47AD to the fifth century.
The society received the prestigious Pitt Rivers award in 2004 at the British Archaeological Awards in Belfast, and Mr Lucas was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities in London in 1992 for his meticulous work and detailed reports.
Society secretary and close friend Irene Glendenning said his excavation methods, which uncovered a complex bathhouse and gave valuable insights into pre-Roman Britain, have re-written the history books.
One of his discoveries was an ancient tile with the name of a native Leicestershire tribe, the Corieltauvi, inscribed on it by Tripontium's literate inhabitants.
An Oxford academic wrote extensively about the tile, which was pieced together over several years, because Mr Lucas never let anything be thrown away lest it revealed archaeological secrets.
Mrs Glendenning said: "That's why we can say that to this date the work he has done has changed history.
"His work will be recognised in years to come. The fact that he did this work for nothing, as a volunteer, makes it extremely important."
Mr Lucas did not just catalogue archaeological findings, he also wrote an extensive war diary which was last year transcribed on a BBC website about the Second World War.
An excerpt from 1943 records an encounter with an old school teacher in Italy and reveals his love of the country, which grew into a passion for Roman history.
He said: "We are billeted in the school town and in the evening of November 6 I had a surprise, a visit from my old school teacher Jackie Birch from Hinckley. He is sergeant in the wings signals at Foggia.
"He gave me a bottle of whisky. He brought back a lot of memories. On my last visit to Bari I sat with a girl in the cinema when the ceiling fell on us.
"Jerry had sneak bombed the port and hit two ships full of ammunition. The town had to be evacuated quickly as mustard gas was rumoured to be on the ships. This was confirmed later.
"December 9 up at 4am and on to a boat at 4pm in Taranto docks, arrivederci beautiful Italy."
Mr Lucas's funeral was held at St Mary's Church in Lutterworth on Tuesday, April 4, and he was buried in the church cemetery.
Piles of news coverage (which I'll gather in this weekend's Explorator) on that cache of illicit antiquities found in a house in Schinoussa. Outside of that, though, photos have started to show up at Yahoo and the second one (today) seems particularly interesting to me. It reminds me of the stone/patina of items sold by Byblos Antiques, which we've mentioned in the past. I'm probably just imagining it ...
So ... what's behind this story from NewsNet5:

A long-lost manuscript known as the Gospel of Judas is causing biblical scholars, historians and others to rethink their views about Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus.

According to the document, Jesus asked Judas to betray him in order to fulfill the prophesy of his death. NewsChannel5's Jonathan Costen reported that part of this groundbreaking document is located right here in northeast Ohio.

R. Scott Haley is the keeper of antiquity. As an attorney, he's recently been appointed to catalog some ancient possessions of a Summit County art collector who has fallen on hard financial times.

Part of the collection that is caught in the middle of an ownership squabble is the Gospel according to Judas.

"This is how the Gnostic gospel was delivered to me, which is now identified as the Book of Judas, the Gospel of Judas," said Haley.

The manuscript in Akron is just a portion of the ancient document, believed to have been written on papyrus in 300 A.D. The manuscript was discovered in a cave in Egypt in 1970.

Right now, it is tucked away in a vault somewhere in the First Merit Building in downtown Akron.

"They are priceless items and they hold a very high value. Some of them are quite small and can easily be stolen and transported and sold on a black market for great value, so they need to be protected and preserved from theft," said Haley.

The papers could possibly unlock the true relationship between Jesus and the disciple that has been despised for centuries.

"We grew up believing that Judas was the ultimate betrayer, and that whole thought process that we have and the idea of the name Judas, the concept of Judas, has really changed," said Haley.

... a bit more detail from the Beacon Journal:

You may have heard about the Gospel of Judas, a long-lost manuscript that has been getting international attention.

But you haven't heard this: Part of it is in Akron.

A portion of the 1,700-year-old treasure is sitting in a bank vault on South Main Street.

At least that's what the National Geographic Society says.

If you haven't been following the story, National Geographic helped fund a mission by an international team of experts to authenticate, translate and preserve the only known copy of the Gospel of Judas, an ancient book based on the life of Jesus' least popular disciple.

A sizable chunk of that manuscript -- 10 to 20 percent, by one estimate -- is right here.

How did it get here?

The short version is this: The manuscript was discovered in a cave in Egypt in the 1970s and wound its way through antiquities dealers in Europe and the United States before being purchased in 2000 by Bath Township resident Bruce Ferrini.

Ferrini is an internationally known art dealer who filed for bankruptcy last September. He bought the ancient book, known as a codex, for $2.5 million. But because of his failing finances, the deal fell through.

Ferrini was at least $4.6 million in debt last year, according to court filings, and creditors began to battle for his holdings. Akron attorney R. Scott Haley was appointed to catalog and assess Ferrini's possessions.

In 2001, when the sale fell apart, Ferrini supposedly returned the whole codex to its previous owner. But according to Haley and National Geographic, which photographed the Akron pieces in February, a significant portion of the gospel remained in Ferrini's possession.

Ferrini referred a phone call to Akron lawyer Morris Laatsch, who said Ferrini returned everything he was given by the previous owner, and questions whether the National Geographic experts are correct.

``There's more than one series of writings,'' Laatsch said. ``The Gnostics apparently wrote lots of things. Possibly this could be from this same document. But if the experts do say it is, I guess perhaps you can rely on them or not rely on them.''

Manuscript's location

The delicate fragments are inside a special vault at FirstMerit. Only the bank has the combination to an outer vault, and only Haley has the combination to an inner vault.

The Akron fragments are stored in 26 plastic folders, each about the size of half a standard envelope.

Traditional Christian belief has it that Judas, a disciple of Christ, betrayed him, turning him over to Roman authorities for execution. This new account argues that Judas was actually Jesus' closest disciple, and that the only reason Judas blew the whistle was Jesus asked him to.

Christian scholars are widely split in regard to the potential religious impact of the discovery. Some believe the name Judas may no longer be synonymous with ``traitor.'' Others say the find will have little impact. But the historical value is unquestioned.

The papyrus manuscript survived -- just barely -- because it lay untouched for 1,600 years in a limestone box in a desert cave. It almost didn't survive because it also spent 16 years in a safe deposit box in Long Island, N.Y.

Ferrini didn't do it any favors, either, according to one account. The Associated Press reported that he damaged it by storing it in his freezer.

``You can't believe how much I regret having sold it (to Ferrini),'' European dealer Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos told the AP.

International interest

Haley first realized what he was dealing with when a lawyer for Nussberger-Tchacos and the Maecenas Foundation in Switzerland, a partner in the National Geographic project, contacted him to say part of the codex was missing and probably in Ferrini's possession.

Haley invited the lawyer and National Geographic to view the material in February. National Geographic photographer Kenneth Garrett -- the same person who shot the King Tut exhumation for the society last year -- photographed both sides of every fragment. He was assisted by a document-handling expert from Switzerland.

Ferrini's lawyer said Nussberger-Tchacos signed a document in 2001 saying the material had been returned, and questions her credibility, pointing out that she was once detained by Italian authorities in connection with a smuggling case.

That's one reason Yale University officials passed up a chance to buy it after authenticating it immediately before she sold it to Ferrini.

Still, the National Geographic team has proclaimed the documents real.

Ferrini is ``not saying they are or they're not,'' Laatsch responded. ``They're from that era... and very well could be part of the Gospel of Judas -- or may not be.''

Even if they are, he said, they were obtained in a different transaction and do not belong to Nussberger-Tchacos.

Codex's origins, future

The Gospel of Judas was written about 300 A.D. It is in Coptic, an ancient Egyptian language that uses modified Greek letters.

A codex is a book that consists of folded pages bound on one side. They were easier to manage than scrolls, and found favor with people writing scripture.

In 2009, the codex will be returned to Egypt, where it will be displayed at the Coptic Museum in Cairo.

Ferrini has successfully applied to have his bankruptcy dismissed, and now Haley will go about liquidating the collection through a receivership -- although he won't do anything with the Judas codex until the Swiss legal claim is resolved.

Ferrini made front-page news in 2002 when he pledged to donate $6.8 million to Kent State University, the largest gift in the school's history. But, as the school acknowledged in December, he never gave Kent any of that money.

These must be the pages has been wondering about. I suspect we'll be hearing more about Ferrini ... in the past, he was involved in a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition which might be tied to this bankruptcy; he was also the victim of a theft himself a couple of years ago. He appears to be very well-known in medieval manuscript circles.
... nothing of interest.
Sapiens qui prospicit.
(Motto of Malvern College, UK)

That person is wise who looks ahead.

(pron = SAH-pee-ens kwee proh-SPEE-kit)

Comment: A check with Malvern College's website indicates that the founding
fathers of the school chose this motto because they wanted the school to be
"innovative and forward looking." The rest of the college's self-description
indicates that in addition to being forward looking, it wants its students to
hold onto and value the enduring qualities of the past that will make students
discerning and realistic.

The future and the past. This does seem to be what educational institituions
instill in students. Look to the past. Learn from the past. Look ahead.
Plan ahead. Prepare for the future. Students get anywhere from 12 to 20+
years of this kind of looking back-looking forward practice.

It should not be a great shock then, that as moderns we are anxious and
guilt-ridden, depressed and frightened. These are the products that come to
creatures who exist only in the present but who spend a large part of their
time looking to the past or to the future.

We have no commonly accepted, or perhas better to say, commonly shared ways of
practicing the present moment in our culture. Those who find ways to do this
(and there are ways) become, in my opinion, the wise ones, and if not wise,
then at least at peace--happy.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem xiv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 7)

359 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Gratian
precursor @

expeditious @

theriac @ Merriam-Webster (a new word for me!)
Aedes propter nives corruentes

In Finnia hac hieme, imprimis autem mense Martio ad Aprilem vergente, tantae nives ceciderunt, ut aedificia onus earum vix iam sustinerent.

Postquam aliquot magnae aulae propter pondus nivale corruerunt, magistratus ministerii a rebus domesticis aedilibus imperaverunt, ut tecta aedium publicarum acervis nivium quam primum vacuefacerent.

Etiam possessores habitationum privatarum hortati sunt, eandem curam in domibus suis tutandis adhiberent.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Lotsa tidbits accumlated in the past 24 hours or so:

N.S. Gill is telling us about the four humours ... there's also a feature on Aspasia ...

Over at Laudator, MG has Emerson's views on a Classical education ...

PH at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean wades in on the Gospel of Judas discussion ...

Hobbyblog has a tetradrachm of Gallienus, featuring a very nice image of Tyche...

Folks following the columns of "Cicero" at the Huntington News site will be interested in his views on Rumsfeld ... and another on on dynastic family rule ...

The latest Classicist to get the Roman Scholar treatment is Georgetown's Josiah Osgood ...

Interesting new website: ...

Roman History Books next book chat will be about Gibbon ...

The Spring 2006 issue of the CSA Newsletter is available ...

Ancient Narrative Supplementum 5 is available for downloading too: Shannon N. Byrne, Edmund P. Cueva & Jean Alvares (eds), Authors, Authority, and Interpreters in the Ancient Novel Essays in Honor of Gareth L. Schmeling

JM-Y sent along this one (thanks!) ... H-Net has put together a very useful page of links to online dictionaries of various kinds ...

For the Gamers out there: the Glory of the Roman Empire website hit the internet a few days ago ... there's also an interview with with creator of Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising ...
An excerpt from a piece about gossip in the Oxford Press:

Hollywood producer Aaron Spelling summed it up nicely: "Gossip is about rich people having problems money can't solve." We may be poor. We may be nobodies. We may be utter flops; but we can still gloat.

There are bits of gossip in ancient authors; not many but some. Plutarch is not above dropping a peppercorn here and there: How Pericles, the ruler of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, always wore his helmet in public because he was ashamed of the shape of his head; how Lucius Aemilius Paulus, the Roman general who conquered Greece, divorced his wife over the objections of his friends.

"She's a perfectly good woman," they said.

Paulus took off his sandal and held it up. "This is a perfectly good sandal. Can any of you tell me where it pinches me?"

For real Tabasco, read Suetonius' "Lives of the Twelve Caesars." The episodes about Tiberius on the island of Capri, with a band of dissolute boys known as Spintrians, are so obscene that in the old bilingual Loeb texts they weren't translated, even though the whole purpose of the Loebs was to provide English and Latin on facing pages.

The great Roman poet, Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, to give his full name) was actually exiled for gossip. He apparently was privy to some sexual misconduct on the part of Julia, the daughter of the emperor Augustus, and couldn't keep his mouth shut. For this, he was sent to end his days in a hellhole called Tomyris on the shores of the Black Sea. He never saw Rome again.
... and the LA Times was there:

The director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday accused foreign countries seeking the return of looted antiquities of targeting museums in the United States without examining the practices of institutions in other nations.

Philippe de Montebello, the museum's longtime director, spoke at a luncheon at the National Press Club addressing some of the issues raised in the current debate over cultural patrimony. The Met recently agreed to return 21 looted artifacts to Italy, including the Euphronios krater, a 6th century BC painted vase prized by the museum, after Italian authorities claimed the piece was stolen from an Etruscan tomb.

"I must say I am puzzled at one thing, which is the absence of claims against collectors and museums in Germany, Spain, the U.K., Switzerland, Denmark and Japan, among others," De Montebello said. "They were buying from dealers at least as much as the dealers now under indictment in the United States. I think we should reflect on why only the U.S. is being the target of claims."

According to De Montebello, there is a need for "source countries" of works of art to develop a "licit market" to stop the flow of looted objects to museums abroad.

"The Japanese model is an excellent and proven one by which some objects have been declared national treasures," De Montebello said. "There is no looting in Japan."

Under this model, he said, objects declared "redundant" — those for which there is a significant sampling in Japan — can be sold and exported legally. This legal market, he maintained, undercuts black-market traffic.

The world has entered an "era of pronounced nationalism," De Montebello said, in which nations have increasingly declared art and antiquities to be the property of the state.

In part as a result of this, he said, international treaties and laws passed in the United States have hampered museums' efforts to obtain new art objects.

In addition, under the United States' National Stolen Property Act, "foreign patrimony laws could be the standard for determining that objects removed from their source country were indeed stolen," De Montebello said.

The Met could have invoked a statute of limitations when dealing with the Italian authorities, he added, but chose to take the high road and not do so.

"We're grateful to Italy's willingness to accept a framework based on the principle of reciprocity and compensation," he said. "We're grateful they continue to make antiquities found on their soil available to our visitors."

As part of the Met's agreement with the Italians on the return of the 21 objects, Italy is to loan the Met objects said to be of equal beauty and cultural significance.

De Montebello several times referenced the value of "universal" or encyclopedic museums such as the Met, which collect broadly across geography and time and allow visitors to experience many cultures. "The universal museum is the cultural family tree," he said, "where all people can find their roots."

Although he made it clear that he does not advocate selling art on the international black market, De Montebello also said that, ironically, its presence has helped to save artifacts that might otherwise have been lost.

"Instead of being melted down by the peasant or whoever finds it on his or her property for the nominal value of the metal, [they] will now realize that it is worth a great deal more," he said. "On the one hand, it is an incentive to illicit actions, but on the other there is no question it has had its value on preserving works of art."

Lashing out at the media, De Montebello said that there needs to be a better representation of "all sides" involved in the cultural patrimony debate.

"It surprises me that so many members of the press appear to be captive to a small number of repeated quotes by archeologists that do not represent the majority of the profession," he said.

Even so, he added that investigative reporters should continue to be "skeptical toward what museums' spokespersons say."

But of his own museum, he said: "Our views can withstand the sharpest scrutiny. We hold the high moral ground."

I'd like to hear more about the 'Japanese model' ... who determines redundancy?
Interesting item from Discovery News:

The recently arrested "boss of bosses" of the Sicilian Mafia, Bernardo Provenzano, wrote notes using an encryption scheme similar to the one used by Julius Caesar more than 2,000 years ago, according to a biography of Italy's most wanted man.

The biography, written by journalists Salvo Palazzolo and Ernesto Oliva, is published in Italian on, which is the most exhaustive Web site on Provenzano.

Accused of numerous murders, including the 1992 killings of two judges for which he was sentenced to life in jail, the 73-year-old boss was arrested last week in a farmhouse about just a few miles from his Sicilian hometown Corleone, a place forever associated with the Godfather saga.

Also known as "Binnu u tratturi" (Binnu the tractor) because of his reputation for mowing down people in his youth, Provenzano had been on the run for more than 40 years, many of them spent writing cryptograms on little pieces of paper, known in Sicilian dialect as pizzini.

The Italian police found about 350 pizzini in Provenzano's hideaway.

A few dozen of these notes contained requests to his family, such as having lasagne on Easter. All the others, featuring orders to his lieutenants, displayed numeric sequences that concealed the names of people.

Caesar Cipher
At least one coded note, published in the Web site's biography, has a strong resemblance to what's known as Caesar cipher, an encryption scheme used by Julius Caesar to protect important military messages.

The letter, written in January 2001 by Angelo Provenzano to his father, was found with other documents when one of Provenzano's men, Nicola La Barbera, was arrested

"...I met 512151522 191212154 and we agreed that we will see each other after the holidays...," said the letter, which included several other cryptograms.

"The Binnu code is nothing new: each number corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. "A" is 4, "B" is 5, "C" is 6 and so on until the letter Z , which corresponds to number 24," wrote Palazzolo and Oliva.

While the classic Caesar cipher moves everything three letters later (A becomes D, B becomes E, etc.), the "Provenzano code" assigns a number to each letter by simply increasing by 3 the value given to the 21 letters of the Italian alphabet listed in order.

So, A becomes 4 (1+3), B becomes 5 (2+3), C becomes 6 (3+3), etc

"In the Provenzano code the key is the +3 shift," mathematics expert Alessandro Martignago told Discovery News.

As the code is cracked, the "512151522 191212154" person becomes "Binnu Riina." Most likely, it refers to Bernardo Riina, arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of aiding Provenzano while he was on the run.

According to Martignago, the Provenzano code might have been made more secure by changing the + 3 key with other shift characters ( +5, +7, +8, etc.) from time to time.

"Looks like kindergarten cryptography to me. It will keep your kid sister out, but it won't keep the police out. But what do you expect from someone who is computer illiterate?" security guru Bruce Schneier, author of several books on cryptography, told Discovery News.

Indeed, no high-tech ran the Mafia network under Provenzano's rule. Top Mafia businesses were conducted on an obsolete Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter. Pizzini were delivered by a chain of messengers.

The fact that the boss code was rather straightforward may be explained by Provenzano's lack of education. It stopped when he dropped out of school at about eight.

Anna Petrozzi is an editor at Antimafia 2000, a magazine that Provenzano read, as copies found in his hideaway attest.

"The police are not new to these coded messages. When they arrested in 2002 Antonio Giuffré, one of his right-hand men then turned informer, and about 30 pizzini came to light," she told Discovery News.

Those pizzini helped investigators enormously. Once the cryptograms were decoded, several members of Provenzano's close circle were identified, a step which ultimately led to his arrest.

"Now we will have to work on the newly discovered pizzini, which contain several coded names. We have known the system used to code them since 2002," assistant state prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone told state television RAI 2 on Thursday.

Laudator had a nice post on the Caesar cipher and ancient cryptography a couple of years ago ...
The Times gives us some more names to add to our list:

POLICE and archaeologists were searching yesterday through hundreds of ancient relics discovered in a luxury villa on a tiny Greek island that some say could have been the hub of a huge antiquities smuggling racket for years.

Police think that the case may be linked to Marion True, the former curator of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, who is on trial in Rome on charges of conspiring to traffic in stolen antiquities.

Acting on a tip-off, police raided a secluded seaside villa on Schinoussa, an islet in the Cyclades archipelago, halfway between mainland Greece and Turkey. The raid turned up priceless artefacts spanning the Ancient, Early Christian and Byzantine eras. One shipping container outside the villa was found to hold an entire ancient temple.

“We’re still counting and classifying the antiquities,” a Culture Ministry official said. “We will have a clearer picture of what is going on in a few days.” Ministry sources said that the concentration of such a large number of relics on private premises in such a small place could signal that Schinoussa was an unobtrusive hub for antiquities smugglers.

Despina Papadimitriou, the owner of the villa, is a member of a Greek shipping family that lives in London. Her lawyers said that she was willing to co-operate in the investigation. Her late brother, Christos Michailidis, was an antiquities dealer.

Schinoussa is inhabited mainly by fishermen, except for the sprawling villa complex facing a secluded cove. Residents said that work on the complex had been going on for at least 30 years. The villas are ringed by high walls and guarded by dogs. Police became suspicious of Schinoussa after antiquities were seized in two houses on the neighbouring resort island of Paros.

Police said that one of these houses is owned by Ms True. Ionnis Diotis, an Athens investigator, will travel to Los Angeles to examine possible Greek connections to the Getty case. Ms True, 57, is on trial with Robert Hecht Jr, 86, a Swiss-American art dealer.

Both deny charges that they knowingly bought stolen artefacts for the Getty, the richest art institution in the world. They face prison sentences of up to ten years if convicted.

The trial, which began in November, is seen in Italy as a test case for the trade in stolen antiquities and artworks, many of which are sold to dealers — and hence to important museums or private collectors — by criminals who steal from excavation sites.

The hundreds of relics dicovered so far in and around the Papadimitriou villa include temple parts, statues and busts, ceramic vessels, coins and Byzantine-era icons.

The private possession of ancient and medieval artefacts is an offence in Greece.

The more than 1,400 islands in the Aegean Sea are a continuing headache for the Greek coastguard. Schinoussa is easily overlooked in favour of its bigger, touristy neighbours, Paros, Naxos and Amorgos.

Remote Aegean islands, once the home of pirates, can be refuges for modern criminals. The most notorious is Alexander Giotopoulos, who was arrested in the summer of 2002 on the islet of Lipsi and convicted of heading the November 17 terrorist organisation, which had murdered Brigadier Stephen Saunders, a British military attaché, two years earlier.

There are some photos ... this is pretty major.

Random update: as I kill time waiting for the shower, I did some googling and came across this interesting little essay on 'expert witnesses' ... scroll down to the fourth page and the tenth footnote and there's an interesting cluster of names.
From BMCR:

Carolyn Dewald, Thucydides' War Narrative: A Structural Study.

Bonnie A. Catto, Latina Mythica.

Prudence J. Jones, Reading Rivers in Roman Literature and Culture.

From Scholia:

David Whitehead and P. H. Blyth, Athenaeus Mechanicus, On Machines (PERI\ MHCANHMA/TWN). Translated with Introduction and Commentary. Historia Einzelschriften 182.
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Treasures of The Ancient World: Carthage
Join us for an exploration of the wonders of the ancient city of Carthage, which stood on the northern coast of Africa, near modern-day Tunis. The earliest artifacts unearthed by archaeologists date from 800 BC. Now, we provide an unique glimpse of the "New City" (in Phoenician, Qart Hadasht; Cartago to the Romans), including the mighty walled fortress of Byrsa, which overlooked Carthage's splendid twin harbors. Some of the world's leading authorities provide interpretation and analysis, including Dr. Chris Pelling of University College, Oxford; Nicholas Purcell of St. John's College, Oxford; Henry Hurst of Churchill College, Cambridge; and Professor T. Weiderman of Nottingham University. Features new location footage, stylish reconstructions, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation sequences.
ante diem xv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri (day 6)

69 A.D. -- suicide of the emperor wannabe Otho (this might have happened on April 16)
memoir @

choler @

... and although there ain't anything Classical about it, I find the etymology of coax at Merriam-Webster very interesting ...
In urbe Mexico pyramis inventa

Archaeologi in meditullio megalopolis Mexici pyramidem circiter mille quingentorum annorum invenerunt.

In actis diurnis Mexicanis scriptum legitur opus illud duodeviginti metra altum in collem quendam in illa urbe situm olim inclusum esse ibique usque ad nostrum tempus latuisse.

Hoc eo mirabilius esse videtur, quod catholici quotannis in cacumine eiusdem montis dies festos paschales celebrare solent.

Veri simile est illam pyramidem ab eisdem hominibus erectam esse, qui urbem priscam nomine Teotihuacam aedificaverunt.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : Chadiae moderatores legationem ex Sudania revocavisse

... and we're happy to see Akropolis World News back from hiatus: 7 generals ask Rumsfeld to quit - Prodi rejects Berlusconi's offer
Checking out the midway ...

Paleojudaica has an interesting GoJ-related post looking at the laughing Jesus ...

Alun does some good preemptive debunking of the Bosnian Pyramid thing ... (fwiw, the 'official' website says they're now looking at 'ventilation' tunnels ... badger, badger, badger)

Over at Laudator, MG is looking at fish sacrifices .... and some Orwellian Greek, which is nothing to sneeze at ...

Hobbyblog has an AE As of Valerian, with an image of Victoria ...

Homo Edax reports on a production of the Persians ...

Mirabilis pointed to a page with an mp3 of Pange Lingua ... further poking around, I found a pile more audio in Latin (and a bit of Greek), mostly Gregorian Chant at SNU's Music History page ... there's also some later stuff on a separate page
You knew this was going to be the next step ... from Kathimerini:

Worshippers of the 12 gods of Mount Olympus are planning to ask the government to allow them to practice their faith at ancient sites like the Acropolis, sources told Sunday's Kathimerini.

The followers of this minority faith have been buoyed by a court ruling in February that allowed the existence of an association, known as Ellinais, whose members claim to worship Zeus and the other 11 gods.

Ellinais was formed last October by 23 Greeks but in its annual report on religious freedom, the US State Department estimates that some 2,000 people worship the 12 ancient gods in Greece.

Sources said Ellinais will seek permission from the Culture Ministry to establish places of worship and to be allowed to worship at ancient temples such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion.

... I strongly suspect it will depend on whether there are sacrifices or not ...
Quot servi tot hostes.
(Sextus Pompeius Festus)

There are as many enemies as there are slaves.

(pron = kwoht SEHR-wee toht HOHS-tays)

Comment: When were the occassions that I used my power over another human being?
Slavery is legally long gone from most of our experiences, but the dynamics of
slavery are not.

It should be obvious that if I am a slave owner, however many slaves I own equal
the number of potential enemies I have. No human being responds well to being
owned or controlled or coerced or pressed by another into doing anything.

Slavery is gone, but coercion is not. In formula, coercion works like this. I
tell another in so many words: do X or I will hurt you. I will likely never say
the words "I will hurt you", but I will make it clear that there will be pain
and the other will not enjoy it. One of the most deceiving forms of this is
when the one offering the threat calls it a "consequence". This sounds very
autoritative, professional, and as if the one being threatned somehow deserves
it, is even responsible for the the pain! Educators use this language often, I
am sad to say.

If I am remotely capable of enforcing the pain that I have threatened, my
coercion will "work", that is, the person that I have so pressed with my threat
will do what I demand. The payoff will be, in the short-term, the action I
demanded, and long-term, a new enemy. Any act of coercion creates this huge
gorge of separation between the two human beings involved. The one now hates,
and the other now has cause, even if subtle, to fear. The one who hates has
been treated like a slave by the coercion of the other, who lives in fear now
because he/she has made a new enemy of the one coerced.

Slavery is gone as an institution, but as a way of relating between human
beings, it is as alive as the next time you hear one person coercing another
into action. Listen carefully. The one offering some form of "If you don't do
X, I will hurt you" has just added an enemy to his/her life.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
I briefly wondered about this when I read the Kathimerini coverage yesterday ... from the Arts Briefly column of the NY Times:

The Greek police have recovered an entire Byzantine chapel in raids on two privately owned villas that netted more than 142 artifacts, Agence France-Presse reported. Greek newspapers have linked the case to the trial in Italy of Marion True, a former curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, who is charged with conspiring to traffic in stolen antiquities. The two raids took place on Wednesday in Psychiko, an affluent suburb of Athens, and on the islet of Schinoussa in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. George Gligoris, who leads a special police unit that investigates the traffic in antiquities, said the villas belong to Dimitra Papadimitriou, a member of a Greek shipping family who lives outside the country. Greek investigators have established that her brother, Christo Michailidis, who died in Italy in 1999, was an associate of Robin Symes, a prominent London-based antiquarian who provided the Getty with antiquities when Ms. True was curator.

... and just to make things even more interesting, much of the coverage of the Gospel of Judas this past week focussed on the questionable bona fides of the dealers involved. Here's an interesting excerpt from the bit of KTLA coverage:

After Yale declined her offer, Tchacos tentatively sold it to a Cleveland-area manuscript dealer, who stuck it in his freezer and sold fragments, Tchacos told The Times in an interview. When he was unable to come up with the promised $2.5 million, Tchacos recovered most of the manuscript. In 2001 she sold it to Roberty, her attorney, for $1.5 million and a share of future profits.

A year later, she was arrested by Italian authorities in Cyprus on unrelated charges of trafficking in looted art. In an agreement with the Italian prosecutor, she received a suspended sentence of 18 months and gave a lengthy statement about her knowledge of the antiquities trade.

Tchacos' statement has played an important role in the ongoing criminal trial of Marion True, the J. Paul Getty Museum's former antiquities curator who is accused of trafficking in looted art. Tchacos' willingness to talk has led some dealers to call her the Judas of the antiquities trade.

Records also show that Tchacos sold the Getty fragments of two of the objects Italian authorities are requesting be returned. The Getty returned a third, a drinking cup known as the Onesimos kylix after its Greek painter, to Italy in 1999 after determining it had been looted from Cerveteri, an Etruscan necropolis north of Rome.

True's co-defendant, Robert Hecht Jr., describes Tchacos as an aggressive competitor who "daringly went to Cerveteri and paid cash on the spot." The statement is in Hecht's journal, a key piece of evidence in the Italian investigation.

In a short interview Wednesday, Tchacos said she was never convicted in the Italian case, which she called an "equivocal situation," and she retired from the antiquities trade in recent years because of changing attitudes about its propriety. "I am a dealer who is doing all of the right things," Tchacos said.

The more I think about all this, the more it is clear that there has to be a global change of laws in regards to the sale of antiquities. People are criticizing the National Geographic (I could probably list myself in that category a week or so ago) for getting involved with such folks, but the fact remains that reputable institutions such as Yale turned down the manuscript because of its questionable provenance (translation: they knew it was a looted document). The real importance of the Gospel of Judas is not what it says about the development of early Christianity, but what it implies about the survival of antiquities. It would be extremely interesting to know what other things Yale and other big institutions have turned down because of questionable provenance. Are there other manuscripts crumbling in safety deposit boxes solely because potentially good buyers are reluctant for provenance reasons? And what about other objects? What if all the museums in the museum case didn't purchase the Euphronios Krater or even the Cleveland Apollo? What would have happened to those objects?
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.
From one of those 'origins of Easter' pieces in the Sacramento Bee comes this passing claim:

In an Etruscan tomb, in what is now Italy, a painting was discovered depicting a man lying on a couch holding an egg, she says.

"It's a symbol of death and rebirth," she says.

... and here it is (from the Tomb of the Lioness). I don't have time to critically read this essay on the role of the egg in Etruscan religion ...
Ben Henry sent this missive in (thanks!), which should be of interest:

Dear David,

I don't know whether the Oxyrhynchus segment on today's Radio Lab has
come to your attention: the broadcast is archived at (with the
portion about Oxyrhynchus starting around three minutes into the

We've also recently updated the Oxyrhynchus web pages with a new page
about the Narcissus papyrus that was in the news stories last year:
text, translation, and images at . And there's a
new flash-illustrated demonstration of the multi-spectral imaging
project at .

We'd be very pleased if you could alert your readers to any of this.
Happy Easter y'all!

Thoughts on Antiquity's CM is going to be doing a reading of the Res Gestae at his forum ... he's also engaging in a blogversation with Peter Kirby about the intent of the Gospels ...'s N.S. Gill tells us about Paul of Tarsus ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius is looking at a Christian sarcophagus in the Vatican museums ...

Curculio is digging out references to the role of women in Thucydides ...

Memorabilia Antonina has put up a couple of papers of interest ... one is on the reception of Classical stuff in science fiction ... the other is somewhat similar, focussing on a Babylon 5 episode ...

Related to the foregoing, Alun blogs a bit more about the Classical Association meeting ...

phDiva has some info on Roman crucifixion ... and the first depiction thereof

Roman History Books continues its Etruscanfest with a look at George Dennis, one of the first modern explorers of Etruria ...

Father Foster's latest: “Resurgo” in the Latin language means to rise up again... Listen as our “Latin Lover”, speaks to us this Easter Season of waxy candles and sings to us of “The Lamb” redeeming the sheep...

'New' online book: Seneca, Apocolocyntosis (Rouse translation)

The latest Explorator (8.51) has been posted ...
From BMCR:

John W. Stamper, The Architecture of Roman Temples: The Republic to the Middle Empire.

Carlo Natali, Stefano Maso, La catena delle cause. Determinismo e antideterminismo nel pensiero antico e in quello contemporaneo.

Edward Champlin, Nero.

Stephen Harrison (ed.), A Companion to Latin Literature. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World.

B. M. Lavelle, Fame, Money, and Power: The Rise of Peisistratos and "Democratic" Tyranny at Athens.

Peter Manchester, The Syntax of Time. The Phenomenology of Time in Greek Physics and Speculative Logic from Iamblichus to Anaximander. Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition, 2.

Peter Green, The Poems of Catullus. A bilingual edition.

Orestis Karavas, Lucien et la tragédie.

Julia Valeva, The Painted Coffers of the Ostrusha Tomb.

Olivier Callot, Salamine de Chypre XVI: Les Monnaies. Fouilles de la ville 1964-1974. Mission Archéologique de Salamine de Chypre.

From Scholia:

David Whitehead and P. H. Blyth, Athenaeus Mechanicus, On Machines (PERI\ MHCANHMA/TWN). Translated with Introduction and Commentary. Historia Einzelschriften 182

From BlogCritics:

Natalie Bennett, Boudicca's Heirs


From Kathimerini:

Though Greece and Albania have much in common, Greece has not been officially involved in the burgeoning archaeological excavations and the activities of foreign archaeology schools in Albania in recent years.

But the cooperation memorandum signed last year by the Greek Culture Ministry and the Archaeological Institute of the Tirana Academy of Sciences has paved the way.

Joint research is being carried out at ancient Antigoneia under the supervision of the institute, headed by Muzafer Korkuti, and the 12th Ephorate, headed by Constantinos Zachos.

While they explore the mysteries of the city and its founder, Pyrrhus, king of the Molossians, a group of Albanian students from the universities of Girokaster and Tirana are in training for the future. The Greeks and Albanians will be working on the project together for the next three years.

Zachos talked about the Greek-Albanian project and the history of Antigoneia on Tuesday in a lecture at the Archaeological Society.

Pyrrhus was a descendant of Achilles. The city he founded in 296 BC was destroyed in the second century BC. The Romans meted out harsh treatment to the Epirote tribes who had been allies of Perseus.

«Seventy walled settlements in Epirus were destroyed and 150,000 were taken into slavery,» Zachos said. Rome was taking revenge for Pyrrhus' campaign in Italy more than a century earlier. Some scholars believe that Illyria and Epirus were razed in order to ensure unhindered communication with eastern Greece.

Albanian archaeologist Dhimosten Budina identified the city on a 35-hectare site at roughly 600 meters altitude, with walls 4 kilometers long. The identification was made on the basis of bronze ballots bearing the inscription «ANTIGONEON» on a Hellenistic-era house.

Pyrrhus named the city after his first wife Antigone, the daughter of the Macedonian nobles Berenice and Philip.

Budina has unearthed many finds, including the ancient agora, a 69-meter stoa, a treasury of bronze judicial ballots, vases, agricultural implements (including one used to castrate bulls), fragments of a bronze equestrian statue - the horse's tail and a life-size hand with a signet ring and a bronze muzzle. Most of the 700 coins that were found are from the Assembly of the Epirotes. A sixth-century Early Christian basilica as well as a tomb monument in one of the houses near the agora were also found.

Zachos said the impressive tomb, which contained fragments of jars, a glass vase, loom weights, a lamp, potsherds and Roman storage jars, was «along the lines of Macedonian tombs» and dates from the Hellenistic era.

The monument will be restored. As for the house, the bronze Macedonian coin (232-168-7 BC) found in it may be associated with the abandonment of the house in 167 BC. Research will continue in the agora, where there is a continuous sequence of material from the third century BC at the lower level to the second century BC at the higher level.
From Kathimerini:

The massive collection of illegal antiquities uncovered by authorities on the tiny Aegean island of Schinoussa is unique and probably the largest ever seen in Greece, police told Kathimerini yesterday.

Policemen and archaeologists were still combing through artifacts at the villa of an unnamed woman from a wealthy shipping family. The raid came after a search of her home in Athens, where more antiquities were found.

“I have never seen such unique items before in my life. I do not think I will ever handle such a big case again during my career,” an officer from the Antiquities Department of the Attica Police, who preferred not to be named, told Kathimerini.

Among the most impressive items found on Schinoussa, south of Naxos, was a completely rebuilt ancient temple. The temple, made using artifacts from various eras, covers an area of some 30 square meters. A Byzantine icon was found inside the temple.

By last night, some 50 artifacts had been recorded by experts but archaeologists told Kathimerini that it was unclear how long it would take to register all of them.

“It is a huge area and wherever we turn, we find ancient objects either hidden or being used openly for decoration,” an archaeologist who preferred not to be named told Kathimerini. He said the collection had a very high value.

Police believe that the artifacts are related in some way to the collection of Robin Symes, an antiquities dealer from London. Symes was involved in a two-year legal battle with the family of his business partner Christos Michailidis, who died in 1999.

The family won the right to half of the collection. Police believe the house in Schoinousa previously belonged to Symes and Michailidis.
JM sent this one in (thanks!) -- IHT ponders Silvio Berlusconi's (not-yet-admitted) defeat at the polls ... inter alia:

He survived the way Juvenal said Roman Republican leaders succeeded: with bread and circuses. Robert Penn Warren's fine novel, "All the King's Men," was inspired by Huey Long. Warren said he wanted to describe a man "whose power was based on the fact that he could vicariously fulfill some secret need of the people around him."

Ordinary Italians thought that somehow Berlusconi could show them how they too could succeed. But there turned out not to be that much bread for the masses, or even for Italy's corporate sector, which turned against him. There was plenty of circus. Italian television overflowed with bosomy young women, games and music, and Berlusconi-friendly news.

The Sun Herald retells a story I tell my students repeatedly during the year:

Long, long ago, Priam and his wife, Hecuba, were king and queen of Troy. They had several children, including the hero Hector, and twins, a boy named Helenus and a girl named Cassandra.

Cassandra was so beautiful that people compared her to the goddess Aphrodite. So it is no surprise that as she grew older, many young men fell in love with her.

And then one of the gods saw her, and her life changed forever.

Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto, was said to be the ideal of male beauty, and was the god of poetry and music.

The moment he saw Cassandra, he knew he must win her love. To do this, Apollo offered Cassandra an extraordinary gift, that of prophecy, the ability to know the future, if in return she would love him.

Hearing Apollo's offer, Cassandra imagined the glory of such a power, and so she agreed to the god's bargain.

Alas, once Apollo had given her the power to see the future, she broke her word to him. She did not stop to think that mortals who defied the gods were punished.

She ignored the truth she ought to have known -- that breaking a promise to a god would bring only heartache.

And that is what happened. Though Apollo did not take away Cassandra's ability to see the future, once she turned her back on him and refused to love him, he added to her prophetic powers a terrible curse.

"Cassandra, you will always know the future," he said, "but you shall be doomed to despair. No matter that your predictions will always be true, no one will ever believe you."

After that, Cassandra always saw clearly what would happen in the future; she knew the land of Troy would be destroyed and that her brother Hector would be killed.

For years she tried to warn her people, but no one ever believed her predictions. Hearing her prophecies, people laughed and called the poor girl mad. Even her parents did not listen to their daughter; believing her words to be ravings, they tried to keep her in her room where she would not disturb others.

Now Cassandra's mother, Hecuba, had given birth to another son, a beautiful boy she named Paris, but just before the boy was born, Hecuba dreamed that he would be the downfall of Troy. And so, to protect the land from destruction, she sent the baby away.

The servants took him to the wilds of Mount Ida to die alone in the wilderness.

But Paris was fortunate. Wild wolves protected him until a kind shepherd found him and raised him as his own. Throughout those years Cassandra, his long-lost sister, continued to warn her people that their land was doomed, that trouble was coming. Cassandra, in truth, predicted all that followed, but Troy was flourishing, so no one worried about the future, and no one believed Cassandra.

Apollo's curse had worked its magic.

Many years passed, and when Paris was grown he was called upon to judge a contest among three goddesses -- Aphrodite, Athena and Hera. Each goddess offered Paris a bribe hoping Paris would select her as the most beautiful, and when the contest was over, Paris chose Aphrodite.

So it was that Paris won Aphrodite's prize, the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. That woman was Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta.

"Helen is yours for the taking," Aphrodite told Paris, and so he traveled to Sparta, stole the queen from her home, and traveled with her back to Troy.

This caused Menelaus to call the Greeks to attack Troy, and so began a war that lasted nine long years.

The battles were endless, and as the war dragged on, Cassandra tried to warn her people. "Our hero Hector will die," she predicted, but the people were convinced Hector could not be beaten.

True to Cassandra's predictions, Hector fell. When Cassandra predicted the abduction of her brother Helenus by the Greek hero Odysseus, no one listened, and Odysseus captured Helenus, who also could predict the future, and carried him away.

Unlike the Trojans, the Greeks and their leader, Odysseus, listened to the prophecies Helenus offered them. So it was that clever Odysseus came up with a plan to overtake Troy at long last. He ordered a carpenter named Epeius to build a large wooden horse but to leave the horse hollow inside, so that when the statue was finished, Greek warriors could hide inside.

The Greeks tricked the Trojans by burning their camp outside of Troy and sailing away to hide on a nearby island.

Only one Greek stayed behind, Sinon, who persuaded the Trojans that the Greeks had left the horse as an offering to the goddess Athena and to take it inside the city walls.

The Trojans admired the beautiful horse, but Cassandra tried with all her heart to warn the Trojans not to believe Sinon's words. "You must not bring this horse inside our walls," she cried, but again the Trojans ignored her. They dragged the horse inside.

That night, after all the Trojans were asleep, Sinon set free the warriors hidden inside the horse, and they killed the guards and opened the city gates, letting in the Greek soldiers who had returned silently from the island in their boats.

They slaughtered the Trojans, including the great king Priam, who huddled in fear near Zeus' altar, and set the city on fire.

The soldiers carried Cassandra from the tower of Athena, dragging her to their own ships. Again Cassandra offered visions of the future.

"Your soldiers will never make it home," she told Odysseus. But as her own people had, the Greeks only laughed. "Madness," they said.

But they ought to have listened, for this was the beginning of many years of anguish at sea for the Greeks, though that is another story.
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Forgotten Civilizations of Anatolia
Throughout the course of history, many great civilizations have flourished in the area we now identify as Turkey, which forms a natural bridge between Europe and Asia. Join us on a virtual tour of Gordiyon (also known as Gordium), the domain of King Midas, Hattusa, the famous Hittite capital with its spectacular royal citadel, and the later cities ruled by the Greeks during the days of the Byzantine Empire. Using state-of-the-art computer technology and the latest in archaeological exploration, we walk viewers through ancient sites along with the citizens of the time.

6.30 p.m. |HINT| Athens: Western Splendor
Discover why Athens became the preeminent city during the Golden Age of Greece on this virtual tour of the cradle of Western civilization. Travel back to the time of Pericles, the noble statesman who led the revolution that touched all fields of knowledge. We visit the amphitheaters that were home to the famous tragedies of the day, tour the site of the ancient Olympic Games, and see the ornate temples of the Gods, including a bird's-eye view of the architectural masterpiece of its day--the Acropolis.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| 1453 AD: The Siege of Constantinople
Join us for a journey through time as we recreate the siege of Constantinople in 1453 AD. In 1204, Crusaders sacked the city and renamed it Constantinople. For the next thousand years, the Byzantine emperors hid safely behind the massive walls of Constantinople. Then, in 1453, when the Ottoman Empire encircled the city, Sultan Mehmet used the 15th-century's newest technology--the cannon--and finally brought down the walls of the world's most impregnable fortress and effectively ended the Middle Ages. Features exclusive dramatizations, the latest historical research, and location photography to provide the viewer with a vivid look at this crucial moment in time.

7.00 p.m. |NG| Gospel of Judas? The GoJ thing might be repeated some time this evening; NG's listings are messed up.

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Real Family of Jesus,
Part One Little is known about Jesus' family -- who they were and what role they played in his public life. Uncover evidence from the gospels and archeology that reveals Jesus as a part of a large extended family that spearheaded the spread of Christianity.

8.00 p.m. |SCI| Mary: Mother of Jesus
Investigate the life of Mary, the mother of the man believed by many to be the Son of God. Take a closer look into living conditions at the beginning of the first century; what life would have been like for a Jewish girl growing up under Roman rule.

9.00 p.m. |SCI| The Real Disciples of Jesus
Experts investigate the disciples of Jesus, examining new information about their backgrounds and their relationships to each other and to Jesus. Find out what Judas' role was among the Twelve; was he truly a traitor, or just a scapegoat?

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Real Family of Jesus
Part Two The traditional image of the Holy Family includes Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but Jesus lived in a society in which the extended family was the norm. Find out how Jesus' network of relations inspired and supported his work as founder of Christianity.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Who Killed Jesus?
Explore the figures, events and political climate surrounding the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Experts examine the motivations and methods of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the temple priests, the judicial system and the crowd calling for Jesus' death.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| The Three Kings
The identity of the Magi who visited the Christ child in Bethlehem is a biblical mystery. Trace their journey from Persia to Jerusalem to their confrontation with Herod. Find out why they brought their signature gifts, and how they vanished from history.
Excerpts from the Good Friday homily at the Vatican (which includes the 'official' reaction to the Gospel of Judas) ... it was delivered by Fr. Cantalamessa and here's some excerpts of interest:


No one will succeed in halting this speculative wave, which instead will flare up with the imminent release of a certain film, but being concerned for years with the history of Ancient Christianity, I feel the duty to call attention to a huge misunderstanding which is at the bottom of all this pseudo-historical literature.

The apocryphal gospels on which they lean are texts that have always been known, in whole or in part, but with which not even the most critical and hostile historians of Christianity ever thought, before today, that history could be made. It would be as if within two centuries an attempt were made to reconstruct present-day history based on novels written in our age.

The huge misunderstanding is the fact that they use these writings to make them say exactly the opposite of what they intended. They are part of the gnostic literature of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The gnostic vision – a mixture of Platonic dualism and Eastern doctrines, cloaked in biblical ideas --, holds that the material world is an illusion, the work of the God of the Old Testament, who is an evil god, or at least inferior; Christ did not die on the cross, because he never assumed, except in appearance, a human body, the latter being unworthy of God (Docetism).

If, according to The Gospel of Judas, of which there has been much talk in recent days, Jesus himself orders the apostle to betray him, it is because, by dying, the divine spirit which was in him would finally be able liberate itself from involvement of the flesh and re-ascend to heaven. Marriage oriented to births is to be avoided; woman will be saved only if the “feminine principle” (thelus) personified by her, is transformed into the masculine principle, that is, if she ceases to be woman [3].

The funny thing is that today there are those who believe they see in these writings the exaltation of the feminine principle, of sexuality, of the full and uninhibited enjoyment of this material world, contrary to the official Church which would always have frustrated all this! The same mistake is noted in regard to the doctrine of reincarnation. Present in the Eastern religions as a punishment due to previous faults and as something to which one longs to put an end to (?) with all one’s might, it is accepted in the West as a wonderful possibility to live and enjoy this world indefinitely.


3. Three Orders of Greatness


There are three orders of greatness, Pascal said in a famous pensee [8]. The first is the material order or of bodies: in it excels one who has many properties, who is gifted with athletic strength or physical beauty. It is a value that should not be disparaged, but it is the lowest. Above it is the order of genius and intelligence in which thinkers, inventors, scientists, artists, and poets are distinguished. This is an order of a different quality. To be rich or poor, beautiful or ugly does not add or subtract anything from genius. The physical deformity attributed to their person, does not take anything away from the beauty of Socrates’ thought or Leopardi’s poetry.


Christianity belongs to this third level. In the novel Quo Vadis, a pagan asks the Apostle Peter who had just arrived in Rome: “Athens has given us wisdom, Rome power; what does your religion offer us? And Peter responds: love! Love is the most fragile thing that exists in the world; it is represented, and it is, as a child. It can be killed with very little, as we have seen with horror these days, can be done with a child. But what do power and wisdom become, that is strength and genius, without love and goodness? They become Auschwitz, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, terrorism and all the rest that we know well.

5. The duty to love


Ulysses wanted to return to see his homeland and wife again, but he had to pass through the place of the Sirens that lured mariners with their singing and lead them to crash against the rocks. What did he do? He had himself tied to the vessel’s mast, after having plugged the ears of companions with wax. Arriving at the spot, charmed, he cried out to be loosed to reach the Sirens, but his companions could not hear him and so he was able to see his homeland and embrace his wife and son again [12]. It is a myth, but it helps to understand the reason for “indissoluble” marriage and, on a different plane, for religious vows.

From the Cambridge Evening News:

STILTON may have given its name to the famous blue cheese despite the fact it was never made in the village north of Huntingdon.

But now Stilton's claim to cheese-making fame has been given a boost by the discovery of a 2,000-year-old cheese press there.

The Roman press was found in a ditch by local potter Richard Landy. It is believed to have been used to make cheese from sheep's or goat's milk - a far cry from today (Saturday, 15 April)'s version of Stilton cheese.

Mr Landy said: "I was elated when I found the press.

I have already found extensive evidence of the Roman period from a number of sites around Stilton. I have also made pottery for the Stilton Cheese Makers' Association, so you could say it is a happy coincidence that I found the cheese press."

Philippa Walton, county archaeologist who identified the press, said: "This is a truly exceptional object found in a very apt spot. Its Third Century origin suggests Stilton's association with cheese may stretch back more than 1,800 years."

T he cheese press is one of more than 500 finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme designed to encourage members of the public to report archaeological finds they make.

Stilton cheese comes from a handful of cheese-makers in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and acquired its name from the village where much of it was sold to hungry travellers.

The village still celebrates the cheese and its annual cheese-rolling celebrations take place on Monday, May 1, this year.
From ANSA:

Archaeologists have discovered a 2nd-century seaside villa where two important senators of ancient Rome are believed to have passed their summers .

The remains of the luxury residence turned up recently in Torvaianica, a coastal resort south of Rome, when the local council started digging trenches for a new sewerage system .

Historians knew from written sources that the villa of Titus Flavius Claudanius and Titus Flavius Sallustius was somewhere in the area but the precise location had long been forgotten .

The two senators belonged to an imperial dynasty and, as befitted their rank, the villa was constructed on a grand scale. It covers about a hectare and includes a large area given over to relaxation, including a gymnasium, hot and cold baths and various swimming pools .

"We're uncovering a vast complex, in which we've found all sorts of vessels and ceramics which have been taken away to be catalogued," said head archaeologist Filippo Avilia .

Experts noted that the find was important enough to become a tourist attraction for the area, which is already steeped in myth and legend .

According to Latin poet Virgil, Trojan hero Aeneas landed just down the road at the ancient settlement of Lavinium after fleeing his city, which had been sacked by the Greeks. His descendants are said to have founded the city of Rome and an ancient monument to the hero can still be seen near Lavinio, the modern town on the site of Lavinium .
Seems appropriate to mention this one from the Independent (South Africa):

The image of the crucifixion, one of the most powerful emblems of Christianity, may be erroneous, according to a study which says there is no evidence that Jesus was crucified in this manner.

Around the world, in churches, in Christian homes, on crucifixes worn as pendants, in innumerable books, paintings and movies, Jesus Christ is seen nailed to the cross by his hands and feet, with his head upwards and arms outstretched.

But a paper published by Britain's Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) says this image has never been substantiated in fact.

"The evidence demonstrates that people were crucified in different postures and affixed to crosses using a variety of means," said one of the authors, Piers Mitchell of Imperial College London.

"Victims were not necessarily positioned head up and nailed through the feet from front to back, as is the imagery in Christian churches."

The authors do not express any doubt on the act of Jesus's crucifixion itself. But they note that the few eyewitness descriptions available of crucifixions in the 1st Century AD show the Romans had a broad and cruel imagination.

The cross could be erected "in any one of a range of orientations", with the victim sometimes head-up, or sometimes head-down.

There is no detailed account of the method of Jesus's crucifixion in the four Gospels of the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

And only one piece of archaeological evidence has ever been found about a crucifixion, says Mitchell. This case entails a young Jewish man, whose inscription on an ossuary (a type of tomb), found near Giv'at ha-Mivtar in Israel, suggests his name was probably Yehonanan ben Hagkol.

The clue to his demise comes from an 11.5cm iron nail that had been hammered through one of his heels, attaching it to the side of the cross. But there are no signs of any nail holes in the bones of the wrist or the forearm.

Over the past 150 years, there have been at least 10 books and studies to try to understand the physical causes of Jesus's death.

These explorations have yielded a wide range of hypotheses, from heart failure and pulmonary embolism to asphyxia and shock induced by falling blood pressure.

Given the uncertainty as to exactly how he was crucified, the answer may only ever come if some new archaeological evidence or piece of writing emerges from the shadows of the past, it says.

Now when this story first came out a couple of weeks ago, I didn't give it a second thought. But as the season has had various folks reading various accounts to me in various contexts, and as I have read various accounts myself, it sounds like the 'lack of a detailed account' is begging the question big time. True, there is no actual account of the specific method in the four Gospels, but what IS there pretty much points to the traditional image. If Jesus were crucified upside down, e.g., there would be no need for an 'extension' when the bystander offered him the vinegar-soaked sponge (a tale which appears both Matthew and Mark; in (the likely later) Luke the soldiers offer him 'sour wine' ... no extension mentioned; by John, it's offered on a bit of hyssop). Similarly, if we accept the account in John, the 'breaking of the legs' also doesn't make sense in an 'upside down' context (you only break the legs to make upright crucifixion victims die more quickly). The image was also apparently well-known enough outside of Christian circles that it could be parodied in that Alexamenos graffito ...
This is somewhat refreshing ...'s Conservative Politics guide begins a piece with:

It's the Ides of April* once again, folks, when Uncle Sam comes to collect. It's not quite as bloody as the Ides of March, but painful none-the-less.

... but you notice that little asterisk, which points us to:

*(There may be brilliant, educated people who want to inform me that the Ides of April is really April 13, and not April 15 like in the Ides of March. Thanks for letting it slide. It's just fun to mix Julius Caesar's violent demise with April 15 and our own suffering. Thanks for being gracious.)

Compare that to the myriad articles which have been clogging my box this (and many another) year -- such as the Journal News and the St Petersburg Times, to name but two -- who seem blissfully unaware of the beginning of little rhyme I seem to have to repeat every year in the vain hope that writers of this sort of thing will pay attention:

In March, July, October, May the Ides are on the 15th day ...

... all other months (including the dreaded (for our US friends) April) have the Ides on the 13th.

From ANSA:

For the first time this Easter, visitors to Hadrian's Villa will be able to enjoy full-colour 3-D reconstructions of its glories as they stroll through the huge complex .

Special palm pilots will bring the ruins back to life for adults - while younger visitors can have fun with a videogame-style ride through Roman history .

"Thanks to the new Archeoguida, visitors can admire the ruins while appreciating the site's original beauty on palm pilots and gameboys," said Culture Ministry Undersecretary Antonio Martusciello .

He said the new hand-held computerised guides should soon be available at other famous ancient sites like the Etruscan burial grounds at Tarquinia and the Greek temples at Paestum, replacing traditional audio-guides .

Antonia Recchia, head of the ministry's technological innovation department, said: "The images aren't an alternative to what people see. The computer-generated experience helps to enhance the real experience, which is complicated and sometimes hard to grasp" .

"The ruins are imposing in their beauty and grandeur. But the visitor can be overwhelmed by them and find it difficult to get a sense of how the various parts linked up," she said .

While adults press buttons to conjure up the original splendour of the buildings, kids are accompanied on a virtual tour by a wacky alien architect called Zurp and his pet mouse Zip, who also provide glimpses into how the Romans lived .

Hadrian's Villa, a few miles north of Rome at Tivoli, was the largest and richest Imperial Roman villa ever built .

Started soon after Hadrian's investiture in 117 AD, it took ten years to build and the emperor himself showed his architectural skills in paying homage to the most beautiful buildings in his Empire .

Protected by a beautiful park, the villa is one of the most evocative classical sites in Italy and draws thousands of visitors a year .

One of the best-preserved parts is a recreation of the famous statue-lined pool shrine at Canopus in Egypt - one of many memorials to the emperor's boy-lover Antinoos .

The architectural gems were linked by pathways and passages - including a subterranean one inspired by a classical description of the Underworld - to form a sort of small city, used by Hadrian as a summer court .

The vast site - at least the size of Pompeii - was looted by barbarians and plundered by later stone-hunters but has still disgorged hundreds of artistic treasures since the first excavations in the 16th century .

The almost 300 art works discovered there are scattered around the museums of Europe .
A brief item from ANSA (I wish I could find out a bit more about this 'Dauna' period ... it keeps popping up):

- Quattro tombe risalenti all'epoca Dauna (tra il VI e il V secolo a.C.) sono state rinvenute ad Ascoli Satriano (Foggia). La scoperta e' stata compiuta su un terreno sul quale un imprenditore aveva intenzione di costruire un salumificio. Due delle tre tombe - secondo gli esperti della soprintendenza archeologica di Foggia - contengono un ricco corredo femminile, dal quale e' facile dedurre che le donne potessero appartenere all'alta societa'.
Interesting followup to the Met's deal ... from the Dallas Morning News:

A soon-to-be-lost antiquity is rapidly becoming a Manhattan tourist attraction. The reason for its sudden popularity is simple. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to return the stunning Euphronios krater it bought for a record $1 million in 1972 in response to the Italian government's claim it had been illegally removed from a tomb north of Rome.

Now that it's a short-timer, even New Yorkers are stopping to take a closer look.

"I haven't seen it for such a long time I had to ask a guy to point me in the right direction," said Lisa Kiernan, there with her son Sam, a freshman at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

"I asked a friend who works at the museum what I should bring him to see when he was home on vacation, and she said, 'Just take him to see the Greek vase, because it won't be here forever.' "

It's easy to understand how a visitor might overlook this rare terra-cotta vase from the 6th century B.C. Dubbed the Euphronios krater after the name of the painter, it's surrounded by other Greek vases done in the red-figure process whereby a black glaze was painted around forms and figures that were left the natural color of the clay.

This type of wide-mouthed, broad-bodied vessel with handles was used to mix wine with water, but the intricate storytelling quality and superb artistry of this one sets it apart.

The 18-inch-tall object is actually the product of two artists, a potter named Euxitheos and Euphronios, the painter.

"Rather than thinking of it as a utilitarian object, I'd like you to see it as a great drawing, albeit in the round," Metropolitan Museum director Philippe de Montebello says, referring to the fact that the story evolves as visitors move around the vessel.

The dramatic scene on the front is an episode from the Trojan War.

Blood gushes from the slain body of Sarpedon, son of the supreme deity in Greek mythology, while the messenger god Hermes raises his hand as a signal for two winged figures to carry the victim to his homeland for burial.

Intrigue and danger are enacted on an elegantly proportioned, harmoniously shaped vessel, with the muscular bodies and motion rendered in convincing fashion – sufficiently gory to satisfy fans of The Sopranos, but timeless.

In exchange for the Met's return of the Euphronios krater and several other objects, the Italian Cultural Ministry recently agreed to let the museum keep it on view until January 2008, about nine months after the opening of the new galleries for Etruscan, Hellenic and Roman art in April of next year.
From the Turkish Daily News:

A documentary shot to highlight the issue of the return of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus -- one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and currently on display at the British Museum -- to Bodrum has been completed.

A petition launched for the same purpose is still ongoing.

The major part of the mausoleum was taken with permission by the government to the British Museum in London at the time of excavations conducted during the Ottoman era. The municipality of Bodrum last year launched a campaign with the support of various nongovernmental organizations to secure the return of the mausoleum to Bodrum.

The documentary, titled "Ancient Halicarnassus Bodrum," is a comprehensive production that features the history of Bodrum as well as its cultural legacy, with the objective of raising public awareness on the issue.

Directed by lawyer Remzi Kazmaz and completed over the course of 18 months, the documentary depicts historical events that took place in the area. An animated piece featuring famed Greek historian Heredotos, known as the father of history and who was born in the Bodrum area, is one of the most colorful parts of the documentary.

The 60-minute film was shot at Bodrum's historical sites and stars singer Fedon as Captain Georgios and former model Merve I.ldeniz as the wife of Emperor Augustus. A group of artists including Didem Baydar, Erol Y"lmaz, I.lhami Abut, Nuran Altug(, Selçuk Ayd"n and Selda Can also volunteered to take part in the production, which will be screened free of charge at Cinemarin movie theaters in Bodrum between April 14 and 21.

Noting that the documentary, which cost around $80,000 to make, was important for Bodrum, the city's mayor, Mazlum Ag(an, said: "We have been trying for years to highlight the artistic and cultural identity of Bodrum, eliminating the pop culture image of the city. We believe the documentary, in this sense, reflects its historical wealth. I hope in coming years we'll be able to produce a more comprehensive promotional film with a larger budget on an international level."

"The documentary will be shown both in Turkey and abroad. The petition we have started will also contribute to efforts to return the mausoleum to Bodrum," said Kazmaz adding, "We have launched an international legal process with the help of 30 lawyers."

Kazmaz also said the signatures would later be sent to the Culture and Tourism Ministry in an attempt to make them take up the issue. If they don't receive a positive response from the ministry, they will then apply to the European Court of Human Rights, said the mayor.

"This issue is not solely an issue limited to Bodrum but a problem for all people living in Turkey and for those who are trying to preserve their past cultural wealth, especially when one takes into account the fact that there are at least 500 artifacts that have been taken abroad in various ways and are exhibited in foreign museums," he said, adding that they extended the campaign to last until the end of June in order to publicize the event to a broader audience and voice everyone's reactions.

"Those who want to join our campaign can fill in the form posted at, he added.

The campaign now has 103,000 signatures, the Dog(an News Agency reported.
7.00 p.m. |NG| The Crucifixion
Do films like "The Passion of the Christ" accurately portray the death of Jesus Christ? The Crucifixion takes viewers to the Holy Land with experts who investigate the details of this barbaric method of execution. Why was it used by first century Romansand how did it originate? What exactly happens during a crucifixion? Uncover new insight that challenges conventional wisdom about this ancient practice as experiments are performed on virtual models and real people to measure how the body reacts.

8.00 p.m. |DTC| In Search of the Holy Grail
What is the Holy Grail? A team of experts explores four intriguing items to explore: a glass bowl from England; an ancient cup from Wales; a small stone; a papal chalice in Spain; and an intricately engraved silver chalice from ancient Antioch.

8.00 p.m. |NG| Stigmata
Could the wounds Jesus Christ received on his forehead, side, hands and feet during his last hours appear unintentionally (and miraculously) in a select few among us? The marks are called stigmata - the divine malady. Over the course of the 20th century, claimed cases of stigmata have been remarkably on the rise. Are these claims real or frauds? NGC investigates by securing testimonies from stigmatics, believers, investigators and scientists so that you can determine the ultimate question: Is It Real?

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Boudicca: Warrior Queen
Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 and 54 BC, gaining submission of the six eastern Celtic tribes. As the Roman Empire's farthest flung province, its merchants enjoyed a healthy trade with Roman Gaul, and for about 100 years, the tribes were mainly left alone. But in 60 AD, a warrior queen named Boudicca rose in revolt. When her husband died, Boudicca became Queen of the Iceni. Roman administrators tried to control the Iceni by appropriating their land and disarming the tribe. After the Romans flogged Boudicca and raped her two daughters, she raised a mighty army believed to number over 100,000 and took the fight to the Romans.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| The Quest for the True Cross
Based on the New York Times best-seller, scholarly detective work and historical adventure draw conclusions about the remains of Christ's actual cross. This comprehensive study could overturn centuries of academic assumptions about the crucifixion.
A Good Friday edition ... we'll be on our 'weekend schedule' today (and Monday too):

Alun has an interesting piece on the astronomical significance of the Tellus relief on the Ara Pacis ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius has some comments by Henry James on that Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue ...

Interesting piece from the News-Daily ... not sure of some of the claims made therein:

The figure that most intrigues me in the Easter story is Pontius Pilate. Maybe it is because so little is known about him even though he plays a pivotal role in the story. It might also be that he may have had the same management style I have — trying to make those affected by a decision actually make the decision.

In college, I was walking down the aisle of books at the library and a fictionalized biography of him caught my eye and I took it home and read then entire book in one sitting.

The one thing I remember about the biography is it made clear the pressure that Pilate was under. Imagine if it was today and you were the governor of Iraq. You have the people tiring of the whole region, you have the leader’s approval rating dropping and then the leader says to you: Hey, get that region under control. Stop those insurgents, stop the killing and quiet that region down.

It is easy to say this from Washington. But if you are in Iraq, you’ve got the factions, you’ve got the unrest that is fostered by the presence of your soldiers.

That is the situation that Pilate found himself in. Rome had its own problems and it says to Pilate, get that situation under control, don’t let it blow up, don’t let unrest ferment.

So this is what is known of Pilate. He was of German origin, but was brought up near the borders of the Roman Empire. Because he was of royal birth, he was allowed to train in Rome. It was during this time that an uprising broke out in the Black Sea region and he was dispatched to put it down. And because he was successful he was given the title Pontius after the Black Sea region of Pontus.

The Roman emperor Tiberius then made him procurator of Judea in 26 AD. This was not seen as a plum assignment because it was viewed by Rome as a third-class province. There, he was supposed to maintain order, collect the taxes and looking after Tiberius’ estates.

Immediately Pilate made three decisions that infuriated the Jews, starting with marching the Roman army from Caesarea to Jerusalem and hung the shields of the army, which contained pagan gods on them, on the walls of Jerusalem. The leaders of the Jews protested to Tiberius and Pilate then retaliated by dressing some of the soldiers in civilian clothes and killing some of the Jews. Finally he took over the Temple treasury and extracted large sums of money to building an aqueduct. This almost caused a riot. He was then reprimanded by Tiberius.

What is known is that he ruled for 10 years from 26 to 36 A.D. That was the second longest reign over that region.

Roman historians described him as “insensitive, cruel, ready to use brutal force to keep order and incompetent.”

Others said he was weak, wavering and unsure of how to manage. When it came time to make a decision about Jesus, he literally washed his hands of it. But some of the Roman writings might have been done just to absolve Rome of any of the responsibility for the death of Christ.

What is known of Pilate’s last days is that three years after the death of Christ he was removed from his post by Caligula and in the Roman tradition committed suicide in disgrace. One story floated that Pontius Pilate converted to Christianity before his death, but there really isn’t any compelling evidence.

A new book: “Pontius Pilate: The Biography of an Invented Man” by Ann Wroe seeks to flesh out the man from the little known about him and to look at him from different vantage points.

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself of Pilate the same you ask of Judas. If the plan was for Christ to be tried and crucified in order to remove original sin from man, then if Pilate had been a forceful commander and had freed Jesus when he was brought before him then this would not have worked. Wroe considers that Pilate might have been “God’s secret agent,” unable to avoid the role that had been chosen for him in the great plan. In the same way, Judas had to identify Jesus so he could be arrested and tried.

The scriptures do hint at the fascination of Pilate for Jesus as he interrogated him to decide what to do with him.

That is what this generation has that we who look back at historic figures don’t have. A thousand years from now historians can look at George Bush and at Iraq and at all the statements and plans and make up their own mind about him. We can’t do that with figures like Pontius Pilate since almost nothing is known about his thoughts, his perception of life. A nice long diary would be nice but there isn’t one. A two-hour Larry King interview would be nice, even video tape of Christ’s appearance before Pilate would let us look at the body language, hear the words and their inflection and draw some conclusions.

So I may not have liked him. I may have found him one-dimensional, a brute. Or I might have found a Macbeth or Hamlet character, agonizing over the decision he had to make at Easter.

Well, it’s interesting to think about it even if there is no definitive answer.

For the record, I have never hear of any German origin for Pontius (I guess this is the 'Hausen Legend') ... I have never heard of any 'royalty' connections ... I have never heard about Pontius being connected to some victory in Pontus (of course, it would have been an agnomen, not a nomen if that's the case).
Once again, the Roman example is being trotted out as applicable to the U.S.'s current debate on illegal immigration ... the second half of a piece at Renew America:

When the culture of the Roman Empire was vigorous and virtuous, the integration of barbarian tribes into the Empire was generally successful. In those days, the barbarians were eager to imitate Roman culture. For centuries, many groups were struggling to get into the empire and become Romans, a trend not to the liking of many Romans, but which they gradually gave way to for pragmatic and political reasons.

When the Roman Empire later became culturally decadent, young Romans were eager to imitate barbarian culture. Simultaneously, semi-barbarous tribes on the marches that once admired Rome and sought the shelter of the empire became increasingly hostile to Roman rule.

The present American cult of musical primitivism is reminiscent of decadent Roman youth who wore the clothes and affected the manners of barbarians. The hostility to American culture by the illegal aliens who are marching in the streets is reminiscent of the hostility of semi-barbarous tribes to Rome when the Roman culture was decadent.

The golden age of Roman culture

Contrary to popular belief nourished by Hollywood myths, the golden era of Roman culture and virtue was not during the Roman Republic. Romans of the Republic were as tough as nails because of constant warfare. A larger part of the empire was conquered by the stern, disciplined Romans of the Republic than was conquered by the Emperors. The dour citizen-soldiers of the Republic were loaded with military and civic virtues, but they were harsh and implacable. Rome had an unstable society, deep divisions in the social fabric, severe revolutions, and a culture that was inferior to that of the Greeks.

Despite the myths of Hollywood, the golden age of Roman culture occurred during the second century A.D. when Rome was a great empire. The moral and cultural renewal of the empire after a time of decadence is a story every American needs to hear. If cultural and moral decadence can be reversed in ancient Rome, it can be reversed in America.

The Julio-Claudian emperors (27-68 A.D.) ruled at a time of moral depravity. Depraved pagan cults flooded into the capital from the provinces. The five emperors of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty--Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero--and their families ranged from eccentric to wicked to mentally ill with delusions.

The Flavian Dynasty (69-96 A.D.)--Vespasius, Titus, and Domitian--represented a marked improvement in administrative and military skills. The Flavians restored stability to Rome after a time of severe upheavals involving the Julio-Claudians and their enemies.

The "five good emperors" of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty (96-180 A.D.)--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius--presided over the golden age of Rome. It was a time of moral and cultural renewal, vast building projects, great wealth, peace, and social order.

"The second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government. During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines." (Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.)

This was the era when many nations, tribes, and groups were eager to get under the protection of the empire and become culturally Roman. Once they were included in the empire, they continually petitioned an annoyed Roman Senate to elevate their status to that of Roman citizens. Everywhere people tried to imitate the culture of Rome. The Roman melting pot was successful in transforming the people of many ethnic groups into cultural Romans. The entire Western Mediterranean region became culturally Latin and much of it has remained so for the duration.

The secrets of Roman cultural renewal

How was Rome able to recover from the dark years of Julio-Claudian rule, and within a few generations reach the meridian glory of a great civilization? The first step was the recovery of order by the Flavian Emperors. Chaos on the marches of the empire had been ignored by the decadent Julio-Claudians, and law-and-order on the borders was reestablished by the Flavians. Civil wars, blood purges, and civil insurrections in Rome and various other places that cursed the Julio-Claudian regime were decisively curtailed by the Flavian emperors.

The second step in Roman cultural revival was a revolution in education. Marcus Quintilian (35–96 A.D.) was the leading schoolmaster of Rome under the Flavians. His program emphasized both the intellectual and moral education of the sons of Roman aristocrats. Quintilian brought a systematic approach to the Seven Liberal Arts, although he was most famous for his teaching of oratory, one of the seven arts. The aristocrats of the early Nervan-Antonian era were educated by teachers who were themselves students of Quintilian. His outstanding system of education was adopted by schools for the Christian gentlemen during the early Italian Renaissance, a model that was followed by elite prep schools in England and America until World War II.

There was a rapidly developing interest in philosophy by the brilliantly educated Aristocrats. Stoicism was popular among Roman aristocrats. Neoplatonism was popular among the Greeks of that era. Both Stoicism and Neoplatonism emphasized the development of the manly virtues and self-denial.

The two greatest Stoic philosophers were Epictetus (55–135 A.D.), and Marcus Aurelius (121–180 A.D.). Epictetus was a Greek who learned philosophy as the young slave of a rich Roman. The famous school of philosophy that Epictetus established later in his life was visited by Emperor Hadrian. Marcus Aurelius, a great Stoic philosopher who is still widely read today, was the fifth of the five great emperors.

During this time, the old paganistic cults were gradually losing the hold on the urban citizens of the empire. The pantheist tone of Stoicism and Neoplatonism of the aristocrats was incompatible with a robust polytheism. To fill the spiritual vacuum, common people increasingly turned to Christianity, especially in the great metropolitan cities. Originally, this trend was more notable in the Eastern half of the empire than the West. Christianity had a salutary effect of the moral tone of the Roman world. A healthy social fabric developed that made a great Roman melting pot possible.

A cultural decline of the Western half of the empire began in the third century A.D. and marked the beginning of a time of troubles. The inability to continue assimilating large masses of semi-barbarous people increased as the cultural vitality of the Roman World decreased. By the time of the fall of Rome in the fourth century, the decadent Romans were no more civilized in some respects than the semi-Latinized German tribes who were at war with Rome. In personal honor and sexual morality, the German tribes were superior to the decadent Romans.
JNW at the NYT seems to be getting suspicious about the Gospel of Judas and he's just starting to touch on the Maecenas Foundation ... here's some excerpts from the IHT version of a piece he wrote for the New York Times, with some comments/questions inter alia from me:

When the National Geographic Society announced to great fanfare last week that it had gained access to a 1,700-year-old document known as the Gospel of Judas, it described how a deteriorating manuscript unearthed in Egypt three decades ago had made its way through the shady alleys of the antiquities market to a safe deposit box in a New York suburb and eventually to a Swiss art dealer who "rescued" it from obscurity.

But there is even more to the story.

The art dealer was herself detained several years ago in an unrelated Italian investigation of antiquities smuggling. And after she failed to profit from the sale of the gospel in the private market, she struck a lucrative deal with a foundation run by her lawyer.

Later, National Geographic paid the foundation to restore the manuscript and bought the rights to the text and the story about the discovery. As part of her arrangement with the foundation, the dealer, Frieda Tchacos Nussberger, stands to gain $1 million to $2 million from those National Geographic projects, her lawyer said.

Details of how the manuscript was found are clouded. According to National Geographic, it was found by farmers in an Egyptian cave in the 1970s, sold to a dealer and then passed through various hands in Europe and on to the United States. Legal issues surrounding its transit are vague.

I want to know how it came to be stolen from an antiquities dealer in Egypt, and then resurface in the hands of that same dealer ...

No one questions the authenticity of the Judas Gospel, which depicts Judas Iscariot, not as a betrayer of Jesus, but as his favored disciple.

But the emerging details are raising concerns among some archaeologists and other scholars at a time of growing scrutiny of dealers who sell antiquities and of the museums and collectors who buy them. The information also calls into question the completeness of National Geographic's depiction of some individuals like Tchacos Nussberger and its disclosure of all the financial relationships involved.

Terry Garcia, vice president for mission programs at National Geographic, which is based in Washington, said the organization had "heard some rumors" about possible legal problems involving Tchacos Nussberger but could not confirm them. He also noted that the organization had disclosed its relationship with the Swiss foundation, the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art.

I'm not sure where they 'disclosed this relationship' ... in the television program, it was mentioned only in passing. On the website, we can read that the NG "collaborated" with the Maecenas Foundation and/or that the Maecenas Foundation approached the NG "to play a key role in the authentication". That's not really "disclosure" ...


Those 'rumors' seem to be what Michael van Rijn was talking about a few years ago (I can't access his blog anymore ... not sure if it has disappeared or if this is just one of those vagaries of the web things). Back in 2002, the following was posted by him to the Museum Securities Network list:

The big news I break today is that mega Zurich based art dealer Frieda Tchacos was arrested in Cyprus on request of the Italian police. Although she tries to fight it, she will soon be a "guest " in a small room in Rome. As I announced earlier on my site, Frieda had given the Carabinieri a Marble Statue of Artimides, which was "valued" by her at 4,5 million dollars. Mario Roberty did her leg work in Rome. What a great lawyer! The Italians accepted the statue kindly but were definitely not fooled! While she thought she had put the Italians to sleep with this "bribe", the Carabineri continued their investigation. Frieda is fighting by her high powered lawyers her extradition. She is proposing a bond of 300.000 Euro to be allowed to leave her cell in Cyprus and wait under house arrest in Zurich for the extradition proceedings.
The other big news is that Professor Dario Del Bufalo, third man in the Italian Ministry of Culture, traveled with her and her Basel based devils advocate Mario Roberty to Tajikistan, on her expenses. As already announced by us in the past. This important Italian politician and art historian is crazily embarrassed and afraid that I am going to spill the beans on his dealings with Frieda and Mario. …… of course I will :-) Frieda sold to the likes of the Getty museum and other important institutions around the world many stolen and smuggled antiquities. Mario Roberty, being her legal cover up all the way. You wonder where that leaves her good amigo Professor Dario Del Bufalo? Of course you will hear this soon.

[I've underlined it to clarify that it isn't part of the NYT article]

The organization did not buy the document. Instead, it paid $1 million to the Maecenas Foundation, effectively for the manuscript's contents.

The foundation was set up some years ago by Tchacos Nussberger's lawyer, Mario Roberty, well before it became involved with the Judas Gospel.

Roberty said the foundation was involved in projects like returning antiquities to their countries of origin. He said that when Tchacos Nussberger turned over the document to the foundation in 2001, he assured officials in Egypt that the manuscript would be returned there. He said the foundation had clear legal title to the document.

Focussing first on Mario Roberty, we should note that he is/was lawyer for the antiquities dealer who sold that controversial Apollo to the Cleveland Museum of Art. From Action News:

Phoenix Ancient Art, the dealership that sold the Apollo to the museum, has run afoul of the law before, said Elia, Bell and others.

Ali Aboutaam, who runs the gallery's branch in Geneva, Switzerland, co-owns the business with his brother, Hicham.

Ali Aboutaam was convicted in absentia in Egypt last year on charges of smuggling and sentenced to 15 years in prison. His lawyer, Mario Roberty, told the newspaper the charges were "absolutely ridiculous" and politically motivated.

Hicham Aboutaam pleaded guilty in New York in June to a misdemeanor federal charge that he had falsified a customs document to hide the origins of an ancient silver drinking vessel the gallery later sold for $950,000.

Now to be fair, Roberty has been involved in the repatriation of items ... from the CPROT list:

A large stone head of Bodhisattva, in the controversial collection of the Miho Museum, Japan (see: 'In The News' CWC issue 2), has been identified as stolen from Boxing County, China. Cultural Heritage Watch claimed that a picture of the sculpture had been published in an archaeological report in Wenwu magazine in 1983. The Miho Museum's Swiss-based lawyer, Mario Roberty, said that the discovery was a shock to his museum clients since they had exercised 'careful due diligence' by checking that it did not appear on any available data base. It had been acquired from Eskenazi Oriental Art, London, in 1996 who had acquired it in good faith from another London art dealer. Roberty added that, although under no legal obligation (Japan has not ratified the UNESCO or Unidroit conventions) the Miho Museum would arrange for sculpture to be repatriated

And we still have not been told about the Maecenas Foundation. I raised questions about it and its apparent connection to Japanese religious cult quite a while ago and I have not yet heard/read anything to calm down the 'suspicions' center of my brain. I mean, surely I'm not the only one who wonders about a 'foundation' which has its own museum of antiquities and whose founder seems to tread some fine line between legitimate antiquities deals and, well, 'the Museum Case'. I can't help but wonder whether Mr. Roberty's name and/or foundation is going to be mentioned in the Marion True trial. I also can't help but wonder whether the National Geographic Society has found itself a (willing?) dupe in an effort to add value to a manuscript of questionable provenance and/or give that manuscript some 'legitimacy' from an ownership point of view. I don't think we're getting the full story and I can't help but suspect the full story is bigger than the story of the Gospel of Judas.

Here's the rest of the IHT article ...

Also worth reading is an excerpt from an AP piece with some remarks from James Robinson (this comes from the Daily Bulletin):

Robinson, who taught at the Claremont Graduate University, said the splashy release sensationalized the document far beyond its real importance. The release, he said, is part of a massive marketing campaign designed to maximize profits on a discovery that will have little effect on the way society sees Judas.

He released a book last week, ‘‘The Secrets of Judas, the Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel.''

Swiss owners -- who had difficulty selling the document itself to antiquities dealers because international law frowns on selling smuggled discoveries -- needed another plan, Robinson said.

"They lit upon the idea of selling the (publication rights). The National Geographic Society bit hook, line and sinker to have exclusive rights to publish (on) the Easter season,'' he said."They sold the public a bill of goods.''

The National Geographic Society, reached Thursday on short notice, declined to comment.

The lost gospel portrays Judas as the protagonist in the ancient story of betrayal by handing Jesus over to the authorities at his request - prompting speculation that the work could change the way history treats him.

Robinson, who has been called America's foremost expert on ancient Coptic texts, said he sees it another way. He said that the gospel, recorded on papyrus leaves in the Coptic language, is an authentic second-century document but contains no new information about what happened to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the thirty pieces of silver given as blood money or the betraying kiss.

Nevertheless, the release of the material may rekindle debates about Judas that began as long ago as the second or third century, noted Karen L. King, a professor of the history of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, in a New York Times article last week.

"You can see how early Christians could say, if Jesus' death was all part of God's plan, then Judas' betrayal was part of God's plan,'' King said. ";So what does that make Judas? Is he the betrayer, or the facilitator of salvation, the guy who makes the crucifixion possible?''

The anonymous authors of the gospel are believed to be Gnostics, members of an ancient Christian sect interested in promoting their religion in a book of mythology, according to Robinson, now known as the "Gospel of Judas.''

Although the gospel, contained in a codex with several other ancient documents, has tremendous value to scholars, it will have little effect on modern Christianity, or how we view Judas' intentions, Robinson said.

‘‘This text, which doesn't tell us anything new about what happened in 30 AD, just tells us what Gnostic mythology made of the story 100 or more years later,'' Robinson said.

Robinson's interest with the ";Gospel of Judas'' began long ago when on May 15, 1983, when he was approached by a professor about a manuscript on sale in Geneva, Switzerland.

The codex containing the "Gospel of Judas'' had been smuggled out of Egypt about 10 years earlier, where it was found by an garlic farmer who stumbled upon a limestone box in a remote burial cave.

The professor wanted him to come along because of Robinson's expertise in the Coptic language, but he couldn't make the trip and sent one of his students in Rome in his place.

He had a weekend to raise money to buy the document, and received a pledge of $50,000. The seller demanded $3 million. The student took the manuscript, excused himself to go to the bathroom, and then memorized what he could before giving it back, Robinson said.

The student made out the name Judas, but didn't know at that time it was Judas Iscariot.

The document eventually disappeared from public view. Though some articles were published in scientific journals about the discovery of the codex, little was heard of it until last year, when a rumor began circulating about a "Gospel of Judas,'' he said.

In November, just before Robinson was to speak at a lecture in Pennsylvania, he learned his former student was involved in the secret sale of the document and the negotiation of full publication rights to the National Geographic Society, he said. He saw the student, who was a panelist, at the presentation.

All parties involved were sworn to secrecy, Robinson said, in order to make the greatest possible impact when presented to the public.

In his book, Robinson quotes a message e-mailed to him by a colleague, Steve Emmel, who joined the National Geographic Society's advisory panel on the project.

"I have cautioned (National Geographic Society) against sensationalism ... but there are some people involved in the project who do not seem to understand much of anything except stupid sensationalism,'' Emmel wrote."I can certainly not guarantee that the publication of the text and translation will not be accompanied by some phony hoopla.

The Daily Bulletin piece also has an audio interview with Robinson ...

UPDATE: Michel van Rijn's webpage still works ... folks interested in the angle being pursued here might want to spend some time there ...

From a Vanderbilt Press Release:

A Vanderbilt professor has been appointed to a prestigious temporary post at the American Academy in Rome, one of the leading American overseas centers for independent study and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities.

Thomas McGinn, professor of classics, will serve a three-year term as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies at the academy. He begins July 1.

“He is an admired and experienced scholar,” said Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president of the American Academy in Rome. “He knows Rome well and will be a great teacher and mentor not only to the scholars of the classical school, but to all our fellows.”

The American Academy in Rome was established in 1894 and chartered by an Act of Congress in 1905. It provides a unique opportunity for interaction between artists and scholars.

“I am delighted at this wonderful opportunity,” McGinn said. “and I am very grateful for the support I have received from my colleagues at Vanderbilt.”

McGinn has taught at Vanderbilt since 1986. He was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 1984-85, where he also held a Fulbright Scholarship. He has written numerous articles on Roman law and social history. His first book, Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome, was published in 1998. His most recent book is The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World: A Study of Social History and the Brothel.
7.00 p.m. |DTC| Martyrs
When the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death five years after Jesus' crucifixion, the small Jewish sect seemed doomed. But over the next 300 years, thousands would follow in his footsteps.

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Hermits, Monks, and Madmen
With the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, the one guaranteed path to sainthood--martyrdom--was cut off. Christians began experimenting with extremes of self-denial as new ways to sanctity.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Mystics and Miracles
The miraculous acts of the saints profoundly affected Christian history. Various miraculous events are recounted, and theologians, scientists, and physicians discuss their validity.

9.00 p.m. |NG| Spartacus: Gladiator War
Spartacus was a military rebel, a slave warrior and a reluctant hero.This is the true-life story of how one man, fueled by a desire for his own freedom, led a revolution against the Roman Empire, and became a hero even more compelling than the legend Hollywood created.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| The Road to Sainthood
Who determines who is and is not a saint? Monks in France have studied records for 300 years to document the veracity of the saints. Today, politics and other matters sway the Vatican's canonization process.

10.00 p.m. |NG| Secrets of Herod's Reign
Was he a villain or a visionary? Or was he a genius or did he order genocide? Herod killed his own wife and children but did he also try to kill the baby Jesus by ordering the murder of every baby boy in his kingdom? Join NGC as Secrets of HerodÂ’s Reigndepicts a common man who became king of the Jews but could not satisfy his subjects. This program traces his bloody and pragmatic rise to power and the accomplishments and horrors that came with his rule.
Qui genus iactat suum, aliena laudat.
(Seneca, Hercules Furens 340-41)

The one who brags about his own kind praises foreign things.

(pron = kwee GAY-noos IAHK-taht soom ah-lee-AIY-nah LAUW-dat)

Comment: If I spend my time and energy talking about (bragging about) my own
(things, family, accomplishments, ideas, ailments, crises, problems, money,
job, possessions, etc) then I am investing myself in "foreign things."

Why are all of these things foreign--my family, job, ideas, successes, diseases,
possessions--after all, they are MINE! They are not foreign at all!

Except--which of any of these is really who I am? As dear as they are to me,
and as identified as I might be with any of these, finally none is who I really
am. And to devote myself, my talk, my energy to any of them, ultimately, avoids
being who I am. They are foreign.

I would suggest that on this coming weekend when religiously the crucifixion and
resurrection stories will be memorialized as an historical event by many, that
it might also be a different kind of reflection: death to (letting go of)
things that are not really who we are, in order to rise to (wake up to) what is
most honest and most true about who we are.

The one does not come without the other.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
I can't believe that someone came to rogueclassicism via king Farouk size penis (or that rc is in the top ten for search results for that one; fwiw, the first bet I ever cashed at a horse race was on a pacer named Senga Farouk)
idus apriles

ludi Cereri (day 2)-- games in honour of the grain goddes Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

rites in honour of Jupiter Victor and Jupiter Liber

150 A.D. -- martyrdom of Carpus and companions at Pergamon

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Maximus and companions at Silistria

1748 -- death of Christopher Pitt (translator of Virgil)
absurd @

anabiosis @ Wordsmith

The Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature this week looks at legendary Roman men ... and, of course, word mavens have to drop by Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Media Europa diluviis laborat

Nives solutae et imbres effecerunt, ut flumina in Media Europa superfluerent. In variis partibus Tzekiae, Slovakiae, Germaniae, Austriae Hungariaeque multa milia hominum propter inundationes domos suas relinquere coacti sunt.

Danuvius et Albis iam paulatim decrescere coeperunt, sed periculum in inferiore alveo utriusque continuatur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
As we head into the long weekend:

If you're wondering why today is called Maundy Thursday (or generally curious about the dating of Easter and Passover), N.S. Gill will tell you ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Eric is again pondering Horace and Tyrtaeus ... meanwhile, Dennis is repondering that Latin inscription he passes regularly at Bryn Mawr ...

... Eric also points us to the Orali-Tea website, which documents a night of oral readings of ancient poetry (suggestion for next year: record some of those readings and make them available on the web!)

The Military History Podcast talks about liquid fire, including the Greek variety ...

Congrats to Glaukopidos' owner for being accepted into a grad program (with some advice for others too) ...

Roman History Books is looking at Etruscan tombs ...

Hobbyblog has a nice Valerian II antoninianus, with a really nice image of what standards looked like ...

Chris Weimer tells us that some of the other bits of the Gospel of Judas (i.e. the other writings that were found as part of the Codex) are supposedly being sold (on eBay?!)

Abzu points us to some online conference proceedings: Pecus. Man and Animal in Antiquity (Swedish Institute in Rome, 2002)
From Deutsche Welle:

While many students consider Latin a grammatical nightmare of declensions, cases and genders which must be painfully memorized, the tongue of Julius Caesar, Cicero et al. is a popular subject in German schools.

At German schools, Latin is currently the third most popular foreign language among secondary school students and it's gaining in popularity. The status of the language of the ancient Romans and mother of several modern European tongues is even greater than that of world tongue Spanish. Italian, a child of Latin, can't hold a candle to its parent as far as numbers of students go.

In 2003, 654,000 German students between the ages of 14-18 were busy declining a-stem nouns and conjugating i-stem verbs. Two years later, that number increased more than 13 percent to 740,000. Only English, with 10 times the number of learners, and French, two-and-a-half times as popular, beat Latin in the foreign language race.

The popularity of Latin in Germany coincides with a unification of Europe. It is a phenomenon somewhat similar to the era when Augustus Caesar's empire stretched from Gaul in the northwest to Asia Minor in the southeast.

Latin was the lingua franca then, and Rome, together with its role model Greece, was the cradle of modern European civilization. It's exactly this attempt to understand one's roots and find a common European identity that is driving Latin's current renewal, according to Hartmut Loos, chair of the German Philology Association.

Students who read Ovid, for example, experience the mythology that has left its mark on Western culture and discover how Europe got its name through the abduction of Europa by the Roman god Jupiter. Possibly trivial, but nomen est omen, particularly in the age of globalization.

"No subject is better suited than Latin to help us understand our common European roots," Loos said. "It is the mother of European languages, and allows students clear insight into Europe's cultural tradition. Latin is a multifaceted instrument that imparts language, methodical, cultural, and personal skills."

While many who took Latin in the past have not-so-fond memories of late-night memorizing of verb tables and conjugation patterns, current Latin learners have a largely different experience.

Today's students are spared the tedious task of parsing and translating each and every word. What's important is not the rote learning of dative and ablative forms, but the ability to analyze the content of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, or illustrate how Cicero's Republic is relevant to modern democracy.

Also, pupils today are left more often to their own resources. They work together in groups and present their findings to their classmates, instead of just responding to teacher's questions. In the words of one of Germany's leading educators, Friedrich Maier, Latin instruction is meant to build character and not to be just a grammar drill.

Textbook editors have also dramatically altered the content of teaching materials by adding more information about Roman culture, politics, philosophy and daily life.

Latin is not, however, simply popular with teenagers. One of the biggest advocates of antiquity and the classical languages in the classroom is the country's most popular quiz show host, Günter Jauch.

The 49-year-old who asks the questions for the German version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? admits that Latin and Greek are difficult. But he compares learning classic languages to taking a trip.

"Latin is like taking the long way," he told the newsmagazine Der Spiegel. "If I want to get from A to B fastest, then I'll drive on the autobahn. The beauty in travel though is the stops in between, or traveling through the villages."

Many Latin teachers enjoy their work also and try to bring the "dead" language to vibrant life. Seven schoolteachers in the northern city of Bremen compile and broadcast a radio bulletin in Latin with the month's top local, national and international news stories from around the world. In March, the demise of a former leader in the Balkans was the lead item: Milosevic mortuus.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur. Translation: "Anything said in Latin sounds profound."
From the BBC:

The 1st century AD pottery urns were found by a Cornwall County Council archaeologist in a pre-construction check at the Roseland Parc development.

Experts believe the urns were recovered from a shrine that overlooked Fal River. They are to go on show at the Truro Museum after analysis.

A council archaeologist said it showed Romano-British burial practices.

The council's senior archaeologist Andy Jones said: "Although Roman period cremations in pots are fairly commonplace in southern England, the find is highly unusual in Cornwall."

Burials dating to this period were rare and "almost unknown", he said.

"The discovery may point to the adoption of burial practices from elsewhere in Britain by the local inhabitants or perhaps it was the grave of someone from outside the county," added Mr Jones.

The excavation was funded by the owners of the £20m development set, which is set in a wooded area in the centre of Tregony.
You knew it was going to happen ... a woman in Colorado claims to have found an image of Jesus in an Easter egg ...
From the Cyprus Mail comes this potential don't-eat-that-elmer material:

TSERI residents are hoping that a recent excavation of part of an old cistern thought to be from the late Roman or early Byzantine period will lead to a fabled treasure trove known as the “golden coach of Aphrodite”.
Legend has it that when the Romans came to conquer the island, the Ptolemaic King of Cyprus rounded up all the island’s precious objects and hid them away somewhere in the centre of Cyprus.

But Department of Antiquities Director Pavlos Flourentzos said that the notion that the cistern’s 38-40 steps lead to a treasure is “nonsense”.

“It’s an old cistern with 40 stairs leading down, nothing more,” Flourentzos said, adding that it is part of a larger settlement probably from the late Roman and early Byzantine period.

Flourentzos said that there were similar settlements throughout Cyprus, although the cistern was deeper than most other cisterns.

The cistern had been partially dug up in hopes of finding the legendary treasure in 1949 after a Tseri farmer noticed that water in that area was draining rapidly into the ground.

But the enthusiastic excavations came to an end when water began pooling in the hole after they had dug 16 to 18 stairs down.

Over the following 57 years, the hole filled up again with soil. But four years ago the Tseri Town Council decided that the effort should continue, not necessarily because they believed the stairs led to a treasure, but because it was a historic site.
Flourentzos said he helped them put a team together to re-excavate the cistern, funded entirely by the Tseri Community.

After seven days of excavation about 7 steps have been re-excavated. But due to protests by the owner of the land, the excavation has for the moment come to a standstill. It seems the Tseri Town Council will have to purchase the land if it wants the excavation to continue.

Flourentzos said the area would be declared a Class B Monument Site. Unlike Class A Monument sites, Class B sites can be privately owned, although the Antiquities Department still has the authority to inspect them and halt construction if valuable artefacts are discovered.

But Flourentzos made it clear that though the government may approve of further excavations, it would not fund the effort.

“It’s not a unique settlement that needs to be worked on for preservation purposes.”
Just in case you were wondering ... from News 24:

The world's only known copy of the Gospel of Judas, arrived in Egypt on Wednesday for public display.

The head of the Egyptian supreme council of antiquities, Zahi Hawwas, said: "Egypt has managed to reclaim the 13-page papyrus manuscript."

The manuscript dates to the third or fourth centuries and portrays the apostle Judas as Jesus' faithful servant, not his betrayer.

The document had been undergoing restoration and translation in Switzerland, where it had been acquired by the privately owned Maecenas Foundation.

The Gospel of Judas was discovered by a villager in Egypt's southern desert province of Minya in the 1970s.

The completion of the restoration work was announced by the National Geographic Society in Washington, last Thursday and the manuscript was unveiled at its headquarters.

An English translation from the ancient Coptic language of Egyptian Christians also was launched.

The society's executive vice-president for mission programmes, Terry Garcia, said: "The codex has been authenticated as a genuine work of ancient Christian apocryphal literature."

The manuscript is known as the Tchacos Codex after antiquities collector Frieda Nussberger-Tchachos, who bought it in 2000.

The manuscript will be exhibited in Cairo's Coptic Museum.

Speaking of the GoJ, amicus noster JM-Y (thanks) sent in a useful roundup post from Christianity Today, just in case you missed all the hubbub this week (and the National Geographic Channel is repeating the program tonight ... I also saw a bittorrent of the program somewhere on the net last night).
This is an interesting press release (via Eurekalert):

Six young researchers and scientists have been named as recipients of the 2006 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, which carries with it prize money of 16,000 euros. This year's winners were selected by the panel for their outstanding achievements in the fields of neuroscience, theoretical physics, classical philology, neuro-oncology, polymer chemistry and biophysics. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) awards the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, which is financed by the German Ministry of Education and Research, to young researchers and scientists in order to boost their research careers. The prize is named after Professor Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, an atomic physicist and former DFG president, who died in the year 2000. This year's award ceremony for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize will be held at the Max Liebermann House in Berlin on 13 June 2006.

... the only Classicist:

Jonas Grethlein, a classicist and ancient historian, throws new light on ancient texts. His doctoral thesis was entitled "Asylum and Athens. The Construction of a Collective Identity in Greek Tragedy" (Asyl und Athen. Die Konstruktion kollektiver Identität in der griechischen Tragödie) and his habilitation thesis dealt with the topic of "History, Historicity and Narrative in the Illiad" (Geschichte, Geschichtlichkeit und Erzählung in der Ilias). He takes a very classical approach, meticulously dealing with the works, and then applies modern methods and concepts in order to shed an entirely new light on Homer's epic. He is working on the topic of "Concepts of History in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature" (Geschichtsbildern in der griechischen Literatur der Archaik und Klassik) in an Emmy Noether independent junior research group funded by the DFG. In this project, Grethlein is interested in understanding the collective cultural and historical prerequisites for the Greek concept of history and also carrying out a literary comparison of the various genres.

... all the other recipients are doing hard sciences. Wonder how a Classicist creeps in there (but congrats to JG!) ...
My cousin sent this one in (thanks TH!) ... Foreign Policy has a lengthy article on the 'return of patriarchy' ... here's the incipit:

“If we could survive without a wife, citizens of Rome, all of us would do without that nuisance.” So proclaimed the Roman general, statesman, and censor Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus, in 131 B.C. Still, he went on to plead, falling birthrates required that Roman men fulfill their duty to reproduce, no matter how irritating Roman women might have become. “Since nature has so decreed that we cannot manage comfortably with them, nor live in any way without them, we must plan for our lasting preservation rather than for our temporary pleasure.”

... the article returns to the Classical world several times ...
From the Star-Tribune:

Greece on Wednesday unveiled a marble replica of a column capital to be used in the ongoing mammoth Acropolis restoration project.

The 2.2-ton capital will sit atop a column in the monumental Propylaea gate leading to the Parthenon.

The Acropolis restoration - which includes work on the Parthenon - is expected to be finished in 2020 at a cost of $85 million.

Decorated with graceful spirals and moldings, the capital was carved by two sculptors, working for two years.

"The Propylaea's ancient Ionic capitals are justly considered the most beautiful ever made,'' Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said.

One more copy is being made, and both will be hoisted into their final positions in the summer after a two-month exhibition period, during which they will be shown on a shortened version of their original fluted columns.

Tassos Tanoulas, the architect overseeing the Propylaea works, said his sculptors used a simple system of curves and measures to replicate the ancient originals - two of only six fragments to have survived from the Ionic capitals.

"What one sees here is precisely like the original that the ancient architect Mnesicles, who designed the building, had in his hands before the final coloring was applied,'' Tanoulas said.

The Propylaea was built between 437-432 B.C., but work was halted by the Peloponnesian War between Athens and rival Sparta, and was never completed.
7.00 p.m. |HINT| 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.

9.00 p.m. |NG| The Gospel of Judas
Discovered by chance in the 1970s, a document that lay hidden for nearly 1,700 years emerges today as the only known surviving copy of "The Gospel of Judas." The Gospel of Judas traces the incredible story of what has happened to the document since it was found, the recent authentication process, and key insight gleaned from its translation and interpretation. The research will reveal fascinating details contained within the document as well as key sections translated from its ancient Coptic script.
Aequore quot pisces, fronde tegunter aves, quot caelum stellas, tot habet tua
Roma puellas.
(Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1.58-59)

As many fish in the sea, as many birds covered by branches (of the tree), as
many stars as the sky holds, so many girls does your Rome hold.

(pron = ai-KWOH-ray kwot PIS-kays FROHN-day teh-GOON-toor kwot KAI-loom
STEHL-lahs toht HAH-bet TOO-ah ROH-mah PWEL-las)

Comment: When you see the ocean, you think fish. When you see trees, you see
birds. When you see the sky, you think stars. And when you see Rome, you
think "what a hot time tonight!".

Ovid, the "love" poet, places girls in Rome as the appropriate decor for the
capital of the world at his time. Girls adorn the city, as birds do trees, or
stars the sky, or fish the sea. One take on Ovid, one that I don't often
consider, is that he is a real exploiter of women, and that his writings either
give evidence of that or serve as a guide for how to do that--or that he is
warning of men who do that. This quotation certainly portrays a patronizing
view of women. They are decorations for the city.

Do we place certain people, or certain kinds of people in catagories from which,
at least in our minds, they are never allowed to escape? It is a form of
exploitation that might never surface in a lawsuit, thought the products of
such thinking often do.

At this writing there is a major case at a major university where members of an
athletic team are accused of raping a woman. It remains to be seen whether
they are guilty or not. In the meantime, in news reports, that the woman was
attacked has been substantiated. Thought the victim of an attack, she
continues to be referred to as an exotic dancer, a stripper, etc. What has not
surfaced is that she is also a university student. Who is promoting the labels
being used for her? What effect do they have, and on whom?

In Ovid's day, Rome was full of girls--many of whom were slaves. He could have
his way with any of those girls because they were slaves, and no one would
care. And he could use a slave, as he reports in his Ars, to help him get her
mistress. The slave girl, if found out by her mistress, could be beaten for
her disloyalty. The slave girl could also be beaten by the mistress' boyfriend
who used her to get the mistress in the first place. What did it matter? Rome
was full of girls.

Exploitation is a very old "art".

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
pridie idus apriles

ludi Cereri (day 1) -- games in honour of the grain goddes Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

65 A.D. -- death of Seneca

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Vissa (or Vissia) at Fermo

300 A.D. -- martyrdom of Victor in what would become Portugal
saltire @

coeval @

agible @ Worthless Word for the Day

impost @ Wordsmith
Exercitationes militares in Sinu Persico

Exercitus Iraniae in Sinu Persico magnas exercitationes militares habuit. Intererant in illis septendecim milia militum et mille quingentae naves.

Causa exercitationum palam facta non est. Americani non negaverunt fieri posse, ut contra Iraniam ictum praeventivum facerent, si Iraniani consilio arma nuclearia parandi non destitissent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
A quick dash this a.m.:

Bread and Circuses is dipping AM's feet into late Roman podcasting ...

ARLT points us to a BBC program yakking about Latin in some rock songs ... but it will probably have expired by the time you get to it (I haven't had a chance to listen myself) ...

Campus Mawrtius has some thoughts about Marsyas ...

Hobbyblog has a coin of Constantine ...

William Blathers tells us about the divine aroma ...
From the Courier Times (Philly)

Council Rock high school students are taking their love of Latin on the road.

The students, members of the Latin Club at Council Rock High School-North in Newtown Township, visit district elementary schools to share their appreciation of the language with the younger kids.

“Forty percent of the English language comes from Latin,” said Ashley Oudenne, a CR North junior who is related to students in Kristin Gudusky’s sixth-grade class at Newtown Elementary School on a recent afternoon.

Ashley, 17, led a small group of students through a recognition exercise using examples like “aqua marine” and “canine” to teach the kids how words are derived from Latin.

While some of the kids learned the language, others took a pictorial tour of Ancient Rome with their high school tour guides and the rest of the class listened as CR North students related stories from Greek mythology.
Click Here!

The high school kids said they also often include togawrapping demonstrations in their presentations to give the kids a feel for ancient lifestyles.

“Latin is so beneficial to learn. It helps all over the place,” Ashley said.

The visit is a good complement to the sixth-graders’ yearlong study of world cultures, Gudusky said.

“This is a perfect way to integrate what they’ve already learned. And it’s nice hearing it from [the high school students] instead of me all the time,” the teacher said.

Sixth-grader Andy Sabol said he understands the benefit of learning Latin.

“We might be able to use it in our future life,” said Andy, 11. “If you know more languages, you can work with more people.”
This bit from the Citizen seems to be the fullest account of this one:

The interim head of the University of Arizona's classics department has stepped down amid accusations he gave preferential treatment to a UA basketball player.
UA officials said the school is investigating the claims after a majority of upper-level classics professors signed a letter March 28 indicating their collective "vote of no-confidence" in Alexander Nava.
The professors alleged that Nava allowed the player to enroll in classes without the proper prerequisite courses and that he implored an adjunct instructor not to drop or fail the athlete during the season, although the instructor told the Citizen he was not pressured.
The student isn't named in official documents, but Chris Rodgers is the only player who fits the description stated in the letter: a non-degree-seeking graduate student-athlete enrolled for nine units.
That is the number of units the NCAA requires for student-athletes who want to continue playing after they graduate, said Bill Morgan, compliance director for the athletic department.
The eight professors who signed the letter to College of Humanities Dean Charles Tatum accused Nava of "academic fraud" and having "extraordinarily poor judgment and administrative incompetence."
Tatum wrote in a campus memo yesterday that Nava had resigned from the post, which he held for less than a year.
The Tucson Citizen made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Nava and Rodgers by e-mail and telephone last night.
UA president Peter Likins said Nava, a religious studies professor for six years, has not been removed from the campus.
"This is a long process that won't be solved quickly," Likins said.
"There have been allegations made - and some of them anonymously - and we take them very seriously," he added. "There will be response on those allegations in due course."
Nava had taken over the one-year job - which paid $82,783 annually - while department head Mary Voyatzis was on sabbatical, spokesman Johnny Cruz said.
David Soren, a classics professor, has been named acting head until Voyatzis returns in August.
In the letter, the eight classics professors wrote that Nava had "abused his power without submitting the necessary paperwork to the director of graduate studies in classics."
The unnamed student was enrolled in a six-unit graduate-level independent study course when one to three units is the norm, the letter said.
Faculty members said Nava should have consulted with the department because the student did not have the necessary prerequisite courses.
The course, Classics 599, consists of independent study agreed upon by the student and professor.
It was not clear exactly what the student was studying.
Faculty members said the student also did not meet the prerequisites of the other course, "Greek and Roman Sculpture"- Classics 554.
Marilyn B. Skinner, a classics professor, said she saw an injustice and signed the document.
"This goes beyond anything that is right or fair,'' Skinner said.
"Those who are not athletes do not get this kind of treatment.
"If action was not taken, all of us would be held responsible and this would be perceived by some as an instance of favoritism."
UA athletic director Jim Livengood said he has seen the letter and is following up.
"Any time we get anything, we look into it," Livengood said.
"There is a process involved. Obviously I cannot talk about a student-athlete," he added. "There is a process involved and it is being followed."
Livengood said he gets letters and information about such allegations "very regularly."
It's unclear whether UA would forward any findings to the Pac-10 or NCAA, or whether the matter could lead to penalties.
Associate professor David Christenson said those who signed the letter, as he did, will meet today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with UA's compliance director and Doug Woodard, the faculty athletics representative, to discuss the matter.
Another issue is a March 8 conversation that associate professor Gonda Van Steen said she overheard between Nava and the student's other professor, Jeffrey Spier.
Spier said yesterday he has not met or spoken to the student who was enrolled in his class.
According to Van Steen, Nava told Spier, "Don't drop him, this is a good kid," and that the conversation was loud and disruptive, she said.
"That, to me, shows a complete lack of academic integrity. That, to me, is the biggest shock," said Van Steen, who also signed the letter.
Spier, however, said he did not think Nava was trying to pressure him into keeping the student in his course.
"He didn't tell me to do anything," Spier said.

Nava told him the student was mistakenly enrolled in his course, Spier said.
Spier also said the conversation with Nava left him thinking that the situation was "a mix-up among several people," including those in athletics.
And Spier added he wasn't sure it was a case of favoritism because "anyone could enroll in the class," he said.
Tantalizingly brief item from Novosti:

A hoard of ancient treasure has been found in Ukraine's western Lviv region, according to media reports.

According to Segodnya daily, a local resident out hunting for mushrooms near the village of Podgorishche accidentally discovered several well preserved diadems, necklaces and bracelets. He reported the find to archeologists who found a total of 35 pieces of jewelry.

A local museum curator said such ancient treasures, estimated to date from the 6th-1st century BC, had never been found in Ukraine before. Some of the items are made of bronze and some of silver.

Experts say such discoveries are extremely rare and have tremendous historical and cultural value.
Numerous versions of this keep popping up today ... this one is from the Herald:

Augustus had an image problem.

The first Roman emperor wanted to carve his political propaganda in stone, portraying himself as the stern military hero who ended civil strife by defeating the decadently un-Roman Antony, Cleopatra's lover.

But he also wanted to make himself a herald of peace, the man who gave Romans a new golden age, a new reason for joie de vivre in the epoch when B.C. became A.D. How to fix the contradiction?

It was no problem roughly 2,006 years ago for the senator or aristocrat who commissioned the rare marble altar recently purchased by the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University: He simply threw together symbols of Apollo, the sun-god of order, with references to antiquity's naughty deity, Dionysus, god of wine and all other sensual pleasures.

"Antony had adopted Dionysus' imagery, Augustus replied by associating with Apollo, and together it's a kind of contradiction," said Francesco de Angelis, professor of Roman art at Columbia University. "But in the villas, they forgot contradictions. The senators who most likely commissioned this didn't give up the ideals Dionysus incarnated, the ideals of a pleasant life."

While about 30 altars from this era exist, the 46-inch tall altar now on its way to Atlanta from London is the only one known to have the mixed images, de Angelis said.

"This is a very deluxe object; it gathers together all the history of the Mediterranean," said Bonna Wescoat, professor of Greek art at Emory University. "This is Augustan art at its best."

London dealer Rupert Wace approached Jasper Gaunt, the Carlos' curator of Greek and Roman art, for the sale, Gaunt said. Wace got it from a French family who purchased it when one of Great Britain's best classics collections - that of the Marquess of Lansdowne - was auctioned off in the 1930s.

Gaunt jumped at the chance to get something rarely on the market and Thalia Carlos, wife of the late Michael C. Carlos for whom the museum was named, donated an undisclosed six-figure sum to buy it, Gaunt said. The purchase confirms the Carlos' place as one of the best collections of Graeco-Roman art in the country, said Michael Padgett, curator of ancient art at Princeton University Art Museum.

The altar's sheer sophistication speaks to the emperor's goal of making Rome the official heir of classical culture, Wescoat said. Augustus liked to brag that he had found a city of brick and made it into a city of marble. His age saw the beginning of widespread use of Carrara marble, the same Michelangelo used 15 centuries later.

But perhaps the most striking feature of the cylindrical altar today is what it shows of everyday life for the elite. The altar would have been used in a villa garden or private sanctuary for sacrifices of small animals or incense. Its images reflect the lush surroundings.

Four scenes - two alluding to Apollo and two to Dionysus - wrap around the altar. In one of the latter, a panther is about to lap up a bowl of wine - implying that the deity had tools to tame the wildest beasts. From a garland of grape leaves above, hangs a small disc with a cherub relief that looks uncannily like a Christmas tree ornament. It was an oscillum, made to swing in the wind blowing through the vineyards and trees to invoke fertility.

Once it clears customs, the altar will stand out as a truly imperial object among the Carlos' small but choice collection of ancient art, which includes such everyday works as a 14th century B.C. Minoan bathtub from Crete.
Gossip from the Guardian:

Vin Diesel is planning to direct and star in a biopic of Hannibal Barca, the third century BC Carthaginian general who famously marched an army on elephants across the Alps to conquer the Romans.

Diesel, best know for action roles like 2002's xXx and family comedies such as 2005's The Pacifier, is determined to portray the man widely hailed as one of the best military commanders in history.

He has chosen the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo as a location for filming, a local production company confirmed to the AP news agency last week. Shooting will also take place in California and Spain.

Rumours of a project about Hannibal have been circulating in Hollywood for a long time. After the success of Ridley Scott's Gladiator in 2000, a string of sandals-and-togas epics were developed. Some films, among them Wolfgang Petersen's Troy and the critically derided Alexander by Oliver Stone, saw the light of day. Others, like Michael Mann's take on the battle of Thermopylae starring George Clooney, did not. Ridley Scott was said to be interested in directing a biopic of Hannibal, with Diesel in the title role.

Diesel's take on Hannibal is written by David Franzoni, the screenwriter who penned Gladiator, and is based on fictional memoirs of Hannibal by author Ross Leckie.
Excerpt from a Telegraph piece on the Italian election:

My garden in the Roman countryside is dominated by a tall watch-tower dating from ad1000, probably earlier. Just over the hill lies the Via Salaria, one of the great Roman roads. It doesn't take much imagination to hear the tramp of the legions marching towards Rome. There is a sense of eternity that makes even Britain seem arriviste by comparison. Quite what the legions would have made of Silvio Berlusconi and Romano Prodi is harder to imagine. Caligula versus Pompey, perhaps? Certainly there is no Augustus on the ballot paper.
Sorry ... I still hae me doots ... from Seattle P-I:

Restaurants serving meals in triangle-shaped plates. Artisans crafting wooden key-chains in the shape of pyramids. Shopkeepers hawking T-shirts saying "I have a pyramid in my backyard."

Pyramid-mania has taken hold of this small Bosnian town as residents seek to cash in on claims by an archaeologist that it may host Europe's only ancient pyramid.

"Our expectation are high. This could be our oil well," Vehab Halilovic, who has started carving pyramids on wooden souvenirs like flutes and pipes.

No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.

However, Bosnian archaeologist Semir Osmanagic - who has spent the last 15 years studying the pyramids of Latin America - claimed last year that there is evidence of one here in his Balkan homeland and conducted some research on the site.

He plans to carry out new excavations this week on a hill overlooking Visoko that may definitively prove or disprove his theory. Osmanagic says the hill has four perfectly shaped slopes pointing toward the cardinal points, a flat top and an entrance complex.

Under layers of dirt, Osmanagic found a paved entrance plateau, underground tunnels and stone blocks.

Osmanagic believes the hill was shaped by the Illyrian people, who inhabited the Balkan peninsula long before Slavic tribes conquered it around A.D. 600. Little is known about the Illyrians, but Osmanagic thinks they were more sophisticated than many experts have suggested.

Halilovic, who has been making wooden souvenirs for 30 years, says his last big windfall came during the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo when he sold souvenirs with Olympic motifs.

After the 1992-95 Bosnian war, he started making souvenirs for NATO peacekeepers. As Bosnia stabilized, the number of soldiers decreased and Halilovic's market shrank.

Then came the pyramid theory.

"We are people who adapt fast," he said, after testing a few tones on a new flute.

Another resident, Esef Fatic opened a souvenir shop two weeks ago and sells pyramids made of clay and wood and slippers displaying a pyramid.

"We already have buyers. Business is better since this pyramid story started. If scientists really confirm our hill is a pyramid, this place will become alive. People will come from all over the world," he said.

One local hotel called Hollywood has changed its name to Motel Bosnian Sun Pyramid.

Its Web site boasts: "While enjoying your meal in our restaurant placed on the 6th floor, you have the opportunity to also enjoy a magnificent view of the Sun Pyramid. You too can be part of the mystery and the miracle occurring in our area."

Satellite images show two more pyramid-shaped hills with 45-degree angled slopes, indicating three possible pyramids around Visoko - which were quickly named the pyramids of the Sun, Moon and Dragon.

The possibility that the hills are not ancient pyramids is not even considered in Visoko.

"The question whether there is a pyramid or not is not being asked," Senad Hodovic, director of the local museum. "People here believe there is one, are excited about it."
Hype for a Hannibal documentary (which I don't think has made it to our shores yet) currently on in Australia ... from the Courier Mail:

HANNIBAL Barca has been ranked alongside Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Genghis Khan on the list of history's greatest military leaders.

So it was only a matter of time before a film crew focused their attention on the great Carthaginian general to make an epic production of his adventures fighting the mighty Roman Empire.

But when English director Ed Bazalgette started looking at the historical figure, with the intention of making the docu-drama Hannibal, he came across a bit of a hurdle.

The official accounts of Hannibal's campaigns were rather one-sided because they had been written by the Roman historians who were from the civilisation he considered to be his greatest enemy. "We wanted to get a real sense of who Hannibal was as a person, not the man who was portrayed in the historical texts which were written after his death, so we gathered together a handful of the top historians in England," Bazalgette says.

"Together we were able to read between the lines of those recognised Roman histories and cross-checked that with the other sources we had that told the story of his campaigns.

"Because he comes from a time in history that's now so far back he was teetering on the brink of becoming a myth but, the more we got into the psychology of the man himself, the more real he became to us.

"In the end we decided to make Hannibal the story of his life that he would have told himself."

Bazalgette says that once the team had decided on the story they had to find a location to film a tale that was essentially a road movie punctuated by the battles Hannibal fought with his army of men and elephants.

Bazalgette looked at locations in the UK, South Africa and Tunisia for the five-week shoot before settling on Bulgaria because it not only "approximated the Alps" but could depict the different countries that Hannibal travelled through with his troops.

The elephants were another big part of the story and Bazalgette was determined that he wouldn't have animals that just plodded along, trunks linked to tails.

"The idea was that Hannibal didn't have circus elephants," he says.

"While I was doing my research I saw a film on Hannibal that was made by Mussolini in the 1930s and the elephants in that behaved fantastically, just what I wanted for Hannibal.

"I found some people in Germany, who were the family that supplied the elephants from Mussolini's production all those years ago, and they were confident they could get the animals to do what I needed, to run and take javelin hits.

"But the biggest problem for them was getting the elephants from Hamburg to Sofia and it took eight days in big trucks with lots of time spent stopped at borders."
From a UArk press release:

What does one call a comedian whose repertoire relies on sexual puns about feet? Answer: an ancient Athenian.

In the theaters of that cosmopolitan city in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, Greek comic actors could always get a laugh with the popular pun that related feet to the male genitalia. For centuries, whether male or female, feet were associated with love and desire in ancient Greece, and evidence of their role abounds in literature and art.

"The foot left its imprint on Greek erotic thought from Homer to the rise of Christianity," said Daniel Levine, professor of classical studies at the University of Arkansas.

In "Eraton Bama ('Her Lovely Footstep'): The Erotics of Feet in Ancient Greece," Levine draws on archeological and literary sources to extend recent scholarship on the erotic aspects of feet and shoes to a consideration of ancient Greek culture. His work is a chapter in "Body Language in the Greek and Roman Worlds," edited by Douglas Cairns of University of Edinburgh.

The fondness of Athenian comedians for crude puns about feet reflects a rich tradition of associating feet with love, desire and fertility. In Greek epics, Levine observes, female beauty often resides in fine ankles and lovely feet. When the poet Hesiod describes the birth of Aphrodite, he stresses her shapely feet that give rise to new grass when she first steps on land, accompanied by Eros (the god of love) and Himeros (the god of desire).

"In addition to beautiful female ankles symbolizing the erotic ideal, the Greeks also linked men's feet to eros in poetry, arts and myth," Levine writes. "When men and women join in matrimony, feet and shoes play important ritual and artistic roles."

A preliminary ritual was the tying of the bride's sandals. As depicted on the decoration of an Attic Red-Figure vessel from the fifth century BCE, Eros stoops to bind a bride's sandal while a human attendant presents her bridal crown. The essayist Lucian describes a painting of Alexander's wedding in which several Eros figures assist the bride after the wedding ceremony. One smiling Eros lifts her veil while another removes her sandal to prepare her for the marriage bed.

Similarly, a fragment of Sappho's poetry plays with the association between feet and sexuality. Outside the wedding chamber, "The doorkeeper has feet seven fathoms long."

The morning after the consummation of the marriage, gifts were presented to the newlyweds, traditionally including footwear. The bride's gifts provided her with the tools to maintain her seductive, wedding-night beauty - jewelry, perfume, cosmetics and sandals.

For centuries, passages from Greek literature praised the beauty not just of feet, but of the mark they left on the earth. The title of Levine's chapter comes from Sappho's longing for her lover's lovely footstep. In poems and letters, lovers long to kiss footsteps or to step in their beloveds' bare footprints.

Levine writes that in the archaic and classical periods, "the relation between eros and the foot existed not only in the literary world of epic, the clever wordplay of the theater, the lyric poetry of the aristoi, and the sophisticated world of the symposium. Greeks from all walks of life seem to have seen the foot's erotic symbolism."

In a Christian text of the late second century, Clement of Alexandria "condemns the unseemly practice of erotic messages which some women create with inscribed sandals: 'And many women engrave on their sandals erotic greetings, so that from their walking they put a regular pattern on the ground, and they stamp out on it the whorish nature of their intentions by their footsteps.'"

"Most of the time a foot is just a foot," Levine notes. However, the impact of the Greek appreciation for the erotic aspect of feet, ankles, sandals and footprints had a broad and diverse effect on their culture and world view. The verb "to walk" and the word for 'plain,' which derives from the word for foot, both doubled as sexual slang. Incised graffiti in the ancient city of Thera include phrases related to sexual intercourse with foot-shaped forms walking over them, a symbolic representation of the earth as "a place where men sexually 'tread'."

In his introduction to "Body Language in the Greek and Roman Worlds," Cairns notes that Levine has published "path-breaking studies of Homeric laughter" that are important contributions to the burgeoning interest by classical scholars in nonverbal communication in the ancient world. Levine's studies are cited in another chapter in the book by Michael Clarke of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, on ancient Greek smiles.
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Forgotten Civilizations of Anatolia
Throughout the course of history, many great civilizations have flourished in the area we now identify as Turkey, which forms a natural bridge between Europe and Asia. Join us on a virtual tour of Gordiyon (also known as Gordium), the domain of King Midas, Hattusa, the famous Hittite capital with its spectacular royal citadel, and the later cities ruled by the Greeks during the days of the Byzantine Empire. Using state-of-the-art computer technology and the latest in archaeological exploration, we walk viewers through ancient sites along with the citizens of the time.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Athens: Western Splendor
Discover why Athens became the preeminent city during the Golden Age of Greece on this virtual tour of the cradle of Western civilization. Travel back to the time of Pericles, the noble statesman who led the revolution that touched all fields of knowledge. We visit the amphitheaters that were home to the famous tragedies of the day, tour the site of the ancient Olympic Games, and see the ornate temples of the Gods, including a bird's-eye view of the architectural masterpiece of its day--the Acropolis.

9.00 p.m. |NG| The Real Mary Magdalene
Who was Mary? Was she a saint or sinner? For fifteen hundred years Christians regarded the woman who had been so close to Jesus as a reformed prostitute. Now, evidence suggests that this may have been part of a devious smear campaign by the early churchto remove women from the clergy. Join NGC as Science of the Bible examines ancient text, explores long-lost customs and cuts through centuries of political spin to reveal the real Mary Magdalene.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Malaria and the Fall of Rome
What caused the fall of the Roman Empire? Was it the armies of barbarians--or could it have been the microscopic bacterial armies of an epidemic so virulent that it killed unborn babies in the womb and caused locals in a Christian country to resort to black magic in an attempt to protect themselves? The result of a trail that started with an excavation at Lugnano in northern Italy may have provided the solution. There was clearly an epidemic in the region at the time--but of what? Join the search for answers with host and archaeologist Julian Richards.

10.00 p.m. |NG| Jesus: The Man
Who was Jesus and how did a boy from rural Galilee grow up to become one of the world's greatest spiritual leaders? Did he grow up in a traditional Jewish family? Did he have brothers and sisters? How did he dress? There are few details about his youth inthe Bible. But newly discovered archeological evidence will shed light on both the social influences that shaped Jesus' young life, and his encounter with John the Baptist, the man many scholars believe was the mentor of Jesus.
Qualis pater, talis filius.

As the father is, so is the son.

(pron = KWAH-lis PAH-ter TAH-lis FIH-li-oos)

Comment:While I can find no other author than "anonymous" it does become very
clear that this proverb has been taken up and used in some interesting places.
Fairly early on it was used in all of the so called "ecumenical" creeds--that
is, Christian doctrinal statements that were accepted by all of the established
church centers of the 3-5th centuries AD. This phrase had added to it "talis
Spiritus" and it became a statement about the Christian doctrine of the
trinity--As the father is, so is the son and the spirit.

It also shows up in a website for the American Heart Association. As the father
is (who has heart trouble) so is the son. The admonition is, of course, to all
the sons and daughters out there whose parents had heart trouble--to eat right,
exercise, and take cardiac-care of themselves.

If I might extrapolate from all of this, I can hear this proverb asking: what
patterns do you fall into? What patterns are meaningful to you? What patterns
have drawn you into themselves without your knowledge? What patterns do you
gravitate toward? What patterns have you inherited? What patterns will you
not let go of? What patterns grip you? What patterns do you dance with in
your life?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem iii idus apriles

421 B.C. -- Peace of Nikias brings the first phase of the Peloponnesian war (a.k.a. the Archidamian War) to an end (by one reckoning)

92 A.D. -- martyrdom of Antipas

145 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Severus
triad @

panoply @

thanatopsis @ Wordsmith
Carceres in Europa orientali refertissimi

Ordines humanitarii iudicant carceres in Europa orientali esse nimis refertos multasque in eis abusiones fieri: lectulos in quibusdam carceribus deesse, captivos in caveis angustissimis transportari neque illis sub divo inambulare licere.

Res meliores futuras esse, si tantum gravissima crimina carcere punirentur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : Magistros Berolinenses petivisse, ut schola sua clauderetur
Around the midway today:

A trio of interesting posts at Campus Mawrtius ... one on the etymology of catchpole ... one on Boeckhe's use of the term encyclopedia ... and one on colossi of Constantine ...

MG over at Laudator adds some more references to an earlier collection about death (or rather, Death)...

Roman History Books tells us all about Aulus Caecina ...

Alun is back from the Classical Association meeting ...

Abecedaria has a post on the Coptic writing system ...

Bread and Circuses comments on Procopius' version of the invasion of Italy ...

Hobbyblog has an interesting Salonina, sporting an image of a reclining Ocean ...

Hypotyposeis explains some of the theology behind the Gospel of Judas ...

Somehow missed this one t'other day ... the Stoa points us to the Military History Podcasts blog, which has a number of podcasts pertaining to the ancient world ...

Four new 'working papers' are up at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics site (the four at the bottom of the page ... perhaps someone can tell folks at PSWPC (and quite a few other sites) that in the web world, new material traditionally goes at the top of the page) ...
JS sent this one in (thanks!) from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The world will have to wait a little longer before seeing and hearing the best evidence the Cleveland Museum of Art can present regarding the age and authorship of the large, ancient bronze sculpture of Apollo that it bought in 2004.

The museum is postponing a scholarly symposium on the sculpture, scheduled for October, because the work, attributed to the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles, will be borrowed by the Louvre Museum in Paris in the spring of 2007.

The Cleveland museum ( wants to hold off on its symposium until after scholars from around the world have had a chance to see the sculpture in Paris.

"It's the right thing to do for the statue," said Michael Bennett, the Cleveland museum's curator of ancient Greek and Roman art. "It's our mission to share this with an international audience, and it's even better that this will help make a scholarly contribution in my field. It's exciting, and I'm really happy about it."

The museum now plans to hold its Apollo symposium late in 2008, when the institution reopens its Greek and Roman galleries as part of a $258 million expansion and renovation now under way.

The museum is entirely closed now and will reopen for special exhibitions this fall. Permanent-collection galleries will start reopening late in 2007 or early in 2008.

At the symposium, the museum will invite scholars from around the world to voice opinions on whether the Apollo Sauroktonos, or "Apollo the Lizard-Slayer," is an original by Praxiteles, a later version made in Greece or an even later Roman copy.

The closer the work is to Praxiteles, the more valuable it is, because large, ancient Greek bronzes are exceedingly rare, as are works connected to Praxiteles, a sculptor of legendary abilities.

The museum's sculpture, which stands 5 feet tall, is the only known large bronze version of the Apollo Sauroktonos. It is a version of a sculpture attributed by the ancient Roman writer Pliny the Elder to Praxiteles, which makes it the only large bronze linked to any Greek master by a literary reference.

But Bennett said, "It's not possible now to say that this statue was definitely made during Praxiteles' lifetime or the next generation or the next generation after that or indeed whether it was made in the [Greek] Hellenistic period or in the Roman period.

"What we're doing now is studying it carefully and trying to discover the facts about this particular work."

Archaeologists in America and England and Italian government officials have criticized the Cleveland museum for buying the Apollo, because the work has an incomplete provenance, or ownership history. The critics say such purchases encourage the looting of ancient sites.

Museum officials have said the public is better served by preserving, exhibiting and sharing the sculpture than by passing it up.

The Association of Art Museum Directors ( announced last week that it will hold an international symposium at the New York Public Library on Thursday and Friday, May 4 and 5, on collecting antiquities, an increasingly controversial practice in the world of art.
From ANSA:

A famed Etruscan burial ground with an extraordinary collection of wall tombs is in danger of disappearing under the twin assault of erosion and vegetation, an Etruscan-heritage body has warned .

The site at Norchia near Viterbo houses a maze of cliff-hanging tombs and burrows haunted by the ghosts of the 5th-century BCE Etruscan city of Orcle .

It is the biggest such burial site in Italy and was a huge attraction for Etruscan buffs until vegetation recently began to make access difficult .

Now, after years of neglect, the necropolis is "on the verge of crumbling away," says the Archeo Tuscia association, which devotes itself to the upkeep of the major Etruscan sites .

"Chasms have opened up between one tomb and another and some of the huge die-shaped tombstones have even been split apart by the wiry, unstoppable encroachment of roots" .

"A unique culture of death is on the verge of disappearing," the association warned .

Archeo Tuscia appealed to Rome authorities to fund a major salvage scheme to stop landslips and preserve the tombs .

Norchia is one of the few Etruscan sites featuring false doors to the afterlife, marked by a T-like symbol called 'tao' .

The Etruscans are believed to have formed the first advanced civilisation in Italy, based in an area called Etruria, corresponding mainly to present-day Tuscany and northern Lazio, including Florence, which has an extensive Etruscan collection. At the height of their power at around 500 BC - when Rome itself was subjugated - their power spread to the foothills of the Alps and southward close to Naples .

But our knowledge of their civilisation is based largely on archeological finds, as much of their language has yet to be deciphered .

Tomb excavations have offered valuable insights into Etruscan material culture and fashions - showing for example that Etruscan men's jewellery was relatively complex and elaborate compared to the simplicity of the objects worn by women .
From the Uvalde Leader-News:

India Louise Davenport Newton, 93, of Uvalde died April 5, 2006, in Austin.

She was born June 14, 1912, in Uvalde to Roy and India Davenport.

She married Calvin A. Newton on Nov. 28, 1935, in Uvalde.

Newton was a schoolteacher for approximately half a century, teaching in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District until she was 79 years old.

According to family members, it was difficult to go anywhere with her without encountering former students, who greeted her with the same joy that she showed to them. Her family said she had the uncommon knack of knowing when to be firm and when to be gentle and supportive, and that she saw the potential in each student, which she consistently strove to foster.

During her tenure in the Uvalde school system she established the Junior Classical League, a group dedicated to the love of language and for competition. She chaperoned this group to many national competitions, where they routinely excelled as well as had fun.

According to family members, through this organization she was able to expose her students to a much broader social and cultural world while promoting an appreciation and love of learning, which profoundly affected the lives of a multitude over the decades of her commitment and gentle guidance.

To this day, the group endures with the honorific name, The India Newton Junior Classical League.

Newton was preceded in death by her parents; her husband on Jan. 6, 1999; one daughter, Lynn Stover; one granddaughter, Lita Tepper; and one sister, Martha Willingham.

She is survived by three daughters, India Shackelford and husband, Bill, of San Antonio, Jeanne Langston and husband, Bob, of Austin, and Mary Kinard and husband, Brent, of Leakey; seven grandchildren and their spouses, Clint and Buffy Shackelford, David and duVergne Shackelford, Lori and Scott Eichhorn, Michael and Meredith O'Reilly, Chris and Tamara O'Reilly, Doug and Natalie Reed and Sam Kinard; 12 great-grandchildren, Matthew McDonnell, Michael McDonnell, Will Shackelford, Lexi Eichhorn, Logan O'Reilly, Henry Shackelford, Nolan O'Reilly, Keegan O'Reilly, Cade O'Reilly, Garrett Reed, Kendall Reed and Kai O'Reilly.
From the incipit of a piece in the JUF News:

There are no tragedies in Tanakh. Tragedy is when there is human suffering, with no reason to account for the suffering. Greek literature abounds in tragedy, as exemplified in Oedipus, who did commit incest, but didn’t know he was doing it. Lacking willful intent, his behavior does not meet any monotheistic notion of responsibility and accountability. If Oedipus were to come to a rabbi or a Jewish communal institution, we would take up a collection to get him some money to help with his therapy. The Greek gods, however, made his life miserable. That is what is tragic about Oedipus. He didn’t know what he was doing: he did not intend to sin, hence he did not sin. Nevertheless, he suffers.

There are no such tragedies in Tanakh. Whenever someone or some nation suffers, it is because they have sinned. And they are punished after being taught not to sin, and after prophets warned them that they would be punished if they continued to sin. People and nations are held accountable for their behavior, and suffering is the result of sin. There is no case of the righteous who suffer and the wicked who prosper in Tanakh.*

However, in one case there is massive, enduring, centuries-long suffering, with no sin that can account for it, and that is slavery in Mitzrayim. God tells Abraham in B’reisheet--Genesis 15, "Know this well: Your children will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will be enslaved, and they will be tormented." When God says this, Abraham doesn’t have any children yet, let alone descendants who are a nation. Israel, a nation that does not yet exist, is in its very nativity promised to slavery and suffering as its first national experience. Thus, when Ya’akov goes down to Mitzrayim to be reunited with Yoseph and his children, the family of Ya’akov is but a clan of 70. This family grows into a nation in Mitzrayim through natural increase, commits no sins, and is enslaved by Pharaoh.

Why do they suffer? This is the only case of human suffering in Tanakh that is not punishment for sin. Why is Israel, as a nation, born in the midst of suffering? Slavery in Mitzrayim is her birthplace. The Tanakh does not record for the Jewish people a national golden age of the past to which they will be restored. As Virgil taught the Romans in the Aeneid, Aeneas established Rome so that it might restore many times over the glory that was Troy. There is no such promised restoration for the Jewish people, no narrative of a lost golden age. The founding experience of the Jewish people is suffering unaccounted for by sin. What is the meaning of national birth in the midst of slavery and suffering?

The Torah tells us that dozens of mitzvot have their rationale in the national experience of suffering and slavery, as in the mitzvot of Sh’mot 22-23. The same is true for the mitzvot of Vayikrah, Chapter 18-20. Just to cite a few examples, we are commanded by the mitzvot of the Torah not to cheat in business, not to loan money in usury, because we know better, because we were slaves in Mitzrayim. And the summary of all of these mitzvot explains the Torah’s meaning: "Do not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Mitzrayim." This is the origin of the ethical principle of Hillel the Elder: what is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. One cannot betray one’s very own experience, the suffering we knew at the moment of our national birth.

... more
From BMCR:

Arthur Golding, Ovid's Metamorphoses. A Selection. Edited with an Introduction by Peter Scupham.

Richard Kraut, Steven Skultety, Aristotle's Politics: Critical Essays.

S. Iles Johnston, P.T. Struck, Mantikê. Studies in Ancient Divination.

Michael Lloyd, Sophocles: Electra.

Also seen ... an excerpt of a review of James Haley, Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas:

Passionate Nation is a clear-eyed history of great achievements, great sins and great stories. Where else could a traveler in the early 1800s hear a farmer reciting Tacitus while slopping his hogs?

From Blogographos:

Priscilla Galloway, The Courtesan's Daughter
... nothing of interest.
Qui totum vult, totum perdit.
(Anonymous, Seneca; Grynaeus 776; Peter Alfonsi 28.3)

The one who wants the whole thing loses it all.

(pron = kwee TOH-toom woolt TOH-toom PEHR-dit)

Comment: First, I must note that this proverb is attributed to several authors
from the classical period (Seneca) into the Christian period, both Catholic and
Protestant. This is not a huge surprise as Stoic material (if this is Seneca's)
often was "borrowed" by later Christian authors.

This simple proverb is powerful. When I seek to control the whole of anything,
in the seeking itself, I lose. Whatever the thing is (worst should it be a
person) my desire to control, that is, to subjet the thing/person to the
dictates of my ideas, places limits on it/him/her that become death and loss.

Living things must move, must breathe, must change. When moving, breathing and
changing cease, so has life. All is lost. Oddly, then, the best way to have a
thing (enjoy, relate to, commune with) is to let it be, honor it, accept it as
it is and let it go.

I remember once realizing that the gorgeous sunset over the beach in the Gulf of
Mexico was gone after I spent the few minutes that it was available fumbling
with my camera. I was going to capture that sunset so that I could "own" it
"forever". Not only were my photos a very sad representation of that gorgeous
moment, but I did not get to enjoy the moment itself.

In the last two days, I have had some powerful conversations with adults who are
the parents of growing and grown children. We found common experiences: while
we all go through difficult times with our children, a major component in what
makes them difficult for us is our attempt to control our children's
experiences. And commonly, the degree to which we persist in that effort, we

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.
ante diem iv idus apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 7) -- the Cybelefest continues

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pompeius and Terence at Carthage

401 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Theodosius II
punt @ (depending on which definition you use)

publican @ Wordsmith
Consilium Securitatis unanime

Consilium Securitatis Nationum Unitarum unanimiter decrevit, ut Irania omni locupletatione uranii desisteret et omnes postulationes Ordinis Internationalis ab Energia Atomica (IAEA) observaret.

Mohammed ElBaradei, moderator illius ordinis, post unum mensem iudicaturus est, an Iraniani id fecerint.

Deinceps membra Consilii Securitatis permanentia et Germania rationes quaerent, quibus controversia dirimatur.

In decreto Consilii sunt concessiones et Russis et Sinensibus factae, qui sanctionibus Iraniae imponendis resistebant.

Iraniani ipsi censent contra usus et consuetudines internationales esse, quod res in Consilio Securitatis agatur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : USA Venetiolenses incusat
Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend ... it was one of those constant-interruption weekends which kept me away from the computer for extended periods (not necessarily a bad thing, actually). One result of that, though, is that we've got quite a Carnival for you today:

ARLT has been busy this weekend, not least of which pointing us to a Westminster Hour series at the BBC on how much British politics owes to the BBC; parts one and two are available via this page ... other than that, it's easier to direct folks to the ARLT main page for a pile of interesting updates (including declension songs, why Augustus is a good role model, etc.) ...'s N.S. Gill provides us with a handy list of Greek heroes ... and in the interests of equal time, a list of monsters too ...

Blogographos points us to some interesting historical fiction manipulation by Dan Simmons ...

Hobbyblog has an antoninianus sporting Salonina on one side and Augusta in Pace on the other (nothing to do with the Masters, by the way) ...

Laudator's MG has some Classical parallels for Palm Sunday ... there's also a good post on Prince Harry's latest antics and Clytemnestra's prayer ...

Eric over at Campus Mawrtius is pondering philosophy and philology ...

GL's in the Latin Zone, telling us how to play solitaire in Latin ...

Roman History Books enlightens us about Roman Wine and points us to an audio version of Gibbon ...

Thoughts on Antiquity is contending with the grammar of some archaic Latin ...

Father Foster's latest: Give him the opportunity to flip through the yellowish pages of an ancient looking musical tome and his mood will swing from weepy sad to tearfully happy. He’s our “Latin Lover” and in a burst of song he deftly communicates Palm Sunday emotions...

Peter Jones has put up another Ancient and Modern column at the Friends of Classics site ...

Last week Progressive U had a student essay type thing called One Scholar's View of the Ancient Civilization of Rome ...

That person writing under the pen name Cicero has also written another column for Huntington News, this time on funding war efforts ...

For the gamers out there, there will be an Alexander the Great expansion pack for Rome: Total War coming soon ...

In the latest Studies in Philology: Kinch, Ashby. The Ethical Agency of the Female Lyric Voice: The Wife's Lament and Catullus 64

Interesting discussion at the Live Journal Classics page on Cicero editing Lucretius ...

Congrats to the author of Classical Archaeologist, who has been accepted into a program at UK

Belated congrats to the Codex: Biblical Studies blog on its first blogiversary ...

I think I missed the last installment of Foxtrot:

satis superque for today
I know absolutely zero about cricket (I don't have the attention span to watch a full baseball game!), but folks might find this little tidbit from Khaleej Times interesting:

Indian cricket sensation and local boy Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be presented a silver bat in Jamshedpur tomorrow for his outstanding performances for the national team in recent months.

The silver bat will be given by the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA). On the silver bat, the famous Julius Caesar saying Veni Vidi Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) will be inscribed.

The incipit of a tv column in the Plain Dealer might get you interested in an upcoming National Geographic production about Spartacus:

There's that great scene near the end of director Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus" where the Roman soldiers are looking for the defeated slave army's heroic leader. One by one, the captives defy the Roman Empire by yelling, "I am Spartacus!"

In a matter of seconds, all of the bloodied but un bowed rebels are standing, refusing to submit to Roman tyr anny. The Italian hills and countryside re sound with the shout, "I am Spartacus!"

Now, anyone who has thrilled to the exploits of that slave army in this 1960 film knows Kirk Douglas is the real Spartacus. And he always will be for most movie fans.

But the Kubrick epic was based on Howard Fast's novel, which was inspired by an intriguing slice of history. The National Geographic Channel says it has the real history and the real Spartacus.

Indeed, before a last-second title change, the National Geographic Channel's "Spartacus: Gladiator War" was being called "The Real Spartacus." Premiering at 9 p.m. Monday, this special is being billed as a dramatized documentary.

What does that mean? Well, you get movielike scenes with actors playing out key historical moments. And you get experts offering insights along the way. The resulting hour is part documentary, part drama.

The basic details of "Spartacus: Gladiator War" will sound familiar to anyone who has seen the Kubrick film. There is a jailbreak at Capua in 73 B.C. A group of slaves escapes, taking refuge on Mount Vesuvius, where they choose a leader. By now, you know his name.

In about a year, Spartacus has transformed his ragtag group into an army of 100,000, and its very presence threatens the Roman Empire. The revolt must be crushed, and the emperor turns to ambitious general Marcus Licinius Crassus (Laurence Olivier in the 1960 movie) to end the threat.

"Spartacus is the rebel," says Barry Strauss, a professor of history and classics at Cornell University. "He is the liberator. He is the hero who fights against the empire. But what Spartacus really wants to do is go home. Going home is what this revolt is all about. Freeing the slaves was a means to an end."

This is the real Spartacus, the special tells us, even if Kubrick and Douglas did get the main points right.

"Secrets of Herod's Reign," a second docudrama special from the same production team, follows at 10 p.m. Monday on the National Geographic Channel. One of the Bible's most villainous figures, Herod was born in 73 B.C., the same year of the slave escape in Capua.

Historians, psychologists and archaeologists examine the pragmatism and paranoia of his 30-year reign as king of Judea.

But it is Spartacus getting top billing Monday night, and National Geographic is counting on the history being strong enough for you to view this special and say, "Yes, he is Spartacus."
From the South Wales Echo:

Roman rubbish tip has been found - in a suburban back garden.

Garden landscaping work at a family home in Pentrebane, Cardiff, has turned up the remnants of a former drainage site nearly 2,000 years old.

The delighted owner, who asked not to be named, dubbed it 'a glorified Lamby Way' where people dumped their rubbish.

A team of local archaeologists has now dug up 300 shards of pottery of more than five types, hob nails from scandals and old building nails.

Graham Oxlade, 53, of Cilfynydd, near Pontypridd, said: 'It's just amazing. I never knew there was a Roman settlement in Pentrebane.

'Everyone knows about Caerleon and the Roman villa at Ely and it is fascinating to discover other remnants of Roman life here.'

He and fellow digger Andrea Walton have pieced together many of the pieces of pottery, most of which, he said, were of a common types called black burnished or grey ware.

A smaller number of others are of a more unusual type of Roman pottery called Samian ware that would have been imported from Gaul - what we now know as France.

'It's what we would have had as Sunday best china.

' It was all imported from Southern Gaul,' explained Graham, who earns his living with a stall selling antiquities, and giving lectures.

The discovery, which was made by the owner after he had levelled off a raised part of his garden, was verified by Dr Peter Webster, an archaeology expert who works at Cardiff University.

The home's owner is planning to incorporate some of the pieces into the new barbecue area in his garden when Graham has finished, and will be keeping other pieces on display at his home.

He said: 'It's not a financial thing. It's historical. It's fascinating.'
Nice summary from the Times:

MODERN Western society is obsessed by body image. We worry about the interrelated questions of size (of various body parts) and what (not) to wear. The Ancient Greeks’ answer to the above question was: “Call that a bum? Nothing like big enough.” Big bottoms indicated fertility.

The Classical Association meeting at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday examined our fetishes for stick-insect female bodies, and found them unclassical. Anyone who was seen any Greek art knows that Greek nude male statues tend to be very modestly endowed: there is a preference for discreet, sometimes exaggeratedly small, genitalia. Few of them measure up to the eight-fingered Milesian dildos fondly imagined by Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.

Emma Stafford, of Leeds University, argued that small penis size was equated with ideals of youth, self-control and citizenship. It was linked with the conventions of the ideal homosexual relationship, in which the younger partner was expected to play an entirely passive part. Uncivilised brutes had large membra. These were incarnated especially in the creature of the Satyr.

Dr Stafford argued that the eight-finger phallus (she infers that the measurement is of girth rather than length) also had positive connotations, of fertility and apotropaic (turning aside evil) power. That was why huge phalluses were attached to herms (busts of Hermes) or carried disembodied in processions. Over-size penises can be found attached to perfectly respectable, upper-class citizens in particular contexts in Attic vase-painting. The conventional ideal was forgotten in comic or erotic contexts. And a predilection for large penises was attributed to women (going with the broader comic perception of women as having insatiable appetites). James Robson, of the Open University, discussed Aristophanes’ ideal of a sexy “downright bootilicious” woman. She was the antipodes of Kate Moss.

Katie Bell, of Leeds University, discussed the representations of Hercules as muscle-man. She suggested that his torso was originally gilded (or painted) to indicate a gold (or bronze) muscle cuirass. Athena gave him such armour to protect him during his Labours. Would his image have inspired athletes and warriors? Through winning the games and the wars, they too could achieve everlasting fame.

Sue Blundell related Ancient Greek sandals to modern fetishism for women’s shoes and tight-lacing. The pose adopted for lacing sandals had erotic connotations. She finds a link between shoes and dildos.

# The conference examined how modern ideas of revolution were rooted in classical models. It is no accident that both Greek and Latin phrases for revolution are “new things”. (Could this explain the politics of some vetero-con professors of classics?).

Ian Macgregor Morris, of Nottingham University, discussed how modern revolutionary thinkers try to legitimise their insurgency through ancient precedent.

Gareth Sampson, of Manchester University, discussed the way that revolutionaries identify systems from antiquity with which to remodel civilisation. By the end of the 18th century a Senate ruled an independent United States, and consuls dominated a French Republic.

# Why are deformed individuals (such as dwarfs, eunuchs and lifestyle gurus) identified throughout history with rulers? They are seen as markers of imperial power and as integral members of big power-centres. Why did Henry VIII need a dwarf jester? Lisa Trentin, of Nottingham University, has found 22 instances of deformed individuals having a central political, social or anecdotal role in the lives of Roman emperors. How to account for this link between Masters of the Universe and individuals with physical or spiritual deformities? Ms Trentin argued that, just as the deformed were seen as monsters, so were many emperors. Deformity is a motif or tool for assessing imperial politics and prime ministerial integrity.
I'm sure reviews of the National Geographic program on the Gospel of Judas will be showing up over the course of the day (Mark Goodacre at NT Gateway did a 'live' one ... I wish he had kept track of how interminably long the ad breaks seemed to be; maybe that was just me) and in general, I thought it was well done, but here's the list of questions I wish it had addressed (especially in this era of 'Museum Cases'):

How did the manuscript end up back in the hands of the dealer after it had been stolen from him?

How did the Maecenas Foundation get involved and what, exactly, does the Maecenas Foundation do?

How did the National Geographic Society get involved in all this?

Did the program clearly explain what "You will sacrifice the man that clothes me" means? (I had to step out for a couple of minutes and might have missed it)

I'd also like to know why a Roman governor in Lugdunum overseeing the martyrdom of Blandina would address the crowd in what sounded like Greek.

Outside of that, I couldn't help but get the impression that the purpose of the show was (simplistically) to suggest 'If only we had this Gospel of Judas as part of the Bible ... there wouldn't be so much anti-semitism in the world'. But perhaps my mind focussed too much on a couple of segments. Like I said, though, generally it was well done, although it might have been nice to see them show the process of 'matching up' a piece (i.e. showing how an actual word matches).

I should probably point out that the GoJ program also appears to have spawned a press release on something called the Talmud of Immanuel, which is being claimed as a source for the Gospel of Matthew, among other things. Hopefully the Bibliobloggers can nip that one in the bud ...
9.00 p.m. |NG| Spartacus: Gladiator War
Spartacus was a military rebel, a slave warrior and a reluctant hero.This is the true-life story of how one man, fueled by a desire for his own freedom, led a revolution against the Roman Empire, and became a hero even more compelling than the legend Hollywood created.

10.30 p.m. |HINT| 1453 AD: The Siege of Constantinople
Join us for a journey through time as we recreate the siege of Constantinople in 1453 AD. In 1204, Crusaders sacked the city and renamed it Constantinople. For the next thousand years, the Byzantine emperors hid safely behind the massive walls of Constantinople. Then, in 1453, when the Ottoman Empire encircled the city, Sultan Mehmet used the 15th-century's newest technology--the cannon--and finally brought down the walls of the world's most impregnable fortress and effectively ended the Middle Ages. Features exclusive dramatizations, the latest historical research, and location photography to provide the viewer with a vivid look at this crucial moment in time.

10.00 p.m. |NG| Secrets of Herod's Reign
Was he a villain or a visionary? Or was he a genius or did he order genocide? Herod killed his own wife and children but did he also try to kill the baby Jesus by ordering the murder of every baby boy in his kingdom? Join NGC as Secrets of HerodÂ’s Reigndepicts a common man who became king of the Jews but could not satisfy his subjects. This program traces his bloody and pragmatic rise to power and the accomplishments and horrors that came with his rule.
Some ClassCon mentioned in passing in this piece from ME Times:

An Egyptian archaeological team has discovered a series of structures in the southwestern town of Fayoum that could yield vital data as to how a Middle Kingdom temple was built, the culture minister said on Thursday.

Farouk Hosni said that the structures included administrative buildings, granaries and residences believed to have belonged to priests of the temple, which was dedicated to Renenutet, the goddess of harvest, as well as the crocodile-god Sobk and falcon-deity Horus, Hosni added.

"This find can be considered one of the most important discoveries in Fayoum, as it unveiled remnants of all architectural elements making up the Medinet Madi temple," according to Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

He noted that Medinet Madi, completed during the rule of the 12th dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhat IV (1808-1799 BC), was "the only intact temple still existing from the Middle Kingdom".

The find, he said, had already shed light on how ancient Egyptians placed limestone tiles on the monument's floor - flanked on each side by statues resembling the Sphinx - and constructed the temple from mud bricks.

Items found at the site included seals used by the priests of Renenutet with hieroglyphic inscriptions, a headless limestone statue, a bronze statue of a woman and papyri with Greek and demotic writings, said Abdel Rahman Al Aidi, director of the SCA's excavations department and team leader.

Some of the papyri contained royal correspondences, including one from the wife of Ptolemy I to the priest of the temple of Renenutet "thanking him for the temple's magnificent services", Hawass said.

Amenemhat IV had a co-regency with Amenemhat III, one of the greatest rulers of the Middle Kingdom.

I can't recall ever reading that papyri had been found in a temple before ...
From the Independent comes an editorial with plenty of ClassCon which should lead to some interesting 'came from google' results in my stats counter:

The trouble with posh totty scorned is that the revenge tends to be posh too, as the nation's favourite buffoon Boris Johnson found out to his cost this week. His sometime squeeze, Petronella Wyatt, was riled by reports in the News of the World - who had staked out the Tory member for Henley engaging in a series of trysts with another attractive young woman, also not his wife. Ms Wyatt accused the bumbling MP of having "satyriasis".

This recondite word describes a condition which the dictionary defines as "excessive sexual desire in men". As befits a term of abuse levelled at a former editor of The Spectator by one of his former writers, its etymology is distinctly classical. It comes from the Greek word saturos which we translate as satyr - a lascivious, mythological creature; half-man, half-goat, with unusually strong sexual desires. The shambolic politician provoked this by popping into Petsy's house and, she has apparently told friends, "lunging at her" just a few hours after visiting his new paramour and before returning home to his wife Marina at their town house in north London.

Of course it may just be all that posh education. (Boris was at Eton and Balliol, where he read classics). Or it may be that there is something peculiarly Tory about the affliction. After all, Petronella Wyatt has recalled in print that a former Conservative minister, Viscount Lambton, who resigned in the 1970s after being caught in bed with prostitute Norma Levy, told chums he had to have sex at least three times a day to avoid debilitating headaches. He once did it in a phone booth in the Ritz.

And another member of the Tory commentariat, Minette Marin, has in the past used accused another Tory toff, Alan Clark, of suffering from "an advanced case of satyriasis, or, in plain English, a pathological inability to keep his trousers up". In the world of racing, she noted, "top stallions are regularly offered teasers, inferior mares upon whom they can work out their anxieties before being allowed to intrude on the valuable time of a top-class brood mare". Aren't the upper classes wonderful?

As a graduate of Oxford in Literae Humaniores, Boris will of course realise that his former mistress's term of abuse goes far deeper than accusations of mere priapism. Satyrs were not just randy creatures, depicted on Greek vases with a permanently erect phalluses, cavorting with nymphs. They were also cowardly and faint-hearted folk, and slightly foolish in a way which contrasts greatly with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, whose bluff and bluster is, of course, a mere camouflage for the charismatic charm, wit and high intelligence which his fans see in the man they have tipped as a future leader of his party. So much so that they have set up a website called Boriswatch which lauds the studied eccentricities, calculated humorous inanities, unkempt appearance and general air of shambolicness of their bumbling hero.

What they shouldn't do is delve too deeply into this satyriasis business. Defined as "an abnormally intense and compulsive sex drive with little or no sexual gratification despite numerous partners" satyriasis is the male equivalent of nymphomania.

All this is a notoriously imprecise area. After all, a nymphomaniac, in Kinsey's celebrated definition, is anyone who has more sex than you do. But there is some sense to the joke, says Dr Thaddeus Birchard, a psychotherapist whose London clinic specialises in sexual, marriage and relationship problems. "Satyriasis and nymphomania are old-fashioned terms," he says, "but there is an observable phenomenon of people with patterns of sexual behaviour they can't control that bring hugely harmful consequences."

This is not a medical disorder, he says, but a dependency akin to drug addiction. It crosses the boundary between promiscuity (a social judgement) and a psychological dysfunction (a clinical judgement) when the sufferer realises he or she has a problem. "It's very subjective," says Dr Birchard. "We run a programme for men who feel addicted. It takes 18 months to complete." What the programme tries to address is what lies beneath the behaviour. "It seems to be an attempt to anaesthetise themselves to some core problems - loneliness, shame, anxiety, or a boredom which is a kind of alienation from the self."

For a more lurid account you might turn to the website of satyriasis groups in the United States where researchers estimate that about 8 per cent of men and 3 per cent of women - a total of 15 million people - are sexually addicted. One entry says: "To have satyriasis is like never once having to feel sexually fulfilled. The more pleasure I get out of having sex and the release I get, the more I want more right after. This temporary feeling of relaxation washes over you until you once again have this feeling of having to have sex again."

And there's this: "A gay friend has had it bad since 14. Since he's attractive, more people are willing to oblige him, so he's developed a sense of shamelessness and tends to literally throw himself at every guy he sees. He's always horny, none of his boyfriends could cope with his incessant carnal needs. When desperate in public, he tends to break into a sweat and starts breathing heavily, often excusing himself to the bathroom and has difficulty sleeping." Or even this: "I'm willing to do it with anyone or anything, male or female, married or unmarried - all my morals go right out the window. I have gotten myself in serious trouble this way. Aaaargggh!!"

Crikey. Let's hope Boris hasn't got anything that bad. Still, there are things you can do about the problem. As well as courses like Dr Birchard's there are numerous self-help groups with names like Sex Addicts Anonymous, where presumably people stand up and begin their testimony by saying things like: "I'm Boris and I'm a bonker ..." Which may be humiliating, but better than the solution offered by one website: "a much more drastic option is castration". Yikes!

Boris may protest that this is all a bit OTT. After all, he might proffer, just because a chap has parked his bike in the wrong shed, again, doesn't mean he's a fully horned satyr. And certainly he doesn't look like one in the video that the News of the Screws have put out on the internet; as he leaves his new ladyfriend's flat in Chelsea, he is wearing a pointy beanie hat which makes him look more like a gnome than a creature of lustier myth.

But you never can tell with satyrs. History, or literature at any rate, shows you that. The Greeks were big on satyr plays - savage burlesques with which writers like Euripides were expected to round off their epic dramas. The satyrs in them could take many forms. "The plays were farcical and vulgar, burlesques rather than satires," the critic Keith Sagar has written. "The satyrs were as unheroic and grossly physical as it is possible to get. They had abundant hair and beards, broad noses, pointed ears, horse tails, and large, permanently erect phalluses. They represented natural as opposed to civilised man, everything man shares with the beasts. Their characteristics were naive curiosity, acquisitiveness, lust, drunkenness, lying, boasting and cowardice. They were completely amoral." Nothing like the Tories, then.

And so they have continued to be depicted. From silly figures in Aesop to ones lusting "with wasting madness wild" in Shelley. In the theatres they were actors of lewd pantomime. In art the old masters portrayed them as creatures of Bacchanalian debauchery (the satyrs were the traditional entourage of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility, or Bacchus as the Romans called him). They have even made the occasional appearance in more modern works. F Scott Fitzgerald's screenplay for the film Three Comrades involved a satyr, an angel, and St Peter working a system of telephone switchboards, though the director cut it before filming began. Two of John Fowles' novels had satyrs appear. And in Tony Harrison's adaptation of Sophocles' satyr play Ichneutai (which he called The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus) the chief satyr, Silenus, was played by Barrie Rutter in heavy Yorkshire accent and clogs. Throughout history, the satyr has worn many faces.

Boris can draw comfort from one aspect of the satiric character. Silenus was famed for his wisdom and prophetic powers, which were loosed when he was most intoxicated - a trait which might come in handy after an ample House of Commons lunch, though he will need to watch his step. Silenus did not go down too well when he shared with King Midas one of his keenest philosophical insights - that the best thing for a man is not to be born, and if born, should die as soon as possible. Not very voter-friendly, that one.

Still, the new Tory leader David Cameron seems relaxed about it all. Where his predecessor Michael Howard sacked Boris as shadow arts spokesman for not telling him the truth about the affair with Petsy Wyatt - Boris had dismissed the reports as "an inverted pyramid of piffle" - Mr Cameron is determined to keep Boris in his post as shadow higher education spokesman. Having had a private conversation with his fellow old Etonian this week, Mr Cameron announced: "This is a private issue. My judgment has to be on how Boris is doing his job and I think he's doing it well ... Marriages break up and people do things they shouldn't. That shouldn't necessarily mean that they lose their job. Politicians are human. People have tough things in their private lives they have to sort out and I hope Boris will sort it out."

There is, however, one final indignity ahead for the member for Henley. Unlike some of the dramatis personae of Greek mythology, satyrs are not immortal. They grow old. In the middle period of their life they grow whiskers. A bearded Boris is a thought to conjure with. But in the end they go bald, a humiliating and unbecoming disfigurement to the ancient Greeks. For the man with the haystack thatch, that could prove the final electoral liability.
From ANSA comes this interesting bit:

Italian archaeologists believe they have found an ancient city where the demi-gods Castor and Pollux fought Aeneas, the Trojan hero whose descendants founded Rome .

Lorenzo and Stefania Quilici of Bologna and Naples universities claim the large, massive-walled settlement dating from the VI to III Century BCE was the city of Amyclae, believed by Renaissance scholars to be somewhere near Lake Fondi between Rome and Naples .

"The road there is a perfectly preserved stretch of the ancient Via Appia," said Lorenzo Quilici .

"After a tough climb we found the remains of the old city, which appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake, given the way the rocks have tumbled onto one another" .

"The size of the settlement - 33 hectares - made us think of a city that left its mark on the area," Stefania Quilici said .

That is when they began to think of Amyclae, a city founded by the twin sons of Zeus Castor and Pollux whose Spartan followers clashed with Aeneas .

In the Aeneid, the epic poem recounting Aeneas's voyage from Troy to Italy, Virgil does not say exactly where the city was .

But many scholars think it is buried under a town of the same name in Greece. The ancient settlement discovered by the Quilicis sits atop a heavily wooded hill in the Aurunci National Park .

Rome archaeological director Anna Maria Reggiani said: "It's safe for the moment from incursions because it's in such an impervious zone" .

"But we'll have to wait for funding in order to start a dig" .
An editorial from the Cyprus Mail:

ON WEDNESDAY night I met an Amazon Queen. She stood head and shoulders above all the men on the terrace of the Greek ambassador’s residence. The man on my right, beguiled, whispered, " I have just met a Greek goddess".

It was easy to see why he felt that Dora Bakoyanni might qualify: not only does her size make the rest of us mere mortals feel well, simply human. Everything about her is larger than life. She has amazing eyes. Great pools of molten chocolate. Then I was told, "this woman has known suffering and overcome it". Those eyes have courage too.

The family was exiled to Paris during the junta years, her first husband Pavlos Bakoyannis was gunned down by the November 17 Revolutionary Organisation on September 26, 1989 leaving her with two children to raise.

She worked tirelessly to bring the assassins to justice and threw herself into a political career, becoming Culture Minister in her father’s government in 1992-93. Recently, as Mayor of Athens, she has achieved the honour of being voted World Mayor of the Year 2005. Now as Foreign Minister her eyes will be particularly focussed on the issues that surround Turkish accession to the EU, but there is another Ottoman issue that still remains unresolved.

Last year, she wrote of the Elgin marbles, housed in the British Museum and removed from the Parthenon at the beginning of the 19th century, "These monuments, removed from Greece in a highly dubious manner, form the most precious part of Athens’ artistic heritage. In order for the Parthenon to be truly appreciated, it must be viewed as an integral work of art in the new Acropolis Museum we are constructing in view of the monument itself and in the surroundings that inspired it." I agree.

The argument has always been that if the marbles are returned it would open a floodgate of claims that museums of the world would be left with empty shelves, that there are conservation issues and access issues. It is cited that at least 5 million visitors a year pass through the British Museum and that the marbles are the second most popular exhibit after the Egyptian mummies.

But we must remind ourselves of the fact that when Elgin removed "some pieces of stone with inscriptions or figures thereon" as his official document outrageously understates, he was dealing with the Ottomans, who were coming to the end of their 400-year-old occupation of Greece and possibly cared little for the country's ancient monuments. Even in their day the marbles caused controversy amongst the chattering classes. Byron attacked Elgin in verse, lamenting in 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' how the antiquities of Greece had been 'defac'd by British hands'. Keats, on the other hand, wrote an enthusiastic sonnet called, "Seeing the Elgin Marbles" on their arrival in London.

There is no doubt that the marbles have been well cared for by their British hosts, there is also no doubt that at the time Elgin removed them the Parthenon was in a state of disrepair and many would support the view that he actually "saved" them. But times are different now. Personally, I would rather see the marbles back where they belong and in the new museum that is being built to house them. There would be something satisfying about being able to study them once one had actually walked around the building they belonged to. The argument that "cultural property" can be owned by all, that relics are as effective away from their sites as on them, is flawed. If we liken it to the animal kingdom, no one would argue that a tiger is better in a zoo than in the wild. They might argue that is the only way to preserve them, as their habitat is destroyed, but all zoos support reintroduction programmes. Zoos are a poor substitute for seeing an animal in its rightful surroundings.

So it is with the marbles. Send them home. They have an Amazon Queen to fight for them now, I think she’ll be fearsome advocate.
Okay ... we'll start the day by questioning a claim in a piece from the Austin-American Statesman about dying Easter eggs 'the natural way':

Alexander the Great's troops used red dye made from the roots of the madder plant to appear bloody and trick the enemy into thinking they were wounded.

Can't find anything which could be a source for this one ...
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.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Athens' Subway
Under Athens' bustling metropolis, an unique engineering project transformed the city, building a new underground Metro system, while uncovering secrets of its past, alleviating chronic traffic problems, and preparing for the 2004 Olympics. But to dig stations and tunnels in the heart of one of the world's oldest sites of continuous habitation, engineers had to accommodate the largest archaeological excavations conducted to date in Athens. Thousands of invaluable artifacts were discovered, spanning more than 25 centuries. We talk with leading project engineers and archaeologists to explore the difficult balance between progress and preservation. Unique library film records every stage by which gigantic Tunnel Boring Machines cut under some of the most famous architecture of the ancient world. Despite problems and delays, the Athens' Metro finally opened in January 2000. Its dazzling modern stations at the center of the city contain ancient artifacts found at the station sites.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Attila the Hun
Chalons, 451 AD. What made this battle so compelling? Attila the Hun, the terrifying menace who had his eyes set on what was left of the Western Roman Empire. By this time, huge chunks of the Roman Empire operated under the autonomous control of various barbarian kings and no unity remained. Rome needed one more hero, and Flavius Aetuis--the Last of the Romans--was to be that man. He worked tirelessly and fought tigerishly to drive Attila away and preserve the West from Hunnic ravages.

10.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Meet The Ancestors: The Lost City of Roman Britain
ante diem vii idus apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 4)

30 A.D. -- crucifixion of Jesus (one reckoning according to the astronomical estimates)

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Calliopus at Pompeiopolis

310 A.D. -- martyrdom of Peleusius at Alexandria
bathos @

fustian @ (maybe)

aurify @ Worthless Word for the Day

... and one that actually isn't (is there a term for this? i.e. a word which has a meaning from which it is not 'etymologically derived'):

benedict @ Merriam-Webster

Done With Mirrors has a belated April Fools edition ...
Condicio feminarum in Iraquia pessima

Ordo a Libertate Feminarum in Iraquia (OWFI) dicit condiciones feminarum Iraquianarum sub dictatore Saddamo Hussein meliores fuisse quam hodie: Feminis tum licuisse ad operas extra domum ire, studere, divortium facere.

Nunc illas paene omnia iura amisisse. Maximum problema esse constitutionem, in lege sharia nitentem, atque securitatem deficientem.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : Unum e moderatoribus Palaestinis captum et dimissum esse
Around the midway today:'s N.S. Gill has some Latin abbreviations folks should know ...

Laudator's MG has a post on asyndetic privative adjectives (and in passing makes note of a use for blogs which -- quite frankly -- I'm surprised more academics don't seem to be aware of)

Bread and Circuses' AM has Malchus on the deposition of Romulus Augustulus ...

Glaukopidos points us to Wheelock's Latin: The Musical ...

Hobbyblog has an interesting Valerian sporting an image of a carpentum drawn by a couple of mules ...

Roman History Books chats about Apicius ...


The incipit of a column in Human Events which should be of interest to folks following the 'illegal alien' debate going on in the U.S.:

Congress now piously debates an amnesty bill, U.S. cities brace for more marches promoted by Spanish-language radio stations, and Marxists and anarchists wish to see more and more illegals have a claim on your family assets.

It’s chilling to remember that it was our ancestors’ embrace of amnesty that served to bring down the Western Roman Empire. On August 24, 410 A.D., the Roman general, Alaric, and his collection of German tribesman, Herulians, Rugians, and Gepidae, sacked Rome for the first time in 800 years. The event shocked the civilized world. These very same Goths had previously destroyed a whole legion, killing the Emperor Valens at Adrianople but were given amnesty, were hired and armed as Roman mercenaries, their families given lands inside the empire, and their general/king awarded Rome’s highest citizen status, patrician.

As did the Roman emperors of the 5th century A.D., our current invasion has been encouraged by both our political parties. Estimates range from 11 million to 20 million illegals are now here residing inside our borders. And like the Roman world’s reaction to Alaric’s sack of Rome, we too are shocked to find not all illegals are here to cut grass or make beds.
From the Telegraph:

Robert Carson, who died on March 24 aged 87, was a leading expert on Roman coins, and Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum from 1978 to 1983.

Born at Kircudbright on April 7 1918, Robert Andrew Glendinning Carson was educated at Kirkcudbright Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he took a First in Classics. During the war he served with the Royal Artillery in north-west Europe, being promoted to captain in 1945.

The following year Carson joined the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum as an assistant keeper with responsibility for Roman coins, as the successor to Harold Mattingly. The offices of the department had been destroyed by a bomb in May 1941, and, although the collection had been removed to a place of safety, the work of the staff in the immediate post-war years was to rebuild the department. They did not return to their original premises until 1959.

Carson quickly established his reputation, initially by publishing new hoards and acquisitions. He developed an interest in the coinage of the 3rd century AD, the understanding of which was at that time shrouded by misattributions and misunderstandings. Written evidence of the period is limited, so coinage has seemed to offer the only systematic body of evidence on which even the most basic political and military history could be written.

The "crisis" of the 3rd century may nowadays be downplayed by historians, but it was a period of short-lived and competing emperors, and a time when the coinage saw a dramatic decline in purity, possibly suggesting an economic crisis coinciding with the political ones.

Carson's approach was pragmatic and straightforward: he marshalled the evidence and drew sensible, but not over-ambitious, conclusions. His work can be seen at its best in his sixth volume of the Catalogue of Coins of the Roman Empire. Published in 1962, it set out a systematic and convincing account of the coinages of the years 222-238, and applied his more theoretical studies of the "officina" (workshop) system of the mint of Rome.

He never completed the systematic studies he planned for the more complicated years of the middle and later part of the 3rd century, but finished many preliminary studies, including of the eastern mints of Valerian and Gallienus, of Zenobia (Queen of Palmyra, 267-272), and coinage after the reform of Aurelian, a study informed by the discovery of an enormous hoard of relevant coins at Gloucester in the 1960s.

Carson had a specific interest in the coinage of the British usurpers Carausius and Allectus, who established a separate empire in Britain in the 280s and 290s AD; and he sorted out the pattern of mints and chronology in a way that had not previously been achieved. He became very excited at the appearance of two large bronze medallions of Carausius - which he was delighted to ensure got a safe home at the museum - and was once observed to sign a letter "RAG Carausius".

Carson had a keen interest in conveying his knowledge to interested amateurs. He was a popular lecturer and wrote three general books: Principal Coins of the Romans, published in three volumes between 1978 and 1981; Coins of the Roman Empire (1990); and Coins - Ancient, Medieval and Modern. This last volume, first published in 1962, went through numerous reprintings and revisions over two decades, remaining the best single account of the coinage of the world as a whole.

As well as his own work, Carson was instrumental in ensuring that important works by other scholars also saw the light of day.

As editor of the Roman Imperial Coinage series, he can take much credit for the eventual appearance of three volumes, the first by the late JWE Pearce, the second by the Finnish scholar Patrick Bruun, and the third by his museum colleague John Kent. He and Kent had collaborated on the classification of the bronze coinage of the 4th and 5th centuries AD, and on a short but indispensable reference book, Late Roman Bronze Coinage (1960, written also with Philip Hill).

Carson's work on identifying coin finds occupied much of his time and led to many other publications, including an influential analysis of the pattern of hoarding in late Roman Britain, and to an enormous programme of acquisition for the museum.

The trays of coins of the later Roman empire were built up to provide an indispensable reference collection for modern scholars of the period.

He also became involved in many coroners' court hearings on Treasure Trove, the law whereby hoards of gold and silver are deemed to belong to the Crown. By arguing that "silver" meant "intentionally made of silver", he persuaded many coroners to rule that hoards of very base silver coins, sometimes containing as little as two per cent of silver, were also Treasure Trove.

A tall, elegant man, Carson was quiet and self-effacing but determined in leadership. He devoted much time to administrative matters, and, with his wife Fransisca, was a lively presence at departmental parties.

He performed excellent work as editor of the Numismatic Chronicle of the Royal Numismatic Society, and the volumes for 1966 to 1978, for which he was responsible, take up a vital half-metre of many research libraries. As president of the International Numismatic Commission, he was also influential in the organisation of the International Numismatic Congress of 1986, which was attended by more than 700 experts from all over the world.

After retiring from the museum, Carson emigrated to Australia.

He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1965, and President of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1974. He was awarded the medal of the French Numismatic Society in 1970; the Silver Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1972; and the Huntington Medal of the American Numismatic Society in 1978. In 1977 he was awarded a Silver Jubilee Medal by the Queen.

He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1980.

Robert Carson married, in 1949, Fransisca de Vries, who survives him with their son and daughter.
A bit of a followup to that story about an erstwhile purloined herm from Horace's farm ... from ANSA:

A precious statue from Roman poet Horace's Sabine farm arrived back in Rome on Thursday .

It will be returned to the villa site north of Rome in about three weeks, officials said .

"All it needs now is to be cleaned up and then it will be restored to the Horace Museum at Licenza in 20 days' time at the most," Deputy Culture Minister Antonio Martusciello told a press conference here .

The herm, or archaic head on a square block, was stolen from the farm near Rome in 1977 and turned up on the German antiquities market in the 1990s .

It was acquired by a German regional museum in 2000 for just 10,000 euros - a fraction of the price it would have fetched if its provenance had been known .

Experts recently identified it and informed Interpol and Italy's art cops, who took it off the museum's hands last month .

The herm takes its name from the Greek god Hermes but in this case it bears the head of a leering satyr .

Lyric poet Horace (65-8BCE) is the most celebrated poet of the Augustan era along with epic poet Virgil .

One of his odes contains the famous injunction to readers, 'carpe diem' ('seize the day') .

Other odes refer fondly to his Sabine farm, a gift from his patron Maecenas. Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione said the return of the herm marked another victory in Italy's crackdown on art theft .

Italy has stepped up its fight to recover lost treasures and recently sealed a groundbreaking deal with New York's Metropolitan Museum to secure the return of some of its finest Ancient Greek pieces - in exchange for future loans of equivalent value .

Italian authorities have also launched a landmark trial of a US antiquities curator, accused of buying looted artefacts for the Getty Museum in California .

There's a photo of the thing with the original article ... not quite sure how they establish it was a herm ...
There's a PILE of Gospel of Judas hype -- I'll gather it all together in this weekend's Explorator -- but just to whet one's appetite, here's one with some salient facts about the document, from the Tucson Citizen:

University of Arizona scientists have verified the antiquity of a document from the earliest days of Christianity - a codex that includes the controversial Gospel of Judas Iscariot.
A.J. Tim Jull and Gregory Hodgins used radiocarbon dating procedures to determine the age of five samples from the leather-bound papyrus document discovered about 30 years ago near Al Minya, Egypt.
Five samples from the 66-page manuscript date the material to between A.D. 220-340, according to Jull, director of the National Science Foundation-Arizona AMS Laboratory, and Hodgins, assistant research scientist.
"All date to the third to fourth century, clearly before the Council of Nicaea, which presumably would have suppressed such a document," said Jull.
That council, the first ecumenical conference of bishops of the Christian Church, was arranged by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in A.D. 325.
The codex, which had deteriorated into about 1,000 fragments, contains the only known surviving Gospel of Judas as well as the Epistle of Peter to Philip, the First Apolcalypse of James and a fragment of a fourth text, yet to be titled.

Good background info at the BBC as well ... I wonder if we'll learn more about the Maecenas Foundation in the National Geographic thing this Sunday; speaking of NG, they have put up an interesting website on the GoJ ... folks will probably want to review the materials at too ...
From BMCR:

Hanna M. Roisman, Sophocles: Philoctetes. Duckworth Companions to Greek and Roman Tragedy.

Hédi Slim, Pol Trousset, Roland Paskoff, Ameur Oueslati, Le littoral de la Tunisie: Étude géoarchéologique et historique. Études d'Antiquités africaines.

Klaus Bringmann, Geschichte der Juden im Altertum: Vom babylonischen Exil bis zur arabischen Eroberung.

Steven Fine, Art & Judaism in the Greco-Roman World. Toward a New Jewish Archaeology.

Andrew Bell, Spectacular Power in the Greek and Roman City.

From Scholia:

Michael Paschalis (ed.), Roman and Greek Imperial Epic

From RBL:

Karl Galinsky, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus, Review of Biblical Literature

From the Independent:

Gwyn Morgan, 69AD: The Year of Four Emperors

From Monsters & Critics:

Rosemary Rowe, A Roman Ransom (fiction)
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Hidden Cities of the Etruscans
A look at the fascinating people who ruled Italy centuries before the Romans. Explores the contradictions in the character of the Etruscans, who embraced both art and slavery, technology and sensuality.

7.00 p.m. |DTC| Secrets of the Colosseum
Visit the ruins of this massive triumph of Roman building and engineering for clues to its ingenious design. Built in a remarkably short span of 10 years, the structure combined travertine stone, iron, concrete, brick and lava rocks from nearby Vesuvius.

9.00 p.m. |DISCC| Alexander the Great: Murder Unsolved
Unravel one of the strangest mysteries of ancient times, the suspicious death of history's most extraordinary leader, Alexander the Great; experts attempt to decipher if his early death at age 32 was caused by disease, excessive drinking or even murder.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| Mystery of the Persian Mummy
Encased in a gilded wooden coffin inside a stone sarcophagus, a Persian princess mummy over 2,600 years old was found. Follow the discoveries that turned this archaeological treasure into a murder hunt.
ante diem viii idus apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 3)

648 B.C. -- solar eclipse possibly referred to in a fragment of a poem by Archilochus (Zeus, the father of the Olympic Gods, turned mid-day into night, hiding the light of the dazzling Sun; and sore fear came upon men.)

46 B.C. -- Julius Caesar defeats supporters of Pompey at Thapsus
indign @ Worthless Word for the Day

The Classics Technology Center's My Word! feature looks at legendary Roman women
Comitia Israelis parlamentaria

Die Martis (28.3.) in Israele comitia parlamentaria facta sunt. Optimum successum habuit factio Kadima, cum ex centum viginti parlamenti sedibus viginti sibi conciliavit.

Quae cum ita sint, novus princeps minister Israelis erit Ehud Olmert, qui in praesenti non solum factioni victrici Kadima praeest, sed etiam ministerio principali Israelis interim fungitur.

Olmert, dum se victorem suffragii pronuntiat, ait ex eventu electionum conici posse, quantum subsidium consilia sua ad fines Israelis constituendos a populo accepissent.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Pretty quiet newsday ... let's see what's happening down the Midway:

Over at Laudator, MG presents us with some Swiftian Latin ...

AM has found a tale of Arminius in something which has just gone up at Project Gutenberg ...

Sauvage Noble translates Hamlet's soliloquy into protoindoeuropean ... (mmmm ... PIE)

Curculio gives us a somewhat boring epigram (although one might be able to see a double entendre in there)

Hobbyblog offers a Gallienus sporting an image of Virtus Augusti ...

Aoidoi presents a handy list of words with digammas in epic ...

Alun presents some results from his constellation survey ...

Belated Happy Blogiversary to Thoughts on Antiquity ...


From the end of an interview with Colleen McCollough in the California Literary Review:

With On, Off now in the book shops, McCullough has turned to Antony and Cleopatra, the final volume in her six-part Masters of Rome series. “I’m a workaholic,” she said. “I’m no sooner over one book than I have to start another. Otherwise I get bored, and everybody around me hates it. They all say: ‘I wish she’d start another book and get out of our hair!’.”
... nothing of interest.
nonas apriles

ludi Megalesia in honour of Cybele (day 2)

rites in honour of Fortuna Publica
cvm @ (spelled 'the other way', but I'm sure that will trigger filters at schools)

bimanous @ Worthless Word for the Day
ETA armistitium incohavit

ETA sive Corpus separatisticum Vasconiae liberandae die vicesimo quarto huius mensis (24.3.) armististium permanens iniit, ut biduo ante se facturum esse promiserat.

Illi nationalistae, quos Unio Europaea et Civitates Americae Unitae pro terroristis habent et qui de octingentis hominibus occisis accusantur, per quattuor fere decennia armis contenderunt, ut suam rem publicam in partibus Hispaniae septentrionalibus conderent.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Here we go:'s N.S. Gill has a timely feature on the Megalesia ...

ARLT has pumped out a pile of pertinent posts ... there's a sort of 'What to do with a Classics degree' thing which is actually an interview in the TLS with a former Classics student now in the UK's DfES ... a piece on the CIRCE project ... a letter to the editor of the Phoenix on the benefits of Classics ... some items on the Latin Mass ...

MG at Laudator has found some more references to the Turba Lucifugarum

Alun gives us a precis of an upcoming talk about Greek temple orientation and aurorae ...

Bread and Circuses' AM tells us about Romulus Augustulus' pater ...

Today Hobbyblog has a small bronze of Antiochus IV ...

Some 'new' online books have turned up at the Sacred-Texts site:

The Works of Lucian of Samosata, Complete with Exceptions Specified in the Preface (4 volumes, 1905), by Lucian of Samosata, trans. by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler

The Syrian Goddess: Being a Translation of Lucian's "De Dea Syria", With a Life of Lucian (London: Constable, 1913), by Lucian of Samosata, ed. by John Garstang, trans. by Herbert A. Strong

Martin P. Nilsson, The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology


An excerpt from an LA Times story about 'wine geekery':

The first wine geek might have been some forgotten Babylonian who could tell you exactly why Hulbunu wine was better than Tupliash, or an Egyptian who knew all the vintages of the Southern Oasis. But the top geeks of the ancient world were the Greeks.

For one thing, wine was their everyday drink, while the Egyptians and Babylonians were basically beer drinkers. For another, the Greeks were seafarers, so they had wines from all over the eastern Mediterranean to compare.

So they carried on about wine in a way we all recognize. Archestratus, writing in the 4th century BC, dismissed the wines of Lebanon in favor of the Greeks' favorite wine region, the island of Lesbos off the coast of present-day Turkey:

"I praise the wine of Byblos in Phoenicia, though it does not equal Lesbian. If you take a quick taste of it and are unacquainted with it, you will think it more fragrant than Lesbian, for the fragrance lasts a very long time. When tasted, though, it is very inferior…. If some scoff at me — braggarts, purveyors of empty nonsense — saying that Phoenician has the sweetest nature of all, I pay no attention to them."

A century earlier, Hermippus had written real tasting notes: "Sweet generous Magnesian, and Thasian over which the scent of apples plays, this I judge much the best of all the other wines, after fine and harmless Chian. There is a certain wine that they call saprias, from the mouths of whose jars when they are opened there is a smell of violets, a smell of roses, a smell of larkspur, a sacred smell through all the high-roofed hall."

Saprias comes from saprios, rotten, so perhaps it was made from grapes that had been attacked by botrytis, the noble rot mold, which creates the famously perfumed French Sauternes.

We have to remember that the Greeks nearly always mixed wine with water before drinking. They were looking for wines with a flavor that would survive dilution, so their favorites were made from partly dried grapes or even raisins, like Malaga or the Italian recioto wines of today. They would have lacked the fresh-fruit qualities we admire in wine.

One sort of wine geekery you don't find in the ancient world is the concept of "pairing" or "marrying" particular wines with particular foods. The ancients didn't drink wine with the meal — they drank it afterward, with snacks such as fruits, nuts and cakes. That was another reason for them to prefer raisiny wines. In effect, the only food they "married" wine with was dessert.

Surprisingly, they also liked salty wines. Maybe winemakers on the islands of Cos and Lesbos started adding seawater to their wines to help them survive the voyage to the mainland, but it was also said that a slave came up with the idea of "stretching" wine with saltwater, and his customers just found they liked the taste.

The Romans took over the Greek approach to wine, salting and all. In the 1st century, the writer Pliny the Elder gave a recipe for counterfeiting Coan wine by adding seawater aged 70 days (probably to reduce the iodine smell) to whatever wine you had on hand. If your farm wasn't near the sea, he added, you could just use table salt.
JM-Y sent this one along (thanks!) ... the BBC tells us of something from Sweden which sounds an awful lot like garum:

Some say surstromming, a fermented herring, smells like rubbish left out in the sun for days.

But now the fish has been banned from several major airlines, classified along with dangerous weapons like shoe bombs and firearms.

The Baltic herring is fermented in barrels for months before being put in tin cans, where the fermentation process continues.

The decision has made many Swedes very angry indeed.

Surstromming is as Swedish as Volvo and Ikea.

Some say it is simply rotten fish, which smells like rotten fish. Others argue it is the finest of delicacies.

National symbol

But now major airlines like British Airways and Air France argue the cans are pressurised goods, and must be classified as potentially explosive.

The dish is no longer allowed on their flights, and the sale of the delicacy from Stockholm's international airport has been stopped.

That has made producers of the surstromming choke on their fermented fish, calling the airlines' decision "culturally illiterate".

It is a myth, they say, that the tinned fish can explode.

They admit, however, that a punctured tin would emit a foul smell, and that the content might spill quite forcefully, like a punctured can of beer.

But that is not enough to stop the export of a potent national symbol, the herring supporters argue.

The leader of the Swedish Surstromming Academy, an organisation promoting the dish nationally and internationally, said any airline worried about explosives and foul smells should first ban bottles of champagne and French cheese before attacking the pride of the Swedish cuisine.
JMM sent this one in (thanks!) ... AP via Yahoo:

Laborers working on the infrastructure of a sewage canal network have unearthed a Roman-era burial cave from the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. near the ruins of Baalbek in northeastern Lebanon, the official National News Agency reported Tuesday.

Site supervisor Khaled al-Rifai said the cave contained one human skeleton, leaves made of gold, glass rings and other artifacts.

Al-Rifai was quoted as saying that representatives of the antiquities department accompanied the excavations because of the archaeological importance of the Baalbek area, famous for its Roman ruins, some 36 miles northeast of Beirut.

Al-Rifai said digging is still continuing in the cave and that more skeletons and artifacts are expected to be unearthed.
8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Seven Wonders of the World:Ghosts of Wonder

9.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Meet The Ancestors: The Lost City of Roman Britain

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
pridie nonas apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 1 ... associated with the next item, obviously)

204 B.C. -- the image and cult of the Mater Magna (a.k.a. Cybele) is brought to Rome during the conflict with Hannibal on the advice of the Sybilline books

37 A.D. -- the ashes of Tiberius are placed in the Mausoleum of Augustus

186 (or 188) A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Bassianus (later known as M. Aurelius Antoninus Caesar; better known as Caracalla)
devious @ Merriam-Webster

Natura orbis terrarum laborat

Biodiversitas naturae in toto orbe terrarum citato gradu dilabitur, ut e relatione Nationum Unitarum recens divulgata patet.

Ex viginti quattuor biomatis sive oecosystematis, quae in illo documento respiciuntur, quindecim in peius mutata sunt.

Imprimis silvae et saltus in multis regionibus velociter perire videntur, quod investigatoribus summae sollicitudini est. Huc accedit interitus variorum generum avium.

In causa talium amissionum existimantur esse silvicidia, asteroides, eruptiones vulcanorum, subitae climatis mutationes.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
A handful of items today:

Dennis over at Campus Mawrtius notes parallels between Tyrtaeus and Horace ...

Bread and Circuses' AM has a quote from Gibbon on Romulus Augustulus ...

Curculio gives us an epigram from Ammianus ...

Hobbyblog has a provincial Gallienus with Dionysius on the obverse ...

Pro magistris offers us text and translation of a bit of Martial, and has a number of comments which I'm sure many teachers (such as I) can identify with ...

Roman History Books points us to an extended article about sea power in antiquity ...

Foxtrot continues the Odysseus series:

Just a bit of hype from ANSA:

A fourth-century papyrus manuscript containing the long-lost 'Gospel of Judas' will be presented in Washington on Thursday .

The Gospel of Judas is one of several ancient accounts of Christ's life which were rejected as suspect by the fathers of the early Church and so they did not become part of the Bible .

Vatican officials have denied that the publication this week is part of a rehabilitation of Judas by the Catholic Church .

The document reportedly argues that Judas Iscariot, known to Christians as the man who betrayed Jesus Christ, was an essential part of God's design and, as such, almost a hero .

Without his betrayal, Jesus would not have been crucified and so, the argument goes, God's plan to save mankind from its sins would not have been fulfilled .

The papyrus containing the text of the 'gospel' appeared about 30 years ago on the Egyptian antiquities market. It had last been heard of in AD180, when Saint Irenaeus, a bishop, condemned it as heretical .

It was recently acquired by the Swiss-based Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the U.S.-based National Geographic magazine, who are behind this week's publication .

The text, which has been translated into English, French and German, is written in Coptic, the language used in Egypt when the country converted to Christianity halfway through the third century AD .

The text was the work of an ancient Gnostic sect called the Cainites, which made a habit of giving a positive value to all the negative figures in Christian scriptures .

It is believed to have been originally written in the first or second centuries. The text was later copied onto the papyrus which is to be presented in Washington .

The forthcoming publication has sparked fears among some in the Catholic Church that it could give people wrong ideas about the man who is famous for betraying Jesus Christ .

"Some people will try to hide the truth and give undue importance to a document written in the 2nd century by people in open opposition to the early Christian Church," said a Rome-based theologian who is an expert on ancient texts .

Experts say the manuscript is interesting and important for scholars of Church history but changes nothing in the accepted view of Judas .

Italy's top Catholic writer, Vittorio Messori, noted however that the text does raise interesting questions about the role of Judas in the Christ story .

Interviewed by the Turin daily La Stampa, he noted that a key difference between the Gospel of Judas and the Bible accounts concerns the question of forgiveness .

Messori recalled that in the apocryphal account Judas is forgiven: "He weeps, Jesus forgives him and in order to purify him he sends Judas into the desert to do spiritual exercises." In the New Testament, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is quoted as saying: "Woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born." After the betrayal, they never meet again and, overcome with remorse, Judas commits suicide. Christ atones for the sins of humanity but never specifically forgives Judas .

Messori said the lack of forgiveness in the Bible account appeared strange in a man who preached forgiveness .

He also noted that Jesus's choice of Judas as a disciple in the first place seemed to show a slip of judgment .

But, as someone who wanted to believe the Gospels were true, he said he was glad of Judas's presence. "If the gospels had been invented, the figure of Judas just wouldn't be there because he's so embarrassing," he said .
Fittingly, it seems, from the Olympian:

Sixth-graders traveled thousands of miles across an ocean and into the heart of the Mediterranean Sea last week without leaving their Reeves Middle School classroom.

They had spent the past five weeks learning about ancient Greece: the government, the culture and the religious beliefs.

And at a Greek Festival on Wednesday, they were able to catch a glimpse of ancient Greece for themselves.

“We’ve been learning about this and learning about this, and now we finally get to taste what we’ve been learning about,” said Reazen McAvoy, 11, a Reeves sixth-grader. “It’s been interesting to learn about the ways that the Greeks influenced our lives today.”

Some sixth-graders donned costumes for the occasion, dressing up as gods and goddesses, performing Greek monologues and trying a spread of traditional Greek dishes that students made and brought in from home.

“It’s an opportunity to experience a different culture,” said Deanna Ottavelli, a sixth-grade teacher at Reeves. “This is a type of food that has been around for at least 1,000 years, but some of these kids at our school have never experienced it before.”

There were Greek salads, pita bread for dipping in hummus, honey cheese pie and plenty of baklava — a sweet pastry made with thin sheets of a flour-and-water dough, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and honey.

“It was fun because you get to hang out with your friends and try different foods,” said Megan Schmitt, 12, a Reeves sixth-grader who liked trying the baklava and who dressed up as Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. “It was really different from the desserts we have today. It was really new.”

During one part of the Greek unit, students studied the Hercules myth and then watched Disney’s movie version of the hero’s story.

The Hercules story was a highlight for many students. And comparing the movie with the actual Greek myth — which students were asked to do in an essay — also taught the sixth-graders another lesson, Ottavelli said.

“That was a really good exercise not only in writing but also in opening their eyes to the fact that everything they see in Hollywood isn’t necessarily true,” she said.

Sixth-grader Nicolas Baheux, 12, said he enjoyed the unit on Greece in part because he was able to learn about somewhere he’s never visited before.

“I like learning about different countries and places,” Nicolas said.
“It was exciting stuff. It gives me an idea of what I would do if I go there.”
11.00 p.m. |HINT| Athens' Subway
Under Athens' bustling metropolis, an unique engineering project transformed the city, building a new underground Metro system, while uncovering secrets of its past, alleviating chronic traffic problems, and preparing for the 2004 Olympics. But to dig stations and tunnels in the heart of one of the world's oldest sites of continuous habitation, engineers had to accommodate the largest archaeological excavations conducted to date in Athens. Thousands of invaluable artifacts were discovered, spanning more than 25 centuries. We talk with leading project engineers and archaeologists to explore the difficult balance between progress and preservation. Unique library film records every stage by which gigantic Tunnel Boring Machines cut under some of the most famous architecture of the ancient world. Despite problems and delays, the Athens' Metro finally opened in January 2000. Its dazzling modern stations at the center of the city contain ancient artifacts found at the station sites.
ante diem iv nonas apriles

13 A.D. -- Augustus writes his will

33 A.D. -- one of the calculated dates for the crucifixion of Jesus

68 A.D. --

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Irene, Agape, and Chionia
plegmatic @ Merriam-Webster
Flumina Europae culturalia

Consilio et auctoritate Universitatis Ferrariensis inceptum paneuropaeum initum est ad illustrandum, quantam vim flumina ad culturam in variis Europae partibus substruendam habuerint.

Ex Finnia in numerum horum fluviorum culturalium delectus est amnis Aura, qui per Aboam sive urbem Turku permeans in mare influit.

Cetera flumina huc pertinentia sunt Abellanus, amnis Italiae, qui vulgo Volano appellatur, nec non Rhodanus, Vistula et Anas, flumen Portugalliae, cui nomen hodiernum Guadiana.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, be sure to check out Ephemeris : De Perside percutienda

Radio Bremen's (monthly) version of Nuntii Latini has been updated too ...
Let's see what the ClassiCarnies are up to today:'s N.S. Gill has a piece on Fescennine Verse ...

Over at Laudator, MG is pondering Palladas again ...

... while Curculio posts another bit of Palladas too ...

Alun's 'constellation experiment' seems to be under way ...

Dr Weevil finds an interesting quote from Thucydides ...

Hobbyblog offers a possibly fake Gallienus sporting an image of Providentia ...

Just came across a reference to Latin Profanity in Wikipedia (!)

I think Foxtrot is repeating its Odyssey series from a few years ago:

From the Independent:

Robert Andrew Glendinning Carson, museum curator and numismatist: born Kirkcudbright 7 April 1918; Assistant Keeper, Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum 1947-65, Deputy Keeper 1965-78, Keeper 1978-83; FBA 1980; married 1949 Fransisca De Vries (one son, one daughter); died Sydney, New South Wales 24 March 2006.

Robert Carson was the leading British expert of his generation on Roman coins. He joined the staff of the British Museum as Assistant Keeper of Roman Coins in the Department of Coins and Medals in 1947, a few months after his life-long colleague Kenneth Jenkins, an expert in Greek coins.

Their arrival coincided with the start of the slow recovery of the museum from the effects of the Second World War, when most of the staff had left to take part in the war effort and the collections were evacuated from London. The fabric of the museum, including the offices of the Coin Department, was much damaged by bombing and it was not until about 1960 that the department was able to return to permanent accommodation when its bombed offices were finally rebuilt.

In 1951 Carson was joined by Michael Dolley, an expert on British coins, and two years later by John Kent, another expert on Roman coins but whose responsibilities included the collection of medals. Together they formed a very disparate but vibrant group of colleagues, all very different in character and temperament, who collectively rebuilt the pre-war traditions of numismatic scholarship in which the department had been pre-eminent, above all through the publication of monumental catalogues of the collection which are still standard reference works today.

Robert Carson was perhaps the most level-headed and sensible of the group and as a result he gradually took on a heavier administrative burden. Although there were personality clashes between some of his colleagues, Carson was trusted by all sides and often had to act as peace-maker. When, in 1965, Jenkins was appointed Keeper, it was Carson who effectively ran the department, as Deputy Keeper. Jenkins retired at the age of 60 in 1978, five years before he needed to, and it was believed that he did so in order to give Carson the opportunity to hold the Keepership before he retired. Carson was Keeper for five years until 1983.

Carson was much in demand as a lecturer and was also one of the first numismatic scholars to appreciate the need to bring his expertise to a wider audience. During a period of some 10 years from the mid-1950s a series of major works flowed from his pen. His book Coins (1962) was a remarkable conspectus of world coinage from sixth-century BC Greece to the present day. Although this approach has since had many imitators, Carson's book was a pioneering work of its kind and demonstrates a remarkable breadth of knowledge.

However, it was in his prolific contributions on Roman numismatics that Carson has left his most lasting legacy. Some of his most important work was done in collaboration with his brilliant but mercurial colleague John Kent and the slim volume they published, together with a third colleague, Philip Hill, in 1960, Late Roman Bronze Coinage, provided a groundbreaking and elegantly compact classification of the bronze coins of AD324-491, a period neglected by previous scholars because of the sheer volume and complexity of the coinage. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this work, still the bible of Roman numismatists after more than 40 years, has revolutionised our understanding of the extremely common coins of this period.

Two years later, Carson continued the series of catalogues of Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, initiated by his predecessor Harold Mattingly, with volume VI, covering the period from Severus Alexander to Pupienus (AD222-238). This was the first attempt to classify the coinage of these reigns and it remains the definitive reference. Carson's last major work, published in 1990 after he retired, was a volume in Methuen's "Library of Numismatics" series, Coins of the Roman Empire. Had this book been published 20 years earlier, it would have been the last word on the subject but sadly, by the time it did appear, the scholarship was rather dated.

Born in Kirkcudbright in 1918, Carson graduated with a first-class honours degree in Classics from Glasgow University where one of his teachers was Professor Anne S. Robertson, curator at the Hunterian Museum and a specialist in Roman coins. After war service in the Royal Artillery, Carson joined the staff of the British Museum.

One of the most potentially exciting but also time-consuming responsibilities of curators of Roman coins at the British Museum is to study hoards of coins reported under the common law of Treasure Trove. Carson's career spanned the period when metal detectors started to become widely available and these led to a huge increase in the numbers of hoards being discovered. He quickly became frustrated by the irrationality of the old common law under which only hoards of gold and silver coins received legal protection and, making use of new evidence from the metallurgical analysis of Roman coins, successfully argued that hoards of late Roman coins that contained a silver content as low as one or two per cent should be regarded as Treasure Trove.

In this way, many important hoards which might otherwise have been dispersed were recorded and acquired by museums. But the practice had to stop in 1982 when, as a result of a legal challenge, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning no less, decided that only objects with at least 50 per cent of gold or silver could be Treasure Trove. (It took another 14 years before a new law, the Treasure Act, finally brought in an objective definition of treasure.)

Robert Carson was in great demand as a reviewer and also as an editor. It is typical of his generosity and selflessness that he spent so much of his own time bringing other people's work to publication. He was always willing to share his time and expertise, especially with a younger generation of his colleagues, one of whom at least has every cause to be grateful for his endless patience.

He was actively involved in the affairs of the Royal Numismatic Society, editing its journal for 10 years and serving as President from 1975 until 1979. He also, with Hugh Pagan, wrote its history (History of the Royal Numismatic Society, 1986). Carson was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1980 and received an honorary doctorate from his old university, Glasgow, in 1983. He had an international reputation - he was President of the International Numismatic Commission from 1979 to 1986 - and many numismatic societies around the world awarded him their medals, starting with the Royal Numismatic Society in 1972.

After his retirement, Robert Carson and his wife Fransisca moved to Australia to join one of their children who had emigrated there.
From the Flint Journal:

Having spikes driven through your wrists and feet isn't the worst part of this kind of crucifixion.

It's the mockery of your peers that's hardest to swallow.

Just ask "Cynewulf," a 27-year-old Burton resident who was hanging around - on a cross - for a week in a video game world where he's been branded a criminal.

The punishment was nothing to scoff at. It drew the attention of gamers across the world, making headlines on gaming Web sites.

His was the first crucifixion carried out in the new Internet game "Roma Victor," set in Roman-occupied Britain. Players create their own characters.

Cynewulf's customized character - a barbarian given to violent rampages -was taken down from the cross early last week.

His crime? "Killing" other players who were trying to re-enter the game.

"It was surprisingly agonizing for just being a game," Cynewulf said an e-mail about the crucifixion. "Being jeered at by the Romans while immobilized is not much fun, particularly since they are all weaklings who deserve to die by my sword."

Apparently, Cynewulf, who did not reveal his real-life identity, has yet to repent.

RedBedlam, the British company that created the game, crucified Cynewulf - placing his online persona in limbo - to let him and everyone else know less-than-sporting actions won't be tolerated.

"The beautiful thing about this method of punishment is other players can see it," said Kerry Fraser-Robinson, president and managing director of RedBedlam. "It shows them criminals are being punished. We will reserve crucifixion for crimes like using third-party software and cheating."

You know, pretty much like the Romans did.

All things considered, Cynewulf - who's now back in the game - sounds like he's not too bothered about having received the ultimate reprimand.

"At least this punishment was designed to fit into the actual history of the time period," he said. "On the whole, I suppose that I am OK with the punishment."

Gamers, who often lose themselves in online worlds that have historical, fantasy or futuristic settings, take their characters and the rules of each virtual society seriously.

"Besides the role-play aspect, the satisfaction of stabbing an enemy until he falls and then giving him the final deathblow while he lies helplessly at your feet is pretty rewarding in itself," Cynewulf said. "Killing other players in 'Roma Victor' is a bit like popping sheets of plastic bubble-wrap.

"It becomes strangely addictive somehow."

Players, who access the game through the Internet, can choose to have their characters do a variety of things, from farming to committing murder.

"We've taken great pains about historical accuracy," Fraser-Robinson said.

Currently in a test run, the perfected game should be up and running by the end of June. Cynewulf, who's been playing the game for the past 10 months, is one of several thousand players.

The ability to do almost anything in an online role-playing game is what attracts most players, said gamer Jason Weber of Fenton.

"The first time I started off, I was good-natured. I did want power, but I also wanted to help people along the way," said Weber, 21. "Now, I'm usually the type who is a murderer, and I don't have a problem ruining peoples lives.

"I don't have a problem killing people."

Weber said games allow users to experience worlds they can't in everyday life.

"It's just an outside fantasy thing," he said. "It's not something you can go outside and start doing normally. You have certain talents, and you can apply them to another world."

Delving into supernatural lands filled with kings, warlords and gnomes is commonplace.

In the comparatively down-to-earth world of "Roma Victor," Cynewulf (yes, that's a barbarian name) says he will continue terrorizing all those who cross his path.

"Mainly, I was attracted to 'Roma Victor' because it did not have the outlandish fantasy elements," he said. "That's just not my preferred genre of game. I like a larger dose of realism in my games."

By the way, if you want to check out the game for yourself, it's on the web, of course ...
Interesting ideas from an interview in Seed with Jonathan Gotschall ... here are some excerpts:

According to Literary Darwinist Jonathan Gottschall, there's a malaise among literary scholars today that can be cured with a dose of the scientific method. "Almost 99.999% of literary hypotheses aren't tested in that way," says Gottschall, and as a result "there is no progress of knowledge because nothing can be wrong."

Gottschall, who is 33 and holds a Ph.D. in English, recently co-edited The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (Northwestern University Press, 2005), a collection of essays that unites humanists and evolutionary scientists, including luminaries such as novelist Ian McEwan and biologist E.O. Wilson. Together, they argue that an understanding of the evolutionary foundations of human behavior, psychology and culture can produce powerful new perspectives on storytelling.

How do you define Literary Darwinism?

All literary theory—Marxism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism—is ultimately based on a theory of human nature. A Darwinian literary approach takes its guidance from theories of human behavior and psychology that are now emerging in the evolutionary sciences.


What drew you into the field?

In my second year of graduate school, I walked into a used bookstore and came across Desmond Morris' The Naked Ape, an early attempt to look at the human animal the way a zoologist would. I found the idea of studying humans just like any other animal to be very powerful. Morris' book, although out of date, changed me. I started looking at literature in an altogether new way.

What did you find when you started reading literature through this new lens?

[The Iliad] was particularly significant for me because I was reading it while also reading Morris and other texts on sociobiology. As a result, Homer's evolutionary themes were jumping off the page. Right away I was seeing the drama of naked apes competing for social status and material resources; as well, they were competing directly and indirectly over women...You know, Einstein once said that theory defines what we can see. If Literary Darwinism has anything going for it we should start to see things in literature that weren't seen before, or seen as crisply before. I say this because I feel that I saw things in Homer that even 2,600 years worth of Homer scholars hadn't seen.

Do you expand on these insights in your forthcoming book, The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer (Cambridge, est. 2006)?

Yes, I use an evolutionary lens to flip conventional commentary on Homeric disputes. Instead of suggesting that winning women is merely a proximate goal masking competition for wealth, power and prestige, an evolutionary perspective suggests that honor, political power and social dominance are the proximate routes to the ultimate goal of women--for Homer's heroes and for ordinary men.


... the whole thing
From BMCR:

Marilena Amerise, Il battesimo di Costantino il Grande. Storia di una scomoda eredità. Hermes Einzelschrift 95.

Hempel on Chatr Aryamontri on Hempel, Die Nekropole von Tarent im 2. und 1. Jh.v.Chr.

From the Independent:

Gwyn Morgan, 69 A.D.: The Year of the Four Emperors


Oresteia (Chicago)

Spartacus (London)
... nothing of interest.
A few tidbits have accumulated over the past hours:

Laudator has a piece on a (rogue?) Latin mass in Belgium ... he's also pondering a bit of simianity and the perils of posthumous publication ...

Alun looks at the orientation of Roman forts and camps ...'s N.S. Gill enlightens us about Themis ...

Bestia Latina has some proverbia legenda pages ...

Father Foster's latest: Listening to the words of the Hail Mary in Latin provides our popular “Latin Lover” with the opportunity to lodge a complaint as to the lack of use of this universal language of the Catholic Church in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council...

My caerulean gaze has been drawn to the existence online of Studia Humaniora Tartuensia ... 'an open access on-line journal of the humanities'; lots of ClassCon in the online issues (which are free!) ...

Also (new) online is something called New Voices in Classical Reception Studies, which has a number of essays on the reception of Classical Drama in the twentieth century available ...

... and fulfilling the scholastic law of three, Nordicum Mediterraneum bills itself as the Icelandic E-Journal of Nordic and Mediterranean studies ... only one item (in English) currently seems to have any connection to the Mediterranean, but we'll keep our eye on this one too ...

Potentially doorworthy Rubes:

We've posted our weekly version of the Ancient World on Television listings ... and issue 8.49 of our Explorator newsletter ... both at our Classics Central Forum (which has had a pile of other updates inflicted upon it too! hopefully we'll keep up with it now)
Although not strictly Classical, this one did get mentioned in Explorator this a.m. and while the article from the Times seems a bit confused about dates, the fake item itself does strike me as looking 'hellenistic':

THEY must have thought they had a bargain: a £1 million artefact carved 3,300 years ago by Ancient Egyptian artisans for just £440,000.

Inspected by the British Museum and sold through Christie’s, the Amarna Princess was one of only three known examples of the period. The reason for the knock-down price? Its mysterious owners wanted the piece to remain in Bolton.

But a police inquiry now suggests that the alabaster sculpture has less to do with Ancient Egypt and more to do with Bolton circa 2003.

Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques squad began an investigation two weeks ago when the British Museum reported the arrival of a suspicious Syrian relief. Curators who had been asked to inspect the relief for a private client observed that it had come from a similar source to the Amarna Princess. Police seized the relief and two other objects in London and impounded the Princess.

They also raided a house in Bromley Cross, Bolton, where they arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of forgery. Acting Chief Inspector Martin Freschini told The Times that the Bolton house resembled a workshop. “There were items of marble and ancillary equipment for making statues and the like,” he said. “We seized a number of items and a quantity of cash.”

The arrested man’s father, 83, was questioned the next day. The pair are bailed to appear at a Lancashire police station on May 10 and 11.

The Amarna Princess, described as being a representation of the half-sister of King Tutankhamun, had impressed the British Museum and Bolton Museum because of its detailed provenance. The anonymous vendor claimed that his great-grandfather had bought it at the auction of the property of the Earl of Egremont in 1892.

A copy of the Silverton Park auction catalogue obtained by The Times contains very few details of any matching statues. It promised “costly, rare and valuable antique furniture”, and had three lots that could have been the Amarna Princess. The sale included a draped figure of a female, five marble statuettes and eight Egyptian figures. None mentions that the statue had no head or arms.

This seems to have been convincing enough for Bolton Council, which obtained a grant of £360,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund as well as £75,000 from the National Art Collections Fund and £2,500 from the Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.

The Hayward Gallery, on the South Bank, displayed the statue as part of its Saved! celebration of 100 years of saving art for the nation.

The Amarna Princess is 52cm high and was estimated to be from the 2nd century BC. Experts said that the woman was the daughter of King Akhenaten and Nefertiti, his most senior wife. Akhenaten was succeeded by Tutankhamun, his son by another wife.

Check out the photo accompanying the original article ...
Jona Lendering, of fame, sends along the following:

And perhaps the text below, a couple of new fragments pre-published this
week, is relevant for one of your webpages. I am personally intrigued by
the very last line. The star is a messianic motive that was forgotten by
the Christians of the second century. Is it possible that the GoJ
contains first-century information? That would mean that the gnostic
approach may be relevant after all.

(1) This is the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke with Judas, three days before he celebrated Passover.

(2) When Jesus appeared on earth, he performed miracles and great wonders for the salvation of humanity, and since some walked in the way of righteousness, while others walked in their transgression, twelve disciples were called.

(3) Often he did not appaer to his disciples as himself, but he was found as a child among them.

(4) One day he was with his disciples in Judaea, and he found them gathered together in pious observance. When he approached his disciples, offering a prayer of thanksgiving over the bread, he laughed: 'Why have you been provoked to anger? Let anyone of you who is strong enough stand up and reveal to me the true spititual person within.' They answered: 'We are strong enough'. But their spirits did not dare to stand before him, except for Judas Iscariot. Judas said: 'I know who you are and where you came from. I am not worthy to utter the name of the one who has sent you'.

(5) Jesus said: 'Step away form the others, and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom. It is a great and boundless realm, which no eye of an angel has ever seen and no thought of the heart has ever comprehended it, and it was never called by name.'

(6) Judas said; 'Master, in a vision I saw myself, the disciples were stoning me to death.' Jesus said: 'You will become the apostle cursed by all others. It is possible for you to reach the kingdom of heaven, but you will grieve a great deal.'

(7) Judas asked: 'But what good is it to me?' Jesus said: 'Your star's brilliance will eclipse all others. You will be greater then them all. Judas, you will sacrifice the man that clothes me. Judas, the star that leads the way is your star.'
From the Cambridge Evening News:

TWO Roman quarries have been discovered by archaeologists on the site of a cement works.

Chalk has been excavated from Barrington quarry for around 80 years - but it now seems our Roman ancestors had the same idea nearly 2,000 years ago.

An archaeological team from Cambridge University made the discovery after they were called in by Cemex, which owns the quarry and adjacent cement works.

The firm was required by planning regulations to bring in the team before extracting chalk in a new part of the quarry.

Archaeologists identified two dark areas among the clean white chalk which turned out to be ancient, beehive-shaped, small-scale Roman quarry workings.

Fragments of pottery found enabled archaeologists to date the workings back to Roman times.

They believe machinery was used to excavate a local hard chalk building stone, known as clunch, before backfilling the site with soil.

Clunch would probably have been used for use in building foundations.

The team also found evidence that tools such as chisels had also been used.

A spokeswoman from Cemex said: "While it is well-known that chalk has been excavated in Barrington as long as cement has been produced here - for nearly 80 years - it now seems likely that the tradition of excavating chalk for building materials on-site was started by our predecessors 1,800 years ago.

"Although there is no evidence in Barrington quarry of any substantial ancient structures, this recent Roman find is consistent with other finds, such as drainage and boundary ditches, that archaeologists have unearthed in other parts of South Cambridgeshire.

"It enhances our knowledge of local history and shows that Barrington has long been a rich source for building materials."

Cemex UK Operations announced earlier this month it was suspending an application to build a new cement plant at its site because of uncertainty over the future of CO2 strategy in the UK.
Check out the incipit to William Safire's latest in the NYTimes:

In his Ars Poetica, written about eight years before the Common Era, Quintus Horatius Flaccus — we call him Horace for short — took a flaccid pop at a Greek poet who wrote a couple of best sellers eight centuries earlier (the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," grist for Hollywood screenwriters nearly three millennia later). Horace noticed the reappearance of a character whom the author killed off previously in the epic, and noted in Latin, "Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus," translated as "Even good old Homer nods."

Sometimes Homer not only nods but falls fast asleep and slips off his pedestal. Here are a few of my recent mistakes pointed out by members of the newly formed Horace Society, a group of correcting souls gentler than the Gotcha! Gang:

... nothing Classical after that, alas ...
All the ClassiCarnies must still be sleeping ...

The livejournal Classics site has a real groaner of a joke ...
Archaeology Magazine reports the Met will be sending its entire collection back to Italy ... there's some other interesting stuff too
From the UConn Advance:

The first of what is expected to be a yearly celebration of the humanities will be held in the Nafe Katter Theatre April 7, with a day-long focus on an event that occurred nearly 2,500 years ago and the perspective it provides on American foreign policy today.

“A Day in the Humanities: Staging Invasion” will examine the aftermath of the Athenians’ invasion of Melos in 416 B.C., and the use of war to spread democracy.

“It really resonates today because of Iraq,” says Richard Hiskes, a professor of political science, who will moderate the panel discussion.

Organized by the Humanities Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the drama department in the School of Fine Arts, the day will begin with a stage reading of a new play, The Olive Grove, by Gary English, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of dramatic arts.

The play reflects on the Peloponnesian War and the invasion of Melos.

“Our goal is to create a discourse on how different disciplines in the arts and the humanities approach and analyze a specific theme,” says Françoise Dussart, associate professor of anthropology and acting director of the Humanities Institute.

An afternoon panel discussion, “Staging Invasion: The Use and Abuse of the Past,” will include Eleni Coundouriotis, acting director of the Human Rights Institute; Brenda Murphy, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English; Penelope Pelizzon, director of the Creative Writing Program; and Roger Travis, associate professor of modern and classical languages and ancient Mediterranean studies.

It will be followed by keynote speaker Donald Kagan, the Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University, who will discuss “The Teaching of Thucydides on the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace.”

Kagan delivered the 34th annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in Washington, D.C., last spring and received the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush in 2003.

His four-volume study of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is considered a classic.

In 2000 he co-authored While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness and the Threat to Peace Today.

The day also includes a “talk back” between the audience and cast of the play reading, led by Gay Smith, a professor of drama at Wesleyan University.

The Olive Grove, the play written by English, was inspired by the invasion of Melos and Thucydides’ Melian dialogue, a conversation between Athenian generals and Melian magistrates.

“The Athenians argue that they’re there because it’s necessary to be there – they’re strong and the strong do what they can, the weak do what they must,” English says.

“It establishes this notion of political necessity.”

He became interested in the dialogue because of parallels to America’s role in the world today. The Athenians laid siege to Melos, an island oligarchy 100 miles off the coast of Greece that was aligned with Sparta.

They eventually killed or enslaved its people in the name of spreading democracy.

“Even in those days it was considered an atrocity,” says English.

His play examines what happens to the Athenians as a result of losing their moral footing, and the effect on their democratic institutions.

It also involves the parallel story of a family in Melos that is caught in the tragedy.

“Everybody thinks they’re doing the right thing, and everybody fails ultimately,” he says.

Hiskes says the Melian dialogue is required reading in international relations courses today, because of the tension it reveals between realism and idealism in international relations, a tension that resonates throughout American foreign policy.

“Iraq is the current best example of it,” he says.

Travis, who teaches Greek civilization and a course on Thucydides, says Thucydides was concerned with the effect of demagogues on foreign policy and thought they swayed Athenians to make bad decisions they later regretted.

“There’s an amazing amount of stuff in Thucydides that’s pretty much applicable to our geo-political situation,” he adds.

Kagan, the keynote speaker, has stated his belief in U.S. leadership – as opposed to U.S. domination – and has called for the use of U.S. power to preserve a peaceful world order.

In his Jefferson lecture last May, he said the ancient Greeks offer a perspective on events that is removed from current prejudices.”
I'm sure there will be piles of profs cringing as they read this one from the Age:

HAVE YOU EVER wondered what Helen of Troy, she of the fabled face that launched a thousand ships, looked like? The answer, according to Bettany Hughes, presenter of Helen of Troy (ABC, tomorrow and next Sunday, 7.30pm), is that she probably resembled a modern circus clown.

It seems that no sultry Bronze-Age temptress would have appeared in public without lots of deathly-white face make-up, relieved by crimson lipstick and some dot patterns painted on cheeks and chin in the same shade of red. Her hair might have been worn long and tied in snake-like braids, or she might have shaved it off completely. A punk princess.

If this garish image disappoints, or at least disconcerts, those hoping for a Helen in the mould of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton, that is part of Ms Hughes' aim. Helen of Troy is, among other things, an invitation to reflect on our notions of sexual allure and on why we are not more puzzled by them than some of us commonly are.

This documentary, which Hughes made for Britain's Channel Four to accompany her book Helen of Troy: Princess, Goddess, Whore, has all the strengths of television history at its best, and some of the weaknesses of the genre at its worst. It is well researched and serves up its scholarship in digestible doses for those who don't know their Ajax from their Achilles tendon. But Helen of Troy is also, as the ancient-history profession was quick to protest when it screened in Britain, tendentious in its conclusions.

There is more than a hint of jealousy in some of the scholarly carping about Hughes' work, which includes an earlier TV documentary series on the Minoans and a forthcoming one for radio on Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her academic credentials are eminently respectable - BA, MA (Oxon), in ancient and medieval history - and a conventional university career was certainly open to her. But she chose to write what the profession likes to call "popular" history instead and, an even worse offence in the eyes of some, becoming a television star as well.

"Star" is used advisedly. Hughes has become something of a phenomenon in Britain and there is even a fan website devoted to her, replete with comments from male viewers whose admiration evidently extends well beyond matters scholarly. A sample: "Loved the part of the recently aired Minoans when she told the story of how a notable queen had been enraptured by Zeus into having sex with a white bull. Woof, what a girl."

Woof, eh? Who says television isn't a cerebral medium?

Hughes' celebrity status has invited comparisons with Nigella Lawson, whom she resembles physically and whose television demeanour she may have emulated. Nigella fans may recall her cooking a barbecue, commenting that the aromas of the meat arouse feelings of primitive sensuality and then saying, eyes to camera: "I can almost feel the caveman swelling inside me." Hughes, too, enjoys this sort of tease. In The Minoans, standing at an achaeological site, she declares, eyes to camera, "This just cries out, 'Excavate me!' "

Helen of Troy also has its Nigella-isms. When Hughes finally sets out to trace the voyage of Helen and Paris across the Aegean she quotes, reasonably and inevitably, Marlowe's famous line about the face that launched a thousand ships, and what do we see? Hughes herself, at the prow of a yacht, scanning the horizon with her raven locks swept back and chest most definitely thrust forward.

It's the sort of thing that enrages her academic critics and no doubt leaves them feeling snootily vindicated. But they fail to notice that she is gently poking fun at them and her horde of panting fans. The simple fact is that she does look good and in consequence can make points about sexuality and power that get remembered by people who might otherwise never watch a historical documentary, let alone a discussion of gender politics. And yes, there are all sorts of sexist implications to that observation, which in a better world it might not be necessary to make.

That said, Some of Hughes' academic critics are on stronger ground in talking about the tendentiousness of her judgements. She wants to rescue Helen from myth and from literature written by men, and to reclaim her for history, a history of powerful, assertive women.

But, as she must know, the historical Helen, if there was one, is irrecoverable. The most she can offer is interesting conjecture about what a Bronze-Age princess might have been like, and the kind of influence, sexual, political and religious, that she might have wielded. That's a long way from a portrait of a real person but Hughes does not go out of her way to acknowledge this.

So let the critics have their say; but Hughes still comes out ahead. She has made watchable, intelligent television out of a subject that need not be confined to seminars but all too often is. Woof, what a historian.

Not sure if this is the fan site mentioned above, but just to keep the cringers cringing ...
We've fallen behind a bit in posting reviews, so here's the catch up ...

From BMCR:

Steven Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology.

Donatella Mazzoleni, Umberto Pappalardo, Luciano Romano, Pompejanische Wandmalerei. Architektur und illusionistische Dekoration.

Cristina Viano (ed.), L'Alchimie et ses racines philosophiques: La tradition grecque et la tradition arabe.

Konrad Vössing (ed.), Biographie und Prosopographie. Internationales Kolloquium zum 65. Geburtstag von Anthony R. Birley. Historia Einzelschrift 178.

Karen Piepenbrink, Christliche Identität und Assimilation in der Spätantike. Probleme des Christseins in der Reflexion der Zeitgenossen. Studien zur Alten Geschichte, 3.

Robert M. Berchman, Porphyry Against the Christians. Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition, 1.

Charikleia Armoni, James M.S. Cowey, Dieter Hagedorn, Die griechischen Ostraka der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung. Veröffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung, 11.

Josh Beer, Sophocles and the Tragedy of Athenian Democracy. Contributions in Drama and Theatre Studies 105.

Marek Jan Olbrycht, Aleksander Wielki i swiat iranski [Alexander the Great and the Iranian World].

Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

I. Ramelli, G. Lucchetta, Allegoria. Volume I. L'età classica. Introduzione e cura di R. Radice.

Erika Kunze-Götte, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Deutschland fasc.78. München, Antikensammlungen Fascicule 14: Attisch-Schwarzfigurige Halsamphoren.

Domenico Accorinti, Nonno di Panopoli, le Dionisiache (Canti XL-XLVIII). Volume quarto. Introduzione, traduzione e commento. BUR Classici Greci e Latini.
Gianfranco Agosti, Nonno di Panopoli, le Dionisiache (Canti XXV-XXXIX). Volume terzo. Introduzione, traduzione e commento. BUR Classici Greci e Latini.
Claudia Greco, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni. Canto tredicesimo.
Bernadette Simon, Nonnos de Panopolis, Les Dionysiaques. Tome XVI. Chants XLIV-XLVI

Norbert Kunisch, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Deutschland, fascicule 79, Bochum, Kunstsammlungen der Ruhr Universität, Band 1.

Bradley A. Ault, Lisa C. Nevett, Ancient Greek Houses and Households: Chronological, Regional, and Social Diversity.

I. Kantzios, The Trajectory of Archaic Greek Trimeters. Mnemosyne Supplement, 265.

Olson on Storey on Austin-Olson, Aristophanes. Thesmophoriazusae.

From Scholia:

Thomas Habinek, Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory. Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World

Sara Forsdyke, Exile, Ostracism, and Democracy: The Politics of Expulsion in Ancient Greece

From IHT:

The Collected Poems Of C. P. Cavafya - New Translation. Translated by Aliki Barnstone.

From Aestimatio:

R. J. Hankinson, Simplicius on Aristotle's On the Heavens 1.5-9

David Sedley, The Midwife of Platonism: Text and Subtext in Plato's Theaetetus

Indra Kagis McEwen, Vitruvius: Writing the Body of Architecture



The Nero Conspiracy


The Search for Odysseus

Lysistrata (opera)