... we'll be a little late updating today ... it's finally the last day of school and I'm doing a zillion things ... okay, so it was more than a little late.
ante diem iii kalendas quinctilias

179 B.C. (?) -- dedication of a Temple of Hercules and the Muses (and associated rites thereafter)

29 B.C. -- restoration of the Temple of Quirinus
consortium @ Answers.com

timorous @ Dictionary.com

enigmatology @ Worthless Word for the Day

The timorous consortium reluctantly recognized his enigmatology skills.
Wow ... no news today. Why does that never happen when I'm running around like the proverbial chicken? Let's see what the ClassiCarnies have been doing ...

Interesting post at Roman History Books on the 'affair' between Masinissa and Sophonisba ...

Lingua Latina summarizes the World Cup stuff for the past couple of days (France looked really good against Spain) ...

Mary Beard writes about the recent 'Latin is too hard' kerfuffle ...

Glaukopidos responds to Mary Beard ...

Laudator gets some interesting fan mail ... elsewhere he's pondering Greek freckles, which is a followup to a more extensive post ...

About.com's N.S. Gill looks at what was going on in the 5th century ...

At Campus Mawrtius, Eric is looking at Ravenna ...

Curculio takes issue with recent BBC coverage of the discovery of volcanic activity off the coast of Sicily ... there's also a pair of interesting (non-Classical) riddles there that I'm still trying to figure out (caffeine not working this a.m.) ...

Bestiaria has Aesop's tale of the sheep and the butcher ...

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Apollo ...

Alun is posting at Blogographos about repositories (on the web) of papers relating to Classics and the like ...

PhDiva DK links to a french article on antiquities theft in Albania ...

Bread and Circuses tells us (or those who didn't know) whence came the name of his blog ...

Memorabilia Antonina comments on a recent live television broadcast from Pompeii ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Adest tempus quo inmigrati clandestini Galliam relinquere debeant

ante diem iv kalendas quinctilias

4 A.D. --the future emperor Tiberius adopts his nephew Germanicus

202 A.D. -- martyrdom of Irenaeus at Lugdunum

c. 202 A.D. -- martyrdom of Potamiaena

1701 -- Death of Thomas Creech (translator of various Latin poets)
farce @ Answers.com

venal @ Dictionary.com

festinate @ Merriam-Webster
A pile of good stuff in my mailbox today ...

There's a Carnival-type post at Los suenos de Hermes (Spanish) ...

PhDiva DK has several items of interest ... a piece on the flamen dialis ... a very interesting update on those catacomb skeletons (they died in an epidemic ... wonder if anyone will suggest the plague which hit much of the empire under Marcus Aurelius) ... the Arcisate Treasure ...

Acta Sententiaeque has a lengthy post on attending the recent ACL thing ...

GL in the Latin Zone similarly gives a taste of the ACL convention ...

Thoughts on Antiquity alerts us to the concept of infinity in Archimedes (!) ...

Iconoclasm is looking at Pisidian Antioch ...

Bestiaria's focus today is proverbia relating to heads ...

Missed Hobbyblog yesterday with Synkletos/Tyche ... today there's a Maximinus II/Victoria ...

Bread and Circuses has some useful material relating to the recent discovery of the 'Harbour of Theodosius' ...
DW posted a link on the Classics list to this NASA photo of Carthage, which might be of interest ...
A letter from the folks at Iris Magazine which is making the rounds (thanks to DK for tweaking my memory that I had it):

Dear Classicists

I am setting up an Outreach Project this September to promote access
to the Classics in state sector schools across the UK. Many state
schools have contacted me since the launch of the project, and I am in
the process of writing courses for a few schools to be piloted this
September. Some are interested in setting up workshops in
Classics, and what I am therefore trying to do is find Classics
teachers in the areas of these schools who would be willing to
volunteer some time to teach Classics in these schools. If anyone is
interested in being a part of the project (see www.irismagazine.org)
then I would be very pleased to hear from them.

Another aspect of this project is the creation of a Classics magazine,
whose first issue will be ready this September, and which will be
distributed to 2000 state schools free of charge. In order to help
fund this, therefore, we are looking for individuals and organisations
who would be interested in advertising in the magazine. If this is
you, again, please do get in touch using the contact details on the
website or this email address. Submissions are also very welcome too.

Finally if you would like to offer support for the project in any
other way (and especially if you have any revelations with regards to
how I might access funding for this as I have given up a full time
teaching job to set it up), I would be very grateful to hear from you!

Thanks very much


Dr Lorna Robinson
Iris Outreach Project

If the folks aren't considering letting 'outsiders' subscribe, I hope they will seriously consider full-text pdf publication (a la Amphora) so teachers on this side of the pond can make use of the material as well.
A press release of interest:

Sparta (ISSN 1751-0007) magazine is a strictly educational periodical which derived from the free full-text electronic Journal entitled Sparta’s Journal (ISSN 1747-0005). It aims to provide detailed and original discussion on ancient Sparta’s archaeological and historical issues.

Today the print, and under subscription available Sparta magazine, provides quality of educational material. It informs and educates. It gives the opportunity to discover an ancient nation in a multilingual and multi-principal manner.

Sparta offers the opportunity to advance students, teachers, independent scholars and academics as well as artists and history lovers to publish their thoughts and studies in the most original approach.

The current issue (volume 2 no. 1 2006) has the following contents:

‘First beginnings’: Robert Montgomerie presents this introductory article outlining the origins of Ancient Sparta. Newcomers to Spartan and ancient Greek history will be able to use the article as a good starting point. Established students will find that “First beginnings” will provide an excellent source of reference for their studies.

‘Demaratus: Spartan king & exile’: The Spartan king Demaratus has always been seen as ‘dubious’ character in the events surrounding the Second Persian Wars. Paul Houston delves into Demaratus´ story according to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. A new look into an old question & . The results are quite original and surprising.

‘Leonidas: Age of Death’: Leonidas, famous for his actions at the battle of Thermopylae in which he died. Surprising as it may seem, there has been a long term debate as regards to his age of death. Nikolaos Markoulakis uses both ancient and modern material in an effort to solve this question. An article that will benefit the serious student of Spartan history in ‘clearing-up’ an often disputed point in Spartan history.

‘The Spin on Sparta’: Jon. E. Martin, Author of “Shades of Artemis” presents this personal look at the changing attitude towards Sparta over the years. How has Sparta influenced the western world over the decades? What inspires people’s interest in Sparta? This and more is revealed in “The Spin on Sparta”.

‘Cleomenes: A controversial king’: This second article from Robert Montgomerie delves into the life and times of the Spartan king Cleomenes. Topics such as the Agoge and more are covered in this in-depth article about one of the more controversial Spartan kings. A first class article with first class research.

Of course, they have a website ...
A piece ostensibly about the Gospel of Judas in the Australian (but ultimately hailing from the CHE) provides this interesting excerpt:

We may never know who wrote it. But this gospel is among the earliest literary attempts to grapple with the Christian theological mysteries surrounding Jesus' death.

If the crucifixion was necessary and preordained, was Judas guilty of betrayal? Can one square Judas's free will with his predestined role as a vital (and unredeemed) cog in the cosmological wheel of human redemption?

Novelists of more recent times also have attempted to reconcile the theology of Jesus' death to the known narrative.

In addition to Judas, the Roman procurator of Judea and the famous hand washer, Pontius Pilate, also provides a necessary villain in the novels' plots. One of the greatest novels of the 20th century, Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, retells the tale with a moody, capricious Pilate at its centre. In Bulgakov's telling, Judas is a strictly mercenary betrayer (and not even an apostle) of Jesus, who is later murdered on Pilate's direct order.

Another novel that grapples with these issues is Pontius Pilate, by French writer Roger Caillois. That book, which has been reprinted by the University of Virginia Press, also places Pilate at the centre of an extended meditation on Jesus' passion. As for Judas, Caillois's portrait of Jesus' betrayer bears an uncanny resemblance to the apostle depicted in the discovered gospel.

Caillois wrote Pontius Pilate in 1961. He was an intellectual compatriot of the influential and radical French thinker Georges Bataille, with whom he founded the College of Sociology discussion group in Paris in 1937. (He was also the founding editor of the international interdisciplinary journal Diogenes.)

Cathie Brettschneider, humanities editor at the University of Virginia Press, says the work was published in English translation by Macmillan in 1963 and never had another printing.

The new edition is a reprint of that 1963 translation by Charles Lam Markmann with a new introduction by Ivan Strenski, a professor of religious studies at the University of California at Riverside.

"It's been an exciting project to work on," Brettschneider says.

The novel follows Pilate as he takes the counsel of several characters, historical and invented, to decide the fate of Jesus. Briskly written and highly allusive, Caillois's novel envisions the procurator as a representative of order and civilisation - albeit a weak-willed one - who must navigate the vivid religious visions and deep fanaticisms that surround him.

Brettschneider says Strenski suggested the press reprint the book. After reading it, she quickly agreed. She observes that the recent confluence of Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, a growing fascination with lost Christian texts such as the Gospel of Judas and the success of the theology-infused popular fiction of Dan Brown demonstrates that Pontius Pilate has the potential "to reach beyond an academic audience".

Strenski says his mother worked at Macmillan and the book sat on a family shelf. When he pulled it down, he discovered an unjustly obscure book and author.

He believes that because Bataille's radical theory entranced many literary scholars, "everything got focused on him. Caillois was one of the parts that got lost. ... Caillois was liberal, not radical. He was not transgressive enough." Strenski's introduction to Pontius Pilate not only refocuses attention on Caillois (who introduced Jorge Luis Borges to French audiences), but excavates layers of religious, literary, and political meaning that the author packed into the slender book. Among them, Strenski argues, is a deep political concern about the French occupation of Algeria that was disintegrating as he wrote the book.

"This novel is like a depth charge," he observes. "It explodes way down deep and brings things to the surface."

Perhaps Caillois knew from Irenaeus that a Gospel of Judas existed, but he could not have known its contents. Thus, his portrait of Judas as a visionary fanatic obsessed with enacting scriptural prophecy eerily echoes notions in the newly discovered gospel. For instance, Caillois's Judas tells Pilate that Jesus "knows that he could not have redeemed man without my feigned treachery and your false cowardice".

In Pontius Pilate, Caillois puzzles over ancient theological mysteries to reflect on the human condition. That the past has reached forward to the 21st century through a brittle papyrus with echoes of its message is an uncanny coincidence.
Excerpts from an interview with Colleen McCullough ... from Canada.com:

AP: After so much success for so many years writing epic historical fiction such as The Thorn Birds, why switch gears and write a whodunit?

McCullough: Actually, I've written quite a number of shortish, non-epic novels over my 32-year history as a published writer. It's just that they never do as well as the biggies! Some of these shorter books have never been published in the U.S. . . . Among the literati I am best-known for the variety of my output, which ranges across just about the entire gamut of fiction: family saga, love story, historical fiction, humour, myth, futuristic, and even a biography. I also wanted to write a whodunit, but had never gotten around to it when I received the horrible news that I am going blind due to hemorrhages in the retinas. I still had (a novel about) Antony and Cleopatra to write to finish my gargantuan work on Republican Rome, but I took a break and wrote two novels after The October Horse. (One) was my whodunit.


AP: Are you considering writing another mystery novel? If so, might it also feature Police Lieut. Delmonico?

McCullough: Thus far I have managed to stave off complete central blindness, but I live with the knowledge that it can happen at any time, so I'm delighted that I managed to write my whodunit. I also thought that if I do go completely blind, I will be able to write more whodunits but never do the research reading necessary to write history. So there may be other novels starring Lieut. Carmine Delmonico. In the meantime, I've managed to finish The Queen of Beasts, my novel about Antony and Cleopatra, so I feel good about that too.
ante diem v kalendas quinctilias

rites in honour of the Lares

after 294 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Stator on the Palatine (and subsequent rites thereafter)

ca. 1st century A.D. -- martyrdom of Crescens
didactic @ Answers.com

copious @ Dictionary.com

limnology @ Worthless Word for the Day
Another slow news day ... so too for the ClassiCarnies, it appears ...

They've interrogated Dolon over at Under Odysseus ...

Roman History Books highlights some Hannibalic War material in Plutarch's Lives ...

Yesterday it was eyes ... today Bestiaria has proverbia de pedibus ...

Hat tip to N.S. Gill, whose coverage of those 1000 skeletons found in a catacomb points us to a pile of really interesting/borderline bizarre comments on the story in the Scotsman ... the About.com guide is also looking at reviews of Adrian Murdoch's book ...

Mary Beard has a very interesting post about the implications of topography for things like triumphal rituals ...

Lingua Latina continues the World Cup blogging (in Latin) (for the predictions that gave rise to the latter, ecce) ...

Hey Herc! Hey Herc! Tropaion points us to Google Video having five episodes of The Mighty Hercules online (it says 'free today' ... not sure how long that will last) ... [n.b. there's something strange about these ones compared to the ones I grew up with, specifically, the opening theme song. It must have been different in the first season?] ... fans of old cartoons of this ilk might also be interested in Roger Ramjet, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Felix the Cat ... all free today (suddenly it's Saturday morning!)

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Four Russian diplomats probably killed in iraq - Football World Cup goes on ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Persae usuri virtute petrolei si studia eorum temptentur ...
An excerpt from the Sun reminds me of one of my many pet peeves:

A few weeks ago, I wrote about congratulating our graduates, especially those students who are moving on to new and different schools or other significant life challenges. This week I want to give thanks to their teachers and mentors.

In Homer's Odyssey, the hero Odysseus leaves his infant son, Telemachus, to go to battle for the honor of Athens. An old friend stays behind to help Telemachus with his lessons; his name was Mentor. Although the mythic character may not have completed his duties (as Homer told the story), we have still taken the word "mentor,'' whose root in Greek refers to a sense of intent or purpose, into usage as one who advises or teaches, especially our youth.

So a mentor does not "ment" and the person under the care of a mentor is not a "mentee" ...
This one from the Daily Mail is generating some discussion:

Education experts raised fears over the future of Latin in schools, warning that teachers were telling their pupils to avoid the subject because it is too hard.

Academics at Durham University found that Latin is about a grade harder than any other subject at GCSE.

Will Griffiths, director of Cambridge University's school classics project, said the fact that Latin is seen as difficult represented one of the biggest threats facing the subject nationally.

"We know teachers who want their students to do Latin, but say to their students, 'in all honesty you have more chance of getting an A if you do French.'

"It comes down particularly to league tables," he said.

Less able students "simply just won't enter the exam at all".

Boris Johnson, shadow higher education minister and an author on Roman history, condemned the trend. "It is pathetic," he said. "Latin is a wonderful subject that introduces you to the roots of European civilisation. It is a fantastic foundation for all kinds of careers. I never regretted doing it for a moment.

"It would be the worst possible outcome if kids were directed away from Latin just because it is difficult."

Latin and Greek virtually disappeared from state schools after the introduction of the national curriculum in the 1980s. However, independent schools continued to teach the subject.

Mr Johnson said it should be openly acknowledged that some subjects are harder than others and pupils should be given credit for taking more difficult courses.

"If we pretend the A-Levels are the same and all A-grades are the same we are lying to the kids so they are endlessly switching to the soft options. "It would be absolutely tragic if Latin were to be further dumbed down in order to encourage people to take it," he said.

"Teachers have got to have a bit of guts and get people to do difficult subjects."

Dr Robert Coe at Durham University's curriculum, evaluation and management centre, analysed a figures for 600,000 students.

He compared the grades they achieved in each subject. The results showed that at grade C, Latin was about a grade harder than the next hardest subjects which tend to be sciences and modern languages.

Latin is about three grades harder than some other subjects such as sociology, the study found.

Dr Peter Jones, co-founder of Friends of Classics, a society for Latin and Greek enthusiasts, said the major problem was the lack of adequately qualified new Latin teachers.

"The main reason why there are so few (exam) entries is because there are so few state schools doing it," he said.

"There are only about 35 teachers a year who are allowed to be trained in classics and there are more jobs than there are teachers.

"This is an extraordinarily difficult situation."

The comments to the article at the Daily Mail site are also worth reading ...
ante diem vi kalendas quinctilias

ludi Taurei quinquennales (day 2) -- horse races held every five years to appease the divinities of the underworld

23 B.C. (and several years after) -- the emperor Augustus is given tribunicia potestas

4 A.D. -- the emperor Augustus adopts Tiberius (son of his wife Livia) and Agrippa Postumus (son of Augustus' daughter Julia and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa)

221 A.D. -- the emperor Elagabalus adopts the future emperor Severus Alexander and gives him the rank of Caesar (?)

363 A.D. -- death of the emperor Julian
calced @ Wordsmith

autocrat @ Dictionary.com
As the school year finally begins to wind down (in Canada), it seems the ClassiCarnies are taking a break (or maybe blogger is having problems):

Roman History Books is pondering the aftermath of Cannae ...

Bestiaria has gathered some proverbia de oculis ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Res publica Israeliana plenum impetum in Palestinos facere decrevisse

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Virtus Augg...
An AP Wire story steps back a bit from some claims made by the Getty last week ... this version comes from the Monterey Herald:

The J. Paul Getty Trust on Thursday stood by an announcement that a tentative agreement was reached in negotiations with Italian authorities over allegedly illegally obtained antiquities.

A trust spokesman responded to Italian officials who objected after the Getty on Wednesday released what was identified as a joint statement with Italy's culture ministry. It described a tentative agreement that calls for unspecified objects to be sent to Italy in return for loans of comparable items.

"The joint statement indicated clearly that the Italian government would receive a number of significant items from the Getty and Italy would loan objects of comparable importance," said Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig. "Of course, the specifics will need to be hammered out in the final agreement and we understand that."

Italian officials had a slightly different take. The joint statement simply mirrors Italy's long-standing position that antiquities should be returned in exchange for loans of comparable items, said Maurizio Fiorilli, the lead negotiator for the ministry.

"It's not an agreement, we haven't signed anything," Fiorilli told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "If this is a deal, what pieces are they giving back? We haven't discussed that."

Fiorilli said the joint statement was merely "a declaration of intents" and a sign that the talks were going well.

Italy has been negotiating for the return of dozens of artifacts by the U.S. cultural and philanthropic organization, whose museums include the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

The statement issued Wednesday said the "Italian government will receive from the Getty a number of very significant objects, including several masterpieces. In return, as a sign of fruitful dialogue and collaboration among the parties, Italy will provide loans of objects of comparable visual beauty and historical importance."

The statement did not say whether the items to be sent to Italy were the disputed antiquities. It said a final agreement, including "mutual collaboration, research and the exchange of important antiquities," is expected in the early summer.

After having Fiorilli's comments read to him, Hartwig said both sides are "essentially saying the same thing."

"I think it's understandable there is going to be a desire to clarify statements and we appreciate that," he said. "We take the joint statement at face value and believe everything in it represents the viewpoints of the Italian government and the Getty."
From the Sofia Echo comes an interesting report ... not sure of some of the spinoff claims, though:

A gold Thracian breastplate found near the village of Golemanite, Veliko Turnovo municipality, has proven pivotal to the re-construction of the Thracian Calendar. Using a mathematical model, Ventseslav Tsonev of the Regional Historical Museum in Veliko Turnovo presented his findings at a conference on Treasures and Sacred Typography, held recently in Sliven.

“In the Thracians’ calendar, there are three seasons and 60 main holidays. A year consisted of 12 months with 360 days, five days being added to the last month every year.” As there are no written records dealing with the Thracians’ concept of time, the reconstruction of the calendar was done on the basis of the symbols on the metal plates worn by the Thracians. Tsonev has studied seven out of 40 Thracian breastplates found in Bulgaria. Particular attention has been paid to a gold breastplate found near Golemanite. The inscriptions on these breastplates consist mainly of serpents, geometrical figures and lines. Studies have indicated that the number of serpents and lines are fixed to correspond to the numbers considered to be holy by the Thracians. According to Tsonev, the Thracians’ calendar resembles very closely the one used by Egyptians for thousands of years. In the main, knowledge of the Thracians has tended to rely solely upon ancient Greek depictions of them as a savage, tribal society that had no politics and no alphabet of its own.

However, in July 2004, Bulgarian archeologist Georgi Kitov excavated an ancient tomb near Kazanluk. After three months of digging, Kitov surfaced with more than 130 pieces of magnificent jewellery, weaponry and ritual artefacts that show Thracian culture rivalled that of the Greeks. They prove that the Thracians were “not a society of barbarians,” says Alexander Fol, a Bulgarian expert on Thracian history.

“They had a system of values and were consciously abiding by it. This was an aristocratic society with a great hierarchy.”

Gold breastplates of the kind studied by Tsonev were also discovered by Kitov. It is mainly due to the archaeological discoveries of Kitov and men like him that any light has been shed on the mysterious Thracians.

Thrace was an ancient geographical and political area ruled by the Byzantine Empire until early in the ninth century when most of the region was incorporated into Bulgaria. Subsequently the region formerly known as Thrace has been fought over by Bulgaria, Byzantium, Turkey and Greece. The Thracians were known as great warriors; Spartacus, the gladiator slave who led a rebel war against the Romans, was a Thracian. And they were renowned throughout the ancient world as expert metalworkers; in The Iliad, Homer describes the Thracian King’s golden armour as “a wonder to behold, such as it is in no wise fit for mortal men to bear, but for the deathless gods”.

It is quite fitting that Sliven was the location for the presentation of Tsonevs’ findings, Sliven being a former Thracian city itself. Other Bulgarian cities associated with Thrace include; Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Kazanluk, Haskovo and Bourgas.
From one of those question-and-answer columns in the News-Democrat:

Q. If "septimus" is Latin for seventh, why is September our ninth month? Also, can I assume that July comes from Julius?

A. If Nero were alive (and not engaged in some orgy), he'd probably say, "Oh, you Americans just think the world revolves around you."

It wasn't that way three millennia ago, when most roads led to Rome. So, when Romulus devised the first Roman calendar in about 750 B.C., he did things his way. Instead of beginning his year in the dead of winter as we do, he decided to start it when the flowers bloomed and the swallows flew back from Capistrano -- or wherever they returned from back then.

In other words, since spring marked a symbolic return of life, it should also mark the start of a new year. As a result, the first month in his year was Martius (i.e., March after Mars, the god of war) followed by Aprilis (perhaps for Aphrodite), Maius (for Maia) and Junius (for Juno).

But Romulus apparently was a man of limited imagination, so he simply named the rest of his months after numbers. Hence, his year wrapped up with Quintilis and Sextilis followed by the more familiar September, October (eighth) November (ninth) and December (10th). So, at one time, September was indeed the seventh month of the year, and everything was quite logical in the Land of Calendars.

It didn't last long. Romulus' 10-month calendar had one minor flaw -- it had only about 304 days. The rest of the year was just kind of a blur until spring started again. So, sometime between 715-673 B.C. King Numa Pompilius not only added Januarius and Februarius to the calendar but also moved the start of the year back to Januarius.

In one way, it made sense, since the two-headed god Janus, for which it is named, could look back at the old year and ahead to the new. But, as you've noticed, it also knocked the numbered months completely out of kilter; September had become the ninth month.

Perhaps whacked out after too many Saturnalias, the Romans didn't seem to care. Except for Julius Caesar renaming Quintilis after himself (July) and Augustus Caesar doing the same for Sextilis, the names of the months have remained the same ever since.

Not bad ... we can quibble about that last sentence, I suppose.
From BMCR:

E. Amato, J. Schamp, Ethopoiia. La représentation de caractères entre fiction scolaire et réalité vivante à l'époque impériale et tardive.

Thomas Dietrich, The Origin of Culture and Civilization. The Cosmological Philosophy of the Ancient World View regarding Myth, Astrology, Science, and Religion.

David Sedley, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Volume XXVII (Winter 2004).

Adrian Murdoch, Rome's Greatest Defeat. Massacre in the Teutoburg Forest.

Kitts on Ready on Margo Kitts, Sanctified Violence in Homeric Society: Oath-Making Rituals and Narratives in the Iliad.

Egbert J. Bakker, Pointing at the Past: From Formula to Performance in Homeric Poetics.

Ales Havlícek, Filip Karfík, Plato's Protagoras. Proceedings of the Third Symposium Platonicum Pragense.

J. F. Mountford, Bradley's Arnold Latin Prose Composition. Foreword and Updates by Donald E. Sprague.

Vassilios Sabatakakis, Aspects of Morphological and Stylistic Variation of the Verb in Erotokritos. Studia Graeca et Latina Lundensia 9.

Andrés Rosler, Political Authority and Obligation in Aristotle. Oxford Aristotle Studies.

Francesca Spatafora, Stefano Vassallo, Das Eigene und das Andere: Griechen, Sikaner und Elymer: neue archaeologische Forschungen im antiken Sizilien.

From RBL:

J. Albert Harrill, Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions

J. Albert Harrill, Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions

J. Albert Harrill, Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions

J. Albert Harrill, Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions

[four different ones]

A bit late getting this one out ... sorry ...

Laudator has an interesting on topic elegy by Goethe (including translation) ... there's a nice quote from Charles Peguy about Homer too ...

ARLT links to an interview with Boris Johnson ...

Glaukopidos is pondering the Great Pink Scare and how it applies/applied to Classics ...

Bestiaria is telling us all about the etymology of iridescent ... there's also a bit on that famous sibili si ergo thing ...

Adrian Murdoch has figured out how to embed videos at his site (very nice!) ... he's presenting us with some bits from Terry Jones Barbarians series here ... and here ... the initial attempt, by the way, was a happy bit from the Life of Brian which everyone has memorized, of course ...

About.com's N.S. Gill is telling us about the name Scaevola ...

More World Cup Latin at Lingua Latina ...

Father Foster's latest (I think it's a repeat): Bullying our popular "Latin Lover" to team up five Roman emperors with five winter sports may seem a bold exercise but it's one that provides fleeting relief from the summer heat! [by the way, I think the easiest way to access FF earlier than Sunday is via iTunes podcast library ... it's among the Radio Vaticana stuff]

Latest headline from Akropolis World News: Polish minister fired for communist ties - Homegrown terrorists wanted to help Al Qaeda

... and Ephemeris: Praeses Timoris Orientalis dimisurum esse, si primarius minister non abdicabit

Some new papers up at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers page (still updating at the bottom, alas):

Walter Scheidel, Sex and empire: a Darwinian perspective

JG Manning, The Ptolemaic economy, institutions, economic integration, and the limits of centralized political power

Walter Scheidel, Growing up fatherless in antiquity: the demographic background

Alessandro Barchiesi, Carmina: Odes and Carmen Saeculare forthcoming in S. Harrison (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Horace, Cambridge 2007

Issue 9.9 of our Explorator newsletter is up at Classics Central ... Ancient World on Television will be posted later today ...

And last but not least ... a cartoon for all the grad students out there and/or their parents:

Here's some more (extensive) coverage of that catacomb find a few weeks ago ... from the Scotsman:

ARCHAELOGISTS exploring one of Rome's oldest catacombs have discovered more than 1,000 skeletons dressed in elegant togas.

Experts are thrilled by the find - which dates from about the first century - as it is the first "mass burial" of its kind identified. Mystery surrounds why so many bodies were neatly piled together in the complex network of underground burial chambers, which stretch for miles under the city.

It was the custom then for Rome's upper classes to be burnt not buried, so it is thought the skeletons may be early Christians. Tests are being carried to establish whether they suffered violent death or were victims of an unknown epidemic or natural disaster.

Raffaella Giuliani, chief inspector of the Vatican's Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, who is overseeing the dig, said: "What we have discovered is very exciting. Usually, two or three bodies were put into holes dug out of the rock in the catacombs. But we have several rooms filled with skeletons.

"The skeletons were dressed in fine robes, many of which had gold thread in them, and they were wrapped in sheets and covered with lime.

"This was quite common with early Christian burials, as it was a form of hygiene, and the corpses were also anointed with balsamic spices. Again, this all shows a great amount of dignity and respect given to the dead."

There are several catacombs beneath Rome dating back 2,000 years and they were used as burial places by early Christians. They were also used as secret places of worship as the pagan Romans persecuted Christians, famously feeding them to lions in the Colosseum.

The discovery was made at the Catacomb of St Peter and Marcellinus on the ancient Via Labicana in the south-east of Rome. Ms Giuliani added: "We are trying to establish whether the skeletons were buried there following some form of epidemic or natural disaster.

"Initial examinations do not appear to show any violent trauma, but we cannot rule this out.

"It is possible they could have been persecuted and killed by the Romans and then buried there by fellow Christians - we just don't know."

Professor Andrew Wallace Hadrill, director of the British School in Rome which specialises in ancient history, added: "The fact that the skeletons were dressed in expensive togas is very unusual and would point to the fact that we are talking about the upper classes of ancient Rome.

"At that time, Rome had a population of one million - it is possible that these people were killed by an illness of which we know nothing about."

It was not until the third century that Christianity was officially recognised as a religion and as such during the Medieval Ages it was customary for pilgrims heading to Rome to stop at catacombs and pray for the souls of these early Christians, many of whom had been killed because of their religion.
The incipit of a piece in the Mississippi Press:

There is no more fitting name for a marine research vessel.


But for five students from Sacred Heart Catholic School in Southhaven, Pisces will always be more than just the name of the third National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine research vessel being built at VT Halter Marine's Moss Point yard.

It will be a part of their life; a legacy that they will leave to their school and their families.

The students, Molly Mohler, Maddie Simmons, Chelsea Hensley, Sydney Hudspeth and Michael Grillo, were the team that won a NOAA contest to name the research vessel, which when completed will be based in Pascagoula.

Pisces is a name that goes back to ancient history and Greek mythology, which told the story of the goddess Aphrodite, who was the object of the affections of the monster Typhon.

When she and her son, Eros, were being pursued by Typhon, they jumped into a river where they were transformed into twin fish. The legend is immortalized by the constellation Pisces, which is supposed to depict two fish holding each other's tail so they can stay together.

It was the constellation that inspired the team.

"When you look at the constellation, you see a ribbon between the fish," Molly Mohler said. "It's like there is a ribbon between NOAA and wildlife that brings them together. The ribbon helps people make the connection."

"We also wanted to give the ship a name that would be easy to remember," Sydney Hudspeth said. "No research ship has ever been named for a fish; they've all been named for people. Everyone knows Pisces. It's different than naming it for someone who has died and no one knows. People know the Zodiac."

The students arrived in Pascagoula on Thursday, when they received a tour of the research vessel Henry Bigelow, which was christened and launched last year and is nearing completion. They also went on a smaller NOAA research vessel, where they watched a trawl brought in and learned the scientific names of fish.
From the Scotsman:

SCOTLAND'S largest teacher training college has dropped its course in Classics, claiming there is not enough interest from state schools.

Last night, teachers and opposition politicians claimed the decision to axe the course at the University of Strathclyde's Jordanhill campus would force Scottish schools to recruit Latin teachers from England and cause the subject to die out.

The Glasgow university has suspended its 2006-07 Classical Studies course because councils and the Scottish Executive will not fund places for probationer teachers.

Ministers claim there is inadequate interest in the subject despite a rise in the number of school pupils passing exams in Latin or Classical Studies, according to the latest figures.

Henry Maitles, head of the department of Curricular Studies at the University of Strathclyde, said: "We are continuing to monitor demand on a year-by-year basis and when possible, we will offer the course. This was the case this year [2005-06]."
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Ports of the Desert (From Marib to Palmyra)
Viewers meet up in the Arabian Peninsula, where we follow an ancient caravan route through the desert to Syria. Along the way, several lush oases in the otherwise barren Syrian Desert come to our rescue in the form of Marib and Petra, site of the great tomb of Aaron that is carved out of a rock face, and the beautiful city of Palmyra. Join our virtual-reality tour of history's most intriguing ancient civilizations as we explore celebrated ancient sites using state-of-the-art computer technology.

6.30 p.m. |HINT| Sailing with the Phoenicians
Sail with a Phoenician captain along the trade routes of the Mediterranean to the ancient ports of Byblos, Rhodes, Tharros, Motya, and the famous Roman naval base at Carthage. Phoenicians, the ancient inhabitants of modern-day Lebanon, were known to be expert sailors. State-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics allow viewers to see through the eyes of one these seaworthy Phoenicians, and insights from leading archaeology experts enhance the reality.
One of my summer projects is to set up a page of spurious quotations attributed to Classics types, in the hopes that there will be at least one site on the Internet which will prevent these things from being repeated ad nauseam ... e.g., from the Westborough News:

Ed Behn Sr. hopes that his son's enlistment might encourage others who have enjoyed the benefits of this country's higher education system to consider serving their country by joining the military. He sums up these feelings with a quote from the Greek historian Thucydides, who once wrote: "The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."

The sad thing about these quotes -- from a Classicist point of view -- is that Classicists are constantly confronted with these things and the seeds of self-doubt get sown when they don't recognize it. Very often, questions arise on the Classics list on where this or that can be found and far too often (likely because of that 'you can't prove a negative mindset'), the question goes unanswered -- which suggests to me the quote must needs be spurious. In the case of the above quotation, we've had a couple of rounds of it on the Classics list and it appears to be a version (in spirit) of something said by William Butler.
From the SNA:

Bulgarian police in the northern town of Knezha have found a large amount of antiques during checks into private homes.

In one of the houses checked in Knezha police found and confiscated 4,000 Roman and Byzantine silver and bronze coins. There are also figures of animals, inlaid vases, 20 rings, Thracian and Roman knives among the antiques found. There is also Roman pottery in the rich collection owned by a 42-year-old lady.

From the house of another man also from Knezha police confiscated 57 antiques from the Roman and the Byzantine ages.

An investigation has been launched into the case.
An excerpt from a review of Rome, Inc. in the Daily Yomiuri:

Ever since Edward Gibbon gave the world several thousand pages about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, those wishing to write about that time and place have had to measure up to his thoroughness and verbiage with their own innovations in research and interpretation.

To Stanley Bing, Rome was the world's first multinational corporation.

In Rome, Inc. Bing, the author of such loftily titled works as Sun Tzu Was a Sissy and 100 Bullshit Jobs, brings us in just 200 pages not only the decline of Rome, but also its rise, interpreted as a business allegory. The little village of 753 B.C., the hungry republic that lasted 500 years and the fat empire of another millennium (if one counts Western and Eastern) were the ancient world's equivalent of our modern-day megacorporations, both in innovation and influence. The consul or emperor was chief executive officer, the senate was the board of directors, the provinces were branch offices, and gladiatorial spectacles were really bloody company picnics.

If it sounds like a plausible analogy, that's because at times it fits surprisingly well. Romulus and Remus inherit an upstart mom-and-pop company, instill it with the necessary corporate culture, followed later with a merger with the Etruscans here, an acquisition of Judea there, and voila: Pax Romana and AOL-Time Warner don't seem too different.

But if it also sounds like a concept that can, like Caligula's coronation festivals, become an exercise in overkill, that too is true.

... more. Now what "coronation festivals' do they have in mind?
From the Metro comes this (short) version of something I hope we'll hear a bit more about:

Maschio, trent'anni circa, privo di testa, piedi e braccio destro. E' lo scheletro che e' stato rinvenuto a Baggiovara di Modena: ha 1500 anni e fa parte di una piccola necropoli di eta' tardo antica costituita da 17 sepolture ad inumazione. L'antropologa Francesca Bertoldi dell'Universita' Ca' Foscari di Venezia, che ha esaminato lo scheletro, ha accertato che si tratta di mutilazioni post mortem, avvenute verosimilmente in un lasso di tempo immediatamente successivo alla sepoltura. Potrebbe dunque trattarsi di un macabro rito, forse legato alle antiche credenze sulla paura del ritorno dei morti, i 'revenants', letteralmente 'coloro che ritornano'.

A more detailed version (also in Italian) is at Il Resto del Carlino. Just for the record, I do not understand why resort is always had to this 'fear of post mortem return' thing when they find a body. We have plenty of examples of post mortem mutilation for non-religious purposes (e.g. Cicero) and I'm surprised that no one seems to mention that the mutilation might be part of a *punishment* 'ritual' ...
From iBerkshires:

Williams College has announced the appointment of Professors Guy Hedreen and Elizabeth McGowan as co-directors of The Williams-Exeter Program and chosen the 26 juniors who will attend the 2006-07 program.

The Williams-Exeter Program is a yearlong program of studies affiliated with Exeter College, one of the oldest of the more than 30 colleges at the University of Oxford. (Exeter College alumni include author J.R.R.Tolkien.)

Based at the Ephraim Williams House in North Oxford, the program is designed to integrate students into the intellectual and social life of one of the world's greatest universities. Students participate in the Oxford tutorial system and follow Oxford's three-term calendar.

Hedreen, professor of art, has taught at the college since 1990. He specializes in Greek art. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and of "Capturing Troy: The Narrative Functions of Landscape in Archaic and Early Classical Greek Art" and "Silens in Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painting: Myth and Performance." He has been the recipient of the Rome Prize, a post-doctoral fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, and a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellowship from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He received his B.A. from Pomona College and his Ph.D. in Classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College.

McGowan, professor of art, also specializes in Greek art, particularly architecture of the archaic and classical periods. She is the author of "Tomb Marker and Turning Post: Funerary Columns in the Archaic Period" and "Content into Form: The Iconography of Ancient Greek Sacred Architecture." She was a member of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens from 1982-86 and received the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America for research in Greece in 1988-89. She received her B.A. from Princeton University and her Ph.D. from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. She joined the Williams faculty in 1989.

McGowan and Hedreen will begin their two-year term on July 1. Professor of Anthropology James Nolan has been director of the program for the last two years.

The 26 Williams students who have been accepted into the Williams-Exeter Programme will spend the year studying at Oxford. Admission into the program is highly selective. Candidates must have already completed the college's distribution requirements by the end of their sophomore year. Applicants are recommended by faculty based on their excellent grades, writing aptitude, and capacity for independent work, which is the cornerstone of the Oxford experience.
8.00 p.m. |HISTU|The True Story of Alexander the Great
334 BC--a 20-year-old military commander from Northern Greece set out to conquer the known world. During the next 12 years, King Alexander of Macedon led 40,000 troops more than 20,000 miles, defeated the world's most powerful ruler, King Darius of Persia, and conquered West Asia before dying at age 32. In a 3-hour special, host Peter Woodward explores the true story of Alexander the Great--a tale of conquest, love, hate, revenge, and ultimately tragedy. He visits locations of Alexander's youth, temples dedicated to Greek gods where Alexander sought divine counsel, and actual battlefields, as well as demonstrating his signature battle plans and weaponry. How could one man accomplish so much at such a young age? What led to his demise? These questions drive our analysis of Alexander's complex character, delicately balanced between genius and insanity.

10.00 p.m. |SCI| Nero's Golden House
Step back into the Roman empire with a virtual tour of Emperor Nero's golden house. Examination of the ruins underneath the Roman Coliseum offer insight into the power, propaganda and trade networks of a notoriously evil ruler.
ante diem ix kalendas quinctilias

47 B.C. -- birth of Caesarion, a.k.a Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor (son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra)

79 A.D. -- death of the emperor Vespasian

1986 -- death of Moses Finley
littoral @ Dictionary.com

adscititious @ Merriam-Webster
Hardly anything in the news today, so let's see what the ClassiCarnies have come up with ...

Laudator is pondering the treatment of corpses ...

PhDiva DK has some interesting news from the Italian press on some recent finds from the Palatine ... there's also one on the (ab?)use of Etruscan tombs ... and a piece on a (still) stolen archaic head from the British Museum ...

Bestiaria is talking about Latin words with the -sc- infix (which, strangely enough, I've always found interesting) ...

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Kadmos ...

Lingua Latina has some World Cup stuff ... here too ... (and for the tangential record, I have NEVER seen a two-on-none in soccer before) ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Symeon II apprehendendus?
Is this serious? This is from AGI (so it's about Italy):

The second part of the written Greek section for students attending a classical studies secondary school program in the school-leaving examination is reportedly an excerpt from 'Moralia' by Plutarch entitled "Man must be master of the best part of himself". The leaks on the exam, which is being taken this morning, has been supplied by various young people connected with the forum of studenti.it.

Studenti.it is an, er, interesting site ... perhaps semi-tangentially-related, the Ancient Greek exam in Greece had a 56% failure rate ...
Wow ... I have a pile of news items to wade through and there's barely anything of interest to us. So, since it is such a slow news day, we can point out some recent journalistic howlers. First, from Al-Ahram:

Yet historically, the ancient Egyptians were the first to document the interpretations of dreams. The Chester Beastly Papyrus is one of the earliest documents on dreams. And their dreams were closely linked with divination and soothsaying

Well, sort of ... one of the Chester Beatty papyri contains a copy of a 'dream book' ... Outside of that, we probably should comment on the news that Pluto's two recently-discovered moons have been given Classically-relevant names. Here's an excerpt from a representative piece (sent in my JMM ... thanks) from Science Now:

Pluto's baby twin moons, formerly known as S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2, have been christened Nix and Hydra. The objects, discovered last year by the Hubble Space Telescope, received their names from the International Astronomical Union (IAU). A formal announcement will be issued this Friday, 23 June.


In mythology, Pluto ruled the underworld. Nyx was the goddess of night and the mother of Charon, the boatsman who takes souls across the River Styx and into Pluto's grasp. Pluto's large satellite, discovered in 1978, is called Charon. Because an asteroid with the name Nyx already exists, the IAU decided to use a slightly different spelling for the inner one of the two small Plutonian moons, to avoid confusion. Hydra was the mythological nine-headed serpent that guarded the underworld. A large but inconspicuous constellation in the spring sky also bears this name.

The hydra-as-guardian-of-the-underworld thing is repeated in the AP story making the rounds ... I'm not sure about the hydra as such a guardian; the Lernaean hydra slain by Hercules is cited in Wikipedia (citing Kerenyi) as guarding an entrance to the underworld. Not sure where Kerenyi got the idea; it doesn't appear to be in Apollodorus. In any event, the Reuters version seems more reponsible:

Hydra is a monster with the body of a nine-headed serpent, seen as appropriate for the outermost moon of Pluto, the ninth planet in the solar system.

The other detail worth griping about (as JMM points out as well) by pedantic types like me, is that Charon did NOT ferry folks across the Styx (a detail repeated in other versions as well, e.g., at Space.com). Technically speaking, Charon ferries folks across a different river in the underworld ... the Acheron.
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Spartacus, Part 1 Movie.
By 72 BC, the Roman Empire had swept across the European continent, conquering countries and selling the people into slavery. But one slave dared to take a stand. This is the story of Spartacus (Goran Visnjic), from the country of Thrace, who, after witnessing his father's brutal death and enduring being sold into slavery, swears to one day live again as a free man. Based on Howard Fast's acclaimed novel, the miniseries was filmed in Bulgaria and directed by Robert Dornhelm. The cast includes Alan Bates, Assen Blatechki, Ben Cross, Henry Simmons, Angus MacFadyen, and Rhona Mitra.
ante diem x kalendas quinctilis

217 B.C. -- Ptolemy IV defeats Antiochus III at the battle of Raphia (by one reckoning)

168 B.C. -- Lucius Aemilius Paulus defeats Perseus at the Battle of Pydna, bringing the Third Macedonian War to an end

109 A.D. -- the Baths of Trajan open
asyndeton @ Worthless Word for the Day

lorimer @ Wordsmith
Can't believe I slept in again ... a bit of a rush again ...

Hobbyblog has a very nice Salonina/Romae Aeternae ...

Campus Mawrtius presents us with a very interesting W.H. Auden poem ...

Los Suenos de Hermes presents a carnival type thing in Spanish ...

PhDiva DK points us to some items related to Roman food ...

Bestiaria has some future passive participles on the bloggenda ...

Folks will also be interested in the Latin epigram in this post at Language Log ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris:Symeon II apprehendendus?

... and Akropolis World News: Catalonia gets new statute of autonomy - Washington urges North Korea not to test any missile
Not sure about the elephant claims here, but interesting otherwise ... from EADT 24:

AS a “cheerful amateur historian”, Andrew McCloy thought he knew quite a bit about the Romans - but he figured without the snails and the elephants.

The elephant, he discovered, was the beast of choice specially imported when the Romans pushed into Britain and established their first permanent settlement on a hill above the River Colne - it's the town we know today as Colchester.

Such tactics were the Roman equivalent of shock and awe.

“It must have been terrifying to see invaders riding these animals that you'd never seen before,” confirms the author of a new book called Exploring Roman Britain. “I think I would have turned tail and run as fast as my legs would have carried me.”

The snails popped up, so to speak, when he went to the Cotswolds to research a Roman villa at Chedworth.

“The man from The National Trust said 'Have you heard about these?' and he lifted up some hostas and there were these large snails - about twice the length of normal garden snails, and with a lighter shell. They're called Helix pomatia and are Europe's largest terrestrial snail. Apparently this type of snail was brought over to Britain by Julius Caesar's army. Once they've been introduced to a particular location, they tend not to move very far, and they like chalky soil.

“The Romans used to eat them by boiling them with garlic and some milk, seasoned with Mediterranean herbs and spices. Apparently they were kept in darkened rooms and fattened up on milk - and also given salt, to keep them thirsty. After guzzling on the milk they became so bloated that they couldn't get back into their shells - at which point they would be popped into the pot.”

Andrew wasn't tempted to do as the Romans did. In any case, the snails are apparently a protected species.

His book takes the reader on a series of walks around places that have strong Roman links: from Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland and bleak Hardknott Fort in the Lake District, to the dead-straight and pretty Peddars Way route in Norfolk and towns such as Chester and York.

Locally, of course, there's Colchester, aka Camulodunum and the oldest recorded town in Britain.

When Claudius led his forces into the heartlands of Britain in AD 43, he headed for this important tribal centre that had been the capital of King Cunobelin's territory.

“When most of the Roman troops departed a few years later, Colchester went on to become a thriving civilian town - the Romans' first colonia, or highest-ranking settlement in the province,” says Andrew.

“It was officially named Colonia Claudia after the emperor, pre-dating even the founding of London by a handful of years. In this respect, Colchester can claim to be the original capital of Roman Britain.”

He had been to Colchester before, but on his research visit was overjoyed to discover the delights of the castle museum, which he reckons is one of the most impressive Roman museums in the country. “It ranks right up there with the one at St Albans and is really user-friendly. You can pull on a toga, for instance - and my daughter (Jenny, 11) thought it was fantastic to be able to lock up her father with long chains and a collar as if he were a slave!

“There is also the replica chariot thought to be similar to the one used by Boudicca. Exhibits like that really give people a flavour of what it must have been like to live in Roman times. The thing with history is that visitors need to be helped with some kind of insight into what life used to be like, because often there is not that much left to see; so this museum does very well in that respect.”

History graduate Andrew, now 41, was captivated by the subject from an early age. Family holidays away from Surrey - along with school trips and cub outings - would invariably include visits to National Trust properties, museums and suchlike.

There's been widespread interest in Roman culture. In recent times we've had Adam Hart-Davis's BBC series What The Romans Did for Us, and the drama Rome. What particularly captured his imagination?

“I think I was always interested in the Romans and their empire: the scale, the grandeur. It was fascinating to think of an empire that stretched throughout greater Europe - and then, in four centuries, they had gone from Britain and we were into the Dark Ages.”

It is, he laughs, impossible not to think of the John Cleese character in the film Life of Brian - the one who repeatedly asked “What have the Romans ever done for us?” ­- but the truth is that they did a lot.

“It was a civilisation from two millennia ago that was ahead of its time. Even with something like herbs and spices . . . they might not have discovered them, but they brought them to this country and popularised them.

“Then there is the grid layout of streets that in many places has survived to today, heating systems, and aqueducts. Many A roads still follow the line of the original Roman roads. There are a lot of things, many of which we take for granted today. The Romans are even responsible for the three-course meal!”

Occupation effectively came to an end once the active legionaries were called back to defend the beleaguered empire in mainland Europe, although many veterans stayed behind and became part of the population.

“Old soldiers retired there and many married local women, and although it might have got watered down a bit, Colchester has got some pretty good Roman blood there,” Andrew smiles.

“To some people, four centuries might seem a long time, but in terms of history it's a drop in the ocean. Despite that, the Romans were greatly effective in bringing the locals round to their way of life.

“And much has endured. Look round the kitchen and see where we'd have been without them; without our trendy wine and a drop of olive oil. That's not a bad legacy!”
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.

7.00 p.m. |DISCU| Mysterious Death of Cleopatra
The daughter of an incestuous marriage, Cleopatra married and murdered her brothers, inheriting the throne of Egypt at age 17. Her life was filled with the unexplained. A team of experts reexamines the circumstances of Cleopatra's untimely death.
ante diem xi kalendas quinctilias

546 B.C. -- death of Thales of Miletus (source?)

217 B.C. -- Hannibal deals the Romans a major defeat at Lake Trasimene
kinetic @ Merriam-Webster

mercer @ Wordsmith

languor @ Dictionary.com
In a rush ... slept in this a.m. ...

Bestiaria has some medical proverbia ... there's also some proverbia with gerunds (very useful)...

Glaukopidos points us to some Latin graffiti in Philly ... a fun classics site for kids ...

At Under Odysseus, they've found a spy ...

Roman History Books looks at Hannibal's crossing of the Alps ...

Curculio has some scholastic humour ...

Hobbyblog has a Constans/Gloria Exercitus (nice standard!) ...
We've had hints that this sort of thing was going to be found ... I hope we get more details on this one from the Scotsman:

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Byzantine port in an area of Istanbul that was to be an underground station.

What might be a church, an old gate to the city and eight sunken ships have been found so far.

Not much more detail in an AP Wire report, other than they're calling it the 'Port of Theodosius' ...
From EDP24:

The Romans were a methodical people, not given to acts of folly - so why did they apparently build a road to nowhere? Known as the Peddars Way, it is a typically straight track marching from near Thetford directly through the heart of west Norfolk until it peters out at an isolated coastal spot at Holme, and is now favoured by walkers and cyclists.

But just what its original purpose was when it was built around 2,000 years ago is a question that has long perplexed historians.

Andrew McCloy is the latest to investigate. He devotes a chapter of his new book, Exploring Roman Britain, to the Peddars Way, and has reached a tentative conclusion.

"Usually the routes ended at a fort or garrison, or had another obvious destination," he says.

"Here you come out at Holme, and you think, Why? Where were the Romans going?"

There was a Roman settlement at nearby Brancaster, known as Branodunum, but if that had been the destination they would surely have gone straight there instead of hitting the coastline and then meandering eastwards for a couple of miles.

Instead, Andrew suggests: "I think probably it was a ferry port for a boat across the Wash to the other side. They might have gone across the Wash and up to Boston."

But above all, he suspects, it was a statement of intent - a sign from the occupying forces that they were not to be messed with.

"The Peddars Way more than anything represented them putting their stamp on Norfolk, making their presence felt right through the heart of the county," he says.

"Their legionnaires marching through it must have put the fear of God into local people."

Andrew's book details 15 scenic walks around Britain, taking in Roman sites such as a fortress in Cumbria, a villa in the Cotswolds, an amphitheatre in Hampshire and and the extensive remains at Colchester in Essex. The walk along Peddars Way begins at Great Massingham, finishes 16 miles later at Holme, and is suggested to take six to seven hours.

Illustrated with beautifully shot photographs, the book combines his love of walking - he was formerly the information officer for the Ramblers' Association - with a passion for history.

And although Norfolk is relatively lacking in visible evidence of the Romans, in the form of Roman structures, he believes it offers a different source of interest for the Roman enthusiast.

"It is interesting in ways that are very different from the rest of Britain. The Romans never subjugated Wales, and didn't really get their hands on Scotland, but in England by and large they were assimilated into the everyday English life. But it was a struggle in some places, including Norfolk, because of the Iceni tribe who gave some pretty stubborn resistance.

"Their tribal kings wouldn't play ball with the Romans. Especially after Boudicca's revolt, the Romans had to flex their imperial muscle and show who was boss.

"As such it was interesting to compare with other indigenous tribes who capitulated much more easily.

"Walking through Norfolk with my Roman hat on, compared with other parts of England there are not too many visible Roman remains, but there are other signs I picked up on, not least the Iceni centre. It ties in with why the Romans were there."

Andrew, who lives in Derbyshire, was particularly taken with the recreated Iceni village at Cockley Cley but it was the Peddars Way, as a classic example of a Roman Road, that brought him to the county.

He writes: "To the Romans it was simply logical to link towns and garrisons by a network of direct and reliable highways.

"Troops and supplies could be moved around at speed, and the sight of a detachment of mean-looking legionaries on the march would no doubt cause restless natives a sleepless night.

"However, the skill of the Roman road-builders was really twofold: the roads themselves were made to a high standard, extremely hard-wearing and frequently raised on a well-drained bed of layered material. But they were also expertly surveyed and their alignment adapted to suit the local terrain - famously straight and no-nonsense in many instances, but elsewhere skilfully negotiating the contours and natural features. The Romans created, in effect, the first road atlas to Britain, and it remains a masterpiece."

Peddars Way was one of a number of routes that the Romans carved through East Anglia, and was probably finished around 70 AD. Its name is more recent, however, referring to its use as a thoroughfare for pedlars. It has been designated a National Trail, and runs from Knettishall Heath near Thetford for 46 miles to the sea, passing near Anmer, Fring and Ringstead before meeting the dunes at Holme. Andrew says there is little else quite like it.

"The A5 is the closest example, in North Wales, but it's Tarmac now so you lose the sense of what it must have been like.

"Peddars Way is a largely unmetalled but still very clear route.

"Good drainage was paramount, and often this was achieved by raising the road on a bank or causeway called an 'agger', as can still be seen on the Peddars Way between Anmer and Fring.

"You can see the craftsmanship of those Roman road builders, and how straight it is, running ahead of you in a straight line.

"You have to pinch yourself that it's 2,000 years on."

"Before the Romans, we would sit before a fire with a pot, but the Romans introduced the idea of sitting down for a three course meal, with flavours that complemented each other, and finishing with a sugary pudding.

"If you go to a pub and have a meal while walking the Peddars Way, it's interesting to think that you're doing something that the Romans introduced."

Andrew hopes his book will encourage more people to get out and explore the countryside on their doorstep, as well as travelling further afield.

"Get out, have a walk and discover yourself and your own two feet," he says.

"Knowing the history makes the countryside come alive. You are getting to grips with not just the British landscape but British history too.

"I challenge anyone walking the Peddars Way not to be curious about who was walking in their footsteps long before."
Brief item from the Observer:

A massive hoard of Roman coins has been unearthed by archaeologists probing the former Shippams factory site in Chichester city centre.
Many have congealed together down the centuries, and an accurate assessment cannot be given until restoration work is completed but they run into many hundreds, and estimates are up to 2,500.
They are being X-rayed and examined this week to see how they are stuck together and how they can be successfully taken apart.
A smaller stash, totalling around 350 coins, more spread around, was discovered in recent weeks, and the site has now already produced more coinage than any of the many archaeological digs in the Chichester area over the years.
The Baltimore Sun has a lengthy, sympathetic piece on Robert Hecht ... here's the incipit:

The man accused of stripping Italy of precious antiquities and selling them on the world art market for millions of dollars now shuffles along East 69th Street by himself, his head bowed, and seems as threatening as a glass of warm milk.

He's 88 years old and can barely open a door without assistance. But Italian authorities say this man - Robert E. Hecht Jr., a Baltimore native whose great-grandfather founded the department store that bears his name - was for decades at the center of a criminal ring that dug antiquities from Italian soil and sold them to museums and collectors around the world.

Hecht, for his part, seems to find it all a bit amusing.

In a recent interview at the Union Club on Park Avenue, Hecht, dressed neatly in a gray suit, blue-and-pink striped shirt and red tie, began to tell his life story: He studied art and archaeology at the University of Zurich, went to Rome on a fellowship and then, he said wryly, "I went the way of all evil."

He was kidding, but the Italians aren't. Hecht is on trial in Rome for trafficking in looted antiquities. He could be fined severely if convicted, though he is too old to face jail time. Because of his age, he has not been required to attend every day of the trial, which started last November and could run for another year.

But Hecht, who has pleaded innocent, has made occasional appearances at the courthouse in Rome, most recently last month, when he reportedly sang an aria from Verdi's La Traviata to the assembled journalists.

Meanwhile, Hecht has been splitting his time between his permanent home in Paris - where he has lived since he was barred from Italy in the 1970s - and an apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

He meets with friends, visits museums - some of which still display objects of questionable provenance that he sold them over the years - and waves off his critics.

"There is no concrete proof that these things were illegally excavated," Hecht said of the pieces the Italians claim were wrongfully removed from their country, "and if they were, they've been available to the world - both for admirers of beauty and scholars."

Hecht is a man who has seen the world pass him by. In the 1950s, shortly after his arrival in Italy, he bought antiquities on the streets of Rome.

No one had a problem with it. The shops, Hecht said, would happily ship the ancient cups, coins and statues out of the country if you couldn't take them home yourself.

Now, Hecht finds himself on trial for allegedly doing the very things that were accepted practice half a century ago.

"He lived long enough to see his livelihood not only eclipsed, but also impugned," said Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, which is known for its antiquities collection and which bought several pieces from Hecht in the 1950s. "This guy is sort of the personification of the sea change."

Made good contacts
It was Hecht's great-grandfather, Samuel Hecht, who founded a furniture store in Fells Point in 1857 that would become a regional retailing giant. Robert Hecht's grandfather and father both worked for the family business, but Hecht decided it wasn't for him.

"My father said do what you want," Hecht said. So he did. Growing up in Baltimore, he went to Friends School, where he played lacrosse, and then studied classics at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Hecht graduated in 1941 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January 1942.

His ship escorted merchant vessels in the Atlantic, guarding them against attacks from German subs. After the war, Hecht, who had taken German in school, briefly served as an interpreter for war crimes investigations. He had also studied Latin and Greek - languages that would earn him some status in the world of art dealing.

Hecht landed in Rome in the late 1940s, first for a fellowship and then to stay. Asked what drew him there, he mentioned "the fun of reading Plautus," a 2nd-century B.C. Roman playwright.

Displaying his dry wit, Hecht added that at the time, "The primary occupation in Italy was eating spaghetti."

But Hecht's primary occupation quickly became buying and selling antiquities. He had an eye for the kind of objects that would interest museums and collectors, and he had the wit, charm and education to ingratiate himself with the right people.

... More . Here's the somewhat disturbing (to me ... on many levels) final paragraph:

"I don't think there's a museum in this country that doesn't have something that Bob Hecht sold them," Vikan said. "In some respects, I think it's absolutely fair to say that, thanks to Bob Hecht, there are many of us in this world who are able to see works of art that reflect our shared heritage."
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Ports of the Desert (From Marib to Palmyra)
Viewers meet up in the Arabian Peninsula, where we follow an ancient caravan route through the desert to Syria. Along the way, several lush oases in the otherwise barren Syrian Desert come to our rescue in the form of Marib and Petra, site of the great tomb of Aaron that is carved out of a rock face, and the beautiful city of Palmyra. Join our virtual-reality tour of history's most intriguing ancient civilizations as we explore celebrated ancient sites using state-of-the-art computer technology.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Sailing with the Phoenicians
Sail with a Phoenician captain along the trade routes of the Mediterranean to the ancient ports of Byblos, Rhodes, Tharros, Motya, and the famous Roman naval base at Carthage. Phoenicians, the ancient inhabitants of modern-day Lebanon, were known to be expert sailors. State-of-the-art technology and 3-D graphics allow viewers to see through the eyes of one these seaworthy Phoenicians, and insights from leading archaeology experts enhance the reality.
ante diem xii kalendas quinctilias

278 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Summanus (and associated rites thereafter)
clemency @ Dictionary.com

palaver @ Merriam-Webster (who'd'a thunk it?)
Our daily stroll down the Classical midway ...

Can't remember if I've mentioned the Lingua Latina blog ... today they're blogging (in Latin) about that World Cup thing ...

Iconclasm has a reviewish thing of Michael Balter's The Goddess and the Bull ...

Bestiaria takes the occasion of the demise of a favourite bookstore as a launchpad for proverbia about praeterita ...

Alun is pondering all those recent finds in the Roman Imperial fora ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus/Marsyas ...

Curculio has a rant about some obviously shoddy editing ...

Pro linguae magistris is reflecting on what worked and what didn't this school year ...

Until YLE resumes, I think we'll include the news from Ephemeris here in the ClassiCarnival ... latest headline: Populista novo regimini Slovaquiae presit...
From the Advocate:

T. Davina McClain has been named director of the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State.

McClain was an associate professor of classical studies and an adviser at Loyola University of New Orleans.

McClain had been a member of Loyola’s faculty since 1995 with areas of special interest in historiography, women’s studies, Latin literature and the Greek novel.

She also was on the faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Indiana University, where she received a master’s and doctorate.

The Scholars’ College is Louisiana’s designated four-year, selective admissions honors college. The mission of the Scholars’ College is to provide a quality, customized education in the liberal arts and sciences.
I can't believe this is a 'new' controversy ... from the Herald-Leader:

Forget public schools' religious wars about intelligent design and evolution, students' religious songs and artwork, after-school Bible clubs, graduation prayers and gay sensitivity training.

The latest fuss involves letters.

The staff of Kentucky's education department proposed guidelines this year that would eliminate the conventional designations of years as B.C. ("Before Christ") or A.D. ("Anno Domini," meaning "the year of the Lord").

The proposed secular substitutes to shun references to the birth of Jesus Christ were B.C.E. ("Before the Common Era") and C.E. ("Common Era").

Several other states have shifted to that nonsectarian style in history curriculums, since it's preferred by Jews and increasingly observed by secular scholars. Biblical Archaeological Review publishes Christian, Jewish and secular authors and lets each decide which designation to follow.

The American Family Association has campaigned for Congress to make B.C. and A.D. America's official system and defend "the birth of Christ as the dividing point of history."

In Kentucky, after some uproar, the state's Board of Education approved an April compromise to list both options: "B.C./B.C.E." or "A.D./C.E." That alphabet soup didn't satisfy cultural traditionalists, whose complaints were supported by Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

The conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky accused the board of "capitulation to the winds of political correctness." The group said "in recent years we have seen more and more attempts to hide the influence of religion in our history. Our schools should not be in the business of hiding things from students."

The former president of Kentucky's Baptist convention, Hershel York, said "this is one more event in a full frontal assault on western and Christian values."

But the director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, Nancy Jo Kemper, saw no reason to fret and found it "absurd" to claim that Christianity is under assault. Schools were simply adopting initials that are increasingly "used in the secular world and in academic circles," she said.

The board reconsidered matters at its mid-June meeting and decided to remove "B.C.E." and "C.E." from date references in Kentucky's official "Program of Studies," though teachers are free to note this option in the classroom.

The same issue flared several years ago when some Roman Catholic publications adopted the B.C.E./C.E. scheme.

The conservative New Oxford Review found the nonsectarian substitution rather silly. "One is left wondering just what happened between B.C.E. and C.E. to flip history into a new epoch. Something must have happened. What was it? And why are certain people so determined to keep mum about it? ... What is common about the 'Common Era'?"

The calculation of Jesus' birth year originated in 525 with the monk Dionysius Exiguus ("Denis the Little") but didn't become popular in Europe until the eighth century through the influence of the Venerable Bede, an English theologian.

An odd aspect of the calculation is that Jesus Christ was born "before Christ." That is, today's experts agree that Dionysius erred and Jesus wasn't born in A.D. 1 but before that. (Denis used no zero year.)

The Bible offers these clues:

Luke's Gospel says John the Baptist began preaching in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar's reign, which began in A.D. 14, and an unspecified time later Jesus began preaching when he "was about 30 years of age" (Luke 3:1, 23). That sets the general period but not the year.

Matthew and Luke report that Jesus was born while Herod the Great was still king. By most reckonings, Herod died in what we now call 4 B.C. or 5 B.C.; some put it later though still "Before Christ."

But historical writers avoid other dating systems, following the explicitly Christian years or the same numbers under the "Common" euphemism.


_Judaism reckons time from the traditional creation of the world (or in some interpretations, of humanity) by which this is the year 5766.

_Islam divides history from Muhammad's hijra (flight) from Mecca to Medina, according to which this is the year 1427. The faith's lunar calendar has shorter years than those on the solar Jewish and Christian calendars.

On this whole B.C./B.C.E thing (raging, as most readers of rc will know, for decades) I have long come to the conclusion that people have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on their hands. Maybe they should put their efforts into legalizing split infinitives or something similar.
And this time, it's a responsible archaeologist who believes he's on the trail ... from Il Sole 24 (I'm sure we'll get English coverage very soon):

«Siamo a due passi da una scoperta di straordinaria portata! Nel giro di poco tempo potremmo trovare i resti della tomba di Alessandro Magno!».
È categorico Jean Yves Empereur, Direttore del Centre d’études alexandrines, impegnato nello scavo sistematico dell’immensa necropoli dell’antica Alessandria d’Egitto (la "nekròpolis" descritta dal geografo greco Strabone): questo cimitero, allestito all’inizio del periodo tolemaico (attorno al 300 a. C.), è stato utilizzato fino ai primi secoli della cristianità e dunque conserva migliaia di sepolture.
Inizialmente gli archeologi transalpini hanno scavato la zona del quartiere di Gabbari, scoprendo almeno 5.000 loculi, quasi tutti di epoca cristiana. Ora si sono spostati nella parte più antica dell’immensa area cimiteriale, più ad occidente, e hanno fatto una scoperta eccezionale: con sicurezza hanno individuato il punto di congiunzione tra le due arterie principali di Alessandria; tra quella che la attraversava in direzione nord-sud dal Capo Lochias alla palude Mareotide e la via canopica (est-ovest), parallela alla costa. Ebbene le fonti storiche ci informano che il sovrano Tolemeo IV, alla fine del III sec. a. C., decise di spostare le spoglie di Alessandro il Macedone in un nuovo mausoleo, sito esattamente al punto di incrocio tra le due vie principali; e che in esso Tolemeo IV sistemò anche le mummie dei suoi tre predecessori a indicare ai visitatori la propria discendenza, che risaliva in linea diretta a Tolemeo I e dunque al condottiero macedone, di cui quest’ultimo fu compagno d’armi.
La tomba di Alessandro, il famoso “séma”, si conservò per secoli, fino all’epoca romana inoltrata e fu meta di continuo pellegrinaggio, anche da parte di importanti personaggi dell’Urbe (da Cesare a Caracalla), che a lui si ispiravano. Non fu più rintracciabile a partire dal periodo cristiano (forse per propaganda, più probabilmente perché mangiato dall’urbanizzazione selvaggia), tanto che attorno al 400 San Giovanni Crisostomo domandava ai fedeli in un’omelia: “Ditemi, dove si trova il ‘séma’ di Alessandro?”.
Mosaico Alessandro MagnoNei secoli appena trascorsi, con lo sviluppo della moderna indagine archeologica, prima l’astronomo egiziano Mahmud el-Falaki (1860) e poi l’archeologo italiano Achille Adriani (1960) credettero di aver individuato la tomba più importante della storia sulla base di testimonianze antiche e di dotte ricerche: i loro scavi tuttavia non portarono a niente. Oggi a ripercorrere le tracce di Adriani è Nicola Bonacasa, suo allievo e massimo esperto di architettura dell’Alessandria tolemaica. Gli studi di Bonacasa (Direttore dell’Istituto di Archeologia all’Università di Palermo e da decenni attivo in ricerche archeologiche ad Alessandria, in collaborazione proprio con Empereur) hanno combinato le testimonianze storiche all’analisi stilistica dell’architettura funeraria, messa in atto nel corso della lunga esplorazione delle necropoli alessandrine. Simili studi hanno permesso di ipotizzare che la tomba del re dei macedoni dovesse essere un monumento imponente e probabilmente simile a quella sepoltura in alabastro rosa con giochi di ampie venature, che a suo tempo Adriani sospettò essere il reale mausoleo di Alessandro
Le ricerche della scuola italiana, condensate nel recente volume di Bonacasa («La tomba di Alessandro. Realtà, ipotesi e fantasie», editrice L’Erma di Bretschneider, Roma), hanno costituito la premessa e lo stimolo all’odierna indagine di Empereur, convinto di aver individuato il sito effettivo del monumento. Per appurare la bontà di tanta supposizione non resta che procedere allo sterro della zona individuata; l’operazione archeologica tuttavia pone soverchie difficoltà: bisogna smantellare edifici moderni e, soprattutto, mettere a soqquadro un’intera area cimiteriale, violando l’eterno riposo di migliaia di morti (è un aspetto, a cui in Egitto sono assai sensibili). Ma forse il gioco vale la candela.

Just stressing for those who can't read the Italian: Empereur isn't claiming to have found the tomb, but he seems to believe he's in the right cemetery and the intersection of roads at which Alexander's mausoleum is supposed to have stood. In light of previous claims, we should also point out that Empereur does not appear to have been guided by snakes.
From EDP24:

A major archaeological project at the nationally-important Caistor Roman town in Norfolk is to be launched within the next few weeks.

Researchers hope the origins and development of the settlement at Caistor St Edmund, just south of Norwich, will emerge for the first time during eight to 10 years of work.

The town was once the regional centre of East Anglia and is one of only three Romano-British towns remaining undeveloped.

The site, owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and managed by South Norfolk Council, was also the market town for the Iceni tribe, led by Queen Boudicca.

Archaeological interest began in 1928, and excavations were made between 1929 and 1935 on the forum, a bath complex, the south gate, a house and two temples. Later work involved aerial photography and metal detector surveys, revealing cemeteries and other remains.

The new project aims to go further and look at whether the town, known as Venta Icenorum, was established on a new site or on an Iron Age centre.

Through surveys and excavations, it will look at the end of the town and the nature of the post-Roman occupation, as well as the significance of early and middle Saxon cemeteries in the area.

The research team wants to assess Caistor's regional context, whether the River Tas was navigable as far as the settlement and how levels within the valley have changed.

Michael Bentley, countryside and heritage manager for the district council, said it was looking forward to the start of the project, to be led by Dr William Bowden, lecturer in Roman archaeology at Nottingham University.

Mr Bentley said: "It's incredibly exciting because until now everything that's under the ground has been conjecture, more or less. There have been theories about what is there; what the history of the site was.

"The work that we are going to be doing will clear up all of that and some of the myths, whether the town was a success or not and its history before the Romans came.

"This is one of the most important Roman sites in the UK, and any project that is associated with it carries with it that kind of importance."

Information gleaned will be published on a website, to be hosted by the council and launched once work starts in late July or early August.

Preliminary geophysical survey work has just been done by Dr Bowden and Dr David Bescoby, a research fellow at UEA. This has already revealed another substantial building and the wooden drainage pipes that would have served the town's road network.

The project is the main part of a long-term scheme to develop the site.

In 1995, an advisory board made up of the trust, parish, district and county councils and the county museums service was formed to put together a strategy for the Roman town's future.

A study was conducted in 2003, and people were asked to vote on four possible options, ranging from doing nothing to turning it into a top-flight tourist attraction.

The latter narrowly topped the poll. But, with costs estimated at £1.4m, the board doubted whether the venture could pay its way. Instead, a revised plan was agreed that included an interpretation scheme and better public access to the remains.
10.00 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 xiii kalendas quinctilias

240 B.C. -- Eratosthenes calculates the circumference of the earth (I have no idea what the source for this is)

rites at the Temple of Minerva on the Aventine

ca. 165 (?) -- martyrdom of Protase

325 A.D. -- Hosius announces the Nicene Creed during the First Council of Nicaea
contraband @ Answers.com (always wondered about that one)

ephemeron @ Dictionary.com

erethism @ Worthless Word for the Day

zephyr @ Merriam-Webster

I think we forgot to mention last week's installment of Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...

Also on the etymological side of things ... amicus noster JMM sent in (thanks!) an etymologically-oriented item from the CSM which is probably of interest ...
For news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De nova caede tromocratarum fere perpetrata

On the Greek side, there's a handful of installments from Akropolis World News to catch up with: EU to ask citizens about new admissions - Former king of Bulgaria, under suspicion - Maoists to join Nepal government ... Hamas rejects Abu Mazen's consultation - Al Qaeda threatens after Al Zarqaui's death ... French printing group suits Google - 500 farmers assault Congress in Brasil ... Khamenei threatens USA with oil cut-off - 1st archaeologic submarine museum, in Israel ...
Edmílson to miss World Cup - Police in Turkey dismantle plot to kill Erdogan ... so we'll just direct you to the 'latest news' page
Not-quite-a-plethora of posts ...

PhDiva DK alerts us to a number of dissertations available online (all housed in the National Library of Canada, it seems) ... there's also a post about Roman elephants ...

Bread and Circuses points us to the Independent's top ten sites to visit ... there's also a post on an exhibition called The Road to Byzantium ...

Roman History Books has a collection of links about the Phoenicians and Carthage ...

I just became aware of another Latin teacher blog: Pompeii Today (which is on summer vacation, but you still might want to look around) ...

At Blogographos, Alun alerts us to the existence of a couple of episodes of Terry Jones' Barbarians available via Google video ...

Tropaion has put out the second issue of its own Carnival ...

Catching up with Hobbyblog, there's a Valerian/Athena ... and a Salonina/Concordia ...
Not directly tied (yet) to the True trial, but it appears Boston's MFA is 'in the net', so to speak ... from the Globe:

The Italian government has floated a deal by which Boston's Museum of Fine Arts would return allegedly looted objects and Italy would loan the museum antiquities of equal value, the Globe has learned.

The proposal was made in May, when MFA leaders traveled to Rome to meet with the Ministry of Culture, said ministry official Giuseppe Proietti.

If accepted, the deal would be similar to that struck earlier this year by the Italians with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Met agreed in February to return six objects --including the famous, 2,500-year-old Euphronios krater. In return, the Met will receive objects ``of equivalent beauty and importance" for as long as four years, the longest Italian law will allow. In addition, the Italians will permit the Met to conduct arch eological digs in Italy, and to take out loans of works discovered.

The Italians have made the MFA a similar offer, said Proietti.

``Italy has one of the richest collections of ancient art in the world," Proietti said. ``The United States doesn't have an ancient heritage. This does not mean that American citizens should not be able to see arch eological material in their own museums."

Katherine Getchell, the deputy director of the MFA, who attended the May meeting in Rome,wouldn't speak of the specifics of the negotiations. In a statement yesterday, she said: ``We view the discussions as productive and are giving careful consideration to the information provided by the Ministry at the meeting in order to determine appropriate next steps."

Proietti said that the MFA officials, who also included museum director Malcolm Rogers, were given evidence materials that should prove that certain objects in Boston were removed from Italy illegally. Proietti would not provide the list to the Globe, or name the objects.

``It's clear that what we want is to have those pieces back," he said.

The negotiations between the MFA and the Italians are taking place in the midst of the high-profile trial of former J. Paul Getty Museum curator Marion True and art dealer Robert Hecht. They are accused of being part of an art-smuggling ring that placed works illegally taken from Italian soil in American museums, including the MFA.

The Getty and Metropolitan Museum of Art have agreed to return a number of antiquities. Princeton University Art Museum is also in negotiations with the Italian government.

Harold Holzer, the Met's vice president for communications, would not discuss the MFA's case. But he said that the Met had been eager to resolve its case. Officials from the Met went to Rome in November; three months later, the agreement was signed.

``The Metropolitan had been asked for a meeting for many months, maybe even many years," said Holzer. ``We wanted to do this, to have our meeting and have our exchange of information."

I'm still wondering why it's all American museums which seem to be the focus here; I find it hard to believe that everything in European museums have sparkling clean provenances ...
From BMCR:

G.E.R. Lloyd, The Delusions of Invulnerability: Wisdom and Morality in Ancient Greece, China and Today.

W. Martin Bloomer, The Contest of Language. Before and Beyond Nationalism.

Victoria Pedrick, Seven M. Oberhelman, The Soul of Tragedy: Essays on Athenian Drama.

Charles Rowan Beye, Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil, With a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems.

David Sedley, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume XXV, Winter 2003.

Tara S. Welch, The Elegiac Cityscape. Propertius and the Meaning of Roman Monuments.

Dieter Flach, Cornelius Tacitus, Dialogus de oratoribus. Streitgespräch über die Redner.

David Shotter, Augustus Caesar. Second edition.

Dale B. Martin, Patricia Cox Miller, The Cultural Turn in Late Ancient Studies: Gender, Asceticism, and Historiography.

Stella Georgoudi, Renée Koch Piettre, Francis Schmidt, La cuisine et l'autel: les sacrifices en questions dans les sociétés de la Méditerranée ancienne. Bibliothèque de l'École des Hautes Études, Sciences Religieuses 124.

Monica Silveira Cyrino, Big Screen Rome.

Sophie Métivier, La Cappadoce (IVe-VIe Siècle): Une histoire provinciale de l'Empire romain d'Orient. Byzantina Sorbonensia 22.

Craig S. Keener, 1-2 Corinthians. New Cambridge Bible Commentary.

From Scholia:

Alan C. Bowen and Robert B. Todd, Cleomedes' Lectures on Astronomy: A Translation of The Heavens. Hellenistic Culture and Society, 42

Werner Schubert, Die Antike in der Neueren Musik: Dialog der Epochen, Künste, Sprachen and Gattungen. Quellen und Studien zur Musikgeschichte von der Antike bis in die Gegenwart Nr. 42

From RBL:

Roland Deines And Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr, eds., Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen

Richard A. Horsley, ed., Christian Origins

Donald A. Russell And David Konstan, eds., Heraclitus: Homeric Problems

Donald A. Russell And David Konstan, eds., Heraclitus: Homeric Problems (different from preceding)
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.
Seen in the Canadian Classical Bulletin:

HELP SAVE THE BACHELOR OF EDUCATION IN CLASSICAL STUDIES: Latin at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

The decision was recently made to cancel the Bachelor of Education in Classical Studies: Latin at OISE since only THREE candidates were admitted to the programme. It was hoped that by putting the degree into a two-year rotation, there would be more candidates generated. Sadly, this has not been the case and the future of the programme is in jeopardy.

With the publication of the new Ontario Curriculum in 1999 and 2000, Classical languages was launched into a spotlight that it had not enjoyed for some two decades. As a result of this, Dr. Ann Millar of OISE, agreed that perhaps it was time to “test the waters” and see if there were interested and qualified candidates who wanted to enrol in the B.Ed. in Classical languages. Under the auspices of OISE, the Ontario Classical Association increased its blitz of information to university Departments of Classics in the hopes of raising the profile of the degree and teaching generally.

In 2000, then Assistant Dean, Dr. Cecilia Reynolds, now Dean of Education at Saskatchewan, decided to resurrect the degree one year ahead of the test target date of 2001 since there were SEVEN Classicists admitted to OISE that year. Since then, we have trained some THIRTY-THREE Latin teachers, NINETEEN of whom have taken jobs in Latin. Another ELEVEN are reporting teaching in their second field.

If you support the teaching of Latin and ancient Greek at the secondary level as an outlet for your Classics majors, if you support the recognition of Classics as a valuable commodity for students to study at all levels of their education, if you support providing a continuity for students as they enter Classics programmes at the university level, HELP US SAVE THIS DEGREE.

Please contact Dr. Carol Rolheiser, Associate Dean- Teacher Education and Dr. Jane Gaskell, Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1V6.

Here's a semi-related personal anecdote/complaint/query ... my own B.Ed. came to be in 1999; because, however, when I was applying, Classical Languages was not 'officially' part of the Ontario Curriculum, I could not declare anything related to my Latin degree as a 'teachable' subject. Indeed, all that 'counted' in bureaucratic eyes were my history courses. Since I only had one 'teachable', I had to go into the junior-intermediate stream and so am not teaching in a high school and to teach in a high school would require additional coursework on my part (personally, I think I've spent enough time on the 'listening end' of classes which ultimately are a waste of time). Now I know that plenty of Classics types who I went to school with (in Ontario) went on to Education careers (and/or were in the B.Ed. Classics program at Queens (long discontinued, I believe) ... what happened to them when the new curriculum came into existence? I also wonder why there have been no efforts to 'save Latin' in Ontario by teaching it in a more 'ecumenical' way (across school boards) via videoconferencing vel simm.
A busy weekend all around ...

About.com's N.S. Gill enlightens us about the Nestorians ...

Father Foster's latest: Our "Latin Lover" may chuckle but does he scold! The universal language of the Catholic Church needs to be put back on track...

Laudator is looking at Latin synonyms ... and reflecting on dogs in Aesop ...

Sauvage Noble offers us a talk on South Picene ...

Bestiaria has some intrusions of Latin into English ...

ARLT informs us that the BBC will be dramatizing some Caroline Lawrence novels ...

At Under Odysseus, it's Ajax's funeral ...

Glaukopis is pondering Medea ...

Bread and Circuses alerts us to Cassiodorus' Variae online ...

Roman History Books tells us about 210 reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire ...

New website of note: Rome in Egypt ... Roman Temples for Egyptian Gods ...

PhDiva alerts us that Worth1000.com is having another Archaeological Anomalies contest (it's good to look at these because they often show up in crackpot articles as genuine) ... I'm partial to the Medusa skull ... there's also a post on Roman entertainment ...

Issue 9.8 of Explorator has been posted at Classics Central ... there will be other updates there as the day progresses ...
Somewhat vague/poorly translated piece from the SNA:

A Bulgarian archeologist has discovered in central Bulgaria a script about Roman Emperor Galien, it was announced Sunday.

The writing was found at the Sostra site, which was the predecessor town of Today's Troyan, in central Bulgaria.

According to the inscription, Emperor Galien (ruled over 253-268) has led a legion to Sostra.

That proves Roman efforts to keep the lands of today's Bulgaria from the Goths, archeologists believe.
An excerpt from Viggo Mortensen's commencement address at St. Lawrence University (Canton, New York) ... from the CSM:
With apologies to any Latin scholars for my pronunciation, I offer the following epigram: Ducunt volentum fata, nolentum trahunt. For non-Latin scholars, that translates as: "Fate leads those who are willing. The unwilling it drags."

... watch those case endings.
From the BBC:

Farm contractors have unearthed 2,000 Roman coins beneath a field at a farm near Carmarthen.

The coins, which date from late Roman times, have been categorised as "treasure".

They contain a small amount of silver, but experts have not yet put a value on the find.

The exact location of the discovery is being kept secret to protect the site from treasure hunters. The HM Coroner has been informed.

The coins are thought to have been lying just 12 inches beneath the surface of a field.

The Romans left Wales in 410AD, having first arrived in 47AD. Carmarthen was a Roman settlement from the first century AD.

Coins of the late Roman period feature the standard head and tails, with a Roman emperor on the head and a goddess - of fortune, hope or chastity - on the reverse.

The farmer, on whose land the find was made, said: "There are lots of wild rumours flying about but I don't really want to say anything.

"The coins are at the museum now, and we are waiting to hear what happens next," he added.

Edward Besley, of the National Museum of Wales, in Cardiff confirmed that the coins were at the museum and were being cleaned, examined and catalogued.

He said: "When our investigations are complete, I will submit a report to the coroner who will then decide when to hold an inquest."
From a column by Lord William Rees-Mogg, originally in the Mail but excerpted here from the Khaleej Times; the ostensible subject is why Prince Charles is a good defender of British culture and/or the purpose of education:

Until the end of the Second World War, the grammar and public schools maintained the tradition of teaching Latin and Greek, and the major classical authors. William Pitt the Elder, who became Lord Chatham, was the leading British Minister of the period of the Seven Years’ War, in which India and Canada were both added to the British Empire, at the expense of France. He was, with Churchill, the greatest of British war Ministers; perhaps, in terms of strategic insight and global judgment, he was the greatest of them all. Thomas Pitt, his nephew, went up to Cambridge in 1754, around the time that the decisive 18th Century war for world empire begun. Chatham wrote occasional letters to his nephew, encouraging him in his studies. He repeatedly recommends the study of John Locke, the late-17th Century liberal philosopher who himself wrote an essay on education.

Chatham writes of the great classic authors. ‘I rejoice to hear that you have begun Homer’s Iliad; and have made so great a progress in Virgil. I hope you taste and love those authors particularly. You cannot read them too much: they are not only the two greatest poets, but they contain the finest lessons for your age to imbibe: lessons of honour, courage, disinterestedness, love of truth, command of temper, gentleness of behaviour, humanity, and in one word, virtue in its true significance.’ English literature, particularly Shakespeare and the King James Bible, is every bit as capable of developing these qualities as Homer or Virgil. I am not even sure that little children cannot be introduced to them. My mother read me Macbeth when I was three, and I can still remember from that reading the gleeful cackling of the witches and the cumbrous jollity of the porter. Naturally, I identified with Lady Macduff’s son who is so plucky in the murder scene: ‘He has killed me, mother: run away, I pray you.’

... if nothing else, Chatham expressed his thoughts rather more clearly ...
Interesting review from the Times:

Tom Stoppard has written one of the great political plays in the English language, and like all great political plays, it resonates with humanity. It has a moving, throat-catching intensity that reminds me of Arthur Miller summing up Tennessee Williams’s plays as “the politics of the soul”. Stoppard has always been a hard-line humanist, and this play shows him at his combative and tolerant best. Proust thought that art was the true last judgment, which is pushing it a bit, but Stoppard shows that great theatre is the nearest you can get to it on this bitch of an earth.

The play is set in Cambridge and Prague from 1968 to 1990. Max (Brian Cox) is a philosophy don and an old-fashioned communist who didn’t leave the party in 1956, when Khruschev crushed the Hungarian revolution, or in 1968, when Brezhnev crushed the Prague Spring. Max despises the idea of a “reformed” communist; he believes in basic premises and cannot see that dictatorships will lead only to some fraudulent and murderous utopia.

Jan (Rufus Sewell) is his pupil, an émigré Czech and a hard-line idealist who returns to Prague in 1968 to defend the socialism of his dreams. He is also a rock’n’roll junkie devoted to a Czech band called Plastic People of the Universe. He goes home partly to save rock’n’roll. What he doesn’t realise is that the commissars who rule his country regard the PPU’s work as “socially negative music”. Negative is bad news. You can be arrested for being negative. Positive is good news: a code word for following party directives. Soviet communism was an example of illogical positivism. Jan will have to learn the hard way.

The play has two great themes. One is the cost of integrity. Max can’t accept the failure of his ideals: it would be defeatism that would turn disaster into moral victory. Jan, back in Prague and still optimistic, thinks that signing a protest would be moral exhibitionism. The other theme is the nature of freedom. Max’s wife, Eleanor (Sinead Cusack), is a classicist, and through her you hear the echoes of ancient mythologies: the great god Pan, for example, whose music is an instrument of liberation and pleasure. He is the ancestor of the popular music of the late 20th century. Rock’n’roll and its siblings were a shout for freedom: freedom from convention and an oppressive bourgeois lifestyle. In communist Prague, you had no lifestyle. Life was all you could hope for. Here, rock’n’roll meant defiance, a cry for the freedom to be yourself. This play could have been called The Invention of Freedom.

Stoppard doesn’t take sides. He once said that writing dialogue was the only way he could contradict himself, and here he demonstrates the power of the dramatist who can enter the mind of his characters and conduct that inner dialogue of mind and soul through which we try to understand the world. This is not a play reserved for classicists, philosophers or political scientists. It echoes with Stoppard’s humour: sad, acid, elegant and subversive. Under and through its arguments beats the steady pulse of humanity, of the accountability people need to have for themselves and each other. One thing Eleanor learns from the classics is that there’s a spirit within man that opposes him being just machinery. Max, Marxist to the core, thinks that love is only economics and physiology, but Eleanor knows better. She knows that you can have subjective experience in an objective world. If there’s no soul, it would have to be invented. This is what drives the harrowing scene between Max and Eleanor in the second half — the emotional peak of the play, where Cox and Cusack are at the peak of their unforgettably human performance.

Trevor Nunn’s production is a masterpiece of lucidity, intelligence and feeling. The showman of theatrical spectacle has done some of his best work on small stages, where intimacy can best reveal the soul about which Max is so robustly sceptical, and of which the great god Pan is an unacknowledged guardian. So were Pink Floyd when they defied the logical positivists and sang: “I don’t care if the sun don’t shine.”
From the LA Times:

An internal review by the J. Paul Getty Trust has found that 350 Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts in its museum's prized antiquities collection were purchased from dealers identified by foreign authorities as being suspected or convicted of dealing in looted artifacts.

The review, conducted last year to gauge the Getty's exposure to claims against objects in its collection, shows that the trust purchased far more pieces from suspect dealers than has been previously disclosed.

The assessment valued the 350 vases, urns, statues and other sculptures at close to $100 million. That is in addition to 52 items in the Getty collection that Italy has demanded back, contending they were illegally excavated and exported.

The assessment does not address the question of whether any of the 350 objects were purchased illegally, nor does it evaluate their artistic significance. But Getty records show that they include 35 of the museum's 104 masterpieces.

The Getty has not provided Italian authorities with its review of the 350 pieces, a fact that could complicate talks set to resume Monday in Rome between the trust and representatives of Italy's Ministry of Culture over the 52 contested items.

Maurizio Fiorilli, a state attorney and the lead negotiator for the ministry, expressed surprise late last week when told of the Getty's findings about the 350 objects.

Fiorilli said he had asked the trust to collaborate on identifying other possibly tainted items in the collection, "and they have not spoken about these." He added that the Getty's failure to disclose the questionable origin of additional objects raises concerns about the trust's sincerity in the upcoming talks.

Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig on Friday declined to discuss the review.

"During our meeting with the Italian government in January, both sides agreed we would limit our public comments with the media to a joint statement," he said. "We have tried diligently to abide by that agreement, and therefore we have no further comment. The parties have agreed the place for negotiations is at the table, not in the press."

Getty officials have been eager to put the antiquities scandal behind them and find a mutually agreeable solution with Italian authorities, but the magnitude of the case continues to grow. Since negotiations over the 52 objects started in January, Italian authorities say they have identified 15 additional items in the Getty's collection that they believe were looted and should be returned.

Efforts to reach an agreement have also been complicated by the continuing criminal trial of the Getty's former antiquities curator, Marion True, on charges that she conspired to purchase looted art for the museum. Prosecutors have presented evidence of her business dealings with a network of dealers they allege are at the center of the illicit antiquities trade.

The Getty review does not identify specific dealers responsible for selling the 350 items. But other Getty records indicate some of the works were supplied by Giacomo Medici and Robert Hecht, True's co-defendants. Medici was convicted last year in that case and has appealed.

Italian and Getty reviews have found evidence suggesting that the two dealers maintained close ties with illegal excavators and trafficked in looted art. True's own defense concedes that many of the objects at issue in her trial may have been looted. But she says she had no knowledge of that fact when she bought them.

The Getty has conceded publicly that it purchased items from dealers who have since been "discredited." The museum's internal review concluded, however, that most of the 350 pieces it bought from suspect dealers are unlikely to have to be returned to their countries of origin

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed in February to return 21 contested pieces. In exchange, Italy agreed to lend the Met objects of comparable beauty and importance, as well as objects for restoration or from excavations funded by the museum.

The agreement has been seen as a blueprint for how to resolve the numerous disputes between Italy and American museums. Since it was struck, three other U.S. museums have met with Italian authorities about contested antiquities in their collections.

The Getty's talks are expected to culminate in an agreement similar to the Met's.

On Friday, Italy's new culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, told reporters that his government's position will be "friendly but tough."

"This is a question of turning the page, away from the time when we used to close an eye, two eyes actually," to the problem of looted antiquities, he said.

But in many ways, the stakes are far higher for the Getty than for any other U.S. museum.

Not only have the Italians asked that a greater number of objects be returned, but many of the 52 initially contested artifacts, valued at more than $48 million, are prominently displayed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, the nation's only museum dedicated to ancient art.

One, a towering marble and limestone statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, dominates the Gods and Goddesses room on the villa's first floor.

Another, a sculpture of two mythic griffins, greets visitors as they walk out of the elevators on the villa's second floor. A third, a lekanis, or marble basin, is delicately painted with the only known example of ancient yellow pigment and is the centerpiece of the Trojan War room.

A fourth, a sculpture of Apollo, is the focal point of a long first-floor room called the Basilica. Another, the bronze Victorious Youth, stands in a specially designed room of its own, where humidity is carefully kept at 21%.

The villa reopened in January after a nine-year, $275-million renovation.

It currently exhibits 1,200 of the 2,500 antiquities it considers to be of display quality.
From the Mercury comes some good news:

The beloved Latin program at San Jose's Lincoln High School, in jeopardy because its longtime teacher is leaving, has been saved.

Jane Gaylord, a 10-year Latin teacher from San Benito High School, was hired this week.

Principal Chris Funk said Thursday that Gaylord will teach Latin as well as English.

Lincoln High is the only school in the San Jose Unified School District that offers the ancient tongue, considered a dead language because it isn't spoken anymore. But it's the root of the romance languages, as well as the base for many medical and legal vocabulary words.

``I'm ecstatic beyond belief,'' said Rebecca Lopez, whose daughter, Xochitl, 15, takes Latin at Lincoln.

Lopez and a few other parents passionately lobbied the principal and others to find a teacher to replace veteran Latin teacher Janet Miller, who is taking a job at a private school next year. The program has long been a draw to this economically and socially diverse magnet school.

Not only has Latin helped Xochitl with her English, French and Spanish classes, but the teen also attributes her A-plus in biology and better understanding of history and government to Latin, as course work includes studying ancient Rome.

Inquiries about filling the position flooded Lincoln High School after a June 6 story in the Mercury News about the threat to the program, according to school staff. Gaylord was not available for comment Thursday.

Miller said Gaylord is an ``excellent replacement.''

``I feel such a sense of relief knowing that the program is still going forward,'' Miller said.
An excerpt from the Telegraph ... fans of Eastenders take note:

Oberman talks of having a very strong work ethic which is, in part, a result of her parents' disappointment in her failure to follow an academic career. She went to a private school in London until she rebelled and insisted on going to the local comprehensive to do her A-levels. She studied Classics at Leeds for a year before moving to Manchester to study drama. After attending the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, she went straight to the RSC and finally impressed her parents.

Yet she still seems to have something to prove, appearing on Celebrity Mastermind in 2004 with a specialist subject of Imperial Roman Family and coming second to Edwina Currie. "I became captivated by I, Claudius as a kid," she says. "I was the freak child who was reading Suetonius at 11. I must have been a real laugh. But it was very exciting and salacious, a bit like EastEnders with togas."
We've mentioned this before, I think (possibly in Explorator a few years ago) ... not sure why it keeps coming up. From the Post-Intelligencer:

Stunning military victories made Israeli general Moshe Dayan an iconic figure on the international stage, but his reputation for looting antiquities is little known outside the country where his myth was born.

Across three decades until his death in 1981, Dayan, of the trademark eye patch, established a vast collection of antiquities acquired through illicit excavations. He also traded in archaeological finds in Israel and abroad, antiquities experts say.

"Moshe Dayan didn't deal in archaeology. He dealt in antiquities plundering," said Uzi Dahari, deputy director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "He was a criminal. He knew he was breaking the law. He knew that all his activity was against the law, and he did it nevertheless."

The Holy Land is a treasure trove for antiquities collectors - and plunderers.

"There are 30,000 antiquities sites. Every hilltop has antiquities, and, of course, you can't put guards on each hilltop," said Amir Ganor, head of the robbery prevention unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Various books and news reports have related how Dayan, aided by children, robbers, soldiers and military equipment, poached excavations for private gain.

The best known of Dayan's "collecting expeditions" - and one he wasn't able to deny - occurred near Tel Aviv in 1968. There, he was badly injured in a landslide while robbing a burial cave and hospitalized for three weeks, recalls Raz Kletter, an Israeli archaeologist who researched Dayan's exploits for a 2003 article in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.

Nor did he limit his activities to Israel proper, taking advantage of his positions in the military to extend his trajectory to territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Dayan served as defense minister from 1967 until 1974.

"Probably most of Dayan's looting was done in areas conquered after 1967 and under his own military rule," Kletter wrote. "There he faced no democratic institutions to oppose him."

Dayan's extensive collection, which he housed in his Tel Aviv-area home, included pottery, stone heads, ossuaries, Byzantine gravestones and Roman sarcophagi, antiquities experts said.

He also acknowledged having an ancient Egyptian stone slab ferried by Israeli military helicopter from Egypt's Sinai desert during Israel's 1956 Sinai war, which he commanded as military chief of staff, Kletter wrote in his article. That and other finds were later returned to the site "to avoid an international scandal," Kletter noted.

Dahari recounted that Dayan would also shop for antiquities in the markets of the Old City of Jerusalem or in Jaffa near Tel Aviv.

"If he saw something, first he would tell the bodyguards, 'Take it and put it in my car,'" Dahari said. "Then he would go to the storeowner and ask, 'How much did it cost you?' Not how much does it cost, but how much did it cost you.

"Then, if the seller said, for instance, 100 liras ... he would take out 10 checks, and write 10 lira on each," Dahari said, referring to Israel's now-defunct currency. "The storeowners never redeemed them, but sold them at 100 liras apiece to tourists for his signature. Moshe Dayan never paid a penny."

Although antiquities experts and ordinary citizens questioned Dayan's activities, at times filing complaints, the military hero turned lawmaker and Cabinet minister was never investigated.

"He was so strong that people refused to complain or testify against him; or the allegations were abolished on some irrelevant pretense," Kletter wrote. In some cases, he was protected by the statute of limitations.

"He was above the law because he was Moshe Dayan," Dahari said. "The law didn't interest him."

After Dayan's death, his wife, Rachel, sold his collection to the Israel Museum for $1 million, he said.

Critics have faulted the state for first allowing Dayan to plunder, then paying top dollar for his collection of plundered finds.

Rachel Dayan "sold it, and that's her business," said Yael Dayan, whose mother was Moshe Dayan's first wife, Ruth. "If I were in her place, I would have donated it."
From the Chronicle:

A suspected tomb raider turned police informant has led archaeologists to what experts described Friday as the oldest known frescoed burial chamber in Europe.

The tomb, located on a hilly wheat field north of Rome, belonged to a warrior prince from the nearby Etruscan town of Veio, according to archaeologists who took journalists on a tour of the site.

Dating from around 690 B.C., the underground burial chamber is decorated with roaring lions and migratory birds.

"This princely tomb is unique and it marks the origin of Western painting," said Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli, referring to the ancient art of burial painting.

Authorities were led to the site in May by an Italian on trial for trafficking in illegally excavated artifacts. He revealed the location of the tomb in hopes of gaining leniency from the court, said Carabinieri Gen. Ugo Zottin.
ante diem xvi kalendas quinctilias

212 A.D. -- martyrdom of Ferreolus and Ferrutio

1716 -- Alexander Pope's translation of the Iliad is published

1813 -- birth of Otto Jahn (archaeologist and philologist)

1937 -- birth of Erich Segal (Classicist, known to Classicists for his work on ancient comedy; known to the rest of the world as the author of Love Story)

... Happy Bloomsday
de facto @ Answers.com

nosophobia @ Wordsmith
Another day ... another (somewhat short) trip down the Classical Midway ...

Roman History Books is looking at the tome written by Bread and Circuses' AM: Rome's Greatest Defeat ...

William Blathers comments on a well-known quote from Medea ...

Bestiaria is talking about St. Vitus ...

Hobbyblog has a fake from Gallienus' zoo ...

I can't believe no one sent me this Get Fuzzy cartoon:

From the Times:

MALCOLM WILLCOCK was Professor of Latin at University College London, 1980-91, a Homeric scholar of distinction, and a leading figure in the late 20th-century modernisation of the teaching of classics in Britain.

Malcolm Maurice Willcock was born in 1925 and educated at Fettes College. He read classics at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and was a research Fellow there in 1951-52. In 1952 he was elected a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, becoming senior tutor in 1962. In 1965 he joined the new University of Lancaster as its first Professor of Classics. In 1966 he became Principal of Bowland College, at a crucial stage in the university’s development. In this he played a leading role, and was Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 1975. In 1980 he moved to the chair of Latin at UCL where he was also Vice-Provost, 1988-91.

In 1999 his translation of Arrian’s treatise on hunting with dogs, Cynegeticus, appeared, and in 2005 he co-edited a translation of the Homeric studies of the German scholar Franz Albracht, Battle and Battle Description in Homer.

Willcock chose the commentary form for his major publications, reserving his treatment of specific issues, above all on the Homeric poems, for articles. His commentaries were designed to be accessible to students, and succeeded admirably, combining a lightness of touch with a sense of what is important, helped by his commendably uncluttered annotations. He communicated the literary value of the text as well as the pleasure to be derived from it. That the commentaries are also significant contributions to scholarship is due to his command of linguistic and technical details. Willcock had a profound understanding of Greek and Latin metre — as a Cambridge undergraduate he had won the Porson Prize for Greek verse composition.

Willcock believed in participating actively in university governance, and held administrative posts in the three universities at which he taught. He was a conscientious and informed administrator, a brisk and organised chairman of meetings, sensible and sincere (as even those opposed to his views — sometimes strongly expressed for such a modest man — came to admit).

He headed his departments at Lancaster and London with firmness but with great generosity towards, and support for, innovation. He preferred to communicate with colleagues on everyday issues by letter. Chance encounters between lectures or over coffee could then be devoted to other matters.

He was endlessly patient with students, whose admiration for him was sometimes mixed with uncertainty provoked by his seemingly naive, but pedagogically effective questions. (“Does he really not know who Plutarch is?” a troubled undergraduate once asked). A riveting lecturer, handsome and articulate, he paced his exposition to suit his audience, generated enthusiasm and had an unfailing sense of occasion.

In 1970s Lancaster he was almost alone among the staff in wearing his academic gown to lectures — it added to the drama of his Homer classes. At UCL, as a professor of Latin best known as a Homeric scholar, he practised the self-denying ordinance of teaching only Latin until close to the end of his tenure, when he became relaxed about offering courses on his beloved Homer.

He could not bring himself to admire Virgil to the same extent, though he served the Virgil Society loyally for many years, and became its president.

Willcock realised early in his career that the traditional teaching of classics was under threat, and that radical measures were called for. At Lancaster he pioneered novel classics programmes that admitted beginners in Greek and Latin language, and he supported and developed UCL’s similarly accessible Ancient World Studies degree. At UCL he encouraged the student production, in translation, of Plautus’s Casina in 1980 — and what became the successful UCL Bloomsbury annual classical play was born.

He was a founder member of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers and influential in launching its Greek language-learning programme. He was academic consultant to the publisher Aris & Phillips, developing its innovatory series of texts (now published by Oxbow) with translation and an accompanying commentary that can be used by readers of the translation as well as of the original text.

The freshness and alertness that he brought to scholarship and university life generally were not least due to his ability to relax in large houses filled with lively people, in the company of his wife Sheena and their four daughters. He played golf and squash and was a formidable bridge player.

Professor Malcolm Willcock, classicist, was born on October 1, 1925. He died on May 2, 2006, aged 80.
From the Journal-Sentinel:

Though Margaret Peirce was forced to give up teaching English and Latin when her eyesight began to weaken, it didn't stop her from seeing as much of the world as a single lifetime would allow.

And when the limp in her step became more pronounced, it didn't keep her from walking the cobblestone streets near Kronborg Castle in Denmark, to view the setting of her beloved Hamlet. Nor did it discourage her from traveling the lands once walked by Homer.

"She would not sit back and say 'No, no, I can't do this' or 'I'm not going to do this,' " Peirce's longtime friend, colleague and traveling companion Lucille "Lue" Muldoon remembered Thursday.

Peirce, 85, died of natural causes Sunday at her home in Cudahy. She taught high school students for more than 40 years, but her work neither began nor ended at the schoolhouse door. She spent her evenings correcting papers and drawing up lesson plans, and her summers visiting universities to develop courses.

And her travels, such as the summer she spent at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, in 1976, served as a teaching resource.

"She made slides from the pictures she took and used them in her classrooms," said Muldoon, a former English teacher at South Milwaukee High School, where Peirce taught for 30 years.

She was born Margaret Lavinia Peirce on Jan. 10, 1921, in Milwaukee. She learned the value of education from her mother, Emma, a Latin teacher, and gained a love for travel from her father, Gilbert, a railroad engineer.

Her father's work for the old Chicago Northwestern entitled her to a railroad pass.

"She used to travel the country," said Muldoon, who met Peirce in 1955.

Peirce earned a bachelor's degree in English and Latin from Downer College in Milwaukee and a master's degree in Latin from the University of Wisconsin in Madison before she began teaching at Oconomowoc High School in 1943.

After 11 years, she began teaching at South Milwaukee High School, where graduating seniors were grateful for the high standards she set, Muldoon said.

There were times, however, when Peirce would learn from her students, Muldoon said.

"She thought the students of the '70s were her best ever," Muldoon said. "They were thinkers, they were challenging, which caused teachers to rethink their own ideas at times."

When her weakening eyesight forced her to retire in 1984, she indulged herself in the things that brought her joy, such as the symphony, the theater and charity work through St. Sylvester's Parish.

And the world that she previously brought to her students through literature became her own classroom, "even when her leg would hurt or she couldn't see very well," Muldoon said.

"She never lost her enthusiasm for life."
This time, it's Mary in a Cleveland 'branch' ... fans of the Simpsons will possibly see Mr Burns from the Springfield Files episode ...
Although a bit out of our time period, the subject matter in question is definitely Classical ... from ANSA:

An erotic pagan fresco commissioned by one of the naughtiest popes in history has been restored and returned to the public after decades in the dark .

The fresco, in a long-closed papal apartment inside famed Rome monument Castel Sant'Angelo, illustrates the classic fable of Love and Psyche - a beautiful girl visited by a mysterious winged lover, punished by the gods when she lights a candle to see his face .

The myth - which has a happy ending - was used by the Roman philosopher Apuleius as an allegory of the soul seeking divine love. The wall painting shows Love lying in full-frontal glory while the naked Psyche leans over him, her gleaming thighs and buttocks lovingly rendered .

It was commissioned by Pope Paul III (1534-1549), a member of the powerful Farnese family who lived a wild life and sired four children before and after a marriage he renounced to become pope .

Painted in 1545-1546 by Florentine maestro Perin del Vaga, the fresco was damaged over the centuries by decay and clumsy restoration efforts - the last in the 1960s .

"This restoration is part of an important project which we have been working on for months," said Rome art expert Fiora Bellini at Thursday's reopening of the room .

"The idea is to set up a separate guided tour of the Farnese apartments, recognising their stylistic autonomy from the rest of the monument" .

Bellini said she was now hoping to get funds to restore a second, adjacent apartment used by the former Alessandro Farnese .

Like the Love and Pysche Room, the Perseus Room is called after the splendid fresco on its roof .

"The aim is to make the circuit formed by the two rooms shine out with its former splendor" .

Chief restorer Rossano Pizzinelli said: "We tried to recover the lost balance between the original painting and the successive interventions" .

"The project highlighted the quality of Perin's school, truly perfect in its mastery of all fresco techniques". There are twelve apartments in the former papal fortress on the Tiber - built on the tomb of philosopher-emperor Hadrian - but they have been closed to visitors for years .
From Kathimerini:

Authorities said yesterday that a 60-year-old businessman arrested in Iraklion, Crete, for possessing illegal antiquities could be linked to a large international smuggling operation.

The head of the Special Investigation Service, Michalis Anastassakis, said that evidence does not currently point to illegal trade in antiquities but he did not rule out the suspect being part of an international antiquities-smuggling gang.

Police found in the suspect’s possession an ancient marble funeral tablet, two vases, 27 ancient coins and six icons dating from before the 19th century, among other items.

Additionally, police found 159 bullets in a bank deposit box kept by the suspect. Authorities did not identify the man, who owns a retail store in Iraklion, as investigations into the issue continue.
ante diem xvii kalendas quinctilias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 3 of a five-day festival honouring the birthday (maybe) of Minerva )

Quando stercus delatus fas ("When the 'trash' is taken out") and the Temple of Vesta is closed to the public

302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hesychius

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Vitus (and companions)
theomania @ Wordsmith

juxtaposition @ Dictionary.com
Things are picking up:

Religions of the Mediterranean has a brief item on immigrants to Delos in ancient times ...

Roman History Books is looking at ancient glass ...

Glaukopidos is looking at various World History Standards in assorted states ...

Archaeology Magazine updates the Bosnian Pyramid thing (interesting letter associated with this) ...

PhDiva DK has tracked down some photos of that Venus whose head will reunite with her body at the Michael C. Carlos Museum ... there's also a bit on Palmyra ...

At Under Odysseus, Ajax has met his demise ...

Bestiaria has proverbia de avaris ...

Interesting item at Laudator about folks not claiming dead bodies ...

Hobbyblog has a Republican issue of the moneyer L. Sentius ...
Here's a very interesting bit of outreach ... from the NWI Times:

Latin Summer is a week-long enrichment activity at Crown Point High School for students entering fifth through seventh grades. Past participants who are entering sixth through eighth grades can attend the Master Class version.

Both the beginning class and the master class meet at Crown Point High School from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, July 17 to 21, and engage in six learning activities for 30 minutes each.

Learning segments involve Classical Art, Mythology, Classical Latin, Colloquial Latin, Classical Culture, and “Game Time.” Participants enjoy snacks every day as well as take-home gifts like T-shirts and pencils. The Latin Summer program is a fundraising activity that supports the Crown Point High School Latin Club. High school Latin students teach the classes along with Jeremy Walker, the CPHS Latin teacher.

The cost is $50, which includes all the treats. Registration forms for the beginning class are available on-line at www.crownpoint.ijcl.org. The original registration deadline has been extended to June 23.
Must be 'crime beat' day or something ... from Basilicata comes word of a significant bust in Italy:

Traffico di reperti archeologici, alcuni forse trascinati in mare dall'eruzione del Vesuvio, al centro di un traffico illecito nel napoletano. L'operazione ha portato al sequestro di 41 tra anfore e vasi e alla denuncia di cinque persone, tutti pescatori di Ercolano. Nelle loro abitazioni sono stati trovati reperti risalenti al III e al II secolo d.C., di origine greco-romana e punica, utilizzati, secondo gli esperti di Pompei, a bordo di navi per il trasporto di vino.

... I hope they figure out where the shipwreck is that these guys are obviously pillaging from.
The LA Times has a nice piece outlining the issues which the participants in the trial of Marion True are wrestling with:

One by one, museums in dispute with the Italian government over looted antiquities are reaching agreement. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art signed a deal in February, and talks with Princeton University are said to be well advanced.

Alone stands the J. Paul Getty Museum, whose exceedingly complicated negotiations with Rome have been plagued by delays and shown little progress.

Two factors continue to dog the talks, which are scheduled to resume this month: the sheer volume of material that the Italians want the Getty to return, including some of the museum's most prized possessions, and the criminal prosecution of former Getty antiquities curator Marion True.

Officially, the True trial and the broader issue of what, if any, antiquities the Getty will return are separate matters. Inevitably, however, the two are intertwined, locked in a poisonous embrace in which actions taken in support of one could badly hurt the other.

True has denied Italian charges that she conspired with art dealers either implicated in or convicted of involvement in the massive antiquity-trafficking network that illegally has channeled valuable pieces to the world's museums and private collectors for decades. If she were to change course and admit guilt, she could probably escape jail time. But her admissions might weaken the Getty's bargaining position.

The Getty, on the other hand, could follow the Met's lead and agree to a program of returning objects and then borrowing them back. But doing so might jeopardize True's ability to defend herself. Or, if True felt abandoned by the Getty, she might turn on her former employer and implicate the rich institution in other wrongdoing.

True was forced to step down in October from the curatorship she had held for 19 years, but the Getty is paying her legal bills. Her attorneys confirmed a number of contacts with Getty representatives during the trial, which began nearly 11 months ago.

Faced with this quandary, Getty officials have tried to open several alternative channels in their negotiations, in what some Italian officials think is an effort to find a more sympathetic ear in the government.

Italian negotiators are demanding that the Getty agree to give back all 52 precious objects that figure in the case against True. Several, such as a 2,400-year-old marble statue of the goddess Aphrodite, have been on display for years at the Getty Museum. As part of the deal, Italy would agree to allow some of the items to be displayed in the museum's galleries as long-term loans. Getty officials, however, are contemplating the return of fewer items, according to Italian negotiators.

Ronald Olson, the top-gun attorney hired by the Getty as outside counsel to sort out the mess, spent several days here in late May and early June to explore new contacts with the Italians. Olson declined to discuss these meetings in detail, saying the issue was at too sensitive a point.

"Getty is seriously interested in resolving its difficulties with Italy," Olson said in a telephone interview. "Getty is serious about bringing about a successful conclusion."

According to other sources, Olson elicited the help of U.S. Ambassador Ronald Spogli, a prominent equities investor in Los Angeles before President Bush nominated him for the Rome embassy post a year ago. Spogli's California background means he probably moved in many of the same circles as Getty trustees, but his extensive work on corporate boards did not include the Getty's, an embassy official said.

Olson also apparently secured a meeting for Getty Museum Director Michael Brand with Italy's new cultural minister, Francesco Rutelli. Brand early this year held talks with Rutelli's predecessor and later expressed confidence that he had made headway. But the previous government was ousted in elections in April, and Brand may feel he has to start anew.

Rutelli confirmed last week that he would meet with Brand, but he insisted that Italy would not back down from its position. The meeting is expected to take place Monday, in effect relaunching negotiations.

"Our request for the restitution of all of the trafficked works — and I say all — is our priority," Rutelli told the Italian daily Il Messaggero. "This is in the interest of the American museums, as well. This explains to the trustees and officials that the period of great plunder is over."

Brand also met with Italian diplomats in California on Feb. 20. In that meeting, according to an Italian official, Brand indicated that some members of the Getty board of trustees were reluctant to settle with Italy while True's trial continued, lest it appear the institution was deserting her cause and making her a scapegoat.

Italian prosecutors in the True case, frustrated at what they see as a lack of cooperation from the former curator, consider it a misjudgment for the Getty to hold off on settling with Italy. The museum's resistance, they say, could be construed as a deeper conspiracy. They also reason that if the Getty reaches a deal, True will be more likely to cooperate.

Lead prosecutor Paolo Ferri said he favored offering leniency to True and her co-defendant, 87-year-old art dealer Robert E. Hecht Jr., if they were to admit guilt and describe the nuts and bolts of the antiquity-trafficking network. Ferri said he was more interested in information and sending a message of deterrence than seeing True and Hecht behind bars.

"We are not dealing with hardened criminals here," Ferri said.

True's lead attorney, Franco Coppi, and lawyers for Hecht did not respond to phone calls seeking comments for this article.

The trial itself has dragged on since opening in July. In 11 hearings, Ferri and the prosecution have presented hundreds of Polaroid snapshots and documents confiscated in raids on dealers' warehouses. The material shows archeological artifacts — sculptures, frescoes, vases, urns and so forth — still caked with dirt or wrapped in newsprint, evidence of having been freshly dug up from Italy's numerous ancient tombs. Many of the items were then traced to the Getty's shelves and display rooms.

It is illegal to excavate antiquities in Italy or to export them without government permission.

In the most recent hearing, on May 31, prosecutors presented a picture of two magnificent marble griffins, mythical eagle-headed lion-like beasts, covered in dirt and plopped in the trunk of a car. The picture was confiscated in a raid on a warehouse belonging to Giacomo Medici, an earlier co-defendant of True's who was convicted last year. Experts testified that the ancient statuary could be traced to southern Italy because of the unusual color and type of marble. The griffins today are in the newly reopened Getty Villa, the museum's showcase for its antiquities collection.

True's attorneys have not sought to refute the evidence, but rather have said she purchased items in good faith, unaware of their murky origin.

The next hearing is set for Wednesday.

Italian officials say that whether or not they get a conviction of True and Hecht, their point has been made: The illegal theft of archeological patrimony must stop. Ferri cites a recent case of 15 Etruscan vases that were being sold on the black market for a fraction of their value, evidence that Italy's criminal prosecutions had dented the smugglers' trade.

"The political meaning of this trial is now irreversible," Ferri said.

Outside experts agree, to a point. Valerie Higgins, an archeology expert and chair of the arts and humanities department at the American University of Rome, said the Getty case would help cement a trend among museums toward paying more attention to the cultural context of treasures.

The case "certainly made people a lot more cautious," she said. "The idea of going around the world buying objects and taking them home is really the modus operandi of another era. In the past, it was convenient to turn a blind eye, but I don't think they would do that today." But she said that private collectors, subject to less scrutiny and less likely to be confined by scruples, would not be deterred.
From the Times:

A RARE Roman coin celebrating the murder of Julius Caesar has been returned to Greece after an operation by British Customs.

The 1st century BC Brutus coin, with a double-dagger design representing the Roman politician’s role in the assassination of Julius Caesar, was excavated illegally and brought to London by two Greeks.

The daggers flank the cap of Liberty, the special head-dress of the twins Castor and Pollux given to freed slaves and used to charactise Caesar’s murder as a patriotic act.

The Greek Government used a Council of Europe directive to claim back what it described as a national treasure. It is the first time European law on stolen cultural items has been used in Britain.

A British dealer, who insisted that he bought the 18mm coin in good faith, has handed it over to the Greek Embassy in London. Eric McFadden, the senior director of the Classical Numismatic Group, confirmed that he had bought it from two Greeks — even though one of them had allegedly been linked with Nino Savoca, an Italian dealer in Munich, who died in 1998 after being found to have been dealing in smuggled antiquities.

Mr McFadden, whose company is regarded as one of the world’s leading specialists in Greek and Roman coins, told The Times: “He did some work for Nino in the 1980s ... One doesn’t refuse to deal with someone because he has a slightly shady background.

“One looks at the deal on the table. We’re business people. If there’s any indication something’s not legitimate, we don’t deal in it.”

The silver denarius coin came from a mobile military mint travelling with Brutus in exile in northern Greece in 42BC when he was the self-styled Emperor after taking part in the killing of Caesar in on the Ides of March in 44BC.

Barely 80 examples are thought to have survived worldwide and few are in public collections.This example came to Britain last summer. Two Greeks were stopped by Customs at Stansted airport. They claimed that they had arrived to spend the day in London, but they carried hardly any money.

When they returned to the airport in the evening they were stopped again by Customs, when they were found to be carrying a large sum of cash in euros.

An investigation by Customs determined that the cash was payment for a coin that they had sold that morning to Classical Numismatic Group, of London. The cash was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and Customs contacted the Greek Embassy.

After extensive research by its Culture Ministry’s unit against the illegal traffic of antiquities, the Greek Government exercised a European directive on the return of cultural objectsthat passed into British law in 1994. Alan Bercow, of Stephenson Harwood, British lawyers for the Greek Government, said: “These laws have been in force for over ten years but this is the first time they have been used in Britain.”

Victoria Solomonidis, the cultural counsellor at the Greek Embassy, said that the coin had been “safely delivered unconditionally” by Classical Numismatic Group.
ante diem xviii kalendas quinctilias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 2) -- a five-day festival honouring the birthday (maybe) of Minerva

287 -- martyrdom of Rufinus
choleric @ Dictionary.com

gynophobia @ Wordsmith

divarication @ Merriam-Webster
Wow ... no news today; let's see what the ClassiCarnies have come up with ...

Bread and Circuses points us to a very interesting official report/presentation type thing from the Indian National Institute of Oceanography on the evidence for Romans at Muziris ...

Thoughts on Antiquity is pondering Lucretius ...

Bestiaria has proverbia de divitiis ...

Campus Mawrtius has an interesting excerpt on why one should study Classics ...

There's more bumf at Laudator ...

PhDiva DK has a post on the Eleusinian Mysteries under the Christians ...

The APA has put Amphora 5.1 online ... there's also an announcement about a 'challenge grant' ...

ABZU points us to an online edition of Cyril Bailey's Religion of Ancient Rome ...

Going through some tags/bookmarks that have accumulated lately (it is a slow news day, after all), I note the following which might be of interest to others: at Nova Roma there's a useful page of prayers to various divinities, all (the prayers) taken from Plautus ... the Sound of Ancient Greek (might have mentioned it before) ... Surgical Instruments from Ancient Rome ... Kurt Raaflaub on "Why Teach Ancient History" ...
idus junias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 1)

? -- dedication of a Temple of Jupiter Invictus (and associated rites thereafter)

323 B.C.-- death of Alexander the Great after a brief illness (according to one reckoning)

40 A.D. -- birth of Gnaeus Julius Agricola

313 A.D. -- Edict of Toleration of Licinius

incriminate @ Answers.com

practicable @ Dictionary.com

solidus @ Worthless Word for the Day

nostomania @ Wordsmith (great word)
Let's see what's happening today ...

Bread and Circuses gives us some Classical background to that Romans in India story making the rounds ... (more in another post too)

Bestiaria features some proverbia de pecunia ...

Roman History Books has a useful collection of links about papyrus and papyrus production ...

N.S. Gill is telling us about Hellenistic Greece ...

Laudator has a very interesting Plea for the Classics ... there's also a sopholean quote on who is the most fortunate ...

Academic Purgatory continues the Vestal Adventure with a post about Domitian and Elagabalus ...

Latin liturgy fans will be interested in the latest (Latin) post at Commentarium meum ...

Hobbyblog has a (somewhat grotty) Salonina/Ram ...
From BNN:

The Bulgarian Ministry of Culture provided for additional finance of the excavation in the ancient site of Perperikon, its press office announced.

The sum of leva (BGN) 150,000 (EUR76,800; US$96,868) are granted for the excavations’ renewing and the preservation of the cultural complex, situated near Kardzhali, 260 km (162.5 miles) southeast from Sofia. Archaeologists start working this week, officials added.
The Ministry of Regional Development announced the start of infrastructure building to Perperikon last month.
Excavations’ chief prof. Nikolay Ovcharov said restoration and preservation of the culture spot will be financed by Phare program. In his words a finds museum, a laboratory and visitors’ routes will be crated near the site. The project totals at EUR 2 million (US$2,521,794).
The ancient sanctuary of Perperikon was found in 2000 when excavations started. Archaeologists reckon it a famous Thracian settlement and sanctuary of the Hellenistic god of wine and ecstasy Dionysus.
From the Democrat-Gazette comes this incipit:

This time of year, we high school teachers are busy bringing our courses to a close while trying to scrape together the state Legislature’s required 60 hours of “professional development.” Onerous as that 60 is, such language provides teachers some implicit assurance that at least our frenetic year-end activities are those of professionals.
But would that inference really be based in anything more than a need to dignify our status? Is high school teaching really a profession?
On questions like this, it is generally sound practice to consult the Greeks, who always seem to have surveyed a territory first. In some of Plato’s early dialogues, Socrates does in fact cover edifying ground. He bases several of his arguments on the strong distinction between what he calls a craft and other less knowledgeable kinds of work.
To Socrates, a practitioner of a craft must know more than what procedural steps to follow to produce a desired result. He also must be able to explain the sources of a given procedure’s effect and the logic of its applicability. Classical Greek writing often singles out medicine as the prime example of a craft. Even in antiquity, the Greeks thought a good doctor should be able “to explain precisely why and how a treatment works,” as classicist Martha Nussbaum puts it. The point was to designate a kind of work that is grounded in conceptual mastery of a field of knowledge. Without this, according to Socrates, work is not craft.

From the Daily Echo:

WORK has stopped on a new Italian restaurant after builders uncovered a high-quality Roman mosaic floor.

The patterned floor was revealed as trenches were being dug for a new kitchen at the Trinity Street, Dorchester, premises.

Restaurant owner Luciano Tombolani said he was not surprised to find Roman remains at the site but he was astonished by the quality.

He said: "This looks to me like a very important person's house. It must have been done by craftsmen perhaps four or five of them from Rome maybe came here to work on it."

Mr Tombolani, who is from Venice, added: "They came over here and have stopped me from working on my restaurant now."

Archaeologists from Context One Archaeological Services, who were overseeing the work because Roman remains had been found in the area in recent developments, spotted the floor as a mini digger started to prepare the footings for a kitchen extension.

Archaeologist Peter Fairclough said: "At about 80 centimetres down we found some tesserae. It was very exciting we knew it was Roman straight away. We appear to have found the border pattern for a larger floor."

His colleague Joshua Slator added: "It's like getting a snapshot of what's there. We'll need to do a lot of research to find out more.

"It's a very good find a real highlight in an archaeologist's career to find something like this."

They also found Roman roof tiles, known as tegula, as well as animal bones, oyster shells and fine tableware that was probably imported from the continent.

Mr Fairclough said the main part of the floor appeared to run away from the restaurant and under concrete hard-standing. "We'll probably never know what the main central pattern is."

Mr Tombolani said he was pleased to find the floor and wants the people of Dorchester to be able to see it. He said: "This is the history of Dorchester. In Italy we find things like this all the time and know how to deal with it. I would like part of it to be exposed under glass so people can come and see it."

He said he was worried that work had to stop while archaeologists, his architect and council conservation officers were deciding how to proceed.

He added: "It is possible to put a foundation over it without damaging the floor but Dorchester people should be able to see it. I'm worried about the expense of all this it's already caused a delay. I don't want to have a bill for thousands of pounds for it. The council should do it."

Richard McConnell of Context One said: "The mosaic would have decorated the floor of a room in an opulent town house.

"A previous discovery of a mosaic further along Trinity Street suggests that both belong to the same property.

"The mosaic has survived remarkably well and shows an intricate border of swirling waves, chevrons and interwoven bands made from tiny red, white, grey and dark blue tesserae."

He added that detailed recording would be carried out and the mosaic would be protected before building work continues. Specialists would analyse the finds and they would go to Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.

West Dorset District Council's design and conservation officer Kim Winter said the council's planning consent was subject to a condition that archaeological finds must be observed and recorded.

She added: "We are working closely with the county archaeologist and the owner's architect."

Mr Tombolani had planned to open his La Gondola restaurant in July.

He opened his first restaurant in Hampton Court in the 1990s and has had others in Eastbourne and Brighton.
pridie idus junias

17 B.C. -- venatio, ludi circenses, lusus Troiae (the latter was a sort of precision equestrian drill put on by the sons of the rich and famous, probably a lot like the RCMP's Musical Ride)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 7)
prelude @ Answers.com

nyctinasty @ Worthless Word for the Day

erythrophobia @ Wordsmith

revenant @ Merriam-Webster
Here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: "Ut inique bellum inferrent"

... and on the Greek side, Akropolis World News offers: French printing group suits Google - 500 farmers assault Congress in Brasil
A handful of posts to start your week:

PhDiva DK has a couple of links to items about the Celtiberian phase of the war with Hannibal ...

Alun is reconsidering some of the trigonometrical claims of the Bosnian pyramid crowd ...

Laudator has all the bumf ...

Bestiaria Latina has proverbs about kings and queens ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus/Iovi conserva ...

There's a new Ancient and Modern column up at the Friends of Classics site ...

And a doorworthy cartoon to start the week off ... first JS sent in Sally Forth (not sure what's happening with this one ... it worked a second ago):

I'd include the Zits comic mentioned on the Classics list yesterday, but I'm not sure whether it will 'survive' the day (and King Features makes it very difficult to link to things).

Interesting item from the BBC:

Archaeologists working on India's south-west coast believe they may have solved the mystery of the location of a major port which was key to trade between India and the Roman Empire - Muziris, in the modern-day state of Kerala.

For many years, people have been in search of the almost mythical port, known as Vanchi to locals.

Much-recorded in Roman times, Muziris was a major centre for trade between Rome and southern India - but appeared to have simply disappeared.

Now, however, an investigation by two archaeologists - KP Shajan and V Selvakumar - has placed the ancient port as having existed where the small town of Pattanam now stands, on India's south-west Malabar coast.

"It is the first time these remains have been found on this coast," Dr Sharjan told BBC World Service's Discovery programme.

"We believe it could be Muziris."

Key evidence

Pattanam is the only site in the region to produce architectural features and material contemporary to the period.

"No other site in India has yielded this much archaeological evidence," said Dr Roberta Tomba, of the British Museum.

"We knew it was very important, and we knew if we could find it, there should be Roman and other Western artefacts there - but we hadn't been able to locate it on the ground."

Until recently, the best guesses for the location of Muziris centred on the mouth of the Periyar river, at a place called Kodungallor - but now the evidence suggests a smaller town nearby, Pattanam, is the real location.

Drs Shajan and Selvakumar now meet locals on a regular basis as they continue their work, with some older people in particular remembering picking up glass beads and pottery after heavy rains.

Undoubtedly, they told Discovery, the many pieces of amphora are from the Mediterranean - a key to establishing Pattanam as the place where Muziris once stood.

"These amphora are so common," Dr Shajan said.

"We have hundreds of shards of Mediterranean pottery."

Mystery disappearance

Muziris became important because of the Romans' interest in trading, and their desire to have contact with regions beyond the reach of conquest and set up trading routes with these places.

"India had a long fascination for the Romans, going back to Alexander the Great," Dr Tomba said.

"Alexander was a huge model for succeeding Roman emperors, and the fact that he had been in India and brought back tales of the fantastic things, the people and products there, heightened the Roman desire to continue that association."

What is known, from a 1st Century document, is that the harbour was "exceptionally important for trade."

Clues to its location are provided in ancient Indian texts. Professor Rajan Gerta, from Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala, said that there are many references to "ships coming with gold, and going back with 'black gold'" - pepper.

"These ships went back with a whole lot of pepper and various aromatic spices, collected from the forests," he added.

Merchants from a number of different cultures are believed to have operated in the port, and there are numerous Indian finds from the time as well as Roman ones.

In 1983, a large hoard of Roman coins was found at a site around six miles from Pattanam.

However, even if Muziris has been found, one mystery remains - how it disappeared so completely in the first place.

Dr Tomba said that it has always been presumed that the flow of the trade between Rome and India lasted between the 1st Century BC through to the end of the 1st Century AD, but that there is growing evidence that this trade continued much longer, into the 6th and early 7th Century - although not necessarily continually.

"We're not quite clear how long it went on in Muziris, and the more evidence we can gather from the artefacts, the clearer the picture that will build up," she added.

"What is interesting is that in the 6th Century, a Greek writer, writing about the Indian Ocean, wrote that the Malabar coast was still a thriving centre for the export of pepper - but he doesn't mention Muziris."
This time, it's the fifth century palimpsest of the Institutes of Gaius (the Verona codex, for all you apparatus fans). From Il Resto del Carlino:

Sembra una spy-story piena di intrighi tra cattedratici dell'Ottocento, la vicenda del Codex rescriptus (V sec. d.C) della Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona.
Un prezioso Codice considerato perduto e recuperato attraverso tecnologie mutuate dalla Nasa.

Il 'mistero' verrà illustrato martedì alla facolta' di giurisprudenza, dove sara' presentata la ricerca che ha portato alla riscoperta paleografica del testo.

Si parlera' della tecnica con cui e' stato ritrovato il contenuto , ma verra' spiegato anche come nell'800 il manoscritto sia stato al centro di una spietata lotta fra accademici.

Il Codex riveste per il diritto romano un'importanza capitale. Contiene le Istituzioni di Gaio, l'unica opera del diritto classico romano giunta ad oggi senza il filtro operato dall'intervento dei Compilatori giustinianei.

La maggior parte delle opere giurisprudenziali classiche romane e' nota per lo piu' attraverso il 'Digesto di Giustiniano': il che implica, per gli studiosi, il problema di depurarle dalle frequenti alterazioni, deformazioni, interpolazioni subite nel VI secolo d.C..

Quello della Capitolare di Verona e' un palinsesto o codex rescriptus. Nell'antichita', dato l'elevato costo delle pergamene, si era soliti riciclare antichi manoscritti (previa cancellatura della scrittura originaria) per inserirvi un nuovo contenuto.

Nel caso del Codex veronese il testo delle Istituzioni di Gaio e' stato cancellato nell'VIII secolo d.C. per far posto alle Epistulae di San Girolamo.

Solitamente pero' la scrittura originaria (detta 'scriptura prior') non veniva del tutto abrasa, restando evidenti, assai spesso, alcune sue tracce.

Al fine di decifrare la scriptura prior (contenente appunto le Istituzioni di Gaio) i paleografi dell'ottocento utilizzarono reagenti chimici molto aggressivi. Il risultato fu che per quasi due secoli oltre un decimo del testo di Gaio e' risultato illeggibile a causa dei guasti derivanti dall'uso improprio di tali reagenti.

Oggi pero', grazie a modernissime tecnologie, si sta recuperando, dopo secoli, quella parte (mai decifrata) del manoscritto.

Grazie all'utilizzazione di una avanzata metodica (mutuata da quella utilizzata dalla Nasa per le ricerche interplanetarie) gli studiosi sono in grado di leggere parti di manoscritto che finora non erano state assolutamente decifrabili con gli strumenti tradizionali.

Non solo. Anche la vicenda della 'scoperta' del manoscritto e' al centro di nuove ricerche: secondo la manualistica tradizionale, infatti, la scoperta viene attribuita allo storico e diplomatico B.G Niebuhr, che nel 1816, frugando in un palinsesto in cui, nell'VIII secolo d.C, erano state riprodotte (previa cancellazione imperfetta della scriptura prior) le Epistulae di S.Girolamo, si accorse che tra le righe della seconda scrittura apparivano i resti dell'opera precedentemente riprodotta sul materiale pergamenaceo e che questi resti appartenevano ad un'opera giuridica.

Da nuove indagini sembra pero' risultare che il ritrovamento non sia stato affatto fortunoso. Alcuni brani del manoscritto erano gia' stati pubblicati oltre cinquant'anni prima del 1816.

Tale ritrovamento, come risulta da carteggi fra importanti professori prussiani dell'epoca, fu al centro di una vera 'spy-story', in cui intrighi, rivalita' e giochi di potere rivestirono un ruolo determinante.
... plum forgot to do it last night. I'll try to get it done during the week. Apologies.
Plenty of stuff today ...

Bread and Circuses has some more relevant links about those Latin/Basque inscriptions from Spain ...

About.com's N.S. Gill is pondering the suggestion that early Christians might have lived longer than their pagan counterparts ...

PhDiva DK has a pile of posts ... one on items the FBI is reporting stolen from Turkey ... she's snooping at online Classicists' libraries ... there's something on the Olive Tree pediment on the Acropolis ...

Sauvage Noble is looking at a fragment of Livius Andronicus compared to Homer (interesting one this) ...

On Friday, Hobbyblog had a really interesting Gallienus/Temple of Astarte ...

Ginny Lindzey is pondering how we promote Latin .... it comes hot on the heels of thoughts on Latin being 'in periculum' (which we mentioned a few days ago) ...

Bestiaria Latina has some ubi ... ibi proverbish thingies ...

Roman History Books is looking at Appian's version of the wars with Hannibal ... appropriately, the next book chat will be on The Pride of Carthage ...

An interesting quote about Classics over at Laudator ...

The honor games for Achilles have come to an end at Under Odysseus ...

Campus Mawrtius is pondering neologisms in Augustine ...

Not much ClassCon in Mary Beard's latest ...

ARLT instructs us how to make a model Roman warship ...

Father Foster's latest is about the canonization of Thomas More (and other things) ... it's here and begins at roughly 21:30 [I'd like to go on record as saying I DO NOT LIKE this new format ... it's almost impossible to find things efficiently]
From BMCR:

Margo Kitts, Sanctified Violence in Homeric Society: Oath-Making Rituals and Narratives in the Iliad.

Andrew Barker, Psicomusicologia nella Grecia Antica. A cura di Angelo Meriani. Università degli Studi di Salerno. Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità.

L. de Ligt, E. A. Hemelrijk, H. W. Singor, Roman Rule and Civic Life: Local and Regional Perspectives. Impact of Empire, vol. 4.

John N. Grant, Denis L. Drysdall, The Collected Works of Erasmus: Adages III.iv.1-IV.ii.100. Vol. 35.

Alessandro Perutelli, Prolegomeni a Sisenna.

Noel Lenski, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine.

Ruurd R. Nauta, Harm-Jan van Dam, Johannes J.L. Smolenaars, Flavian Poetry. Mnemosyne Suppl. 270.

Sara Forsdyke, Exile, Ostracism, and Democracy: The Politics of Exclusion in Ancient Greece.

Christopher Tuplin, Xenophon and his World. Papers from a conference held in Liverpool in July 1999. Historia Einzelschriften, 172.

Tad Brennan, The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate.
From Zaman comes this disturbing news:

As repercussions over the theft of the renowned "Winged Sea Horse Brooch," considered the most precious piece of King Croesus' treasure in Usak Museum, continue, similar scandals have been revealed at the museums of Kahramanmaras, Erzurum and Milas as well.

Some 1,000 historical works, mostly coins, are reported to have been replaced with counterfeit ones.

It is claimed that several ethnographic and archeological works were also stolen, some of which date to 330 B.C.

Dozens of coins were bought for the museums’ collections for very high prices though it was reportedly known they were forged.

Many works are also missing at Erzurum’s Archeological Museum.

Some historical works present in inventory records but absent in the museum were seen in the catalogue of a prominent collector.

The ministry will reportedly initiate efforts to reclaim the works from the collector.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the museum now possesses fake copies, while the authentic artifacts went to the collector.

The “Black List” prepared cites more than 200 works are missing from the Milas Museum (Mugla).

Culture and Tourism Minister, Atilla Koc, answering Zaman’s questions said they have started a serious operation for the museums in question.

Koc stated they conducted a thorough examination of 32 museums and added the results will be announced to the public shortly.

Koc’s statement “There has been a similar theft somewhere else, but I will discuss the issue before seeing the final results. We could have closed the museum(s) down but I do not think this is what should be done,” on Tuesday is now being decoded.

Reportedly, the inspectors sent to Maras upon an anonymous tip given to the ministry came face to face with an incredible case.

Inspectors, astonished by the dimensions of the theft, immediately prepared a preliminary report and asked for an expert delegation and the expanding of the investigation.

The inspectors intensified the investigation upon Minister Koc’s order “go till the end,” and revealed a theft unparalleled in the history of museums.

Fake Coins Found on Display at Kahramanmaras Museum

An inspection at Kahramanmaras Museum has revealed 545 coins dating back to 333 and 361 B.C. have been stolen and replaced with copies.

Kahramanmaras Governor Ilhan Atis confirmed the theft and said the head of Kahramanmaras Museum was transferred to Istanbul in 1998.

The former administrator had said he counted the artifacts and had handed them over to an archive storeroom employee; however, it was later discovered thatthe artifacts had not been counted.

On learning of this, the governor’s office applied to Culture and Tourism Ministry and asked for an official inspection.

Governor Atis said they have applied to court and an investigation was launched against the employee in charge of the museum warehouse.

Thousands of the artifacts held at the Kahramanmaras Museum should have been registered by an “expert,” but it has been revealed they were entrusted to a storeroom employee.

The question being asked now was why no legal proceeding has been launched since the investigation in1998.

Appointed to another city in 1998, head of the Kahramanmaras Museum, Ahmet Denizhanogullari, returned to his post following a court verdict; however, since then, he has neither assumed responsibility for the artifacts nor has he had them counted and referenced.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc spoke to Zaman and said, “I cannot go into detail about who I referred to in my previous statements because I am a man of law. I will wait until the investigation has concluded, just as I waited for the outcome of the investigation into the theft at Usak museum. However, I can say, that it is true that the ministry has launched inspections at a number of museums and around 32 museums are undergoing comprehensive inspections. I will share the outcomes of these inspections with the public when they are complete.”
8.00 p.m. |NG| Roman Tech
A few weeks after the first nuclear bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, French designer Louis Reard created a new swimsuit called the bikini. It caused a sensation. Almost no one realized that 2,000 years earlier, the Romans had the same idea. Reard is not alone in finding out that he was not the first with his "new" idea - many technologies like concrete, surgical instruments, window glass, double paned windows, plywood, sports arenas are not new ideas at all - they were all created by the Romans.
Another brief item from Basilicata:

Una necropoli gallo-romana e' stata scoperta nel sud della Francia:accoglie tombe di adulti con feretri di legno e sepolture di bambini interrati. Situata sul ciglio di un' antica strada gallo-romana, la necropoli della tarda antichita' (IV-VI secolo d.C.) e' stata protetta bene. Un settore artigianale e' stato riconosciuto in prossimita', svelando la presenza di attivita' di trasformazione del ferro dei giacimenti pirenei.
From a poorly-written column in the DCist, about restauranteur Ray Landrum:

You will have to be intimately familiar with the Western Canon of literature. Landrum is one erudite steak-slinger, so you'll need to keep up. He'll often deal with situations by quoting The Aeneid or Edmund Burke and you won't have time to look these things up. You'll just have to act! You can ignore Phaedo's Apology, though.

Can't tell whether Landrum was yanking an obviously-less-than-erudite author's chain or whether he had to ...
From AP via Yahoo:

A British archaeologist on Friday rejected claims that a hill in central Bosnia is a man-made structure that many local residents insist is a pyramid.

Professor Anthony Harding, who is president of the European Association of Archaeologists, visited Visocica hill and said the formation was natural.

"Not any evidence at all has been found" to support the claim the site would be an archaeological site, he said.

No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.

The pyramid theory was launched by an amateur researcher last year but it has been disputed by a number of local and international experts, who claim that at no time in Bosnia's history did the region have a civilization able to build monumental structures. They say the hill is simply a strange natural formation.

Nevertheless, Semir Osmanagic, the amateur Bosnian archaeologist who has been investigating Latin American pyramids for 15 years, organized excavations to Visocica, about 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo, in April.

His team — made up mostly of volunteers, found that the 2,120-foot hill has 45-degree slopes pointing toward the cardinal points and a flat top. Under layers of dirt, workers discovered a paved entrance plateau, entrances to tunnels and large stone blocks.

Egyptian geologist Aly Abd Alla Barakat, who arrived in May to check on Osmanagic's claims said the structure is "man made" and worth investigating.

"My opinion is that this is a type of pyramid, probably a primitive pyramid," said Barakat, a geologist from the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority.

However, Harding, who said he visited the site briefly on Thursday and looked at the same stone blocks Barakat said were man made, said on Friday they were a natural formation.

"I've seen the site, in my opinion it is entirely natural," he told reporters in Sarajevo. Harding did not visit other sites in the area which Osmanagic and Barakat say are further evidence of the existence of pyramids in Bosnia, such as a tunnel leading to the top of Visocica or a stone pavement made of geometrically regular shaped pieces.

Harding said that although he had not seen the stone pavement, by looking at photographs, "I would not believe it to be archaeological. It looks to me as a natural stone pavement." He did not visit the tunnel either.

But Barakat, an expert in the stone blocks used to build ancient pyramids in Egypt, has recommended more experts visit the site. An archaeologist from Egypt is scheduled to visit the site this month.

The theory of a pyramid has sparked intense interest in Bosnia, with local residents seeking to cash in on the craze; restaurants serve meals in triangle-shaped plates, artisans make pyramid-shaped wooden key-chains, shopkeepers sell T-shirts saying "I have a pyramid in my backyard."

When asked to comment on Harding's statement, Mario Gerussi, the director of Osmanagic's team leading the excavations, said the team had not been informed of the timing of Harding's visit and that none of the staff at the site had seen him there.

Harding specializes in the European Bronze Age, and has led excavations in Poland and the Czech Republic as well as in Britain.

... maybe I don't have enough coffee in me yet, but does the tone of this one suggest the author is skeptical about Harding's skepticism?
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Spartacus
Spartacus is one of the Ancient World's most famous figures. A Thracian soldier, Spartacus was captured by Romans and sold as a slave for training as a gladiator. With 70 other gladiators, he escaped and hid on Mount Vesuvius, where he raised an army of rebel slaves and defeated two Roman legions. But Roman vengeance was soon delivered by Crassus, who put an end to Spartacus's desperate bid for freedom and crucified over 6,000 men along the Via Appia as warning to other slaves in 71 BC.
ante diem v idus junias

Vestalia -- festival in honour of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth

53 B.C. -- the Roman army under Marcus Licinius Crassus (Dives) suffers a massive defeat at the hand of the Persians under Surenas near Carrhae; Crassus dies as a result of the battle

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5)

62 A.D. -- Nero has his first wife, Octavia, killed while in exile for adultery on Pandateria

68 A.D. -- the emperor Nero commits suicide

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 4)

193 A.D. -- arrival of Septimius Severus in Rome

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 6)
discrete @ Dictionary.com

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis @ Wordsmith (and, coincidentally, a word my students tried to stump me with definition-wise and they were quite freaked out when I knew what it meant ... then, of course, I plugged the value of Latin)
Another quiet day ...

Bestiaria Latina tells us the tale of Saints Primus and Felicianus ... there are also some first declension proverbs ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius replies to my query about the ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii with a reasonable suggestion (I'm still thinking about it; I'm also curious, though, about what was involved in these particular ludi and why they were so named) ... there's also a cartoon which should bring a smile to Athenaze fans ...

Laudator finds some Classical allusions in Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent ...
From the Tehran Times:

A team of archaeologists working on the Kangelu monument in northern Iran’s Mazandaran Province has found evidence suggesting that it might have been a Mithraist temple during the Sassanid era, the Persian service of CHN reported on Wednesday.

The team recently discovered engravings depicting ibex and cypress trees, an inscription written in Pahlavi, and some structures with Mithraist architectural elements at Kangelu, which experts believed was a Sassanid fortress before the discoveries.

“Mithraist temples were usually built in caves or in lower places. A hole was made facing the sun in such structures. In initial studies, the archaeologists have identified a hole facing west in the lower part of Kangelu’s tower, which shows that a room lies beneath the tower,” team director Saman Surtiji said.

Covering an area of 50 square meters, Kangelu has been constructed in three stories with stones and “saruj”, a mortar of cement and gypsum used in Sassanid era architecture. The ruins also indicate that it had arches, transept-like extensions, and a tower protecting it against landslides.

The archaeologists have also unearthed a Sassanid burial along with silver rings with agate gems bearing engravings, which raises the possibility that the monument is a Mithraist temple. One of the gems bears an engraving of the sun with six rays of light emanating from it, symbolizing the sun or the chariot of the goddess Anahita (Anahid).

The other ring has a skillfully engraved picture of a cypress, which was respected in Mithraism.

According to Surtiji, the gem of one of the rings has engraving of an ibex, which symbolizes beneficial nature in Mithraism. Another ring has an inscription bearing the word “farakhi” or “farahi” in Pahlavi letters in an unspaced script style. Such a style dates back to the 3rd century CE when Mithraism was at its zenith in Iran and Europe.

Mithraism is the worship of Mithra, the Iranian god of the sun, justice, contract, and war in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. Known as Mithras in the Roman Empire during the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, this deity was honored as the patron of loyalty to the emperor. After the acceptance of Christianity by the emperor Constantine in the early 4th century, Mithraism rapidly declined.

The team is searching for more evidence in order to prove their theory that the structure is a Mithraist temple. If this turns out to be the case, it would be the first Sassanid era temple discovered in Mazandaran.
From EITB:

Archaeologists in the site of Iruña-Veleia have discovered an epigraphic set "among the most important of the Roman world" with drawings from the third century

Archaeologists in the site of Iruña-Veleia have discovered an epigraphic set "among the most important of the Roman world," with a series of 270 inscriptions and drawings from the 3rd century and a representation of a Calvary, "the most ancient known up to this moment."

The managers of the archaeological site, located near the Alavan town of Nanclares de Oca, have officially unveiled these findings, identified and analysed last summer.

The tools with the inscriptions and drawings, most of them ceramics, were found in a room of the "Domus de pompeia valentina," one of the urban residences of the old city of Veleia, built up in the last quarter of the first century and inhabited until the fifth century.

A 57-square metre room was found in that town, sealed as in a "time capsule with its contents untouched," and inside there were feeding remains and fragments of different recipients and other tools that had been used for writing.

The Egypt expert of the University of Barcelona Montserrat Rius has explained that some Latin inscriptions refer to the ancient Egyptian history and its divinities, and has noted there are also hieroglyphic inscriptions "with a perfect layout" that make experts think they were taught to children.

In the findings, the "early and extraordinary testimonies of Christianisation" stand out. For instance, the presentation of a Calvary, "the most ancient known up to this moment," a small piece "between eight and ten square centimetres."

Archaeologists also highlighted that "this is one of the most important epigraphic sets in the Roman world," as important as those in Pompeii, Rome or Vindolanda (northern England).

Some really interesting photos accompany the article.
From News-Antique comes this excerpt:

Today at Sotheby’s, following an extraordinary achievement in scholarship, an ancient Roman Figure of Aphrodite was reunited with her Head after the two elements had been separated for at least 50 years. The figure was purchased in today’s auction of Antiquities for $968,000 by the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. Immediately following the fall of the hammer, the Museum also purchased the head by private sale. This remarkable achievement was made possible by extensive research done by Sotheby’s Antiquities experts. Today’s auction totalled $4,584,172, above a high estimate of $4.1 million.


Nearly three months ago, Mrs. Lawrence Copley Thaw, Sr. of New York, consigned a Marble Figure of Aphrodite, Roman Imperial, dating to circa late 1st century/early 2nd Century A.D., to Sotheby’s June 2006 sale of Antiquities. As is not uncommon with Antiquities, the figure was missing elements, in this case, her head and one arm. After in-depth research, Sotheby’s experts discovered an engraving of the complete figure, published in 1836 when it was part of a private collection in Paris. The rendering of the head in the engraving immediately struck Mr. Heintz as familiar; he remembered that Sotheby's had sold a similar head on December 11, 2002 (lot 12), possibly the one belonging to Mrs. Thaw’s headless figure.

Sotheby’s then contacted the private collector from Houston, Texas who had purchased the head in 2002; and she graciously offered to bring it to New York to see if Mr. Heintz’s theory proved correct. When the head arrived in New York, Mr. Keresey and Mr. Heintz realized that, based on the dimensions of the neck, grain of the marble, weathering of both pieces, style of carving, tilt and turn of the head, combined with the existence of the engraving, the head did in fact belong with the body. The owner of the head then agreed to make the piece available for private sale exclusively to the successful purchaser of the body in today’s auction.
6.00 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.

8.00 p.m. |DTC| Real Family of Jesus, The - 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.

9.00 p.m. |DTC| Real Family of Jesus, The - 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. |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.
ante diem vi idus junias

215 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Mens (and associated rites thereafter)

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)

65 A.D./C.E. -- Jewish rebels capture the Antonia in Jerusalem (not sure about this one)

68 A.D. -- recognition of Galba as emperor in Rome (?)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 3)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5) [I need more info on this one]

218 A.D. -- the Legio III Gallica, who had declared their loyalty for Bassianus (the future emperor Elagabalus) defeats the emperor Macrinus near Antioch; Macrinus fled

1768 -- death of Johann Winckelmann
sardonic @ Answers.com

arbiter @ Dictionary.com

plerophory @ Worthless Word for the Day

floccinaucinihilipilification @ Wordsmith

mala fide @ Merriam-Webster

... and, of course, it's always worth checking out Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies ...
Kind of quiet today ...

Roman History Books is glossing Gibbon's section on the Colosseum ...

Campus Mawrtius is looking at a 'threatening' letter of Jerome to Augustine ...

Glaukopidos has a pile of notes on same-sex relationships in antiquity ...

Hobbyblog has another coin from Gallienus' zoo series ...

Bestiaria has ex+passive proverbs today ...

PhDiva DK alerts us to some BM podcasts on the Elgin Marbles ... a piece on purloined pieces from the Miletus Museum just popped up too ...

Only passing ClassCon in this one, but it's an interesting and (humourous) look at academe at the close of the 17th century ... new online book: Alicia D'Anvers,
Academia: or, the humours of the University of Oxford
. (Surely this couplet has to become a tagline for a blog: I'le lay aside my Bowels yearning,/
And talk of Schollars, and their Learning.)
An interesting piece from the Times, with a bit of ClassCon at the end:

What was Dennis Taylor, the Northern Irish snooker titan, thinking when he placed a special order for spectacles that came halfway up his forehead? And what did Jimmy White, the “people’s champion” who never quite beat Taylor, have in mind when he changed his name to Jimmy Brown? The answer to both questions is not much, if a study of the academic capabilities of top sportsmen and women is to be believed. But it is not to be believed. Professional snooker players were ranked last despite their talents for instant arithmetic and intuitive geometry, while cyclists, golfers, rowers and track and field athletes were ranked brightest despite the crude simplicity of their sports, to wit (in reverse order): running, jumping, heaving, thwacking and — in those rare moments of Tour de France excitement — falling down.

This study was based on academic qualifications. As such, what it really measured was caution and recklessness: the caution of the oarswoman who knows she will never earn a living from sliding up and down her floating torture chamber and so studies diligently for her accountancy exams; and the recklessness of the snooker genius who knows he will never have to earn a living from anything else, so spends his teens succumbing to the sweet caress of green baize and fluted ash.

Freddie Flintoff (left school to play for Lancashire) won’t complain that cricket ranks fifth out of twelve, even if Mike Brearley (Cambridge degree) feels dragged down by the lumpen bowlertariat. Still, as a psychoanalyst he must know that genius can’t be measured, and, as a classicist, that scans can matter more than scansion.

... so here's what Mike Brearley is doing with his MA in Classics ....
A typically brief item of interest from Basilicata:

Una necropoli risalente ad un periodo che va dal VII al II sec. a.C. sono state rinvenute a Fossa (L'Aquila). Si tratta di una tomba a camera del II sec. a.C. con il letto in osso dove veniva adagiato il defunto, arricchita con vasi, pugnali e altri oggetti che un tempo venivano lasciati al momento della sepoltura. Questa tomba rimarra' sul posto, mentre i resti ossei delle altre verranno portati al museo di Celano.

Can't tell whether this piece from ANSA (in English) is referring to the same find, but I suspect it is:

Fresh tombs of one of Rome's most implacable foes have been discovered in Italy's mountainous Abruzzo region .

Some of the tombs have been dated to the Second Century BC, when Rome was still trying to subdue the warlike peoples that lived in the region .

Others date as far back as the 8th century BC, before Rome was founded .

A particularly interesting find was a 2nd-Century BC chamber tomb containing terracotta ware, jewelry and a dagger .

"It's fascinating to see how these people used to leave the dead with the objects they used in life: lances and swords for warriors and weaving and household tools for the women," said Abruzzo culture chief Elisabetta Mura .

Abruzzo archaeological official Vincenzo D'Ercole said the new tombs had been located thanks to aerial photographs provided by the Italian Air Force .

"We've known about the tomb site for some time. It's huge - some 2,000 square metres. So we asked the Air Force to give us a hand in spotting tombs" .

Roman legions were continually harried by warriors sweeping down from the Abruzzo hills .

Eventually Rome had to come to an agreement with the tribes, giving up their ambitions of conquest .
9.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mysterious Death of Cleopatra
ante diem vii idus junias

the 'inner sanctum' of the Temple of Vesta was opened to the (female) public

ludi piscatorii (?) -- a private festival celebrated by fishermen

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)

20 A.D. -- Nero Julius Caesar, son of the emperor-in-waiting Germanicus, dons his toga virilis; a congiarium is given to the people as well

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini -- a festival involving poetic contests, inaugurated by Domitian based on something done by Nero (day 2)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)
concordat @ Answers.com

paucity @ Dictionary.com

adequation @ Worthless Word for the Day

obloquy @ Merriam-Webster
Here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Georgius Bush pro emmendanda constitutione disserit
Classics marches on ...

Latest film at the Archaeology Channel is on the Amphora of Eleusis ...

Some Nestor-bashing today at Under Odysseus ...

Hobbyblog has a Constantine II/Gloria Exercitus (very nice standards on this one) ... and MG appears to have been up before me this a.m. to post In Tempus Old ...

Roman History Books is pondering Chapman's painting of the Appian Way ...

... while PhDiva DK is looking at a painting of Marius sitting at the ruins of Carthage (never have seen this one before ... nice) ...

Bestiaria has some proverbs with ex+active verbs ...

Laudator is thinking about many other things ...

I guess we can forgive Vergil for just posting (now) the internet Classic Barbie letter ... (for the record, Snopes did look into this one)
Some QED moments in this piece from the Mercury News:

The Latin program at Lincoln High School in San Jose is in periculum.

That's ``danger'' for those not fluent in the ancient tongue of the Old World. The potential loss of the course is both a reflection of shifting linguistic values and the reality of shrinking budgets, declining student enrollment and the emphasis on core classes.

At Lincoln High, it's also a matter of figuring out how to replace the Latin teacher, Janet Miller, who is leaving her post after 13 years.

``The parents are freaking out,'' said Principal Chris Funk, who posted a statewide job ad last week looking for a qualified Latin instructor for the fall. ``There are very few public schools that offer Latin. It's always been a selling card for us. But you have to be able to sustain it. The AP class has four kids.''

Funk said if he's able to find a replacement, he will keep the program. Otherwise, Latin will be gone.

Lincoln High, an ``academic, visual and performing arts magnet,'' is the only school in the San Jose Unified School District to offer Latin, though a handful of other schools in the valley offer it. The rigorous course has been a longtime academic draw for the economically and socially diverse school set in the affluent Rose Garden neighborhood.

``It's really helped me in school,'' said Katie Mielke, 14, who is taking Latin this year and said her grandmother took it in high school, too. Her family is part of a grass-roots group trying to keep the course alive. ``I find myself saying, `Hey, look! I know that word.' I think it's really neat.''

Within Silicon Valley public schools, Los Altos High School and Menlo-Atherton High School also offer Latin. And the Palo Alto Unified School District has listed Latin in its annual catalog for the past 10 years, officials said, but has never had enough interested students to actually offer the class.

Many private schools boast that they teach Latin, including Bellarmine College Preparatory and Valley Christian High School in San Jose, and Veritas Christian Academy in Campbell. Other private schools such as Harker Academy in San Jose, the all-girls Castilleja School in Palo Alto, and Menlo School in Atherton offer it, too.

Latin, the language of ancient Christian teachings, is considered a ``dead language'' because it isn't spoken. It has not been popular in public school for at least a decade. In 1997, nine classes were offered in Santa Clara County, according to records from the state. Last year, there were seven.

``When I was in high school, and I'm almost 50, you needed Latin if you were going to go into pharmacy, science or law,'' said Tina Jung, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education. ``But now, right or wrong, there's more emphasis on math and English so that kids can pass the standardized exam.''

Language popularity in public school ebbs and flows. In the 1960s after the former Soviet Union launched Sputnik, Russian was the hot language. In the 1980s, American students rushed to learn Japanese to compete in the world market. In the 1990s, schools around the country, especially in the Bay Area where there is a large Chinese population, began offering Mandarin. After the Sept. 11 attacks, a smattering of high schools began offering Arabic. South Asian languages, such as Hindi and Punjabi, are also increasingly becoming of interest.

But to discard Latin is short-sighted, supporters say.

``To be quite frank,'' said Miller, the Latin teacher who is taking a job as vice principal of curriculum at a private school, ``it's symptomatic of the erosion of academics in general.''

Each year, Miller asks her freshmen why they signed up for Latin instead of French or Spanish.

``Some say they want the challenge, or they want help in medical or legal careers,'' she said. ``Or they know it greatly strengthens their English skills. Others say it's an academically driven class and it looks good on their transcripts.''

Xochitl Lopez, 15, didn't really want to take Latin. She wanted to take a ``fun elective,'' such as ballet or piano, instead. But, at her parents' urging, she signed up for it anyway. Now she's thankful she did, attributing not only her good grades in French, Spanish and English to Latin, but her A-plus in biology -- a subject rife with difficult words from Latin. She also said she has a better understanding of history and government -- a result of learning about ancient Rome in the class, too.

``Latin is a priority in my life,'' Xochitl said. ``Not only do I learn basic vocabulary, I learn mythology and fun facts.''

Her family, along with others, lobbied eighth-graders at Hoover Middle School this year with pins that said ``How Much Latin Have You Used Today?'' to drum up interest for next year's incoming freshmen class. While there are often enough students to meet the minimum 25-student class level on the first day of class, many drop out after a week or two, school officials say, when they realize how tough Latin is. This year, 50 Lincoln High students enrolled in Latin, but they studied in a combined-level class -- beginners and advanced learners sharing the teachers' attention.

Guillermo Lopez, a truck driver, and his wife, Rebecca, a dispatcher, have been among the most passionate supporters of the program, calling it an ``academic gem'' in an eloquently phrased plea to the principal. They're especially grateful that their daughter can take such a rigorous course and not have to pay hefty fees at a private school to learn it.

Rebecca Lopez has been working behind the scenes, consulting with Latin experts on how to save the class and giving the principal a book on ancient Rome as a gift to persuade him that Latin is a class with many layers of benefits.

``It encompasses so much,'' Rebecca Lopez said. ``It's not just an ancient dead language.''

... the headline has some problems too ...
An excerpt from a press release:

Salutatorian Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a classics major, delivered the salutatory address, which at Princeton is traditionally given in Latin and is the University's oldest student honor. The tradition dates back to an era when the entire Commencement ceremony was conducted in Latin. Although the Latin salutatory began as a serious, formal address, today it often includes humorous tributes, recollections and a farewell to Princeton campus life.

Because few students today know Latin, the new graduates follow along using printed copies of the remarks, complete with footnotes telling them when to applaud (applaudite), laugh (ridete) and shout loudly (acclamate magna voce). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies, a practice dictated by tradition because the salute is directed to the members of the class.

Padilla, who is from New York, took a graduate-level course in Latin grammar as a sophomore -- the first of several graduate courses he took in the Department of Classics. As a recipient of the Daniel M. Sachs Class of 1960 Graduating Scholarship -- one of the highest honors given to Princeton undergraduates -- Padilla will enroll in Oxford University after graduation to read for a second bachelor's degree in classics.
Piles of versions of this coming in ... here's the Scotsman's coverage:

FOR decades, researchers have been baffled by the intricate bronze mechanism of wheels and dials created 80 years before the birth of Christ.

The "Antikythera Mechanism" was discovered damaged and fragmented on the wreck of a cargo ship off the tiny Greek island of Antikythera in 1900.

Now, a joint British-Greek research team has found a hidden ancient Greek inscription on the device, which it thinks could unlock the mystery.

The team believes the Antikythera Mechanism may be the world's oldest computer, used by the Greeks to predict the motion of the planets.

The researchers say the device indicates a technical sophistication that would not be replicated for millennia and

may also be based on principles of a heliocentric, or sun-centred, universe - a view of the cosmos that was not accepted by astronomers until the Renaissance.

The Greek and British scientists used three-dimensional X-ray technology to make visible inscriptions that have gone unseen for 2,000 years.

Mike Edmunds, an astrophysicist at Cardiff University, who is heading the British team, said: "The real question is, 'What was the device actually for?' Was it a used to predict calendars? Was it simply a teaching tool? The new text we have discovered should help answer these questions".

The mechanism contains over 30 bronze wheels and dials and was probably operated by hand, Mr Edmunds said. The most prominent appraisal of the mechanism's purpose was put forward in 2002 by Michael Wright, the curator of mechanical engineering at the Science Museum in London, who said it was used to track the movements of all the celestial bodies known to the Greeks: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Mr Wright's theory is that the device was created in an academy founded by the Stoic philosopher Poseidonios on the Greek island of Rhodes. The writings of the 1st-century BC orator and philosopher Cicero - himself a former student of Poseidonios - cite a device with similarities to the mechanism.

Xenophon Moussas, a researcher at Athens University, said the newly discovered text seems to confirm that the mechanism was used to track planetary bodies. The researchers are looking at whether the device placed the sun, not the earth, at the centre of the solar system.

He said: "It is a puzzle concerning astronomical and mathematical knowledge in antiquity. The mechanism could rewrite certain chapters in this area."

Yanis Bitsakis, also of Athens University, added: "The challenge is to place this device into a scientific context, as it comes almost out of nowhere ... and flies in the face of established theory that considers the ancient Greeks were lacking in applied technical knowledge."

Mr Edmunds said the researchers were prepared for an onslaught of conspiracy theories. "There's no indication that the device is anything we wouldn't expect of the Greeks or something that would require an extra-terrestrial explanation.

"I think it is a great testament to the sophistication of the Greeks and how far they advanced before the jackboot of the Romans came through."
A timeshift in the history of astronomy

IF THE Antikythera Mechanism turns out to have been a machine for showing the movements of the planets around the sun, it would greatly alter our understanding of the history of astronomy.

Although at least one Greek thinker posited a heliocentric view of the solar system, the dominant view at the time was Aristotle's - that the Earth was the centre of the universe and that everything rotated around it in perfect, circular orbits.

It was not until 1,400 years later that Copernicus and Galileo conclusively proved the heliocentric view, which greatly altered man's understanding of his importance and position in the universe.

Their work was met with stern resistance, as the Church believed the Aristotlean view - which put humanity at the centre of the cosmos - was integral to man's direct relation to God.

Researchers are now searching for clues that the Antikythera Mechanism might have been governed by heliocentric principles. If they are successful, it would suggest the heliocentric world-view was more accepted by the Greeks than thought.
7.00 p.m. |DTC| The Quest for the True Cross
Scholarly detective work and historical adventure draw conclusions about the remains of Christ's actual cross. Based on the New York Times best-seller, this comprehensive study could overturn centuries of academic assumptions about the crucifixion.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Visit of the Sanctuaries of Apollo
For many centuries, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and Egyptians turned to Apollo, the lunar god, in hopes of being granted good fortune. In this episode, we chronicle the sanctuaries built in Apollo's honor, and visit Delos in the Cyclades, Delphi in the region of Phocis, and Didymi in Ionia. Viewers experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we explore these celebrated, ancient sites, and state-of-the art technology coupled with enhanced 3D graphics allow us to see them as only the original worshippers could. Features insights from some of the world's leading archaeological experts and high-end location photography.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| At the Court of the King of Kings
During the 4th century BC, the great Persian civilization, which was the first multi-ethnic empire in history, reached its peak. In this episode, we'll tour the grand residences at Persepolis, and the imperial palaces of the omnipotent King Darius I--a sumptuous building complex for the most powerful man in the world of that era. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration and take a virtual tour with the people of Persia at the height of its civilization.
ante diem viii idus junias

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

86 A.D. ludi Capitolini (day 1)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)
nepotism @ Answers.com

strepitant @ Worthless Word for the Day

honorificabilitudinity @ Wordsmith (no ... really)
Here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Rex suffocatus Bohemorum

On the Greek side, Akropolis World News offers: Khamenei threatens USA with oil cut-off - 1st archaeologic submarine museum, in Israel
Pretty quiet in Classicsland ...

About.com's N.S. Gill has a review of Cunliffe's Pytheas book ...

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Athena ...

Roman History Books has a feature on Gibbon's views of Christianity ...

Academic Purgatory is expounding a bit more on Vestal Virgins ...

Archaeology Magazine has a little feature on those frescoes found in the Villa of the Valerii a few months ago ...

The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project has been brought to my attention as well ...
From Kathimerini:

The history of Sparta, once a prominent ancient city that played a key role in major developments in antiquity, is sometimes overlooked, or worse, misinterpreted. Nottingham University’s newly founded Center for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies — inaugurated in the city of Sparta on Saturday following an official opening in Nottingham — hopes to give the wider region the attention it deserves.

Founded at the initiative of Stephen Hodkinson, professor of ancient history, and William Cavanagh, an archaeology professor, the center aims at bringing together international experts on Sparta and the Peloponnese (academics and research students), and at establishing contacts with researchers and institutions abroad and especially in Greece. The center is particularly keen to develop relations with Greek national and regional authorities and so far the local community has been very welcoming and has even provided a base for the center in Sparta.

“We suddenly realized there was quite a concentration of colleagues working on the Peloponnese and Sparta at the University of Nottingham, which inspired us to work towards forming the center,” said Cavanagh to Kathimerini English Edition. “We want to bring work on the area together and connect with all sorts of groups. There have been many important studies and explanations but somehow it hasn’t been brought together. Each Peloponnesian city tends to be seen in a separate way.”

“We think it important to see the history of Sparta within its wider regional context. The Peloponnese has played an important role in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean from prehistory to the modern day,” added Hodkinson. “Its importance is often neglected in wider perceptions of Greece, which tend inevitably to focus upon Athens because of its democracy.”

Both Cavanagh and Hodkinson pointed out that the center’s focus is not limited to antiquity but extends to modern times and that it will hopefully appeal to disciplines other than ancient history, classics and archaeology. “One can’t study the Sparta of the past without understanding the role it has played in modern thought and culture,” said Hodkinson, explaining how the Spartan system is always a point of reference, something he also elaborated on in his lecture at Saturday’s opening. “We are also keen to develop contact with any discipline, those working on the landscape of the Peloponnese or in natural sciences. We are still in the early stages and there are many avenues we could pursue, we can go in whatever direction our members want to take it.”

The University of Nottingham has provided a workspace fully equipped with IT facilities, archives, maps and other materials and which, as Cavanagh explained, can be used by visiting researchers to the UK. A website, currently under construction, will be ready over the summer.

The center’s activities, as announced at Saturday’s opening, will include the organization of seminars, some public lectures aimed at a wider audience, but also international conferences; the first of which “Being Peloponnesian: Cohesion and Diversity from Prehistory to Modern Times,” has been scheduled to take place in March and April 2007. The center also hopes to encourage and facilitate students wishing to pursue postgraduate studies in related fields.

Local authorities took the initiative and provided a base for the center in the city. Sparta Mayor Sarandos Antonakos, who handed over the key on Saturday, said he is willing to help researchers with whatever they may need — even lodging and traveling expenses — because he wants Spartan history to receive a fresh angle. He highlighted the city’s archaeological value, reminding that it is full of finds, which makes the construction of a new museum absolutely necessary — the city has been struggling for years toward that, since many important pieces, including a number of mosaics, are just sitting in storage at the small museum operating today.

“It is very important, especially for students visiting Sparta for the first time, at the beginning of their PhD, to have a research base and a welcome space at the local library,” said Hodkinson, who, along with his colleague, delivered lectures in impeccable Greek on Saturday.

More info at the Centre's website (where Centre is spelled the way one would expect in context ) ... an inaugural lecture by Paul Cartledge on the portrayal of Sparta by Hollywood is also online ...
From Reuters (via Yahoo) comes this:

Bosnia's mystery pyramid will now be probed and inspected by a team of experts from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"We shall send a UNESCO expert team to Visoko to determine exactly what it is all about," UNESCO Secretary General Koichiro Matsuura said in an interview published on Monday in Dnevni Avaz newspaper.

Amateur archaeologist Semir Osmanagic has caused a stir with his find, although local and European archaeologists denounce it as nonsense.

Geologist Aly Abd Barakat, an Egyptian researcher sent by Cairo to assist Osmanagic's team last month, has said that the Visocica hill did appear to be a primitive man-made pyramid of uncertain age.

Barakat said huge stone blocks found on the three sides of the hill used the same type of artificial cement used in ancient Egyptian pyramids.

Osmanagic's team is also investigating the Pljesevica hill -- which he calls the Moon Pyramid -- as well as underground tunnels he believes connect three pyramids.

The researchers have also found a sandstone monolith in the underground tunnel with enigmatic symbols engraved on it, which will be sent to Egypt for analysis.

Osmanagic, who studied pyramids in central America for the past 15 years, said that satellite and radar analyses have revealed the perfect geometry of Visocica and precise alignment of its sides with four cardinal points.
Gotta mention this one from the Daily Record:

CHRISTIANS are being offered the chance to "worship at every meal" thanks to the Jesus Pan.

The pan can be used to cook omelettes, pancakes and "heavenly hotcakes", all embossed with an image of the Son of God.

The US manufacturers are selling the pans for $29.99 (around £16) a pair.

But holy images are not just confined to cookware. The owners of a cat called Brandy claimed it had Jesus on its fur.

And Canadian Fred Whan found a picture of the Saviour on a fishcake.

Can't tell if the website is serious or not ...
It appears the government in Portugal is messing with Classics in a way that seems all-too-familiar, so there's one of those online petitions (with quite a few signatures already). If you'd like to add your imprimatur, check it out (an English explanation is after the Portuguese).
3.00 p.m. |DISCC| Who Killed Julius Caesar
Historians writers and film-makers have puzzled over the assassination of Julius Caesar for centuries. Using the latest technology and modern profiling techniques experts reveal the truth behind history's most famous crime.
nonas junias

470/469 B.C. -- birth of Socrates (according to one estimate)

466 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Dius Fidius ... a.k.a. Semo Sancus (and associated rites thereafter)

17 B.C. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 2)
contaminate @ Answers.com

contumely @ Dictionary.com

jubilate @ Worthless Word for the Day

numismatic @ Merriam-Webster
Here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Boliviae praesidentem agros civibus dividere coepisse.

On the Greek side, Akropolis World News offers: Edmílson to miss World Cup - Police in Turkey dismantle plot to kill Erdogan.
As I ponder whether to gamble and not take an antihistamine ...

Bread and Circuses presents another propagandizing depiction of Arminius ...

Roman History Books reviews the Jewish Mosaics exhibition in Brooklyn ...

Bestiaria Latin has proverbia de fortuna today ...

Academic Purgatory is thinking (and looking at) about Vestal Virgins in various contexts ...

Hobbyblog has a nice Salonina/Concordia (a rather different Concordia than we're used to seeing) ...

With all the controversy about the Lydian Hoard of late, PhDiva DK has a useful post on some of the items in the Treasure of Croesus ... there's also a completely unrelated thing about Socrates and the Agora ...

Laudator tells us about Dryasdust ...

Ginny Lindzey is pondering the perils of split grade classes ...

Another item from Christie's upcoming auction. According to the official description, this is a mid-sixth century Attic black figure hydria done by the Louvre Painter. That's Theseus killing the Minotaur there.

From an interview in Bloomberg with Leonard Cohen:

Schatz: Tell us about your new book. It's taken you a long time to put it together.

Cohen: A friend of mine called it the ``Book of Prolonging.'' I never thought there was much urgency in the whole enterprise, or anything else I do for that matter. I really did follow the advice of Horace, the Roman poet. He said you should leave your poems in your drawer for at least nine years. And I tend to do that.

I tend to let them sit for a while, work at them over the years, and when the whole work seems to suggest a kind of coherent sequence and the poems have matured -- both by being left alone and by being scrutinized intermittently -- there's a moment when they're ready, when a book is ready.
10.00 p.m. |SCI| The Riddle of Pompeii
Explore life and society in Ancient Rome through recent archaeological excavations and cutting edge science. Discover what really happened during the eruption in AD 79 that destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

10.00 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.
Plenty of items of interest as we wander down the Classical midway:

Dorothy King has a post on East-West influences in ancient coinage ...

AM at Bread and Circuses comments on Terry Jones' Barbarians ... he also mentions a touristy podcast on Athens ...

Roman History Books is looking at Classical Education via Jane Austen ...

Laudator presents C.S. Lewis' version of Horace Ode 2.3 (along with Horace's Latin and another English translation) ...

Sauvage Noble has a raspberry jampot fragment of Albinus ...

Bestiaria Latina gives us some foolish proverbia ...

Mary Beard is pondering a bust of Commodus et alia ...

Iconoclasm has a feature on the ClassiColor exhibit in Istanbul ...

Acta Sententiaque gives an idea of what Latin teachers spend their summer doing ... (and congrats on the TOY)

Meanwhile, GL is pondering textbooks in the Latin Zone ...

There's another installment at Under Odysseus ...

In response to my earlier query about Father Foster's broadcasts, several folks have written in to mention that it is part of a huge broadcast ... the RV site seems to be undergoing renovations and the latest FF broadcast (on gods of ancient Rome) is now available as a realaudio file; let's hope they're pondering proper podcasts.
From Reuters (via Yahoo):

An underwater explorer who found the Titanic and a team of international scientists will soon survey waters off the Greek island of Crete for clues to a once-powerful Bronze Age-era civilization.

The expedition about 75 miles northwest of Crete aims to learn more about the Minoans, who flourished during the Bronze Age, and seeks to better understand seafaring four millennia ago, the scientists said.

U.S. researchers say the Minoans were engaged in broad-based trade with other civilizations, such as the Mycenaeans on mainland Greece and perhaps with peoples as far away as the present-day Middle East.

"No one knows who the Minoans were," said Robert Ballard, an oceanography professor at the University of Rhode Island who discovered the Titanic in the North Atlantic in 1985.

"They don't think they were Greeks ... they think they might actually be Egyptian. Obviously a lot of these mysteries will be solved if we find their ships and especially their cargoes," said Ballard, who is helping lead the expedition.

Ballard's other high-profile discoveries include the remains of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy's sunken World War Two-era boat, the PT-109, in the Solomon Islands in 2002, and two ancient Phoenician ships off Israel in 1999.

The latest expedition begins on June 8 in the Sea of Crete, where scientists using sonar have already identified possible ancient shipwrecks. Using high-tech, underwater equipment, the team will probe the sites more closely, including taking photographs and mapping the area.

Mary Hollinshead, an archeologist at the University of Rhode Island and member of the expedition, said it is clear the Minoans had contact with the Mycenaeans and Egypt and Syria in the Bronze Age, but scholars know little more about the nature of those relationships.

Hollinshead and others are convinced that a key to understanding the links is finding the ships. "We have done some work on land, but what's lacking is material from the sea," she said.


The archeologists also hope for new insight into shipping in the Bronze Age, which lasted from about 3000 BC to about 1100 BC and witnessed a dramatic expansion in sea trade that went beyond the Aegean region.

Much like today, they believe, shipping was comprised of large transit vessels that could sail for long distances and local peddlers who stuck close to the shore.

The parallels may extend further than that. "You don't have just one nationality or one ethnic group running a ship," Hollinshead said. "What we're learning is the questions are much more complex than what we started with."

On another leg of the $1.5 million expedition, University of Rhode Island scientists will study the sea floor around the Greek island of Thera, site of a massive volcanic eruption around 1600 BC.

They will examine the volcano's collapsed crater for the first time with underwater remote-controlled vehicles equipped with high-definition video cameras and temperature sensors.

Thera is also important because it may help better explain the Minoans, whose name derives from Minos, a legendary ruler of Crete and purportedly the son of the Greek god Zeus.

The island, which sank into the sea after the eruption, was home to a society heavily influenced by the Minoans -- from architecture to art and possibly religion, Hollinshead said.

Since the island is buried in volcanic ash, any artifacts found there may be well preserved and hold the best clues to how Minoan culture thrived and why it ultimately waned, she said.
From Kathimerini comes this strange/sad news:

One of Greece’s major Early Christian monuments has been abandoned.

The restoration of the catacombs on the island of Mylos has been postponed for the second time, which means that the EU funding previously secured may now be lost. The reasons behind the continuous cancellations are not known.

The catacombs are situated in the southern part of the island, near the village of Trypiti. They date to the 2nd century and were used during the Early Christian period. They contain about 300 sculpted graves, housed in three large galleries which develop into six 184-meter corridors. They were first explored by scientists at the end of the 19th century.

After a lengthy struggle, the restoration was put under a 650,000-euro funding program by the Ministry of Culture. “The first tender, held in December 2005, was declared null and void, while the second, on May 8, 2006, was canceled because it should have had the approval of the Ministry of the Environment and Town Planning,” said Antonis Drougas, president of the Panhellenic Association of the Mylos Catacombs. “This delay is endangering the actual restoration work, because time is now running out.” The work must be completed by the end of 2007.

The restoration, which will make the catacombs accessible to the public, will not only protect the monument but will also contribute to the island’s tourist development. The Association of the Friends of the Catacombs had to repeat what should be taken for granted: “The catacombs in Mylos are among the most important in the world, along with those in Rome and the Holy Land,” said Drougas. “Their protection is a huge issue for Greece and it is unacceptable that it should be endangered for bureaucratic reasons.”
From the Centre Daily Times:

"Vita vinum est" -- "Wine is life" -- according to Petronius, a Roman writer.

And the ancient Romans took him at his word. Wine was a staple on the Roman table, from the old, sweet, white wines on the tables of the wealthy and powerful to the slave's lorca, made from the third pressing of watered-down pomace.

We know a whole lot about Roman wine because the Romans left volumes of written records, and because the Italian peninsula, primarily the ocean bottom just off the coast, is littered with amphorae (the jugs in which wine was stored and transported). The distribution of and the writings scratched into these jugs tell much of the wine trade.

Rome was a huge market for wine. A whole lot of people with no room for their own vineyards each drank an estimated two liters per day. Almost every port on the Mediterranean exported wine to Rome.

Pliny in his "Natural History" and Columella in his "de Re Rustica" recorded a lot of information about ancient wines and grapes. In the Roman empire, grapevines were positioned to grow up trees. And the grapes were picked after they were overripe -- late harvest -- so the wines would have been sweet. It was also mostly white, not red.

The best of it was barely acceptable by modern standards -- much of it was horrible. To sample the modern equivalents, get a glass of what may be the nearest thing to ancient Roman wine, either a retsina (Achaia Clauss at $8 a liter) or a madeira (try a Justino -- Rainwater at $12 a bottle), or blend the two if you must have the full effect.

To make wine, the grapes were crushed and fermentation took place in a dolia, a large crock buried to its lip to keep the fermentation temperature down. (Wooden vessels were introduced during the Dark Ages by the barbarians, who neither shaved nor made properly fired pottery.) The wine was then racked off into an amphora. The amphora's walls were permeable so, to keep the wine from escaping, the jars were lined with pitch. Retsina is an artifact -- wine with resin -- that has survived the amphorae themselves.

Cato advised that there should be a large air space left in the amphora. This air in the jar and the description of the wine as being dark brown in color led to the conclusion that the wine was maderized (oxidized).

As in modern times, the age of the wine was considered an asset. There was new wine and old wine. Any wine more than about 9 months of age was old wine. The great Roman wines were aged in lofts over the hearths at least 10 years for Falernian and 25 years for Surrentine. They would have been oxidized and baked and, at best, taste like modern madeira.

Even though many ancient grapes are named in the surviving writings, the correspondence with modern names is problematic because the vine characteristics, leaf shape and bud configuration were not carefully recorded, and because things got very confused during the Dark Ages. Several of the white grape names are now used for red grapes, and vice versa. However, you can taste some modern wines that are likely made from grapes named by Pliny and his contemporaries.

For instance, the grape of the bees, muscato, is used in Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante at $12. Muscato grapes still attract bees. You can taste a fizzy, sweet, red wine the Romans called Lambrusco, one being Riunite at $6 a bottle. A white grape, Trebbiano, is still used to make a white wine in Italy. Try Citra at $9 for a 1.5 liter bottle.

Wine may even have been an important factor in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Sapa, grape juice reduced to a thick syrup by boiling it in lead pots, was added to wine by the vintner to color, sweeten and help preserve it. Studies of the recorded behavior of the Romans indicate that many of them, including Caligula and Nero, may have been affected by lead poisoning.

Analysis of the consumption of wine and sweetened food shows that a Roman probably consumed 250 micrograms of lead every day. The maximum safe dose, according to the World Health Organization, is 45 micrograms per day. The entire population of Rome -- soldiers, slaves and senators -- may have been mad as hatters.

... wonder where those numbers came from ...
From the Star-Ledger:

Dan-El Padilla Peralta was 9, living in a New York City homeless shelter and "starved" for something to read when a family friend handed him a book about ancient Athens and Rome.

The quiet boy, who had few pos sessions, treasured the old text and became fascinated by the togas, maps, classic buildings and tales of an ancient world that had little to do with the poverty, drugs and violence around him.

The book led to a fascination with the classics, then a love of Latin and Greek and an unlikely admission to Princeton University. On Tuesday, Padilla will pick up his classics degree and deliver the traditional salutatorian address -- in Latin -- at Princeton's 259th commencement ceremony.

Padilla, who his professors predict will be one of the premiere classics scholars of his generation, is trying hard to relax and enjoy his graduation. But even he can't help but get caught up in the fairy tale that took him from homeless immi grant to star student at one of the top universities in the world.

"I sometimes think, 'Wouldn't it be strange if I woke up one morning and I was a 6-year-old again and it was just a dream?'" said Padilla, 21. "I don't understand why I'm here and someone else isn't."

Complicating Padilla's bright future is a secret he kept from even his closest friends for years: He is an illegal immigrant.

The native of the Dominican Republic, who was brought to the United States by his parents at age 4, revealed his status in a front- page story in the Wall Street Journal in April. Through a series of lucky breaks and sympathetic school administrators, Padilla had been able to get scholarships to both a New York City prep school and Princeton despite being in the country illegally.

Supporters of immigration reform latched on to Padilla's ex traordinary situation as an example of why laws should be rewritten to grant special status to the esti mated 65,000 undocumented children of illegal immigrants who graduate from U.S. high schools each year.

Padilla said he decided to come forward because he had won a prestigious scholarship to study classics at Oxford University in England after graduation. Though he wants desperately to go, if he leaves the U.S. as an illegal immigrant it will be unlikely he can return for at least a decade under current laws.

That means Padilla would not get to see his mother and younger brother, who live in New York, or return to teach at a U.S. university and pursue his research in classics. Even if he skips Oxford and stays in the United States, it would be nearly impossible for an illegal immigrant to get a university job and apply for the grants needed to do research in his field.

"The country would lose a model citizen and ... an incredibly important and distinguished scholar in classics," said Denis Feeney, chairman of Princeton's classics department. "It's a heartbreaking situation."

Padilla's passion for ancient history and his mastery of literary analysis, linguistics, Latin and Greek make him one of the most promising scholars to pass through Princeton in recent memory, said Feeney, who taught Padilla in several courses.

Friends and professors have rallied around Padilla, raising more than $10,000 for his legal defense fund. Padilla recently filed an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, asking for an exemption that would grant him a belated stu dent visa. His lawyer argued Padilla's extraordinary childhood, including poverty and homelessness, made him unable to apply to be a citizen as a child.

His 200-page application included letters of support from several prominent people, including Sens. Charles Schumer (D- N.Y.) and Hillary Clinton (D- N.Y.) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.).

The attention has gotten Padilla's immigration application pushed through the red tape to the desks of top immigration officials in Washington, D.C. But Padilla's lawyer has been told by immigration officials that the ap plication will probably be rejected.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services declined to comment on Padilla's case.

Whatever happens, not having to hide his homeless past and im migration status any more has been liberating, Padilla said.

"I've been a private person for a very long time," he said. "After the past few months, I've been more comfortable ... with people reading or listening to the narra tion of my life story."

The story began in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, where Padilla was born in 1984 to a middle-class family. His parents decided to come to the United States in 1989 so Padil la's pregnant mother could be treated for diabetes-related problems.

Maria Elena Peralta gave birth to her second son, Yando, in New York, but suffered complications. Padilla said the family ended up staying in Washington Heights dur ing her recovery, letting their six- month tourist visas expire.

The family applied for an extension. "We never heard back from the service, which may have had to do with the fact that we were moving around," Padilla said.

Padilla's father worked as a cab driver, factory worker and food stand operator, but eventually be came frustrated with being unable to find steady work, his son said. He left his wife and young sons and returned to the Dominican Republic.

The boys and their Spanish- speaking mother ended up in a se ries of homeless shelters and run- down apartments in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the city. Padilla's mother received public assistance checks for Yando, her American-born son, but struggled to feed her boys.

Meanwhile, young Padilla be came obsessed with any book he could find on the ancient world or Greek myths.

"I wanted to read so bad," he said. "It just was a way for me to think outside my immediate context."

He fell in love with Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," casting himself as a "mini-Odys seus" on his own epic adventure as his family bounced through nearly a dozen shelters and apartments. "For reasons I really don't understand, I became captivated by all of this," he said.

Eventually, the family was befriended by a Manhattan man from a wealthy family who helped Padilla land a scholarship to the Collegiate School, an upscale Manhattan prep school that John F. Ken nedy Jr. attended. Padilla finally found classes in the classics and Latin as well as others who shared his love for books.

"I felt I was in this safe haven for nerds," he said.

Collegiate's counselor encouraged Padilla to pursue his dream of applying to Princeton, which he had visited during a debate tournament. He was mildly surprised when he got in with a full scholarship, despite disclosing on his ap plication that he was not a U.S. citizen and had no student visa.

"The university does not take documentation into account when making decisions about admis sion," said Cass Cliatt, a Princeton spokeswoman.

The Ivy League school also doesn't keep track of how many illegal immigrants are enrolled be cause no government agency re quires universities to report a number.

Padilla said he felt at home at Princeton and quickly started win ning awards for his academic work. As he kept his past hidden, he blended in well among his wealthier classmates and became a popular figure on campus. He is the first person people would call for a party or a get-together, said Princeton senior Kelly Sanabria, who has known Padilla since they were 12.

"He's just very integral to the Princeton social scene," said Sana bria, 22. "He's perhaps the most awesome person I've ever met. That sounds like hyperbole, but it's true."

Padilla's small dorm room is decorated with a mix of posters from the movie "Scarface," photos of his family and quotes from "The Iliad." Because his undocumented status keeps him from getting a part-time job, he said he relies on his grants from Princeton and small loans to cover his campus expenses.

Sanabria said Padilla would rarely let his studies interfere with his busy personal life. He would often stay out late with friends, then come back to his dorm room and start his school work at 4 or 5 a.m.

Though he is scheduled to start classes at Oxford in the fall, Padilla will remain on campus this summer to polish his senior thesis. His 130-page paper on four Roman grave stones owned by the university is good enough to be published in a professional journal, according to his professors.

He is also making periodic trips back to New York, where his brother is enrolled as a scholarship student in a private school in the Bronx and his mother is working as a part-time house cleaner and tak ing English lessons. The family is facing eviction from its three-bedroom Spanish Harlem apartment, adding to Padilla's stress.

His family and friends will be in the stands Tuesday when Padilla serves as the commencement salutatorian, an honor Princeton awards every year to a top graduate who has studied Latin.

In one of Princeton's oldest traditions, the salutatorian delivers a salutation speech in Latin. Students are given a copy of the English translation in their programs with notations of where to laugh, applaud, boo and hiss. The idea is to dupe parents into thinking all Princeton graduates are fluent in Latin.

The speech is traditionally light-hearted. Padilla, who finished his draft Wednesday, promises his address will not disappoint, despite all the weighty is sues he has been dealing with in his personal life.

"It's definitely been a crazy year," Padilla said. "This is an interesting way to end it."
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Travels through Greece
By the 2nd century AD, Greece had long been steeped in myth, tradition, and a rich history that made it a major tourist destination even then. In this episode, we travel with a Roman senator as he journeys to artistic and cultural treasures of Greece, including Corinth's welcoming agora (the center of civic activity), the acoustically perfect Theater at Epidaurus, and the famous sporting competitions and chariot races of Olympia, as well as its majestic Temple of Zeus. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we explore these celebrated ancient sites and see them as only the original inhabitants could.

6.30 p.m. |HINT| The Fabulous Centers of Hellenism
Between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, many cities in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) reached unprecedented artistic levels. They were the new centers of Hellenism--the fruit of the junction of Greek and Eastern civilizations. In this episode, we visit the cities of Ephesus and Pergamum. State-of-the art technology coupled with enhanced 3D graphics allows us to view the cities as only the original inhabitants could as we take a virtual tour of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Leptis Magna, and the Altar of Zeus complex at Pergamum, which the citizens considered a symbol of the cultural supremacy of Hellenistic people over the rest of the world. Features high-end location photography and insights from some of the world's leading archaeological experts.
Here's a tease from a review in the Guardian of A.E.H. - A.W.P.: A Classical Friendship

The scholar's monument was different, an edition of Manilius, the Roman astronomer-poet, in five volumes, published (again at the author's expense) over 27 years, which is how long it took for the first volume to sell out its 400 copies, "and the reason it took no longer", Housman wrote, "is that it found purchasers among the unlearned, who had heard that it contained a scurrilous preface and hoped to extract from it a low enjoyment".

I count myself among these, and there is much low enjoyment to be had in Housman's treatment of those scholars who had worked on Manilius before him. He was still at it in volume five. A former professor of Latin at Oxford, Robinson Ellis, for example, is described as someone whose readers were "in perpetual contact with the intellect of an idiot child"; and this was the very same Robinson Ellis who, in a testimonial recommending Housman for the Latin chair at UCL, wrote: "Personally I have always found Mr Housman an amiable and modest man ..."

The first volume of his Manilius came out with a dedicatory poem in Latin to Moses Jackson in 1903, but the poem's first draft goes back to December 1895, the year which turned the scholar into a lasting poet.

M. Manilii Astronomicon was the only book Housman dedicated to anyone. He did so "Sodali meo MI Iackson harum litterarum contemptori" ... "To my comrade MJ Jackson, who pays no heed to these writings."

He would not stay for me; and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand and tore my heart in sunder
And went with half my life about my ways.
This one from the Post-Intelligencer gives a bit more detail that that item we had earlier in the week:

The burnt remains of a 2,400-year-old scroll buried with an ancient Greek nobleman may help unlock the secrets of early monotheistic religion -- using new digital technology.

A team of U.S., British and Greek experts is working on a new reading of the enigmatic Derveni papyrus, a philosophical treatise on ancient faith that is Europe's oldest surviving manuscript.

More than four decades after the papyrus was found in a grave in northern Greece, researchers said Thursday they are close to uncovering new text from the blackened fragments left after the scroll was burned on its owner's funeral pyre.

Large sections of the mid-4th century B.C. document -- written in ancient Greek -- were read by scholars years ago. But archaeologist Polyxeni Veleni believes U.S. imaging and scanning techniques used to decipher the Judas Gospel -- which portrays Judas not as a sinister betrayer but as Jesus' confidant -- will considerably expand and clarify that text.

"I believe some 10 to 20 percent of new text will be added, which, however, will be of crucial importance," said Veleni, director of the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, where the manuscript is kept.

The scroll, originally several yards of papyrus rolled around two wooden runners, was found in 1962. It dates to around 340 B.C., during the reign of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

Greek philosophy expert Apostolos Pierris said the text might be a century older.

"It was probably written by somebody from the circle of the philosopher Anaxagoras, in the second half of the 5th century B.C.," he said.

Anaxagoras, who lived in ancient Athens, is thought to have been the teacher of Socrates and was accused by his contemporaries of atheism.

Last month, experts from Brigham Young University in Utah used multispectral digital analysis to create enhanced pictures of the text, which will be studied by Oxford University papyrologist Dirk Obbink and Pierris, and published by the end of 2007.

A separate, Greek team is also working to produce a new edition by the end of 2006.

The book contains a philosophical treatise on a lost poem describing the birth of the gods and other beliefs focusing on Orpheus, the mythical musician who visited the underworld to reclaim his dead love and enjoyed a strong cult following in the ancient world.

The Orpheus cult revolved around the soul's fate after death. It raised the notion of a single creator god -- as opposed to the many deities ancient Greeks believed in -- and influenced later monotheistic faiths.

"In a way, it was a precursor of Christianity," Pierris said.
Interesting one from the Guardian:

Archaeologists studying an ancient mosaic found by workers laying cable south of Rome have been astonished to discover that it is an optical illusion.

Viewed one way up it is a bald old man with a beard, but turned the other way round it is a beardless youth.

Roberto Cereghino, a government archaeological official, told the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera that it was "a very beautiful work, of immense significance".

He said it appeared to be a depiction of Bacchus.

The double face is surrounded by objects that were used in Bacchanalian rites: an ancient musical instrument, the sistrum, a two-handed drinking bowl, and a priestly wand. The mosaic's optical trickery may be linked to the fact that Bacchus was the god of wine.

Mosaics containing optical illusions have been found in north Africa, but this is thought to be the first discovery of such a work in Italy.

The double head was unearthed last month in an industrial area near the town of Pomezia that was previously thought to have been thoroughly explored for archaeological remains.

The mosaic has since been removed from the site for restoration, and there are plans to put it on display in Rome later this year.

... alas, no photo.
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Celts
In the First Millennium BC, the tribes known as the Celts were the dominant force on the continent of Europe. In fringe regions like Ireland, the Celtic people continued to flourish long into the Christian Age. These were warriors with a unique way of life, as this fascinating episode reveals. Dark religious rituals and a love of bloody fighting were a vital part of their life, and classical writers condemned what they saw as a barbarian lifestyle. But we now know that Celtic culture was rich and sophisticated. Buried Celtic treasures have revealed their achievement in crafts such as jewelry, while the great legends of Irish literature confirm that epic storytelling was also part of the life of this still-mysterious ancient people.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Cannae
Cannae, Italy, August 216 BC. In a classic example of double-envelopment maneuver, Hannibal inflicts the greatest ever defeat on the forces of Rome. A mighty Roman army, eight legions strong, marches out to crush the Carthaginian general on an open battlefield. Though Hannibal has far fewer men at his disposal, and none of his famous elephants, he manages to surround and slaughter the superior Roman force. See why Hannibal's military genius is still being lauded and taught in academies today. Hosted by Matthew Settle (Band of Brothers).
ante diem iv nonas junias

Saecular Games (day 2) -- the celebration of Rome's anniversary continues

261 B.C. -- death of Antiochus I Soter (I still have not been able to confirm this date)

177 A.D. -- martyrdom of Blandina, Alexander (and others) at Lyons (a.k.a. the Martyrs of Lyons)

193 A.D. -- recently-deposed emperor-for-a-little-while Didius Julianus is murdered

... we also note that it's Corpus Christi Day, and William Hone's Everyday Book has an interesting entry on the origin of religious plays ...
regnant @ Wordsmith

compenetrate @ Worthless Word for the Day

neoteric @ Dictionary.com
The monthly Radio Bremen version is up ...
As an antihistamine-induced earworm of the opening of 'Ring of Fire' winds incessantly through my brain:

About.com's N.S. Gill is looking at Narcissus ...

Bread and Circuses offers another Arminius-related artistic representation ...

Laudator is considering the etymology of a poopy subject (as my Grade Sevens say) ...

Bestiaria celebrates the day by telling us about Saint Erasmus ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus/Genius ...

Memorabilia Antonina reviews a production of the Persians ...

ABZU points us to a very interesting full-text paper from a physics journal: Halley's comet of 87 BC on the coins of Armenian king Tigranes?

Academic Purgatory is looking at the Women of Amphissa (inter alia) ...

Another online paper at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers site: Andrew Monson, "Royal Land in Ptolemaic Egypt: A Demographic Model"

Fans of Carnivals might want to check out the latest Bibilical Studies Carnival, online at Faith and Theology ...

Believe it or not, I was more drawn to the final rounds of the Scripps Spelling Bee rather than the Carolina-Buffalo tilt last night. Lots of ClassCon in the final round (besides having UVermont Classicist Jacques Bailly as pronouncer), including tmesis and koine in round 19, poiesis in 16, maieutic in 15. Well the participants outspelled me on many an occasion, I still am having problems with sciolto, which knocked out one young participant. The official definition included an etymology suggesting it had Italian and Latin elements and I've been wracking my brains trying to figure out what Latin root would make this word.

Outside of that, congrats to the winner (Kerry Close) and to (especially) runner up Finola Hackett, the pride of Toefield, Alberta (and all of Canada this a.m.).
From Kathimerini:

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis earlier this week announced that the ministry will be re-examining the list of performances that have received approval from the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to appear at the Herod Atticus Theater and the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus. The aim, he said, is to reduce the number of performances that are to be held at these ancient sites, adding that the ministry has already turned down numerous requests to use the Herod Atticus.

Voulgarakis, who has tried to push for more moderate use of the sites, added that there is no time to do anything more this year, which he described as a transitional phase. But he said that as of next year, Giorgos Loukos, the Hellenic Festival’s director (who was present), will have a bigger say in the matter in institutional terms.

The minister’s responses come after a fair amount of confusion had cropped up in the public mind regarding the character of the events that are hosted by the theaters, especially the Herod Atticus, where there are 24 productions being staged in addition to the 21 that comprise the Athens Festival. Since the theater is the traditional venue for the capital’s annual festival, these additional, non-festival events have created the sense of a “para-festival” that undermines the image the Athens Festival’s new administration is trying to promote.

Loukos disapproval

Director Loukos has strongly stated his disapproval of the ancient venues being used for non-festival activities and has also promoted the use of other spaces around the city, such as 260 Pireos, which was inaugurated last weekend.

Voulgarakis has said that, for the time being, the ministry will review those events already approved by KAS and also promised that, as of next year, the decision of how the theaters will be used will remain more firmly in the hands of the Culture Ministry and the Hellenic Festival.

He was optimistic that a form of collaboration can be found and established, so that it will be valid regardless of who is at the head of the ministry and in charge of the festival.

The minister admitted that the whole thing is still rather vague — the festival has no control over the theaters, while the ministry, which is in charge of the theaters, is not responsible for the festival. “Gray areas such as these exist at all ministries of culture and don’t allow us to establish the policies we want to,” he said.

“What I mean when I say ‘sensible use’ is that the availability of the theater should depend on every event’s artistic merit and on the monument’s ability to host it,” said Voulgarakis.

Voulgarakis said that the ministry would be evaluating KAS’s approvals this week, but the recent attempted bombing attack against him may signal a delay in addressing the issue.
From the Weston Mercury:

TWO newly qualified archaeology graduates say they have uncovered a massive Roman villa complex in the Mendip Hills.

The Weston-based graduates used specialist geophysics equipment to reveal what are thought to be two 60m buildings forming a prestigious courtyard villa with a separate bath building.

The buildings probably belonged to a rich landowner from the second or third century AD.

Limited excavation work at the site near Cheddar has thrown up patterned wall plaster and ancient cooking equipment and could hide a treasure of mosaic tiles and other artefacts.

But treasure hunters have already struck the site once and its exact location is being kept hidden.

Archaeologists Glyn Wellington and Carol Hughes have been working at the location for over a year, together with John Mathews of Winscombe.

Glyn, aged 53, graduated from a part- time degree course last year.

He said: "The house probably belonged to someone of high status, it could have been a very rich landowner.

"We only excavated a two by one meter area inside the building and every layer contained Roman materials. If we'd carried on we would have found a tremendous amount.

"It was very exciting to find it. We were shocked more than anything else. We had a world expert visit the site and he said we hadn't found the main structure yet. I think this could be huge.

"We think we've found a bath house too. From the geophysics work it could have a plunge pool as well, which would mean there would be mosaics there. Roman villas usually had a bath, it was part of their culture.

"We had to close a dig because of treasure hunters last year. Any Roman site is prolific in finds - it's full of pottery and debris.

"Raiders came late at night and started digging in our trench. We filled it in, which stops them dead."

The site has also thrown up 80 Mesolithic and Neolithic flints, aged 8,000 to 10,000-years-old, including a well-preserved arrow head.

Glyn and Carol also used geophysics equipment, where land is scanned by a machine for structures hidden underground, to uncover another Roman villa in Cheddar.

The pair uncovered a 60m villa, complete with a bath suite, which was under the lawn at the vicarage in Parsons Pen.

Excavations some decades ago aimed to find a Roman villa in the village, but had unsuccessfully focussed at the Kings of Wessex Community School site.

Glyn and Carol are due to report their findings to Somerset County Council soon.
Christie's is having an auction of antiquities in the next couple of weeks, so we'll get to highlight some of the er, highlights.

This is the highlight of the auction, as promoted by Christies. It's the so-called deClerq Venus and is a 2nd century Roman piece, according to the official description.

A bit of a tease from the online version of the TES:

A teacher at one of Britain’s most exclusive private schools is embarking on a solo crusade to revive the classics in state schools.

Lorna Robinson, 27, who has been in the profession for only a year, is quitting to promote Latin, Greek and classical history in inner-city comprehensives.

“Classics has all but died in the state sector,” said Dr Robinson, who will leave the £22,995-a-year Wellington college in Berkshire this summer.

From September, she will split her time between teaching at Cheney secondary school, Oxford, and carrying out research into how classics can be better promoted in the maintained sector.

“I’m evangelical about this. I want to try to make a little bit of a difference, because unless there is a real culture change classics may disappear from the state sector. Once that happens, it will be too late to do anything about it. We need to act now,” she said.

Latin and Greek all but disappeared from most state schools after the national curriculum was introduced 18 years ago. But they continue to thrive in the private sector. The OCR exam board, the only one offering GCSEs and AS-levels in classical languages, has already cut the list of compulsory words to be mastered and scrapped oral coursework.

Dr Robinson said more needed to be done. She studied classics at Oxford university and completed a doctorate in the subject at University College London last year before becoming a teacher.

She works in one of the most picturesque private schools in England – with a six-member classics department – but said she has a calling to work in the inner-city.

At Cheney, a socially diverse school where pupils speak more than 30 languages and academic performance is roughly in line with national averages, she will teach part-time, and intends to start a classics society.

... apparently one has to read 'more' in the hard copy version. We can mention, though, that Dr. Robinson is behind Iris Magazine, which we mentioned in the past couple of weeks.
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.
kalendas junias

rites in honour of Carna, a nymph who was somehow associated with the health of bodily organs

Saecular Games (day 1) -- celebrating Rome's thousand-year anniversary

388 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Mars (and associated rites thereafter)

344 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Juno Moneta (and associated rites thereafter)

259 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of the Tempests near the porta Capena (and associated rites thereafter?)

37 A.D. -- the emperor Gaius (Caligula) gives the people a congiarium

165 A.D. -- death of Justin Martyr

193 A.D. -- emperor-for-a-little-while Didius Julianus is deposed; Septimius Severus is recognized as emperor at Rome

1927 -- death of J.B. Bury (History or the Later Roman Empire, among others)
affiliate @ Answers.com

vincible @ Worthless Word for the Day

emeritus @ Wordsmith

incommensurable @ Merriam-Webster

... and, of course, Done With Mirrors' Carnival of the Etymologies rounds off the verbal fare for the day ...
The latest headline from Ephemeris: Uribe iterum praesidentem Columbiae factum esse

... and Akropolis World News: 4,600 dead in Indonesia earthquake - The longest living thing in the world
Anyone know what happened to the 105 Live pages at Radio Vaticana? This was where one would access Father Foster's broadcasts, but there hasn't been one for a couple of weeks -- I figured that was because Veronica was tagging along with the pope in Auschwitz. Now there isn't even a page for 105 Live and assorted links within the RV site redirect one to a general page.
Here's our gleanings for this beastly day:

PhDiva DK points us to a number of things including an online (pdf) dissertation about Agrippa's building activities ... there's also an interesting post on love magic at Oxyrhynchus ...

Bestiaria Latina offers a link to an abridged Latin version of the book of Tobit ...

Bread and Circuses is looking at a famous image of Germania Guarding the Rhine ... (I always wondered how Germania was portrayed ... for some reason I had never seen an example) ...

Laudator has an interesting bit of Latin bashing from Joseph Conrad ...

Campus Mawrtius is pondering Postgate's 'Flaws in Classical Research' essay ...

ARLT points us to another blog by a Latin teacher (lots of stuff here; I'm trying to figure out whether Acta Sententiaque should be the title ... I'll have to check it out in more detail later)...

... meanwhile, Ginny Lindzey is thinking about testing ...

About.com's N.S. Gill tells us about the June calendar ...

There's another (exciting) installment at Under Odysseus ...

ABZU has indexed a number of pertinet thingies ... an article by Christopher Faraone, "Ancient Greek Love Magic" ... by the same author "Ancient Greek Curse Tablets" ... David Wray, "Astrology in Ancient Rome" ... Richard Saller, "Family Values in Ancient Rome" ...
From the Guardian:

Archaeologists fear 1,000 years of history may be shovelled into skips as time runs out on a key site in London. Harvey Sheldon, an officer of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, called the situation at the church of St George the Martyr, in Southwark, where substantial evidence of Roman buildings may be destroyed without being recorded, "a disgrace".

Yesterday he made a last ditch appeal to church authorities to give more time for excavation, before heavy machinery moves onto the site.

Southwark, once seen by archaeologists as a nondescript marshy suburb on the wrong side of the river from the Roman city of London, has through recent excavations emerged as a key part of the Roman administration of Britain. Other sites a stone's throw away have produced startling Roman finds, including a tomb claimed to be that of a woman gladiator, the oldest inscription with the placename "Londinium", and a monumental bronze foot, all that remains of a huge public statue. Dr Sheldon believes the evidence from a contemporary major Roman building is now about to be destroyed without record at St George's.

The archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology Service, who are working against the clock under contract for the church authorities, within the crypt, are now clearing out of the site. The construction work is part of a lottery-backed project to lower the crypt floor to make it suitable for community work.

Machinery is due next week for pile-driving and underpinning work, which will destroy anything in the archaeological layer that has not already been salvaged or recorded.

Dr Sheldon - who has himself directed many excavations in Southwark, including the Rose Tudor theatre site - believes the losses will include brick foundations, which may be from a major Roman building fronting onto Watling Street, one of the most important Roman roads whose precise route through the area has never been traced.

The present Georgian church, with its stepped tower, is something of a landmark in the heart of London's Borough district. The church has many associations with Charles Dickens, whose father and family were imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea nearby, and who set parts of Little Dorrit in the church.

Dr Sheldon believes at least a month's further archaeological investigation is needed, which he estimates would cost £50,000.

"I have seen them myself, substantial brick foundations, clearly Roman from the quantities of Roman pottery coming out of the trenches. Levelling the site means that a metre of history is going to be scoured off the site and lost forever."

The Reverend Maggie Durran, the development consultant for St George's, said: "We are very keen on our archaeology, and we have done the very best we can by this site, but we have an absolute deadline of this week. Archaeologists have to understand that if their budget is spreading, everyone else's is shrinking."

Dr Sheldon says the problem lies in the way the brief for the excavation was drawn: he has no criticism of the team's actual work. Under government guidelines developers, in this case the church, must pay for rescue archaeology when building work involves destroying historical evidence. Work at St George's apparently slowed down when the archaeologists uncovered hundreds more buried human remains than expected. English Heritage gave an emergency grant for extra diggers over the weekend to recover medieval terracotta fragments judged of national importance which were also uncovered in the excavation.
You quite simply MUST check out the photos from the Brighton World Sand Sculpture Festival ... there are some more here ... and here ... this year's theme was ancient Rome. Amazing stuff ...
From the New York Times ... we get some new names in this one:

Prosecutors at the conspiracy trial of a former curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles presented on Wednesday photographs of a pair of ancient marble griffins — one of the glories of the Getty's collection — lying in a car trunk, encrusted with grime and loosely wrapped in newspaper.

Salvatore Morando, an officer with Italy's art theft squad, said experts saw striking similarities between the fourth-century B.C. griffins and a dozen or so other ancient marbles — pieces of kraters, amphorae and bases — that lie in the vaults of the Civic Museum in the town of Foggia, in southeastern Italy.

"The provenance is from the same important funerary context," Mr. Morando said of the mythical griffins, who are depicted voraciously devouring a doe.

Prosecutors said that the photographs, seized in a raid on a Swiss warehouse in 1995, show that the griffins were illegally dug up and removed from Italy.

Marion True, the former Getty antiquities curator, and Robert Hecht, an American dealer who frequently sold artifacts to American museums, have been jointly on trial here since November on charges of conspiring to traffic in antiquities looted from Italian soil. Both have pleaded innocent.

Italy is demanding that the Getty return the griffins and dozens of other objects. For now, the sculpture is on view at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, Calif., the newly expanded home of the museum's collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts.

According to court documents, the Getty bought the griffins from the New York diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman in 1985 in a deal totaling $6,486,004. The sale was handled through the London dealer Robin Symes, the documents indicate.

Mr. Tempelsman is better known to the American public as the companion of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who died in 1994. But in the rarefied world of ancient antiquities, he is considered an astute and prolific collector. As of press time on Wednesday, Mr. Tempelsman had not returned phone calls to his Manhattan offices requesting comment on the Italian case.

Another photograph presented Wednesday at the trial depicted Giacomo Medici, a dealer whose files were seized in the raid on the warehouses, standing proudly next to the griffins at the Getty Villa. The picture was obviously taken some years ago because Mr. Medici has remained in Italy since he was convicted of smuggling artifacts out of that country in 2004.

The funerary vessels in Foggia, which experts say were from a tomb, came to light only last month, Mr. Morando testified, when military police officers with the Italian art theft squad were poking through the vaults of the museum there.

Mr. Morando said the investigators realized that the vessels were made of Parian marble, a rare, semi-translucent white stone quarried in ancient times on the Greek island of Paros. They bore faint traces of polychromatic decoration in specks of red, light blue and pink.

Mr. Morando said the type of marble and its decoration prompted a leading expert, the archaeologist Angelo Bottin, to link them directly to the much-better-known griffins at the Getty Villa.

"They're exceptional objects," Mr. Morando said.

The Foggia vases were recovered in 1978 from Savino Berardi, a tomb robber well known to investigators. Mr. Berardi was not convicted of any crime in connection with the vessels. Turned over to the state art authorities, they were eventually forgotten.

Mr. Berardi's name is one of several dozen that appear on a lined sheet of notebook paper that investigators said was found in the possession of an antiquities trafficker who has since died. Mr. Hecht's name is prominently marked at the top of the page, towering over a makeshift pyramid of names.

Mr. Hecht, who attended the proceedings on Wednesday, muttered dismissively when a slide of the notebook paper was presented.

Dressed in a fine gray suit and a splashy tie by Bulgari, Mr. Hecht, who turns 87 on Saturday, was not scheduled to take the stand. But he spoke in court to respond to accusations made against him in previous hearings.

In particular, he explained how he had come into possession of a letter sent by the art theft squad to the director of a museum in Munich inquiring about a red-figure vase. Mr. Hecht said he had sold the vase to the museum and had therefore received a copy of the letter from the museum. But he said that as the vase had "ancient restorations dating from the beginning of the 20th century," it "could not possibly be from a recent dig in Etruria."

Italian prosecutors contend that over the last century several hundred, if not thousands, of ancient artifacts dug up illicitly in Italy have made their way into museum collections abroad, especially in the United States. Speaking to reporters before the hearing, the sprightly Mr. Hecht — who joked repeatedly and regaled the assembly with an aria from Verdi's "Traviata" — defended the practice of not asking many questions about the provenance of the artifacts he was offered.

"There are always 1,000 other dealers willing to buy," Mr. Hecht said. "At least if I bought the piece, I was sure that it would be put at the disposal of the scientific community, in a museum or a private collection. Someone else might just lock it up in his basement and only allow friends to see it."

Asked what he thought would be the outcome of the trial, he said, "I have no idea, it's in the hands of God, and the judge."

In trial testimony Giuseppe Putrino, an officer with the art theft squad, described documents recovered in a raid last summer on the offices of Palladion Ancient and Fine Art in Basel, Switzerland, run by Ursula Becchina, the wife of the Sicilian antiquities dealer Gianfranco Becchina.

Mr. Putrino said that one document showed that the dealers had often asked experts to work from Polaroid photographs in authenticating works.

"There is no trace of legitimate export documents for any of the artifacts shown in the Polaroids," he said, adding that the use of Polaroids "should have been an alarm bell for the experts."

Photos of the objects accompany the original article ...
... nothing of interest.